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Is This Meh or Did I Just Give Up?

MEHDear Chump Lady,

Here’s my problem (and I’m sure this is due to hopium):

Three years ago I caught my cheating husband in an emotional affair with a friend of mine. Went to counseling. He used it as a shield to continue and escalate the affair to a 2.5 year physical affair. All the time, I feel like I’m crazy.

Cut to last September: I caught them, he confessed, I exposed them to our entire community, mentally beat the shit out of him and the OW. He has done all the unicorn things: got into counseling, re-engaged in our family (we have 2 children), is totally supportive of me and my recovery, has totally cut off all communication with the OW, tells me he’s sorry (and I actually believe him), scheduled and attended marriage counseling (which until now I did not know was a no-no), and has admitted that this was completely and totally about him, nothing to do with me or the state of our marriage. Admitted that he thought it would be fun and he would never get caught. Never considered the future or me or our kids or anything, really.

So, now we’re 9 months past D-Day. Recently, I found meh. Boy, it was painful getting to meh.

Coincidentally, there seems to be a rash of infidelity running rampant though our community. (It’s like when you’re pregnant and notice all the other pregnant women around you).

Anyway, I didn’t make any quick decisions because I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought time would give me direction. Now I don’t have anger to sustain me. Just meh.

Can you tell me what’s going on? Am I losing it? Or have I just given up and is this acceptance?


Dear Stacey,

Is Stockholm Syndrome a choice?

Look, I’m not a reconciliation blog. I came up with the term “meh” here to describe the process of healing AFTER you leave a cheater. Meh is how you feel about the cheater, not about life. Meh means “You don’t have the power to hurt me anymore.” You don’t give the cheater any more mental real estate and your new life crowds out your old life.

Stacey, you have the same old life living with your “wayward” husband. When your head is in reconciliation, you must give him mental real estate (as you would any spouse you’re living with). And, he certainly has the power to hurt you further — that’s the mental gymnastics of reconciliation — repressing exactly what he’s capable of.

Let’s review that.

I caught my cheating husband in an emotional affair with a friend of mine. Went to counseling. He used it as a shield to continue and escalate the affair to a 2.5 year physical affair.

You caught him once in an affair with your friend. I assume you were distraught. So he took that opportunity to address your unhappiness with… a TWO AND A HALF YEAR PHYSICAL AFFAIR.

Nothing says “I care!” like that.

Okay, but it’s different now. He’s sorry. He admits it was about him, and not about you. You’re in marriage counseling! How safe did you feel in marriage counseling last time? Apparently, 2.5 years of safe.

Let me ask you something, Stacey. Can you feel safe with a guy that:

Admitted that he thought it would be fun and he would never get caught. Never considered the future or me or our kids or anything, really.

You’re upset about his EA with your friend. He registers your upset and fucks her for years because it would be fun. He’s someone who can mentally disengage from his children, disengage from his wife, and not consider their futures. For fun.

He just told you who he is. And you don’t want to believe him, why?

Because you’re waiting for direction?

My friend, often the direction appears, but we’re just too scared shitless to take it. No one ever accomplished anything courageous by waiting to feel like it. What makes it courageous is doing it anyway, even though you’re scared shitless.

I’m not saying make headlong decisions based in anger. I just rationally pointed out that you don’t have a lot of material here to trust him with. He’s sorry now? He was “sorry” then. He pays attention to his kids? Bitch cookie! He goes to counseling and makes the appointments? The price of cake got higher.

Stacey, I only have two pieces of advice for folks in reconciliation — a credit report and a post-nup settlement.  You get those things, okay? If you want to reconcile and you’ve got two young children, you protect your ass financially in writing. If he won’t do those things? There’s the depth of his sorry.

Personally, I think you’re running a terrible risk. But at least indemnify yourself on the money. You can’t get back the years.

This one ran previously. Going for a walk before I get online to telework. You all stay safe out there!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • It is so tough to get your head around how deceitful these cheaters are but you must for you and your kids. His response to a post nup agreement will give you a clue. In the meantime, start by following the financial tips on this site. At the very least, open your own bank account ,get your own credit card and get some legal advice. I stayed too long and made too many financial mistakes by believing a cheater could change.

      A tiger is not ever a good house pet, same for a marriage to a cheater,

  • Some narcs want that second chance so they can surprise the shut out of you with a 2nd “slip up.” In this situation they were surprised and caught. Next time they won’t be so dumb. They’ll Hoover and when you’re good and comfortable they’ll do the big discard. My motto for that with my ex was, “You don’t have a good track record with the truth.” There wasn’t a second time.

    • Truth! She should take advantage of the lull in action to do all her divorce homework in stealth mode, then divorce his ass. No way this will end up being a good marriage. He’s going to cheat again.

