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Sunshine, Lollipops, Middle Fingers

If you’re a woman, you’ve probably had a stranger tell you to smile. I remember the first time it happened to me, I was 19 years old and walking to class at the London School of Economics. Lost in thought, probably thinking about Kant or something pretentiously liberal-arts-ish. A construction worker told me to smile. I was totally startled, and baffled more than offended. Was I looking particularly pissed off? OMG, am I walking around with a scowl and this kind stranger is doing me a favor pointing it out to me? These are the chumpy thoughts of a clueless 19-year-old.

Most recently the Smile Diktat happened to me at an HEB in Texas. I was standing in the checkout aisle and a toothless man told me to “show dem pretty teeth!” and smile. I was 49 and on to this shit. I just looked at him and gave the non sequitur, “Thanks, I’m good.” Turned my back and proceeded to deal with my groceries.

I was reminded of the Smile Diktat reading a thread criticizing this site that a chump sent me. Why would anyone recommend CL when it’s so negative? And the comments are full of bitter, angry, sad people? Why is it not more positive about reconciliation? Why is CL so full of vitriol? Is it for the riches of online advertising? And then it devolved, as infidelity discussions often do, into a discourse on how Sexless Marriage Is a Valid Reason for Cheating.

The whole thing made me wonder what the premise was. I’m sorry, was I doing infidelity WRONG? Have I failed to be more positive about the experience? (Answer: I’m keeping you all locked in “victimhood.”) Did I forget to smile?

If I screwed up something as simple as walking to school or buying groceries without the required amount of pleasantness, how could I possibly hope to be upbeat about cheating? What’s the answer here? Write a bestseller like, “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” by Anne Bercht? Turn that frown upside down!

Why can’t people be upset and angry about being cheated on? It seems totally congruent to me. Spackling it as the Best Thing EVER since Disney World and vibrators seems utterly nuts… but hey, don’t listen to me, I’m bitter.

The whole thing makes me feel rather flinchy and defensive. Not unlike when I’m ordered to smile — HEY I SMILE A LOT, JUST NOT AT YOU, BUDDY. Similarly, I am full of the warmth of human kindness, dude. I ask people how they’re mighty! I encourage single parents! I tell people to believe in their own potential! Fuck YEAH I smile!

(Points off because I said “fuck” though.)

To the critics (who can suck it):

1.) Anger is a stage, it’s fuel to get away. Chumps have a hard time with anger. We’re more prone to love all the hurt away at our own peril. It’s okay to be angry. It’s a natural response to being transgressed upon.

2.) No one is promoting “victimhood” here. You know who promotes victimhood? Sad sausage cheaters. People who blame their “sexless marriages” for their cheating. Jerks who can’t own their choices and have to blame chumps. We’re all about the MIGHTY here at CN and losing the losers.

3.) I’m sorry changing the narrative is upsetting to you. You should smile more.

So, CN, your Friday challenge is to fill the comments with sunshine, lollipops, and middle fingers. Or whatever your angry, bitter little hearts desire. It’s all clicks to me, and I’m just going to go roll around like Scrooge McDuck in my dollar piles now.

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.
  • Here’s my middle finger for the day:

    Single mom here to several very little ones. Estranged husband lives with girlfriend and their kid. Just woke up to my garbage scattered through my yard thanks to the neighborhood black bear. Pretty much sums up my life right now. Clean up after everyone and everything and someone comes along and messes shit up again.
    I strap the lid down. I use ammonia. Doesn’t matter. Bear comes around to screw things up. But I must push forward no matter what.

      • I tried this with coyotes when a commercial cooking oil dumpster was spilled in a park and the coyotes decided to gnaw on the oily sticks and dirt. The chile powder did nothing to deter the critters. But then again, they *were* New Mexican coyotes…

      • While I sympathize with the issue, feeding things to an animal that could cause it harm seems cruel and unnecessary.

        Now, if we’re feeding cheaters Carolina reaper peppers, that I can get behind…

        • @Chumpzilla @SeeYaPeterPan was complaining about the neighbourhood black bear going thru her rubbish cans and scattering stuff all over her yard. My solution was hot chilli’s to make the bear think twice.

          Feeding Carolina Reaper Chilli’s to a cheater and his / her whore is down right evil !

        • Bears are FAR more likely to be harmed from becoming habituated to human food sources. Chile powder is better than the alternative for a problem bear. Using aversion and hazing techniques (like the chile powder or shooting with rubber bullets), as well as securing potential human food sources (like trash) are the best ways to protect bears.

    • That bear is your totem, your spirit animal.

      What is more fierce than a mama bear? It’s there to remind you… a sign.

      Can you put your trash can in a shed/ garage and lock it up until pick up day?

  • My D-day was several years ago and I remember telling my husband’s sister about a month later on why the marriage had broken down. She said, If I would go to church and insist on my husband go to church with me, all would be well. ?? I was speechless on top of a month of being speechless. My mother and grandmother both told me to stay with the cheater because it would be hard financially to be alone.

    My best friend told me to listen to why my husband cheated and try to work it out for the kids. Maybe I had not tried hard enough to understand him. WTF? (Turns out SHE was cheating on her own husband at the time)

    This was my help? I had finally decided to reach out for help and advice and this is what I got?

    I’m wayyyy past MEH but I will never forget the “help” and “good advice” 🙄🙄🙄 I received back then.

    I had to change so much and sweep so many people out of my life but it was worth it. It took a long time but I finally got back to the me that existed before I became an appliance. So many things came back. I am a creative person who had done nothing creative for years. I just conformed. Finding myself and my creativity again was worth it.

    I have a resting bitch face. Always have. I’m content now with myself and it’s freeing not to give a rat’s-ass what anyone thinks. I now value my worth.

      • Gone, you would think churches would be burning down all over the place!
        My cheater was actively studying to be a Methodist Pastor, teaching other would be Pastors and delivering sermons about how he had “kicked the Devil’s ass out of his life” while messing around with multiple nurses he worked with. To top it off, turns out that during his private Bible Studies with our Pastor, the sessions were less about studying the word of God and more about bull sessions where he gloated and bragged about his escapades with his ho-workers so our Pastor could get his jollies and live vicariously through him. They did also manage to fit in time to discuss my “mental instability” and “control freak tendencies.” Yeah, I was a control freak for wanting my husband to keep his dick in his pants around other women.
        Well, thank God for the invention of DVR’s and the rare co-worker who considers work day sexcapades to be sexual harassment and has the decency to file a complaint.
        On a happy note, there are now 2 less lying, slimeball, false Pastors in the world.
        Jesus cheaters REALLY SUCK!

        • I’m actually impressed the Methodist denomination actually took action to remove the “Sexcapades Pastors” from ministry (CL, there’s a cartoon idea for you!). That is more than some professional groups do with flagrant cheaters–including marriage therapists who are cheaters.

          • Totally agree. My Methodist church took a documented pedophile out of our congregation, put him on leave for a year, and then placed him in another congregation one state over. While flat-out lying to SPR.

          • My x is a Minister and so is Schmoopie.

            I saw a lot of shenanigans in the world of church.

            I read once “ just because you stand in a garage it doesn’t make you a car”.

            Lots of pretend Christians out there – I no longer have the time to figure who is real and who the nut bars are.

      • Yes, he was president of the congregation and sat boldly right up in front every Sunday with his family after spending Saturday screwing the latest AP. (He told us he had to work.)

        He served Communion, in God’s house. No guilt. No shame. He’d still be cheating today if he hadn’t been caught. He said he had no problem with it because he repented every Sunday and was fully forgiven.

        I said fuck you. Fuck. You.

        • Just remember, these people get their just desserts for lying to their God in the end.

          When they reach the pearly gates (or equivalent), their God will look at them and say “Did you seriously think I wasn’t aware of everything you did?” And there’s no excuse in that case which will work!

    • “… before I became an appliance.”

      LOL!! Love that, and know that feeling all too well!!

      Soldier on, mighty one!! 💜

    • WiseOwl,
      YOU are a WISE OWL!

      “a resting bitch face”
      my first Friday smile, thank you Wise Owl.
      I really like you!

    • Please don’t use the phrase “resting bitch face”. It is just another derogatory word used to for women!! They never say “resting asshole face’ about men do they? No, it is there is only a derogatory term for women. Makes me so irritated! I am also irritated by the ‘smile!’ comment. Now I just reply ‘then do something funny’ which, of course, makes me a bitch. UGH!!

    • @WiseOwl :

      >>>I have a resting bitch face. Always have. I’m content now with myself and it’s freeing not to give a rat’s-ass what anyone thinks. I now value my worth.<<<<<
      Same here!!!!

  • My problem is that I have always smiled too much. My coworkers actually said that they thought that I had the PERFECT life. Yes, have always been good at hiding my feelings and instead focusing on the positive. I am now angry at what I allowed for 35 years. Angry at myself for not thinking that I deserved better. Now, I know that he sucks. Still trying to figure out my future!

    • Yes, either way you’re going to get the emotion control freaks who try to tell you what to do, what not to do, what to feel, think, how to act, etc.

      I too got the flip side of the smile comment. You smile too much! What’s so funny? What are YOU laughing about?
      All because I was wearing a pleasant expression. Probably because downer ex had fed me more crap about being so “negative.” Whether you’re genuinely happy to be alive or just putting on a brave face, someone, somewhere is going to try to tell you you’re in the wrong. Assholes, all of them. As far as I’m concerned, they should all move next door to, and in with, our exes. They should have to correct, undermine, and interfere with each other all day.

  • My Sunshine is that I ended a 30-year relationship with a habitual cheater, moved on, and have a blessed life with a faithful spouse. My lollipop is that I’m debt-free, except for a car loan, and actually have a savings account. Nothing that was ever possible with the cheater who needed money to finance his second life. My middle finger goes to those who dis the site and Chump Lady! I don’t believe the non approving, dont-be-bitter folks have gone through hell because of an unfaithful partner. This site and CN is the dose of reality needed to close the door on an abusive situation. You can’t do that by keeping a stiff upper lip and pretending life is good and the cheater will change. Have a great day CN!

    • LL – your story is my story. I’m so much happier and despite having only half the income we had before I have savings and travel for pleasure AND I’m on schedule to pay off the 17 year mortgage I took out to buy him out of the house in 8 years. Him on the other hand …… HA, bloody HA!

    • I’ve definitely noticed that anyone who doesn’t like Chump Lady is usually either a cheater, or someone who hasn’t been cheated on. I don’t believe either of those two get to weigh in and tell **me** about the pain and how I should react…. they can eff right off and stick to what they know.

      • Or someone who is otherwise a disordered fuck who doesn’t believe in other people’s personal boundaries and can’t handle being called out on their bullshit.

  • The xcunt had his first affair 6 weeks BEFORE we were due to get married (Yes Yes I KNOW !!! What was I thinking I STILL married the twat !) For the next 7 years I suffered from depression, marriage policing, feelings of inadequacy, in between normal everyday life. Since DD2 (there is always a 2, 3, 4 – its never a one off is it ?) and I packed his shit – yes I was devastated Yes I was sad – and then I got anger, thank you anger – thank you for making me strong, thank you for making me say NO NO NO when he came back around. Thank you for making me believe that I am NOBODIES second best – especially not his. I’m not depressed anymore that disappeared with him. Now I smile for me, now I laugh at him – I dread to think of the hell I could be locked into if I had taken him back and the mental state that I would have been in. If my happiness and lack of forgiveness and my now boundaries make me a bitter bunny – well then I’m a PROUD BITTER BUNNY – who is loving life

  • My middle finger is for Gweynth Paltrow and her “conscious uncoupling” BS she brought to popular culture. Outside of my closest friends circle (who share my righteous anger), I receive so much advice re: parenting with this fuckwit (go to dinner with him and the kids, attend family gatherings at his parents place, don’t share your awareness with the kids [despite his narc-y rages] about his true personality). I feel like all these people have been infected with Gweynth’s feel-good approach to the breakdown of her family unit. Perhaps if Chris Martin was a serial cheater (and who knows – maybe he or even she is), regularly blame shifted and then threw things at her head in the midst of an argument, that whole lexicon would have never been introduced to our culture. I’m so tired of having to explain my new normal – that I need to go low-contact, re-establish boundaries (which he never can respect) and not plast a happy face on as a means to avoid any further invective (because he will do it no matter how much cowtowing I do). So screw this GOOP-y culture we now have where poor characters only stick with something if if makes them “feel good”.

    • Amen , if you can use the term conscious uncoupling with a straight face, I have no need for you in my life. Fuckwit’s flakey therapist said it with a straight face in my one session with her. I was dumbfounded. That was the moment I knew the session was futile and I ended it 10 minutes early- totally out of character for me.

      • Good for you Feelingit,
        Have you noticed, you are doing it like it should be, not like it is.
        In other words you are miles ahead of them, going in the right direction, every minute of every day.
        Keep the faith, keep the fight!
        Stay strong!
        Truth is on your side!

    • Love this. I’m not going to “feel good” about my now ex taking a giant dump on our entire life together. I’m going to rage, rage against the “feel good” narrative!

    • Being told to put up with cheaters’ behaviour has been around longer than that – it was created by all of those fuckwit cheaters who don’t want to be held accountable and don’t want consequences for acting like a piece of shit.

  • My dad was one where when I was growing up, always criticized me for being angry and “why couldn’t I just wake up happy?”

    He would sing, “There she is, Miss America,” in the morning. I hated it.

    Thing is, my dad is a good person, has always had my back and because of that, I took back my maiden name after 30 years of being Mrs. Fuckwit 1 and Mrs. Fuckwit 2. I hyphenated the last two names, Mrs. Fuckwit1-Fuckwit2 for 11 years, because he’s the only man in my life to really care about me.

    Anyway, there is a real avoidance of showing anger or really any emotion deemed as negative. We are obsessed with “being happy” because we see happiness as equalling success…. and if we ain’t happy… we’re failing. Even well meaning people think that there is something wrong with anger, grief, disappointment, sadness… and that while it’s understandable for all those to be felt in certain circumstances, we must not “dwell” essentially because that makes them uncomfortable… and that’s the opposite of THEM being happy, Debbie Downers.

    • My father use to wake us up at 6:00am singing “The most beautiful girl in the world”. I feel your pain.

      • Ugh, the Predatory Opportunist Parasite always said ‘Good Morning, Sunshine!’ to me. I HATED IT because I knew he had said to every single other woman he’d been with–and there had been a lot of them because his entire life he’s been a predatory opportunist parasite living off of women (2 of whom were wives–I wasn’t, thank God).

        • This is how I got my nickname. My narcissist mother would always traipse into my room at the crack of dawn and snap open the roller shades and warble good morning sunshine! I absolutely hated it then and I absolutely hate it now. Over the years, my friends made jokes about her behavior and it eventually degraded into the nickname I have now. Which is actually appropriate, because I’m generally a very positive person. But I acquired it the hard way.

    • Thank you, Sunflower, your last paragraph is spot on. I’ll use it in my work with suicidal teens. Big hugs.

    • Yeah, because in their disordered minds its still all about them. You being angry or otherwise negative spoils THEIR party (again, “it’s all about me and my needs”)

  • I have nothing. More than a fuck yeah. Sick of living an authentic life that included 30 years of genuine and intense love. But enormous, mostly one-sided, sacrifice. So fuck off with your fake smiles, bitches! Namaste. 😉

    • I second the fuck yeah as my anger is triggered and I am not gonna smile. I too, laughed off the smile comment many times in life annoyed underneath. Who are these random strangers that think they can control my emotional output! Maybe my dog died last night, maybe my fuckwit just left, maybe I just had the best day of my life, it is mine to emote or not!

      And second, fuckwit said point blank after d day: “You are acting like a victim” and chumpy me denied it. Well, wtf, I am a victim of years of abuse so duh, I am acting like one. How can you heal if you don’t own it.

      So yeah, nobody likes a sourpuss but denying reality and setting of chasing rainbows and unicorns is not an answer. It is like prescribing a diet of cake and potato chips to someone struggling with obesity.

      To such cheery chumps that write Tracy, maybe they can befriend my mil (she has no friends) and tell her to smile while they are at it.

      • I would love to know at which point in our culture “victim” became a bad word? Did Oprah have something to do with this?

        There is no shame in being a victim; only in being a *victimizer*.

        • And, there is a difference between being victimized (which we were and which is finite) and being an eternal victim (and having a permanent learned helplessness mindset).

          Yes, I got shot in the street and that was terrible. I was victimized. But I testified against that fucker and now I spend my time in therapy trying to put the trauma behind me while helping others who’ve been shot. I’m no victim.

          The infidelity narrative is illogical and damaging. Tracy is one of the only voices of reason out there. But she’s started a fire in others, and the message is spreading. Thank God for CL!

          • I hope it’s not inappropriate to plug another book, but “Forgive for Good” by Luskin is a great companion piece to “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.” His message is very similar to Tracy’s, and is meant to help with a broader array of Life’s shit sandwiches. Stop dwelling on the bad thing(s) that happened to you (don’t let it define you), stop dwelling on the terrible person that did them (making them central), stop hinging your recovery on a “true” apology (that won’t come), stop hoping to understand why it happened, stop wondering what you did to “deserve” this awful thing.

