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Got a Pep Talk?

A few months ago, I read about this research that found that one of the best ways to face a challenge is to give advice to someone else facing the same challenge.

HellOOoo… whole premise of Chump Nation, amiright? We’re ahead of science!

Quartz reports:

Writing in MIT Sloan Management Review, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, a Wharton psychologist who studies motivation, and Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science at University of Chicago Booth, explain that psychologists have long known problems related to self-control are connected to a lack of motivation to transform knowledge into action.

“Realizing this, we decided to turn the standard solution to self-control on its head: What if instead of seeking advice, we asked struggling people to give it,” write Eskreis-Winkler and Fishbach. To answer this question, they conducted a series of experiments that appointed people struggling with self-control to advise others on the very problems they themselves were encountering. The population samples they studied included unemployed adults struggling to find a job, adults struggling to save money, adults struggling with anger management, and children falling behind in school.

“Although giving advice confers no new information to the advice giver, we thought it would increase the advice giver’s confidence,” they write. “Confidence in one’s ability can galvanize motivation and achievement even more than actual ability.”

Struggling to leave cheaters perhaps? Or build new lives? Everyone has the ability to be mighty, I’d argue. But you just have to make the mental shift. With that in mind, I thought today’s Friday challenge would be to write the encouragement you wish you had received.

Right now someone somewhere is having a dark hour of the soul, or slogging through single parenting (vomiting illnesses anyone?), or feeling like some hairy-backed cheater is the last person they’ll ever love. They could use some uplift — and YOU are just the person for the job.

Today we’re writing PEP TALKS. To that stranger, to ourselves. And then they’ll sit here in the archives, radiating YOU GOT THIS! — so no one ever feels lonely again.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • To anyone looking forward to cheater homework, I’ll leave it for next week. Needed some Friday POSITIVITY! (Maybe this is my brain on oat squares…)

  • Helping others through the same struggles you went through DEFINITELY increases confidence, courage and the ability to navigate our own ongoing struggles.

    It’s been my honor and pleasure to have done so for several new Chumps in my area. Those meetups over dinner and/or drinks are life savers.

    We are not alone. We owe it to ourselves to spread that word to those in need.

    • I just now realized — I’m writing this on the two year anniversary of the finalization of my divorce from the Kunty Kibbler.

      So here’s my mini pep talk — someday, with as little contact as possible with the person who abused you, a focus on your own personal growth and wellbeing, and the blessed passage of time, the horrible milestones of your betrayal will become “out of mind” until something reminds you of them.

      • Wow, Happy Anti-versary! Your story has been such an inspiration, told with humor and grace.

  • Look at all you have achieved by yourself. No really, LOOK AT IT. You were born from a mistake. A suicidal depressed mother. Absent father. No other family. You were abused as a child. Bullied. You were brought up with nothing, no hand-outs. This is but the tip of the iceberg. No help. No one ever saved your ass. You saved your own. YOU SAVED YOUR OWN. You have a full time job in the NHS. You are completing a degree. You save money. You run a house by yourself. You get through life without hurting anyone or burdening anyone. You are a good, nice person.

    Now look at him. Hes been handed everything on a plate. Rich parents, the best schools, holidays all over the world. He owned his own apartment at one point. What has he got? He’s living in your house rent free… you are helping him sort his life out. What is he doing for you? Nothing. He still goes to his parents for money. He’s 36 years old. Seriously? He feels entitled to your help. ENTITLED because thats what he’s always had – someone to save his miserable ass. You are not the same sort of people.

    You could dress a cat turd up in tiny crocheted clothes and still have a better life partner.

    • You are awesome you really are. The first part of your pep talk is wonderful.

      Just one thing though …

      You are “helping him sort his life out”?

      Dear Chump, stop it now. Get out of “fixer” mode, cut the delusion that you are so special that you alone can save him. Rent free. Yes you are a good nice person but to him, all you are is “useful”.

      You are Mighty, and deserve better. Not this charity-case creep. Kick him out, and be aghast at how quickly you are replaced.

      And then, get busy with sorting out your OWN life and celebrating properly that you are gold.

      • MamaMeh:

        “…but to him, all you are is “useful”.

        I couldn’t agree more! Just a couple of days after my XH abandoned ship, we were talking on the phone about a household repair he needed to complete before the house went on the market. I was still very early in the I’m-falling-apart-what-the-hell-just-happened? stage, so blurted out, “I miss you”. Dead silence. So I asked him, “Do you miss me”. He said, “I miss everything you used to do for me”. Wow, talk about a gut punch. That night was the beginning of my education about my self-absorbed, disordered spouse and how he really felt about me. Lucky me, at one time, I’d been deemed “useful”, but apparently, I no longer was.

        • I’m with you both. Please kick his ass out. My ex needed “saving” all the time too. In the end I figured he knew how to cheat he should know how to pay his rent. Save yourself (and kudos to anyone who works for the wonderful NHS).

      • Yeah, thinking you can save or change people is Chump 1.0. This may be where it starts, with too big a heart and too much trust in mankind (projection).

  • Learn how to recognize your intuition—or gut feelings. It’s not telling you what you want to hear, it’s an A-1 inner guide. Usually, if you’re used to following those top layer feelings, your intuition is pointing you in a direction that feels much scarier. And secondly, you don’t have to have the entire plan figured out at once. My friend shared her mom’s advice—just take the next best step.

    • Shelly, YES! When I started listening to my gut, my life became infinitely more genuine and meaningful. I finally recognized that all those times I ignored it, I made colossally epic mistakes.

    • Yes, again! It’s taken me a lot of years even to know what my “gut” feels like–and as soon as I did, a lot of past memories became clear. I would add, “You’ll be very tempted to blame yourself for the bad stuff, not only because you’re being encouraged to do just that, but because you really are smart enough to spot your own errors (once you can weed out the ones that weren’t errors at all but sound intuitions). Remember this: Self-blame comes from changed perspective. You wouldn’t be saying ‘If only I’d…’ if you didn’t know better now. So focus on that part, because that’s what you can carry forward into the next phase of your life. You don’t need the self-blame to keep the lesson.”

  • It’s a shock, a transition. You’re figuring out who you are and who you want to be without your cheater. It’s freeing but it’s also scary and you won’t do it perfectly. At times it feels like the awkwardness of adolescence all over again. Don’t let other people tell you how to go on this journey. Allow it to be imperfect and see where it takes you. You’ll come out with strength and growth that is all yours. It’s beautiful.

  • So need this today… I’m in that dark place of despair, paralyzed, making no decision but to get up each day. Stuck.

    • No matter how badly you feel, you are not to blame. Look into your heart and remember how hard you tried even when things felt off.
      Now give yourself a great big break. It’s ok to cry, to be angry, furious, raging. It’s ok to make mistakes and do things you may regret now, because you are hurting. You have been hurt.
      But you will be ok. Because you have a big heart and a good soul.
      Keep being your lovely self.
      It will be ok.

    • Fluffy1d – you can’t begin to imagine it now but I promise you, you will make it out the other side.

      22 months post D-day here, and one of the best things?

      How much I like me!

      I was not my best self with him – 22 year marriage. He brought me so low, hurt me so much, made me feel less-than.

      Unexpected bonus of this very hard single-mother but fuckwit-free life? This new me ROCKS! I like her, a lot. Bring on my best chapter yet.

      • ^^^^^this^^^^^^

        I lost myself along the way. Lost my self-respect. Bent so far over to please her, all I saw was my own ass.

        I found bits and pieces of my best self along this journey.

        Did I ask for this journey? No.
        But here I am; more whole.

    • Fluffy
      Tell us about your story and your pain. I remember that dark place very well. Everyday that you make the decision to get out of bed is mighty. I would get up, attempt to function then be desperate to get back to bed, only to find no respite there. But it will get easier and if you focus on your own growth, you will gain strength and clarity and experience a sort of rebirth. A stronger more compassionate and empathetic person who learns to love herself and not look to others to fill the empty void inside. Sending big hugs, you are in the worst of it.

      • New boundaries….

        The ????….
        Some here… getting up in order to function.. not to scare kids and myself even more… parties, PTA’s, work, long showers…. sometimes out of breath- if not making to bed on time…. sleep, repeat…

        When before accepting marriage proposal, you have long discussion with your future husband and tell him : I can deal with anything, except A,B,C and D…. and he tells you that that will never happen…. while behind your back all A-D are already in motion… and continue through the whole marriage…

        In that case, getting out of bad and faking being alive is the biggest accomplishment I can imagine…

        • And therefore, the first step in becoming mighty. I’m so sorry for your pain. Faking it is the hardest thing to do.
          I remember my son offering to help me get up and clean the house because it had become so bad. He knew I needed a start to get moving. After doing so, I felt a little glimmer of my old self. I started journaling in the middle of the night to deal with so many emotions…bed was a sanctuary and a torture chamber.

    • Fluffy! Virtual hugs!

      I am 3 years out and two plus years divorced from a really terrible cluster B narc who ruled and trashed my life for decades!

      For six months, I lay on the sofa. All did was feed the animals each day, and cry. Then I found a great therapist and got up to see her. Then I started walking every day. And early on, I found CL and CN, and SOS. CL opened my eyes, and gave funny names to my cheaters actions. Cake, I can remember the day I found “cake”. Kibbles. NO CONTACT. These terms put what had happened to me in a clear light. Things made sense.

      Getting up is HUGE. Reading here is HUGE.
      Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself heal. It takes time.

      No Contact, CL/SOS friends and journaling saved my life.

      There are still days that some rotten memory or revelation pops up, and I slide down a bit. But mostly, my life is happy, peaceful. Ah, the peace!

      It will happen for you. I wish someone had told me all this three years ago.

        • Elsa, you made me sit down and think about what peace means after 22 years of pure crazy…

          Getting up and not having my shoulders to my ears, waiting for the next lie, twisted logic, gaslighting, broken promise, personal attack, all covertly made.

          Regulating my home as I want it to be. Quiet. Cool. Clean. Happy.

          Peace. It is the absence of conflict, it is controlling your own life, it is making good choices. It is learning to love and trust yourself again. It is … breathing again.

        • My first acknowledgment of Peace Again I described as space between thoughts. Even thinking back on it nearly makes me dizzy on how difficult that was. And no one looked at me with hate. He hated me so, and for so long. It was the second day I was out, staying with my brother and his family and my whole body surged with.. omg without his attention ( shout out to the No Contact AlloutofKibble .) I noticed I wasn’t hated. My face even stopped twitching. I nearly feel sorry for him for having to work that hard for so long… oh yea… I did all the work. Womp womp LifesizeChump
          Peace now is so simple, it’s like trying to describe green. Not interesting overall but what all life is made of from new life, to fresh ideas.

      • I met a friend on a support site that had been thru it. she kept promising me I would be ok. she would call daily and ask me to do 1 thing. and she made me promise her that I would not die today.

        she kept telling me she knew i had no faith that i would be ok, but to let her carry the faith because 2 years ago she was exactly like me. She was right.

        I moved to a new state and now own my own business. I’ve written a book of poetry for women divorcing a narc, have 3 more coming, help other women, and, and recently took over as coordinator for a meetup group for narc abuse victims. I promise you will be ok. I’m living proof.

    • Echoing above, tell your story. Getting out of bed each day proves you aren’t stuck. You have to figure out what you need to do day by day. It is a step by step process. Do you need to see a lawyer, do you need to make a change? So many times, I didn’t know what I needed so I just put the feelings of the day out here and low and behold, I found wisdom. It was the little things that kept me going and still do. Just when you think there is nothing else anyone can say to help, you will hear the most amazing advice or encouragement that sparks you on.

    • Fluffy, I also agree with everyone else about sharing your story and how you are doing with all of us. I’ve never been one to journal, but Chump Nation became a sort of journal for me. It felt good getting things off my chest and being validated here at Chump Nation that I wasn’t going crazy and I was indeed married to a highly disordered person. Also, I know it doesn’t seem like it will ever happen, but the pain will eventually go away. And that feeling that you just want to lay in bed all day will go away too. I completely understand feeling stuck, but try your best to do one thing each day to get yourself moving in the right direction. You can tell us here at CN what you did and I guarantee you that CN will be cheering you on! At my lowest, I forced myself to do just one thing — “Make copies of important papers today, Martha. Just do that one thing and then you can rest, Martha.” And then I forced myself to do just that one thing. And then that one thing made me feel like I did something good for myself. I now look back on the last four years and I cannot believe all that I accomplished when I was clinically depressed. And don’t forget to seek medical help if you are depressed. Antidepressants and sleeping aides can help too! We are all rooting for you, Fluffy! Big (((((HUGS))))) to you. You are not alone.

