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Mightiness Update

I’m a glutton for Chump Nation’s “Tell Me How You’re Mighty” stories. People often ask if running this site depresses me (people who haven’t been chumps). Exhaust me sometimes? Yes. Depress me? Never. Because the stories here are amazing — chumps are resilient. MIGHTY.

Just from a sheer story-telling perspective — there’s no dramatic arc without drama. And what the heroes here have had to overcome? And how they do it? It knocks me out. Every. Time.

Collecting these stories — putting them here on the interwebz for everyone to read — is the sweetest part of this job. Sure, there is strength in shared pain, or in learning that the mindfuckery playbook is the same across cheater, and there’s definitely power in not feeling alone.

But the Gospel is Tuesday. The good news is that the pain stops. That better days are ahead of you. That you overcome. And it’s not just me saying it — we got testimony. We have achievements. We have graduates.

Over the years, some of the mighty stories that stand out are Rarity’s, pictured to the left — who was abandoned while pregnant, only to get up, raise her kids, and get a master’s degree.

Or the woman who wrote to me from Ghana to say she suffered a D-Day the day she was sitting her bar exam. I wrote back — OMG. Did you pass? And she replied — with a signature that said “Esquire, Agra, Ghana” — that yes she did pass, that day.

Or the single dad who learned to braid hair and does the mom things now with aplomb. Or all the people who write me a few years later with their job announcements, happy kid vacations or engagement photos. LOOK. I DID IT. I DID IT!

I met “LeftHimattheAirport” in Australia — a single mum, who literally made an international escape — got back on her feet in her home country, got a job, and saved enough to take her children to Disney. A long-promised trip. She pulled out her phone to show me — mouse ears. We both wept.

Now, you might be reading this thinking — that’s not me. That will never be me. I’ve got nothing. Unless you count that pit of terror in my stomach. It can be you. It WILL be you.

Tell me how you’re MIGHTY, CN. The smallest steps count. Every step counts.

Testify!

And TGIF.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I have almost completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology and am gearing up for honours (registration pathway).

    Some of what led me here was being chumped and being so unhappy, trying to untangle skeins, etc, and from thence to Chump Nation.

    I have realised the world really does need kickass pre-marriage counselors, among other things.

    • ” have realised the world really does need kickass pre-marriage counselors, among other things.”

      And pre-marriage lawyers.

      PREACH.

    • Lola….
      I’m heading towards similar goal…. there is so much of bs in the industry, we need each and every single therapist to help ….
      Working towards MA and planning on getting an EMDR certification, plus extra minor in trauma.

      The moment I see an abusive , narc man in my office
      ( sixth sense at this point) – there will be no mercy and no” unicorn – cuddly- let me hold your SA ‘s ass bullshit”

      • Yes! Overcome!

        Also, narcissist women disguise very well, better than the narc men I’ve known. Please, watch for them, and watch Out for your male clients too.

        Most betrayed men would leave and/or suffer silently, so you would see far fewer of them. It creates the illusion to some in the therapy world that almost all of this monster problem must be men.

        Both of our therapists saw it as their duty to make the betrayed husband think he has at least two debilitating psychological conditions, by the end of appointment number two.

        Apparently, I have ADHD, Autism, hallucinations which cannot defined exactly(!) and a few other things all at once! It reminded me of the woman’s husband, when she walked in on him and a shmoopie, and he said, Quick! Go take an Ambien and lie down! You’re hallucinating right now! ”

        It would be almost funny in the abstract, except for the fact that I’m a person of equal value to my cheater wife. A person who also deserves protection and help.

        Twice in a row for that specific a tactic to… what? Make me feel deficient and therefore I would be extra “compliant”, I suppose?; for that to happen, it must be an industry problem. Scary and depressing. How many horrors hidden?

        The second woman even tried to artfully pursue the same types of Gaslighting that my CW was already using on me! We got to the point with the useful parts of our sessions where the only thing left was for my CW to come clean. I was told, “Maybe you need to get used to the idea you may never know what happened during those years.”

        I’m sorry, What!?! Knowing what has been and IS real about my partner is the Only way I could possibly ever start building any trust for her again.

        Please don’t be a therapist/counselor who does this kind of thing. It is evil to help one spouse or partner abuse the other.

        Be anti-evil. Be an anti-manipulation person big-time. But please don’t take the mistaken, too common path of just hating men. That’s causing societal decay.

        Thank you. Again, you go metaphorically kick ass out there, girl.

        Just, y’know, please, none of the stereotyping hate stuff. That is always a problem, not an excusable thing.

        • EyesOpened,
          I totally believe what you say and,yes, the women can be so much more sneaky.

          I don’t know if my abusive mom has ever cheated on my stepdad (my father accused her of cheating), but she is cruel to him and so very manipulative.

          When she gets angry he actually holds his hands up in front of his face. I’ve never seen her hit him, but she treats him exactly as she treated me when I was young. She controls every hit of food that goes into his mouth and then use of all of the money.

          She doesn’t even let him go to the doctor alone and is currently trying to convince the doctor that he has dementia, though she is the one exhibiting symptoms.

          I can’t imagine what you’ve been through and the presumption of those therapists.

          • You need to get your stepdad the fuck out of that situation.

            Your mother sounds like a manipulative piece of shit. And standing by doing nothing, is being complicit via passive resistance.

            • Lania
              I wish it was that easy. She has everyone fooled. I’m going on six months no contact with her and low contact with my family b/c I started calling out her abuse and the family (including my licensed therapist sister-in-law) took her side. I’ve been the only one to notice her signs of dementia b/c everyone else lives close and only has visits of an hour or so, but I spent days when with her.
              She is very dangerously manipulative and a church lady to boot.

              • What an absolute bastard of a human being.

                Your sister in law is a complicit son of a bitch too.

        • Eyes opened

          I’m sorry for using “ man” as the only gender specified example. I should have stop at “ narc”.
          There is plenty of narcs women out there… that is why I am extremely picky as far as the group of my gf’s go..no sec. chances, no weird “ I was just joking” bs… no bitching around…
          Hopefully , by the time my degree / certifications will be done, my knowledge of the fucked up world will be sufficient enough, to cut the bs right from the start.

          Going through therapy myself ( couple counseling- dear God, that was a tragedy) it will be easier for me to avoid the “ box” approach, knowing not only what being chump means, but also what is the playbook of a cheater ( male or female)

        • EyesOpened,

          I can’t agree enough. It’s a character problem, not a gender problem. Men have just gotten more attention for infidelity in the last century or so. If you look back over the centuries, there have been many stories of women cuckolding their husbands (many times celebrating the fact!). It’s not acceptable behavior no matter what your gender is; it’s just a shitty way to treat a person. Especially if you’ve made marital vows or a clear commitment to them.

          Please ladies, don’t blame men in general for infidelity. It exists all over, and I think it may be fairly equal in both sexes. I’m seriously wondering whether we’re entering a period where women are feeling a greater sense of entitlement based on men’s real and also perceived bad behavior in popularized relationships and in general. I believe that some statistics are showing a slight decrease in divorce overall, but an uptick in later in life divorces. And along w/that, I’m seeing reports that say the prevailing trend is for women to leave their men later in marriages. Women are getting more power in society, as they should. But nobody should abuse their power over someone, regardless of their sex. That quote in many women’s bios on dating sites that comes from Julia Roberts about badly raised men? It goes for everybody, not just men.

          I know many of these women are justified in their actions, but how many are just seeing it as their right to unilaterally leave their spouse when they feel entitled, eschewing trying to work things out w/their partner? Or worse yet, how many women are finding infidelity as their way out when things aren’t working out the way they expected, or when their partner is in a rough spot in their life and in desperate need of support? Also, they say that frequently people forget that the same traits that attracted them to their partner frequently are the same that annoy them to no end later on in the relationship. That’s where commitment and loyalty can take on superpower status, carrying a couple through the downturns in life and their relationships. I personally came to realize while I was married that I could hold all the things that annoyed me about my XW against her, or realize that I loved her despite her faults and flaws; I even discovered that those same faults and flaws endeared her MORE to me. My mistake was in thinking she thought the same way about me.

          We all know the stories about men leaving their partners; it’s the stereotype. And yes, stereotypes exist for a reason. But I feel more and more it’s up to us; the loyal, loving husbands/partners who were found wanting in the marriage/relationship, who were tossed aside when things got tough, (or maybe just because it could be done), to speak out and remind everybody that bad character and infidelity don’t restrict themselves to only one sex or identified gender. It’s universal.

        • You think man-hating is not only “all too common”, but it’s causing societal decay? Good grief. This is Chump Lady, not the Red Pill. What societal decay are you referencing? Last I checked, men still have more political and social power. It’s not the subordinates who are the cause of socioeconomic problems, it’s the rulers.

          There is a tendency of some people who’ve been chumped to blame an entire sex, but women are certainly no worse than men in that regard. It’s stupid in either case. An individual person hurt us. Not an entire gender.

    • “I have realised the world really does need kickass pre-marriage counselors, among other things.”

      AMEN!!!

  • So far I have all the aces.

    My relationship with my daughter is not destroyed but stronger as she trusts me and not him.

    I have good recovery, a Jedi 20th degree black
    belt Ninja warrior Higher Power.

    I own 50% of the company we built.

    I control the pace of the divorce, not them.

    All the therapists are in my corner condemning his actions.

    I didn’t lie or cheat or steal or nuke my family.

    I will heal and triumph in a very short period of time compared to him living the rest of his life with what he did on his resume.

    My credit rating is now 800.

    My life is IMPROVING since he left.

    I am on my own and enjoying it instead of cheating on the pond scum affair accomplice like he is.

    Integrity and cheater-free is VICTORY.

  • After putting my education on hold to stay home, educate, and raise our children, I finally went back to earn my degree. I had no celebration of graduating with my masters degree, because, at the time, he was more consumed with schmoopie (I had no clue). A month later, D-Day also happened to be the day that, armed with my newly earned degree, I applied for a highly competitive job. Despite being an absolute wreck, I was selected for the position, beating out all of the competition. I have been at this job for 3 years now, am almost at the dissertation stage of my doctorate (education is a fantastic form of therapy!), and am rocking my professional career.
    Chin up, CN! If I can do it, so can you!

    • I was broke, stuck with marital debt, lost my business, and living in my car….a 1994 Geo Metro I bought on Craigslist for $100.00. I moved to a new city and found a job to just get by.

      3 years later…..after struggling, sacrifice, and discovering my true self….my bank loan has been approved.

      I open MY new shop next week.

      And….so it begins again. Time to Rock & Roll.

  • I was in a pit of dispair. I was so broken…. and broke. I had to leave my job, lost my house, and almost lost my kids.
    Well … 4 years later…. I have gotten a much better job, rent a beautiful home, bought my own car, pay all my bills on time….. and… most importantly… I have great relationships with 4 of my 5 kids(one has some growing up to do). My kids and I live our own truth every day. I set an example for them and are so proud of me which is priceless.
    If you are reading this thinking… that will never happen for me… think again. I was once in your shoes!

    • MovingUpAndOn, I have five kids too! Mr. Sparkles cheated on me in my fifth pregnancy (first time? who knows?) and left after she was born. Now my kids are 4/6/8/10/12 years old and I’m STIL struggling to pick up the pieces and figure out how to live a triumphant life. I still feel like a chump!! I took the GRE this week, though, even though I don’t know what in the world I need to do with my life. It seems impossible to imagine juggling an actual career with FIVE young children, but I suppose it will all work itself out, somehow…

      • Did I mention? My original life plan was to homeschool my brood of kiddos and live a happy housewife existence. EVERYthing got stripped away from me…I’m still so angry!!!

        • SupineChump,
          I am a homeschool mom and my dream was destroyed too. But trust me when I say that there are new dreams that will make your future so much better. Keep on striving toward the future. Your day is coming.

          • Really, the hardest part of being chumped is the loss of a dream – the dream of the life you had for yourself. Although I would never want him back, I still get a pang in my chest when I think about planning a trip with me and the kids to Disneyworld and realize that it will be without him.

            Remember that when God closes a door, he opens a window. Do not underestimate his capacity to protect you. It’s taken me a good year to wrap my head around the fact that God’s power to allow something to be “taken away” might actually be the very protection I needed.

        • SupineChump,
          I felt the same way for some time. I kept thinking “this is NOT the life I signed up for.” I did all the things I could to be a good husband and dad, I took jobs I hated in order to pay the bills, I moved so my wife could be closer to her family…and what did I get to show for it? My cold, serial-cheating spouse left me almost broke, alone, and single. I don’t get to see my kids all the time, I am by myself, and I still have to work at something I hate. Lucky me!
          What made me feel better was I kept asking myself “is there any way I can avoid eating a crap sandwich?” (forgive my language). On the one hand, I could take the cheater back, and have more money, see my kids every day, and wake up next to someone. But…I’d have to live the horror of being married to a serial cheater. So, that’s a crap sandwich, and a huge one. On the other, I could live by myself, learn to be a single dad, and make do with less money…but I wouldn’t have to lose sleep every night wondering where she was. I’d have the self-respect of not getting cheated on any more. That’s also eating a crap sandwich, but it’s a much smaller one. So, either way…I had to eat a crap sandwich. That’s all that was on the menu. I chose to eat the smaller one.
          Eventually, I realized I was much, much happier than I had been. Minimalism is actually rather liberating. I appreciate more of what I have. I make the most of my time with my kids.
          Hang in there!

          • “I’d have the self-respect of not getting cheated on any more. That’s also eating a crap sandwich, but it’s a much smaller one. So, either way…I had to eat a crap sandwich”

            Love this-“it’s a much smaller one” thank you Travelingthe world.
            Great perspective and a lotta love in this.

            • I needed those exact words today too. it’s perfect for what I tried to describe to a friend this week.

              • Travelling,

                Excellent wording. Like you, I was given a crap sandwich either way, & like you, I (eventually) chose the smaller of the two, though that came with a huge side entree of “UNKNOWN.” Then again, the crap sandwich I had been eating unknowingly had left a bad taste in my mouth for a long time…and I was right to realize it could not be worse, given what I was experiencing.

                Days before DD, I had the added bonus of a sudden neurological event & being in the ICU the same WEEK I discovered, (slowly, painfully with the typical dribbling out of truths, of course) that Dr Narkle’s was moving away with a schmoopie, (now his wife appliance).

                While I was sick, he stole a lot of our money, (which is a really shitty thing to do but is not a crime, btw), he cheated & lied for longer than I care to know. Then he dropped off the face of the earth.

                He’s had no contact with me or 2 of our 3 kids, with rare random phone calls to our youngest. We were married 35 years and I have never sent or texted a nasty or angry message to him, not even once. But when I reached out to him regarding our youngest’s medical problems (cause you know, he is a DOCTOR!!), I learned that he’s blocked my phone. Wow, that’s some crazy stuff going on there. With incredible effort, I now say (usually) “hey, they’re his monkeys, his circus.”

                He is rich, I am not. I did not get a great settlement but that’s water under the bridge.

                So sure, there are moments when that infuriates me, since I put him through medical school, internship, residency and fellowship AND he was in veterinary school before then, so I got to experience that too…12 years of schooling for him while married, 9 of which we had children.

                I cannot make those injustices “all even out”, but I can tell you that I seriously doubt he’s content with his finances. My semi educated guess is that he and I feel about the same level of stress about money.

                Though I know it’s not a contest and that cheaters should be irrelevant, I’m human. I have moments but lately it hit me that I have more free time than my wasband does.

                But in any event, here is the question that I hope helps others -it came from the best therapist I could have had then::

                “WHICH OF THE DREAMS & HOPES YOU LOST, COULD YOU STILL ACHIEVE, IN SOME FORM?”

                That question – I really took it in.

                One of our big retirement plans (or so I thought) was to live overseas, preferably in Europe but I’d have gone almost anywhere for that man. (But to be honest, planning where to move where I could work AND please him, was like an algebraic algorithm only increasing in complexity as he became harder and harder to decode or please).

                In the end, he left and I went for MY dream, on my own.

                I got my teaching credential to teach English as a second language. I was the oldest person in my class. It was harder than I expected and in that regard, having no kids at home was mostly easier because I had to study more than I expected. But I got through it (I took a condensed class and got it done in 6 weeks).

                Now, I am living in Europe. I genuinely like my job a lot, and what I do matters. I am making a difference (and I’m paying my bills, traveling and saving a little too).

                I spent Christmas with my kids in France, my winter break in Italy, some weekends in Warsaw, and I will travel with my sisters through Europe this summer.

                Dr. Narkles would detest the lack of a 6 figure income for me, but I really do have enough.

                And who cares what HE thinks? I’m traveling the world and making new friends, none of whom know my past or him and all of whom judge me on ME.

                Yes, I have my days where I still get mad – mostly at 2 things – 1) furious at how he wronged me, and shock which STILL leaves me shaking my head. But I have noticed it happens less often and stings less too.

                2) I also get mad knowing that the plans I thought we had, could have come true if he had not been a dick. We both worked our asses off the first half of our marriage, and could have had a great second half. God knows I earned it.

                But those thoughts are mostly about sunk costs when you think about it. And that is largely counter productive regret. The sole thing we can do with those types of regret is learn to let go of them.

                I think my wasband was truly a fool and has a capacity for cruelty I had not known before. Today he’s married to schmoopie and brags about their perfect lives and deep real love, on facebook (or so I’m told, b/c I have never looked at either of their pages, not even once).

                Still, I think he ruined his life, regardless of whether he knows it. He wounded and lost the 4 people who loved him the most.

                That would haunt someone with any decency in them, which I prefer to believe. But If that does not bother him, he’s too disordered to matter to any of us and we are better off without him in our lives.

                Today, I can say I really do believe that.

                I still dread the idea of seeing him at our youngest child’s graduation IF IF IF he shows up, (let alone with schmoopie, which he’d be narcissistic enough to do).

                In short, I guess I’m almost at Tuesday…and I feel like I have a calendar now, so I can almost see it.

              • freer every day, Fearful&loathing , chumpedChange ,
                It made my day to read that my example helped you 🙂 . Hang in there.

          • Here’s to closing the sh*t sandwich shop-it went out of business when customers stopped frequenting it !

            • Doctors wife:

              “Still, I think he ruined his life, regardless of whether he knows it. He wounded and lost the 4 people who loved him the most.

              That would haunt someone with any decency in them, which I prefer to believe. But If that does not bother him, he’s too disordered to matter to any of us and we are better off without him in our lives.

              Today, I can say I really do believe that.”

              Thank you. Reading this will help me get through one more day.

