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Tiffany Glass Windows

Hey, I’m rerunning a favorite today.


Hi chumps! I’ve been on vacation with my family in Orlando, Florida for a few days. Yesterday my mother and I visited the Morse Museum in Winter Park, which if you find yourself in the Disney World orbit, I can highly recommend over rollercoasters, crowds, and uber-commercialized touristy crap at the theme parks. The Morse Museum is a mind-blowing collection of Tiffany glass, jewelry, and Arts and Crafts pottery. Really, I cannot convey to you how exquisite it all is. Make it a must-do if you find yourself in this neck of the woods. But the crowning jewel of the museum is the Tiffany Chapel.

tif-peacockThe chapel was created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It’s this Byzantine-inspired Art Nouveau confection of glass mosaic and stained glass. It’s freaking amazing. The altar piece is a mosaic of two peacocks facing each other with a crown floating above — it looked like a technicolor dream of Gustave Klimt to me, the swirls and jewel-like abstractions. They say it was Louis Comfort Tiffany’s masterpiece.

The chapel had a rather sad history, which you can read about. Suffice it to say, it was a sensation when it debuted, but then struggled to find a home. Tiffany rescued it at one point, had it restored and installed in his mansion estate Laurelton Hall, (which is its own amazing story). By the 1950s, the estate was abandoned and in 1957 a fire raged for three days and most of the place was destroyed. The chapel survived, only just.

The daughter of Tiffany called the McKeans, a couple that ran a small museum in Winter Park, Florida and asked if they wanted a few of the windows. Okay, TRY and imagine a world in which someone is saying “here, please TAKE a Tiffany stained glass window off me, because I know you would appreciate it and no one else apparently does.” So the McKeans travel to Long Island, New York and viewed the wreckage of Laurelton Hall. The fire fighters had salvaged some of the windows, which were leaning against a wall — some miscreants had come and thrown rocks through some of them. The place was full of debris, open to the elements. The McKeans decided then to rescue the chapel and save as much as they could. At the museum are photos of the ruins and the salvage company that came to move it — who didn’t treat it right, threw all the pieces in the back of a truck with the crowning indignity — topping the pile with an old tire.

Mind blowing.

Tiff-MorseWhat does this have to do with infidelity? Well, as I was listening to this story during the narrated film at the museum (which my mother insisted on attending… thank you Mom…), I thought — what kind of MONSTER throws a rock through a Tiffany glass window?! What kind of idiot cannot see how freaking beautiful these works of art are? What sort of world do we live in where an entire mansion full of Tiffany glass is just abandoned? And it occurred to me, that some people can’t see obvious beauty. They destroy and devalue. Or they can only appreciate something if it is set in a context of What Is Fashionable and Approved Of, versus just seeing it for what it IS — beautiful and worthy.

Cheaters are the sorts of people who would throw a rock through a Tiffany glass window. To give your heart to someone, to be faithful to them, to try and forgive an unforgivable betrayal — that makes you a beautiful person. Tiffany glass windows are no less valuable because some idiot could not appreciate their beauty and threw a rock. Tiffany windows should not think… Gee, if I’d only been some work of abstract expressionism… something in vogue… if I’d only been a Jackson Pollack painting, they wouldn’t have thrown that rock. No, Tiffany windows are what they are — exquisite, obviously beautiful things. It just took escaping the ruins and the rock throwers for the world to notice was was really apparent all along — that these are works of art. Precious creations.

I believe this is true for chumps as well. Get away from the burning ruins and find someone who appreciates you. Your worth was never in question. Some people throw rocks. Some people are ugly and can’t see true beauty. It’s not you. It’s them.

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  • Happy belated birthday. I have visited that museum with my ex (my idea of course). He never got the same enjoyment as I visiting places like that (as Sociopaths miss out on the nuances of life).

    What a great metaphor. While our family/ marriage may not have been a Tiffany, it was still very valuable to me and he destroyed it.

    If only restoring my life were as easy as repairing a stained glass window. Time will tell.

  • Thank you for this! I live near Orlando so I will have to make this a priority to see. Oddly enough, my cheater would appreciate the value and beauty of those windows and could probably form an emotional bond of which he cannot manage for his wife. Moving on . . . got a job interview on Friday so wish me luck! This is Step 2 in my journey of freeing myself from this wretched marriage tarnished by years of cheats and lies.

  • I love this story. This is exactly what i needed. Right now.
    My x left me for an exact. carbon. copy. of. me.
    So why not me?
    I am the original work.
    I am at the point where i just realize its because he is a truly horrible person and he has always been a truly horrible person.
    He absolutely would throw a rock thru me because he has to destroy what he cant have and he can never have me.

    • Oh and just because the ow looks like me doesn’t me she is like me. She was married and has a history of breaking up families and hurting children in the process.
      She is nothing like me.

      • Leavealyingloser:

        With her blond hair, blue eyes and pale skin, my XH’s Howorker (AP #14) doesn’t look anything like my Ashkenazi/Mediterranean dark hair/dark eyes/olive skin, but she does have the EXACT same first name, middle name and now, last name as me! What are the odds? I suspect pretty damn low.

        It wasn’t enough to toss a proverbial boulder (or 14 of them) through our pretty-as-a-Tiffany-window marriage, but he had to pursue someone with my name, too? Just like cheaters who secretly juggle a variety of lovers and refers to all of them as “Babe” or “Honey”, at least my XH will never have to worry about screaming out the wrong moniker while in the throes of passion. What a relief! He always claimed to have a terrible memory, so I’m sure he’s quite pleased he’ll never make THAT mistake.

        I didn’t realize how much this issue irritated me until my yoga teacher approached me several months ago and gave me her condolences. The puzzled look on my face caused her to ask, “Didn’t your MIL recently pass away?” I said I had no idea, as I’d been Zero Contact with my XH for almost 5 years and have no contact with any of his family. She said, “Oh, sorry for the mixup. I saw her obit in the paper and noticed what I thought was your name listed next to who I thought was your spouse.” I said, “No, that is Wife 2.0.” But it made me wonder how many other people thought she…was me. SMH.

        • Same issue here. Ex had reconnected with old friends on FB after 22 years and they were singing the praises of his ‘sweet wife.’ I was confused why they’d do that because I knew they hadn’t met Miss Plastic Parts and if they had, ‘sweet’ is not an adjective that will ever apply. That’s when I realized Cheat o’Mine lets people who don’t know the difference think that she is ME! [insert eye roll here]

    • Remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

      He picked a new version of you because – actually – he likes you. He just doesn’t want to do the hard work to make his life with you work. He is operating under the delusion that “you 2.0” will be all rainbows and unicorns. In my case, I now see (from comments she has dropped since DDay) that XW has literally *decades* of minor grievances that she has stored up and allowed to fester. “Me 2.0” doesn’t have any of that baggage – yet! – so she thinks he’s better than me.

