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Fear, You Don’t Own Me

We answered a letter from Trapped this week, afraid to leave her cheating husband, and a lot of the wonderful, supportive comments from CN were about overcoming fear — that giant wall of pain that stops chumps in their tracks. GO NO FURTHER OR I WILL DESTROY YOU! says the wall. Mighty chumps go forward anyway.

My wall said things like “Failure is not an option!” As if this shit show were my failure? I wasn’t fucking randos and an OW I’d known since the Reagan administration.

My wall said “No one will ever love you again.” Hey wall? I wasn’t loved then. However, I was loved by a lot of other people who weren’t a singular cheating fuckwit. As for romantic love, Fear was way off-base there too.

My wall said, “YOU WILL HARM YOUR CHILD if you divorce again!” Actually, it was just the opposite. My son thrived without the chaos and conflict. When I was at peace, I was a better parent, more focused on him. Later, when I married Mr. CL, he finally got two invested parents who love him, and a good role model for what healthy relationships and good men look like.

What did your wall say to you? And how did you get past it?

We’re all about singing walls here at CN, not walls of fear.

TGIF!

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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.
  • My wall said, “He’s already neglected the children and one almost drowned when he had them for a weekend – why take the risk?”

  • In my kitchen I had a post it note that said “To heal a wound you need to stop touching it”.

    On my phone: DO NOT RE-ENGAGE, Good girl

    In my bedroom I had a sheet of paper on my wall that said: Strong women don’t allow a man to hop from woman to woman, aren’t afraid to ask direct questions and are able to let go of the rope. I literally just threw that away last week after moving 2 1/2 years after the Shitstorm started.

    Sometimes we need regular reminders to do what we need to do or believe we are amazing and worthy….. especially since our idiots did so much to demonstrate that we weren’t amazing and worthy. Don’t believe that… it’s all lies to keep you stuck and paralyzed. Get unstuck and push forward, however slowly.

    • “To heal a wound you need to stop touching it”. Nice 🙂 . As our parents used to say: “don’t pick at it, it won’t heal.”

      • I picked the wound today after not picking for months! Oh I’m sad and feeling the pain…. I knew better. It was that fucking hopium! Where is MEH!!! My new mantra “don’t pick”

        • I picked for months…. finally got to the point where I’d reward myself by maintaining NC. My therapist asked me to write down what I hope for when I communicate, what he gets out of it, and my feelings when I have contact. In the end, it was based on my own insecurities and ended up feeding his narcissist needs of wanting to matter.

          Forgive yourself for the set back and next time you think about re-engaging, have 100 other things you will do first. Trust he’s a shitbag and you don’t want to smell like shit right? Nah, we throw shit away. It stinks and can make us sick.

        • It’s ok Jump. I picked at that wound for 1-1/2 years. As time goes by picking at it is less appealing and actually starts to become a gross thought.

  • My wall only said “fuck you” to my cheater and the AP!

    My kids and I pushed and pulled each other over that damn wall – found the other side said Tuesday.

      • To all newbies, my first wall said You must do everything possible to try and save your marriage for the sake of your children so you know you did everything you could.

        The second wall said You have already given everything you could for the the sake of your marriage for 26 years, and he lied and cheated, time to take care of yourself and get the hell out of Dodge!

        • Thank you @feelingit. My wall is currently telling me both of these things although I’ve been fighting for a year (DD#1 was May 2017). My wife claims she finally realizes the error of her ways. Why should I give her another chance? “Because that’s what a loving, supporting husband does,” says my wall (and my religion). It’s really hard not to listen to that wall!

          • Sadly, we don’t stop cheating. We just get better at hiding it. This isn’t something done to intentionally hurt those around us. It’s who we are. If you feel you have never sinned and are better than those of us who enjoy having the attention of more than one person, than get out of your current situation.

            • ” This isn’t something done to intentionally hurt those around us.”

              Crap. Shitbags like you know *exactly* what you’re doing, and you don’t give a toss who you hurt, your wife/husband/children, it’s all about *you* and what makes *you* feel good. To hell with everyone else. Creeps like you have no character, integrity, or moral compass. You stink to high heaven.

              ” It’s who we are.”

              Got that right. And what you are is an empty space where your character should be, filled with me, me, me.

              ”If you feel you have never sinned and are better than those of us who enjoy having the attention of more than one person…”

              People who enjoy having the attention of more than one person have no business getting married and making promises. But then, it isn’t about that, really, it’s about eating cake, and getting off on the thrill of deceiving the person who trusts and loves you. You and your ilk make me vomit.

              ” …get out of your current situation.”

              That’s what this site is all about, leave a cheater, gain a life. Fuck off and die you useless pathetic piece of dogshit.

  • My little ol’ Okie Mama told me once (more than once, actually) “Can’t Never Did Do Nuthin'”.

    The moral of this story is if you don’t try you won’t succeed. If you try, you might fail, but you will at least have tried.

    The way out is the way through.

    • Soldiering On, Thanks for sharing that piece of wisdom from your wise Mom. I had never heard that saying. Takes a while for some of us to get that thru our thick, chumpy skulls!

      Winston Churchill is credited with this one I repeat frequently: “When going thru Hell, KEEP going!”

      Love to all as we ForgeOn!

        • Along with the FU on my wall, a line from Shashank Redemption is most fitting that I “…crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.”

    • Okay, so I heard this phrase a few times while I was growing up and I had Not.One.Clue. What it meant. NOW I do! Thanks!

    • “The moral of this story is if you don’t try you won’t succeed. If you try, you might fail, but you will at least have tried.”

      This is a great reminder, thanks @Soldiering-On!

  • My wall said “I’m a failure and it’s YOUR fault!”

    This was yelled in my ear so loudly my ear drum kept buzzing for minutes.

    When questioned about this and how I was responsible, sparkledick said I was crazy, that he never said this.

    • My husband said this to me, too. “No wonder I’m fat. No wonder I can’t write. It’s [Trying’s] fault.”

      • My ex was overweight because of me too. Nothing to do with the junk food he bought elsewhere, or the many times he declined to join my gym or come running with me.

      • STBXH blamed me for him not going faster at Ironman triathlon, since I didn’t push him enough athletically (OW is a personal trainer). They’re so full of sh*t aren’t they?

      • Oh, man, the blaming. One time my XW got into a car accident (with our baby in the backseat). She’d rear-ended someone. I immediately drove to the scene, whereupon in the middle of the road, as I stood there holding our crying baby, she blamed me. It was my fault. Why? Because she was distracted thinking about something I’d said that upset her. Unreal. BIG red flag in hindsight. Everything was ALWAYS my fault (or someone else’s, but usually my), no matter how far-fetched.

    • Mine said that he never graduated from college because “I made fun of him”. I actually drove him to night classes and visited my mom while there. He also later denied ever saying this! I have lived a whole life of crazy.

  • My wall wanted to know “how I would be sure I wouldn’t find another cheater” I told that wall I’d take the chance because the one thing I knew for sure was if I stayed with him, I would be staying with a cheater. It took 3 years of wreckconciliation to figure out that I was much better off ending the dance with the devil I knew. 4 years later and I knew it was the best decision of my adult life.

  • Ending a marriage, not something I’d ever have done. I’d have been unhappy for the rest of my life rather than cause the children any pain. The youngest is over 30! OMG thank goodness he left me I’d have never climbed over that wall. But now I know I should have long ago, life is so much better on the other side!

    • Smart Woman,
      My sister said if she ever saw my ex she said that after she got done telling him what a piece of shit he is, she would of thanked him for leaving me. She said “ I’d thank him for leaving, because you never would of left him”
      She’s right, bug now I’m so glad I’m out of that.

    • Yup. Me too.
      I feel so stupid about that and paradoxically grateful to have been ‘left’, bagged, abandoned, discarded like a gum wrapper on the ground.
      The divorce was every bit as dreadful as I feared it would be and 100 times worse than I ever knew it could be. I still feel horribly for my daughters and what he put them/us through, and think I will forever grapple with the belief deep down that I failed them. It would have been mightier if I’d left, but with the mindfucking I was taking on all fronts, I just don’t know if I ever would have. I struggle with that and adjusting to a world I feel thrust into against my will that is still unfamiliar and frankly scary to me. But it’s a new day and a new life with all the shackles and excuses behind me and I’m starting to be able to see the road ahead of me that was obscured by all the dysfunctional bullshit before. I feel released. From generations of this crap holding the women in my family prisoners and rippling out endless waves of dysfunction and pain. I’m forging a new road for my daughters – the wall is behind me forever. I don’t gotta givafuk what it said.

      • Jersey Chump –

        Even though I’m the one who kicked him out and had him served with divorce papers, I can relate to you feeling like a discarded wrapper. His years of a secret life and cheating left me feeling like he discarded not just me, but our kids as well. The walls that kept me trying to save the marriage for five years after finding out about his secret life were many. The road past those walls has not been a fairy tale or a fast journey. Six years out, I have sold my house, gone to grad school (only 11 months left!), and had to re-adjust to a life of limited money. It has been hard beyond words, but is an honest life with a true path towards a secure future. I waited over three years to date, but have found joy and meaning in a new relationship. I have amazing relationships with both of my grown kids, and even a new grandson (that the cheating fucktard doesn’t even know exists)! Life looks different, it is hard, but I would never go back to being with a cheater because of all the walls in my head. Our sunny tomorrows don’t come fast or easy, but they are out there!!

  • Wall says: he will fuck with you endlessly, humiliate you, and make leaving rough

    I say: And this is different how? STFU, wall.

  • There is an old movie that I highly recommend: Shirley Valentine. It is about a 42-year old woman who starts talking to the wall in her kitchen about the life she might’ve had… this is a quote from it:

    Shirley: I’ve led such a little life. And even that will be over pretty soon. I have…allowed myself to lead this little life when inside me there was so much more. And it’s all gone unused. And now it never will be. Why do we get all this life if we don’t ever use it? Why do we get all these…feelings…and dreams and hopes…if we don’t ever use them. That’s where Shirley Valentine disappeared to. She got lost in all this unused life.

    To me, that is the essence of what fear produces… an unused life.

    Fear wanted me to give Mr. Sparkles a divorce settlement when I had a pre-nup that said he gets nothing.

    Fear wanted me to accept 50/50 custody when I knew Mr. Sparkles just wanted a reduced child support payment, not our son.

    Fear wanted me to believe I couldn’t be a single mom at 49 raising a third grader.

    Fear still wants me to believe I will never meet someone special to share my life with me.

    But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: FEAR IS A LIAR.

    If you’re still stuck with your cheater, do something about it. Take one small step. You are stronger than you know and you have Chump Nation with you.

    • Yes indeed. Perfect. Just perfect.

      I listened to a song – an album – 15 years ago when my 3 yo daughter was killed in an accident. I had not listened for a long long time – had forgotten both song and album name – and I’m not even especially into Sinead O’Connor. I’m listening again.

      The album is called Faith & Courage, and the song, The Healing Room. First line:
      I have a universe inside me.

      We can heal ourselves, just have faith we have all we need inside us. Well, most of it – and what we don’t have, we find here at CN <3

        • Thank you rockstarwife. Aren’t we all here at CN??? Well, strong sometimes and when we’re not – the others are picking us up off the ground x

        • YES – THIS SONG!

          When my world exploded I found that every song on the radio reminded me of what I had/was losing/etc…. so I switched to a station called KLOVE… every song is positive and uplifting… every song is about hope… every song is about getting stronger every day… 4 years out and I still listen to it (and my son sings along!)

        • Made me cry, that song. Fear is a liar and Depression lies. Don’t give up, never back down, live like there is no tomorrow

    • Love your whole post, ICSTMC!

      Especially this, “To me, that is the essence of what fear produces… an unused life.”

    • My evil ex MIL actually recommended that movie to me years ago. One of the few things she got right. 😀

  • My wall disintegrated once I found out he was cheating. All the bullshit and crap I was living with made sense suddenly, and I knew I wasn’t going to stick around for more of this. We were together 18 years, had 3 kids, and I did the lions share of everything – made the money, managed the household, the majority of the parenting, and as the years went on and the responsibilities increased around me I felt overwhelmed and crushed. When I asked him for help, even really basic things like learn to drive so he could take the children places without me, it didn’t happen. The last year, when he was cheating, he did even less, which I didn’t think was possible. I didn’t know what was going on but I knew something was seriously wrong in my relationship.

    Finding out about the affair was a weight off my shoulders. Initially, at least, then that weight came crashing back down on my head with the whole reality of the situation – it isn’t easy to go through, or handle everything that comes along with separation and divorce. But I said then This will suck but I’ll get through it. I KNEW that leaving was the only option for me. We did a pseudo reconciliation for a week or two, but he was still in contact with her, so I said forget it.