        • The hardest thing for me to get past was all the stuff he had taken from me… No nuclear family Christmases, no enjoying the home we built as we grew older together, no 50th wedding anniversary in the cards for me ever now, so many missed hours with my children that I didn’t sign up for.

          That sting of losing things I would never get back was the hardest to release for me. I’ve made peace with it now. I am doing things now that I never would have had a chance to do… I bought a queen anne victorian house and I can decorate it without compromising what I want to do, I live close enough to main street that I can walk to shops and the park, I have time to nurture my friendships and this has enriched my life beyond measure, I can adopt as many dogs as I want, I don’t have to tolerate his racist, misogynistic family, and I am more at peace with my life and who I am than I ever was married to him.

          I win.

          • I find myself getting annoyed when Im in a place where a long-married is going on about how accomplished they are to be a long-married. No, really that doentnt make you BETTER than other people. Do they have any idea how awful that is to us who have been widowed and abandoned.

  • I don’t feel super mighty at the moment because I keep waking up at 4am worries about our financial future.
    However…..

    I managed to double my income since cheater asshat abandoned us and have been able to pay all our bills.

    I’ve socked a little stack of cash into savings.

    I read investing books now so I can create passive income for my family and it’s only a matter of time before I put my plan into place.

    I got through our mediation last week without dying of heartache. (Barely)

    And! I managed to keep my kids 80% of the time. Yay 🎉 for me.

    I’ve also gained 20lbs from stress and not having time to go to the gym anymore. 😬

    But, all in all, I’m doing a pretty good job recalibrating after the epic shitshow we all went through last year at this time. My kids and I are happy and I keep slowly creeping towards Meh.

    • For someone who is worried about finances, it sure seems like you’re in the driver’s seat. Way to be mighty! And those 20 lbs, is just extra mightiness for fuel through the fight. (I’m all about reframing it 😉 )

    • Right after divorce I finished the month with an almost empty tank a of gasoline and ten dollars, bread cheese butter oranges and coffee . I survived. I sold my house, renovated a very old one, smaller, and bought a tiny farm (coffee, mahogany, Free range chickens). EH is an agronomist, I always begged to save for a farm. Now I understand why we never had money

      • Yes!!! I love being able to have my free range chickens! And my dogs in the house and on the bed. My cheater ex allowed my dog only in the back mud room, resented me for adopting him even though he knew I always wanted a dog and he was always gone on the road for work, (and to go see his slut.) But he sure had no problem adopting cats he brought into the house.
        Happy to be cheater free!

  • I first found Chump Nation in 2014 because I was googling “abandoned…pathological liar… cheater… hiding assets… narcissist”, when I was a hot mess of tears and fears. I lurked for a year, reading the archives all the way back to the beginning but never sharing – I was too embarrassed and ashamed. I cried in the shower and in the bathroom at work. I lost 70lbs in 3 months because I couldn’t eat. I was a ball of nervous energy and I hated the time away from my son when he was forced to play family with the fuckwit and his OW and her kids.

    But, the more I read, the more I realized that I – for better or worse – had found my tribe. While I was pick-me-dancing between 2014-2015, trying to revive a long dead marriage (he was never faithful, it turns out)… I was picking up the morsels of mightiness here and in 2015 I began sharing my story and I FILED! Mr. Sparkles was stupefied.

    Because of Chump Lady and Chump Nation, I was able to:

    – File first and eventually have my pre-nup upheld so Mr. Sparkles left the marriage with what he had when he entered it… his own debt.

    – Get the child support agreement I wanted. Mr. Sparkles was still doing image control with his OW (she believed we were separating on our way to divorce when they met and boy could she pick me dance)… so he was going for 50/50. I sat through two hours of mediation, nodding my head, going along and then at the end when the mediator suggested 50/50… I just said NO. (Chump Mightiness). I held in my lap a folder of all the extracurricular activity Mr. Sparkles had spent years doing (Craiglist hookers and trannies, AFF personal ads, IMs, phone records)… everything I could gather without a subpoena and I plopped it on the table. Mr. Sparkles folded.

    – When I hired a lawyer (I had originally filed pro se), he was stunned. But I learned here that I needed to protect my future so it was a good investment. He responded by doing the same (again impression management). I won. It took a year… 2 days after Christmas 2016. BEST DAY EVER.

    I’m 99% at meh now… could not have pictured getting here back in 2014. I’m wispy some days for the family I had wished for (but couldn’t create with a personality disordered fuckwit). But, most days I love my life… my job is stable and provides enough for me and my son. I was able to keep my home and provide stability to my son (and even my step children for a couple years). We take vacations. We do homework. We volunteer. We sleep sound and deeply every night.

    Mr. Sparkles is still a cheating fuckwit. His new victim signed a $300K mortgage with him after dating for 18 months. He is on Ashley Madison (and other sites), calling himself Mr. Grey… it is so sad for her and laughable for him… but not my monkeys, not my circus.

    THANK YOU CHUMP LADY AND CHUMP NATION… I keep coming back to share for the newbies… to tell you that you will survive this… and you will thrive… eventually. And, I come for me, to remember what Red Flags look like and what I will never accept again in a relationship. Mighty, indeed.

    • Seriously wild mighty and I love the mental image of you in mediation just saying “No” and throwing the Dossier of Nastiness on the table. Snap.

      • LOL… Holding that folder was like holding kryptonite… at the end of the day, Mr. Sparkles is just a sad little sausage who is in complete denial of who/what he is. I’m glad I didn’t have to enter it into court records (for my son’s sake).

        • ICanSee- Thank you so much for your story! I filed on Valentines Day of this year. Found this website when I googled “narcissist” and wow, there was his picture. He wanted to go “no contest” which in his mind was writing down on notebook paper what we wanted, handing it to a judge, and be done. He was so used to me being a chump that he actually thought I’d go for that. When I got a badass lawyer and filed, he was mad, confused, and it upset his world.

          When we go to mediation, I’m going to have a file with all the phone records printed out with her number highlighted. Page after Page. At midnight. At 6 in the morning. It goes on and on.. The kicker is that she worked at the same place that he did and she’s still married. He got her another job within the firm at a different branch, but I’m still sure that human relations and her husband will not find these records ok. He will absolutely not want her named in a court case.. I can feel the mightiness of it coming!

          I’m so thankful for the chump nation for the advice and tribe. : ) I never would have found my mightiness without you all.

          PS. I’ve also started my own travel agency along with my full-time job.

    • Thank you for the inspiration, you are Mighty! It’s still early on for me, so a lot of the time I feel like I’m on a roller coaster of emotions. I’ll be good for a few days, even a week sometimes, and then the anger and sadness just comes back to punch me in the face again (usually right before cheater XH has the kids for the weekend). I’m way better than I was in the beginning, I just can’t wait for it to be Tuesday.

      • Hey there WFT… I’m sorry you’re here… but I’m glad you’re here… because you will get through this and CL and CN will be there for you every step of the way. I really recommend reading the archives – CL’s headlines are a good giveaway to the aspect covered. You will go through many seasons on your journey away from abuse. What is most important to remember is that you (and your kids) will survive this and you will have your Tuesday. Keep coming back. YOU CAN DO THIS.

    • I’m in the midst of trying to figure all of this out. 20 years married and I have a letter in his own hand written less than a year ago stating how he covertly manipulated, verbally and emotionally abused our son and I for years. Would this help with the settlement part? I’m scared because I’ve only worked part time throughout the marriage and it all went into the WE part of the finances.

      • Wow! How on earth did you get him to admit to all of that? And put it in writing? I now realize that my ex was playing mind games (gaslighting) on me right after we got married at 21. Now I wonder what crap he pulled with our daughters, other than to subtly convince them that I was crazy. I don’t think he would ever admit to any of it and certainly not in writing.

        • Told him I wanted written disclosure of what had been going on. He’s hell-bent on staying together as we are 60’s with a 20 year old son (only child) almost ready to graduate college. Think he’s scared of money for retirement. Don’t know why, but I put that and a few other letters in a safety deposit box he’s unaware of. Think they may help??

          • I think CL has said it more than once… Judges love evidence… document, document, document… talk to your lawyer… show him/her what’s in your safe deposit box (and make extra copies!). Good Luck!

          • You also want copies of recent statements of all financial accounts, life insurance, retirement, credit, 3 years of tax returns, etc. While at it you might want to compare balances with before the affair started to do your own forensic accounting.

            My lawyer told me that in my no fault state the judge we get (randomly computer assigned) may not care about the cheating.
            I just need to prove existence of accounts and whether separate property or marital property.
            So get your ducks in a row before you tip your hand.

            • I do have all. We have a cfp and everything is in a family trust for our son. Can’t touch anything without written approval from the other. My insurance is not in the trust, so I’m going to change beneficiaries. When the time comes where the insurance cost increases to keep it, I’m cashing it out to put in a CD or savings account for him. Kinda got lucky that he forgot about that policy lol. Thank you SO much for the pointers. I want to be mighty, too…(hugs) to all.

  • What I am proud of is that I wake up every day trying to be the best dad I can be for my kids. I never stopped doing the little (but important) things even though I was/am completely devastated. I didn’t stop making special hot breakfasts for them on the weekends (sometimes during the week too), cuddling with them, doing homework, having lots of friends for sleep overs, coaching their teams and making it to as many of their events as I can possibly manage (which is almost everything).

    I’m a little over one year from discard and frankly, most days I don’t feel very mighty. What I do know is that I.AM.SURVIVING and if my path follows the same path as other really mighty chumps in CN, then my “gain a life” will come too. Thank you to CN for all your support and a big thanks to you Tracy!

    • You might not feel mighty, but if you were any mightier, you’d be wearing a cape and flying. Keep on soaring!

    • ChumpedToDumped – you sound very strong. Is there anything more important than waking up everyday and immediately think of cooking your kids breakfast? I would say, they are very lucky and special kids to have you there for them, and I’m sure they do see your pain those mornings..
      Sharing emotions with kids is a good thing.
      We all hurt.
      We’re with you CtoD – bravo already and keep up the great work!

    • CTD – way to go! Filling those tummies with love is exactly what you each need. You’ll get there, and they’ll grow to trust your love and care for them. They’ll also trust that she sucks, just like you already know!

      Want to tell you to also keep on coaching. It’s one of THE most therapeutic things you can do for your heart and your head during this time. My sport is soccer, so I’m actually out there scrimmaging with high school girls or now, with my little boys teams. I coached both of my kids for about 16 years total, and now, at 44, I still have the great privilege of coaching my grandson’s pee-wee teams. I’m in my third season with him now, and I’m creating memories that the Dbag in my situation will never have. Our little grandson doesn’t even know him; Dbag split when grandson was one. Now he’s 7.

      I was coaching my daughter’s high school team when DDay happened. Practice and games were some of the only things that kept me grounded through the numbness, and I’d cry as I chased down the balls when they’d shoot and miss at practice. That was 5 years ago. Today with my little grandson, I have a team of little guys that all call me Coach Abi (my Gma name). We run and laugh and tackle each other to get the goals, and it’s heaven for me. I played my whole life and was an All State player. It truly is therapy for the body, soul, mind. Keep coaching! As they get older, volunteer for the things their involved in. I was a marching band parent and rode busses and cooked burgers during contests for four years. Again, because of our time together and the memories…heaven.

      Since DDay, my daughter finished junior high and high school and is finishing a freshman year at a Big 12 university’s college of engineering. And I didn’t bribe or pay anyone off for her admission. She works as a part-time drafting tech for an architecture firm because of taking drafting for two years while in high school. Chumps – encourage your high school kids to take tech classes while in high school. One of your biggest concerns will be taken off the table knowing they have skills and certifications to be employable at sometimes double or triple that of minimum wage, right out of high school. It’s a stepping stone into a college degree program, they can work in industry while also in college (my girl does) and/or can be an employment option if they fizzle out of college unhappy with their career pathway. Everything she’s doing is the result of my encouragement and full energy put into her success, and then it’s HER effort to make it happen because of her belief in herself. Your kids need you to do the same as they grow older. You got this!

      Since DDay both our son and daughter have zero contact with the Dbag. Our son (we were teen parents) was grown, married, and moved out when DDay happened. Daughter was in 8th grade. Douche ended up in jail and I immediately got her child custody agreement amended and bulletproof so she never had to see him again. She’ll soon be 19. They both want nothing to do with him. Why? Not just because he sucks, but because the truth is, the long-term patterns of behavior and action/inaction we show our kids as parents MATTERS. They feel and process the true or lack of love, energy, attention, loyalty, and the character of their parents.

      Pastor Rick Warren recently said in his Daily Hope podcast, “Men – let me talk to you for a minute. Guys, do you know what is the number one need you have and you may have never even noticed it. If your a Dad and a husband: One of the biggest needs you have in your life is you want your grown, adult children to respect you. I don’t know a man who doesn’t want that. You want your grown adult children to respect you. THAT should have a hamper on the decisions you make now.”

      So part of what I get to reap is that my grown kids are loving and devoted to me, and they don’t respect their Dbag “dad” at all. And I don’t feel bad for them, or for him. I’ve been their mom AND their dad for my kids since birth, and that Dbag has earned every bit of their disrespect and their desire for zero contact.

      Keep coaching. Keep loving them. Keep talking and engaging with them. Keep cooking. It’ll all pay off, and then you’ll have some best friends in this world whom you’ve grown and raised to be amazing adults. Trust me.

  • I barbell sqautted 105 pounds on my own last night.

    I’m registered for the physical aptitude test for firefighters this summer.

    I told a manipulative fuck boy to piss off and leave me alone.

  • I hope to comment more this weekend, and I wish I could comment on every post. I just want to say you’re all AMAZING!

    Thanks for these stories. You’re inspiring other chumps out there. Today and every day this lives in the archives.

  • Hi, when I left the charming but lying cheater I was married to for around 25 years, at 67, I felt like I had lost everything. Love, marriage, house, health, both mentally and physically – and I did not have much money either. But I had decided that I would rather die than continue to live without dignity. Today – 4 years later, my life has turned into a miracle for me. All my dreams, dreams I did not even know I still had, have come true, and they continue to happen. Today, at 71, if I could choose how to live, I would choose to live excactly the way I do now. I just want everyone to know that once you take yourself seriously, good forces will support you strongly, and the best things possible will happen, even when you are really depressed and don’t know what to do. Don’t give up, the best in life is waiting for you! I am also very, very grateful for Chump Lady! She is a major good force.

      • Marlee,

        I’m 59 (married 35 years) and needed to read that today too. My moving to Europe in a new career, was to crowd out the pain and memories of the DOCTOR with a new more interesting life, and it’s helping a lot. I”m getting there for sure.

        But there are still times when I need to remind myself how and why I got here and why I am better off now. Plus I sometimes worry about my age but you remind me how freedom from a dark undermining subversive, even late in life, is worth it.

        Thanks again.

  • I was a stay at home mom, and had been since our oldest was born. My ex wanted it this way. He claimed to be happy that I was home, taking care of our son. I have a degree from my home country, but I’ve not found any company that took me serious with it. So, I practically have a high school diploma. I considered re-taking the degree in my field here, but honestly, it’s hard to find work in it, it’s highly seasonal, and the work is often underpaid.

    So, I’m back in college, about to finish my first year. I’m a straight A student. I always felt so stupid. Especially when I was with my ex. He just had this way of making me feel like I was an idiot for not grasping basic stuff. In May, I’m taking my first Cisco certification, which will hopefully lead to a well-paying job over the summer. It turns out, I’m not stupid. But having been gaslighted and questioned my sanity for so many years, made my brain exhausted.

    My kids gave me the biggest compliment this morning: Mom, you’re so silly. Yes, I am. Because life is fun, especially with these two great kids in my life!

    • My first tiny step into mightyness was a simple response. After discovering the AC was on and a window was slightly opened, he tried to shame me and act like the superior dick head I had come to know and love, and fear and loathe! I calmly, and somewhat indfferently, said, ” Ok. So, close the window.”
      Might not seem incredibly mighty to some of you, but after some intensive, indivual empowerment therapy, I felt victorious! The walls were singing

    • Hey, CrazyDogLady,

      Nice to see you posting again and that your update is good news and ever upward in mightiness! Congratulations on being a straight A student. Hugs and high fives.

  • My cheater was in the military and made it clear that his career came first. So, I gave up my life’s dreams and was all in for our marriage. When I finally decided to leave, after years of being miserable (thanks Ashley Madison for giving me the push that I needed to finally leave the miserable SOB), I applied for a rigorous master’s program in my dream field. I graduated at the top of my class and obtained my dream job in my dream location. Not only that, I bought a house of my own. With a pool. And a creek running though the property. For years cheater harangued me about buying a house with a pool. I steadfastly refused as he was against doing any yard work, home maintenance, or cleaning. And when he did occasionally, begrudgingly do those tasks? He fucked them up. He’d chop off sprinkler heads by setting the lawn mower blade ridiculously low. One time he decided to “help” de-ice an old freezer. With an ice pick. Ruined it. That fucker did that shit on purpose I now understand. So, needless to say, I refused to have a pool. It would have just been one more thing on my laundry list of things to take care of. Meanwhile, he lives in an apartment, which for him was always a horrifying possibility. During our marriage, he absolutely refused to live in an apartment. He always insisted on having a house that was actually mich too large for just the two of us. He had appearances to maintain. Now, I live my life authentically. No appearances to maintain. I’m just myself. I work hard. I am kind. I take pleasure in all of the things, large or small.

    • The other day I was trying to explain to my adult badass-career-woman daughter the mindset of military wives (esp old school ones from the 80s). In that setting, we are expected to make our needs VERY small and do WHATEVER is needed to advance their career. I had 14 jobs as we moved around – you get it. I was also responsible for everything and would have fought a pool too. No matter what I did, he blamed me for his failures including the comparative low rank he had at military retirement. I love your mightiness story…we were smarter and tougher than they ever gave us credit for.

      • Not many people understand the sacrifices a military wife makes when she marries a man in the military. Sacrificing your career, relocating to the next assignment, TDY’s, single parenting or living away from friends and family, when spouse is out on assignment or flying.
        Keep the home front together while our spouse is serving our country.
        Military spouses are unsung heroes.

        • Military offspring (MilBrats) also deserve recognition of serving, and the rank of Mightiness. Kids don’t choose the military life, it just is. Too bad they don’t get a pension (grin).

      • Unicornnomore, my ex joined the Army right out of dental school back in 1978. We moved six times in ten years, once only three weeks after my younger daughter was born by c-section. He only took off the minimal time to make the move then I was on my own. One day he came home as I was nursing the newborn and making sure the 2-yr-old was safe and the first thing he said when he opened the door was “How many boxes did you unpack today?” I told him off then but still didn’t see the pattern of abuse.

