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Chump Lady Descends Into Middle Age

Happy birthday to me today. Every year I rerun this column, which has become one of the founding texts of CN. To the newbies, my 40th birthday was absurdly awful — I spent it shoveling shit. What a difference a few years makes. It’s 2018 now, I’m fifty&^%#two (!!!) today and I’m working on my birthday. At the time I was ankle-deep in cow poo, literally and figuratively, I could not have imagined my future good fortune.

Mr. CL still wakes me up with pastries (no French toast) for my birthday. (This picture is of us from this weekend.) I’m a little older, a little squidgier, but today is a Tuesday. No pain. 

To anyone still shoveling shit — it gets better. Keep the faith.

Happy Birthday Chump Lady 2012

Well, I try not to blog about myself too much, because God, how narcissistic and dull. (Mommy blogging anyone? Does anyone want to know about my son’s travails with geometry?) But I’m going to make an exception today, because today is my birthday. (Cue Leslie Gore… “It’s my birthday! And I’ll blog if I want to! Blog if I want to!”…)

I’m 46, if you’re curious. Fairly ancient.

What does my descent into middle-aged decrepitude  have to do with infidelity? Well, my 46th birthday is a nice reminder of my 40th birthday, which sucked epically. And I thought I’d tell you about it as a little example of how different life can be post-cheater.

When I turned 40, I had just moved to a new state with my then husband for his job. I’d been married four months. We bought a 100-year old fixer upper house (with my money) and it had been badly neglected. A widow had owned it and hadn’t done yard work since her husband had died years ago. But hey, you know what they say about codependents, right? Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things. I was still a flaming codependent. I loved the potential of this ancient pile of house and I was resurrecting the garden singlehandedly.

It was the day of my fortieth birthday and I ordered myself a truck load of cow manure from a local farmer. He delivered it, dumped it in my yard and I spent the day ankle deep in shit, shoveling cow flop around.

At the time — swear to GOD — I thought “I’m ankle deep in shit on my fortieth birthday. This must be a METAPHOR for something!”

My metaphor called me about six weeks later. It was the Other Woman phoning to let me know she existed. Turns out — surprise! — my husband had a mistress spanning 20 years and three marriages. No, I had NO IDEA. Remember, I’m a CHUMP. No clue. None. Zip. Zilch.

I had just moved to a no fault divorce state, financed a serial cheater’s career move, and bought a 100-year old fixer upper with this fucking sociopath.

How I got out of that mess is another story for another time (many miracles, many blessings, a lot of idiocy on my part — idiocy I share with you as trial-tested results of What Not To DO). The point was… my birthday.

My fortieth birthday sucked. I literally spread shit on my fortieth birthday. My cheater husband’s gift to me was a pen. (Admittedly a nicer gift than the tie-dye motif license plate cover he presented to me that Christmas). And during that weekend, unbeknownst to me at the time, he was off screwing his mistress. Cherry on top of the shit sundae.

What a difference six years makes.

Today I am remarried to a great guy who is truly my better half. He’s nerdy and kind and super smart. Verbal. Bright. A mensch. A wonderful father to his kids and a rock to my son. He eats too much popcorn and loves polka music. His quirks fit my quirks. I marvel every day at my amazing fortune that this is my life and he is my husband… and I will shut up now before you choke on my treacly, heartfelt, love goop.

My husband has been pestering me for the last week about what I want for my birthday breakfast. He is a master at French toast, and tragically for him, I do not care for French toast. (“It’s JUST LIKE BREAD PUDDING! You love bread pudding!” No, it’s not the same. French toast is a pale substitute because it’s not drenched in Bourbon.) I got a sweet roll and coffee and roses for breakfast. Swoon.

He took me out on a date last weekend and gave me a ridiculously extravagant gift. He put a pressed shirt on, and the man hates to wear all things dry clean only. He opened my door. He bought the fancy dinner.

I’m not writing this to make you hate me. I am writing this to you to say  — YOU ALL DESERVE THIS. Everyone deserves to have someone in their life who delights in delighting them. Who gets honest to God pleasure from giving to them. Who  will go to whatever effort just to PLEASE you on your birthday.

You know what’s sexy? EFFORT. Effort is sexy.

I didn’t know this until I was 42 and met my husband. I spent a lifetime in my relationships shoveling shit to one degree or another. I’m not saying <sniff!> no one loved me, no one bought me a pretty present. I’m saying — I didn’t know what reciprocity felt like. What it was to love someone who loved me back just as hard, maybe harder. Who if I lobbed the ball to him, picked it up and lobbed it right back. Who threw it further into the green, past me, so that I had to run to catch it. Who (damn him) is ahead on this birthday celebration thing. But I have a few things planned… his turn is coming…

Betrayed folks — do not settle. Good people who make effort exist. Go find each other.

Going to go celebrate some more. I’ve got a sugar coma now, between my prose and the birthday cake… maybe I’ll go take a nap… Happy birthday to me!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • When I was screwing my courage to the sticking point (Lady MacBeth) to leave, I used to repeat Louise’s line from “Thelma and Louise”: “You get what you settle for.” Eventually I decided to take the advice I’d seen somewhere and “settle for more.” My court date is in three weeks!

      Happy Birthday, Chump Lady!

    • Yes! Also, know the difference between what you think you want and what you actually need. People who look great on paper don’t always behave great in person, and vice versa.

  • Happy Birthday, ChumpLady! 🎈

    The last birthday I was with my ex he spent with OW. That was 5 birthdays ago. Still stings a little.

    • ExpatChump, #metoo! I’m so sorry about your last birthday your w f*wit x. It does sting. Same here. It was my birthday last year, I found out the following day why my texts to him went ignored: he was meeting w skank MOW that I knew nothing about before. Like ChumpLady, I was reflective on my birthday, what would come my way this new year on earth. I am SO grateful for the Dday discovery of the depth of his deception to me. Happening the day after my 55th birthday, I knew that I couldn’t spend one more day of the rest of my life being lied to and disrespected. It ceushed me, but I grieved a marriage he had been murdering for 3 years. I am almost completely NC (Still a DD16 at home), abd I don’t miss 1 thing about him.

      Happy birthday, CL! Tracy, your handling of your manure has fertilized a million chumpy hearts into blossoming in new cheater-free lives. I thank you for mine!!

