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What Meh Feels Like

mehDear Chump Lady,

Today I was out shopping with my daughters (young adults now) and we bumped into my ex-wife’s affair partner. He was with his wife and now teenage son. He and my ex-wife put me through hell 6 years ago.

In the past bumping into him has been akin to whacking a wasps nest with a stick in that it’s usually stirred up a lot of angry feelings.

This time I just felt grateful.

I thought that I can look my beautiful daughters in the eye and know I never let them down despite all the shit their mother put me through. I thought that I have their respect as well as their love.

I felt grateful that I get to live my life on my terms instead of scurrying around trying to keep someone who was never satisfied happy (impossible).

I feel grateful I’ve been free to meet and after 5 years marry someone who really appreciates me and treats me with love, respect and kindness and whom I love and respect so much.

I looked at him and saw a gutless worm who went crawling back to his wife (poor woman), despite what he put her through and to what must be a pretty dead marriage. What a pathetic creep.

I thought, despite all I got put through, I behaved with self respect and dignity and now I finally feel that I won.

Feels so good.

Real Monkey Love

Dear Real Monkey Love,

Thanks for the dispatch from the land of Meh. I had to run this on a Tuesday, of course. (To the newbies, “Tuesday” is the answer to “When does the pain stop?” I don’t know what Tuesday it is, but your Tuesday is out there.)

Well done on navigating yourself out of that shit show and arriving on the other side with your heart and sanity intact. To those who have just washed up on the Island of Suck, it’s hard to believe that escape is possible. That one day your head will clear, and you’ll look back, proud of how you comported yourself.

Not to say a chump doesn’t wobble along the way, but my God, look at the fate you were spared — the sad spouse trailing along in the shops marriage-policing her unfaithful partner. The person committed to someone who doesn’t commit to them. (Shudder).

Congratulations on your new life and your new marriage where you are cherished.

I think one of the greatest harms of reconciliation is lost time. Time you could’ve spent on a peaceful future without abuse, without “scurrying around trying to keep someone who was never satisfied happy.” Time spent investing in yourself, and in a worthy partner.

I love that you circled back, Real Monkey Love. People graduate from this place, they gain the life, as they should. (Sadly, a new crop of chumps shows up. The traffic never goes down.) There’s nothing like lived experience — struggling people need to know the pain isn’t forever. Affair partners don’t have magic powers of centrality. Be brave, be strong, model mightiness to your children — it pays dividends.

Thank you for joining the chorus of Meh. Thanks for setting an example.

CN, any meh sightings in your life? Ever stumbled into a former Schmoopie?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Unfortunately, I’m not there yet. I had to attend my youngest son’s First Communion last weekend and Ex was there with former intern/AP, ex-MIL and ex-SIL. Oh, and their newborn. Sitting in the pew across the aisle. I felt like crying the whole time. They all try to say hello to me in these fake cheerful voices over and over like nothing ever happened. I got through it ok on the outside, but definitely not Meh on the inside. But Real Monkey Love said 6 years right? I’m at five, so his story gives me hope that my Tuesday is coming soon – thank you!!!

    • You will get there. Everyone has their own Tuesday. It takes time. But if you were able to get through it on the outside then you are almost there! Great job!

      And always in your heart remember to trust that they suck…it was all fake for them. They are acting all cheerful on the outside but they were likely triggered into an argument afterwards or some crazy over seeing you! So cheers to that 🙂

    • “They all try to say hello to me in these fake cheerful voices over and over like nothing ever happened. ”

      As Michelle mentioned it sounds like they tried too hard. A quick nod is certainly appropriate in these cases, but the fact that they tried to push it speaks volumes.

      Heck, I had been away from my ex for years and remarried, but still at grand childrens graduations etc, I would do the nod, and keep moving. Whore would smile and sometimes make a how about that weather comment, but the ex would rarely look me in the eye. The last time I saw my ex was at my granddaughters high school graduation. My husband and I sat in the row in front of them, because I wanted to sit near my son and his wife and they all got there first.

      Anyway, I politely said hi to both of them and sat down and never looked back. The ex kept arguing with a woman who was sitting directly in front of him, as evidently she was blasting him for accidently touching her back with his knees. To be fair it was a tight fit for us all. (bleachers)

      But, I would have simply apologized to the cranky lady and made sure I didn’t touch her again, but no he kept egging her on. My sweet h (who is hearing impaired) leaned over to me and said what is going on. I just said ignore, it will resolve itself.

      Finally my grown grandson traded places with his grandfather, and told the lady he was sorry for the disruption and he would try to be more careful.

      I point this out to say that honestly in all the years my ex and I were together (save the last year) he would have never acted like that in public. He would have apologized, joked around and made a friend of the lady. So what happened? My theory is he tried to be a better person when he was with me, but with her he didn’t have to be. In short he just couldn’t go the distance, so he found his level.

      • My formers would be like that – because they have no empathy and they put exFW on a pedestal. They wouldn’t be acting. This is who they are. As long as exFW is ´happy’ ….everyone else is forgotten (I’m confident I was blamed for his treatment of me). They all moved on and they wouldn’t be interested in engaging in anything that didn’t speak to that newness (thus the cheerful voices).
        I wouldn’t be surprised if mine just ignored me all together – like I didn’t exist, it never happened, not their life anymore.

      • One thing we know about alcoholics and drug abusers is that it is a degenerative condition. People who don’t get treatment, both for the physical and psychological issues, get worse and worse over time.

        I think that’s likely true of character disorder, as well. Most people don’t stand still and remain the same. We either grow and become happier, less selfish, and more at peace or we go the other way. The selfishness, the entitlement, the anger and hostility toward others doesn’t get better on its own. And as the disordered person gets older and even more focused on the self, someone challenging him about touching her in a cramped environment becomes a public rebuke that cannot be tolerated.

        • “The selfishness, the entitlement, the anger and hostility toward others doesn’t get better on its own. ”

          Makes sense. I remember my daughter in law told me years ago, when they bought FWs house because of FWs bankruptcy; the neighbor who owned the adjoining property was talking to her and he told daughter in law that my son was nothing like his mom and dad. She said that is not his mom, and he is a lot like his mom, but nothing like his dad. Then the neighbor loosened up and told her he had lots of difficulty in getting along with them.

          Not surprising. They are both entitled ass holes, they can’t hide it for long.

        • “Most people don’t stand still and remain the same. We either grow and become happier, less selfish, and more at peace or we go the other way.” I think this is one of the truest statements I have ever read, LAJ and neatly sums up where I am in my life.

    • It’s taken a very long time and only really just happened. Hang on in there – RML

    • Why the hell didn’t the intern/AP just stay home with the newborn? No, she had to insert her skank ass with newborn in tow just like a dog lifting it’s leg. Oh and don’t get me started on your idiotic cheating ex. What a pair. So sorry but praying your Tuesday comes soon and it’s just fabulous!

      • “just like a dog lifting it’s leg”

        That is so funny, and so on the mark. So to speak.

    • ????That’s the worst part for me…being forced to see them at what should be happy occasions. And, the fakeness of the ex in-laws. I’m sorry…good for you for getting through it! (((Hugs)))

    • I just came back on after my post this morning and was so overwhelmed to read all of your thoughtful, kind and supportive posts. I’m choked up. Thank you for validating my feelings and encouraging my journey to Meh. So so grateful.

      • You will get there! But it does require active participation. Getting to meh is a practice, not a passive endeavor. I would encourage you to really scour your heart and mind to get to the barest underlying reason for your sorrow at seeing them like that. Is it the loss of your family unit or the loss of the idea of having that family unit? Loss of in laws? Pain at seeing her/him together (like a jealousy or something)? Feelings of inadequacy for not being partnered or with a new baby? Just, like, write the stuff out and see what resonates.

        Really dissect your feelings as best you can–talk it out with someone if possible. That really helped me move to meh. Once I could identify the exact thing that bothered me the most, I could focus on healing it.

        For me, it was grieving the loss of the dream of having an intact family unit for my daughter. A dream I had worked hard for and thought I was living. Luckily for me, my ex repulses me so my sorrow was not for him. In any event, I used that knowledge to work through this grief–by myself and in therapy. It’s been very transformative.

  • Last Friday I was having a poker night with the ladies… after a year+ of none since the pandemic. We’ve been getting together for about 15 years minus the COVID stop. I am now wearing a ring but am not married — my significant other and I chose to wear them for each other. So it came up while I was dealing and I explained that we aren’t married.

    Then someone casually asked “Is FW married yet?” I said “I don’t know.”
    Someone else said “Do you think blah blah blah FW…” (I really don’t remember the question)… and I responded “I really don’t know what he’s up to. I have no idea. I don’t care.” And I went back to dealing.

    All of this… was without any stress. I really meant it. I no longer keep tabs on him at all. I am completely at meh. I just realized that as I was reading this post.

    • I have one friend who asked me once or twice (she’s since stopped) about my FW as if it’s fun gossip: “Is he married?” “How’s he doing?” “What’s her name?” “Do you ever see him?”

      She seemed shocked and stunned when I told her I don’t want to know or care. I, too, said it without emotion (or at least tried to). And I don’t hold this against my friend. I just chalk it up to not knowing what a chump feels unless you’ve been chumped yourself.