  • After reading Stacey’s letter, I’m left thinking about how deceptive people can be. I had no idea my xh lay next to me in bed every night for years, wanting to leave me, apparently..and acting like he already had, behind my back.
    I would not believe a single word that came out of his mouth now, he is a Liar.
    Not sure how to know who to trust or not now, but meanwhile I’m too fucking busy working full-time, studying and raising 3 kids 100% on my own.
    Abandoning Arsehole, he sucks!!

  • I didn’t get the post-nup…. that was a mistake. I came here distraught. SO MANY PEOPLE a year and a half or more ago said get a post-nup. Now I feel paralyzed. Its hard to file for divorce. Some of that is emotional, vows, God, related stuff, but much of it is uncertainty and even more financial vulnerability than I had when I left the house (to set up an apartment for me and the kids that I could afford alone because I could not afford the house). The debt…throwing my meager assets into the pot to be divied up, its all so much to think about.

    If you are reading this and its not too late get the post-nup! Its not guaranteed to protect you, but when your cheater cheats again, or just ops to abandon you one fine day to pursue his affair partner ANYWAY you will be a bit less paralyzed.

    In the moment you might think you just can’t do anything else. I have to try to revive a marraige, raise small children, put on a brave face for a world that doesn’t give a fuck AND visit a lawyer to draw up a post-nup (that’s the same cost as two or three miraculous marriage counseling sessions). The answer is YES, DO IT NOW. Maybe in two years you will come back here to tell us about the real live unicorn you have there and we’ll disbelieve you, but you’ll feel self-satisfied. I would rather you feel self-satisfied on your unicorn farm with a post-nup rather than paralyzed without a post-nup.

    All of this is maybe just me trying to pump myself up to actually file for divorce. I wish I had listened. I wish I had that post-nup…

    “My friend, often the direction appears, but we’re just too scared shitless to take it. No one ever accomplished anything courageous by waiting to feel like it. What makes it courageous is doing it anyway, even though you’re scared shitless.”

    Tracy we really do appreciate you doing God’s work with these blog posts. Because I maybe need to paint that quote on my bedroom wall. Sorry for the super long comment, but this one hit me hard today.

    • OK, can people please write in with their experiences of getting a postnuptial agreement? Doesn’t it take 2 attorneys: one to represent you & one to represent your spouse? I saw an attorney in December regarding one & her advice was to file for divorce, then back off IF I really wanted a postnup. It left me still not ready, still lining up ducks…

      • I’d consult with a different attorney if you’re still thinking post nup vs. Divorce. This sounds like strategic advice as opposed to what can happen. Filing for divorce might get the other party more likely to sign a post nup. Just looks like gamesmanship to me.

      • I got a postnup after D-Day #2. (I smoked hopium for the 4 years after D-Day #1.) By then I was done, and told him I would file for divorce. But as we were both in our 60s (but not old enough for Medicare), and I was semi-retired and was on his employer’s health insurance, he made a case for holding off on divorce and letting him continue to live in the house until he retired. I could continue on his health insurance. He said it would benefit us both financially.

        He had become a hoarder by then so I suspect his main reason for wanting to stay was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of moving his many “collections” (supplies and parts related to various hobbies he started and, in most cases, got bored of).

        I wrote up some things I would insist on as a condition of his staying. One was to quit claim my house back to me: it was my house for almost 15 years before we married (I had done a quit claim after we married to add his name to the deed – I trusted my husband then!). He agreed to my terms and I went to a lawyer who drew up the postnup.

        The language in the postnup even said that my attorney recommended he get his own lawyer, and if he did, a space was provided for the attorney’s name. Lazy idiot didn’t bother, so it was a one lawyer process. We went to our bank to sign in front of a notary.

        Needless to say, it was a nightmare living in the same house with The Python. My need for financial/health care security had clouded my thinking. A year into the in-house separation we had a big blow up over his hoarding: he had promised to make a path in the basement so I could get to my box of batteries on the far side of the basement, and after 5 days of doing nothing, HE yelled at me (and called me the c-word) for saying I was going to move something of his so I could get to my stuff.

        The next day he looked into a rental house. It took him months to move 2/3 of his crap out (he abandoned a lot of it), but he’s been gone almost a year and the divorce was final in November.

  • It really does get better. I promise, dear chumps. Slow and steady is how I was able to dig my way out of my shitty marriage. One step at a time, whatever you can handle today. I am prone to paralysis, but I slowly did it. Tell everyone you trust. Lean on all your friends. Read ChumpLady every spare minute and internalize what she is saying.

    In the beginning, (February 2014) I remember wondering if I was crazy to base my life on a blog, but it resonated immediately and I couldn’t believe I was actually laughing and the well written humor here. You can’t run from the grief or get on a plane and fly away from the pain. You just have to walk away from it. It’s slow and it hurts, but you can get away from this fucked up person. After a high drama life with a cheater, peace and stability are so meaningful. My heart goes out to you all. Stay well.

