Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

What Did You Think You Couldn’t Do That You CAN Do?

leave a cheaterIn yesterday’s post, Lola Granola discussed the belief that so many women have about their own financial incompetence and ability to provide for themselves. Economic vulnerability is a real stick-with-the-jerk force, I get it.

But I’ve also read here time and time again, that when you leave a cheater, you figure it out. You gain a lot of competencies you didn’t know you had. That perhaps were told you did NOT have. And in fact, were probably demonstrating while propping up a FW — such as money management — but those qualities were devalued. (What, you think you need insurance when someone needs a new crossbow/set of boobs?)

So today’s Friday Challenge is to think of all the things you didn’t think you could do, that gosh darn-it, you CAN do.

Too dumb for school? Finished that degree. Don’t understand money? Got out of debt. Bad parent? The kids thrive under your reign of sanity.

Once you fired the naysayers from your life and your head, what did you discover?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Weeeelllll… I got my degree… It took me 7 years but it was worth it… I got out of debt last year… I am working with a special mortgage company because I got out of debt. “I” found a Grant for Veterans that will give me funds to cover closing costs… I learned there are some “skanky” brokers and realtors. I learned that sometimes the best thing to do is “Walk Away” from toxic relationships. Which included many former friends and I made new ones… I learned the Universe will meet you just as you take the step off the ledge… I LEARNED TO LOVE MYSELF!!!

    • AJ, what an inspiring list. You are mighty for sure!!

      I also took extra time to finish both degrees. Whatever it takes ❤️ you did it!

      Would you mind sharing the grant that helps vets with closing costs? FW has finally accepted that the oversized marital home must be jettisoned. I hope to buy a new home before the divorce is even finished (one less thing I’m dependent on FW for) but it’ll be a financial stretch to do it before the asset division, which may take a lot longer. My goal is to never shovel this driveway again (out by Nov)!

        • I already contacted Veterans United for a mortgage & I’d be surprised if they didn’t use the grant. But thanks for the recommendation.

          Thank you for helping a Chump gain a life!!

      • Don’t Feel Like Dancing- I don’t mean to over step my bounds, but please talk to a lawyer before buying a home before your divorce is finalized. Any assets acquired during the marriage could be subject to division between the two of you. I would not want your soon to be ex to have any rights to the home you buy, and they may have rights if you buy it before the divorce. I would not buy it until the divorce is finalized, just looking out for you, wish you all the best

  • I bought the jerk out of our home( funny how banks won’t lend an unemployed FW money). I was in an absolute panic about paying my way( totally gaslit since I was the breadwinner by that point). Sold that house bought another one and planned and supervised a main floor total renovation. My covid treat was a hot tub. I am just fine and can still afford to travel( once we can again). Funny how getting rid of the financial anchor freed me in a way I didn’t expect.

    • I worked my way back from bankruptcy (due to the debts he built up and abandoned me with) to rebuild my credit, and eventually buy a property for myself and my children. It took 9 years of hard work.

      I completed my degree and my postgraduate qualifications and retrained as a teacher which has given me financial stability and the opportunity to get a mortgage on my own.

      Raised and paid for 4 children entirely by myself.

      Not bad considering that according to him I was a selfish, lazy and self centred woman who couldn’t stick to anything and had a serious spending problem (yes yes – projection! All of those were perfect descriptors of him.)

      • You are amazing! All of it, but raising four kids alone!? Wow. I also worked my way up from the bankruptcy that Dumdum got us into, when he decided – I’ve worked long enough, it’s someone else’s turn! ????
        It’s great what we can do, once they are out of the picture!

    • Way to go! So many of us do better financially when we cut that anchor free, no matter ho share the anchor worked to tell us they were a sail.

  • I was 36 when I married KK, she was 28. So there wasn’t really anything from a skills/knowledge standpoint that I didn’t think I could do. I’d pretty much done all of it already.

    I guess what I discovered is that I do indeed have what it takes to go ‘all in’ on a commitment, to keep the promises I make to others, and that if I can do that, my dignity and integrity will be intact.

    It’s too bad I found it out the way I did, but in the end it’s reassuring to know the good example set for me didn’t go for naught.

    • Same story. Married at 39. Divorced at 51 and kept my integrity despite being treated coldly and cruelly while being suddenly discarded by my husband. So glad I never stooped to his level.

  • I’ve managed the care of multiple acres through all four seasons, including issues with yard equipment.
    I’ve found honest people with the skills and expertise to do work that it out of my skill set, e.g., electrical work, major plumbing, tree care.
    I’ve dealt effectively with emergences, e.g, burnt pipes, downed trees.
    I’ve raised my credit score to the top 5%.
    I’ve made sensible choices about where to spend money.
    I’ve worked my retirement plan and am on track to be able to pay off the house.
    I’ve planned and made strategic improvements and kept things painted and maintained.
    I’ve learned when to ask for the input of people I trust but also to know I can trust myself to do what’s best for me.

    I think the biggest thing I’ve learned to do is not be afraid to live alone. I’ve learned to trust myself to deal with whatever happens. And I think that’s a great place to be as I hit my 70th birthday later this year.

  • I can do the taxes for myself- I have to do this in two countries. I can start the lawnmower or better yet I can pay my neighbour’s son to do the lawn. I painted my daughter’s bedroom. I bought a drill and toolkit and I am good at repairing things. I helped keep my company afloat during Covid and we are now thriving. I put holds on bank accounts in spite of major opposition and abuse. I get child support via the tax department in spite of being declined support by STBX. I learned that I am not boring, I’m not old, I’m not lame, I’m not needy, anxious, angry or controlling. I’m none of the things he said I was, and I’m doing all the things I need to do to support myself and our child. I have lots more money in the bank than I did when he was here and stealing our money for hookers and hook ups. I’m free of living with someone who took me for granted and abused me and I’m actually a really good person who has lots of friends, family and colleagues and a daughter who all love me.

  • I would make a spreadsheet of our expenses to understand why we were always in debt. While trying to point out x, y and z to sparkledick, my hand on the mouse would get slapped…. and I would get called stupid.

    Almost four years after divorcing FW I have no debts except a very sensible mortgage on my new house, which I took to be able to buy a small farm, on which I am already planting (out of my pocket, no loans so far) and will harvest in two years a crop that is very low risk and increasing market and can support a family with security and comfort.

    I hear sparkles is still in debt and paying rent (at 69…).

    It does make me very angry to know that my sons will be spending their $ on their dimwit father in his old age, just like sparkles and I had to for my FW megalomaniac father-in-law

    • Wow, ClearWaters, did you ever find out where he was spending the money? He was obviously hiding something.

      Years ago when we first got Quicken, before you could download transactions, my ex insisted that I enter every purchase. He claimed he did too. Every month he would reconcile the accounts and, if there were any mistakes, I would get lectured.

      Fast forward several years and he asked me to take over reconciling. Well, guess what? He made mistakes, too. He was really pissed when I told him about his errors. I wouldn’t have done that if he hadn’t been so nasty with me.

      My ex used to take out a lot of cash from the ATM so I think that’s where he got his money for the gay sex he had to pay for. After I filed for divorce I started taking out the same amount as he did, even though I didn’t use cash much. He never said a word about it and I forgot about it until the day I moved out. I had stuck it all in a vase to hide it from him!

      • I’m with you ladies. When he left I was on about 65% of what we had before (I made more than him) but had 200% more in savings even though I still had my two kids with me. Now I’m retired two years living on about 30% of my previous wage but my home is paid off and I’m still saving every month. HE’s got 20 years left to run on his mortgage (at 59) and is still struggling even though he’s on a massive pension and Schmoopie (who thought she was going to retire in style) had to go back to work!

      • Klootzak always has a wad of cash and takes cash out. I never thought to do the same thing; take out cash and disappear it into a vase. It always amazed me that in this world where everybody takes a card he seems to need so much cash on him all the time.

    • ClearWaters…would slap you hand??? OMG. How dare you be Captain Obvious with your amazing spreadsheet. Kudos.

    • Oh how I remember those circular conversations about money. He’d lie about sour expenses over exaggerating to ensure he ended at zero. Meanwhile getting me to cover more. I still don’t know for sure where the money went. But I suspect it was gifts for other women.

      We should have had so much more economic stability together. Especially when we were dual incoming family. However it never get that way. He had me worried he was going to lose his job. The constant stress. Before marriage I saved a ton of money, while making little. That money has been my ticket to freedom from him. It allowed me to retain. bad ass attorney. Ironically I was not able to save as much after marriage (even with his really good income and when I was working a good job too). It works out now bc on my spreadsheet most of my assets were premarital.

  • I started running about three years ago as an attempt to quench an insatiable urge to flee from my own new existence after my husband abruptly abandoned me.

    Although I hadn’t done any running whatsoever since in gym class as a teen several decades ago, I set a goal to run a race in all fifty U.S. states. So far, I’ve completed two full marathons and countless other events of various distances (mainly half marathons). The pandemic derailed my intended timeline somewhat, but I still have been able to accomplish running an organized event in 39 states and expect to fully finalize the goal by early 2022!

    My husband ran away from our quarter century relationship and now I’m running toward a healthier life.

    PS I’ve been leaving a copy of LACGAL in each of the states…typically in those Free Little Library boxes.

  • rediscover that I was independent and strong. When I was with my ex, he complained that I was clingy, that I liked to spend “too much time together”, that I asked him for help for a lot of things (and by help, I mean I asked him to teach me how to play the guitar so we could jam together, I asked him to go with me to dance classes so we would have a nice hobby together)

    When he monkeybranched to the OW, I went no contact. I found my own place, I organized my move, I repainted the walls, renovated the flat, gave a new life to the garden, negotiated better contracts with electricity, phone, internet, etc. I got a new job. I did not even think about dating until I felt I had processed everything. I exercised every day, I dropped 15 pounds. It was around the time the pandemic was starting. I went to therapy every week. AND I still saved money.

    Then the pandemic hit. I was alone in a flat without my family. I survived the intense loneliness. I fostered friendships. I zoomed my way out of my depression.

    I cried every day for 6 months but now one year looking back, I know that all I lost was his dead weight. I am no contact since January 28, 2020. I know nothing about my FW except the essential information conveyed by his mother. He doesn’t even know my new address.

    • Yay, I’m no contact since March 14th 2020, the first day of my lockdown! (When I discovered he went into lockdown with someone else.)

      I think we can 2x as proud as we went through this in these isolating cirumstances. Especially knowing that they can’t stand being alone and just go for the easiest supply to avoid being confronted to theirselves. Although it was hard, I don’t even want to think what it must have been like to be in lockdown with him, it would have been a double prison.

      So hurray for us, we survived!

  • Learned how to:

    Replace faucets

    Change out light fixtures

    Changed out locks and hinges and door knobs

    Hang drapery fixtures – used to ask FW to do this and he would be all angry

    Use a power drill

    Use you tube to figure out how to do things for home and car.

    Make a life for myself –

    • Great job! You must have had my FWs twin. My FW would grumble and pout when I asked him to do stuff even though his business was construction. So glad to not have to deal with grumpy.

      • I wish people thought more about “self-efficacy” and less about “self-esteem.” Self-efficacy is a solid foundation for life, especially in tough times.

        • Many of us are beat down in our FOO and in marriages to our ex-assholes, and our self-esteem is in tatters. In gaining a life after living in an abusive situation, self-efficacy is a means to acquiring self-esteem.

