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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like D-Day

Double lives are hard to conceal at the holidays. (Especially during a pandemic). Families demand more. Schmoopies demand more. Worlds collide. Consequently, a lot of people become newly minted chumps this time of year.

Did you have a holiday D-Day?

Not that it’s easy to have your world fall apart on any calendar day, but I’d argue the holidays are probably the worst. You have to attempt to hold it together for the kids, the in-laws. At least this year, there aren’t parties or kid’s choral concerts to stiff-upper-lip it through.

So, today’s Friday Challenge is to write a pep talk, to some anonymous chump out there, who is about to get the holiday surprise of their life — their first D-Day. Tell them how you got through it. What you wish you had done. What you’re proud you did. And maybe some virtual hugs.

My advice to the newbies — your holidays won’t always suck. Just this one. Also, whatever your financial situation, or feared financial situation, do something kind for yourself. I don’t care if it’s just a York peppermint patty at a gas station, or a diamond brooch — gift yourself. Practice little rebellious acts of self care. Kibble for ME!

It gets better. We’re here for you.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Well, technically Christmas was not my D-day. I knew he was having a long term affair that had produced a child and I was still with the idiot. Many wrong reasons i had used to justify staying but we were still married. One of those was i had just had a traumatic birth experience (uterine rupture) and our 7th child together was born still. This happened shortly after I found out about the affair so you can imagine the PTSD. So this particular Christmas I refused to travel in 2 vehicles to his parents home even though we had a long argument that morning because he wanted me to drive the 6 kids so he could ditch us when the time was convenient. He finally relented and we went to his parents. We were out of our vehicle for approximately 10 minutes (not even time to get into hos parents house) when whorebag baby mama pulls her card into the yard like a bat out of hell. She snatches her two toddlers out of the vehicle, throws one of them on the ground and starts cursing my soon to be ex out. I jump up to pick her baby up from the ground. Tell my husband to tell this woman to leave. She proceeds to go to her trunk and grab a bat and try to attack me with her kid in my arms. My brother in law and father in law wrestle the bat away from her after many minutes of her attempting to get to me to take my head off. This lovely young lady grabs a pipe from a tool box and tries to do the same. Soon to be ex is cursing me out as she is trying to attack me as if it was my fault just for existing. I tell my children to go inside so they won’t see their mother being killed right in front of them. The crazy whorebag jumps in her car and tries to run over me. I grab my phone to call the police and my jackass soon to be ex snatched it from me. Now this lady has attacked me with a pipe, a bat and attempted to run over me and he protects her. It was the most ridiculous scene you have ever seen. Whatever you imagined, it was worse. My mother in law calls the police and they come and get satans sidekick (my nickname for her) under control but dont even arrest her. Small, small town where everyone knows everyone and I was the outsider. I have to threaten the sheriff and harass them until they finally arrest her. She pleads guilty to basically harrassment. I’m granted a restraining order for 2 years which she violates and goes back to jail and its extended for another two years. This was Christmas for me. And I was in such a bad place mentally I stayed with this gem of a guy for another 4 years. But I am proud to report the divorce will be final in 6-10 weeks. I told you all this to say that you will get through this. You will survive. You will be better, stronger, happier and a better parent without this loser and his drama in your life. I am the poster child for staying stuck too long. But I’m out. I’m free. Whatever this holiday season brings, know that you are strong and you will get beauty for these ashes when you leave a cheater.

    • Cmf…

      Thank you for sharing this and I speak with first-hand experience when I say you are lucky to be alive, I am glad that you are, and it is outrageous that she was not arrested.

      A number of years ago I helped my friend clean up the morning after her daughter was murdered, right in front of her eyes, right in front of her granddaughter’s eyes, at the granddaughter’s first birthday party. The child’s father (James Mitchell, son of one of the San Francisco Mitchell Brothers porn family) was stalking her and came to the party (uninvited) and beat her to death with a baseball bat.

      I have no patience for anyone who denies or minimizes the potentially life-threatening insanity that accompanies infidelity. It can and does result in homicide. Our beloved Tessie can testify to that.

        • Thank you for this book, for this blog, and for having the inspired sensibility to voice and to create a place for the voices of others going through this soul stressing experience. There is nothing else like this out there for us and somehow laughing makes it better. Please never never give up this blog.
          It oughta be a law that Chumps have to be here in order to have their recovery certified.
          Better yet, it oughta be a law that people are directed her after the first, the second and surely the third red flag. Had that happened to me I could have dealt with this 20 years earlier. Just sayin’.
          Your work belongs in the Library of Congress, the Hall of Mental Health Fame and the DSM.
          Best Wishes for the Season-it’s better because of you!!

          • ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

      • This is horrible. And yes, I agree. We all need to understand that often infidelity is a an abusive tactic and can lead to more violence.

        • Exactly. Abuse and cheating go hand in hand.

          While not all of my cheaters were abusive (some of them were just selfish and dumb), BOTH my abusers were cheaters. Two very different men, but they had those things in common. One was a very sexually coercive, guilt-tripping, DARVO, “you don’t love me if you don’t do this -thing that I really didn’t want to do-” type. He cheated with six people and one resulted in a pregnancy. I only caught him with no. 6, and didn’t find out about the other 5 until later.

          The second was the aggressive, controlling, yelling, intimidating, everything was my fault, always has to be right, crazy-maker. He tried to lie to me and tell me his relationship with OW started after we broke up, but I’m not an idiot and I’m able to figure out timelines based on dates, which he apparently thinks I don’t know how to use a calendar or what order months of the year go.

          One thing we should all keep in mind is cheating is usually just a piece of the abuse puzzle. A partner who is abusive is likely to cheat. Just because they already operate on a value system that puts their wants at the top (I say “wants” because the needs of an abuser are often not really needs. They are just things the abuser feels entitled to have.) And abusers work several sets of double standards into their messed up value systems, and that includes the ability to sleep around that is not afforded to you. It’s part and parcel of the abuse game.

          And when it comes to abusers, the rule always remains that leaving them is the most dangerous time. Even if an abuser has never physically hit you or been violent, the loss of control over you and the situation can turn violent, because they feel they are entitled to do whatever it takes to either regain that control, or fuck up your life as much as possible. And none of this is morally wrong to them. Abusers never do anything they do not see as morally incorrect. Including physical violence. To them, their violence is acceptable and justified.

          Which to a normal person, that seems absurd because most normal people do not operate on a value system that gives them permission to do literally WHATEVER they want to get what they feel they are owed. It’s hard to grasp that this is the way abusers think when you’re a person who understands ethics and empathy. But it’s important for us to understand that there are people who conduct their lives with this set of values, as fucked up as they are. It’s a very scary pill to swallow, but it’s important to understand.

          • Recently my STBXW turned up to get the kids and was angry at me from the moment she came in. I caught her holding my sweater against herself and smelling it as if she misses me. Then it all went downhill as she started shouting and accusing me of going to see some girls that same night (nope, I have zero girlfriends) she kept shouting about them being whores (STBXW cheated on me with over a dozen people within a two month space). She then punched me several times in the chest and shouting that “you’re mine, you’re mine”. The she stormed off shouting up the stairs about these imaginary whores. Plus she was looking around the house for signs of any females having been here.

            She is currently flipping from this rage to messages and tears about how she wants us back and misses me and loves me so much. How everything reminds her of me and on and on. Even caught her in yet another major lie involving one of my kids. She stated a medical professional told her that our daughter may have x,y,z and I spoke to that professional and she said nope, I’ve never said that nor even suggested your child may have that. Pathological liar.

            • My ex kept trying to have our son diagnosed with Autism for some reason. I finally took him in to get him evaluated to shut him up. Nope, he doesn’t have Autism (if he did, I’d have been totally on board to get him help) my ex just wanted to have a “special” kid or something. He’s the forever victim, he gets what he wants via pity most days, so this would have been a golden chance for him to get sympathy.

              Anything to be special, to be hard done by, and to get pity passes for whatever he wants. So disgusting. Using our kid for that kind of crap.

            • The thing that stood out to me here is her hitting you while screaming “You’re mine! You’re mine!”

              That’s the root of it all. Abusers thing you belong to them. Which is why they freak out and get violent when you leave. Even though she cheated on you multiple times, she feels with her set of double standards, that she is entitled to do that, but she thinks you BELONG to her. You, and your children, are her property. And how dare her property y’know…have autonomy and be a human with your own life.

              • She was always incredibly possessive of me. To the point she would insult other girls in front of me. Was only a few months ago she grabbed me by the balls and dug her nails in so hard and got right in my face and screamed that if I ever even looked at another girl so would cut my balls off so I could never get it up again. In the past she gave me concussion from hitting me. She also use to tell me that no other girl would ever love me or put up with me how she does.

              • “Abusers thing you belong to them. ”

                So true. Even though my FW left me for the other woman, he seriously thought I was going to fall in line and do what he wanted in the divorce settlement. Didn’t happen, it is part of the reason I think he circled back and wanted to “try again”. No he didn’t sadistic bastard wanted to schmooze me into doing it his way.

                Bastard actually though that he would waltz away with the whore and leave me taking care of his mother. My lawyer put the stop to that ship right off the bat. He said if you even consider this, I can’t represent you because it is not healthy or right for you to be left connected to his mother, while he goes off and lives his life.

                Thank God I had the sense to hire a good lawyer for myself.

                See, I adored my ex MIL. He knew that and he used it against me to try and guilt me.

            • Please be very careful around her, maybe record your interactions. Based on the behavior you describe, I could see her assaulting you, or accusing you of assault.

              • I’ve already had the domestic violence allegation. Was arrested on suspicion of assault. Police dropped charges as no bruises or marks on her and zero evidence nor witnesses. That got social services involved who removed us from being together.

            • Your stbx sounds a lot like my father, who was insanely jealous of my mother, accusing her of “making eyes” at men, even saying she’d gotten herself pregnant before they were married (my brother was born 9 months to the day after they were married). She was, of course, innocent of everything he accused her of. He was actually the cheater.
              When I became a teenager, he transferred his insane jealousy to me, in the form of accusing me of sleeping with and hiding men in our house. (He had sexually abused me when I was a young child.)
              My father was bipolar, and progressed from jealousy to, later in life, full-blown paranoia. I finally dealt with my father by moving two thousand miles away. He ended up killing himself.
              What you write about your stbx rings a bell with me: it sounds as if she might have a mental illness, too. The more you can document in order to keep your children away from her, the better it will be for them, now, and later in life.

            • ChumpyNoLoveYou,

              If she’s not living with you, change the locks. Keep the door locked. Have the kids ready to go. You need to start having some boundaries. She shouldn’t be touching you. You are not, in fact, her property.

              Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. She will go ballistic but get it out of the way now.

              • Huge boundaries are coming. My new house I’m moving to start of new year is one hour away, she does not know the address, I’m changing my cell phone number and she will only be able to access me via parenting app that lawyers are advising. I’m looking forward to that.

            • I posted this yesterday as well, you may not be aware but your user name is considered racist by many people. It is referencing dialog from the movie Full Metal Jacket in which a desperate Vietnamese women is prostituting herself in broken English to American soldiers

              • Full Metal

                I hear you, but my guess is that many people have not seen that film, and thus, taking that one line out of the entire film from decades ago to apply here, seems like a bit of a pc stretch to me,

                but more importantly,

                I think CNLYLT is making the point that 1) his stbxw acted like a very desparate prostitute, while married to HIM


                2) essentially told him she hadn’t loved him for a long time (but of course has changed her tune recently).

                Just my .02

              • Full Metal,
                I was scrolling through this week’s posts and comments. I see this is the second time you’ve claimed CNLYT took inspiration from the film for his user name. How do you know this ?
                I understand where you’re coming from.
                I hope he reads your comments.

              • No racism intended. Was not aware of the wording being offensive. I just meant that I’m a chump and I will no longer love her for all time like I use to tell her. We use to tell each other we would love each other for all time.

              • She has sisters and both have mental health issues. One is bipolar and a pathological liar with a multitude of failed relationships. The other has personality disorders and has been a pathological liar since childhood, she use to make allegations of abuse from her parents. I was told from the start to never trust a word the sister says as it’s all lies. She lies about everything, even the weather. Trust me, I feel so so foolish I married this person.

            • Woah. Do you think she was saying that to make your kids think that SHE is the victim of infidelity? My ex often says random victim- oriented stuff on calls when shmoopie is listening…

              • The kids know she cheated and she admitted to them that our divorce and marriage falling apart was due to her cheating. She did not have anyone listening via phone as she did not have it on her and she hit me several times that day. She has always liked to keep the hitting me private.
                I don’t know if I will ever know the reasons as to why she is constantly going on about me having girlfriends. She is incredibly possessive of me and she says the thought of another girl having me kills her. I mean deep deep jealousy towards other girls even talking to me.

            • They project their own crappy values on to us, just as we assume they are psychologically normal people like us.

              My STBXH wanted us to have an open marriage post D-Day yet complained loud and long the one time I mentioned a guy I used to have a crush on before I met the Nitwit. Keep in mind I had completely lost contact with this guy before I married Nitwit, he had never reciprocated my feelings, and he was married to someone else. And unlike Nitwit, he wasn’t inclined to cheat on his wife.

              I actually think Nitwit might have been okay with my hooking up with other guys. God knows I wasn’t getting anything from him in that department. But a man who could make me feel good emotionally, not just physically? Can’t have that, the kibbles might dry up. God forbid I should actually have a smile on my face that had nothing to do with him.

              • >>God forbid I should actually have a smile on my face that had nothing to do with him.

                My Ex was like that too, even if it had no social value. Once I found an old movie on the old UHF channel which I had been dying to see. He ruined that by complaining we weren’t getting enough done that day. He pushed for busy work that day, and it wasn’t the first or last time he ruined things. He was always accusing me of stupid underhand motives too. If a cat visited our apartment, and I petted it & shared some milk, he gets angry and contemptuous because i was “stealing the cat” & was too stupid to know that. I was constantly in shock about this.

                Fortunately I’d be mostly free of him within a year. I sure wish I’d known about abuse & collapsed narcissism then. I would have save some wonderful times from his foul, backstabbing treachery. Even after he discarded me, I tried to talk to him to find out what happened. He encouraged this to further sabotage my social life. He used to say he was angry about my career “failures”, but he was even worse when I succeeded just fine without him.

            • That is some hardcore emotional manipulation she is running you through to get her way and reinstate the status quo. Don’t budge an inch.

            • All of that is terrifying. Stay safe! Is there a reason she can’t wait in the driveway and you can send the kids out to her?

              • The most terrifying part of her is she plays the victim. Played the victim to the police with her false DV allegations, plays victim to social services and her friends and screwed up family. And they all seem to believe her. Her current thing is screaming at me claiming I have a girlfriend. It was ok for her to cheat with near 20 people that I know about but the thought of me having a girlfriend as a single man is tipping her over the edge.