  • I can understand how you might confuse “meh” with your current mood. It’s not meh, it’s hopelessness. You have given up- on yourself. You’ve given up your needs, your hopes, your dreams and your grief all to keep someone around who has no respect for you or your kids. You’re so beat down you don’t feel the anger, just numb. That is not meh. I was there before, I had to work hard to get the anger back and get out. Remember all the pain, don’t keep it inside, don’t give up on a better life.

    This is what worked for me, see him standing before you telling you he has done it again and is now leaving you. Does it seem at all plausible that he will be standing there coldly telling you about his next affair? Your heart knows already if this guy will do this again. Ask it.

    • This. So much this. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It disappeared when I left. It’s called situational depression: you get out of the situation and you’re better.

      • This is true , your body feels the trauma like it’s real pain , while experiencing everything and living in the same home, I was sooo sick, I am still struggling a little bit, but I much better.

    • Yes! I started to dig through his paper horde to try to find some evidence. But my heart already knew and didn’t need to see anything more. I stopped digging. I called a lawyer. ‘Cause in the end, it didn’t matter to me if he’d had 1 affair or 50, if he had a dozen on line hookups only, or visited a massage parlor every time he traveled to town.

      He was emotionally and physically absent from the marriage. There was nothing left to spackle.

      Once I made that realization and quit trying to Untangle anything, I started to dig out of the depression hole.

      • I found myself standing in the shower at 3am, with the aim to drive to suspected OW’s house and catch him redhanded…..

        Luckily I talked myself down, realised that actually I was done, went back to bed and called a lawyer the next morning.

        • And making that decision was oddly freeing too. Sure I’d have loved some karma kickback, some validation, or a bit of payback.

          But just stopping and laying that rock heavy pack on the side of the road and walking on without it was worth so much more!

    • It’s not the pure “Meh” of him being GONE and a new life, its more like a “Gah” of what Wreckonciliation really looks like.

      I wanted to wreckoncile so badly that I grabbed at anything he was willing to offer (which sucked).
      When the dust settled and it got as good as it was going to get, it wasnt good…it had perhaps a moment or two of sparkles, but mostly it sucked.

      We had kids in HS who I REFUSED to move and his version of crazy left him forever seeking the geographical answer to all problems. (we had already cross country moved 7 times). I finally gave up and told God (as I trudged up 4 flights of stairs at work looking like a sad sausage) “God, he can go, if there is a place where he could be happy, he needs to go there” and he dropped dead (I thought he would move to California, I guessed his happy place wrong)

    • ChumpToTheMax,

      Wow, I just had an epiphany. ???? What you described in your post was MY LIFE!

      “You have given up – on yourself. You’ve given up your needs, your hopes, your dreams and your grief, all to keep someone around who has no respect for you or your kids. You’re so beat down you don’t feel the anger, just numb.”

      Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes! I guess I’d become so hopeless being married to a serial cheater and habitual liar — someone who was “sooooo sorry“ and who made just enough effort to look like he was sincere… to look like he was making herculean efforts to change… but in reality, he’d simply taken his despicable behavior underground, always on the prowl for the next woman who might be suitable enough to take my place — that all I could do was become quiet, submissive, numb and invisible…

      My heart instinctively knew that none of it mattered, but I guess I was so deep into my head that when I pictured a life without him, trying to raise triplets on my mediocre salary, unable to make the house payment on my own, being 2,500 miles away from my family, and all of the other logistics involved, it just seemed easier to believe he was genuinely repentant, present and re-engaged. So, I denied. I stuffed. And I stayed. For 40 years. And when he smugly announced he was leaving me for Married Howorker, it was devastating. I gave up ME, and he left anyway. But now that I’m some distance down the road, I can see that I’ve actually been liberated, and I’m grateful. So so grateful.

      • Yes, isnt THAT the truth…that we can become SO ACCUSTOMED to pain and suffering and loss that we are numb to it even when its right in front of us. My cheater used to love to chide me subtly in front of the kids where he would throw fiery arrows of cloaked insults to me in front of the kids and no one but us would have known/understood how marginalizing/insulting his words were and he KNEW I would engage him in battle in front of the kids, so he had a free pass to abuse me.

        I was so used to it that I could stand there unmoved as he threw the nastiest insults at me. Dear God, what had happened to my insides which allowed for me to get to THIS point?

        About 6 months before he left, I went into the kitchen and found him alone obviously in deep, intense thought. I walked in silently, stopped, looked at him and he said “When you get your first grey pubic hair, I will leave you”. I stared at him in silence (heart broken for the 3000th time…my fathers family has strong premature-grey genes and it had already started but I was hiding it). He must have thought I didnt get it, so he repeated “Do you hear me, I will leave you!”.

        and he walked away. I didnt even fight, there was no point.