  • He told me I was messy. I was bad with money. 24 years ago, he told me I could not enter the profession I wanted to pursue (education). I’m 50, and I only have credit because 5 years ago he finally added me to his credit card as an authorized user.
    Since he’s been gone, the house is cleaner than ever. At the end of the month, I have more money in my account than before, even though I make less money. I entered my chosen profession, finally, and I’m loving it. I got approved for a home loan. I thought he was such an amazing husband, but in retrospect, he really held me back. I never would have realized that, if he hadn’t left me for his trashy co-worker.
    I’m fine that he’s gone, but I could have done without the shitty traumatic way he exited.

  • I stopped drinking, without withdrawal symptoms, but with the support of a 12-Step program. I moved to a house which I maintain, inside and out, or locate professional services. I purchased and assembled a push reel mower and planted a perennial shade garden. I maintain my car. I socially distanced during a pandemic, meeting friends and family only for outside walks. I thoughtfully – not impulsively – left a toxic job and am deciding about where to put my energy in my mid-60’s. I’m researching solo aging. I volunteer and meditate and exercise a bit more than when I was married. I get into “necessary trouble”. Oh yeah – I went no contact and did all the work toward a divorce which was finalized earlier this year.

    • “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

      – A tweet from John Lewis June 2018

    • HUGE congratulations on your sobriety!!! Amazing how much better life gets just with that piece!

  • I left him. That was the hardest thing I ever did. I was just a ghost if who I once was. But I saved money for three years and planned in secret to leave a thirty three year marriage.

    I left him and it has made all the difference. I keep losing weight, I’ve stopped yanking out my own hair, I no longer chew my fingernails. I am so much better living without the abuse. Moving out of “Eggshell Manor” and being free of his daily presence was the key to living a far better life.

    It has been twenty three months and one week since I left him. The trial date is next week, on the same day as I left him two years ago.

    That is my mighty. I left.

  • Live a financially independent life… I was bleeding money while married to Mr. Sparkles. He “gave me” a portion of his paycheck every week toward our family/household expenses but kept a separate account for his other expenses (e.g. child support for his other kids; hookers; AFF subscriptions).

    Once I cut that parasite off, I had the money to hire a divorce attorney and file… re-establish my credit score and refinance the house (which I bought directly before our marriage) and payoff debt. I upped my 401K contributions and became 100% vested AFTER he left and WOW… did that number make me smile (that and having had the foresight to have a pre-nup!)

    Now, my son and I live a stable life… there’s money for groceries, the mortgage, a nice vacation each year, the occasional splurge, and I feel that I’ll be able to navigate financing college and my retirement concurrently.

    Living my best life – seven years from discard – Meh came on a Tuesday.

  • During our marriage, I handled all of our finances and did most of the household chores myself–a real workhorse, which is probably how he viewed me and why he might have hesitated a bit before giving me up. It can’t be easy to let go of a decent kibble source who can do taxes, cook gourmet meals, AND paint the basement!!

    And those 2 1/2 years when he had me AND the AP must have been heaven for him–kibbles from a firehose. But I digress.

    I didn’t panic about how to do things when I left him. (He’s the one who probably panicked. hehe)

    That said, although I did virtually everything, I always felt the need to run things by him. It’s taken a while for me to resist the urge to wonder what he would think or say about a decision.

    What I’ve realized since DDay is that he was never very smart. He relied on ME. Now I trust myself. And sometimes if it’s a choice between A or B, either is fine.

    Oh, and non-controlling sisters and friends are good sources of help. I lean on others without apology. I’d also like to mention that money isn’t going out the door as quickly. That man bought so much shit for himself. Fly fishing is an expensive hobby.

    • “Fly fishing is an expensive hobby.” Isn’t it???? That was the final ‘hobby’ Dick picked up. It was also convenient to ‘get away’ in the last few years of our mirage. He would arrive home (after being gone for weeks), leave the next morning before dawn for a fishing trip over the weekend. Draw out $$$ in cash for the ‘guide’, exclaim about how many fish he caught (catch & release) but there was no evidence of such. Hell, Chumpy me even would book him a hotel in a nearby city because I didn’t want him camping ‘solo’ in bear country. I would wonder why this ‘hobby’ consumed so much cash, yet couldn’t even produce a goddamned meal… And I never thought to check to see if any of that equipment even got used. Hmmmm. Oooof.

      • Yep. The perfect cover for an affair! Fly fishing hobby combined with his job as a physician gave my ex even more excuses to be away at all hours. It hardly took any work to arrange to be with the AP. The uber trusting wife helped, too! (Yes, I got cash out of the ATM for him so that he’d have money for the guide. Yeesh.)

        I remember thinking, “Well, at least he’s not gambling. He’s outdoors! It’s wholesome!” #facepalm

  • I learned how to use power tools, including the lawn mower! I never understood how machines for home repair and maintenance worked. He had a LOT of manual and power tools that he left in the garage when I sent him packing. He only used them when it was necessary, and I think he only accumulated them to look like a “real man.”
    I ended up using those tools to perform a bathroom remodel, spiffy up my landscape, and countless other projects!

    • It was a long time ago now but one of the first things I did was to buy a lawnmower with an electric start. I always had little patience and success with pulling the rope thing to start the mower and I felt such a sense of self-reliance and independence to have this small household challenge. One day, he saw the lawnmower while dropping off the kids and started with snarky commentary. He tried to show me how easy it is to start the lawnmower “properly”. It was great. I just let him puff himself with righteous self-importance, nodded and said thanks.

      Then I just did it my way with the electric start. I didn’t care what he had to say or what he thought. But more importantly, I didn’t care enough to let him know I didn’t care. It was a very early meh moment. I still have the lawnmower and can now start it both ways – because I can not because some FW thought that’s how I should do it.

      As I type this it is such a small victory, but it was huge for my healing at the time.

      • That brings back memories. I was the only one doing the lawn mowing. Our mower was over 20 years old. I bought it when I was 18 and had brought it to the marriage. When I was 42, the cord broke. The whole thing had sounded like it was on its last legs so it seemed like a good time to let it go and buy a new one. Well, I couldn’t spend $300 on a mower without his approval and he said no, just get the cord fixed. I tried tying it back together. I even had a sprained finger at the time with nerve damage. He refused to let me buy a new mower. I was furious.

        Anyway, I sold a purse he had once given me as a gift plus some other things to scrape together the money to buy the mower myself. I was a SAHM at the time and it took me 2 months but finally I got the new mower I wanted. It’s wonderful. Runs smooth. So great. And then what happened? Well, when I bought my sweet mower that he railed against, it was so wonderful, suddenly he was willing to mow the lawn because the new mower made it so easy. No yanking (still has a cord but is much easier) and cursing to make it work. And damn if I didn’t keep the receipt and will take it with me when I go.

        • They are something else aren’t they?

          I had mowed our lawn one year for his birthday, he never mowed the lawn again. I had taken over so much by the time he discarded me that it was pretty easy to keep everything up on my own.

          I even offered to paint the house if he bought the paint (marital home that I was living in during the legal separation) he said no. He had it planned that I would take over the marital house, and of course the payments. I am sure he figured why should I buy the paint for her house. Lol, I was never going to take that house, so he ended up with the marital house and all the rental property and the river property. All I got was one small, one bedroom rental house that was paid off. He got the marital house and he had to paint his own dammed house.

          I enjoyed see him painting that house after the divorce was final.

          I honestly think he thought I would be calling him back for all sorts of things, and he of course would do some of it just to help me, and likely other things he would enjoy the power of saying no.

          I never called his useless ass for anything. Not even to ask him to come back, which I think really pissed him off. I am certain he would have loved to throw me some pity fucks. No thanks, I’m good.

          • He spent $3,000 re-doing the garage floor with epoxy without asking me but I had to beg permission for a lawn mower so I could mow the lawn. I also had to beg to buy a mattress and box spring for our son to have a full size bed. He was 5 years old and still sleeping in the toddler bed. Klootzak said he still fit so he didn’t need a full size until he outgrew it. Mind you, the toddler bed, I already owned the conversion rails to make it a full size bed. My FIL had purchased it. We just needed a mattress and box spring. We weren’t poor or broke. He was earning over six figures and I was working full time, too. We only have one child but we can’t manage to buy one mattress and box spring? It was insane. He used to force me to beg the grandparents to gift our son with basic things – furniture for his room, backpack for school, etc. Insane.

            • SMH.

              My fw totally ignored me and my son telling him for the last few years that we had termites. Kept blowing us off. Termite ate up half our living room before he would finally admit it. Turns out he was fucking strange that whole time. He had walked away from our marriage, and really I was just standing in his way.

              He did finally call the exterminators and then he fixed and repaneled the living room. Did a crappy job, because in his mind I am sure even then, he had it all planned out that I would be getting the marital house anyway. Snicker, eat it asshole.

              • My ex could not be convinced that a water leak from the upstairs bathroom needed to be fixed. The only thing holding the plaster in place was the wallpaper, which one night gave way. I got up early to find plaster in a pile on the kitchen floor. I had had it by that point, so I just swept it into a pile and left it there, where he would have to walk over it to get from the kitchen to the dining room with his coffee and cereal.
                We ended up having to re-do both the shower/tub upstairs and the wall in the kitchen–cost us thousands more than if he’d just agreed much earlier that we had a problem and needed to fix it.
                Nor was this the first time a water problem had escalated. We’d also had a leak in the main stand pipe that ended up requiring a full replacement. Two stories of plaster wall to be cut through.
                You don’t have to wonder who made all the arrangements…

              • Adelante

                I think in many cases to them it is just money taken away from their play funds. Whether it is women, boats, gambling whatever. They are living their lives to please themselves.

                I am sure Schmoops was surprised when she married fw and the flowers and dinners stopped, at least they stopped for her. He drug her out of a trailer park, and within a few years she was living right back in one due to his gambling in excess of 250 thousand dollars in debt. He lost every thing they had. Again, evidently her magic twat didn’t last, and out he was again looking to make himself happy. He also cheated on her, but that was the least of her worries.

                I don’t know how he did it as he had absolutely no assets except for his retirement, but a year before he died he bought a massive 100 thousand dollar RV, and when he died a year later she was left with the debt with a fraction of his retirement and her small SS check. She quite work before she was 40, so her SS check is small.

                My son just recently, not long before his dad died showed me the picture of the RV and the mess he was leaving. He said he asked him before he bought it how he was going to pay for it, and he said “I don’t care, I will be dead”.

                I actually feel kind of sorry for her. That has to be a horrible position to be in. But, he was always going to please himself. I doubt it bothers her as much as it would me though. She will likely just file BR again.

                I have trembled in the past, when I realized how fortunate I was that he left when he did. Just a few more years and her life would have been mine.

            • These tyrants just love to control the purse strings. My car was 15 years old, needed new brakes, security system shot and a big crack across the windshield. But FW had no time in 6months to go car shopping with me. FW bought himself a new car the previous year. His money right? So I took myself car shopping when he was on a business trip. A few test drives and my car and I found each other. Leather seats, roof racks, cargo net, I was ready to roll. Handed the dealer a cheque and I was rolling.
              FW is gone but the car and I still love each other and are still together.
              Three cheers for my sister and brother chumps who survived these mean fools.
              And Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who ever raised kids.

        • Funny. Lawnmowing was the only thing I could get Narkles the Clown to do. I finally figured out it was so he could look invested to the neighbors. When he left I bought a new mower. He buys a new one every year because he doesn’t care for what he buys. Son told me he is once again looking to buy a new mower while I just changed the oil in the one I bought when I gave him the boot….6 years or so ago.

          • Same here. Klootzak is all about putting on a show. If he sees other neighbors outside, that’s when he runs out to mow and make a big show of it. If he were to return home from walking somewhere and see a neighbor out, he would walk out to the city easement area and pick up any leaves he found in the grass by hand. If there are no leaves, he’ll go bend down and putter with a sprinkler head like he is fixing or adjusting it. It’s all about image management. Before the new mower and before the last D-day and his decision that he wants out, he couldn’t be bothered to touch the lawn. ????