      Just wait. If he wasn’t willing to do the work with you, do you really think he’ll do the work with her? And actually – on a deeper level – regardless of what he does or doesn’t do with her: if he wasn’t willing to do the work with you, then you deserve better.

      • “He picked a new version of you because – actually – he likes you. He just doesn’t want to do the hard work to make his life with you work. He is operating under the delusion that “you 2.0” will be all rainbows and unicorns”

        It’s much easier to start fresh with a clean slate. But, trust that they haven’t worked in their issues which means eventually problems will arise in time.

        • My low value partner of 33 years said that he made so many mistakes that it was just easier to start over. WTF?? Probably the only honest thing he ever shared with me.

          • Here, here. Mine felt it would be easier to take all the principles of marriage counselling and apply it to life with the OW. It would just be too hard to do it with me, but starting fresh would be so much better.

            If I hear from him one more time, “I know I have communication issues,” I will vomit. Save me from your pseudo-self-reflection that you feel you are doing so well now with the OW. Yes buddy, you have communication issues, but communication issues are not your biggest problem. How about a lack of a value system? A missing moral compass? An unawareness of your true identity that made you overlap relationships so that you wouldn’t be alone? A tendency to take on the attributes of the person that you are with, fooling them into thinking that you have sooo much in common? A complete disconnection from your own family that makes you a mid-40s man who seeks out the company of other women and party friends before actually having a heart-to-heart with a sibling or a parent? Or your crisis of faith (oh wait a sec, I’m the one with faith and you were mimicking me, I guess)? Or your tendency to take the easiest road/path of least resistance? Your difficulty in expressing compassion for others or standing for something?

            Believe me, I wish that the only problem he brought to the table in our marriage was just a communication problem.

            • That could be my ex except for the “crisis of faith” part. He go that part over with at the end of his 30’s. Got rid of that one when he realized that faith wasn’t all about what can God do for you but rather what can you do to for God by helping others and showing compassion towards others.

          • My stbx told the howorker that if he had tried as hard with me, his wife of 33 years, as he had tried with her (34yo), he would still be with me. He told me that I may still be hot but can’t be younger. How warped is that?
            Thank you Chump Lady for running this today. I needed to be reminded that I have worth. Our marriage was not perfect, but I tried. He chose to cheat, more than once.
            I can’t think about all the losses. My life will be better. I will heal. I must believe that.
            ChumpNation thank you for sharing your hard won wisdom and snark. I come here every day for support.

      • IG – hello, friend! I love what you wrote. And in your own case, 2 cheating people who were unwilling to do the work have gotten together and have left collateral damage in their wakes. That bodes SO well for their sparkly turd future together, don’t you think?
        You are strong & sane and far better than she ever deserved. Great comment.

      • Brilliant and true, Involuntary! Good timing too….just when a thin microscopic layer of skin grew back, my daughter called me last night to tell me that she was using STBXH’s phone and messages from Tinder came in….
        I completely lost my composure. I assumed he’s been hooking up non-stop since DDay, but didn’t have anything in my face. I am royally pissed though because he claims to be living half an hour away so he can “work on his life” when I have suspected all along it was really about hooking up without me in town. The evidence sadly arrived via my eleven year old daughter, who knows what Tinder is and had not been yet told by him (his task) or me that we are divorcing. I talked with her last night and told her…I can’t let her twist in the wind…we are both feeling set back today…I feel like the scabs got ripped off but I also feel it was best that she hears the truth from someone who tells it (me). He is definitely not someone to do the work…he is spectacularly unqualified to be in a relationship (unless it’s by the hour). We’re here because he is not a student but a cheater. No contact is my new life dream….

        I called him a slut and said I hated him.

  • I don’t think cheaters, appreciate what they have till its gone. Mine, wasn’t interested in the kids, then suddenly they are. They take you for granted, even having the balls to blame you, no contact works.

    • My ex was never home, and never participated in any of the “kid” things like curriculum nights or anything like that. I handled all of that. Because of course he was “too busy” to attend things like that. Now he’s “so sad” because our 2 adult daughters don’t contact him, and only do things with him when he reaches out, which isn’t all that often.

      And he says he would like if I “contacted him to talk more often.” As if! Why would I want to talk to someone who basically “threw rocks at me” repeatedly for years on end?

      And this might not be “healthy” to think, because I probably shouldn’t care one way or another, but I WANT him to feel sad about what he destroyed, to realize what an awesome thing he had and that he ruined it.

      • @gowithyourgut,

        Please remember that in relation the kids, your EX likely feels sad for a very different reason than you do. YOU as a chump (kind, caring, considerate) feel sad because of what your daughters are missing in a father figure. CHEATER EX likely feels sad for himself, because HE wants more from your daughters and doesn’t understand that it takes a great deal of effort to develop relationships.

        IF he ever realizes what an awesome thing he had, it’s unlikely that he will accept responsibility for causing it’s end. He wishes you “contacted him to talk more often” because he misses being central…in anybody’s life. Don’t confuse his SADZ for regret. He likely just feels sorry for himself and you always did a great job telling him how awesome he was. He may just be looking for kibbles.

        Remember that YOU were the Tiffany Window in that relationship and that you still are! It’s so hard to stop giving mind share to your EX (believe me I know) and continue to be kind to yourself.

  • Today would have been my 37 wedding anniversary. I have been divorced 3 years and pretty much at meh. But for some reason today it’s hitting me hard. Thanks for the reminder that I am the Tiffany window and he is the rock thrower. But damn, some days it just sucks

    • newdaydawning,

      Sorry you’re having a set back. I don’t have anything wise to say that will snap you out of it, but just wanted to reach out and say you’re not alone. Last Nov would have been my 20th wedding anniversary, 25th year together, and he spent it by moving in with Schmoopie.

      So I understand how you feel. And it’s sometimes really hard not to think of all those years as basically being wasted.

      Hopefully you get back to meh quickly! And that the injuries the rocks he threw at you caused are healed up nicely!

    • In August I would have celebrated my 36th, so I understand that grief that accompanies the feeling that your life was taken from you, for years, without even realizing that this was happening.
      What I did on that day was to take something that to me was symbolic of his actions and the reason I had to divorce him, and I burned it. It helped a lot–I symbolically sent him up in the flames. I did this in the company of a friend who had also had to divorce her husband, and after the item was reduced to ashes, we opened a bottle of wine and shared a toast to what is good in our lives.
      I hope you will indulge yourself today, pamper yourself, give yourself flowers, and write yourself a note of appreciation and love–you are sufficient, and you are valuable, and you are genuine. Unlike that rock-thrower.

