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Gain a Life, Gain Better Health?

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Yesterday was CN member SuperDuperChump’s birthday and he made this Friday Challenge request:

 How has your health improved since gaining a life?

I used to be on 4 medications. None now. Still don’t eat right, nor on a regular schedule, but have lost 10lbs. Sleep good at night and am full of energy. I will be 53 tomorrow and haven’t been this healthy in 25 years. All it took was getting rid of nitwit stress.

Many happy returns, SuperDuperChump! And good question. Boy, I don’t miss those stress rashes, do you?

Leaving a cheater is addition by subtraction, and that goes for health too. Speaking for myself, I lost: teeth-grinding, the aforementioned stress rashes, hair loss (it fell out in clumps, not that you’d ever notice, given my mop), insomnia, nausea.

Not to go on. Or I’m going to sound like a cranky old lady droning on about her sciatica. Oh, back pain! Had that too during The Troubles!

What I gained when I lost the loser: Energy (so much energy), focus, peace.

I read once that the playwright Tennessee Williams subtracted four years off his age for the four years he worked in a shoe factory. I think chumps should subtract the years off their ages for the time they spent with fuckwits.

When anyone is surprised at my age (which happens, quite flatteringly on occasion) I think to myself — I have subtracted 14 years of fuckwits. It must show.

And, of course, I have the added benefit of over a decade now with Mr. CL — and a better life puts a spring in your step too. Okay, and a little more paunch around the middle for both of us. We call it “happy fat.” But we’re working on it!

So, your turn — did your health improve when you left a cheater?

 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I had horrible back and neck pain problems during last 10 years of marriage to Xhole. After the divorce, I visited my chiropractor who was shocked my neck pain was gone.
    “I’ve divorced my pain in the neck.” We had a good laugh.

    I’ve never felt better physically and emotionally in all my life. I’m over 50 and yes, gained a bit of weight, but my new man tells me I’m beautiful and not to worry about the extra pounds. I used to jump through hoops keeping myself in shape and sexy so Xhole would love me, now I am loved for who I am and life is good!

  • I am no longer a diabetic nor have high blood pressure. My cute, young doctor attributes it to “mental well being” due to getting rid of stress….which is poison to the body.

    • I must add….

      I was hesitant about having such a young doctor.

      But, she says what is on her mind, tells it the way it is, explains everything, and has been a true Miracle Worker. I am very lucky.

      Ironically, she is a Chump, too.

      • After being chumped herself, maybe she read up on the effects of chronic misery and/or terror. It’s a whole field of medicine.

  • My migraines disappeared. I was on daily prophylactic medicine and a breakthrough as needed.

    I still remember when I had my first migraine. Ex announced OW was coming to our Mothers Day celebration. Yes, she came and was invited to OUR FAMILY Mother’s Day meal.

    I don’t know who’s more ballsy, ex or her.

    • I think this is a new Friday Challenge. Most Inappropriate Place the AP Was Invited. (FW genital jokes aside.) Mother’s Day is a winner. How about your wedding? (Raises hand.)

      Okay, but let’s save our entries for another Friday. Gonegirl, that’s awful. I hope she choked on a mimosa.

      • That would be a great Friday challenge!

        Choking on a mimosa is too classy for her. I was too medicated to pay much attention to her that day. Plus my Mother’s Day present sucked. I got nothing because “you’re not my mother”. Luckily the boys (young at the time) gave me homemade cards.

        • Ah, yes. There’s your sign. My first Mother’s Day, I had been up all night with my 3 month old. Miserable and dragging the whole day because FW would never lift a finger and could not be awakened from his slumber to do anything because he had to drive (7 minutes door to door) to work. I got nothing and the same explanation; he was not my child so why would he give me anything to acknowledge my motherhood in any way. Friends posted to me on social media asking how my first Mother’s Day was and I just put it out there. I was tired and miserable and received no card or anything because FW said I am not his mother. I stopped covering up for Mr. Wonderful. If that isn’t a sign of a narc, I don’t know what is. Zero empathy or kindness.

          • Omg my ex would say that too, “why would I get you anything for Mother’s Day? You’re not MY mother.” But would absolutely melt down if I didn’t get him something for Father’s Day. Idiots.

            • “You’re not my mother [or father]” is clearly a big flashing red light saying “devalue and discard.”
              My ex said it, too.

              • Wow I got this too on Mother’s Day. “You’re not my f***ing mother”. My kids made crafts at school for me that year.

              • Yep, same here! I used to tell him “the most important thing that you can do for your children is to love their mother”. During what I thought was his “midlife” crisis in 2012, he actually said to me “the most important thing that YOU can do for ME is to love MY mother”. That kind of crazy cannot be explained!

          • My ex had children from a previous relationship who basically abandoned them. I really didn’t expect anything while we weren’t living together, but after 3 years in the marriage, and helping raise them everyday, I still didn’t get acknowledged on Mother’s Day. When I finally asked why he didn’t bother to do anything, he told me I wasn’t his mother or their mother. They have a mother already. Really? Where is she? When was the last time she took care of them while they were sick, helped with homework, cooked everyone of their meals, took them to physical therapy and doctors appointments? So not only did he not acknowledge all I did for his kids, he taught them not to as well. My dumb butt was the one that stayed for a almost 10 years. To play devils advocate, I did stop acknowledging him too on Father’s Day after that shitty response.

            • Sugar plum you and I could probably share same stories! I remember hearing “you’re not my mom” and thought surely no ones EVER used this before!
              Also together ten years. ALSO raise his daughter AHEM… THEIR daughter. The one he cheated with before and after we were married and who’s now attempting DAMAGE CONTROL.
              I’ve been called”mom” a very long time by my step daughter. It’s quite a shame her parents put a horrible taste in my mouth
              God bless you
              I’m sure we can relate on more just such a small world even in these unfortunate cases
              ALSO: I know I’ve been depressed for a while now. Back pain is getting worse. I’m overweight by at least 10-20 pounds. Migraines come and go with more coming than going- just had covid and haven’t been able to gain my mental clarity or energy back. It’s been almost a month. I could go on too- but you all get it.

            • Hmm… related to this thread: I wonder how many of us celebrated Mother’s Day with/for our ex MIL’s. Conversely, how many of our exes celebrated our mothers?
              Questions for a different day, I suppose. I am opening an entirely different can of worms.

          • Yep, that is a BIG red flag, that one. Usually coupled with a creepily unhealthy mother son dynamic between FW and MIL.

        • Mother’s Day was when my xw left me for the OM. Funny that’s also the moment in time when she stopped being a mother.

          • THIS I’ve never understood in all my days… mother’s leaving their children behind. The most pitiful act
            I’ve known drugs to be a huge factor or being a lesbian. But still cannot fathom.

        • One year I got a nap for Mother’s Day. He hadn’t gotten me anything and our children were 1, 2 1/2, 5, 7, & 9. I was utterly exhausted.

          So…..the ex took all the kids away and left me home alone to take a nap. While they were gone, he bought himself a very expensive bicycle complete with the shoes that clip into the pedals.

          That was my worst Mother’s Day.

          • Well that’s classic in more than one way! He (finally) takes his 5 kids out … shopping for himself. So nobody got to enjoy that Mother’s Day but him.

            Sorry you had to go through that, Lizza. What a fuckwit.

    • Ahhh….MIGRAINES!!! Years of Chronic migraines coinciding with years of narcissistic abuse from my STBX, Dr. Fabulous and his fabulously effed up kids (not my kids, I was set up to be the evil step mother in the room). At the point in which they had almost broken my spirit/will to live, I packed up my stuff and moved far away, back to my home state. Guess what happened? Migraines got SO much better, I regained my strength, my life.

      Guess what happened next? Dr F followed me, swore he changed, his kids were out of the picture, etc etc. (Even though he left his now failure to launch adult kids living in the McMansion we still own together because, well….).Chump that I am, I found him a Fabulous JOB here!! Shortly after he arrived and unpacked, he sat me down and told me he wanted to start this new chapter with “100% honesty” and proceeded to tell me a trickle truth lie about the length of his affair he’d been having with a 20 years younger nurse.

      And well, the migraines are back, with a vengeance. Stress, for sure. I kicked him out, filed for divorce and am hopeful they will leave me for good once this is OVER.

        • Thanks. Oh I will, and will get good support thanks to the job that I found for him that gave him a 50% raise on what was already a lot of money! Luckily, I have two very well adjusted adult children of my own who are standing behind me and will not let me falter.

      • What an attempt there! I give it to you for trying to start fresh I’m sorry it didn’t work but very happy you’ll get your joy back now.

          • I am a bit late however this inspires me greatly I forgot to mention migraines have been horrific especially this past year when trouble hit this home but I asked God to show me who this person really is and just for anything I needed to see.
            The little lies started surfacing. His daughter who I always tried my best with started acting out… now it’s flipped around go but “we need you”
            My husband cheated with his ex who is his daughters mother. Says it’s been YEARS ago and he just wants to have a normal peaceful life together.
            I’d say we both deserve that but don’t see myself being able to eat this “shit” forever.
            My lower back has felt like it’s broken for some time and I thought it was from covid but im almost a month past and it doesn’t let up. Stress is mean on the body!

  • I was diagnosed with cancer and had a double mastectomy in 2014. Our kids were little so I chose not to reconstruct at that time. Ex was okay with that; wanted me home; wanted as “normal” a life as possible. By 2016 he was pulling away; hiding with his drinking and hunting buddies; becoming more distant.; becoming a “boob” man.. He left me and our 3 kids in 2017. I underwent reconstruction in 2020 (as I always wanted to make it 5 years cancer free before undergoing those surgeries). I’m convinced the cancer was from dealing with him and his bullshit. When people see me they tell me how I look so much happier, smile more and look even younger. I love it when they tell me he walks with a limp, put on weight and looks about 10 years older. He never had high blood pressure when we were married. Now he carries a bp monitor in his car at all times…hmmm

    • So glad to hear you’re cancer free. What a harrowing betrayal all the same.

      There apparently is a statistical cancer correlation–particularly breast cancer– for victims of dv. If anyone ever bothers to study it, I would bet the same would be true for cheating-abuse because the abuser MO and tactics and psychological effects on victims are virtually the same, give or take broken bones, black eyes and skull fractures.

      I visit a feminist site that has a lot of posts from survivors of severe childhood abuse and sexual assault. I’ve been surprised that virtually all have said that being in emotionally abusive adult relationships is in many ways worse and more destructive. This is usually written in response to various members expressing shame and mystification about how badly they collapsed before leaving an emotional abuser. The basic jist of the support is “It’s not that you’re ‘weak.’ Emotional abuse and gaslighting really *is* that bad.”

    • Im so glad to hear you’re well!
      And so sorry you had to endure all this. You deserve your life back. It’s so inspiring to hear another MIGHTY warrior story
      Thank you

  • Absolutely improved. Lost 35ish lbs, improved food to more healthy choices because FW is a meat and potatoes take out guy, exercise regularly for the love of it, general feeling of well being which makes me want to take care of myself. Meditation and prayer, yoga all survival skills carry-on after crisis dissipated. Instead of focusing on trying figure out how to make him happy, I’m doing that for me. I am a different happier person. Shockingly when I pay attention to my needs, I am happier-who would have thunk it.

  • I gained headspace (not having to deal with her 24/7 toxic BS and drama) and lost that paralysing sinking feeling I used to get when I was going home after work ….. it had got so bad that I found that I was staying in work later and later at night because I knew that Mrs LFTT was going to kick off the minute I got her home over some perceived or manufactured slight.

    Am in a much better space mentally now.

    LFTT

    • OMG, I lived the same thing. It’s not that I wanted to stay at work, but I just never wanted to go home because he would always kick off about something and I knew I was “in for it” at some point!

      • Attie,

        It was never a case of “if” she kicks off; the only things in doubt were “when?” and “about what?” It got to the point when I was physically ill (threw up) on the way home on a couple of occasions.

        Do not miss her.

        LFTT

    • I used to have panic attacks when it was quitting time for my XW. I NEVER knew what kind of woman would walk thru the door.

      • Here’s the really sad thing. Years after the divorce, a couple of my kids told me that they always dreaded hearing their father’s car come into the driveway. They never knew which “dad” was going to walk through the door.

        • Lizza
          My father was the same. Most nights though it was the mean alcoholic one. If he showed.

          Never really knew nor remember the sober one growing up from about 10-11 on.