        • Happy Birthday Chumplady!
          I can tell you that the first time you personally responded to an email I sent you I was buoyant! You’re a celebrity and saint all rolled into one amazing human (with beautiful hair!!)
          I admire you so much for what you have created here. A space and support mechanism for chumps like me. Thank you and enjoy your birthday!

          • Yes, a very happy birthday to you, CL! You deserve many more happy birthdays w/Mr. CL. Maybe at some point, the rest of us will join you in that hallowed state of bliss.

            I’m still working towards meh for the STBXW. D-day was 4/6/17, and what would have been our 26th wedding anniversary will be tomorrow. I’ve let her know that I don’t want to hear from her in any way, shape or form on what was our anniversary date, on major holidays, or our birthdays in this year and forever into the future.

            I emailed her about this directly to try to keep to NC as much as possible, and not through the youngest of our three children like I did last year (our only minor, shared equally; sort of), the now almost 13 yo son that she initially left me alone with less than two weeks after D-day when he was 11 yo (I learned not to make the children the messengers).

            She had to be w/her pathetic, 15 years older, rich and politically powerful AP (at least in our state), her now FORMER BOSS, because they’re in love, doncha’ know? Did I mention he ended a 40 year marriage to have at least a three month affair with her, and then shacked up w/her, first a half mile from (now) my house on the same street, and are now in a condo an eighth of a mile behind me? She’s a local politician, so she can’t move out of the area and lose her political seat, and he’s going to mentor her and push her politically, you see! They make me ill. Your re-posting of “The ones who just leave” was especially pertinent to me. Ok, enough about me and the shitty STBXW. Happy thoughts. Sorry!

            I’m w/Iris; your personal response to me when I first asked for help when I set myself up to login on the site was a wonderful sign to me that you actually cared about your blog readers. That alone buoyed my spirits.

            So I hope you had a great day, and that the rest of your year goes even better. You’re doing great work, and speaking for myself, I’m very glad you’re on this earth!

          • Ditto to all the above, happy birthday Tracey, thank you for this site. Yes you have amazing hair, beautiful. So glad you are no longer shovelling shit!

      • On my 30th birthday I followed my first cheater to a hotel after he clocked out of his second shift job. He had left me and our 5 and two year old daughters the day before (Christmas!). I was sitting at home stunned when a friend called. She came and picked me up and insisted that when he got off work we were following him. I honestly hadn’t even thought of him cheating. Well at the hotel he got out of his car and just stood around for a while until schmoopie pulled in, got out, they kissed and then walked in together. I spent my thirtieth birthday puking my guts out in front of a cheap motel withe knowledge of exactly how big a bastard he was descending on me like a lead weight. I still hate him for that. I know I’m supposed to be at meh, but no I am not.

      • ChumpDiva they really are all the same, aren’t they. I hope you celebrate yourself to the fullest every birthday hence forth.

    • Last birthday with my ex he bought “trip cancellation” insurance for our September trip to Italy. Of course he never mentioned it. He scheduled the same trip with HER and his mother by that October. Yes, they went while we were still married.

  • You know what’s sexy? EFFORT. Effort is sexy.

    This reminds me of a little joke my boyfriend and I have.

    He gets dressed up for me when we go somewhere nice. He knows how sexy it is to me that he has his shirts pressed. He’ll say, “Yeah–you must be really special. I’m wasting a dry-cleaned shirt on you.” And we giggle. It’s a play on connotation. And, anyway, I’m worth it. Even if it’s taken me a long time to realize it. Most times, I waste a dress on him, too. 😀

    Good Lord, how I love that man.

    Maybe we should write thank you cards to OPs on Friday!

    • You are SO worth a pressed shirt & much more, Stephanie.

      Yes, thank you cards to the affair partners! I now think of D-day as my Willie Wonka Golden Ticket out of a soul-sucking life to an emotional abuser and serial cheater. The other side of life is fantastic.

      • “Yes, thank you cards to the affair partners! I now think of D-day as my Willie Wonka Golden Ticket out of a soul-sucking life to an emotional abuser and serial cheater. The other side of life is fantastic.” <——- THIS!!! Amen, Sister Tempest.

      • That’s what one of my friends said. Her husband of 20 years was cheated on by his first wife. My friend and this guy met doing country line dancing–apparently a very good way to meet up with people. He is a professor, a bit older than she is, and she sees him as the smartest, kindest, and funniest man she’s ever known. She is so thankful for the OP to have tanked the marriage so that she could meet up with this guy.

  • Your story makes me cry tears of joy. Honestly, Tracy, you are a saint to so many of us. I honestly do not know where I would turn to for support everyday if it wasn’t for you. You are amazing on so many levels. You are a gift in and of itself.

    Happy birthday!

    • This , 10,000 times. You’ve encouraged so many Chumps to stand up for themselves!!!

      You do great work, CL. And you deserve that great guy!!!

  • I hope you have many more wonderful birthdays… I hope you know that you have been giving every chump a ‘present’ every time you write an article. I know I read one on my last few birthdays… so THANK YOU and CONGRATS!

  • Happy Birthday! So glad you’re getting the treatment you deserve for it!

    I’m a fairly new follower of your blog, so I didn’t know the story about you hearing from your ex’s OW. I can’t help but think wow, this woman has been the OW through 3 marriages – her self respect must be in tatters!

      • I belong to a crafty group all senior woman in their 60 – 70s. Last week a women who I hand to met before came and was bemoaning her financial situation due to her seperateld status from her husband. It sounded pretty dire and the guy was really putting her through the pick dance. Several women suggested she see a lawyer etc and get things sorted out. This woman was 76 and looked like someone’s dear gramma. She just couldn’t get that she should have no contact and get legal advice etc. did I mention she’d been seperateld for 20 years. I assumed he’d left her for another women and she was trying to win him back all these years. So, I told her my story that after 40 years, I was dumped blah blah blah and I had gotten a seperation agreement right away and it enabled me to have a good life etc. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, when I said he left me for another women shereplied, well I left him for another man. I was truly speechless. Here is this OW at 76 who still doesn’t get what she has done to this man and thinks her husband owes her something. They truly are disordered she just foes t get it!

          • I think he’s holding his own. He is taking vacations to Europe with the kids and grandkids and then leaving messages on her phone that it was a wonderful time etc. He seems to enjoy making sure she knows what she’s given up, cheating has consequences! It all sounds like they have a terrible relationship and no one has moved on. I was just startled that this otherwise seemingly helpless women was an OW! Of course, that may have been the attraction to the OM. Who knows they’re everywhere !

