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Leave a Cheater, Gain a Harley

Happy Tuesday! (The day the pain stops, for you CN newbies.) I’m sharing this inspiring tale of Mightiness today with permission from Tyra, a chump badass, who posted it on Facebook. — Tracy

So… Hi everyone I am Tyra.

I am 2 years post D-day and 6 months post divorce finalization.

In the 30 days following D-day I found out that my husband was a porn addict, sex addict, had been in chat rooms on fetlife and had been having an affair with a woman who lost her life when her husband shot her to death in front of their children because my husband would not leave her alone.

Yup, that was a hell of a one-two punch. Woman dead, children orphaned, my marriage over and future in complete limbo.

But I don’t tell you this to garner sympathy… but instead I want to inspire you to strength. Because here I am 2 years later, I am actually doing REALLY well.

Thanks to a really great trauma therapist (please find one) I found out how miserable I was prior to his adulteries (yes there was more than one, I hired a great PI) being uncovered.

To say that man followed the narcissists playbook for destroying my self-esteem and other peoples lives is an understatement. But yet, here I am… alive, well, content, financially secure and yes, even happy… actually the happiest I have been in years.

I recently said to a friend; “I often wonder if am I a shadow of my former self, the one who was married 20+ years to a narcissist? Or was she a shadow of who I was before her?”
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So I have a challenge for you…

I know you look in the mirror and see someone who is broken but you’re not… you only think you are because you are no longer the self you were while trapped by “them”. The truth is you are something SO much more now. You may not see it clearly but you will sooner than you think.

During this time of rediscovery of who you really are now that your parasite partner is gone, go out and learn something you have never done before. It will not only expand your mind and create new neural pathways in your trauma addled brain it will also make you realize that you are so much more than you think you are right now.

I, chose to learn to ride a motorcycle.

Yup, crazy!!

I went to Harley Davidson, signed up for and took the class to learn to ride and loved it. Two months later I bought the second largest motorcycle in the Harley Davidson line ip as my first bike and here I am today riding to work with wind in my face, owning who I am and celebrating my survival of something that could easily have killed me.

Oh and I grew out my hair to a head full of grey and silver at only 52 years old! ACK! But right now authenticity is SO important to me that I see my silver hair as yet another gift.

So if I can convince you of only one thing today…. know that you will get through this. It’s going to hurt like a mother fucker and grief is NOT linear, and you cannot go around it, you have to go through it to get to the other side.

So go out and pick something tough to learn that is TOTALLY outside your comfort zone, it may just surprise you how much you love it.

And if you do buy a motorcycle, make sure you pick a particularly pithy vanity plate for it. 🤣
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#Mighty
#harleygirlridersareawesome
#recoveryispossible
#youwillgetthroughthis
#alimnyismyroadname
#youveogtthis

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  • Tyra.

    I love you.

    This morning grabbing a takeaway coffee I ran into a guy I’ve known since I was 18, who I caught up with last weekend (AND his wife, don’t jump to conclusions). We used to see a lot of each other many years ago, their little boy was a toddler boyfriend of my daughter’s, who died in an accident just after turning three. (She would be, and he is, turning 21 this year).

    Am 4 years post Dday, 22 yrs married, last half he spent all his time and our money on female hookers and at gay saunas plus porn addiction. Within a year was together with v close friend of mine (widowed) who understood he had to do all that because Awful Wife. They now live on Sydney Harbour waterfront while I raise teenage boys (who loathe him) on my own, out of the city, working at whatever. Y’know how it goes.

    Anyway. My lovely friend, quite a bloke bloke, said spontaneously this morning as we waited for our takeaway coffees: “I hope it’s ok to say this … it’s so good that you’re back”.

    Yep, I said. I’m back. Better Than Ever. The diminished shadow me I was in my marriage has Left the Building.

    New Chumps, Tuesday is Coming. You will get to Meh. Believe Tyra, believe me.

    • Tyra, you are my now my spirit animal. Just the vanity plate alone made me happy! I loved reading how you pulled on your bitch boots and threw a leg over a Harley! I salute you!

      You’ve inspired me. Thank You!

      • 33years…

        I am glad I can inspire you, so what are you going to do outside your comfort zone??

        “life starts outside your comfort zone”

        • Great job Tyra!
          I’m finally starting to live the life I want. Like many here I thought I wouldn’t survive the discard. 5 months from divorce and 2 years from a bunch of d-days and I’ve bought 10acres in my fav part of northern NSW (Australia), I’m building a bespoke tiny house to live in on my 10acres (I’ve always wanted to build my own house. Going tiny means I can have everything just how I like it while maintaining my environmental values). I have a friend of mine renting the house on the property so I won’t be lonely. I’ve managed to score a high paying interesting job that I can work from home and I getting back into horse riding! I used to ride dressage when I was with FW but after my horse died last year and I lost my job I didn’t think I’d ever ride again. But here I am looking at horses to buy with my own money! It’s a life I’ve always wanted and without a FW to placate continually life will be grand. I’m so looking forward to the future. I spent so long looking backwards and longing for how it used to be. I can’t quite believe how far I’ve come tbh

          • Hey do I need to visit you?

            It may be a loooong drive (I’m 1 1/2 hrs south of Sydney) but what’s that when we’ve both covered SO much distance?!

            Great job CDU

      • >> ALIMNY

        I think there is a meaning to “ALIMNY” that I’m not getting. It sounds like “alimony” but not sure that fits. Can someone explain it?

        I loved your story Tyra!

    • MamaMeh, I am so lucky… thanks to a LOT of CBT & EMDR trauma therapy I am already “there” in the land of meh.

      For right now we still live in the same smallish town and I have crossed paths with him and felt absolutely nothing, not even a shred of anxiety. It is an amazing place to be and I wish “meh” for every single chump out there.

    • Hey MamaMeh,

      I am already so very blessed to be solidly rooted in “meh”. I still live in the same smallish town as my ex and we have crossed paths and I felt absolutely nothing… zip, nada, nope, not even the smallest amount of anxiety. He rarely crosses my mind nowadays and that is a massive blessing.

