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If It Feels Good — Don’t Do It

Psssst! I have a little secret to lay on you…. People are not interested in your messy divorce.

Okay, maybe your parents and closest friend. Certainly it sucks for your children. But the rest of humanity? I’m sorry. They do not care for the particulars.

I know how unjust this is, especially if you’ve been cheated on. It’s shattering. The horror of being played for a fool is enough to put anyone out of their right mind. But I’m telling you, chump-to-chump, maintain your dignity.

I’m not saying shut up. Please understand I want you to speak your truth.  If anyone asks, sing like a bird. “I found 14 Craigslist hook-ups. We’re divorced.” Or “I didn’t like her boyfriend.” Or “The Ashley Madison accounts really didn’t jive with my idea of marriage.” By all means, speak up. It’s not your job to be your ex’s PR agency and polish their image. What they did was shameful and it’s not your shame to wear. It’s theirs. But there is a difference between matter-of-fact succinctness… and emotionally vomiting all over a stranger’s shoes.

What I’m saying is — don’t send a three-page, single-spaced narrative with footnotes and apocrypha to their employer. Don’t do a social media blast of their sexts. Don’t post the naughty bits you found on their secret cell phone on Facebook and tag their mothers.

Does that sound delicious? Did you just read that and think “OMG, I have to try that!”

Step away from the send button. You’re still wobbly. These feelings will pass.

Here’s three reasons why over-sharing the particulars of your messy break up is a bad idea.

1.) Lawyers. Any tangible communication can be used against you in court. Don’t give the crazies in your life ammunition, okay? You don’t want to face harassment charges. If there is an actual abuse of power that you should report, like your ex was having sex with a minor, or their therapist, or was abusing their authority in some nefarious way — you need to run all that past a lawyer. How you expose, how you confront — these things are best left to professionals. And in other less egregious cases, let your lawyer use evidence of infidelity as leverage in your divorce. (Yes, even in no fault divorce states, affair partners tend not to want to be deposed.) It doesn’t work very well as a threat if you’ve already informed everyone on Facebook. You also need to think through the ramifications — could your ex lose their job for a work place affair? Shouldn’t you get the support order in place before that happens? Lawyers think about these things dispassionately and strategically. You need that.

2.) It makes you look like a loon. The last thing you want to do is match the narrative your ex paints that you’re crazy. Even if they manufacture crazy like Henry Ford made automobiles, even if they’re a big slag heap of insanity — don’t take the bait. Don’t match their crazy with your crazy. I know you’re angry and grieving, but take a big step back. You can’t control this. You only get to control you, so be the sane person.

And remember, people aren’t interested in your cosmic injustice. I know it’s huge to you, but to the person reading your three-page, single-spaced narrative with footnotes and apocrypha — it just comes across as raw. And unbalanced. And they don’t really want to sort it out, so they’re going to make a quick decision about who to side with and it’s probably going to be the person who didn’t send them a three-page, single-spaced narrative with footnotes and apocrypha to read.

So really, if you have something to say — bullet points.

But better yet, keep it to yourself and maintain your dignity.

3.) It gives the bad guys centrality. This is the biggest reason not to alert the press — it gives the bad guys your precious mental real estate. Your life gets winnowed down to winning some stupid narrative. You know the truth. The people who matter to you know the truth. Everyone else? Who cares. Who cares if they think the sun shines from your ex’s butt? Who cares that she’s a fraud? I promise you, they’ll find out (painfully) in time.

Focus on you. Focus on your new life. Don’t look back at their drama. Fold the three-page, single-spaced narrative with footnotes and apocrypha and stick it in a drawer. Pull it out a couple years from now and have a good (if rueful) laugh. You’ll be so grateful that’s no longer your life. Trust me on this.

Just a rerun public service reminder.

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Underscoring this point — If it’s ABUSE? Report it. If it’s criminal? REPORT IT. People who abused their authority (sinister ministers, therapists), sex trafficking. Jeffrey Epstein shit? All the ugly we read about here.

    The rest of the drama.. my advice above.

    (I just don’t want anyone to read this and think victims shouldn’t report abuse.)

    • I’d like to add that forgiving yourself and moving on from any dramatic reaction is crucial. I suspect all of us have at least a few encounters – especially right after D-day – that don’t reflect our highest selves.

      A natural human response to trauma, the effects of shock: these can produce a mania that overtakes and then takes over our normal behavior.

      Perhaps, when succinctly sharing what happened, it might help add, “…and for a while there I was really crazy.”

      This could help normalize the reality that infidelity really really really hurts.

      • I am so glad you said this because I look back and think about how “crazy” I was acting. I tell people, “Yep, I went right off the edge there for a while.” Now I’m suffering the consequences of people really thinking I’m “crazy” versus having PTSD and going through a really terrible time in my life. And I’m a therapist!

        • And I did not have much of a support system to turn toward. What is left of my family is toxic. Most of his family dropped me after he had numerous affairs and divorced me. His mother’s words were, “What do you expect, he’s my son.” I should have just only shared with a therapist and a couple of close friends.

          • Hey Ther – we ALL go over the deep end after D day! It’s devastating and traumatic. But I learned that people will only handle what THEY feel comfortable with. Doesn’t matter how YOU feel, it’s all about THEIR feelings. My family was absolutely not there for me – at all. The problem is, you don’t know who your support system actually is until you’re in crisis, when you need them most. I spent just as much time in my therapist’s office crying about my family as I did crying about him. It was a DOUBLE betrayal. His family? Please. Their time was spent on trying to deal with their own emotions about what their brother, son, cousin did and how to spin it in order to be able to look him in the eye again. WHICH, they did fairly easily. Meanwhile, back in the Bat Cave, I’m in the back of the closet in the fetal position. People want to keep this kind of emotional pain at arm’s length and there you are – Sad Sack Magoo – reminding them of what a total fucking shit bag their brother/son/cousin/DNA sharer is. Of course – MY family ignoring MY pain is yet another blog for another day. Don’t beat yourself up for talking to people about it. You didn’t really know what shit bags they were and that they wouldn’t be there to support you until you needed them. Not your fault and not an indictment on YOUR insanity. It’s more of an indictment on their inability to be caring human beings.

            • Thank you for this excellent analysis. I am one year post D-day and have made huge strides in keeping my thoughts to myself. With everything stripped out of my life, money, friends, the most horrific part is realizing how little support others provide. I had to summon my strength from nothing. I am still working hard to keep emotionally balanced. I am 61 years old and I have one true friend….it is the only thing I have to show from my life in terms of relationships. All others, family etc. are there, but not THERE.

  • I posted on Reddit yesterday about this sort of thing .
    I met an acquaintance ( Thank You LAJ) in the waiting room of my dentist . He said oh i heard about you and Ex blah blah .
    My ex is going round telling people that like this is just one of those things like we had a nasty fight and he couldn’t take any more . He said he met his new GF and she seemed nice !!

    I said No that’s not what happened at all he is a lying cheating scumbag & you can tell him next time you see him I’m telling everyone the truth . Even if you don’t want to believe me ask yourself who moves in with another woman straight away as in same day ? Like you believe he left me in the afternoon and by 5pm he had met and moved in with his new GF does that sound right to you ?

    He just shrugged
    CL is right no one cares absolutely no one

      • It is a private group by invite only by one of the Mods .

        I am sure one of these kind people will be on CL today and advise you on how to join . I think you just need a Reddit user name and they will add you .

        It is another fantastic resource i hope you join

          • If any of the reddit mods read this I’m trying to request admission but keep getting a “Content Unavailable” error message the links above.

            Also, while my CL name is chumpedthewrongguy my reddit handle will be karmabusvroomvroom as a heads up in the switcheroo.

    • Karenb6972, they will care when it happens to them. I think many people can’t even imagine the devastation of infidelity. It makes them uncomfortable. They don’t have a reference point to understand. That makes them uneasy and unresponsive.

      Then there are the people who act like it is catching. “My husband would never do that”. I actually laughed at that. I looked that gal in the eye and told her I thought the same thing until it happened to me.

      Karen, you know who will always care? Who will always be there. Who can support and love you until the end of your days? Yourself. You can love and support yourself through this devastation. Just you is enough.