        After I filed for divorce in 2015 he told me that I ruined his military career by asking him to get out after ten years. We had only arrived in the States from Germany six months prior when he came home and said we would have to move again. My daughters were having a hard time readjusting to their new life and I had started a new job. So, he got out and went into the Reserves. He still has a military pension but is bitter that he didn’t make full colonel and blames that on me. It didn’t matter that he had gone on to a very well-paying job in dental education. His school hired ex-military dentists and, although he was their boss, they were all colonels and he was just a LTC. I had no idea his ego was so fragile.

      • Yep…mine told a mediator that he was forced to leave his military career for “the good of his family”. First time I heard mention of that! I guess that’s his translation of “I got passed over for promotion twice and I’m starting to stink up this place”, oh and maybe too many of my coworkers know about my affairs with other coworkers who are married to flag officers! Once you get some distance you stop making everything your fault. I guess getting that voice out of my head will be my only justice….loving these stories of winners!

        • Looking back on his military career now, Im SO convinced that he had fuckbuddy coworkers ALL ALONG. I also wonder how much of our moving/ picking duty stations was because he was avoiding or pursuing various fuckbuddies…he did some stuff which made no logical sense at the time so learning he was a serial cheater explained a lot.

          He blamed me for the fact that he retired as a Major (never mind he refused orders to Louisiana twice without even asking me about it…you dont get promoted if you refuse orders).

          When he did retire, his OW was in the second row…he scheduled his retirement so she could be there but one of our kids couldn’t. She had a fake date and shook my hand…fucking bitch. I wish now that he had left me for her.

          And as you guys know…they come home and tell us that things must be like _____ (something that screws you) and if you dont do exactly this, you will look like a bad military wife and his career will suffer and it will be all your fault.

          He was deep up OWs butt during the whole retirement time and one day said “I will not take you or the kids into consideration when I pick my job after retirement” duly noted. So he moved away then tried to get us to follow him even though we were given zero input into his decision. Our answer “No”

          • The DOCTOR was military and I actually joined the Army FOR HIM, for 5 years and then had to get out FOR HIM so we could remain together.

            OMG I forgot – literally – how many moves. And btw, I was positively mentioned on his officer evaluations (twice) and he did get promoted, but God knows he’d hold anything he did not do well at, against me. He did not help MY career, but I helped his.

            He used to say (even late in the marriage) that he’d “never failed at anything in his life”. I guess being a cruel dishonest husband and a critical absentee father, is success.

            He left me when I had been in the neuro intensive care unit & I was impaired. He abandoned me then for Schmoopie and his freedom; our children were shocked & horrified that he’d leave me that way & they drove up the next day. It was dangerous and frighteningly cruel of him and might be the thing that most shocks me, even now 30 months out.

            Such a big case of sunk costs which I need to reframe. I cannot believe how much I loved him and how much I forgave.

            You know, there’s a fine, blurry line between forgiveness and enabling. I’m one of those who obviously crossed that line too often.

            Lesson learned

    • Wow! So many mighty stories—so uplifting. In 4 years since DDay, which completely blindsided me because I thought our 25 year marriage was amazing — X is a master manipulator, I have done the following to achieve meh:
      Spent a year reading CL and working up to no contact (I’m a stubborn chumpitychump);
      Filed for divorce in 2016 and battled through two failed mediations, a summary judgment where X tried to rob me of our biggest asset (he lost), a nightmare round of depositions where I was interrogated for 8 hours (it was excruciating but I had nothing to hide or fear); a weeklong trial where X tried to paint me as a bad mom for having a part-time legal job or a loafing lawyer who should have 4x my income imputed so he (who makes $80K a month!!!) wouldn’t have to pay $1,000 a month in child support….. judge threw the book at him— I got every single thing we had and judge said he wished it could have been more as it’s a CP state and X will earn more than me and came out “ahead” because of it— kicker was judge said he didn’t believe one word of X’s testimony but believed all my evidence. Boo yah!

      During hellish divorce, I studied for and passed CA bar, while raising 3 kids solo and working part-time.

      Since divorce finalized 2 years ago I have remodeled one rental house with cash I earned, paid off all debts but one mortgage, rented out house for top dollar and moved into a cheaper home I rent.

      I was offered a law partnership at a good firm 2 years ago.

      I have new hobbies that I love.

      I hired an estate planner and updated my will and POA. I hired a CFP and did a complete financial plan, which was super scary.

      I have taken my kids on fun vacations each year.

      I did some trauma counseling – EMDR and although it wasn’t a good fit with a therapist who flaked and constantly canceled sessions,I did get something out of it.

      Too much more to add…. thank you Tracy for being my guiding light! The best is yet to come— I know it!

  • My EX walked out on me and two tweens after 20 years of marriage when I was 6 months pregnant with our late in life surprise.

    He drug out the divorce for almost 2 years while he did creative accounting to make 1/3 of his income disappear. I spent hours upon hours going through his books to get proof of what he was doing. I fought and he didn’t get away with his creative accounting in the settlement.

    I got full custody of the kids. My youngest started having seizures at 4 1/2 months old and was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of epilepsy. He hardly ever sees her. But I am managing just fine without his help. I am working full-time and I am now making about 40% more than I was when we were married. I am finding a way to pay for all the extras that are not covered by child support for my kids, including saving for college.

    Last year, I bought a house that is in a better neighborhood and has an extra bedroom compared to the house we had shared. My kids are doing amazing and I am so proud of them and the job I have done raising them pretty much on my own.

    But the mightiest thing I have done over the last few years was finally accepting who my EX was instead of who I wanted him to be. I internalized “trust he sucks” and then went almost no contact. All the rest of the good things that happened are a direct result of that. So those of you still struggling with the pain, that is one of the most important steps you can take. Go be mighty, too!

    • Sounds very familiar.
      There is something very satisfying about fighting these bastards and winning.
      Best wishes for your continued success!

  • DDay was the day after my daughter left for college. My high school sophomore son still at home. I wept and raged and tried to reconcile for 4 months. Cheater sat stoically, barely apologizing, feeling his 4+ years of affairs were justified.
    Finally, I put down the stupid “how to heal from your affair and forgive your cheating asshat” books, wrote a letter to chump lady – which she answered and for which I received so much amazing advice and support, found an awesome therapist, located my mighty, and woke the fuck up. I kicked him out of our bedroom, told him I wanted divorce, and am moving out as soon as I find an apartment. I am insisting on selling or having him buy me out of the house (he can’t, our house is worth much more than he can afford), I will have almost full custody of son and the dogs as well. I am on my way to independence and I can’t wait to live a cheater free life. A millions thank yous, Chump Lady and Chump Nation. The support I’ve gotten here has been invaluable.

    • Make sure if you are to live in and prep the house for sale that you are reimbursed in the proceeds for you labor.

  • On dday, I had been a SAHM mom for 10 years and a pastor’s wife for almost 17. I kicked him out within 24 hours, got a job within 6 months, and ran my first full marathon by the end of the year.

    Four years out, I have a great relationship with my kiddos, wonderful boyfriend, raise at work, and a little money in the bank. Plus. I found out Wednesday from kiddo #1 that the Rev Cheaterpants and his Chik-fil-A bride still have their Christmas tree up 3 months later. Bwahahaa.

    It hasn’t been easy and lots of tears in the shower and mourning of the life I thought I would have, but I’ve leaned that I am mightier than I ever would have imagined.

  • I don’t have amazing recovery stories like some of these wonderful “loyalists” who had to deal with an asshat cheater. Mine is a simple one. After 33 yrs of marriage, 37 yrs together and at 55 yrs old, by complete accident I discovered that my husband had a 5 yr relationship with a trailer trash moron alcoholic (a lovey dovey card fell out of a book as I was cleaning out the garage). I had just lost my mother 3 months earlier, then my marriage crashed into a volcano. Shortly after, my father passed away. Within a year of that, my brother also passed. I had to put on a brave face shortly after D day bc my son got married as BOTH sides of the family talked about me, judged me and overall IGNORED me, my pain and my grief. Add onto that I was being targeted BIG TIME at my job for something that later resolved itself with absolutely ZERO discipline but an awful lot of pain, angst, stress as if nothing ever happened. I had nowhere to go. Home was painful, work was even worse. My victory, looking back is – how did I even get my head off the pillow? But I did. Every day. Every day I went into work – with a huge target on my back – with trying to figure out who I was, what I actually meant to all of the people in my life. Thank God for my therapist and girlfriends who held me up, held my hand, listened, supported me and understood. I’m going on 5 yrs post-D day. He never had any intention of leaving me (she was WAAAY beneath him actually). He got tossed out after I discovered lie after lie after lie. It’s just more recently that I decided to give him another shot. I know what you’re thinking – I’m thinking it too. But I’m not that person anymore. I know now that I can weather ANY storm. That I will never EVER be treated as anything less than the fucking awesome woman, mother, friend, sister, teacher and wife that I am. I’ve learned that I did not contribute to his narcissism and selfishness in ANY way whatsoever. He either treats me like the queen I am or he’s HISTORY because I know that I’m too important to waste my time on anything less. So – THAT’s my victory. Anyone at the beginning of this devastation – keep on keeping on. Find your inner queen – she’s there. This too shall pass. You’re better than this and this doesn’t define you.

    • I love that you can appreciate the strength it took to handle everyday. You are awesome! It takes more bravery and strength to forgive and to give him another shot. I applaud you! And you better keep on your head a crown!!!!

    • LeeLee, you sound so very strong and mighty so I have to ask… WHY take him back? You don’t need him to validate your mightiness (or for much of anything it sounds like). You weathered some devastating storms all on your own and are doing well so why bring his toxicity back into your life? What does that gain you? I’m genuinely curious because for me, that door isn’t just closed, I took the damn door out and drywalled over that sucker. There is no door for him to back back through!!

    • Why bother with that moron? He is just setting you up for more hurt and anxiety trying to play marriage police. And it will refine his original abuse, to find ways to hide it better. Fuck that shit.

  • When my second and final DDay happened and I confronted my husband of 23 years (30 together at that point) with evidence of another affair (which unsurprisingly to my fellow chumps turned out to be the mere tip of a nasty iceberg of infidelity), he started to say exactly what he said on the first DDay: “I have been increasingly unhappy in the marriage.” But on that second DDay I had four solid years of intense pick-me dancing under my belt. For four years I had done EVERYTHING AND MORE that he told me I had to do in order to stay married. For fuck’s sake, I had dropped whatever I was doing and greeted him at the door when he came home from work like one of the dogs for four years because that was one of his requirements. I abased myself in more ways than I really care to recall at this point. But on that second DDay, when he started to say those words again “I’ve been increasingly unhappy…” I threw my hand up in the “stop” motion and said “NO.” Just no. When he asked if I wanted him to leave I said “YES.”

    It took another three years and a lot of hard work on myself and a whole lot of support from a whole lot of people before I was completely free but that one moment of standing up for myself was my first wobbly step on the path to that freedom. There was a ton of backsliding over those three years. There were moments of weakness, doubt, and LOTS of fear but I always managed to pick myself back up and get back on the path. There are still moments of weakness, doubt and fear but only about what lies ahead of me. I never have the slightest doubt that I am better off having left all that abuse behind me.

    My advice to new Chumps: don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you haven’t had any huge mighty moments. When you take all the little mighty moments (like saying NO for the first time) and add them up, they’ll be a huge pile of mighty for you to feel proud of and Chump Nation will be proud right along with you. {{{hugs}}}

    • Thanks Beth for pointing out that some of us might not feel so mighty at this point. I know that I am strong and that I will survive and always be there for my kids but there are many moments where I feel very lost and down. I hear these stories of people gaining financially from the divorce (not happening here as we are pretty even salary wise — yes, I know I should feel lucky that I have an okay salary but lifestyle will be changing quite a bit) or those that threw the asshat out (mine refused to leave and is still here one year later — separation agreement should be finalized soon but lawyer said there is no way to make him leave without physical abuse – subtle mental torture and games playing seems acceptable 🙁 ), or they have gotten an amazing new job/education. I say a heartfelt congratulations to all of you who have achieved this mightiness. I am having a hard time trying to stay positive about what I hope to gain (as it is taking so long and I am just so tired). I know that I have to change my mindset about what I am losing (time with kids,house, financial security, my world view, trust, blah, blah, blah) and look at what I have to gain (peace etc.). Does anyone have any good strategies for this? One a positive note, my Mom wrote me an awesome card at Christmas telling me how proud she is of me and how strong I am. When I am feeling down I pull it out and read it (thanks Mom). Love to everyone who has had to deal with all of this shit (there are way too many of us out there).

      • I have a hard time feeling mighty and grateful when I focus on the peace I have now that he is gone because the storm from which I have my reprieve should never have happened. Peace was supposed to be part of the marriage. I never expected life to be perfect, or even easy, but thought that having a spouse meant having a partner to face life’s challenges with. I am grateful for the strength I have uncovered in myself. I am proud of the wisdom I have acquired. I had to focus on the good things I gained specifically from infidelity and a broken marriage. Trying to be grateful that I was free from a situation that I should never have been in kept me stuck for a long time. May sound like just semantics to some but was a very necessary reframing for me.

        • Good advice MOTM — I should be writing all this stuff down to remind myself as my fatigue is playing havoc with my memory. Thanks to you and all the mentors who really understand what it is like. My therapist is helpful but I don’t think you can understand unless you have been there. I did tell my therapist to look up chump lady as it is helping me :).

      • MovingontoMeh. ‘Does anyone have any good strategies?’ Maybe. I’m still stuck but I’m doing what I can to make the waiting bearable. Meditation class, yoga, reiki, trauma therapy, Qi Gong, taking walks in nature, babysitting a seven year old, and taking an old guy for daily walks. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, but getting out of the home environment helps me feel like my own person. Some Tuesday we’ll be free. Thanks to God (the Higher Power/the Universe/Spirit) for the clarity and support brought by CL and CN.

      • I had a lot of relief from you tube guided meditation on abandonment (pic is of a red lake and fire). I listened to it at least 3-10 times a day during the Great Troubles.

      • Dee

        One day at a time.
        Friend of mine lost everything: few kids, money, business, h left her with ptsd, one luggage and no kids interested in her side…. he was very abusive and almost destroyed this brave soul.
        It took her few years… it was so tough, I saw her many times- crying and saying that she just can’t go like that anymore.
        But… the moment she decided to leave her h, and see herself as an individual- she was already a winner.
        6 years later- she just told me that she got paid 12k for her new project ( she is an artist) and found ( after MANY ugly frogs) great guy who supports her and cheers her all the time…

        It is possible.

        Dee- every step you take … every action towards respecting and valuing yourself- brings you closer to happiness.

        Don’t give up. Just start doing stuff that make you happy

    • I had a moment similar to yours. See, I took my ex, after already knowing about a few affairs, to rehab. I found her (well, my kids actually called me because she was in no shape to drive) with an almost full handle of vodka laying in a pee-and-vomit-soaked bed.

      I gave her the choice of going to rehab or I would close the door. She chose rehab. Once sober, I had one mediation with her at rehab. She asked me if we could get back together. I told her, “If I come back, I will never be able to look myself in the mirror again.” It was wobbly and part of me wanted to dance again, but I knew this statement to be absolutely true and, if I took her back, I would never have any respect for myself. That was my first step towards mighty. May there be many more.

      • You were powerfully mighty. I’m so glad your kids have such a strong father. Keep on being mighty.

  • During my thirty years with Two-Legged Rat, a textbook malignant narcissist, he stole my identity (in the psychological sense), my life, my soul. I wasn’t even nobody, I was just nothing. DDay came a few weeks after losing my oldest son to suicide. I made a serious suicide attempt myself when I found out he was having sex with his cousin in addition to hookers, strippers and subordinates.
    Eleven years after GTFO Day, I have two diplomas in psychology, I’m a certified gatekeeper trainer, and created a teen suicide prevention foundation in my country. Now I train professionals who work with children and youth, teach diploma and master’s degree students, and I’m getting ready to write a book on the subject (a handbook for mental health professionals, parents and the kids themselves). And I’m super proud that I got a call yesterday from our local CNN to invite me to participate in a panel that will talk about suicide in one of their best known shows, hosted by a famous journalist.
    But the best, by far, is that I got back my two younger sons’ love, respect and admiration. Although I’m still getting used to being an empty nester (my youngest left a couple of months ago) and feel lonely once in a while, I have a mission and I’m going to accomplish it. If I can do that at 64, you can do it too!

  • Holy Smokes, I am so inspired by all these stories so far! Keep them coming!

    I too, am clawing out of the depths of despair after my Prince Charming of 17 years discarded me (and upgraded?) for his hairstylist. I will never know how MANY years they have been cheating on me, but I am slowly working on getting down the road to Meh.

    My career went bye-bye as a SAHM for 12 years and although he classified me as “delusional and not enough” I just tested in to nursing school in the top ten of the enrollment group. A couple of years from now I’ll be fully supporting myself and in the meantime I’ve learned how to fully take care of my house and property By My SELF. It’s a big job (especially with primary custody of our three busy kids) but I know now that I.AM.EFFING.E.N.O.U.G.H.

  • Your stories are amazing and inspiring. I’m only a month out from dday, but I’m determined to come out BETTER not BITTER. I filed for divorce within a week of the news coming out and my victory today is that I haven’t cried yet. That’s big for me. And I’m starting to see- and really trust- that he sucks. He always did.

    • It’s not bitter to rightfully call out narcissistic abuse. And anyone who thinks so, is not worth associating with.

      • Funny, after 36 years of marriage and he suddenly said he wanted a divorce – I never cried a drop of tears either. Not once in the 9 months it took to divorce him. At least, he never saw me cry – I did plenty of it alone.

  • My life is so different that when I lived under the tyranny of my Cheaters abuse and selfishness. Ive had so many wake-up moments, but one yesterday was funny…

    During wreckonsillyation, I agreed to a lot of things that were ill-advised because he was a TFC who just HAD to have his way. He bought a house and cars on the very highest limits of what we could afford on his Corporate Joe salary then when he was laid off, he decided (with all the debts we had) to start a business. Of course he was all filled with delusions of grandeur.

    During that time, I needed a new hairbrush and bought one at the dollar store since we were on a tight budget. When I bought it, I thought “maybe I will still own this when we are rich from his business”. For a time his fledgling company actually had a rally which looked like impending success then (shit happens) it crashed. We had 2 adult kids (at home) with mental health issues, a teen, and a baby momma and baby in the house surviving on my part time income to keep us afloat (albeit deep in red ink and here insert the rage he had when I wouldnt approve a $40,000 purchase for something he wanted but didnt need and he responded by destroying things in the house) when he died suddenly.

