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How Is Your Life Better Without a Cheater?

I was thinking the other day that I should start a testimonials page for Chump Nation. I get the sweetest letters, like this one from Heather:

Thank you for your work. I don’t come to the site often anymore, but I am so grateful that it is here when I want it — more grateful still that it was here when I was fighting for my life. My first anniversary of divorce is next week. A year before that I knew I would need a divorce, but I didn’t know when or how I could move such a mountain. A year before that, I was floundering in a shit marriage and I didn’t know why. Is it not amazing how full and strong and wonderful you can become when you’re not being slowly eaten alive? If I am so whole and so well now, when I haven’t even been fully free for a year … well just imagine next year. I can imagine next year, in large part because of the truth I soaked up on this site. Thank you.

YES. It is AMAZING how strong and WONDERFUL you all are. This is the stuff character is made of — who you are after the sucker punch. How you rebuild. How you still have joy.

On that note, BowTie thinks the benefits of leaving a cheater should be this Friday’s challenge. He wrote:

This morning as I lazed in bed I was thinking about all of the things in my life that are better since Mme YogaPants went off chasing after her destiny — and his wallet.  As a middle-aged guy one of the bigger things was the improvement in my health.  Not only did I lose over 200lbs (170 lbs of Mme – 45 lbs from me) but there were other things.
– My sleep apnea went from double digits to less than 1 most days
– I’m on half as many blood pressure meds
– I rarely suffer from angina pains
– The dark baggy circles under my eyes are gone
– I’m eating healthier and exercising regularly

There are a bunch of practical day-to-day things that are also better now but I thought I’d just focus on the health benefits for me.

Yes, there are a bunch of negatives related to her infidelity and having the world I knew crash around me and dealing with the fallout of a divorce after more than half our lives spent together, but for a Friday, thinking about the positives is a good thing.

I’m sure that other Chumps have experienced unexpected benefits from a cheater-free life as well.

So what do you say, CN? What’s filling the place in your life where lies, drama, and burner phones used to live? What’s gotten better?

TGIF!

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.
  • I realised I deserved better, admittedly I missed him, but 5 years on, I took some crap from my ex. The ow swore at me for years, then asked me to feel sorry for her. Cheeky bitch!, I think if you involved with someone already in a relationship, there’s something wrong with you.

  • My kids are relaxed. My house is clean. I don’t have to look at piles of crap that might come in handy or that he couldn’t be bothered to put away. I no longer feel pity for terrible people.

    I’m in grad school to become a school principal, and I don’t feel guilty sitting down to do the work each evening after teaching all day, which takes a lot of time and energy. Nobody is looking at me while I am working and calling me lazy.

    I don’t have to wonder what’s true and what’s not. There’s no investigation needed. I don’t have to keep up with the “life of the party” appearance and expectation at church, which was his M.O. I can just be myself.

    I have started to hate it when someone tells me I can’t do something.

    • “I don’t have to wonder what’s true and what’s not. There’s no investigation needed. I don’t have to keep up with the “life of the party” appearance and expectation at church, which was his M.O. ”
      This was my former life as well. God, it feels so good to be away from that.

      • Keeping up with the “life of the party” was exhausting to me! When I met him I was extremely outgoing and that is why I fell in love with him as well. Then after a few years I found myself not wanting to go out, making excuses, etc. Now I realize it had nothing to do with me. I thought I was just getting older and more boring, turns out his “life of the party” attitude was overshadowing mine and I was cringing to be around it because I knew I couldn’t be my true bright shiny self. He always used to say “you aren’t fun anymore” I thought that was so strange because he started dating me because I was the most fun girl he had ever met! No more investigations, no more having to come up with lame excuses to not go even though my real excuse is “I’m tired and have worked all day I don’t want to go out tonight” I can now do whatever I want with whoever. I used to wonder why in the last 5 years have I met a lot of shallow people. I thought maybe this is how the world is now? Afterwards I am realizing its because I was hanging out with him who is shallow and like attracts like. So glad to be rid of all of it!!

    • The clean house! Yes! Along with eradicating the BS about “I don’t remember making that mess, so I’m not cleaning it.”

      The toilet that no longer smells like a sewage treatment plant. I understood the prostate issues and other gastric distress. But I never understood why that made me responsible for cleaning up the results.

      Best of all… the end of the April 15th surprise. I dreaded finding out how big of a check I had to send to the IRS each year, because he believed the tin-foil hat conspiracies that paying taxes was voluntary, and had next to nothing withheld. Don’t bother asking HIM for the tax money; his account was often overdrawn before payday.

  • I am healthier, and have more free time to go to the gym. I’ve bought an electric guitar and am learning to play and don’t have to worry that “it’s too noisy” in the house. There’s plenty of peace in my home for my son and I now that there’s no more eggshells to walk on. I stay up later and hang out with friends more.

    He’s only been out of the house for 8 months and the peace of mind that came from just no longer feeling the urge to find out what he’s hiding from me has been the biggest benefit. No more worrying about him. I’m kinda surprised at how quickly I seem to be recovering from the discard. I give credit to CL and CN. It’s been great to know that I’m not the disordered one.

    • Your first sentence!
      “ More free time”
      You’d think sharing responsibilities would give you more free time.
      But no! Getting rid of a leech?!
      Then you realise how much they drain out of you.

  • You know that picture in American Beauty where she is lying on the bed surrounded by rose petals – well picture me, but instead of rose petals I have my bank statements AND EVERYONE OF THEM SHOWS THAT I AM STILL IN THE BLACK!

      • Yay!! That is awesome. I am starting a Dave Ramsey program and working toward being debt free this year. I can’t believe all the stuff I racked up with him in 5 years trying to keep up with his incessant need for “keeping up with the Jonses”

  • I can enjoy going out to eat! I know it sounds odd, but my ex narcissistic cheater was in the restaurant business so of course even the most Exquisite meal was not up to par for him. We went in a Disney cruise and he still found something to complain about or reason to make a big scene and send his food back. It was always so embarrassing. And he was in restaurant sales, he wasn’t even a chef. Yes I am definitely enjoying dining out now!

    • I’m not divorced yet, but will be in the next month or two. The ex is allergic to gluten PLUS always on some diet PLUS too good for a lot of restaurants…which includes me taking our kids to said restaurants.

      A lot of times when I cook for the family, she will still make her own dinner (even though I made everything gluten-free).

      I am so looking forward to eating where I want and when I want…and being free to take the kids, too!

      Not to mention…
      -No more cheating
      -No more whining about EVERYTHING (she whined about being tired and housework when I work the same schedule as her and do more housework than her)
      -No more waiting on her and being late to everything!
      -Better sex (not her strong suit)
      -No more drama 24/7
      -No more moodiness to darken the entire house!
      -No more trying to shut me off from my friends and family!
      -No more me having to get approval and permission from someone else before doing something!
      -Going to the beach/swimming! (She hates both)

      I could do this forever!

      • Just getting a job was a step up for me. There was no more hoping he’d remember to give me an allowance, no more checking of my receipts, no more trying to force me to stay home from church by not giving me gas money. No more ‘you shouldn’t buy that thing that you want because it’s not the quality I think it should be’. Just that little bit of freedom brought me a lot of joy. I’m looking forward to the ultimate freedom of being out of this house and away from him.

      • Chumpwazoo:

        Dude. So feeing your post.

        I get that dietary restrictions are important. I get that eating well is key to happiness. But damn let’s go one day without a deep philosophical talk about Kombucha. I guarantee those randos in line don’t give a fuck about your thoughts on soy. No – you don’t have a gluten allergy. Fucking hell it’s not your religion to always be taking about your diet. Nobody else cares. Keep that shit to yourself once in a while. She was like a teen learning about veganism for the first time and she was an over-the-hill 40-year-old.

        So much better alone I am.

        • I feel a bit divided here- as someone with non coeliac gluten intolerance, I know that avoiding it means some restaurants are just out. But it depends if she got tested. Nothing bugs me more than people who just decide they are gluten intolerant on no evidence-I’ve had 2 endoscopies, breath testing, the lot. I had owners come in with a puppy that they had put on a gluten free diet, for no reason, just because they thought it was somehow better-“Really really rare to have intolerance in dogs” I said , through gritted teeth .” Gluten is not poisonous”,If we get news of an impending apocalypse with say, 24 hrs notice, I will be hitting up the bakeries and eating baguettes. And croissants. And donuts….I miss bread.

          • Biopsy confirmed Celiac, here. But what is intriguing is that, while I had symptoms my entire life, the truly BAD ones started up right around the time he started boinking schmoopie. It was also interesting that one of the first things out of his mouth, after coming clean with me on DDay, was, “…and this had NOTHING to do with your illness.” I hadn’t even made the connection.

          • I am a bald 46-year-old dude with a penis that doesn’t work as well as when I was 21 and less than perfect teeth. When I talk shit about my X it is aimed at my X. If I took umbrage at every unkind description of dudes I read here I would be a sobbing mess.

      • Chumpwazoo and Doubtless, the posts from you guys and all the other male chumps just kill me when you mention things like “when I cook dinner for the family” or “I’m doing most of the housework”. Do those sorry bitches you are/were married to think that’s the norm? Not in my world. I felt like I’d won the lottery if ex put his own dishes in the dishwasher! I’ve got to believe there are plenty of good women out there who will appreciate a partner who does his share around the house and knows his way around a kitchen. In fact, if you put that on a dating profile you’d probably be swarmed. 😊

        • Beth – totally stealing your idea. Updating my okcupid and tinder profiles with cooking, dishwashing, and laundry skills! Thanks! (Too bad you’re not in the Pacific Northwest 😉) Will keep y’all updated.

          • Yay, you do that Doubtless! If I was in the Pacific Northwest and a decade younger, I’d be hunting for your profile. 😘

        • My STBX did dishes and cooked. He did laundry. He also screwed other people, spent our money and was always late, and crabby. House work is nice but not enough.

          • Not for a cheater, no. There is nothing that makes up for the other character deficits.
            But a male chump who helps around the house and treats his partner as well as these guys did? Worth his weight in gold.

    • I raise a glass of wine to that! My ex always scolded me for drinking a glass of wine with my meals, he was completely against me feeling anything but miserable. Cheers for enjoying a cheater/narcissistic free good meal, a nice drink and life in general!

      • Going to a restaurant and ordering what you want to eat without either a look you’d expect from a parent if you were a child who misbehaved in church.

        • Yes! And going to a restaurant I like. We only went once a year, on my birthday, to a place I liked. He would finish eating in 5 minutes then bitch about how long I took to eat.

  • I’ve been separated for just about a year now. Although my divorce is Hell on Earth… there is one positive that i can identify immediately. I have regained about 4 hours of my life each day from what was previously spent on googling phone numbers, investigating lies, searching dating sites, panicking, defending myself, and searching for clues. How I functioned like that for years on the defensive, chasing the truth, and feeling unsafe still boggles my mind.
    I’ve lost a lot, I wish this wasn’t real, I’m very unhappy, but I gained back my time and my soul. Two things that a husband should never have been taking from me in the first place.

    • “I have regained about 4 hours of my life each day from what was previously spent on googling phone numbers, investigating lies, searching dating sites, panicking, defending myself, and searching for clues. How I functioned like that for years on the defensive, chasing the truth, and feeling unsafe still boggles my mind.”

      Oh this was me! The constant feeling of knowing something isn’t right and being determined to figure out what it is! I cringe when I think about the lengths I went to to find out the truth. Unfortunately cheaters like to use your response to their behavior to paint you as the crazy one. If I only knew then what I know now, it would have saved me a lot of heartache, time and sanity.

      • Me too! No longer the marriage police so I’ve gained so much more time. And the longer I go without that the calmer and safer I feel.

    • Before cheater left, I asked him about a charge on the account. He was so angry and said if I researched him he would leave me!

      Well, that was all I needed to know.

      Of course, I did the research and found four months of hundreds of calls to OWs number and calls to the Hyatt….. Thank goodness he left me.

      I just ache for our daughter who is totally devastated and depressed after realizing what kind of a father she has – that she trusted and admired so much.

  • I no longer have to share my home and my life with someone who gaslights, stonewalls, blame shifts me. No more passive aggressive behaviour, no more silent treatment and no more being hurt & let down. Hurrah!

    I now have better boundaries and better understanding of what behaviour I won’t tolerate, should I ever be involved with anyone again.

  • The peace away from the crazy.
    After the lying and cheating, and when the hovering was unsuccessful, his final statements were that “you are so sad after what I did, you cannot love me like I need”, “get over it, I’m not going to be a beaten dog Forever”.
    I experienced him flipping the abuse to himself, he was the victim.
    Don’t miss the rotating emotions, First charm, then pity, then rage.
    The disordered manipulate and twist during and after the cheating, trying to protect their image.
    He was trying to draw me back in, my mind was telling me get out! Listen to yourself if you are at this place.
    Do not have to put up with his ongoing grandiosity, buying expensive items continuously.
    I live conservatively and save my money.
    I can now read all I want(was told that I read too much)
    I see my girlfriends, travel and ski
    I am independent and strong and getting braver
    Most importantly, I love to go home now(was dreading it every day before)
    Life is beautiful, life is hard
    Believe in yourself, bless everyone here going through this madness

  • No more having to pretend to the world that my life is OK. Years of making excuses as to why cheater wasn’t around and I was the only parent at functions. No more waking up with a sick feeling in my gut. No more waking up at 1AM wondering where he is. No more gaslighting.

    I now have hope for a better future. I now have peace in my home (except for some discord caused by teenagers;) I no longer have to constantly wonder what the truth is anymore. And I have gotten better at setting boundaries in my life with other people.

    • For years I did the waking up at 1:00am too…texting him to find out where he is. Of course I found out later he was with his mistress. I’m sure they both had some chuckles over stupid me. Well… karma is a bitch and I’ll have the last laugh soon.

  • “No more waking up with a sick feeling in my gut. ” When did that go away? I wake up and feel fine but within a couple minutes, my thoughts go to cheater and divorce and the dread hits.

    • You are still having to play games through the divorce. You are still worried about how things will turn out. And you are still guessing at what he will do.

      Come up with the worst case scenario that could happen with the divorce and then start planning your future based on that. Then when you get more, go on a very nice vacation with your kids. But at least you won’t be disappointed.

        • I am just waiting for the decree to be signed by the judge. We have both signed it so that should happen this week.

          The best part is the uncertainty is gone. I now know exactly what I am working with financially. We are not going on a big vacation but I hired a realtor last week. Next step started.

          I can’t say I don’t ever get a sick feeling in my gut anymore but it is no longer constant. Only happens when he still does something crappy. For example: My little one turned 2 on Monday and cheater didn’t even acknowledge her birthday. He didn’t ask to see her. No card. No drop off of a gift. Nothing. My heart hurt for her for days. Then I got pissed but now I just accept that his suckiness went up another notch.

          Now I am back to peace. You will get there, too, FeelingIt!! You just have to get rid of the uncertainty. That will come with the divorce decree.

  • Getting to watch whatever I want on TV (without criticism). Getting to prepare food that I want without his health concern du jour. Not having socks hung in my walk in closet. Not having his two pair of well worn pants hanging on the back of closet door. Not being abused any longer by him! Also realizing that I deserved so much better and also realizing that I will no longer accept abuse from ANYONE any longer.

    • Don’t miss cooking for someone and have them complain about it or say he didn’t think the kids diet was good enough when he didn’t lift a finger in the kitchen.

  • * I am no longer awakened by his snoring.
    *I lost 20 pounds, I’m now back to my HS/ adult weight that I was before kids.
    *I’m now vegan. He was a huge carnivore.
    * We are no longer awakened by him banging his razor on the sink in the mornings.
    * The house is cleaner.
    * Our activities no longer revolve around his work & gym schedule.
    * I no longer have to deal with his family and friends.
    * I no longer have to sit and listen to him talk about himself for 30 mins after he came home from work.
    * after years of telling him to CHEW WITH HIS MOUTH CLOSED, I don’t have to deal with that anymore!!!!

    • Oh, the tines of the fork noise was spine-tingling AWFUL! And of course, when I asked him to please be more careful, he deliberately did it more. I wasn’t the boss of him!

    • Oh yeah that’s a huge one, not having to listen to someone bang on about themselves. Also mine wasn’t big on table manners and thought I had stuffy English ways for wanting him and the kids to eat with a knife and fork correctly and use a napkin, paper I might add. Don’t miss his lack of cutlery skills.

    • The birds, the warmth of the sun, the sound of rain on the roof…
      There is space to notice and welcome in the beauty of the world around me.
      I laugh with friends, sleep in when I want, create my space to make me happy, spend my time and money the way I want and only concern myself with people who love and respect me.
      Focused on being mentally and physically healthy.
      One step and one day at a time ❤️

      • “There is space to notice and welcome in the beauty of the world around me.”
        Love that! So true!

    • Dearest CL & CN
      You gave me hope that I was worthy and helped me define my already crystallised purpose. I said I was better but you helped me believe it! Thank you to Zhuchi- when I saw her post about Tracey visiting Australia, you shone your light and I walked out of the darkness. I am forever grateful! You saved my sanity and my soul! Thank you.

  • After 34 years of what I thought was a pretty good marriage I realize now I was the only one who loved.

    2 years divorced I may be financially strapped &lonley, at least I know how strong & resilient I am. Beating breast cancer than getting rid of the narc I am proud of who I’ve become.

    I’m finally putting myself first after putting everyone else before me. CN & my friends here helped me thru
    some difficult times!

    ❤️

    • Kathleen, you are amazing! Recovering from infidelity and ending my 30-year marriage has been the biggest challenge of my life. I can’t imagine dealing with breast cancer on top of all that.

      You ROCK, girlfriend!!

      • ChampChump

        It is terrible for us but we find strength somehow.
        He literally ripped my heart out & slandered me even to my son. I did discover that I was married to an evil reptilian of a man.

        As long as I keep remembering the end of my marriage & the cruelty I will try to move forward.
        You are mighty also & deserving of honesty.

        He was the 2nd Cancer..got rid of both!

        Bless you .. ((((HUGS))))

  • I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a year after we got married. I managed it okay with diet for 12 years. After d-day #1 I was in the hospital 1 to 2 times a month in excruciating pain, was down to 102 lbs (at 5’5″) not a pretty sight! I had a 90% blockage because of all of the inflammation; eating was painful and scary. I had to start immune suppression therapy, and developed an allergy to the meds, so the doctor sent me to hospital for each treatment, pumped me full of steroids, and were at the ready in case I went into anaphylaxis. I pick me danced the next 5 years… but was also in therapy by myself, weekly, and really came to understand that my marriage was emotionally abusive.

    I filed for divorce 2 years and 8 months ago, after d-day #2, 3, 4, came in one fell swoop. When I saw the text between him and an escort, haggling price and time; there was no panic, no pit of your stomach dropping out, no search for alternative explanations, no questioning if maybe it was my eyes playing tricks on me, no wondering if I was in a dream. At that moment I knew… “This is who he is!” After everything I had been through with my health, and being on immune suppression, my one request to him was, “do not sleep with me and expose me to potential disease!”

