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Holiday Traditions You No Longer Must Endure?

Keeping in the theme of thanks, today’s Friday Challenge was suggested by a CN member — Holiday Traditions You No Longer Must Endure.

When you lose a loser, you lose so much more — crappy gift giving, marshmallows on sweet potatoes, insufferable drunk uncles…

And if you’ve ever spent holidays as a chump, there’s also the extra special mystery rages, disappearances, and cell phone distractions. Good times!

So, your Friday Challenge is to share holiday crap you no longer have to tolerate, and if you’re feeling positive, what new traditions you’ve replaced instead.

TGIF!

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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.
  • No more FW or visiting FW’s family at Christmastime? Count me in. I feel like I’ve escaped a holiday themed hostage situation. But only me though; my children still have spend holiday time with FW and, although they do love him, I’ve noticed that they are beginning to enjoy their time at his house on weekends less and less as they get older.

    It hurt to separate my experiences from my children’s experiences for many years. I wanted us all to be a united nation, so to speak, but that’s not possible; my children’s holiday experience will not be my holiday experience because they split their holiday time between houses. Broke my heart for awhile until I was able to normalize the experience.

    So, I have to take my kiddos lives out of the equation and think of just myself for awhile. What do *just I* enjoy about my non-FW holidays?

    The peace and quiet. Honestly, just sitting back, with no worries, and enjoying the absolute peace is amazing. Then the kids will get scooped up and drive over to his place to spend holiday time there and I’m alone. For a few years, that feeling of “well, now I’m totally alone on Christmas” was incredibly depressing. Then, that shifted. Now, it’s glorious. Absolutely glorious.

    • Agree emphatically. And with so much going on in December that you’re trying to memorialize for your kids each year, by the time mine leave at noon on Christmas Day (only for about eight hours or so), I luxuriate in doing nothing.

  • I no longer have to deal with her reluctance, silence, and overall awkwardness at any holiday function given by a member of my family.

    I no longer have to manufacture ways fit her to contribute to normal conversation whenever the topic of that conversation wasn’t HER.

    Best of all, I no longer have the dread of anticipating the look, gesture, or comment meant to let me know she was done and wanted to leave ASAP.

        • Mine also pouted or went silent if the conversation had nothing to do with him. Occasionally he’d interject with a comment to divert the conversation back to his favorite topic, himself.
          For example if someone mentioned their child was sick that week with an ear infection, other parents would mention something about their kids being sick, he’d interrupt yh conversation with the story of when he was 6 years old and had an ear infection,.as if it happened yesterday. Who cares? No one would know what to say,

      • Mine had a habit of intentionally looking unhappy in shared photos. He would be charming and cheerful, and then when someone took a photo of us, he would immediately lose the smile. I mentioned it to him once. He knew what he was doing.

        • Yes, they know what they’re doing. Ex Mr. Charming would look miserable at any event that didn’t center around him and while he was with me.
          He’d turn on the charm when other people would be in close vicinity but as soon as they’d walk away he’d go back to looking like someone had died.

          I’m happy I can attend a social gathering and be socializing and laugh without looking over at him giving me looks that could kill.

        • My x did this too. A weirdly cruel smile or he’d look off into the distance (if he deigned to take off his fugly sunglasses).

        • Funny that you mention that. Up until the last year, or really six month before Dday he always looked happy, or was laughing or being silly. Then boom all of a sudden in the last few pictures (this was pre cell phone pics) so only a few pictures he was sad sausagey.

          And yet by his own words he had been cheating for years, so why that last year of sad sausage. Year of discard?

          • That’s interesting. My FW always looked like a corpse in photos the last year of his affair- eyes that were somehow both sad and devoid of any life, deep frown lines in his face. He even remarked on it himself. I have one photo taken on D-day (hours before I found out) where we are standing side by side and you can see the life and energy in me, and it’s jarring how flat-lined he looks by comparison.

            I think it was because the thrill of novelty had worn off and he realized schmoopie wasn’t his ticket to happiness after all, yet at the same time he knew I wasn’t it either. Since he externalizes and outsources happiness, having no ability to create it from within, he had lost all hope. I still (stubbornly and chumpily) had some hope left for us then. It died forever a few hours later, but at least I still have hope that I can create a happy life for myself. He doesn’t have that. Sucks to be him.
            So his face was saying what his mind couldn’t bear to face.
            Maybe it was something like that with your fw too?

            • It could be.

              Yeah, I had hope until the day he walked out the door. I mean he was acting like a total shit head; but for some reason I thought he would snap out of it. It was weird.

              I don’t know how long he had been unhappy, or if he was having a ball until someone dropped a dime and his house of cards fell. I will never know. I do know for sure though that he never found real happiness after he left. He pulled too much stupid shit to be a happy person.

              I only know because we share a son. I only say him about three times for just a few minutes after we divorced. He aged fast. Faster than I thought he would given he could spend the rest of his life fucking his whore. He went on to cheat on her fairly quickly. Guess she didn’t have a magic twat after all.

  • Looks like I’m the early bird today. I do not miss the men disappearing to watch football all day and drink while the women cook, feed the family and clean the kitchen. I like having real conversations about important personal stuff that we rarely have time for. I don’t like baking turkeys. Every other day I am a pescatarian. After yesterday I am not making any more turkeys. Hugs to newbies! My divorce was final the Monday after Thanksgiving 4 yrs ago. I actually said out loud yesterday that I was happy. Surprised me. Thought I should search for the buts…I didn’t . It’s ok to be single and divorced and not looking to pair up.

  • I never have to tolerate:

    His sulking

    His cheesecake (that added dollop of tension and assholery wrecked the taste). His expectation of praise for his one contribution.

    His acting like a guest in his own home (showing up for the meal as if he’s not hosting)

    His failure to compliment (never noticed this at the time, but, in hindsight, the absence of that is glaring)

    His criticisms. Oh the criticisms.

    His making an insensitive comment that would cause our adult daughter to storm out of the house

    His lies

    His urgent need to go off to another room to tie a fly for fishing or to go to the river to fish (and I believed him)

    His demands

    His inability to interact with his kids

    His mom

    My catering to that unworthy man. Never again.

    • Yep I catered to mine. Part of that for me is likely generational. But, yes he would just sit and be served.

      I also cater to my now husband, but the difference is he caters back and is always watching out to make things easier for me. Things I don’t even think of.

        • Ex never catered to me even when I was sick. Never offered to do anything for me or bring me a drink.

          I’d have to ask multiple times for him to empty the trash. If we had people over he’d take the trash out without being asked, refill drinks, take plates to the kitchen, put dishes in the dishwasher. He’d be in hyper speed, exaggerated (fake). I don’t recall being at anyone else’s home and seeing anyone act like he did.

          I realize now of course, it was for attention and to prove to outsiders that he’s a great guy.

    • “His expectation of praise for his one contribution.”

      Good lord, I went through this, too. It’s absolutely maddening and I’m sorry you endured this “put me on a pedestal NOW” BS.

      Him: “Wow! The green beans I made turned out SO GOOD right?”

      He’d say it over and over again until I fulfilled the required compliment quota. I’d also have to get the tone exactly right or I’d be admonished for not appreciating him. If I failed, a passive aggressive move would be pulled against me.

      For canned green beans he mixed with a little butter and cheese. His one and only contribution. FFS

      • LisaH, Sounds like I married your ex’s twin.
        How are those Green Beans? yeah, I put them in the microwave for 2 minutes, just like it said on the side of the can. Did you tell your parents I made the Green. Beans? They’re good aren’t they?

        The tone of my compliment…, had to be just right or I’d be accused of patronizing him.. then he’d pout until after saying it to his satisfaction. He’d still be slighty annoyed but tolerable. Probably one of the many resentments on his list of resentments he held against me and could never forgive me for.

        His had another important contribution while I cooked, cleaned, set the table etc. standing outside on the back patio with the garden hose watering down the back patio. It didn’t matter if we were going outside or not, or if he had just cleaned it the day before. He’s stand there for at least an hour with the hose. Looking important. When it was time for guests to arrive he’d jump in the shower. I’d have to great everyone, entertain while he got ready which could take 15 to 20 minutes before his grand entrance.
        Another way to make himself the focus of everyone’s attention.

  • I will no longer prepare a meal for his extended family who will bring their own containers to remove every scrap of that meal leaving me with no leftovers. I would have to cook the day after the holidays. Who does that? Chumps, that’s who.

    I got into the habit of cooking two complete meals and hiding one in the garage refrigerator. One year they found that. I said no and was countermanded in front of the family member. All that food I prepared went home with people who didn’t even say thank you. His family stole unopened bottles of liquor from the bar. They were like the Grinch up in my house.

    I will no longer open gifts from him that were clearly meant for him. He bought me a big fancy television knowing I do not watch tv. He bought me a shotgun that was too big for me to use. I will no longer fill my own stocking to keep from upsetting the children.

    I will no longer watch him leave the house on holidays. He would just disappear. If I tried to anticipate his departure and go with him it would infuriate him. “No you can’t go with me. I’m trying to do something special.” He would be gone for hours. He spent so little time at home on Christmas Day his adult children noticed, questioned him and that made him furious.

    I will no longer shop for and purchase my own presents. “You know what you want.” He couldn’t be bothered.

    This Christmas I will be home. Plans aren’t finalized. I might be alone. Even alone there will be the glow from my BlowMolds, pine cone elves, the sparkle of my two full sized trees, Christmas music and something special to eat. There will be a brisk chilly walk through the local conservation area. There will be peace.

    • “I got into the habit of cooking two complete meals and hiding one in the garage refrigerator. One year they found that.”

      My heart sank when I read that. I’m so glad you’re free now.

      • When I left not one member of his large extended family contacted me. I was an appliance to the whole dysfunctional family. I am free like Dobby.

      • THANKS for all the reminders ! I was feeling a bit sad that I’ll be alone on Christmas, but now I’m feeling OK about it because I won’t be dealing with his crap.

        Why? Because I don’t have to deal with:
        Anxiety, bad presents, buying and wrapping all presents, buying and cooking all the food, working my butt off, getting silent treatment, walking on eggshells, him getting mean when he drinks, playing loud music while getting drunk, him passing out on the couch, him drinking at 10/11am and drinking all day, pouting, temper tantrums, criticism about how we clean up after dinner while he sits, him being mad I don’t sit with him while he watches sports, snoring that wakes the neighbors, hating Christmas because he always like to ruin holiday (narc),

        What I get this year:
        Good presents that I buy for myself, peace, good sleep, peace, good food, peace, watch Christmas movies, eat sweets, peaceful dinners, quiet evenings, eating popcorn for dinner or take out,

      • We could never have Christmas at our home. Or go to my parents. Always at his parents. And they cooked the meal – so I volunteered to do clean up.
        Usually took me about 3 hours – no dishwasher.

        Brother in law was always given a large part of the leftovers to take home. And he never once got off his ass to help at the event.

        So, I relate to the two dinners. Because I would cook our own Turkey on Boxing Day and be left with all the work and clean up myself.

        The only time my husband would help with any of the housework or meal prep/ clean up would be if he had an audience. Otherwise the wife appliance was on her own.

        My daughter (first born ) was a 3 day labour. The first week his entire extended family descended on us at the farm and I was expected to cater to them. Lunch, coffee, tea and a clean house. 4 Great Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

        Throughout the discard I couldn’t believe that they just slammed the door on me. But looking back, they never cared from the start. So it was nothing to toss me aside.

    • Wow. Being free of that madness must be the greatest gift. I was sad and angry in your behalf reading how those people acted. I think I would have stored the liquor at a friend’s house and cooked them the bare minimum – a turkey, instant mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pie I had bought from somewhere. I hope karma bites them all. What despicable humans.

      • Throw down a loaf of Wonder Bread, some cheap sliced turkey (of dubious origins) and a jar of mayo. “Here you go !” you bunch of rude ingrates. “Happy Thanksgiving !”

    • Wow, Thirtythreeyearsachump, it’s hard to believe that so many people would steal your leftovers. I’d want to kill them! All that slaving in the kitchen and no leftovers!! What a horrible family. I hope this year you have a freezer full of delicious food that you cooked and ate in peace.

      • What I don’t understand – and never have – is the absolute outrageousness of ”taking leftovers” from someone else’s home UNLESS by specific prior arrangement or IF the host specifically packs up for you and forces it on you.

        We braai all the time here where I live (barbeque), and the basic rule is, everyone brings their own meat, host does the salads and so on. Any extra meat… stays with the host. They cooked it. It’s now theirs. There are a few specific exceptions but I digress.

        It’s NOT OKAY to help yourself to leftovers, to bring a Tupperware into the bargain?

        I am 100% certain that they miss your cooking and the free food a lot. Who wouldn’t? What scum. No manners, no kindness.

    • “ I will no longer fill my own stocking to keep from upsetting the children”
      That’s the line that made me tear up.
      So happy you are free.
      What a miserable bunch, and now they are stuck with each other! That’s some Karma.

        • “I will no longer fill my own stocking to keep from upsetting the children.”
          Wow, Thirtythreeyears, me too. I always had to fill my own stocking as well, until eventually my daughter realized it and started to tuck small gifts in there (usually lip balm, as that kid has a lip balm fetish). I’m sorry you experienced that as well. How sad for both of us.

        • I was married to the Rat Bastard for 45 years. Every year, I’d mention that I wished I had a stocking and every year he’d look me straight in the eye and be vacant but somehow I thought he heard me and was going to get me a stocking. I had 3 for him – one was HUGE. And I always filled them. Now that I’m alone, I look back on this stuff and wonder how my kids never noticed that Mom didn’t have a stocking? I did myelf no favor learning to be invisible and not rock the boat.

            • Mitz..
              I was good at accepting crumbs. Nothing in my stocking, no gifts.

              This after I spent time buying gifts for his 4 brothers and sisters, and their kids, his parents , wrapping them all and mailing them so they’d get there before Christmas. I’d carefully chose each gift making sure it would be something they’d appreciate.
              This is what I endured before Christmas for over 20 years.