    He had forced me to give up (spouse must sign for this benefit to be forfeited) the military life insurance option that would support me long term because it was too expensive and he instead got a cheaper policy that paid big but was only good for a few years. It was actually a foolhardy choice but I went along with it.

    I was able to pay off everything…kids school loans, house, cars and invest the rest. I was concerned that I was vulnerable to possible predator boyfriends so I was careful to set my picker on ultrasensitive mode.

    I remarried someone who simply didnt need nor want my money and my house remains in my name and the remainder of the “death money” is socked away. He retired early and takes care of me as I pursue my goals. We choose a comfy upper middle class existence (we eschew most luxuries except for trips, we travel a lot) with the trade off that we could continue this for the rest of our lives. One of his pleasures in life is finding bargains at thriftstores and Im not going to take that away from him …he is truly the multimillionaire next door.

    and since we don’t go in for foolish luxury…I still have the brush from the dollar store…yesterday while getting ready for work, I looked at it and thought of where I was when I bought it (deep in debt and delusional on hopium and denial) and I was flabbergasted by the breadth of this journey.

    Our mightiness is different from each other and I cant describe the pride and admiration I have for the chumps who were braver than me and refused to live in abuse even with nothing to bolster your new life you dumped the cheater and gained lives. You are all my badass heroes.

  • It has been three years since D-Day. I somehow picked myself up and fought back after after 21 years of licking his boots through numerous affairs, prostitutes, con-jobs, and emotional abuse.
    My greatest accomplishment was doing my own PI work and gathering enough filthy little secrets to sue the ex. In an effort to protect his image with his new family he settled out of court for more than half a million dollars.
    I’m now living in my own home, finishing a degree that preps me to work in the business world, laughing every single day with my kids, and have a bikini worthy body at age 44!
    Don’t give up fellow chumps! Don’t ever give up!

    • Good on you !! Im fascinated with whatever it is you did to let him know you had the goods on him without it looking like blackmail…whatever it is you did, you are a freaking genius. (I dont expect you to post about it here, sometimes we need to maintain anonymity for safety sake but you are badass.)

      • During a joint meeting with both of our lawyers I hinted that I knew about his harem and brought up some of his financial antics in our contracting business. It was my hope that it would move him to a proper settlement, but he’s an asshole and he continued to pretend innocence and refuse fair settlement.
        My state has fault based divorce so I filed accusing him of affairs with four women, was granted permission to subpoena the harem and others for depositions, and was about ready to request subpoenas for phone, credit, and financial records when he finally agreed to settle. The court then granted my petition for divorce based on the settlement.
        It also helped that others in the community were starting to consider legal action against him for his bad business dealings. He needed to secure the financial backing of Schmoopie’s very wealthy family to keep afloat. Lots of factors played into a perfect storm that played to my benefit.

          • I live in a county with only 30,000 total people and the ex had dropped the names of two of the mistresses before he left me (he always hinted).

            Putting together the little bit I knew when he left and the gossip of others: I figured out that one of the mistresses had figured him out and dumped him. I contacted her estranged husband, got the name of the street she lived on, and her car make. Then I drove up and down the street until she came home from work, knocked on her door, and invited myself in.

            We talked for 3 hours. She knew the names of the other women, because he had cheated on her and she had figured it out. In one year’s time he had harmed her so much that she was on anxiety medication. While they were together he had flirted with her 19 yo daughter and she was glad to help me get revenge. I took what info she had, built a bit on it and gave everything to my lawyer.

            He may or may not have also been using prostitutes. Probably was, but the only prostitute use that I know of was from our past when I was still a forgiving chump.

  • Big news CN!!! As of today, I am officially DIVORCED! Here’s the best part: I opened the letter, shrugged my shoulders, said “meh,” and moved on to the next piece of mail.

    I feel FANTASTIC!

    I am responsible for creating my OWN Happily Ever After and I am doing it every single day!!!

    Chump Nation – we’ve got this. It takes time, but in the end, we’ve got this.

    Stay strong.

  • Well after losing my job 3 months after d day, I was a wreck, puking in the shower, lost 8 kgs in two months. I have been in and out of contract work for the last two years. Job interview Tuesday🙏 And I’m feeling confident and ready.
    I have somehow managed to pay my mortgage on time every time. House is still in both names but hopefully that will change in the next few years and I can refinance.
    Thank god and ex for child support, social security and frugal living.
    NC has been my saving grace and the peace is amazing. When you are so conditioned to drama peace can seem boring but it becomes normal eventually and when drama does knock in the form of the hoovering narc it makes you sick.
    My kids are doing good and the youngest is heading to the academic program at high school and is the sports captain this year.
    I have fallen in love with yoga and sure get my worth out of my community gym membership. Being so tight on dollars this is my only pleasure, I do three to four classes a week. I can plank like a boss and regularly hold a headstand at the beach for over 3 minutes and can rock a back bend at 44, thanks for coming!
    My body is the strongest it has ever been and my mind is following.
    My ex has spent the last two years trying to come back and I nearly caved but he is such a controlling manipulative asshole still that it wasn’t going to happen and you know being on Tinder whilst telling me about how changed you are doesn’t quite cut it with me.
    I’m lonely sometimes but am working on me and the kids, on line dating is out as I’m a serious freak magnet so am working on becoming emotionally healthy and I feel like god will send someone my way when the time is right, hopeful to my yoga class!🧘‍♀️😍😇
    Love reading the stories, just wow 🥊💪🏽
    Greetings from Aus, love you CL you are a saint 😇

  • We gave up two perfectly good jobs and moved 900 miles so that STBX could join a band an old, wealthy friend was setting up. I was happy to move because I knew how important music was to him. We were heavily supported by and lived rent and bill free in the friend’s house so STBX didn’t need to get a full-time job and was free to play gigs.

    Just over 2 years later he left me for the 25 year old girl in the band. The discard was psyche-cracking, as a fellow chump puts it, and I had anxiety, IBS and a cancer scare. I was 50 living in rural Cornwall with no driving licence, no job, 3 teenage kids, and had to leave the house (housing in Cornwall is a NIGHTMARE) as the friend was selling it. Both my younger kids were missing a lot of school and both had suicidal ideation and one had crippling panic attacks.

    The friend heroically paid for me to get my driving licence, my FIL bought me a car, I got a part-time job setting up and running an After-school Club in a primary school. The stress of the discard was such that I made silly mistakes and went into work so often feeling rubbish, but I made a positive difference in a lot of kid’s lives. I cleared the friend’s huge house for him and two weeks before me and the kids would be sofa-surfing, found a lovely house in the nearby market town.
    My lovely family-in-law say I’m like Joan of Arc! Most of my income is still benefits, my daughter is still very stressed and seeing a psychiatrist, many nights I’ve been so frustrated about her sadness and afraid for her. Some days when the kids are having a bad time and I worry about money and being able to afford the house, I fall in the pit, but I have counselling for myself in the works. But I am feeding my kids as well as I can, we have game nights on Friday, in May me and my daughter go on a trip to London for a cosplay event which she loves. And most of all I’ve remembered my default is HAPPY and I’m a disgustingly optimistic person! I can’t say we are wholly happy and secure, I am often tired, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I did the right thing in divorcing, and that I’m doing every fecking thing in my power to make my and their lives better. Every day is a victory, I know I am mighty and I am delighting in the mightiness of my fellow chumps today. Love you Chump Nation! ❤

    • Artist, you are the very portrait of MIGHTY! It’s hard dealing w/the kids’ heartbreak, but we keep on keeping on … and that’s what our babies need!

  • Motivation that is working for me:

    Every day I mope, do nothing, cry? That’s a day I make him worth more than me.
    Every day that I do something, even 5 minutes worth of a thing that moves my goal forward toward a better life, a better me? That’s a, “Fuck off because your a douche” moment.

    Hope isn’t a strategy.

    If you want something you’ve never had, do something you’ve never done. And do it without the dreadfully dysfunctional.

  • My ex was much older then me and looking back I realize he never saw me as an equal…..even though I make over twice as much as he does.

    He always had poor boundaries….but when I found out he’d been in secret contact with a trash ex gf for our entire relationship I flipped a switch.

    I did do some dancing….particularly after he demanded a divorce when I brought up the ex a week after I found out. I was informed that I had to change and he “didn’t have to listen to this”.

    He lied, changed his story, threw tantrums…..you get the picture. I dragged him to counseling where he changed his story again and only minimally participated.

    After about 6 months I started to think a lot about what I actually had…..and that was a much older pathetic can’t get it up needs ego stroking from exes insists on keeping a horrible toupee and was far more concerned with his image as a nice guy piece of shit.

    I snapped. Filed for divorce (of course he has the sadz….didn’t want a divorce but was ok using the threat to shut down conversations he didn’t want to have), bought a house for me and my teenage kids (they aren’t his), and had everything finalized in a couple of months.

    Now I live peacefully with my boys, make plenty of money to pay my bills, and have a lovely bf who can get it up, doesn’t have a toupee, and is closer to my age.

    You only get one life so fuck these assholes. My ex still walks around in his shitty toupee that many people have asked me about, still thinks he’s a victim, and is probably terrified of what I’ve told people about the ex because then he couldn’t keep his image of a nice guy.

    More people then he realizes see him for who and what he is…..I know that for a fact.

  • I don’t practice family law, but I researched the law (via Google) in all 50 states and successfully made the argument on behalf of my attorneys that I was entitled to a portion of Douchebag’s severance package when he lost his job right in the middle of the divorce. It was an extremely generous package and he found another job soon thereafter, so he was earning a paycheck plus severance pay for quite some time. I also did Google research and convinced DB’s attorney that my pension should be valued in a way that ended up giving less of it to DB. I bought out DB’s equity in the house, assumed the mortgage and now enjoy the house and the dog. While for the past 20 years or so, there were weird transactions going on in our joint bank accounts, that made me wonder why we didn’t have more savings after working so hard for so long (that DB told me not to worry my little head about), I now know where every penny of my money goes and whaddaya know. My bank account is actually building. Fast. I poured out my grief to family, friends and my therapist, and I poured my rage into legitimate financial negotiations that ended up benefiting me. I was nearly catatonic at the time, but I feel kind of mighty about it now. I also thought CL and the people on this blog just made up this concept that you can gain a full and happy life after divorce from a cheater, you know, just to give chumps some hope, when all I envisioned was loneliness and depression. Nope, whaddaya know. They were right.

  • A little over 4 years ago, I was breast feeding my three month old when I found a way to break into my then husband’s computer, and found the damning evidence. Of course, it was just the tip of the iceberg- but I found emails to two separate women that day- one with him begging her to take him back. And then to some other rando. I had been married 13 years, and had 5 kids. Total shock, although of course the signs were there for at least the past couple of years- once he graduated with his doctorate, and started his own company. He had money he could hide from me, and did.

    I was also a homeschooling stay at home mom with a very conservative outlook on gender roles. Ye-ah- that has changed somewhat!! Totally realized how the patriarchy has all these systems set up in society to keep women in their place!

    Anyway, enough of that. I just write that to say- I was starting at ground zero- well I had a Bachelor’s degree, but I had my first child right out of college, and never used it.

    Anyway- here I am- 4 years later. I work from home about 25 hours a week in a job I love! I am in a Master’s program for Speech Language Pathology. My youngest starts full day pre-k next year! In less than two years I will have a career and I did it with five young kids! My oldest (14) is top of his class, and the other children are doing great. I guess I can thank my ex for some good genes.

    Boo-yay!

    Life isn’t perfect, but it makes me shutter to think that if things weren’t as bad as they were I could still be in that awful marriage, with close to zero progress in my personal and professional life.

    • Oh, Anna! I have been you. I stuck it out for so long in my conservative role and bowing to the patriarchy of the church that covered the ex’s ass.

      Congrats on getting out and being free!
      Life will be so good!

      F*ck the patriarchy!

  • After 4 years of no contact, I had to deal with Dr. Demento, last week by text and email, blessedly. Thank God for CL training, I could stand back and watch the mind fuckery. It was pity, rage, and charm, one sentence of each, one after another. It was mindblowing. But for the first time in my life, I could see it. But the best part was he sent an email to our attorney and other folks doing the same thing. I felt vindicated. Evidence!!!! to others. They didn’t know what to say or do either. My PTSD triggered…nausea, diarrhea, and my heart pounding out of my chest from a dead sleep BUT ONLY FOR A WEEK. I told my attorney, never ever has one woman been so glad, so happy to be rid of a man in the history of the world. Not as mighty as you all, but a major improvement for me.

  • I’m getting closer to Meh 3 years out. I’ve gotten a job I love, but its not permanent yet. I’m moving today to a new rental that I think will be very positive -as well as save me a few $’s. But its hard after having had my own house to be back to renting an apt. And there’s no hope that I will be able to find a house I can afford anytime soon.

    No dating or anything like that. Sure I’d like an appreciative man around, a little cuddle and a kiss, but at my age (over 50) the chances of me ever finding someone are pretty slim. Trying to be o.k. with that. After all I was lonely as hell in my 17 years of marriage too. At least now I don’t have the stress of the fuckwit around.

    But I am still waking up more mornings than not with that feeling of terror in the pit of my stomach. I sure wish I knew how to make that go away and wake up content and at peace with myself and my life.

    Working towards Peace, Serenity, and total Meh one day at a time.

  • I’m one of those “single dads who learned to braid hair” 🙂 . Besides braiding hair, I can now take earrings in and out, get dance shoes on, iron on or even sew Girl Scout patches, plan and cook nutritious meals (really not that hard!), etc. I’m now dealing with err, “a girl becoming a woman” in my house, and we’ll get through that, too :).
    In my spare time, I’ve traveled all over the world, going to a few new countries every year. I also go to be a serious runner, doing 25+ miles at one point. I decided to try to conquer my fear of falling (not heights, just falling) by learning to rock climb. I now lead a group of people that do this for fun, and occasionally teach others to do it.

    • Travelling the World – I love that you are a might man and are taking great care of your daughter.

      Your post has reminded me that I need to plan some travels. Getting out and seeing the world, gets me out of my head – not just out of town. I need to do it more often. Our city is fairly small and I’m aware how tightly I hold myself in public incase I run into ‘the happy couple’. To be somewhere in the world where they aren’t, would feel so freeing. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I was in a marriage with a woman I dearly loved, who had countless affairs with countless people. I was devastated and in pain for a long time. I lost everything. But I landed up getting my house back and full custody of the kids. The joy of watching my kids create a new amazing life for themselves. Brings me much joy and healing. I am humbled by Gods blessings!!!

  • Today, the day after my brother’s unexpected death( he had cancer and was given 6 months to a year just the previous day), the only mighty is that when he called my sister to say he still cares I just said yup I could tell that by the abuse, stalking, stealing our retirement money and my jewelry. Snort.. not today Satan not today. RIP baby brother (he was 53) FUCK CANCER ☹️

  • Five years (yesterday) post D-Day and cannot find my MEH, let alone any mightiness. I pray for cancer or the courage to end my miserable life while Mr Sparkles is out there living life to the fullest with Sloppy #4. This weekend he just forced my children to meet his latest whore. Oh and can I watch the kids while he and whore are away for 10 days next month? He hasn’t spent one dime taking the kids on vacation but you know… priorities. Karma, where are you?

    • Just wanted to say that I don’t know you. But I love you so deeply. You know what’s powerful? Getting out of bed. Typing your message. Sharing your pain. We’re all running our own races– I often feel like for every step forward, I take two steps back. Maybe it just takes people like you and me a little longer to run our race. But everyday. Everyday you wake up, everyday you put your face to the sun, everyday you breathe in air, YOU’RE MAKING IT. I love you.

      • I’ve had better days but for today getting up early and taking my plastic bottles to the recycle center was a big accomplishment. It’s a step forward from yesterday.

    • Don’t wait for karma. It doesn’t work on our timetables.

      You’ve got kids and they need you. They need a sane parent, because he’s not it. I know it’s tough. If you’re seriously feeling suicidal, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. No shame in reaching out for help. Depression after this shit is real.

      But please don’t give him your power. He’s a fuckwit.

    • You have it there, he is out living his life with No. 4???? He hasn’t spent a dime on a holiday with his kids???? You’ve just said it there. You are mighty, he is not. It may feel like an uphill struggle and you aren’t winning the battle but you don’t need or want to compete with that remember that, you would never behave like that in a month of Sundays. That is mighty. Mighty bloody sane for starters. Nasty people you who’s lives you don’t actually want to compare yours with. Best thing would be if the karma bus does call on them you don’t even know about it cause you don’t care.

      Hang in there x

    • NoMehforMe,
      Mr. Sparkles is out faking life to its fullest. They are always fake!

      You are worth more than what he offers.
      Your kids have you to show them what real is!

      Every day is mighty with what you’ve been through.

    • Sloppy #4? Not taking and cherishing his allotted time with the kids. He is not living life to the fullest. He got Schmoopies 1-4, you get the kids. You are the winner here. It may not seem like it, but you are. Cherish those children, focus on them, don’t focus on a fuckwit who doesn’t know how to love (Sloppy 1-4, and not spending time with his own children = not a good track record).

      • Cheaters are never entirely happy. They’re good at image management and will do whatever it takes to prove how happy they are, oh, and they’ve never been happier.
        I read that it takes approx two years for the infatuation, in love phase of a relationship to start to fizzle. Cheaters are in love with the infatuation, again image management and everything fake.
        Shiny, sparkly, fresh, and the look at me syndrome.

        My Cheater told everyone he’d never been happier with two different AP’s. He also said that he hoped that I’d move on and find the same happiness. Uh, I’ve moved on and I don’t need anyone else in my life to prove how happy I am, or that I’ve moved on. Don’t flatter yourself dumb ass.

        As a Chump, I don’t know how any of these losers can live with themselves. Of course we know that they can without remorse, or regret or second thoughts.
        I do know distance and time gives you insight into just how full of shit they actually are.

    • So, he’s trainwrecked through 3 already and is on his 4th? That’s karma in itself. It sure must suck to have to play the eternal “look at me! I am so awesome!” game to keep up appearance in reality.

      The more they push that shit, the more they overplay their hand. And the more that people will wise up to their shit and then leave.

      Chin up, fellow stranger. You are authentic and don’t have to pull that shit to live your life.

  • Can’t tell you how chuffed I am to get on the blog tonight and see that Chump Lady mentioned me and my story. And to be thought of as mighty. 🙃 Thank You!! I usually check in with the blog every Friday, as I’m too busy to read it during the week. Yes I still remember showing you my pics from Disney. It was a trip of a lifetime for my kids and I. We also took my mum (who had a hard childhood and grew up poor), because she had never been anywhere like that before. She loved it! Was a dream for all of us. And it was a dream to be able to meet you, Chump Lady, and update you on all the ways I had been kicking ass since leaving him at the airport!