          Time heals that. But Yeah, it’s like having the library to yourself and several people walk in talking really loudly. White Noise.

    • Addition of (positive benefit) by Subraction of (negative benefit)

      C(tot) = +Bp -(-Bn)
      =Bp+Bn
      =B(p+n)
      So mathematically, the negative benefit turns positive for a double positive benefit. 😂🤘

      Oh yeh, 61-12= 49!!!

  • Lost 30+ pounds and cholesterol improved greatly! Not sure if my snoring ceased (no one to hear it). No more back aches. Most relieved that I had my first “normal” mammogram in several years and am back to once a year schedule. Having said all this, the weight loss was certainly helped by abstaining from alcohol, decreased appetite and increased walking.

    And I wonder about my cortisol levels during the worst of it. Did anyone have a medical doctor monitoring the “divorce diet”?

      • Divorce diet for me was just eating enough to remain healthy/live. Along with the terrible stress, I lost 15 lbs in a matter of a few months and was on the edge of being underweight.

        My therapist monitored me. Making sure I was eating 3 meals. And asked for my weights. Didn’t go to a doctor during the separation. That would have been a good idea tho.

        • My BMI was under 17 at the worst point. I did eat but the sky-high cortisol signaled I was burning it all off just from stress. I passed out cold one day in my doctor’s office. Staff ordered an ECG and did an intervention about my diet on the spot. My doctor guessed what was going on at that point. Not an eating disorder but a FW disorder.

          My doctor is a very demure, glamourous woman with a voice like a relaxation tape narrator. When I told her that FW’s misogynistic old Freudian therapist had said my fainting and weight loss were “somatic,” she said “Oh fuck that guy.” Made me laugh.

        • I had that. Lost 25 lbs in a month. Survived on Kind Breakfast Bars. My doctor ordered me to gain weight. Looking back, 106 lbs was really, really unhealthy. 19% body fat. Now I’m a healthy weight, do strength training 3x a week, yoga & meditation daily, cardio 3 x a week. Happier, sleep MUCH better. CL’s math would have me at 19. Not sure about that but did a health test which said I have the fitness age of 37. Not too bad for a 49 year old who was told that his skank was “younger and fitter than you”. He, btw, no longer fits into his medium size shirts….. 🙂

          • Had that too, during the whiplash of discard. Lost 30 pounds in about a month, probably less. Not even sure how quickly, but it was so fast. By the time I got away from the ex, I was down to 116 pounds on a 5’9″ frame, had blood pressure nearing the danger zone, then was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months after that. The stress of this shit is real.

            Now I’m back to a healthier weight, high blood pressure is gone, and I’m healing up from the other health issues. The ever-present, paralyzing anxiety I had when married just… vanished on some levels and really lessened to near non-existence on others. I thought it was “just me” with that anxiety. That I was just “so broken” or “too fucked up,” and that’s why I had agoraphobia and panic attacks and depression. Nope. Got away from the ex and suddenly things just… cleared in my head. I suddenly could DO things. Go out in the world and feel shockingly fine. I helped teach my ex how to drive a car, and by the time the ex was done, I thought if I touched a car it would explode. Turns out I’m a pretty decent driver. The ex just had me somehow convinced I wasn’t. I even helped drive my friends from the Midwest to Toronto before covid happened. Life gets so, so much better when these people are gone.

      • I would cook a meal for myself and be so distraught by the time it was done I would throw immediately it in the garbage. I would also throw it away with the dish it was on because I hated the china he insisted we use. Been throwing away useful stuff (tools, kitchen utensils) because of it’s history. No donation…I don’t want any bad JuJu rubbing off on anyone else. All new no memory attached. I work in the environmental field so this is no small thing.

        • I made myself a registry online of items I will be buying to replace, not because he will take them but because I don’t want anything he used. In addition to cooking items and the flatware he insisted we use that I hate, bathroom towels is high on my list and even the toilet seat. It’s bad enough I will probably have to keep some of the furniture until I can replace things a bit at a time. I have been making a vision board of what life will look like. The spatulas tainted by his cooties aren’t on it.

          • I did the exact same thing! I left with my personal belongings, the china I’d picked out for registry, and an overstuffed chair that I loved. When the household items were divvied up between the two of us and my counsel reviewed the list, the comment was I should’ve taken more. I told him to work it into the settlement—I didn’t want or need a skillet to remind me of the nightmare I was leaving behind.

            • I am just at the beginning of separation/divorce. I’ve told friends I don’t want anything but personal and family things. He can keep the furniture and pretty much all of the kitchen stuff. It reminds me too much of him. I’ll start over in my own place.

            • I appreciate the thought but I am still getting things lined up to go. I have no place of my own at the moment. As soon as the pandemic dies down and I am able to put the wheels in motion, I will be ready to start tackling the purchase end of things.

          • I did this too, and it helped me to start over, but was really hard at the time. I felt unanchored without anything from my old life, but it freed me to start a new life. I don’t regret it, and am only now (2 years later) missing anything that I left behind. There are a few things that I didn’t see in my new life that I would have taken if I knew what the future held, but it is not a big deal. They are mostly sentimental items that have practical use. I can buy a new one, but it’s not quite the same. I don’t regret leaving with very little. It was necessary at the time, and very worth it for my happiness now.

  • That’s crazy to learn about “stress rash” – I was breaking out in hives while FW was cheating behind my back. I went to all kinds of doctors who couldn’t figure out the cause but as soon as I discovered the lies and deceptions and got him out of the house the hives went away!

    I also lost 20lbs from the stress of the divorce and have kept it off. My autoimmune markers have gone negative. I have so much more energy and joy in my daily life! Getting rid of the nitwit stress of living with a selfish disordered being has had such a miraculous effect on my health and well being!!

  • I am healthier. I have lost weight and found my boundaries. I no longer bite my nails. I no longer pull out my eyebrows. (Don’t worry I had microbrow tattoos and now have a lovely arch.) I was surprised to find my eyebrows are growing back. I was losing handfuls of hair. It was so dry and brittle. Now my hair has grown back and is looong and warm in this bitterly cold weather. I am healing.

    I am healthier. I’ve turned into an involuntary vegetarian. I eat what I like which turns out to be vegetables. I no longer cook for a cheater who will not be pleased. I cook what I like. I am healing.

    I recently had my ID card renewed. Compared it to the previous ID to discover I look at least ten years younger. I am healing.

    My therapist is pleased with my progress. I’m sleeping in a bed, not on a loveseat where I can see the exit doors in my tiny house. I have started sleeping without my shoes, this is a huge step. I’ve sleep without screaming myself awake. I sleep without crying myself to sleep. I am healing.

    I am healing and I am so grateful for the support and love I find on this site. Chump Lady and Chump Nation are my invisible support team! I owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank You!

  • My overall health is the same: good, but I am getting older.

    What IS better is my financial health, consequently, my stress level is much lower.

    Son just told me that sparkledick sold his perfectly good 6-year-old Pajero jeep, already paid for, and financed a new one (paying interest, of course.Tralala) to make some much needed cash.

    I feel so sorry for my sons: their father is a ticking time bomb of financial problems for them. My policy is to do my best to avoid giving them any type of problem in MY old age.

    • Mine is the same Clearwaters. He has to keep spending until it’s all gone – and then some. He will get himself into very big financial trouble at some point despite having a damn good pension. I’m so glad I’m not responsible for his choices any more!

      • Attie. my ex’s pension will be nowhere near maintaining his current lifestyle. It will not even pay the rent in a run-down neighborhood, his BP medication, utilities and basic groceries.
        Booze, travel with girlfriends, vehicle, insurances, clothing? Forget it

        • Yep. Financially I feel much better bc Ex would spend constantly on Amazon, his fav band concerts, & football games. I no longer have anxiety over whether the house is clean enough for his standards since he no longer lives here. I’ve started eating healthier since he only consumed pizza, wings, burgers, & beer. Now that we’re divorced he’s packed on the pounds and is diabetic.

  • When he was cheating at about year 14 of marriage (with 3 little kids in the house) and gaslighting was my daily life I was NOWHERE near being able to see/discern what was going on but my body was in full panic mode and I had odd physical problems.

    5-6 years later in the wake of his “big” affair (discovery, abandonment, him cruelly stringing me along because cake) I shriveled down to 113 pounds, my hair was falling out and I had hives.

    After he died and I started to recover, people kept telling me I looked so much younger. Ive since aged as one does, but that was a fun time of turning the clock back and enjoying myself in ways that I never before had in life.

  • I now realize it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to care about myself while I was married to someone who didn’t care about me. I didn’t see it because I was married to the Nice Guy whose sabotage was mostly secret. There was a lot that was on the surface, but I was confused by intermittent show of Nice Guy.

    He said when he left that I “wouldn’t know what I had until it was gone.” How right he was, but not in the way he meant it.

    The anxiety and depression, and corresponding detrimental effects on all levels, physical emotional mental spiritual, now had an explanation. I smelled smoke for years but could not find the fire. I just thought it was me.

    I want to be overwhelmed with love for myself and replace the neglect with care.
    Feelings follow actions, so caring for myself will lead me back to caring about myself.

    The price of staying in the mirage was my self-esteem. Not running after him when he left was the first step in the right direction.

    The new version of the movie The Invisible Man reminds me of infidelity….the main character getting the crap beaten out of her by an entity she can’t see and the mental deterioration that goes along with it.

    What makes it so easy for people to minimize or dismiss the damage of infidelity is that the wounds are not visible like bruises and broken bones.

    • Velvet,
      “I smelled smoke for years but could not find the fire. I just thought it was me.”

      Frankly, so unaware was I that I’m not even sure I SMELLED the smoke. Those detectors had long since lost their batteries, corroded after years of abuse.

      Maybe I thought the air was supposed to smell that way. I was so out of touch with my feelings, wants, and needs that I’m having trouble identifying them now. I’m grateful for my fantastic therapist who is helping me do the work of figuring out what the hell happened (why I put up with that shit), what I actually FEEL, and how I can gain healthy relationships with others and myself going forward.

      It’s a process.

      This gaining-a-life business isn’t for sissies.

      • All that you and Velvet Hammer have said really resonates. It’s exactly how I felt for my entire marriage. Seems like I smelled smoke in the beginning. Then I got used to it and no longer smelled it, and for a while maybe I liked it, who the hell knows. Then I was able to get fresh air by some miracle and realize I was not just smelling smoke but on fire!

        To me this gaining a life is like a painful rebirth. It’s a long, painful labor with no drugs. But in the end I hope it’s beautiful.

        • Longtime Chump,

          Sometimes I wonder if I grew to like it, too, in a weird, effed up way.

          Sifting through the ashes of it all now.

          If I’m honest, I did smell smoke in the beginning. For whatever reason, I ignored it and then became accustomed. And when I say “beginning,” I mean “while dating.” I want to go back in time and shake some sense into my younger self.

          *sigh*

          • I also missed signs while dating. I remember once we were out playing billiards. I went to the bar to buy us beer. The bartender was shamelessly flirting with me. I took the beers back by FW and mentioned it to him. Was he concerned? Jealous? Asking if I was OK? Anything? His response was that I must have been mistaken because “there is no way that guy would flirt with YOU.” Because apparently I was a despicable creature, undeserving of attention. Wish I could go back in time and tell myself to run.

            • Long marriage here. I can’t remember ever receiving a compliment from ex. About the 10 year mark, I told him that someone had remarked on how beautiful my eyes were, while ex and I were in a hug. Looking back I was fishing. He stared straight at me, with what came to be the customary smirk, and said, in a long drawn out tone of surprise: ‘You!’. He followed it up with ‘I’ve got beautiful eyes’. He had to win at everything.

              I’m still sad, and lonely (no kids). However I am glowing with health, skin looks beautiful, and I give myself compliments. I do have beautiful eyes.

              • Wow! What an insecure ass!!

                Now your beautiful eyes can see your ex’s treatment for what it was: cruel and abusive!

    • “I now realize it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to care about myself while I was married to someone who didn’t care about me. I didn’t see it because I was married to the Nice Guy whose sabotage was mostly secret. There was a lot that was on the surface, but I was confused by intermittent show of Nice Guy.”

      This describes me/my marriage as well, VH. Thank you for presenting it with such clarity. It helps me to be gentle with myself about the past and move forward with my healing.

