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Dear Chump Lady, I shouldn’t have looked…

Dear Chump Lady,

I am a long-time Chump Nation member, and I THOUGHT one of the older and wiser ones. I was divorced 6 years ago from a lake-erie-in-winter-ice-cold-cold, shark-eyed sociopath. When caught cheating, ex was one of the ones who just walked away, never glancing back at our 25-year marriage or three children, and went straight into the waiting arms of his decades-long group sex partners and women we thought were just co-workers and family friends.

It was hell, but I maneuvered an advantageous and quick divorce (I made lots more money than him), protected my children and got them through high school, college and beyond, and kicked ass at my job. Ex abandoned our children and does not see them at all, and I “finished” raising them all on my own (which includes me paying for their education as Pennsylvania is a state where ex cannot be required to pay past 18). Oh, and I also met the true love of my life and married him a couple years ago, and we now have what I laughingly call the dysfunctional Brady bunch — 3 children each (the youngest of whom are now both 18), 3 dogs, two homes, lots of moving parts —  you know, all the “mess” the personality-disordered leave behind for us to take care of while they reinvent themselves.

My ex eventually married one of his group sex partners and moved several states away. He has nothing to do with our 3 children, who have had to navigate a world where their father is suddenly gone and they realize their life with him was a lie. And we have been doing pretty well — the divorce and its hurts made us closer than ever.

The reason I write to you?? One of my sisters, who has always been way too curious, started idly researching to see what was up lately with my ex and his wifestress. And mentioned it to me. And I broke No Contact to google. Because I was sure the karma bus had to have FINALLY hit (MF karma bus). And I found out that this man and woman who never had much more than two pennies to rub together bought a million dollar mansion in Rhode Island.

AND I LOST MY MEH. It hit me like a ton of bricks, like I was driving down the highway and suddenly ran head first into the bridge abutment. I was stunned…they both must have been stealing money from me and OW’s ex…..they are in the financial services industry and must be stealing from their clients….THEY REALLY DON’T SUCK AND IT’S ME THAT SUCKED ALL ALONG AND HELD HIM BACK FROM FABULOUSNESS…

I know, I know, I know. These are the evil little doubts that get to crawl out again, once NC is broken. During the divorce I would tell myself over and over, “it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.” AND IT DOESN’T, and I know it. But boy did it set me back.

For me, Meh has been like grief, it is not a linear process and I can cycle in and out of it depending on my circumstances. I’ve learned the hard way that I can (temporarily) lose my Meh, and the easiest way to lose it is any sort of contact with or about ex.

it is so easy to tell ourselves lies about why we NEED to break NC–> I just need to look to confirm the karma bus’s arrival, I just need to look so I can accept reality, I just need to look to prove that I am over it, I just need to look so I know how to protect myself or my children. The reality is that we lie to ourselves– we look because it is like an addiction, and because looking may give us the only real contact we will have with someone we used to love and who doesn’t love us any more. It’s like watching a train wreck, over and over, but we are the ones who end up with the mangled limbs and bodies and hearts.

I’ll be better in a few more days, ex and his schmoopies will be themselves for the rest of their lives. I know that. So kick my a** Chump Lady, I’ve done myself wrong. I am here now to try to help my fellow chumps. DON’T give in to the temptation to break no contact, DON’T think you have to try to witness the karma bus running them over (a watched karma bus never arrives). And for the love of God, DO NOT GOOGLE THEM.

Kelly

Dear Kelly,

Wasn’t it Lot’s wife who turned back to look at the city of Sodom burning and was turned into a pillar of salt? Back then in Biblical days, God punished chumps for failing to grasp Trust That They Suck. Now, apparently He rewards Sodomites with McMansions in Pawtucket. Probably puts them on HGTV. (“OMG, the walk-in closet is MINE, Cliff!)

Look on the bright side, Kelly. You aren’t a pillar of salt. You looked, you got wobbly on the Meh, and regrouped. It happens.

They still suck. How could they not? Hi, I married my group sex partner and abandoned three children is not an enviable social ice breaker. It doesn’t matter how fabulous they appear, (or in CN parlance, how sparkly the turd), it’s what’s underneath the sugar sprinkles that counts.

They abandoned children. They defrauded partners (romantic and business). There’s no dressing that up. Whatever comes next is impression management. For many years you bought your then-husband’s holographic projection of a Decent Person, until you learned the truth. He’s not going to stop projecting faux “decency” because you’re gone. He fronts, he fakes, he deceives, and once confronted, disappears into a cloud of sparkles.

That’s his basic operating system.

None of this has anything to do with you. You held him back from fabulousness? NO. He held YOU back from fabulousness. You have a new life! You have the kids! You have an honest, loving partner! Someone who shows up for his children and is raising yours! You WIN THE FABULOUS SWEEPSTAKES!

But you don’t have granite countertops? What the fuck is wrong with you, Kelly? What are your values? You don’t care about those things, do you really? It’s just that HE has them and YOU don’t.

You’re suffering under the Just World Doctrine — that Good Guys are rewarded, and Bad Guys are punished. Ergo if something bad happened to someone, they deserved it. Versus the chaotic and unjust way the world actually works — innocent people suffer unjustly. And its corollary — and total rat bastards walk free.

A fuckwit walks free and you think — that’s unjust and I DESERVE IT. I must’ve been bad.

Maybe the consequences just haven’t come due, plus interest yet, Kelly. Because I don’t necessarily believe in karma, but I DO believe in the natural laws of consequences.

You don’t invest in people? They don’t invest in you. His children want nothing to do with him. He dies alone, unmourned. CONSEQUENCE.

You abuse people? They leave you. Now you’re scrambling for a new host and can’t find a quality chump. CONSEQUENCE.

You’re kinda parasitic and don’t want to work that hard. But you can get financing on a huge house. (Maybe someone died. Maybe the mortgage lender was drunk that day.) Can you maintain it? Can you make the payments? For YEARS? Are you going to be paying on this mortgage FOREVER, sucking out all the equity to finance affair partners, and die broke? Are you going to stiff a new chump with the note? Or is some Schmoopie going to play you first? CONSEQUENCE.

All you see is “new house.” You don’t see any of the shitty life skills behind that purchase. No one got character or maturity transplants. Give it time.

Consequences arrive on their own schedule. But if you borrow against consequences, the interest compounds — and that’s a bill that can kill you. Eat a solid diet of ho-hos, that heart attack is waiting. Not paying taxes probably feels great in the short-term, until the IRS finds you.

All you see is the BEGINNING of some new impression management, and not the arc of the inevitable consequence. Fuckwits do not live in an alternative universe, even if they imagine they do. Gravity is a motherfucker.

Kelly, you’ve been incredibly mighty. Celebrate that. Don’t waste your precious time setting Doomsday clocks for fuckwits. His punishment is being him. Your reward is being you. Hugs those kids. Kiss that sweet husband. Maybe a sinkhole will swallow Rhode Island.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Chump Lady’s snark is in perfect working order for having chosen Pawtucket for her RI callout (instead of, say, Newport).

    “A watched karma bus never arrives” nails it perfectly. But don’t beat yourself up for a momentary slip. Reset the “Days Without a Time Lost Accident” counter and start again.

    • No one knows better than us that appearances are not always what they seem. Why do we forget it the instant we see an apparition of Wonderful in Woonsocket? If we compare our insides to their outsides OR their insides, we win. My husband is outwardly attractive. So was Ted Bundy. Bernie Madoff was a financial genius. Hitler loved his dogs. They can move to a new mansion monthly but they can never escape the emotional house of horrors of living in their own skin.

      • PS….Kelly, this is an indicator on your dashboard that YOU HAVE FEELINGS. Unlike the Wonderfuls from Woonsocket.
        You won the lottery.

        • PPS…my daughter (11.5) asked me to do a reading with my cards for her. I use the PsyCards deck. After we were done, she pulled the Fool and the Liar out and said,
          “This is Daddy.” I have said NOT ONE NEGATIVE THING ABOUT HIM. She told me that we are going to get through this, that we have the skills. She has been hearing that from me. No matter what happens to his outsides, I am the lottery winner too. ❤️ to all.

          • I read psycards too…also tarot. Psycards inter relate and kind of talk to each other. If he is the liar then are you the lied to, the one being fooled.

            • She deliberately picked those two out to describe him to me…..either way, yes!

              • Haha…I attended my daughters wedding the other day and suffered a loss of meh at seeing the OW being accepted and them as a recognised couple. Just asked my psycards for how it appeared – the union – and what lay beneath – the liar. A timely reminder that!

      • “No one knows better than us that appearances are not always what they seem.”

        So much truth!

        • Kelly, you should feel glad that you’re so far removed from him, that you now look at him like a stranger does. He’s got the image management shield on at 100% strength and you can hardly imagine being on his side of it any more.

          Yes, he’s all appearances. Fancy car, fancy house, fancy clothes, fancy OW…. He can certainly spend it as fast as he gets it, or faster. You know the truth, but you’ve been in meh so successfully that you blissfully forgot! What he’s doing isn’t sustainable. If he’s stealing he’ll get caught and lose it all. If he won the lottery he’ll spend it all and wind up bankrupt.

          Aren’t you glad you’re out of that crazy hell-hole? Even better, you’re able to raise kids who know there’s a LOT more to life than fancy appearances which are only as deep as a parking lot puddle.

          So just shake your head and remember that this is a jerk with absolutely no humility, who is so shallow that he defines himself by appearances only.

          No one needs a house that big, and if he thinks he does it’s only because he’s very, very small in every way that really matters.

          Poor man. So small. Tsk tsk.

      • I’ve just created my own personal ‘Days Since Lost Time Incident’ counter with an app on my phone. I found a meme of a cat with a ‘Meh’ expression and caption to pair with it.

        I am officially 22 days since the last time I took a look at Miss Plastic Parts’ social media. The thought of 23 is exhilarating. I think this could become a thing.