      Anyway, just wanted to share that.

      p.s. Love the ring idea! We don’t need to be married to display to the world our commitment if we choose. Congratulations, MichelleShocked!

    • Oh.My.Gosh. Similar here but I didnt really think of it in terms of meh until now! Thanks for posting this MichelleShocked.

      I was visiting a friend recently who I hadnt seen in months. She asked me something about my exh – i answered “I really don’t know, i don’t think about him much any more” … and it was true!!! We moved straight on to more interesting stuff. I wasnt miffed or angry, just – not interested.

      And a man asked me on a sorta date recently – and I declined nicely. It made me realise that I like my independence, my life is good, I can do what I want (often not very much!) and I’m not the least bit interested in that sort of relationship any more.

      I am financially secure, will downsize when my youngest son is settled out of home and be even more financially secure, plan a bit of travel if our borders ever open again, have a few close friends, great warm relationships with my five kids, loads of time and space and a great therapist really helping me work on myself … I’m better than I’ve been for years.

      It was nice to be asked out though ☺

    • When FW walked out, I bought myself a beautiful white gold ring with a single pearl set off by a diamond on each side. It symbolizes the beauty that comes from the pain I’ve borne and my commitment to love myself (and my 2 kids) before anyone else. I wear it on my wedding ring finger.

      • Beautiful. I bought myself a diamond ring this year. I saw it, loved it, tried it on – perfect fit for wedding ring finger – and bought it. I’m worth it.

  • CL nailed it with her comment about “lost time.” This is perhaps the one thing that stops me getting fully to “meh” in the way that RML has. “Go RML!” by the way.

    I spent the last 20 of the 26 years we were married trying to make her happy, when she was actively going out of her way to be unhappy; that way she she could maintain any number of grievances and blame me for all that was wrong with her life. I now know that she had mental health issues (depression and alcoholism, both of which she kept hidden from me and our 3 children) that drove her to sabotage just about anything I tried to do to make things work.

    I’m close to “meh” but I really do need to understand how to square the whole “lost time” thing before I can consider myself as having arrived at the destination and unpacked all of my baggage.


    • The way I learned to see it, is that it isn’t lost time as much as it is time I spent investing in being a good person. Would I rather have had those twenty years with a true partner instead of a selfish liar? Yes. But those twenty years, I also worked hard on myself, becoming more thoughtful, more diligent, more hard-working, more ethical, more willing to make sacrifices. I would never credit my ex with making me a better person, but I made myself a better person through being cheated on. I am now a better judge of character, confident of my own sense of power, proud of my own dedication to my vows, self-assured of my own ability to get through hardship, and more focused on upholding my own integrity.

      • HC,

        I try hard to see it like you do ….. but I found that 20 year’s of putting someone else’s needs ahead of my own has created some unhealthy behaviours that I am struggling to unlearn. I still feel very guilty about putting my needs ahead of others’ (particularly with my children), even when I would be justified in doing so.

        I am certainly more discerning in my judgement of character and more confident of my ability to get through hardship; although the cynic in me would say “but of course it’s much easier when someone isn’t sticking an umbrella through my metaphorical bicycle spokes every 10 minutes.”

        One thing that I am grateful for, is that I was able to take the opportunity to model the right behaviours for our children; as a result, they know what is right and know what is not. I would hope that they are much less likely to be taken advantage in their future relationships than I was.


        • “20 year’s of putting someone else’s needs ahead of my own has created some unhealthy behaviours”

          Indeed. I’m angry that I put FW’s needs first, that’s for sure. But I’m glad he cheated and left, because I’d still be putting him first. I’m infinitely smarter now, and that will never happen again.

        • Yea, the lost time sucks. It literally robbed me of having another child. And I too struggle with the same issue you do. It’s been a daily practice asking for and taking what I need after years of folding myself into an origami animal of his choosing. But, what really kicked me in the butt was realizing that the more time I spend “struggling” with this issue the less time I spend actually living my best and most authentic life. I had a mild health scare, and afterward I decided I was going to let shit go. Life is too short to spend anymore time harboring bad feelings about assholes or a loss of time or whatever. I want to spend the time I have left THRIVING. This website community has been helpful too. Something about typing out my thoughts and stuff on these subjects sort of reinforces my healing.

          Best of luck to you!

      • ” But those twenty years, I also worked hard on myself, becoming more thoughtful, more diligent, more hard-working, more ethical, more willing to make sacrifices. ”


        I did a lot of volunteer work for the local Jr. Baseball league. It was at his request, so I did it for him mostly. (His dream was to become mayor) But, I met so many wonderful folks, and the kids were so great to me. I learned so much. I built contacts from influential folks. In short folks got to know me for who I was. So when he was outed, he had a difficult time laying blame on me. Oh I am sure a couple folks who only knew his façade bought it, but not many.

      • “it isn’t lost time as much as it is time I spent investing in being a good person. Would I rather have had those twenty years with a true partner instead of a selfish liar? Yes. But those twenty years, I also worked hard on myself, becoming more thoughtful, more diligent, more hard-working, more ethical”

        My parents were shortsighted and self absorbed and FW was a cheater narc.

        I feel like I was refined in a fire but I got out the other side a better person than I would have been otherwise. I care for dying children in my work and once at a conference, we were told to turn to the person nearest to us and tell them why we chose to do this work…I looked right at the gal and said “my work is an act of rebellion” she looked shocked and said “me too”.

        True confessions: the man Im married to now…very nice fellow. I dated him before my marriage and I underestimated how precious his virtues were…I assumed that anyone I married would be as nice to me. If I had married him then, I might have taken his kindness for granted (his first wife seems to have). The universe opted to give me an amazing second chance and I married him on round 2. We can sometimes drive each other a little nuts but I deeply appreciate his willingness to BE IN a marriage and try to be a good husband.

        I hate that my parents and FW were so mean to me but I did let it make me a better person in most ways (in some ways, I just have no fucks to give but that is for another day)

    • Thanks LFTT. I sometimes fret over the list time. My new wife has never been married before and we both say we wish we’d met a long time ago. However, without my ex I wouldn’t have my lovely daughters and I’d never want to be without them. It is what it is I guess

      • RML,

        I’m still single nearly 6 years out, but I’m with you over the children. Without my Ex I wouldn’t have had three wonderful kids; they were 18, 16 and 11 when my Ex-Wife walked out on us, and are now 25, 22 and 17. I don’t care that my Ex walked out on me, but I will never understand the ease with which she abandoned our children; she literally shed them like a snake sheds its skin.

        Her loss (they have very little contact with her), but very hurtful to them.


        • “she literally shed them like a snake sheds its skin.”

          It’s so damned heartbreaking what they do to their own kids without a thought. It speaks to how empty they are, doesn’t it? My ex has a tennis ball for a brain, an elevator shaft for a soul, and a Ben Franklin where his heart ought to be.

          • CQ,

            As I mentioned, it’s very much her loss. The sense of abandonment that the kids felt (particularly the youngest) was devastating. I really struggle with the fact that she shows no remorse about what she did to them; her ability to pretend that she did nothing wrong and that they were not damaged is quite breath-taking.

            She not just empty. She’s a complete and utter “empathy vacuum.” I suppose the only positive is that her being largely absent from their lives (particularly over the last 3 years) has helped them heal …. but when she does drop into their lives now and again it feels like she is only rubbing salt in their wounds.


  • One of the most important thing I learned from CL was that the pain is finite. It helped to say that to myself when it was I was feeling it the worst. Got me to the other side.

  • Yes, all of this.

    I had the longest imaginable journey to Land of Meh since I thought myself a Unicorn.

    I thought that my Chumpdom started in 2005 but after it was all over, I realized that I was likely a Chump for the entire term of our relationship (the fact that I can’t figure out if we “went exclusive” in 84, 85 or 86 is a bit of a symptom of the nebulous nature of our courtship) but we married in 86 and I was devoted, faithful and quickly started scurrying around trying to make him happy for the subsequent 26 years.

    His overt abuse and cheating in 2005 hurt so much I actually felt physical pain, I was obsessed and thought of nothing else. I lost weight and my hair started falling out. I was just about ready to give up when he announced he was coming home (so much wrong with this statement).

    Cue 7 years of wreckonciliation and then death and then learning he was a serial cheater. My situation had all the components of me becoming a hoarder or something – never recovering and losing myself in some deep dysfunction.

    Somewhere in my mind were a few healthy brain cells which took over and I said to me:
    “Fuck that shit, its over, now go live a good life”

    One day I was driving to work and I thought of something that would have been innocuous had I not learned he was a serial cheater but it was probably the 962nd moment when I realized “Oh, he was probably fucking that woman” and I didn’t flinch. My mind went on to whatever task came next… should I get gas on my way home?

    Ive remarried, finished school, have a great career, gone to 15 countries and parented my adult kids.
    Im really happy

    I have a few friends here who have known me for YEARS and they will tell you if I can get to Meh then anyone can. You can.

    • Thank you for the hope. I am 1.5 years out of a 28 year relationship. I am able to fake the calm on the outside but no so much on the inside. Glad to know I can get there

      • You can and you will.

        I, however…when I was at this same place, I was still stuck in the “but why did he____” stage. I had not become brave enough to admit that he REALLY did not love me, our marriage was one of convenience for him and he really WAS that big of an ASSHOLE.

        I have no idea what life would have been if I had accepted these hard truths earlier…apparently, I was not ready.