    It was some time after I filed, I found out that he was in fact getting STD tests but still sleeping with me. I remember the day he came home with a bandage on his arm, (I remember the day specifically because it was the day before our family vacation) and I asked him what happened. He told me he “gave blood’. Of course I didn’t think anything of it at the time. He did give blood that day, but it wasn’t for blood donation as he had me believe, it was for STD testing. I wonder if he would have told me if he had an STD, or just let me figure it out myself. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

    I haven’t had so much as a flare up of my Crohn’s since I filed for divorce. I am off all meds and in remission. That speaks volumes to the stress I was experiencing in my marriage. Unfortunately, my kids still have to experience the chaos and unpredictability that comes with their dad. When they complain about the raging and chaos, I feel bad for them, but I also feel relieved that I don’t have to deal with that any more. When the kids get together with his family, inevitably one of the kids breaks down in tears, because the chaos is so overwhelming. I acted as their buffer to that when we were married, so now they experience it full force.

    I don’t miss the anxiety
    I don’t miss the chaos
    I don’t miss feeling like I’m less than
    I don’t miss the crazy making
    I don’t miss being the marriage police
    I don’t miss feeling ugly
    I don’t miss feeling like I have to be a supermodel to be worthy of love
    I don’t miss the unpredictability
    I don’t miss the stress that comes with being made to feel as though I am crazy!

    I enjoy feeling self-assured
    I enjoy listening to my gut (still working on this one, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Would love to see a column on second guessing your perceptions after decades of betrayal)
    I enjoy knowing my self-worth
    I enjoy the calm that is in my home
    I enjoy feeling free of jealousy
    I enjoy feeling attractive

    • When the facade starting cracking after 15 years of marriage, my husband began his emotional abuse full-on and I too developed Crohn’s disease. I always knew it was triggered by the stress he caused me during that time. It took me another 10 years to finally get a lawyer and begin a divorce. The peace I have now is priceless. My mental and physical health are good. I am rediscovering myself and my goals, dreams, and values. My relationship with my kids has improved greatly. We have sane, stable, relaxed home again. I so wish I had gotten rid of him sooner!

  • I no longer feel every muscle in my body tightening up when I hear his car pull up out front.

    • yes me too. you only know that adrenaline rush if you lived it.
      if i was sitting down… jumping up trying to show value. hoping he’s not mad at me. hoping for a kiss or a hug when he walked in. hoping as he opened the mail that nothing would make him angry. hoping the dogs would be perfect so he didn’t get pissed.
      then worrying… did I leave my nice outfit and heels on long enough? is it ok to change into something comfortable? my feet are cold… am I allowed to wear socks? do sexy wives wear socks? I put on socks. he looks down and smirks with disgust at my socks. oops whores don’t wear socks. whores never get cold. failed again!
      silent treatment. now I’m being punished for being human. reminding him that his life isn’t a porno which means he sucks and It’s my fault that he realizes this all because I’m not perfect.

      I don’t miss this at all!

      • This spoke to me. It was such a relief to live in a home that felt safe. Still is, years later.

        I find that I don’t actually think I am awful, left to myself. I was just awful in his eyes.

        I find that it is reasonable to want to relax and be comfortable at home. I never loved home when I was with him. Now I do. I love my ragged ponytail and my cozy socks and my handmade blanky with pet hair (bright colors, not black or gray or fragile) and my book and my whatever the hell I want. I can walk naked from the shower to the closet without feeling shame for my lack of artificialness.

        I don’t feel ugly for being alive anymore.

        You and me, let’s pinky swear – at home, socks and other comforts, forever!

        Now nobody who feels unsafe to me enters my home. I don’t feel on edge in the one place in the world that should be my sanctuary.

        My pets relaxed. I had never realized they weren’t relaxed until they were.

        • Now nobody who feels unsafe to me come into my home. Yes!!! This is my sanctuary from the world. Thank you for that thought.

        • I’ll pinky swear to that! forever enjoying socks when our feet are cold. 💜 that is my goal – to never feel on edge in my home ever again.

        • Yes to comfy footwear. I wanted to get some nice cozy booty slippers but ex informed me in disgusted tones that “those are old lady slippers” so I went without. I guess just mentioning it was enough to make me unattractive to him. Now I can wear whatever darn slippers I want. 🙂

        • “I find that I don’t actually think I am awful, left to myself. I was just awful in his eyes.”

          This hit home for me AimiisFree. He never nourished me, gave a compliment, or valued anything in his life.

          Well I’m back with my identity in tact. It had to come from within.

          Whatringofhellisthis

          Goodbye to twisting ourselves into a pretzle for the likes of the never satisfied assholes. The most attention I ever recieved was after winning the pickme dance (there were many) and dropping 30 or more pounds.

          After the finally he looked at me and said., “See, you’re happier.” He was referring to my losing 41 pounds in a few months while in the paralysis stage.

          Now with my for year freedom day approaching I am happy and feel good about myself.

          • “I find that I don’t actually think I am awful, left to myself. I was just awful in his eyes.”

            THIS BY THOUSANDS!

          • Absolutely, Doingme!✋we no longer have to die trying to please a prick that can never be satisfied.

            And his comment to you is such a dick thing to say.

            I lost 15 pounds in 3 weeks from panic and heartbreak. He decides to gaslight me about the weightloss telling me i didn’t lose any weight. people were asking me why I would lose weight so fast and if I’m sick. But he wanted to make sure I didn’t think I was thinner for many reasons.

        • “I find that I don’t actually think I am awful, left to myself. I was just awful in his eyes.”

          2 1/2 months post D-day and I so dearly want him to tell me he really didn’t mean it when he said he hated the person I had become. I had been taking the “healthy” path and I was awful for encouraging the family to do the same.

        • It’s funny to realize I always made sure the doors were locked at night to keep intruders out – while the person who was doing the most damage to my family was inside the house with me.

          He said I didn’t appreciate him and give him enough affection. Well, I don’t appreciate being used and told I’m a fat ass. That does not motivate me to give affection. I couldn’t buy new clothes because he had to buy tools for his job to make money. Even his mom was telling me I needed to buy me some clothes.

          In court documents he was mad I put down $100 a month for clothes for me and our daughter. He said I never bought new clothes – $100 a month for me to buy clothes is ridiculous! How pathetic is that. I was so beat down.

          He rarely verbalized any appreciation for me. He told me I had a crappy job (it really isn’t crappy – I love my job). He complained the house was a mess while never lifting a finger to help out. When he left I went into his man cave, the garage. Oh my word. Talk about dirty and disgusting. That’s what he left me to clean up. A huge mess.

          Yeah, recovering from the fallout of being ‘awful in their eyes’ is hard. The person who is supposed to love and cherish you turns out to be your worst enemy nightmare and you have to watch your kid be in anguish on top of it. While people you know are all ‘happy’ he’s got a new baby.

          No one blinks an eye that he threw away his family. It’s like, Yay! congratulations you threw away the family you had and got a new shiny one! You are awesome!

          Now where is my dog hair covered sweatshirt, sweats and ponytail holder. 🙂

      • Whatthehelisthis, you described my life with X as if you were there..,

        Speaking of pets, our dog who is house trained would pee himself when X walked in the room,
        even if I were hiding him. In his loud Marine Drill sergeant voice,X would nag the dogs, sit, stay, no, lay down, sit,,, then he’d start into our son or me,

        Like you I enjoy my home now and never want to feel afraid to move or look for approval, feeling as if I constantly failed his expectations.

          • Haha Brit! One of our dogs used to startle and bark EVERY TIME my ex came in the house. No one else. Maybe she knew something I didn’t at the time.

            • I never realized how anxious my dogs were until they became so calm once X moved out. They could never sit still, always wanting to go out, pacing and barking. But once he was gone they would fall asleep after dinner every night and hardly ever bark. It was so strange.

        • I have a dog that had nervous peeing issues as well (she is 11 yrs old, so not a “puppy” issue). Ex has been gone for 3 years now, and she is now relaxed and doesn’t have this issue anymore. We should pay more attention to how our dogs respond to these assholes.

        • Yes! We had a cat (now my cat) who we used to describe as “18 lbs of pure asshole”. He’s now affectionate, cuddly, and very chatty. He still has “opinions” but he snuggles up to me every night after he eats his dinner and rubs his face on me and purrs. He’s like a different cat. Animals know!

        • Yes! as I read through the posts, I planned to mention that feeling of dread knowing he would be home soon, I’d hear him pull in to our driveway then open the door and my heart would sink. Feeling the pit in my stomach while he was around Watching his body language, to gauge his mood. He’d look for things to complain about,
          If he was home and walked into a room I’d tense up and feel anxious. Friends I talked to over the phone didn’t have to ask if Cheater was home they could tell by the tone of my voice.
          It’s so nice to come home and lay down if chose to.
          I’m able to watch my programs on TV without hearing him ridicule me, or walk in and switch the channel then say, it was a commercial and I just wanted to see something. Refuse to go back to the channel I was on because his favoritet episode of “Friends” is on.

          • Same here, walked on eggshells daily for 16 years. And friends and family could always tell he was around because I acted differently.

          • I could have pretty much written this post myself.

            I now leave a sink full of dishes for a week at a time usually – he was such a fucker about the kitchen sink …. even to the point of insisting where the utensils went in there!

            I wish he could see the sink NOW!! Middle fingers raised!!! 🙂

        • DITTO!! The walking on eggshells and sick feeling in my stomach when I saw his car in driveway wondering what kind of mood he would be in.

    • How long did that take? We have been separated for over a year now and the divorce should be finalized by April ( I live in VA, crappiest state to get a divorce in). I still get ridged when I hear his stupid truck pull up. When does it fade away?

      • Why is his truck still pulling up?

        If it’s for child pick-up, try coming up with a different plan. Give yourself the joy and peace of mind of having a quiet driveway!

        There is NO other reason why he should be there.

        • For my boys. I have strict boundaries with him. I never see him unless it is at school functions and we strictly talk about The boys and finances. Nothing else is allowed. I ignore all other topics if he brings them up.
          I just want to know when it will get easier.

          • It is frustrating, how much time it can take for this to get easier. In my case, the more of my life I developed separately, the less effect anything pertaining to my ex had on me. It was as if knowing I was creating new was what closed the old door. Even simple things like new home decor (thrift stores have a lot of it), rearranging a room, donating crap he had picked out and buying replacements I picked (at the thrift store – I was very lean for $), culling (and cutting) photos so I could regularly look at pictures of my life without having to look at pictures of him or that spurted memories of things with him… I guess that’s the “act as if” thing. The more I acted as if he was my past, the more true it became.

            Another thing that helped me was getting past all the first “anniversaries” of everything, especially big holidays. Once I had done everything without him once, the “tradition” feeling started to loosen it’s grip.

            Journeys like this take a long time and it’s really unfair. We have all been there and we are living proof that it WILL get easier. I’ll bet within the year the feeling will start to pass. Hang in there.

          • As your sons get older you can move yourself out of the equation.

            If they’re not old enough to be home alone during pick-up/drop-off, try and be creative. Do you have a friend who can be there at those times instead of you? Perhaps it’s easier if you bring them to him? I’m sure other CN parents will have ideas on how to change or neutralize this situation.

            It isn’t always about waiting for things to get better. It’s about creating your power and changing situations to create peace for yourself!

            If you start with this one issue (neutralizing his tires in your driveway), you will find many other issues that you can change to increase your peace of mind.

            That is called taking back your power! Create your best life!

            • “It isn’t always about waiting for things to get better. It’s about creating your power and changing situations to create peace for yourself!”

              Wise words. It took me way too long to get clued into this. I had to let go of caring what he thought even when he wasn’t there. I would worry if I said or did something he didn’t like he would take it out on the kids. When I realized I would never move forward with that attitude I started to shift. Not going to lie, it took some practice as these were very ingrained habits and it felt a bit scary. Seems silly now in retrospect but it was very real.

              My advice is not to focus too much on the long term goal – of course you should set a vision – but really just get through the day to day stuff and celebrate the victories. Not hearing the tires or not be triggered by the sound is enough of a victory to start.

              Just like we can trust they suck, trust it will get better. Be gentle with yourself. Having young children adds a layer of challenge.

              Peace.

          • He is not allowed at my house, even in the driveway. I drive my daughter to him and pick her up. He says this makes him feel “disempowered.” Well, that’s just a bonus for me. I own the house and decide who comes on my property. I am in control of NOT seeing him when I drop her off. I don’t even look in his direction and he has stopped meeting her on the porch – she just goes in the door.

            THIS boundary, along with not speaking to him and having everything in writing, has freed me so much! I see him enough in our small town and we work at the same place. Ugh.

            But since I’ve drawn healthy boundaries for myself, I’m much happier and less tense. I’ve also lost 20 pounds and no longer have to spend energy babysitting a clueless man-child.

            No more toenail clippings in the sink. No more embarrassment for his arrogant, rude behavior, no more walking on eggshells, more FUN times with my daughter. I look better, feel better, AM better!

            • No more walking on eggshells!
              No more embarrassment for his arrogant, rude behavior! (After he left the neighbor commented on how rude and arrogant he was!)
              No more cigarette butts or cigarette smoke (I didn’t let him smoke in the house). No more big greasy stain on the sheets on his side.
              No more big flakes of skin at the foot of the bed and in the drawers at the foot of the bed!
              No more alcohol in the house. (we met in rehab 20 years ago. Several years ago he and his friend started with near beer, then beer, then the huge bottle of vodka from Costco – and always trying to get me to drink – asshole)
              No more yucky clothes and socks on the floor.
              No more complaining about everything and everyone as he was so above criticism himself.
              Now that I have bought him out of the house, no more threats of him telling me he’s making the judge sell the house, and he’s taking our child and taking our dogs away from me! (Now I have the house, our child refuses to see him, and he’d never take the dogs – they are old. He only likes young new stuff, you know. He told our daughter everything in this house is old. Lol Like his 24 y.o gf is going to stick around and change his diapers – she’s after his money, not him. I remember years ago his dad commenting on him going so fast on his motorcycle – he said, “He’s fast, but he’s not too bright.”
              Yes, I see that now.

      • I saw my X in front of me at an intersection 2 years after the divorce….meh. I thought, “he’s still wearing that scarf….what was it I needed from the supermarket?”

        Two years, especially if you can go NC, and if you create your own fabulous life, is a turning point.

        • Tempest, that is truly awesome.

          It reminds me of what happened to me last April when I discovered the 3 year old undiscovered FB Messenger messages from HomeWrecker. They went into some sub-folder I didn’t know existed and I never saw them. They dated back years, to before Honey had dropped the nuke on me and the babies. She had written to help me out by letting me know she had been having an affair with my husband, but I saw them for what they were. They were NOT to help me. She was trying to get me in the know so it would force a confrontation where Honey would have to choose between us (since he was a weak liar happy to live a double life forever, which he actually admitted to me).

          I read her disgusting, self-serving and embarrassingly misspelled messages, texted a couple of friends about it, and continued on to the task I sat down for. I was googling what kind of sauce I should make that would go well with this sausage and penne dish I was planning to make for dinner not 10 minutes after reading them. It was like ‘Ok, this just confirms what I’ve suspected in my heart for years. They’re both completely selfish assholes and I’m thankful he is not my problem anymore.’ The level of indifference I felt about something that would have leveled me a year or two before truly shocked me.

          I relay this story for those of you who are new here. Take heart and have HOPE. Your current connectedness to pain will NOT last forever. It just feels like it will, and sometimes feelings are liars.

          Hang in there, Chumps. It gets better!

          • Thank you for this. Thank you. I need to believe that this pain that flattens me some days (like today) will eventually become indifference.

            • Tempest and Honey,

              Like Not Afraid, I want to believe that I won’t always feel flattened by pain round the clock!

              Why do I still want a partner who did not want to acknowledge my existence–except when he wanted something from me and nobody else was around to provided services? I guess that I still do not completely trust that he sucks–hard to do when almost everyone else thinks that the guy is the best thing since sliced bread and you thought so, too for a few decades. Tough, too, when he’s living the Vida Loca (plenty of kibble providers for him morning, noon, and night both at the office and outside the office) while the only attention I get, for the most part. is creepy/sleazy/completely inappropriate.

              • I’m nearly 2 years out from becoming officially single and embarrassed that it’s still painful. I don’t want her back. I trust that she sucks. But I haven’t reached Meh and I’m lonely and sad. She blew up my whole life, esp wreaking havoc on my relationship with my teen daughters, and it has taken a lot out of me to recover.

              • This….
                Why do I still want him and morn for what we had! Why am I so shocked this is my new life.

              • RockStar: I feel you on the whole ‘everyone thinks they are great’ dilemma, especially when that once also applied to US, their supportive spouses. Just remember, some people in this world have a PATHOLIGICAL need to appear a good person. That means that they will say whatever they must to keep this appearance up, even to themselves.

                You know how pathological liars lie so adeptly and for so long that they begin to believe their own lies? It’s kind of like that. Image management preservation-types will cling with white knuckled fervor to the image they have crafted, despite demonstrable evidence of their crappy-ness. It’s a no win. Walk away to preserve your sanity. Pick your battles of disclosure, because often any attempt to reveal who they have shown themselves to be will be met with efforts to discredit you so you’ll not be believed. I lived this. Just walk away and know they are disordered. Some things we want to understand simply can’t be understood on this side of heaven. Best to you!

                GoAheadandJump, I relate to the whole ‘I can’t believe this is my life’ thing. I say to my mom at least once a week ‘This crap was not in the brochure.’

                CurlyChump…I help teach a divorce recovery class at my church. I hear this a lot. Being embarrassed about pain is a cultural notion, not rooted in our actual humanity at all. You are in the stages of grieving, which can last for years post-divorce. Plus, the stages aren’t linear. They jump around. One day you’re empowered and happy, the next you’re knocked over by a wave of anger and sadness. Many people make the mistake of interpreting this as a failure to heal. On the contrary, it’s a sign that you are still healing and that these feelings have a reason and a place in that process. If we try to shove them aside or hurry past them, our recovery time will actually take longer. You have to sort of sit in them and just let them occur.

                Another way of looking at it is that you are in a boat on a violent sea, being tossed this way and that. Just hold on and survive until it passes; don’t play armchair quarterback and criticize yourself for what a poor job you did holding on to the rope. Just survive the storm! Hang in there.

