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D-Day Anniversary Benchmarks?

Waiting for karmaDear CL and CN,

As I approach the one-year anniversary of D-day (September 26) I am taking time to reflect on what I did right and where I am.

I’m proud that while I didn’t find LACGAL and CN until later, I didn’t make too many mistakes. I did dump him as soon as I found out. Within a minute of him not answering my text “Who is [Schmoopie] Name?” I told him to move his stuff out of my house.

We were “only” engaged, together almost 4 years, and as we are in our 50s we didn’t have kids together and no shared money. So it was an easy disentangling. No lawyers or custody issues. Not that it was easy. I spent many sleepless nights. I even ran a half-marathon shortly after D-day, when I was averaging 2 hours of sleep per night.

I went to a few therapy sessions, but honestly the best advice and support was listening to LACGAL and reading the blog, and the CN stories and comments.

I have been no contact, in fact he moved 45 minutes away, into the home of his next victim, so I don’t even have to see him around town. I blocked him everywhere, but I still need to stop myself from secretly looking at his social media. I know he can’t see any of my social media. I even blocked his family and friends.

I am content; in fact I’m happier now than I ever was with him. I adopted 2 kitties, I have a boyfriend, and I love living somewhat alone (the teen is here every other week, the adult son stays with me sometimes).

I no longer care if karma visits him. I no longer find myself jealous that he is enjoying things we used to enjoy. I am making my own new joy for myself, not dependent on anyone else.

The Tuesday before D-day is appropriately enough my birthday and also one year from the last time we had sex. Once I am past these anniversaries I feel like I am totally free. Happy “Tuesday” to me!

May everyone find their meh!

ChumpNoMore

Dear ChumpNoMore,

Happy almost birthday and almost meh! While everyone heals on their own timetable, it’s good sometimes to stand on Shit Mountain and see how far you’ve come. Years out the “anniversaries” will just be dates on the calendar of no emotional importance.

In fact, take back anniversaries as something good. “Anti-verseries” commemorate bad days, but frankly, I’d shit can those too. Who wants to recall the worst days of their life? As you’ve demonstrated, the best way to rebuild is to grab life by the curly shorthairs and move on. Marathon, new cats, new boyfriend, new life.

Which brings us to our Friday Challenge — what’s the view from Shit Mountain like in your life? Any anniversaries you’ve taken back?

TGIF!

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.
  • #Sometimes …

    As I have just now discovered a decade later how “Unhusband” LIED the whole time about important “dates”

    and I have banking records to prove me

    I have finally come to the place in my life that is “ehh”

    It really doesn’t MATTER about any of the things that “Those” people say and do… Or ANYONE else for that matter. I get to decide how to live my life and who I am responsible for!!

    Today is my son’s birthday!! Happy Anniversary to me for Laboring 40 frickin hours!! He is the BEST GIFT GOD has ever given to me. Period end of discussion!!

    • The credit card history is what woke me up to who my ex really was. I had scrimped and saved for years so he could have his boat, had I known he was also romancing the town whore with the money I saved, I would have at least treated myself to something once in a while.

      I would have loved to see the look on his face when he took whore out and the credit card had been canceled. The day after he left me, I called the credit card company and ordered a three year history and cancelled the card.

      • While I was still curled up into a ball sobbing, part of my brain was trying to solve the question of where on earth had he gotten the cash for the swank vacation he and his poopie had recently taken. (That really, really rankled, since years later, I *still* have blemishes from the zillions of mosquito bites I got staying in window-screenless C-class dumps in all those malaria-prone rural archaeological sites, as well as the muscle memory of frequent food poisoning from spotty on-again, off-again electricity/refrigeration.)

        Turns out he had sold some of our “underperforming” stocks to finance his weeks-long jaunt to tourist hotels with in-room jacuzzis. While he was still out of the country at his remote Turkish archaeological site, I immediately separated our finances, had his cell phone service suspended, and, still unsuspecting, sent a heartfelt email asking for advice to the very woman who later turned out to be his travel companion. I’m happy to report that she had been an unsuspecting victim, hoodwinked by that con artist I had the misfortune to be married to for over two decades.

        • And yes, I have taken back Memorial Day weekend (end of May in the US), specifically May 26, which was our wedding date. One year on that date he called me from Greece to say happy anniversary. I mentioned that the pay phone he was calling me from sounded different (1994, calling from an outside telephone in the town square), and he failed to say he was really at a romantic island with another (female) archaeologist. Years later on May 26 he again called me from Greece to say happy anniversary, and then headed to the airport to pick up his next victim and began his romantic luxury vacation through Greek islands and beautiful Turkish seaside resort towns. May 26 is my day to remember how much better off I am now, because I am no longer being gaslighted and lied to every single day.

          • Geez, archaeologists who work in Turkey can be the worst. And I say this having been one. But I never cheated, unlike several of my colleagues…with whom fortunately I am NOT in touch today.

            • Yup, mysteriously to me, for some reason many classical archaeological projects are rampant with illicit sexual activity. No idea why, as the people working there are usually miserably hot, exhausted from the 5:30am starts, and typically smell pretty bad. I used to daydream that I was Agatha Christie being served afternoon tea in my luxurious tent, which sure beat out the reality that I was actually hand-washing our filthy clothes in a tiny sink that had no plug in it.

              Maybe I have exceptionally low libido, but swinging at an archaeological project just sounds wildly improbable.

              • Based on the globetrotting archaeologists I know (oddly, several), it also sounds wildly unpleasant. Perhaps your libido isn’t low, but rather it has standards?

        • They steal so much from us. But that is what thieves and con artists do. Just hard to come to terms with.

          I think the only thing that saved me from financing long vacations for him and the whore is that she was his direct report; and if he and she had both taken off work at the same time for a week, or even for a day; it would have been suspicious.

          He did however go on a couple weekend trips that he told me were work seminars that he had to attend. I never verified but I doubt there were any seminars on weekends. I was so stupid then.

          Also, since he was the animal control officer and she was his direct report right after he hired her they both did have to go to Stone Mountain GA to take tranquilizer training. That was a legitimate trip, he had actually taken me to the first one he went on.

          However, what they didn’t know when he hired her was that they were already fucking like rabbits, and he was actually hiring his fuck buddy. I didn’t know that either of course.

          I wish I had insisted on going along and at least made them have to sneak out.

        • I hope you are well on your way to having your own “boat” now. When I look back at what I didn’t do in order to financially support his need for a boat, motorcycle, deep-sea fishing trip, drum set, telescope, etc., I want to cry–not for the material items I didn’t get but because I was willing to make my needs so small for so long.

          Yesterday, I bought myself prescription sunglasses. I’ve never had them before despite eyesight that really necessitates any help it can get. The excitement I feel about such a strange purchase (half extravagance and half extreme-practicality) is weird. If you see a strikingly ordinary middle aged woman with sunglasses who seems to think she is extremely glamorous in about three weeks, wave. It is probably me.

          • Oh, I never really had any interest in another boat. My now H and I did buy a really nice Tracker and we only kept it for a couple years, way too much trouble for the amount of time we used it.

            We bought it from my brother and sold it for the same amount. We gave my brother first right of refusal, but he didn’t want it anymore.

            I honestly don’t care about what I sacrificed so much, but I do resent what my son sacrificed for his dads fuck fests.

            But yeah, I get what I want within reason. I actually have to be careful about what I mention, because H will get it for me if he can. I have to make sure to tell him, I am not sure I want it. So that is kind of nice.

    • Oh my God! I love “unhusband.” I wish I’d thought of that eons ago when I still felt like he meant something!

      I’d copy you and use it now, but old fuckwit is beyond that label. Although he’ll never cease to disgust me as the paternal semblance my children must negotiate, he doesn’t rate as either an unhusband or an ex-husband. After all, in order to be an ex-husband, you had to have been a husband first. He may have held the title, but he was never man enough to hold the position.

      So the anniversaries I remember are the milestones I reached on my way out of his black hole and into the sunshine of my new life.

  • My Day of Dread was not when I discovered the OW (I was genuinely ignorant of a life of cheating..it always was, so there was never a change to be concerned with) but rather a day where he decided to begin cutting ties (21 years together, 8 married, 3 kids) by telling me that he intended to divorce me because I was “a bad wife”.

    That night (April in 2005…the 17th I think but Ive blissfully forgotten) was profoundly traumatizing because he inflicted terrible emotional pain on me and blamed me for it. I was told I was horrible and given a 2 hour lecture about every bad thing I had ever done. The pain he inflicted was intentional and manipulative.

    On that night, truly, I believe it would have hurt much less if I had simply learned he loves someone more. His method of extricating himself from the marriage by destroying me (thus distracting me from discerning his cheating) was cruel and cowardly.

    For months, I couldn’t hear the word “April” without it causing me actual, visceral pain.

    So jump ahead…April was the month I was reconnected with my new husband ( knew him years earlier and we had dated briefly). His birthday is in April and for us a house to celebrate. Like childbirth pain that sinks into a place of amnesia that ones brain cannot recall it…I no longer remember the pain that my cheater inflicted.

    Pain no longer marks milestones for me, love and celebration does

    • Corrections: I meant the Cheater “loved” not “loves” (he no longer lives so nothing about him is present tense). Not sure how “cause to celebrate” turned into a “house to celebrate” but you get the idea.

      Yes, 2005 was a very long time ago and yet here I come to process it. I learned of his serial cheating only 6 years ago so I was sent into a whole new (and perhaps biggest) phase of processing then. I really try to not discuss this with IRL people as it is so messy so I reserve CN as my place to do this (still important) work. I also hope to encourage others to not make the same mistakes I did.

      • Hugs to you, ((Unicornomore)). We all totally understand why you have so much to process, and we will understand when you choose to share it!

      • Same with me Uni. I come every day to process what happened a long time ago. It doesn’t make a difference in my awesome daily life now but the experience is certainly woven into the fabric of who I am. I choose to process my feelings when things come up ( and they do at unexpected moments ) and to take all the wisdom I can from it. I try to offer an encouraging word on this forum when I can and have brought some of the CLisms into life with my children and stepchildren. “Fix your picker” went over very well when I was asked about dealing with difficult boyfriends.
        While my situation was not as messy as yours, it is not something I talk about too much IRL either – but the impact is there. My not-so-new husband is also a chump so I have a sympathetic ear available when I need one.
        I always get something out of your posts.

        • Hey, Fern,
          I appreciate your reference to ‘fix your picker’. My brother eyed up Mr. Calcified on their first meeting, asked some discreet questions, then took me aside and insisted that I pursue the relationship. My brother was an empath, to his core, and knew a good guy when he encountered one. (He hated my first two husbands; no kidding, ‘eh?)
          Look up ‘uxorious’ in the dictionary and I’ll guarantee that you’ll find a photo of Mr. CC. He is a man of integrity. Handsome, solvent and generous in the bargain, YES! I’m not particularly religious but I occasionally fantasize that my beloved brother is looking down on the merger that he encouraged with a smile of satisfaction.

      • “I also hope to encourage others to not make the same mistakes I did.”

        Same here. Also, I think the trauma that most of us experience never totally goes away. Doesn’t mean we don’t move on or have a good life. I found CL when the fw treated our son like shit, it had nothing to do with his betrayal of me, except that it just showed he had not changed. Whore was just as bad as fw, but that was to be expected she is a whore and she is not his mother.

        I have thought about the RICs and such. I think real treatment for the trauma of betrayal should start with a group setting, something like Al Anon for the partners of Alcoholics. Maybe call it Cheat Anon. Victims must get their horror and their story out there, it is crucial to their recovery. So many of us hide it out of shame.

        • “I think the trauma that most of us experience never totally goes away. ” This has been a big realization for me this week, just fully realizing that this is trauma. We all walk around like zombies post d-day for while just like those that experience other traumas. I am thankful for this group and that we can all validate each other.

          • ““I think the trauma that most of us experience never totally goes away. ” ”

            I agree. Doesn’t mean we don’t recover, but we retain some scars and will sometimes have recall of the pain.

            When I was about 30, I was in a bank when there was a perp who walked in the bank and started shooting. I dove to the floor, next thing I was was a police officer who fell down right in front of me.

            It all happened so fast, that by the time my mind reacted and I could think, I saw that the police officer had killed the perp, he was laying on the other side of the officer, and the officer had arm injuries.

            I still remember it vividly to this day, and when I am in a bank or other business I am always more aware of my surrounding than I was then. If I hear a loud backfire or anything like that I will do a mini panic.

            So to me the trauma of betrayal is like that, only worse because for many it is a long term betrayal that they don’t even figure out until after the fact. The years of lies and deception.

    • I thought d-day for me was the worst. But 70 days later after he had said he miss the know what he wanted’ (me or the AP), he yelled (screamed) when I caught him in a lie saying ‘it’s over between us. We’re through. Get it through your head! We’re done’. That was the worst to hear. But it was his reaction to being caught out of town with the AP when he said he was at him brothers on the couch watching a movie. From D-day to that day, he kept saying he was Deciding and I was doing a fabulous pick-me dance.

      Now it through my thick head. I’m starting slowly to move forward. Thanks for this post!

