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UBT: “Thank You for Always Being There”

Dear Chump Lady,

My ex-husband and I were together for ten years, married for one when he asked for a divorce. I was heartbroken and didn’t understand where this was coming from (we had been trying for a baby). So, in the midst of a pandemic, I moved in with a friend and her family so we could take some time apart.

A month later, I moved back home and we started marriage counseling. It wasn’t long before I noticed suspicious charges on our credit card. I can only assume he wanted me to find them, since I had always taken care of our finances and had been supporting him for the past year since he had lost his job.

I went digging. I found evidence of multiple affairs, over multiple years. He was trolling for partners on FetLife for at least 3. You see, he is a “daddy” and found a sub who was able to give him what I couldn’t (never mind that we had had a very healthy sex life). Even better, his new sub is the founder of a BDSM community and hosts a podcast where she describes their relationship in minute detail. Lovely! He takes his role of “daddy” very seriously. Honesty, care for your partner, and selflessness are all central components of their love. Please ignore that pesky wife sitting at home paying the bills.

Looking back, it is wild how many signs of infidelity I missed, but I’ve nearly forgiven myself for being so trusting and putting up with so little. You’d think that me contracting herpes 7 years into a relationship would have been a wake up call, but alas.

I left, went no contact, and filed for divorce. I kept the dog and bought a condo (in my name only). It’s amazing how much money you actually have when you aren’t supporting another fully grown adult. I’ve finally started seeing a doctor who has helped me with some lifelong health issues. I’ve lost 30 pounds, I am sleeping better, I wake up happy. Friends and family say I look great. I am more joyful than I have been in years.

It is only 9 months since he asked for a divorce and 6 since D-Day, but I feel great. Somehow, I feel like this is all too easy. The divorce process has been relatively smooth. I am rarely sad about the betrayal anymore and can go days or even weeks without thinking about my ex. Am I just in denial?

Something about finding out about his infidelity flipped a switch inside of me that set me free and allowed me to see our relationship without rose colored glasses for the first time. It seems strange, but I’m even thankful for my infertility which saved me from having this idiot’s child.

I am just worried that this new life I’ve built is going to come crashing down around me, just like my old one did. I’m scared that I am too happy, too soon. Is the other shoe going to drop?

Here is a lovely little letter for the UBT which he managed to sneak into my things as I moved out:

I want to apologize for the pain and suffering I cause and not being the husband or friend you deserve. You were nothing but wonderful to me. I know we had our differences and didn’t see eye to eye on things, but you deserve more respect and love than I gave. I know you will be going through a lot of healing from the things I put you through, I just want to let you know I’m sorry for my actions, if that means anything. You are a wonderful, smart, loving, beautiful person and for what it’s worth I want you to know what I think of you. I know after our divorce is finalized you won’t want to hear from me again, so I want to say thank you for always being there for me and loving me even though I didn’t deserve it. I truly hope you find someone who will love and cherish you like you do to all the friends and creatures in your life. Take care Ray Ray, give the cats and Atlas a pat on the head from me.

Thank you for your blog, it really did help me gain a better life than I could have imagined.

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

I’m not the least bit surprised that you’re happy to be free of this freak. Don’t underestimate the toll of 10 years of mindfuckery and being the sole adult in the relationship. He abused you.

That infertility? I’m wondering if it has anything to do with being unknowingly exposed to God knows how many STDs. Please, please, please have a full obgyn work up. This is another one of those unsung damages of chumpdom. (Funny how Esther Perel never mentions it as she blathers on about Exuberant Acts of Defiance and Quests for Aliveness.) I’m glad you found a great doctor. I really hope the infertility is a case of dodging a bullet with him and not a permanent condition.

As for feeling like your new life could come crashing down — I don’t think you go through something like this and ever lose that feeling.

It’s manageable. Don’t let it cripple you or steal your joy. But yes, you look at the world differently after trauma. You know there are freaks out there, phonies, liars, people who are not what they seem. You know that the bottom can drop out of most anything. You lose naivety. But you gain resiliency and a belief in your own toughness. I hope you also gain a deep empathy for anyone going through troubles. You’ll get new superpowers.

Speaking of superpowers, the Universal Bullshit Translator could use a work out. It’s just being lolling about tanning its sprockets. Time to kick it in gear.

I want to apologize for the pain and suffering I cause and not being the husband or friend you deserve.

I know exactly what I did. I know what husbands and friends are, and what you deserve, and I deliberately withheld that from you. Because your pain and suffering are a turn on. Daddy likes a sub.

You were nothing but wonderful to me.

I deserve wonderful. I shit on wonderful.

I know we had our differences and didn’t see eye to eye on things,

Like you’re an adult with a job, and I am an unemployed dungeon master. #differences

but you deserve more respect and love than I gave.

You deserve love and respect, I deserve a burning hot nipple clamp. I should be tethered to a post and forced to recite STD statistics. I should receive a lash for every genital wart I’ve caused. Every abnormal pap smear. Every fucked up fallopian tube. Every lie of your assumed safety I told.

Instead, here are some words I don’t mean. #sorry #oopsIbrokeURuterus

I know you will be going through a lot of healing from the things I put you through, I just want to let you know I’m sorry for my actions, if that means anything.

It doesn’t mean anything. But I’m so used to give you absolutely nothing, why stop?

You are a wonderful, smart, loving, beautiful person and for what it’s worth I want you to know what I think of you.

I imagine that my validation of you matters. Measure yourself by my praise.

#fetch #Daddyhasakibble

I know after our divorce is finalized you won’t want to hear from me again,

So, I just thought I’d start violating your boundaries now by stuffing this note in your things.

so I want to say thank you for always being there for me and loving me even though I didn’t deserve it.

Thank you for being of use. Of course I deserved it. Just twirling the self-pity knob on the mindfuckery channels.

I truly hope you find someone who will love and cherish you like you do to all the friends and creatures in your life.

Daddy is munificent. Go forth with the blessings of creatures! Have friends! Maybe you can find someone who loves you like a cat. Someone better than me.

Take care Ray Ray, give the cats and Atlas a pat on the head from me.

I am an ordinary friendly man who pats animals on the head. Would a sociopath call you Ray Ray? I come in peace. I have a puppy in my van, would you like to pet it?

#creepycreepcreep

****

Rachel, congrats on rocking the new life. Please enjoy every freak-free minute.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Ugh.

    The Secret Sexual Basement strikes again.

    (Whoever linked to that guy’s work on the secret sexual basement, thanks – it was a great read, and kind of a unified field theory of fuckwittery. Plus it put me off dating for life.)