    Some days I don’t feel very mighty, though. I have a busy work week, am home every night with the kids (yes, I consider myself very lucky), but I usually get straight back to work once the kids have been fed and are showered and in bed. My usual bed time is between 12-1am, and I wake up at 5.30/6. I don’t get enough sleep and I’m exhausted all the time. And, even though I feel at meh most of the time, there are still times when I feel pissed off (usually when I’m overtired) and start thinking about the things that cheater asshole did to the kids and I. And how he’s footloose and fancy free now, but I’m here working my ass off and raising 2 kids. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He didn’t deserve us, and we are better off without him. The kids are thriving and we have very full, busy lives. He’s not around to put me down or tell me where I’m going wrong as a mother, like he always did. I am free to raise the kids as I see fit, and that’s golden 🙌🏼 It’s tough, but so worth it. Some days are super tough though, I cannot lie.

    In a year from now, I hope to be able to tell Chump Nation that I got back into fitness and lost the excess weight I am carrying right now. I want to be able to tell Chump Nation that I worked around my busted shoulder and actually got fit again. That I’m back to running. That my right cross has power once more. That I’ve slowly built up my arm strength and core muscles again. I’m writing this here to will myself back to fitness. My body and mind needs it, but up until now I haven’t done anything about it. That’s about to change! I used to be fighting fit. It’s time to bring that girl back 💪🏼👊🏼

  • I had a long-planned retirement date for when I turned 50. Spent 30 years with that goal in mind and believed my X Asshat was on board (because he repeatedly said he was). Sacrificed constantly for him and his career pursuits, and made sure I contributed fully in all ways.

    2 years ago he abandoned me out of the blue, future-faking me right up until he sent me and e-mail as my toodle-loo. All my plans went right out the window and I couldn’t imagine facing it on my own. Every future joy I had been anticipating and waiting for was not to be because he wanted to go screw around with a chick half our age. Devastated.

    With the help of Chump Lady I pulled myself together. My life is my own and I have a great relationship with my adult daughters. I have spent time healing and understanding that I didn’t cause this.

    Life is not a waiting room.

    And I gave my notice on TUESDAY. I am retiring April 5th. I will be 50 years old.

    • Wow, good for you. You’ll love retirement. I retired on 31 December and it still hasn’t sunk in how wonderful it is. And this after fighting back from leaving two great jobs because the Twat wanted to move, buying him out of the house and in April I will be paying off my 17 year mortgage 10 years early! Oh, and I wasn’t going to retire for another couple of years but then I realized that without him spending us out of house and home I could afford to go. So I did, and like I say, I’m loving it. Well done you!

    • Happy for you that you’re still able to follow through with your plans to retire at 50. Even happier for you that you won’t have asshat with you when that happens. Let him go off and chase the butterflies. He’ll circle around when he’s had enough and he’ll want you back. DON’T TAKE HIM BACK. Mine has done this to me. He’d had enough of his 23yr old mistress (he was 50 at the time) and said he wanted his family back. Said he had had serious thoughts about his life, and that he missed us and needed his us back. TOO LATE! He’d made his bed – go sleep in it buddy!

      Life is so much better without him around. Do I still get angry about what happened/what he did to me and the kids/how he upturned our lives? Absolutely, it still pisses me off at times (usually when I’m overtired). But I wouldn’t change things. The kids and I are in a really good place. We don’t need him. We are doing some pretty cool stuff that we wouldn’t be doing if we were still with him. And this is my point – you’re going to do a lot of awesome stuff, and you’ll be glad he’s not around. You’ll meet new people, that you wouldn’t have met if you were still with him. You’ll go out of your comfort zone and try new things. I’m really excited for you because I know what’s possible if you let life in. I hope you enjoy your retirement. Enjoy your relationship with your girls. And just get ready for that circle back, because I swear he’ll try it. And if he doesn’t, then woo-hoo! That just means you avoided all the circling back drama. Winning!! All the very best, adventure awaits! Xx

      • I wonder if he will come back around since he has zero relationship with his daughters. I am prepared to ignore him completely or give him a healthy F.O. if he dares darken my door. I have missed what I thought I had but realize that he is truly awful and the only reason I thought I had it was because of my massive amounts of spackle and my sheer willingness to be a doormat. No more.

        Yes, life is better without him. I would like a partner again and may seek some kind of work to increase my social exposure. I will never allow anyone to treat me like he did.

        • Good on you!! Onward and upward 💪🏼

          If he does come back he’ll do everything that he can to convince you that you two still have something that can be salvaged (“don’t throw all of our years away on this”, blah blah) and that he doesn’t want to lose what you had. Buddy, it’s already lost: that’s what I told my asshat ex. You chose your path, go live your life. Enjoy your loneliness!! Leave the kids and I alone. He didn’t circle back until things got bad in his life – he went bankrupt, members of his family got deported and he was alone in the country, and most of his staff abandoned him. His uncle got really sick, his car was trashed and he lost the lease on our long-term leased apartment, then had to move into an old house invested with bugs that gave him a rash all over his body. THEN he started evaluating his life. What he had, versus what he used to have. He apparently broke it off with the mistress, then tried to charm his way back into my life. Haha, hilarious. I was having none of it. So, get ready to not give a f#*k if he does circle back. It was his choice to do what he did. Too late for sorry!

          • Left Him, I got the “it’s a shame to throw away what we’ve worked for for 26 years” too – word for word. There really is a cheater playbook isn’t there!

            • Arghhh, so frustrating, isn’t it? Mine even had the audacity to ask if I would sponsor him for a resident’s visa, so he could live in my country and “see the kids every weekend”. Funny that: when we were living with him overseas, he was always “busy” on weekends. The kids and I were like the 3 musketeers, always the 3 of us. I denied his visa request, and told him to figure out his own visa application if he was really serious about living here to be close to the kids. It’s now almost 3 years on – he hasn’t done a damn thing. I didn’t even entertain the idea of sponsoring him for that visa. If I had, and if I’d helped him, and if he’d gotten the visa and come to live here, he’d just be a dead weight right now in our lives.

            • Those were the kinds of words I was saying while he was brutally discarding me and declaring I was so Controlling and Judgmental and the root of all evil. How could he throw away 3 decades of life with me? Why was he abandoning me so completely out of the blue? What about our future with our daughters and their newly launched lives? Grandchildren?

              He was having none of it. He declared he “never, EVER loved me.” I was the barrier to his pursuit of his true happiness and for the first time in his life he was finally going to be out from under my horrible ways. (WTF? I was an AWESOME WIFE).

              So no, him showing up and pulling any shit about our glorious past just ain’t gonna fly. I am very clear that he blew up HIS life at that moment and from that time forward the die was cast. He won’t know his grandchildren because of the shitty life choices he made AT THAT MOMENT. Can’t un-ring the bell and he can’t blame me for his daughters not wanting to ever speak to him. He can’t un-murder his life by playing self-pity and sad sausage.

              No take backs. No do overs. I kind of hope I do get to inform him of that one day if he pokes around. Doubt he will, but still fun to imagine.

  • I pawned my engagement and wedding ring with a broken promise in exchange for memories for a lifetime …surprising girls with 1st airplane ride.. florida…beach… convertible… and 1st trip to Disney! We leave tomorrow! The girls have no clue. It was satisfying to send him the itenarary. Somehow the way I funded it can trickle back through the grapevine.

  • Living your life well is the best revenge. Being a ‘grey stone’ helps, I took too much crap from the ow, ex didn’t help at at all. She actually thought he was a prize, I think she thought he was a meal ticket. Anyway, kids all doing well at school, I have a house, act like a adult. Unfortunately ex and ow, couldn’t do that.
    Youngest said last week myself and dad are completely different.
    That’s a blessing in disguise.

  • I was terrified when I left my cheater that I’d be broke, lose my house to foreclosure, that I wouldn’t be able to maintain a household by myself or parent my kids solo.

    Pfffft. I got this shit. I have money for all our expenses, savings, and even some extra for fun stuff. Douchebag doesn’t pay me a dime in child support either. Can easily afford my house, have learned out to do all kinds of handy things and am fixing it up the way I want it, my kids are happy and well taken care of. Quickly learned that uh… I was basically doing all this stuff by myself all along! Not much of a change! And while last year at this time, I couldn’t get out of bed, this year? I’m training for a marathon.

  • Eleven years ago I had just given birth to twins, which gave me 4 kids under the age of 5, and 6 kids total. I was feeling suicidal from all the abuse I had endured from my (now ex) husband, both emotional and physical. He had found his latest OW on Facebook. She had 4 kids and her husband was in the Army stationed in Afghanistan. My husband would fly out to see her now and then and say it was work related (I knew better).

    They decided to give their “love” a shot and my husband left us for her, quitting his job in the process so he didn’t have to pay child support. This was devastating having no family nearby, no higher education, no work experience, and so many young children to care for. It was also humiliating because he changed his Facebook status from “married” to “single” to “in a relationship” to “engaged” all in one weeks time! Our friends and family were confused and asking me a lot of questions, which I didn’t have the strength to answer. I laid in bed for a week not eating and not wanting to live. Then a friend said, “why don’t you go back to school.” This seemed impossible to me at first but when I looked into it I realized I’d be getting a ton of grant money, and that money coupled with student loans was enough to support us.

    Going to school with 6 kids wasn’t easy, but I kicked ass! I graduated with the highest honors (summa cum laude) and now I’m going for my PhD. I couldn’t afford a lawyer at the time of the divorce so I did the initial paperwork myself. The judge was not happy he bailed on his job. He ended up owing me over $30,000 in back support when it was all said and done. OW finally came to her scenes a few months after they got engaged and dumped him, right before her husband came back from Afghanistan. The poor Chump never knew what his wife was up to and I had no way of getting a hold of him.

    Anyway, this January my eldest got married. My ex was not invited to the wedding. My son played a song for me and credited me with teaching him him how to be a good person. **tears**

    • P.S. he did want to get back together after she dumped him and I was not having any of it! I’m so glad she took him off my hands long enough for me to get free.

      • Seriously, what you’ve shared is why the mightiness post is so important to this community. You’ve done amazing work to claim your own life. And what an amazing example for your children.

        But here’s a shout out to the friend who made the suggestion to go back to school. You were mighty for looking into it and following through and then kicking major academic ass. But your friend was a true friend at your lowest moment.

          • Ell

            we are more than we ever knew. I was raised in an abusive home where I was the scapegoat. I was constantly told by them and him that I am ugly and stupid.

            I went to college at age 48 and graduated summa cum laud. my IQ tested at 140. I published a book for women divorcing a narc and am working on 3 more. I write songs. I paint portraits. I am a seminary student and am building my 2nd business. I help other people learn to heal while walking thru my own healing process, including being the coordinator for a local narc abuse victim meetup group.

            I lost all including my adult children. I was so stunted as a person. it’s been a very uphill climb but it can be done.

            When we learn our worth and find our dignity we can move mountains!

            • Freer Every Day, I also had an abusive childhood, which is why I ended up with an abusive husband.
              Congrats on all your accomplishments! Awesome job! I’m also working on several books but can’t work up the courage to finish and submit them for possible publication. My parents telling me I’m nothing and garbage keep creeping back into my head, even after all I’ve accomplished.

    • Holy shit, you win the thread.

      Not that our tales of trauma and heartbreak are a competition, but … 6 kids??? You went to college as a single parent with 6 kids and no child support?

      I almost died when D-Day happened, and I didn’t even have kids, let alone 6 of them. I’m in awe at what single parents are able to accomplish.

      • Thanks, Cam. I’m so thankful for the kids though. I didn’t feel so alone because them. I’m immensely grateful to my two older kids who were 12 and 8 at the time. They should not have had the burden of helping me as much as they did, and they never complained 😭 (well, almost never). Now that they are adults they are such independent go-getters it amazes me. Love them!

  • He cheated in front of me at a party and then dumped me that night over email because we were no longer “compatible.” Read: I’d just lost my job so I was no longer an easy lay with money to burn.

    I found out later there were always other women including a fiancée (!!). His explanation? “You should’ve known I was polyamorous.” He walked out the door and never looked back, but he made sure to let me know our friends hated me too, and he harassed me for months demanding I forgive him because it wasn’t fair that I hated him because he did nothing wrong. I wasted time trying to figure out his mangled logic until Tracy taught me to trust that he sucks.

    I spent the next year dealing with homelessness, suicidal ideation, and maxed out credit cards. No joke, I almost died and at one point my mom took away my car keys. Took me two years to get stable health and start rebuilding. It got easier after no contact. I didn’t trust anyone for a long time.

    It’s been 7 years. Now I have a great career, great friends, and great health on all fronts. I’m not famous, but I’m known and respected in my new career, and I have VIP mentors who’ll take my calls at a moment’s notice. Far cry from 8 years ago when I was working in a bar and with a cheating shithead who couldn’t keep a job.

    Next week, my dream company is flying me out for an interview, which is just a formality at this point. Everyone in my field says this company will shave 10 years off my learning curve and means a 6-figure salary in the next 2 years. I’m already looking at real estate in my new city and plan to start CrossFit. I have friends waiting for me in the new city so I also have dates and happy hours set up when I arrive.

    How’s my ex doing? Well, Tuesday arrived a long time ago, but I won’t turn down some good karma when I hear about it. I ran into the ex last year and heard he was in the middle of a lawsuit. Apparently, his apartment was ground zero for the worst deadly mold infestation the department of health had seen in 30 years. They had to condemn the whole property. My ex lost everything he owned, including family heirlooms. The mold was so bad that his skin sloughed off and he’s still dealing with health issues because of it. He almost died.

    He did finish his college degree (finally) in his 50s and is now looking into grad school. Good luck with that. Everyone around him including his wife thinks he’s an idiot and rolls their eyes when he walks into a room. Still gets no respect. Still desperate for me to acknowledge him whenever we cross paths. I take pleasure in acting bored and staying busy elsewhere.

    According to the grapevine, my successes often get back to him. (“Cam’s a COO now!” “Cam’s on vacation in San Francisco.” “Cam got invited to Google.”) I’m told my success makes him uncomfortable, which explains why he’s progressively more and more upset every time we cross paths and I’m clearly bored by him and not gonna be his friend.

    I dunno, I’m pretty pleased with how everything turned out.

    • He had mold. MOLD.

      Holy cow, that’s metaphoric. He let the mold get so bad he lost everything. And some of his skin….

      • Ground zero was literally underneath his bed. How’s that for a metaphor?

        They had to condemn the entire building (30 other apartments) and bring in professionals with hazmat suits. Ex lost everything he owned going back to childhood.

  • Rolling up to the one-year mark of D-Day.
    The new relationship I have with myself, was actually what I had been attempting to create with that fuckwit.
    The biggest gifts are actually intangible (not that I don’t understand why we celebrate all of the material successes here-they’re a vehicle to what I’m talking about).
    * Learning that I keep me safe.
    * Trusting my intuition, even when it’s uncomfortable (that book rec on “The Gift of Fear” was great)
    * Understanding how I got here, and having the patience to learn how to do many things differently.
    * Not being abusive to myself-including drama triangle and abuse wheel “volunteering”- from any source.

    In other words, about halfway through the year, my focus shifted away from untangling/ sifting the ashes of his behavior (lots of reading-here and elsewhere) and instead, I spent the time working on the hidden spaces inside myself. And now- who gives a fuck what he’s doing, I have no idea.

    Tracy, this blog is powerful. I’m so grateful that you built a place for all of us to heal together.
    And laugh out asses off while doing it. Who knew TBone’s Chik-Fil-A hashtags would be such a turning point. Brilliance.

  • First online comment anywhere in 5 years and I’m in my twenties. Thank you for this supportive blog and forum. Dday was less than 2 weeks ago. Beautiful 2 year old angel caught in the crossfire of my wife’s 4 month affair with a 2x convicted felon she randomly met at a bar. She dressed up sexier than ever and left me to watch our daughter when I had a pit in my stomach telling me what was happening.
    Usually slept over at a “friend’s” overnight every weekend, usually both nights, even with walking pneumonia.
    Left on Christmas night and NYE. Caught her multiple times with solid proof that she would lie and manipulate out of. Finally, I had proof that convinced me.
    She still tried to lie on Dday and continues with daily justifications, minimizations, and trickle truth. Seeing a MC and individual. Finding a ton of strength in Jesus Christ. New people have come right into my life to support me. I had a great life and was oblivious to the pain and suffering in the world before this. I lost 10lbs and couldn’t sleep but I’m past that. We got married right after college and built a beautiful happy home and lifestyle. Now I see it was a house of cards, or a house built on sand. I have a great job and we have assets which can be divided, obviously a blessing but the shit sandwich tastes shitty. She also works and put a ton of effort into our livelihood. I’m accepting that I’ll have to give her a huge check for betraying me.
    This person has all types of emotional issues that I knew about and thought I could handle. She had been cheated on before we met and was hyper focused on me not crossing any lines with the opposite sex. I complied.
    A few days after Dday I was walking down to the river with my dog feeling utter hopelessness. An elder gentleman and I bonded over our dogs playing together, then a pair of good samaritans, one with a mental handicap, handed my friend his keys that he had unknowingly dropped on the trail. He said something like “praise Jesus Christ”.
    It was just this amazing moment for me that still gives me chills. Turns out, my older friend has been divorced twice (once after his wife cheated with his best friend, then after his second wife left him for her first husband). He has just been an absolutely wonderful friend to me the last 2 weeks.
    I immediately reached out to a pastor who said something really striking: “you could have been the perfect husband, and this still may have happened.” Of course, I was not the perfect husband but this immediately ended all of my regrets about “what if I did this or that the day the affair started?”
    I went to church on Sunday and I’m going back. I read a little bit of my new Bible and within the first pages of Matthew I found answers. I had been praying for wisdom and strength and Matthew confirms that God loves to give wisdom to those who ask for it. How wonderful to read! Also, falling for a ‘seductress’ will leave you broke and alone (at least temporarily). Would you not agree these answers are more true and more powerful than any trickle truth I might hope to gain?
    I see stories that are so much more painful than mine here – decades wasted on sociopaths – and I want to applaud you all for redeeming yourselves and inspiring others like me. I’ve been reading about infidelity since I first became suspicious months ago. I’m chumping it up and playing pick me dance, she assures me the affair is over and there has been no contact. I’m not allowed to get angry without her telling the MC I’m punishing her and verbally abusing her.
    She has overspent every penny we’ve ever earned, going so far as to spend over $200 on a fishing rod for AP’s birthday. That left us with $40 to get us through a whole week with a toddler.
    While I believe I’ve been calm and measured, she claims I’ve been punishing her. We’ve had a whopping 3 real conversations about the depths of this betrayal in 2 weeks. It’s all trickle truth only-tell-you-what-you-already-know followed by the most absurd accusations about my behavior to justify her guilt.
    Everything is about appeasing her guilt. I got one fake apology on Dday which was followed by lies. I consider that apology invalid since verifiable lies were included in the same conversation.
    I’m holding out hope I’m dealing with a wounded unicorn who spat on all things good in this world during a time of depression etc. but she continues to blame me for her unhappiness.
    Praying for the millions of people in the world today who are suffering the effects of infidelity.
    Thanks for reading and please pray for me.