    Deciding to really just DO IT was like going through a wall from a futuristic movie – one of those ones that they walk through the wall and with a pop and ring of blue fire they’re in a new reality. It appeared solid and real but it was so easy to walk through and enter the new world. It was the decision to do so that was hard.

    For me, I’d been making that decision over the past few years in my subconscious mind, so I didn’t have to mull over it too long when I found out about the cheating. I’d already been thinking it over and wishing things were different. Now they can be. Maybe not the different I’d dreamed of, where he stepped up and acted like a responsible member of the family, but one where I don’t have to deal with his bullshit any longer.

    I’m one year out and getting to Meh. I feel it stronger every day. I have so many other things in my life to do, to take care of – my children, my cats, my self, my business. I feel stronger without him and calmer. (sometimes the kids ruin the calm…) I don’t know if I’ll ever meet anyone else, I hope so, but I know I’m not ready yet. I know Meh isn’t attained when I see a photo of him with her, but the irritation is tinged with pity, that these two idiots are trying to make a life together, but it’s not my problem in the end. One of my mantras through this whole thing has been from a Public Enemy song, “Flava Flav’s got problems of his own.” Not that I usually identify with Flava Flav, but it’s a good reminder that I don’t need to deal with his problems any longer.

    My other song mantra was “My Shot” from Hamilton, because his cheating was my shot to get out and have a better life going forward. I wish I had left him a long time ago, but it never felt like I had a real reason to – what, he didn’t do enough housework? I’m vaguely unhappy? It felt so selfish, and unfair to the children. I should have left him, or he should have left me, but that didn’t happen. He also didn’t put in any effort to make things better. Cheating gave me a reason to pull the trigger and get out. I was not throwing away my shot.

    • “Finding out about the affair was a weight off my shoulders.”

      This. When he confessed (getting in front of the OW’s baby daddy outing him) he promised counseling and every other stupid thing… my first thought was “Good. Now we can finally fix this shitty marriage.” And I remember paying attention to how surprised I was to have that thought as he was talking. (After he finished talking, he said, “would you like to watch Colbert?” And we sat back together watching tv while I processed everything he’d just told me and tried to figure out what I should do. Sorry to say I didn’t throw him out straight away but I didn’t let him off the hook either, so it was 8 months of misery while I came to the understanding of who he really is and always has been.

      Fear, literally, in the first couple of months had me sobbing in my bed wondering how I was going to learn to do things like buy my own car insurance. Guess how much a non-event that was when it happened?

      Then fear said I wouldn’t find someone to love me, and that I wouldn’t have time for a new relationship, with three children at home. I’m two years into a new relationship and it’s going really well.

      Then fear said I wouldn’t find a career that I enjoyed that could support me, that after all the years at home I was unemployable, but that’s not true either, though it’s been a process getting myself where I want to be.

      Fear can slow me down, but as long as I realize that I’m pretty much like everyone else — no less capable, beautiful, lovable, caring, imaginative, determined, or smart than most other people — then there’s no reason to let fear determine anything else about my life, as long as I stop and notice that the glass walls I sometimes bump into are just fear.

  • You have to believe in yourself, you cant control someone else, the doubting voice may always be there. You didn’t cheat, there will be others that don’t cheat, maintain your boundaries.

  • My wall said, “But he’s a good father” and “You have no one else”.

    It also said, and this is embarrassing, that I would never be able to be naked in front of anyone else because of my “mum tum” and breasts that sagged from years of breastfeeding, and I would have to give up sex for life at the age of 34. That last part was how brainwashed I had become in terms of my value based on his constant verbal abuse. It took me a bit to normalize my thinking and belief system again.

    • Thanks for sharing! Don’t be embarrassed. Cheater x was all about appearance to so I can completely relate.

      We are more than just pieces and parts! You are worthy of love.

  • My wall convinced me during that marriage that he was the better parent, that I was a lousy wife, that I was so lucky to have found him, that he was authentic and genuine and the real deal.

    That wall was never sound or solid. It’s been crumbling continuously and The only thing keeping it up were the massive patch and spackle jobs that **I** did to keep it together.

    Eventually, I could keep up with the patches and the wall crumbled despite my efforts and yet I still believed it to be sound… it’s still kept me prisoner even though I could have easily stepped over it if It had occurred to me to do so… until one day, I couldn’t deny it’s powerlessness over me. It didn’t care if I stayed with the boundaries…it no longer had any use for me…. and like the slave I was to it, I faced the terrifying prospect of freedom.

    • And freedom was a much bigger obstacle. The lack of a wall made me feel unsafe.

      I’ve been anchored to unworthy husbands for 30 of my 50 years, and being set free from that last anchor made me feel aimless, overwhelmed, alone…

      Thing is that I’d already been all of that all those years, and didn’t realize it because spackling kept me with the wall I could see in front of my face. I was alone the whole time, with my face staring at a crumbling wall of safety and marriage and my back turned to the vast and terrifying void that freedom offered.

      • My sister said to me, “What are you afraid of?!” I said, “I’m afraid of being alone.” “She replied, “You’re alone now!” It took someone else peering in to make me see things for what they were. I will always be grateful for my beloved family and friends.

        • Wow! This one hit me. For the years that I yearned for a deeper connection with my husband. I wanted something more passionate and primal, whether it was in the depth of feeling for each other or in the bedroom. It just never seemed to happen, except for the occasional glimpses. I wondered if I was expecting too much. That led to increased dissatisfaction over the lack of deep, deep connection, which lead to more complaining and criticizing on my part.

          The realization that I was already alone is startling. His physically leaving was not when he actually left. He left already a few years ago when he fostered a relationship with one of the mom’s at the kids’ school. An emotional attachment to her began. She ended the friendship when she realized that he actually wanted something more after he tried to kiss her. I just learned all this from her recently when I asked her if anything had ever happened between the two of them (still trying to do detective work to understand how far back his behaviour went).

          I too am/was afraid of being alone, but I realize that I already was.

          • Ugh, this SO hits home with me. The yearning for something deeper, more primal. I thought we had it when we first married 14 years ago, but then came the multiple affairs. How could we keep up that connection when he was mentally/physically somewhere else? And how on earth could I hope to regain that when the trust was broken again and again and again. It’s like a part of me died each time I learned of a new offense. And then, like a domestic violence victim, I was reeled back in because he gave me some of the attention, affection and love that I longed for and he had been holding back from me during thise periods. I was love-starved but didn’t realize what a pathetic cycle I got into. I am only now, for the first time, taking a step back and really trying to see things for what they are and not what I want them to be. This board is saving my sanity. I realize I am NOT crazy or asking for too much to want all of these things in a committed relationship. I’m going to be 40 and the thought of spending another ten years like this scares me to my core. My relationship has NEVER been the same after all of this emotional abuse. My husband is so convincing and sorry and devastated each time. Like he cannot understand what is wrong with him and how he could do this to his soulmate and yet, he.keeps.doing.it.

            I am tired of being the anchor and the chump. I feel like I’ve lost all of my courage even though I was always such a strong, independent-minded woman. These abuses eat away at your self-esteem so insidiously that you become the person you had always pitied. I am working on finding my voice again and my decisiveness. What is it about a cheating partner that makes you so damn indecisive? For me, I think it was always feeling like something was wrong and never quite being able to put my finger on it. It was this gut feeling that something was off all of the time and so it made me question my self all of the time. Living with a cheating partner puts your head into such a crazy space where you question your own sanity or you spend your time checking up on them and always wondering if they are telling you the truth. How can that be an authentic life?

            I think my lucky stars that chump lady had an article on Huffington Post otherwise I never would’ve known about this valuable resource or book. Previously I spent my energy on “affair proofing” my marriage (ha!) and other BS like that! As my dad told me, a person is either true blue or they’re not. If I want to continue in my marriage it’s going to be an open marriage whether I know it or not. No thanks!

  • Well, unlike you fine people, I believed my wall…I believed:

    “Stay and keep hoping he will do better someday”
    No, he was never “better” I lived a 7 year wreckonciliation and he was awful

    “If you leave, where will your (needy, faltering) adult children go?”
    It took a while for them to get their adult bearings but they eventually found thier ways

    “A divorce and annulment will take SO long, you would miss out on love from him during that time”
    He told me in 2005 that he didnt love me and wanted a divorce. A divorce and annulment would have taken 4-5 years 2010 came and went an I was still stuck with a cheater who didnt love me.

    “The WORST thing that could possibly happen is if he leaves for OW, short of that, I will be fine”
    OOOOH was I WRONG about this !! NO, the worst thing was to stay with a person who didnt love me

    • Well said UNM. Hugs to you, my triumphant friend.

      I am way, way less lonely now than when I lived with someone who did not love me.

      He on the other hand, is deeply lonely.

  • My wall was pretty mouthy–it had lots of way to frighten and demean me (much like my EX).

    My wall said:

    This is your fault.
    If you leave, you will be a failure.
    It will harm your children to come from a “broken” home.
    You will have to share custody and there will be no way to protect the kids when they are with him.
    You aren’t being compassionate or patient enough.
    Smart women can solve problems. If you can’t solve this one, you must be stupid.
    He will try to ruin your reputation at your job and with your friends with packs of lies.
    You cannot financially afford this.
    You don’t even know how to go about getting a divorce. You’ll do it wrong.

    The best part about kicking down, climbing over, or tunneling under the wall, is that those words will not frighten as much when you hit other walls (as is virtually inevitable in life).

  • My wall was really fucked up. It was a pseudo-logical thinker.

    It said, “women create children, you are past the age of creating children, what is the point of you? The person you created children with, doesn’t give a shit about you, you are worthless”

    I clearly have hang ups about the whole reproduction thing. I was already in a ‘‘tis about menopause before all this happened. Saying that, my wall is a bit of a barstard.

    I’d love some counter arguments from any of CN ❤️❤️

    • How about this? Women create. Women create children, families, communities. Women are creative. We cook, we sew, we garden. We write, we paint, we quilt, we sculpt. Creating children–procreating–is only one of our creative endeavors.

      • Additionally, we women create killer legal briefs that convince judges to give justice, we create amazing novels that open up new worlds, we create new technologies that make lives better; we create new hips and knees and hearts and lungs when we perform orthopedic surgeries, we create hope and inspiration when we give sermons in churches and temples, we create when we write and negotiate for and pass new laws, we create when we teach students a new idea or skill……the list is endless. ❤️❤️❤️

    • The only value of a woman is in creating children? Once she can’t do that anymore, she’s worthless? Unless some man validates her further existence? OUCH!

      One of the most helpful things when our mind is lying to us like that is to think about whether you would EVER tell someone else, especially someone you cared about, that thing you are telling yourself.

      I am sure you would tell someone else that EVERY human life has value. It’s what we make of it.

      And maybe you need to figure out where that terrible belief comes from. Was this what your family taught you? Or are you buying into our crazy culture that says only young and beautiful are valuable? Did your cheater tell you or imply that? And did you believe him???

      What are YOUR values? What do YOU think makes for a worthwhile life, above and beyond making babies? When you look at other people, what do YOU value in them?

      Then go live YOUR values!

      • MidlifeBlast, I understand your feelings. When you’ve been married for 30+ years to someone who seems to value sexuality above all else, it makes you feel worthless when you get older and they lose interest. It’s amazing when you get out of that situation and start dating again. I remember the first time someone told me they thought I was sexy. I couldn’t believe it! I’d been criticized so much for my lack of “sexiness” over the years that I’d completely shut down.

      • I relate to this too because cheater x chose an OW in her twenties and got her pregnant. We already had two kids, and I had a procedure after the youngest so I was done.

        I thought I had given him everything, but she gave him a boy. I hadn’t done that.

        My childbearing days were over. Done. Gone. But when I had decided that 15 years ago, it felt right. So no regrets. IMHO, no man in his 60’s should still be having children anyway. He sucks. Not me.

      • Karen, this strange way of thinking came from me and was firmly in my head as an early adult. And no, it’s not rational, it’s stupid, we’re not breeding machines, that would make us more worthless. And you would NEVER EVER TELL ANYONE ELSE THAT, I can’t imagine anything so awful, thank you for that viewpoint, I like it. I’m sure my issues led me to settle for such a poor specimen of a human in the first place.

        Lyn I’ve no doubt you’re a hot mama, hold your head up and NWHI he sounds like an idiot, prob won’t be able to keep up with parent duties and what sort of woman would throw away her 20’s on a slobbery old man – yuck, poor her. Both of you – Embrace your lovely new freedom, sexiness and independence. ❤️❤️❤️

    • Oprah Winfrey.