      I’m working on self-care and understanding why I settled for crumbs. I was such a Chump my STBX demanded I sign over my rights to his pensions. He really felt entitled to tell me to do that. He truly thinks I should be left destitute.

      You are never alone. You are there and you care.

  • I have to admit I probably did overdo it at the beginning. Told everyone every gory detail but I think so many of my friends were just genuinely gobsmacked because his behaviour, apart from being appalling, was unbelievable! Had to wind it in a bit later but it felt good at the time. I think in the end you get tired of hearing yourself re-tell the same old tale too don’t you. Well at least I did!

        • People will listen for the gory bits, but they don’t care. And strangers run when you start offloading all your baggage. Not great for trying to meet new people. Eventually you realize it just doesn’t matter anymore. And they downgrade from occupying a mansion in your mind to a Harry Potter room under-the-stairs type of space.

          • Here’s the thing tho, Attie – you can’t believe it. I spent the better part of a yr in total SHOCK. Truly. I did NOT see it coming in any possible way. Looking back now, I realize that I am the chumpiest chump that ever chumped a chump! Apparently I didn’t WANT to see it. And yeah, I blabbed to everyone from my family to his to friends to the person in front of me at the bank or the check out line! Whereas now I wish I had been a bit more discerning about who I told what to – it’s what I needed at the time.

            • LeeLoo,

              You are not alone. I did the same thing.

              Denial isn’t something we have any control over. Our brains do it to protect us. (I read somewhere that ‘denial is the shock absorber for the soul’.) I learned that big time throughout this process and have much more compassion for myself now knowing that I don’t have the control I thought I had. I have learned humility and compassion along the way too because we all are blind and we can’t see until we can see. Can’t force the process.

              In a sense I am glad I did what I did because now I can truly share with others and in sharing what I did, no matter how much I wish I hadn’t now, their pain is some -how lessened. We all are human and that vomiting of our emotional shock had to happen. I certainly couldn’t stop it at the time.

              I also couldn’t stop pick-me-dancing. I truly believed he would come to his senses, drop the whore and come back home whence we could resume our ‘normal’ lives as though nothing had happened….Yeah, I believed that until several Ddays months later when the light of realization began to dawn and I knew I was fucked. Knew it would be hell going forward with or without him. Ironically to me at the time, going forward without him was the less painful. Now I know that is true.

              One of the saving graces for me has been knowing that Biblically speaking, unfaithfulness is one of the 2 ways that dissolving our marriage vows is ‘allowed’. I do not consider myself a religious person so that it is still remarkable that that statement somehow absolves me somehow of allowing our marriage to end in divorce. I was 100% committed to ‘until death do us part’ and all the other things I made a commitment to 30 years ago.

              I still believe in the sanctity of marriage and that it is a sacred relationship that transcends two people and is necessary for the betterment of humanity but I will not ever surrender that fully and vulnerably to another human being again. If I were younger, maybe, but at this stage in my life no way would I subject myself to the chance of betrayal again. Life is too short.

    • Artie-This is the second time you’ve posted words that I was about to post. I overshared details a lot to friends at the beginning and –same thing–they were so shocked that the “Mature Audiences Only HBO show” that my life had sufficient novelty that I was able to shut up before the boredom set in for most of my friends. And that was it exactly, I got tired of hearing myself.

      • But I think venting–even salacious stuff– TO FRIENDS is hella different from blasting it all to Cheater’s boss or workmates or family. There’s a line.

        “You’ll be so grateful that’s no longer your life. ‘–OH, EVERY DAY, CHUMP LADY!

    • Agree! I started feeling like it was giving him attention he didn’t warrant.

    • So hear you on this. I over-shared with everyone around me. And, it was just so unbelievable. I have reached a point now, a year-and-a-half later, when I realize that I am surrounded by amazing people who root for me. My camp is big enough. All those who matter to me know the truth, and I no longer worry about what anyone might think of me based on what he has said.

      Starting to feel the security that the distance of time provides, when all that happened starts to feel like it’s somewhere “back there” and not so much “here.”

    • Yup. I emotionally vomited on anyone and everyone. My biggest mistake was not holding back when I was among my daughter’s friends parents. My daughter was understandingly furious for inflicting my drama into her world. I knew it was a mistake as I was doing it, but I was out of my mind at the time.

      My close friends rallied of course, and I’ll be forever grateful for their love and support.

      • I can relate to the “out of my mind”. Feeling. I could not stop vomiting my feelings. I think I even talked to the grocery store checkout person one day. Because they always have to ask you how you are doing. I said something along the lines of : eventually I’ll be ok but right now my husband cheated on me I can’t eat or sleep and I’m here getting some protein drink so I don’t die.

        Actually looking back, that’s kind of funny! I can laugh now.

  • I wrote it all in journals I’ll probably burn eventually. That stopped me from over sharing.
    However, when in person, all bets are off. I will totally tell whoever wants to hear about how our marriage broke down. Isn’t it hard how we are supposed to be sad for the losers who abandoned us or we seem jaded?

    • InLight, I’m an on and off again journal keeper (more off than on) and I too, wrote a lot in the aftermath of my DDays and it did help. Recently I came across an old journal I kept when ex and I were dating back in the 80’s. The very first entry in the journal was all about how lonely and unloved I felt and how insecure I felt about my relationship with my boyfriend and that was 3 years into my relationship with ex! I was shocked to see how unhappy I felt back then. Then I looked at the journal entries I wrote immediately after both DDays. They were very much the same. It was very telling to see the similarities in how I felt and also very empowering to see how far I have come since then. If I had stayed in the marriage I would still be that lonely, unloved, insecure woman. Reading those old journals helps me keep it real and not look back on my marriage like it was some sort of golden period in my life. It wasn’t. Don’t burn your journals. Keep them. Someday you’ll look back on them and see how far you’ve come!

      • Ok, I get that ! But I regularly think about if I suddenly die, my daughter is going to read all this incredibly sad words. I did with my Mon, and her emotional pain after my father left her( it must be in my family!!) was so very sad !! Opinion ?

        • If your daughter were to read them, she (presumably) would feel pain for her mother, much like you did. However, i think that if you examine how you felt about your mother before and after reading the journals, you might find that you respect her a bit more now, knowing what she went through and how she (presumably) shielded you from that hurt.

          If your daughter were to read your journals, after you pass, it might do the same for her. You will be gone, so it wont matter to you anymore. But for her, it might shed some light on what you went through and explain certain behaviors (general distrust of romantic partners or not wanting to go to a certain restaurant, for example).

          Even if she ultimately doesnt view it that way, it is one way to tell her your truth without burdening the here and now.

        • I don’t know how old your daughter is, mine is an adult so maybe that gives me a different mindset? I wouldn’t care if my daughter read what I wrote. In fact, I think it would be a good cautionary tale for her because the moral of my story would be something like “if you are investing heavily in a relationship and you still aren’t happy, walk away.” I did 80% of the giving in my relationship with ex and that never changed – not from day 1 until the end. Not even after DDay #2 when we were supposedly trying to fix the marriage.

  • Word.

    Actually no one cares . Including your offspring.

    Go ahead and give your Family Law attorneys the deets. That will get billed in 20 minute increments.
    YOUR family law attorney is in cahoots with opposing counsel.

    How is that working for you in front of the Family Law Judge? Unless you have on tape your SO beating you to a pulp- but even then…
    No Contact means zip it . To everyone.

    • I don’t think zipping it to everyone is healthy, for multiple reasons. First, Chumps need support, and you can’t get that without revealing to at least a few people, how awful this all is. Just choose people you think will actually be supportive. Secondly, because it’s important to change the social narrative that cheating is quite benign, ‘just something that happens’, or an act of defiant exuberance. It is abusive, and causes a lot of damage. Neither is it our shame to wear. And Third, sharing our stories reduces the isolation of everyone who is cheated on, including some of the people who will hear our stories.

      The lawyer does not need to hear extraneous details, however, or be your friend, repeatedly helping you cope w/ the pain and confusion. Therapists are there for that, and actual friends.

      • I agree KarenE! There are people who care – the people right here in Chump Nation are a prime example of that. It’s just a matter of telling it to the right audience and not to everyone in you run into on the street.

