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Tales from the “Gain a Life” Side?

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Dear Chump Lady,

First of all I have to say thank you to everyone in CN for all the support and for sharing their experiences, and to you for saying it straight and the jolts of reality we get from you. My story isn’t all that different from the others, but I did indeed make it to the other side, and it is as wonderful as you described it.

Four years ago I found my then husband in the arms of his ho-worker and my life as I knew it was over. There were so many red flags over the 35 years we were together, but me, being the spackle queen I was, I spackled over everything and lived in deep denial. That denial spilled over into life after D-day, and after many reading sessions on CL, I decided to line up my ducks, and line them up I did indeed.

I contacted a lawyer, and after a long, drawn out negotiation we came to a financial settlement, as well as a visitation agreement with child support.

I met a man in January that experienced the same as I (his wife cheated on him for 5 years!), and we became a couple. We heal each other, and have an understanding for each other that is invaluable.

We bought a house, we now live together, and he has asked me to marry him. I have said yes, and am, (for the first time in my life), looking forward to the future.

I am 50 years old today, and the best gift I have received is the warmth, companionship and stability of my partner. I am happy, for the first time in my life.

The other side is wonderful, I am calm, content and relaxed.

I would love it if you used this for a day, I would love to hear other stories from the other side.

TakingAStand

Dear TakingAStand,

Happy 50th Birthday!

There’s nothing like surviving this shit for perspective. Wishing you much happiness with your chump fiancé!

I’m reminded of that Helen Keller quote: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

I’m certainly a true believer in life trajectories. CN documents suffering, but where CN soars is sharing those stories of resiliency and reinvention. We overcome!

I feel obliged to point out that not every happy ending results in a new partnership. (But it might, CN, so don’t rule it out.) Contentment takes many forms. But I’m always struck at how pleased and astounded chumps are to find people in their new lives who value them — who laugh at their jokes, like their ideas, or appreciate their quirks. Sure, we had a few of these people in our lives before, but when you’re in a bad relationship, that validation is drowned out by the cheater’s devaluing.

We say “trust that they suck” here, but fact is, long before we arrive at that conclusion, the cheaters have been trusting that we suck. Oh, not enough to divorce us honestly, but to use as a threat to keep us pick-me dancing. It’s too bad you’re so inadequate. Work on that. Maybe I’ll share a kibble. (Or not.)

So cut the cheater out? Better people shine in. I’m glad you found a good person to share your life with TakeAStand!

Speaking of life trajectories, I write this from Hawaii, a stop on our way back home from Australia (a fuller post on our epic Southern Hemisphere adventure on Monday). A journey I made as “Chump Lady.” Twelve years ago this month, I was a newly minted chump. I’d just (unknowingly) married a serial cheater. About 5 months later, came my first D-Day. I’d put my whole life down on the roulette wheel, spun, and hit “Fuckwit.”

From that vomiting, sobbing, shipwrecked mess came Chump Lady — a blog I didn’t begin until I was well into meh. I thought my trajectory was pretty cool then. Six years later, this community of fellow survivors brought me and Mr. CL to the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.

It all began with the singular story “You can survive this.” And then more stories were added. And more. And more. Until people started believe that goddamn it, I can survive this. Oh, and my “survival” isn’t that fictitious stronger marriage thanks to infidelity! — it’s stronger because I am a badass who refused to give fuckwits any more kibbles.

And isn’t that what “gain a life” is all about? Realizing that this is YOUR story. You aren’t some off-camera two-bit character in the star-crossed cheater drama (Twu Wuv!) — you are the hero.

So, CN, for TakeAStand’s 50th birthday, tell her how you’re surviving AND thriving. TGIF!

****

Every time you support CN on Patreon, a new life appears at the end of the rainbow.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I personally think my life is better being on my own than with my ex, a cheater, even serious health problems, he was allowed to be ill, never me, this week, at child contact, his friend of a Friend die, he was sickened with grief, never mind when we lived together, I had 30 grand mal seizures, a day, once one was for over 30 minutes, would he go up the stairs, no
    My heart stopped did he care no. He’s started rocking backwards and forwards now. He expected me to sort out the ow. Seriously she was something out of the exorcist!

  • No I haven’t sorted out the ow, but she still hangs around I always maintain a no contact, no looking, talking, and it really pisses her off! Apparently they had a hate Susan group, ie slagging me off etc, I haven’t lived me him for 5 years and she still hangs around. There are some sick bastards out there

    • I have been through enough. 30 yrs together 11 months out. Life is an adventure and that is what I plan to make it now. For me!

    • In order to leave my cheater, I had to leave behind a life I had built for 12years overseas. The kids and I came home with 2 large suitcases and a few boxes of toys. I had to move back in with my parents, and have been home for 2 years now. I had no money, no job, no furniture, nothing!! Everything I had built up over the years (career included) was back in that country with cheater. Came home with no possessions other than clothes and some books, my laptop and phone. I left an entire apartment and life behind to start anew.

      Since I left him at the airport, I have finished a degree (and graduated on Valentine’s Day this year), started a new job, and have been home to help my mother manage grandparents with dementia. My kids have settled into life here, and are very active in the community, both in the arts and with sports clubs. Life is good. Wholesome. Devoid of drama!

      I’m not dating yet or even thinking about it. I’m too busy raising my kids, with MY values and morals. It is so liberating. I’m not sure when or if I will meet somebody or partner up again. Either way, it doesn’t really bother me. I’m just happy that life is calm and that my children are thriving and healthy.

      And…I just met Chump Lady in Newcastle last week!! How lucky am I?! Life is fabulous!! She is wonderful, just the best. And Mr Chump Lady is a really lovely guy. What an awesome team they are! Such a privilege to say THANK YOU to them in person. I feel so blessed.

      I thank the stars above that I found CL and CN when I did (on second day after D-day). I couldn’t have worked through all this crap without y’all. Thank you. I’m so grateful 🙏🏼

      • Fantastic story of literally starting all over again from practically nothing. Your kids will take their inspiration (and as you said “morals”!) from you without doubt

      • PS – sorry! I forgot to say HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY to TakeAStand!! So excited for you, and your new life. All the very best 🎂🥂🎁🎈🎉

      • Wow, calm and liberating are inspired adjectives for a new life. All that, a degree, and meeting CL? Amazing!

        • I know! I am so lucky, and so very grateful for everything I have enjoyed since leaving that asshole behind!! I don’t take any of it for granted 🙌🏼

          • And I got to meet you: left him at the airport. In Newcastle of all places. Bet you never thought you’d travel all that way for a weekend on your own (though with CN it’s not really alone).

            Me? I met CL and CN 8yrs after travelling my journey pretty much alone and still pondering so many questions. I had gained a life-yes but I was dragging a sadness that crept upon me far too often. Is this the puzzle piece I was looking for to end my internal battle?

            How refreshing is it to find that others have a similar if not exact story to tell. I’m embracing CL to place that puzzle piece down and set my heart free….

            • Arlo!! It was so wonderful to meet you and everybody else. What a fun dinner we had, enjoying conversation with people who GET IT! Had a lot more laughs than I thought possible. Chumps are not a sad bunch – we have a sense of humour, and can see the absurdity in this whole infidelity bullshit. It was so lovely to spend time with people that understand. I highly recommend to other chumps in other parts of the world to have a meet up with fellow chumps. Have a coffee, have a laugh, have a cry. You’ll really enjoy it. Trust me!

            • To all the wonderful inspiring funny woman that I met in Newcastle- you made my day! For three wonderful days of intelligence belly laughter and fellowship. Just like Moonum; I am severing a 30 business connection, joined a club I never thought I would; but hell. It sure feels good to leave behind the monkeys and the circus. Limp dick & Pond scum deserve each other!
              Thank you CL and Mr CL! You made me believe in me! Together we can all thrive!!!

              • Ozzie! Was so lovely to meet you and spend time with you. And to hear your story – what a doozie! I had a fab time with all the chumps, what an inspiring group!

            • Arlo; I understand that sadness too – but I had to stop framing a loser with my life and my values. When the blanket descends; I try so hard to think about my strengths! And I chuckle every time I think about our dinner conversations!

              • I’m going to blame it on jet lag but now that I’m home and reading from those I met, I am failing to connect your screen names with your real names (except for Airport – I called her that great screen name when I met her). So, hello Arlo and Moom and Ozzie. Can you tell me what the first letter of your names are? Mine is easy of course, ‘S’ .

              • The dinner conversations 🙌🏼 Hahaha, so much fun!

                I should have pointed out in my posts above ⬆️ that even though I’m moving on, I too still have those moments where sadness descends. I mustn’t be fully at MEH yet, because things still get to me at times. Like, when I think about how he destroyed a family, how much he lied to me, how deep his secret life went. And how somebody could bring children into this world and then not be involved in their upbringing. And care so little, that keeping their kids’ home life intact lost out to screwing cheap hookers. On the days when parenting gets tough, I get mad about how he’s living his life carefree, doing whatever he wants. And how he’s cut off financial support, yet he’s going to Russia this month to watch the World Cup. Priorities!

                When the anger and sadness hits, I remind myself of what I had to do to leave him, and I am inspired by myself! I still can’t beleive I did that. It’s like watching a movie about somebody else’s life. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to have the kids with me. And I try to do my best every day, even though that sometimes is bloody hard! Living with my parents means there is always family around, which I think has been great for the kids and I over the past few years. But, it doesn’t stop me from still feeling pissed at times about what he did to us. I don’t care about him, so in that regard I feel at MEH. But I’m not sure I’ll ever feel MEH about what he DID.

      • Good for you. Such an inspiration for others.

        I also like that you can move on without another love interest in your life. So many people get hung up on that and think it is a necessary part of moving on and it really isn’t. There is beauty in independence and there are other kinds of relationships that are just as valuable.

        • Absolutely you can move on without another love interest. Actually, I’m not even INTERESTED in finding another lover. At all! I’m just not at that stage yet. My kids are still young (7, 9) and my days are busy with managing their school lives/sports/activities and my own work and activities. We have very full, busy lives. For the time being, I’m very content with this. There’s little time for anything else anyway, haha! I feel that when the kids are older, I might become more interested in meeting somebody. But for now, I’m very happy to cruise just as we are.

          • Lefthimattheairport – its was so nice meeting you and I found all your stories, sad as they were, fascinating, not to mention what a riot of fun you are. You will have no trouble at all when you open your heart to another man. He will be very lucky. For me? I’m having far too much fun at meh that there’ll be no room in my life for another – ever again.

      • Freedom Man!! I have finally found freedom from my serial cheating creep of a husband. Seven affairs, a dozen one night stands, a host of strippers and prostitutes filled his loser cheating life – but he still believes we are deeply, deeply in love!!.Phffff right!!
        On my 50th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary, he dropped the first bomb of the assorted prostitutes and then dragged me and his lame ass cheating story over the next year and a half to top it off with his grand finale of his new polyamorous belief system and polyamorous OW- a married mother of three which he has had an affair with for the last three years. Yup, the Poly’s forgot to let me in on their contractual agreement. I did my best pick me-pick me dance ever over that time. Wailing and crying and professing my love to him! Ewww.
        I swear the only thing that got me through it was having ” Leave a Cheater Gain a Life ” literally within reach at all times. Chump Lady saved me. I poured through the book at all hours of the day and night and was so surprised that my creep was just like every other creep. He wasn’t special, and my story wasn’t special…he was just like ALL of them.
        So now when I read posts like TakingAStand, I get goosebumps! It isn’t the relationship part (which I have found too – a fellow Chump that loves me and treats me well & makes me laugh) it is the happiness, the joy of life on the other side after years of hell. Before any of the shit went down, I was 100% committed to my shitty marriage. I put up with my pain in the ass, controlling, shitty husband. Eventually, I started to hear my own STRONG voice. I kicked the creep to the curb. Now, even if I am on the brink of losing my house, in absolute financial ruin with a crazy amount of HIS loser ass debt, I feel great. No more kibble feeding and no more pick me dance. I AM DONE and I am laughing, singing and dancing all the way to a happy new Cheater-free life. This is FREEDOM!! TakingAStand – here’s to FREEDOM FIFTY!! I am doing a happy dance with you!! We own our life and ain’t it great!!

        • Oh wow, you are amazing. My ex twat husband still thinks we “are good friends” right! And yes he left me with around $400,000 of HIS debt, which I am still paying off because Mr. Honourable Marine Corps ran away back to the States. But you know what I don’t care. I am well on the way to paying it off 9 years later and I am free of him. I was 51 when he buggered off and am now 59 so yep, life is good.

        • I keep laughing when that politician keeps saying his affair was ‘consensual’. Was it consensual with your WIFE, Mr. Ran-as-a-family-man, pushing a stroller??

      • Left him at the airport,
        Whenever I see your name I think of strength, and happy endings, and middles, and in betweens, from now on, for you!
        YOU are so deserving Sweet Lady!
        YOU are Mighty!

        WOW,
        Happy Birthday Dear Taking A Stand!
        YOU are an inspiration to all!
        Mighty, YOU are Mighty!

        • Awhhhh, thank you peacekeeper 😘 I get my inspiration from reading this blog!! I read it every day. I haven’t gone away because I think chumps are so amazing, and there is a lot of strength here to draw from 💪🏼

      • Dear left him at the airport,
        You are mighty! and also hilarious. It was an honour and a privilege to disrupt a respectable Newcastle chocolate bar in your company.
        I came home and told my XH I wanted out of our business, and I’m going to start a new one. So far three of our employees have volunteered to come with me. Looked at possible premises last night.
        Every single word that Chump lady said about marriage with a cheater is true of business too. I don’t know that he has deliberately defrauded me- he doesn’t have to. He’s disrespectful, he downgrades me to others, can’t take criticism and bullies staff. I was so determined not to let my business fail- it’s like my third child- but i can’t make something work by determination alone.
        So just in case anybody else tries it- DON’T try to stay in business with your exes. They are shitty people in all aspects of their lives
        Everyone I met in Newcastle was amazing, and vital, and inspiring. They were funny, intelligent, kind people, and I spent the whole time thinking ” how could anyone think they could do better than this? ” Chump Nation is the best nation!

        • moominmamma – that guy sitting on the table next to us with the biker jacket was highly entertained by our conversation haha! What a fun night! I think the chocolate bar staff enjoyed it too, haha!

          So lovely to meet you and all the other
          chumps. You’re right – everybody was amazing, and I too was baffled as to how somebody could cheat on such funny, warm, supportive, loving people. Complete fuckwits, that’s who!!

          I’m sooooo happy to hear that you’ve put the wheels in motion to seperate yourself and business from him. Of course the staff would go with you, you’re awesome! And he’s a dick! No brainer. Your team know who the authentic one is! I wish you all the very best in opening your own business and kicking his ass 💪🏼👊🏼 Cheering you from the sidelines 📣

        • moominmamma – that guy sitting on the table next to us with the biker jacket was highly entertained by our conversation haha! What a fun night! I think the chocolate bar staff enjoyed it too, haha!

          So lovely to meet you and all the other chumps. You’re right – everybody was amazing, and I too was baffled as to how somebody could deceive, disrespect and defraud such highly accomplished, funny, warm, supportive, loving people. Complete fuckwits, that’s who!!

          I’m sooooo happy to hear that you’ve put the wheels in motion to seperate yourself and business from him. Of course the staff would go with you, you’re awesome! And he’s a dick! No-brainer. Your team know who the authentic one is! I wish you all the very best in opening your own business and kicking his ass 💪🏼👊🏼 Cheering you from the sidelines 📣 📢

          • Sorry, I don’t know what happened there! It posted twice for some weird reason

            • Moom! It was so great to meet you also! I, too, cannot understand how such intelligent, gentle, hilarious, sweet, charismatic, beautiful, caring souls could ever be dumped. Not just dumped but deceived by such cruel, bully, mean, mentally tortured, demeaned, and possiblly poisoned with an std asshole. (#BadSentenceStructure #BamedOnJetlag)) Its unfathonable to me. It makes no sense. And everybody was so open with their feelings, stories and just plain Super Fun! I have pics of all the chocolate desserts if anybody wants them.

              • Airport. I wrote a whole email and saw it disappear. So, wrote another but not the same – fun to relive the experience twice here, wee.