              • Rockstar, despite all the evidence I had that X sucked, for a very long time I blamed myself. I was like the Swiitzerland friends, I must have done something to cause him to leave. This might sound weird but I made myself repeat in my head “trust that he sucks” whenever I thought of him.
                Gradually I came to believe it 100%. I also found that writing down all the shitty things he’s done helps to remind me he isn’t who the appears to be to the public..
                By all appearances Cheater is smart, witty, charming, funny, caring, knows just the right words. Everyone thinks he’s a great guy.
                While we were married people have come up to me to say how lucky I am to be married to him. The person they’re impressed with doesn’t exist, its an act.
                They know the imposter, the one I married.
                I’ve lost most of the people who I thought were my friends because they “couldn’t take sides.”
                Having people you know or around you think they’re a great guy makes it more difficult. If you’re able distance yourself from his admirers, they don’t know who he really is.
                Rockstar, you sound like such a nice, well rounded person, your last boyfriend and your X have made a huge mistake by not appreciating what they had. When your hurt your mind is clouded and it’s hard to believe, in time you will. They are the ones who are losing something valuable.

                Keep your chin up and remember “trust that they suck.”

    • Oh man. This. Absolutely. The feeling of black gloom that fell on the whole house as the time he got back from work approached.

    • Soldiering on..yes! Even the kids would cringe when he came down the driveway..it wasn’t hooray! Daddy’s home! It was fear tinged dad’s home…like we were already in trouble for something we just didn’t know what…the apprehension in my son’s voice always broke my heart and filled me with a slow burning rage.

    • Oh yeah, forgot about that one. It is sad that this is the way it was towards the end because there was a time in my life when my heart would lift when he came home. Later that shifted to relief when he came home. At the end it was wondering what he was going to complain about or in what way was he going to insult me when he walked in the door.

      • Oh, geez – this! The last few years it was always “I have a project at work that HAS to be finished.” Keep in mind dbag didn’t work at the Pentagon or anywhere else of significance, but I bought that shit! What I don’t have anymore is that tightness and nervous feeling in my stomach when I think about him or that time, or when I consider my future. It took almost 3 years after DDay, but I can fall – and stay – asleep now. I also don’t need the weighted blanket (thunder blanket for dogs…) to feel “safe” as I struggled to fall asleep. I don’t have the elevated heart rate or waves of anxiety and uncontrollable crying after 23 years wasted. I also don’t wonder who’s lying to me and deceiving me right under my nose. I don’t wonder who’s screwing me over in my finances, and betraying me, my children, and my family. It just doen’t happen with f-tard gone and I’m mentally and emotionally healthy with zero contact.

        Since f-tard and I had been teen parents, I DO have a 25 yo who is absolutely zero contact with the dbag, and who is one of my best friends. Our almost 18 yo daughter graduates this year and starts her college journey and I’ve been a part of it all and guided her every step of the way. I’ve been able to volunteer for her activities these past 4 years of high school with my schedule fully free, and she claims I’m her best friend. 😌 The dbag has been a part of NONE of it. Daughter also has zero contact; first by a court order, now by a bulletproof child custody addendum. It all ends next month when she turns 18, so I won’t even worry about that! I even get to coach my grandson’s soccer team (son’s son) because when you become a grandparent at 37, it’s possible to still scrimmage little pee-wee kiddos at 43. Dbag last saw grandson when he was 1 yo, and hasn’t seen him since. So for me? Being 43 with two amazing grown kids and a beautiful grandson, and financial independence opens me up to a pretty awesome, relaxed, fulfilled life. I actually go to bed happy – I’m enjoying the solitude for now. After wasting my late teens, 20s, and 30s on a douche, I’m finally happy.

        Oh, there are definitely “winners” and “losers” in when cheaters are found out, but every Chump ends up the winner. Regardless of the bad situations that happen as a result of getting rid of the cheaters, we still win because we have true character, integrity, and the ability to give love and fidelity to our families, friends, and (hopefully) another partner.

    • Oh, the dread…but mine wasn’t when I’d hear her pull in the driveway. It was when she WOULDN’T. All the times she “had a meeting that ran late” and “traveled for work” and “stayed to watch another game” after her team was done playing. She never snuck out. She had places to be. She was always leaving. And there was always so much more to the story.

  • Best thing I gained my sister back!

    My fur babies sleep on the bed.

    I fold laundry how I want.

    Leftovers go in any container or even a zip lock bag.

    I no longer have to put my head in the outlaw blender.

    I handle things how I want, without anticipating its not “good enough”!

    • I don’t think it is just women who do this. In fact, I know it’s not. There is this great myth that coupledom somehow “completes” us, makes our lives “whole.” I know many men who have bought into this myth and truly believe it is their spouse’s job to ensure their happiness.

      When we look to others for what we should be seeking within ourselves, we rob ourselves of our own identity. For years, I thought it was my job to do for others without question. I had neither the time nor the opportunity to discover what my own wants and needs were.

      As traumatic as what I experienced was, X’s cheating actually allowed me to reflect on what was important to me, my own hopes, dreams, and values, as well as my own fears and insecurities. In the aftermath of those horrible days, I learned to be me. This process has nothing to do with being male or female one; it has everything to do with being human.

      • This. I love this.

        I am in the process of divorce, but STBXH’s affair made me realise I was living my life for someone else. Having to reflect on my own life is hard, because it was much easier to be tethered to someone else’s version of a life than to carve out one of my own.

    • ^^^THIS!!!
      This is a lesson I’ll take away. Any future ‘relationships’ for me will have this as a prescreening prerequisite. Does she think it’s up to me to make her happy?

      • I think this goes both ways. I was always independent and didn’t look to him to make me happy it’s was just the opposite he constantly needed someone to fawn over him and ask him if he was happy. He wanted an independent woman that didn’t need a lot of propping up, because he needed it. I don’t think it’s a gender issue its a cheater issue. Cheaters are very narcissistic and look to others to make them feel happy.

        • silverqueen – EXACTLY. For me, the more independent and strong I was, the more he flailed like a toddler. He said he wanted to be with a strong woman, but his ACTIONS said otherwise. It was so confusing at the time. NOW I have all my strength to myself and am growing stronger.

          Buh Bye Asshole!

          • Tuesday is Coming – I felt the same confusion. My ex told me I was “too social,” “too independent,” that I asked “too many deep and probing questions,” and perhaps most baffling, that I was “too keenly interested in men and sexuality” (because I once said it would be cool to work for the Kinsey Institute). Sorry, dude, for being curious and alive.

        • This ^^^ true for me too. It was one of the things he wanted, an independent partner = less effort to pretend to invest. AND it was one of his rationalizations of being a whorenado =. “ you were too independent. It was like you didn’t need me!!!!! “ Meaning I wasn’t helpless to solve issues or suggest solutions, this not filling his vacuous black hole of need.

          • Another independent woman here. I made him look good managing just about every aspect of our lives as he systematically sabotaged and minimized my needs.

            Thankfully, I pulled myself out of that void of nothingness he offered up as if it was paradise. It was a living hell.

            My biggest gain is knowing what I want going forward.

          • My STBX said we could not be together because I couldn’t make him perfectly happy. My partner have responsibility making me happy was never my expectation and perfectly does not exist. I always knew I had to make myself happy. I did. I think he resented me for it. Our daughters always said “dad is never happy.” He criticized, took no responsibility to change things and made it everybody’s fault but his. If I did try to change things it was not good enough. Don’t miss that.

            • My ex hates me because I was supposed to make him happy and I couldn’t. I didn’t realize I was supposed to, because I had already figured out we are all responsible for our own happiness. I thought that was part of being an adult.

              My ex thought marriage and love were supposed to come easily and when it got hard he looked elsewhere for easy—and found it.

              If expecting someone else to make you happy is a gender issue at all, in my experience it’s men more often than women who have this delusion.

          • Oh my, you totally just nailed my ex. With this. This is EXACTLY what I got.

            This is my first post, hello !

            • Holly sheet – Welcome! Sorry you had to join this group that no one wants to be a part of, but we are really glad you are here. Keep reading and posting – it is a lifesaver!!!

              Champchump – I don’t know if taking responsibility for your own happiness is more of a male/female issue or not, but I know for sure it is a child/adult issue. There were so many times I had to bite my tongue from screaming at my STBX:
              GROW UP FOR F*CK’S SAKE!!

              Cheater narcs are emotional toddlers – complete with temper tantrums and getting completely distracted by whatever is easy and feels good at the moment.

          • I got the same thing, “I never felt like you needed me.” Guess what Douche, you’re right! I didn’t NEED you, I WANTED you. My love was freely given, not transactional, so it was uncomfortable for you. Which sorta explains why you ditched me for a stripper that you peeled off a pole one drunken night.

            There was no charge for what you got from me — because it’s priceless.

            • Mine said he felt needed but not wanted. What the hell does any of it even mean? They are just trying to find the sound bite to justify bad behavior. It’s too exhausting.

        • Yes, this absolutely! X needed me and the kids to be as self sufficient and independent as possible = less work for him. Our reason for dreading his arrival home is we’d then be subjected to his black hole attention sink personality all day. Constant bragging about himself, and then complaining about how nobody seemed to want to talk to him, or listen to his way off the mark, unsolicited advice. Windbag free life has been wonderful.

          • Chickynot, you reminded me of the X’s constant bragging about himself, and endless lectures with the way off the mark unsolicited advice. I’d wonder if he was ever going to shut up. Windbag free is wonderful.

            I also don’t miss the road rage, he’d criticize every driver on the freeway, people who were driving normally. Innocent drivers who would happen to pass him or change lanes in front of him meant road war to him… He’d become enraged, then try to pass then block them from changing lanes further down the road. So glad I’m not subject to that any longer.

        • Silverqueen TOTALLY agree. When my dog died and I cried he had no idea how to comfort me and even said that it frightened him because for the first time I was the one that had to be looked after.

        • Yes, so true. My ex announced the children and I didn’t “contribute to his happiness” therefore he was leaving.

      • I was reading the book “How to make your second marriage succeed” (or whatever the hell is is called ) and it said the best thing a person can bring to a relationship is a good perception of themselves. My second husband likes himself (in a healthy manner) and likes life. Husband cheaters 20+ years of cheating brought monsters, evil, misery and suffering into life that I didnt even realize was there.

        Second husband also does laundry

        • I so agree UNM. The man I’m interested in inspires me and this a new feeling. He’s a chump in the process of getting a divorce.

          After dating a kind guy since the summer I felt frustrated because i was constantly keeping my caretaker, fixer, giver tendencies in check. It showed me how much I’ve grown.

    • The first lesson that every single person should learn is that you have to be able to make yourself happy and be content with yourself. Marriage doesn’t fill that hole. That’s putting the burden of your happiness on someone else’s shoulders, and that’s too much of a burden for anyone.

  • For the last six years pos DDay,/ five years post divorce:
    I no longer worry about waking him up given his insomnia (couldn’t live that double life, conscience got to him)
    I make my own decisions without having to include him, yet be frustrated with his lack of input (I don’t care, etc)
    The day is bright and I have a spring in my step and I find myself humming.

    For the newbies. It has been a long haul for me as the divorcee led to a highly anxious suicidal daughter who adored her father, and we went to court twice due to child support issues (ex moved away, married OWife, and started a new family less than six months post divorce)

    And since about a month ago, after dating for five months. I have found love again with a kind, thoughtful guy who finds me and my pudgy middle aged body sexy. Who knew sex could be fun?!
    It gets better — even before my New Guy life was better. Now I have icing my my New Life cake.

  • I’m a better mother.

    I hadn’t realized how much cheater narc’s moodiness and frequent unpleasantness were impacting my parenting. Dealing w/his drama wore me out and wore me down.

    I’m more patient w/my kids, I’m more fun. And that’s just one way life is better w/him gone. Thanks, Shmoops!

    • This is me. When he walked out he left a tense house where I was shouting at the kids and frustrated with him – I only see now where so much of this tension came from – him doing absolutely nothing to help in the house and insidiously undermine me in front of the kids towards the end of the relationship – I gave up asking him to do things / fix things – I didnt realise I had I just got on with it myself. I tensed a lot when he spoke to me – he used to clear his throat (voice box didnt get a lot of exercise in his case) and I knew it was some criticism or something needed to be fixed /replaced (usually replaced as that was his thing – something breaks you buy a new one – never doing with something sub perfect or even attempting to rectify it – me being from the more practical background was constantly labelled mean and tight for my ‘it’s ok’ stance in life. Since he has gone my house is happier (when he first walked I thought I’d never get through it – I have five kids aged 7-14) and really didnt know how I’d do it on my own – I know now I can and I am even doing better since he’s gone because of the mean negative presence he had in our home bringing us all dow. I’m calmer – I take a deep breath and I slow down and if I’m late for work or an appointment for five minutes because my daughter needs to tell me a funny story from her day I listen to her – I didnt before- before I rushed them and rushed me because I was trying to be the good mother. Now I am the good mother – a much better one without negative cheater Noddy

      • ” I tensed a lot when he spoke to me ”

        he criticized me 24 hours a day…overtly or covertly…some of it was nasty and some of it was joking but it was relentless. After assaulting me with endless criticisms, he then said “You have a siege mentality”. At first I said “no, I dont” then I realized he was right and said “I have a siege mentality because I am under siege” (like a soldier in foxhole war having endless bombs sent in their direction.

        Typical cheater/abuser…do something that causes a very natural reaction then criticize the reaction.

        • Mine would make nasty insults then say, “You need to learn to laugh at yourself. I thought it was funny.”

          Then he wondered why I didn’t respect him enough. Yeah, what goes around comes around.

        • Anytime I DARED to complain about anything (which was ridiculously rare) or ask for help, I suddenly had a “martyr complex” and was trying to “manipulate HIM” – what?!? The accusation of course resulted in me shutting up (or shutting down) and making my needs so small that they barely existed. He pulled out that accusation of me “playing the martyr” from year one together. Of course, it was master manipulation on his part to control me. I should have ran like hell then.

    • I was feeling exactly that KarenE but now I am not. A few months ago, I was moving toward meh and seeing how much better the mood in our household was without fuckwit there vying for centrality and blaming me and the kids for his unhappiness.

      Now, as we get closer to our divorce trial, it is as if he is here again because he is in my head 24/7. I am back to not being able to concentrate and I am moody. I snap at the kids more and question myself all the time. I should have, could have, if I would have…

      I know many here say you can’t be at meh until the divorce but I am feeling like I am like him because he always had a it will be better when fill in the blank, this job is done, this legal case ends, the boat is done… and there was always the next thing. I am thinking when the divorce is done, but it won’t be. I will always have stress and problems in my life. Today I am uptight and struggling to think what is better. Yes, he is not here, so I don’t have to try and please the miserable unappeasable jerk but I am in my head. I see his crap in the garage and the basement which I can’t get rid of until the divorce.

      He wants control and he has it because I am fearful of what will happen with the divorce even though I have a good lawyer because it will all come down to the thoughts and feelings of a judge on a particular day.

      I look forward to reading others responses and hoping I will be more optimistic.

      • Hang in there FeelingIt. High conflict divorce is as tense as it comes. My shithead ended up trying to settle within the last 36 hours before the final divorce hearing. We did settle. Would I have gotten more through the judge…maybe. But I got enough of what I wanted to give up the few things I didn’t. And it saved me days in court and thousands more in legal fees.

        My dad told me from the beginning that cheater was being difficult for the sole purpose of trying to get me to cave and give up a ton of things I was entitled to. I hung in there and he was the one scrambling to settle at the end.

        You are dealing with a classic cluster b narcissist. This is what they do. The end is in sight…just keep holding on. Even if it isn’t everything that you want, set your mind in that it will be okay. You will figure it out. And you will be free when it is over.

        • Thanks getmefree, I just found out that fuckwit’s mother has hired a second lawyer for him. I am dying to know my lawyer’s opinion on this. Thoughts are swirling in my head. My lawyer is in trial today and it really doesn’t matter as I am sure he will deal with it fine and it would cost me his hourly rate to hear his thoughts. I will know when I need to know. I do know though that he sent the new lawyer an email saying they should talk and that my legal team is contemplating a civil suit against fuckwit’s parents for it certainly appears there is a conspiracy against me. He is exactly right. I should relax because them hiring another lawyer can only mean they are concerned with the first lawyer or why on earth would you do that? I am thinking first lawyer may remove himself since this would show a lack of confidence but who knows, I need to slow my brain and gut.

          • Hiring a second lawyer means they are worried. Either about the expertise of lawyer #1 or their case. Could also mean lawyer #1 is not going along with or contradicting what they want as it will not fly in court.

            • Mommy’s boy is hiring another lawyer on her dime. How pathetic these two are Feeling it!

              My guess is his lawyer withdrew because of the level of entitlement. The Limited as you might recall wanted me to pay him for half of the hotel and my Easter dinner while visiting my son at college weeks before Dday.

              All that entitlement turns to temper tantrums with these assholes. Lawyers are pretty cut and dry; it’s called the LAW! It should work to your advantage. Judges my not want all the cheater details however they see the lack of respect a mile away.

              I love that you’re confident in you’re attorney and aware! Stay strong!

          • ((((Feelingit))))
            See below for cheater spray posts, we need to add “MIL Begone”spray.
            Well, one day, MIL will be gone, ( not soon enough), and cheater boy, fuckwit, will be all out of an apron to hide behind.
            You hang in there awesome lady!
            You have been documenting all his shitty character traits toward his own flesh and blood, his precious Children .
            You have been doing your work dligently with bright lawyer involvement. How can a judge not see how evil and self centred he is!
            You are Mighty!

            • I hope you are right peacekeeper!!! I will take 2 cases of your spray to start and sign up for automatic delivery each month (something I never do)

              You are that lovely lady I wish was here to hug in person! I had a great aunt who when we would visit when I was a child would always hand me and my sister each “a big nickel”(a quarter) it actually bought something in those days. Sometimes a frivolous toy would arrive in the mail like a big blue stuffed easter bunny and it was from her. Peacekeeper, I feel like you and she were cut from the same cloth.

              • Feelingit,
                Thank you so much for the very touching compliment.
                All you are going through and you take the time to reach out to me. I appreciate your kindness.
                I truly am amazed how you handle each concern that comes up with each of your five wonderful Children. I love what they often come up with in ideas and in words. Don’t worry about them. I believe they have their Mother’s strong character traits and things are going to go well for you and for them.
                I only have two daughters who are young adults now and it was never easy, but together we formed one strong, lasting bond.
                Again, I marvel that you accomplish this ( and you do, every single day), with five Children.
                Mighty, YOU are Mighty!

                Xxxxxxxxxx
                peacekeeper

            • Mil spray!!!! I need a gallon of that!!! I find it amazing that these mils are willing to hurt their own grandchildren if it means helping their own grown crappy kid.

          • Hiring a second lawyer definitely means they are worried. I bet he doesn’t like what current lawyer is telling him. And again, the cluster B feels entitled to what he wants. Maybe if lawyer #2 gives them the same advice, he will finally settle. Hang tight and let it play out. You are going to be fine. Even if it is slightly less. Even if you don’t bring him to his knees. Focus on you and your kids and make peace with what you can be okay with. Then anything above that is just bonus.

            And also, put ALL his stuff in a single room (or a storage unit) and lock the door. Although I don’t see why you can’t force him to take it.

            • When a lawyer learns they are the second or third lawyer on a case- all the red flags go up.
              Difficult client with unrealistic or unethical expectations. Trouble maker. Freak.

