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A Decade of Chump Love

Today is my 10-year wedding anniversary. I don’t generally blog about myself or the goings on at Chez Chump. But I thought I’d make an exception as I’ve got something to share in the Mighty column — I’ve been in a healthy marriage for a DECADE.

I don’t suck at this. Mr. CL doesn’t suck at this. We’re both pretty great partners.

Why is this a revelation? Because if you’ve been chumped, you’ve probably carried around baggage that the problem was you. You’re unlovable. Controlling. You make pasta wrong. You’re embarrassing. You drove them to it.

Why should you think such a thing? Because your cheating partner told you so — and so did all the resources purported to help you. (i.e., the Reconciliation Industrial Complex.) You weren’t “meeting their needs.” You demanded too many answers. You couldn’t forgive this nebulous thing we aren’t allowed to discuss. You didn’t love unconditionally, horizontally, or swung from a trapeze.

So, give up, chump. Just give up. Stay hopelessly devoted to a cheater, says the RIC, don’t give up on THAT. No, give up on expecting mutuality and respect. Give up on mattering.

I didn’t give up.

Mr. CL, who endured a much longer 22-year-long mindfuck, didn’t give up either.

We found each other and it stuck.

I didn’t earn Mr. CL because I learned a Lesson. He was a gift. What changed is that I could recognize an opportunity (fix your picker!), and I let myself be open to the idea. And then — this is the crazy part — I let myself be ridiculously brave after I’d suffered two crushing failures at this life partner thing.

When I met Mr. CL, I was a twice-divorced squidgy 42 year-old woman with a kid. A year and a half later, I moved to Texas, a state the color of dead grass, to be with him. A state with open carry gun laws, jalapeños (pain is NOT a flavor), drought, tornados, floods, rattlesnakes, fire ants… (Don’t get me started on Texas.) Suffice it to say, I never imagined myself in Texas.

I never imagined myself married to a Texas trial lawyer who drove a quad-cab Ford diesel pickup truck with a gun rack. I didn’t get the life I planned. I got a BETTER one because I was brave.

When I left a cheater, I didn’t know what was on the other side of my life. I just knew that I MATTERED. And I wouldn’t be accepting abuse. Whatever it was I’d had when I was married was toxic, lopsided, chaotic and painful. I left for an ideal — self-respect. I deserved better. I had ZERO expectation that I would live to see a day I’d find “better.”

Things were demonstrably better after I left the cheater. As we say around here, “the walls in my house sung.” I created a good, safe, well-ordered life. I had a job I loved, and a little house that was just mine, and a garden with two pears trees, an apple tree, a cherry tree and raspberry bushes. My son could walk to school. It was a hard-won kind of  heaven. It was enough until I met Mr. CL.

Trauma can make you go two different ways — you can curl yourself up and retreat. Or you can be a bold risk-taker. Few things in life hurt more than being chumped. You stared down the worst sort of humiliating rejection and survived. So why not be brave?

Ten years ago today, I woke up in Lockhart, Texas. The day was hellishly hot. Hotter than a June bride in a feather bed, as my grandfather would say. So hot we drove the two blocks to the Caldwell County courthouse. Judge Jarrett fit us in between traffic violations. It was just us and the judge as our witness. Mr. CL wore a suit, I wore a sundress. Exchanging vows took about 10 minutes, and then we walked across the street and shared a slice of coconut cream pie.


Since then, we’ve muddled through blending families, launching three young men into adulthood, a lawsuit (from my son’s deadbeat father. He lost, of course he did.), a flood, the death of Mr. CL’s father, a couple health scares, a relocation to D.C., new jobs, expanding waistlines, gray hair.

None of this was as hard as one day spent with a fuckwit. What a difference a loving, invested partner makes.

Today Mr. CL made breakfast tacos for breakfast. I put hot sauce on mine, because I’ve grown a lot in 10 years. We exchanged cards. I failed to adequately express the goopy love I feel for him, but I tried.

Mr. CL wrote:

I met you when I thought my life had been destroyed. Turns out, my life was just beginning!”

Here’s to new beginnings!

wedding rings
Chump Lady
A younger Chump Lady
A younger Mr. CL opening some champagne.
Mr. CL and Judge Jarrett.
Chump Lady and Mr. CL

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  • Happy Anniversary to you! I hope you have something special planned, even though it’s raining 🙂

    -Fellow DC-er

    • Ha! Nothing planned, we’re both working today. Leftover pizza for dinner probably. We had something planned, but COVID… Next week we’re probably going to get away and have a little celebration.

      • Marriage is in the quiet, working, rainy, leftover pizza days. Sounds like a wonderful day. <3 Have a great trip!

      • Many happy returns, and enjoy your getaway next week, CL! Anywhere other than the Bay of Breakfastnook or Patio Peninsula sounds lovely right about now. Don’t get me wrong, though – I’m so grateful to have moved into this apartment just days before everything shut down in March. No fruit trees, but my tomatoes are going like gangbusters. Peace is priceless.

      • That is a just *lovely* post! So happy for you, CL, and Mr. CL. ????????

        Just wanted to say, your book, your blog, and CN have made all the difference to my life, during, and after, all the horror. Thank you. xx

        Being 68, and still working on fixing my picker makes it unlikely I’ll ever either date again, or get in a relationship, much less marriage, but I have learnt so much from you and CN, my life is *so* much better now, thank you again, and again. ????????

        • Never say never chumpnomore6. I know couples who married in their 80s. Not that marriage is the end all be all but those people found love and each other in the later part of their lives. When you’re an intelligent, kind, compassionate person such as yourself you’ll attract people you. You never know.

      • Happy anniversary and thank you for sharing! I absolutely love the simplicity of Your love, as explained! (As it should be)
        Your writing style is so quick and clever
        Thanks again- ALL the best????

      • Happy Anniversary! You continue to be a bright light and an inspiration as I continue to navigate through ups and downs in my 3rd relationship (not remarried yet) after a severe chumping in my 2nd marriage! I am so happy to hear your story and to hear how happy you both are! You continue to give us all hope! Enjoy your special 10 year anniversary!

        • Congratulations ????????????????????????????????????????! Like you and Kimberlee, I hope to get to a successful #3. Your story is similar to mine in terms of H#1 untreated MH issues, H#2 (presented like Mr CL) but turns out not so much. Thanks for the hope and the vote of confidence you send out.
          I love your writing, the straight shooter in you and your sharp wit. I love how you can frame real life into something worth being very grateful for. Mr CL is lucky to have found you.

      • Thanks for alllowing us to share your anniversary with you two , Congrats
        I just love a happy ending ! Your story Inspires me that just maybe there is hope for decent men in this world. Maybe one will come my way but maybe not. I’m just happy to know they are out there.

    • Happy Anniversary! Thanks for sharing your story and for giving us hope!

      You’re an adorable couple! ????

  • Dear Tracy and Mr. Chumplady, felicitations and best wishes for many more years of joy! Thank you and bless you for the Genuine hope you share here!

    • Happy anniversary! You and your book and your blog are keeping me afloat right now as I navigate through the initial stages of betrayal. Thank you for all you do and your wonderful insightful words. I hope you guys have a great day!

  • ❤ Happy Anniversary CL & Mr CL! So grateful for all you do & have done for so many good chumps CL. May god continue to bless you both ❤

  • YES!! Me and Colonel Greatguy just celebrated 5 years and are navigating the choppy waters of life. When I said I wanted to get old with him, I didnt actually picture GETTING OLD but we now look different than the photos of our courtship.

    I try to never come here and frame success as future marriage…that is good for some but not everyone. For those who eventually choose it and pick a winner, great. For those contented with themselves or those who are clever enough to not settle for dumpster-fire prospects and keep your options open…good on you. Lets get on with this business of living our best lives.

    • Congrats! I agree that remarriage isn’t the end goal. I didn’t want to come across as self-congratulatory. When I created this place, I was remarried, and I wanted there to be a place that showed new lives after betrayal are possible and happy, and aren’t about reconciliation with a cheater.

      There are MANY new beginnings. New jobs, new degrees, being the sane parent, better friendships. So much to fill your life with that isn’t flinging your precious life at a narcissist.

        • There are indeed many new beginnings, and all of them should be embraced and celebrated–including your happy, successful marriage to Mr. Chump Lady. Congratulations on ten happy years together, and here’s to many decades more!

      • CL, no need to explain your post. You have made it very clear in your posts that the goal is self-love, self acceptance, moving forward and living – a new partner has never been the focus of your writing. Many of us would like one, but it goes without saying, some people actually prefer the perks of being single.

      • Congrats on your 10-year! What a blessing both you and your hubby found good, decent and loving partners after the hell you both went through. I believe it makes you appreciate each other even more.