              I’d also remember their birthdays, send photos, called his parents every weekend.
              I never heard from his family after ex abandoned us.I thought his sisters were friends, I was in his sisters wedding, I considered his siblings family, sisters I never had.
              I found out later they knew he was leaving before I did.

      • I know. That broke my heart. It’s just not a way to live, so glad she’s free and away from that hatefulness.

    • I love my vintage 1970s blowmolds so much! In the occasional December snowfalls we get in the PNW they are even more lovely! I would have fought for them in the divorce but XH left every single one of the 26 years of accumulated family items, including his own inherited family heirlooms, for Twu Luv with the 30-year old child-like homewrecker and a bare mattress in a studio apartment downtown. Good riddance!

      • Love blow molds! Starting to collect little by little. I wish my parents had kept the ones we had in the 60’s and 70’s. Worth a fortune now.

    • Your post broke my heart. I’m so glad you’re free of so many toxic, dysfunctional assholes. Alone is better than that bunch of users. There’s a peace we find when free.

    • No wonder Lt Col. Fuckface is so mad at you. You are the Golden Goose and those grifting ingrate relatives were stealing your golden eggs thinking there was an endless supply. Good for you for cutting them off and using the launch codes.

      Benedict OJ Madoff’s mother gave me the silent treatment for three years because I politely objected to her walking into my house/yard as if it were her own.

      He went to his parents’ house for Christmases without me during this time. But he delivered the “gifts” they got me. From his mother? A four inch tall angel candle from Marshall’s, price tag attached (1.00), unwrapped, and neck broken, head lolling to one side. From his sister? Antique half-used Avon body cream.
      Also unwrapped. Probably found in the back of a cabinet in one of the five bathrooms of their parents’ house.

      There ain’t nothing passive about passive aggression, as my beloved therapist said.

      Nice family. His Nice Guy Friendly Easygoing demeanor was a very effective mask which he used to hide what he was really doing and how he really felt and what he really thought for far too long.

      (He told his mother that I was uncomfortable with her walking into the house/yard even though he himself felt that way. He was very skilled at the game of Throwing Me Under the Bus and Using Me as a Shield.

      • “Antique half-used Avon body cream” Let’s give VH a skin rash from the expired skin product for Christmas, shall we ?

        • The same sister wanted to come over Tuesday morning at 8:00 with baby gifts. I had gotten home, new mom with newborn and C-section at 3:00 pm the day before. When I told her that day/time wouldn’t work for me, she said, “Well, I don’t want to give them to her when she’s 18!” She never came over and returned all the gifts. That was the last time I ever spoke to her. X and I were both estranged from her since then (2007). When he finally bought a place to live in town so he would be living near our daughter instead of with the Craigslist cockroach, it was a townhouse next to hers.
          The fucked-up is strong with this family. (Dad is 95 and was a German soldier….why am I surprised X is such a jerk?)

    • “I will not fill my own stocking to keep from upsetting the children.”

      “You know what you want.”

      Wow I feel so seen here. I did the exact same thing (tbh I’ll probably end up doing it again this year too). Or find out Christmas Eve that he hadn’t bought anything for me and the money was spent for that period and having to find myself a $10 pair of pyjamas that he went and got (and then went back and forth between wanting praise for his gift and being a sad sausage for it being the only thing HE got me). Followed by no birthday acknowledgment a few weeks later a couple years in a row (after I make sure he always has a cake and gift every year).

      Now, I can handle all that (and have to until I have money for a lawyer retainer and all), but if people stole my turkey leftovers, they’d be losing a hand. You have way more patience than me in this scenario.

      • Ugh that hits too close to home. Why didn’t I leave when I found myself having the “appropriate and inappropriate times to masturbate” conversion with a grown man and father?

        • The mystery of why sometimes comments nest in the wrong post on CL – this is meant in response to TheDivineMissChump!

      • Yep, this resonated with me. I refused to buy and wrap my own gifts under the tree, but I put a few things in my stocking. The only gifts I got were from the boys under the tree year after year after year. Of course if any of his family spent it with us, he made a big show of letting THEM know my gifts were on their way. At least his family were decent people and would chastise him. But you’d think he would have the decency to be embarrassed when I was the only one not opening a ton of gifts from the tree. Nope.

    • Yep, I taught my dad to only put out what he thought the table needed, especially if he had a big ham. Then he would have some left for the rest of the week. He in his later years would host church events, and those folks could clear a table like locusts.

      Sometimes folks just don’t think.

    • I filled my own stocking for a couple years because he can only manage one gift (though a couple years I didn’t get that). After he “joked” about me doing my own stocking, I asked him to do it the next year. He forgot. I got a new set of silverware and nothing else.

      He didn’t seem to notice until he saw me crying while I was making breakfast. The next year my stocking was full of cheap socks and an oven mitt.

      He just told me what he is getting the kids for Christmas, they are each getting one thing that is about $70. I don’t think he understands how upset they would be if I did the same thing or just expects me to carry the load.

  • I will not miss the complete and utter lack of effort when it came to gift giving. $100 Amazon gift card? No thanks!
    I will not miss the thump, thump, thump sounds of him jacking off to a webcam girl in his home office upstairs while I’m doing the holiday baking in the kitchen just below.
    Nope, not gonna miss that.

    I look forward to the upcoming holidays as it will a fresh start for me. Thanksgiving ended up being fun, relaxing, and completely stress free. I have no doubt xmas and new years will be the same. I feel like the karma gods have my back… 😉

    • I would be thrilled for gift cards this year. I’m getting ready to file and my 3 closest friends keep giving me gift cards as gifts, knowing I am stashing them away to use to replace tools, cookware, bedding, and who knows what else klootzak is going to take when he goes. I’m like a squirrel with nuts about gift cards. My work gives them to us as incentive prizes, too. Klootzak gave me a chia pet last time he gave me a gift. He makes sure to buy me a thing to save face with our son but makes sure it is sufficiently crappy. Our young son doesn’t realize a chia pet is a crappy gift.

  • Yesterday (Thanksgiving) was my first FW free holiday. Although I just entered the divorce process and he moved out, I am happy to say the holidays without a FW will be great!
    It was always about him and his family. He never wanted my parents over and avoided them as much as possible. Now, it is about whoever my son and I want to spend time with. My son was lucky enough to be home this week from his Navy career to enjoy a holiday. He had two of his friends join us since they were not able to go home. We also had my parents over along with several singles from their retirement home. It was wonderful to host everyone and not have to walk on eggshells. It was very relaxing even though we has to haul in extra chairs and and table we had. Although it was crowded in here, we had a nice casual holiday meal. Everyone helped with clean up and it was great to finally have help. I was not responsible for doing everything and that allowed me to have some time with everyone. It wasn’t the perfect event but it was comfortable and homey. I think this will be the start of something much more relaxing.

    • I love that you didn’t have to walk on eggshells! It’s just such a relief! As we drive home from my boyfriend’s family dinner last night, I felt such peace knowing that I wasn’t going to get yelled at for anything.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Sounds wonderful. Thank you to your son for his service and to you for opening your home to his friends on the holiday.

    • For some reason I love these stories of holiday dysfunctions we no longer must endure. I notice when the topic comes up how many of us “walked on eggshells.”

      Mine was a passive-aggressive “nice-guy” cheater, so my dread wasn’t of some big explosion or scene…but sure enough, days of silent treatment and moody pissiness until he finally deigned to tell me what unforgivable thing I’d done or said. There was always something, days later, to shame me for.

      Here’s to the lifting of that cloud of dread and anxiety, and to all the fuckwit free days ahead.

  • Not having to worship at the altar of the ex mother-in-law or open any more careless, mindless presents from her to me. She did not know me at all, after 26 years, and she made no effort to get to know me. Anything she bought for me was ugly. And not having to spend all Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day cooking, while he got drunk in front of the TV and fell asleep at about 3. Horrible man.

      • Holy crap… MIL did the same with me! After I had my first baby, I was trying to lose weight. Just 8 months after having the baby, MIL bought me a random pair of pants 2 sizes bigger than I was when I was PREGNANT. Big grin on her face. I took everything she bought and returned them (at a loss because it was all on sale) and used the money to get a milk frother for my espresso machine.

      • Yes, that is such a cheap shot!! For my last B’day that Ex and I were together, he ran out and bought, apparently, the first thing he saw at the mall. 2 entire outfits, the “NYDJ” brand in a size 10, to “make you look 2 sizes smaller”! I actually wore a size 6… It would have been easy to find my size by looking at a pair of my current pants, no?
        Low blow. I don’t miss that at all.
        My ex-MIL once gave me an electric can opener.. um, thank you?

    • Did we have the same MIL? In over 36 years, she never bought a gift specifically for me. She gave me things, but, they were not ever anything I wanted or needed (usually, what she had hanging around). Early in our relationship, she showed me her closet where her “gifts” came from. She never once got me a “daughter in law” birthday card.
      She also never bought my sons gifts… her only grandchildren for at least 10 years. She wrote checks! My, how a three year old appreciates that.
      So glad to be away from that family.

  • This will be my third Christmas without him and the utter joy of never having to spend another Christmas with his family makes me want to start break dancing .

    His mum telling everyone what would be happening and when and the oldest sister often reminding me I’m not blood . I told her the last year nor is your husband so I take it he’s not family either ???

    I just sit alone with nice food nice new PJs and enjoy myself .

    Infact I might spontaneously dance now with the thought of NEVER having a Christmas with any of them again 💃💃

    • My SIL also likes to say that I am not blood. Then she and klootzak high five. I doubt if I will ever be in a room with them both again to hear that, but if it happens, I’m now prepared to say, “Anyone either of you would marry isn’t ‘blood’ so maybe you two should marry each other.” Given how klootzak has a thing for erotica about brothers and sisters getting it on, maybe that’s what these perverts are really about.

      • The “not blood” comments are very odd, just weird. The comments usually come from people that the rest of us would get down on our knees and be thankful their blood is not running through our veins.

        • Indeed! My former family in law is almost cult-ish, true narc breeding grounds because they raise their kids to a) believe they are more special than any other family/people and b) drink. When I contacted my former flying monkey SIL to let her know that the possible cause of her elderly (late stage alcoholic) mother’s fall and broken leg the previous night might be related to the fact that when I spoke to her at 5pm she was slurring words – she informed me that she has a policy, that she applies EVEN WITH HER HUSBAND – that she will not discuss family with “non family,” so if I had anything to say I should tell my then husband and let him tell her! Should have run for the hills right then, instead I tan to my car and cried

    • I’m laughing so hard right now Karmeh, not being with his family makes you want to start break dancing. Maybe the reason I’m laughing so hard is I can relate..

      I no longer have to look at the most miserable faces known to mankind and listen to them moan and blather on and on about the imaginary illnesses they’re dying from.

      On Christmas Day, I no longer have to endure sitting in our family room with guests and looking over at ex doing stretches and calisthenics in the middle of the floor. Yes, seriously, on Christmas Day, with guests.

      I should break dancing and more.

      • Doing his Jack Lalanne routine in the middle of a party ! Was he wearing striped short shorts à la Richard Simmons ? Susan Powter’s “Stop the Insanity !”
        What a nutter…

        These stories are hilarious !

  • Holiday traditions that I no longer have to endure:

    A mother in law who always arrived with a complete dinner to attempt to outshine mine, then proceeded to not eat anything I made. And I am not a bad cook

    A FW whose presents to me where things he liked, or shit the salesgirl told him to buy despite my tastes

    A FW who announced a week before every occasion that I had ‘hurt him’ and he wanted to cancel the holiday

    A FW who would wait until the day before my bday or Christmas then bitch that he was stressed out by ‘having’ to buy presents

    A FW who estranged us from my family which ensured we spent every holiday with the above mentioned mother in law

    Divorce Rocks

    • Ditto. My FW made me move with him to the state where his family lived. For the next 25+ years we spent EVERY Thanksgiving and Christmas with HIS family. (Why did I allow that?!) One year, I was so sick that I didn’t want to have Christmas with his family. I wanted us to stay home so I could rest. He told me he was going with or without me. I had been in the ER that morning – but I had to shower and go to Christmas with his family or spend it alone. He didn’t even come to the ER with me! I was miserable the whole day and no one cared.

      When we were visiting my family, he would never accept an offer of food or drink. Would just say, “Nope! All set!” Then he’d give my mother or sisters a big Cheshire Cat grin like he was secretly making fun of them in his head.

      I found out this Thanksgiving – after many, many years – that my mother never liked him! Now, I can see why.

      This is the same man that would not come home early from a business trip to spend his mother’s last birthday with her. She had cancer and died months later. I threw the party. I made her and her friends dinner and a cake. Know why he didn’t come home to that birthday part that I threw? Because he was too busy fucking his 29 year old coworker – to whom he’s now married. There has to be some karmic justice for that kind of sucky behavior.

      • Wow, his own mother

        I am convinced they get their biggest charge from being cruel or duping someone

        Other than that they are off pleasing themselves, the world begins and ends with THEM

    • The disordered love to ruin holidays and special occasions. I know one couple (former neighbors) that were preparing to have a guest come to stay for a week (this was their vacation home) and the husband (the day before the guest’s arrival) walked out of the house angry about something and his wife was pleading, begging actually for him to come back. I told her later if it were me his clothes would have been sailing through the door right after him…guest coming or not

  • It is so interesting to me to read the responses today. I see we all bought into the cultural myths that you must have a mate, and you must be polite and let them be rude. We seemed to accept our “place” as food preparer and clean-up staff. We accepted that disappearing act for a secret holiday mission as normal. We accepted that they did not participate in any preparation for the “visit” by their own family. We accepted they must do “work” online, on a holiday.

    I grew up with parents from south-west Virginia, and I lived in Missouri during most of my early years. There were many cultural differences, but not so much with the expectations for the “role of the wife.”
    Even from a child’s point of view, I did not like the “woman’s role” and I did not want to grow up following the examples I saw. I didn’t want the “man’s role” either, because it seemed terribly selfish, to me. Even so, that was the pattern I found myself in as a married woman, especially after I had children.