              You decline the case or charge them a mint for the anticipated misery of representing them.

              Sleep well this weekend- this is a 100% positive for you. I am a lawyer.

              • So wanted to hear from a lawyer1. Thanks. The other one that I wonder: is it likely that first lawyer will bow out. Wouldn’t adding a second lawyer be a blow to his ego? (he obviously has a big one). Doesn’t seem like someone who would work well with others.

    • KarenE – YES! I’m a better mother and my daughter is SOOOOO much happier. Her spirit is lighter. We laugh a lot.

      Laughter was something I missed. The other week I caught myself giggling to the point of crying and realized I hadn’t done that FOR YEARS. Maybe even for a decade.

  • The biggest thing for me was the cooking. He was totally unappreciative of everything I cooked. He would constantly tell me to look through the cooking magazines. He never liked anything I made and what he really wanted was a five course meal every night. I started just giving him 2 options and even then he still gave me a hard time. I hope his soulmate is making him all the delicious meals he always wanted. Me, if I never want to cook again for the rest of my life- I can do that because I no longer have a cheater in my life! Yay!!!

    • He told me he wanted meals then sabotaged my attempts at every turn so he could tease & criticize later.

      One Thanksgiving, he literally threw a gauntlet at me to keep me from cooking then after literally PREVENTING me from cooking, he took the kids to McDonalds announcing “I cant WAIT to tell everyone that I had to eat McDonalds on Thanksgiving”. Blameshifting gaslighting mindfuckery.

      My new husband does all the Thanksgiving cooking and is happy to as long as he gets to make the family recipes from his childhood…knock yourself out, hon.

  • I no longer have to listen to him play dumb songs on his guitar super loud that you can’t even think. I no longer have to worry if he is drunk somewhere getting in the car at 2am. I no longer have make excuses for his behavior to my kids, friends and family. I got freedom to live my life without excuses. I love my life! Xo sweet

    • Oh good Lord, you must be me in a different country! “The next John Denver” couldn’t play more than 10 bars of any song and screeched his way (repeatedly) through those. And ditto for the drink driving.

    • This! No more worrying about dwi’ s and crashes. No more making excuses. No more fretting over spent money. I actually have savings now and can afford vacations.

      • Yep, no more worrying about dwi’s, making excuses or wondering where the hell he is at.

        Not my circus anymore.

        • Yep, that was my story, too. No more wondering whether his next DWI was going to end up killing someone. Swap out the guitar for a tenor sax, and our stories are the same. Glad to be free from fines and legal fees to get his charges reduced. Never again!

  • Dear Chump Lady,
    I always love your cartoons.
    (And, thank you so much for allowing potty mouth here).
    I hope you are ok with me thinking that the can of Lysol in this picture would be of more benefit if it was shown pointed in a cheater’s genital area. If too graphic you could leave the cheater’s underwear on. That Lysol is powerful stuff.
    ( maybe tomorrow’s cartoon?)

    (I will go to my room and behave now)
    (So many happenings, I am struggling to be a peacekeeper).
    Thank you for bringing SUNSHINE to Chumps lives!

  • Oh, I love posts like these. I am three years out of dday and 2 and a half years post divorce. My life is better in so many ways once I lost cheater ex. I am at peace with myself, my relationship with my kids is better for I don’t have to mitigate the relationship they have with their father any longer. My budget has significantly changed for the best, I am now able to put money aside. I decide where to go on holiday, and I have had together with my kids some of the best trips and vacations since they were born, trips I wouldn’t even have imagined to go on when I was with ex due to endless excuses and complaints he had about everything. I sleep better, more confortable, my bed sheets smell good. Together with my kids we get to decide what holiday traditions we want to keep and how. I don’t get to cook, wash or do any house chores just in a certain way and at certain times approved by psycho ex, but when me and my kids want it and how we want it. The only thing that frankly scares me is that I am getting so happy and comfortable living this new life that I don’t know how will I cope when a new man will come into my life. Well, I guess I will cross that bridge when I get there. Hugs to everyone!

    • Yes!! The dbag has super white skin, but shaved his head bald and used all kinds of oils on it, and he drank jet black espressos all day. His side of the bed (not kidding) was always a dark brown and OILY, no matter how often I washed the sheets. He ruined so many towels and sheets because of those stupid head oils and sweating out black coffee! Guess what was in the boxed up household goods I sent him off with? I bet ho-worker #1 was shocked after a week of him living at her place, and now ho-worker #2/sex addict/new wife is just as disgusted! LOL! Enjoy! 😂

      Now my sheets and towels are always oil & dbag-free and always fresh!

      • That’s a true gift to be rid of his stank ass.

        Mine used to pass gas LOUD and …. like wet. Burping. Loud ripping burps at the kitchen table.

        I would say: do you not even care how I think of you? Manners?

        Response: it’s natural!!! You need to relax.

      • Yes, the dark brown oily stain on the sheets from him! And the tub – the tub would get a brown gunky layer of like dirty soap scum stuck to it. My tub is now white and clean and pretty!

  • In one of the comments above Twitching said something about expectations, and that made me realize how wonderful it is not to feel forced to live up to other people’s expectations of us.
    A few weeks ago I celebrated 10 years since I kicked Two-Legged Rat to the curb. I had a blast with the 10 new girlfriends who’ve been by my side in my new life (I had absolutely no friends for quite a while; he used charm and self-pity to drive them away from me), and it was the most touching experience to hear them say wonderful things about the strength and the courage I didn’t know I had while married to the narc for 30 years.
    At 63 and after being a SAHM for decades, I’ve created a teen suicide prevention foundation in memory of my oldest son, where my job is to lend a loving ear to kids who are thinking about suicide. I have very little money while TLR has a lot, but I’ve earned back my two adult sons’ love, respect and admiration, and I can spend the whole weekend in my pajamas if I want. TLR? I just learned from our insurance company that he’s taking something for his prostate and, when he came back from his summer vacation, he had to visit a urologist who prescribed medication for an STD.
    And I’ll never forget that a few days after I kicked him out, he called my sister pretending to be worried because “she doesn’t know how to go grocery shopping”. ROTFLMAO!!!!!

  • I feel like the kids and I can live a normal life now. Although that’s hard to define-normal. For me that means no high maintenance, needy man that is controlling. We had nicknamed him ‘the hammer’. He puts on the persona of Dr. NiceGuy, always smiling, everyone’s best bud. That’s not who he is or the person the kids and I ever knew. He was his best infront of other people, especially if he was in the idealize mode.

    The kids and I come home to a peaceful environment, if they want to have friends over there’s no drama, I actually have evenings free for me. When you work full time and do all the adulting and they do all the funning, you just don’t realize there’s never any time for you as it all revolves around them.

    It feels like I’ve been locked up and the doors have opened up. It takes a while to feel comfortable to venture out and see what’s on the other side of that chicken coop. But I’m making my way.

    For anyone trying to make the escape, it’s best to be no contact/gray rock if you have kids. Otherwise the door to that chicken coop is open, but you’re on a leash.

    • Oh yes, the kids having friends over. They do that more now and I don’t have to worry about appeasing cheater and being the bridge not only between him and our own kids, but him and other people’s kids. My oldest daughter once told me before cheater left that her friends were afraid of her dad. She just laughed and didn’t get then it but now she doesn’t even talk to cheater.

      • We have kids over to play and sleep over, something that never happened when clown shoes was around, he did not like it. Even now he is jealous that we meet school friends for bbqs on a Sunday and hang at the beach after school. In his words he has no friends, yup all on line and shady. We would get invited out on friends boat previously and he wouldn’t go as he was too tired. That was his default excuse for absolutely everything, something wasn’t done or it was fucked up it was because he was tired!, never any positivity just whining like his mother the perennial victim.
        Basically he didn’t want to hang out with normal family types as he’s a shit magnet who only found common ground with other disordered types.

  • I don’t have to live in fear of constant gas-lighting and criticism.
    I feel worthy, safe, and in control of my life.
    I have learned to trust again.
    I feel loved, fully and genuinely.

    The other improvements are only cherries on top:
    No more panic attacks, and no more suicidal thoughts brought about by being treated as unworthy of love. (That’s a big cherry, I know.)
    Enjoying my kids a helluva lot more, without interference from anyone. We are as weird and honest and playful as we want to be, no judgments from the outside. (Even bigger cherry.)
    Spending more time with friends.
    More art, more books, more music in my life. No more spiritual poverty.
    More truth and connection. I can laugh more, laugh at myself, connect with others genuinely. No more emotional poverty.
    Amazing sex.
    I can listen to opera whenever I fucking want.
    More time to do my work and so much more space in my life to be creative!
    Oh, and – no more dealing with cheater’s depressing and fucked up family. (That’s no small cherry either.)

    It’s sooooooo worth all the trouble.

    • OMG the family! I need to post this on my screensaver so I remember it more often. His mother is so narcissistic that he looks normal by comparison, and his daughter, age 11, put on 100 pounds in the two years after he and her mom split. I suggested she might benefit from counseling which he refused because “I don’t want her to feel like there is something wrong with her.”

      • What is it with these guys and the aversion to therapy? There is some kind of insecurity or denial that makes them associate therapy with having something “wrong” with you, rather than just trying to be a better person in the world, which should be a routine endeavor, like going to the gym… My cheater used to laugh at his sister, who is bi-polar, and at his mother, who is a very troubled person, for being in therapy — without realizing how much his addled, addicted self could have used therapy…

        • Narcs don’t do therapy. The other person is the one with aaalll the problems. Their sh*t doesn’t stink !

          • Good point. And if they do, it doesn’t help much, from my understanding of personality disorders.

  • That line from the Tom Hanks movie,
    “I’m the captain now.”
    I do what I want now. No more waiting for his opinion to make a decision. No more comprising. No more putting things I wanted to do or get done on the back burner. I was denying myself things that brought me joy or peace which caused unrecognized anger in myself. He deemed my activities/ pursuits as superficial or frivolous. He was allowed to spend money on anything sport related. How is that better than crafts and decorating?
    A weight was lifted. I can be me and breathe free again.

  • Ha! Just today, DD and I were being the silly morning people we are and she said, “remember how daddy used to yell at us if we made noise in the morning?” “Yep”, I said as I continued to put dishes away (a task I wasn’t “allowed” to do in the morning when the X was in the picture.) That really says it all. I will never be that person again who puts up with abuse and that fucker will never be in my kitchen. Yippeeee!

    • Cheater H was always cranky and difficult and the kids were so used to it they didnt know any different. The bad devalue started when daughter was an innocent 2nd or 3rd grader…one day she very casually made mention of “Oh look at that ladys porch, daddy would be SO MAD if you put stuff on our porch like that” then in the same car ride “look at their garage, daddy would be SO MAD if you had junk like that”.

      I spackled over his tyrannical control over our house but once, very shortly after a cross country move with a preschooler and a nursling, he left for work stating “on saturday, I will park my car in the garage, anything in my way will be taken to the dump”..well that is cooperation for you.

      Another time, I remodeled a bathroom in like 3 days and the last of the paint (on the floor) was drying and I was told if the bathroom was not ready by x hour, he would “rip out and destroy everything”…how loving and appreciative (never mind hard work and creativity just turned $300 in supplies into a $5000 jump in value to the house).

      • I have been reading he comments on my bus commute home….there seems to be a common quality among all these cheaters. They really are bullies…just common bullies. I know mine was. When all else fails just be mean to let everyone know you are having a bad day OR in order to get something even if it isn’t reasonable, just strong arm/berate your husband/wife or kids or your waiter or anyone cause it feels gooooood. They really do get kibbles from it just like a common middle school asshole. Just like someone said above, “I know longer feel pity for terrible people”, I no longer give in to bullies. X is a bully. When I exert boundaries, he has a little tantrum. Oh well. Meh.

        • Yes – total bullies. Mine used bullying to get his way. He did it at work, too. He would talk about how he cussed someone out at work like he as wall proud of it.
          He was so mad I got a good spousal support payment – so so mad – I just ran across some texts he wrote me a year or so back. Mean, nasty, threatening, bullying…. accusing me of getting a free ride…. Um excuse me – I work full time. I’ve worked full time for years and also work overtime. Like my lawyer observed – he wanted to throw me away as cheaply as possible. I stood up for myself – and yes, the tantrums of the man-child. When their bullying doesn’t work that really frustrates them since they cannot reason or negotiate.

  • Got my energy back, got my memory back, got control over my life back, I’ve got direction in my life (I know what I need/want to do and I don’t need to worry whether that’ll make the ex “happy”), got my mind and sanity back.

    What I don’t miss………..stress, depression, anxiety, sleeping in another bedroom every night (that first night back in my bed after she moved out was so awesome!), watching money fly out the door, the odd looks I’d get from her friends and COWs (before I knew about the A), and the constant energy drain of playing the marriage police 24/7.

    Basically, Mt. Everest was lifted off of my shoulders.

  • I’m making improvements to my house – buying furniture and stuff I like, and just spent a stupid amount of money on my Harley instead of always paying for HIS bike, HIS truck, HIS college courses…and of course, smilingly allowing him to spend money going off on “boys weekends” because he “is so depressed and it would be good for him”, when in fact they were an excuse to take schmoopie on a getaway.

  • I spend my money how I want to.
    I can order what I want when I eat out instead of ordering cheap because he always had to have the most expensive thing plus several glasses of expensive wine.
    I don’t have to work as the marriage police.
    I don’t have to worry about anyone stealing my life savings ( what I’m starting to save after he took them)
    I don’t have all the useless crap that he was constantly buying
    I sleep instead of lying awake listening to his train-level snoring
    My friends see me instead of him having to make sure all eyes are always on him
    My daughter and I are like girlfriends, hanging out and laughing instead of him
    demanding all of the attention
    I don’t have to smell the smoke on him or pay for his heavy drinking and smoking habits ( since he decided he was too special to have to earn a living at the end)
    I live where I choose to live and it is within my means instead of madly trying to cover three properties since he wanted to live like multi millionaires( definitely working class here)

  • Having the energy to reestablish with friends and family. So much of my energy was tied to filling asshat’s vacuous black hole of need that there was nothing left to give to those already giving to me.

    I’m still getting away from the parasite. He already has his new host/s (fuckbuddy) in place.

    • This was me dragging my worn out ass around for years. My Dad even said I had changed. I used to be adventurous and bold and became as he put it ‘wrung out’. I’m getting back to myself and my lightness and quiet confidence is returning.
      Must add I like getting around the house in the morning looking like Carmeron Diaz in The eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

  • There are so many things that I need to compile a draft first. I’ll get back to you on this one!

  • I spend a lot more time with my sisters and my mom. Ex-Dbag wasn’t too keen with lots of extended family time, so I would feel guilty dragging him along all the time. Now I don’t have to worry about that.

    Even though I lost my forever home, I was able to move my son into the school district I’ve always wanted him to go to. Now instead of living in the country with only ourselves to entertain us, he’s made dozens of friends at school and has at least 6 little buddies that live in our complex who he can just run up the stairs to or across the courtyard to ask to play. There is nothing more joyful to me than hearing him discussing Pokemon or Spiderman with a bunch of other 7-9 year olds. They take it so seriously and their innocence and pure happiness at playing pretend makes me happy.

    I am able to use my weekends however I like, I can go out to eat, I can go to happy hour, or to a movie. I spent a lot of time at home before, and now when I don’t have my son I can go out without planning everything to the final detail, like I used to have to do.

    I can buy myself things. He never told me I couldn’t, but I felt like I couldn’t. I’m not very financially secure, but if I go to Target to pick up milk, and I see a cute Harry Potter shirt I like – I can buy it! (Which is exactly what I did this week! $12!)

    I am trying to find the happiness and silver lining to this entire shit escapade. Thanks for helping me to sit down and point those out.

    • 12years….your post made me smile. I’m so happy for you. The things you are enjoying now are simply a “right” of life. They are things you and your son have a right to in this life. They are not privileges. So I hope you spend all the time in the world with your family and your little boy has a fantastic childhood with friends galore… because that’s how life should be!

  • I feel peaceful, joyful, happy, and light. It is hard to explain, but since my ex has been gone, my home is lighter…..the atmosphere is lighter. It is not as “heavy” and the house seems to be filled with more light. When he was here it always seemed dark in the house, even with the lights on. The last year of our marriage i would spend so much time outside to escape the oppressive atmosphere inside the house that I managed to build an impressive patio and garden in my backyard. Now that he is out of my house, I am repainting and repairing the inside. I cannot adequately explain how different it feels here. With him gone, it feels like a different house, inside and out. I look forward to years of peace in my “new” home that is mine….full of peace and light.

    • I totally agree NMCS! I said much the same in my post below. Having all that bad energy out of our lives is amazing.

  • I feel like I got my power back. I feel like I’m the me I was before I met him when I was in my early 20’s. The result of this is being a stronger woman so I can be a better role model for my daughter. I can see how she stands up for herself and I know it is because I survived 2017 with my head intact. When I was with him- towards the end I completely shut down. My idea of getting into a fight with him was to shut down and walk away… something in me just made me do that. Today I’m standing up for myself, my mom and my daughter and anyone else who may need me. Enough is enough.

  • No more stress headaches from the barrage of offhanded, snarky remarks intended to denigrate me. I think if anyone says, “Can’t you take a joke?” to me ever again, I’ll sock them! 🙂

    Or, it could be I’m headache-free because I’m not constantly rolling my eyes at his narrow-minded points of view and the way he always found something wrong – with EVERYONE.

    There is a positivity to our home now. Indeed, the walls sing!

  • Wow – so many great stories!

    In addition to the list I wrote originally there are other positives. Certainly the stress of wondering where she was and what she is doing is gone and the walking on eggshells because of her temper.

    But one thing that I think is big is that I’m no longer “waiting”. I used to always be waiting for her to come home, waiting for her to get ready to go somewhere, waiting for her to decide to cook dinner, etc. Before you jump on me for that last one, we had the Western traditional split of roles and I learned that if I asked what was for dinner / when it was that I would get snapped at so just sat quietly and waited. If I dared suggest that I make dinner she would get extremely offended. One the few times that I did make dinner she would usually find something inadequate about it.

    My time is now my own. I have less of it because I now do everything, much of which wasn’t being done before. My house is clean(er), there’s not piles of “stuff” all over the house, the flower beds are lovely and not a weedy mess and I think I’ve even got my son to hang up the hand-towels neatly 😉

    Thanks Tracy for posting my letter and thanks everyone for sharing the “songs of freedom”.

    BT

    • @BowTie – YES!!!! The WAITING, endless bloody waiting…. it’s a form of control and very “you’re not the boss of me.”

      Of course 23 months on I’m still ‘waiting’ for him re agreements on relationship property (he has just failed to file a response to the court in the specified time), which frankly could have been sorted by two grown-ups in a couple of hours.