      • KarenE, I agree. Reading Chump Nation’s narrative is cathartic to me. Yesterday I was gobsmacked by the similarity in my cheater’s behavior to all the other unfaithful fucks. This site has been a life saver for me. This is where I vent. I’m still at the stage where I sob if anyone asks after him. Now I prepare myself and manage to speak about him/divorce without tears.

        I am very careful to not say anything that is not demonstrably true. I try to speak truth and the truth is that he is a sick, old liar who was dating other women while married to me.

        I don’t expect anyone to care yet Chump Nation does. I’ve gotten such good advice and support here. I know I will find the Road to Meh with the help and support I get from this site. Thank You, I am not alone and Chump Nation does care.

        • Hey 33 – I’m 37 yrs a chump so I feel ya, girlfriend! Shocking! I spent the better part of a year after D day just in SHOCK. Couldn’t even believe it. STILL don’t actually and I’m 5 yrs post-D day. But we differ in that I expected EVERYone to care – and they didn’t! Well, a few did at first but it was short-lived. I learned the hard way that support has a statute of limitations. Thank God for my friends who were the only ones left standing after they all left me traumatized and heartbroken.

          Right after it happened, I read the CL’s book and was positively blown over at all of the similarities in my own life. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I wrote it! Apparently they have an archetypal way of being and so does the grief and anguish that is left in their wake that WE have to deal with and clean up. Hang in there – meh is coming even tho for us, it’s slow.

      • Plus, it’s the only way to sort out the Swiss cheese from the Gouda, if you catch my drift.
        If I hadn’t told, I’d still be falsely assuming certain people care at least enough about me to condemn and shun somebody who abused me. Now I know the truth.

    • I want to add to the point that YOUR family lawyer is in cahoots with opposing counsel. This is often very true. My best friend is a successful divorce attorney in Dallas. When she counseled me (I was lucky because I had my attorney at home and my best friend in Dallas to give me excellent advice) she told me that it’s a fairly small world and the divorce lawyers and judges know each other and talk to each other. If you dump a lot of stuff on your attorney it can get back to the opposition and give their side an idea of your plans. They tell each other stuff like, “my client is panicking” or “she just wants this to be over” or “he’s worried about his job.” This info is VALUABLE! You don’t want to give it away!! You want your ex to give it away so you can craft your strategy. Plus attorneys often decide how it’s all going to settle out between them and then guide the clients to that end. It’s just a better strategy-&better business for you to say what the facts are, ask questions about your options, understand how the law works, understand who your judge is and how they generally respond and don’t tip your cards!! It can make a big difference in your negotiations.

      • I’m sorry but while yes, attorneys in any given practice area know the judges, know each other, know how various colleagues approach cases and trials and will socialize outside of work, what is NOT true is that they share client info. That’s not just unprofessional, it’s straight up malpractice and if your friend attorney is doing that, she can be disbarred. Yes, lawyers will talk about cases, but you can never ever talk in a way that might even risk identifying any given client or ongoing case and more importantly, lawyers do not speak that way. Client confidentiality is really quite sacred and taken seriously.

        Your attorney is not your enemy and is not there to sell you out to the other side. There is no conspiracy here. Sorry.

        Being cheated on can certainly make you see demons in every shadow, but…..there comes a point where you really need to reign that in and realize that most shadows are just shadows.

        • So true, Foolish Chump. If your family lawyer is in “cahoots”, with opposing counsel, then you need to fire that lawyer ASAP. He/she obviously does not understand how to best represent a client. You pay your lawyer to work for you – to get the best settlement for you, not to align themselves with opposing counsel.

        • Can i ask a silly question ? Does it matter if its a real estate l lawyer that you are paying for tbat the buyers agent suggested they call her clients ? This lawyer i was paying for …makes me mad

          • Can you rephrase your question ? There are some words missing and I don’t understand what you’re asking.

        • Can i ask a silly question ? Does it matter if its a real estate l lawyer that you are paying for tbat the buyers agent suggested they call her clients ? This lawyer i was paying for …makes me mad

          • It sounds like someone asked an attorney that was representing you to call the other side in a real estate deal. Am I understanding that correctly? The lawyer is retained to represent you, not the other party. It’s a conflict of interest for them to work with both sides, I think.

        • I think NoRain is correct – the lawyers are not sharing explicitly, but they do have ongoing relationships with each other and with the judges that supersedes their relationships with us.

          My lawyer took 1/3 of my settlement for, IMO, not being at all familiar with either my case or what had transpired before he took the case (he took over after initial lawyer left the firm). He usually worked with huge financial settlements and I was too banal and poor for him. In retrospect, he and the mediator (he chose – golfing buddies) we worked with reached a deal at the start of mediation but didn’t with me until five minutes before the end of that eight-hour day so they got paid their thousands for a full day. It’s complicated to explain but it rankles when I think about all the different ways that being a Chump sucked; I had to work with horrible people to get divorced.

        • Foolish Chump

          As a lawyer & chump myself, I was stunned to learn (as a client) that my lawyer DID tell my ex’s lawyer things that she should not have.

          And HIS lawyer did the same thing! He also called my ex a “psychopath” and told my lawyer that he hated my ex.

          Looking back, I think it was unprofessional and against my interests. Probably against my ex’s but that’s his problem.

          I’m so disappointed in my profession.

          • Doctor’s 1stwife&3kids

            Join the crowd of those disappointed with professionals. Many have made comments on just about any profession out there. My wasband is a therapist and a serial cheater who abandoned his wife and 3 children, albeit grown children which he said was, “ok because they are grown.” I should add that he didn’t even mention what his decision would do to me. After all I was just an object standing in his way between him and his tru wuv. A self-liberated man marching into his future of freedom from his past.

            All of my friends who are professionals respect their clients’ integrity and, in my opinions, are setting an example of how an ethical person acts and behaves despite all sorts of temptations to do otherwise.

            Hold your own. People do pay attention and you never know who is watching and learning from what you are doing and how you are behaving.

    • My own experience is that everyone I have talked to cares. I received love and support from people I knew as well as total strangers. I also found that I helped people who had been through it and were so grateful to run into a roommate in that horrible emotional ICU that infidelity sends us to.

      I have been in recovery for 34 years, and I shared about my infidelity experience when I spoke at our local in-patient rehab….very relevant as the excruciating pain of infidelity is one so many people medicate with drugs and alcohol. After the meeting, one of the patients asked to speak to me. He was a very tough and hardened member of an outlaw gang, covered with scary tattoos. He was crying. He told me that he had been drinking for years over the pain of being cheated on. I was never so glad yet to be an example of staying sober through infidelity.

      Crummy crap happens to everyone. Infidelity is a major league emotional, mental, and spiritual traumatic injury, with physical symptoms as well.
      If we all were honest about what was going on with us, maybe we would be helping each other heal. I sure as hell can’t control what other people think, so I might as well speak honestly and freely and maybe be of service to someone else suffering. The whole world knew about Princess Diana being cheated on, as well as other emotional challenges she faced. I think her openness about her struggles is why so many loved her.

      Of course there are situations where details have to be edited (with kids, for example) but sharing in a general way has brought me love and healing from others, and I have been able to give away the same.

      For me, the ability to help others through this has been probably the sole saving grace. That it is commonplace is tragic and heartbreaking.

  • Having to eat the shit sandwich while my ex was eating cake was (and still is) the worst part for me. Having to stay silent while being screwed over by the legal system. Having to bite my lip because “the kids don’t need to know about her behaviour. Hell, even five years on, it still infuriates me. But now I eat popcorn, sit back, and just watch the show. The plot twists are interesting and sometimes hilarious.

    • Who told you this? Who can prevent you from telling the truth? Adultery isn’t a crime that it shouldn’t be divulged under certain circumstances.

      • Actually I had the same problem. The court order on contact between myself and my ex specified that I was not allowed to speak about him “in a negative light”. Actually I would not badmouth him to my child because at the moment she is too young to understand and I don’t want to put that on her.
        To illustrate this point, he actually had the gall to threaten legal action cos my then my 3 -year old said something like “Mommy doesn’t like Daddy”. I pointed out that as she is not stupid she could easily have worked that out for herself given that we no longer are together but my lawyer told me to be extra careful what I say. Thanks fully we haven’t heard from him in a while and may it ever remain so.

