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Be the Support You Wish You Had

I begrudge no one their meh. It’s so hard won. But do me one favor as you move on to happier pastures — be the support you wish you had.

I trust that you are. I also know how hard it is to out yourself to the world as a chump. But maybe if more of us outed ourselves, or got uppity, or shamed Switzerland friends out of their complicity, the infidelity narrative would change.

I think we’ve moved the needle. When I imagine Chump Nation, I imagine a world of friends — the 3 a.m. raisin bran brigade — the friend who is with you at an ungodly hour, feeding you carbohydrates, urging you to leave the jerk. There’s a better life out there. Move toward it.

It’s important work, being there for each other. But you know what’s also important — and scary as hell? Outing yourself as a chump — to the unchumped. To those who don’t get it. Go show the world what resiliency and mighty look like. Be sane, measured, don’t wear the shame. Let them scratch their heads and wonder. Maybe they’ll rethink it all a bit.

I’m not saying go emotionally vomit all over someone’s shoes. Hey Bob, did I ever tell you about the time I found another woman’s thong in my bed? NO. DO NOT BE THAT PERSON. Just, if you get a chance, challenge the narrative.

“I think cheating sucks.”

“Would you want someone to do that to you?”

Or even…

“That happened to me. I rebuilt.”

I bring up the topic of your post-chump life for a couple reasons. First, I expect you to graduate. People find this site, they lurk, they comment, they move on. Sometimes they stick around and help the newbies. (Yea!!! Thanks! We love you!) But I really get it when people move on and don’t need this place, and I also think there is zero shame whatsoever in coming here when you’re mostly (or even entirely) at meh. Maybe you chart how far you’ve come. Maybe it’s church. All are welcome.

But, I also bring it up because I outed myself last week as Chump Lady and got rattled.

Here’s the weird thing about running this site — I am super proud of it. So, SO PROUD. On Monday night the blog odometer flipped 21 million page views. I’m proud of this community, and from purely a professional perspective, I’m proud that a liberal arts major like me, built this monstrosity in Word Press and found success — IT success, a published book, film rights. Yea me. It grows and grows. The raisin bran flows.

But the worst thing about being Chump Lady is having to explain the subject matter. If I just met you, it is rather leading with the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me. People assume I write about myself, that it’s all one long pathetic recitation of my failed marriage, a personal journal, and for fuck’s sake GET A LIFE, woman!

This came up last week in a job interview. What? You have a job?! Yes, I work a full-time job when I’m not slaying trolls here and sorting through four hundred emails a day. I’m a journalist. Patreon is an absolute GODSEND — everyone thank your Patrons, WE LOVE YOU — but like most of you I earn a living beyond a virtual tip jar (WHICH PAYS MY IT BILLS with some leftover for me and the IRS, GOD BLESS YOU).

I was bragging on the blog. I AM SO PROUD. Also, hey, I have modern skills. I’m not Jude the Obscure here with the Oxford comma. And the man says:

“But really, how much longer can you really write about this?”

And it stopped me in my tracks. It was said kindly. I also expect he’s wondering how much this thing cuts into my 9-5 life (none at all — it’s entirely extracurricular). But I do believe the man was completely baffled by a public pronouncement of chumpdom.

Why would you write about something so embarrassing and painful? Why would you wade into that morass of hurt everyday? Haven’t you moved on?

I replied, “I don’t mean to sound hyperbolic, but people tell me I save their lives. It’s a support site.”

Which really begs the question — what kind of narcissist or codependent freak are you to think it’s your job to save people?

I don’t know. I just want to be the support I wish I’d had.

Lastly, as you know, I’m a fan of Jenny, the Happy Hausfrau. She had a good post yesterday on this very topic of changing the narrative. She asked:

What if one of the dozens of coworkers/friends who knew about my husband’s affair had spoken up? “uh you guys better hope HR doesn’t find out about this, just sayin”

What if one of her friends, instead of giggling with her about the naughty married dude, had said “you sure this is cool?” or “wait- doesn’t he have, like, four kids??”

What if someone, ANYONE, in either of their families had taken them aside and said “what you’re doing is shitty and mean and wrong. Stop it.”

What if, Chump Nation. What if?

Speak up.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My good friend asked, “are you ever going to be normal again?” I hope so.

    • So what’s normal? You’re healing from something traumatic. Every single person deals with adversity. It’s what you do with it.

      • I thank you for your support. I’ve been reading for the past two months, every day your new post seems to be exactly what the internal dialogue in my head needs. Not joking the scenarios that I’m dealing with on the daily seem to correspond with your post. I’m a chump dad of three, D-day was June 12 and the hits just keep on coming until I served her. Recovering from this is super shitty. So I thank you for your support/guidance and will continue to take it. Chump world felt very lonely at first but I realized that it’s not.

        • Waking,
          My D-day was almost exactly two years before yours. I know how gutted you must feel. There are challenges to come. I found that getting out very early every morning for a run helped. Do not underestimate the mental benefits of getting yourself physically moving every day. Finding this site was my saving grace in addition to hiring the most kick-ass attorney who completely understood what I was going through and what needed to be done.

          You will slowly work through this. It can be a grind. But know you are transitioning to a better place where you hopefully will never have to contend with cheating, lies, backstabbing, gaslighting and betrayal ever again because your eyes have been opened and you know the truth about who your spouse really is.

          Godspeed, my friend.

          • so great to see dudes on here! Chumpdom is definitely not restricted to us girls, there are just as many disordered crazy women out there too doing unspeakable damage and you guys need support every bit as much. We un-disordered people need to unionize or something. My D-Day was 1.5 years ago and I still wake up at night in disbelieve that someone can do this to another human being. I get it psychologically, but the other emotional part takes a very long time.

            Meh comes, but in fits and starts I have found, especially when the disordered one wants to fight forever. We all need each other here, lets keep reaching out and support one another. Chumplady, you can keep writing about this stuff forever in my book because there will ALWAYS be a need, and your site will keep on growing.

            Sometimes we are called to a mission in life in the most painful ways, but it is our mission and you are so appreciated and rewarded for your efforts!! We all need you and we always will. Yours is a life well lived 🙂

            • Plenty of male chumps here, including me. I wish one of her giggling friends said “what would happen to your kids world if your husband found out?” instead of encouraging her, I still find that a bitter pill to swallow, that people are that shallow and callous. These are real peoples lives, fuck I really hate my ex today, she has our kid in the weekends so it gives me time to grieve myself closer to meh. CL you really do amazing work, thank you.

              • gives me time to grieve myself closer to meh.
                Wow , this is so true, I’m 3 years D day from finding out my 32 year marriage had another side: husband had a 10 year affair with alcoholic , drug addict employee half his age and they had a secret child. Someone just told me to get over it. I’m just starting to get glimpses of Meh but I’m also still grieving all the layers of the onion that chumps get to peel. I’m mighty with the help of CN and tell new victims about this sight. We have to do the work of grieving and I’m so thankful for this site, especially when people with no clue tell me to move on.

            • Pay it Forward…
              CL/CN is and will always be instrumental to be…????????

        • Far from Lonely waking and welcome..
          You’ll find your way through the pain.

        • I was a champ dad of three. Be patient brother, your life will get absolutely better, so much so that it will be hard to remember what life was before the cheating.

          • Chump dad of two here. Hang in there Waking, you found a great resource. Please understand that as painful as this is, by dealing with this directly and honestly you do so much more than survive, (or even just “getting over it”) you come out a better man. That’s why we are freaks now, we got hit by a truth stick and the mark is visible.

            It might sound hollow at this early stage to hear someone saying “you’ll be better for this in the long run”, but it could not be more true. Huge respect to you.

            • I absolutely could not listen to this kind of nonsense when my life shattered!
              I was going crazy.
              I was hurt beyond belief. How could I ever be happy for F sakes!

              C/Nation kept telling me….it will get better, it WILL get better…and..
              one day, I realized that I was suddenly a little better.
              It’s been a very tough 3 years getting here.
              Maybe long term marriages do that. I feel like I’ve been a slow learner…but I still come here every single morning of my Meh days…and can’t wait to hear Tracy online on Aug 1st. btw – she has a beautiful, articulate voice that matches her personality and intelligence. And, her happiness is obvious.

      • People always think I’m doing the work I’m doing for wives and partners of men called sex addicts because “I’m not over it” and “I don’t want to get over it”. Guess what? It’s PTSD and I’ll never be “over it”. If I had the courage to deal with that truth, why can’t they? But after nearly nine years of hard and holy work, I have a really good life and the trauma episodes are rare now (and never triggered by clients and their stories). I’m not apologizing to anyone for my healing or my vocation or who I am now in my new “normal”. I

      • What we’ve gone through has changed us forever. We will never be the same people we were before Dday. I personally look at people differently, im more sympathetic to people and i am more willing to see things through someone elses eyes. I never would have understood being a Chump until I became a Chump

    • Farking hell, I hope I am never NORMAL again.

      Normal for me was being held hostage to other people’s bullshit and gaslighting and lying and bad treatment of me, while I tried to buy love using any currency I could get hold of.

      If that’s normal, I intend to be a freak for the rest of my life.

        • With apologies to David Crosby – who I increasingly resemble in girth, if not in hair loss – I feel like lettin’ my freak flag fly!

      • “Normal for me was being held hostage to other people’s bullshit and gaslighting and lying and bad treatment of me, while I tried to buy love using any currency I could get hold of.”

        That’s what I do …………….. gotta stop it……………..

      • Describes me so accurately Granola.
        Haven’t been posting lately as I broke my arm. I need stronger pain meds.
        Pleasing people with whatever currency I have has got to stop. Couldn’t agree more…

        • Dear Brit,
          I am so sorry to hear that you broke your arm. You sure didn’t need that! Ugh!
          Two of my grandchildren broke their leg, ( sports related) and are in casts. Healing seems to take f o r e v e r!
          Kinda like DDay pain!

          I hope your arm heals as quickly, and as well, as possible.
          Take it easy sweet lady!
          Hugs to you!

    • You went through a traumatic experience – you will never the same person who you were before. There should be no apology needed or expected. Your new normal is what you make it.

    • I will never be “normal” again because what was done TO me is not “normal”!!!

      The day withholding information from, lying to and deceiving a spouse becomes normal is the day I am done with society.

      I have screamed my Chump story from every rooftop I can and have outed myself big time about the resulting depression and suicidality.

      I, too, have been told that I am helping to save lives and I am PROUD of that. I am still standing and not shutting up anytime soon – If my public persona scares people away (including dates) well fuck ‘em.

    • If that question was asked by a good friend, maybe you need to downgrade that person to arms-length acquaintance. Would they have asked you that if you were the victim of a violent crime? If you lost a child? If your spouse unexpectedly died? Betrayal of such a magnitude can be every bit as traumatic. Maybe you can change the narrative by revisiting that discussion with that “friend.”

      After infidelity upends our lives we all have the ability to emerge on the other side, to not just survive but to thrive. However, to imply that there is a need to go back to normal, to pretend it wasn’t a journey to get through, is both dismissive and insulting. It implies that you need to continue to be a chump and meet someone else’s expectations of how to react and heal.

    • CL and CN saved my life no doubt. Saved my children from having to cope with his shit alone because Mom was dead.

      Switzerland friends and RIC are as damaging as the cheater. I tell people now without shame. Some ask how I did I not know. I say I didn’t know because I did not expect someone who promised to forsake all others, who professed love, who was my friend would do the things he did. Why would you go into married life looking for cheating? I just didn’t understand that there are truly fucked up, evil people.

      • That has got to be the most ignorant question someone could ask – “how did you not know?”
        You didn’t know because you were actively being deceived by a very capable deceiver.
        Why is that so hard for people to understand?

        • And how easy is it to deceive someone who trusts you implicitly, that’s what baffles me, they get off on the sneaking and the fantasy and pulling a fast one over you but it’s not even a challenge. Just another example of the cheaters shitty character and shallowness.

    • when someone asks you “are you ever going to be normal again” is basically telling you that they are tired of hearing your story.. .. . they want you to stop complaining, or venting, or explaining or talking about this “bad” thing that happened to you. they want you to push all your pain into a pocket and stop focusing on yourself because all they want from you is to listen to THEIR pain and THEIR complaining. .. .. your spot in that persons life is only to be the happy fun loving person they used to have. ..

      this is NOT A “good” friend. a good friend would understand why you are hurting. a good friend would love you for who you are now and support you thru this roller coaster of hell ride. .. .. a good friend would try to make your life better, a good friend would help you out to the bottomless pit you found yourself in. a good friend would spend time with you and try to help you piece together the pieces of puzzle. in a loving and understanding way

      saying to someone “are you ever going to be normal again” is saying please get over it already. i would tell that person that you are trying the best you can with what you have been given. and find another friend who is more understanding to your needs.

      good luck.

      • If by “normal” people mean in one’s pre-violation state, that may not happen. How do you unring a bell? But as I can attest, a chump can absolutely, positively recover and rebuild a life and become stronger and wiser in the process. That ugly piece of yarn will become just a thread in the intricate tapestry of your life. It’s a part of who you are and where you’ve been, but it won’t detract from the overall beauty of that piece of art, especially if you keep working on it.

        • I love that analogy Survivor. ‘That ugly piece of yarn will become just a thread in the intricate tapestry of your life.’ Thank you.

    • I want to share a healing tool with Chump Nation…Guy Winch’s TED Talk on healing a broken heart. (I use the term “abused heart” as a chump). For chumps on the fence in the fog…make that list of pet peeves and bad qualities and abusive things they did and read often!! It is SO easy to focus on A KIBBLE and ignore the MOUNTAIN of shit sandwiches at the buffet table.

    • By ‘normal’ did this ‘friend’ mean ‘not angry about infidelity’?

    • I’ve been traumatized in a major way twice, once physically, once emotionally. No, you never are “normal” again, but you do get better. Somehow there’s a difference.

      Maybe better is a person who knows that they can turn a corner and get flattened by a bus, but turns those corners anyway. Normal is always thinking those buses hit only other people, people who somehow caused it to happen with their inadequacies.

      Trauma brings us to the reality that we too are just wildebeests on the savannah trying to avoid the lions.

    • I’m not sure I want to be “normal” again.

      Normal means not fully comprehending what other people are feeling after they’ve suffered a trauma that leaves them gasping for breath, unable to eat or sleep properly, unable to pay attention because of the emotional pain they are in (whether it be infidelity or any other trauma). While I think I was always empathetic, I like being even more empathetic.

      Normal also means seeing the world through the rose-colored lens that people are rational, compassionate, not entirely selfish. It means believing that there are two sides to every story because no one is perfect. Well, I certainly hope that “rational” applies to most of the population, but I now estimate that 10% of the population are people of whom we should be wary–Cluster Bs, or at least highly selfish and unable to care about the pain they cause others in their quest for self-gratification/promotion/power. Post-infidelity, I can’t help but see such people the way the kid in The Sixth Sense sees dead people. I now pay attention to behavior over someone’s flowery verbosity, and whether that behavior indicates integrity (not just “niceness,” but real integrity).

