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How to Leave a Cheater — Your Care Team

Last week I got a letter from a physician, Kimberly, who told me part of her medical practice is dealing with the newly chumped.

We all know the D-Day experience — the shock, the weight loss, the sleeplessness. Since I’ve done this blog, however, I’d never heard from the medical side of things. 

Kimberly, former chump and compassionate doc that she is, decided to create a Care Plan (below). I’m handing over the blog reins to her today, and I hope you’ll share this post with your health care providers. The more awareness and help out there for new chumps, the better. — Tracy.

****

Dear Chump Lady,

Many thanks for the valuable public service you do with your empowering, chump-positive blog. It was a rock for me to cling to during my dark times 5 years ago.

I am a family practice doctor and I have encountered crying, newly-chumped patients in my clinic three times this very week! Unfortunately, ministering to weeping, shattered faithful partners is a standard visit for me (just like newly diagnosed diabetes or discovering a cancer). But going through it three times in such a short amount of time made me think, “You know, I really should write this stuff down.”

So, what can a health care provider do to help the agony that is new chumpdom? Or, alternately, what can a chump expect of their primary care provider?

1. We need to build you a team. The patient’s support team should consist, at a minimum, of the following:

• Primary care physician (PCP)
• Gynecologist, unless her PCP is one of the awesome ones who can also do STD testing
• Psychiatrist or PCP who can prescribe medication if needed
• Best friend/sister/confidant
• INDIVIDUAL counselor who is pro-chump and anti-infidelity
• Spiritual counselor, if that’s your thing.
• Lawyer. Knowledge is power.
• Chump community, like the Chump Lady site

2. We need to get you STD checked. Just do it. I had to do it…twice. (Thank you, RIC.)

3. We need to address your anxiety, depression, and sleep. Look up online programs for sleep therapy which are drug free. Take up yoga or meditation or prayer. Talk to your PCP about non-addictive medications for anxiety and depression which will not impair your thinking. You know what REALLY impairs your thinking? Untreated anxiety, depression and insomnia.

4. We need to find you a safe outlet to talk about this trauma. That could be your friend, your chump spirit guide, your counselor, your minister and the chump community. It is not your co-workers or random people in the grocery store. It is not your kids. It is not your cheating partner.

5. We need to cultivate safe, healthy activities to manage your stress. You need this as much as you need medication. Maybe you will take up a new sport or a long-neglected hobby. Take out your stress on the treadmill or a kickboxing class. There are also things which will not lead to good outcomes, such as drinking, random hookups, or jumping into a new relationship prematurely.

Help your doctor to help you by bringing up these topics and asking for referrals. Protect your physical and mental health with all the tools you have available. Going through this feels like a marathon of pain, but there IS life on the other side.

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.
  • This needs to be pinned on the front page with all the other sadly oh so necessary posts you need right after D-Day. This is gold.

        • Divorce Minister’s blog should be there, too. I’ve very much appreciated DM’s faith-based insight into infidelity and the spiritual harm caused by a premature and often inappropriate emphasis on the Chump’s need to forgive without recognizing the abuse that the Chump has endured.

          I don’t visit often, but I think it’s invaluable for Chumps with strong Christian ties to get this kind of insight in order to balance out their Jesus Cheaters, who try to guilt the Chumps into taking them back.

        • I appreciated his blog as well from a Christian and male perspective. Since the Christian faith was what I had based my vows on, his insight gave lots of clarity and removed alot of doubt.

      • I wish I would have had this back then. This is gold. I didn’t sleep for 4 days and never realized I hadn’t eaten. My health took a nosedive….and unfortunately, the only outlet I choose to talk to was Debbie Douchebag.

        • I didn’t get out of bed for three days, didn’t go to work, and cried 24/7. My sister a RN made me go see my PCP for anti-depression meds and some ambien. It helped me get my life back together, slowly.

          • Me too. I went to my PCP and laid it all out. First thing he asked me was Was I Suicidal and honestly I didn’t know. I was a mess. He immediately got me on a low dosage of Xanax and another anti depressant to kick in later. It really helped. Off all of it now but it definitely got me over the hump, and this site ..!

        • No kidding. I went 4 days with NO sleep, finally visited my PCP and was prescribed low-dose Tamazepam. It saved my sanity. I am also a stress non-eater, and lost 40 pounds in 6 months. Not a good way to lose it, though and grateful that weight (along with the cheater) is gone.

      • Add:
        The softest blanket and robe you can find
        Epson salt- for a nice baths,
        Youtube- guided meditation / relaxation to listen to while taking that bath
        Cleanse- the best food you can get( organic, lots of veggies)
        Probiotics ( poor immune system) and complex of vit B ( energy)
        Dark chocolate

        All that won’t heal the heart…. but will keep the body going….

      • 1000% YES to pinning this high and proud

        SUCH valuable advice

        and SO CONCISELY written

        huge advance for chumps of today

        and chumps of tomorrow!

      • It would be great to also have a letter for lawyers and judges informing about dealing with narcissistic people in court.

      • Dear Tracy, I know I’m a little late to the party, but could you please include “Second Saturday Workshops”? I attended one right after D-Day and they are definitely an invaluable source.

    • I agree this is so important to post! Thank
      You so much. I did not have a checklist like this but just very lucky I have a fabulous doctor and lawyer who recommended therapy and meds at first.

    • I agree with all comments posted beneath this one.

      I just made a copy of today’s letter and it is the post to a physician I know as I type. I am thinking it would be wonderful if physician offices had a copy of LACFAL in their patient waiting rooms but….as many of us know, there are doctors, nurses etc who would object because they themselves are cheaters.

      I still ponder how to reach people or intercept them prior to their entry into the RIC circles. When I went online the RIC stuff is what I found and I was stuck in that for about a year before finding LECFAL. I still do not know how I ran across Tracy’s book but somehow I did. Good bye RIC. Welcome CL and CN and sanity at last.

      My feeble attempt at spreading the word now is via friends who know my story and I read here a couple of week ago about someone who is putting copies of LACFAL in neighborhood libraries – the small informal ‘libraries’ people have started in their neighborhoods. I have a copy in my car and when I spot a library – in it will go. I can’t do this often since I am on a limited budget now….thanks to cheater discard but having less is having more although budget constraints are restricting for my participating more exuberantly in this endeavor. 🙂

      • You’ve inspired me Elderly Chump! I’m going to purchase multiple copies of LACGAL to donate to local libraries and to place in mini lending libraries in my area. (Sadly, I also need to give a copy to one of my dearest friends who was recently chumped AGAIN by her husband who she kept after the first DDay about 15 years ago).

        • Still I Rise,

          Tell your dear friend that I was chumped about 30 years ago but was clueless so all was brushed under the rug and treated as though it never happened once we got out of couple’s therapy.

          Well, the cheater never stopped – just got sneakier. Now, thanks to CL, I am wiser. He is gone and I am on the road to meh/Tuesday.

          Have fun distributing copies of LACFAL.

    • Very important point. Get a financial planner or books on financial planning through divorce. Finances are the last thing any of us feel like thinking about or doing during early days but it is imperative for your short-term and long-term stability.

      • As a health care provider I think talking about finances in the acute phase is out of the scope of the visit. With folks who are feeling overwhelmed adding more can make it so they don’t hear anything. This provider’s list is awesome and actionable and the lawyer will hopefully guide the chump to establish financial support. Let healthcare providers focus on what we do best: health.
        I work in GYN and also see newly chumped or newly aware chumps frequently. It is a joy to help them. Unfortunately I also sometimes have patients who are cheating and that is super triggering for me.