    • Fluffy, sending you the hugest hug I can. It won’t always feel this way, sweetheart. Things will change – time heals is a total cliche BECAUSE it’s true. It’s true.
      Please keep posting. Chump Nation wants to stand with you ❤❤❤

    • Big hugs – we all remember that place. It seems bottomless but I promise you – it’s not. That fact that you get up is good. You found CL and CN!! That’s fantastic!! There are forums too if you want to share a bit more behind a wall. Look through this forum, pick a topic, you will be richly rewarded for looking.

      I found Cl just a day after D-Day and I never looked back. Through the goodness of others and their experiences, I know that his cheating was not my fault. Whatever your person did to you WAS NOT YOUR FAULT, YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. Try to let that sink and absorb. I was in the same marriage as my Dickhead (who I fully loved) and I did not cheat. I didn’t seek emotional affairs. I tried to give him my everything only to have it chewed up and spit out when he was ready to move one. I did not cheat!

      You can be mighty – keep coming here, lift your head up when you need to be mighty, call close family and friends for support. It’s one day and one step at a time.

      • Love this…..what MissBailey says!

        It takes a long while to figure out that it was not our fault and to stop blaming ourselves for what happened to our marriages. We did not cheat, and they had every opportunity not to cheat and to talk about what might be “wrong” in the marriage. The thing is, there may not have been anything “wrong” with the marriage but something is “wrong” with their ability to be faithful and see value in family. The blame they place on us chumps is heavy and during the initial shock we believe that it must be our fault. They wern’t happy because of something we did, or didn’t do…..right? but actually they are not happy with themselves, and may never be. No, they are chasing a dream and they will wake up someday. I was devastated for what she did and blamed myself just as most of us do, but not anymore. This blog and the multitude of similar experiences shared here has opened my eyes to that fact. Thank you CL and CN for all the help and the voice you give to everyone here.

    • Fluffy – take charge – everytime you do the slightest task I want you to say to yourself ‘I’m winning’ – because you are! That little thing will grow like an oak – you’ll see. If you can get an exercise program going and try to work out the toxins your backstabber forced into your psyche – believe me the harder you work the better – and stronger you’ll be. Do it a little at a time. Don’t let his rotten past corrupt the future you DESERVE! Get a little mean on too – if he sees it he’ll fear you!

    • All you have to do is breathe and put one foot in front of the other. No pressure. No large goals. Self care. Eat. Drink water. Cry. I couldn’t be anything except a puddle on the floor for months but I just went thru the daily motions and sometimes made myself do one or two things a day more than other days. I wondered if I could work…being semi cheerful in front of the kids was painful and anxiety provoking. I did have to take a little medicine. Whatever you are led to do that is comforting now , do it.

    • Getting up everyday is a good start. Really. I hope you have some friends around you who understand the paralysis and despair. Meanwhile, CN will sit with you peacefully on the banks of the karma river.

  • Honey, he accused you of being too strong. He spoke in derision about how your community involvement made you the kind of person he normally wouldn’t want to be friends with because such a person is just too intense. He criticized your sense of responsibility as an indication that you couldn’t possibly be fun anymore.

    Really? He somehow found negatives in your personal strength and achievement, your care for others around you and your work ethic? Where is the sense in that?

    There isn’t any sense in it, so direct that keen mind of yours towards what makes sense. Wanting good things for yourself and your children. Loving people as only a justice-oriented person can. Living an ethical and responsible life. Being moral. Finding joy in your children and your pursuits. Being the change you wish to see in the world.

    Bad things happen to good people. You’re proof of that. Those bad things occur because of the free will of others who make poor decisions out of their own broken selfishness. You are the collateral damage of someone else’s sins. You will survive this.

    Your capacity to grow from this experience will serve you well. You will improve your relationship with others. You will learn who you are again and grow in confidence about your path in the world. Your wisdom will abound.

    Sit in your pain and ride out the wave of the trauma you have experienced. Talk it out with good family and friends, and especially with a professional counsellor. Take care of the child within who has been so abused and abandoned. Nurture her back to health again. Revisit the course of your life and all the parts of who you are so that you can contextualize this broken marriage as simply a piece along the continuum of your life and not the whole of it. Have your sight set on the long vision of the life ahead of you, filled with hope and infinite possibilities. Reset, course correct, and blast off.

    Above all, remember that you are not alone in the depths of your soul. You are wonderfully made by the source of all love, granted with gifts and inherent dignity. As you feel the darkness of the despair that must run its course, reach for that love and let it envelop you. Be nurtured by it as you break yourself down into all your parts. When the time is right, you will emerge gloriously.


    • ONM

      This should be required reading.

      Breathtaking, heartbreaking, lifechanging.

      Thank you.

    • that line….

      “you are the collateral damage for another persons sins”

      that sums up my life. I’m saving that.

  • You will make progress on your own time table, dont feel rushed to “let him go” or “move on”. But make a tiny bit of good happen each day. Baby steps. Take it slow and remember that his actions don’t define you. Gather support around you, go to church or a group meeting, talk about your feelings. Try very hard not to beg for him/her to come back. They don’t care about you if they’ve left or cheated and want to stay. Know that cheating signaled the end, their choice. They chose to leave, you will choose to heal and move forward and have a beautiful life. Go no contact. Seeing them brings up the pain over and over again, its like ripping the scab off a wound, you can’t heal that way. When dealing with him or his lawyer, leave emotion out of it the best you can. Fight for everything. Do not disclose anything to the ex, deal with your lawyer only. Do your research. Accept that divorce is going to be ugly, they will blame, they will lie, they will tarnish your name. Don’t sink to that level, but hold your head up. Most importantly, know that you will heal. This time in your life is temporary. Just a very short window of time that completely SUCKS, but its a short window. You will become greater than you’ve ever been once you’ve moved through this. There are brighter days ahead, believe in yourself and you will get there.

  • Surround yourself (and your kids, if applicable), with people who validate your experience and feelings. People who say things like “there must have been something missing in the marriage” or “it takes two” (suggesting infidelity is your fault/failure rather than the cheater’s lack of commitment or character) or shrug their shoulders and say “that’s life”, are going to be poison to your soul.

    Proving you legitimately have something to heal from is the absolute last thing you need. That will hinder your progress. You can’t even accept that you’ve been traumatized, let alone process and begin to recover, without validation that something horrible has happened in the first place.

    The people who express these are either shallow thinkers/ignorant, lacking empathy possibly to the point of being disordered, or a cheater themself. Maybe even all 3? Not a reliable support, just a source of further pain and betrayal.

  • The encouragement I wish I had received?

    Once your partner has destroyed all trust, the relationship is over. It would be like trying to make a pooh go back into your butt; it just don’t happen.

    No amount of dedication to kids, church or values will change that. Move on.

  • There was a time I was laying on the floor of a closet in a fetal position crying. I started telling myself “get off the fucking floor”. I got up wrote myself a letter telling myself that I had to get off the fucking floor and start packing to leave my husband of 28 years. I did it. I got off the floor, moved out and moved on. It has been 2 years and I have purchased a home, have great friends, a terrific man and am truly happy.
    So my advice is the first thing you have to do is Get Off the Fucking Floor!!. That is the only way you can move on!! You really can do it!!! I did.

    • Your advice is exactly right. I was married for over 40 years and had no clue he was out having affairs/hook-ups while I was at work. I knew the way he treated me was not right but did nothing but scream and throw fits not knowing what was really going on. When I got hit across the head with what was going on I was more devastated about the wasted years being miserable but trudging through anyway all to find out he was complete lying cheating fake of a husband. It was a true relief to know the truth and get out. That I wasn’t crazy and I would be free of him and the emotional abuse. I spent six months living in another state figuring out my life and what allowed me to accept the abuse. This could not have happened without CL and this blog. My advice is never stop reading this blog. It will make you stronger every time you read it. It is like a dose of penicillin for your soul. All the terrible times in the beginning will make you such a stronger person you will not even recognize yourself when you get past it. A wonderful life is there waiting for you to go out and grab it.

      • I too have be married 40 years , just finding out what he is capable of , he’s dr jeckle and Hide all nice He doesn’t want a divorce , or to sell the home , He’ll stop seeing OW , But has he nope he says it’s all on him the OW doesn’t feel the same way as him , I don’t care he had a Emotional affair , hurt me beyond words , And I don’t care if it works out or not The only reason I’m still here , is I can’t afford to leave yet , but I’m getting all my ducks in a row , and soon he won’t know what hit him Thanks for your post

  • Simply staying alive is an awesome accomplishment. If you have not been able to do any more than that today, you are still doing great. Don’t give up!

  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    Means; It does not matter what you call it – good or bad – look for the factual truth behind the SPIN.

    A lie, or liar, is still going to be a lie or liar, no matter how much glitter sparkle is poured on.

    Same token; no matter how much you are labeled, vilified by cheater/OW? Switzerland friends – by the PR machine/ gossip churner/ social media blast — (Chose your combo)

    You are still the same good person you always were….

    — Take it from Magneto….

  • I’m soaking this up. And glad I found this site a few months back. My story is that I discovered my husband’s so-called emotional affair one evening a few months back after returning home from my second job. He left the laptop and email up..i got to watch their email exchanges in live time as he emailed her from his phone while at work. Devastating. They were talking shit about me in particular. How I was an annoying bitch and he wished I didn’t have the following day off of work so he could spend it with her.
    I made every mistake in the book. I raged, I cried, I threw him out, blames myself, engaged in a stupid email war with her wherein she rubbed salt into the wounds by telling me what a shitty wife and woman I was and how I didn’t take care of him. I took him back. And I hate myself every single day for being so weak. I am plagued by panic attacks, self loathing, doubt. I am constantly triggered. He walks around like nothing ever happened. I want out…but for some reason I can’t make it happen. Don’t know why or what’s holding me back but I don’t want to live this way any more. Hence the despair.
    My saving grace is this blog. If you all can do it…well then I can too. How is what I need to figure out.

    • Start by finding a supportive counselor just for YOU. You feel like you have no agency because you can’t get any distance or clarity. You are taking in the the brunt of the responsibility for the relationship failure and hurt. He is not suffering and you are. Character doesn’t change without PROFOUND consequences, introspection and years of work. Doesn’t sound like that is the case with your husband. So it will happen again, and you will waste more time in your precious life waiting for him to evolve. You need time alone, distance and support to sort things out. But you can’t see the forest from the trees. Read these blogs, reach out to a few trusted friends that have only YOUR best interests at heart, and listen to the voice deep inside that us telling you that something is not “right.” She is a wise and strong woman who is fighting for her self respect and self love. Listen to the people here who have gone through it before you. Liberate yourself from a husband who is showing by actions an appalling lack of love and respect. You deserve so much more.

      • Oh yea! Don’t be hard on yourself for your natural action to preserve your life as it was. It’s just that now you are realizing that that can never be. It’s like trying to guide yourself with wisdom while you are experiencing trauma. It’s an oxymoron. Follow your true instincts.

    • You call that a mistake, I see it as reacting normally to a devastatingly painful situation. Your husband’s reaction is the problem. He is not crying tears at your feet and sorry for that pain he caused. He violated your trust and acts like nothing happened.

      The man to which you pledged your life, is this acceptable for him to talk about you in such a humiliating way behind your back? I think not, hence all your symptoms. You need to talk to both a counselor and a lawyer. They do not change. Read the forums. You will see.

      Love yourself enough to seek some outside help. You are more than worth it.

    • here is where I see you are at. You want to want to throw him out. You want to want to dump his cells. You want to want to have this chapter out from your mind and life. Soon your mind will adjust to the shock and you will morph into want to dump, him, finished with him and then your wants will morph into action, “out, out damn spot”. It takes some time. Patience is yours and time is yours. When you are ready you will know.