      I do believe that firm rootedness in “meh” at the 2 year mark has a lot to do with all the EMDR & CBT that I did twice a week for the first 18 months following D-Day. I always stress to fellow chumps that you cannot and shouldn’t try to navigate through 20+ year losses by yourself… you literally need a village to keep you sane and a good therapist is key to your navigating the mourning process and ultimately your recovery.

      So happy to hear that you are well and thriving… we all deserve to thrive.

      • EMDR = awesome! Helped save me too. My stretch outside my comfort zone was a complete career switch, new master’s degree, giving up the big house my children and I adored so I could live my authenticity in my work. We still miss the house but I regret nothing. Dump a narcissist, gain a life of peace and genuine joy. Ride on, Tyra!!

      • Thanks Tyra, yay isn’t is SO GOOD to thrive?

        In fact, I don’t know if this right now is actually thriving … because I will simply take content, and feeling alive, and calm. Not half-dead, tiny and constantly off-balance.

        You are doing really well though to get there in two years. WELL DONE! (I reckon in another two though you will look back though and think, gosh I can’t believe I thought I was THERE two years ago … look where I am now!)

        I didn’t have that much in the way of therapy – a few months until the therapist began to be a bit odd – but then, I did complete an Art Psychotherapy masters right before Dday. I reckon that learning got me quite a ways towards my eventual clarity.

        That, and pilates (twice a week) … and anti-depressants. For the first time ever. My trauma response was just too hair-trigger and I needed the ballast. Because if I went under then the whole ship – three sons with two still at school – was going down.

        PIlates was a discovery and a revelation. Didn’t need more talking and being in my head. Pilates was being in my body, in the moment, feeling peaceful and powerful.

        Needless to say I haven’t worked as an Art Therapist. The emotional/psychological needs at home have been enough. With Himself skipping off into the sunset with Wife Replacement, I’ve stayed local and able to be 100% single parent working in a cafe, as a cleaner and now as a gardener. And am absolutely, completely content 🙂

        • The mind/body connection is SO important during recovery esp for those of us who endure sexual abuse during our marriages or even worse during a miscalculated reconciliation.

          Yoga was my saving grace… the fact that it required me to be 100% present in the moment made all the difference and contributed even more to my recovery.

          And you are right, two years from now I will be even more rooted in who I am and my recovery… just like growing I don’t think recovery is actually a destination but rather a process.

    • My brother said the same to me, not long after the divorce. He said, “ My sister is back. You’re back to you!” It meant the world, especially because one of my ex-husband’s affairs was with our younger sister. My brother cut ties with her long before my D-day and divorce. I suppose I should have trusted his ability to detect narcs long before!

  • The other day when I read this post in the group it just made my heart happy. I’ve been painting since 2007. I have wanted to go to a school down in Florida which is just the Bob Ross school and I hate that I just apologized for that, but I want to go and be part of that community and paint for a week and then come home and then take three sessions and become a certified Bob Ross teacher. But have I done it yet? Absolutely not. I haven’t even painted in the entire last year but I’ve been going through this divorce.

    But I plan to go. It’s only 300 bucks and lodging for a week. And I want to go so badly. I just need to spread my wings. I was always told that it was foolish, that it was too much money, what would we do with the kids and the dogs?

    Fuck that. I want to go paint happy little clouds.

    So maybe I’m not going to be able to go this July when they have classes but I bought a whole bunch of canvas and I already have everything else I need to paint so I just need to pop up my easel and get started again.

    • Happy little clouds Janet! Happy little clouds and don’t you EVER apologise for them!!

      Whenever. Don’t stress yourself with timelines. Happy little clouds will get painted on Tuesday.

    • Janet, I know how you feel.

      I love music… especially EDM dance music. I didn’t listen to anything for just over a year… nothing, not in the car, not in the house, nothing. I felt that I just had SO much noise going on in my head that music would just make things so much more “crowded” than my brain already was. But one day when things were getting closer to being managed with the divorce I turned on the radio and started bopping along and I haven’t stopped.

      The things we really love require passion …. and sometimes we do what we do just to survive during betrayal recovery and sometimes that means rejecting the things that should bring us peace like your painting. But the reality is as a Chump we have experienced trauma and we just have to let our brains/hearts heal enough so that we can breath and fight before we can even think of feeding a passion.

      I’m so happy you have found your “thing” and I encourage you to go do it… don’t wait for time to make it, make time to do it. Because god knows, we could all use more happy little clouds in our lives.

      • Tyra, you’re amazing! Thank you so much for your story.

        I had a period of necessary quiet, and couldn’t even listen to the news. Just bouts of very loud Lizzo to drown out my brain.

        I also love EDM, and my name is from Scissor Sisters, but referring to pick-me-dancing of course.

        Fuckwit hates EDM (“crap,” and not “real music”). Now that I’m listening to music again, his snobbishness just makes it even more fun…who knew EDM didn’t have to be a “guilty” pleasure?

        I guess reveling in something that would irritate fuckwit means I’m not at meh, but fuck it, I’ll dance my way there.

    • Janet – DO IT!!! That sounds like so much fun! Hahaha! I was looking at the sky yesterday saying, “fluffy little clouds” and thinking of Bob 🙂 🙂 🙂
      I think he also points out that you need the dark to see the light in paintings – this is so true in life. All that darkness makes the light SO… MUCH… BETTER

  • Tyra – love your story of triumph and your vanity plate!

    Suggestion for next mighty chump with a vanity plate – AllMyMny (yeah, yeah – I know, 8 characters, but some state somewhere must allow 8 characters, right?).

    • The vanity plate on my daily driver will say 103LVR (the size of the motor on my Harley) as soon as this state’s DMV gets its butt in gear… I figure one “fuck you” plate in my life is enough *LOLOLOL*

      • My “fuck you” plate is CHEATER.

        The story? Cool wife bought him a vanity plate for his new Dodge Ram pickup truck. After I found out it was a pickup truck, but not in the way I thought, I started calling it the Dodge Ram hookup truck.
        I ordered CHEATER from the DMV here in California. I just picked up the plates yesterday and they make me laugh whenever I imagine switching them out behind his back and seeing how long it takes for him to notice. I prank I only pull off in my imagination, and well worth the 50.00. My mechanic, who loves me, let me assign the plates to one of his race cars. He keeps one and I keep one.