      • Im glad to help. Sometimes the world tells us what it thinks will hurt the most yet our experience tells us differently. Part of this experience has been allowing myself to decide what was hard for me and why.

        I remember in the weeks after his abusive, cruel monologue about my failings…I told someone “it makes me wonder if he is having an affair, but at this point, it doesn’t even matter”. Even then, I would have seen an affair as less painful.

        In reality, he had the option to simply say “You are a good woman but I have met someone I prefer to be with and I intend to leave this marriage. I will be fair to you in the divorce”.

        Now, years later, I am past fretting about his penis and however-many vaginas. The idea that he held me in such contempt that he would be SO MEAN and inflict INTENTIONAL pain in order to avoid accountability for his behavior is what haunts me. Cruelty towards me was his default setting and he carried it through to the bitter end.

          • This here too. The cruelty was beyond belief. And many people do not believe it so I largely choose to keep my counsel now.

            • Uni, One More Day and Mighty,

              I’m sure you know, but here’s a reminder to always remember that level of cruely says everything about him and nothing about your value as a woman, wife or human being.

              No reason for the cruelty except for their own weakness.

              Fuck them.

          • yes, THIS^^^.

            35 years of putting the DOCTOR thru all the training and schooling, constant long hours while I worked full time for most of it, and we had 3 kids, which I then took care of and derailed my career (which he later blamed me for doing!) etc etc

            All for him to now blame me AND to hate ME – this is somehow the hardest thing to process. The long term deceit and gas lighting were horrible, but him blaming ME is somehow so bewildering, it hindered my progress.

            As if he’s the victim or as if I’ve wronged him in some way (he claims I “planned” the divorce) because I filed in California,

            WHERE WE LIVED FOR 16 YEARS!

            instead of the east coast where I later moved or the state where he fled???

            It’s lunacy.

            I am not sure I ever knew him. But I sure loved who I thought he was.

            Even now, 5 years from D-Day and 3 from the divorce, I find myself wondering how happy he can be, to not see our 3 kids?

            Plus, I don’t mean to brag but I’m freaking hilarious and I made him laugh A LOT.

            Doesn’t he miss ANY of that?

            Nope, I’m not at meh yet. And now that I see him for who he really is and how cruel he’s capable of acting, I do not wish to be married to him. Truly, it became stressful the last few years. He was constantly restless (cognitive dissonance I guess).

            Perhaps the biggest life lesson for me thru all this (of the many) is that sometimes in life,

            we have to accept events in our life that are immensely painful

            AND WHICH we do NOT understand.

            And figure out a way to be happy, anyway.

              • “Irritable, restless and discontent.” This was mine too, from the beginning. He always used to tell me he can’t be still, which I thought was more ADD/ADHD, not a defective personality that meant he would never be happy or content. And would always be on the look out for a new ap.

            • Thank you Dr’s!! Insightful! Necessary!

              I am finally (4 years since Dday#3; 16 months a since no more RIC) at the doorstep of Acceptance. In fact, on Thursday, I woke up laughing ! I don’t give a shit about my “faults” or the “Reasons I Wronged Him”. I’m just fucking done. Wish him no harm but GTFO. No more permissions. No more vexing about “what I could have done…” . No more. I will never understand the pathology. And that’s more than ok.
              Divorce papers done. Emotional paperwork done. Looking forward to the day the Decree is signed and I am finally free from How I Made His Life Miserable to fully accepting How Amazing My Life Is. 🥰

            • Your X is not like you. When you project your own values onto him (being part of a family, having a spouse who makes you laugh, having relationships with the kids), you miss the point.

              He does not value the things you value. He’s not like you. So it’s counter-productive and useless to project things onto him.

        • Same here. I spent the last two years before DDay asking him, these questions:

          -Do you even like me?
          -What did I do wrong all of a sudden?
          -Why are you being mean to me?
          -why is everything I say being construed as negative?

          On and on. I couldn’t figure out the massive swing into hating me. I think it’s because it was easier for him to hate me and blame me for being awful than for him to face what he’d done. What he’d done was years of cheating and lying and spending our marital assets on hookers. So he had a lot to hide. Blame is so much easier than accountability.

          • On our 16th wedding anniversary, as we walked back home from dinner, he looked straight at me and said, “I don’t think I even like you anymore.” That judgment devastated me.

            But now my judgment is the only thing that matters. He is indecent and despicable, not because he cheated, but because he chose to be cruel rather than face his own dishonesty. His words were just a lousy attempt to convince himself that he wasn’t the walking pile of shit he knew he was.

            Esther Perel thinks she’s being sophisticated when she talks about cheating. But she offers only one perspective and then depicts it as if it were a chapter in a cheap romance novel. What she doesn’t address is the cruelty, disrespect, and humiliation that cheaters heap onto their spouses. There is nothing sexy about this unless you’re a full-blown masochist. I hope she gets to experience that sexy sophistication herself some day.

            • I did not discover the 10 year + affair until 2 months after the ex had left. He followed the cheater’s playbook to the letter. A man who constantly bragged about his ‘individuality’ (red flag). I hoped that he would come to his senses until I discovered the affair when I immediately shut him down, went NC and divorced him. He moved into sad sausage mode at that point.

              During my, literally unwitting, pick me dance, having been told by him that he didn’t think he loved me, I asked ‘is there anything you like about me’. He hesitated and replied ‘I can’t think of anything’. After 26 years. This comment from the person I adored (red flag) destroyed me. It triggered every unworthy feeling carried forward from my FOO. The disgust I felt for myself. It should have been enough for me to kick him into touch immediately. It wasn’t because I loathed and blamed myself and he used that cruelly and intentionally.

              But that comment ultimately triggered me to get therapy. Twice a week. To do the hard work in understanding myself for myself. And that has made all the difference.

              Tonight 4 friends are coming to my home (I bought him out), for dinner with me and my gorgeous puppy (he hated animals-red flag). He would never allow entertainment in our home because he was embarrassed about the carpet but would not agree to change it even though we had the money (red flag). We will have candles (he said he was allergic). The food prep is underway. We will have a wonderful time. I am myself. DDay was 2 September 2019. His birthday was on 16 September. In 2019, on 17 September I called Samaritans. And now, here I am, FW free and looking forward to dinner with friends in my home. At 61. I am so proud of myself and there is plenty that I like about myself, and that’s all that matters.

              As for the ex? Who knows or cares. I gave my heart to a killer of joy. He remains his own problem, with or without his soulmate ex gf.

              • Mighty Warrior…you are aptly named.

                When you love someone, you normally value their opinions and want them to think well of you and the contempt they develop for us (in response to betraying us) is a real and horrific end effect of cheating.

                At about year 15 of marriage, we went out for our anniversary dinner and he looked across the table at me with such distain that I literally turned away and squirmed in my seat. I remember thinking of he had said “I hate you” in that moment, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

                I also knew that I was a good and loving wife. I knew some real bitches and I was much kinder and more respectful to him than what was described by many of my friends.

                I had ZERO suspicion of cheating at that point…it was unthinkable to me. Looking back now, I see little clues, but I now see the past with different lenses.

                When he first “decided” (whatever that internal process was – God only knows) to cheat within our marriage, I am almost sure that he told himself that it would not effect how he treated me.

                Our faith Tradition teaches that certain deeds are so bad that they sever the connection between a person and God and this is one of them. the Bible has warnings against adultery (and being mean to the wife of your youth) all through it.

                I now see finding joy in my circumstances as the boldest thing I can do. I still live in the house he bought (in a manner that was terribly prideful and ill advised) but its mine and I do with it what I please. When my new husband moved in, he brought with him enough hand made Persian carpets to have one in every room. He also brought some beautiful antiques his former wife insisted on buying but left behind when she ran after greener grass. “Her” armoire is lovely in my bathroom and its mine now.

            • “But now my judgment is the only thing that matters. He is indecent and despicable, not because he cheated, ”

              This, I could have forgiven my then H for cheating, but the turning against me, lying about me to a whore, letting me scrimp and do without while spending money on a whore.

              Then I was so embarrassed that he did these things to me, that I didn’t want anyone to know; so I kept quiet until it was too late. I only opened up in the last couple years to my family, it released some of the anger I still had at myself.

              I have said this before to baby chumps but sing like a canary. From the roof tops. People must know how he/she treated you. Some won’t believe, but most will.

              The only thing that helped in my case was fw conned a lot of other folks too into believing he was the upstanding family man, and he parlayed that image into a big promotion and a great job.

              Luckily he didn’t get to keep it, you may get away with fucking over your wife; but you don’t get away with fucking over the mayor and top brass. They took care of him for me. Oh, it wasn’t really for me, but still counted. I knew it was the only thing he cared for at that point; and he followed his dick right over the cliff.

              I never really saw him much right after that, but I like to think for a split second he thought, well Susie helped me get it all, and whore helped me throw it away. But, nah; he likely just blamed someone else.

          • Same here. After 15 years of marriage, I woke up one day to stare at the face of a total stranger. He lied millions of times, cheated more, he even had the guts to have “his” women ,wether they were professional hookers or low life cheating wives, them spend long weekends in my house while I was working overseas since I was the only one in our household who does have a career. Now, the latest woman he is “in love” with is the very sleazy wife of one of his friends. They have been together for the last 3 years, and honestly I don’t think she will let go. She walked in my beautiful house, I am not bragging here, spent nights watching porn movies with him in the theater room I built for him as a Father’s Day gift 3 years ago. She saw all that plus he fed her some lies about how he built that big house for me, yet I elected to keep on working overseas leaving alone in the house. She saw all that and thought she would kick me to the curb and get the house. Well, fortunately it didn’t work like that. I resigned from my job and came back to save what’s left of my marriage. I made him change his number, so she would not contact him. However, they did find each other and resumed their affair. He started getting worse, being very irritable, ugly , and snappy. Three months ago, he moved to one of the guest bedrooms and started sleeping there. Every time I tried to talk to him, he would yell and use foul language. I felt she must be in the picture , I asked him and as usual he denied. One week ago, I found a text message from her warning him that “ I am standing between them and planning to destroy the love they have for each other.” After that, I realized that my husband will lie and cheat till the last breath he takes on this Earth. I kicked him out and started the divorce procedure. My wounds are still raw, but I am trying very hard to pull myself together and stand on my feet; knowing that Divine Justice would take care of those two adultrors one day

            • Jude, I am so sorry. It hurts so much to be where you are right now. Please stay strong and forge ahead with that divorce. The pain goes away faster when he’s completely gone. You can’t imagine it now, but you’ll be happy again, and your life will be so much better without him!! ❤🧡💛💚💙💜

              (((hugs)))

            • Good for you kicking him out! And filing for divorce! Don’t let that weasel come back. I hope the divorce goes well. If you don’t have children with him, it will be easier to go completely no contact. I’m sure it’s incredibly raw but now you have nowhere to go but up. Take good care of yourself.

        • Yes. The cruelty. I still don’t understand it. What kind of person deliberately destroys the life of another. With intent, and malice. Especially if the life being destroyed created your children, and loved and trusted you? The only thing that infuriates me more is a family court system that just doesn’t get it. And the Esther Perels of the world.

    • “The pain he inflicted was intentional and manipulative.”

      Same with mine. He told me on the day he left that he had been cheating for ten years, and he never loved me. A few weeks later when he wanted to come back (yes unfortunately I let him) He told me that he just told me those lies because he wanted me to hate him, as that would be easier for me.

      So who knows what was true. It doesn’t matter now of course, but then it caused me such pain and angst. This was pre CL era. Luckily I only let him come back and use me once. So at least there was that. And he did try again.

    • Same story. XW drug out the disrespect and disdain for a couple years as a cover for her cheating. My 16 year old son even wrote her a letter describing her verbal abuse of me, asking her why and telling her to stop. She wanted me to punish him for it! We she told me she wanted a divorce it was all about how terrible a husband I was. I was so beaten down by that point I didn’t question it. But then I discovered the cheating and it started to make sense.

      • Bruno, Im so sorry you had the same experience. I realized much after the experience that his worst abuse often coincided when he was actively cheating or were entering a social setting where one of his coworkers were. The abuse would thrown me off balance (as intended) and I wouldn’t notice what was right in front of me.

        For me it is tragic that while I thought I was being noble “keeping my family together”, I grossly underestimated the damage that was inflicted on our kids by witnessing such abuse. My 3 adult children have nary a healthy relationship among them.

      • Kinda sane story here Bruno.
        First the announcement of a divorce, THEN I found out…(though there others prior that were opportunities to leave, but I was dancing hard!)

        The disregard phase was so hard.

        But it’s WWAAAAYYY better now!

    • During peak confusion (when any sane person would have inferred from her actions that XW was leaving me for her AP, but I was in such denial that I thought that her refusal to admit to it meant that it might not be happening), I remember having long conversations with my therapist about whether it was better to be left for another man, or simple told “you’re so terrible that I prefer nobody to you”.

      Now, I think that it doesn’t really matter. I suppose there are subtle differences in the form of rejection, but at the end of the day you don’t get to choose the manner in which you’re discarded, so it’s a moot point. Also, since they lie you can’t believe the ostensible reason anyway: you’re always going to have to come to your own understanding of the demise of the marriage, based on your own observations.