      • hahahahahahaha Lola!
        “Plus it put me off dating for life”

        Thank the heavens for CN and that I am simply too busy to even think about dating.

      • THANK YOU for posting that link. I can’t even read all of it at once because the emotions are so intense. This is multi-generational in our family.

      • Thanks for sharing this. It’s not the sexual preferences as much as it is a profound character flaw in someone who would do this to their partner – either to intentionally deceive/hurt because they get off on it, or because they truly have no regard for anyone else save what they can get from them. It is truly frightening that these people exist in the world.

        • That’s what strikes me the most about my ex wife. During the pandemic lockdown she was cheating with nearly 20 men and sneaking out. We had young kids in the house and she was potentially exposing us to COVID and for me the potential of being given an STD, HIV or god knows what. They have zero regard for anyone but themselves.

        • That’s right. If they had any decency, they would find somebody who shares their fetishes instead of deceiving people who don’t. I guess they figure that people who share their fetishes are probably like them- too fucked up to do the adulting that a chump does, and won’t make a good respectable front for them. They want somebody normal to hide behind, so they suck some innocent person in with some happy horseshit and proceed to cheat. Despicable.

      • “The problem is sexual acting out disorders are not just sexual behaviors but are also abusive conduct patterns and complex pathologic systems, which often include elaborate deceptive compartmentalized sexual-relational realities and systems of abusive covert management.

        These are patterns of methodical planning over time, careful construction of manipulation of others and cognitive schemas well maintained in order to keep a compartmentalized reality protected from discovery. It takes pre-planning to sexually act out in many instances, sometimes requiring days of strategizing against the integrity of vital relational stability and family infrastructure required for health.

        Maintaining a compartmentalized sexual or relational reality within a family system and relational intimate life takes profound energy to orchestrate and maintain, requiring careful and skilled methodology. This is not simply impulsive or compulsive sexual behavior.”

        • “Victims need recognition of the patterns of harm and abuse they experience and have endured, which goes way beyond the Pollyanna descriptions of “hurt and betrayal” caused by specific sexual acting out behaviors. Furthermore, female victims are violated further by being labeled “co-sex addicts” routinely by professionals and “educated that they have a disease of self-perpetration” rather than being afforded therapeutic intervention for abuse and assessment and treatment for consequent acute and complex trauma (C-PTSD).”

    • Hey LolaGranola: I’m the chump who posted the original Dr. Minwalla link! He’s the antidote to Esther Perel. I listen to his interviews on repeat.

      Thanks for reposting. Between him, Chumplady, and Dr. Ramani, who needs to pay for therapy?

  • Why do these nut jobs think a written apology fixes anything. He has now dusted off his hands, shrugged and closed the door on the marriage, smug in the idea that he can move on guilt free. When you are a little further out you will be thankful you don’t share a child with him.

    • Letgo,

      In this case, I think that the Cheater went for the written apology because they can polish it up to look like they are doing the right thing even when they are quite clearly doing anything but. I also suspect that he would have had a great deal of difficulty looking Rachel in the eye while delivering that arrant nonsense had he tried to do it face to face.

      While I’m at it, I’m willing to bet that he shows a copy of the letter to his friends to show what a decent person he is; all part of the impression management campaign.

      LFTT

      PS – I don’t know about a a burning hot nipple clamp (CL – I wasn’t aware that was a thing, but “hey ho”), “Daddy” deserves a red hot poker up his backside.

      • It sent me a final text, the evening before our final court appearance. “Regardless of what happens tomorrow, please know I will always have a soft place for you in my heart”. This was after he literally lied to me for the entire 17 years we were together. We knew what was going to happen in court the next day, I was going to eat a 6 figure long shit sandwich to legally divest myself of him. He totally got away with it, I had to pay all his lawyer fees, my lawyer fees, and and give him a settlement even though we had a pre-nup where he was supposed to get nothing. I am sure he was doing to just to “close the books” and make himself feel and look good. Oh, how magnanimous of him to still care about me, look how special and emotionally mature he is. A text he could show people to hold up his “we grew apart, I didn’t want a divorce” line of bullshit he was feeding people. What a waste of life he is.

          • Oh god yes, this is one of the most cringy of shit sandwiches! And the rest of the world (including the court) believes them, making you seem unforgiving.

            • I was honestly lucky in that I had a no-nonsense female judge who recognized the games he and his lawyer were playing. She very lightly threatened to enforce the prenup and they backed way off the 7 figure settlement he was asking for. So as much as it sucked, it was now where near the bloodbath it could have been. I just couldn’t believe his audacity in sending that. He had just finished making off (per the agreement) with a household full of stuff I bought, furniture, musical instruments, a fully furnished kitchen, a brand new truck I bought him for his band tours and I’m laying there in an empty house on the floor on a mattress that was going to the dump the next day and he still cares about me. Yeah, okay.

              • Wow great you came out of that so well!
                Makes me think up to what point for judges (like so many other professions) human knowledge is so important, beside legal skills.

              • MH 90210,

                Ouch! You would be forgiven for wondering whether he was just twisting the knife because this was the last chance he would get. No wonder his apology rang hollow.

                Ex-Mrs LFTT’s knife twisting extended beyond the finalisation of our divorce. No sooner had we received our Decree Absolute and her settlement cheque cleared, than she demanded to come over to the house where our three kids and I lived to take “her half of the contents.” She completely ignored the fact that she had signed over all of the contents to the house to me as part of our agreement. She was outraged that I stood my ground and said “No.” Her threats to take me to Court over this came to nothing; by then her solicitor’s were refusing to deal with her any more and they would have known that she didn’t have a leg to stand on, even if she was in denial about it.

                In a way this did me a favour; anyone who bought into (or plays back to me) her “LFTT screwed me over and and isn’t keeping to the agreement” BS got cut out of my life and hasn’t been let back in since.

                LFTT

          • Adelante, I heard he bought a small apartment building and I was so mad. Then a couple years later, he was driving for a ride share app (he picked up an acquaintance who called me as soon as she got out of his truck (same one I bought him so it was now getting beat up by passengers) so I guess the money ran out. I would imagine he is probably struggling since COVID, he is only qualified for the lowest paying jobs, he has no skills or certifications and the one thing he is good at, music, well, no one was going to shows for the last 2 years. I sold my businesses 2 years ago and I am now retired. I bought my dream house where I can host lots of family and friends. And, I’m not a narcissistic sociopath that uses people like things. I win!

        • MH 90210,

          I never got anything like that, but then Ex-Mrs LFTT never was strong on apologies. In her eyes, apologising means admitting that you were wrong …. and if you don’t admit that you were wrong, then no-one can expect you to make amends can they?

