Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Chump Lady Slouches Toward Another Year

Today is my birthday and every year I rerun the first birthday column I wrote in 2012. It’s a meditation on craptacular chumpy birthdays, and what a difference a new life — and a new partner — makes.

(Not that you can’t have the new life without a new partner. This always bears repeating.) Fair warning, however, this post is goopy.

Today Mr. CL is in his usual generous form. (And he gave up on persuading me about French toast. I got a pumpkin muffin for breakfast. Yum.) Later I’m off to have a rare departure — a long-weekend vacation to London to see my good friend from Texas, Jenn, who is also having a birthday. We’re hopeless Anglophiles. There will be much tea drinking and slow walks around art museums. 

I generally don’t travel without Mr. CL (unless it’s to see aging parents). But he’s not a big London fan, after one ill-fated trip in the heat of August years ago… too many tourists, too many selfie sticks… something snapped.

But don’t feel sorry for him — this weekend he’s off to Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, North Carolina. A festival of all things Andy Griffith. This has been on his bucket list a long time. He’s hopes to meet Thelma Lou, see Floyd’s barbershop, and eat a pork sandwich at “Snappy Lunch.” 

(No snark about Mayberry. The man LOVES Mayberry. And you can’t hear my snark as it’s somewhere across the Atlantic ocean right now.) 

Anywho… my birthday post. Here it is. And please forgive a couple days of reruns. I’ll resume regular posts on Tuesday, Oct. 1. 

****

Well, I try not to blog about myself too much, because God, how dull. (Mommy blogging anyone? Does anyone want to know about my son’s travails with geometry?) But I’m going to make an exception today, because today is my birthday. (Cue Leslie Gore… “It’s my birthday! And I’ll blog if I want to! Blog if I want to!”…)

I’m 46, if you’re curious. Fairly ancient. [Editor’s note. I am now 53. Officially ancient.]

What does my descent into middle-aged decrepitude  have to do with infidelity? Well, my 46th birthday is a nice reminder of my 40th birthday, which sucked epically. And I thought I’d tell you about it as a little example of how different life can be post-cheater.

When I turned 40, I had just moved to a new state with my then husband for his job. I’d been married four months. We bought a 100-year old fixer upper house (with my money) and it had been badly neglected. The  widow who owned it hadn’t done yard work since her husband died years ago. But hey, you know what they say about codependents, right? Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things. I was still a flaming codependent. I loved the potential of this ancient pile of house and I was resurrecting the garden single-handedly.

It was the day of my 40th birthday and I ordered myself a truckload of cow manure from a local farmer. He delivered it, dumped it in my yard and I spent the day ankle deep in shit, shoveling cow flop around.

At the time — swear to GOD — I thought “I’m ankle deep in shit on my 40th birthday. This must be a METAPHOR for something.”

My metaphor called me about six weeks later. It was the Other Woman phoning to let me know she existed. Turns out — surprise! — my new husband had a mistress spanning 20 years and three marriages.  No, I had NO IDEA. Remember, I’m a CHUMP. No clue. None. Zip. Zilch.

I had just moved to a no fault divorce state, financed a serial cheater’s career move, and bought a 100-year old fixer upper with this fucking sociopath.

How I got out of that mess is another story for another time (many miracles and a lot of idiocy on my part — idiocy I share with you as trial-tested results of What Not To Do). The point was… my birthday.

My 40th birthday sucked. I literally spread shit on my 40th birthday. My cheater husband’s gift to me was a pen. (Admittedly a nicer gift than the tie-dye motif license plate cover he presented to me that Christmas). And during that weekend, unbeknownst to me at the time, he was off screwing his mistress. Cherry on top of the shit sundae.

What a difference six years makes.

Today I am remarried to a great guy who is truly my better half. He’s nerdy and kind and super smart. Verbal. Bright. A mensch. A wonderful father to his kids and a rock to my son. He eats too much popcorn and loves polka music. His quirks fit my quirks. I marvel every day at my amazing fortune that this is my life and he is my husband… and I will shut up now before you choke on my treacly, heartfelt, love goop.

My husband has been pestering me for the last week about what I want for my birthday breakfast. He is a master at French toast, and tragically for him, I do not care for French toast. (“It’s JUST LIKE BREAD PUDDING! You love bread pudding!” No, it’s not the same. French toast is a pale substitute because it’s not drenched in Bourbon.) I got a sweet roll and coffee and roses for breakfast. Swoon.

He took me out on a date last weekend and gave me a ridiculously extravagant gift. He put a pressed shirt on, and the man hates to wear all things dry-clean-only. He opened my door. He bought the fancy dinner.

I’m not writing this to make you hate me. I am writing this to say  — YOU ALL DESERVE THIS. Everyone deserves to have someone in their life who delights in delighting them. Who gets honest to God pleasure from giving to them. Who  will go to whatever effort just to PLEASE you on your birthday.

You know what’s sexy? EFFORT. Effort is sexy.

I didn’t know this until I was 42 and met my husband. I spent a lifetime in my relationships shoveling shit to one degree or another. I’m not saying (sniff!) no one loved me, no one bought me a pretty present. I’m saying — I didn’t know what reciprocity felt like. What it was to love someone who loved me back just as hard, maybe harder. Who if I lobbed the ball to him, picked it up and lobbed it right back. Who threw it further into the green, past me, so that I had to run to catch it. Who (damn him) is ahead on this birthday celebration thing. But I have a few things planned… his turn is coming…

Chumps — do not settle. Good people who make effort exist. Go find each other.

Going to go celebrate some more. I’ve got a sugar coma now, between my prose and the birthday cake… maybe I’ll go take a nap… Happy birthday to me!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Happy, happy birthday darling Chump Lady!! And many happy returns of the day. I’m the same age as you and you are currently in the same country as me, yay!! Enjoy the Great Wen, go to the Tower and say hello to the ravens for me. Chump Nation salutes you, and you deserve all the wonderful fortune the Universe has brought you – Mr Chump Lady is just as lucky. Lotsoflove ❤

  • Happy birthday CL! You’re a god send and we love you dearly!!! Have a fabulous day xxx love you forever. Thank you for being you!

  • Happy birthday!
    You got the best present in the end at least – rid of toxic idiot!
    My 40th was a mess too. I thought he’d be planning something special for it….. No. D-day was 4 weeks beforehand. I got nothing from him. Not even a text.
    I thank you for starting this site/blog /forum. The perspective you put things in helps us all immensely.
    Finding you was a gift to myself….. x

  • Happy Happy Birthday! You are so helpful and inspiring, putting into words what so many of us are thinking. I start every weekday morning with a smile because of your blog. Thank you!!!

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! Hope they just keep getting better!

    I remember my jaw dropping last year when I read this post, but it’s just dropped again – who the hell keeps sleeping with someone who gets married to someone else three times!!! That OW was a very special kind of fucked-up!