  • Since I managed all the bills, house, and money i knew I would t have a financial challenge. I left decisions about paint color, remodel design, anything construction related to FW who had a remodel business on my money. When I bought a condo and remodeled it, I had so much fun planning, selecting and creating a beautiful space. It is so much more light, airy, and edgy than anything he ever created. So cool!

  • We were married for 5 years when we moved for his work to another state. I got another job and was killing it… just about to earn more than he was. And he didn’t like it! We decided together to have a child and for me to be a stay at home mom. As soon as the baby was born… he got jealous. I thought our marriage was still fine… but when my son was 9, that’s when FW abruptly left us both for his coworker.

    It was traumatic. I was scared. Suddenly I found myself nearly 10 years out of the job market. And he mocked me and said I wouldn’t be able to get anything. That I was useless. He very literally laughed in my face.

    I realized I had to pull myself together and figure this out.

    FW made sure I didn’t have enough money even with Pendente Lite. The mortgage took nearly evrything becuase he screwed it up so bad. But I begged and borrowed from dear friends and family (and as soon as I sold the house — alone! and I moved everything myself — everyone was paid back immediately).

    For that year I had no money…but my son and I lived on Red Baron pizzas and we had the most inexpensive fun we could together.

    Thanks to great friends and contacts, I immediately got a part time job to help pay the bills.

    After the divorce was over (one year from the day he walked out — because I filed straight away under adultery — ok in my state) – I got calls from past coworkers to come back and I went right back into my senior level full time job.

    I got help from a cousin CPA to do my taxes and pay quarterly

    I was never allowed to use our grill (oh nooooo…. FW was the grill master!) so I called a neighbor and he showed me how, and I then grilled all the time — my son thought I was mighty!

    I took care of my son in the biggest of ways… working with the school on every level and went back to the attorneys repeatedly to fight against FW’s abuses of his son

    I got my finances back. FW didn’t pay bills (and that ass is in Finance) and really screwed up our credit good. I got it all back and then some. I had to go through attorneys to get him to release me from his car and credit cards that he refused to pay — it was in the legal agreement but he didn’t want to take me off. So I went after him. That idiot.

    We all hold the power. Fight fight fight. You deserve it.

  • I was terrified that I could not manage the farm on my own, he had gaslit me that the work was so hard…

    The lawns are looking better than ever. I had an irrigation system installed. I bought a new riding mower. My daughter and I learned that stacking hay wasn’t that hard; the goats have survived for two winters. I not only managed to hang onto my house, I made the wise financial decision and the property has soared in value these past two years. I bought a new snow blower and I can handle winter just fine on my own. I am renting out the guest apartment and have earmarked that money as my “maintenance fund”.

    But I am most proud of how I rebuilt my emotional life. After suffering a dead bedroom for the last decade of my marriage, I became sexual again. I had internalized the rejection and it colored my life and self perception. I have again learned that I am beautiful and desirable. I am no longer discarded.

    • You are my hero! Can I ask how long since D-Day?

      As my fuckwit was walking out the door to move in with schmoopie after 40 years of marriage – his biggest concern was that I wouldn’t be smart enough to read the water meter each month. I chuckle about that each time I read it. It takes all of 2 minutes to do and it was always such a huge sacrifice he made to the marriage, such a manly man taking care of his family. What a joke!

      Last weekend I successfully pushed the riding mower out of the shed (uphill and it is heavy!), put gas in it and it started right up. I jump started my car and took it to the parts store where they tested the new battery and found it was faulty so it was immediately replaced at no charge. And I finally figured out exactly how to rig up the little chain in the back of the toilet tank so it reliably shuts off after each flush. I did feel mighty! Tuesday is coming!

      • ditto on the dead bedroom and being told I was the broken one……. I am just stepping into the world where it appears I was not the broken one.

      • Lol. Mine thought that kind of thing was major as well. His big contribution. Damn, are they ever stupid.

      • D Day was 2 years ago NEXT WEEK! The Sunday after Mother’s Day. 2019 sucked.

        I was at a funeral today and saw some pre-divorce friends I had not seen all year, with COVID and all. Everyone told me how great I looked and how much happier I seemed.

        There truly is life after fuckwits. Hang in there fellow chumps, happiness is just around the corner.

    • I love this. I also find it fascinating how often lawn mowing comes up on this site and how large this featured in my life. It’s what is symbolized I think – but in my story as I’ve told it here before, my FW on DDay said that he was going to keep his OW as a side dish fuck and he would “hang out with me and our daughter for 3 or 4 days a week. He’d mow the lawn and do the taxes and then go to the OW’s house and get his “needs met”’. Um, no. GTFO. I was so offended by that. First because it implied I’m a sexless creature that only needed her taxes done and lawn mowed and second, he didn’t do the fucking taxes or mow the lawn anyway. So that offer was a double dud????. I’m proud as hell that in my tortured state of abuse that I did not let him stay with me.

      • These fw’s are so full of themselves.

        When I went to the one counseling session with our preacher, fw after listing a few of my faults looked at me and said “I can’t make any promises” Um, hey dipshit you are the one that asked me here. It was funny because I looked at the preacher and he sat there and you could see his mouth basically hanging open, and he had the weirdest look on his face. Anyway, I said to the preacher “thanks for your time, but we are done here” then I walked out.

        Preacher called ma later to apologize for putting me in that position. He said “he didn’t say what I expected him to say” I just laughed and said “he said exactly what I expected him to say”

        Asshole seriously overestimated his value to me. Had he stayed with me when Dday hit, he likely could have used me for few years, but he left for a few months and gave me a taste of life without him. Serious miscalculation on his part.

  • Like Chumpedlindyhopper, I was told I was too clingy and wanted to do everything together. Like that time he said I didn’t do things with him so I spent a few years in swim lessons and became scuba certified, only for him to not scuba dive with me once. In fact, after I was certified, he flew from Hawaii to Mexico to scuba dive with friends but left me behind. Vacation didn’t include me, I guess. But you know what I did? Took my own money and went on vacation alone to Sonoma and had a blast. I can vacation alone and have a heck of a great time without him.

    Like ThirtyThreeYearsAChump, I have saved some funds in preparation. I also applied for a few of my own major credit cards to boost my credit score, which was already in the high 700s. I also have all the major utilities in the house in my name so he can’t just cut them off. I also have a burner phone so if he decides to cut my cell phone off the plan (which IS in his name), I still have means to communicate. This phone has been immensely helpful for me talking to counselors, financial advisor, and attorney consults under the radar. I also sorted out with the financial advisor that I should have no issue getting a great mortgage on either buying out the house I am in or buying a new place (option of last resort). He is currently the mortgage holder but I don’t need him for that.

    Like Spinach, I already do the taxes, cooking, cleaning, yard work, etc. FW does yard work if he sees the neighbors are outside and he wants to put on a show. He is military. I have handled many a crisis and repair when he has been gone and hired pros to do jobs beyond my capabilities or desire.

    I am obsessed with making sure my retirement turns out OK but I think it will be. I will have to work about 4 or 5 years longer than I had wanted to, but it will be fine. There is only one big thing holding me back and as the pandemic dies down, that will get squared away and I’ll be set.

    My only fear is that something will go wrong with the car that sucks me dry financially. I have a goal to save a good amount to prepare for repairs or replacement but I will need to tackle legal fees first.

    • Ah yes, the old “too clingy”. That’s a great way to control someone. Been there. Just means they can cut you out of their cheating and subterfuge.

      • Absolutely, in the same vein as “I just need some space” They already have space, and they are fucking the whore in that space, what they need is for you (universal you) to back the hell off and let them fuck in peace.

        My ex told me right at a year before Dday (I can remember clearly the conversation) I asked him why he seems to be avoiding me, and that I felt like he was just putting me on a shelf. He said “it is just work stress, I will get through it; but right now I just need a little space” So I backed away, gave him space and they went to town sexually bonding. Less than a year later (dday was Christmas day) I was discarded, after spending almost a year being treated progressively shittier and shittier.

        • Me too. Same story. Space given for him to fuck all over town. Me at home hanging out for him. Assholes!!

          • Me too. FW withdrawn feigning depression. I gave him space time and money for counselling so he could heal. All the time he was spending all of this with schmoopie! Oh my I was such a sweet trusting chump.

            • Same with the fake depression and unilaterally taking time and space – to sleep with a strange woman I didn’t know about. All the while, I was all alone and felt sorry for and worried about the FW. How do they live with themselves? It’s not just the cheating, it’s all the other creepy weird BS they subject us to that puts us over the edge.

            • Yup. Same here.
              I also encouraged him to join a gym and hire a personal trainer because I thought it would lift his spirits.

              Little did I know he wanted to get fitter for the OW. Oh, and the personal trainer was a cute woman. Who knows what happened there? Damn.

              • This is all so crazy, ho0w did we come out sane?

                It reminds me that at his PD award banquet he got a nice 500 dollar bonus, this was in 89, so for us that was a lot of money. He was a bit annoyed because he had put in a request for his direct report to get a small bonus, she didn’t get it. So I said well give her some of yours, maybe fifty dollars or so, he lapped that right up. Need I go further? (he had also sat her skanky ass, and the ass of her best friend at our table).

                Oh and likely the reason she didn’t get a bonus was he had a couple months previously petitioned the town counsel for a raise for her and it was granted. Of course I doubt they knew he was fucking her, and had been for at least two years, likely more.

    • Did anyone else notice that when FW was out of the house for several days for “ whatever reasons “ the home hummed along very nicely? There were no fights or even raised voices among the kids, meals were on time and conversations flowed. Homework was done, book reports handed in.
      And when FW walked through the door, chaos followed.
      When I hear skreeching brakes in front of my house and a loud thump, I cringe because I expect to see Schmoopie throwing FW wrapped in duck tape back onto my driveway.
      After 5 years she knows all his tricks and is returning him to previous owner.
      Who owes me a favor and can remove rubbish?

  • My therapist hit me with this 2 x 4 yesterday. “Don’t be grateful that he gives you alimony payments!” I responded, “But he doesn’t HAVE to work, at least not according to our divorce decree.” She asked, “Do you really think he does anything for *your* benefit? He works for his own benefit. Everything he does is for his OWN benefit.”

    I must be dense.

    It’s amazing what 35 years of put-downs and gaslighting will do to a person.

    Still wobbly over here but getting better. Where’s that can of spinach?

    • When I first married klootzak, we moved thousands of miles away for his work and I had no job. When we went grocery shopping, I could not just go alone and buy stuff. He came with me and I had to thank him when he paid. I understand that mindset. It gets pounded into you that you should be grateful because all money is his money. ????

      • I think that is the mindset they use when using marital money for the whoring around. Well I work for the money so she has her hobbies, I have mine.

        It is of course bullshit, but then they ae mostly full of bullshit.

  • I have learned that her being gone means way less work for me and that I spend waaaaay less time cleaning, cooking food, organizing, and dealing with daily things.

    It means I actually get to work on projects that I enjoy doing (design and building things).

    I have learned that I don’t need my fuckwit stbxw to raise good mannered children.

    I have learned that I am a fucking unicorn and rarity as a man that can emotionally connect with my children and am actively raising them to be healthy, hard working, responsible human beings.(custody is 50/50)

    I have learned that she sabotaged so many things and that I let her do it.

    I have learned to make epic baked goods (she was the “baker”).

    I have learned to raise my emotional awareness and lean in to that with my children

    I have learned to adjust my tone of voice so I sound more “friendly,” otherwise when I am actually happy I can sound agitated.