    • omg, Velvet Hammer – THIS. Smelling smoke with no fire to witness, being beat up by an invisible entity – the third person in the room, the secret life, the LIES.
      Yes, I also know what I had now that his detrimental energy is gone. People do dismiss this kind of abuse, it’s good to have this community that understands.

    • ***The anxiety and depression, and corresponding detrimental effects on all levels, physical emotional mental spiritual, now had an explanation. I smelled smoke for years but could not find the fire. I just thought it was me.***

      Yes!!!

  • I lost a huge amount of weight when he left. I could hardly eat. Then I gained it back and more during the divorce process and then early closeout and the pandemic. I drank and ate to excess. So I’m working on that now

    However, my bloodwork is now normal, and I sleep well. My dentist says I no longer grind my death. I have some chronic pain, primarily from aging and doing physical labor for a time during separation when my finances were a mess. That’s getting better too though.

  • Did my health improve? Let me count the ways.

    I developed MULTIPLE autoimmune disorders when I was with the asshole. I really couldn’t function and was on lots of different medications. It took me forever to cook dinner for my kids because I kept having to sit down and rest.

    After the divorce my health got so much better. Sadly, some of the autoimmune stuff stuck around, but that’s life. People I only saw occasionally told me that I must be aging in reverse because I looked so much younger.

    It’s been over eleven and a half years since I kicked him out of the house and nearly ten since the divorce was final. I just turned sixty. I am so much healthier than I was in my forties. Even now after nearly a year of pandemic stress my mental and physical health is better than it was during my marriage.

    • I have also developed an auto-immune disorder since D-Day (#1 & #2) in addition to losing 25 pounds in a few months and my formerly full head of hair at age 43 is now thinning terribly at 44.

      I’m sure it’s from all the cortisol causing inflammation. None of these issues started in my life until after discovery. Not to mention the insomnia and anxiety. Fun times!

  • Before, I had heartburn almost nightly, even WITH medication. Almost as soon as I got him out of the house, I got rid of the heartburn AND the medication.
    My migraines are way down from multiples per week, and require much less medication.
    Sadly, I have new health problems, in part because after an initial loss, my weight went up higher than it had been. I’ve been eating too many sweets for solace and quick energy to deal with all the stress, and haven’t be able to exercise as much due to injuries hauling out his junk.
    The stress energy was good for one thing: cleaning house. I try to turn to cleaning when I’m anxious, instead of candy.

  • My anxiety is disorder barely affects me now, and when it does, I have techniques to get back on track within a day. It’s amazing how much less stressful life is when it’s not a daily “pick me dance.” (Which mine was long before I knew about the APs). Turns out it’s ok to have takeout pizza on the couch after a long day at work instead of a home cooked meal. No makeup days save a few minutes in the morning once in a while.

    How can I be less stressed solo parenting two teens, working full time, house and pets to maintain? Because I’m good enough. My life is good enough. Because I have friends who love and appreciate me. Because I love and appreciate me. I don’t think that man complimented me once in 19 years. I was right that he was judging me daily and I was at risk for him cheating on me if he suddenly decided I wasn’t enough. What I didn’t know then (poor younger me) is that I deserved so much better, and that alone would be so much better than with him.

  • During my last couple of years of a 22-year marriage to a cheating wife, I experienced bouts of searing eye pain in the middle of the night. Spent time in the ER and with ophthalmologists before it was diagnosed as recurrent corneal erosion. Turns out that’s when the layers of the epithelium on the cornea won’t stick together and tear when you blink. No permanent damage but terribly painful since the cornea has 100 times the density of nerves as your fingertip. By far the most physical pain I’ve ever experienced.

    Almost had very invasive eye surgery (they puncture the cornea hundred of times with a tiny knife in hopes the layers of epithelium grow forget her) right before D-days and divorce, after which the problem . . . Faded away. My eyes still get scratchy occasionally, but no searing pain now for 10+ years.

    In retrospect, it seemed like God was trying to tell me: “Open your eyes to what’s going on around you! You cannot ignore this! Do something!” I didn’t want to see, so I had to feel. Also struck by the fact that the pain came from parts of the eye not “sticking together.”

    Symbolism overload? Perhaps. But it feels true to me.

    • “Grow together” was misspelled and auto corrected to “grow forget her.” Brilliant! You can’t make this stuff up.

    • ABSOLUTELY – wow, I had an eye issue as well that included pressure in my head and searing pain. I attributed it to age, genetics, and grad school work. I went to two eye doctors and was actually in the seat for laser surgery and got up and left – at least I learned to listen to my gut in some ways… I have a new doctor who checks my eyes every 6 months, she is not concerend that my condition will get worse AND I no longer have the pressure in my head and searing pain in my eye socket. The opthamolagist totally agrees that gettign out of the stressful relationship helped my overall health. She does not recommned surgery and I am so glad I got up from that chair in the laser surgery office.
      I never thought of it as my spirit guides giving me a clear message – yes, they were! I plan to continue to listen to those sprit guides and my emotions more now.

  • I love this. I stopped losing hair( wow I have a lot of hair as the hairdresser keeps telling me), insomnia, I was unable to eat too, lost 35 pounds during the trauma, It was awful.

  • I’ve had fewer outbreaks of diverticulitis. I think it’s less stress, but this whole divorce had caused my anxiety to really ramp up. It’s hard still but I have hope now.

  • I was never a drinker until I met him, then I started drinking to numb myself. And it got worse and worse as I was forever living with the dread of what he was going to do next – beat me up, wreck a car, spend thousands that we didn’t have on some new toy. Now that he’s gone, while I still drink occasionally it is rare. I also get to sleep through the night. He was diagnosed bipolar and when he was manic he could go 3-4 days without sleep so that meant I wasn’t allowed to sleep either. My now retired boss told me not so long ago that he didn’t think I would make it. I didn’t either, but I’m through that tunnel and out the other side and life is so much better!

  • I experienced a lot of health effects while I was being treated like sh*t—and skillfully gaslighted so I didn’t know why I was being treated like sh*t.

    Daily stress related asthma attacks that wouldn’t respond to steroid treatment.
    Clinical depression
    Weight loss that left me looking gaunt
    Terminal insomnia–which is when one wakes after three or four hours of sleep and can’t go back to sleep
    Thoughts of suicide
    Engaging in self harm. Physical pain was a distraction from my emotional/psychological pain. Physical pain would bring my mind back to the present moment so I could function. I would press my fingernails into the skin of my palms. I would go hungry because it felt good to be hungry.

    As soon as the infidelity was known to me, I was partly relieved of many of these symptoms. I guess it’s *that* important for my felt senses to be in harmony with my rational senses—even if the reality on which they align is a very ugly one.

    The asthma and insomnia *vanished* immediately. I stopped having suicide fantasies and started having murder fantasies—which I knew wasn’t exactly healthy, but was certainly an upgrade. And my self harm frequency reduced 80%.

    I was divorced for the better part of a year before I recovered fully from the depression and returned to my normal weight and though patterns. So, 2.5 years from DDay to full recovery. I guess that’s the minimum I’m allowed to subtract for my age. Hard to know what the maximum is because I’ll never really know how long the affair lasted without my knowledge. The X admitted to 2 years only. My gut tells me it was 4 years, and I realized some time ago that my gut is a more reliable source of information than the X.

    I am five years divorced now and very healthy and happy. Thriving. Thank God I kicked that POS to the curb. I hope my message inspires someone else who is in a dark place today… to get ducks in a row and get out.

    • ‘returned to my normal weight and though patterns’ – Thanks for this sentence cuckoo, in particular the returned to normal thought patterns. This really speaks to me, abuse leads to abnormal thought patterns, just like you can have abnormal bloods, blood pressure, sugar levels etc. That is a very healthy way to look at our mental health – we have norms that swing to either side when we are subjected to stress/abuse and getting rid of that stress/abuse helps us move back to healthful ways of operating/states of being. I guess that’s what people mean when they say, “You just didn’t seem like yourself”.

  • Fw never complimented me either, I thought it was a personality thing that I came to accept. I confronted him about this early on in our relationship and he said that “he didn’t want it to go to my head”. What a ridiculous explanation from a man that lives on daily ego stroking and demands/expects hyperinflated thanking and recognition for the simplest of tasks. I was crushed to see that FW was so dry to me, yet, spared no words to shower OW with daily compliments and called her pet name was “sexy”. I died that day. I am a beautiful woman and he never called me sexy, it was a blow to my self esteem that took one year of therapy to overcome.

    When we reckociled, he made an effort to compliment me, it felt so nice. After dd2 he told me he had to “force himself to do it and that it shouldn’t have to be that hard”. Ouch. That killed the last ounce of live and respect that I had left for him.

    Instead of believing it was me the unworthy one, I have come to realize that it’s in fact him, the master of deceit, the one that is unworthy of something good and honest.

    • Compliments? Hah. I never got them either with one notable exception. He threw me a 50th birthday party and gave a wonderful toast. Looking back, I think that was more about HIM; he wanted to showcase a certain image before the partygoers.

      In private, he rarely if ever complimented me. His superpower was the well-placed insult. He knew just what to say to cut me to the core. “Your body disgusts me,” which he said while I was eight months pregnant. He whispered, “I hate your new dress,” as we were walking into a party. He had crushing social anxiety and needed me at these parties. I think he just dumped his shitty feelings onto me to make himself feel better.

      All this did a number on my self-esteem and confidence.

      I’m SO glad to be free of that. The self-esteem and confidence are tough to rebuild, but I’m getting there.

      • “I think he just dumped his shitty feelings onto me to make himself feel better.”
        THIS THIS THIS! I was thinking the same thing while reading all the comments. They really do need someone to put down to make themselves feel better. It is just so sick. I am glad you are out of it. I LOVE your new dress, your body is BEAUTIFUL, you deserve nice things and you deserve to be happy. Fuck that sadistic and insecure fucktard! I find that the more I let go of caring what he said to me, the more my self-esteem and confidence grow.

  • Oooohhhh I like the idea of subtracting the years that makes me 26 🥳

    On the down side that is my 47 year old ex dating range

    • Oh, spinach I didn’t realise you’d already mentioned this. Have a listen to the OnBeing interview with him I posted above. Really good.

      • While my ex was in the process of getting sober – and was inexplicably detached and resentful – I sent him that On Being interview with van der Kolk. I was so worried about him. Turns out he was screwing some very young intern while I respectfully gave him time and space to be “alone” in the woods in his recovery; meanwhile, I was left homeless and stepped in to take care of his sick, childish mom and her filthy house and ailing pets. Fast forward seven years, more girls and countless cloaked manipulations, while I continued to unwittingly pour my heart and soul into a black hole. I stayed through one “emergency” after another, so distracted and afraid and depressed and guilty that I accepted physical and emotional neglect and financial abuse – for starters. It then took D Day (I honestly had NO inkling, after 7 years of serial cheating, even though turns out many others knew) and another year and a half of what are evidently the usual cruel, boring games and toxic cycles, for me to wake up and leave for good (finally with a period, not question mark). Infidelity really is abuse and theft. Thank you, CL and everyone, for proclaiming this. This “man” took years 25 to 40, he took my home and equity and time and friends and community and chance to have children, and he undermined my confidence and hope and mental health. Only weeks after stalking me and declaring his unconditional love, he found a new girlfriend; he blocked me because I finally saw and called his bluffs for what they were, and I also asked for what I deserved financially; he feeds off his admiring followers of his popular YouTube channel where he plays the affable, wholesome homesteader; he eats from my gardens and benefits from all the work I did in “his” house; he tells our friends and his family stories, and this ickyness has bled into every relationship and place I care about; he acts like a guru and meditates, and when I confronted him about one of the countless ways he violated me, told ME “that’s not nonviolent communication” and “I thought you wanted to lead an examined life” – this from a guy who is over a foot taller than and physically abused me. And who claims he doesn’t understand how it’s not compassionate to sit with arms crossed, teeth clenched and glowering when you’ve just broken someone’s heart. How enlightened. He is scary.

        The irony. I need to listen to that interview for myself now. I’ve been free a few months but with the losses and transitions and my now-normal anxiety (and the pandemic), I can’t say I’m getting healthier. Just because I’m relieved to be out of the churning surf doesn’t mean I’m ok: I’m stranded on a desert island, alone. But I can reflect on the times over the years I was away on my own adventures and was so much healthier, happier, stronger and more beautiful. And while NC (except for the occasional out-of-body voicemail I leave in sheer frustration and disgust… beneath me, futile and stupid, I know) can’t give me back what I lost, I can step back and see that it has helped me feel safer and calmer. It has led to new kind of acceptance of who he really is. I hope it’s the road to healthier.