              • I forgot; Moom, congratulations on getting out of business with the moron. As Warren Buffet said: he would never hire somebody who cheated on their spouse. It’s all about integrity. I like to think I have a lot of it as all of us do here, but I Know X has none. He proved it. What a shame for him.

              • Dear Sheila, my mother told me that the name Frances means Frankish, like the ancient tribe that lived in Europe, and that the Romans called them “Franks” because they were free.
                So Fran=free.I should remember that!

  • I’d like to put forth the idea that we can be happy on our own. Some of us may find new relationships and some may not. I am 60 and feel I don’t want another man in my life. I’m not anti -men but just cannot go there again.
    I have a good life regardless. I own my own home and have plenty of friends. I am retired but fill my days with golf, yoga, walking, going to movies, theatre and music shows. I volunteer and go out for lunches, coffees etc. I read and belong to a book group. I have begun studying Buddhism and have plans to travel. I am 16 months put and though still have a deep sadness and very scarred heart I am enjoying life as best as I can. There are many different versions of a happy ending. We each have to find ours.

    • Way to go Georgie! Life can be beautiful alone.
      The sadness will pass. The heart will heal. That is what I believe.

    • Exactly right. Just as CL said not everyone has or gets someone else. You can be happy and have a fulfilling life alone. It does not make anyone less.

    • Georgie, I am 66 and in your good company. Like you, “I’m not anti -men but just cannot go there again.” And “I am [24] months [after D-Day and 10 months after divorce] put and though still have a deep sadness and very scarred heart…”.

      When I became totally free of cheater I realized I was already very alone in all aspects of life, from maintaining a house to planning for retirement and interacting with sons. Now I have less work, less financial worries and more plans. I teach and my students keep me busy, my sons are adults (first grandchild on its way) and, together with a son, I bought a small farm and we are working on setting up a permaculture system and will produce fish, eggs, coffee and fruit.

      What more do I need?

      The only thing disrupting my devaluing-, cheater-free life is the prospect of running into baron sparkledick von peacock at son’s wedding next week. But, in 8 days this too will be past. I never thought I would say gad to be rid of him. I just feel so sorry for my sons and their disappointment.

      Every day I remember Isak Dinesen’s advice that I read here at Chump Nation: All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them. And that is what we are doing here today. This is your story, my story. They belong to us.

      Let us not be sad.
      Take care Georgie.

      • Georgie,
        So happy for you and the full life you created! So many interests you’ve cultivated.
        I spent so much time before my son’s wedding worrying how I was going to get through it that I understand your concern. My goal was to be able to hold my head up high and make it a special day for my son and daughter-in-law.
        Much like preparing for divorce, I recruited help. I asked dear friends to surround me and asked the officiant to make sure my ex was one step behind me so I didn’t have to look at him during the service. I asked staff to make sure he stayed on his side of the reception.
        I didn’t need all that help but I felt good preparing myself and having a plan if needed.
        The truth is that when my ex and I walked my son down the aisle I didn’t even realize he was there. I was so happy and focused on the moment that the ex was invisible. I danced and enjoyed myself.
        I almost lost it once but family immediately stepped in and diffused the tension.
        It was such a wonderful day that at the end of the evening I was even able to walk over to him and congratulate him on his son’s marriage. While he still had his mouth hanging open, I turned and walked away.
        The reality was so much better than my fears. But I was glad for all the mental preparation and for asking my friends and family for help. And I purposely did not have anything to drink besides sparkling water – had champagne and cookies after the event!
        Focus on your son and your family. Your place sounds like it is firmly planted and you know your worth.
        Imagine that everyone here in CN is standing right beside you, supporting you.
        Let us know how it goes.
        💗

        • SO SORRY!
          The above was written for ClearWaters!!!!

          Next time I will finish my coffee before posting

          • That’s OK–I think everyone enjoys reading about triumphant behaviors! Kudos for you and your fun time at the wedding!

            • Clearwaters, my son got married last year and I was DREADING seeing the Twat. It was somewhat stiff and formal at the wedding but we were seated at separate tables and it was ok. In fact Schmoops was the one that left early. My other son is getting married next year so I suppose it will be a replay, but it was nowhere near as bad as I imagined it. In fact, I think he worried about it more than me. You will be fine.

          • I got it Rebecca! Thanks a million for the advice! I feel so much better reading the outcome of your story. I don’t know what I would do without Chump Nation.

        • Rebecca – “I almost lost it once”, that line made me laugh because I had the visual in my head. And it was almost comical, because I visualised people stopping you from scratching his eyes out. Then you calmly walking over to congratulate him. I felt your “on edge”-ness, but also the funny side it. We gotta laugh sometimes.

          So glad you got through it with class. My kids are little and I can’t imagine having to walk them down the isle later with cheater. Ughhh!! Is he still standing there with his mouth hanging open? Haha, the tosser!

          • My oldest daughter is marrying in May 2019. I am walking her down the aisle! Arlo- I showed her your photos of you and your daughter! My husband is in the midst of embezzling massive amounts of money out of our joint company. But don’t worry; I am onto him!

            • Argh. aussiechump… Walking your daughter down the aisle. What a moment!! It says no: to traditions that don’t suit, to persons that just don’t rate and yes: to the mighty…. oh and yes to those with loyalty & integrity. 💜
              PS.. I loved our night tour & dinner catch up & will treasure this memory

              • It was truly wonderful. Refilled my soul in so many ways! We must catch up again!

            • Ozzie, you’re amazing. He probably doesn’t even know that you’re on to him. I love it!!

              • Dear Airport- I love your spunk! You are mighty! Was fantastic to meet all of you and laugh!

      • Clear waters, I am 63yrs. I have done the meet up with X and skank at our children’s wedding thing. It’s hard but I delighted in looking pretty and knowing that most, if not all saw him for what he is.

        Some people even told me exactly that.

        He gave a wedding speech that was full of self pity which was not very well received by others to boot.

        Fast forward… the wedding was beautiful and he seemed so awkward. Then, 6 grandchildren later in which I meet him at the hospital after the births… he goes so red… nothing like the strong man I thought he was. He seems afraid of little ol me. Now that’s a shift!! People say my presence depowers him… again “little ol me!” How weird but I guess if you take a stand and leave the prick he can’t play his game with you & then what…

        Btw.. does anyone else have this scenario. Your cheater X seems afraid of you?

        • I definitely think my ex is afraid of me. He ran off with his ho-worker taking all the proceeds from the sale of our business, leaving me to care for his mother who was battling stage four lung cancer and our daughter with a brain tumor. In the last 3 years he has returned twice to see his mother and never uttered a word much less a thank you for caring for his mom. She passed away last week and by the time he finally got here she was no longer conscious. I walked into the house after my sister in law called and he just stood there like a complete mute. I held my head high gave my condolences to his sister and worked with the hospice nurse to coordinate pick up of her body. Still waiting on the karma bus, but I know it is coming.

        • Hahaha Arlo, I absolutely LOVE that he’s afraid of you. Classic! It must make you feel amazing that he’s still walking around with his tail between his legs, ashamed of what he did. Wow, OW must hate it. Double points!

          Wow, what did he say in the speech? Made it about himself, did he? Typical.

          • Yep about himself. How he’s been through a hard time and thanking our daughter for supporting him….,spew, spew. Hard time indeed… and who created that ??? Deluded…

        • My STBX has not settled since he ran a year ago. The OW lives on the other side of the country. He is still based here but in reality he is either in her home town, interstate, O.S with her for work, or holidaying with her . When he dropped off my youngest the other week I was in my car heading out. I revved up the engine and zoomed up behind him. Felt like I was chasing him out of the street. I always think of that scene in 50 First Dates. Drew Barrymore scares off a guy on the highway. She yells in a lioness sassy voice: Keep on runnin. I wait for the opportunity to yell that out the window as he scuttles away.

      • ClearWaters – I want to thank you for this amazing piece of writing:

        “ baron sparkledick von peacock”

        Oh my god, I laugh my ass off. You’re a card, hilarious 😂🤣

        Sooooo happy for you and your new venture in permaculture. What an awesome thing to do!! All the very best!!

    • I completely agree. Frost your own cupcake. Having a fulfilling life is the goal, and that shouldn’t have to include a partner.

    • I wish I could get there. I am 1 year out of Day and a few months from divorce. I am miserable. After 27 years of marriage I still throw up every morning while he is out riding in his new Jaguar convertible. He was the liar and the cheater and he’s never skipped a beat since. I moved out of the house 2 months ago and he’s had women over, swimming in our pool, out on our boat, enjoying the house and the bay view. It makes me sick. I have a long way to go…

      • I read that it takes a year to recover for every 4 years of married life. There is some truth to it. You will be ok!

        • I would agree with the 4yr thing and don’t let that scare you. Be kind to yourself.., the day will come where you feel better. 😀… virtual hugs ❤️❤️

      • Island Girl,
        I feel your pain. If I can think of anything helpful, I’ll post on this site. Sending you a virtual hug!

      • Island girl
        I feel your pain. I’m at a similar timeline. 32 years married, not yet divorced but he is less bing with 34 yo MOW. I’m determined to not just survive but to thrive again. There are days when I’m triggered and fall into the abyss. But I’m doing better at climbing out more quickly.
        The time for healing that I’ve read many times is a month for each year your were together. So by December of 2020 I want to be at meh. To get there I’m doing the work now.
        I visit CL daily. I also look at the archives for help. (Search meh). I print things. I write encouragement on post it notes and put them on my bathroom mirror. My therapist reminds me to challenge my negative thoughts and to practice mindfulness. Visit Runaway Husbands for help with obsessive thoughts and ideas for clearing the mind. Put down the skein, trust that they suck and build a new life for yourself from the ashes.
        (((Hugs)))

      • I know how you feel but remember who he really is. He is a cheater swimming in that pool. She is a piece of crap. Focus on YOU!! Forget them ! You will get there in your own time. Its hard but we all get to a good place eventually.

    • Georgie:

      We are the same age….& I am 2 years out… never married him, but jumped in to help raise his two kids…they were 2 & 4 at the time. The truly hardest part of my kicking him out… was losing that relationship…they were 13 & 11…gone after all that time….truly almost killed me. But, I trudged (literally) through day after day…with a fake smile and happy appearance…

      His business that’s I single handedly got up and profitable was now his.. me I got the loans and debts, he even embezzled from me, knowing full well that I’d not do anything because of his kids. It sucked, still sucks…but what I know is that while those kids were with me, they got love, laughter and a pretty steady life.. I’m ok with being poorer for that… I do feel they will come back to be when they are older.. maybe not, but I really do think it will happen.

      But, not looking for romantic entanglements….my circle is small and I keep much to myself….living with a narcissist for 10 years has broken my “social” spirit…me and my mini farm and a wonderful job.. books and movies….I’m content….aiming for happy, but knowing it might not come. I’m ok with that.

      • Jann, it takes a truly great person to raise someone else’s children the way you did. I’ve always been of the belief that happiness comes to those who deserve it- sounds like you do 🙂

    • Happy on our own! Hear, hear, Georgie!! 🥂🍻 Totally possible!! I wish more chumps realised this early on, then they would leave cheaters in a heartbeat 💃🏼

    • Georgie, you said it well. It may not be the life we thought we’d have and I certainly did not have a happy day when the divorce was final. Saddest day of my life.

      But today? 3 yrs out, I feel the happiest I’ve felt for a long time. Seems like life goes GoPro speed and you suddenly realize that….wait for it. New book – ‘My X’s Affair is the Best Thing To Happen to my Life’.

      Take heed fellow chumps.
      There is so much more outside of a cheater lifestyle.

    • Hi, we are in similar places. 30 yr marriage and I’m 67. I am 14 months out. It still hurts. Good days and not so good days. Had a rough day yesterday. But truth is I would be sad and lonely if he were still with me. Marriage was tough the last several months before d-day. Prefer this life to that. Still totally pissed and looking forward to getting over that feeling. Hugs

  • I’m not quite at my happy ending. After massive financial abuse and all other types of abuse( Happy World Narcissistic Abuse Day CN!), I bought him out of our house and sold it 3 months later for $300k more( yay!) , bought an in town house with a nanny suite I can rent out( currently as an Airbnb). Money is very tight ( my business dropped substantially —working on recovery there). I met a nice widower( he’s a retired biochemist/IT guy, so very nerdy and introverted—pretty much the opposite of my ex) . He wants to marry/couple up/ build a life together. I’m taking time to make sure it’s right and protect myself/ put those firm boundaries in place. Not at meh with the massive damage ex inflicted but I’m working on it

  • I found my worth and self-respect. I can breathe again. I have discovered freedom, strength, and a sense of security now that the storm is over. So glad to be on the other side of that horrific season of strife. There is so much anguish we all overcome leaving cheaters and gaining a life. Recovery is such a triumph!

    Exactly a full 2 years out from the final DDay, I now celebrate healing while living a peaceful life. NC with cheater, lots of reading and posting on CN, and IRL meetups with chumps on the forum helped me recover and form lasting friendship with amazing individuals. Parallel parenting remains challenging but manageable.

    We are survivors here. CN is SO mighty.

    As the pain lessens, I begin to notice and rejoice in blessings I find woven throughout my daily life. I even feel a sense of peace and contentment which transcends my present circumstances and current situations. I feel I can handle and embrace whatever comes my way. I feel strong even in times of weakness.

    When a friendship with a fellow chump began to develop into something more, I started slow. Super. Slow. The only reason I started at all is because I wanted growth and healing in my interpersonal relationships. Including intimate ones. I had already made great strides in personal growth through therapy and prayer and had forged a new life. Alone. Alone and happy.

    However, there are many lessons that now stronger me could only learn through a romantic relationship. This unexpected experience has been profoundly healing for me. Yes, you can have boundaries and say take it or leave it and mean it. Yes, you can have a complicated life that is far from perfect and still have someone be interested in you. Yes, you are innately valuable, separate and apart from whether someone decides to be with you or not.

    While my happiness does not depend on this new thing, I see right away the obvious difference between a giving relationship with an honorable man and a one-sided marriage with a cheating disfunctional narc who was only interested in being worshipped and served. Huge difference. Huge.

    Now, I know without a doubt that I am a caring and desirable partner capable of a healthy, reciprocal relationship and deserving of kindness and consideration. I own that now. No matter where this relationship leads. And that is enough for me. And so much more than I thought was possible.

  • I am still not divorced and have much to do in recovering from the trauma and the fallout of betrayal and abandonment. Dating and another relationship not on the radar and I do not yet know if it ever will be.

    In reading this post, my cynicism raises and I wonder if others have this issue. I realize when I read or hear anything about someone’s relationship, I am first and foremost searching for red flags between the lines and in every word or action. I am suspicious of everything. Every time, I read about a chump finding a new and better relationship, I have thoughts along the lines of sure, just wait, you will get bit.

    I am am hyper vigilant with my daughters and discuss red flags everywhere and not just in romantic relationships, but friendships and work.

    With all that, I still see myself engaging in chump like behavior. Yesterday our clergy asked if he could host a youth group event at my home the week of trial, I explained I could not commit because that would be a very stressful week and I would let him know. After my daughter said why didn’t you just say no. Old habits – yikes- kicking myself. I will call him back today with a know but I will still continue to think he was insensitive for not cueing in on my telling him that was a stressful week and understanding he shouldn’t ask because he knows the situation. I don’t think I can ever trust anyone- but maybe someday…

    • So normal. Was right there with you. You are still going through the hell of divorce. Strength to you!

      And I always remember what I learned here at CN: No is a complete sentence. I practice this a lot. You can too!

    • “Yesterday our clergy asked if he could host a youth group event at my home the week of trial, I explained I could not commit because that would be a very stressful week and I would let him know. After my daughter said why didn’t you just say no. Old habits – yikes- kicking myself.”

      The most powerful word in the world is “no”. You will embrace it more as you escape the mind-fuckery.

      “I will call him back today with a know but I will still continue to think he was insensitive for not cueing in on my telling him that was a stressful week and understanding he shouldn’t ask because he knows the situation. I don’t think I can ever trust anyone- but maybe someday…”

      If you believe him to be an otherwise decent sort of person, he may not have had any dark motivations. He asked, you’ve given it some thought, you are not ready for what he has proposed. He can’t know if you’re ready unless he asks. He may have thought it would be a distraction, not a burden.

      Obviously, I’m guessing. He may be an insensitive clod rather than a well-meaning bumbler.