    And lastly I have learned I can overcome just about anything and that she was dead weight dragging me down and that I don’t “need” anyone and right now I don’t want anyone, I enjoy myself and my adventures just fine.

    • Hey Daddybod… it needs to be said. All of that is super hot. You are killing it!

      (and I’m with you… my ex was total deadweight. It felt like I was being dragged by an anchor. And the house was instantly cleaner with him out of it. I thought it was my kid making the mess. Nope — once FW left it was obvious he had been the source of filth everywhere.

      • Agreed. Male chumps are a hot ticket for we chumped ladies, knowing there is a guy out there who absolutely gets it. Tough to find in the real world, I wish we had some sort of secret handshake to identify each other. #callme

        My eldest daughter is smart and gorgeous. Kind, well-employed, empathetic, and truly physically beautiful. Now, after watching her daddy ruin his family, she browses the online dating world she immediately rejects guys that are “too handsome.” She has exactly zero trust in anyone displaying the widely accepted definitions of attractiveness and simply sees them as pre-cheaters; someone who is going to be pursued by lots of other women and she has determined that she doesn’t stand a chance. It is like Minority Report, she has labeled them in pre-crime status and won’t even consider them. Any new relationship is filled with her waiting for the shoe to drop.

        My asshat did incredible damage to us all.

        • I.C. Ugh, that’s how I feel about getting back to dating myself. No men who are charming, no men who have really good looks…
          Even my friends have said they want to see me with a real lacklustre lol kind of guy (because H was very charismatic top notch catch type).
          My daughter just started online dating and I realize I’ve been kind of pushing her to go out with guys she is tempted overlook. I keep telling her 80% of the women want the same 20% of the guys. In other words -check out the guys nobody wants! I didn’t even realize I unconsciously think even the young good looking guys will be trouble. But less attractive guys can be trouble too, and I’d like to think there are some good looking young men who although may have more opportunity may be trustworthy.
          So sad that I even think about this, I never ever ever thought about this before- ignorance was bliss.

      • Thank you for your compliment. I am told once I actually want to date I will be a catch. ????‍♂️

        I look forward to female friendships (never had them for the last 18 years because I was married and for me that was a no no) so I can continue to grow and enjoy female friendship companionship.

        For right now I am looking forward to hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim in September and then heading to Zion afterwards for an epic once in a lifetime adventure.

        • Swoon. If you are anywhere in the Northwest we should talk! My last hike was the West Coast Trail in 2016 with my daughter, before our world was shattered by the asshat the following spring. It is definitely bucket list worthy.

          Look at me, being all social-like. Clumsy, unsure. The last time I pursued any guy was in 1986 when I was 17 years old, and I married him. Didn’t work out.

          After the divorce I made a tiny overture to a fellow I knew had been badly, publicly chumped (where we worked, she was our co-worker and was screwing the boss under everyone’s nose and finally she and boss were fired and escorted from the building, leaving the chump behind). I felt like he was a ‘safe’ option since I knew his story and understood the horror of it all. Sadly for me he was taken, and since he is a good guy neither of us would entertain anything more. Which of course makes him even more perfect. No more trying since.

          I will work on it, my tribe is out there. Obviously when you are ready yours will be, too. Good luck to us both!

    • The first thing I remember noticing when the divorce was final and I moved out of the marital was how clean my new house smelled. None of that horrible lingering cigarette smoke. No yellow windows and curtains. Once I got away from it I was astounded at how quick I could pick up that smell on smokers, even clean smokers.

      • Mine smoked 2 packs a day so you can imagine how much fresher my home smelled with him gone AND how much richer I was suddenly because I was no longer paying for those 2 pack a day!

        • The cost was ridiculous, and this was back in the 90s, I can’t even imagine the cost now. I don’t know how folks afford it. I know my ex was plowing through lots of smokes. I imagine the nerves of trying to keep his shit quiet made it worse.

          He had shit where he ate, so he was in a real mess.

  • The Asshat was 6’4″ and I needed to reach the high stuff, so after he dumped me I got a grabber-reacher device and a step ladder. That is it.

    I am a well-educated engineer and made good bank. I was the money administrator in the household and managed all our investments which made us debt-free and made my early retirement possible. I was extremely handy and did all the heavy DIY repairs and improvements while he passive aggressively said, “Be right there,” and continued to munch chips in front of the TV while I finished the project. I cooked from scratch and was very loving.

    He abandoned me anyway. My fault with all that competence, you know. #manbaby #emasculated #damsels.preferred

    Now I can say that the work-in-progress that I need to find my comfort level with is the social stuff. As Covid winds down I need to make a serious plan to get out in the world and find my tribe and learn to trust real, non-barbed wire monkeys. I need to find reciprocal relationships. It is scary.

    This is my big project.

    • “The Asshat was 6’4″ and I needed to reach the high stuff, so after he dumped me I got a grabber-reacher device and a step ladder. That is it.”

      I love this post, Now I.C. I think my mightiness is that I finally got unstuck. DDay #2 was a week ago, and I finally woke up from my hopium induced stupor (going on 5 years since DDay #1).

      I am well educated, have a bomb ass job, make twice as much him, and do the bulk of the household management, including minor household repairs.

      I have been holding on to some dream that is just never going to exist outside of my hopium fog, and terrified of single motherhood and losing the house. But I realize I am basically already a single mother because he is never home and leaves all the complicated stuff for me to sort out. And there is enough equity in the house and with my good credit, I should be able to refinance and/or borrow from my family.

      I finally woke up to ask myself “what exactly does this man bring to the table?” After divorce I will be down a babysitter for my exercise classes, and a person to mow the lawn. And gee, I can pay someone to do those things. Oh, and I will have to switch dentists.

      I now cannot fathom what I have been so afraid of.

      Like you, my social circle needs to grow. Most of my friends moved away and I became dependent on his social circle but I look forward to this growth.

      • Well done! No more D Days. Take the wheel. You got this.

        I have often said I was a master spackler and worked in heavy stucco. He added nothing other than his DNA contribution to my irreplaceable daughters, everything else was a battle and a drain and a competition with the petulant child walking around in a man suit.

        I can see that now but I know I never would have left him had I not been abandoned. I am still working on understanding that the red pill shoved down my throat is a gift because that blue pill hazy existence was seemingly so much easier.

        Welcome to your new, examined life. You are mighty!

  • Stayed out of debt while living on a minimum wage job, and working a second job. Then got a promotion at my job, which wasn’t a lot more money, but opened up overtime, so I quit the part time job. Put the maximum amount of contributions to my retirement plan, (now many years later, I am quite comfortable). Managed my own finances and never once bounced a check, or created any financial issue. Finished the degree I needed to help me with my promotions. Always lived below my means, even when that meant I didn’t get any new clothes or anything new for a couple years. So much more.

    Mr. manager of money (fuckwit), drop kicked me, married the whore and within a couple years of his retirement (he retired early) he ran them off the financial cliff with almost three hundred thousand dollars of gambling debt. Lost all his rental properties, and lost his house because though he could keep it in the BR settlement, he couldn’t afford the payments.

    When he died in Jan, my son found out he had absolutely no car insurance except collision, on two cars. Had no protection insurance on their trailer home, actually didn’t even own the trailer home. They had signed it over to her son, and all they did was make payments. So now she is dependent on her son who is even a bigger piece of worthless shit than she or my ex.

    My son helped her get through taking care of his remains, checking for any funds she can get via VA etc, gave her all the information she needs, and walked away. They treated him and his wife like shit, so as soon as his dad was cared for he was done. His wife won’t even speak to her. She has reason not to.

  • I must say how IMPRESSED and ENCOURAGED I am today reading all these wonderfully strong accomplishments.

    I too was denigrated, about everything, even though I DID ALL THE THINGS.

    Including his application to grad school and his papers. Then put down when I didn’t finish my own grad program because we’d agreed I’d be a SAHM.

    I’m slowly working on my own list. So happy to be a part of this group of strong, capable survivors.

  • Since I did everything in and around the house, from building a stone firepit (because FW wouldn’t approve of spending the money on a professional) to making gourmet meals to community volunteering to restoring junk furniture (stingy FW again), I already knew I was amazing.

    What I didn’t realize was that the world is full of really screwed up people who would take advantage of my empathy, trust, and talent.

    Now I’m less naive and quite good at spotting these people. I have no patience for them anymore, whereas I used to feel I was supposed to give them the benefit of the doubt. That I was always supposed to be nice.

    I also didn’t believe I’d be able to buy a home without a full time job. I certainly thought I’d never own another historic home in a small water town But I do, and I no longer have to beg for money for home projects.

  • I learned how to:

    Drive a car and got my first-ever driving license at 47

    Cook (FW thought he was a master griller and chef and would make a big deal out of grilling pork chops no one liked once a week–this was his entire contribution to raising our kids too)

    Use a drill and a weed whacker

    Set the clocks on the microwave and stove

    Unclog the drains and plunge a toilet

    Invest in the stock market

    Travel solo

    I have also learned that I no longer need to lug 60+ beer and wine bottles out to the recycling can each week. That the house stays so much cleaner when I’m not cleaning up after him. That I’m not scared to walk into the garage or downstairs after 10pm because he’s no longer drunk and there. That I sleep so much better when I’m not sharing a bed with a snoring drunk who staggers in in the middle the night. I learned that it’s okay to not want sex, particularly when your partner offers no foreplay and smells like old alcohol—and it’s okay to choose not to have sex now or in the future. I’ve learned it’s okay to have boundaries emotionally and physically, and that I’m not “weird” or “frigid” or “uptight.” I simply didn’t trust FW (for good reason). I have no idea what OW saw/sees in him, but she married him and I assume he’s now hanging out in her garage.

    Funny how I paid 70% of the bills and yet was the only one with an emergency fund when he was making 125K a year and we had no mortgage. I panicked at the thought of living alone on 110K (Bay Area + Ivy League college tuition to pay for) but funny… I did it. I convinced him to buy me out of the marital home and moved cross-country and bought a house for cash so I didn’t have to take a mortgage, I don’t have credit card debt (I used to have to give him several thousand dollars every 10-12 months because he’d run up his American Express), I have a small 15K investment account and I’m working on building an even bigger cushion for myself. I fund my 401K fully and contribute to an IRA and a SEP. I can’t believe I didn’t realize that FW was spending thousands of dollars a month ($3000+) on his bar bills, hotel rooms, gifts for his girlfriend, and meals out. I’m not perfect with finances and I’m exhausted all the time, but the peace and quiet are priceless.

  • Divorce had been on the table for fifteen years, but it was just so unthinkable for me, even when the kids were begging me to leave. Yet when he kicked it off and picked a brutal, pit bull attorney, I had the presence of mind to carefully research and ended up with my own big gun. My attorney told me it would be a hard, ugly fight but that he had several decades of experience with that attorney and knew exactly what to do. He said they actually liked each other but to not to panic if it got bad. He said, “Stand behind me and watch the show.” And yes, I got my good settlement without going to court.

    I also supported myself and two college kids on very little income for several years. We did not go into debt even with the legal bills, and I never had to dip into my retirement and held back most of what I got from the house. One kid graduated debt-free, and the second one will as well. I also learned to fix things on our broken-down rental with Youtube and bought various tools that I needed. Then I began earning “real” money and finally got the pensions going from the divorce, and now I can cut back my work hours at long last.

    I just bought a house and have been busy hiring various trades to do work on it and fix a few things on our rental while we get ready to move.

    Yup. And he said I didn’t need my own divorce lawyer (I did), and that I’d never make it without him (I am).