        I have been remarried to my “keeper” for 17 years now. Early in our courtship, he said to me, “Wiser Now, don’t ever let anyone run over you, including me.” Right then, I knew he was a good one. And he has proven himself to be. 🙂

      • You are always very kind and considerate on this point…I just wanted to add that caveat as I am also celebrating marriage yet give lots of love to the chumps in every version of love.

      • Thank you so much for this post. I’m almost a year out from D day yet really struggling with it all still. I think covid has delayed my gaining a new life quite a bit. I love a hopeful story though.

  • What a wonderful way to wake up on a Thursday, two days after a Tuesday! Congratulations to you two and thank you for this empowering blog.

    • Love the photo of your Golden. I have two myself…life-savers, I’d say! Stuck with me through all the crying!

  • Well being from Texas, I am mildly offended! Happy Anniversary! From a Texas chump!

    • You can stand beside Mr. CL in the “mildly offended by Tracy’s snark about Texas.”

      The best people are from Texas. The weather, however…

      • How can anyone complain about 105 with heat index of 110 plus? Or the 90 plus percent humidity that goes with it??? Now Lockhart is not one of our best examples of greatness!

      • Back when I lived in Houston there were 3 seasons: Hot, Wet & February.
        February is the awesome one (sunny, temperatures in the 70s, not too humid). Dining at night on a patio on your birthday (Feb 24th) is fun when most people are still snowed or iced in, but yeah the rest of the time you go from air conditioned interior to air conditioned interior.

        Anyhoo congratulations on the decade CL (& Mr. CL)!

        • The last time I was in Houston, I was in a mall hit by a tornado and got caught in a flash flood.

  • Thank you for sharing this. I’ve spent another night getting no sleep and wondering why I’m so awful.

    • Having been in an awful relationship with an awful person doesn’t make you awful. The corollary to “Trust that they suck” is “Trust that you don’t suck”.

      • Yes! This!

        “Trust that you don’t suck” is so important. CL should do a companion block to Trust That They Suck about this. Trust That You Don’t Suck.

        I struggled so hard with this. Like what about me is so shitty that this is the life I have? What did I do that makes me deserve this shit?

        Talking with my therapist, I told her about the experiences I’ve had with terrible partners and at the end of my story she just said “You know those guys suck right?” Just that. No buts, so qualifiers, no “But you…” just “You know those guys suck right?”

        I thought I sucked because of all the terrible things these terrible people had said and done to me. Too old to like pokemon, too old to have stuffed animals, how stupid I was for going to University and incurring student debt, “resentful” for asking them to stop talking about their ex spouse, “dumb sjw bullshit” for wanting to see the female-cast Ghostbusters, “creepy and weird goth chick” for owning a snake, being told to “stop trying to control other people and being so insecure” for saying I don’t want my partners to cheat, being “strange and making them uncomfortable” for liking anime, stop wearing heels in public that’s slutty, don’t wear ripped jeans that’s trashy…and a thousand other criticisms of everything about me.

        It’s garbage. All of it. I have a pokemon facemask and backpack. I am very upfront about the fact I will not tolerate cheating. I wear whatever pants or shoes I want. I take pictures of my pet snake all the time. I did watercolor art of my favorite female Ghostbuster. And I love anime so much, I connected with my current partner through an anime quote. (For his birthday, I actually got the voice actor of his favorite character on his favorite anime to record him a personal birthday video message. He was speechless.)

        They suck. You don’t. Don’t let some asshole convince you that you deserved the pain of their shitty choices.

        • I’ve mentioned this blog & companion book on several occasions with my therapist. He once asked me what I had learned the most & I said “trust that they suck.” He loved it.

        • My therapist told me, “You aren’t for everybody.” Not every man (or female friend, for that matter), are going to be comfortable with who I am, what I love, how I like to live.

          And I take that to heart. But for sure, I have to be “for” myself. I hope all chumps know that when someone starts to tear them down–during dating or after marriage–that’s a sign that there is something wrong with the person finding fault. And the corollary is true also–that if we find ourselves wanting to remodel or change someone, then that person is not for us.

    • You are far from awful.

      And I prescribe an escapist movie for you (if I knew your tastes, I’d suggest one, I just had a blast watching the head trip ‘Rocketman’, it’s currently a freebie if you are subscribed to Amazon Prime) as well as a portion of the dessert of your choice.

  • “None of this was as hard as one day spent with a fuckwit. What a difference a loving, invested partner makes.”

    Great, now I’m crying. And before my morning meetings. You really *are* awful, CL! (I kid.)

    Been with the new guy for 4.5 years now, and everything we face is, like you said, so much easier than one day spent with a fuckwit. If he could hear me over the sound of our two small kids singing together in the kitchen right now, I’d tell him. That being said, my life as a single mom post-chumpdom was ALSO amazing. I’m so grateful for this community and for the walls in all our houses, singing.

    • That was the part that I loved too! Just knowing you have a dedicated person who’s facing the problems *with* you is great – I’ve started saying to people that if they find true peace with someone, that is a VERY good sign.

  • I love this sooooo much! Thanks for sharing your life and love story with us! And all the pictures too! Happy 10th wedding anniversary, Mr. & Mrs. Chump Lady!

  • This is awesome! Hope you day is awesome. You and your book has helped me so very much!

  • That made me cry, it’s so lovely. Congrats to you both, truly. And thanks again for regularly putting us all straight!

  • Wouldn’t it be lovely to quietly match up the men in this group to a possible female Chump connection also from the group? Often when I am reading the posts of an eloquent and kind Chump dude I think, “Why can’t I meet someone like him?”

    • I would caution everyone from thinking that finding a chump is the ticket. My chump chumped me. Look for other qualities instead :).

  • I first posted this in April 2019 — since the tune comes from a song celebrating anniversaries, I’m posting again on your special day — have a great one (and Mr. CL, please take for a spin on the dance floor on behalf of all of us) . . .

    “A long distance anniversary dedication goes out to the Chump Lady blog, and to the paradox that while it’s a life saver when we need it most, it also aims to get all chumps to the point where we DON’T need it anymore.”

    To the tune of: “Can I Have This Dance” (Anne Murray)

    I’ll always remember the hell of my D-Day
    My mind in a horrible place
    I found you on Google, and knew when I came here
    I’d found my saving grace

    Can I have this blog for as long as I need?
    To deal with and process every misdeed?
    Things become better the more I read
    Can I have this blog for as long as I need?

    I’ll always be grateful for gaining the know-how
    To understand shit cheaters say
    For Bullshit Translation, for Tempest, and Nomar,
    Cashmere and L-A-J

    Can I have this blog for as long as I need?
    To deal with and process every misdeed?
    Things become better the more I read
    Can I have this blog for as long as I need?

    • Aww. How do you come up with these so fast? It’s like a super power!

      I hear the voice of Casey Kasem…

      • I was married 45 yrs….my husband has a 5 yr old. (I Don’t). Im so broken and sad. I was blindsided.
        But, I can and will wish you and Mr CL a Beautiful Day. Linda

      • UXworld: You have a special talent, indeed!!! Genius! Thanks for sharing.

        (I’m pretty sure the ex Mr. Spinach and I danced to that Anne Murray song at our wedding. Ah, the 80s!)

  • This has made me cry, congrats. I am 11 weeks of living in Chumptown and sill very broken, While WH and AP living in unicorn land of Twu Luv!! Trying to believe it will get better. I hope my Tuesday is out there and there is hope that this gets better like it did for you.

    • 11 weeks
      You are still in the thick unbearable heat of it. One day at a time – advice that helped me was to do one thing for myself every day. Some days that amounted to taking a shower, ???? hug.
      Remember, you’re not the one who sucks.

    • ** Hugs! **

      I agree with Zip. Hang in there and try to take things one day at a time. Make sure you eat & get enough sleep, and take care of you! Things will get better with time. I know that probably feels impossible right now, but it’s true and we are all here to support you and lift you up. You can do this!

      ** More Hugs! **

    • I agree: you are still bleeding and broken at 11 weeks. All your energy needs to go to self-care. The temptation is to try to “fix it.” The temptation is to try to get your cheater to “fix it.” Trust me: they have nothing for you; they can give you nothing; and the thing they did isn’t fixable. Pretend they were a hurricane: Hurricane Cheater. What’s the point of blaming a hurricane, or wanting the hurricane to fix the damage it did? Shift your focus from fixing to healing.