        TOWANDA!!!

    • Wow Kelly, you and I must be running on the same time line except I am just over 7 years out. This post could not have been more timely. I haven’t had any contact with the idiot for years. He left without even a glance behind him to run off with the blonde coworker and left me to raise our kids alone. Who have turned into wonderful adults. Both at university, working and have beautiful partners. I did that all on my own and am incredibly proud of it. Idiot rings my daughter for the first time in years yesterday for her birthday… bragging about the wonderfulness of his life and to wish her a happy birthday! I am like WTF?? Where have you been for the last 7 years and now you decide to ring and brag about yourself? Why do you think you get to celebrate any part of her birthday?? Why the hell are you ringing now?? Made me take about 10 steps back from MEH! Like seriously what the hell?? This post couldn’t have been more timely. After a lot of soul searching last night, I discovered that he was never invested and never will be. I had all those feelings flooding through me last night thinking it must be me, I must be the crap one if he can just leave. But normal people don’t do that crap. They don’t just leave their kids and then turn up years later. So back I go to being MEH. It is a good place to be. A few more steps and I will be back there…

    • Think about it. Ex springs out for a expensive house. But he moved away from his children, states away. He’s not a part of his kid’s lives. He didn’t contribute to their college education. So he’s spending money on himself that he should have been spending to raise his children. Maybe on his death bed the karma bus will hit when he realized what sh*tty life choices he’s made. Things over people. People who are hollow inside try to fill up that hollowness and this purchase is evidence of how empty he probably feels. OTOH your life may be more gritty but you are surround by real people and the love of those people and family.

  • Kelly sounds extremely wise, and I really like her perspective of meh being like grief. It helps reinforce that we are strong enough to get our meh back when it slips away for a bit (and it will sometimes, and that’s okay!). In my early months of recovery, I tried to remember that even the stumbles are indicative of growth, just in a less direct path. And that’s okay, too! We just gotta do our best today, and try that same thing again tomorrow :]

    • Every time I have a relapse I feel better than I did before the relapse the next day. Every time I grieve it is one step closer to healing. My biggest relapses actually happen when I slip up and feel bad for him and then receive a reminder that he never really cared about me the same way. It is my own empathy and sympathy that hold me back from meh.

      There are times when I so want the karma bus to smite him down, but then when I see him looking haggard or unhappy or lonely and left out, it doesn’t fill me with glee it just makes me sad because I don’t think it had to be that way. Part of my problem is that ex is only a minor asshole. He does still care about being a Dad to his kids, he was generous in the financial settlement (gave me more than I asked for) and he hasn’t trashed me to others. Sometimes I think his leaving me was his way of accepting consequences for his screw up. I don’t like that he is still with Schmoopie, but to some extent he is stuck with her. In his mind, leaving her too would make him an even bigger asshole than he already is.

      • Ditto and well said, except my husband says
        OW is history. Possible, considering she cuts hair and he recently obviously cut his own hair (WTF?!). I hear from many that he doesn’t look good. To be sure, happy kind people don’t cheat. I have a feeling he is not sober anymore either. It would make a lot of sense.

      • My ex is a minor asshole too. He’s told me twice that I’m not to blame for the divorce or his cheating (we all know that I’m definitely not to blame). For someone that wanted this divorce, he looks worse than me. We’ve both lost weight but he looks worn down and stressed. Hell, I’ve had people tell me that I look wonderful.

        The other day, someone told me that she feels sorry for him. She also called me a big pussy (ha). I feel for him too. I think he wants to make connections with people but he truly doesn’t know how. He doesn’t get that you have to give without expecting anything in return. That making people happy is a good thing. He will grow old and the only people that will care about him are his son, daughter and sister.

        • ditto.
          He thinks he has a connection with Schmoopie but I in the long run that one isn’r really going to be satisfying to him either.

      • Not everything has to be telenovela-levels of drama. You had a guy that did a pretty shitty thing, but made amends in the best way he could (even if it can’t really make up for it because some betrayals are too deep). You’re allowed to be sad for the fuckup he’s caused himself while moving yourself on and not hating him.

      • i am like you… . as much i think i want the karma bus to hit him, back up and hit him again.. .. when it does happen, it feels me with saddness. i actually do not want anything bad to happen to him, i just want him to stop fucking up. my ex is also a minor asshole. he tries so hard to be a good guy. and actually succeeds more then he thinks he does. but he gets into this pattern, this depressed mood and starts believing he doesnt deserve anything. starts telling himself he is nothing but a loser and nobody loves or wants him.. .. (probably because of all the alcohol he drinks and/or coming down from meth/drugs) .. . and then he will do something so stupid, so irresponsible, so damaging, so self sabotaging.. . and so horrific i just cant get past it.. . i dont know how many times he actually cheated on me, i know/witnessed 2 times for sure. suspected so many more.. .. he has had 3 dwi’s with me, 2 dwi before me. and so far 1 dwi after our divorce.. .. (yet court.com only shows 2) .. .. he has had numerous probation violations.. .. doesnt pay bills or buys something stupid, forgets birthdays and never get anything for anyone else on christmas but will spend 1000 dollars on the kids in one weekend during the summer.. .. i could live with everything else (barely) except for the cheating. after the 2nd time i caught him red handed, i filed the divorce papers the next day…

        wasband is just so very stupid.. .. not just stupid but really unintelligent. it shocks me to the core looking at him now 4 years later. i am surprised how unintelligent he actually is. Man did i give him way too much credit.. .. WAY TO MUCH credit.. .. how could i not see.. .. and it makes me feel so sorry for him.. .. he literally has no idea what he lost. he has no clue how he is pushing his 2 sons away. he is so easily manipulated, controlled and used.. .. and he still has not seen just how good he had it with me.. … .it is almost painful for me to watch him destroy his life making one stupid and foolish mistake after another, one bad decision after another.. ..

        we divorced in mar 2014, he ghosted us in july 2014. we did not see him again until may 2016, then he moved in 2 blocks over and 2 blocks down from my house. he waited outside for my then 14 year old son and first thing he tells the boy after not seeing him for 1 year and half is “Dont tell your mother where i live” .. .. poor kid held that secret for a week (i already knew) before he broke down and told me.. .. .then in sept 2016, wasband attempted suicide. like a fool, i thought it finally hit him what he lost, of course i felt bad for him. i reached out to him thinking he was missing me and the boys. only to find out that NOPE, it had nothing to do with missing me or his sons. .. i found out talking to him that he actually never even really thought about me at all.. …

        painful lesson learned. he ended up going back to the troll he left me for and turned around and bought a brand new 2017 nissian versa.. .. here i was struggling to buy shoes for school and put food on the table. struggling to pay bills so the heater stays on in winter.. .. and he buys a brand new, straight off the assembly line, next years model car.. .. . like the OP i was super jealous. theres this married thing who bailed on her own husband and children to be with wasband, driving around in a shiny new car.. . while i am driving my old but paid for truck. it was like a thousands swords piecing into my back…

        needless to say, he lost that car to repossession this year. like in march. .. apparently he was putting money into new rims, new stereo, new box speaker in the truck. but he had not made a car payment since the first month.. .. just crazy!!!! so i say to the original poster, dont be jealous of that mansion.. .. he will probably lose it sooner or later.. .. besides you know the price of living with him. you know the cost of being with him every day.. .. it is too high a price just to live in a fancy house… ..

    • I believe I first read this saying several years ago on Chump Lady.

      It has saved me more times than not (used to be posted where I could not avoid seeing it) and I share it with others when appropriate:

      “You can’t stumble over what is behind you”.

  • “A watched karma bus never arrives.” So profound.

    I’ve been divorced 1 month. My ex and the AP are buying an expensive new condo. Meanwhile the kid’s and I will move in with my mom for a couple months once our martial home sells.

    His eyes have always been bigger than his wallet. He could’ve bought a home CHEAPER in the town where we live. Instead, he bought something new, 30 miles away.

    Being with him is a financial nightmare. So glad it’s over. I will be better off.

    • So this!! ^^ My X’s worst trait was his financial choices. That was even worse than cheating to deal with (we because I didn’t know about the cheating but I knew about the squandered money).

      During his marriage to OWife they constantly moved rental homes. They always had to have bigger and fancier in better neighborhoods. They never moved within the same town. It was very disruptive to their Yours, Mine & Ours kids. Quite selfish and childish on the “adults” part. Of course it blew up in their face on a regular basis, but that just started a new round of Let’s Move!

      I like my little place. Nice and secure. No drama

  • I look at it like this, when I look to see how RonBurgundy and the InternWhore are doing (and it’s more often than I’d like to admit as we have never been NC, and that’s a whole ‘nother letter to CL), that’s just a snapshot of how their life is unfolding. You know, that snapshot captures the moment before the dog throws up on the carpet, somebody scratches their butt, a zit pops out on someone’s forehead, or the creditors call on the phone. A snapshot gives you no information on the whole movie, nothing about the plot, the themes, or the ending, and these disordered people are SO GOOD at impression management (for a moment, anyway). You are well acquainted with the full movie of your own life with all its outtakes and the blooper reel, but you don’t see his, and you gotta know your full movie is much more interesting, alive, and textured than that one tiny still of their life. As Uxworld says, reset the counter and move forward.

    • THIS. ^^^

      “All you see is “new house.” You don’t see any of the shitty life skills behind that purchase. No one got character or maturity transplants. Give it time.”

  • Kelly when I read about your life, a sigh of envy escaped me. Your life sounds good! You have done so amazingly well. When our marriage abruptly ended, yours was the kind of story I was trawling the net for, a happy post abandoned life. I hold up your story as something to aspire to. You offloaded the Destroyer and sent him off on a new path. Imagine what it must be like being with him, think things would have changed?
    Great advice, to hold off the googling.