            Rewrite your story from the position of victim to one of a survivor. “I devoted my life to my husband and kids and he threw me out like a piece of garbage” vs “I discovered my husband had no character and built a new life for myself from the ashes.”

            Talk about your strength and what you’ve overcome. Recognize thoughts and situations that trigger a pain spiral and redirect your thoughts towards things that bring you joy, peace, and strength. It was really helpful.

            • I like the message but I think that newly chumped cannot just stop with the negative. It has to be done a bit at a time. People kept telling me to stop and it was not helpful. I had to gradually re-frame by feeling the pain and working hard with a therapist. But being where I am now is so good. Letting go of the negative is wonderful.

          • Tracy wants us to accept that we are victims so that we will save ourselves and not be victims anymore. The RIC doesn’t want us to acknowledge that we are victims so that we will continue to allow ourselves to be victimized (for the children). Just smile and wave, nothing to see here.

        • I work survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. I much prefer the term “survivors” over “victim”. CL is and CN is filled with survivors. A survivor may start out as a victim (a somewhat passive term). Once they grab their power and fight back, they become a survivor, and can go on to gaining a life!
          Thank you CL and CN. TGIF and hugs to all you survivors.

        • Exactly. For some strange reason, particularly with infidelity, it is something to be ashamed of: being a victim. Try criticizing a victim of childhood sexual abuse or a rape victim or someone who was a battered spouse, that they are “playing victim”. You would get your ass handed to you by folks coming to their defense.
          But, act normally, traumatized, gaslit ,etc , from the effects of this kind of abuse and you are not a real victim, just a pretender.
          Seems pretty obvious to me why this is: the folks that are critical have not been on the receiving end of this. Try explaining to them that you have lost some access to your kids, that your finances were badly affected, your job performance affected, you live in a shithole now while your XW enjoys the use if the house with her AP and you get blank stares: ” Well, Erica on ” All My Children” seemed fine after a week of episodes and had moved on to another romance. And, nothing like this happened in ” Bridges of Madison County” or ” Eat, Pray Love”. And, Esther Perel says it is just a person searching for herself.
          Why does it bother you? I mean you are 55 and have such great prospects now, just like Erica, right?

          • Same thing happened to me, except i’m the wife of 17 years. My ex really screwed me over. I’m a victim of love and also a survivor.

            I take full responsibility for believing in a liar. I instinctively knew what he was from the start, but chose to listen to HIS LIES instead of my own intuition.

            We learn from out mistakes.

            • I could have written word for word what you said. Our problem is we never could have imagined how twisted and sick some people can be, and so we would spackle and project our thoughts onto them. Now we know. But it’s just too late for me. A lesson that cost me many lives …

          • Hi, I am sorry, something similar happened to my father, his whole life destroyed by my mother, who never thought about anyone but herself. She dumped him. As she got old, and had grandkids, and I did not put up with her BS…she realized that she had nothing left, but her piles of money. My dad remarried, a miserable witch of a stepmother, but he was on the rebound. Well, my mother died, her piles of money paid for a lot of good things, including therapy for her kids; good schools for her grandkids, and for that I am grateful. My dad died, Evil Stepmother lost their home, her half-things (their kids) and I don’t talk, but I don’t have anything against them, actually feel sorry for them, for being born into that mess. Bottom line, I believe in Karma, don’t worry, it will come back and bite, but it likes to work under-cover and you will not see it, and that is OK, just believe, Karma will come back and do awful things to evil people, more than chumps like my Dad could ever do to another human being. But I have dated people like my Mom, cold, shallow, and heartless, been left broken-hearted like my Dad, and it took therapy to see why it kept happening, again and again. Won’t happen again. CL is right, don’t waste another day on cardboard food like them, true love nourishes, and is out there, maybe not in romance, but there are many ways to love others

        • I also don’t characterize myself as a victim. I am a survivor. I was a victim until I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and started to build myself and my remaining son, a new, improved life.

          Since there are lessons in everything comes our way in life, I had to ask myself what was the lesson here. What do I have to learn so I don’t have to go through this again somewhere down the line. I don’t know if I have learned everything I am meant to learn but I did learn enough to send all the personality disordered people in my life packing.

          It’s a good beginning.

          • How, Tessie? How did you send all the personality disordered people in your life packing? Say they are in your faith community? One or two is on all the administrative boards? Popular, charismatic — much like our husband were to us — manipulative and deceitful — how do you send them packing?

            • Queen, it takes a while. I started to watch other’s actions. In my faith community, there were a bunch that believed cheater ex’s lies about me and snubbed me to my face. Suddenly they wanted to be friends once cheater ex outed himself and stood revealed as the POS he was. Of course they also wanted to be in on all the drama. I left that community when the pastor made his affair public a short time later. Churches seem to be catnip to narcs.

              Friends, were a different story. It took a while to evaluate them. I had to learn healthy relationships are balanced. There is an equalish amount of give and take. Sometimes there’s a bit more on one side or the other, but it should balance out. I had to be brutally honest with myself on how much I was giving and what I was getting back…..ie: stop spackling.

              Chump lady points out that healthy people want to give back, and she is right. I was raised by two narcissistic people. I was trained from an early age to give and give, expecting nothing in return, thus becoming the perfect bait to selfish takers. It felt wrong to allow others to give to me because I was shamed for having any needs at all. I had to figure out that I was a valuable person, someone who had a right to be treated well, and that I had a right to be treated well. If it became clear that there wasn’t parity, or that I was being used, I would talk to them about it. If they refused to own it and change the behavior, I was done. Healthy people take responsibility for their missteps and try to make things right. Unhealthy people pull out the narc tricks….gaslighting, lying, DARVO, smearing, etc.

              I wish I could say that this is not an ongoing battle, that I have my shit totally together. Nope, although I have gotten much better at spotting and avoiding the disordered. It takes time to dismantle old ingrained patterns in ourselves. A good ideal is progress, not perfection, and to be gentle with ourselves when we screw up. Eventually we get there. My narcdar is pretty much on point these days. I just give them a wide berth.

              • You are so wise and mighty and a testament of strength. So much love to you always, Tessie!

              • (((((Dear Tessie)))))
                You are the heart and soul of CN.
                Whenever I see your name, immediately I think of love, grace, and all things good!

            • You walk away. You. Walk. Away. Get a new church. Find a new job. Get off the board. Find a place to serve and grow and flourish that is safe and positive. Stop automatically pleasing people and caring about what others think. It’s all part of building a new life and creating a new landscape.

              You can grey rock those you’re stuck with, but your psychological safety and emotional comfort level in the relationship come first. I say this because I had to choose to not engage some members of my own family. Enforce the strictest of boundaries wherever necessary.

              Life is too short to invest time and energy in narcissists or disordered people (and then suffer pain and loss). I will no longer do that! And my life was full of them. Recognizing them and steering clear of them is my new superpower.

              You decide you ARE Madame Badass and take no prisoners. You do not ask for permission. Let that mightiness manifest itself in your life choices. Realize you are amazing and deserve joy and peace.

      • In perhaps my 8760th day of incessant harsh criticism by cheater, he said to me
        “You have a siege mentality”.

        (for newbies, please not that one cheater tactic is to act in a way that any normal person would have a certain reaction THEN they criticize you for your reaction)

        at first I denied it, then I corrected myself “I act like Im under siege because I am”

        golly, he might have liked it if I smiled more

    • Yes it was 34 years of goodness and fuck him because it’s going to be many many more years of greatness #don’tneedthatleech

      • 6 years here. (and 9 years a chump before the last). You all with many years give me hope. I needed this ‘negative’ blog to survive. Reconciliation was a joke, and if i didn’t stumble on this place, I would not have found a backbone, made boundaries, and stood up for myself (with email only/no contact).

    • The day my father died (on Father’s Day actually) I got on a plane to fly home. My wasband and kids flew in other seats as we could not sit together.

      Some asshole FROM TEXAS where we then lived, had told me to smile as I walked to the gate. And I fucking did smile, wanly. But it annoyed the shit out of me.

      So when I got into my window seat, a second man sat next to me and (I swear, two men in 10 minutes) asked me “why the long face?”

      I told him my father had died that morning, that’s why. And he said “sorry to hear that” and stfu the rest of the flight. It’s not like the SOB wanted to comfort me. I was young and pretty and he wanted to flirt.

      But oops, I was in grief.

      I must admit taking pleasure in telling him why I had “a long face”, which is weird but true. I recall thinking my dad would have said “Yeah asshole, I died. Is that a good enough reason for her LONG face???”

      I have seen people who looked sad or were actually crying, in public. I have on occasion quietly asked them if they were okay. I wanted to help, not dictate.

      There’s a difference.

      • People who choose to get into your world deserve to get a few answers that are raw and truthful. If they ASK why you are sad then they can fucking be decent when they get a “dead father” or “sister in a coma” answers. I work with bereaved parents who often struggle with “how many kids do you have?” questions…well…if you ask a stranger in Target how many kids they have (is that really your business?) then be fucking prepared for “2 alive and 2 dead” or whatever. I get so sick of this sort of thing where people are asked personal questions then people dont like the answer.

        • Yeah, I have gotten that through the years. I simply say one is son is with me, one isn’t. I don’t hide my story, but I don’t advertise either. My business is my own.

      • My sister and I were flying on Mother’s Day because we’d learned my father was close to death. A nice stranger asked my sister if she was a mother and she burst into tears. The man was so sweet to us that I still remember it over 20 years later. I truly believe the world is filled with more kind people than idiots 🙂

    • My smile is every morning as I sit in my luxurious bed drinking coffee, listening to the birds chirp. I read CL. at 6:30 precisely I wake my DS up with a hug and head rub. To be met with a hug and mumbled ‘I love you’.

      My f you is every 1st day of the month is when I check my bank account and know that my x thinks I ‘robbed’ him 🙄

      My lollipop is a life lived with peace of mind and my fledgling business as a divorce mentor. My joy in seeing clients move from feeling paralyzed and less than to feeling strong, valued and capable. And yes, I constantly refer clients to CL.

      • That is good. But, try being on the payer side, after you have been fucked over. It sucks. I bet a lot of the betrayed guys here, who, foolishly relied on their wives abiding by their vows are paying up the Whazzooo. Same with the house and the access to the kids.
        For some antiquated reason, the courts have not figured out that working one’s ass off outside the home plays just as much a role in being a “primary caregiver” as staying home to watch kids. And, this applies whether it is the woman or the man that is the primary breadwinner.
        I had to teach my XW how to change diapers, and I did all the cooking and most of the cleaning in addition to working outside the home. My Y chromosome, however, made me the secondary caregiver, I guess.

        • Arnold – none of it is fair in the end.

          I helped out my x through 7 years of education – we sold everything and livecd meekly ( he gave up a very lucrative career to do this ).

          In the end he had a new career, in a new city with a long term girlfriend.

          Not only did I receive no $$ ( half of nothing is nothing ), but I had no rights the house we had moved to ( rectory ), belonged to the church.

          I am not bitter (ok – yeah – some days ),but I came into the marriage with money and I did contribute.

          At BD I was homeless, had no access to any money and was quite screwed. Thank God no one told me to smile😜

          Arnold – I agree with you – None of it is fair!!!

      • Out West, your comment put a huge smile on my face! I love the luxury of your descriptions. Such a simple post. And you’re so enjoying and noticing some of the amazing things in your life.

        I wasn’t feeling terrible upbeat this morning and I’m now noticing the soft sound of raindrops falling, the warmth of the cat on my lap and the warm cup of coffee at my side. At this very moment, I can smile. I can enjoy the good things. Right here. Right now.

        Thanks Out West!

    • Thank you horsercumin, fellow Kiwi from the land where smiling is obligatory. Fuck Yeah.
      And thank you Tracy and CN for the Fuck thread.
      I am very happy at the moment, almost at meh. My cheater-free life is going great now, but it didn’t always. But no one is going to dictate whether I smile or get angry, I have my reasons to do either and that’s my choice. I smile when I think of how my life is shaping up now, but I get angry when I see how the Traitor and the Whore have got away with their bullshit and I do what I can to remedy this by speaking the truth.

  • weeks after D’day the minister of my church heard me tell his wife my marriage was over. I will never forget being taken to task in the corridor of the hospital where my youngest childs was battling the onset of cancer. Being accused of breaking my marriage vows because I was wanting to end it. Because to them reconciliation was the only option in their mind, everything else was a sin. But what woke me to this realisation was being asked by him, “once they had restored him and I had to take him back, how would I save face if I had already told everyone the marriage was over?” Had to take him back? save face? WTF? he cheated on me with men for 8 years. the final straw was when I asked the minister during this exchange “When can I say my marriage is over?” without missing a beat his response was “When I tell you”. My hasband having sex with men was seen as a triviol thing they could restore him of, compared to my dispare and desire for divorce. I was the ultimate sinner allowing my anger to make the decisions.

    Well middle finger to them because they still have my cheating ex in their midst with the addition of a new victim and two step children and I am free. I will graduate in July with a degree at 46, Can’t find a job currently but do not care, currently enjoying volunteering learning how to work in a recording studio, not even relevent to my degree. and just enjoying life. I am free of all the mind fuckery, exhausting bullshit that came with being married to a closeted covert narc cheater. And they will get to relive the experince eventually with the new victim. ~~!~

    • When my ex husband beat the living snot out of me, I went for counsel to my pastor and his wife was talking to me in the sanctuary about how hard marriage was and blah blah blah… after she said that marriage was hard I could only hear myself inside my head screaming at her “Are you fucking CRAZY???”

      I was on the verge of shouting it at her, right there in the sanctuary in front of God and Jesus and all the angels, when all the kids from youth group suddenly burst through the doors and into the sanctuary.

      I swear that God Himself spared me from saying “fuck” in His House…..

      • I have Never heard my 34 year old daughter cuss in her entire life. Apparently she called the church that we left and called the pastors fucking assholes. They still let the idiot who dated her for months (drive the church bus), the one who tried to get her in the sack- the night before he drove all teens to camp because you know he’s so spiritual and he married the single mom( daughters ex friend) that he hooked up with in camp. We think the guy tried to drug her one night, the guy that stalks teens on the bus but you know….. he’s okay now because he got married and is still in church. She knows she dodged a bullet.

        They don’t get it!

  • My trial was earlier this week (yay!), & a lot of my STBXH’s lawyer’s questions for my mom & bro were about how angry I was about the affair. I wish I could’ve responded with something like, “she took a turd off my hands….in a really shitty way. She can keep him. He’s no prize!!!!”
    Do I dwell on my anger , no. He and the AP are shitheads. I’ve got better things to focus on.

    • Oh my, and you’re not “allowed” to be angry over an affair? What kind of questions was that. Hell yes you’re angry over it. Who wouldn’t be.

        • Yes, they should be focusing on your amazing composure in such a traumatic situation.

          Look, they are both still breathing, able to walk, not maimed ….

          • “Look, they are both still breathing, able to walk, not maimed”

            I want to scream this at people when I show any negative reaction to the cheating, abandonment, divorce, etc. Why are we expected to behave “appropriately” to an inappropriate situation?

      • That’s just it. I think most rational people would understand that an affair is a good reason to be angry. It is the RIC and others who want to change the narrative to “one shouldn’t be angry over an affair”. It makes no logical sense to most people, but the more “enlightened” will believe it. I generally believe in liberal values, but not when it means screwing other people over for personal gain.

    • His lawyers were questioning your anger due to the affair? Not the best strategy in my opinion but who cares as they are cheater’s attorneys not yours.

      • I don’t understand the reasoning behind asking about any anger. I never interfered or seeked any revenge against those 2…I kicked him out, filed, and never looked back.
        I don’t think his attorney is very good. She didn’t have much to work with either. He got caught lying about finances several times and basically abandoned the kids .

        • I don’t want to pry, but I’m really curious. If this is too personal, please tell me so. Why were you on trial?

          • As an attorney I am guessing that Iowachump’s ex’s attorney is just trying to do what she can to mitigate her ex’s horrible position.

            Tactic #1: Ask her about her anger. Evaluate her response, if she becomes defensive and loses her cool, maybe I can deflect scrutiny on ex-husband’s crappy, selfish behavior….mmm…hopefully chumped wife becomes flustered, angry and defensive and will make a lousy petitioner in the eyes of the judge.

            Tactic #2: Need to depose her to see how well she holds up under pressure. Mmmm…she doesn’t get angry or defensive and can handle tough questioning well. Hmm….perhaps we should settle this case and not even THINK about going to trial.

            Depositions allow attorneys to observe and think about witness credibility etc. That is what was going on.

            • Hope49,

              Thank you for the explanation! I assumed asking me about my anger was a tactic to try and make me look bad. I was completely calm. When my STBXH was cross examined (for an hour), he became angry and hostile 3 mins in. His sister was a witness for him, and she was equally bad.

            • It’s a classic “If I make her lose her shit, she looks bad in front of the judge therefore she’ll get less in the settlement” tactic.

              Typical narc-baiting. They are all the fucking same.

          • Soldiering On,
            We each made settlement offers. I didn’t accept his, nor did he accept mine. So we went to court for a judge to decide our issues. Money, visitation, etc

            • Thanks. I’m sorry to be nosy, but I had visions of Dumping Iced Tea Episodes with charges of Assault and Battery.

              Glad to hear it wasn’t for something horrible. I hope the decision came out well for you.