    • I was always waiting on my ex too. Waiting for him to come home. Waiting for him to come to bed. Waiting for him to be ready to go (he took longer than me to get dressed up to go out). Waiting for him to show up if meeting somewhere. Waiting with my kids in the sweltering hot car for him to get in so we could head out on road trips (he always insisted that we be in the car before doing the last sweep of the house and it always took forever). I guess he made us wait so that he would never have to be the one waiting. Eventually I had to initiate the divorce when I got tired of waiting for him to do it.

      • Wow the waiting was huge! H STBX always joked that he had a casual relationship with time. It’s just one more abusive behavior that was spackled over. The waiting caused so much stress in the kids and myself. No more waiting and I’m on time.

        Ok still waiting for him to do something about the divorce. I don’t feel like doing anything. Right now I’m working on myself and when I feel stronger I will.

      • OMG the waiting game!!! Then they twist it and say that you always make them wait but its not true! It takes me an hour to get ready to go out. But in the last 10 minutes THEN he starts getting ready so now I’m technically waiting on him. When we get to the destination he says its because of me why we are late. SMH thankfully I don’t have to deal with that anymore and wait on other things like: dinner being ready, car getting fixed, trip plans being solidified, etc.

  • This is such a great thread. I’ve been thinking about this one a lot recently. My divorce was final 6 months ago. Its 2 years since I left the family home and soon it will be 3 years since DDay.

    I’m glad that I’m no longer around someone who was utterly self-centred and lazy and who expected everything to be about her.

    On the days my kids are not with me I can please myself and its amazing. If I have to work late I can do so without worrying about being moaned at for being late.

    I no longer feel constantly stressed

    I no longer feel angry all the time

    I no longer have to put up with someone who could never be pleased with me, who took and took and took and was never grateful for all the hard work I put in for our family

    Its great to spend weekends without being given a “jobs list” which despite the fact she didn’t work she never seemed to have time to do.

    I don’t miss being constantly belittled, made to feel unattractive and stupid

    I don’t miss being undermined when trying to parent. I don’t miss having every single thing I do criticised.

    I love being able to slob around just chilling when I feel like it.

    I love being able to have a lie in at the weekend (after a week of 5 am starts) beyond 7.30am without being asked “are you still in bed?”

    I don’t miss being moaned at the second I wake up for “snoring”. My new partner isn’t bothered.

    I haven’t missed the horrible witch once since we split up. I’m glad I no longer have to deal with her. My kids are nearly grown up so there’s no need to co-parent.

    Fitter, more time at gym, more time for myself. Not having to carry the weight of her perfectly toned but utterly useless arse through life.

    Just glad she’s gone.

    • I can relate to so much of what you said here.

      One thing that gets me is the double standards which probably emanate from his being empathically challenged. He used to work long hours (I think he really was working back then). I complained too because I loved him and missed him and wanted him to come home. He said he had to work those hours to get ahead at work and provide for the family. I stopped complaining because I told myself that I should appreciate all of the hard work he did to provide a high standard of living for his family. Then when he finally quit that job (because they didn’t appreciate him), I started working long hours trying to get ahead and advance my career and make more money (because ex complained that I didn’t make enough). Then all of a sudden I wasn’t supposed to work late and I was neglecting him and the family by working so many hours and not doing enough to help out around the house (I still did dishes, made kid lunches and read to the kids before bed and he hired a maid to clean). This of course was one of his excuses for feeling unloved which justified chasing and then falling in love with strange. Grr.

  • – I sleep better (no TV blaring at full blast all night long, and no “ding-ding” all night from him texting who-knows-who)
    – No more vaginal infections (they were constant when I was with my ex…now I realize why)
    – Now I feel safe in my house!

    • “– Now I feel safe in my house!”

      I realized that my abusivecheater made me feel very unsafe…from the rage to the comments that he could snap my neck if he wanted to (sometimes said while holding my head), to the realization that the worst I have ever been treated by another human came from him…not ever from some random criminal on the street.

      In some ways it makes me feel bullet proof…I have never been the victim of a violent crime (and I hope I never am) but even if I were, I dont LOVE the criminal, I dont depend on them and seek reassurance from them…no one will ever hurt me as much as 1st husband did.

    • Oh, the vaginal infections. I remember when clotrimazole was part of my weekly grocery shopping, for three decades. Never had one again, and it’s been ten cheater-free years.

  • Just having a job and knowing that I was preparing to leave gave my daughters hope and strength. My youngest has actually started calling the STBX out on his manipulations and standing her ground. He’s had to back off! I’m so proud that both of my girls are unlearning bad habits and learning how to avoid and deal with bad people.

  • I no longer have that feeling of dread coming home from work. The one where you take a deep deep breathe, mentally preparing yourself for the tightrope walk above eggshells you’ll have to do the minute you walk in the door.

  • I live in a more peaceful and clean environment. I did all the cooking and most of the cleaning. I saw inside her current place of residence when I picked up the kiddo for school the other day. Cheater wife is living in a disordered wreck. Probably matches the inside of her brain. Not my circus anymore.

  • Peace and total control of my own life. I can do, be, go, spend, save, dream WTF I want!!! And then I can get up tomorrow and do it again! Amazing! Even a happy marriage doesn’t look very appealing to me anymore. I had been seriously dating or married to a man since age 15 … I had no idea what I was missing!! AUTONOMY!!!!

    • Dixie Cruise- thank you. You found the perfect words to describe something I’ve been feeling and thinking of but couldn’t quite place it. “Even a happy marriage doesn’t seem appealing anymore”…this is how I feel now. I’m happy being me and being alone with my autonomy also. Thanks..

    • I get that. I am happy to date, maybe even overnights would be nice, but I have no desire to actually live with a man (or any other adult) right now. Who knows if that will ever change, but I don’t care.

  • Freedom to be who I really am; listening loud music while dancing like nobody is watching me, doing whatever I want..no more editing what I had to say, no more looks of disappointment for whatever clothes I wear; no more tension for not being able to please him..just ❤ me again..

  • No longer having to worry about who (or what… ‘cuz he trolled T4M ads) he was f*cking during his lunch hour or while I was taking our son to a birthday party or by leaving work early so I wouldn’t notice any change to our schedule.

    No more being the marriage police with his computer and phone. (And, he is still on lockdown with the the new GF… shocking, right?… THEY. DO. NOT. CHANGE.)

    Sleep, blessed sleep. I developed a sleep disorder within months of dating him (the gut knows!)… and it stayed through our marriage. Yet within a month of him moving out, I began sleeping through the night and waking up feeling rested.

    I parent my way. (And, I’m raising a kid who is kind, intelligent, and happy.)

    I know my financial future is safe. No one is hiding money from me and I’m not shelling out thousands for kids that aren’t mine and opening up credit cards to buy things I don’t need.

    I have CL and CN.

  • No more having to plan every single detail of his days off for him. No more having him leave a trail every time he used the kitchen….microwave door left open, kitchen cabinets left open, the first time he opened the milk, juice, yogurt etc leaving the caps on the counter. No more leaving containers in the sink with the dirty dishes. This is what people mean when they say “You don’t know someone until you live with them” it’s the littlest things on life that eventually blows up….sigh

  • The compliments. Christ almighty that woman needed to be complimented.

    “You look nice today. Those shoes really go well with that blouse. I love how your new makeup looks with that color. Your hirdresser really did a great job this month.

    “Thanks for letting me proofread that it was fantastic. You’re such a good writer. I know that your colleague will be impressed. Nobody works harder than you.

    “You are so kind. What a good daughter you are. Your sister is lucky to have you.

    And the “thank you’s” Thanks for taking the dog out this time. I appreciate you folding that load of laundry. I’ll do the dishes since you cooked.

    Wow. Typing all that I realize I was always bolstering her fragile ego. I always meant it and at the beginning she seemed to really appreciate it. But then she began to comment if I didn’t tell her her but looked good in those heels. Or if I just sat on the couch while she took her turn with the dog. God forbid she ever once in her life take the garbage out.

    I am a good man who notices reciprocal adulting, and makes every effort to express my gratitude to the people on my life. She didn’t deserve me. I deserve better. Fucking bitch.

    Love y’all.

    • *butt (a constant commentary on how good her butt looked in the outfit du jour – like a dude does)

      • Doubtless…did she have Borderline Personality Disorder? They have an insatiable need for compliments…a bottomless black hole of a need. My mom has this and as a kid, I remember coming home from school and being in trouble/punished for not giving her compliments. Fucking nightmare.

        • I notice BPD is often diagnosed in women, but my male cheater has exactly the same characteristics — especially the insatiable need for worship. Reading this was an “aha” for me, uniconomore — my kids were always punished with X’s petulant behavior for coming home from school and not supplying the incessant compliments he felt he deserved. They never understood what they did to provoke him — you really nailed it! What is BPD called in men, anyway (terminal prima donna-hood)?
          Anyway, so nice to not have to put up with that any more!

          • It is also called BPD in men but does seem to be dx more in women…I wonder if women actually have it more or if people simply recognize pathologic behavior more in women. It was really hard to have a parent who never complimented me yet expected and demanded complements from me. When you are a kid, school is exhausting..8 hours of controlled behavior and work…you get home hungry and tired – only to find a parent punishing you for not telling them they are great. hard stuff. Glad I could help.

            • Cheating is also a symptom of BPD…they have intense, volatile relationships and drive people away while simultaneously being terrified of abandonment.

        • Thanks for the response, UNM.

          She was diagnosed bipolar while we were together. But she had her Psychiatrist wrapped around her finger too. During our six weeks wreckonciliation she told me she’d been avoiding her shrink. I only found out about BPD after I arrived here. Narcissistic Personality Disorder seems to better describe her. But it really only manifested after her mom died a horrible Multiple Sclerosis death. I was there with them when her mother went and she changed the year after that so drastically. When she first left for Matchstick she made a point of thanking me for being so supportive when her mom died.

          So, yes. BPD/NPD she was a bottomless pit for attention. But she was so incredibly intelligent and can be exceedingly charming so she kept my brain engaged like nobody else I’ve encountered before or since. Until she snapped – then it was physical abuse and death threats. Evil. Two years from D-Day and still healing up.

          • I now see that my nowdeadcheater was a covert narcissist…but he was also intelligent and could be witty and charming. He also had a face that looked EXTROIDINARILY kind to me, so I expected kindness from him even when I got abuse from him.

            He had a sharp wit that was amazingly clever, but he used it to manipulate and abuse me. My new husband and I do NOT have the same sense of humor at all…I once thought about that being a loss for me, but when I think of how nowdeadcheater used his humor to hurt me, I realize that Im not experiencing much of a loss after all.

    • Sounds like one day you got to the last fudge striped bitch cookie in the package and just didn’t have the energy to haul your butt to Walmart for another pack!!! I’m proud of you!!

      • Dixie: Thank you. It’s been a long two years, and Chump Nation has been instrumental in my recovery.

    • Doubtless – me too. Constantly having to bolster his ego. Tell him he was a great husband. Reassure him that I still thought he was successful even though he worked less and less over the years and, in the end, I paid all of the bills while he played. I was really a chump!

      He always needed me to be understanding (and say it’s OK) when he didn’t follow through with what he said he would do – because I didn’t want him to feel bad about himself.

      I have one last thing to finish with him – the taxes. I was proud of myself for NOT reassuring him that it was ‘OK’ that he threw away all of his business receipts from last year (which screws up the taxes for us). I just told him calmly that he would have to pay the additional taxes. End of story.

      My life is so much better without having to worry about his ‘fragile ego’.

  • Most importantly- this should have been first on my list- no more having jars of peanut butter while living in a house with a child who has a PEANUT allergy. Both daughter and I had to be constantly vigilant of him contaminating knives and plates when he “insisted” that he had to keep eating his peanut butter despite a highly allergic child within feet away- his child.

    • That is not just annoying … that is totally shitty parenting. I am so happy for you that he is no longer in residence. Ugh.

    • During our brief wreckonciliation in which he acted smug and took the piss he had peanut butter in the house! Kissing me would have landed me in hospital. What an asshole. Yours is a fucker for risking the kids health like that, unforgiveable, frankly he is dangerous in his recklessness.
      Glad you are shut of him.

    • The f*cker couldn’t have simply switched to cashew butter or simply gone without peanut butter altogether ? Really ?! How crucial is peanut butter when one has a child with a peanut allergy which can be life threatening ?

  • The dog lets me sleep in. Now that he has been out of the house for 3 months the dog no longer wants out at 4:30-5am. She is content until I wake up at 7:30. I can enjoy no alarm set in retirement.
    The house is cleaner. I can cook/eat whatever I want for meals. I’m not being lied to each day. No contact is better.
    I journal the connections I’ve made, the people I’ve talked to, and the blessings that I’m thankful for each day. I do something for self-care each day. I visit CL and am encouraged by CN each day.
    My wounded soul is slowly healing from the edges in. I am gaining a life!

  • Four years out from the divorce and I feel fabulous! No more self hatred for putting up with a man who cheats on me. I own my own home! I answer to no one. I don’t have to put up with watching him relax while I do all of the work. I no longer have to do his laundry and cook for him while he’s playing house with OW. I no longer have to dodge his octopus hands all over me in the car, in the mall, in the garage, etc. because he thinks that’s what I was there for. I no longer have to rub his arms and back at his request (and if I didn’t I would have to listen to an hour long lecture about how I don’t love him). UGHH! God I don’t miss that!!! AT ALL! I am super happy to have finally started living life for ME!

  • Like many, my relationship with my Sons has improved. I did not realize how afraid I was let them just be kids. Always saying “don’t make your father mad” “don’t be too loud, he will yell” “your friends have to go home when Dad gets home, he does not like other kids in the house”… I was always dreading “THE BAD MOOD” kept him calm, catered to his needs so he would not rage.

    No more, we are calm and comfortable and teenagers come and go all day long!!!!

  • Divorced since December 2016.

    I sleep better.
    I smile more.
    I’m told I’m beautiful, inside & out & that XH is a complete idiot.
    I have more money left after paying bills because I don’t have a drunk buying a daily 12 pack so he
    can get blitzed every night.
    I splurge on beauty supplies/cosmetics for my daughter & I. I actually spend the money for both of us
    to get our nails done & our hair done. A luxury we never had & we now do these things together.
    My laundry is always caught up.
    My home isn’t cluttered with his shit. My daughter & I keep things clean & tidy.
    My marriage police job has terminated. With that, my anxiety is gone.
    I’ve seen my best friend of 25 years more in this last year than in the 21 years that I was married. We
    actually get to go do things together. Forgot how much I missed her.
    I don’t have to deal with my ex pathological lying mother-in-law anymore. She’s worse than XH.
    I can read in peace.
    I have traveled out of the country twice since the divorce.
    I bought a new vehicle on my own after passing down the one I was driving to my daughter.
    I have an awesome relationship with both of my kids. I always have, it just seems like our bonds are
    closer after everything we’ve been through.
    I had been pursuing a very good job with an awesome company prior to DDay #3. DDay #3 changed
    my course, so I put dream job on the back burner. A couple of months ago, I started the application
    process for dream job all over again. I have an interview set with them this coming Tuesday. I hope
    & pray all goes well because it’s back in my hometown and I had planned on moving back there once
    my daughter graduates next year. If you pray, please say one for me that this works out.

    My life is peaceful and harmonious. I wouldn’t take that sorry SOB back if he were the last man on earth standing. He devalued me for 21 years. I figured out my worth & these days it’s a helluva lot more than he can ever afford again.

    • Your post made me smile on your behalf Brandib. Fingers crossed for your dream job. So many positives you identified spoke to me. Peaceful and harmonious has alway been my goal for home life and it’s the new normal at my cheater free home with the cats and kids.

    • No more spending my Sundays in the kitchen or every weeknight cooking and baking what he wanted after his work day and his marathons (I’ve always worked a full-time job as well). No more pre-approved ingredients (No condiments, no sour cream, no nuts, no mushrooms etc). My hobby was doing stuff for HIM. I exercise now and I love it. I’ve run a half marathon. Oh, the kibbles!

      I no longer have to squeeze his puss-filled back zits. His whore can do that now for him (I’m sure she has her own he can do, so at least maybe they’ll have so reciprocity!)

      And BTW, I’m grateful that my piece of shit X MIL is out of my life! Oh sweet Jesus, that is a huge relieve to lose that narc-bitch.

      • Mine had butt zits. He never asked me to squeeze them though. That would have required acknowledging them and that would make him imperfect. Can’t have that.

      • Nothing says love more than squeezing puss filled black zits. He’s an idiot for cheating on you…. may karma reign down on him.

    • Brandib, this is fantastical..
      I do pray and you and family are in them..
      Please let us know how the interview went..

  • No more lies. Living with a pathological liar and serial cheater/adulterer lifted a blanket of brain fog that I didn’t even realize I was living with for around 24 years. No more cognitive dissonance.

    No more feeling less than.

    No more feeling unworthy of someone’s love, affection, and time.

    No more feeling fat and ugly every day even though my weight was always between 120 and 130 our entire marriage. Yeah, my toxic ex-husband said to me when I went from 130 to 120, “Now that you dropped a couple of pounds, I’ll have sex with you.” He said this to me way back in 2004 and it was just another way he devalued and controlled me.

    No more wondering what I lacked as a woman that I always felt in competition with his female “friends” and his job that was way more important than me and our wonderful kids/family life.

    No more feeling like I’m stupid. The cheater had a covert way of making me feel stupid by saying, “That’s common knowledge.” when I would tell him something new that I learned. Or he’d say, “I knew that a long time ago.” or “I already knew that.” when I would tell him something interesting that I wanted to share. After a lifetime of feeling stupid — I’m in nursing school and my average is 95%!

    After 20+ years of orbiting the selfish, lying, cheating, disorderd narc — my time is my own now and I do what I want, when I want to and how I want to. No one will ever tell me again that I’m doing something simple like laundry “wrong”! I’m done trying to be “perfect” to win the approval and love of another human being. My life is better now, because I’m no longer an extreme codependent. I’m still a giving person and I will always be that way, but I’ve learned that I was giving way too much to a lot of really toxic takers and they are no longer in my life. My life is better, because I’m learning to trust my gut again and trust myself to keep me safe from dangerous people! I’m not sure if everyone who’s been cheated and lied to feels this way, but for me its’ like a veil has been lifted and I no longer see people and the world the same way. And I’m not cynical or think everything is bad. I just now have a different vision and see things I didn’t see before. I don’t even bother explaining it to anyone anymore, because they don’t get it and they will never get it unless they were in a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath/psychopath. Life is 100% better with this crazymaker out of my life!

    • Oh COMPLETELY!!!

      Did you read my mind this morning (in Sydney)?? Was having same thoughts. A little sad I am no longer so trusting … but glad I am no longer naive.

      After finding CL and lots of NPD stuff, and researching the hell out of this strange new world (22 years married, cheating for last half, prostitutes plus gay saunas, Dday was 11 months ago, I had no clue.) … I’m finally back on my feet.

