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The Kindness of Strangers

I feel like I need a corrective to yesterday’s column, “If It Feels Good — Don’t Do It.” Fact is, most of us get emotionally sloppy after D-Day. (Except for those of us, like me, born emotionally sloppy.)

The advice to not let them see your hurt — vindictive freaks will use that in court, Switzerland friends to admonish you about Not Moving On — still stands.

But today’s column is about what happens after you’ve emotionally vomited all over someone’s shoes — and they respond with unexpected kindness.

Happy Hausfrau posted this little read over on Facebook, about a women sobbing in a bathroom (loo). And the writer reads her a poem. (Because hey, captive audience and all.) The poem ends: listen I love you joy is coming.

Joy is coming.


Kind strangers are harbingers of joy.

Tell me your stories.


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  • A massage gift voucher in my mailbox.

    The unsigned card read
    You are an amazing woman, an amazing mother and an inspiration. There are many in your corner.

    I have friends who know who it was but are sworn to keep the secret: the person wants to remain anonymous for their own reasons.

    Mysterious – and heart-lifting. Such an antidote to the fallout from cheater’s smear campaign.

  • I worked for fifteen years at a non-profit that addressed Appalachian poverty. My town was very small and the culture of the clients we served steeped in the offering of prayer as a show of comfort and solidarity. Throughout the years I bowed my head as those suffering or grateful or both wanted to deeply communicate with me.

    Three days after I found out about my husband’s affair (married 26 years – affair duration – 5 yrs) a very very old woman came into my office. She had worked in mills since she was a child and her little bent body showed every hour she’d stood at spooling machines. I’d never met her before but was immediately smitten. I signed her up to receive food from our pantry and I paid her power bill.
    As I wrapped up her intake she reached across my desk and took my hand. She said that God was telling her that I was in great pain and she said , that as a woman, she could tell that I had been done wrong by a man. She was so calm and focused and her hand so tender that I whispered to her about my confusion and devastation and all-consuming heartbreak. She whispered in return that there was something she could do for me and I nodded knowing that a peaceful prayer was coming.

    How surprised was I when she informed me that she knew some boys who could make my husband reconsider his decisions!

    I never saw her again, but to this day I still chuckle at the absurdity and compassion of when that wise and wizened old woman offered to make my cheating husband regret his choices.

    • I love, love, love this! Thank you for sharing.

      I don’t have a story of a particularly touching, discrete act of kindness, but the friend who answered my calls and listened for the 3.5 years between DDay and divorce, well, she strung together a bunch of them. So grateful.

      • A total of 8 people,not particularly close friends, offered to take the traitor out…
        It was scary, frankly. Heartwarming and scary.

    • Whether its God, intuition or both, there are definitely people who have that amazing empathy to get to the heart of a problem. We should all be so lucky to meet one of these people at least once.

      • A total of 8 people,not particularly close friends, offered to take the traitor out…
        It was scary, frankly. Heartwarming and scary.

    • My best coworker offered to take out the Dickhead’s kneecaps. I almost said yes.

      • You can send your coworker my way, I can use his services after this week’s worth of shit sandwiches.

  • The first Mother’s Day after the day, my kids gave me a $100 gift certificate for a massage. I knew they didn’t have that kind of money, but my son would not tell me where it was from. I suspect that the moms from his soccer team gave it to him. They were the ones sitting on the sidelines with me during those early days.

    • Precious Tracy……

      This has been ‘one of those’ conversations here at The Nation…..Exquisite! Empowering! Tear-jerking, too
      Hope you make it one of the top recommendations for newbies

      Love to all in this great Nation as we continue to ForgeOn! together

    • The techs at the lab when I got std tested were awsome, the nurse hugged me and told me that I deserve better.

      An older man saw me crying at the gas station when I found out about OW. He simply said I was a beautiful girl and cheater is an idiot.

      Bar tender also went through a relationship with a Narc, she said it is a long road but worth not dealing with the crap.

      My son’s favorite teacher at daycare, said I’ve seen this happen a lot, you won, look at you, you’re gorgeous and you are rocking single Mom, your son will be ok because of you.

  • There have been so many over the years. Many of you know my story. For the sake of revenge, cheater ex kidnapped and murdered my youngest son. Eighteen months later cheater ex’s family had someone burn my house down.
    Right after the fire, I literally had nothing but my vehicle and the clothes I was wearing. My neighbor, a sweet little old lady down the block, took me into her kitchen and gave me a bowl, a fork and a spoon. In her cupboard she had only a small stack of mismatched dishes, maybe two of everything. It was a kind and generous gift from someone who had so little, and made me feel so much better. I still treasure those items.

    • ((((Tessie)))
      This is my favourite CL topic today, because of people like you Tessie. Whrn I think of you, I actually imagine a very beautiful, sweet lady, who always thinks of others before herself. All that you have been through, all that you have suffered, and still you come here to comfort, to raise others up, in their time of need.
      I am sorry to have reason to be on this site, even sorrier for the reason that you came here, in the beginning. Still the strength, the wisdom, the compassion, and the kindness, that lives here , in the hearts of all Chumps, cannot help but be a positive force.
      Bless your heart sweet Tessie!

        • All of CN are mighty.
          Tessie is especially an inspiration for us all. Peace????

          Thankfully many people recognize our goodness & worth even if at times we do not.
          To Meh ???? may we all find it.

    • Tessie, I cannot believe that happened to you and I admire your strength. I don’t know what I would have done.

    • Tessie, I have read your story before and every time I can’t even breathe just reading it. I have no idea what it must take to actually live through it and live with it. ????

      All I can think of to say is that I would get in line right behind that neighbor lady to be there for you.

    • Tessie, your dear son is gone but will never be forgotten. I think about you a lot and have since I first met you here 4 years ago. Sending love????????????????

      • Tessie
        I have read your story in the archives I cry every single time today being no exception .

        You are so brave and kind to keep sharing your story for us new chumps . Thank you from the bottom of my heart thank you ????????

    • Precious Momma Tessie……So good to “see” you today! You inspire me still!

      That was a moment in your journey I do not believe I had previously heard. (or my blonde brain forgot) Reminds me of the ‘widow’s mite’ account in the scriptures.
      That was a gift from God, for sure! Kind hearts will be rewarded beyond anything we can conceive.

      Love You!!! Prayers for you and both of your precious sons as you continue to ForgeOn! You are one amazing woman

    • Aww, shucks everyone. Thank you for the very kind words. Truth be told, I haven’t done anything everyone here wouldn’t have done. We chumps are a plucky, resilient, courageous bunch. We never know how strong we can be until we are faced with our very own nightmare. Then because we are the ones who are actually carrying the family, we are the ones who come out better in this great big mess of infidelity and betrayal. Ya’ll rock in my book.

      • Yikes, misspelled own name…. lets hear it for fat fingers and proofreading.

        • You are a hoot, Momma Tessie!! Yeppers……We chumps are the best of the best, that is for sure! Sorry about the fat fingers, though!! hehehe

          ForgeOn, dear one…..ForgeOn!

      • Tessie,
        You are an inspiration to all who have followed your story.
        Much love to you and your family as you grow stronger every single day.
        I truly wish I had been one of your stops in your trailer. Can I please be on the list for your next trip? I promise to show you the peace, tranquility and inspiration that comes from living in a beautiful beach town!

        • Tentatively heading east to the Atlantic, doing the Smithsonian, Gettysburg, and points south. Then across the south to Arizona.

            • Planning to check out the UP and head a bit south then east from there. What’s is TC in Michigan?

              • Traverse City. It’s a beautiful town on Lake Michigan in the Lower Peninsula. Please stop by! I had to sell my dream retirement cottage on Elk Lake but did get to keep my tiny house in town, so you are welcome any time!

              • I’m in Alexandria, VA. You have a place to stay with me when you visit DC.

          • Happy trails ((Tessie)), good to hear you are well and getting around your beautiful country, inspiration for our chump nation.

            • Thank you Kiwichump. I don’t post as much as I once did, but internet can be spotty on the road at times. Plus there is so much kindness and wisdom here, commenting sometimes seems like adding gilt to a lily. I do, however, try to keep up with everyone and all the precious newbies who find their way here.

  • XW dumped me a few weeks after the kids and I moved to join her at her new job, 1000 miles from our old home. Different part of the country, miles from my family, and I knew literally not a single person here.

    After a week or two of bottling it all up, I walked into my new neighbors’ house and just started crying in their kitchen. I had talked to them maybe three times – about garbage pickup and best routes to walk kids to school, things like that. They gave me a big hug and let me vomit out my story for two hours.

    Three years on, they are my best friends in the world. Our kids play together almost every day, I have dinner with them probably once a week when I’m all alone in the house, I stayed with them for a week in Sweden last summer, we’re building a soapbox derby car together in my garage. I’m not sure I would have made it through this without them. They are truly fantastic people, and I am sure that my complete breakdown at their kitchen table was what started it all.

    • Wow IG give your superb friends a big hug from Chump Nation, please! What wonderful people and how joyful for you to find such lovely friends!