    Today, I am retired. My children are adults. My Ex’s are dead. Yesterday, I had a wonderful peaceful day of Thanksgiving. I watched the parade in my PJ’s, drinking coffee in my quiet home. I prepared a light meal for my youngest son and I to eat around 6. My kitchen was cleaned up, and I was snoozing in my recliner pretending to watch tv around 8. I am at peace. I know who I am, and what is important to me. I am grateful to be here and in reasonably good health after years of turbulence.

    All of this was accomplished by questioning and rejecting my “role” and rejecting other people’s views about what I “should do”. We are different people, and live different lives than our ancestors did. We can evolve and change, and survive. We have choices they did not have. I do not long for the “good ole days.” My good days have arrived, and life without a FW is the best present I ever gave myself.

    Happy Holidays and Happy Life!

    • My daughter asked me the other day what my definition of feminism is.

      I told her that to me, feminism means that a woman decides who she is and who she can be and what she can do, not society or other people and that all people are of equal importance; that women are not subordinates to men.

      • VH, thanks for clearing that up for her. I clearly remember when actress Shailene Woodley was asked if she was a feminist she said “No because because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from power’ is never going to work.”

        Hello?! WTF??! No feminist believes that! Where do young people get these warped ideas about what feminism is? How did the central tenet of feminism – equality – get lost along the way?

    • My friend’s father was Danielle Steel’s divorce attorney way back when.

      She told him she was going to sell her engagement ring and write novels. He laughed at her.

      He went on to become a superior court judge in San Francisco (and remained a condescending jerk).

      The world knows how her story turned out….heheheh!

  • I remember the last Christmas morning he spent with us while I was cooking dinner for his family, he showered, dressed & was heading out the door I asked him “where are you going?” He replied “ going to a Christmas party”. I said if you leave I will divorce you.
    Before opening the door he said “Do what you have to do. I’m leaving “.
    Following summer, I served him divorce papers at OWhores home.
    Holidays are not the same but I don’t experience the pain of him cheating on me. Peaceful now. 🙏

    • Pity you couldn’t have served the asshole at the whore’s place on Thanksgiving really, but we can’t have everything we want can we! I’m so glad you’re away from that AH Kathleen!

    • “Do what you have to do?” With that provocation, what I had to do would have been to follow him to wherever he was going, and confront whoever he was meeting.

      • I was in my pajamas cooking with my son still sleeping but yes, I would have done that. Not long after that I followed him to Owhore’s home where they saw me coming and wouldn’t answer the door that I was banging on. Terrible and so hard to believe it was happening. He turned into a cruel, cold sociopath right before my eyes.
        Owhore died 2 years later but he now found an older woman who takes care of him. He doesn’t want to be alone. 😈

  • 2nd marriage to someone with 2 adult daughters nearing 40. I had not hosted a Tday dinner for years, instead really enjoying the many local restaurants who hosted. The first Tday as a newly wed, he handed me his dead wife’s Tday cookbook and said they (meaning him and his 2 brats) wanted to enjoy Tday again — I inferred they wanted me to use the actual recipes etc. I decided to try something I had never tried before and that was a turducken — ordered from some place in Texas. I added asparagus as one of the vegetables — because I’m diabetic and yams, mashed potatoes, and ye olde green bean casserole were not in my diet. They actually made fun of the turducken and kept grousing about no butterball. One of them forked a spear of asparagus up and turned her head and said in a tone indicating disgust: “what’s this?”
    One of the 40 yo brats was lactose intolerant; the other, a celiac. So I made GF bread and made GF gravy. For the lactose problem child, I made instant mashed potatoes with soy milk. They wouldn’t touch the mashed potatoes because the soy milk was off-white and I had used the wrong brand of instant — hadn’t I listened to them when they explained the Tday dinner they wanted the new wifey to make?. The GF bread went untouched.

    I remember before they arrived, sitting and just trying to calm the pain I felt in my stomach and to lessen the dread by counting down the hours til they were gone for the day.

    • Dear God, I can relate. My X had FOUR children – TRIPLETS and one older. Every single holiday was pure chaos as he and Mom and the kids fought over where the kids were supposed to be. One of the last Thanksgivings we shared together, we were already seated at the table (my teenage kids, my mother, my X and myself), and his teenaged kids showed up over an hour late, drunk (drove over of course), announced they could only stay for a few minutes because they’d left Mom crying at her house because they came over to mine. So yelling and drunken chaos and then they were gone, X in a terrible mood and stomped to the couch and passed out, leaving me to clean up everything. My last memory is me standing at the sink at midnight, finishing the cleaning and looking over at him passed out on the couch, wondering what the hell I was doing?

      FREE AT LAST!!! Fast forward 5-6 years, my now young adult son and I enjoyed a wonderful day together, in my new home, in another state, free of chaos, abuse, and mindfuckery. Daughter is deploying (Navy) on Monday, but she is launched – no pun intended as is my son, and both of them (not the children of X-FW) never, ever want to see him/them ever again.

        • Yup, the triplets are 23, oldest 25, and they are all living 100% off of him. Haven’t heard a peep from any of them (I dedicated 17 years of my life to try to bring some sanity into their insane world, two narc dysfunctional parents etc etc) – except I did get a random text from one of the triplets as we were negotiating the divorce, she asked me to please not “take Dad for everything, after all he is a good guy who made a mistake, and he has four kids to support.” Four. adult. children. GAH. Such a peaceful holiday this year, and so thankful my two kids (also 23, 25) are well adjusted, launched young adults!

          • OMG I got the same sort of email from one of the twins. I thought about breaking my silence to let her know she had nothing to worry about — that only my assets were up for splitting up because of the marital assets laws. But I didn’t think I’d be believed. It was the only email she had ever sent directly to me.

            An aside: I had married a retired person who had no marital assets; I was still working and nearly all my assets were up for splitting.

            Still he must have managed the sad sausage crapola to convince his greedy daughters he was the victim.

          • I got one saying I needed to give the ex what he wanted in the divorce as ‘dad has been given only 2 years to live’

            That was 9 years ago.

    • Wow. What an awful way to behave. I was taught that when you’re a guest in someone’s home, you eat what they serve. Unless you’re allergic to it. And you express appreciation and offer to help clean up.

      I hope you haven’t cooked any more meals for them.

      • We should have a Friday challenge on what we Chumps have endured from our stepchildren and what we allowed just to keep the peace.

        I have a freaking laundry list.
        Yuck.

        • Me too! My step kids grew up learning to abuse me like their Dad (and their Mom too!) did – they were a huge contributor to my C-PTSD diagnosis; chronic migraines, anxiety/panic attacks. I packed up my stuff and got out of the “house of horrors” 3 years ago because I felt that if I didn’t I would die. That’s BEFORE I found out about the 7 year affair that was going on the whole time!

          • My stepchildren have two disordered parents and have been spoiled shitless from the moments they came into this world. I often wonder why STBX and his 1st wife even got divorced because they’re both messed up in a lot of the same ways. Liars. Manipulators. Cheaters. Users. Etc.

            And ALL. FOUR. of their girls are the exact same way. Up until this past summer I was holding out hope that his youngest 2, identical twins, wouldn’t turn out like the rest of them. Then I watched both of them lie, repeatedly, to their dad (whom they love soooooo much, “….because you always say yes, Daddy.”) and then one day I watched one of the twins whip out some MASTERFUL manipulation tactics on him. Well, she was trying it on both of us but I’ve been seeing through all of his childrens’ games for years and I called it out as soon as she was done speaking. I asked him, then and there, “Are you listening to this with open ears right now??!!” And he just sat there with a twinkle in his eye and that love-drunk smile….like he was proud.

            Do you know how I *finally* realized, a few years back, that this man doesn’t really love me? Because of how I see him treat his children. I KNOW he loves those girls. I know he’d go to the ends of the earth for them. He RESPECTS his children. Now, obviously, I don’t expect him to treat me like one of his kids LOL. That would be weird. However! I can see how he is for people he TRULY cares about. And it finally dawned on me that I’m not one one of them.

            Once, he gave his twins (6 yrs old at the time) access to all of my nail polish while I was at work without asking me if it was okay and then laughing at me when I was mad about it because they’d opened multiple bottles and PAINTED the bin the I kept it all in and had emptied bottles into the bin and had cotton balls stuck to it everywhere. This was funny to him. OR! Them asking him for ME to do something for them or buy something for them and then informing me later that he’d made a promise on my behalf. 😡😡That crap seriously chapped my hide and these are MINOR infractions compared to some of the other things I’ve had to put up with or be made to feel like a psychotic a-hole for getting irritated or mad about.
            Uuuggghhhh.

            He’s currently driving them back to their mother (she lives 2 states away) and I have complete and total peace in my forecast-if even only for several hours. Looking at another apartment while he’s out of town for the day 👍🏻

            • Disordered people often see their children as extentions of themselves

              So it’s not that they are ‘capable’ of loving others, they are loving themselves as their kids are ‘them’

              • Amen to that! Agree, 100%. My X-FW and his X 1st wife are both disordered and all four of their children look to be made in their image. Both parents STILL fighting for the hearts and souls of their “children,” triplets age 23 and one 25 year old, and it is so messed up. Both are the worst parents I’ve ever met in my life, completely incapable of acting like adults or setting one boundary with their mini me’s. The result? 4 spoiled rotten disordered kids who are still living off of their father and thought nothing about abusing the person who was trying to bring the breath of sanity to their disordered world.

                This is why I’m so thankful this holiday to be free and live in peace.

            • Wow, I could have written this awhile back. The triplets and older daughter step children grew up to be liars, cheaters and manipulators just like Mom and Dad. I stayed through the teenage years and somehow was to blame for objecting to kids drinking and driving, wrecking cars, DUIs, etc. All Wooshy’s fault! And whenever I had a problem with the underage drinking, drug use in my home, hey Wooshy it’s my Dad’s house not yours!

              Be glad you’re getting away earlier, that almost killed me. And he was having an affair the whole time.

  • No more buying my own gifts so it looks like I’m part of the family too. No more buying all the gifts he’s obligated to buy so it doesn’t look like he’s a jerk who don’t care.

    And also, no more tolerating people who bring me down out of obligation. Fuck obligation and being nice. Where did that get me?! I’m done. Had a peaceful thanksgiving with no snark or passive aggressive bs. Looking forward to a Christmas with the same.

  • I don’t miss the crappy gifts of things mostly bought for himself, not me, like music he liked, but I didn’t. I won’t miss the mysterious rages or weird phone calls and having to excuse himself from family dinners because someone’s heat suddenly was broken (he worked in heating and plumbing so late nights and weekends where normal, but Christmas too). One Christmas he threw a TV out a third story window and shoved a knife through a countertop. I don’t remember why, but he never needed a real reason to act crazy and frighten me and the kids.

    Holidays with families are never perfect, but spending them with my crazy ex and his narcissist Dad were the worst.

    • He didn’t always give crappy gifts but toward the end it got ridiculous.

      He started collecting (hoarding) things, intensely interested in one kind of thing then moving on to another. One year it was self-defense knives (I found out later he was mirroring – some guy at work was into knife collecting). He even started keeping a machete under the bed in case of an intruder!

      I’m sure he was shopping for himself in the sporting goods store knife aisle when he found a very small pink handled knife with a pink lanyard, for a lady to wear around her neck. As if I would ever wear a pink knife around my neck!

      Merry Christmas??? Really???

        • No, a lot of these X’s are just nuts, not necessarily dangerous. Hoarders. Still, a machete under the bed would freak me out, and it, or I, would have to go!

  • Reading these posts continually amaze me (and make me mad). So many of us had to deal with our ex’s personality disordered wing nut family along with their shenanigans. Further proof of the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”

    My ex’s family was absolutely nuts and 10 years later, still is. I do not miss it. At. All.

  • I won’t miss the yearly, after-dinner “photo slide show” compiled by “the sister” of everything that happened with his side of the family for the year. There would be a pic of him, but never one of me. Not even the year that we got married. Definitely won’t miss that trip to see their family that culminated with the “slide show.”

  • Last year, I bought him a number of gifts. One didn’t fit, so he returned it and then bought my “gift” with the return $$!

  • 1) His lying coward lying coward face

    2) Absurd ornaments themed after a ridiculous nickname he gave me that was unflattering

    3) Never getting his gift quiiiiiiite right

    4) Hearing negative commentary about my festivewear (I love being festive in cosplay ways)

    5) His cruel matrilineal line and their wealthy privilege-driven, snooty, vicious, competitive, classist, ethically bereft behavior toward one another and me

    6) Living a life where I never felt truly safe, respected, valued, or supported in my own home and relationship

    It is good to be cheater-free! 💚

    • A few new things I love:

      * My bright white artificial tree (it’s not for everyone, but I love it!)

      * Quilts (I still can’t figure out why he had such vitriol for quilts)

      * Making foods I like without being told they’re bad

      * Watching the holiday movies I like without being told they’re bad

      * Sharing gifts without expectations of awkward sex as part of the exchange (No, it’s not sexy, actually, for you to give me a leather jacket for Xmas by wearing it into the bedroom naked on 12/22 expecting me to stop reading the last chapter of a riveting story to have awkward sex with you, and oops I slipped right back in to things I won’t miss, there, sorry!)

      * Only decorating if I feel like it, and just generally not feeling pressure to be festive or hold on to traditions when I don’t really want to (this boundary extends far beyond the cowardly liar, obviously, but I did first learn about boundaries through ending that marriage)

  • My ex’s recalcitrance about all things Christmas.