      Knowledge is power and geez can someone do a PhD with all of this incredible qualitative CN data? Can we blow that word-salad-serving Esther Perel and her faux fucking “understanding of the paradoxical tension between the erotic and the domestic” ” out of the water? Make her the laughing stock that she and all the ridiculous narc infantile cheaters deserve to be.

      Sorry went off-piste. Martha I ditto and hurrah everything you wrote. For so so long I had “What’s WRONG with you??” (Often in front of the kids). And now I know: just the average wrongness. Nothing major. Actually, pretty great. Leas wrong than you. WAY less wrong!

      This is my first post. C. S. Lewis quote: We read to know we’re not alone.

      • MamaMeh,

        Welcome to the group no one wants to be a part of – we are glad you are with us. CL and CN have been a lifesaver for me as well. I know I would not be functioning as well if it wasn’t for this group. I am grateful everyday for Tracy and this tribe!

        A good friend with a narcissistic mother just told me last night that when you are around disordered people, after a while you think you are the crazy one. She is so right – we are not crazy, they are. There are countless stories from chumps that describe families that are joyful and fulfilling, except for the cheater that injects drama and criticism every chance they get. Their disordered minds cannot be fulfilled, and they will sacrifice anyone to get what they think they need. That is sad and so destructive.

        It is good to know we are not alone 🙂

      • You are not alone, MamaMeh. You are now a permanent resident of Chump Nation – a worldwide community of survivors! Welcome.

      • Wildcat and doubtless, thank you. I am SO glad to be here! Yet another corner of the world where the mighty CN and the wonderful CL have saved some poor chump’s sanity.

  • People who haven’t seen me for a while remark on how good I look when they do see me. Even ex remarked the other day that he thinks I am getting younger.

    I can sprawl across the bed as much as I want without worrying about crowding the master (and then having him complain that I was trying to avoid him when I was trying to be courteous by making more room for him).

    I can listen to whatever music I want when I wake up in the morning

    I don’t have to care if there are smudges on the wall, muddy boots by the back door or the kids are being kids (loud and messy). I do still care if the kids are spending too much time on screens.

    I can watch movies or read with the kids without ex either feeling neglected or complaining about the content of what I was watching or reading with the kids.

    I joined an outdoor meetup group to keep me occupied when ex has the kids. As a result I have been on many interesting hikes. I have tried snow shoeing and I have discovered many really neat natural wonders in the area that I never would have discovered on my own (or with ex). I have also met interesting people who get out and enjoy life instead of sitting around complaining about how much it sucks to get old.

    I have been dating a new guy for a couple of months now. He is very sweet and says things to me like “you are a natural beauty” and “you are an amazing woman” instead of “Wow your hair is poufy, you look like you have an afro”, “You look like man dressed like that” and “why don’t you make more money, you should have gotten farther in your career by now”.

    Unfortunately, all of that doesn’t make the pain go away. I still have down days every now and again but they are less and less frequent. Things are looking up.

  • When my husband discarded me, I officially lost a frighteningly crima-mother need individual.

    When my boyfriend discarded me, I lost an unappreciative, cowardly liar. Now I don’t waste time driving to an ingrate’s house to cook for him, do the pick me dance, get used, only to discover that he’s too embarrassed to even be seen in photos with me after knowing me for years.

    No guy around to break my possessions ( why my husband would do that I don’t know) or break my heart. Nobody telling me who I should keep or discard as friends as he abandons me.

    I also lost some snorers, so my sleep is enhanced in a way.

    As ai no longer have a partner, I am leaning to do some things I might not have. Realizing that I can do some things more easily than I previously thought I could is empowering.

    • YES!!!! No more having to HIDE valuable belongings!!

      THAT ALONE is worth the divorce: no asshole to break, lose, or otherwise ruin my own and everyone elses’ possessions! What is it with narcs — they never even take care of their own stuff, and feel perfectly entitled to ruin yours. Mine would routinely beat up everything he touched, especially if it belonged to someone else: the hotel room, the rental car, etc. I rapidly learned that if an item was important, I had to hide it from him. He did that from day one of living together — now I will recognize this trait as a giant red flag for narcissism.

      • Last month, I asked my ‘bull in a china shop,’ late rent-paying roommate to leave. He did–after damaging more of my shared apartment, an antique dresser of my dad’s, and other items. I’m finally getting rid of ‘homewreckers.’ Now, to find a reliable, reasonably clean roommate…

  • There is an underlying tension and stress to living with the disordered that you don’t realize is there until it’s gone. It’s a negative psychic energy that affects you emotionally, physically and spiritually. This all sounds a little woo-woo but I really believe that it’s true. All of the secrets, the hidden life, the lying, cheating, stealing, it seems to create a invisible atmosphere that pollutes everything. It’s amazing to me looking back that I didn’t notice it at the time. It wasn’t until it was gone that I realized it had been there. Literally everything about my life is better with that negative energy gone. I am healthier physically, emotionally and financially. I adore being independent and making my own decisions. I have a far better and healthier relationship with my adult children now that I’m not trying to mediate the relationship between them and their father. My life isn’t perfect because life is never perfect but my life is peaceful and chaos free and that makes me incredibly happy.

    • Beth, absolutely. There definitely is an underlying tension and sense of chaos living with the disordered… and I didn’t know it until I left. You’re so right! Definitely not woo-woo and for me, it’s true! A polluted atmosphere, and now that I’m out, it’s gone. It’s so freeing. My almost-one-year-old is also much happier out of the stress (I left when she was 4 months old). And you know what? It’s AMAZING to me as well that I didn’t notice at the time. It’s INSANE! Like you, I’m also healthier mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. I also adore being independent and making my own decisions (because let’s face it, everything we did was up to the disordered. Our needs=small their needs=override). I’m so glad you got out, and I’m so glad that you have a better and healthier relationship with your children—after all, that’s what life is all about. Cheers to you, and cheers to us, for getting out and finding peace <3

    • This is so true. My Ex was a permanent victim who complained constantly. In between doing that he supplemented the self-pity (the misunderstood genius who no one would acknowledge, poor sausage!) with rage-athons to project all of his shame onto me; and when around friends or family or strangers, he poured on the charm. Picture the asshole who walks into a party and starts laughing really loud right away. I used to cringe. Now I finally understand the three channels of a narc.

      Reading all these posts very late in the day, I realize how incredibly similar these cheaters all are. Various flavors of disordered assholes.

    • we all emit energy or vibes if you like. I believe the woowoo. We don’t pick up on it at the time as they have us dizzy being spun in circles with their chaos.
      Loving the simple life and positive vibes.

  • I have a lot more friends, and lead a far better social life.

    Why is that, that such a terrible person has got all these friends now she is on her own?

    My anxiety has gone. I still get sad, but that tends to pass in a day or two, whereas before I was truly suffering with anxiety and depression.

    I would like my business to get better, sure, but on the whole life is better.

  • What a terrific read on a Friday morning…YES to everything above!

    How nice to be reminded of all I have gained, As I loll about in bed with socks on my feet and a dog on the bed close enough to reach for a little adorable contact from time to time.

    I’m here in MY house, on my terms, without the additional full-time jobs of being his jester, his maid, his therapist, his mommy, his wife, his planner, his worshipper, his sole financial support…

    I can sleep without moving to another bedroom because of the snoring, I do as I wish, I’m retired and know he’ll be working forever because he’s a financial nitwit, and the peace of not trying to constantly guess what infractions I was committing at any given moment…

    Best of all, a vastly improved relationship with both my son and myself because the unhappy high-maintenance manchild is gone.

    • I had to laugh when I read your comment about lolling in bed with socks on your feet. My ex HATED it when I wore socks to bed so now that I am free, I wear socks to bed with a smile. It’s the little things that make it all worthwhile.

  • Great Friday challenge! For our newcomers, welcome here! We are your people—we know. I was searching for timelines at first so I will give you mine: Married college sweetheart in whirlwind wedding in 1992. 4 kids. Off again on again extreme moodiness and anger (DV—yelling, driving erratically, throwing things) everytime the economy tanked. Following what I thought was a very close, loving, calm 3 year period DDay 12/27/14. 18 weeks of traumatic bonding and pick me dancing while he was “confused”, suffering with “love addiction—to latest golddigger, GTFO day was 5/20/15. Found out in 10/15 there had been at least two and probably many more APs going back to ‘99 – risky behavior like fucking old psycho hairy big assed, and not in a good way, client AP (fall of ‘14) at his office during office hours and giving her the same love poems he gave me at the same time! Filed for D 1/16. D final after week-long trial 3/17. I won full custody and 70% of everything. Since I found CL in April 2015, which led to GTFO day, I battled evil and horror of 2 middle teens getting arrested 3x for separate offenses, my dd2 tried to commit suicide 2x and then OD’d and was in hospital for 10 weeks in another state where I had to drive 10 hours each weekend to see her, ds dropped out of college and DV’d his GF and became suicidal, DD3 developed severe panic attacks that left her feeling suffocated so all three were in a lot of counseling (X blamed kids for discovering his affair and got telling me and for his misery, said he hated every minute of their lives, then after GTFO day he disappeared and we didn’t know where he was for months). I sold my dream home as part of pick me dancing 2 months after DDay moved into a very small old place, handled the biggest project of my career, got a new job, took a bar exam in another state and got a promotion and started doing a new area of law. Went no contact with X and two abusive narc family members. Whew! Makes me exhausted just giving my qualifications!
    Today, 1 year after Divorce here is how my life changed for the better in 3 years:

    I’m on my own supporting myself and making it each month and I have a retirement and I have skills and an occupation that can keep me occupied for the next 15 years until I retire.

    My children are so much more stable. There’s absolutely no drama in my home and I have regular family meals and three oldest are happy to come visit and we laugh and enjoy each other I hear from the three oldest by text or phone calls almost every day.

    My youngest, who just became a teenager and I have a lovely quiet home life and there’s never any yelling or any crying or screaming or any doors slamming or any throwing anything or driving crazy to scare us. There’s peace.

    There’s no more terror and heartbreak over seeing X use his locked-down cell phone secretly sexing and making calls to his affair partners.

    No more “job/obsession” playing marriage police!

    There’s no more heartbreak that comes when the person who lays next to you every night is a monster and is lying to you 24/7.

    There’s no more man in the home going from charm then flipping to rage in a nanosecond.

    There’s no more being blamed for anything.

    The weight: I’m 25 lbs thinner and I look 15 years younger than I did before Dday. It’s disgustingly true but I always suspected it and that is that people who have a “culturally-ideal body size” get treated very differently, especially by men.

    I have a lovely boyfriend who acts like and says he wants to be with me. No confusion at all! He acts like a grown up!

  • I get to decide things! He wanted all the control but none of the responsibility. For 30 years, he dictated all our family choices. Then I put in all the work to make it happen. He congratulated himself for the successes and blamed me when things went wrong. After he left, I was paralyzed with fear. It took a while to feel confident that I could run our family without him. Three years out and guess what, I can! Kids and I are doing great. Nobody misses him,which is about the saddest epitaph I can think of.

  • Yes, the eggshells–I get to empty the dishwasher now without being yelled at for banging them too loud. (He accused me of banging loudly to make him mad.)

    I also have the whole closet to myself–and the whole bed! (He never slept in the bed for 10 years, but if I ever didn’t stay all the way on my edge, he said he couldn’t sleep with me because I took up the whole bed.)

  • I learned I could survive without the cheater. At first, I thought I would die without him. How untrue that was.
    I realized I’m way stronger than I had given myself credit for.
    I started a new career, which is going well six years later. Not making me rich by any means, but in terms of a feeling of accomplishment, it has certainly paid me a fortune.
    Moved into my own apartment with son, lived there for nearly five years and loved it.
    Met Nice Guy. Dated Nice Guy. Moved in with Nice Guy.
    Married Nice Guy a little over a year ago.
    Discovered the joys of train travel — I’m absolutely terrified of flying — and now go on actual vacations with Nice Guy. As long as you don’t need to arrive at your destination on time, and like having plenty of downtime to relax, watch scenery go by, and just generally chill, I highly recommend Amtrak.
    Doing all sorts of fun/new/interesting things with Nice Guy. With cheater, despite his constant whining about how boring I was and we needed to do more stuff on the weekends, we rarely did anything — mostly because he was always busy with his own pursuits.
    Life is not easy now, but it is so much better. I wish I had not wasted two decades of my life with a crazy cheater, but at least I finally got the courage to get away. I felt so small with the cheater. With Nice Guy, I feel like a real person.

  • I can sit for HOURS rocking my new puppy on my lap as she naps.
    I can allow my puppy to sleep in my bed next to me.
    I can let the housework go until I am in the mood to do it.
    I can stay as late as I want to at my business w/o worrying about rushing home to make his din din (I eat Life cereal on those days).
    I can sit and watch the snow fall for as long as I want…or watch the squirrels scamper around in trees.
    I can chat on the phone to my friends/family for as long as I want.
    I can travel out of State and not worry about what he might be doing.
    I spend money how I want to…and save it too…no one to dictate that or find ways to blow my plans.
    I can plan and execute those plans w/o hearing his input (always negative or forbidding).
    I can make miscalculated mistakes and KNOW that God has my back regardless.
    I can go w/o makeup or washing my hair on my days off…and wear grubbies when I do yard work.
    I can regulate how much wood to put in the stove w/o worrying about him causing another chimney fire.
    I can file my Federal Taxes without him cheating and living in fear from the IRS.
    I can take a long bubble bath w/o worrying about him walking into my quiet time to stare and make comments at my imperfections.
    I can sleep in my down coat and wool socks when it is extra cold.

    I CANNOT see trading these precious freedoms for another relationship at this point (I am 63).

      • I hear ya! Just read the list and instead use the words “I CANNOT” and see for yourself what an average day in my life looked like with the X. I have not listed even 10% of stuff…like allowing the puppy to lick me on the face when she is wanting to show affection (X would FORBID it). I am sure that my pup would be dead by now at only 5 months old because he’d have kicked the life out of her if she had nipped his hands during play like puppies so often do. Just enjoying my pup is a huge eye opener to the amount of freedom and joy that I now have (aside from X leaving). He would never let her sleep in the same room, let alone on a pad on the bed. He would be PISSED about sharing me with the pup and the time it takes to properly love and train her to be a happy/good dog. He would have done everything the opposite of what was good for her or needed…just to get back at me.

        Everyday was spent thinking about how to please the X or how to stay in his “good graces”…never about him keeping himself in mine.

        Good riddance. Life is all rainbows now and mine to live.

    • I’m with you Sweetz, I’m 63 also. I love skipping through my house in my nightie with my ukulele, singing a made-up song about Free is a Fine Way to Be. Sometimes I’m so happy I just have to dance around!

  • Want to add:

    With cheater ex, I used to periodically snoop through his dresser drawers and closet with a sick feeling of dread. More than once I found gay porn hidden away, along with his internet searches for gay porn and encounters.

    Not one single time have I felt the need to look through Nice Guy’s drawers, phone, computer, or anything else.

  • So many things are better without the cheater:

    * Most importantly I’m alive ! When I was with my Ex, I also had a high salary high pressure job to constantly fund her “never enough” lifestyle. I was on 7 blood pressure medicines and being treated for stress and moderate depression. My doctor told me if I did not change my lifestyle I would be dead in 2 years (I was in my early 40s). After Ex gone and I quit that job and got another much less stressful job in my field that I enjoy, I’m down to 2 blood pressure medicines and have never been depressed again.

    * I no longer live in dread when I look at the bank accounts. Ex would blow bill money (like for the mortgage) and then say “you’ll figure it out”. I lived 16 years of constantly having to worry about money and having a secret account with money stashed to pay for her screw ups.

    * I no longer feel guilty about spending money on myself. My Ex constantly threw a fit if I bought myself something for $50 while she would blow $500 of my money on BS.

    * At family gatherings on one has to walk on eggshells. My Ex ALWAYS took offense at something someone innocently said, make a scene, make us leave early and rage all of the way home.

    * I love coming home now where with the Ex I dreaded it. With my wife now I get a hug and a kiss when I walk through the door with my Ex, her mouth started as soon as I came through the door and went on and on bitching about stuff.

    * Finally, I love me !! I’m the furthest thing from a narcissist but with my Ex she made me feel like the worst POS in the World. Everything was my fault and I could do nothing right. I was never good looking enough, rich enough, caring enough, etc. With her gone I realize that I have my faults which I work on but I am a good person.

    All told emotionally I am a million times better than when I was with my Ex. I cringe when I think about the emotional abuse that I suffered for years. But I realize it was the “frog in the pot” syndrome where it started slowly and I never realized until the end that I was boiling.

    • Laughing Gator I can so relate to the bitching that started the minute you walked through the door. About Every. Little. Thing. I never realized how mentally hard that was until he was gone.

      • This really hit me the year after the divorce. I went with a friend and her parents to church and then we went to a brunch restaurant after. It was a beautiful sunny day with the birds singing and we sat down at the table and were having a nice conversation. At the next table this old woman was bitching and complaining about everything and going on and on.
        I realized that that was my OLD life and what I dealt with daily. Instead of appreciating the beautiful day, the nice company, conversation and meal, the old woman was not satisfied, angry and appreciated nothing. That is the epitome of my Ex’s mentality in a nutshell.

    • Sometimes, I, chump, am afraid/feel bad that I may have b–ched about stuff (my divorce, stressful jobs (not my current one), etc.) too much to my boyfriend, driving him away. I begged for forgiveness every time he dumped me, last time to no avail.

      A part of me still hopes that the knight in what I recognized was slightly dented armor (I knew that he was, after all, human, like the rest of us) will come back to me in his facade self someday, perhaps after my kids have reached adulthood and I have professionally/financially ‘proven’ myself and am calmer (and thus a better partner). There’s still a bit of Pick Me Dancer inside me. I intellectually know that he is never coming back, but part of me holds out hope.

      But then again, when I think about our history together, I realize that he did a lot of awful things to me (and some of his partners before me) over the last 25 years. I don’t miss his tremendously immature, inconsiderate behavior which emerged on occasion (every five-six weeks on average).

      • RockStarWife, There is a huge difference between sharing things and venting and CONSTANT bitching about everything.
        In a healthy relationship, your spouse/partner ideally is also your best friend and like all best friends does not mind listening to their partner’s day, things that are upsetting them, etc.

        The difference is that the disordered are NEVER happy about anything and bitch about everything constantly. My Ex could win the lottery and her next breath would be about what a pain in the ass collecting the money will be, the government will take half in taxes and her relatives who she claims she loves so (half of whom are grifters) will come begging for money and she “would have to slam the door in their face and move with no forwarding address”.

        How do I know this ?? We had the “what if you won the lottery” conversation before Dday and those are direct quotes.

        Stop being so hard on yourself !! You do NOT want a Sparkly Turd who does hateful things to you !! Start being good to yourself, live your life and you will eventually meet someone decent and good.

      • He’s a rotten corpse in dented armor. You don’ t want him back. When you have “proven” yourself and are “calmer”, you want somebody new who will appreciate you, hasn’t hurt you and hopefully never will.