      • ^^^ Yes, this. Cheaters are the most unreliable of unreliable narrators, especially to their victims – but really, to anyone, even to themselves.

      • (Skein untangling warning) When I was first told I was being left because I was awful, it felt (to me at the time) “worse” that he was leaving for no one. I thought “he must really hate me if he is leaving to be alone rather that leaving me for someone else”.

        The mindfuck was that after telling me that he was leaving because I sucked, he didn’t leave. He stayed right in our home and bed and acted very aloof. Dropping the bomb likely allowed him to feel like he was no longer cheating since I had been duly warned.

        We went through all sorts of machination (including discovery of OW) but he decided to “stay” in the marriage whereupon he physically moved 3000 miles away to “work” not live on the opposite coast. (Huge mistake not filing then, HUGE).

        But you are right, we dont get to pick and it all sucks. My mistake was not seeing the writing on the wall …he too refused to admit to ongoing cheating, so I refused to see it was happening. The lying on top of the “saying one thing and doing another” was an endless mindfuck.

        In the end, the moral of the story was that he was a cowardly, selfish asshole.

        When I remarried, we went to a required day-long marriage workshop through Church. The facilitator asked us to consider our former marriage and ask ourselves “What did you learn about yourself during that time”. I had spent SO MUCH TIME worrying and thinking about him, I had scarcely thought about what I learned about me. I learned that I was a loyal, decent , faithful, loving person.

        • That’s deep. I lived those last two sentences myself! It’s been a revelation to live alone, and focus on me every day. It’s like the part of life I could have done, when I was 19 and up, but I was always in a relationship with a selfish Narc! I like living alone, and I see my long distance guy friend occasionally, since we’re both busy, but that gives me plenty of self-reflection and personal care time.

        • Ah, yes, I remember that too. I had a period when I was resentful about how much mental energy I’d put into trying to figure out what was going on in my dissolving marriage, and what I’d done wrong to precipitate that crisis. It was all energy that would have been so much more productive applied to myself, or to my relationship with my kids, or to my career … but that’s the story of cheating, isn’t it? Time, energy and money diverted away from the marriage, kids, spouse, etc., due to the affair.

          I still peek in here because, despite my circumstance being different from most others’ (I’m farther out, I’m male, and my XW wasn’t deliberately cruel – she cared so little for or about me that her blameshifting was kind of halfhearted), I’m still struck at the common threads that emerge from our different stories. For a time, that bothered me: I wanted my divorce to be special and unique, not just another trite marriage-destroyed-by-affair-with-colleague, but now I find it strangely comforting to be part of a (near) universal experience.

      • Advice to new chumps: If you’re tempted to ask a cheater why he/she cheated (or why he/she anything), instead invest in a Magic 8-Ball. Equally reliable, and way more fun.

    • UNM,

      I had the same spiel only on a cruise ship for our 10th anniversary. It was a small ship and I could. Not. Get. Distance. From the pain, agony, and woe. And he cataloged every shortcoming because he was trying to tell me maybe why he didn’t love me. Maybe never had. Probably. “We” needed to fix things. Read: I needed to conform to his perceived ideas of what a wife should do and be. What he didn’t tell me was that he already had a Sparkle Toes at work. He wanted me to be like Sparkle Toes, or at least the way he perceived her to be. She was EVERYTHING he needed except she was not his wife.

      Day of admission that there was someone else? April 4th. A month later. A full month of crying, dying, and begging him to give me back my narrative(!?). Then unknown months and years (yes, I’m afraid I am an ultra chump) of never really knowing if he was still in contact with her (he was) and ignoring that I happen to be a very remarkable woman and had no desire to change to fit his mold.

      It takes a toll. I’m still recovering and second guessing myself and my interactions with others. I don’t remember dates, anymore. I stayed for the kids and out of fear of the unknown. This was years before CL. I was swallowed in the RIC and was MISERABLE. Then I found CL. Empowering even for those of us who stay. I wish I remembered the day I discovered CL. THAT is a day to celebrate. The day of the beginning of my paradigm shift. Not because she wrote something new and astounding but that she reinforced and brought to the surface what my soul knew but the professional world around me said the opposite. She vindicated the way I bucked against the traditional view. That was the day I found my smile (albeit slightly deranged and rather frightening, frankly) and found that I really did feel like I needed permission to get pissed off. THAT was the real beginning and game changer for me. You’re unhappy? Personal problem. Sounds like you need therapy. You’re not happy with me? Don’t know if you love(d) me? Thank you for sharing. I’ll decide if this is acceptable to me and get back to you. Don’t like the way I didn’t immediately embrace your family and allow them to stay in our home indefinitely? Get over it or get out.

      Finding CL is my therapy and healing.

      • OMD…yes, “The Speech” started out with “I dont love you and I likely never did”…he was punch drink on limerence and likely believed his own lies at that point.

        Being stuck on a cruise ship with your abuser in a tiny room sounds like some Ninth Circle of Hell shit.

        • Yep, the night he left I got the I have been “dating” for ten years, and I never loved you. 21 year marriage and he never loved me. What a fucking asshole. Even if they never loved us, why on earth would they say it. Why not just say whore has my dick hard and I know it will last forever, sorry it’s been fun, but I gotta go with my dick.

          But, now they have to convince themselves this is something special and just so much more than a stiff dick.

      • OMD, you’ve managed to capture and articulate my scattered thoughts. Especially your last paragraph about the validation, vindication and empowerment you found through CL and this community. I think many of us find resonance here and then stay precisely because we aren’t comfortable with the dominant narratives and norms. Even spackling and even stuck, I didn’t feel good about it and lived in a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance.

        CL/CN offer solidarity, snark and acceptance. Our perspectives are normalized, not marginalized. Valid and central.

      • I’m reading this and I just can’t believe in the same place , tried the reconciliation thing for just under 12 months , I’m so miserable ,embarrassed and scared.

        We just moved back to our own home and all the same behaviour is back, pushing me away, even after changing jobs the person his cheated with and left me are now working in the same company same team, his unwilling to make any changes or to move out – last time i moved out of our home and forced him to buy our home up for rent , different year same hurtful behaviour ,

        I don’t want to be the victim anymore but I’m so sacred to take the next steps it’s like I never left hell and I’m going through D- day again.

        I don’t want to fall apart I’m just soooo scared I’m not sure why the lack of. Respect or current treatment is hurting me.

        although I know I have to move on and that this is soooo toxic part of me is still trying to hang on – damn I just want peace and a good life I know I’m not going to get it here why can’t I just move forward

      • I’m reading this and I just can’t believe i
        Am in the same place , tried the reconciliation thing for just under 12 months , I’m so miserable ,embarrassed and scared.

        We just moved back to our own home and all the same behaviour is back, pushing me away, even after changing jobs the person his cheated with and left me are now working in the same company same team, his unwilling to make any changes or to move out – last time i moved out of our home and forced him to put our home up for rent , different year same hurtful behaviour ,

        I don’t want to be the victim anymore but I’m so sacred to take the next steps it’s like I never left hell and I’m going through D- day again.

        I don’t want to fall apart I’m just soooo scared I’m not sure why the lack of Respect or current treatment is hurting me.

        although I know I have to move on and that this is soooo toxic part of me is still trying to hang on – damn I just want peace and a good life I know I’m not going to get it here why can’t I just move forward

    • My D-Day was February 16, 2017 – two days after Valentine’s Day. I had no idea he was unhappy in our marriage until that day when he said, “We need to talk. I don’t think we’re happy anymore.” He later went on to say, “I knew it was over when I could not find a Valentine’s Day card I wanted to give to you.” Ouch. I think with that statement he pretty much ruined any future Valentine’s Day for me. Never did I think he’d be so cruel to me. I suppose that was the point…to make me feel unloved and forever to ruin Valentine’s Day for me, while he runs off into the sunset with his affair-girl (21 years younger). It’s been four years since that day. At least I don’t cry anymore. And, I hope for someone who makes me remember the childlike joy of being loved on Valentine’s Day. I’ve adopted patience. I believe some day he’ll meet his payback. By then, I won’t care. There is no way that girl will stay with him for the long haul. No way!

      • Valentine’s Day used to be my favorite holiday, long before I had ever had a romantic life. Even as a kid, I loved all the hearts and flowers and little cupids. As a single adult, still thought it was pretty great. Now? I am completely disengaged from it. It’s like Hanukkah for me. I’m Catholic. Hanukkah is a perfectly nice holiday celebrated by other people – not me. V Day is like that to me now. I try to decorate and do nice Valentine’s Day things for my child but my heart has no excitement for it. It’s not a holiday for me. And it used to be! A long term boyfriend dumped me two days before V Day long ago. My heart was so broken but I had moved on in time. But now? Klootzak has destroyed V Day for me without actually having done or said anything significant around that date. I hate that he sucked the joy out of a holiday I used to love.

        • I’m sorry to hear your ex stole the magic of Valentine’s from you. They have a knack of ruining the things that bring us the most joy, don’t they?

          I put most of my Valentine’s Day energy towards sweet little gestures for the kids and elders in my life, but it’s never meant that much to me, otherwise (the way you describe Hanukkah). Good thing, because the most romantic V-Day gesture my ex ever made (for me, that is) was to order the cheapest bouquet he could find online, for delivery to my house – after I’d refused to see or talk to him for months. It was pathetic. The following year, I got the STI results back from the tests I’d taken after learning of his longterm infidelities. Negative, so I guess that was a reason to celebrate! Plus, I’m no longer with him – reason enough.

      • “At least I don’t cry anymore.”

        My tears (or lack of them) revealed a lot about my deep feelings/values…

        When married to the Cheater, I cried when he was mean, I cried when he was callous, I cried deeply when I got the “I dont love you, never did” speech, I cried when he moved away, I cried in the shower, I cried on the way to work and on my way home. I kept tissues with me so often, my kids thought it was a long term trait (it wasn’t). I cried when he died, I cried when I had to create a life without him.

        The day (after his death) when I found a note where he had written “I never loved my wife”, I did not cry.

        The day I found receipts showing that his whole “coming clean” story was riddled with lies, I did not cry.

        The mother-lode, however was the day his confidante told me that he had cheated throughout our entire marriage. I didnt squeeze out a single tear.

        Fuck him and every nasty thing he ever did and his self serving cowardly ass and the horse he came in on.

    • Dear Unicornomore,

      1. Thank you. Your caring comments stand out on this blog, and your honest stories about the years you were stuck are helping me feel less ashamed and alone as I come to terms with my own choices and experiences. A few weeks back (?), I particularly admired how you responded to the post about the chump who discovered her husband’s infidelities only after he died. You managed to support the chump, stand up for your values and speak your mind about circumstances near to your own heart – AND you took care to preserve the inclusive and supportive camaraderie that distinguishes this site and makes diverse chumps feel welcomed and safe.

      2. I relate to almost every single comment in this (epic) thread and could add my own awfully similar stories. I think every chump could, because what you’ve described is at the heart of abuse. And cheating is abuse, and everyone here has been (or still is) there.

      3. “The idea that he held me in such contempt that he would be SO MEAN and inflict INTENTIONAL pain in order to avoid accountability for his behavior is what haunts me. Cruelty towards me was his default setting and he carried it through to the bitter end.” Until I accepted the ugly and incomprehensible truth, I could not bring myself to cut ties. I’m wiser. I’m living a more authentic life, and I have more agency. I wouldn’t go back, even if I could. I am not happier.

      • Though I am surely happier than I would be if still involved with that fuckwit. Not harboring any illusions there. It’s just that all of this has changed me, and I haven’t felt okay in a really long time. Thanks, all you cheering chumps who’ve crossed the line into Tuesday, for giving the rest of us hope.

        • B&R,

          Thank you for your kind words. If you want an ironic, uncomfortable giggle… when I was caught up in Hopium & RIC nonsense, I hoped that I would someday help abandoned spouses and we would all be happy again… I didn’t realize it would be in the context of being OUT of our toxic marriages.

          For what it’s worth, for quite a while, I was mad at him for “killing” the person I used to be and forcing me to become someone else, I LIKED her.

          Im now to the point where I don’t know who she would have become, but I now like the version of me I grew into. I wish for you some comfortable growing and healing.

          • Uni, I confess your anecdote gave me a genuine chuckle, not just an uncomfortable giggle. (With you, not at you, of course.) Does this make me a sadist? I’d prefer to think it means I’m on my way to Meh.

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts about embracing and liking the new you, even if you liked the you who no longer exists. That ghost ship has sailed, for better or worse.

            • Im totally OK with you finding ironic humor with the extent of my hopium. There is a show on one of the Catholic channels about marriages weathering intense difficulty and surviving…I used to watch it and think of all the nice things he would say about me once he came around ::::facepalm:::::

              There is absurdity on all of this and maybe the humor in it can help you get to Meh

              • Truly did mean “with you”… I harbored my own fantasies, which I look back on now with incredulity and, on good days, face palm humor.

  • I don’t even remember anymore the exact date of the last Dday. It was mid September 2015. Thats as close as I can get. This year I even forgot my wouldbe wedding anniversary date and the date of my divorce. They never even crossed my mind until something months later reminded me of them.

