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What Are You Taking Back?

In the early days after being chumped, the world often feels like a field of landmines.

You step about carefully, so as not to set off the trip wire of Affair Objects of Great Significance.

Motorola cell phones, BMWs, the crappy hotel chains of Harrisburg, Pa.

Totems by which the affair was conducted. Polluted things, forever sullied.

Triggers aren’t part of my mental landscape anymore. (In fact, that whole phenomenon I associate solely with reconciliation.) But well over a decade later, I still carry some irrational grudges: Pittsburgh, the entire state of West Virginia, bluegrass music, goatees, and BMW motorcycles.

I’d like to not hate Pittsburgh on principle, but if that ick factor doesn’t go away, I’ll live. Whoever you are, if you drive a BMW motorcycle, you are a douchebag. But while many bad associations fade with time, other things I had to actively work at taking back. Mr. CL and I stormed Paris, took it back and wrote about it here.

Why let a fuckwit steal anymore of your life or the world around you? Do you have a personal Super Fund clean-up site? What’s on your take back list?

Your Friday challenge is to plant your flag and RECLAIM.


And P.S. I’m off to get a mammogram this morning. And ladies, if I can squish my boobs into a vice, you can too. Don’t forget your yearly check up!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • When I asked the usual questions after the devastation of finding out about the affair, he told me she said to him “sex with you was awesome but he can’t do this” as if that would make me feel better. Awesome was my trigger word for a long time. Now I’ve made it my own, I use it excessively and inappropriately like a teenage girl. Ain’t no one taking a word from my English language away from me !

    • After discovery of affairS and now at over 4 years waiting for divorce….more manipulation and dishonesty from him I have endured sharing our once family summer home with him and now 2 of his lovers. Family, pictures family cabin, my clothes in the closet and drawers don’t seem to be any detour-ant for easy, no value skanky broads. He will sleep with anything that has a pulse. I however wasn’t about to let that piece of shit I bred with take my happy place from me. So I bleach the mattress and pretty much fumigate everytime I go. Fuck him and his new victims I’m not going anywhere!!

      • Ditto, wrecked. I tried valiantly to take back the holiday home. Cleansed, purged of the first OW. Another OW used it some years later. Now we are divorced, I can’t sleep in the bed he sleeps in with the last OW. She seems fine with my clothes in the wardrobe, lingerie in the drawers. I take friends every time now. As struggle on my own there. But fuck. We literally built that house out of love and our own sweat. And he won’t buy me out. For now, I keep myself safe there.

  • Yes…. the beach…..

    First attempt back was South Padre Island last year. I had no idea as I got closer… the smell of the ocean alone would create such a dread in me. I absolutely was in turmoil the entire time. Then I went again later in the summer.. to the actual beach we frequented a lot….took a friend…. little better this time….. but oh still painful. Saw the condo… we stayed in 4 times…. lots of memories there… but damn if he was going to ruin the beach for me….. last week I just got back from 7 days on that very beach in a beach house with ten friends… yeah… he can suck it. I had a great time!! That’s MY beach baby!!!!!!

    On the other hand,,,, I still can’t watch The Voice.

    One thing at a time…

    • St. Augustine is on my list of things to take back as well! I fell in love with the town and wanted to explore it more. We were members of its lighthouse society. I also enjoyed the small pirate museum.

      On my list of other things to take back: Disney World, cruises, and Game of Thrones.

      • Disney World is an easy take-back for me. All the in-park smoking areas are being closed in a few weeks – permanently.

        Cheater is an unrepentant smoker. He can’t even sit through a movie without taking a smoke break. So there is zero chance that I will ever run into him in a Disney park from now on.

        Their parks. Their rules. My safe place.

        • Wow. So may of us and Florida. I have been three times since Dday (twice to a timeshare we used to own) and this year, Delray Beach. There are some ghosts, but I have learned that going with other people is a lot more fun than EVER with the ex. No more whining, complaining, excessive naps and leaving me alone so that he could golf! As I travelled to Italy alone two weeks after Dday, I would love to revisit in a good frame of mind.

          • I’m off to Cinque Terre (Italy) tomorrow and I dont have to put up with that pretentious git pretending to know everything about Italy ever again.

            • ^^^ Attie, “listening to the pretentious git pretending to know everything about Italy” made me laugh.
              I remember having to listen to Mr. Know-it-all spew all his vast knowledge about anything and everything, pretending to be modest. It isn’t modesty at alll, it’s more about him feeling superior to everyone. His subtle way of making other people feel less than him. Degradation..,
              Playing up his knowledge with fake modesty.., makes me cringe just thinking about it
              Enjoy your trip to Italy without the walking encyclopedia..

        • I love that you took back Disney world! Me too. on my last trip with my ex, he was acting weird and distant. I later found that he has been texting his AP the whole time so no wonder he couldn’t enjoy a vacation with just me. Four years later, I went back with a couple dear friends and we ran the 10K at the Disney Princess Marathon. One of the best moments in my life! He was heavy, balding, and overweight. He could not go very far in the park without sitting down. During the race, I felt young, fit, alive and on top of the world as I ran through the park. I now have wonderful memories again of Disney.

      • Today I am taking back my peace of mind. I get the keys to the apartment I rented my myself and teen son and I’m filing papers for divorce. Yep, on the same day! I am leaving my big beautiful suburban home for a tiny 2/1 apt in the city that has no holds no memories of him. It will be all mine. I still have a long road ahead before divorce finances are finalized, but I won’t see his cheating face everyday and I will be in a space that is all mine. Cozy and cute, with my son and our pup. Today I’m feeling pretty mighty. ❤️

        • Awesome, ZiP! That small apartment will probably feel warm and cosy without the presence of raging dysfunction!

        • Blessings of happiness, health, comfort, and of course, piece of mind! You’re not just feeling mighty, you ARE mighty! I hope to make it there someday…

        • Congrats, Zoe!!

          I remember the small apartment I rented as I divorced my former fuckwit. It was so PEACEFUL. I could finally breathe…

          You are on your way!

        • ZIP, you ARE mighty! MIGHTY! Two big steps into a fuckwit free life. I moved out of “our” big suburban home with its big back yard into a “just right for me” apartment just over one year ago today, right after I had the satisfaction of seeing my ex’s face when I agreed, after he’d told me he “didn’t see any other way out of ‘this'” than divorce, that not only was a divorce what I wanted, but that I’d already seen a lawyer. To quote Thelma, from “Thelma and Louise, “He sure wasn’t expecting that!”
          I can tell you from experience that life just gets better and better. Best to you and your son.

        • Well, I kicked my cheating wife out of our beautiful suburban home. I replaced all photos of our wedding with photos of the kids and me. Some of them were made by a professional photographer for that reason. My living room now shows that we are a happy family of 3.

          I decluttered the house. She always said how much cleaning and sorting she did . But lets be honest, the place was a mess. It’s hard to clean if you can only manage to look after the children with a glass of wine in your hand.
          Lastly – I booked a cleaning service to do a “deep clean” of my house. 3 cleaners, 4 hours, my house looks like a display home – and nothing like the crappy mess she left it in…

      • My ex grew up in Jacksonville FL. I’ve been to St. Augustine once and I LOVED it. I would totally go back if it were feasible.

      • XP-Chump I met my ex Whore Cat in Florida. He would meet girls online, at work, at the gym…and take them to the B&Bs in St. Augustine that have Jacuzzi tubs for a night of romance. I never knew this good ol chumpy me. I took him there in the day and I even paid for the Pirate Museum probably lunch too! He told me he did this with his ex girlfriend long before we met – so when he would often comment about wanting to take me to do that I though it was sweet. But he was always broke and therefore couldn’t splurge on me. Then I ignored the frequent red flags “oh I though WE did that”. Come to find this jerk had no money to take me because he chose to take random single moms (his target victim) and he went to St. Augustine plenty of times without me!
        **I know it’s late to jump in on this feed, but St. Augustine still needs taking back for me.

  • I have taken back:
    The color bright yellow
    Certain songs by Muse
    Subaru Foresters
    New Mexico
    Certain Bible verses quoted at me
    My thoughts when I wake up
    My ability to be grateful and happy

    • Bible verse…me too!

      Still can’t sit in church listening to “wives be submissive to your husbands” without flashbacks.
      Ahole would repeat that one to me to remind me that I wasn’t being submissive. He forgot the next line “Husbands love your wives” it was implied that you don’t fuck other women behind your wife’s back.
      He still attends Mass regularly. I have no clue why because he’s not truly repentant.

      • Yeah, Ahole conveniently skipped the next part: Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves his church. But it’s more than just being faithful.

        Ahole knows EXACTLY what Christ did for the sake of His church, since he’s at worship services every Sunday. Christ gave up his LIFE for the sake of His church. Christ let himself be tortured to death for the sake of his church.

        Sigh… if only it were that easy.

  • Hey! MAGNETO drove a R1100RSL – Pearl white with pink rims- for years, until I got a case of the responsibles after the divorce and sold her.

    Tons on fun, not worth possible consequences.

  • I took back St. Augustine, Fl. I only live an hour or so away and we used to go there often together, but really… I was the one who loved it. It took me almost two years to go back after D-day, but this year on my birthday I took it back and had fantastic time. Dispite all the losers who asked me… “Your going alone? On your birthday? Wow… so brave, I couldn’t do that.” Whatever going alone was the best time I’d ever had there. I finally got to do all the things I wanted without being worried if everyone else was having a good time.

    • @Robin – I love St Augustine too. We went there together but it was my spot. He has taken OW there a few times. Bastard likes to shit all over anything I love. I have taken back St Augustine and the Bee Gees. 🙂 Bastard isn’t taking away Staying Alive from me!

  • I’m not through my shit show yet but I’m heading to the beach today with my lovely daughters and a great bunch of lady friend’s and kids. Screw him, his whore, married girlfriend and whoever else he’s chaining up and whipping!

    • I’m taking myself to the beach next weekend and running a 5k. Hoping one day I can stand the site of a white GMC Acadia without wanting to throw up.

        • Hey Kara!! I typically don’t come across many of us… do you consider yourself a chump too? Cause, I know I AM! Happy Friday!

          • Yep. Got chumped and dumped more times than I’m proud of. But no longer. Done with all of that crap. Looking forward to the future!

            • I’m yet another Kara! That’s too funny! Chump Karas of the World Unite!

              I’ve taken back: our cozy home, our most reliable car, the pond and woods nearby, the boardwalk in town, the YMCA, the beach we used to summer at in another state plus all the beaches nearby, NYC, baseball, all the bike trails nearby, our favorite ice cream shop, the things we used to do near my family (where we used to live).

              Taking back in the next two months: Quebec, a favorite museum

              Still to take back: France, Italy, The Pacific Northwest, some favorite bands.

              There’s probably more, but actually I am amazed at how easy it is to take back some of these places. Like they were always mine to begin with, and he was just a trespasser, now banished. Ha!

              • That’s interesting – I can’t quite take back the YMCA yet. It’s where they met. And continue to frequent together. So, I’ve created a different safe exercise space for myself.

                But, even more interesting is the other places you listed (ponds, woods, museums in Quebec) I grew up in the northeast (but don’t live there now) and many of those places were mine before moving away. Reminds me of the young, carefree self I was so long ago ❤️

      • I’m going also going to the beach by myself in a couple of weeks to celebrate my 1yr divorsiversary. Cocktails, a couple of books, and people watching here I come! And, yes, I also still have mixed feelings towards white Buick Enclaves/GMC Acadias.

    • I honor your courage ♥️
      I’m still only 5 months in of trying to get my head on straight and seeking the truth I will most likely never get. I’m taking me back though ???? and everyday getting stronger and looking differently at this whole sham of a marriage. I’m still in the “gaslighting” stage and had to do too much investigation on my own. Like I told him today….I’m choosing me! I’ve been working on me and if he chooses (which he clearly is) to sit back stagnant so be it. Yes, it’s scary to leave after 19 years but better life ahead! I’m on a train as I write…by myself for an overnight in NYC! And I’m not even worried that he’s going to screw someone….in fact he can screw himself!

      • Chersad,
        I hoped you enjoyed your overnight. All this shit we’ve been dealt, force fed just truly sucks!
        I am about 2 1/2 yrs out from D-day, filed once, pulled it back because cheater wife had agreed to my demands (what I needed for her to earn my trust again)….lasted all about 2 weeks.
        I filed again, no going back this time. People are who they are, can’t change their wiring. Tough part, we are still residing together during the process.
        It sucks, but we rarely cross paths because she leaves early and comes home late, but I DON’T CARE!!!!!
        Just wanted to give you Chump hugs! Your early in the game, hang in there, the road to meh is a bitch, Vent/cry to CL and CN, we’re all here for you.

        • Your kind words and wisdom are comforting. My weekend was wonderful thank you. Unfortunately as I pulled up to my house the anxiety started. Like you, I at times choose to believe what he says as truth because it’s not easy to believe the person you trusted could be so cruel and manipulative. Who are these people anyway? Like I told my husband….you need to search within yourself to understand who you are and why your choose to be deceitful and dishonest. Funny though, each time he’s caught in a lie he quickly conjures up another. I’m fighting to keep what’s left of me.

  • Turns out Ex didn’t really do a whole lot of things with me, especially near the end. My daughter and I were often on our own going to malls, the state fair, etc. Ex must have gotten a personality transplant because we bumped into him at the mall last weekend.

    Anyway, most things we did together had to involve alcohol, which also meant that I couldn’t really drink because someone had to drive. Anything that didn’t involve drinking or something that interested him usually meant constant criticism of the place/event from him or just a general pouty mood. So I stopped going to a lot of that stuff.

    So, I’m currently taking back myself. Doing things I actually want to do. Not compromising on a restaurant because Mr picky can’t find anything to eat there or even not planning anything at all, just going with the flow of the day and still ending up having a good time (something that was impossible with ex). I’m enjoying life again.

    I also, almost immediately, took back the room that he used to sit his a** in for hours a day. I ripped out carpet and wallpaper…basically stripped it down and remade it. It’s a nice room now and no longer smells.

    • I am with you on this we went nowhere together except the places he loved. Now neither of us goes since I never liked those lame places to begin with and he lost his gig so ha! Everything is new to me out here in the real world I have moved twice and plan to move again I guess there’s no reason for me to revisit the ground he has sullied.

      But no to the mammogram all that radiation mm-mm

      • How ’bout thermography and if anything is found then a mammorgram ? I only go for a mammo every two years since there’s no history in my family. For all the ladies who are still menstruating, I recommend going a week after your period ends-no so uncomfortable.

        ps Thinking of a former colleague who died from IBC (inflammatory breast cancer). IBC has very different symptoms than regular breast cancer. She left behind a five year old daughter in Sweden who is now thriving as an out queer at one of the Seven Sisters colleges here in the States.

  • I took back, country music, ex used to play it, it can be quite thoughtful.
    I used to hate his friends, especially Swedish ones, now they can think what they want.