        • Thanks for the encouragement Umicornomore ????. I’m still struggling after 3.5 years but only recently have realized what you’ve said. Hard to accept but makes me feel better at the same time cos I now know what I was dealing with for 40 years. Good riddance to the ARSEHOLE (I’m in Australia hence the spelling) ????

    • Good post:

      “One day I was driving to work and I thought of something that would have been innocuous had I not learned he was a serial cheater but it was probably the 962nd moment when I realized “Oh, he was probably fucking that woman” and I didn’t flinch. My mind went on to whatever task came next… should I get gas on my way home?”

      I had a similar revelation, and honestly when it came to me (long after Divorc) I laughed at myself for being so goofy blind.

      The first year we were together after marriage (first year he was deployed to Vietnam) he had a friend ship with a much older wac. We were 20, she was forty. I remember him introducing her to me, as he was supposed to keep her car while she was on TDY. I remember saying something to him about it, and he laughed at me and said something like “don’t be crazy, she is an old woman” He was totally fucking her.

      I remember her and though she was no runway model, she was in shape and had a line free face. Yes of course I was young and better looking, but he proved by who he left me for that didn’t matter at all.

      I hope somewhere down the line she got paybacks, but as for me all I can think of is what a clueless goob.

    • You are such a generous and inspiring supporter of fellow chumps, I love the “old hands” who keep visiting to give hope to newbies and those whose struggles continue. Thank you ????

    • Unicornomore, Thank you for the hope. I still flinch. Last night I learned that black wedding bands are for people in open relationships. My ex had me buy him a black band to “match his watch,” but it turns out that only I was in the dark about it’s true meaning.
      I cannot wait for my Tuesday to come so these past truths to stop hurting.

      • Gross and painful. I had something similar. My husband started wearing a very juvenile looking black bracelet out of the blue one day. I thought it was a midlife crisis thing. Turns out it was the signal that he was into S&M. That’s what he was out there doing when he said he was working late. I relate to the pain those realizations cause. Hugs.

        • That is awful to find out.

          The only thing I can remember noticing in hindsight was that he came home wearing a salmon/pinkish colored shirt. The only reason I remembered after the fact is, that I thought it was odd because he was definitely not a pink shirt kind of guy (not that there is anything wrong with that, I actually like them)

          Anyway, I thought it was odd that he would buy something like that. But, in hindsight I wondered if it was a gift from her, or if they had shopped together and it was her choice.

          He also lost his expensive police jacket once, and we tore the house apart looking for it. He was adamant that I had misplaced it. Anyway, we gave up. I told him he likely left it at one of his part time security jobs. A month or so later he came home wearing it. I asked where he found it, he said oh it had fallen behind one of the file cabinets in the break room. Suurrrrree it did. I am betting one of whores teenage sons had taken it and was wearing it, then he “found” it.

      • He hated his wedding ring and rarely wore it. I was SO TRUSTING…when he lad left on a 6 month deployment, I found his ring in the ashtray of his truck and I didn’t think much of it. I suggested if he didn’t like the feel, he could get a tattoo. He told me that married women hit on him when he wore it.

        In wreckonciliation, he bought a wedding ring to wear and when he had a sparkly spurt of marital enthusiasm, he would wear it. (those spurts were never long…often gone in less than a day). I dont know if he was wearing it when he died or if I put it on him later, but he is wearing it forever now.

        I flinched badly from triggers for a long time. His main OW was Chinese and I couldn’t look at a Chinese restaurant or woman. They fucked a lot in Seattle and I loathed the place for a long time. The flinching and hurting are over but my husband and I both share when we feel sad reminders.

        I am glad to have found people who understand how much that all hurt. It would have hurt less if a band of thugs beat me senseless and left me to die in a street – I didn’t trust or love the thugs. I wish I could speed your Tuesday along, but it will come.

        • “It would have hurt less if a band of thugs beat me senseless and left me to die in a street – I didn’t trust or love the thugs.”
          Wow – so profound and yet so true.

        • “He is wearing it forever now.”

          She who laughs last, laughs best. I salute you, Unicorn.

        • Your mention of Seattle reminds me of my D-day #1. Because FW cheated here, there, and everywhere, there were all of these places I felt had been stolen from me. There is a park downtown in the city where I live now where I know he was with an OW because I was sitting at a traffic light with my toddler in the back seat as they came walking out of the park, holding hands, and carrying a picnic blanket and goods. He had tainted so many places, I felt there was this huge list of cities, restaurants, parks, etc. that I would never be able to go again. Over time as I learned he was a narc, I went gray rock. Feelings for him shut down. And the less I cared about him, the less I felt like he had the ability to steal places from me. If I stopped going to every place he had taken a schmoopie, I would have not been giving up so much of the world. I just said to myself, look, you can’t let him claim every space where he cheated. He has taken enough from you; don’t let him take the world. It’s not like he’s a cat who can claim territory by peeing on it. So now there are places I go where I know he was with someone else and sometimes it crosses my mind and sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, I shrug it off. I no longer care about him so I associate places with good times I have spent there and nothing at all to do with him.

          One of his OW is Portuguese. I hated all things Portugal for a long time. (Still not a fan but it no longer has anything to do with him or her.) He had bought a very expensive bottle of Port on one of his trips with her. He still has it and I can’t wait for someday when he finds an occasion great enough to open it. One summer, every day it was over 90 degrees, after he left for work, I would pull the bottle from its sacred spot and put it out on the patio in the sun to sit all day. Then I would bring it back in and put it in its storage toward the end of the day. I have no doubt it’s putrid. I’m sure every time he sees that bottle, he smiles to himself, remembering buying it with her (one of the emails I found between them mentioned it). When I see it, I smile to myself, too. At the time I was putting it out to sunbathe, I remember thinking he had ruined enough places and things for me, so I was ruining something for him. But now I feel a bit silly at how I allowed places to trigger me and I refuse to give up one inch of space to him or be upset by places. He doesn’t deserve that power.

          If he died today, I’d request to have his ashes scattered at some nondescript place in the middle of nowhere that neither I nor his descendants would be likely to ever visit so he can be forgotten and central to no one. No afterlife kibble.

          • Read Tracy’s post about her taking back Paris with Mr. Chumplady, glossing over any bad memories with fabulous ones.

            Cremains can always be dumped on a nearby stable’s manure pile ????????

  • I’m not at meh yet, but close. FW moved on to a new woman. Saw them recently. It put me in a dark place. I want him to suffer alone, because he hates being alone.

    I had been no contact, but after he saw me he emailed me. So I responded, because I wanted the dirt. Yes he is living with her after 2 months of dating. She’s like his ex-wife but “nothing like me”.

    And she lives 45 minutes away. He’s picked up his life and run away from where his reputation as a “nice guy” is ruined.

    He had been through the RIC counseling, and thinks he’s changed. Based on his actions (running away, moving in with someone so quickly) makes it obvious that he’ll never change.

    All of this knowledge it what has finally allowed me to get close to meh. After all the pain, I know that I have a better future without him.

    • I wonder how common that not liking to be alone is. My ex was kind of like that. I think that is why so many monkey branch, so that they don’t have any time to self reflect.

      I was really alone for the first six months after he left. For me I needed the alone time to grieve, to reflect to get stronger. A lot of these cheater would be well served to stay alone a while and learn to respect themselves, but it is unlikely most of them will.

      • My X also hates being alone. He went from living with his parents as a young man to moving in with me during the college years to marrying me and living with me after college, to moving in with his first Affair Partner after the first D Day, to moving in with GF#2 after that, to moving back into my house with me and our babies after he and GF#2 split (I took him back for a muchly unrecommended and miserable reconciliation period), to moving out of my house directly into GF#3’s, whom he married years later, house.


        I think, all told, in the time from where he was a young man still living at home with his folks until now he’s likely spent… maybe… six months living by himself as an independent person? I don’t think he can live alone, to be honest.

        I read these stories, pick up on these similar plot points, and realize just how important it is for us to actually be independent, to know how to live alone and *live with ourselves* before we affix ourselves like barnacles to other people.

        • I think healing comes from learning how to be alone. And from the introspection and self-reliance that comes with it.

          The FWs hop from bed to bed/ relationship to relationship to escape their own darkness. They hide from themselves.

          I think us Chumps are in a much better place because we admit we are Chumps. We move forward.

        • My ex said the same thing; he said he didn’t want to be alone.

          He got a lot more than he bargained for after marrying the one that chased every man in church, married or not, until she caught him during a very rocky time in our marriage.
          It’s been a long time and the bitterness has gone. Any time we have all been together she acts like she’s my best friend, overly chatty and all smiley. Can we say feeling guilty?
          A few years after they married she was diagnosed with cancer (she’s ok, I guess). I had to work hard to not be glad and, finally, I wasn’t but it felt like karma to me.

          My life now is 180 degrees from what it had been. I feel good about myself rather than never feeling good enough; he did cause much of that feeling but that’s his to live with. No one will ever make me feel that way again.

          Until I found this group, I never knew I was finally getting to meh. Thank you everyone.

        • My ex absolutely cannot be alone. Never could, even for short spurts, which is one of the reasons I was shocked when, in 2019, he announced that he wanted to go alone to our lake house for a few months to “figure things out.” He lasted about two days and then came home crying. Through sobs, he fessed up to the affair.