      Gloria Steinam.

      Sonya Sotameyer.

      They all said to tell your wall to take a hike.

      P. s. Angela Merkel was too busy to reply, and Pema Chodren was working on another book….

    • Sometimes religious types can hit you with this kind of shit.

      I am a religious type myself, and I hit right back: “Mrs Noah went on the Ark. She was the only ‘sterile’ thing on it, but she didn’t get left behind to drown. She had value, even though she was past having kids to repopulate the earth.”

      Stunned silence.

      Works every time. And the more fundamentalist they are, the better it works.

      • Awesome. I love a bit of religious questioning, I went very religious after this, but a sort of judgmental to myself kind. Not a very productive type

  • My wall said ~ he must be going thru a mid life crisis or something. Christ, I’ve been his best friend for over 30 years and he begged me to marry him 7 times … OMG! I’ve got to be there for him.

    My wall said ~ yeah, he admitted to the affair with the Circus Clown but then he said he ended it with her because it was wrong. But my heart said, yeah but he also filed for divorce from you.

    My wall said ~ surely he won’t sign the divorce papers, he will realize what you mean to him and come out of this ~ just hang on a bit longer. But my heart sank when the divorce papers arrived.

    My wall said ~ you’re alone and in your 60’s and have no future.

    I told my wall ~ Fuck you ~ I may not have a future but I have a NOW!

  • My wall said:
    1. “You’ll be on the poverty line within 2 years.”
    (An actual stat for most single mothers with a special needs child)

    I have a thriving business, own my own home and my daughter is happy and healthy!

    2. “No one will ever love you.”
    (I’m still waiting for a second chance at love)

    But I’m fixing my picker, enjoying my freedom, loving and working on myself. I couldn’t be more grateful to God and CN. Because I know my worth!

    • Good for you, Start of Something Good, for helping your business and your daughter thrive! May I ask what type of business you run and what is your professional background?

      One of my kids has special needs, and, in a way, I am that ‘welfare mother.’ (My kids have received free lunches at school for a couple of years.) And contrary to popular belief, this (quasi)’welfare mother’ works full-time year-round.

      • Hi RSF,
        I’m a school teacher by trade but only taught a total of 5 months in the classroom right after I graduated. I have my own residential cleaning company. I started off small. Just me for about ten years and just hired a staff last year. Cleaning is minimal training, minimal start up and there’s always business because there’s always people living in houses. I would be happy to give you more info. If CL can connect us or a moderator. You can thrive on your own with a special needs child. Not just survive. But thrive!

        • SSG,
          I would love to hear mlre about your experience as an entrepreneur! I think that Tempest can connect us.

        • Hey there. Can someone connect us? I too would really like to hear how you started your own cleaning business. I’ve just started a new job after many years at home, and am surrounded by mean, bitchy, power hungry ladies. I can’t deal with that crap when I am feeling so broken inside going through a divorce. But I need a way to pay my rent.

    • My wall spoke similar falsehoods, that I would be jobless and destitute and lose my child because of it.
      I made 1/3 of Narkles the Clown’s income.Yet, somehow, here I am, still in my house, paying it off myself, so my son has stability. I have a good job with good benefits, a paid off car, and enough money to buy what we need, all on 25% of what I used to live on. I used to stress about how to pay the bills, and now I don’t worry about it. I am even starting to save a bit of money , even a $100 a month for emergencies is more than I had before. That’s how expensive having a whore was. All the money spent mirroring and chasing and impressing. And she never did leave her rich husband for him. Ha!

  • I, literally, told my counselor once “Failure is not an option.” Countless times my wall said I was unlovable (still working on that one). The other big one was (and to a lesser degree still is), “you need to take care of her.” No, wall, I don’t. She’s a grown woman and her choices and emotions are hers. Not mine. I can only control me.

    • @yesshesucks, my vows still tell me “I need to take care of her.” That was my duty. To sort it out my therapist keeps reminding me of the intention of those vows, which is mutual respect and keeping the other person’s best interests in mind (same with better or worse, you are supposed to be a team). Cheating is the complete opposite of that.

      • Thanks, I really appreciate your comments. Yes, the lack of reciprocity and partnership was a thing. I’m not at a place of actual acceptance with my vows being void though (but I get the argument that they are). I feel like the tree in the Giving Tree. I thought that’s what made me a good husband. Turns out it’s what made me a chump …

        • You aren’t alone; I’m still struggling with my vows too. I love the Giving Tree analog. Same here. My wife actually told me I gave her too much freedom. I thought I was being supportive and loving. I also trusted her. Apparently that was my mistake.

          • It’s good to know I’m not alone in struggling with vows, etc. My STBXW apologized for “being a shitty person” but wouldn’t stop her hurtful behavior. She acknowledged being selfish, and that I didn’t deserve what was happening, but refused to change. How could anyone do that to someone they once loved? Some friends don’t get why I think she never loved me (in hindsight). This is why. And I still miss her. The loneliness is excruciating.

  • My wall said, it’s your fault and if only you work harder, you will be able to turn this ship around. Well, maybe that’s true but I tried and tried and tried and tried; nothing could stop ex from cheating. My wall said, you’ll be single and lonely for the rest of your life. Yup, I haven’t so much as kissed a man for close to a decade and many days I am so lonely for adult company that I cry…but this is still better than the agony of being married to a cheater.

    • Toronto Chump,
      I am sorry that you are lonely. (I am, too.) I admire you for your positive attitude and fortitude.

      • Thanks, sweet RSW. I look around me at loving couples and picture how different my life could be as half of a strong, happy partnership. But I also know I have the tendency to idealise others’ situations and I am grateful for the many, many blessings I have been given. Finding contentment anywhere I can, and holding onto it with both hands, is now my goal. I send you warm hugs.

        • Toronto,
          Your thoughts sound very much like mine. I hope that you fully enjoy all the beauty (sights, sounds, experiences) of the world–you deserve it!

  • I inched over that wall little by little. My ex wanted to come back home and every day I said no, all while desperately wanting him back. I reminded myself that my pain was just fear leaving my body, and it was true. I found CL’s blog. I am so grateful I had the strength to stop the madness because my life is now peaceful.

  • I found this a while back and love it:

    When he told you you’re not good enough
    When he told you you’re not right
    When he told you you’re not strong enough
    To put up a good fight
    When he told you you’re not worthy
    When he told you you’re not loved
    When he told you you’re not beautiful
    That you’ll never be enough
    Fear, he is a liar
    He will take your breath
    Stop you in your steps
    Fear he is a liar
    He will rob your rest
    Steal your happiness
    Cast your fear in the fire
    ‘Cause fear he is a liar
    When he told you were troubled
    You’ll forever be alone
    When he told you you should run away
    You’ll never find a home
    When he told you you were dirty
    And you should be ashamed
    When he told you you could be the one
    That grace could never change
    Fear he is a liar
    He will take your breath
    Stop you in your steps
    Fear he is a liar
    He will rob your rest
    Steal your happiness
    Cast your fear in the fire
    ‘Cause fear he is a liar
    Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
    Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
    Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
    Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
    Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
    Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
    Oh, let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
    Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
    Oh, fear he is a liar
    He will take your breath
    Stop you in your steps
    Fear he is a liar
    He will rob your rest
    Steal your happiness
    Cast your fear in the fire
    ‘Cause fear he is a liar
    ‘Cause fear he is a liar

    • YES CINDY!!! YES!!!! This song has literally saved my life during this hell. I have been having suicidal thoughts daily for a while, which is so unlike me, as I am usually little miss eternal sunshine, no matter how tough things get. But the daily behavior of my cheating hubby: “I love you, and we have the best marriage of anyone I know” alternating with “I am so conflicted and confused, but I need to do this, (leave you and the kids for a lying, manipulative, married whore.)” . “This will all be good for all of us in the end”. With days of passionate kisses (Sunday) alternated with days where he won’t even speak to me and spends hours texting the OW (Yesterday), has me so messed up that my counselor makes me check in daily. This song keeps me from doing something very bad!
      Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams

        • Crushed Chump,
          You are not alone. I know the crushing the depression, the life with and without an ambivalent, passive-aggressive narc.

        • CrushedChump

          What you described, the duplicity of being strung along while he professed his love is by far one of the most crushing aspects.

          It’s becsuse some, the most malignant in my opinion, do not use words to devalue as the song Cindy posted. It’s subtle, everpresent devaluation through mannerisms and actions.

          The Limited did it through looking at other women. He never said you aren’t beautiful, or good enough, he spoke with his eyes. It was his WAY of devaluation.

          When I look back I know it was always deliberate. The small put downs were never direct, always subtle.

          The discard with this type is brutal because they’ve in fact mirrored your good qualities for years.

          You’ll make it Crushed and get your identity and very soul back. It’s scary for a while. Fight for yourself. Hugs.

      • My ex was like that early on. He would act like he cared about keeping our marriage in tact one day only to thoroughly reject me and state that our continuing to be together was impossible the next. Eventually I realized it was two steps away, one step back and that it was making me an emotional wreck. If his actions are making you suicidal, it is definitely time for you to give up on him because he isn’t worthy of you. Once I figured this out healing began. It is still a slow process and you will continue to have bad days but the general trend will be up and out. You can do this.

        • Mine did this too. One day he was all in-committed, a few days later it was “I am divorcing you”. Literally on and off like a light switch for a number of months. One day I figured out it was 100% deliberate and that he was ENJOYING it. It was cruel, emotional abuse at its finest. They really are the scum of the earth.

  • My wall said, “your son deserves a two parent home.”
    “Divorcing would be admitting failure to the world.”
    “Your relationship is no more than you deserve.”
    “No one wants a middle aged mom with a young child.”
    “You can’t support yourself and your son on your pay.”
    “You can’t maintain a home by yourself.”
    “He keeps threatening suicide if you leave, do you really want that on your conscience?”
    “Who will take care of him when his mental illness flares up, after all you did promise in sickness and in health; better or worse.”

    All of this kept me stuck for 3 years after my D-Days. All of it felt true in the moment. All of it was false.

  • My wall said, “You can’t support yourself so you’d be homeless. Better to suck it up than hurt the kids. I never want them to go through what I did with my own parents’ divorce. I don’t want to lose my beloved home or break up the family. No one else would ever want me.” Well, he left me (for the OW, but refused to move out for two years). Turns out my imagination wasn’t good enough. I’m not homeless (yet) but it all turned out a hundred times worse than I imagined. I hate that our kids were traumatized and lost so much, and one blamed ME so much he now lives with his dad. Yet the freedom now is priceless.

    • My kids are doing worse than I imagined, too…

      The only comfort I have is to remind myself that I did NOT do this to them. He did. He cheated the last 10 years, not me. He moved out of our house and in with the OW before papers were filed. He sat the kids down and told them about the affairs. He then continued to practce adultery right in front of them by constantly calling and texting his mistresses. He tried to get the kids to meet him and the OW for dinner pre-divorce so that SHE didn’t feel left out. He abandoned the kids. Not me. He’s the one that lied for years. Not me. He’s the one that puts his sex life (he’s really into sex clubs with the OW) before the kids— and the older ones know it. Not me. He’s the one that shattered our family. Not me.

      I see him as cancer or a car wreck with a drunk driver or a tornado….or some other uncontrollable horrific act that I never thought would happen to me. But here’s the key: I have no control over these things. I cannot stop cancer. I cannot stop car wrecks. I cannot calm the forces of nature. He did this to us, to me and these perfect beautiful kids that we have. He gave us cancer. He drove a cement truck into our car. He is the tornado that leveled our house.

      My job? Pick up the pieces and show my kids how to navigate the horrible things that life gives us.

      I also have no desire to “grieve” the loss of a 27 year long marriage or grieve the future I had planned. Grieving is too hard. I’m tired of being told by well-meaning friends that it will hurt. Like no duh. I’m living it!!

      So this is the way I’m now trying to approach it: Does anyone grieve the end of cancer? Does anyone grieve the fact that the car wreck is over? Does anyone mourn when the tornado finally spins out and dies?

      So no, I don’t want to grieve. He blew us up into tiny little pieces, completely against my will. My job is to try and put us back together… I just want the sun to get here already.

    • Breathing, you make a good point. The reality is that sometimes, not always, but sometimes, one of our walls can be right, or even worse than right. It sucks big time, and it hurts. But I think the freedom from abuse, and adultery is worth it. It doesn’t guarantee all our children will come over to the other side with us, but we cant stay a prisoner of a lie for their sake, because it is not only lying to them as well, but keeping them a prisoner in the world of lies too. At least now you are on the other side, separate and complete away from the Liar, there is a clear distinction between you and him, and one day even the child that has chosen the wrong side may wake up and see why that great divide is there.