            • Me too on going to trial! I never met anyone else whose narc pushed a divorce to trial. My stbxh cancelled our dissolution agreement in 2016, filed FALSE domestic violence charges against me to gain more custody of kids (even though he was refusing drug testing) and never came back with a settlement in 2017, and we had trial in 2018. He has been unemployed for last five years, “investing” in companies that produce no return or income, and donating money as a trustee on museum boards. He’s an entitled Narc with family history of addiction, mental health and character flaws of being an abusive asshole. He is the ultimate SHIT SANDWICH. His secret OW (on/off again since 2014/15) is still hanging around. When he told me about the affair in 2015, I too kicked him out and never looked back. It was a relief to have him, his hidden drugs, his guns, his bi-polar mood swings, and his crazy life out of the house (I tried the compassionate, please go get help and go back to rehab, dance for 2 years straight.) do not waste time ever on doing this “rehab/mental institution dance.” It does not work with a narc/cluster b/ahole.

              His two attorneys (yes- he pays two attorneys because he is a millionaire trust fund baby but delays court ordered support payments) hammered me on trial on About credit expenses that included a new mattress in Sept 2015???? I calmly answered during the cross examination “oh, X was very open about his longtime affair and once I realized he and OW were using our house/bedroom while I was driving all three kids 12 hours to a summer camp the month before, I thought it was a good time to start over and freshen up my new bedroom.” It was a stupid question to ask me about a mattress purchase (they were claiming I spend too much money). We spent 6/7 days in trial listening to X lie about finances. Truth came out about his constant cashflow and statement “I will never have to work again” and now I am still waiting for Judge to rule on support, assets, etc.

              One of many gold nuggets from trial: My lawyer confided in me is that one of Xs own opposing counsel doesn’t like my X and think he is a loser with no work ethic. He’s the one who highlighted the mattress purchase that set up my lawyer to ask me why I bought a new bed. My narc X is being played by his own attorneys! So tragic and waste of money that should be going to the children.

              I can’t wait to get as far away from crazy as possible (no more unraveling the skein of f*upness). I continue to teach my kids coping skills to use during parenting time with their disordered parent using the 7Cs for kids raised by an alcoholic parent.

              My mighty is keeping my kids first, never missing their sporting events, cooking family sit down dinners several times a week, working 20-30 flex hours/week as a consultant to make extra money, and when my kids ask me why their dad didn’t come to their games- I acknowledge their disappointment and move on.

              I believe in God, I believe in kharma and I believe in CL/CN and I truly believe all OWs love shit sandwiches. I’m so happy without the turd.

              Best quote for strength: Winston Churchill- “When you are going through hell, keep on going.”

              I’m not yet to the other side because of financial dependency (rebuilding after sahm for 15 years- married 19) but grateful to have reached meh over the turd in 2015.

              Keep me posted on your outcome from trial @IowaChump! The whole process was meant to degrade and devalue us- we are mighty! Keep on going!

    • Your anger after the affair…just re-read that. Let’s focus on the affair.

      Kills me how courts just sweep that shit under the rug in most states.

      • The entire system sweeps it under the rug. Last year, a mediator we’ve never met before started out by wanting both of us to share equally the shitty state of our relationship. While ex-asshat readily agreed I said “No, I won’t accept that. First you don’t know any of the particulars of this relationship. And second, I didn’t break my marriage vows, I didn’t sue myself to terminate child support after 1 payment two weeks after the divorce was final and sue three more times since then. ALL OF WHICH WE’RE DISMISSED BY THE JUDGE. So there’s the reason our relationship is the way it is.” And I pointed (with the polite finger) across the table.
        Fuck lawyers, judges, mediators, therapists, Switzerland friends and family, authors, media, “well meaning” neighbors, random strangers and anyone else who doesn’t know the real situation yet feels the license to tell me what I should be doing-yet doesn’t lift a finger to help me do it.

        • Exactly!!!
          Unless someone’s been through it for themselves, or know the whole story, they can eat a diiick

    • “I know you’re still bitter”…..Those words came out of the mouth of a little asshole. His wife just found out he’s a cheater too. Not only did they betray both of us, but we put the pieces of the puzzle together and found out they’ve been trading whores like baseball cards…..but, to quote the Worm I’m the “disgusting pig” because I just can’t “get over it”.
      She’s starting the process, I’m about to sign my divorce papers.
      Hell yeah I’m happy he cheated on me now. I’ve left crazy town and found my joy again!
      They’re angry and sad about the divorce proceedings but our bitterness about being betrayed everywhich way from Sunday is unjustified?
      Here’s my middle FU finger;
      I hope they both get everything they deserve.

      • Your comment reminds me of how recently fuckwit accused me of hurting the children because of my need for revenge. I totally see it as projection (I did not respond as I am no contact) but I do keep mulling it over in my head that he has continually refused to take any blame and has denied responsibility for anything related to his infidelity so I keep wondering why he would think I was out for revenge when he has done nothing wrong.

        • They reach for the exact things they know will stir us up.
          Love your kids? You’re accused of hurting them. Love your parents? They’re accused of being meddlesome, stupid or controlling.
          My X could teach as master class of attack by proxy. His epic insults of people I love was intended to hurt me deeply (which it did). It’s incredibly cruel and manipulative. It also served to distract from his noxious behavior.

        • It is just more manipulation. My ex tried this with me, too. He knew that I would put what is best for my kids first, so he would send text messages implying that my choice of not letting him in the house was hurting his relationship with the kids and is that really what is best for them?

          They know where to get to us. Stay no contact and don’t you dare let those comments get under your skin.

      • You’re a “disgusting pig” because you called him out on his shit. That’s all it is.

        These people are foul.

        In short? Do it again. And keep calling these people out on their shit.

  • You know how on Fakebook, if you write “Congratulations” on someone’s post, balloons and confetti are released? Well I am going to congratulate my dear friend ANGER and send her balloons and confetti. Because I was so fucking angry on DDay, which I NEVER experienced before (I swallowed it). People would say to me all the time “You’re so sweet. Don’t you ever get mad?” Well in my FOO, my alcoholic father had anger for all of us. Anger was so very scary to this chump. But on DDAY I screamed at ex so much, I realized I was actually jumping off the floor. I screamed at him “If there was a knife here right now I’d stab you with it.” It carried me over so I could contact an attorney, file for divorce, contact a realtor, pack my shit and move on out of there, never looking back on a 22 year relationship.

    The anger dissipated, of course, and really was only ever directed at ex. After it served it’s purpose, all was calm again. But the anger was the best thing I could have experienced because it helped me realize my worth and get me out of an untenable situation.

  • 1) The first thing I think when a person suggests that anger about cheating isn’t appropriate is “that person is a cheater.” There’s no reason for the person to be defensive for all cheaters unless the person has something to defend.

    2) The thing about suggesting that another person should appear a certain way to become more pleasing to you is clear and unacceptable objectification. My body is on this Earth for me to pilot around as I see fit. It is not an ornament laid out for anyone’s approval. I have another name for my “resting bitch face”. I call it “my face” and it’s not on the front of my head to appear the way other people want it to. You want me to smile, asshole? Do something worthwhile to earn it or shut your piehole.

    3) CL, I love you so hard.

    • Either “that person is a cheater” or “that person has the same mindset as a cheater but hasn’t had the opportunity to do so yet, and is a fuckwit in other aspects of their life”, personally.

      Great to see that there’s others who think that too!

  • This used to happen to me ALL THE TIME. I didn’t realize it happened to others. As I think about it I do see that it is something pretty exclusively reserved for women. WHY?

    I was constantly told, “smile!” by one particular asshole I worked with in my first professional job. It made me think I was wrong, I was outwardly unhappy looking, I was less-than. Why did he do this? Did he just lack any sort of creativity in basic greetings skills? Did he think he was being shiny and cute? Every time he did it I felt self-conscious and worried that I was somehow walking around scowling. Do I walk around scowling? This is something I think about still.

    I recently relayed my tale on a financial forum where I was trying to adjust to my new financial state and was looking for advice. I said I was abandoned after 3 decades of marriage and received an e-mail FU from my X who ran off to Europe to be with his 25YO AP. I now have 55% of the NW I used to and need to re-set my financial future. Tips please?

    First reply, from a guy:

    “Well, at least you are not bitter! :D”

    Yes, sarcasm. With the tongue-sticking-out emoji. WTAF.

    I guess I didn’t include a happy smile in my posting to suit him. Barf.

    I have HAD IT with people telling me I am doing it wrong. That I am grieving wrong. That I should forgive. That I need to do this or that thing to “get over it for your own sake.” That my face is WRONG.

    • Angry for you on that one! I guess the only thing to do is see it as a red flag and stay away but damn it is maddening!

    • Now I.C – are you familiar with “the male gaze”? It’s the idea that women aren’t rational, thinking, feeling humans with agency and desires of their own. Women are ornaments. “Why would a woman pierce herself so many times, or get so many tattoos, or wear bold makeup, or let herself get fat, or wear sloppy clothes, or color her hair green? Doesn’t she know MEN don’t find that attractive?” As if our be-all and end-all is to please the male gaze. Our only value is in being thin, attractive, sexy. The idea that a young pretty woman may have a life, with troubles or goals in it that might distract her from being attractive and sexually available, is foreign to some men. So they remind her. “Smile! Your only purpose in life is to be pleasant.” It’s a message so internalized that even well-meaning women do it, too. “Smile! Your emotional bra-strap is showing.”

      • Oh, yeah. That is right. The idea that women aren’t rational, thinking, feeling humans with agency and desires of there own: You just described how my X fuckwit thought of me. On the day when he performed his brutal abandonment with the e-mail after 28 years married, I said, “He doesn’t even see me as a real person.” Bingo.

        I did LOL at the emotional bra-strap thing…..that is funny. Smiling now for real, thanks!

        • Yes, and many women think that men are only to be valued based on money,power or status. And, of course ,there is the ludicrous idea that men are less emotionally evolved and more superficial. This, despite the myriad poets, artists,philosophers, authors,psychologists etc. who are male.
          Hypergamy is as strong in females as valuing youth and beauty is in males.
          As one guy told me, if women are interested in finding a sensitive, caring,nice guy,why do they never check out the prospects down at the Salvation Army?

  • OMG that’s an actual real book — apparently “ground-breaking” and a “must-read” — hmm maybe not

  • My anger caused me to do a bit of criminal damage. It’s not clever or funny, but it’s like all these feelings just overwhelmed me!!

    I just kept thinking about that left-eye documentary and then someone told me “it’s ok to be angry” and I thought about it over and over and I got AAAANGRRYY!!!

    And I told the kids some truth and I filed and I stopped begging and I went to the gym everyday and I shouted back at the abusive POS

    and it was great… yaaaaaaay

  • Yeah, last week I had to go back to sleeping pills. I was told by a dear and trusted friend that I was “consumed with bitterness”.

    Back story. Shortly after I abandoned untangling the skein of fuckedupness (9-10 months ago) I realised that STBX would certainly repartner within a year of D-Day. I just didn’t ever imagine that it would be with a close friend who knew of his years of cruelty and abuse even before D-Day came – in a super-traumatic way.

    You see there was no AP involved in his cheating. In a late night phone call (just over a year ago), after day one of a 3 day “become your authentic self” cult I mean course, he told me that he’d been going to hookers (in his lunch hour) and gay saunas (when he had longer than a lunch hour) for almost the last half of our 22 year marriage. Often. And a lot of porn. I was utterly blindsided. (Was later informed “he had no choice”: 3 years after our daughter died he “had no connection with me”, so rather than end the marriage and break up the family he did the honourable thing, kept the family together by “asking less if the marriage” and went elsewhere for “validation”).

    He rang our 19 yo son (eldest of 3 boys) the next morning to tell him same. Also told son that his revelations would “make the marriage stronger. Mum and I will get through this and we’ll be better than ever”. I think STBX had been ODing on Esther Perel for a while before he got the guts to honesty-vomit. (Finished the course, in a city 1 1/2 hours away, where he stayed at my poor clueless parents’ house, wasn’t home until 3 days after the call. Then the dog died …)

    After I kicked him out he moved straight in with a single Mum “friend with benefits” (because why should he be lonely?? Plus, he got to read our kids’ fave bedtime stories to sweet fatherless twin 4 yo boys, who weren’t sad and angry like his own sons, and think he’s Mr Wonderful). But apparently she and he had already agreed years ago that they weren’t going to have “a relationship”. (Ah, yes, when we still married. I know I said there was no AP but she is small change in this story).

    He wasn’t too worried. Turns out she was but a placeholder with lots of lovely kibbles while he drip-fed the Kool Aid to my dear trusted girlfriend, whose husband died three years ago. We spent a LOT of time together in the first few months after the phone call. I 100% confided in her, ugly cried, everything. Completely vulnerable. She lives around the corner and is close to many other dear trusted friends. Strangely, she started being distant ..

    I might add that another of my former close friends has completely discarded me and taken her broken moral compass to play with STBX in Fucked Up Corner. They’re running/walking/triathlon buddies. But now I can’t go to my book club, just can’t bear to be around her. She and her husband are the highly evolved “non-judgmental” kind of people. STBX told her about the cheating two months before telling me, and recently confided in her about his magical passionate romance, which has been on for few months now. She told book club.

    Thankfully one of the quality women there had the foresight to realise the news would be better coming from her, where I could lose my shit in safety, rather than from one of the star-crossed lovers. Ugly cried/lost my mind all over her kitchen.

    Anyway, that’s how we get to yet another close trusted friend ringing me a few days ago after hearing about the relationship. Listening to me being a mess down the phone she informs me that I’m consumed. CONSUMED!!! With bitterness. And I better not start demanding that she cuts ties with Poor Grieving Widow Kibble Queen. (Which I wouldn’t. I don’t make demands. I’m classier than that!)

    I read others saying their loser ex ended up with a stupid skanky ho and has no friends. This multiple betrayal shit is completely doing my head in.

    • That’s so hurtful when people you thought you could trust become flying monkeys. Not just a shit sandwich but a whole tray of them. That sucks

      What are you going to do? Can you move and get a fresh start somewhere else? Sounds like the water is poisoned for you there

      • Nono I have to admit I’ve been thinking about it. But the school has been so great for the younger two (11 and 13) and they would be devastated to have to leave the home they’ve grown up in, after all the other awful changes.

        I think there are enough decent ppl round here to stay. Have realised that the people he never paid any attention to, or simply refused to be friends with, are the ones with solid values. The circle we mixed in as a couple – with those he would wanted to impress – a lot of them are values-poor artifices exactly like him.

        Plus, leaving would mean he’d won. Fuck that. Not giving him the satisfaction.

        • (((MamaMeh))) so sorry you’ve be let down by your friends and your circle. You’re a devoted mum to prioritize your kids’ schooling and stability. You are not consumed with bitterness. You’re mighty.

    • I was surprised at how many of our “couple” friends were “sympathetic” to me, but not enough to stop being friends with my ex and OW-turned-Wife. It hurts. I feel your pain. Either they can’t fathom the pain and selfishness of infidelity, or they don’t care. In both cases, they are not your real friends. There are better and more worthy people in this world to spend time with.

      Cut those shallow idiots out. You don’t need people like that in your life. There are people with empathetic hearts in this world who will make better friends.

      • Yes Liz you are so so right. Just re-read the chapter in CL’s book, Friends who want to be Switzerland. Good to remember that if they’re not judging cheater – they’re judging YOU.

        If you have to explain why it’s not admirable/honourable/ok to lie to your family – actually the world in general – for over ten years, why a life lived with selfishness and greed as guiding principles isn’t exactly what we teach our children … even if you manage to “help” them understand, the fact that they didn’t to start with means NEVER trust them again!!

    • Yes, discard ALL of these assholes. Start over with new friends. You’re feeding kibbles to The Cheater, too, as these “friends” are telling him how upset you are and are crying in their homes. Cheaters get off on that shit. Go no contact with ALL of them, so you’re not feeding the Cheater.

  • I can be dying inside and remain calm as a cucumber with a smile on my face. That’s probably due to some FOO issues on my part with a narc, alcoholic dad growing up until my mom booted his ass after 25 years and a looooong history of cheating with anything that moved.

    I didn’t recognize the narc I was married to as he hid it better I guess, or maybe because he wasn’t an alcoholic. He’s a physician, book smart, has the emotional intelligence of a nail. He used to ask me to ‘do that thing you do, where you look at other people’s point of view’ when he had a problem with someone at work. I didn’t realize he lacked empathy and just couldn’t do that himself.

    As he was telling his sad sausage woes to young schmoopie (icloud is a bitch if you don’t know it’s synced to other devices), I was lining up my ducks. My calm, cool smile turned out to be a shit-eating grin as I filed for divorce and got the house, everything in it but his clothes (which I gathered and put out for him), my car, some of his 401K and ‘liberal’ visitation for the kids. Oh and 100% of our pets.

    I went stealth mode and internalized that anger to propel me to get er’ done. That fucker never knew what hit him.

    • I should mention my username is twiceachump because he did ditch me when the kids were little for a howorker (twice divorced history of cheating on her husbands POS). I had been down this road before and knew how it would play out. At first he’d play ‘nice’ while he was chasing a ho. As time drags out (which is what the RIC tells you to do), he would get meaner and more demanding the further away from his control I got. I realized this time I had a short window to get what I wanted and told my attorney so. She would send me emails she sent to his attorney looking like she was being friendly and cordial–“let’s get this one wrapped up before I go on vacation”.