        • Let him threaten. Courts are NOT concerned about little stuff like this. Don’t explain and don’t justify. Be reasonable around your kid, but you don’t have to bend over backwards.

          I’m glad he’s leaving you both alone, I hope it stays like that!

        • But saying that the father was cheating isn’t badmouthing. It’s a statement of fact. Saying that stupid clusterfuck fuck ed his whore us badmouthing, statement of fact isn’t. I believe that your ex threatens you and that some people at court might be stupid but I’d (threaten to) go Obe up if they wanted me to lie.

        • Could you say things like, “Daddy is really excellent at being a douchebag!” or “Daddy is the BEST liar in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!”

          I can NOT believe that the court can mandate what YOU can say. FUCK THEM AND THE WHORES WHO GO THIS ROUTE.

          I know I’m screaming. The shit Chumps have to deal with is the epitome of injustice.

    • I absolutely plan to tell my kids the truth (in an age appropriate manner) when they ask. I’m not going to let them think that “people just fall out of love”. I want them to know that it ended because I have standards and finally stood up for myself, that way they do to.

      Will ex wife like it? Of course not, but I’m not going to lie to my kids, like she did to me for three years.

      • Good for you! Totally on board with this and it’s my plan too.

        Hey cheating parents, if you’re so afraid of your kids finding out about your crappy behavior, don’t behave immorally.

        The court said didn’t protect my marriage “contract” and keep him from cheating and behaving morally, why the hell at this point can they determine I need to only say nice things about him to the kids? No justice!

        • Telling the truth is always the right thing to do. If the truth hurts or isn’t nice; they should have worried about that before they committed the act. As for my kids, my ex threatened us out of the marital home to move whore in our house. So the kids knew what happened. Abusers and cheaters threaten, so you’re being afraid of what they can do gives them control. The legal system has no justice! My kids were forced into a custody order of having to go to our family home for weekend with there dad and his whore. I was in a small town and the abuse shelter gave me a # to one attorney in a different town. They called her and told her I was dealing with small town antics and needed help. So yes attorneys and judges do play games. May we all survive the shit sandwich! Do tell your kids the truth!

  • I love this, Tall One. I too have met the most lovely, supportive people, and it’s amazing to me how kind people are if you explain just a tiny smidgen, like “My husband left. Gulp, sob, hiccup.”

    Our primary social circle was made up of his colleagues at the university, and since I was always the cheerful, helpful, gracious hostess, and he was always the surly jerk in the faculty meeting, of course people saw what happened. I never had to tell people, since I wept uncontrollably (yes, in public too) for well over a year, and since he immediately moved into Poopsie’s house.

    I have moved away, and he/she got married and have stayed there, but there are clear indications that all is not well… her mugshot in the paper and her home foreclosure, his sudden uninvolvement in certain professional groups, constant refinancing of their home (I know this because of the alimony lien on the house).

    If you must expel all your pain, do it in a private journal. It’s just as cathartic but with fewer ramifications.

  • I have a List of Grievances that is a novella. Like In.Light.Of.Grief I’ve journaled the misery of the abuse of adultery. Whenever I second guess my decision to leave and file I reread those journals. I’ll keep moving forward. Not burning those journals just yet, my List of Grievances is evidence.

    This is timely. I am going on vacation with a group of friends. I won’t let this divorce be the focus of my existence. I have hills to hike, birds to watch, museums to visit. Shove all this divorce pain to the back of my mind and try to live. I want to live as if I am free of the fuckwit and his betrayal.

    Maybe this can be a trial run of what life might be like after the divorce is finalized? I won’t give him centrality. I quit him.

    My therapist suggested practicing a few brief statements to make if anyone asks about the divorce/STBX. I’m going with a Chump Lady style “He made choices I cant accept.” Then I’ll change the subject. I don’t want to think about him. He is excess baggage and I’m through paying for extra baggage.

    Luckily for me it was already completed paid up front. I won’t let him ruin my fun. I’m going and it will be wonderful.

    • “He made choices I can’t accept” is an excellent script. Concise, powerful, and dignified. Have a wonderful trip! Enjoy the start of your new life.

      • Thank You Cleo. It is a new life. Being cheater free is liberating in ways I didn’t imagine.

    • Love the advice from CL to give bullet points.
      Love this bullet point:”He made choices I can’t accept.”

      • I’ve enjoyed saying “I didn’t like his girlfriend” but when certain people are around I just say “he had a lot of secrets”. I’ve thought the truth was too complicated but now I think it’s just too painful.

        I discovered the secrets while I was hospitalized & for months afterwards, and it just isn’t a detail I want to share b/c it’s so painful to realize I spent 35 years and mothered 3 children with someone who would do this to me – and THEN of all times…

  • Life-
    I promise you- your will not be upside down forever.

    5 years? Give yourself a break. You are lookin good if you don’t wake up from night terrors in 25 years.

    And that absolute mindfuck about the childrens?

    Absolutely -an intentional mind fuck.

    Yep- that is EXACTLY what it is. The kiddies are pawns.

  • So, keep quiet unless it’s REALLY morally wrong?

    How do we change the narrative of cheating if we’re not supposed to really tell anyone?

    So what the f are we supposed to do with all this? I am so tired of having to hold all this shit together and be the “better person” and the grown up.

    Don’t tell:
    -Family court: Since the justice system doesn’t actually provide justice, or care about cheating or morality.
    -Family: cause they’ll get tired of hearing it
    -Social media: cause you look crazy and cheating is no big deal
    -Friends: cause they’ll get tired of hearing it
    -His employer: cause he might lose his job (consequences) for fucking his 20 year younger subordinate or maybe not and he’ll just get a lot of high fives for banging the hot chick that 10 other guys in the office have had.
    -Your lawyer: $
    -Therapist: cause after a couple sessions you should just be over it.

    The reason this shit hangs on so long is that there is no restorative justice. No system protects us. So yeah, I want to get that billboard because everyone should know what he is and what he’s done.

    If no one cares, and it’s ok to treat other people the way our cheaters have, no consequences, then why should anyone behave for the good of the social contract?

    • If your family and friends and therapist get tired of hearing about this so fast, you need better friends and therapist (sorry about the family, that can’t really be changed!)

      I don’t think CL is saying ‘don’t tell’. I think she’s saying ‘be strategic, and try not to look too crazy’.

      So don’t tell at work if there’s nothing illegal about their behaviour, AND you need the cheater to keep working there to pay alimony/child support/asset split. But DO tell if they are sexually harassing or using their position of power over others for their sexual gratification, DO tell if that can levy consequences that will not harm you or any kids.

      And DO tell everyone you feel like telling, in a nice succinct way. Plus tell the people who actually do do care about you, everything you need to, as often as you need to. Spread it around a bit, so as not to wear people out, but tell and tell and tell, as often and as much as you need.

    • I had two friends who listened to every damn word–one of them drove 2000 miles to stay with me for 3 weeks while I was a raving lunatic, the other walked miles with me.

      Another person I thought I could count on told me 4 weeks after D-Day that I “needed to get over it.”

      I did a lot of writing and I pinned a couple hundred things on Pinterest about what I was feeling. Both those things helped a lot.

  • Persephone –
    Im assuming your post is directed to me.

    Who told me what?

    No one cares. 13 million and counting on legal fees.

    Adultery? Pimple on an elephant ass.
    Let’s talk about forgery. False notary.
    Yeah- like the family judge cares about the side piece.


  • I only told my children and my Mother about his cheating. Only told them once. I wrote all my feelings down in a journal. I was tempted to post both their pictures on But I took the high road. However, if anyone asks I tell them the truth. And they are usually appalled that he cheated with my cousin.

    • I DID go to shesahomewrecker, venting to the world just bc it was so devastating and painful – I just needed to release to the universe. Well – imagine my shock and surprise that Dumbo McTrailertrash SAW it! Like, what are the odds?! She wasn’t angry about anything I said – that, she seemed OK with. The total devastation of finding out AT ALL and the fact that she ruined a 35 yr marriage didn’t upset her. HOWEVER, I went too far and mentioned her kid…the incarcerated convicted felon heroin addict. It’s not HIS fault that he drew the short straw and was born to that mess and I was very wrong to drag him into it. So – I ended up having to pay a company $1200 to have it removed – they don’t respond when you ask and they won’t do it. So – you were smarter than I was by refraining.

