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Signposts to Meh?

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mehFriday Challenge by popular demand — how did you know you were getting to Meh? Were there signposts along the way? A certain point where the spell was broken and the mindfuckery failed to work?

Now, many of you might not be at Tuesday yet. (To the newbies: the day the pain stops.) And you may not feel as if indifference is even possible. But I promise you, the what-was-I-doing-with-that-clown? future is out there.

How did you know things were getting better? What’s peace like? Tell CN about the journey and help a fellow traveler on the road to freedom from fuckwits.

TGIF!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • When a mutual friend called to tell me he had quit his job and started his own church, and I just said “uh huh, uh huh” and didn’t press for details because a show I liked was about to start. When you don’t even want front row tickets to the clusterfuck, you know you’re there.

    • Church, so funny.

      I had been at meh for a long time, but when my son told me his dad was going to school to be a preacher. It was all I could do to stifle my laughing.

      Son said, I know sounds crazy; but we will see if it is real. It wasn’t. Within a couple years fw had turned his turret in the direction of my son and his family. Asshole blew up that relationship too.

      That was actually when I found CN. I had been done with him for years; but I was trying to figure out what the hell was his issue.

      • I’m there. So done, but had to break the habit of trying to analyze his issues. I found comfort going there. (Self justification) now, I see he’s just kind of pathetic. Who knows what his issues are? If I figured it out, then what? And I don’t think there’s ever a definitive resolution to that inquiry. I’m just no longer curious about him. That frees up a lot of mental energy snd space.

        • ExgfOW is a life coach. She ‘coached’ him in phrases to use during the discard. He was coming out with self-help stuff that I’d never heard from him before. With the benefit of hindsight it was pathetic. At the time I was puzzled. He was already under her thumb again, for the third time. I did not find out about the rekindled relationship until 2 months after he’d left the home. The classics were ‘you’ve wasted your talents. It’s a form of self-harm’ and ‘I’ve got a growth mindset, yours is fixed’. I can at least say that I received the ‘benefit’ of a free coaching session from her. Back to my usual analogy: two chocolate bunnies, pretty on the outside (though not so much now); average chocolate; and empty in the middle. A disappointment.

          • There’s few things worse yet laughable at the same time as a cheating life coach. I love your analogy, the hollowness inside is ringing.

  • Honestly? A stay in the behavioral health unit. It was the first time I felt heard and validated. I was assured and reassured that my reactions were normal. They made sure I had a place to go that wasn’t where he was living. Getting some space and a support team made it possible to see him with fresh eyes, and the next time I was around him, I found that I cared a whole lot less. Not completely meh, of course, but it was a start.

    • That’s really positive. It’s so difficult, the whole ”mental health unit” stigma can be very off-putting and scary as a concept, but I’ve never met anyone in dire straits who hasn’t massively benefitted from some targeted, empathetic intervention. It’s always a journey, but the support, disinterested compassion and solid practical advice is a huge thing when one is on the ropes.

      Glad you’re in a far better place now.

  • It took about 1.5 years to feel meh (realized it when he drove by me & I didn’t care to look & got on with my day like any other day). There were other signs along the way…when I stopped talking about what happened less & less, when I slept through the night more & more, when I realized circumstances were out of my control & I surrendered to it…
    It is a road & there are goalposts along the way, when you start to realize your world is getting bigger without your ex in it. All the pain, confusion, anger you’re feeling now? You need to work through that to Meh. You will get there, keep going. You will pass by your ex one day like I did & you won’t even blink. It would be easier if there was a red pill to hurry this process up, but it’s really time (lots of it) and being kind & patient with yourself.