    So glad you’ve got someone you deserve now. Even as someone who will likely never marry again, it’s encouraging to see that there are quality men around! ❤️

    • She probably thinks she’s special because she’s outlasted three wives. In reality she’s just stupid and easily manipulated. Why would he give that up?

  • When we were dating X got me nice gifts, but not what I wanted. He took me to a nice restaurant for a steak dinner. I never mentioned liking steak and I actually don’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok but it’s nothing I would choose off a menu. X took me there because he wanted to go there. HE liked steak and wanted to brag about where he took me. For other occasions he bought me diamond earrings and necklaces (from places like Macy’s). I thought they were nice and I appreciated them but I don’t really care about them. I guess I could say my boyfriend got me diamonds!

    I never got to choose the restaurant for my birthday. It became a joke that he chose wherever he wanted to go, but it wasn’t a joke to me. I tried to explain that. Ha ha this is funny but really honey I’d like to go to xyz. Nope. I got all his friends together for his 40th. Got a hotel for us to stay downtown.

    In comparison, I bought he payoff tickets because he loves baseball. I called ahead to the restaurant he chose to get his name on the menu. Once my mom was in town for his birthday dinner and she got roped into paying for everyone! By this time, we didn’t go out for my Birthday anymore. His mom cooked me dinner at her home. For my 41st I had cancer and he left.

    For Christmas he got me a gift certificate to the same online jeweler until one year I politely said that while I appreciated it, I had enough jewelry from that place. I never received another Christmas gift until the year I got cancer —I got a kitchen rug and hamper.

    I eventually stopped doing much for his birthday. If he wasn’t going to put in the effort, neither was I. I started planning my own birthdays, buying my own holiday gifts. For my 40th I went out to brunch with the girls at a trendy new place. I loved it. He hated it. I didn’t care.

    He passed this off as he didn’t care so much about celebrating holidays. So he just doesn’t do it. Ok I said. I gave him a pass. But in retrospect I see it for what it really was. A way to trash my day or make holidays suck.

    • I think gift giving is hard for narcissists. It requires empathy, imagining what the other person would like.

      As you’re an extension of them, of course, they assume you’ll want what they want. And if you don’t? No matter — it’s all theirs now.

      • This. I always wrote off his lack of planning as a guy thing. You’re right though, it’s narcissism.

        Happy Birthday and thank you for providing us sanity!!!

      • This is so apt.

        My CheaterX was a terrible gift-giver, but he was at times quite extravagant in his terrible gifts. One of the best non-terrible gifts was the iPhone. In fact, I marveled at it because I did think it was too much for the budget but it was exactly what I wanted. He delighted in the fact that I loved the gift.

        But it was also the gift he’d have given to himself.

        He used to tell me that I was so hard to buy stuff for. I felt sorry for him and started giving him lists with items at different price points so that he could either buy off the list or use the list as a source of inspiration. It didn’t work. He would often bypass the list altogether and the thing he’d get would be weird, but pricey. For example, I took riding lessons for a couple of years until it became obvious to me that to get better, I’d need to have access to a horse during the rest of the week and the friend who had the horses was busy with other things in her life. So I stopped lessons. Two years after I’d stopped, he bought me riding gear: a boot remover. I didn’t have riding boots.

        • Funny, he thought you were hard to buy for.

          Cheater was terrible to buy for because if he wanted it, he would just buy it.

          It was impossible to surprise him, he would always guess what it was before he opened the present and often just let it sit wrapped.

          Now I know he hated surprises because that took away his control.

          So glad I will never have to buy him another gift!

          • “Cheater was terrible to buy for because if he wanted it, he would just buy it.” This, exactly! I found it increasingly difficult to get something for someone who never denied himself anything!

            • This, I had times when I actually had to say don’t buy that I got you one for your birthday. And what is it about jewellery that I don’t want and never wear but was expensive to buy. It’s not an investment 2nd hand jewellery rarely seems to be worth what was paid for it.

      • Gift giving is also hard when married to a narc (at least in my case). No gift was ever what she *really* wanted, and when asked what she *really* want, the old “I shouldn’t have to tell you” got released. Another series of tests I didn’t even know I was taking, but was constantly failing.

        • ^^^Yes! I have had the same experience as UXWorld. Gift-giving has become a test of mind-reading, and I always fail. So guess what? I have not been giving STBX many exciting gifts in recent years, though I try to pick out thoughtful ones, and of course have tried to make her birthday etc. special in other ways. But she would probably read this column and think to herself, “I deserve better than LezChump” – on the basis of pampering, at least. But UXWorld is right: it’s impossible to pamper someone like this to their satisfaction. And trying to do so for years honestly felt to me like pick-me dancing – esp. after STBX’s first affair 15 years ago.

          Many happy returns to Chump Lady across the pond! Heigh-ho and odd’s fish and allons-y and Geronimo!

        • Agreed. What do you get for someone who only likes expensive things, is very particular about those expensive things, and has complete control over the finances but wants to be surprised?

        • When I would ask what to get my X, he would always respond very dramatically) “Oh, I want for nothing. Celebrating birthdays isn’t important to me.”

          But if you didn’t do anything, silent treatment.

          • That reminds me of the year ex gave all of his relatives charity gifts (where you give to charity in someone else’s name). Since he seemed to think this was such a great idea, I did the same for him for a charity of which I thought he would approve. He didn’t seem so thrilled.

        • One of my favorite lines of all time was Cheater X on Christmas: “This is what I wanted LAST year. You’re too late.”

          Spoken like a five year old. Time to throw in the towel.

      • My STBXH was actually a really good gift-giver. Comes with the love-bombing aspect of him when things are shiny and new. Once the goodwill wore off, not so good.

        But, hey, he had no problem giving the OW a Christmas gift at the time he was exiting the marriage, a basket filled with “all the little things that reminded him of the time they had spent together” (I only know this from the secret email account I discovered).

        Those love -bombing skills coming into play again.

    • CC,
      WHEN I got nice presents, they were always from places where sparkledick could strut around and show off; He gave me a gold watch and I don’t use one. I tried to sell it after divorce, turns out only the rim is gold. I turned 50 I and gave a big dinner that I paid for and cooked from scratch. ZERO present from my husband. When I look back I see the red flag: he was very busy with something else and in debt because of his extra “work” (he hid his bank and credit card statements from me).

      Another strange thing was sparkles’ mother’s reactions to my gifts to her: chumpy me would always scramble to think of something that she would like, but she would ALWAYS criticize them. I gave her a navy blue and white polka dot shirt dress. She immediately said she hated navy blue. But she wore the dress all the time…. she looked so elegant in it. Sigh….

  • Happy Birthday, September Girl–from another (Sept 3rd). Just turned 50. Birthdays were always shit for me with the husband, though I never actually shoveled shit on my birthday, so you have me there. Hope we all find a better spouse like you have. Have a great birthday!