    He hated the “timing” of Christmas, because preparations came at a busy time of the semester. In the 35 years of our marriage we almost never traveled to see family at Christmas because he was “too busy to think about it” or had to “prepare for the next semester’s classes.” (For the record I was also a professor–recently retired–and none of this was a problem for me.) He hated shopping for others, but always had a long list of what he wanted (don’t know where he found the time in his busy semester!). Every year I had to badger him into going to buy a Christmas tree and decorating it; if I’d left it to him we wouldn’t have had one. And every year I took it down and packed away the ornaments alone. (Naturally then, when we divorced he haughtily demanded “his” Christmas tree ornaments.) He never once helped me put lights up outside–or inside, for that matter. His only contribution to the season was to sit around soulfully listening to George Winston’s ” A Winter Solstice.”

    This will be my fourth year since moving out. I can’t say I have established any new traditions, and I haven’t kept all the old ones. One of those four years I was away caring for my mother. Last year was Covid isolation. I don’t know what I’ll do this year, but there will be a tree and lights–lots of lights! And no dragging a dead weight along with me.

    • What the heck? It’s one of the perks of being a professor that the term winds up in early December and you can actually tie up loose ends while all the holiday stuff starts. Everyone else has like regular job duties right up until the 25th and many have to work through that week!

      • You’d think so, right? For many years ExH’ academic conference/annual meeting was always held over a three-day period during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. So yeah, classes ended mid-December, but then there was grading papers, entering final grades, preparing for the “exhausting-I-HAVE-to-do-this-I’m-doing-this-for-US-Do-you-think-I-WANT-to-spend-those-five-days-having-breakfast/lunch/dinner/parties-with-my-colleagues-in-some-gorgeous-warm-location?” conference, and then needing to prepare for Spring semester.

        Whenever I pointed out that his time commitment was actually lighter than somebody with a full-time job who was physically tied to a job site, I was accused of never really appreciating just how hard he worked for US and not understanding how tough he had it.

        I sympathize with you, Adelante. I too did all the holiday prep with a grinch trying to bring me down every step of the way. Also, summers were worse at the beginning for me (I was forced to stay behind as a new mother and stroke survivor), since he always left for his excavation from Mother’s Day in May until just before Labor Day in September. No fun summer vacations to be had in my house. However, for at least the last 20 years, I came to really enjoy those three and a half months that he was gone.

        Hope you come to relish every moment of your new life, Adelante, and start doing spectacular things in your retirement.

  • I am so happy that he doesn’t get to mooch off my family’s holiday traditions just because he alienated his own family years ago. For 23 years, the covert narcissist FW fooled us all into believing he belonged while secretly ripping us all apart and somehow making the day all about him (sorry baby Jesus, it actually isn’t about you.) I became an Olympic level eggshell-walker to make sure his holidays were the best and sacrificed so much of my own happiness. Not anymore! The AP has the job now and she can keep it. Serves her right!

  • Won’t miss shopping and spending thousands on gifts for his family, friends and coworkers. Stuffing my own stocking. The anxiety associated with trying to make the holidays special but it was never quite right. His one shopping night with “the boys” when they would go to Victoria’s Secret and then Hooters. Ugh.

    This year I’ve booked a solo hiking trip. Finally peace.

    • I won’t miss him texting all the female coworkers all of the time, holiday or not
      Won’t miss him commenting about one of our neighbors as “my girlfriend’s here” when they would some over for a neighborhood party. She wouldn’t give him a second glance, ha!!
      Don’t miss the grandiosity of him, he always had to have everything, which he could not afford!
      Dont miss the lies, especially the Christmas Day ones when he went to drop off his son to his mother after a wonderful brunch, he would tell me he was there for “hours”. Truth, he was there for 2 minutes and at his GF house after that.
      Don’t miss being married to a man who acted as if he was single.
      He’s done this now to 2 families. My life 5 years later is amazing.
      Heard he’s getting married again.
      The thing is, you are not dealing with someone trying to deal with their issues, you are dealing with someone trying to hide them.
      Happy Thanksgiving break!

      • Oh and don’t miss the ridiculous VS lingerie sets every Christmas.
        My most memorable was the Christmas he said that we should not buy each other presents, as “we were not getting along”, HUH?
        So I went along with it, getting him a few nice things.
        Unknown to me he went over the top with lingerie, sunglasses, etc. I was dumbstruck!
        Same Christmas I got the 10 year diamond. He must have felt guilty.
        He was trying to set me up to show his family that I did not care.
        Passive aggressive BS
        Been skiing with friends for the last 5 years holidays, FUN!
        ❤️ LIS

        • My cheater father set up my mother that way one year. Said they shouldn’t get each other presents. She bought him an inexpensive wire LP rack (it was the 50s). He bought her a mink stole. Naturally she felt terrible. Which was, I’m sure, his intention.

  • When I divorced my cheating ex I also lost her family of proudly ignorant hillbilly grifters and the holiday traditions of:

    *suppressing any conversation that involved a book or an original thought
    *my ex wife and ex MIL making every effort to please my a-hole ex BIL in his mid 40s who has never held a job and contributed nothing but sneering disapproval and conspiracy theories.
    *huge amounts of mediocre food from Sam’s Warehouse (“How wonderful, pie . . . from a warehouse!”)
    *bootlegged DVDs of action movies in which I had no interest played MUCH LOUDER THAN WAS COMFORTABLE
    *4 to 5 days spent at my MIL’s house which was always hot and had no decent reading chairs (and half the lamps had no lightbulbs because rather and buy replacements she would just switch burned out bulbs with working bulbs from other lamps—who does that??)

    #HellishHillbillyHolidays

      • 👍

        A big part of it is that time they took from us while we trusted them and thought we were making life decisions based on truth.

    • The current political/pandemic scene must add a whole nother layer of UGLY to these ‘festive’ occasions LOL

      Many people are lucky they divorced before our current state of affairs

    • I’ve survived so many #HellishHillbillyHolidays, including one where a predatory cousin was allowed to stay the night and my younger sister and I were advised to ‘lock our bedroom doors.’

      My mother often abandoned herself and her daughters/nieces in favor of appeasing her drunk and/or abusive male relatives. Her chumpdom started early. And sadly, it continues.

  • I do not miss his endless complaining. I do not miss arguing about whose side of the family we were celebrating with. (I never could understand why we couldn’t do both-they’re less than 15 miles from each other.

    I do not miss his disappearances. Or his sneaky phone use.

    I do not miss him saying terrible things about my family,but then watching him act like such a nice guy to their faces.

    I do not miss walking on eggshells all the time. Or not being able to listen to music I like or watch a show I like because of his criticism.

    This is my second holiday season without FW, and I really don’t miss him at all. Things are so much more calm and peaceful, which has allowed me to find more joy!

    This is my second

  • He is a cheapskate. So is his family. Yes, I am being totally critical and judgemental. Combined they all have the capacity for sentiment and joy of a toilet seat. Yes, I am stealing that from JD Salinger. It’s great and I am stealing it.
    (When you live on an exclusive gated street and feel like you can’t buy Fuji apples because they are too expensive, something is wrong IMHO. That’s a sign you might need some therapy).

    When we first started dating, he told me the story of using his allowance to buy marbles when he was a child. Both of his parents came from poverty situations and grew up during WW2 in Germany and understandably have significant issues around money. But they’ve done very well for themselves since they came to this country and were solidly middle class, and she made him take back all the marbles. Not some. All. I was very upset by this story because I believe a child should be able to do what they want with their allowance. He was buying marbles, not hookers (that came later in life and might have something to do with his uber-controlling mother).

    I found a very cute bag of vintage marbles on eBay. It was a little bag of Santa Claus marbles, unopened and they looked to be from the 40’s or 50’s, maybe 60’s. The label was red with a picture of Santa Claus and the marbles were green. The bag was about 3 inches square. I thought it would make a very sweet tree ornament. The intention behind my gesture was that I supported his right to have what he wants with his own money.

    It went right over his head. He never said anything about it, positive or negative. Just nothing.

    There are a lot of things wrong with me I am sure, and things I don’t like about myself that I wish were different, but I do have a reputation for seeing other people, remembering things about them and acknowledging and supporting them.

    The only time we ever fought about money, literally, was when I wanted to spend it. Whether it was 10.00 or 100.00 or 1000.00 or 10,000.00. If he wanted something I said yes. Literally, literally literally I never opposed what he wanted.
    I am such a mean controlling person, though. Often I felt like he hadn’t even heard that I said yes; he would continue the conversation as if I was arguing with him and saying no, and I had to point out that I said yes. Weird.

    I can do whatever I want now with my money, buy gifts or decorations or tickets to holiday events or eat out, from now on, anytime, all the time, holiday or not, without his critical disapproving looks and lectures. (Which is extra interesting considering he hid money from me
    our entire marriage and spent God only knows what on hotels and massage parlors and sex workers and affair accomplices).

    He is killjoy and thankfully when he left he took his black cloud of negativity with him.

    • I was sitting in the garage of his parents multi-million dollar home eating a Fuji apple. His mom remarked that she loved them but didn’t buy them because they were so expensive. The next time I went over there with him, I brought her six.

      One of my traditions is to go to the Nutcracker on Christmas Eve. I get the best seats I can afford. She told me thing she always wanted to go. I knew she would never spend the money on tickets even though I knew she could easily afford it. One year we got box seats for all of us as a surprise. His sister was angry and accused us of ruining Christmas.

      I am the hated villain of their family.

    • I have been recently overcome by a desire to add to my china collection. Tea services and for dining. I now have dishes for October/Halloween! (Royal Wessex with a Ouija board pattern!) A Buckingham Palace China tea service. Juliska Forest Walk for autumn/Thanksgiving! I just ordered Christmas Eve china for me and my daughter (Mottadeneh Gabriel in festive Currant!) Yes, I am celebrating being able to indulge my love of china and all things tablescape without his criticism and disapproving (jealous?) glares.

      Years ago I had a friend whose mother died and left her with an impressive stash of china patterns, flatware, crystal, linens. She made a beautiful tray or table setting for herself every time she ate, which made a deep impression on me as a person who was taught you could only use nice things on “special occasions”. She told me every day was a special occasion. Now I am free to have what I want without him foisting his baggage on me.

      • I’m not even into china, but I had to look up Royal Wessex with ouija board pattern. Too cool! You are an example of mightiness. Enjoy!

        • I am afraid that getting to the level of October/Halloween-specific china puts me in the league of hoarders about whom many chumps here complain!

          😩

          But I don’t keep trash, I enjoy giving things away, and I truly don’t want anything I don’t use and love, so I may still fall on the side of “collector”…..

          I worked as a housekeeper for someone who could not throw away a crumbling ancient
          rubber toilet plunger because it belonged to his dead father. I do know the difference!

          • Go ahead and enjoy your beautiful things! I collect ceramics, and have since I was a teen, I just love the look and feel of them.
            I LOVE what your friend said, that every day is a special occasion, I’m going to remember that. What a great outlook on life.

          • LOL! There is def a difference between “collector and user of fine china” and hoarder!

            And I think it’s important that you USE the china–you eat off it on special occasions, you take pleasure in it, you perhaps display it where it can be admired. That def puts you in NON hoarder category (it’s not, for example, buried in a box in the back room under piles of newspapers and old shoes). NO hoarder takes pleasure in their piles of trash–even though they can’t bear to part with it;
            that I know from knowing a few.

            My mom is great at the fabric arts. I have a tablecloth that she hand-embroidered for me–just beautiful! And she insisted to me that it was mine to use–“not to sit in a drawer.” So years later it bears its little stains and scars, and I am so happy for that lesson from her.

      • Amen! I used to collect vintage dinnerware, mostly from the 30s and 40s. Some really sweet and unique patterns. Vintage tablecloths too… I love a beautifully set table.

        When I left, I had a mantra when it came to deciding what I would take with me. If there was so much as one memory of him that I could or would associate with an item, it was left behind. Given where he mouth and hands had been over the years, plates he had once eaten off of were no longer pretty to me.

        However, there was one gorgeous set of antique Bavarian china I inherited from a great aunt that I had never used… it was simply displayed in my formal dining room, reserved for “someday”. They are now my everyday dishes! They make me feel like every meal I prepare for myself is special.

        • I hate the dilemma of what to do with things we love that they have slimed by their slimy conduct. Someone told me to put things away for a while before making decisions. It was a good suggestion. There was more clarity later and I wasn’t as reactive and impulsive. Some things were still firmly on the launch pad and others had lost their association with him and I was glad I hadn’t gotten rid of it.

          I got a very expensive Hawaiian bracelet featuring the Mokolua Islands off of Lanikai for the weird post DDay fake wreckonciliation Christmas in Hawaii. It arrived from the jeweler with the engraving just before he moved out the following January. I set it aside as suggested.

          It took me almost three years to realize that he had not really bought it for me. He had not had it engraved. I had picked it out. I chose the engraving (the Hawaiian healing prayer, ho’oponopono, in Hawaiian). All he did was agree to the purchase and handed me our debit card to buy it. My mental gymnastics really had me seeing this as a gift from him that he gave me! I’m really glad because I love the bracelet and it represents a place that I love that I discovered on the planet.

          I have to go back with my daughter and reclaim Lanikai. She and I can now do destination Christmas trips if we want….Christmas markets in Germany, nativity tours in Italy, Santa Fe NM, or Hawaii…..the world is our holiday oyster!

          • I’m one who really needed as close to a clean break as I could get, and I’ve no regrets. I never received nice or expensive things from cheating bastard ex so nothing to miss there… lol!
            I also thought it might be nice to streamline my life a bit, not be weighed down by all the stuff. In many ways, leaving it all behind is helping me move forward. I kinda like not having much to take care of… 😋

          • Dearest VH,
            I belong to a Seniors’ Centre. A few years ago, an acknowledgment appeared in the monthly newsletter thanking a gentleman for his wife’s gift of many fine china tea cups. Apparently she too loved her tea cups and made her husband promise to bring them into the cafeteria of the Centre after she passed away.
            She maintained that a cuppa tasted so much better in a proper cup.
            Beautiful patterns and greatly enjoyed by all seniors.

            • That’s a GREAT idea for when it’s time to pass them on! I agree that tea, and everything, is better with beautiful presentation!