        • Dang I didn’t think of that. Treating a reptile. But still thanks for doing what you can for the newly chomped. I completely lost it during that doctor visit and they mostly clucked and shook their heads but they were kind. I think it actually made me cry more. I didn’t cry at home or in court but I bawled during the gynecology exam.

        • Sagefemme

          My GYN during my post dday visit ( I had to wait two weeks for the visit, couldn’t bring myself to explaining via phone why I need to see my doc) told me, that I should never- ever feel embarrassed because of actions done by my h.
          She told me, that if that happens again- I have to come ASAP and request appointment the very next day.
          She was supportive, and entirely focused on me and my well being ( that is 100% more than what my spouse did) – proposed STD’s, asked about depression, referred a good psychiatrist etc.
          I felt that I was not alone.

        • Agreed, and yet providing written resources a chumped patient can take home and read later when the worst of the pain and shock is past may be invaluable.

        • Sagefemme I also see a lot of (addiction clinic ) patients who are cheating. Rather than biting my tongue, I often start a gentle conversation about the negatives they are voicing (eg the stress of hiding it from partner, or feeling aggrieved because their married lover won’t leave their wife) and reflect how this won’t resolve. Don’t know if it makes any difference, but I hope that I’m planting some doubt that their cheating is a path to happiness.

    • YES! A financial plan. I’m a Realtor and investor and I used to be a financial advisor. The ONLY reason I was not financially demolished by the fuckwit is because of my education in finances, real estate and investments. If you read the statistics, 70% of women NEVER financially recover after a divorce (often from a cheating fuckwit). My finances currently look better than ever 2 years later, partially because cheaterpants didn’t want to listen to me when we were married.

      I’ve been thinking of writing a short beginners book for chumps to have a starting point for their finances, or even a simple plan going forward. One of the big secrets is to create passive income. I’ll have to think of a name–“Finances for the Chumped and Broken Hearted”, “How to Recover Financially after being Married to a Cheating Fuckwit”, “Leave a Cheater, Gain your House” idk lol. I’m a ways off from every sitting down and getting started but wanted to chime in!

      • I’d take the highlights here please. I’m in the middle of “negotiations” and I’m so certain he has hidden accounts. Lots of missing money.

        I’m one of those chumps that had little access to accounts and was stupidly thinking he was taking care of everything.

        Also, what are some after the divorce financial gems you can share?

        Much obliged.

        • I worked with a CPA friend to go back over the 9 years of cheating that I had confirmed. Basically I took Douche’s tax documents for each of those years, which indicated his after-tax income, and bounced them against the deposits to our joint checking account during the same year, to verify that the income was all deposited into our joint checking account, or another verifiable place. It was a tedious process but this is where I funneled my rage – into checking every single last detail. I guess this is what forensic accountants do if you can afford one. If the tax documents are incorrect and he is lying to tax authorities about his income, I don’t know WHERE you would start! I also checked our credit card statements against the bank statements for the times when he said he had mistakenly charged travel costs for a work trip to his personal card, so I could see if we had in fact received payment from his employer. Something else to watch out for, I have heard of spouses who overpaid on their taxes in anticipation of a big refund after the divorce was final. Douche lost his job during the divorce, and I googled state law applicable to severance packages and wrote a letter to Douche’s lawyer laying out why I was entitled to part of his severance package. My attorney had not been helpful, said I didn’t have a leg to stand on, but I was partially successful. I looked for a book that laid out all the tactics to beware of and couldn’t find one.

      • Dear Unexpected- please do this!
        What a relief it would be to have appropriate steps to walk through, with a human guide who’s been there.
        Such a generous use of your skills and experience.
        I was tied into our family business, and it took 5 years of awfulness and terrible stress to confront my “partner” about various levels of fraud. Even writing this makes my heart race still.

      • Absolutely do not agree to anything with your cheater (in terms of legal separation agreement stuff) without consulting with a lawyer.

        I was so stuck in RIC mode that when he announced that he was leaving for good, leased a townhouse and started inventorying all our household items to discuss splitting of those items, I still believed that my actions would influence his potential return after separation. So, I was very pleasant and accommodating, figuring that by being “reasonable” and “kind” about the process, he would see what a great wife he was losing and he would soon return. It resulted in my immediate agreement of 50/50 access with the kids, without thinking about the well-being our our son, who has autism, and his capacity to handle so many transitions in his sleep patterns. He immediately derailed. It was bad. It took me three months, with the aid of a family counsellor that agreed that 50/50 nights between two homes was completely inappropriate, to convince my ex to change his mind. I was trying to avoid getting lawyers involved and save the expense.

        When I finally got around to getting a lawyer to start creating a proper legal separation document (no way was I signing the three page template my ex got off the internet), my lawyer pointed out was how lucky I was that I now had the kids 65-68% of the time, because the fact that I outearned my husband meant that I would have had to pay off-set child support to him if we were at 50/50.

        He was only interested in 50/50 because he thought he would get out of child support that way. Although he is now in a child support paying position to me, I found some loopholes to get him out of it (I outearn him by just over 40% – I don’t need his money and don’t want to bankrupt my kids’ dad). He was only interested in challenging the time with the kids when he thought he’d have to pay. Now that he doesn’t, he’s quiet. Rarely takes opportunity to spend more time outside the prescribed time when offered.

        Another thing that should be done immediately is change who the beneficiary is on all your assets – pension plans, life insurance policies, etc. God forbid something happens to you in this time, do you want your cheater (and his/her affair partner) living the high life on your assets?

        BTW – After a year of negotiating, my ex and lawyer signed the agreement at the end of last week. It’s done! I got my feet solidly back under me and he’s got no rug to pull out anymore. It’s a fair deal (actually really fair to me considering he could have taken me to the cleaners). His 3 1/2 page template off the internet is such a reflection of his effort in so many things during our marriage. What he got for me was a 42-page sucker that covered absolutely everything. He accused me of being a controlling wife who never let him have a say in anything – damn right that’s what I am now!

        Now, filing for a divorce will be easy – just a formality as all the legalities have been covered in the agreement. That might be my Christmas gift to myself.

        • Ugh. Claim to controlling wife syndrome. That is when a man does not take responsibility for their actions and deflect and blame in the Marriage. Later on when they are unhappy because they never took responsibility for decisions (mine would not answer when he didn’t want to deal with a situation) they play the blame game. Blame you for whatever transpired because he didn’t have a hand in it, hence you become “controlling” and the big B for taking on too much and nagging and give “ them a reason to cheat”.

        • Liz,

          Passive income is income that comes from investments. In other words, your money that you do have is working for you vs you working for it. Like interest from savings accounts, CDs, stocks, property that you rent out to others.

          If you were left a lump sum of money via the divorce settlement then I would suggest finding an honest finance person and finding out how best to invest it so that you can live off of the dividends that your investments can make.

      • Unexpectedchumpiness,

        Great idea except me thinks that one has to have a plan way before being chumped. I was a SAHM so I laid my career down and trusted in his providing for us. I used what money I had when I entered the marriage to help out during slow times in his business because ‘that is what partners do….’ Little did I know what was down the road although I did work on protecting what we did have for his retirement so we could live without fear of being on the streets.

        I now tell young SAHM to keep a foot in the working world and to keep a stash of money that is for them only. I know they think I am crazy because they are in the thick of raising a family with their husbands and can’t imagine ending up like me….

        But for those who did know me before Dday we presented as the Perfect Couple dedicated to raising our children and doing what ever it took to do that which boiled down to long working hours for him with me doing ALL the family/home care.