  • “All you see is the BEGINNING of some new impression management, and not the arc of the inevitable consequence”

    I have to remind myself that it took 16 years for me to see through the impression management… and boy is he good at it. I won’t lie, knowing other people don’t see through it disrupts my MEH. I wish people saw he gets by on words, but usually does the opposite of whatever those words are.

    “I only want the best for her” …while he cleans out the bank account.

    “She was unwilling to work on our marriage” …forgetting to mention he was a serial cheater.

    “She needs to contribute to the kids college education”… but has amnesia about cleaning out the kids college funds.

    It’s knowing that fuckwits do not have to do anything other than lie (and it doesn’t bother them) and people take those lies at face value. Why is it that people believing he is a “great guy” irritates the poop out of me? I guess it’s because he impresses upon people that he is the victim of my unreasonableness, when in REALITY I am simply reacting to his behavior. Yeah, yeah, I know, stop reacting and get to MEH.

    • GAB, for whatever it’s worth, I hear you. Faced / facing the same shameless ongoing campaign. I know it’s the same because you have described it with such nuanced precision in other posts. It’s one thing to simply run to blameshifting and lying to escape accountability, entirely another to construct a wounded, caring, contrite and giving persona for yourself as you do so. These are Satan’s star pupils.

      • TKO and Got-a-brain, that’s what kills me the most about my cheater. He walks off like such a “wounded, caring, contrite and giving” dude but he is trying to fuck up my life by all the subtle twisting, clever wording and fake caring. My sister told me a few weeks ago, you’re so mad that even if he tried to do something nice I dont think you’d notice (she was still under his impression management spell) I told her “he’s not a nice guy, he hates me.” Fast forward a few weeks and I read her my most recent texts from him where “we agreed to get a divorce”(outright lie) and “we need to work together for the sake of our kids” (aka agree to his parenting schedule). When I didn’t agree, he flipped from charm channel to covert rage channel and informed me that he filed a motion to force me to sell the house. She said to me “you’re right, he is NOT a nice guy. At. All.”

        Manipulative cheaters suck.

    • GaB – this is my last hurdle too. So many people think X is such a great guy. They fawn over him. His latest impression management is very part-time job in the local bookstore. A perfect job for an educated man of means who does not need to work. Except he never graduated from college and lives solely off the alimony I pay him. He told his gf that he sold some businesses and did so well he never has to work again.
      And every penny he has has come from me. Every time I drive by that bookstore I have to avert my eyes.To calm myself I keep repeating in my mind, “I know the truth, I know the truth .” The truth is where the power is.

      • Mine tells everyone that he gave me “millions” in the divorce.
        In truth I got stuck with the bills sought nor received a cent. He claims to have signed over the house to me … the same house I am inheriting directly from my mother. Huh?

        Sad, laughable and just a new stream of tall tales from the same lying mouth.

    • Yes!! I am perfectly at meh about Hannibal Lecher. He has succeeded wildly (new mansion overlooking the water, frequent travel, etc.) since the divorce but my current emphasis on *character*, of which I know he has little, means I don’t care one iota about how fabulous his current life is. He sucks and I just want him to stay away from me.

      But former friends continuing to glorify him because they know only a fraction of his sexual escapades in the marriage? That makes me homicidal on occasion. The kicker is they don’t WANT to know because they prefer to stay friends with Dr. Sparkles.

      The second round of chumpdom is handling Switzerland friends and people who still want to believe “it takes two to ruin a marriage.” I am definitely not at meh about that yet.

      • Count me in on the Switzerland injustice, Tempest.

        This and

        “he is the victim of my unreasonableness, when in REALITY I am simply reacting to his behavior.”

        This is why 12 steps is so important to me. That good ol’ Serenity Prayer.

      • @Tempest – exactly where I am at. Just yesterday I made a decision that I would have to cut a friend out of my life because it’s more important to her that she maintain a false nicety with him than the real relationship she and I have had for 20+ years. Oh well – there are always new friends to make!

      • Yes Tempest! I hate the “it takes two people to ruin a marriage l” lie. It takes two people to make a functioning great marriage. But, it only takes one person to sabotage everything. It might be necessary to HAVE two people in order for someone to mug someone else, but one of those two people is an innocent victim!

      • Oh girl I am so with you on this!! Everyone, even supposed close friends, still think he’s a great guy even after what I’ve told them. One of the hard parts is there are so many awful things that happened but I can’t articulate everything in its entirety….too hard to explain to people who have not had this happen…

      • Well, if he bought a mansion on the water and his “friends are sticking by him” knowing he is likely a cheater, I’m just gonna throw this out there and call these friends “sycophants.” I know these types all too well. They are sad sacks who are impressed with money and image more than character. Let him have those friends, they bring nothing to the table that is worthy of being passed around. I also suspect several Switzerland friends may likely be cheaters themselves. Cheaters see nothing wrong in hanging out with other cheaters, in fact, they love it as it makes them feel like they aren’t such scumbags. People with strong moral character don’t like to associate with cheaters. I was so impressed when my brother stopped being friends with a guy who was cheating on his wife.

        The more I get to meh on my own story, the more I don’t care what others think. I know the truth. I have no desire to remain friends with sycophants and the Switzerland types.

    • Oh, I know this all too well. “She is trying to control me!” also means “She won’t let me steal money at work or spend us into bankruptcy… again.”

      I read an article once that said, “I believe that in the end most people get what they really want.” In other words, we all make choices about our priorities. And we sacrifice some things for other things. I could be further along in my career if I made that the top priority instead of caring for my autistic son. But I care for my autistic son. I could have more money if I didn’t do foster care of abandoned kittens. But I care for abandoned kittens. I could have sex regularly if I was willing to have sex with any guy who was up for it, but I’m not.

      So you can say that Carol39 has less money, a sluggish career and infrequent sex… and that is all true and makes me look like a loser. Or you can frame it as Carol 39 has kittens and children who love her and an autistic son who is flourishing, and she prefers real relationships to one-night-stands and sticks with her convictions about that.

      Winning at some things means losing at others… everybody makes those choices, because nobody has unlimited time and money. It’s just a matter of what you choose. If your ex chooses flashy house and immoral spouse… well, that’s his priority. And if he is stealing or going into serious debt to get to that point, then he may end up losing it all in the end. It may still be worth it to him that he can say he had it once… but that is his choice. Me, I’d rather have a stable life with kids and kittens.

      • Well said Carol39!! Thank you, I needed this and CL’s post today. It’s all about positive attitude and well today mine sucks.

        I’m burnt out and tired. I do 100% of the parenting (because not only did I discover a cheater, I learned that he also graduated from prescribed opioids to meth and so now he has only supervised visitation), I work full time and over time, haven’t had sex in a really long time, applying for new jobs bc current one has shitty work hours, I foster dogs, and I’m still trying to make a home at the new house because still unpacking. All the while Tweaker lives the once a month dad life (because he moved 7 hrs away) doing wtfever he wants with Howorker in the new house. I am far from me but I am finally divorced!

    • Got A Brain, I feel the same way. The fact that people still think he’s a good guy bothers me more than anything. I know I need to stop waiting for the karma bus and although I do do NC (as much as I can but we do have a young child), I do google him and his whore all the time. They too just bought a giant house and it has put me in a spiral. I KNOW it doesn’t matter but it still hurts like hell. I too envy Kelly. Maybe if I found love again, I wouldn’t care as much but I’ve still so deeply hurt that I have no desire and have yet to date in 3 years.

      • I blocked my ex on FB, but found I kept unblocking him, looking, then having to wait 48 hours to block him again (so I looked all the time in those 48 hours). So I changed my FB password to something I have to take a bit of time to key in. This actually gives me time, as I’m typing the password, to remember that I’m supposed to be No Contact. (It also keeps me off FB when I’m supposed to be working!) Or you could make your password something that reminds you that you’ll feel better if you don’t google him.

    • My ex makes me out to the bad one whenever he can. It is truly sick and evil. It’s the product of his sick and evil personality. His latest…..he tells the kids I did pot and other chemicals in my youth. A total bald faced lie. But the kids buy it. Why make shit up like this?

    • @Got-a-brain

      “I only want the best for her” …while he cleans out the bank account.

      “She was unwilling to work on our marriage” …forgetting to mention he was a serial cheater.

      OMG – thanks for summing up exactly what I was thinking here. Same behaviour and words from him – these stories never seem to amaze at how they are all exactly the same!

    • Look at it this way, if any of those people actually find themselves needing your ex to hold up his end of the bargain when it’s hard for him to do so, when it’s easier to lie, cheat or steal – then they may sing a different song.

      It’s easy to be Switzerland friends when they never relied upon or trusted him to come through when it really mattered. You may need to drop them, or ignore them, or the next time they are bitching about their spouse, co-worker, in-law or kid you can let drop with, “Well, the truth may not be entirely as you present it to be.”

    • Oh girl I am so with you on this!! Everyone, even supposed close friends, still think he’s a great guy even after what I’ve told them. One of the hard parts is there are so many awful things that happened but I can’t articulate everything in its entirety….too hard to explain to people who have not had this happen…

    • Got a brain, my ex is really good at presenting a nice guy face too. Fooled me too although looking back I can see a a few times where the mask slipped. Not enough to raise any red flags though. I’m fairly sure he has told his family lies but all our friends are mine so they know the truth. I still hate him but also feel sorry for him. He broke up with the ow and is old and lonely and has no capacity for love. I was the best thing in his life.

    • Or perhaps, what he does for a living, e.g. RonBurgundy, makes him attractive and interesting to the shallow despite how awful his actions portray him to be to thinking people with a heart.

  • Kelly-

    You had a momentary lapse. It happens. And sometimes I think when we go strict no contact (whether it’s our choice or not) it can be shocking to find out that the ex and their schmoopie are still converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. A little more than a year ago while traveling for work, as I was checking my luggage there at the counter across from me was the OWife. I was in a different state than I currently reside and of all the airports in all the world…..well I probably should have played the lottery that night because what are the odds?