        • Thank you, Chumpinrecovery, for reminding me that good people don’t repeatedly try to hurt their partners (or others) nor disrespect others.

      • RockStarWife,

        I thought the same thing about me in my marriage to the cheater. I worked (still do) a stressful job. I had to cook and handle the day-to-day crap that life brings you when you’re married and own a home. More often than night, I was cranky when he came home. I looked like hammered shit a good amount of the week. We try to achieve a level near perfection, but alas, we come up short. Everyone does. The fact that we’re aware of this, is important. The fact that we care and want to do better is important.

        “So you’ve been broken and you’ve been hurt
        Show me somebody who aint
        Yeah, I know I aint nobodys bargain
        But, hell, a little touch up and a little paint…”
        – Bruce Springsteen – “Human Touch”

        • Thanks, Laughing Gator and No Kibble, for reminding me that I DID share many positive thoughts (especial honest praise and signs of appreciation) and smiles and hugs, and affection in text, phone, and face to face. I did squash some negativity–almost every day for over four years, I felt pain and as a result sleep deprivation, but most days I didn’t say anything about it. When I think about the dating phase (as well as much of the friendship phase) with my boyfriend, I daily tried to find ways to make my boyfriend happy and ease his burden in life–much more than he did in mine–Unlike him, I was/am not an opportunist.

          • Sorry RockStarWife. 🙁

            Try not to get stuck on what you did or didn’t do. We’re chumps, we’re human, it’s tough. To Gator’s point, the disordered bitch and complain all the time about everything, but it’s normal and HEALTHY to have concerns or disagreements. That’s communication. That’s healthy. Disorder will have you think that you’re insane for this. Not one person is perfect. Not one.

            The good people bring their A game. We don’t always score or win, but we show up and give it our all. The disordered, not so much. Keep being you. You care. You’re here to get better and do better next time. No regrets, just lessons. That’s 100% healthy. BTW, my IC tells me that about 20% of people dating after a first marriage/LTR do this. It’s not time wasted.

  • Laughing Gator – I’m amazed how similar all our stories are. Glad to hear you have someone who greets you with a hug and a kiss. I’ve got that too. I never wanted much – just to be appreciated. Its not hard and you are right and “I love me” too.

  • No one has participated in the pick me dance more then me. I am confident to say no one comes close. I ignored my job and stayed home so I can work full time pleasing my wife. I did every RIC program available. …yet she still cheated with several men and left me anyway…….I was devastated, but as the scales fell from my eyes. I saw the skank for who she really was! Even worse I saw how pathetic of a man I became. Completely devoid of my purpose…..I have restored the Man I used to be, but grew so much more by focusing on my purpose, taking care of my kids, and staying true to my core, …matter of fact I really feel like my divorce was a new birthday for me…..I have to thank God for guiding me through the most difficult time of my life…I learned so much, I’m actually thankful for the suffering I went through….call me crazy!

  • Too many things to list. But mostly not having constant anxiety hanging over me. I threw out some old socks the other day and realized how happy I was doing it. Why? I remembered the time I threw away a pair of Cheaterpants socks that had holes in them. He saw them in the trash and literally went on a rampage of how dare I throw out his stuff without consulting him. How dare I!He had no control over his life because I just did stuff like this. He then gave me the silent treatment for days.

    Keep in kind he had like 40 pairs of the exact same socks. We had plenty of money if we needed to buy more socks. They had FUCKING HOLES IN THEM! But you would have thought I threw away the Hope Diamond.

    It’s a weird example but every interaction with him was like this, a tightrope of anxiety and angst. Simple things like throwing out a pair of socks should not be a gut wrenching experience that makes you want to vomit.

    Nope don’t miss that stuff AT ALL!

    • OMG yes! X was a hoarder of stuff….things he would let rot (literally)and never take care of or use. He spent $50K on a pontoon boat and five sets of diving gear with all the whistles and bells for a hope of diving for gold with buddies. He let all those diving suits mold and rot in the sun (they costs over $2K EACH)…and I was not allowed to touch them. The boat and motor was never serviced and is rendered as a HUGE piece of useless junk fit only for aluminum scrap. He had triplicates of tools simply because he could never keep any of them in one place and forgot he already owned them. But how dare I organize them so they can be found and/or used. How dare I touch his stuff. When he left, I gave him 30 days notice to get that freaking eye sore of a boat off my property or I would have had it impounded as an abandoned vehicle. He did, only because of what daily impound fees cost vs renting a storage space for it.

  • My life has been exponentially better, even through facing normal challenges that life brings. Let’s see, where do I start?
    For one, I don’t have a micromanager around telling me what I should be doing. Ex didn’t allow my dog in his house-now he sleeps with me in bed, on the couch, on the other bed-anywhere he fucking wants to.
    I actually now have the space to be a real parent without someone undermining me and rewarding bad behavior, at least while my kid is in my care. My relationship with my kid has improved and I’m hoping his relationship with his dad has also improved.
    I’ve used the time that I have, without the kid, to become healthier, more clean and organized, pursue hobbies and further education, which my ex used to tell me was a waste of my time.
    I’ve traveled by myself, explored interesting places, and I’m able to immerse myself in rewarding experiences, without the fog of affair hangover.
    I’ve learned how to speak up for myself, choose better friendships, be more confident in my decisions, and become more responsible in taking charge of my happiness/emotions. I’ve become better at handling rejection and perceived offenses. I’ve learned better conflict management. I now have the headspace to reflect on my own patterns of behavior and personality aspects, instead of being overly focused on someone else’s bad behavior.
    Shoot, I can date and sleep around, guilt-free , if I wanted to… but I’ve been so happy with my single life, that I’m not quite wanting to date yet, and I’m ready to take it up to the next level, especially in the security/career aspect.
    Above all, I am free. It’s kind of scary. I feel like I’ve become fully immersed in adulthood even though I’m still winging it-we all are.
    I’m accepting that I’m finally at meh – as long, excruciating and arduous of a journey it has been. There may still be future triggers; and sometimes I question if I’m really at meh. Sometimes I feel the need to hold onto that old identity, but I realize it’s just an old behavior pattern, and it’s a beautiful thing to have left a cheater and gained a life 😉

  • I’ve been cheater free via separation for only a couple weeks, but here are the things I already appreciate:
    1) no more fake Facebook posts by cheater depicting happy family w our infant
    2) no more navigating and accommodating her very poor worklife balance/priority-setting to meet child and other responsibilities – I simply follow the custody schedule and know exactly what to expect.
    3) no more seeing her glow after she’s spent time w affair partner or having to listen to her tell me about the depth of their connection and the internal struggle she’s having re leaving me and our family to explore that connection.

    • Yesss. I am 100% with you! The fake Facebook posts and impression management depicting the good guy/gal and happy family person—UGH!! God I used to hate that. The post would come after spending time with the AP and when he was gone for weeks. Like what? The glow of the time spent after the affair partner also killed me. My stbxh did not gloat or tell me details (he kept it hidden). I wanted to beat him with a bat when he had that glow. Point in all this is that I FEEL YOU!

      DNM, I’m so glad you got out. I’m so glad you knew your worth, and knew your baby’s worth, to move forward and embark on a new journey. We are all here for you. Keep posting in here, keep reading, and keep being you. I read your post the other day and my heart went out to you!

      • Thanks NtC! This site and the people on it have helped me tremendously. Nothing like snark and intelligence to help propel us through the shitstorm that is adultery. Sorry to hear you had to deal with similar bs, but I’m happy you’re finding your way as well.

  • so many things are better but the main thing is I can be proud of my accomplishments. x always made them seem unimportant. When I went back to school at 50 to advance my degree he didn’t want to come to my graduation. When I advanced at work he complained I didn’t get a big enough raise. I got into the habit of downplaying everything I felt proud of because his indifference hurt. Now I acknowledge my triumphs and pat myself on the back. After a LOT of overtime I recently paid off my mortgage and the fact that I now have people who were actually happy for me and proud of me brought tears to my eyes. Being away from someone that constantly put me down to make himself feel better and realizing that I AM a good person is the best gift of all. Chump Lady and Chump Nation got me to this point and I will be forever grateful.

    • You rock. Those are huge accomplishments. I understand exactly what you mean about the cheater making you unimportant…. they sure are good at that.

    • Congratulations! 50 is a great year to try new things!
      Have you seen the Marvelous Mrs. Meitzel on Amazon? Your story reminds me of chumpy Midge, who is divine, and cheater pants Joel, who is subpar and a loser.
      ❤️❤️❤️

        • Wait….you did all of that in ten years?!? Wow! You are incredible. I’m glad you are now able to celebrate your accomplishments with people who care about you. I’m 46 and still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

  • I bred with a malignant narcissistic fuckwit (who makes a lot of money) & the nasty $5000+ custody battle rages on after 17 months…if I play my cards right, I can drag the divorce out until 1/1/19 & the spousal support I’ll collect for 9 years won’t be taxable income according to the new tax law! YAY that makes life BETTER without him, I call it GLORIOUS IRONY when I get the deposit every 2 weeks (I never saw his share of marital money when we were married).
    Here are some other reasons: I’m no longer angry, no longer is my daughter being taught to be a foul mouthed racist with bad manners (judge denied his parenting time for eight months), he’s not mentally or verbally abusing us, we have calm & respect in our new home, I finally got to buy a dining room set, the dishwasher is loaded cups & bowls down, spoons not spooning, I don’t have to smell his FARTS or see pictures of his SHIT (YES!! DISGUSTING M’EFFER), no one is farting or belching during dinner, I don’t have to listen to him talk about how wonderful everyone thinks he is, I don’t have to wait 20 minutes for him to pump iron (make his biceps bigger in small shirts) before going anywhere, I can relax on the patio and hear the birds and not the yelling, and for the first time in 13 years I can spend time with my friends without having to hear him tell me what’s wrong with all of them. I sleep better in the California King & I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since before marriage. I can focus on me, my daughters tennis career, my health & enjoy vacations where WE want to go. I’ll be 50 at the end of the month and a trip to the DR with my daughter is how we’re celebrating! F*TARD even tried to ruin that by not signing her passport renewal…it’s good to be me 😉

    • The passport control game… I forgot that one!

      But I prevailed and I hold my son’s passport… and also all the great memories of our international (and US) travel. : )

      • Stepdaughters mom is a horrible bully and she had refused to let us take SD on international trips (even though their divorce decree said it was allowed once SD was 6…well, she is 18). So her mom has no idea that we took her to get a passport while she was visiting and it sits right in my file cabinet. We all say nary a word about it, so Im sure her mom thinks we have all acquiesced.

        What her bully mom doesn’t know is that we have already planned a trip to Barcelona, Marseilles, St Tropez & Rome for this year. SD says she wont tell her until were about to leave. Bully’s head may explode, I don’t care.

  • My life is my own and every aspect of it is better. I know my truth and no longer care what others think or believe.

    Trading hopium for hope was a life changer thanks to Tracy. I recieved criticism just last night for being on this blog as it was perceived as keeping me ‘stuck’.

    This is the furthest thing from the truth. After throwing him out and divorcing thevLilited I questioned and re-examined every memory and perception. Tuesday came and Meh arrived.

    STUCK was my old life tolerating a man who could not appreciate or love. I lived with constant disappointment as his actions were those of a toxic asshole. He was never satisfied and will forever be looking. DONE.WITH.THAT.

    His replacement cost him and he indeed ‘downsized’! I was at a support group and a woman gave me unsolicited advice to pray for him 50 times a day. STFU.

    Healing as we all know is painful and clarity is the reward. I no longer live in darkness.

    There’s a lengthy list of things I don’t miss. I used to carry a list as a reminder. I don’t need it anymore.

    This has been the best year of my life.

  • Peace. Joy in the lack of drama when there are problems – now there’s no yelling. Freedom from fear of another rage or sulk erupting. Life is so much more peaceful and just better
    planning fun things again. Kiddo on an outing yesterday “when I go out with you I can relax and know it’s all ok and I don’t have to worry if I have got everything because whatever it’s ok” thoughtful pause then a comparison to her other parent who she saw recently. Being the sane parent and adulting in a home where the walls sing is good, 😀

  • In my case, I am free of constantly wondering why things were disappearing from the house (he was supplying broke OW with all sorts of domestic stuff, stealing my heirlooms and flogging them on eBay).

    I don’t miss his ugly toes, his whiny voice, his “feminine side” that women find so charming. He is fake. He spent many hours reclining in my bed, legs crossed, complaining how I had “all the money” and that he was broke (my house and he never contributed a cent to expenses) and all the while me having to look at his ugly knarly feet. Funny how that is the enduring memory I have of him.

    He actually told the OW that when we split, he would get “half the house”. What a moron. I am so very glad to be able to get up in the morning feeling cheerful, light hearted…I do affirmations each morning and one of them is still “and I am so grateful Cheater is someone else’s problem now”.

  • Oh, SO MANY things are better. I lost weight. I am happier & healthier. My house is calm and peaceful. Heck, my LIFE is calm and peaceful. I never realized how much stress I was under until that douchebag cheated on me and left. I was living in a constant state of “fight or flight” due to the drama that infected every single part of his life. And the only drama I have now is when he pops up with something, whether it be texting me at 11:30 at night because he’s having a nightmare (I have since blocked him on my phone) to waging war with our daughter and having her do the pick me dance with the OW (she decided not to dance at all!).

    With him gone, our lives are so, so much better. There are times I actually feel sorry for the OW because, as my therapist says, she is totally out of her league. She’s dumb as a bag of rocks and cannot possibly compete with his lies and manipulation. He’s a predator and she is prey – and he will have other prey lined up. But not me. I am FREE from that man.

    I’m looking forward to the future for the first time in YEARS and excited about all the possibilities I have now! I am closer with my family (ex drove a wedge between us) and finding ME again, that adventurous woman who embraced life, who loved to travel and explore, who wasn’t afraid.

    And right now? I do not WANT a man, and I certainly don’t need one. I am so, so comfortable being on my own. I’m not dating, not looking to date. If something happens, great, but I love being by myself right now. It is glorious! I get to do what I want, when I want! Ironically, that’s exactly what the ex wanted, but now he’s more tied down than ever.

    Ahh….I am loving life right now. ALMOST to meh. It’s glorious!

  • I married cheaterX when I was 23, divorced him a few weeks before I turned 50.

    Four years later: I feel young again.

    Also: I am enough, every single day.

  • Since I took the red pill, I have divorced the cheater, sold the family home, started my own business, started training seriously for Spartans, travel on adventure vacations, and date some hot girls who are also great friends and coadventurers, and became a grandfather to three beautiful girls.

    Other than that life is boring lol

  • I made a forum post about this yesterday, but I can post here too.

    1) I look better than I ever have in my life. Seriously. I’m no longer scared to leave the house looking nice for fear of being accused of being a slut trying to get attention. So I wear makeup that really accentuates my features, my hair is long and I take care of it (and the other day someone called it “lustrous”) and I’m in amazing shape. I’m running TWO Spartan races this year. One only a few months after the other. By the end of 2018, I will literally be in the best shape OF MY LIFE at 30.

    2) I have surrounded myself with wonderful friends who have opened me up to new experiences, and those experiences have lead me to meet more new friends. I could not possibly care less about my cheater and his trashfire engagement because I’m too busy doing things with people who are about 1000 more interesting.

    3) I’ve actually started seeing a relationship therapist. I realize my picker is SUPER broken. I want to fix it, and I want to fix it for good. She’s helping me look back at my most significant relationships if the last ten years and identify the negative patterns, and break them, so I don’t end up with another toxic energy-suck of a partner.

    4) I used to be terrified to even walk down the street that my ex worked on. Not only do I go down that street again (what, does he own it? No!) I have walked straight in front of his shop more than once and paid it absolutely zero mind. I have no idea if he’s even seen me or not. I don’t care. I will actually be going to a convention this spring where I know his coworkers will be in attendance and if I see them the only thing I plan to do is politely say hello and move on. This. This is MEH. And I found it.

  • Laughing again, listening to music I like, missing a meal or having eggs for dinner or no meat, no explaing why my douche husband doesn’t have a job, Eating out and not feeling embarrassed by the dress or dirty baseball hat that never leaves his head regardless of where eating, having conversations that are complete sentences rather than grunts. Being proud of me for standing up for myself

  • Haven’t read through the thread yet, but OMG! What is better? How many characters do I have?

    – No hair in the drain
    – No skid marks in the toilet
    – No yikky stuff all over the mirror
    – No smelly sheets
    – No piles of newpapers and magazines and just plain $hit everywhere
    – No critism about weight or body type (this from a guy who NEVER goes to the gym and is ~60 pounds overweight)
    – No drooly “designer” dog who was a head case
    – No nasty surprises when opening the credit card statement
    – No tracking the bank account to the penny to make sure we aren’t overdrawn
    – No getting out of bed at 2:00 a.m. to drive his drunk ass home
    – No TV blaring all.the.time from morning to night (who sets an alarm on their TV to wake up, FGS??)
    – No stupid drunk friends on my couch

    Oh, NM, I could go on and on and on. It’s just better without him around.

  • I can remember sitting In a parking lot waiting to go home until he left for work. Dreading when he came home. As soon as he walked in the door he would make comments about a dish in the sink. Or if something was out of place. Called me names. Picked on the children.. Only to go out and cheat.
    Now I have peace. It is amazing how the cheater will find fault with everything you do. But, it is Ok to cheat and abuse the loyal spouse.

    • Waited in the parking lot too and this was before I knew he was cheating. I guess something about him made me wary of being with him. Good riddance!

  • No more dreading the moment he pulls into the driveway – we all had to jump up and make sure “his” spot on the sofa was open as he walked into the front door.

    No more long evenings spent in silence – well, not exactly silent as the TV was ALWAYS on, at ear-splitting volume. While he was simultaneously on his laptop, ignoring everything and everyone around him.

    No more, “You never spend evenings with me.” after I could no longer take the above and would go to the bedroom and close the door against the noise, crawl into bed, and read quietly.

    Not having my whole house smell like an auto repair shop; all the toxic stuff he used would circulate through the house because of the attached garage. I had headaches, he couldn’t smell anything.

    Not having a pile of dirty, smelly, greasy clothes left on the bathroom floor because he “was going to wear them again.”

    Not being able to cook with onions.

    Not being “creatively criticized” all the time. “It’s okay. But it would have been better if you had . . .”

    Not having him yell, “YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE YOU THINK I’M STUPID!!” every time we had any kind of a disagreement.

    Not having to go to another car race, car museum, car show, car event of any kind, or watch same on TV – ever again!

    Not having to worry about a stable income after he a) quit another job because “They don’t listen to me/appreciate me!!” or b) his working a commission only auto sales job – which he loved because he would “get paid what I’m worth” (which wound up being insufficient most of the time and he would get angry if I asked if he knew what his potential check was that month. I was “criticizing him.”) and allowed him to travel – and set up his skeezy Craigslist liaisons.