      Sadly, “normal” also means that our fear of social tension means we let lots of misbehavior–by friends, partner, colleagues, public officials–slide without confronting the misbehavior. Or we spackle over it with explanations that circumstances or stress made them do it. Now I know many behaviors are based on personality dispositions, not merely ‘circumstances.’ For better or worse, I am now willing to point out when someone has victimized another, and more likely to do something to rectify it.

      No one wants to go through life feeling the horrific emotions that consumed us in the aftermath of D-day (to that extent, we want normalcy), but I’m perfectly content that the experience has shaped me into being not-normal, too.

      • Tempest,
        That a person such as you, with your wisdom and your kindness, is out there, somewhere in this world, is a very comforting thought and feeling.
        Your words, and your understanding, always shine a bright light in my corner of the world.
        I ❤️ You, Tempest!
        Thank You!

        • And you, Peacekeeper, shine a light on this community with each and every comment you make. Hugs.

      • I’m sure what Tempest wrote resonates with many of us, but reading it was like someone reading my thoughts. “Normal” or not, I’m grateful for so many of the ways in which I am now “different.” Great job, Tempest, as always. JK

    • Add me to the proud ranks of ABnormal!!! Normal didn’t serve me very well … I was far too trusting even when confronted with obvious lies and obfuscation. I was also just a bit smug about my own marriage and have gained a great deal of empathy for others in all kinds of situations. Having my 32 years commitment blow up like an episode of Jerry Springer was no fun, but I have come out the other side so much wiser and happier. That last D-day was a gift and delivered me from possibly another 32 years of settling for so much less than I deserve. For those farther back on this difficult, hurtful path … I urge you to hold your head high and just keep moving forward every day. A beautiful new life awaits … truly.

    • And be careful about the “friends” who want you to be “normal” again who really mean, Why aren’t you still being all chumpy and putting US first?

  • Awww ❤️❤️ High five sister. I get this a lot too: “how long have you been divorced? Isn’t it time to let it go?”

    My answer is always the same. “I wish someone had been there for me. That’s why I will never stop writing about it.”

    Unfortunately this club gets new members every single day and with the way our fucked up world is going, there’s not going to be a slowdown any time soon. You do a great thing here, friend. You do save lives and that’s something to be very proud of.

    Sending you love and good interview vibes!

    • Backatcha! We can have a mutual appreciation society thing going. 🙂 You save lives! And you bounced back from a hell of a lot more than I was dealt.

      More HHF and CN and less RIC. 🙂 Redirect that chump traffic.

      • Did you get the job? Maybe your interviewer cheated or covers for other cheaters. I would assume that people would have more support (and admiration) for someone who made a full-time job out of helping people through difficult times, but nothing surprises me anymore. Cheating is so common, people who swipe it under the rug are even more common. And the delusion that you can fix a shit situation (whether a relationship, job, family issue etc.) is everywhere.

        When I hear people questioning support groups I wish they would get a taste of their own medicine. They would learn to be more humble.

    • I think the narrative IS changing.

      Here in Australia during the disgusting Barnaby Joyce frolics, I saw a much stronger push-back from women in the media, especially, saying, ‘Hang on – this is wrong; both of them are wrong’.

      Especially when his much-younger-homewrecker let rip in the tabloids with ‘You can’t help who you fall in love with’. She got slapped down big-time from all sorts of quarters.

      #MeToo has also done this cause quite a bit of good as well, in passing.

      • Unfortunately we don’t see Strzok and Page getting whacked with the shame stick. All political intrigue and pillow talk over here. The world forgets that they are each married to someone else who not only gets nightmare of being chumped but they get the shit sandwich of public humiliation. Journalists are not interested on pulling on that thread.

        • Right!? All too often, it seems like the media and other influencers carefully select which cheaters they will publicly castigate, in order to support their political (or other) goals. In fact, all cheaters deserve to be outed and treated like the lying scum they are.

          • Sometimes it’s political. Democrats and Republicans will both go after the other party’s cheaters but when it’s their own suddenly it’s a private matter and nobody else’s business. Personally I don’t want any cheater in office.

        • Hey Now I. C.

          I loved what the congressman in the U.S. said to Strzok about his truth-telling ability as evidenced in his ability to tell his loved one, his wife the truth, or rather, NOT tell his loved one the truth. Also, remember? No one was witnessing to Strzok’s character, no one, no one except him repeating over and over what a good agent, and good person he was. – Right. (Yawn.)

          I was thinking how Mrs. Strzok had hit the jackpot on karma bus hitting the cheater.

          Anyway, you’re there in the Land Down Under, where James Bond snuck off to, thinking he could play his cards well and start his life all over again, with everything under his control, no traumatized chump to ruin the narrative. Now, I’m not asking for retribution, because thanks to Chump Nation I’m on solid ground, and besides, I don’t want to invite any karma on me — I’m glad x-hole left. Glad he’s gone. I’m blessed with not having him in my country, nor my continent.

          So yah, I guess I just wanted to reach out to ya, and say Hey from the Americas!

      • The idea that love (or whatever feeling AP’s refer to) is an imperative that must be followed is just plain false. We can all choose to avoid pleasures now that will bring us great pain later. Engaging in affairs (and other deviant behaviors) is entering the wilderness on the outskirts of society. In time you tend to get picked off by mountain lions.

        • My exw refers to her and the Leech (the married man she cheated with who then dumped her arse when we broke up, he didn’t want a commitment!) as “lovers” whereas to me they were “haters”. Lovers don’t destroy, they build.

  • What you do is a holy thing…it gave me my life back and allowed me to see through the crap. It also exposes the RIC for what it is. Thank you.

  • I just did this. I just said this to a friend who had cancer, discovered her husband had a long term affair with her “friend,” divorced him immediately and has since kicked ass but is still been pretty lonely. Her first “relationship” after 10 years? With a guy who has a gf.

    I just said, this is wrong and you know it. I get he makes you feel special and no one has in a long time, but you’re better than this and what you’re doing to his gf, who you don’t know, but know is there, is really awful. You know that.

    I can’t make any decisions for my friend, but I can be true to myself and my story and my ethics. I’m not interested in losing a friend, but I’m really not interested in supporting a cycle of abuse and humiliation.

    She’s on her own. ????

    • You are right! That’s a hard thing, to speak out and stand firm. But when you do, you speak for all of us who have been hurt in that way. It shows integrity, and hopefully it will make her think! If she’s really the woman you knew her to be, then she will realize she IS better than that, and stop.

    • I just don’t understand how someone who has been betrayed like that can turn around and do that to another person. My cheater’s howorker divorced because her husband cheated on her. Then she went after my SO. Disordered nut case.

      • Yup. Ex’s Schmoopie did the same. Her husband cheated on her so she fucked my husband. Then she decided to convince him to leave his family for her. Who does that? Why would she go out of her way to win another cheater after already experiencing one. Both cruel and stupid.

        • Because disorder feels normal to her on a subconscious level, so she traded one bad set-up for another. No doubt there is some FOO issues there needing professional therapy. Such people spin through life creating endless drama and collateral damage, sadly.

      • A few of my (ex-)partners.including my husband and my last boyfriend, claim that their spouses cheated on them and abused them. In the end these exes abused me. I don’t know which ones lied about being abused and cheated on (projectin?) and which ones are just plain OK with perpetrating the harm after having been on the receiving end of it. I never understood my last boyfriend. Supposedly, his wife (who became his ex-wife long before he and I started dating) abused and cheated on him with multiple men in their fairly short relationship, yet he kept he on a pedestal, even while he dated me and kicked me around. His elevation of her while degrading me made the degradation even worse. I think that sometimes I thought I must really suck to be treated worse than an ex-spouse who abused my partner and committed adultery with multiple partners.

        • It was literally him, not you, RockStarWife. You don’t suck. From what I have read, abusive people often choose good, kind, successful (in some way the abuser is not) people to partner with.

          It seems they partner with the people they wish they could be or who they think others will envy. But then they are jealous of their partner’s good character, because the abusive person feels inadequate next to the partner they once admired or they fear that such an admirable person will leave them. To suppress the inadequacy and gain a sense of power, they then feel they have to destroy the person they think is the source of their pain. (They can’t look at their own self image and emotions because it is terrifying to them.)

          Your boyfriend probably partnered with you out of true admiration. His disfunction caused him to treat you badly, not anything about you. Expressing admiration for his cheating ex, not you who loved him, is just more of his disfunction. You can’t fully know why, but why else would he cling to someone who hurt him? That skein is not worth unravelling!

          I can see from your online comments that you are a kind and supportive person. You deserved better.

          As CL would say: Trust that he sucks. He was cruel because he sucks (whatever was going on in his head, it comes out as suckitude, seriously).

      • I get it.

        I never did it. But I understand it. When cheating happens to you, your world gets blown apart. For some people that means their world view. They feel naive. Like they are the only ones who “didn’t get it.” Like the whole world is fucking around except for them and trading in one person for another. They also feel worthless, like their stock just plummeted because some other chick was able to pull her husband away from her. So instead of being introspective about it, they identify with the aggressor and decide “if Ho-Bag was attractive enough to get my husband, I’m probably enough to get someone else’s husband.” Then they do it. Ugh. So dumb.

    • Good for you. I lost what I thought was a friendship for this very reason, and this was before I knew I was being cheated on. I also had a close relative who cheated, and my family and I didn’t speak to him for about six years while he was with the OW because we disapproved. There weren’t any shades of gray in those situations– there was cheating, it was wrong, we conveyed our feelings about it, and if the cheaters wanted to stop talking to us, that was on them. I didn’t want to pretend to be happy for a cheater. I knew it was wrong, and that outweighed everything else for me.

      When I told my parents that my then-husband was cheating on me, my mom erupted in an emotional tirade, calling him every name in the book. My dad got out a pen and a legal pad and started writing down a list of all of the assets I needed to protect. They were both 100% against his cheating and wanted me to leave him as fast as I could. While I certainly credit CL and CN for helping me stay on the anti-cheating straight and narrow, the fact that my family and close friends were so disgusted with my ex and cut off all contact with him was, frankly, in this wishy-washy, Switzerland culture, amazing. They gave me an incredible amount of support so that I had the strength I needed to move on.

      I don’t understand how people can feel any other way– why anyone would want to see their friend or relative stay in an abusive relationships is beyond my ability to understand. Why anyone would try to pretend that cheating is no big deal and turn a blind eye completely boggles my mind.

      While I don’t shout it from the rooftops, I have shared my story many times with people over the years. I also immediately speak up when someone even hints at defending adultery. I have also been very vocal about it in my classroom when the idea comes up in a text that we are reading. It’s difficult because we do still pin shame on the chump–What did you do wrong that made him cheat?– but I push myself because I know that there will never be any change while the chumps all hide in the shadows and take the blame.

      • thank you for expressing that. My mom after D-Day encouraged me to wait and try to get him int therapy to fix the marriage for 6 months. Which I tried to but then he refused counselling any more and while lying to me that he had ended his “friendships” very much continued with them enthusiastically behind my back. Now I’m like ENOUGH and I retained and attorney and about to inform him any day. But I still get a vibe from my (totally professional, self sufficient) mom like “are you sure you are doing this” and occasionally still asking me “are you and he going to see such and such a play upcoming at the theatre?” as if nothing is happening. And she just keeps saying “well yes cheating is just so very common. Look what Hillary Clinton had to contend with”. Perhaps it is because she herself was the OW to a 20 year marriage for 4 years in her life. She subsequently married the guy after he left his wife and has been married to my step data for 30 years. And I like him and so all my emotions are very complicated about this. But I just can’t stay with my serial cheating husband and I really need everyone fully cheering me on as I plan my exit now. Glad your parents were so on top of it.

        • You do not need your parent s permission or support. YOU DO YOU…… I am about to take on my second divorce…from my narc, image management, unempathetic, pos parents……..can not fill a cup from an empty well. Can not fill a cup from an empty well…..

  • You’re not hyperbolic. This site saved me. Found it in the middle of a very alone night. There is nothing else like this out there like this. It introduced the idea of meh when all I could see was the walls crumbling. It is a place of kindness when everywhere that used to matter is lies and uncaring. I am grateful for your humor and for maintaining this community. Every time the shit head pulls up with his dick’s sporting store in the back of his car I hear you in all caps HES FOOLING NOONE and I smile.

    • Yes CL And CN save lives, maybe as many as 21 mil, but I can say for certain you saved mine and the kids that depend on me. RIC was a joke and damaging more future families by spreading a false reality to children of fuckwits. I’m not saying every divorce is bad, I have a good friend who was able to amicably divorce with kid and effectively co parent with her ex who also recognizes the adult method of this process. To say they are better apart is an understatement. My children are now sadly scarred and scared that what happened to them by their disordered parent could have future implications, history repeating itself. I don’t have an answer for them other then to model sane, mighty, effective, responsible behavior. That’s all I have and it will be enough.

      • Same here, Kibble-less. My biggest regret is that I stayed as long as I did because I convinced myself I didn’t want my kids to be from a “broken home.” But now I know it was fear of the unknown that kept me in an emotionally abusive marriage.

        The reality is that my sons watched their father treat their mother like trash, and their mother took it. Until I didn’t. Now I’m raising three sons alone. All have incredible abandonment and anger issues that are coming out in drug abuse, rage, shoplifting, bad grades, failed sober living, etc. It’s a fucking nightmare that we are facing head on.

        • Chutes and ladders, I’m right here with you: my teens have had depression, anxiety, ptsd, panic attacks, overdoses, suicide attempts, dropped out of school, arrests, lost all will to live at times since DDay and the gaslighting and blameshifting and abandonment by X. We are barely surviving 3.5 years out. X’s narrative: everyone is “happy” … what’s your problem you can’t see it? FACEPLANT

          To all that deny that cheating is domestic abuse, I invite you to look at scars from a child’s suicide attempt after her dad told her and the rest of us that “we” drive him away and he had to cheat because he hated every minute of their lives and hated the responsibility of being a dad.
          FUCKERS all of those doubters, shamers, blamers, non-supportive fuckity fucks!

          • MotherChumper99
            Words fail me to describe a father like that.
            I believe the father name is stripped forever from him, it is a name a child learns early, perhaps the first word of many babies. “DaDa” and we smile and clap our hands. Not so for this MF’er. He does not deserve these precious Children.
            May they rise above him, MotherChumper99. With your constant love and guidance, I truly believe that they will.
            In CN’s eyes you are so Mighty!

          • Agree! My in laws recently told my second to the youngest (she is 13) that I dragged out the marriage to her dad and that it was over when she was born!! WTH is a kid supposed to think? Not to mention her younger sister???

            • 2legit – Your in-laws are a special kind of cruel to do that to a child. My heart aches for our kids.

        • Oh (((((((chutesandladders))))), somehow I missed your post when I was reading earlier.
          I always look up to you, and to your strength, when I read your posts.
          I am so sorry for all you and your sons have lived through.
          I hope that soon your sons will realize, and gain from the strength of your caring and your loving way.
          Do not give up. They have your blood in them and that is a very good thing.

  • Also, this support site saved my life – as it hasfir so many others.

    Rock on with your bad self!