    My point is that my meh momentarily slipped away and it took a couple of quick glasses of wine and some texts to my chump friends to calm down. I knew we were traveling on different airlines so I just went to my gate and played a mindless game on my phone while I waited to board. It was excruciating because I wanted to go to her gate and punch her in the face but violence is highly frowned upon in airports and I didn’t want to be detained by TSA. I definitely did not feel Meh at all but I was just fine the next day.

    You will be too. You’ve carved out a beautiful cheater free life. It’s all uphill from there!

    • “… it can be shocking to find out that the ex and their schmoopie are still converting oxygen into carbon dioxide.”

      Cheaters Suck- yes that’s so true- I think of a scene from The Grinch movie where he meets his old aunts (?) again, saying “are you still ALIVE?!?!”

  • This post could not have been more timely. I am relatively newly chumped so on journey to meh but just off the starting blocks and only realising what things make it much worse for me (contact, social media stalking etc). Just as I think I’ve got that clear in my head I regress. I am sure we all have done.

    So the OW is yet to be introduced to the wider world (although it’s coming, they are off to a wedding together in a couple of weeks) and my daughter. The charade that she is ‘just a good friend’ and the image management remains in force in some quarters. Ridiculous.

    I can only manage grey rock due to complex childcare arrangements and have to see him very regularly. I am the one who ‘threw in the grenade’ cause I would not go along with happy clappy co-parenting where we are best buddies and act like nothing happened, my feelings don’t count because his were hurt countless times before (didn’t say anything of course) so it’s just tit for tat if he’s cheated on me and I had it coming more or less.

    But I have days where I look her up, wonder how stupid I’ve been, wonder if I really am that lousy a person that I did just deserve this, wonder whether my daughter probably would be better off with them and without me, wonder how on earth I am supposed to cope with all this hurt and keep moving forward, I wonder if she ever thinks about how much she’s hurt me (answer, no) and is about to hurt our daughter, why I can’t pull it together and just be friendly and carry on as normal and how it’s making me look dysfunctional but that’s how I feel. I just cannot pretend not to feel the hurt that I do and feel that’s actually it’s totally natural to be hurt by outpourings about their new life, how happy he seems now (he has been set free he told me, from me that is – nice).

    So Grey Rock, being my current only option, is just horrible and I’m acting weird. And I can pretend any which way you like but I am dreading the outpourings of twue wuv and all that and know I can avoid most of it if I don’t slip up on NCWP (no contact wherever possible) but could I truly say I don’t care about it all. Of course I care even though I really don’t want it to hurt me

    Is it just time CN that gets you past this point and great comments like the one above remind you what a slip-up can cost. By the way, thank you Kelly, I found myself looking at pics/videos of her online last night and haven’t done that for a while and yeah, I felt like crap afterwards.

    Some best ways to Grey Rock advice would be truly helpful. I won’t be taking my girl away from him certainly any time soon although I already think this would be much the best thing for me can see the co-parenting thing best for her. Although my heart sighs to think this is my new norm.

    Waaaaaaaaaaaa. Stop the bus, I wanna get off.

    • Hi there… I, too, co-parent with a fuckwit. He’s been through two outward facing relationships and 3 different addresses since he abandoned me and our son.

      For scheduling, we agreed to use a software called COZI… it is free… anyone can add items to it for the other person to see… no need to text “when is Danny’s soccer game”… it is all right there. (Also good for the courts in case your fuckwit says that you’re keeping information from him). I used that throughout elementary school… by middle school, his interest in knowing/caring dropped off. He’s now a one night a week for dinner/every other weekend Dad.

      For communication, I stopped responding to texts with anything but a monosyllabic answer: “Yes. Ok. Sure. Nope.” Anything that required more than that, I went to email so I would have a record for the courts… particularly when discussing changes to visitation, late child support, fun stuff like that.

      The challenge is that it is hard. You were bonded to this person. You now need to treat them like a stranger who broke in to your house (and your heart) with the INTENTION of HARMING YOU… oh, wait they actually did that… remember that 🙂

      You’ve got this. Don’t waste time fighting with a fuckwit.

      • We too used Cozi. In 9 months he had registered only ONE entry. I even had to register when MissMistress was visiting him.
        I stopped using it.

        • I use COZI ever since going no contact with my daughter’s dad. Staying in contact him was an emotionally draining cat and mouse game that just gave him access to reorder reality. I record everything on COZI, from when daughter goes to Dad’s only 4 days a month (is supposed to be 50/50) to the days and amounts I pay for medical appointments, clothing and the phone he uses to keep in contact with her. It’s sad, but it’s pretty obvious that his declining interest in his child was at least fueled in the past by access to verbally abuse me and physically be in my home. I never expected him to equally participate in COZI- he hasn’t entered a thing. But all his complaints of how and where I spend CS have gone silent- I guess he realized there it all was in glorious detail, that what he sends is easily less than half of her basic needs. And it’s convenient for me. It’s removed any need for him to speak to me outside of an emergency, and God knows he never responded for half of those anyway.

    • DGC–I’m sorry you are suffering. The early days are hell, especially if you have to have any contact with the fuckwit because of children.

      There are times additional information can benefit a chump getting to “Trust that S/He sucks,” (e.g., finding out my X had had a second (and then a third…) affair cemented my contempt for him), but sometimes seeking information is pain shopping. Figure out your motives and your possible reaction to the data before you seek out social media. Finding out that X and OW are about to go public is a painful piece of knowledge; seeking snippets of info about that event beforehand may be a way to mentally prepare yourself for it. However, if the info also crashes you emotionally, it is better not to find out.

      As for being friendly and chatty with X and OW–No. You do you. Integrity means behaving according to your belief system, and you rightly believe that the two cheaters are bad people for what they did to you and your children. Please don’t feel pressured to put on appearances; be civil but be true to yourself. Hugs.

      • THIS RITE Here—> “if the info also crashes you emotionally, it is better not to find out.”
        …and I might add…”requires mass consumption of live music (Bluegrass Please), to assuage the mind and allow for clear thought”.

        Madam “T”. You reverberated my gray matter today. Thank You.

        I’m sitting on 3 SIMs. Tried to access them with a cheap, cheap (WALMART$10) reader, Software is garbage.

        Maybe GOD was saying,

        ” Dude! You don’t need to know. You know who The Dragon really is now. 3 positively Identified Lovers is Fucking ENOUGH. Yeh?”

        I’ve put them in my sacrificial D-Box. A collection trove of ill gotten aldultery tools and memorbilia that adds just a taste of Mustard to the Shit Sandwich.. Yumm, Yumm.

        I need to brush my teeth now.

        Peace. Love. Strength. Financial Success Reward. Most Importantly Happiness. These are the garnished, productive, well fought for traits of Character that I observe in CN. Good on US!

    • Yup, betrayal pains like no other hurt.

      Trust that he sucks. No decent man can do this to a wife and child. He can coat it in whatever psycho babble he likes….he betrayed and ruined his family. There are no excuses for that. Your pain is justified. It will take several years to become more stable. We have to move thru it hard at it is. You are your child’s mom, and no one can ever take that place in her heart.

    • You don’t have to pretend like it’s all ok because it’s not. It’s best to avoid conflict,confrontation and badmouthing to others so they can’t paint you as the unstable one, but you don’ t have to go out of your way to be friendly or even civil either. No need to act like you condone their bad behavior. You do what makes you comfortable. Personally I am civil to ex because he is the kids’ dad and that makes life easier on them, but I refuse to acknowledge Schmoopie’s existence. That works out best for everyone. My ex doesn’t like it, but really, it beats the alternative and if he feels bad for Schmoopie he has only himself to blame for turning her into the kind of person I prefer to avoid.

    • Gray rock is a decision you make to rely on a communication style that doesn’t allow you to be manipulated. Here’s what I mean:

      You write: “[M]y feelings don’t count because his were hurt countless times before (didn’t say anything of course) so it’s just tit for tat if he’s cheated on me and I had it coming more or less.” Now I get that you say this with sarcasm and irony. But look at where you perspective comes from–him. He thinks your feelings don’t count. He does the DARVO thing and acts the victim (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim & Offender –> DARVO). That’s how you end up getting blamed for what he does. But even if you had written it straight (e.g., My STBX discounts my feelings and claims he’s the victim and the affair is my fault) my point would be: SO WHAT?

      There isn’t anything you have more evidence of than your STBX’s ability to manipulate you and to justify everything he does. What gray rock does is help you disconnect your thinking from his thinking, from his words and his reactions. You don’t want to have discussions and debates and consultations in which his puts forward his views on everything and you are never heard or validated. You don’t want his abusive, manipulative thinking to stay your thinking.

      Gray rock means devising ways to communicate kiddo schedules without actual contact, e.g., Cozi, Our Family Wizard or a Google calendar. It means committing to email and waiting 24-36 hours to respond so you have a chance to think and craft a reply. It means NOT REACTING to his demands for communication and attention. If he wanted that from you, he should have stayed married and faithful. You are under no obligation to relate to him in any way other than to say “DD went to the doctor and has strep. She will have her required medication and the instructions from the doctor when you pick her up.”

      Gray rock may mean doing custody switches in a public place or leaving STBX on the porch while you get the kid(s) ready to leave. It might mean telling STBX that he will need basic kid necessities at his house–PJs, enough clothes for custody visits, toothbrushes, etc.–and that kids should come home in the clothes you sent them in. It might mean taking a friend to kiddo events and school and picking a seat where he can’t join you.

      It should mean not being available by text or phone if the kids are with you. If you insist on leaving the open sewer of Fuckwit text messages access to your brain, at least make it a practice to NOT RESPOND without time to think if you 1) must respond because it is essential kid business; 2) want to respond to affirm the court ordered status quo; 3) can just ignore it.