              • Yep, I think I would arrange for someone else to be there for her to pick up the kids, and the drop off. Even if I had to pay them, or at least have someone else there while she is doing pickup/drop off.

            • Absolutely mine tried to access money from me for our 14 year olds “CIRCUMSICIAN” here in Canada. Canada has a free medical system with a few exceptions, circumsician happens to be one of them, I contacted the hospital, cthey had not a clue what I was talking about and my son wasn’t registered with any physician for any surgery, all “LIES” from a Narcissust!????????????

              • The level of lies are unbelievable with these people. I can’t believe I fell for her and her lies. I wonder if any of the marriage was even real. I feel I’ve had the years stolen from my life when I could have been with a decent girl.

            • As you say this I am wondering why you didn’t call the police to report her hitting you. I would assume she is not safe to be around the children with this abusive and unstable behavior. There is a risk to the childen here.

          • When people ask me why I left my husband I could tell them all sorts of actual things that he did – but it suffices to say instead, “He put his wants before his wife and his son’s needs.”

          • Betrayal and infidelity in and of itself ARE abuse! Abuse doesn’t need to be physical. It is also conspiracy!

          • Good points and something I forget. They cheat bc they’re entitled and the rules don’t apply to them bc they are “special.” I saw this so clearly over my spouse’s hobbies and vast absences. It never mattered that I was tired, had worked, taken care of the kids and had zero “me” time bc I literally wasn’t even on the same playing field as him. I cannot wait for this hellish marriage to be just a bad memory.

      • Dawn Wilcox, a nurse in Texas, created a national femicide dashboard. Most of the women are murdered by an intimate partner. She accepts names, stories and portraits of victims since she only has so much free time to search the internet.

      • I’m wondering why his family has the baby. I hope her mother at least has visitation rights. What a horrific story. I’m glad he can’t hurt anyone else and hope he rots in prison.

      • Chumplady
        I’ll take that award. Sadly the stories I could tell pale in comparison to this one. But she is his life long problem now! I’m free of him and her.

        • Holy shit, your story takes the cake. That woman is certifiable.

          Never fails to shock me how Schmoopies think they’ve won a prize worth fighting over – let alone murdering.

    • CMH:

      Your strength is beautiful. When your world exploded you still reached out to help a child, and had the presence of mind to send your own into the house to protect them, and this while still recovering from surgery and the loss of your child, and fending off an attack. You are a mighty force of good in this world.

      I am looking forward with you to your freedom from this nothing of a man.

      If there was real “television for women” stories like yours would be told and celebrated.

      • PrincipledLife
        Thank you so much!!! Life is already better on the other side. I am a single mother of 6 school aged kids. I had to take on a part time job in addition to my full time but I feel so much better about myself since I told him I didnt want to be married to him anymore. I struggled daily with my decision to stay with him. I regret deeply staying as long as I did. It is one of my greatest regrets but I can live an authentic life now. I dont have to get out of the bed lying to myself that despite all the infidelity and abuse that some loser loves me. That is not love! And I will teach my children, if someone willingly and repeatedly hurts you, tdd that is not love and I dont care who does it.

        • CMH don’t you date beat yourself up over staying. There are many chumps on here who stayed 20,30 even 40 years( I did 36 years of time). You are mighty for leaving and doing what you do for those 6 kids and you will be richly and deservedly rewarded for it. Have a beautiful Christmas.

    • CMH…. holy Toledo!!!!! What your X and satan’s sidekick did to you and all of the children! To have survived and now thrived…. you are MIGHTY!

    • I am proud of you for getting out of the violence. You are lucky you survived! I never saw all the acts of verbal and emotional violence till after I left because of his cheating, their were a few physical acts of intimidation. When I left the physical threats became extreme. He threatened me on social media; with guns, knifes and his hands. He even scared a neighbor because he was trying to watch me and the kids through a gun scope. The police told me it was a civil matter and my 1st attorney didn’t really help me. After one of his threats a police office that came told me he couldn’t help me legally, “but nothing in your house is worth dying for and he had seem many situations end tragically, so he would stand outside my house while I packed bags for me and the kids. Told me to stay with a friend he wouldn’t think of.” The officer followed me down the driveway as I left. 4weeks later my useless attorney got me a protective order and then agreed to his attorney before court without my knowledge and signed it away. Small Town antics (ex’s hometown) friends that paid a judge off. I got an attorney not from that town and got a payout on our house and primary custody. The children still have to go for unsupervised visits. It’s been 4 year and the stalking, verbal and emotional abuse have not ended. The legal system doesn’t take it serious! Sometimes it takes time to realize that cheaters were abusers all along.

    • Wow!! Just Wow!! I cannot compete. My dick-ex (besides the 15-year affair) just spoke condescendingly to me. Wow!

    • Wow. That’s horrific. The crazy OW belongs in a padded cell. The only ones I feel sympathy for, besides you of course, are her kids. They didn’t ask to be born to an unstable, physically abusive mother. I hope you are safe from her now and her kids are put into a stable home environment.

  • I’m dreaming
    Of a new Christmas
    Unlike the ones that had a ho….

    DDay 11/13/17. Yes, it was even a Friday.

    Then I understood why he was hesitant to go to Hawaii for Christmas. The house we loved and had rented many times in Lanikai was finally available at Christmas and he didn’t want to go? Huh?

    It was a bizarre and awful Wreckonciliation Fest….Thanksgiving and Christmas (yes, we went to Hawaii). And it was all a farce. He was full of shit the whole time….The Craigslist “sole mate” was already ensconced in the secret apartment. But you can’t abandon your family over the holidays because that would be tangible evidence of being the asshole that you actually are! He didn’t say one word to me the entire 5 hour flight over. He was hiding with his phone…in the hot tub with his phone….a lot. And I essentially picked out my own gift from the local jewelry store and had myself convinced it was from him.

    The backpedaling began as soon as the plane landed at home on January 2. He left the first week of February. To “live by himself”. Yeah, right.

    THANK GOD, I now feel and think and believe and say. Even though my very deep wound has not healed. Very much like when a pair of muggers beat you to within an inch of your life and leave you for dead after burning your life down with your child in it.

    I am still healing and very much on the road to Wellville, and am still in process of reclaiming the holidays. I have known for many years that I can do them however I want, which has been a huge benefit going into infidelity.

    Keep it simple is always a great idea, especially now. And it’s just a day. The earth won’t burst into flames if there are no free-range organic Christmas cards this year. Hell, I can even have Christmas in January. Or June, if I effen feel like it.

    There are jillions of people the world over who are going through all kinds of traumatic life-altering Christmas harshing events. I am not alone, you are not alone, we are not alone.

    Let it be what it is. We will be OK.

    • VH: I’m now 4 months from DDay, still reeling but have filed, happy to be spending the holidays with my two incredible adult children….in Kailua! DD lives here. Will be spending many healing, drama-free hours on Lanikai.

      • Lucky lady! My best friend lives in lanikai … one of my favorite places on earth! Dreaming of 2021 and the opportunity to travel again????

      • Here are some of my best tips (if you haven’t been)

        Island Snow for shave ice. You may run into the Obamas there. Barack is from Kailua and they are usually in town for Christmas.

        Desserts at the Diamond Head Market in Honolulu. The best HAUPIA. OMG. A piece is worth a plane ticket.

        Malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery.

        Hike to the top of the hill behind Lanikai. Great for sunrise!

        Paddle out to the Mokolua Islands

        Windward Jewelers (I kept the Christmas gift (Hawaiian bracelet featuring the Mokoluas) .I realized I had picked it out and had it engraved. It actually had nothing to do with him. There is no bad juju on it anymore…just pure aloha).

        My friend AMOS KOTOMORI is a designer and his aloha shirts are incredible. I collect them. Available at Neiman Marcus in the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu.

        Consider a photo shoot of the new incarnation of your intact family with my friend Rita Coury. She is an extremely talented and beloved local photographer extraordinaire.

        The shrimp trucks on the North Shore for coconut shrimp and plate lunches.

        Sunrise and moonrise on Lanikai. There is phosphorous on the beach at night.

        IDK if the farmer’s market on Thursday night downtown is happening right now…

        The Goodwill for vintage aloha wear.

        The little aquarium in Honolulu.

        The stairs to the top of the hill near Costco

        You can get my email from Tempest if you want to connect for more info.

        Mele Kalikimaka!

        Lucky Wooshy!!

            • Cinnamon’s, Moke’s, Over Easy for breakfast….

              There is a state park in Kaneohe that has sugar banana trees and we used to drive over and pick bananas.
              A big friendly feral cat colony and a local who carved canoes out of koa wood…

          • My second home. Hawaiians frequently tell me I am Hawaiian….past life stuff? I take it as a massive compliment…

            Much aloha to you, Principled.

          • It’s amazing! Took our first family vacation there last year minus cheater narc. I couldn’t understand why cheater narc wasn’t excited about planning our Hawaiian vacation. Well it turned out he was already well into his affair and DDay happened about 5 months before our scheduled trip. So I still took the kids and we had a blast and cheater narc had to reimburse me for the plane ticket during the divorce. It’s odd that I know of 4 cheating stories where chumps plan Hawaiian vacation & cheaters try to ruin paradise or don’t go on the trip.

      • Here’s something from my first aid kit..

        I say the Hawaiian healing prayer in the shower…when I wake up…going to sleep at night….for me. It also works for those who have harmed me…those who are bugging me….


        I love you
        I’m sorry
        Please forgive me
        Thank you.

        Repeat to yourself or while visualizing someone else.

        I definitely need to do this for ME…..

        • My brother lived in Honolulu for many years. A few months after day he took a job on Guam. I think if he stayed in Hawaii I would have relocated there to start my new life. Sigh….

        • Thanks so much! This is my third trip here – my daughter is Navy and has been here two years. Great tips from all, we’ve done many but not all (going to try the spam musubi)! Lanikai beach is just HEAVEN. And thank you for the prayer! The amazing thing about it? My daughter and I went horseback riding yesterday (I’m a horse person, talk about healing), and I rode a horse named Ho’opono!

          • Yes about horse healing. I started riding lessons just a few months after dday. I was so mentally fragile at that time & that one hour a week was the only hour I spent not thinking of the implosion of my life – it was one hour where my goal was to listen to my instructor & not fall off. I went for a year & loved every minute of spending time with such beautiful & gentle creatures.

  • I think DDay is prevalent this time of year because the OW, not so much the other man, gives a very strong ultimatum. Years ago the other woman would have accepted being pushed aside for the family during the holidays, but we live in different times, different standards and an appalling lack of decency.

  • Dear One, it wasn’t you. I promise you that. He cheated because he chose to and that choice had nothing to do with you. It was nothing you did or didn’t do. He cheated because he is a fuckwit. He cheated because he sucks.

    So now you know. Just stop. No more marriage police, no more sleuthing, no more wondering. You know he cheated. That is all the information you need to know this marriage is over.

    You will grieve. That is ok. I cried for months. I cried until I threw up. I cried in the most inappropriate places. Your emotions are valid and you are entitled to them. Cry until you feel better. Wear black, have a private funeral like Elderly Chump, bury any hope left in your betrayed heart. Then gather your thoughts and make The Plan.

    Now you get to make The Plan to eliminate this cheater from your life. Read LACGAL. Listen to LACGAL. Pour over the archives. Hire the best lawyer you can find and listen to that lawyer. Get a Super Lawyer like Chump Lady said! Find your “pitbull of a lawyer”. Feed that pitbull and let them do their job. Follow The Plan!

    Your heart is shattered. You are reeling with the trauma of betrayal. But you will get through this. Find a therapist. Take medication if you can’t function. My earthbound angel of a therapist has been my guide to healing from that trauma. It took going to several therapists before I heard “Adultery is abuse.” Find a therapist who doesn’t blame you for his betrayal.

    Become your very own fierce Mama Bear. Protect yourself from anyone who suggests he strayed because you didn’t give adequate blowjobs. Let your inner Mama Bear deal with that nonsense. Let your inner Mama Bear demonstrate your new boundaries. Let your inner Mama Bear deal with the “Switzerland” friends. Channel that Mama Bear, protect yourself.

    Don’t give up. When you look down and realize you have worn the same ratty pajamas for four days or is it five? Forgive yourself and clean up. When you can’t eat. Try. When you can’t sleep. Write in your List of Grievances, write down all his cruelties. Write them down because that really happened and you don’t want to forget when he comes sniffing around your boundaries. Because he will. Be ready and let your Mama Bear at him. When you don’t know what to do, “do the next right thing.”

    Dear One, you aren’t alone. Chump Lady is here with her 2×4 of truth, Chump Nation is here. They have seen it all. You can safely share the horror and pain because they have lived it too. I am here. You aren’t the only one. You have a nation of Chumps to be your support. You are going to get through this. Someday you might even laugh about that cheater. Someday you will realize it wasn’t you. You will listen and the “walls will sing”. Someday you will find yourself in the “Land of Meh”. Until then, come here.

  • Dear New Chump:

    What I wish someone had told me: You are in shock. In trauma. You’ve been betrayed and your life has exploded. Drop everything. You can skip the office Christmas party….yours and his, and all other get-togethers. including family ones. Yes. You. Can. You don’t have to bake cookies, decorate, act merry, buy last minute presents. You can take a leave from work or at least a few days off. You only have to do two things: take care of yourself, and your children. And semi-clean clothes or jammies and pb & j sandwiches every meal never hurt anyone. Everything else can just wait.

    The strain of having to act normal when your world has exploded is soul crushing. Allow yourself to give up normalcy for a while. You matter.

    If your best friend returned from a war, staggering up to your door all burnt and wounded, you would run out and hug her, help her slowly up the steps and into a chair, draw her a warm bath and make some tea, listen to what she had to say, and then tuck her into a warm bed. Your love and support would be instant and unconditional. What you need to know in this moment is that friend is you, it is just that your wounds are on the inside, and you need everything you would have provided to her. Your love and attention right now is for you and your children.

    Find a therapist who has a lot of experience with trauma and make an appointment asap. You need someone to talk to.

    Understand that you are in tremendous pain and chaos, but it doesn’t last forever. Right now is the hell part, and you just have to plod through it, and not one damn part of it is easy….but it will get easier. It doesn’t seem like it now, but one day you will have joy, laughter, calmness, peace, beauty, understanding, and an ethical life again. You can and will survive this.

    • My D-Day was on the same day I was to have attended my parents’ Christmas party. Not remotely an option after finding the texts from the OW. I don’t know how some chumps manage to drag themselves to holiday parties and put on a happy face. Must be the massive amounts of spackling and shit sandwich consumption that comes with the chump handbook.

  • Dear Newly Minted Chump,

    Congratulations. You now know what your spouse is really like. Truth is power. Truth will set you free. But it’s going to feel really bad for awhile.