      To heal…. First, you need splints and wraps so you can heal straight and clean and strong: talk to your therapist, your friends who have their heads screwed on straight and know how precious you are, your pastor or priest if that applies. Read CL’s book. Another one I really like is Margalis Fjelstad’s Healing from a Narcissistic Relationship. Do all the exercises to take an inventory of how you feel (b/c your cheater spent years gaslighting you into doubting your own feelings) and what you love about yourself. Keep a journal to keep yourself honest with yourself.

      Second, you need painkillers: healing hurts, and there’s no short way through the pain (though it does ease up over time). So, when the pain comes, don’t mess around, medicate it with things you know are healthy for you. I used hot baths, phone calls with friends, cooking and baking for friends, playing piano, running, martial arts, home improvement, hiking my dogs, K-drama, and fly-fishing. Painkillers have to be things you know you love and that will take effect immediately.

      That’s it: there’s nothing else to do right now except be kind to yourself and wait for the awesome healing power of your spirit to kick in. I promise it will. ((Hugs))

      • okupin, ‘Hurricane Cheater. ????What’s the point of blaming a hurricane, or wanting the hurricane to fix the damage it did? Shift your focus from fixing to healing.’
        I wish I had found CL sooner, rather than wasting months doing a deep dive into the RIC literature. Better late than never though.

    • I’m so sorry….. you are definitely not the one who sucks. This is the most important thing to remember

    • Just wanted to add, something just fell into my eye, that’s why I’m tearing up, not crying, not me… I wish you all the best

  • Chump lady proves life goes on.
    Cheaters are like prickly heat, horrible and annoying.
    Lovely pictures.
    I would say cheaters are like wasps, but that’s a insult to wasps.

  • Happy Anniversary you two! It makes me happy every time I read this blog that someone has found a great partner after being with a fuckwit. I remember when Mr. CL started chiming in on your advice and knew that you had found a wonderful man! Thanks for sharing the pictures. Enjoy your day and may you enjoy another ten years too! By the way – does Mr. CL have any eligible brothers??? Lol 😉 PS – without this blog I don’t think I would have made it to Meh. For that I am eternally grateful!

  • ❤️. Best thing I’ve read in a very long time! Cheers to you two enjoying life and having a healthy loving relationship ship. I hope we are all just as lucky to find loving partners like y’all did.

  • Happy Anniversary from Australia. I had been questioning myself tonight for the first time since BD 3 years ago that ‘somehow’ I deserved this. I know I don’t, but just that nagging feeling of “what if”. I’m so happy to hear of chumps “happily ever after”, can’t imagine what that would look like, but I’m still searching.

    • No one “deserves” to be lied to, betrayed, manipulated and wounded.

      Happily ever after can take many forms, but the prerequisite is knowing who you are and what matters to you. Once I put aside the push for a life I thought I “should” have and started figuring out who I am and what I like and what I want in my life, then my “happily ever after” in my 60s started to come together.

  • Congratulations! There is so much hope and love in your story. My dude and I will be married 3 years this November. It was hard to work through the fear to choose love again. It’s not perfect, but I’ve learned to trust again, never as naively as I did before, but I know he has my back no matter what.

  • I love everything about this post but especially the pictures! Happy Anniversary Tracy and Mr. CL. Here’s to many, many more decades of loving, invested partnership! ????

    • Happy Anniversary!

      Thank you for sharing your experience, strength, hope, and infidelity recovery with me. You have saved my life every day since I found you.

      I am overjoyed that you and Mr. CL found each other. I know this blog is a lot of work and takes a massive amount of energy and time….so thank you for so kind and generously taking a slice of that precious time you have with Mr. CL and giving it to us.

      • It posted as a reply to Beth but y’all know what I mean!


  • Happy Anniversary! May you enjoy many more years together.

    I don’t know – Ledo’s pizza and beer sounds like a celebration. Or at least crabs and beer.

  • So many congratulations! Even in this post, you know our hearts. I appreciate you so much — for your willingness to lay bare the pain you’ve borne, for your devotedness to the lessons it taught, and for your dedication to sharing those tough (and valuable) lessons with us.

    Then here, to circle back and acknowledge that we just wanted to be loved, valued, respected, and treated with honesty when we ended up chumped (and chumped, and chumped), acknowledging that we weren’t wrong, and that in time, there could be someone real and true to genuinely and happily share the minutiae of life with. This is the best post. I’m so happy for you, and thankful even here you’re sharing the path you’ve blazed so we (with fixed pickers) can follow. All the best, and happy anniversary!

  • Congratulations. I, while being a hopeless romantic, am happily content single. I have just obtained permanent employment from a contract role. That is my celebration. That and having survived cancer and all the wonderful friends in my life. I haven’t formally rejected dating again, I just think I might be one of those people who lives a full life alone. I know that is better than being with a lying, thieving, cheat.

    • Once I got over the brainwashing that I needed to be in a married couple and the fear and hatred of living alone, I found I really look forward to coming home at the end of the day, knowing I can have peace and solitude. I feel very blessed to have found a nice man to “keep company” with so i don’t go full hermit.

  • This post makes me happy. I teared up reading it. Thank you for sharing with us. At 57 it seems unlikely I will find a partner. I am not actively seeking any kind of relationship because my life feels happy and full as is. And it seems to me it is not a good use of my valuable remaining time to be searching for a needle in a haystack. Seven years after d-day and pretty meh thanks in large part to the wisdom of CL and CN. After a 27 year (what I thought was a good) marriage it took quite a while. Still sometimes I think it would be nice to have a partner and if someone comes along maybe. Hearing the good stories make it seem possible. Thank you Chumplady and Happy Anniversary!

    • You have a solid 20 yrs with your next partner- if you want one. 57 is NOT a write off.

    • @BetterEveryDay–you and me both. I’m 54, 27 years together of what I too had thought was a good marriage; completely blindsided as he was a really good husband until he wasn’t. And I get it–right now I still can’t even imagine a partner and it makes me sad that even that possibility was soiled for me. HOWEVER, as I mentioned somewhere here before a former co-worker remarried at 60, a friend’s aunt married in November of last year at…i think…I can’t remember but she’s in her 60’s. And a former client moved in with her boyfriend a year ago and she’s I believe 72. Oh! And a client who had left an abusive marriage in her I believe 40’s was single for 20 years and when I met her she was remarried for 2 years. I’m still in the ‘it won’t happen for me’ camp (still struggling with that self-esteem) but I do like to let people know that it can and does happen sometimes.

    • Sometimes you find the needle when you aren’t looking. So go on doing your happy, full life. That’s how I met the Very Kind Man I date–in the process of recovering an activity that had fallen out of my life before I was old enough to date.

  • Happy anniversary!! It’s good to put a face to the name! Enjoy your special day.

  • I have a Texas size grin after reading this. Here’s to fixing pickers and doing the hard work of being a good partner. Here’s to breakfast tacos. And here’s to your gorgeous mane of curly hair – this stick straight haired woman knows the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the hair fence but dang it’s pretty. Happy anniversary and many more!

  • Happy Anniversary I’m am so Happy for you Reading your story brought tears to my eyes tears of joy for you tears of hope for me You did it you got your second chance , I’m so proud of you Very moved by your story Thank you for sharing it Hope you have a Amazing day They you also for being here for all of us Congratulations ????

  • So much radiance, from you two!! ✨

    Happy Anniversary, Mrs. and Mr. CL !! ????????

  • Happy anniversary CL! Thanks for sharing your joy.

    Have you ever shared how you met Mr. CL?

      • I love your site, insight into the reality of the skein, and this post. Congratulations. I’m so happy for you both and to know there’s life after a little death by a cheater. Single or healthily rehitched!

        Have a great one!!! Ty for all you do.

    • Not2ndplace, at the top of the page, right next to home, click on “about” to read part of CL’s story. Then, go into the archives and there are more details along the way, like August 8, 2012.

  • Happy Anniversary! Not that many years ago I found your website and it helped save my sanity in the midst of something I couldn’t figure out myself. I’m forever grateful for you and the love you show your fellow chumps with actionable information to get us unstuck and on a path worthy of our value as good people. May Karma continue to shower you with rewards from helping so many people and may your blessings in life multiply.

  • Happy Anniversary to you both. You make a great looking couple and I am so glad that you have found your happiness. I am also so very grateful that I found your site and your book…you helped make sense out of absolute nonsense.

    Today is actually an anniversary for me also. Five years age today was Dday (after 36 years)! I actually feel like it happened 100 years ago. I have not yet reached nirvana, but life is good!