      For me the reality of working in physically arduous jobs that pay little, and cause me depression is very real and was a wall that was true. I have also been homeless since the seperation, that was a wall I didn’t see coming. BUT, I have faith and hope that these walls, although they do exist for real, can be overcome and God willing will one day no longer exist. I’m working on using all the righteous anger over the Adulterers lies and actions, to push me forward to fight these walls down, and the strength that Jesus Christ give me every day when I pray for it.

    • Well, I listened to my wall on that since I was more afraid of divorce. I really thought forgiveness and taking him back was the right thing to do. But he abused that gift and saw it as a license to do whatever he wanted. Again and again. At DD4, I found CN and my mighty and filed. I told that wall to STFU.

  • Wallie-Wall said:

    “You let him into the country and introduced him to the faith community. If you leave him, he will ravage the community.”

    He already was. I divorced him and he was booted out of the community. Hit the road Jack. And don’t ya come back no more.

  • My wall said that yeah he was spending us into incredible debt but I couldn’t afford to lose his salary and stay solvent. What a joke that was. Once he was gone I got the debts refinanced, the house refinanced and with no Twat spending us into bankruptcy I lead a comfortable life financially on half the income. I was worried sick I would have to declare bankruptcy because here in France I was responsible even if they were his debts. I was worried about the administrative side of getting out of that marriage intact but you know – one step at a time I got out, paid off the debts and he can no longer ruin my or my kids’ lives! He’s just fucking up his and schmoopie’s now!

  • My wall of fear said:
    “You’ll never find anyone else.”
    “You’ll be broke, and forking over thousands of dollars a year to that cheater.”
    “You’ll see your kids only part of the time.”

    A month later, my singing wall said:
    “There are plenty of good women in the world. You’ll find somebody eventually. In the meantime, it’s better to be by yourself and content than with someone who makes you hate life.”
    “So, you have less money and you’ve had to tighten your belt…so what? There are worse fates in life, like living without self-respect or being miserable.”
    “The kids know which parent is in the right, and they know how much Dad loves them.”
    “You’re so much better off without her. No more worrying about where she is, or who she’s with. Good riddance.”

  • My wall said, “You have no worth of your own and aren’t lovable unless you are serving your husband and your family.” My wall said, “You’ve never been unpartnered; you aren’t enough on your own.” My wall– and my stbx–said, “The state of your (our) marriage is your fault.” My wall said, “If you leave your marriage you will have failed and will make clear what a lousy woman you are.” My wall said, “You will die alone and lonely.” My wall said, “How will you manage financially?”
    Construction on my wall started way back when I was a child growing up in an abusive household in which my father sexually abused me and physically and verbally abused my mother. I lived in the shadow of that wall for 64 years.
    I dreamed of demolishing that wall my entire life; plans for the demolition of that wall started the day I decided I’d had enough; actual demolition started the day I said “I want a divorce, I’ve already seen a lawyer, and I’m moving out in 11 days.”

  • Like they say when the pain of leaving is less than staying you will know. Your story is very much like mine.

  • My wall said what it said to my mother & grandmother, ‘you stay because, that’s what women do!’ & we put up with half lives, went without, lied to, abused mentally & financially & lived with the contraints of the generational patriarchy that we were bred into. My wall was fear of others knowing that my whole life was a sham so, i spackled until he ran off with the OW. Best thing he ever did was leave albeit on his sons 6th Birthday but, that’s another story!

    • Half lives,, yes. I have been thinking about this the past few days, the way women put their needs aside. I couldn’t articulate it but living a ‘half life’ is so fitting, thanks

    • My wall was built solid with the shame of “losing” my second husband 5 years after the first and reinforced by the mindfu—ing “sex addict” branch of the RIC. Therapy with Sandra Browns group and reading the works of Martha Stout and Bill Eddy broke down that wall with a simple insight: due to growing up with an abusive alcoholic father, my picker is broken.

      • But first I give credit to my oldest friend, who was reading Martha Stouts book and thought “this sounds just like Geode’s husband.” She’s been my rock since.

      • The sex-addict RIC is just brutal.

        Brutal and dancing on so many ways.

        I’m years out from it but I have not recovered.

        • Created by a “sex addict” to aide and abet other “sex addicts.”

          Sending a hug for healing Alexandra.

  • My wall said, “NO MORE.”

    It was my answer to the voice that asked, “How much self respect do you want to give up to stay in this marriage?” when I found the condoms and notes preparing him for a sexual harassment hearing in Hannibal’s computer bag.

    And then I scaled the wall, one painful foothold after another.

    • Tempest…yep! There is where my name comes from NO MORE, Skankboy!

      My walls said, “I have been down this road before with exh, I survived, I will survive again!

      Oh, and “FUCK HIM!”

    • I had so much going for me until I met him and – being an inadequate dick – he did everything to bring me down to his level. Almost succeeded too. You nailed it by saying how much self respect I lost.

  • My wall said you can’t look after yourself. What if my cancer comes back, who will look after you?

    • Chumpdownunder, I feel ya. I had the same fear, and not going to lie, still do sometimes. Some of his favourite lines was screaming at me…”you will have no one to go to the hospital with you when you get sick!!” (I had a lot of complications after the cancer surgeries), as well as “you will die alone on your deathbed!!” Then I remember what a prick he used to be to me when I got sick or had to go to hospital. If I was sick and my voice sounded the slightest bit annoyed and him physically hurting me when moving me, he would spit “help yourself then!” and sit down with his arms crossed, scowling at me refusing to help me anymore (this was when I couldn’t move off the bed.) Or the time he refused to say he loved me more than his mother and made me cry, while I was laying on a bed waiting to be taken for a cat scan because they thought the cancer had spread to my liver, or the many, many times I would be in heaps of pain, or just out of hospital, and his limit for me calling out for help was 2 times, after that I got the gruff, annoyed, ‘you are such a problem’ treatment.

      Writing this out helps me remember there are worse things than being alone and having cancer. Heck even the nurses and doctors who don’t know us from a bar of soap show us more kindness.

    • Actually, the wall I constructed as a barrier to the dick said, “Not everything you love is good for you.” That’s when I finally started to break free.

  • My wall was about fear of what a divorce would do to my daughter and what being without my daughter 50% of the time would do to me. I worried about her safety and her stability. I was the main caretaker of my daughter and my cheating wife- cooking, cleaning, taking care of the house, keeping schedules on time for practices and events. Who exactly would I be now without being that person.

    Got beyond the first by reading Chumplady’s perspective and from my own therapist about how kids can now at least have a normal household environment 50% of the time and have something to compare against the dysfunction of the other 50%. Increase their chance of being normal by showing them a standard that you don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of and cheated on by someone. They will be a strong ethical person as an adult.

    As for the second- Still working on figuring all that out.

    • Ah, Zell. You use that 50% downtime to fix your picker and heal. Remember that kiddos inevitably grow up and leave us. That’s the job of being a parent. From the time they can stand up and walk, they start moving away from dependency. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard or painful. But keep it in perspective. And it may well be that Cheater will get tired of single parenting and kiddo will be back full-time, once she can choose.

    • I understand your lost of purpose. I was the main caretaker of my children also. I also am struggling with all the down time. But I volunteer at church, ride my bike, try to be involved as much in their lives, reaching out to friends, etc. It is getting better, but I miss that part of life. My kids are teenagers. So I don’t have much time left with them. Enjoy the time you do spend with them. It helps knowing you are not alone in this struggle.

    • And it can still be more than 50% if you show up for all of her school events, sports events, academic competitions, etc. You might have to share with you loser ex from across the room at those times, but if it is a public venue she can’t keep you away.

  • I needed that post today ! Extraordinary how CL posts something that really resonates on a day when I’m feeling terrified and alone.

    Funnily enough, my wall has acted the opposite; On d day I was determined to divorce the pos, my wall said I wasn’t going to live with that shit and his lies and disrespect, that I would cope, etc etc.

    *I* started the divorce proceedings, and fucktard made things as difficult as possible, not replying to solicitor’s letters, emails etc, not signing things, on and on.

    But today I got an email from my solicitor, saying amongst other things fucktard has signed the sales agreement, and has said he’ll come to collect his belongings from the boxes outside on 5th July, ”he requests that I not be there.”

    So today my wall is telling me I can’t cope, he doesn’t love me and never did, and I am so scared about the future, what my life will be like.

    So completely fucked up, when it was me who took the initiative ! I don’t understand myself, or my wall. 🙁

    • It’s not a straight line over the wall! I have days..weeks..months?.. where I feel like shit and have all of those thoughts you wrote pinging around my brain, undermining me. It’s normal. I would guess everyone has them. They’re just rushing you because you’re scared. And it’s okay to be scared. But you probably will be okay. Change is hard, change is scary, change can be good too. I let myself be scared, then take a deep breath and talk to the scared me, talk her off the ledge of fear. Remind her of all the things she’s done already, and can continue to do.

      Even when you take the initiative it sucks – I would love to feel that he loved me and wanted me, but it’s not going to happen. It makes me feel like shit. I don’t know what my life will be like, but it will be better than what it was.

      • And let’s think about what ChumpYOU just said: “Change is hard, change is scary….”

        That’s a major reason why waiting for a cheater to change is useless. They don’t do hard and scary. That’s what Chumps do, take on the hard job of raising our game.

    • Whatever you do, make sure the house is secure when he comes to get his stuff. Someone needs to be there.

      As for “he never loved me,” the problem is that he can’t love as you mean that term. He can’t do fidelity, kindness, compassion, integrity. He can’t face difficulty without lies and disrespect and cheating. In other words, he doesn’t operate on your level. So he’s not for you.

    • You did what CL tells us to do. You got out of the burning house. Now you are morning the house. That too shall pass, albeit slowly and with many ups and downs along the way. You will feel better tomorrow.

  • My wall’s message was painted by my ex which was “No one will Ever love you” !

    I later realized that she never loved me but since I’m now married to a woman who does love me, that wall and message was BS.

    • Yes! So immobilized by fear that I would have a Scarlet D, like this is the goddamn 1850s or something. No one cares. They see someone who tried and who was strong enough to climb that wall and say I am important. It’s a beautiful thing to be on the other side. What was I so afraid of?

      • Cluster Bs use fear as a major tool in their arsenal.

        It’s just part of their manipulation and gaslighting routine to keep the poor chump under control.
        I wish now that I had smashed that wall with a sledgehammer when it first started to be built instead that wall kept me penned in and I stayed with an abusive cluster B for 16 years.

  • My wall was built of blocks of hope cemented together by a mortar of pride, duty and love. It was regularly reinforced by mixed messages from Mme YogaPants many of which were echos of what were undoubtedly my own wishes bouncing off that wall since generally she was silent and opaque about where she was headed.

    There was also a trench of despair that I had to cross first before I could even deal with the wall that was my inability to see a life that didn’t involve her. That led me to the brink of suicide on 3 occasions.

    I got over the trench by seeing that there was a light on the other side. Not a light of a new relationship – still not there yet – but a light that showed me that I could be enough for myself without her.

    The wall crumbled over time as it became plain that the powers of duty and pride were not enough to hold it up on their own. I pulled it down after one episode where it became clear to me that she was not experiencing doubt about her path but that I was a backup plan and nothing more.

    I then hopped into my boat and crossed my own Rubicon and am working on finding my own way on the Far Short.

    There is still a lot of rubble around and I trip over it from time to time but it’s getting better. I am grateful for the many who helped me navigate my path and lifted me up when I stumbled.

    And yes – I think in images a lot.

    BT

  • I just love you, Chump Lady. Your husband and child are so very lucky to have you. Keep that torch lit for the rest of us muddling through this mess. We need you.

  • One thing I’ve learned is… fear is exhausting!
    It also provokes anxiety.

    I was walking into my child’s football game and started having a panic attack. That’s when I secretly started seeing a therapist for my “crazy”. Turns out, that “crazy” was my intuition sounding alarm bells. 2 weeks later I found out about my spouses infidelity (though he’d been cheating with porn for years and I was just crazy and jealous).

    “Intuition might send any of several messengers to get your attention, and because they differ according to urgency, it is good to know the ranking. The intuitive signal of the highest order, the one with the greatest urgency, is fear; accordingly, it should always be listened to (more on that in chapter 15). The next level is apprehension, then suspicion, then hesitation, doubt, gut feelings, hunches and curiosity. There are also nagging feelings, persistent thoughts, physical sensations, wonder, and anxiety.”