      • A friend used Cheaterville,which has since folded due to legal problems (?). The hilarious part is Bad Boy Report, based in Korea, scraped the data from Cheaterville and her post about her ex-wanker is still up several years later.


    Take care of yourself. TAKE CARE OF YOU- even if you have never done that and it feels uncomfortable and foreign.

    • Chump Nation cares. And that’s a lot.
      Anyone who has been in this situation cares. Those outside of it just can’t understand it.
      It hurts – but there IS relief here on CL.
      I had a shrink who cared. I cared enough to suffer acute anxiety attacks while I amassed court documents. I thought I’d lose my mind. I had two court appointments. BOTH judges saw through the charming disordered one in light of the evidence.
      After 5 years I needed a second (business) lawyer because we had shared a business and naturally- fraud at various levels.
      That lawyer represented me for free- he could see the evidence, knew he could get a “win” and traded his work for a portrait (by me).
      This has taken 6 years, but the past recedes thank ye gods.
      So, yeah, nobody cares- but still- put one foot in front of the other- keep going, and ocassionally “miracles” happen. You won’t know when.

      And then- it won’t matter to you very much whether those others “care”.

  • I wish I had read this article before I… did all of these things days after discovering the truth. I had to delete everything to avoid any legal troubles (hacked his IG, hacked his FB…).

    I was in so much pain and grief, I wanted the world to learn the truth. I wanted everyone who saw him as a good, kind, loyal and sincere man to see his true colors. But as you said, it only made me look like a fool and the bad person here.

    Thank god I could put everything behind me, but the stuff I posted online still haunt me.

    For new chumps: CL is right, don’t do it. Step back, do something else while you calm down. The important part here is that you lick your wounds alone. In the near future, you’ll be thankful you didn’t let your grief and pain show in this way.

  • I tell people verbally that after 28 years he abandoned me while I was out of town and sent me an e-mail as my only notice that my marriage was over, and that the OW is our daughter’s age. It is not his first affair, he was a horrible husband, and as a result of all of his deeds his adult daughters do not speak to him. Sorry, the nice guy you thought you knew is simply a ghastly human.

    I didn’t buy a billboard along the highway announcing same, and therefore I believe he got off easy.

    If that fucker EVER tries to sue me to prevent me from telling the truth I have the aforementioned e-mail and will threaten to have his texts and e-mails and travel itineraries subpoenaed in my defense. I am certain he will shut right up because he is a coward who abandons by e-mail rather than face anything. He has always been a sniveling worm.

    • All that said I agree you should seek advice from your attorney. You may not be married to a coward but rather a raging beast who can damage you.

  • I STILL have to remember this!!!!! It’s so easy to get caught into the gory details especially when people ask…..they are just so damn juicy that it’s hard not oversharing! I had to stop myself just last night and cut it down to 2 meh sentences with a smile on my face ear to ear as if I was happy but in reality I was hurting. Eating the shit sandwich blows sometimes….my salvation is knowing I’m off the crazy bus and he/smoochie WILL go down in flames. Karma is a bitch baby!!!!

  • The best GIFT you can ever give to YOU?

    Get OFF THEIR HAMSTER WHEEL. That is the best Karma .

  • I wish the friend of the court custody questionnaires weren’t so easy to get riled up about. It’s like the questions feed right into the urge to put 20 years of grievances into the systems ear. And come at just the right time to do so. When completed mine was exactly what chump lady advises not to do. It probably needed footnotes too. It even had marked exhibits.

    And then when I met the evaluator and realized he had the mentality of a fifth grader who wants to be like the cool kids and of course the ex was a cool kid. So I was screwed. I doubt he read one word of my meticulous dissertation.

  • Thé  ONLY thing a Family Court judge cares about IS DIK.

    If you have minor kids and need child support and your SO is not a heroine addict living on the streets-

    The Judge does not give two shits about the new and improved 31 flavor via Tinder.

    There is NO Justice in Family Law Court.
    Be smart. Weigh the upside and downside and being right fucks you everytime.

  • I’ve had mixed results:

    I’ve shared to a next door neighbor who was surprised to see me moving out. She didn’t ask and looked like I threw up on her carpet when I blurted out the shit-story. But it was helpful to release the steam. I wont ever see her again, I dont care what she thinks of me, I looked crazy (I had a reason to be).

    I’ve also shared and got the “ho-hum”. That feels deflating and sad, but again probably let out some steam. This reveals who are your real friends and helps separate the wheat from the chaff. I started to understand my own, chumpy-self better.

    I have also shared to people who didn’t ask and got just a enough love back that it helped get through the day.

    — I would say during the initial “bomb-blast” just survive as best you can —

    BUT, when people DO ask, it can be cathartic; once asked where have I been all these years, I shared, and was then told – quite simply – “We’ve missed you”.

    It moved me to tears on the spot. I had a tribe; I was loved and missed by a group of friends who valued me just being around. That was a powerful, lovely moment.

  • I have learned – the hard way, of course – that support: #1) seems to be defined by the person GIVING it, not shaped by the person NEEDING it and #2) has a statute of limitations. I got MINUTES (possibly less) support from my family. Shockingly, my in-laws hung in there a bit longer but, in retrospect it was just to try to frame it for themselves and to try to figure out a way to lay blame elsewhere. Couldn’t be HIM, right? Nah. I got “someone I don’t know did this!” Um…no. It was HIM! Over there? Tall guy with the giant beer belly and even bigger ego? Him – with the inside out belly button from a hernia?? Even he bought into that narrative – “I was in a dark place.” Really? Sooo…it’s the “Dark Man,” not YOU? Seems like an easy out to me!

    Point being – you can run the narrative by them a million times but if they aren’t willing to internalize what a giant piece of shit their loved one, friend, coworker, neighbor is, it really only makes you look crazy. Everyone will analyze every single solitary piece of shit you’ve been shoveled and ultimately be angry that they KNOW. Not empathetic – angry that now they have to manage it, accept it, be hurt by it and more often than not – rationalize it. That takes a LOT of work. We still have a very pervasive notion that if we were doing everything right at home, they wouldn’t cheat. BLAHAHAHAAHA! Of course, this is from anyone who’s never been chumped.

    AND, now that there is a glimmer of reconciliation (after 41 yrs together, 8 yrs since the affair ended, and 5+ since D day and ousting) other people REMEMBER. The same people who didn’t want to have anything to do with helping you through it as you were a sobbing heap in the fetal position in the back of the closet where you blabbed every single solitary rotten detail, now sit in judgement of the decisions you’re making going forward. I don’t blame them. I gave them that right when, in my total devastation, heartbreak, trauma and grief and trying to convince them what a total piece of fucking garbage he is (in order to garner some support) – told and I told too much.

    Do yourselves a favor and keep the list SMALL of the people you tell but also of the details you give. Seek out your “tribe” BEFORE the details fly. Your support system will reveal itself fairly quickly but you have to be patient and wait for it. CL is right – everyone else on the fringes will figure it out all on their own.

  • My comments are directed to those mired in the Family Law Court.
    If your divorce is final and assets/custody/ support is final.
    Blab away.

  • It’s the one year anniversary of D-Day here. When he woke me up at 1:00 am to tell me he needed to leave our family vacation to go to Schmoopie’s grandmother’s funeral the next day, because “it was the right thing to do”.

    I found I had to create a narrative of sorts, because we knew a lot of the same people, and people are generally appalled to learn he blew up his family for that pig. Including all the other women he gaslighted into relationships behind my back.

    My biggest problem continues to be that he gave each OW some awful lie about me (I’m an alcoholic who abused my son, so he stayed to protect him from me, or that he had to pay for all the debt I incurred so he just HAD to live at my house because he couldn’t afford to move out, etc), so I have had to do damage control to save my own reputation. People realize what happened, and I’m finding I have to tell the damn story less often, because maybe it’s finally reached enough ears.

    Being matter of fact, with just the basics (like there were at least 11 others) is more than enough to get the message out.