  • I went to the bank and got in online for my favorite teller. I was sorting the accounts of my mom who had just passed away. She knew about my impending divorce and that my mother had been in assisted living. At the end of the transaction, she put her hand on mine and “I’m sending a prayer to God.” All said in the kindest tone I had ever heard, at that point. The kindness of people never fails to amaze me.

    • The techs when I went for my humiliating STD testing were amazingly kind and just-snarky-enough about my ex. That was the first time I remember finding some short summary way to describe what had happened that led me to get tested.

      I later moved into an amazing townhouse neighborhood where, it turns out, about nine women were in my same situation (middle aged, divorced after long marriages that ended with the ex cheating.) Somehow we recognize it in each other and when any chump newbies arrive (even some men now), we seem to become the strangers that know what to say.

            • I’m teaching in Europe now but am from DC and will probably return there to be near siblings and childhood friends who “get it.”

              But it’s pricey and I’m a doctor’s EX wife now…

              Kindness of strangers…many examples of dear friends and my siblings helping me THANK GOD…but from strangers?

              Yes – when a policewoman pulled me over for a bad turn & my tags expiring b/c my ex took so long to send me MY car, he let it lapse but assured me it was fine (and chump that I am, I didn’t even bother to check.)

              I told her all this to explain but not to get out of the ticket. But she said it “still amazes me what people are willing to do to people they share children with and made vows to” and then she let me go.

              God only knows what she has seen.

              • I too, am Ex-Doctor wife. After forgoing my career for 19 years to build his business, I’m in need of a next chapter in my employment saga. How did you begin your teaching gig? I would love to hear from other women and their careers successes for inspiration.

            • I’m in Maryland and what amazed me was the kindness of people in my neighborhood. I had more friends then I ever realized.

        • Aww, my wonderful neighborhood is in the middle of flyover country— middle of the Bible Belt, of course! It’s truly amazing to have witnessed some of these neighbors gradually move from “deer in the headlights stunned” to their first steps into healing.

    • MissBailey, I lost my Mother, my last living Parent, directly prior to my divorce also, she to was in an assissted living. We had also went through a tax audit due to X ‘s out of state employment. During our 24 yr marriage I had helped him through the loss of both of his parents and all things associated. Most days I felt like a kicked dog. One day I stopped in for an ice coffee at a little shop , a rarety, but because they were SO nice, and So friendly, I. Found myself returning for many more coffiees. The kindness , went a long way.

      • Aww nice! What is it about the 24 year mark I wonder. I see that all the time. Mine also was 24 years till she cheated and left. And I also attended 3-4 funerals supporting her and her family, especially her father. Shortly after she left my mom unexpectedly passed away, she lived very close by. It was a terrible time and I certainly felt that void of not having a partner during that time. Any kindness from strangers etc was very appreciated. Your post was very familiar, hope you’re well now. 🙂

        • Had to jump in on the 24 year mark comment. I made it to 24.5 — 28 years if you add the 3.5 years before marriage. (But I’m guessing he cheated for 20 years. I’ve said that multiple times and he doesn’t try to correct me.) Knowing I can never get those stolen years back is what haunts me.

  • The day after DDay, was the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana.
    I went to synagogue with my sons and we were all shell-shocked.
    I fell apart in the ladies room and a random woman sad with me for such a long time; holding me and listening. It was such a lovely, kind gesture and I will never forget her empathy.

    For all the grocery check-out people, the electric company employee and random people who told me that he should go fuck himself – thank you!

  • I was sobbing to (what I thought was) myself on a park bench, when a lovely guy who was working nearby to set up a road running event came over to see if I was ok. I blabbed something about marriage breakdown and heartbreak. He came back with a chocolate bar and a bottle of water. Told me a bit about his story of a marriage breakdown (don’t think he was chumped) with his then-small child. She grew up to kick ass and get top grades at university. I don’t even know his name. But thank you for that small kindness that was big of heart.

  • An old farmer stopped once when I had a flat tire and helped me change it. It had just been a really shitty day.

    When we finished, he said “Well, have a good day and nice to meet you. I am headed to the hospital to see my new great grandbaby. I sure wish Mama was still alive to see her. She was told she couldn’t have kids, but God surprised us with one. That taught us that anything is possible. Life can sure be tough, so I always appreciate the miracles that happen.”

    His words have gotten me through some really tough times.

  • After stbxh left me with our 3 small kids (think: two toddlers and an infant), someone stuffed an envelope with $100 in our front door late at night on Christmas Eve. I never found out who did it.

    We live way far away from town in a community deep in the woods. So it wasn’t just a short trip down the road for our mysterious visitor.

    • Thank you, dear CL, for this topic today.
      Kindness is my all time favourite word!
      There are so many kindnesses that I have received in life, but I would have to say that one of the greatest forms were found in the nurses who cared for my Mother, then a couple of years later, for my Fsther, at their time of death.
      I was blessed in that my daughters and I were able to sit at their bedside for days at the end, caring for them, never really leaving them.
      But when a nurse came into the room to administer pain medication or whatever my parent needed, the TLC that they showed each and every time never ever went unnoticed.
      So, to each and every caregiver who reads this I thank you ( and them), for every single act of kindness you have ever given to those in need.

      I think that each of us, who have given birth, remember the kindness of the nurse caring for us and present at this event , also as stated above, we remember when our hearts are heavy when we say good bye to a loved one, we definitely remember, when someone reaches out to them, and to us,with kindness. We just never forget.

      I cannot forget to say, that those of us who have loved our pets with all of our heart, like our children really, well, when we have to make the difficult decision to say good bye to them, we remember the Vet who respected our family member and treated our pet and us with dignity, respect, and KINDNESS. ❤️

      We would never get far in life ,or amount to much at all, if we didn’t have kindness in this big ol world we live in.

      CL CN = Kindness!

  • The summer after my divorce concluded I fled to Europe by myself as part of my “prescription for healing.” On a plane over Sweden I tearfully poured my story out to a woman next to me who was traveling with her fiancé and child. She cried as she listened. I can’t tell you how unlike me this was: I don’t cry and I don’t discuss private matters with strangers. I was an emotional wreck and it was uncontrollable. I saw her empathy and my story just came out. She was so sweet, so kind, so quietly understanding. I thanked her and she wished me well through tearful eyes as she wrung my hand. It was just a moment, but I’ll never forget the simple humanity of this stranger.

    • I too traveled to Italy alone. At the time, I did not know the reason why I was alone. This was a trip that my husband planned for the past year. He moved out three weeks prior with no explanation. I cried my way across the Atlantic and my seat mate listened and walked me to my waiting driver upon arrival in Naples at 6 am. I do not know his name, but I’ll never forget his kindness.

  • There were two incidents during the divorce that wouldn’t end. I worked as a nurse in a small town and took care of numerous people.

    1)I went to get gas at the same station at least once a week. I went to get gas and my card was declined. I knew it would be close and payday was the next day. The man at the counter told me, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll charge you tomorrow. You took care of me one time.” I cried and said, “Thank you.” I was so embarrassed.

    2)I got a phone call from the sheriff’s department. My ex was serving me papers suing me for full custody of the kids. The deputy met me at the employee parking lot to give me the papers because he didn’t want to do it in front of my coworkers because, “You were nice to my Mama one time she was sick.”

    It has been years later and I still tear up when I write this. Such simple random acts of kindness mean so much.

    • You are an amazing nurse and so many people noticed that!

      Just shows that the natural kindness of chumps comes back to us in positive ways. Hard to see that during the darkness, but I’m going to keep walking into the night trusting that I will someday see the sunrise. And continue practicing kindness for others.

  • When it first happened and people were finding out a friend said ” oh, who could leave you ? ” It wasn’t much but made me feel so much better that at least one person thought I was worth keeping.

    • That is very special. I have a friend that continues to tell me mine is losing out. That he just doesn’t know what he’s doing. That it’s his loss. Tells me every single time.

  • Shortly after d-day, I was sometimes holding it together and other times vomiting my story on people’s shoes. It was hard to predict when I would vomit the story. My kids were being extremely difficult, and one night a small gathering of my 15-year-olds friends turned into a crazy party because of a snapchat going around and a rumor that parties at our house were unsupervised (this because, near the end, the ex had left the kids alone whenever I was away for work and they would have friends over–I later learned). Anyway I was out for only 2 hours, from 7-9, and with the speed of social media, the party had gotten out of hand-at least 200 kids were in my house. I came home to absolute mayhem; the house smelled like beer and weed and my kids were trying to contain it. I started kicking everyone out, and while that was happening a neighbor called the police. The police showed up and began lecturing me about serving alcohol to minors and seemed unwilling to believe what had happened at first. They asked where the girls’ father was and I said, “I don’t know-probably with his girlfriend” barely containing myself. The two cops looked at each other and then one said, “We’ll help you get this cleared out.” They rounded up the kids, started taking names, calling parents, and assigning kids to help me clean up. They waited until everyone was gone, the major mess was cleaned up and before leaving the same cop said, “It gets better.”