    • Fluffy1D,

      Everybody here wants to give you advice. Most important take care of yourself. Make your needs a priority. Start doing things to keep busy (walk the dog, clean the garage, volunteer at an old folks’ home , join a yoga class etc.) to keep from ruminating. And don’t talk to him about this…vent to a therapist, your dog or your friend.
      Get a therapist and a lawyer (see lots of them to keep his options small). Enlist the help of a friend or relative as a sounding board. Copy all his and your financials and store the info in a secure place. Close or freeze any joint accounts if you suspect financial abuse.
      Don’t worry about how you reacted. Think about it as if you had been your best friend or little sister just finding out her spouse had an AP. Don’t you think anybody would scream, yell, cry and maybe do something silly like throw golf clubs in the garbage (my personal bad) ? We’re all allowed to temporarily “lose it” when betrayed on such an intimate level.
      Look in the forums for information or to ask for more information. We have all been there.
      It gets better but man it takes a lot of time!

    • Fluffy, please don’t beat yourself for your “mistakes”. You were acting normal for what you were going through at the time. I did everything you did plus more! A lot of us at CN did and said things that we never thought we’d do. Trauma and anger brings out a part of ourselves that we didn’t even know existed. I have reminded myself on many occasions about Tiger Woods ex-wife, Elin Nordegren. She went “crazy” and went after him with a golf club after she figured out he was a big cheater. So please don’t feel bad about your “mistakes”. Forgive yourself for taking him back, because he doesn’t deserve you AT ALL! You can be mighty. Be mighty for Fluffy! Take one step today to be mighty for Fluffy. It can be an easy, baby step if that’s all the energy you have. Just one step in the direction of freeing yourself from a man that doesn’t deserve you. I know it’s hard. We all know how hard it is, but we are all here for you. Please keep sharing your story and we will cheer you on. You are not alone. You can do this, Fluffy!

      • The whole Tiger Woods thing happened long before my DDay but even at the time I thought Elin was absolutely right to go after Tiger with the golf clubs. I didn’t think she was crazy at all once it became clear why she did what she did. Alas, I don’t think everyone thinks the way I do and I did need to be careful how I conducted myself as Ex always comes off as such a calm reasonable guy and I didn’t want to look crazy by comparison. Realistically, however, I think most people who “go crazy” on their cheating spouses have a lot more sympathizers than they may realize.

        • It’s a perfectly normal reaction to someone who has been violated in such a heinous fashion. Remember, this shit can be fucking life threatening (a crazy OW/OM, getting diseases via your partner from whoever they have fucked, destroying your financial stability, etc).

      • Prayers and strength your way. one day you will get over and your life will be a much better place. These are birthing pains.

    • Fuffy1D,

      Your husband is not distressed because he’s enjoying centrality. He does whatever he wants. You took him back, so you’ve agreed to that. At least in his mind, which is all that matters to him. Been there, done that. It doesn’t work.

      Listen to all the wise chumps. Stop waiting for your turn, it will never come unless you walk up to the counter and take a number. The sooner you take a step to protect yourself from further harm, the sooner you will heal and rebuild your life to your own specifications. And when you do, you will love it.

      So take your righteous anger and use it to move forward. You can do this. You’ve found chump lady and the chump nation so you’re already on the right path.

    • Fluffy, sending you the hugest hug I can. It won’t always feel this way, sweetheart. Things will change – time heals is a total cliche BECAUSE it’s true. It’s true.
      Please keep posting. Chump Nation wants to stand with you ❤❤❤

    • At the very least you need to talk to a lawyer to see what your options are. Personally I think you will need to leave. You are never really going to feel secure in your marriage ever again because now you know what he really thinks of you. It’s time for you to take control. Put yourself in the driver’s seat from this point forward and let him the one who has to react to your actions. You will be ok but you need to unload him first. It’s not going to be easy, but you can do it and you have every right to do it.

    • Whoa…please throw the bum back out. If you read enough CL posts, taking the cheater back is a bad idea. They usually come back to screw you over financially as they were caught off guard when first caught cheating. Separate your finances should be #1 and then the lawyer.

    • He walks around like nothing happened because he doesn’t care. He is confident that he has worn down your self-esteem to the point that you will just accept anything. The doubt you have is the illusion of what you thought he was. Just ruminate over what he has done to you, and think about your past interactions with him. It’s all been smoke and mirrors, he just a coward that used you because he could. You deserve better because you are better, he had to play a game of deception to get you. This is the same game he plays with everyone because he is worthless. There are good people out there that have been hurt just like you. Don’t give up yourself, realign your picker and think about what kind of person would make you happy. The only way to find someone that deserves you, is to off load the garbage first. You deserve Love not Deception.

    • Look up “Trauma bond”

      also…you’re needing a loving comfort right now. as your husband you naturally look to him for that. he’s not the answer, he’s the impediment to being loved. save yourself. I lost 30 years of my life constantly trying to work it out with an unfeeling monster.

  • You can.
    You can divorce him.
    You can pull yourself together.
    You can fight like hell.
    You can heal.
    You can help others like you.
    You can raise strong moral children by yourself.
    You can believe in yourself.
    You can surround yourself with good people.
    You can move.
    You can love again.
    You can be you.
    You can. Because you’re mighty.
    And one more thing-when you think you can’t, the trick is to act like you can and get started.

  • On the struggle bus of late, so not much to give here, but I can say this much: on the very worst days, just get a shower, do whatever it is you like to do with hair and (for those who use it) makeup, and put on something you feel good in. Such a small thing, but huge on a bad day. Everything becomes more possible once you do that much.

    • I’m very sorry to hear you’re struggling. I’ve long thought that your comments here revealed not only wisdom and empathy, but also (revealing my biases here) style and elegance. I hope you get back some of the support you’ve provided to others.

    • I agree with Involuntary Georgian! It’s okay and normal and human to struggle in the aftermath of such trauma. And you are still here and being kind and a beautiful human being. Hugs, cashmere.

    • Even among us, those who offer great support need a gentle hug and a reminder that we are there for her. The struggles are can weigh us when we least expect them. I hope these days shall pass quickly for you.

      • Sometimes you just have to go through the bad days. Remind yourself they will pass. Be kind to yourself. You can be out of hell 1 year or 10 and the bad day comes. It’s okay. It’s normal. Don’t fight it, just go through it. Have a good cry.

        The good news is: YOU WILL RECOVER from the bad days.

        Baby steps, walking, striding, running…

        Birds start to sing, air is crisp, music is played and a new day emerges.

        Always forward, never back ~ Father Junipero Serra

    • Sending big love and hugs to you, Cashmere. You are a treasure to this community.

    • Hugs, my friend, and a virtual peace break….a big comfy recliner with a fluffy throw, a cup of delicious hot chocolate, a good book in front of a aromatic crackling fire.

  • There is absolutely nothing you could have done differently to prevent this. There was no right answer. No matter what you did it was going to be wrong. There was no way to win. You could have been a completely different person and your marriage would have ended the same way. Your partner could have married Schmoopie and it would have ended the same way because it was never about you. It is about your partner’s messed up personality and sense of entitlement. You never had any control over that. You were awesome, your partner was just never capable of recognizing or appreciating it. Pity your partner who can never experience true happiness, but move on so that you can have a chance at contentment and a good life. You are free now.

    • Really love your way of expanding on the themes of who is really responsible and who and what is really valuable in situations like these.

    • Oh yes, and it is ok for you to let go and let him fend for himself. You know you loved him even if he didn’t. You did your best, but he chose a different path. Let him go and don’t worry about him anymore. Focus on your future and your happiness. It is ok to do that.

    • Yes! This. 100%. Right on Chumpinrecovery. All of it.
      You could have been wifey of the year and he still would have betrayed you because he isn’t an honest person. He was cheating when he hit on you the first time but hey, love bombs at age 23 are pretty neat. He doesn’t understand what true commitment means, he is damaged person, a love/ relationship addict and that means he will never have his fill. No one will satisfy his insatiable need for attention and sparkles. He will always be looking around, no matter how much anyone sparkle for him. It was never you. He just isn’t that deep or that good of a person, though he is awfully good at pretending to be.
      Now, you need to get your ass up and find an apartment, leave him with this mess of a house he’s created, and get on with your life. No more of this ridiculous in house separation. It’s really inhibiting your recovery. Insist that the house is sold, split the proceeds and be done. Both for you and your son, who is suffering through this ridiculous situation as well. You’ll be okay financially, you are lucky to have such a supportive family and group of friends behind you. Who does he have? Not many people, because he is dishonest with everyone. That’s another thing: speak your truth. He doesn’t get to be the keeper of secrets; if it wasn’t such a big deal to do it, as he says, what’s the big deal to talk about it? Fuck him.
      There will be days when you cry and can barely get out of bed, but you will. Just remember that 6 months ago you were paralyzed, broken, felt like your heart had been ripped from chest and couldn’t figure out what to do. Now, you have a lawyer, you are getting the divorce, you cry occasionally, but not everyday, you listen to podcasts and music again, and you are angry- but no longer so broken. That’s a lot of progress. Keep going, one day at a time. Ask for and take the help you need. Be a strong role model for your daughter and son, love yourself and know that you will thrive.

  • I remember a book title similar to I learned everything important in kindergarten. That book had some truths in it, but everything important to my adult life, I learned as an adult. As a child I learned to be honest and to trust. As an adult I learned other adults will use your honesty and trust to betray you. Adult lessons may be learned in the school of hard knocks, a school no one wants to attend. But I think the test of your childhood lessons is when you attend this reality school. You graduate with a degree in Character, Integrity, and Self-Reliance. It is easy to believe in a world of moral lessons. It is a trial by fire when you have to live in a world full of people who feel entitled to take advantage of those who try to live their lives according to these ideals. We call ourselves chumps, because we trusted and believed and spackled and tried to live according to ideals. We become mighty when we come through the fire to the other side of these betrayers, and we still choose to live a life of honesty and integrity and character, in spite of them.

    I think the ideal of finding a mate and living a great life together is nice, on the surface. But we do not have to have a mate to be a complete person. If we choose the wrong mate, we are better off to dissolve this faux union, and become self reliant to the point we are complete by our own merits and abilities. If you are lucky enough to find another complete and self reliant potential mate, and you decide to live a reciprocal life together, then your life should become easier. Always remember you are tried and true to yourself, and that you are enough when you are being your best self.

    • All of this is beautiful. And kudos to you on getting through the school of hard knocks with your integrity and character intact – and maybe even with your self-dignity stronger than ever!

  • No matter how broken you feel or how long you tolerated abuse you will not only survive, you will thrive regardekess of age.

    When you look in the mirror down the road you’ll see a strong man or woman who knows how to be vulnerable, can trust, love AND walk away with integrity in tact with future relationships because you love yourself.

  • December 2016 ex-husband’s best friend J was cheating on his wife with K. January 2017, J felt since ex-husband was complaining so much about me being such a mean and controlling person (finances cause ex was an alcoholic with gambling and spending issues) that J should introduce ex to the niece of his girlfriend K’s niece. Well, these affairs go on for months until K’s husband found out and told J’s wife. I then started paying more attention and realized that red flags were right in front of me. Ex would start fights to leave and see his AP. There were a few times he didn’t come home until the next day. He had a separate checking account for his play money that he would NOT allow me access to. Hidden spending. I guess he forgot to tell his bud J he was the one being mean causing fights deliberately. I snuck on his phone one morning as he was in the shower and noticed he had an app that allowed a phone and text over wi-fi. I went to work that morning, figured out his username and password in one stroke and watched them texting verbatim all day. The comment of, ” You have a girlfriend and a wife, why are you jealous?” was a for sure give away. I text him and told him not to come home. I did not tell why. I wanted to get more proof. I watched all weekend until I couldn’t take it anymore. I then text her. She then text him and watched her texted him on the app. It was wild. Long story short, he begged to come back. I took him back not wanting to give up on my family. I found out again and again took him back. I found out a third time and was done. The sad thing is the best bud J convinced his wife to stay who was my best friend. As soon as my ex left January 2018 my best friend started best friending the other woman just to keep her husband in check. Remember now, my ex was seeing the niece and my friends husband was seeing the aunt. How jacked up is this? I was crying on my friends shoulder cause we both shared heartache not knowing she was best friending the OW. I dropped her. Friends do not treat friends this way. Fast forward, I bought a house for me and my kids in November 2018. Divorce June 2018. He moved the other women 2 miles up the road from me and placed her son in the same school my boys go to. They’re one big happy family and parade through town head high. I am from my home town. They are not. All are aware of them. Small town’s talk. It’s a running joke now. Friday, I lost my job. I am at an all time low. I took a risk of buying a house and now due to a contract ending, I loose my job. I have several friends helping me network. I too am sending out resume’s and applications like crazy. My job paid severance so I am good for now. I am also good with money and never used any equity from the sale of our house during divorce. I am still however, very sad. Any words of encouragement is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Good luck on your job search. Hang in there and don’t give up. Accept whatever help anyone is willing to give you until you get back on your feet again. Take advantage of whatever resources are out there to help you find a job. That is your priority now. Your ex is irrelevant going forward. It will be tough at times, but do whatever you can to keep up your motivation and you will likely find a job if you don’t give up. You may have to move which will be a pain, but might turn out to be for the best in the end, especially if it is for a good job a long way away from your ex and his circus. Think of it as a chance for a whole new beginning. I wish you all the best.