  • The only things that trigger me (fortunately, I guess) are “new” things that I went along with as part of my pick me dance — and, thus, not anything i’m In any hurry to “reclaim.”

    Jason Isbell is a fine songwriter/performer and all, but KK used his music as a way to convince me that she was still “all in” on the marriage, even as she was actively sabotaging it. I’ll always be triggered by “Flagship” and I don’t think I’m missing out on much by not reclaiming his music.

    Conversely, any thing I liked or disliked prior to the cheating is still “mine” regardless of any influence KK may have had.

    I don’t know — I’m either really lucky, or not digging deeply enough.

    • Sounds like you’re lucky enough to have escaped with a strong sense of self. Embrace it as you are. I lost mine in the 10 years of shit sandwiches and the pick me dance. Thanks for the inspiration on this Friday!

    • Had to reply to this! Cheater obsessively playing Jason Isbell songs to me during his last affair! Ditto!! And same feelings on my part- I have no use for pathetic cliches or sad sausages.

  • A roadhouse. Half an hour out of town, halfway to the city. It was MY roadhouse. I discovered it. The sandwiches and cakes and coffee….. oh my. Anyway. I told him about it not long after I discovered it, and then about a year later when he and schmoopie were driving together up and down the same highway to rehearsals for a play in the city …. before d-day when they were simply “fellow cast members carpooling”…… they started to stop at the roadhouse. In my car. I knew they’d stopped there because of the distinctive takeaway coffee cups. Which they left IN MY CAR.

    The play is over. So is my relationship and my intact family.

    But I have taken back my roadhouse!!! All the coffee and sandwiches and cakes and pies and salads and whatever I want…. it’s all mine again. To enjoy, in peace.

  • I’m reclaiming my own competence. Nothing I did was done well enough for Ex. And I mean nothing! After years of abuse, I have become afraid of cooking, cleaning, making decisions about my own space. I am terrified to buy nice things for myself. I have made strides in all of these areas. Still a work in progress though – especially since my kids compare everything I do to the way their dad does things. (Hey, at least I don’t call my children “dumbass” and “a pain in the ass”! He never seems to lose favour in their eyes for being cruel.) However, I am getting great performance reviews at work! Slow and steady!

    • Once again, the corollary to “Trust that they suck” is “Trust that you don’t suck”. That one can be hard for us chumps who put up with a lot of criticism over the years.

      I still feel foolish for thinking “Aren’t I lucky to have a husband who loves me in spite of all of my many faults”…that he kept pointing out..

    • Dear Baffled, this is exactly what systematic abuse does to us. It took me several years to get out of there, to find out who I really am, to recover my identity and my soul, to give myself permission to exist. My adult children slowly began to discover their real mom; now they come to me when they need a shoulder to cry on. And just a few months ago, my youngest son told me he forgave me for not being there for him (while I was orbiting around the narcopath).
      You’ll get back everything the abuser took away from you, because you’re mighty. Keep up the good work!

      • Chumpiest and Baffled,

        Exactly this. I am redescovering and reclaiming ME I’m 3 years out post D day only one year divorced and when people ask what makes ME happy, what MY goals are I still have trouble answering. It’s like there’s a wall in my mind that completely blocks me from me. I spent so much of my life focused on making him happy and worrying about the kids I had no idea where to even start looking for me. I’m finding little things as I go along and getting better at remembering to tune into me and my own feelings. But I don’t expect years of conditioning to disappear quickly or easily. It takes time and effort. Just like tearing down a wall, brick by brick.

    • Baffled, exactly my experience. It’s so hard to explain how buying something I want can feel like doing something wrong.

      • Same. And when I tell the truth about my story, I feel guilty when I tell the truth!!! Ex-Chump in progress here.

        • WackyChump,

          Me, too! When I tell my story I feel guilty or like I’m lying, even though I am telling the truth. Ex is a communal narcissist – the most helpful and friendly person, a real ‘pillar of the community’ to everyone outside, while at home he is cruel and sadistic. The cognitive dissonance between his public persona and who he really is continues to mess with my head.

          I recommend the youtube videos by Kris Godinez. ChumpLady and Kris Godinez really get it. KG has an excellent channel called “We Need to Talk”. (A CL and KG video collaboration would be incredible.)

          • Wacky and Baffled, Same, I feel guilty, or ashamed when I tell my story as if I’m lying.
            I’ve heard after I’ve mentioned one of ex’s escapades, “that doesn’t sound like Mr. Integrity.” I’ve gotten to where I don’t say anything. Mr. Integrity had been sharing his version of events before I knew he was planning to leave. Telling neighbors he was concerned for my mental stability, with tears in his eyes, saying he didn’t know how much more he could take. That he’s tried everything but I refused to cooperate.
            He pleaded with me to go to MC but I refused.. All lies..he refused to go to MC, telling me he didn’t have any problems I did. That I should be afraid to go because they’ll probably put me in an institution. Crazy that I would have still taken him back at that time even after all his slanderous lies.
            Mr. Integrity is able to come across to outsiders as charming, well spoken, funny, all American great guy. He’s funny, can make everyone laugh, tells great stories.
            Ex is quite different behind closed doors, like yours, cruel and sadistic.
            It does mess with your head. Ex would tell me I get along with everyone but you Brit, everyone likes me.., there’s something wrong with you Brit.. Scary..

            • It’s amazing how similar many of these stories are.
              Brit – mine was Mr. Amazing to the outside world. Gave up a big career to go back to school and get ordained.

              He was not afraid to step on ( or completely squash ) anyone who disagreed with him professionally or socially and behind closed doors I believe he may be a high functioning sociopath.

              He most likely painted me as unstable, unsuitable and unworthy right from the beginning of his new career path.
              7 years of education all on the backs of his wife and children.
              New Schoompie in the Master’s program – everyone cheered them on and I was the sad little wifey at home wondering WTF was going on?!?

              I have taken back the beach – it’s mine – I bought a little fixer upper right at the beach ( and he can kiss my ass ).

              I have taken back cowboy boots, country music, cooking ( he said mine sucked and would always make the meal for company – but not any other time ), canning, and jazz. Camping 🙂

              He can keep;

              Niagra Falls. So many horrible cheaters gravitate to NF – fuck me – they can keep it!!!

              The Anglican Church. Holy Shit – where to start ?!??

              His friends and family. Tree – Apple.

              Coke products and Collectibles. Anything collectible ( hoarding tendencies in general ).

              • Funny you should mention cooking, ex also never cooked unless we had company. He’d then insist on making the meal, I of course did the behind the scenes work, the shopping, house cleaning and presentation, It never occurred to me until recently that making the meal for company is an act of image management and attention. Mr. Great Guy, is a great cook! great personality, he’s great at everything. Brit is so lucky..,
                Yes, Brit is lucky to get rid of his miserable, self centered, lying ass.

                I’m taking back country music, actually all music. Ex’s taste in music was limited to Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones. He claimed to be “musically gifted.”

                I’m planning on taking back the beach and Hawaii. Ex hated going to the beach, he didn’t like walking on the sand or getting his hair wet.

                Ex didn’t have friends until he needed to build alliances against me. For the entire 18 yrs we lived in our neighborhood x refused to talk with our neighbors, until a couple of months before Dday. I foolishly thought he was finally coming around and being social. I just didn’t know at the time just how social he’d been.

                He can keep each and everyone of my neighbors.
                They’re not my friends, They no longer exist to me.

                He can keep his family, same Apple-family.., scary..,

                He can keep his memories of high school. He talks about events in high school as if they just happened yesterday . example, “remember the jacket Joe wore to the Christmas Ball? Sue Smith was his date, he asked her out after our cross country meet. Such a sweet gal.. These are the type of conversations his brother and sisters have whenever they talk.

                All I can say is weird, really weird. Who talks like that?
                He can keep his great guy, “John boy” squeaky clean image.
                I know who he really is, ex will stoop to any level to win.

      • Yes! The first thing I wanted to buy for myself after I moved out was a wall mirror that I saw in a consignment shop. The friend I brought with me for support said, “It’s beautiful and at such a great price, go for it!” But all I could hear was the voice in my head saying, “It’s a reproduction,” something X never would have condoned. Ignoring that voice, paying for the mirror, and hanging it prominently on my wall was one of the first steps I took towards reclaiming so much I’d handed over to him.

    • I can completely identify with this–I developed a serious case of learned helplessness after years of X intervening in everything from cooking meat or fish, to changing lightbulbs or doing anything else involving a ladder, to decorating our home. There were so many things I was afraid to do after I first moved–I forced myself to overwrite the voice in my head that said, “You’ll run over your foot!” when I mowed the lawn with, “You are more than capable of mowing your own damn lawn.” Or replaced, “You have the aesthetic sensibilities of a brothel madam” with, “You have a great sense of color and it will all come together as you envision it. If not, taking something back or repainting is not the end of the world.”

      I also relied heavily on the knowledgeable and quirky community of DIYers on YouTube–I learned how to fire up a charcoal grill with full confidence that I wouldn’t burn down the house or poison my son by grilling him a rare steak; how to change my car headlamps or refill the wiper fluid (so freaking easy it’s ridiculous–what a revelation); how to unclog my toilet and adjust the flipper/flapper or whatever it’s called; and how to do pretty much all the basic maintenance and interior decorating of my new home.

      Better yet, after a few months of faking it until I was making it, the voice in my head faded away, and I stopped caring if I made mistakes or looked ridiculous out in my yard wielding the extendable saw or the wheelbarrow with a flat tire. I also learned what my limits were and who to ask for help or hire for projects that went beyond them. And I had a small moment of vindication that almost made it worth it to agree to one last “family holiday” dinner together with X and our adult children, shortly after I moved in to my house.

      X, who is prominent in the arts and fancies himself a master of interior design, walked around examining everything like he was Inspector Clouseau. I ignored him while our children decided to join him for the tour. One of them said, “Mom’s house looks like a freaking museum,” and another one piped up with, “I know, it’s really cool.” I could feel the force of X’s jaw tightening from across the room as he abruptly ended his tour to sit down in a chair and stare at his phone.

      • I still remember the first time post financial separation when I made a mistake in my checkbook and had to scratch it out to make a correction. I was anxious because it looked bad and I was wondering if I should go get the white out and do it “properly” and even then it would be obvious that I had made a mistake in the first place. Then I remembered that I was the only one who was going to see my checkbook and as long as I could comprehend the corrected version that’s all that mattered. It was such a liberating feeling. One more weight off my shoulders.

        • Ohh the checkbook. Don’t laugh OK. But I got in trouble for not using the right pen in the checkbook. DB got so mad one time he bought several dozen of the SAME PEN and put them in the drawer with the checkbook because I seemed to have so much trouble finding and using the correct pen. I took a picture of the drawer full of pens post-divorce as a reminder of what a jackass he was. Then I bought a checkbook with a built-in pen holder for my new account. Bought a pretty pen to put in the holder. Kept the other pens because I am too practical to throw them away, but took back the checkbook!

    • I reclaimed driving on the freeway, while married to ex I couldn’t drive on the freeway. I couldn’t bring myself to drive on our short crosstown freeway. I’d have panic attacks just thinking about it. Before I married ex I was fearless on the freeway driving to Los Angeles , San Francisco never giving it a second thought.
      I’m proud to say that today I’m back on the freeway, without any anxious feelings or hyperventilating.

      • brit, same here, driving with others in the car and we are all still alive! Ex would never let me drive when we were together. One time when we were away, *I* rented a car. *I* drove it while he sat in the passenger’s seat complaining the whole time about my driving. I said, ‘please stop,” “please be quiet while I drive,” then “be quiet,” then “STFU or I will pull over and toss you out of the car!” Now I enjoy quiet drives with others, no music on, no arguments, just peace!

  • I’d take back the state of Iowa, but why bother?
    (With love to fellow chimps who love there)

    I remember thinking I could never drive in/thru the state b/c fuckwit lives there. Talk about a land mine. Now I’m back to making fun of it.

    If I could take back some bands I would- that still stings. Wilco especially. Maybe this year.

  • I am reclaiming my time.

    I am reclaiming my energy.

    I am reclaiming my idea of family.

    I am reclaiming compassion for myself.

    I am reclaiming my own worth.

    Life with him, even post-divorce, continues to be so draining & depleting. What a surprise — he is still employing the same awful dynamics & is still creating chaos for me and my teenager on a regular basis (luckily my child who is away at college escapes most of the daily dysfunction). We are still expected to put up with his random temper tantrums and then have him pretend that the burst of anger did not occur and that everything is just fine. Yeah, no.

  • Things I’ve taken back:
    New Orleans
    New York City
    San Antonio
    Apple products
    Red beans and rice
    The story of my own life

    Things remaining to take back (not much):
    New Mexico (last vacay with Cheater)?

    Things I don’t want back:
    VW Beetles (Cheatermobile)
    Houston (home of the cheater’s family)
    Music by Prince (a Cheater fave)
    Video games (Cheater hookup venue—never cared for them to begin with)

    Turns out I got back everything I needed and ended up richer than I started! #AdditionBySubtraction

  • Things I have taken back:
    “Good Riddance” by Green Day
    Exit 226 to our town, where there is a hotel next to the off ramp that they used.
    Meijers parking lot that they would meet at to make out
    St. Louis, where we went early in our relationship
    My DIY skills, that he squashed with his criticism
    Linkin Park, which he introduced me to.
    My hatred of country music. I tried to like it for him.
    Place he worked at in college, where he cheated on me the first time. I’m the boss there now. 🙂

    Things I’m still working on:
    Seeing the house we built
    Thinking firefighters are anything other than scum
    Gatlinburg, where we honeymooned and renewed vows at 10 years

  • Things I need to take back:

    Carrot Cake–It used to be my favorite, until he started making it for OW because it was HER favorite

    Sushi — He used to buy her sushi. Once he had me buy her sushi before I knew what was going on.

    Guitars — He started playing the guitar because SHE played the guitar.

    The Office — I guess because we were re-watching the series during the initial D-day and pick-me dance.

    “Happier” by Bastille — The song was popular when all of this was happening, and he added it to a playlist he made to cheer me up after I found out about what was going on with his howorker. You know what, if you wanted me to be happier, you wouldn’t have cheated on me!!

    • Clearly I’m not at meh yet. I kicked him out 17 days ago, but did another pick-me dance on Monday and again yesterday, which left me feeling ashamed afterwards. Starting again at no contact, which is challenging since we have kids.

      • Authentic Chump- I used to call Mondays Mindfuck Mondays as he was the worst after the weekend with homeslice. Don’t participate in them. Take back your power.

      • Don’t beat yourself up. This is all new to you and you are doing the best you can. I made so many mistakes, from full on pick me polka to accepting all the pathetic excuses X made.

        I am proud to say all that is in the distant past. Gone are the days of self-doubt and second guessing. I live in a home I love, travel whenever and wherever I like, and do what pleases me.