  • When I could concentrate on two or three important data points, and not be drawn into senseless confrontational “discussions” I learned how to control the contact. I rarely broke the “no contact” rule — it was generally because of urgent business matters, or about my children, but I learned not to let the conversation stray. With the love bomber ex, when he would launch into the familiar “I’ve changed” speech, I would say “Good for you! Where are you working ?” Of course he was not working, so end of talk. With ExFather of Kids, I would say “How, exactly, does this help the kids?” or “Good luck with your venture, I have to leave for an appointment now,”

    These may seem like small things, but they were very good ways to convey that I had other things to do besides waste any more of my time with them. I had not changed my mind about them. I did not miss them, or want to “try” again. When you close the door on their presentation, you do not waste your time. You get to live your new life, without their lies. You don’t get hurt, because you no longer believe they are anything but the snake oil salesmen they are. Solicitors are not welcome at this location.

    Also, you do not have to answer the door, the phone, or the email. No contact is wonderful. If there is a truly important issue, you can deal with that, without any need for any type of sociable chat. It is amazing how much this simple action can improve your life.

    • “No contact is wonderful. If there is a truly important issue, you can deal with that, without any need for any type of sociable chat. It is amazing how much this simple action can improve your life.”

      Absolutely and yes. No contact is a blessing.

    • Reminds me of when the ex asked me to take the kids for several days so he could have heart surgery, I said Okay. Later my kids reported that he said his feelings were hurt that I wasn’t worried about him. Oh well.

  • I’m there right now. We’re in the process of breaking up as my new house is prepared, and I’m still living with him for another month or so. He is currently on a trip out of state to visit family (and who knows what else on the side but I don’t care) and it’s been such a relief to have him away.

    When you don’t miss him at all, snd don’t worry about who he might be fucking while he’s gone, it’s a good feeling and you know you’re there. I wouldn’t care if I never saw him again.

    • Absolutely, Jennifer.
      Knave-man recently left for a trip to Paris (he asked me along, too — no way to that), and I was honestly happier to be alone at home than in that magnificent city with a FW.

  • I no longer wonder what he is up to. Occasionally, but it has become a passing thought. I often find him a small pityable man. I have to be in small contact with him as we have two teenagers together, one with special needs. He has less than 10% custody. I like I get to make all the decisions for my kids as he does not attend therapies or IEP meetings. I feel awful for my kids but it’s so nice not to have someone working against me anymore. He is just there like a fun uncle for the kids but when it counts they come to me. That is reassuring. I no longer get mad that he won’t participate with them instead I do what they need like drive them places and enjoy it. We will be apart 2 years in January and our divorce will be final this month. A year ago I was having panic attacks around the divorce. Today I will sign and be fine, just another day.

    • I feel this way too. I haven’t wondered what he is up to for a long time now and that feels great. Definitely a meh milestone when you realize you’re there.

  • When the thought of him with ap(s) no longer made my stomach flip, I knew there was progress. I slowly would not feel anything when I thought of him with these women, and when I remembered the time of discovery I no longer felt overwhelming grief. I am not at meh yet, but I’d say I’m on the way. What I struggle with the most are the effects of the emotional/verbal abuse that I experienced in other ways. Cheating was of course one way, but some of the the other marks are just as deep.

    • I resemble this. There was a point where instead of feeling sad about him being with someone else because of the gut-punch rejection feeling, I felt relief because it meant his unwelcome attention had somewhere else to be and he wouldn’t be sniffing back toward me or giving me a hard time about anything. That felt like a big step.

      • Yes. I remember getting to the “thank god it’s her and not me” stage. It took 3 1/2 years. By then I was so grateful to have escaped him, I almost wanted to send OW a thank you card and say “Thanks for getting me out of hell. He’s your problem now. Enjoy!”. Except, I don’t care anymore. Not even about petty revenge, or gloating about the fact that he treated her worse than me. She is of no consequence to me at all.

        • Agreed, it took me about 3 years, too. I remember reading comments on a CL post and somebody wrote “the Cheating was a gift” (because now they could get rid of the Cheater), and I remember thinking “I totally agree & co-sign this!”

          I’m now at 6.5 years divorced, he’s been out of my house for 8 years and he’s even worse of a human being today than he was a decade ago.

          I escaped!!!