      “I will still continue to think he was insensitive for not cueing in on my telling him that was a stressful week”

      *caveat* That may be a bad habit that you picked up from your Cheater or the RIC mill. He’s not a mindreader any more than you were.

      I hope your weekend is much better than you anticipate!

      • That’s the hard part. Not taking shit from people anymore without losing our own sense of empathy and understanding that others can’t read minds any better than we can. It’s a tough balance. One I am still working on.

    • Oh goodness I do that same chumpiness all the time! That inability to say “no”. Personally I reckon I’m better than I ever was before when I almost never said “no’, but it’s still going to be a work-in-progress for all of us

      I wish you luck in your recovery — I’m about to start the path of divorce from my stbx wife and a new relationship is the furthest from my mind too — I also realise that I’ll have to be the one to make sure our daughters grow up properly (well at least I have their mum as the “what not to do” example)

      • That’s a good thing, but just be careful about making their mom the “bad example”. It can go badly because however she has behaved she is still their mom and they love her and will resent it if you focus on her bad behavior. Just give positive examples or opinions, and don’t mention her at all. They will do better by being given good examples, and you won’t come across as a bitter guy (although you have every right to be such).

    • I also felt suspicious of people and situations for quite some time and felt unable to trust anyone, always looking for their motives. I not only doubted others, I doubted my ability to recogmise who was a decent person and who wasn’t. Now that more time has passed I think that was one of the stages of my recovery. As time went on, more and more people proved to be decent. Often flawed (as we all are) but decent. Nowadays I am better able to pick up on who is best kept at arms length – not many but they do exist. I think maybe spending so long with a narcissistic abuser means that their behaviour becomes our ‘normality’ and because we’re trained to believe it’s us that’s the problem not them, when we’re navigating the outside world again we subconsciously expect the same behaviours/values from everyone. Time has shown me that most people are decent and nice, the world is much nicer and easier to live in than I first realised, and much more relaxing than I thought. Maybe it’s a process we go through. Has anyone else experienced the same?

      • Completely, total, 100%.

        You describe it perfectly.

        I now refuse to tolerate ANY ‘its all about me’ ‘I want something for nothing’ or other manipulative behaviour.

        That it now gives me the creeps whereas before I would try to ‘prove it’ to them, shows how much things have changed.

  • Such a powerful post Neverwouldhaveimagined!

    Taking back my power and holding the reins on my next chapter proved difficult at first. Unable to make decisions for some time I plugged through it keeping every aspect of my life the same.

    It did however change every relationship going forward. Setting boundaries and the empty space seemed impossible to overcome. That void I found wasn’t losing him; it was pulling myself out of a deep dark pit of years of being devalued, disrespected and intentionally harmed. .

    I climbed out step by step. I found s world of good people and growth I never imagined. I started with gaining control of my finances and started dating. Most of all I’m happy being single. For once in my life I can make plans and anticipate joy rather than disappointment. I miss nothing.

    Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks! I so agree with you, Doingme, that decision making was distressing, at first, but I gained confidence, too. And I found worthwhile friends respected my boundaries. Imagine that! I chose not to pursue relationships with narcissists. Control over finances and regaining a sense of self along with anticipating joy are priceless gifts of healing!

      Fear is a liar!

  • Sitting on my big covered deck with the dog watching the sun over the lake. Priceless!

    My X did not like coffee ( or any hot beverages ), did not like mornings or morning people.

    In fact, everyone had to bend themselves around him – every time.

    My daughter is here for the summer. We are taking an overnight trip. No stress.

    My business that I started last year has had some set backs…but I am dealing with it in a calm manor. And my bills are still being paid.

    Funny how taking “the whirling vortex of chaos “ out of the equation has made it all so peaceful !

  • Here’s a little insight into how stressful living with a liar/ deceiver/ cheater/ fuckwit is.

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about 2 years after I married the fuckwit. Not surprisingly, as Crohn’s runs in families, and my grandmother had it.

    Throughout our marriage my condition gradually got worse. Weird how that coincided with the progression of his porn use, and my discovery of dating and hook-up sites. After his first affair I was in and out of the hospital monthly. My GI doctor told me if I lost 1 more pound, she was taking me to surgery. I stand at 5’5 and was down to 104 pounds.

    I pick me danced a few more years until I discovered he was using prostitutes and then I was done!

    The discovery process revealed 10,000. Spent in 1 night at a strip club, and pages of phone calls to escort services.

    The month he moved out, my Crohn’s went into remission. I haven’t had a immune suppression treatment in 3 years, and I’m symptom free.

    Sure, the divorvce process and the unknown is stressful, but apparently not as stressful as living with a gaslighter.

    • Woah, your cheater almost killed you. So glad your body has recovered, and you are experiencing strength and good health! He was toxic.

    • Christiane Northrup does some great writing on the connection between stress and how our bodies deal with it. She points out how in many cases of abuse, our internal organs (especially women) can become diseased, and may suddenly be disease-free when the abuse is removed from our lives.

      I really suggest reading her works.

  • Sometimes the Happy Ending is realizing our own strength and ability to stand alone and survive.

    3 years out and I am strong. I am a survivor. I don’t think I could ever trust another human being again though. Like, ever. I guess there is still work to do…

  • The minute he walked out the door my life started to get better, although since he and the skank were like two infant school kids constantly bickering he would come crashing back “home” every 3 weeks or so because “it ain’t your house yet”. Then he’d move back out to her about 3 days later. THAT was the worst period of my life. But, 2 years later the divorce was pronounced, I bought him out the house and changed the locks – and things started to get even better. (Bear in mind he left in January 2010 so I am a few years down the road). I still dreaded him showing up at my house “because we’re still friends right”! but eventually he hooked back up with an old friend in the US and moved back there in 2015. Now THAT is the ultimate freedom. I love it! Since he has been gone I have peace in my home, peace of mind, money in the bank and freedom to live my life without walking on egg shells. I have just booked my 12th solo trip since he left (travelling is what I adore). I dated a lovely Dutch colleague for 6 years after he left but we both kept our own homes and that was great. I finished it eventually because I felt it wasn’t going anywhere but we remain friends. Now I occasionally see an Englishman who lives in England and we meet up as and when since I am in France. And you know what, that’s perfect, as far as I’m concerned. I will never live with anyone again and definitely will never get remarried – my freedom and peace of mind is worth too much to me. So yes I’m “alone” but not lonely. I guess if I ever do get lonely I’ll do something about it but 8 years on I don’t think that will change. There is not only life after divorce but it is one helluva lot better than being married!

  • A little over a year ago when he ran, I panicked. How will I endure the loneliness, the weekends, birthdays, Xmases on my own? I had visions of growing old and lonely,a quirky old cat lady.

    I have actually been busy, had wonderful birthdays, holidays, anniversary and Xmas so far. No cats on the horizon, just our scruffy, adorable dog. The kids are amazing, the good friends stayed, new ones have been made and the not so good old friends dropped away as I stood aside to let them go. It feels quite freeing.
    I keep reminding myself of what’s important and to focus my energy on those things, so in some ways life is simpler, as energy is directed and focused on the things and people I value.

    I take risks, maybe only small ones but I am challenging myself.
    Lovely to meet you Tracy and Paul. Left you at the airport thanks for your hug and acknowledgment .
    I feel privileged and excited to be part of this group and the opportunity to change the narrative together.

  • I’ll be moving into my new house potentially a year to the day she declared she wanted a D.

    I’ve also recently met an awesome woman who may or may not be my next long-term partner. I’ve since learned I can be appreciated and adored just as I am withOUT having to work so hard for little kibbles. I didn’t know it could be this easy and fun!

    It’s been quite a year. I still struggle with all sorts of things, but I survived what was most scary to me. I’ve learned I’m mighty and I’m so glad to be out of that shitty marriage.

    It took her cheating to rip me onto a new life direction; to peel myself away. If I never found out (Dday was post-divorce declaration) I would always wonder why I wasn’t enough. What a hell that would have been. So thank God for the shitty year.

  • 3 years post DDay, 9 months post decree absolute. Happy endings all round. Wake every day glad to be free of a shit bag who did her best to suck all the joy out of my life.

    New job, new home, new partner, new and infinitely better life. Pleased to say though still same lovely kids, same great friends and close family.

    I now feel that being cheated on was the best thing to happen to me as it propelled me out of a so so life into something so much better

    • New and infinitely better life…I couldn’t have said it better myself Real Monkey Love. Everyday I think, I’ve been given the greatest gift- the chance to start my life over 🙂

  • Wonderful post.

    It did sting a bit when I saw the ! after the 5 years that her new partner’s ex was cheating.

    My ex was having an affair right under my nose for at least 12 years that the kids and I could prove.

    If 5 years deserved an ! what does 12 get?

  • Two quotes helped me keep my focus post D-day#4 and get my badass self together to do what I needed to do:

    1. “And the devil whispered in her ear, “Hear Comes the Storm.”… and she whispered back to the devil, “I AM THE STORM.”

    2. “Underestimate me. That will be fun.”

    Claiming a life free of a fuckwit takes remarkable endurance and stamina (think American Ninja Warrior)… and whether you realize it or not, it takes HOPE… and we chumps are filled with hope… we just need to funnel it in the right direction… instead of hope for reconciliation in Unicornland, it needs to be hope for a better life minus one fuckwit.

    Today – on World Narcissistic Abuse Day – make a promise, take an oath, do what you need to do to unleash yourself from the hostage situation you might be in… and get a life. You can do it. You are stronger than you know. (And, as CL says… it doesn’t have to involve partnering up again… I’ve travelled half the world and am raising an amazing kid… it looks different for each of us, but a better life is out here… come join us!

      • ICanSeeTheMehComing –

        Your comment today was what I needed to hear. Thanks for taking the time.

        I love the two quotes and will write them out and place them somewhere highly visible!

        1. “And the devil whispered in her ear, “Hear Comes the Storm.”… and she whispered back to the devil, “I AM THE STORM.”

        2. “Underestimate me. That will be fun.”

        • I also like the saying…What is a queen without her king? Well, historically speaking, far more powerful.”

          Kept that on a piece of paper in front of me during my divorce hearing 😜

          • Argh … divorce hearing/s. Reckon I’m an expert at that… 4yrs, 19 Times to court… learnt so much. 16 new dresses, 3 recycled as X hadn’t turned up to a few…. my father used to say: “when the going gets tough, at least look the part” And I did‼️

  • The worst thing to happen to me turned out to be the best thing. I didn’t realize what a negative person x was until he left. Not having to deal with his constant complaints is the best thing about my new life. It’s been 3 years since he emptied our accounts and ran off leaving me with nothing but a mortgage. I busted my ass at work racking up massive overtime and paid my house off a few months ago. I did it honestly without scamming anyone. I no longer dread coming home, my walls truly sing again. CL and CN played a big part in helping navigate my new life and I am eternally grateful.

    • I had this same realization. My X complained about So. Many. Things! Basically any event he ended up complaining about. Dance recitals lasted too long. There were too many people at that festival. The it was too boring at the apple orchard. Your cousin didn’t talk to you enough at Christmas. Every mess in the house had a negative complaint. This line is too long. Blah. Blah. Blah. It took him leaving for me to see that I was not actually a negative person. He was making me negative! Now I actually get to enjoy most days because negativity is not my default persona. Life is peaceful.

    • My ex was the exact same! He was soo negative about everything. Constantly complained and if something happened it was always someone else’s fault! It was the end of the world and only he felt the pain! 🙄 who was left to pick up the pieces and handle it like an adult? Little ol’ me. I didn’t realise until I left just how negative he was and how much it had impacted my life and views. One of the best things to come from leaving him is not having to listen to his whining negativity day in and day out. I keep positive and things are improving. He’s constantly negative and wonders why I’m succeeding and he’s failing.

  • One year out and I feel good. There are ups and downs but I feel clean and clear of him and know I’m on the path to life without him in it in any significant way – we have young children so there will have to be some contact (unless/until he disappears).

    This weekend I’m running the event again where I found out he was cheating on me last year. He is pointedly not invited, even though it involves our children, and I’m excited to be putting it on with none of his bs in the background. The event is kind of an emotional one, and I’m sure it will stir up other emotions about the divorce, but I’m looking forward to the whole thing, feelings and all.

    I don’t know what the future holds for me, relationship wise, right now I can’t think about it, and I’m very worried about my finances as my business is crumbling (gee, do you think the past two years of utter bullshit have taken a toll?) so that and my children are my priority. I would like to think someone would find me of interest but at the moment, I’m not ready, and I don’t have time for it either. I just know what I don’t want in my life – him!

  • The first year after my DD (#2) was agony. After about 18 months, life grew sweeter- but not exactly easier. It’s hard, as many of you know, to raise teenagers as a single parent and since none of my friends were divorced, I felt very alone and conspicuous.

    One afternoon about a year ago, I bumped into an old friend in the grocery store that I hadn’t seen in a long time. She’s in her 70s and had divorced her abusive serial cheater in her early 30s and raised her two children with zero support. I told her what had happened to my family and this is what she said. “I decided to make my life much bigger after my divorce. For 15 years I didn’t date but I built strong friendships and I worked hard to be a good teacher. I made sure my children were loved , I traveled alone and with friends and I explored the world. I read good books and ate good food. I joined clubs and I volunteered. In my mid-40s I started occasionally dating. Sometimes that was fun and sometimes it was a chore but it was always pretty interesting. About three years ago I was sitting at a table here in this grocery store, reading a magazine and eating my dinner when a man about my age that I hadn’t noticed asked me what I was eating. We began talking. In fact, that night we talked until the store closed. Then he asked me for my phone number and called me the next evening for a date. And then the most wonderful thing happened. We fell in love. And I have to tell you, neither of us expected that. He’s widower following a 45 year marriage and Im a 70 year old lady retired teacher who has been single for almost 40 years. We’ve been taking it slow- we want to be sure- but after three years we’ve just decided to get married. It’s been a wonderful surprise. I’m telling you all this because I want you to know you’re going to be just fine. You’re going to raise your children with love and you’re going to make deep lasting friendships and your going to travel and have adventures and you’re going to make your life big. What I believe is if you make a place in your heart for love it will always find you and the love I’m taking about isn’t the romantic type- it’s simply falling in love with your life. I never imagined I’d fall romantically in love again and honestly I wasn’t looking because my life and my heart were already so full. But I was determined after going though the hell of my divorce that I’d stay open to life. And that’s what I hope you’ll do too.”

    My friend and her new husband just recently built a new house, they travel and they spend time with family and friends. They’re very happy. I agree with Chump Lady and my friend that you don’t need a partner to be happy but I thought I’d share this story because it made me feel happy and hopeful and I hope it will make you feel the same way.

  • My life was a hundred times better already, right there on 2nd D-day almost four years ago, when I said “Okay, that’s it. Separation starts now. I’m not going to drag you unwillingly through life with me.” I felt like a huge weight lifted automatically. The future was scary, but even then there was an immediate sense of relief. Just from knowing I wouldn’t have to try to *convince* someone to not be a douchebag all day every day. That shit was exhausting.

    Today, as I look at my sweet family all waking up and getting ready for the day, with my amazing husband (who actually WANTS to be with us every day, imagine that) making smoothies in the kitchen with his stepdaughter, and me nursing the new baby, I’m filled with gratefulness for that jerkface first husband ditching us. Thank God! Seriously.

  • I’m not divorced yet, but will be probably will be within a few weeks before end of June. I’m 9 months out from Dday. I was sick with Hopium for months. MONTHS. I’m the type that doesn’t have years to invest in feeling like crap because of my WW illness and mental disorderedness aka Fuckedupedness.

    I ordered LACGAL within the first 2 months and implemented a Masters Degree study program. It took me quite a while to understand Tracy’s lexicon, however once the truths of her knowledge started to sink in I found my therapy-recovery. SI & CL were/are my salvation. I bought the audiobook. I must have played that thing 100 times. For days I would sit and listen making note after note after note. Rereading them daily. Immersing my mind into this newly found psychological discipline of the REAL. I am convinced that this single book has saved more betrayed spouses sanity than all the MC/IC nuts in existence. “Surely goodness will follow (Tracy) all the days of her life”. Mr. CL too.. how can it not? (Karma much?) <—- Yip Tracy! You got me doing this Tracyism. LOL (YIP is Aussie-speak for Yes.)