        Time is a great healer, as is no contact. I am finally living life on my own terms and it is glorious! I know you will get to meh. Probably next Tuesday.

      • 17 days!?!?
        Be thankful for breathing and getting out of bed. Don’t worry about reclaiming anything yet

        • I respectfully disagree with not taking anything back because its early days. Perect time to start reclaiming!

          Reclaim your silence with No Contact.

          Reclaim your sanity with Not listening to a word said.

          Reclaim your honor by ceasing the Pick Me.

          Reclaim your life by taking steps away from this chaotic mess created by the scumbag.

          Reclaim you health by practicing extreme self care.

          Reclaim your support network by speaking to and seeking help from select loved ones who care.

          Reclaim yourself in EVERY way possible, small or big, whenever you can!

          Start now and don’t stop! You’re worth it!

  • I took back my family cabin. Where my best childhood memories were made. We had planned a week over the 4th holiday to spend there, and celebrate my daughters birthday. He came up a day later then us cause ‘work’ (translation screwing a 20 something at work) and that night told me he wanted a divorce, got up next morning told kids and left. That was it went home moved out. I found out about the girl a couple days later when I suddenly work up at 2am and told myself look at the cell records. I was swirling in confusion. But not my cabin, I will not let him take my happy place cause he blew our lives up with my whole family there. How dare he do it there, and he later said it was my fault as I kept asking him what was wrong that evening. Since then I have bought said cabin with my brother, we go up every weekend – hard at first especially for the kids, but I said we are pushing through this is our place. Now my favorite place is my kids favorite place.

  • I took back my singing. I love to sing, and I’m told that I have a good voice. But one of his many painful shots at me was ‘I got tired of hearing you singing through the house.’

    I also started writing again. A couple of my fantasy novels were published in the 1990’s, but the pressures of work and looking after such an immature man sapped all my energy. I’m now writing a series that readers love and which makes me a bit of money on the side.

      • The Fantasy series is Penny White, first book is called The Temptation of Dragons, and available on Kindle for 99p or in paperback. Pen name Chrys Cymri. Thanks for asking!

  • I took back everything except Pink Floyd and St Augustine FL. I love St Augustine it was our special place and he’s taken every ho there as something he discovered but I will go again sometime. Pink Floyd is great music but it so reminds me of all the darkness in the last year’s of the marriage and the horrible aftermath. Ive taken back myself, gardening, painting, drawing and just being me. It’s wonderful not having to watch what I say or do and be carefree.

    • Kar marie – I sent my husband the song “Dogs” by Pink Floyd because it felt like everything I was feeling about him, especially the part about him packing up and flying down south and being all alone and dying of cancer. He did that to me. He abandoned me in a strange city 1000 away from friends, after I sold my home I loved and left my friends and neighborhood, and he became weird and a stranger to me and would not speak. It took me over a year to figure out how to get myself together and take care of all the responsibilities he left me with – pets, selling the home, packing everything, going through years of our life together, the horrendous move, the securing a new apartment in San Diego. I am still dealing with all the crap, registering the car, utilities, getting re-estsblished back here, but I feel great. I was nervous at first, coming back home, but not anymore. I am taking back my life, and my city that I lived in for 30 years before fuckwit convinced me that moving away and isolating me for three years then abandoning me was a great idea because he could not come back and help me with anything because of his “repressed pain”. He actually had the balls to tell me recently in an e-mail that he “could be an advocate for me if I would only let him”. I was like, “seriously? Advocate for ME?”. It was him basically saying he would take back all the horrible lies he told people to compensate for his second failed marriage, if only I would be nicer to him. I hope I run into him and his new beard. I’ll be sure to let her know. Fuck these Animals. Trust that they suck.

      You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need
      You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you’re on the street
      You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed
      And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight
      You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking

      And after a while, you can work on points for style
      Like the club tie, and the firm handshake
      A certain look in the eye and an easy smile
      You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
      So that when they turn their backs on you,
      You’ll get the chance to put the knife in

      You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder
      You know it’s going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older
      And in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south
      Hide your head in the sand,
      Just another sad old man
      All alone and dying of cancer

      And when you loose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown
      And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone
      And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around
      So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone
      Dragged down by the stone (stone, stone, stone, stone, stone)

      I gotta admit that I’m a little bit confused
      Sometimes it seems to me as if I’m just being used
      Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise
      If I don’t stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze?

      Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
      That everyone’s expendable and no-one has a real friend
      And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
      And everything’s done under the sun
      And you believe at heart, everyone’s a killer

      Who was born in a house full of pain
      Who was trained not to spit in the fan
      Who was told what to do by the man
      Who was broken by trained personnel
      Who was fitted with collar and chain
      Who was given a pat on the back
      Who was breaking away from the pack
      Who was only a stranger at home
      Who was ground down in the end
      Who was found dead on the phone
      Who was dragged down by the stone

    • The AMP is great. Come to a show with me and let reclaim it! At the end, me ex starter being a real dick about the shows I wanted to see and my “hipster shit music”. Last summer between AMP and PV concert hall I went to 12 shows and had an amazing time. Echo and the bunnymen, the decemberists, they might be giants, death cab for cutie, Jason isbell – lol – sorry all. Get there, dance, reclaim. I’ll go with u.

  • Tea. Cheater boyfriend didn’t drink coffee; I didn’t even know he had the equipment to make it until his sister came to visit. He had a collection of probably 30 teas even though he only drank 4-5 of them. I got into it too, a bit. He didn’t drink alcohol either, so we drank a lot of tea. When I left, I said, “No more damn tea; I can finally have a beer when I want, coffee every morning as I prefer.” The other weekend (3 years out), I was visiting friends and we sat around drinking tea the whole time. I remembered that hey, tea is nice too and bought a few types. (Like 2.) I’ve been enjoying them!

  • Ex was a huge U2 fan. It’s been six years since I’ve heard a song by them. I always change the station. I might take that back. Or not. My daughter and I love Ed Sheeran! Way better imo.

    • SSG; so U2, welp got to see them on tour Raymond James stadium, Tampa.
      One Republic opened.
      It was great…
      Let me tell you what Poor Sausage Peterpan cried:
      Cause my son told him I went: @Oh you should have gone with you.” ????
      I got those tix as a gift…it was wonderful…
      Hope you take your music back when ready..

  • I have taken back the beaches (Hatteras, NC) and Florida and plan on taking back every other beautiful place WE visited. His story now is that he hated to travel but just did it to please me. Great. Glad to hear it. I told my kids they can look forward to visiting Bermuda, Aruba, Turks & Caicos, USVI, St. Lucia and Barbados with me. Alaska too. I will replace the memories of US with memories with me and my kids. He can keep Canada (at least the part near Rice Lake where his family only vacationed). I will head to Western Canada with my kids! I was the one who planned our Grand Canyon visit several years ago and I’ve already written him out of the story. The kids can help me plan Yellowstone and Zion trips in the next few years.

  • This is so inspiring to read!

    I’ve begun taking back his language. I studied it on and off while we were together (but not as quickly or with as much devotion as he wanted) but then stopped after it became clear that we were over. I really enjoy it though, so I’ve begun studying it again. Sometimes it makes me think of him, but others it’s just a language I enjoy. #SådanFuckup

    At some point this year, I hope to take back his country too. That will be harder, because so many of my favorite places there (and my favorite city) are connected to him. If/when the trip happens, you guys will be the first to know all the details <3

  • I thought, what do need or want to take back? I realized that while we shared a life, we never really did much as a couple other than the usual going out to eat on Fridays and maybe a every 4-year vacation. He was boring AF.

    But, I have realized this year, that I lost my love for reading. Dickhead and I would go to bed, and I would read while I rubbed his back, his head or even his hands till he went to sleep. Until the last few years, he never wanted to go to bed without me. The problem was he got up early and would be in bed by 9pm and I was definitely not ready for sleep. The light never bothered him so I could read and get sleepy while he drifted off. I cherished that time. And now I can’t even focus for 10 minutes. I know it will find it again as I loved reading and getting lost in a book.

    • Miss Bailey, I have been a lifelong reader, sometimes 2-3 books per week and I stopped cold after D-Day for probably a year. It will come back. Do that 10 minutes and then another when you’re ready.

    • I couldn’t read for months and moths after D-Day, either What finally helped for me was picking a totally different genre than I normally read. I typically love historical fiction, but lately I have been enjoying science fiction written by women and/or featuring strong female characters.

      • Oh… historical fiction and sci fi/fantasy are two of my favorite genres!! We should do a Chump book club – not to read books about chumps but to share the books that get us through. MehBe, have you read Deborah Harkness’ trilogy A Discovery of Witches? The Sundance Channel is airing a series based on the books and it is good too.

        • Barbara Hambly has written some good Sci/Fi and historical fiction. She can be a bit dark though.

          If you want strong female characters try Patriot Hearts

        • Beth and MehBeSoon – I need to broaden my reading horizon! I’ve never really gotten into sci fi but it’s because I’m not sure where to start. These authors sound like a good place!

          • Try Louis McMaster Bujold as well, specifically the Vorkosigan Series.

            I would so love to find a book club that reads sci fi/fantasy. All of the ones near me seem to want to read more “intellectual” stuff that isn’t nearly as much fun.

        • I read the Discovery of Witches books…but haven’t seen the movies yet. Fun fact–Deborah Harkness once “liked” one of my tweets 🙂

          A very powerful trilogy is The Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin. They are a bit depressing but also incredibly powerful and so well written.

          I so need to get (back) on the forums to talk books…I posted a few times last year (under a different name) but then stopped posting after trying a god-awful wreckonciliation. I should have listed to CL/CN!!

        • The In Death series by J. D. Robb is a wonderful combo of murder mystery and sci fi. I just love the heroine Eve Dallas, as a smart, kind, kick ass, take no prisoners woman.

          • I’ve read every one of the J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) books and love them. Patricia Briggs is another fantasy writer who writes strong female characters. And Anne Bishop. I love her books too.

      • I’ve also been unable to read, and I’m the person who formed a book club 3 years ago that is still going strong. I still go out to book club meetings, but I haven’t read any of the books. The last book I read was Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life. I highlighted it the f*** up and go back to my highlights to give me strength during this divorce.

    • It took me a very, very long time to read for pleasure, again. I was a nightly reader also and just could not concentrate on the words on the page. I am back at it and am enjoying all the books I missed. Infidelity is a mind fuck in so many ways.

    • I used to read every night, and some on weekends, even waiting for appointments etc. When BD happened I tried and tried but found that I couldn’t remember what I had read or even sometimes comprehend the heavy topics I was used to reading. But it felt weird because books had always been my relaxation and allowed me to learn and live through history etc.

      Well I just couldn’t ignore my books they were kind of part of my routine, so I would just open a book and leave it beside me on his side of the bed because it was my normal. I started to get the pretty picture books from the library and this helped tremendously because I didn’t have to think, just allowed myself to absorb the photos.

      Took about a year before I could read something heavy again, and I still try to read a little every night now. I used to be able to read a history book in a couple of days, but now it takes about a month because I still have too many other things on my mind to concentrate like I used to.

      • Weird. I used to be a voracious reader. It’s very tough for me to concentrate – 5 years later. Maybe I was escaping in all those books. Still cannot stand the sight of Jeeps. Lots of $ wasted on several.

        I took back Glacier National Park. Heading there again this summer. It’s my place now.

    • Yeah, I lost my love of reading too. I always had at least two books I was reading at the same time. Self-help (surprise, surprise!) and usually an autobiography, biography, history or historical fiction. The only paper or e-books that I’ve actually read with my eyes in the last four years was books about narc’s, sociopaths and anything related to the topic of toxic relationships.

      However, I’ve been reading books with my ears for most of this time. and audible books from the library have been a godsend. I even read “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” on audible. So I guess not all was lost! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to read again with my eyes.

      • I haven’t done audible books but I finally picked up the podcast bug. I started doing more birding last summer which required longer trips in the car. I had forgotten how lonely a car can be. Too much time for rumination and tears. A good friend recommended some podcasts and I’m hooked. I even listen to them while cooking dinner or cleaning house.

        • I love podcasts too! Have you listened to the Dirty John podcast yet? That was excellent! If you have a cd player in your car, you can get books on cd from the library too. 🙂

        • I have found audio books very helpful at distracting me from negative thoughts.
          My library works with the Libby app so I can download books to my phone for free for 21 days. I have listened to self-help and books on mindfulness often help me fall asleep (there is a 30 minute sleep setting). I also am distracted by cozy mysteries and murder mysteries.

    • I had a very difficult time focusing on reading as well. I used to read all the time.
      During our divorce negotiations, I could not sleep, I started stuttering, and I was mentally unable to finish most books. And those books, I have no desire to finish.
      I took back the girl I was before i married. She had disappeared.

    • I am glad to see that I am not the only one having a hard time reading. I am an avid reader, and I haven’t been able to pick up a book in a year. I can’t even get through a graphic novel.

      • I was going to suggest reading some good comics. Not graphic novels/graphic memoirs, but actual comic strips. Calvin and Hobbes. Peanuts, the early ones from the 1950s. The Far Side. Get Fuzzy. Having them when I couldn’t concentrate to read (and I’m an English professor!) really helped me.

    • How interesting that so many of us were unable to read after Day…..Just one of the many hidden, insidious effects of the abuse that we endured that I don’t think many people can fully understand/appreciate unless they have experienced the ordeal of adultery & betrayal.

  • The Dominican Republic, my husband had an affair with someone he met online from there. He went there for 5 days to relax from all the stress from work, I didnt suspect anything( ya I know, stupid.) 6 weeks later I find out about the affair and that he has arranged to meet this “woman” in person. I have never been there but anytime someone mentions it hits me in the gut, I dont know if I will get past that…

    • Mango

      That was not stupid.
      I was going on mini vacation alone to tropical location 4 days… and you know what? I was reading, tanning, eating, swimming, sleeping – RELAXING

      There is nothing wrong with allowing and encouraging your partner to go and de-stress. That’s what loving people do.

      Your partner was a lying cheating piece- it’s 100% on him.

      • ^^THIS^^ Yes! It was not “stupid”, not at all. Marriage is about trust; trust that your partner loves you, trust that they’re truthful and honest, etc.
        He lied.
        Mine did too.
        It’s 100% on them!

        • We should feel confident in trusting our partners 100%. I know I wouldn’t think of cheating under any circumstances and trusted that he loved me as much to not cheat.
          We did get married, doesn’t that mean anything? Wedding Vows?? Evidently not.
          He would tell me I was his best friend. Today I suspect he only said those worlds to give me a false sense of security.
          Today I don’t believe a word his says..

  • I took back…
    my confidence
    my delight in fast cars
    my self efficacy
    my home
    a theater we used to go to.

    And once I realized that I’m not 12 and the world has changed, I took back my independence and my old dream of playing a team sport. I’ve won a championship as a player, in my 60s. And I continue to build my skill set. Don’t stop with the D-Day stuff. Get it all back, all the stuff you loved and abandoned for a jackass and all the stuff the world took away because you were excluded. Take it all back.