          • Yes to all of this! It has taken me 3-3.5 years too to feel like she did me a favor. His last known ap really made herself known and I’m thankful. Otherwise I would have wasted more years on this guy. I remember after getting married I felt like I’d made the wrong choice but didn’t feel like it was enough to divorce. Then the treatment got worse and still I felt obligated to stay (I wouldn’t do that again)! But then the cheating was what I needed to give myself permission to leave. It shouldn’t have taken that, but we live and learn.

            • Co-signing and agreeing! This is a stage of meh I definitely reached a long time ago: (1) Thank God he left, (2) She can have him, and (3) I’ve escaped!

    • Yes, physically and mentally getting away from the FW’s controlling and belittling behaviors is a huge positive and feels so good.

    • Longtime Chump, I find hope in your description. I still get bogged down when I think of her with Tru Wuv, especially around this time as I hadn’t discovered the truth yet until after the holidays so the lies and abuse still bite me when I think of her waking up with him on Christmas morning. Such is life for the chump.

  • Several little moments that felt big at the time; coming here and having the ability to share “I’ve been there” wisdom, having my turn with the kids and not feeling so broken, reacting slower to her new “crisis”.

    For me it was often 1-step forward, 1/2-step back, but there was progress. It took a couple years until I really felt “better”.

  • Signposts to Meh, huh?

    In the spirit of those clever roadside sign series of 100 years ago — how great would it be to see these while drivin’ down the highway? . . .

    Meh is great!
    Love it there!
    Fuckwit rants?
    I don’t care!
    Burmashave

    Life is better
    Cheater free
    Farce for her
    Bliss for me!
    Burmashave

    Tired of their
    Rage and thrashin’?
    Only cure is
    Full dispassion
    Burmashave

  • I struggle with meh. I’ve come so far and past many meh signposts, so, I’ve done a lot of good work here and I’m proud of it. I feel hope that one day I’ll truly arrive at Tuesday.

    But, the final D Day, when he discarded me for the now Wifetress, is about 10 years behind me now (the other D days and other APs even further behind) and I still struggle from time to time. If I catch a glimpse of him during kid pickup on weekends I feel ill for a bit. Last month I picked up the phone accidentally when FW first thought it was our daughter answering and his cheerful “Hey! How are you doing today!?!” quickly dropped to a curt and Ivy “Oh, okay” when I said I’d take the phone to her. (We never talk; written communication only.) My stomach felt sick after that. But I recovered in about an hour whereas in the early days that would have taken a day or two (or more!). I had a panic attack once when I saw him and Wifetress at the annual fair that the kids and I were at (he had lied and said he wasn’t going) and I quickly got me and the kids out of there before he could see me. Likewise, I had another panic attack when I saw him and Wifetress, holding hands, entering the grocery store I was in. God was kind to me again; I saw him before he saw me. I abandoned my shopping cart in the aisle and the kids and I went to the car.

    And just yesterday, my daughter said something that triggered a very sad memory for me regarding FW and, surprising her and myself, I burst into tears. I recovered within about 30 seconds.

    I am so lucky to be 80% NC and 20% Grey Rock with him. It’s saved my sanity. But I feel ill and weepy when I think of any upcoming days where contact will be unavoidable. High school graduation or one of our children’s marriages, for instances. But I know I’ll get through it; I’ve walked through worse.

    So, for me, meh is really complicated. I feel like I’m so far down the road to Tuesday and my signposts mirror many mentioned here. I do not care about his life, I look nothing up on him, when he appears on the news (local charity stuff that he and Wifetress do often), I turn off the TV and don’t skip a beat. It’s been glorious. But when when there’s physical (or sometimes audio or just visual), actual in-person contact involved, *my body physically reacts.* Headaches, panic attacks (usually quick and recoverable now, so progress!) and, most often, nausea. I’m listening: my body says “stay. away. from. this. man.” and I listen.

    I feel like my brain is well and truly nearly at meh. My body, not so much. Sometimes I think I’ll never get there but I know it’s a lifelong journey. One day my stomach won’t flip around when I catch sight of him and I’ll celebrate that signpost when I get there.