  • Omg, reading this makes me sob of both happiness and pain. I am so happy for you Chump Lady. This brings n m e so much hope for the future. I am separated from my ex but not divorced. We are trying to heal from all the wreckage of the marriage separately but we talk once a week. The rest of the time we’re going no contact. This Friday would’ve been our 10th anniversary. It is so heartbreaking that some people can create so much damage to those closest to them. I guess we have to have faith that it is not all in vain. Happiness is hopefully around the corner for those who choose self-respect. Happy anniversary! Xx

    • Hi B,
      Sorry you’re in the thick of the pain and the hurt right now. Can I make an observation? Talking once a week isn’t “no contact.” It might seem harder at first, but if you stop those once a week phone calls, you might find yourself healing faster.

      • Agreed, if he chumped you, talking with him is helping him not you. I did the same. It took a while to let it sink in. If it’s over it’s over. Unfortunately. Hugs.

    • “We are trying to heal from all the wreckage of the marriage separately but we talk once a week.”


      If he cheated on you, there is no ‘we’ here. You can bet your boots *he* is not “trying to heal”, and talking once a week? He’s manipulating you, don’t fall for it.

    • As Chump Lady says….it’s not that she doesn’t believe in Unicorns ( cheaters who really, truly are sorry and are committed to change and being the honest partner they should have been, etc)- it’s not that they don’t exist, it’s just that ——as she says, she’s never seen one. So, knowing that a Unicorn has never been spotted but with that teeny tiny sliver of hope and your shields UP… that your cheater might just be the Big Foot of Unicorns and .if talking to your Asshat cheater once a week allows you to collect data, watch the specimen like you would study a virus in a Petri dish laboratory….if that gives you peace from a distance then perhaps it can work for you. But tread carefully because as much as the emotional blow is painful the first time it’s worse the second and third rounds. I hope for your sake that your cheater can be the first Unicorn spotted…..but this new breed of animal must come with papers….and those papers are called a post nup. Put into writing now that any all property is yours, a monthly annuity for you for life, etc – set the bar high and if he won’t sign it, look for the zipper around his horn…he’s not a real unicorn – he rented the costume from Central Casting. Good luck and please take care of yourself first – people will treat you based on how you treat yourself. Sending you best wishes- you are not alone.

      • I’d add that while I get the idea of talking once a week if the goal is to save the marriage, I’d suggest that you, B, are putting yourself at risk. If your spouse lied to you and gaslighted you during an affair, how can you believe what they say now? How can you heal when you are keeping hope alive for a marriage that is “wreckage”?

        I’m not saying that you need to get a divorce. But time really apart from each other is a way to figure out, first, what you need and want in a partner and what you need for yourself. And second, whether your spouse has sufficient character to be a faithful, kind, honest partner. The most important thing I learned was that you can’t have a good relationship with someone of poor character. The second most important thing was that I needed time on my own to think clearly about the relationship while not allowing reconciliation to be more important than my own long-term health and happiness.

        • LofedaJackass is right. Be very careful during any communication if you must/want to have those weekly chats – keep your shield up. Do not become a hermit but at the same time beware of others who will mindfuck you the same way the Cheater has…..the not so sincere girlfriends that say “leave him!!!” only to date him later…..or the mother-in-laws or the mothers or the neighbors or that person at work, etc. – you can go nuts listening to other people – this is about you….what gives you peace. You’ll know when your pushing a square into a round hole….you’ll have that light bulb moment – sometimes you have to put your hand back in the flame a few times to really know that Trust That They Suck is true. I know women who still morn their divorce because they feel they didn’t give him a second chance – if walking back through the flames allows you to be more certain of your decision then go for it – but shields up – Trust Chump Nation – these are all very good women/men.

  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Congratulations!

    For the newbies, I am one of the long term visitors here. I joined CN in April 2013. My divorce had just been finalized, and I was spending two months overseas for work, while my minor aged children were home with my exH cheater. He had just tried to move the pregnant OW into the house, but I managed to halt that. I wish I had found CL while I struggled post DDay and through the divorce, but better late than never.

    It’s been a tough 7 years ,even pre-COVID. 7 years of ex hiding salary, two trips to court (what a waste of 20k dollars) , a suicidal 14 yr old (two hospitalizations— they are in college now!), a younger child with self esteem issues who is a people pleaser (I worry about chumpdom for them…) .
    Mx ex moved overseas, married the OW, and had a kid less than six months post divorce finalization. That made life somewhat easier, as I did not have the daily contact.

    As CL says, then end goal is not another marriage. It’s about finding your worth, and taking that into all aspects of your new life.
    I had been with my high school sweetheart for 23 yrs, 18 yrs married…. I had a very difficult time accepting that he was not the person I thought I married. Add in I was the single parent with no support…

    Three years ago I ignored a note from a guy from an online dating group— eldest was in crisis again and I did not have the energy for dating. I responded 2.5 months later, but he was traveling for work. Our first date was two months after that. Then we muddled through for four more months because he could not read if I was interested in him romantically (I had never dated…). We are still together, and I am still amazed at times.
    It has also not be a walk in the park- deaths of parents, our differing habits and needs, now COVID— but it has also been full of adventures, big and small. He took me backpacking, I took him to Europe.

    So, for the newbies — take a chance on yourself. Life will get better, whether it’s a new city, a new job, a new relationship. Be present for yourself, your kids.
    Jedi hugs to all.

    • Hey zyx321; Just wanted to let you know I have a daughter I was worried about when she was young. (Too nice, worried about her boundaries). She is now 35, a nurse practitioner, and I pity the fool that gets in the way of her goals.

    • “As CL says, then end goal is not another marriage. It’s about finding your worth, and taking that into all aspects of your new life.”


  • Many congratulations , I’m in absolute tears reading this ( happy tears though )

    I want to be brave someday but for just now I’ll just read this over and over .

  • Happy anniversary !

    A year ago, my life exploded. Im much better now and a good father to my kids, and that’s thanks to an unbelievable support system, of which you were part. I recently had a meeting online with divorced men, many chumps. We discussed what we learned. I told i learned how to identify bullshit, and thats one of the things you teached me, so congrats, and thank you.

    I also remember that twenty years ago, i had to write a philosophy dissertation for an exam. The question was “is heroism a perversion of courage”. I dont remember what i wrote but it didn’t get me a good grade. Today, i would simply write “no, its not.” You’re a real hero. I still can’t believe you answered my mail almost a year ago, in addition to everything you do everyday. You put me back on my feet. I talk about your blog every occasion i get. You teach us clarity, self respect, self forgiveness, and you generally rock.

    Thank you!


  • Congratulations!

    I too found Mr. Right and we are getting married this weekend! He is my Angel and I don’t know what I would do without him. I am so grateful to have this man in our lives. Thank you for this blog and showing woman what is not acceptable and how when you know your worth you can find Mr. Right or be happy on your own!
    We all so appreciate all the topics that we read here!
    Enjoy your day together!

  • Happy Anniversary! I was married on this day as well. Today would have been a significant wedding anniversary for me. I woke up this morning wondering how to make sense of all the conflicting emotions I’m feeling, nearly 2 years out from my divorce. I have not posted much on CN lately, but reading this post today feels like a sign. I’m glad the day worked out well for Chump Lady. It truly gives me hope!

    My entire married life was “toxic, lopsided, chaotic and painful.” I suppose I will always miss the dream of what “could have been,” but let’s face it, the reality sucked. There was nothing wrong with the dream, but the person who lied, betrayed, and traumatized me did not ever truly value me or my dream.

    Reading this post, I am reclaiming today — and my future. Here is to new beginnings!

  • This makes my day in every way. Thank you for encouraging me to believe I am worth it and that my mighty is just beginning! Sending gratitude, congratulations and so many wishes for decades of future happiness. ♥️

  • Happy Anniversary… you and Mr. CL are so inspiring (I wish there was a dating site for chumps!). Cheers to your bravery, your love, your commitment, and to the next ten years!

  • Cheers to a different type of hopium! What’s not to love about 107 degrees with 100% humidity at 8:00AM?

  • CL undersells herself once again. She is more beautiful, more talented, and more courageous than the “pretty great” she (barely) admits to. Remarriage for me, to CL, was a no-brainer.

    About getting married on Friday the 13th (yes, August 13, 2010, was a Friday), there is a story. The day before I met CL in New Orleans, I got a tattoo of the number 13 on my arm. I chose that for my first and only ink because 13 has always been my lucky number, since I won a huge decorated Christmas tree on a No. 13 raffle ticket when I was 7 years old. Seven-year-old me thought, “Is there anything better than having YOUR VERY OWN CHRISTMAS TREE?!?” And as the years passed, I came to love the idea that things that appear at first to be bad luck—say, a raffle ticket bearing the number 13, or losing a job, or perhaps even discovering that a wife of 22 years was cheating the whole time—can end up being tremendous good luck.