  • Yes . This. So many people knew about my husband and the first slut( that I now know of) but said NOTHING to me. So many things wouldn’t have happened—not the 500k line of credit I co-signed for or the second one or the purchase of a house in Florida or the one here that I didn’t really want and cost us $1300 a month over the rent we collected on it. I was so messed up I was doing ANYTHING to keep him happy. I also wouldn’t have bought $25 k worth of snowmobiles ( yes he did all of that/-insisted in fact, while he was screwing someone else and planning his exit). Help out a chump folks—TELL!!!!!

  • It’s still so hard. So many people still think that people have affairs because their marriages are JUST SO AWFUL. When it’s almost always a matter of someone feeling entitled.

    Until it happens to them, they have no real understanding of how wrong affairs are.

    I remember my ex being horrified by his boss’s behavior. His boss divorced his wife of 25 years, and married his administrative assistant who was 20 years younger, and started his second family. My ex(then husband) went on and on about how wrong that was. How every one in the company had watched happen and thought it was so romantic.

    But when our turn came, he, of course, gave reasons he felt justified his behavior.

    I do what I can. When people express excitement over an office affair, I always ask about the spouses involved, kids, etc.that usually stops them from sharing with me, at least.

    Keep up the important work, Chumplady. You do save lives.

    • That is so true. When I first found out about the cheating I thought “what? But I didn’t withhold sex or put him down, or bad mouth him to others or do anything to emasculate him, how could this have happened?” Meanwhile he was implying that I had done all of those things. Huh? I seriously started to wonder if I could have been doing all of those things without even knowing it. Was I really that incompetent? How could I have made him feel so bad when I was trying so hard to make him happy? Did blowing him off that one time when he was trying to poke me awake with his dick at 3:00am the morning before I had a very important meeting and after he had been blowing me off all week mean that I was withholding sex? Was the fact that we only had sex once a week my fault despite the many nights I lay in bed lonely wondering when he would come to bed (or even get home)? Did my having a career emasculate him even though I made his career and our family higher priorities? Did letting him do the laundry while he was a stay at home dad (by choice) mean that I was emasculating him? It took me a while to realize that no, I hadn’t done any of those things to him, he had done all of those things to himself and then blamed me for it. I had never been one to think that cheating was ever justified, but I had thought that I could avoid it by not doing all of the very things he accused me of doing in the end. Now I know that there is no way to prevent someone else from cheating. They will always find an excuse real or imagined.

    • I was blindsided by that too. I thought, “I was always up for anything. He’s the one who regularly turned me down.”

  • First off, I want to say, I’m 5 years out from DDay and I visit this site everyday! It’s goes with my morning coffee.

    Secondly, I still sing like a fu*king bird: “My ex abandoned me and my special needs daughter to be with the French teacher. He walked out one day with NO warning and never looked back.” Most people are disgusted with him when I tell and their reaction to my story is always good and fair towards me. Please everyone, TELL, TELL, TELL!!!

    Thirdly, this site does save lives! Tracy, you are an angel. I don’t care what people think. I hand out copies of your book out of the back of my car to anyone who finds themselves chumped or passing the book along to someone who they know is recently chumped.

    Lastly, while I understand the need to get to MEH and move on, I’m not going anywhere. I use quotes and stories from this site all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I say something and people laugh. Then I say, that’s Chump Lady. Or I tell a story, and I say, found that on Chump Lady. If you’ve been on this site long enough, you know there’s so much wealth of info that doesn’t pertain just to infidelity.

    Tracy, from the bottom of my heart, thank you! You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Nor does any other chump for that matter. It’s a badge of honour!! Wear it proudly! There are many people secretly watching and thinking to themselves: I sure hope I would be that strong!!!

  • I actually bumped into a former coworker of the BOTH of them, same department. (Soon to be 3 years since DDay). We stepped outside and I asked him “Really, you were with the two of them EVERY day and you had no idea this was happening?” I guess that they were that good at hiding it, because he said no. I responded, well, you had TWO people lying to you. I only had one! Yes, tell the wife.

  • Based on the wisdom learned and modeled here, I go out of my way to reinforce the Mighty in all the people I come across – whether or not cheating is involved. Chumps have boundary issues everywhere in their lives.

    • Me too. It’s been amazingly good for me.

      The Fuck Off Wagon has been paying a lot of calls to my social life since I discovered Chump Nation.

  • Yes, I agree it helps to admit it. One of my dear friends is a recent chump. The first thing I did was bought her Tracy’s book.
    She is now starting to tell people and I think it is helping in her healing and giving her back her power.

  • I’m trying to understand Switzerland friends. Have distanced myself from our best couple friends, known them for 35 years. Recently the wife reached out. I explained my need for no contact from anyone who sees him , while my world kept getting rocked. I got a very hurt and angry text back. But in it she said: I haven’t seen him since March. I miss you guys.
    Which implies she wants friendship with both. I personally feel so icky about anyone who has cheated and I would side with the betrayed. I think there is only so much you can say. If they don’t get it, that is a choice they are making.
    I am supporting another new and chomped friend. Our mutual friend said; Don’t let her get you down. I actually see supporting her as a positive thing.
    There seems to be this wall people build around us, and they don’t want to climb it

    • “I’m trying to understand Switzerland friends.”


      Just lose them instead. It’s worth it.

      If they come back, they were always yours.

      If they don’t, then thank God and have another cocktail. And then go out and get some real friends instead.

      • What about the Switzerland in-laws, right?

        I was really hurt after filed for divorce. when I got ZERO phone calls or inquiry from my sister-in-law. I always liked her very much. She got chumped over 15 years ago and everyone was completely stunned as they had been married close to 25 years. I was so shocked. He was such a nice guy and now he had moved out and moved in with the OW. Oh my God? So, of course chumpy Hope49 called my sister-in-law and her husband to suggest…wait for it…WRECK-conciliation, right? (I know…head slap! ) I suggested counseling etc. I mean they had 3 older completely stunned children and a dog, right?

        NOPE! I got nothing. When I tried to mention that my husband had caused the divorce on FB in a chat with my niece, I immediately got, “Oh…there are two sides to the story….” And this was the niece that I patiently listened to her marriage woes when her first marriage blew up, right?

        I considered blocking them on Facebook. Really, really thought about it but I didn’t. I think that actually has worked for me. I post pictures of me going about life and doing ME. Hiking, attending concerts, running 5k’s. I am looking pretty good and lost 50 pounds since they last saw me. My ex? They guy who said he would be SO much healthier if he lived on the beach. Haha! NOPE! He still has a giant gut and is drinking too much. Oh, and our daughter got the lovely experience of being contacted by his prostitute on Facebook because he had failed to pay her money for the ‘services’ received. She was stunned and had to share that revelation with her older brother. 🙁

        Anyway, I kind of think that the old husband has kind of worn out the welcome back to the hometown. I think that the in-laws are likely seeing what an empty vessel he is etc., etc. Now, I notice that I am getting more ‘likes’ on my posts from the Switzerland inlaws.

        I am NOT spending any effort staying connected with them other than a few likes to their pictures on FB or a few short positive comments on their posts. I turn down any and all suggestions by my kids to come down and visit. My kids can visit me in MY state and in MY home. I am grey- rocking and black- rocking like a rock star. No Contact with their Dad is working,really pretty well for me. Oh, I know I will have to see him at the eventual college graduations and marriages for my two kids but that is it.

        And the old husband? Oh he is hoovering like crazy. Sends me flowers, emails, wants me to visit him and he wants to visit me. NOPE! Not happening. Life just gets better slowly each and every day.

        • You probably won’t like this advice, but block HIS family. Sorry but those people, no matter how much they loved you and you loved them, are his family.

          Believe me, I know just how much that hurts. I was so close to and very, very good to his family. But they turned their back on me and I had to cut them out to protect myself.

          Your not blocking them and having them see photos is not getting you to meh. Be honest – you’re hoping that the details of the photos of your new life are translated back to your cheater. That is NOT how to gain a life. Gaining a life is doing the things you live for yourself, not for posting. It is no surprise he is hoovering. You’re actually encouraging it.

          Sorry if the above is harsh. Block the ex family. If you aren’t going out for coffee or drinks together, they shouldn’t be looking at your photos.

        • unfriend the in-laws. they are his not yours.

          you already showed them you are better, now remove them from your facebook and your life. in my opinion, you can get bad karma or bad luck by someone being jealous of you also.

          • Rebecca and Mrs. Vain, you both point out some good considerations and your points are valid. I definitely DO still have a stake in him wanting to learn that I am doing pretty well for myself. Why? The old husband almost ruined me. He not only has cheated on me but stole from me and my family. He stole time away from the kids and their financial well-being as well. He still has a relationship with the kids and he is all about image management.

            How did he paint me? I am the CRAZY one. That is his narrative, right? So, gosh isn’t it odd then that Hope49 has a lot of high school friends who still engage with her, like her insight and supportive commentary with everyone? Huh…maybe the crazy Hope49 is not the crazy one…just maybe the mask is slipping and they are now seeing behind the mask, right? I think that is going on right now and they are starting to get a clue. The old husband’s welcome is wearing out. In a way, my keeping my distance but letting them see me is destroying the narc façade brick -by- brick.

            Hope 49 here wants to blow the narc impression management shit up BIG time. 🙂

            • the part that you are missing is HIS family really doesnt care.. .. they are his family. maybe they already know he is a big fake, most likely they already see thru his facade. and i am certain they have seen behind the mask many many times.. ..

              you are wasting so much of your energy thinking and worrying and caring about what his people think of you. at the end of the day it really doesnt matter. .. . it doesnt matter if they agree with you. it doesnt matter if they do or do not think you are crazy like he said you were. it doesnt even matter if they see you are doing so much better without him.. .. . because when it comes down to it, when he tells them how you broke him, they will take his side. no matter what they seen or heard or think.. .. because he is their family.. .. you are just a bystander.. they do not care if you are innocent or not. .

              block them and live your life without a care about what they think or see or believe.. .. .. direct your energy towards yourself and to other people who love you for what and who you are.. .. to the people you do not have to prove anything to.. .. it is so much more peaceful on the other side.

              good luck

              • mrsvain, I thank you for your feedback and thoughtful commentary. I truly do. I will have to reflect on it. Don’t know that I will unfriend anyone but maybe I will… I love all you people out here! I get more feedback and caring from you who are strangers than I ever received from in laws that I had spent years visiting etc. as the dutiful, chumpy wife.

              • hope49.. .. i wish you peace.. .. believe me, i have been in your shoes. it is so much better when you are not even thinking of him or his people. i stayed facebook friends with one of his sisters because she was always nice to me. but even that, just seeing her name and some of her innocent posts were she is talking about her family, or him .. .. was actually bringing me down. because it kept me stuck. .. .. i unfriended her with apologizes and my life is so much better. it really is a relief not to be reminded by anything or anyone of the man i used to love so much. .. ..

                sending you hugs. and wishing you luck on finding your peace.
                much love

      • I just assume any Switzerland friends have crap values too, fuck them. I have a couple I need to stay civil to but I never share anything with them, I learnt that the hard way.

    • I too distanced myself from ‘friends’ who were ‘friends’ with the both of us. I felt and still feel kinda bad about just blocking them and making them not part of my life anymore. But – they are a part of a past life that I want to forget. One friend I kept was not really a friend of his, but she told me once how she had seen Judas at the bar one night. I quit talking to her. I don’t give a shit what he is doing and I don’t want him to know what I am doing. And of course she is going to run into him at the bar because that is where he lives. After awhile she got the hint that I didn’t care to be friends with her anymore and she asked me what the deal was. I explained that I don’t want to KNOW ANYTHING. She has since either not seen the asswipe or just doesn’t say anything. I just wish I didn’t have the connection to dipshit still with my 3 kids. I don’t think I would of ever had kids had I known 25 years ago I would be forever connected with a loser who destroyed my family.

    • I think of it this way…

      I have no interest in expending any energy toward a person who is comfortable being around my former abuser.

      There is a lot of messaging here at Chump Nation about the utility of No Contact with our exes because our brains need a break from the constant gravity of abuse. It’s the same way with the Switzerlanders, their mere presence has its own gravity on your brain. Chumps don’t need ANY of that getting in the way of reclaiming their Mighty.

      • I don’t have flexible ethics, never have. If a friend shows me they do not have integrity, that is not someone I want as a friend. I’ve cut people off for doing unethical things, including cheating. Just not OK with me. The flip of this is pretty easy to see, if your ‘friend’ will hurt someone else to get what they want, what happens when they want something that will hurt you? I think all chumps know the answer to that one….

    • I was just going to send this article to Chumplady and like cosmic magic it applies to today’s topic. A Seattle business man was outed as a rapist and a sexual predator (and of course he has a small child/spouse). This woman called out all the people who are supporting him and it’s brilliant.

      “If you think someone is a creep, an asshole, or a jerk to you or others, cut them off. Trust your gut. Terrible people so often get away with doing terrible things in part because they can point at all the friends, colleagues, or acquaintances who, directly and indirectly, validate them.”

    • I’ve got a line ready to use: “I don’t know how to be friends with those who are friends w/my XW.”

      I dont reach out to my Switzerland friends. Its painful; friends since college. But the wives made and kept the relationship it must be said. but it was CL who wrote there are better people, better friends.

      Its a little hard being a dad-chump (for me at least). Things are stacked against us a tad. But what an opportunity for me to learn.

      I found CL a year ago. Saved me too.

      • this happened after I told friend out of state he pulled a gun on me and her response was “I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened”. I got the BS about how friend would be neutral and wouldn’t repeat anything I said to exasshole, I told her our friendship was over. She got pissed saying I had no right to tell her to be friends with…my response?

        I’m not telling you who to be friends with, I’m telling you who I am willing to be friends with.

        that’s it, our boundary, ours, not theirs – when someone says shit like that, they have great entitlement and no damn boundaries.

      • Talk One,
        In a way, the deck is stacked in your favor if you ever want to re-marry, according to much research I have read, on average, the Sexual Market Value of men increases with age (middle-aged/older men have an easier time finding a mate than young men do). The reverse is true for women–on average, our Sexual Market Vakue decreases. As a woman over 50 who would like to find a good man to whom I am at least somewhat attracted to marry someday, this situation does not bode well for me. Throw in some fairly young kids, one of whom has special needs. and I think that my probability of finding someone appropriate for a healthy, happy committed intimate relationship is less than that of wining the Lotto.

  • This is probably my biggest hurt in all of this–so many people knew, so many people covered, and he even had a network of people helping him hide out with his APs. I wish I had had more help. When I found you, you were the first person to tell me that it’s not you, cheaters suck and you don’t have to live this way any longer. And yes, Chump Lady, I’m one of the ones–you literally saved my life.

    • Here’s a cautionary tale. My ex’s best friend knew about the first affair and protected his “friend”. He didn’t say a word to me about it and it went on for several years. Well guess what? My ex moved on to said best friends wife and split up their marriage. Best friend does nothing but cry about how betrayed he was. Well I guess the karma bus made a stop for him!