        This, my dear friends is wreconciliation.

        It has taken me years to regain balance and understand that I can pursue dreams and goals, but Im doing it.

    • Excellent post ChumpedToThe Max. Hopelessness, despair, & broken down into giving up. Paralyzed emotions during to all this is closer to what’s going on, not meh.

  • My STBX wouldn’t agree to a post nup and I forgave him anyways and kept trying. Now I’m in the midst of a messy divorce. I wish I would have found this blog earlier-I was so immersed in the reconciliation industry.
    If he doesn’t agree to it, then he’s still cheating or thinks he will one day again. He doesn’t want the marriage bad enough.

  • Actions speak louder than words. Cheating says everything you need to know about the cheater’s character and what the cheater thinks of you, your marriage, and vows. Decent people don’t do this shit to their spouse. Is this what you’re willing to settle for?

    • This!!!! Absolutely, this. There is no respect left by such a partner. Even though it is not easy, it is time to move on and focus your love on yourself and your kids (if any).

  • To me, this is the problem with reconciliation that no one in RIC talks about. Even if you “win,” even if your cheater dumps the OW or OM and recommits to the marriage and goes to counseling, etc, etc. (And how many of us really got even that much?) … The damage is done. You end up stuck with someone that you know breaks promises and hurts you just to get his/her fun. At best, you achieve a sort of hopeless numbness. And you still don’t trust the cheater, because now you know who he/she really is.

    • Yes Carol. I found I could not be a loving/concerned partner to someone who stabbed me in the back, with an accomplice OW to boot.

    • “Hopeless numbness.” Yep, that about covers years of my first marriage.

    • Yes, I agree.

      Oh great, we rehabbed the vagina addict.

      I still can’t unsee that.

  • Reconciliation doesn’t repair a marriage. Cheating changes a marriage, and not for the better. Even when the cheater is on their “best behavior,” they begin to resent the necessity, while the chump never really gets over the anger and lack of trust.

    I have two friends who “forgave” or “stayed” and “reconciled” with their cheating spouses. Both their spouses cheated at least 20 years ago.

    One of them, whose husband cheated on her at least fifteen years ago, recently told me that when her husband cheated she didn’t think they’d make it but now they’re “stronger than ever.” Thing is: I see the outlines of their relationship. They do very little together, and share very little with each other. What they have isn’t reconciliation, it’s a negotiated truce or cease-fire, and the reason it works is because my friend makes her needs small, and her husband is an artist who lives off her income. It’s as if he’s agreed not to cheat for money, and she’s agreed to keep paying for everything if he doesn’t cheat (I doubt she got a post-nup). In group situations, she snipes at him. And when she’s not around, he disparages her.

    The other friend, whose first cheating spouse actually told her when he left her that he treated her the way she did because she acted like a doormat. Her second, who cheated on my friend with a student, treats her like a body servant, and has spent almost the entire twenty-five plus years they’ve been together devaluing her. Again, it “works” because my friend consistently puts her wife’s needs over her own. When my friend’s resentment builds up to a certain point, she uses me to vent.

    Neither cheating spouse ever got over their entitlement, and each chump continues to pick-me dance–it’s just that the “dance” has morphed into a more generalized pattern of “you first, me second.”

    I hope the letter writer found the where-with-all to leave.

    • We used to call these ‘marriages of convenience’. And there are a lot of them.

    • Yes. I told myself it was “working.” I was the one doing all the work. When I quit doing all the work and pretending not to notice he was doing nothing, it all just folded.

    • My spouse’s entitlement certainly dropped.

      In fact, I’d say he’s pretty much the ideal spouse now.

      However, I know he would never put in even 10% into our sexlife that he put into his own. He practically went to the moon to engage in his bullshit.

      It’s a constant disappointment.
      Every lame excuse in the fucking book to boot.

      Whoever says “unmet needs cause cheating” clearly doesn’t know me very well. Because I was always willing, even begging, to meet his needs and he’s been almost completely avoidant about meeting mine.

  • Carol39 – is it really impossible to believe that after a long term (physical) affair, the marriage can be saved and strengthened? Do you think the cheaters will ever desire us sexually again, the way they do their OW (or OM)? Mine moved out, got his own apartment where he “plays house” with his girlfriend, has spent the last 8 months with her since getting caught (a year before that) but keeps stringing me along to avoid divorce. Unfortunately, I’m completely financially dependent on him (31-year marriage) and I don’ think there’s enough money to support 2 households. And I think he’s afraid of the commitment to long term alimony, so he’s trying to live a double life. However, at times he does say that he misses me and would like to not divorce yet to see if there is a chance for true reconciliation (I am not giving him any hope of that at this time). I’m so confused about the possibilities of our future together. And yes, he cheated twice before many years ago but never to this extent (moving out, spending all his time with OW, etc…). I’m paralyzed too!