    His blaming me for everything from not going into labor with our two kids on a weekday during business hours, “I wanted to make the Big Exit!!” to our kids not choosing to go into Coast Guard, to the recession and our house losing value. And many, many stops in between.

    Not being afraid to check my bank balance because he’d emptied the accounts yet again and I had nothing which with to pay the mortgage or other bills.

    Not having to be insulted in front of friends, with his “Just kidding!” as a disclaimer.

    Not being able to say anything to anyone in front of him because he would “correct” my every statement.

    Not having to run interference between him and the kids to try and keep peace in the family.

    Not having any emotional support – ever.

    Not having to listen to his incessant health complaints – his back hurts, his knee hurts, he’s got allergies, he can’t sleep, he can’t poop (or has the runs), he’s got an upset stomach, he has leg cramps. . . while I’m recovering from childbirth, have a raging cold – and am still taking care of him, the house, the kids, the yard, doing the shopping, working…

    And on and on… makes me wonder what, exactly, he WAS good for – other than acting as sperm donor for my two wonderful kids!

    I do not miss HIM!!

    • Ha ha! No more sports television blaring 24/7. I don’t know who is playing in the {Super Bowl, World Series, obscure golf tournament}and I don’t care! Glorious, peaceful silence reigns.

    • I relate to SO much of this. Knowing I’m not alone in being dishonestly put down, I feel a lot better about myself!

      A commission only job where he’ll finally get paid what he’s worth? And most of the time his pay was insufficient for his wants? Ah, the irony. He got paid crap because he was worth crap. and he was foolish for taking the sleazy job in the first place.

      My fool thought he could get rich by signing up for multi-level marketing scams. They promised real financial freedom, and retiring early collecting money from other people’s effort. It was all lies, but he couldn’t see that until he lost his money – and mine. After all, he told himself that he was SUCH a good judge of character that he knew he could trust them. Idiot.

  • A few years post divorce. I’ve been learning and practicing fixing my picker with all relationships: dating, friends, family, volunteer work, and my small home business clients. In the past couple months I realize I am surrounded with some really great clients, and that sets me up to enjoy my work and improves my income because I’m not avoiding conflict and chaotic people. It used to be the same kind of stuff as from xh, dismissing my valid concerns, manipulations and lies to squeeze more out of the relationship and contract and shift things up just to cause chaos.

    I need to take better care of my body and mind as I move into my 60’s. It’s easier with stable housing and better income.

    • Wow, that’s great! I did something similar with my work model… got out of a toxic and dysfunctional office sharing arrangement and started working remotely from home about 80% of the time; got a small rented office in the area where I need to meet clients in person; and fixed my work picker too. I narrowed my practice area to one thing that I like to do, that is usually minimal conflict, and I’ve also learned to go with my gut when a new client calls and my red flag sensors go off: I tell them no! that I’m not the right person to handle this and give them referrals to someone who can. So much less stress in my life, no longer trying to fix tangled up skeins from clients! More peace, easier income even if it’s less than what I was making in the high stress scenario.

  • I found a real and true friend in life, yet I’ve never met her. She knows the hell I’ve been through. She knows when to give me a hug. She knows when to boost me up. She knows when to give me a kick in the ass. She lets me cry, throw F-bombs around, she makes me laugh and she gives me hope.
    SHE IS CHUMP LADY

  • When I asked my (away at school) newly pregnant fiancé to give me her OBGYN’s telephone #, so I could stay in the loop, she started sweating bullets for some reason. Weeks later she told me that the baby wasn’t mine. What a glorious day that was! I was free and have been free ever since. No kidding, it was like being released from prison. I eventually married a beautiful (both inside and out) woman, have 2 beautiful children with that dear lady, and life is a bowl of cherries. OK a little hyperbole is good for the soul, but honestly, she is great – and faithful.

  • My hair grew back!

    I always thought that after the birth of my last child in 2004 that my hair became thinner because of my advancing age. But I saw a photo of me taken in 2005 still with thick hair. DD#1 was in 2005. DD#2 in 2015. My hair got thinner and thinner and refused to grow longer than shoulder length.

    After DD#2 and getting rid of him to Slaggy-Anne my hair is now half way down my back and getting thicker and thicker again. I noticed about 12 months after he left and 6 months after NC.

    I’m now 50 and my hair is getting better and better. It cannot be a coincidence.

  • I wake up each day, whether it was a sound night’s sleep or not, thanking God that I woke up to another day. I start the day early by putting in a 25-30 min jog on the treadmill, then respond to a few work emails before getting my 2 teen girls up. As for interaction w/her, it’s done through email, and I decide how fast I need to respond if at all. As far as in-person interaction w/her, I don’t bother to make eye contact, not because I still have feelings for her, but rather because I just want not puke having to be in her vicinity.

    • Exactly. I wonder if the nausea will ever pass. If I do happen to glance at him on accident (we work at the same institution) my face immediately contorts to disgust. I just can’t stop it from happening.

      He’s just an absurd embarrassment.

  • Last week, I borrowed the ski pass to the local resort (we take care of their avalanche dogs) and drove the forty-five minutes, listening to a podcast of my choosing (“Museum of Curiosities”). And after one nail-biting icy dark extremely unpleasant run down the mountain, I thought, “Fuck this shit,” and got back in my car and drove the forty-five minutes home, listening to more of the same podcast.

    I could never have done that with XH. There would have been arguing and swearing and probably ultimately frustrated crying (from me), pouting (from him), and possibly even some vomiting and/or diarrhea from the stress I had from our conflicts by the end of our marriage (when he was secretly falling in love with someone else but I didn’t yet know).

    Overall, this is what has been best: Just doing whatever the hell I want.

    • Knowing what is fun for you
      and
      What is a not fun/scary/a hassle/too much trouble for you…that is wisdom 😊
      Well done!

  • I no longer am being made to doubt myself as I had been for 30 years. I can’t count the times that I heard the dick say (when I made a decision that he didn’t like), “You made a unilateral decision!” I never noticed till after my divorce that he never said those words whenever I made a decision that turned out profitable. I can’t count the times I heard him say (when I did something that caused some minor financial mishap), “You took an unnecessary risk!” And yet it never dawned on me to call him out on his crap, like the fact that he made a unilateral decision to have a skank in the background for over 11 years, or the fact that he took an unnecessary risk by potentially exposing me to STDs via his skank. I counted up his new vehicles in the last 15 years of my marriage. He had 10 new vehicles all by himself. I had 2 and only after I put at least 150K miles on each one. He had 2 new sets of golf clubs each costing more than $1200 a set. My set was $350. He bought a new $1400 bike that he never used. My bike was $300. And I could go on and on. My life has changed because I am no longer being made to doubt myself! I realize now that I’m not perfect but I made so many sound decisions in the past that there’s no way I would have been able to walk out of my marriage as financially sound as I did. You see, at the being of my marriage I realized that the dick knew nothing about how to manage finances, so though I was a housewife (with three sons in diapers at once), I took over the money and put him in the best financial position that he could be at the time of divorce. Since then the dick bought a house to include paying PMI (though he had enough cash from the divorce for a down payment), he purchased a $160K motor home (that he uses for convenience), and he purchased a timeshare in Mexico that he currently can’t visit because the State Department put the location on the ‘restricted area’ list. I’m am free from being made to doubt myself and I am free from having to extract us from stupid financial decisions. My life has changed because I’m free. I’m free of lies, I’m free of self-doubt, I’m free of having to deal with complete and utter stupidity. And I’m awesome! Yay!

  • The formerly “impossible” dog who couldn’t sleep through the night, had terrible arthritis, and was perpetually anxious suddenly settled into a perfectly happy, drowsy old dog who manages just fine with a decent walk and some pain management once Mr. Never Happy left.

    Pets are often incredibly accurate barometers of dysfunction. I wish I had been able to see it sooner.

  • OK haven’t read through all the comments yet but here is one that really torqued me off and that I am soooo relieved to be rid of. No more having to go to restaurants with Douchebag and having to listen while DB overly flirted with the cute young female server under his self-professed rationale of “just being friendly” and “showing attention and respect to those who don’t have a lot of power” etc. etc., and (to me) “What’s with the scowl – you could have been nicer” to top it off. Then watching how cheap, dismissive and unkind he was to our middle-aged, pudgy, Latino cleaning lady.

    • Same here. X would flirt relentlessly with any attractive woman in the hopes of getting one or more interested in him…and show cold disdain for those who were even marginally frumpy. He’d use his business (Jewelry store) to snag them and rope them in. Once he left, I was relieved…but I still find myself “profiling” women as being his “type” or not…and being so glad that he is not in my presence with them also. Waiting for the day that I can just view ANY attractive woman as no threat to my own self esteem and as being just another PERSON. It sucks looking at women through a predators eyes. Sheesh.

      • Ex used to do the same. He’d flirt with waitresses or cash register clerks or whatever RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and when I’d say that it left me uncomfortable, it was, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean anything by it” and other crap like that. It made me feel about an inch tall whenever he did this. How disrespectful can you be? I do not miss that at all. Have fun, OW!

        • Wow, same here! But my Ex flirted with old, fat, ugly waitresses and store clerks too. The first time I reacted after the fact, he raged and screamed at me for being insecure. So I learned to NOT react or try to hide my reactions. The waitress or store clerk often would shoot me a look, not sure if it was annoyance that I didn’t stop him (I’m a chump so I always feel to blame), or pity that I was being so obviously disrespected by my Ex.

          He loved greasy spoon diners so that’s where we always ate. I even thought he preferred diners because they are most likely to have female wait staff.

          • Oh yeah. Once in a furniture store, he put his hand on the saleswoman’s arm and called her Sweetie. I was so upset I turned and walked away, and went out to the car. He came out a while later screamed at me for “embarrassing him.” For once, I decided to say something and told him what he did was sexual harassment of the store employee. Telling him that only enraged him more, but typical chumpy me, didn’t feel it was enough of a complaint to just say that it made ME uncomfortable. Don’t miss that shit.

  • My have sovereignty over my own life, choices, time, money, belief system, hopes, possessions, opinions, options, humanity, self worth, joy, energy, relationships with family and friends, serenity, future, faith in Spirit, and freedom to love without feeling endangered. All these things are now mine to enjoy without blame, without minimizing or judgements, without hostility, shaming or violence, without manipulation, and without sabotage.

    I am free. I have ownership of and responsibility for only my own life. I am grateful.

  • Reading these lists of traits we don’t miss makes me wonder how our fuckwits attracted another Ow/OM. Jeez what a bunch of losers! And the OWs/OMs…wow! I am pleased to share that my fckwit is broken up with OW and is soooo sadz. 😢😢. Doesn’t know how much longer he can take it or so he tells our son. Hahahaha!

    • LOL – When Mme started her affair I was pretty surprised for that exact same reason. I figured that once OM got to know the “real” her instead of the shiny version he would have seen originally that she would have gotten dumped.

      She did actually get dumped at least once and after about 2 1/2 years of seeing the guy hasn’t seemed to have progressed past girlfriend. This from what she said was “really serious for him” and presumably was worth trashing a comfortable home, doting husband and her reputation for.

      BT

  • That first 30 days was a bitch, I’m not gonna lie. But then, something weird happened inside my brain. Literally one day I just felt, better. Now, as I approach the 7.5 month mark since the night I changed the locks, the following are all truths:
    • Weight loss. I lost 30 lbs of stress weight (230lbs if you count him too)– and I’ve maintained that loss.
    • Money. I save so much now! Not only has the grocery bill gone down, I don’t have to worry about coming home to some new shiny item that we didn’t need (think new TV because why not, box of 1000 screws – I shit you not, piece of plywood that we will need someday, for something, new cell phone every 6 months, new electronic gadget that will sit on the nightstand and gather dust, animals (I now have 5 dogs and 2 cats that magically appeared one by one) etc etc etc. The Ex, he was a spender!
    • Credit Score: It went up! AND I was able to refi my car and my daughter’s car into my own name at a rate over 2/3 lower than I had when it was a joint loan with the Ex.
    • Travel. I do it. All the places I always wanted to go, day trips that are close in proximity so it’s not costing thousands of dollars, I go there. I see things. I enjoy myself! The nerve!
    • Worry. NON-EXISTENT!
    o There is something to be said for realizing that you just aren’t worried about what awaits when you get home tonight.
    o What is his mood going to be?
    o What is he going to complain about tonight?
    o What will I be blamed for, that is totally out of my control, that directly relates to why he’s not happy and never will be.
    o No more sitting in silence because anything said was wrong.
    o No more complaints that we never do anything but when I suggest fun things to do, with or without the kids, being told no because
     a) why do you always want the kids to come; or (my favorite)
     b) what’s in it for me?
    o No more negativity. Something I learned about narcissists, they don’t want a solution for any issue, they just want to bitch about it. And blame others for it. And feel sorry for themselves. Even when a solution is RIGHT FUCKING THERE!
    • Inconvenience. Not anymore.
    o No more pausing or just shutting off the TV because no matter what the kids or I was watching, once he was home, he’d plop down in his spot on the couch and proceed to watch what he wanted too.
    o Not having the TV on for 20 hours a day! I spent that first few weeks without turning it on at all. The quiet was so peaceful!
    o No longer having the kids retreat to their rooms as soon as he got home so they didn’t have to interact with him.
    o I can drink good coffee now! Not that piss water he used to make with store brand coffee.
    • Light. I just feel lighter. Even day to day stress is so light and seemingly non-worry-worthy, compared to what I spent 23 years dealing with.
    • Smiles. I smile more now. Like, I’m almost back to my normal self, the girl who used to smile all the time; who saw the good in people and situations; who enjoyed life; who was happy to just be. She’s making her way back day by day.
    If I had any regret, it would be that I waited so long to finally pull the trigger. I should have done it 5 years ago after I found out about the first affair and saved myself the worry, anger, fear, humiliation, lies, pick me dancing and all the other shit that comes with the mindset “I have enough love for both of us. He’ll change this time. One day he’ll realize what he has to lose and be a good husband/father.”

    • It’s taken me a year to get to the mental place your at, but it’s worth it. Thanks for your post. So much that is just too familiar there. Your ex and my ex wife should get together.

    • o No more negativity. Something I learned about narcissists, they don’t want a solution for any issue, they just want to bitch about it. And blame others for it. And feel sorry for themselves. Even when a solution is RIGHT FUCKING THERE!
      This all the way, same as his mother, crazy making bs, never again

  • Guys! I think I figured out our problem! We were ALL married to the SAME person! No wonder they were difficult, must have been exhausting! Hahahahahaha!

  • I no longer trip in the dark over four pairs of shoes left strewn about. I get up from bed for obstacle-free pees at night.

    I no longer worry about money and bills: no more sweating to try to understand sparkledick’s math and accounting, all the while being made to feel stupid by him. Turns out I am not stupid, just a chump. I spend less than what I have and not more than I need and have. Simple as that.

    No more speeding tickets for vehicle (some right in front of police stations…).

    No more loud burps and farts just to annoy me.

    No more feeding pigeon pests that poop all over my varanda just to annoy me and look like Saint Francis of Assis.

    No more financially supporting sparkledick’s mother and seven freeloader and incompetent brothers.

    No more being yelled at that I am the cause of glitterball’s failure.

    That’s all for now folks

    • No more tripping over shoes! Ex would leave his shoes in the middle of the way then tell us we need to “watch” where we were walking. He never respected anyone’s property but his own. He would step on people’s things or throw them to the side. He had no patience so if he couldn’t find something he would start throwing items around in the drawer and banging things. Then he would leave the mess he made for me to clean up.

    • hahaha thanks for the laugh -> feeding pigeons just to annoy me and look like Francis of Assisi.
      i literally laughed out loud at this.

  • I wake up in the morning and don’t have to worry about what I’ve done between stirring the sheets to get up and brushing my teeth that will stir the first argument of the day and set the tone for the rest of the day. The ambient negativity and lack of peace is gone.
    I never used to buy myself anything because I didn’t “deserve” anything. I bought myself a used pick up truck because I wanted it and didn’t have justify it nor listen to constant criticism. As a matter of fact, I don’t have to listen to any criticism anymore. Life is decidedly boring and drama free since I left my cheater. Life is peaceful. 🙂

  • No more lying awake at night wondering if she was cheating. I got my answer, and it’s no longer my problem.

  • My list could number in the hundreds, but here are a few:

    * the kids and I eat a healthier diet
    * I spend much less on food
    * almost no money goes to alcohol
    * no money goes toward tobacco products
    * nothing smells like smoke any more
    * all our bills are paid on time
    * I am paying the mortgage off on the house faster than I need to
    * I know how my children’s college education will be financed
    * I have retirement savings now
    * I have a better car than I used to
    * I am not contributing to his school loans, car loans, boat loans or god-knows-what-other loans he neglected to mention and had acquired prior to our marriage or without my consent during our marriage
    * I exercise more and am more physically fit
    * the house is cleaner
    * visits with my family are no longer negotiations about what my EX wants or what he is willing to do or which activity starts too early for him or what he wants my mother to cook for dinner
    * I don’t have to accommodate his parents any longer and pretend to be thrilled with everything they say and do and pretend not to be insulted when they complain about what I’ve cooked, when it is served (any dinner after 4:30 is too late for her) or the size (too small) of the guest bedroom, etc.
    * I don’t have to smile politely as my EX mother-in-law talks about how gracious she always was to her mother-in-law and how she is such a perfect guest
    * I don’t have to go on “family” vacations with his family where they all drink themselves silly and I take care of the kids 24/7
    * I am no longer embarrassed at the children’s sporting events when the EX screams at the refs and is asked to leave
    *I am no longer crafting excuses for why the EX has not turned up at a child’s event–especially one where he volunteered to do something and some other parent is left holding the bag
    * I can watch things on TV without checking to see if he has a sports event he wants to watch
    * I can travel
    * I can leave for the airport in time to make my flight
    * I can leave for anything in a timely manner and instead of arriving late because he wasn’t ready yet
    * I do not get anxious in the car when he slips into road rage and starts honking and tail gating
    * I am not told that while I am good at my job, he is better and that my work is just a way of “competing” with him (despite having been in my profession since before we met)
    * I am not told I should bring in more money
    * I am not told I am unfeminine for earning more than he does
    * I am not subject to diatribes on whatever political issue, sports ruling, cultural trend, or random subject he is upset about
    * I do not have to listen to his religious posturing and attacks on my own religious views
    * I am not forced to choose between supporting his hare-brained get-rich-and-famous-quick schemes or being screamed at for being a “doubter” and failing to support him
    * I don’t have to listen to his endless lectures about aliens, how often he has seen them, and how he is an expert on the “facts” no one else wants to face up to
    * I don’t have to spend weekends tip-toeing around while he “works” on mowing the lawn, changing the water filter, doing the taxes, etc.
    * I have discovered I am more than competent to mow the lawn, change the water filter, and do the taxes efficiently and usually without even cursing
    * I can wear heels without demeaning him (guess