    “the appropriateness of our response is relative to the behavior that provoked it.” ~ The Gift of Fear

    “Another strategy used is called typecasting. A man labels a woman in some slightly critical way, hoping she’ll feel compelled to prove that his opinion is not accurate.” ~ The Gift of Fear

    I think a lot of chumps fall into this for fear of being “controlling, crazy, jealous,” etc. At least I know I did! It’s what kept me running on the hamster wheel.

    “Typecasting always involves a slight insult, and usually one that is easy to refute. But since it is the response itself that the typecaster seeks, the defense is silence, acting as if the words weren’t even spoken.” ~ The Gift of Fear

    Fear isn’t a bad thing if you listen to what it’s telling you. Of course the problem is misunderstanding what it’s trying to say. As I chump I let typecasting make my fear about a flaw in myself, not realizing it was trying to warn me to protect myself, not blame myself!

    -“what if I really am crazy!”
    -“what if I am wrong!”
    – “what if (fill in the blank)!”

    My ex is super skilled at typecasting, and he uses it as an ongoing part of my denigration to anyone who will listen and “be open minded to the truth” (because someone not open minded won’t listen).

    He knows they’ll “understand because they are very intuitive people!” All part and parcel for the smear campaign and people play right into it.

    • I am someone who has been “typecast” as crazy for years.
      But, is it illegal to be crazy? No.
      I say be as crazy as you want.
      My x used it as a veiled threat.
      I’m not scared anymore though.
      He has proved himself to be far more of a loose cannon.
      That crazy thing only works so long.
      Its just another tool in their bag of tricks.

      • And why can no one stand the threat of “not being open minded.”
        That is one of those cliches that seems to bring everyone to their knees.
        Like someone calling you chicken.
        These people are not open minded. Their mind is so.incredibly. small.
        Who cares what they think.

        • Now that we Chumps understand what’s behind the mask, can we be sources of wisdom in our communities?

          Say someone says that bullshit to us (they will “understand because they are very intuitive people!”), and with our knowing ways, we say: “Cut the bullshit, Cheater. I’m telling _________________ what you’re up to.”

          I’ve started doing this. At school, whiny, divorcing co-teacher caught us up on the proceedings. I straight up asked him, “Did you cheat?” He said, “I plead the 5th.” (And for a data-point, yah, the karma bus hit him. Only a few months out from divorce, and he’s filing for bankruptcy.)

    • “What if I really am crazy”

      I am so lucky the gaslighting worked so well I asked my doctor to refer me to a psychiatrist, some months before DDay.
      I find myself sometimes still reading the psychiatrist’s conclusion: I am perfectly normal, just under a lot of pressure. The situation should improve with less work and some marriage counselling. Lolololol.

  • FEAR can stand for
    1. Fuck Everything And Run
    2. False Evidence Appearing Real
    3. Face Everything And Recover
    I try to keep my focus on #3. Fear is a signal that I am not in the present moment, which is the only point of power. So I have to look away from that wall, which looms large on a moment’s notice, without my permission, and much to my annoyance. I get back to doing the next right thing and remind myself JUST FOR TODAY.
    A lot of the time it is JUST FOR THIS MORNING, or RIGHT NOW….

  • My wall said, “You can’t make it on your own.” “You need a man to help you with things you don’t know how to do.” “You need a man in your life to be whole.” “You will end up alone.” “It’s pathetic to be without a partner.” “You can’t operate a riding mower.” My mother helped me build that wall with ideas like “your job is just something to fall back on” and her own unwillingness to leave her marriage or deal with her unhappiness.

    How I broke through the wall: after over 60 years of chasing relationships, I took 2 years to learn how to live on my own, including how to manage my money as a single person. My therapist (that blessed woman) helped me figure out a plan that should take me through retirement, when I will have the house paid off. I am essentially debt free other than house and car. And I didn’t have to give up my gym or yoga or any of the things that matter to me. More important, I held on to the thought of fixing my picker (figuring I had to have a MAN) but that worked a miracle for me—once I lived on my own for two years, I was so happy and comfortable, I didn’t want to go back to living as if I didn’t matter, all on my own. It’s hard to even describe the shift in my thinking. It’s like I became a full person in the world. I don’t envy couples or big families. I like my own life and I like me.

    As for the riding mower, for the first year, my now deceased young friend came over with her husband and mowed every week. And I figured if she could do it, I could. So I got on the thing and started to mow. It was just a “do it” moment. No I have “no fear” about yard work but I do hire help for big jobs.

    One thing that really helped me was reading the mightiness check-ins here. I still ask myself, “What are you doing that you can put in your mightiness post?” That keeps me moving forward and challenging myself.

    • Before ex I was perfectly capable of doing things for myself. There were a few times in our marriage when we had to live apart due to various circumstances and I always managed to take care of everything on my own. The last time was just after the youngest was born when he had to move to a new city a few months ahead of us for his job. I managed the house and kids, worked full time and dealt with the contractors to get the house ready to sell. This on top of paying the bills, laundry, meals, etc, all while nursing a newborn. By the time ex had his affairs, however, it had been a while since I had had to do much of the day to day household stuff, especially after ex left his job to be a SAHD. I never asked him to do anything for me but he was a capable guy and seemed to enjoy doing things for the family and seemed to like having control over other things so I let him. I thought he was being nice and helpful because he loved me. When he started his affairs, however, he stopped doing things. I quietly picked up the slack without complaint because he seemed distracted and depressed and I was afraid he was burning out. Then after DDay, he complained that he had to do everything for me and it felt like he had four children instead of three because I was so needy. Initially I couldn’t help but wonder if there was some truth in it because he had done more than his share for a number of years. I had to remind myself of all of the times in the past when I had shown myself to be capable and that I had never actually asked him do to the things he did. Thankfully I figured it out soon enough to get indignant and defend myself to him and told him he was full of shit (well, ok, I didn’t use those exact words as I was still hoping to reconcile). Now I get offended whenever he tries to do favors for me, like putting out the trash bins or changing lightbulbs etc. I see it as an insult. He isn’t being kind, he is implying that I am incapable of looking after my household.

  • My wall told me I was strong and resilient. I could get past the cheating.
    It told me to believe there was no one else I could love as much as I loved him. It told me that if I was thinner, looked more attractive and gave more he wouldn’t have cheated.

    I got over it first by seeing a kick ass therapist who said he was a narcissist and I needed to divorce him or it would kill me. When he asked me what I wanted to work on, I told him I wanted to know how to stop loving him.

    Believing came next. I couldn’t imagine he was in fact a narcissist. My father was a raging narcissist and the Limited was nothing like that; he was just the opposite.
    My therapist suggested finding a blog rather than getting revenge. I found Lady With A Truck and the light came on after reading about the three phases of a narcissistic relationship. That cycle defined thirty six years of my marriage and the five years we dated.

    It wasn’t until I found Chump Lady that the wall began to crumble. I found my tribe, foot soldiers and warriors.

    • Lady with A Truck! She saved me too! Learning about the three phases of a narcissistic relationship changed everything. And I learned that a jackass doesn’t need a diagnosis. If you have cycled through those phases, he’s acting like a narcissist. Enough said.

      • So true LAJ; they don’t need a diagnosis. As we know few who will ever take responsibility for their actions.

        It came to the point the cycles were predictable. Once is enough! What I didn’t mention in my post was that he is a covert narcissist, a malignant one to the core.

  • My wall said:

    -He’s an alcoholic. If something would just happen – he’d realize he needs to stop drinking and come out of the fog.
    -I’m going to lose my beautiful house in which I have spent so much time, energy and money on keeping it a ‘home.’
    -I’m going to lose all my beautiful gardens in which I have spent so much time, energy and money on keeping them gorgeus
    -I’ll be scraping by
    -I’ll be single forever cuz all the ‘good ones’ are taken
    -I’ll be single forever cuz I’m 46 and overweight

    Actuality is:
    -He is PROUD to be an alcoholic and even after lab tests showing he’s on the verge of liver problems, he doesn’t care. Life is no fun without beer….. He will never change.
    -I bought a *new* house. One that I am able to update on my own without having someone criticizing my choice in decor.
    -I have *new* gardens. Just as awesome as my old ones (the old ones probably look like shit now. Goes with the piece of shit who likely let them go to hell)
    -I have money now! I didn’t realize how much the dickhead was draining me! My goal is to have my house paid off in 3 years and I’m on track to realize that dream. I have money to work on my house. I have money to vacation – and I vacation A LOT! I attend a lot of concerts and music festivals now….something asswipe didn’t ever want to do. AND my credit score is 820.
    -I found a great guy about a year after my divorce.
    -I am now 48 and look just as good as I did in High school, if not better. I take care of myself and am a pretty hot 48-year-old. I get hit on constantly – even 29-year-old ‘punks.’ Ya I’ve got plenty of battle scars on my belly, but nothing a T-shirt won’t hide. And I’ve found that most of these guys don’t really care about my stretch marks cuz I look pretty hot in a pair of jeans and high heel boots.

    Life is great now. SOOOO glad I took that step to rid myself of that parasite. I should actually thank him because now I can look forward to a MUCH BETTER life without sharing it with a piece of shit.

  • Thank you to everyone who has posted today! You all are amazing!

    Four years since D-Day #1 and separation and nearly one year since divorce by husband and discard by last boyfriend, I am still staring at the wall–from the ‘inside’ in the emotional sense although my only partners for the last 15 years have officially discarded me. I generally feel like a deer caught in headlights or someone who is trying to run but whose feet are caught in rapidly drying cement. I often feel as though I am drowning. Heck, I don’t feel as though I even belong to this ‘tribe,’ although I am officially a chump by fact that my husband and others have cheated on me, as I don’t feel/act mighty. Still haven’t settled all the financial issues from the divorce; still haven’t used the drill, which last boyfriend left on my counter, to secure the bookshelf to the wall because I’m afraid that I’ll screw up the literal wall, injure myself, etc. (Constant flux–16 divorce hearings, a few jobs (one after the other), a few different homes (apartments), a few different schools for the kids and me, a few break ups, deaths in the family, and the results of a chronic injury–pain, which led to insomnia, which led to sleep deprivation for years) probably made becoming stable more difficult. Going to try to give myself some grace for not ‘getting over it’ faster than I am, yet try to be mightier–just ‘suck it up.’.) I am still scared. Trying to apply much great advice provided by thoughtful, caring chumps on this site to my life to successfully deal with the fear.

    • I’ve been back in this house over 5 years. The year prior to that I was separated and my XH lived here. He had hoarder tendencies. I redid the house in terms of painting, refinishing hardwood floors, etc. but there was a lot of yard cleanup, as my XH had piles of chopped wood under tarps, on top of rotting pallets all over the place, and weeds grew around the piles. He left a garden that was fenced and was a leaf magnet in the fall. I’ve sat here looking at the mess (by my standards) for the whole time I’ve lived here. This year I decided to hire someone. It took less than one 8-hour day for a college kid to clean up the mess. My point is that all of us have stuff that’s undone. Your task is to decide what the priority is–and I’d suggest working toward a job you like that can provide a decent life for you and the kids. But when I need carpentry or electrical work, I pay the experts who work at my college to do it. Your bookshelf job–maybe $20. And you can learn to operate the drill by watching how the expert does it. You may even have a woman friend who has skills. If you are in California, it may be important safety-wise to make sure heavy stuff is anchored.

      • LAJ, I know exactly what you mean. My cheater was a collector. When he skipped, he left me with such a mess. I’ve filled up two roll-off dumpsters so far. I’m looking forward to having a junk-free life. But it still makes me red-hot that he left me to clean up his mess

      • This year I worked on my lawnmower, replaced a spark plug and drained the oil. I also replaced a large portion of my tile floor. I measured and scored, became frustrated yet I did it. My next project was sanding and spackling the living room wall. I matched the paint color by taking a chip to the paint store.

        RSW, you can teach yourself many things! Go for it.

    • I had to confront this stuff teeny piece by teeny piece.

      That meant step one was making a list in my phone whete I couldn’t avoid it. I divided my life into 14 sections and let a randomizer pick what was next.

      The I steeled myself and did it.

      It started VERY small. I know not everyone has a faith but item 1 was reading my scriptures everyday.

      Item 2 was brushing my teeth and using mouthwash everyday because my self-care had plummeted to dangerously low levels.

      I added a new item every 8ish to 10ish days. And sometimes I still fell off-track so I restarted where I left off.

      Rebuilding self-esteem can be a one brick at a time maneuver. But once that first brick is laid, the project has begun.

      Once I started brushing my teeth and mouthwash every day during my depression, my other self-care drives kicked in a bit which helped. So my hygiene improved.

      I hit a major trigger around dietary change that I am still trying to work through.