    • Newdaydawning
      Married 34 years divorced 2 1/2. I know the pain your feeling after a lifetime of what we thought was a good marriage. I’m trying very hard to not to compare his “happiness” with my life. Some days are alright but today not so good. We just have to be strong & not think of them. ((Hugs)) to you ????

      • I had received a gift of hand painted wine glasses as an anniversary gift in one of the last years of my marriage. They were presented in front of the kids with great fanfare in a beautifully wrapped box and I actually liked them. He conspiratorially leaned over to me and whispered in my ear that these were for me to use with my friends. #dickmove
        For the sake of the kids I used the glasses – I did actually like them – but the comment and the manner of delivery always rankled me. I never used those glasses without remembering the fraud perpetrated on me and our children.
        One day, years later, long after I had met my current wicked-awesome partner who loves to drink wine with me, I decided to get rid of those glasses. I don’t know why, the thought just came to me in the car and I walked right into the house, picked up one of those glasses and had a chump moment. I really liked them and why should I be such a bitch as to no longer accept them. I put the glass down and went out into the garage and got a hammer. I picked the glass up, held it over the trash barrel and struck it. the beautiful glass with the hand-painted stars shattered with a clink. A very satisfying clink. Something in me shifted – I don’t know how to describe it but something changed. I hit the other one with that hammer and I was freed from something I didn’t realize I had been bound with. I felt joy.
        There are good days and there are bad days. Sometimes you have to go with the flow of your emotions but sometimes you can take charge of them.

        • Fern, good for you! On the first Valentine’s after DDay I retrieved the engraved champagne flutes from our wedding, procured an expensive bottle of champagne, and after toasting myself (literally & figuratively) used the champagne bottle to smash those glasses into oblivion. Even took a picture. It felt gooooood. 😉

          • I’ll bet that did feel good. Wish I had a picture but I had that weird moment of hesitation first – which feels important to the story as I look back on it.
            I love that you used a tool with some meaning – although I do look fondly at that hammer on the rare occasions that I use it. It feels like my partner.
            Sort of funny to look back on but it was and remains powerful for me.
            Thanks for sharing Kimsoverit.

        • My cheater took up being a pretentious wine snot under the influence of the OW. Suddenly wine was in our house, when he had always been a beer drinker (I can’t drink either). He was pouring the wine into newly purchased (at Wal-mart) wine glasses, making a big deal out of admiring the “color” and “smell” (same guy who can’t tell when milk has gone bad), etc.

          The day after he confessed his 7 year affair, I took the glasses and smashed them against the door to his barn (aka man cave), then took all the wine in the house and smashed the bottles and tossed them onto a slab behind his barn. It looked like a murder had taken place! In a way, I suppose, it had, though it was my soul that had been murdered.

          I have to say it felt very satisfying to get that crap out of MY house. And it was equally lovely that he had to clean up the mess.

      • Me. Too. 36 years married divorced just over a year. I have a hard time sometimes because we really did have a very good life that he just blew up. Sigh.

  • What has always been so hard for me are the ones that proclaim how beautiful, amazing and wonderful you are only to throw rocks and then abandon you later. Ex wasn’t the first one to do that to me, he just had the longest pedestal to discard cycle. Because of that I thought I was loved, I thought I was safe. I thought he was different than the others. I thought he was the one who meant it. Nope.

    • ChumpedInRecovery, me too. The cognitive dissonance between what X said to me and others (that after 25 years of marriage he was still in-love with me, that I was the best part of his life, that he was so grateful for me…..blah blah blah) and what he was doing and saying behind my back (telling APs I was crazy, a bitch, unloving, didn’t appreciate him— telling his parents and sisters the marriage was “over” and that I “made” him miserable) literally was the worst part of the mindfuck after DDay. None of it made any sense until I learned about narcissistic abuse and realized he has no integrity, was never authentic with me, and said whatever to whomever to manipulate all. Sick fuck.

      I’ve been NC for six months straight with the exception of one call he managed to get through my block in August— he literally raged at me about concert tickets— I had no idea what he was going on about. I hung up and blocked him anew. Thank God for no contact — the only path to truth and peace and justice.

      • When he told me that he thought it was best that we divorced, the fact that none of this made any sense is what eventually drove me to look for clues as to what happened. The X was not forthcoming with any details. I guess I was supposed to just take his word that he didn’t love me anymore, that he said none of this was my fault, and go on my merry way.

        Within a week after the discard, his demeanor toward me changed. He became distant and start to treat me with disdain and pity. I just wanted some answers and I guess I wasn’t entitled to any, in his opinion. That also contributed to my searching for answers which lead to the cheating.

        After that, all bets were off. Now of his story has changed and of course my actions, in part, led the divorce. With all the dishonestly, I no longer believe anything he says.

        No contact is the way to sanity and healing.

        • People could not get over how amazing my XH treated me. Me either for that matter. I honestly believed that he loved me way more than I loved him. It thought he was crazy about me. Joke was on me. I now believe that he never loved me for one minute. It was all some fake shit of his fake life that he has lived for years and still does. He was so convincing that I now struggle with believing any man that shows up in my life. So when people try to make me feel better that this is how things should have worked out, I don’t believe it. What good came from any of this? Nothing. All it did was make me incredibly sad and distrustful. This is what cheaters do to their victims.

          • I am so part of the “we had a wonderful marriage” group with a great husband who would NEVER cheat or leave me. I also believed his words were true. Photo picture books and beautiful personized engraved Christmas ornaments, engraved wine glass set weeks before ADay (abandonment day) which is what led to the searching for DDay. Why would a man with a lovely wife, kids, extended family, job and life just walk out without so much as a glance backwards? NO ONE could believe it, “But you guys were the perfect couple!?!?” “But he adored you?!?”

            Apparently not so much.

            Friends and family say “don’t worry, you’ll find a really great guy”. Um yeah….I thought I did. Now I just don’t trust anyone.

            • That’s almost exactly what I told ex’s aunt when she said “you will find somebody new that adores you” and I told her “that’s what I thought I had in your nephew”.

              • CIR,

                And you’re like “But I did find someone who adored me…. until he didn’t anymore… because he decided to adore someone else.”

                For me, it’s the worst part of it all… I waited for the perfect guy, the one who was everything I wanted and I didn’t settle. He was so great. WE were so great. Everyone loved him. Everyone loved US.
                It was shocking when it happened. I had PTSD symptoms because it shook me to my core.
                Now when people talk about someone being such a nice guy I roll my eyes and scoff. Pfffft, nice guys. What a joke. Can’t wait for Tuesday.

          • Why do you need proof if he is already being a jerk to you? If he isn’t cheating now, he probably will be later.

          • Mik: insist on a polygraph, or go stealth and install a keylogger, look all his cell records, put an iPad in his car to see where it goes, hire a PI to follow him, pull a credit report. IMO, though, being the marriage police is a soul sucking job— if I EVER feel the need to do this again with anyone, the relationship is OVER. I trust my gut now.