        • My grandmother shocked me when I was a teen by calling another old woman a dirty name. When I expressed my dismay she said, “There are a lot of nasty whores hiding under the respectable cloak of old age!” Now that I am in my fifties I can tell you it is the truth because these shitty humans do not change by and large.

  • Happy Birthday CL! thank you so much for sharing your hard-won wisdom, UBT and snark. Also Happy Tuesday to you and Mr CL.

  • Happy birthday Tracy, happy birthday to you! Teehee, the memories! My 40th birthday was 8 weeks after I married Mr. Nice Guy TM and he didn’t get me a present really – he re-gifted me with a gag gift I gave him the year before. When I give a birthday present, it can be one nice present and one joke. He gave me the joke back and no present and said Happy Birthday before he left for the office. Was the good stuff coming later? He came back the night before from an entire week out of town and spent it all real close to the biggest shopping centre for hundreds and hundreds of miles. He couldn’t have missed it. When he got home, I had supper ready because he didn’t call to invite me out. He ate and sat in front of the TV and I cleaned up. This was hurting now. No effort, not a cake or a candle or a card. And no gift. Not really. Eight weeks married and already no effort to please me. I wept. I moved 4 hours from my family and friends to make a life with him and got this. The marriage lasteded a cringeworthy 10 years. The next day though, he went to the only gift shop in town (the drugstore!) and came back with a wrapped package and an envelope containing a belated birthday card to make it up to me. He left them on the table and hid out in the garage. I opened my birthday present – wow – a box of tea bags. If there’s a contest for worst presents, count me in!

    • Exhole worked a union job and they received items on occasion as a ‘safety award’ for having 0 accidents during that quarter. They got jackets one quarter. He gave me his ‘safety award’ jacket for Christmas that year. I’ve never worn the fucking thing (I already have a million jackets), but I keep it as a reminder of what an asshole I was married to.
      Happy Birthday Tracy!

  • What he did on my birthday was one of his favourite tricks by the way – setting me up for disappointment! He was loathe to miss a chance to do so.

  • Happy Birthday, wishing you much health and love around you! 🎂❤️
    Middle age, best time to live to the fullest 💃😍🌺

  • The best way for Chump Nation to show our appreciation on Chump Lady’s birthday is (for those that can afford it) to support her on Patreon so she can be Chump Lady full time: https://www.chumplady.com/2018/04/happy-blog-birthday-chump-nation-viva-la-revolution/

    Chump Lady supported me through the worst period of my life. The least I could do to show my gratitude and appreciation is to support her on Patreon.

    (I apologise if this is a duplicate post but I lost the first one)

    • I agree with the idea of a birthday gift via a Patreon subscription. I saved thousands of dollars, maybe tens of thousands in counselling that I didn’t need because I learned what I needed to ‘gain a life’ right here from Chump Lady. For that reason, I am subscribing on Patreon. …and yes, f**kwit ruined all my birthdays and anniversaries but not anymore! Happy Birthday Tracy and thanks for all that you do.

  • Happy Birthday! May every birthday being you better bourbon, warmth and love.

    Especially when it’s raining for what, the 100th day? Ugh. May you not find a birthday tree on your house or car!

  • Happy birthday 🙂
    My 40th sucked too. It was six months after I’d discovered my ex’s cheating through a letter from ow#1, telling me all about her and ow#2 & #3.
    For my ex’s 40th we went on an amazing, no expense spared, trip to Istanbul to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix. He promised me, that for mine, we’d go to Monaco. He was still talking about it just a week or so before I got the letter. All day long on my 40th birthday I was thinking, ” I should be in Monaco right now”. I’m not too close to meh yet and haven’t had another relationship since – I’m not ready – and I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive him for making my big birthday one that I can only think about with anger and sadness.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady, you deserve it so much!!!. Since I read your book my attitude changed, I can see clearly now that the man I loved it’s not worth my tears, that I’m better without that trash. The MEH is closer and closer every day..
    This year was my 42nd birthday and I sobbed that entire day( back to March). I found out about his affair in February. There was no card from him, there was no present, there was only broken promise..
    Next year I’m going to spoil myself,get something special for my b’day and remember that I don’t need a man to feel better about myself!

  • Just wanted to say thank you for all the birthday wishes. I’m reading them as I’m waiting for breakfast. Then I’ll be off the grid for awhile later. But THANK YOU. Thanks for this amazing community of funny, resilient, compassionate folks.

  • Happy, happy birthday! Have an amazing day.

    You’re right that effort is sexy.

    But, he is the lucky one to have scored an adorable woman who is talented and bright, with a quick wit, a quirky sense of humour, and a strong ethic.

    You are a gift.

  • Happy Birthday, there is life after being cheated/abused. You have to make your life your own. Worst of all is the Swedish friends, being impartial, when they know the truth. I concentrate on myself and kids. Hopefully will find significant other, but not actually looking, I don’t know if that makes sense.

    • The Swedish thing is a joke, right? Just to make sure: my Swedish neighbor is absolutely awesome. Most of the time she is angrier at my XW over her shenanigans than I am. Swedes are pretty great – despite what my childhood Norwegian friend told me.

  • I cannot imagine a world without you in it… so grateful for you and wishing you the happiest of fuckwit free birthdays… yet 🙂

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! You deserve the best of the best and I’m so happy you have Mr. CL to pamper you on your special day!! You are an inspiration to chumps in all sorts of situations and stages of their journey.

    My birthday after Dday #2 with yet another schmoopie in my 20 years with what I know now as a serial cheater, Dr. Cheaterpants, was a wake up call. I sat in a restaurant with my mom and my teens to celebrate. Don’t get me wrong, I was so grateful for them. But in that moment, I realized I had been alienated from everyone who had cared about me over the years. Yes he isolated me. But I let him.

    I’m an introvert by nature, horribly shy, but I am working on gaining that life. Developing friendships. Not out looking for love. But deep, meaningful friendships. Those are hard to find and need to be nurtured when you do.

    Thank you for showing us what healthy looks like. Reciprocal. Not perfect. But reciprocal. As you blow out your candles, I’ll be making a wish that many more join Patreon that can so more chumps can be helped through this.