    • Whine it gets to a point where living in a tent would be better than taking the crumbs from a back stabber.
      He is playing you to avoid paying alimony. Why would you want anything he would offer emotionally? His words mean nothing. These people are users and abusers. You are being abused.

    • Carol39, are you sure about your financial situation? Have you considered hiring a forensic accountant who can investigate? While your husband supports two households, half of your marital assets are going down the drain. You need to get a lawyer to protect your financial future.

      You say that you’ve made it clear that you’re not going to reconcile but your behavior says otherwise. And he’s not “trying to live a double life” he actually is – and with your tacit approval.

      I left my ex after 44 years of marriage and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it was so worth it.

      • 42 years for me , I haven’t left yet , financially I can’t , plus I just can’t see leaving , when I haven’t done anything wrong , but yet he gets to have everything , and I get nothing , ? Haven’t gotten a lawyer yet. He doesn’t want to use lawyers , wants to decide things between us , he wants to see how it’s going to work out with OW first befor he gives up on us I say he gave up on us when he cheated on me , Still hopeful trying to get stronger , get ducks in a row thanks for your helpfull story

        • Lynn, does it matter what he thinks? Most states are community property so you would get your fair share. But if you don’t act soon, he is likely to start hiding assets.
          I’m assuming you’re new to this site because you’re smoking the hopium pipe and giving all your power to him. Please consider your own needs. Best of luck.

    • The only way to stop this cycle is to drop your rope in the tug-of-war.

      Once that happens something will change.

  • The behavior patterns of cheaters are near identical. The “emotional affair” attempt becomes a later physical affair ‘success’ and then they are sorrrrrrrrrry when caught.

    Cheaters never change, they just get more strategic about covering their tracks. They are psychos who learn to be better psychos.

    Peace of mind in a peaceful life is better then a spouse next to you that is more than likely thinking about someone who isn’t you.

  • Stacey is making the same mistake all chumps do, assuming that their cheater has a conscience and thinks like they do. I thought my cheating wife would be kissing my ass after d-day and shower me with apologies, remorse, and regret, which is what I would have done if I had been in her shoes. Instead, she denied, blame-shifted, and had no regrets (“he was just a friend”), even though she wanted to stay married. I am now 2 years post d-day and 2 months post-divorce after a 30 year marriage and have much more piece of mind. Tracy’s book was immensely helpful to me and was mind-blowing. To the uninitiated who haven’t experienced the pain and abuse of infidelity, Chump Lady would seem to be unfairly painting all cheaters with a broad brush. But as we all can attest on this blog, she is exactly correct and cheaters with integrity and a conscience are as common as unicorns.

    • None of them can apologize or do repentance. They are too entitled and are certain you are the one to blame for their actions.

      Glad you’re free. You deserve better. Keep on being mighty.

  • Tracy, next use instead of ‘the term “meh” here to describe the process of healing AFTER you leave a cheater.’

    I suggest you use the caps this way:
    the term “meh” here to describe the process of healing after you LEAVE a cheater.”
    There is no healing if you do not leave!

    It’s like living in sewage if you don’t LEAVE.

    Take care, all of us. This virus is no joke.
    I pray we are all here after it is gone.

  • It seems like there’s a lot of confusion about what Meh is.

    Not that I’m the person who created that term, obviously, CL is, but my take on it is this:

    If you add caveats to your sentence, you’re not at Meh.

    “I’m at Meh, BUT HE-” not Meh.
    “I think I’m at Meh, but then I found-” not Meh.
    “He’s really sorry! We’re going to councelling! He cut of the OW! …is this Meh or did I just give up trying to get the truth?” You gave up trying.

    If you have to question it, you’re not there yet.

    Being in a state of Meh is a strange space, because you don’t think about it. You know you’re there when you’re not thinking about it. You’re at Meh when someone brings up your ex and you respond with “Oh that guy? huh…iunno I haven’t thought about him in a while.” When you receive news about him and you react with nonchalance and you don’t care anymore. You don’t feel pain, you don’t feel grief, your new life is far too important to spend the energy.

    Will you laugh if you hear some ridiculou/funny/ironic news about them? Sure! I mean I do, but then I go back to my regularly scheduled life. It doesn’t upend me. Hell I found out my ex husband has three wives and a rotating harem of “poly” partners. I laughed because that’s so crazy you can’t make it up. Did it stop me from continuing to live my new life? Nope. Because it doesn’t matter. What would I even do about that anyway? Absolutely nothing. It doesn’t affect my life.

    You’re at Meh when you don’t notice it (it’s Tuesday, it’s always a Tuesday) and you’re at Meh when nothing your ex does or doesn’t do changes the way YOU live.