              My Diamond Jubilee tea set by Buckingham Palace China just arrived…one cup got broken in the journey, unfortunately. ☹️

              My daughter loves tea and we go for high tea somewhere as often as we can. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat and I’m glad she loves it too.

              Thank you for sharing!

            • I have a bit of a compulsion for 60s early 70 dishes and have collected so many. My granddaughter just got her own apartment, not much money so she gladly took a lot of it. I told her to just pass it on when she got tired of it.

              Now I have space to collect more. I get a lot of neat 60 era stuff at the Resale shop that Habitat for Humanity runs.

      • I too have dishues. Just pulled out the Spode today, the grandchildren are 3,4, 4 & 5. I love their little faces when they get excited to eat a muffin off of china. I couldn’t care less if a piece gets broke.

        • “Dishues!” 😂

          Buddha says “it’s already broken”.

          I agree…it’s to be used and enjoyed and that means it might get broken.

          The exception might be Dodie Thayer lettuce ware. I love it but the current prices put it out of my league and I’d be bummed if someone broke a piece….

          A sign of the distress I have been in was that I was NOT setting my table. A lot of my good eating habits went out the window after DDay….

          • Luckily, no broken dishes thus far, I believe wood floors help. I’m intrigued by your patterns. I live in Florida and always use the Wedgwood Wild Strawberry during strawberry 🍓 season, brings me joy. ♍️

    • Please my fellow Virgo, be judgmental and critical. We’re known for it 🤣 I call it being discerning and snarky.

      • When I was born, there were seven planets in Virgo. I am an uber Virgo. It’s a miracle I have any friends at all.

        For some reason (maybe the Leo rising) I have a lot tolerance and patience when it comes to other people; I am under my beautifully organized perfectionist microscope.
        After everything that he did my therapist asked me, “where is your anger?”

        Good question.

        Maybe I should sharpen my Virgo claws. On their faces.

        • Got a chuckle from that ..but , life has shown me that I have but 1 friend and I happen to be married to her. Everyone else is just an acquaintance. This also from a 1955 Virgo.

    • For Show and Tell….

      http://www.esnarf.com/5640k.htm

      Curiously like other cheaters, he left without taking anything. But then I found out he was coming into the yard when I wasn’t home, helping himself to whatever. I told him I’d have the police come over and explain why this is illegal now….

    • VH killjoy is right

      A master at putting a damper on every occasion, holiday trip, every damn outing there was

      I have a driving phobia and lord help me I would ask him to drive me to the mall ( 5 minutes away). On the way there he would have to: compare the shoppers to carrion flies, make racial comments about other drivers (knowing I detest that), goose the gas pedal to flip my head back (neck injury).

      Anyway I am getting off topic. But they can find a million ways to torment us, even the way they drive.

      • Nothing says “I care about you” as much as gleefully disregarding another’s clearly stated boundary 😜

  • Growing up, my family always had a live Christmas tree that we cut ourselves. I loved ritual of finding the perfect one, and the beautiful fresh smell of it inside our home. We would decorate it with white lights and ornaments that had been collected through the years, some handmade by my mother or grandmother, some gifts from family chosen to commemorate a special event or place.

    After I married, my ex claimed to be allergic to pine and would not allow one in the house. For the few years, he insisted on putting up a hideous fake white tree with blinking colored lights and a set of cheap glass ornaments his mother gave us. That Christmas tree actually make me cry, it was so ugly. I did convince him to compromise on a life-like artificial tree for the next 20 years, and eventually ditched the ugly glass balls for handmade ornaments, mementos we picked up while traveling with the kids, and ornaments given as gifts.

    Now that Ex is gone, I get to have a real tree again. While we don’t cut it down ourselves, my boys and I have made a new ritual of going to the tree stand sponsored by our local high school and choosing the perfect one. We decorate it the way I like, with white lights only, and all those beautiful ornaments I have collected through the years. It fill the house the fresh scent of pine and happy memories.

    • Glad you’re in charge of all things Christmas now that you’re free of your x.

      In the early years, my x and I would invariably have an argument when setting up the tree. He would complain about God knows what and criticize every aspect of the process: the cost of the tree, size of the tree, the quality of the. needles. the cut, the tree stand, the lean of the tree once in the stand….You get the idea. I played Christmas music and tried to make it special, but alas there’s only so much one can do.

      Over time, I thought I’d hit upon a great solution. I started to do the tree myself while he was at his yearly, early-December, out-of-town medical conference (where he probably cheated).

      This is an example of the kind of shit I did to avoid unpleasantness.

      Here’s the thing, though. You do one thing that seems like a harmless good solution. That leads to another. And before you know it, you’re doing all sorts of odd shit that you don’t even realize is in any way odd. (Example: I would drive an extra car to our son’s hockey games so that he wouldn’t have to drive home with his dad where he’d catch hell for how he played.) So crazy!

  • I’m not free of anything yet, but am realizing things I would like to be free of and will be some day:
    1-not covering for FW because he’s passed out drunk
    2-not worrying about “his feelings not being validated”
    3-no more eggshells to walk on
    4-no more passive aggressive cleaning by FW
    5-no more having kids hide in their rooms because it is so awkward between them and FW
    6-only decorating with what I want to (his family has all passed on but used to send gag gifts every year-anything that said ho ho ho-sort of prophetic with our situation and they would be so ashamed)
    7-no more freaking out every time he is all over his phone or hiding somewhere on his phone
    I’ve not liked thanksgiving since my mom died right before it 26 years ago and then d-day happened a year ago on that anniversary. I’m looking forward to going out with the kids and trying to just relax. Christmas is more my thing and the joy will be back one day!

      • Lol. I’m usually exhausted after working on things all day and I’m diagnosed with sleep issues so that doesn’t help. He cleans because he’s a neat freak and can’t stand if one of my 5 boys leaves a toy on the floor. I gave up years ago. Worked tirelessly to try and manage everything and never measured up. He cleans, but slams pans, grunts, moans, sighs, makes a show of it and never asks a kid to help. Then complains that nobody helped and he’s a martyr. He still complains about helping with laundry when I was pregnant with number 4 and the others were 5, 3, and 1. My pregnancies tore me up and I did need help. He’s military and we moved all the time. Never near my family though. He took it personally if I didn’t clean all the time says that’s part of the reason why we broke-which of course lead to escorts and massage parlor Jack offs. Hmmmmm

  • Not only is it wonderful to be sociopath-free from my fw ex, but this time of year I’m especially grateful for never having to deal with my ex-flaming-narcissist-master-manipulator-mother-in-law ever again. Priceless!

  • I never have to spend another holiday with one of his exes. I’m especially grateful that I no longer have to entertain his exes in my home! No more New Year’s Day with one of his exes, no Super Bowl Sunday parties, no Memorial Day cook-outs, no more 4th of July fireworks with an ex of his. No more Labor Days, no more Thanksgivings or Friendsgivings. No more Christmas parties or Christmas Days with one of his exes, no New Years Eve out on the town with one of his exes. Winning!

    I never have to go through the gift-giving extravaganza where he presents me with a long list of his wishes. (He never could get the idea of “stocking stuffers.” He seemed to think it just meant something that was small enough to fit win a sock, and asked for expensive small shit and expensive big shit. The list was very precise — brand names, colors, model numbers . . . always top of the line. I’d hunt it down and procure it for him only to have him open his gift, curl his lip contemptuously and exclaim, “This isn’t what I asked for,” as he threw the gift aside. Then I would be responsible for returning said gift and finding and buying him whatever he had decided he wanted instead of whatever was on that list of his. Lather, rinse, repeat. One year the gifting, returning, giving another gift, etc. lasted from Christmas until his birthday. His birthday is in September.

    I no longer have to open my gifts — the last year we were married he got me Wonder Woman socks and a lid for a Yeti cup — and exclaim over them in awe and joy. (No, he didn’t get me the Yeti cup — just the lid.) I forget what I got him, but it was several hundred dollars. If I didn’t make a proper display of happiness with my gift, he’d complain about my lack of gratitude for literally YEARS.

    I no longer have to go to a holiday celebration with him and wonder if he’s going to have a tantrum and ruin the holidays. I don’t have to worry about him nitpicking, criticizing, berating me, screaming at me, projecting, blame shifting, gaslighting, insulting, mocking or otherwise embarrassing me in front of our assembled families or friends or co-workers or friends of co-workers, neighbors or anyone.

    I don’t have to see him groping another woman at a wedding, party, celebration, concert, Christmas dinner or drinks after work. I don’t have to listen to him complimenting other women or young girls about their “hot bodies,” “great figures,” or general attributes right in front of me. Nor do I have to listen to the tantrum he has when I tell him that behavior bothers me.

    I no longer have to take away his car keys and put up with the tantrum he has over that or drive him home black-out drunk. Or drugged up. Or both. I no longer have to try to get him into the car, home safely and into the house after he’s been drinking to the point of unconsciousness.

    WINNING!

  • My ex was a slob whereas I’m not. My house was never pristine but it was always picked up and put away. That being said, whenever we had people coming over he would crash around the house like a lunatic stuffing things into cupboards, the garage, you name it. It was all about image management to him. Not that he would help with any of the preparation – or if he did he would make an absolute tip out of the kitchen, send my blood pressure through the roof and then leave me to clear up! Then we’d get to watch as the asshole got drunk and sat there on his throne like King Canute postulating on everything and nothing and not making any sense anyway. He always got drunk and either became all sloppy or started looking for a fight because – reasons! He even got roaring drunk after my dad’s funeral while we were sitting at my sister’s home with my newly-widowed mom. He buggered off down the pub and we had to go out looking for him. My BIL actually picked him up by his scrawny neck and threw him over a hedge and left him there. So yeah, I miss him like I miss a hole in the head. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    • OMG yay for your BIL! 🤣🤣🤣
      Don’t we all wish we had someone like him!
      Our guy friends used to get mad at X, and say don’t talk to her like that, but I think they should have tossed him somewhere!

  • I’ll never have to cook a bloody, disgusting, 30 pound turkey again! No more trying to please a family of 25 who didn’t fully accept me. Plus, I’m allergic to turkey. I took my kids out to a restaurant yesterday for Thanksgiving and had a steak. It was relaxing.

  • The dick and the Howife FaceTimed the grown kids last night. It aggravated me …I was never allowed to comment on his phone conversations. Yet there the ho was right next to him yapping away to my kids and grandkids. Yet the dick wouldn’t even say hi to his family from me…”stop intruding”. They are so phony…

    • I’m si sorry you were treated that way. What a tool. And she’s super special if she doesn’t notice the way he speaks to you and doesn’t realise that’s her future karma.

  • There’s a lot that I don’t miss around Christmas with FW. One of the main ones is his absolute rage about getting a Christmas tree. He excelled at ruining vacations and holidays by raging or sulking but this one was special. He insisted on going to the tree farm with the kids because it was a family tradition and then would fume the whole time, about choosing the tree, how expensive it was, how to fit it in or on the car… Glad I am done with that. Now the holiday preparations are peaceful and joyful in my house, nor one sulking in a corner looking at their phone while I am baking cookies and decorating the house all by myself. No FW complaint that the kids don’t want to play with him. No more suffering through the IL ‘s being nasty to each other while opening their presents and calling it humor.

  • My XW decides to have a laser face peel the day before Christmas Eve. It does not go well. I had to cancel Christmas Eve with my family because she was a pitiable mess in great pain and her skin oozing all over her face. I ended up cooking dinner for her entire family Christmas Day because she could not get out of bed.
    I thought I was being a good husband, but I was just being a chump. This was all about trying to impress her ten years younger co-worker at her school with whom she was having an affair. When I asked why it was important to do the procedure now instead of over summer vacation, she just glared at me and said she didn’t care what I thought.
    Nice.
    I had Thanksgiving dinner this year with my brother and sister-in-law. Her kids and her ex husband were there. Their marriage broke up over alcohol abuse and it’s side affects. Years later, he is now sober and they get along, especially to share events with their adult children. This is great to see, but I have no desire to be in the same space with my XW. She is unrepentant and still manipulative.
    Maybe because her younger boyfriend dumped her.

  • I don’t miss the long journeys and extended holidays staying with her family that all had opposite political views from me (keeping politics brief for this blog, but they didn’t share my love for the planet).
    I don’t miss how she’d passively aggressively start a fight when I showed too much enjoyment for an occasion.
    I’m offended that despite putting effort into relationships with her family, the entire clan dropped me after it was over — although there’s relief too 😅
    I worked on issues in our relationship, turns out she working on them with someone else; then couldn’t leave fast enough when I caught her lying.

  • I am so gratefulI will never have to ride in a car for a full day to spend Thanksgiving with my SIL. She can’t cook so she would talk friends of hers into hosting at their house or renting a large cabin. So we would be staying at the home of her friends who were near strangers to us. They would cook everything and SIL would act like it was her Thanksgiving meal. The last time we went, there was a big college football game in town. SIL wanted to go and informed klootzak that she knew someone with tickets. So what did he do? He left our 3 year old and I at the house and spent almost $1,000 on prime tickets for him and SIL to go to the football game. Kiddo and I were stuck with no car (klootzak took our car with the child car seat) in the middle of no where with people we didn’t really know. SIL is a narc and her friends are flying monkeys. I took my son on a walk to try to find houses with holiday lights up to look at. I bought ingredients and made a pie to contribute but it was barely touched.

    I won’t have to endure klootzak “working” on the holidays meaning upstairs in his office on his computer or hiding out in the garage, cleaning his car for the millionth time, all day long, so he doesn’t have to clean anything or help cook.

    I won’t have to open his lame presents and pretend to like them.

    I was advised at the beginning of lining up duck process to NOT suddenly spend less than normal. Courts look at your standard of living when making decisions about support and so on. The pandemic made it hard because we used to spend 5 figures a year on vacations and suddenly that all stopped and I wasn’t even paying to get my hair colored. So I haven’t dialed back on buying gifts for klootzak at all. I haven’t cranked it up, either, but it’s the same. So this year he is getting a huge TV (so he can take it when he goes and leave our old one here), a home theater set up in the garage, and a super expensive suitcase (so he can pack his shit in it and LEAVE).