  • Happy happy birthday!! This site is a lifeline for me and for many of us. I can’t possibly thank you enough for that

  • Happy Birthday CL. Without you and Chump Nation I don’t know where I would be now and I am forever thankful for your snark. Because of you all I am off the floor (and the tears are gone) and loving my cheater-free life. I hope your day is super fantastic!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!

    Thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do for us Chumps. Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Happy Birthday, CL!!! Hope you have a fabulous day, even though you have to work.

    And this: “His quirks fit my quirks.” YES! This is what I’m looking for…just have to figure out how to go about meeting people.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! My ex left right before my 51st birthday and I thought my life was over. (As an extra bonus, I had also become a single parent to a severely autistic 16 yr old boy).

    I will be 54 next month and I can’t tell you how much better EVERYTHING is. I have traveled the world, dated an amazing guy and bought a vacation home in the Caribbean. Once I cut off that festering appendage, I was free to be happy. Thanks for the kick in the butt to get me over the hump. ❤️

  • A cpl weeks before my 50th bday I caught my husband texting in hiding. He told me very indignantly that he was planning a surprise party for me and I ruined it. Of course I felt bad. ( he wasn’t). After he said this , he had to throw together a hap hazard party. He got my daughter involved and didn’t do a thing. My daughter ( then 20) eventually told me because she didn’t have any of our friends phones numbers. So my daughter and I planned my own surprise party. Right down to buying food and snacks and drinks ugghh.

    • Oh yeah, this sounds familiar! I planned and executed my own 50th birthday party because Assholio was in the discard and devalue stage, so couldn’t be bothered. The few things I did ask him to do, he sulked and grudgingly did. Then ended up leaving the party early because he wasn’t getting enough attention. It still burns me up five years later…

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Thank you for this site and for helping us usher our own Tuesdays into our lives.

    I hope you and Mr. CL have a great day!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy.

    You give the most precious gift to all of us ~ everyday.

    HOPE. Real hope, not hopium.

    Thank you.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy. Enjoy your special day.

    Thank you for being a unique voice in the devastation of infidelity. Without you, many of us would still be with a cheater. Ewwww yuck!

  • Stories like yours (of husband now) make me realise what I put up with in my own marriage, even before he started his affair. The worse was the Christmas I actually bought and wrapped my own gifts from him, as I was so tired of him buying something like a toilet brush and pretending it was a joke gift. ‘But I never know what to get you,’ he complained. I now realise he couldn’t be bothered to know me well enough to buy me something I’d really like. Funny how my friends and family never have any problems shopping for me. Dragons! ‘Doctor Who’ related! It’s not that difficult…

    • My cheater couldn’t be bothered with Christmas. Didn’t want a tree. No decorations. We didn’t exchange gifts. Such a Debbie Downer. I’m getting a tree for myself this year!

    • I hope that toilet brush gift was an exaggeration? Please tell me it was. That is horrible. I’m glad you wrapped the gifts you bought yourself. You are so worth that extra bit of effort, even if he was too much of a fuckwit to see it.

      • As my cheater once gave me an iron skillet for my birthday (the first and only time that he bought me a gift in over 40 years together), I am certain that was NOT an exaggeration. Did I ask for a skillet? Nope. Did I want a skillet? Nope. Did he immediately ask me to cook him something in that skillet. You bet! I always bought him loads of gifts and planned big shindigs or week long vacations wherever he wanted to go for his birthdays. I never once was feted on my birthday. No cake, unless I baked it. No party ever. He did, however, take his AP out on my birthdays (saw the charges on the credit card) while I was at work. No reciprocity whatsoever. If you are wondering or hoping that your unicorn is truly a unicorn, ask yourself if there is reciprocity in your relationship. Something I learned from my therapist. No reciprocity equals no measurable actions of love. Big revelation to me; I never got or even expected any reciprocity.

  • Happy Birthday to yooooooooouuuuuuu.

    Thank you for creating this place. Would gave been–and still would be–utterly list without it.

  • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady! We are around the same age (I am only a few months younger, although I did choke when you said 52 😳. Are you sure that’s right? 😂), so your words are very relevant.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. You definitely helped change my perspective on things (maybe I’m a little too hard nosed now… especially with those Switzerland friends…ha ha).

    While I maybe wasn’t shoveling manure on a milestone birthday, I’ve had many birthdays and holidays that I “let” my ex ruin for me. Really stupid to have allowed that. Never again. (Was this the Pennsylvania ex?)

    Enjoy your day! So glad you’re not shoveling manure on this birthday (unless you really want to!).

    ❤️🎂🎈🎉🎊

  • Dearest Tracy
    Happy birthday from Oz and my world of baking!
    My best birthday gift? I walked out of a loveless fraud of a 30 yr marriage the year I turned 60 and my customers and friends turned out in hordes to show me how much I was loved! I never knew! On my birthday 40 friends family customers colleagues turned up at my door to spend the evening celebrating my birthday! It still bring tears to my eyes! Life is happier, and more fulfilling on your own! Tuesday has still not arrived but it will one day!
    Thank you for validating my worthiness and saving my sanity.
    I have morphed into a wonderful badass! So proud to share and support this community

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!! And abundant gratitude for providing the lifeline that allowed millions of us to climb out of the mudpits of our marriages, and blossom into our best selves.

    bouquet

  • Thanks to you CL I now understand that effort is sexy and that actions, not words, are what to pay attention to. My whole world view has shifted thanks to you. And I don’t want to sound dramatic but you saved my life. Your words of wisdom, your perspective on surviving a sociopath cheater and your ability to cut thru what these people did to us so we can move on to healthier lives is a debt I will never be able to repay. Happy Birthday!

  • Happy birthday Tracy! Sounds like you found yourself an almost perfect gem… excluding the polka music, lol! Yet, I’d happily do a birthday polka over a birthday pick me dance any day!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy – may your year be filled with love and reciprocity.

    I don’t know what I would have done these 5 month without CL. I didn’t know about No Contact – it’s been a mental life preserver. Thank you for giving back to us Chumps. I have learned so much about cheating, people who cheat and what a sham my marriage really was. I can’t tell you how many buckets of spackle used in the last 19 years. I spackled so well that people were genuinely shocked that we were getting divorced.

    I know I deserve better. I deserve someone that reciprocates with sincerity and genuineness. I’m learning that it’s OK to have boundaries, it’s OK to say no, it’s OK to look out for me, and be vocal about what I need or want.