        Little did I know he was cheating the entire time. Long working hours weren’t all working. GRRRR….I try not to think of the money he spent on other women while I was scrimping at home. I was one of those hopelessly dedicated chumps that worshiped the ground he walked on because I though he was so noble because he didn’t complain about his long working hours….

        Anyway that is all water under the bridge at this point and in moving forward I know I continue to warn women. I try not to scare them in the process BUT it is scary to be abandoned when you are a’senior citizen’ who can no longer work outside of the home. I am so grateful that I do have kids who are willing to help me out if necessary or I don’t know where I would be.

        Also, in the state where I live the legal system doesn’t care what the circumstances are in regards to divorce and it is 50/50 so he leaves and still has an income because he hasn’t retired yet and I am left having to make do what is left for me. Very important to find out legally what courts will do and not do for you as an abandoned spouse in your state. That was a shocker to me.

  • Thank You CL & Kimberly for this sound advise

    I still struggle with the sleeping and eating ( 6 months out )

    I have lost 89lbs in this time ( Truth be told i could have afforded to lose at least 30 of them ) I can’t seem to find the motivation to eat or when i do i can’t keep it down .

    I am falling asleep much better i have got back into a routine of sorts but i have the most incredible night terrors now so sleep is broken in to 2 hour chunks .

    So again many thanks for this wise post i will look into meditation etc further

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. 6 months is truly early days.
      You have lost a tremendous amount of weight in a short period of time! Please see your doctor or find a doctor for a check-up.
      My doctor put me on Ensure when I just couldn’t get a meal down. It really helped but check with your doctor first.

    • One day at a time Karen. One minute at a time if needed. Step by step it gets better. I’m 1.5 years out from final D-Day (there were many….thanks RIC). I lost so much weight my ex had the nerve to ask me if I had cancer…he needed to know because my health affected the children! He suddenly became a concerned father…oh please. They can’t see past their nose. Eventually you will get your appetite back. Stay strong. ((Hugs))

    • You’re doing great! Those are hard times and you’re surviving.

      You’ll look back (perhaps you already are) and see how much you’ve grown.

      It becomes powerful

    • You’ll recover eventually. Until then, a jar of 100% peanut butter (no additives, just peanuts and salt – I recommend Adams) is your friend. You can put it on bread (buy a loaf and put it in the freezer, take out and toast one slice as needed) crackers, celery, apples, etc. – or just eat a spoonful. It’ll give you the basics you need to keep you going.

      • Thanks Everyone

        I am doing a lot better now than i was in the early weeks , where i never ate for days at a time .

        I try to eat every day now ( doesn’t always stay down ) but i eat fruit , bread , cereal , porridge , soup etc .

        Sleeping on the other hand well !!! Id give anything to have a solid 6-8 hours without terrors / panic attacks/ palpitations / turning over and the stark realization i am alone .

        I’m sure it will get better soon though 🙂 Love to you all xx

        • You are free.

          Don’t get angry with yourself for having nightmares–they’re helping you to process the trauma you’ve endured.

          Are you able to exercise? I found that taking very long walks with my dogs was extremely therapeutic. I was able to walk in a safe neighborhood in the dark, where nobody could see me scowl and mutter to myself about what POS he and she are. Miles and miles of this–it was empowering, and I know that it helped.

          I hope you’ve been to the doctor to have your thyroid checked, at least. Your heart, your brain. A doctor might be able to help you with a brief course of antidepressants. I would avoid z-drug sleeping pills and benzodiazepines–they’re very habit-forming and have other risks that you don’t need. But there are non-addicting sleep medications that might help you. Heck–melatonin, even. Talk to your doctor.

          Hang in there. It does feel so very, very alone. But looking back, I also realized how freeing and empowering it was. I kicked ASS. It felt good to not be tied to a weird dude.I got stuff done. I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I was a great mom to my kids, and a really good employee. FUCK HIMMMMMMMMMMMM

          Go buy yourself a nice outfit–not expensive, just one that fits you well. I still have this jacket I bought in my skinny early days–I love it so much. I was so terrified and exhilarated and emaciated and smiley–just running from the pain, trying to convince everyone I was FINE! Who would leave THIS? 😀 😀 😀 I remember exactly how I felt when I bought that jacket. And I treasure it–the jacket and that feeling.

          I was so alone, and everyone had a partner except me. Since then, 8 years ago, a number of people I know and love are not in a couple any more for various reasons. Other friends have dealt with family tragedies that I count myself lucky to not have. Turns out we’re not alone in feeling or being alone. You’re just this time. Others will be next time. They will admire you for having survived. Many admire you now. It’s hard. It sucks. And through it all, you are growing wings. For real.

          Hugs!

        • Maybe try the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). It’s recommended for people with upset stomachs. The idea is to eat bland foods that are gentle on the stomach.

          For sleep, melatonin taken before I went to bed helped me.

          You’ve come a long way and have been strong. You got this : )

        • Karen – It was about 9 months before I was solidly sleeping about 6 hours straight. What helped was listening to videos of Jon Kabat Zinn for meditation before sleep. Melatonin before bed and sometimes again when I woke up in the middle of the night. Lots of deep breathing exercises and counselling. Lots of prayer for me too.

          Lost 35 pounds (a little too much for me – 20 would have been fine). Always woke up at 2 a.m. with my heart racing. Learned to curb those.

          But, I also started a wine club and started taking guitar lessons. Painted my bedroom and re-arranged furniture all over the house. Built on family relationships and friends. Slowly things started to get better.

          Nineteen months later and things are much better. Sleep a good seven hours. No more middle of the night anxiety attacks. Gained back some weight. Eat well. It’s not all perfect but I now have days when I realize that I didn’t think at all about my ex that day and feel that it’s a victory. With grey rock, exchanging kids don’t cause me to get sick to my stomach anymore.

          What’s even better is that I truly feel the unhealthy attachment that I had to “what it could have been, what it should have been” is almost gone. I always heard how after a while you will start wondering what you even saw in them. Well, that’s happening. I no longer blame myself for what happened. I know that none of this was my fault. I didn’t deserve this. I know that I am a good person with a lot to offer. He was an idiot to let me go.

          One day at a time, re-evaluate your expectations so that you don’t push yourself. Keep yourself busy with positive activities and interactions. Spend good quality time with yourself. Take your time healing. You are on no one’s clock but your own.

          • I second John Kabat Zinn – I bought the mindfulness meditation CDs but I believe you can stream them from Spotify these days. And I took St. John’s wort for the depression and anxiety as well, and did exercise. After about 45 min walk on the treadmill I could literally feel some kind of hormonal reaction and I would become less anxious. And it improved in time. First minute by minute – then 5 minutes by 5 minutes etc. It was a tough time but I am in such a better place now!

          • Option No More,
            Glad you’re feeling better!
            You mentioned that ‘none of this was your fault.’ What do you recommend for those of us who feel partly responsible for the bad treatment and demise of the relationship—as in we tried hard to please our partner but perhaps cried too much on our partner’s shoulder and were deemed ‘not good enough’ and significantly inferior to the person for whom our partner left us? My last partner left me for and married his work subordinate—childless but young enough to bear him children with both their genes, rich, brilliant, worked at his office (great for an executive who has to work a lot). Two years after discard, I still feel awful—Angry, sad, worried, lonely, unemployed old mother of young kids.

            • It’s a warning not to base our lives or self worth on anyone but ourselves.

              There are much worse wives than us out there that are still married. We happened to pick people who see partners are exchangeable.