    Whether it’s porn addiction, Schmoopie(s), or hookers, you now know that your SO has crossed the line. The deal is broken. DON’T TRY TO FIX IT.

    Denial seems attractive, but it will only prolong the pain. Don’t go there. Hold to the truth: this is not the person you thought they were. This is who they are. If you don’t want what they did to you, you don’t want them.

    Don’t believe more lies from the cheater, even if they are the lies you desperately want to hear: it was only once (once is enough, and it most likely wasn’t), they’re sorry (that they got caught), they were under stress (no, infidelity is not an acceptable stress response).

    Don’t accept any blame for their actions. If you could control them, they wouldn’t have done the thing that has you curled up sobbing on the floor.

    Put everything you would have put into “making it work” (which you can’t) into making YOUR life work without them (which you can).

    Feel your grief. Use your anger to move you on. Detach from the cheater. Ready. Set. Go.

    • “Truth is power.”

      A million times this. While we chumps will never get the entire truth, please use what you know to make the decision if this is acceptable behavior to you. Make the choice for your next steps based on present behavior alone….not potential future behavior and not “good memories” of behavior from the past. This is who they are. Once you make this choice to hopefully leave the cheater (and gain a life), stop the digging. You will only inflict more pain on yourself. As Madge says, “Once is enough, and it most likely wasn’t.”

      Please know and BELIEVE that you are worthy, you are loved, and you deserve respect. Tell yourself this often during this process. It will be the hardest thing you ever go through in life, but as you heal, you will be so proud of yourself for making a stand for self-love and self-respect.

      Another suggestion I would make is to take a few pictures – sitting with a friend, going on a walk, or hugging your child. It may be the last thing you want to do, but one day, you will look back on those pictures and remember the strength you had in that moment while the world around you seemed to be shattering. One of my favorite pictures I have of myself was taken by a dear friend just hours after completing the paperwork to file for divorce. I was sitting on her sofa and holding her smiling infant son. I have it in black and white to hide the dark circles under my eyes, but man, I look at myself in that photo with so much love. I hope I will always have the strength in me that I had that day – it was the strength of knowing my worth and embracing hope for a better life in the future.

      • ´Make the choice for your next steps based on present behavior alone….not potential future behavior and not “good memories” of behavior from the past.´
        This is good
        And if you were dumped, remember that the person betraying and dumping you is real, the past loving sentiments or promises are not your reality anymore …the cheater / discarder in front of you is who this person is.

  • My Dday was 25 Dec, early in the am while visiting my grown son who was in the AF. FW snuck out in the early morning hours. I woke up saw him gone and found him out in the court away from the house on the phone. I knew then what I had suspected for a couple months.

    I confronted him, he hung up the phone and wouldn’t talk to me. It was his stupid idea to go on that trip. I guess his guilt was trying to give me one last trip to see my family who all lived several states away. He told me to calm down and not ruin the kids Christmas; so I did. I silently seethed until we left.

    If I had it to do over again; I would have gotten in the car drove to the airport and let him figure out what happened.

    I just recently told my son who is 51 now, when I discovered it, he said I remember that. He and his wife were sleeping on the floor in the living room and his dad was stepping over him. He woke up and said what are you doing? His dad said, I have to make a call.

    On the way home he admitted it, but wouldn’t tell me who. He then asked if I wanted to go see my oldest brother in KS. I said no. So we went home and I began my walk through hell, well continued my walk I guess; as the last year had been hell.

  • Dear new chump,
    Yes, it’s true. The person you gave you life to is vapid, soulless and completely selfish. He/she may tell it was just a mistake, that it meant nothing, or that it was your fault in some way. These are insults added to your injury. Don’t listen to any of it. Don’t believe them when they say it won’t happen again and invite you to dance to insure it. If they announce they are leaving you for the schmoopie, let them. Don’t beg them to stay. Whether you have a cake gobbler or an abandoner, protect your money at all costs. Lawyer up and get a credit report done on the cheater, or a forensic accountant if you suspect serious financial shenanigans. Get a separate account and immediately move money into it for legal and other costs. Stop your money from going into any joint accounts. If possible, do this before you confront the cheater or if you sense the cheater is getting ready to move out. If you have suspicions but no proof, hire a P.I. and/or get one of those hidden phone spying apps. Be careful and read reviews because a lot of them are junk. As humiliating as it is, get STD tested.

    After you’ve done all that, start getting your life post-breakup mapped out. Keep your mind occupied with what it’s going to be like after you cut off the dead wood. Think about the freedom you’ll have and what you’ll do with it.
    Cry all you need to and don’t try to put on a brave face for others. Find a support system of people you can vent to and get rid of anybody who tries to blame you, defends the cheater or tells you to just get over it. These are not your people, even if they are relatives. Find a good therapist if you can afford one.

    Like anything painful, the only way to get past it is to go straight through it. Keep posting here. It does get better, but it’s going to be hellish until then. You’ll need other chumps to help you navigate things like co-parenting with an asshole, how to tell the kids, and healthy ways of dealing with your feelings. Do NOT turn to alcohol or recreational drugs to numb the pain, though you may need anti-depressants and/or something for anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for what you need. Try to keep the holidays as normal as possible for the sake of your kids. They will ask why dad or mom isn’t there. Tell them you will explain that after the celebrating is done and encourage them to just enjoy themselves for now. You will have to tell them eventually and it will not be easy. Chumps here can help you with that.

    Above all, remember that this is not about you. No matter what noxious, cruel blameshifting the cheater puts on you, you are worthy of love and did nothing to deserve this. Get angry about that. You’ve been grievously mistreated. Use that anger to propel you away from the dysfunction represented by a relationship with an abusive liar and into a life of self respect and authenticity, which is impossible with a cheater.
    Much love to you.

  • Holidays are hard.
    I went through three of them with my ex before Dday that should have been more than suspicious.
    There was Hannukkah in 2018, where he was just acting like an absent asshole. He was traveling a lot those days and I handled everything. From present shopping to meal planning to driving the kids around to the various activities.
    Yet, I felt his distant was my fault, so I was extra nice.
    At Christmas, it was a similar story. He would not really work with me on much. His parents had their 50th wedding anniversary. He barely talked to me. Had not touched me in years at that point. And I was too blindsided to think about affair. Well, not true. I had confronted him a few weeks earlier and he denied having an affair. Of course I fully believed him. We got a trip for Christmas from his parents. For couples. He never cashed that trip. I made so many suggestions. He just ignored them. Did not even give a reason. Just did not answer when I suggested something. I should have known. I was blind.
    The worst part is that at the 50th anniversary of his parents, he let me stand up to give a toast to his parents (no one else was there to break the ice, he did not want to, and I felt someone needed to say something, so I asked him if I should, he said “sure”). So I stood there spoke a few nice words about his parents. What I did not know is that the day before he had spent the night with the OW and was just probably feeling all fresh and superior. He had pretended he was out with his buddy, but later in text messages I learned that the buddy was covering for him. He spent 12/28 with the OW. And on 12/29 we went to a big event celebrating his parents 50th anniversary.
    We then all got sick. First him with a stomach ache. Then my kids. I was last and spent all 12/31 in bed. Of course the stomach flu was a present from his OW. No one else from the 50th party got sick.
    By Easter, he was so distant that when his mom in a nice and friendly banter asked what we love about each other, I stated all the things I felt were true. And he… could not come up with anything. He did not point out anything he liked about me. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    I felt absolutely horrible at that time. Really bad. A shadow of myself.

    Two weeks after Easter I found out about the 4 year affair. I was completely discarded with no willingness to reconcile.
    And that was lucky for me. I would have stayed in this misery forever, if he did not pull the plug.

    You are always better off without a cheater. Holidays became nice and pleasant if you surround yourself with people that actually love you and who you love. Things are becoming easier. Dare to jump. There is no benefit in bending yourself backwards to accommodate someone who could not care less about you.

    Here are more of my thoughts from today:

    • I am like you, I am so glad he didn’t give me a choice. At least not in the beginning. I would likely have stayed and tried. I was so confused and so scared and so rejected; I fear I would have done anything to win back his affection.

      Thank God by the time he circled back; I had become much stronger and he sickened me to just look at him.

      • ‘I am like you, I am so glad he didn’t give me a choice. At least not in the beginning. I would likely have stayed and tried. I was so confused and so scared and so rejected; I fear I would have done anything to win back his affection.. Ditto… now I feel this way. Now I realize it would have been worse for me had I won the dance.

        I would have killed myself trying. I would have kept the secret from everyone wanting to protect him and our image. I would have had to watch everyone adoring him and only me knowing what he did. I would have felt even more insecure and fearful of future or ongoing betrayal. I would have had to put up a brave face and I’m not a liar.
        All focus would have been on him.
        OW would have haunted me – she still does..but I’m not worried about her.

    • “You are always better off without a cheater.”

      Thanks for this simple and profound reminder.

      Oh, and Inescapable, I’m so glad you’re free of that asshole!

  • The red flags began around my birthday Sept. 2016. On my actual birthday I got a gift card (this day was also our wedding anniversary, his idea and a whole other story about narcissism). Then right before Thanksgiving 11/16/16, I had the proof, but believed all the b.s. lines we have all heard. “It was a mistake, I won’t talk to her again, I swear I didn’t put my dick in her, bla bla bla, we can work it out…” and from there ensued the binge drinking that would last for days and the physical abuse. I kicked him out 3 weeks later. He would try to break into the house. Cops telling me that he technically had a right to enter the home. Refusal by the court to give me a restraining order because I couldn’t provide the apt. # of where he was living. Being stalked at work. Having to send his daughter with his sister because I feared for her life. Hiding in a hotel. Almost getting fired because I was a wreck. Having to air my dirty laundry to save my job (ps he was unemployed). It was the worst holiday season ever, and that’s putting it lightly. But, I pulled up my boot straps, got a lawyer,  got the restraining order, pressed charges, sent him to jail, and got full custody of my son. It was hard and I still deal with guilt over what the children had to see and endure, but 4 years later my life is better than ever. Now I run my own department at work, my son is thriving, and I bought my own little midcentury modern home. But most of all we are safe and free from the horrible mind fuck that was my ex.

    Happy Holidays to the Chump Nation. I am thankful for finding this group shortly after Dday. It helped me find the strength I needed.

    • Wow! You’re amazing ????!!

      I cannot believe that you couldn’t get a restraining order. What is wrong with our system? You didn’t know his apartment number? WTF!

      • And it was a house converted into an apartment. I don”t think it could have had more than 4 units. But I wasn’t about to put myself in more danger trying to find out which one. I remember telling the court worker, you can’t just knock on doors?

  • I don’t have a pep talk other than it does get better. Today is actually the 3rd anniversary for my D-day, so I wanted to check in here. When this happens near the holidays it’s like this season has been weaponized, and everything is a reminder. I’m trying to figure out a way to mark the day and celebrate being out of that situation. Maybe I’ll find some good ideas in the comments here today.

    • My D-day did not happen at this time of year, but my father committed suicide in mid-December. If you want a way to mark the day and redeem the season, you might do something emphasizes that this is the season of light and of rest, with all growth for spring happening underground: light candles or a fire (I can attest that burning something in it that is associated with him, and can be something you write and not an object, is definitely helpful) and plant seeds or start an amaryllis or other bulbs. Another suggestion is to pay it forward: give charity or join the Patreon group for CL for a designated period of time (or even just buy a copy of LACGAL and give it to a women’s shelter).

      • Oh, Adelante! I’m so sorry about your dad. You’ve survived so much heartache.

        May your holiday be filled with peace and light!

        Inspired by you, I am going to add a string of lights to my mantel.


        p.s. Love the charity idea!

      • A,

        St Thomas of the Gnostic Gospels writes, Light dwells within Light.

        Candles on a dark night always warm. I’m sorry you lost your dad. The details of your loss.

        On the 21st, the solstice, Jupiter will be conjunct with Saturn—and this particular moment will be a great and heavenly event. The first such exact occurrence since 1625. My own intention is to look to the sky.

  • The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off. And nearly break you. But believe me, soon you’re going to be just fine.

    Five Decembers ago, I discovered my husband was fucking a family friend. My instinct, of course, was to save my marriage ‘for the sake of the children’. Plus, I didn’t want to ruin Christmas. So I vowed not to tell a soul. The morning I found out, I confronted ex and Schmoopie at her house. It was epic. I then calmly walked out and picked up my daughter at school for her orthodontist appointment. Because even when your world falls apart, life goes on. One day later, I performed a huge holiday concert with a smile plastered on my face. In fact I made it through all the typical holiday festivities with a smile plastered on my face. But it was the loneliest Christmas I ever had. I felt like I was dying inside, and I couldn’t tell anyone.

    I did the pick me dance for two months. But by February I realized that a dysfunctional relationship built on disrespect was actually the worst thing I could model for my kids. You don’t stay for the kids – you leave for the kids. So I dealt with the shame and started speaking and living in my truth.

    Fast forward five years. I have an amazing single life, full of wise career moves, three kids, pets, and so many friends. My finances have never been better. I’ve worked on fixing my picker and I casually date, but I won’t settle down with another person until my kids are 100% launched into life. They have been through so much and I still need to be their rock. My confidence soared while I found my mightiness as a single mom. Life gets better. It gets soooo much better when you remove yourself from the crazy!

    In contrast, ex is now married to Schmoopie, financially broken, and wondering why it is a such fight to get our young adult children to go to his house for Christmas. Meh.His problems are no longer mine.

    While I haven’t been able to model a healthy marriage for my kids, I am modelling how to totally rock the single life, and perhaps that’s even more important. Life post-divorce can be wonderful, partnered or not. A four year old child entered my home recently and said, amidst the laughter, dogs barking etc… “Auntie! Your house just sparkles!” Yes it does.

      • Cmh2015,
        I just read your story. Wow. You are one strong bad ass woman. It’s hard to remove yourself from the crazy (still have to ‘parallel parent’ your kids with the ex, right?) but each passing year brings a little more peace and a lot less crazy. Good luck! You got this.

    • “The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off. And nearly break you. But believe me, soon you’re going to be just fine.”

      Ok — I am printing this pearl of wisdom and taping it to my bathroom mirror! Thanks for this shot of truth, Happily!

      • Hey Discarded,
        Credit for the first two lines goes to Gloria Steinem’s book, “The Truth Will Set You Free But First It Will Piss You Off!”. I truly believe in the power of good, righteous anger. It propels you forward and helps you to do all the things that need to be done as you start to rebuild your life. Wishing you the best!

  • My D-Day wasn’t ON Xmas. I found out in March 2014 that my husband had been fucking whores during his lunch break for over 5 years.