  • So much this. I was the vomit on a strangers shoes victim. I don’t ever want to go back there and I lost my closest couple friends to it. I kept really good friends and added many more in the 4 years since so my life is so much better but that time in my life was chaotic and unbalanced and I know I was crazy because he drove me there.

  • I emotionally vomited all over another cub scout mom on an outing. The next day I found out she had been Schmoopie 1.0 (up until that point I thought Schmoopie 2.0 was the only one). Ooops. I was rather embarrassed at the time but now have to snicker a bit at the fact that she probably didn’t know about Schmoopie 2.0 and that might have caused a few headaches for ex.

    • More than that – I hope it caused remorse and dismay at having done things that could cause another person such heart ache? You did not know about her but your reaction to 2.0 should tell her how it feels from your point of view. No?

      • Also, did she not feel weird that you were friendly to her and she had colluded in harming you and you did not know it? I would be freaked out if I was in her shoes and the nice wife was friendly and sharing. People’s feelings are a mystery to me at times. Why should you be embarrassed? You did not facilitate a cheater – she did. She should be mortified.

  • I admit I over-shared with strangers, but I now realize it was for validation and a reality check that I wasn’t the one in the wrong. That the behavior of the person who was supposed to hold my hand for life and his Schmoopie, was intentional egregious abuse to get me to react. And I didn’t take the bait. I was fighting for my sanity, as I lost my mother two weeks before the divorce trial and my father 6 months later.

    But what I found was that people would listen, even if they thought I was batshit crazy. And I received hugs. And I found so many angels, one of whom was a Delta check in agent when I was flying back from cleaning out my parents house (finding every card my Ex wrote and leftover mementos from my wedding). In fact, I found more comfort and sympathy in complete strangers than people I thought were my family after 25 years of marriage. Yes, most probably rolled their eyes, but I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. Sometimes a five minute encounter provided me more relief than an hour of my therapy session. And it prevented me from vomiting on my Ex.

    I just wanted to be heard.

    • Actually, sometimes it is easier for strangers to offer sympathy and validation. If they don’t know your ex, they don’t have to reconcile the person they thought they knew with the person you are telling them he/she really is.

  • CL. Question – you wrote a book and started a blog about it. Wasn’t it therapeutic and not just to offer support to others? And it’s aired to the whole world.
    I get not everyone wants to hear it and some even in our circle could be tired of hearing about it. But Channeling those feelings in words in some form can be ok. We all need to let it out

  • NotbLUE-
    It is far easier to be a one off in life.
    How many times are you calling that Delta agent?

    What we all need is not the stranger. That random one off Delta Check in person.
    Right ?

    That may feel good in the moment until you get on the plane and reflect on should have cared about you but instead piloted a plane through your Twin Towers…

    • I found in the beginning, I was drowning and needed to come up for air, so those few moments of interaction helped me to put on my oxygen mask so I’m now flying my own plane out of the wreckage.

  • I don’t tell many people because no one asks. I don’t care what they assume. I have written in a journal, gone to a divorce support group and an affairs support group, and talked to myself a lot. Early on I met a new friend on a divorce support website and she and I talked daily and vented our grief, pain, anger, anguish. I met her in person a few months later and we kept regular contact. Now, a few years post-divorce, we talk only every few months. She lives 3000 miles away and our lives have moved in different directions. She never had kids, remarried. I have kids and grandkids and my own family. I now limit thinking about the past I can’t change and focus on my new and next life.

    My sisters (all happily married) loved hearing me describe the divorce chronicles. Somehow, believe it or not, I put a humorous spin on XH’s deceptions and meanness. My sisters think I should do stand-up comedy after this and I am working on a book. I am not writing the book for publication, just for healing purposes. Thanks to CL and CN, I think in cartoons for each chapter of my 34 year marriage. This has always been the best place to come and share because we all get it. It goes without saying! I am grateful every single day for CL and CN and have been reading daily since November 2012.

    • What a great new life you’re living – I have worked on art relating to this experience myself. It would be cool to have a way to share the things we’ve learned and made since D-day.

      A CN Art Fair, if you will.

      I think kind people recognize suffering and try to help if they can. It means so much to both the stranger and the Chump, so win-win.

      There is an upside to people (generally) not caring: when you do overshare, altho it might loom large in your regrets, is easily forgotten because everybody is drowning in their own story. Well, drowning…or doing synchronized swimming!

  • I don’t care that others don’t care. I lost my voice and my courage trying to save my marriage. I lost my fire. Speaking my truth is helping ME to regain that. I don’t rwally care how others read it, hear it, or whether they care. Telling my truth is about finding myself again. I am a speaker for RAINN and am used to speaking openly about really hard things, tho ga that most people don’t want to hear or care about. And yet still I speak. I found that being silent about one area in my life, bled over into the rest of my life in a way that changed who I was. Nope. I am not remaining silent. I don’t used names or specifics, but I do indeed talk about what this did to me, how it affected my life, and you’d be surprised how many other women FO care and are validated by it. I will continue speaking, even messily, because that’s who i am and I will not be ashamed…no matter who cares or not.

  • I do find that in the early days it’s normal to wig out and over-share. But thanks CL for pointing out that this is not a good idea for many reasons. Pick a very select few and a therapist to tell.

    I also find that if you tell people too much they start to wonder WHY you put up with so much shit for so long. If they haven’t lived with a personality disordered they won’t understand.

    • I also wonder how often when we “tell” someone they already know. Sometimes Dday for us is just getting information that is old news to everyone else.

      I was so devastated, but not one of my friends seemed to react at all… because they already had known for years and never told me.

  • I hear you and I’m in the same boat. I’ve been divorced for 3 years, share custody with Ex and it’s been excruciating. He continues to lie, and create drama and crazymaking that adversely affect any attempts at successfully and positively coparenting, on top of the steady stream of debt collectors who call me about his unpaid bills, but that’s HIS problem. I would love to get a billboard and detail what he did and continues to do which is manipulative mindfuckery, but none of it is illegal, so I have bite my tongue and say nothing. The only person I discuss this with now is my therapist. If your therapist doesn’t want to hear it, then find a new one, that’s their fucking job. What I’ve painfully learned is there are NO consequences for what my ex did and it’s that way for pretty much all of us chumps. People who know him don’t seem to care, including his own family, it seems that most of society today really doesn’t have any morals, ethics or integrity. Sigh.
    It’s a shit sandwich that has been very, very hard to swallow. My job is to work on making my life the best it can be, for myself and my kids. And that is exactly what I strive to do on a daily basis. Keep your head high, be the sane parent (if you have kids) and remember that you are no longer married to this idiot, what he did is on him and karma has a way of catching up to fuckwits. My ex is drowning in debt, looks like shit and his steady stream of shmoopies keep dumping him once they figure out what a hot mess he is, including the one he was seeing when we were married. That was particularly fun to watch from the sidelines. Concentrate on you and making your life awesome, it does get better, but it takes time.

    • From what I have read co-parenting isn’t possible with these individuals. Read on parallel parenting it has helped stop the crazy making, drama and lies. I do still get all the crazy nasty lying messages almost 3 years later. I have decided to start driving to an abuse shelter and having a counselor read or police officer and ask if I need to respond or its just nasty vile.

  • Fearful&Loathing-
    I am giving you my experience .

    I fought the good fight. There is no good fight in Family Law.
    Please take my 5 year experience with both a private and public Judge, six month trail and 13 million in legal fees. And still no decision.

    My entire family destroyed. Cheating is the LEAST OF IT.

    Their is NO MORAL NARRATIVE in Family Court.

    • splinter – sounds like a different version of hell. thats alot of legal fees. hope you get resolution. hugs

    • We can’t rest until the settlement is done. It is so exhausting trying to get these ingrates to settle, to do anything they have agreed to do!. It took process servers, threats of contempt of court etc. They are creeps during the marriage and creeps after it. Thank God we don’t have to look their conniving faces any longer.