  • I moved to a better house, raised two kids on my own, kept a wonderful full-time career and built a far better life. But the most important thing I have ever done is to teach my kids, and show by example, that you should never, ever depend on another person for your own well-being. Women fought for the right to be an important part of the workforce decades ago. I am constantly amazed that so many are willing to be the “little woman.”

  • So many things! The big one was starting over, making friends, and finding a new community! I am so happy now! Other things I realized I can do:
    – mow a lawn
    – driving a moving van
    – cook (the EX loved to cook and always laughed that I was too stupid to cook)
    – be happy on my own. I had this mental image that I would be sad and lonely every day. Nope, I have never been less lonely in my life! It turns out that being married to an abusive cheater is isolating and depressing. My depression and isolation evaporated as soon as he disappeared.

    • “…be happy on my own. I had this mental image that I would be sad and lonely every day. Nope, I have never been less lonely in my life! It turns out that being married to an abusive cheater is isolating and depressing.”

      Amen to this!

  • I rented a home that has a bonus has a wood stove. I taught myself how to effectively burn wood for heat and heated all year long with only about a $60 gas bill for the entire winter. I also learned how to split my own wood with a kindling cracker and a sledgehammer. I’m getting some upper body muscles.

  • I can do MATH!! (And I’m a teacher!! Lol)
    I can manage a budget, pay bills on time, save a bit….
    For years I was told I was “bad at math”. Money was my kryptonite…. and truth be told…. it still is.
    But now? Even my kids have noticed the we don’t get disconnection notices or collection calls anymore. I can help my kids financially when they need it and we no longer have secrets about money. We are all building healthy relationships with it…. and MATH!
    Take that Mr SpenditasImakeit

  • I didn’t think I could laugh but I actually can. Really hard and really long. Who’d have thought it hey!! My Tuesday is on the horizon ❤️

  • For a long time I didn’t think I could survive period. And I didn’t think I wanted to.

    Due to him I lost everything; home, kids, job, health.

    But I did survive, and now have a stable life. He tries to ruin that to this day, as much as he can.

    I have gradually rebuilt. Which I didn’t think I could do in the early years.

    • I am so glad you are doing better. I know it will get better and better. Those early years are rough.

      I think I could have used some counseling, but then again I might have gotten a quack who could have ruined me, so ????‍♀️.

  • I had no idea that at 49, I’d start and succeed at a new full-time career while raising a great teenage girl, keeping a 100-year-old house upright (ok, so the lawn could use some work), and starting a side hustle – all in a year where I lost both my dad and a beloved mentor and gained a few unsightly varicose veins.

    You are all very inspiring and resilient and I love reading your comeback stories.

  • I think I genuinely believed I could not live without him. I used to joke, while married, that if we were ever separated it would be easy for him to subcontract the things I did for him: childcare, cooking, sex. The undervalued ‘female’ things. He was the breadwinner banker, the sensible one, the hard worker. The important one. (I’m not even saying *he* thought that way, but *I* did.) Only despite the vast deals he was working on we never seemed to have more coming in than went out. I was a SAHM for 20 years and didn’t think I would ever be able to support myself. I also didn’t have a pension (‘don’t worry darling, you’ll have mine’). He left me and the children without warning and went off to live the high life, cutting off all money and leaving me with a huge mortgage, school fees and three children to feed. I never thought I would make it.

    A few years later I have a not very well paying job but I manage. I own my own home and pay my own way: no more ridiculously fancy expenses, but I always know where I am. He, meanwhile, went bankrupt.

    And yet, my first thought when reading this blog, was about spiders. When I was married I used to be unable to sleep if there was a creepy crawly in the room and would make him get out of bed to remove it. Now, as well as my own home and finances and technology (he was in charge of IT), I have to deal with the insects and spiders and rats, and I find I’m not that bothered. Funny, that.

    • Cat brought me a mouse the other day. I pulled up my big girl panties so high I gave myself a wedgie. That said, made kitty drop the mouse in a box & out the door it went. This would have been unthinkable when I was married. Being alone makes one resourceful.

  • He thought I wouldn’t make it without him – financially, emotionally, or practically. I bought him out of the house just before the market took off (hee hee). Connected with a great handyman who helps with the things I can’t fix myself.

    For most of our relationship I made more than him but he had been promoted several times and thought he was Captain Big Shot. He was sooooo condescending about my career and its associated challenges. Well, I left a toxic workplace for a position with better salary, shorter commute, and more time off. More time off has left me wide open to pursue the things I truly enjoy. I joined a local hiking and biking group. Planned summer vacations including Zion and Acadia.

    By necessity, I weeded out my friend group. No more cheaters or Switzerland friends. Can’t stomach it at all. He can have them.

    And the thing I feel most mighty about….I am back on track for retirement on my former timeline. He’s whining about his financial mess to anyone who will listen. Boo fu**ing hoo!

  • That in spite of being forever broken i can walk into a gathering and own the room. Not like the cocky so called type “A” or alpha male nonsense ( which is akin to that “RedPill” bullshit),rather just a good guy. Yes we get pissed on but we’re far stronger than the narcissist and the self centered. I recently went on a job interview and owned the room . I got offered the job on my terms, they were either hard up or I had the right stuff to include attitude. I know that the young shits that interviewed me looked excited.

    • Ney York nutbag,

      I’m sure those young shits saw your awesomeness!!! Congrats!!


  • I always made more than Nitwit and managed my/our money throughout our marriage, so I was never worried about financial stuff. One of the reasons I was able to get out after just 3 years of marriage was I knew Nitwit needed me far more than I needed him. And this was in my foremind, not just some subconscious “deep down” knowledge. If anything he was the one freaking out as I was preparing to move out. He’d finally realized that bills do not pay themselves nor does laundry wash itself.

    I was worried that I couldn’t live without him emotionally. Yet I am far happier and more at peace now then when I had a one dollar whore killing me softly with a thousand small criticisms.

    He said I would never get over him, would never be able to find another man. He also withheld sex from me to ensure that my self-image was in the toilet. Once I have full immunity from my second COVID shot I’m hitting the dating market. Then we shall see if I am as unattractive as he claims. At 31 I doubt I will have any trouble finding sex. I may even get more hits than Mr. Model-Gorgeous, wouldn’t that be hilarious?

    I have also written a fantasy novel and am looking into getting it published. I wish CL would ask us this same question next year, when hopefully I will have published my first novel, written my second, and finally escaped my dead bedroom.

  • I want to send a big shout-out to all of our mighty chumps–but especially to those who took time to acknowledge so many of the posts. That’s mighty work, too, and I see you.

  • This is a great post and super encouraging. Unlike a lot of you I had a spouse who worked hard to maintain house and made very good money. But he was busy busy busy….screwing howorkers, having meetups in parks with God only knows who, and basically living a double life. When I was tested for poisons in 2014 after my doctor became suspicious I found I had excessive levels of arsenic in my system. The environment protection agency had to investigate. FW remained silent.

    Now, I know my discernment is NOT off.

    I am graduating with a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling next year. So far I have a 3.9 G.P.A. Several schools have reached out to me about pursuing a doctorate. One of my professors is interested in me doing an internship…which is a very coveted position.

    I am buying my house Wednesday. It is in a lucrative downtown area. FW had a horrible eye for real estate.

    I bought a car and negotiated with two men who were trying to strong arm me and I walked away. They called back and I cinched the deal seamlessly.

    Life has not been roses but I like making my own good decisions and making my own mistakes. It’s on me. If I have a crappy day-it’s on me. If I make a good investment-it’s on me. If I buy a lucrative property because my landlord likes me and we made a deal-it’s on me.

    FW was dead weight. He was evil. He is gone. I don’t cry myself to sleep anymore and I am getting mightier with each passing day. And I like contributing to Chump Nation and feel you all have helped me. Thank you!

    • OMG, he poisoned you? Did the police ever get involved?

      What an inspiring example of resilience you are.

      • No, the police never got involved because I refused to believe that anyone was involved. I just kept thinking I lived near the golf course or I was near the chicken houses. I mean..there is arsenic in chicken food??? Right??

        The cognitive dissonance was strong with me.


        • Not embarrassing at all. I was sick going on 2 years. While texting a friend, she noticed I seemed to be sick more when he was home from work travel. She had me read out her texts to him saying “Tell him if anything happens to you I’m coming straight for his ass”. She’s in a field where that would legitimately worry him. I read it to him, laughing because of course he would never do anything to me, he looooved me. I didn’t get miraculously better but within a couple months I did. For me, I still don’t think he was literally poisoning me but maybe my body knew something was up around that time.

          You have the story I wish I could tell–I would LOVE to get my education as a MFT and my one big seemingly impossible dream is to once again be a homeowner. Sadly I think I’m too old for the first but I hold out hope for the second. Congrats to you and continued success; you are an inspiration!

  • Well, I have been able to accomplish *some* things, but I also struggled very much and that precipitated a rare chronic illness.
    It’s scary especially going forward, and I’m sure with my mindset 4 years ago before leaving, it would have stalled me even more.

    But that said, I already had signs (I knew I wasn’t as healthy as others) and it didn’t stop me from leaving, ultimately.
    When I reached breaking point it was such a knee-jerk reaction to leave, I just left.
    I figured I could deal with anything else, because they would be normal human problems instead of evil.

    I also would have developed this condition sooner or later, and to do this with him around would not have meant more help with it.
    He was not supportive. I’d rather suffer on my own.

  • Jerkface told me I was lucky that he had “sheltered” me from dealing with bills. For this reason he said I would not do well on my own. Apparently, he finds paying bills an onerous task, even though almost all of them are taken directly from his account. ????

    I, however, do not find it onerous, I have no problem paying with cheques rather than direct withdrawal, and never required “sheltering” to begin with.
    Gee, do you suppose that’s because I’m not racking up debt at bars, liquor stores and on dates with skanks, using one credit card to pay another, taking out multiple lines of credit and never sure if I’ll be able to pay it all off? ????

    • Yep, my fw sheltered me too. What he was actually doing was shielding himself, and I guess we know why.

      I never did understand why he thought it was such a big deal. I mean you know what your bills are, you know they have to be paid; what is the big deal.