    Of course, I love that idea even more after I showed CL my new tattoo and we went on to fall in love and make a wonderful new life together. I proposed the following year on May 13, we got married on August 13, and when our marriage certificate arrived it had been recorded in Book 13 of the marriage records of Caldwell County, Texas. And if I could go back in time, I would tell seven-year-old me, “Having your very own Christmas tree is great, but trust me, it gets WAY better than that.”

    Happy anniversary, Tracy. I love you. And to all the chumps out there who think they might want to partner up again, take heart: No one knows yet how your story is going to end, and ANYTHING is possible.

    • Ahhh, Mr CL, you’re gonna make everyone tear up. Congratulations!
      And I have to add as someone born on a Friday the 13th, I think it is a perfectly wonderful number.

    • Paul,
      You and Tracy are an amazing couple and perfect for each other. The blended family you created is pretty special too.
      The world and all us chumps are lucky to have you both in it.
      Enjoy your special day because you deserve it.

    • As someone who also loves Lucky 13 (and also has a 13 tattoo), thank you so much for this post!

      My Friday the 13th wedding did not work out, but that’s because I married a fuckwit. I like to believe there are better days ahead for me. Today’s posts give me hope and make me look forward to the next chapter in my story.

      • I broke up with my last boyfriend on a Friday 13th! I don’t think he cheated on me, but I did once see evidence that he had a wandering eye… I’d been utterly miserable with him, but the horrible fug I was in disappeared almost immediately, and my mental health got so much better after I got out.
        Congratulations and much love to CL and Mr CL, may you have many more happy anniversaries! ????

    • Congratulations to you 2 on your decade! May there be many many more! 😉

    • Nice, Mr CL. You and Tracy enjoy all the 13’s you want. You deserve it. I’m an eleven man, myself. I was already there for personal reasons, but “This Is Spinal Tap” helped confirm it. But I love your idea of finding the silver linings in times and situations that are traditionally not considered that great. May you both enjoy many more years of worthy love together.

      Maybe I’ll join you in that someday, but I have no prospect of that right now. Just focusing on my almost 15 yo son primarily (my only minor child that I currently share w/the FW XW) and my two daughters (in their twenties, but also from FW XW). Otherwise, I’m just trying to enjoy my freedom from the FW XW as much as possible.

      You two give the rest of us here at CN a view of a possible happy future w/another person. It doesn’t have to be our future, because we know now that we can be happy and alone (not totally happy, I think, since we are social beings, but happy enough). But at least through you both, we see it IS possible. That’s enough for me.

  • Happy Anniversary to you and Mr CL!!!!!

    Thank you so much for everything you do. This site has been a lifesaver and helped me to LACGAL. Almost divorced. Fixing my picker, healing and working hard to achieve my dream. I have changed so much. I am enough by myself!!!

  • Who knew that kicking a fuckwit to the curb, taking a chance on an unknown future and having the talent and humor to write about it would change so many lives for the better! What a great story of marriage success and highlighting that it is the quiet and ordinary times together that are the comfort and the cement. Thanks for showing us how it is done! You have helped so many through immeasurable pain!

    • Congratulations dear, dear Chump Lady and Mr. CL, you two have inspired me to be brave and take chances. Look at you, still happily married after ten years!!!! Thank You for showing me there is a better life after being chumped! Thank you for being brave and doing the hard work of fixing your picker. Thank you for this blog that has been a daily comfort and inspiration. I salute you!

      I loved your wedding day photos. I imagined your sons and the UBT in the background cheering you on!

  • Happy Anniversary!! I am so glad you found a ‘different’ happiness as it gives the rest of us hope that it is still a possibility.

  • Congratulations!

    Im glad you two found each other and that your relationship together is fulfilling and loving. You both deserve it.

  • Happy Anniversary! Many good things to come….. thanks for the inspiration!

  • Fills my heart with joy, CL. The men and women of CN wish you the best and I, for one, am incredibly grateful that God has used you to help us through the worst of times. You’ve done more for me than I could begin to articulate and you’re cheaper than a therapist.

    CN and newcomers, you will get to the other side. Make the best of the opportunity when it arrives and keep in mind, you never know what’s in store. It’s always darkest before the dawn.

    • SheSucksAsAHuman, I agree and tell my kids all of the time the same thing! CL and CN are better than a therapist and cheaper as well. I encourage everyone that can to support CL with more than just buying LACGAL. Come on, how many of us spend more than $3 for a coffee? I’m just saying, if we all chip in a bit, it will really add up fast. Plus, it would make a nice anniversary gift!

  • Happy anniversary! Tracy and Mr. CL, I’m so glad you shared your story and pictures. You continue to inspire me! Nearly 6 years ago I was blindsided. I tried fake reconciliation for 18 weeks until I found your blog. Those 18 weeks nearly killed me. 33 years ago my first husband also cheated but I was 19 and had little invested with him. I thought my second husband of 25 years was committed, had integrity, …. not who he really was —a serial cheater, sociopath, drug user. Your blog helped me understand the unfathomable. It helped me take massive action (no contact, divorce, build my new life). It gave me access to the Great Chump Nation for 24/7 support, which is key.

    I can relate to what you wrote: “when I left a cheater, I didn’t know what was on the other side of my life. I just knew that I MATTERED. And I wouldn’t be accepting abuse. Whatever it was I’d had when I was married was toxic, lopsided, chaotic and painful. I left for an ideal — self-respect. I deserved better. I had ZERO expectation that I would live to see a day I’d find “better.”

    Surprisingly, I also met a wonderful life partner. We’ve been happily living our best life these past 4+ years. I never expected this but it’s wonderful. New career, new hobbies, new home, new partner, new bonus kids, new pets….. I’m blessed with abundance.

    XH continues his path of destruction… cheats on AP-now live in GF, rages at our grown kids who barely speak to him, his health is destroyed. . .

    “Thank you” is I sufficient to express my gratitude to you and Mr. CL.


  • Happy Anniversary! I love this blog today. I am going to forget I saw champagne being poured into wine glasses. I am so glad you shared the pictures and continue to share your new beginnings. Some of us, me included, are very scared of our picker. I am 2x divorced myself. Devoting time with my young daughter who is learning to navigate with the fuckwit. (She has a great therapist) My oldest two are brainwashed.

    Cheers to Mr CL and CL!!

  • Thank you for being available to us, Tracy. For guiding us patiently thru the chaos, for all your great wisdom. Many happy years to come for you and Mr. CL. You deserve super happiness :). Congratulations!

  • Congratulation Tracy and Mr CL! Thank you for your openness, honesty and vulnerability. You are currently a big part of my morning routine???? Bless you!

  • Happy Anniversary Tracy and Mr CL! This blog has changed my life and given me the vocabulary and the logical threads to share my story in a way that makes me feel authentic and powerful.

  • Tracy:

    Happy ❤️ Anniversary to you and Mr. CL!

    I woke up this morning in the same condition I have for the last 5 years and 15 days: alone, divorced — and perfectly relaxed. And I did what I do on most mornings… I reached over to my nightstand, put on my glasses, and went straight to the CL Facebook page, only to be greeted by your beautiful, celebratory story of 2 lives rebuilt and a love that so perfectly suits both of you. My heart is so incredibly happy for you and Mr. CL!

    I invested 40 years in my marriage and things were going along remarkably well. Then D-Day came along (no trickle truth here; all 14 of his affairs were exposed in less than 10 minutes). Nothing will throw you off your foundation faster than realizing everything you believed to be true — wasn’t. I’d been married to a complete stranger, and apparently the story-book marriage I thought I had was nothing but papier-mâché… beautifully decorated on the outside, but empty and void on the inside. I’m embarrassed to say that I spent the next 15 months doing absolutely everything wrong, which just added to my abject humiliation. Oh, how I wish I’d known then about CL/CN, LACGAL, and all of the love, empathy, and wisdom that resides in this community! But luckily, all on their own, my sensibilities finally came out of hibernation, I slapped my own face (both cheeks), and went full-on Zero Contact. THAT’S when I found CL/CN, and you confirmed I was now on the right path.

    With my youth and middle-age both behind me (I’m 65), I think it’s quite unlikely I’ll experience another romantic relationship. But as they say, “Never say never“, so I go about my daily life… peacefully content, exceedingly grateful for every good and wonderful thing that comprises my life, keeping my heart and mind open and receptive to whatever comes next, and yes, remaining optimistic that someday, I may even be blessed with another chance at love.

    Thank you for giving me this hope, Tracy!

    • My friend Yoma remarried at 75 (there’s a post about in in the archives, she was chumped in the 1970s). And last month my former boss remarried at 87. The groom was 92. (They were both widowed.)