          If the AP/OW leaves him, he will need to find someone else, or he’ll fall apart. Truly. If he leaves her, he’ll make sure he has someone else to monkey branch to. That’s the kind of person he is.

          I like that I’m able to be alone. It makes me feel strong and independent.

        • I agree that we chumps must learn to put ourselves and people who truly love us first. I’ve come to think of my cheating ex as a black hole. However, I do not see chumps as barnacles; rather, I see cheaters as barnacles. Parasites.

      • I think they can’t be alone because they can’t face how empty they are. When you’re alone, you reflect. You feel. What do you feel when you’re a gaping chasm of nothingness? You feel like drinking, drugging, gambling, screwing – anything to fill the void.

        I used to be hurt that my ex moved on as quickly as he did. Now I just pity him.

  • Yes, “one of the greatest harms of reconciliation is lost time.”

    I lost over a decade trying to prop up someone who didn’t want me around and “help him” do work on himself that he didn’t want to do. If I had dedicated that energy and time to getting out and getting better, I’d be years ahead of where I am now.

    Trying to help or hold on to your abuser is a complete waste of time. It compounds their abuse and your trauma.

    • “Trying to help or hold on to your abuser is a complete waste of time. It compounds their abuse and your trauma.”

      Absolutely! I spent over 15 years trying to help him be a better man. I had proof of emotional affairs but only a gut feeling he was physically cheating on me. Last year he finally disclosed some of the physical including a 7 year physical affair with stepsister. It’s definitely the lost time and how much my own children have been negatively impacted by the chaos of his cheating in our marriage. This is what I’m struggling to get over.

  • Yes, this got me:

    I think one of the greatest harms of reconciliation is lost time. Time you could’ve spent on a peaceful future without abuse, without “scurrying around trying to keep someone who was never satisfied happy.” Time spent investing in yourself, and in a worthy partner.

    I was separated for a year before I decided that his version of reconciling was insane and that I had to get my financial house in order because divorce was coming. I had the worst time getting good work and didn’t get there until after the divorce was final, and he ended up getting his attorney lined up and the process kicked off. So I was in school, working three jobs, and madly hunting for work while fitting in time for my attorney. What a crazy time!

    When there was controversy over the separation date, my attorney ran me through a series of questions that resulted in a much earlier date than what my ex wanted. I realized that it was pretty much over when he left, period. I didn’t get an attorney until 18 months later, but so it was.

  • At this point, “meh” comes and goes depending on my bills. So really any feels I get around the subject of FW are anger, injustice, and stress about my financial future.

    There’s no wishing or wanting or crying
    associated with him, just regret that I didn’t protect myself better.

    I don’t think that qualifies as Tuesday yet, but it’s definitely not Wednesday! ????

  • I’m genuinely glad you have reached “Meh.” But I think that has to do with the fact you have a new partner.
    As wonderful and supportive as CL has been, it makes me feel like a failure (all over again)
    because I haven’t got a new love (which is not that easy when you’re left at 65). The rest is

    • I went through this shit at 66. I don’t have partner and can imagine being in another relationship. I’m am ok with that. It’s been 4.5 yrs and I am content to carry on with family and friends. I feel like a success story rather than a failure. A survivor. A thrived. Since dday I’ve retired, moved, joined a hiking club, a women’s golf club, and being grandma. I don’t need a partner. I hope you find your joy. My life is good single. Hugs!

      • I’m 61 years old, no children. I was dumped at 59. It hasn’t been easy getting divorced during lockdown. But it’s done. The idea of having another relationship fills me with horror. Yes, I’m often lonely. My family of origin are not particularly supportive. My small circle of friends are very supportive though. However, I need to learn to be on my own and to fend for myself. I trusted a man who even my non-judgemental therapist describes as a person with strong narcissistic traits. I spent 26 precious, child-bearing years pandering to the needs of a man child. It’s hard to feel meh after that. I don’t believe I ever will.

      • Thank you Thrive!
        I’m 52, but after two horrific marriages. I can’t even think about being with someone else-sends me into a tailspin. I too am focused on thriving with my kids, my friends, and myself!

    • It may be true for you, Gobsmacked, that “Meh” is linked to moving on with a new partner. Or you may believe this to be true.

      But I don’t agree. I think “Meh” is about coming to peace with ourselves about the betrayals, the lies, and the manipulation, and learning that we have the agency to make good choices about the people in our lives. It’s about not pining for the X, and for some of us, getting past the idea that a partner is the source of all happiness. It may also be that those who want partners (even if over 65) are better positioned to be partners if we have come to terms with ourselves as separate individuals. That’s been my experience. I’m nearly 70 (how did THAT happen?) and love living alone and enjoying lots of relationships, including one with myself, at long last.

      The hope and desire for a new love is in itself a beautiful thing. That you haven’t found one yet doesn’t make you a failure–which is a verdict on yourself that can make finding a partner harder, not easier. You are a mighty survivor, not a failure.

    • Maybe consider questioning why not having a new love makes you feel like a failure. Lonely..sure, that makes sense. Humans get lonely (although after living with a fuckwit, being alone for a long period of time can feel like a breath of fresh air). But a failure? It’s possible you’ve let society’s ideas about success permeate your mind. We’re all taught that “coupling” is one of the most important things. But, I disagree. In fact, I pride myself on living a life that others don’t understand. Flip the script is what I say! I also look to all the wonderful and brave women who led their own lives in their own terms, regardless of their relationship status. There’re some real inspiring examples out there.

      Also, the feeling of failure is only useful in as much as it propels you to something greater. Failure without future action is really a shame/self-pity trap…so be careful to not get trapped in a downward spiral.

      Best of luck.

  • Six months after a finalized divorce, I think I’m allowing myself to experience the grief of losing a 30 year marriage. Cognitive dissonance, anxiety, pick me dancing, shame came first. I was able to file for divorce and manage through a pandemic while living on my own.

    I fantasize about explaining to his family (not him) that I lost the future we had planned and the 30 years which came before. I know some will claim those years weren’t “lost”. But I am 64 years old, childless and without nearby family. So all those memories of the wonderful times – as well as the difficult tasks we did together – are suspect. Actually, they are nullified.

    I know that if he had died, I would have been supported by his family and our friends. Maybe this is where anger and grief intersects. But I am making progress and grateful to CL for assuring me that I have lost a cheater, not my mind. I am working hard at gaining a life.

    • I wish you the best. Those “lost” years are rough, I don’t care who you are. (said in my best Larry the cable guy voice).

      I consider those years lost too. Because I will never know what happened.

      It is years ago and I have had many great years, but those years still not whole.

      Doesn’t mean we can have a full post D life, filled with joy, but I don’t think that loss is easily brushed away.

    • AM: I’m sorry. This may not help, but not having children spared you some of the heartache. Witnessing what FW did to the kids is indescribable torture. Being forced to endure the big stuff (weddings, births) with FW & OW feels humiliating, and “sharing” holidays just sucks.

      Still, I understand the heartache of facing the future alone, especially when you’re not so young anymore.

      Stay positive though – there are lots of people our age who are in a similar place, so if you really want to, you can find someone to share your life with again. And you can live the rest of your life without eating the shit sandwich that reproducing with a selfish asswipe gets you. Really. It’s that bad.

      • ‘ Witnessing what FW did to the kids is indescribable torture’ So true! What my X put my son through is a crime and a sin. And he’s a sensitive guy, so he really suffers over the injustice of it all. I hope he understands one day, that looking for the answer to ‘Why?’, is a lost cause! I hope he gets to peace, and I do what I can to help.
        Almost Monday, I hope you find peace, too. We are your friends, here! Chumps are the best people. And I also hope you find a cause, or group, to be involved with in your area. Baby steps, one at a time.
        I had a long mirage, too, but I grew, and got better every year, and I’m proud. You should be, too! Hugs and all the best to you!

  • I was at MEH intermittantly. You know, with the setbacks in between.
    I now seem to be at MEH, at an unexpected moment. I organised a birthday party for our daughter (Ex-wife didn’t contribute because she wants to avoid me and happily left it to me, just like the last 2)
    2 of the kids didn’t have transportation, but I didn’t have enough room in the car, for 2 more. First I asked my ex to help, but she sais she was unable and said that it wouldn’t really matter.
    Our daughter has autism and it’s hard for her to make friends, so I didn’t want to let her have the disappointment. So I did what was best for her. I swalowed my ego and called the AP (or now husband, not sure) and asked him to step in, so our daughter had everyone she invited at the party. He mumbled and stumbled a bit, because he was caught off guard. (we never interacted really)
    It made me feel master of the situation and since then I couldn’t care less about him or my ex. Ever since I feel more and more at ease, so today is the day I can really say: IT’S Tueday!!! MEH

    • Great day! You faced a fear, and found your freedom! AP’s are worms, but we do kind of fear them. The reality is, they’re nothing, just twisted jerks, making dumb choices, and winning dumb prizes.
      So glad you stepped into the land of Meh!
      Happy Birthday to your daughter! ????

    • You Go GuideDog! You’re a treasure to your daughter and a damn fine human too!