        I’m new to this site. In reading all of yours, and in just now writing my own, I’ve come to realize we all have the same story. We all know the same FW. We’re also, apparently, the only humans on earth who can understand. Here, I don’t need to explain or even share to feel validated. Thanks, chumps, for eloquently and unapologetically sharing your collective wisdom and compassion.

        • Thank you for sharing this, bread&roses. Yes, this is a good place to find much needed affirmation and support. Fuck him and his victim blaming and gaslighting. Sounds like he is a fake, through and through.

        • Your story is also mine. Two years ago, my anxiety was so bad that I was researching brain tumors to try to explain my physical and cognitive problems. Today, that is mostly gone. I have learned to love myself and devote all the effort that I placed toward him onto myself and good people who I love. I started exercising, meditating, praying, and doing things that make me happy. Most importantly, I learned to accept that my feelings are normal and to embrace them. I am more in tune to the feelings in my body and how to live with them, rather than deny it. I am glad you have found your people, where you can be truthful and know we get it. There is hope. Choose yourself and things will get better.

  • In the two years before I found out what the hell was going on, I developed terrible low back problems that resulted in searing pain down my sciatic nerve. I could not sit comfortable so either lay on the couch or stood up to read the paper etc.
    During the Dday nightmare and “wreckonciliation”, I could not sleep, could not eat, was triggered into a shaking mess about 10 times a day, and quite a lot of my hair fell out.
    Today, I am sleeping and eating and feeling peaceful. I am in the best shape of my life and am grateful every day that those days are gone. I am not fully at meh yet, but am enjoying the level of meh I have reached which is a pretty peaceful place. It is night and day from the horror show I was living.
    Newbies, take heart!

  • XAss was only health care practitioner in the remote community that we lived in. In order for me to get health care, I would have to fly into the larger city. I’ve led an active life, and have a few chronic injuries that need management. As well as basic health care. Something he didn’t seemed concerned about for me. Somehow my pain was never really real in his eyes. He belittled me going to the chiropractor. And of course bitched about health care payments he wasn’t paying (I was).

    Wasn’t eating or sleeping…I certainly couldn’t sleep in the same room as him, ‘specially since he loved to sleep in the middle of the bed on his back, legs spread wide and his hands folded under his head – effectively leaving me ~ 10″ on the queen size mattress. Yes, selfish and entitled even in his sleep.

    I am 5’ 4″, and a healthy weight for me is ~125-30 lbs fit. When I left, I was 109 lbs. I was having heart palpitations and panic attacks. Migraines. BP through the roof. I hadn’t really had a good night’s sleep in forever.

    Now I’m in the best health I’ve been in a long time, though a little more plump than I’d prefer. But that’s o.k. It’s happy fat.

    • OMG! The bed hogging!!! WTF?! It is totally NOT ok. He would complain about how I slept and blamed me (of course) for him not getting good rest, so I started sleeping in my own room and got a super nice mattress. Evidently, this was a sore point for him and he used it as ammunition against me later when he listed reasons why he was “no longer sexually attracted to me.” He also told me: “You’re just not feminie enough.” Hmm… I guess standing up (or, in this case, lying down) for my needs is a masculine trait? Whatever, I am glad I had some sense to make sure I got decent sleep. I left him the old bed and there is a divit in the center of it and it stinks and the bed frame squeaks. He can have it. My mattress and bed frame are perfect and it smells nice and I sleep so soundly now.

      • To Peregrine and others who mentioned it: Who knew! This bed hog thing is a revelation, though not a surprise. It got to the point where it felt aggressive – and I guess it was. His settling into bed routine was also unpleasant and involved him ripping blankets off of me to tuck them around himself, elbows flying and toes jabbing, completely oblivious to my existence or comfort. If I said anything? More hostility.

        I also moved into my own room (long before dday but well into his secret cheating/lying, etc.) so I could be myself and at peace at night instead of falling asleep cramped and quietly crying, a wall of blankets between me and that cold creep. Of course, me moving out of HIS (not our) bed was one of his constantly evolving excuses for cheating – until it came out that he’d been sneaking out of the house to f**k a young woman in his truck while I cooked and cleaned, coming home just in time for supper… long before I moved into my own room. After that, it only took five years to learn who he was and what was going on. I am a real chump. It’s all so, so bizarre in retrospect.

        • bread&roses – you are not alone – bizzarre is a word I use often to describe that experience and that man.

  • I was diagnosed with THREE autoimmune diseases, plus overweight, panic attacks, hospitalized twice for attempted suicide attempts, general anxiety disorder, psoriasis, C-PTSD, and short term memory issues. After I separated and divorced her, one autoimmune disorder “disappeared”, off of anxiety meds, psoriasis is in remission, suicidal thoughts rarely happen, depression is very rare, and have lost over 60 pounds. Unfortunately, I will deal with the side effects the rest of my life from the damage done to my body. I am 48 years old, subtract 24 years with my XW equals 24 years old. Cannot get those years back.

  • I weigh the exact same yet people are always asking if Ive lost weight or am working out. It seems to be redistributing to other places (in a good way). I just say, “Yes, I lost over 200 lbs of unneeded fat” 🙂

    • hahaha!! Totally!!! 170 pounds of unneeded stress – GONE. I am so glad you are happier 🙂 I took some pictures of myself during the last part of that shit show and some recent ones – the contrast is incredible. I am so glad we are out of that.

  • People have commented that I look so much more relaxed.

    When I was married to FW I had so many issues that I finally my doctor referred me to an environmental doctor, which is a specialist who deal with people who are having strange symptoms.

    He called me one day to tell me that my arsenic levels were off the charts and “oh by the way… did someone want me dead?” Of course this was in 2014, and I said “no way”. Nevertheless, doc called environmental protection agency to take soil samples and water samples.

    We never could find the source of my poisoning. Now that I know what I know……my illnesses were a result of stress no doubt, but my lawyer believes I was being poisoned by FW, and she told me to get the heck out immediately.

    Sooooo, I do have some health related problems, but nothing like I did. It helps not to be poisoned I am sure, and the divorce undoubtedly saved my life in more ways than one.

    • Whoa! That’s freaky. I’ve told this story before but my STBX was using a brain washing technique to get me to commit suicide. Essentially, during the big gaslighting period, he would talk a lot about suicide – tell me things like, “when you do it…” He would pretend to be worried about me because I was so suicidal – but it wasn’t me talking about suicide it was him. It was really confusing and I didn’t know what he was talking about and it got to the point I was so gaslit that I wondered if I’d talked about it but forgot. Now that I’m working with the women’s refuge, I’ve learned this is a reasonably common abuse tactic. It’s crazy making and it’s really hard to believe at times. So in a way I was being slowly poising too, just with manipulation.

    • OMG! Wow – THIS is why abusers don’t want you to talk to medical providers and other support people. Holy shit – seriously scary. YOU GOT OUT and I am so pleased for you.

  • “I think chumps should subtract the years off their ages for the time they spent with fuckwits.” Good grief, I’d be like Benjamin Button, aging backwards. I’d be 25 again!

    Seriously…

    Perhaps the biggest change has been in the area of finances; they are in fantastic shape since XH left. We were married for 40 years and we struggled financially the entire time. We both made good money, but at the end of the month, we never seemed to have any of it left (of course, now I know the reason why: his 14 affairs definitely cut into our budget). Because he’d repeatedly borrowed against the equity in our marital home, the net equity remaining when it was sold was just a few thousand dollars. He pretended to be so magnanimous when he said I could have “the whole thing“. Oh yeah, party time! Well, I took that paltry sum and while we were still separated, I bought a sweet little house for myself (yes, he signed a quit claim deed). I put down $5,000 (the smallest down payment possible), and took out a 30-year mortgage (the longest term available). Despite living on one income, I quickly realized I had a sizable surplus of cash at the end of each month, enough to start paying extra principal on the mortgage. A year later, I refinanced the house, cutting the interest rate by 35% and reducing the mortgage term by 50%. Last year, I refinanced the house again, cutting my interest rate by another 25% and knocking another 5 years off the mortgage term. Now, it looks like I’ll have my little bungalow paid off in full in 4 more years, just about the time I plan to retire. And, there’s been enough extra money to make significant updates in the house and the property, thereby steadily increasing its value. XH and I owned 3 houses during our marriage, and because of his deeply concealed financial abuse, there was never any chance that we’d own any of them outright. So the prospect of doing so with this home, in a total of just 11 years, using 100% of my own money, is thrilling.

    Another financial win has been with my retirement savings. When we divorced, we each walked away with just 50% of our retirement assets. XH quickly locked down a VERY comfortable retirement by marrying AP #14 who was swimming in money from her own divorce settlement. I, on the other hand, was 60 years old and knew my 50% wouldn’t permit me to retire until at least age 75, and the likelihood that I’d always have to have some sort of paid employment was pretty high. Then, about 2 years post-divorce, I was given the unique opportunity to team up with a business acquaintance and change the structure of my long-standing solo small business. This change also opened up two new retirement income avenues I didn’t previously have. Not only will I receive a percentage of the profits my portion of the business continues to create after I retire, but by establishing a different type of retirement plan, I’m contributing twice the money to my retirement savings as I was before, and this will translate to a higher income stream once I stop working. I’m also holding off on taking my Social Security benefits until age 70; for every year I wait, I gain an 8% boost in those annual benefits. I feel like God had His hand all over my finances, and I wake up every day grateful.

    In other areas of my life, I still have mountains to climb… At 65, I take no medications, have no underlying health conditions, get plenty of sleep, and eat as healthily as possible. I feel so blessed to be unencumbered by some of the burdensome medical conditions my contemporaries deal with on a daily basis. But during my marriage, I gained a good amount of weight and it has dogged me for years; I gained 70 pounds while pregnant with triplets, and never really lost it. Through therapy, I realized this extra weight was my protective mechanism, like putting a physical “layer“ between me and my emotionally abusive XH. Even though I was a regular dieter, I never seemed to be able to lose any appreciable amount of weight and keep it off. I guess my body knew better than I did that I needed protecting, and since I wasn’t mentally strong enough to recognize and fight off his gaslighting, projecting, and blame shifting, the best way to stay safe do was to keep those extra pounds right where they were. Today, I’m still working on overcoming regular self-sabotage and rebuilding my self-worth. This is a journey of 10,000 steps; perhaps once I’m more comfortable in my own skin, it will be easier to drop the armor and free myself of the extra weight.

    • MyRedSandals,

      Thank you for sharing.
      Your story is empowering & inspiring.
      Just what I needed today.
      Where I am.

      And where I am right now is in a waiting room at the hospital after a cancer diagnosis.

      I almost didn’t want to read through the responses because obviously my health has taken a worse toll.

      But my SPIRIT is better than it has been in a long time.

      And your story reminds me I CAN make all the days ahead of me the best ones yet.

      • So sorry for your cancer diagnosis. I hope it is treatable, with few side effects.
        I wasn’t ready for this topic either as I saw the surgeon this week about an HPV related benign tumor in the sinus cavity. I have had 8 surgeries for it in the 36 years of marriage. It wasn’t until the 4th surgery that they knew why this growth kept reoccurring. I’ve read that no one can ever pinpoint where someone gets an HPV infection from, but it’s a constant reminder that the most likely place for me was within my long term marriage where I was monogamous but STBX was not. And he drove me to many of those surgeries & played the caring, concerned husband.

        But all these responses give me hope that this could be the last surgery. And the body can be so resilient!
        Already, my sister in law, & my son’s counselor, have remarked that I seem so happy, like a different person, after just 2 months of physical separation.

      • Oh Busybee! I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you navigate this difficult road ahead. For years I used to read about the toll stress takes on our bodies, and the links to cancer and other serious health problems. Please remember that you are a survivor and thriver and you will be gaining a new life despite this setback. Focus on you and your health. Sending you love and hope.

      • Busybee,

        I’m glad you found my testimony to be of some encouragement, especially on what has, no doubt, been a very difficult day. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with a challenging diagnosis, but stay encouraged, listen to your doctors, and rest in the knowledge that no matter the outcome, you will be OK. Sending love and hugs your way! 💕

    • Myredsandals – if I took off my years I would also be just a babe! 22. UGH – what a waste of so many good years – coddling a cranky, defective man.