        • Karen,

          It’s good you are able to keep somethings down. I lived on whole milk for a few months as that was the only thing I could keep down. My sister suggested going out to eat for “what sounded good” and I chose Olive Garden. I had OG’s fettuccine alfredo many times and it always stayed down, so maybe going out to eat might help too.

          As for the lack of sleep and night terrors — eventually you’ll go back to your old normal. That too will take time. My NP prescribed an antidepressant which helped a little and she would only prescribe three tablets of Ambien for sleep as the practice I go to is against prescribing habit former drugs. So I went to see a psychiatrist to get something to help me sleep and for the anxiety (hands and body trembled non-stop). He prescribed lorazepam and trazodone which helped A LOT, but he encouraged me to not stay on the lorazepam for very long as it’s addictive, so I only took it for less than a year.

          I think the night terrors have to be worked out of us. I had the whole nine yards of symptoms for a very long time — waking up fully drenched in sweat, palpitations, trembling and the horror that I wasn’t dreaming; this is my new life. I bought cooling sheets for my bed and kept my bedroom as cool as possible. I also took the OTC drug, diphenhydramine. It’s the active ingredient in Benadryl. I didn’t buy Benadryl, but just diphenhydramine, which you can get a bottle for cheap at Walmart. If two didn’t work, I’d take three. And if I woke-up in the middle of the night, I’d take more. I was DESPERATE for sleep, so I did what I had to do. I’m the type of person who feels sick and shaky all day if I don’t get enough sleep, so I don’t feel bad about taking this med during this very hard time of my life. My sleep is pretty much back to normal, but I still get the occasional nightmare that I’m still married to the fuckwit!! I chalk up the nightmare twas he fuckwit was a big part of my past, just like when I still dream of high school or my old jobs. And I wake-up now with a big fat “meh”. 🙂

        • Karen,

          I remember a neighbor who went through separation about a year before me. She told me not to worry about sleep and that it took about a year for her sleep to return to ‘normal’.

          As soon as I heard that I relaxed and that helped relieve the anxiety about sleep so even though my sleep was off track I wasn’t panicky about that.

          Our psyches do know how to heal themselves. It is frightening because it isn’t logical and is out of our conscious control. Focusing on what is right in front of me helps. Not worrying about the future – just one day, or one minute to the next or the next breath to the next. This physical stuff does pass we just have to bear with the discomfort until it does.

          Hand in there. Whenever I get tempted thinking that maybe we could make things work out I remind myself of all the pain and that is all I need to stop that kind of thinking. There is NO WAY I ever want to go through that pain of the early days ever again!!!

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your struggle, Karen. Those are truly the darkest days & I remember just the thought of eating was too much for me right after he walked out.

      I noticed another post suggesting Ensure. I also went the shake route, with Special K protein shakes. I highly recommend them, just to get something into your system. They are small portions, but give you some nutrition and protein that your body needs. It’s so important to take care of yourself, body mind and soul.

      Hang in there! I promise you, it gets better. One day at a time <>

  • Thank you for posting this! Fabulous to know there are physicians out there who get it.

    Good medical evaluation and care of the whole person is imperative for the newly chumped.

    With medicine being so compartmentalized now, we often find ourselves having to self-advocate at the time when we are at our lowest point.

    I will forever be grateful for having my therapist refer me to a private psychiatric facility that took my insurance. For me, it was key to getting help from multiple medical professionals in a safe, quiet and supportive space. They got me back on wobbly feet but good enough to start my long road to recovery.

  • Wonderful set of practical supports to put in place, work towards or aim for! As a chump I have often looked at the needs of my kids and others first. It’s taken a while for me to establish my own needs and wants as being equally important. I’m not yet at the point where I naturally put my oxygen mask on first. I have to remind myself that I matter.

    I also have needed to stop myself from falling into my old patterns of coping. It has taken time and effort. I really want chumps to remember that patience is a virtue. We need to be patient with ourselves as we learn new ways. And to be gentle as well. This is a marathon not a sprint. Changing our behavior takes time, and we fall over, we fail, we don’t always get it right the first try.

    But we are doing our best! These tools, or guides that are offered really do help! We can build our support team, we can pick ourselves up & move forward.

    Thank you again CL! Most appreciated!

  • 1 and 1/2 yrs out and I’m happy to say I did all these things except the exercise because I was so malnourished.

    I would also add to this list, for research chumps, some books on being cheated on helped.

    Eating the same thing every day helped.

  • “There are also things which will not lead to good outcomes, such as drinking, random hookups, or jumping into a new relationship prematurely.”

    THIS.

    I know there are Chumps who say they got over their cheater by getting laid ASAP, but for most people in a hot mess, especially with kids, it’s a bad bad idea.

    Dating sites ditto.

    • Very true! I waited a year after my divorce was final to even THINK about dating again, and looking back it was probably not enough. I am recently engaged to my fella and he is a CHUMP x3 and still pretty wounded from his other exs. I am receiving counselling but he isn’t, and I’ve told him that before we get married – which is still a long, long way off – he needs to join me to deal with some of his issues which include fear of abandonment, PTSD, and a lovely host of other “gifts” from his previous cheaters!

  • Thank You Dr.Kimberly, very thoughtful of you and very much appreciated.
    I am happy to report that on 2016 I did follow your steps on my a own without knowing.
    After 27 months I got myself back on my feet, thank you for my support team and my Dr, Psychiatrist, Therapist,Lawyer,Family and Friends and Tracy’s book!!!

    The gaslighting effect/psychological abused was absolutely horrendous and unjustifiable experience!
    I don’t wish for no one to go through 🙌🏼

    I will pass it to my Medical Care Team and my Therapist too!

    Best of all, it took me only 1 time to leave my ex-abuser, unfortunately I had experienced Domestic Abused on my 1st marriage so I didn’t do the mistake to go back at all!!!

  • This is pure platinum.

    If I may suggest that Kimberly consider male Chumps in the list though. They need to be tested for STD’s, they need confidantes and support and as they TEND to be less likely to seek them out or be in the habit of confiding in friends, they may need MORE encouragement and people looking out for them.

    I would include a financial plan. A financial planner if possible. Hopefully the attorney can recommend a few that won’t drain the Chumps dry.

    Also – a play list. We need Chump songs!

    *off-topic observation for Tracy – thank Mr. Chump for the sea shanty suggestion. Yes, they are only played at one volume – ROLLICKING*

    • This playlist idea sounds like a great topic for the reddit forum. But until I get to that: somebody else by floracash; sense my love – adele; dig down – muse; control – Poe. I have a ton more to share but these….the lyrics, we are not alone.

    • For the playlist, read through past posts and comments for recommendations. Maybe I’ll compile the list this weekend as a way of paying it forward to Chump Nation.

  • A medical professional sees patients that suffer from all these afflictions after infidelity but it’s still treated as a “victimless crime” in many people’s eyes. That’s a sad statement about society as a whole.

  • As an elderly chump I might add that there are additional things that we might need. I suffered a multitude of fast weight loss problems that younger people might not. Additional testing such as kidney and liver scans and bone density tests showed problems I was unaware of.

    My doctor is very kind but she has a maximum of 15 minutes she can spend with me. She immediately tried to prescribe antidepressants which I will never take again (1st D-Day got me hooked on celexa which was HORRIBLE to try to get off of) and a therapist who didn’t get the trauma bond.

    I really wish therapists had a better understanding of chumpdom. I’ve seen many and they are not helpful. Also, they’re expensive and many chumps are looking at financial ruin along with everything else. A support group specifically for chumps might be helpful. I haven’t found any. The closest is CODA for “codependency” a concept that I HATE because it places the blame for everything on the chump.