      Gray rock isn’t a result of not caring what X and Schmoopies do. It’s how you get to the point where you don’t care.

      Finally, you might have to be in minimal contact because of the kids, but you can work hard at not thinking about him and OW. It will probably be easier when the divorce is over, but in the meantime, getting good at gray rock communication will help you with all of this. And it comes in very hand when people at work or church or elsewhere want to slop all over your boundaries.

    • Hang on DGC, just hang on. It sucks awfully and I admit I am lucky because ex left me without a glance and has never even seen our youngest, who was only 12 year old on D-day, IN 6 YEARS. But still I thought for the longest time- “I suck so much he doesn’t even want to see the kids to avoid me”. It’s the hardest thing to do but keep going forward- do it for your kids, do it for yourself, do it for your parents or your puppies or cats. Sometimes you’re crawling on your hands and knees but keep going forward and NEVER give up. Chump nation is here for you.

  • Yesterday, I went to my old house to pick up my mail. I had to go into the house (ex wasn’t home) and looked around for a box that has been missing since my move out. I was doing OK until I opened the (our) closet and saw him clothes. The ones that have washed over the years. The ones that smell like him. In true stereotypical fashion, I smelled them and burst into tears. Damn him….he was my world, and he was never going to love me that much. I still miss him.

    I do best with no contact, blocking all social media. Today is a new day and it’s a new week. Back to finishing my path to meh.

    • Miss Bailey, I am sending you a virtual hug. I remember, in collecting my stuff, opening up a drawer in the bedroom where I used to sleep with my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend) shortly after he discarded me. In it, I found a book on forming loving romantic relationships open to a section that was highlighted and hoping, against all rational hope, that he had studied the book to improve OUR relationship. Right next to the book, I saw a couple of condoms. We didn’t need those as at my age, me carrying any conceived offspring to term wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t know at the time that he was grooming his next partner, who was nearly a decade younger than me and, conveniently, worked under him, in more ways than one.

    • I think those are moments when we let go of the love & the sunk emotional costs to say goodbye piecemeal to the image we constructed. It will not have the same impact nor be repeated like a burned finger against the cast iron skillet. They are painful reminders and I think we scar over a bit every time.

      You’ve been heard.

    • They are minor setbacks. I’ve been trying to wake up each day with good thoughts and forward movements. Since I’ve moved out and now that I’m a new divorcee, my days of crying has become a little less and the crying is a little shorter each time.

      Trust that they suck, you can’t fix what you didn’t break and to thine ownself be true (the last 2 are favs of my momma) – they’ve helped carry me through this painstaking journey.

    • I was going through a drawer the other day and ran across another set of birthday/anniversary cards from him telling me how much he loved me and how happy he was to be my husband and he wanted us to be together forever. This set was from the year or so before his first physical affair that I know of. Broke my heart all over again. Even when he was being a jerk to me I felt secure in my marriage because of these cards. I thought he meant them.

      • Chumpinrecovery,

        I swear everything you say about your cheater was mine too- almost exactly. We had just gone on a trip together with his family. Both our kids birthdays were coming up within weeks. He has just bought me lots of nice things for Christmas and our anniversary a few weeks before that with engraved Christmas ornaments, personalized photo books and an engraved wine glass set. “Good morning gorgeous” texts filling my phone still every morning and good night kisses before bed. I knew that we were struggling a little bit but I still felt secure because of all these things he still did for me despite the little bit of trouble on the horizon. I DID NOT EXPECT FOR HIM TO WALK OUT FOR ANOTHER WOMAN! Met her, fucked her, left his whole family for her. Did not look back at all. Like a sociopath. He didn’t even know her.

      • There are reminders everywhere, a photo of me holding my new born baby sits on my mantlepiece, taken by the ex, books that I love, movies we watched together, etc… I havn’t gone NC as we have a complicated co parent situation, child lives with me but I drop her off at exes in the morning before school (I start work 7am 6 days a week) & I have to check the ex is actually there to receive our child. Some mornings I’m ok, others not, but I am getting better every day. I hate that little voice “look at her FB” but I know not to. Some great comments under this very good column, will bookmark this.

      • I had 100 of those cards and letters, from anniv, birthdays, holidays, valentines, letters from Afghanistan…
        I put them all in one of his boxes when he was packing to move.
        I just didn’t want them, I couldn’t keep the lies.
        Now he has to deal with them.
        Xo

  • Hey Kelly, I guess we all know how it feels to have been married for so long to a crook: all cheaters are vain, narcissistic, entitled, so by definition they are crooks. You are in good company here at CN.

    Like Tracy says, celebrate your honesty, competence and mightiness.

    PS: I google sparkledick once in a while for my kids sake and to feel relieved of what I got rid of, even though I cringe in shame about his useless, taxpayer-funded cushy job.

    Back in the days when I thought he was a decent man, I used to plead for him to leave his bullshit factory job. I actually thought his rage and devaluing were because he was unsatisfied with his useless work and didn’t know how to get out of it. He has a PhD, but did not have the resiliency it takes to persevere in Science.

  • Hi Kelly, You are an inspiration to me. My ex went poof when our daughter confronted him. I’m trying to start planning how to get her through college a best as possible now while she’s still in high school. She’s taking college summer classes right now. You are mighty mighty!
    My ex left with coworker and rented high scale house, bought lots of new shiny toys – campers, desert vehicles, boat, diamond ring, etc. etc. My daughter and I have two bicycles. And my house is quiet and peaceful. Just yesterday as I sitting in kiddie pool in the backyard relaxing, I was thinking how I don’t miss all those trips with his grouchy ugly self. He’s self destructing as the more he gets the more miserable he is.

  • Hi, they can buy a large house, but not provide for their children. My ex’s ow apparently didn’t want her children but wanted mine. Their friends probably think their really nice but don’t really know them, or see what they want to see. Good luck.

  • “You WIN THE FABULOUS SWEEPSTAKES!”

    This. He got Schmoopie and a fancy house, you got the kids, you win.

    Quite frankly, it doesn’t sound like he will be able to keep the house for long either and Schmoopie’s no prize.

  • Kelly, please take a look at Mark Sanford, The soon to be exrepresentative from the state of South Carolina. He had it all. His wife was wealthy, he had a good life with children who loved him. They vacationed off the coast of South Carolina, a magical place. He decided to run for Governor and his wife watched him, and his ego, become someone she did not know. He disappointed his constituents with his behavior by sneaking off to South America to his mistress but got elected to the House of Representatives by most people holding their noses. This time around he was defeated in the primary. I guess what I want you to see is that all of these wonderful stories that you think are their lives are not their lives. In the meantime the exMrs. Sanford has gone on to become a new bride and is so happy with her new life. That is you. You are happy in your new life. The turd you were married to is still a turd. If he is scamming someone is going to find out and then the place in Rhode Island will no longer be his home.

    • I’m originally from Rhode Island and when he is caught it will be the ACI-Adult Correctional Institute, which is close to the Sewer Treatment Plant. On beautiful summer days he will be able to smell the stench he too has created!

  • Every time I am tempted to think that the cosmic powers that be are unfair meanies for seemingly allowing the cheater and his strumpet to thrive (fancy wine, pricey dinners, two thousand dollar suits, the fawning worship of the masses) while I’m just over here scrambling for a decent teaching load, wondering how weeds pop up in the yard so quickly, and pondering the empty nest that heartrendingly looms, there comes a moment when one or both of my kids gently snaps me back to reality.

    Just this weekend, both were here and so were their friends, and it was glorious. I had a warm and tingly Jo March moment of savoring the delight that flows from being in the middle of a wilderness of children.

    At one point, I entered the kitchen and found the 18 year old boy-next-door doing a handstand of impressive duration in the middle of the floor as an admiring crew watched, and I was reminded that such joyful, spontaneous silliness could simply never happen with the glowering cheater anywhere on the premises. Would not have been permitted, but if it somehow happened despite his foreboding presence, he would have hunted me down and cornered me alone to excoriate me for allowing kitchen handstands that could result in injury, lawsuits, chaos, or—you know—fun.

    If that idiot ever decides finally to let me have this divorce, no doubt he and the strumpet will acquire a mansion and begin the whirl of Great Gatsby-esque parties marked by too much alcohol and privilege and too little morality or sense, but a wilderness of young people, handstands in the kitchen, and the achy love that almost bursts your heart will never be theirs.

    Gatsby’s green light is unreachable, illusory, a killing lie. But the light those kids moved through that evening—sunset, dusk, fairy lights strung in the garden, the warmth of the kitchen lights, firelight and candlelight as the night wore on, the steady glow of their friendship and love for each other—was true and beautiful.