      I knew I was done this time and I would never go back to that life with a serial cheating fuckwit. Now my smiles are genuine, happy to live my own life, no controlling and can never make him happy asshole to bring me down.

      New chumps, they don’t change! Whatever mechanism they have in them to cheat is there and will rear it’s ugly head at will. And you will start to see the cheating is just another form of their entitlement and self centeredness. If only I had divorced that asshat years ago before spending 20 years of my life with him. At least I’m out now. The kids and I are genuinely happier AND SMILING without his constant criticism and miserableness around us. Young teenagebarbieschmoopie can have him!!

      • twiceachump,
        I have said it before, not in these exact words but: I love your strength, your fortitude, and how you preach it to new Chumps!
        You are one hell of a strong SHOUT OUT to new Chumps.
        You rock sweet Lady!
        YOU are Mighty!
        Your kids are lucky to have you, then there are also all those new Chumps!
        Say it like how it should be, not how it is!
        Onward and upward!
        ❤️

  • Cheater told me when I said to him our marriage was over, that he did not want a divorce and that if I did it was on me.
    Me: “but you cheated, what were you expecting would happen”
    cheater “we both brought issues to the marriage, so if you want to divorce that is on you”
    yep right from the begining I got the your being angry in our marriage is equal to my fucking men.
    BECAUSE ALL SIN IS EQUAL
    no acknowledgment that most of my anger came for knowing in my gut I was being used and lied to while he with held affection and repeatedly made me feel like I was loosing my mind.

    • Ex: you’re abusive too!

      Because smashing a bottle on someone’s head as you’re being knocked around and strangled is abuse…..

      Not self-defense……

      BOTTOM LINE. THEY SUCK AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ANGRY. Abuse comes in many forms!!!

  • My daily middle-finger-up is reserved for the girlfriend of a former/retired colleague, herself a chump 40 years ago (let’s call her Ms. Bossy Boots), who (without EVER having met me) gave me the following advice:

    1-The best thing you can do for your children is be friends with their father. Um, no, my children would have had me committed & had LESS respect for me had I befriended Hannibal Lecher after news of his at-least-8 years of lies & serial cheating surfaced.

    2-Knowing many of my friends came from CN, she extolled the virtues of finding new friends with whom “I shared more than the sad vagaries of life.”

    Did she just go there–malign my fabulous friendships just because our initial on-line introductions were based on having suffered infidelity?

    I did send a tactful, but very pointed response to the woman to which she responded with a hasty apology & “difference between intent and consequence.”

    So, sunshine for all my CN friends, and a middle finger up to Ms. Bossy Boots for denigrating a community near & dear to me.

    • T, “Girlfriend’s” on the list for a good, solid throat punch next Thursday from me. (Smiles).

      • Im guessing that intent she means there was no intent to cause hurt feelings or anger, and therefore there shouldn’t b

    • Tempest, if you ever feel comfortable doing so, would you consider posting (either here or in the forums) a copy of your response? Along with trying to fix my picker, I am also trying to learn how to politely but firmly tell people to back the fuck off and seeing the kind of note you described writing would no doubt be a great example for me. Thx.

      • I’d be happy to.

        For context, my former colleague had given the woman two guest columns I had written for CL, one advocating that chumps jot down all the horrible things our cheaters did so that we could remind ourselves of the emotional abuse whenever we started to feel sentimental about our marriages, or to lose that “trust that they suck” knowledge. Ms. Bossy Boot’s letter was considerably more preachy and treacly than my synopsis above might indicate, including gems like, “Wallow in the possibilities not the pain,” and “Reward yourself by surrounding yourself with affirmation and hope. Reject negativity and regret, or ultimately that is all you will have. I send this message with real affection for you.”

        This was my response:

        Dear Ms. Bossy Boots:
        I am sure you sent your recommendations with the best of intentions. I am also sure that G [former colleague] has told you I am an optimistic, happy, and compassionate person. I am most definitely snarky and sarcastic, but not negative. You obviously interpreted those columns wrongly, and I now regret sending them.

        I have moved on with my life admirably (IMHO), and the anger is dissipating, but I do not ever intend to forgive an unrepentant, serial cheating ex-husband who continues to blame me for the reasons for his deception and betrayal (in this, I have support from research, moral philosophers, and even a man named Divorce Minister, who claims that the Bible does not support forgiving people who have not repented). Since I am less than a year from divorce and nowhere near finished with the grieving process (as I’m sure you know from your own experiences), your message was well-intentioned, but hasty. Mostly it felt like an invalidation of my pain. I know you did not intend it this way, but I did not need another blow this week.

        I do thank you for trying to help me, but this was not the right message.

        Best wishes,
        Tempest

      • If it helps, the strategies I try to use when confronting someone are to (a) say something positive along with the confrontational message, and (b) to assume the person didn’t mean to offend or to do something wrong. I noticed from watching people I admired that they could confront someone while allowing the person being chastised to person to retain their dignity.

    • I got your intent and consequence, right here, Ms. Bossy-Boots. Suck my big toe while you’re at it.

      I’ve been told by people/friends/acquaintances that I post “too much narcissist abuse shit” or (gasp!) ChumpLady posts on my Facebook page. I tell them to suck it too and unfriend me or ignore my posts if they want, but call me when it happens to them. I’ll point them in the right direction.
      I have bragged, boasted, and praised ChumpLady and the mighty ChumpNation over the last few years, and I won’t ever stop.

      🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕

    • Memo to Ms. Bossy Boots:

      #1. The best way a father can show his love for his children, is to love, and be faithful to, his wife, their mother.

      Amen

  • Better for CL to get those piles of money than the RIC industry. They want to blame us for the sins of others and then smile about it. No thanks.

    Meanwhile ex wants me to exchange pleasantries and smiles with Schmoopie (for the sake of the kids). Again, no thanks.

    And when I ball my hands when I lay them on table in a restaurant or I fold my arms when I am cold it doesn’t mean I am angry and tense until you tell me it does at which point it makes me anxious and self conscious. So now who’s being negative?

    • “… it doesn’t mean I am angry and tense until you tell me it does at which point it makes me anxious and self conscious.”

      Full stop. THIS is what does you in. It’s what makes a chump a chump.

      Feeling angry and tense should not transmute into anxiety and self consciousness at someone else’s whim!!!

    • Gah! This and the arm folding! I’m always cold it seems and was recently told by my boss at work that upper management believed I was angry all the time. How about you men stop jacking up the AC to arctic temps and I won’t have to regularly bundle up or fold my arms when maybe a winter jacket shouldn’t be worn to a meeting…

      • OMG! Mindless upper management. It drives me crazy when I hear ambiguous, off-base “upper management” views of me. Like they sit around in their glitzy executive suite with bad art, and whisper about me over their cups of espresso. Don’t they have work they should be doing?

        Sorry, this is a triggery thing for me…

        • ” they sit around in their glitzy executive suite with bad art”
          So much truth in this, the important CEOS, with no idea of the trials, tribulations, and true grit of the real, front line workers- t he people who get their hands dirty so to speak, doing the real work!
          A little off topic, but aren’t most of the typical cheaters CEOS in their line of work, while the Chump is the real front line worker.
          It was this way for me, just wondering. I see it in many posts, just who is the heart and soul, giving character, the other not so much!
          Great post Susannah. Right on!

  • Oh, Chump Lady! Just when I think I couldn’t love you more, you come up with “the Smile Diktat”! (and the best possible response!).

    Fellow Chumps, it’s coming on the 10-year mark of the first D-Day for me (the second and final about 10 months after that), and though I have long been a resident of Mehville I’ve been finding pleasure in looking back, on both the bad (how I spackled!) and mighty. Life is so much better when you lose the cheater!

    And that is my rainbow for the day!

  • Speaking about middle fingers only on my post..
    When I had cheating soon to be X in basement (after I threw him out of my bedroom) I was crushed, crying I said to him “some day your going to want me back”

    He looked at me with cold black eyes. . And gave me
    his middle finger! I’ll never forget that 😔

    Wasn’t ready to smile then. 👿

  • My abusive ex who I have a protective order against keeps emailing pushing to talk to his son. “Because all boys need that bond with their father”. Um no they don’t. Especially when they are abusive alcoholic pieces of shit.

    Oh but he is going to do right by his son. He is sober now. Bla bla bla. Same old bull I have heard from this man for seven years.

    So here’s my middle figure to you asswipe! You want a relationship? Get a lawyer and take me to court!!!!

    Happy Friday!

    • Would also like to add that asswipe has been in jail for 4 out of the 5 years of my son’s existence! And the one year he was around to play “father” was a nightmare.

      So no, he’s just a sperm donor!!!

      • Hang in there Prisonchump. A loving involved mother is all your son needs. I taught my son how to dribble a basketball, pitch baseballs, whittle sticks, bake a cake, grill a steak, pitch a tent, paint a room, arrange flowers, replace a socket, use a post hole digger, target shoot, iron a shirt, drive a car, golf, to name a few. His cousin taught him how to shave and tie a tie.

        In the beginning I worried that me doing the “dad stuff” would dimish his father and make my son sad his dad wasn’t involved (though he spent every other weekend with him). Then I stopped caring about ex and really started enjoying teaching and doing with my son. He’s thriving in college now.

        You’re mighty PC, the responsible parent your son really needs.

  • Imagining Chimp Lady at the HEB in her Annie Oakley costume roping dirty old men like they were scared rodeo calves.

    But I know how she feels about Texas, so am going to imagine her having a lovely spa day instead.

    Friday’s are usually a light blog day for you (you deserve a light day), but you really knocked it out of the park on this one, Chump Lady

    Thank you

  • The textbook DEFINITION of victimhood is staying with a Cheater after infidelity. Cheaters will get WORSE in their behaviour of you + THEY GET BETTER AT CHEATING FOR THE NEXT TIME!! Plus, the Chump will be a twitching, unsettled mess until the Cheater is finally gone.

    Keep up the good work, CL! Making people uncomfortable means what you’re doing is working – it’s changing the narrative.

  • I have fantasies all the time of subtly giving fuckwit the middle finger if I have to see him in court or somewhere. I won’t do it and I am sure no good would come of it but I can dream.

    • Like casually scratching your cheek with it, or pushing your glasses up with it, in his direction! Ha ha, I love It! You should do it!!!

      • I never said Mother -ucker so much as that year, both to him and under my breath.
        I am not a person that swears. I was so mad.
        Got me out to enjoy a cheater free life though!

  • So meh I don’t even care about what the critics say!

    Maybe you get to meh on a Tuesday and super meh on a Friday.

    I won’t even expend the energy on the middle finger when half an eye roll will do

  • since d’day I am no longer the sad angry person that I was married to the cheater.

    Has anyone else experinced?

    • Yes, over 2 years since I left shithead and I’m back to my naturally upbeat and friendly self. Not being around a twat who endlessly criticises and belittles you just grinds the joy out of life.

    • Oh my gosh, YES. I am a MUCH happier person. I’m still not at meh yet, but wow – my life is so much better. I’m lighter inside and don’t feel like I’m carrying this massive burden around inside me anymore. It is wonderful!

  • Fuck that shit. I’ll snarl as much as I damn well want to.

    That’s one of the many joys of being single!

  • It will be interesting to see how many male Chumps have had the smile police nag them. It does seem that society feels more free to tell women what to do, what to think, how to act, etc.

    I got the command to “Smile!” I also was told, many times, that I was smiling too often, too broadly, too suspiciously. I was told that traveling was “running away from my problems” and that “you think too much.” Really, it just seems that there are a lot of entitled, disordered people around who lack self-awareness and healthy boundaries. Now that I’m practicing on setting firm boundaries and enforcing them, these people are generally not coming out of the woodwork so often. I think I’ll use Tracy’s, “Thanks, I’m good” next time.

    Oh, and another favorite I just thought of. When I’m in a coffee shop clearly reading or studying, or in line in a grocery store, and some random old guy thinks I should watch his performance of whatever; whistling, imitating Donald Duck, telling a bad joke. Funny how they never try to interrupt the guy sitting next to them. I’m done with playing nice. I am not their audience!

    • As a male, I’ve never been told to smile. Total double standard . But I think the corollary for men is to suck up and deal. Very low social interest in hearing men complain, even from other men. Even when it’s about having to pay alimony and child support to a cheater and watch her use it support her life with an AP, and paternity testing kids, and having your kids moved 1,500 miles away. I envy women their ability to hear and support each other and love that CN is based on our common interests as chumps.

      • Too bad that women and men are not allowed to experience and express the full range of emotions, isn’t it ? Fear, sadness, anger, disgust , shame and joy. If you’re a woman who looks angry, you’re labelled a bitch and if you’re male, no fear or sadness for you. You’re deemed a wuss !

        There is work to be done and Tracy is leading the movement.

      • Nomar, I hope you can get full custody of your kiddos and then make no more child support payments to her

  • Just a reminder that our goals are pretty clear:

    * Leave a cheater. Gain a life. That’s not “bitter.” That’s aspirational. That’s imagining our worth exists beyond a relationship to someone who actively refuses to value us.

    * Get to Meh. Not to Bitter Bunnyville. Meh. That means we want to move through the anger and the bitterness and the grief to a state where the cheater is not central to our life or our emotional state.

    * Practice our Mighty. Learn to hang wallpaper, run the yard tractor, caulk the bathtub, raise kids on your own, get in shape, find new interests, sort the Switzerland friends and the users out and embrace friends with character, reach out to others in need. Adopt a shelteret. Get rid of clutter….so much mighty.

    • I completely agree with your sage advice, including, “move through….to a state where the cheater is not central to our life or our emotional state,” with one caveat:

      I like my meh with a splash of tabasco sauce. Moral indignation, and even anger, is warranted if it is for a purpose. Anger drives change; I doubt Mario Savio was completely at “meh” when he stood on the steps of Sproul Hall and launched the student Free Speech movement. I doubt Rosa Parks was at “meh” when she refused to relinquish her seat on the bus and propelled the Civil Rights movement forward more quickly.

      Our anger is justified; our prolonged anger is justified, IMHO, as long as we build a great new life, while using that emotion as a mechanism for changing the narrative.

  • On New Year’s Eve 2013, an hour before we were walking to a party with our 7 year old, dday occurred. A partial disclosure about an ea (a lie) in the form of a terrified confession. I was in a state of shock. We all know that tingly numbing nauseating tightness. So what did chumpy me do? I put on my party clothes and attended the party in a stupor. And guess who smilingly grabbed me for a kiss at midnight? It still pisses me off that I behaved in a way that protected his feelings and image. Like a good girl, I did not make a scene, I smoothed my skirt, reapplied my lipstick and looked the part. I should have let him own the fallout, but instead I internalized it all so he could say “phew, there, I’m in the clear, it wasn’t bad, I’m not bad.” So that when I finally freaked the fuck out, guess who looked totally cuckoo pants? Not the guy who grabbed me and kissed me at midnight. The bitter harpie, who is clearly unstable and not well, we can kind of see how a guy who’s so loving would feel the need to look elsewhere for comfort. She’s nuts.

    People on the outside don’t see the weeks months years of playing this role and how your brain and heart are in constant conflict. Being physically ill for no reason. Insomnia, vomiting. Being told over and over in a “there there you confused child” patronizing voice that the fucking sky is green what the hell is the matter with you, does a real number on you. And I’m supposed to react to that with warm cookies and a smile so that others aren’t uncomfortable? Not anymore I’m not. Insert the fuck you middle finger emoji right fucking here.

    • After Dday, I still prepared and hosted two nights of Passover seders, full of my outlaws, not giving anyone a clue to anyone of what had just happened. Had to keep everyone happy. We do it until we have the power not to do it.

      My middle finger (one of the) was throwing the remote control of “his” tv down the garbage chute. Drove him crazy looking for it.

        • During the two weeks between ending the pick me dance and kicking cheater out I would spit on the clothes and in the shoes he had laid out before getting in the shower. It wasn’t easy to muster up meaningful spit at 6 am when my home and family were falling apar. But somehow I managed 😉.

          • Sunrise- After the final D-day and before I actually filed. I pee-d in his “special bottle of booze” NO one could touch it and I always had to buy it along with groceries et. I just sat with a smile when he would come home to make his drink from HIS bottle…… brings a smile to my face today.

    • Wow @hollowbunny does that ring true. Got told after the pick me dance that I lost and still went out the next day and hosted a skating party for 19 (kids, family and friends) while he pretended he was the life of the party. It was only after I told people a few weeks later that they were shocked I could hold it all together while I was dying on the inside.

  • And I’ll just make the point that my dear friend is dead because she left that smile on through a shit-ton of abuse that she didn’t want the world to know about.

    Be real. It can save your life.

    • If this is too painful to think about, then just ignore my request. Do you think at any point you might want to share the story with us? Do you think it would help others? Obviously your grief is still very new and raw and it wouldn’t be appropriate. But I hate to see that someone was victimized and because of the way society is, it minimized her feelings and her pain until it killed her. She deserved better. She can’t ever get the justice that she deserved, but maybe we can help someone else. That’s the only thing that really keeps me going sometimes, it’s painful to dump about what happened to me into this blog. But I just keep thinking that I’m contributing to a knowledge base, and that my experience might help some future new chump someday. I hope so anyhow. Sending you big hugs, and I know I can tell you how sorry I am for your loss, but there’s nothing I can do to really help. I wish I could. You’ve been through so much, and you’ve been so brave, I hate to see you in pain. You deserve so much better than this. So did your friend.