        As for my other vehicles? The vanity plates with my married last name got removed and all have new plates with meaning for me….one is what my daughter called me when she was a baby because she couldn’t pronounce my name. One represents my 12 step recovery. Another one is after Mrs. Peel from the Avengers.

        I LOVE vanity plates. They are so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend them.

  • Congratulations, Tyra!! That vanity plate alone…😂😂😂

    I think I was in a shadow during my marriage, increasingly eclipsed by an abusive, cheating low-life who fooled everyone into thinking he was on a moral (physicians-only) high horse while he was having an affair, emotionally abusing his family, and sucking up kibbles from nurses. #noboundaries

    I’m about 18 months since Dday and 10 months since the divorce. According to my sister, here’s what her wife said yesterday after we’d met for lunch: “I have to tell you. I think Spinach looks 100% less stressed than she did when she was with GM.” (They call him Garbage Man.😂)

    Here’s my Harley: I’ve moved to a new state, started a business, joined a 12-step group, and actually began dating someone who seems great (no red flags yet, and I’ve got my antennae up). I no longer feel that life isn’t worth living. I no longer feel that I’m worthless. No more eclipse!

    • That was the weirdest thing about my ex cheating as long as he did. He was very outspoken on the guys running around on their wives. Pretending to live a Godly life. What boggles my mind is some of those guys had to know what he was doing. Why didn’t they give him shit?

      Or maybe they did and it just wasn’t in front of me.

      However, I know some folks didn’t know.

      • @Susie Lee

        “That was the weirdest thing about my ex cheating as long as he did. He was very outspoken on the guys running around on their wives. Pretending to live a Godly life. What boggles my mind is some of those guys had to know what he was doing. Why didn’t they give him shit?”

        My x LE Xh did that same thing, Mr. Righteous at work and with church & family friends. What a fraud he was and I turned that LIE around as often as I had opportunity. It pisses me off that his co workers knew he was cheating and could look me in the face and just act like everything was normal. UGH. Now Mr Righteous isnt fooling anyone (at least from the old crowd) Don’t know how he still looks at himself in the mirror. 32 yrs of this crap is thankfully out of my life …..

    • Spinach…

      I’ve moved to a new state, started a business, joined a 12-step group, and actually began dating someone who seems great (no red flags yet, and I’ve got my antennae up). I no longer feel that life isn’t worth living. I no longer feel that I’m worthless.”

      This makes my heart sing…. YOU GO GIRL!! #BraveGirl #Mighty

  • Very timely and wonderful to read. After 26 years of abuse, I went from being an excellent driver to a shaking wreck, especially when he was in the car as a passenger. Guess what, I was useful as designated driver when he had been drinking, which was every time we went out in the car. But he still criticised, held on, told me to change gear, blah, blah.

    This afternoon I am going to collect the new BMW that I bought for myself on Saturday, with the money I saved myself, from the highly paid roles I obtained after he left me 18 months ago, when I was close to 60. To go back to his ex from 28 years ago, who now lives in Canada (we were both in the UK). I am so proud of the way I divorced the cheater, found work, got a mortgage, bought him out, got a puppy and now, the car. I thought I would die of grief when he left me, and then again when I discovered the exit affair two months later (there will have been others – the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree). I didn’t die. I’m the Queen of my realm now and that’s the way it’s going to stay. We chumps are all Mighty!

  • This is an excellent post for a couple of reasons:

    (1) Many of us were shadows of former selves in our traumatic marriages. I know I was.

    (2) The things we do once they are out of our lives, oh, the things we do! The FW was an anchor; now we’re going places!

    I remember signing up for a mentorship program for the arts when we were married. I would have had to attend some meetings and classes in order to complete the program; it wouldn’t have taken much time. My H talked me out of it. He said that with him working and our babies being young, that I wouldn’t have time for extra classes for myself and I should drop out Without a partner to support me in this… well, I phoned the community center and opted out of the program.

    Then, y’know… D Day.

    Years and Tears later, I entered what was only supposed to be a small program to certify me to work in a certain field. But then I also got a Bachelor’s degree… then my Master’s degree… now I’m finishing up my first year of my PhD! All as a single mom with kids at home.

    None of that would have ever happened if I was still married to the man who thought that I shouldn’t even leave the house to take a few courses at the community center.

    Chumps, get those degrees. Ride those Harleys. Real living happens when the FW is far behind you in that rearview mirror.

    • Yay you, Fourleaf!!!

      That’s awesome.

      My own FW wanted me to put a small oil painting I’d done in our basement or garage. It’s hanging loud and proud in my new home.

      They not only cheat on us but they also hold us down (or we let them). Here’s a theory: That same narcissism that gives them license to cheat makes them feel entitled to the constant attention of a spouse and to keeping the spouse in a shadow so that there’s more light for them.

      • That rings true, Spinach. I was also a member of a community band (concert music and whatnot).
        XH hated that. Hated that I left the house to do something that was just for me and hated being forced to attend my concerts (“Its just not my thing.” / “Concerts are soooooo boring.” / etc.) It was the one thing I did on my own and he never supported it.

        When I was still wearing those rose-colored glasses, I thought “H just wants me at home so he can spend time with me!”

        When the glasses finally fell from my face I finally saw the pattern: He was only supportive if it was something he was involved with or interested in. If it was for one of his interests, then I could participate. If it was something I was doing for me that he wasn’t invested in… well, he didn’t support me at all in any of those endeavors.

        If it didn’t involve him, he either didn’t help or was antagonistic about it.
        Took me years to realize that.

        • “H just wants me at home so he can spend time with me!””

          Yes this. My fw didn’t want me going out past dark, the only thing he wanted me involved with was Church/school activities. I felt so treasured, he just wanted to protect me by not wanting me out at night. After all that was his reason.
          HAH, he just didn’t want me to accidently see him in his habitat.

          • This “dark” thing – I wonder if it’s a trait for covert narcissists? Right at D-Day time period I caught myself all spooked while walking to my car in the dark. Chastising myself for not planning better, not being safe, etc. Then it hit me! I’m not afraid of the dark! He is! He would always tell me, “you’re going to get yourself raped.” Projection much?