      • Hug. What an asshole.
        Maybe it’s time to move to a new town? I keep considering this. It seems like it could be an adventure!

        Otherwise you sound like a smart, prepared woman. Things will work out for you. You deserve happiness.

        • Thanks Chumpinrecovery and marge. Happy update. My friend is the Mayor of my town. Well, he sent my resume out a few days ago to several on his network explaining our lifelong friendship, my education and work experience giving me huge props. For that, I now have an interview Monday. A VP just called expressing interest. Only one way and that’s up.

    • BetterOff,

      I completely understand you when you say “I’m at an all time low”. Keep your chin up. That’s easier said than done, I know. But I’ve been there…boy howdy, have I been there! It’ll get better. Things will improve!

      Last March, my wife of 17 years dropped the bomb – told me didn’t love me anymore, wanted to be single and wanted a divorce. She was done. I was stunned, crushed. The next week, I unexpectedly lost my job of 17 years. That was a dark day; I considered things that I never thought I would. My whole world had turned to shit. Losing my my wife and my job in the span of a week was a 1-2 punch that absolutely DEVASTATED me. To your point, I had never been so low in my entire life. I felt worthless, lost and out-of-control. But, fast forward 11 months later and…viola!…here I am, with a new job, back on my feet, healing (in many different ways)…and confidently striding down the road to “meh”.

      So, you’re at an all time low; I get it, but trust me when I tell you, at this point, you have no where to go but UP! 🙂

      ~ Capt. Chumperton

    • You’ll find another job and maybe this will be a blessing as sometimes losing something leads us to better. Better job, better house, better partner. Your ex best friend, oh my god how pitiful is her life? Hanging on for dear life never works out. She’ll get dumped in the end for someone else. All that is happening to her right now is the life being sucked out of her. As for your ex……well the drunken cheating bum with the gambling habit is no longer your problem. You win!

      • Captain Chumpy Chumperton thanks for sharing your very similar bad history. Your words of encouragement are so needed. KB22 you said it best, “Hanging on for dear life never works out”. Thxs so much for your chump support.

    • Better Off,
      I recently became unemployed. I think that you are doing a great job getting back in your feet!

    • I asked Tempest to send you my contact info. if you are in US I can help with job.

  • Get therapy and dump anyone who doesn’t deserve you.

    Go for walks to claifly your thoughts. Don’t look back.

    Anyone that has fooled around on you will continue to do so. They will just dump you later at their time.

    Read Clark Howard to get best tips on saving money.

    Don’t second doubt yourself anymore. Listen to your inner voice.

    Think healthy, fit and fine. Goals.

    Mourn and let go and go on. Keep repeating and finding new things to do.

    Never let his voice haunt you.

    Make new friends. Do new healthy and work out.

    Go back to school/classes to move your brain in a new direction while your heart heals.

    Look back and find you before you met him. Big healer. Remember your goals. Bring them forward and keep healing.

    Getting through the trauma is the biggest thing. When you start to feel normal you will see you are healing.

    You will also see fully what an idiot you were stuck with and there will be no more self blaming or asking why or waiting for an apology that will never come.

    You will own up to seeing what a great mom or wife you were. That you couldn’t cover his lack of caring.

    Forgive yourself.

    You will finally see that you went though a lot but you made it and you have more emphy for everyone and hope nothing dreadful happens to them.

    Yes, you start caring again. ❤️.

    Remember, they are stuck with who they are and they aren’t going to change for anyone.

  • I wish someone had the ability to reach into my head the moment I got the e-mail from him announcing he had moved out. That advice should have been, “Don’t even talk to him, immediately go no contact and get a lawyer. Do not allow him to crush you even further. He is a liar, a cheat, and a coward. Stop, stop, stop. It is over.”

    The advice I would give once the final signatures were made would be, “You didn’t lose, you won. You have your daughters. You lost one fuckwit who was never going to be there for you anyway. He is missing out on everything. Go be YOU and reap your own rewards that he will never be able to tarnish. YOU WON.”

  • When this mess first went down, I clearly remember saying to myself:

    “I just want to get to the place where I’m healed from this as quickly as possible. This is going to take awhile. This hurts so much- it’s torture. Will it end? Just one day of relief from not thinking about it all-MAKE IT STOP.”

    All of those scorched earth days of feelings.
    I consumed any and all sources of intellectual materials about how to make sense of what happened. Books. Videos on narcs/cluster B/disordered behaviors.
    Coping through analyzing and intellectualizing was a mental ointment- but it couldn’t save me from the deep emotional process of feeling all of it-all the way back to the beginning.

    What I learned about myself:
    *My “love language” isn’t doing and giving to others- that’s spackle for unhealthy stuff;
    *I like me more when I treat myself gently and lovingly ALL of the time, boundary-yes!;
    *Speaking of boundaries-boundaries keep me safe, they’re also mine to enforce, others will test boundaries often, that’s expected-calmly hold the line, my safety matters;
    * Feel the feelings through it, no shortcuts with thinking my way around it, no shame, just notice and course-correct;
    * On flashbacks: they happen- while driving, at work, or the grocery store (the stupid grocery store was a huge trigger for me for many months, I kept tissues in my car for the sobbing before/after). Let the flashbacks go through and leave me, instead of blocking me;
    * I’m healing. Others see it too. More importantly, I see it.

    I know there are obstacles with this for some chumps, but this happened with no contact (as in ZERO) since one month post D-day. This was the greatest gift from Chump Lady and Chump Nation- the encouragement to put down the hopium pipe- it’s the biggest of all gifts-period.

  • “write the encouragement you wish you had received.”

    Thank you for this post topic today CL.

    On DDay, I wish I had received this message. ( author unknown)

    “Sometimes when the people you love hurt you the most it’s better to stay quiet because if your love wasn’t enough…….
    Do you think your words will matter.”


  • Someone posted this here a long time ago and it spoke to me deeply, so I am sharing it again. (Whoever you are, thank you.)

    Dear Woman,
    Sometimes you’ll just be too much woman.
    Too smart,
    Too beautiful,
    Too strong.
    Too much of something that makes a man feel like less of a man,
    Which will make you feel like you have to be less of a woman.
    The biggest mistake you can make
    Is removing jewels from your crown
    To make it easier for a man to carry.
    When this happens, I need you to understand
    You do not need a smaller crown—
    You need a man with bigger hands.

    Michael Reid

    • Six months ago or so, someone here wrote to me that I just needed a man with bigger hands and it really resonated with me. So glad that there is a greater commentary for it.

  • You know all those memes on Pinterest about being a strong woman who knows her self worth… BE HER… even if you have to fake it in the beginning. I built a Pinterest board named after Mr. Sparkles… and Pinterest starting feeding me really great empowering memes from other folks (unknowing chumps)… and the more I read MIGHTY WORDS… the more I could believe them about myself.

    I also started surrounding myself with positivity… say what you will about Joel Osteen… but I listen him on Sirius XM and I’ve read a couple his books without spending a dime on his church… his message is LOVE YOURSELF… YOU MATTER… YOU ARE WORTHY… again, it helped me start to believe what had been abused out of me through years of shit sandwiches. (I also listen to K-LOVE radio… the music is all upbeat and positive… no pop radio… too many bullshit triggers.)

    And, I took a big step… I HIRED A LAWYER (I had originally filed pro se but when I saw that he was going to challenge me, I decided my future was worth the investment in an attorney). That action was a gamechanger for me because I realized I could be a force to be reckoned with… he could lose.

    It only got better from there. I’m divorced a little over 2 years, and 4 years since discard. My son told me on our way to school this morning that he loves our family/home… just me, him, and our 4yo rescue dog <3

    It doesn't just get better… it becomes awesome.

    • I always did like the LEGO movie theme song “Everything is awesome”. Yes it can be when you make it so.

  • I’m three months out from leaving a cheater and seven months from D-day. I’m still sad but Tuesday is rapidly approaching. I am so much further along because of this blog. In fact, if it wasn’t for this community I’d still be playing “pick me” and tying myself in knots trying to formulate a complicated psychologically based, rigorously applied, peer-reviewed theory for why he cheated

    I’d like to give back by offering this:

    * Cheating is not a symptom of something deeper/wrong with the relationship. It’s a sign of something deeply wrong with the other person.

    * Leave a cheater, gain a life (say this over and over every time you start to reminisce/ question whether the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know). Consider tattooing it on your forehead.

    * Read every “Chump Lady” blog post over and over until you have it memorized. Read the book too. Same advice about memorization.

    * The pain means you are human and you have to experience it to get to the other side. Stuffing it down will only make it worse in the long term. When you are in pain, observe it, notice what it feels like, what color it is, does it have a temperature, does it move etc. Write about it, draw it, choreograph a dance or craft a ballad. Let yourself express the sorrow. It’s gonna hurt like the hell but it’s ok, it won’t kill you.

    * No contact, no contact, no contact; or the minimum amount necessary if you still have shared obligations. And be truthful and creative about what is necessary.

    * No checking up, stalking, researching, asking around, seeing what he/she or the AP is up to. Same for reviewing past correspondence or trying to unearth more evidence that he/she cheated or that the AP was treated better than you. None of this will make you feel better or change the circumstances. You know everything you need to know.

    * Stop trying to analyze your ex (or soon to be ex’s) or the AP’s motives, psychology, family history, Meyers-Brigg profile, work environment, friends influence etc. You’ll never have a complete or even accurate answer and it doesn’t matter anyway. What matters is that they are dishonest liars and you have no room in your life for that. Never, ever.

    * If you are still contemplating whether you should leave a cheater. The answer is yes, yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. You deserve so much more.

    No matter the circumstances, the end of a relationship is always excruciating. Here’s a TED talk that I found helpful:

    Thanks again to this community and Chump Lady for giving me the courage to leave a rotten situation.

    • This is perfect and beautiful. I am at around the same time line as you, donebeingahypotenuse, and all of this rings true for me. I’ve listened to “Leave a Cheater” on audiobooks, 3 times, and some chapters over and over. My favorite is “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say” because mine said so many of those, verbatim, and I kept thinking at the time, “how stupid are you, and how stupid do you think I am”?

      I have so much gratitude for this community as well because I know I’d be pick me dancing still, trying to stomach those painful books about reconciliation, all the while feeling like I was dying inside. Great post- you are an inspiration!! Thank you!

  • I think this is spot on.
    I have a sobriety blog and that community helps so many people make the first move towards sobriety.knowing what to do is easy, doing it is hard. It’s nice to have someone hold your hand, even virtually.

    My advice (from 3 months in, so still in chaos) is go to the bank. Get a clear understanding of your financial position. Get tested for stds, even if it’s embarrassing (this will help fuel your anger). Call a lawyer and get a consult. Tell people who will support you. Ask him/her to move out. Assess.

    You will probably be amazed at how relieved you feel, like a deadweight has been lifted.

    Now get building a new life. Suffering is wishing this were different than they are. Try to not increase your suffering.

    You will be ok. He/she really does suck.

