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What’s the Right Thing to Say?

When you go through some shit in life, there are those who say the wrong things (“Your messy hair drove him to it”) and those who say the right things (“Your hair is awesome. He’s an idiot.”)

More important, however, are the people who DO the right things. What they say might be awkward. They might even be quiet, but they show up. To bring a casserole. Watch a child. Cover your job at work for a bit while you sob in a quiet corner.

Cherish these people.

After your heart’s been tempered in the blast furnace of suck, I bet you’re one of the good strong, show-up people. Chumpdom has a way of increasing our empathy in a way smug stability never could.

Thing is, after going through this shit show, you know all the WRONG things Switzerland friends and family say. So who better to give a primer on the RIGHT things to say and do?

Your Friday challenge is to share the good news of what someone said or did for you that helped. That moved you. That made you feel better.

What’s the correct way to respond to a chump’s distress? (We all know the victim-blaming wrong ways.) What does good help look like?

Give the world some pointers. Maybe we’ll print out pamphlets or something and air drop them.

TGIF!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!”
    Brené Brown

  • Great challenge!
    My family and friends organised a fundraising dinner/party which included items to auction off for my divorce proceedings. Can’t get better than that!

    • Wow! My pitbull lawyers gave me a very generous break and got sparkledick to pay for 70% of their fees plus a very good split for me, but thiscan’t compare with this seasoning of love and caring that you got.

      I sold everything that reminded me of sparkledick. The first item to go was his mother’s antique Singer sewing machine that he had restored (for some reason he did not ask for it). Ironically I sold it to a cheater setting up a love nest with his floozie.

  • On expressing my frustration that I had 85% of the child access but if felt more like 90% my friend quick as a whip replied “100%! Kaa is just like some weird Uncle”.

  • My brother and a few of my closest friends each found time to spend a week or two with me soon after I’d given up on my ex-wife and moved out. They listened to me rant, even as I was plumbing the depths of my experience, even as I experienced a horrible torrent of painful understanding as soon as I’d escaped the spell of the narcissistic pathological liar. They didn’t try to explain my situation to me, or tell me what to do next, they just listened to me vomit.

    That, my guitar and my kids kept me alive. Maybe God was there, too.

    So yeah, be like them.

      • Two years on…… one of ‘his’ friends finally said to me at a chance encounter just this week………. “I’m sorry to bring this up but I just wanted you to know I think James ‘done you wrong.” He said “I thought he was better than that.” Validation.

        • Now THAT is validation! Skankboy told neighbors/friends that he feels “like an asshole for doing NMSB wrong.” Yep, yep, I said “yes, he is an asshole” we couldn’t stop laughing. It is our nickname for him now.

        • I have also had a few of his friends, sometimes through their wives that I am friends with, say that they know I’m a good person, that I didn’t deserve this, and that he did me wrong.

          Very kind.

        • Yep – it was ‘his’ mates who gave me the most comfort. One said “if he wants me, he can ring me. I am not getting caught up in his shit” another gave me the apology I didn’t get from him. He was truly apologetic that he didn’t notice what was going on and how it would affect me. He was truly upset and that gave me validation. Ppl just being careful and generous and compassionate to my state – not judging what happened.

          • Yeah. His best mate was the one who helped me get rid of Skankella and rescued my kid from blended family life with her. He not only told me how I was right and had been wronged but actually said to me and cheater that not only was I justified for all actions of revenge but that he should consider himself lucky that I didn’t take things further and that I wasn’t fighting him on custody and giving him extended visitation. He told him, no need to have told him that he wasn’t expecting him to get me to reconcile. He would have never done so. He believes I deserve better.
            And all this from a another big law firm partner! M. you are my hero for ever!

    • I think that’s the key ingredient — people who will just listen to us rant and spew it all out, without offering judgment or any annoying “well there’s 2 sides to every story” nonsense — looks like you had good help there

      I like to think I did something similar to a newbie chump I met through my business — I offered her the opportunity to come and talk about it — she came over one afternoon and really I just listened for almost 2 hours, just offering the odd comment about a situation that no she’s not mad, it’s quite common, many other cheaters do the same, etc. Quite possibly no-one had done that before.

      • I tossed a best friend who was like my sister for the two side to every story comment. That was it, I immediately ended the relationship. I am in the thick of it and you say there are two sides to every story? At first she was super supportive, but I think fuck face got to her somehow. That was like a double whammy for me. Don’t be a Switzerland friend. If you think there are two sides, then you need to just walk away from that person. Either you are all in for them or you stay out of their orbit, it only makes it worse. So I guess my input is in the area of what not to do. Don’t do what she did.

        • Yep-I heard that one. Here’s another one like that. A friend for 30 years, who was initially supportive, was divorcing her wife of 2 years about a year into my discovery of infidelity, double life, gaslighting etc. I had made a few cryptic comments on my facebook page, never naming my ex but just things like “He lies even when he tells the truth” (most of my FB friends who weren’t in my close personal circle assumed I was talking about Donald Trump) and “Even Bill Clinton didn’t take Chelsea on a tropical vacation with Monica Lewinsky” which just got comments that were equally cryptic from my friends in the know. So she tells me about how she is going through a divorce with no details other than how difficult this is for her and she asks me, “please don’t post anything on facebook about my divorce” which takes me aback because the implication is that my facebook page is a vapid gossip column and I am some sort of loose canon. It wouldn’t even occur to me to post something about her divorce or anything personal about someone else. My personal fuckwit doesn’t fall into the protective status although even he was only mentioned in veiled comments. I have dinner with her and she brings this up again and then tells me that she just worries about me because my comments “make him look like the sympathetic one.” Really? Hinting that my children were being introduced to the woman that my husband had an affair with makes him look good? And makes me look like someone who would simply post anything about anyone I know? The difference is unclear here? Yeah…she had to go. Also she never told me why she was divorcing her ex, only that she loved her very much and it was hard for her to do. I learned later her ex is devastated. So the friends that see your fuckwit’s side as well may realize they have a little bit of fuckwit in them.

      • I find cheaters can always find a listening ear while we chumps are expected to stuff it. Thank goodness for those who listen to us.

        • Emotionally I still think she has to go through the grieving of losing a long marriage, because of all she’s had to deal with due to the truly crazy antics of her STBX

          However, shall we say logistically that she’s won hands down getting full custody of the children and being able to take them back to her home country where they grew up (D-Day came just weeks after moving to her ex’s country, a classic cheater ploy). I just told her on that news to just pack and GTFO asap before her cheater wakes up from the initial affair-la-la land and fights back, particularly on the custody part. She’s already left so at least the kids will grow up under the influence of the sane parent.

      • Some friends that were out of state sent me a care package and have always been there for me through the entire ordeal.
        When talking to my best friend about everything right after D Day but prior to filing, I made the comment that it all just ‘sucks ass’ and she responded with ‘no, it sucks all the asses’. And that became our saying whenever anything was hard or bad or any of the emotions I was going through.

        • 2 of my best girlfriends from HighSchool (friends for 30 plus years) flew to my home and came to my rescue. We got rid of all the furniture in the home. They spent a week with me and re painted every room, followed by new furniture and hip chandelier in my dinning area. Such a wonderful clean the slate home for a new beginning. I absolutely love my new look. That was a healing and thoughtful way to help me move forward.

      • I hate hearing there are two sides two every story, or no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. A couple people when I told them that ex was cheating, had the nerve to say, I can’t believe that, he’s always so nice. A neighbor who I thought was a close friend, couldn’t wait to tell me she had breakfast with ex. I no longer associate with any of these people.
        I’ve found out who my friends are since Day and eliminated the Switzerlands. Deserve loyal friends, not flakes.
        People who believed me, listened to me as I repeated myself with my endless rants on the same subjects while agreeing that he’s an asshole.
        He isn’t a nice guy, nice guys don’t abandon their family.

      • Another thing that people have said that I have zero tolerance for is “I love you both, I’m friends with both of you.” Uh.., no, you’re not.
        How can anyone claim to be my friend if they’re still friends with someone who intentionally tried to destroy me?
        Tha’t would be like me telling a Holucost survivor, sorry for what you went though but Hitler’s a good guy.

    • Antoine,

      I’m really glad you had your family, friends, guitar and kids to help you in your time of need (and maybe God). I don’t need to tell you how priceless that help was to you.

      My oldest brother helped me out, too. Not so much physically, or even in letting me vent (he might actually have gotten as close to upset about my XW’s shitty behavior as I did, so he wasn’t always the best to talk to about it). It’s all good, because, among other things, he responded to an email the XW sent to him and my SIL (his wife) before she was to drop off our son (the youngest of three) to their house w/her new POS partner.

      This was four months roughly after D-day and the only communication the XW had had w/my family since my brother (same one) sent her a sad but trying to be understanding email right after D-day. He gave voice to the anger I would come to feel as I slowly worked my way through the shock of her betrayal.

      In the email, she felt the need to list all of the things she held against me in our marriage, but didn’t have the courage to tell me about during the marriage so we could try to work things out. The marriage counselor got the same spiel from the XW for our only marriage counseling session, but then told her she effectively expected me to mind-read what she was thinking, and that none of us are good at that.

      I was going to edit the email he wrote her and include it, but it’s probably too much for here. My brother said he had about an hour to write a response to the XW’s email, and just banged it out, showing little to no mercy. I call it a “scorched earth” email. He stood up to her gaslighting claims of being “selfless”, and pointed out how incredibly selfish this act was on her part, considering the the commitment we had made to each other and the children involved. Not to mention her not being upfront about her problems w/our marriage. He made clear what a pathetic cliche it was for her to have an affair w/her married, rich, much older boss. And he told her that the two of them deserved each other; two cheaters who can wonder whether the other will betray them first in the future.

      I hope all chumps get someone to stand up for us when we’re dealing w/the shock of this monumental betrayal, or at least someone there to help us get through the pain. Most of us need it. I’m very thankful my brother was there for me, and the rest of my support group. Stay strong, CN!

      • Amen I say, to support! At a time when your vision is so blurry and you can’t even begin to think about grabbing a branch from a nearby tree to help save yourself, life saving,loving,supportive ppl miraculously show up for you. Thank God! One of these instances that come to mind for me right now was also my brother. He’s an internist, 10 years my junior and a stellar MD and human being. I am 64, my husband of 37 years ( dated for 6 years and known him for 46) left me as we were retiring for his 40 something year old mistress he was seeing the last 5 years, unbeknownst to me. We bought a beach house on the Chesapeake Bay in 2010 that was in retrospect “ too good to be true” and were together adding an addition and planning our retirement there. It was a lifetime joint dream of ours to have a place where loved ones could come and play and enjoy time together. He flipped a coin in the 11th hour and opted for the life with his whore instead. We have three incredibly loving kids, I am so proud of, in their 20’s that have been flummoxed and hurt by this deeply. That hurts me more than my own pain. No one saw it coming. The first year, I didn’t think I could get past it, but I knew my kids were going to need me to be strong. He had turned into a cold blooded family murderer and was just business and lawyers and living with his slut. He sent an email to my brother with info about the divorce ( which I was too devastated to even deal with yet) and told him that his lawyer and his psychiatrist both concurred with him that I was in a psychotic depression and that he had emails and texts of mine over the last year that I had sent to him that would be helpful in evaluating me if he needed to see them. ( they were me trying to comprehend what he was doing and he told me they were abusive to him, lol!) He was trying to make it look like all care and concern for my mental welfare and keep my brother on his side and make me out to be crazy. Incredible! Was I depressed? With legit reason, absolutely! Psychotic? No, that’s his mirroring at work. I felt under attack by someone I dearly loved forever and still did and it was so surreal it was impossible to fully process it or make rational divorce choices, which he was in a very big rush now to get done. They make you look like the crazy one when the sanest response would be to be crushed and hurt beyond belief. It’s more crazy to me to be the one that just takes off skipping through the flowers with your new perfect gf after you detonated a nuclear bomb on your family and they are left dealing with the aftermath. So when I happened upon the email he sent my brother, which was I’m sure purposely attached for my view to another email the rat sent me to show that everyone thinks I’m crazy now and to hurt me more. My brother’s response to him was something like he didn’t need to see the texts and emails I had sent at this time. I called my brother and said “ you aren’t buying his bullshit, are you?!” He said, “ hell no, he’s a psychopath!” He responded the way he did to the email, so as not to further inflame the narcissistic rage and make it easier to get it over and done with and get rid of him. I took a deep breath when he told me that and then I starting crying because I knew he understood the abuse and he and my other 4 siblings all had my back as well as my kids.That meant the works to me, I wasn’t going to have to convince them of abuse. This abuser was someone that was highly respected and loved by my family, so it was hard for all of us to see he was not who he portended to be. We were all shocked!! It was a massively huge moment, to know ppl believed you, trusted and loved you and remembered who you were around all the chaos and confusion that was being flung about by this person. I’m a huge empath, I get so sad hearing ppl’s stories and what they were put through with these nut jobs in their lives. It’s so horrible. Support and belief in who you are is so crucial and validation that you’re not the crazy one is essential. Chump lady is such an inspiring hero! I came across her book about two months ago, Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life, read it cover to cover twice in a row and then immediately sent one to my very good friend who was also terribly chumped. The book is the best on the topic of abuse I have ever read and I’ve read dozens of them. It’s no bullshit reality coming right at you, so refreshing and perfect, loved it so much and needed it more than I realized. The generosity of the ppl that share their stories on this site is truly life saving to those deep in quicksand and unable to see any much reason to get up in the morning. Thank God for all of you! When I first discovered NPD, I was in total shock to read what I was experiencing actually was a thing with a diagnosis!! You get lost in your own fog of being abused and don’t see an exit. You just want the person you loved your entire life to love you again, stop hurting you and you try to fix yourself so that happens. The validation that IT’S NOT YOU! that is broken, it’s your abuser, is the game changer that will hopefully get you to recovery over time. It’s a long painful road, as we all can attest and not one of you would wish it on anyone. I’m not 100% convinced it’s even possible to make it through yet, but I haven’t given up hope in trying
        and being kind and patient with myself in the process. Daily gratitude for the good things in my life, I have to name three things I’m grateful for every morning before I rise from bed. Always plenty to be grateful for no matter how bad it all looks! It’s only been a year since the divorce and two years since I first heard of NPD. Chump lady land throws out life rings, I’m thrilled and so thankful to be able to grab one and hold on as tight as possible. Thank you all, it’s a group effort to make the world a safer place, it is such a gift to know good ppl are out there pulling for one another. I absolutely love that!! We will all get there even if we all can’t see it yet, I believe that to be true. You got this everybody! 👍😊