          If she had tried to apologise I would have suspected a trap of some kind!

          LFTT

          • Oh, It never apologized. Why would he do that when it was entirely my fault? He’s as predictable as the next cheater using the playbook. And he knew the well was dry so no need to come back. That and the judge said if he tried to litigate after the settlement, it would not end well for him.

        • “I will always have a soft spot for you in my heart” ……… 🤨 like mold???…….
          Lol maybe his heart is rotting

          • We call him It because we’re pretty sure he’s not human. He has gone on to perpetrate this fraud on other women, delightfully to at least one of the many women he was dating when we were married. She had the gall to reach out to me to get some clarification for a lawsuit she was going to serve him with. I did not reply. Best of luck to her though!

    • Neurologists should study the phenomenon of “depravity dementia.” Reading that non-apology and so many others, I keep imagining they were written by very elderly E.M. Forsterian or Dickensian characters rotting away in their own entitled delusions like fallen viscounts wearing dandruff-flecked satin smoking jackets and squatting in a trailer park surrounded by empty frozen food cartons and flies. The shit-thinking and screwy logic seem completely decrepit.

      • Hell of a Chump: Lovely descriptive talent! Methinks you are one of my kind – economically valueless postgraduate degree in the Humanities but a priceless appreciation for the absurd and ironic.

  • The ability to conduct a long-term affair is incompatible with the ability to self-criticize and empathize necessary for a bona fide apology. It’s always all about them. #Entitlement

  • I’m always grateful to be reminded that discovering a cheater’s fetishes are only slightly different than discovering any infidelity.

    Both involve such deception, entitlement and sexual partners of low value.

    It makes it easier to trust that they suck

  • I had the same experience in that once I found out about my ex keeping his whore ex gf around my rose colored glasses came off and I saw him for what he was. My love and attraction disappeared fairly quickly even though it took me a year to file.

    I was unhappy about a lot of other things but was willing to put up with a lot as long as I thought he was trustworthy and loyal. Once I realized he wasn’t that was it for me.

    I’m almost 3 years divorced and much happier. I have a lovely bf that hasn’t shown any signs of being untrustworthy.

    My ex showed all kinds of red flags that I ignore.

    Never again.

    • “I was unhappy about a lot of other things but was willing to put up with a lot as long as I thought he was trustworthy and loyal.”

      That’s the first time I’ve heard someone else describe it that way. For decades, this was my response when various counselors asked me why I was still married. Then on D-Day, I find out he was the exact opposite. My reality was shattered.

      I think maybe Rachel had been slowly, slowly, slowly shutting her heart off from fuckwit. In some ways, I was able to get pieces of that work done during my long, miserable marriage. They are so cold and uncaring and cruel that you force yourself to kill off little trails of hope or happiness immediately when they pop up rather than let them show where he has the thrill of stomping it. You learn to tightly control your face, your reactions, your heart so you don’t give him any more ammunition. I had become an expert at killing them off myself and I think that was a piece that was causing deeper and deeper depression and health issues.

      And still I was willing to stay in the marriage and be faithful and put on a happy face every day just to keep the family together because I thought it was important to him. Isn’t that the biggest mindfuckery of all? A perfect wife appliance.

      • I once told someone who called me right after I left him (a flying monkey it turned out), that I would have stayed with him forever if he had just given me a modicum of respect and kindness.

        And when I think of that statement now, 5 years and lots of discovery later, I am grateful as hell he didn’t “treat me nicely” ’cause I would have continued for the rest of my life being treated like shit behind my back, and wondering where my mental and physical health, and happiness went.

        • Same here. I’m so happy to have now reached that point where I am so glad that he left and think that it was the kindest thing he did (not that he deserves a medal for it). I don’t know that I would have left, always hanging on to the crumbs.

  • . . . and he calls her Ray-Ray (his pet name for her, I assume) as a final bit of mental manipulation, as if to say: “Hey, it’s still me — the guy you believed in and built a life with. Mistakes may have been made, nobody’s perfect, but I’m still the guy you thought I was for so many years. Remember the good things.”

    Thinking of the end of a great bluegrass tune by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers:

    “(I’m walking away) Let’s always remember the good times
    (I’m walking away) Like when you were out of town
    (I’m walking away) But the sex was great
    (I’m walking away) At least that’s what my best friend’s brother said
    (I’m walking away) You know you’re right — we should always stay in touch
    (I’m walking away) This is your new e-mail address right?
    CheatinPyschoDish-throwinHoe.net
    Bye . . .”

    https://youtu.be/jMjfw9rznrs

  • I just love the utter hypocrisy of “Daddy” needing a “Mommy”/ATM/wife appliance in order to be “dominant.”
    BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a “man”! Bow before his power!

    Rachel, you are a mighty survivor of the shitstorm! I relate to being over the cheater quickly. I wish I had moved as quickly on it as you did. The depression and trauma bonding were deep & wide rivers to cross after 30 years of his garbage.
    Brava!

    CL has shone a light that won’t burn out. Thank you, Tracy, and every chump here in CN land, whether you post or not. We are legion. The minimizing, justifying, spackling, candy-coating, blame-shifting, money-grifting, disease-spreading, and bullshitting must be stopped. They won’t. So WE MUST.
    #timeisupfuckwits

    • Yeah, Big Daddy dependent on Big Momma. I was also struck by the irony that his form of “Daddy” was a sexual fantasy; he would never have been equal to the job of being the Real Father a Real Child would have needed him to be.

      • I would edit to add:

        The whole “Daddy” thing is just control masquerading as benevolence. You know, like passive-aggressive instead of downright aggressive, or covert narcissism as opposed to overt or malignant narcissism. I’d be willing to bet our letter writer saw a lot of passive-aggressive and covert narcissistic behavior in other places in her marriage, too.

    • That letter makes me want to shove a curling iron up a place where the sun does not shine on “Daddy”, plug it in and walk away.

      Your best revenge is living a wonderful life without this freaktard.

  • I believe it is important to note that Chump Lady, Lola Granola, and Dr, Minwalla, are all relating information that is essential if you are living in our time and trying to have “normal” functional relationships with others. I would have loved to learn this information in high school. If I could have processed it then, it may have saved me years of pain.