        • @MissBailey,

          Snap! I could not believe he would try to leave pretending he didn’t love me anymore, when all along there was a Schmoopie. I caught mine just a couple of days before he was due to move out. He so nearly got away with it. At the horrible D-Day confrontation I said to him “You were going to leave, making me think it was my fault for being a bad wife, when all along you were having an affair”. His reply was “What you think and feel is not my responsibility, or my problem”. NC has been a blessing and salvation. Although I struggled a bit at first, being free of that level of entitlement and toxicity has allowed me to be a better person, in so many ways.

      • The mindfuckery is amazing. Mine did the same. I have the cards and emails proclaiming his love for me, blah, blah, blah, while he was busy fucking the OW, Craiglist hookups, and whores he paid for.

        • Me too— the cards, love books, poetry….. X was giving the same exact things to other women— at the same time!!!! Then when the mask was ripped off after DDay, he blsmeshifted to me! WTFH???? Sick sociopathic bastard. I’m so much better off divorced and completely no contact.

      • Exactly.. the worst part was the 2 faced backstabbing duplicitous way he smarmed to me and the kids then threw us under the bus with everyone else. Thank God i found out this is disordered behaviour. It has a name and the obvious explaination is his fucked up mother ( a good summary of son husbands are found on the narcissistic resistance channel. …mine to a t)

        • X through our 4 kids under the bus and blamed them. That’s when I KNEW it wasn’t me — all on him. And, his mother is the biggest narcissist ever too!

  • Thank you, dear Chumplady, for saying I am a Tiffany glass window. This is truly a humbling experience. Lots of love to you.

  • What’s funny is that the X still thinks that his words and actions affect me or are of value. His rocks may have crushed me in the beginning but now they are rubber. My panes are strong and have integrity – something he will never have.

  • I think my biggest fear is that I wasn’t the Tiffany window, that I really was inadequate. Ex has always been more “refined” in his outward personal than I. I am the utilitarian window that keeps you warm at night but I don’t sparkle. Ex wanted a Tiffany. He has always been the go getter fighting for what he wants. Only the best will do for him. At first he tried to take the thermopane utilitarian window and make it sparkle more. That didn’t work, however, because I am just not that kind of window. I was inadequate so he went looking for better. I the thing I don’t get is how he could think that the kind of woman who fucks a married man while still married herself and tears families apart for personal gain is a Tiffany.

    • Don’t do that to yourself!! He only think he’s entitled to the Tiffany when in reality he’s only worth an old, drafty, single-pane window. We have an inner elegance, resolution and moral compass that stands the test of what is thrown at us. That’s why we are Tiffanys.

    • CIR — You are Tiffany and beautiful and bright and perfect just the way you are. He was an abuser and went after someone who has no morals. There is no comparison.

    • CiR, I was not as sparkly as the OW (half my age) either. Your words have reminded me of something I said to him – that some people have charisma and little character, and some have character and little charisma. He nodded vigorously and I realised in his head he had heard me say “I am boring, while you and the OW are sparkly”. This helps me on the road to Meh, remembering that actually his values and mine are NOT similar.

  • This is a beautiful evocative piece of writing! I really enjoyed it! Thank you Tracy!

  • Interesting metaphor. When ex was angry, he would have a list of hurtful things to say or do. I began to think of it as “throwing rocks” when the pattern became obvious. I would sit there and imagine him pulling rocks out of his pocket and throwing them at me. Ouch.

    • Chumpiness
      I know exactly what you mean. X always threw little pebbles at me but they never hurt too bad. By the end he was throwing big rocks at me and he rarely missed. It got so bad our teenager would take him aside and talk to him. It didn’t matter. They really are trying to destroy you and anyone around you. But i also experienced the mindfuck of his being very nice and sweet to me during all this.
      When i look back it is so terrifying that i lived with someone so obviously evil and didnt know it.
      He is back to being the “great dad” but we know what he really is. He is someone who will throw a rock at you when your down.

      • Mine blew hot and cold as well, or sweet and nasty. ;). Sorry you experienced that, Leavealyngloser.

  • I am new here to this site. My husband after 20 years left me in March after I found out he was with another woman his sister in law hooked him up with. Nice huh? We were having problems but still married in the same home. I too feel discarded like the Tiffany window except I dont even feel I was ever a Tiffany window but more like an old but sturdy window. I dont feel beautiful. I am struggling to cope with what’s happened to my life. I am 54 and have no children. Just cant wrap my head around how this has all come to pass that I was thrown away. Our marriage was not the greatest because we fought a lot (he was an alcoholic and lost or quit 13 jobs in 19 years). He also was “all about him” all the time while I tried to do whatever to please him. He is now living with OW in a state I always wanted to move to but he would always refuse.
    First time posting but have been reading others comments for a few days now after I found this site. What a group of strong women and men. Anyway perhaps I should not be going on like this…but I just want to feel the self worth of a Tiffany window and know my life is worth something to me.

    • I wrote some stuff below. I want to add – I’m 98% positive that my SIL helped the X in all his evil ways, and she had the gall to act nice to me. They are two peas in one very ugly pod.

    • imfree..You are a Tiffany window. You just need a little restoration, some cleaning and releading. You just can’t see it right now. You’ve been beaten down. Hang with people that love you, be kind to yourself. I to was thrown away (33 years). It does get better. Please believe that. I took to heart what all the wonderful CN people said about it getting better and here I am. I’m lonesome but not lonely sometimes, I’m scared sometimes, but underneath I’m relieved and joyful and impatient to get on with life. A year ago it took all my strength just to get out of bed. Sending you cyber windex and paper towels…make that window that is you shine! ((hugs)))

      • thank you. I am really trying but just feel lost and cry a lot. Feel very guilty about my part in the demise…I could not handle the lying, lack of integrity, unscrupulous behaviors, the constant drinking, leaving or being fired from jobs, handling EVERYTHING, and I mean everything to run a home. Plus I had an extremely stressful job working for the government for 22 years (child abuse investigations). I was ready to have a breakdown but instead I would lash out. I did not have a partner at home. I was all alone in this marriage while he basically had a free ride and a made-to-order cushy life. I lost my job last June 2017 after 22 years. It was a blow for me. But I can see now I was slowly deteriorating from the stress of my marriage and my job. I gave so much to this man who just decided one day to walk away. I am mad at myself for wasting years from something I saw all along was not right. My family saw it, my friends saw it, but I chose to bury my head in the sand because the alternative was being alone. This was my greatest fear in life. And now it is here. To grow old alone without a partner. I am scared for my future

        • Imfree: I can understand that fear. I had the same feeling when after 33 years I was suddenly on my own at 63. I cried every night for 2 years. But then my life changed. I know you said you don’t have kids, so your change will be different, but something will evolve. For me, after 2 years on my own in a small bungalow I had moved to, I had a strong urge to move and buy a bigger home. My friends thought I was foolish. But I moved. Six months later my oldest son returned from working overseas. His wife’s contract ended a few months later and she returned. A few months later my other son needed to move home. Then 3 years later, my granddaughter was born. We all live together. We have 3 separate areas of bedrooms, bathroom and sitting room and we share the kitchen and eat dinner together every night. My sons do most of the cooking. My daughter-in-law and I do the cleaning up.