    Giving in to thinking your cheater is a unicorn isn’t Meh.

    • Thanks, Kara. I LOVE! your definition of Meh….very helpful. I am getting closer every day. Hang in there everyone…find YOU again. Think of this old relationship as the compost heap — upon which you plant the seeds for the garden (your beautiful new life). Many things learned, and yes a good amount of shit mixed in – but all of it can serve a purpose and will not be wasted when you step out of the shadow and into the sunlight of your own life, your own self, once again.

  • So now husband is contrite, going to counseling, doing all the right stuff and no contact with OW. I’m thinking he was about to give OW the heave ho and getting caught was great timing. Impossible to shame either one of them, you just think you shamed them because you would have felt shame. For arguments sake lets say he really is sorry and wants to be with you and you only. Get a post nup agreement that has him losing everything if he cheats again and has him paying a boat load of alimony. If he is sincere about being sorry, he’ll agree.

  • There is no meh at 9 months. She has numbed herself to the truth that her husband betrayed and humiliated her and their children.
    Because, yes, this is also a betrayal of the children. Affairs destroy their expectations of security and stability.

    My advice is to leave, because that’s what I did and, about 15 months later and divorced, I am at meh. I am happy, content and living my best life while dealing with the insanity that’s 2020. I don’t miss my ex, and I hope his life is ok. I don’t even hate him anymore. He’s not worth the energy.

    Picking oneself is hard. Change is hard. But living with the reality that your spouse abused you and you accepted it must be crushing.

    You know what you need to do. If you didn’t you wouldn’t have written to chumplady.

  • It’s not meh, it’s apathy.

    Meh is when you leave the cheater and get to a point where you no longer care about him, think about him, or otherwise use any of your brain space on what he is doing and with who. You reached a point where you could trip over him and still not notice him and keep on walking.

    Apathy is where you are settling to stay in this limbo land with the cheater. You know he is a cheater, you know he is a liar, you know that the show he is putting on is bs, he is telling you it’s bs, but you’ve literally become too apathetic to walk away. That’s the opposite of meh.

    • For those of us who were dumped for OW or OM, Meh isn’t about leaving your spouse – and you can leave your spouse and not be Meh.
      I think Meh is when you’ve moved on and your thoughts, and energy don’t go to that person unless necessary (e.g. children are concerned).

      My mom has been Meh about my father who cheated for over 40 yrs. If it crosses her mind ( like it has recently because she’s had to support me going through it) she’s not emotionally involved with her past situation anymore. She still thinks divorce is the saddest thing as it wrecks families and there’s a lot of loss, but she’s not angered or hurt or anything by the thought of him. She long ago made a different life. It’s just what it is and she doesn’t think about it very much.
      Stay safe everyone

  • Theft

    They are all part of people whose morals left the building. Would you hang out with anyone accused of any of those.
    Leave a cheater, gain a life.
    Meh is “Not my circus, not my monkeys. See ya.”

  • I think some people (Not me) can be MEH even if they continue to live with someone who cheated on them. That would be my mom, maybe because times were different then. On Dday, she left for the weekend, made him decide to either dump the OW and stay with us or move out. He chose to stay with us. There were no big discussions, no blame shifting, no denial, no untangling.
    As far as she knows there were no other affairs but it’s not something she gave much thought to. She was way too busy with raising 4 kids and dealing with finances to worry too much about affairs. She’s not somebody who obsesses and she doesn’t take things personally by nature. She just moved on within the marriage and didn’t give it much thought. No marriage counseling, no discussions, just an attitude of be here and support your family -end of story. They did end up divorcing years later but that was for other reasons. She thought the affair was shitty but she didn’t internalize it and I honestly don’t think she thought that much about it after the fact.
    I’m not recommending that approach, but that’s what it was and she was MEH .

  • I haven’t had a chance to read all of the replies yet…but here’s my two cents.

    You are not at Meh. You are emotionally numb!!!

    I was this person. I felt nothing. 10 years of shenanigans and is he or isn’t he. I just wanted things to stay “normal” for my intact family to stay together.

    Until I could no longer sparkle over his behaviour. Our marriage was the Titanic and Nuss Piggy was the iceberg. He gave me the speech and ended things to be with his Tru Lurv.

    He had 10 years of stashing cash, irresponsible behaviour, Schmoopies and more. He imploded our lives.

    Act now. Even if you are numb and emotionless.
    Meh comes afterwards when his actions are his own and you are 50 miles away trying to decide whether it will white or red wine tonight❤️

  • Stacey he is a cheater and proven liar. You cannot trust a word he says. Why wouldn’t he cheat again? He knows you accept this behavior. Get out now.