      • Sorry, Navigator, but nobody tells me how long I have to recover from this. I’ve read all sorts of estimates of how long it takes, like five years for every year in the relationship. Whatever.
        I was married for 44 years and am six years out. I make progress every year but I’m still not at meh and I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to get there.
        There are people posting here who have been out longer than I and I see that they are still suffering too. After all, why come to this site if you’re truly at meh and have reached Tuesday?
        I haven’t seen my ex since or been in any contact with him since the divorce. But he lives in the same city as our daughters and grandchildren so I worry how his narcissistic nastiness will affect them.
        So, you do you and I’ll do me. No judgment, please.

        • The ability to recover from anything, physically or emotionally, declines with age. So it’s a bit different for us older chumps than it is for the young pups.
          I’m surprised anybody would say that to you. You’re doing great. Just leaving a marriage that long takes enormous strength.
          It also depends on how abusive the marriage was. Then you need to recover from CPTSD as well as from being betrayed. That can take a long time, even with therapy. Personally, I don’t believe we ever truly recover from trauma. We just learn to manage the symptons.

          • “Personally, I don’t believe we ever truly recover from trauma. We just learn to manage the symptoms.”

            I definitely believe this to be true; I will be dealing with this, as I have had to deal with other traumas, for the rest of my life. I am, however, open to learning new and maybe even better ways to manage the symptoms. Even just typing my struggle with “meh” here has already helped. 🙂 It’s an ongoing process.

            10 years out doesn’t feel that long, to be honest. It all feels like it only happened a few years ago. Time is such a weird thing.

            • I’ve come to believe in the resilience of myself and human kind. I’ve healed childhood traumas, that I thought would haunt me forever. That has shown me that I can walk through hell and come out the other side. I’m not special so that is why I feel it is possible for all of us. No timeline, no linear path, just endless possibility.

          • I agree with the use of the word “managing.” I tell myself I am gradually managing the betrayal inflicted upon me. I find the term “healing” to be very triggering. The destruction of a marriage/family is too great a blow to truly heal from. The term “ managing” is more manageable.

        • I just saw this, From Vicki Stark author of ‘runaway husbands.’
          She also just wrote a blog post for anyone who’s interested. I think the points below could apply to anybody who had a sudden rupture in their relationship.

          ‘there are many other elements that will affect your recovery time. Here are some of them:
          How radically your lifestyle has changed since the separation or divorce
          How robust your support circle is – do you have plenty of friends and family to rise you up?
          The extent to which the change in your financial circumstances has now put you in a precarious situation
          Are you busy working every day or home all day thinking about it?
          Have you always tended to be anxious, a worrier, prone to depression or a glass-half-empty sort of person
          How brutal the divorce process has been – to what extent your ex is determined to bring you down
          Whether you have younger children and have to have contact with your ex on a regular basis
          The extent to which he seems to be living a great life while your life pales in comparison
          Do you have health problems?
          Are you a person who doesn’t adjust easily to change?
          How isolated are you? Do you live away from family?
          Are you connecting with the other women in our community?

          – and I would add, if you have past trauma that perhaps was unresolved, your age, if you were idealized and how happy you were with the general state of your relationship before the break.
          There are so many things that will affect the road to Meh.

          • No worries about that. Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it feels like 10 years ago; sometimes it feels like 10 months ago.

            And some things never heal; they are just managed. I lost two family members back in 1991–one from a horrible accident and the other from suicide–and thinking about them… heck… it still hurts. A lot. I don’t see how I’ll ever feel any differently about FW; it feels a lot like a horrible, horrible family death only he’s still up and walking around.

            So, it’s all very complex. Some things we never “get over.” But we do get a whole lot better at managing ourselves around them. And we become champions at setting boundaries.

            And I’ve realized that as long as he’s not physically around me, I’m tricking along down the meh road and have passed more meh signposts than I ever thought.