  • Ha! I gave up 3 frickin great jobs so that the Twat could move back to Pittsburgh. Now I’ sure its a great place to live (if you’ve never left mommy behind), but nah, no thanks. Ill stick with Europe:

  • Due to kids and school I still live in the same small town as the ex and the many local OWs (he had a fetish for soccer moms). It’s a challenge and I feel triggered each time I leave the house. But I dream of the day I can live in a place with no trace of fuckwits.

    • It gets better with time. I had many places of triggers where I have run into her. The grocery store. The gym. Costco. Just last night I went to dinner with friends to HER favorite restaurant. I get to enjoy those places too! It gets better. Just breathe and let things pass. That was my motto for a while.

  • Things I took back:

    Grocery stores. Not that I love them but I can shop in them without sitting in my car sobbing at the pain of watching all the little old couples shopping together.

    Canada. Went to Montreal and Quebec on my honeymoon in 1989. Last May my daughter and I went to the same cities and took them back like the bad bitches we are. One of the best vacations of my life. Now when I think of Quebec I think of espresso martinis and dinner with my best girl.

    Control. Control over my body, my self worth, my finances, my relationship with my kids, over everything. Hell, even the TV remote! I will never willingly give control over my life to anyone again.

    Sex. Last but definitely not least… Ex was the only lover I ever had before the divorce. By the time we separated his emotionless, mechanical use of my body as a sex object had destroyed any belief I had that I enjoyed sex. I know better now. It was him, not me. 😉

    • Im so proud of you Beth!! I was a faithful wife and (even though I had other lovers before marriage) I was TOTALLY faithful to him alone for 26+ years (while he was regularly side-fucking) and he sullied my concept of sex and a few nasty things he said about me undermined my confidence. I now choose to not even think of those years with him…horrible to even think of. I now have a sweet husband with whom I get to rewrite my story and how we enjoy each other.

      • Unicorn No More,
        Thank you for many of the things you have said to me. Maybe the most important thing is that you took back your ability to trust again. It speaks miles as to how far you are in your journey.
        Hugs, Bales

      • Unicorn No More,
        Thank you for many of the things you have said to me. Maybe the most important thing is that you took back your ability to trust again. It speaks miles as to how far you are in your journey.
        Hugs, Bales

      • UNM, thank you my friend. I love your stories of your sweet husband and how you’ve rewritten the story of your life with him. You give me hope.

    • I will take back sex. It’s a trigger to even read the word and your description of the mechanical use of you.

      After DDay I found out my husband posted intimate pictures he’d taken of me (I was a willing participant in taking them at the time) without my consent to Reddit on a “share my wife” thread. I had no idea he was using me in such a way. I thought it was just one of the ways he was capturing the moment for his own future reference… not to share with at least 800 people online.

      Finding myself online sent me into a flat spin! I’m not ready to take back sex yet, but I will!!!

      • OTED, that is truly horrifying. I’m so sorry that happened to you! It took four years for me to be ready to reclaim sex. Four years and a lot of therapy! In my case, a guy I knew in middle school, who I had been FB friends with for years (so I knew he was divorced and had been for years) and who lived in another state started communicating back and forth and it evolved into a short term FWB situation. There was nothing beyond friendship on both sides so for me it was a safe space to explore since he wasn’t a part of my every day life. If it didn’t work I wasn’t going to be running into him at the grocery. ???? Luckily it worked out just fine so no regrets there and a true sense of relief that it really wasn’t true that I was “cold”, “frigid” and whatever else ex said and thought about me. But… just sex, even good sex isn’t enough for me. I want to experience not just sex but making love to someone with whom I have an emotional bond as well as a physical one. Maybe it will happen someday. I’m willing to wait for it.

        • It’s been almost 12 months of separation for me, formalities of divorce to be concluded. A year of pick me beforehand. I’ve been grey – boring logistical business – rock since separating. I’m not self medicating with “dates” and I am not stuck in the loop of trauma/scar picking.

          Essential to healing, moving forward and eventually taking back not only sex but love making, is focussing on my own process.

          The breach of trust hit me hard. It was far worse to find he’d been doing this “when things were good”, than it was to be betrayed by him sneaking with other (3) women. You know your picker was broke when you think your first husband who punched you in the face was better.

          One day I’ll take back intimacy in the bedroom, but until then… my kids, my friends, my family, my work, my garden, my hobbies and my peace are what I’ll invest in.

          Thank you for the hope you bring!

  • I still loathe the city of Seattle, its a shithole as far as Im concerned…I will reconsider if something about life changes.

    I still deplore the word “connection” and I avoid as much Chinese stuff as I can.

    That said, the thing I reclaimed that is much bigger than China and Seattle combined is my willingness and ability to love and trust. I have found love with a trustworthy man who I dont have to monitor and life is lovely.

    If I had allowed him to steal my willingness to love or trust, I would have let him take way too much.

    • Ann Arbor Michigan. Can’t stand the place. Schmoopie went to school there and possibly grew up there. Whatever football team they are playing against, that’s the one I am rooting for. My parents also met there in graduate school so it should be a happy place but Ex and Schmoopie have forever ruined it. Anybody who went to U-Mich as an undergrad is a POS. Of course I don’t really think that. There are probably chumps who went there as well and didn’t like Schmoopie when they knew her in college because she was such a self centered slut.

      • I pronounce you an official Buckeye fan. You don’t even have to root for the Buckeyes, just root against TTUN (That Team Up North). 😀

        • My stbx (and the howorker) work for THE university and our season tickets for football and b-ball were excellent. This year I didn’t go to a single game for the first time in 39 years. I even had a hard time watching games on tv. I want to reclaim enjoying college games. The final hearing is next month. I will be ready for next season.

          • NMPC,
            I feel your pain re the games. My family has had season tickets to Buckeye football for years and ex and I were the ones who used them. I haven’t been to a game since DDay#2 in 2012. It took a season or two before I could watch them play on TV. Maybe I’ll be able to go to a game again one day but this is one thing I’m not pressuring myself to re-claim since it still tends to trigger PTSD symptoms for some reason. In the meantime, my kids and their friends have enjoyed the family tickets and I have the satisfaction of knowing that ex and his stripper felon fiancé will never have tickets as good as mine.

  • I am still a newbie (7 weeks post D-Day) but she’s gone and I’m fairly convinced her and Schmoopie are now ‘an item.’ I have much to reclaim the biggest of which is Ru Paul Drag Race… yes really. Ex and Schmoopie met on a RPDR fan site (I know, I literally can’t type that without cringing- painfully pathetic) so that feels really raw. But I love Ru so I’ll be back. Also the cat, who is all mine now, is named after a queen so can’t ignore it forever.

    I also have to reclaim NYC. We got engaged there and it took on such special meaning. I’m not gonna lose such a great city and am planning a glorious return either with my best friend or alone. It’s going to be mine now.

    • If the series is still too much (I still can only follow All Stars) listen to the Podcast “What’s The Tee” with Ru and Michelle; she tells stories about how she survived toxic relationships, and the conversations about Lace-fronts are just cathartic.

    • Hey, LesboChump, glad to meet you even though I’m sorry you needed to join our group. I love CL and CN, but not much rainbow love being talked about here (except when a chump gets angry that their X cheated on them with another man). I’m three years out and doing much better, but (obviously) still come here for support. Hang in there. It gets better. 🙂

      • You’re right about that. I am glad you are both here and I support you as you go through this. Thanks for reaching out. ⭐

        • Thanks both of you. You’re right about the lack of rainbow diversity but I actually think a lot of ex’s problems stem from toxic masculinity and her eternal need to prove her own worth and attractiveness to herself and the world. I see so much of her in other chump’s tales of midlife crisis men. Apart from her crisis was figuring out herself/ masculinity and testing that self on a string of bicurious baby gays… I wasn’t gonna stick around why she figured it out though- I already know who I am. Thanks again for the welcome

    • Welcome, sister LesboChunp, to the club none of us wanted to join. At least I have never been tempted to spend hundreds of dollars in the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, because I doubt I would feel at home in those groups – esp. the ones like Affair Recovery that have such a strong faith component. Anyway, hugs to you and your queenie cat, and wishing you the greatest clarity as you journey to Meh.

  • My cottage lake( the cottage had to be sold because d-i-v-o-r-c-e). I was riding my motorcycle with my club and cried in my helmet as we approached the cottage road but I took it back and enjoyed myself at a member’s cottage on the same lake.

    Oh and Can I Have this Dance by Anne Murray( yup I’m THAT OLD). I sing it at karaoke now ????

  • I haven’t yet been able to stop a panic attack from happening when I see a green Chevy Trailblazer.

  • I have to take back New York where we renewed vows ( pick me dance) in Central Park on our 30th anniversary. I’ll hopefully bring my lovely new boyfriend. I love New York —home for a community theatre geek like me. I’m on stage right now doing A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

  • Ver apropos as I am about to take son on a mini spring break trip next place to a place where I had vacation with fuckwit on 2 occasions. I will likely have some ptsd so I am preparing myself to disguise this from son. This is also a place I vacationed with my family when I was young and where I spent my 16th birthday so I hope to impart the good memories to son who has never been there an very excited to go. A friend of older son’s goes to college nearby and we will have dinner with him so new faces for my memory bank.

    It is a conundrum of sorts that a vacation takes so much mental effort.

  • I still have so many triggers. But I’ve come a long way. Things I’ve taken back:
    – self-confidence
    – boundaries
    – being able to love another man
    – my figure (losing weight and feeling good)
    – singing to myself in the shower and wherever (ex always hated it)

    Things I don’t need/want to take back:
    – military stuff
    – deafeningly loud muscle cars
    – so many more things

  • The sushi place down the street from my house. We would go there for Christmas, Voldemort deliberately picked a fight with me and ended the marriage right before we went there for Christmas that last time. So a couple years later, Colorado Chump Nation joined me for Christmas dinner there. It’s now a holiday I look forward to and enjoy. No stress, no mess, no cheater, no problem. And I get to be around people who are worth it. ????????????????????????????????????????❤????

  • I would love to back my:

    Adventurous attitude
    Hunger for learning new things
    My energy
    My creativity ( I’m numb and neither painting, nor photography brings me pleasure…. I just can’t push myself towards buying paint and starting????)
    My patience ( I went from the queen of patience and easy going to angry screaming monster…. poor kids don’t even remember calm mom)

    • It sounds like you may not be that far out from DDay. You need to practice self care and know that it will get better. Try to get back to easy going with the kids even if not with the adults in your life. Let them be your refuge. They are probably hurting too and you can take comfort in each other. Plan fun activities with them and use that to redirect your focus to something more positive. Right now they are the most important thing in your life. Let them know you love them. Cheater is nothing. Do your best to ignore his existence as much as you are able. You are still you inside. Hang in there. It will get better.

      • Chumpinrecovery

        Thank you… I try… it’s better… and worse… and better…
        I’m just beaten up to the ground….
        Yes, my children… poor souls… trying my best, but when u are shadow of yourselves, the best is not exactly a high ground

  • I took back Maine. My family has a summer cottage there. I grew up going to Maine almost every summer. Ex and I shared our first kiss there. We also got engaged there and then we got married there. We continued to visit about every other year once we were married, sharing it with the kids after they came along. The first time I went with the kids without him, just a couple of months before the divorce was final, I was afraid it would be a trigger and I would just be miserable the whole time. I was very wrong. Maine preceded him and it will continue to be a part of my life now that he is gone. Maine was always mine and it’s still mine. Honestly, he didn’t even like Maine anymore the last few times we went. He was pissed because when we set up the LLC to manage the property among the cousins it was set up so that shares could only pass to direct descendants of the original owners. Then he proceeded to demonstrate exactly why it was set up that way. In any case, now I can go there without listening to him gripe about everything that isn’t perfect about the house or the location or the weather or whatever. Come to think of it, it was mostly raining the last few times he came along but we had beautiful weather the two summers we have gone without him. The kids still love it too.

    • That’s so funny! I took back Maine, too! Maine is where I met my ex . . . working together the summer of ’77. We went back many, many times . . . including summer and winter vacations with our children. The day after DDay, I canceled a planned upcoming trip with our grown children. Just couldn’t imagine or stomach the idea of going without an “intact” family. Two months later, two girlfriends invited me on a trip to Maine. I hesitated but then was convinced to go . . . and, of course, ended up shedding lots and lots of tears. I was so very angry that my beloved Maine had been “ruined” for me! Now, nearly 5 years later, I am involved with a wonderful man whom I grew up with. And, amazingly, he now lives in Maine! It has been 2 1/2 years of a long-distance relationship, and I now am planning to sell my house and move up full-time next year. Something I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined. Yes, wonderful things can emerge from the once horrible!

  • I took back New Orleans maybe three years ago– when I was a newer resident of Meh-ville, and the ground still felt a little shaky under my feet. It was at first haunting, and then empowering to walk the same streets, remembering stupid fights and my confusion that we weren’t having more fun together in this incomparable city.

    It was important to take back because “New Orleans” loomed like a bad omen as I went through the confusion and pain of the “Nice-Guy Cheater Passive-Aggressive Discard.” The sniping, the whining, the moods, the loss of interest not only in sex, but any hugging or touching or kissing. “It all went wrong after New Orleans,” I would think, mystified.

    Oh, it’s all so simple once you know the Schmoopie timeline!

    My sister just got back from London, and I realized while she was there that THAT is the place I really have to return to and conquer. But it is expensive, so I can put that on hold a bit. Right now I am enjoying spending all my money on my house!

    And that’s important too. I LOVE MY HOUSE! My little garden, my happy porches, my cats who love to snuggle and snooze. Courage, Newbies! Meh is so beautiful when you get there!

  • The funny thing is, I never felt like I had to take much back. He was a complete bore/snooze and sociopath and he basically absorbed my personality/interests. He didn’t have many things that were “his.” It was more things that we did (which most were my idea anyway). I did do a good deal of retracing as a mighty and meh single lady. I took back:

    -Portugal: where we went on our honeymoon. A really great friend and I went on a fabulous trip there. It’s my favorite vacation destination and I plan to retire there.
    -San Francisco: another vacation destination. I live here now.

    Going back and making my own memories was a really cathartic exercise.

  • My stbx met his AP at AA. She was a well known 13th stepper.
    I still refuse to go back to our old home group where they met…but I did find a nice ladies group to get my 5 year coin.

    Moving on…

    • Congratulations, Marge! “13th stepper” is hilarious (I mean that in only the most comedic fashion). I have some friends in AA and they explained the 13th steppers to me. Is anything sacred? Enjoy your new group free of fuckwits, and easy does it!