  • “EFFORT is Sexy”
    Your words brought tears to my eyes. Brilliant, so true.
    That such a wonderful man, puts so much effort into making your day special, just by being who he is, by being what he is, everyday, by his character, well that is natural effort, the wanting to please you, just because he loves you.

    He.Truly.Loves.You=The.Best.Birthday.Present.Ever.
    🌈
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY CL!
    (Ok to eat lots of real genuine cake today)!

  • And a great big Happy Birthday from me too, Tracy. while I didn’t find chump lady till years after the fiasco with cheater ex, your wonderful blog, snark and all the amazing chumps here helped me make sense of it. Many blessings, and much well deserved happiness to you on your special day.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!

    The thing I love most about your description of reciprocity is that it isn’t about the grand gestures, fancy gifts or image management on birthdays. True reciprocity shows up in the little everyday events that help turn a mundane day into something special. It’s also about sharing gratitude for the little moments in life.

    I hope you have a fabulous day! Thank you for all you do. Thank you for continuing this message, day in and day out. When I was at my lowest point emotionally, your message of self worth echoed in the back of my mind, helping me forge through the worst and begin to piece together a new life for me and my children.

    Haaaaappy birthday toooo youuuuuuuu! 🎶

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!

    I love that you rerun your 40th birthday story every year, because it’s one of the ones that made me snap out of missing Mr. Fantastic. On my 40th birthday, I had bronchitis, a secondary infection to a horrible bout of the flu that took me down HARD two weeks before. During the bout of flu (which each of my three kids, ages 8, 5, and 3, also had), I was DOWN for the count, unable to rise, reduced to asking the 8yo, who had recovered a few days before, to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for her brothers because I was too sick to get up without feeling faint. That was pre DDay, and Mr. Fantastic was nominally still in the picture. But where was he on the days when I was too sick to get off the couch? At work. Because he never once cared about my being sick. Nor, apparently, about the well-being of his kids. (I should add, that was by no means the first, nor the last time he left me to manage three tiny kids by myself when I was too sick to get out of bed…)

    Anyway, fast-forward two weeks to my 40th birthday. We’d planned a trip to Napa (which was nearby). Well, actually, announcing we were going to Napa and inviting friends from cross country was as much planning as “we” did. The friends found the house where we stayed, planned all the wineries we visited, planned all the dinners, and were the only ones to bring me any gifts. I enjoyed that trip greatly in spite of my bronchitis (which meant I couldn’t actually TASTE many of the wines).

    I have a lot of memories of that trip that showed how little he cared about me. Your metaphor for shoveling shit brought a lot of them to the front of my mind and helped me understand what I was really dealing with. Now, I’m 46, I’ve been dating a great guy for the last 2 1/2 years, and, crazy enough, I have never gotten sick like that again since Mr. Fantastic hit the road. He actually was toxic for me!

    (oh, and for HIS 40th birthday, which came as he was moving out of the house, he took three week-long back-to-back international trips and on the ONE day he could have spent with the kids between trips, he took off for a music festival…)

    I don’t know if I’m at Meh yet, but maybe it’s 10pm on Monday night, and I know that a lot of that is thanks to the perspective you have shared here. Thank you, and happy birthday!

  • Thank you for hope…..I have met a lot of toads….warts and all….I am waiting for my frog prince and wonder if he is out there….

  • Happy birthday, CL! Here’s to a better life – no more shoveling shit, solo (literally and emotionally via spackle)!

    When I was married to a narc, despite being in my thirties I felt about 100 years old (thanks to tiptoeing around him all the time, stressed out, unloved, and feeling like there was no future). Now, single, I feel so much lighter, free-er, and 40ish feels fine!

  • Happy birthday ChumpLady! As I survey my new home, I realize it’s sort of a ChumpLady clubhouse: your book sits atop my living room bookcase, my homemade chumplady magnets dot my fridge, my computer browser automatically opens to your website. Makes me happy! Thank you so much for that and may your day be wonderful.

    https://pasteboard.co/HFwKsvx.jpg

  • Happy Birthday Tracey. I am glad your 46-52 birthdays have been awesome enough to make up for the lousy 40th.

    My 40th was pretty good actually because I planned and executed my own party right from the get go. I knew Ex couldn’t be bothered to plan anything for me so I did it myself. I even made my own cake and cooked the food myself. I also got all of the compliments from the many guests who showed up for having put on a great party. That was the last party we hosted before DDay 6+ years later. Ex didn’t like to throw parties because he was afraid people would notice the imperfections in our house and think poorly of us. He also didn’t like to socialize because it required so much effort to impress people. His gift to me that year was letting me throw a party at all. Since he moved out, I have hosted a number of parties and they have all been successful because I don’t invite the kind of people who would think poorly of me if they see a crack in the wall.

    The first party I threw after he left was my birthday in March 2017. I got flowers from three guests which I proudly displayed on the dining room table where Ex would see them every time he came to get the kids. This was highly symbolic because it was less than two weeks after I had blown up at him over credit card charges for Schmoopie’s Valentine’s Day flowers. He probably didn’t get the significance but I did.

  • On my birthday 1:00 am I caught ex & OWhore at her home. 3 years ago it still hurts. But it is better without the cheating narc. Hopefully I’ll one day get to meh.

    Happy Birthday to CL…May you have many happy years! 🎂

  • Happy Birthday! I got you beat I am fifty&^%#three! I don’t have Mr. Fabulous but I am fabulously happy. Dickhead ExHusband still won’t reimburse me for our childrens’ expenses. However, he is a dick and I am very blessed to have a great career and can afford not to be reimbursed. One day, I am sure he will rot in hell. But not my problem!!!!

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday. You truly deserve it.

    Thanks for everything you do.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! You rock and I am so glad you are so happy. An inspiration. My cheating husband has usually been quite good about gift giving, so one has to be careful about using this as a litmus test. He is very materialistic and for Christmas and my birthday usually buys me some nice handbag or earrings or clothes or something. On valentines day he was travelling and I got roses to my office as usual, then that night he lied and told me he was taking a red eye home but really came home in the evening and slept over his concubine’s house in Jersey City. Disgusting. He loves to look at clothes and jewelry that I have and say “I bought you that”. At one point I said – OK – so how much money does a husband have to spend on a wife before he gets to treat her like shit? What’s the formula exactly? Because I didn’t think that is how it should work. For me it is more the effort of investing in relationships with my friends and family, doing things that are important TO ME that matter. But I do get what you are saying and I am so glad you were spoiled today. xo

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!