  • There are many people in my world that showed up. The first one that came to mind is a dear friend, Sharon. When I told her, she called him every name in the “Do NOT Say These Words In Front Of Small Children And Animals.” She asked what she could do for me. Took me out to a wonderful park with rides, mini-gold, gift shop with her son, called frequently and just let me spew. It has been almost 4 years since that day and I still remember how loved and understood I felt when my world exploded. Love you to the moon and back, Sharon.

    • Also there’s the friends who immediately unfriendly of block the cheater, and those who don’t.

      I made a point of never asking to do this as I could see my ex doing it to plenty of our friends already (yeah, the ones who had assumed we had an open relationship when he was flying schmoopie in for their annual boys weekend away, wonder what their wives thought about that). I wasn’t going to be that petty.

      But boy was I grateful for the ones who did. All of them did so immediately, no thinking about it. And was less than 5 for sure, so not many. Hence it was so significant when they did.

  • My 2 friends just came over instantly and held my hand – I will never forget that .
    They have visited me twice a week since D Day and have taken me shopping ( i can not drive )
    They are always at the end of the phone and i love them .

  • Two of my friends immediately said that they were travelling cross-country to be with me. They were prepared to leave their own families (which includes small children) to support me. I said no to their separate offers but their kindness still brings a lump to my throat. These friends and others let me hash and rehash and skein untangle for hours at a time for months and months. How fatigued of it all they must have been! I needed them so much and they kept on picking up the phone when I called. I am so grateful for them.

  • I’m in the middle of it now and it’s not going well. Im in a state that favors traditional male-dominated roles and even getting female judges to see black/white documentation is unbelievably difficult. It’s not going well AT ALL.

    But here’s what’s helped:

    Multiple offers from friends and HIS family for a place to stay.

    Allowing me to change the subject away from his affairs to something completely different and not going back to talking about him until I’m ready.

    Random texts with just a heart or a “thinking of you”.

    Open-ended offers of “whatever you need, we’ll do it” – and they mean it. And they do it when I’ve asked.

    Being invited to dinner in homes for comfort food, sofa time and movie marathons. The mental break and being in “normal world” is emotionally strengthening.

    Spontaneous prayers offered by friends who have nothing to offer but their faith.

    I know I’m missing things from this list and I should write them down in detail so I can look back someday at the good that is all around me. It’s really hard to see it while smack dab in the vortex but it’s here. And I’m grateful.

    And if there are any praying people in Chump Nation, I would be grateful if you would keep the good thought and pray for me as well.

    • T&A&AT: praying for you. Take it one minute at a time. I also felt it was not going well AT ALL, and at 50 with 4 kids and years as a SAHM I felt a lot was at stake. X was trying to destroy me financially in addition to having utterly blindsided me after years of what I now learn is years of covert narcissist abuse. I kept getting out of bed every morning and doing what I could each moment. Sometimes breathing was a victory. I lived through literal hell of child’s suicide attempts and OD and two other kids having suicidal ideation and daily panic attacks (X abandoned but not before blaming them and telling them he hated every minute of their lives) while divorcing. After the trial, older white judge surprised everyone by giving me full custody and everything we owned. Someone told me this that was a total life changer: life will not get better until you go as close to no contact as is possible (make it a game to see how long and what techniques you can use to do so) and get divorced. They were right! Life is grand today! 4.5 years past DDay #1 and 26 months since divorce finalized.

      • MotherChumper99,
        I absolutely love your judge, and YOU and the KIDS!
        A million ❤️’s & Hugs!

    • I hunkered down and put my faith in my attorney–to my detriment. I needed a fellow chump in my negotiations. I agreed to much less than 50%, less than two weeks after my mother died.

      Please have several people look over any settlement offers before you agree!

      I had a dear friend who went through a divorce years ago. I got her a job on my husband’s company and she was a tremendous help at the beginning. Then she told me fellow howorker was a “good employee”. As I got up to leave her house forever, I walked by all the furniture I had given her through the years, looked at the photos of the paid vacations for her and her children (India, Jordan, England, Portugal, Key West, New York, Spain), and felt the biggest relief of my life. I then received the “I’m now engaged–don’t involve the kids–best wishes” email from my EX. Again, not surprised. She wants it all and she can have it.

      I am more than willing to offer hugs, prayers, thoughts & assistance. I’m in Michigan, but would totally be willing to reach out to you. I do NOT want one more chump to get financially screwed!

    • I’ll say prayers for you. Keep on trucking. You will get through this and take our word for it, 4 years later you will be SO, SO GLAD you did this. Be patient and kind to yourself. You got this!!

  • Once I was safely past the crying-phase and moving into the I’m-gonna-be-just-fine-without-this-asshole-phase, my friends planned a “Kiss his ass goodbye” night! We were decked out in black t-shirts with sequined red lips that they made themselves. They rented a hotel room, took me out, bought me shots, and I certainly knew they weren’t Switzerland. It brought us closer and cemented that I was not going through this alone. They are the best!!

    • My friends gave me an “ Un- Bridaled Shower”
      Everything from new bed sheets to cookie sheets! Their continued love and support has helped me get through the last 2 years.

        • I know a lady who’s ex was named Frank. Her friends called him and OW “Frank and Beans” behind their back. On the day of her divorce decree, 5 of them showed up wearing T-shirts that said; you guessed it “Frank and Beans”.

          Everyone needs friends like this!

  • I would walk through a humid room, even with my curly hair, for the people who just hugged me and didn’t treat me like divorce was contagious. Humid room, I say. Doesn’t get more committed to people than that.
    I would walk through two humid rooms for the people who sat waiting for me in the corridors at court.
    And I will love forever those who helped us to move at a moments notice on a snowy March morning when Mr went to work unsuspectingly, in order that we protect the child.

  • Being a Chump who confided in no one I don’t have a story to relate,but I do want to say I am truly blessed by having true friends in my life.
    My BFF and I are Thelma & Louise type. I know that I could tell her about cheater’s affair. She does know his narc like personality, and she is the brightest light in my life.
    The thing is, ( I have told this before in the forums) I learned a horrible secret from her past- she was chumped and left with three tiny children-long before I had met her). It was by accident that I found this out. She has never confided this to me and I respect her reasons for this. If/when she tells me I will confess that I did know but again I respected her need to be silent.
    I know in CN it is best to get things out, but in her case, and in mine, it would only hurt people, so for now it has to be this way.

    I read once “When you ask yourself what you can you do , do what you can.”
    I live this philosophy every single day, to the best of my ability.

    CL, CN what a wonderful support you all are to Chumps all around the world.
    💞

    • I intercepted plans for a weekend rendezvous between Cheaterpants and OW. As I could not afford a private investigator, I decided to try some surveillance on my own. I told my friend my plan, and she immediately said “We have to take my car, he will recognize yours.” She got up at 4 AM to drive me to a motel parking lot, brought a video camera, and helped me get footage of Cheaterpants and OW coming out of the motel at the crack of dawn together. Then she tailed their vehicle for an hour, and when we finally lost them she treated me to breakfast and hugs.

      • NotAnyMore,
        What a true true, “Thelma and Louise” friend!
        I love this story.
        Hiring a PI would have been a dream come true for me.
        Also, I have fantasies about a friend and I doing exactly what you and your friend did.
        I know of one friend who would have definitely helped me,but I was silent, the old-younger me.
        Damn!
        Again, great story.
        You and your friend sure are MIGHTY!

  • “I love you. What do you need me to do? I will stand by you no matter what happens.” Hearing those words in the first few seconds of a phone call was a lifeline.

    “You were always too good for him.” Gave me an ego boost.

  • My very best friend has been there for me since the beginning. She has cried with me, screamed with me, lined up ducks with me, listened to me and changed the subject when she thinks I have met my limit for the day. She has challenged Switzerland friends at her own expense. I love her and cherish her unwavering loyalty. She was recently diagnosed with stage iv cancer and I will be there for her no matter what. She is a true soulmate.

  • My dear little sister, who encouraged me daily with snarky comments, came over to visit one day and slammed a check down on my dining room table. “Take this and get the best attorney. You need to get out from under this guy.” She passed away a month before my divorce was final, but I know she was celebrating with me and slinging snark. Miss her dearly.

    • So sorry for your loss💕
      Losing a sister & going through a divorce at the same time is tough. #MightyChump

    • This broke my heart……much love to you. I’m so sorry for your loss but so happy that you were blessed with such an amazing little sister. No doubt she was celebrating and slinging the best snark!!

    • I’m sorry for your loss. And if I could, I’d give her a great big hug for being a wonderful sister!! Enjoy your memories of her. You were so fortunate.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. What an angel on earth your sister was for helping you in that way. They always take the good ones 😢

    • how unbelievably sad that she is now gone at what must have been an untimely age. Isn’t life shitty sometimes? Having her on your side must have been a huge blessing!

    • Oh no. 😥 So sorry, my dear. So many lovely people gone, while trash like our cheaters are still roaming the earth, creating more chaos. It sucks.

  • Sorry for typo,
    Above should read:
    When you ask yourself, “What can you do? Do what you can.”

  • “He’s an asshole.” Period. The end. My friends husband always states this about the soon-to-be-ex.

  • I had a Personal Trainer at the time and the days after DDay when I was having panic attacks, and been prescribed Beta blockers for high blood pressure; he said “you don’t need that crap, there’s nothing wrong with you, get on the treadmill now “ and then later “ put on these boxing gloves “.
    He basically “beasted” me in my training sessions for weeks and made me feel and look amazing, the leanest and fittest I had been in years. To this day, I don’t know how I would’ve survived those weeks if it hadn’t been for him. I will never forget him and what he did for me.

  • One of my dearest friends was with me after one of my d-days. She said something that stuck and I eventually left the cheater. She grabbed my face in both her hands pulled me so I had to look in her eyes and said, ” You deserve to be adored!”
    That one sentence changed my perspective and hopefully everyone that reads it feels it too. We deserve to be adored!

    • This makes me cry. We DO deserve to be adored. Too bad most of us didn’t believe that and settled for so little, for so long.

    • This proves you don’t have to be wordy in order to be profound.

      We deserve to be adored!

    • Am feeling a little triggered by this phrase, since many of our cheaters also think they deserve to be adored, and feel entitled to find abject adoration elsewhere if they’re not getting it 24/7 from us. I don’t want to be adored; I want to be respected, seen as a full equal and partner, and loved in a mature way.