    Once I knew, and once I uncovered the secret email accounts, I found an email exchange between him and a random prostitute that showed me that the Xmas before D-Day, he had been making plans to stop at her place and fuck her on his way to drive to his family’s house for Xmas. Our plan was that he was going to drive to his family’s house and I was going to meet him there. It just so happened that my plans had changed, so I had decided to drive with him to his family’s house. Oooops, I inadvertently ruined his christmas-morning-on-the-way-to-mom’s-house-cum-dumpster-whore-fuckfest.

    I divorced his sorry ass. Now, 6 Xmastimes later, it doesn’t matter what my holiday plans are. Anytime I’m not spending it cockblocking my john of a whore fucking husband is a good one.

    Heads up, it gets better.

  • XFW knew he was leaving me before the holidays but I was a clueless chump while he faked his way through our last Christmas together so that his AP’s kids wouldn’t have their Christmas ruined. They had a weekend getaway at a conference in January and he asked for couples counseling right after. Then it was an agonizing few months of him in full on contempt mode, me unknowingly doing the Pick Me Polka, and then dday. I hate that he faked that Christmas and I feel like the ultimate chump for not knowing. But there’s nothing sacred with these FWs when it comes to their self indulgence. I look at photos from then and his eyes are dead. How could I have missed that?

    That’s my message for new chumps: nothing is sacred to a cheater. These FWs lack an essential humanity and basic decency. They’re selfish children who do what they want with no regard for the people who care about them. It’s not you. It never was. We were never really a consideration that could ever be a priority over their almighty “needs” and “happiness.” Apparently, cheaters “need” to treat the people that love them like dirt and it makes them “happy.” Take good care of yourselves, new chumps. Be gentle and kind to yourselves. You will need every bit of that self care to make it through the dark days ahead and into the light again.

    • “I look at photos from then and his eyes are dead. How could I have missed that?”

      I keep asking myself how I could have missed the signs for almost three years, too! I found compromising stuff here and there, but he always had a reason, and excuse. Even when he accidentally opened his WhatsApp on June 3, 2017, at our daughter’s graduation ball, and I saw the two red hearts and the “love you” message from him to somebody else. My normal behaviour would have been to grab his phone, and not let go. He hates scenes, and as we were in a ballroom full of people, he would have had to to give it to me. Instead, I fell silent, and according to my friend, became very pale. I don’t understand my reaction to this day. I am not meek; I don’t shy away from confrontation. They really mess with us.

      • I avoided things too that part of my brain was registering as against our marriage ( seeing texting that felt off) – I read it’s our way of protecting ourselves – we can only handle so much until we are ready for more. I think unconsciously we know the consequences will be enormous when we deal with things – so we shove it away and carry on like all is OK

        • Yes, I think our subconscious protects us from registering things that will cause incredible pain. This happened to me. Even though I’ve always considered myself perceptive and not one to refrain from talking, I stayed quiet about a text that was meant for the OW but sent to our daughter. It was vague enough that I bought his lame excuse (some texting mixup with a male friend). He got the male friend to lie for him.

          I really can’t believe that I dismissed any concerns. I had a nothing-to-see-here attitude. Boggles the mind. It wasn’t a conscious decision.

    • To all those asking why they could not see reality with the cheater:

      Mentally I’d catalog all the hurtful things FW did. He came home from work grumpy: put that in the “he had a bad day at work” folder. He yelle at me or the kids: “he’s under a lot of stress” folder. His overspending went into the “nobody ever taught him to manage money” folder. And so on and so forth.
      One day I realized I didn’t have a “He’s an asshole, plain and simple” folder.
      Everything started to make so much more sense after I created the “he’s an asshole” folder. I highly recommend it.

      • I also recommend writing it all down. All the yelling for stupid shit, all the insults everything. I could tell when he walked in he was looking for a fight. His eyes would dart around the house looking for something to bitch about. They need to keep that adrenalin going in order to keep the passion high for schmoopie. The only way they can do it is to make us and the family the enemy.

        Sucks big time, but there is just no way back from it unscathed. It is over. Yes I know; occasional unicorn; but if he/she is a unicorn, he/she would already be falling all over themselves apologizing. And even then… well it will likely be a temporary reprieve.

  • I received the life altering text on december 23, 2013. Looking back, I realize she had probably given him a deadline and he hadn’t met it so she took it into her hands. Of course, when I questioned him he denied, denied, denied. I sent a text back to the number that sent the text- Call me. Immediately his phone rang. Stupid bitch didn’t check the number close enough. Got her and him red handed. I was very matter of fact which still surprises me. Guess I was in shock after 47 years of marriage. He finally told me who she was-a mutual acquaintance who definitely knew he was married. And he admitted to a three year affair which I think was much longer. We had our family Christmas the night before so I didn’t have to go thru that thank goodness. My main regret is that I didn’t put him out immediately! I played pick me for three years. Thought we were working on our marriage. Now I realize I was working on our marriage and he was enjoying all the rewards and still texting and flying to see her. She is a flight attendant which made it convenient for them to meet. I thought I would die. But I made it through. It’s been four years since my divorce. I don’t beat myself up for trying for three years. I know I did the best I could at the time. My best advice is do the best for yourself that you can. And don’t beat yourself up for trying. It’s been a hard hard journey! I am finding a peace I’ve never known and figuring out what I enjoy! I lost myself years ago. I was too busy working to be the perfect wife and partner. Holidays are hard but they are just another day. You will look back and be proud of your strength. Good days are ahead. And joy and happiness will return. God bless you all!

    • God bless you! 47 years of not knowing + 3 years of pick-me dancing. Congratulations on surviving those 50 years of wedded bliss. Glad you’re back!

    • Janice/AND Fellow Chumps,

      Married 35 years here, 4 years since D Day.

      Even now I can’t say I know when all the lying began, but he became increasingly self absorbed during his residency. Nothing but HIS career mattered and I bought into it…and that was decades.

      I am working on forgiving myself for the shit I put up, with while I also feel sorrow for the death of the man I thought he was and deeply loved most of my adult life. Every month or so I wake up sad about that loss because it is a form of loss…

      My children have not seen him in over 4 years, which is incomprehensible to me. But that’s on HIM.

      The DOCTOR married schmoopie as soon as the divorce was finalized, in order to justify his horrific choices. (LOVE OF HIS LIFE and SO HAPPY!)

      But now he’s ill with a chronic form of cancer, and lost his position at the hospital (unrelated to his cancer), and when I say that some of what he tells the only child he’s still in touch with sounds crazy, I’m being clinical. He sounds like he’s losing his shit.

      So his income has dropped, his health is endangered and I know he’s a terrible patient. He barely knows his own kids & he rambles weirdly.

      I take no joy in his cancer or his choices or condition. I actually find myself feeling sadness and a profound sense of “such a waste”, but NOT in the “it’s my job to rescue him.”

      Also, I feel a peaceful form of relief that I’m not married to THAT GUY anymore. I’d be scrambling 24/7 to meet his endlessly changing needs, while making my needs shrink to nothingness. He’d be in a shitty mood and take it out on me and I would have to navigate his lousy relationships with the kids AGAIN…and be the peacemaker since he was the common denominator in 90% of family conflicts.

      Instead, I changed careers and just returned from living in Europe for 2 years and traveling the way I THOUGHT we would, together.
      Much easier to do without his “list” of things to check off and see but not FEEL…

      My advice?

      Do NOT “wait for meh to arrive”, but TRUST THAT IT WILL.

      Happiness and meh are not accidents that “just happen” (that’s what cheaters say about porking each other for years)

      We create our own happiness. You can too.

      Chumps who GAL find authentic relationships, show & receive love, and discover a peace that would have been impossible with a lying selfish spouse.

      This^^ is a fact.

      Trust that you will do more than survive and pat yourself on the back for what you are now modeling for your kids.

      Better late than never. Truly.

      • Truly inspiring! Thanks.

        I can relate to so much of what you’ve written.

        I know we have similar stories (35-year marriage, physician ex, etc) except my D-Day was last year.

        This part, in particular, jumped out at me–shitty moods? check; lousy relationship with the kids? check; Shrinking my own needs? check.

        “Also, I feel a peaceful form of relief that I’m not married to THAT GUY anymore. I’d be scrambling 24/7 to meet his endlessly changing needs, while making my needs shrink to nothingness. He’d be in a shitty mood and take it out on me and I would have to navigate his lousy relationships with the kids AGAIN…and be the peacemaker since he was the common denominator in 90% of family conflicts.”

        • Same here from another Doctor’s Wife. From early on there is a glow surrounding them around being part of the Healing Profession; Louis Pasteur Dr. Salk and Hippocrate all in one- that seems to fuel their entitlement to astronomic levels. Or is that glow what we thought/wanted to see? Sunk costs are enormous but there is no reparation committee waiting to hear our case.
          I guess we can only see when we are ready, so many red flags sailed past me, flares lit up the sky but I was blinded by my will to keep the family together. Later more reasons to maintain blindness and aversion to putting 2 and 2 together. Scrambling to meet his changing needs, probably qualifies as that dance they talk about, “see I’m here for you”.
          Until that last flare sets the couch on fire. Then a new sort of D-day.
          I don’t have a happy ending figured out. But it’s more peaceful and I’m sleeping better,

  • Dear Chump-to-be,

    Something is off, and yes it’s not you. Last year, I could definitely sense something was going on. I had felt it for some time, but stuffed away, denied it, hoping it would pass. I was very angry and irritable. I was physically unwell but I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Because it had to be me, right? It couldn’t be him, I’m the one with the “bad” temper, who’s difficult and all the rest. If I could go back, I would listen to my instinct the most. I will never not listen to myself again.

    I won’t lie to you; what’s ahead is heartbreaking and far from easy. I’ve barely held it together then. But I did, I’m still standing. Take it one day at the time. Next Christmas won’t be easier probably, but it will be different and you’d be moving forward. I know now it seems impossible, but you will. I promise you.

  • Dear New Chump

    He’she won’t see the light, they won’t change their character. They will not care about the hurt they inflicted on you. At best you will get a resentful ‘apology,’ but then be expected to ‘forgive and forget’ or YOU will suddenly become the bad person. /They will try to turn the tables on you in every way.

    Get your papers in order, get up to date bank statement, hide any keepsakes or jewellery you don’t want to lose, preferably at a trusted non mutual friends place.

    You are sleeping with the enemy, they are plotting against you. Don’t let your guard down because they shmooze you on the holidays.

    Don’t believe any of their lame lies that they have to go visit a sick friend, or work late or overtime suddenly. You are being played, it is not your imagination.

    • I’m glad you mentioned forgive and forget. My STBXW says she wants to come back and be with me but she said with a straight face “you’ll never be able to move on and forget about what I did”. Yes, cheating with near 20 people for months and finding her tinder and all the other stuff, I simply can’t forget and just give her a pass on it. WTF goes through the minds of these parasites?

      • So long as you reject her, she can’t manipulate the dynamic, which triggers fear and desperation and those real abandonment issues: and that leads to rage. If she’s BPD that rage is typically expressed irrationally: that is: beyond reason.

        Cutting the cord means cutting off the energetic exchange between you: it means she can’t drain you, and you can heal.

        Peace, brother—

        • Amen to that.

          Funny enough, the more I go no contact with her, the more she tries to contact me. Usually takes a few days then I will start getting messages asking if I’m ok or something about the kids. I blocked her on everything so she will message me from my sons phone. Yesterday she was messaging me about his losing me hurts more than everything. Tough titty in the big city to her.

  • The day when my world started coming apart was 5 Nov 2018. Close enough to Christmas to have had a definitive impact. I should also add that I could kick myself for having been so stupid. I had been suspicious for a good long while, and had found some questionable things since April 2016 (yes, I know!), but I let him pull the wool over my eyes each and every time — until that Monday afternoon in November 2018. He had forgotten his iPad, and I looked at his emails, his iMessages, and his Facebook. I opened Pandora’s box. However, instead of getting all the evidence right then, I foolishly texted him that I had discovered solid evidence of his betrayal, and the bastard remotely disconnected his iPad from all accounts to prevent me from finding out the extent of his cheating behaviour. It took me four more months, buckets of tears and so much agony to finally get everything. He was lying to my face and only admitted to the things I could prove.

    As for how I got through Christmas: I honestly don’t remember. I know that I ripped his favourite dinner jacket, a present from me, into multiple pieces, which he had smugly worn to a company Christmas party in 2016 that the whore attended. I wasn’t invited. I found a picture of the two of them: He, drunkenly grinning into the camera, and she, looking like a cheap knocking shop harlot. When I saw the picture, I asked him if his company now organised hookers for the employees. The find and his reaction should have been a dead giveaway.

    Here is my advice to others:
    If you find yourself in a situation like that, call a trusted friend, and have him/her come over. Whilst you wait for your friend’s arrival (hopefully, he/she said yes), collect as much evidence as you can. Don’t delete anything, don’t respond to any emails, texts, etc. Don’t forward anything, the activity could alert the cheater. Document as much as you can by using your phone or tablet. It’s what I should have done. I was in such a state of shock that I couldn’t think clearly, and I didn’t have anybody with me who could have acted as a balancing influence.

    Heed the red flags, notice the warnings, don’t stick your head in the sand, and collect your evidence. Get your ducks in a row, and be prepared to strike. Exit with your head held high, and leave them in the dirt where they belong.

    • Excellent advice. Early on, like in year 1.5 of a 20 year marriage I found Polaroid pictures of a group of young women tucked away in one of ex’s drawers (I was putting away laundry) that were clearly taken during a guy’s trip to the Indianapolis 500. He blamed one of the other guys on the trip and said that he was holding them for him since his wife would go through his things. I really did not believe him but I was too frightened to face the reality – our son was not even a year old.
      I should have tossed him out then. I would have gotten away with my youth intact.

      • That is what burns, they used up our really young years on lies. Or at least I have to assume it was all lies.

        I was still only 40 when Dday hit, but I gave my 20s and 30s to this cad.

  • Mine decided to tell me he had a girlfriend out of the blue one day (I had no suspicions at all) on Dec. 10th. The same night I was planning to go out for some much needed adult time with friends at a craft fair that I looked forward to every year. I was devastated.

    That Christmas was excruciating, with a 3 year old who I was mostly doing all the work for, all the housework, and working 40 hours a week (he was conveniently unemployed at the time). I ended up going on a trip with my son and my parents to visit my brother and family in Colorado for several days over Christmas vacation, without my husband. I spent it trying to unwind, and getting what support I could. I also used the time to look at information about dealing with this online. It gave me time away from him not trying to fix anything that allowed me to clear my head. I ended our relationship, asked him to move out, and started divorce proceedings. Truthfully the crappiest holiday ever, but the beginning of healing and movement towards a much better life. The next holiday was better, the one after that even more so. Now it doesn’t even elicit a twinge of sadness or anger in me to write about it. It’s just history.

    It will get better, but the only way out is through. Get strength from others if you can. Go easy on yourself. This too will pass.