    • Hi Mac and welcome to the club no one wanted to be in but keep reading here and go back through the archives to open your eyes to see what you are dealing with. Once your spouse betrays you with adultery and continues to gaslight you, you pretty much don’t have anything to work with. Being the Marriage Police sucks the big one and is no way to live. Ask me how I know.

      • Thank you for sharing your experience and supporting me Chumptopia. I am ok today – the beautiful Spring weather and new found love for walking the dog are keeping me in decent spirits. Wishing you happiness and good fortune.

    • Mac, thanks for posting. Praying for you and your child and giving thanks for you and your mightiness! 🙏❤

      • Thanks for welcoming me to chump nation CL! Yes, I’m still in shock and still in chump kindergarten but I’m seeing a lot of possibilities for my life that are very exciting. Thank you!

        • Glad that you’ve found some people to support you in this painful time.

          Give some thought to seeing a secular therapist as well seeking out a church. I say this because your post mentions how you knew STBX had problems: “This person has all types of emotional issues that I knew about and thought I could handle.” As you are finding out, it’s dangerous to ignore peoples’ emotional issues when we decide whether or not to get involved with them. We can’t fix people. We can’t “handle” their problems. They will just slop them all over us.

          The point I’m making has a Biblical analog: Jesus tells us to love others as we love ourselves. You have to love yourself enough to get away from a women who is cheating with a two-time felon. She’s disturbed in some fundamental way. You can’t fix that. And your job is to protect your child.

    • Ditto to Chump Lady’s sentiments, Mac. You’re in shock. When I had incontrovertible proof and confronted my ex husband, he finally admitted his year long affair with a hotel worker (since unemployed) he met in Singapore. He also clung to the lie that the sex was a one time thing. He told me he would end contact with her. That also turned out to be a lie….complete with a little secret coded message at the bottom of his “goodbye” email to her that he didn’t think I would notice.

      Please never fall into thinking–as I did–that by ending this relationship you would be letting down God. I took my marriage vows very, very seriously, as I’m sure you did, too. When the affair came to light, I was begging my husband for the chance to forgive him, because I had vowed before God to love him unconditionally. But no matter how much I wanted that, some people will not let you forgive them.

      My ex was not going to stop being unfaithful. The lukewarm ways he apologized, the refusal to stop contacting OW, the continued lying…. I finally saw that divorce doesn’t mean that I threw away my vows. My ex husband threw them away, and the best I could do was pick up the pieces and move on.

      I was able to focus on the love God had put into my life, instead. I fell back into the arms of my parents, my sister, my friends. I slowly let go of the betrayal. Even though it still hurts, I have no doubt that I have done the right thing in going through with divorce. My prayers are with you as you navigate this heartbreak.

      • Thank you for sharing that powerful wisdom with me Liz. You are right on the money with my moral dilemma: Does God want me to remain in this marriage or not? The easier route right now is to go. I’m battling a long held assumption that the hard way is usually the best way.
        Even though I stopped going to church when I went to college, God made his presence in my life and his love for me so obvious right when I needed him. I have no doubt he is real, he hears my cry, and he cares for me (even favors me).
        I have gained some incredible wisdom and personal growth in such a short time; it seems crazy. My employer for 5 years had a successful IPO and the shares were released (sort of like finally getting the money). Guess what – the affair started the same exact week! In other words, I truly learned in my heart that chasing a payday and worshipping my family’s lifestyle is not the path to happiness. Is that not a blessing and a value on which I can build a wonderful life glorifying God?

        • Hey Mac, I get your point about the hard way being the best way. Can I give you my thoughts? We are used to facing opposition in this world when we stand up to cruelty, selfishness and all the other evils. But I don’t believe God’s way is always the hardest (not that divorce is always easy!). He knows how wounded we are and doesn’t always want us to be the brave soldier-hero. God also tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. She does not believe in the same God you do, if she’s able to act as she does. Remember that she has broken the sacred contract, not you. We are supposed to be united in spirit and of one flesh with our spouse. When a cheating spouse brings such ugliness, cruelty and enmity into a marriage, I believe that marriage is an offence to, and already over in, God’s eyes. If you don’t want to divorce will you then have an unwanted one-sided open marriage? That’s such a twisted toxic thing. I can’t see that God would ask a believer to stay in such a dishonouring warped relationship.
          I also took my marriage vows very seriously. I’ve been a Christian for thirty years and I had never experienced the dreams, answers to prayer and assurances that I had during the discard. God drew very close in my trouble. I’m so excited for you! Love to you and the Little Angel!

        • It’s not the easier road to go. That will involve holding your W accountable. Going to court. Filing for divorce, fighting for custody. It will involve really dealing with the pain of betrayal and figuring out how and why you picked someone who is seriously disordered.

    • If you had been perfect she still would have cheated. If you had done anything different she still would have cheated. You could have been an entirely different person and she still would have cheated because it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with her and she isn’t going to change because she has no desire to change whether due to cluelessness or cowardliness or just plain nastiness it doesn’t matter. It is time to punish her with divorce papers. You aren’t really doing it to punish her, however, you are doing it to protect yourself and your child. You can’t afford to stay with her financially or emotionally. Only she can sort herself out and she has no desire to do so right now.

      • Thanks for your support Chumpinrecovery. At present, I’m heeding the generic advice to not make any big decisions too quickly. We agreed to a 4 day therapeutic separation with the MC today. I’m staying in the house and our daughter will alternate. I’m trying to avoid heated conflict to protect any chance of an equitable settlement. I know this person loves our lifestyle more than me (the 4 month affair proved that) because it works perfectly for Instagram and Facebook worship. I have little faith that 4 days apart will yield any real soul searching on her part. I am looking forward to it nonetheless. Spring is here!

    • Mac, I am so sorry. As Tracy said, don’t cast your pearls before swine. Your wife refuses to “get it” and never will. That’s not your fault. You’re blameless in this.

      You don’t mention whether you have a lawyer yet. I hope you do. I know it’s a tough choice. But for your sake and your child’s, better to get out of this madhouse now.

      Alimony is a shit sandwich, but better to pay alimony for a few years versus 30 years down the road when she can take a lot more money, whittle down your soul the whole time, and model insanity for your child. Today is a first step to something better and 1 year, 5 years, 10 years from now, you’ll be relieved you got out now.

      • Thanks for your reply and support Cam. The stories of multiple decades wasted with swine in some cases here are absolutely sickening. I think you are right – why punish myself by sticking around for this to only get worse? As far as the alimony shit sandwich, I learned that money will not make me happy directly from this experience. We received a large sum from my company’s IPO the same week the affair started. I can comfortably sit here and chuckle about how I received this beautiful lesson early in my career. The part I am scared about is writing a check to a reckless spender who can do serious damage to our daughter with that type of free cash flow.

        • Don’t assume you will be writing the check. It might be a smart idea to suggest putting the money in trust for your daughter. Or it might be that if you get a really good attorney, you can win the argument that she started cheating when the money came into the picture. Infidelity is not usually grounds for divorce, but dividing assets is about making argument about whose assets they are. Don’t assume anything. Go for full custody. Figure out a way to at least put the money in trust so she can’t blow through it.

          Document her drinking and drug use, her relationship with the felon and any others, and all of her financial abuse. Remember that you can ask that any money she uses for the affair be awarded back to you in the settlement.

    • Hi Mac. Glad you found chump lady. Early in this process. Hopefully you can spare yourself months or years in painful waste on this pitiful excuse for a person you are married to. Get the book “leave a cheater, gain a life”. And read it. And re read it. And come back here and read read read. There is a path out of the hell you are in right now, a future without this abuser; a future with peace in your heart, a future you can share with a partner who shares your values. The sooner you follow that path, the better. You can have a full, blessed happy life. Not with this person. Trust me she’s not worth it. Life is precious and short, Mac. Stop wasting your time. Be a strong self-respecting parent for your two year old angel. Model goodness and strength for that child, not chumpiness. The sentence the pastor said to you “you could have been a perfect husband and this still could have happened”….should have been “you could have been a perfect husband and SHE STILL WOULD HAVE CHEATED. It didn’t “happen”; she chooses to cheat on you and gaslight you about it. It’s nothing you did. It’s not about you at all. Your wife is a sociopath. That’s on her, not you. Do not accept any therapist who says that you are somehow responsible for your wife’s behavior. Unfortunately there is a lot of victim blaming in our culture. Don’t accept that. Find the path out, Mac. You can do it!!!!!

    • I’m sorry you are in this position but I’m glad you found your way here. I found CL right after my D-day – this place and these people is how I kept my sanity.

      “I’m not allowed to get angry without her telling the MC I’m punishing her and verbally abusing her.” If she truly had remorse about her action or the pain she caused, she would not be angry with you. She’s trying to make you look the bad guy so that no one is looking at her and what she had done. Don’t let her blameshift onto you. She cheated – not you.

      A wife that truly loved and respected you – wait a minute, if she really did, you wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. People that truly love their spouses don’t behave this way.

      Gather what you can, get a lawyer, get a good parenting agreement for you and your daughter and find your way to mighty. Let her go be with a convicted felon. Also, I don’t know what this guy has done but if his behavior could be detrimental to your daughter’s safety, document everything!!

    • She’s not a wounded unicorn. I bet dollars to doughnuts she is still fucking him, though covertly.

      Anyone who justifies this behaviour even once, is not worth reconciling with. You are setting yourself up for further pain if you stay with her. Turf the bitch.

    • Hey Mac!
      Welcome. Sorry.
      I’m a year from divorce, more from Dday.

      Lots of messiness in between. Lots of tears. Lots of joy.

      Hang in there man, you’ll be surprised where you’ll be six months, then a year from now.

      Come back here often. Start your morning here.
      Feel the fire within and let it fuel your energy.
      Then nap like a brick.

      It gets better. And it’ll never be this bad again!

    • Please get out now. I lost 25 years of my life, my grown children due to his unbelievable lies and smear campaign, I’ve never seen my grandchild, and lost 30 years of my own reputation. It does not get better. she has no love or respect for you. give yourself the chance to find someone who does. I’m in my 50s now and wish I had loved myself enough to say no much earlier. i may never have the chance now.

    • Mac 1234,
      I’m a former pastor’s wife and missionary with a ministry degree. I too found out about my ex’s first affair in my twenties. I too found my strength in the Bible. The affairs we’re always repented of his excuses ranged from childhood abuse to common stress. The only thing that ultimately changed about his behavior over 21 years was that he became more practiced and deceptive.

      If I could say anything to someone in your situation it is that you must not allow yourself to be manipulated by “forgiveness” and “grace”. You must protect yourself and your little one and you owe nothing to your cheating wife.

      I have so many regrets, but perhaps the biggest is that I did not protect my children from their father’s influence. After my ex left I found out things he had done to my kids including locking them up at night alone (age 5,6) while he went out with a mistress. Cheaters are just as likely to harm their children as their spouse.

      You are free. You do not have to cast your pearls before swine.

    • Hey Mac,

      My story reads much like yours but I am 10 months out from D-Day and those first few months were more painful then I ever thought someone could feel pain. Hang in there my friend and have faith in not only the Lord but in time knowing that this too shall pass. (by the way this kind of advice that time heals all wounds still triggers me and pisses me off so I’m sorry for dropping it on you but it’s true).

      All I can say is think of your daughter and what kind of man you need to be for her and if you’re the type of guy that you’d want her to marry. would you be okay with your daughter staying with someone who did this to her? The biggest heartbreak for me is when I realized that my ex is someone I wouldn’t want my boys to marry. I do not think that will ever stop hurting but I know that I can show them that love is more than words but your actions.

      So Mac, do whatever you have to do to keep going forward but I promise you that it’s hunting season and the unicorns don’t require a license. Shoot that shit down. And I’m not super religious but I am a god-fearing man. If I had a nickel for everyone at my church who said something along the lines of Jesus forgives all or even lazareth was raised from the dead in hopes that I get back together with my wife, I could probably buy a Kia. But he wants to drive a Kia anyways? I promise you that God doesn’t want anything more than for you to be happy but you are not responsible for your wife sins. That’s on her to find Jesus. Focus on you. She fired you from the role of spouse the second that she ran off with that dude. And it does hurt man especially because you think this person who you love more than anything didn’t care enough about you or your child. It hurts like a motherfuker. Change all that hurt to rage to push yourself forward and be as Kick-Ass as you can be for you that daughter of yours!

      Sending you all my love via IP packets!

    • Mac, my heart is breaking for you. However, the shock will soon wear off – especially if you keep visiting here for strength, wisdom and the voice of experience. Use the anger she is refusing to let you feel to fuel your speedy exit from this toxic relationship. I am so sorry to have to back up other commenters, but when there is no remorse (showed by ACTIONS not words) after D-Day, not only is there nothing to work with, but you are giving cheater and AP time to empty accounts, get lawyers, and otherwise queer your pitch. Save the MC money and spend it on a lawyer instead. Especially if the marriage counsellor is letting her get away with blaming you and not acknowledging your justified anger. Get good individual counselling either now or later and make sure your daughter gets what she needs as well. Get out quick for the sake of your beautiful daughter, who doesn’t need this bad example and instability in her life. Hugs and love and we are here for you.

  • While she was still serial cheating/abusing me in more ways than I can count, I somehow finished my Ph.D. And boy did she try to stop me along every step of the way.

    My best friend who was with an abusive cheating asshole who abandoned her also finished her Ph.D. while all the shit was going down and then secured a prestigious Post Doc across the country, which was basically her ticket to get the hell away so he couldn’t get her back.

    I can’t really boast any great academic or professional accomplishments since I finally left serial cheater a year ago. The academic job market is horrible and I struggle with severe chronic illness. But that said, I am self sufficient and happier than I have ever been.

    • Marissa, this right here? “I am self sufficient and happier than I have ever been.” THAT is mighty! And that, with a chronic illness AND a Ph.D.? Super mighty!

  • When I was chumped and dumped I felt irretrievably broken. I couldn’t even figure out how to run the VCR or turn on all our digital equipment. I remember sitting on the couch, crying, staring at four remote controls, thinking ‘I’m too stupid to turn on a TV’ at the time of the discard.

    I feel so strong these days. I completely take of everything. My home, my car, my life. I traveled alone internationally for the first time last year and had a blast. I have an awesome job and a credit score of 880. I have my own retirement. Oh, and I am one streaming, dvd’g, YouTubing, video watching, kickass chump these days and found out I can hook up my own damn Roku. Lol.

  • I left with my clothes, a few pieces of furniture, a car that I had just leased in my own name, and my minor daughter. I had pieced together enough adjunct hours at 3 community colleges to pay bills, but no insurance. Mr. DownLow was fired from his job and stopped paying COBRA (but of course didn’t tell me) so we had no insurance. I tried to pay out of pocket for our Dr visits and our daughters monthly ADD meds, but you can’t get schedule C drugs without proof of insurance. I am now 3.5 years out from my leave day, and my divorce was final 7 months ago. I have a full time job teaching, benefits, I’ll obtain my permanent certification in June and I’m working towards a national certification in the program I teach in. I bought a car, and I am leasing a second for my middle son, who moved in with me after he graduated from high school. He spent 2 years working and going to community college and was just admitted to a very good state school in the degree program of his choice. My daughter graduates in June from high school and won a nearly half scholarship ( in grants no less ) to the college of her choice. All of this with ZERO input/contribution emotionally or financially from Mr. DownLow. I also started a small business, and have learned a TON about running a business. The business will be my retirement income.
    Mr. DownLow? I got a court order to force him to put the house on the market and accept the first offer above a certain amount. He went from making nearly 6 figures with bonuses and great retirement plan to making about 600/wk as a clerk in a dead end state job. I finally squeezed some child support out of him, but it’s a pathetic amount. He complains that he doesn’t have any left over at the end of the month. (his job lets out at 2 pm, he could easily pick up a part time job somewhere to help support his kids, but they are clearly not his main concern). The kids rarely visit him, and I have no idea whether they even remembered his birthday a few days ago. Tra La La, I WIN!

  • I am new to this. I am 4 weeks and 3 days post D-Day. I threw her out that day and drew a line. A horrific line and we are still so enmeshed in one another’s business but I am trying to find mightiness in the small things.

    Now I am no longer paying for a wedding this summer (the deposits lost sting but at least I found out this side of things) I am looking at buying my own place. An agent rang me this morning after I registered interest to invite me to a showhome viewing. It made me feel so mighty. I will go alone or with my wonderful best friend and look around my potential future. It feels like the start of something new.

    Thanks Chump Lady and Nation for everything. I had been reading here for a few months whilst suspecting. Every spidey sense I had while she was gaslighting me and telling me I should ‘get my anxiety looked at’ was right and because of that I threw her out on Day 1 and cancelled the wedding on Day 2. When I have moments of wobble I read here. Thank you thank you

    • Another newbie — 4 weeks ago? So glad you found us. I think I speak for several bazillion chumps when I say, I’d much rather waste a wedding deposit than a life.

      I know it hurts like a mofo now, but seriously, you were mighty just when you needed to be. Well done.

    • Welcome! I just wanted to say that the farther out you get–the less entangled with her life you are–the easier the day-to-day living will be. It takes time, I know. When I was able to wake up in the morning in a room that didn’t have any memories of my ex, and get in a different car that my ex had never seen or eaten grocery-store sushi in with me, it hurt less.

      Every little step in that direction will help, as I think you are already finding to be true. It’s been almost two years for me–I have my bad days still, but I also have my life back. I decided to move back to my hometown, got a great job, got a house that’s all MINE, decorated it exactly how I wanted, and didn’t have to compromise on every last thing with someone else. And I kept the dog. 🙂

      I don’t know what I would have done without this website–seriously. I have been a devoted reader every single day since I found Chump Lady! I’m pulling for you, and hoping every day is a little bit better than the last.

      • I’ve kept the cat 😉 Thank you for your kind words. The stories of the incredible people on here have let me know everything will be ok in the end.