      • A fellow September chump – turning 50 on Friday. As per a chump he got parties and trips to New York – me not so much. I am going to dinner and dancing with some colleagues and friends. I am very touched because a colleague (who we are friendly but not friends) asked me my birthday when all the shit was going down and she wrote it down and came to me to ask me what I would like to do. Happy birthday CL.

      • September 3rd also. I was chumped D-day was one year ago on the 8th right after my birthday and just before our 16th aniversary on the 21st.

  • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady.

    It will be a special day because you are.

    Thank you for all you have done for me.

    I was so lost and alone until I found this place.

  • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady!!!

    Best wishes for a WONDERFUL day!!!

    I envy Mr. CL….the little Texas town where I grew up had sheriff much like Andy Griffith.

    • Ohhh birthdays. One year I received bottle of whiskey and a card that was actually a Valentine’s Day card (my birthday is January ) in an envelope that didn’t fit the card-from the gas station around the corner cause he forgot my birthday. When my first daughter was born, my best friend walked in with flowers and a nice bottle of whiskey. My husband proceeded to take that bottle and do shots with his buddies in the parking lot of the hospital. I didn’t find this out until 6 months later when I said, tonight I am going to have a splash of whiskey, done breastfeeding, it’s friday, and baby is asleep, time to finally just have a nice drink. He said lol hahah ahh I drank that with my buddies, thought it was mine too cause I also had a baby. The little things.

      • My birthday is the week before Valentine’s Day. X always told me I had to choose one to celebrate because he would not celebrate both.

        The year after our daughter was born I got nothing for my birthday. The next week on Valentine’s day he came home late, as he stopped by his mom’s and had dinner. Meanwhile I was trapped under a baby all day and was starving. No card. No sorry I didn’t call. Nothing.

      • NewLife2017, fuck him very much. He really did suck. He drank your post birth whisky? Everyday, I read new lows on this site. I hope you bought your own replacement bottle to celebrate your divorce!

        • Yes he did, and I didn’t know for 6 months, he actually did shots in the hospital parking lot with his buddies while I was in the hospital with our newborn and with family visiting, I was so tired and so many people there didn’t realize he has literally left together drunk. He saw nothing wrong with this. You are right, fuck him

  • Happy Birthday, you bad-ass babe! You’ve done so much for me. All I have for you is a wish that your tea is always hot, you find just the right pastry and your birthdays continue! Happy, Happy Birthday dear Chump Lady.

    • Dearest Tracy
      Happy Birthday; you so deserve it! Goodness only knows what life delivers but so bloody grateful to be released from a fuckwit! All else is a bonus! At my 59; his stupidity was revealed to me; at my 62; life just keeps improving! I am so full of gratitude I am as full as a little red hen! Bring on paradise!!the walls are singing, the flowers are blooming!

      • i love this comment

        not only for the phrase “full as a little red hen”

        which i had never heard before

        but also for the amazing attitude !!

        that i am starting to feel sometimes

        now that i booted her out

        rock on!

        • ozziechump! You finally sound sooooo happy! I can just see you and hear you. I was also the same ages as you and, at 63, I don’t think I could imagine life any better. What freedom I finally have.

  • Happy Birthday ChumpLady!
    Most birthdays I had with cheater were lovely. He always made an effort. It’s just that all his efforts had to be repaid by cheating on me, flirting with my friends, dating sites etc. It’s a special covert narc trait and a real mindfuck cause you really think that they must love you right? Last birthday during Wreckonciliation he especially outdid himself in the present department & bought me a pair of expensive riding boots, hat & some very expensive coffee table books on horses. Too bad I kicked him out the day before my birthday but lucky for me he left the presents.

  • Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes!

    I’m being a bit of a bum this morning and then getting organized to head to the airport, where I intend to sit and appreciate all these kind messages.

    I feel spoiled and first world-y writing about my birthday and Mr. CL. I just want to reiterate — you have NO IDEA how life can work out.

    We absolutely know what it is to have the bottom drop out, but life can also reconstitute itself in incredible ways. I spent many, many years in the trenches of single parenting and sucktacular lopsided relationships. I’m older and squidgier and on the other side of it now. But the trajectory still feels like a miracle. I never want to lose that perspective. Because when I went through it (D-Day was 13 years ago, abouts) — I was fuck out of options. Defrauded. Sobbing on a bathroom floor. No idea what my next move would be.

    My point is — you can reinvent. There’s a new life out there. You’re never fuck out of options. Might feel like it. The options might suck. It might feel like everyone ELSE gets a new life (especially the Schmoopies) and you get a Lean Cuisine and your lonely integrity. Move forward anyway.

    Then write me in 13 years. Or 2 years. And tell me about it. I believe in miracles. Especially this week.

    • Happy Birthday CL. Have a fabulous time!

      Yes! You can reinvent!!!!!

      Maybe I didn’t believe this the first time I read it, less than 6 months after D-Day (which was my birthday) but I’m here in the Amen section now with my “miracle” life. It’s so much better than before.

      I went to therapy. I worked hard on my picker. I found a new partner deserving of my love who believes in reciprocity. I thought my birthday would be a horrible, dark day for the rest of my life. 4 years later it’s a wonderful day every year where I receive a thoughtful gift from a loving man that always makes me smile. Keep moving forward!

    • You have been given a tremendous gift and it is a privilege you recognize. You are repaying this back to the world by continuing this blog so many years beyond the pain of the horrors you endured. Where other online voices fade away as they have healed and moved onto their good lives and avoid revisiting this time, you continue to support those of us still battling through it.

      Thank you. Happy Birthday!

      • Yes This!!! Thank you Tracy! You have saved me and countless others with your objective (and truthful) point of view. You have been lucky to find a good one who deserves you.
        For the rest of us who still battle the self-esteem that took a shit-kickin’, it’s ok to be on your own too! I appreciate so many things in my life now that it’s MY life again. Even after 5 years out of it, there are times when I wonder if maybe it was me. But I finally realize that it just doesn’t matter!
        So NO take backs and moving forward. I just recently had my 56th birthday and there was no celebration necessary- just peace of mind.

    • How I envy you! I loved London in the fall. Please have a lovely tea with lots of scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream for me!

      Happy birthday, Kid!

    • Happy birthday, CL!

      Thanks for this site and all you do.

      I’m only a year out from Dday, but I moved fast and didn’t look back. I’ve been no contact for almost 11 months, and that, I think has been the biggest help. I’ve read a lot and done some work on my inner child, and it’s only been in the last week that I’ve started to feel mighty. (Prior to now, I was following “fake it until you make it”.)

      It’s a wonderful feeling to discover a stronger, better Sisu! 🙂

    • happy birthday CL. your turn to eat all the cake you want! thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope. you have made a huge positive impact on our chumpy lives.

  • My 40th was on a student tour (with X) in Italy. He didn’t even get me a card. He thought the tour (that he did not pay for my ticket) was enough.