  • 6 years ago I was so overwhelmed and depressed working three jobs and being the only responsible adult in the house that I gave my husband $500 to get gifts for our three children, his family and my family. That was a crazy amount for us but I was so sad and so stressed from his disrespect and lack of attention to anyone else (except his phone) that I needed to delegate. Christmas morning the kids are opening a few smallish things and I had found some time to get him a few thoughtful presents. I have nothing to open. Zero things. Not that I needed anything, but the fact that he couldn’t be bothered to get me anything with the money I gave him says all you need to know about him. On New Years Eve I found text records of thousands of texts, calls and photos sent to his “friend”. Years later after he had moved in with her and then gotten kicked out (for cheating) I found out that he had bought hundreds of dollars worth of gifts for her and her children. With the money I helpfully provided him with!
    You can’t make this stuff up, but you CAN get away from it. I am SO grateful that this year I will be home with my children who are already kinder and more mature people than he will ever be. Those first few holidays were hard, but every year I thank my lucky stars that I am free of someone who was so cruel, and so willing to show me and my children how little he cared.
    Celebrate, or get through it however you can. I promise that it does get better.

  • Last New Year’s Eve, he stayed longer out of state to “work.” I went to a midnight yoga class to bring in the New Year -alone.
    Last Valentine’s Day he had a long video call with her on speaker phone that ended with him going into the bathroom, getting some lotion (made by yours truly) and then going back into his room for a jerk off session where she could be heard laughing and cackling and saying “oh! Oh! OH!”
    It was better to be “alone” on New Years Day last year and do something for my physical and spiritual health. I later found out, by reading his diary, that he was with the OW on NYE and high on methamphetamine and this is the night where he “fell in love” with her. I, on the other hand, was not seeking another person to give me validation and this year I have improved my physical and mental health immensely – AND improved my professional position and my living situation (moving away from him was the first step with that). Last NYE was the beginning of a spiritual awakening – I do not need a man, or any other person to make me complete or feel comforatble. I am comfortable with who I am. I acted with care and love and honesty and respect during that realationship – I HAVE THESE GIFTS.
    On February 13th last year, I called his bluff and told him it was obvious he had another girlfriend – and the rude RUDE RUDE sex call happened the next night – Valentine’s Day – how typical of him and her, cheaters have absolutely no imagination – did I mention she is married? On the morning of February 15th, he cried and cried to me and I was still pick me dancing but also playing with him because I knew I needed to move out of his house after that abuse. He told me he thought I was going to come into his room and shoot him I played with him and acted like I cared and he vomited more information about the affair than I care to ever remember. This is when I realized just how moronic and pathetic he is. No, dipshit, you have already shot yourself with your drug addiction, immaturity, and your seeking validation from others. You, you complete asshole and dirt bag, have attracted someone who is perfect for you becasue she is a sick fuckin bitch.
    Last year was awful. He is awful. I am so grateful I got out alive and I kept my dignity and honor. It was not easy to keep my mouth shut and take the… more noble approach and just get my ducks in a row as I played grey rock to the best of my ability and was deliberate about choosing where I would live next.
    I am proud of myself for finding a very nice apartment where I am extremely comfortable. I made more friends in my new area where I live for the past 7 months than I did livign with him for 18 months and being with him for 3 years.
    This experience was hard, I have never NEVER known a shock like what I went through and remaining in his house for 3 months after Dday was HELL. I got through it, I got through hell, and I got out alive. This experience made me a BETTER and STRONGER BADASS. Stress can make plants and muscles grow stronger – it made me stronger person.
    Get out, get out, get out! Get rid of the sick bitches, take the high road, focus on yourself – life is meant to be enjoyed!!!!!

    • >Get out, get out, get out!

      So true. Has anyone ever heard of the “the house of evil bees”?? A crazy abusive home or relationship is like a haunted house full. Freaky mind games keep you there when you should be running for your life and soul.

      • OK, I had to look that up.

        Concidentally this week I just had a long and valuable conversation with my Mom, who hung on in an abusive marriage for almost 30 years, until Dad divorced _her_ to marry his latest mistress. This happened three decades ago. What I did NOT know until NOW was how viciously he gaslighted her, and even threatened her life. Yet her self-confidence was in such tatters that she was afraid….to _leave_ him! So at least 20 years of the marriage she spent praying for _him_ to leave, while trying to spackle in front of us kids, the rest of the family, and the outside world, like everything was fine. (Not realizing that this fakery did not fully conceal her unhappiness and that something was wrong, but was in effect a form of gaslighting, which affected the children.)

        Grateful to CL, without whom we might never had had this conversation btw.

  • My DDay was the Monday after Thanksgiving. Went on a family vacation during Thanksgiving week. Then my world blew up.

  • Thank you for explaining this. I was in chump denial phase for years and the fog lifted last December 1 and the more I looked around the more I saw the double life.. the lies, the where in the actual hell is he all the time???? So I kept quiet and took notes. I observed. It was a horrible Christmas. He’s still here making this Christmas horrible too. But we each have attorneys and are working towards separation. It’s been so much slower than I’d hoped. And around each corner I keep waiting for another big discovery. Apparently OW has a new home that she couldn’t have afforded on her own. And I’m mad as hell over the financial abuse and his spending on other women. When does the anger end? And he just lies and denies everything, he’s an absolute evil person and I’ve wasted so much time.

    • It won’t end until you stop living in the same place. That will be a start. A friend told me it was like an onion, you keep peeling back the layers over time. This has proven to be true for me.

      Get him the hell out of your place so you can focus on yourself. This shit takes time.

      • Seems logical… hoping that will happen after Christmas.

        I can only feel any peace when I see his vehicle backing out of our driveway. I look forward to the day it’s for good.

    • Please make sure you lawyer knows about the financial abuse. Even if your state is no fault there can be restitution for fraud.

      It may not come in the form of a direct repayment, but maybe a long legal separation with maintenance to give you some time to catch your breath, and for him to pay most of your bills while you do that. Or it could be a bigger share of the holdings. It can happen in many ways and a no fault/50/50 state won’t prevent that. 50/50 is just the starting point.

      So not let him screw you over.

  • It wasn’t the actual D day becos there’d already been many: usually the Predatory Opportunistic Parasite visiting his ‘former girlfriend’ who happened to be the Town Bike but he did have a harem.
    Christmas morning thru midday were wonderful. He gave me an extremely thoughtful, surprisingly costly gift (he had no money, was grifting off me, living w/ me to support his harem life). I’d spent hours the day before and all Christmas day cooking a huge meal. At 4pm, 15 mins before it was to be served, he announces he has to go deliver a gift to our GYM OWNER of all people. He volunteered it was a wallet. (Pls tell me what man gives another man who he barely knows a wallet)
    Seething, I ate the meal alone, cleaned up.
    He returned around 11pm, drunk as a skunk (he was an alcoholic who was supposedly ‘sober’ at the time), demanded I fix him a plate. Fuck that.
    I don’t recall how/why but a few days later, the Bike called me and informed me that he’d shown up at her house and since her parents who hated him were there, couldn’t let him in. He camped on her front porch in the cold for hours–clandestinely drinking and waiting out her parents. Eventually his gift to her was received that night–a VERY expensive LV wallet. POP spent far more on her than he did on me.

    After the display at her house, the 50 yr old Bike’s parents forced her to move near them, hundreds of miles away.
    I eventually had POP evicted from my home.
    At one point, I’d let him begin to ‘show me he was a new man’. One day I got an email from the bike’s NEW HUSBAND (#7!!!) telling me that if I thought the Bike and POP were done, I could reconsider. He had current emails between them. Slobbery emails denigrating both he and I which had prompted him to start divorce proceedings. I suckered POP to come visit and while he was feeling all smug and comfy, dropped the knowledge bomb on him.
    He lost any chance of rekindling with me and the Bike lost her very successful white knight of a short lived marriage.

    In the past 10 yrs since bullshit, I am aware of his actions repeatedly catching up with him. 2 DWI’s with extreme penalties. He’s currently in the midst of a legal mess in which he assaulted a woman. Apparently, it was quite severe/traumatic to the victim. (I keep an eye on him from afar because he assaulted/threatened to tie me up and leave me in my remote home/held me against my will and I want to know his status as much as possible for my own peace of mind) I have moved and all these years later, I fear he will find me.
    I am hoping this will be his final run up with the law and as a repeat offender, he’s imprisoned but considering the way our state prisons are over capacity and the Covid situation, I doubt that will happen. I may just have to settle with knowing his life sucks more and more and his prospects get worse and worse.

    I have the utmost compassion for his latest victim. I wish I could talk to her and tell her it’s not her fault. She just, like me and MANY other women (including 2 wives) fell victim to his manipulative, dangerous narcissistic ways.

  • Dear Newbie Chump,

    I’m sorry this has happened to you, but I am so glad you have found Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Together, we will get you through this shitshow.

    Spend time reading the archives… for my first ten months on this site, that is all I did. I read and read and read. is another favorite resource of mine. Get informed about what you are dealing with because if you can intellectualize the reality that your Cheater will never change, you will be taking your first step on the road to Meh.

    Come here… share when you’re ready. These cheating fuckwits are not original so there is likely nothing you can tell us that we haven’t heard or experienced already. Our goal is to help you heal, honor your pain, and get you to a cheater free life.

    Be gentle with yourself and those your love. Start by reclaiming your self worth. You can do this.

  • Dear Betrayed,
    This excruciating life altering pain won’t last forever.
    I’m still in pain – it’s been a year, but I can function now and see the potential for peace. I’ve been determined to get something out of this, and have been on a path towards healing and learning about myself.
    Protect your finances.
    Don’t have compassion for him. You are a caring person and you might feel a need to make sense of this by coming up with some excuse for his horrendous life decisions. Have compassion for yourself instead. He is no longer on your team. He’s a traitor – Carry on realizing he does not have your back. You need to have your own back.
    Brace yourself for a lack of understanding and support out there. Only when this happens to us, do we realize the lack of education and awareness around this type of abuse trauma. People do not get it.

    If people are generally good to you and you want to keep them in your life – try to avoid this topic with them. Many good people are simply ill-equipped for this type of pain and trauma. You will need people in your life, weed out those who must be let go – but realize that some people who love you may not be able to give you what you need in this circumstance and there may still be a place for them.
    Therapists are tricky. I’ve been through three. Like the general population, they can say things that wound and as they also have cheaters as clients… they don’t always have the proper skills for us.
    You are paying for their service, keep trying until you get the right fit.
    Life is full of pain.
    This is your pain.
    You will find love again, that love may be with somebody else, it may be with yourself – but you will deeply love again.
    And he’s not worthy of the love you have to give.
    Grieve, take care. As they say ‘ Do the next right thing.’
    Take care

    • Words of wisdom,
      “If people are generally good to you and you want to keep them in your life – try to avoid this topic with them. Many good people are simply ill-equipped for this type of pain and trauma. You will need people in your life, weed out those who must be let go – but realize that some people who love you may not be able to give you what you need in this circumstance and there may still be a place for them.”

      Its hard not to just give up when people don’t get it. But need to consider carefully, not everyone is good at everything. Tender as I am at this time it’s hard to handle less than enthusiastic support and affirmation.

      But then- most people don’t get this.vHow would they?

      • I can honestly say that I didn’t really get it until it happened to me.
        Obviously some cases and some cheaters are more horrific than others, but generally I never really gave it any thought. I realize now I shared some of those erroneous beliefs about why some people cheat – the state of their marriage- maybe there was something up with the betrayed spouse (because why else would someone cheat)? I also had some compassion for sad sausage stories. And I didn’t consider OW behaviour in terms of how that was affecting the wife.

        CL’s intelligent insights are not shared in the general literature or conversation and I feel passionately that people need to be educated about this type of abuse.
        The bottom line is, I did not realize how traumatic cheating was for the betrayed partner. I do now.

        Just the other day a friend sent me a YouTube clip to make me laugh… it was an SNL clip making fun of Hallmark movies, but in the first few seconds there was a spoof on cheating.
        I stopped playing it immediately but it wrecked my day.
        This is what I meant by ‘I can’t drop everybody in my life who doesn’t get it.’
        This is a good friend, and she doesn’t support the cheater, she supports me. However that was extremely insensitive…. I’ve
        gotten used to people not getting it and saying insensitive things. I mostly just vent on this site now.

    • Words of wisdom,
      “If people are generally good to you and you want to keep them in your life – try to avoid this topic with them. Many good people are simply ill-equipped for this type of pain and trauma. You will need people in your life, weed out those who must be let go – but realize that some people who love you may not be able to give you what you need in this circumstance and there may still be a place for them.”

      Its hard not to just give up when people don’t get it. But need to consider carefully, not everyone is good at everything. Tender as I am at this time it’s hard to handle less than enthusiastic support and affirmation.

      But then- most people don’t get this.vHow would they?

  • I don’t have much to say about the holidays because my D-Day was the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, Nov. 22. And I don’t have kids, so the Christmas thing was more about me not collapsing in a heap and “beginning as I meant to go on.” That is, I was determined to have a happy single life and in a position to work on that.

    What I want to say to Anonymous Chump out there is don’t remain silent because you are worried about “ruining Christmas” for the kids, your parents, the dog, the cat, the grandkids. So stop here and figure out who you need to tell TODAY what is going on (or tomorrow, but don’t drag it out into Christmas week. Tell your BFF, your pastor, your hairdresser, your sibling(s) or parent. Just don’t sit through this whole holiday faking it.

    As for the kids, you’re kidding yourself if you think the kids don’t pick up on the cheating, the stress, and the abuse that’s going on. I know because many years ago, I was that kid who knew that both my parents tried hard to make Christmas great for us kids but it was clear that nothing my dad did would ever be good enough and how he dealt with that was drinking. Decide in your own mind what the best time is to tell the kids, in age appropriate way, that Mom or Dad has a boyfriend/girlfriend and you can’t stay married anymore.

    Meanwhile, don’t try to make Christmas perfect. You can start NOW thinking about what you will do going forward. So maybe you do the Christmas cookie baking but not a giant COVID super=spreader buffet. In a way, the situation this year with COVID gives you an opportunity to start shifting to a more relaxed, personal and home-centered Christmas.

    My traditions are so low key that the only thing I won’t do in the COVID era is have the big family meal at my siblings. But we are getting together Christmas week, even if we meet halfway in between and sit in our cars to talk. Big housecleaning, baking holiday hearth loaves, watching Christmas movies, walking outdoors, doing a house blessing on the solstice, Midnight Mass (virtually). Just the normal stuff.

    This is the time for you to figure out what a new “happy holidays” will look like for you. For sure, make sure there is at least one great present for you under the tree, for you, from you. I do it every year now, to honor my commitment to self-care and to feel the connection to my mother, who always bought me something excite to wear for Christmas.