  • Mighty posts you chump warriors! Bravo!! I’m honored to be on this thread with you all, you are killin the game! I tell my 29 y/o daughter all the time “ we can do anything!” and I’m actually starting to believe that myself!
    Hiked the PCT trail from Mexico to Canada and was a month into that 6 mos hike when the divorce was finalized. (I didn’t even know the date or month of that until a year later.)
    I was married 38 years to the love of my life, with a big emphasis on the “my”, because I loved alone. Three years from divorce and still wondering what the hell happened, but being strong and powerful for my three beautiful kids, who I have always been incredibly tight with but our connections are stronger than strong now. The four of us call ourselves “ the A team” and we have deep love and admiration for one another and celebrate all our successes and support each other through the low times. We all were deeply injured by this and still are.
    Always did a lot at home anyway as he traveled extensively. He had limitless opportunities to cheat and used every one of them. He’s very talented, creative and extremely capable man, almost to a really advanced freakish level, and always made me feel incapable of anything at all.But clapping for his greatness, I was really good at that.
    We sold our primary house and after my hike, I was too overwhelmed to house hunt or even know where I belonged at all. Still in a small apt, but it feels safe and okay and that is doing it for me now. I said a sentence in my head yesterday that I had to write down in my notes because it was a good description of the way I feel. “ I don’t want to be pressured to find what everybody else thinks I should be looking for.” In other words, stop worrying about me friends and family, I’m finding my way, but it will be on my terms, not at the pace you all would hope for. I’m okay with where I am and I know how far I had to come to get here. I’m easily triggered and emotional and had PTSD from the experience.
    I walk every day, more like 5-10 miles, not 15-20 like my hike with 40 lbs on my back up and down mountains, it was intense, but empowering!
    I take care of my doggie as if he was my 4th kid, because he really is. Love him so much, such a wonderful friend!
    I bought a rowing machine and row regularly listening to master classes and podcasts, recipes, etc. I ride my bike almost daily too.
    I volunteer most Saturdays with outdoor projects, painting, land clearing, Habitat for Humanity. I love manual labor! I laugh at how many times I read about lawn mowing. That was prob always my favorite chore, I like it mostly because it’s satisfying to see the finished product immediately and I love to be outdoors.
    I garden with my kids who live in other states, but I’ll take road trips frequently to visit, hike with them, spoil and cook with and for them, filling their freezers for dishes I’ve made. Been helping them learn a few tricks along the way.
    I’m now exploring sour dough bread making and having fun experimenting with that.
    I set up my new smart TV and sound bar.( it was intimidating!)
    I show my kids how to do home projects and they much appreciate it and are impressed by how much I know. (so am I, who knew?!)
    I read constantly, listen to audible books or podcasts. So exciting what’s available now, I love the variety and I’m curious about practically any and everything.
    I make rosaries for my church, do acrylic paint pours with my kids for fun, and other artsy projects.
    Help them with many financial decisions and am myself getting more comfortable with investing and understanding it. (The money goes so much further without Chester the Chester Boy draining it!)
    I got myself set up on Medicare, working on social security now, I don’t get as anxious trying to figure it all out alone anymore. It was so stressful at first and really intimidating and I almost believed I couldn’t make it without him. There is no truth to that at all, feels good to know and believe that. No contact helps so very much to settle your nerves and clear the massive brain fog. I trust that he sucks and he doesn’t disappoint at all with that.
    Bought my first ever brand new car and negotiated the deal. ( never spent more than $100 before without checking with FW and I now know he bought cars for some of his whores)
    I’m helping my daughter with her first house purchase next June and it’s kind of my first too, since I’ve been so incapable of everything in my life. Incredible how I even can stay alive without him! I explained the process of home buying to my daughter and she said she never had anyone explain it that well. Makes me feel good to be helpful and knowledgeable.
    When he left he said he didn’t want to take care of anyone anymore. That line still haunts me. Isn’t that what family is?! Helping one another navigate through life? We don’t need him anyway, which he actually hates and is in total shock about. We are doing great, much to his complete dismay.
    He married his 15 year younger mistress of the last 5 years during covid, called the kids 3 days before to inform them and he was so annoyed none of them congratulated him. My kids see who he is fully is now. No secrets anymore. It’s hard for them to lose the dad they worshiped and admired their whole lives, but that guy is gone. I no longer hide his BS and years of abuse. If they ask, I tell. They have eyes and see it for themselves now. He can’t hide what he is, a deceitful manipulative full of himself liar and cheat. 98 % of the people he deals with are incredibly impressed by greatness, but the 2% who actually know who he is, can’t unknow it. We trust that he sucks. My family is powerful without him. We got this chumps!

    • You are mighty, mighty, mighty!

      I am in a situation now in which your realization (below), says what I feel, too, and you said it at a time I needed to hear it.

      “‘I don’t want to be pressured to find what everybody else thinks I should be looking for.’ In other words, stop worrying about me friends and family, I’m finding my way, but it will be on my terms, not at the pace you all would hope for. I’m okay with where I am and I know how far I had to come to get here. I’m easily triggered and emotional and had PTSD from the experience.”

    • Chumpasaurus45 our stories are very similar. “ I don’t want to be pressured to find what everybody else thinks I should be looking for.”….. This is so true! You are awesome ❤️

  • I CAN survive without him …… Better to be alone than 30 more years of lying, cheating and all the crap that goes with that. No price on peace, love, joy, happiness ~~.

    Survivors we ARE !!!!

  • What a treasure this site is. This post got me thinking: I left a guy (ex-2) I’d been with for 6 years, who also said he protected me from bills and costs, but I was paying my half of everything on time on a beginning freelancer’s unpredictable income, and he had the steady job but needed me to cover his CC or rent fairly often. When I’d ask to sit down with a budget spreadsheet, he got agitated and accused me of being too anal about stuff and “sheltered.” He said I was crazy when I challenged him on alcohol issues. But when I left, I did not feel mighty. And this post helps me see: no one around me thought I was mighty, either. My “support network” were mainly embarrassed for me and agreed that I was too difficult.

    After I left, in the decade after, I published a second book, went from being a secretary to having a well-paying job in communications, left that to do a PhD (to which ex-1 sniped, ‘so did you finally prove how smart you are?’), got the jobs that led to me being a professor now. I now am paying off my house, love my job, and have published two more titles.

    But I haven’t felt mighty. In that time after I left, while accomplishing all the above, the next man I dated left me feeling suicidal, went to therapy, dated another one that felt even more dangerous and creepy. More therapy. I developed a health condition, lost my uterus/fertility, dated more, got raped, more therapy, dated more, got STD, dated more. I wonder how things would have gone for me had I had even one or two friends or family to reflect back to me that I was mighty (as opposed to looking sorry or uncomfortable for me), to tell me that gaslighting is a thing that messes with your judgment, and that I was worth supporting even before I had the job and house, worth supporting before I had any books to my name, worth supporting even when I was “just” a frugal wanna-be writer working as as secretary. I really was mighty. If I had really known it, I think I could have made better choices, and not been so receptive to the narcissist lovebombing that took me further into dark places.

    Thanks to everyone who shared their mightiness. It helps me reframe leaving ex-2. And I hope anyone out there who is reading this and thinking “maybe I’m not mighty” because whatever reason can start telling themselves they are. If you got out because you believe in genuineness, mutual support, and honesty then you are mighty.

    • “gaslighting is a thing that messes with your judgment, and that I was worth supporting even before I had the job and house, worth supporting before I had any books to my name, worth supporting even when I was ‘just’ a frugal wanna-be writer working as as secretary.”

      Beautifully put insight. This is so important to remember, not just looking back, but going forward, too. Healing isn’t about making ourselves “worthwhile,” for we already are, even though some barbed-wire monkey couldn’t see us or provide love. I think in part because we are desperate to get better and make sure the same disaster doesn’t repeat itself (and also because of gaslighting and ill-informed therapists and friends/family, as you point out), we mistakenly look at all the ways we can and should improve after we’ve been chumped. Like it happened because of our faults and weaknesses. This shouldn’t be the takeaway.

      Glad you’ve been able to see your worth and are getting the pay and credit you deserve at work, doing things you’re good at and like, Magnolia. Thanks for sharing about the challenges you continued to face even as you “gained a life.” I liked what you and Chumpasauraus and others have said about doing this our own way, at our own pace. I know they’re worried and I’m not myself, but the truth is everything is different and I myself am profoundly changed.

  • I bought Don Hennessy’s Steps to Freedom thanks to Chump Nation.

    I am beginning to think differently.

    I choose not to be sexually abused anymore.

    I am posting here.

    • Way to go, BoiledFrog!

      I don’t know what it will cost you, but whatever the cost, walk away!

  • During (felt but not understood) discards and through several d-days, I took on a new job in a male-dominated field and was actually really good at it. I also learned to blacksmith, solder and weld for fun; I later explored a career in metalworking (didn’t pursue, but learned a lot), and I stepped out of my comfort zone to teach kids’ and adults’ classes in metals and other crafts. I finally gave myself permission to make friends and to get involved in my community. (For over a decade, I thought of it as my ex’s – not mine.) I taught kids and adults to cross country ski. I took a chainsawing for women course. I learned a lot about building and house design. I learned to bake sourdough bread and found ways to take free baking workshops through scholarships and work studies. I received a scholarship for a Master Gardener class in order to learn more about small scale home garden and landscape design to build upon my years of organic farming experience.

    I still don’t love the spotlight, but I’ve forced myself to get over my inhibitions about photos, audio and video of myself; this self-consciousness has limited me my entire life, and it’s a major weight lifted. I got over my fear of sharing what I make and exhibited some of my metal utensils at a local art show. I get to participate in a statewide panel in two weeks (it’s part of an online conference and and I’m not even the presenter, but it’s still something new for me). I’m working on a community art/sound recording project in my new town and have been out meeting and interviewing new neighbors. Yesterday, I volunteered to sing in the faculty chorus for a graduation production that some high school students are organizing; I’ve been terrified to sing in public my entire life. I’ve entered biking and running races, and I’m fast; I’m no longer afraid to push myself and “fail,” and I enjoy trying hard and working hard. In the immediate aftermath of d-day 1, I learned to rock climb; I got really strong and loved being in an environment that allowed me to be fully present, have fun, and celebrate strength. I have a 4.0 GPA in a certification track and am on my way to a fully paid masters degree. Yesterday, I arranged meetings with department chairs at our local university, and I’ve realized that I can set my sights much higher than I’d previously allowed myself to imagine.

    It’s all small potatoes, but when I look at everything, I see that I’m not worthless or needy or incompetent or diminutive or weak, like I allowed my ex to make me feel. He never saw me, and he undermined me privately and publicly. (He called me “mouse,” constantly criticized me for being insecure, acted like he was protecting me, talked to and about me like I was a baby, and wrongly portrayed me as disorganized and flighty – I’m grounded, analytical and super organized.) I’m also not invisible, like I came to feel living in his shadow for years. FW tried to make it seem like he was taking care of me, when in reality, I was doing all of the heavy lifting for him and his family while he was hurting me. I was literally the only adult in the room. Of course, now that I’m truly on my own, I am totally independent, have a good job (yet another major transition) and a small but nice apartment and car, and manage my bills and the trials and tribulations of daily life just fine. To be honest, I’ve always done things like this. I’ve always been motivated and competent and curious. In spite of, not thanks to, my parasitic and abusive ex. I can tell everyone here has, or else we wouldn’t have these success stories to share. This stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere. There’s no output without input, and we didn’t all just magically crank out these accomplishments when we left cheaters.

    At the heart of all this work to find myself and build a better future, I am working on believing that I am not a bad person, even though FOO and years of relational abuse have programmed me to believe otherwise. Even with all I did to embrace life and care for myself and my loved ones, life was always so precarious and hard, and now I understand why. The difference now isn’t what I’m doing or who I am (although I have changed and grown in fundamental ways I never dreamt possible). The difference is that I’m not being drained by a duplicitous, coercive “partner.” I like to imagine that I can actually begin to fill myself and my life now that the drain is plugged, even though I fear I’ve started too late and don’t have the hopefulness or energy in the reserves to make something of it.

  • I am impressed by everyone’s accomplishments.

    I am one of the individuals who has not had particular accomplishment after discard, other than getting through the divorce and relocating due to FOO responsibilities.
    I have learned since the discard that abuse has been part of my life since age 0.
    I share housing with traumatized sibling and elderly mother (who was a victim as a child and reproduced the abuse). I felt I had not really a choice after I was abandoned because, well, I could not live as a single person: I had to help FOO with expenses. I don’t have a job. In this area it is not as it was in the area of my marriage.

    I understand that people here are proud of their achievements, jobs, accomplishments, degrees, etc., and it’s marvellous, yet sometimes there is contempt for women who are not in the workforce. Well, sometimes it is not a choice. One might not find a job, there maybe relatives to take care of. Or one might have decided to be a stay at home mom.
    In my case I had just attained a degree in my marriage, when I got discarded. So it was all for naught because I had to relocate internationally. One could say quite accurately that I was taken for a ride.
    Furthermore, I don’t consider being a secretary anything to look down upon with disdain. It’s funny because at times it is commented upon, and by women, in such a way.
    Also, there are situations in which people are not working because they were traumatized to such an extent that they are not functional in that respect. It’s a tragedy, not something else.