    He also began packaging gifts. “This anniversary gift is SO NICE, it’s Christmas, Valentines Day AND your birthday, too. Wow. That I-Pad was sure special… not.

    I spent my 50th curled up in bed alone, divorced a year and in crippling pain.
    Now I just don’t care.

      • Exactly!
        After few horrible bdays in a row I just had enough. I stopped expecting and started ENJOYING MY BDay…. trip to Miami? Sure
        New camera? Oh yeah….
        One year membership in our local boxing class? Yes

        The issue was, that my stbxh was a covert. Narc.
        And he was using the skills to the x.
        Ex. He would start a fight night before my bday, give me silent treatment in the morning, leave for work without a word and stay longer… yet, he would order flowers, get them delivered at work, invite his mother for the evening ( family celebration) waltz in with a gift and a cake….
        All that while I was heart broken and exhausted due to his actions.

        Live the crap and live your life.
        The moment I took over MY BIRTHDAY and MY RIGHT to celebrate it…. there was nothing he could do to screw it up.
        The first year, he was fuming 😤 when he realized that I booked. My flight, hotel for my Miami trip.
        I just smiled sweetly, all family around and loudly thanked him for such a thoughtful and amazing gift.
        😂😂😂😂😂

    • XAss used to bake me a cake for my birthday (always at the last minute and always with much furtive fanfare – you know pretending he was being secretive when he actually wanted to be noticed for it?) He claimed it was a home-made from scratch cake (sure tasted like box mix to me) which he would make at a neighbor’s in order to surprise me with it. Well, after the first 10 years, guess it wasn’t such a surprise anymore. I now realize that more than likely someone else actually made the cake, and the cake making was pure impression management and not about my birthday or me at all.

      I left XAss beginning Nov almost 4 years ago. My 50th was a few weeks later. I spent my B-day and Christmas alone drinking margarita’s and watching Kill Bill movies. I thought it was an appropriate way to celebrate.

      The next year I took myself and my 14 year old son out to dinner. The kid didn’t even remember it was my Birthday and I didn’t remind him. Just ordered our favorite food and we had a pleasant evening together.

      This year I expect it to be celebrated alone again. I’ll make myself a great dinner in my comfy apt., eating exactly what I want to eat with expensive wine and be grateful I have the wherewithal to do that for myself.

      • Another November birthday here. On mine, I’ll raise a glass of lovely Monterey Pinot Noir (St. Lucia Highlands appellation) in your honor. Hopefully your now 18YO son will remember your birthday, too.

  • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady! I hope you have a great day!

    I love your insights, especially into the baffling concept of Cake. That was the one thing I just couldn’t figure out with Xhole. Why was he doibg these things and being such an ass? Now, I say, who cares? But I do apply the cake concept to gift giving, because a lot of sick, psychopathic shit gets revealed that way. Only time will tell. Xhole gave me expensive jewelry while dating. It ended with a bag of crap candy from the mini market thrown into a sack.

  • I’d really like to believe you, chump lady, but im living in a part of the world where I am almost invisible. small, transient town, full of retirees, backpackers, and single mums. In the past 3years I have not locked eyes with ANYONE. Friends keep telling me I’ll meet someone but it’s not looking likely

    • A good life doesn’t have to include a partner. And I know that smug married people should all disintegrate on the spot for saying that, but when I was slogging through it, I was just trying to build a new life, put down roots in a new home with my son, get through my job. I lived in Lancaster Co., Pa. — you want small towns? 12 last names and everyone is Mennonite and married. All I can say is, be open to life reconstituting itself differently than what you imagined. And ((hugs)) because I know this shit can be very lonely.

      • Makes me cry. I don’t think you are smug for giving this advice, heck, it’s the truth!

        I’m 67 and I know that my chances are almost zero: any guy interested in me is very probably interested in getting someone to take care of him. I know this sounds cynical, but I’m a scalded cat. I look back and I know that I appealed to scumbag for the wrong reasons.

        Anyway, I dream of meeting a farmer…. 😁😍

          • We should all find farmers Up North (or, if you’re in Oz, Down South or NZ), and then we’d be in a good position for the impacts of climate change coming down the pike…

        • NewLife2017, fuck him very much. He really did suck. He drank your post birth whisky? Everyday, I read new lows on this site. I hope you bought your own replacement bottle to celebrate your divorce!

    • gchump, I am single and have been for years. I have deliberately stayed off the market as well.

      Not because I wanted to.

      Not because I am superwoman with no feelings.

      Not because I hate men.

      I have done it because I realised I needed to get stronger – that my picker needed fixing – that I should try to find a real purpose in life. You need to do these things on your own.

      That said, I’ve also worked really hard to connect with other people as friends, colleagues, church, community. You can and really must do this, for the sake of your basic mental health. Don’t be lonely – but stop seeing a partner as a solution to loneliness.

      Volunteer. Go to group social stuff. Practice friendship with anyone and everyone. Gain a LIFE, rather than trying to hunt down a partner.

      I am happier now than I have ever been, but I had to learn new ways of doing ‘relationship’. There is life and love outside the Couple Bubble.

      • What good advice Lola. So elegantly articulated. I totally agree.
        I can’t help but believe, paradoxically, once you have a full life with a variety of satisfying relationships, interests and clarity of purpose you are more likely to attract a person of quality in to a partner relationship- if you even fit one in. 🤷‍♀️

      • LG,

        I have been doing the same but it hasn’t been years yet even so at this point I feel really selfish and don’t want to give up my new freedom and the activities I like doing.

        I can do what I want when I want and with whom. Just today I was thinking of all that I would have to give up if someone were to come into my life and I realized how happy/content I am being single. Not something I ever thought I would feel just 2 years ago.

        I love discovering stuff about myself that I didn’t know existed – like being able to set limits/boundaries. Not cringing if I messed up something around the house or cringing for not being productive enough with my time for my nighty evening report to x when he got home from work.

        Just today I was at a friend’s house and I marveled at the space she had in her house for her things and her husband doesn’t give her a hard time about it. WOW. Permission to branch out. In fact I just began to use ‘his’ side of the bed a few days ago and it fells fine. (Yes, the sheets have been cleaned since he bolted – it has been over 2 years 🙂

        I sometimes wonder if I am becoming a narcissist since I am all about me most of the time now but I prefer to label it PTG – Post Traumatic Growth.

        Thanks for sharing.

  • Happy birthday Chump Lady!

    I had NO IDEA Mr CL was an Andy Griffith fan. That is my hometown! Tourism and The Andy Griffith Show is very popular in that small town. All the “old timers” in town have an Andy story. Mine is my grandfather sold the booths in “Snappy Lunch” to Charles Dowell, one of the owners of the restaurant. He is now deceased and his wife now runs the restaurant.

    Who would have thought?

    • Who would’ve thought a heir to the Snappy Lunch reads here? Honestly, this is the part he’s looking most forward to — the pork chop sandwich. What a cool place to be from!