      • CL,

        Wow, so I guess if I still have a pulse, love may still reign! Thanks!

    • Dear MyRedSandels, I read your post and my heart began to pound. Your situation is very different from the many wonderful Chumps who are also a part of Chump Nation – many are with young small children and the Cheaters are at the 7-10 year itch with an OW, etc. There are many exceptions as well but the 40 year marriage like yours is particularly unique- mine was 26 years of what I thought was a pretty good marriage. No big issues, the regular ups and downs, but no money or health issues, no problems with kids, etc. ( He didn’t want children). And my DDay May 2020 was boom- as you described it so well, my Cheater dropped a decades long hooker habit with at least 25 prostitutes (that he could remember) in 2 minutes. I was making dinner at he just blurted it out. The whores are starting to climb out of the woodwork and were extorting him for money. Must be business is slow with Covid… I am curious whatever happened to your Cheater, did he want to reconcile, did he find an OW? 40 years is such a long time. I know what you mean about the foundation being cracked, my life doesn’t seem real, but I’ve said before I know 1/2 of it was real – my half. I’m working through dividing up assets now – we are separated – I’m 1500 miles away from him in another state. He is calling asking for forgiveness and says he’s doing SA meetings on line but it seems so inauthentic…..just an add water stir quick fix. He’s a doctor in Beverly Hills and he knows his reputation is at risk. Anything you would like to share would be appreciated. It’s such a shock to find out the man you spent so much of your life with hid a secret life, literally a double life filled with so many lies. He went to a psychiatrist ( Sweater Man to the tee) who agreed with him that the cause of his hooker habit was his (now dead) overbearing mother, the Androgel he was taking for bone health, the stress of work, a classic midlife crisis, my being gone for work, the first whore being so good he got hooked, and that he had a dissociative split. If I sent the psychiatrist diagnostic letter to Chump Lady to put through the UBT we might set a record in Chump Nation on the laugh meter. God bless Tracy S, and you, and all fellow Chumps. I could not be doing as well as I am had I not literally tripped upon her book while downloading all the infidelity healing better together bullwacky books……thank God for LACGAL.

      • Jo,

        To answer your questions… No, my XH never expressed any interest whatsoever in fixing our marriage. While he did agree to go to marriage counseling, he went kicking and screaming all the way, and as soon as the therapist got too close for comfort, XH took the first convenient exit ramp. I realized he never intended to learn anything from the experience, to express remorse, or to authentically seek reconciliation. He. Was. Not. Sorry. I’m convinced he agreed to go only because he thought it would make him look better, as if he really was a good guy who’d tried everything to make it work. I despise when things are done simply for “impression management” purposes.

        He admitted his cheating started all the way back during our dating days in college. We were living together at the time, and one night, while I was spending the night at a girlfriend’s dorm, he managed to snag himself a hot date with an ROTC cadet. They went to her military ball and then ended up back at our apartment, in our bed, fucking. I returned to our place the next morning at 8 AM because we had a double date scheduled with another couple to ride bikes out to a nearby state park. All day, he kept complaining about how tired he was, but he chalked it up to the heat. No… he was exhausted because he spent all night wide awake, spilling his seed inside the cadet; apparently, she left just minutes before I arrived. He got away with that indiscretion, so he probably figured it was easily repeatable. Most of his conquests were coworkers, but he also screwed our sons’ soccer Team Mom, our babysitter, the wives of couples we vacationed with, and even a woman we took into our home because her alcoholic husband was beating her up. I suppose there could’ve been some prostitutes thrown in there, but I doubt it; I think he felt most comfortable grooming and conquering people he knew.

        You talked about your STBX living a secret life. As I’ve said before, it’s almost as if my XH trained to be a secret agent with the KGB; he lived two completely different, but parallel, lives — one public (for me and everybody else to see), and one private (that nobody but him knew about). After we’ve been married for about 10 years, he started to suffer from debilitating panic attacks, complete with hyperventilating, dizziness, profuse sweating, heart palpitations, even fainting. Multiple medical exams revealed absolutely nothing wrong. I now think those panic attacks were a direct result of him trying to keep those two lives spinning at the same time without them actually intersecting. He had to keep everything bottled up inside, and pray nothing leaked out that would incriminate him and mess up his life.

        This brings us to that October evening at the dining room table when he handed me his infamous “6-point separation plan“, and told me he “needed time and space to determine the role of our marriage in his life“. I asked him if there was someone else, and he swore the answer was, “No“. Of course, if I’d known there’d already been 13 OWs, I would’ve immediately jumped to the correct conclusion that another one was possible. In fact, he was already 7 MONTHS into a relationship with OW #14 who worked in the office next to him. I call her the “Married Howorker” because she was also in a 40+ year marriage, with grown children and multiple grandchildren. She was older, married to a very successful attorney, and was living a 1% lifestyle that we couldn’t even dream about. I think he figured this was the best ticket he’d ever punch, so when he had his chance to make it legit, he did. The grapevine says Married Howorker waited until our divorce was final before filing for hers; shortly after the ink was dry on her decree, she and my XH immediately got engaged. Her kids were distraught since it seemed like this out-of-the-blue romance with the “but-he’s-just-a-work-friend“ had come out of nowhere. They begged her to wait until she was “better acquainted” with my XH, that “he was nothing but a rebound relationship”, and “there was no need for them to rush into anything”. Little did her kids know that by then, their mother and my XH had been fuckbuddies for over 5 YEARS. I had no idea who her attorney husband was, or else I would’ve tracked him down, told him what had been going on, and potentially, helped him get a better settlement. Anyway, Married Howorker ended up with a mountain of cash and now, the two lovebirds are living a very high lifestyle… riverfront home, boats, cruises, tons of travel, a stable of fancy cars, eating out every meal (because she doesn’t cook), etc. To some people, this might sound like a golden package, but I doubt there’s one shred of authenticity within 100 miles of them, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that XH is already cheating on her. Or better yet, that they’re cheating on each other. Theirs is NOT a life I want or envy. Thankfully, being Zero Contact insulates me from their mindfuckery and toxicity. Amen!

        • Dear MyRedSandels, thank you for your incredibly descriptive reply. Your writing is so clear and descriptive – your words paint a moving picture. I’m so very sorry you experienced such deception for so long. As in my situation, I question what their secondary gain was ? Why did they stay for so many years? Cake…it’s cake I guess. What troubles me the most is not only the self entitled cheaters deception robbing me of an authentic marriage but the countless dirty leg whores both those who charge and those who give it away for free that entertain married men. At least with the prostitutes most ”stay in their lane” and keep it a job ( until my cheaters last whore who wanted him full time to support her) but these coworkers and babysitters, and nanny’s, and neighbor woman who bang married men are the reason Equality & Women’s Rights are still an issue from the 1960’s – so much for sisterhood. I’ve said before if a married man ever approached me he’d need an ice pack between his knees. Where have all the good men and women gone? To Chump Nation. Sending you all my very best wishes celebrating your incredible courage for plowing through the storms your Cheater created. I’m in the very early stages of the May 2020 DDay….I’m still in so much shock…I’ve stopped crying, sorting through finances, and stopped reading his many many reviews of his whore on The Erotic Review, one was written on my birthday…I’m 1500 miles away from him, he texts constantly saying he’s healed no’s and doing SA meetings on line. If I go public it will make the news, destroy his medical practice, and cause me more pain——but as soon as I am protected the damn is going to break. He stole 26 years from me and what I thought for years was odd early menopause bleeding will undoubtedly be the gift of an STD. Thank you again for your reply. You have been so strong.

          • Jo,

            You’re just 3 months out from D-Day. Please be kind and loving towards yourself; you’re still SO early on in the journey!

            And please don’t give me too much credit. When I was just 3 months in, I was still a blubbering mess, almost unable to function. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think. How I got out of bed, took a shower, and went to work each day is still a mystery. My only explanation is, Almighty God propelled me to do so until I was strong enough to stand up on my own.

            The fact that you’re 1,500 miles away from your STBX is actually more of a blessing than you might realize. That physical distance is a gift, and it’ll help to expand your emotional and psychological distance, too; let the distance do its work.

            If, and when, the time comes that you’ll be able to hold him responsible, so be it. But right now, spend every ounce of energy on your recovery, on healing, on creating a beautiful and joyful life for yourself, and recapturing your soul. YOU are what matters, nothing else. ❤️

  • Congratulations to you and Mr. CL. Your story gives me hope that one day I might find love again. At 70 it seems unlikely, though.

    As to Texas, I lived in Houston for five years when I was in my twenties and thought I would die from the heat and humidity. I did much better in Wisconsin, despite the long winters. Now I’m in Annapolis and it’s much better.