    • LC, I know it hurts, but you have dodged a huge bullet. Disordered people do not get better after marriage. I can vouch for that.

      Congratulations on over a month of Mighty! Stay strong, add a couple of items to your “don’t want” list, and look only ahead.

  • I love these mighty stories.

    Mine are little things, but they add up. My utilities don’t cost as much, the food I buy lasts longer, my fridge is no longer filled with beer (a bottle of wine, maybe!!!), laundry is cheaper and quicker to do, I can talk freely on the phone to negotiate my debt payback scheme (without him listening in), my dog and I have fantastic sleeps, my time is all mine once I finish my work-at-home quota for the week, I’m able to make more money without him here, and give to charity and have a few splurges for myself.

    Not exactly mighty, but the fact I’m appreciating the change his absence makes and not spending 24/7 crying like I used to is enough for me right now.

    • Champ,

      Same here – it’s the little things.

      After 17 yrs together, my XW walked out 12 months ago. Also, within a month, I unexpectedly lost my job (of 17 yrs) and experienced an “empty nest” (daughter went off to college). Needless to say, 2018 sucked! It was (and has been) the most difficult period of my life. However, with the help of a therapist and the support of my family (including my in-laws!), friends and online communities (thanks CL!), today things are much better!

      I was re-employed within 90 days. It required a cut in pay, but I have less stress and great insurance. I still have our house and dogs; she didn’t want either of them, and I have a great relationship with my daughter (technically, she’s my stepdaughter, but I’ve been in her life since she was 2 yrs old; she calls me “Dad” 🙂 ). My wrecked self-esteem is coming back strongly, and the fog of the last 17 yrs is lifting; I can see much of the prior marital dysfunction and crappy behavior by XW that I previously spackled over. Lesson learned!

      Like you, I don’t have a “mighty story” to tell, but rather, these days, I have many small joys, such as walking around the house “commando” or jumping into the pool at 10 o’clock at night because…well…why not? I still enjoy yard work and have become “Dad” to the two doggies. I never really wanted dogs, but they’ve been great companions and carrying for them has given me an added sense of place/purpose.

      Weekly/daily chores take on much less significance these days. I empty the garbage far less, wash less dishes, do less laundry, buy less groceries, etc. Oh, and I have full control of the TV remote; THE POWER IS MINE! Bwahahahaha! I can watch whatever show I want, or tune into whatever Pandora channel I care to listen to. Financially, I’m afloat and gaining ground. While the cut in pay has required some adjustments, the bills get paid, I maintain an 835 credit score, and have no debt other than the house which I’m refinancing (lower pmt and remove XW’s name). I’m no longer bailing XW out of her shitty financial decisions or subsidizing a lifestyle she couldn’t afford. And the utility bill is but a fraction of its former self, now that she’s not taking 2-3 hour nightly baths (she’d run hot water continuously, like a hot tub, with the drain open! …tankless heater) while sexting SugarDick. BTW, when she filed for a divorce, got an apartment and moved out, SugarDick panicked (he’s married with kids) and iced their affair. As a Chump, I truly felt sorry for her at the time, but today…not so much.

      It’s been a rough road, one I don’t care to ever travel again, and I’ve still got a stretch to go, but I’m moving forward, the sun is shining and things are looking up! Zippity-do-da Day! 🙂

      • CCC: That’s a whole lot of little mighties!!! Way to go!!!

        I bet your stepdaughter is thanking you for providing her with a stable, sane parent, and your dogs are enjoying helping you in the garden. Dogs definitely are “man’s” best friend until you catch them snickering at you when you go commando. 🙂

  • Wow. I just realized that today is the 2-year anniversary of my Dday/desertion/discard. Yeah, the day the Pig looked at me on his way to work and said “I won’t be coming home tonight… or ever again.” Wow.

    It actually seems so long ago now, but for so long it felt like yesterday. Chump Nation got me through that and fashioned me a pair of glasses through which I can now see clearly!

    What I thought was the worst, most devastating thing that could possibly happen turned out to be the greatest thing ever for my daughter and me!

    We no longer have to worry that our server is spitting in our food at restaurants because the Pig verbally abused them!

    We no longer have to worry that we will be killed in a road rage incident instigated by the Pig.

    We no longer have to walk on eggshells, trying to gauge the Pig’s mood and avoid his nasty temper and condescension.

    We make plans and commitments and follow through on them, on time and even when we don’t want to!

    We pay bills. We found a new house that is our safe place. We love it.

    We’re happy.

    Amazing, right?

    The other day I was driving down the road and realized I had the radio blaring (80s tunes!) and I felt like I did when I was young and still living with my parents. Then, I realized that now, it is *me* taking care of me, and that it feels really good – as good as it did back when I was in my carefree teens! I spent so many years in a marriage believing that my happiness depended on the Pig. Pffft! Good riddance to that craziness!

    None of this means I don’t have tough spots or worry about how to pay for my daughter’s college. But, I have a BELIEF now, that without the 220 lb. weight on my neck, we will be able to figure it out and it will all turn out okay. More importantly, my daughter believes that, too.

    My divorce was final 8 months ago. It’s great. When the Pig squeals I tell him his feelings are irrelevant, that our PSA is a contract he must adhere to. Unless he likes orange jumpsuits. And Karma is real, trust me. If I wanted to kill my buzz I’d go into it but, nah… I’d rather enjoy my day.

    Thanks for everything, Tracy and CN!

    🙂

    • Best screen name ever! Love Jimmy Cliff.
      Great post.
      I’m with you on the quality time with daughter.
      Eff the pig!

  • Like a lot of people my Dday came as a shock. I was ill prepared financially to deal with the new reality. I was hustling for 3 months to get my ducks in a row. But that wasn’t fast enough for him, even though we had a 6 year relationship and an 18 year long “friendship”. As he handed me a letter that was threatening eviction from the home I single handedly renovated and decorated, he said: “Maybe one day you’ll be able to own a house, too.”

    6 months out DDay I moved in to my current house, it would have been sooner but our market was literally the hottest it had ever been. I have since realized that I was doing everything anyways, so what exactly did I need him for again? Making myself unhappy? To have a man child to clean up after? In the 3+ years I have been at the new house, I have supervised a complete restoration of the plumbing and heating system, two bath room renovations, and several electrical projects. I have single handedly reclaimed an overgrown yard, completed extensive plaster repair in several rooms, installed wood trim, took a contractor’s course and performed lead abatement, stripped an entire grand staircase and refinished it in historical methods and materials, personally hauled 100 contractor bags to the dump, painted both of my porches, repaired concrete steps….and received an award from the neighborhood association for the work I have done on the home. It just so happened that the award was given to me in front of Cheater and OWife. Delicious…

    The cherry on top was that a documentary film crew from a major production company came out to create a piece about my work/business in the very first room I restored- my studio. Fuck Mr “Someday”. I was the creativity and magic in our home and now when people drive by they say it just looks sad….

  • I posed question in the forums last week, “How do I get a life?” I felt as though I didn’t have one because it consists of work for me, school for my kids, weekends that are way too fast for adequate rest and downtime. It’s a constant slogging though, just to get through.

    What so many readers contributed, made me reconsider the idea that I don’t have a life. They pointed out the ways that I do. It’s not glamorous or sexy maybe, but I AM building it. In therapy this week, I realized several ways that I am mighty that I never gave a second thought to and my therapist suggested I do. I never gave a second thought to any of it, because it’s what is SUPPOSED to be done. I don’t toot my own horn over the normal day to day shit that seems a no brainier to me. And I still don’t want to, but maybe I need to in order to reframe the gigantic shit sandwich I feel like I have to choke down every damn day.

    I work a job I am not thrilled about. I’m not thrilled about it because I want to be HOME, raising my children and talking to them like I used to before my life blew up. I do not have the time I used to with them. Summer was my favorite time of year and I hated the first day of school and getting back into a routine again. I hate my job because I can’t do THE job I was doing before…my dream job….because I have to make a living and not just cash on the side, clip coupons, buy food in bulk then can and freeze…. I miss my homemaker job and I hate that I had to give it all up. And now, summer is week on with me, with off with Mr. and Mrs. Twatopotamus…I resent SO MUCH having to share MY fucking summers with those assholes.

    But I do it. Every goddamn day I do it. I get my ass up and dress for a job because I need the income. I put on Pandora so it can be heard through the house and I get my children up to music so it’s easier for them. I try to keep the mornings cheerful and avoid meltdowns that set our whole day off. I snuggle with them in bed, often in mine, and wake them slowly. They dress…I TRY to get them to eat SOMETHING…or offer a glass of milk…anything. We pray. I know I’m a cusser and a pisser, but we pray…every morning before school and work. We pray. We pray when the firetrucks and ambulances go by, we pray when their friends are hurting. They were baptized Catholic last Easter, and they go to AWANAS too, which is a nod toward their bio-donor’s Baptist upbringing… **I** do that….he doesn’t “do” church.

    I have an exchange student from Taiwan who lives with us. So many people think that’s impressive. I had an extra room and I needed a teenager around to hang with my kids. It seemed a no brainer. And she’s great. We love her. She’s been with us since August. She leaves in June. Tonight she’s going to the prom. I altered her prom dress (took about 8 inches off the hem and altered the halter top…she’s so petite.) She’s going with a boy I used to babysit when I had my home daycare. ( I can’t do that anymore because the licensing regs are soooo overboard…and I don’t vaccinate my kids and I won’t force others to….which is why I won’t get licensed. But I did it the first time I was a single parent.)

    I gave up my dream of a thru hike of The Continental Divide Trail. Pretty much had to, but there again, no brainer. I was actively training when he dropped the bomb on me. And I’ve given it up because there is NO WAY I will leave my kids with Mr. and Mrs. T. for the 7 months it would take me. Nope. Maybe when they’re grown, the earliest I could do it is at 60, though. Maybe….

    I moved my daughter and my granddaughter in with me a couple of weeks ago. She’s going through a divorce and her husband cheated on her too. What an asshole. She’s so much farther ahead of me though…she’s 24 and cut her losses so much sooner than I did. Having them is great and I love it. I had a large room that I used for my sewing and artsy fartsy stuff, which has remained largely untouched since D-Day, but I cleaned it out so she and my granddaughter could set up their digs. Again, a no brainer.

    So, I guess where I am mighty is in giving up, both in the things I’ve been forced to give up and in the places where it’s seems like a “duh” kind of thing, the places where it’s just simply what must be done and wouldn’t everybody do that? I’ve come to realize that the answer to that is a resounding no. I didn’t really realize it before. And the other place where I am mighty in sucking it up. Cowboying up. Doing what I have to, even though I hate it right now. Trying to stuff some lightness and levity and faith in the corners where the slog can’t get to. And every single FUCKING day I own up to my mistakes. I own up to SO MUCH right now with my job, I make mistake ALL THE DAMN TIME and I hate it….but I own up. I never try and hide it or skip it, or ignore it. I own it….and maybe one of these days, and I won’t have to as much, because I will know what in the hell I am doing….

    I own up, I show up and I give up….and that makes me mighty.

    Anyway, this is longer than I intended, but thanks for the airtime.

    • Thank you Kintsugi! Yes the fact that others are not willing to do what has to be done is a huge realisation. Now STBX has gone its a huge relief not to feel bad about having to do so much!

    • All of that is mighty. Sometimes it is just a matter of perspective. You may have had to give up some dreams but you can achieve new ones. You can make supporting your family and raising your kids even while working your goals. You can make developing new relationships with people from foreign countries your goal. You can make being adaptable and adjusting as needed to survive and thrive your goals. You can make raising well adjusted kids who can also survive infidelity your goals. Those are all worthy goals that others will find impressive and you have already achieved many of them. Just being capable of not falling apart and doing what you had to do to help you and your kids survive is impressive. No, you don’t get to be a stay at home mom anymore, but you are still just as much a mom as you were before and you are still taking care of your children and providing for them. You did manage to join the workforce after it sounds like you might have been out of it for a while. That alone is a feat. You might make some mistakes, but I bet you learn from them, fix them and don’t repeat them and the more experience you gain, the more valuable you will be to your employer. Taking in the student from Taiwan was a creative way to provide additional support for your kids while also giving her opportunities she might otherwise not have had. It’s a win win. You have every right to be proud. You may even still be able to make your trek someday and if not, maybe you will do something else equally exciting. It’s because of you and your mightiness that you and your children have a chance at a future. You did that.

  • I am fortunate in that I pretty much already had a life when everything went down. I had a good job, three awesome kids and other people in my life that actually do love me. I just needed to stop letting him interfere in all of that by focusing on those other things and letting him go. It should have been easier than it was to do that but all of the good things in my life did ultimately help me to pull through.

    I am impressed by all of the chumps who were able to gain the life after being chumped.

  • For those still going through Dday and the Divorce, realize that for most of us it took YEARS to recover so don’t feel bad and take it day by day.

    In my case my Dday was Christmas Eve 2011 and I found out that my wife of 16 years was not only cheating on me with 3 different men but she’d been “planning her exit” for several years and set traps for me that I naively fell into.
    Months later I felt like I had lost everything.. everything that I had spent my life working for was gone.
    My beautiful home that I helped design had to be sold and was replaced by my living in my 30 foot RV.
    My kids were living with Ex 500 miles away. My Ex would soon marry OM#3 and insist that the kids call him “Dad” and she did everything she could to cut me out of their lives. There is so much more but I was devastated financially, emotionally and mentally and to be honest was thinking about putting a gun to my head. Thankfully my family was there for me and I got a new therapist who helped me start to recover and I began the long hard slog from rock bottom.

    4 years later I met the love of my life who was a fellow chump at a pizza place and a year later we were married. Now 7 years after Dday I’ve mostly recovered from everything and like Job in the Bible I feel that I was tested, came through and now have regained most of what I lost. I have a wonderful wife who loves me, we built a brand new house last year that I love, my job is going great and this now is one of the happiest times in my life. Things are strained with the younger two as they still live with Ex and are under her evil influence. My oldest is away at college and the “veil was lifted from his eyes” and he sees things much more clearly now and he and I’s relationship is much better. Hopefully the same will happen with the younger two once they get away from the Ex.

    My advice to those suffering is to take every day as it comes and try to make it as good a day as you can. Realize that being away from an abusive disordered bastard is worth all of the pain and things you lost and there can be happiness in your future. In my darkest days 7 years ago I never would have believed that 7 years later that I would be remarried and have real love and be so happy but it happened and it could happen for you as well !!

    • Laughing Gator, you suffered the biggest loss from cheating, the one we fear the most, your children were taken away from you. I am so glad that you have recognized your worth and found happiness anyway, and that your son has an ever-improving relationship with you! I hope your other two kids also follow that path, you sound like such a stable and loving father.

  • I don’t feel mighty in general but I know I’m making it. I kept my job (just had yearly review and got a thumbs), getting ready to buy a house in the next few months, have done lots of birding and going on to Galapagos Islands in August which is a dream trip for me.

    I still have trouble severing the bonds that held me to him. I’m Zero Contact. Most days, I’m good with a few bad days thrown in there. I think it’s because I’m finally admitting that how he treated me was wrong and it was abuse. He was so dismissive of me and and my needs or wants. He was quick to anger and rage when things didn’t go his way. While he never called me names or completely humiliating me in public, he had no problems upbraiding me in front of others or even yelling at me in front of others.

    It’s not even been a year yet so I’m trying to be patient with myself and take life slow or as it comes at me. I’m rediscovering old joys and trying to make new ones. It’s still one day and one step at a time.

    • MissBailey, it sounds like you’re well on your way. Accepting the fact that it was abuse does take time. We know it on so many levels. It’s a painful process knowing they were never fully attached.

      While the Limited’s actions rarely matched his actions he enjoyed every second of having that power over me right up to the end when I finally had enough and filed. It was then I saw the rage and hatred. Weeks previous to his announcement he wanted me to sign for a mortgage on a two family home.

      I shudder to think about what they were planning as she has a history of drug abuse and violence.

      You my friend are getting your power back step by step as you move forward. That IS mighty.

  • This isn’t my story, although my story is a good one. ( I am four years out from my divorce and my life is really wonderful and blessed although it was a struggle to get here). This is the story of a friend of mine that I think might help some of the readers here.

    My friend’s husband abandoned her and their two small children for another woman when she was in her early 30s. She was devastated and broke but she decided to become a teacher so that she could support her children. She decided that she wouldn’t even think about dating for a long time because she wanted to focus on her children and her teaching career. She spent the next 17 years as a single mom but during that time she became very active in the community and made lots of friends. One of her great passions was traveling and so she traveled the world, too, often by herself and she met many people from all over the world. In her classroom she shared her experiences with the children and she taught them that life is an adventure- sometimes tragic and sometimes magical but always interesting if you stay curious about the world.

    In her 50s she decided to start dating again. Undaunted by the message that she might be too old, she took it upon herself to disprove the hurtful notion that she was unloveable because she had aged. Made bold by her decision, she made a point to meet men in a space where she felt safe and comfortable – the grocery store. Her favorite grocery store had a food bar where people could pick up a ready made dinner and tables where they could eat so she decided on Tuesday nights she’d have her dinner there and see what happened. Once she started, she began to notice that many single people of all ages came regularly to get their dinner there and that many ate alone. It didn’t take long before she had a friendly word with the table next to hers and from there conversations started. She always made sure to come back each Tuesday night and as she became a regular, she met other regulars and it became just as common for her to share a table as not. Over time she began to be asked out on dates by some of the men she met there and as time past she started seriously dating first one who proposed marriage whom she turned down then later another who proposed marriage whom she turned down. By this time she was in her mid-60s and she’d spent nearly 12 years happily meeting new people, dating, having relationships, traveling and, of course, teaching.

    One ordinary Tuesday evening at her favorite grocery store dining table, my friend sat eating her dinner as she flipped through a magazine. As she glanced up from her reading, she caught the eye of a man roughly her age whom she hadn’t seen before. He smiled politely and asked her if she was enjoying her dinner and when she said she was he asked if he could join her. They talked until the store closed and then unwilling to stop talking they drove to a all night diner and talked until the next morning. From that point they began to see each other regularly and very soon found themselves deeply in love. After three years past, they decided they were both old enough to marry again. They were both 70. Today my friend is happily married to a former chump who happens also to be a retired doctor. They now live in a fine house they built together and travel the world together. They spend lots of time with their children and grandchildren. Their lives are richly blessed with friends who care about them. They are also still in love.