  • i think it is important to be kind to yourself always but especially when you are dealt a sucker punch. at work, i dove into it and confided in one person who was going through a divorce, amongst family and friends i was an open book – a sloppy one. with strangers if the subject comes up, i tell them my husband cheated on me after 30 yrs of marriage. it was is better. i really hate the “this may be the best thing to happen to you” people – no it is not. i have had many chances to grow out of pain – i didn’t need another lesson. but carry on and rebuild i am doing be cause that is who i am. i say in the midst of a hurricane, find safe harbor which includes empathetic lawyer, financial consultant if needed, therapist – for me life coach, a few close friends, supportive family, CN. go to work every day, cry whenever you need to -thats what bathroom stalls are for, don’t make any other life changing decisions except getting free, and carry-on. hugs, hugs, hugs. it sucks.

  • My dad fished, and his mantra was “don’t take the bait”–I’m glad I remembered it when I most needed it. Thanks, Dad! You sounded like a broken record when I was growing up, but I’m glad that groove was well worn by the time this debacle hit. <3

  • Thrive-
    I paid a huge price gunning for morals.
    The money to him was chump change.
    My family obliterated.

    But I figured it all out… finally. And that is resolved for me.

    Does anybody actually care? NO. The Family Law/Accounting firms/ business evaluating firms/ salary compensation experts/ RE appraisers, etc are super happy. Thrilled.
    Do you think a one of them gives a rats ass about girlfriends/ hookers/ 500 per day on Ukrainian sex website ?
    Oh hell no.
    The Judge? Could not give a shit.

  • Dignity- it’s the “gaining a life” part. 16 months out. Totally different existence.
    Those heavier, painful thoughts and feelings-
    they’re not sitting on my life anymore.
    I was hiding out in that swamp of feelings, because I was afraid of so much change.

    It got real when I pulled way back on the giving to others, and started really giving to myself.
    At first I was ashamed- “How did I not have this figured out by now, wtf?!”
    But now- “Oh, so this is what they were talking about with really caring for myself-I was looking for someone else to give me this? Why?”
    It changed everything.
    He doesn’t matter.

  • Voyage-
    “How did I not have this figured out by now”

    This is the first thought you need to burn and bury. And it sounds like you have.

    I had it figured out but it cost me millions of dollars and the destruction of my family to actually prove it.

    But- NO ONE CARES.

    I did. I do. I was right.

    There are no Tuesday’s as long as this sociopath breathes air.

    • What I meant by “figured out”:
      – I was teaching other people how to treat me, by how I treated myself
      – codependency is a sneaky motherfucker, self-harm is peppered all through that mess
      – When I started fully Caring for myself, the benefits were returned 100x

  • As soon as my ex REALLY believed me that it was over-he asked, “Can we agree to just tell everyone it was “Irreconcilable Differences?”

    So now when people ask-I tell them, “It was Irreconcilable Differences. He felt he should have a wife AND a girlfriend-and I couldn’t RECONCILE with that.”

    • Stronger Now

      I am stealing that response. Dresses up my less colorful one I learned here and just got to use a couple of days ago.

      LOVE IT 🙂

    • Stronger Now:
      Great response, except I’m changing it to he wanted a wife and a side piece and I couldn’t reconcile that.

      If she only knew the way he trash talked about her. It made my blood run cold that he could talk about a woman that way. But, he must like it, he put a ring on it two weeks to the day that the divorce was final.

  • I regret that I over shared for quite awhile during my shattered phase. But I know I’m at “meh” now because I ran into someone at the grocery store the other day who I haven’t seen for many years and when she asked how ex is, I responded very naturally that we’re divorced and asked how her family is. It was so untraumatic. So, at peace now. So, good advice not to over share, but if you do, this too shall pass.

  • For the other and perhaps more practical viewpoint I like this CL blog post

    For me, I was in many ways “fortunate” in that I was high on the hopium and was holding Mme YogaPants’ secrets for her for about 6 months. That got me through the worst of it – when I wanted to just spread slime all over her reputation.

    She ended up being outed by friends of OM when she was tagged on social media with him on a tropical vacation that she paid for out of our joint savings account. By that time i was in a position where I could just joke about being left for discount priced yogurt (he was the milk delivery guy).

    BUT – for that first horrible while I was blessed by some very good friends who stepped up and let me just let it all out. The anger, the confusion, the sorrow. I was fortunate that they were there for me. I’ll be honest, I burned at least one of them out.

    I did find that while most people were sympathetic to me I think that CL’s main point is that a large number of people don’t really care and only have limited bandwidth for other people’s problems. There is also the very real issue of waking the rage monster. Mme certainly was very upset about my specific and believable narrative not being anywhere near her vague comments about why she left and how she and OM hooked up. I was fortunate that it didn’t affect my settlement at all but it perhaps could have if she had been more vindictive and less greedy and perhaps beaten down by the opinions of those around her.

    Just my 2 cents.


  • In my case, people WERE interested in my messy divorce. VERY interested. I told everyone about it. Several of the strangers and new acquaintances who listened to me are now close friends. I got tired of talking about it before they all got tired of hearing.

    I think this general interest in my story was due to the fact that my ex was quite a sociopath, and led such a well-orchestrated double life that our friends and family were just as mystified and blindsided and hungry for details as I was.

    Part is also that the story has dramatic worth all on its own, regardless of who is telling it. Five years later I still get people asking me what’s happening with my ex, as if they expect the situation to continue to bear dramatic fruit. Of course it does, but fortunately not involving me any more. So I occasionally relay the latest dirt on the ex to rapt audiences. I admit I still get a certain satisfaction from their reactions of disgust and dismay, but now it’s more like I’m relating a particularly squalid Dateline or 20/20 plot. It’s not my life any more, thank goodness.

    I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a cheater story. So I always offer a very sympathetic ear to any new chump who is compelled to unburden.

  • If I had pushed I could have gotten my cheating XH and whore face fired from their jobs since they were fucking at work, but it wouldn’t have behooved me financially. Otherwise I sure would have.

  • I try not to overshare and if I need to retread old ground I take it up with my therapist because I pay her good money to be my emotional pitstop, listen to me bitch, and then nicely get me back on the road to Meh.

    But everyone and then there is something new that is too insane not to share w good friends. Like this week when he informed me in the same message that A he can’t take my disabled son to his MRI appointment even though it is his custodial time because it won’t give him time to shave shower and change after work B he well still show up at the appointment though because C he’s asked the ex girlfriend he’s still desperately chasing to come because she gets along so well w my son.

    Years you read that right. You can’t make up the crazy that is my life with that man in it.

  • I do agree to to tell everyone , family and friends are good My story began befor the cheating part though A few more people knew cause he was a controlling manipulative bully to me and I didn’t know what to do , I loved him we made children together how could he treat me this way People were helpful Because some of what I was going through they went through them selfs So when it came to the cheating husband I told my family and few friends My now grown children When your cheated on your suffering your in pain , hurt your broken U want comfort U need support Some family and friends were kind , were supportive But other ones were telling u to move on u can do better He’s a idiot Yes he is a idiot But it’s very hard to move on after being married for a long time We as wife’s honored our vows We didn’t do anything wrong Its not our fault Why do we have to move on At lease fir now I’m grieving I’m sad my marriage of 42 years just blew up I just want people that will listen have my back Be kind , understanding To have some one tell u That yea hubby screwed up cheating on u hurt u but hey now u get to have a new life , get over it He did he’s with the other woman And speaking about the OW Yes he’s seeing her still , were still married , sir of separated , but still living in same home , so as he leaves to go see her u see him going I can’t leave because of financial reasons But also this is My Hone My comfort zone my little peace of security It May be all I have but it’s mine Anyway some family and friends may be good to tell Try a few things if it goes well tell a little more airs good to have support to know someone has you back I’m not as far as the rest of u As I said grieving very sad upset still , sort of going into numb phase if there is one taking baby steps I’ll get it figured out We have this support group here which I’m so grateful for Thanks

  • Dialogue is curative. You don’t even know what you think until you talk. You have to delineate your position by sorting out what you think while you speak. You want your opinion out in the open so you can see how people respond. Resentment builds up when we are not saying what we really think. This resentment can easily turn into revenge if we let it. Carefully select who you talk with. But presume the most malevolent person will try to use what you have said against you. You are more vulnerable in many ways than you think. We are in this position (chumps) because we were naive. Now is not the time to be re-victimized.