    • One of those parties happened at my house. There were handcuffs on my daughter. eek

  • New city, first appointment with my new primary care doctor, getting refills on my anti-anxiety, depression meds. She’s all business, brisk and efficient.

    “When were you first prescribed these medications?”
    “After I found out about my husband’s affair when my son was 8 weeks old.”

    She looked up at me with the kindest expression, directly in the eyes, and said, “I want you to know that it had nothing to do with you. When people do something like that, it’s something wrong with them.”

    It was unexpected and amazing, and exactly what I needed to hear.

    • My doctor also was unexpectedly kind. In a follow up visit, after one in which in response to a depression screening I’d told her about my now-ex, the first thing she said when she entered the room was “Have you divorced him yet?”

      • My male doctor called my STBXH a dirt bag and said he hoped he didn’t come back to him for treatment. I considered that a strong statement of support from a doctor. I wouldn’t have told him anything except he asked why I wanted STD testing and then he freaked me out by asking about prostitutes – to be honest that hadn’t even entered my mind. Still really only know the tip of the iceberg in terms of who he did the nasty with.

      • My doctor too! When I first went in for the STD testing, and had to reveal why to someone for the first time (I was still foolishly keeping it secret on the hopium then), she spontaneously hugged me as I burst into tears.

        I’m sure it broke medical ethics rules about how not to touch patients, but it was the first hug I’d had in months that felt like it came from someone who genuinely cared, and I really appreciated it.

        • I went to my (male) doctor because I wasn’t sleeping more than three hours per night, my muscles kept spasming, and I had been crying for months on end. He took one look at me and prescribed ten pills of diazepam, which I took for about three days until I calmed down. He too had just been left (no idea if his wife was a cheater), and he was as gaunt and miserable as I was. We compared notes on coping strategies, and obsessive exercise was a real stress reliever with us both.

  • My friends and family have been incredible throughout this process, but the kindness that sticks out the most right now was just last week. I was having a really difficult week & then found out that my stbxh was once again being enabled by his family, who are picking up the pieces for him financially, logistically, etc. It seemed to me that there would be absolutely no consequences for destroying our marriage, our finances & our future, while I am still struggling to find balance. My friend said to me, “he has a huge consequence & it’s the most important one of all… he doesn’t get YOU.”

    It was so incredibly touching and I broke down in grateful tears. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you of the big picture 🙂

  • Soup. My sister’s mother-in-law sent me an expensive gourmet package of soup in the mail from someplace like Zabars or Dean and Delucca. It came with 3 pieces of bread and a ladle. I was two months past D-day and so depressed I couldn’t eat. Even the sight of food made me queasy. The soup was supposed to be two portions, but it lasted for eight days (the miracle of Hannukah, but with soup!) and was all I could get down and keep down during that time. It was an incredible kindness from someone I barely even know.

  • I am so Thankful to everyone that has let me spill my guts to them. My dear co-worker is definitely my angel on earth. The things she has done for me to help me. Making phone calls pretending to be me because they were phone calls I just couldn’t make…. Helping me write up things to the judge. It was like my mind was in a blender and she came in and hit the off button. Helped me think things through and assured me things weren’t as bad as my mind had portrayed them and that people would see through my ex and things would eventually go my way. Just her words helped me get through and every step of the way she was right!

    She also introduced me to God winks… Its those little unexpected things that God sends your way to remind you that you are on the right track, that you will be ok and that things will turn out as they should. 1 God wink was after getting my house back, in the mail was a court date for my ex for a DWI … This was 2 weeks before our custody evaluator was going to make a decision. This definitely helped. Thank the LORD!

  • There really are angels everywhere; from CN (esp LAJ); to the woman who waived my late fee for water when she heard about FW leaving the 4 kids and me to move in with his married boss; to my dermatologist, who gave me extra time to pay for the cancerous biopsy on my arm; to Angie, the woman who helped me sign up for SNAP (food stamps); to my “uncle” Frank (college friend of my dad) who comes with me to interview new lawyers; to Brian at the federal department of college loans, who gave me 2 months grace period on my loan, while I file a police report about FW forging my signature; to the assistant to my realtor (and we’ve never even met!), who found an old valid signature of mine on paperwork; to Langston, the guy at AT&T who helped me remove my ex from the phone plan after he had charged a bunch of services and plans to my account; to my book club, who gave me a gift card to Target so I can feed my kids; to my BFF who will pick up my kids when I can’t. I’m not mighty yet, but I have a huge army of strangers lifting me up.

    P.S. I love reading these. Keep ’em coming.

  • The general manager at the company I worked at told my neighbor (who he was friends with) that I had cancer and my husband left. They in turn told the rest of my neighborhood and coordinated everyone taking turns snowblowing my driveway. Two year later they all still do this because they know I am a busy single mom and they ask how I am feeling, how my health is every time I see them.

    My damn ex never asked me once how I was feeling and he is pissed that these people help me. I’m glad and so appreciative for my neighbors who have shown me what true character and kindness is.

  • When my then 60 year old husband of 27 years (36 together) spent a year grooming his 37 year old SAHM neighbour married with 3 small children and a beautiful husband. When he blew up their lives and our family- I was running a cafe, catering business and boutique Sour Dough bakery plus our speciality game bird farming business. I was absolutely blindsided; almost paralysed with grief. My customers came in, in droves to envelop me in hugs, to share their stories and to surround me with love. I can only repeat what they said, over and over and over. They said they loved me. It still brings me to tears, it still humbles me with its power and simplicity. They cradled me and they believed in me. AND IT KEPT ME STANDING! Many of the stories made me snort with laughter. One customer when he was 45; came home to find his 43 year old wife had run off with their 18 year old daughter’s first love. Another 62 year old customer ( second marriage absolute gentleman love of her life); she came home just in time to catch him heading out fully dressed in her clothes, high heels and makeup!? You know what they all commented without exception! You can fix many things in this life, but YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID!

  • And Tracy
    I have to say; meeting you in Newcastle Australia and all the kick ass wonderful women; was so deeply affirming and healing. The air blushed blue with our stories, our humour and our amazing solutions! It was such a privilege to be there. It helped all of us so much!

  • After my sudden split, two friends offered me keys to their houses. Another said I should call her any time I was upset, even if it was in the middle of the night (I didn’t, but what a kind offer and she meant it).

    I met a new friend at that time, she was posting in the want ads, selling off all her ‘cheating husbands’ collectable stuff! I responded to her ad, and she and I are a great support to each other.

    My own family was less than supportive, except for my mother, she was unexpectedly great, which is out of form for her lol.

    There were many blessings; bank clerks, appraisers, accountants; people who helped me out confidentially, and at some risk the themselves. Wonderful people!

    There were a few people I should not have confided in, they used me as a source of gossip. But the many good ones made up for this.

    • Mitz – “There were a few people I should not have confided in, they used me as a source of gossip. But the many good ones made up for this.”. I too confided in a few Switzerland’s I should not have. They used me as a source of gossip as well. This hurt me unbelievably because I thought they were my friends. Lesson learned. The many good ones have for sure made up for this.

      • I have a friend that took the Switzerland stance and what sucked is he was transferred to my place of work and is sorta my boss. I was quite surprised by the Switzerland stance as I see him a lot and the STBXH really doesn’t see him so to me it was a no brainer. His stance makes me think he condones emotional abuse so I told him we are just colleagues now. It has really opened my eyes how some people just won’t be there for you. This same guy wants to share all his happy news with me – I am starting to think he is a narcissist as well.

  • A couple of weeks after fuckwit left me, I was at work, struggling to hold back the tears while heading to our workplace cafeteria for lunch. As I approached the elevator someone from another office suite held the elevator for me. We got in with a few of my coworkers who were wrapped up in their own conversation. I stood in the corner and just stared at the floor willing myself to keep it together. This stranger standing next to me tells me that he liked my earrings. I raised me head and said thank you. He then tells me that I am really pretty and had been kind to him in the past. We get to the main floor of the building (very slow elevators at my office building). I get out of the elevator and he was waiting to tell me that no matter what is going on that has me so down he knew I could get through it with my kind heart in tact. After that he always made a point to say hello with a kind smile that seemed to bring me out of the mental loops I was stuck in.
    His office suite moved out of the building about a month and a half ago. We never exchanged names or anything, but I will remember that kindness while I was at my lowest.

  • Friday’s were when my teenaged sons came home.
    Their mother wanted me to have all the weekends so she could spend her off time fucking around like she was19 again. I was trying really hard not to care anymore.
    They liked to eat. Pull up an office chair in front of the refrigerator kind of appettite. Soon f
    Fridays I would come home with take out. Pizza, chicken, etc. Tonight was going to be spicey hot falafels, hummus and banana milk shakes. A place in town that was run by the same extended Persian family for decades was a favorite. I ordered at the window, but when I pulled out my wallet I was $7 short. I started to cry. (not caring about who my kids mom was fucking tonight was not going well) I blubbered I would be right back from the bank with more money. He looked me in the eye and said “I think you could use some kindness, so it is a gift from my family.” I couldn’t talk.
    I moved away from that city, but pass through it occasionally. I have a hard time not turning off the freeway to have a falafel, banana shake and a memory.