      I just took out my mortgage this week to buy my FW out of his half of the house. It felt really, really good even though it was painful to write him a check for his half. As I wrote the check, I sent good wishes that he would use the money to pay for schmoopie’s divorce and buy her a huge diamond. I’m hoping he spends it all on her and finds himself dumped when she moves on to the next twu wuv.

      He was livid during the divorce hearing as it became clear I was getting half of absolutely everything. As CL says, get the best lawyer you can afford and pay her fees. She will save you many times that amount in the long run. I naively believed my ex’s claims that he wanted to resolve this amicably. My lawyer sniffed him from afar and warned me to be prepared for a high conflict divorce in front of a judge. She was absolutely on target.

      I volunteered to teach budgeting classes at my local domestic violence organization. I think my financial smarts is something that made a huge difference in being brave enough to go it alone now. Money = energy. Women disempower themselves in that area of life and the consequences are so painful.

      • tallgrass,

        Woop, woop! Congratulations on putting your marital home in your name only. Isn’t it a great feeling, to know that you got what you deserved (and so did he, just not in the way he expected).

    • Thank you for the hope, MyRedSandals. I am just beginning my career in my late 40’s and I do think about what that will mean for me in terms of financial stability. Thanks for the reminder that, if I just take care of myself and my needs, I will be ok.
      Congratulations on the finacial and professional accomplishments! I totally agree that the weight is a protection from psychic abuse. I just kept getting fatter and fatter while with that insufferable man. I know now it was because of stress that caused inflamation and an inability for my body to adequately process the foods I was eating (I eat pretty well) AND, more importantly, my psyche was keeping this layer to protect me. After I knew I did not need to be with him anymore, I started to talk to my extra weight – I thanked it for being there to protect me and I told it that I didn’t need protection anymore and it is ok for it to go away. I did lose weight immediately and after I was physically out of his house, I could feel the inflamation going down. I don’t eat as much comfort food and I workout, BUT I really truly know that most of the weight was there to protect me.
      OH! I am thinking now that you gaining the weight while pregnant was really your psyche protecting those babies!! Now THAT is a good mom 🙂

  • Great topic! I was married 40 years to my FW. Immediately after D-Day, I quit ripping my fingernails and cuticles to bleeding stubs. It’s been a year now and I still get compliments on my strong, pretty nails. So strange that it happened overnight like that!

    I had been in weekly chiropractor appointments for nearly a year when FW announced his affair and moved out. Right away, I was able to stop the chiropractor appts. On a routine visit he remarked on my much improved condition and I told him I was no longer carrying around a cranky 185 pound toddler on my hip!

    Because I was afraid I was going to loose my health insurance in the divorce, I made an appointment with my physician and told him I would do anything he decided I needed. You could see the relief wash over his face as he has been gently prodding with no response from me for years. He scheduled a mammogram and a colonscopy (which I am about 10 years past due for a first one.) I told him that I had found that I, indeed, now was interested in living as long of a life as I could. I asked him if he remembered my last visit – that my ex had accompanied me and stood alongside the wall during the whole visit. It was so odd, after living with him for decades and he couldn’t have ever told you if or when I ever had a doctors appointment. My physician responded that yes, he didn’t remember it and that the whole vibe was so odd. So who knows what FW was thinking but maybe thought I had figured him out.

    It was a whole different perspective for me to look at life in a forward way. In the colonoscopy they found “stuff” but were able to take care of it. I was at the end of my grace period on that topic and would have been into cancerous stages quickly. In the nick of time, really, and I am grateful for the second chance to find out what love and life are really about. Now, just the continuing work with my mental health………. I’m still on weekly counseling sessions even one year out. It’s frustrating!

  • I have an autoimmune disease. I went from literally slowly dieing because my immune system was attacking vital organs, to my immune going into, thus far, total remission. I still have some minor hiccups from time to time, but my lab work every 6 months for the past 7 years has been excellent. Low cholesterol, good iron, rarely have asthma issues now, no more acid reflux,, etc. My medications have literally been wiped in half.

  • Since moving out, the headaches, backs, and digestive issues have disappeared. Bloodwork is normal. My skin is clearer, and my hair has stopped falling out. My physician took me off my anxiety meds. I’m exercising and meditating, so the very few panic attacks I do have—always preceding a legal action—are pretty easy to control.

    My question is this: Has anyone else noticed a significant change in the appearance and health of their Ex/STBX? When my STBX and I faced each other in a legal action, it’d been several months since I’d see him. He was barely recognizable. His hair was receding and nearly white, quite a bit of weight gain, and his face was puffy and nearly purple from high blood pressure. It made me wonder if Karma was kicking in.

    • Yep. I think only genuine, clinically conscience-free sociopathic cyborgs might not show the bloated decline of the FW journey to the dark side. The merely empathy impaired still have enough human DNA left to rot on their feet.

    • I saw my ex-husband at my step-daughter’s wedding. (Interestingly, she vetoed being walked down the aisle and the father-daughter dance. She did have a mother-daughter dance and I got to participate along with her mother!) His hair was long and stringy, halfway down his back and the perfect grooming I remember was gone. Hair and beard both gray and scraggly, he seemed shorter and heftier and he wore dirty crocs with his tuxedo. At first, I didn’t recognize him (from a distance). I was sitting with my step-daughter’s step-sister-in-law — lotta steps in that family! — and I asked her who that was. When she told me it was my ex, I laughed out loud. I cannot believe THAT is who I was attracted to for so long!

      I developed hypertension, insomnia, obesity, diabetes and breast cancer during the quarter of a century I spent with that fuckwit! I’m on less blood pressure medication, I’ve lost 24 pounds and I am happier. But I still have insomnia, obesity and diabetes and I still have to be followed up lest the breast cancer return. My best friend told me my relationship was killing me. She was right.

      • The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants,

        The most interesting things happen at weddings, don’t you agree? Although my “encounter“ didn’t happen at a wedding, I (unfortunately) had to see my XH at a family event for one of our sons, and for just a moment, I didn’t recognize him. It was a bit surreal, considering I woke up next to that face for four decades. I think for the first time, I saw the evil in his countenance, and that actually changed the way he looked.

    • oh yeah! I haven’t seen him since I left his house 9 months ago, but he was really suffering before I left. He was with a super sick bitch who was playing nasty mental games with him. He gets what he deserves.
      In the 3 months I was there after D Day, he had a rash all over his arms, a wart growing on his hand and on his penis (I had an STD check and all is well), tooth pain, crying frequently, lost yet another job, smoking methamphetamine, drinking more than 6 alcoholic drinks a day, smoking THC “oil” like it was going out of style, he STANK – he really smelled badly, looked like shit, but thought he looked great because his weight was low, yelling constantly, negative comments were LOUD and FREQUENT, unable to manage his emotions, reported visual and audio hallucinations, he could not sleep soundly, complain complain complain LOUDLY – oh, did I mention that before.
      I don’t even think about getting revenge against him that much becasue he is his own worst enemy.
      I, on the other hand, look so much better now!

  • Cheaters/abusers are health vampires. I can actually track the timeline of FW’s affair just from family photos taken over the course of that 18 months. That first Christmas about a month into the fuckwittery was the last time I looked like myself until after D-Day. Two months into FW’s affair, suddenly I look years older and completely worn out. My normally unfashionably big hair became almost stringy and dull. I didn’t look quite clinically anorexic, just sort of 70’s era coke-head with sticks for arms and legs. The cat couldn’t sit in my lap anymore without falling through my four inch thigh-gap. I didn’t perceive it at the time because I think my bandwidth was being burned up by my flaming subconscious intuition that something was “wrong wrong wrong!” But the difference was pretty shocking.

    I wasn’t the only one who radically transformed. In photos taken right after the start of the affair, FW suddenly takes on this rat-like expression. His hair is suddenly thinner and more gray, eyes puffy and evil looking and smiles look like sneers. His rapid, secret descent into third stage alcoholism didn’t help.

    I also feel like intimate abuse– even when we’re not yet cognizant of it–marks us for further abuse, a bit like chickens ganging up and pecking a scapegoat to death because one feather is out of place. It’s like every disordered bully for 1000 meters can see the bulls eye on our backs.

    Before D-Day, a nasty school administator was making cracks about watching my blood pressure (read: “You look like shit”). If it had just been that I might have chalked it up to cattiness except I was getting the same kinds of cracks from bitchy local moms, unbidden remarks from randos at the health food store (“This supplement is good for perimenopause…”) and jibes from the twatty nurse at the GP, etc.

    For someone raised by feminists not to put too much stake in women’s sexual value or appearance, I was becoming horribly self conscious. Looking back, it wasn’t my imagination. I really was being put down and objectified right and left. It’s like every sicko was telepathically echoing FW’s shallow, psychopathic, as-yet-unstated sexual devaluation.

    The funny thing is how that radically turned around right after D-Day and separation. I was still miserable, still not sleeping, dangerously underweight no matter what I ate and my labs were a mess. But suddenly the world became much nicer.

    Since D-Day, I don’t think I’ve Benjamin Buttoned the entire 20 years of marriage or I’d be college age. But now I’m apparently “not old enough to have teenage kids,” hah. My BP is like a ten year old bushman in Africa, cortisol dropped to normal, my cholesterol is like a long distance runner and my hair ceased falling out. My BMI is still on the low side but I’m no longer gaunt and the raccoon eyes are gone.

    I conclude that the “unlove” offered by disordered FW’s is not merely absence of love but something toxic and carcinogenic like nuclear fallout. Even when they think they love you it’s causing oxidative stress and destroying your cells

    • Interesting comment on how the FW looked. The word “rat” was used to describe how my FW looked pre-DDay. The staff at work (yes, we worked together in our business) noticed the rat face, his puffy eyes, dark circles, etc. He went bald and grey within a month or two. Looked like shit. I often wonder, was that the lying? He was out there having all this glorious sex. How come he wasn’t glowing? Instead he looked like death warmed over. I’m no contact now so I have no idea if he still has the rat face.

      • The rat appearance really got to me. The first time I saw the shark eyes, was frightening. It was scary. He had beautiful blue huge eyes, and they looked small squinted and steel gray. He left a couple days later, and I only saw him a few times after that and the change in his appearance from cute human to a rat look was astounding. This was way before CL, and I even then with no prompt was thinking he looked like a rat.

        I was even able to make a couple jokes at work about it when a friend and I were talking. There was a story in the news about someone finding rats in their beds. She said quite innocently “Gah can you imagine sleeping with a rat” I said “BTDT” She looked stunned for a minute then we both got a laugh out of it. It felt good, just for a minute anyway.

    • “The funny thing is how that radically turned around right after D-Day and separation. I was still miserable, still not sleeping, dangerously underweight no matter what I ate and my labs were a mess. But suddenly the world became much nicer.”

      I had the exact same experience, Hell of a Chump. I couldn’t sleep or eat and didn’t care whether I lived or died, yet I saw so much goodness around me. I no longer saw the world from my ex’s immature and cynical perspective. I also became nicer to myself. It was as an overnight epiphany.

    • I also must have had a target on my back. My health and looks improved while my cheater was with me. He left abruptly, and I went straight into a rebound relationship with an abusive covert narcissist. I aged very fast in that relationship and am still trying to recover from that.

      • I also found I had PTSD when I went to doctors appointments–dental and gyno were the worst, but any touching was triggering for me. I am still trying to get treatment for this, but am now frightened of psychotherapists too. Very hard to let strangers close to me now.

  • I gained 10 lbs (had been underweight due to stress), got off anti-depressants, and eat healthier now (he preferred to eat out over even a TV dinner).

    Still working on losing the nightmares and being able to sleep through the night.

  • As the years of abuse ticked by, I experienced:

    – insomnia
    – heart palpitations (had to wear an EKG monitor for 72 hours)
    – I lost two jobs due to “distracted performance” and thus, career and earning setbacks
    – gained about 75 lbs – that melted away when he moved out
    – was drinking a bottle of wine almost every night to get through the hours of 6-10pm with him

    ALL GONE NOW… we joke that the first thing we lose is 200lbs (e.g. the average weight of a male cheater)… but the truth is we lose all these things that were drowning us, some seen but some unseen.

    • I remember having abnormal heart rhythms numerous times over the years. Had a heart monitor for a while. That was almost 10 years ago.
      I have tended to be on the small side my whole life now I’m heavier than ever, I think all stress related.