      But the house is better etc.

      The book Getting Things Done was better therapy than my therapist.

      I learned I had a tendency to not want to do things unless I had someone yo do them for.

      Plenty of people will appreciate your efforts it you help them with something and you can’t do that unless you’ve taken care of #1.

      You aren’t taking anything away from anyone else by HEALTHILY taking care of #1. Your bookshelf isn’t going to be perfect. But it isn’t going to be some hurricane-level disaster either.

      I guess what I tell my daughter all the time is “just do the thing.” I have to tell myself that a lot too.

  • My kids were now older…. and I was getting sicker and sicker. I ended up with breast cancer. I realized my ex-husband was losing his mind (seriously!) and I envisioned being trapped with him for the rest of my life. I had been married 20+ years to him. Moved from Canada to US (became US citizen)… had NO SUPPORT at all (we still had dial-up internet computers then) I still left. DESPERATION conquered fear. For two weeks I slept on the floor of a lady I barely knew from an AlAnon Group. Two weeks after that I realized that we had a line of credit still open on our house which my ex-husband was supposed to be using to fix up our house – instead he’d used it for implanted teeth (over 20 grand…) and a new truck (over 25 grand). I immediately went to the bank,,, looking over my shoulders – SO FREAKED out that he would be right behind me. I got enough money out of it to do first and last at an apartment. 6 months before I had began working for the first time in 17 years (I had been raising children and was not allowed to work!) – and then ???? I was in the wind…… I got alimony for a few years (he was supposed to do it for 1/2 the marriage years ) but he immediately had gotten remarried (5 months after I left him) and he bolted. I took him back to court and I won – but then he was REALLY gone – he had skipped. In 2013 … at the end of my rope I saw a lawyer and we realized that by now my ex-husband owed me 81,000 in alimony. Every paralegal had told me I’d never see a dime – “Not Alimony”. But I had an amazing lawyer who told my ex-husband that we had TWO judgments on him (1 was the divorce, the 2nd was when I took him back to court and won), and that he was going to do TIME for contempt of court and he would have to do a ‘debtors exam’. Well… lo and behold…. we find out that he’s on the new wife’s title for her house. HAHAHAHAHA…. he thought he was going to get the equity out of her home – in fact – the mortgage company called my lawyer when we put a lien on the house and he said: “He said he didn’t owe money to anyone”…. and believe it or not girls… I GOT MY ALIMONY MONEY. All the equity in their house was 62,000.00. and I got it. oh by the way? I little birdie told me they are separated now….. hmmmm……. The faster you get out, the faster you will get your own life back and you are capable of so much that you don’t even know about yet!!!

  • My wall said: “I deserved to be cheated on because of my imperfections and mistakes”. “I can’t live on my own because of being disabled” (6 months and counting) “No woman will ever love me” (not dating yet, but I have had some woman show interest in me) “The kids need an intact family” (they are calming down the more they see me acting peaceful toward their mother-grey rock). Yes, I am scared for when the divorce is final on August 31st. I haven’t been single in 24 years. But it is so much better then living with an abuser, liar, being gaslighted, and cheated on!!!!

  • My wall said and sometimes still says “Will I ever be able to retire?”

    Since I got the house, he got most of the retirement. At 52 years old, I still ask myself that question. I will be paying for two college tuition’s soon. That just might put me at age 70 or 75 for retirement. I really don’t want to work that long but a girls got to do what a girls got to do.

    • I worried about that too until I realized I had already determined that I would never get to retire when we were still I thought happily married. He had quit is high paying job and didn’t lower his standard of living. I might have a better shot at retiring now but I won’t hold my breath. My first of three starts college in the fall.

      • Retirement can be over rated. If I were to retire, I would have to wait until I was 74. I will have paid off X for his share of the house when I am 68…then I need to build up a savings to supplement a rather small Social Security.

        Then I started thinking…why do I have to retire at all unless my health takes a nasty dive? I love my work which is only 4 days a week (I own a jewelry store in a tourist town). I rarely make sales on Thursdays…best days are Fri-Sun. So after I pay off X, I can just cut back to working three days a week, which won’t make much difference in sales…plus, I can then start saving everything that I do earn. I think working part time is a nice balance between spending time at home and earning money and having a social life due to the nature of my business. Perhaps others can “rethink” the retirement fear too?! It may not have to be an “all or nothing” proposition after all.

        • I will likely need to work full-time until I am at least 75, roundhouse another 25 years, assuming that I live that long. I am not homeless, but my kids are young, I don’t own a house, and my compensation is very modest (my kids get free lunches). As such, in recent years, I have tried to find jobs that I liked at least to some degree, so that I enjoy my work activity and feel as though I am doing something useful. I probably won’t have nearly as much time and money for travel as I had hoped to have and thought I would have, so I am trying to find alternatives that ‘scratch that itch’ to some degree. I look at photos of interesting places in the world on my computer and plan to watch videos and read books about foreign travel, history, language.) Not quite the same, but at least I can become somewhat knowledgeable. Also trying to teach myself how to speak and read some foreign languages and play some musical instruments. I would like to someday play to raise money for charity, even though I am a novice musician. If nothing else, perhaps I can entertain people and animals at shelters and convalescent/group homes. Perhaps silly ideas, but these are some of the things that go through my mind when I take a break from ruminating.

          I like Sweetz’s idea of working part-time–perhaps after I turn 75. Would like to get back into coaching then. Ideally, I will be fit enough to do so and can inspire others to stay fit well into older adulthood. (I know octogenarians who run marathons and lift weights. and were fitter than me even when I was in my forties and in decent shape for a middle-aged person!)

          • I started my own business at age 54, was discarded at 61, and I am now 64. I raised 4 kids from my first cheater X who ranged 18yrs apart from first to last…home schooled them also. I always figured that I could start a career later in life…something that was fun, easy, suited my personality/artistic flare, and paid decent…and that is what I did when I saw how immoral my second cheater X was becoming. I plastered a big smile on my face and kept my mouth shut and made long term plans knowing full well that he’d dump me the moment I exposed what I knew and what I really thought of him. I first worked along side him in his store while I learned everything I could by his successes and failures and until I felt confident enough to open my own store…then the shit hit the fan a few years later.

            I will start collecting Social Security in two years at age 66 and put all of it into the bank or into gold coins while I continue to work until I simply don’t want to any more.

            Staying fit is a HUGE part of this plan…being happy alone in my own skin is the other part. I believe that God controls the rest. We are only limited by our fears…so ignore them.

        • My architect, a local legend, worked until he died at 99. He told me everyone he knew that retired died! At the very least, health and sanity permitting, all of us at Chump Nation can become therapists, sit in chairs, and help young Chumps. I was a psych major at UC Santa Barbara in 1983…being a counselor or therapist is my elder job when I am less mobile and hopefully wiser….

  • I read this inspiring random article today about “NOT Being afraid during times of Transition” and I thought this would be perfect to share with CN sometime and low and behold CL posts about “fear” today!

    Here’s the article: https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2018/06/14/be-not-afraid-song-eases-biggest-transitions-and-out-life

    It’s a great message for those of us who are afraid of “What’s next?” “How will I get through this?”

  • I’m still staring at my wall trying to figure out how to get over it. CL nailed my two biggest fears: failure is not an option (I took vows that said for better or worse till death!) & I will harm my kids.

    I’m taking baby steps…slowly but I’m taking them. It has taken me a while to get my bearings and sort out my values and beliefs, but I now see the path. I still worry about the kids though….

    • They will be okay because you will dedicate yourself to that outcome. I totally understand your fear, but they WILL be okay.

  • My wall was “You can’t do this on your own” and he also kept saying “We can’t continue to live this way (separated)”. And then proceeded to emotionally and financially ruin our marriage by pursuing yet another AP. So I got a second job and did the best I could. When he figured that out, he proceeded to change all the bills to his name and then hide the statements from me. When he had my electricity turned off, I had it back on within the day. I just kept bouncing back! So guess what? I live the way I want and I damn sure made it on my own. Even if I hadn’t– it was still better than living with him!!

  • I think that whatever my wall was, and still is saying, being here at CN and reading about all of the experiences and wisdom of all of us chumps has made me realize that it was built by my ex-cheater/narc/psycho. Therefore it isn’t strong, or stable, and can be brought down with a feather, if only I just put it in my hands and push…

  • My wall is long running script in the adds on Chumplady that lock up the website so I can’t scroll through the essay and/or comments. It gets worse every day. Is there any way around that?

    • My first post; hope it works lol! I’ve been lurking for a month or two.
      I had the script issue as well, and it drove me nuts. I realized it happened when using Internet Explorer as my browser. I tried Google Chrome and that seems to work pretty well for me. Perhaps try using a different browser, CIR.

  • My wall said the normal BS:

    “If you can’t stay married, you’ll be a failure.”
    “If you divorce, you’ll ruin your children’s’ lives.”
    “Just give him one more chance, he might really mean it this time.”
    “What if he really means he’s sorry this time.”

    My personal favorite: “You must be a really shitty wife if your husband consistently cheats on you.”

    Thank the Baby Jeebus that I bought the book, found the CL website, removed my blinders and got my shit together. It’s been nearly a year since the last DDay and I’m divorced, thriving at home and work, taking my daughters to Europe in August, and I haven’t been this happy in years.

    My wall can eat a bag of dicks.

    • These are precisely my walls and just hit me like daggers in my eternally optimistic (chumpy) heart:

      If you can’t stay married, you’ll be a failure.
      If you divorce, you’ll ruin your children’s’ lives.
      Just give him one more chance, he might really mean it this time.
      What if he really means he’s sorry THIS time.
      (Also) I sacrifice too much financially if I leave.
      (Also) If I scare him enough this time, by giving him a consequence like separation, he’ll truly realize what I mean to him and not do this again. *my current delusional struggle*

      I’m in the throes of Groundhog Day (DD #5). I’m not typically an emotional person, but the magnitude of it all is devastating. 2 AP’s at the same time, for over a year. The only reason I found out with certainty is one of the OW called me. It ultimately turns out she was concerned he was cheating on HER (he was). Such delicious irony in the midst of a shit sandwich.

      I didn’t realize greatly how my walls were (and are) holding me back.

  • My wall had this huge sign on it that said 50/50 CUSTODY … no outcome terrified me more. I made it two years and had four to go to try and get through child’s high school years before I couldn’t take it any longer. I was able to muscle 80/20, for which I am grateful but still pissed about the 20. I did nothing wrong and still lost something precious. F#&k him.

    • Our pastor recommended I get as much custody as I could. I hoped her work schedule would make it 80/20-ish but fighting for anything other than 50/50 was going to ’cause more tension than I thought necessary. I’ve been told she’ll ask for me to have them more eventually. I don’t think she really wants them every other week. In the meantime I’ve been able to make some adjustments to my work schedule so that they come to me after school everyday (her week or mine). Hoping just touching base 30 to 90 minutes almost every day on her weeks will have a positive effect. I’m scared for their emotional well-being …

  • Everything i knew seemed to shatter and form a wall of confusion and blinding pain.
    And in the midst of all that chaos is my x. His true essence exposed.
    He wants me to believe i will be destroyed.
    I am not knocking down any walls yet but damn it he will not destroy me.

    • Yup. That’s pretty much how it was after DDay. I knew that was twisted at the time, but it still took me a while to stop making him a priority. Old habits die hard.

    • I need to write this a million times…my ex narcs don’t deserve any more of my money, time and tears. Sometimes I wish that I could be like them, and not give a S–t about anybody else or just toss others aside like trash (as they seem to be pretty darned happy and find lots of appealing partners), but that’s not me.

      • Truly happy people don’t toss aside people like trash! Appearances deceive! I am glad you are not like that…hard to believe these partners have been removed because our hearts don’t match (or, I have one and he doesn’t?)….but I think it’s true. AFFAIRS DEMONSTRATE AN INABILITY TO LOVE.

  • My daughter is 11 and does not know how to tie shoes, which she felt very ashamed and self-conscious about. When she told me, I had to remind her that shoes for children have been slip-on and Velcro for the last 20 years, so a lot of children don’t know how to tie lace-up shoes, and not to worry; when you need to know you will learn. This winter we had to go to REI to get some new hiking boots for a class trip. When we got to the show department, we saw a boy from her class. He doesn’t know how to tie shoes either and feels the same way she does. My fear is about doing the things my husband has historically done, which is really ridiculous because we built our business together from scratch from just him to 35 employees, and he would have killed it many times if not for implementing my contributions. And the sad reality is that when your “spouse” (louse?) is a liar and a cheater, you have really been on your own without realizing it. My experience is that guardian angels are everywhere, ready to step in and help. As with tying shoes, first I do it for her, then I show her, then she does it on her own. My prayer is that we all learn to “tie shoes”, because if you can survive grounded in a half-measures marriage, you can soar without
    it. I am a deeply spiritual person, not affiliated with any organized religion, and I am going to ask my Higher Power right now to help all of us learn and do what we need to accomplish TODAY. Stay in today, heal, and fly away free everybody.
    ❤️ to all.