    This is a chance to drop the need for perfection, for having the “perfect” holiday, in favor of a loving, relaxed and happy one. As miserable and in shock as you are, instead of ramping up the crazy-making, “it all must be perfect,” it’s time to say “no” to anything that doesn’t work for you any more.

    My dad died Dec. 22. We buried him Christmas Eve. At the time I was living with a man who eventually became a BFF. He had two kids. I woke up to the call about my dad, put on clothes and finished the shopping, wrapped everything, cleaned and decorated the house, and was out the door at NOON to do a 2-hour drive for the view at 2 pm. I though everything had to be perfect and all of that perfection was on my shoulders. Looking back, I know how crazy I was. And I saw my mother do EXACTLY the same thing on the 24th, when we came back from the burial, in an ice storm, and she had a whole Christmas dinner on the table because “she didn’t want to ruin Christmas.” It was all nuts.

    So tell people what’s going on (but don’t tell the whackos). Keep things simple. Blame COVID! Plan things to make you happy, including buying yourself a very nice present and putting it under the tree. Pay attention to your need for alone time. Get exercise. Stay in the moment.

    • Exactly talk to whomever you need to.

      I held my tongue for about two weeks, because he was dangling the possibility of us working it out over my head, but he needed time/space etc. He had no intentions of us working it out, he needed time to get his life under control, because she was his employee (direct report: and he was desperately trying to get himself out of the pile of shit he had excreted at work.

      I realized when I found out who it was why he kept me quiet. The city counsel was trying to get him fired, as he had come before them to petition for a raise for her, all the while unknown to them he was screwing her. Total ethical violation. All this was starting to come out while I was home sitting on the floor crying and trying to keep myself from jumping off a bridge.

      Honestly I never thought of my ex as a stupid man. I will always be curious as to what the hell he was thinking when he started screwing that tramp. He could have gone after dozens of women who did not work for him, who would have likely been at the very least more attractive and smarter.

      Or maybe he already had, and he was just so full of himself; he figured he would never get caught as he knew how to keep her under control. Ha.

      Oh well, I will never know.

  • Yes, a Christmas time DDay. GTFO , December 5, 2016, just 5 days after confronted with suspicion. I got the confession of prostitute fucking for the prior 20 years. Devastation, trauma and a 3 1/2 year divorce followed. This is my fifth Christmas alone. Finally divorced.
    I almost let the day pass without remembering. I am so much better off without the FW, but I do miss the family gatherings. Trauma recedes but not completely. The only advice I have is to trust that you will feel better at some time in the future. Put one foot in front of the other and keep your head high.

  • Welcome Newbie Male Chumps (moms and wives too).
    New recruits to the CN Army, …Everywhere you go you will meet fellow veterans of Infidelity. You are not alone. Your strength in your forthcoming mission is multiplied when you use your comrades for fire support and cover.
    But first…tend to the gunshot wound in your chest. Don’t bleed out because you’re needed And Mission Critical. Save yourself first so you can fight a more effective battle in the ensuing days.

    Don’t wander from the established AO because booby traps are everywhere. Requisition an ordinance expert (attorney) to identify and defuse hidden mines. They also collect and analyze intel on enemy psychological strategy.

    A battle may be lost however the war will continue with setbacks and advances. Fight from the high ground and maintain light and noise discipline so your opponent stays unsure and confused. Radio silence is a must.

    Allow your opponent to make mistakes that benefit your position. Practice OPSEC until the needed artillery can be employed (divorce ???? decree).

    Take your Justified spoils of war. You fought for them. You bled for them. Do not allow your enemy assets to use against you in retribution.

    No one hates war more than the warrior. Welcome to the Suck.

  • I supposed my story is a lot like everyone else’s story. I told him I was expecting baby # 3 and he was joyful and happy and excited about it. But then he started to devalue me and was cold. I was confused and just tried harder and harder. I remember we were at his parents on Thanksgiving and I spent a lot of time crying in the bathroom. He was so cold to me. Christmas there were a lot of hang ups to the house phone and I didn’t know why. I also found it very odd that his best friend would give him an engraved pocket watch for Christmas. I thought that was a gift a lover would give so my suspicions were up, D day was January 9th. He left his email up when he went off to the movies. I had some crap holidays. I had some very lonely holidays when it was his turn to have the kids and I was alone on Thanksgiving or didn’t have them xmas eve or xmas morning. One day when that baby I was pregnant with had turned about a year and a half I went on a ride along at work. At the end of the day, the guy asked me out on a date. I said, “you don’t want to date me. I’m divorced with three little girls under the age of five.” He said, “I’m divorced with two little girls myself and I do want to go on a date with you.” Well today we are married and have our own daughter together so when mine our off with their dad and when his off are off with their mom, holidays are sometimes just the three of us until custody aligns again. Is it perfect? No but he’s not sitting on his ex wife’s back porch eating a piece of ham trying to see his kids on the holiday and I’m not crying alone watching Love Actually.

  • Dearest one,
    I’m glad you found this Chump Lady site because you now have a community of people who TOTALLY get what you are going through. Protect yourself with No Contact, it really works. If you have kids,like I do, say as little as possible to your STBX -this is protection like none other. Right now, you likely will be experiencing cognitive dissonance and the world doesn’t make sense, you feel shock 24/7 and feel desperate, angry, rage, and grief. Use your fight-flight energy your body is giving you to get out and get help.
    This is not the time to pretend nothing is happening -it’s an emergency and, in an emergency you take care of yourself first.
    This Christmas is going to be rough, but since we are in a pandemic and the world can’t be normal anyways, see it as a gift.
    You are going to get through this -many of us on this site can tell you -be brave and take Tracey’s advice-it’s the best you will get,bar none.

  • Dear Chumps-to-be,

    Please be alert and test the theory that cheaters are extra-fuckwitted and mean and cruel and gaslighters around the holiday season because most schmoopies get very sentimental and indignant and tearful about spending this time alone and away from their beloved sparkledicks and keep texting them and calling them and sending them nude pictures and fuckwits get all upset and contemptuous of their chumps for making it so hard to console their flatterfucks. I reckon I had about 20 bad Christmasses out of 39.

    The study can be published in The Annals of Psychopathology.

  • I am xmaschump because my D-day was last Christmas. I am also the horrible person that purchase the wrong brand of pickle for my XH.
    The month of December was filled with a drunk husband that was dumped by his schmoops after learning he had slept with another server. He processed his feelings by being absolutely horrible to me. The minute I arrived home and saw he was shitfaced, I just went to bed. Later learning that he just wanted to call his schmoops while I unisomed myself upstairs. I had no idea, I was pretty defeated and high on hopium, free-basing the shit.
    My d-day should have been Dec 20, as that is when schmoops boyfriend sent me the facebook message. I didn’t see it until Christmas day, after opening presents with our daughter. I remember re-reading it 60 fucking times just to process what was being said to me.
    I am a year out now, my divorce was done within 5 months, I am not paying him a fucking dime. I do wish that the chump lady book would fall out of the sky the minute a d-day happens.
    Fortunately, I left and never returned after that day. I stayed with my friends. I got a loan from my 401k and was able to rent a house and purchase furniture and appliances. I sit in my little tan fortress and I am very thankful. The only regret I have is that I participated in him blaming me and demanding that “I communicate” the first month. Other than that it is the best thing that every happened although a complete mindfuck and finding a new purpose is a work in process.
    I am thankful for this group, even though Meh has happened for me I am ever devoted and read every day!
    Happy holidays and never let a fuckwit ruin one more.

    • I am glad you are doing well.

      I about died laughing over the pickle story. It was similar to one of my events, where I ran out of salt. He screamed at me for ten minutes or more about running out of salt. “Who runs out of salt” “what kind of idiot runs out of salt” “go to Marsh and buy ten boxes of salt, and I am going to count them when I get home” translated, he is going to count them as soon as he gets back from fucking schmoopie (unbeknown to me).

      The sad thing is, I went out and bought ten boxes of salt. He never did count them, as I remember. I left nine boxes in the house when I moved out. His mother had to move in the house and I wondered how he explained the nine boxes of salt. Quite frankly, he was so out of his mind at that point; he may not have even remembered the scream fest in detail. He and schmoopie are likely still using up that salt.

      These fuckers get nasty as a hornet when they are fucking around.

      • I knew something was up when he started being mean to me for no reason. Right after Christmas, he came out of the bathroom where he spend some time (with his phone of course) then said he was going to take these boxes that we had from out to the trash. I started getting the boxes together and was going to help him when he yelled “Why can’t I do anything on my own”? Fuck You! and he walked out the door and drove off. Later I found out it was to call the prostitute he was meeting at the time.

  • It was the Night Before…..Mother’s Day. And all through the house, the parents were fighting, because the Mom found evidence of the OW’s existence. Saturday my husband makes a Costco run, I stay home. Hmmm. He left his cell. Weird. Ok. I put on my Marriage Police badge and use the resource I had available. Long suspected something was going on, and because his phone was locked down hard, you know, govt work phone, security, blah blah blah. I few weeks before I had used my phone to film him typing in his pw. I was behind the couch and he had been sitting on the floor, so, Ta-Da! PW secured. That Saturday I had time to look around and got to hear the anonymous Miss GITPL (Girl In The Parking Lot) whine… “Why are you avoiding me, you owe me and explanation”, and “I know you saw me, I waited for you in the parking lot and you walked right by….” Ugh. So, after hearing the VM drivel, I left the house and went to where else?, a parking lot, to take notes and further explore the contents of his phone. He called my an hour later, from his other phone, pissed, HOW DARE YOU, etc, etc. I roared back, and so it went until I got back to the house. More fighting. My two sons, mid 20s, no strangers to their parents fighting were just….sad. My husband finally calmed down, became a very sad sausage and said, (rightfully) “There’s something wrong with me. There’s been something wrong with me for a long time.” He then asked if we could go to marriage counseling. We’d been 2x before in 31 years of marriage, and I’d always initiated it. So, I said yes we could. I told him, ‘you just saved your marriage.’ Next day, Mother’s Day, my sons and I left the house w/o inviting him, for my favorite place, the beach. It was a sad Mother’s Day, because of the revelations, but through that day, I knew sons, who loved their Dad, thought he was an Asshole. Because they called him an Asshole. A memorable Mother’s Day! BTW, our marriage wasn’t saved. More detail, but basically, he was diagnosed with cancer a year later, I learned halfway through the cancer battle that he and the GITPL, also known to me as WorkHO and YoYo, had a 2 year affair. And then he died.

  • My Christmas Day story is not about D Day and I only realised where he went after he left. I didn’t know about ow until after D day. One Christmas Day a few years before he left, at an in law’s house about 45min from home he suddenly felt ill and had to go home to go to bed. I rang during the afternoon to check on him. No answer. When I got home he said he was asleep and didn’t hear phone! Of course, it was only a 6 hour bug! I didn’t suspect anything as he was a good guy cheater and I loved and trusted him.

  • My D-Day was almost a year ago to this day. Nitwit had been staying out late, sometimes not coming home until the wee hours, with the same lame excuses, so I was already suspicious. I went through the texts on his phone and saw the OW’s messages to him. He was still asleep, so I went into the bathroom, took a long, hot shower and cried. And thought about how to deal with this.

    By the time Nitwit woke up I was standing over him, phone in hand. I asked nonchalantly, “Care to explain to me what kind of tutoring session takes place in a hotel room and requires the tutor to bring ‘that oil I like so much’?”. The OW was a community college student he was tutoring (hello professional ethics?) and he had certainly never oiled himself up for me on the rare occasions we made love. For some reason that upset me more than the actual infidelity at the moment. Seeing that he had zero plausible deniability, he admitted it. I informed him of my intention to file for divorce immediately after Christmas. I then cried so hard I gave myself the mother of all sinus headaches and had to miss my parents’ Christmas party, as I was in no state to attend any kind of party. Nitwit actually brought me my Tylenol and a glass of water. I’ll say this and this only for him: he was very good at taking care of me when I wasn’t feeling well. Besides, he was probably on a kibble high from seeing me cry over him and looking forward to the pick-me dancing that would ensue.

    I then spent Christmas with my parents and had to pretend everything was normal, even though Nitwit was barely speaking to me because he always hated spending time at my parents’. Unfortunately I did not follow through with my resolve to divorce him immediately because he talked me into accepting an open marriage. I suspect his mom, who always liked me, called him up and told him he was to save his marriage no matter what it took. He outlined the terms of our open marriage: he would have sex with me on a regular basis, he would never bring an OW to our condo, and he would consult with me before bringing a new partner into the marriage. He then proceeded to violate every single one of those terms. New chumps, please learn from my mistake. Do not agree to an open marriage with someone who has already shown him/herself to be anything but open and honest. The time to ask for an open marriage is before the extramarital sex happens, not after.

    I honestly don’t know how I got through that Christmas except through an insane desire to save face. It wasn’t even spackling at that point. I knew my marriage was effectively over, but I was afraid to admit to anyone, even my own family, for fear of being judged. As it turns out, they all supported me wholeheartedly. So my advice to new chumps is that you have more support for leaving your FW than you think you do, though you may still have some Esther Perel types among your friends and family. Find out who they are and cut them out of your life. Bask in the company of those who get it.

    Lastly, your holidays sans FW will ALWAYS be more fun and relaxing than holidays cum FW. That I guarantee. Drama follows FWs around like flies follow a garbage truck. This year I will not have to drag Nitwit to my parents’ house (his parents live abroad) and listen to his whining. I will not be caught in the middle between my mom and Nitwit, who never got along even before D-Day. I will not be humiliated by Nitwit dropping me off at my parents’ then speeding away like a bank robber who sees the cops closing in. I will not wake up on Christmas morning and worry that Nitwit has sneaked off to be with his buddies, something he never actually did but frequently threatened to do. I will not wince when Nitwit lets loose racial slurs on the grounds that it’s okay because he is a man of color himself. The racial group he insulted was not his own, by the way. I will not watch my Christmas presents to him sit untouched and unread for a full year. The number of things you are suddenly free from and free to do once you lose the FW could fill a journal. Live for that FW-free holiday.

  • Christmas morning 2014 – Our adult son calls to wish us Merry Christmas as entire extended family is sitting around opening presents. Ex’s 92yo dad needs to go to the bathroom, so ex gets up to help and hands me his phone to continue talking with our son. When the phone call ends, the phone goes back to what he was doing when the call came in… texting with his stripper girlfriend who is pissed at him because she got pulled over for a DUI after one of their recent liaisons. I scroll back through months of texts and recognize one I had seen 6 months prior that he said was a “wrong number.”

    What did I do? Believed him when he said he would do whatever was needed to regain my trust and repair our 35 year marriage. Stuffed all the hurt and anger and betrayal and cooked my usual fabulous holiday dinner complete with flaming dessert so that everyone could have a happy memory of granddad’s last Christmas. And later tried to put my marriage back together again (not possible; I was the only one really trying).