      So glad you’ve gotten free and healthier!

  • I also had stress hives in the months leading up to DDay! I did not realize how common this was. I also had frequent migraines, nausea, and excessive fatigue, not to mention sleep disruptions and terrible nightmares. In retrospect, the last few years of my marriage, I was barely functioning, just so stressed and overwhelmed all the time.

    These days, life still has plenty of stress points (job insecurity, pandemic worries, kid struggles, etc.), but overall, I find I have more calm and peace that helps me manage the stress. I am finally learning to take good care of myself, finding time for yoga, meditation, and other forms of relaxation. I “treat” myself to small pleasure. After Xmas, I took advantage of sales and ordered myself some cozy pjs, good wine, and fancy chocolate. All baby steps on the long and winding road to Meh. Despite occasional setbacks, I finally feel like I am on the right path.

  • Lost 90 lbs. I gained it so quickly after we got married and the abuse became inescapable. I tried so hard to lose it and nothing worked. Once we separated, it fell off without much effort. Now, I go to spinning everyday for 45 minutes and have more endurance than I ever thought possible.

    • I keep hoping this would happen to me. I was doing pretty fantastic on the ‘divorce diet’, aka the first year of being a nauseous, pukey, meal-skipping mess. Then it swarmed back on with interest, and it’s 4 years later in the time it took me to blink.

  • This is such an interesting topic for me. Before I left my ex, I had some serious health issues, and one of the things that held me back from leaving sooner was fear that I wouldn’t be able to work full time. Well, it’s amazing what leaving a cheater does for your well-being. I used to be on meds for gastric reflux. I haven’t needed it ever since the day I left the EX. I also lost fifteen pounds and have way more energy. Even my joint issues have improved, and I work full-time with no problem. I no longer have erratic blood pressure or heart palpitations.

    I think being away from a narcissist also just allows for a healthier lifestyle. For years, I had been disliking meat more and more, and I wanted to become a vegetarian. I never did, because I knew the EX would throw a fit, even if I continued to cook meat for him. Well, after the divorce, it dawned on me that I didn’t have to eat according to his wishes anymore. I began eating whole-grain breads and vegetables. I finally decided to listen to my own body and stop eating the meat that seemed to make me feel ill. My health improved immediately. Now my diet is vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, etc, and occasional fish and eggs. And I feel WAY better.

    I went back to my former home a few months ago (where the EX still lives). The EX wasn’t home, but I picked up the last of my belongings. I paused for a moment to open the refrigerator to see what he was eating. It was stuffed full of sodas. The EX is diabetic. I looked around and saw piles of candy and doughnuts everywhere. And I felt nauseous.

    I’m so glad I can take care of me now.

  • After the SEPT discard abandonement I spent the fall and winter alone while studying LACGAL. Sleep was a luxury because mind movies.

    Anti-depressants, exercise, healthy food, hobbies, sleep and legal counseling were the Rx to get through it as prescribed by surviving infidelity & CN sojourners.

    Exercise began with plain old walking at first and 3 miles a pop was my goal. I met the goal remembering that I used to run this distance decades before.

    I joined a small dojo in my rural town at 57 and started retraining in Oh Do Kwan- the military version of TaeKwanDo. This exposed me to other healthy people as well.

    I probably dropped 75 pounds two years into it and started getting toned up. I started noticing that women started noticing. That was a huge confidence builder for me as well. I got complemented frequently and hit on by several much younger ladies. That helped me to understand I could change myself but the dating arena was boarded up for this warrior. No freeking way was I going to ensnare myself with another Jezebel. I couldn’t trust another woman (moreso myself) for the long forseeable fiture. Why? Bc I was oblivious of red flags, psychically damaged and my picker had twice failed me.

    3rd time’s a charm? We’ll see.

    I’d always believed my HP would pick the ‘right one’ for me and that she (Ms. ML #1 & 2…) would be placed in my path. If I was actively looking for her, she wouldn’t manifest. If I wasn’t actively looking for my soulmate it turns out she’d drop right into my lap.

    Before my step-father passed he told me, “Your problem is that you LET the woman pick you. You need to pick her”. I don’t know how much truth was in his observation however I didn’t see it. He did.

    These were boundaries he held which now I realize but didn’t at the time. RVZ sang “I never met a woman I couldn’t learn to satisfy” which was pretty much true for the younger me. Ronnie apparently didn’t have exposure to a closet serial cheater narc.

    The first few years after Dday were tough but improved post divorce. Meh came as predicted as did timespans between thinking of my mirage was real again. Getting my head around this concept of “viewing this person through my lens of who I thought she really was” is akin to accepting the concept of -i in electrical engineering mathematics. How can a nonexistent number be negative? FIIK!!

    Reciprocity to the rescue. There is a screening concept I can understand. No recciprocity, No relationship. End of File.

  • It’s impossible care for yourself properly if you never get to stop performing CPR on your marriage. [30 chest compressions / 2 breaths / 30 chest compressions / 2 breaths — continue for years and years].

  • Unfortunately I do have health issues unrelated to the jerk, but he certainly made them a lot worse. I have recently had to face the reality that I’m likely not going to be able to beat this and therefore won’t live very long. The monster wasted most of what precious time I have left future faking while getting his ducks in a row to leave his terminally ill wife and abusing me, insuring I’d deteriorate further. It didn’t work out the way he hoped, because OW certainly wasn’t ever leaving her husband for him, especially since Mr. OW has more money than cheater. So he got future faked by her. All she had to say was; “We’re playing the long game.” to bait the hook. The idiot filled in the rest as; “As soon as my kids are grown, you and I are running off to Florida together to drunk fuck like the teenagers we so obviously are, five times a day at least, until we romantically die in each others arms of alcoholic liver disease, like a hipper version of Romeo and Juliet.” 😄 He actually expected me to be pleased to be his fallback gal when that glorious future didn’t pan out and offered to be my caregiver until the end, no doubt a completely false promise. More like do the minimum to keep me alive and dependent on him so he wouldn’t need to pay for my care, while continuing to cheat and be mean. Imagine him thinking I’d want an abuser as a caregiver. The gall and the grandiosity of these people never ceases to sicken me. When I go, I’m planning ahead to go at my own time and in my garden, looking up at the canopy of oaks, with the blessing of my loved ones and the shithead nowhere near me. I imagine my soul rising into that canopy and being gently enfolded by the branches of those fine old trees. This comforts me. The thought of my selfish pig ex being tasked with wiping my ass certainly does not.

    • >>Imagine him thinking I’d want an abuser as a caregiver.

      Good story. They just can’t imagine that we understand them better than they understand themselves. They’re just “thinking” me alpha.

  • Nope, my health got worse and Im at my heaviest and most uncomfortable.
    But finally I get to worry just about myself, and not about ALSO being a “burden” for “some people”.

  • I’m about to be Debbie Downer here…I envy the chumps who have improved health. Mine is declining.

    The particular brand of abuse I’ve suffered has meant that I now have CPTSD and trauma bonding. I’m working with the therapists from the women’s refuge to “de-programme” from the tremendous brain washing I received for 25 years. So, my health took a major hit over the past 18 months. I’m already small and I lost 10 pounds putting me at 95 lbs with an erratic heart beat. I couldn’t eat – my stomach closed up shop and when I tried to eat I choked. That went on for 9 months but my weight is up now and my heart beat has returned to normal. I lost clumps of hair, my skin dried out. Oddly, I came out of menopause and started periods again (due to high cortisol levels). I got random skin rashes. My joints ache and I keep tearing ligaments. I started drinking way more than I did before. I’m on two antidepressants. I can’t watch TV, movies or read a book. I need to keep busy to combat the anxiety and rumination, which has led to some of my ligament tears, etc. My friends say I look “sad”. In photos, there is something very different about me – a weary looking. I got a grey streak of hair in the front, almost overnight. I had to jump in to more hours at work to save our business so I have less time for exercise. I have full time care of my daughter so I have less time for myself than I did when FW was here – at least he was a warm body sitting around so I could go out and leave her at home. I have no family here in this country I live in, so I’m going it alone – taking care of everything as he abandoned the house and the mortgage. He won’t engage so I have no idea where I stand financially – court is pending.

    When FW was here, I was anxious all the time – now the anxiety is different. I eat healthier as I don’t have to cook for His Majesty. My daughter and I do have more fun and I’m way more adventurous than FW – his favourite sport was hookers and porn whereas I have a life full of friends and new experiences. So, that is getting me through. Trauma bonds are horrific, and they are real. It’s akin to being deprogrammed from a cult leader. My entire mind has been colonized by him via the very effective intermittent reinforcement I endured. I see these couple of years as the the shit times that I need to go through. The support workers assure me that the way through the trauma bonds is self love and self care. It’s a practice that I’m trying to do every day, which is hard when I have to combat things such as the latest one – he’s redirected my mail without my authorization so I haven’t been receiving bills and now I’m in trouble because bills have fallen behind and I’ve lost some important documents. It’s always something wearing me down.

    Alas! I’ve taken some inspiration from chumps who have improved their health and I’m working towards that day…a Tuesday.

    • FormerlyKnownAs,

      My health is greatly improved NOW, but I was all over the place until I was finished with court. And with the jerk I was married to, it took around 18 months to finalize the divorce and then another six months or so where he kept taking me back to court over stupid stuff. You may not be living with your abuser, but he’s still abusing you. Keep on going. Keep breathing. It will get better.

      • Yes I feel very much abused by him still Lizza…mostly because he won’t engage so that’s the new abuse – stonewalling. Even his own lawyer can’t find him to get a straight answer. My daughter said today…”mom, why don’t you just sell the house so you have more control over your life.” She’s right except that we’re having a housing crisis and prices are insane! She has a point though – the control is horrid. If I were 40 instead of 50 I would consider just paying whatever it took to get rid of him, but I’m being more financially cautious. In the meantime I’m just trying to love myself and care for myself in the best way that I can. I hate the feeling of being screwed over. It’s bad enough I had to be abused and cheated on…now to suffer the indignity of him not bothering to separate from me is getting tiresome to say the least.

        • I’m right there with you. 50. Filed TWO years ago. He can’t be bothered to do any of the financials or look at the settlement agreement. Both his and my attorney are frustrated as am I. I just want the closure of this and start to plan my own financial future. Turning it around… two extra years of him paying my mortgage, two extra years of 50% of his bonuses instead of less, two extra years of him adding to his retirement fund that I’ll get 50% of, two extra years of having health insurance…..

  • Per usual he spent most of his time working out at the gym. Instead of changing his diet he made fun of me for buying organic food. He preferred meds over eating healthier. Add to that the alcohol and drugs he’s consumed for years, previous prostate removal and the ailments have compounded.

    I take allergy medication, have low blood pressure and am full of energy. My gains were mostly in maintaining a healthy financial future which wouldn’t have been possible with a dude whose idea of retirement is an insulated sleeping bag.

    • hahaha! “My gains were mostly in maintaining a healthy financial future which wouldn’t have been possible with a dude whose idea of retirement is an insulated sleeping bag.”
      hahaha! I love this – SO TRUE of the 170 pounds I lost!

  • No more migraines and back spasms! I was taking panadol daily from the stress of living with that nightmare.

  • How I envy you all. I don’t feel that leaving and divorcing that evil bastard has made me better health wise at all. Not that I regret it, I don’t.

    When I moved a hundred miles away, and got my own little place, I thought that was it – freedom from a lying cheating fuckwit,gaining a life.

    A couple of weeks after I’d moved, I came down with a virulent case of *hives*. I’d never had anything like it. There was no reason for it, it just appeared.

    Four years after DDay, two years after the Decree Absolute, I still jump and shake at loud unexpected sounds, and that fucker’s castigations,insults still live in my head and heart. Sometimes I think he has damaged me permanently.

    I am very angry with myself over this, I have total NC, am trying so hard togain a life, but still this.Why?

    • I ask *why*. I’ve done everything CL reccomends. I am totally NC, not only with the fucktard, but also with his friends, family, anyone who ever knew him.
      I have tried so hard to gain a life. When I moved here, I was *determined* that I would gain a life, I joined loads of things. None of them now are viable because of Covid.
      Of course I realise that everyone is suffering, is impacted by this foul virus – it’s not just me. I feel so lonely., and that makes me feel really
      bad because really, why should I?