  • I hate Buffalo. The ow is from a suburb of Buffalo and is appropriately crowned the whore of. I shall never go there again in this lifetime. But hey, it Buffalo so no loss. More a throwback than a take back. My take back is pretty much a full and decent life where I don’t have some boring, unexciting yet bossy and demanding guy controlling my day. Like living with a black cloud. I love living in my man free girl world doing my thing. It still annoys him no end how I do go on lol.

    • I hate Buffalo, too! I live in a suburb of Buffalo, but this is cheaters hometown and not mine. My hometown is Milwaukee. I moved to Buffalo for the cheater as he had me 100% convinced that I was his “soulmate, love of his life, woman of his dreams, the perfect woman for him, and the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with and grow old and gray with”. Yes, he said all those exact words, plus more. Now I know that was all love bombing words to hook me in and to let my guard down. I have no doubt that I was one of many, many soulmates over 23+ years. I hope and pray to knock the dust of this city off my shoes one day and never have to return again.

  • I took back my financial security. No more paying for a manchilds toys( 1970 Dodge Dart, Motorcycle, tractors etc.). He kept most of his paychecks to himself. It takes quite a bit of cash to go out 4 nights a week to play pool with a skankella. I took back my mental health. I am happier and find joy in my life. I still have those days where I am haunted by Skankella and the lies. But, I remind myself that I am so much better without a man in my life that thought it was ok to have an affair with your wife’s cousin. I am worth so much more.

    • Cuzchump aint it great when they get their own credit card bills! It’s wonderful that I’m no longer paying for his toys either!

  • Things next on my list-
    There is a little restaurant in downtown that’s really cute and unique that I used to love. I loved it until I got to see my (now) ex and Prince Cheating fooling around there (and in the disgusting alley behind it) on the video taken by the private investigator.
    I haven’t been there since. I loved that little place, and doggone it, I’m going to make it back there one day.
    Things I have taken back-
    Anything associated with the summer of 1999. That was apparently when the first one (there were several) started. We were newlyweds, and it was when an otherwise idyllic time for us suddenly changed, as she started acting very strange and distant. I didn’t find out the the truth for years.
    I just kept thinking about these things until I couldn’t care less. There was a stupid song on the radio (“Steal My Sunshine”) that in particular bugged me. I listened to it a bunch until it didn’t bother me any more.

    Things I am still working on-
    Several of the AP’s were married police officers. I’m still dealing with the absolute disgust with anything to do with them.

    • I need to work on that as well –
      My XW is a police officer. She was screwing another married officer. These days, I look at the whole lot as nothing but egotistical, immature, immoral assholes.

      • My ex used to say “Cops are the BIGGEST cheaters.”
        I had no idea she was contributing to the problem 😐 .

  • I’m working to take back the city. He led his other life downtown, he had become known in the gay community (gay cheating)- not known that he had a wife and 3 young children in burbs. He and Sparkledick were a well established couple there. My lawyer is in the city, the courthouse I first saw him after having his ass thrown out also in the city. I struggle every time I’m there.

    • This spring I took back the Cape Verde Islamds. Went there two years ago he was as miserable as fook. I was constantly trying to eek some enjoyment out of the day. He did his best to suck any fun out. He didn’t complain outright but was hardly engaged about anything. Helped me in a kind of perfunctory way with sorting out the apartment I own. I felt bad for my daughter it was her family holiday too but as per usual he can turn on the charm for her and pretty much ignore me at the same time. I have just been back with the friend I own the place with. We chilled out, had an explore, had a laugh. Easy company that saw the positives. Firmly taken back. Boom!

  • What is it with cars? I can’t see a Land Rover discovery without shouting “C**TS” when I’m driving, but this is a step in the right direction – at the beginning I would have to pull over and have a meltdown. Unfortunately there’s bloody loads of them!!

  • (Had something typed out and the whole thing deleted…grr…)

    *ahem* Everything. I am taking back EVERYTHING.

    I feel like over the last decade of my life several shit relationships have taken from me, broken me, or chipped away at the core of who I was. I met my (ex) husband when I was 22 (before him, I was with an abusive, serial cheater and porn addict who cheated with 6+ people and told me he’d rather have porn than be with me. I had to take him to court to get him to leave me alone though…at freakin’ 22.)

    But I spent the bulk of my 20’s with the husband I am now divorced from. Met at 22, married at 25, moved to a new city/state immediately following the honeymoon, divorced by 27. My ex husband wanted a “polyamorous” marriage…I did not. (I swear to fucking god if I never hear that word again it will be too fucking soon…) But the poly bullshit was actually the straw that broke my back. The nail in the coffin, the last drop of poison that killed the union.

    The thing that really started driving me to question if there was something…better for me out there was there was just no room for me left in my own marriage. After moving, I tried to make new friends. He would swoop in and next thing I knew, they were on his fb, they were texting him, they were inviting him places and just assuming I’d be there. My own name even started vanishing. I wasn’t me, I was -His Name’s-wife. I said I have a name y’know and it was oh, Mrs. -His Name-.

    I couldn’t have my own interests or hobbies. He would absorb them all. If there was something I liked doing, he’d take it over, absorb it too, and I’d get shoved out of my own hobbies because he’d just get more and more involved until I didn’t even enjoy it anymore because I couldn’t do anything without him being there. The interests he didn’t absorb I just didn’t get to have either because HE didn’t want to hear about it. I wanted to learn French, tried to tell him about the words I’d leard, it was “I don’t know what any of that means I don’t want to hear it. Stop talking about that.” I really like reptiles and watched the Crocodile Hunter a lot, it was “I don’t want to hear you talk about crocodiles. You can talk about it for 5 mintues then you have to talk about something else.” I had to have interests that involved him, fully, 100%, or not talk about them at all. I felt like my whole self was just disappearing.

    The guy I dated after him was so abusive I still deal with PTSD. I am triggered by men yelling at me and the silent treatment (because my ex’s tirades were preceeded by extended silences.) That relationship broke me so hard I don’t know how I made it out of that hole. It was worse than my ex husband absorbing my identity. Anything I liked that my ex didn’t, you bet he’d never miss an opportunity to shit on it and tell me every reason why it was stupid. He was always right. None of my thoughts or opinions mattered. Sometimes he would cut off my sentences on purpose just to get me to shut up. When it came to politics, it was “Oh do you think you sound smart? Huh? You’re just trying to sound smart but you don’t know what you’re talking about!” (I have a bachelor’s degree in political science…) I couldn’t wear shoes I liked because how dare I go outside wearing heels when he’s not with me, I was constantly scared to look “too pretty” because who’s attention was I trying to get? I couldn’t go to see friends that weren’t female because “everyone” would think I was a whore and they’re all already saying he’s crazy for dating me. I shrank and shrank and shrank to appease this man but I could never become small enough to not piss him off.

    I felt for so long what’s wrong with me…why am I not ever good enough? I wasn’t a porn star for my ex, I wasn’t as good as multiple women for my husband, nothing I ever did was enough to make the other ex stop yelling at me. Once I gained a little confidence I tried dating and I ran into men who would want sex, but “Oh, I’m just not ready for a relationship RIGHT NOW,” then I find out about the girlfriends they “just happened” to meet either very shortly after telling me this or the ones they didn’t mention because “well it just didn’t come up.” I felt like the good enough for sex but not good enough for anything else girl.

    And I. AM. DONE. WITH. THAT.

    Because. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. It is NOT me. It is NOT my problem if some asshole decides it’s okay to be dishonest with women. It is him, and I have no time for that kind of immaturity. It is NOT my problem if someone like my abusive ex is so angry and hates himself so much that the only way he can feel good about anything is aggression. It is NOT my problem if my ex husband can’t commit to one person or find his own personality, all the better I am no longer part of that.

    I have taken back my own interests and found new ones. I am no longer shy or afraid to discuss the things I enjoy (you bet your ass I will talk about crocodiles for as long as I damn well please.) I will not let anyone tell me I am not smart, especially when it comes to something I know I have expertise. I will not waste time with men who want sex but shuffle their feet about commitment. If a man raises his hand or voice? BYE BOI, DOOR IS THAT WAY.

    I actually have been trying a dating app again, and I met a guy that allowed me to put this new strength into action. He seemed cool, and we got along, went on a few dates…but then he said “You’re kinda intimidating, I hope I’m up to the challenge.” Nope. Gone. Bye. Kicked to the curb. Every man who has ever called me intimidating has eventually expected me to diminish myself to make him comfortable. And I will not. Do. That. Ever. Again.

    And here is some good news:

    I have met someone who makes me feel amazing being myself. He likes asking me my perspectives on different things, even if he doesn’t agree, he still wants to know. (We both like Marvel movies, but like different characters and aspects of them, and we have long discussions about story arcs and why we like each character. Same with Game of Thrones, anime…)

    And it doesn’t feel like he’s stealing my personality, because we both had these interests before we met, we just happen to share them. (Not sure how to explain that…I hope y’all get what I mean.)

    He’s not an artist, but he loves my art and encourages me and asks about when my art shows are. He doesn’t call me intimidating or challenging or treat me like my personality is weird. He said “I like we nerd the same.” I said “Your nerd matches my nerd.” (For those who are familiar, he feels like Wade Wilson to my Vanessa.)

    I took my fucking personality back, I took my life back, I took my strength back. Everything.

    • I have never heard of someone who absorbs all your interests. Do you know what that is all about? He didn’t want you to enjoy anything or he couldn’t stand for you to be interested in anything outside of him? I’ve been in relationships that I was to learn/be interested in their interests but never one that took over mine or showed any interest – that’s a different kind of manipulation.

      I am glad you are being You again because it is hard to do that after the manipulation and abuse.

  • I’m taking back the beautiful Oregon coast. It was my home for 20 years with A-hole (Montana is home now), but my son and his family are still there and I had panic attacks the first few times I would leave Portland to visit. 3 years out now and I can get on HWY’s 26, 6 and 101 without crying hysterically and actually enjoy the beautiful drive.
    Things I am working on –
    Watching movies like Dr. Zhivago and Schindlers List. I was watching them on both ddays, 20 years apart.
    Jersey cows. I loved them before him!
    Good wine. Haven’t missed it as much as I thought.
    My own sexuality. Sucks REALLY big to be married to a closeted gay man who led me to believe our crappy sex life was ALL my fault. Mindfuckery at it’s finest.

  • Since going no contact I’ve taken back my ability to think clearly. That is when my true healing started.
    My house
    My will to live
    I am almost back to listening to music
    Home Depot
    Barely scratched the surface… but on my way

  • Definitely Key West and seven course dinners paired with great craft beers. That MOFO took these, and many more, and did them with his APs. I introduced these to him.

    • The Keys!!! Four months before the discard, we went to the Keys with my three kids and their people. We had the best time! (Well.. the kids and I had a great time; in typical cheater discard style, he was a bitch and complained about everything) We rented a boat and went fishing and snorkling and exploring many of the Keys. I wonder if I will ever want to go back.

    • I’m sorry that happened to you; my X did something similar but more subtly–it was clear that if he did not get regular sex, he would cheat (ha, was already cheating, possibly since month 3 of the marriage). Your X is an asshole; cheaters violate every aspect of our inner sanctum.

    • So, so rapey.

      I am so sorry. He’s a monster.

      I support you. Yes, take your body right back! Yours and nobody else’s!

  • I took back backpacking in Europe, Rick Steves style. The cheater and I went on two European backpacking trips. We had a blast and I was hooked on traveling light and “through the back door”.

    Last summer my daughter and I went on a three week European backpacking vacation. I planned the entire vacation on my own, but it wasn’t hard at all for me to do this, because I always planned our family vacations pretty much on my own. And our family vacations always involved a lot of planning, so I’m very good at it. 🙂

    We flew into Paris and I rented a car so that we could get to Normandy, Versailles and Monet’s gardens easily. I was so proud of myself for driving in a foreign country and being able to figure things out. We returned the car in Paris and I survived driving around a very large traffic circle during rush hour. My daughter and I laughed and laughed while we were in the circle as it was so crazy. Together we figured out how to use the subway system. This was big for me as the cheater always took care of figuring out the subways. So I took back Paris too as the cheater and I went there two times together. When I went to Versailles with the cheater, we went in the off season so the gardens were not in bloom and nothing was going on outside to do. We said to each other that we would go back someday in the summer, so we could get to see what it looked like during that season. So I took back Versailles with my daughter and we got the full experience, including rowing a boat on the Grand Canal!!

    After Paris, we flew to Cologne, Germany and I once again figured out the train system all by myself. We took a train to Nuremberg and then onto Berlin. Flight to Krakow, Poland and then back home. I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 My daughter and I had the best time together. We visited a few places I had already gone to with the cheater, but we also went to six cities I never visited with him and I was able to check off a ton of my bucket list destinations.

    Two years ago I took my kids to New Orleans, which was a city the cheater and I planned to go to one day. It was weird thinking about going on a family vacation without the cheater. But we had a ton of fun and I didn’t miss him one bit. I didn’t miss him working on our family vacations. I didn’t miss texting ho-workers on our family vacations. On one vacation we went rappelling with a group of about ten people. It was a full day excursion. The cheater latched on to an attractive German young lady. He hung around her and showed off most of the day. Both of my kids said to me, “Why isn’t dad hanging around and walking with us?” I said I didn’t know, but I did know. This is how he acted with women when we weren’t around and it was shocking and hurtful to see him acting this way in front of me and our children. We got into a fight about his behavior that night and of course he twisted it all around back on me. That night I couldn’t sleep, so I left where we were staying and walked the streets for hours. That was the first time I ever said to myself that I can’t live like this anymore and was thinking about divorcing him. But of course I didn’t and he eventually discarded me for the whore I caught him out on a date with.

    So I took vacationing back! I can do it without him and the kids and I still have a blast!

    • Ok I just triggered at texting/ emailing ho-workers on family vacations. When I look back with what I know now… why did I stay after dday 1.
      But here I am, retired and ready to travel without my travel partner. I want to visit all the places that I had planned to see. I just have to figure out solo travel.

  • Things I’m taking back:

    Northeast Texas
    My sanity
    Being me
    Watching what the fuck I want when I want

    After D-Day, I left Virginia I moved back to Northeast Texas (where I was born and raised and met my stbx) This is where went to high school together, met ,“dated” and got married in the same area, I also had our first son here. Now 18 years later I’m back and our three kids go to the same elementary and high school. The majority of our relatives live here, so it’s been a blessing for me and the kids to have the support, but it’s been also a curse for me because all the memories surround me and sometimes it’s a bit much. Needless to say I’m grateful but I’m ready to move after I get on my feet.

    Things I won’t take back:

    Constant care of a man child
    Commonwealth of Virginia (Yuck)
    Rick and Morty
    Constant Judgment
    Fake and Fickle

  • Chinese women. Chinese New Year. Potstickers. Chinese food. Christmas parties. Carpooling. Pier 1 and their fripperies. Electric keyboards. White Jeeps.