    What do I wish I had done? Announced to his father, his daughter, his aunt that they were going to have to cook their own f**ing Christmas dinner because I was packing a bag and checking into a hotel (and why). And left him to explain to them why he was cheating on the woman who had supported him through his military career, raised his kids, and left a prestigious job to move across country to care for his aging parents and aunt with dementia.

    In the end, I filed for divorce 3 months later after a torrent of serial revelations. Divorce was final in July and I have rebuilt my life better than ever. No regrets.

      • Zip,
        That’s only the tip of the iceberg — the serial revelations about his secret life felt like swimming in a sewer of sexual addiction and idiocy. The emotional toll was brutal.

        But I’d like to be clear that I don’t think I’m nearly as mighty as most of the chumps I read about here. I had a strong career to fall back on, good health, good friends and a spiritual community. I honor and admire the folks here who are struggling to overcome their abuse and betrayal without having those advantages, the people who are coparenting with insanity personified.

        Chump Nation inspires me every time I visit.

        • Livin, you are an example of how chumps are not the problem.
          Yes, people here are super mighty – everyone in their own way -at their own speed.

          • ????

            I think the pain that betrayed spouses endure, and the fact that they go on to live healthy happy lives, different time frames for each of course; is indeed a testament to their mightiness.

          • Thanks. To be honest, there were years in our marriage where I believed that if only I worked hard enough, did things different, etc. I could somehow fix the problems. By the time that Christmas morning rolled around, once I recovered from the punch to the gut, I knew that I had already left it all on the field and there was nothing more I could do. Been a lot of therapy in the last five years working on my codependency — and coming out a way better/happier person for it.
            Thanks. It helps to be here in CN in a community that recognizes the value of that.

  • My d-day was the day after we took our family Christmas photos. We did a whole photo shoot as we had no professional photos of the four of us and FW was weird when asked if we wanted to do just the two of us.

    My advice to all your newly chumped – be kind to yourself. You may or may not be the total badass you thought you’d be when found in this situation. You might make mistakes. You will find yourself again. You will be ok. If you are going to offer forgiveness to anyone, offer it to yourself first.

  • God bless you for sharing your story with us and giving inspiration. I am in awe of your strength. my divorce should be final this month, my jerk has been lying and cheating on me for the past 4 years. unbelievable. take care of you. you are awesome

  • Dear New Chump,
    There is so much I wish I could tell you……..mostly that it is going to be ok.

    But right now I am sorry to say, this holiday season is going to suck and feeling like someone has ripped a gaping big whole in your chest is going to be your new normal for a little while. You are going to want to make things wright because this situation seems to wrong to be even possible. You are probably constantly asking yourself “how did this happen?” All you need to know is, that it did. You will want answers because right now the more answers you get the more you think you will be able to make sense of it all. Trust me when I say it will be energy wasted. Your ex knew this day would come, he did not know exactly when but he knew the likely hood of it was high so he has probably been laying the foundation with others over a period of time that you are the issue and he is just some poor unwitting victim of a cosmic superpower. Desperately desiring answers to your hundreds of questions will not be what brings closure. My advice, love on yourself and the ones that matter (AKA kids if you have them). Those that matter and will be in your life in 5 years’ time are worthy of knowing the truth and the rest can all mind their own business. People will want to tell you how to manage yourself and your marriage, don’t focus on them but take the time to assess your own core values and use that to plan your next move. People can have all the opinions in the world but it won’t pay the rent. Some of you might find you have to share your children with the thankless sobs that just imploded your life and they will probably take advantage of your stunned chump state to leverage deals that in your right mind you would never agree to. Stop and take a beat before reacting or answering the cheater or agreeing to requests, because for some what they get away with this christmas/ holiday period will be the expectation for years to come. Do your best to set healthy boundaries right from the start. But most importantly take care of yourself. I know covid makes it hard but do something extra special for yourself when the kids are not with you, something that feeds your soul, so when they come back they are returning to a sane parent who role models good for them.
    I was chumped on December 1 2014, by a man who showed no remorse for his actions. As a good christian man he equaled that my anger over his cheating was a sin therefore my sin of anger negated his sin of cheating. How convenient for him. In the weeks that follow I would be belittled by church elders and shamed into staying married, my nine year old daughter would be diagnoses with cancer, I would leave my church (the only community and support I had) and loose my job. Seven year on, two of my three children are adults and make their own decisions around their relationship with their father, the youngest (16) has refused visitation for 3 1/2 years and god willing will get the all clear early January and enter into long-term follow-up (remission for 5 years). They all see the cheater for who he is but we no longer allow him to be the centre of our lives. Since D’Day, I have completed a degree and during covid began my dream job. This Christmas I am doing the things that make me happy and I am grateful that I do not have to let go of plans or dreams because they do not fit with what the cheater wants. Yes, I am still single but that does not make me less of a person. In reality I am actually more of a person now because I am not shell I use to be when I was married, my thoughts and ideas count and that makes for a great reason to celebrate Christmas.
    Hang in there New Chump you will not feel like this forever and you have the capacity to do and be what ever you want. Travel safe, Lots of Hugs and Merry Christmas.

    • Just WOW! Well done and go you Thankful!! Wishing lots of happiness and blessings this holiday season and beyond!

    • Dear Thankful,

      Thank you for these words,
      ” In reality I am actually more of a person now because I am not the empty shell I used to be” when I was with him.

      I have been keeping this idea from myself for a long time and tied up with what I would lose by giving up -whatever I though I was preserving.

      I m still stuck on “desperately desiring answers to hundreds of questions”. I got a partial reveal on a few of them,, but when he stopped dribbling out the 10% he managed to come up with
      I ended contact with him. Trying out no contact and I see the wisdom of how it cuts off his control of the dynamic.

      It’s a big job but I am taking steps every day.

      Thanks, hugs back to you and Happy Holiday.

  • Dear New Chump,

    Sorry this happened but glad you found us! Read the archives. CL’s snark and wisdom is inspirations. This site has many chumps who will also tell you – cheaters suck. cheating is fraud. it is unfair, you deserved better, you can survive this, it will get better. The gift of knowing what you are dealing with can set you free. First things first though look after yourself! For now focus on sleeping, eating, surviving and taking care of yourself. Top tips:
    Go No contact (or grey rock for legally mandated kid stuff), STD test- best to know, discretely find a very capable lawyer, take one day at a time. and ask if you need info because amazing, resilient chumps have good ideas to share whatever your particular challenges. Know it can AND will get better.

  • My D-day was just under 5 months ago so I did not have a holiday D-day, but it still all feels new and scary so I’m finding these comments useful. Thank you all for the wise and uplifting words!

    I do, however, have a holiday anniversary of sorts. Sunday marks 1 year since the day my STBXH began his 7 month affair with a howorker. I know this because when he was trickle-truthing me on D-day, I found out the first time was after their work Christmas party. I’m marking the day with a trip to a local axe pit with my BFF to throw sharp objects.

  • It’s not my D-day this year, but I got unwittingly dragged into being the OW for a year as he lied about being single. As soon I found out he was married via forensically detailed online searches I told his spouse – just one week ago. She had NO idea she was being chumped. Her child’s first birthday is coming up next week and Christmas … what a year it will be. She has shown amazing strength. She thanked me because they were just about to co-invest in some major life shit. So we will all cry this Christmas but sure as the day is long we will pull ourselves up by the boot straps…. post spring cleaning… and go on to bigger and better things (Quite literally in this case). So every day post D day is one day more in the fresh air, one day more to plan the rest of your life, no more pandering to anyone’s needs but your own. Treat yourself, get through day by day….. every day it gets easier and every day you get stronger! For those getting chumped and having a D-day this year my heart goes out to you. STBX chose you coz you were brilliant and shining like a diamond in the rough. Your TRUE happiness is right on the way. You got this!!!

    • I know this does happen, but it seems an awfully long time with no clues.

      What alerted you to the possibility he was married? And how did you track down the reality?

      Back in the late 90s a guy was semi-chatting me up on a dating website, and I looked on another website and found the same guy, but he admitted there that he was married. I took this information to him, and got an “Ouch” and then acres of self-justifying word salad.

      I should have tracked down his wife and told her, but I was new to this game. So instead I just cut him dead, and was a lot more careful cross-checking guys on dating sites.

      It would be good to know what tipped you off as a way of helping others to protect themselves and see the warning signs if they start dating.

      • I am pretty sharp been around the block a few times but I did not know for definite and couldn’t get proof for a long time:

        1) insanely ‘private’ hated social media
        2) work was SO busy
        3) chatting all day and night means nothing … on his main number (trusting chump at home)
        4) cagey about disclosing personal information
        5) allegedly had a ‘stalker’ situation before lol
        6) the actions and the words didn’t line up I should have noticed
        7) Day one he mentioned me ‘overthinking’… yep they don’t want you thinking at all

        The manipulation and gaslighting starts from the get go… clarity comes later …..

        Thanks Lola for flagging! Hopefully it helps someone else not get exploited

        • Sorry and I should say what helped me get to the bottom was

          1) time… eventually they get sloppy start giving off clues… found his wife and a family pic online on someone else’s page… but there was zero online footprint apart from that….

          2) gut gut gut… something always felt off but I couldn’t prove it

        • OW for a year and never went to his house? Never met his family, any of his friends or coworkers?
          And you say you’re sharp and have been around the block a few times?
          Stories from OW’s usually smell bad.

          • I’m really disappointed at this response

            I don’t know what the correct term is but I’m a vulnerable single mother out of a violent relationship …. in a previous relationship my ex impregnated the OW in fact … so I’m very much not on the other side of the pitch

            He wanted to go with the flow … it was the year 2020 Covid as well… I just thought being ‘single’ he didn’t want commitment as that meant my kids responsibility

            But good to know I can’t get support here… I’ve asked for my posts to be removed… I can’t take any more upset in my already shredded life. Hope that makes you happier.

          • In defense of Kitty:
            Sorry but I don’t people should be kicked when they are down.

            In this very safe place we use “OW” , “Schmoopie” and the “AP” as devices to help us concretize what we have been through and how we have been cheated. These terms help us to remember or imagine in words what we need to get out into the open to share with others and to aid in our recovery and healing.
            Like chess pieces on a board they help us recreate what we need to work out. These tools help us reimagine how to fight an unfair war of betrayal and heartbreak. Picturing “her” assists in our uncovering the million ways we were subjected to heinous dishonesty and to count the ways we were hurt and what we are trying to recover from.

            The anger and contempt is better directed to the twisted person who fooled us and robbed us.
            Sadly we cannot get reparation for years of emotionally draining efforts to prevent the marital disaster the FW inflicted on us, nor a rebate on the money spent on therapy. Ee was showing a whole different image to the world. while he stole from us and messed with our minds.

            Each affair partner is a flesh and blood human being with a story, a life and struggles of her own. If once in a while one such person may stumble upon this conversation and identify herself, she should not be humiliated or scorned.
            She is probably confused and hopefully she can find the exit and get help elsewhere.

            No, it’s N O T our job to picture the world from her point of view at this time and in this place. But she shouldn’t be shamed or harmed because she wandered through the wrong door looking for help.

            • Thanks Chumparella- but please note I was unwittingly tricked into what happened to me…. he presented himself as single and created an entire cover story for his life. I think there is a big even HUGE difference between me and someone who knowingly becomes an affair partner…. something I would NEVER do…. I was lied to and used for emotional support and sexual gratification over months and months …. seems that the OW stereotype is so strong that I still get stigmatised even though I was unknowing AND when I actually helped someone in all this by tracking down his wife as soon as I found out. I don’t even consider myself a victim and I said that in my post. All my concern and empathy lies with the also lied to spouse.

              • Kitty, we are not talking about you or anyone who truly didn’t know. We understand these guys are master manipulators. That being said, it is probably not the forum for an OW/OM, however innocent, to seek support.

            • Ugh Chumparella, your post is triggering – and we chumps put up with enough of this point of view from people who have not been through it. I don’t think this is the place to lecture chumps on how we process and react to trauma caused by our cheater and their knowing accomplice. If the cheating accomplice knew the person was married, they took their happiness on the backs of the spouse and their entire family. They helped cause serious devastation, loss and trauma.
              Knowing accomplices need to be held accountable as enablers in abuse, in a world that usually gives them a pass.
              I feel that any chump has earned the right to freely speak their mind on this site without having to hear sad sausage defences of vermin cheating partners who knowingly profit from the pain and abuse of others. I am so not interested in getting out the violins for the person who helped cause my trauma. I am learning it is a very long recovery. Not to mention the million other losses we are left to deal with.
              Brokenness does not justify participating in causing trauma to others – and this is the 1 place for chumps to freely vent without getting their weathered and chapped hands slapped.

              • ” I don’t think this is the place to lecture chumps on how we process and react to trauma caused by our cheater and their knowing accomplice. ”


                I support your comments Zip, you have been an amazing advocate for Chumps. Which is the whole mission of this site.

                If someone wants to lectured me, eph them.

    • God bless you for telling the wife. She needed to know! As you said, she was about to make (even more) heavy investment in the mirage.

  • Oct. 1/17 He asked for a legal separation.
    Oct. 8/17 He begged to come back and put his all into the marriage. Willing to do whatever it takes to keep our family together. Assures me that he made it clear to his “friend” that his priority is me and the kids. She’s so angry with him, she’ll never want to see him again.
    End of Oct. – Marriage therapy weekend away. And weekly date night when he tells me he’s so relieved at the chance to spend this time with me.
    Nov. 20/17 – Starting fresh with a new marriage counselor. Strange behavior starts up again. I feel like an alien is taking over my husband’s body.
    Dec. 9/17 -He informs me that he’s leaving for real. Getting his own place for real. He’ll stick it out through XMAS but won’t be with us for new years.
    Dec. 19/17 signs a lease on a new place and buzzes around the house excitedly splitting our belongings and sharing with me all the great deals he’s getting on items for his new place. I’m dying a slow death.
    Xmas – I pretend to everyone in the family that all is fine so we don’t ruin anyone’s XMAS.
    Dec. 27/17 – I discover the secret email account that reveals a 21 month affair with his “friend” and reveals his plot to appear like he’s trying to work on the marriage, keep his distance from her and then end things so that no one blames him for an affair. I chose to say nothing of my discovery.
    Dec. 28/17 – My cousin (his best friend) discovers him shoveling snow at the OW house and exposes him. I go with the kids to cousin’s house with the kids for two nights and tell the ex to get out of the house. Through the evening we get desperate texts of apology from the ex, but he sends cruel emails about me to the other woman at the same time.
    Dec. 30/17 – He tells the kids he’s gotten his own place and that they’ll start staying with him the following week. He leaves. No call to follow up on how the kids are feeling. No call to them on new year’s. He’s with schmoopsie fulfilling his fantasy of ringing in the new year with her.
    Jan./18 – Share emails with his family and mine. No one tells him. His good Catholic family makes it clear to him that an affair is never going to be acceptable in their homes. He continues his false narrative about his “friend” who has only been a good listener. They shut it down.
    Feb & Mar/18 – After some sleuthing, I learn of another woman before this one with whom he had an emotional affair that he attempted to make physical. And, I learn of another woman he slept with while leaving me to be with the OW the last few months before he left. Also, discover he had been watching porn regularly for years and was likely on ED meds.