  • It’s all nonsense anyway, CN is a place where bitterness falls away and is replaced with gaining a life and meh – I have felt bucketloads of smiles (and hugs, support, love) coming through on threads where people have shared their experiences of becoming mighty, leaving their pain behind and making new fulfilling lives. Just because our smiles are not directed and the cheaters who abused us and caused monumental problems for us, doesn’t mean we’re not smiling…

  • Things that might have made me smile, pre dday, if they had happened: any and all evidence of a faithful, thoughtful, loving, truthful, empathetic spouse.

    Things that legitimately make me smile often, though they of course cause some headaches, now and then, too, because real things are like that: my kids, my dog, my students, my colleagues.

    Things that make me feel deeply joyful, though they may not involve a smile: sunrises and sunsets, very kind and thoughtful notes from my kids, my gardens, walks in the forest, the act of taking and editing photographs, writing, the sight of my dog resting peacefully nearby, wildflowers, golden autumn days and chill autumn nights, kids trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns flickering, pumpkin spice anything, October in general, a house filled with my kids and their friends, the months of living on my deck, the first and last snowfall.

    Things that might make me smile giddily if they ever happened: all laundry in the house completely done and put away, no papers to grade, not one single student struggling, my hair spending an entire summer free of frizz.

    Thing that used to make me smile when I was entirely in the dark about my own life: the day after a long session of what I thought of as making love with the STBX. Would smile just thinking about it all day long. Of course, I had no idea that the stripper relationships, bar hook-ups, and hotel room trysts were already well underway by then.

    Thing that will bring peace and freedom though likely not an outright smile: finalized divorce with fair settlement, and permanent freedom from the cheater who harmed so many people with his life of deception and manipulation.

    See, there? I am chipper as fuck. I am downright perky, all things considered.

  • During MC when I mentioned feeling like I was constantly being criticized, put down and devalued, ex and the MC tried to convince me that it was all negative interpretation on my part and that ex was just trying to offer constructive criticism.

    When I told ex that he would have to give me his I-pad and cell phone overnight so he couldn’t be in contact with Schmoopie all night, he changed the subject and harangued me about having sent an e-mail to my family with a typo in the headline (you need to proof your e-mails better, that makes you look stupid). He had similar criticisms about typos in the texts I sent him (of which there are many, I have fat fingers). If I loved him, I would proof those before I sent them but if I don’t respond to his texts fast enough that proves I don’t love him either. None of that was constructive criticism, it was just criticism, changing the subject and false equivalencies (E-mail and text typos mean that I suck as much as he sucks for cheating and who can blame him for cheating on someone who can’t spell).

    When I spent hours getting an AC unit that was too big for the window with the frame installed, sealed and working in our attic bedroom in August (thinking that maybe he would make love to me if it wasn’t like a sauna in there), he came home, took one look and said “that looks terrible”. That wasn’t constructive criticism it was just criticism.

    Fuck you ex and fuck you MC. It wasn’t “negative interpretation” on my part, he really was being negative.

  • This post speaks volumes to me so I’m going to speak back. As a human being, we have maybe 6 Fuckwit Tornadoes that can set down in a person’s life:
    1. Bury a child, spouse or best friend
    2. Extended illness of self or immediate family
    3. Loss of spouse and half of family due to Infidelity
    4. Home destroyed by fire or natural disaster
    5. Career setback and major loss of income
    6. Experiencing Trauma or Violence

    Divorce due to infidelity AUTOMATICALLY ticks number 3 and 5! Every time. Most of us could tick a few more. Personally, I hit the lottery on boxes One Through Three.

    The fact that Infidelity Happens a lot does not diminish the damage it does. The fact that people consider it Natural does not make it less than a Disaster.

    Sometimes I look at my son’s urn two years later and wonder if the backpack I could not bear to look through is still at the Coroner. It contains all the pain unleashed by his death, and I can only unzip a little whisper at a time and still function. I can only drive by the barn where his body was found gripping the wheel tightly.

    People seem to understand this pain. They do not understand that while some of my family is dead, Some is dead to me, and the pain is still real.

    I no longer flinch when I see a Chevy Malibu. I no longer care what Cold Cuts is up to. That’s progress. That’s how long it takes. That’s normal.

    Divorce by Infidelity is the only major negative life event where we expect such a short rebound period. Unaware people reading CL don’t realize these are not the same Chumps posting daily- this is. Triage Center for Survivors of Fuckwit Tornadoes. The old guard like Tracy and LAJ and Tempest stay because they know Chumps Freshly Bleeding from a million little cuts need a Lamppost a a Way. The largest number of faces are in fresh Hell. The graduates are out living and loving again.

    Jesus! Don’t let anyone tell you this place is negative or you’re negative. Remind them of all the shit you did today that they probably could not stomach. I remodeled an entire house for fucks sake! Rebuilt a deck and a shed! I don’t think there is a surface in or this fucking place that Cold Slab O’Meat has touched that hasn’t been painted or replaced aside from bath towels.

    And I’ll replace those too.

    I’ve kept my job. I’ve radically altered my spending habits. I’ve done all the profound positive changes while the actual inflictors of harm continue in blissful oblivion.

    The other day I had to pull out my daughters custody agreement for a doctor appointment and had a good laugh about her cheatin’, convicted wife punching dad’s lawyer’s hot take brief on my asking Granny not to smoke in front of the baby. ‘While client acknowledges he was not at all a good husband but has been a good parent.’ ‘Client states that Mother has started to use profanity toward him on two occasions and is concerned for the minor child.’

    Hahahahahaha! I cheat on and push and hit my wife and let my mother smoke in front of a baby, but it’s YOUR CUSSING that’s really the problem. That’s all you got? I cussed when you pulled the rug out from underneath me? Who wouldn’t?

    Don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong, or don’t ask me for help and compassion when a Fuckwit Tornado visits you.

    I’m not bitter. I’m exactly where I need to be. I didn’t install that sink plumbing two months ago with Namaste and Dum Dum Lollipops for tools. There was cussing and wrenches. Plumbing and Infidelity are perfectly appropriate times for cussing. And wrenches.

    • Beautifully put and profound, as always, Luz. I hate that you won the 1-3 lottery, but love what a pillar of resilience and wisdom (and cussing!) you are to CN.

    • Luz, you’re amazing. To think of all the fuckwit tornadoes you’ve endured, and you still have your creative, fighting spirit. And have mastered plumbing repair. Christ, that’s mighty.

    • Luz, OMG…the cussing! What a mortal sin! You will burn in the fiery bowels of Hell! I’ll save you a seat!

    • Luz,
      I’ve said it once, I’ve said it many— I freaking love you!!! You are my hero that I espouse to be.
      You are mighty and awesome!!!!
      Big ups to you!!!
      And hugs.
      And a chocolate-raspberry torte.
      😂❤️😍👍

    • And as for the profanity: If you don’t like my fucking swearing, you can fuck off and cover your precious fragile little ears!

  • The opposite of “my love” is NOT the angry bitter I had initially for my stbx…it’s my INDIFFERENCE as I now just don’t give a fuck about the emotional shit. What I care about is the business aspect of my divorce, my financial future which I’m leaving to my new attorney. He’s going to filet that MF’er and I’m quite OK with that. 😏 But my middle finger most definitely salutes him and his VILE ODIOUS WHORE with a “bless their hearts” added.

    • FM – glad you are back. You didn’t sound well at all the last time I saw a post from you. Now you are a warrior Queen. Welcome back.

      • “The fact that Infidelity Happens a lot does not diminish the damage it does. The fact that people consider it Natural does not make it less than a Disaster.”

        The fact that 1 in 4 woman get breast cancer does not make it a less devasting disease.

        Perfectly stated Luizana. The response I’ll use when unknowing people try to minimize my experience.

  • Sunshine today. Texas is a fault state and my cheater ex is a dumb ass who didn’t even bother to answer the divorce petition. I guess he thought I would be the chump I was for the last decade of the marriage. Wrongo dumb ass. I got everything. So I sold the house a few months ago and used some of the money to payoff the debt accumulated from living with a loser who wouldn’t contribute his fair share. And the rest is going towards a down payment on my new little dream house. I sign and close today!

    I’m leaving in a few to get the cashiers check, have a margarita, then go to title to sign. (It’s fiesta time here in south Texas, so yeah, margaritas at lunch are not only not frowned upon, they’re encouraged 😉)

    Oh, and I bought a purple couch because fuck it. It’s just me and I love purple! 😀

    Have faith, y’all, life is so good without a cheater!

  • Cheater ex told me how “negative” I was after finding out about MOW #2. That deserves the middle finger then and now

  • Nice, smiling, hugging are not the signs of happiness. Nor are they always authentic. I think a lot of these folks screaming “bitter bunny” might not be willing to acknowledge that the “happy” folks in their lives may very well behave completely differently behind their backs. They might be embryonic chumps accepting the nice at face value. They’ll be here soon enough, unfortunately. This is not a finite group. I try not to think about it, but I’m sure I was in the “gawd get over it” group at some point in my younger days. Until it coldcocks you in the face, you really don’t know.

  • “dcurbanmom”? Really? What, “the real housewife of DC” was taken?

    All of us had every right to be pissed, for as long as necessary, for what we went through. And one of the many reasons this site gains new followers is that many chumps–myself included–were so brainwashed by society’s apologies and blameshifting for cheating that we weren’t angry enough. We were stuck, CL and CN helped us move forward, and now we’re trying to do the same favor for others. We’ve moved past our anger to a better place, and we’re sharing how we did so.

    It’s not “vitriol.” It’s common sense that’s been muddied by decades of people “understanding” cheaters. The fact that dcurbanmoms claim it’s vitriol shows just how disconnected they are from human experience. By their logic, cheating on an exam is acceptable because you weren’t getting the answers from your teacher. And domestic abuse is understandable if your spouse made you angry enough that you had the right to give in to your basic, biological animal instincts.

    Wow! Look how quickly we got here: dcurbanmoms, you are wife-beater apologists. How’s that for a “fuck you”?

    • Lol, there is a troll that pops up under burner accounts on my posts regularly to either say I deserved to be hit or for my son to die.

      For the record, I was walking AWAY from my ex spouse when he punched me. He had to come across three lanes of traffic to do so, and then try to prevent my son and me from leaving by blocking the car doors. My son managed to crawl in the other side. When he ran around to try to pull him out. I got in the drivers side and we sped away. It was about power and control. That day I woke up and found my angry.

      I just, I dunno what the logic is there. Advocating for cheaters, wife beaters, and sufferers of severe bipolar to die speaks everything about her character, and nothing about me. It just reveals ugly.

      • This hurts my heart to read. Try to imagine yourself posting stuff like that even to Cold Slab–someone who actually deserves ugliness. I bet you can’t. You can’t because you’re a normal person with normal feelings who doesn’t try to torch someone’s emotional field after it already burned down in a brush fire.

        This forum and everyone on it is lucky to have your voice. You really are the cheese to my chump macaroni. 🙂

      • Trolls like that are sick and broken people. Have you heard Lindy West’s account of speaking with her worst troll? It’s fascinating and it made made me realize how ordinarily and pathetic trolls are, especially in the face of people who have qualities that they envy.

  • “Smile! It can’t be that bad!,” said the moron on the hospital elevator. “Young man,” I replied, “this is a hospital. I assure you, it certainly can be that bad.”

    • That’s profound.
      My grandfather was a physician and he said there were only two types of people in this world: sick and not sick.

      And infidelity makes you deathly ill.

      We all know the physical symptoms that happen: diarrhea nausea headache severe weight gain or loss, insomnia or sleeping to avoid life, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, extreme fatigue, crippling depression and usually bodyaches.

      But I wanted to add this odd, gross little note that only this website tribe would appreciate.

      On the day that I discovered the evidence that the ex was cheating, I was wearing an Irish linen shirt. My body produced some type of chemical – imagine a rotten egg odor – it was some type of body odor flop sweat on steroids. The moment I began reading the texts my body begin producing this odor.

      I washed the shirt 4 times in Tide and Woolite, Dreft and Percil, laid it out in the sun and had it dry cleaned. It still smelled repulsive.

      I had to throw it away. But think of the trauma infidelity inflicts that it made my body -I imagine it was my adrenal gland’s?- produce such a strong, intractable odor that it was like skunk smell.

      What a metaphor. Middle finger to every mother fuck who diminishes the trauma.

  • Sam Vaknin, a diagnosed narc author, says that narcs are deaf,dumb and blind if their egos are being massaged. You would think that narcs would see thru a flimsy facade but that isnt necessarily true.
    My point is,know thine enemy. Its really hard to not loose your shit with these bastards but at some point make an effort *to give them a taste of their own medicine* be their bestie!(not really) Whatever it takes to get the divorce you know is best for you. Once you have secured that for yourself and your kids give them a great big Johnny Cash finger.you know the pic😉

    • That does work sometimes. I told ex that if he bought clothes for the kids they would be better dressed because he has good fashion sense. Worked like a charm. He buys their clothes in spite of the child support that is supposed to cover that expense.

  • If you aren’t hurt, angry, pissed off and thinking (NOT actually doing) of retribution, after being lied to and cheated on, you weren’t in love!!!

    I have friends who claim their EX and former AP spouse are their best friends. I tell them; ” you were never truly in love”. They become indignant and defensive. And, 1 has never spoken to me since.

    Have a Mighty Weekend CN !!!!

    • I think I have to respectively disagree. I loved my ex very much, and I still care about what happens to him. Please don’t think I never was in love with him. I was.

  • Now ex, he was the master of negative interpretation. No matter what I did it was proof that I didn’t really love him as a wife.

    I read Harry Potter to the kids in a clearly deliberate attempt to blow him off and not give him the attention he needed and deserved.

    One time I let it slip that I hadn’t enjoyed the movie that he had picked out to watch that night. Clearly I hated his taste in movies and had no desire to ever watch a movie he had picked out ever again because I thought his taste in movies sucked.

    When I spent years making lunches for him and put little heart shaped notes in with those lunches so that he would know I was thinking of him, that didn’t mean that I loved him like a wife, that meant I was mothering him. I guess the notes weren’t raunchy enough.

    I wasn’t always instantly horny when woken up in the middle of the night so I clearly didn’t desire him and was dissatisfied with him as a lover.

    I didn’t make enough money at my job because I didn’t care enough about him and the kids to be awesome at work. When he complained about the lack of income, I then spent too much time at my job (which lead to a promotion and raise) so he was being neglected because my career was more important to me.

    I didn’t do the laundry right, load the dishwasher right, wear the right clothes, I did an inadequate job of keeping the house clean and tidy etc, because I just didn’t love or care about him enough to put in the time to figure out how to do it right. When I did take the time to try and do all of that right, it was because I was looking for excuses to do other things and not give him my attention.

    Letting him have hobbies and hang out with friends so he could get a break while I looked after things at home meant that I didn’t want him around.

    Letting him have female friends didn’t mean that I trusted him and had faith in him, it meant that I didn’t care if he cheated on me.

    I am a vegetarian who doesn’t drink which was such a burden on him even though I cooked meat for him and never tried to stop him from drinking. I didn’t love him enough to change.

    Other men had perfect wives, kids, and immaculate houses. He didn’t. Life was so unfair. He got stuck with the loser wife, inadequate kids, and lived in house. Poor sad sausage.

    I tried to get him to count his blessings and learn to appreciate the life he had and be more positive. Clearly I wasn’t sympathetic to his victimhood.

    Oh yes, and I didn’t smile at him enough.

  • My lollipops? I didn’t breed with the fuckwit. I sent his dirty cheating ass with his joke of an engagement ring packing. My smiles? His recent text saying “I still love you and think about you every single day xxx.” Course you do moron, the silence burns like a motherfucker. You keep trying to find a boat to grey rock. My middle finger? Not today Satan, or any day, ever. Enjoy your sad existence. We are mighty.

  • Well it’s entirely possible it’s my internet connection, your URL was blocked, or the millions of clicks broke the server… but I couldn’t get the article to load. Since we are all bitter chumps, let’s hope it’s the latter! Hey, I said that while I smiled!

    I’m super sorry if my emotions are an inconvenience. All the great people who have changed the world by championing human and civil rights didn’t always do it will a smile.

    The psychological profile of victim mentality includes a pervasive sense of helplessness, passivity, loss of control, pessimism, negative thinking, strong feelings of guilt, shame, self-blame and depression. This way of thinking can lead to hopelessness and despair.

    Not once have I ever heard CL or CN encourage any of these. CL promotes mightiness. Anger is not synonymous with negativity, and from my understanding, those who do not like this sight, see it as negative. Let’s review 6th grade vocabulary, shall we?

    ANGER
    noun: anger; plural noun: angers
    1. a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
    “the colonel’s anger at his daughter’s disobedience”

    synonyms: rage, vexation, exasperation, displeasure, crossness, irritation, irritability, indignation, pique;
    annoyance, fury, wrath, ire, outrage, irascibility, ill temper/humor;
    informalslow burn, aggravation;
    literarycholer
    “his face was livid with anger”

    antonyms:pleasure, good humor

    NEGATIVITY
    noun: negativity; plural noun: negativities
    the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.