    So now, I'm adjusting to the transition to singleness. There is a difference between being single and alone. I find the patterns & habits I developed over 13 years with a covert narc were grooved into my psyche like a vinyl record album. These were the root causes of my pain because The Dragon was not here- she was in another man's bed), and… I HAD TO 'adapt and improvise' as Clint Eastwood said in Hamburger Hill. Heal or submit to defeat. Chumps can NOT be defeated. It's in our DNA. (Mighty much? Fuck Yeah I do NOW.)

    I lost 65 pounds from 285 and am getting ripped from Tae Kwan Do classes from 30 years ago. I was quite proficient in it as a teen-pre-20 kid and rejoined a local dojang last October. I HAD TO DO SOMETHING TO KEEP FROM GOING INSANE. The ladies LOOK at me now, I grew my hair longer, Women smell confidence- it's sexy. My neighbor said she loves to go out with me in public just for the entertainment value. She said I'm oblivious to it (the attention). She's right too. I've never thought I was a 'looker' but I'm finding out I am. Even at 58. It's a major self worth, self confidence builder for me.

    I've started the rediscovery process. I HAVE VALUE- TO ME! TO OTHERS! I'm playing my guitar again (gets me totally out MY HEAD- a dangerous neighborhood when waffling with the pick me dance, triangulation and general mindfuckery <— Tracy lexicon). I'm planning on competing in a Karate tournament next spring if my aged, here to for unexercised- hips and knees continue to cooperate. So far so good and to great personal benefit- spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

    I'm planning to venture back into the work world after an involuntary retirement in 2014. That is unless my higher power has alternate plans for me. I cannot help but think this betrayal occurred in my life because I needed to be taught, and there is another purpose I'm needed for somewhere downstream. I'm assuming it will be Awesome when I get there. The Dragon removed herself from my life for another and it will be a blessing in hindsight. This has been a pattern I've observed across my lifespan. I'm beginning to feel it 'out there'.

    In AA I was taught that, "Love and Fear cannot dwell in the same heart". They are incompatible. My serial cheater's treatment of me over the years numbed me to what was changing in me. Guess what. Real Love is hard to kill. Hope- as in hopium- not so much.

    So get back home safe Tracy. Soldier on Chump Nation. Adapt and Improvise!

  • A 38 year marriage, 40 year relationship, two kids…. and he abandoned. Poof – gone with only a single text to inform me he was “done.” He moved in immediately with AP and married her 6 months after our divorce was final. She’s older – but could support him in the way he felt he was entitled – so adios geekmom.

    After a brief grieving process, anger set in and it got things done. I pushed through the divorce in under 5 months. Handled the sale of my longtime home and disbursement of the accumulation of the stuff of a lifetime. My father died and I managed that on my own. I had complete support of my adult son, he’s no contact, but adult daughter didn’t want anything to do with “it.”

    So. Nearly 3 years out from DDay, I own my own little home and am happy in my fucker-free surroundings. I’ve learned to handle small repair projects and not panic over getting larger ones handled. I’ve rehabbed my little backyard and it is my oasis. I’ve advanced in my job and gotten a couple of promotions, supporting myself – and now my mom – comfortably. Yes, I’ll need to work longer before retirement, but it’s ok. I bought myself the Vespa I’ve always wanted. I bought myself a car that I wanted. I shop when I want and buy what I want, no one questions me. I know what is in my checking account will stay there till I decide to spend it. My bills are paid and on time. I have no greasy footprints on my carpets, no smell clothes in a pile on the bathroom floor, no blasting TV 8 hours of every day, no disgusting toliets to clean. I can cook with onions again, buy groceries I like. I’m loving working with the power tools I’ve acquired and have built some nifty stuff. I have no one saying nasty things, then claiming it was just a joke. I have no one criticizing my cooking, my home projects, my hobbies, my job under the guise of “just trying to help.” I have no one spoiling vacations or holidays by ignoring me and guests by sitting and watching TV in the middle of a gathering and expecting everyone to be quiet for him. I have no one getting nasty with me because I love to read and learn so he always claimed I was trying to make him feel stupid for never picking up a newspaper. I go out camping, kayaking, fishing when I please. I love on my dog, which he “told you not to get but you never listen to me!!!” I love my peace. And SO much more.

    I have felt lonely occasionally, but I have kept my core of true friends who have been unbelievably supportive and loving. He’s off now leaving greasy footprints on her carpeting and shit stains on all her toilets. I’m sure he’s running through her money now, and he’s contacted old friends, begging for company, and they’re not buying. I am happy and contented, he is still looking. That grass wasn’t greener over there, and that’s karma, not that he’ll recognize it.

    • Well put, Geekmom!!

      I’m amazed how much cleaner our house is without him! I laughed because I know STBXH is leaving shit stains and be his usual slobby self over at the AP’s place!

    • Amen Geekmom. Schmoops can wipe his snot off the shower wall now! Ha, I don’t do that so no problem for me!

  • After five long years of suffering with my then husbands ongoing affair with the same OW, I finally pulled the plug on my 21 year marriage. I was depressed and scared about my future. I worried about my two teenage daughters and how they were going to weather the storm. I called the OW’s husband (whom I had never met) to let him know that I was kicking my husband out and that I believed that his wife and my husband were going to move in together. We talked on the phone from there on out to check on each other. We put together the missing puzzle pieces of our lives. We texted words of encouragement. After 8 months of talking by telephone he asked if he could take me to dinner and put a face to my voice. We hit it off and have been together ever since! We are engaged.

    He is a man with principals, he’s hard working, he is a wonderful father to his three kids, he’s an awesome grandfather to three grandkids, he has a great sense of humor and he makes me laugh and smile ALL OF THE TIME! He is good to my daughters and they like him very much! He is the man I should have always been with!!!!!

    Life is fantastic on the other side!!!

    • OMG! It sounds like the universe corrected it’s horrid mistake from the first pairing!! I’m so freaking happy for you!! I hope the 2 cheaters are still together making each other absolutely miserable too!!

      I bet both sets of kids are happy and have found solace in you all.

  • Gaining a life, 6 years later…
    It has not been easy, as I did not find CL until April 2013, a year after DDay and just after the divorce was finalized.
    I have been a single parent since September 2013, when ex married OWife, started a new family, and moved 2500 miles away.
    I put my needs on hold for a long time, putting the kids first, dealing with work and a suicidal 14yr old daughter. We still have tough days, but she graduates from high school in two weeks! I will be crying like crazy at graduation. She’s been accepted to collcege and heads out in the fall. I poured all my energy into her and her brother. Tried dating off and on, but daughter issues got in the way.
    For those in the throes, the best thing I did was take a FMLA leave this spring. Should have done it years ago, but it is what it is. Finally put me on the end stretch to healing

    And so I was content with my life. Travelled for work and fun. Took the kids to local theater groups to watch murder mysteries, went to the movies. Tried dating this time last year, but daughter issues again. But one man messaged me, was still interested two months later when I got back to him… Spent the summer emailing and not meeting due to our hectic schedules. Then started dating in the late summer. Not much, given my hectic work and kid schedule. But he hung in there, patiently, until I was ready, as he wanted something more.
    While we never dated anyone else once we started going out, we’ve been truly together since January, and love was professed in February, before we’d even been intimate! Cuz, ya know, STD tests had to be done. He respected me need to have the tests done, even though we each knew we were ‘clean’ as I told him, I trust you, but not your former partners. This summer w are going backpacking, my first time! Gaining that life!

    I agree you can have a wonderful life without partnering up. I had it.now that I am in a committee did relationship, I view it as the icing on the cake. I know we always say cheaters want cake, but I always liked the saying “icing on the cake” . And now I got mine, after 6 hellish years (and more if you count the insecurity as I was gaslighted re: cheating as far back a 1999.

    For the newbies, it DOES get better, often as in my case, not when you were expecting it.

    • zyx,

      Glad life is looking up.

      The following is a bit of a public service announcement as I used to work with agencies that helped people deal with STDs, including HIV: I think that you mean well, but referring to people who do not have any STDs (that they know of) as ‘clean’ implies that the many, many people who have any STD (by middle age, most people have HPV or HSV or both, both of which, like HIV, are incurable), perhaps through no fault of their own, are ‘dirty,’ which they are not. Condoms prevent transmission of some STDs but not all. A lot of people just get lucky not to contract STDs or unlucky to get STDs. Let’s not beat down people who are stuck with STDs as they often already feel bad about themselves/their situations and have an even harder time finding a serious partner or any partner if they are honest and open.

  • I’ve been really struggling lately. It’s been almost a year since the stbx said “he was done” and then acted shocked when I burst into tears (that was on July 2nd). It was a few weeks later that I discovered the texts exchanged between him and the ho-worker. It would take me almost 7 months to get to the point where I kicked him out of the house (that we purchased about six weeks before he said he was done) and filed for divorced (which he exclaimed “I didn’t think you would do that so soon!”)

    He is now living with said former ho-worker because he “had nowhere else to go.” Since dday, he was laid off from one job, left another job and his now working his third job in the span of the year. Intellectually I know I’m better off because his job patterns has been spotty for almost ten years now. My heart though has not reach the state of meh and I know a big part of it is that I yearn for the companionship and friendship that I had with him when things were great.

    I know this pain is finite and I will work through it. Thank you CL for your writings. It truly is one of the biggest factors in helping me work through all of this crap from the stbx who truly does suck. My divorce will be final the day before my 53rd birthday. I plan on celebrating on that day. We were married for 31 years, together for 32. I married him at the age of 20 and truly never, ever expected to be sitting in an apartment by myself at the age of 52 with a cat and a dog.

    For the first time in my life, I’m having to figure out what I want and who I want in my life moving forward. It’s scary as hell. It’s also exciting. So while I expected my kids to leave, I never expected him to leave. However, I am an accomplished woman who doesn’t suck – even though he tried to convince me that his choices were all my fault.

    • DeserveBetter–the first year is a real roller coaster of emotions, and even the positive things you have done toward crafting a new life have not settled in. Take joy where you can–celebrate your birthday, knowing there may be an hour or two that day (or the day after) where grief makes an appearance. None of us asked for this path, but take baby steps forward each week to get to the point where you are *relieved* to be in an apartment by yourself with a dog and a cat (or perhaps two dogs and two cats by then!).

      The pain is still too raw, the interrupted dreams too vivid, the invested years weigh too heavily. But each day dulls those thoughts and feelings, until your rear view mirror brings clarity that life with your X was deficient in many ways. And you no longer have to accept deficiency. Hugs.

        • Oh God yes. I know exactly what you mean.

          It does get better. Way before Tuesday, as well. But it’s a day by day thing, so you probably won’t notice the little improvements.

          Stay strong and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep going forward.

  • Happy 50th birthday, Taking a Stand!

    Your story sounds a lot like mine–adulterous, abusive husband, divorce around 50, dating of a fellow chump. However, your chump became your loving husband; my chump turned out to be a dishonest, disrespectful, controlling opportunist. Instead of wondering, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be mighty like all these other people?Why can’t I get professionally successful, financially secure, have kids that are Rhodes scholars and Olympic athletes who are super-happy? Why can’t I get even a date while other chumps find the loves of their lives who honestly love them back?’ I am going to ask myself,’ how can I send out love?” That’s all I have control over.

    • I get where you are coming from. You thought your ex boyfriend was the good relationship. You thought he was the one who valued you and loved you and would make life better and then it all turned sour. It seemed wonderful at first and then it wasn’t. Too good to be true and turned out it was. In my case my ex was the good one. He was the hero who rescued me from all of the crappy men and crappy relationships I had dealt with in the past. He was the solution. He was my happily ever after. He loved me for who I was and he was amazing. He was good to me. I was so completely sure of him. We were perfect for each other. I felt so blessed to have found “the one”. I continued to feel this way for the first 6-7 years of our relationship (3-4 years of marriage). At about 6 years in we had an argument that made me feel hurt and perhaps not his highest priority for the first time ever. But it passed and things were good again. After that it was a very gradual and slow decline over the course of our 20+ year marriage. In the end it all blew up in the most horrific way. I never could have even imagined things ending the way they did back when I got married. There really were no red flags at that point. These experiences do make us cynical. Yeah sure, all of these people are giving us their romantic success stories, but do we really know how they will end? You probably thought your story was a success story too until it wasn’t anymore. I certainly thought that about my marriage. I can’t imagine ever getting married again. Hearing somebody say vows to me all I would be able to think is “yeah right, heard that one before”. It doesn’t matter if I meet someone amazing who thinks I am awesome. All I will be able to think is “been there, done that, ended badly”. It is very sad to be so jaded but I just don’t think I could ever truly connect to a man again because it would require allowing myself to become vulnerable and I am afraid of that now. It also makes it hard for me to have faith in other people’s good relationships. I know there are good marriages out there that last and are faithful, but there is really no way to know which ones those are going to turn out to be.

      That being said, romantic relationships are not the only ones out there. Friends, family, children. Those can be solid relationships too and they are less prone to cheating. Whatever relationships do still make us feel valued, that is where we need to turn for emotional and other support when we need it. As for the rest, we can take care of ourselves. There really is no need to rely on any one other person for anything. We can still have a good life with or without a romantic partner. We don’t need to let our cynicism in regards to relationships get in the way of that. There is so much else we can do to find joy in our lives. We need to embrace that. I do hope for both of our sakes, however, that if a good one ever does come along we won’t be too jaded and or cynical to notice and accept it. Maybe time will heal those wounds.

      • I hear you RE the cynicism, but I wonder if it’s cynicism or wisdom.

        Lady I know got married recently, to a guy she barely knew, his second time round, her first. This lady is the worst judge of character I have ever met, but she’s supremely self confident. Guy and she have pretty much no shared values. Her friends weren’t allowed to meet him because they would scare him off.

        Pretty much a case of her being desperate to get hitched. The spackle truck had stalled permanently outside her house, next to the red flag manufacturer whose van was up on blocks in her front yard.

        It’s pretty hard not to predict a less-than-happy outcome to this kind of marriage. At the same time I see other couples who have really thought about it and done the work, and I am much more hopeful there.

        Building a lasting marriage is hard work, and you have to pitch the odds in your favour as much as you can beforehand. When you see folks just rushing in like lemmings, it’s actually wise to recognise that they haven’t laid good foundations.

        Same goes for rebound chumps. Chumps are naturally happy-ever-after people, and the rebound can be pretty dangerous. I know I have read chump stories both in the blog and in the comments where they’ve been dating really soon after D-Day, and I always remember BaggageReclaim.com’s really wise advice: If you’re healing, then why are you dating?

      • ChumpinRecovery,
        I am really glad that you ‘get’ me and provide much wisdom and solace. Thank you.

  • “The biggest lie you are fed in life is that you will never be whole unless you have a counterpart.“ I’m in my mid thirties and I absolutely love the freedom of being on my own. I’m not interested in a partner. I have my daughter 90% of the time and she is an amazing person, I work full time in a fulfilling career, I am doing great financially, I have a great support network of good friends, I exercise daily and challenge myself mentally and physically doing something I love. My life is so full. I have confidence I have never had. I sleep soundly at night! I look and feel healthy. My anxiety is at an all time low. Spending 10 years married to a pathological lying cheating alcoholic addict had a profoundly negative effect that I couldn’t see because I was so caught up in it. Three years later I can truly say that these are the happiest days I’ve ever had! This blog has a lot to do with the path I took. I’ll be forever grateful! ❤️

    • SolteraOtraVez,
      I’m really glad that you are going gangbusters! If you don’t mind me asking–how did you get to do ‘great financially?’ If I could do great financially now in my fifties, I’d feel a lot closer to being whole without a counterpart and feeling confidence I never had and sleeping soundly at night. While I like, you, don’t miss the pathological lying cheating person to whom I was married for ten years (’til he walked out), I really miss the financial security (and I was never a materialistic gold digger). I work full-time year-round and I sweat that I won’t make it. (My kids are getting free lunches at school.) I live in an extremely expensive region, but if I move to one with more reasonable housing prices, then physical custody will change, which I don’t want to happen as my ex-husband is an abuser and I am afraid for our kids.

      • RockStarWife- it’s the financial piece that keeps me from sleepy well too. I hear what you’re saying!