    • Cashmere, I can relate to much of what you say. I sometimes wonder what life will be like after my kids reach majority. As my last boyfriend, left, permanently this time, last year and I can’t seem to get a real date, I anticipate being alone for the rest of my life, not my desired arrangement. My last boyfriend told me when he last discarded me (for his work subordinate) that my career wasn’t as good as his (he’s an executive at his company and was a chair of a professional organization–easier to do when you have no kids and put virtually all your time over decades into your career) and wasn’t good enough for him–never mind that I won a fellowship to a PhD program, raised kids, mostly without the help of adulterous, abusive, absent husband, while in doctoral program, competed in a couple of college sports, and worshiped the ground my boyfriend walked on for years. I thought that if I could be the next reincarnation of the Great Gatsby, I could win over my boyfriend (ex-boyfriend). Then I realized that years earlier, he broke up with a beautiful girlfriend of two years, who had a doctorate in a field similar to mine and had worked at Ivy Leagues, a month after she moved to his geographical area to live with him and set up practice there. Although they lived in the same home, they didn’t speak a word to each other for the few months it took her to find a new place to live. He also knew that he was going to separate from the military and move out of the region and she couldn’t easily just pick up and move again. So why didn’t he tell her this before she moved to be with him? I should have seen the writing on the wall–that I also wouldn’t last in his life, no matter how hard I tried. Like Gatsby, all I managed to do was get shot. However, unlike Gatsby, I haven’t become incredibly wealthy and super-popular. I lost whatever Meh I had last month, nearly a year since last discard of me, when I learned that my ex-boyfriend sold his house for a million dollars, perhaps to move in to his current partner’s million dollar plus house. (He told me that he missed being married–he just didn’t want to be married to me.) Seems as though all my exes have done much, much better than I have–the mansions, titles, marathon records, beautiful, talented young wives (before and after me), kids with gleaming white teeth, awards and scholarships, and trips around the world. Meanwhile, I am trying to gracefully cope with living with new roommates, a just-started-walking infant, his very young father, who by second month has already paid rent late, with unexpected house guest, giggling female, in the middle of the night, in a urine-scented small apartment in a not-so-ritzy part of town, and trying to get my kids off free lunches and make us financially secure. (Dad roommate keeps avoiding talking about important household issues, claiming that he hasn’t had time to talk, yet he has time to date–and bring home women I have never met to stay overnight, because he’s ‘helping them out,’ without telling me/my kids about having overnight guest in advance, which is a serious problem considering how my litigious, disordered ex-husband is prone to accusing me of endangering our kids.) Knowing my ex-boyfriend, he is probably jetting off to Italy to four-and five-star hotels for honeymoon. I am trying to stop hoping that the Karma Bus arrives for him and use my time and energy on my life so that I can help my family and deserving others. Unfortunately, I feel as though at over 50, I have finally ‘snapped,’ have become a ‘man hater,’ although I know a few good men, men who are relatives, husbands of my friends, or men who I greatly respect but would not marry (as we are friends but would be incompatible intimate partners).

      Kelly, thanks for so eloquently, concisely describing my thoughts. As life for my exes, especially my last boyfriend, seems to be coming up roses, much better than mine, when I fall into the Just World mindset, I think that I must have done something really wrong and deserve to have a worse life and he IS really Mr. Nice Guy, although he lied to, gaslit, insulted me for years and did this sort of thing to women before me. I am still experiencing a lot of cognitive dissonance.

      Onto more productive thoughts and actions today. I am setting a goal each day to improve the welfare of my family or the world in general. I have decided that when I feel lonely and unloved, instead of focusing on how I can stop feeling lonely and start feeling loved, I am going to try to figure out how to make OTHERS feel noticed and loved.

      • Is there any way for you to get out of your current roommate situation and find a more suitable roommate? It isn’t helping you. I understand you are in a tight spot, however, and may not have many options. Hugs to you.

      • Rockstar, set some boundaries with this young father. You can’t have strangers in your home and still protect your kids. If he can’t see that, he needs to move. You can look for someone more suitable.

        And I don’t need to tell you that it doesn’t matter how many million dollar homes a fuckwit owns or sells or moves into. He’s still a fuckwit. And that little tidbit about how he treated the woman WHO MOVED TO HIS AREA TO LIVE WITH HIM AND START HER PRACTICE THERE. Only a sociopath does this kind of stuff. So what if he has a younger female now? That just makes him pathetic. I so wish you could stop thinking about him. What a total loser.

    • Absolutely right, Cashmere (and eloquent).

      The Karma Bus is for *us.* Having been victimized, devalued, lied to, karma means that we chumps deserve a life filled with love and integrity. What happens to the cheater is irrelevant. Let them have their yachts, their adoration from shallow people, their fancy houses and vacations. We get friends with integrity, an ability to set a moral example for our children, moments of quiet joy. Those benefits don’t require 4031 square feet or a new Tesla.

    • Wow that is beautiful Casmere and so true. My DD casually mentioned she never has friends over when she’s at her dads house. She was also frustrated that he never lets her go do stuff with any of her friends when she’s doing her time with him. She’s 17 years old, will be a senior, has her license and a car. He’s a control freak. I sure hope young schmoopie is enjoying that life and has plenty of cuts on her feet from walking on constant eggshells 😂

    • Cashmere

      Aren’t you Glad that kids don’t comprehend the concept of Insurance yet!? ;O) That the billion to one odds of a kid (tops are made out of rubber, the bottoms are made out of springs…Credt Tigger here) hurting himself would happen as you look on. If a topple were to occur (Oops! there goes the Ming vase), The light-speed maternal programming takes over, like the arm across the passenger seat with a sudden stop.

      I’d probably do something stupid they’d find interesting like demonstrate ‘planks’ yoga positions. Once they accept the physical challenge, they’re off and running while I man the second hand!) See There. That’s old age and wisdom, plus a little wee bit of pre-teen psy-OPS. LOL Prize for the longest hold, a full size SNICKERS bar. Hey, They worked for it. Yeah, You’re right. The good stuff is this. Let there be No Doubt.

      I occasionally have the gift of working individually with young men in training (8-10-12 YO!) in a highly intensive martial arts class. It’s not for sissies. My Sensei watches me keenly to make sure I’m transmitting his teachings in pure form. He likes my rapport with these guys and sees that I invest in them to give them a positive “WELL DONE” reward of a well technique’d strike or kick. These dudes are limber, fast and pliable. They pick up quick once they figure out this stuff has value and is fun. And it’s contagious. The ones that are withdrawn in personality take a bit more gentleness and understanding. But they respond well as they build self confidence. Years of sales work taught me a lot about people, except the camelion I invested in. So I choose to re-invest in other genuine people now.

      When I close my eyes for the last time, and the neuron firing slows to a halt. These are the images I want to flood in, along with those emotions that go along with the ride. If there’s more of those I’ve forgotten over the years, and I truly feel there have been, then I think the good parts of my movie, will far outweigh the bad ones.

      Thanks for posting.

    • I love this! You are correct, and you have a wonderful outlook on life. You are going to be just fine!

    • I love teaching Gatsby– I harp on how Gatsby’s “American Dream” seems glamorous but all hinges upon stealing away a married woman and living with her in his fancy mansion that is built on lies! I hope that at least one of my students walks away from that unit realizing how much cheating destroys everything and solves nothing.

    • “The achy love that almost bursts your heart will never be theirs.” THIS.

      Whether or not others see the truth that our cheaters have a black hole where a heart should be, we know it to be true, and that’s enough. We win! We win because we love fully. Our cheaters have no idea what they’re missing.

    • Ah cashmere, your comments remind me of an article CL commented upon— written by a writer and probably fellow chump whose husband had abandoned her and their (numerous) teenage children to start a new family with a new wife. It was called “This is what you missed.” It isn’t just the graduations and birthdays and holidays they miss, it is also teenage angst, driving lessons, cranky tweets, and every happy silly beautiful moment inbetween that makes a real family.

  • Cashmere, you write more eloquently than most authors I have read. Please use your gift somewhere!

      • Cashmere….yes indeed. You definitely have a gift. I’m a journalism major and have been writing for years but nothing like the way you write. You could make serious $$$😊

  • Kelly… I bought tickets to watch the Karma bus. I get it…totally. My Ex got the house we built..no granite counter tops but 71 acres on a hill…beautiful. But he got the Post Office Whore with it. And guess what….he refused to marry her…and she left him. After 6 years…after all the drama…she bought her own house the same week I did…with his money. It happens…
    Now he is in the big house on the hill…alone…paying someone to feed the herd of cows and cut hay because he has to work out of state to afford to keep the house.
    I had mixed feelings when she left him. I felt like she should have to suffer as long as I did.
    I get it. NC is hard for me….I break it.
    I bought a house…paid in full…and I finally feel home. Its mine. All mine. And I never have to worry who is in it….or in my bed when I am not there.

  • Next time you have the urge to peek in on their life, watch “Finding Joe”. I have a copy and watched it last night. I found it to have great pain-relieving powers.

  • karma is a concept that never seemed real to me. It’s the old “people get what they deserve trap. The truth is, many people won’t get what they truly deserve. Such is life. I think we often say such tropes to justify our sacrifices when we all know if might never pay off. I know it wont for me. My dumbass ex will find some other woman to carry his weight and have “normal” kids with. It’s no fault on me, just how it goes. None of my sacrifice will win a prize for myself.

    One must meditate on meh. Instead of saying om, you say meh. Let go of karma.

    • To be an honest person with morals and values is reward in itself. Material stuff does not equal happiness.

      They can have a castle but they still are fucktards.

        • LJA you are on fire today!! You are every time you post but there’s lots of snark with that wisdom today😊. I hope you know how much you do for this community with your steady unwavering wisdom and creativity. You kick ass and are an inspiration! Thank you!!!

      • I’m not sure how much of reward it is when you are broke and kinda bored. Either way, I think we like to say things to ourselves to justify the world when we should simply accept that the world isn’t fair. Bad things will happen to good people. Horrid people may not get their just desserts. We can’t control that, but we can choose how we respond.

  • These have a “MO” whenever they really screw up they “prove” it was a great decision/action by buying toys, going on vacation etc. the bigger the screw up the bigger the smile, house, FB post. Every time you see it know, they did it again. You probably cleaned up after them, it’s not your job anymore. Thank god

  • Thanks CL for the reminder. We need to keep looking forward, concentrate on rebuilding our lives and completely ignore what they are doing. I wasn’t so blessed to get a good settlement, he basically found ways sticks me with all of the debt he ran up, and off with the OW and his family has accepted her with open arms.
    But what we sow is what we reap. And sometimes it takes years, decades even to someone to reap what they’ve sown. So I march on to MEH and know that my time will come. And theirs will as well….

  • Hey Kelly —

    I kind of blame your sister too. At first I thought, “What a bitch” she is for snooping and instigating trouble for you. Doesn’t she know anything about psychology?! Yah, around here we call such people Instigators. Anyway, next time little miss trouble maker even mentions your ex, is the time for the shrug, then look away and walk away. Say not a word. Practice it, often, until you get it down pat.