    • Same with me. I totally forgot my wedding anniversary date. In fact, today I was thinking of my son’s and brother’s upcoming birthdays when it crossed my mind that the dick’s birthday was just a few days ago. It’s so cool to not even think about any of those milestone dates anymore. (6.5 years since divorce.)

      • I rememb er our anniversary, but usually not on that day, I might think of it after or before sometimes. But only because it is easy to remember 3 July. I always remember Dday, but it was Christmas day. But, it has not bothered me for years, actually it didn’t even bother me the first time. By then, I was working in a new promotion, dating a nice guy and really working on myself and my job.

        I honestly didn’t really think a lot about fw or the whore until many years later when they blew up my sons life. That is when I googled narcs and CN came up.

        Met lots of nice online folks and hearing their stories made me realize I wasn’t crazy all those years ago, and while I made a few errors in how I handled it; over all I did pretty good just by instinct.

  • I just realized that my kids, grandkids, and I will be vacationing at a lake house during the D-day anniversary (October 2019). I didn’t do this on purpose. It just happened that lightning struck, and we all have that week off. Shit mountain is high!. And my ex is far below as if from a different life, a mere speck.

    Here’s to creating new memories and forgetting the shitty ones.

    Onwards and upwards, fellow chumps!

    • Wow, Spinach, your outlook is so different from even a year ago! You’re just 6 mos behind me in the whole shitshow/process, so I feel like we’ve gone through a lot of it together, and I’m SO happy that you’re sounding so happy. Life post-fuckwit is indeed beautiful.

  • I was with the Lying Cheating Loser for 4.5 years, cohabitating for the last two. First I was a chump, then, after the first D-Day, a hopium-toking volunteer, bulk pain shopper, relationship police, phone police, fuck shit police, Olympic level pick-me-dancer (and – less commonly perhaps – for one miserable year his boss/coworker as I employed him in my small business after he got fired from his job).
    My anniversary benchmark is notable for a few reasons. We “picked” it ourselves (who am I kidding, I picked it) because we couldn’t recall the exact day we first made contact on an online dating site. 11/12/13 was our chosen anniversary. On 11/12/15, my mother passed away unexpectedly in Sweden (I live in Texas). I was an emotional wreck but wanted to still carry on with our “anniversary” dinner date. True to his sociopathic nature, LCL picked a vicious fight with me that evening, and as a grand finale, he stormed out declaring he was going to “call his mother, because he could, because HIS mother was not dead.”
    And still, I stayed. And still still, a couple of years after, we both got our “anniversary date” incorporated in tattoos.
    In May of 2018 I finally got mighty and left him. In November of the same year, I got my Roman numeral anniversary tattoo covered up with a beautiful bird wing, for the Mr. Mister song.
    Since then, I’ve taken these broken wings and learned to fly again, learned to live so free.
    I’ve bought a house outright (at auction) in a new town and fixed it up. My business is thriving. I’ve added a cat companion to my gray tabby I adopted while with LCL. I lead a happy, balanced, peaceful life.
    LCL, it looks from a distance, is a hobo-sexual, spending his free time drunk or baked or both, bed-hopping and leaving broken hearts in his wake.
    My heart is as healed as my broken wings and I wake up everyday grateful, not for all the bullshit he put me through, but for the beauty I created from the ashes.

    • When I read what he said about your mothers death, I gasped out loud.

      I share with you having been told such disrespectful things that any sane person would have walked out at that moment (mine told me after Dday that his goal was to eventually marry a “trophy wife”…wtf? I was his wife and had birthed his children) and yet I stayed. Hopium for me was VERY real and genuinely contributed to optimism that was fully delusional.

      My task at hand has been to forgive myself for not responding more rationally to his abuse…Im actually doing pretty well with it lately.

      • Unicornomore, I’m literally fangirling that you replied to my comment! I’ve been a largely silent lurker on CL for years, and your contributions have been a shining light in my life.
        I resonate with what you say about forgiving yourself – the same thing has been at the center of my healing work in the 3.5 years since I left the LCL.
        Although I stayed bogged down for too long in “why did he do XYZ unspeakable thing” I finally realized it was the same why as if I were swimming in the ocean with an open cut, and a shark came along and bit my foot off. It’s pointless to be mad at or blame the shark. Sharks gonna shark.
        Our work as chumps is to figure out our own why, and to give ourselves a measure of the grace we so willingly extent to others.

          • Awwwww fangirling what a nice thing to say. I recently fangirled in a zoom class where a moral philosopher of wide renown answered a question I posed and I was all bubbly about it. Little things make life fun.

            Im so glad that I have helped you in some small way.

            Straight up: “Sharks gonna shark”. I tend to go down the rabbit hole when I reflect that he ripped away at my emotional flesh but not other peoples. His dad was just the same though…great guy to everyone but his wife. She and I functioned as scape goats…its quite a shame we were both so good at it.

            I forgive myself when I remember that there would have never been a way to get away from him unscathed; he knew my strengths and weaknesses and he manipulated them both.

            Im off to Home Depot to buy stuff to finish the fence Ive been building.

        • That’s what I did the 4+ years following divorce. I learned to forgive myself and then I learned to love myself just the way I am. They really are the biggest losers. And we’re the biggest winners when we don’t even care if they figure it out. For a very long time I wanted him to know that he lost the best thing in his life (me). Now, I don’t even care. In fact, it will be his loss the rest of his life if he never figures it out. I truly live for me now and for those that I love. I don’t waste time on anyone who is critical of me anymore.

          • Amazon Chump,
            My ex is at the second of a list of remarriages… a la his uncle, who is on his third wife, for now. I wish these guys, and gals!, realized their substantial loss in leaving us and felt….something…but my gut tells me they live in the moment and have absolutely no retrospect. If this ‘one’ does not work out, they move on and try again. It must be the partner, not them, that is the problem. But, what we have to think is…too bad for them. They will never understand a true love and true connection. They will never feel deeply. They will never appreciate. They will never look inward. They will never want the best for the person with whom they are. They are superficial. They think only of themselves.

            We have been released to look forward to our next deep relationship. At 52, I hope I find that person to share the rest of my life with. I have so much love to give. My ex threw that love out the car window and left it by the side of the road to go pick up a girl half his age. I tend to think he lost a good thing. But, he’ll forever chase that something he’s missing – instead of realizing it’s himself.

      • “My task at hand has been to forgive myself for not responding more rationally to his abuse…”

        I’m still having a hard time with this. After my ex coldly told me he’d shoot me before he’d shoot his mom and sister (he refused to apologize, defended his cruelty as a thought-provoking hypothetical, pressured me to answer – I refused – and insisted I would respond the same way, and got angry with me for being disgusted and hurt), I stayed six more years. I was young and loving and naive, and I was taking care of a lot, and I hate looking back at what I put up with. He was already cheating, as I’d find out years later, but the emotional abuse – which became physical, too, still before DDAY – should have been unacceptable.

        Glad you’re making progress, because you are not to blame – as is evident. If only we could see ourselves the way we see others.

    • There are so many songs with bird wings, its quite a symbol! I love one sung by the late, great Nanci Griffith, Gulf Coast Highway, the verse is

      “And when she dies she says; she’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
      Then she will fly away to Heaven come some sweet blue bonnet spring”

      I believe all these symbols are important to our recovery!

      • Beautiful.

        Here’s my contribution to the bird wing theme, from the Rain King by Counting Crows:

        “When I think of Heaven, deliver me in a black-winged bird
        I think of dying, lay me down in a field of flame and heather
        Render up my body into the burning heart of God
        In the belly of a black-winged bird.”

        Has anybody else got a song that moved you which makes references to bird wings?

      • Here’s my bird wing contribution:

        Blackbird – by Alter Bridge

        The willow it weeps today
        A breeze from the distance is calling your name
        Unfurl your black wings and wait
        Across the horizons coming to sweep you away
        It’s coming to sweep you away

        Let the wind carry you home
        Blackbird fly away
        May you never be broken again

        The fragile can not endure
        The wrecked and jaded
        A place so impure
        The static of this cruel world
        ‘Cause some birds to fly long before they’ve seen their day
        Long before they’ve seen their day

        Let the wind carry you home
        Blackbird fly away
        May you never be broken again

        Beyond the suffering you’ve known
        I hope you find your way
        May you never be broken again

        Ascend, may you find no resistance
        Know that you’ve made such a difference
        And all you leave behind
        Will live till the end
        The cycle of suffering goes on
        But the memories of you stay strong
        Someday I too will fly and find you again

        Let the wind carry you home
        Blackbird fly away
        May you never be broken again

        Beyond the suffering you’ve known
        I hope you find your way
        May you never be broken again
        May you never be broken again

        • From David Bowie’s song Lazarus:

          This way or no way
          You know, I’ll be free
          Just like that bluebird
          Now, ain’t that just like me?

      • Here’s mine. I’ve found a lot of female artists this past year with lyrics that have punched me in the gut.
        I already knew a lot of Sia’s music but hadn’t listened to this album before d-day last year. And, after some things that have happened this week – this song is hitting even closer to home than before.

        Sia
        “Bird Set Free”

        Clipped wings, I was a broken thing
        Had a voice, had a voice but I could not sing
        You had worn me down
        I struggled on the ground
        So lost, the line had been crossed
        Had a voice, had a voice but I could not talk
        You held me down
        I struggle to fly now

        But there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide
        We hold on so tight, we cannot deny
        Eats us alive, oh it eats us alive
        Yes, there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide
        We hold on so tight, but I don’t wanna die, no
        I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die

        And I don’t care if I sing off key
        I find myself in my melodies
        I sing for love, I sing for me
        I shout it out like a bird set free
        No I don’t care if I sing off key
        I find myself in my melodies
        I sing for love, I sing for me
        I’ll shout it out like a bird set free
        I’ll shout it out like a bird set free
        I’ll shout it out like a bird set free

        Now I fly, hit the high notes
        I have a voice, have a voice, hear me roar tonight
        You held me down
        But I fought back loud
        **********

        I have big updates for my letter that Chump Lady posted on my behalf this past Monday. I’ve been running nonstop all week between work and kids and groceries, etc. but will be working on replies to everyone this weekend. A lot has happened this week and I can’t wait to share! I just need more hours in the day lol.

        Much love and many thanks to all of you. I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now if I hadn’t found this site and all of you. Hugs all around!

  • I’m coming up on 4 years post divorce and I don’t remember D-Day’s date. I’d have to really think to remember my former wedding anniversary date and even the exact divorce decree date. My meh includes not giving a shit about any of these past days. I’ve taken back ALL of my days and all of my time and it is glorious.

    • I love this and couldn’t agree more… I don’t even notice the “old dates” anymore… seven years out from D-day, divorced for the last four. What I think about now are my son’s HS graduation date, the year I hope to move to Europe for work, and the year I’d like to retire. Other than that, taking life day by day with gratitude!

    • Oops! Just realized I completely forgot about my ex-wedding anniversary earlier this week. Come to think of it, it was last Tuesday!

  • I’m a chump long hauler….my picker was definitely broken as over the last 22 years had 3 disaster relationships that all blew up with cheating, abuse, lies, court battles, sidepieces, etc. UGH! Thank God I only had children with 1 of those fucktwits! The last one over 3 years ago crushed me! We weren’t married (thank God) but I fell hard for him (damn trauma bond). As I was recovering, what hurt me the most was knowing I could have prevented these toxic people from being in my life but I didn’t know what I was doing wrong/what was a missing???!? I thought I was doing all the right things….I had been a part of CL & CN for years, I did therapy, I did no contact with extremely toxic/narc people in my life, etc. but it took almost completely isolating myself from people to figure out what I was missing is I still allowed the ones that didn’t seem “so bad” into my life and once they weaseled their way in the abuse cycle would start all over again. I was fucking desensitized to ABUSE! And, it was rampant in ALL my relationships….work, friends, romantic, family, etc. FUCK!!!! So, I did a life overhaul and set major boundaries! I quit my job and found something else, I dropped friends, I distanced myself from toxic family, I stopped being so open to people who I thought cared about me, etc. I took back my entire life. Now, I have healthy relationships and anyone who isn’t I distance myself, I have a great job making MORE than what I did (and I don’t have to deal with toxic bosses or having to ignoring sexual harassment comments…whoop whoop!), I have a healthy romantic relationship with a fellow chump who gets it, my kids are happy and I’m teaching the importance of boundaries. After I took back my power, my life changed…..LIFE IS GOOD (Finally)!!!

    • Dear Southern Chump:

      I wish you and Chump Lady would teach a class on how to do this. A life-overhaul kind of thing for all us Chumps out here. Because after the Betrayer is how to never engage with these people again. I am a Betrayer-magnet and I don’t know how to de-magnetize myself. It would be nice to direct Chump dollars to real help.

      • You do it by having firm boundaries for what you won’t tolerate and stating them unequivocally. Make it clear to people that violating them is a deal breaker. If they violate, prove you meant it by cutting them out of your life. Get over the need to seem nice and to please people. That attracts abusive scumbags and users.
        Stick to your values and value yourself.
        Maybe you need some therapy to get there?

      • I read “Never Go Back” by Dr. Henry Cloud. That book helped me learn to establish boundaries with everyone in my life.