      • I changed my husband’s name in my phone to “Dean McDermott”……love this story….thank you for sharing!!! And for those waiting for the karma bus….leave the bus stop and get busy making YOU happy. You will get divine notice from the Universe when the bus arrives. It will be perfectly timed and way better than anything you could have dreamed up….I speak from experience. One bus arrival was literally 20 years later and turned out so incredibly juicy that it still delights me nine years after bus arrival to think about it!!!

        • Ohhhh do tell velvet hammer?!?! I feel like mine will never get the karma bus because he’s so sly, manipulative and sneaky. And SPARKLY omg.

          • It’s too long a long story for here, but just trust that the Universe batted last in as big MOFO way, it was 20 years after the relationship ended, it was way better than I ever could have planned if I was the vengeful type, and though I was entitled to laugh last and loudest, it didn’t even ruffle my MEH, which was awesome. I LOVED feeling zero emotion in his presence (yes, I even got to be present when the karma bus hit).
            Divinely orchestrated is far superior.

    • Best piece of advice I got from CL was “you don’t have to forgive”, a huge weight lifted for me reading that. And also other peoples stories, most a lot worse than min, but they are all awful.

    • One of my kids’ godfather, who was also my music teacher for a little while, knew about the affair in which my husband tried to start a family with his co-worker while married to me but decided not to tell me. It sounds a thiugh everyone on my husband’s tour buses also knew about the affair, which my husband and his AP seemed to flaunt around the world. My husband’s AP even showed off my husband to her relatives–a bit like a cat dumping the chewed up body of vermin on your porch–I feel sorrier for the vin than I could ever feel for my now ex-husband.

  • I think “secrets” are one of the single most damaging things in life. And I don’t mean stuff like when your friend tells you something trivial about themselves, or some unimportant gossip.

    But when someone is abusing someone else, or has important information that could change someone’s life or actions , it doesn’t need to be hidden. Ex HATED the thought of anyone knowing he was a liar, cheater, adulterer. One big reason is because it makes it so much easier to do it to the next person!!

    Also, when you cover for someone, you become a liar as well. When you say something other than the complete truth you are going down the slippery slope yourself. And really, for what end? You didn’t do anything wrong but yet you are accepting shame like you did. So rat that fucker out for whatever it is he or she actually is.

    • Anita,
      I think that my ex-boyfriend, too, hates the idea that anybody might might think that he is lea than wonderboy in character. Hence his eradication of any sign that we ever even knew each knew other! I know too much garbage about him for his comfort.

  • I am one of the old veterans who had moved on… but came back recently for a refresher course in getting to meh (after an unfortunate relapse). You saved my life then and you and Chump Nation are leading me back now. We are a strong nation of women and men who found our voices (and our sanity) because of you. You rock CL!

  • “I just want to be the support I wish I ‘d had”

    I often see it, in your cartoons, that the Road to Meh has many twists and turns. It is not all “clear sailing.” But, the fact that YOU, CL, and CN, are there to help each Chump over each and every hurdle she/he faces along the way, well, that is just a wonderful, loving, gift that you all share with others.
    I believe with the arrival at Meh, a miracle has taken place, one Lost Chump at a time, finally HOME, to a place of self worth and self respect.
    I see this happen every day, here in CL, CN.

    YOU are the support you wish you’d had!
    YOU cannot stop who YOU are.
    YOU are, and YOU always will be, CL!

  • Thank you, THANK YOU Tracy for continuing to be there. I’m at meh (though I occasionally blast right out of meh when my child’s safety is in danger, ugh I hate visitation weekends) and I visit regularly because changing the narrative is *so* important. And it’s only going to happen gradually, by chipping away at it, and if those of us most passionate about it keep at it. Just like most narratives that took a long time to change.

    Because I’m outspoken about this any time it comes up and I state the facts plainly whenever asked, I’ve become a go-to amongst my friends for advice and support around infidelity. Already your story has helped several of them who have ended up in similar situations. Recently, a person I gave a copy of your book to about a year ago told me that she passed it on to another friend, and it changed her life too.

    I almost wonder if we should have some kind of secret code phrase for when we see each other out in the wild. Like “Hail Hydra,” except, you know, not evil.

      • SomethingNew, how about us flashing some kind of gang sign. Like shaping a ‘C’ and then and ‘L’ or maybe a ‘C’ and ‘N’. Hahaha!!!

        • How about a CN t-shirt? It can have the road to meh cartoon on the back

          • I love it but I’m more of an enamel pin kinda gal. ???? ::looks at prices online for getting pins made up::

  • We do need to speak about our experiences of being chumped. I can remember in the months after D-day being so incredibly angry that nobody was talking about the hideous pain infidelity causes. It was all about reconciliation and what each of us had done to contribute to the state of the marriage. So insulting. I had had good friends go through it before me, but nobody had talked about just how excruciating the experience was. About the PTSD type symptoms. Thank goodness for CL and CN. Your blog and your book have kept me sane more times than I can count Tracy.
    I have told plenty of people about my experience and have found a lot of support amongst my friends. But the Switzerland friends baffle me. I just don’t get it. When my friends were chumped, I could barely look their cheaters in the eye when our paths unfortunately crossed, let alone go to their housewarming parties or like their Facebook posts. Maybe it’s a lack of empathy or, like the cheaters, the Switzerland friends compartmentalise – s/he did nothing to hurt me so it’s ok to be friendly. If infidelity was seen as the emotional abuse it truly is, perhaps these friends would rethink their neutrality. I don’t think they would be as chummy with perpetrators of physical abuse, but maybe that’s me being chumpy again???

    • PommieChump I think you are being chumpy again. 🙂 On my d-day, my ex physically assaulted me and went to jail but his friend (and mine) said to me that he was disappointed with ex but ex was still his friend. Unless it effects Switzerland friends directly, they view it as not pertaining to them.

      As long as cheaters act like “good/decent” people then most people will view it as a marriage problem and justify the cheating in their minds.

    • Double posting this for you PommieChump.

      It probably wouldn’t matter if it was another form of abuse; after I told friend out of state he pulled a gun on me, her response was “I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened”. I got the BS about how friend would be neutral and wouldn’t repeat anything I said to exasshole, I told her our friendship was over. She got pissed saying I had no right to tell her to be friends with…my response?

      I’m not telling you who to be friends with, I’m telling you who I am willing to be friends with.

      that’s it, our boundary, ours, not theirs – when someone says shit like that, they have great entitlement and no damn boundaries. Shed the neutral assholes, find better friends. Jedi hugs!

      • Thanks Datdamwuf. It’s just incredible, isn’t it? Nobody needs a friend like that. Good on you for maintaining those strong boundaries. I’m learning and getting better at it and it feels GOOD!! CL and CN have taught me so much.

  • The employees where I grocery shopped for 30 years outted their ho worker…kroger ho.. They called ho ‘the mouth’.

    They did this while one of them wrapped her arms around me and held me. One of them said, ‘Honey, don’t let him get the best of you, you are a good woman, you deserve better than him. It could have been any one of us, he doesn’t care. he’s always comin in here chatting us all up. I refuse to wait on him.’ …and… ‘Sweety, you need to eat!’ (I’d lost over 40 pounds by then)


    …they pointed her out…in my complete confusion I remember thinking…I have a beach towel for the kids…the one with the powder puff cartoon girls on it…she looks like a cartoon…wow…

    kroger ho cartoon woman was just one of many, I found out.

    I still send those wonderful people Christmas cards. They showed me who that lying cheating coward really is.

    And Tracy showed me how to leave a cheater and gain a life 🙂

    I love you Tracy 🙂 And CN!

    • (((((JeepTess))))
      And more HUGS,
      I love the girls who worked in that store, and if I was there, I would have given you the strongest hugs ever!
      You have the kindest heart!
      (Your garden is flourishing)!

      • ((((Peacekeeper)))) 🙂

        Sweet woman you are always in my thoughts!

        You would love this 🙂 …gas line people are digging giant holes in my yard…Beau brought me his ‘clothes’ (collar) like he does every morning after I wash his face 🙂 and then he brought me his blue bandanna 🙂 He’s stylin for the workers! Hehehehehe!!! He’s such a people! 🙂

        • Jedi Hugs Jeep! Haven’t caught up in a long time, glad you and Beau are doing well 🙂

          • (((DAT)))) 🙂

            How are your hummingbirds doin? 🙂

            I hope you are doing well also. How is Aggie?

      • (((LovedaJackass)))

        It took me a great long while to realize how much courage it took for those folks to tell me. I will forever be grateful to them. I hope that I would have the loving strength to help someone as they did me.

        After they told me and I saw kroger ho…all I felt for her was sadness. What a sad situation coward had put us in…I left the store and waited for coward to come home…when I asked who kroger ho was (by name) and what did she mean to him, coward stared at me like a caged animal and then got up and ran to his truck and left. …I filed a few days later. No point in trying to save 36 year relationship. Trust was gone.

        …thankfully, it also put an end to him meowing and growling at me…disordered coward.

        You inspire me every day Loved 🙂 Thank you.

  • I do wish more chumps would speak up, but society has a long way to go in the social stigma department. In my own experience, the “what did you do to cause it” narrative is firmly embedded in our culture; also firmly embedded is “be nice.” There’s this socially twisted correlation between pleasantness and character, something the disordered thrive on. It’s pretty hard to come across as pleasant, non-judgmental, and upbeat (part of the downfall of the positivity movement) when you are speaking out against the moral underpinning of cheating. Cheaters seem to have mastered the art of covert manipulation. It doesn’t bother them one bit to tell people what they want to hear, and then do the opposite behind closed doors. Impression management is a powerful tool, and very inauthentic.

    Many people don’t like messy, it makes them uncomfortable. They like rainbows and unicorns and sparkles. Some people just don’t care. their lives are busy and they’d rather have a root canal than talk about anything that requires them to exert energy on moral philosophies.

    • This!! This is the story of my work so-called group who collectively turn blind eyes to all kinds of bad behavior. I’ve gotten “but he’s so nice.” and “we just have to get along.” and “but he has these accomplishments.” Impression management is all that matters.

    • Brain, I agree 100% that this is why chumps don’t like to speak up.

      I myself felt so humiliated that, out of pure shame, I would carry on at work, family, friends as if nothing was wrong. I made all sorts of excuses even though I was so damn angry. And so confused about what I was doing wrong!

      Then I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation.

      Not wanting to belittle the suffering of people because of their race, religion, social standing, sexual orientation, etc., Tracy’s work is a matter of HUMAN RIGHTS. In fact it overlaps with a LOT of these issues. Entitlement. Entitlement. Entitlement.

      I think that society does encourage or at least trivializes cheating on trusting partners. In my institution many colleagues think it is cool to have an open marriage, but for some reason most of their partners never get the memo about this position. 50 Years ago my uncle lost his job as VP at a major steel company because he abandoned his family of wife and 5 young kids for a much younger, greedy, status-seeking floozie. He never paid a dime to his kids. EVER. The reasoning behind his firing was because he could not be trusted to have good judgement, since certain things go together. Now his colleagues would slap him on the back for his “guts to go after his happiness”.

      Perhaps the banality of this evil would come under a different light if the mere economics of the consequences of cheating were taken into account. In my country the law says: ‘no one can be obliged to love someone”. OK. But why are they allowed to morally humiliate, risk health and ruin finances in order to “not be obliged” (= cheat).

      Tracy, there must be some way to organize this as a sort civil rights movement, society for whatever, with official membership, etc. Not as a church, please no (I am religious, but hate the mixing state and church).

      We will get thrown to lions and bears in the arena, but …

      • Amen, ClearWaters.

        Society DOES “encourage or at least trivialize cheating on trusting partners”, and in fact tends to paint it as a “cool” thing to do. I definitely sensed a current of thinking out there that went: “He cheats? so what’s your problem? All guys cheat, don’t take it personally”.

        Not only that, but there’s an actual tax exempt institution set up in our society to enable cheating / spouse deception, that X belonged to and used for this purpose. Apparently their shenanigans have been documented since at least the early 20th century, but since many members are prominent “powerful old white guys,” with political and law enforcement careers, they still operate under the legal radar.

        The stuff on the video, I admit, sounds like it’s the product of some crackpot Masonic-conspiracy theorist. BUT I can vouch for the basic info in the video about this rogue-wing sex club / hooker-using group as being absolutely true; my divorce discovery hacking produced detailed evidence of X sponsoring and transporting his pro hooker Schmoopie (plane tix, etc.) to work their conventions. The disturbing thing to me isn’t the prostitution (in Schmoopie’s case, I think that was her chosen profession even before meeting him, so she’s a consenting adult), but the systematized deception of member’s families (and the IRS) about the nature of this organization.

        Q: Why doesn’t anybody care? We’ve know about these guys for years.

        A: “Hey, cheating is fun and cool, done by powerful people from the president on down. Don’t upset our applecart, chumps, we’ve got a good thing going here”.
        Signed, the patriarchy.

        (Sorry for ranting, just saw the video for the first time yesterday…)

        • Chickynot…sounds like that Kidman/Cruise movie, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’…frightening it is actually a real institution!

        • My husband paid for his: hookers, dinners, hotels, etc. with his business credit card.
          Two weeks after 5 of the upper management team members came from the hooky-trip, the company was having the annual family day….

  • Although I was dazed and confused at the time of discovery, I put my big girl panties on, my makeup and went to work every day with a smile on my face. I had 3 semi adult children who I needed to be a role model and set an example for. Somethings I wonder was I the only sane person during this insane time? I can’t tell you how many people came to me saying they had a feeling something was going on with my ex and W. That was my support, gee. What ever happened to, if you see something, say something? Took a lot of guts, but I did it. When I caught my ex in another affair, I found her husband on FB and sent him a message. I couldn’t let him and his 2 young children go through the same betrayal. It’s support, just in a different kind of way.

  • I am almost 8 years from dday, although I stayed with cheater x for 3 years following it. I have no doubt I would still be languishing in wreckconciliation and having another couple of ddays if I hadn’t found CL. I was following RIC advice and pick me dancing like a crazed ballerina when someone from the RIC site I frequented posted a link to one of CLs articles. It was like the fog lifted immediately and everything started making sense. I started reading archives and comments and eventually found the story about her Aunt entitled “Your walls will sing again.” Reading about how she made it to the other side and lived a more fulfilling life even after how she struggled mightily in the early days, gave me hope! I started to feel the tiniest inkling that maybe the same could happen for me if I’d just take that chance and dump the cheater. I finally did and have been divorced for 4.5 years now! I also arrived at the great town of Meh!

    I speak my truth if I see the opportunity and I refer to myself as a former chump. People in my circle of family and friends know that I meet up with members of this forum and that we all met through this site. There is no shame in getting through the shit show of living with a cheater and leaning on friends to heal.

    Chump Lady and Chump Nation did save my life and for that I will always be grateful. I stay on this site to pay it forward. If a chump reads something I wrote and decides that they deserve a better deal than the shit they’re being fed by a cheater, it’s so worth it. Thank you Tracy!

  • People who were not cheated on. They do not understand what it does to you. Your whole life as you knew it was a lie. The normal you once knew is gone forever. But, there will be a new normal. A normal with out a lying cheater.