    Some of your sisters might be supportive. They all need to know that he is bad news, and you don’t want to talk about him or hear about him. If I were you, I’d be a bitch about it, draw a line in the sand: “I need to know that I am free to come here to relax and be with family, I will not be told about X-Hole and I will not be asked questions about X-Hole.”

  • THIS:

    All you see is “new house.” You don’t see any of the shitty life skills behind that purchase. No one got character or maturity transplants. Give it time.

    Once again CL nails it! Pretty much anyone can get a mortgage with 3% down and decent credit… but foreclosures and short sales exist for a reason.

    My fuckwit just co-signed a mortgage on a house with his GF of 18 months… newsflash… he’s still looking for casual sex via personal ads online (I, too, have a friend who gets a kick out of looking for him on sites)… so the only future this new girl has is to witness her life implode on this new house when she finds out because the day always comes for us all when we ignore Red Flags.

    Get back to meh and your wonderful messy life… I’d take that over Pawtucket any day.

  • I guess they need the big house so they can have all that group sex.

    Honestly, if I found out that my X asshat bought a big house with his 25YO Schmoops I think I would start giggling. Because now Schmoops will get to see what it is like to be the only adult and be the one to take care it why asshat runs around the world working, never there for a leaky dishwasher or shoveling the snow, and never there waiting for a repairman. Ever. I spent 28 years being the only adult when it came to any administrative duties with house and pets and finances. He couldn’t be bothered and I am certain he has not changed.

    Big houses take work, and entitled people hate that sort of boring responsibility. The relationship will erode under the weight of this stupid decision. And no doubt when they split they will need to dispose of Chez Twu Wuv and there will be fights and drama and someone has to be the grownup and do the work. Cheaters are not good at that.

    This house will probably be that solid gold anchor around their necks. Good luck with that, asshats!

    • This is a very good point. Actually the first flush of romance based on over a year of illicit meet ups, endless phone conversations and then ‘coming clean’ and of course this happened just when you are dealing with a broken family (I didn’t not want), an uncertain future, oh yeah also perhaps grieving the death of my father at the same time is this is uniquely the time where they will be at their most magnificent. Holidays, dream instagram shots. Wuv Wuv Wuv.

      Let’s fast forward – he won’t face me about maintenance or financial issue or there is something that affects her that she disagrees with, she will go mad. The money suddenly won’t go round and either he ends up full time with a daughter (and hence does she) or I have to move her away (sad daddy). He is as busy as usual and she’s doing what I used to do, his flaming company accounts, life admin. And then let’s hope they have a kid, or maybe two and he’s got to try to navigate us and his new family. Ooooh no thank you very much.

      By this time I will hopefully have found a way forward to function on my own and all those things that make your partner not quite so amazing as you first thought, all the boring bits, all the mundane crap that no one escapes. As both the kings of image management I am sure that won’t make it onto instagram. The baby sick, the rows, his avoidance of any vaguely awkward conversation. No it will be positivity, poetry, love, freedom, bleurgh.

      Why can’t they even help look after the flaming pets. I hear you. Does cat food also get brought by the little magic man who comes and arranges the buildings insurance renewal do you think?

      Also she’s roughly 12 years younger than me. I keep telling myself, you are not comparing apples with apples if you start comparing their life to what you had with him. This is the coward’s way out. Serious.

  • Maybe it’s wrong for me to read all this and take away what I do, but: who marries one of his/her group s– partners? It’s bad enough for someone to marry an AP, when you know firsthand this person can’t be trusted in a marriage. But marrying someone who’s cheated in such a, umm, non-intimate setting? There are so many things wrong there…

  • Fallen down the hole of “I just have to look…” too. I think we all do at some point. Found out my ex husband (Mr. I Have to Be Polyamorous, it’s Just Who I Am) is engaged to one of his partners. And they have matching tattoos. At first I was like “How the hell is HE getting remarried first and how is he meeting all these people?”

    Then I realized, he’s the same. It doesn’t matter. (Also my mom actually found this out too. She says this new fiancee of his “gives her the creeps.” She used to remain in contact with my ex husband, not anymore. …thank god because that was weird as hell for me…)

    They also live separately, with other partners, and sleep with other people, and they’re not having children. …So I don’t even know what their point is. That’s literally the opposite of marriage. What the hell are they even doing?

    Broke meh for a little bit, but then realized there literally isn’t any point on that one.

    Broke meh on one of my other exes, and he’s engaged too. To his schmoopie. But the broken meh didn’t last long on that one either because I’m WAY better looking than her. Not to honk my own horn but yes, he took a step down on that one. And you know what, maybe she’s just as much of a POS as him. In which case, trash finds it’s own level. She can put up with his tirades now.

    I just got a new apartment. To myself. It’s small, but I didn’t want something big. Part of the reason I chose it was because of the size. It’s quiet, and I have windows that face a pretty street. I am in one of my old neighborhoods where I know where everything is, and I’m nearby a coffee shop, a wine bar, a taco place, a place that has buffalo wings, etc. And one of my best friends just moved 15 minutes away. I when I go home, I’m actually HAPPY to be there. For the first time in about 5 years.

    So yeah, I’ve broken meh. For no real reason other than I was just being dumb. But these days I’m walking down the street with a smile on my face because I’m finally, both literally and figuratively, in a place in my life where I feel a consistent sense of happiness. And I know that it definitely has something to do with these people no longer being in it.

  • A good long term friend and I were catching up. Her cheater of a husband was entitled their entire marriage. She stayed with him for I don’t know why reasons….
    Over coffee, she quietly said; “Karma is very patient.”, but she still teared up.

    Her husbands stage 3 prostrate cancer. A very aggressive kind that has a tendency to return. Gladly, the survival rate with treatment is excellent, but “Mr. Winky” may never rise to the occasion again, from the treatments.

    Yes, Karma is patient.

    • Wormfree, that was a beautiful story. I will read again at least once a week, very powerful. Thank you, God bless

  • LAJ told me I was pain shopping when I posted about Dr. Cheaterpants and his young teenagebarbieschmoopie living high—big expensive house, vacations to Hawaii, lots of jewelry for schmoopie, expensive restaurants, and they dress very similar in young adult preppy clothes. It’s actually amusing to see but would be a lot funnier if it wasn’t my ex husband.

    When we were married for 20 years, we had a plan on saving so we could both cut back time at work for the last 10 or so years and visit kids. Now he will be working til he’s 102 years old to pay for all this stuff. He’s dropped my sons car insurance since he’s 18 and just graduated from high school. He gave some word salad that blame shifted me for the reason. Son saw through that.

    It’s hard to watch him living like a king right now though. It would love some consequences to hit sooner than later. But that just keeps me stuck and not looking forward to my own gaining a life.

    Kelly you sound pretty damn mighty. You have a rich life and you deserve to enjoy it!

  • This post resonates deeply. As part of our mediation agreement I had to sell the house (even though I got 100% of the profit…..Douchebag McGee’s last attempt at control). I sold the house and went on the county’s real estate records to make sure that we didn’t have property listed in our name once everything was done. Lo and behold, he’s on there with homeslice (who took his last name….I never took Douchebag’s last name and that was always an issue for him). They purchased a beautiful new house……dig a little deeper……her parents are also on the mortgage and deed. Why? Because their credit sucks. This is the same two people who took out a car loan for 19.4% interest for 7 years on a $27,000 vehicle (that’s $20,000 interest for 7 years for those of you that are curious).

    Initially I was super pissed…..he gets to live a nice life in a nice house. Reality sunk in…..it’s a fucking house…..with that is bills… a lot of bills to maintain that house. Cheers to them

    I thought about all of this: they get to be house poor for the next 30 years, paying into a house so they can look like they have a lot. They get to pay on a vehicle that probably won’t make it to 7 years before they have to start dropping money into it. I got the profit from the house, paid off all my debt and have some extra if I decide to buy again. Just because something looks sparkly and shiny on the outside doesn’t mean it is…..and sometimes it isn’t. He lost his daughter in all of this….she hasn’t seen him in months and that is something that he will have to live with for the rest of his life. Hidden costs….and a huge one at that.

    People end up building their future relationships with the same bricks from previous relationships if they don’t deal with their past. It can take a long time for it to happen, but it does happen. Karma will come, and hopefully we don’t even notice because we are too busy living our own lives.

    On a separate topic, Snickers has a candybar with the word “MEH” on it…. I smiled when I saw it. A goal to eat that candybar when I get there…..until then, it is in my freezer….waiting for me to catch up.

  • I get it. I soooo get it. I am a swirling mess of kids,dogs,crappy cars and unfabulousness. My x, on the other hand, is driving a new car that he keeps creepily clean and lives in some perfect mcmansion with no kids and the ow.
    He is totally winning at life. Or so it seems. But really he is a freak and a bastard. A mommas boy. He is living in a house he cant afford. He is a dead eyed zombie who pretended to love me for decades. Right up until he left.
    I am a mess but i am real. He is completely frightening to me. Like some kind of mystery meat. Fucking gross.

    • Leave A Lying this is so good I had to screen grab it…. “dead eyed zombie“ and “mystery meat”….exactly what Abandoner turned into when it came to our family!! With Sparkle Twat it’s all adoration and worship all over the internet though!!

  • Mine is completely frightening to me, I’m glad its not just me. When he comes near me I hide, or drop things. I an genuinely terrified of someone who can have been so utterly utterly two-faced, cheat on me and then truly belittle me and our relationship but then says says to his mum, ‘I just wish our communication wasn’t so bad, I still want to be there for her, I just want her to find happiness in her new-found freedom’. NEW FOUND FREEDOM!!! How very dare he.

    The reason this screws me up so much is because I am real. The incongruity of his actions is inexplicable to me. And this I hold dear as to never wanting to understand it, being frightened by it. I don’t like to think I have been so close to that kind of person and had no clue. Gross is the word.