  • Excellent post ChumpedToThe Max. Hopelessness, despair, & broken down into giving up. Paralyzed emotions during to all this is closer to what’s going on, not meh.

  • Hi… I like this post and it brought up a memory for me.

    And this is not about cheating. It’s about why people who are in difficult marriages might log on to blogs, and tell their stories… TO VALIDATE THEIR STATUS QUO.

    Let me illustrate.

    Years ago I sought help for my failing marriage (no cheating involved,) and I was sitting in a therapy group. A guy was talking about a problem he was experiencing. Everyone in the group was chiming in with solutions, and one by one, he was dissing them. “Oh, I can’t do that. Such and such would happen.” or “Oh, yeah, I already thought of that, but it won’t work, because…” or “Just no, that’s not me.”

    And I suddenly realized that – with all these suggestions – we were validating his status quo.

    What if we all had said, “You know what? That’s not a terrible problem to have. There are worse problems out there. I think you should just keep on keeping on.” What would have happened then?

    Well, he would have said, “Oh! I’ve been trying to keep on keeping on! It isn’t working! I can’t do this, and I can’t do that… I’m unhappy, and I deserve better!” Or he might have said, “You think I should do what? Don’t you care about me? I’m miserable.”

    Soon after I made this realization, I had plans to get with a friend, the same evening. Before we got together, I mentally reviewed our previous discussions about my marriage, and realized that every time we got together, she asked me how things were going, and I went into my usual litany of husband-infractions, and she responded with questions, or responses, like “you should leave this guy.” “Why can’t you just get a divorce?” or “You can’t stay with him.”

    And every time she would say these things, I’d think the opposite. I’d think, “Oh, I can’t leave him!” or “I can’t get a divorce because God says no divorce.” or “Yes, I can’t stay with him, but no, I can’t leave him, either.”

    If she had said, “You know, Light Heart, you’re in an okay situation, don’t you think? Maybe you should just stay in it.” I would have been shocked. And confused. And thinking that she didn’t care about me. And realizing that I DID care about me! And thinking that maybe I might leave, after all!

    Somehow I was giving her my anger, she was using the energy of it and taking it to its logical conclusion, which was not a conclusion I had reached for myself, and that whole process gave me the ability to stay, because it took my anger away. I projected it onto her, she received it, got sparked, a fire was lit, and my own anger vaporized.

    So… when we got together that night, and the conversation turned to me, I told her that things were about the same, that I was assessing all the information as it was coming in, and I was sure I’d be able to make a decision soon. She said, “Oh! You sound so much better! I’m sure you’ll make a good decision!”

    Exactly what I needed to hear.

    In a nutshell, I want to encourage those of you who are coming to this site for help. Maybe your husband or wife is having an affair, or maybe they had an affair, and you’re wondering what to do. Realize how good it feels to have all these people mad at your significant other (so you don’t have to be,) and telling you to leave (so you can raise objections, and therefore validate the idea of staying,) and shocking you with their stories (so you can say to yourself, “I don’t have it THAT bad!”)

    Tell yourself that you will make the decision you need to make, when you need to make it, and you’ll have as much information you need for the decision, when you’re ready (yes! load up on information and postnups and attorneys and whatever you can do to figure things out! Knowledge is powerful. And power feels good when you are powerless over changing the person you love.) Then TRUST YOURSELF. The time will come when you will make a good decision; one that you can live with for the rest of your years.

    Polling people will never help, and just realize that it’s something that can actually take away the anger needed to move forward. It’s what YOU think. It’s what YOU can live with. It’s YOUR relationship with God, yourself, your spouse, your family, your friends and your community. It’s what YOU decide to do.

    Make a list of feelings, and go through them every day. My list is anger, sadness, fear, shame and happiness. Boil everything down to these five feelings (or choose your own.) Ask yourself how you feel about all the things you think are newsworthy. Write about what happened (things you would blog about, or tell your best friend about,) then go through each feeling and ask yourself how you feel about each event. That will help you. I’m sure of it.

    Hmmmm… I wish someone had told me this, years ago.

    I complained, to friends, to family and to counselors, about all the things that were going on in my marriage. And my people would get mad for me. They were my advocates! And their anger would keep me exactly where I wanted to be… in the indecision… My anger was the thing I needed, the thing that could move me forward, and they were taking it from me and running with it… and wanting to make decisions for me… but I was like my friend in the therapy group, “Veto!” “Veto!” “Veto!”

    The way out is to feel the feelings. Stay in a place of communication. Tell your friends how YOU are feeling. Tell them how YOU are reacting. Ask for their support, no matter what YOU decide… Don’t tell stories so you can get reactions. Share your feelings so you can feel less alone. Don’t ask for opinions. Ask for support. “It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.” – Epicurus

  • Light Heart Thanks! The best I read ever on this topic!
    Are you divorced now and how long before you found out to you filed?
    Get some new inspiration- great!!!