      • Great question PrincipledLife,

        CL – perhaps this is a good idea for a Friday Challenge. A brainstorming session of practical tips on how to take your life back. There are so many stories here but the tips (combined with stories) could be so helpful all in one place. It’s hard to unchump yourself.

      • Principled Life,
        Sorry for the late reply. I needed to be able to get to my computer for this response because when I am replying on my phone via text I run into a multitude of issues. I too was searching for this information…for years! It’s like asking for the magical cure. The thing you need to realize is certain things may work for you but not for someone else. Everyone is different and they process grief and trauma differently. I am sure you have heard of “Fight or Flight” being our human natural response to danger. But, for trauma victims who are desensitized to abuse it is common for them to “Freeze”. This is what I did. It is a very common response to what we have experienced (especially when you are stuck, trying to move on with your life after you have Fought & Fled). The following is a list of things that helped me “Thaw” so I quit freezing up my life. I hope they help you and others as well. CN please add any specifics to this list that you have found helpful.

        That said, you need to think of this whole “Rebuilding your Life” as an exercise of creating a tool box of healthy tools that will help you navigate through the good and bad of life and people. ** The healthier you are (emotionally/mentally), the more positive your life will be regardless of what shit (or shitbags) will come your way!** In a nutshell, it is YOUR job to educate yourself, process the emotions/trauma, heal, and grow….only you can do it for yourself, no one else can do it for you.

        The following is a bullet point list of what helped me. These are forever in my Tool Box of tools I use on a daily basis.

        1) Do the work – It only works, if you work it! This means educate yourself, allow yourself space and free time to go through the grief process instead of keeping yourself occupied all the time to “numb” the pain, learn to give yourself alone time….and be content and happy during that time, learn to be in the present, get therapy, find a support group, etc. Do all the icky things that you don’t want to do because they “uncool” or they make you feel lonely. It’s not the things that are uncool….it’s your feelings and the only way to get over them is for you to do the work to process them.

        2) Read “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and learn to set BOUNDARIES. This is a MUST! He has several versions for certain circumstances like “Boundaries with Dating”, “Boundaries with Children”, etc. and I suggest reading all of them because most likely you have other perpetrators within your inner circle or you attract perpetrators because you are desensitized to the red flags. He also has a blog, newsletter and Instagram that I highly recommend you join and check it often. He has other books that some have listed on this thread as well as throughout CL post. In my opinion, read what speaks to you….all of his work is great.

        3) Educate yourself about toxic people and patterns. This is another MUST! If you don’t educate yourself then you risk falling into the same pattern of abuse with future connections in all areas of your life. Read Boundaries and Dr. Cloud’s other books but the other piece is being able to identify red flags easily….this is much harder than it sounds. The following are the best places that helped educate me about redflags in toxic people. Almost all of them are on social media because I needed to get as much information as I could without getting stuck in the Mountains and Mountains of information out there. I educate myself every day. It doesn’t matter if it is a good or bad day, I go to these sites and I read or watch a video…every single day.
        (NOTE: Safety Check – Make sure all of your settings on your social media pages and YouTube are private so spies can’t see what you are following and report back to your perpetrator.)
        a) ChumpLady
        b) following UnderstandingTheNarc on Instagram – They have 182K followers and put out amazing content in small bits everyday so you can easily absorb the message….this is important because all of this information is extremely overwhelming! Largely in part, because it is hard to grasp that people would treat another human being (someone they loved) in the most inhuman ways they possibly could. In fact, even though you’ve experienced toxic people yourself, it takes you a while of you reading this material before it really sinks in.
        c) following novas_narcissistabuse_recovery on Instagram – She has 72.6K followers and is a professional counselor who specializes in narc abuse and trauma bonds. She puts out great content too. In fact, sometimes she and Maria (the therapist that runs UnderstandingTheNarc) share content with each other.
        d) follow Doctor Ramani on Instagram and YouTube – she is AMAZING! Love her work and highly recommend. She has great 15-30 min. videos on YouTube that are a treasure trove of highly valuable information. I watch them while I am getting ready in the morning or listen to them on my way into work.
        e) Check Outofthefog.website – this is a website created back in 2007 by counselors/therapist who saw the need to help family members and survivors of personality disordered individuals. They have a great toolbox with mounds of information about every disorder you can imagine….including C-PTSD. Which if you haven’t heard that term yet, a lot of you need to get familiar with the term because you most likely have it. It is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and it is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and there is little to no hope of escape. (Ladies and Gentlemen – this was me….here is your FROZEN complex). This site is easy to navigate but please give yourself some safe alone time when going through this site. It can get overwhelming and you owe it to yourself to be able to cry and let your emotions flow in a safe place.

        4) Give yourself time alone – Be good, happy and content with being alone. I’m not saying not having a partner or friends. I am saying, give yourself time each day to be by yourself. Go for a walk, go to lunch/dinner by yourself, go do a hobby, etc. It doesn’t always have to be what we all consider fun things. Sometimes you may need to decompress and process icky emotions during this time…..it might not seem fun, but it is necessary! Take a nap, shower or bath afterward. You will feel much better and soon those icky days are less and less. Do YOU and be glad you are doing YOU regardless if its fun, messy, cryie, snotty, happy, etc. You are learning to take care of yourself and put yourself first.

        5) Fuck the people that show major redflags! You know who they are and if you don’t go to UnderstandingTheNarc on Instagram or Dr. Ramani and find their redflags list or How to Spot a Narc. I don’t care if it is your sister, your mom, your best friend since childhood, etc. Go no contact/grey rock if you have too, distance yourself from them and set boundaries.

        6) Find your tribe! Like attracts Like…..so when you want to be around nice, positive people ditch the looser toxic people and I promise the people who are more like you will come around. Make sure they are HEALTHY! The moment someone gives you a major redflag it’s time to distance yourself and understand that they aren’t part of your tribe. I’ve lost several people who I thought were my tribe (especially when COVID hit and I saw how hateful they were on social media about vaccines, the president, etc.) and it’s ok. I am cordial with them but definitely grey rock. General note – the ONLY people that are allowed in your tribe are those who have your health, safety and welfare in mind….they are the people that live by the Golden Rule “Do onto others as you would want them to do onto you.” as well as the Reverse Golden Rule “If I wouldn’t do it to you, I don’t have to take it from you.” (in other words these people are respectful of others and understand boundaries). Keep in mind some of these people may seem like they live by the golden rule but they truly do not. For example: extreme church goers who are radically hypocritical and will viciously turn on their “friends” for having a difference of opinion or not being patriotic enough. Run (not walk) away from these people! These are the same people that are probably feeding your perpetrator information. (NOTE: Nothing against church goers as I am a Christian….but there is a difference between a healthy person and an unhealthy person who uses their faith as a weapon….be very careful of these people! No matter how many bible verses they throw your way justifying their toxic behavior)

        7) When it comes to Romantic Relationships – Trust that because you have been doubted your picker is broken (and that is ok!!!!!). I know it sounds harsh because it doesn’t feel good but it is reality and you need to come to the understanding that you are getting better, growing, healing, and all of that is amazing instead of feeling like a failure. (Remember like attracts like so if you are hurting you attract the kind of person who exploits people who are hurting….they are like sharks and can you like blood in the water). So do yourself a big favor and give yourself time to go through the motions of being the new you especially before getting into another relationship! Don’t make the mistake that I’ve or others have made by rushing into another one (especially when the other person is moving really fast…btw – that is a huge red flag). You need time to grieve, heal, educate yourself, grow and get your sea legs before jumping into the deep end. When you are ready may I also suggest asking your tribe to help you as you vet the suitors. Stick to the rule….if your tribe doesn’t like them, then they are out! I don’t care if you have amazing chemistry and it was the best sex of your life….if they are an asshat your people are going to see it much better than you will. Take their word for it and set boundaries.

        8) When you are getting back into the dating pool – be warry of internet dating (I know there is success but it is also a cesspool for cheaters/narcs/toxic people because it is so easy to access these days and keep from their partners….so a good rule of thumb is be careful). My suggestion is go oldschool and ask your tribe to be on the look out for you. They know who you are, what you like and your tribe will genuinely want someone who is good for you. My tribe found my now fiancé. He was a fellow chump and it is a very healthy relationship! Also, I suggest reading Steve Harvey’s Book “Act like a Lady, Think like a Man”….he has rules to dating that I think are very important for anyone that has been through the nightmare of dealing with toxic people. For example, the 90 day rule….you test out a car so why not test out a mate. Don’t have sex with them for a minimum of 90days (Steve and I say more but that is the minimum). During that 90day period they need to prove themselves and you will find if they are really as into you as you are into them. Also note, this is a great rule because toxic people can keep their craziness hidden for only so long before they start redflagging. And, if they redflag, its easier for you to get out of the relationship if you haven’t slept with them.

        9) Innately part of your healing and growth will come from mentoring other people. Be open to it. It will help you and the other victim(s) in so many ways….I promise! I am a completely different person than where I started on my journey 8-9 years ago….especially after I really dug in deep 3.5 years ago and did the really hard work. Luckily, I had already done some of the hard work but was missing those other parts (like educating myself on narcs and redflags, setting boundaries, and putting rules into place in my life like distancing myself instantly from people who show major redflags.

        10) Learn to be present in the moment! Physical activity and my job helped me with this and I am forever grateful. I got into a really bad holding pattern of “reminiscing” and “playing back the videos in my head”. (UGH, Fuck! It was annoying, snotty nosed, and took up so much of my time and energy) It took me a solid year to get out of that holding pattern. During that year I found that I did that crap when I was driving, at night while laying in bed, or when I was mindlessly shopping. I also found during that year the only way I could function was after being present in the moment. Things like physical activity forces you to be present because you have to pay attention to what you are doing, having a daily To-Do list and checking off things on the list forces you to stay present to get things done, interacting with people, doing my work, breathing exercises, meditating, etc. All of those things of staying present saved me!

        Sorry for the long list! It’s a lot, I know but once you start putting them all your tools together and using them on a regular basis everything gets sooooooo much better. I look back on my life when my journey began 8-9 years ago and I am a completely different person. I even look totally different (back then, the stress was literally killing me….hair was falling out, dark circles, wrinkles, etc.) I was aging at such a rapid pace people thought I was 10 years older than what I really was…..now people say I look like a 20 years younger. ((BIG HUGS)) Do the work….it only works when you do it!

        • #7 – it should read “Trust that because you have been DUPED your picker is broken…” Sorry for the mispelling….it’s Sunday and I am trying to hurry so I can finish other things around the house and have some sense of a day off.

          • Lots of good stuff.

            However, while I think working on ourselves in all areas is always good, and should likely be a continuing process; I don’t necessarily think that the fact that we were duped always means we had a broken picker.

            Some of these folks are just really good at deception. Kind of like if you hire a contractor to work on your house, you may have done the best you could but some folks just know how to fly under the radar.

            • A broken picker is more than what you are suggesting. It’s not meant as a bad thing, it’s meant as there is something you need to pay attention to why you chose to allow an unhealthy person in your life.

              I say that because 9 times out of 10 the perpetrator will show you redflags throughout your relationship. At the moment they give redflags we as chumps did not notice, ignored them, made excuses or thought we could fix them. A normal healthy person would notice the redflag and depending on the degree of that flag set boundaries appropriate to the issue….sometimes going full bore with no contact.

              So, isn’t that end goal for us chumps?? To become healthy so we don’t get chumped again and live a good life? At least, that’s the message CL has taught me in my years of following her. We’ve all been duped! That’s why we are chumps….own it, accept it and grow from it! Here’s to being healthy!

              • I get that, and yes it is always good to look at yourself.

                I just don’t think the picker is always broken. I honestly didn’t think about fixing my picker after a 21 year marriage. I knew what my standards would be right off, and when I met someone, he met the first level of standards and of course we took several years to get to know each other and so far going strong.

                I do agree look at your picker, especially if you have had a string of issues with different folks.

                Sometimes, especially in young years cheaters will fly under the radar, sometimes they actually do change into cheaters.

                I just hate to make chumps think that they are to blame because there was something wrong with their picker so to speak. Maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t.

                I am not saying we shouldn’t look at our strengths and weaknesses, of course we should. All I am saying is imo, it isn’t always the picker.

    • Your story resonates for me. I also developped a faulty picker and attracted way too many toxic people. I blame the family of origin (FOO) but knowing of their toxicity for 15 years has not been sufficient to extricate myself of that doom. I am currently cleaning my life the way Ulysses cleaned the barns of Augias. It has been 24 months now. I got rid (in that order) of the toxic employer, the toxic husband, and the next (toxic) employer. I reframed the kids, the parents and even the cat. Setting boundaries is exhausting when it is a new skill. But the kids and the cat are way more happy now. The parents are a lost cause, I guess. I’ll practice some more on employers. Looking forward to meh {{😘}}

    • Congratulations. What you did is amazing.

      I had to do the same. D-day woke me up to the reality of other toxic people on my life in addition to the FW. Sadly, one of them is my own adult child. I had to disengage for the sake of my mental health. I didn’t see my mother for a year, until she finally got it and stopped shaming me for leaving the cheater. I set the proper boundaries and those who won’t respect them are no longer in my life.

      I’m so happy for you that you overhauled your life and booted the assholes out of it.