    I start each morning by reading your blog, and am so grateful for your wit and wisdom. I’m only sorry I didn’t find you earlier; if I had, I might’ve figured out that my sleazebag serial cheater husband wasn’t who he said he was, and lop off at least a few of the 40 years I wasted on him.

    But it’s all good now (not quite at Tuesday, but getting there)… he married AP #14, I’m Zero Contact, living in my own cozy little pre-war bungalow that doesn’t possess a single whiff of his toxic stench, enjoying time with my new grandchild, and continuing to rebuild. I’m still not dating (too wary of the fiasco known as 21st-century dating, especially for a 60-something like me), but I’m hopeful that another Mr. CL-like person is out there and we’ll organically trip over one another; if it’s meant to happen, it will. In the meantime, thanks to you, I’ll keep honing my radar.

    Have a beautiful day!

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! Worst presents would be a fun Friday challenge but you and this safe haven you created will always close to the top of my “Best Presents I Gave Myself” list. Thanks for everything you have done and continue to do to make the world a better place for Chumps and former Chumps.

  • That story just melts my heart. I love reading it each year.
    Happy birthday, CL!

    I don’t want to make Mr. CL jealous at all, but I hope I look that good at 52.

  • Happy birthday 🎂
    If I could pin point the day your message got through to me, that would be my new birthday. But it happened in different bits and pieces.
    Who knew lying to and about me, disrespecting, spending like a fool, one sided happiness , doing all the adulting etc wasn’t normal. I didn’t,,
    But I do now. I feel lucky to have soo many birthdays, new beginnings. If karma exists, your living yours now.

  • A Very Happy Birthday to you CL! Thank you for constantly reminding us that it gets better! And like fine wine, you get better with age! Enjoy your day!

  • “Who gets honest to God pleasure from giving to them.” This is what was lacking from ex. He did put a lot of effort into our relationship. He did plenty around the house and generally remembered my birthday and other holidays, but he never did it for the pleasure of it. He did it because he felt obligated (by societal norms, not by anything I said or did). Then he would resent it because he felt like he was giving more than he was getting. I gave him plenty of thanks and praise, but I guess that wasn’t what he was looking for. Meanwhile he never even noticed let alone appreciated the efforts I put into our relationship. That was ok for me because I did do it for the pleasure of making him happy although that pleasure kind of fizzled when nothing I did or any gift I tried to give ever seemed to make him happy. I felt like a total screw up because I kept getting it wrong.

  • 🎂🍾🥂🎁
    Happiest of birthdays to you… and thanks for all that you do and have done for us Chumps.
    XOXOXO ❤❤❤

  • Hmmm…the first birthday with the Ex he took me out to a fancy steak house. I never mentioned liking steak and I really don’t. But I didn’t complain, I spackled thinking he tried and most people would be happy to be taken to suck a nice restaurant. For his birthday I got him baseball playoff tickets because he loves baseball.

    Going forward, I rarely got gifts. My birthday is right before Valentines day so he told me I had to choose between the two. Same thing went for our anniversary–our daughter was born 3 days before so it became non celebrated by default (something he was pretty excited about). We would go out to eat, but it was never a place I wanted to go to. It became a joke, but not really funny to me.

    For his 40th, I got all his friends together downtown to bar hop. At this point I would barely get a Happy Birthday on mine. Finally I took matters into my own hand and would plan my own. Taking us out to brunch. For my 40th I went to brunch with girlfriends instead of him. It was far more enjoyable. I got absolutely nothing from him that year. Not even a card.

    For my 41st birthday he dumped me and I had a chemo appointment. But he did get me a couple of cupcakes and a card (WTF?).

    On my 42nd birthday our divorce was final. I also received a text from him saying “Happy Birthday if you care to hear from me. If not have a good one”

    Hopefully I can reclaim my birthday on my 43rd.

    • My ex did the fancy steak restaurant for one of my birthday’s too. I am a vegetarian. I ended up having a bowl of chips and a salad.

    • My birthday is a few days after Valentine’s Day. One of my past boyfriends told me since they were so close together he would give me half of my present on Valentines Day and the other half on my birthday – thought it was a great idea! I told him ‘let me put this in language you will understand. I will give you half a BJ on Valentine’s day and the other half on your birthday’ (his birthday was in Oct) 🙂 Turns out that idea didn’t sound so good to him so I presents for both! 😉

  • Tomorrow is my birthday, 42. 41 has been a non stop shit shoveling year, and I’m celebrating today that this is the last day of it. Tomorrow, I hopefully begin finding the joy you have. And your words brought me to tears.
    Happy birthday, and thanks for the hope you bring us all.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy & Paul.
    I hope you have a great day at AARP’ing.
    Today, I’ll be moving a few tons of crusher-run finalizing the clean up of my recent D. This after x actually participated in boxing up her possessions and having them moved yesterday. (A year after she left).
    Not as smelly as cow dung, but the smell of diesel fuel in the morning smells like Victory. (Yeh, I stole it from Apocalypse Now. Fitting yeh?)

  • CL, Have a Happy, Happy Day!

    My 42nd birthday occurred mid divorce. I came down with a case of the shingles, diagnosed on my birthday. But I actually took that as a good sign. After all the stress, I had finally accepted my new life, and I think the shingles came when the body released all the stress.

    I am now dating a super sweet guy, but he will be out of town (half way across the world!) on my birthday. I am not holding my breath for anything but a phone call. It will be tough given time differences, but he always finds a way to call me when he is gone. He knows it is important to me, so he finds a way.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!
    What do you say to a person who helped save your life so they understand what their generosity means to them… You ARE amazing, you ARE so completely generous of your time, heart, energy. Thank you.
    Enjoy your day!

  • Happy birthday! Finding this blog was the best thing for me in what feels like the worst thing I have ever gone through. You and CN have given me some strength to keep going, thank you for that.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!!!

    Speaking of gifts – thanks for yours to me (and so many others).

    I will be forever grateful to you for helping me to quit the hopium pipe.

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

  • Before Narcles the Porn Clown, man I wish I had come up with that name but I stole it from another online chump, ‘moved out’ aka caught him moving items out to a storage unit he got while I was asleep, all holidays were satellites to him and his needs. Now my dear grown children and my gal pals all make my birthday about my birthday. So simple really, but quite impossible for Narcles. My Tuesday seems to be getting closer and closer.