  • It’s the only site I was ever on that said it is 100% wrong to cheat on someone, no if’s or buts. And that means everything. Thank You.

  • First of all, ChumpLady saved me. Like a 12 step program. It gave me the tools I needed to rebuild my life and become the strong and mighty person I am today. Thank you ChumpLady. Second, I have a tendency to pronounce in public in my louder than usual voice my distain for cheaters. I hope to catch the ear of cheaters and let them know that we know they are out there and that their behavior is incredibly destructive. I spread the word, not about religion, but about recovery from infidelity and your website is my pamphlet. You saved me and countless others. Thank you ChumpLady.


    I like it.

    CL you saved me too. There was nothing out there like you. Too many sites saying be what he fell in love with and he will come back to you. Bullshit.

    I never stopped being me. He just never was the ‘him’ I thought he was. And he was good at it too.

    I fell in love with an illusion, a cold ~ as you say Edmund Fitzgerald ~ type of cold monster who hid
    It very, very well.

    You helped me to realize that what I loved wasn’t real and to finally let go.

    I will never forget that.

  • Yesterday was me wedding anniversary. Was being the operative word. Now it’s just another day. This site has helped a lot with moving on. Support from family and friends is a huge bonus. No contact is a must. And a positive attitude. Cause there’s no other choice. But it’s funny i find myself advising people of the basics. Be honest. Treat other people as if you wanna be treated. Show Respect. I’m paying it forward but seems silly these basics have to be addressed to some adults.

  • I’m old enough to remember when a man left his wife for a younger woman the shame was on her. She was old and drab and look at this sparkly new toy he has. The wife was pitied. I will not be pitied. I stand strong and proud and carry no shame and no responsiblity for his actions. I got that from this site. I give a big fuck you to all his friends who helped him hide the affair and a shit load of our money. I gave him a big fuck you by walking away and overcoming the financial mess he left me in. 3 years out and I paid off my house in February. I didn’t do it by cheating and conning people. I did it by busting my ass with overtime. I am not the sad little wife he left behind, I am the strong woman who rose above it all. I’m very vocal about my views on cheating and won’t cave in when I hear someone trying to justify their actions or blameshift. Thank you for that Tracy. And unfortunately you will be able to write about this forever because there are a lot of entitled people in the world.

  • That specially called staff meeting where our principal said he “had a problem with infidelity”? This blog gave me the reasoning tools to see behind all of his bullshit excuses, it gave me language to talk to my coworkers, and prepared me to talk with him about how he was undermining the moral integrity of the whole school.

    That abuser / cheater in my faith community, arrested for domestic violence? Who kind of said he was “sorry” in a letter to the administrative board? Yah, because of this site, I knew how to parse his faux-sorry, and could explain it to the other members, clarifying his impression management, and I could state clearly what he needed to do to show true remorse.

    My mom who blames me because my kids won’t come around to her house? I explain it’s not me, it’s your dumbass cheating husband. Talk to him instead.

    I knew exactly what to do to get my badass on regarding cleaning my house of all things James Bond (x-hole) had left. It made me feel strong and powerful, and I laughed with lightness at work. Because of that, a coworker felt she could confide in me about her old man, and the red flags she was seeing in his behavior.

    I learned the concept of Switzerland friends. I could see how some woman in my faith community were seduced by James Bond. I could see how some people were manipulators, putting on that greasy charm, then secretly stabbing me in the back. I know how the disordered work.

    I can see how the manipulation, deception, impression management plays out on the international stage with our world leaders. I can see who the “chumps” are in terms of politics, who the “cheaters” are. I can see their tactics and stratagems. It has motivated me to seek power and fill the void of poor leadership with decency and clear-headedness.

    I am inspired to re-fashion myself, now that I am a knowing one. (I used to wish that “I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then”, but now I’m okay with knowing: If I don’t see what the dangerous people are doing, I can’t protect the innocent people.)

    Finally, I think that what we find absolutely unacceptable now in marriage was okay, tolerable and accepted for soooo long. Now we’re saying “stop the bullshit,” and I am very happy to support that effort towards happy, equitable marriages between decent people.

    • Indeed, it has made looking at political and public figures different for me. I don’t abide the entitled anymore or the liars or the gaslighter or those who betray their oaths.

  • I have come to the conclusion that Swedish friends lives probably aren’t that great. I said to one, why are you standing up for a drug taking alcoholic, and the rest of his crap. I actually said his ow hangs around their schools, I have told the schools incidentally. Is that the behaviour of a decent person hanging around a school. My ex cries now, he says cant you see the tears in my eyes!.

  • My chump boyfriend and myself (a chump as well) enjoy reading your posts with coffee every day. We laugh, we recall with 20/20 hindsight the misery described herein and we continue to heal from the abuse of the narcissistic xholes of our past. To be able to wade through the mess of divorce and know that you as a human are NOT the only one who has been there…. is healing and empowering. We always enjoy the infusion of humor you use to inspire chumps to never be chumped again. Dear Abby went on for years, did anyone stop and ask her why? You are the Dear Abby of relationships, Never stop teaching us and reminding us on what we should expect and deserve so that we never chump again.

  • I am so thainkful I found this site after my D-Day. Reading about other’s experiences and the cheating types of fuckwits opened my eyes to my ex’s behavior, my behavior (actions and reactions) and how to find my way to a new life. His sinister sister damn well knew what he was doing and I’m sure she even supported him. Hell, even he admitted that both sister, mother and father, all cheated. What a disgrace.

    I have to admit – I have no problems shaming my ex to others. In fact, I might even take a bit of glee from others knowing what a fuckwit he is. I have gone a bit overboard sometimes but damn it, he fucking sucks. He was a coward who would rather have found someone new than to work out a marriage with a wife who loved him despite all his horrible flaws. The work (or idea of it of working) was just too damn hard for him.

    Even thinking about it upsets me. What a stupid pathetic excuse of man and a despicable human being. Everyone knew he was selfish and self-centered to the ponit that only his needs and wants mattered, more than those of even his children. (Shaking my head) I would have stayed with him forever – what a chump am I.

  • A friend recommended your book to me last year a few months after my first DDay..and after 28 yrs of marriage. I was so lost, hurt and just shell shocked. I didn’t know what to do, if the emotions I was going thru were normal, what to do next? Your book and this site saved my life. I came here, I found others who were going thru the same thing as me, I learned my emotional roller coaster of feelings were normal and I also learned how much stbxh sucks.
    I know I would not be this far along in my healing if it were not for CL and CN. Infidelity is such a traumatic, horrific experience and this site and your book save so many!
    I thank you all for being my support the past 7 months. I am not at MEH yet, still have a long way to go, but I am getting better every day!

    • I am so very glad you were given Tracy’s book and not one from the RIC, now if we can make that the new norm, we are getting somewhere! Jedi Hugs as you journey to MEH

  • I am forever grateful to CN and Tracy for this site. I come back here nearly every day to read the posts, even now. And I just found out one of my colleagues is dealing with a cheating spouse. I immediately told her that I’d survived it myself (she didn’t know that about me; a few other colleagues do since they helped me through it), and wrote down the chump lady website and gave it to her. Told her this website changed my life, and it was my lifeline to get through it.

    This was my refuge when I desperately needed it and gave me the reinforcement I needed to see through XH’s flimsy claims to want to reconcile, get my divorce, and maintain no contact to this day. For long time readers, you may recall my XH is the idiot who tried to run away from me (it was another DDay for me) while he was in a sleeping bag, so he bunny-hopped across the room before sliding down the stairs. I had also lost my mother in a sudden car accident about 10 months before I discovered him cheating on me with his secretary ( DDay #1), which he denied of course and said I was out of my mind to accuse him of such a thing. He said that I couldn’t think clearly because I wasnt properly dealing with my mom’s death. Yup. Massive turd of a human.

    I haven’t posted on here in a long time, but I can confirm that the state of Meh is real, and once I detached myself from XH’s self sabotaging ways and endless chaos, life got better and kept getting happier with more quality people in it. I don’t waste energy and time spackling over nonsense anymore. I made partner at my firm, and I was asked to join the Board of 2 non profit organizations here in my state, which has been really rewarding for me. A couple years ago, I thankfully met a kind, loving, intelligent man who behaves like a responsible adult and whose words match his actions- our 3rd wedding anniversary will be later this year. I would not have been able to visualize this future, back when I was reeling from another DDay, another lie, endless cycles of hope and disappointment, and peeling myself up off the bathroom floor. But CL’s posts about her birthday and “the walls in your house will sing again” made me realize that it’s got to get better than where I was, and it was possible. I didn’t realize just how much better it would actually turn out to be- but I needed this site to keep pushing forward. You all are amazing and I am grateful.

    • “…bunnyhopping across the floor…” OMG–it’s a good thing I’m not drinking any coffee at this moment! The mental picture of that coward!!!!

      Good for you!!

    • Thanks for the update. The Bunny Hop will always be epic. It’s comedy gold you can share for a lifetime.

  • This is the only place that has made any sense to me on what has happened in my marriage for 20 years. All of it. I didn’t want to hear the message at first. I leaned toward what the RIC had to say. I went no contact after the 2nd know schmoopie in my 20 years with Dr. Cheaterpants. But I’m afraid it was to show him what life without his chump would be versus to gain a life on my own.

    I now tell newly minted chumps to come to this site and scroll to the very bottom. Read the primers. Could it all boil down to entitlement and centrality? But, but, but….

    Now I see it so much clearer. Two years out. He really has always been that selfish. Sure he did some things to keep me hooked. But those were things that benefited him too.

    I was in a meeting just two days ago with a superior. She’s a pretty tough cookie. She said she didn’t realize that was my ex and didn’t know how I tolerated working at the same company as he did. She said she hated her ex, he had a 2 year affair while they were going through fertility treatments. She must’ve been pretty dumb to not know. Then said he’s the one who pays the price with the devil for adultery. She’s happily remarried now. But I can tell it still stings. It still makes one question their self worth and their judgment if you don’t have the tools to see it for what it is.

    This site, Tracy and the nation, has helped me see that I am not perfect. I’m not a perfect spouse. But that wasn’t why he cheated. That’s who he is. That’s his issues to deal with and learn from to figure out his life going forward. Not my circus, not my monkeys. My circus is now quietly contained and peaceful. I realize I don’t have to have any flying monkeys in my life. My circus has kids, a cute puppy, and some cats. And great friends and family that support me.

    Thank you Tracy for keeping this site going and helping chumps far and wide. I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever graduate. But I’m glad to have this group to give and receive support.

  • I found my way here in the middle of the night via Reddit. Someone responded to my plea for help with the words “go to chumplady”. I googled, got here and started to read.

    I remember being amazed that you knew my husband! You knew what he said! What he did prior to dday! You even knew the dead eyes. And if you knew all of that, then I needed to listen to what you said about what was to come. How he would ping pong between me and the OW. How he would drag out the divorce. How he would take what little of me remained and burn it to the ground.

    I listened. I got a lawyer and filed. I took back my life. My ex and the OW may have decided the course of my marriage, but I was going to be god damned if they decided the course of my divorce.

    And boy did that piss Fucktard and Cunt Face MD off.

    Anyway – you did save my life, Tracy. You saved it by giving me hope. You saved it by showing me that cheaters all play by the same book. I was able to see through his lies. I was able to predict his behavior. But most of all, I was able to understand that this was on him. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t deserve it, nobody deserves it.

    So thank you.

    • Love this CAS.

      I’m currently in year 3 of my horrid divorce and I feel the same way.

      Getting a ton of pressure from people to “just settle”, “let it go”, but I can’t. I want what the law says is legally mine and I’m going to fight for it.

      Dr. Dickwad McCheaterface Extraordinaire and his OWhore had it all woked out, remove ol’ Blue, put her out, move OWhore in, happily ever after….until Ol’ Blue was like nuh-uh, not on MY watch!

      Lawyered-up, gathered any scrap of evidence and pile it on.
      My DS14 deserved so much better than he got, his future will be better if I have anything to say about it!

  • My big take-away lesson when I review my friendships? How so many (most?) of my friends normalize(d) abusive behaviors. Well before I discovered a secret life there were startling, disruptive, disturbing behaviors I worried about. Shared with friends. And so often the feedback was an eyeroll, “men!” . . marriage-is-hard-work kind of shrugs. I am determined to never minimize anyone’s concern over red flag behaviors. I am more than willing to reflect back to them their horror and distress. I can think of many, many times I would have had my very real fears validated. Sure, everything fell into place eventually. And so grateful for the few friends (two?) who stayed in my life. And my new friends. But I’m determined to be the unflinching friend to anyone who needs to be heard. It has replaced what I used to view as “tact” – not judging. Minding my own business. Who really knows what goes on . . ? Me. I know what goes on.

  • This site has saved my sanity more than once. Although I am not always able to post, I read Tracy’s blog (and all the comments) every day. If I miss a day, I save my reading for the weekend as a special “treat”! Tracy gives such amazing advice, and the comments continue to teach me how to live an honest, ethical and cheater-free life.

    In these days when cheaters appear to be “winning”, I am comforted by the caring people here, who take their valuable time to offer support. They do so for no reward or recognition, but instead to help others in their most vulnerable time. Chump Nation gives me hope for our nation!

  • This was easier to do before I was chumped. I never liked cheaters and always thought it was wrong, but back then, when I was in a strong marriage with no cheating (that I or anybody else knew of) I was an independent view with no dog in the fight. Now if I express those views, I’m just a bitter bunny with a biased view to anyone who hasn’t experienced or isn’t currently experiencing the same. I’ll still speak up, but it doesn’t carry the same weight it once did.

    • I’ve actually found it easier to speak up around people who don’t know my past, because of the whole “bitter bunny” issue. It’s interesting that society thinks that someone who has been cheated on is less able to speak on this topic than someone who hasn’t. I think it’s because they expect us to be broken, because that’s the common storyline. The only way to change the narrative is to speak up, as CL is saying. Same as the narrative around rape has changed in the course of my lifetime, due to brave people speaking up so that others could come out of the shadows and join them. I’m inching my way there, I still feel pretty isolated when I speak out against cheating, but f*ck it, I do it anyway because it’s the right thing to do. No societal problem has ever been solved by society NOT talking about it.

  • do people tell Dave Ramsay to stop talking about his past financial failure and subsequent recovery? Shouldn’t he be over his bankruptcy and shame? Gosh why hasn’t he just moved on?

    “How much longer can there be a need?”
    I would say, with great sadness, most likely forever.

    Thank you CL and CN

  • Challenging the narrative in everyday life is so important. It’s says character matters to you as and individual.

    The complicity is staggering which leads me to believe we are often times in the presence of either an affair partners or cheaters themselves.

    Nevertheless, we can draw a line in the sand by stating the obvious.

    It pains me to think of those who suffered in silence prior to your blog and support. We as chumps love wholeheartedly, we give and then give some more. The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was from an abused child who had an outstanding foster parent. He had been broken and tossed aside for most of his life. He thanked me in a card saying, “Thank you, to the one who knows.”