      • I did adore my STBXW though. But she thought this other guy was her “twin flame”. When she told me that, I read about it thinking she was saying it as a negative thing, because it sounded like codependency, but she meant it as a positive.

  • My best friend sad two things to me. First, as I contemplated wreckenciliation “Girl, wake up! You are too smart for this shit!” And second when I made the decision that RIC is for the birds, “Thank God, he was just dragging you down and sucking the life from you. You can’t push water up hill, it always sinks to it’s own level.”

  • I have two friends that separately literally walked thousands of miles along side of me.

    One friend we walked around my favorite lake (which ironically I bought a house and will be moving into next week thanks to the generous settlement and spousal support I receive…. it’s hush money- his co workers and homeslice were subpoenaed for court…he settled before the hearing).

    The other friend walked with me around my old neighborhood with the house I shared with Douchebag McGee.

    What did they do that was particularly amazing? They listened and helped me identify what reality was… facts that he was cake eating.

    They were there when I fell apart, and were there when I put the pieces back together.

  • Actually, my grown daughter said a similar comment as @hollowbunny’s friend. She was so worried about me at the time since she and her brothers live a good distance away. I’ll never forget how loved that made me feel, not to mention how difficult that had to be for her to learn of her dad’s infidelity and step up and out of her own shock and pain and be there for me. The real gold is that she, a little like her dad, struggles with verbally expressing her love, tenderness and vulnerability. She was really reaching through her own stuff to be supportive. Gotta love that girl!

  • I had no one in my town, even though I have lived here my entire adult life. Asshole made sure of that by relentlessly coming on to every woman friend I brought home, and making my life even more miserable if we tried to make plans to go out for a movie or shopping without him.
    But my dear sister picked up the phone late one night when I was driving crazy in my car after I just found out that he “married” his whore and fucked her in my bed. My bed, because he hadn’t slept in the same bed with me for years; made it easier for him to sneak out at night.
    The only reason I didn’t kill myself that night was BECAUSE she picked up the phone, and I just couldn’t do that to her. She was/is going through the divorce from hell herself, but she put her pain aside to listen to me cry and scream about someone who just isn’t worth killing myself over. She’s the best!
    And my therapist hugged me when I just needed human touch. Probably broke a major rule for therapists, but she knew that I needed a hug from a compassionate and loving person, and she is that person.

  • “I believe you. Lying to you for years and years is horrible, your family are all burning piles of lying trash. I believe you that they don’t want you, they just wanted a smiling puppet to make them look good to their friends at church. But I want you. I am here for you.”

    The things that no one said, but I wish they had.

    • Part of my story. I hope it helps those who are separated yet hurt from loving their spouse still. The road gets easier and more beautiful as you go.

      My mother in law told me she had a lightbulb moment. She fell after mopping and broke her arm. Her husband told her if she was stupid enough to fall, she deserved to break her arm. That was the moment she realized he didn’t love her.

      I just got out of a hospital stay. Was battling Tonsillitis and mono and was going through testing for leukemia. My immune system was shutting down. My husband didn’t want to take the baby with him to church because it was a bother taking him in and out. I told him I was just so tired. He told me I needed to get over it. That was my wake up moment.

      I married a man in Bible college studying to be a Pastor. He never made pastor, but he was youth director. I had always looked up to him, and because of this I spent the next two years trying to fix myself and apologize and beg him to forgive all my errors and somehow find a way to love me again. He wouldn’t touch me, let alone love me.

      A year later he asked me to leave and helped me and the kids relocate and asked me for a divorce. He had been dating. He then reminded me that I shouldn’t let the laundry pile so high. I had worked all week and had s semi of belongings to unpack, but that didn’t matter.

      I started to sort through the boxes. I still tried to get him to reconcile. I poured out my heart. Because I still truly believe that no matter how bad it gets, when people surrender to God, repent, and seek to make things right, God can heal marriage and home. God can create the best marriage on earth out of such devastation, but only if both are willing.

      I chanced upon his report card from college in a box. It was marked full of incompletes, Ds, and Fs. People had warned me in college that he wasn’t what he said he was- that there was a different man when I wasn’t around, but I hadn’t listened. I looked at the card and saw a man that all along had disregard and lack of a desire to truly apply himself to even things he claimed to want. I saw him for the pretender he was. I finally understood the verse about wolves in sheep clothing. I finally understood him.

      The blinders came off, and I was released from all the pain and guilt I had been torturing myself with. This man did not love me, nor was he capable of it. It was his free will choice to defy God and part ways. God Himself had freed me from him. I will never again chase a man or beg for love. Jesus, my hero, Savior of my soul became Savior of my life on earth as well. He has cared for me in amazing ways because to Him, I am worth loving; I am worth fighting for; I am worth dying for.

      • Thank God that you are free. Like you, I finally realized that you cannot make someone love you and it takes two people to make a marriage work. After wreckonciliation for 4 years, my now-ex came to me and said, “You and are aren’t happy, but I don’t know if divorce is the answer.” I got down on my knees that night and I finally gave it all up to God pleading, “I need to hear your voice! What do you want me to do?!” Well…, God really did speak to me and He told me just to love him (my ex). Once I gave it all to Him, I found out EVERYTHING again within a few days. My ex had gone back to his skank and was lying about it all yet again. I was done! Later, after all the fallout I was so angry and I said, “God! You told me just to love him!!” And sure enough, He spoke to me yet again, “Yes, I told you just to love him. Love him like I love you.” And since then (it has been 4 years), I can tell you that I’ve let it go but only with considerable faith that it’s all in God’s hands. He showed me what love is, especially having to ‘love your enemy’. Love is wanting the good for another person. (I had to realize that the good for another person is not riches, cars, beauty, etc.) What it took for me was self examination of all my faults and realizing that God loves me; He wants the good for me. The good for me was to recognize my sins and seek forgiveness and to be repentant and to walk the path that God wants me to walk. And that’s how I could ‘love’ my enemies (e.g., my ex and his skank.) To love them is to want the good for them. The good for them is to recognize their sins, seek forgiveness, be repentant, and to walk the path that God wants them to walk. I must admit that I’ve told my children that I don’t want to hear anything about their dad and his skank unless it’s bad. But ‘loving’ them doesn’t mean that I ever have to see them or reconcile with them. They’re God’s problem, not mine, and I don’t have to bother with them ever again.

        • So beautifully put.
          I agree on the relationship aspect too. It’s not that I want a bad relationship with them. I really do wish them the best. If anything, for my kids’ benefit. I simply do not want ANY relationship with him. I don’t know what I can trust, so it’s best to leave him to God and just move forward being me.

      • I’m so glad you were able to recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing. These disordered predator types LOVE to prey upon honest, loving, faithful people they pick up at church. Thank God you’re free!

        Hugs. For freedom you were set free.

      • Every right thing said was said right here. I found that wisdom and support nowhere else. My kids were are and the greatest, but in their own pain and in a different kind of entanglement with cheater than I was. The three of us share a deep understanding that nobody else can ever enter, but it was only here they I found full freedom to vent, entirely nonjudgmental support, and very kind and patient teaching. Survived and grew stronger because of Chump Lady and Chump Nation.

        But here is a wonderful and insightful thing my daughter said just last night: “People always look so much better after they get out of a relationship with someone who was sucking the life out of them. That’s because they finally thrive.”

        Truth, girl. Truth.

      • This ^^
        Jesus is reminding me every day that, even as my husband tells me I’m not worthy (of his respect, his love, sacrificing the life he wants. now) He sacrificed everything for me on the cross. I AM worthy, because of what He’s done. Amazing shift in perspective.

    • Would it help if somebody said it now? I hear you. You are worthy and they are scum. I believe you and I believe IN you.

      I found out my family was just using me as well. They were hoping I would give up my life to take care of my idiot brother who is an invalid due to giving himself type 2 diabetes with overeating. Their plan, which I was never told about, crashed and burned when both the idiot brother and my mother were shockingly verbally abusive to me for leaving the cheater. Been there, done that and they can fuck off. I know how much it hurts, Noteven. Sorry.

      • Thank you, Chumperella, yes, it helps! It helps so much, to be believed, to know that other people have had to walk away from family. You all at Chump Nation are such amazing people, I’m so grateful to have found this site.

        • I’ve had to walk away from family too. My Mom passed away from cancer during the divorce and my Dad passed away a year ago.
          My narcissistic brother and his wife are despicable. They refused to let me in my parents home. My brother said, if I needed to go inside their home he will make arrangements so he can supervise me.. Theychanged the locks and I just found out last week the sold everything including furniture I had at my parents house. I came home one day to find 25 boxes packed with junk belonging to my parents. trash isn’t an exaggeration, half empty tooth paste tube, an odd shoe, a pair of socks, crumpled up tissue paper, an old bar of soap, a spatula.
          I call my brother and he said, in his smug, condescending tone, sorry, I text you a couple months ago. I said, you didn’t think something like this would be important enough to make a phone call. no reply. There’s more, I’m sorry I went on a rant and went off topic.
          Just want to let you know that you’re not the only one with a disordered family.
          I’m done pick me dancing for kibbles from disordered people who take advantage of my kindness. I’m done sacrificing my respect to keep the peace.
          I feel like my life in the last five years or longer now, has been a long drawn out episode of the Jerry Springer show.

    • NotEvenAChumpJustUsed, Chumperella, Brit,
      and whoever is/was in this boat,
      all my understanding and sympathy for the pain that comes from being in a disordered family.

      And for all those situations where the narcissists make others to be the unloving people, and so separate people who would otherwise love one another.

      Prayers for chumps above and below.

  • The week before D Day I had been hospitalized for a neurological event that left me cognitively impaired for months. THEN the DOCTOR left me alone in a city where I knew no one.

    Two of my 3 sisters and a brother in law, my 2 older children, my son’s girlfriend and a friend of mine all flew across the country (or drove 5 hours north) to help pack me for a move over 3 days, then my brother in law drove me AND MY DOG across the country to the home of my 3rd sister, who took me and my dog in for months until I got my own place.

    Her home had a welcome sign that said “All Refugees Welcome, Canine too!”

    I thanked them profusely and they each said “you’d have done the same”, which is true.

    Being chumped was NOT the “Best thing” that ever happened to me.

    But the memory of how touched I felt and still feel, is actually something I never would have known without the shitstorm that preceded it.

    • Wow Wife&Kids, now that is what I call having imagination, guts and being generous.
      I cried reading this.

  • My coworkers who put up with me each and every day. Complimented me on my weight loss. Let me have copious times on the phone to talk with my lawyer, the IRS and all the utility companies (as I was forced to put in my name). I work with different groups every six months or so, and just last week my supervisor (whom I was not with through the entire devastating process) actually said: “You deserve to pat yourself on the back for how well you came through this”. Actually brought tears to my eyes. So very grateful for my job!

  • My x kicked me and the kids out. I was trying everything I could to get him to reconcile. He wanted nothing to do with it. Because I was counseling to reconcile, my family wouldn’t help me either. They thought they shouldn’t support me staying with him, and if I did, he should be responsible and take care of his family.
    Unfortunately, he wasn’t doing that either, so I had no one on this earth on my side.

    It was a church that took the burden.
    They gave me a job so I’m only working while the kids are in school.
    They gave food.
    They prayed.
    They counseled.
    People provide for me through anonymous donations.
    They wept with me over my loss and encouraged me even through all the divorce proceedings.
    (I filed after giving him plenty of time to get right.)
    I am still supported by these wonderful people. I don’t know what would have happened to me or my kids if I had not come to this church.

    • HappilyFree, this makes me smile. This is real church! So glad you found such support.

    • Yes Happily Free! I am so glad to hear this. I have said many times that my priest saved my life. And the Catholic school educated my two children (one learning disabled) for free. There were Christmas gifts and anonymous checks and all kinds of other support that always seemed to arrive when I lost hope. A real faith community is a wonderful thing.

  • Sorry I forgot to add what was SAID that helped.

    A previously divorced sister said “I swear it gets better and you will be happy again, and loved again.”

    Each of my children told me what surprised me then, which was that they were each “So proud of you mom.”

    And My Godsent therapist asked me to list the things I felt I had lost, like my retirement plans, living abroad, teaching, a nice home, etc.

    Then she asked me “which of these things can you still attain – in some form?”

    And the answer was “all of them, I guess.” And so I live in Europe now, teaching.

    She also said,
    “You are brave and inspiring. ” Yeah, that was good to hear.