  • My son was married 3 weeks ago which was a wonderful and memorable day. The family welcomed his beautiful wife with loving arms. The only drawback was my cheating dirtbag ex husband attended with the second other woman. ( the original ow died 3 years ago)
    I have nothing against her for she wasn’t the whore that persuaded him to destroy our marriage. I blame him.
    We didn’t sit together and he hardly spoke to me. I was cordial to both of them but inside I was screaming. Family pictures were took with my chumpy face smiling
    and I danced.. not with him. I could’ve won an award for best actress but I did it for my son on his special day.
    It’s been 5 years since I divorced him and he has never apologized or spoken to me when I saw him at 2 family wakes recently. Left me penniless and sick from the cruelty he inflicted on me after 35 years married. The woman he’s living with now is 84 years old, he’s in his early seventies recovering from cancer and heart surgery.
    He told our son he doesn’t want to live alone so any port in a storm I guess.
    I’m alone and struggling every day for I’m a cancer survivor also but at least I’m not being lied or cheated on anymore. He broke my heart which I feel I’ll never be at “meh”. Don’t know why it’s taking me so long to get there or if I ever will. I pray someday my life will again be happy but my son and new daughter in law will surely help me get there. Bless everyone here at CN
    and our lives become better without cold selfish spouses.

    • I wonder what it’s like to live your entire adult life with such a moral sickness. To view other people as objects, and to have no other purpose than to take what you can get and leave others to fend for themselves.

      My fiance practices medicine, and occasionally sees divorced, elderly men in the clinic with much younger wives. My fiance figures that a lot of these men trap younger women into relationships so that they can nurse them through the indignities of old age.

      And then there’s the elderly patient who suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident with her grandchild, and her husband spent almost all of a follow-up appointment interrogating my fiance about when his wife would feel up to having sex again. She nearly died, but the important thing? His dick.

      • My mother told me a disturbing story from her cancer support group. A woman lay in bed after a chemo or radiation treatment, exhausted. Her husband came in the bedroom, kicked the corner of the bed and demanded she get up and fix him some food.
        Early in the pandemic, some man was interviewed after his wife, a nurse, died of covid. He whined about about having to learn to cook and clean for himself. Really ?! What a narc.
        I’m approached by men who are 10/15/20 years older, looking for a free nurse and hopefully my own purse. It’s laughable. I know how much such care costs with older family members. Either a nursing home or home care aides.

        • I have three personal instances in that area. These people exist.
          One, I was getting high dose chemo and the kids(3yo and newborn) and I were staying at my parents because at this point we were discarded and I knew he would be of no help. I had just gotten sick and back into bed when he walked into the bedroom, locked the door, climbed on the bed with pants down and proceeded to put his …down my throat . No conversation about the kids, myself or my parents. He just left.
          Second, after the bone marrow transplant I was staying at a hotel near the hospital in case of complications and daily clinic visits. My aunt was my caregiver. He came in and I masked up to ride to the grocery. Once there he stared at me waiting for me to go in. I had to tell him I had zero immune system. What an inconvenience. When we returned, he sat in a chair waiting for me to fix and serve him. I did even though I felt I was moving underwater through marbles.
          I will never forgive him for those along with other forms of abuse.
          Third, his mom had cancer not long after we left him. I reluctantly took one of the kids to visit her after consulting my attorney. As we were leaving his dad mentioned how much he was having to learn. Being through it, I thought he meant new vocabulary and caregiving. Nope. He continued with- washing clothes, cooking, housekeeping. WTF was my thought. A 70ish yo. I absolutely did not take that bait and make any offers to help. By that time I was already thinking of their million dollar property as a bottom with no escape. That’s the way his wife escaped.
          Those two apples hadn’t fallen. They were still hanging on looking for a new host. The ex has lived with his dad since we left. I’m sure his waiting his inheritance.
          They will never return the care and investment you put into the relationship. He made it easy to go no contact and not give a damn about his drama but he still likes to churn it up through the court system.

          • I recently saw a tiktok where a woman described the moment she new her relationship was over.

            She’d just gotten out of the hospital from her FOURTH miscarriage. Sore and tired from being discharged that very day, she still made dinner. Her husband looked at her over their dinner and pronounced that if she couldn’t “give him children,” he would leave her.

            She left him.

      • I believe these old men that marry young women are deluding themselves by thinking hooking up with a younger woman will somehow ward off old age or people will see them as virile. When in reality they are more than likely being laughed at and just look like pathetic asses.

        • Maybe such men don’t care as long as the much younger wife fulfills her duty ie cleaning up after he pees all over the bathroom, or instructing the aide to do so. She’s just biding her time until he croaks and she inherits or collects his social security.

          • I think they go for younger women because older women are wise to them. The last three years of our marriage, FW was pissed that I stopped cooking and cleaning. I came to the conclusion that it was all a massive and unnecessary waste of my time. If he wanted dinner and a clean house, he could do it himself instead of “working” such long hours.

            • Or they can pay for it with some of the money they are using for their vices, whether it be women, gambling, drugs etc.

              I told my now H that if he was looking for a spit shiner for a wife, he does not want me. He decided it didn’t matter.

              Most of the time I was working before I retired, I paid someone twidce a month to come and do a heavy clean. Made it much easier for me.

              I asked several time of my fw to get a house cleaner. He insisted it was a waste of money, then bitched ab out my efforts, which were not spit shine quality, but darn good.

              The whore would have had to do with less if we hired a house cleaner.

            • >I think they go for younger women because older women are wise to them.

              It’s this answer.

              One of the wonderful things about getting older is creepy older guys don’t hit on me (as much) anymore.

              They would tell me when I was a teen/college student that they liked me because “I was mature for my age.”

              Now I realize what these men were REALLY saying was they were too immature for theirs – and women their age saw right through them.

    • They may get older, but they don’t get wiser and they never develop any true humanity.

    •  “He broke my heart which I feel I’ll never be at “meh”.”

      I feel the exact same way and dread all the upcoming family events I’m going to have to attend with X and the last affair partner he left me for. I’m not at meh and it feels like I never will be; the hurt is just too strong and it manifests itself, often, as nausea.

      But, even though I am struggling with meh, I am so grateful for these “it’s finally Tuesday” stories. They give me hope and I love reading them. Thank you CL and CN.

      • I’m sorry you have those dreaded events ahead. It takes longer, and is more difficult getting to a state of “meh” when one must repeatedly see exes and their partners/families. But it must be tolerated for sake of kids. Meh can be better attained by strictly no contact ever. Anyone with kids doesn’t have that luxury.

      • Fourleaf

        I don’t think I could face him with second partner at such an emotional day but I held the tears and anguish in until the day after wedding. He’s probably just using her so she can take care of his needs but it still hurt seeing how affectionate he was towards her. ????
        I understand how you feel and hope that your life improves with time. Hopefully Tuesday will be in our future. Stay strong ????

  • (Music by the Rolling Stones, lyrics by UXworld)

    Twenty years of trying to keep the peace
    Hoping her libido would increase
    Now she’s got a life
    As Chlorine Special’s wife
    I don’t care, no fucks to spare

    Meh comes on a Tuesday
    When you least expect it to
    Life is great without a fuckwit
    And the shit you went through

    Go ask Real Monkey Love about the fun
    Of knowing that the holy mess is done
    Grateful is the word
    For a life that’s not absurd
    And it’s your own, a stress-free zone


    (Here’s the tune, for you youngsters:

    • Slight rewrite:

      “Grateful is the word
      For a life without a turd . . .”

      • Love it UXworld! Your lyrics are better with a turd but our lives are better without one ????

    • Thanks UXW for the name check. When I check in I always like to see what you are up to! Your stories of KK always reminded me that there were others even more demented than my ex!

    • As a relative newb to CN, I’m surprised that over the years the UXWorld train had not yet arrived at Ruby Tuesday and feel privileged to be here to witness it in real time …

  • CL, the concept of “Meh” is so helpful because it provides hope and a plan. What a gift you have given.

    When your Tuesday arrives, more Tuesdays follow if you let them.
    There is the Tuesday of feeling more “at-one” with the world.
    There is the Tuesday when you are so proud of yourself.
    There is the Tuesday when you feel a new, more profound love with a significant other.
    There is the Tuesday you feel connected to a higher power.

  • I am not there yet and I can’t see it happening any time soon. I don’t know and don’t care what my ex is doing – his continued absence is all I hope and pray for. If I ever think of him at all, it is to be thankful he isn’t around and the occasional pang of terror at the idea of him coming back to wreak havoc with my daughter and me again.
    I can am still living with the consequences of his actions however and I will be bearing the brunt of them for a long time still, probably the rest of my life. I lost the fulfilling, secure and well-paid job I loved because of the chaos he caused in my life – all my hard work to build my career up in smoke. I had to relocate to my home town (which I can’t stand) for family support. Much as I love my family, I have never liked living here. I am surviving a hugely reduced salary, saddled with student debt because I had to retrain – working twice as hard to do a job I like half as much and which seriously reduces the amount of time I can spend with my daughter.
    Romantically it’s been a total bust. I have had two relationships since my ex which – while not quite as bad as my daughter’s bio father – were still not much of an improvement. I don’t mind being single per se, but sometimes it just feels like another marker of my failure.
    It’s hard to feel like you’ve moved on when your whole life just seems to resemble one big downward spiral no matter how hard I work. It feels like I am back to square one but without the looks, youth, energy and optimism I had as a girl.
    Anyway, sorry for the moan. Sometimes it just feels good to vent.