    Prior to adolescence, I am sure I was mentally harmed by the dysfunction in my FOO and surrounding culture. But I was fortunate not to have endured physical dysfunction as well. When I began to “date” I found most of the boys I knew to be focused on sex in some manner, and I just believed that was the way boys were. I cannot remember where I got the information, but I was told that boys thought about sex in some form or fashion almost all the time. I wondered how they ever accomplished anything else in their lives if they were that distracted with sexual thoughts? To be fair, I also wondered how “Mean Girls” could spend so much time thinking up ways to make other girls miserable. The net result of both behaviors made me go into a defensive mode, where I felt I had to protect myself from treachery at all times from all directions. Paranoid?

    “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

    ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

    So after fending off unwanted advances, and side stepping potential social disasters, I finally met a man I felt safe with (I wasn’t). I marry and eventually have children, and start learning about all types of sexual behaviors I never heard of before, and they were presented as being “cool”. A sort of Playboy magazine or Penthouse Forum version of reality, with shades of Hustler Magazine influences. They were not “cool” or sophisticated, or exuberant acts of defiance.. They were exploitive in every way.

    After 20 years of this nonsense, and enduring life with a cheater, I finally divorced. I thought he was just a bad actor. Then I met the Love Bomber. Again I felt safe (I wasn’t). I met a different version of the same bad actor. I escaped more quickly this time, but I still had to consider that something was wrong with me FOR ACCEPTING ANY OF THIS BEHAVIOR AS NORMAL.

    I was not merely reactive for a third (or more) of my life. I read, researched, studied, asked for help, sought counseling. Cumulatively all these cries for help eventually paid off, and I became a stronger, more resilient person. Like Lola, I was put off dating.

    Is this an over reaction? I don’t think so. I think it is a desire for peace, a time of restoration for all the damage done to my psyche. I feel that, for me, a man asking me out to dinner is a fake social maneuver. He doesn’t want to buy me dinner to get to know me, or as a friendly gesture. It is a starting chess move in a game of “how to get what I really want.” Sorry guys, I know there are some good ones out there, theoretically and from evidence on this site, but when you say no to dinner, the guy always says “Why, it’s just dinner.” But in my experience it’s not.

    In my experience faux remorse and apologies are more moves to create an opportunity for more abuse. I am obviously not mentally ready to play this type of chess. I also feel fine, happy most of the time in my last third of life. I found I could live very well without a spouse. I can be friends with all sexes in places where we share a mutual cultural interest. I don’t need to “partner up” to feel I belong in social situations. This attitude probably wouldn’t work for younger women wanting to have children, but for those in my age group it works pretty well. Even if you have beaten the odds, and have a good marriage, chances are he will die before you do. You have to know how to function alone, and feel good about yourself while being alone.

    Sorry to say, I heard many faux apologies and endured faux remorse from the Love Bomber. That is why I was so relieved when he died. I never again had to listen to it.. I was raised to be “polite” and I didn’t know about blocking a call then. My dysfunctional upbringing evidently knows no end. But I live and learn. I thrive. That is my goal, to thrive with my chump values intact, but unharmed by those evil forces around me. I hope all chump nation can feel this amazing freedom.

    • Portia, your message resonates with me. Also in last third (maybe less), 30 yr married, abusive FOO. Iam so resistant to partnering up-the thought of it nauseates me. And feels like men my age are interested in younger women. Yet I am struggling with aloneness, going places alone always. Girlfriends not usually available or interested or partnered up. Feeling like “is this it until the end”. How to build a life filled with joy? Not wanting to be intrusive in kids lives. It feels wobbly.

      • That is the biggest hurdle I’ve been trying to jump, being single at over 50 and very few social opportunities. I am viewed as a potential threat my most married women, or its just akward inviting the 3rd wheel, when everyone else is all parterned up. So I do things by myself. I have one other single woman friend who is a decade older than me. She experienced the same thing. We do things together, but her health isn’t as good as mine and she’s not up to some of the things I would like to be doing while I’m still able.

        It is a source of depression for me now as I watch everyone around me doing things that I would love to be doing, but don’t want, or can’t, do alone. Lots of times I either sit it out (like not going to the local musical festival ’cause I don’t want to sit on a blanket alone), or going by myself anyway, like hiking in the forest which can be dangerous. And trying not to get too envious watching everyone else out and about and enjoying themselves and their significant others and friends. Sigh.

        • I’m right there with you, sister! I did join a Facebook hiking group for women in my area. There are organized (safe) hikes every week. Just an idea.

        • So I joined a hiking group that meets every Tuesday, a book club that meets every month and a women’s golf club that plays a couple times a week. I’m meeting new people, mostly women. It is a process learning how to regroup. Definitely suggest joining groups which is something I haven’t done cuz I worked a lot to support the family. Have to develop a whole new group of friends. We are not alone just need to find a new home.

      • In my opinion, if men are ONLY interested in younger women, you probably won’t be interested in them. That is shallow. I had to get my head around the age issue. I have always dated older — due to maturity issues. When I was young, boys my age were generally not as mature as I was in their thinking. Now, I really don’t care what age they are, although I would not date someone much younger because I don’t want to “mother” anyone else, thank you. I want someone with similar interests and abilities who is interested in being a good friend, and companion first and foremost, whether my new friend is male or female.

        I am interested in live music, for example. I go to places where it is played. Initially, I had to go alone. Sometimes I had a friend or two. I made a point to be friendly and make new friends. I walked a fine line NOT to be perceived as too friendly with married men. I was interested in their music, their instrument(s) and shared memories of songs. It was awkward sometimes. I endured. I made new friends. Don’t give up.

        I have met many married men, sometimes their wives come. I am friendly with them. I have met some divorcees or widowers. None of them have interested me in a dating way. It could happen, but I don’t expect it to. ” Is this it until the end?” I don’t know. I try not to think negative thoughts, even when I have a health issue. I try to make the best use of what time and abilities I have available. I try to live in the moment.

        I have a friend who likes to travel, a lot! She made new friends by going on a tour with a bus, and being friendly. She found some new travel companions. I like to travel some places some times. I go with her some times. I am going to try her method and see if I can make new friends who like to travel sometimes, to some places. Who have similar abilities to mine.

        Friends are a gamble. If you don’t try, and take the risk, you will never win new friends. Just be careful, and observe with your new eyes open and history learned wisdom. There are no guarantees in life.

        • I’ve written about this before but since I still wanted to travel but did not want to travel alone I joined solos travel tours – and have had the time of my life. I’ve done 12 trips so far (Cuba, Sri Lanka, Peru etc.). They’re not hook-up trips (usually older folks) but I’ve made some good friends on these trips and have kept in touch with 3 people when I returned to France! In any case, FW would spoil EVERY trip we ever took so travelling with like-minded people is just wonderful!

    • Me, too. Finding very few social opportunities for singles over 60.