    When we stumble on this site we’ve found ‘the one who knows’. You.Save.lives.

  • Thank you CL, you have saved my life. You and CN have been the support I never had.
    Even if my family knows about his serial cheating and massive financial fraud through the years, they still end up going Switzerland mode anyway, as soon as he displays his wicked charm or plays the fake victimhood card. The damage is all on my side, how can they believe him if I can easily show evidence?
    Then there’s the coolness and hotness they claim to have. People commonly look for reasons for their behavior, they associate cheaters with star crossed lovers, chumps are the obstacle. Lovers have the right to be happy.

    Infidelity is considered very romantic, adventurous and thrilling in our society.

    But our cheaters have nothing to do with literature or movies. My ex is no Brad Pitt. He’s more like Danny De Vito. I bet many of the cheaters we talk about in CN have no real charm but only fake charisma. Lying unscrupulously isn’t charm, building chaos isn’t adventurous.

  • Not for nothing…….but I think it’s extremely difficult for people to understand the pure hell of being a chump and living through an affair if they have never experienced it. Even those that I THOUGHT “got it” really don’t get all of it. In fact, I am left questioning things about my ex, our marriage and what “went wrong”. Just the other day, a very good friend of our family made a remark about how my ex left ME….not our daughters!!!! Really???? Ask my daughters how they feel about that statement!

    It’s really just ignorance (and maybe an uncomfortable topic) for some. EDUCATE! I have absolutely no problem speaking up and sharing my thoughts on the subject and admitting my chumpdom! Spread the truth and the narrative will change!

    • Agreed….and thank you for pointing out….he left US. I would never in a million years done the same…it would be LEFT ME if we had no child….and husband/child/family is why I would never cheat. Evidence of lack of intelligence is the failure to connect the dots that cheating is ABUSE OF ALL FAMILY MEMBERS AND LEAVING IS ABANDONMENT OF ALL FAMILY MEMBERS.

  • To me it’s like an amputee (no offence to anyone here who is one, because I am assuming here)

    I am always in awe of someone who bounces back either from illness or traumatic injury, heck even children who have a birth defect, who get up, try and try, fight the battle to life a “normal” life.

    People will question them ALL OF THE TIME about what happened, let me see, you know.

    That doesn’t make them any less “normal” and there is absolutely NO REASON for them to be ashamed of their life challenge, totally the opposite, they OVERCAME and CONQUERED it!

    ChumpLady is rehab. You need it when you need it, you might have to come back for a ‘tune-up’, so what, nothing to be ashamed of, we’re fighters.

    Can you imagine someone giving Tracy shit for running a amputee rehab center? shutter…

  • Empathy is in short supply in the western world. I often felt people viewed me as a leper. Their spouses would wander off like I was carrying some kind of virus that turned people into zombie skanks. Except instead flesh, they just hungered for random sex.

    My parents have been married almost 40 years now. My dad has a reaction to cheating most would consider odd. He refuses to associate with cheaters. He will work with them if they are his coworkers, but he will not speak to them otherwise. He’s done that since his 20s. As long as I can remember. He always said “if they’ll lie to their spouse, they’ll lie to you”. Never to be trusted in any context, ever.

    I’m glad I’ve had my family with me. My friends reacted as strongly as my family. They helped me with bills, child care, middle of the night whining. I guess I chose my friends better than I did my partner. I stumbled upon chumplady after frantically searching for data on how many people marry their AP. Instead, I got an article telling me marrying your AP is like gambling in a cheap okie casino. I kept reading. I get into dark spots, not about the breakup, but just the daunting load that is my life, but I will never settle for someone as stupid as Low Rent Dom again.

  • When I felt like I was hanging on for dear life, like I was treading water in a hurricane, this website was the lifeline that saved me. I will be forever grateful for Tracy and CN for this refuge from insanity.

    I don’t particularly like the word “chump” because I’ve always associated it as a derogatory term, so I (mistakenly) initially avoided delving into this site until I began reading and exploring the substance of Tracy’s insightful writing.

    To me, Tracy’s creation of this blog/website was one of the greatest acts of love and kindness that I’ve been fortunate enough to witness and benefit from. Her contribution to the “good” side of life’s ledger puts her in the company of saints, which is not hyperbole in my mind.

    I’m about one year out from my divorce agreement and steadily progressing down the road to Meh. I’m a proud monthly Patreon contributor and thankful for being able to give something back by paying it forward for present and future “chumps.”

  • My kids and I used to go to Barnes and Noble to read books after school while waiting for their sibling to finish an extracurricular activity. We live quite a distance from town(isolated). Last fall, I had an idea but really wasn’t sure if my husband was cheating. Not sure what proof I was waiting for. I had also been down this road several times before and the previous time had been the worst. I danced the pick me dance and man I thought I had won!! So I had been really depressed. My mind was telling me something was wrong. I picked up Leave a Cheater book and read almost the entire book in one sitting. When I left the bookstore that day, I made the decision to file for divorce. So I credit CL with helping tip me to finally make the decision which is giving me and my 5 children a new beginning to better lives. Papers were filed in December and although I filed because I knew I just didn’t deserve to be treated like a door mat…surprise he shows up with his parents and schmoopie at one of our kids games in January! Nobody normal moves on that fast after 28 years of marriage! Thanks CL. You saved my life!

  • In “Good Will Hunting,” Matt Damon’s character tells his girlfriend, “I’m fucking Irish, I’ll deal with something being wrong for the rest of my life.’’ That quote perfectly expresses my reasons for staying married to an ice-cold, deceitful, selfish man for 15 years longer than I should have stayed. I was a spackle expert.

    His cheating was my deal breaker. And while our divorce resulted in every single one of my fears coming true, I was surprised to discover that I was a lot stronger than I thought. It’s been a difficult adjustment, but I’m finally living an authentic life free of abuse. With the support of CL and CN, I’ve responded to every single fear with a problem-solving (versus pearl-clutching) attitude.

    I’m at the point of recovery now that if it wouldn’t break my vow to never acknowledge her, I’d send his skank a thank you note for taking him off my hands! Now he’s her soul-sucking leech.

    • Yes, there comes a time when we want to thank the AP, it will pass, then you’ll just be glad two complete assholes found each other so they won’t hurt good people. At least that was how it ended up for me

  • I remember finding this site after a long time of reading a really mind boggling crappy RIC website. When I read the first article here I laughed out loud! Finally! Here was someone in the whole wide world who wasn’t telling me to “do the 180” or to read that ridiculous letter…I think it was called Joseph’s letter. Good grief, a clear voice of reason, at last! You weren’t telling me to get a drink of water and try to sleep. You were telling me to RUN, and fast, away from this shit!!! Get up and kick him out! I’d still be trying to figure out how to change for him, how to spy, and how to win that crappy pick me dance. I needed this blog like I needed air.

    Your mission, your vision, and your very well-written words changed my life for the better.

  • I outed mine on FB and his partners. They were both after his billfold and the affair partners weren’t aware they were neighbors separated by a couple of houses.

    Nothing like stirring up his crap and displaying it.
    I had people tell me that they thought their husbands were doing the same thing to them.

    Others tell me they know but they are staying put. They witnessed what I had to go through and they feel safer security wise to continue on with their marriages.

    I think it’s better to be on the side of freedom than to waste your life on a bad marriage. Reading CL made me realize I made the right choice to move on.

    A fresh start is far better than watching a lair and feeling a part of the nasty betrayal. To believe someone would stay put is beyond me. I’m not completely recovered but I’m glad I’m not stuck no more.

  • No no no no no NO!!! You could write about this forever!!! Because you, CL, are such a tiny (but important!) blip on the infinite sea of fuckedupness!!!
    So much more has been written on the topic of lipgloss glossiness. But something so vital like how to save your self and your kids from actual a life with a soul sucking freak?! Not so much.
    Why? Who knows?! But its true!
    This site has literally helped me everyday.
    I come back because i am a chump and i am vulnerable to these “people” and their ways. I need reality checks often. We all do!

    • 21 million is hardly a blip. Leaving!

      You can rest assured the narrative IS changing.

      This is one more step in moving that needle.

      What’s important is understanding that infidelity IS abuse. There’s so much to navigate and chumplady starts right at the beginning, leave a cheater.

      21 million!

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I felt guilty as a remarried lurker at 98% meh but I’ve needed every word on this site as if it were oxygen. I wish CN had existed back in the 1960’s to have helped my Mom. We lived outside of a small town where divorce was unheard of, and she was a devastated, isolated, displaced homemaker. She would have LOVED the humour and camaraderie here. She did a great job creating a new life but carried a wound that never healed. I wish I could tell her the jokes and expressions shared here and hear her laugh. At the age of 63, I’m still cry over my parents’ divorce, even though they have both passed on. The feeling of not being good enough and abandonment sets up a pattern for life. Reading here makes me relive and see things from a broader perspective This is the BEST place for understanding the dark heart of Narc and for granting yourself happiness in spite of it all.

    • Chumpadelic,
      How wise, your choice of the word ” oxygen” so vital to every living creature.
      I also wish that there had been a CL,CN for your Mom in her time of need.
      You deserve the happiness that you have found.
      Many hugs to you.

    • I wish your mom had a CN too. That generation, and the ones that preceded it, had to be so mighty. And so alone. Comments like this keep me at it. Thanks.

  • Less than two weeks ago, I was on a flight home from Europe (I took Paris and Europe back just like Chump Lady did!!) with my daughter. My daughter was looking over my shoulder as I read the latest Chump Lady blog post. She said and I quote, “I don’t like that Chump Lady. She swears too much.” And I said back, “If it wasn’t for Chump Lady, I’d probably wouldn’t be here today. And people you follow on Instagram, etc probably swear more than she does and you follow them.” She laughed, because she knew I was right!

    My daughter had a front row seat to the destruction of me caused by the X, her father, but I know she doesn’t fully understand and I hope to God she never goes through what I went through. But if either of my kids gets cheated on, I have Chump Lady, Chump Nation and my own story to help them get through the shit storm of being married to a sociopath who cheated on and lied to me for 23 years. I felt like I was losing my mind before I found the light of Chump Lady! I have directed a few chumps to this site and I occasionally publically share Chump Lady on Facebook, because that’s how I found her in the first place.

    Reading Chump Lady and Divorce Minister are my “church” for right now. I was married to a Jesus Cheater and my former church is lead by lying pastor who had no problem at all lying to me three times and also contributed to the crazy-making and emotional/psychological abuse during MC. I didn’t fully grasp that people were messing with my mind until I stumbled across Chump Lady. I will probably be a daily reader of Chump Lady for as long as she writes for us. Thank you, Chump Lady and Chump Nation! You saved my life!

  • I reached ‘meh’ a long time ago. I come here for community. You are my people.

  • I think we need to re-think the use of “bitter”. When people – even former chumps- say that they have forgiven and moved on. So often I’ve heard people say, “It’s no good to be bitter for the rest of your life.”
    Depends what you mean by “bitter”. I believe that I have accepted that I was chumped and got the worst end of an UNENFORCEABLE financial settlement. Even so, I have moved on and built a better life for myself and my kids. I don’t put a lot of energy into lamenting about my losses or vengeance but I will not pretend that somehow, with the passing of time, that everything he did was not so bad. Does that make me bitter? Maybe. But I still think that I have gained a better life in spite of a difficult, life-changing experience.

    • I call that wishing for justice that doesn’t come. I think chumps have a strong sense of justice that gets pounded with the cheating and the fall out. I don’t dwell on it, you probably don’t either but I’m damned if I’m going to refer to the exasshole as anything else. The only time this surfaces in conversation with casual contact is when someone asks me about some thing that is left over from decisions the ex made or I did under his duress. I have no problem saying ‘I’m excising a problem the exasshole caused’. I get some weird looks but usually they nod and continue on.

  • Don’t be bitter = be a good girl. Be quiet and complacent.
    I say why? Give these fuckers hell!

  • I will probably be coming here every single day for the rest of my life. I treat this as an addiction. We were all addicted to the dopamine high that the abusers fed us. Breaking an addiction is incredibly difficult. Chump Lady and Chump Nation is our AA meeting 24 x 7. Even when you repeat topics, as will happen after years of reading, I still learn something new. Also, I feel a responsibility to help the new people, as others helped me when I first found this community. I might not be in active crisis anymore, but it takes a certain amount of work to maintain meh. I can never let myself get complacent. That is when you slip back into old bad habits. With any addiction, the price you pay for sobriety is lifelong vigilance. I just want everyone to know how grateful I am that they are part of this journey. All of you make it worthwhile, and I am sending you lots of love.

  • “But really, how much longer can you really write about this?”

    Um, until no one needs to read it anymore because there aren’t any chumps left?

  • I put responding on this blog as part of my “service” when I fill out my annual review at work. I’ve been at Meh for a long while but I’m still learning about boundaries and healthy relationships. Every time I write, I’m talking to myself as well as to others to say, “Be a whole person. Don’t let other people manipulate you. Have boundaries. Recognize gaslighting. Value yourself.” That is a daily lesson for me.

    The answer to ““But really, how much longer can you really write about this?”—“As long as there are people being abused who need help. It’s a form of community service.”

    And maybe you don’t want to work for an asshole who would ask that question. I’m quite sure anyone who has every challenged a status quo like segregation has heard the same thing–how much longer can you tilt at that windmill? Until people see that the windmill is a toxic waste site.

    • And what a great service you provide on a daily basis. Thank you LAJ. Your words are much appreciated.

    • LAJ, I often feel I could just hand the reins over to you. 🙂 Thanks for your service.

  • YES! Speak up, chumps. I had an intuitive feeling about my ex’s sexcapades… but his band mates, former boss, and friends knew all the gory details… and didn’t talk to me about it until after the divorce was final. WTF? Not cool, people. Not cool. At least I know who my true friends are now.

    • Yes, this journey does show you who your true friends are. Jedi Hugs!

  • I was never a chump in the sense of an actual affair – but I was a chump for getting distracted by the mountain of shit and digging away at it.

    Just because there is a mountain of manure doesn’t mean the pony is still in the pasture.

    For me, CN is more about the cluster B aspects. Hard-won knowledge that I hope to share to minimize or possibly prevent unnecessary pain and mind-fucking. For me, it took confronting my FUU every single time he started to even think about encroaching on MY personal mental space, or to try and build himself up by shitting on MY hard work.

  • Also “bitter” means you are making other people uncomfortable because they recognize themselves in some manner.

    Either they are uncomfortable because they are currently or are pursuing an affair partner; or they recognize they’ve been doormats and changing it is HARD.

    If there is an unofficial CN poll somewhere, it would be nice to know how often the word “bitter” is used to describe male chumps versus female chumps.

    I suspect it’s used to describe, demean and diminish the women more often than the men.

    • Maybe, but the men are probably more likely to be accused of being abusive. Either way it sucks.

      • Oh, I’m not talking about how the Cheater refers to them. I’m wondering about the outside world who knows them and can see that they were hurt.

        Do male chumps get told by their allies to not be bitter as often as female chumps are told that?