    Ugly bitches with perms and makeup and whorenails and boring, trendy accessories to distract your attention away from their hollow personalities. MLM parties of any trendy thing. Jeeps. Professional victims. Bar-hopping. Flare-leg pants, especially when they involve spandex. Ankle boots filled with fat ankles pouring out. Fake devotion to trendy charitable causes.
    I can now cook better Chinese food than any restaurant. The local Chinese grocery store’s staff know me and love me and set aside all kinds of good stuff for me, at a discount. I’ve learned some pleasantries in Chinese. Our favorite Chinese place? The owner asked why I didn’t come much anymore and I told her. She’ll stop in HERE for and raves about my Chinese food. And I make the most amazing, intricate potstickers any of us have ever had. We’ll watch a movie and make tiny, circular pinches around hundreds of potstickers for hours.

    Christmas parties haven’t been gotten over yet. I always seem to work for Jewish or Muslim employers so it’s avoided entirely.

    The rest? Easily things I don’t care to participate in or don’t want to have. The jeep-whore connection plays out to the self-made stereotype pretty often. That amuses me. (It doesn’t go both directions but, at least in our area – male or female – a cheater OFTEN tends to have a Jeep. I’m not saying that people with Jeeps are whores; just that whores tend to LOVE and BE OBSESSED WITH always.having.a.Jeep.)

    • It’s true – mine has a red Jeep….. when we were ‘wreckonsiling’ I told him I wanted him to get rid of it…..he said he would. He didn’t….. I got rid of him.

    • My XW bought a Jeep too, which, with the affair timeline, means she was screwing Sgt. Sugardick at the time. Go figure.

  • When we divorced, we sold our home and split the money. We also owned a cottage and both loved it. Neither had the money to buy the other out and we both agreed it was something our children loved and should someday inherit. So, we kept it and share time there. This was incredibly hard the first few years. During his time there, he always had another woman (they changed about annually). They would leave something personal there and some rearranged my kitchen. I would spend my first day of my time there putting things where they belonged and throwing out their stuff. I used to be hurt, angry, sad.

    But now, 8 years have passed and nothing is left by the latest whoever. I don’t feel any of these old emotions. The kids, their friends, my friends join us for part of the time and we all can enjoy the lake and all that the countryside offers. I have reclaimed my cottage and my happy nature.

  • I took Hawaii 🙂

    I had always wanted to go to Hawaii, but we could never afford it because we were always “bleeding” money…even our wedding reception was Hawaii-themed!

    So, one month after he moved out, I sold my engagement ring and took my then 9yo son to Oahu. The experience was everything I thought it would be! Such amazing people and lifestyle!

    Mr. Sparkles then went with the OW because she had a work-related trade show conference on the Big Island and he’s a parasite. He actually brought a t-shirt back for our son even though we had just been there the summer prior. Asswipe.

    Then, I went back two years later (solo) to celebrate my 50th.

    And then, I went back this past fall with my son to explore more of Oahu and Maui.

    I’m going back again (solo) in July for work/vacation. And, I hope to retire there now (15 years).

    To clarify, I didn’t win the lottery… but it is amazing how much money I have now that I don’t have a cheating parasite on my back. I can travel affordably and I’m creating great memories for me and my son to last a lifetime.


  • As I read through the comments I realize that thankfully there are only a few things that trigger me these days. At the start everything was a trigger. Now I’m in a more comfortable head space regarding shared experiences with the Narcstar.

    I want to take back all of the music. I love music, it is my life and aside from a few tracks I have mostly regained all of it.

    I need to reclaim Paris and London eventually. We went last March for my birthday, a trip I’ve wanted to take since I was a child. That memory tainted by him wishing he was with The Cumpster the entire time. And him screaming at me outside Kings Cross Station for saying Hi to a family friend on the phone.

    I made a conscience effort to keep all the things I enjoyed even if his filthy presence had touched it. He stole 13 years of my life, and a future I had planned for. He doesn’t get to steal anything else from me.

  • I have taken back –

    My Independence
    My Boundaries
    My Life!! I get to make all of the choices now!

    I get to make things happen now rather than waiting for him whether it’s going on vacation, fixing my house or whatever. He would always want to control everything. He wanted to do the house repairs himself but, of course, he never got around to it. Now I just do it myself or hire someone and it gets DONE!

    I still feel anxious when I’m in the old neighborhood (I have friends there) but I’m working on that. It’s getting better.

  • I took back my cat – literally allowed back in the house while asshole left the driveway. And I took back the house – took me years to wipe out assholes traces. I took back my daughter – worked years at self esteem issues. And, much later, my Son. I took back my Life, basically – improving each and every day

  • So many things…. I would like to take back the city of Saratoga Springs. “I” found the rental house for us there, and “I” found the house we eventually bought there, “I” did all the leg work to enroll the kids in schools, find a social network, church, doctors, etc. “He” poisoned it by bringing men into our house(s) for sex when I wasn’t there, allowing them to use our bed, our towels, sleeping with men in our church, hooking up in every seedy hotel on the Northway, meeting men for sex at the Dunkin donuts, etc. I can’t drive 5 miles without encountering something that was somehow involved in his 8+ years “living the life”. Each thing or place that is a trigger for me is a trophy for him. I loved that city, but I had to leave it to him. Now he has moved (court order to sell the house ) and lives in a different state, so this summer I take back the city! I am spending a few days there, hanging out with my girlfriends on summer evenings, like I used to, holdng my head high.

    • I reclaimed LA last weekend. He was “too busy” to allow me to join him for a business trip there a few years ago, but not so busy he couldn’t rent a red convertible, and spend a glorious and expensive 4 day weekend with his affair partner, touring the hills and wineries up north of LA. He even called me at one point for directions because “he” was lost! Haha.. they must have had a good laugh about that after he hung up… stupid unsuspecting wife, look how far I can make her jump!

  • I’m taking back my son’s birthday. I sat in the car two years ago on his 14th birthday with OW’s husband while he told me about the 4 year affair his wife (my friend) had with my husband. He gave me all the details like how he’d bring her to my house, or where our RV was stored, in our truck, in his classroom, etc. After sitting with him for two hours, I had to go to Birthday dinner for my son with all of our families and his friends. My son will be 16 this year. I’m taking his birthday back and I’m truly going to enjoy celebrating with him.

  • Such a good question. I stuck with the outdoor sport she got me into, even through it is a small community that includes her and her once AP now husband. That was was hard, but they don’t own it and it’s a great part of my life.

    I once could not drive into area where the affair took place without being triggered. I can do that now. I reclaimed me, my (metaphorical) spine, and sex.

    Thinking about reclamation brings up the flip side of that, it is what I dumped. Such freedom in tossing heavy non-essential stuff overboard Chumps. I am seven years out, and it took me awhile to realize I was compromising myself tolerating stuff connected to the cheater. I get to focus on things I like. Makes me feel lighter.

    – Switzerland friends. Nope, no more. Took me too long to do this. They are not bad people, some kinda suck, but they don’t get me.
    – The full Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. I know its subjective, but nuh-uh.
    – My ex-inlaws. This is complicated. They gave me support initially, are always nice to me, but ultimately they have defaulted to blood allegiance and follow my ex’s pretense that we are all cool now. Fuck no.
    – The biggest dump, and I do mean taking a huge satisfying dump here: getting rid of the idea that I need to be liked.

    • Thanks for this good comment Chumpion. I’m only a month out of Dday and I have a 2 year old daughter. Your post gave me a positive thought this morning: I do not need anybody in cheater’s orbit to like me. I’d like to take a big dump and release all that wasted energy worrying about her image management. Very refreshing, thank you.

  • There’s not much I want to take back. The highway entrance near the building where an OM worked? It took years to stop making the mental association. Edible Arrangements? I never thought much of fruit on a stick. Anything else associated with her affairs she’s welcome to. It obviously wasn’t anything on my radar.

    As someone posted above, I’m taking back my time and self-worth. Everything else is just stuff.

  • Things I’ve taken back:

    Our hiking spot, my daughter and I go out there for a picnic and a hike about 2-3 times a month.

    My independence – I’m loving being on my own.

    Music in general – I love and live for it. I was very close to losing my love for it with XH because he didn’t share that love with me. Ironically, he’s a musician. DD and I have gone to so many great concerts since he left. Go figure.

    Things I’ll leave behind:

    The town I currently live in and the entire state of Arizona for that matter– this was the place of our first weekend together, the place we moved to “start over” back in 2000, and the place that he drug us back to 5 years ago to isolate us and strand us out here in the middle of nowhere. Some of the former in-laws also live here. I cannot wait to leave this place and never come back. I’ve got about a year to go.

    Palm Springs, CA and Orange and San Diego Counties , aw Hell let’s just make it all of Southern California.

    Anything “Hippie” – No offense to any Hippies out there but I am a rocker chick, not a hippie chick. XH bragged to me that his new girl/soon to be new wife is a “cool Hippie chick” which I will never be. Maybe it will work out better for him this time around. I need to find myself a cool rocker guy that isn’t a narc asshole. LOL

    I’ve been working on getting myself off of beta blockers for anxiety, I have been down to ¼ of 1 pill once a day where I was taking 1 pill twice a day, within the next few weeks I am hoping to be off of it completely. The more NC I do the better it gets.

    • I am pretty nature-y, and I have actually grown to feel it’s an insult when someone calls me a hippie chick. I am aware that nowadays people say it in the context of their other fantasy images, much like one would say “sexy librarian” or “hot cheerleader” or “barely legal”, all of which is just gross and sexist and demeaning and grrrrrr. ????

    • Monimoni, I’m a rocker chic too.

      Totally took back my love of hair metal and leopard print. I wear as much of it as I want, fishnets and listen to Ratt as much as I want. He always put down my music as not real rock. I play in a band now with people who are as giddy for this stuff as I am. We can quote GNR or Crue lyrics and Waynes World all day long. Fuck him and his pretentious ass.

  • I took back:

    My love of live performances, especially grand opera.

    My love of spontaneous trips.

    My family (he didn’t like my family), who were incredibly generous and kind to him.

    The TV remote control!!!

  • I am not as far along as most of you Chumps… but am delighted to report that I am now actively aware of what will send me into orbit. Reclaiming and healing is ongoing.

    Bunny – The Cheater’s pet name for me. This upcoming holiday is especially egregious. ????

    The word ‘Explore.” – Never heard him use that word in our 19 years together until he came home from one of his “emergency Army trips” spouting off some dribble about needing to “explore” his options. I realized then that there was an OW and this word along with the advice stolen from a fortune cookie came right out of her teenybopper mouth.

    The Army – Sorry to say… but they protect their own. Most especially if it is a high-ranking officer and they have a shitload of money and time invested in them. (Twat Muffin is also in the Army. Double serving of shit sandwich).

    The US Virgin Islands – Twat Muffin: born and raised there. First item on the written 8-point List of my Deficits – presented to me before he left – was that I wouldn’t detonate my life and move there. Declaired inspiration came from the HGTV show “Caribbean Life.” Months later… after discovering “there were 3 of us in this marriage” <— (once so eloquently stated by Princess Diana), he claimed total COINCIDENCE (!!) that his sudden obsession to move there had anything to do with OW.

    The color purple – Only prickless pansies like purple.

    Gummy bears, Peeps, and Chicken Parmesan – As a bonus… Olive Garden along with that Brazilian steak place with the guys who wear the gaucho pants and poet blouses.

    Boston – Captain Cuntface lives there. Now he lives there too. For now. Until they make the USVI their little love nest. (“Happily ever after” for them will consist of dodging hurricanes and shuffling her 2 kids back and forth to NY where they live with her ex).

    *** NOTE TO SELF: To expend some pent-up angst and move this healing along, I probably need to gather up my besties and invest in the next ax-throwing session or Army-grade flamethrower experience offered by Group-on.

    • Chump Change, I NEVER post on here anymore but your comment literally had me spitting my drink out…. my stbx serial cheater LOVED the color purple and I LOATHED it! When we registered for our wedding, everything had to be purple which just made me want to barf- I felt like we were registering for college dorm decor, not our adult married life….
      Also, Olive Garden for me, too! When I found out over the phone that my marriage was a sham and that his current fuck buddy was “pregnant” (pregnant enough to get him to tell his wife and blow up the marriage but not pregnant enough to, you know, actually BE pregnant…. funny how that works), he was at Olive Garden. While I was begging him to please just explain to me what happened and please just come home, he brushed me off with a “I have to go, people are waiting on me at lunch.” !!!! Good news is that I’m a total foodie and Olive Garden is both cheap and classless to me (a theme in this story, I suppose).
      My life is pretty full without Olive Garden OR purple decor, and I’m pretty sure yours is, too!

      • RayRay –

        THANKS SO MUCH for writing! This is the first time that I have ever posted on this site (although I have been a voyeur of the voracious variety here for several months). Your return comments not only made ME laugh (especially trying to imagine a Puke Purple wedding)… but also made my day. ???? Thank-you!

        Here’s a story that you might appreciate:

        After finding out when we first got together that the Prickless Pansy liked purple, I inquired as to whether he liked light purple, dark purple, or ?? (It was actually more of a rhetorical question just to fill up a conversational void – no doubt while we were waiting for another free bucket of the Olive Garden nutritious iceberg lettuce salad. He surprised me by stating “royal purple.” I immediately thought to myself, “what guy knows or even cares about stupid shit like that?” but then made the appallingly bad decision that would come to haunt me for years to come: I praised his color-discerning brilliance while assuring him that his machismo remained intact and unquestioned.

        His next stop after Olive Garden that day HAD to have been to Walmart to purchase Crayola’s Ultimate Crayon Collection. 152 dazzling hues, shades, tones, and tints to be exact. We never had another bland conversation that included just “brown” or “orange” or “blue.” Descriptions were now “desert sand,” “fuchsia,” “raw sienna,” “burnt sienna,” and “periwinkle” along with 147 others.

        And THIS Type A bullshit was early in the game when we were both doing the pick-me polka with each other. 152 red flags ???? starring me right in the face! Or would that be 152 scarlet flags? Or maybe… 152 lobster flags…? Could have been 152 vermillion flags. In any event, it was a lot of fucking flags.

  • I have the marital home, which feels a bit haunted, but I am able to cope. My college-bound son lives with me, so it feels more like it belongs to me and him. Asshat hasn’t lived here in almost two years anyway.

    I find that I get hit with waves of sadness when I am in or near restaurants that the three of us used to frequent as a little family. I picked up a pizza at a favorite spot a month ago, and as I was waiting for it I stared at a table by the window. I could almost “see” us sitting there. I don’t know how else to describe it. Earlier this week I was in a business a few doors down from a restaurant that I had fond memories of. I sighed and teared up, and again could see the ghost of my car (which we always drove in as a family) in front of the restaurant, instead of right in front of me. I glanced over at the window and could see our favorite booth. Had to compose myself before I got out of the car. If I’m honest, any place of business that we have ever been to together is a bit triggering. I do not love him anymore, AT ALL, but I remember feeling safe and secure in his company at one time. It’s the realization that I might as well have been living in The Truman Show that gets to me.