    • I just LOVE that advice from your therapist, DOCTOR!
      I just listed those things I was afraid of losing and it turns out, why, today I have all of those things….and MORE!

  • Early on I saw a lawyer. My cheater had worked me over with all of the usual blameshifting, lying and gaslighting and so I told Carol, my lawyer, that I was convinced that it was all my fault. Her reply to me was “I’ve been doing this a long time – I promise you, it takes two.” I hung on to those words for a long time

    • I understand compared to taking all the blame, two is better. In that she meant to be kind. But I am thinking the only way it takes two to cheat is if you are counting the cheater and the affair partner. I don’t see how you or any of us chumps are involved in the lying, blame shifting, gaslighting, and cheating. Lame spouses at times perhaps, but not secret and devious destruction of the marriage. That takes ONE partner.

      • Here here. Yes, in a relationship it takes two but it takes only one uncommunicative, lying, and deceitful person to cheat and blow up a family. I will never claim I was a perfect spouse but compared to him I was flipping amazing. To me finding out you have a cheating and lying spouse is different than working on your marriage and going separate ways.

  • Oh my goodness, so many good people and acts to praise, each according to his/her own gifts, as they say:

    First, dear longtime friend M, who happened by accident to be present at both D-days and 100% supported my efforts to get myself into a safe space immediately. She’s listened patiently, checked in on me often, laughed a lot with me, provided grounding observations when I felt out of control, affirmed my right to take good care of myself, and reminded me that I am not to blame.

    Second, my mom, who has never been a fan of divorce, but nonetheless believed me when I told her what was happening and cheered me on as I extracted myself from a terrible situation. She’s frequently visited, took my teen son for a vacation so everyone could have a break, brought me flowers, listened patiently to a lot of the dumbest details of this mess, and, when others tried to blame me, she went ballistic.

    Third, sister J, who visited and checked in on me often, reminded me that this could happen to anyone and was largely out of my control, and praised me for my strength and resilience.

    Fourth, B, who had lunch every other Friday with me, and let me talk or not talk as I wished. AND even though she had additional information about Almost-X to tell me, waited patiently until she thought I could absorb the news and act usefully on it. She also brought me flowers at one point.

    Fifth, brother M, who visited often and took up repairs around the house and yard every time he came. Plus my sister-in-law D, who cooked, bought me flowers, and organized fun events for the kids.

    Sixth, brother J, who praised my resilience and offered legal advice (he’s a lawyer in another state).

    Seventh, friend M, who shared with me all about what she learned in her own divorce process, and continues to check in on me, tell me about interesting community events, and connect me with new people.

    Eighth, dear cousin H, who of all things happened to have just gone through a very similar situation just a few years before. She offered her own story, advice on dealing with the kids and taking care of myself, a sympathetic ear, and reminders that I wasn’t losing my mind–that surreal-seeming events were real and that I was right to act accordingly (so helped shed light on gaslighting).

    Ninth, my giant extended family who, when I’d show up for family events, couldn’t stop saying: we are so glad you are here! we are so happy to see you! we love you! you’re awesome!

    Tenth, my more distant but numerous friends, many of whom offered sincere sympathy without requiring details and expressed concern that I and my son remain safe and supported.

    Eleventh, a colleague, who when I confided in her, offered to help me with some difficult work and praised my resilience and parenting skills in the face of adversity. (She also complements my clothes and jewelry choices–not in a weird way, in a wow where did you find that way–and in doing so keeps reminding me that I am beautiful and I choose to surround myself with beauty.)

    There’s probably more! I’ll add when I think of it…

    • Oh, and I left out the most important: dear teen son B, who, despite being a teen and like all teens is pretty focused on himself, has nonetheless shifted into high gratitude gear and driven straight toward the land of increased maturity and responsibility. He probably didn’t want to grow up quite so fast and in this way, but he found a good strong footing that I think will help him in the future, and I’m so proud of him.

      • Oh, and dear friends A and B–my goodness! Offers to drive dear son anywhere and inviting us over for every holiday, and coming over for coffee and tea and lunch and dinner! Cycling with us in the summer and checking in regularly. Offering money — though I never needed it, it felt good to know if I was desperate, they were there. Talking about it and not talking about it–sometimes its such a relief not to talk about it!

        And a whole host of other local mom friends who gave rides to my dear son and looked out for him, and who didn’t act like my breakup/divorce was contagious.

        And my neighbors! Who also checked in and asked if I needed help with rides or watching my son or with yard work!

        And my pet sitter J who helped hold down the fort when we took a break.

        My god, what an army of support!

          • Oh my gosh, my childhood friend C, who shared the story of his own divorce (years ago now) and his triumphantly, abundantly awesome, love-filled new life with second wife, adopted daughter, new career, and assorted crazy pets. And who insisted I not worry about what my future would hold, saying–You’ll probably remarry! You’re a catch!

  • The best thing to come out of all of this was to find out how many people love me and think he is a jerk. Only ONE person (no longer a friend) said I caused him to cheat. Goodbye and enjoy your swim after talking a long walk on a short pier.

    ALL the people who supported me who had been chumped…friends, teachers at my daughter’s school, shop owners in town. All people I talked to daily who were (and are) human life preservers. The brilliant and loving therapist, who had seen us together and as a family since 2006 and launched him as a client for lying. I still see her. The guy at spin class who said very simply, “What a dick.”

    I have met NO ONE in my world who thinks what they did is OK. I must be walking Esther
    Perel repellent. (Esther Repel! My new name for her!!)

    Chump Nation and Cheater Nation are definitely two separate countries in my world.

    The Golden Gate Bridge is 20 minutes away from my house and it saddens me to wonder how many chumps have gone there to end the pain this causes. If you are here today and feeling like that, PLEASE HANG ON to some people who love you. There is no pain like this that I have EVER experienced, and I have been walking through it without a drug or drop of alcohol. It does get better…it won’t if you try to cover it with drinking and drugs.

    And last but NOT least, THANK YOU TRACY AND CHUMP NATION for being my human lifeboat.

    • Sadly a friend who suffers from BPD got involved with a cheating sh*tbag. Both her own mother and maternal grandmother committed suicide by jumping off bridges in the Bay Area. Her father was abusing her mentally ill mother (or caused it) with his dicking around.

      The cheaters are NOT worth killing yourself !

    • Thank you for mentioning walking through this without a drug or alcohol. Same here. I admit I get jealous that my cheater gets to drown his pain in alcohol every day and I face it head on sober. I don’t understand my cheater is telling me that he’s miserable since he left, that this is a troubling time for him (But if course having fun and discovering himself) But I thought that’s what he wanted to do. I guess it’s his way of getting attention from the single women who are “helping him through this”.

      My son and daughter have been very supportive of me listening and listening. Hugging me and telling me they love me. Willing to accept any choice I make.

      My parents listen every day while I drive to work. And home from work. For months seemed I could not even be alone with my thoughts long enough to drive to work. So I called them every morning. And every night on the way to and from work. They have been so loving. Showing me true unconditional love. I will pass that down to my children when they need me too.

      I know I’m burning out my children and parents.

      I don’t really have many friends but I have my sponsor. And I feel I’m burning her out too.

      I have several people at work who have been supportive as well. Telling me my “he doesn’t deserve you.” But they are also giving me the information that – He is Gone. We are separated so he can live his life the way he wants and accept that. I hate them for that. But it might be what I need to realize.

      I met some new people through my program and have opened my heart to them. It’s been a huge help just to talk 3 months post DDay and 2 months after he moved out.

      I’m realizing I was closed off to many people during my marriage. Not many friends left. So hearing people here with so many hurts. I’ll getback to myself soon I think. I’ll be friendly again.

      • Get numbers at meetings and get to Al Anon too if you haven’t been….it is a great response to being cheated on. I call at least three people every day….people who have been chumped because they understand….you will find lots in the rooms.
        I have a large group of people I talk to because it is intense.

        Get some outside help if you don’t have it…
        ❤️ to you….

      • Further….remember your cheater isn’t drowning his pain….he is only saving it for later. When you FACE IT AND FEEL IT YOU HEAL IT. The only way out is THROUGH. His attempts to avoid are futile. He should be jealous of YOU.

        We can heal from physical injuries even though we take pain medication. The pain of emotional injuries has to be felt to be processed and healed.

  • You guys. Retrospectively.

    (I had pretty much no one in real life who I wasn’t paying to support me emotionally for Cheaters #1 and #2. I got blamed, and also told that I should be over it by now. I also had a friend who invariably tried to have sex with my exes on the rebound. Unhelpful.)

    My sister was kind about Cheaters #3 and #4, but thankfully they were the least offensive.

  • Went with me to the lawyer and to court.

    I paid it forward by giving someone else the money to pay their lawyer, no strings attached, no need to ever pay me back.

  • He took everything and left me bereft and nearly penniless. I needed everything. I received very little.

    My father showed up one morning with a truckload of “just in case” furniture and food and household stuff. I got up off the blanketpile on the floor to answer my door and there he was. It was the one strong piece of support anyone gave me. And it was everything.

    I keep a “dowry box” in my house now – nothing fancy, just the basics a person would need if they needed to get started in a hurry. That way if I find out someone is in need, it’s easy to show up to get things started.

    I also show up for chumps with a 100% “you don’t deserve this and it is not ok for any reason” attitude.

    I also don’t push them to be ready faster than they are ready to be ready.

    We need all types of support. No one type is “the right way” for everybody. But if everyone shares their own unique gifts, the right balance finds its way through.

    • I love the idea of a “dowry box”,for men as well as women. Kind of like a go bag in case of a relationship disaster hitting you and not of your making.

  • I could have not gotten through the past year without the kindness and support of my friends. I have my tribe and I love them! Two months after the discard I was barely functioning (not sleeping or eating), and a friend had a surprise gathering for me with wine and crafts. All my girlfriends were there and we made flower crowns with fresh flowers, painted our nails, and drank a ton of wine. We then danced to bad 80s music late into the night while I ranted and raved about the asshole. It was easily the kindest thing that someone had ever done for me.

  • It’s a testament to her goodness and empathy, that my cousin was so present–checking in, listening to me cry and rage and spew and skein untangle for hours–sometimes via text when I was literally on the bathroom floor on another continent. (Sidenote: this is especially important, because there was a time years ago when this cousin needed support, and I was not the rock for her that she has been for me. So it shows the kind of person she is.)

  • A little tough love helped me.

    I’d heard what my in-laws and some of STBX-wife’s friends were saying about me (e.g., I was weak for “giving up,” I didn’t really love her given how quickly I left, I wasn’t husband material given I moved out in her, etc.).

    Given I had no kids with STBX, My sister said, “JC, you’re never going to see any of those people ever again. So who cares what they think?”

    Hard truth to hear, given I’d spent a decade developing relationships with, and caring about, those people. But needed to accept that.

    • I hear ya on that one. I treated my in-laws better than the cheater did, but now I don’t even exist to them, nor do my daughters and grandaughters. Apple, tree and all that. A whole family of narc freaks.
      I bet you’re now happy that toxic people like your in-laws are out of your life.

  • I went through this with a recently chumped old friend. Someone who I worked with about 15/20 years ago and who I vaguely kept in touch with.

    When he reached out to me to ask questions about divorce and such I dropped what I was doing.

    The first thing I told him was “It’s not about you”.
    The second thing I told him was “It probably would have happened no matter what you did”.

    He appreciated those messages which matched what everyone else was telling him.

    I then offered some hopefully practical advice about protecting himself, getting tested for STDs, and navigating the settlement.

    This echoes advice that I got but didn’t listen to while I was in the throes of the pick-me dance. A good friend said something to the effect of “wake up my man – she’s not coming back”.

    I was deep in to the RIC at that time though and even though I’d passed by the land of ChumpLady and even looked in the door I didn’t know that the messages here were for me.

    BT

  • In the beginning when I was literally walking around crying, I was overwhelmed with the kindness of strangers. There were a few counselors where I fortunately was supported, as well as a Catholic Priest. It made me realize I will NEVER discount another human being, no matter their politics, appearance etc. Mostly though, my sister, (who finally dumped her cheater), and two friends who were also cheated on (both still with theirs!). Mainly they would just check in with me. These three were my foundation during the beginning.

  • My mother stayed with us because I could not function. I was destroyed. She listened, she cuddled, she supported, she believed me, she looked after the kids, she cooked (I couldn’t eat a drop) she helped me pick myself up and keep going.