            His mother (also a narcissist) was very vocal about her fears of the dark and would question me about how I could live in the country and not be afraid. “Afraid of what?” was always my response. Now I can see that he also had these deep irrational fears but was better at hiding them so he didn’t appear unmanly. He clearly was a very cowardly person. How did I never see that before?

            Bring on the dark and the wide expanse of quiet starry skies! It’s amazingly beautiful to me. And calming. None of the bad things that have happened to me in my life have been because of the dark……they were because I allowed people into my space who were of bad character.

          • Susie Lee,

            Yeah, I, too, thought the FW just wanted so much to be with me. *sigh* It was effed up. I once canceled a book club meeting at a friend’s house because he said he really needed me. I guess I liked feeling special and needed.

            #codependent

        • Fourleaf:

          “He was only supportive if it was something he was involved with or interested in.”
          EXACTLY THIS!!!!

          My ex’s self-centeredness extended to the kids as well. Example: He didn’t care for or excel at swimming, so when they joined the swim team, he yawned and didn’t show up. But when they engaged in the sports he likes, he became overly invested. And I mean overly!!! When they excelled (and they excelled a lot), he seemed to think that HE was the one scoring the goals on the field/rink–KIBBLES BY PROXY! When they messed up, he became a hypercritical asshole. It’s no wonder those kids (now well into adulthood) want nothing to do with him.

          My son summed it up well when he said, “Dad’s a dick.” There you have it. *sigh*

          Signed,
          Spinach (Guilty of making excuses for the FW. “He’s tired, stressed, means well…”
          🤦🏻‍♀️)

      • “That same narcissism that gives them license to cheat makes them feel entitled to the constant attention of a spouse and to keeping the spouse in a shadow so that there’s more light for them.”

        I also think that they are constantly creating “micro crisis moments” you know, those little problems that constantly crop up requiring our attention (because they’re too busy of course) in an effort to keep us distracted from what they’re doing.

        I look back sometimes and I can clearly see where he created problems for me to solve so that he could do what he wanted and not get caught.

        • I think you’re absolutely right Tyra. I’ve read every CL post from the beginning and the post on how they constantly create crises is still my favourite. Mine careened from one crisis (of his own making) to the next and while I was trying to put out the fires he was running behind me with a blow torch starting new ones!

        • I was just talking with my boyfriend about this. Ex would have these “life crises” of sorts and I would be there for him (because it’s what I would expect someone to do for me, and I was trying to be supportive). Turns out it was whatever conscience he has to his name catching up with him. No wonder he felt “bad”…or whatever it is that they are capable of truly feeling.

    • Fourleaf,

      Grrrr. A day doesn’t go past wherein something else hits me right between the eyes.

      Splat.

      Today, what you wrote hit the mark.

      I had a career. I had put myself through school and through a Master’s Degree program before I hooked up with fw.

      Life change. We decided to have the children he wanted so badly.

      I switched from a full-time position into a part-time position job which I then put on hold once our 1st was born.

      After several months at home it was decided by the BOTH OF US, (I say that because most of the decisions he made were unilateral…..) that I would stay at home to raise him due to various reasons – one being that more money would go to daycare and taxes not making it any kind of financial gain at all.

      I am thinking now that part of that decision was made because if I had gone back to work he would have had to put in time taking care of our child while I was working and I now see he didn’t want to do that…..

      Fast forward 30+ years and after dday he turned all of that around to the sound of, “You GOT to stay home. You should have worked to help out etc., etc….”

      First time I had ever heard any of that thought process of his in all of our years together during which most of the savings I had going to the marriage were spent on living expenses due to his times of meager employment….I gladly contributed never saying a word because I didn’t want to hurt his pride because he was ‘working so hard and wassuch a good guy’…..I did it gladly. Never held it over his head.

      He not only successfully held me down with me naively going right along with it but then he used it as a weapon in the end…..

      I feel compelled to add that I am grateful that I do have children and that I did stay at home with them yet, at the same time, my heart aches because of all of these lies laid at our feet.

      Their ‘perfect’ dad turned into a different person right before their eyes in a matter of days. Mr. Nice guy no more but for a couple of my children this is still a bitter pill for them to swallow and they prefer to believe in the ‘old him’.

      Ouch.

      His version of leaving being ‘We have grown apart.’

      Amongst other things, he apparently has problems with pronouns.

      Thanks for posting.

      • P.S.

        When I did get time away on weekends there was hell to pay if I got home later than I said I would be home….like 5 minutes late. Those explosive episodes eventually resulted in me not going out because it was easier than dealing with the fall out.

        Never mind that he got away whenever he wanted to and I NEVER got angry if he wasn’t home when he said he would be. I even encouraged him to go out with friends because, ‘poor dear, he worked so hard all of the time he deserved a break’.

        Yep, that was me.

        In other words, I became homebound unless it was taking the children somewhere they needed to be.

        Never did I get any acknowledgement that what I was doing WAS working 24/7. EVER.

        Former self obliterated.

        She is slowly making her comeback but she certainly doesn’t want to be her former self since that self is the one who got her into the mess in the first place. My innocent days are long gone. As they say,’ that ship has sailed’.

      • Elderly Chump,

        “When I did get time away on weekends there was hell to pay if I got home later than I said I would be home….like 5 minutes late. Those explosive episodes eventually resulted in me not going out because it was easier than dealing with the fall out.”

        Yup! Me too! He’d be furious if I got back home late from band practice because he’d be “stuck at home with the kids.”

        Yet, he’d disappear at will. Late night, here, lost weekend, there.

        After D-Day #2, when he was leaving, one of his major criticisms of me was that I was “so boring” and that all I wanted was to make him boring just like me. Never mind the fact that he had been trying to program me for years to never have interests of my own or go anywhere on my own without him.

  • I had several people comments on my improved posture after he left. It was a difficult realization about how much of myself I had subjugated to accommodate his whims. But ultimately empowering as well. It was one of these comments that prompted my decision to start dating myself-taking care of me first and doing the things I wanted to do.