          I am no longer alone, but have my privacy as well. I could never have predicted this turn of events.

          I am truly happy now. You will find your happiness too. It may be with friends or another partner. When you are ready, something will change.

          • Take it from me – get out now while you can. My DDay was 8/3/17… and I’m still here hating every minute of it. You can dig, collect evidence, delve deeper into your pain- just be sure to LEAVE with all that evidence. Run straight into the arms of the best lawyer you can find and do not look back.
            The hurt, resentment, lack of trust and unhappiness will never leave if you stay. All the counseling in the world won’t repair what he broke. I’m treading water in a pond called purgatory right now. Don’t be me!

    • Post all you want, Imfree. We are here for you.

      You deserved so much better. His alcoholism and regular loss of jobs indicate a very disordered and self-centered person. You loved and supported him, but he used and discarded you. We understand.

      Hugs to you and keep posting. You are welcome here in the club no one wanted to join.

    • Imfree, thanks for posting. Please keep reading and posting here! We are all in the same boat and do know how you feel at this point. Some huge great hugs to you sweetie xxx

    • Imfree, I am an alcoholic with 33 years in recovery. You have been wrestling an 800 lb gorilla your entire marriage. Alcoholism may be a disease, but it is one that the patient has a responsibility to treat!! I have also been in Al Anon since 1986…..please if you haven’t been, get to some meetings for that guilt you are carrying around. You will meet others there who know how you feel and can give you some tools for that fear. Please give it a chance!

      Why do the lying cheaters think they should be in a relationship? Proof of low IQ, IMHO. I didn’t lie and didn’t cheat. I am not in a relationship…having been chumped ten months ago after a 27 year “relationship”, I am self-aware enough to know it is not the right time for me. Meanwhile, Tinder Man STBXH Relationship Genius is trolling the Internet….but as I said, relationships by the hour are his speed…

  • This is exactly the place to be going on!! You will find support and understanding.

    My divorce was final in July, D-day was in May. I’m a long way from meh, and I don’t yet see a Tuesday. Some days, I know I will get there and some days I feel like I’m back at the beginning.

    I’m 51 and have no children, either. My husband, his two kids and his family were also my family. I feel like a part of me was ripped out. Thank goodness for my cousin who’s always been more like a sister and a few close friends. I don’t know I would have survived without them. I have to create a life that just me, and sometimes that task seems a bit daunting.

    In time, you will find your worth because it’s always been there. He doesn’t get to determine your value – that’s completely up to you. You might look into Al-Anon if you haven’t already.

    Please keep posting if it helps you.

    • Thank you so much for responding. It’s comforting (although I do not wish this pain on anyone) to know I am not alone. I just feel discarded, not good enough, but also feel like a fool for staying for 20 years seeing all along his lack of integrity, his addictions, his selfishness. I carried the load of the marriage for 20 years. And he gets to walk away with ALOT of money, no responsibilities,and start a new life.

      • I would have been married 18 years in August. Believe me, the discarding and feeling like a fool is something I went through (and still go through). I felt so stupid for staying with someone that was never going to treat me like a queen. I felt like a fool for thinking that he would eventually see me, that he would look me and realize what a dumb ass he had been for not paying enough attention to his loving and faithful wife. But you see, the fault is with them. I was crying the other day about I wasn’t sure what was real or not anymore. She asked me if it felt real to me and I said yes, because it was. There is no shame in that!! Don’t try to unwind the skein of fuckupedness – it’s a fool’s errand.

        I will say something that my momma always said to me, you can’t fix what you didn’t break. You didn’t make your husband into an alcoholic, you didn’t make him lose him jobs, you didn’t create the issues that may have lead to his addiction.

        You see, you get to start a new life too. I know it’s not the one you wanted but it’s what you have now. YOU get to determine your next steps. Be kind to yourself.

        • Yes, I second that thought – be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself as you would a close friend. Look at your role with critical self-reflection, there is much to be learned there. But be kind, not mean, to yourself during the reflection time.
          Maya Angelou said something to effect of “you do the best you can and when you know better, you do better.”

      • My husband is leaving me after 31 years of marriage, 35 years together. My D Day was 8/8, kept my knowledge a secret while I looked for a lawyer. Unfortunately didn’t get to talk to anyone before he asked me for a divorce on 8/10. He’s been sorting through the house moving stuff to Missouri (we are central NY) to be with the woman he had an affair with 25 years ago. He should be leaving me and our 14 year old son for good in the next few days.

        I feel worthless tonight. I am afraid I will be too weak / not enough/ unable to do what needs to happen. My son has social / emotional issues (adoption at 2 1/2), our house is in serious disrepair. He would promise to fix things, then yell at me to stop pushing him if I check in with him to see when. We need a roof, windows, repairs in basement to be water tight and repaid to the furnace (he didn’t allow its use – had to heat with wood.

        He tells me he wants to go start his new life….I understand husband / wives divorce, but how can he leave his son and move 1,000 miles away?

        We didn’t fight a lot, when we did he would list things he was angry about that might go back 20 years or more. He would call me a fat fuck, he would tell me he was only there for our son. He tells me now he hasn’t loved me for 10 years…..this only a short time after we adopted our son……he’s told me I got ‘weird’ after we got our son.

        I just am terrified I’m going to be alone, I’m lonely now and he’s still here, it is going to get worse. I’m 56 on Friday and I just can’t imagine being any lower than I am.

        I understand how you feel…..

        • Register with this site (free!) and join the Forums – this appears on the top of the page when you register. Find some local support, or just vent – it WILL be OK. You are in a rotten place right now, but it won’t always be that way.


        • Silver, STAY IN TODAY!! STAY IN THE EXACT MOMENT. Do the next right thing….one thing at a time!!! Maybe it’s washing one dish….that’s OK!!! You are not worthless….HE is! What kind of decent human being acts like your “husband”? Nice guys don’t lie and cheat and abandon their families. I feel terror too and I do what I suggested above. I don’t know why it works…try it and see if it helps you. Reach out to true friends….I have several I call daily. Is there a school counselor for your son? SELF CARE, SUPPORT, EMOTIONAL FIRST AID, BABY STEPS!! Cancel that Future Trip trip ticket when you notice your mind thinking ahead. Hard to do but practice!