    • How wonderful your mom is! I wish my mom had done that. She was playing Switzerland and angry at me for leaving the cheater, but not angry at the cheater. She even repeatedly offered to let him live at her house! My brother explained it was because “he hasn’t done anything to us”. Apparently, I’m not part of “us”.😞They are now cast out of my life.

  • After the discovery of OW#1 the people I worked with rallied around and made me feel valuable. They declared he was a fool and that I was a catch. A happily married guy 20 years older told me awkwardly that if he was my age and not married he would be proud to have me as a girlfriend (sounds creepy here but it was really sweet since he is faithful). When you are being discarded there is no better antidote than to be told you are not, in fact, garbage.

    I realized that I was receiving more genuine care from relative strangers than I ever got with my X asshat. I nearly divorced him then but the hopium was strong.

    Alas, it took another 9 years and abandonment by him for OW#2 before it was over.

  • I’ll pay tribute to my bestest friend here who went with me through 2 D-days. While everyone else was busy telling me what an asshole he was, my best friend (already knowing he’s an asshole but taking the focus off of him,) became the firm voice of action and set up an escape plan for me to execute. This was what I needed then, because I was such an emotional mess, I couldn’t even think of how to go forward. She has been my longest standing friend. Our families are completely intertwined.

  • My best friend and my brother just listened. My friend let me come over to his house and talk, and my brother would just listen on the phone. That was what I really needed.

  • After D-Day, I was obviously shell shocked, and honestly so damaged, I don’t recall a lot of the details of any given day for weeks. It was all a numb blur, where I was on auto pilot at work, and in public, functioning, but not really cognizant of how I was getting through each day. I was surprised that I wasn’t called out at work, because I felt I was barely getting through the day. After a couple of weeks, I figured it was probably obvious something was off, so I went to my boss to tell her what had happened and what was going on. She listened to me without interruption, hugged me when I was done, and has steadfastly “had my back” every step moving forward. Come to find out, she had left her “baby papa” a couple of years prior, and had gone through many of the same emotions and feelings. She left without knowing or believing that he may have cheated on her, but after realizing that he has repeated many of the similar “cheater trope” that all of us have heard, we suspect that he was cheating in addition to all his other abusive behavior.

    I found this site not long after confiding to her, which helped me find my continued path towards m’eh. I have shared with her a lot of the advice found here, and I know we have been an invaluable support post for each other.

    I can never repay her for the loyalty, understanding support, and love she showed me. My only hope is that I have provided some semblance of the same friendship in return. She in no small part was key reason I kept from totally going off the rails.

  • I never knew who it was, but bless the woman at a long-ago Red Tent meet who secretly put a little slip of paper in my pocket that said “You are a giant of compassion”. I found that during discard and it reminded me of who I really was, and thus what he really was.

  • Our mutual friends all support me and want nothing to do with the Cheater. One husband of a good friend of mine said, “I thought he was a good person. He’s not.” One of my closest friends, someone I raised my kids with, and whom we we travelled with as families many times, was/ is absolutely disgusted with him and has fantasies about telling him off. Her husband, also my good friend, can’t speak to him.
    She is also there for me 100%. At first, when I was completely in shock and felt like I was walking around in a nightmare, she texted me daily to check in and came over to sit with me when I was crying or just felt like I was losing it. She even called my mom once to tell her how to support me. When I was finally setting up my own apartment, she took me shopping and helped me find cute, affordable furniture. She asks me to dinner every weekend and is generally just always there. I couldn’t find a better friend and I am so incredibly grateful to her. She completely showed up, whenever I needed her. And she took it personally, as if he did this to all of us, not just me. And in a way, he did- he lied to all of us about his duplicitous double life. Now he has none of the friends we raised our kids with for the last 20 years and that’s what he deserves.

    • I went out to see friends not long after D Day which was supposed to be a night out for me after a long and gruelling year caring for my dying father. When I dropped them the news that evening their jaws hit the floor. However they made me laugh so much I felt so supported, such a tonic. Those same friends looked after my daughter when I could barely get out of bed, took my calls all hours, have paid for me to go on a mini break to Geneva (actually next weekend, excited), came and had an awesome birthday party with me, booked me tickets to the theatre (no tragedies), bitched and laughed with me and the most horrendous parts of last year and ridiculed his poems. And then mums at my daughters schol who I know but not so well called me, invites me out, always stopped at the school gate to ask if I was OK, said they would have my daughter, how could they help, did I need copious amounts of wine.

      My work colleagues took me out for coffee if I had a moment, also helps me ridicule and laugh at the preposterous nature of his bullying ways, literally hated him as hard as I did.

      So one bad apple vs many many shiny apples, friends and colleagues who put me on their shoulders and carries me forward. I will never forget their kindness.

  • I was very fortunate to have my buddy and his wife who were mine and sugar clits best friends for years. They have been with me since DDay 1 letting me rant when needed. I’m so grateful to have them in my life and have been repaying them with good deeds such as helping with a kitchen remodel and other projects he has. I also thank them every chance I get.

  • I cannot even begin to thank my glorious best friends for their support since Dday. All three of them (C,S and E) knew before I confronted Ex. I told them because I knew if they knew there would be no going back. They would not be able to stand seeing me go back to her.
    They immediately severed all contact with her, called her every name possible, helped me cancel the wedding on day 2 (including calling suppliers, writing emails etc.) They’ve answered the phone at 3am, left dates waiting in order to talk to me mid meltdown and listened to every whim, whine and doubt in my process so far. I will never be able to repay it. One of them, C, is the wisest person I know and it’s honestly like receiving free therapy. She loves it when I report back phrases or ideas from CN and CL.

  • My ex asked my best friend for help loading something in his car ( she was at the same store) and she said ” nope” and turned around never making eye contact. She told me all about it and she looked so please with herself. Love her!

  • A mutual friend of me and Hannibal Lecher said two of the most useful things:

    “If a smart person wants to deceive you, they will.” (After I’d remarked I felt like a fool for not knowing what Hannibal was up to.)

    And, “we all knew he was an asshole; didn’t you know he was an asshole?”

  • Small things matter. I remember going through a divorce and moving to a new city and new job and feeling so alone. A good friend who kept in touch occasionally sent me a card. One time I went to my mail box and there was a padded envelope that contained some new slippers and a packet of tea. (I think I’d told her last time we talked that I was going home to put up my tired feet for a while, getting something hot to drink and then going to bed.) I stood there holding them and crying because it mattered so much to me that someone knew I was still alive and cared enough to notice me as a person. That was 24 years ago, and I *still* tear up when I think back to that moment.

    That’s a friend I will drive an hour to pick up at the airport in the middle of the night. ;o)

    Don’t discount the kindness, wisdom, courage and help you can bring to the people who matter to you. Even small things matter.

  • I have a cousin whose went through the same thing. She answered (still does) my 2 a.m. texts. Drove 250 miles for a surprise visit and just listened and took me to Steak and Shake. Validated that everything I was feeling was real and just to set small goals. Shower today…fix dinner-cereal counts-go to work, try staying for an hour.

    My brother drove 600 and stayed in a hotel while I was on a work trip just to reassure me that if the kids needed something he was there because Sparkledick wasn’t reliable.

    My co-workers taught my classes on their off periods… “I thought you might need help”

    Friends fed and entertained my children while in went to therapy and then counseling at church

    But the BEST was when my true friends provided the means for my kids to make me breakfast in bed and all my kids tonpurchase me small thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day.

    Sparkle dick was too busy with the whore to realize that Mother’s Day was as much for the kids as for me.

    He sucked then and so does now. His birthday present to his children is a card from the dollar store and $5.

    What a a self centered baby man… maybe I will take bday child for a happy meal from their sperm donor!

    • I thought people who gave dollar store gift cards as gifts were just an urban legend. But giving them to your kids? Good grief, the man is lower than a sewer rat.

  • My friends were incredible. One stands out and always has. That first weekend of April we bought tons of annual flowers and planted so my deck I look out on every morning was bright and colorful. Really helped my mood. I also bought new bedspread, curtains, bathroom shower curtain and rugs. All bold bright colors. Mostly my friends called everyday, texted and had me over for dinner during crisis time. I will always be grateful for those kind gestures. Hugs

  • After my most recent split, a long-time friend of mine booked a flight, all the way from the frozen North, just to keep me company for a few days and cheer me up. We drove around my neck of the woods, took in some scenery and sampled the cuisine. When I drove her back to the airport I had to hold back tears as we said goodbye; not so much from sorrow, but from gratitude for having such a kind and caring friend.

  • “What’s a queen without her King? Well, historically-speaking, far more powerful.”

    I put this on the binder I took to my divorce hearing. It kept my tears at bay, and has since inspired me 😊

  • I had a close friend at work who had been through worse help me through the very brittle moments after DDay and the start of the legal process. She gave practical dope-slap-advice that turned me in the correct direction.

    I had a group of guys who held me up, one especially. I had (have) loving parents who moved back into parental-mode and showered me with love and care.

    But one special moment was at an out-of-town event where I was ask “Where have you been? We all missed you” as if a whole community longed for my return. I felt cared for, suddenly by a bigger world. It hit me just right.

    And –daily– my favorite DJ says on his morning show, “You are not alone”. (kexp rocks) and -again- I was reminded that there is a bigger community, a bigger world, beyond my immediate despair, ready to support me.

  • My friend met me for coffee and I told her I was so confused about what to do. She asked if I was looking for a sign. I just kind of shrugged. She passed me a napkin and when I opened it, I read where she had written, “LOSE THE LOSER!”. She said, “Here’s your sign”. It made me laugh and it broke me from my gloom. A little thing like that can be a life rope sometimes.

  • Reading through these makes me think what Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) said what his mom would say when disasters and horrible stuff happened, ‘Look for the helpers.’ Wonderful stories here.

    I was lucky to have some stalwart family and friends have my back, but a coupe of comments stand out.

    Very soon after starting to tell friends we were going to get divorced, and keeping the secret of why for a few months, a mutual friend of my ex and I looked at me suspiciously and guessed why the divorce was happening, and said “she and her affair partner are dead inside”. I did not expect it, I expected a Switzerland neutral comment. It kept me going for weeks and I needed to hear it.

  • I got a call from a credit card company in my city wondering why I was so overdue in my payment … I told them why. She said, “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I’ll put a note on your chart saying you’re trying your best.”

    I got a call from the Income Tax people out west, same thing …. She said, “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. It’s a tough thing to go through. I suggest you do this …. I’ll put a note on your chart ….”

    I got a call … credit card … from a man down east … “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt … Hang in there.”

    I got a call … credit card (got a lot of debt) … a woman working out of India … She said, “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. You’re doing fine. It takes time. I’ll put a note on your chart …”

    “Is that a dog in the background? What kind?” “Boy! You sound young … you’re 3 times my age and you sound so good.” “You do that for a living? Wow. That’s gotta be tough on you.” Offering tricks of the trade to time my minimum payments and boost my credit rating, advise against consolidation if I can possibly avoid it. Strangers who didn’t have to do anything but collect money owed to their big companies, overriding the constraints of their “collections” job to offer support. That meant the most to me.

    The most important thing, though? Pay their kindness forward.

  • I am one of those people who dosn’t have multitudes of friends but the friends I have are a loyal and trusted lot ! They have all been here for me throughout. But it is one of my older brothers texts to me that I keep posted on the wall, he has has helped me through all of this sorted mess after a 20 year marriage . I still feel this weird void, although I stopped missing X over a year ago. My Brother wrote me this..” I wouldn’t beat yourself up over being deceived and lied to. You can’t control the actions of someone else. The shame is on THEM not YOU. Gotta remember that and get on with your life. After all, when you wake up in the morning and your staring St.Peter in the face, you’ve got lots of possibilities!

  • In the days after my husband left, my boss stopped by my office and told me something I will never forget. My boss is a friendly, but gruff sort of guy and I hadn’t talked to him directly about what happened, but given that I was walking about crying silent tears, looking like a puffy eyed Victorian tragedy, he figured things out quickly. And when he came to my office, he told me that his dogs were having some teeth removed that day. Their teeth were brittle and it was time. Then he said, “I hate that this is happening to them. I hate that they’ll wake up scared and confused and you can’t explain what happened or why, and they know something is different. I’d give anything to spare them that. You just know they’ve got to be so scared. But what was there was rotten and dying and needed to go so they could be healthy and strong. It’ll be hard and they’ll feel that something’s different, but they’re going to be okay. They’ll just have to learn a new way of doing things and it will get better and easier as they go. You understand?”