  • Yes, I agree. There is a another life beyond. Mine was a grey divorce. He was retired, and I was winding down raising kids and had worked only part-time for over twenty years. Most of my friends were SAHM’s like I was. We had some exceptionally lean years, but the college kids and I found our way.

    Then I got involved in jail ministry and met some really cool ladies who have a “story.” As in divorced from their dealer, jail time for road rage, recovering alcoholics/drug abusers, former exotic dancers, etc. But all are on the straight-and-narrow now and love life and people with their whole hearts. They are my source of healing and hope. They swear and don’t dress at all like my SAHM friends, but what fun they are. My social and volunteer life is built around them.

    I never expected to be here, but now that I am…it’s good!

  • Not quite so glamorous but I did leave a cheater, gain a bright red Ford Fiesta. Passed my test 17 years ago just after we got married – I was so proud of myself because I’m not super practical. But ex-hole would yell at me for being too close to parked cars, to close to the centre, too fast, too slow until my confidence was shot. (The one time I did a very difficult drive through central london with his sister in the back, he said not a word).

    I stopped driving and when I asked him if he would go out with me to help me get back behind the wheel he would tell me “you can’t drive” or “I want to get there before Christmas”. I started to believe that maybe I was just an unsafe driver and stopper even asking. Meanwhile he would take the car all weekend while he was “working” (cheating), with the thousands of extra miles he wa doing every year explaining why the thing always had such massive repair bills.

    It took two years after D day for the funds from the house sale to come through and I just decided, at 46, it was now or never. I’ve been driving for a month now and am so furious that he made me think I couldn’t do this. That I was uniquely incompetent and unskilled and a danger to others (this is w guy who drove at 120 mph after smoking weed and when I asked him to slow down, got nasty but did so, then sped up again when I dropped off to sleep). These people want to make you totally dependent on them so you have to beg for a trip to IKEA or to visit your family. Well no more.

    And like the midlife cheater cliche he is, ex hole has just bought himself a high powered motorbike and had moved to a very rainy part of the country.

    • Chumpawumba, I never met a man (sorry guys) who didn’t think he was the next Michael Schumacher. Mine was a TERRIBLE driver (even when he was sober), rolled two cars in one week, and we spent an absolute fortune repairing his and other people’s cars he pranged. He would try to change gears while I was driving, put the wipers on and so on – a real AH! When we were living in DC we had his sister and BIL staying with us and he was belting over all the pot-hole filled roads, passing people on the inside and screeching up right behind the car in front, when his BIL stated what a terrible driver he was. Of course he couldn’t yell at BIL so within five minutes of that comment he was screaming at me – who hadn’t said a word. I did actually ask him why he was yelling at me all of a sudden and that shut him up (for once), but yeah, AHs gotta AH!

      • Male ex who had very poor boundaries with female friends was also a super conscientious driver. Always 2 clicks below the speed limit. It was one of the things I loved about him; it made me feel safe! Argh!

    • It’s not that you were a bad driver, he was simply a wanker. He was Probably a Man Utd supporter no doubt 😂

    • I worked at an art museum with two absolutely horrible women in their 20s who were stupid enough to mock Yayoi Kusama because she was in her 90s. Therefore, they saw her as irrelevant. Despite the fact that people of all ages were waiting 4-6 hours on line to experience one of Kusama’s Infinity Rooms. Mean girls generally aren’t that bright – or intellectually curious.

      • Sorry – that had nothing to do with Letter #3 in the column. (But Tyra has proven that women can kick ass at any age!)

  • I think there s nothing smaller than a spouse who puts you down because deep down he/she realizes you have more potential, talent, intelligence whatever than he/she does. Keeping you away from others, and telling you your place is to be behind him/her is indicative of the insecurity. Instead of feeling happy that you do love, and are willing to share your life, their entire focus becomes selfish fulfillment of selfish desires.

    If you feel you are living in a shadow world, please step out into the light.

    • Portia, I see that in my mother who is recently divorced from FW father (FWF). EVERYONE loves my mom. People only tolerated FWF to hang out with my mom. But FWF insulted and disrespected my mom on the daily. I think he lorded over her his education (she started college but never finished) and chipped away at her so she felt stupid and useless. He was a big (in his eyes) muckety-muck in the business world and she was a SAHM who just didn’t understand the business world, poor thing (/s). Ditto the things other people are saying about starting small fires so there’s always a need to do something for the FW in order to keep life running smoothly. Before you know it, your whole life becomes managing FW’s fuckery and you lose a big part of yourself.

      My mom is smart, funny, lovely, sweet, kind, honest, and awesome person. As she went NC with FWF, she started coming out of her shell and she just seemed lighter, she laughed more, she smiled, and was just relaxed and happier. I am so happy for her that she left a cheater and is gaining a life. They were married 54 years. She is in good health and there’s no reason she can’t do whatever she wants in her life going forward. The kids totally support her and we all live near her and FWF is trolling hotel bars and inviting the waitresses home because the only people he could possibly get are those who are “beneath” him. He likes the power imbalance – he with money, they without.

      As an adult daughter, I am trying to get at meh with FWF – in my head I’m there but I really just want to be done with him altogether.

    • My ex wife use to tell me that nobody else would ever love me how she did, nobody would put up with my crap, nobody would stick around, nobody would treat me as good as she did and so on. Well after everything, I doubt I could find another female to treat me worse than she did.

  • Good for you Tyra!

    We are given only one life, and to waste it ruminating over a loser is a bad plan! You rock.

    • What an inspirational start to my day to hear about people thriving and doing things they want to do. So many great posts today.

  • I was cheated on while pregnant the first time around; ex got OW pregnant and kept his daughter a secret while I became pregnant with my second child. I was kept in a cycle of abuse for years. I beat myself up for staying that long sometimes, but know I did it in the way I needed to. I knew it was time when I was tired of that life and saw no hope and knew I deserved better – I decided to break the cycle to end the cycle for my kids and myself. Couldn’t be happier now. Met a fellow chump, have a beautiful house on a hill, run a small farm, spend a lot of time in the woods. Taught myself to hunt and butcher. Relearning to rely on others for help after being fiercely independant as a protection mechanism. I’m free. Couldn’t be happier.