    My friend is a wonderful person but before you think, “well, she must be beautiful or extremely charming to have this love story,” I want you to understand that she’s not. She’s normal. She has jiggly arms and stretch marks, short hair, wrinkles and age spots. But the one thing my friend does have is a gift for teaching and the understanding that the best teachers teach themselves first. And here are just a few of the lessons my friend taught me. Being happy and being fearless are not just something that happens to you-you must learn to be both and that takes guts. Happiness is attractive and better than almost anything else to attract other people whether it’s for friendship or romance. And finally, love doesn’t discriminate based on age- every day people of all ages meet and fall in love- you don’t age out of that possibility- but you do have to make yourself rather available and that takes guts.

    I don’t want to suggest that to be a whole person you must be in a relationship. But I remember the sickening feeling I believed after I divorce my cheater that I would always be alone and that no one would love me. But because of my friend’s story, I don’t believe that anymore. Real love for ourselves and for others and our continued belief in love’s possibilities is truly what makes each of us mighty.

  • After DD#1 I did the pick me dance for the next 16 years. Finally after another affair found out I finally kicked him out. Continued with pick me dance for the next 3 years. During that time of separation I went back to school and got my Bachelors, went through breast cancer, went to Australia, London, Paris, an Ireland. After my daughter got married we finally talked about divorce and he said he would cheat on me again. We were married for 24 years. I didn’t wan’t to divorce and when the divorce was final I still hung out with him like a fool for a year. One day I saw a post from someone on facebook about the book Leave a Cheater. I went an bought it that day. I read it over an over again and it literally changed my life. I stopped with the pick me dance and went no contact and have been for the last 4 months. It was the best thing to ever happen to me. I know that he truly sucks, the fog has lifted and I finally see the light. My father passed away last week and my ex came to the funeral. It was weird he gave me a hug but only shook his daughters hand. I could have cared less to see him, I was more excited to see an old friend. I am reaching MEH!!! This has been the best thing for me to heal. I have more money in savings an I am remodeling the kitchen in my house. Tuesday is near!! Thanks CL an CN for your wisdom

  • You all are so amazing! I am 18 months out and I have had no contact for most of that time. He left and never turned back. Just when I think I am getting to meh a wave of loneliness hits me. I feel guilty because I have so many blessings and I don’t miss him but I grieve for the dream of the right person to share things with.

  • I actually found CL when I still just suspected an affair, and was trying to gather proof. It was an 18 year relationship that started when I was 16 years old, we had 2 kids together, and I was a stay-at-home-mom. I knew he was treating me bad, but I wasn’t ready to break apart my family without hard evidence. Plus I was terrified financially. It took me 3 years to get the proof. My cheater was gooood. He used burner phones, prepaid credit cards, and pulled out cash at the grocery stores, etc. But once I got my proof, thanks to CL I knew just what to do.

    I acted! I had everything together before I ever confronted him. I had all bank records, taxes, phone records triple copied and stored at my sister’s house. I had bought a PO box for lawyer correspondences, had backed up the computers, and had moved all important document (kid’s birth certificates, etc) to a firebox in my possession.

    THEN armed and ready I told him. I informed him that we were done. There was no negotiation on that fact. I told him that I was entitled to half of everything, that I wanted primary custody, and the entire! value of our home (he could keep the smaller 401K). I told him that if he didn’t agree to these terms that I would hire a forensic accountant to figure out just what did that 50K disappear to last year and who knows how much before that. And that if he didn’t agree, I would take him to court over the money spent on the affair, and that I WOULD deposition his Schmoopie. He crumbled and signed.

    I am now finishing my Master of Arts in Teaching this June 2019. I legally have the kids 355 days a year, although I let them spend more nights with their Dad than that. I won’t begrudge the kids contact with their Dad (they are little still). I won a Moth Grand Slam (invite-only storytelling competition) telling my story of betrayal to a live audience. And I am dating a fellow chump, who has made me realize just how little I settled for in my marriage. I knew intellectually that I deserved more in my marriage, but now I REALLY know it. And I cannot ever go back.

    Mighty feels good! Thank you chumps, I couldn’t have done it without you.

  • It warms my heart to see that picture here again. I have it on my wall at home. Those chumpy years feel like a whole other life to me now.

    A brief update on me: I remarried last year to a quiet, soft-spoken, never-married guy. He has a good job, loves my kids, and doesn’t cause drama. I was accepted into a PhD program and will be starting in the fall. Husband and I are currently closing on the purchase of a 4-bedroom + study + gym + sun porch house. I never lived in anything but a cheap apartment when I was with the cheater.

    I’m working on a memoir about my experiences in an interfaith marriage / surviving adultery and abandonment, etc.

    My ex-husband continues to work crappy jobs and has constant trouble with money and adulting, so it’s pretty clear now which one of us responsible for all of the stress in the relationship. He was lucky to have me, and he’ll never have another “me” again.

    The best “revenge” really is just to find the best version of your life and live it. <3

    • Rarity…I’m an old timer here. I remember your story! I remember you receiving your MBA and thought you were kick butt then…but NOW!?! You rock it my friend! Live your best life, evah!

    • Your story was a lifesaver to me when I was climbing out of the hole. Thank you so much for sharing with the community here. I’m glad to hear things are going so well for you.

      My ex-husband continues to work crappy jobs and has constant trouble with money and adulting, so it’s pretty clear now which one of us responsible for all of the stress in the relationship.

      Ha. Hahahaha. My cheater was almost 20 years older than me but couldn’t hold down a job or wipe his own ass. He’s now married to a woman with 3 kids from a previous marriage and many people jokingly refer to them as “Jane and her 4 kids.”

    • You will love having a sunporch. Make it super comfortable.

      Congratulations on entering the Ph.D. program–and on the marriage. You are very mighty!

  • My story pales in comparison to a lot here, given that I was not married to my cheater/abuser, but that in no way invalidates what people go through in regular relationships as well.

    Since the shitstorm which were those relationships (there were 2 separate ones – the first was a cheater, the second one, about 6 years later, was a stonewalling abuser) I’ve had a mantra of trying to forge myself into the best possible person I can be, both physically and mentally. I tolerate zero shit from anyone, be they romantic or platonic relationships, in any way, shape, or form, anymore. I have received 3 raises in the space of about 18 months at work and are now the front line manager of my entire department. I now earn enough that I no longer have to work full time at my job, and spend my time off work pursuing things that matter to me, and my immediate family. Exactly 1 year ago today, I also started on the journey to learn a foreign language (which is Swedish). I am by no means fluent, but can have a conversation and be somewhat understood by natives at this point in time. As an addendum to that – I’d like to thank the two other people on this site (“catharsis2017” and “Walkaway Woman”) who kindly suggested corrections on a previous post where I used the language!

    And, the most important thing of all – is learning the lesson that that you matter in the world, despite the clusterfuck which has happened to you. And that is a gift that nobody can take away from you.

  • Got daughter thru high school (he left the end of her sophomore year). Used her senior year to downsize our lives, put our house on the market, and make a plan. She graduated and we started a year of traveling. Just finished our 10th country in 7 months. Plan to visit 14 more countries over the next 4 months. Then we will see where life takes us!

  • I sold my house! Closed two days ago, exactly three weeks after listing, at $27K over asking, despite a sluggish rural market. Woohoo! Talk about a weight off my shoulders!

    Sounds easier than it was. I worked my butt off for months! Huge custom house where everything is always breaking. Large yard. Super hard to maintain, and my ex had done most of it before I kicked him out. He was a compulsive shopper and the house was full of his random stuff. And I had to move (to a place one fourth of the size) in multiple exhausting stages. EXHAUSTING. And it’s done!

    And now I can focus on my new life, just me 🙂

  • I got through my fear of flying and took my 19 year old daughter to Copenhagen, and then to Stockholm to visit our Finnish cousins (my mom is from Finland). I cried a lot on that trip, and the fact that this was not the trip I thought it would be with my husband was always with me, but it was amazing. The best part – my daughter is studying American Sign Language at college, and I took her to meet her Deaf cousin and his blended family. Between the five of them they speak Swedish, English, Finnish-Swedish sign language, Swedish Sign Language, and American Sign Language. Even one of the dogs is deaf! Second best moment, raising a glass of wine in a fabulous fish restaurant in an old warehouse district, toasting her high school graduation and my 50th birthday one year late! And for those of you for whom $ is a struggle, I know how stories like this can have a tough edge, I financed this through a lot of gift funds. Really any get away trip can be this affirming. Next up plans are very modest. Meeting my relatives again after 30 years, and introducing her to my daughter, was priceless. My shallow ex who blew up his family for “passion and romance,” worthless.

  • He cheated with prostitutes and started doing drugs. I left him, bought a cute little house in another town and rescued two more dogs to make a total of 5. My bed is much happier without a cheating drug addict in it. Just snuggly little Chihuahuas. He lost everything and is clean now and doesn’t understand why I don’t want him back.

    I, on the other hand, am seriously thinking about staying single forever. I like it.

  • I have stopped imagining specific torture and murder fantasies about him and the OWhore.

    Does that count?

    • Yep.

      For me, it was just no longer wishing the MOW (now divorced and in another relationship) a lifetime of misery.

      Jackass will always be miserable. He’s his own punishment.

  • I’ve taken my first steps out to have some political impact on the local level. Did some campaigning for local candidates. Went to my first public hearing last week. I plan to continue.

    Still working to keep up with house maintenance on my acreage. We had a tough fall with a late leaf drop during an ice storm, so I’m still working on cleanup. Replaced garage doors and opener, which was a life changed. Got my floodlights and video cams up and running. Planning to change the security system this spring to save money while improving security. I’ve done some cool, inexpensive refreshing indoors.

    Made the plans for spring and summer: Will have garage and outbuildings painted. My carpenter is replacing the porch screen door and some rotting wood at the base of my wood shed. Probably my most important plan is to get all of the beds cleaned of leaves and weeds by a professional so I can concentrate on planting my bee and butterfly friends plants. I plan to dig a fire pit (with help) and make an outdoor area with a planting table.

    I haven’t been a bit mighty about my eating and exercise. I know I’m struggling with emotional eating and I’ve made a plan I started implementing at my spring break. Will keep you all up to date but I did so well after D-Day processing all those urgent feelings. This layer of the onion is about dealing with everyday grief and worry (especially about our democracy) without jellybeans and too many mashed potatoes. So the “mighty” portion here is just pushing this struggle to the top of my therapy session every week.

    At 5.5 years, I think what’s happening is that the foundation I built during and after the crisis needs the same kind of attention I’m giving the house.

  • I loved reading these stories, but I currently have no mightiness to report. A turn of back luck has set me back from my goals.
    I had kicked Adolph out, but I now have a serious back problem, so I had to let him come home just to help out with household tasks that involve bending and lifting. However, he knows I won’t take him back as a husband, that I don’t love him and don’t even like him, and he seems to accept it. It may be that I need back surgery, which has a long recovery period. Adolph is willing to see me through that. He says it’s the least he can do and he owes it to me and much more after all he’s done. He says it’s part of making amends, in addition to the post-nup he already signed which gave me the house and car.
    I’m not divorving Adolph because I badly need his health plan. We had planned to just stay separated.

    Question for chumps; An idea I had is to get a place with a separate in-law suite and let Adolph stay there so he can be summoned when needed. He doesn’t hoover, so I’m not worried about being sucked back in. I don’t really have much choice if the back problem doesn’t resolve or requires surgery. There is nobody else to help me. Our daughter is disabled and needs assistance herself. My other relatives are either too elderly, in poor health themselves, or live too far away. I can’t afford to hire help. So my question is; do you think such an arrangement could possibly work?

    • You already know you don’t want a divorce because you can’t lose your insurance. I know bout that–I’ve been there.

      If he gave you a post-nup and he’s willing to help, all you would need is a clear sense of where the boundaries are. You can’t have him bringing Schmoopies around. You don’t want him up in your business or to mingle finances or credit. And so on.

      A place with a mother-in-law suite would be good. You might also want to consider a duplex, with you having the ground floor. It might allow for more separation and the sense of the two of you being equally independent.

      • Yes, I had thought of a duplex, but haven’t seen one we could afford since he’s retiring in a few years.. He knows there wouldn’t be girfriends allowed and agrees. However, it would also make dating awkward for me and I hadn’t thought much about it until you mentioned that.
        Thanks. I”ll mull it over.

  • My proudest moment looking back to my final dday (2014) was filing for a divorce while loving my abuser, a covert narcissist, sociopath who lied, cheated and attempted to break me beyond repair.

    It will be five years since I emptied the contents of his closets into the porch and booted his ass.

    I’m the happiest I’ve been in years. I’m greatful for finding an amazing therapist and this nation of amazing men and women.

    There are three very important things that carried me through. First, the pain IS finite; secondly Tuesday comes and Meh eventually happens.

    The first few years were the toughest by far. I didn’t trust myself to make major decisions, finances were stretched to the max and yet I survived.

    Time flew and rather than seekimg a partner I worked on myself, took care of my granddaughters needs as well as my own.

    This year was a turning point as my credit score increased enough to obtain credit cards and buy a car. I’m also pre/approved to buy a home.

    I love my position and earn enough to add to my retirement account.

    I feel blessed to have chump friends and authentic caring people in my life. I’ve been seeing a guy friend who enjoys going out and having adventures. I’m starting to feel whole enough to consider dating this summer.

    Rarity, you are an inspiration and I admire every aspect of your journey! Thank you Tracy for being the light.

  • It’s been almost a year since I left my serial cheating husband, and I’m happier and more stable than I have been in almost a decade.

    I gave up my career, savings, 401k, credit rating, etc. all to appease a cake eating man child. I fell down into the pit of debts to cover our bills while he used his paycheck to support his hooker habit. I gave up myself to live a mediocre life of blandness, and constant walking on egg shells as to not enrage the beast that lurked within Mr. Nice-Guy.

    Since leaving, I have:
    – Gotten back into my field and received a promotion
    – Improved my credit worthiness
    – Traveled with the mini-me
    – Created a life apart from any man, a first for me!

    Can’t wait to see where I am in 5 years!

  • This post really hit home for me and gave me just the boost that I needed. Thanks again chump Lady and all your fellow chumps for sharing your mightiness because damn it it sure does look dark in the beginning but all these words of encouragement gives me hope!

  • Reading these stories is such good medicine.

    I’m a little under a year and a half out from dday and 3 months divorced. Still very much a work-in-progress.

    – I survived deceit, desertion, and the gross abuses that divorcing a privileged narc entails.
    – I fought X’s demands for child support and an inappropriate parenting schedule and won.
    – I have done my best to protect my son and help him heal; we are closer than ever and I feel I’m finally becoming the parent I’ve always wanted to be.
    – I reached out to to my communities and to old friends, and received incredible support as I sought to rebuild my life.
    – I moved into a wonderful rental in my dream neighborhood and have made this space my own.
    – After years of begging animal-indifferent X for a pet, I adopted a dog.
    – I went up for promotion; official approval should come later this month.
    – I took a road trip with ds out-of-state.
    – I traveled to Europe alone.
    – One of my long-held dreams came true.
    – I am doing deep therapeutic work to understand why I ended up here.
    – I am working to love and heal the imperfect body X blamed and abandoned.
    – I am well on my way to first-time home ownership in a crazy HCOL city.
    – I taking steps to reclaim my creative practice.

  • Over a year ago I was still stuck. I couldn’t see a way out. It’s been hard but I left, and its been harder since in practical ways, but sometimes doing what’s right isn’t easier, sometimes it’s even harder, but it’s right. Not only that, but when you are on the right path, there is HOPE it will get better in the future, however staying with a narcissistic abuser/adulterer offers no hope. It is only guaranteed to get worse and worse over the years, as I indeed experienced.

    Being a home maker before this, I’ve had to take menial jobs to survive, many times had no money and no place to live, but every time God provided for me and at the very last minute would provide a place to live and some money, or a job. I can say I have never had to sleep one night in my car out of necessity, though I sure thought it would come to that.

    Now even though the abuser would love to see me shrivel up and die, I am studying full-time at college. Someone else here attested that study is great therapy, and it really is. You can’t study heavy course work and be thinking about the cheater at the same time, plus you are achieving a goal and moving one step closer to freedom and strength everyday.

    There’s lots of other stuff I could post as milestones on here, but it would be too identifying and I’d like to keep some anonymity. All I know is I think I probably made the right decision in leaving. Maybe in a another years time I can say, I know I did. Here’s hoping.

    • Sorry, I forgot to add the whole reason I posted here. I just wanted to say that reading all these mightiness posts here last night, encouraged me to keep going with my study. I have a massive study load, and just found out some bad health news. It’s hard to keep going, but you have all inspired me to.

      Thanks Tracey to for this blog. It’s one of the few places I can come where I don’t feel like the owner of the site has some other agenda, but to help us and see us safe and thriving after abuse. I often come here to read the blog posts when it’s all getting too real and I am doubting myself. I’m able to then get refocused on the truth that he really does suck.

      • A year and a half ago (after multiple d-days) my ex told me he was arrested for soliciting sex from a minor who turned out to be an undercover cop (and this after I spent 1 year, miserable, in an ‘open’ marriage after he convinced me he was polyamorous and repeatedly violated our rules and boundaries then accused me of being crazy and jealous)…Since leaving him I’ve:
        – Divorced him and got my one-half share of the marital assets and the dog
        – Doubled my salary
        – Sent the dog to obedience school so that I could comfortably live in an apartment 10 minutes from work (previous commute at the house ex chose over my objections, 1 hour 30 minutes one way)
        – Bought a brand new car (w/o touching the money I got in the divorce)

        I dont know how I would have been able to keep my sanity without this website. I don’t frequent this site as much because I reached my Tuesday but I will forever be grateful for the articles that got me away from my sad sausage! Also got to witness the karma bus hit him with 5 years of jail. I’m one lucky chump!

  • Zeebee, I’m sorry to hear about your bad health news. Really hoping all will be well. All the best! x

  • Well, it’s been almost six years now. The other day I saw my ex’s name just felt…surprise: “Oh, he still exists!” I had just kinda forgotten about him. I guess he’s become pretty irrelevant to my life now.

    Overall, life is really good. There’s been some hard stuff this last year, but it’s some unrelated life stuff that happened. But even all that just revealed even more how my boyfriend of now almost four years is steady and solid and others-focused and kind, even in the hard seasons. And the recent hard stuff, though quite painful, is nothing compared to the hell of dday, divorce, healing, etc., so I guess surviving that was like boot camp for hard stuff. Since dday six years ago, I’m rebuilt my life, tried new things, done creative artistic projects and presented them publicly, thrived at work, and have saved for and taken a long-awaited (and long-saved-for) trip.

    It’s been so encouraging to hear how everyone is mighty in so many different and wonderful ways….getting up and showering to face another day, going back to school, learning to braid a kiddo’s hair, embarking on a new career, asking for a raise, rebuilding your life.

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