    And it remains the very best thing that anyone said to me. Well, until the next day when he was clearly afraid that I didn’t get the message and thought he’d been too subtle and he told me that he and his wife and all my coworkers thought a lot of me, that he knew what was going on and it’s none of their business, but they’re here for me; anything I need, just ask.

  • my best friend let me cuddle with her in her bed when I would call her in the middle of the night with a weak voice and asked for help
    she would say ‘get into your car and get over here’ i climbed in with her and snuggled.

    I love her for it and will never ever forget.

  • My youngest daughter is the only person who was truly supportive. She could teach the whole world some valuable lessons on what love means. Despite being under stress due to her own mental health problems and a failed relationship of her own, she was unflagging in her concern for my well-being and in calling out my ex on his bullshit, as well as calling out traitorous Switzerland family members. I told her it was too much, that I didn’t want her to have to go through all this, and her response was; “You did it for me. You saved my life so many times. I’ll always have your back.” She was the one who named how the cheater was treating me as emotional abuse. I was so conditioned to see mistreatment as the norm by that time that I’d not even have understood why I was in so much pain if not for her.
    She is pure gold and the one reason why being with that jerk wasn’t a complete waste of 32 years of my life. I have her to show for what I went through and she is worth it. He, OTOH, has nothing.

    • Also, my incredible doctor, who, despite having an insanely busy schedule, took a lot of time to talk to me about my personal problems, and shared a heartbreaking story of her own former marriage. Her commitment to and empathy for her patients is amazing. I’ve never had a doctor who cared anywhere near that much, and I’ve had a great many doctors.

    • I also have to give a shout out to the random strangers who were kind; a hairdresser who told me I need not despair, because I’m beautiful and will find somebody who really loves me, various people on Quora who told me I deserved so much better and sent me their love, the manager of an overly aggressive, insensitive census taker, who promised me I’d not be bothered by him again (after learning I could barely get out of bed, let alone answer questions), and of course CL and all the good folks of CN who let me rant away, have commiserated and shared their experiences and their humor, which truly are helpful. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

  • My friend, Nicolette, offered me and my dog her custom designed guesthouse to live in for as long as I wanted. For 2 years, she wouldn’t let me pay rent and made sure that I had everything I could possibly need. She’d even bring pounds of ground turkey for my pup as a treat. Her guest house offered me tremendous peace (XH and OW liked playing games with restraining orders and process servers. My attorney told me to “get off the grid” as the OW “is trying to destroy you”.) as it was set in her backyard behind large remote access gates and a wall and didn’t have public access. I felt safe and protected. I am forever in her debt…

    My friend, Paula, came with me on a trip to Australia and Hong Kong. We departed the day I got served with divorce papers. I was a train-wreck. She cried with me everyday of the trip. She also gave me one of the best laughs of my life when she ordered chicken in HK. It came with it’s head still on it. I laughed so hard I just about peed in my pants. (Paula is a health educator and germaphobic).

    My friends Alice and Carrie would call me to listen. Alice would call Saturday nights when I was alone and drinking wine. Carrie would call me every day of the week in the morning to encourage me to do something kind for myself and to do something that would advance my life forward.

    My friends Lisa and Ann would call me and make fun of XH and OW. They’d say OW looked hideous – like the witch from The Wizard of Oz or they’d laugh at her nose. God, how I looked forward to hearing from them!!

    I’m blessed to have these ladies in my life.

  • You need to find your tribe. My tribe was 4 friends and my mom. they took phone calls and texts at all hours – me crying, venting, screaming- all of it. They were and continue to be my rocks!
    Most folks have been wonderful- supportive and absolutely been shocked at the 5 year affair. There are a handful- all folks who were really asshat’s friends who completely wrote me off- like didn’t even want to speak to me at all-completely took his side or story as gospel. I laugh because some of these people consider themselves holy rollers- yet they speak of my ex as our dear friend- god bless him- bullshit! It upset me for a while- now i know asshat just has them snowed and that’s their problem – not mine. they know what he did, they chose to believe a liar over his cheated on wife…so whatever.
    The best is his old friends and the bulk of his family that have been completely supportive. The i’m so sorry- i can’t believe he could do such a thing. That means everything and it means that he will have a hard time facing these people. i think he has tightened his circle to those who have bought his lies. And that says a lot about him- he will not face the truth. it’s the thing he was most angry about when i said i wanted a divorce…he wanted me to tell people including his immediate family, that it just didn’t work out. I refused, and made sure everyone knew why we were getting divorced. i think when your’e honest about what happened, and get ahead of the cheater telling the story- most folks are supportive.

    • His family called him out and they support you? That’s amazing. What a gift.
      My ex’s family have never even asked him how I was doing, or how my daughters are doing, let alone contacted me. We no longer exist to them. They told ex they support him and said “don’t be too hard on yourself”. One of them even had the nerve to ask him whose fault it was that he cheated and tried to convince him it wasn’t actually his fault when he admitted it was. Another scumbag, who has claimed he liked me, advised the cheater not to do anything to help me out anymore, while fully aware that I am both physically and mentally unwell. The message is clear- they have closed ranks and I’m now the enemy, even though the cheater himself doesn’t even see me that way. But that’s good, since it likely means they will piss off forever and leave me alone. His mother has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren she apparently doesn’t care if she ever sees again, because kissing a self-professed cheater’s ass is what’s important. Narcs, borderlines and addicts, the lot of them. I suspect cluster b disorders are genetic on both sides of the family. What a relief to never have to see them or listen to their inane nattering ever again.

  • My best friend flew 2000 miles and stayed with me 3 weeks during a polar vortex in which it was often too cold to go outside. My gratitude to her is endless.

  • I had a few angel friends. One nearly always took my nearly daily phone calls over several months, she listened for awhile, validated my experience, emotions, and gently would ask me about the next steps I needed to do. One came over nearly every weekday for 6 weeks and helped me thin my stuff and paint the house and pack and even showed up to help sort when stbx was raging and frightening me. One took my calls and would validate with her irate and sarcastic wit, plus she came over one day when I had to tackle stbx’s hoarder piles and I was terrified of his response. She got us laughing so hard over the stuff we were finding, it turned my fear around. Told stbx we had to paint the rooms to prepare for sale, so his piles were in boxes, he accepted our service like he was some kind of royalty.

    When moving day came, and raging tearful stbx hung around, a large group of mutual friends showed up, unasked, and helped ME move AWAY from stbx to a safe place stbx didn’t know about. Deep acts of service helped renew my sense of self.

  • Wow – what a fantastic friend!!!

    My cousin and I just had a huge discussion about gratitude. While I suffered horribly due to XH and OW, the amount of kindness I was shown far surpasses their evil acts. I’m still overwhelmed by gratitude for my friends and family – even strangers.

  • AP Ex who told me about the affair:
    She’s a loser. Don’t sweat it. No ambition in life and lives the victim mentality. She’s not worth a moment of thought in your head.

    My sister:
    You are SO Free!!! This is going to be some of the best years of your life not being tethered and consumed by -///.. Work at being the best version of yourself, love yourself and never give ANY MAN 100% of yourself ever AGAIN. You will never get it back in return. #truth

    Ex sister in-law:
    Your still that same person I met all those years ago. U haven’t changed. Cheater didn’t think so. But my ex sister in law was right. I am still a special person

    My best friend:
    He’s not a man. Asshole and an idiot.

    Friend:
    I am glad you were able to vent. I am so sorry for everything you are going through. You deserve so much more and 10 times better. Know that I as always here for you. 🤩🤩🥰

    My therapist:
    U are strong and I am here to help u.

    Father:
    Go see a lawyer. Protect ur son

    Plus CL and CN. Narcissist books etc. other family, friends and coworkers who supported me with just listening or getting together to hangout

  • I’ve told this story here before a long time back .After I found out who Arseface really was and was pretty much in the foetal position for a few weeks one of my lifelong male friends called me to see how I was doing.We had been at university together way back when and had had a brief fling when I was 18.We remained in touch over the years and had mutual friends.
    He had just been diagnosed with motor neuron disease and was turning back the pages of his life, or so it seemed to me, during our conversation.
    We had never once before referred to that brief teenage romance but in all his grief following his diagnosis he took the time to tell me that he remembered and that that it had been lovely. He was so sweet and kind and it meant so much to me , having been so brutally discarded. My sense of my own worth was in the gutter but he made me feel better and it struck me that a guy who I’d had a meaningless fling with decades ago had more to say to me than the man who I’d invested my heart and soul in.
    He also said ‘You will stop loving this prick. ‘
    Didn’t think so at the time but he was correct.
    My lovely friend has since died .He was one of the best.

      • Almost fell off my seat!! Hilarious reply. The karma bus never stops. I am pretty sure it will get that piece of shit in the end. 😉

        What a special friend. Sorry he passed. Lovely story. He sounds like a very special person.

  • So I’m watching this Netflix show “Dead to Me” (yes I know it literally just came out today and yes I have responsibilities but I’m lying in bed with my laptop instead. I have shingles and it SUCKS.) Anyway, this show is a ‘dark comedy’ and as such I have no idea where it’s headed but there are some serious overlaps between the grief of death and the grief of betrayal. The main character tells her new friend “Thank you, for just being in my life… and for not saying and doing all the stupid s*** that everybody else says and does that just makes you feel more alone than you already are. And for not being repulsed by my version of grief.”
    I think that’s the heart of it. For those of us who only got the “you caused him to cheat by being (fill in the blank)” responses from everyone, this show is goals for what we can aspire to be in the future when betrayal trauma happens to someone else. (Not the blamers though, They can just eff right off.)

  • Before the divorce I thought that I was like George Bailey in Its a Wonderful Life — that I had tons of good friends who would help me if something bad happened to me.

    So after Dday and its horror and the divorce being filed I found out that I had almost NO friends. The narc Ex had been busy and told everyone that I was the one cheating and I had abandoned her and the kids for a whore (total projection and a vile lie). Of course the truth was she was banging 3 OMs and was a SAHM yet had plenty of money — how could that be if I abandoned my family ?

    The worst event was that right after Dday, I took the kids to church where I had been a member for years filled with my supposed friends. As I walked in I heard whispering, saw finger pointing and then no one would speak to me or look me in the eye. At that point I knew how horrible someone bearing false witness is and why it is on the 10 Commandments.

    It hurt so badly that all of these people that I thought were friends believed her lies and turned their backs on me. But yet, I found that there were a few people who were TRUE friends and I didn’t realize it. Two coworkers were there for me the whole time letting me talk for hours and just being there for me.

    I remember my one friend saying as I was crying “WHY WHY would she do this to me when I had been a good and faithful husband and so good to her — WHY” ??
    He said “what would you call someone who would do all that to someone who was so good to them” ?
    My reply “An asshole”.
    He said “Exactly, so why would you want to be married to an asshole” ?
    I looked and realized that he was right and so my recovery began.

    FYI that at my wedding 4 years later I had sitting at the head table with my immediate family my 2 true friends who stood by me during the worst time of my life.
    All of the Switzerland “friends” and those who turned their backs on me can go straight to Hell !!

    • Oh. My. God. What absolute scum of the earth those “friends” are!
      You find out who’s really in your corner, that’s for sure. My mother, one of my brothers and my eldest daughter are clearly not. My mother and brother were verbally abusive to me because they did not want me to leave the marriage, and my eldest daughter responded to my suicide attempt by saying she’d had enough of “the drama” and didn’t want to hear any more about it. This was a mere two weeks after dday. Sadly, I have had to cease contact with them for the sake of my mental health. All toxic people must be out of your life when you struggle just to keep going. I’m sorry those assholes publically shamed you.

      • That’s awful, I’m sorry Chumperella.
        I too have learned to keep toxic and negative people out of my life and I am very choosy about friends now. I would rather spend time with a small group that I know are true friends than spend time with shallow people who would turn on me or ghost me.

  • The most astute and most helpful comment I heard was from our 14-year-old who looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “You can take him back if you want to, but he hasn’t changed. It’s time to divorce his sorry ass.”

    That statement both validated my heartbreak and empowered me to leave the abusive marriage.

  • My therapist said, right away, “That is a pretty massive betrayal.”

    It set my head straight going forward. Whenever I was tempted to think loving thoughts of my ex, I just remembered my therapist sitting there, in her office, saying, “That is a pretty massive betrayal.”

    I’m lucky that I got one of the good therapists.