      I am re-connecting with extended family and former co-workers, volunteering in my community and belong to a support group. But I don’t think there are many suitable candidates for an intimate relationship even if/when I am ready.

      It is hurtful to think my ex’s behavior has marked me in some way.

      • You are not marked. You are a work in progress. Keep believing in yourself, and do not give up. It is rough some times, but find your joy. What do you love enough to put up with a little awkward feeling behaviors? Go for it!

    • Portia, I am quite a bit younger than you are, so relatively less experienced, but I relate a lot with your comment.

      Like you, I was raised to be polite. My dating life is an accumulation of men who took advantage of me because they found me sweet and pretty, then discarded me when I was no longer of use. I have been working on myself, taking therapy and reading whatever I could find, but basically I still feel I’m in the same problematic FOO pattern as 10 years ago, and I find it hard not to become fatalistic. I am now at the end of my thirties and an inch away of rejecting the whole man concept, but then there is still the little hope of a miracle to meet someone nice and who knows have a little family. Recently I have actually been meeting quite a lot of men who seem (genuinely?) interested, but I can’t help thinking: is this it? Just give me some peace.

      The older chumps here are really inspiring to me, I can’t imagine what it must be like to rebuild a life after a long marriage. You brave people rock!!!

      My friends are also people from all ages, amongst which single women older than me, because they are strong and I can relate to them. I hope the couple-standard will become less dominant and that we can find like-minded people more easily!

      • I don’t know if this will work for you, but it did for me.

        I had to fix my FOO issues first. You cannot erase your childhood, or change your past, but you can view it through a different perspective. You can change you — you change the way you act or react.

        I did not have ANY positive male role models in my FOO. My father was particularly overbearing. I had to distance myself from him in particular, steeling myself for any “must attend” family gatherings. I love my mother, but she was a FOO mess, too. Her father was overbearing. My mother was lucky to become educated and earn her own money, but she would never seek help or admit to problems that were obvious to other people. She saw asking for help as a sign of weakness. I could help my mother in some ways, but I had to give up on helping her in others. I love my uncles and aunts, but they do not participate in my daily life and I rarely see them. I am closer to my sisters, than my brothers, and the girls look to me to be second mother. I am 10 and 12 years older than they are. It is a burden to be a second mother. I have not been able to detach my inclination to rescue my sisters. However I do tell them they are grown women and need to own their decisions, and get out of their own way sometimes.

        When you reflect on your family values, think about this. Is anyone in your family truly happy? Do you reject any of the ideology you grew up with? Are you willing to detach from your “tribe” if needed to secure your own happiness? I was able to step back and participate less, and I grew to be much happier. I am glad I did not have to fully detach, but I was prepared. Eventually my FOO adjusted, although I am sure some extended members think I am a radical feminist with wacko political views. They are entitled to their opinion. I don’t think I am radical, and I view my feminist attitude as believing all humans, no matter sex, race, color or religious belief, are entitled to respect, and to live in dignity. I avoid people who believe I should be subject to their authority.

        When it come to men, I usually get along well, because it is usually a meet and greet, and sometimes enjoy an activity ( like music). I just have not felt attracted to a man in a long, long time in an intimate way. I have grown to be quite analytical, and that may preclude the trust needed to become intimate. Right now I don’t care. I just believe, perhaps idealistically, that if someone impressive comes along while I am living my life, I will be suitably impressed. Meanwhile, I have some good friendships with both men and women, that give me the level of social contact I need to be happy. I love my sons, but I don’t live their lives. They usually call me and check in. We laugh. I call that a good relationship. They are grown men, in their 30’s now, one appears to be happily married. I call that successful parenting, so far.
        Are you willing to call your life happy, whether or not you have a partner? Work towards that goal, and keep an open, but alert, mind, and see where the chips fall. I wish you the best!

        • Oh thank you Portia for these precious words! They are kind food for thought. 🙏🏼 It makes me wish I knew more people like you in real life.

          I was once very close to cutting ties with my family, but my therapist at the time strongly advised me against it and I’ve been trying to make the relationship better (mostly with my mother, the biggest source of pain for me). As we speak I am spending a holiday with them and sometimes I notice I am losing motivation to making an effort. But not in an angry way, more in a way where I feel that my inner peace is worth too much to spend energy on defending myself, not getting hurt by gaslighting, hiding what I’m thinking. They do no longer need to like me. I’m lucky to have a lot of friends who know me very well and whom I love a lot. Life is scary but I am trying to create my own little nest of happiness and I’m not doing too bad 🙂

          Thanks again for your comment and I wish you all the best too!

  • I’m dying here… “I have a puppy in my van, would you like to pet it?

    #creepycreepcreep”

    Brilliant.

  • Seems like the whole letter just boils down to “you were useful to me and it was great while it lasted” but written in a seemingly sincere way in case he wants to hoover her back later.

    • The cartoon is great revenge for me. Especially since I just had the misfortune of listening to Jason Whitlock evaluate She’Carri Richardson’s body. Negatively, of course. Jason Whitlock doesn’t seem to have much of a place to critique any woman’s body. But that’s just me.

      • I like how Gabourey Sidibe handles people commenting on her size and shape with “Mind your own body”. So it doesn’t matter if one is an Olympic level athlete with minimal body fat or not. If people don’t have anything kind to say, 🤫

  • “Looking back, it is wild how many signs of infidelity I missed.”

    Sigh, yup. Been there.

    “It’s amazing how much money you actually have when you aren’t supporting another fully grown adult.”

    YES, isn’t that an amazing feeling? I was a SAHM and left with nothing when my FW left to chase his happily-ever-after with his first secret GF. Nothing but babies, no job, and no home (but, thankfully, I had parents who would let me and my kids move in with them for awhile).

    H was the provider and I was the one he was supporting…. I thought. Until he skipped off into the sunset. Briefly, I had nothing… and then I started figuring things out and budgeting for a modest, one-adult-two-dependents household.

    I felt rich. Absolutely rich. Now, I wasn’t rich in the objective sense of the word (I still lived month to month for many years), but it was *so much easier* to save money without another adult around. No other adult was siphoning off household funds to pay for his affairs, his gas, or hobbies. Heck, I was saving a ton of money on groceries alone; I couldn’t believe how much money I saved in that arena once he was gone. I even had enough money at the end of the months to treat me and the kids to things like take-out pizza or going to the movies. In short, my monthly capital went waaaaay down after he left but he turned out to be expensive overhead that was holding the household back. I was richer with less money each month as long as he was out of the equation.