    (And by that definition I guess expressing criticism of this sight would also make The criticizer negative. “BUT, but, I’m only trying to promote positivity!” Yeah, you don’t get to change the meaning of a word based on your intentions. Well if you are a cheater, an apologist, or a hypocrite you probably feel entitled to!)

    COMPLIANCE
    noun: compliance; noun: compliancy; plural noun: compliancies
    1.the action or fact of complying with a wish or command.
    “they must secure each other’s cooperation or compliance”

    the state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards.
    “all imports of timber are in compliance with regulations”
    synonyms: obedience to, observance of, adherence to, conformity to, respect for
    “compliance with international law”
    antonyms: violation

    unworthy or excessive acquiescence.
    “the appalling compliance with government views shown by the commission”
    synonyms: acquiescence, agreement, assent, consent, acceptance; More
    docility, complaisance, pliability, meekness, submission
    “he mistook her silence for compliance”

    antonyms:defiance

    Really what these critics are failing to correctly express is;

    1) Their annoyance (read negativity) with CL’s criticism of cheater apologists. I’m sure it goes against their RIC hopium smoking. But if you believe in something so strongly, criticism of it might make you feel negative… and we can’t have that! Unicorns and rainbows people!

    2) CN’s failure to acquiesce to their definition of social conformity. Better do it with a smile, and for gods sake, do not say anything that would bring a hint of displeasing emotion!

    3) In speaking out with anger, we have failed to comply with “their” rules and standards, thereby aggravating their pessimism of non-positive emotions.

    CN criticisms of cheating is in no way encouraging people toward helplessness, passivity, loss of control, pessimism, negative thinking, feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame.

    We here at CN encourage self-advocacy in opposition to victimhood. If that offends your pessimistic attitude toward anger, well you keep on smoking hopium! I was once addicted to it too… and boy was it easier to believe in hope instead of facing MY reality. Which by the way IS MY REALITY, and I’ll thank you to keep your fucking rainbows and unicorns out of it!

  • I was a crying, sobbing mess when I found ChumpLady and ChumpNation. Of course I was, I was grieving because I was being abandoned by my husband for an OW and my son was going to be another “broken home” statistic.

    Months into my recovery (from being a Chump), I found my anger (note: never bitter) and it FUELED ME into action I was unfamiliar with – putting my needs first. As a result, I hired a lawyer… I filed… I went no contact… I got the settlement and custody I wanted… I won my freedom. I don’t think I would have achieved that without my anger… my righteous anger for JUSTICE.

    Now, almost four years out from D-day #4 and one year from my divorce, I do smile. I smile every day at the snark I find here… I find humanity here… I find support here… I give my voice here… I know each and every one of you because we share the same pain… and I know you are all MIGHTY.

    I come back every day not so much for my own sanity (though there are still days when the fuckwit gets in my head as I have to co-parent)… but moreso, I come for the strength that exists in our ability to find HUMOR AND LAUGHTER in the face of the most intimate of betrayals. And, to let the newbies know… being broken is a choice. DO. NOT. CHOOSE. IT.

    Karma and time are the great equalizers… truly. I’m joyous most days because I can see how blessed I am to be minus one fuckwit and plus one awesome kid. I’m more successful in my career now that I was during my marriage. I run my home my way (and my kid and I are thriving).

    Anger, bitterness? Nope… PEACE… that is what CL and CN have given me.

    Rock on Chump Nation – I love you all.

  • My ex just asked his AP to marry him in a Facebook post made public (I am sure) so I could read it.

    Ha ha, you are still so concerned about trying to make me feel bad, even your proposal is designed around it. Pathetic.

    He’s a cheat and she’s a blackout drunk. Good luck with the married bliss!

    I won. I have my kids, my house, a great career and my dignity.

    • OMG! So pathetic. What a lame attempt to upset you. Talk about cringe worthy. Anyone that can’t see thru that crap is an imbecile, like his skank fiancee.

    • Wow. Nothing says “classy” like a FB proposal! I’m embarrassed just reading about it.

      You mention that the post was public, but if you block both of them, you’ll never, ever have to see that crap (yes, it’s completely pathetic) again.

  • No fucks given to the now irrelevant ex.

    But wishing all you Mighty Ladies a Mighty Friday. Love you all.

    Smiling that Bill Cosby is jail bound, the California Rapist is also caught, waiting for all the creeps who made the #Me too movement come to justice.

    Wondering why the universe keeps showing me articles about the factors – smoking, drinking, lack of sleep, lack of real emotional contact, contribute to early death. Guess who daily demonstrates all these activities? the Irrelant Ex. hmmm…

  • Middle finger to my ex cheater who destroyed our finances, has abused our kids and has the gall to say that we all are happier now. Well we are happy that he has gone. I am sure he and schmoopie number three will have years of bliss.

    Chump lady deserves 👍as this column is so helpful to me. It has saved my sanity, keeps me laughing and I look forward to reading it each day.

  • Can you imagine someone telling a person who just tragically lost a spouse or child to just smile? It is quite simply called society minimizing what we have been through.

  • I am fine now, and the kids are (finally) fine, but I don’t think that having your entire life changed IN EVERY SINGLE ASPECT – and that happened without your knowledge or consent, is something you cannot be furious about.

    Now I am calm about it all, it is safe for the kids to tell me stuff. About how their insane-in-their-reactivity-to-eachother parents neglected them at that time, how much it hurts to lose their home and old way of life, how much they hated me slagging him off, that they know their dad is a twat but they still love him. I love my kids.

    Hats off to you Chump Lady for telling it like it is. And that site is wrong. The State of Meh and Tuesday tells people they will get over this. One of your most important posts (along with Monkey Love) was to tell Chumps to Get Over It.

    Your message is spot on. Cheating is abuse, don’t tolerate abuse, get away from abuse, choose better next time, live a full and happy life. Spot on.

  • This goes beyond infidelity, chumpdom and divorce. Our crazy society has this idea that you have to be happy, happy, happy ALL the time and if you aren’t you should be on Prozac.

    It’s crazy, often people are not happy or depressed for a reason. No one knows what is going on in another person’s life !! I have seen people crying in their cars before and it would be a real asshole move to say “Smile” to that person who may have suffered a death of someone close, been reminded of a sad memory or could have been diagnosed with a fatal disease.

    I remember my Dad’s doctor wanted to put him on Prozac after his stroke because he was depressed. My Mom’s response to the doctor “If you had a major stroke and many of your memories were wiped out and your hand was permanently paralyzed and you could never work in your profession again, would YOU be a little depressed” ?? The stupid doctor had no response to that.

    • I really hope your dad was allowed to get the Prozac. Depression isn’t about sadness. Everyone feels sad and has ups and downs. Depression is about being stuck and not being able to climb out of the sadness.

      It’s caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Anti-depression drugs will help rebalance that, and, along with talk therapy, can help to alleviate depression.

      Of course he was depressed, because of the state of his physical health. I really hope he was allowed to get some help for his mental health too.

      • Hi Cardigirl, it wasn’t clinical depression rather it was that he was sad at his situation. He overcame it without medication and was fine.
        I understand about clinical depression and how medicine can help but SSRI drugs are too readily dispensed sometimes in my opinion.

        • Thanks for the reply. I’m glad to hear he was fine. I think people fail to get treatment that could help with their mental health because there is a stigma attached.

    • I had a doctor who wasn’t a psychiatrist push an SSRI onto me without a complete mental health evaluation to help me “cope” with situational depression until the stressful situation passed. He said it was a safe drug and I could start and stop it with no complications.

      Not only did I have horrible withdrawal symptoms after stopping it, I had a rare but known complication that caused permanent hearing damage. From a drug I never really needed to take that was prescribed by a doctor who had no business prescribing it to me.

      These drugs are frequently prescribed irresponsibly by non mental health professionals. They’re not candy, they can do more harm than good.

  • Sometimes I’m angry and bitter. My choice, I earned the right. I let people see it. No spakling. But today is lillipops – my youngest posted this on Facebook.Today is my birthday

    “I’m not sure how I’ll ever be able to express what my mom has done for me. It’s not fair to put it down in words and I think that’s because she’s been a mother to so many others that she hasn’t realized what she’s done. You haven’t just raised my sisters and I. You’ve inspired an entire group of nasty women! Because of you we will be who we are meant to be! Because of you we will move forward even if it’s one tiny step at a time. Because of you we know to stand up for our rights. Because of you we know how to fight even when we feel that we can’t. Because of you we will lean on each other because you taught us how. BECAUSE OF YOU WE WILL RISE! Every breath you’ve take is a breath of hope you’ve given. I love you, mom and you need to know it. I will never know how to thank you for all that you’ve done not just for me. Thank you for everything.”

  • I”m struggling. In my mind I’m done. I don’t want him, he’s not worth anything, I do as much No Contact as possible.

    In my emotions, though, I still feel so raw. So rejected. I don’t even want him! Who cares if he rejected me? I am just so angry that I am here with the kids (whom I love, don’t get me wrong) 24/7 and he is off screwing someone 20 years younger. I am not religious but I do pray they both get antibiotic resistant gonorrhea. That would be my sunshine, and maybe a middle finger too.

    I am stuck in many things right now- trying to move, work is going badly, not least due to the past few years of bullshit from him, waiting to get mediation done – and I just want to close the door on this asshole and move forward and away.

    I am so sick of him and his constant ‘poor little me’ routine. Not one ounce of thought or care for his 3 children, yet wants to post pictures of them on Instagram to appear like a Real Dad. He’s still on our family cellphone bill, and I can see around 200 texts per day between him and his stupid girlfriend, and how often does he communicate with his children? Maybe one email every 3 days?

    It just feels so shitty and I don’t want to have him in my life for the next decade. He doesn’t respect the boundaries I put up and only thinks of himself. It’s all the same broad strokes of the story I read here every day. I’m so bored of living it. I am trying not to let it suck me down into depression but it’s hard.

    • I can relate. I’m sorry you’re feeling so raw. I was able to get my feet under me a little bit, psychologically speaking, when I was able to get my Ex OFF of my bills. He thought I should stay in our house, buy him out, and HE should get a new place…though I had moved there with him ONLY due to his Army orders! When I finally acknowledged that he wasn’t giving up OW, I decided to move to my parents’ town in another state. I got my own cell phone account and immediately cancelled EVERYTHING I was the primary on for our joint life (cable, Internet, Netflix, etc. etc.). In addition to my clothes, I also packed up the TV, all the loose change, spare batteries, condiments and spices, household cleaners, and toilet paper, and all our pets, and hit the road. I sent him a courtesy text about shutting off the Internet after the fact. So I did get some small satisfaction in knowing he was there surrounded by 13 years worth of our joint life–furniture, pictures, the few cheap costume jewelry trinkets he had gifted me over the years…and no toilet paper. And I didn’t have to look at his name on my statements as much, and that did really help. May you heal and prosper more with each passing day, and may your miserable ex get what he deserves.

      • I should add that we didn’t have kids and I had to get the all-clear from my lawyer first, before I left and began cancelling service accounts. But taking each of those little convenience items and leaving the big, substantial, or sentimental items for him to face helped me. When you are drowning, sometimes you just need to hold onto a floating log for a while until you catch your breath.

    • ChumpYOU

      Nobody mentions how boring it is being stuck in the here and now. You just want it over so you can look up and move forward. I’m sorry you are going through this.

      We should make up an official I Hope They Both Get Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhea prayer. Made me smile. I will think on this.

      {{Hugs}}

    • ChumpYOU, 6 years ago I was where you are now. I felt like I had lost everything and the Ex and OM were having a grand time while I was broke and miserable.
      Fast forward 6 years and I am remarried to the love of my life, we are building a new house and I have never been happier. My Ex ?? Apparently OM isn’t SO wonderful, they burned through my 401K money and the alimony is gone since they got married thus their poor money management skills are causing them much grief and they fight all of the time (per the kids). My 3 kids have grown and oldest is doing well in college and younger 2 are in High School busy with their own lives.

      Point is that even though it is awful right now, in the future it DOES get better (as CL says “you will have your Tuesday”). Just take it a day at a time, take the high road and do the best that you can and say every morning “today I will have a good day” and really try to. Good Luck !!

  • All I have is a big FUCK YOU! Recently, ex mentioned in an email that he thought my “Chump Club was like a bucket of crabs,” implying that we pull one another down.That club saved my life when I was contemplating suicide. It helped me see why he needed to GTFO! If I am bitter, oh well. It is my right. People still think I am heck of a lot more fun than he is….

    • Hear, hear! Calling the raw pain of new Chumps and the hard won snark of the Meh and Mighty bitterness and vitriol is so ridiculous. It’s like walking into an ER and saying incredulously, ‘Wow! Sure is a lot of blood and puke in here! And the nurses keep making sick jokes.’

  • That whole “smile honey” thing always baffles me. I don’t give a fuck what some stranger’s face is doing, why the hell would they care about mine?? I have the same reaction to those idiots criticizing Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Don’t like us? Think we’re bitter bunnies? No problem – just click that little X up there in the corner and go about your life. WE know that this is where understanding and comradeship (Is that a word? It looks weird) and the kind of snarky humor that makes me glad I have my own office so I can guffaw away in private keeps us sane and moving forward. If they don’t get that then they aren’t “one of us” anyway.

  • I have a reason to smile today!! I’m almost 2 years out from the last of many D-Days. While my FB profile is locked down, part of my “therapy” has been to share the occasional post publicly (sometimes CL posts with color commentary), just in case Asshat’s new GF trolls my page.

    He’s smeared me to her so I can’t really warn her, so I’m kind of trying to passively warn her and others because I believe he told her we were broken up before they got together – just like he told me about his previous ex.

    So occasionally my friends will see these posts and give me sage advice about letting go of anger and moving on blah blah blah. And I am doing that, but I don’t need people who don’t know the story – or don’t want to believe or understand it – telling me how to live my life.

    But it was all worth it! This week, I got a message from a woman I don’t know asking me if the ex I was talking about was Asshat.

    Sure enough, she’s a long-time friend of his from high school who was recently cheated on by her man and, bottom feeder that he is, he swooped in to woo her in her time of need – unbeknownst to his current live-in girlfriend of two-plus years.

    Long story short, we talked at length. She was in shock because he seemed like such a sweet, nerdy, innocent, sad sausage who would NEVER hurt her. But she ultimately confronted him with her new knowledge of his GF to which he replied, “It’s so complicated. I wish I could explain it to you.” No denial, though.

    So if I saved just one Chump from getting Chumped again, listening to all those, “smile, don’t be angry” comments was worth it!

    I tried to get her to tell the GF because she deserves to know. I don’t know if she will, but I still feel this is progress.

    Bottom line, I’m not gonna hide my anger because it makes other people feel all oogy inside for just this reason. If they don’t like it, they can unfriend me!

    • When I see “It’s complicated” as one’s relationship status on Fakebook,I know I’m looking at a narc’s page

  • It pissed me off to no end when people would tell me I was acting like a victim! I would remind them that there is a difference between being a victim and being victimized! I was victimized by my Ex and Schmoopie and they had a running start! I had every reason to be angry. But a victim, NO! I let my anger work for me in the settlement! I am a VICTOR now! That’s my middle finger to them!

    • For awhile after D-day, we are going to act like victims, because we ARE. The psychological devastation was un-fuckingbelievable. I, like everyone else, felt as if someone had beaten the dickens out of me, run me over with a pickup truck, and tried to remove some of my internal organs through my belly button. Under what other trauma are people told to stop behaving like a victim?

      “Hey, I know your house was swept away by Hurricane Sandy, but stop playing the victim!”

      “Jeez, you got mugged and beaten up on Bourbon Street? Shouldn’t have been in NOLA to begin with; stop behaving like a victim.”

      “Hit by a drunk driver and now you’re in traction? Smile! Life’s not bad, don’t act like a victim.”

      • So true !! My Dday and divorce was more stressful than my father’s sudden death and funeral, a serious cancer scare and a sudden job loss COMBINED !!
        It really pisses me off when people who have no clue what you are going through tell you that it is no big deal and to get over it.

      • And. . not just “someone,” but rather the one and only (in my life) person that I thought loved me the most, supported me in all aspects of life for 26 years, the other person on the planet closest to my children as he is their father. Nope to all! That best friend, soulmate, husband was a con artist and my mortal ENEMY. That really has messed with my psyche.

  • It seems that people are always telling me how “angry” I am, that I need to “let go and forgive”. I’m in therapy, have been for several years. I’m actually seeing a new therapist that is AMAZING because I felt like I was stalled with the first one. Both of my therapists (and my children’s therapist) have all said that yes, I’m angry, but it’s a righteous and justified anger because of the abuse and affair. Additionally, my anger stems from the continued stupid crap that the ex pulls on a regular basis, it’s not from ruminating over things that happened years ago. They tend to relate because it’s a continuation of the same, but he’s always going to be a fuckwit and I’m always going to be pissed with him and his continued abuse of my children, his continued inability to be a father or even a decent human being.