            • Let me back Navigator here. Don’t be me. Don’t wonder what the last 20 years would have been like if I’d credited somatic therapy sooner. When I finally tried it, the curative power was unreal. I could have saved myself a decade+ of bad sleep, and embarrassing (spaz) trauma reactions. It’s worth a definitely worth a shot to spare yourself trouble. I didn’t think Navigator sounded judgmental. She sounded like she was gauging how long phases of trauma healing last. It’s definitely part of healing from trauma, to feel panic/fear/nausea in response to seeing a reminder. Bu sometimes that phase lingers longer than it needs to, and somatic therapies are really excellent to break out of being stuck in that fight-or-flight feedback loop. I wish I hadn’t refused free opportunities for somatic therapies like EMDR, yoga, TRE, etc…

              Let me also validate Four-leaf here. I’ve always appreciated her comments, which opened my eyes on how to brave horrible discards, poverty, and every other FW horror. I’m sort of cheering her comments in this thread about how she manages FW pop-up appearances, like social landmines. I also agree that some bits of trauma might always linger, and that it is mighty to accept and not resist that.
              Still I can’t help wondering if some mind-body tricks might release some of the burden easier, particularly feeling fear/nausea upon just seeing him.

    • “I had a panic attack once when I saw him and Wifetress at the annual fair that the kids and I were at (he had lied and said he wasn’t going) and I quickly got me and the kids out of there before he could see me. Likewise, I had another panic attack when I saw him and Wifetress, holding hands, entering the grocery store I was in. God was kind to me again; I saw him before he saw me. I abandoned my shopping cart in the aisle and the kids and I went to the car.“

      This says to me that you are doing better than you think. When you have an aversion reaction to him/them, those are good good signs!

      I don’t think Meh is necessarily feeling nothing when I am in the presence of those who perpetrated violence against me. My emotions are wired properly and it makes sense to me that I might always feel something in the presence of evil and dangerous people who did such harm to me.

      I do believe Meh is also my feet automatically going in the opposite direction of danger if I feel unsafe.

      • Velvet Hanmer, thank you for this viewpoint. LTC FuckFace is a threat to me. Of course my instinct is to run away from a man who pulled a gun out as we argued. I would be foolish to stick around and see if I will or won’t be a gun violence statistic. My gut, my intuition all scream that he is a danger. You don’t heal from that, you get far away from that.

        “My emotions are wired properly and it makes sense that I might feel something in the presence of evil and dangerous people who did such harm to me.” Chumps, listen up!!!!

        • Thank you both, 33 and VH! I guess that’s why it helps to share these feelings. This morning I felt like a “meh failure” simply because I drop whatever I’m doing and head in the opposite direction when surprised by FW out in the wild. I felt like if I was truly at meh, I’d be able to walk right by him, feel nothing, and carry on with my task.

          I appreciate the alternative take on meh. Sure, meh might mean absolute neutrality but maybe knowing oneself and listening to the danger signs ((a) he’s here; (b) I don’t want to be where he is and y’know what… being here is optional right now; (c) I’m going to go now. I’ll just do this later when it feels better) is also a victory worth celebrating.

          Why walk into the open mouth of an alligator? It’s going to hurt. I’ll come back when the alligator has gone; there’s no hurry.

    • For the body physical reactions, perhaps EMDR might help. It did for me, breaking the physical brain-to-gut highway scarring that I received when hearing about OW#1. It is not any sort of woo-woo trickery but instead works purely on the physiological nerve track to help smudge out the PTSD of trauma. I found a local professional therapist who offered it, paid cash for 3 sessions since insurance didn’t cover it in 2008, and was healed forever. (I went in very doubtful but the therapist said I didn’t need to believe in it; it works even if you are skeptical because it does not depend on your attitude – no woo-woo stuff).

      I absolutely remember the horror of the moment of D-Day and can describe it in detail but the thoughts stopped sending my body crashing.

      • Thanks for the lead! I took a look at my options locally and, for the next few years at least, there’s no way I’ll be able to afford that, but I’m grateful that I even know what EMDR therapy is now! This may be something that I investigate in the future for myself–thank you.