  • This is one of my favorite post. Happy birthday CL! Enjoy your friends company and soak up all the art London has to offer. Cheers to reciprocated love and here’s to hope that we all find it.

  • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady!

    I too am an Andy Griffith fan. The only thing safe to watch, for me, was Andy Griffith reruns after D-day. Never could find a trigger in not one episode.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy. I hope you have a wonderful time in London!

    I’m redoing my kitchen pantry and getting a new table to sit by my kitchen window to start water coloring. Finding a new me.

    I was out yesterday shopping for kitchen stuff and heading out from there when On the radio the beautiful song from my childhood came on the radio.

    Everything is beautiful in its own way, Ray Stevens. I felt it was a gift from my angel daughter, Joy telling me I’m going to be ok.

    I think you were given the gift of ‘No More’ to share with others.

    If I had never found your column while I was divorcing I would have been begging him to stay. Divorce is rare in my family.

    My life isn’t great but I’m grateful I’m not with him now. You will never know the freedom your column has given others the real courage to go and make a better life.

    Thank you❤️

  • A very Happy Birthday CL! We are the same age!
    Reading your story again reminds me of my last birthday with the Worm. It was my 50th. He took me out to dinner with his parents, my parents and his best friend. My gift from him was $500 in gift cards. On the surface it looked thoughtful but it was just his way of throwing money at me.
    Makes everything all better.

  • Happy Birthday CL!!! Your wisdom (and your followers) have been a life saver for me. I have even gone so far as to pull up this site when he shows up (to pick up our son) and goes on his mansplaining monologues about whatever he thinks I’m too stupid to understand. I pull up a supportive post in the archives and read it while I “yup” at him half-assedly.

    After years of shitty birthdays (honest to God do they all gift us with hampers at some point), and One More Chances from me, he swore he was going to make my 50th amazing.

    It started that way. He took the 3 of us to the Happiest Place on Earth for a family vacation at one of the spendier hotels.

    The first day (which was also our 12th anniversary) was pretty good.

    That night, he wakes me up at 1 am. To tell me he had to go to Miss Piggy’s grandma’s funeral (he was still claiming they were “best friends” at that point).

    Because…. it was the “right thing to do”.

    After a massive fight, where I told him he was NOT leaving our family vacation, he insisted he was, I said we were all leaving, he changed flights so we would all leave that morning, then backtracked when he saw what that did to our son, I downloaded “Let it Go”, played it in my headphones on repeat for the next 5 days, and spent the rest of the time openly weeping while walking through an amusement park. The night of my 50th Birthday, I spent the entire mealtime in the bathroom crying (and trying desperately not to howl).

    He’s out now, lives with Miss Piggy, and surprise to no one, he knocked her up. I’m working on getting my sanity back.

    This places helps. So much. Thank you.

  • Happy birthday CL! I’m so happy you are having fun abroad.

    With your support and amazing insights, I filed, went no contact, got divorced and spent my efforts reinventing my life.

    I picked myself up off the floor and minute by minute creates my new life out there. I felt like I was fuck out of options but that wasn’t true, I just didn’t know what the future held — after 26 years building a life “with” X, I felt all other options sucked. It did feel like everyone ELSE had a life (especially the OW who I thought had “stolen” my beloved and life). Wrong!

    Once I was divorced, my new life picked up tremendously. I studied for and passed the CA bar exam, I made partner at a new firm, I learned a new area of law, I kept making memories with my precious kids and being the same parent, I started volunteering for new causes, I focused on my health, I reduced expenses and got all of my finances in order, I made new friends, one friend became my boyfriend and now we are committed partners, raising our respective teens in a peaceful, loving home. Now I’m reinventing again and starting a career outside law that I’ve been drawn to for 30 years. I’m scared, but nothing can ever be as terrible as what happened and that is very freeing in a way.

    • Motherchumper99,
      YOU are one of CL’s Birthday Presents. All of your successes, are her gifts.

      So many Chumps with success stories, because of one, beautiful, generous, and above all, kind, human beings!
      ( always giving of her time, her talent, and her generous heart)! ❤️

      Thank You, Dear CL, for all that you do.
      Happy Happy Birthday!

    • “I’m scared, but nothing can ever be as terrible as what happened and that is very freeing in a way.”

      I love how you’ve reframed the experience of being chumped! Thanks for sharing this, it has changed my perspective of changes I want to make in the near future : )

  • Happy birthday, dear lady. And you are right. We deserve so much more than we expect. We also hardly ever hear ‘you’re right.’ So that is my extra gift to you. Cheers!

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! If you get a chance, I highly recommend the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory tea at One Aldwych (near Covent Garden)… wear an expandable waist band and fast the night before it is THAT GOOD! Ironically, I was just passing through London on an 8-hour layover and treated myself for my 9/4 birthday… anything about Virgo’s being statistically higher likelihood of chumpdom – POTENTIAL 🙂

    Enjoy your time… you deserve every blessing.

    My only other comment is Mr. Sparkles sucked at all holidays, but especially birthdays. For my last one, 3 days before he announced he was leaving “to find happiness”, I got the cheapest bouquet from Trader Joe’s and a lame ass card. Good riddance. This year, for my birthday, I got to celebrate by myself over an amazing dinner in Copenhagen (Krog’s Restaurant) with a new Jodi Picoult book and the Dover Sole. I’m five years out… and living proof that you can still be single after all that time and still be living an amazing life.

  • I always love CL’s bday post, because it is my story too! I turned 53 on Tuesday. On MY 40th bday, I was 8 months pregnant with our 4th child. The combination of having an “old” wife and a new baby made my ex so “desperate” (his word) that he had no choice but to go out and buy himself a Mazda Miata without consulting me first, and later that night, hook up with a total stranger for sex. ON MY BIRTHDAY!!

    That worked out so well that he kept having sex with her for 6 more years, until the day I walked in on them in my own bedroom. I picked me danced for 3 years, then threw him out, then had to wait another year until the Commonwealth of Virginia finally allowed me to file for divorce. He volunteered to do it, and since I didn’t have money for a lawyer, I let him. He timed it so the divorce was finalized on my 52nd birthday last year.

    This year, I celebrated my birthday by finally reaching Meh. I heard from old, true friends that I love. I baked an experimental birthday cake that the ex would have hated. My boys and I made s’mores around a fire pit area we built by our mighty selves. I was truly happy. I left my cheater, and realize now that I have gained a life!

    Happy Birthday, CL, and thank you so much for paving the way.

    • Edited to say: You CAN have a great new life WITHOUT a new partner. I admit it would be nice, but a full, rich life as a single woman is so much nicer than marriage to a cheater.

    • You win the shitty 40th birthday award. He bought HIMSELF A CAR? On your birthday? And divorced you on your birthday?

      I only wish that Miata were here so I could shovel some cow flop into it.

  • Happy birthday Tracy! Have a great time in London!