    Sometimes when your heart won’t listen you just gotta do some black and white budgeting on paper to realize what a drain on your life a FW is. It turns “How will I ever manage?!” to “Oh… I can manage just fine. In fact, I’m doing better than I was, money-wise, when he was here but with a much smaller income.”

  • No doubt, that cartoon is a trigger for me… it always reminds me of how little I actually knew about Mr. Sparkles. He had a complete online life that I knew nothing about… personal ad profiles; emails to orgy organizers; introductions of himself to couples as BIMWM. This was not the man I knew, the man I loved, the man I married and had a son with… this was a stranger. I divorced a stranger.

    Notes like the one above were an every day occurrence, usually following a discovery of his cheating and my confronting him, or a great way to fill up the blank side of a wedding anniversary card. I have a folder where they reside for any time I’m feeling melancholy or thinking his newest victim (and now fiance) is getting someone new and improved. Sociopathy doesn’t just disappear without a shit ton of therapeutic work, so if anything she is getting someone who is only going to continue to devolve further and further away from anything normal.

  • I’m struck by this line in CL’s response:

    “As for feeling like your new life could come crashing down — I don’t think you go through something like this and ever lose that feeling.”

    This is what I’m struggling with right now. I’m coming up on three years after the divorce. There have been external impediments to my “gaining a life”–the pandemic, an aging mother who needs my help–but I think the most insidious impediment is internal. I do not trust that the life I build won’t come crashing down, and I do not want to open myself to that kind of pain again. Thirty-five years with a man who it turns out was lying about who he was in the most elemental of ways.

    It’s taking me so darned long to process and heal, and I’m very aware that at 67 I don’t have all the time in the world.

    • Reality check. No one knows how much time they have. You are my age. You are worth every investment you make in yourself. Look for whatever it is, do what you need to do, to find your joy.

    • I’ll be 70 in a few months. I’m looking at life very differently than I did 8 years ago when (after ending a marriage to a substance abuser), I got involved with a Jackass who betrayed me.

      What I know now is that the wonderful life I have now will of course change. A major health issue can bring it crashing down. A friend has a terrible cancer. I have a sibling who is ill. I worry about how stable my work life is since COVID is having a terrible impact on education and teachers.

      Nothing stays the same. How we live, though, prepares us to endure uncertainly, pain, loss. And it prepares us to go into our elder years with thoughtfulness, dignity and hope. If I’m lucky, and genetics hold true, I may have another 20 years of so of life to enjoy. Bring it on! I have concerns about democracy and climate change and when my eyesight might go. But I’m tough and resilient. I have people I love in my life. I have books and films and flowers and pets and sunrises. And I make realistic plans for what might be ahead.

      Build your life but also build resilience and trust in yourself. Don’t live in the past, allowing it to shadow the present. Learn from the past. Develop your instincts. Make thoughtful plans to secure your finances, whether you stay single, embark on a romance outside of marriage or marry again. Never, ever, give up a job, a home or your transportation for anyone. No matter what happens, I have a lovely little house, my gardens, a job, and a car to drive. Plus insurance in case of tornado!

      None of us live life without change or loss. That’s the other side of joy and happiness.

      • LAJ — you always have such great, practical advice! If anyone would have told you when you were young that your happiest time of life would be the now you live in, would you have believed it possible?

        I thought my happiest time was college, then new motherhood, then a great job, then I realized how hard I had to work through all those great times. Now I am retired, and most of my days I do what I want to do, and I have few worries because I worked hard and planned for my own future. I really am happier now than I have ever been. (I would like a little less chronic pain from arthritis and other age encroaching possible illnesses, but I cannot control that!). It is surprising what you can learn along the journey, isn’t it!

  • Rachel, It’s no wonder you’re happy now! You are finally free of mindfuckery and back in control of yourself and your finances. “Daddy” didn’t just play his BDSM game with others… he also had you bound and gagged… and you are now free of his bondage.

    It’s ok to be afraid that you are too happy too soon, but I say that it makes sense that you would be. Focus on you and continue to enjoy your new free healthier wealthier life.

    When I was finally free and divorced from FW, the house was no longer dirty! I no longer had financial issues and my credit righted itself! Now I buy what I want and do what I want.

    Goodbye user freaks! Enjoy your new beautiful life!

  • This was a good post. It’s been a few years since I discovered my ex-husband’s secret BDSM life, which he labelled as a “sex addiction” — but I still read this blog from time to time because it is so comforting not to feel all alone with what happened to me. And Chumplady, you did a great job with this UBT.

    I, too, had an abnormal Pap smear for the first time in my life, and chose to ignore it until I discovered what he was doing a year later. He was my second husband, a high school friend love bomber who showed up after I raised two girls on my own. I wanted love and a relationship so much — the way this turned out was a cruel disappointment. However, I must say that I am starting to feel peace, contentment, and even joy in life on my own. Those of you like me who are older (I’m 61 now) and single, just know that you are not missing a thing — every day of your life is a beautiful gift and you can know happiness on your own. This year I planted red lobelia in my garden, and now a hummingbird visits every day. My heart is full.

  • Ugh, mine is a “daddy” too. He’s just so ethical in his non monogamy, you know, except where I was concerned but that’s ok because I didn’t respect him as “daddy.” Maybe that’s because he acted like a fucking child in our home but who knows?

    The divorce was really hard on me, lots of vomiting after discovering horrible things, but the good thing about reading about his years of experience with many “littles” really made me not miss him at all and I’m glad to be away from him.

    Oh, and daddies are pedophiles. The men who call themselves daddies want women and teen girls to dress up like infants and toddlers for them to fuck. That’s what the daddy/little girl kink is. Some of them even want the woman to pretend to be their actual toddler daughter. They scream it isn’t pedophilia but if you want to role play screwing children, right down to having your partner wear adult size baby onesies, diapers, and suck on pacificers, then you’re a pedophile. And it’s not a deterrent, they are feeding their pedophilia and convincing themselves it’s normal. These men should never, ever be allowed around children.

    • Ew! Why is it that people are so reluctant to judge these kind of practices?

      I grew up in a culture where we were told not to have any sexual taboos and find your own taste. But no-one ever mentions the backside of all these sexual preferences. I personally have a hard time believing you can do BDSM and be a normal, loving person at the same time. But then people always say: “sex should be a free zone”, “as long as both partners are happy with it” or “well you’d rather play that out in the bedroom than truly becoming violent elsewhere…” And then the daddy thing takes that even a step further. Yuk!

      • ITA. I am not kink positive. I will kink shame in no uncertain words if the kink is about violence, coercion or sex with children. They should be ashamed of that sick shit and get therapy instead of feeding something unhealthy.