    • Funny, he had no problem with “bad communication” when he was lying to you about his affair.

    • Have your attorney write a stern letter outlining the term “Parental Alienation” and why it will not be tolerated. Then include that in your divorce settlement, along with a life insurance policy with the children as beneficiaries, and college funding. Also, make sure your child support is paid through a legal entitiy that can garnish his salary/wages.

  • My new insight:

    What the schmucks and malordered do belongs to them.
    What I do belongs to me.

    I have learned so much from the fuckwit experience that I absolutely needed to learn about. People, their motivations their character and mine. My strength, weakness and power. How to protect me and mine. Boundaries. Self affirmation. Supporting my own decisions.

    I have work to do on myself. Its work worth doing.

    My intention and action benefits me.

    I don’t have any more time to spend on them. I am getting on with my marvelous life.

  • I think it comes down to not just fixing our pickers but changing our definition of “success.” Lots of people living in mansions with golden fixtures who are morally and emotionally bankrupt.

    Money is a useful commodity but it isn’t what produces happiness. It isn’t equivalent to success, other than financially. I wouldn’t give 2 cents for a person who would discard his kids and live in a mansion.

    • I’m convinced my ex-SIL stays with her husband because of the money. A while back, they tried to be foster parents and that experiment turned out horribly. Let’s just say that it got so bad with the ex-SIL that I told the ex that I was going to call Child Protective Services if something didn’t change. My ex and his sister are two peas in a pod and they feed off each other. Makes me sick.

      She loves that money way too much to leave her husband.

  • There is a huge difference between being happier with our houses and being happier with our lives. You could buy a McMansion and be happy with your giant house and still be abjectly miserable in your life.

    My son is good friends with a rich boy. One day the two of them were talking and my son was envying his friend – how he vacationed all over the world and had anything he wanted. “Yes,” said my son’s friend, “but you know what I wish I could have instead of all that? A mom like yours who bakes cookies and wants to help with homework. I don’t even know where my mom is most of the time.”

    You can have all the “things” and still have nothing. It’s all noisy gongs and clanging cymbals without love. And when you think about how you know first hand what it is to be unloved, you might ask how could any “thing” fix or fill that emptiness?

    Their karma is who they are. It’s their curse. And you can see how they try to fill the hollow space with “things” that only satisfy their external appearance and their superficial feelings. I say, leave them to it. Turn away from THEIR illusions and go follow YOUR dreams.

    • I see that all the time with kids– they just want their parents to be there for them in their ordinary, everyday lives. It’s really sad. I see this with my ex as well. He’s there inasmuch as it makes him look good and keeps him from feeling like he’s a bad parent. My younger son tonight who no longer visits with him referred to his father as “their dad” (meaning his other two siblings’ dad). All my son wants is a relationship with his dad, but the Owife hates my son, and my ex does what she says. He can surround himself with his fancy decor in his big house, but at the end of the day, he has nothing.

  • Kelly (and anyone tempted to pain shop), It’s not necessary to keep tabs of any kind on a cheater X. If the karma bus comes around their way, you will hear of it sooner or later. I was stalked and terrorized, and so I transferred my job, moved to another city, went NC with all Switzerland friends and acquaintances, and lived as invisible a life as possible as far as the Fucktard was concerned. When Fucktard X’s obituary was published, the congratulations came rolling in. (“Hey, Survivor, you can join FB/list your phone number/come back out into view!”) I’ll admit that I felt more than relief at the removal of the asshat as a personal threat. I was pleased that he’d reaped what he’d sown. But that process can take years, and those years are better spent building yourself a life of your choosing. So what if the cheater buys a showy house or a shiny car? They are still no one you’d want to know.

  • Yeah, the “just world doctrine” (or “just world fallacy”, as I think of it) is hard to give up.

    I think it’s particularly tough for us chumps because everyone gets practice with the “normal” version of it (“why do bad things happen to good people?”), but those of us still waiting for the karma bus to arrive are confronted with the reverse (“why do good things happen to bad people?”).

    Maybe we all need to ponder the similarities between the two cases as an assignment in achieving advanced meh.

  • Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Biggest mansion going. Most beautiful wife ever. Multimillion dollar career. Gorgeous kids. The cheating still happened and is still happening no doubt. There will be tears flowing behind those big mansion doors. As ChumpLady says ‘They’ve not had a character transplant’. Jay-z will always be the fool that has it all but wants more. He’s entitled. Let your ex n whore have their big house. Remember the bigger they are the harder they fall. Trust they suck. Keep doing you Queen x

  • I’ve gone to open houses of beautiful big houses for sale all over the country. The house NEVER looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. And that’s the metaphor for life here: all that glitters isn’t gold. I still remember how my XH described himself for his match.com dating profile. It was all a bunch of lies wrapped around a few truths.

    • Hey that is such a good point Meg. I visit lots of homes for work and you are so right, lots of places pretty on the outside but not on the inside…excellent metaphor…

  • My beloved therapist has to remind me at almost every session: don’t compare your insides to his outsides. And I have to talk myself out of wanting to break NC about school supply/clothing expenses, and the fact that it has now been over a month since Ex has had any contact with my sons and hasn’t mentioned wanting to see them at all over the remainder of summer break. It’s not worth the $150 or so I’d get for his portion of expenses, and though it is tough on my boys, I’m not going to chase him down even on their behalf. I made the mistake of going through his old email account and found a note between him and OW dated about 1 1/2 months before I even knew there was anything wrong in my marriage; it wasn’t sexual but involved running a marathon together and he never told me he had registered himself along with her, of course. Plus he introduced my sons to her a few weeks before the email hunt and TOLD THEM NOT TO TELL ME so I actually called him on the phone for that one…. anyway, all this to voice my agreement that, yes, NC is the path to the truth and the light.

  • I think sometimes the way we see these cheaters and their lives is similar to seeing someone on old television technology, all made up and looking (we think) fabulous and then seeing them close up in HD where all the bumps and scars under the make up are now visible.

    My grandmother died when I was a young teen. She had helped raise me and I cannot remember loving anyone more than her when I was growing up. I miss her to this day, but I am not going to go dig her up and set up housekeeping with her corpse. That’s what I think of whenever I think I miss the relationship I had with my Ex. He killed that marriage with his hypocrisy, mendacity and duplicity. That relationship is a rotten, stinking corpse that needs to stay buried. Yes, we had some great times and we shared some great experiences and moments, but good times and good experiences do not necessarily make a good relationship. A couple of great scenes in an otherwise lousy movie doesn’t make it a great movie.

    We are frequently seduced by the “appearance” of things. The child molester is always one of the best-loved people in the neighborhood. The hospital serial killer was one of the best-loved nurses on staff. The contractor who never finished the job and stole the old lady’s life savings came highly recommended. It doesn’t matter what kind of home they live in, what kind of car they drive – their character is eternal. Putting a turd in a Tiffany box doesn’t change it’s substance into a diamond necklace. Cheater relationships are like crumbling walls – you can cover them with beautiful wallpaper, but the rot is still underneath.

  • What these Google searches don’t tell us is what is really important. For example, my ex owns a giant house (not kidding– four of my little house could probably fit inside of it) that is a beautiful, historic home. He remarried (while I’m sad and single, of course) and has the “perfect” blended family. The kids all do well in school (well, at least mine do) and stay out of trouble. He has wealthy parents who probably still continue to give him money. I should be angry and jealous, right?

    Nope– that house is a prison. He is married to a jealous, controlling woman who is trying to do everything to destroy any connection he has to his life before her. He has allowed himself to become fully alienated from one of our children, and another one is currently headed in that same direction. If he visits or calls his family, he barely involves our kids when we used to visit them and have regular phone contact while he was married to me. Almost every interaction he has with me is angry or condescending, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m the model ex. I hardly ever contact him, and I always keep my distance when we are forced to be in the same place.

    He can have his money and his big house. Neither have brought him happiness, and he is becoming estranged from his own family, something that would be devastating to me if I had to endure it.

  • I’m most likely to Pain Shop when I am feeling less than confident. Yeah, just gonna take a peak at FB — maybe I will find out that OW has gained 100 pounds or maybe her MLM career will have crashed and burned. Or this one (my favorite) – Just gonna ask my kid how dad seemed. I’m hoping to feel better by learning that cheater is not doing so well.

    I just heard a great comment on confidence: Confidence comes from keeping the promises you make to yourself.

    Using that to work on my self-confidence as a vaccine against the pain shopping disease.

  • This –
    “I just heard a great comment on confidence: Confidence comes from keeping the promises you make to yourself.”

    Saving this Chumplanta! Thank you for sharing.

  • ‘“OMG, the walk-in closet is MINE, Cliff!’

    I’m late to the party tonight but, that is one freaking funny description.

    Love me my Chump Lady on a daily basis.

  • I get the sense that if Kelly got to choose between spending her money on raising her kids or living in a big home it’d be the kids hands down. So the big house is just sparkle on a life that would be rubbish for her.

    CL says she doesn’t believe in karma, but ‘he has to be him’ is much more like the Buddhist idea of karma than the idea that bad people will suffer eventually.

  • I remember one day when I was in Reconciliation and going thru my daily internal struggle of ” I hate this cheating, lying creep but am trying to Save My Marriage anyway.” I thought to myself “I wish the whore had to put up with this guy on a daily basis, and find out who he REALLY is. ” I knew at that moment the reason these Affairs flourish and can last is because they do not have to put up with these fuckers and who they really are, all the time, for years. At that time I knew that he would be the same asshole forever, but hid it from people who did not have to live with him, day in, day out, year in, year out. Bleggg. After that point, he could live in the Taj Mahal but it wouldn’t change the jerk he is.

  • I needed to read this today. Thank you for having your articles archived, CL. I have been in meh for a while and heard ex purchased a brand new home with money he doesn’t have with his good credit that I built him. I also lost it, but soon realized who cares. They are still horrible people.

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