  • So many of my friends made such an effort to support me by:

    – always taking my calls no matter the time of day and “talking me off the ledge” for the 100th time
    – always listening and letting me cry with no demand of “get over it already”
    – asked how they could help me with work travel and caring for my son (who was in 3rd grade at the time)
    – believed everything I told them without question
    – reminded me of who I was (before the fuckwit)
    – reminded me that my life could better… in time…
    – blacklisted Mr. Sparkles from their lives (not one Switzerland friend)

    I may have lost a cheating fuckwit, but when I saw how much I was loved by so many… it “right-sized” the loss.

  • I just needed validation. When you’re in a shit storm of self doubt and pain and gas lighting, you just don’t know what’s real. To take a small step toward independence and resolution is a major feat. Hearing from others that I was doing the right thing and there was no other option, was major. When people would question my actions even a little, I would crumble and be set back.

    A good friend of mine, upon learning of the cheating and abuse, was unequivocal: he’s a dirtbag and you’re awesome. It may take you a while to see that and act on it, but you will eventually. I’ll be here until and after you do.

    Her honesty, support and loyalty was amazing. I hope to offer that to someone else one day.

    But, as we all know, many chumps just aren’t ready to hear it. I tried to offer something similar to a family member going through a major chumping…and she was defiant and protective of her abuser. I just told her: I get it, it’s a confusing time. I’m here to talk. Please know you deserve to be loved and cherished.

    • It’s nice to hear their are caring people out there besides fellow chumps. I don’t know where I would be without their insight and support too

  • My marriage blew up at 24.5 years.

    On my 25th anniversary, I threw a party
    for my wonderful friends who circled the wagons around me. My friends didn’t know one another and everyone just clicked.

    So i have a wonderful memory instead of what could have have been a horrific day. I rescinded my vows and we toasted to my future.

    I now have an annual party to celebrate that party. Friends rock!

  • My best friend held me for hours while I had what basically amounted to a nervous breakdown, after I realized that he had lied to me yet again about what he was up to on a business trip, and that the man I trusted for 30 years was (and still is and will always be) a total turd. My friend and her husband took time off a few months later, flew up to my town, and helped me move out.

  • When I was tearfully telling mutual friends that my husband and I were in counseling because evidently I wasn’t living up to his expectations (I hadn’t mentioned Schmoopie yet) one if them looked me in the eye and said “you were a good wife”.

    • This is pivotal to hear because we are told the opposite in one form or another by the cheater. I was told this by my parents, and it made all the difference.

      Also being told “good husbands worth keeping don’t act the way he did.”

  • For a few months my Dad and Grandad (in his eighties) just kept quietly passing me bits of cash here and there. I used it to get re-certified in my old career and still have about 700 dollars stashed that only I can get to. They never said why they were doing it or gave me any directions or had a big discussion (think they probably felt a bit awkward). They just obviously had an instinct that a small emergency fund would be what I needed for a few months.

  • My girlfriend showed up the day after everything went down and helped me put everything of his in garbage bags and helped drag them down to the garage for him to pick up. I didn’t ask her, she just showed up. I’ll never forget that kindness. Ever.

  • I texted my brother about the Asshat and the Whore.

    He said……”Is that a book by Dr. Seuss?”

    Laughed myself silly.

  • After my first d-day, I went to see a childhood friend. She was sooooo supportive. Her words to me were,

    “I’ll support you in whatever decision you make. I won’t say anything bad about him. I know this is hard enough for you without having to worry about protecting other peoples view of him…if you choose to stay. I will say that I hate that he has hurt my friend on such a deep level.”

    That was absolutely what I needed at that time. Now 3+ D-days later, and 4 years into the divorce process, no-one has to worry about saying anything bad about him… I’ve got that covered! LOL

  • The wife of my ex’s best friend (we will call her BadA$$) took a stand for me, in my absence. My final DDay was 7/8/17. I did what I needed to do, and the house locks were changed 7/14/17. He never stepped foot inside my house again.

    We were supposed to take a camping trip the weekend of 7/24/17 with ex’s best-friend & family and our family. I was invited by BadA$$ and the best friend to go with them and not miss out on the trip. They promised to keep me separate from the ex. I declined. Ex however kept his reservation and took the affair partner camping with him.

    Apparently, BadA$$ didn’t know that ex was there, nor that he brought the AP. She happened to see them crossing the road into best friend’s camp. She stepped out of their trailer and began yelling “OH NO YOU WILL NOT BRING YOUR TRASH-LYING CHEATING ASS AND NEW FLING INTO MY CAMP and disrupt what was supposed to be OUR combined families camping trip” Among other expletives she told him he was lower than scum and deserved nothing good in his life ever.

    BadA$$ and I were good friends prior to the camping incident, but we weren’t what I’d consider bests friends, and I never would expect her to stand up for anyone, even herself, let alone me. She is very mild mannered and she offends easily and she NEVER swears. So, when I heard about the trip from her son and husband, I realized just how BadA$$ she is. And, she has to date, been the only one of our mutual friends who has stood up for me and absolutely cut ties with the ex. She also checked in with me daily for the first month to make sure I was doing okay. She reminded me I was strong and deserved better and to this day she reminds me that I did the right thing and I’m still a better person than the ex because I’ve never bad mouthed him to our kids or anyone else and apparently, when he talks to his best friend/her husband, he trashes me routinely. She said recently that her husband/ex’s best friend finally started calling ex out on his BS and defending me too.

    I’ll cherish this woman until the day I die and we’re 100% closer now that we were the first 15 years we were friends.

    • This is beautiful. The way that women I did not know especially well – including women whose primary relationship with me was through our husbands – have stepped up to offer support (and to share stories of similar experiences in their own pasts) has been what I call the secret silver lining in all of this. I wouldn’t trade those friendships for anything.

  • For the friend who picked me up at Heathrow Airport at 7am (two hour drive from her home) because Dday happened on holiday.
    The friend who walked miles with me every morning, no matter what time, for weeks after discard.
    The friend who took me in for three months between selling my house and buying my flat.
    The acquaintance (now friend) who took me to join a choir.
    My brother for offering £10000 as a gift to help me (he needs it himself so I didn’t take it).
    For my solicitor who fought for me and encouraged me to ‘take charge ‘.
    There are others.
    CL and CN who still see me through most long nights.

  • STBX and I were part of a group of friends that formed by after we all moved into new housing situations (linked by roommates in each home who were classmates) as we were leaving relationships, starting graduate school, job searching, etc. in our mid-20s. The activities that we did together (travel, trivia nights, celebrating each other’s milestones, etc.) defined a decade of my life. STBX and I moved cross-country a few years ago and, while we were still in touch with everyone, I was definitely a lot more reticent in the months of gaslighting, trickle truth, etc. leading up to D-Day. After I discovered STBX’s messages with his coworker, the friends from that group were the people I most wanted to talk with – I felt like they knew me and STBX, so their perspective would be something approaching accurate and reasonable? – but I was dreading making those phone calls, especially after being somewhat distant for so long.

    I will never, ever forget their responses, which varied from calm and compassionate to almost equally as outraged as I was. The women in that group got together (in their city) to talk about what happened and sent me an enormous flower arrangement the week after STBX moved out, with a card that reminded me that they were there for me and that they knew things would get better for me. One of them sent me a text message every single morning for the better part of two months (including the holidays) just to say hi, remind me that she was thinking of me, and ask how I was doing. One of our friends was about to be married, and he and his fiancée promptly offered me a plus-one to their wedding and promised that STBX, if he dared to RSVP, would not be bringing a guest or sitting with the rest of us. (His fiancée also invited me to spend the holidays with her family in my part of the country, and she and her extended family have become new friends in the wake of all of this – a beautiful reminder that I’m actually likable on my own, and that my life going forward can be as full of supportive relationships as I want it to be.) Other friends did everything that they could to support my travel, accommodations, etc. for the wedding itself, and my closest college friend came as my plus-one and spun and dipped me on the dance floor while bragging about her “hot date” (to everyone’s amusement).

    I was worried that my divorce would mean that these shared friendships would strain, and fade, and that all of my fond memories of that time in my life would end up tainted by the way that my relationship with STBX ended. It didn’t happen. My own relationships with these friends were strong enough to weather the change, and STBX’s… weren’t. They’re even stronger now, and we’ve made new memories during the last year. There is not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for these friendships, and – now that I don’t need to stay in my current city for STBX’s work – I’m hoping to move back, or at least closer, to the city where they live.

  • Even really small things can have a big impact. I was alone at an awards assembly for one of my kids, a couple of weeks after filing for divorce in the small town where everyone reads the divorce notices in the paper, and a lady I only kind of knew from church sat next to me. Just that small, kind act made me feel much more less alone.

  • My father-in-law turning to my mother-in-law when I presented them evidence about the other woman (after my STBXH had been trying to convince his mother that she had only ever been a friend), and saying, “Somewhere along the way we failed in the moral development of our son.” Then, he turned to me and said, “We are very sorry about that.”

    Every one of my of my STBXH family has stood by me. They told me that he may have abandoned me, but they have not. No matter what I will always be family because I am the mother of the children.

    We’re into month 17 since he left me to be with the other woman. No a single member of his family has met her. Not a single member of his family will discuss her. In fact, they made it very clear that there will never come a day that they will allow him to present an adulteress relationship to the children of the family and normalize it.

    So, he continues to live a double-life, keeping her away from them and our kids too. He only comes around during special occasions.

    I’ve gone on several camping trips with different in-laws, get together every couple of months for dinners and bbqs, get invites to the birthday parties, chat on the phone, get together for tea or girl lunches.

    I did not marry a good man, but I married a good family. I’ve struggled to figure out what I should refer them as when the divorce if finalized, but I’ve decided that I will just continue to refer to them as “family.”

    • What wonderful, wonderful people. What a blessing. THIS is the response of people who love you enough to stand up against wickedness.

  • My son showed up after he completed his 1st year of graduate school. He decided to stay and finish up his requirements from home.

    My daughter got me through three months at the gym lifting weights and letting me stay at her house on Saturday nights.

    My best friend has been my rock, making me laugh and sane.

    My guy friend accompanies me to all the music events and movies I want to attend.

    The Northeast mighty chumps put a face to the betrayed. Chumps are amazing individuals. They gave me strength and friendship.

    My therapist was kick ass weeks after Dday. He nearly jumped out of his seat and said he’s a narcissist, never respected You, and it will kill you if you stay. DIVORCE HIM. He recommended an attorney, the same one two of my friends recommended. He also told me to find a blog.

    Here I am. Love this tribe of amazing chumps and Tracy. Hell yeah!

  • MoFaux’s brother & wife offered a room, meals, drinks, laughter, hugs and their anger towards him. Texts from them that included:

    i) “You will meet yourself again and recognize all that you were created to be. We are blessed to have you in our lives.”

    ii) “Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. You are God’s Joy.”

    iii) “You can count on us as family, with a place to call home whenever you need.”

    MoFaux’s brother (same one as above) told me that he explained to MoFaux that he was an asshole. THAT is action and validation! HIS BROTHER!

    My friend of 50 years said “He can’t handle his dick and keep it in his pants. I am in your corner. Try to avoid thoughts of the lowlife, scumbag MoFaux (like murder or torture) and remind yourself who was the REAL loser ~~ the slime mold named MoFaux!”

    My two female best friends at the time took me walking regularly. Fresh air, lively & smart conversation, non-judgemental listening when I ranted, loads of laughter and some tears, exercise and a hot chocolate after. Pure ingredients for healing. I love them.

    Another best friend of more recent times accepted a Friend request from MoFaux right after DDay and told me about it. I expressed that it felt very upsetting to me, as it seemed that he did this as image management. She was a bit abrupt in ending that conversation, but later called and apologized saying that she had not realized how inconsiderate and hurtful it was. She unFriended him that day. Her ACTION and support meant a lot.

  • We’re all sister’s in this, I keep a supply of ” Leave a Cheater Gain a Life ” on hand for just such occasions. Give the chump a copy and hopefully she/he will gain some relief from Tracy Schorn. I sure did. Thanks to all for so much.

  • A couple of weeks out from D-Day a school mum friend of mine who had been through a high conflict divorce and custody battle (without the cheating, with a BPD rather than an NPD) said to me “Just keep being the better person”.

    Boy has that mantra stuck with me. I draw on it every day. Mighty.

    Then yesterday when I went into mediation, I drew on this poem. No idea where it comes from, but it makes me feel a warmth and power I haven’t felt for years in an extremely power imbalanced relationship. I had the power yesterday. I’ve switched the word undervalue for devalue as that’s what narcissists like to do. Would love to know the source if anyone knows it.