    I think one of your best birthday presents is that check for LACGAL and I like to think that a tiny bit from me is in it! As I wrote on your post about it, you are for chumps and living fairly what sanitation, refrigeration, vaccines and antibiotics are for infectious diseases.

    People say that it is common to see scientists kneel down in the doorway and cry when they enter the Edward Jenner Museum in the UK, Jenner being the guy who made a vaccine for smallpox in the 18th century. Well, if I ever meet you, I will cry too. Thank you for all you do for me.

    • ClearWaters, I do it for me. And I’m so glad it HELPS. Thank you for the incredibly kind words. I’m way past caring about the freak who chumped me. What continues to anger me — to use your medical analogy — is that the resources purported to help you, hurt you.

      It’s like if all the medical practitioners had leeches for cancer. And you tried leeches. And you can honestly say that leeches, while probably handy for some problems, are not an effective approach to cancer. In fact, leeches literally suck.

      And you nearly died, and all the doctors were like, “LEECHES! BUY LEECHES!” “I tried leeches.” “YES, but did you try the RIGHT leech?” $400 in leeches later… nope.

      And then you realize it’s not really about the leeches.

      Meanwhile, there’s actual medicine out there. And survival, and better approaches.

      The leech thing still pisses me off. And people tell me that reading that leeches didn’t work for other people either helps them. So…

  • Now I’m bawling. My birthday just passed and I dumped my boyfriend the week before because my gut told me he would make little to no effort. He went on a date with another woman the week before saying she is just a friend. Ya right, they are both single and he used tickets he bought for him and I. I had broken up with him in July because I caught him inviting another single female “friend” to send him a naked picture of herself “that’s just how I joke” ya right… that’s when he made the “date” with someone else for our concert, and then refused to cancel said date. I stuck around through a whole summer of him using me as his personal cottage every weekend without taking me out on dates topped up with this date with another woman( at the end of the summer he informed me he had “pulled back” from the relationship, when he had said “can we start over” and “I’ll make it up to you”. He just didn’t bother to tell me so I could proceed with my life. I am so chumpy. Anyway at least I ended it before he could hurt me on my birthday. I spent my birthday weekend with various friends who made me feel very special indeed. It was a great birthday!!

  • Happy Birthday CL!!! I can’t tell you how many times you pulled me out of a shit ton of confusion and depression while trying to divorce my Narc. I am forever grateful!

    Please enjoy your birthday on the other side of the pond with your wonderful friend. I’d venture to guess that you two could be staying in a ‘shit hole’ and still have a blast. Celebrate your birthday, your friendship and the gift of your wonderful Mr. CL!

  • What a lovely, promising post. Thank you, Chump Lady. I hope you have a wonderful birthday today and always!!!!!

  • Happy Birthday CL!!!!!! Thank you for giving to all of us everyday!!! God bless and many more!!!! 💕💕💕💕💖💖💖💖💖

  • Happy Birthday CL !

    It’s funny because this year was my 50th birthday and I could not help but compare it to my 40th birthday with my Ex.
    This birthday was spent with close friends and family at my favorite Japanese restaurant and my wife went out of her way to have everything that I like even having sushi which I love but she doesn’t.

    Ten years ago, my Ex threw me a party but it was all about her and what she wanted and she liked and I was to shut up and be “grateful she even threw me a party”. Almost all of the people there were “friends” who after Dday either took her side or became Switzerland friends. Most of my family wasn’t there because she said that they couldn’t be there and I later found out that she didn’t invite them.

    What a difference a decade makes and being with someone who isn’t disordered and really loves you. I know exactly what CL means.

  • Happy Birthday wishes to you, Chump Lady! I hope you and your friend have a blast in London! And I hope Mr. CL has a great time on his trip too!

    I’m also 53 and my 40th birthday sucked epically too. The day was started out stupidly by me. I really thought my husband would do something special for my 40th birthday. I thought that this birthday would be “different” than the previous ones. You know, all the birthdays that my “present” was a card left someplace I would easily find it — on the computer keyboard or kitchen counter. No cake, flowers, dinner out or anything for all my birthdays. Yet for his birthday, I always went all out and tried my best to make his day special.

    The husband went up to Target around 11:00 and bought me a funny birthday card. I wasn’t laughing. Both of my sisters sent presents in the mail and I cried while opening them, because it was dawning on me that this day was going to be another sucktacular birthday, just like all the previous one’s with the fucktard. I planned for our kids to sleep over at the grandparents for the night, in hopes that we’d do something special. Foolish me. We went over to their house to drop the kids off and of course no cake or presents from them either. The husband asked where I wanted to go for dinner. By this point, I just didn’t care anymore. We ended up at some low-key franchise restaurant. He then asked what I wanted to do. We ended up at the mall to BUY HIM A PAIR OF PANTS. He asked me again what I wanted to do and I said I just wanted to go to Saturday night service at church, because if I didn’t find Jesus soon, I was about go nuts on the husband. At church, he told some friends that it was my birthday. The wife asked me, “So what did you do today?” I said, “We went to the mall to by the husband some pants.” The husband tried to cut me off while I said this, because he knew how selfish this would sound and would definitely get him nominated for The Crappy Husband of the Year award. After church, we went home and by this time it was around 9:00pm. I cried myself to sleep. A week later was Mother’s Day and of course no card, no presents and no flowers. I spent the week before getting our home spotless to celebrate his mom, grandmother, aunts and female cousins as of course our home was nominated to have the Mother’s Day celebration at. At church he wished all the mothers Happy Mother’s Day. Back at home, as we waited for his family to arrive, I said to him, “Aren’t you going to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day?’ He said to me and this is a direct quotes, “You are not my mother.” My first instinct was to take the kids, jump in the car and flee from this fuckwit and his user-filled family. But I stayed to eat the shit sandwich for yet another day. I wish I would have ran that day and many days prior and many days after.

    My birthday was a trigger day for me for years, but now I’m slowly taking it back. I can now see how he intentionally devalued me on days that he should have celebrated me, his wife and the mother of his children. I was married to a man who took joy in making me feel small and “not good enough” for his time and attention. He’s a disordered fuckwit and it was ALWAYS him and not me that was problem. I never told anyone any of the stuff he did and when I started speaking my truth, people were in shock and couldn’t believe how much I put up with over the years. So this is yet another red flag to look out for when in relationships with boyfriends or friends. I had friends also that would do this kind of stuff; even the birth of my two kids wasn’t acknowledge from a girlfriend that I thought was one of my best friends — no cards, presents or even a congratulations. I was a chump with friends too. If a friend can’t be happy for me, they are no friend of mine.

    Three mighty cheers for Chump Lady on the day of her birth! May she live a long and healthy life with Mr. CL. May all her future birthdays be shit free and full of joy and happiness. May she continue to be a bright beacon of hope to all the future chumps that land here at CL and CN. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve done to help me survive, heal, become mighty and getting on the path to meh. If I ever get a chance to meet you one day. I’ll be the one crying in the crowd. (((HUGS))) 🙂

  • My birthday was yesterday and that makes 10 birthdays I haven’t had to spend with the fuckwit. So that’s good enough for me! Happy birthday CL!