    Proud of you ladies and gentlemen that are taking back what’s yours! I’ll get there too, someday.

    • I recently returned to a restaurant that my ex and I used to take the kids to for years on many Sunday’s after church. Hadn’t been there in about two years. The sisters who own and run the restaurant still recognized me and went on to tell me how my ex had been there the week before with the OW. They hated her. I mean they really, really hated her.

      That alone took back the restaurant for me.

      Remember how CL writes that what is important when questioning if something was real or not, it’s best to acknowledge that it was real for you. You felt safe at one point with him, it was real for you. Continue your grieving process, grieving the death of a person that you used to know but who is now gone.

  • There is not really any single thing that we shared or that he had that I feel a need to “take back” he took everything that was his, I kept everything that was mine and anything he left by mistake, I threw in a box and got it the hell out of my house on the morning of our divorce. Aside from buying some new camping gear and reclaiming certain spaces in my house and shop, there is nothing about his odor or essence that I miss.

    I wish he would slink out of the area and never come back, and since I’m not in control of that, Ill settle for ignoring his existence when I have my girls.

    In the meantime, I’m enjoying not having his stench in my house or on my property. No more BO and cigarette smoke or whiskey farts. No more holes in my walls from his gun racks and no more of his taking up space in my house or vehicles. No more cigarette butts littering my yard or vehicles.

    Honestly, I cannot think of a single thing I miss about him. At all.

  • During the year of “pick me” dancing throughout 2017, my STBXH’s behaviours became stranger, as did his growing criticisms of me. Because I seriously believed that I was dealing with a mental health issue when it came to my husband (as did just about everyone who knew him as he was acting so strangely), I spackled over a lot of the cruel things he said to me.

    One criticism he made of me was…”You don’t even like amusement parks. See, we’ve got nothing in common. I like amusement parks.”

    Yep, like I said, odd.

    Where the hell did that come from? At the time I recalled how he had gone to a major amusement park just over a year before in early summer of 2016 with some old buddies (for anyone in Ontario, you’ll be familiar with Canada’s Wonderland). My ex had just graduated from university, three years of study that I supported him through, when he suddenly announced that he was going. I remember telling him that I was hoping to go some time in the summer because I thought the kids might now be old enough to enjoy more of the rides. I laughed at how a group of mid-40s guys were going there on their own and wished him fun for the day while I stayed home with the kids. I figured that he’d just spent three hard years studying and now he deserved some silly fun.

    When my STBX left me for good at the end of 2017 is when I discovered the secret email account between him and the OW. In it he referenced the day they spend at Canada’s Wonderland as the day that he believed he fell in love with her. My heart broke as I learned just how far back this relationship actually went. It finally made sense why he made such an odd criticism of me. He associated her with fun (amusement parks) and cast me as the boring wife who would never be as much fun.

    Well, my kids each got a full season pass for Canada’s Wonderland for Christmas. Not only am I going to reclaim the amusement park, but I am going again and again with my beautiful children. At Christmas time, I was present when the kids told their dad about their gift, and I saw him visibly flinch. He isn’t aware that I discovered those emails and that I would be aware of his rendez-vous to C.W. with the O.W. Well, I will be there!!! Having lots of fun!!! With the people who matter most!!!

  • I took back my friends and my family. Also started participating in my hobbies, again. These NPD types try to isolate you from friends and family, fearing someone might tip you off as to how they see the NPD and the behavior etc.
    And, I get to play golf again, another thing that she was threatened by and hated. Anything that I was good at threatened her. If we were not doing something that was not all about her interests, she resented the hell out of it.
    And, I can now have pets, as she hated animals.

  • I took back Scotland last summer with my sister. I had always wanted to go there, the fuckwit went twice and had very good “reasons” not to take me. Of course he met up with Schmoopie there. The good news is that they were so busy banging they didn’t see anything of Edinburgh outside of the room they shared.

    I got to see everything else. I loved it. I was scared I would be triggered, but I wasn’t. All good.

    Things I am NOT interested in taking back:

    All of France(They tainted nearly every major city there with their activites, plus Schmoopie lives there with her chump husband)
    Jazz (in particular Stacey Kent)
    The state of MA (Schmoopie is from there)

    Things I am working on taking back:

    My passion for Rare Disease Advocacy (fuckwit didn’t want me anywhere near it, since it was how he hooked up with Schmoopie)
    The island of Curacao (he took another woman there)
    Washington, DC
    The French language (I sing in it, and there are some truly lovely arias/songs)

    I still get caught by triggers, even over two years after DDay. There are two episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” I cannot watch because they take place in Paris. My reaction is still strong and very visceral. Obviously I am still working on Meh.

    • I had to laugh at your mention of Stacey Kent ! I went to high school (Newark Academy in Livingston,NJ with her (part of a pack of mean girls) for a year. Her personal mythology was laughable-she was doing musical theater then but according to an interview she “discovered” her talent for singing later.

      • God, that is good to know. The only reason he liked Stacey is because she and Shmoopie looke remarkably alike. I always felt slightly guilty about transferring my disgust of the OW onto Stacey, but now I don’t feel so badly. Thank you!

  • Things I need to take back:

    The silly, stupid “50 Shades of Grey” books. (They read the first one together, and he had the cheek to recommend it to me before I knew about the affair. Afterward, when I realized she was the “friend” who had hooked him on the book, I tore it into tiny pieces and left the pile on his pillow.) It was getting hammered with those chump emotions so many times a day when it seemed like everyone on TV and in the office mentioned the books or movies.

    My husband’s hometown (the OW is also from there).

    Concerts (she loves going to them). I have gotten to an age where I don’t want the crowds and noise levels anyway, so I don’t mind not going. I just hate being reminded of her when I hear about concerts.

  • I definitely take back (and have been) my career ambitions. ‘Cause, you know, I just wasn’t supporting him enough. I’m also going to take back a couple– shared friends. After DDay I felt ashamed and confused and withdrew from social stuff. They knew I was suffering. I was blamed for the breakup and he did a pretty good job getting everyone to feel sorry for him! But now the secret Schmoop is out of the shadows and my friends realize what a POS he is!

  • I just love going to events in town and not being embarrassed by the asshole. Everyone knew him as “the American” but not for good reasons. I’m off to Cinque Terre in Italy on Sunday and I won’t have to worry about him embarrassing me ever again. Oh and yeah, he’s back near mommy in Pittsburgh. I’ll take living in France and holidaying in Cinque Terre any day!

  • I am a Sagittarius, born with a suitcase in my hand.
    Ex moaned and groaned about ” going away ” because he would rather stay at home for his meals.
    In the years he has been gone, I have walked the Great Wall of China, experienced India, been on a game
    safari in South Africa, wonderful Italy, the UK, and Australia.
    Next, a cruise to Iceland and Greenland.
    I have enjoyed every single minute of visiting this amazing world and its peoples.
    Thanks Ex for getting out of my way!

    I have also joined a Bridge group and met the most reciprocal, kind, and supportive people.
    My tribe!

  • CC the same for me! My ex embarrassed me a lot. His family thought I was uptight. How would they feel having to be the responsible one all the time? Some one had to drive his drunk ass home ????. Not my circus or monkeys anymore thank god!! No one criticizing or making fun of what I enjoy ????

  • I’m literally just about to take back our family holiday destination. The UK chumps will be familiar with centre parcs over here. We went multiple times since out little girl was born. Only 6 months after D-day he took my little girl, his OW, and her kid. Happy fucking family times. My little girl pulled a blinder and spent the whole long weekend being sick (my heart bled for her when I found out days later but also did an internal fist pump that she brought a dose of reality to the two cunts trying to play happy families).

    Tomorrow I’ll be taking my little girl there to meet one of my best friends there on her hen do (bachelorette party). Me and my mini me said we’ll do our own thing but dip in and out of the hen do when appropriate. I’m so glad we’re going to claim that back. I’ve even booked us to go back just me and her at xmas for the winter wonderland.

    Fuck him. Fuck them. Me and mini me got this shit!!!!

  • Taking back my Mexican heritage.

    Asshat didn’t like most real Mexican food, didn’t like my Mexican friends or family.

    Didn’t even like eating in a good Mexican restaurant, and bitched when it was my choice (MY birthday, etc.)

    lo mio es mio, pendejo.
    What is mine, is MINE. Asshole.

    • Andale chiquita!! Mucho amor, mami!!

      I take back my Spanish language and i speak it pretty good now (Dumbass is 1/2 Mexican and can’t speak it to save his life). Now I can converse with my oldest…we are still learning but its empowering!

      I take back myself…I completely lost her and now i am finding her very slowly.

      I take back my body…I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. Pair that up with a divorce and the weight just melted off. Now i check myself out in the mirror and give myself cudos! I also tell him to not check me out or I’m gonna tell his new wife (the OW) what he’s doing..cochino!

      I take back my life and my happiness….he was so boring and no fun…I have since added new tattoos and changed my hair color (blue) and hairstyle.

      I am CHINGONA!!! (badass) ????????????

  • I took back every damn thing Hannibal Lecher stole from me, except for 24 years and his tainted Switzerland friends.

    Best takebacks:
    LONDON!! Hannibal is British and we spent a lot of time in the UK, especially London. 9 months after D-day, went on a European vacation with another chump (KarmaExpress) and we met lots of British chumps on our path through London, to York, to Edinburgh.

    the song “Forever Young,” which was Hannibal’s anthem [should have been “Forever Immature,” or “Forever an Asshole”]

    My house–new furniture, rugs, pictures once he was no longer gracing the front steps.

  • I want to take back:
    -The lovely city where I married sparkledick so I can attend the literary festival held there;
    -The tender memories of my sons’ childhoods;
    -My love of cooking: I did so much for the fuckwit’s family that now cooking for others always makes me feel like an idiot, I do it with fear and without the love I used to give it;
    -Revisit Russia without the feeling that something is wrong with sparkles and being humiliated by him the whole trip (that I paid for)

    I have already taken back:
    -My desire to have a small farm (fuckwit was an agronomist, something I admired, but it turned out he was really a bureaucratic peacock): I have one, already have a well, fenced it, done all the measurements, built a shed and analysed the soil; working very hard correcting the soil and planning the planting for the next rainy season;
    -My confidence in planning my finances: fuckwit used to make me feel so incompetent. Little did I now where the sweat from my brow was being drained to.

  • I found out on holiday and immediately flew home. I’ve taken back airports, flying and holiday villas and just to make sure I had well and truly reclaimed those things I took 5 trips abroad last year !!

  • My ex had major mummy issues and was an autogynophile, got off on wearing sexy women’s underwear ie mine. I humoured it for a while until I realised it was coming from a very dark place.

    His signature Hoover move was buying me underwear. When we first hooked up he told me his mum and dad taught him the importance of buying a full set for your wife with a spare pair of pants or two.

    I didn’t buy my own underwear for 15 years. He had pretty good taste for the day to day stuff and I managed to get him buying decent stuff for the sexy wear over time. There was a lot of holey tat as well though.

    When I finally discarded him after 15 years of perpetual cheating (I thought there were 3 or 4 one offs for only 7 years, little did I know until I did the forensics after D Day) I found the last affair of 3 years all over Instagram wearing the same set of underwear he’d been buying me in various colours, in my favourite colour way no less! He’d get a two for one deal buying this underwear on our joint credit card! For 3 years!

    Then I found purchases from plus size (I’m not plus size but she sure is) on our joint credit card! And $100 lunches at his work local to boot. Every week. He told me it was craft beer and smokes. It was boozy lunches while I worked my arse off earning 3 times more than him and we continued to slide into debt.

    Then, the kicker. When we split but we’re still sharing home, I threw out all the sexy tacky underwear on rubbish collection day so he couldn’t retrieve it. I kept the sexy stuff I liked and would wear day to day.

    For the last 6 months I’ve been looking for some of that stuff to wear under my clothes (amazing shape wear and slips). I’ve become friends with his other OW who figured he was cheating on her so reached out to me. He’d been buying her underwear for the last year too as well as the other one and me (we’d only been split 7 months at this point). As we unpacked the underwear obsession together and I taught her about the cycle of abuse and the gift giving of the love bomb and his autogynophilia (yes he’d bought her some too and presented it to her by wearing it while presenting it to her with a smutty card!) she went into her drawers and asked me if this slip happened to be mine!

    Oh yes it was! And some of that amazing (and expensive) shapewear I loved. He’d given her more but she’d thrown it out as didn’t fit her (she’s two sizes smaller than me) and it wasn’t her thing. The rest of the shapewear no doubt went to schmoopie of last 3 years he’s been left with as we’ve both well and truly discarded him now.

    I confronted him about it. Because well that’s just wierd giving your girlfriends (plural) your ex wife’s underwear. Do you know what he said? He said “but you threw to away!”

    2 things here. That doesn’t make it ok to gift my used underwear to the women you are wooing. That’s even weirder that you would take it from the trash so still not ok(he drove off at this point in a rage ????????). Second thing, I definitely did not throw it away as I know what I threw out and I binned it 1 hour before the trash was collected. So justifying it as somehow my fault (but you didn’t want it babe ???? barf) (please don’t call me babe btw) is next level fuckinG WIERD!!!

    Needless to say that favourite set he would buy me for a love bomb over the last few years while getting a set for plus size schmoopie to wear all over insta (I certainly don’t let it peep out from under my clothes cos that’s just tacky af) comes in lots of delicious colour ways.

    I buy them all now myself. I do take a little bit of pleasure when it’s drying on the line in colouways he never bought me and he swings by to pick up kids. He will be hating that I buy my own underwear now ????‍♀️???? like really injured by that as it was the only trick he had to diffuse our raging arguments when we were together (and get a quickie from plus size schmoopie at the same time).

    I love being in charge of my underwear now. It’s great to have some of my shapewear back too as now I know the brand of that shapewear I also lost. I’ll be stocking up on that once my settlement is done and I’m not blowing thousands a month on lawyers fees and housing security systems!

    • Oh turns out his dad was actually beating his mum for about 20 or 30 years. So that underwear they taught him so well to buy to show he cared was their signature Hoover move as well. No wonder he’s got mummy issues. Mum would cower with her little sons protecting her during a beating then next day in love again with new underwear and a dinner date. How confusing must that have been for two little boys. No wonder one turned out with full blown across the spectrum Cluster B and the other turned out a jailbird (3 years and came out last year). Both boys have chronic meth addictions (hence prison). I just hope my ex goes the same way. Maybe then he’ll stop abusing women.

  • I took back our place of work (he left with schmoopie) because I love my job. I took back my home that we lived in. I have almost completely remodeled it since he’s been gone. New paint, flooring, new master bath, all new landscaping, etc. Only have the kitchen left to do. Of course I bought a new mattress and all new bedding. I’ve bought new furniture, only need to replace the kitchen table and there won’t be a thing left in my house that could possibly have his DNA on.
    I have a whole new life and I love it !!!