          • Thanks, folks responding means a lot. Other than work I have no friends. No one was ok at first (found fault with them) and I think I was so worried about not finding someone I gave everyone else up. My fault. No close friends at work..I’m in management so it’s hard. Folks care and are supportive / kind but I’ve never been invited to do anything outside of work.

            I’m seeing a therapist once a week, and seem strong when I’m there…definitely not tonight. Today we went to Syracuse to a doctor for my son and have a bunch more tests to do. We don’t know why he has a fattened / flattened section of sciatica nerve (last year at 50 percent) that causes him not to have any feeling from the ankle down. The doctor actually said to us after I explained they needed to communicate with Brian too as we are getting a divorce “what about commitment?”. All I could say is this wasn’t my idea and my husband was moving to live with his girlfriend. Sat there like a lump.

            I’m going to take your advice and go try to pick up / sort some laundry. One step right?

            ‘Hopeless in Ithaca’

            • You are not hopeless. He is.
              This shit is hard and it ebbs and flows. This is just the beginning – as CL says “the pain is finite” but it is going to suck for a little while.
              Check in often.

        • Oh, Silver… big, big hugs to you and your son. It must be so hard feeling that he’s taken the initiative and you don’t have agency. He’s not leaving you though, he’s running away. And you and your son will be SO much better off without his poisonous presence. You may not feel it right now, but keep reading here and you’ll know it. Don’t panic sweetheart, be close to your son and all this will work out. Much love to you tonight xxx

  • I believe they just think they’re entitled to absolute perfection at all times and if they don’t get it, they’ll destroy whatever isn’t perfect to them and in their eyes and use it as an excuse to go find something else that’s “perfect.” Anything that isn’t perfect in their eyes is unworthy in pretty much every way.

    I treated my ex like a king. Faithful, loyal, honored him and did everything for him. Even before we got married and were just living together. He literally lived like he had a live-in maid and butler. Even when I worked, he had nothing to do at home except relax and ask for backrubs. He didn’t even have to make his own plate at dinner time. He didn’t know how to operate the washing machine because he never did any laundry because I did every bit of it. Never cooked. Never took the kids to a single doctor’s visit. Not one. Four kids and he couldn’t even tell you the name of their doctors, dentists, none of it. Didn’t do any grocery shopping. Even down to making sure the sprinklers were winterized in October and turned back on in the spring was something he never even had to give a single thought to. His work day was shower, put on the dry cleaned suit that *I* set out for him, grab the coffee and the briefcase I had waiting for him and go. Getting home meant plopping down on the couch with the remote control and asking me to bring him a beer and then dinner that he only had to pick up the fork for.

    But you know what? He couldn’t find perfection anywhere else, either, as evidenced by the fact that he cheated throughout the entire time we dated, when we were engaged and throughout the whole marriage. He kept a few “regulars” and added a ton of temporaries, forever in pursuit of all the fun and perfection he was due. My biggest mistake was not throwing his dirty laundry on his favorite whores’ porches the day I busted his ass.

    Leave a toddler-man; let some other woman pick his dirty sucks up off the floor.

      • I am. Thank you.

        He still asks to get back together. Lol. I guess freedom was no better :/

    • That’s kind of what my adult son calls my cheater (who is not his father) – man-child. Funny, he had it figured out before I did.

      • Other people usually do “see it” before the chump does. We’re too busy loving our husbands/wives.

  • Wow. This resonated. The church I was married in 22 years ago in a small town in Pennsylvania has one of the country’s best collections of Tiffany stained glass windows. The other day I was actually thinking about my wedding day and how I was so overcome with emotion that I sobbed all the way down the aisle.
    Between this post and yesterday’s, I’m really coming to realize he didn’t see me, he never really loved me for “me,” and I deserve someone who will see my beauty during the good times and the bad times.

  • CN, We are very much like Tiffany windows, and don’t for a second doubt it. I was a good partner. Honest, kind, engaged, supportive, and loving. X wasn’t and just didn’t share my values. His loss.

  • The thing is, my ex wasn’t one of these lazy lie abouts making demands on the wife while doing nothing himself like so many of your ex’s. He did work hard. He did once start an argument with “I can’t believe you are reading to the kids when there are dishes to be done” but he was holding the basket of laundry he was working on when he said it. That made me feel inadequate and lazy. I tried to keep up. I took on more chores hoping to lighten his load so that maybe he would have more time for me but he always just found more things that needed to be done. I was running myself to exhaustion trying to keep up and eventually started to back down again figuring there was no point in us both burning out. I still worked hard, but I took a break now and again too. In all fairness ex did takes breaks as well, just never at home. He would go flying or to broker dinners or whatever while I was home with the kids. When he was home, however it was all work no play to the point where me reading to the kids looked like slacking off to him and I believed it too. Then there was the fact that everything I did to try and help out was never done well enough for him anyway. He was doing the laundry because I didn’t separate things the way he wanted and I folded his socks all wrong. Meanwhile, everything he did he did well whether at home or at work. He was also good at impressing his bosses and went far in every job he had although he still complained of being unappreciated. I always supported and encouraged his greatness but I was never as great as him. I tried to mutli-task, I tried to have a career and still be a great mom and wife. Evidently I failed at the latter (although I think I did a fair job of being Mom as our kids are turning out awesome). I was supposed to either be at home in my proper place raising his kids and being a good housekeeper (which I evidently wasn’t capable of anyway) or I was supposed to be COE somewhere bringing in the big bucks. I guess I am lucky he didn’t expect both at once. Being pretty good at career and family made me inadequate at both in his eyes. Meanwhile everything he touches turns to gold (well except his marriage, but that was my fault of course). Most of the time I know I was a better wife and person than he ever gave me credit for but sometimes I have relapses that make me feel inadequate all over again, like maybe someone with his talent and ability to succeed really does deserve better than the woman who is satisfied with being merely pretty good. I have been feeling this way since last night when he announced that he got the new job he applied for. Now he gets to be an airline pilot who flies jets. Once again he is successfully working his way up in a new career with more money and glory. This compared to little old me who merely got a new certification to make me more valuable to the marketing department where I work. There was no immediate raise or promotion involved. His success is the kind of thing that used to make me proud. Now it makes me feel that much more left behind because I was unworthy of his greatness. It was fine for me to be the one there holding it all together when he quit his formerly successful career to embark on a new one but once he actually started to get somewhere, I wasn’t good enough anymore. I was good enough to live with the drain of resources when he decided to reinvent himself, but I am not good enough to share in the wealth and glory when he succeeds. I tried to be good enough for him but I failed. It is the only time in my life I have worked so hard and not had it pay off. The thing that is so insulting, however, is that he didn’t think I was good enough for him, but he thinks that some stupid slut is. I am not just inadequate, I am lower than a selfish self centered slut with no morals, no compassion and no sense of decency who hasn’t really made much of anything of her life. I guess she does have better fashion sense, better grammer and is better at doing laundry and raised two more kids than me so that makes her worthy of his “greatness”. I guess it is a good thing that I am pretty good enough to look after myself and I don’t need a man with a great outward persona to look after me like she does. It still smarts though and I still have relapses in my self esteem sometimes, like today. It doesn’t usually last so long anymore though and it is nice to have a place I can safely rant to get it all off my chest. Thanks CN.