  • I am eternally grateful for the kindness of strangers whose shoes I vomited on by and large all very sympathetic to my plight. And for my sister and my closest friends who listened every time I needed to tell it again or some new divorce horror was going on. And still to this day that support me and provide validation and advise since I still seem to be finding selfish and self serving men who want me in their life but have made me an option rather than the main event. Second one about to be removed lol.,

  • About two months ago, I was eating lunch at a Italian restaurant near my job. I must have been deep in thought, or pretty bummed out, thinking about my wife and what nonsense she has been up to, ugh. . I got the buffet that day, finishing up my plate, which is only about $11. The guy at the register could see me. I went up to pay, and he just wouldn’t take my card, he said it was “ok”, and waved me away. I did not know what to do, I was trying to figure out if I did something. Next time i came in, I thanked him.

    • Warms my heart ❤ that this happened in Jersey. You don’t hear many nice things about NJ. Chin up. It gets better.
      We are Jersey Strong ????????

  • My excheater left me when my son was 2 years old. My son has a very rare genetic condition that was life threatening at the time. Mr super duper music man couldn’t handle the fact that he had a sick baby boy and couldn’t show him off to the other super dupers in the studio.
    I was a very proud, stubborn chump. Resisted the fact that the ex was gone, gone, gone. Three times gone to assorted OW.
    We had modest house in Franklin Tn. My son was now four. I was way behind on the payments. It was going into foreclosure. A man came to my door to serve notice. I vomited. Literally, from the stress and then cried for at least an hour. He paid the back amount due, dressed up as Santa and delivered presents the next week. My son had made it to four years old.
    He contacted my ex’s boss. She went to the hospital and guaranteed the medical bills.
    Over the years I have paid them both back and paid it forward many times.
    My son is now 24. He will live a life full of adventure, happiness and success.
    It has taken years and the kindness of my friends, strangers has always amazed me, lifted me up and helped me put one foot forward again. Never ever give up.

    • Wow. Gave me chills just reading this! Thanks for sharing and how wonderful that your son is alive and well and so are you and you are cheater free!

  • I am a new low level federal employee. I had left the community where I was married and was struggling to began again from scratch in a small town. I finally landed my position and was in it less than a year when the furlough hit. The tiny town I live in has a Coast Guard Station and the District FS office where I work. Me and my co-worker are single mom’s with little to no support from our Ex’s. This furlough was going to hurt us badly.

    The community got together, rounded up donations of food, clothes, and gift cards from local businesses (businesses also gave huge discounts to the furloughed employees). A certain angel in worn jeans and a tent shirt came around to our office to give my co-worker and I the gift certificates and made sure that we were going to be o.k. The hugs were even better than the grocery gift cards.

    When I arrived here 4 years ago I was devastated, depressed, and despairing that I’d ever be able to land on my feet and take care of myself. Now I know that I will be o.k., and a lot of that security has to do with this community and the people who live here. I love this town more and more each day.

  • Kindness from a friend who drove me all over town buying planters, gardening tools and flowers (which the X would never allow).
    It gave me a sense of purpose and strength when everything else fell apart. ????

  • The young notary at the bank sat quietly as the cowardly liar cried and howled about how much he loved me (after so many D days I lost count) and was I sure I wanted the divorce, etc… I quietly and firmly kept repeating that for now, we need to be divorced.

    The ex finally signed to become my ex, the notary notarized it all, and the ex left the bank crying dramatically.

    The notary met my eyes and laid a hand on my hand, just for a moment, and said “for what it’s worth, I think you did the right thing.”

    It was so kind and supportive. He was so kind and supportive.

    I walked out with the papers, got in the car, drove to the courthouse, and filed, and three days later I was divorced.

    The notary was right. I definitely did the right thing.

    • The Dickhead and I had agreed that I would only pay $200 towards the attorney fees since I used his lawyer and he has initiated the divorce.

      At the closing of our home (selling), the title rep passed a paper toward me that showed me paying 1/2 of the lawyer fees and it was being taken out of my share of the proceeds. Meanwhile, the ex is sitting right next to me. But, I saw it her eyes and her words. She knew exactly what had happened and I saw kindness. She asked if this was Okay and I said yes in firm and mild voice. I wanted to stand up and bring my fists down on his big bald head but proceeded through, thanked everyone for their time and walked out to the my car with my head held high. It was only when I closed the car door that all composure was lost.

  • My sister in law isn’t a stranger but she did something that made me so happy. It has been about a year since D day. My SIL, who lives in a different state, never reached out to me and the kids. It hurt all of us and we assumed she didn’t want to get involved.
    However, last week she called me to say she had no idea we weren’t together. My ex waited a year to tell her (I think his receding hairline, horse mouth tru wuv must have encouraged him). My SILs response to him was the best!! She burst out laughing and said “you’re a cliche.” He told her he was happy and she asked him “what does that mean exactly?” At one point he asked her to stop laughing at him. She wasn’t buying any of it and she stood up for me. She always thought ex was difficult and wondered how I lived with him. I felt vindicated and I know it really bothered him. I just hope the girlfriend heard the conversation.

  • My dishwasher died the big death the day after I kicked out my wasband, almost 2 years ago. I went to Lowes to purchase a replacement, and started to quietly tear up as I paid for it since everything was SO new, SO terrible, SO uncertain. The woman who was helping me said “Honey, tell me.” So I did. The first person I’d even said it out loud to: “My husband of 25 years has a mistress and he loves her and I didn’t hesitate and I kicked him out and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

    She looked me dead in the eye and told me that she WAS me 20 years ago, and it would get better but it would really suck for awhile. Talked me into the cheapest dishwasher (“Honey, you’ll probably sell the house anyways and since he’ll get half why let him get half of something as nice as this. Fuck ‘im.”). Told me to pack up his shit and put it in storage since my kid shouldn’t see me setting it on fire. Told me I’d heal. Told me I’d struggle. Told me to get tested for STDs. Told me that one day I wouldn’t miss him, or even hate him (“Honey, he’ll be a fly on a turd”). Told me my kid would be ok. Told me to ask for help. Told me to let people love and care for me. I did sell the house and more, I did everything she said without realizing it until it was over, divorced the piece of crap, etc. I went back two weeks ago for a mini fridge for my new place’s wet bar. SHE REMEMBERED ME. And of course, I remembered her. Gave me a hug, greeted me by name, asked what was new, and told me I looked free and beautiful. we

    She was right on all counts. A stranger made all the difference in that first day, everyone else in the weeks and months to come.

  • I was on a business trip when I realized my partner was having an online affair that started on Facebook. He was new to the platform and was sloppy enough to leave comments on her public page and she commented back on his (he told her he was single). While speeding home the next day I was pulled over by a state trooper for going 90 mph in an 80 zone. When the trooper approached the car I broke down sobbing and when he asked me why, I told him and he was very concerned over me and if I was ok and safe to drive. The fact that he was so kind caused me to cry even more but he still gave me a ticket.

  • Here’s to try #2 — I keep getting a “webpage failed to load” error this week on CL. . . boo!

    I love this post! All of the comments have my heart singing.

    In the 4 years and 9 months since Dday, these individuals are try stand-outs:

    Tracy, the one and only great Chump Lady, for obvious reasons — truly saved my life! I was having a lot of suicidal ideation at the beginning when I thought this was my fault and that I could control XH if only I was “better” in some way, shape, or form…..NOT!;

    Peacekeeper, who is the kindest, most loving and big-hearted person on this board. She has made hundreds of supportive replies and comments to me and each one has helped to heal me;

    LAJ, who also is very supportive and has amazing insights that have carried me through;

    KarenE, Tempest, Beth, UX, Pasadeaux (yay for Reddit CL forums!), MickeyBlueEyes, VelvetHammer, and so many others. . . . you have made a HUGE difference for me and my families’ well being;

    ICanDoThis18, who has become the very best friend I always wanted in life, like a sister . . . we were connected through a mutual friend. We live 1,000 miles apart, but we’ve talked or texted every single day since March 2016. We always start the day texting about CL’s posts. We’ve cried our hearts out. We’ve messaged each other instead of breaking No-Contact, we’ve helped each other through terrible divorces and come out mighty on the other side. We cheer each other on daily! We’ve vacationed together in each other’s respective States, our kids have become best friends — a special bond that only chump-teens can have because they know each-other’s pain. . . . I literally cannot say enough about this wonderful friend and what she means to me. She has a heart the size of California! She’s the reason I can truly say that something good came out of the horror and devastation that XH perpetrated.