        • fourleaf, here is PTSEC, a form of EMDR that you can listen to on your own, for no money. it’s an 11 minute session.

          all you do in EMDR is envision a traumatic memory. stick with it, stay close, focus. the clicking sounds of PTSEC will occupy your mind. follow the verbal prompts. by the end of 11 minutes, you will no longer envision the traumatic memory–the clicks will overtake your brain.

          it works.

          https://pstecaudiosource.org/what-is-pstec/

    • don’t confuse Meh with grieving. For me, meh isn’t about totally not caring. Of course I care and have hard memories and moments. And my xw does matter to me in some form or fashion. We’re chumps because we care!!!!

      And it means something.

      **BUT*** that’s just your super power and if you can flip the story; you care, its a super power AND it doesn’t have to mean your future (or this moment) is less so because of the hard moment from the past.

      Its ok that you grieve… we always will so some extend because we care

      • Nice. I agree.

        My dad died in 1992. I haven’t reached a place where I felt nothing-neutral. The frequency and intensity of the feelings have changed and lessened.

        My daughter and I went to see Ron’s Gone Wrong….a very sweet movie about the meaning of friendship and loyalty. Later on I felt sad and was crying. My daughter asked me what was wrong. I was thinking about how my former husband was really never my friend. I said, “What Dad did really hurt. It will probably always hurt but I’ll just think about it less and less.”

        For me, that really summarizes it. I think arriving at a place where you neutral is fine and normal, and so are ongoing feelings.

        • Another fan of EDMR here, fourleaf. It wasn’t cheap, I stayed with my therapist for a full year, but there was an awful lot to unpack. I don’t pay for EDMR any more, but if anything triggers me, I do ‘DIY maintenance’ with simple YouTube lightbar videos.

          On a side note, there was an earlier question – why still visit this site if you are at ‘meh’? That is something I wonder about sometimes, I rarely think of my FW, and I do wonder sometimes if I am slowing down ‘recovery’ by continuing to focus on the past by checking in most days. Does anybody else wonder that?

          I would find it very difficult not to check in – I would feel adrift from my ‘tribe’ – it makes me wonder if the survivor status is permanent.

          • That’s a really good question, and perhaps you’ve already answered it yourself? Like the EMDR, initially it’s to process trauma. Afterwards it’s just for maintenance “tuneups”.

            I find that the reasons I come here have changed over time. Initially I came because I was struggling to process the betrayal. It didn’t make sense to me, my life had changed dramatically as a result (went from living together with a partner who I thought was pretty great and planning a future to having to move back in with parents).

            At that time I came here almost daily because I was struggling daily. CL answered the questions I had and was a supportive environment while keeping me on the right track of healing (gain a life) when I felt despairing and overwhelmed.

            Nowadays I’m nearly two years post D-day, and I don’t feel lost, overwhelmed, despairing and angry any more. But I still come when I have those stray thoughts or another bit of the puzzle clinks into place. I think gaining a life causes you to put things into perspective – I’ll be happily living and occasionally my brain will offer up a new insight out of the blue, like it’s been working away in the background and slotting the old memories into the new experiences. So coming back feels a bit like rereading old diary entries – it doesn’t quite feel like the person I am any more, but it still helps consolidate what I’m feeling. Additionally it’s amazing how it’s no longer emotionally “hot” like it was in the beginning and it helps me to see how far I’ve come.

            Other people’s experiences may vary but that’s why it is for me!

            • PS…excellent description of how it has been for me too, BTW. I’ve often said that my brain is still working on it 24/7 even if I’m not conscious of it.

            • I still read here daily (although I rarely comment anymore) as a sort of maintenance check-up. It helps immensely to get out of my own head and to read others’ experiences and reactions. Thank you all for your input.

          • I feel like I am at Meh – but I stay connected. Every once and a while I have a moment. It’s not a linear process.

            I stay connected for multiple reasons. CL and fellow chumps saved me. I was very suicidal and a childhood friend talked me down from taking my x husband’s RA meds ( a months worth )and the two bottles of wine I was drinking to have the courage. Shortly after this I found everyone here and I realized that my life did matter and I took that first little step towards Meh.