        In this anything goes culture we normals are being told that WE should be ashamed of how “boring” and “vanilla” we are. Fuck that!

        • OHFFS — when sexual gratification is linked with pain (yours or the other person’s) that is so sad to me. And I’ve been told (unlike that Shades of Gray series) that people who link sexual gratification with pain cannot enjoy “vanilla” sex much after that. It’s just awful.

          • I wasted a year (and 💵) in group therapy with some male weirdos. One, a former therapist, was sexually abused by his mother and he hired a sex worker to beat him up. Another male member of this group (also a former therapist) liked to perv on women by standing under stairs, hoping to look up a skirt or two. That one was raised in a religious cult. He started to fixate on me. I already mentioned the guy (also a former therapist) who was cheating on his wife with a “Tantric masseuse”. The therapist who led the group disclosed that a member of his men’s group liked to wear a dog collar and leash and crawl around on his all fours with his sex partners. He laughed hysterically about this.

            When I discussed these 🚩 with my individual counselor, she said to me “It’s not my place to tell you what to do. Do you feel safe in this group ? Are you getting anything out of this anymore ?” Some people are broken beyond repair.

            I read the “Fifty Shades of Gray” a couple of years after its popularity. The only thing I found appealing was the main character turning to her man for help when her creepy boss was harassing her. I can buy my own Audi and Louboutins, thank you very much.

          • True. Sadism and masochism are listed in the DSM as a paraphilias, yet kinksters want us to believe it’s all just healthy sexual exploration. What a crock.

            This blog is one of only a few places where people are challenging the silly “kink positive” attitude that is currently in vogue. I’m so thankful to know that there are others who see the truth and aren’t afraid to speak it.

        • Vanilla– the seed of a tropical orchid that blooms for one day and dies. In other words, “vanilla” anything means “rare” and “hard to cultivate.” It also means “precious” because it’s the fifth most expensive spice in the world, which is why most commercial foods use vanillin.

          When I read that on Twitter, I kept thinking “vanillin = FW”– the toxic, dissapointing, phenolic aldehyde synthetic form of mate.

    • Same here, although not sure what my ex calls himself. He left me so he could have the BDSM lifestyle. I was married to him for 25 years with very little clue what was up. He once told me he had sexual fantasies of bondage – so I tried it. Basically he tied me up and raped me. There was no skill in it, no love, no emotion, no care. He was VERY disappointed that I didn’t like it. I couldn’t imagine what there was to like about that. After that incident, he didn’t bring it up again. We didn’t have much sex, but it was good when we did. It always had a slight theme of control though. He loved it when I “begged” for it, and was very into telling me what to do to please him. Of course, this didn’t go the other way. His main desire is to hurt and control women and to be on tap for his pleasure. AND, according to him, the woman has to want this and beg for it. After DDAy, I searched my house top to bottom. I found his S&M gear. It looked like a murder kit. It had razor blades and weapons he had hand made. There was a huge Buck hunting knife with about an 8 inch long blade, duct tape, blind folds, chains (like real, hard core chains-big ones). I recognised the bag the stuff was in. He told me it was for his “Magic cards” that he was playing with his friend. He used to wear that bag on his shoulder, kiss me goodnight, and tell me he was going out to play cards with his friends. I feel abused on so many levels. I am a very open sexual person, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how you can do that and still feel like a good person. I feel absolutely sick sending my daughter to see her father every second weekend. I feel the pain of every chump who’s had to endure the added tripled shit sandwich of being left for a BDSM lifestyle.

  • Rachel,

    I’m glad you kept the dog and the cats (which he mentions in his letter to you). It’s likely that you are the opposite of being in denial. You know what “Daddy” is and you want no part of him. You ended your life of being an unwitting “sub” who served him as financial support and wife appliance. You shut that door and walked away.

    For me, Chump Lady and the Chump Nation helped me understand who Jackass is and what exactly had happened to me. That made it very much easier to carry on building me new life. Congratulations on freeing yourself. And please follow CL’s advice about a full medical workup. You’d be surprised, perhaps, to find out that your body was onto “Daddy’s” disgusting behavior before you found evidence and your mind caught up.

  • Congratulations on being freak-free!
    So agree “you look at the world differently after trauma. You know there are freaks out there, phonies, liars, people who are not what they seem. You know that the bottom can drop out of most anything. You lose naivety. But you gain resiliency and a belief in your own toughness”
    Here’s to new superpowers!

  • The letter was simply a “just in case my life ends up a train wreck” and I need a place to crash, I’ll try to leave on a good note and maybe chump will take me in…

    Men (and women) of this caliber never care one iota of hurting their partners and family. This letter wasn’t him regretting his actions and how he treated you, it was future insurance.

  • People are going to do what people do, but when a partner makes sexual choices that effectively leave out the other person, it’s over. Maybe you can limp along or both do your thing, but there are cracks in your marriage, IMHO. It shows so much about what they think of you.

    My ex decided to explore the internet for “education” that was going to make our bedroom “better,” and it went downhill from there. The marriage was already shaky, and that made it worse. I tried to accommodate him, and it seriously messed with me. I became very depressed, jumpy, and sleepless. I was horribly deficient in his eyes compared to what he was watching. We ended up separating, and he asked me to pack “the pills.” Being the wife I was then, I took the hopium and packed them. I actually thought he wouldn’t use them for what they were sold for. I thought he’d appreciate how responsive I was to his request.

    When I told him later how his bedroom antics had messed with my mind and that I was getting help for that (and more), he told me how he had shared it with his brothers. Boys will be boys, you know. Oh, that was helpful. Even my closest friends don’t know, and you shared with your brothers.

    Later in separation, he decided that he wanted a divorce. I had done scads of therapy and work with a life coach, and knew it had to be. He gave me a one-sentence apology for his bedroom behavior in the first minutes of his break-up phone call. Wow! One sentence. I thanked him, but that had no meaning for me by then. I guess it checked off something on his list because he told me several times in that cringy phone call that he had planned what to say. Yes, several decades together, and we broke up over the phone. As my therapist said once, some people just shouldn’t be married, and he was one of them.

    I look back at it all and am just thankful that I came to my senses. The divorce was all done long-distance, and my attorney frequently commented about “cowards who don’t own up and show up.” Frankly, I did NOT want to see him at all, so I was good with that. My ex was disordered during the process and closeout (gotta get those last licks in), but we settled without ever having to go to court.

    • Glad you got away from that. I agree once they turn to another person whether it be for intimate conversation, or flirting the marriage is over. It does show what they think of you, and of themselves.