  • very timely. Just yesterday as someone was telling me how awesome his friend my congressional representative was, i said ” I’m sorry, but i don’t vote for people who cheat on their wives”. And got the usual ” We don’t know their personal business” BS.
    And for a bit, i felt bad and i researched to make sure i wasn’t wrong about my cheater shaming. I’m quite sure I am not.
    (Congressman Pete Sessions dumped his Hispanic wife of 24 years for a hot widowed tart down in Florida. He took her to some conferences before he separated that raised eyebrows. I feel secure in my judgement. Even if he didn’t bang her, his attentions were elsewhere, he of course married the tart and lived in florida while he is suppose to represent us in texas, entitled much?)

  • CL– unfortunately, this blog will go on forever, as there will always be entitled, selfish, cowardly cheaters.
    Like some others, I am years out of my DDay– you helped keep me sane, and even though I still slip up, the message is loud and clear– know our worth.
    I keep coming back to help the newbies, just as you and the others helped me.
    No one told me of my ex’s cheating, so when I suspected and confronted I was gaslighted, etc.
    I wish CL had been there for DDays #1 & #2– 13 years of agency wasted. But I found CN just as my divorced as finalized in 2013, and CN has helped me through two court hearings and with my suicidal teenager. I have gained a wonderful life, and the icing on the cake is my new beau (after 6 years! Ex had the nerve to complain he had not been notified about Sweet Guy; um, and what about your girlfriends DURING the marriage?!)

    Like CL, I am here for the community service, helping others as they go through the pain, grief, and disbelief.
    For the newbies, read, read, read. Use the forums. Know you are not crazy and that you are worthy.
    You will reach meh, and you will gain a life!

  • I would have been in chemical restraints and possibly dead during my separation and divorce if not for CL and CN, that’s how beat down I was after over 25 years with a super sad sausage covert narc. The RIC sites really didn’t address my problems as I had already moved out, and they made me feel like I should be trying to win back an entitled, self-absorbed, self-serving hypocrite with my magical wife powers. Someone on that RIC site referenced this site and I found my people, which proved that if your people are not making you feel empowered and uplifted, they are not your people. Not only did CL speak my language (swearing) but she reminded me that I was not the asshole in this scenario. I was in a dark place and Tracy and CN were the lights that guided me out into the sunshine of a better life.

    I am over 5 years out from the first moment I discovered this wonderful, magical place and I read here every day. My Ex is still an entitled asshole, but that is no longer my problem. I always tell my adult children, “Sometimes your life is an example, and sometimes it serves as a terrible warning. My life is both. The part of my life with your father is the terrible warning part. Don’t do that. I intend to make the rest of my life the example you should follow, particularly if you find yourself in a horrible place thinking that you can’t go on.” That is the gift I received from Tracy and I am forever grateful.

    All I can say to you Tracy is you are leading folks to the Promised Land. Don’t let anyone turn you around. 🙂

    • Exactly!!! The message that it somehow is in your best interest to win back some black souled demon is just one of the huge and rare differences between this site and the ric.
      I am so thankful there is an alternative voice! They are so few and far between and none as hard hitting as this site!

    • “Sometimes your life is an example, and sometimes it serves as a terrible warning. My life is both.” I love this SO MUCH.

      ((((Chump Princess)))))

  • I did a live stream interview on a guys YouTube channel in support of male chumps and how they can absolutely rebuild their lives to something way better than before.

    I let it all out, didn’t hold back anything about its history from beginning until present.

    Hundreds of men commented that the interview was incredibly helpful to their situations.

  • I’m not sure you ever ‘get over’ the betrayal. Sure, I have a nice life and I’m happy and at Meh now. But I am a changed woman ever since the person that I loved and trusted more than any human on this earth betrayed me and shattered my trust. These people have no idea the harm they cause. He broke my heart in a million little pieces and ruined my life for years. I will never understand why he and schmoopie get a nice life now. The whole thing made me quit believing in God and stripped me of my faith. To find out that assholes inherit the earth was eye opening. I’m the one that is still single and they are still together. They each have someone to sleep with and go on vacation with and someone to eat dinner with every night. This has shown me that you can lie, cheat, steal and fuck other women’s husbands and still come out on top. No karma bus in site for either one of them and it’s been a decade.

    • Chumptopia……….I feel every single word you wrote! Sometimes… just takes over your mind and body and you can’t control those thoughts. It happens to me too at times. But if you think back to when you were with your ex and back to those times of mistreatment because he was involved in his affair, you will remember how awful that made you feel and how unsure of yourself you were. And now, you may be single, but you are no longer freely giving yourself over to someone who did NOT deserve you!

      And your ex and his OW…………..they lay down next to the devil every night!!! To me that IS karma!

      Stay strong ……you’ve got this!

    • You have no idea what is going on inside their marriage. Everyone (including me most of the time) thought ex and I had a great marriage for 20+ years but evidently it was a terrible marriage and he “hadn’t felt like my husband in years”.

  • I’m mostly to meh… but I come here everyday because four years ago, I started as a lurker… then I shared… then I found out it was/is abuse and I could change my future. I come back to share my journey and to get my “trust that he sucks” reinforcement.

    I just told his new GF that he has a personal ad online. She’s choosing to believe his lies that I’m crazy and can’t let go. I’ve done what I can (except maybe send her CL’s book). My friends ask why I’m even checking for him “out there” any more… I do it mostly when my “trust that he sucks is waning” and he is a predictable predator. #metoo. I do it because I want the cheater narrative to change. (I also saw my plumber on there – but that is a whole other story!)

    Everyone can’t be saved… but I do think the ones that find their way here have a much better chance.

    Keep going CL.

    Rock on Chump Nation.

  • Be the support you wish you had.

    Love this statement Tracy. And too there’s another way of looking at it. Along the journey we seek outside validation. More often than not family and friends are unable to provide this and have absolutely no idea of the magnitude of the trauma.

    I’ve lost so much in gaining a life through setting boundaries and putting my needs first. I believed I was a good person, mother, grandmother, and to my surprise I’m cast aside as if my life’s work meant nothing to my daughters who identify with the sad sausage narrative.

    Part of reaching Meh, I’ve come to see is that we can be the support we wished we had to our own selves. I’ve cared too much about what my children choose to believe. The same dynamic played out by the Limited has been adopted by adult children. I do not need their validation. I know who I am, finally. I got my identity back.

    • I have so much admiration for those of you who have to be your own support. I had a lot of support and it has still been tough. Those of you who have a strong enough sense of self to move on and gain a life without much validation from others are mighty indeed.

      • Chumpinrecovery

        This is something I’m just beginning to ‘get’ over 4 years out. I filed after my children were well into adulthood, my oldest close to 40. I’ve stopped the entitlement reinforcers with them for good reason.

        What adult child expects their 61 year old mother to mow a half acre of tall grass at her home because her cheating X refused to do it? And then asks me if I’m stalking him because he saw me st the house. Done.

  • Sometimes finding the right support can be difficult because people just don’t understand. I have co-workers that always say how mighty they would be if faced with my situation. How they would just live their life and move on and get over it. My sisters almost seem uncomfortable whenever I speak to them about my situation and can’t wait to change the subject. I can’t burden my children with this crap. I come to this website daily and read the posting (I rarely comment) it has helped tremendously to know others out there that can relate to what I am feeling and understand the struggles that I face. Honestly, this is the only place I truly feel genuine support. Actually, I hardly discuss my situation with others any more. I don’t really have a desire to or feel a need to have to anymore. I am not to MEH yet, but I truly feel that Tuesday is coming soon for me. I have come along way and I owe a huge part of my growth through my situation to Chump nation. So, I am glad we are still talking about “leave a cheater and gain a life” because sadly there are many others that will come behind us that will need our understanding and support. I’m glad you were here when I needed you. Totally Blessed!

    • There is nothing more invalidating from others than the old “just get over it and move on, I wouldn’t be wallowing”. This almost always comes from people who have never gone through any truly devastating events.

      FWIW, I had a weird life and many would have thought it was hard, I did not and I was one of those people who would say “let’s fix this and move on”. That was before exasshole cheated on me and escalated from rage to setting me up for arrest and later pulling a gun on me. Sometimes there is no fix, there is time and therapy and learning to cope with change you did not want.

  • I’ve been moving toward Meh. Yesterday I woke up from a dream and the words on my lips were “to be enough,” and then I said thought, “I am enough.” The devaluing and the pick me dancing for almost five years left me with no self esteem, and the feeling that no matter what I did, it wouldn’t be enough. His approval was always temporary, and the bar got raised higher and higher on what I was to accept. Yesterday morning I sat and thought about why I never felt “enough,” and what I did about it, how I tried to become enough, from FOO issues (and that’s where it started) to my stbx’s demands, deceit, and devaluing. I realized that no matter what I did or achieved, it wasn’t going to ever make me feel enough, because the source of the feeling was not in acts or accolades, but in me and the way I felt about myself.
    My stbx was perfectly willing to leverage my feeling of insufficiency and use it to benefit himself. But yesterday I realized the solution for the problem was in me, and that I’d never been insufficient–I’d been sufficient all along but hadn’t seen it. Talk about A Wizard of Oz moment (lol).
    I’m not a Meh yet, but I’m going to get there. I’m already mightier than I was when I started out. I chose my name here (Trying for Mighty) to reflect the fact I was gathering courage to leave, and hoped I’d find it. I’ve left. And I’ve started to heal.
    And Chump Lady is responsible for that. I sure hope Chump Lady, that you have a pair of ruby slippers, because, as the Texas saying goes, your work and your help makes you as pretty as red shoes!

  • I have a friend who’s 2 weeks into her new life. I am messaging her daily and trying to be there for her and referred her here. We don’t live close to each other, so just being someone who understands the pain of having your marriage end without your consent and to feel the loss of what you imagined for your future being completely re-written and unknown. I hope she finds solace that I can be that person for her and she continues to wade her way through unknown waters. I know in the end she will be stronger and continue to be the sweetest, most wonderful thoughtful, loving mother and friend even if she doesn’t see it right now because she is hurting.

    I have been thankful for family and some friends to rely on, but my biggest support has come in the way of another mom going through a shitty divorce with a man with similar behaviours to my ex. We met through a private facebook group and have become fast friends. We even discussed renting a house together when both our budgets on our own didn’t really allow us for what we truly needed. We randomly text each other when we can’t say what we want to said exes and it’s liberating to not have to justify why you feel the way you do. To be able to talk to someone who is walking a similar path is amazing and therapeutic. Our children will become friends and I feel that we will remain friends for the rest of our lives cheering each other on when good happens and being there when the not-so-good happens.

    I am thankful for the recommendation of Chump Lady from facebook land. It has truly helped me see that it’s not me. In the last few weeks, I have secured alternate living arrangements for myself and my children and have moved out of that abusive, stifling environment!!

  • I am so grateful for the existence of this website, the insight of CL, and the wonderful advice of the other Chumps on here. Cashmere and He-Cump have given me some stellar advice so far, and I have found many great resources (things that have seen me through 2 am fits of hysterical crying, and raging) among the other forum posts. I have listened to CL’s book via audiobook five time already. It keeps me motivated to continue my small steps towards independance from fuckwit. One quote from the book that has really resonated with me is when CL states, “If you believe in monogamy, stand UP for that!”

  • Please don’t stop writing. Your columns DO save people’s lives! My divorce from my cheater was over 23 years ago, but I just started understanding ‘why’ when I started reading your site. Now it makes sense, the double talk, the making me feel ‘not enough’ all the time, the devaluing, the gas lighting (I thought I was crazy) just all of it!! Now I know what was being done to me and I understand it. He is a person who is never satisfied. Nothing we had was ever ‘enough’. Not our house, his pickup, his dog, definitely not his job (they were all idiots – of course!). What I learned here is that he is just like other cheaters, he will always be chasing that ‘next best thing’ and I am happy to be free of that. He is remarried but she is captain of the Marriage Police (which I also learned here) and I would never want a marriage like that. I also talk to people about what I learn here, including my teenage granddaughters (about acceptable behavior) so not only am I learning here, I am taking further and helping others. I come to read not only your wise words but of the wise words of others. This is just so much more than you writing about your experience, its the experience of many others too. Finding out about the cheating was not as humiliating as finding out that ALL of our friends new and not one of them said a word. Discussing this with one couple I said ‘Just as a warning if I ever find out you are cheating I will tell’. And I will!!

  • I was referred here by a poster on the straight spouse network for folks with closeted partners, 99.9% of whom are also cheaters. So many of us belabored over questions about why, why, why, oh why won’t they just admit they’re gay, come clean about their deception, let go, and move on like adults? After all, what could be a more obvious reason for two people to divorce? What a revelation it was to come here and realize that it was the narcissism that both kept X in the closet and explained what I soon learned are textbook behaviors that, in fact, constitute emotional abuse–lying, gaslighting, reverse victimization, projection, etc.

    The huge gift of this site was finally getting it through my head that I could never reason with or change X’s behavior and that it was pointless to even try. Putting my faith in holding my ground as X flipped through the three channels of mindfuckery during divorce negotiations saved my financial future and my dignity; no contact and gray rock helped me finally get to Meh. X still engages in predictably dickish behavior, something I will never be able to fully isolate myself from because of our children. But the huge difference now is that the rage and indignation are gone, replaced mostly by, “well, what else would you expect?”

    I’ve always been open about my experience and as a result word has gotten out in my relatively small community as someone to go to for advice about divorce, emotional abuse, cheating, or all three. I’ve supported and counseled quite a few chumps since my own journey began and have sent them all here. It’s such a relief for them to find that they’re not alone and that I’m not some crazy old bat warning them about the next round of shenanigans they’re in for if they keep trying to engage. Also, letting them know that if you’ve got a cheater on your hands, odds are very high you’ve also got a narcissist on your hands and vice versa. That information alone is such an enormous public service to the 21 million+ people who’ve been fortunate enough to find this site.

    • Excellent comment & amen! I’m a straight spouse, too… and my gay-in-denial ex got his new beard all lined up right before our divorce was final. Narcs are just the worst. Thank heavens for CL and CN!!!

  • There was no Chump Lady back in my day. I had good support from a few close friends, and an amazing therapist who specialized in domestic abuse (and introduced me to a lot of the concepts discussed here). I had no idea at the time that a lot of people had similar stories. When my SIL was going through her own hell at the hands of her narc cheater in another corner of the world and had no comparable support, I went looking to find her some and found this wonderful place. SIL is divorced a couple of years now, but I still come by because some bits and pieces of the experience can still use some processing even years later.

    CN is the support I wish I’d had. Many thanks to Tracy for sharing her roadmap with the world!

  • I was chumped, divorced, recovered, and moved on, but I still read your site frequently! I think your advice can apply to many situations in life beyond infidelity. I find the “untangling the skein of fuckedupness” principle pretty ubiquitous.

    Maybe at some point you will want to do other things. I’m sure there will be someone you can pass the baton on to. . .