  • You all know my story. After cheater ex kidnapped and murdered my youngest son and then killed himself, I spent some tough years trying to come to grips with the whole thing. There was therapy and lots of 12 step meetings involved. 18 months in, cheater ex’s family had someone to burn down my house. I lost everything including my cocker spaniel and my six kitties. Stuff is just stuff, but losing my fur babies….ouchy. Needless to say …more meetings and more therapy. That is when I decided I was going to be survivor, not a victim, and the best revenge is a life well lived. I got involved in victim’s rights, and rebuilt that damn house right there where my former house stood. Later I sold it for a handsome profit and put together my little home place out in the country which I own free and clear.

    Today I am happily headed back home after spending the winter visiting a friend in AZ and wandering a bit in my motor home. Traveling with me are my three kitties and my sweet little dog I adopted in AZ along with a little bonus puppy I didn’t know about. I am loving my life as a nomad and have been able to see and experience some amazing things along with being privileged to meet some wonderful people. I also believe in leaving behind a little positive energy wherever I go, even if it is just a smile.

    Do I miss my son? Of course, every day. After all, he was only 14 when he was killed. And sometimes there are still tears. Having your child murdered changes your life entirely. I always say it’s like learning to live with an amputation, you learn to live with it but nothing is ever the same again. You have to find a new normal.

    Today I am content and grateful. My life is my own and I am comfortable in my own skin. I have nothing to prove to anyone, and only care what those I love and who love me think. I like to think my boy is now my co pilot on my little adventures as I often feel his presence.

    There can be a happy life after cheating, divorce and all the accompanying crap. It’s as simple as picking yourself up and doing what you can to make your life better one day at a time. It adds up.

    Hugs to all my sister/brother chumps. It will get better once you get away from the cheater.

    • You are absolutely amazing Tessie to soldier on through all you’ve been through. I wish you a long life full of peace and happiness!

      • Thank you so much Attie. That means a lot coming from you. I have been cheering you on from the sidelines as you dealt with your own abusive cheater ex. I absolutely love your moxie Girlfriend!

    • What a story, Tessie. Thank you for writing about your life. And thank you for leaving a little positive energy wherever you go; I feel it in your post! Happy trails to you…

    • Wow, Tessie. I didn’t know your story as I’m relatively new here. That is so heartbreaking what your ex-fw did. I’m so sorry for your loss.

      The way you have reclaimed your life is really inspiring, thank you for sharing your story.

    • Tessie, thank you for sharing your story again. You are the very definition of mighty, and I wish you all the best.

    • You are the most amazing woman. So very awed by your ability to survive this terrible attack on your family, your heart and your life. Big hugs and much love. You are brave and so kind for sharing this painful story. I told myself a thousand times that if Tessie could gain a life, so could I.

      • Aww, LAJ, thank you. Your kind remarks made me cry. I’m just glad my story can be the source of some good in the world.

        • Tessie and LAJ. You are both warriors and my greatest inspirations. The abuse may have kept me stuck but your soul wisdom and true grit has kept me going for the past few years. Thank you ❤️

    • Wow. I didn’t know your story. You are strong as hell. You encouragement, advice, and modeled strength are a reminder that we are resilient.

  • It’s too weird, but just this morning I was driving to work and thinking about my lifelong desire to learn to ride a motorbike.

    And I may yet do it.

    • I fulfilled a lifelong desire when I joined a sports team and won a championship as a player (albeit the oldest and worst one on the team LOL).

      Go for it.

      • And LAJ, inspired by your daring to fulfill your hearts desire in joining a team, I saved my pennies and bought myself a hand pan (Hang Drum knockoff) that I am learning how to play. I’m not very good but I’m having a blast.

    • Do it… you will never regret having learned to. In the last year I have managed to buy another Harley and have put about 17,000 mile combined on them. Nothing is better for your heart than wind in your face.

  • I love how you gained your life back. I someday hope to get my motorcycle license as well. Ride on with your bad self!

  • I alway love a good phoenix rising story and so many of us have them. I haven’t been on the blog in a long time, but still read occasionally. What a great group of survivors we are! This group saved me as I navigated the divorce process. Precisely because I followed the advise to get a badass lawyer and go no contact/grey rock I came out of my divorce with stability.

    In the 6+ years I have traveled extensively with my kids, trekking the Grand Canyon, seeing Machu Picchu, Colombia, Spain. We have had a ball. We make extensive plans and then go explore. This year I refinanced my house and after internet stalking a house in my home town, I bought a 101 year old house and am starting the renovation process. I will be able to relocate at least part time while my kids are in college.

    I am not the same woman I was married. I was so anxious under all the abuse and control. I’ve completed graduate school and after several years am a therapist at a private practice. I really enjoy my life and my kids. I have a very small group of friends and a calm and peaceful life.

    To all those who are still in the trenches, it gets better, we get better. Therapy, self love, learning new skills and becoming who we want to be. Hang in there!

    • OW, your life sounds amazingly interesting and fun! My mom loves to travel and so we are talking about taking a trip to Iceland together – that would be super fun and amazing! She’s also talking about buying an RV for the family to use since we all at one time or another have talked about wanting to go exploring the US in an RV.

      What is FW father doing after the divorce? Oh, the usual whoring around, spending money on useless things, making the lives of those around him miserable by having constant drama and problems that need to be solved.

      • Bullshit and Lies,
        Thank you, my ex only traveled to two places yearly. He added his whore’s family house in as his affair came to light. He still is not much of a traveler and my kids say he’s “that annoying, arrogant American” so they are not super hip on travel with him. I don’t think our ex’s really ever change.

        Chumps on the other hand get this difficult metamorphosis but retrospectively it’s been good. I was thinking about traveling in an RV but thought it would be lonely as I don’t have anyone to travel with. If you travel through Wyoming after the fall of 2022, look me up! It sounds like you and your mom can have all sorts of fabulous adventures!

        Ultimately, I’m glad to be on the other side of the Chump experience,

      • Bullshit and Lies:

        Do it! You will not regret doing it, but you will regret not doing it.