    • CIR, you got me to thinking. We both had husbands that we thought genuinely care about us. What if they really didn’t? What if it was a facade? What if they really are bad people masquerading as guys with morals and class?

      I’m pretty sure that over 19 years I saw the mask slip enough that I had to step back at the ugly scene unfolding before my eyes. Only once, before the separation, was it directed to me. The other times, I was taken aback at his complete lack of compassion, morals, and empathy. I’m talking cold as ice. That’s the real X – not the man that I called my husband.

      The more I have corresponded with him during and after the divorce, the more I’m convinced that the he used me for what he needed or wanted and then he threw me away when I no longer served a purpose. I’m telling you, he’s not a nice man. I don’t care who he’s dating now, what job he has, and (wait, that’s all he’s got) because he doesn’t even have the admiration of his children. No one admires him, no one. Well, maybe the new woman but give it time and she will see it too.

      My week ended on a bad note last week after some email correspondence with him. He finally reached me at the work email because I have him blocked on social media, cell and personal email. It’s taken me till today to finally get my nerves back in line. I have to see him clearly to move on – I have to stop romanticizing him to understand that there wasn’t anything that I could have done to stop the cheating or divorce. That’s all on him.

      • There truly is nothing you could have done. I completely understand where you are coming from. I know i was used. And no, they are not nice people. Not at all.
        I saw pure evil in my x. At the same time he could be sweet and funny. But that monster i saw is real. He is coldblooded and has proven himself capable of the cruelest words and actions.
        And yes, he is successful. But really i know he despises everyone he works with. He is a blitering yes man. He is corrupt.
        And i always thought he had so much character.
        You are who you associate with and he associates with other cheaters. He is weak.

    • And big hugs to you – sounds like you’ve had a rough day. Remind yourself of your good qualities which people admire about you. He didn’t take those away from you. You have so much to offer and others see it, believe me, they do.

    • Chumpinrecovery

      I have tears in my eyes, because the story you wrote is my story… few small changes needed and it would picture my life in 100%

      I think it may be easier to justify or explain to others is the husband is a plain jackass…. what if he looks like a poster boy- educated, great career, everything turning into gold…. and there is the wife- not pretty enough, not good enough, too lazy…. work no play, and creating the guilty feeling of wanting relax and fun activities with family….
      “ I’m doing all that for us”
      “ I don’t have any break because I’m working so hard” etc.,.

  • That’s what I told my ex. That he had something special and precious. Something a lot of people in this world would give anything to have for themselves. And not only didn’t he cherish it, he willfully destroyed it. Like being given a beautiful work of art and then vandalizing it before shoving it in the trash can and dumping garbage on top of it.

    And he cried and whimpered and put on a big blubbering show. Fake despair and remorse over being exposed and having it blown up in his face.

    He didn’t care. He does it all the time. He’s ruined every caring relationship he’s ever had. Family, close friends, career mentors, and romantic partners. No relationship is special and sacred to him. Nobody has intrinsic value to him. It’s all about getting his use out of them while he can.

    • I wonder if my ex self- sabotages by destroying whatever is most valuable to him. He dropped out of high school, never finished his associate’s degree, cheated on another girlfriend (I found out this earlier betrayal at the time I discovered his betrayal of me.)

      But, more than that, I wonder if he just opts to keep pushing boundaries and using people as much as possible until his greed surpasses a threshold and he loses it all; something akin to a gambling addiction.

      Or maybe he just wants cake and somehow feels like a victim when he is denied cake.

      Or maybe he did value those things but was so sure he would never be caught that he just took riskier cake, and then he really did regret losing the entire buffet for that one slice.

      I don’t know.

      Regardless, he’s gone and I’m left with a myriad of questions and misgivings.

  • After this whole affair experience, I have learned that any prospective future partner does not have permission to be “a Tiffany window by association”. Character and integrity are earned, practiced qualities in a human. Standing next to a person of character does not equal character for the fuckwit. We chumps know this. We ride on!

  • My dad, who cheated on my mom, also couldn’t see the beauty in works of art or objects of beauty. (He married the howorker, who was just 2 years older than my sister, but that marriage only lasted a few years).

    Anyway, so he once got a job of cleaning out the house of a local who had passed away with no next of kin. Either the bank or the realtor hired him to clean out everything from the house. There was gorgeous china, antiques, etc. My dad threw them all in the back of his pickup truck, with an antique sewing machine just thrown on top of the china and other lovely breakables. Halfway to the dump, the antique sewing machine fell out the back, and a trail of china followed. He left them at the side of the road. Only one saucer survived, which for some reason my dad kept. As he was relating this story, I looked at that beautiful saucer and could only imagine what the whole set was worth. When I asked him why he didn’t try to keep or sell any of the pieces or to give them to his kids or grandkids, he looked shocked that anyone would suggest such a thing. He placed no value on things that were of no use to him personally.

    I really do think they never grow up, nor do they care about others or think about what others might need, want, or appreciate.

    Cheaters are the vandals of life.

  • I’m really struggling with this. I worked so hard and was so self- conscious of my every word in that relationship. I never want to abuse or hurt someone, so I was paranoid that maybe I would because my parents are personality disordered. I took classes on conflict management and mature communication skills. I have a certificate in mediation. I know how to speak kindly and rationally without angry tones, without yelling, and without insulting. With the exception of when he informed new he was no longer attracted to me, I never rose my voice at him.

    And I was very financially generous to him. I covered his room, board, and medical expenses. I gave him my time, my love, and my physical affection. I gave everything and I know I treated him well.

    But I begin to doubt my value when I see what he was willing to descend to, rather than be with me.

    He gave up living a pampered life where he didn’t have to work, he could take vacations and play video games in a computer I upgraded for him. He had no debt while I took on part time work to pay our bills.

    And then I found out he was cheating for a year or two of our nearly four year relationship. I found out and he fled to visit his aunt and uncle. Then he dumped me.

    How was I of any value if he was willing to give up the cozy lifestyle of playing video games and going to conventions at my expense?

    Where is he now? He’s sleeping on his uncle’s couch. They told me that they were very upset with his immature and selfish behavior and they would make sure he earned his keep.

    So now he’s doing endless chores and must get a job ASAP our they will kick him out. He has no education, no job history, and no savings. He’s burned his bridges in my town.