    This is, however, a great idea. A team of experts that understand the devastation that comes with being chumped and can provide assistance and resources to people who are navigating this horror show might make the storm pass more quickly.

    • CODA may seem like victim blaming. But the 12 Steps (applied to relationships or codependency) actually put the chump behind the steering wheel of her life through interpersonal boundary ownership. Along with that invaluable awareness, a natural side effect is discovering happiness is not IN another person..but can grow WITHIN a healthy relationship..with a non personality disordered partner.

      That said, CODA is not the best medicine at the acute stage of DDay trauma recovery. Today’s post is excellent for that.
      CODA may be helpful after stability is regained and if/when re-starting dating

      • Chumpette, it was more my Al-Anon groups that gave me my distaste for the enabler label (daughter was an opioid addict) but I just found the CODA people strange. I agree that the 12 steps have a place in healing. Everyone should do them.

  • And for men:

    If you, like many chumped guys, let your health go while sacrificing everything for your cheater, we should add a personal trainer, along with a gym membership and physical fitness improvement plan.

    The man in this situation — fat, out of shape, crushed by feelings of failure and hopelessness — needs to get fit as quickly as possible to restore his sense of self worth. Because these are the men who kill themselves.

    And maybe a substance abuse counselor/AA support group, if he’s falling into THAT awful trap.

  • Agreed with Divorce Minister! This is Golden and front page material. I’m about to send this article to 5 different Chumps…..2 of them I met this past Sat. within an hour. Sad how cheating is becoming so prevalent. Thanks CL! Hope you had a fabulous trip.

  • This is gold. About a week back, RockStarWife wrote something that made me want to write a post for Chump Lady. I need to get my butt in gear and put that together!

  • This is spot on. I needed every single one of these to get through those first two years. The only thing I would add is to start pulling and copying all financial documents. While that may not be health related for many, it gave me knowledge and a sense of control at a time that everything felt out of control.

  • I’m printing this out and giving it to my PCP. I have to say, my orthopedic surgeon was so good and kind to me during my whole ordeal. I told him my husband threatened to divorce me if I didn’t get my knees fixed. Doctor took that threat very seriously. It didn’t prevent the clumping – it was too late for that. But he stood by me when I was in many ways helpless. Several years after, I called for an appointment and it took months usually but he told the nurse he would see me any time and to move up the appointment. I’ve been pretty blessed to have some great doctors but he’s probably my favorite. I would actually shave my legs for him…

  • I think we need a CCC/ChumpCareCenter in every city in America!! Or mobile ChumpVans that travel from city to city? 🤔

    • I agree. I really hope for the future as research shows more of the systematic dysfunction of folks who cheat that we get waning tolerance for cheater bullshit in the therapy community. I hope someday Tracy’s website or another will be able to connect seekers with chump-aware professionals in a way that will weed out RIC therapists.

  • Support groups:
    DivorceCare: I’ve heard many people go through sessions twice as it was still helpful the second time around as they heard things differently.
    Straight Spouse Network: for the spouse/significant other left behind when a partner with same sex attraction has new view of their reality and persues their true self.

    • Or who declares he’s trans (don’t jump on me for the “he”; in three years on the SS forum it’s all been males).

  • A great list from an amazing and understanding doctor! I had the lovely shit sandwich of asking for STD testing from my coworkers! Yeah…my doc held my hand and let me cry and she did ALL the STD testing by herself without having her MA assist. She also told me she would call me personally with my results.

    She told me to prioritize sleep and told me to make Assshat sleep in a different room. She explained that I deserved a safe place to sleep. She told me to eat peanut butter and drink lots of water. And she asked if I had therapy set up. Luckily, I had just been to therapy that morning and had weekly appointments set up. She asked about an antidepressant.

    She called me with my results and asked me what else she could help me with. I sort of forgot about her kindness but this post brought it back. She was pretty amazing.

    • And, she told me “You deserve better and this is not your fault!” Wish i had listened to her and kicked him out straight away. 💕

  • Thirty odd years ago when I was going through the chump process i came down with a chest cold . My doctor and good friend had an office in the same building as my work place . I went to see him for my cold but weepily unloaded on him about everything . His first response was to ask if I wanted him to talk to her i said no. He then wrote me 2 prescriptions one for an antibiotic and the other for a very potent vitamin . Then he made 2 phone calls first to the mental health clinc in our building and insisted i be seen today and the other to my brother to let him know that I needed someone in my corner . I will never forget the care I got that day and the care I’ve gotten since. I recovered from the chest cold , not really for the other issue (still sour) but it helped knowing i was given the very best of care

  • Dr. Kimberly, this sounds like a terrific medical pamphlet! Also, I hope you are speaking at CME courses to spread the wisdom. Dr. Katrina Ubell’s excellent podcast for women physicians is one place to start spreading the word to other docs.

    Thank you for your service!

    PS: I’m a lawyer and member of a closed FB group of 12,000 mother-lawyers. I frequently comment on posts about cheating and link to CL and provide exactly the advice you have here. I too had a second round of STD checks and +BV🤬 thanks to RIC and my now-XH of 25 years.

  • I had an additional weird medical problem: I was under so much stress (I now recognize that I had that sour adrenalin taste for the entirety of my in-home separation) that my saliva production dried up. I got more cavities in 8 weeks than in the entire previous 47 years of my life. When I did finally see a dentist, she confirmed that she had seen this phenomenon in the past. So: add dental care to the list?

    I guess this is just another side effect of the stress (in additional to insomnia and losing 20% of my body weight). I don’t know if an anti-anxiety medication (as opposed to antidepressants, which I did take) would have helped.

    • Actually, antidepressants also cause dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia). Biotene PBF mouthwash is great (enzymes) and so is Oral-7.

      Don’t bother with the GSK Biotene toothpaste. It’s expensive Crest without the enzymes that the old Biotene had when Laclede produced it.

      • Good to know, but in my case I’m sure it wasn’t the antidepressants because the effect went away the day my wife moved out. Within 24 hours. I also immediately stopped losing weight. It was kind of amazing, actually.

    • Mine was blepharitis. Went to see about it. The specialist said, have you been under any stress lately. We yeah just a bit, I just nursed my dad through cancer watches him die and then immediately found out my partner was leaving and had been having an affair. He explicitness his stress esp prolonged severely upsets the pH in you body which isn’t good for many reasons and can cause all sorts of issues. The blepharitis is a common symptom of this. Although feel somewhat better these days and eating well and excercising this just won’t shift. So many good random issues it can cause so right you have to be more mindful of yourself health than usual.

  • Long before I knew there was another woman in my marriage, I had noticed x’s unusual behavior, he had inexplicably gotten another job part time with the family court next county over, started spending money on big ticket items, was moving finances around–all to set up his new life and leave me financially vulnerable, so it helps to pay attention to your gut. If I had to go back and do one thing over it would be to consult a CDFP before even sitting down with a lawyer. Living with a cheater can make you physically sick as well, x dragged out the divorce as long as he could, forcing our home into foreclosure and my finances into a tailspin, yet I focused on myself, my children, and the biggest asset in our divorce his pension. List making and educating myself about the legal process was invaluable; the internet is a godsend here. I naturally practiced extreme self care and urged my adolescents to do the same, to be selfish, especially as they all needed to focus on school and their own lives. My family also began new traditions for holidays and planned bucket list vacations together. Music and getting outdoors and Chumplady helped too. In those first days I talked to many people and it was tbis that saved me too. One of my coworkers had been recently chumped unbeknownst to us all but her advice and outlook on life propelled me forward. Best wishes to all.