    People who haven’t experienced betrayal and abuse don’t know what they are talking about. Take your smiles and your advice and shove it. I will continue to seek help through a professional and will work on healing my own issues, as well as learning to put up boundaries and coping strategies to handle when he lies to the kids, fails to show up or is just his usual colossal fuckwit self. Again.

    CN gives us a place to vent the horrors that we have lived through, to commiserate in others pain and find comfort that we weren’t the only chump out there. CL is changing the narrative, and people don’t like it. But infidelity is out there, and it’s time to start talking about it!!

    Thank you Tracy . . . you’re a Godsend!!

    • People who have never had to coparent with a fuckwit have absolutely NO CLUE about how difficult it can be. No matter how much you can’t stand your Ex, no matter what they did to you, if you have kids with them under 18 you HAVE to deal with them whether you like it or not and if you don’t you can go to jail due to court orders being broken
      .
      I call my Ex “the gift that keeps on giving (kind of like Herpes)”. When my wife & I started dating she did say that it bothered her that I would sometimes get really pissed off at my Ex. I explained that I was long over her but I had to deal with her and she was ALWAYS trying to pull some crap. Sure enough my wife quickly saw what my Ex was always trying something and how maddening it can be. In fact my wife works with a bunch of women and they actually play a game when they are bored which is “What will Laughing Gator’s Ex try next” ??

      • My boyfriend and I pretty much do the same thing!! He gets so incredibly frustrated by what a horrible “father” the ex is, how badly the ex treats my kids and the continual emotional abuse. Thankfully I have sole custody, and a very limited visitation schedule (which fuckwit picked) so there is no co-parenting, and visitations are typically very brief. No shared info, unless the kids feel like telling him something (which they never do). They are old enough where they can make the decisions about what they want him to know and what they don’t want him to know. But I’m protected from violating court orders because he gave up custody (thank GOD right there!! That was an absolute miracle!) I always adhere to visitation because he threatens me constantly . . . with empty threats, but (being the “victim of abuse” that I am, it still stresses me out!)

        The OW gave fuckwit herpes. So he is the epitome of the gift that keeps on giving!!!!

  • Good morning great Chump Nation. Thank you CL for validating my feelings and process as I navigate life post Dday! You have made ALL the difference!

    Sunshine & lollipops report from Meh 3.5 years out from Dday/3 years from GTFO Day, 1.5 years from Divorce (newbies, hang in there, meh takes time and only happens after D is finalized, but it WILL come):
    *just returned from second of two amazing vacations this year — Maui 7 weeks ago and Caribbean vacation with lovely BF and my teenager and his teenager last week– it was wonderful, peaceful, relaxing, filled with love;
    *my expanded career that I’ve worked so hard on since Dday is growing by leaps and bounds;
    *two weeks from today I move into the home of my dreams with lovely BF and our teenaged kids who weighed in on this decision a year ago and have been planning every step of the way and are also VERY excited.
    *my future feels so bright!

    Now for the middle finger: To those who say anger is “bad,” FUCK YOU! Anger is a call to seek justice. Anyone who tries to quell anger is trying to shut you down. And justice I sought and fought for and received! X and his young golddigging whore tried to take everything I ever worked for in my life. I waged a battle that would make my Viking foremothers proud. I did not lay down and take that abuse! I refused to sit down and shut up and “act like a lady.” HELL.NO!!!!!

    In my divorce trial I got full custody, all real estate, all cash on hand, alimony, full child support. Over 70% of what we amassed over 25 years. In a heartbeat, though, I would have traded it all for a husband who was devoted, loyal, respectful. . . but he wasn’t and HE chose to act the way he did (devalue, discard for the whore de jure), and therefore, CONSEQUENCES, mofo! I am no Plan B. I was not going to accept poverty the rest of my life while X spent assets I worked my whole life for on his whores and drugs. Hell NO!

    To anyone in my life who judged me or questioned my anger and “bitterness” immediately after the devestation of Dday and the literal hell of false wreconciliation and the soul crushing of pick me dancing and playing marriage police and the heinous shit X did in the divorce I say “FUCK YOU ALL!!!” Until you walk in my shoes you can just go FUCK YOURSELF!

    I have noticed that most of those who tried to shut me down and judge me are cheaters! Go figure!

    I hope cheaters and affair partners who troll this site hear the mighty Chump Nation roar feel our fury today! Yeah, I’m talking to you, motherfuckers! We are NOT taking your shit (blameshifting, false victim, gaslighting, bullying, fear, intimidation, etc. etc. etc.) any longer. We are fighting back for what is right and due and owing to us! Our basic human rights! And we are going NO CONTACT to cut off your supply of kibbles and cake and we are going to fight like HELL to get what is ours and then we are going to have the best revenge on your sorry asses ever: we are going to live excellent, peaceful, cheater-free lives! And, you won’t even get to see it because we will block you on all channels! HA!

    • Absolutely MotherChumper99!! It’s that call to justice, our refusal to sit down and take it, that makes people so uncomfortable and squirming in their seats. I got a LOT of judgment from family and friends for fighting the ex in court. I should have just settled with a dissolution and be happy with whatever he offered to give me. Nope!! I have sole custody, spousal, assets AND half of my legal fees!! Woohoo!! It’s good to stand up for what you rightfully deserve.

      I used to tell people that I just wanted what I was granted BY LAW. Nothing crazy there!!

  • I say smile. The devious thoughts of their dick falling off makes me smile.

    Too harsh!?!

    I say smile. Best revenge is a happy life.

  • Made the mistake of reading the comments section on that site and I had to control my blood pressure. Some people DO NOT GET IT. If they hung out here for more than a few days, they’d realize how much Chump Lady’s narrative is NEEDED. There are far too many people who say, “Oh, there are two sides to the story…you have to look at WHY the one spouse cheated, because he/she wasn’t getting their needs met, so they had no choice…” which is absolutely and total BULLSHIT.

    There are far too many people who blame others for their own choices. It’s time to stop with this utter and pathetic crap. CHEATING IS A CHOICE. And that choice has severe and devastating consequences for those affected. I’m sick and tired of this, “But…you don’t know their side…” I don’t NEED to know their side. They made a CHOICE to destroy their families, to destroy their marriage vows, to gaslight and abuse and manipulate and LIE because their “happiness” was more important than anything else.

    NO MORE. I will not be silent about this.

    • The majority of people have no idea that “gaslighting ” is anything other than a movie. And then they really struggle to find the motive involved. Was there jewels sewn onto the ows dress? They could never imagine that someone would do something so evil simply…because they can. To accept that is to accept that there is evil in the world. And the last person who wants anyone to come to that conclusion are the people who gleefully partake in gaslighting others. They also like to use words like vitriol. And tell you to smile.

      • Yep, exactly. Only once you’ve done your research into the evil that is narcissistic personality disorder/antisocial personality disorder (ex has one or both of these), you realize that they do it just as you said: “because they can.” In fact, my ex TOLD me that. When he was trying to sleep with me after D-Day, and kept telling me he wasn’t with the whore, I almost fell for it. But then I did find out they were together. I later asked him how he could do that – try and sleep with me while he was with her (and he said he left because he fell in love with her); and his response was, “Because I could.” That said everything to me. Entitled jackass.

    • There’s a novel concept known as “discussing your needs like an adult with the other party, and if that doesn’t work, divorcing”.

      No. These fuckers have the emotional intelligence of a tantrum-throwing toddler and NEED to have someone on the hook as a fucking safety blanket no matter what, like the narcissistic shitheads they are. The concept of going out into the world alone is unacceptable to them.

      Fuckwits.

  • I’d like to ask the RIC people……if you had a business partner and found out they had been skimming profits off the top, and selling company secrets. Would you STAY in partnership with this person? You find out they have been ripping you off for years. Do you smile and forgive ? Why is it any different with a marriage ?

  • Sunshine

    Today would have been my 40th wedding anniversary. Add the five years we dated and it would have been 45 years of toxic.

    I’m seeing my granddaughter perform tonight and going to a chump meetup on Saturday. Hooray for dumping a cheater and gaining a life!

    Lollipops.

    She gets to suck a stick dick and claim it’s the best. Yeah, I’d rather be called frigid than service an ice cold shrunken dick. Maybe it’s more like a Q-tip.

    MiddleFinger

    Nonverbal communication works. Wash those hands Nanthony. Fingering a dogs anal glands is a shitty job but I’m sure you’re well trained in assholes. Boom! And no one wears a beach cover up and faded 30 year old wedding shoes to a wedding.

    I’ll keep on rocking in the free world.
    #sucker

  • I smile when it’s genuine and I have something to actually smile about! Not for a fake reason or to make someone else comfortable. Being chumped made me feel I’d never smile again, I remember thinking that. Those were some dark days, which I’m still healing from. Healing isn’t linear or neat, but I attribute the considerable work I did on myself in feeling my real feelings, for getting through it as I did, without becoming a bitter shut-in drunk. Which I kinda was, in the early days. Trying to force your will onto other people’s facial expressions is a micro-aggression, in my opinion. Fuck that! I don’t dance to commands anymore motherfucker.

    • K

      Genuine smiles come from within.

      Assholes will try to crush you because they can (try)
      Some will be ambivalent
      A minority will celebrate your smile – these people are your tribe

  • I smile because I’m happy to be free. I always was smiley but somehow that got lost when I was married. The middle finger up is wonderful. I was 51 when the Twat left and my friends egged me on to go internet dating. WTH, I had been married 26 years but just to get them off my back I gave it a shot. I saw all the “romantic, sensual, loving long walks on the beach” female profiles and wanted to throw up. I am none of those. So I wrote “fat, 50 and menopausal, not interested in your car or your pay check and if you really want to know what I like in bed it’s complete control of the TV remote and a cheese sandwich”. I got SO MANY replies from NORMAL men it was hilarious. I had a great time meeting some very nice men for coffee or dinner. One (younger) man who contacted me was a very successful Spanish lawyer. Mr. Testosterone +. He was loaded (I went to his penthouse) but I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in his money. He actually offered to pay off my new mortgage (to buy the Twat out) because “I have given more money to the Prado than that”. When I thanked him but said no thanks because you can’t put a price on freedom I knew we had it made. We still communicate occasionally even now although we are not together. He had his furniture hand-made in Milan and was “throwing it out”!!!! My son and his gf had just moved in together so he said tell them to get a truck and they can take what they want – hence the Twat knows I was dating a rich guy. He didn’t like that one bit! Ha bloody ha. After that a colleague who I had known for 25-30 years started asking me out and the Twat found out that he was very highly placed – as opposed to the skank that my ex ran off with. Boy did that make him mad – trust you to go out with a diplomat – but I wasn’t with either of these men for their money or their status so middle finger up buddy. Enjoy!

  • So…when people say to me, “hey honey, smile”, I look at them, and say with a completely blank expression on my face, “oh, did you say something funny? I didn’t catch that. Please say it again.” And then I stare at them expectantly, still not smiling. This has made at least some of the Smile Nazis uncomfortable. When I am told that I smile too much, I inform –those– commentators that I am not smiling; I am, in fact, baring my teeth.

    My Cheater X Fuckwit used to tell me after I reacted to his abuse that I was “acting like a wounded buffalo.” If only I had come up with a smartass retort for that. Or acted like a wounded buffalo and gored him in the nuts.

  • For myself ,it actually helped walking around smiling, knowing that in the long run I would be ok, and convincing myself that being a chump wasn’t the life for me. I wasn’t going to let the behaviour of a wayward wife, bring my mood down. I actually would have a laugh knowing she had chosen the affair Partner #loser ,over somebody like myself #winner. Give out what you want more of, Karma.

  • This site , these people enable me to keep going. Just having someone confirm that what happened in my marriage was wrong was the most liberating thing. Infidelity is not one single, isolated event that then is over.The aftershocks rumble through my life all too often, causing uncertainty and doubt about finances, children, the future. I’ve been living on a fault line for years and years, never quite able to relax and assume that things are settled now. I’m not bitter- I’m bruised. I’m scarred. I’m prepared for the worst. What I usually say when told I have a resting bitch face is ” I’m not resting.”

  • Hello Chump Lady,

    It’s Sarah P. from EAJ here.

    LOL, that first sentence about strangers telling you to smile. Seriously, I cannot count the times men have told me that. One day I asked my female dermatologist to “tell me the truth” because I was getting that smile comment so much I wanted to know if I really and truly had “resting bitch face.” Of course, we laughed and she assured me I did not have resting bitch face and we mused about whether or not that was a medical condition and if it could be fixed. But, maybe that is because she knows me and we tell off-color jokes every time I see her and we spend the whole time laughing. That’s when I smile– when something is funny. And unlike a trained poodle or a Playboy Bunny, I cannot “smile on demand.”

    I LOVE your site. Most people (especially the male dominated patriarchy don’t like strong women changing the narrative.) But, someone has to tell The Truth, especially when it is not in a person’s best interest to stay in a marriage. Even though I write about unicorns and what a unicorn would actually look like if it crossed someone’s path, I make it clear that unless it is a genuine unicorn, don’t waste your time. I always said if someone cheated on me, I would leave. And I always have. I also got an A in leaving my (almost husband) cheater behind. Hysterical bonding? No. Hook-up sex? No. Pick me dance? No. Cake eating? No. Lawyers? YES! No contact? YES. Even HR got involved because he worked at the same company– and wouldn’t you know the head of HR was a woman, a great friend, and who had been abandoned by her cheating husband to raise their baby on her own. So, she did everything she could in a work context and issued a formal “do not go near Sarah statement.” But, we did NOT have children and that is the difference. If that happened now? I really don’t know what I would do. It would depend on a million variables. I have children. I have been married to someone I met after the break-up for 15 years. But, everyone is different. No one should feel ashamed for hysterical bonding, or wasting time in the pick me dance, or hook-up sex with the ex, because we are all human. We all process grief in different ways. And it does not matter if we did not leave the right way because there is really no right way to leave. The goal is just to leave when you have enough strength to do so. We still have a right to empowerment, anger, and a place to help us move on. We have a right to swear. We have a right to be “uppity people.”

    But that is not the point. Your site is not negative. Your site makes people look at “what is” versus “what people think it should be.”

    I have met some betrayed spouses who want to tell themselves a story so badly that they refuse to recognize the most egregious cheaters. I don’t understand why anyone can do that.

    Yes, the DREAM is GONE. That is tough as heck to swallow. You think you have one relationship for 30 years and then find out you have been married to a duplicitous cheater. That is probably the hardest thing to go through (aside something bad happening to your child.) I would rather be cheated on than have something terrible happen to my child, by the way. Hopefully it will never come to that.

    But, I choose my children first. ALWAYS.

    Here is why some people might have an issue with your site. There is still a very strong narrative alive that the ideal woman is a lot more stupid than her husband and has some outrageously implanted body. And she spends all day cooking, opening his beer, NOT HAVING OPINIONS, and then being a “sex doll” at night.

    Well, oh my gosh. Some of us went and got Master’s degrees. Some of us have two or three of them. How terrible!

    Men have told me that stupid women are not a threat. They will never challenge a man in any way. They will SMILE all the time because men love smiling female faces. It makes men feel accepted. It makes women look approachable and easy to men. If a woman baby talks, she seems helpless and that brings out a man’s night in shining armor side. Remember how women would drop their handkerchiefs and faint in ye goode olden daze? A man could pick up that handkerchief and catch the woman is his manly arms. A woman who is helpless and non-threatening makes a man feel safe and POWERFUL.

    Now here is the ultimate juxtaposition: you, Chump Lady. You are giving people who have been victimized all kinds of ideas that show them how to free themselves from their cheating abusers and become empowered. The average cheater/abuser does not want that. You are changing the narrative. Some people don’t want someone like you to send Toto to pull the curtain to show Ye Mighty Wizard is just a tiny, controlling man, creating smoke and mirrors to make everyone think he is the All Seeing and All Knowing and All Powerful man. If I am correct, you seem to feel infidelity qualifies as a type of abuse. I feel that way too. That is a very hard message for people to swallow. But, infidelity meets all the requirements for abuse (in my opinion.)

    There are a lot of cake-eaters out there who hope and pray their betrayed spouses do not find this blog. Because you clearly explain what is happening to the betrayed. You help the betrayed wake up. A lot of people will call you negative because of that. Negative is a code word for “she is scary because she gives chumps ideas they should not have! Censor her!”

    That’s my take on it.

    The next time someone asks any women out there to smile, I would ask all you to say: “Now why do you as a stranger feel you have the right to tell me something you want that is not owed to you? That is a lot of entitlement, don’t ya think?” Then you give a snarky SMIRK (but don’t smile.) If someone actually does this in real life, do tell. I want to hear all about how the person who asks for a smile reacts. (My guess would be that they would get either defensive or sad sausage.)

    Don’t let the haters get you down. I like reading your blog because it makes me laugh and the advice is right on.

    I know there are some who write their ‘best selling books” to pander to the masses. (The folks you mentioned.) I have not read their books, but I would imagine if they are best sellers, the authors are telling people to look at that Big and Mighty Wizard, keep Toto on a leash, and pay NO attention to the white curtain.

    Happy Friday!

    Sarah

    • “I have met some betrayed spouses who want to tell themselves a story so badly that they refuse to recognize the most egregious cheaters. I don’t understand why anyone can do that.”