    My now-partner. He was a friend I met at the YMCA after Dday. He was going through a bad divorce too (no cheating, but XW’s addiction and grave mental health issues). I had known him about a year when my dd3 had another suicide attempt. I had been in the ER for two days waiting for the public health officer to issue a temporary hold order. He texted and asked what he could do to help. I needed a ride home in rush hour traffic and then back and then for someone to wait for an unknown length of time at the hospital while she was admitted to the psych unit. I was too tired to drive safely. I was too fragile and worried about money to call for a stranger to drive me in an uber. He came, picked me up, drove me home to get some things, got me food and coffee, drove me back to the hospital and then waited 5 hours in another wing of the hospital just in case XH came into the ER waiting room — he understood that drama was the last thing we needed. Then after 1 a.m. when dd was safely checked into the psych ward he drove me home. All without doing or saying anything to make me feel guilty, or ashamed, or bad. It was such a stunning act of kindness and goodness that it made me have a glimmer of hope that maybe I could build a life worth living in the aftermath of XH’s destruction of everything I had known for my entire adult life (28 years at that point since I had first met XH and started dating — 25 years married). That hope carried me through those dark days when my 16 yo daughter struggled to regain her reason for living after her father so cruelly discarded her, when I had to travel hundreds of miles to see her each week after she was transferred to a longer-term facility out of state, as I battled the narcissist XH in the divorce, as I worked so hard on building my career after years of being a SAHM and part-time worker. Today we live together peacefully and happily, parent our respective youngest teens who are the last of 6 still at home, and we are planning a fun future with travel, family, and commitment to each other.

    • MotherChumper, I am excited and so pleased to read that you and ICanDoThis have connected so closely! What a boon this community is. And I’m also excited to read the name Mickey Blue Eyes. Being in the UK my first internet ask for advice was on MumsNet, and it was Mickey Blue Eyes who told me in no uncertain terms to come to Chumplady. I don’t know if she/he ever reads here, but thanks Mickey!
      MotherChumper – congratulations to you and your partner on your peaceful happy life! x

  • Mothers-In-Law are much maligned. Mine was an unexpected source of support. She said to me: “This is not about you or the other woman. Take care of yourself. Call you doctor for an appointment and see a lawyer. You are welcome to come here at anytime if you need to get away.”

  • X had been preventing me from chatting with children via Skype while I was overseas studying andc generally being a dick.
    I went to collect some information from the school’s admin and she asked me how I was doing. I was meaning to tell her I was fine (polite response to polite question). Instead I burst into tears… Dear God.
    She closed her office door and gave me a hug then told me to have a seat. I finished crying and of course now I could not tell her I was fine. So I told her about the withholding the children and just plain nasty that he was being. She said to me that she knew of another lady whose husband was not supportive at first but he came around and that maybe mine would. (mine never did, but kind words from her still). T he n she offered me a sweet and said that we need to sweeten up our lives sometimes. Lol! I left feeling much better. Finished that programme and kept swimming.
    She died a year or two ago. God bless her.

  • I cried reading these letters. I’m still sad about the dissolution of the family I created with my ex. I still don’t miss him and his 600 lb gorilla on my back personality. He wasn’t always such a dick and I’m not sure how he ended up that way – a lying, cheating manwhore. . But CL and CN is a place I go when I have no where else to vent. I also like that I can curse in writing. Fuck off fucker – I can get that out my head and on screen. I know, it’s weird. But I find it cathartic. Lots of people don’t want to hear about the confusion, pain and anger we suffer mostly in silence. Faking it for our kids, family and even our exes. Anyway, getting it out is healthier than keeping it bottled inside. But it’s not easy to inflict the ugly on people who are loving and kind and who have listened enough. Chump lady – there’s a whole second tier of folks you have saved by being here. Bless you.

  • A friend told me to come over so we could lock my kids and her kids out of her bedroom, eat baked brie, crackers, drink wine and watch crap television. Our conversation was about everything except our troubles that night.

    It was perfect.

  • A poem comes to mind that I read awhile ago. Forgot. Came to my attention again yesterday. Feel it will have an understanding ‘audience’ here because all here are so forgiving of all of us who have fallen in the same hole over and over again only to be welcomed with open arms a forgiveness, compassion and courage:

    “I walk down the street.”
    by Portia Nelson

    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I fall in.
    I am lost… I am helpless.
    It isn’t my fault.
    It takes forever to find a way out.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don’t see it.
    I fall in again.
    I can’t believe I am in the same place.
    But, it isn’t my fault.
    It still takes me a long time to get out.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it is there.
    I still fall in. It’s a habit.
    My eyes are open.
    I know where I am.
    It is my fault. I get out immediately.

    walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it.

    I walk down another street.”

    ― Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery
    tags: hole, nelson, sidewalk

    Thanks to all of you here who continually show me and help me re-kindle the light in myself and encourage me to stay strong!

    • Elderly Chump, thank you for the poetry. I am really sad about falling in the same hole for thirty three years. I climbed out and now I’m grateful to walk around the deep holes on these unfamiliar streets.

      That poem was like a little gift of words. Thank You.

      • 33yearsachump,

        You have 3 years on me; I’m a 30 year chump. That makes your hole a bit deeper than mine 🙂

        One of the things I love about CL and CN is that there are a lot of us ‘long timers’ here which takes the rub off of my situation. Still a lot of shock etc but I know I am not alone and now after about 2 years I am so glad to be divorced. I couldn’t have imagined myself saying that a year ago.

        I did a good year of pick-me dancing inspired by the RIC before I found LACGAL at which point my whole life changed direction and I finally understood that I was a chump and, in actuality, was Plan B instead of his beloved long standing and faithful wife who, when I took my wedding vows, I meant every word I spoke.

        All the stages of this betrayal process surprise me but I was told by a woman in her 90’s who has been divorced for over 50 years that she is still finding out things about her x that surprise her so I know there is no rush and apparently no end the uncovering their shenanigans.

  • I recently ran into my son’s 3rd grade teacher — the teacher he had when ex walked out and I was a total wreck. I sobbed all the way through two parent teacher conferences and told her way too much. She was empathetic throughout. Now, three years later, she approached me and asked how I was and told me she still thinks about me and my son and what a horrible person my ex is. I was sure, after the fact, that she would have thought I was a total nut job. But she was kind.

    • but oddly this did not appear in the order I posted it (as a reply to something above); so is out of the context of fortunate kindness (sorry!)

  • and there is also this (where they are splitting up the property – with a chain saw)

  • A D-day, I discovered Cheater Cat was shacking up with his Sugar Ho. After driving many hours to meet him for a weekend, I was shocked he wanted to meet me at a location other than his “friend’s” house where he claimed to be staying a few days ahead of me. Said “friend” was Sugar Ho. I had to turn around and drive 6 hours back! Bleary eyed, crying, and exhausted – a cop pulled me over near Ojai doing over 90mph (I slowed down to this when I saw him ahead). In a dirt lot just off the freeway off-ramp I balled, telling him what happened as I handed him my license and fished like a lunatic for my documents. I cried so hard I could not see. I knew it would be little use to offer an excuse because cops hear every story… He took forever and ever behind my car with my info and I wondered if I were going to have my car impounded and how much That ticket was going to hurt. He came back handed me some things and left. I sat in that dirt lot for another half hour crying. Then more calmly I drove home.

    I never did receive a ticket, and I didn’t even realize this at the time. This cop saved me without a doubt, as clearly I was suicidal even if it was temporary.

  • Amazing friends who forced me to take care of myself, kept me busy, and were always ready to listen showed their kindness daily. There were those strangers and acquaintances however that somehow said just the right thing. My exhusband is a Jesus Cheater so I thought everyone considered him to be a great guy. I was amazed when the handy man, two neighbors, and a few members at my church said, “I never liked him” or similar sentiment upon hearing I was on my own now.

  • During the mysterious 90-day period when I was being discarded but didn’t know it, one of my cats got sick and was diagnosed with lymphoma (she had just seen the vet so all of us were shocked). She was in cat ICU for tests for nearly a week but I brought her home for the end. The vet and a vet tech made a house call so she could die at home, safe and at peace, in familiar surroundings. I built a fire to make sure she would stay warm and got to hold her through the end. Forever grateful.

    • Elderly Chump, thank you for the poetry. I am really sad about falling in the same hole for thirty three years. I climbed out and now I’m grateful to walk around the deep holes on these unfamiliar streets.

      That poem was like a little gift of words. Thank You.

  • I was having a mental breakdown over manipulation and gaslighting during the discard. When I had to flee the house and run to my lovely SIL’s house for a break, a mutual friend of Ex and I came over to drive me to the train station (I couldn’t drive at that point). On the way to the car, he opened the gate and stood back for me to pass. Just that tiny example of consideration and respect drove it home to me how little ‘seen’ and respected I felt by Ex at that point. He never realised and he’s fallen away from my life now, but I am still grateful for that.
    Around that time, a very kooky woman I met in the woods who had been kind to my friend during her marriage breakup started visiting me. She didn’t know me that well, but when driving away one day she stopped the car, leaned out of the window and said “I love you!” and I knew she meant it. She is now my very dearest and closest friend, superbly kind and generous-spirited and even more wierd than I had realised!
    And I have to mention so many fellow Chumps here who I’ve seen being so patient, heartbroken for others, generous with their time and effort in writing answers and encouragement, and so vulnerable in telling their stories to help fellow Chumps. Long live Chump Nation. <3

  • I love this! I love reading all these positive stories! I was lucky enough to have a great deal of help and support of close friends and family, as I was able to move back home. I have many stories of kindness from my closest, during my divorce. However, I do recall a perfect stranger using his tractor to pull my best friend’s car that I was driving, out of the sandy soft shoulder of a back-woods dirt road, lol! No emotionally vomitting, but I was so embarassed. He just was at the right place during the right time.