  • This needs to be the first thing given out to chumps. I knew about a lawyer and therapist. I DO NOT know (or was too embarrassed to ask) about getting tested for STDs. My bestie gently suggested it and then held my hand as I made an appointment. I was mortified and so ashamed. The initial anger and shame overshadow rational thought. This is such a good resource.

  • Bravo! Love this care plan. As a former chump who now works as a Certified Divorce Coach and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, I can tell you that having the right team makes all the difference in your emotional state, the divorce itself and recovery afterward.

    Personally, I recommend a divorce coach in most instances since they understand the emotional, legal and financial issues involved. A coach really keeps you grounded while helping you work more effectively (read less expensive) with other professionals like attorneys.

    One of the worst parts of being a chump is feeling alone – that’s what this forum offers and why it’s such a haven. And when chumps choose to leave, they’re asked to make some of the most important decisions of their lives when they’re least prepared emotionally to do it. A care plan and a support team are vital. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Excellent idea! Thanks CL for being a unique, fantastic resource for the chumped. What you do is amazing.

    I floundered around like a fish for so long, I wish I had found this site much earlier.

  • Ugh

    I accosted so many random people in the grocery store. 😣

    But most were so kind.

    I lost three years to this experience.

    About like a traumatic brain injury.

  • Just a recommendation for new Chumps: Have no one (and I mean NO ONE) on your Chump Recovery Team that doesn’t consider infidelity to be abuse. It’s a simple screening question. “Do you consider infidelity to be abuse?” If the answer isn’t a swift and emphatic, “Yes!” Get them off your team – quick. You don’t need that mojo in your surroundings while you’re so vulnerable. Maybe down the line. But not in early days.

  • May I recommend Clonidine at HS as a sleep and anti-anxiety aid? I was flooded with catecholamines those first few weeks, and was having episodes of my heart suddenly pounding, unable to eat, unable to sleep. 0.1 mg of Clonidine at bedtime helped significantly. The drug is cheap and non -addictive. It reduces the adrenaline (fight or flight) in your brain. 5months out and I am weaning my dose down and will be off of it soon.

  • Adding to the part about medications:

    There will be pain. I don’t just mean emotional pain, there will be physical pain. This is a real thing. The part of the brain that is associated with emotional pain is the same part of the brain that is associated with physical pain. It is real, and prolonged, it is hazardous to your physical health, including your immune system.

    Simply put: A broken heart can actually make you sick.

    Stress and emotional pain can actually weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to catching other illnesses (colds, flu, etc. And depending on your age, if you have had chicken pox when you were younger, you can develop shingles.)

    So a few things when it comes to this, never, ever be ashamed to ask a psychiatrist, PCP, or mental health professional for medication to help with the emotional pain/anxiety. You don’t have to take it forever, but it will help make things less overwhelming. Also, sometimes mild painkillers can take the physical edge off for a short period of time. (However, keep in mind pain killers can be addictive and they should not be a long term solution for the pain of cheating. Always, always, ALWAYS consult your physician for more long term medical solutions.)

    When you get an STD test (which you SHOULD. If your cheater says they didn’t have sex, THEY DID, and if they said they used protection, assume they did not.) So WHEN (not if, when) you get an STD test, ask about seasonal immunizations as well (flu shot, whatever else the doctor might recommend.)

    This is stuff that’s often not considered. But emotional pain is real physical pain and when it is heavy, constant, and long-term, has real impacts on your health in other ways.

    • In 1997 after D-day, the shock, sleepless nights, crying jags and common weight loss took its toll. So devasted. Wanted SO badly to divorce the husband but looking at our beautiful 18 month old son I couldn’t bear the thought of breaking up the marriage etc. I told NO one about husband’s cheating to friends or family. It was lonely and I was so defeated. Within months I developed a weird cough that wouldn’t go away. It was a weird tickle cough. Doctor thought it was bronchitis. 2nd round of antibiotics didn’t help. Inhalers didn’t help. Stayed with the cheater spackling like crazy but could never get over being betrayed. After 6 months the cough finally went away…

      Spackled for the next 18 year’s while adding our wonderful daughter to the family. No cheating going on BUT husband’s narcissism extended into all things financial. He exploited my parents’ financial assistance and could never come up with money for mortgage, house repairs etc. I caught him trying to refinance the house without my knowledge. I filed for divorce and he moved to another state. Attempted what would be false reconciliation, dropped divorce proceedings, stressing out over all of it, right? Next, that weird persistent tickle cough comes back… Big problem as I am an attorney and had to continue a trial because I have to speak in trial but I just start coughing when I would talk. Shit…

      More antibiotics do nothing nor do inhalers. Thinking I may be allergic to my parakeets (?) I go see a wonderful doctor who specializes in allergies and helped me before. He is like a detective and does an exhaustive 2.5 hour interview with me plus allergy testing etc.
      At the end he sits me down and says: Hope49, I don’t think you are allergic to your parakeets. I am seeing more and more women like you about your age and they are heavy and they develop similar symptoms. His diagnosis: I believe you are suffering from silent acid reflux.

      Stunned and incredulous he tells me NOT to go the route of taking Nexium -as it is just a bandaid and doesn’t cure the problem. He explained that at night acid is leaking up into my esophagus and going into my lungs and that is why I am developing a cough that is not cured by inhalers or antibiotics. He told me for the next few months to elevate the head of my bed 6 to 10 inches so my gut is lower than my head and to sleep like this for awhile and see if my condition improves.

      Stunned about a silent acid reflux diagnosis (WTF?) I then start researching the condition and watched a series Dr. Oz did on Oprah about acid reflux. Scary shit… 💩 Dr. Oz went into a shopping mall where he queried women on whether they had symptoms of a strange persistent cough and or experiencing weird vocal changes. Examining the back of their throats doctors found etching from stomach acid in several womens’ throats and one woman unknowingly developed Barrett syndrome which can turn into esophageal cancer- which will kill you in like 5 years! 😳

      I went full throttle on elevating my bed, changing my diet to eliminate acidic foods etc., stop sleeping on my stomach. In 6 months the cough went away and acid reflux went away.

      That was 6 years ago. My kids are grown and out of the house. I am separated from the covert narc cheating husband. I got serious about putting my mental well being and health FIRST. I am No Contact with him for two years now! Once my kids were out of the house I started excercising. I go to the gym 4-5 days a week, I took a part-time job in a warehouse that is physically demanding. I run 5-K’s and took up hiking. I always wanted to hike and cheater husband was not interested. This Summer I hiked and backpacker 100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail with a co-worker. It was awesome!

      Going through the acid reflux experience, I am woke to people around me when I suspect their complaints about a persistent cough or vocal changes occur. Last year I suggested to a friend in a stressful job that her cough over the dinner we were having needed to be checked out. She was taking Nexium and still having symptoms. I told her my story. 6 months later she scheduled a endoscopy and asked if I would go with her. I did. After the endoscopy, the Dr. came into the room and said that they did find etching from acid in her throat. Her eyes welled up with tears. As soon as the doctor left I told her she could beat this by changing her diet, excercising and losing weight and she could get off the Medium. Well…guess what? She started hitting the gym, changed her diet, lost 25 pounds and she is no longer on Nexium and she changed jobs! 💪

      What doctors need to be aware of is that exhausted women in crappy marriages or relationships and stressful jobs need to get proactive and reduce the stress in their lives! This can be done by taking control of your life and health. Cheater free is the path to improved physical and mental health, happiness and self respect. It sucks to struggle financially BUT you will be happier and less stressed when you get OUT of a crappy relationship.