      I keep thinking of hateful fucktard, and the rat faced whore. Yes, they are horrible people but at least they have each other. I have noeone

      • chumnomore6, sending hugs. Some days are harder than others. If you want “someone” in your future, I’m certain you will take action to make that happen. You have us, the great Chump Nation, for now.

        The pandemic is almost over in the timeline of life, I believe. Dozens of people in my circle have received vaccines and the news about the efficacy is improving every day. Hang on:)

      • chumpmore6,

        I have been feeling a similar way. Last night, I was thinking about how truly broken my heart is (with an actual void in it which I swear I can even feel) due to not having “my person” anymore or the commitment of “forever” we had promised each other which was only upheld by one of us. I am all alone too…other than my pets. I work remotely now, so I rarely see any other humans in person other than at the store, etc. (Those are all strangers though). Due to the pandemic, I also had to spend the holidays alone since all of my family members live across the country…other than my cheater who is shacked up with his “upgrade” (in another city, but same state where I am). I do trust that he and OW suck, but it still hurts beyond description. Most of the social outlets I had started to pursue have now disappeared due to COVID-19 (such as participating in running events).

        I have signed up for several virtual activities though through museums, etc. Sometimes these involve question and answer sessions, etc. Most are via Zoom, so there is some interaction. I’m a shy person/naturally introverted, BUT it still is very difficult to be completely alone. I don’t have children and my childbearing years were squandered on a cheater who now has replaced me with a much younger/fertile love of his life.

        Sending warm thoughts to you and others who feel super lonely as well.

        • I’m glad you’re here “Still I Rise”. That’s a lovely, inspirational user name.
          Sometimes friends and companionship can fill the hunger for love and validation. It’s good you sought community here.

      • So sorry, you are not alone. He is no prize and it’s a lonely life with a narcissist. I’ve never felt so lonely than when I was actually emotionally attached to mine.
        Hope tomorrow feels better!

      • As motherchumper says, you have us, and even though we’re not there IRL, we’re certainly better than a fuckwit or a rat faced whore. Hang in there hon. Perhaps there is even a chump in your area you could Zoom with and get to together with in person once Covid dies down. You might be able to arrange it through one of the private Chunp groups.

      • I feel the same way as you do. I feel cheated that he has her and I have no one. But, slowly but surely I’m seeing the light and I know for sure that I DO NOT WANT TO BE WITH SOMEONE WHO TREATS ME LIKE SHIT. Write a list of all the ways he was an asshole. Read it every day, and tell yourself that you’re worth more than that. I also want to say to you that this country I live in isn’t suffering from Covid and it’s still the same isolation. You will get better, and relish the time you have alone to heal. I went on a date for the first time a few months ago with a person who seemed, on paper, to be great. It was awful and I kept thinking that I’d rather be home with my daughter. I knew then that I needed more healing time. Don’t rush it, it will come. Stay strong and love yourself!

        • Good advice, thank you so much., I’m going to start! 😈😁

          And you’re absolutely right, I deserve better than some on o treated me with such contempt and disrespect, we all do. xx

      • Chump No More

        I hope you are feeling better today.

        Don’t think of the FW and the RFW (easier said than done I know). Why should they take up precious space within your soul. They don’t deserve it!!!

        Let the grubs be their grubby selves together….. who would ever want to be a part of that filth.

        🤓

  • Had migraines post DDay, insomnia 13 years since I got married, hair loss, acid reflux, high functioning anxiety, and during the wreckonciliation panic attacks, diarrhoea, nightmares, the works. All gone. Praise the Lord. All gone.

    Anxiety is still a part of my life since childhood, and as I continue to work on my inner child, it seems more manageable. Some new hair growing in bald spots. Yes, put on some weight, not too much. Overall, so much better sleep. It’s been 8 months out for me.

  • I was diagnosed with a rare type of breast cancer a week after I found out he had been cheating a whole year. It had been growing that entire year he cheated. I 100% think it was from the stress I was under even though I didn’t even know about his affair – I think it was stress from just having this constant uneasiness and absence of a partner and aggression and anger. I went through 16 chemo treatments, a mastectomy and I am three years out – and yes I took him back, did the pick me dance and he cheated the entire time. Hopefully divorce will be final soon. I’m in remission and intend to free and clear in two years. So yes my health has improved!

  • I have a couple good ones. The mysterious, nearly constant, and extremely painful genital infections stopped and I was able to sleep full nights without being intentionally kept up, woken up, or punished for sleeping.

    I can’t say I’m healthy now as I have a serious chronic illness/disability. But I can say I have the freedom to properly manage my symptoms and not get much much worse like I was.

  • XH controlled me and terrorized me with scarcity mentality and threats of impoverishment for the entire 25 years we were together. Despite raising our four kids, managing our rental home business, managing ALL aspects of our household, and having worked and saved six figures during the first 15 years of marriage, I finally went back to full-time paid employment at his insistence 3 years before D-day. I was working in essence 3 full-time jobs. I was only 44 and had been in excellent health, running marathons, etc. but developed a seizure disorder of unknown cause (now I know what it was — HIM!) After Dday, I stopped eating or sleeping and lost 20 lbs in less than 6 weeks — I looked skeletal. I could no longer focus enough to read or watch any TV or movies. I developed a terrible skin rash. I got BV (never had that before in my life!) I had no control of my emotions and cried throughout the day and night. I had ruminations and was obsessed with XH and AP. I had feeling of terror all. the. time.

    My physical symptoms took a few years to abate. It wasn’t until after the divorce was finalized and my finances stablized that the rash finally went away and I started to gain some weight, was able to read for pleasure again. Six years out (4 from divorce) and I’m almost myself again, physically and mentally.

    I haven’t had a seizure or vertigo in a long time. My weight is normal. I enjoy my life, including reading and watching shows. I’m not triggered. Life is really good.

    Interestingly, my snoopy teenager told me that AP is on several types of anti-anxiety meds and ambian. She drinks to excess daily. She flies off the handle emotionally. She was in her late 20s when she started golddigging my XH and the kids report that she is WAY worse than she ever was before. Hmmmmm. . . . .living with XH is truly toxic! She wanted my life? She got it! Good riddance. Can’t say I’m too sorry she’s having these problems.

  • A few years before D-Day I had a string of issues.
    – weird dermatitis on my face that took two months of antiboitics to clear
    – shingles
    – my jaw locked up and I couldn’t open my mouth all of the way and had to go to physical therapy
    – bad paps resulting in part of my cervix being removed (thank you FW!)
    – was at my highest weight

    In past year since d-day…
    – holding steady at highschool weight
    – no illness, not even a cold
    – also became clear that my anxiety level is way down, despite all of the pain, and pandemic, and loss of job and moving to a new state on my own to start over. 😊

  • Yes addition by subtraction.

    Now I am an avid hiker and love to give myself and my children nature adventures. We regularly hike 5+ miles and are free to laugh and joke around. We explore local, state, and national parks.

    I’m stronger and more beautiful now that FW is gone. No more teeth grinding or sinking depression. I feel energy and go do the activities I want.

    I didn’t realize how much I held myself back to avoid his outbursts and declarations that I could not do what my heart desired because I was a woman/mother/wife. It’s like I was allowing him to stuff me in a box.

    Now I focus on me and my children rather than on being the sole financial contributor to his grandiose schemes. I am free. Thank you CL and CN ❤️

  • Since I kicked the cheater out and divorced him I haven’t had a flair up of my Crohn’s disease. My doctor used to tell me to keep my stress in check because while it doesn’t cause it, it can certainly exacerbate it. When married I would flair and be in pain like I couldn’t describe and couldn’t keep anything down for a couple of days numerous times per year. Virtually no pain, no flair, evidence of the disease progressing or being active since 2018. When I first started having pain and the disease was starting in 1998 he left me saying that “it was all in my head”. He returned the next day and I stupidly forgave him. Fast forward 3 weeks after he left and I was hospitalized with a severe infection from the Crohn’s, weighed 105 lbs and spent a week in the hospital. But it was all in my head 🙄. Anyway besides that I have maintained a healthy weight since we divorced; have no weird unexplained anxiety and people tell me I look better than I’ve ever looked. He, on the other hand, is a bloated ditch pig (like my ex best friend With whom he bonded over alcohol and cheated on me with) who will likely have a stroke or a heart attack within the next 10 years (Our adult children have said this) because he loves his whiskey and eats nothing but crap.

  • I sleep through the night now (first time in forever). Got off my anxiety meds. Lost 40 pounds and have kept it off without dieting (was always on a diet before). No more headaches, no more knots in my back, I can breathe. My balance is back (before couldn’t stand on one foot without toppling over). My gums don’t bleed anymore. That strange cough I’d had forever is gone. I haven’t had so much as a sniffle in 2 years. I had no idea how sick I was until I got well. This still shocks me.

    • Did they ever discover what was causing your balalnce issue.

      I still have a balance issue, I am having some nerve testing done this week. I went to PT and it helped, but not back to normal.

      My issue is not FW related, just something that has been plaguing me for the last year.

      • As part of my pick me dancing I was an extreme dieter and I worked out a lot. Thought it would make FW love me (it didn’t). Anyway my workouts involved core so my balance got really good. During the devalue stage I quit exercising and lost my balance. I just chalked it up getting old and that losing my balance was normal unless I worked at it. 5 years later FW physically leaves and within a few months I noticed my balance was back.

        I’m not divorced yet so this is all a bit raw still so everyday I like to put my socks on while standing up as a reminder that I’m better off now.

  • I gained fifty pounds, became depressed, lost my hair, went gray, and developed high blood pressure, phobias and arrhythmia.

    Shit. I’m not doing this right.

  • Chumpnomore6:

    I always read your contributions and I am so sorry things are for shit.

    Time doesn’t heal.

    Time + therapy + some kind of physical activity + journalling + finding a good film club + (fill in the blanks) heal.

    It takes time to reclaim your mental real estate.

    No Contact changes the locks on your mental house, but you then have to go in and start throwing out his stuff, buying new mental furniture, and repainting.

    You are on the right track, but some days it all gets on top of you. I know.

    • Thank you so much, Lola. I always read your contributions too, I especially love the Lola Doctrine! 😍

      I’m feeling *much* better today, had a Zoom chat with a couple of friends from the WI-it’s amazing how much better a little human contact makes one feel. Xx

      • “No Contact changes the locks on your mental house, but you then have to go in and start throwing out his stuff, buying new mental furniture, and repainting.”

        That is so perfectly spot on, thank you. Going to get busy redecorating! 👌

        • Completely agree with redecorating! His former man cave/bar is so much better with the $35 roll of removable wall paper that I no longer feel the need to paint the entire room. Now that his dart board abs other junk is gone, I bought some furniture from estate sales and thrifting and now it’s a kid friendly space vs. soul less man cave booze fest party room.

  • While married:
    Self-confidence in the shitter.
    OCD about checking things (Did I lock the door? Did that mail really go into the mailbox?)
    TMJ issues (my ex complained that my jaw clicked). I changed how I ate.
    Back pain.

    In the immediate aftermath of d-day:
    weight loss
    hair loss
    insomnia
    suicidal thoughts

    Now (16 months post d-day): I’m recovering! Regained weight. Hair no longer falling out. I no longer obsessively check to make sure my doors are locked or that I shut off the oven.

    Although I hate HOW our divorce happened, I see now that I’m in a better place physically and mentally.

  • Wow – reading this today is allowing me to reflect on the ways I have become more mentally and physically healthy in the past year. It’s a year!! Less than a year being out of his house, but a year since Dday and almost a year since I found CL and CN. I am SO GRATEFUL for this community!! Man, it really helped me see right through the bullshit and get the fuck out!
    While I was with him I had eye pain, headaches, tailbone injury, pulled my back out numerous times -lower back pain, upper back pain, inflamation, malaise, exhaustion, arguing, defending myself, feeling badly often, dreading when he would come home, staying at work late so I would not have to be home, going to functions an hour away on weekend days so I would not have to be near him, taking care of the financial needs of the home, cooking, doing all the grocery shopping, feeling like I had to make him happy and he was NEVER HAPPY, I was FAT.
    One year later, back pain is gone, eye issue is being monitored and the doctor does not recommend surgery, headaches are gone, I lost 35 pounds, I work out several times a week, I can think clearly again. I woke up today and said to myself, “Do you hear that? Your home is quiet. Your home is peaceful.” I have peace in my home. I started reading again, I am getting strong and I like the way I feel. I am eating well, I am finding new ways to strengthen my back and core. OH – and my allergies are almost non existent now…
    My car needed new brakes and I had the money to pay for them becauseI am only taking care of myself now. My bank account has positive balances now.
    Last night, I was SKIPPING around in my apartment and I was happy for no good reason, just happy to be home, I am feelign really really good inside and out – more often than not. Believe me, there are the dark days, but they don’t last for weeks or months or years on end – they last for a few hours or a few days.
    Went to the doctor for blood work and a check up and she is amazed at how healthy I am at age 49.
    I no longer focus on what other people think or say about me. All that shit that happened, it allows me to feel even more joy and happiness because I know what it is like to be without it.
    I am coming out of this stronger and better and kinder than before.