    • Why is STD checkup embarrassing? It’s not you who cheated and you didn’t compel anybody to cheat. People, don’t personalize.

  • 1) Know where you are at in the stages of grief. Recognize and accept that. Be true to yourself.
    2) Don’t look back. Look forward. This is hard but keep trying and doing it. Look at what you’ll do later today. Tomorrow. One week from now. One month from now. You can fantasize about it or be realistic about it. Just look forward.
    3) Work on yourself. Focus on yourself. Putting the cheater and the crap they did aside, what can you improve upon to make yourself a better person and a better future spouse? Can you get a bit more in shape/fitness? How about read more books to work on your intelligence? Be more in touch with your emotional side? What about spirituality? A friend who helped me through this said it best – during your marriage you turned into a 5 out of 10 person. You didn’t need to work on yourself as much to woo someone because you were married. If you will be or are single, assuming you’d like to find someone else out there in life or even if it’s for yourself, you’re probably looking for a 7, 8, 9 or 10 out of 10 person. You need to work on yourself to get back up in that range. You are now in a situation where it is okay to be selfish and focus on yourself.
    4) Get a piece of paper or open a word document on your computer. Now put yourself back 5 years ago. 5 years ago, did you know or expect all this would happen? Write/type the things you thought would happen and didn’t. Write/type things that did happen that you didn’t expect. The good and bad? Personal or professional? Now fast forward to today. In 5 years, who knows what will happen. Take control of it and set goals.

  • You are beautiful, lovable, and worthwhile just the way you are. None of what has happened reflects your worth, but it does reflect that you need to stand up for yourself and how you deserve better. True love doesn’t feel transactional and like you are always trying but somehow falling short of ‘earning’ it. True love feels safe and kind and uplifting. Don’t fall for the imitation stuff.

    All those heavy burdens you are trying to carry up the hill? Many of those are not your burdens to carry. Let them go. Have the courage to carry ONLY your own burdens. It is not your job to take care of others (unless they are your actual dependent). But it IS your job to take care of YOU.

    You may feel like having yourself and your love thrown away so carelessly reinforces your fear that you are worthless. But those voices, and those fears, are lies. Your love is a beautiful thing, and anyone who does not treasure and appreciate it does not deserve to be in your life. And YOU are a beautiful, worthwhile human being just as you are. Any voices arguing otherwise don’t deserve to be in your head. They don’t define you. Make sure your own voice is not one of them.

    And even if you feel alone and unloved, you are not truly alone. Many others are walking the same path you are. Many others understand you. And many good people will love you if they get the chance to see the real you. Learn to love yourself, to be open to the kind people, and to protect yourself from the unkind people.

    You are stronger and more capable than you know – and the main thing stopping you is that you are afraid you are not strong and capable and you can’t make it or be worthwhile on your own. But you can. You already are. You just need to believe it.

    Be kind to yourself and move forward one tiny baby step at a time. Never believe the lies that you should stop moving because your fears mean you are worthless and will fail after all. You are fiercely courageous BECAUSE you are petrified but still moving forward. You are a fucking badass lion. You CAN do this. Hold on for dear life and just keep moving, and one day you will look back and realize just how wrong all the lies you believed about yourself really were. You really, really, REALLY are enough and you will be okay.


  • First, if you are feeling stuck and down, acknowledge that. Then promise to do one then two then three things every day. Like. Make a short list of activities you commit to finish that day. It might be concentrating enough to finish reading the paper. Writing out checks to pay bills then mailing them. Water plants. One load of laundry. Change sheets on bed. Just one. When you can do more, add another.
    My mother’s best advice was to never give up your job. I did after a relocation and enjoyed the best years of my life creatively and as a mom. It was fun until it wasn’t. I calculated out how much I lost in future retirement benefits and investment growth. Here’s the thing, though. Landing a job improves your posture. A couple of paychecks in, your head is up, your shoulders square and you start feeling proud. I can do it, by golly! Jobs have that effect, even when it’s scary. Kids do ok when you work because there is no choice when it’s about food, clothing and shelter for you and yours. Kids get that.
    Once D day happens, let go. Don’t try to save that broke down mirage. Assume the worst and that it’s over. Grey rock with an accepting smile. No matter how devastating, you MUST be pragmatic when it comes to joint assets and getting your share and securing optimal child support. Don’t fight custody. Offer joint. Lots of the time, they check out, anyway. If they step up, make the most of that time to self care. Nothing tastes as good as being free feels. But he doesn’t need to know this.
    The world appears better after a mani/pedi and a good hair cut. Keep that in the budget.

  • Thank you. I so needed this today. I’ve had a hard week. I’m 14 months separated, and we spent 9 months of that time “in house separated” where I hated every day of my life.
    He’s out now. Doing 50/50 custody, and I still end up paying him ridiculous amounts of child support. I’m still sad a lot. Crying a lot. I don’t miss him. I don’t want him back. I’m grieving the life I lost that was never real in the first place. My kids are sad. Fuckwit is texting me and emailing me that he wants me back. And I’ve had moments…many moments…where I think well if I take him back: 3 kids are way happier. He is happier, because he claims he misses me. So 4 happy people, vs 1 unhappy person (me) if I take him back. In my messy grief and sadness I was actually thinking many times that I should take him back for the “net”happiness of my family. And who cares if I hate my life? Why is my happiness so important? Am I selfish? My kids would be happy and I’m denying them that.
    That’s what’s going on in my head. Luckily I have good friends that pull me out of that thinking. But it’s still hard. Everyday. Thanks for all the pep talks today. You don’t know how much I needed each one!

    • Melissa, please don’t take him back. He will cheat on you again. I guarantee it! My ex had an affair way back in 2000 when I was pregnant. I could never prove it and of course he will deny it until his dying day. I wish I would have left, but I was scared; pregnant and had a one year old too. Well, guess what? He cheated again. And I have no doubt in my mind that he had many emotional and probably physical affairs after 2000. He’s a pathological lying cheater and he will never change. Taking your husband back will just set you up for being the marriage police and walking on eggshells so he doesn’t cheat again. But he will no matter what you do! You are important and your life is important and of great worth and value. Would you want your kids to take a spouse back that was a cheater? Well, if you take him back, you will be modeling that behavior to your kids. Big ((((HUGS)))) to you!

      • Thank you Martha, ((((hugs)))) to you. Thank you for reminding me. My life and happiness is important. For years, it was always about everyone else. I was taking care of everyone. If it wasnt the kids, it was him and his career and his needs.

        I attempted the reconciliation for about 2 months…but I knew in my heart I had to divorce. I would never trust him again. It’s still hard to watch my kids struggle with their grief. But I would never want my daughters to have a shitty husband like my stbx. Thanks again, Martha. I need fellow chumps to pull me out of the downward spiral of self doubt.

        I’m so glad I found CL and the CN. love to you all!

        • Melissa, when you’re thinking about your kids well-being, don’t think like the kids do, short term. Think about what you want to model for them, for their long-term benefit. Do you want them growing up thinking that in a marriage, there is one who disrespects, and one who accepts that disrespect? One who lies and acts in selfish, uncaring ways, and is rewarded for that and one who is honest and loyal, and is punished for that? One whose happiness come at the price of their partner’s self-respect, and one who gives up their self-respect, to please others?

          Your kids are watching you every day. And one day, they will unknowingly choose one of these so-familiar roles, in their own romantic partnerships. If you have a sensitive child, they will choose, probably again and again, to let themselves be ill-treated. If you have a more dominant child, they will choose to be the abuser.

          Show your kids that in a marriage, there are deal breakers. Show them that it’s better to leave than to live with someone who disrespects you and makes you miserable. Show them that we can make healthier choices than being a martyr or an asshole.

          Show them an adult re-building her life, so they know it can be done.

        • We are all here for you, Melissa. CL and CN have been my lifeline for a few years and have helped me to be mighty when I wanted to give up. I 100% get what you said about it being about everyone else or his career. I did the same thing too. I’m guessing a lot of Chumps would say the same thing too. It’s now your time to take care of only yourself and kids. Get rid of the “takers” who don’t give back.

          You are moving in the right direction. Keep going. Your daughters are watching and will one day understand why you did what you did. Just like you, I would never in a million years want my kids involved or married to someone like my ex. Keep going, Melissa. You can do this and CN is cheering you on!

        • Melissa – it’s natural for us to want to protect our children from this, it’s a devastating loss for them and one we would never have wished for them. The strange thing is that we chumps can feel huge guilt and feel because we’re making the choice to end the marriage we are on some level responsible for our children’s pain. It takes a while to fully accept that we are not in any way responsible. We ended our marriages/relationships because we had no choice. Somebody else broke the children’s family. Our partners made the choice to break it, and made the choice to risk this pain for our children. Not us. We have to end our marriages because that choice had been made. We need to look after our children for a long time modelling strength, decent behaviour and integrity even when they’re grown adults. Nobody can do that if they’re broken, and staying in an abusive situation (and cheating, gaslighting and disrespect is abuse) has only one result – a broken person struggling to get through the day, every day.
          When you reach the other side of the awful time that feels like scorched earth of the soul, you’ll find that the inner peace, contentment and relaxation that your life has become is of such huge benefit to your children’s daily life and future you will no longer wonder whether you did the right thing in leaving. You’ll be surprised at how you’ve blossomed in a way you would never have been able to had you stayed, and you’ll see how your children have benefitted from it in ways you can’t imagine right now. I’ll give you an example from my life -my daughter (now in her 20s) had low personal boundaries and was constantly being walked over and hurt through childhood and early teenage years. Now? Her boundaries are rock solid and dug in 6ft deep. She will now stand up to or walk away from people who don’t treat her well and no matter if it breaks her heart she will take no crap from anyone at all. I can’t tell you how that feels as her mum to know that she is going to have a good life because of those boundaries. And she’s told me that a large contributing factor has been watching the positive changes in me after I left her dad and realising the effect his behaviour had had on me, which was all she had seen of her mother up to that point.
          I went through the same decision turmoil you’ve described, and whilst this was never what I wanted, a few years down the line I have no doubts whatever it was the right move for my children in the circumstances I was in.
          (( Big hugs )) this bit is horrible, but it’ll be ok in time xx

    • Children are resilient. And it’s normal to feel sad. The grief is profound and there’s no way around it. Guilt is a part of the process, too. But you won’t always feel like this.

      Start paying attention to the tiny moments when you don’t feel bad. At first they may be very fleeting – you’ll hear your child laugh and it makes you smile for a moment or you notice a flower and it feels good to your eyes. Remind yourself of these moments and start stringing them together. Sooner than you think you’ll be able to enjoy longer stretches of peace and as you do your children will too.

      More than anything your children want you to be happy. They won’t be happy if you sacrifice yourself – in fact they may grow resentful of a martyr and you might eventually find yourself in a very lonely place.

      You can do this and you can get through it and be whole again. You can show your children your strength and your character and they’ll admire you for it. And you’ll feel so much better. I promise. As the mother of three and having had a similar situation I can tell you from the other side to keep moving forward. Stay on the path of truth and it will set you free.

      • Thank you NotainNoFlowers. I’ve started to realize I’m a better mom becauseim not constantly on edge. Now, with my kids, I can relax and enjoy them. We have fun.

        I’m also a mom of 3. The hardest part about telling people (family “friends”) was their reactions. If they looked at me with shock and surprise and exclaim “with 3 kids!!!????”
        As if the number of children I had was going to dictate whether or not I could get divorced?? It drives me crazy and sends me into another downward spiral of self doubt!

        • Melissa,
          I suspect that a lot of people voice their own fears and insecurities when they say things like that. I often remind myself that a lot, probably virtually all, of the people who have made great contributions to the world heard a lot of naysaying! These successful people (inventors, entrepreneurs, advocates, champions, leaders) did what they wanted and thought ought that they should any way.

    • Melissa
      You sound like an awesome Mom but you need to focus on you as well. When I finally decided that I needed to divorce my husband (still a work in process) my teenage son looked at me one day and said Mom you are being so much stronger than I thought you were. I thanked him and reminded him that being flexible and kind is not the same as being weak. The kids learn lessons from all of this and I want the lessons they learn from me to be about honor, loyalty, strength, and resilience. He has already taught them to cheat, lie, steal, and stomp on anyone who gets in your way. I am very sad that his DNA is part of my sons. I worry that his actions will affect their relationships in the future. I am going to be the best Mom and role model I can be. We’ve already had a few talks about being honest and being courageous if you need to end a relationship. I think your kids will end up unhappy if you stay just for them. It is really hard to hide your pain. Find your support people and have them help you. You are a strong and awesome person.