        My mom also loved to travel. After she divorced my cheater/mentally ill/mentally and physically abusive father she took international trips at least twice a year, and also re-took up skiing, which she hadn’t done since she was in college. She defined herself as a skier and a world traveler.

        My mom and I have traveled a few times together: took a trip to Iceland (we also traveled to Cape Breton Island and Ireland together–I hate heat so we go to cool places in the summer).

        My mom is now 94, and can neither travel nor ski any longer (she kept downhill skiing until she was 82). I’m currently at her place helping to prepare her for a move to assisted living. I am so glad I was in the position to travel with her for those trips. They gave us both wonderful memories, of each other and the places we went.

  • Tyra, thank you for sharing your story – you are a badass! All chumps here are badasses!

    I’m sorry if this is being too nosy, but I’m wondering about your FW and the OW whose husband murdered her. Did her kids or any family come after you personally? Or were there any repercussions for your FW? Or did he just shrug his shoulders and move on to his next target?

    I ask because my father is a FW and the things I am hearing about him (and the things I suspect about him) make me wonder about what recourse anybody has against family members of FWs who do bad things.

    Sorry to go off-topic.

    • “Did her kids or any family come after you personally?

      Thankfully I have no skin in the game when it comes to her and my FW’s drama. My badass attorney pushed things along at a good clip because he didn’t want me to be dealing with a divorce and a murder trial.

      “Or were there any repercussions for your FW?”

      As of right now, no. Now after the murder trial things may be very different. If his defense team takes the tack I think they will then they are going to point the finger at my FW and say he instigated the abuse of her husband by manipulating her. Our residing mediator was so accurate when she stated “Your husband didn’t pull the trigger, but there is no question he loaded the gun”.
      And yes, it could come back on him in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit which would be 100% financial.. but no, he will never see a jail cell even though the piece of shit should.

      “Or did he just shrug his shoulders and move on to his next target?

      In a nutshell, yes.

      6 weeks after the OW was murdered and he had ample time to torture the fuck out of me with his mock reconciliation (in an effort to undo his adultery charge here in SC) and after telling me repeatedly that “dead OW” was his “everything and his forever” he moved on to OW2 which he met on Tinder… and thanks to a great PI I once again had proof of him cheating.

      Some people just never learn.

  • I got fear of publishing. I went to a workshop last year but all the COVID stuff detoured me for a bit. But this summer is all about me and my work. Plus gardens, hot yoga, and cats.

  • Thank you Tyra and Congratulations! Your photos are great. What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story and emphasizing the traumatic aspect that massive betrayal and infidelity has on even the strongest of Chumps. And mentioning that you are financially secure- it’s so important. Trauma and financial security are key elements in moving on. I hid the traumatic impact – I played the ‘everything’s ok game’ and “I’m fine and I’ve moved on” – he’s just a man pathetic that did bad things, etc. – when in fact I was dying inside – I’d look at all the photos of the prostitutes he was with and compare my 32AA chest and 100 pound frame to these whores. I even booked a boob job. At night I would thumb through 28 years of holiday cards and photos and memories and try to put the pieces together of ‘ So… when we were there, he was really there?” “And….when he said he was at a conference he was really with prostitutes?” etc, etc, etc, – It’s mind boggeling to put together almost 3 decades worth of memories trying to determine what was real and what wasn’t. I’m a very organized and private person…with detailed diaries so it wasn’t until I found Chump Nation that I found support in a safe setting. I still find myself staring off into the distance like when I’m pumping gasoline or in line at the grocery store…. still wondering…how was I so fooled…my saddness has turned to fear now- I’m afraid of him – someone who could lie so easily and live a double life. Cheaters are born everyday and OW’s are born everyday – and I worry that future Chumps will be hurt in the decades to follow – how do we stop the cycle? I don’t know. I simply don’t know. God bless you and you go girl!!!

    • Hi Jo,

      I too have replaced the sadness with fear. We just have no idea of what these monsters are capable of.
      I just purchased a house back in my old hometown right next door to my brother and his family. I trust that will give me some peace of mind, and that I can continue my recovery.
      Just wanted to let you know that what you are feeling is something many of us are going through.
      Be well my friend ❤

    • Jo… I promise you that one day, none of it will matter. The pain and the betrayal will ebb away and you will be left whole and happy again. Learning to trust men, even now a year after this article was shared about me is still hard. I trust me, I still for the most part don’t trust them. I think that is something we may struggle with the rest of our lives… but I do have more hope today in April of 2022 than I did back then… so changes are still happening, incrementally.

  • I heart Tyra!

    I spent 20 years and didn’t get therapy. I didn’t have the resources, or know how to access them in my remote community. BUT.. I flew to India and spent over a month in Yoga teacher training, and met the Dalai Lama (I had only ever attended 2 yoga classes prior). Now I’m learning Spanish. I’ve had many adventures and had a lot of self reflection. Life is awesome and I love your mighty!!

  • This is the first time I’ve commented. But I’ve been inspired so much by the blog and all the contributors.

    It’s almost 4 years since I found out FROM MY KIDS that Ex was having an affair. We are now divorced.

    I kept his sports car (which was in my name because he couldn’t get credit – long story). I’m a lawyer and that was lucky for me. All our assets are in my name so when they sell, the money comes to me and I send him his share. I don’t know if this is meh or not, but the fact that I control the cash feels good.

    About 18 months post DDay I read about Narcissism and concluded that he was a covert, passive aggressive narcissist. Probably as a result of his upbringing. So what did I do with that knowledge? I decided to cut him some slack, invited him to my (formerly our) home for Christmas. I thought I could forget the hell he’d put me through and ‘move on’ to maintain some semblance of peace for our 3 kids who were desperate for us to ‘just be friends’. What a fool I was. He took my kindness and trampled all over it. He ramped up the abuse straight after. I learned the hard lesson and stopped being ‘nice’.

    There is nothing he hasn’t done to try to hurt me. I recently found out that he is still in contact with the whore, who takes it up the a**e. (Way to go – taking one for the team!) despite the abuse and hatred she spewed at me for months until I finally blocked her.