      • RockStarWife have you tried using a budgeting app? I use YNAB. It was something I used when I was married but not successfully as there was always some sort of home issue or X wanted to do this or that and he refused to participate in the budget. Now that I have total control over what money is spent on, I actually find I have more with less because I budget appropriately. I set money aside each month and when the garbage disposal breaks I actually have the money to fix it!

        • I don’t use YANB (I use the back of an envelope!!!) but hell yes I have so much more with less!

        • Hi CC,
          I have used budgeting apps and would like to resume using them (e.g., Mint or Quicken). I have always been quite careful with money. If I hadn’t over the last several decades, I would not be able to cover even modest rent. Will continue to look for ways to save and earn money. Can earn more money after the kids reach majority (in seven years) as I won’t have to find daycare for them while I work and, ideally, they can do more of their homework without help, although that might not be true for my child who has special needs. I hope that both my kids can decently financially support themselves as I am an ‘old mom’ (didn’t have kids until I was in my 40s due to circumstance, not by choice) and thus might not be able to support them once they reach majority even–heck, I feel as though I am drowning right now even in my 50s.

      • Rsw, I know how fortunate I am to be able to be comfortable financially. I also live in one of the most expensive areas in the country, but one thing I never sacrificed for my cheater was my education. I’m a teacher but because I have multiple graduate degrees and have done a lot of professional development, after 12 years in the field I make an excellent salary. Plus, my cheater has horrendous spending habits, so taking that out of the equation was amazing. I am able to afford more now without him than I did with him, which is crazy! Rsw, I wish you the very best. I know that when life’s basic necessities are in jeopardy, it’s so hard to feel secure. Keep your head up.

  • First of all, nothing against your story, Takingastand—you sound mighty and super happy now, congratulations! I’m so happy for you.

    But I’d like to actually see a few chump success stories of the type merely alluded to in this article, where the heroine learns to stand on her own two feet, attains the love of a good WOman—herself—and achieves contentment and happiness in life all on her own without needing a man in the picture.

    For me, fictional stories of women finding their strength and redemption are cheapened by throwing in a man or a husband as saviour. The movie “Pretty Woman” comes to mind. I’ve always hated that movie.

    After more than four decades of relationships and leaning on men, I’ve decided at this point my own path to contentment and peace must involve learning to live with myself, by myself, loving myself and giving to myself, for once in my life. It’s been quite a struggle, but I’m beginning to realize the vast psychic benefits of self sufficiency and self love.

    So I’d like to recognize those chumps among us who have gone through the fire, come out the other side, and attained peace and serenity singlehandedly, without the assistance of a significant other. This is my goal, and you are my role models .

    • ChampChump,
      Thank you for speaking for me! Please let me know what you discover about happily making it on your own. I would love to see examples of older women making it on their own.

      • Check out above, I married the asshole at age 20 and gradually lost myself, before I really even learned who I was. He was/is a needy, whiny, demanding asshole – which I didn’t see as it came on so gradually. Talk about your not seeing the forest for the trees.

        I am now 60 and doing the best for myself that I ever have. I support myself for the first time ever, instead of depending on the idiot and his constantly quitting jobs (They don’t appreciate me! They don’t know how to run their business! They don’t listen to me!) and going into deep debt because of lack of income. Any mention of paychecks to him was a “criticism,” so for nearly our entire 38 years I was kept in the dark as to how much, or even IF, there was going to be money this month. That is no way to live and I no longer do.

        I have had more than a few moments where I have been honestly puzzled over what I wanted out of a situation, I was so well programmed with his choices and preferences that I lost myself.

        At this “mature” age, I’m finding the ‘me’ that has been smothered so long. This me loves spending way too much on plants for the yard. Loves to camp and doesn’t mind that it now means sleeping in a tent, instead of the big RV he took. Will adopt as many doggos as I want and can care for. Can buy soap other than green Zest (Seriously. Almost 4 decades and that’s all I was allowed.). Not have to crawl out of bed on weekend mornings and immediately have to cook a hot breakfast so he can say, “That was good.” and leave to do whatever he wanted while I was stuck cleaning up the kitchen BEFORE starting the laundry and house cleaning. Him help? Oh, no! It was HIS WEEKEND! No consideration for the fact I worked full time too.

        I go out for breakfast on weekends now if I want. I clean if I feel like it and don’t if I don’t. I invite people over if I like – he didn’t like that (turns out a few of them had info on him that he was keeping from me. Not OW stuff, but things he was buying and storing elsewhere, but telling people I knew, just didn’t want the extra cars at our house.). I’m not living under his grey cloud… everything and everyone existed just to be used by him, and if he didn’t need you he saw no need to talk to you.

        I am on a little too much wine right now, so please understand my intent here to share my experience and not criticize anyone else. But the key to my happiness has been acceptance. I do not mean that I accept what he did to my kids and myself, only that I accept it has happened and there’s not a damn thing I can do to change it. I looked around, figured out that pitying myself for the rest of my life is wasted effort, decided this is now what I have to work with, and how to go forward from that point. Yes, in the early days I cried, screamed till I hurt myself, swore, slept little, drank too much, obsessed over the OW and their life together – then the light dawned that THIS WAS WHO HE WAS. The whole time we were married; a liar, someone who cheated friends and business acquaintances, selfish, self-absorbed, ignorant, and a total prick. And now we’re not married, I’m older, and on my own, so what do I want to do with the resources I have? And made my choices, day by day, building up a new life that I’m pretty pleased with.

        I’m not rich, came away with a fairly meagre settlement and my slim retirement intact, so money isn’t the complete answer. But where you’re willing to put in the work, be patient and kind with yourself and to others, not be too proud to accept help that is offered, not be too timid to go after the job or promotion you want or deserve, stand up for yourself and not take any crap from anyone (but do it nicely), and progress past the inevitable and understable self-pity, you will discover that your badass self has been there the entire time. Let her loose.

        • GeekMom,
          Thanks for describing your life in some detail (this really helps).
          By reading your story, I realize that I often look at my last ex-boyfriend (and pseudo-friend to me for 30 years) and our relationship through rose-colored glasses. I remember him taking me to a restaurant known for its romantic view of the ocean. On the way there, he told me out of the blue without provocation, “I will NEVER marry you!” Five minutes later, inside the restaurant, he coldly asked, “How do you feel about that?” I was too numb to know. On the following anniversary, desperate chump that I was and still am, I knocked myself out to make cards, dinner, etc. to surprise him. His response? ‘Has it been that long?’ He never reciprocated, celebrated our relationship again in any way (if you exclude him telling me, “I love you,” half an hour after discarding me for the last time nine months ago). Realizing that he hid our relationship from the public by never posting photos of us on social media for years, not because he was afraid of my ex-husband but because he didn’t want other women he wanted to date to know that he had a partner, who thought she was in a committed, monogamous, long-term romantic relationship makes me feel especially objectified and unappreciated. I still experience a lot of cognitive dissonance as everyone tells me that he is a ‘nice guy,’ but I was deeply hurt many times and chronically disrespected without fully, consciously realizing it (I was entrenched in denial.) I still
          I think that perhaps one of the reason the relationship and the discards by my boyfriend hurt so much, even more than the relationship and discard by my husband is these experiences have made me dislike not only these partners but also ME because I repeatedly chose poorly (guys who perhaps not on paper but not far below the surface were incompatible with me in terms of goals and values, ignored red flags once the relationships were underway, let myself get treated like s–t, and still feel partly responsible for the demise of the relationship (I was too needy, too weepy about my divorce and other chronic challenges I was and still am facing, not ‘fun’ enough, so awful that he has blocked me in every single way and gotten his relatives, who I loved, too, to block me.) He’s probably told his relatives and friends, our friends, that I am a ‘psycho ex,’ conveniently leaving out the bizarre, dishonest, disrespectful behavior that he demonstrated over years. I think that I often believe his opinion/perception of me as opposed to my own opinion/perception of me. I feel completely exiled. I feel not like I am experiencing a temporary setback (like a sprained toe) but like I am experiencing a permanent, traumatic, life-altering change (like paralysis from the neck down). For the first time in my half-century life, I feel deeply cynical and distrustful. I feel very envious of relatives, friends, colleagues who have great husbands–handsome, smart husbands who work hard to take care of their families, buy their wives a massage and take care of the kids while she gets a massage, cook great dinners that their wives can’t wait to eat. I want to be happy for these people I know, and I am in a way, but part of me thinks, ‘Where the heck did I go wrong? What is wrong with me?’ I wish that I so long after discard didn’t feel weak and scared and hopeless (as virtually nobody else on this site seems to feel), but I DO! Frankly, I feel embarrassed–like an incompetent freak of nature in terms of ‘handling life.’ I can imagine people sympathizing with my exes saying, ‘Yeah, she was a hot mess (old, couldn’t handle her career, her kids, her family of origin, her estranged husband, her divorce case, her chronic medical problem). I’m amazed that you put up with her for so long. Your current partner is SO much better!’ I hope to someday feel as though I woke up from a nightmare. And help others who are like me feel hopeful at least some of the time.

          • I forgot to add the ‘punchline’ to my response to Geek Mom’s thoughtful response: although I am tremendously unhappy about my last boyfriend discarding me (truly more upset about it than my abusive husband divorcing me), perhaps someday I will realize that life in some ways is better of without my last boyfriend. Although I might not get a wedding ring (I don’t care about the monetary value of it, but I do like the idea of someone caring that much about me and truly appreciating me, not using me as a doormat) nor a back rub nor a long-term partner to weather the storm and share the beauty of life, I no longer experience someone tremendously hurting me by his action or inaction–no partner lying to me, insulting me, trying to control me in odd ways for who knows what reason. If I ever knock myself out to make myself a beautiful healthy dinner or create a supportive, heartfelt message, I won’t completely ignore or demean myself for having gone through the effort! (I remember my first real partner, not just a date, to whom I was engaged and loved passionately for decades telling me, ‘What is this s–t?’ when he came home for dinner. I was a military officer at the time and had just finished work that day–and had also agreed to letting one of his teen siblings come live with us from another state because none of the relatives could ‘handle’ the kid. In my early twenties, I raised, tutored, and paid for this disrespectful kid, who told my fiance that I should have dinner waiting on the table for my fiance when HE came home from work (although I worked more than full time). I wasn’t perfect, but I tried hard to compensate for my imperfections. Although I am not an outstanding cook, I have never insulted my efforts at cooking and unlike my last partner, I have never invalidated someone, especially a partner, for expressing positive loving feelings toward me, so I think that it’s likely that I will eventually notice the lack of negative regard and emotional abuse in my life–and feel a bit better about being dumped yet again, by someone I loved dearly and, most recently, by someone I deeply respected and trusted. I hope that I can soon stop feeling exhausted from depression, anger, regret, and self-doubt so that I can do some good in the world. I also hope that I don’t sound tremendously self-pitying, which I imagine I often do in spite of myself and in spite of daily working with people and animals who are in awful straits much more severe than mine–I am just having a tremendously hard staying out of ‘on the verge of suicide’ mode. Trying to remind myself to be patient–that maybe someday, although I can’t imagine it now, I will feel ok. I really hope so as sometimes I think that I gravitate toward my horrendous, dangerous, revolting, ex-husband (who the Court forbade to ever enter my home), who I do not and cannot love, simply because I am lonely and despairing. With zero weeks of paid vacation this year, although I love my work and my colleagues, I feel as though I am cracking from the chronic stress and might crack up as there seems to be no ‘outlet’–a bit like no gravel emergency run off on mountainsides for drivers whose brakes have failed. I actually have dreams in which I am in the driver’s seat of a car whose brakes have failed and I see myself about to crash into other cars but am powerless to prevent the collision.

            • RockstarWife, you have accomplished so much and have so much to be proud of.
              My ex is a nightmare, he’s relentless in his pursuit to destroy and humiliate me.
              My ex was an Officer in the Air Forces and I remember one night making sloppy joes for dinner and how disgusted he was. As if I handed him a plate of dog shit. Unfortunately, we married and dated assholes. I’ve decided to make mental notes of personality traits of men in what appear to be happy long term marriages with happy wives and compare them to my ex and losers I’ve dated.

              Unlike yourself, I have little going for me. I have a bachelors degree, since it’s been so long since I graduated means nothing.
              I sacrificed my career so cheater could advance in his career.
              After almost 20 years of being a devoted wife and stay at home Mom, I have nothing.
              I’ve had moments where I’ve would fantasize about turning in front of traffic, or other suicidal scenarios. Then I think of how ecstatic dick head ex would be if I died and how he’d use my suicide as evidence that I was mentally ill and use it as proof as to how badly he suffered during our marriage.
              Not going to give him that pleasure.
              I have other obstacles I’m currently dealing with such as an arrogant, narcissistic brother, I’m also struggling with the loss of my Dad who passed two weeks ago. My life isn’t where I imagined it would be at my age.
              I feel envious of friends, that have someone to come home to, kids that care about them. I haven’t been on a vacation in years. Cheater and his new bride recetnly had their wedding in Hawaii which was once our favorite place to vacation.
              As pathetic as this sounds, if something were to happen to me I don’t think anyone would notice.
              You would be missed terribly, your children love and depend on you and would be devastated. The world would be cheated of someone who has made and is making a difference..
              I enjoy reading your insightful posts, I know others here at CN would miss you too.

              • Oh Brit, I’m sending you a big virtual hug. You deserve so much better. I’m sorry for all the pain and struggle. Hang in there, Sweetie!

              • (((((Brit)))))
                I most certainly would miss you, ( you are one of my favourite posters).
                CN would miss you!
                Brit, I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad, and for all the sadness, and the heavy load that you carry.
                I want to stand beside you, take your arm and hold you up.
                Please know, in my heart, I do.

                Xxxxxxx
                peacekeeper

              • I don’t post much (my old smartphone is my only device), but I’m a long time reader. Today i feel the need to comment to all of CN. We are here because of another’s actions. But we are also here because we are healing from the horrible coincidences we have in our lives. We are bonded by …. OUR…. ability to keep going in our life. No matter how tired, lonely, penniless, sad. Daily I have read your stories, many times seeing the words I have inside me. Thank you for sharing your stories but also your comments of support. I appreciate this community very much. Tracy, thank you for your wisdom and mentoring, and bringing us together.

              • Brit,
                Thank you for your kind comments. I am glad that you ‘get’ me but sad that you ‘get’ me at least partly because you have lived this experience. Sorry about the demise of your father.
                You have definitely had a rough time, but if I understand correctly, you were a stay-at-home mom for quite awhile. While I am no Pollyanna, as anyone who has been on this site for more than a couple of days knows, I sometimes can notice a silver lining in the cloud,

                If you stayed at home with kids, you provided your children and society a valuable service. I attended grad school (multiple programs) but didn’t finish my doctoratte (didn’t finish dissertation) so I earned very little money for a couple of decades, don’t have the doctoral degree to show for all that work, and didn’t get to spend much time with my kids. Not Wise life management on my part.

                Also, you HAVE earned a degree. While that degree might not seem marketable, the fact that you earned one says a lot of great things about you.