    Thanks, again. Your wonderful advice has helped me so much these past five years that I don’t know how I would have made it without you.

  • I read this with a BIG BIG smile on my face and then I got to the pictures!
    CL is it your anniversary or is it our celebration? because I felt like I got a surprised treat today reading this blog post.
    So heart-warming!
    Wishing you all the best! Thank you for it all, you turned your pain into a source of inspiration for other people in their dark times.

  • Happy Anniversary Wonderful Chump Lady and Mr. CL!!!! Thank you for writing the most brilliant book on the face of the planet. Your tireless efforts of writing/publishing LACGAL and forming Chump Nation has been a life line for me and countless others. We are good women (and men) we were Chumped and we blamed ourselves – we accepted the application of blame because that’s what good people do. In this baseball game of life we are the best Catchers – we take the blame….we aren’t good at Pitching….and then along came LACGAL and the lights came on….and Sweater Man (who really does exist) made us smile and the UBT allowed us to really read between the lines. In our pain you allowed us to find humor… smile again… to laugh at the incredible nonsense self-entitled partners throw at us. We love you Chump Lady – Congratulations!

    • Happy anniversary!!! Tomorrow would have my 10 year anniversary… instead it’s the one year anniversary of my ex signing our divorce papers!!! Surprisingly I’m doing ok!!! I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m optimistic about my future and meeting someone that will treat me with kindness and respect and love me the way I deserve to be loved!!!
      Thanks for sharing your story!!! Like I said I’m in a good place but I’m sure there are a lot of chumps out there that don’t see the possibility’s!!

  • Happy Anniversary!

    You have made a great life for yourself and your hubby! And you have used your pain to help millons. It’s incredible.

    It’s true, life after abuse is not perfect, but every day away from the toxic dysfunction is a gift.

  • Happy anniversary to you & your husband, Tracy. You have done so much for many strangers who needed you at their lowest point.

    I just passed the 5 year mark in my own chump love relationship. We have dated for 7 years post both-being-cheated-on and now living together for 5 years. At age 62, we are building our retirement home while still working full time. We live in the U.K., but I had to move to be with him, after already having relocated across the pond in 2009 after a 29 year marriage ended.

    Between 2009 and 2013, I suffered horrendous new cheaters, and just floundered through those 3 years in a state of serial shock at how horrible some human beings can be.

    It was about 2012 when I discovered your blog, and you have helped me get through all sorts of insecurities along the way. I credit your coaching and advice with keeping me centred and constantly reminding me to stick to my standards. When I met Fellow Chump in 2013, I immediately recognised his potential and things have worked out.

    I wish you much happiness.

  • Happy anniversary to you both! This brings me great joy as today is my “un-anniversary”…original wedding date w EXH. I’m happy to see a truly happy couple celebrating instead!

    Keep up the great work you two!

  • Happy Anniversary! The chump advice stuff is good… but so is reading a real story of how life is better on the other side. Thanks for sharing your light and wisdom to those of us going through the darker stuff of heartache & betrayal. You’re a gift.

  • Tracy, since 2015 you & your book were the anti-RIC Lone Star (See? a Texas-reference!) guiding me to persist w/ the guts needed to negotiate an excellent settlement including 99% custody of my twin girls. You & Mr CL deserve all the love you can heap on each other on your 10 yr anniversary. Your story gives hope to “keep encouraged” that I might find a true partner someday – although I failed at first…
    Here’s a Walt Whitman excerpt for you:
    “Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;

    Missing me one place, search another;

    I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

    ~ from “Song of Myself,” in Leaves of Grass

  • Happy Anniversary!

    When you got married I was in the midst of an ugly divorce from a cheating narcissist. I wasn’t sure I’d survive it, but I had already (finally!) figured out that I definitely wouldn’t survive any more time spent with that awful man. The past 10 years have been so much better. I have not gotten married again, and I haven’t decided if I want to. However, I’m living a good, happy life. That’s what counts.

  • Happy ten year anniversary Mr. and Mrs. CL. You two are perfect for each other and thank you for all you do for us chumps. It is truly appreciated.

  • I may not say much, but tears are streaming down my face! Congratulations, you give me strength and hope! ????

  • Happy Anniversary to an awesome, inspiring couple, ChumpLady and Mr. C.L.!!!

    Your wedding gift to all of us was the gift of HOPE. Things can and will get better. Life is better without a cheater. We are no longer chumps.

    Thank you!

  • Thanks for sharing. Your story fills me with hope. I may never find Mr. Crabby Tabby, but if I do, I’m going for it. I’ve installed the upgraded Picker 2.0, and I’m not going to settle for less than I’m giving.

  • Crazy — this would have been my 10th wedding anniversary. It was a Friday the 13th, LOL…and yes, very hot up in NY too! Well, I’m a tails-up penny kind of person, so of course thought this luck would be different. Given that it turned out to be exactly the sort of product of Friday the 13th nightmares, I am so happy to hear it was a good day for you and for chump love. Happy anniversary!!!

  • Congratulations on a decade of amazing love. You two are true chumpions, for sure!

  • Happy Anniversary, CL!

    I got remarried at the end of June to the most wonderful man I have ever met, and I am now the stepmom of two awesome boys. My husband is a hard worker, has integrity, and knows how to put others first. I am pretty sure I made myself available for this relationship by following the advice on your blog.

    In 2013, I found out that my ex was screwing a mutual friend of ours (and I found out on his birthday). This affair ruined two marriages, and the APs married each other because “twu wuv.” My ex was a narcissist “musician” who as recently as last year was writing songs about what a horrible person I am because I did put him on blast the day that I found out. It took me a long time to gather the self-esteem to start treating myself like I mattered. I tried dating, probably before I should have, and found myself in relationships that resembled my first marriage. I got fed up, and that’s when I found you blog and took a long, hard look at myself, how I was raised, and what sort of treatment I had been accepting my whole life from men.

    A year after I turned that corner, I met my husband, and this relationship has been completely different from the others. This relationship makes me more of who I really am, not less, and I find myself more confident and strong. It’s thanks to him, but it’s also thanks to the work I have done on myself, and to the resources you have provided.

    I hope that you enjoy every bit of this day, and know that you have helped countless people.

    • Your post resonates with me. I had mad a life out of dating when I should have been taking a “long hard look at myself, how I was raised, and what sort of treatment I had been accepting my whole life from men.”

      When I finally did that after D-Day 7 years ago, after finding this blog and the people here, it changed everything.

  • Happy anniversary Tracy! You changed my life. And I spread your wisdom! Just last night, My brother was expressing concern about his new girlfriend behaving like she’s not too excited to spend time with him. I read her texts, and I see red flags. Then he speculated that she is “damaged”, and if she’s “damaged”, well that’s different, he should be understanding and deal with her acting like she’s not invested. To which I said “why are you spending time figuring out what’s “wrong” with her? Why aren’t you asking yourself if her behavior is acceptable to you?” And I believe I slipped “it doesn’t matter what flavor or fucked up it is” in there somewhere. I’m leaving out details, but man it struck me how quickly he went from being hurt to being willing to excuse it if she’s “damaged”.

    Your lessons are invaluable and pertain to all kinds of toxic behavior, not just cheating.

    Anyway, You guys have a great anniversary with your leftover pizza 🙂

  • Happy Anniversary Mr and Mrs. CL! I pray you have many more. I can not thank you enough for your wisdom. You have helped so many of us. I am also in my later 50’s. No desire or courage to try again. Lol

  • Congratulations to you both and best wishes for many more happy and healthy years together. Your blog literally saved my life and made me realize that I mattered. I had needs, I wasn’t invisible, and I didn’t care what he or my culture thought. And, what he did was wrong and I shouldn’t have to put up with it. What an earth shattering revelation!! May all the kindness, compassion and positive energy you put out everyday come back to you – hugs!

  • Happy anniversary!

    I love hearing about Chumps who’ve not only discovered how much better they feel now that they left their Cheater, but also that they’ve done the therapy and found out how great a true partnership can be!

    I know that “gain a life” doesn’t necessarily mean “get remarried,” but gaining a life does mean venturing out, being open to new experiences (within boundaries, and if you aren’t sure what your boundaries are, definitely do the therapy)–all the things that “life” is supposed to be.

    Here’s to Tracy and Mr. CL, and to all the other Chumps who’ve found that life is much better when it’s cheater-free!

  • Happy Anniversary! LACGAL helped me so much. I even passed my copy onto a fellow chump. I have found love again after 2 bad marriages. One of the things that made me realize he was a keeper was remembering what you have written about reciprocity in relationships. Thank you!