  • Have a beautiful Birthday CL!
    You have singlehandedly changed the lives of countless numbers of people who have been used, abused and damaged beyond belief. Something that NO ONE else has accomplished or has even attempted and for that I am eternally greatful. You have my utmost fondness and respect. 💜🎂🥂 Cheers

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TRACY! You’re such an inspiration to all of us Chumps, and I wish you all the best this next year of life! LOVE the pic of happiness with Mr. CL! So cute!! 🎂🎉💐❤️

  • Although I don’t post often , today is a special day! Happy Birthday Tracy! You really can’t possibly comprehend how many lives you have saved and helped transform , by you being the truly beautiful human being that you are. Thank you.

  • HaPpY BiRtHdAy! I’m 3.5 weeks after Dday, and discovered your site last week. It has been very helpful in realizing my decision to kick him to the curb was the right one. He’ll be moving out in less than 2 weeks.

    Thank you for all you do here, CL : ) I really appreciate it!

  • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady! I hope all your birthday wishes come true! I’ve been a follower since 2012 and I would not be anywhere near Meh if not for you and Chump Nation! Thank you also for the reminder that narcissists are terrible gift-givers! That’s another red flag or canary in the mine shaft. Some day I’ll send a picture of the flannel tomato-red dog pajamas!

  • Very happy birthday to you, Tracy! It’s wonderful to see so many of your admirers posting here to wish you the same. I want to tell you how grateful I am for your existence and this blog. Thank you for the thoughtfulness and hard work you’ve put into it.

    Have a great day at the office and a fun evening celebrating with your sweet husband!

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady !!! And I love that you work for AARP. I haven’t met anyone yet who is worthy of me but it might happen some day.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!!! Thank you for everything you do for us chumps. You created the liveliest, most respectful on-line community I know, trusting the chumps to support each other, letting us be potty mouthed and angry when we need to be too. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Ageing gracefully, working for AARP and maintaining this site, you Wonder Woman! Have a wonderful birthday.

  • “My cheater husband’s gift to me was a pen” and funnily enough my cheating wife got me a pen on my 50th — different cheater, same script

    Happy Birthday Tracy!

    I found CN just a couple of weeks after D-Day but just wasn’t ready as I sooo wanted to wreckoncile. Several months later I came back to CN and this time I was ready and have been slow-ly edging towards the land of Meh.

  • Late to the party, but Happy Birthday, Tracy!

    You and this site taught me so much about narcs. When I left my ex sooooo long ago, I didn’t understand what had happened, but I did understand that whatever he wanted, it sure wasn’t me! It was years later that I found you (endless thanks to whomever wrote that comment in Dear Abby) and everything fell into place. It was all there.

  • have a wonderful birthday you so deserve it. Thank you for your snark, humour has kept me sane, and yours is the best!xx

  • Happy Birthday and many thanks for helping us recognize our Chumpiness, fixing our picker and moving on with our new and improved life. Mostly laughing our asses off on this site.

  • Thank you, Ms. CL, for creating this resource. Reading through months of stories while I started the separation, child custody, and (finally) divorce settlement process helped get me through dark periods of doubt for myself, my ability as a husband and father, and now my ability to get on w/my life to now spend time w/someone who deserves what I have to offer.

    Divorce has liberated me: to be the best father, the best partner, and now the best person I can be. I knew I was already considered one before the XW did what she did, but I now know it and believe it.

    Looking forward to more articles, and helping those who are just starting this journey towards self-discovery.

    Mahalo to all!

  • Happy birthday! There are many benefits to you, as my joints will tell you. But for women, life after 50 is like a flower opening. You come fully into your own if you’ve done your work.

  • A little late, but Happy Birthday Chump Lady.
    I know my own life started at 53, so I’m very happy that you had an early start.
    And I have to tell you that I’ll celebrate your special date helping a young lady whose husband is a serial cheater and probably a narc. She’s on her way to my house right now, and of course I’ll recommend your book and blog.
    Loving hugs to you. You’re such a special person to me.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!

    My 40th was miserable, too. We were in the trenches, and I’d given up that I could “save” the marriage. But of course, I was still exhausting myself with the pick me dance, feeling discarded and bad about my self-worth. I strongly suspected an affair but didn’t have hard proof. We were taking the kids on a long weekend in Las Vegas a few days before my birthday, something I/we had planned before the “I’m unhappy” talk a few months beforehand. About a week before the trip, he emailed me (yes… email… even though we were still living in the same house) to tell me that he decided to leave and had already gotten an apartment. So, I suggested that we just cancel the trip, but he insisted that he wanted to celebrate his “friend”. Ouch… twisting the knife. My husband was discarding me, and now he feigns friendship?!?

    Not surprisingly, the weekend was torture. He barely made conversation with me, and he was always texting on his phone. I had to put on a happy face for the kids. The highlight of the weekend was a show, and I had brought a pretty dress to wear (pick me dance, remember). I’d also brought nice clothes for the kids. My now-ex brought a tshirt, old jeans, and flip-flops. When I learned this, I had to hide in our hotel bathroom and cry. I’ve never felt so low in my life. After the show, he convinced the kids that we should just grab a quick dinner rather than go somewhere special.

    Within hours of returning home after the weekend, I discovered the proof that had alluded me. D-Day at last. He had to admit that he “had feelings” for his boss. (The proof I’d found made it clear that those “feelings” weren’t just emotional, if you know what I mean!)

    Strangely, his parents didn’t send me a gift that year, for the first time since I’d met them. They supposedly didn’t know that we were talking about splitting, yet still, they sent me only a simple card, despite knowing me some 20 years. He’d obviously told them already, and they were on-board with the discard.

    I’ve had two birthdays since then, and they’ve been soooo much better. I’ve been surrounded by people who love me and care about me, doing things I love. This past birthday, I was at Disneyland Paris with my sweet kids, having a ball and not thinking about my loser XH.

    Now, birthdays aren’t just a celebration of life, they are a celebration of a CHEATER-FREE life!

  • What a surprise! Today is also my birthday!!! Happy Birthday, my fellow Libra, Tracy! Thank you for all your devotion to this blog and devotion to helping chumps find a better way of life!!! Your advice and snark has helped me tremendously!