    How can I conclude that I’m valuable when he was willing to give up a life of ease (we were engaged), in exchange for living as a disrespected grunt, working a grungy labor high, and sleeping on his relative’s couch?

    How was I so invaluable that he would conclude that cheating was worth risking it all?

    I learned from the horse’s mouth that his uncle was a victim of cheating. His family is now ashamed of him.

    How was cheating so valuable? Or was I devalued and trashed without reason?

    I don’t feel like a tiffany window. I feel like a glass crack pipe. I was used and discarded for someone’s selfish jollies.

    • I meant to say my ex’s family disrespects my ex for his behavior. They support the cheated on uncle.

    • Sometimes people don’t value things they haven’t had to work for. It doesn’t mean the thing (or the person who gave it to them) isn’t valuable. It’s that they can’t understand the cost until they have to earn it for themselves.

    • BeeznBear, Oh. My. Gosh! Did you dodge a huge bullet. You were doing all the heavy lifting in your relationship. You didn’t have a partner, you had an adult child.

      Your ex and his uncle gave you the ultimate gift. They freed you from an anchor around your neck that would’ve drowned you.

      Start doing things YOU like, buy yourself some flowers, take a drive somewhere you’ve never been on a crisp fall day and enjoy the scenery, pamper yourself with a bubble bath…whatever. But start realizing what a strong, capable person you are. Once you’ve gotten your head straight, you’ll start feeling better. You’ve just been blinded by this man-child who treated you like you were garbage, when in fact, HE is garbage.

  • IG – hello, friend! I love what you wrote. And in your own case, 2 cheating people who were unwilling to do the work have gotten together and have left collateral damage in their wakes. That bodes SO well for their sparkly turd future together, don’t you think?
    You are strong & sane and far better than she ever deserved. Great comment.

  • I am reading the stories today, and just hurting like crazy for myself and for the rest of you.

    I recognize myself in so many of the stories: the partner who was – to be frank – a people-pleasing doormat, who lay down and let someone walk all over me, more than once, and then wondered why I got used up and spat out.

    The partner who gave everything with ZERO expectations of reciprocity.

    The partner who lived on crumbs of attention and affection (“Oooooh! he kissed me on the cheek today! Must redouble my efforts!”)

    The partner who kept flogging a relationship horse that was so dead, it was fossilized and looked more like a small primitive hippo.

    There were people in iron lungs who had more functional relationships than me. And my personal relationship dysfunction went across the board – it extended into romance, friendship, workplace, and family of origin.

    If you want to untangle a skein, I can really recommend the live-saving work of starting with your own. It was so painful, but SO necessary. You need a super-duper Relationship Audit.

    Where did I learn this doormat/non-reciprocal shit from? Family of origin? Disney movies? Fucked-up self-help books on Being The Perfect Wife? Reader’s Digest articles? All of the above?

    Turns out: All of the Above. I believed in fairy tales, because reality was too painful.

    And as for being alone, or ‘ending up alone’: if you start doing the work on yourself right now, you will quickly rejoice in being un-distracted, un-stifled, un-used. You start to stretch like a chrysalis.

    You won’t even notice you’re single, because your life will start to fill with purpose and better friendships and better working relationships. EVERYTHING gets better.

    • @Lola,

      I love your writing. This post has so much that is familiar to me. Doormats-are-us. Yes to marriage, friendships, work colleagues and family walking all over me. However not everybody took advantage of me during this phase, and I have made a special note to keep these people closer.

      However as a group we are relentlessly self-critical. Yup, being a doormat is not ideal, but the person it tends to hurt is ourselves. We don’t spread the pain outwards, unlike the cheaters of the world and I know what I’d rather be.

      For myself, and I am sure it is similar to you, I have discovered I am surrounded by wonderful and supportive people. Partly it is the chrysalis effect, but even before that people have described me as the kindest person they know. I know I have FOO issues and sought therapy in the past, and one phrase has stuck with me “your greatest weakness is also your greatest strength”. Sociopaths/narcissists are Fortune 500 company CEOs and also entitled cheaters. We are, well, chumps, but also empaths. Right now, I am choosing to sparkle in my own way. I will not be hidden away again, trying to make a cheater’s light look brighter.

      • YES.

        Me too – who was so scared of living a ‘loveless’ (eg. unpartnered) life – I was dazzled by the amount of love which surrounded me, which I had NEVER NOTICED because my head was so firmly stuck up a string of Cheaterpants asses.

        Once you get your head free, you really get your head free. You can see things you never noticed before. Those unsparkly little folks that you took for granted – guilty as charged – really leap into sharp focus, and turn out to be wise, kind, supportive and loyal.

    • Argh I was actually also meaning to say, I think you are being hard on yourself. From your posts you sound like a pretty cool person.

      • I am like Tony Blair – tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime.

        I DID play a part in enabling some dipstick abuse – until I learned what I was doing. Then I had to toughen up really fast in order to save myself from a future of misery.

        That’s why I can forgive myself for enabling in the past, because I really had no clue that’s what I was doing. I thought I was being Supportive and Kind and Helpful.

        Part of untangling my own skein was learning what those words really mean, and how to live them sensibly, and not as a constant immolation of my entire being complete with pain and scorch marks.

        I like that I am someone who doesn’t do things by half-measures, but I am learning to ration the Unfiltered Lola for special occasions. I get a lot less tired that way, and I have more to give as a result.

        • Lola, you are very wise indeed. I was raised by my loving grandparents. They loved me to the moon and back, but that generation..folks who suffered through the depression…expected that women were to take care of their partners and not expect a whole lot in return. It takes a long time to work through that. As chumps, we certainly didn’t cause our abuse, but we tolerated it. It is not wise to carry that into future relationships. If the plan is to remain exactly as we were, then yes, the road through future relationships will indeed be fraught with misery. The good news is all of that is within our control. When in doubt, my new mantra is if it were my college aged daughters, what would I tell them? Undoubtedly the response would be no, you don’t take that from anyone. It is NOT enough to excuse it because of any of the promises you made. Tonight, on a rare tv watching night I caught this pearl of wisdom…..if you are constantly telling yourself how lucky you are, it is because you don’t want to ask yourself if you are happy. I think there is a lot to be said for that.

  • Thank you for this post CL. This last year post D-Day (and devalue before that) has been brutal. SO much of my energy has gone on just surviving day to day, negotiating a settlement, working at my demanding job. I had forgotten to look at myself – the cheating seemed to fill my horizon and for a long time, I thought, defined me.

    I love the thought that I could be a thing of beauty in and of myself, thank you for reminding me.

  • Love this! What a wonderful reminder of our worth and so providential. I leave this morning for a work trip to Orlando and have a little free time on Monday. Now I know where I will be headed. Thanks Chump Lady, glad you had a good vacation!

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