      • Oh yeah, that too. Constant stress and anxiety can cause acid reflux, which can lead to all the things you mentioned. It can also cause ulcers. Which is a whole other kind of health problem.

        The effects are real! It’s not talked about enough. Especially when it comes to cheating. Usually “physical health” discussed in relation to that is relegated to STD testing, but it’s so much more than that. Stress deteriorates you from the inside out.

        And when you finally get rid of that, it shows. A friend of mine this year said “You look totally different.” I had just cut my hair into a pixie style so I was like “Well yeah, I chopped off my hair.” He said, “Nah, it ain’t that. You just look…different.”

        Well being happy does a whole lot for your complexion.

  • Dear Docotor, Could you add a note to physicians that prescribing a sleeping pill such as Imovaine zopilcone is an okay thing to do?
    The PTSD nightmares go on and on and on. Just knowing there’s a way to get some sleep at least sometimes, is a huge relief.

    Physicians are often reluctant to prescribe sleeping pills, and they ought to know that sleep is usually impossible after being chumped and having your heart ripped out and stomped on (repeatedly and cruelly).

    • I did ask for sleeping pills myself when I was going through the worst of it, thing about sleeping pills is a lot of them are highly addictive, and can have mind-altering side effects, which is why physicians are reluctant to prescribe them. You also need to be 110% sure that you will have at least 8 hours to spare for sleep, because the pills will absolutely knock you out. Waking up while still under the effects of a pill is difficult, and it will effect your ability to focus and function.

      The reasons I was given was my sleep issues were caused by something else (anxiety, depression, ptsd) so what really needed treatment was that, not the lack of sleep itself. Lack of sleep was a symptom, not the cause. Even if I had been given sleeping pills, the root problem will continue.

      And they were right, once I started addressing the anxiety, the sleep followed.

  • Agreed, this would be a wonderful addition to the required reading list for new Chumps.

    I had my normal gyn appointment already scheduled for a week after I was abandoned for OW#2. I knew that my appointment would now include a request for STD testing, the second time I had requested it in my 28 year marriage. Humiliating– another injury of abuse suffered at the hands of the fuckwit and of course one more adult requirement of life he got to be completely uninvolved with. He skipped off to screw a chippy half our age while I put my feet in the stirrups.

    I sat there naked under a paper sheet and completely lost it– something about being so vulnerable and literally exposed brought it all to the surface. I sobbed and could barely communicate what had happened to me. My appointment was 2 hours and included the best they could do to help but they really didn’t have a game plan as described here. It would have been so helpful to have been handed a suggested action plan.

    Getting the STD testing is just another clean up activity that we are required to deal with that the cheaters completely ignore.

  • Thanks Chump Lady! This was a great post and needed for so many after the initial discoveries. I am 7 years out from leaving a cheating former partner. Life does get much better, but the year after cutting ties, getting therapy, and processing the relationship was hellish.

    Chumps, please get STI testing and treatment if needed. For anyone struggling financially after a relationship ends, Planned Parenthood has excellent health care providers who are able to give STI testing at reasonable prices. I did not have insurance, and was paying out of pocket. My physician did the Pap smear and STI testing (including HIV) at the same time.

    For new chumps, CL is a great blog and community about infidelity. I still drive through and enjoy posts from time to time. Tracy has an enjoyable style and her writing on the follies of entitled cheaters is always amusing.

  • Hi, gang.
    Dr. Kimberly here. Thanks for all the positive comments. I’m glad my painful experience can be used to make things a little better for the future victims of cheating-abuse.

    I wish that I had known about a Divorce Coach during my divorce. I made a lot of bad decisions from being mentally impaired by grief and insomnia.

    • Thank you Dr. Kimberly!

      Please add this to your list:

      See a dentist immediately. Dry mouth syndrome can pop up anytime, but particularly with stress, anti-depressants, etc.

      Oral 7 is my go-to toothpaste now. GSK bought out Laclede and RUINED Biotene toothpaste for so many of us. At least they didn’t ruin Biotene PBF mouthwash.

  • This is great advice. I would also add the importance of getting enough healthy food in your belly each day. Get yourself some soft foods like a hearty soup or a nice yogurt if eating is difficult. I lost about 25 pounds on my already skinny frame, and was underweight for a few years, which left my poor body vulnerable to all kinds of infections and illnesses. Take care of yourself.

  • Can more peoples speak about their experience with meds? Did they interrupt the grieving process. Was it just putting off the inevitable with a weight gain as well?

    • I had a very bad experience with antidepressants and will never take them again. I don’t think there has been enough research done on long term effects. It alters brain chemistry and are highly addictive. And possibly cause dementia. When I started taking celexa after dday 1 it kicked in after a month and I truly did not give a fuck about anything. All the bad feelings went away. But I think it kept me from feeling and working through the pain and I stayed another 8 years. When I started feeling suicidal I decided to go off the drug. Even with careful tapering I went into a rebound depression that lasted a year. My doctor was not happy that I stopped. And tried to get me to take it again. Never. This time after ddays 2 and 3 I’m walking through the pain. I didn’t have weight fluctuations though.

    • Hi Lemonhead,

      Early on I was prescribed an antidepressant, Lorazepam for anxiety and Trazodone for sleep. They did help, but the Lorazepam helped the most with sleep and anxiety. Unfortunately my psychiatrist did not want me on Lorazepam for long as it’s highly addictive, so I took it less than a year.

      For me, it took the edge off. It did not stop the grieving process at all. The antidepressant kept me alive and functioning. I gained back the weight I lost, but I don’t think has anything to do with the antidepressant. I eventually got my appetite back and started eating unhealthy because it was just another way to numb the pain I guess. Plus I no longer had the cheating fuckwit and his family watching me and commenting on what I’m eating or not eating. 23 years of people monitoring my weight and I said, “Screw it. I get to eat whatever I want now!” lol. 🙂 If you are on the fence about taking meds, I’d say take them if you are really depressed, barely sleeping or shaking like a leaf.

  • Its wonderful to see these steps on here. When I told my OBGYN at my 12 week gestational checkup what had happened, she jumped right into getting me all the help and my STD testing. FW was standing there when I told her (I was still letting him be present for the baby appointments) so she walked him to the front desk for billing split paperwork and told him to fill it out or never come back. Apparently she scared him into filling it out. One of the few things she did in my pregnancy that really made that clinic worth the cost.

  • “There are also things which will not lead to good outcomes, such as drinking, random hookups, or jumping into a new relationship prematurely.”

    *Sigh* yeah unfortunately I’m doing 2 of the 3–drinking and had 1 random hookup (with an ex-colleague who turned out to be identical to my ex-husband narc). I moved to Italy to marry my lying, cheating ex husband, and I am all alone here. I work from home, but I am now considering to find a small local gig to get me out of the house and interacting with people again. Anyone else have agoraphobia since the downfall? Some days I really don’t want to go outside, especially because people here stare at me constantly because I am visibly not from here. I usually only go outside to go for a job or run errands. I have always been alone in my life. I was born to narcissists, abused my whole life, and so of course in relationships I gravitated towards my “normal”, which was abuse. I am doing trauma release work, but I do it all alone. I have nobody to talk to in person, except for the meows of my two cats. The few friends I do have don’t live in my city, and so I just text or call them. Yeah when you follow your spouse across the world, you lose everything including friends and your career. Fortunately the few friends I do have check up on me almost daily, but I miss having someone to hang out with in person. Sometimes new people try to be friendly with me, but I am so paranoid about meeting more abusers. It’s hard to trust anyone. I don’t want to be alone, but being alone is the only way I feel safe and that nobody will try to manipulate or abuse me. It’s a weird feeling.