  • I’m so thankful to Chumplady , I’m sorry for what she went though , but because of it , she has made a place , where we can post our thoughts , fears , she gives us hope, helps us figure things out .Makes it fun , gives us a laugh or two Also all of you ladies and men who tell there story’s sharing what u have been though show us were not alone , We see our selfs in part of your story’s And get strength from your words, I have felt alone in this, But having you all here it’s like a family to me, by reading what other write u see your not crazy , that u were right Emotional cheating is real Even though your husband does what ever he can to tell u different He tells u what u want to hear , and goes off and does what he has been doing sabotaging your marriage , As of all the great wisdom and knowledge that I have gotten from all of u , I’m trying to put myself first , trying not to think of husband and OW if it were to bother me I try not to show it around him , he will not give her up He says there Just Friends , And I’m just his wife . He’s looking out for himself , I’m going to do the same for me Baby steps , I’ll get there one day hopefully soon. I wrote this in a not to husband- Maybe one day I’ll be what you need But don’t wait too long Because the day you want me, May be the day I’ve finally given up. He read it , looked at me strangely and tried to call his friend. Again thank you for all the help and encouragement you have given me and will continue to help me and others????

  • You are 18. On some level you know it’s fine not to be part of a couple because that’s how you’ve rolled through high school. But as you move into adulthood, you will have the challenge of finding work, moving out of your small town, and generally facing adult life alone.

    Don’t be afraid. You will be fine. You don’t need to be paired up like an animal on the ark to survive. Trust that you are smart and you can make a plan to get your life launched, even in the middle of a recession. And if you concentrate on building a strong and happy life, you will meet all sorts of interesting people.

  • On Laws-Kahlil Gibran

    You delight in laying down laws,
    Yet you delight more in breaking them.
    Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers with constancy and then destroy them with laughter.
    But while you build your sand-towers the ocean brings more sand to the shore,
    And when you destroy them the ocean laughs with you.
    Verily the ocean laughs always with the innocent.

    But what of those to whom life is not an ocean, and man-made laws are not sand towers,
    But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with which they would carve it in their own likeness?
    What of the cripple who hates dancers?
    What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things?
    What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all others naked and shameless?
    And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all feasters lawbreakers?

    What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the sunlight, but with their backs to the sun?
    They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.
    And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?
    And what is it to acknowledge the laws but to stoop down and trace their shadows upon the earth?
    But you who walk facing the sun, what images drawn on the earth can hold you?
    You who travel with the wind, what weather-vane shall direct your course?
    What man’s law shall bind you if you break your yoke but upon no man’s prison door?
    What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble against no man’s iron chains?
    And who is he that shall bring you to judgment if you tear off your garment yet leave it in no man’s path?

    People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?

  • I found Chump Nation after my divorce was finalized, but my parents did their best to support me in divorcing the cheating fuckwit. They had no personal experience with what I was facing but one of the first things my Dad said to me was ‘this affects you, but this is not about you’. And he was right. This wasn’t about me, it was about the cheating fuckwit. I didn’t cause it, I didn’t control it.

    From my Mom, the mantra was ‘respond, don’t react’. Reacting to the fuckwit in the heat of the moment only gave him kibbles and more power. By stopping and responding instead, being mindful and rational, I was able to enter grey rock mode and take my own control back. No contact is ideal but co-parenting requires grey rock from me.

    The last little tidbit is ‘this too shall pass’. The grief, the anger, the heartache, the emptiness, will all pass. I’m not at meh yet, but this latest bullshit will pass too. Time only moves forward.

  • You are not meant to look at the tiny rear-view mirror. Instead look at the huge front window right in front of you.

  • You have been through more difficult times than this. Use the tools you have learned in the past, you will make it through this with your dignity intact and even stronger than you were before. Popeye “ain’t got nuttin’ on you!”

  • Yep, your kids need to see you valuing yourself so they can learn to value themselves too. It’s the long game.

  • I need the “don’t seek revenge” section of the mighty pep talk. Anyone have those words of wisdom?

    I’m in a “tired of being the reasonable adult, let’s cut all the crotches out of his pants and burn it all on the driveway, and tell his boss he slept with his employee… A LOT” kinda mood.

    I know, no contact, no contact, no contact…
    Hard to do with in-house separation and child.

    • F&L,
      It’s so tempting, isnt it? I emailed my fuckwit’s howorker,at her work email to inform her that I was aware of everything. I also knew that the employer scanned and reviewed employee emails. It was a risk. It felt good at the time, (and it made her very upset! Haha) but, I wish I hadn’t. Because her response to my email was so obnoxious and non-apologetic, it made me so angry. It didnt help me feel any better, except knowing that she was now worried for her job, and that made me smile.
      As much as you want to lash out and inform his employer…don’t. Likely the employer, or atleast all the coworkers, are already aware, as they were in my case, and the whole office was disgusted and gossiping about the affair. So, you need him to continue being employed. If for the sole reason, you don’t want him coming after you for spousal support once he is unemployed.

      • You’re a voice of reason. I’ll try this maintain and I hope it will be a bit easier to get past the vengence ideation once I can physically separate and not have to look at his lying mug on the daily.

        • I get it! I did in house separation for 9 months. I hated every day of my life.
          So the affair with his howorker…he lost his job, she barely hung on to hers…and I had to bide my time waiting for him to find new employment and then I started separation proceedings. I had to wait. It was too risky while he was unemployed. I could have ended up paying him spousal support. As it is, he didnt find a good job, and I have to pay him $715/month in child support just to have 50/50 with him ????

          You are in house separation. It’s probably the hardest scenario. Just remember you are playing the long game. Eye on the prize. He will be out of there someday. It won’t go on forever. And once he’s out, and the separation agreement is signed…you can deal with her, or forget about her. My anger shifted to him. I dont give her much thought at all these days.

          • In house separation is hell. I am currently still in this as my ex will not leave and I will not leave my son who is graduating this year. I have made myself a woman cave (or jail depending on how you look at it) — I have a keurig, a kettle, snacks, computer, tv, books. I see how many days I can go with very minimal contact. I have pulled back more the longer it goes on. In the beginning he wanted to do family dinners every Sunday and was very angry when I said from now on we alternate family dinners as I don’t want to eat with you. He acts like the house is his but quite frankly the less I see of him the better. I am lucky that my kids are older but it has been hard on them too. Where I live the only way you can get them to leave the house is if there has been any physical abuse (thankfully that is not happening — just mental torture).

            • Dee, huge hugs for you! And thank you for your encouragement on my other posted comments. Your woman cave sounds awesome!
              My stbx also wanted to continue family dinner on sundays…he would laugh and smile and have a great time with the kids (I did all the cooking and clean up as always ????). I gritted my teeth through it but it wasnt great obviously my kids picked up on my rage bubbling near the surface. When I finally got him to a divorce coach (it was needed in my case because he had dug his heels on, refused to believe we would separate, and really convinced himself that I would just “get over it”). Divorce coach eventually convinced him that moving out was best, but until he did that, she organized a schedule for us. We got alternating evenings in the house. Like I got Tuesdays thursdays fridays and sundays. On my days “in” he had to stay out until the kids were tucked into bed. It was hard and vice versa. I was a prisoner in my own home, I could never relax there, and i hated holiday long weekends.

              Your in house separation won’t go on forever. It doesnt feel like it now, but it will end. I’m hoping the best for you! You sound like a strong chump! You got this ????

    • I get the want for revenge. I was thinking the only thing someone should have told me was to get the best p.i. you can find. Mine sucked. It didn’t matter much in the end because I got what I needed without him.

      Anyway, I love your handle so I had to comment. My daughter just had to read some of fear and loathing for her English class. Wow- not high school material. She also knew that her dad had posted Hunter Thompson’s quote about life being a wild ride on his 50th. She didn’t know he killed himself.

      I digress again. I think that words are lost on them, actions are kibble and the only thing that may bother them is no contact. They like attention too much.

      They will get theirs, but we won’t understand because their brains don’t work like ours.

      • That’s a bit of an intense book discussion for H.S.

        Im in a no-fault state. I’ve been to 4 different lawyers and they all shrug ????‍♀️ with that scrunched up face of “it is what it is”. What it is is F’d up. No justice in the justice system. I know, preaching to the choir. Maybe if there was some justice in the legal process, my thirst for vengence super hero style would subside.

        • You’re absolutely right. I think you need some sense of justice in order to fully move past it. For some it can be enough to know that the cheater is always going to be miserable, not matter how things look on the surface, because he or she is a disordered loser.
          For others, they need some sort of compensatory justice or revenge. If the justice system won’t give it to you there are ways to get it yourself, but you have to be even more ruthless than the cheater. This is the hard part for many chumps. They are gentle and docile by nature and can’t do that. I have considerd starting an underground business helping other chumps with this. Of course it would be on a sliding fee scale based on income and free for low income chumps. Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. Nothing illegal, but there are perfectly legal ways of squeezing money out of a cheater, or if they have none, just ruining the scumbag’s life so the chump feels justice has been served. Opinions, anybody?

          • Please excuse the typos.
            Also wanted to invite chumps to email me about getting justice. I got everything I wanted from the cheater, despite no fault divorce, and can reveal how I did it. If interested, let me know here and I will put my email addy in this thread in the next few days.
            I’m not talking about my future business idea, but about free advice and support.

            • Hi Chumperella, what a thoughtful offer! I need some advice . Separeted but not divorced yet. If not for this site I would be doing everything wrong. The post about finan cial infidelity going hand in hand with cheating. I will forever be grateful for that post.Looking forward for the email. Thank you so much.

        • I finally decided that the best revenge is to live well. When I am treating myself like I would treat my best friend, I am kind and loving towards myself, it is the best revenge possible because cheater ex and his family would hate me being happy.

          At first, building a happy life was to spite them, now it’s for me, because I am a good person, and I deserve it.

          You do too.

        • Fearful,
          I was fleeced (lost over $100k in court fees alone) protecting myself from abusive, adulterous husband who took me to court on false allegations, claiming that I had committed felonies, while he committed various crimes. I will never have justice. 4.5 years since my husband left, I have come to some sort of peace with injustice, not only what has happened to me but the injustice that has happened to the good around the world for millions of years.
          ‘The rain falls on the just and the unjust,’ paraphrased from Matthew, has helped me make peace with injustice while simultaneously trying to promote justice on several fronts. One thing that has helped me not get constantly consumed by wishes for revenge, ‘Karma,’ etc. is realizing that my abusive exes (there were, sadly, several, as I did not exercise self-protective boundaries) didn’t want the same things that I wanted, I am proud to be a minimalist and refuse to feel ashamed or embarrassed that my exes are much more ‘successful,’ richer than I am and probably ever will be and now married to beautiful, successful women they left me for, and that I do not need to/should not believe the cruel, disparaging things my exes have said about and to me. I have been partnerless and virtually dateless for going on two years, and, in my fifties, feel no hope of meeting a decent partner who will hang around for the long haul, also am now an unemployed mother of minor children. Nonetheless, I will unapologetically show people the real me instead of trying to hide my ‘flaws’ and shortcomings. I think that feeling proud of yourself and not buying into the explicit or implicit message that you are ‘not good enough’ go a long way in decreasing the desire for revenge.

          I hope that you soon find peace.

    • Mc Smarmy took his ring off and announced wanting divorce in March 2017. Our daughter had just started school and the plan had been for me to return to work in a few months after she settled in. We were living in a house owned by his parents.

      I immediately realised I needed to line up ducks, getting work was the first step. I started a new job in June 17. He swaggered around the house and baited me constantly. I was a zombie but kept my self moving forward “one thing every day”. Then I started finding the evidence of the girlfriend’s (plural).

      I was stuck in his house, with a limited income, no access to “his money” and trying to get on my feet. Each time I found a new piece of evidence and confronted him with it he literally tried to throw me out of “his house”.