  • Happy Birthday! Your birthday is my divorce-aversary. Three years today – woot! I wouldn’t have made it without your blog and the support of CN. Life truly has been better days since leaving the cheater, and this morning I’m feeling that I’m good on my own, but I’m hopeful (ready?) to find a true life partner.

  • Happy birthday Chump Lady! You are an inspiration! Birthdays will be one more thing for me to take back. Sigh. I have no memories, good or bad. One more effect of having made my needs small.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy and enjoy your trip to London! London is one of my all time favorite places in the world and going there with my daughter who I raised (brainwashed??) into being a fellow Tudor fanatic is a priority item on my bucket list.

  • This post resonates with me. My husband was good to me on birthdays, Christmas was more of an effort especially the last few years. He bought me a beautiful boquet for our anniversary last year, and then started the affair the next month and after becoming addicted to the ego kibbles, and being found out, ghosted. I feel like it is going to still be very difficult to discern the difference between love bombing and a good man.

  • Happy birthday, Chump Lady. You’re undoubtedly on the plane by now, but have a great trip. London is one of my favorite cities. The only time I ever had a bad experience there was when I went with Cheater #1 on our way to my cousin’s wedding in Ireland. He was grumpy and bitchy for the entire trip. Wouldn’t sit next to me on the plane – traded seats with another passenger. Hated the hotel and was over the top rude to the staff. Thought a Sunday stroll in Hyde Park and Mayfair was boring. Thought the Tower of London was creepy. Little did I know that he was boffing the travel agent’s assistant and was mad that he had to be away from his liddle schmoopie. So glad to be far and away from that.

    Side note to Beth: Did you take your daughter to Hampton Court in the London suburbs? Best Tudor experience EVER!

  • this is not a birthday story, but I remember my 25 anniversary dinner. I made reservations at a very nice restaurant in town, and searched for the perfect gift for him. I got him a plane ride in one of those old fashion planes. I was so excited to see his face when he got it and was hopeful that I would get something just as nice in return. After he opened the gift, I anxiously awaited mine….. he said that’s nice, what are we having for desert? I tried to hide my disappointment and remember walking out to the car, still hoping he had something for me…yea he did another women he left me for and married her….

    • Ugh, that must have really hurt. On our 18th anniversary we went to the fondue restaurant that we always went to. I loved that place. I had suggested we go for brunch instead of dinner that year because it would be less crowded. We had a great time, and he kneeled down to help me get out of the booth at the end because of my mobility issues, all smiles and gentlemanly. We even had a conversation on the way home about doing it at the same time next year. Fifteen days later, two days before my son turned 16, he gave me that speech about having not been happy for a long time..

      My heart goes out to you.

  • Tracy, I don’t know what I’d do if you hadn’t started this site and written your book. Happy, Happy Birthday! I actually found you soon after D-Day, but I wasn’t ready to give up on the RIC yet. When my ex was in residential treatment for “sex addiction” ( boy did I really want that to be a real thing) I told him on one of my visits that this lady on the internet says I’m a chump for having been cheated on. “You’re not a chump!!” he said. Before he even left the treatment center I had evidence that he’d paid for a subscription to Spokeo. I still tried to reconcile. But you know what? That little niggle you put in the back of my mind helped me to know right where to turn once I sobered up from all that hopium.

    And today I met with a career coach, to work toward that new, mighty life without him. I feel I owe my sanity to you and CN. ❤️❤️🥳🎂

  • This post resonates with me today. It’s my birthday as well. I’m 34.
    Literally a week after my kid’s 3rd birthday, I found out about the OW and the rest is history. Oh, did I mention our wedding anniversary was also on my birthday? Shotgun wedding, 9 months pregnant, Vegas style..
    Fast forward 6 years later and I couldn’t be happier or more thankful for the many blessings and beautiful people in my life. Truly. Grey rock seriously rocks.
    I have been dating someone for over a year, after taking 3 off; and although we are still negotiating our differences, this relationship, by far, surpasses any relationship I’ve had in the past. There is a significant difference in how we communicate and sometimes I feel like I fall short when it comes to effort and reciprocity, in this relationship. He handmade me a necklace and earrings from raw aquamarine, which is my favorite stone. I don’t think he’s ever made jewelry in his life. It’s beautiful.
    Chumps deserve this or whatever love labor that expresses real effort in a loving relationship. I’ve grown to trust this man initially as friends before anything romantically developed. Neither of us had an attraction for one another until we established a love for who the other person was. I’m glad I stayed single for 3 years, with no sex and left my old cheater behind. I’m glad I recognized red flags in other romantic prospects and chose from a place of boundaries and logic, rather than my libido. The work has been worth the wait and I would like to spend my birthday wish for Chump Nation to find the beauty that life has to offer. 💙🌻

  • Happy happy HAPPY birthday Chump Lady!!! And thank you so very much for the gift you have given to me and to all of Chump Nation! Your candor, insight, and community are truly life savers!
    I was not looking forward to my February birthday next year as my X and I share a common birthday (separated 6 months, so it will be my first solo birthday since 1995) but your post has helped me see the date in a whole new light. One day this will be a day all about me!!! It is hard to fathom!
    In the meantime I am faking it till I make it. Flying to London oct 1st with my teenage daughter to celebrate my cousins wedding in Wales! Trying REALLY hard to walk the mighty walk while role-modeling for her how wonderful life can be for an independent woman! Lol!
    Safe travels and I hope your birthday is truly awesome!! You certainly deserve all the best!! Cheers!

  • Happy birthday Chump Lady! I am celebrating my 50th birthday with three weeks in the UK myself. The weather has just turned lousy as we’re on the verge of leaving … but it’s been a blast. I am so happy; it’s been great.

    When I was with Cheater #3, on and off for four years, he would future fake about wanting to visit England. He enjoyed raising my expectations and then managing them down.

    So one of my taking-backs was to come here in 2015, and we had a blast then – far, far more fun than I would ever have had travelling with the original wet blanket.

    This time we did a different trip, and it’s been just magical. I hope your trip is as wonderful as mine has been. You deserve it.

  • Here’s my Best Wishes for a British Birthday!!! So fun, with an old friend, you’re going to have a blast! I walked into a store a few weeks ago (here in the US) and this clerk was joking around with a British accent, so I just followed along (my Mom’s Brit, so this is easy), and we were just cracking each other up. ;)) Enjoy! You deserve it so much ChumpLady, you’re the best!!
    xo

  • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady!

    I know today is about birthdays, but I still can’t get over that license plate cover.