  • Hi Speedy Gonzales,

    Thank you.

    I’ve been divorced twice. The first divorce was my choice. He was not affectionate (at all) and he became addicted to cocaine. We were married 15 years. We had two kids and I found it extremely difficult to be married to him, and respect him as the head of the household. He’d be gone for days at a time and – you know – I loved him dearly, but I could feel my heart becoming cold towards him, as it felt unsafe to live with him and allow his friends access to our house and give them the privilege of developing a friendship with our kids. In the end, I decided that I needed to protect the kids, and I wanted to continue to love him, so I created a more solid barrier (the divorce,) then went ahead and had Sunday dinner with him for years and years with the kids, until I remarried, five years later. It was okay. We’re still friends to this day, and the kids, who are now grown, have always respected him and also the platonic love we still have for each other. Our divorce – he says now – was the catalyst that helped him get off of drugs, and he’s been completely straight for a decade.

    My second husband left me for another woman after 12 years. I don’t believe they had a physical affair. They didn’t know each other very long. He was just done with the marriage (with responsibility in general,) and wanted out. He found a woman and used her as a ticket to get out of the marriage. While it was happening it was oh so painful! My heart goes out to everyone on the blog who has experienced any version of cheating.

    At first I wanted him back. I read Homer MacDonald’s ebook, How to Stop Your Divorce or Your Lover’s Rejection, and it sounded like a win/win to me. I read it and did everything in the book. Soon I felt so happy! I had a whole set of new friends, I lost 20 pounds, I enrolled in school, I joined a church, I made plans every night, and then I started dating. I hardly even had time for dates, and that made me just hard enough to get to be intriguing, so I was in high demand. What an unusual and crazy, rich time that was!

    And he did want me back. One day he came down (oh! he took up residence in the same condo building with his new woman after he left me!) and wanted me to sign some papers. I was looking really amazing, with some new clothes, and my hair had grown two or three inches, so it looked different. He said, “do you think you would consider putting off the divorce?” And I said, “Well, we’re on each other’s NO lists. For you to be on my MAYBE list, I have to be on your YES list, and for me to be on your YES list, your relationship with this woman would have to run its course, which could take months, maybe years, and then you’d probably have to be single for a while.”

    Later he told me that he went up to his condo, looked in the mirror, and said to himself – out loud, “Who do you think you are?”

    There hasn’t been any form of communication between us since the divorce. Occasionally he’s said he was gonna be in town, and would like to have coffee with me, but I’ve never answered. I just don’t want to answer his questions. I don’t want to tell him about my life. He exited out of my life. That’s it. End of story.

    Recently I started reading this blog because I have a boyfriend and he got interested in someone else. I had to do that polling thing, to see what other women would do if they were me, and everyone said, “lose him!” So of course I stayed with him, judging their reactions as “too harsh,” because – again – their anger made me lose my anger, and without my anger, I didn’t have the energy to totally change my life.

    Anger provides the necessary energy to leave a situation. Let it help you if you need to change your life!

    How about you, Speedy? What is your story? Or what are your stories? (I’m new here…) I’d love to hear…

    • Thanks for your sharing! I dont want to write because I get nervous about it. But just want to Thank you for the writing about how others aggressive comments and perspective can stop your own processing!!! Great!

  • Yes, I understand.

    Take your time, Speedy Gonzales. A divorce is not a one-time thing. It’s an every minute of every day thing. It doesn’t just involve you, and what you want out of life. It involves everyone. It affects you, your neighbors, your area, the city where you live, the country and the world. There’s a ripple effect with all of our decisions. If it was not such a big decision, there would not be a blog like this.

    I was ready to make sacrifices, because my values are such that happiness is not the top priority, but… I read a book by Marie Von Franz, who was one of Carl Jung’s proteges, and she said that the hidden things in a marriage are felt by the children, and they know when things are wrong, and the fact that they’re hidden, and everyone is acting as though everything is normal, is the thing that hurts them. I grew up in a very sane, happy household, and I wasn’t into hiding things. I brought things into the open, for discussion. I’d say, “Let’s talk about this, okay?” And then all hell would break loose, very unlike my childhood experience. My parents just got along. They saw eye to eye on most things, and the other things were worked out before they had to sit down and talk. It was just easy for them. So keeping things hidden was unacceptable, and bringing things out into the open was unacceptable.

    Anyway, here’s to your processing! And your journey. I’m a person of faith, so I will say prayers for you. I hate it that my story includes a divorce. Actually, two! But I love it that my family is good, everyone loves each other, the girls grew up and have chosen healthy pursuits, etc., and are still close to their dad, and that I have always been very transparent with them.

    Take care.

  • Thank you for all your comittment and support! Take care of you too ????

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