  • Two years out (but not divorce not yet finalized, smh), I still come read every day. For me, it’s the community of people who understand the thousand daily hurts, big and little, that come with recovery from intimate betrayal. It’s also the CL Lessons of the Day, they always teach me something new: new vocabulary to describe the previously-incomprehensible, new perspectives to challenge society’s long-held views, new (and better) attitudes toward interpersonal relationships of all kinds. I was born and bred a chump, and after a lifetime of living with fear, I accept that it’s going to take a good, long time to fully change my internal wiring and behaviors. The anger that came with Discovery gave me huge kick in the butt I needed to change my life, and thanks to finding CL early on, I had good direction for my energies. I also read the comments daily, because they are a treasure trove of useful information for me. I know that I don’t want to be that person that I was, but I don’t always find it easy to know WHAT to do instead. CL and CN are my mentors in my Get A Life apprenticeship. From me and my two wonderful boys, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this site and for continuing to write for us, no matter how long it has been. And I agree with all the above comments, Chumplady will be needed until there is no one left to write for. That will go faster if we heed her call to arms….or in this case, voices.

  • Sometimes I am my own worst enemy when it comes to telling my story. I am afraid that my own pain might be causing a bias so that I might make him out to be worse than he really is. I also don’t want to feel like I am betraying him after the fact and therefore justifying his not feeling loved by me before he cheated. As a result I tend to be cautious about telling other people about what he did and I always have to add qualifiers such as “but at least he didn’t abandon his kids and he was generous in the financial settlement” (i.e. he caused me more pain than anyone has ever caused me before in my life but he isn’t that bad really). When I do occasionally let something negative about him and/or Schmoopie slip in front of the kids I am wracked with guilt because I don’t want to be guilty of parental alienation. This is all coming from me. Nobody else is telling me that. It’s stupid and I am trying to get over it, but old habits die hard. Ex had no empathy, but I think I got a double dose and it isn’t always good for me. Ironically, the one who made me feel better about my occasional slip ups was my mother in law. Ex’s parents were divorced and she is the one who told me, “yes you signed all of those agreements saying you wouldn’t badmouth ex (her son) to the kids but things are going to slip now and again. That’s normal.”

    All of that being said, when I encounter other chumps I have no trouble telling them that their ex’s suck and they are not to blame for their cheater’s shitty behavior.

    • Hug to you, Chumpinrecovery. Both of our exes may not be as “bad” as others but they hurt us – without cause, without thinking of our love, without any thought about our feelings, without any thought of how we would feel if we knew the truth. I’m not sure I can ever forgive him for the pain he caused me. If they wanted to just leave, they had choices. As I told my ex, you could have left rather than cheating with the prostitutes, finding the OW and then leaving when you didn’t have to be alone. None of that was done with any thought of how I might feel, or how much I have given him over the years. I may feel sorry for him in other aspects but certainly not this one.

      He doesn’t deserve my protection nor does your ex. They left us hanging while they went and found their happiness. Nice people don’t do that and they don’t do that to the ones they love and respect.

      I get not bad-mouthing around your children but don’t hold your tongue or voice back when in the company of others. The settlement and his actions as father have nothing to do with his cheating on you. You might find it to be a bit freeing talking about your chumpness in front of others. Be confident and stand up for you – you have the right to speak. Be mighty!

      • Yes. If they were really than unhappy in their marriages then they had a right to divorce us, but they didn’t have a right to go looking for our replacements first. It also makes it harder for them to claim that their Schmoopies “had nothing to do with ending the marriage”.

        • Omg that is so true!! My ex convinced himself he did nothing wrong because our marriage was not good. How about working on it instead of cheating lying hiding money and hurting your adult children? I feel so much shame for enduring the emotional abuse for so long. Then to find out he was cheating and that others knew was beyond humiliating ???? this site and the honesty and reality of cheating was so helpful and being able to laugh again was priceless ????

  • A few times since mt D-Day years ago, I have passed a couple in the far side of a public parking lot who each drove their own cars and are all googly eyed or love-dovey and it shouts “Affair”! All 3 times I rolled down my window as I went by and shouted “DON’T DO IT CHEATERS! HAVE SOME GUTS AND BREAK UP FIRST SO YOU DON”T HAVE TO SNEAK AROUND ASSHOLES”! Then I’d patch out of there. It was very enjoyable feeling like I wasn’t just someone else “minding heir own business” just driving by without coment.

  • I check this site everyday. My XH is getting weirder and coparenting is a battle. His new fiancee, ex OW, tells my kids I have Munchausen’s by proxy.Here is the one place I can post and know that I don’t have to explain the whole soap opera, twenty years of deception backstory to convince people that he is Not a Good Person.There are not Two Sides to this story.I don’y have to justify myself, and it is such a relief.
    My cousin told me I was ” too angry” and i needed to suck it up for the sake of the children. Their father is currently trying to screw me over financially, so if I ‘ suck it up” the children will be sitting in the dark wrapped in blankets eating pot noodles half the time, because I will be broke.Anger is the correct emotion.

  • This blog has helped me SO much in my journey back to myself. Aside from my father‘s death, watching my 40-year marriage implode through no fault of my own was really tough.

    It’s almost impossible for someone who hasn’t personally lived through something like this to truly understand and then know how to provide adequate support and encouragement. I’m grateful every day for the loving friends and family who immediately circled the wagons, as well as a seasoned therapist who was experienced in dealing with people like my XH, a narcissist who routinely rewrote history and held himself blameless for what went down in our relationship.

    But I’m also thankful for this amazing community of sisters and brothers who “get it“ like no one else can. We are the survivors… the truth tellers… the chumps who woke up one day to discover that they’d be duped, abused and disrespected, yet are now willing to unselfishly step outside of their own pain and disappointment to offer insight, comfort and love to others.

  • Also- if I met someone whose site had 21 million views I wouldn’t be asking them when they were going to stop!! It’s like saying to GRR Martin ” gee, it’s a bit long, isn’t it? “. Your interviewer is a patronising twit.

  • Tracy, I am so grateful to you and Chump Nation. You all were the rungs on a ladder out of a dark place for me. I am not at Meh yet, but I would have been lost if I hadn’t found Chump Lady. Love you all.

  • I used to be a regular but only check in once in a while these days, do try to give back. I’m a chump who also had an asshole that escalated rages to much deeper abuse so I look to comment when someone is getting the slow burn to major danger. CL and CN helped me so much in the past, I’ve made IRL friends here and hope I can help others.

    I hate the RIC, What CL is doing to fight it is what I wish I could have done. I will keep coming here and keep commenting on every article about cheating, fighting the narrative of ‘no one knows what goes on in a relationship’ bullshit that gets espoused everywhere. I have found that articles where someone steals the family money evince comments from people vilifying the thief. But if someone cheats, you get the same old bullshit excuses we all know and hate. Post comments, write the truth when you see that shit, and send people to

    • Thanks Dat! Your story is powerful, (and the scythe story is epic, along with Mr. Bunny Hop.) Never stop telling it. You do a lot of good.

  • I don’t think I would have the strength and wherewithal to leave my sociopath ex with confidence if it wasn’t for CL. Tracy, THANK YOU!!!!! You have been touched with grace from higher powers.

    This blog gives me hope everyday. It helps me face today and tomorrow. There is always something to learn and talk about and I don’t think this subject will ever get old.

    I’m not afraid of being a chump either. I own my chumptitude and it doesn’t embarrass me one iota. In fact, it’s just the opposite: I think I’m pretty freaking smart to figure out all his cheating scumbag ways and obtain solid concrete proof. I succeeded where others didn’t. I outed him to people who had no idea he wasn’t the charming nice guy, but in fact a manipulative sociopath. I left having to rebuild my life with nothing to fall back on. So yeah, I’m a chump, but I’m so much more. I’m courageous, and honest, and kind and I have strength and fortitude. I’m embarking on the great unknown with hardly anyone to help support me through this except the mighty CL/CN.

    And I’m okay with being a chump because I’m a Chump Lady Chump and we are a force to be reckoned with !!!

  • Indeed- the book saved my life, the website kept me sane and gave me sage advice through the divorce process. Thank you.

  • I am extremely grateful to CL and CN. Four years since D-Day #1 with now ex-husband and one year since last discard by lying, disrespectful, controlling covert narc boyfriend, this site has Ben a lifesaver!

    I hear so much about strength/mightiness and people saying that they have gotten to Meh in what to me seems like lightning speed. I am nowhere near close to it in spite of No Contacr with ex-boyfriend for a year now (He blocked me when he discarded me the last time.I feel a lot of pain over my ex-boyfriend, but what may seem odd to most people, feel no pain surrounding he departure of my abusive. adulterous husband, who left a few years earlier.) How long dies it take to get to Meh and Better. Intellectually, I tell myself that some things in the world are pretty and good, but O don’t feel as though I can FEEL any happiness any more. I am upset or numb all the time. And now that a few people in my family have died recently or on the brink of death and one of my kids seems to be showing signs of the severe chronic incurable psychological illness and disorders my ex-husband has, I am quite depressed. How will this child cope in the world. How can I continue to physically, emotionally, financially support him when I am already near retirement age and am struggling even now? I am afraid for my children. And I can’t help but think that virtually no attractive, healthy guy would be interested in forming a committed intimate relationship with a fifty-something mother of young kids, one of whom is showing signs of psychosis (or something related). I just have to keep going.

  • Am I suicidal? I don’t think so. But there is no question that Tracy and this community are keeping me alive. I don’t believe anyone who says that I will eventually be ok— unless it is someone here. That’s what I hang on to. Every single day.

  • My best friend of 25 years had a new boyfriend at the time I discovered my now ex was a serial cheater. She had little to no time for me and she couldn’t even muster up any words of support or encouragement for me. It was unbelievable. It was akin to being kicked when you are really down and made to feel as if you are not just worthy of compassion or consideration.

    It is not like I wore her out to exasperation by talking to her about what my ex did ad naseum. She simply didn’t have time to hear about it or to make time to even get together. Throughout our very long friendship, she had more than her share of problems, including a divorce, and I was always there for her. I always made time to help her, no matter what was going on in my own life. Throughout our long friendship, this was the first time I ever needed any support.

    In the the midst of my divorce, and after a several weeks long complete silence from her, I was very surprised when she called me one afternoon. She wasn’t calling me to see how I was doing, or to get together, but rather to tell me that she and her boyfriend had seen my stbx at some event. She told me they didn’t say “hi” to him and she really hoped my stbx didn’t think that she was rude! Unbelievable. If her husband had done to her what mine did to me, I wouldn’t be worrying about whether he thought I was rude because I didn’t say hi, and he would be lucky if all I did was just walk by him.

    After months of being ghosted by her, I sent her an email and told her I was very hurt and why I was hurt. Her response back was defensive and nothing changed until my marital nightmare was finally over, She suddenly reappeared, wanting to help me with different things that I already handled.

    Over the years, she has made several attempts to get together. I can’t do it. I won’t forget what she did, and my feelings probably extend to an inability to forgive as well. I’m not sure how many others have been through something like this with a best friend, but best friends don’t act like this. Fair weather friends do.

    • ChumpChange, I think a lot of people reveal themselves during hard times as being millimeters thick when it comes to emotional sophistication. You deserve people who are meters thick! Hectares! Don’t settle! Life has too many twists and turns to share your heart with someone who can’t witness your pain with kindness and then when you point out how she dropped the ball, you get more deflection and yuck.

    • I too went through something kind of similar. I think some friends think of it like a contagious disease that they might catch it if they get too close. Others feel inadequate about what to do or say- very much like death- it just makes some people really uncomfortable. Some people just don’t understand until they have been through it. I had friends that I texted back and forth with through the ordeal. One had been through something similar although she hadn’t been married very long when she got her divorce, but she was a solid texter with me until I filed the divorce then I think she thought it was over- without really realizing the severe emotional damage I was still dealing with after being in a 17 year relationship and having a child in the situation as well (she didn’t have any kids in her short lived marriage). I rarely heard from her again.

      If you are uncomfortable being friends with that friend it is ok to walk away. Make some new friends. If you want to try to mend it that is ok as well.

  • I just wanted to say thank you for each and every comment. I’m sorry I don’t reply to every one. You guys all keep me going. Thank you. Your stories, humor, and resiliency are amazing, and keep me – and CN – coming back. CN is the community, the tribe, the support. So proud of all of you and so grateful for the help you give each day to the newbies and each other.

  • A normal person wouldn’t tell you: When are you going to be normal again? It’s the stupidest statement I’ve ever heard. Their normal means to stop complaining and live with the trauma. If that’s their normal, then they can go live in it and leave us alone. See if they could live with it normally if it happened to them. Biggest idiots to roam this planet.

  • The person who interviewed you should read some of your work. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hire the woman who regularly says things like “…I imagine a world of friends — the 3 a.m. raisin bran brigade —” ?!?! I vote we members of CN write CL a letter of recommendation. Besides some doctors and firefighters, how many people can honestly list “SAVED THOUSANDS OF LIVES” as a real accomplishment??

  • Thank you for this site. Thank you for posting. You have changed my life. I am 2 years post D-Day. I wish I’d have found you, and subsequently my meh, sooner. Thank you. A thousand times , thank you.

  • I just wanted to comment on this post to say thanks to everyone here for their stories and support. Not all of us really comment. I’m pretty far into a state of “meh” but I still come here every so often, I guess as a form of self therapy. I like the affirmation of knowing I’m not alone out there, and I also strive to be the friend no one was to me at the time.

    Before D-Day a friend was going through a similar situation, so we had “dark cloud cafe” days where we would take her to a bar and let her rant and cry over a couple of beers, give words of encouragement. My ex was one to say things like “oh I’d never do the sorts of things that he was doing to her” after these sessions but she surely ended up doing a lot of them! The friend in question believed the RIC and stuck around for the kids, but finally came to her senses last year.

    After all my troubles I ended up meeting up with some of those friends while we were all on vacation, and I asked the pointed question, “you guys could tell something was up, why didn’t you tell me?” “We thought you knew” I’m still a little flabbergasted by it. As I think everyone here knows, when you’re in that situation you believe any lie, chalk up any ‘coincidence’ to keep the narrative going that your marriage isn’t falling apart, even when there’s a part of you absolutely screaming at you that you’re being stupid. I was so codependent, so afraid, and I dunno, maybe someone I trusted taking me aside and saying “Dude, this isn’t looking very good” would have helped to snap me out of it. I don’t think a lot of people really consider doing that for a man, and unfortunately the people online who do so end up preaching a lot of psycho “red pill” bullshit. I know, because I was finding myself caught up in it. “Maybe if I was more attractive and maybe if I acted more macho, she’ll come around”. What baloney!

    Anyway, thankfully I found this site and all you wonderful people, got the good therapy, got my self esteem back, and I’m in a much healthier relationship with a very lovely lady, life turned out great and there’s light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.

    I have a good friend I’m trying to show the way to, but he’s still obsessed with untangling the skein of his former marriage. It’s already ruined something I hoped was going to be really good for him, but all I can do is help brush him off and try to lead him to the water that he refuses to drink, how maddening! I’ll still be here though.

    Thank you all again!

  • Oh my gosh. Please don’t stop writing about this Chumplady. It does help save my life. I’m so grateful for this blog. I think the mans comment was a bit of a stupid thing to say. Maybe jealousy.

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