    • OK, here you go…
      I was with my ex since age 20, was married for almost 30 years and left flat on DDay without him ever glancing back.
      I got a bulldog lawyer with the help of our old mediator, dig up every scrap of info possible, organized it for my lawyers and they got me a settlement that I never dreamed of.
      I’m financially secure, and very grateful, as long as I don’t have an excessive lifestyle. I worked very hard so he could build his career, making sure he had no other responsibilities besides going to work, including taking care of his parents. People were always more important to me; he needed the “stuff”.
      He is with his affair/law partner, she was never married or had kids, so she supports him and he supports me.
      I took a deep breath and talked my way into a volunteer position which turned into a paid position. Best job of my life.
      Moved 3 times in the same city looking for the apartment that I could feel at home in.
      After 6 years, I realized that hectic city living my glorious but stressful job was not for me; I wanted a yard, my own washer/dryer and a grill. Took a bigger deep breath and bought a small but perfect beach house in a town where I didn’t know a single person.
      Making friends here has not been easy but I’m still working on that. I have a new puppy that adores me and gets me out and walking all the time. I smile and talk to strangers and enjoy the pace of small town living.
      My sons were 18 and 23 on DDay. One is now married and the other works while traveling the world with his dog. They are both hugely successful. Way more successful than their father who was always focused on money.
      We are such a happy family now. Holidays and celebrations are different and whatever we want them to be. We laugh, we talk about everything and are way closer than I ever dreamed possible. I am their rock and they are my support. I was 100% honest with my kids from the very first moment and every day since. Only one son has minimal contact with his father and we are all great with that arrangement. He left his children for his affair partner and that was his choice and his burden.
      I kept all our amazing friends and have a network of people I love although they are about 2 hours away. I drive to see them often and everyone loves coming to visit all summer long. They keep my life and my home filled with love and laughter.
      I am 61 years old and have dated on and off. Sometimes I need a break and I am happy alone. I’m not sure I will ever have another partner – not ruiling it out but not waiting for it.
      I am a strong, independent and loving woman who is completely comfortable in my own skin. I am always up for new adventures and will try anything at least once. I love my home which is my sanctuary.
      I have learned so much from walking thru this fire. I will never be the same person again and I am beyond proud to be a survivor. I share my story of the storm I weathered with everyone.
      I have gone very public with how difficult it was for me in the hopes that I can help even one person who is too ashamed to seek help:
      http://time.com/5267401/genetic-test-antidepressant/
      http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/05/07/depression-medication-genetic-testing/
      I’m proud that I fought for what I needed to survive.
      Is it easy? No.
      Is it worth it? YES!!!
      The best part of being this age is that I have gained so much wisdom, I understand the fragility of life and can appreciate all the blessing and beauty in my life.
      I am resilient and determined to make every day count. I am blessed!

      • Woot! Woot! Rebecca. I have a feeling CN is filled with strong, independent victors just like you! I would like a beach house, too, one day. I feel like since you did it, maybe I can, too. We are mighty!

    • Okay, I’m living a sweet life after divorcing a cheater. Together 31 years, married just over 29. I had been a SAHM for most of our years together. Out of the workforce and resume looks like Swiss cheese. I’m mid-fifties. The one career I trained for and worked in is being eliminated by my old employer, who happens to be just about the only employer in this town. (Outsourcing, anyone?). I apply for job after job, can’t find anything besides minimum wage. Yikes! I accidentally stumble across an ad for a dog walker, and voila! a new vocation is born. I now travel the world pet and house sitting. I enjoy being “chosen” for each job, and have connected with wonderful, joyful, fun people all over the world. Who knew being in high demand could be so healing? Instead of rejection, I get people asking me to care for their home and pets WITHOUT even applying or expressing interest. True, I don’t have minor children and I do get some alimony, but the real prize for me is finding my own way in the world, doing something I love, saving money each month, and NEVER hearing whining, complaining, or criticism. With each positive review I get from the home/pet owners, my self-esteem becomes more enhanced and my confidence grows. I can now be very selective and nab the best of the best. I use frequent flyer miles when possible, and find living rent free to be the future, at least in the short-term.

      I’m often alone, but am far less lonely than I was being married to a checked-out liar and cheater. I join Meetups in whatever city I find myself. I’ve met such amazingly kind people and unforgettable, lovable pets. Life is fuller, more adventurous, and peaceful now. I am truly happy and it shows on my face and in my step.

      Leave a cheater, gain a life is so true. I have no partner in sight, but I’m just dipping my toes into the dating pool. I’ve had one nice coffee date, but he wasn’t for me. I’m looking for someone who loves to travel and would like to pursue this lifestyle with me for at least a short while.

      Sometimes the joy and bliss I feel in my newly created life is so great, my eyes well up with tears of gratitude. This from a sobbing, begging, mess on the floor. Nope. Cheater-free for me!

    • I think the vast majority of chumps make their journey forward without a “savior.” For years, I flatly refused to date. I enjoyed my nice tranquil life, my friends and family, my career. Bought a home of my own, worked in my garden, traveled with friends, moved for a new job, met new people, learned new skills. It is very empowering to make yourself a priority after years as a chump. It’s how we heal.

      The funny thing is that an empowered chump is a mighty attractive creature. We are admired for our determination, resourcefulness, sense of humor and adventure, our caring. I was perfectly content to remain single for the rest of my life until Mr. Survivor (another former chump) convinced me otherwise, and I took my time to be adequately convinced. So you never know what life may hold in store, but focus on building the life you want first. Happy Birthday TaS!

        • It takes time to gather back all the missing bits and pieces we’ve lost along the way while our lives were dominated by a disordered person. After that, the possibilities are endless.

      • Survivor,
        You definitely sound as though you have a survivor’s (and thriver’s) attitude! I am trying to learn through example–hence my questions:
        Did you have kids with your ex?
        How old were you and they when you divorced?
        How old were you when you married Mr. Survivor?

    • Exhibit #347 here. I have never married, champchump, but I kept picking awful men to fall in love with. I am hugely successful in my career with an enviable CV, but just could not pick a decent man.

      It took years to get to the root causes: childhood sex abuse, terrifying mother, no father, the works. Maladaptive Coping Mechanisms? Step this way, folks.

      My journey away from chumpdom has involved finding out that my inner Lola was actually a small and frightened child. Outer Lola, who is a badass, has to do a lot of mothering to her, to protect her and help her grow strong.

      I know that there is still a corner of me that says “Men as saviour”, and it makes me vulnerable. I found this out the hard and humiliating way last year when I tried dating again – with a guy with so many red flags, and I could hear myself spackling as I described him. It ended in tears and horror, and I hope I learned!

      So I am a strong and successful and chump-free woman who is benefiting from being – and staying – single. I have my own home and family, a job I love, I am studying, dreaming, planning and working. I do volunteer work. I write. I have hobbies. I have a life, at last.

      I find that life much less complicated if I focus my energies on taking care of Lola as my priority. It has taken years of therapy for me to give myself permission to be ‘selfish’ like this. Like many chumps, I also purged my social circle of years of lopsided ‘friendships’ that were actually people using me.

      The biggest surprise is that my ‘single’ life is full of love! I have a fresh appreciation for my friends of all ages and degrees of closeness, male and female. I love animals as well. I am surrounded by love, and I just needed to open my eyes and see it. I have learned to work on building and sustaining friendships as a way of being whole, and it’s made me so happy.

      So yeah. That’s my happy ending. You don’t need to pair up, and in my case I think it might not be the best case scenario. But you do need community, networks, interests, and love, and they are all out there for the taking. I am pushing 50 and am the happiest I have ever been, that I can remember. And really grateful.

    • Oh thank you I hate that movie SO MUCH!!!

      I hate hate hate the scene where she comes back to the swanky store to rub in the faces of the shopgirls that she has a MAN’S support and income to throw around now! Like that is what success means.

      Vile movie.

  • Yes, post-divorce has brought new skills (fixing the garbage disposal myself, thanks YouTube!), the greatest gifts have been:

    1-Peace of Mind: I wake each morning knowing the day is my own, no one will give me the cold shoulder over some minor mistake, and that I have the agency to accomplish things not dragged down by the emotional torpor of my X.

    2-My life is filled with people of integrity and compassion and wit, most of them from CN.

    3-Fearlessness. When your entire life as you know it, and had planned it, blows up in a nanosecond, and you overcome that, what else is there to fear? I no longer hesitate to defend myself (tactfully, at least the first time), nor to advocate for victims in any scenario.

    Three years ago, when I was still doubling over in pain at what had happened to me, CalamityJane told me I would emerge wiser and stronger. Wiser, I could see, but I very much debated that “stronger” would be a result of D-day and divorce. She was right. May we all emerge wiser and stronger.

    • Tempest,
      Thank you for your wise input. I am far from fearless, but I now hesitate less to voice my thoughts, my opinions, especially if I think that someone is violating my rights and have become an even stronger advocate for human and animal victims of abuse of all types. Wish that I had started routinely doing these things decades ago–probably would have been treated better–but better late than never.

    • I love your list, Tempest. And if I had the temerity to add to it (which, wow! I do!) I would add 4) honesty. I don’t try to hide my flaws and shortcomings from the world; they’re part of me and I am no longer ashamed of any part of who I am. And I don’t ever spackle for anyone any more. I tell it like it is, now that I don’t have to co-image manage for a narcissist.

  • I am still just trying to make it thru my divorce. It is slow going with me. But it is my slow going. Ill go at sloth speed if i want to.
    I can do whatever i want.
    I have mourned a lot. I think people dont like it when you do take time to mourn something because it makes them uncomfortable.

    But if you need to do it. Do it.

    Your head has to catch up with your heart. Or maybe its the other way around. Regardless, it just takes a whole lot of time.

    I am not setting out to reinvent myself. I just dont have the energy for that.
    But when you do whatever you want people do take notice.
    I think they cant help themselves. It seems so unnatural to just be. Which in itself is a shame.
    Just being ourselves is the one thing we should be entitled to. Our x’s told us that wasnt ok.
    Well fuck them.

  • That’s a good thing, but just be careful about making their mom the “bad example”. It can go badly because however she has behaved she is still their mom and they love her and will resent it if you focus on her bad behavior. Just give positive examples or opinions, and don’t mention her at all. They will do better by being given good examples, and you won’t come across as a bitter guy (although you have every right to be such).

    • Agreed. They are more likely to see it for themselves if you are not the one pointing it out.

  • Ten years after kicking Two-Legged Rat out on the street, I look back and still can’t believe I survived. But here I am, filled with a sense of purpose while I listen to kids who are thinking of killing themselves.
    Just a few weeks after my oldest son took his own life at 20, I found out about TLR’s three decades of hookers, strippers and howorkers. For more than three years I could barely breathe. The loneliness was unbearable, not even my two other sons wanted to be around me. My two lifelong friends decided to believe the narc and my own father was mad at me for not seeing how “good” he was. I’ll never know where the strength came from (no CL or CN back then), but somehow I managed to go back to school, create a suicide prevention foundation and make wonderful new friends who have my back. While I write this, I’m waiting to be interviewed by phone for a major magazine in my country, preparing a chapter for a book on suicide, planning a nice Sunday lunch with my two adult sons (whose love and respect I’ve gained back) and getting ready for a work trip to Europe in the fall.
    As others have said above, I’m not anti-men but just cannot go there again. At 63, I am myself for the first time in my life; I enjoy my own company and laugh at my own jokes. I feel lonely at times, but when I remember what it was like to live with TLR’s constant put-downs, lies and ice-cold stares, I can’ only smile.

    • You are powerful and beautiful in the strongest sort of way, Chumpiest. Good for you for rising above the abuse and lies and the tragedy of your son’s suicide to create a supportive, loving help for others. Thank you for bringing so much healing to those who are hurting. I don’t know you in person, but you are one of my heroines. Bravo!

    • Chumpiest–you’ve spun straw into gold. I know it must have been intensely painful to navigate grief over your son and D-day/divorce all at once. You did better than survive–you thrived, and you are now helping others who have lost the will to live. Bless you.

  • “I’m always struck at how pleased and astounded chumps are to find people in their new lives who value them — who laugh at their jokes, like their ideas, or appreciate their quirks. Sure, we had a few of these people in our lives before, but when you’re in a bad relationship, that validation is drowned out by the cheater’s devaluing.”

    This. So this. My husband had me feeling like such a loser. He was embarrassed to be married to me. If my husband of 20+ years could think so poorly of me then clearly the rest of the world must think poorly of me as well. It turns out that isn’t true. With him being gone, I have discovered just how many other people there are in my life who do love and admire me, including many of ex’s relatives and some of his former friends. That has been my saving Grace. People who have known us both for years are shocked at what he has done. Friends and family have told me how much they admire the way I have handled this whole situation. They have gone out of their way to let me know that they think I am an amazing person and that I was a good wife and, in the case of his relatives, they don’t want to lose me over his behavior. It also turns out I am not a social pariah after all and I am perfectly capable of making friends with people who think I am pretty darn cool thank you very much.

    My daughter took a selfie with me and then joint posted it on her Facebook page and mine on mother’s day and compared me to Elastigirl/Helen Parr from the Incredibles in the caption. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. Seeing photos of me and the kids where the kids have an arm over my shoulder and look genuinely happy. These are small things, but they make me feel blessed, loved and valued and that is what is allowing me to slowly rebuild my self esteem after so many years of having it knocked down.

    I still have a long way to go to get to meh, but luckily for me I measure success by where I am today compared to where I was last time I checked and I am light years ahead of where I was on DDay and its aftermath. As long as I am still moving in the right direction I will consider that success.

    • They were intent on destroying us. They couldn’t. They didn’t know who they were trying to beat (we probably didn’t know either). In my country we have a saying: “You have no idea the kind of wine you’re getting drunk on”. Ring a bell?

      • Chumpinrecovery,
        Your story really resonates with me. My last boyfriend was embarrassed to be seen with me and has worked hard to ensure that anyone on the Internet would ever know that we had even met each other! You give me a bit of hope that perhaps some other people will like and value me.

  • In 2.5 years I’ve (with the help of my awesome tribe (including CN) and in no particular order):

    -Fought and and am beating back aggressive cancer (6 months with no evidence of disease)!!!

    -Kicked out and divorced a lying, cheating wasband of 34 years. He’s married to one of his $300./hour back room massage parlor whores who gave him “happy endings”.

    -I’m now creating and living a healing story with an authentic happy ending! 3.5 decades with a cheater is not how my story ends. 👍

    -Went through 34 years of accumulated life stuff and ridded myself of its weight while going through a highly contentious divorce, 10 surgeries, chemotherapy and 7 rounds of immunotherapy.

    -Went from over 3,000 SF of living space to 250 SF of storage space and am currently on a solo “thriving” trip down the west coast. Putting my face in the sunshine ☀️ and doing the ocean stare 😎.

    -Taught myself things I never knew I could or would do.

    -Leaned to live on a 1/4 of the income I used to.

    -Have my integrity, renewed strength, self worth and authentic, loving relationships. No more walking on eggshells or Jekyll and Hyde living.

    Feeling incredibly grateful and humbly mighty!

    Thank you CL and CN for all you love, support and examples of incredible courage, grit, strength and human spirit rising. Cheers to our mightiness, meh and cheater free living!!! ❤️

    • You are the epitome of mighty, FreeNow! Congratulations on beating your cancer and all your other accomplishments. Enjoy the sun on your face!

  • Rarity is getting married in two weeks! He’s 38, never married, no kids, and a wonderful stepped-up father to my two kids.

    XH left the state last month. I was recently just reflecting on how peaceful and happy my life is without him, how I’m finally beginning to have the life I’be always wanted.

    Time to re-run my post, maybe?

  • Every aspect of life is better for me because life after D-Day came with a reckoning how how my need to be in a couple had led to minimizing bad behavior and abuse, tolerating the intolerable, and twisting my values into a pretzel, only to inevitably reach the point where a relationship with me as a star codependent was unsustainable. In a way, being discarded freed me from the fear of being discarded! I lived through the pain and came out the other side. I learned to live alone. I fixed my picker. I got vigilant about boundaries. And I’ve kept learning. Dating a great guy who is indeed Very Kind and who is a lot of fun. He can also mow my yard at Mario Andretti speeds. And I’ve got way higher standards for anyone to move past the “acquaintance stage.” The last couple of years have been tough–lots of loss and grief. But I know I will make it to the other side of that, although I hope to learn to do so without using food as medication….arrgghhh…..there’s always a new hill to climb.

    • In a way, being discarded freed me from the fear of being discarded! I lived through the pain and came out the other side.

      So true for me too, LAJ, thank you for putting it in words.

      But I know I will make it to the other side of that, although I hope to learn to do so without using food as medication….arrgghhh

      Yes, me as well, only instead of food, I medicate with my favorite Oregon pinot noirs.

  • Tempest – the beginning of my new life was when I traveled to the music festival and met up with you, my fellow chumps, Tracy – Chumplady and the Mr. in a little trailer I bought for the occasion.

    I haven’t stopped and thank God everyday that the mf’r is out of my life.

    I am free, now, from the jail of my own making. I have had set backs but nothing compares to living with a cheater.

    You made me feel I could make that trip. You encouraged me to do it. You are a strong woman.

    You had my belief in you at betta fish!

    • “I am free, now, from the jail of my own making.”

      Perfectly put, CJ (and yes, that chump weekend was amazing).