  • After filing for divorce in November, I was in the grocery store in the produce section, trying to hold it together as I got a few fresh things for DD and me. I was wearing one of my favorite Green Bay Packers sweatshirts and this little old man came up to me. He made keychains out of parachute cording and gave them away for free, to anyone and everyone. He was an old vet and this was his hobby now. He gave me a green and yellow one because of my sweatshirt and I thanked him, mentioning that my daughter would love it. He said ‘wait, right here’ and of course, I did. He came back with a whole different bag of keychains, these ones were Christmas colors and had a jingle bell on each. He ended up giving me 4 or 5 keychains, and I’m standing there on the verge of weeping at this sweet old man who didn’t know me or anything about me other than my Packers sweatshirt. DD loved the keychains and the jingle bells.

    I don’t know his name, and I never saw him again, but I will forever remember him. I still keep the green and yellow keychain on my keys, now 2 years later. I don’t think I’ll ever take it off. (I got all teary eyed again writing this out.) Oh Lord, please bless that little old man.

  • The nice clerk at the social security office who was on the receiving end of my sad story when I went to change my name back said to me “anyone who would let go of a woman like you is a damn fool.” Thanks man, I needed that.

  • Left the office of a marriage counselling session in tears. Fuckwit refused to delete OW’s contact info from his phone. Therapist implied that my lack of trust had in turn pushed my cheating spouse further away from me.

    When I truly felt my whole world was crumbling, two complete strangers came up to me. One of which was a homeless man that put his arm around my shoulder and told me everything would be alright. Even if the person I thought cared for and loved me the most had turned his back on me, it was these small gestures from strangers that brought me comfort during one of my lowest moments.

    • My pastor (I called and introduced myself after Dday) told me I could have been the perfect husband and she still may have done this. Then he said a wonderful prayer for me, my wife, and our daughter.
      My individual and marriage counselors are both taking a different perspective. Everything is about what I did to make this happen.
      It’s extremely distressing.
      Not sure if I should rest in the comfort of my pastor’s words or listen to these therapists tell me that I pushed my wife away with my own selfishness. The latter makes me so angry!

      • Do not listen to those therapists! Get a new one who is experienced in relationship trauma. No one “makes” someone else cheat!

      • Nope nope noppity nope. You can’t make someone cheat. The cheater makes a choice. They could chose to talk to you they could chose to leave you they could chose to ask you to go to counselling. Nope I will not take any responsibility for his cheating. The minute we look for reasons for horrible behaviour is the minute we say that it is okay. I cannot believe someone can be a therapist and have that view. People can be unhappy in a relationship but unhappiness is not an excuse for cheating. That narrative needs to change – no more of this bullshit.

      • Please listen to your Pastor, Mac. Nobody can make anyone behave badly, just like noone can make anyone behave well. It is the individual person’s responsibility and agency. I have accepted that I should have done something about healing problems in our marriage prior to the affair – but so should he have done. Marriage takes two. I can only forgive myself for that and acknowledge that I didn’t know what to do about it at the time. The affair itself, the lying, deception, manipulation, lack of empathy and respect, is ALL on the cheater. She had options and could have not deceived you. Please do not take the blame for the affair, Mac! ????x

        • Mac1234, get you a new therapist. I went through three before I found help. You are not to blame for another’s decision to be a cheater.

          Be very careful attempting marital counseling if you have a sparkly narcissistic cheater. My military STBX manipulated and gaslighted the therapists. It quickly turned into “How can we fix poor little Thirtythreeyearsachump? She is so depressed and bitter.” I found healing through individual therapy.

          You didn’t do anything to deserve the pain of infidelity. It is not your fault. She chose to cheat. It was a choice.

      • Oh, and anger – just like pain is a warning your body is being damaged, anger is a sign you are being treated badly. Sack those therapists.

      • Mac1234
        You didn’t do anything to cause this. Fire those therapists and hire the best divorce attorney there is instead. Fight man!

        If you had the power to make her do this to you and your kids that means you’d also have the power to make her change…. you don’t. She was born selfish and and entitled and will likely remain this way or worse. Run run run……

        There are thousands of women of impeccable integrity who will honor and respect and cherish someone like you.

        Don’t delay…. leave that cheating whore and build your new life!

    • I think the same thing may happen to me next week (husband will refuse to end contact with OW). It will take place in my therapist’s office, I’m terrified. Feels like an appointment with executioner.

      • Lemonhead, that could be reframed as an appointment with the D-Day Forces who help liberate you from the pain of betrayal. You deserve so much better than a husband who openly cheats.

        Check out the archives and read the article about Not Being Plan B. You deserve centrality. You are nobody’s backup plan.

        I hope you have gathered your documents, and consulted lawyers. Please don’t stay with a man who won’t give up the Mistress. You be the gal who gave up the cheater. Get the jump on him. Get a settlement while he is all crazy in love.

        I only wish I had left the first time I knew he cheated. Instead I fell in the same hole for thirty five years. ( Thank you again Elderly Chump for a poem that touched my broken heart.) Please don’t be like me. Don’t stay married to a man who doesn’t love you. Be brave and strong and know that you deserve better.

      • Nothing to work with …. face the cold hard truth. We all have to. It hurts like a mofo but it’s futile to stay.

        I’m sorry this happened but a fantastic life is ahead of you. Do not delay.

  • Gardening is my passion & go-to stress reliever. My first springtime trip to the local greenhouse was just a few months after dday & ex’s quick exit. When the owner came over to chat about the long winter & asked how my plants had faired, I sobbed out my story. He kindly listened. At the check out counter he presented me with a perennial & said it was on him. Nine years later it continues to flourish & reminds me of his kindness. Every 1st springtime visit conversation since aways ends with a thank you for the dianthus & we both know what that means.

  • When I went in for STD testing, I blubbered uncontrollably to my extremely stoic OB-GYN. I am not that type of person. I am extremely stoic myself. I cried myself to sleep most nights, but I kept the tears private, even around my friends and family members. I don’t know what came over me in that moment at the doctor’s office, but I just lost it.

    She put her arms around me (again, a fellow stoic like I am) and just hugged me. Then, she proceeded to lambaste my then-husband for his behavior and was a huge part of helping me to understand that I was not to blame for what he had done. She had a tremendous impact on me. Unfortunately, she is no longer practicing privately, but I should find her address and send her a thank you note. I really needed her in that moment, and she was there for me in what was probably the most demoralizing, humiliating moment of my life.

    • Good songs (about Tuesday!), Beth Balance! I had not heard of Frazey Ford– she’s great!

      And the Taylor Swift is really funny–perfect sentiment.

      I just read through this whole comment thread–wonderful stories, everybody!


  • Not strangers, but a surprising type of kindness that I hadn’t expected. Daughter’s 12th birthday party, about 6 months after I finally got Cheater Narc out of the house. She desperately wanted her father there. Ok, I invited him. Several family friends came to drop off their kids, would normally have hung out chatting for a bit, then left. Each one gave him the briefest of cold nods, then pulled up a chair to sit in a ring around me, chatting, until time for birthday cake, while he sat alone on the other side of the room.

    That show of solidarity meant so much to me! These friends also spent the next couple of years making sure the kids and I always had great plans for holidays, outings, etc. So thoughtful, so caring.

  • I went to a drop-in yoga class three months after dissolution day. It was my first time back in the studio since my life imploded, and I didn’t know any of the other women there. I was struggling not to cry the entire session, and I couldn’t keep up as we moved from pose to pose. I felt like I was covered in heavy tar. When we finished the session, one of the participants came up and told me her name, said she saw pain in my eyes, and offered me her number if I wanted to talk. She walked out to the lobby with me and I just crumpled. She sat with me on a bench and talked to me for nearly an hour. I felt so incredibly alone, afraid, and hopeless that day, and I almost didn’t go to the class. I’m not a particularly religious person, but I strongly believe that she was an angel.

  • I was involved in a horrendous accident after DD, I was vomiting all over the shoes of the emergency services! One retired policeman who was passing was there at the beginning. When I cried “he left me for a younger woman” he said “ well I’m not leaving you” stayed with me and was an amazing support until I was carted off to in the ambulance. I’ll never forget him promising to stay with me.

  • This was actually only a few weeks ago. My sons bday was coming up and whilst out shopping I found a kids playhouse on sale, x display model, perfect for the kids! I snapped it up and was trying to fit it in the boot of my car but some pieces of it was just a little bit too wide and I already had a bunch of stuff in my car. I would of had to come back for the other pieces afterwards. A lady walked over to me and offered to fit it in her bigger boot and follow me home! After we got it all out, I offered her money towards petrol and as a thank you, she refused and said she just wanted to help out when she saw me struggling. I asked if I could hug her and thanked her and then cried when she left.