      In November 17 I lost my new job, right at the point when I’d gathered savings enough to move and was planning on doing so after one last Christmas together. I was still in the same bed as him, by now there were at least 3 girlfriend’s I’d become aware of yet he was telling me he wasn’t seeing anyone and was actively “avoiding the women who were interested in him”. BS.

      I used January 18 to get a new job. I moved out of the bedroom in Feb 18. Up until then, I’d been suckered into “trying” and spackling like crazy. Something in me shifted then. I found my anger and it fuelled my efforts to get out. I poured my desire for revenge into taking more steps to free myself. I stopped crying and I took action. He continues to try and bait me, to try and get me to send him revenge kibbles. No more!

      After 18 months of living together hell, I moved out in September 18. We share care 50/50 but I set it up so pick up and drop off is mostly through school hours. I rarely see him now. It’s soooooo much better! Peace, order, calm response, a lovely home & a job I love too. The kids are coming to feel the new life as one they can relax into.

      All I can say is, recognise the revenge as feeding him kibbles. He wants the negative attention. It keeps him central. Feeling revenge feels is actually a very good sign! You have fuel within it! Do not give him your energy. Use the revenge desires to fuel your better free life! Put the feelings into actions that support you to get out. To cut ties. Every time I feel like making him pay, I see it as a place I can remove more of myself from his orbit. Channel that hurt into a life worth living. You’ve got this!!

      • OneThing, thank you for sharing your mighty. You are amazing finding work while going through the early days of finding out. I’m embarrassed how long I tried to “make it work” just to keep my family together. I was angry but the sad took over and has been in the drivers seat for too long. Good for you for getting your stuff together so quickly.

        I’ll try and follow your advice and see revenge as kibbles. The idea of 50/50 with my young child, and ultimately missing half his life, has led to the current rage. But staying isn’t the answer, as you and others have proved out. Getting out of his “orbit” as you describe it, is the only way to regain life and stop this relentless pain.

        Thank you CL and all the Chumps that post. Knowing I’m not the only one AND I’m not crazy for feeling and reacting the way I have, keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.

  • The man you loved, your best friend cheated on you… Twice. That will hurt. That will cause you and the kids a world of pain. But.. The pain will stop. You will find a new and different life. You will learn that everybody struggles.. You will be more empathic to them.. You will gain new friends.. New people. You did this. You made a new life. One where nobody lies.. And you laugh,cry,rejoice.cheater free.

  • I learned the hard way from my mistakes, which were many. So, my advice is as follows: As soon as you suspect your SO is stepping out on you, either from friends telling you or other discovery on your part, say nothing. Go about your business as usual, no alerts to anyone about your suspicions, and quietly do the task of verifying his/her deceit. Set up motion activated cameras as necessary, install software to monitor emails, stick a GPS device on his/her car, etc., etc. There are plenty of devices available on the market now to track cheaters clandestinely. Once you confirm that the dirty deed is going on, continue to act like you’re clueless and go see a divorce lawyer ASAP to devise the best exit plan for you, financially and otherwise. If necessary, go shopping for an apartment or temporary living facilities to tide you over in the transition. Once you have executed all the items recommended by your lawyer, you can serve the papers to your stunned POS cheater, and retreat quietly to your new digs. No screaming and crying sessions, just smile, be calm, give them as little information about how you found out as possible, and exit. Maintain NC as much as possible, and invite your REAL friends over for a party when the divorce is finalized. Enjoy your newfound freedom and stress-free life.

  • You really can be happier with less money.

    It’s better to be happy and alone than with someone and miserable.

    • TTW,
      I needed to hear this. I made a lot of decisions and stayed 5 years longer than I should have to recoup money that was lost during our marriage directly attributable to WASband’s poor character and decision making (and alcoholism).
      The past few years after i had lost ALL respect for him I was focused on recouping $$. And my journal entries from 2 years ago were ^^^THIS^^^^. I wrote: “I can be alone in the marriage with more money, or REALLY be alone with less”. And I was doing my own thing and actually pretty happy at the time, while going through the motions of a marriage. It still took WASband’s final betrayal blow (that I cannot even put in writing at this point it is so un-fucking-believably sick), for me to kick him out. I am examining my decisions and trying to forgive myself for accepting less than I deserve and also looking at my relationship with money and reconciling that (shame, disappointment with myself, and also being okay w/ a cognizant decision to stay for financial equalization/recoup). It’s a bit confusing….I hope this makes some semblance of sense!
      Anyway, your post resonated with me TTW

    • TTW, between the two of us we had a damn good income and would now be on a damn good pension. I had to take out a new mortgage at 53 to buy him out the house. In April I will have paid that mortgage off early (in 7 years rather than 17) because I threw everything at it. But I also no longer had him spending us out of house and home. I retired on 1 January this year – earlier than planned because I thought I needed to stay longer to recoup as much of my pension as I could. I don’t need that money, I have everything I need and most of what I want. The Twat has a damn good pension but took out a 25 year mortgage 3 years ago that will never be paid off because he just can’t stop spending. Schmoopie used to brag on FB about Monday mornings being great because she was “retired”. She went back to work about a year ago and I hear he is looking for a part-time job. So they don’t change. I have less money but now have stability and peace. And I love it!

  • It’s been 8yrs since DDay. Yesterday it occurred to me just how much personal power and courage I have… and have always had.

    My advice?

    Listen to that voice that says, “something isn’t right”. Become an expert in self care to the same degree that you care for others. Embark on your journey. It won’t always be pretty but as you go learn the art of self love, emotional self control, stop and think. Know your value, your values and beliefs…. there are places where you need zero tolerance.

    When times are tough remember why you are on this journey of recovery. Congratulate yourself and revel in your courage.

    And what is this journey? Are you looking for peace? Contentment? Safety? Respect? Love? Family? Never lose sight of that goal. Trust. You’ll get there. … and on the way you are collecting the tools and wisdom to know it when you find it.

    • Embark on your journey.

      I love this. I embarked on my journey nearly four years ago. And a journey it has been.

      Very poignant and exciting visual!

      A couple of years ago here on CL, soneone posted that the pain was like a wave, it picks you up and sweeps you away. She said to “hold onto your yellow ducky float, and ride the wave until it passes.” That was another memorable visual. I actually bought myself a yellow ducky float.

  • You don’t need some codependency support group. You need to leave. Get on with furthering your life. He won’t change.

    You don’t need to change. You are not the problem. Let’s say you were the worst wife ever. You were lazy, butt ugly, had toenails that could catch fish in a lake, stank, spent way too much… What does a partner do? Talk to you, solve the issues together, see a counselor or cheat? So when he gets or anyone tries to blameshift… give it back to them! Take back your power.

    The cheater will lie about you to their affair partner, their family, and even try to turn your kids against you. Don’t let him lie. Stay calm and honest and don’t fit into his narrative.

    If you talk about it, do it with a family lawyer and your counselor. Facebook isn’t the place. Close friends sure. Ask the beginning question…do you think cheating is abuse? Ask him if he thinks cheating is abuse.

    If he tries to reconcile…ask him to bring his mistress to dinner with you two and for him to tell her in front of you… becuase it will go on for years afterward otherwise.

    The mistress is likely a codependent or borderline or a crazy ass b**** with no self esteem. He’s met his match. Trust me. It’s going to unravel for him and he’d wish he never picked her. She’s going to watch him like a hawk. Oh sure, they’ll be ‘pretty as a picture’ becuase they have to be. They have a lot of riding on their backs. Breakup of homes and kids and marriages. But that makes the relationship not healthy right there. It’s not a relaxed thing becuase it had to be ‘twully awesome!’ So don’t get bent out of shape. Just wait… you’ll hear of them breaking up.

    Meanwhile you grew strong and independent and attracted strong and independent people to your circle. No contact. Grey rock.

  • Here’s my pep talk 1 year out from D-Day and mid-divorce from The Douche:

    1. You are going to feel crazy. You aren’t.
    2. You are going to feel like to can’t do this. You can, you ARE doing it.
    3. You will be ok. Your kids will be ok.
    4. Skip mediation and go right for divorce. Narcs love an audience they can manipulate. Take their spotlight away and take back your power. YOU CAN DO IT.
    5. Be the normal parent to your kids. It may take time, and it will SUCK BALLS sometimes but they’ll see and love you for the support you’ve given them.
    6. YOU ARE MIGHTY. Even when you feel small, alone, or broken, or are so depressed you can’t even. YOU ARE MIGHTY MIGHTY.
    7. You are/were enough. You didn’t do anything wrong. You aren’t stupid or gullible. You aren’t weak. You’re a survivor. You’re an actual human. You’re going to rock this shit so hard.
    8. There are people who love and watch over you, whether in real life or virtual. There will ALWAYS be someone here to have your back.
    9. You will fall in love with yourself again. You can do the hard work of grieving and healing. You are worth it.

  • Big ol’ quote:

    Recovering From the Loss of a Dream

    One’s internal reality is the “realest” thing we have. We do, truly, live inside our own heads, and we experience the external world through the lens of the Self we construct.

    So, when a dream dies, it’s just as painful and “real” to us as when a flesh-and-blood loved one dies.

    And that same mourning process needs to take place. The denial, the bargaining, the anger … all of that … until, finally, acceptance sets in.

    Our dreams exist, for real, in our brain’s circuitry. An important dream is built up through lots of repetitions of a cherished idea, which makes for very strong and sturdy neural connections.

    Those connections don’t then easily disconnect as soon as we realize that our dream won’t come true. The disconnection and rerouting process is long and painful.

    Tim Hardin wrote How Do You Hang on to a Dream? … because, of course, the desire to hang on is so powerful and the letting go is so agonizing.

    We often don’t have sufficient respect for someone who is suffering dream-death. We wonder why they don’t just buck up and move on. After all, it was “all in their head,” right?

    But that’s exactly the point: “In our heads” is where we live. That’s where the pain and suffering come from.

    When someone loses a dream …

    a career aspiration
    a home
    a relationship

    … it doesn’t matter whether that dream was “deluded” or “impractical” or “a mistake.”

    Dream-death is real death, and the sufferer needs sympathy and patience, along with the gentlest, most consistent support towards rebuilding a new reality inside their heads.

  • i) The pain is a normal response and it will NOT last.

    ii) Kill the source of the pain through No Contact. Not homicide!

    iii) Realize & enhance your Power via No Contact and daily CL/CN.

    iv) Find a loyal team and make daily small steps forward.

    v) NEVER, EVER give up.

    You’ve won (by the relationship ending) but you might not know that yet! ???? (for bravery)

  • There live people who are small inside
    Their faces in perpetual shadow
    But when the sun hits their eyes
    They turn into marbles
    As you have seen their marbled eyes
    Let them cast the marbles against limestone.

    Leave them, chumps, and never look back. There will be nothing there to see but broken marbles. ‘Nuff said.

  • There really always is someone worse off than us. Hard as that is to believe some days.

    My best advisors were/are chumps. They have walked the walk and made it through.

  • My best advice is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, surround yourself with loyal family and friends, and believe in yourself. Before you know it, you will find yourself at meh.

    I am also a huge fan of gray rock. when I had to recently be in a room with the ex (daughter had a baby), he tried to get my goat by telling me all the fabulous things he’s bought, how successful he is, yadda yadda. I simply kept replying “that’s nice” with a monitone voice He was furious he couldn’t rile me up so he finally quit trying. Priceless.

  • Don’t hide – reach out as soon as you can. I feel so fortunate that I have had so many people support me but I was silent the first time (thought he had made a dreadful mid-life mistake) and it took me a few months to speak up when I found out that he was texting someone new (in reality he had been cheating and lying for years – I trusted because I thought he loved me).

    I am new to this site and am so glad to have found all of you. Here is my story with some lessons that I have learned.

    If he cheats once — make the brave decision to end it. Don’t protect the cheater. My husband came to me five years ago and told me he cheated. Was it because he wanted to take responsibility? Nope! He used a sick day to go boink a woman and that woman’s husband called our professional standards committee and he was being disciplined and fined. The best part is he was publicly written up on a website with his full name (and my children’s last name) for all to see. All I could think about was trying to make sure they did not put down he phoned in sick to cheat on his wife (because they could have). I think I was more ashamed than he was (big mistake – I did nothing wrong). I will never regret protecting my children over this.