    I strongly believe that women – especially those who are happily married to a man who would never betray them. Like I was – should know where they stand financially and make sure that at least some assets are held by them or both parties – That’s my mission now.

    I might also treat myself to a Harley Davidson! 😂

    • “I strongly believe that women – especially those who are happily married to a man who would never betray them. Like I was – should know where they stand financially and make sure that at least some assets are held by them or both parties – That’s my mission now.”

      I love this, Elle, and have begun to advocate for the same. Just today, I recommended that a friend do a credit check on her husband, 100% because of what I’ve learned from CL/CN.

      I will add, beware! Words of love and loyalty aren’t enough; future faking is child’s play for serial cheaters, and their words mean nothing. If anyone tries to make you guilty or greedy for wanting equality and security, they DO NOT have your best interests in mind. I had nothing in my name, after 15 years – and not because I didn’t work for, invest in, sacrifice for or deserve it. If cheaters are entitled, chumps are selfless. My mantra now is “invest in yourself,” and it bears constant repeating. I have given so much away for free to people who were using me. Now I try to let the principle of reciprocity guide me.

  • I think about my shadow self a lot lately. Yes, I have come full circle and am now that giddy little girl – the one who lived and loved life for what it is, just because it is. My family of origin tried to squeeze all the happiness out of me and then lovers and friends I chose and others along the way. But you cannot squeeze the happiness and life force out of someone who can truly love life for what it is, because it will just grow and grow and grow again and again.
    Those cheaters only know how to kill things, I know how to nurture them and CREATE MORE.
    Thank you, Tracy, for your story of HOPE. I’ve done several things I always wanted to this past year. Funny, several people have said to me lately: I’m so glad you’re back!

    • Correction: Thank you Tyra! 🙂 I, too, grew my grey hair out. Yes, authenticity is central to my life now.

  • Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” kept my spirits afloat during many abuse-related upheavals over the years. My theme song when I’m moving again and triggered, makes me feel like I’m on adventure rather than a forced march. For Tyra, I’m hearing Neil Young sing, “She rides a Harley Davidson… Her short, silver hair, blowin’ in the wind.” (Your hair is gorgeous!)

    My ticket to ride is a little different! Freedom, nonetheless. I bought an efficient little car, and I’m about to pay it off in full – way ahead of schedule. The car is tiny, but big enough for me to sleep in the back; I made magnet screens and a comfy blow-up mattress, and my friends bought me solar fairy lights. I call it my camper. More than transportation, this little car is my security blanket. I take solace in knowing that if things fall apart, I can pack what I need, hit the road and be safe. I know I am capable and resilient, and my life experiences and skills and willingness to work hard mean I can always land on my feet.

    Not that I should need to leave now. Life without FW is far more stable. When I moved out last fall, I found a new job. In one more year, I’ll have a new degree fully paid for by my employers. I just got invited to present at a workshop next month, and I’ve been able to pursue some really creative projects. I’ve been asked to step into leadership roles on a few different teams. I’m reclaiming confidence and skills I’d believed lost. In fact, I find I have more to offer than ever as a result of my diverse experiences and my new, wiser perspectives.

  • Technically I started writing my novel before divorcing Nitwit, but I have now finished it and have started the process of getting it published. I’ve even started the outline for a sequel!

    Nitwit always wanted me to wear my hair in a ponytail. He would buy me Scrunchies, which I always managed to lose. “Accidentally” of course. Since my divorce was finalized a couple of months ago I have cut my hair shorter than it has ever been and I don’t think it looks half bad.

  • Love the plate! Thank you for sharing the story. It is amazing to see someone come out better on the other side. The freedom to be myself has been so validating. It’s a great journey hindered somewhat by Covid but still soooo much better than my previous self.
    You’re an inspiration!

  • Yay, Tyra! You rock!
    And YES to resetting the neural pathways and learning new things as you recover from trauma. I didn’t want to continue to live in the same small town as my porn addicted, stripper f*ing husband, so I quit my job, put the house on the market, loaded the car and took an open-ended road trip with my dog.

    In every town I came to that seemed interesting, I would stop, spend some time in the community and think about what it might be to live there and how I felt about that, then decide if I wanted to stay or move on. I learned a lot about myself and who I really am through that process. Nine months and six cities/towns later, I landed a great long-term job and settled down – in a place where I had lived before and had very long established friendships. That sense of community turned out to be way more important to me than the novelty of starting over somewhere fresh.

    I know not everyone can do what I did, but there are all kinds of ways to reset — a class or hobby that really stretches you (acting? glass blowing? auto mechanics?), new paint in an old environment, etc. The point is to help rediscover who you really are and what really makes you happy. So many of us have lost ourselves while trying to maintain relationships with our cheating spouses. Experimenting with the new helped me rediscover myself.

    • Livin’MyOneLife–what a great post. You inspired me today and got me thinking about the stuff I can think about doing next. I live in one of two houses I owned with FW, and he lived next door for a while with the OW (and a string of mystery visitors), and he sold and is gone. I need to reboot big time, but have to clear out and lighten up first. Thanks for the inspiration!

      • MOG, you go! The concept of “lightening up” is huge. When I left the large, full-of-stuff house I shared with my ex- he wanted everything he could get his hands on. So I took the stuff that was mine, had come down from my family, and a few pieces of art that had meaning. He paid me for the rest of my half of the stuff. The first step in recovering myself was unpacking those things and creating a home that had meaning to me in every room and reflected my taste.

        With each subsequent move/step forward I’ve continued to shed “stuff” in favor of the things (and experiences) that bring me joy and are really “needful” for my life. I’ve been amazed at the things that I’ve been willing to let go of to make room for my new life — such as my grandmother’s beautiful Victorian bedroom set to make way for my art/quilting studio.

        More and more, I am learning to see the empty spaces as full of possibility and to sit with them until I’m sure what the next step is.

        Good luck on your journey. I’m pulling for you.

  • I think it would be fabulous to learn how to drive a Harley. But the X and his new wife both own one and I used to love riding on the back of his. I do’t really care what they would think, but I honestly don’t think I am that much of a badass! :). I have self-esteem issues bad. But, how fun it would be to have Tyra teach me!

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