    • If he is a liar and a cheater, there is no way to feel safe with him. Living in fear would be a way of life if I stayed in the marriage. Fish living in a blender is no way to live. I trust ME, and I’d rather rely on the solid ground of me and people who actually love me.
      I can’t rely on the quicksand of a marriage partner who has clearly demonstrated they are unsafe for me and our child.

      • Velvet Hammer,
        Thanks for sharing this thought. If my lying, insulting boyfriend had stuck around, I would probably always at least subconsciously feel uneasy and would be hanging around someone who I considered cowardly in many ways and no longer respected much.

        • Fish in a blender!!!! The reality show WAGS/LA is great for remedying this…beautiful supermodel wife is glued to her phone and his 24/7, constantly freaked out that he is cheating. Evidently she was the Affair Partner (Lower Companion). Flies to Columbia mid-bachelorette party to “surprise” him (check on him). Completely fails to realize that all this external monitoring, which is not even close to love, will never reveal what’s in his mind or heart, which is what counts.
          Lots of Real ❤️ to you!

          • PS…my high school friend married a world-famous rock star back in the early 80’s. I was SO jealous!!! Oh, if only I’d been more flirtatious when I saw him at the local bank!!! It could have been me!!!! That was my dream. Then I found out the reality….thank God it never happened. SO awful. I think he is on wife No. 5 now? You have my sincere condolences…so glad you are here….

  • I learned A LOT from exh1’s divorce. My walls were covered in what felt like blood-splattered claw marks:
    “How could you be so stupid?”
    “He’ll come back”
    “I can’t fight him in court, I’ll lose”
    “He’s gonna kill me”
    “I’d rather be dead then live with this pain”
    He’s right— were better off best friends than husband and wife”

    Sixteen years later from that dark, dark place I was in all those years ago

  • My wall’s message was “There’s always HOPE! It took me a few years to realize that my Hope was just Fear keeping me stuck in place. Once I let Hope go, things began to fall into place. Ironically, now that I’m 4 years divorced, I have genuine hope for my future, unsullied by lies.

    • Gosh, I hadn’t even considered that my “hope” was just dressed-up fear. Lipstick on a pig. Thank you for sharing this. I am going to be ruminating about it all day long.

  • My wall told me FOR years I would never do better than him. Better the devil you know. At least he doesn’t hit me. After Dday 5 or 6, I entered therapy for 3 years, doing some really hard work from unresolved emotional pain as a child. I benefited massively and realised the root cause of me staying with him was that my mother provided my sister and I with poor choice modelling in men.

    Toward the end of my therapy I threw down a verbal gauntlet to my SO that should he cheat (in any capacity ) I would dump him forthwith and not look back. At this point we had been together 25 years, with a number of incidences including, on-line cheating, sexting co-workers, dating web sites ~ trawling for casual sex & 3 Affairs (short & long ) through the years
    On my final Dday, which was june 2016, he received a text which read ‘I have sent you an email darling’. I remember vividly replying to the text, which said
    ~ You want a liar, he’s all yours.
    ~ You wan’t a man that doesn’t shower, he’s all yours
    ~ You wan’t a man who doesn’t work. He’s ALL yours
    ~ You wan’t a cheater, who you cannot trust with a phone, a PC, or ANY women. Darling , he is ALL yours.
    It transpired he was cheating with his Ex wife, 27 years divorced because she cheated on him. Ex wife had so many men between , should I reference her again here on CL, I will call her ~ More Pricks than a second hand dart board, or MPTASHDB for short. 🙂
    I had been reading here for a long time & gathering my strength, I KNEW I would be OK after reading how many other newly minted chumps went on to have better, brighter, and cheater free lives.
    This is my first post sharing a small slice of my story, I would like to thank ALL that post here and Chump Lady , You are solid gold survivors. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU
    X

  • Fear speaking: If you leave, how will you support 4 properties? What do you do if there in an emergency?
    You have never taken care of a home on your own, you’ll never be able to handle that on your own.

    Fast forward 3 years this past June 19th. Still living in MY home, hire people on things I don’t know. Googled many household projects without whiny stink ass!

    Sold 2 of the three properties with the help of my real estate sister…with a profit! Take that you crusted ass loser!

  • My wall said “You can’t manage your house, balance your budget, pay bills, work and raise 2 daughters…” My peeps told me “you’ve been doing that for 20 years…he doesn’t do anything! You already do it by yourself and now you won’t have to worry about where he is and what he is doing!” So freaking true! I haven’t dipped into my long-term savings in 18 months and I paid cash for my new (used) SUV.

    My wall said “you have to wait for HIM to decide if he’s staying and changing.” My dearest friend told me “why does he get to decide that? He made all of those other awful choices. This one is yours. You don’t need to stay in a marriage with a cheater. You don’t need him!! Where is that spunky girl who worked her ass off to get through school?? You know she’s in there…let her back out. You don’t need his shit!”

    I danced and went to therapy for 3 months…I remember vividly sitting and sobbing with my therapist because I KNEW I couldn’t take it anymore. I filed the next week and told him to pack his shit and get the f out. I’ve had tough days but I am so grateful I decided and filed. I’m grateful for my friends. I made it! I am almost 2 years since Day. My girls see a “normal” house 50% of the time and see a strong woman who knows her worth. ????❤️

  • My wall was (and sometimes, is) “He was right to cheat on you, he was right to leave you, you were a terrible wife.” Chumplady says that we don’t deserve to be cheated on, but maybe I did deserve to be left. Maybe we were wrong together. And that is hard for me to let go of. That I could have chosen so wrong.

    Part of this feeling is from his rewriting history and saying how unhappy he was for much of the marriage, which was news to me. But part of it is the nagging thought that I could have done things better, I could have been more patient, I could have been less fearful of change and more adventurous.

    So I work to better the things about myself that I don’t like. I’m less angry and more positive than I used to be. I’m less reactive too, I hope.

    But that wall can be very hard to scale, and even when I do peek over the top, I can still slip down the wall a bit at times. Not completely scaled, but I hope one day I can say, without too much sorrow, that he did me a favor by leaving.

    • (((HUGS Cardigirl)))

      I could be off the mark here, but you sound terribly low, depressed even.

      I hope you can go and see a health professional or Doctor to get some additional support while you are healing from what you have been through, there is help for you if you ask.

      I wasn’t in your marriage but I do know this much, you DIDN’T deserve to be cheated on, you ARE enough. The failing came from your cheater who will always be a snake in the grass. He DID do you a favour by leaving. Thank god for that.
      Lots of love x

    • I could have written your post, word for word. I don’t know when your DDay is, but it took me SIX MONTHS to go from haunting obsessions of everything wrong with me, so of course he had to cheat, to knowing I had ZERO to do with it. Unhappy for years?!!! News to me!! He
      should get a Lifetime Achievement Oscar!
      IF THIS MAN WAS UNHAPPY, ANGRY, WHATEVER, HE WAS OBLIGATED TO INCLUDE YOU IN A DISCUSSION ABOUT HIS FEELINGS!!! That’s what a decent, emotionally healthy partner does. I don’t think my husband was obsessing about HIS shortcomings. I know he spent plenty of time focusing on mine, which he used, real or imagined or made up, to excuse his affair(s?). I felt so awful after discovery, my husband, the Local Legend Nice Guy Butterfly, married to me, Bully Who Just Pulled His Wings Off. NOT!!!!!! But that takes a while and I think it might be a very common reaction here. It’s related to CONTROL. If I had done this, not that, then this wouldn’t have happened!….related to “I can fix it!!” I own 100% of my individual issues (and he has his 100%), I own 50% of the marriage issues (and he shared custody of those) and I own ZERO ZERO ZERO x INFINITY %
      of his decision to step outside the marriage. I am now officially firing you from the job of Causing His Infidelity!!!!
      ❤️ to you!

      • PS….I think “unhappy for years” translates as
        “Hi, my name is _______and I am a liar”…..

      • Dear Berenike and Velvet Hammer,

        Thanks so much for your caring replies. They mean a lot to me.

        I have mostly scaled my wall, and I no longer believe that I ‘forced’ him to cheat on me. I accept my part in our marriage not working, in that I was working with incomplete information and had no idea he was feeling the way he said at the end he was. My therapist has helped me see that I take on too much guilt about things, and I’ve come a long way from where I was when he first left.

        As for him being right to walk away, well, maybe we weren’t good together. He seems very happy with his life now, so for him it may have been the best thing.

        The good things in my life are my two grown children are close to me(and who remain very close to their dad, as well) and my friends. I have a decent job and I get to do what I want to do (within reason) most of the time. It’s different from what I had hoped for when I was married, but it’s good.

        I wrote about my wall that kept me from kicking him out when I first found out he was cheating and that it was the thought that I was at fault. I don’t think that way much anymore, especially about his cheating, because, what an idiot he is/was.

        But I do think that perhaps he was right to go. For him. And that makes me think I chose poorly.

  • As many others I had an odd mixture of feelings; both relief, shock and immense sadness. My gut was telling me for years that things were off with him emotionally, I just didn’t listen to it, blamed my anxiety. Now I know that was just used against me for his gain. That being said, here are my walls…

    My first wall: WHAT DID I DO WRONG? WHY AM I BEING REJECTED? I MUST BE A SHITTY PARTNER NOT WORTHY OF HIS LOVE
    (Context: Last August after my prodding for weeks, through sobbing he told me he loves me like a sister, not as a husband should love his wife anymore. Lied when I asked directly if there was someone else.)

    Second wall: HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO ME AND THE KIDS, THERE IS NO WAY HE’S CHEATING. I MUST KNOW!
    (Context: Mid-September, after my family/friends told me start digging for evidence of cheating. You’re reality does not make sense! Found first piece of evidence, random girls’s baggage paid for on our airline credit card receipt. Immediately got on phone with PI and lawyer.

    Third wall: WHO IS THIS PERSON? I DO NOT TOLERATE LYING/CHEATING. GETTING MY DUCKS IN A ROW & DIVORCING HIS ASS. My closest friend and I become Cagney and Lacey along with the PI, lol! We hit the iceberg and it all slowly starts coming together! The moment reality hits, there is no turning back! He made it pretty easy…hooker habit in and out of town, then decided to make one of them his girlfriend when she told him she “left the business, he’s so special”. Even after I filed in October got him to move out, he continued relationship thru March while telling me he wanted to reconcile. Arrogant jackass had no idea having him watched entire time!!

    Current wall: YOU ARE NOT BACKING DOWN FROM YOUR INITIAL SETTLEMENT!
    (waiting on my lawyer to send it over. It is fair and equitable for the bullshit he is putting us through.)

    Of course, between all of this mighty behavior I am very scared of the unknown. However, everyday I get closer to not believing his lies and the ones I also told to myself to excuse his checking out of being a husband and dad.

    The best advice my therapist told me is to allow yourself to feel all of the myriad of feelings, work through the hurt with a support system you can trust, give yourself the gift of time. Recovering from divorce and starting a new life is not done quickly. Basically all of the same things Tracy tells us!! Stay strong CN! You can do this!

    • My therapist says the same. The only way to get over this is to go THROUGH it, meaning you have to grieve the relationship, and the loss. Only way to truly heal. I wish you all the best!!! You sound very strong!

  • THANK YOU CHUMP NATION FOR HELPING ME KEEP MY SANITY. I feel myself restored to sanity every single time I read someone who heard the EXACT SAME CRAP come out of the mouth of the cheater. I too heard that sister thing. If you expect to feel, after years with someone, like you did in the romance stage, you are an emotionally immature moron. But you’re in luck! Through the miracle of modern technology, you can have a new person to use every five minutes! Meanwhile, I am onward and upward to hang out with fellow decent human beings.

    • Velvet Hammer. Yes, exactly! Emotionally immature moron! He can stay mentally a teenager, lol.

      • I was sister OR room mate, depending on what day it was. He also called me “his best friend”. I laughed out loud. Best friend?!!! On what planet would that be? I deserve better friends.

        • Ha! I am the best friend AND soulmate (but tells OW he’s not in love with me). Tells her he loves her (in same exact language he would speak to me-effing sick). It’s truly pathological.

          I know I don’t want this sick type of “love.” Why is so damn hard to recognize that and walk away?