    Make sure to go to counseling (for yourself). I did not the first time and I thought I could will it away and fix it. I even went back to trusting him – because what is a relationship without trust. Hmmm – that was not an intelligent move but quite frankly I hadn’t discussed his cheating with anyone because I was horrified by it and thought we could smooth it all over. Big mistake — don’t minimize what he did. I went to counselling after the second time and the counselor forced me to focus on myself (not him). She kept asking me what I wanted.

    Question it if he starts hanging out with work colleagues or ??? a lot more. I did a lot of the stuff with the kids because he had a longer commute and took transit. Over the years, he developed a robust social life with his staff that seemed to take precedence over his family. I believe when you cheat you cheat on your whole family (lying to the kids, using family money and family time). If you can’t muster up the courage for you, do it for your kids.

    Be prepared that the lying and stonewalling will continue a long time. It took my husband 8 months to admit he finally slept with someone the second time around and then he wanted a brownie badge for doing so. It has been over a year and he is still defiant that he did nothing wrong (but he does admit he cheated – although he doesn’t like that word:).

    Look at their actions don’t listen to their words. My sociopathic husband was cold and callous. Said he loved me but then would pull his hand away from mine and insisted he have a separate bedroom because he felt like it. He kept me off balance. If I had known the whole truth this process would have gone much faster.

    Expect them to be an asshole. My husband is still currently living in the house with me (one year after I discovered he is a serial cheater). My separation agreement is being written but he refused to leave the house and I have a son in Grade 12. We are listing the house in 1 month and I am getting giddy (although I love my house and neighborhood- but the stress of having a toxic asshole around is unbelievable). If my husband had the balls to tell me the truth this would have been done so much quicker. I had been desperate to save my family and marriage of 25 years until I realized he wasn’t my family and that my marriage wasn’t worth my sanity and self-respect.

    I saved the most important for last. LOVE YOURSELF. BE KIND TO YOU. I have learned so much about life in the last year and I am grateful for small things (although I still have rough times). I know I need to heal but this is impossible with a toxic asshole still in my life. I am striving for surviving and supporting my kids in anyway I can. I have two boys who now know what their Dad has done (I didn’t tell them – they pieced it together and he finally admitted it). It saddens me that this is their new normal. While I know it is important for them to have a relationship with him, it kills me when I hear them laughing with him. He doesn’t deserve them. I know they feel for me but it is a double edged sword. I have tried to be strong so as to not burden my children but I also feel like they don’t quite get how difficult this is (they are 17 and 19 so they are not always empathetic creatures).

    Life will go on. I am turning 50 this year and this is not where I expected to be. Everything will change but I am determined to do the best that I can and find some joy in every day (even those tough days). My life is short and I have had enough of it stolen from me by a toxic person.

    Wishing all of you the most happiness you can find. Take care.

  • Pep Talk: The Gospel According To NO CONTACT.
    Block them on all emails. Google Hangouts/Drive/Voice. Facebook/Messenger. Instagram. Twitter. MySpace (LOL). Block their calls, texts, Skypes, SnapChats. Block on your phone, block at the Google Voice level, block using apps, and even go into the control panel of your cell phone carrier and specifically block their number. Block their APs. Block asshole Switzerland friends/family. (Anyone who is their family is automatically no longer on your side.) Delete saved emails, texts, pictures. Delete all of their posts/comments/pix on Facebook. Delete “friends” on FB who “love you both and just want to remain neutral”. #SorryNotSorry bitches… this is WAR. Nobody gets to remain neutral. When a STBX blows up your life as you knew it… You need to construe that as a hostile act.

    It’s hard to do this, but it gets easier as time goes on. The faster they disappear from your life, the sooner you will heal. They are nothing but toxic; they poison everything they touch. Don’t let them touch you on any level anymore. YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU ARE MIGHTY. WE GOTCHU. 😀

  • And on an unrelated note, hence the separate posting: A shout out to Colorado Chump Nation, who had my six in spectacular fashion this week. I went on my first date since my divorce 3 years ago. Turns out the guy was taken… and my posse was able to run that to ground within 10 minutes of starting our group text, WITH SCREENSHOTS!!!, saving me unbelievable amounts of time and heartburn. I love you guys. Love you so freakin’ much. Maybe this is still the pep talk part… you’re stronger and more effective in a group. I don’t know where I’d be without these mighty people. You guys kick ass and are my inspiration. Big hugs.

  • Hi you,Moominmamma to be!A marriage is supposed to hold two people, not one frantic, exhausted overcompensator and a man who is never home. You can’t save your marriage single handed. You can’t run a business with somebody who doesn’t respect you. But…other people respect you. You are highly employable, it turns out.You will be able to relax enough to read a book for the first time in years.And you will stop chewing your nails. Its been a very very long time since you had fingernails. Time for the holographic polish!Books and a manicure, sweetie!That’s what lies ahead! onward and upward!

  • January 2018. You just found the condom receipt from his work trip last summer. You looked all over the house for days trying to find those condoms to no avail. Here is where you screwed up: Do not listen to websites telling you to, “Just ask your husband and open up ‘communication.'” Withdraw some cash, hire a PI, and be a good actress as though you never found out anything about condoms. Trust your gut that there is more to all the likes and comments on FB to a cigarette smoking single girl with tattoos and a skydiving hobby. Who has a picture of herself and your husband on her FB.

    Go to that financial planner with your husband that he has been talking about for a while. Get copies of everything.

    Keep track of all your expenses.

    Most importantly, explain to the ghoul who pretends to be your husband that it’s time for your children to start riding the bus. Get him out of the habit of taking your kids to school or doing anything at all for your children. Set up a new parenting schedule that does not include him picking up or dropping off your children for a few months. Or really anything at all for the children. Tell him he seems busy and he should take time for himself to go do his hobbies more. Start documenting everything you do for those kids.

    Take all of the above to a lawyer. Take spring break of 2018 to complete a really good DRA. Turn it over to the lawyer.


    When school gets out in May 2018, and with the planning of your lawyer, file for divorce. Include the new parenting plan (which you have already set up to not include him), your expenses, and Get That Dirt Off Your Shoulder.

  • When I was married I longed to go to parties or dancing or anything. But ex wasn’t interested so we didn’t and I felt isolated and alone. When we divorced, I felt even more alone. I reached out to married friends and they tried but It still kind of sucked,

    So I decided I needed single friends and joined I watched it for a few month before I worked up courage to attend a happy hour.
    I actually walked in, looked at the table, walked out, drove away, got mad at myself , turned around, drove back and forced myself back inside. I met people that night that I am still friends with, 8years after. From that group I met a different set, from that set, I branched out and met more. Eventually I met my bf and through him met even more people.

    Now I go to Halloween parties and pool parties and happy hours and dancing and my life is full and fun. My kids see me going out and know it’s ok to have friends and do things.
    It all started because I forced myself to one event and met nice people just like me.

    If I can recreate my life, anyone can. But I had to be proactive and take that scary leap into a crowd of strangers.

  • 1) Stop blaming yourself quickly. None of this is your fault. You might not have been the Greatest Spouse In Human History but nothing excuses the infidelities and the dishonesty
    2) See a lawyer quickly. Listen to your layer. It will be expensive but it will save you far more money in the long run.
    3) Do not focus on the claims of your unfaithful spouse. Focus instead on her actions.
    4) Stop feeling sorry for yourself, you have a son to care for.
    5) Never feel ashamed of what’s happened don’t keep everything a secret in order to protect her reputation.

  • Kiwichump, read CL every day and trust that you are not so special, you will get past this, just like all the other chumps on CN have. Trust that it is possible, even though it seems totally impossible now.
    Trust that the pain is finite. Trust what CN says: it takes about a month for each year in the relationship to get better. Trust that so many others have walked this rocky road. Trust in ordinariness.
    You spent years with the Traitor who thinks he is specially entitled and treated you as worth-less than…
    Time to be ordinary, get through every day a little step at a time with the ordinary courage that most people summon every day.
    The pain is truly finite. You will discover that ordinary you is not worth-less than, ordinary you can do so many things you thought would be too difficult, ordinary you overcomes obstacles, one way or another and does not give up.
    Cheaters are quitters. That’s why they put you down, because you’re not a quitter. They know it and your very existence shames them. You’re mighty!

  • Make the assholes in your life, the footnotes of your story. Don’t give them chapters, no matter how much of your time they wasted. Focus on your story during that time, on YOU and the ones who prove important to you in your long game.

    Ultimately, you don’t have to make any asshole a Best Actors/Best Actress or Best Supporting Actor/ Actress. Those roles are for you and the people who care about you. Assholes are nothing but extras and footnotes. Those dicks might have gotten you to a low place, but they aren’t the ones who make you strong, or mighty or good. Fuck them and take ALL of the credit for yourself.

    They’re nothing in the big picture.

  • Here’s my pep talk.

    If you want to read my full story you can go to my blog, but this is a quick synopsis: I’m one of the ‘ghosted’ chumps. With 2 small babies in tow, my honorable Christian husband had an affair with a stripper while working on the road to earn extra money to pay off a huge hospital bill accrued during my high risk pregnancy. His sacrifice, his willingness to be away from his wife and babies to work on power plants in freezing towns was not self sacrifice, as I’d believed. It was a ‘front’ to a secret life. I was wholly and completely shocked upon discovery, and 20 hours later learning of it, he left me and said babies sobbing on the floor in disbelief as he drove off to his romantic new beginning. That was 4 years ago. He hasn’t come back, even to see the babies, since. We now live with the confusing reality known as ‘Skype Daddy’.

    I detail my story frequently here and elsewhere because I am always hoping that there’s someone reading my story who’s facing similar circumstances. I want that man or woman reading my words to feel two things. First, that they are not some freak of nature. This particular brand of excruciating and humiliating betrayal has and does happen to other normal people. And two, that the feeling of having their guts ripped out WILL relent. The pain will not kill you, as you may now believe. As CL says, pain IS finite.

    I finally know who my ex husband is. I no longer own shame that does not belong to me. I refuse to take blame for his horrific life choices. I…nothing him now. You must divorce yourself of the notion that you weren’t enough, or that there was something lacking in you. The lack is in the CHEATER.

    No, I did not get out of this unscathed. It has ripped me apart and rebuilt me. There’s scar tissue that will never go away. But like a car crash victim, I acknowledge that to expect things could just go back to the way they were before the crash is simply not real life. You have to create a new life, working around the handicaps you now possess and finding a way to have joy in spite of it. I have a ways to go in some areas, but in others I’m deeply content and happy, and this is by CHOICE.

    My children and I have a great life now. When I begin to feel sorry for myself and ask why me, I instead ask ‘why NOT me?’ There’s a certain percentage of disordered people in the world and I didn’t realize I was with one of them. I can see entitlement and narcissism a mile off now. I make choices accordingly. I’m thankful every day for the lessons about red flags, and no, thankful is NOT how I would have described it four years ago.

    Chumps, read this site every day until you don’t need it anymore. That length of time has no formula. You will know it when you get there. It will probably be on a Tuesday. 🙂

  • Just spent the last two hours reading your blog honeyandthehomewreckers, I had to tear myself away.
    Your story is heart wrenching, Being betrayed by our spouse is devastating, people who support the cheater add to the devastation and the feeling of shame. Cheater is considered the good guy, funny, charming and the Chump (me) considered mentally unstable, loser who couldn’t keep her husband. It saddens me to think there are so many cold hearted cheaters in the world (like mine). I can’t tolerate those that over look the facts to and give cheater hero status. As you mentioned the lies they spew are the same lies that have been told by cheaters for centuries. I’m glad that your one your kids are living a great life. Thank you..

    • Thanks, Brit! I too find solace in learning I’m not the only one. Still sucks, but it sucks less when I find I’m in excellent company!

  • What I tell myself (pep talk): My life might suck by a lot of people’s standards, and dishonest cruel exes have ridden off into the sunset with their Miss America, but I have the power to make the world a little better by daily telling my kids that I love them and sincerely complimenting those I meet and respect for being kind and working hard. I have also changed my goal from be happy to benefit the world as I don’t know whether I will ever be happy again but I CAN provide service to the world.

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