  • Happy birthday to you, Chump Lady!!!
    🌻❤️🌻❤️🌻❤️🌻❤️🌻
    It’s been three years + a few months since D-Day/divorce, and it’s so true— like is so much better on the other side!!!
    Viva la ChumpNation!!!!

  • Happy Happy Birthday! you have helped me in so many ways. When I am down I either reread your book or go to the archives- I tell new chumps I meet about your website and tell them you get me through each day with strength. I will have a drink tonight for your birthday and know my Tuesday is coming 🙂

  • For my 40th, my ex spent the whole weekend emptying out the mini bar in our Vegas suite and being a generally selfish, entitled a-hole. For my 43rd birthday, she f*cked a guy she had met only three days earlier on Tinder. This last birthday, my 44th, I went back to Vegas, but this time with a kind and loving new woman. It was the best trip to Vegas I’ve ever had. Don’t settle.

  • Happy Birthday CL! This site and everyone who post here has been a Godsend for me.

    My DD was August 8th.

    My Birthday is this Friday the 25th. He’s still in the home, hope he leaves soon. I’m in fear he will ruin the day on purpose. We have. 14 year old son (who is staying with me).

    Funny thing one year ago today I was in a bad car accident. Too messed up to do much on my birthday—he told me we’d go out when I felt better. Never happened. Started almost immediately suggesting I hire a lawyer to sue…..kept badgering me every few weeks about it. When he asked for the divorce (for a job, nothing to do with being the town where the OW from 25 years ago lives…and who’s house he’s moving to) he asked me to sign off on his parents home. They were going to sell it to their three sons for $1 each any day. I assured him I would never take his inheritance….and without knowing why said he’d have to sign off on my neck in case I did have to sue. He said ‘oh no you could get a million dollars”….when I told him I’d only sue for medical costs, and would he really take money intended to pay for my medical care he backed down.

    My one hope is that my life will change just as much as it did from a year ago. This time in a positive direction.

    That said Friday is coming….,do folks find there Ex behave themselves or do they try to ruin the day?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Silver Anniversary–cheaters looove to ruin special days. Be prepared, but better yet, take that power away from him. Plan a day for you and your son that does not involve cheater. Get out of town if you can so cheater isn’t even in the vicinity. And don’t tell him what you are doing.

      Your life will get better, but it’s a slow slog until you are free of the cheater and the mindfuckery. That is why No Contact is so healing. Hugs to you, and happy birthday.

  • Happy birthday, CL! Thanks for the years of hope, support, and laughter during the many times I wanted to give up, felt alone, and wanted to cry. You’re the best.

  • Happy birthday,,,,
    I love this column! Each year it reminds me how far I have come.
    My D-Day was my birthday.
    Harsh but it had been years since it was a good day, I always looked forward to it and was disappointed. Now it’s an amazing day to mark how far I have come. I truly feel accomplished on the my birthday day.

  • Happy birthday! Seems fitting that I filed my divorce petition today, as it was your site that finally gave me the push I needed to ditch this cheater. Thank you!

  • Happy Birthday!

    I don’t know of any of other place where it seems like people actually GET IT. So thank you a million times for this site.

  • Happy birthday dear Tracy! I’m so glad to have met you earlier in the year, and will forever be abundantly grateful for your clarity and insight regarding cheatery – and moreso, regarding being Mighty! Onwards and many, many more years of joy and growth to you. Here’s to not settling! And here’s to a better-than-you-dreamt relationship! Woohoo!
    And hello Mr Chump Lady!

  • Happy belated, Tracy!

    Birthdays are so much better when there’s no fuckwit in the picture!

    CheaterX was terrible about birthdays. We had to celebrate them on his schedule, of course. And when it was clear that he had no idea what to gift me, I started making lists of items I’d like. I selected lower and higher ticket items, but all things within the budget. I used to tell him my size. I’d lost weight. He still got me everything in Extra Large Fits All. Bah!

    Anyway, after I told him I was filing for divorce, we still were cohabitating. I traditionally made him–at his request–a pumpkin pie. Now, I make homemade pies, and a lot of times, I even do my own pumpkin processing (no canned pumpkin). He’d have a small bite and then the pie would go to waste. What the heck? I spent a lot of time and effort on that damn pie!

    On that last birthday that I celebrated with him (since I was trying to keep him from going on high alert and hiring his own attorney), I bought him a store-bought pie (loads of sugar, horrible crust–yes, I make those, too) and regifted him with a set of sheets his mother had bought for us a decade previously that he’d forgotten about.

    Best birthday for him ever!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy.

    I should have known you’re a fellow Libra.

    September 23 here. Just turned 46 🙈!

    You’re the best.

    Enjoy. 🎂

  • Happy Birthday CL! Thank you for all you do. Thanks to your book and blog I have allowed myself to see one who deals in reciprocity (also a chump), divorcing my cheater´s ass and looking forward to a brighter future

  • My ex always timed his boys ski trip on my birthday.
    We would go out 2 nights earlier, but every year i was alone on my actual birthday.
    On my 50th he phoned from our holiday home ( away with work was the excuse that year) and i found out later he was with shagee ( in my house).
    He was also a lousy gift giver.
    Why, oh why, did i accept his crap??
    Also why does it still shock me?
    Happy Birthday Tracy. You deserve it!

  • The morning after my 40th was my D-Day. I was still wearing the swimmers the STBX gave me for my present (yup, for my 40th, he gave me swimmers, and other sports clothes – that was a red flag of a marriage in trouble but I had no idea the real story) and still receiving Bday wishes when I found messages between them about my Bday dinner and him wanting to take her to that restaurant. I later found out that the other couple at dinner also knew of his betrayal. So I was the chump at the table at my own 40th. The GF had heard a rumour from a friend who works in the same team as them – yep, it’s a cliched work affair.
    It was pretty clear he wasn’t fighting for me. The best I got was, ‘I couldn’t ask that of you’ – to wreckoncile. So when I found more emails between them over Christmas (yep, was a fabulous time to find out all this) when he’d said he wasn’t in contact with her (only strictly work), I kicked his ass out. I said to him that he can’t have his whore and his family too. No cake!
    She’s apparently in an open marriage and also has two young children. Mine were 2 & 5 at the time.
    What a fool he is for throwing us away for that trash.
    Well, I’m a fool no more and while it took a couple of months, was able to get to grey rock and can see the light at the end of this sewer.

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