    I will be able to stop buying myself gifts to make him look good. I know money will be tight going forward so this year I went all out for myself on clothing that I know will last for some years going forward, coats for myself and my son (including two sizes ahead of his current size), and expensive equipment that my son and I will use for two different hobbies we do together –
    camping and astronomy! I am also pre-paying to extend my membership in Ancestry, kiddo’s subscription to educational and reading services online, and making advance swim lessons payments. I also purchased a good sized gift card for myself to get skincare treatments at the medi spa I frequented before the pandemic began. (I blamed it on their amazing Cyber Monday deal.) It’s easier for my to buy all these gifts and explain them as gifts than to take out cash and put it away for the retainer. Klootzak doesn’t question gift purchases that seem pretty normal, and all of these do. The only odd purchase he might have caught is the coats in larger sizes for our son but he didn’t realize they are different sizes. So the holiday tradition I will no longer have to endure is his year long scrutinizing every dollar I spend. I remember still how I was chewed out for spending $50 sending my mother flowers for Mother’s Day. 🙄

    I will no longer have to endure Stove Top stuffing on holidays. Hey, to me it is fine to eat at other times, but I live home made butter and sage stuffing or my grandmother’s recipe when the holidays arrive. I am the one cooking it; I want home made. Klootzak’s mother couldn’t cook worth a damn so he thinks Stove Top is the cat’s ass. He also wants stuffing super dry. No more of that in my future!

    No more hearing him complain about Christmas decorations, shows, music, etc. He’s the Grinch. It’s all about what food and gifts he gets. No more refusing to say a blessing before Thanksgiving dinner. Our son led in saying the Our Father last night and klootzak just sat there awkwardly. I said it with our son, who just learned it and I knew needed help remembering parts, and I may have said with emphasis “as we forgive those who trespass against us” but I did avoid staring right at klootzak as I said it. 😜 I will never forgive his ass, anyway.

    No more not attending Christmas services. Yay for vaccines, my son gets Pfizer #2 tomorrow and I will get a booster so we can go to Mass. It will be the first time I have been in a church with my son since he was baptized. I admittedly have never been a regular church attendee, but I certainly want to attend more than we do, which is never. And I am so grateful I didn’t marry klootzak in a church and won’t need annulment but even more grateful to the priest who heard my story and said he was certain the church would have granted it without hesitation.

    I am looking forward to feeling free and comfortable in my own home. So much fun to be had without klootzak sneering down his nose at everything. Even if I don’t get to buy the house for some crazy reason and will make my home in a smaller place with a smaller yard, it will be decorated properly without his ban on multicolor lights. After 20 years of all white everything, I want color back! And I want some silly inflatables in the yard that will make my son smile. And no more of klootzak’s band on snow and peopermint! He hates snow so nothing with snowmen or snowflakes is permitted. He also hates mint so we can’t decorate with candy canes, either. My decorations next year will be a nativity (also not permitted because how dare baby Jesus be the center of attention), snowmen, and candy canes – not all in one place, though. hahaha Right now I am only allowed all white lights, red bows, and gingerbread people but they are only allowed indoors.

    Oh! And I know klootzak will not buy a tree when he leaves. He may take the artificial tree we have out of spite. If he does, I’ll replace it with one with multicolor lights. But last year, I bought a completely new set of decorations for the tree. The old ones were worn out and he kept resisting my replacing them. Last year I bought the ones I wanted in a post-holiday sale without asking permission. It was another big expense I knew I would want to get out of the way. I highly doubt he will want to take them. The best part is I have no memories of buying them with him like I did the old ones where he dictated the colors I was permitted to buy and everything. This set is red, green, and gold which is probably too much color for him. I’m about to put up the tree and waiting to hear the complaining begin. I will tell him to go buy his ownsetif he doesn’t like them. I already threw out the old ones that were so ancient the glass had gotten spotted and moldy looking.

  • I don’t miss my EX ignoring me & clinging to his mother’s side as if I was going to stab him with my dinner fork! Damn. Missed opportunity lol

  • This is tame compared to many of you but I don’t miss ex’s phoniness.

    He’d insist on this bullshit “family” kumbya where he’d want everyone to say what they were thankful for. He’d give a speech about how thankful he was for all of us and if my kids and I didn’t seem sufficiently thankful baby would be most offended.

    But he didn’t like my kids that much….he’d make nasty comments if they said anything that didn’t involve sports or weather and they generally got on his nerves even though they’re great guys. If they forgot to bring the trash can in it was a huge deal. One time my older son wore his jacket to dinner and ex physically pulled it off of him..i went ballistic and baby locked himself in the spare room. Later on he claimed that son was sending the message that he (ex) didn’t keep the house warm enough and that of course was highly offensive. I told him he’d better never lay a fucking finger on my kids again.

    His snotty daughter was allowed to make any stupid or ignorant comments she wanted even though she was much older. The sun rose and set up her ass.

    Once I left my kids didn’t even get a HS graduation card from the phony that was HUGE on cards for everything. They don’t even speak of him.

    I always hated the fucking phony family image.

    My kids went to their dads for Thanksgiving because he has a much bigger crowd so they cook a lot. I went with my bf to his parents and it was great. They’re wonderful and treat me like family, and I chuckle at the bickering that goes on because it’s authentic. It’s so refreshing after having to walk on eggshells for fear of offending his highness the ex.

      • They are doing great, thank you!

        We do what we want when we want and say what we want. We don’t have to worry about upsetting anyone

        • Mine has always been the same way with my kids. The sun rises and sets with his little princesses but f*** my kids.

          I’m glad to hear that you and your kiddos are doing better. I can’t wait to be able to report the same for mine. Hugs.

  • This is my first Fall/Winter holiday season without FW ex; divorce was final in Sept. Still carrying some residual trauma related to how I finally finally finally knew my marriage was over, that came on Christmas Eve, 2020, and unfolded over the days following, leading to me kicking him out in January.
    Things I won’t miss: my ex MIL demanding that myself, my now ex and our daughter send her extensive lists.. in and of itself not a bad thing, as we lived across the country… but I was expected to send her the list for our daughter and myself, and then if my ex didn’t do his in time, SHE CALLED ME!!! Then I had to wrap everything she sent for my daughter (who’s birthday is also in November) and for my ex, and he was supposed to do the same for my presents she sent. So I had double the wrapping job, and at first, I didn’t mind it; wrapping can be enjoyable. Until I realized that he would just stick a bow on the box my presents were mailed in. Didn’t get them out of the box, didn’t make pretty packages, just stuck a bow on the mailer. This year for my daughter’s birthday, my ex MIL sent wrapped presents. Guess she knows she doesn’t get my free labor any more.
    Won’t miss spending extra shipping costs to buy his family gifts at the last minute because he can’t be bothered to plan ahead.
    Buying my own stocking gifts, or putting up with incredibly not my style (after 22 years together!) stuff.
    Spending an hour making the table look festive for any of the holiday meals, only to have him knock things over, spill the gravy on the linens, use the good napkins to clean the bottom of the turkey pan or wipe down the stove…I am grateful that he cooked. But the unbelievable praise he would expect made the food taste like ashes to me every year.
    His incredibly inedible hipster raw cranberry ‘sauce” because cranberry sauce from a can was low class…raw cranberries blitzed with orange peel. It was inedible.
    Spending time and a fortune on holiday photo cards (he rarely helped) and spending the money for the amount he claimed he needed to send to his enormous extended family and colleagues… only to have them never get sent because he couldn’t be bothered. When I cleaned out the house this summer for sale, I found hundreds of dollars worth of cards he never sent.
    Won’t miss his incomprehensible behaviors; example. Last year I asked my MIL for a large staked decoration for the garden. It arrived in a huge flat pack box, probably four feet by four feet. My ex put it in his small home office. I survived the Christmas Eve debacle, now it’s Christmas Day, and I’ve got this funny feeling that he didn’t put all the presents out (a common experience). I go in his office, find that enormous box, drag it and and say “What’s this?” He acted like he had never ever seen it before, couldn’t possibly tell you what it was, had zero memory of it arriving, etc. So I listen to him babble and open it up, to find the garden thing I asked for. He keeps babbling and I put it together. As I have it all working, he says “be sure to put it where I can enjoy it too!” That f’r thought he was entitled to see MY present that he didn’t even remember, from his office or something. NO. That thing was on the far side of the house, and now in the backyard of my new house. He can choke on his “be sure…”
    This Thanksgiving my daughter and I are at the coast for 2 days; last night we had a microwave feast of anything that looked good from Trader Joes! For Christmas we are going to Universal Studios. Ex has a sad, and now wants to take daughter to a lovely holiday light display in a nearby city. The same display that I begged and begged to go to when daughter was small, but it was always too far to go, or we would go but he would pout the whole time. NOW he wants to go.
    God, this isn’t even all of it! But this felt good to type out. He is awful and I am so happy to make new traditions.

    • ” I finally finally finally knew my marriage was over, that came on Christmas Eve, 2020″

      I’m so sorry this happened to you on Christmas Eve. Please look forward to many many years of taking this holiday back and making it joyous and, most importantly, yours.

      • thank you so much Fourleaf. Like many here have experienced, my ex really excelled at ruining holidays and birthdays. This year I think will be the hardest, but it’s also been a really nice time to be with my daughter and let us figure out what we want to do, just the two of us. Bittersweet right now… but I’m looking forward to more sweetness and less chaos.

    • Good on you for pushing that divorce through. My Christmas Eve last year was also incredibly awful as I was in the thick of grappling with dday revelations that shook my entire world. It’s somehow comforting to know that somewhere else on the planet someone else was in a similar turmoil—though I wish it hadn’t been so for both of us.

  • I will not miss his insistent “offers” to “help” with buying things for Xmas, and then always waiting until the last minute even though I asked for help weeks before. This stressed me out and also meant that he was not available when I needed him for last minute preparations at home, because he was “too busy” getting all the stuff I had asked him to get weeks earlier (well, if that’s where he really was…..every memory is tainted by lies and deception).

    Our divorce was finalized right before the holiday season. I foolishly agreed to let him come to the holidays “for the sake of the children.” At first I thought it could work, and he was helpful with meal prep, dishes etc. But by the end of the event, he had drank too much and was generally an ass. We fought over it afterwards and he said didn’t understand why I “made such a big deal of Xmas anyway” and never really cared/understood the fuss I made. I may be a slow learner in many ways, but that was the last time he sat at my holiday table.

  • I certainly won’t miss X running off to see his latest whatever, on the holidays. First it was his secretary, Oh, I have to help her put up her tree 🙄, then the year before I ditched his pathetic ass, he kissed me at 5 mins to midnight on NY’s eve, then ran across the street to his AP’s house to be with her. He liked being blatant about it, hoping I would just give up.
    I won’t miss the Stooges on tv in my living room all the time, or death metal on the radio.
    I do miss going to my in-laws, they were kind to me, and were old-school Italians with a house full of very cool collectibles! They would clobber him, for what he did to me, but they all passed away and never knew. It’s for the best, I think.
    Here’s to new and better traditions for all of us!!

  • I won’t miss his holiday rage. 3 times in our marriage, there was a tree mishap (fell over or something similar) and he reacted by dragging the fully decorated tree through the house and throwing it over the back deck or down a hill. The last Christmas he was alive, he was dragging it through the kitchen and oldest son stopped him and said “we are not doing this” (I was so proud).

    When I started dating Col Greatguy, he asked about the screw in the wall (in an odd place) and I told him the Christmas tree had to be tethered to the wall lest it fall and rage ensue. The screw coming out of the wall and the hole being speckled and painted was a healing moment.

    An earlier Christmas, I was mid-Pick Me Dance and he was mid “make everything perfect or I will leave and blame you”. I had just started a new job and the kids were expecting all the normal stuff and I worked my ass of doing everything as perfectly as I could conceivably do it. He found one single mess in our entire house (on my desk, not hurting anyone) and upended the desk throwing everything on the floor and telling me what a piece of shit I was for having a mess on my desk.

    When I handed him a gift, he just fucking refused to open it. It was so P/A…would not accept a kindness…just refused. Ass

    Holidays were a time for him to hate me for just existing.

    Oh, he also has a sister I never liked who I dont have to be nice to anymore.

      • Anger at me was his default setting…he was angry and blamed for everything all day every day. If I said that to most people, they likely wouldn’t believe me or they would think I had a big part in it, but I think you all understand.

        I think there was a big part angry at himself but he didnt have the skills to deal with this so he deflected it to me.

        Being in the Much Healthier Place that Im in now, I am incredulous that I lived these circumstances and managed to have hope (that we could somehow find our way to “happily married”) despite his profound and unrelenting dysfunction.

  • God I look back and think what the hell was I thinking dragging infants toddlers and kids to all these family requirements that we all MUST attend late into the night. Exhausting and over the top and way way too much. I did it though. And did a damn good job of it.

  • My ex was always over the top with gifts and $$$. Probably guilt induced. We rarely argued, he was always distracted or gone. Lack of attention and acknowledgement became normalized.
    It’s taken me many years to learn to ask for help when I need it, my habit was to wait until I was overwhelmed and then feel resentful. Holidays will definitely change and I hope to surround myself with kind and like minded souls. Grateful 4 you ALL.

  • Having to listen to my MIL bitch about how hard it was to put together her inedible holiday dinner and complain that no one said how wonderful it was afterwards. Then she would get drunk and complain about holidays past when she was married to husband #1 (good guy she played around on him!) while in the company and earshot of husband #2(saint…I think he died in self defense!)

  • I don’t have to endure a fuckwit moaning because I’ve bought too many decorations or moaning because I’ve used blue tac to stick some up.