          • From the inside, it’s so very hard to see the abuse and decide to leave….the kids….finances….investment in a marriage and person….don’t want to be divorced….we are chumps and have hope….etc….we all have many reasons for not leaving (thus the Wall of Fear). You aren’t alone.

    • I’m of the firm opinion that all Cheaters get the Cheater’s Handbook for their operating memo. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated for a while, so they all use the same excuses, methods, lies, etc.

      It does make it easier for us to decode them, though, and dropkick them through the goal posts of Life!

      • My STBXH told me that he realized he didn’t even like me when we had children. Translation: We went out for three years before marrying, we never fought and it was blissful. We married for two years without kids, we never fought and it was blissful. We had kids and you started adulting, having expectations, accepting responsibilities, proritizing the kids, looking after the house and all aspects of life. You started to expect me to do the same. I tried. It wasn’t enough for you. So, you became a controlling shrew who did nothing but criticize and emasculate me. Now this OW never argues with me, has nothing but fun, thinks everything I do is great, so clearly the problem is YOU.

        My answer: So you admit that you really don’t have a clue what mature love is about. When the going got tough, you folded. Sorry to have disappointed you with real life. The kind of life that involves parenting, a child with a disability, a sick mother and aging parents. You certainly didn’t mind my adulting when you were laid off twice, when I supported two career changes, and then ultimately, supported you for three years as you completed a university degree. Well, good luck with that “love” of your life – you know, the one who doesn’t have custody of her own three children because she’s got issues adulting too. Fly birdies, fly!

  • Kim Locke, wife of interim head of Tenn Bureau of Investigations, notified the gov that her husband was cheating with another state employee and spending state money on hotels. He has stepped down. Mrs. Locke broke some strong walls because her husband asked her to lie about his drinking. He also held a gun while talking to her. She let the world know. You go, Kim Locke!

      • I tried multiple times to go over that wall in 31 years. All the reasons stated above were among the reasons not to trust myself because I had lost myself and my strength. Once I got the courage to make that final leap of faith and divorce his lying, cheating, fucking ass it was actually quite easy. What wasn’t easy was ‘what am I going to do now”. Well time, friends, and ppl who truly understand helped give me that final boost to the land of MEH. somehow it gets better!

        Secrets make you sick! No more hiding his secrets. Im finally free and Free is better than Alone. Because I can always change Alone!

  • My first wall told me that I needed to fight for my marriage
    My first wall told me I had to do everything possible to stop the OW from winning my husband and taking my stuff
    My first wall told me to be very afraid of the unknown (but wouldn’t tell me why I should be afraid of the unknown)
    My first wall told me I was to fat, ugly and stupid to ever have someone else love me

    Slowly, I took a sledgehammer and smashed that wall into little rocks, I used the rock and built a beautiful road to a better life.
    Still have a few bumps in the road but its way better than trying to climb that wall! Im way to old for that shit and I never was very good at climbing anyway

  • My wall. I told him we were divorcing, he attacked me later that night, I called the cops and he convinced them it was me, spent a night in jail. Deferred dismissal of charges meant 2 years probation. He used the cops and the courts to control me. He would not leave the house. My wall; afraid to leave because he had no job at that point and I would lose my house. So I stayed and got him in rehab, he left. I continued working on divorce, trying to get him in collaboration, trying to make sure he didn’t get me thrown in jail again which he often threatened and the rages were scarier than ever. My wall came down when he agreed to go to a collaboration meeting and brought a gun in an hour later. I finally tore down my wall when I realized he wanted to kill me but was afraid he couldn’t get away with it. There is a long story there. I got a protective order against great odds, I still have it renewed every two years. I only post to tell you that if the asshole you are dealing with has raged and used tears and used suicide threats on you for control, if there is any whisper of controlling issues with the fucker you are dealing with. GTFO. I used to beat myself up for not leaving sooner and lots of other wrong decisions. I’ve learned that’s crazy, we always think if only I’d done X, it would have been better. I’ve learned, that’s crap, very easily if only you’d done X it would have been worse. Do not woulda shoulda coulda yourself, do what you think is right and get going. Live, love, peace. This is possibly the worst post I’ve ever written. But I’m tired and what the hell. Jedi Hugs CN/

    • Datdamwuf,
      “possibly the worst post I’ve ever written”

      You show such wisdom and unbelievable strength.
      Possibly one of the strongest posts ever written is more like it!
      What you have endured, all of it, then to come here to reach out to others, to lift them up and bring them toward the light.
      YOU are so Mighty.
      I am so sorry for all you have endured, yet I am amazed by your ability to use it all to reach out like you do.
      Amazing, YOU are all good words leading up to MIGHTY!
      Jedi hugs and love back to YOU!

  • My wall said, you must untangle his skein of fuckedupness so that that he will understand how to love you so that you can prove to yourself that you deserve (his) love. Another wall said, you need a partner to help you forgive yourself for your shortcomings. I found a therapist and Pema Chodron instead.

    • Oh, yeah, forgot about the “I’m no longer attractive is this culture wall.” Busted that one down recently.

  • MY WALL OF FEAR:
    1. You drove your husband away. You are too strong and controlling. You will drive any man away eventually.
    2. If you leave this marriage, you will be a failure.
    3. If you leave this marriage, you have sinned before God.
    4. Your children will be damaged if you fail this marriage.
    5. You will have to share custody of your children and will not be able to be as closely bonded with them.
    6. Your children are going to be influenced by the lack of morality exemplified by their father and OW.
    7. You aren’t compassionate or patient enough. You turn men off.
    8. Your upbringing has given you codependent tendencies and so you will not be capable of a healthy relationship.
    9. You are less than the OW. She must be better than you for your husband to prefer her.
    10. You’re not so smart after all if you failed to keep your husband.

    MY SINGING WALL:
    1. My STBXH lacks some serious life skills that resulted in him being emotionally stunted; a withdrawer who prefers to ignore problems, rather than face them. He preferred to dispose of the marriage rather than work hard. I stayed. I persevered. I worked on my own fixings. I am strong. It’s not my fault he is not.
    2. He left the marriage. He is the failure. I am the closing batter coming in to end this game and take back my power. Initiating the legal separation agreement for a divorce this week.
    3. I give my marriage up to God. God is mighty and may see fit to bring back to me a worthy husband. The way he is now is not what I deserve. My vocation to family life will be judged by my commitment to my children’s welfare.
    4. I will work hard to prioritize my children’s needs over my own selfish desires. I will be the sane and responsible parent who will care for them and never leave. I will commit myself to teaching good moral values and exemplify what it means to be a person of good character.
    5. I will use the time without the kids to work on me so that I am the most amazing mother with them. The quality will far surpass the issue of quantity as a result of the work I do on me.
    6. I understand that my children will be influenced by all sorts of people throughout their lives. Use the strength that your husband accused you negatively about and wield that strength to be the greatest force in your children’s lives. Ensure that the force channels God’s grace, guidance, and love to your children.
    7. Fighting for my marriage for almost a year is the greatest demonstration of compassion and patience. A worthy man would know to appreciate it. It’s not my fault that he did not.
    8. Perhaps I have codependent tendencies. Keep up the counselling to continue learning how to function better in future relationships. I’m smart enough to figure this out.
    9. I am absolutely NOT less than the OW. Now that’s all she deserves of my time – full stop.
    10. I am smart to end this and move on with life – the sooner, the better. Better to be alone than to continue one more day in false hopium. Believe him that he doesn’t want you and move on.

    • THANK YOU….I am borrowing your Singing wall for my To Do list….you wrote it before I could….and if by miracle I ever trust a man again, this could serve as a template to compare him to….❤️ 2 you!

    • Wow, just wow! So much of what you said is exactly me, my situation, and how I feel (except I’m a man/father/husband 😉 ) I was going to say which ones I can relate to, but that is almost all of them. God, kids, family are the big struggles for me. I’m also trying to come to peace with your Singing Wall #7. Over a year of fighting for me which included two DDays. I’m trying to accept that is enough, and that’s OK. I’m tired and worn down and ready to move on (Singing #10). There isn’t anything left for me in this relationship aside from the “family unit.”

      • Give it up to God. You fought for what you believed in for a long time, every day. How many have that level of conviction in the face of continuous rejection? You are mighty! How many men or women dream of being with a partner who will fight for them against the odds? Isn’t that the plot of the great romances? Yet, our partners threw it away. Fools, the whole lot of them.

      • My just turned 10 and has autism. My daughter is 7. I had a lot of reason to fight for keeping my marriage intact. I fought the good fight. Married almost 12 years, together almost 15. Both from faith-filled pro-marriage families. I know I married a good man, but something started to turn a few years ago. Mid-life crisis, identity, whatever. I’m done trying to analyze the “why” and accept the “what is.” The trauma that trying to save my marriage caused to my emotional and mental well-being was excruciating. It’s been six months since he left for good, and only about a month ago, with a lot of counselling and spiritual guidance from my priest, did the constant anxiety subside. I am blessed to have my own good job and money, to have tremendous family support (including the support of all my in-laws who are appalled by what has happened), and incredible friends and work colleagues. My children are benefiting from a good family counsellor every week, who also guides me in meeting their needs.

    • I agree with TheTwiceFooledDad, everything is spot on to my experience (as the husband\dad). I listen to one wall more than the other most days. And right now, it’s the Wall of Fear. I thank God for the people in my life that repeatedly remind me what the Singing Wall says. Here’s to going through the motions until Tuesday and meh …

  • Coming to this late, but I appreciate what others have written and this feels like an important exercise.

    STBX and My Wall said in chorus:

    – You are chronically ill and therefore disposable, unlovable. (My body said, huh, I feel better now that he’s gone….)

    My Wall said/says:

    – You are not real if he does not love you.
    – You will never find love again (this one is persistent).
    – You will never stop loving him; he will remain the love of your life.
    – You can’t cope on your own.
    – You can’t manage financially without his (paltry part-time) income (I am managing).
    – His mistress must exceed you in every way (THAT HO DOES NOT!!)
    – You will fail as a single mom (ds and I are closer than ever).
    – He will try to take ds away.

    Still scared, still moving forward as best I can.

  • This is a great exercise, and @OptionNoMore, I’m going to take a page out of your book and do it your way.

    MY WALL OF FEAR
    1. That I would have lost everything – my 16 year investment into our relationship all gone.
    2. I am too strong, too feisty, and too opinionated, no one will love me.
    3. I couldn’t keep my husband happy enough that he had to find someone else
    4. I am too nice and responsible, and other people will soon take advantage of me.
    5. I have lost a lifestyle that I was accustomed to.
    6. I was discarded by someone I loved, and a divorcee at 36 means that I failed in my relationship.

    MY SINGING WALL
    1. STBXH is disordered narc who didn’t care about me the way a healthy partner should. There was so little reciprocity that getting out of the marriage benefits me way more than him. D-Day #2, 13 years after D-Day #1 has made that very clear that I should not stick around.
    2. I am an interesting, kind, funny, attractive person with lots of friends who care about me.
    3. I am learning my boundaries and learning from people who have healthy relationships.
    4. The OW is not special. She’s dim-witted, available and needy. I will one day thank her for helping me scale the wall (although I’ve cursed her that she will one day meet a woman who will do to her exactly what she did to me).
    5. I’d rather stay single than married to someone who will lie and cheat behind my back without batting an eyelid.
    6. My lifestyle did not change much. The fast cars were all STBX’s and I can live without them just fine. I still have my house, my dogs, and my own business. I can still afford to go on trips and afford nice stuff if I work harder.
    7. I’m still young. I’m lucky that I got out earlier than most.

  • My STBXH told me that he realized he didn’t even like me when we had children. Translation: We went out for three years before marrying, we never fought and it was blissful. We married for two years without kids, we never fought and it was blissful. We had kids and you started adulting, having expectations, accepting responsibilities, proritizing the kids, looking after the house and all aspects of life. You started to expect me to do the same. I tried. It wasn’t enough for you. So, you became a controlling shrew who did nothing but criticize and emasculate me. Now this OW never argues with me, has nothing but fun, thinks everything I do is great, so clearly the problem is YOU.

    My answer: So you admit that you really don’t have a clue what mature love is about. When the going got tough, you folded. Sorry to have disappointed you with real life. The kind of life that involves parenting, a child with a disability, a sick mother and aging parents. You certainly didn’t mind my adulting when you were laid off twice, when I supported two career changes, and then ultimately, supported you for three years as you completed a university degree. Well, good luck with that “love” of your life – you know, the one who doesn’t have custody of her own three children because she’s got issues adulting too. Fly birdies, fly!

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