    • I’ve posted before about one of my late mother’s friends, also married to a cheater-Dr. Dan, the handsome herpe(s)tologist. I’m convinced she was agoraphobic due to fear and self inflicted shame about running into her cheater’s affair partners, either on campus or in town.

      Ms. NMK, try meetups for activities that interest you so you get out of the house (and your head) and spend time with others face to face.

      • I’m assuming they have meetups in Italy or something similar ? Is there an expat community you can tap into ?

    • MsNoMoreKibbles, I was well on my way to being a hermit so I took a few steps to get out of my shack.

      I am strapped for cash so all of this is very inexpensive. Joined the Y. I go to the library weekly. Attend a free crafting session held weekly at the library. I joined the Ukulele Club, again at the library. I’m volunteering at the County Animal Shelter.

      I think it is ok to be very careful with your wounded self. I pretend as if I am my own wounded child. I comfort little Thirtythreeyearsachump. I encourage little Thirtythreeyearsachump and tell her I will keep her safe. I treat me like the precious child I once was. I am a good Mom and now I take care of me. I wouldn’t isolate a child from wholesome activities so I’m trying a few.

      I am six months into this divorce. Everyday is a little better. I’m getting used to being alone most of the time. I try to remember how awful it was when I was with him. Alone is so much better than that.

  • At one of the most difficult times in our lives emotionally, it’s really difficult to think strategically and be practical.

    Agree with all the suggestions and strategies and for those of a certain age or planning ahead some financial considerations can be addressed at these sites: https://opensocialsecurity.com/ (thank you Mike Piper AKA obliviousinvestor),

    https://www.divorcenet.com/

    https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Asset_protection#Qualified_domestic_relations_order_.28QDRO.29

    Arm yourselves with information. Now go out there and nail these f–ckers!

  • It would be great to have on the divorce care team someone who is a sympathetic, wise retirement planner, especially for those of us older female chumps (perhaps older male chumps, too, but probably more important for us older female chumps as females, on average, live longer and have not generated as much money/advanced career as much as male counterparts. Having people like that on my team, although I have an advanced degree in finance, might help reduce the paralyzing fear I have felt for years!

  • Great idea for the middle class and above. The rest of us don’t have financial access to that kind of services..

    • Madge,

      As an unemployed divorced fifty something year old mother, I hear you. I cannot afford to buy things beyond necessities without incurring debt. (Debt’s not always bad, but in my situation, it would be a bad idea.) Thank goodness for my new roommate to help defray expenses (and provide some company). I wish you luck!

      I would love to hear how other older chumps who were financially devastated in divorce and will likely not find a decent partner again plan to survive reasonably well in later years. I was never a spendthrift, have long since given up any notion that I will again someday have luxuries, and am not sure how I will get out of lower socioeconomic class to which I have fallen. Well maybe this way, without money for much food and no money for meals out, I will finally lose those ten pounds I have wanted to lose for the last two years! There’s a silver lining in every cloud, right?

    • You can try seeing if a faith institution offers assistance to those of limited means. I’m not talking about food pantries – they may have members who will help sort out finances, tilt the windmills of bureaucracy that are throughout health care, etc.

      Barring that – are you anywhere near a college or university? You *may* get lucky and find about-to-be-minted accountants, etc. who can help. Ditto for finding a dental school to ensure regular dental care. Yes, students do it but they are supervised and the cost is amazingly affordable.

      Is there any way you can find someone to rent a room or something? Who isn’t a deadbeat or totally nuts? I know it gets tricky but if you can find someone who is reliable, pleasant and not a slob it may be worth the risk to shave a chunk off of your housing costs.

      Dried beans, crock pots, brown rice, lots of seasonings and a fridge can make a food budget go far. Ditto for adding other ingredients but having lived poor in my early 20’s I can relate. Also if you have a washer/dryer in your home and the electricity isn’t built into your rent – get a little folding drying rack. At least you can dry things in the course of the day for free. I do that frequently in the wintertime (I break down when it’s the big heavy stuff and use the dryer in the winter). I love my clothesline. I would prefer one of the twirling umbrella types but I still love my clothesline in the spring/summer/autumn.

  • I am an older chump who no longer has what some call ‘disposable’ income although we never did have enough to call anything ‘disposable’ in the first place so I am used to living minimally.

    My needs now are simple. Food to feed myself. Money to pay household utilities etc and emergency $ for things breaking around the house. Luckily I have people who do work for me and a neighbor paid to have a lawn service take care of my lawn this past summer!!!

    I get books to read from the local library and DVDs of my favorite BBC mystery series – all for free.

    For group therapy I attend Al-Anon meetings and put what I can into the basket to help with my groups bills.

    I was a SAHM so I have no social security to fall back on but the x did a lump sum for maintenance so I have that to pad my cushion for awhile.

    Luckily I have older children who have offered to help me out if necessary.

    One of the blessings of being older is that I have fewer years in which to support myself only glitch is I don’t know how many I do have so I play it on the safe side and watch every penny that I spend so that I stay within my budget. So far, so good.

    I feel blessed to be free of the cheater now that I know what he was doing. Heartache of going it alone even with the monetary restraints is way better than if he had stayed wherein I would be in hell 24/7 – of that I am most certain due to the lies, blame shifting and the gas lighting.

    • Right there with you sister, except fortunately my cheater didn’t want me to be a SAHM so I’ve always worked and still do. I just pray that my job holds out until at least Medicare age in 1 1/2 years. Gray divorce sucks but like you say, it’s better than living the rest of my life with a cheater and having to care for him. Dodged that bullet. His LBFM from the Philippines can have that job.

  • If you were married for 10 years you should be able to collect some social security based on your EH’s work record. Call their 800 number to find out.

    I was chumped after 38 years of marriage and am a life coach specializing in (guess what?) divorce and finance. All the advice here is golden! I would add one other strategy and that is writing a journal. I do “stream of consciousness” writing every morning. It has helped tremendously.

  • “If something happened to you, I would like to be notified. You deserve the respect of me coming to your funeral.”

  • Though I managed the money throughout my 30 years of marriage, 5 years past DDay I’m still learning how ignorant I am about car maintenance. My ex maintained the cars (albeit through the car dealerships.) Money is tighter since I divorced and to save money I found a mechanic on Craigslist. But it’s up to me to keep records of air, oil, and fuel filter changes, oil changes, brake inspections, tire rotations, etc. Advice on how to do all this would have been be very appreciated!

    • I have a little memorandum book that I keep in the car in case I take it to a different mechanic. I also keep track of how much I pay for gas and the mpg. That way if there is an unexpected dip I can address it immediately.

      In the past (before I found my current mechanic who is a demi-god) I had a spreadsheet that I would use regarding when maintenance was due.

  • At the risk of sounding overly sensitive, this is a very female-centric group of directions (from the “sister” reference to the listing of just the OB/GYN.) There are plenty of male chumps out there, too, probably as many as female chumps.

    • I think it may be (generically speaking) because men don’t like to admit when they make a mistake, especially a mistake as large as picking from the barb-monkey pile. And women (euphemistically speaking) need to get those 30,000 words in a day and so don’t have a problem being prolific either in the spoken or written word. I’m sure if you have some advice from a man’s point of view that would have been helpful, CL will put it on her page. I’m glad you found CN and escaped your cheater.

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