    😁

  • I do not missing work my butt off to organize and cook both Thanskgiving and Christmas dinners as well as decorating the house and trying to create happy memories for the sake of my children, only to have my exhole ruin the day by starting a fight with me out of the blue, even though he knew Christmas was and still is my favorite holiday.
    And I live 2,000 miles away from my entire family, so my exhole and his a-hole family were the only family I had living close to me.
    Exhole would do whatever he could to ruin Xmas, like clockwork (can you say Narcissist) every December 24th. Then his parents, brother and sister inlaw, always showed up late, not lifting a finger to do anything to help out and my ex-MIL expected me to wait on her, hand and foot, while she spent the obligatory 4 hours playing with my kids, in an attempt to portray herself as Grandma of the Year, even though the reality was that she rarely/never spent any time with her grandchildren any other time of the year, too busy traveling.
    The most memorable Christmas was 2014, it was my first year being back at work full time after 6 years being a SAHM. I had to work a half day the morning of Xmas Eve, so I left exhole and the kids at home, in our totally cleaned and decorated house, with the dining table already set for dinner, and went to work for exactly 4 hours. When I got home, it looked like a tornado had gone through the house, every toy and book had been pulled off the shelves, my kids, 4 and 6, were running around the house and exhole was lying on the couch in his pajamas on his cell phone most likely texting an affair partner. I burst into tears, told him to take the kids to the park, then proceeded to re-clean the entire house, brave Whole Foods to pick up all my pre ordered food for xmas dinner, came home, cooked a prime rib and all the sides, and waited for his parents and brother and sister in-law to show up late, as usual.
    Right before they arrived, I told my exhole, “You deliberately ruined my favorite day of the year again. Utterly and completely ruined it and I will never, ever, forgive you”.
    I filed for separation 5 months later and finalized the divorce 14 months after that. Looking back, it was this last Christmas that I finally had had enough of his shitty behavior, started hardcore sleuthing into what he was up to and discovered all sorts of infidelity, financial infidelity, multiple social media accounts under different names, friends I’d never even heard of, and so much more 🤮.
    Ever since then, my holidays with my kids have been pure heaven.

  • Nope. Before she made the apparently random decision to blow up our marriage, we were happy. Holidays were especially charmed. I’m absolutely bereft and nothing about this is ok. I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy again.

    • I’m so sorry. That sucks.

      One day your walls will sing again. There’s a million Chumps here who can testify to that.

      It can and does get better.

      When you’re ready, you can take some baby steps towards your new traditions.

      It won’t always feel this bad.

    • Similar here. The holidays were ok, X did a decent job of getting gifts for me and kids, etc. Reading these stories I’m bouncing between stunned and sad thinking that maybe X wasn’t so bad. I mean, except for the whole lying cheating betraying hateful blowing up of half my life and all.

      I’m 4 years out from dday #1 in late Feb of next year, divorced early this year. I can’t say I’m happy or sad but I have moments of both. I’m mostly content and for now, today, I’m ok with that. Not sure where you are but I wanted to say you’re going to be ok. Sending hugs.

      • I found out four months ago, a few days after she forgot my birthday. I kicked her out a week later. My year hasn’t gotten any better since then. This is my first Thanksgiving and Christmas with the new normal.

        • I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I was there too. That feeling of emptiness and just going through the motions of daily life. Just know this – It Gets Better. Your brain needs time to process and re-wire after the trauma and betrayal. It’s a journey that many chumps before you have gone through and emerged as better people. The main things you need to focus on right now are avoidance of any contact with your ex and lots of self care. Be your own best friend. For me, that period in my life taught me a lesson about self love that I had previously had no concept of because I was always putting myself second. Godspeed, my friend!

    • You weren’t both happy. That was an illusion. You were happy because you didn’t know what she was up to, and what she was really thinking and feeling. Any nostalgia you feel for those times is based on what you didn’t know, back then.

      Once we face the reality of our partner’s lack of care for us, it’s easier to move on.

  • Yes, the holiday seasons were always hard. Meals had to be to his liking, and the kids were not fond of certain elements of them. I always wore myself out cooking and then was critiqued with the goal of perfection. I bought presents reflecting the kids’ interests, and he sometimes bought them presents reflecting his interests. I had to coach them to handle that well. The kids and I went to a lot of holiday events; he did not.

    Each holiday after he left had it’s own challenges, but got better and better. We enjoy more variety in our meals and get out more with friends. He chose some ugly attack after every New Year’s at first, I guess because he was triggered. He was quiet in 2021 until just recently, so either he’s in poor health and/or has a new love. He wanted the adult kids to visit, but they refused, so he had to ping me.

    Anyway, it’s fun to work out new adventures and celebrations. I had hoped to travel but have some orthopedic issues I need to work on. Life is good after Tuesday.

  • I don’t do drunken family anything, which led to a complete boycott of going over to his parents house, ever, for anything. His dad could be bombed at 9am, noon, 2pm, whenever. Our daughter has never been to their house, never ever been left in their care, and they live five minutes down the street. They bought that house after finding out we were starting a family, which I told him not to tell them. They had decided to downsize and were in escrow on a new house over an hour away, which I was thrilled about as it meant some breathing room and some space to break the serious enmeshment of this very sick, closed-system family. Of course as soon as he told them they backed out of the deal and bought a house five minutes from ours. I was furious but I decided I could still act like they lived far away. His mother, who had spent 16 years busting boundaries, who never apologized for the three-year silent treatment, made a lot of assumptions about what life would be like when the baby arrived, and she was wrong. She wanted to be my new best friend and thought I’d just roll with it and keep my mouth shut and pretend everything was fine like she programmed her two kids to do, but she was wrong.

    All of this was a result of serious untreated alcoholism in his family, and he agreed in counseling to the boundaries and guidelines we created together in therapy about how to handle visits with them after the baby arrived. We agreed to keep visits at our house or at the park.

    Curiously after he left he accused me of “training our daughter away from his parents.” No, I was PROTECTING her. Thank goodness I have a therapist to counter his attempts at rewriting history with facts and truth.

    I will never apologize to anyone for setting a limit and refusing to hang around with anyone who is under the influence or is known to have a problem with drugs/alcohol. FIL yelled at me out the blue in the middle of his birthday dinner at a very nice restaurant, “You’re a goddamn Democrat!” (We weren’t even discussing politics and I’ve always been independent). He stood on a church pew at the wedding of some family friends, yelling the bride’s name as she walked down the aisle. At another wedding of some family friends, a very formal evening event, he dipped his finger in his wine glass and was drawing on my bare shoulder. YUCK and GOOD-BYE. After the birthday restaurant yelling, I told X to have dinner with his family (sister and possibly mother are untreated alcoholics too) whenever he wanted but I would no longer attend.

    And I am the hated villain of this family….

    You do not ever have to do anything you don’t want to do. You really, really, really don’t. But you do have to be willing to let people fly around and be mad at you and not like you and lie about you. You can’t control that, but it’s better than enduring intolerable disrespectful interactions. In my experience the quality of the interaction goes down as the intoxication levels go up and there’s no point in staying.

  • So very glad I no longer:

    * have to go to the inlaws for Christmas. 30 years of Christmas hell.
    (Where we spent Christmas was not negotiable with him – told me he’d divorce me if the children or myself ever spent Christmas anywhere else )

    * have to buy and wrap all his gifts, including my own gifts from him (and have his mother ask ” and what did he get you? Oh he is always so thoughtful my beloved son”).

    *endure a day with hoard of competitive drunken narcs, (picture jumping off the house roof into the pool, hideous and inappropriate outfits (one year the elderly outlaws wore matching Borat man-kinis), eating competitions, drinking competitions, present competitions, urinating competitions (someone always peed in someone else’s drink). Hideous.

    And I was never allowed to spend Christmas with my family.

    This year I got him a divorce for Christmas – Best gift ever!!!

    Wishing you all a fabulous, calm, relaxing and cheater-free holiday season.

    • My Gut…
      I think your story wins the pecan pie 🥧contest/takes the 🎂 (corny holiday puns intended) 🤣

      Good riddance !

  • No more giving him money to buy me a present (he set the dollar value high). Then having him spend it on himself and getting a bunch of cheap junk from eBay…….God forbid he didn’t feel he got enough / the right presents. I had to spend more on him than our son.

    Our last Christmas I bought myself a metal detector so all three of us could do it as a family. He was so very angry I had to give him money for him to shop. Nothing extra under the tree. I was just so tired of him giving me long lists of expensive things for him and he couldn’t bother for me. I know it was rude of me, looking back I think this is when I started to get strong.

    I should mention he worked – not that we ever saw a dime for the house or did he spend anything on anyone else but himself.

    I also won’t miss him staying up Christmas Eve getter g drunk and then my having to keep our son from going downstairs until a certain time (8 or 9). Then he had to have coffee before Kursk could open presents from Santa. EXH didn’t know what they were, he wouldn’t shop nor would he wrap.

    I grew to hate Christmas.

  • Every Christmas and every holiday. I was up at the crack of dawn making it special for everyone. Yes I filled my own stockings too.
    My favourite was the Christmas after divorce. The children went to their dads for breakfast I went to park run and then went to a friend who was away to keep her cat company.
    The cat and I snuggles on the lounge eating Christmas treats and reading a book.
    That was my favourite Christmas.

  • Just happy that I don’t have to go crazy splitting between two families, brunch with one and dinner with the other. Making food in advance for both events, packing up the gifts into two piles in the trunk of the car, etc. I did the vast majority of the shopping, wrapping, cooking, organizing. Got stressed out and then facing no empathy from my ex at all because I was “just choosing to do it to myself.”

    In a way I was allowing myself to run on the hamster wheel. I absolutely needed to learn how to say no. Set boundaries. It’s interesting that when I started to, it was saying no to my husband and setting boundaries with him. He didn’t like that. He wanted me to do it to everyone else, but not to him. Ultimately, that’s what made me “controlling”.

    What about the fact that he never once gave me credit for doing what I did, or acknowledged the effort to make good memories for our family, or offered to bear more of the burden of these traditions says a lot? What does that say about him? Ugh!

  • I don’t buy trees now.

    I have a set of green table cloths (and napkins) that I put out, and I have a bunch of red candles, and I buy about 20 6″ red poinsettias and put them EVERYwhere. It looks more Christmas-y than most of the houses I see! And when New Years comes, I throw the poinsettias away (in one load,) wash the table cloths and put them in a box with whatever’s left of the red candles.

    It’s my little formula and I love it!

  • The conflicting expectations – instruction re gifts to ‘get yourself something small’ because the thought counts and he had already got himself something – with justifications when it was not small, trying to prepare so everything was sorted and not rocking the boat to make everything go smoothly.

    Just made another jigsaw connection of far back deception that some of the holiday emergencies weren’t. I really did not choose a partner well. Glad I know now.

  • So many annual ‘traditions’ not to miss …. the annual explaining away of the tawdry obviously 2nd hand, worn, tatty, broken, dirty, bizarre and/or incomplete gifts given our children by inlaws while they sent nice things to the rich cousins interstate. Every year. My kids found the stash one year and were told hands off they are not for you. That year the rich cousins got a cute electronic piano and my daughter got a soiled teddy bear with matted fur.

    The terrible wine and stingy catering by inlaws when it was their turn to host. You can buy nice prepared food if you don’t cook – but they didn’t. The refusal by inlaws to turn on the aircon on stinking hot Christmas days and insisting we sit outside under a metal patio (it’s often 90-100F+ degrees). Being hauled out to sales on Boxing Day after cooking and cleaning up on Christmas Day while gxh played the Grinch all day, and being bitched at if I demurred. Being excluded from decorating the tree every year because I did it “wrong”.

    Of course there’s more but hey its over now.

    I do my own decorations how I want and the last four Christmases spent with just me and my 5 grown kids have been so wonderful. Fun, affectionate, casual and laughter-filled. With the aircon on full blast.

    They are starting to seriously partner up now so things will be changing, but I have discovered you keep them by letting them go and not keeping hooks in them. I won’t be demanding compulsory presence all day at Christmas.

    My gxh tried so hard to spoil Christmas for me every year. But my Christmas will always be joyous because baby Jesus 😇.

  • I’d say above all else I do not miss the ex’s family of origin agreeing early to join for the big holiday feasts and festivities only to back out last minute because a better offer came along. Or, if they did come, they’d eat and run (after filling a huge plate to-go) to go Black Friday shopping or because they’d double-booked the day and were headed somewhere else after squeezing us in. This was a standard for ex’s family. Everyone in that family was an opportunist. They’d field offers up until event day, choosing the one they found most personally promising, then beg-off on the original RSVP if the mood struck them. Thankfully, our house was full of others to share these events, but the gall of such insensitivity was always noted.

    These are the kind of people that raised and socialized our cheater ex’s. We chumps may have offered a different role model, had higher standards, or taught better ways to treat others. In the end though, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

  • I never have to tolerate attending an awkward family meal at any of his family member’s homes. One of his brother’s, on his second wife, would get drunk without fail, make disgusting jokes. He lost his medical license for writing narcotic prescriptions for a patient in return for sex… his wife didn’t find out until it hit the newspaper. She stayed with him. He hit on my friends and was just gross to be around.

    Family events at his mother’s were a mess too. She would sit in her kitchen with FOX news on high volume, ignoring any unpleasantness around her. There was essentially zero interaction between her children, football always on in the living room. My x would wander off, engaging with no one. He’d get pissed off if I’d suggest going somewhere (drive to look at Christmas lights, a meal in a restaurant—his mother didn’t cook beyond breakfast, which no one but my x would eat—it was boring as hell). He’d refuse to celebrate any holiday with my family, too boring for him.

    I heard he spent Thanksgiving with his drunk brother—my kids and I spent it at the beach. As much as I miss the stability of a “family”, it was as if a 200 pound petulant child weight has been lifted off of all of us by not having his grouchy, pouting a$$ around. The man truly cannot express real emotion, like an empty suit (which he never, ever wore because he specialized in looking as much like a homeless person as he could).