  • Many happy returns of the day CL! You are quite possibly the most amazingly learned communicator I have ever encountered and are helping me through a really tough time. What I don’t quite get is are all these cheaters horrible people out and out, I mean, are they pleasant and charismatic with it? Mine is just this which makes it hard to judge if they really are bad. Good old indecision eh!

    • Clever and/or cold-blooded cheaters don’t fool w/ the devalue & discard. They are all happy sparkly love-bombing to the end. Even after the end (see “hoover”).

  • Happy Birthday CL. Have fun in London 😍. I was just saying to myself today that I am so much happier and healthier now that i am not with my cheater. Ur book got me though the crazy.

  • Happy Birthday Chumplady

    I hope you are having/had a truely spectacular day.

    Please know how much many of us here appreciate you and value the time you dedicate to reaching a helping hand out to those of us who feel like we are drowning, your capacity to continue to care and give measured empathetic advice is treasured by many of us.

    Thank you and well wishes from the bottom of my heart.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! You deserve it, you deserve the lovely cinnamon roll, the dates and the gifts. Thank for what you do for us chum[s!

  • My cheater acted a lot like CL’s now husband. He romanced me, spoiled me, made me nice breakfasts…. it’s really like I was married to two different men. It’s been incredibly hard to wrap my brain around how both of these people exist (or if they even do?).

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!!
    Sending positive energy your way across the pond!
    Have a lovely holiday. Your friends love you ❤

  • Happy Birthday Chumplady!!! just missed the Virgo card otherwise celebrating a whole month like me. (9/16)

    I am still stuck on Polka. I listen and dance polka and not grey haired yet. (Part Slovenian originally from Ohio) that is awesome.

    Our stories are super similar. 1st xhole, did nothing with me. At least he did cheat, that would require him to leave the house. just very verbally abusive.

    2nd, the serial cheater. Was very sloppy towards the end and that’s how I found out. Of course right after both my parents died. I still think both of them had amazing ties to heaven and exposed him big time. Somehow, I got through 3 walls of pain and so very happy to be alone with just my baby girl.

    This blog is my saving grace, looking forward to meh

  • Happy birthday, Chump Lady! Your story sounds like a modern Jane Austen novel! Happy ending is WELL-deserved by you and Mr. CL.

    To all the other chumps who are unpartnered and feeling lonely–I empathize. Unfortunately, at my age for my gender (unemployed mid-fifties mother of young kids), there is NOT ‘a lid for every pot.’ The number of single women is significantly greater than the number of single men, and the vast majority of decent single men in my age bracket want much younger. Instead of continuing to wring my hands over these facts as I have been for years as I longed and still long for a decent at least quasi-compatible long-term partner but have not found one since post-separation boyfriend (human being I mistakenly took for a friend for 30 years) threw me over for young work subordinate (now second wife), I am going to ’embrace the suck,’ meaning I plan to live a riotous last phase of my life, no matter what the conditions! Going to observe the wonders of the world–can’t afford to go anywhere, but I can appreciate the small things I observe and experience, like an ant carrying a leaf many times its size across the sidewalk, the occasional hugs of my children, photos of distant galaxies, scents of my ‘experiments’ (food I bake/cook). And now nobody contemptuously smirks when I rescue a bee from a swimming pool or don’t arrange my car trunk as neatly as he deems acceptable. I can laugh at my mini-disasters–like the mess I created on my car bumper, which I tried to repair alone. I have virtually nothing to lose now–have already lost my beloved partners (first and last boyfriends) to other women, have no job/no house, spent years working on PhD but did not finish, so I have little to fear…I can’t force a decent compatible guy to love me (I never could in the first half century of my life, so chances of finding a decent compatible available partner now seem lower than the chance of winning the lottery–and I don’t play the lottery), but I can show others respect, compassion, and (non-romantic) love. I will try to be content with what is good in the universe or at least appreciate the fact that, after experiencing some adversity over the years, I can empathize with others in some ways.

    • Loving what you say RockStarWife! It’s made my morning so far, and I’ve been up for hours working… Reaching that place of acceptance takes time and patience but it does seem to come true in the end.

  • Wishing you the happiest of birthdays! Hope your vacation is wonderful and that Mr. Chump Lady enjoys his visit to “Mayberry”.
    Love you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Thank you Tracy and a very happy birthday to you. This site has truly been a wake up call for me. Cheating and the aftermath can take over your life in the blink of an eye. I suffered for so long trying my damndest to get my asshole ex to just come back and work things out. I couldn’t let go until I took some time away and realized the relief I felt without him and all of the drama. I’m in final stages of completely cutting contact and thank god. I’m actually living my life again. My birthday this year was extra awful. Only a couple weeks prior I learned on the way home from a trip to Mexico that ahole had been seeing his AP again and was so miserable our entire trip because he couldn’t stop thinking about her. He just couldn’t stop seeing her because because…he liked her too (affair started 5 months earlier). So lame. He told me in the airport! Just cruel. And on my actual birthday…no gifts, made my own dinner and then hear from asshole that it was HER(OW) birthday too and she asked him to visit her. I think he was depressed about having to spend the night with me instead. He said it was probably going to mean the end of their relationship. Like I was supposed to feel bad for him? What a pig. And why I didn’t throw his ass out at that moment….well we all know. I was an idiot and didn’t know what was best for myself. Not going to let this ruin any of my future birthdays though!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy,

    I am truly sorry you have been chumped in life 2x but I don’t know where I would be today if you hadn’t of had those traumatic experiences.

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself by sharing your PTG (Post Traumatic Growth) stories. They bolster me up on a regular basis.

    Have a wonderful time on the other side of the Pond.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!
    I’m ancienter than you! But newer to the GAL chapter. I love my age, my wisdom, my depth. And I will never settle for anything less than someone appreciating me as I am.

    I thank you for my life. Cheater free. Loving me. Meeting new people. Starting my business. Brand new daughter-in-love & grandgirl to love on (more than offsetting the cheater vacuum!).

    Your ripples are deep, sister. True. Insightful. & funny AF. Wish I could tool around jollly olde England w you, but I’ll just make my own plans.

    You’re a lifesaver! Happy birthday!!!

  • Happy Belated Birthday, Tracy! I’m jealous you’re in London (fellow Anglophile). Enjoy yourself, you absolutely deserve it. I’m a little past 51 1/2 years old, so watch out! I’m catching up!

    Thanks for all you do. I can only speak for me, but you’ve been the voice of reason in the wilderness of crappy modern psychology ideas in regards to dealing w/infidelity.

  • This week was my first birthday since moving out and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I let the day play out and I ended up doing so many of my favourite things with the people I love most in the world. And in those moments, I felt truly happy. What a gift! Happy Birthday to you, Tracy! Thank you for showing up for us fellow Chumps, year in and year out. You are our gift 🎁

  • Happy belated Birthday, Chump Lady!!!

    Your 40th b-day story always reminds of my 30th b-day, which saw me googling suicide help hotlines, while cheater was snoring in bed.

  • >