  • My cheating ex got a vasectomy without my agreement, deciding that one child was enough for him. I spackled that. After D day I realized it was likely because of his infidelities. I realized a ton of everything else I had spackled. Affairs. Drugs. Gaslighting. Financial dishonesty. A year after D day a very dear acquaintance of mine appeared interested in me and I had to chooose if I was going to start dating a great guy even though I wasn’t ready, or would I let this great guy go past me so that I could keep on sniveling away over my ex, who hadn’t been kind to me for years and was now dragging me through an obnoxious divorce even after I supported the slow beginning of his career in the music biz for a decade. I decided to take the leap on the good guy. We are married now, we have a two yea old together. I am 45 years old. He is good to me and appreciates that I am good to him. We have kind evenings at home together. He grabs my bottom in the kitchen. Life is sooooooo much better. 😊

    • Joy,

      Our stories sound very similar. My husband signed up for a vasectomy when we were in our late 40s (and I was beyond childbearing) because his AP of the moment told him to. (Apparently, she was mad at him when she demanded he get the vasectomy, but he decided to follow her command. He treated her, the AP, as though she were the wife and me, the wife, as though I were the AP.) I had no idea what was going on. I was a naive sucker.

      I’m glad that taking the leap of faith in starting a romantic relationship with your friend shortly after D-day worked out happily! I thought that my post-separation boyfriend, a fellow chump, and pseudo-friend of 30 years, was going to be like your husband. Wish that I could have taken ‘lessons’ from you to avoid choosing someone who had incompatible goals and values and over whom I for months felt like committing suicide. In my boyfriend discarding me (more than once), I feel as though I have lost not only a beloved partner and long-term trusted friend but also me and my faith in humanity. I feel like Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s novel when Caesar is stabbed by his closest friend, ‘Et tu, Brutus?’ A lot of times, I wish that a nuclear bomb would explode over me, instantly vaporizing me.

        • Thanks, Mitz. I have allowed several guys I dated abuse, use, and discard me. I guess that’s one good thing (silver lining) about not getting dates any more. No date is using, abusing, discarding me. I have been incredibly chumpy (i.e., let giys walk on me for 35 years)! Wish that for once, I could walk away for the use and abuse (just for pride if nothing else), but I don’t think that I’ll ever get the chance as I don’t meet anyone appropriate who wants o date me. I feel really disempowered. A bit like being raped and the perpetrators getting away with it and going on to a great life.

  • I filed for divorce immediately after I found out about his affair. That was in June 2015. It’s now 2 years since the divorce was finalized. I have realized my dream of moving out to Manhattan and I’ve also gotten a new job and as a result, made more money 🙂 I’m also helping my daughter launch her career in show biz – she’s worked on about 3 movies and a couple of videos so far – with the 3rd movie having the potential to be her breakthrough. And yes I’m just under 3 years from D-Day! It really is good on the other side – exhausting life as a single mom with a full time job and a part time job as a momager, but super fulfilling! Stay mighty!

  • Since dumping my cheater, I: 1) Traveled all over the US, to many places I’ve always wanted to go; 2) Had a couple wonderful romantic adventures; 3) Moved into my own sweet little place, that’s a refuge of sanity in a crazy world; 4) Met a wonderful man, whom I am moving states to be with, and who makes me feel loved and secure every day; 5) Formed stronger friendships; 6) Stopped talking to narcissistic family members of mine who add nothing to my life–no thanks to abuse of any kind! 7) Got in the best shape of my life, which I’ve maintained in the years since I’ve left him; 8) Started writing again, including about my chumped experience.

    It’s funny, because when I was dating my cheater, I would have sworn I was living in a love song, but it soon became a nightmare, and I realized that good people don’t sweep you off your feet like that. They just enhance your real reality. They don’t solve all your problems, or promise to. You still have to take responsibility for those. Which is why I no longer believe in “too good to be true.”

    • Thank you. I hope to know what the hell this feels like some day! “I realized that good people don’t sweep you off your feet like that. They just enhance your real reality. They don’t solve all your problems, or promise to. You still have to take responsibility for those. Which is why I no longer believe in “too good to be true.”

  • For me, it has taken a long time, to process the anger, trust he sucks, and realize that he is just a creepy, dweeby guy. Those revelations come nearly every day. For instance, DD21 went to his house for a week after her school let out. You would think that only seeing DD21 twice for a week would make him want to stick around but Nooooooo! Off he goes to a conference for 3 days, because he is such a big deal, leaving DD21 to deal with OW and come and pick him up at the airport. In every act and in every thought he is disordered. My kids are slowly coming out of the fog, as I think they were sucked into the disordered dimension too. Slowly they are emerging from this Cluster too. We don’t realize that their disorder permeates everything, seeps into corners and trails along behind them like the dust and detritus left by Pigpen but it does. So what is my next adventure, I am going to be flying to Panama, taking a bus to the Caribbean side, and them meeting some folks that I don’t know (but who come highly recommended) and then sail on a real sailboat around the San Blas Islands. This is all a prelude to seeing if I like sailing, if I do, I am going to try and win a 3-month sabbatical where I will sail around Polynesia and Melanesia to see all these places, peoples and cultures before climate change and sea level rise take them under the waves. Tuesday has come in a big way.

    • Awesome plan for an awesome future, Ringing! I took sailing lessons after the divorce also. I hope you enjoy learning to sail and that your trip of adventure and discovery works out marvelously.

      Best wishes.

    • Wow, Ringin! What an awesome plan.

      Love the metaphor about the dust of the disordered seeping into corners; so apt, especially when there are children whom the toxicity affects for years.

  • I’m in year two. I’ve accepted I will not have another romantic relationship in my life since my divorce. My son is autistic which leaves me ineligible to all but the worst sorts of leeches in society. I just don’t bother.

    I finally have some money, bought a better car, and my son gets all the therapy he needs, so that’s something. Finding something to do socially without a partner is difficult though. I’m working on that.

    • DemHoez,
      I’m in a similar situation–one of my kids has special needs. Having primary custody of young kids, including one who has special needs, especially as an older woman, seems to kill any long-term interest from men. You seem quite level-headed about the situation.

        • DemHoez,
          I appreciate your honesty! Wish that more of the world was open and honest. I am trying not to envy all the people I know who regularly get sex with people they like/love who like/love them back. I envy my exes who got attractive partners into their bed minute after they got me out. Haven’t had more than a hug in nearly a year, and I see NO sign of things changing. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to kill the sex drive? Those of us who like sex but have gone many months/years without an offer from someone who isn’t sleazy/very incompatible would love to know!

          • I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days. See, my sister is a special education aid. She only works with autistic children. She works in a class with 10 kids and works specifically with one child. All of these kids are autistic, varying degrees of behavior. All the children’s mothers have boyfriends or are remarried. For her account, this isn’t unusual at all. Most of the women she encounters have someone around. One could argue about the quality to be sure, but the fact is, someone is sleeping with these women.

            In light of this, I’m starting to think I’m blaming my life circumstances when there is something subconscious at work that I have yet to identify.

            • Thank so for sharing this interesting fact about the mothers of your sisters class. The sample size is extremely small and thus might not indicate much, but in a way, the fact that’s some of these women have found partners is heartening.

              • RockStarWife & DemHoez (I love your usernames by the way) I’m a single mother of two, my oldest has special needs and they’re both still young. I don’t have a partner at the moment nor do I want one. However I do have a friend with benefits situation going on that I see maybe once or twice a week. I met him off a dating app, he knows of my kids but is yet to meet them because of my own rules and boundaries. It’s possible to find somebody who will give you the loving you guys want.

  • Well here goes, this is my story:

    My cheater was pretty stock standard in his discard. After 20 years together he pulled the I’m not happy card but he couldn’t quite explain why, just that he’d been unhappy for years. He moped around the house playing sad sausage and talking about how conflicted he was. After 2 weeks of this, I called him on it and said are you in or out and he decided he needed time and I told him to leave. The next day I found out about the howorker! He moved straight in with her. He introduced her to our kids straight away because didn’t I understand how hard this was on him! The howorker has been a part of my kids lives ever since. Since then he’s been angry at me!! He has two channels: toddler calling me names, or delusional thinking we’re friends. He did all of this a week before my 40th birthday and the same week that my sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    So that’s the condensed version of my life for the last year. I’m not allowing him any more space in my head or my life which is why I’m not focussing anymore on what he did, instead I’ll tell you how fucking fierce I’ve become!!

    The week he left I got all the joint credit cards back and the keys to the house back (can still see the shocked look on his face as he handed them over).

    I realised pretty quickly I wasn’t going to be able to afford to keep our house that we built, so a matter of months after he left I organised real estate agents and sold the house. I got the house ready for sale, cleaned, packed and moved without a single bit of help from him. Nothing. Not even an offer.

    I bought a house!! It’s all mine and my kids and I love it!

    My kids are slowly adjusting to life in two houses and having to deal with howorker straight away. I know they’re as settled as they are because I’ve made every effort to always put them first. To understand how hard this is for them and to have compassion for their situation without them having to absorb all of my confusion, anger and betrayal. My kids and I are closer and they know I’m here for them no matter what!

    I’m happy! I think this is the first time I’ve realised that I’m actually happier without him!

    I made it through the first year! I never thought I would get through the first week, let alone the first year but I have. I’ve lost most of our joint friends, but the friends I do have support me 100%.

    Since I was too broken last year to celebrate my 40th, I had a redo last night with good friends who have been there for me every step of the way, and I had fun!!

    I still have ups and down especially when I have to have direct contact with him because of the kids, but I’m much better at remembering how far I’ve come rather than stuck on the unfairness of what he did. What he’s done will never be fair, it will never be ok, but I can also never change it. I can’t go back, I can’t fix it, and quite frankly I’m glad. Because I wouldn’t be the person I am now, the one that’s teaching my daughters how to live for yourself rather than for someone else. I’m trying to focus on the good, rather than straight to the negative. I’ll always be a work in progress, but that’s ok. It means I’ll always try to be better and that can’t be a bad thing.

    Thank you CL and CN because I know I wouldn’t have come this far if I didn’t have you all. I’ve never posted before but I read CL every day. It’s given me a swift kick up the ass when I’ve needed it and your stories have given me compassion and knowing other people understand has gotten me through.

    Happy 50th Birthday TakingAStand!! Enjoy the awesomeness that is your life now!!

  • LeftOnATuesday,
    Powerful first time post!
    I am so sorry that you have reason to be here, yet inspired by your strength and fortitude.
    What a shinning example you are to your daughters.
    Mighty, YOU really are Mighty.

    ((((LeftOnATuesday))))
    I am so sorry for the sad news regarding your sister.
    ❤️

  • This one is for RockStarWife and champchump…

    You wanted an uplifting tale of post-cheater progress and life… without having to have a partner as your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Well, here is my story. Not sure if it’s the triumphant, feel-good story that others have posted… but it’s mine, and it’s still a work in progress.

    Year One: TRIGGER. TRIGGER. TRIGGER TRIGGER TRIGGER TRIGGER TRIGGER TRIGGER TRIGGER. The evil ex has taken anything that caught their fancy, and as I systematically go through the house decorations for each season/holiday throughout the year, I find that more and more of my things are missing. I hire minions to help me declutter and clean up. In the course of these efforts, I find that major things are missing, like my lawnmower. Or half my Christmas decorations. Who else, save The Grinch, steals those? I figure out the extent of what’s gone and shrug my shoulders. Oh well, it’s only things I suppose. I finish up the year by consoling my youngest child, the stepson whose biological parent blithely abandoned him a year and a half before the divorce/discard, leaving me to finish raising him. Turns out the ex has stolen his first tax return money. I advise him on how to start the process with the IRS to get it back. Too tired to be lonely, really. I’m in shock; still feels like a part of me has been amputated. I frequently veer between anger and disbelief. I join as many MeetUp groups as I can. I start the Colorado ChumpNation support group.

    Year Two: Marginally better. I “retired” from decades in IT a couple years before to start a property management business. It’s been going well, but since I still have so many dysfunctional behavior patterns internalized, I don’t always pick the right blend of tenants for each property. I wind up having three hostile move-outs (as opposed to evictions) that year. I vow to change my vetting process to make it even more stringent than before. This year I have a little extra money and I replace some of the decorations. I even host a Christmas ornament decorating party. A few hiccups, but it goes OK. Little kids love to cover everything in glitter anyhow. I’m fine with not being Martha Stewart. After all, she is a felon. In much more frequent contact with the only two of my seven kids that took my side in the divorce. It doesn’t hurt as much anymore that the ex slept with my oldest adopted daughter. I used to feel guilty that I failed to protect her from a predator, but she was in her mid to late 30s while it went on, and although she has developmental issues, she still had agency. Out of the blue, towards the end of the year, ex emails me about something trivial and irrelevant, claiming that they need my help. I set phasers on ignore. When the past calls, you always let it go to voicemail. Have ditched any of the MeetUp groups that are oriented around “meeting singles” or “singles’ activities”. They are invariably the brainchild of an intrepid but undateable older man, who has quite cannily realized that the fee to keep a MeetUp group going is cheaper than a subscription to match or eharmony.com. You show up, he assesses you (he thinks discreetly), and if you’re not young[er] and pliant, he moves on to better candidates. I catch on quickly and opt out of these farcical proceedings. I have so much to do and so little time to do it in. Between my minions and I, we have managed to add two more rentable units to my main property and to thoroughly declutter the rest of the house and garage. I do feel lonely sometimes. I hand over my truly janky homemade banner for ChumpNation Colorado to Sam, and tell her she’s in charge now. She, BetterDays, and KlulessChump are the backbones of the group. They are mighty. They pull my head out of my butt when I am feeling sorry for myself. We also have highly inappropriate film festival nights which mostly consist of drinking wine and watching Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL… and non G-rated commentary.

    Year Three: Go traveling with one of the kids. One of the others comes down to Colorado and visits with me – at their expense. I’m surprised and touched. I didn’t know I meant that much to either of them. Much better mix of tenants – harmony prevails, more or less. It’s a much more peaceful place to be. Have removed most narcissists from my life, so when one pops up (i.e. an IT client), not only is it a huge and unwelcome blotch on my emotional landscape, it also triggers me to make plans to transition the workload off to someone else. Nothing is worth that level of discomfort. I can find better clients. Joined a FB friends/dating discussion group for my religion. Been flirting with a few candidates, but they’re all long-distance so don’t expect anything to come of it. Not ready to go on actual dates for quite some time to come. Months if not years. Have realized I don’t have to do anything in particular to attract people. I already have lots of people around me that love me the way I am. All I have to do is be me – well, a more polite version – and just keep radiating peace, love, joy, and serenity. If that resonates with others, then they’ll stick around. If not, they’ll go elsewhere. I don’t even have to worry about it. Of course I can’t hide away in a corner and expect to make new friends, but it was a huge relief to realize I didn’t have to do anything in particular to put my energy out there. Your vibe attracts your tribe, as they say. Start getting ruthless about getting rid of email clutter, and that also means removing MeetUp groups that I don’t seem to ever RSVP to. I can always rejoin them if I change my mind. But I haven’t yet. Holidays are enjoyable now, and nothing triggers me at all during or around them. Every so often, we add another chump to ChumpNation Colorado. Have been batting around the idea of having a Chumpapalooza here in Denver next year. I have friends who run a major anime convention, and they have taken me under their wing and are teaching me how to throw one of our own. What I learn, I will teach the others. Maybe by this time next year all of us Colorado Chumps will know how to do this. I think they’re a bit scared to embark on this kind of adventure – and I am too! Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!

    I think the biggest change, year over year, was the decreasing levels of fear of being alone. At first, it caused me no end of grief. Now, it only causes the occasional twinge of sadness. I’ve got too much to deal with these days to waste time dwelling on this.

    If you want a truly “feel-good” ending to this story, I found out extremely recently that when the ex reached out to me, it was at the time of their engagement to their soon-to-be victim WOOPS I mean fiancee. What better way to hedge your bets on commitment than to try to extract kibbles from a previous Known Good Source? Guess it’s always a smart idea to have a Plan B, #amirite? But the best part was being shown, through back channels, a picture of the ex… who’s put on a good 60 – 75 lbs and looks MIS-ER-A-BLE! And now sports an unfortunate haircut/color combination from hell. TBH, it’s less of a hairdo and more of a hair-DON’T. I have no idea if I’ll ever achieve that true Zen state of Meh… but I did see the pic on a Tuesday. 😀

    • Sunny,

      Thank you for sharing your sad, funny, hope-inspiring story!