    • this is the place to moan as loud as you want.

      YOU WILL HET THERE. One step at a time.
      But you have to keep walking. You have more power than you know, but only you can tap into it.

      You can get help finding it – if you aren’t already seeing a therapist, get a good one.
      You can journal and map your way out, but you have to keep walking; little by little.

      • Thanks for the reply. I am keeping on walking, as I have to for my daughter’s sake. I just don’t anticipate I’ll ever get back what was stolen from me or have a healthy romantic relationship.
        Those things are gone for me now.
        If I could afford therapy I’d feel that my daughter needs the therapy more, as she’s still grieving her absent father, poor kid.

  • Real Monkey Love,

    What an inspirational chump story! Congratulations!

    I’m on the slow boat to meh, It’s a leaky vessel, but I keep patching it with putty made from this blog (not to be confused with spackle).

    Looking back at how I scurried to make someone else happy (for DECADES), how I was so easily deceived, how I spackled (“Dad means well!” ????????‍♀️), how I survived on his breadcrumbs contributes to some dark, windless days. But, I know I’m making progress because, on Dday (late 2019), I didn’t even have a boat. Now I have oars, a sail, and everything. The wind is picking up.

    And if ever I sail by my ex and/or his AP/OW, I hope I don’t notice or feel complete indifference.

    • Thanks so much. I think if you try and get on with living your life and focussing on what you’ve gained rather than lost it helps. Initially I felt like the biggest loser from my then wife’s affair but life has been so much better without her – ugh

      • RML,
        Your letter just about brought a tear of joy to my eye. So happy for you. I’m seven months out (D-Day was Christmas Day 2020) and I can see the land of Meh on the horizon. Like you, my wife was impossible to please, and I spent almost 20 years trying. She moved out and left me with our four kids; after the initial shock and months of pick me Hell, my life has never been more peaceful. Congrats, brother.

        • MG – thanks for your kind words. I’m glad to hear your life is more peaceful and your kids are with you. Being a Dad is such an important role. Best wishes RML

  • My marriage lasted 18 years. In retrospect, it consisted of about a 3-year idealization or honeymoon phase, and a 15-year devaluation phase, during which I shouldered a lot of blame. He withheld affection and validation from me “because I gained weight, wasn’t a good enough housekeeper, had the wrong career, parked the car wrong,” you name it.
    At about year 16, I instigated a separation in an effort to get him to realize and appreciate what he was about to lose. We verbally agreed not to date other people during our separation, to continue having an exclusive sexual relationship, and to work on ourselves with the end goal of reuniting in a stronger marriage. (I was smoking all the hopium.)
    Well, we did reunite, despite clear indicators that he was the same cold, judgmental guy he always was. Our marriage was worse than ever once I moved back “home.” I couldn’t figure out why he was so detached. Until I discovered an 18-month affair with a married coworker.
    A fairly amicable separation and divorce ensued. I took the high road and barely even addressed the affair with our three teenagers. He, meanwhile, denied the affair, claiming to them that Schmoopie was “just a friend” and mom was “insecure.”
    Fast forward 11 years. His relationship with all three of the kids is strained, due to his worsening alcoholism. I have been no contact with him for the past two years for the same reason. The marital home, which I gave him, is in a sad state.
    Our oldest son recently got married, and was seriously contemplating not inviting his dad. Son asked my advice and I encouraged him to consider whether he might have regrets later on about excluding his dad. He ended up extending an invitation. I was civil to ex, very gray rock, during the entire event. And grateful as hell to be divorced from him and having had over a decade to forge my own path.
    What I didn’t realize when I left my marriage was that my picker was broken, my boundaries nonexistent, and my FOO baggage largely unprocessed, despite therapy and general self-improvement efforts.
    So after a few years of being single, I entered into a relationship with a younger man. It turned out to be the worst four years of my life, containing all the classic components of living with a sociopath: lovebombing and great sex, lying, cheating, mooching, laziness, excessive drinking, drama, ridiculous fights, triangulation… and on and on.
    It was during this relationship that I discovered Chumplady.
    It’s been over three years since I left him. The hardest work I’ve had to do since I left has been learning to live with the residual attachment to him I still feel. In the early days post-breakup he tried to hoover me back, but couldn’t even sustain the effort long enough to suck me back in.
    These days we have sporadic contact. His life is a mess. He abandoned his two teenage kids and moved 5 hours south to his hometown and in with his mom and step-dad (this guy is in his mid-30s). Far as I can tell, it’s been a giant fuckfest ever since, with him breaking some hearts in the process. He gave away his puppy (that he adopted while we were together) to one of his fuckbuddies, knocked another one up (twice – made her terminate the first pregnancy) and now has an infant. He’s staying somewhere “with friends.”
    His social media posts indicate that drama follows him wherever he goes. No fucking wonder. Whenever we do interact, I get either the charm channel or the sad sausage channel.
    Here’s the thing, though, and the reason I wrote all this down. I’m unbothered. Unflappable. Unswayable from this badass life I’ve built for myself.
    I don’t disagree with No Contact. When it comes to my ex-husband, it was absolutely necessary for my peace of mind. With the sociopath ex-boyfriend, I couldn’t sustain it. And I STILL got to meh.
    Nowadays when I’m triggered, and old feelings bubble up, I ask myself what it means FOR ME. E.g. if spath ex posts something about/with a woman and I’m tempted to indulge in jealousy-fueled internet searches, I ask myself what that’s about for me. Because I know from experience it has nothing to do with him. He’s a fuckwit and they never change. In the example above, I can conclude that it has to do with my wobbly sense of intrinsic worth, which is one of my FOO issues. So that’s what I work on.
    In essence, spath ex is nothing but a scratching post upon which I got to work out a lot of my issues. And given my emotional and psychological condition post divorce, it’s safe to say if it hadn’t been him, it would have been some other fuckwit.
    I wish I could have emerged from my marriage whole and healthy, and with a picker in good working order, and gone on to meet a good man. But as the saying goes, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
    And these days, I’m hard pressed to imagine a better life than the one I have. I’m in the process of fixing up my 1930 Tudor Revival cottage, where I live alone with my two cats. I have great relationships with my three grown kids, and a small circle of wonderful friends. I’m single and perfectly content to remain so for the rest of my life. I go to concerts and festivals and art fairs. I travel. I make art in my studio and build things in my workshop. I have zero drama in my life. I have peace. I wake up happy every day, and go to bed the same way. This must be meh. And if it’s not, nobody tell me, okay?

      • Thank you, Fourleaf! For a long time, I was angry at spath ex for what I framed as “wasting my last real shot at a relationship.” I was 45 when we met, I’m almost 53 now.
        Honestly, releasing that resentment and recognizing the experience for what it was (painful, traumatizing, but instrumental to my healing) was my biggest step on the road to Meh.
        I ended up with the life I deserve. And so did he.

        • “I ended up with the life I deserve. And so did he.”

          It does not get any better than that.

    • Oh I can relate. 1st H made it clear I had the wrong body, wrong career, wrong interests etc….I just wasn’t what he wanted. I stayed way too long trying to get him help. Unfortunately, I didn’t know I should be helping myself. I stayed single for years and enjoyed the piece and lack of feeling judged all the time.
      Then I met the knight. My life went way up into glorious land, marriage and then a quick devalue / OW and poof – things were worse than before I met him.
      Heal yourself and explore foo issues before finding someone else. It’s not always a picker issue – it’s also and maybe more often a rejection button issue.
      Know when to exit. Don’t count on anyone else to build your life. Value yourself TONS.

    • Seriously, your life sounds very pretty and peaceful. what a wonderful life you’ve put together without drama, intrigue, slime, horror, infections…
      Good for you! xoxo

    • “In retrospect, it consisted of about a 3-year idealization or honeymoon phase, and a 15-year devaluation phase”.

      This is so important for chumps that were married to narcs to keep in mind. The narcissist may be great for up to 2 or 3 years but then the devalue stage comes and it doesn’t matter who the partner is, it comes. So for all the chumps that think their cheating narc has changed for the AP/OWife and their life is honky dory, think again.

      • My father’s current wife (number 3) is in it for the long haul ???????? Married for thirty years, six years more than my parents. I think she’ll predecease him.

        His second wife died of pancreatic cancer. He’s such a caring person, he left her to fend for herself with chemo appointments, flying to a stamp collectors convention in Europe. I call him the philandering philatelist ???? PP

        Wife 3.0 is a definite downgrade. We were gathered at my grandparents’ home for the holidays, just a few years after the wedding which my brother and I didn’t attend. Daddyo gave his out of shape wife a Christmas card with obese Donner and Blitzen crashing through the roof. The look on her face. It’s amazing what people will tolerate to stay married and get money.

        Ps Her personality is the more significant downgrade, not her being fluffy. I suspect she was nipping at wife 2.0’s heels “Die woman so I can take your place !” Wife 2.0 was not the other woman in my parents’ marriage. I felt sorry for that one because she didn’t escape soon enough. ???? My father presented a prenup the morning of their wedding, not several months beforehand.

        • The second wife was married to him for 36 years and then died of cancer…I know cancer can hit anyone at any time but I’ve seen and have heard of many spouses in miserable marriages that end up dying of cancer. Especially the ones that pull out all the stops to make everyone else think the marriage and family life are wonderful, meanwhile life at home is hell. I think the exhaustion of putting up the pretense makes them prone to all types of illness and cancer.