      It’s called cognitive disonance. Cluster B’s are good actors. We trust, invest and believe. Denial is a powerful force and then there’s the slow boil. Trauma bonding is a thing, look it up. Just a hint of victim blaming. Let’s not minimize how hard it is to break the patterns of abuse with a manipulative narcissist at the helm.

      And with years of therapy the victim realizes the impact and in hindsight can see the insidious nature of being broken down piece by piece until we are in the darkness. How each and every perception was off and the harm delivered to the children at the hands of a selfish Narc who uses them as onjects.

      There isn’t a chump who does not beat themselves up for being duped, believing, or staying.

      Changing the narrative is in fact understanding the glue, the very loss of power and control in a relationship, having enough, and finding the courage and strength to use that last ounce of strength to face the unknown. That is Mighty.

      Hoping this fills in the blanks.

      • Hello DoingMe,

        Thank you for calling me out on that. I certainly do not want to come off as a victim blamer. If anyone was triggered by my comment, I apologize in advance.

        If you have experienced being broken piece by piece until you find yourself in the darkness, I feel very sorry that you have gone through this. I too have gone through it and I know countless others have gone through that or are going through that now.

        So here is my original comment again.. “I have met some betrayed spouses who want to tell themselves a story so badly that they refuse to recognize the most egregious cheaters. I don’t understand why anyone can do that.”

        It should have occurred to me to place several different caveats rather than writing so freely. Since CL brought up the Bercht books, I was referring to people I have met who follow those books as The Final Word even if it means they are being emotionally abused and having to shove down what they know is true in order to believe an affair is the best thing that happened. I should have said that. The second thing I should have said is that the comment does NOT apply to people who have Cluster B’s in their lives. Some of the best, most trusting, and smartest and kindest people I have ever known are fooled by cluster B’s. Why? Because cluster B’s target such people. I have many stories. My ex was a cluster B and it took several years of telling people what happened and asking if they could make sense of it before I ever heard of cluster B’s. Finally, I should have said the comment does NOT apply to people in trauma bonds. The research that I have read (very sadly) has reported trauma bonds are the most difficult to break. I know that one too.

        So, my apologies to you, DoingMe, and my apologies to everyone else who I triggered by my comment.

        For those who know me, my mantra is: cheating belongs 100% to the cheater and it was an informed CHOICE that the cheater made. The victim cannot cause and did not cause someone to cheat because it is truly impossible to make someone do something. If we had that much power in our marriages, we could have the power to affair proof them and make the cheater NOT cheat. But we cannot because nothing we do or do not do can cause a person to cheat on us. Cheating is a choice– one of many– and the person who chose to cheat did it and the burden is 100% on them, not the betrayed spouse. I have noticed there are many books out there that like to take a look at what the victim did to cause their spouse to cheat. A very long time ago, before I knew about Cluster B’s, I would wrack my brain trying to figure out what I did to cause my ex to do that. Once I realized that NO ONE can cause another person to cheat– it’s a choice– it caused a huge shift in thinking and was a big relief to me as a betrayed. I stopped blaming myself for “making him cheat on me.” So, when I write, I bring the message out again and again that the betrayed spouse/chump CANNOT share the burden. If they start to share the burden, then the blame shift starts to happen.

        However, I did not make that clear in my comment and that was a BIG MISTAKE. My sincere apologies.

        For anyone who has been in a relationship with a cluster B or thinks they are in a relationship, I am very sorry. I have been there. It’s an alternative universe of sorts– one that messes with a victim’s mind. It’s a terrible place to be and I can only hope for healing for everyone.

        Chump Lady, if you are reading. You probably wonder why I keep popping in. I found out via my readers that many pop back and forth between the site I write for and your site. NOTE: I am not the founder of the site I write for– it’s not my site. I am a writer, who also went through a horrendous experience with a cluster B (that could have taken my life), and I also happen to have a Master’s in Psychology. No, I do not practice. I like to write about these topics, but I do not want to practice. So, I will get emails asking if I saw something or other on your site and I will pop over. I really enjoy reading your posts and think that you are doing a great service to the world of affair recovery.

        Plus, I am still trying to figure out how two curly headed American women with the same glasses both ended up getting Master’s degrees in England– and how both of these women ended up being chumped and blogging about it. It’s not everyday I meet such a person and you are the first one I have come across (in person) besides myself. So, this is very interesting to me on many levels.

        Blessings,
        Sarah

        • PPS- If anyone is wondering why it took so long to recognize cluster B’s or hear of them, this was well before my psych degree. My first Master’s was a Literature degree from a British University. After I started getting therapy for the trauma and figuring out what happened, only then did I hear about cluster B’s. Several years later, I went and got a second master’s degree (in psychology.) It is a recent degree and I finished it about 12 years after the end of the messy break-up. I had always been interested in psychology, but that horrendous experience with my ex was basically the round about path that led to a degree. I NEEDED to know more for my own sanity. A degree helped me understand the BIG picture– one that therapy had not adequately provided. There are great therapists. It’s just that the ones I saw were still working off the old marriage counseling model where they look at what both people did wrong. They told me about cluster B’s but I still did not get it. I decided to go to the source material and a degree helped me do that. Hopefully not everyone will have to take such radical measures ti understand it. But that is what it took for me to let go of every last ounce of the voice inside my head that kept asking, “How did you cause him to do that?” I am not someone who ‘gets it’ immediately and I have to keep returning to a topic until I “get it.” Because of this, I literally did not read until I was 8 years old. So this has been a challenge (my understanding of something) my whole life.

  • I am SO ANGRY today. I read CL every day, and I usually find something useful or interesting in every post, but, sometimes, a post resonates with me so much that I re-read it and HAVE TO talk to someone else about it because it hits me in such a deep and resounding way. I am two years out from my separation from LadyLiar and I am doing better than I ever believed I could during that soul-sucking relationship. But I am still trapped in a horribly dysfunctional workplace with a narcissistic boss, and I. HAVE. HAD. IT.

    “Smiling is one of the warmest gestures a person can give to another person. It’s especially warm when children smile because it’s a sign of genuine happiness even if it’s for a slight moment – that smile is appreciated. This is why I am extremely uncomfortable when strange men tell me to smile. It’s overbearing, invasive and slightly eerie for men to tell women (that they’ve never seen or met before) to smile. I can’t help but to wonder if these same men that are commanding women to smile also tell other men to smile? Telling a woman to smile, even if your intent is purely innocent is dictatorial and it shouldn’t happen.” (erika hardeson for the huffington post, 2016)

    Smiling is required emotional labor in service jobs. We are required to not only provide courteous service, but to act like we LIKE serving, even when we are yelled at, ignored, dismissed, called names, threatened, and reported to our supervisors for not getting down on our knees and (metaphorically) sucking the customer’s dick. This is a power trip for entitled assholes. To demand we express an emotion is a violation of a woman’s autonomy and her humanity.

    • Wow, CurlyChump. You took me right back to my stint as a waitress when I was looking for a job while having an essentially worthless Master’s degree. I worked for $7/hr in a very wealthy neighborhood at a cute French cafe and deli that had live jazz and excellent food (all homemade stuff daily, from scratch). Do you think I got tips? Uhmm, well, if $15.00 in tips after 8 hours of work counts as “tips” then yes I got tips. But, the customers were nuts. One of the stars of Melrose Place (Josie Bissett) lived in a condo in the neighborhood right after the show ended. Her sister and her handler would ‘order’ for her and ask us not to look at Josie while she sat there and they ordered for her. Then they never tipped. Well, how about that?

      One time a couple of women in their power suits came in and I was making lattes. Somehow in their minds they felt that the fact I was looking at the latte machine and making lattes for customers meant I was giving them “the evil eye.” So they smugly told my boss. My boss (who was also the owner) knew me well and many of the customers said I was the most courteous and friendly employee to ever work there. So, I asked him, knowing me, if he really believed that. (Especially since that was the ONLY bad thing he ever heard.)He did not believe I did that, but he was afraid these two women might go and tell their office that some waitress gave them the “evil eye” down at the cafe and to never go back because, oh my goodness, they too might be victims of “the evil eye” too. (I don’t even know what the evil eye is, by the way). What you said about getting on your knees and metaphorically sucking a customer’s dick resonated with me. Prior to working as a waitress and when I was a customer, I always tipped fairly. But, after I got my own high paying corporate job about two months after giving those people the (alleged) “evil eye” I have since given 20% or MORE to all waitresses, manicurists, hair stylists, and anyone else working a thankless job in the service industry. I even leave generous tips (usually 15%) when I order take out. Your comment so perfectly summed up how I felt when working in the service industry. This was my favorite sentence that you wrote: “To demand we express an emotion is a violation of a woman’s autonomy and her humanity.” That is a quotable quote! -Sarah

  • “There’s an ever-growing body of evidence that female professors are rated more harshly than their male peers on things like classroom demeanor, which means the stakes of “not smiling enough” or appearing “too outspoken” can become very high. As reader Michelle explains:

    For years I’ve been an adjunct instructor. I get exhausted smiling, always being cheerful and pleasing. I know that fewer smiles would mean lower student evaluations, less enrollment in my classes, no work. I genuinely love teaching and care about my students. The extra emotional energy that goes into always being sure I’m pleasing would be better spent on real professional concerns and authentic emotional expression. With a paycheck on the line, I have to let this slide.”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/10/what-its-like-when-a-coworker-tells-you-to-smile/505493/

  • I was 20 years old ..an exchange student at the University in Martinique. I went with my friend to check out an apartment for her . I looked around and generally kept out of the way. As I sat trying intently to follow the French conversation, the would be land lady said to me…”souriez mademoiselle! Vous etes si serieuse!” I have since some to realise I have resting bitch face.

    Fcuk cheaters! I repeat FCUK cheaters!
    Power to the chump revolution!

  • So, CN, your Friday challenge is to fill the comments with sunshine, lollipops, and middle fingers. Or whatever your angry, bitter little hearts desire.

    🎼🎶🎵”….Sunshine, on my shoulder…makes me happy…”🎵🎶🎼
    My “Sunshine’s”:
    My three kids, ages 24, 18, and 9- my oldest DS literally screamed with delight and fist-pumped the air with delight when I called him and told him his step-father was leaving-
    My friends that answered my call to arms when I called them and told them of exh2’s shit
    Chump Lady and the mighty ChumpNation
    Facebook support groups

    Lollipops:
    Are fun things like getting dressed up to go out and have fun, be social, do stuff I want to do when I want to with the pain in the ass skulking around… Sleeping in, cooking, cleaning when I want to, etc.

    Middle fingers up:
    Song I immediately think.of is “Deuces” …
    “…You ain’t nothing but a vulture
    Always hopin’ for the worst
    Waiting for me to fuck up
    You’ll regret the day when I find another girl, yeah
    That know just what I need, she knows just what I mean
    When I tell her keep it drama free
    Chuckin up them (deuces)
    I told you that I’m leaving (deuces)
    I know you’re mad, but so what
    I wish you best of luck
    And now I’m finna throw them deuces up
    I’m on some new shit
    I’m chucking my deuces up to her
    I’m moving on to something better, better, better
    No more trying to make it work
    You made me wanna say bye bye
    Say bye bye
    Say bye bye to her
    You made me wanna say bye bye
    Say bye bye
    Say bye bye to her….”
    🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕
    Chucking up the bird to the following:
    DCUrbanMoms and such that act like dumbasses or twittering birds acting like I should just forgive and forget … and be nice to my cheating, lying, stealing, non-paying-child-support, abandoning, dick
    I have nearly mastered grey rock, and am 99% no contact with him Deuces, bitch…
    Mrs. Dumbass for being so damn dumb…
    The RIC
    People that believe exh2’s bullshit
    And anyone else that pisses me off.
    Deuces

  • I had a work colleague fuckwad who kept telling me, “Smile!” (I was sitting at my computer typing. Sure, I like grinning inanely at the screen.) I finally slapped my hand on my desk as I jumped up and growled at him, “I’m baring my teeth — will that work for you?” as I demonstrated.

    Worked better than all the nice, dulcet tones I had been using in previous conversations on the matter.

    I was 24 then; 57 now. I’ve only gotten worse with time. 😂

  • You were this close (holding fingers together) to me going to counseling but you have acted too crazy in your grief….FUCK YOU POS stbxh who for 28 yrs I devoted my life to and raised our children, put my career second so you could build you…FUCK YOU….and thank you for the alimony!!

  • My reply…”and you were this close (holding fingers together) for me to hit you in the nads with my 5 iron, except you have no balls and it would have been a shame to waste such a good swing on you!”

  • The only reason that these people are pissy about your site is because they are engaging in the same deceitful shit themselves – whether that’s by cheating (which there is NO valid reason to do – how about the novel fucking concept of expressing your needs and/or ending the relationship before you fuck someone else – but no, its all about having your needs met first, isn’t it?) or by other general fuckwittery/disordered behaviour by stomping over others boundaries in general – and they’re pissed off at the fact you’re calling them out on their shit.

    The response to that? Keep doing it. These disordered clowns will up the ante on their shitty behaviour, then either 1. explode (whether thats internally or externally is not your problem) or 2. they’ll realise that people are onto their shit and self-correct.

  • 30 years ago I made the smile comment to another woman who became one of my best friends, but not befor letting me know how much that sucked! It was such an acceptable thing to say to a woman, tha even. another woman would say it!

  • I think only the most deluded doormats with no self-respect believe that CL is negative. And some cheaters of course. I just cannot take people seriously who forgive and forgive after affairs, and keep throwing love at their cheater to ‘keep’ them and to please them. It’s disgusting. Those people would never be my friends, and I have no sympathy for them. They choose to be cheated on, by condoning it and never imposing any consequences on the cheater.

    Any person with a brain knows that cheaters suck and anyone with common sense knows that what CL writes here makes sense.

  • Wow I’ve spent my entire life not knowing what to say to people who tell me to smile! Thanks to CN I now have some classy answers!

    My sunshine: my kids who are important enough to me to not want to ever cause them to lose respect for me.

    My lollipop: I’ve just been on a wonderful holiday, as the finances have not yet been split and as I’ve retired and he hasn’t, it’s paid for by him. Technically it’s still half price sale time…..

    Middle finger: refusing to cooperate with his financial shenanigans and insisting on financial disclosure.

    Power to CN, we will smile when we are with people that deserve it.

  • It was THIS SITE that changed my whole life. Literally. I’m not out of the shit storm yet, but my whole mentality has changed from wondering why I wasn’t enough, to “screw you! I was a damn good wife and mother, I wasn’t perfect, but ya know what?? I was LOYAL. I honored my VOWS.” I literally have deleted, blocked, removed, ignored, anyone who has even remotely hinted that they are “neutral” or they want to list all the reasons why cheating is justifiable. Sadly, before finding this site, I would have listened to that bullshit. Now, I know better. It’s quite simple really, if you’re not happy, sit down like an adult and have an honest conversation. Get a divorce. Or separations. Don’t go gamble the future of your family and then try to justify it. I’ll never forget the day I found chump lady. I was sitting in a recliner in the living room. Heart broken. Wondering why my husband is such an asshole. Was I not pretty enough? Was the OW better? Was I not attractive after giving birth? He seemed so cold and my devastation didn’t seem to phase him at all. I pathetically googled “husband isn’t sorry after cheating” and voila! chump lady’s site turned up in the google results and my life hasn’t been the same since. I visited this site daily and read the archives, saying to myself “yes!!” or “OMG! That’s him!” I finally felt like I wasn’t alone. I finally felt like I CAN forge ahead and create a new life without feeling like I’m ruining my kids forever. I’m learning to drop the shame that doesn’t belong to me in the first place and forge ahead with my head held high. I’m learning to set boundaries WITHOUT guilt. I’m learning to eliminate people from my life who are not supportive of me, or who play the “neutral role”. I’m not over the pain yet but I’m a whole lot better than I was. So, THANK YOU Chump lady!!! You alone have changed my life and have given me more strength than anyone else has. Screw those sites with all the people saying how “angry and bitter” you/we are. Ummmm, YES I’m pissed off that my life, and kids’ lives have been turned upside down because my husband is a jackass. Sorry if I can’t be a “positive Pam” about that. Bummer. My trust has been shattered, and it will take years and years before I can fully trust again. So, yeah, I’m angry. Livid actually. And that’s OK!

    • This video is a Chump parable. Also good for repainting walls. ❤️

      As for strangers telling me to smile? I haven’t got the spoons.

  • Sunshine: My ex is the one who acts upset and angry. He’s the one who cheated, but you would think that I was the one. We can never have any type of communication without snarky remarks from him or a refusal to cooperate. He then likes to tell me that I constantly cause “drama” and will make comments about how horrible my parenting is.

    Lollipops: I, on the other hand, have mostly moved on to meh (as long as he isn’t upsetting one of my kids).

    My middle finger: I thought that cheaters lived perfect lives with their cheater partners now that they no longer have chumps weighing them down. Yet, my ex gets really riled up when I ask him for any help– to take a child to a doctor’s appointment or to request a change in the visitation schedule once in a blue moon. Darn. Life isn’t that fun anymore now that you have a wife who keeps you on a short leash, apparently dictates your every movement as well as what you wear, and alienates you from your friends and family?

    Big middle finger to cheaters and cheater apologists– why are so many chumps living lives of contentment once the dust settles, and cheaters are living miserably, which is evidenced by the many shared stories on this site? Maybe cheaters just need to smile more? 😀

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