      • Some years ago, my now 93 yo mother, to whom after repeatedly pouring out my heart felt situation and pain and the information I was finally divorcing, said “will you tell x I love him?” After a lovely three day visit with her in her nursing facility while saying farewell for now.

        Stopped me dead in my tracks. I stood up tall, faced her squarely and said “Mom, tell him yourself.”

        And I left. She hasn’t brought x up again.

        Fuck the x. I laid it down with my mother.

        And I guess I laid it down with myself.

      • It is very sad when one of those that will ‘abuse’ you is your own child. I have a son that has alienated me. He has told one of my other sons that I’m critical of him (when I called him out for his adultery) and that he doesn’t want to hear anything bad about his dad because he ‘loves’ his dad. (His dad the adulterer.) When I found myself begging to fix whatever I did wrong (so he would talk to me again), I realized that I was kissing my dick-son’s ass just like I used to kiss his dick-dad’s ass. And that’s when I said, “No more.” I will love him till I die, but I won’t be abused by anyone or play their games just so I will be accepted into their life. It’s his loss just like it’s his dick-dad’s loss.

        • Yes.

          Recently cut the tie to the triangulating narc sister after a lifetime of abuse with some okay parts. Nope. That bullshit’s over. Glad about it. Glad I’m standing up for me.

        • I had the thought recently about my young son – what if he turns out like his father? I think it is very likely that custody will be split 50/50 because klootzak will take all he can get to hurt me. And in his 50% of the time, he might make whoring around with multiple women look really good. I’m sure he will fill kiddo’s head with lies making me out to be the bad guy. And there exists the chance my own child will grow up to be another klootzak. And sad as it is, I am resolved to put up a firm boundary with him someday if I need to. I love him with all my heart but if that is the path he chooses, I won’t tolerate it. And I pray I can help raise him to not be such a person.

    • Southern Chump, it’s good to hear that healthy things came out the other side of the overhaul. I’m in that period of having dropped every relationship that felt even remotely exploitative of me. The people “closest” to me are gone, and I’ve established inner boundaries that come from having acceptance an insurmountable distance between me and my family as far as emotional/social development. I’m still maybe a bit too open in the wrong scenarios.

      It still feels extremely “high maintenance” / “unreasonable” to limit people’s access to my inner world and to my time just because they don’t have integrity. I have tended to give folks the benefit of the doubt, find them naive, or capable of learning, just misguided, etc, and now when I tune in to how I really feel, I’m concerned no one will ever meet my high standards!

      But I think that’s just because having been used to very low standards, I’m healthily erring on the side of caution until I figure out what my green lights for more closeness are. Sometimes when I have a bad day, it feels like I have no one because I just suck. But your post helps me remember that with the people I was close to before, I still felt unseen and devalued, so it takes some clearing out of space before good things come in.

      I don’t have a D-Day for the recent exes whose behavior brought me here, but I did just live the 4-year anniversary of a very bad work bullying situation. The emotional / PTSD flashbacks are terrifying. This happened at year 2 and 3 anniversaries of the incident, and my vulnerability 2 years ago led me to get back together with shady/complicated-relationship-with-the-truth ex. Since COVID restrictions lifted, I’m seeing that same ex around town in our shared arts community and using my new skills to be polite but not engage, not share — even though I’m more on my own than ever. With all the work and meditation I’m doing, this time I was able to recognize what was going on with both flashbacks and my ex’s ways of trying to get back under my skin and take care of myself.

  • Oooh, such a good point about certain anniversaries being just a date on the calendar. I’m 4 years out from my escape, and I still feel introspective (in a good way) around the anniversary of when I told my ex I was divorcing him and when he officially moved out. I have a small moment of celebration on the anniversary of our divorce being final. And my old wedding anniversary is normally just a date on the calendar, thankfully. I have no idea when we last had sex. It wasn’t all that great to begin with, so not especially memorable. The view from Shit Mountain is pretty damn good. I’m remarried, my teenage son lives with me most of the time and is doing really well. He is not paying child support like he should, but I am able to survive. Any leverage he thinks he has to control me doesn’t exist anymore. He is irrelevant.

  • What was wedding anniversary, the very first one after divorce, I was in Niagara Falls (Canada — which is a 2-day bus ride from where I live — 9 days total) with a group of like-minded individuals, on a bus tour. Absolutely awesome trip! One I had wanted to go on for years! Therefore, that date is overwritten with new memories. Yes, the date does still hold some pain (36 years married / 4 years divorced now, so it takes some time to ‘de-tox’) but having those new memories with other authentic people definitely makes a huge difference!

    Love to all of CN, as we continue to ForgeOn! together!

    • “ new memories with other authentic people definitely makes a huge difference!”

      Great point, ForgeOn! Good motivator, too, as it’s something we have to work at to make happen. Not part of the healing process that just happens on its own, with time.

  • You know what. As I’m reading the stories I had to actually make myself remember when our anniversary was, when his birthday was and when d-day was. Actually d-day is September 27 th and I had forgotten. It must be Tuesday 🥳. So my life is so much better. I’m packing today for a 2week tour of Ireland and am so excited. The ex would have never wanted to go. Woohoo for better times

  • I’ve been divorced from my children’s dad for more years than we were married, now, and since the love bomber marriage was short lived, from that marriage as well. The love bomber died a few years ago, and I think his older sister buried him. She enabled him, so I suppose it is fitting. My children’s father is not in good health, and his financial situation has declined significantly. My oldest son remarked that the best years of his dad’s life were the ones he had with me, and the woman he is with now has discovered his dad is no prize. I just shrug.

    Both of these men made their own self destructive choices, and lived a life full of selfish behavior. I didn’t have to do anything — they could not run away from consequences of their own bad behaviors. I do feel sorry for the women they fooled, but feel nothing for the women who intentionally cheated with them, knowing they were married. I believe these women will all face consequences, too.

    Important lessons learned? You cannot fix others. Do not be an enabler. Do not seek revenge, let natural consequences fall — have faith that they will. Set boundaries, and live a sane, peaceful life. I have been happier in the years since I retired from work than I ever was in my life, because I live with so much less stress now. I did save for retirement, my children are grown, and I don’t have a man living in my home, telling me what to do, or what I cannot do, or lying, or cheating on me. I have friends and family, and I can pursue my interests in music and travel. Could there be more? Would I enjoy a male companion at times? Perhaps. But that is not necessary to be content.

    Life was not what I thought it would be, or how I dreamed it would be, but my healthy habits and work ethic got me through. I was able to get my children raised and educated. They are now adults, and have to make their own choices. I have health issues normal for a woman my age, and I have to work to take good care of myself, to make healthy choices. That is my main job now. I keep busy doing projects on my home designed to make it more comfortable and up to date. I hope my final days are peaceful, and I can enjoy my friends and family. That is my goal now — I don’t need to acquire things, in fact I need to start finding constructive ways to pass along many things I no longer need. Looking back, I have to say that although some of the bad times were truly bad, and I clearly did not cause them, that I made the situation worse by trying to believe in things that were not true, and trying to fix things I could not fix. When I learned to let go of my false (mostly FOO) belief system, I started to be happy.

    Being happy is not an entitlement. It is a choice you have to make, and a boundary you have to enforce..

    • “Important lessons learned? You cannot fix others. Do not be an enabler. Do not seek revenge, let natural consequences fall — have faith that they will. Set boundaries, and live a sane, peaceful life.”

      Wonderful. Simply wonderful.

      I too just try to live a quiet, content life. The less XH there is in my life, the better it gets. I don’t miss having a partner in my life and it feels really good not having a husband around who took every opportunity to let me know how unhappy he was with me as a wife.

      Being single and independent rocks.

    • “Being happy is not an entitlement. It is a choice you have to make, and a boundary you have to enforce..”

      Precisely why FWs can’t ever be happy. Too much work to make it happen for real, never looking at themselves as that potential source of happiness (the closest they get is “whoops, I’ve used up this person/this person has seen through my facade, now on to the next victim”), hence the continued shitty behavior toward others and insane entitlement.

    • “My oldest son remarked that the best years of his dad’s life were the ones he had with me, and the woman he is with now has discovered his dad is no prize. I just shrug.”

      I think that is likely true in my fws case too. Not because of me, because he obviously didn’t place much value on me. But, he did place high value on his position in the community and his position at his work. I was a part of that image. He fucked all that away, and once his secret life of sin started to crumble, it crumbled fast.

      He went on to gamble away everything he had, then he turned back to religion, evidently that didn’t hold; when he could, about a year or so ago he went in to debt for a big ass RV that he paid over a hundred thousand dollars for. Well he didn’t pay for it, but some idiot company gave him a loan on it, I doubt any bank did. He died in Jan and left all that glorious debt to the whore. She has a small pension and a reduced SS check on her own earnings. There was no insurance or savings.

      I only know because my son started talking to me about the mess a couple months before his dad died.

      As CL says these folks don’t get character transplants. They just keep searching for that magic potion that will make them happy.

      • “They just keep searching for that magic potion that will make them happy.”

        So very true. My ex took off because he was unhappy, and I have reason to believe that there was not much happiness on the other side. As a therapist friend of mine likes to say, the skeletons of the past just follow you and poison the water when you run away from your problems.

        I slogged on here where we had roots, as painful as that was at first. All of the memories and questions from people who knew us were painful. However, over time I was glad that we stayed where people knew us.

        I went to the funeral of an older friend today, and the familiarity of being with people I’ve known for 20+ years to grieve a mutual friend was a needed moment for me. I hugged a friend who is battling cancer for the third time and chatted with another who buried their son a few years ago. She remembered holding my daughter when she was a baby. I talked with the grandchildren of the friend who passed and joked around with his great-grandson. I made a salad and a cake to share at the luncheon. It was just a natural, lovely thing to do. Several that I haven’t seen in a while asked where my ex was, and I gave them my short explanation and then told them how glad I was to see them. I cried a little at times.

        THAT is happiness. It was here all along.

  • Dear ChumpNoMore,
    Welcome to CN and it sounds like you’re pretty awesome and in a spot I am really trying to get to, slowly. Day by day. I hope your new BF sees and treats you as you deserve.

    Let’s see. My D-day is my daughter’s actual birthday ( yes, my freak informed me of her uncertainty of parentage while birthing our daughter ), but no loss at this time since I was only “allowed” to hold her for 10 minutes (she’s 6 months old) before ex screamed at me “get the f out of the house, right now” because her boyfriend was on his way over.
    Secondly, of course our 2 year old twins share a birthday with Christmas Eve so take away that holiday and after seeing all the Christmas and birthday photos of my ex and her twu wuv holding my children and posing for a holiday card, I’ve recently converted to aetheism— why have Christmas if I can’t enjoy it with my kids.
    Good news? CL. No contact. Remember she sucks. Two calendar days that I treat as all the others.
    In 18 years when my children ask why I didn’t celebrate their birthdays, I will try my best not to say “Because your mother is a …”.
    I’m too good of a chump to deride her, but I need time to get there.

    Keep doing it!! It’s just emotions and tears and healing and a whole lot of shit sammies but it’s way better than anything she would bring to my life. Good riddance.

    Xioba Xioba

  • This isn’t DDay related but ex cheater asshole’s anniversary with his first wife was on my younger son’s birthday.

    It took at least 8 years for him to stop bringing it up every year on my son’s birthday. Beyond his whore ex gf that he kept around he had terrible boundaries in general and that included his ex wife. I got thrown under the bus plenty to kiss her ass.

    Now I know he did things like that on purpose as a passive aggressive way to needle me. He liked that I was younger, fit, and made a lot of money but he was also very jealous of me and went out of his way to put me down in a manner that he could play dumb and deny. He was desperate to maintain his bullshit phony nice guy image but he was really a nasty douchebag.

    Now it’s only my son’s birthday again. Ex can fuck right off with his limp dick, broke ass, and shitty toupee. LOL.

  • The last number of years he was horrible with our wedding anniversary in March. The first year was tough, the second easier. This year I am much closer to eh

    I totally celebrate the day I left my fuckwit which I did suddenly. I gave him ZERO warning I just left with my kids. It was Martin Luther Kings Birthday. It’s a holiday geared around the messages of freedom and rights!!! I was with my fuckwit for 28 years and what I endured now makes me shake my head but I am FREE!!! Martin Luther Kings Birthday will always be special to me for so many reasons and last year I walked around with a wry smile all day.

  • My D-Day tradition is to bring my girls out for ice cream. It’s a blast and a great way to celebrate that we are all still here and we are thriving. ❤️

  • Ah, anniversaries! My cheater ex loves anniversaries, especially those of family members’ deaths–his family members only, of course. He loves the sympathy for him–kibbles for a covert narc!

    Apparently, I forgot to comfort him on one of those anniversaries. That it had been over 20 years since the death didn’t matter. And apparently, the OW DID comfort him. That sealed the deal. She won the pick-me dance that I didn’t know I was in. I know this because he told me!!

    It’s taken me this long–two years—to realize that I shouldn’t berate myself for this lapse and to realize that his rationale is beyond effed up.

    There were other equally ridiculous rationales, of course. “She flirted,” he said. “I’m naive,” he argued.