          • I’m a firm believer that relentless stress can cause autoimmune disease or illness. The list suffered by people living with cheaters or simply insufferable jerks-lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, shingles, dementia, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer. What else ?

  • One more thing:

    I don’t know if this means I’m not at meh or that I simply (and finally) have good boundaries or both, but I recently told a mutual friend who’s invited both me and my ex ????to her daughter’s wedding that I won’t go if he goes. I said it without emotion. No drama. Just me trying to protect myself.

    p.s. He’s agreed not to go. For a second, I thought, “How nice of him!” (the chump is strong in this one ????????‍♀️), but my sister rightly pointed out that I should NEVER think he’s doing anything for my benefit. More likely, he’s enraged that his OW wasn’t invited; he’s incapable of being alone, especially at a wedding; and he probably wanted to burnish his badly damaged reputation. Tough to polish a turd, but I imagine he tries.

    • Good for you! Perhaps some of us will get to a version of MEH but still want to avoid seeing the person who abused us if possible. Since cheating is not considered abuse in society – of course no one thinks twice about inviting you and the person who abused you to a wedding. What’s done is done type of thing… Moving on!
      If only it were that simple. Since many of us chumps stay single for long periods of time and it creates the space to obsess about the fuckwit and or our former life. The FW’s just move on and don’t give us a second thought.

      The last time I saw FW ( legal stuff) I just couldn’t stop staring at him. Like who are you? He was so far removed from me – he didn’t even look at me. But I felt like I was still in a relationship with him -and trying to know him. He had this whole other life and had moved on, but I didn’t know about it so I felt frozen in time.
      I still feel frozen in time sometimes….. and it’s such a waste of my life.
      I can tell you that I am 100% at MEH with XH #1. But I still don’t want to spend any time around him because his energy just gets in my space. I would be able to go to my kids weddings etc. – I would just hope to not have to sit near him because the sound of his voice irritates me. He has a very strong presence and I don’t want to be around it.
      FW…. well sadly I’m still having a relationship -so to speak-with him. Me and the phantom FW and the wounds I am trying to heal – while he is having an actual real life relationship with OW. This is what I am realizing and trying to work on. Talking about him, thinking about him, all that free rent in my brain is having a relationship with him. Covid didn’t help. Working on it.

  • For me it’s 10 years since I threw my FW out of the apartment after discovering he had been cheating on me since day one with numerous women. The breakup was hard, he went from begging to threatening to crying to furious… as narcissists do. He would send me gifts one day and hateful letters the other. He refused to change his adress for over a year, threatened to take my home and I was actually scared of him for a long time, just trying to duck from the attacks whether they were sugary or stingy. I worried for the next chump to get in his way, he continued to “woo” me in his sick manner despite new girlfriends. Yes, multiple. It didn’t stop until I met my husband.
    But now I am happily married since 6 years to this wonderful man and got proof just the other day that I couldn’t care less what Ex thinks or does. He wanted to follow me on Instagram, ten years after the breakup (my account is private) and I just deleted his request without even thinking twice. I didn’t even feel a little bit curious of what happens in his life or wanted to see what he posts after all this time, I was just happy to be living my life with love and trust and I have truly stopped thinking about the shitshow that is Ex. The meh is real. Halle-fuckin-luja.

  • Finally my boys are at an age where I do not have to associate with the terrorist and wifetress. Prior to this when I saw them I didn’t associate with them and look at them like they are ???? on my shoe. Because they are.

    No matter how self righteous and pretending to be upstanding citizens they act, I know and most people know how they really are. They can stay in their delusional bubble all they want, but that bubble eventually pops.

    • Haha. So true re: the delusional level. FW and Schmoopie bought a house together and renovated it (something he and I did many times over) and daughters tell me they and their friends cannot stand going there because the vibes are disgusting. Evidentially Schmoops has bland decorating tastes to match her personality yet she hangs several plaques on the walls with dumb sayings about “love and togetherness forever… “ blah blah ????. If that isn’t Deluuuuuuuuuusional, I don’t know what is. He has a prostitute hobby she knows nothing about. Perhaps her gynaecologist will explain it to her.

  • I feel fleeting moments of happy and joy walking the path of separation. I also feel moments of grief out of nowhere. Mostly the anger and sadness is at myself for tolerating the cheating and abuse as long as I did. After d-day and some major denial and believing he wasn’t cheating he wanted me to attend a work event with him. Then surprise as we were on our way he says the ho-worker would be there. I saw her and we talked a bit and I felt so so I left and waited in the car. Mad that I was waiting but wanted to leave him but then I’d be worried about her driving him home. I later learned her husband had left her (month prior to this run in) over the affair with my husband. So the whole time my instincts were right. She played such a victim like she was so stressed.

    It was a shit situation and I drove past that restaurant today and that wave of grief hit me like a train.
    I appreciate the hope from the other side.

    • Oh, that sucks LongtimeChump.

      Also, this is further confirmation that these cheaters get off on triangulation. I hope you can take a different route next time. When I drive to my former hometown ( the scene of the crime), I can’t help but pass the hotel where my ex and the AP used to meet up. One glimpse of that hotel, and the memories flood back. Every damn time.

      Oh, and her playing the victim? Classic. Ugh. These people. Your ex, too. Geezus.

      Better days are ahead, Longtime Chump!

  • You know, I’ve noticed an interesting pattern. These FWs are addicts. Of booze, attention, dick sparkles, whatever. Racoons who go after what’s shiny.

    They are all three year olds in squidgy disgusting body pods.


    • “They are all three year olds in squidgy disgusting body pods.”


  • I really could care less that my ex is with someone else but I don’t know if I will ever get over the lies and deceit. I held this person on a pedestal thinking they were always better than me and it was all a lie. Everyone she knew was in on her big performance and the people who didn’t know could care less when they found out. There should be jail time for robbing people of their lives.

  • I am nowhere near meh. But I feel I had a bit of a breakthrough when I had to go to the house this weekend and pick up a few things. I did talk to him about what I was taking and how is the sick cat doing and he was cooperative. I’d been scared to see him or talk to him or anything else but it was fine and I did not fall apart after I saw him.
    This is big progress for me. Still in the middle of the divorce so nothing is decided yet.

  • Shoutout to those who find Tuesday elusive.

    I’m very meh about meh.

    For those of us who were in long relationships—thirty years married here, with five years of dating before that, and there’s no getting around what a substantial chunk of life thirty-five years is—I think it can be helpful and healthy not to think of being over it, not caring about it, it never thinking about it as actual goals. It would be weird, indeed, simply to shrug off more than what, for me at least, counts as over half my life on earth so far. Those chapters happened, and I’m still figuring out what they mean in the overall narrative that’s still in progress. That doesn’t seem to me like a failure to achieve indifference. It just seems sane.

    Same deal with a new relationship. Perfection at this point would be someone lovely who wanted rollicking sex on the regular but would also a) not be messing with others, b) not want to cohabit, c) not want to mingle finances, d) not want to marry, e) not be too needy and on and on through whatever z might be. If that person pops into my life, awesome, but I’m doing zilch to make that happen.

    This has been the first stretch since like age twelve that I’m not all wrapped up in some relationship, and I like it. Still have plenty of healing, growing, self-reflection, and parenting of chronologically adult children to do, so the truth is that even if miracle man did pop up, I might not even notice. Might have waved him off already, for all I know. Not sorry, if that’s the case.

    Really still figuring out who I am as I barrel towards sixty. Right now, it’s all I can do to keep up with the assorted projects that really do contribute to peace, like cleaning closets; clearing thirty years of detritus from shed, garage, and basement; making sure finances are in order for retirement; keeping up with professional and personal paperwork; getting daughter through the last year of undergrad and into grad school; and so forth.

    Then, there are the other goals: working in and enjoying the peace of home and yard, reading, writing, traveling (which for me means things like sitting on the sand and contemplating the ocean, walking along the surf’s edge and contemplating the ocean, watching the play of light and contemplating life as the sun sets over the ocean—hey, I know what I like), hiking, playing with photography, and savoring solitude.

    That all sounds pretty glorious. So do the small things like filling my space with music, gazing at the moon, enjoying candle glow in the quiet of my home at night, disappearing into a movie, watching lightning bugs flicker, listening to snowfall, settling in by a crackling fire.

    Meh isn’t a goal. A romantic relationship isn’t a goal. Finding peace, being absorbed by life, and appreciating the sparks of beauty and magic that always surround us are goals.

    I honestly think I get more satisfaction from the tiniest things, now—a long peaceful shower as the music I love plays, the feel of slipping on a soft and slouchy hoodie on a cold night, sipping a mug of coffee while it is so fresh that the steam is still curling up from it—than all thirty years of marriage ever brought.

    Whatever to meh. Step into the life you have without apology for the difficult stretches that were and perhaps continue to be part of that, without pretending they didn’t happen, without pressuring yourself to somehow erase them, without thinking that you only matter or fully exist within the confines of a sexual relationship.

    Can’t very well lop off half the chapters of our lives and expect the meaning-making that is life to be very satisfying.

    • Thank you for sharing that meh isn’t a goal (so lest chumps think they failed at that too). For me, it’s to getting to where I don’t react to his presence, whether that’s in person or someone bringing him up. The anger, sadness & disappointment are still there, but dulled so I can outwardly show meh to him & the world. And that’s good enough for me at the moment.