      We settled without ever going to court too. It took a year, and he had to pay my living expenses for that time. He never fought that as I had proof of his using marital funds for his whores.

      However, I never showed up at court either, I don’t think that is a coward move. I didn’t need to show up. My lawyer gave me the option, and told me the only way I would have to show up is if he or I contested anything. I honestly just didn’t want to look at his rat face. I also didn’t want to miss any work, I was concentrating on my job; it was what got me through.

      For his “apology” my ex used a letter. He did refer to himself as a lowlife, which I agree with. However, a couple days later he set up a meeting with out preacher to “talk” about trying to work it out, so I suspect the letter was to try and schmooze me.

      I was done, but I took the opportunity to go and reject him. Glad I did. He never really wanted to reconcile as far as I could see, he just knew I was moving on quickly and I assume it was his attempt to pull me back into his smelly orbit just in case he could use me again. Nope.

      I honestly don’t know if my ex showed up or not. I would say he likely did, as he was a controller, and at least in the beginning he likely thought he could manage the outcome. He couldn’t.

  • The full paper on The Secret Sexual Basement can be found here:

    https://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-Secret-Sexual-Basement—a-New-White-Paper-from-Dr–Minwalla.html?soid=1116262519829&aid=oeDq1f8EDcI

    (I hope).

    The model might need more testing to get a better evidence base, but I think he’s on to something. The trauma and victim impact is terrible, as we know.

    And it doesn’t have to be BDSM. Members of the Straight Spouse Network could totally relate to this model of trauma as well.

    Concealment is the common element: that your significant other is left out of the equation.

    And hey – I learnt about this model and research from a Chump who shared this link around six months (?) ago! So what goes around, comes around.

    • Minwalla gets it. The first time I listed to one of his podcasts, I cried like a dam was breaking. Which it was. Minwalla gets it more than any other therapist but still he works with these disordered men, when they are hopeless. Wish he’d leave the dark side and come over to us: there is hope for us. And we are, for the most part, very good people.

    • Members of the Straight Spouse Network, me included, know this. It was a SSN member who brought a reference to Minwalla here, I believe.

  • I learn so much from the UBT! I have to admit that these apology letters always tugged at my heart. I understood “cake eating” right away. “Trust that he sucks” took longer. But I couldn’t really get it with these apology letters until today.

    It is the difference between the depth of the abusive actions and the surface scratching of the apology. As a chump, I didn’t comprehend that what I knew was the top of the iceberg. I never got any apology in writing but if I did, I would guess that it would have made me feel better at first. I’m sure I would have been fooled again into thinking that he cared about me. My confusion would come later. These letters are kind of like the love from a wire monkey – it can be imagined that it’s there, but it really isn’t. The depth of the below the water iceberg is what needs to be known before the apology can really be seen as horribly inadequate. Thankfully Chumplady knows how bad these FW’s are & can make snarky comments about the discrepancy. I couldn’t do that by myself.

    • I spent a lot of time wanting an apology in the first several months because I was so destroyed. Finally, I thought, screw it -I’m going to ask him for an apology, thinking that we could clear the air and I wouldn’t hate him so much, and maybe even forgive him a little and move on to be supportive co-parents.

      And this is what I got when I asked for an apology…”This marital break up is all your fault.” I was so stunned I was speechless so I turned and walked away. That was the last time I uttered a word to him.

  • I first read Minwalla from an SSN link too. He brings it all together. Nasty stuff. I’m so glad my gxh is out of my life and seems largely out of my kids lives too.

  • I am thinking about whether it was Dr Minwalla that really put me off dating for life, or whether I was already there. I think I might already have arrived at that point, but he was the icing on the cake.

    During Cheater #3, after the first DDay, some kind of survival instinct kicked in. I got the opportunity to live with my sister in a stable home with her young teenage son, and I took it with both hands.

    I stayed with Cheater #3, but I had now staked my future with someone else financially. This meant that I stopped listening to what he was saying, and started watching what he was doing.

    This man said we had a future together, but I watched – after DDay #2, I think – as he gradually eliminated me from his life by moving himself into a smaller and smaller bedroom at his apartment.

    He only had three bedrooms to choose from. He managed to migrate from the largest master bedroom and double bed to the smallest and a king single bed in the time I knew him. He turned the master bedroom into a library.

    There was literally no room for anyone else at all. The penny dropped.

    Shortly after that was DDay #3 and he was gone with my replacement – who I then watched go from a confident and vibrant lady to an unhappy frump.

    That was around seven years ago now, and I don’t know if they’re still together, and I also don’t care. No tags back.

    Cheater #4 was four years ago, and just a flash in the pan of around six weeks, but long enough to make me thoroughly unhappy and very hurt. That was my extinction burst.

    There’s probably nice and decent men out there. I’m glad. There’s some nice stars and planets in the sky as well.

    It’s great that they’re out there. It’s nice to look at them from a distance.

    But I am happy on the planet I’m currently on. It has hot and cold running water, nice animals and plants, plenty to do, sunshine, fresh air, kind friends.

    I don’t want to go and live on – or with – a flaming ball of gas.

    I don’t call this ‘giving up on love’ or ‘letting myself go’ or ‘being scarred for life’ or ‘damaged beyond repair’ or ‘tragically lonely’ or ‘broken’.

    I call it ‘being really sensible and happy with what I’ve got’.

    • Yes indeed, Ms Granola! As one who was crowded out of a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 3 living area house over a number of years, I know what you mean. Its pretty telling when you can’t even tell you have packed up your stuff, as nothing seems to be missing.

      Being asked out by a bloke recently made me realise how much I did not ever again either need or want that sort of attachment in my life – which is very good for a lot of reasons 🙂 . Can’t blame a feller for trying, but no thanks. Freedom feels too precious, having gone through hell to obtain it.

      The luxury of time and space and privacy to work on healing from the effects of Dr Minwalla’s basement is such a gift, and I’m focusing on that. Its hard, but necessary. Slow but effective, you can see the healing changes happening slowly.

      The effect of the basement on kids is devastating too. It has been invaluable to have had Dr Minwalla’s work to hand, to give insight into the various manifestations of trauma in my kids’ lives, and I’m walking with a couple of them through darkish times. We are coming out the other side, though. Honesty and love win the day so far.

      It is so wonderful to have siblings who are taking up the responsibility of caring for difficult aged parents, and asking nothing of me. I am signally grateful for that. They know who they are (heart). I am blessed.

      I keep coming to CN for the camaraderie, the inspirational stories (CN is/are a mighty bunch), and the knowledge and honesty – and most of all the snark – about the dark side and its lies.

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