  • Seattle. I loved that city and we had recently moved there when Dday came. To escape the crazy and for my safety, I packed up my life and moved away to stay with family. Hardest thing I’ve ever done, on some levels (different harder things came later). Promised myself I’d move back because that part of the country was always my dream location to live in, and the ex will never take that from me.

    I’m still reclaiming other things. Music, food, driving myself around and believing I’m a good driver, thinking I have the ability to cook or keep finances… basically my life. But Seattle… someday that’ll happen too. As hard as it might be, emotionally, I cannot wait to storm that city and reclaim every inch of the place I loved.

    • Wtf with Seattle? My STBX husband’s OWhore came from there too. And he was in another country so yes I do get massively triggered by Seattle.

  • I took back cruises and I took back 10 March. It was my DDay and I wasn’t giving it to him. Every year I do something awesome for myself. Last year I saw baby turtles hatch and this year I went to a music festival.

  • When our daughter was in first grade, we took a trip to NYC and I wanted to see the Statute of Liberty. We went to the boarding point for the boat, and the line was around the block. Douchebag said there was no way he was waiting in that line. Since we didn’t have a lot of time left in our trip, I said I had read in one of the guidebooks that you could take the Staten Island Ferry and get a decent view of the statue from the side of the boat facing it. So after a lot of cajoling on my part, we went on the ferry. But just to be obstinate, DB sat on the opposite side of the boat. The side where you couldn’t see the Statue of Liberty. “Too crowded over on that other side.” (And he had the balls to switch sides on the ride back.) I said, “The whole point of us going on this boat is to see the Statue of Liberty.” Our beautiful and quiet little daughter, not wanting to piss DB off, sat with him. I joined the crowd on the -correct- side of the boat and took some pictures of the Statue of Liberty. Fast forward to 9 months past D-Day and GTFO Day, daughter now 18 and I take a trip to NYC and have a very fun and memorable trip to the Statue of Liberty. Bought tickets ahead of time and no wait. Took in a performance of Hamilton too for good measure. Boom. Take that DB.

  • My university campus. (Groomed by a professor who was one half of my “faculty uncle and aunt.” I got out when I eventually realized what he was doing but carried the shame for over a decade.) It took a lot of years, but it helped that my campus has an amazing park so I had a reason to keep going back until I stopped worrying about seeing him. Now? He’d worry about seeing me.

  • I want to take back my history.
    I have all our photo albums that he never did ask for.
    Always struck me as odd.
    36 yrs worth.
    Not even a picture of his mom? okay..

    Although, he is in a lot of pictures in many family photos (we had dogs no kids but big families), I finally decided to own those memories by being owner of the albums. I was happy then. He looked and acted happily enough.. Although, 4 years later, I still can’t look at them.

    But now, he has NO photos of the past 35 yrs of our life together –
    If that doesn’t feel empty to him, I would say that’s an alien. But, he was a sensitive guy.

    No matter.
    I told him I tossed the photo albums in the trash because that’s what the last 35 yrs meant.

    Not that he wanted them.

    He’s got to me a very empty man..

    I wanna look through them again, finally.

  • I really needed this post. I let the cheater come and live in my home state. I left because among some things, the association of it with him. I have to go back at some point and have slight apprehension that so many places may be a trigger (we were prolific day trippers), it was his cover for his illicit nighttime activities. But I’m determined to take all those special places back.

  • Beloved things I cannot ‘take back’ yet:
    (1) the university that I attended for bachelor’s and master’s—where I met my last boyfriend (who shredded me and destroyed my trust in men, even though I intellectually believe that there are some good loyal men in the world) when he was 17 and I 21–the same university attended (many years later for undergrad) by the young work subordinate he left me for and married last year.
    (2) partner dancing (ballroom, Latin, swing)—I was a competitive dancer (on university team)—my last boyfriend was my last partner—I have not danced with anyone since (nearly two years) because, like a burn victim, I can’t stand the thought of anyone touching me even though I yearn for romantic human touch.

    I AM taking back the Rock N Roll half marathon this spring! Several years ago, I trained with my last boyfriend (although ar the beginning I didn’t know whether I could run even one mile), got up at 3 a.m. to take my last boyfriend to the starting line and thought, ‘This is a cool event.’ This year, I am running it. I don’t think that anybody I know will be there. I am driving myself to the same starting line (in this distant city). I am running this race just for my own experience—not to prove anything that I am better than the woman he left me to marry, him; or anyone else, or try to make him regret that he left me (Sadly, I’m sure that he doesn’t). I think a bit less about my sadness and anger over the loss of my last boyfriend as I’ve got bigger fish to fry (that occupy my attention these days)—need to figure out how to generate revenue to support my kids as I am unemployed and financial support, which I cannot count on from ex-husband, is not enough to support kids and me. I cannot afford to rent a little place (nothing special) that costs a couple thousand or more per month. Thinking about moving to another region where housing price to salary ratio is lower. (I am surprised that the percentage of population that is homeless in my county is not significantly higher than it is.) Hate the idea of giving up large portion of physical custody to my ex-husband who frequently cheated on and abused me, but I might not have any decent alternatives. I hope that the current family court judge, unlike the last one, will give the kids and me a fair shake, one which is the least bad of the options in physical custody.

  • I took back my self-respect.

    I also took back the small town where we got married and where we had vacationed for decades. After my mother’s death I purchased her house from my siblings, and I moved to the small New England town where I now live. My heart strings pinged wildly the first time I sat in a pew of the church where we had been married, but because the non-denominational historic building/meetinghouse is also the hub of the town, I have since spent a great deal of time there, and the wedding-related memories have become merely a dot on the timeline of my life.

  • I took back some small things:
    – enjoyment of animated movies
    – a love of thrift stores
    – dogs in the bed
    – whipped cream

    And some big ones:
    – belief that I am competent
    – belief that I am sane and rational
    – a requirement for reciprocity in all relationships, both personal and professional

    What I continue to struggle with is how to take back the loss of 15 years of my life and loss of my child bearing years. But I am hopeful. This month is 1.5 years out. I can’t believe all the progress I’ve made and I truly believe that I will eventually come to terms with these issues too.

    • Thrift stores! While I was with fuckwit, he would whine if I wanted to go thrift store shopping by myself, but would start acting like a fussy toddler within minutes if he was along. Of course, like most chumps, I got tired of the hassle and just quit going. Now, I sometimes spend entire weekends just wandering around, browsing contentedly at my favorite thrift stores.

  • Took back:

    My dignity

    Holiday traditions that I love

    Family game night

    Family vacations



  • Left to reclaim:
    Making up quirky songs
    Live – seeing his favorite band this summer

    Pearl Jam – in the pit at wrigley!
    It being ok for me to take time to figure out to do something
    A million other things

    I was in therapy dealing w post partum before ex and his howorker started up. So my therapist saw me recover, my real self emerge and then shut back down as I unknowingly danced for 2 years. 2 soul crushing years. 2 years of being lied to and believing we were working through a rough patch. 2 years of constantly feeling uneasy and belittled and the target of disgust I didn’t understand. and then 1 year dealing with a divorce that should have taken 5 seconds.

    So now I am reclaiming the rest of my life. I am utterly fucking amazing and my life is going to continue to improve. I can look ANYONE on the planet in the eye bc I know what is inside me and how I conduct myself: integrity, honesty, respect until you show u dont deserve it.

    I reclaim my awe of myself. My openness and vulnerability in a world that continually shows me that being that way will cause pain. It does. But it also causes profound joy. The light that shines through my daughter is radiant and affects everyone who sees her. And I am a big part of why she feels secure in being her, in letting that light shine.

    I reclaim joy.

  • Three things I reclaimed:

    (1) My space. I told him to come get his stuff several times throughout the separation and divorce. He was absolutely terrible at it. He would sometimes come over and then leave his stuff sitting right by the door. I finally told him that he needed to come through and look at *everything* and take *anything* that was his, and anything of his he left behind, I would throw out. Sure enough, he left a bunch of stuff behind. I tossed it without remorse.

    (2) My dreams. I completed my master’s degree and am now working on a PhD. My new husband and I are moving into a 4-bedroom + study home in two weeks.

    (3) We had a copy of Batman / Superman No. 2 (graphic novel), the introduction of Supergirl with artwork by the late Michael Turner. I *loved* this book. It wasn’t a collectible but it had sentimental value. He came over one day during our separation, acting like an asshole and he grabbed a bunch of our comic books (including that one) and said, “I’m taking these!” I was in the “pick-me! dance” phase of things, so I let him have them. He showed me zero gratitude and continued to treat me like crap. I never got around to getting another one because I was so poor as a single mom, but in retrospect, it made me really angry that he’d just showed up and taken it like that.

    I just re-ordered that comic on Amazon (in hardcover this time). I’m reclaiming that, too, you asshole.

  • I will keep it short:

    #1 My finances. No debt and a savings that is safe.
    #2 I now linger at historical markers and can read them without being rushed to the nearest bar.

  • The was a song we both loved. I would have played it at his funeral, had that ever come to pass. He knew that. But I read an email (one of many I discovered) where he wrote to her the words of the song, line by line translated from the original language, as though it was a precious gift. I will never forgive that. I haven’t listened to it in 2 years.

    Also I was getting physically sick whenever I went in to Philly – where they still work together – and i completely avoided the entire state of KS (ow) driving myself across country when I moved to AZ last fall. The affair started in Portland OR on a business trip, so when I see or hear the word Portland, my mind says “f=cking Portland” But a friend in Portland says I should come up in the rainy season with my hiking boots. Get them muddy, and stomp around the city for a few days to take it back. Not sure if I’ll ever get up the nerve.

    It’s getting better. I have my own space with my precious things, and my home state is full of family and friends who can’t believe what he did. I have a great relationship with my grown kids. I just started a new job. I’m moving on.

    Maybe I’ll take back that song one day. That hurts the most.

  • Working on taking back:

    New York City


    Romantic comedies…and anything romance-related

    Took back:



    Trust in others (with a healthy dose of skepticism this time around)

  • Valentines Day. He asked me to leave on Vslentines Day. I hated that day for s few years until I started noticing my Facebook memories reminding me of some great things that happened on that day, which he wasn’t a part of. So now, though he ruined that particular VDay, I’ll not let him ruin another.

  • the island where our beach house that he defiled was – i sild it. he still lives on the island but i will take it back because i love it too! oahu-went on vacation there alone this year-im good with that! arizona sedone-have to take thzt on; my peace of mind and self image-will take time but working on it! hope the mammogram was negative!

  • I’ll tell you something I WISH I could “take back”. Sex. With the incurable STD he left me with, I fear I will never be able to get close to anyone ever again. Even IF I met someone, I’d be too ashamed to ever get close enough that I’d have to tell him about it. The rest of you are so strong- the things you’ve lost, but re-claimed are awe-inspiring,

    • Single,
      I know several people who have chronic STDs with loving long-term partners who did not have these STDs when they met. These days, by muddle age, most people, often unbeknownst to them, have some type of incurable communicable disease (e.g., HPV, HSV I). I think that men, due to anatomical differences and less frequent and different types of medical testing, are less likely than women to realize that they carry STDs. You are far from alone!

      • Thank you so much for the kind words. The shame of this seems unbearable at times and I truly appreciate your saying I’m not alone. Thank you for taking time to post and for the support. <3

        • You’re not alone. In fact, I think you’ll find your tribe is considerably larger than you realize. 😉

          • Thank you for this. The idea that I might even have a “tribe” is encouraging. I’m feeling so isolated and alone- so again, sincere thanks for the hope!

  • I took back my dignity and self respect.

    Never again will I let another weak-arsed man dictate my worth or my life.

  • Hi CN,
    I’m having a very tough time today. The OW is a former beauty pageant queen and I’m haunted by her. I’m constantly comparing myself and she still appears in my nightmares. She was married and invited to our wedding. They began their affair the month of the ceremony. I was so excited about my future and completely and hopelessly in love. My narc became abusive almost overnight, and I was gaslit into almost a literal oblivion. DDay was about 8 months ago and I do not like the person I have become. I used to be so open and trusting, but now I can’t go on a date without the fear that I will again be hurt. The period between days like these gets longer and longer, but right now the pain is almost insurmountable. Reading your stories has helped me so much and I’m grateful I found this site and this community.

  • Eight months is nothing – you are very very raw still. You don’t say how long you were together, or if there are children, both of which matter in recovery time.

    My golden rule for the newly wounded is not to date until you can be happy on your own. Go out with groups, make friends,etc, but don’t medicate with people by dating too soon.

    You are giving off a wounded vibe which will attract predators, and you’re also still healing – and a bad date can just set you back to zero again.

    When you get your kickass back is plenty of time for dating with your self-esteem intact. You will weed out the bad ones very efficiently and with much less regret.

    • Thank you. We were only together a little over a year. I feel ridiculous to feel so awful for so long over something so short, not to mention falling so easily for what I now know was love bombing and other narc tactics. All in all, not a great look for my self esteem.

      • Hey don’t beat yourself up! Your healing will be on your own schedule, not anyone else’s.

        But there’s no shame in NOT rushing back into dating until you get to the bottom of why you fell so easily for love bombing and narc tactics, and also why it’s hurt you so much. This sounds like old wounds that need some exposure to air and light.

  • I took back my small town home that I had 8 years prior to ever meeting him that in the divorce he tried to force me to have to sell it. He wanted to leave me with no where to live and no money to live on. Luckily I make good money and was able to cover the 65k in legal fees and not have to give him anything from my town home. He has no ties to it anymore (he shouldn’t have anyways since he didn’t pay 1 dime towards it)
    Yeah I had to give up all the “toys” and basic child support but I got more time with my little so all and all it was totally worth it.
    My little and I love our townhouse and the peace that is within it. There’s a lot of music, dancing and laughter there! None of which I had in my previous 3k sqr ft home with the ex.

    I took back my life is what I took back!

  • I haven’t done anything mighty.
    I’m still renting, though I take good care of my little cottage in the woods.
    Im better financially and have been better at handling my money.
    I’m better at picking out douchebags, though I still get geeky awkward school girl when a guy pays attention to me, however brief it is.
    I’m raising my autistic daughter and creatine more and more memories with my older two sons.
    I’m still doing my job. No advanced degrees, no promotions. Still a badass public servant
    Still enjoy my time alone, my life, my freedom.
    In the spirit of “taking back” I took back my house. He demanded extra room as his “,”man cave”, now it my crafting room where I create beautiful wreaths and other things that tickle my fancy.
    I took back being anxious and stressed whenever I heard his shiterado pull up.
    I took back waking up thinking, “what fresh hell with the evil one awaits me today?
    I took back cooking good food and not ruining my great recipes like my chili — bastard ruined my 10 gallon pot of fine ass chili by putting grape jelly in it
    I took back my time with friends.
    I took back being able to sleep peacefully and wake up to my DD and dog in peace and quiet.
    He can rot in hell

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