    Remember what you must do when they devalue you

    When they think

    Your softness is your weakness

    When they treat your kindness

    Like it is their advantage

    You awaken

    Every dragon

    Every wolf

    Every monster

    That sleeps inside you

    And you remind them

    Of what hell looks like

    When it wears the skin

    Of a gentle human.

    • Thank you, Nena.

      I’m at the beginning of the divorce process no it is already so hard to keep my composure. Your words, THESE exact words are what I need now. Thank you for passing these words along, and I will carry them with me in these rough days.

    • So true. Thanks for sharing. One of things the cheater said to me as he held a picture of us when we first got together “where did this person go?” It really cut because she was there cheater just didn’t love, support or invest fully in that special person in the picture. This poem really put things in perspective and has helped me to keep moving forward and to stop looking back because i don’t ever want to be in another relationship like the one I lived in for the past 16 years. That fucker suck me dry. I was a husk. I refuse to let that fucker win!!

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/kimsaeed.com/2013/10/11/i-still-remember-you/amp/

      Hope this helps too

    • Thank you! I love this!!!
      This is what I feel like when I have to deal with him. It’s like at the end of Kung Fu Panda 3 when Po is in the chi dragon, beating up the bad guy. I literally feel like an absolute beast emanates from me. I know who I am now and what I am worth. He will bully me no more.

  • Didn’t listen at the time. But later made sense.
    Mother in law… she has always been infatuated with him.
    Therapist… why would you want to stay with her?
    Big shout out to Bev if you see this. Accidental meeting but a friend who kept me alive during the shit storm! There are individuals who one can never thank enough for what they have done!

  • I think this is my favorite Friday shoutout or introspection exercise to gaining a life. Thanks CL. 😍

  • My soon-to-be ex-brother-in-law defended me to the parents when my mother-in-law tried to spew some lie that she was choosing to believe. Friends who quietly began inviting me out on weekends. Friends who helped me pack and move. A bestie who met with me and my lawyer and spoke up when I was still in shock. My family❤️❤️❤️

  • Sadly people I thought were my friends were not. Some actually knew before I did and never told me. Then his family ghosted me. All very painful. My Family tried but mostly said things like “you are better off” or “count your blessings “. I found out how strong I am and found this awesome site which helped me to laugh again 😁

  • The lady in my small town who asked around and found me a job when my STBX cut off all financial help.
    The guy who delivered me wood for heating and told me to pay him back when I could .
    My sister, who is also a chump , for listening to me endlessly and being the one person who truly understands.
    My work colleagues for having my back and looking out for me whilst the STBX plays many , many games .
    For the men I’ve spoken to who have said ‘ hes an idiot !
    The kindness of strangers has humbled me during this awful time . I will never forget it .

  • My Mom has been amazing and I am so thankful for her.
    My doctor (who was both our doctors) called him despicable and said he hopes he does not come back to him when I had to go get tested for STD’s and explained why.
    Colleagues who have patiently listened to me express my hurt, my fears, and my anger.
    My brothers.
    My children who have tried to be supportive in their own way (I try not to lean on that – they are older teens).
    My friends – who haven’t experienced this but have tried to be supportive.
    All of you. Even though I have not met any of you, I do find the advice very helpful and it is comforting to realize that I am not alone.

  • Best support for me was friends taking me out, listening and sympathizing.
    Not telling me what to do. I laughed when people said “He is a @#$%!” You are a great person. Extra phone calls to see how I was going.
    Fortunately I didn’t get many people saying the wrong thing. Only a few acquaintances. I got ‘these things happen ‘(distancing him from his cheating) even ‘There are two sides….'(NO, I didn’t do anything wrong) and even a blank stare from two couples(friends of my brother’s who I know for sure one couple are cheaters) A brother who said ‘you must have known'(NO, I felt a distance but he was a good liar so I had no idea he was cheating.) Hooray for good friends.

  • My mother who would not allow me to go to court alone
    My mother who knew he was still cheating, but never judged me because I was not ready to accept it
    My brother who listened and has supported all of my decisions
    For my co workers who (knew me, her, and him) assuring me that he traded down
    Those who would just come up at work and embrace me without saying a word
    Those who I just randomly text or call to vent and they just listen
    Being encouraged to keep living and find ways to enjoy a new me

  • Written in a card that contained gift cards to help out myself and my two children:

    “Courage sister, you do not walk alone. We will walk with you.”

  • My brother-in-law after I showed him all the text OW sent my husband, “She seems like a total idiot. She doesn’t even know the question mark goes inside the quotation!” It made me laugh 😂 and that was something I hadn’t thought of. She IS an idiot. I was so focused on the meaning of the text I ignored how stupid she sounded. A 30 year old texting like she’s 12. Then I thought, if that’s what my husband wants then he’s an idiot too.

  • At the strong advice of a good therapist I started to build my own support team once I finally realized that my self-imposed isolation/secrecy/shame was not serving me— just protecting him. The first friend I talked with called me 15 minutes after we left each other following a marathon cathartic purge. It felt so good to tell her the truth, but all the “what ifs” started almost as soon as she drove away. She anticipated this, called me, and said all the right things. THAT is true loyalty— something I desperately needed during the hardest early weeks.

  • My dad got out his legal pad and started writing down a “to-do” list of all of the financial/custody stuff that I would need to take care of in order to get away from the cheater. He has always been great about being calm and practical. He is the yin to my mom’s yang.

    My mom cursed up a storm, calling the cheater every name in the book, and tended to my emotional needs. To this day, she and my other family members are still there for me whenever I need advice or some time to vent. Not once have any of my family members or friends told me that should be “over it.”

    My siblings, for the price of some doughnuts and coffee, spent an afternoon helping me move the large pieces of furniture that I was taking from the marital home to my new home. It allowed to me to save quite a bit of money.

    My three closest friends at work continue to hate my ex on my behalf and make me feel validated when I share a story about his latest stupid behavior toward our kids. My number one closest friend has babysat for me back when my kids were young enough to need it whenever I was in a childcare pinch.

    A close friend (who lives several hours away) on social media messaged me regularly when everything first happened and gladly removed the cheater from her social media account. It was something small, but it helped.

    Just the other day, colleagues at work went off on cheaters during lunch and talked about how there was no excuse for cheating, especially in this day and age. These colleagues don’t know why I’m divorced, so they had no reason to say something like that unless they truly believed it. Again, it was something small, but it’s so nice to hear that others have integrity.

    Divorce Care made it clear that divorcing due to adultery was 100% okay. The folks in my group were kind and supportive; no one asked me what I did to make him cheat.

    Many chumps, both on this site and another site, made me realize that the cheating was not my fault and that it was both healthy and right to leave the cheater. The full support that I received online and IRL was hugely instrumental in my ability to tell cheater five days after D-Day that we were done. I got much closer to meh that much faster because I didn’t waste time on multiple D-Days and pick-me dances.

    I don’t talk to them anymore, but when my former in-laws found out, they sent me a very generous amount of money to help me move on with my life. I try to remember that when I’m disgusted with the fact that they now have bought into whatever the cheater’s narrative is and don’t talk to me anymore.

    So much of my recovery occurred because the people in my life let me know that I was not in the wrong and that my ex’s behavior was disordered. Instead of selfishly protecting themselves based on their own fears about cheating, they have all been there for me and continue to be there. Having such a supportive community surrounding me was amazing. I hope that I can pass that kind of help on to others.

    • This is a great story! And I do agree that it is good people’s own fear that stops them from helping or supporting…or worse, blaming the victim. People don’t like to believe that whether their partner cheats is outside their control.

      I’m watching all my younger cousins get engaged and married and I’m wishing them all the best…but I am so jaded. In my mind I’m thinking…at least one of you is marrying a dirty, lying, self-centered, narcissistic cheater who has been playing Mr. Sparkles all these years…but wait for it. Just wait.

      I still believe in love and honesty and loyalty, but I no longer believe it is as common as I once thought. Disillusionment: the gift form cheaters that keeps on giving.

  • A friend offered the key to her condo, and said I was to come there anytime. Another friend said I could visit her or call her 24/7. She put up with all my crying jags and heartbreak. She told me over and over that we have to go through it to get through it. She was an angel to me.

    My siblings were less than supportive and distanced themselves. They made a few dumb comments on how it could never happen to their marriages. But none of that surprised me.

    My father was dying at the time I split but he was wonderful. He said I deserved better than that snake. And when my kids sided with my cheater ex, my father supported and helped me through that as well.

  • Before DDay but well into the discard, I saw my therapist for the first time. She asked me if I wanted to save my marriage. My instantaneous reply was that I wanted to save myself. She smiled at me and said we should get to work.

    That was the start of my recovery.

  • My friend, a chumped single parent of 5 kids herself who though completely impoverished phoned me every morning for the week after d-day and stayed on the phone for however long it took for me to finish sobbing and be ready to try to face the day. Must have cost her so much money she didn’t have.
    My friend who stayed on the phone all night to try to keep me safe the night I flipped and drove all night in a fit of grief
    My friend who divided her home in half to offer myself and my son a place to live so we could escape
    My friend who let me stay in her house even when she wasn’t there so I had somewhere to get away to whilst lining up my ducks
    My parents, without whose financial support my son wouldn’t have been able to go to and remain at college
    My wonderful daughter, who whilst going through her own kind of hell learning that her dad was not her hero but an arse who was willing to push his kids under a bus to destroy their mum and just view them as collateral damage (her words) – regularly drove from one end of the UK to the other for months to check her mum was ok.
    My brother and his wife, who came to help me move house but made me sit down while they did it all because they could see I was close to a breakdown with the stress of it all.
    My coworkers who listened so patiently and supported me through every stage of a long, nasty divorce
    My GP, who was so supportive and suggested I stay on the anxiety pills she’d prescribed ‘until that arsehole is out of your life completely’ (direct quote)
    The barrister who decided to discount her charges after the final court hearing ‘because he is so horrible to you and I couldn’t get him to behave reasonably’ (direct quote). That from a stranger was so kind and felt like such validation.
    His own mother, who I’d never had a close relationship with, phoned me about a month after separation and told me my life would improve now. That really surprised me.
    Writing it down has made me realise how much amazing support and how many good people I am lucky to have in my life. And I’ve noticed this thread seems to be the longest I’ve seen on CL – just goes to show there are a lot of kind, caring and supportive people out there, which is so lovely. It’s helped to restore my faith in human beings

  • I was fortunate to have have tremendous support from friends and family. Everyone was on my side, but a lot of my support was advice giving “maybe if you say this, maybe if do that” that I could fix things (before I knew of the affair).

    The single best thing anyone said about my ex’es behavior, who my sister, after hearing of many of the terrible things done, simply said “that is so unkind.” It was the understatement of the century. But it changed my perspective from how I could “fix” to the situation to what his behavior was. Just a simple reflection back of his actions, was surprisingly helpful.

  • From a common long-time workmate “Well, he always was a selfish bastard”.

    From my lawyer “Stop making excuses for him, you’re not his mother”.

    From our uni-aged daughter (after hearing that he wanted out of our marriage – but with the story that there was no one else, so I said that there could be a possibility of reconciliation if we worked on and made changes in our relationship) “Get a cat” (he is very allergic), as well as “I know who raised me, and it wasn’t him”. After daughter and I both found out months later about the infidelity and deceit “Would you take him back now?” (my answer was of course, no), her reply “Good, because I would really lose my shit if you did”. (This from my very clean-spoken daughter – love her!)

  • Honestly? Even Switzerland friends should be able to manage a “I´m so sorry you´re going through this”

    The best ones were “we never liked him anyway / you deserve better”

  • My best friend, who lived far away was there to listen to me when I finally broke down and told her that I was going to divorce the X, and about the whole cheating. She asked me how things were, because I didn’t talk much about my relationship (because I was independent and strong, I thought). She was my personal UBT for months as I processed my emotions. She never judged me, or ever made me feel like it was my fault. She was there to listen, and to be indignant with me. And the best thing she repeated to me was this, whenever I had a new thing for her to UBT: “It’s all about ME ME ME ME for him, isn’t it?”

    And my boyfriend, who, when I told him about my past (before we got together), just hugged me, and told me how sorry he was at what happened. He pointed out the abusive behaviour from my X, and told me that nothing about the cheating was my fault. And that I stayed for far too long because I was strong, not because I was weak. Turns out he was a chump as well.

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