    Three years later, life is a million times better. The legal separation agreement took 1.5 years to hammer out but settled everything. Kids are now doing really well. Have had more than two years of somatic therapy to manage the symptoms of trauma. Just filed for divorce. Have maintained amazing relations with my in-laws. The holidays with my kids are amazing. Mommy keeps them connected with both families (their dad only bothers with them on the major holidays as he still carries out his double life). We have our traditions and lots of fun. I don’t miss him at all as I have come to realize that I was alone in my marriage for a number of years anyways.

    I still believe in love and marriage. I believe there are good men out there. I don’t care for a relationship yet but was enjoying the dating scene before COVID with humor.

    Remember that for as long as you allow the cheater to steal your joy, they win. Be forgiving of yourself in this journey and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter the pace. Start the process of reclaiming your life with pride.

    • Your post touches so many memories of my discard era.

      Thing is, I think once these guys have turned to someone else; they have completed the devaluation of us; and it is rare that they will ever “see the light” They will live out their lives trying to hide it, but most will live lives of desperation once the twinkies sparkle twat fades, and they try to find that thrill again and again.

      Some will see and admit what they have done, (rare unicorns) but even in those few instances it is rare that the betrayed spouse will want them back; too much pain has occurred, and by then most betrayed have experienced life without them long enough to know they can’t go back.

      • Yep, mine admitted he took me for granted. And he should’ve this and that…. But in his own words ‘it was already done.´
        As CL says – they are ultimately shallow people.
        They move on quickly and replace people and whole families quickly.
        So even a part of them owns it, they don’t truly care because they’ve moved on.
        I think very few of them are strong enough to stay and face the trauma they have created.

        • “I think very few of them are strong enough to stay and face the trauma they have created.”

          Yep, if they were not cowards they would have avoided adultery and faced up to whatever issues they were having. Sometimes there are valid issues in a marriage, sometimes they are just jonesing for some strange, either situation is not an excuse for adultery.

          By the time my fw was circling back, I was done; and quite frankly he was not willing to face the horror he had caused; he just needed to destabilize me, just in case he had any further use for me. And even if he was sincere, I was done. As I have said before “he had stayed at the fair too long” luckily for me. Otherwise I would have let myself go through even more hell, before I stopped it.

        • Yup. Mine actually said, “Maybe if I’d held your hand more.” What?

          Try these:
          “Maybe if I’d kept my pants zipped….”
          “Maybe if I hadn’t acted on my feelings because I’m married”
          “Maybe if I’d done the right thing and divorced before fucking around”
          “Maybe if I hadn’t lied every damn day”
          “Maybe if I didn’t devalue and discard my wife”
          “Maybe if I hadn’t taken a trip with the OW when I told my wife I was solo camping”
          “Maybe if I weren’t such an ENTITLED prick…”

          So many things he could have side. But it was the hand holding. It riles me up because it implies that the affair happened because we somehow drifted apart. Fuck that! He stopped holding my hand (I hadn’t noticed) because he had moved on to another woman. He felt entitled to something new and different and younger. He LOVED the flattery.

          I know I’m repeating myself on this site. I just need to get it out…again!!!

          • “Maybe if I’d done the right thing and divorced before fucking around””

            And there is the crux in most of the cases. They didn’t do that because they didn’t know what they wanted, so they sneaked around like the cowards they are, and tried out their new life before dumping the old. Of course as soon as they did that, they felt like the piece of shit they are; so the devaluation began, so that they could justify what they were doing, until they were sure if they wanted the old or the new. Once they devalued the old, their feelings changed, they couldn’t go back and face it.

            While I am sure my fw was firing on all pistons when he initially started fucking the new. I am equally sure that by the time it came close to the end of our divorce the thrill was subsiding because he no longer had her hidden. By then, when he circled back to try to destabilize me in case he changed his mind, I basically told him to go to hell; thought I didn’t say it quite that nasty. My comments were basically, you got what you wanted; go with God.

            I think that is why he was delaying the divorce, he was trying desperately to get out of his entanglement with her. At least to be single for a while. But, she was having nothing of it. Lol. Gotta say, I am so glad he couldn’t shake her. He most definitely paid the price for his thrills. Oh sure he still screwed around on her, but he was stuck; and she along with his help drug him down into financial ruin.

            You are right Spinach, I can tell you almost to the day that we “drifted apart” it was when he started fucking around. He knew it and I knew it.

            • Susie, Yes, I think he started distancing himself the minute he started putting the OW in his mind and then building on that.

              • They have to. I mean I have never done it; but I can’t imagine it can be done any other way. Yes I get that some, maybe even a lot don’t mean to break up their lives in the beginning; but likely even they don’t realize what they are starting until they step over the line.

                A normal human being with a conscience and any sense of decency just could not treat another human being the way they do without a warping of the mind. Those of us that are Christians would call it a searing of the conscience, I am sure it is the same for anyone though, just called different things.

          • Spinach, We all repeat ourselves on this site! It’s traumatic and nobody else wants to listen lol.
            Agreed – cheaters take us for granted, cheaters feel entitled and cheaters are cowards.
            Mine actually tried to play it like he courageously made a ‘tough’ decision in dumping all of us suddenly.
            I told him it was a cowardly decision and he agreed!!!
            Or he was just telling me what I wanted to hear because that’s what he did.
            Betray, devastate other people, accept total blame and be willing to work on it for a long time -that takes what the vast majority of cheaters don’t have.
            We chumps could own our shit and make it our life‘s mission to make amends -but we don’t cheat.

  • Dear Holiday Dumped Chump;
    I know your mind has been focusing on other things. Kids, gifts, cards, both holiday and credit, and trying to creat the perfect holiday atmosphere for everyone in your universe. The last thing on your mind, maybe, was that your partner would pull this act, and pull the entire world out from under your feet. You have to hold it together for the kids, your sanity. You know this, but you don’t know if you can pull it off…..
    Does not matter if you sit quiet, cause a riot or fall somewhere in between, just GET THROUGH these next few weeks.

    Trust that you will get through this. There are many here who have experienced this before you here, and they will offer as much help as you need, navigating the story you are about to embark on. No matter how common holiday bomb drops are it still feels like you are alone in this battle.
    Remember, It is your story. You will be tested beyond anything you can imagine. The protagonist we are all rooting for is you.

  • Dear chump,

    I’m so so sorry. One of my d-days was last year during veteran’s day- we were visiting my parents and my dad is a vet. He Skyped the AP while I was baking a pie and I caught him.
    He held me on the hook through the holidays. I ended it when I found his car at her place after he told me he had ended it.
    It sucks. It more than sucks.
    If you caught them, they will not change. You may want them to, desperately. But you fell in love with a mask, not the person they are choosing to be.
    Don’t believe as anything they say- believe what they do.
    My partner and i were together 9 years, so no divorce, no kids. Except our pets. We had been sharing them (we lived apart due to jobs) and he had them last, and refuses to share them or even give me updates. We’d had them our whole relationship. I miss them dearly.
    You probably are not the person you used to be- they have a knack for slowly making you into a shadow. Find someone who used to be like you and have them help you. Gather your friends, ask for help. Get a trauma therapist. Realize that whatever you still have at his place is not worth exposing yourself to him (pets aside) to get back. Change your credit card numbers. Write out by hand everything you want to say. He will never see your pain, so you’ll need to see it youself, have your friends sit in it with you, and your family and therapist. He. Will. Not. Acknowledge. It.

    It took me 6 months to smile again. You will too. Not today. But you will.

    • Kats, it is so awful isn’t it? I just want to say that mine discarded me and then later did acknowledge my pain and his wrongdoing. I also didn’t smile for six months. I could barely function for four months. I still have a cry most days.
      I’ve often heard that chumps understandably want acknowledgement. I got it – so to speak/ I mean he still stayed with OW
      and caused complete practical chaos as well as the emotional trauma. But hearing him acknowledge how what he did was awful – and seeing him carry on down the betraying path while the kids and I suffered the consequences- didn’t help at all.
      I agree with you – if you caught them – the hope is dim. Even if they came to you on their own… (and do they ever do that?) the chance of them morphing into the type of partner you thought you had is not a good betting game.

      • You are so right Zip, about the acknowledgment. My ex wrote me a “letter of apology” about six months after we legally separated. He had already done the year of hateful discard; and told me he never loved me on his exit, was in love and going to marry the whore. I just stood there and stared at that letter. It meant absolutely nothing to me. Just likely something he had to check off his list per the handbook; so he could do what he was going to do anyway and finish dispensing with me.

        Cold as ice these fuckers are. They don’t change for the next chump either, only difference is the next chump deserves it if she was the schmoopie. When the thrill subsides with schmoopie she has the turd she wanted.

        • ‘They don’t change for the next chump either, only difference is the next chump deserves it if she was the schmoopie‘
          ????????????they deserve that and more.

        • Hi,
          Thanks! He wrote me, via a lawyer I had hired to try to get something good for me and my pets, a “I’m sorry for how things ended”- such an insincere and inadequate and unacceptable “apology.” I ripped it apart line by line (I guess my own UBT!)- no apology for the 9 years of lying and cheating (by his own admission), nothing about pretending with therapists for 5 years (diagnosed sex addiction, and now lotsa other stuff), nothing about faking sobriety, getting a secret phone for the last 2 years, lying about still being in school (he finished his MBA but continued to have “classes” and “homework” he needed to work on, secretly, erasing all the blocks on his tech, making new emails I wasn’t aware of, sending me FB msgs (before he friended her), etc. Nope.
          I took his apology as “I’m sorry you caught me” because that time I did I sent him a pic of his car at her complex, and he got mad. Not ashamed or stunned.
          I was the OW now, by how he was treating me, when I thought it was “us.”

          I do take some pleasure in knowing that he is cheating on her, and he’s never really stopped with her either. I guess she’s okay with it because they got married a few months ago after moving in together earlier this year.

          Cheaters never cheat up- she is just FCE- fast, cheap, and, easy. And as my ex told me as one of the parting stabs into my heart- “he shouldn’t have to sacrifice for a relationship.” I guess he views treating his addiction and respecting me and my boundaries as too much.

          • I don’t think his whore cared when he cheated on her either. He had already thrown away everything he had built, including his promotion (he got busted). He was not about to quit getting strange as long as he could get it up. He was a police officer, no shortage of whores who will fuck them.

            She had what she wanted, she had a meal ticket and got to move out of the trailer park, at least for a few years until they ran themselves into bankruptcy.

        • The more egregious the hurt the more significant the reparations required. A letter does not and should not be enough

          • I agree. I mean, it is years out now. But, in the thick of it, I just remember looking at that letter and thinking feeling nothing.

            I do wish I still had that letter though. CL was not around then, but I would love to have her run it through the UBT.

            • I think mostly, they write it for themselves.
              Some people long for an apology. And I get that. Maybe YEARS from now, if I knew he’d gotten big time help and really self reflected- And took 100% responsibility -and if I felt it was sincere rather than self pity impression management – maybe I’d appreciate it?
              I think my reaction to that type of letter -which will never come- would depend on where I was in life and where he was at in life.
              And how I felt about future damage/scarring yet known to my kids.
              It was important to him to come and say goodbye to his step-kids and quickly ‘apologize’ for dumping them too.
              It takes a lot of chutzpah to ‘apologize’ for betraying a loving family and bulldozing their lives, spirit, trust in people and trust in their reality. This is what they do to the kids let alone their spouses.

              • Yep. I mean really for the pain they cause, doing it in person is the only way. But, honestly even if he had done it is person; it was too much too soon. I would have been afraid he would use the opportunity to zap me again.

                I know he has not changed as I know how his and schmoopies lives have been lived. Up to and including destroying his relationship with our son.

                So yeah, the letter just held no meaning.

                If I were to get a letter today, (which I won’t)it still wouldn’t mean anything. I might sent it to CL though.

                We have only seen each other a few time through the years at graduations and such. He won’t even look me in the eyes. Schmoopie is usually pleasant enough. But, it is just a hi how are you thing.

  • My DDay is actually today. A year out and I know this is impossible for you to believe, but you will have a life again with joy. I didn’t believe it either. Almost a year of conflict, fights, yelling and screaming—and then I left. Done.

    Joy and laughter and optimism moved in. And in covid times! I have re-discovered myself and LOVE me.

    My advice is to put your helmet on, head down and steely focus and you will make it to the other side where you can breathe again.

    And another bonus: I’m sad but more indifferent to the fact that my cheater decided to blow our lives up. True colours.

  • My D-Day was July 6, 2018.

    Today, I told the cheater that at the end of the day, we’re literally still talking about something that happened almost three years ago because 1. It’s still an issue for me and 2. It was never NOT an issue for me.

    He cheated with someone that I considered a friend. As someone I’d known for over ten years, I introduced her to him during the course of our then relationship (as the discovery was made during the 4th year of our relationship). As she and I were occasional play partners (something that he knew and occasionally joined), I made it clear to her that I was in no way interested in a polyam triad. He asked about adding her as a pet to our relationship and I always declined because – as i said many times to her and him – I wasn’t interested. I always said that he was free to go on and live his best life if he felt like he was missing something. As he always called me a cut and dry person, the person that stands here today is a person that spent years of their life not sharing their thoughts and feelings to the detriment of their own.

    Because of all of the work I’d done to be super clear about my needs and wants re; interpersonal relationships, it was heartbreaking to discover that he cheated on me and she was the affair partner.

    To this day, she refuses to speak to me (after an apology in 2018 and ghosting me) but still calls/texts/requests to hang out with him. As he keeps looking for a pat on the back for “staying to do the work” with his affair partner and me, I always say that they both went and continue to go about it the wrong way if they were concerned about everyone healing and moving forward.

    To her, I’m not quite sure what her whole entire issue was because she stopped talking to me last year. We were actually cast in the same play this year and essentially avoided each other (despite having to do a scene together with just the two of us). She attempted to make small talk but for me, it was pointless.

    You can’t disrespect someone so loudly and make the apology a whisper.

    For him, the hill he’s choosing to die on is that he wants to feel good about himself at the end of the day because he was “here” for my “process” as well as hers because he “brought his shit to her doorstep.”

    I’ve always said that I never had an issue with the connection – it was the lying and the continued manipulation coupled with zero transparency from people who claimed so much that their intention wasn’t to hurt me.

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