    I’ve crawled over all these boulders of justifications and lies to get to the top of shit mountain.

    • “You forgot to comfort me on the 20 year anniversary of my Uncle Fred’s death.”

      This sort of thing belongs in SSCS. A classic stupid, dishonest excuse. If OW comforted him, it was because he whined to her. She sure as hell didn’t remember the date of Uncle Fred (or whoever) dying either. What a moronic bullshit artist your ex is.

      • My ex was infamous for this kind of self-centered guilt trip. He really milked this stuff. Manipulative and effective, on many levels. How could I be angry at him the week he was going in for a colonoscopy? He had to build himself a house and make weekly videos about it: how could I be selfish enough to worry about my own housing and livelihood? How could I care that he was still fucking a nasty stranger when he was stressed at work? His dad died when he was a teenager: how could I presume to know grief? How dare I feel hurt by his betrayals, let alone attempt to hold him accountable for what he stole from me? And on and on. Gross.

        Before any ddays, but during a discard when FW left me in a precarious position in order to take unilateral and unexplained time and space to himself (to fuck an unprincipled and adoring young bimbo), I went NC out of self respect and self preservation. After a couple weeks of silence from me, he wanted kibble and couldn’t bear not to be central, so he emailed (of course) to say he missed me and, then “Oh by the way, I’m sure you know but it’s my five-year sobriety anniversary.” Miraculously, for once, it had slipped my mind. And his anniversary happens to fall on my mom’s birthday! Which he never managed to remember or celebrate, even though she was incredibly generous and loving toward him for many, many years. (Meanwhile, who made sure fe’s mom had a special bday, every year? Chumpy me.) Now on that day, I celebrate my mom wholeheartedly, and I give little thought (and no credit) to that self-obsessed fuckwit.

        The only people, events or issues that mattered revolved around him. We religiously celebrated his sobriety, his father’s death day and birthday, his parents’ anniversary, and so on. But you know what? We didn’t even have an anniversary, because we never married. It’s sad that I was so small I didn’t care (like another chump said, above). Once, feeling inspired, I found the courage to suggest we pick a date to celebrate our relationship, but of course it went nowhere.

        • Oh my goodness. Incredible! These types of cheaters are truly disordered.

          No doubt my ex is now extracting boatloads of kibbles because his adult kids have gone NC.

          It must be an odd pill to swallow…bittersweet. I’m sure he’s pissed beyond words that they have no contact with him, but, at the same time, he must enjoy the steady flow of sympathy kibbles that the OW must give him…if she’s still around. Out of guilt, I’m guessing she might stay. After all, he will tell her that it’s because of her that he’s estranged from his family, and he’s so so sad. I know that man.

          He also seems to delight in the perverse fascination of his own death. He wonders who will come to his funeral. It’s so weird, and it’s all about him, his grief, his struggles, his pain.

          I’m not sure how I lived with that for decades.

          • Klootzak is convinced he will never die and convinced he will outlives me. Funny how he is so sure of that. He thinks he is Peter Pan and still young looking. He ogles teenage girls at the water park. His father and uncle consulted me about estate planning (nothing is going to me, just to be clear) and I am the executor in their wills because klootzak won’t have anything to do with death. He’s immortal. It’s so weird.

    • My STBX is a huge whiner, too. And, if he’s not getting his desired amount of attention, he’ll make up things that are wrong with him. I noticed early on that he’s the biggest hypochondriac that I’ve ever met in my entire life. Little did I know, then, that if you’re not paying enough attention to him, or you *gasp* talk about yourself or your day for more than 30 seconds and the focus isn’t completely on HIM, then he’ll have a pain in his chest. Or his head. Or his leg. Or his arm. Or his stomach. Or he gets dizzy and “SOMETHING’S WRONG!!!!!”

      Can’t tell you how many ER trips I’ve made with him, only for him to prance right back out the ER doors like nothing happened once they tell him nothing is wrong with him.
      And I’ve DRIVEN him to his doc appointments and been there for all but a few of them over the years.

      He’s never once gone to the ER with me (including the day of the car accident I was in that he’s soooo excited to get his hands on my lawsuit money), or any doctor appointments, or MRI appointments. He offer to go to the first MRI appointment with me after I threw a fit because I was really nervous (I’m claustrophobic to boot and had never had an MRI before). Then, the morning of, I heard multiple excuses about why he didn’t think I needed him there. So I went alone and got through it alone, much like most other things since I’ve been with him.

      Everything is ALWAYS about him. No fucks given for anyone else – other than his own kids.(Who are all spoiled, manipulative liars just like him and his ex wife.)

      • Wow, sounds very familiar. The dozens of trips to the ER with him. No findings.

        But when I had severe chest pain he asked me to wait until the morning to go to the hospital.

  • This year will be my first year officially divorced (3/12/21) and our would be wedding date was 10/3. I’m considering just dressing up and calling a few friends over to celebrate this day that I am free and no longer with an abusive person. I’m still healing from all the trauma that was inflicted on me but I want to start taking my power back – even if it’s for a few hours.

  • I’m bad with dates. Like really, really, really bad with dates. I forget birthdays all the time and I have to have these sorts of things written down in a calendar otherwise… poof… those dates disappear from my brain. Most of the time this quirk of mine is a real pain in the butt.

    On the other hand, this deficiency of mine comes with a silver lining: I have no idea what dates my D-Days (both of them) occurred on. I also don’t remember what date the divorce became finalized although, for legal reasons, I have it written down and stuffed in a filing cabinet somewhere. I don’t remember what the date for our wedding was (although, again, it’s written down and filed away as I have to look up those legal dates every once in a while for legal purposes). I remember the season, generally, when these horrible days happened (summer… always summer), and how I felt… but I don’t remember the dates themselves. As a result… no (specific) horrible anniversaries!

    I’m not at meh. I still hurt a lot and can’t face him or GF#3/Wifetress (I close the curtains before they arrive to pick up the kids because I don’t even want to catch a glimpse of them) but I know I am blessed to have no specific bad anniversaries that I see or sense coming.

    I’ve been thinking about looking one of those dates up, perhaps the date the divorce became finalized, and converting it to an annual spa day for myself. A once a year “treat yourself” extravaganza. Then I’d look forward to it every year!

  • I love Fall. Got married with a beautiful Autumn wedding on Oct 12th – 19 years ago. Now the day passes like any other and I forget it was ever an anniversary specific of anything. I even almost forgot the date as I was typing it here 🤣🤣🤣. I enjoy October just as a beautiful Fall month before FW tried to fuck it up.

    • I had originally wanted my wedding to be in October but klootzak messed that up and it ended up in July. I’m so glad he didn’t mess up that month for me. lol

  • Thank you CL for publishing my letter!

    My EXH – not the cheater, that was the rebound trauma-bond, was a classic narcissist, which I recognize in so many of your stories. They can’t stand anything that takes the attention from them so they try to ruin every holiday/special occasion. Our poor kids are traumatized by them.

    Taking those days back, away from them, is our super power. Making new memories, for ourselves and our children is moving forward. Once someone said that even if the good memories with them are tainted, remember that YOU still had the experience, and you can reframe that memory in spite of their presence. (I had to do that with a special vacation we took right before D-Day. I didn’t want to lose the memories of that time. They are my memories, and my experiences.)

    While I like to put special days on my Google calendar, I have zero days entered about the FW. I archived or removed photos so I don’t get the reminders popping up. That’s part of the no contact.

    And to answer the question about my BF: I hope I can be healed enough to deserve him. He asked me in the beginning if I trusted my picker, and he hasn’t pressured me to make any commitment. No trauma-bond, no love bombing. It made me realize that what I thought was love was seduction and manipulation. But without the experience of my EXH and the FW, I don’t know that I would appreciate my BF.

    Thanks all for sharing your stories. It helps us all.

  • This post is so timely! I live in San Diego and just last night as I stood on the beach, I thought of how much has changed in a year. One year ago, I was pre-D-day but miserable.

    A year ago, I would have had one of a hundred similar evenings. While my babies slept I would have been wrapping up work, doing the dishes, laundry and all of the work to keep our house clean and maintained. A year ago, I was probably crying myself to sleep alone while my husband was “out on a walk” (aka cheating on me) because he deserved a break. I was desperately sad and alone and tired from begging him to spend time with me. Even in that dark space I held onto hope like a lifeline because I “knew” that we would make it through that rough patch and soon he would try to work on our marriage as I did. I “knew” my husband loved me and we would be ok. I had no idea that I had based all my hopes and dreams on a liar.

    Last night , as I stood on the beach looking at the waves and the twinkling lights, I felt the ever-present pain from missing my babies (shared custody), but I was also grateful to finally be on solid ground.

    • “Even in that dark space I held onto hope like a lifeline because I “knew” that we would make it through that rough patch and soon he would try to work on our marriage as I did. I “knew” my husband loved me and we would be ok. I had no idea that I had based all my hopes and dreams on a liar.”

      Same, TSINMS. I held onto hope because in my observation of healthy situations, rough patches would come and go and the important thing was you had your partner there with you to work it out. I didn’t realized how fundamentally disordered he was until it was too late. Now I am out of that shadow and back in the light, or on solid ground, as you put it. It’s a much better place from which to gain perspective than in a gaslit mindfuck.

      • Good comments.

        Yes, I knew something was horribly wrong the last few months. I had noticed a change in that he seemed to be avoiding me not long after his big promotion, which I realied after the fact was the beginning of the year of discard. In hindsight it was like a light switch thing.

        Anyway by the end of that year as we hit the fall holidays, it was bad. I was hunkered down to wade through it. I still thought this was as mentioned a rough patch and we would work through it.

        Not that it would change anything, or even that we would want it to in hindsight; but it just seems so unfair that they do this shit for years before we are let in on it, and by that time it is too late.

        I resented that I spent those years loving a fraud. Had I know there was other people involved, even if I had decided I wanted my son to get mostly grown before I left; I would have started college classes earlier. I would have gone to work full time earlier; but no because I believed him I played by our plan. I followed the rules.

  • My child’s former therapist told me to always watch kids’ behavior around signifiant dates such as custody changes and abuse, because seasonal cues (weather, upcoming holidays, foods, etc.) can trigger memories of trauma, even if they child does not recall the date or conciously make the association.

    I made a list of significant dates, and when he’s unusually upset or on edge, I check the list, and sure enough, many of these match up, and I can respond appropriately.

    It applies to adults as well as to kids. Even if we’ve forgotten the actual date, we may have it linked to something like leaf color changes or pre-holiday shopping ads. If we’re down or not at our best, checking our list can help us understand and be kinder to ourselves.

    Walkawaywoman, you ex was childish, petty, and above all, despicable. He came out with one of the worst comments I’ve heard about, if not THE worst. What you’ve accomplished is inspiring.

  • D day for me is October 6th 2019, I filed for divorce a week later (we were married 30 yrs) and it’s been almost 2 years of divorce hell and still not divorced! I have been no contact for about a year and 1/2, he blocked me on everything and so we only go through our lawyers.
    The first D day anniversary I was sad, but glad I was not with FW anymore! Trying to figure out me and what my way in life was. The book LACGAL was my life saver that 1st year!
    Wedding anniversary’s, birthdays, D day are huge triggers for me, I hope this year is better. I am not at meh yet, because I’m fucking mad he will not do what the court has ordered him to do and now he got a 3rd dui and is in jail for 5 yrs on a felony! THIS guy is someone I don’t know !
    My Tuesday is coming!

    • Lin, not that it makes any difference, but I wonder if your husband has a form of dementia called frontotemporal dementia (FTD): criminal behavior in someone who was not inclined to act like that in earlier years is one of the symptoms.

      I’m pretty sure my ex was a narcissist (because I eventually found out about lies he had told from the very beginning) but he has FTD layered on top of it. When he suggested that we cheat on our taxes, I was floored. By that point he’d known me for years and he knew that I highly value honesty and integrity. There’s no way in hell I’d cheat on my taxes!

      Not everyone has the same cluster of symptoms when they have FTD but you might want to consider looking them up. Some are bizarre, like very little if any memory loss at first and deterioration in personal hygiene (my then husband would brush his teeth before work but stopped brushing them at night and sometimes went all weekend without brushing, and he started wearing dirty underwear with visible stains on them – ewww).

      FTD is very often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, but it helps to explain some mind-boggling behaviors. “THIS guy is someone I don’t know” reminded me of the time I asked my then husband “Who ARE you??”

  • I don’t remember the actual original D-Day. It was a long time ago( 2009 or 10). I do remember the wedding anniversary and my first date with my current lovely devoted boyfriend, which was the day after what would have been my 40th wedding anniversary. Thank God we didn’t make it to that anniversary!

  • Well, today is my birthday and I actually forgot until just now when I looked at Facebook. For Pete’s sake.

    Next week I sign the papers and am blessed to have reclaimed very large swathes of mental real estate from Benedict “OJ” Madoff and his nefarious lower companions. I am relieved to report that the 24/7/365 film festival of mind movies has ceased. I do still hurt but I do feel like I took my brain back from the hijackers. I meant my wedding vows and did not want to ever divorce, but I cannot and do not want to be married to him. Certainty is a blessing.