    Anyway, so much for the non-accomplishments.

    I congratulate all on what they’ve manage to do.

    • Hi Flower,

      Just to respond – I was trying to convey that as many of us list job advancement as part of our mightiness, that I found that my job didn’t determine my worthiness of love, that even though I’d internalized that I’d be treated well when I got a job with status, I still had low self-esteem and got into bad relationships.

      It is a fact of life that I am treated much better by many since I got the fancy position: I’m a woman of colour. When I meet people, or even after they’ve known me for a while without knowing what I do, you can watch people’s attitudes, posture, tone, everything, change when they learn what my job is.

      But you’re right to point out that I expressed the self-disdain as disdain for the job — I’m sorry. I’m proud of having been a secretary, and a yogurt server, and call desk attendant, all those roles that I held when still just as deserving of respect.

      • Hi Magnolia,
        I very much appreciate your clarifying.
        And for sharing in vulnerability that
        “that even though I’d internalized that I’d be treated well when I got a job with status, I still had low self-esteem and got into bad relationships.”
        And, well done on your fancy position! Indeed a thing to be proud of.

      • And Magnolia,

        Also, I just read your story. Congratulations on all your accomplishments, particularly given your struggles.

  • Flower, I hear you. We do not all have similar psychological, environmental or neurological etc. circumstances in general – and we certainly don’t all have the exact same recovery process and wounds from cheating.

    As somebody who has raised extremely ‘successful’ young adult children, I’m just happy that I did so before the current climate of competitive and judgemental parenting. I put what I could into parenting, but I would not be considered an Uber mom.
    I would also never be considered an Uber chump.
    Although I’m happy for others who have found strength and pride in their outward accomplishments (especially if they were made to feel that they were less than ), I have no desire or inclination to pick up a power tool, get more degrees, start a business or run a marathon.
    I simply want to love myself more, model resilience to my kids and one day have a loving and wonderful relationship with a man – because I like being in a relationship.
    We all have certain privileges that we’re not aware of. There’s mental health privileges, the privilege of not having an ADHD brain, the privilege of physical strength, healthy children, the privilege of secure finances and family support etc. etc. etc.
    The fact is, it’s just easier for some people to accomplish certain things because they are less likely to be shut down by circumstances.
    Many things that make us mighty are not things we’re going to be applauded for or look good on a résumé.
    If you continue to be a loving person you are mighty.

    • “I have no desire or inclination to pick up a power tool, get more degrees, start a business or run a marathon.”

      So true. I only finished my degree (little two year degree by the way) because I needed the points to be able to qualify for some promotions. I was working at minimum wage when he drop kicked me. Most of my achievements have been to prevent starving, and to pay my bills.

      You comment reminded me of last night. My H and I were watching this special on the human brain and they highlighted this lady ice climber. She said people are too afraid, she said what she does is just manage the risk by making good decisions. I got up and walked out of the room and said I made the decisions not to climb a mountain of ice and I think that is a good decision for me. I am definitely not a big risk taker.

    • Zip,
      Thanks for your response.
      Yes, the encounter of free will and the lot we were apportioned in life.
      All the best that can come to you in loving yourself more, and modeling resilience to your kids.
      And may you fulfill your desire to have a loving and wonderful relationship with a man.

      • Flower, thank you. Wishing all of us chumps self-love, acceptance, Meh and healthy relationships with #1 and others. We all have bright light within us.

  • Flower, I haven’t achieved much either.

    I have some great work-related experience, but not continuous experience, and not relevant experience, and I usually don’t get hired for jobs unless they’re 100% commission-based, and those are not great for me because they’re sales jobs. I don’t like to bug people, so I don’t do well in sales. I have not been a financial success. Money from the divorce ran out about 5 years ago and I’ve been struggling every day since then.

    But… when I got divorced, I was in a foreign country, and I got very proactive there, trying to make friends. I made a LOT of friends, and my ex and I didn’t have any friends at all. Not together; not separately; not at all. So I felt really happy and began to think of myself as an extrovert. I was always shy and reserved; suddenly I was the life of the party. (Maybe because I was the only American at the party? I don’t know.)

    Also… my daughter needed rescuing from a physically abusive boyfriend, and I went to help. She said, “Well, what can YOU do, anyway?” And I said, “Hey, you called and I came. And I’m the only one who came, so let’s figure this out.”

    And we did. It was complicated because he was trying to find her and hurt her, and he had a lot of weapons. We learned things together: how to hide from him, (in plain sight,) how to get a restraining order and how to escape in the middle of the night, and drive a huge loaded U-Haul 2,000 miles!

    Doesn’t sound like much compared to learning to plow, getting a degree or remodeling a house, but it made me feel good. Hey, just learning how the parking meters worked felt good! And one day I was skipping along and I couldn’t figure out why I was so happy… then I located the source of the happiness: I had booked my first flight online. I learned to pay bills. I learned a LOT about my limitations. (I’m still learning those things!)

    And I am very limited.

    But I’m still here. And my kids are wonderful. And I feel happy.

    • Light Heart,

      Thanks for sharing. Incredible what you did, with your daughter, the foreign country, and everything.
      And all the other things.

      I think in my case I am annoyed because I did all the becoming acquainted with the new country, and then I had to give it all up. That was a blow. I suppose particularly because the whole thing had a sense of mockery.

  • Self efficacy is da bomb.

    For those of you who haven’t heard of it:

    The best news is that you can learn it. (And it doesn’t involve power tools per se.)

    I like it because as a would-be psychologist, it has a good empirical research basis. Self efficacy has been linked in heaps of studies, of all sorts of people and situations, to better outcomes.

    Self efficacy goes way beyond mere privilege. It’s available to everyone, regardless of what baggage they’re carrying, and it can be acquired with tiny steps and small achievements.

    The flow-on effects are real and measurable: greater resilience, more happiness, more sense of agency and control, greater confidence.

    These are transferable life skills, even if you never pick up a drill.

    • Self efficacy is what I practiced before the gaslighting and discard. I was then comforted/confused by the Buddhist beliefs regarding living in the present and not making assumptions.

      But you know what? Once I took back my power, things unfolded much as I anticipated. I suppose somewhere in there was realizing I really couldn’t change my ex, nor should I worry about Switzerland friends and family. Otherwise, even during the pandemic, my decisions led to a better place.

      It is still strange to re-invent my retirement. Alone.

      • Almost Monday: 1. I can relate (except substitute ‘midlife alone’ for ‘retirement alone’). I know this is reality and preferable to the alternative, but it’s still not easy or what we had in mind, and I hope you’re feeling alright.
        2. Unrelated to the challenge, but I’m interested in hearing more about what you mean by “comforted/confused by the Buddhist beliefs…” I, like so many others, have found comfort and healing in these principles, and in mind/body practices like yoga. Today, mindfulness and certain Buddhist-inspired teachings are prevalent in psychology, mental health and self care.

        Yet however helpful and “true”/aspirational I’ve found all of this, I have simultaneously felt disconnected from some of the messages, at times even wary. I’m trying to put my finger on why. Some of my aversion seems to be trauma-related triggers and fatigue/disenchantment after trying and failing to make things work out through so many cycles of abuse, no matter how mindful and appreciative I tried to be. Sitting with the present, practicing non-attachment and letting go – is this always healthy? I watched my ex use meditation and Buddhism to ease his conscience, enable cognitive dissonance, and rationalize cheating on and hurting me. In my case, the spiritual pressure I felt to be gentle, forgiving and compassionate contributed to keeping me kept; I think it helped me spackle, too. The pressure to be ok with whatever is, and to embrace that I am not my thoughts, made me feel like a failure when I was overcome by overwhelming PTSD-like symptoms. (Can we just call it PTSD?) In fact, I felt like such a failure that I took a break from therapy – ironically, so I actually could just be, and at my own pace. Then, there’s the widely misunderstood “non-judgment” (I know I don’t need to get into this one here 🙂 My understanding of these Buddhist-inspired concepts and beliefs is extremely limited and superficial, and I know I’ve missed the nuances and taken these teachings out of context. I also still hold on to and practice elements of what I’ve learned. It’s… confusing.

        Just yesterday, I listened to an interview with Daniel Kahneman that brushed on some of this, albeit tangentially:
        At around 29:20, he distinguishes the well-being of the “experiencing self” – our consciousness in the present – from our “remembering self” – our experiences and impressions over time that encapsulate the overall well-being of an entire lifetime. Kahneman calls reflecting on this an act of “memory and construction.” He shares that while he used to believe that the experiencing self was more important, he now has concluded that we can’t ignore the consciousness of the remembering self when we evaluate our wellbeing and how we feel about our lives: “People want to have good memories, they want to have good opinions of themselves.” I’ve certainly butchered it, but this seems to get at some of what I am questioning related to mindfulness and my own struggle to feel better and move on. The entire interview is fascinating and perhaps interesting to chumps for many reasons.

  • Discovering “self efficacy” (new term for me) has been transformative for me personally – exactly as you describe, Lola Granola. I’m so glad you’ve shared your thoughts (and research) here. I’ve changed and grown in ways I never thought possible, and I often reflect on how grateful I am that this new, empowered way of relating to myself and the world began a couple years before dday. I don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t.

  • I can afford my own apartment. I can laugh and have fun A LOT. I can lose weight and gain muscle at 49 years old. I can use a weed whacker even better than FW. I can join clubs and make new friendships. I can love people and they love me back. I can trust people who are trustworthy. I can see liars and cheaters better than I used to. I can learn new skills. I can be myself. I know I don’t need to have relationships – any kind of relationship – with people who treat me badly. I can listen to my inner voice better now.

  • I got involved with a new business next to my usual work.
    I worked my backside off but was able to pay my cheating ex off without having to sell any assets .
    She had agreed to a staged payout but it was clear that she wanted to see me not meeting deadlines and having to sell the house .
    After I paid her off, I hosted a massive birthday party with people from all over the country .

  • I just found this site today (per a reddit recommendation) and I couldn’t be happier and more grateful. I suppose if I had to identify one thing I thought I couldn’t do before, but can do today it would be this: I can finally leave. I’m ashamed to say that the cheating didn’t happen just once before, but rather it happened twice (that I know of) and I forgave or pretended not to know about the flirting or blatant outright attempts to get side pussy. He manipulated me for years by playing the “insecure card” and actually blamed my good looks for his level of insecurity and subsequent tasteless acts. Well a week ago he left for a long business trip and is staying at our condo in Southern California, and by the third day he had all the “tells” so I started doing the digging and wouldn’t you know it, I found out he had yet again downloaded the dreaded dating app. The last time he did this he claimed it was just out of curiosity, which seems to be a common excuse apparently. This time I didn’t call him out and instead downloaded the app myself, created a fake profile, paid the “travel mode” fee and within an hour we were a match. He’s been talking to a lovely woman for a few days now and I’m sure he thinks it’s going really well. It’s funny how he would lie and say he was going to bed or was busy with work, yet made time for my alter ego.

    Anyway, along with all of this I also discovered that last September he helped his eldest son embezzle $16,000 from an account his son and his wife (now ex-wife) set up for their residential development project and I also discovered he has been embezzling money from his business partner and “best friend” for years. It’s amazing how much you can discover when you have every username & password, and decide to take four days off from work! The moment I saw that he had downloaded the app I had decided I was done, but I was also aware that he had sucked me back in before and in all likelihood he would do it again, eventually. Thankfully, however, I discovered the financial indiscretions and I was (and have continued to be) disgusted.