  • I do agree to Not tell everyone , family and friends are good My story began befor the cheating part though A few more people knew cause he was a controlling manipulative bully to me and I didn’t know what to do , I loved him we made children together how could he treat me this way People were helpful Because some of what I was going through they went through them selfs So when it came to the cheating husband I told my family and few friends My now grown children When your cheated on your suffering your in pain , hurt your broken U want comfort U need support Some family and friends were kind , were supportive But other ones were telling u to move on u can do better He’s a idiot Yes he is a idiot But it’s very hard to move on after being married for a long time We as wife’s honored our vows We didn’t do anything wrong Its not our fault Why do we have to move on At lease for now I’m grieving I’m sad my marriage of 42 years just blew up I just want people that will listen have my back Be kind , understanding To have some one tell u That yea hubby screwed up cheating on u hurt u but hey now u get to have a new life , get over it He did he’s with the other woman And speaking about the OW Yes he’s seeing her still , were still married , sort of separated , but still living in same home , so as he leaves to go see her u see him going I can’t leave because of financial reasons But also this is My Hone My comfort zone my little peace of security It May be all I have but it’s mine Anyway some family and friends may be good to tell Try a few things if it goes well tell a little more , it’s good to have support to know someone has you back I’m not as far as the rest of u As I said grieving very sad upset still , sort of going into numb phase if there is one taking baby steps I’ll get it figured out We have this support group here which I’m so grateful for Thanks

    • Lynn,
      Grieving is very hard to do when you still have to have contact with a cheater so I would like to say be gentle with yourself. It sounds like you are and that you know who your support people are.

      This all does take time. IF you can read about ‘grey rock’ that helps to have distance in order to heal.

      Many older people do have to remain due to financial reasons. I too love my home and was almost totally dependent on him since I stayed home and raised our children so I had given up my career long ago and now am not able to work outside of the home.

      Luckily I didn’t loose the home and I have grown children willing to help me out if I need it which has given me a lot of peace of mind.

      But this still hurts like hell. I am only 2 years out and it is getting better though any little thing can trigger a reaction in me still and I do not like that at all. This is not the way I imagined my ‘golden years’. I know that we don’t always get what we want so I work on being grateful for what I do have and the thing I am most grateful for is that he is out of my life now and I can do NC. That has brought lots of peace and clarity to what I had been living with for so long and didn’t recognize.

      Take good care of yourself. Thanks for sharing.

      • Elderly Chump. Thank you , and sorry for all that u have gone through , Thanks also for sharing with me.

  • I fine but if I keep it all to myself , it makes me more upset But by telling someone it releases it from u to not. think about it all the time U just have to pick the right people to tell , And yes some people it’s like they feed off of it , some cant believe it , Some give u a hug and that on its own helps so much We all need family and friends and hope that they will be there when we need them ????

  • I love to journal about my breakup and I post about it on my blog, which is kind of social media, only no one reads it, LOL. It’s under a pen name anyway.

    I just wrote a post last night: Me & Mr. Perfect: My 20 Year Relationship with an Altruistic Narcissist. And I felt so good posting it because it was like it summed up everything that happened and I feel like I can move forward now.

    I also talked nonstop to my family and friends about it and it helped reveal who is really supportive and who can’t handle it when I’m having problems.

    Many people won’t want to hear about a breakup, but there are many who do, because they’ve been through the same thing. There’s a huge market for books on divorce like Leave a Cheater and I’ve read them all.

    I also come on this site for everyone’s stories as much as I do the articles. So please don’t stop sharing, you give me hope!

  • But see, here’s the thing…

    I am definitely a private person, and I told almost no one about ex’s behavior. The result was that when I finally filed for divorce, people were shocked, and no one knew why. They sided with him, because he had been going around complaining about me, while I had always said nice things about him and kept his bad behavior private.

    I feel like this is “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” The short story here seems to be that you’ll lose out on all your friendships regardless of what you do. If you tell people, they won’t care and you’ll look crazy. If you don’t tell people, then they think your ex is awesome and that you must have lost your mind.

    How do we change that narrative?

  • Timing here is perfect.

    Just a couple of days ago 2 people, who didn’t know each other, asked about ‘your husband’. They didn’t know about the divorce since I didn’t announce it throughout the neighborhood – only with close neighbors and close friends.

    My response came from someone here so I was prepared: “I didn’t like his girlfriends.”

    When asked if we are still in contact I was able to say, “I do not hang out with liars and people who willingly put their family at risk and who lead double lives. Not the kind of people I care to associate with”.

    Felt clean though a bit like I was betraying him – I am still new at this – but that thought was quickly followed by “HE chose to do what he did and it is not MY job to protect him from his actions.” And that felt good.

    I know now it IS the TRUTH whereas before it was always ‘my job’ to protect his image whenever anyone asked about him and where he was, which was asked often because he never was around.

    Thank you CL and CN for helping me show up in a ‘clean’ fashion.

    • Wow that was great , well said , I too covered for him I was in wife mode , taking care of him he needs , cover story’s Lifes short now thinking about me , no ones has had to protect my image , I actually have a very nice one , liked by many people , just have to remove my self from his bad karma, which I am working on , Thanks for sharing . ????

  • I’m currently at the 20 month mark from DDay. Oversharing may not adequately describe my emotional evisceration I would subject many people to when I met up with them. While I wish I had the stoic grace of many mighty chumps here, that’s not my story. I shared WAY too much. I know this now.

    Am I embarrassed? Yes, a little. Am I ashamed….NO. I became very sick after DDay because I was traumatized and THIS oversharing was what I needed at the time to start healing. It helped me filter out the Swiss friends (there were a lot) and it helped me to connect with some really amazing people that I would likely not have connected with otherwise.

    After my oversharing I laid low for about 1 year. Last night I went out to a public social event and you know what? From what I could tell people were pretty happy to see me. There were a couple of Swiss friends that made it awkward but I live in a small town so this type of interaction is difficult to avoid. People that I overshared with were genuinely happy to seem me happier than the last time they saw me. They were happy that my life was going better for me.

    I’ve still got some work to do feeling comfortable going out as “just me” rather than my STBXW’s husband but I’m progressing and I didn’t share a single detail of my breakup because of her affair last night. It turns out that the same tactic that worked for my STBXW (disappear for 8 months and then come back when everyone forgets) worked for me too.

  • Wow! I’m am SO HAPPY TO FIND THIS!!! I’ve been telling way too many details. I can’t stop myself sometimes, I’m a 22 year chump, was totally in shock over the last year. I for sure need counseling and have PTSD. I have mania all night sometimes.. this is such a great site!

    • Jodie, I don’t know how long it’s been since your discard/d-day, but it it’s still relatively fresh, then I wouldn’t beat yourself up over it. Generally speaking, we all tend to overshare (i.e. emotionally vomit) in the beginning, but the tendency wanes over time. I’m 18 months out and, while I’m still healing and working on me, I handle myself much differently now when I discuss my XW’s decision to leave – it’s much more tactful and condensed, with less emotion. Point being, it’ll get better and easier.

      And yes, this is a great site! I’ve ready everything stem to stern and it has helped me to better understand my situation as well as cope/heal from the trauma.

  • Well, too late for me! I totally lost my dignity by exposing him. I sent his disgusting emails to him and copied his executive assistant. I made sure everyone in his path new his dirty secrets of being a sugar daddy and knocking women up. Did I look like a loon? Probably. Did I go crazy at the time from his constant mental abuse and gaslighting? Oh hell yeah.

    I don’t care either. Call me a loon. WTF do I care. I’ve done enough research to know I’m not alone in feeling and acting crazy by a callous liar who put my health at risk with his duplicitous life.

    In the end, I should sue that man for fraud.

  • I’m over three years out from final dissolution (didn’t have marriage and divorce, just the second-tier domestic partnership classification). I was lied to, cheated on, and used financially and every other way possible. Her parents hated that she was gay, so they were thrilled that she was no longer partnered. My daughters (that she raised as a step-parent) were young adults, and I told them the truth, and they didn’t believe me. I did everything I could to take care of myself without much of a support system, and, yes, once in a while, I emotionally vomited (to hairdresser, a DMV worker (!), and our landlord. I am not ashamed. I was trying to take care of mundane matters while in excruciating pain, and I did the best I could at the time.

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