  • I have a lot of thoughts tied to this topic. My family happily celebrated all special occasions throughout the year. It was probably the first pity ploy he played on my young naive self. Naturally I went above and beyond as he reaped the benefits of image management while we became more of an obligation/afterthought.
    Christmas Past- lovingly decorating and undecorating the tree alone while he pranced people through for admiration. The last year we were there I only did a table top tree. Over it!
    Christmas present- I may still do this alone but now it’s without resentment and I do as much or as little as I choose in terms of decorating
    CP- filled everyone’s stocking with thoughtful meaningful items which he had no problem taking. Mine remained empty. The kids asked me about that after we left.
    Cp-my stocking is taken and thoughtfully filled. My favorite part of Christmas now.
    CP- receiving expensive last minute shopped for gifts from the same place yearly that we’re not useful or in my taste. Gotta fill the quota.
    Cp- anything I receive is a gift of love and attention just like I give. I never want to be someone’s obligation again
    CP- driving separately to planned events so he can escape.
    Cp- not dealing with his ass at all
    CP- egg shelling if he’s going to get up as we exchange gifts and share the kids excitement. Sometimes he did not
    Cp- not having to deal with his neglect
    CP-dealing with in-laws who acted like the ex. Them insinuating I went overboard. Example- mil Splitting a package of socks between the ex and young son leaving son with adult socks that went to the ex.
    Cp-spending time with people who aren’t covertly hostile
    CP-given cash to purchase everyone’s gifts. Choosing and wrapping them. Delivering them. If the ex was there when his family opened theirs, he would watch and then hand each one a large amount of cash.They had no problem tucking that away. Th ex’s pet saying was this is the gift no one will return. While true, it makes me want to puke plus I think is thoughtless as a gift unless it’s needed. I have given it as a gift when appropriate as well but mine had no strings attached unlike his. It took therapy to figure out why this bothered me so damn much. What I discovered was that he was letting them and me know that what I did was not enough and he was trying to look good and impossibly fill an empty soul. Note he never gave my family cash. He took what they gave and peaced out without a word. From my family he would take, take, take
    Cp- I give gifts to people I love and who were kind to my parents when they were alive. Most of what I give are baked or handmade.
    I’ve regained my values concerning Christmas and other celebrations and all are now peaceful and as simple or complex as I want to make them. I love that the ex is not around to demean us or complicate something that should be happy.
    I read somewhere that they shit on celebrations because they know on the inside they can never feel the genuine feeling of caring for others and can only pretend to be normal for a set amount of time under those circumstances. I think there’s something to that.

    • All of these stories are so moving-both the funny and the sad.

      Recently I’ve come to the realization that WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO IN YOUR DAY TO DAY LIFE REALLY, REALLY MATTERS. All the emotional pressure of the holidays just helps to bring that home. Walk on eggshells, covering for a fuckwit’s neglect and emotional cruelty? Or fill your room with the things that make you happy and the people who have your back. Drink tea and eat cake off pretty china plates if you want, or throw together a sloppy egg sammich and have more time to ride a bike, take a walk, play a game of Scrabble. I love the courage and wisdom of this community.

    • I’ll add that the ex’s family gatherings were horrible gossip feasts. Some had targets and were bashed before arriving then treated nice to their face. The others were picked apart after they left. It was so uncomfortable. I realized after I left that it was happening to me and the kids as well. Their interests and commonalities were to degrade and demean others.
      I’ll never be in another relationship with anyone who has this trait themselves or a family that does this.

      • I am currently married to a good guy, after a few FWs. When I met his half-sister and her adult children I was wary for a variety of reasons. We had just returned to the states and spent our first Christmas back with them. Same thing. Gossiping snakes. People put down either before they came or after they left, or both. Odious. Found out from someone they trashed me behind my back. Both of us sat open mouthed in semi-shock when one of the nieces sneered at our gift to her (knowing I was the one who selected the hand-made item from a craft fair overseas) and proclaimed she thought it was better suited for her sister and dropped it in her lap. She hated me because I had previously called her on it when I set a boundary when she tried to triangulate me against the same sister she gave our gift to. (Being the scapegoat in my family growing up, I wasn’t about to join in scapegoating her sister.) Told my husband I couldn’t do it, would not be around people like that. He was OK with it, said he never liked them much, and we have not seen them since. He was quite relieved. I even told him I know they’re your family so I’ll take the heat for this, because basically at that point I didn’t care what they thought or what BS they would spew in addition to what they already had. My attiude was bring it, because you guys don’t want to hear what I have to say. I used to be “nice.” I put up with FWs and their families and tried so hard. Life is too short and I have no more tolerance or room for jerks. At all. And that includes a few in my immediate family.

        • Good for you 👏🏻
          I can’t stand two faced phonies. “Oh hi ! How are you ?!” 😃 , the person leaves and the 🔪 goes in their back.

          • For many who observe this type of petty behavior it is obviously a pathetic attempt to gain power and control. The only people with whom they hold sway are those worried about not fitting in or belonging and are all too happy to join in at the expense of others (flying monkeys). The immediate vibe I got from this section of my husband’s family was they were letting me know that if I didn’t go along with the program and nod my head and agree with every negative thing they said about others, I wouldn’t be “allowed” to belong and would then be next as an outsider to be ridiculed and slammed behind my back. So what? I don’t hold the opion of people like this very high. My own family growing up were far more subtle and sophisticated at the game, and often I was the target and destroyed before I could see it coming. These women in his family are amateurs in comparison. Because I am somewhat quiet, small in build and height, doe-eyed and so on, they (as many do) thought I would be easy to push around. Oh no. Let them think and say what they will. I would rather be alone than around assholes. The three girls learned this behavior from their mother and were taking over the reigns from her, so to speak. She must be so proud creating a new generation of mean girls. His mother was not like this, and I know it bothered her tremdously.

    • My stocking would be empty on Christmas too. I’d spend months picking out thoughtful, funny, caring gifts. My x would toss money in an envelope. I’d put up the tree, alone, take down the tree, alone. He would sit there on Christmas morning, not opening one gift because each gift was a “disappointment”. The kids would be wondering why their father refused, for days after Christmas, to open his gifts. Months later I’d find the gifts, tags still attached if it was clothing, pushed into a closet. After I kicked him out, he wanted some of the dress clothes and shoes I’d given him. He’d never, ever worn them for me—I asked why as he wore scrubs to work (which is funny because he is a radiologist and 90% of his day is sitting in a reading room, alone. No need for scrubs other than to look Dr like); he said he needed the clothes for work. He needed them to wear to strip clubs because in his deluded mind, you have to dress up for the strippers who meet their “clients” there.

      Ick.

  • I don’t miss her family at all. Her mum still is in constant competition with her sister about superficial crap. Xmas would be the stage for “who has the better life”, everyone was superficially polished up and anything negative was hidden under the table. There was the uncle the two sisters hadn’t talked to for years – over a very minor issue. Of course , her daughter’s cheating wold have never been accepted by my former MIL. I’m still friends with one of the cousins – who told me that the Xmas after the separation was all about assassination of my character. The other guy “just a friend who listened whilst my ex was stuck in an unloving marriage.” Secretly, the ex MIL wants me back however – I am a specialist doctor, so me being the son in law would elevate her status in her ongoing battle with her sister.
    Fuck them all .
    I will be on the beach on my own this Xmas and looking forward to it.

  • so many things… my STBX disappearing into the bathroom for conversations/potential hookups on his AFF acct, gone so long my kids asked, “where is Dad?”…we had no clue. Further back, it was a 30 plus year mirage of nightmare xmas with his family… God awful food, passive aggressive MIL and ongoing family feuds! I am so glad to be done! When D-day #2 hit, I told fuckwit, “I wish your mom was alive so I could tell her to kiss my ass, too!!

  • Kathy,
    Just before my ex gave me the ILYBINILWY, he spent long periods in the bathroom with his iPad. I finally asked if he was ok or needed to go to the hospital. Silly me. He was just continuing his affair a mere 15 feet away from me. Can only imagine what they were sharing in there. Ah, tru wuv…having Facebook chat sex on the toilet.

    • yep, mine too, 37 year marriage…lying liar, cheating cheater, and closet bisexual….trying to hook up, man to man sex, sex with couples..how the hell did I not know….but more importantly, 65 years old, how the hell do I rebuilt my life?

      • I understand, Kathy, even though my marriage was not as long as yours. I lived with my ex for 30 years – 25 of that married. I’m 52 now.

        Just before abandoning me straight out of the blue, he moved us from the place we lived for all those years to a place I have no interest in living. He had to “get away from the city”. Where does he live, now, with his 31 year old wife? Dallas, TX. Hmmm…

        In this new place, I have no friends. No business contacts. When he left, I had no job and no permanent home. We had to sell the home we were building (as our retirement home, ha!) as part of the divorce. He had no interest in helping me find housing. It was “not his problem – ask your family to sign a loan” – until my lawyer intervened. That was all five years ago now…

        I was at the lowest of lows…asking myself the same… how do I rebuild my life???

        What I learned is….One. Step. At. A. Time.

        This may sound trivial but I really don’t mean it to…. Try to rephrase “rebuilding your life” to “how do I want to experience this new found freedom?” It’s not easy, I know. If you’re like me, you feel that 37 years of your life was a lie or wasted. Mourn that. Grieve that. Pick the parts out of that life that were true to you and value them. But then consider what you want the rest of your life to be. You no longer have to clean his dirty underwear or listen to him snore. You don’t have to watch him pick his nose while watching sports on tv, or have him sit in his recliner watching you, while you struggle to hang a picture. You can paint your bedroom Tiffany blue and hang up pictures of Audrey Hepburn, if you want to. You can take a trip to visit a girlfriend you haven’t seen for years. You can climb Mt. Everest! You don’t have to “rebuild” a life, you have the opportunity to have a completely different life invented by you! One of the first things I did to celebrate my freedom was to buy a paisley chair that I know my husband would never have agree to. It felt great to not have to ask for his approval. I hope to one day make a trip to Scotland. Try, in the midst of grieving and coming to acceptance, to make room for possibility in your thoughts. It will bring you hope.

        You ask how the hell did you not know about the nefarious deeds of your husband? The same way as many of us here…you loved and you trusted. It never entered your mind that he might seek out sex with others. He played on that trust by manipulating, lying, and hiding his true self. Never, in a million years, did I think my husband would have an affair with a coworker half his age, lose 60 lbs in four months, shave his head, and get botox…but he did. And, now I know what a real f*cker he was all along. A life built on lies and hurting others can’t possibly sustain itself. Find your new life and show him what he gave up!!!

      • You learn to appreciate what you don’t have:

        You don’t have to live with a liar, you don’t have to wonder which shoe will drop next, you don’t have to celebrate bdays and holidays with a backstabber, you don’t have to share your income with a con, or have his opinion or input on any of your choices

  • So much I’ve started to write here and didn’t get to finish. And so much to be thankful for about not having to endure another holiday with FW and his horrible parents — especially his OG narcissist mother.

    Besides cooking the worst holiday meals ever — inedible and identical whether it was Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter —- I also had to deal with their passive aggressive racism/anti-semitism.

    Much like Jesus cheaters, FWs parents are both hard core, church goers. And it pissed them off to no end that FW married me: a Jewish woman. And our son was being raised Jewishly.

    Of course I was told that they are open minded and accepting. Meanwhile holidays went like this:

    1. FWs uncle (his mom’s brother) would act like a complete perve around me… get way too close and try to corner me alone… then whisper things like “I’ll convert you yet.”

    2. I’d agree to go to Easter dinner at their house but on the condition they understand that I would only eat veggies — as it fell on Passover and I needed to keep Kosher for Passover (IE: no bread, no pork, etc). So I’d show up and they’d serve ham, biscuits and even the green beans had bacon in them. Literally nothing for me to eat. “Ooooops. We forgot hee hee”

    3. His mom and dad refused to acknowledge Chanukah. They would send a very Christian Christmas card (Nativity Scene and cross) and line out Merry Christmas. Nice

    4. I’d ask that they stop wrapping my gifts and my son’s gifts in Christmas wrapping. I was told there was no way they could find Chanukah wrapping. I asked that they put it in any color wrapping — birthday was fine. Nope. I even GAVE FWs mom Chanukah paper and she didn’t use it once. I’m sure it was trashed immediately.

    5. All 8 days of Chanukah would pass and his mom and dad would call and say that they spent extra to “rush deliver” gifts to us “in time for Christmas.” Um… you missed my holiday already. And what would arrive? A Omaha Steaks box with pork chops.

    I mean seriously, I could go on and on. They suck so bad.

    I’m beyond thrilled that I’m away from the mean and crazy and racist garbage. Blechhh. Holidays are infinitely better without them!

    • 👀😳 Serving pork (and gifting some !) to a Jew is a massive 🖕

      Signed,
      A lapsed “smells and bells” Episcopalian. (Protestant offshoot of the Anglican Church)

      The one good thing I received from my childhood parish was the interfaith teachings of the associate reverend.

      • Oh but they acted like they were sooooo accepting and open minded 😂 It was all gaslighting and passive aggressive crap. Glad to be rid of the whole lot of those bigots.

  • This was a tough one – especially since I may spend Christmas Day alone. The pandemic has ruled out most non-family events.

    FW and I spent 30 Christmases together traveling to as many as four different households. The bulk of the day (seven plus hours) would be spent with his family even after the rushed visit with my family. It would often be after 10:00 before we got home to open our own gifts.

    I did all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating. We almost always argued when tree shopping – he would drive to four or five different places to save $20. The other evenings that whole week he was out “shopping”.

    That’s what will always mark Christmas memories – that I don’t know what was true.

  • Regarding Jackass: I won’t get any cheap, shitty, thoughtless Christmas gifts.

    Regarding XH the Substance Abuser: My whole holiday won’t revolve on when his grandkids are available.

    Plus I save a lot of money.

  • I no longer have to tolerate coming home from the hospital during the holidays to find her in bed with a lover. Life is great without the epic mindfucks (or mystery genital infections) from the person who is supposed to love you most.

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