    Up until today, we had been communicating and I realized after visiting this site, and reading just about everything I could, I was doing all the wrong things. He came to realize that something was up with me and is under the assumption that it’s just the cheating from the “past” and he’s been laying it all on rather thick…not necessarily trying to smooth things over, rather just playing the “you’re way to beautiful for me” or “I’m fucked up and damaged and insecure” cards. I invested a lot of time this week trying to figure out the “why”, which we all know is simple: He’s a fucking narcissistic asshole and a fraud. Simple as that.

    We have always maintained separate accounts and we never married, so there is no need to separate assets, and I feel lucky! This evening I transferred my cell phone number to my own account, removed him as an authorized user on my credit cards, set the date to remove his vehicles from our mutual insurance policy, etc etc. It looks like he will be gone longer than expected, so I will have more time to pack up and move out, and I’ve disabled the cameras so he’s unable to see me coming and going through the front door. When it is all said and done, I will block him from all means of contact, but until then I will need to take special care to guard myself. He is a master manipulator and quite possibly a sociopath, so I need to be careful as we continue to communicate through this process. Tomorrow morning his “dream woman” on the dating app will be ending their communication and I have yet to decide how harsh I’d like to be….there are so many ego destroying possibilities!

    I have made the heart wrenching call to his business partner to fill him in on what has been happening. We have all been great friends for years and I could tell he was crushed. He will be waiting until I give him the go ahead before confronting him with the evidence of embezzlement. He loves me and wants to wait until he knows my items are secure and I am safe. That had to be one of the toughest calls of my life, but he’s such a good person and I love the guy. He deserved to know the truth.

    I guess I’ll keep everyone updated! Wish me luck and send me some positive energy. Thank you for reading….it felt great to get it all out

    • Goodness Christine what a mess.

      On the other hand this would be a perfect time to set up a meet up using your alter ego. Maybe have a camera man waiting to record his reaction.

      I am glad you are not legally tied to him, I hope that makes it somewhat easier for you.

      • Hahaha….Susie Lee, if we were closer during his “business trip” I may have done just that. I even thought about soliciting one of my close female friends in the area to do it, and they surely would, but at the end of the day I would not want to subject them to the face to face either! Knowing him, he’d probably find a way to turn it all back on me and end up fucking her…..he’s that good!

    • Well done! Keep us posted.

      Now would be a good time to study the Chump Lady’s archive entry about the “3 Mindfuck Channels” that you are going to encounter once you confront him. Watch out for the DARVO, too, as he tries to attack you for your awesome secret agent spy work.

      Knowing the game ahead of it is really helpful at avoiding the manipulation he is going to serve up.

      You are on your way to better things.

      • Thank you I.C.!
        Those were two great reads and I really “felt” the Reverse Victim entry. This has been his MO for as long as we have been together and he’s used the tactic in all aspects of his life. I’ve seen him do it with business associates, friends, and family….which makes sense because if something works so effectively in one part of your life, then why would one not apply it to all the others as well. We were friends long before we became “life partners” and I’ve come to realize that even back then he was grooming me…figuring out all my little quirks and how to use my hope and optimism against me.

        I’ve come to refer to his patterns as the “Three D’s”….Deny, Deflect, & Disengage. If he is presented with something in a way that gives him an out or makes him think there is doubt behind the question, such as “Did you do this” he will deny deny deny. If he is presented with the evidence in a way where a denial would be futile, he will then deflect and say things like “how dare you” or “you are crazy for looking through my things” or “stay the fuck out of my shit”….I got the latter when I recently called him out for spending nearly 50k at casino’s this year, “stay the fuck out of my shit. It’s none of your business. What’s wrong with you?” and then again when I called him out on his recent peculiar behavior while gone, “Well you know I have been depressed. You know that I haven’t been happy”….Sorry not sorry, but it’s hard to tell how unhappy you are when you’ve got your dick inside me and telling me you love me during the nights leading up to your “business trip”. When all else fails and he knows he’s been caught and can’t deny it, and he gets all his deflection out of his system, he’s goes straight into Disengage. I’ve seen him go two years without speaking to a son, infinite periods of time without speaking to former friends, and I’ve even seen him effectively ruin livelihoods by firing or getting business associates fired after they’ve “called him out”. For me, in the past, it’s been days or weeks of ghosting, even while living in the same house…until of course I apologize or take him to the bedroom to help forget how horrible I am as a person.

        I’m grateful for the physical distance and I feel I’ve got a much better chance at a successful departure without him sitting here sulking and ignoring me. I’m grateful for the money laundering and embezzlement (although I do feel bad for the victims) because it is just one more disgusting act that I can’t ignore. It’s either leave now or stick around and see him be arrested and go to jail or see him lose his ass financially. It would have been interesting to see how he tried to turn that one around on me, but of course it would have begun with “how could you turn me in?”

        Thank you all for your support!

        • Your SO is a criminal. He does not operate out of the same ethics book you do. Please don’t assume he is harmless. Assume he will come after you with guns blazing. If possible have a lawyer with you while you move your things and video tape it. Don’t touch one thing of his and be long gone when he comes back.
          Told to me by a relative. She worked in a large office in a huge metropolitan area. She was young but smart. She saw blatant misbehavior by one man who was not just awful but seriously awful. His treatment of almost all the women was downright demeaning and men did not escape either. She finally ask her manager why he wasn’t fired. She was told that the big wigs would fire everyone in the office before they would fire him. He was their best salesman. She decided her services would be better used elsewhere and resigned. Narcs and sociopaths get away with stuff all the time. You are not a criminal so you are vunerable. Make sure you don’t leave a crack where he can wedge in.

          • Thanks for the feedback! My eldest son had the same concerns regarding my move-out process. I confided in him over our lovely Mother’s Day lunch today and found out that he’s been thinking I can do better for a couple years now. I told him that next time he needs to communicate these things to me! He wants me to speak to my attorney now because he is concerned that once the embezzlement becomes public, he will try to frame me for the misbehavior. I don’t see how this is possible since I do not have access to that information, but he is unpredictable and very convincing. I’d say that me contacting his biz partner was a good move on my part. My fingerprints are not anywhere near the “scene of the crime” so I think I’m good, but it couldn’t hurt to speak to my attorney today to get their feedback.

            Thankfully the place I have maintained in a nearby city for work is in a secured building, requiring key fob access to the garage, to the lobby, to access the elevator and/or stairs, and then of course to my residence. The common areas and hallways are also monitored via 24 hour surveillance, so at least I know that once I am out of our shared home, he can’t get into mine.

            Reading all of the other user comments, I do understand that I am lucky that we were never married or shared joint financial accounts, however that does not minimize the pain and anguish he has caused. The mind fuckery was severe and it’s gonna take me a while to move on. I worry about PTSD and how that will affect a future relationship, but so far this group has done wonders for me. I feel a renewed strength and a greater sense of gratitude.

    • Don’t destroy the ego. Just go silent. If he’s feeling upset and off-balance, he’s likely to be more unpredictable. He’s already done one criminal thing you didn’t know about, and he could retaliate in some way when you leave. Your pseud doesn’t have to exist around him, you do.

    • “… just playing the ‘you’re way to beautiful for me’ or ‘I’m fucked up and damaged and insecure’ cards …”

      That’s called the Sad Sausage. Search for it on this site, so you can be prepared. Come back here often.

    • My two cents: NEVER reveal all your cards – not even after you leave and go no contact. Keep him guessing. Don’t tell him all you know or how you found it.

      Sociopaths are dangerous. The more you tell him, the more you open yourself to a counter-attack.

      And as a bonus, leaving him in the dark on a lot of stuff will irritate him (even if he doesn’t know you were behind any of it).

      Also, if I were you, I’d have the dream woman tell him “she” will be waiting for him at a luxury resort 100 miles away for a romantic weekend. Let him chase your alter ego around the country while you move out.

  • I hired a kick ass lawyer got a good Separation agreement, I got him to move out of the house and do a quit claim deed , I helped my son navigate the college admissions I renovated house that he thought I would let the bank take back sold the house use the proceeds to buy a new house that nobody’s ever lived in but me and my children I bought a brand new car I negotiated a mortgage I negotiated 0% financing on my car loan due to my credit that I built over the last few years , It’s been a lot of blood sweat and tears a second job but my life is so much better now than it was four years ago love to all at Chump nation happy Mother’s Day For all the new CHUMPS please keep coming back read it every day
    leave a cheater Gain a life /check out the archive it really will help????????????

    • “I hired a kick ass lawyer got a good Separation agreement,”

      That was probably the best thing I did through it all. FW was so sure I would use his lawyer and do it his way. Nope. Asshole paid most of my living expenses for a year, his plan was to play nice guy and be divorced with me tied to his mother and living in poverty at the two month required time frame. His trailer park lawyer told him the state only required 60 day from date of filing and we could divorce. Which was true, but 60 day is the minimum, you know unless the plaintiff found evidence of marital fraud.

      Please not there is absolutely nothing wrong with living in a trailer park. Just hyperbole I use to make a point.

  • After years of appointments with lawyers surrounding his legal “entanglements”, and inquiring about how to best protect myself, I myself decided to pursue law school.
    And got in!!!

  • A comment I left last night was “awaiting moderation” and disappeared…. Not sure why. Here is my attempt at a re-write
    I can pay for my own apartment, I can join clubs and make new friends, I can love people and they love me back, I can give unconditionally and people give to me unconditionally. I don’t stay in relationships – any kind of relationship – with people who are cruel and demeaning to me. I can see abusers and liars a bit more easily now. I can read books again. I have hope for the future again
    Oh – I can use a weed whacker really well. In fact, I can do most things I set my mind to really well. I ask for help when I need it and I don’t see that as a weakness.

    • Hello moderators – my comment, again, is awaiting moderation – I am not sure why? Can you give me more information why I cannot post to this site? I am an active user for about a year, since I found this site and left the abusive relationship. thank you

      • Hi Peregrine

        Hey I was having issues too and I somehow figured out that I had a lot of stuff stacked up and needed to delete some stuff.

        Look at the bottom of one of the responses if you can find them in your delete file, look for Subscription Options at the bottom. Then look at the options at the top such as “Sites (2) Comments (187) Settings” when wordpress opens up. I had a back log of things that needed to be deleted before it would let me do anything else.

        Hope that helps.

    • I just read your original (belatedly posted) comment and loved it, and this one, equally so. Glad your words finally made their way into the comments! I always love what you write, Peregrine.

  • I thought I would ALWAYS be stuck in homes that NEVER had ANY major projects completed because, “He needed a house that needed him.”

    I just did realize to what extent that was. It meant living for 15 years in a half torn up home-not even being “allowed” to pick paint colors or decorate.

    Almost 3 years ago he had to buy me out of that dump (which he only gave me 1/2 of the lowest appraisal) and on September 1, 2018: I bought a 1100 square foot flipped house .5 miles away from the kids’ school that needed nothing but decorating!

    Due to the market and the equity I built up into my house: As of April 26th, 2021 I have sold that house and bought a 2 year old custom built home that is twice the size. I’ll the the 2nd owner that house has ever had! The kids and I are thrilled!

    I was paralyzed with fear when I knew I needed to leave the marriage-I had 3 kids that I wasn’t going to leave behind-and I didn’t want that shitty house. I told the kids to give me 6 months to find us something.

    35 days later the 3 of us, my friends and their friends-were all helping us move in.

    It can happen.

    Stop using the cheater’s thoughts and beliefs as your own.

    It took a friend to verbally slap me out of my hysteria, tell me I could do it and also give me advice on HOW I could do it. She could look from the outside and and show me ways that I couldn’t see.

  • >