    I have an extensive gratitude list which I start my day reviewing. Finally internalizing that he, and anyone else he hooked up with that knew about me and our daughter, have big big problems and that cheating has zero to do with me or our MIRAGE is on that list.

    I have the trust and respect of my daughter. Last night we went for a peaceful walk in Tiburon and had dessert at a cafe. I did not miss him and he/they did not even cross my mind.

    Even though I still hurt, I have peace of mind and hope. The bomb crater he left is overflowing with things I want to do that I feel excited about. I actually feel “Good riddance!” in my heart when he crosses my mind, which isn’t frequent. And when he does cross my mind, I say, “Keep on walking, Benedict OJ Madoff!”

    Happiness is a traitor-free birthday!

    58 and doing great!

    😛

    • Happy Birthday!! Like you, I figured out that his cheating had nothing to do with me. I could have looked like Marilyn Monroe and known every move in the Kama Sutra and he still would have cheated. It’s all about entitlement.

      • I think if Chumps could get that early on in their mind and heart, it would help so much.

        We can know it intellectually, and I did know it. By no measurable standards was I inferior to her. But, still there I was feeling like a worthless loser for a while. I remember even thinking “how awful must I be that he prefers that to me”.

        Just like anyone else, had nothing to do with me; it was a colossal indictment of his character.

  • Unfortunately I have a brain for dates and numbers and remember every date and occasion. It really is a mess up in that brain with all that trivia floating around. 😁 nevertheless, I am at meh and up here on shit mountain, I am quite happy to see time as progress through grief. I finally feel content and even allowing this experts be teachable. Just maybe I should have paid more attention to his BS and less door-mat like. That’s on me! Hugs!

  • i’m in the middle of it and my legs are aching from the climb, but it’s sometimes a good ache?

    that said, yesterday at therapy i was running an EMDR of the classic discard (ILYBINILWY + i don’t find you attractive), when i noticed how truly ugly my X was in that moment. it was the cruel twist of his lips.

    this is movement and i’ll take it. onward to discussions of spousal support.

  • Oh goodness, I just read that someone didn’t remember their D-Day date, and I started thinking, “what was my date?”

    It was September 17th.
    Many years ago TODAY!

    Funny.

    I don’t think of that guy anymore. It’s been a long time. And there were three engagements since then.

    The last guy… who posted some flirty stuff to a new Facebook friend, which I saw and then broke up with him… just deleted that flirty stuff. How do I know? Yeah. I was checking out his Facebook page this morning.

    THEN I saw that there were 17 comments, (3 of which were her saying “happy birthday” to him, him hearting it, then her saying, “aw ya love me!” and him saying, “Yes I do.”) and I counted, and there were only 14 to count. WHICH MEANS HE DIDN’T DELETE THEM, HE JUST HID THEM!

    Haha.

    Here I’ve got my marriage police on it and we weren’t even married.

    I need to work on that.

    No more “secretly looking at his social media” for me.

    Thanks for the post which was a good reminder.

    Of both things. No more social media and no more anti-versarie. Because we are no longer adversaries, you know? He lives his life and I live my life.

    I’m thankful for my life just the way it is right now.

  • My BFF commented today that it’s just over 2 years since my first DDay (sept 11th). And in these 2 years she laid out all the mighty stuff I did. Took a year and a bit but I moved out, found a better job, travelled with my kids, made new friends and connected with old and filed for divorce. September is also our wedding anniversary and idgaf 🙂 I have reclaimed the month as a mighty month

  • I still remember the anniversaries, but they don’t cause me to shake anymore. I still see reminders of him, reminders that pop up without notice. But I don’t seem to spiral down as a result. Typically, I feel a temporary shiver and then move on.

    So this is progress.

    Sometimes I worry that coming here only serves to remind me of him. And yet, it’s important that I have this community to help me metabolize what the hell happened. CL empowers me and, not for nothing, makes me laugh. For this and for all of CN, I am incredibly grateful.

    • We are all a group of ptsd survivors from the same trauma. It’s our therapy and CL is like a magnetic force calling chumps to the other side.

      CL helped me realize I wasn’t crazy, he is a cheater. I walked around depressed, anxious and confused as hell for years.

      Glad your anniversaries are getting less impactful with each year. Cheers to that!

    • I am at this place right now though I still haven’t filed. The anniversary dates come and go and I barely notice them and don’t react. He buys me a wedding anniversary card just to show our child that he did and I do the same. No kisses, dinners, gifts… he stopped being involved with any wedding anniversary romance years ago so I don’t expect it. This last year as the wedding anniversary came and went, I thought to myself that under my state’s guidelines, I am a little closer to permanent alimony. hahaha I wouldn’t want that permanent tie, though. I just want it until kiddo goes off to college since I will be stuck dealing with klootzak that long, anyway.

      The D-day dates used to get me feeling ill but now I just notice it and shrug.

  • I’m considering “reclaiming” my wedding anniversary, a decade later. I have been divorced for ~5 years now and in that time rented after selling the marital home. My first rental was a top floor condo of a locked building because I was scared to live alone. After gaining some confidence I rented a small home and really started to flourish in the transition to singlehood. About a month ago my dream home came on the market and I was able to purchase in a “stars aligned” way in this crazy market. Very smooth and felt predestined. In looking at options for a housewarming party I realized my 10 year wedding anniversary was on the perfect Friday. I can’t wait to host my family, friends, and new beau in my beautiful new space.

    An analogy that helped me cope with the constant feeling of “my life wasn’t supposed to turn out this way”… I thought I was signing up for a trip to London – researched, packed, was all prepared. At the last minute the trip was changed to Spain! Equally wonderful in its own way, just different. Same for my current life. 10 years ago I thought I was setting out on the path of lifelong marriage to him. Life took a turn and I’ve had some wonderful but different adventures. Meh is here and it is worth the wait.

  • I just realised that I can’t recall D Day.
    The final one was in October but I had played marriage police for nearly a year.
    It was immediately before school holidays.
    Chump me thought that a family trip would be good for us.
    And we had a good time in the Tasmanian wilderness with out kids . I thought we got closer .
    I had a good feeling .
    We arrived home on a Thursday afternoon .
    She caught up with her AP on Thursday evening – she went out with a female friend for a catch up but invited him to join them in a bar.
    Her friend told me the next day – because she could see what was going on .
    That was the final straw for me .
    And now – I don’t know the date .
    But given that the school holidays start next week, it must be around this time .
    And I don’t even care . Go get fucked cheaters .

    • “I just realised that I can’t recall D Day.”
      In the assault on my sanity and safety that followed the first DDay, I lost track, too. That pesky and problematic term, “trickle truth,” does capture how it feels at the time. It’s wonderful to be at a point where I don’t feel like those details are central to my survival. Mostly thanks to time and CL/CN. Letting go is about so much more than physically leaving, or even cutting/minimizing contact.

      “And we had a good time… I thought we got closer. I had a good feeling. We arrived home on a Thursday afternoon. She caught up with her AP on Thursday evening.”
      The sliding doors. Poor chumps. We are wired so differently from cheaters, and it is as if we live in a separate dimension from them. (Sadly, they know this, can see us in our dimension, and use the this unfair advantage against us long before we even have an inkling.)

      • Completely agree – whilst she was triangulating, it was obvious that she was contemplating her options:
        AFS – the physician with steady income, the AP – a smooth talker.
        She knew that she could take me as a constant.
        She send this email “why did we have to get divorced, why could you not wait until I had myself sorted out?” After over a year of an affair with ” Ace ” – ( that was his number plate )
        And I was constantly thinking – “maybe after the next marriage counseling, maybe after she has see a psychologist,maybe after the family holiday ” That was all a waste of time and energy.
        But we learn. I would never do it again

        • Ace! Well, at least you have that. 😉 So glad her mindfuck didn’t work on you.

          I was always thinking the same kinds of things (once he’s sober, works on himself, has a job he likes, sees how much better this could be, sees how much he’s hurting me, sees how lucky he is, once things are sorted out with his mom, once we have a home of our own, once I’m “good enough”…). That probably could have been my entire life. What a sad thought!

  • I’ve had the anniversary of d-day come and go a few times, it’s still painful. I’ve mourned the loss of what I thought was my life. I’ve tried to wrap my head around the person that I was closest to, I really don’t know. I’ve watched him morph into a monster I don’t recognize then back again a bit just to try to make a decent settlement. I’ve done it while sharing a home. I’m sorry I be subjected my kids to this for so long, but I can’t make him leave. He continues to live his “best life” and I just carry on making sure the kids are taken care of. I’ve had the anniversary of our last “date”, last sex, last holiday or birthday we weren’t faking for the kids, and the anniversary of realizing my life is a big fucking sham.

    • Oh, Longtime Chump! You can’t make him leave? I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine how hard that must be.

      I think we all fight the feeling that our lives are big fucking shams. But, as CL says, “I have to conclude that I was real. …I’ll never know all of what was going on and with whom. I know enough to know it’s disordered and dreadful and has everything to do with him, and nothing to do with me. I wasn’t living a lie. He was living a lie. Was it real? You’re real. Does it matter? You matter.” — LAC;GAL

      Also, you’re “making sure the kids are taken care of.” You’re the sane parent. That’s huge.

      Your disordered cheater is the big fucking sham, not you.

      • Love that CL quote, it really is the only way to reframe all of it.

        “Your disordered cheater is the big fucking sham, not you.” Thank you, Spinach.

    • I’m sorry you are stuck. I’m momentarily stuck, as well. Make lists. Make a vision board. Make plans. Don’t let the bastard bring you down! You will get away from him in your time. Know and believe it.

    • Your life is not a sham if you are working toward a settlement to end the marriage. It’s not a sham if you are taking care of the kids and you’ve asked him to leave and he won’t. And the marriage was only a sham on HIS side. Be kind to yourself.

      You can only control your choices, your actions.

  • I got married to my beloved husband on 10 June…which was the date of my Dday with the cheating exhole. I didn’t even realise that I’d married the love of my life on the same day my previous cheating relationshit ended. I think it was poetic justice. I started the best days of my life on the same date as I felt my life had fallen apart. It was the best new beginning so I took that date back without even realising it. I was at complete meh. Looking back…I was truly free in every way. I didn’t even realise the significance of the date until a long time afterwards. 10 June will be the best day of my life…because I kicked that cheater to the curb and then went on to meet and marry the very best of men same date much later. 💚💙

  • New Year’s Eve (brink of the pandemic), I made some shocking discoveries and immediately left. Threw a bag in my car and drove off into the swirling darkness of a snowstorm, before my ex could return to the house and gaslight me into staying (or worse).

    One year later, in my new little apartment, I celebrated the anniversary of that heroic escape. (Unfortunately, I can’t call it the day I left for good, because I did go back one last time.) I made a resolution to go No Contact. I’m solidly NC now – THANK YOU CL/CN – and so I will celebrate one year free of present tense mindfuckery this New Year’s Eve. In the future, I think I’ll dedicate the holiday to honoring and exercising freedom and agency.

  • My third and last D-Day was in August 2019. A failed attempt at marriage counseling, going no contact, a pandemic and divorce followed. Last month, in August 2021, I was plowing through all the name change documents and filing for Medicare.

    It’s getting better, but I’m not at ‘meh’ quite yet. Another covid surge will reduce the chances to replace memories. I’m more and more comfortable being by myself and can begin now to think about my goals for August 2022.

  • Eight years ago at this time, I was in the middle of the discard and I had no idea what was going on. It took me 2 more months of agony to understand what was happening and find out about the OW and maybe 3 months beyond that to find CL and learn about no contact and the narcissistic relationship cycle. That was my turning point.

    From 8 years out: My finances are in good shape, though I fear I will work well into my 70s to keep that so. I love my home and I’ve learned how to take care of it gracefully. I find living alone to be a lovely thing. I’ve got wonderful friends and some family in my life, plus my pets.

    I almost never think about Jackass. He doesn’t interest me at all, other than as a specimen of a certain type of hollow, inadequate, and manipulative man. He has remarried and I expect the cycle will repeat itself in one way or another, whether I know about it or not. I find myself focused on enjoying my own life, striving to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy.

  • For some reason, today I remembered one of the more ridiculous instances of his “excoriating me over nothing” approach to discarding marriage/justifying affairs in those final months.

    He came storming onto the front porch, ranting about the state of the potted fern in the living room. How could I have been so irresponsible as to allow it to get so dry and raggedy? How could I have been so disrespectful to him, allowing it to inch toward a death that could clearly now no longer be avoided.

    I let him rant. Watched him do so without comment. Once he seemed to have wound down, I calmly pointed out the pertinent facts.

    The fern was fake. The interior designer upon whom he had insisted had chosen it. It had been there for well over a year.

    Little things like that were endless. Have to grin when I recall one. Being free of that is entirely excellent.

    Wherever he goes, hell simultaneously takes up residence in every single corner, shadow, and moment. It will forever be a relief not to dwell in that ever again.

  • hahaha – I got the date wrong! D-day is actually 9/25. I remember he told me that he hated the 25th of every month. Sure – because that’s when his fun ended, when he got caught.

    Hopefully he doesn’t get through my blocks to contact me. After the 25th he has no more reason to try!

    Hello Tuesday! Hello meh!

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