  • Congratulations and happy anniversary. Blessings for many more. Paraphrasing what a Texican once said to me ( in my best New York- Texas twang) you two are as cute as a hoot. Believing better of yourself can only make this better for yourself.

    • Wow congratulations.

      Long time lurker, new Chump, first time poster:

      Chump Lady, I want to thank you and CN. I didn’t know I was a chump until I found I started reading people’s horrible stories and my Spidey senses came alive…and found the proof needed. Cue cheaters handbook in 3,2,1……

      This is literally a life saving services for human kind. I’ll always be grateful for you Tracy, for providing a safe online space, telling us how it is and then showing us how it can be on the other side of meh.

      Happy Anniversary.

      ChumpHag ♥️

  • “Just living is not enough…
    One must have sunshine,
    freedom, and a little flower.”
    Hans Christian Anderson

    (A beautiful quote, for a beautiful couple, who have all this & much more)

  • Thank you! I needed this today. Still waiting for my second chance at love. Cheater has been gone 7 years.

  • I’m crying, it’s beautiful. Love is beautiful! To see the full circle, after the nonsense that you both sprang from, well, it’s just perfect and the way life’s supposed to be!
    Of course, it means so much, because of this fine work you do! Congrats to you CL, and Mr CL, and the boys! ????

  • Aww thank you Chump Lady for being authentic and awesome, it was really great to see real pics of you guys! I wish you both every happiness. Giving hope to us twice divorced single mums trying to live their best lives, even in Northern Ireland, UK (one of my best friends just moved to Texas!)

  • This literally made me tear up. I’m so happy for you both – thank you for taking the time to give back and help the rest of us. Love you chump lady. 🙂

    I say this as I had one court hearing scheduled today and one in two weeks. My ex will never stop. We’ve been divorced 3 years.

    But I too have found a new partner and I am so thankful I was brave enough to wade in with open heart and vulnerability. I too thought – I survived infidelity and betrayal and lies and devaluing from my 15 year marriage. I can handle whatever comes. But I knew if I wasn’t open to love it wouldn’t happen. (Your book and this blog has been so key to my journey. Seriously. )

    It is so great here on the other side – even with the nonstop litigation and lawyer fees. Thank you CL.

  • PLEASE tell Mr. CL that his words sent me into a bawling, happy cry for you!!! You both are so fortunate to have found each other and I wish you forever happiness.

    I hope more than anything that the person designed for me comes along and says those very words to me!!! ( Oh, God! I can’t stop crying! )

    I know that I don’t NEED someone to make me whole… but I really WANT someone to spend my life with and make a home with. I know I have a lot of love to give. After all, I gave my all to a fuckwit for 29 years…I just sadly didn’t get the same in return…

    Some day, I just hope to share all that life has to offer with someone…

    Happy Anniversary! Cheers to you both!!!

  • Happy Anniversary ChumpLady and the Mr! And thank you for everything, but especially hope!

  • As my sweetie, another Chump named Twinsdad here, and I huddle peacefully in the parking lot of the grocery store sneaking sips from a shared light beer to steel ourselves before heading in, we read your 10 year anniversary column and comments to each other.

    Our ‘date nights’ have been reduced to escaping the cranky teens for the comparative tranquility of the hostile produce section, but we just looked over at each other and smiled. We have it pretty good all things considered. Thank you Chump Lady for helping us flip our narratives and fix our pickers. We found each other unexpectedly along the way to saving our own lives.

    You’re right-on about this being easier. Even the worst day of this new life is far easier than the blender of shit sandwiches life was before. Congratulations to you both. Seeing the photos was incredibles. Thank you!

  • Happy Anniversary to you both! It’s wonderful to have a look through the window at a relationship where there is so much mutual high regard, openness, acceptance, support, and shared humor. May you have many more great years together!

  • Happy anniversary! Many thanks for publishing your outlook on life, chumps, marriage, etc. It’s been 2 years that I’ve been reading this blog & my attitude on so much has changed for the better. My best to you & Mr. CL.

  • Congrats! You sooooo deserve this. Thank you for all you have done for us.

  • Tracy, Big congratulations to you and Mr. Chump Lady on your 10 Year!! So fantastic that you found each other, and thank you for sharing your happiness and celebration with us!

  • Thank you for this! I recently passed what would have been my 25th wedding anniversary. That was a horribly hard day. It’s been a year since DDay. I had been secretly squirrelling money away so that I could take my husband to Bali for a surprise trip for the big 25th. Meanwhile, he was taking money out of our accounts to pay for his hookers, his S&M sex gear and his new home wrecking affair partner. Needless to say, it’s got me down in the dumps. I’m using the money I put away to pay for a good lawyer. So….hearing a positive story is just what we chumps need now and again. I can’t wait to write to you all when this happens to me…bring on that Tuesday.
    Go chumps!

    • You are not alone and I send you my best wishes. DDay was May 2020 for me – likewise was saving for a great trip for our 26th wedding anniversary. My asshat cheating doctor husband dropped the bomb he had been with 25 prostitutes, S&M fetish, frequented dungeons to play in throughout LA. The only reason he came clean is because some of the whores are extorting him for money- one came to our home. I had to get a restraining order against the whore. Trust that they suck and are sick. I feel like I’m living in someone else’s nightmare. If it weren’t for finding LACGAL I might have lost my mind. Such sadness. If I go public it will be on the news – I need to get my ducks in a row first before I shoot the golden goose but his day is coming. He had no right to steal my life.

  • My new husband and I are almost to our 5 year anniversary. Many people asked me when I got engaged after 4 years of being a chumped single parent, how I could trust again? I replied that I wouldn’t let my ex destroy my ability to love and trust again. He was the looser(took me awhile to believe that though). I also fixed my picker and gave a man, not my usual “type”, a chance. Who knew that a shy, sincere, more introverted man was just the one! (My ex cheater was the smooth talking charming, extroverted, sociopaths type.) Congratulations Mrs. and Mr. CL. I’ve been with you since the beginning of this blog and have seen it’s unfortunate/fortunate growth. Bless you for all the work you do for the community!

  • I am thrilled for you both both and glad that you got have found much deserved happiness with each other. Bravo!

    • Congratulations to you both! Thank you, thank you, thank you – for helping me through my darkest times. I hope you had a peaceful evening together filled with wonderful memories and shared visions of the future. Sharing your story is so generous, thank you!

  • Congratulations! happy for you both. CL thank you for the help, hope and light that you bring to chumps.

  • I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes for the beautiful, brave couple who found each other after walking through the fire of infidelity and the work of gaining a life. Happy anniversary, Chump Lady and Nomar. May you have many more happy years together.

  • Fantastic! Congratulations and thank you for this post, very usefull, love it.

  • Oh my goodness, you two are so awesome!! Two people both equally beauftiful inside and out, and that’s not just a cliche’ – it’s true! You guys are smoking hot!

    Thank you for waking up everyday and sharing your stories and inspiring all of us Chumps to move forward in life.

    You give me hope, Tracey. I have 2 cheaters I tossed and I’ve been single for over 2 years now. I’m not even looking, but to know maybe there is a possibility for me all squishy and all is just heartwarming.

    Love and congratulations!!!


  • Awwww. This is the fairy tale. Your story always brings tears to my eyes…happy ones. ❤️ Congratulations.

  • Tracy/CL,

    I didn’t want you to think I was only going to reply to Mr.CL. I want to wish you all the love and happiness you can grab w/Mr.CL. You deserve it, and so does he. Your kids I’m sure have benefited from your stable, loving marriage. Many blessings and lots of love and thanks, from all of us here at CN.

    Sorry it took me so long to reply and congratulate each of you on this wonderful celebration of your love and devotion to your marriage vows and partners. Not “twu wuv,” but a love that is real and true.

  • Happy anniversary

    And thank you for letting folks whine about our pain. Your humor and sarcasm cuts through to the heart of the damage!

    Your example points to the way forward.

  • Oh Chump Lady thank the heavens for you! I love reading this and seeing your pics and hearing about that sweet little house with the trees and plants and peace and walking distance to school for your son- especially as I stand on the precipice of leaving my fuckwit cheater. Which still feels like jumping off a 400 ft cliff (downgraded from a 600 ft cliff so small victories right?!)…but I want my walls to sing and I want to believe and be open to life being better than I ever imagined (and was coincidentally thinking about that earlier today). As always you give authentic doses of reality and hope. And you’re a mighty badass. A living Phoenix.

  • Warmest wishes for many many more decades like the first of your marriage. You are an inspiration. And thanks for the pictures, which boosted my mood as much as any video of an english bulldog on a skateboard ever has. And that is quite a compliment, coming from me. You may be chumps but you are also a hot babe married to a total hunk.

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