    There are some truly kind people out there, she restored my faith in humanity and I plan to follow her example and help strangers in need

  • Shortly after x moved out a long time friend of mine drove up to my house, piled me into her car and took me shopping. For years I made my own clothes in order to save $$$ so that my x wouldn’t have to work so hard. (Now I know he wasn’t working as much as I had been led to believe and that $$$$ was being spent on his OW.)

    Anyway, my friend had known me ‘before’. I stood in a dressing room while she pulled clothes off of racks and brought them to me until we found the ‘me’ that had been lost so many years before. Up until that point I hadn’t realized that I had lost me. The tears I shed on the way home were not for him but for me – the young woman I had abandoned so long ago and hadn’t even noticed that she had gone missing.

    She gave me myself back that morning.

    • Elderly Chump, I was blindsided by my cheater’s financial affidavit. He makes big bank. I am extremely frugal. I thought from need. He financially abused me, I just didn’t know it. I too made my own clothes, shopped the sales at the thrift shops and wore my things until they fell apart. The only clothing I bought new was underwear.

      I am so angry that he kept his sons living like poor people when he makes so much money. I feel such shame that I didn’t leave sooner. Both of my boys paid for their own college. He could have done so easily.

      There was a little clue in the Affidavit. Life Insurance to secure child support. WTF? He has no minor children. Well, I didn’t think he had minor children. Our sons are self sufficient adults. Might explain why he was so miserly towards us.
      He has three life insurance policies. Is that even possible?

      I can not wait to collect spousal maintenance. I think that will hurt my STBX more than me leaving him. He will be devastated to pay me. He can never pay me for all those years of scrimping and making do. He can never pay me for not being able to do what I wanted too for my boys.

      I can’t wait for new clothes to match my new attitude! I’m not sure I know how to shop retail. But I can learn!

      • 33yearsachump,

        Go shopping with a good friend. That’s what happened to me. A long time friend came over and loaded me into her car and off we went. She has known me longer than the x had so knew who I used to be.

        I stayed in the changing room and she brought clothes for me to try on so I didn’t have to keep getting dressed and un-dressed. Once we hit on the look of who I used to be we were off and running.

        I am still frugal so I haven’t bought much of anything since those early days of separation but it sure feels good to have the ‘old me’ back!

  • My daughter – the kindest most compassionate ass kicker in the world helped me get from then to now.

  • Last week, I kicked out my boyfriend of 5 years because he was cheating, and when I was in the numb-shock phase from not sleeping for two days straight, I posted about it on twitter. I hoped my friends would be sympathetic. I wasn’t prepared for hundreds and hundreds of people flooding my notifications with advice and hope and love. They’re still coming. I cry, and screenshot every time I get one. One of my favorite authors of all time even commented (my ex blamed his cheating on me working on my book) and basically said he sucks and I & my dreams deserved better. Someone I’ve never met sent me a starbucks card. It’s been. Staggering. I’m still incredibly sad, and incredibly lost. But, god. The kindness and love from so many people I’ve never met had really given me something to hang onto. And that’s not even to mention the kindness the people I know have shown—packages keep showing up on my porch, friends have shown up at my house, and people check in every day. I guess if anything good has come out of this, it’s that I didn’t realize until now I had so many people whose love I could count on.

  • My aunt, age 75, calls me to check on me sometimes. Her motto, (in a deep southern accent and with no hint of sarcasm): “You know, I just pray without ceasing and take my pills.”

    She was chumped by her serial cheater ex husband for 30 years, and she is the strongest, most amazing human being.

  • STarBX would not move out of the house I was keeping until after the divorce was final. She mistakenly thought I had not told any of my friends of her cheating. 10 years out of a 26 year marriage.
    The kindness came when my friends opened their homes and their evenings and weekends to me so I could have an escape when her presence was too much. She has no shame and thought I should be ok with what ever. Those same friends listened to my feelings and bemoaning over and over again. They were so kind when I needed it. I will be busy for the rest of my days paying this forward.

  • I have enjoyed an online game, SongPop, for many years. There is a chat feature and I had some acquaintances from years of playing. A few opponents noticed I was playing in the middle of the night and they reached out, asking if everything was alright. One very special person, David, was always checking in. There was so much kindness and incredible support that I found myself thinking how crazy that you can make connections anywhere. I asked David to mail something meaningful to him to put in my pocket on the day of my divorce. I was so strong that day because I reached in my pocket and knew David was with me.

    I am a nurse in a specialty office. One cold day in January, Mr. S was in for a yearly lab draw and I am the only one he trusts. He asked how I was and I just lost it. I was crying and so embarrassed and I told him, “betrayal and divorce have brought me to a very dark place.” Much to my surprise he grew teary-eyed and he told me his story of being cheated on and raising 5 kids (twins were the bonus) at age 28 because the ex ran off with her prize. He looked me in the eye and told me, “You will be okay.” “Better than okay.” He told me to see where I was in a year.
    Thank you Mr. S, David, coworkers and family. So many acts of kindness bestowed upon me that it is humbling. I cried reading all of these stories because it is amazing knowing so many good people exist and how an act of kindness can make a life changing impression.

  • During my twenties I worked for my fathers company for awhile and we had a secretary/receptionist that was a little younger than me. She was really bright, continued school, became a paralegal, had an engagement that fell apart but eventually married and had children and she seem really happy. We still stay in touch on Facebook, even though I’m male we’ve only just been coworkers and friends and nothing ever happened between us. But when she learned through FB about my divorce she contacted me and she ended her note “She was a fool to let you go”…and that almost made me tear up. That was many years ago we worked together and made me think Damn maybe I picked the wrong gal and had one right in front of me way back when..

  • During the first affair’s DDay in 2008 I was a wreck. I was totally PTSD’d from discovering that my ex had been lying to me for 18 months. I had lived the 19 years of my marriage up to that point completely trusting him and putting him on a pedestal. After discovery he had exactly zero guilt, shame, or remorse, and I “won” the pick me dance by default after I confronted the cockroach OW and she scampered into the darkness. The asshat did not pursue her OR me and just sat there in his dirty diaper. After several months he began to travel to the Middle East for work and life got better (I realize now it is only because I was such a complete doormat and that his cake supply was shut down by the OW’s disappearance that we survived at all).

    The kindness of people at work was staggering. I was an empty shell walking around, losing weight rapidly, and barely containing my emotions. But my co-workers assured me that I was a catch and he was a fool. They told me I would be better than OK and that I was worthwhile. They were warm and loving when I needed it most.

    I remember thinking that these relative strangers were kinder to me than my husband had ever been. Ever. Been.

    My regret of course is that I didn’t dump the X Asshat right then and save myself and our daughters another 9 years of wasted time with that asshat before he abandoned me completely for OW#2.

  • I read every comment. I love this thread.

    After 18 years and 2 kids, I had my Dday in early December 2017. I immediately told him that “we were done”. And was divorce by that February 2018 (two months after Dday). The ex was happy to sign whatever because it freed him up to pursue Schmoopie. (She dumped him that summer though, as she didn’t want a discarded man and he had never picked her.)

    THAT affair had been going on years before I put the pieces together. He had been emotionally abusive for years. But the discovery that he had led a dual life for years (a decade?) and the divorce was fresh. I remember going through life like I was floating. Just hollowed out. And feeling unlovable and scared as I tried to figure out a new career after being a SAHM.

    That first Valentine’s day alone my neighbors brought me over a gift basket. With lotions, a candle, soaps and a nice note. It wasn’t the basket. It was the fact that people who knew me liked me enough to go out of their way to be nice to me. I will never forget that kindness. I hope to be observant enough to pay it forward ten times.

  • Also posted as response to earlier comment:

    I think the same thing may happen to me next week (husband will refuse to end contact with OW). It will take place in my therapist’s office, I’m terrified. Feels like an appointment with executioner.

    Could use help from strangers right now.

    • If that happens, it will hurt, but it will also be the truth you need finally to get free. Living in fear that your spouse won’t give up the affair partner? Not a life fit for anyone. You deserve better.

    • Lemon Head you are stronger than you know. It’s very well possible that he may not delete her phone number. It’s also very well possible that he will tell you he deleted her number when all he did was change her contact information. You can not change what he does. It sucks. I know. The only thing you can control are your actions and how you move going forward. All you have to do is ask yourself is this acceptable to you? If he doesn’t cut contact, that means he has made his choice. You have to prepare to make yours. You are amazing and sometimes strength appears when we least expect it. Go into your session armed with the knowledge that your an amazing woman who’s strength and power knows no bounds. I wish you the best in your session next week. ((((Hugs))))

    • lemonhead,

      Many have already said this but I will add my 2cents worth.

      The x and I did counseling 2 decades ago when he admitted to cheating. I was young and naive and believed he was done. I had not clue about the saying, ‘once a cheater always a cheater’ so I gladly forgave him and we went merrily on our way.