  • I developed a full blown autoimmune condition after the first time he cheated (of course some “well meaning” religious person tried to suggest it was due to my inability to forgive – hahhaha).
    Lost 40 lbs in about a month from the stress and sadness
    Now
    My labs aren’t amazing after leaving but I was most certainly glowing
    I have so much more energy to clean, cook, and function
    Amazing what you can do when you aren’t constantly torn down by an f wit

  • I’m not out of the woods yet. I definitely declined during the marriage – increased anxiety, self-doubt, utter loss of my mojo in all areas, weight gain… I was in a great place when I met him and I became an old lady in short order. I developed a very sensitive back and would easily find myself totally laid up for days and days, barely able to walk to the bathroom. Thankfully, that’s totally gone – haven’t tweaked my back once since I filed the divorce and I’m doing a lot of heavy duty yard work and weight lifting.

    Still not sleeping well and have CPTSD, but the panic attacks are way less frequent. After dday I’d hyperventilate when he started raging and blaming me for his infidelity. It got to where I’d hyperventilate if he hugged me and then if he simply walked into the room I was in. Don’t have to worry about that anymore.

    I’ve lost a little weight – almost at my preferred number and I’m much stronger due to working out with a trainer. I even see occasionally glimpses of my mojo these days, so that’s something.

  • After STBX left I sat and cursed and cried and gradually realized life was nicer without him hanging around sniping at me. I went to visit friends and I was amazed that no one yelled at me about how stupid I was for loading the dishwasher wrong. Like a battered child I braced myself for snarky condemnation with every spoon I placed inside.
    But it didn’t happen…! My friends seemed happy that I was there that we were all cleaning up together and we had fun every nite.
    I was already on the way to a 25 pound weight loss which I’d never been able to do when FW was here. I realized that he only thing we did together was go out for dinner and in Covid times load up on on food. Easier to eat than communicate. And so distracting.
    Now I have Health benefits from losing the loser.

  • My cheater once shook me awake to tell me I was balding. Strangely enough, I stopped balding when he left.

  • I’m still in the stressed stage. It’s been 7 months since DDay and 5 months since he left. I’ve been completely messed up. Never felt pain like it BUT after discovering ‘Leave a cheater, Gain a life’ (yes I bought all the other shit books out there first… One that promised I alone could save my marriage… Tssshhhh 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️) and this incredibly supportive site (thank you CN and CL) I have started to turn a corner!! I realised that I can have the chickens I always wanted and travel where I want to (once restrictions are over) and work in London 😁. I am currently doing online training to improve my PA skills. So for me my biggest health change is realising I can do what I want to do. My mental health has improved. Go me!! Love and hugs to you all.

  • I gained peace and got off a load of medication for my mental health. Cheating ex used to tell me I was “crazy” all the time and that he would take our children if I didn’t get better.

    Turns out I am not crazy and now he rarely sees our children. I’m healthier in every way and the peace of having him gone without his put-downs and disrespect, is lovely.

    • Same. I was told I’m crazy and incapable of taking care of the kids. I’m not crazy either and he rarely sees the kids.

      This week he told our son I wouldn’t help him because I can’t even take care of myself. Really? Lol

  • I’m just at the very beginning of actually divorcing. Separated now- and I’m looking forward to having a whole day of not feeling sick to my stomach. How do you process someone telling you they have been unhappy since they met you? 30 years together. I became completely invisible to him to the point where I was not allowed to ride in his car to go look at a replacement toilet. If I drove he sat in the backseat. I was not allowed to touch him. He would not sit near me if we went out or visiting friends. These are just a very few examples of his treatment towards me. So why do I still feel so awful? I read LACGAL and maybe I need to re read it.I’m really looking forward to the nausea and migraines going away.

    • After 26 years, STBX told me he’d never loved me, and he never even wanted to marry me. I knew it was coming, but it felt like a punch in the gut. At that point, he’d stopped letting me ride in his car (I learned later this is where he kept all the evidence of the OW), he went out to eat with friends and left me at home, and found every excuse imaginable to sleep in the spare room. (Largely to have privacy while chatting with the OW.)

      I mustered all my strength and called counsel the next day. It took a judge to decide who got to stay in the house through the legal process—for six months we continued to cohabitate. I was miserable—insomnia, digestive issues, backaches, fatigue. It took leaving my home before the physical issues started to resolve themselves. And, therapy. Find a therapist or a support group.

      I am still trying to process him saying, “I never loved you.” I’ll never understand those words. What I’ve come to accept, though, is those are the only truthful words he ever spoke to me. I lived a lie that he created, and I pay the price daily.

      After two years, we’re still in legal limbo. He’s using the court system to continue his abuse. I haven’t let his actions be an obstacle to my healing. Everyday is a little better than the previous. You’ll find your path. Healing will come.

  • I’m just at the very beginning of actually divorcing. Separated now- and I’m looking forward to having a whole day of not feeling sick to my stomach. How do you process someone telling you they have been unhappy since they met you? 30 years together. I became completely invisible to him to the point where I was not allowed to ride in his car to go look at a replacement toilet. If I drove he sat in the backseat. I was not allowed to touch him. He would not sit near me if we went out or visiting friends. These are just a very few examples of his treatment towards me. So why do I still feel so awful? I read LACGAL and maybe I need to re read it.I’m really looking forward to the nausea and migraines going away and the panic attacks that appear out of nowhere.

    • You feel awful because this man treated you like shit. You were traumatized by his abuse. It’s only natural to feel awful. Give it time! And, I would recommend re-reading LACGAL. I found the audible version (I have both) to be especially helpful. I’m not exaggerating when I saw that I listened to it 20 times. It’ll stiff your spine.

      Let your anger propel you in the divorce process.

      None of this is your fault, and you didn’t deserve to be treated so terribly.

      Good luck. And come back here often for support.

    • There’s so many other things to read and I’ll pray for you to get some clarity. (And that goes for all reading this;we all need to pray for each other)
      “Cheating in a nutshell”, “should I stay or should I go”
      Both those titles were tremendous. Try therapists like your try on shoes because it may take that before you click…
      Love yourself and help others so you don’t get stuck or consumed by this. It’s easier said than done and won’t happen in a day or in my case almost ten months in the home waiting for “action” and I’ve mainly worked on myself. Found out in April. Met with attorney. Worked through a lot of crap. Now Trying to save some money. See therapist semi regularly reading lots of books… filling my cup as my daughter would say.
      That person treated you horribly I imagine because of his own personal issues that are not your problem you bonded and you loved. That was his way not yours. Rejection hurts but it’s doing you a favor now to GAIN your life back.
      Hugs to you and everyone reading-on your recovery journey

      • Thank you for this. I did read should I stay or should I go. A great book but I read it way before I realized it was really time to go. I also read why does he do that by the same author. I’m re reading that one to help me get in my head this was not my fault. I am going to pick up LACGAL again too to help keep me moving forward. It still hurts like a mofo! I would say to those who are wondering about their significant other if you feel something is off it likely is. I ignored signs for years! Made excuses for him a lot. It was not until I found this site that I started to realize what was going on. I thought I was just crazy!

        • I hope you realize there’s something very wrong with him. I mean seriously wrong with him. He is getting off on torturing you. Please get that through your head. You are dealing with someone so screwed up that there is no explaining him. He’s probably the kind of person who tortured cats and pulled wings off birds. You know there such a thing as a sociopath .
          I love used bookstores. I found MEN WHO HATE WOMEN, AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM. Also Dr.James Dobson’ book. Can’t remember the title. Keep reading. Somewhere in these books you’re going to find a description of your husband and it’s going to scare the hell out of you. That’s how horrible he is.

  • A year before I split with my cheating wife I went to the doctor for a routine check-up and was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hypertension, high blood pressure, a heart problem (left branch bundle blockage if you must know), hypothyroidism and was also advised that I was 42lbs overweight.

    Three months after leaving said cheating scumbag I switched medical practices and was given another check-up. Hypertension gone, blood pressure normal, heart condition gone, 42lbs in weight lost and I was told that my thyroid was over-medicated.

    Co-incidence? Who knows?

  • Where to start? Drs could not explain why my slowly progressing arthritis had accelerated so quickly in just 3 months to what they call a “blow out”. Bone on bone with nothing there…..requiring HIP REPLACEMENT at such a you age. Only explanation they could give is it happens “sometimes when a person is under extreme stress”

    CLUMPS OF HAIR FALLING OUT in the shower even before I knew (my body knew) and serious ACNE.

    LOST 35 POUNDS in an unhealthy not eating for days and throwing up kind of way.

    PTSD reaction to new lies, discoveries over years that would make me freezing cold with uncontrollable shivering and LOST CIRCULATION in my hands and feet as my body would go through SHOCK and shunt blood to heart and lungs to protect primary organs.

    LOST ABILITY TO READ (and I collect books and read every day prior). Could not concentrate long enough to even finish a paragraph. Finally after years building up starting with short magazine articles or short passages in books I had already read…got first new book hyped all over, Girl on the Train. Hit way to close to home and set me back again.

    Now?!? My hair is longer and better than ever, no loss of circulation, my weight is back to normal (plus some covid comfort pounds 🤷‍♀️I can read anything I want and my terminator hip has climbed the Eiffel Tower, river rafted in Bali, and zip lined hanging upside down in Puerto Vallarta.

    Oh, and work health……”Coincidentally” started winning national awards and promotions as soon as I stopped babysitting an emotionally abusive 240 pound drunk! 😁

  • It’s been a month since I confirmed my suspicions that my ex had cheated during our 10 year relationship (for 8 months, 2-3 years in. I think there were others). Six weeks since I found out that he had got another woman pregnant during a “one night stand” when we had temporarily broken up. He’s now a father. I’m drinking and smoking too much, not sleeping well, not cooking, ordering takeaways…Maybe the healthy part will come later. I recently re-started my exercise classes, so that’s a start…At least he agreed to get a full STI screen but it’s 2 weeks until the results come through and I can finally cut him out completely. This sucks. It’s good to read how others are doing better.

    • Who cares about the results of HIS sti panel of tests ? It sounds like you’re no longer with him. Worry about and take care of yourself .

      • We live in a country where certain diseases mean deportation so it costs alot to have confidential tests. I didn’t see why I should pay when I’ve been faithful and if he has something then I probably do too. But yes, I am trying to focus on myself.

    • We weren’t living together so that part was easy and we live in different towns. I haven’t seen or spoken to him since the 5 minute conversation when he told me he was going to be a father. So there was no big fight, argument, crying. Just a poof and it’s over. No chance to ask questions. It just seems like such a strange end, so much so that I sometimes forget. I’ll see a video or joke or something and go to send it to him. I feel numb.

  • After raising the kids alone and working my ass off for our entire marriage, I hit the wall and was diagnosed with relapse remitting MS which accelerated discard. Fairly stable since, even with FW refusing to move out for almost two years, openly carrying on with AP during covid and telling everyone I was an obsessed/crazy liar. They really all do the same shit, don’t they? His crap narc lawyer cross-examined me for three hours this week, questions he put forward trying to make me look bad/ intimidate me (didn’t work). Attack two days later, worst I’ve had since initial diagnosis. Got some love from my wonderful new partner, attack ceased. It is remarkable to me how our bodies wear our traumas and how one person can drain my energy down to a single bar while someone else can restore it. I only surround myself with the second kind of person now.

  • Kudos to you! For me…
    Borderline high blood pressure? Gone!
    “Stress rashes”? Gone!
    With that said, I’ve put on a little “happy fat”, but, like you, I’m working on it. 🙂 So, here’s to be FW-free and the road ahead!

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