    • thankyou cashmere! for those beautiful descriptions of MEH. Ireally appreciate the depth of your sense of lived moments. Which were so out of reach when i lived with the raging narc exhole.
      It’s so great to be able to feel good again, and i thought thismight be lost to me forever. In truth its taken 6 years to get here … lots of strength building over that time, which i can say now that i am very proud of. I love what you wrote, and will copy and keep it close. Its how i want to live now

    • Yes, I agree.

      I moved on with my life, and in fact have had a good life. I lost 20 years to the abyss that was my ex. I don’t think one needs to be at meh to go on with life and start building a new life.

      I do think it is prudent to not rush into any legal entanglement until on solid ground as an individual. But, I think it might be rare for one to ever totally be “over it” whatever that means.

      It is like any other huge trauma, work hard to over come; but don’t stop living, and loving whether it is family, pets, projects, or a new partner. Or all of that and more.

      Some scars never go away, but they don’t have to remain a huge issue.

    • what a great post, cashmere. i hope to be there one day. it’s early days for me and i’m in the machinations of a separation agreement. moving forward, i’m interested in being my own person.

    • Very. Inspiring post thank you. 30 years here too and I really like your philosophy on this meh business. Thank you again.

  • Thanks to Tracy and CN. Back in 2015 it was CL, along with IHG that helped me understand the behaviour of my cheating wife. After 3 wasted months of wreckonciliation I finally understood the problem was her not me and I had to divorce her. I asked my kids recently if they were mad if left their mum. Their answer was they’d have been mad if I hadn’t. I’m proud of both of them. They are considerate, caring and hard working. They are nothing like their Mum. It’s the thing I’m most grateful for. I wouldn’t have got there without CL and CN. Here’s to you all.

  • So very well put, Cashmere. Thank you for your lovely, healing words.

  • Was at a school performance last night (Tuesday!) for my child. X was there too. Had to sit feet away. Just happened to be the 1 year anniversary of d-day discovering that their emotional affair was ongoing and had become physical. Thought I’d be devastated but I coped really well. Tiny moment of tears of relief after it was all over and the kids and I were heading home. Still sadness over things but definitely wasn’t kicked into the maelstrom of emotions like I thought I’d be. I’ve worked so hard on healing from this. It’s been much better since we separated a few months ago. It was so nice to feel some of that work on my own healing is beginning to pay off.
    Thought I did a pretty good job at grey rock, too.
    Love this community and all of the stories of mightiness and meh that give hope that we will get through this.
    The early days, weeks, months can be so very painful. Light at the end of the tunnel is vital.

  • I like all the Tuesdays Tall One listed.

    Until recently I would have read all the meh stories and been forlorn and jealous and angry that some people get to meh, and would have thought, “isn’t that nice for those people who had some sense of personal worth or happiness to “get back” to after having been mistreated.” I’d be identifying with the people who feel like they can’t or might never get there, and also feeling ashamed and defensive about that, as if I just suck at moving on.

    I really appreciate the convo upthread about FOO issues. I’m starting to realize that my FOO is the original soup pot of “you’re not enough” / “your needs are exasperating.” My parents are the original FWs, in a way: they’re not cheaters, but they communicated deeply that I should be grateful for any emotional attention or support I forced them to give. They also neglected my and my sibs’ social development as it was more convenient for them for us to not have friends we would want to visit or entertain, and more convenient for us to have no relationships requiring energy other than with them. They couldn’t communicate to me or teach me that I deserved real peace (rather than just insisting on the “not-fighting” kind of “peace” that comes from pretending meanness or abuse didn’t just happen), that I deserve genuine peer connections, that I deserve to know my own mind, to assert myself, to identify exploitative or selfish people who want their needs served over mine and to walk away from them. I have not known what it feels like to be valued for who I am. (Cue a lifetime of perfectionism and over-achieving and depression.)

    So when I left my FOO, I carried around inside me not only a lack of peace, but no sense of deserving real affirmation or emotional support (except for excelling at work/school), and no model of how to identify the real support over love bombing, and no model of provide that real support to myself. All my relationships have been attempts to try to get what I need, and I’ve only recently understood how I’ve gone into each relationship as though my opinions/convictions/beliefs were something to apologize for, something that kind friends and lovers would generously put up with. And being alone / relationship breakdowns have always been an experience of confirmation that I’m someone needy that others just have to escape.

    I don’t think there’s any way to achieve “meh” as long as one’s inner world is a child’s terror that who they are is fundamentally off-putting. I had to stop and self-soothe after reading GuideDog’s thoughtfulness above, about his daughter’s needs for friends. It is so hard for me to see that a parent can be thoughtful and caring like that (and like, even more caring because of her special needs, rather than treating her like she’s too difficult for friends! omg!). I was that on-the-spectrum kid, basically shamed by her folks for her needs and her social awkwardness exploited for its convenience.

    With that background, I can understand why breakups have decimated me, and why I’m so heartbroken that people could deceive me, like how could they DO that? But I’m working on it, and now I see that these people were sources of external validation that I didn’t know how to give me. The more I learn and feel the effects of validating myself, the more obvious it is why I was exploitable, the more obvious the type of person attracted to that, the more forgivable my mistakes, and the less devastating the loss of that ex who was the source of feeling like I mattered.

    My Tuesdays are looking a lot less like a life sentence of aloneness for my fundamental sins of neediness. They’re starting to look more like a broad canvas of exploring who I am and realizing everything that the flawed humans in my life couldn’t value. As Tall One said:

    “There is the Tuesday of feeling more “at-one” with the world.
    There is the Tuesday when you are so proud of yourself.
    There is the Tuesday when you feel a new, more profound love with a significant other.
    There is the Tuesday you feel connected to a higher power.”

    Happy Tuesday.

    • Very insightful, thank you for sharing! I suffer from the opposite affliction where I absolutely do not like to rely on others for any need, at all. I have along history of “in-housing” all feelings, stress, tasks, work, chores, etc. It’s exhausting being a solo operator. Like you, I’m working on be able to ask for and receive help without shame spiraling. Maybe we can never really get over these childhood scars, or maybe it can be just a ‘practice makes perfect’ thing where we fake it till we make it. I still cringe when I ask for help or to have a need catered to…but it doesn’t keep me up at night the way it used to. And that’s something. As they say, progress not perfection.

      Best of luck to you.

    • Magnolia I could have written much of what you have about FOO. It’s a long journey but a worthwhile one isn’t it. ((hugs))

    • Yes to this. I appreciate you taking the time to put down into written word these very similar patterns of neglect and subsequent behaviors that I experienced as a child/ young adult/ adult.

      “…no sense of deserving real affirmation or emotional support (except for excelling at work/school), and no model of how to identify the real support over love bombing, and no model of provide that real support to myself…”

      In short, why I allowed an unsatisfactory marriage with a liar user abuser fraud fake cheating dysfunctional person.

      No longer a prisoner of the old mindset, my today and tomorrow are much more satisfying, happy and balanced and self affirming and self loving.

  • Thankyou Magnolia. That is a brilliant break down of FOO issues.
    I think many families of my parents generation (I’m in my 60’s now) who had more than 2 kids, really had no idea how to provide emotional support. Coming from a working class background (and very Catholic!) from Northern England, everything you wrote resonates with my own childhood. But I sort of think that it was just how people “got on” with things when there was no birth control, and no money, and no idea about emotional or psychological issues.
    Only as a parent myself did I begin to understand how it could have been otherwise. Plus a lot of education!!
    I beleive there has been a huge change in consciousness, not only for me but in an entire generation of women. It looks to me like men have a long way to go to catch up.
    A long time, a lot of therapy and a whole Chump Nation have been necessaryto help me get to Tuesday

  • All I can say about this one is congratulations. It takes a lot of time to unfuck you’re mind, especially with kids involved. Unfortunately, kids make the grey rock that much harder, but it CAN be done. I’m not dogging, but I am saying it gets even better than this. That was step one. Next time you see Mr. sparkles you probably won’t even look twice. That is TRUE meh. Last time I ran into affair partner 1 for the third time, I had zero thoughts or reactions. It was just, oh yeah there’s that guy. Didn’t wonder for one second what or how bad his life was, he just doesn’t matter. Quite frankly, never did. He can cure cancer tomorrow or go to prison for a triple homicide. I just didn’t and don’t care. That was true meh for me.Yes, this was not my first feelings when I saw him 6 months out of D day LOL. I was the crazy perfect little chump then. Dude actually called me once, CALLED, not face to face cause that would require courage, something cheaters lack. Short convo “we have nothing to discuss, you’re life choices or regrets don’t concern me, click”. Keep being mighty, you’re daughters can see it and be better for it.

  • I was on about “Sunday” yesterday and my x’s “buddy” started stalking my sister on the gram. His posts are inflammatory and meant to harass me.
    I’ve been no contact for 3 months— happiness and joy had crept back into my life without her— so I told my sister, “Chump Lady says no contact and trust that they suck”. I told her never to tell me anything about these people and to just forward an interaction they have with you on to my attorney. I don’t even care why this dude would do this, I just wish these two freaks happiness and good riddance.
    I’m on about early Monday morning now.
    Thanks Chumplady.

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