      Jump ahead 3 decades and my first Dday wherein I found out his cheating ways had never stopped. He just got sneakier about it!!! Luckily I didn’t know so I wasn’t tormented for 30 years but now I know too much and if our wreckconciliation attempts had worked, and I did try because I was an avid RIC supporter prior to finding LACFAL, I know I would be a nervous wreck.

      I have read books by women who have chosen to stay and they read like nightmares. I am too old to hope one day that all will be well so I am glad that our marriage did end in divorce and that I found CL and CN.

      It has been a bit over 2 years now and I am doing what I thought was impossible 2 years ago – I am living my life and I am reasonably happy – especially after learning about NC and grey rock. NEVER would have imagined this for myself. Still painful, yes, but the freedom is exhilarating.

      I suggest you do as others say. Lawyer up and find out all you can so you are armed and dangerous when you hit that door. Catch him by surprise. Read here as much as you can in the archives and on line about who these cheaters are underneath their charming facades. Mostly though, lawyer up and protect yourself because he won’t protect you once the shit hits the fan.

      A final note. A good, good friend knew how much I dearly loved my x but she warned me that if I did stay he would take me down with him. Wise words.

      Good Luck and lots of truly heartfelt hugs to you.

    • Don’t put yourself through that humiliation. Don’t go. Tell the RIC counselor that he’s made his choice obvious and he can do what he wants. Have the divorce papers delivered to the appointment by the process server. Get your papers (insurance, pension, annual tax returns, etc.) and take them to an attorney and file.

      Don’t let him do this to you.

      • I second that – you make the decision about your life. He doesn’t get to do that.

        • I hadn’t thought of that. That would be powerful if you can do it and protect yourself legally, financially and emotionally. I know this would have made mine very difficult to deal with so I let him call the shots but final one was mine after all was done and he had what he wanted which I could live with after I realized pick-me-dancing was futile – a pipe dream that would only turn into a nightmare.. I established NC for myself. Made the process much less of a shit storm which I didn’t want due to our children.

  • You will feel pain–you’re human. You have empathy. Cheaters and their OW do not. My one regret was playing the Pick Me Dance. It only devalued me and empowered the other two. Second DDay Good Friday 2017, divorce May 2018–in between my mother died November 2017 and father May 2018. And they are continuing playing a toxic mean game of hardball, I’m going to have to be back in court, wasting time and money. But now I’m not reacting and I’m mentally prepared–unfortunately, I had a horrible attorney and was just treading water. So GET A GOOD ATTORNEY!!!!!

    My advice–breathe, mediate and go for walks in the woods where you can speak out loud before your therapy session. It will help find your voice so you can stand up for yourself and not give him the power nor the pleasure of seeing your pain. Drive separately so you can then walk out to a schedule pedicure or facial or massage. Plan ahead–this will suck. But every stop forward will help you heal.

    So walk into the darkness, for it will be dark for a while. These narcissistic sociopaths always need the sun–it’s their oxygen. But you will one day see the sunrise–they won’t. And trust me, it will be beautiful.

    If you are in Michigan, I will meet you after your session.

    • Thanks for wise words. I’ve been trying to prepare for months, but still reeling from wreckonciliation attempt. God, this is hard.

      • I’d rather be in labor for a week. I’m still in pain, but it is getting better. Didn’t help that both kids (20,22) trotted off to college and closest friend is a back stabber. Yuck.

        But better to rip off the the bandaid.

        Seriously, have something planned to occupy you.

        • I also got the empty nest/gray divorce double whammy. So. Much. Suckage.

          To top it all off, my good old dog, who saw me through it all with more loyalty, love, and protection than any other male who has ever been in my life, went down fast to degenerative myelopathy. That was the unkindest cut of all.

          But, but, but . . .new rescue doggo in the house, absorbed by my college students and work, and really welcoming this time in which I am no longer predominantly a mom. Still plenty of momming, don’t get me wrong, and love my kids ferociously, but I pick the music, the level of neatness, the general rhythm of things, and I love it. First time in forever that this life feels like my own. So amazing.

          Too common for women to give and give as wives and moms. Only just now realizing how exhausted I have been for so very long.

          All of which is to say, there is much to love about moving on.

      • Sweetie, you sound just like me. You tried wreckonciliation, I bet you tried your very best, but you weren’t chosen. Yes it will be painful for you, but so is getting a gangrenous leg cut off in a war-zone, and that’s what he is now. I hope you know that it wasn’t your fault and he has made all his choices of his own volition with agency. The Ex also refused to break off from his AP, he at first lied about not contacting her during wreckonciliation, and it was only when I said it was me or her, that he left. That hurt so much and should have taught me that there was no going back. Instead I agreed to try again when he wanted back (AP didn’t want him) and had another 9 months of hurt. Don’t do this!
        Yes, it’s agony, it’s humiliating and it’s so damaging. But if he didn’t choose you the first time, you are always open to fear. Don’t live that way.
        Lemonhead, great big hugs, thank you for posting and please keep Chump Nation informed because we all are holding your hand and have your back. Xxx

  • Think of this is your final scene in your cheater movie. You are the writer, director and star. In five years, you want the ending to be you holding your head high, walking away with your dignity in tact, not turning around and giving him any scraps. Then go to your car and blub away. Believe me, I wish I had done that for my ending.

    So write the ending of that chapter in your life and focus on your next–YOU.

  • Sweetie, you sound just like me. You tried wreckonciliation, I bet you tried your very best, but you weren’t chosen. Yes it will be painful for you, but so is getting a gangrenous leg cut off in a war-zone, and that’s what he is now. I hope you know that it wasn’t your fault and he has made all his choices of his own volition with agency. The Ex also refused to break off from his AP, he at first lied about not contacting her during wreckonciliation, and it was only when I said it was me or her, that he left. That hurt so much and should have taught me that there was no going back. Instead I agreed to try again when he wanted back (AP didn’t want him) and had another 9 months of hurt. Don’t do this!
    Yes, it’s agony, it’s humiliating and it’s so damaging. But if he didn’t choose you the first time, you are always open to fear. Don’t live that way.
    Lemonhead, great big hugs, thank you for posting and please keep Chump Nation informed because we all are holding your hand and have your back. Xxx

    • Survived session but am disappointed in myself. Agreed to another session because husband denied affair (I don’t believe him) and agreed to weekly couples counseling. All the mind games are present: devaluing our marriage, blameshifting, “I don’t know what I want” 5 months into separation. I’ve closed joint accounts and have a lawyer when needed, No children or debt. Just a 30 year realtionship I am mourning.

      I know, I know. He is choosing cake.

      • Well done for getting through it, lovely LemonHead. When we went to MC the counsellor asked what we wanted out of the sessions and I replied “I want to know if my marriage is worth saving.” Ex replied “I want to understand how I feel about my wife.” UBT: I don’t know what I want…if they don’t know what they want, they don’t want US. Pretty often I bet that’s a delaying tactic or a bid for kibbles anyway.
        Are you disappointed in yourself for agreeing to more sessions? It took me 18 months and a successful hoover by him for me to break away. I don’t wholly regret the time because I honestly think I needed that flaming nail-studded barb-wire wrapped 2×4 to the head to finally believe that he really does suck. Big hugs to you – yes, he is choosing cake and screwing as much kibble out of you and the MC as he can. Up to you to decide if you really want to continue with it. Is it worth it for you for the divorce settlement? Is it worth it for the hopium destruction? Is it worth it to keep your word that you’d do it?

        • Artist – you’re spot on. I’m so drained and frightened. I dont even know if I have a marriage to go back to. The fact that he already knows is nightmarish. Death through starvation. Like leaving a pet on the side of the road.

          • We’re to support you through this difficult time. We can all give our advice, but in the end, it’s your journey. People told me things at the beginning and I wish I had heeded their advice. But I can’t go back only forward. It’s my path.

            Please, please, please…go see an attorney so you can at least know where you stand in your state. It might not end up that way, but knowledge is power. First appointments are usually free and you don’t have to commit. Also, try to find out the best divorce attorney in town. I didn’t and my Ex ended up getting the attorney who every told me “he will make everything difficult”. It was true–he even used my daughter’s birthdate for a deadline, merely to point out my Ex was spending it with her. And my attorney was so bad, he left $100,000s in m Ex’s pocket.

  • Went to a new ob-gyn for my STD test and she asked me about my sexual history. I ended up telling her very succinctly about why I needed it. Without a word she came over and hugged me, and I started bawling for a few seconds. Then I composed myself and we went ahead with the tests. Everything was negative, thank goodness! But I needed it that day.

  • So many kind people. I was walking with a toxic bucket of yuck on my head…I told everyone about my husband’s mult affair after 32 years. I cried about leaving my house behind and having to find storage. One beautiful friend at church sent me $400 in a card to help me pay storage fees for awhile..I was absolutely stunned. Kind people were at the bank where my husband unloaded my funds, and when I got STD testing, the most gentle doctor telling me I did not deserve to be treated that way. My neighbor making me soup and helping me with my movers, the people at the store who saved me egg boxes with handles so I could move easier. The movers who cut their prices and a million cards…the list goes on. I am so grateful!

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