      My husband used to steal my stuff and the kids’–not sure why. He once, back when he still had access to keys to my home and my car, ‘stole’ some of our kids’ stuffed animals. Crazy as if he had asked me for them I would have gladly given him the stuffed animals for our kids’ sake. He has been rapidly alternating between hoovering me and threatening legal action against me over the last few weeks. I feel mostly Meh about him/our relationship, but I notice that I feel worse than usual–and feel like reaching out to him for adult (I know–ironic) conversation and feel sick about the fact that my boyfriend, Mr. Nice Guy, who has a million friends, has ostracized me. Part of me thinks that I must be a pariah, an Untouchable, for Mr. Nice Guy to unemotionally tell me, ‘I don’t see you in my future. I felt guilty for a couple of weeks, but I’m getting better,’ then saying, ‘I love you,’ half an hour later, then, ‘You can hang around me, but no lovey dovey. I don’t want you to pine for me by the phone on a Friday night.’ and ‘I want to be happy. I want to run away from you!’ and ‘I miss being married [but don’t want to marry you or have anything to do with you].’ (What unnecessary, hurtful diarrhea of the mouth!), send me an email not apologizing for lying to me and mistreating me but telling me, ‘I’m trying to do better’ and ‘I don’t want to talk to you right now (UBT: forever, but I’m too wimpy to say so), ‘I’m trying to do better (or my replacement, who I deem worthy of my and my attention, unlike you, who are an object I tolerate–be glad that I ever gave you the time of day)’ [Fake compassion image management ‘Aren’t I a thoughtful guy?’] and then completely block me from his life and get his relatives, who felt like family to me, to block me from their lives, too. My ex-boyfriend will do all he can from learning anything about him, so I will probably never know how he is doing. I imagine that he has slimmed down and is way nicer toward my replacement than he was toward me. (As she is his subordinate in a small company, she will probably ‘behave’ well, try hard to make him happy, even if she isn’t happy with him.) I sometimes wonder why he insisted on taking photos of us together but refused to post the photo, claiming 2.5 years into our intimate relationship, that he was afraid a woman might see a photo of us standing near each other in a large group photo that somebody might post on social media. I don’t want to assume the worst about people, but I can’t help but think that he thought, ‘Lowly RockStarWife would and should be grateful to have a photo of glorious me with her, a consolation prize (a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner) for playing the game (being a chump) for a few years as I am the best and probably only man she will ever get at this point on in her life.

      I should completely forget about him, but obviously, I am struggling to do so and instead focus on other more productive pursuits and possibilities. Perhaps just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, trying to do productive things for others. Quit believing and acting as though the only Sun shines out of his rear end.

  • I’ll have what you’re having, Left on a Tuesday! Wish that I had to told my dishonest, abusive exes to hit the road. That’s what they deserved, not the perpetually Pick Me Dancing Me! I just got more physically, emotionally, financially hurt by trying to convince them to stay.

  • Exactly one year ago today, I was bewildered, having not slept the night before, and trying to figure out what I’d do next. It wasn’t Dday – that would come the following weekend. It was the day my partner left me, out of the blue, because he was suddenly ‘not happy’. When asked if there was someone else, he laughed and said “No, it’s not like that,” before leaving to go on a midnight walk he never returned from that night (which I later would learn was because he went straight to a hotel with the OW).

    I said to a friend recently, it’s been a year and I’ve not moved on. I meant intimately. I’ve been on a couple dates, but I’ve not physically or emotionally connected with someone and moved on. She immediately said: You have! Think about all the things you’ve done this year that you wouldn’t have done in that relationship.

    And it’s true. I’ve holidayed alone to an unknown destination. I took a woodworking course and learned how to build a table. I’ve read and written more than i have in the last 5 years and am slowly, slowly growing as a writer. I’ve learned so much about myself and relationships. I’ve made better friendships. I read poetry out at a public event, for the first time ever, and my hands shook and my heart was exposed on the stage, but I did it. I’ve grown stronger and healthier – doing a lot of yoga and joining a kayaking club. I can get myself up in a headstand (but am still practicing being able to do it fully away from the wall). I learned to play two songs on the guitar. I have learned to practice meditation and to better tackle my anxiety and prioritise my mental health. I am grateful every day for the little apartment I have found, that is all mine, overlooking some trees and a river.

    I set some goals last year and have just about completed them all and am about to reflect and set some new ones. I’m getting ready to make a bigger change and open my heart again. I am happy where I am.

    I have moved on.

  • Hi all. It’s been 4 years since I left my ex and things are so much better today. I was one of the chumpuest chumps who stayed 5 years after the initial d-day, (which followed by other d-days) until I couldn’t take it anymore. I was biding my time till the kids were grown, but living with knowledge of who my ex was kept getting in the way until it started affecting me physically – there were days I couldn’t get off the couch towards the end as I realize now, I was depressed. I now don’t believe in compartamentalization unless you’re a sociopath. Feelings comes out somehow. Anyway, I knew I had to get out for the sake of my kids.

    I struggled the first year as I completed my masters, paid down debt, ran a household with 3 kids and worked full time. 5 hours of sleep a night was my average as I cranked out papers and projects. No social life. Bags under my eyes hidden by coverup and coffee. Nose to the grinder. Full embracement of suck.

    A wise friend once remarked, thank God for the gift of desperation. As truly, that was my inspiration and it got me to today.

    Today I have recently purchased my own home. I’ve been promoted twice in my career and now earn a nice living. I will be taking my kids on an international trip in a few months. I no longer have to kill myself working and have my degrees hanging in my office while I simultaneously openly discuss my struggles in obtaining them to others. It’s a way of wordlessly offering support to others as part of my responsibilities now lie in mentoring career growth. I also help my employees look for funding as many do not know what their options are or how to even start.

    My ex still struggles. creditors still call me looking for him – 4 years later. He had another kid with one of his fuck-buddies. (Can she really be called an affair partner when he also sees prostitutes???). He still lies and deceives and has become a social pariah as he no longer has the cover of a married family man.

    Anyway, thank you CN. I owe much of my success to you. I have crossed from victim to victor. Life is so good now.

  • not to this point of happiness yet. I need her to sign the damn divorce decree and I need to sell this house before I really feel like I can breathe again. I am enjoying the peacefulness of not having her around. Hopefully I can build on that one day.

  • Reading all of these wonderful stories this morning, I find myself deeply grateful. What an amazing bunch of people we chumps are!

    I am struck by just how loving, insightful, strong, and just plain courageous we chumps are. If you think about it, it makes total sense. We are the ones who make marriage to these dysfunctional freaks work. We are the ones who do all the adulting in the marriage. We are the ones who do the heavy lifting, while the cheaters are out there in la-la land doing whatever the hell they want. We are the ones who have the internal moral compass and the strength, to rise from the ashes of our former lives like a Phoenix. We are the ones who have the strength and the courage to reinvent ourselves, and to make our lives more meaningful, happier and better in all respects. It doesn’t surprise me in the least to hear all these wonderful stories of strength, courage, and much more than survival. I absolutely love that we go on to eventually thrive.

    As for the story of going on to thrive while living solo, I humbly offer mine.

    Having been raised by two narcissistic people, I was pretty much primed to marry a narcissist or two. Cheater X number one was dropped kicked to the curb pretty early, as he decided that beating his wife was just dandy. I went on to marry cheater ex number two who was much more sophisticated and much sneakier then cheater ex number one. To make a long story short, cheater ex number 2 turned out to be a total sociopath. When, in an effort to control me, he commented one day that when he felt depressed he felt like getting a gun and killing me and my children and then himself, I got myself and my kids out of there. We proceeded to divorce. He was really ticked I had the gall to leave, and that he couldn’t screw me over, any more than he already had. Because of his abuse, I had a restraining order in place. Sadly it didn’t apply to my boys, and I could not convince the judge to order supervised visitation for cheater ex to protect them. 5 months after the divorce was final, cheater X kidnapped my youngest son and killed him. He and his buddy then drove to another state across country, where they killed themselves. It was almost two weeks before I knew what happened to my boy. All this went down under intense media scrutiny. Of course his narcissistic family were convinced it was all my fault and blamed me for everything. I found myself having to refute their lies to a few different police departments, four to be exact. Only my local PD did not believe me. That made it tough when, 18 months later, the ex in-laws paid someone to burn my house down. I came home from working the night shift, to find my home a burnt-out shell, all my pets dead, and everything I owned gone. The local PD investigated me for arson, and when they decided there was no way I could have done it, they dropped the investigation.

    Right then I decided enough was enough. I was done being a victim. Luckily I had good isurance, and I rebuilt that damn house back the way it was right where it stood. I lived there triumphantly for the next 10 years, and sold it for a hefty profit, which paid for a lovely little spot out on the county, all my own.

    This all went down quite a few years ago, and I am on to new things. Since I believe the best revenge is a life well-lived, I set out to make that true. After retiring from nursing I spent 4 years being a senior companion and loving it.

    I have always loved to travel, and I decided that it was time to do that. After retiring from being a senior companion, I hit the road in a old RV determined to see this great country of ours. After 11 states, 8000 miles, and 10 months, I’m back in my home state. I am looking into getting a smaller vehicle, as the old RV is now on its last legs. Come fall I will be heading out again. There is still so much to see and I love the life on the road.

    There has been a lot of healing in the years since I lost my youngest son. There has been no new partner, but I am content with my life today and grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had. I give thanks every day for the many blessings in my life, and choose to look at every new day as an opportunity for a new miracle, as I have had many in the past twenty or so years. I learned one thing, you have to grab life by the lapels and wring out every bit of goodness you can. Those chunks of goodness are the things that help carry me through the hard times along with the healthy people I now have in my life. I am grateful.

      • Every time I read your story Tessie – I am reminded of such strength in such difficulty and the grace you live out.

        Bless you.

    • Tessie, you have inspired me to buy my own motorhome this next year and hit the road solo next Spring. I have my eye on a few 26′ ft c-classes.
      I don’t know where in the country you live or travel in – but maybe our paths will cross!

      • Entirely possible, I am going to spend the summer getting rid of all the excess junk I have accumulated and building a camper using a conversion van as a base. In the fall, I will be back on the road. I am thinking I would love to see New England in the fall. From there I will be heading south and west.

        • Tessie, every time I read your story, I’m horrified all over again. I assume you are safe now from the ex-in-laws?

          I moved to a new town and love my house and yard. But, I wanted to camp and get out. I recall reading about your RVing last year and was inspired. So now I have a small 15′ trailer! Towing is scary! So far, I’ve stuck close to home this summer, but I’m slowly expanding. Talk about building confidence doing this solo.

          Safe travels to you.

    • Strength, power, and hard-earned wisdom. You have been through the worst fire and come out the other side a pillar of strength. You continue to inspire as always, Tessie.

    • Dearest Tess
      I am absolutely in awe of your courage & resilience in the face of unspeakable monstrosity. You are amazing!

  • It doesn’t matter if you go back to university, start your own business, meet a wonderful spouse, or develop a whole new career.

    What I discovered really matters:

    THE ABUSE AND MISERY STOPS. It’s like: a large clinging ivy gets cut away from your house, and the sun shines in, bringing in light and air and drying up the damp and the mould.

    Instead of someone telling you how awful you are in thought, word and deed and what you have left undone – instead you are surrounded by people who, from ‘hello, how are you?’ to ‘I find you interesting/fun’ to I would like to be your friend’ …

    life really does change for the better. This for me (the removal of someone who treats you horribly, that leaves room for all the decent people in the world) has been the biggest change.

    I did go back to university, travel more, explore more ….

    but that was the largest and best change of all. It has made me better in every way.

  • I am nine years past D-Day, almost to the day. My life was hell for the first 3 years after that, when I was working so hard to make my husband see that I was a good person, worthy of love. He drank a lot, used drugs, acted irrationally and would fly into terrifying fits of rage. Countless arguments, many D-Days and 3 marriage counselors later, I started to dismantle that old life and look forward to building my own life, free of all of that pain and nonsense.

    It was hard as hell, but I got the house sold, filed for divorce, and worked on getting a life. For me, that meant learning to meditate, taking writing classes, starting a blog, meeting new people. Something about leaving, doing the thing that I was so very afraid of, gave me the strength and courage to try new things, things that scared me. So I lived on my own for a while and found that I loved it. My own place with my own rules. I even loved taking out my own trash. It was really wonderful.

    I took classes: writing classes, meditation classes, comedy classes. Met new friends. When I felt grounded and happy, I took a chance with online dating and met my current partner about 3 years ago. My life is not perfect, but I’m happy. And it all started when I started to pull myself out of that terrible marriage, one step at a time.

  • This year has been incredible. I have a wonderful new job, a wonderful new man, and last week I settled with my ex-husband at mediation, avoiding an extended and expensive court case. I also continue to have my wonderful friends and family.

  • Can I say how much I love this community!?

    There is such solace in associating with people who understand! I’m 53, 27 years married, 5 kids, 4 of whom are still home. My soon to be ex-husband currently has two mistresses, the second who he is living with and who he met on Craig’s List. (So special!)

    I so want meh. I so want to believe that life on the other side is possible. I’m not yet divorced, but 16 months past D-day. It’s getting easier but feels like happiness (peace) will never actually arrive.

    Your posts give me hope.

  • So many stories above make my heart happy. We all are mighty and never ever thought we’d be in this place!!

    I am nearing 2 years post d-day & just over a year divorced. I parallel parent and keep as no contact and grey rock as possible. Do I mess that up sometimes? Yes and then I see that he is still awful. My daughters are growing into amazing young ladies and they can see the bs at dad’s. He is marrying hoho this month & I know it’s an open marriage. Makes me sick that my girls have to deal with his shit and hoho. But, my girls handle it fairly well and love coming home.

    I am in a good place financially. I have zero debt other than my mortgage (thank you Dave Ramsey). I am finishing my bachelors degree and have been blessed with scholarships from my church. I work 32 hours a week and cover weekend/holiday call. I calculate my call pay and put that in a separate account just for me…when I splurge on something, I use call pay and don’t feel a bit guilty. I NEVER splurged on myself…never had enough money for me. Go figure!

    I’m dating a very nice guy and we are taking things slow. My girls met him when they were ready & really enjoy spending time with him.

    My friends and family are amazing. I am so lucky. I fell apart at D-day but have grown so strong and independent. I do all the work around the house and when I can’t fix something, I make a call and pay someone competent to fix it. I handle my bills, try to be the sane parent, still go to therapy, support my girls and take them to therapy.

    I am in a great place. I found CL & CN last summer and it saved me. I read here every day. Be mighty! 💜

    • …and your’s is a lovely positive story too. Thank you for posting!

      After almost a year my Hopium has completely run out and now it’s time to properly move on with my life and let cheater wife do whatever she wants with Village Idiot. But I’m keeping our daughters and hope that they too will grow into amazing young ladies who understand and value honesty, dignity and faithfulness.

      I found CL & CN right after D-Day last summer but I wasn’t ready for it. Now I am

  • I love reading all these stories! It’s been nearly a year since the 7th D-day (I was really chumpy) and also the official day we ended. I guess it finally hit home and I realised he isn’t going to change so I ended it. Before I left I was living with my narcissistic, emotionally abusive, lazy ex parenting two children and a third man child on my own, suffering through the lies, emotional abuse and manipulation that came with his cheating. I felt like absolute shit, had no self esteem and didn’t know how I’d live without him (ew!).

    I had no job, no savings, no car and no idea what I was going to do. Fast forward to nearly a year later? I’m living in my own flat with my two kids, I’ve got my own car, I’m on government assistance for now, I’m not in a relationship but I am seeing a lovely man who isn’t a selfish lover like my ex. I’m actually happy. I don’t have to deal with the lies, paranoia and constant abuse and negativity. I’m healing, I’m moving forward with my babies. It has been a struggle and I’m still struggling today but I don’t regret my decision once.

    My ex? He’s living on his own, sees the kids every weekend because I take them over, has no car because his gf crashed it, currently out of a job, up to his eyeballs in debt and currently getting run over by the karma train because his gf is putting him through similar strife to what he did to me (minus the cheating). He’s constantly negative and has the ‘why me!’ mentality. He texts me that he wishes he made the effort with us, that his gf isn’t like me, trying to bring me back into the fold. That’s a big no from me buddy. I’ve moved on.

    It’s possible Chumps, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

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