            I hope that others who are new in their journey can honestly see that somebody does care, and is listening to them. We’ve been there, bought the T-Shirt and survived the crazy ride. I have never met any of you – but I love you like my family. Everyone here understands the betrayal and extreme loss. It’s a safe place to just exist at whatever stage of chumpdom we’re at.

            I am a Chump. I may have been born one or created. Probably a bit of both. Always working on myself. This is a place where I can be real. And hopefully my experience helps somebody who is having a bad day.

            There are a lot of veterans who stay and once and a while we comment. Some of us even met on another site over a decade ago because we thought our spouse was having a Mid Life Crisis.

            • This is so amazing, Lucky. It’s really powerful to know that there are veteran guardians reading daily to help and support. Thank you for reminding us.

            • Yes, this.

              Thinking that he was having a midlife crisis gave some sort of structure to my struggle. (Oddly enough, Cheater knew that his real dastardly deeds were so much worse that a MLC that he actually “admitted” to being in MLC to throw me off track. I thought his admission was a path to wholeness when it was just a red herring to distract me from the reality that he was a fuckboy).

              That group was a lifeline when I needed it. One day (when I was still in Wreckonciliation) someone posted about this new Chumplady blog…I visited here and thought it quaint but misguided since (if they all tried and cared enough) they could all be Unicorns like me. I was painfully, deeply and malignantly wrong.

              I thought I was going to shore-up my marriage and then host marriage retreats at Church. I would also support suffering spouses in an online setting, but I thought I would be a part of some benevolent Catholic branch of the RIC. Now I tell people to “Run like your hair is on fire”.

              We were both still married when we came to know each other there. I later met Phil(a gal) and Patsy (Curtains) in real life and they are friends to this day. Patsy attended a lecture I gave in Africa. I met Phil’s grandkids. They are great people. I thank them and you for walking through a storm that the world avoids even talking about.

              My Cheater had been dead about 2.5 years when I was planning my wedding and meeting with a dude at Church who mentioned the “first affairs” (which Cheater had admitted to him) that he thought I knew about. I had no idea there were earlier affairS …my mind spun, my mouth got dry and I called a gal I knew from the MLC board on my way home…her specific words didnt help but was a human on theater end of the phone which I now see as a big thing.

              One really sad thing is that the very beginning of my new marriage (which I should have been relishing) was overshadowed by me learning that Cheater was a Serial Offender. It didnt do lasting damage but ruined some of my joy.

              • Bit belated, I know, but thanks to all for taking the time to answer my question. This site does bring me incredible comfort, maybe I can, just for once, not critique myself for needing support and the occasional kindness of strangers XX

    • Thanks all for the responses! I’ve been thoroughly challenged on my previously held notion that I was a meh failure while also still acknowledging that I am still moving towards meh. I’ve also been reframing my idea that meh = “it doesn’t bother me anymore.”

      It bothers me. It will always bother me. Maybe that’s okay. I do acknowledge that I’ve come quite far. I remember when even just hearing his name would put me on the floor for a few days. Now he can pop up on my television while he’s being interviewed in the field by our local weatherman and I can just turn the TV off and carry on. That’s pretty awesome. So what if I can’t be in the same room with him without feeling like throwing up? If it’s avoidable, I’ll avoid it. If it’s unavoidable, I’ll weather it. But I feel a lot less shame now for acknowledging my body’s response to his in-person presence. It is what it is and I’m getting through it.

      • Yeah, no need to feel shame.

        Your comment felt really relatable. I see my ex around and it has bugged me that I still react. In fact, on an animal level I feel he senses that I react and that he likes pressing my buttons, even if it’s just to watch me try to keep a straight face.

        The other day he sat next to me at an open mic and I just stayed with myself within my body. He has been engaging with me with pretty much the exact same approach as when we got together, and as he did the second time when we had once broken up. I’ve been like, seriously? Are we going to dance this dance again? How can I stay in the room and change the dynamic?

        I realized I still liked/craved the attention he represented, and then I felt guilty and stupid and disgusted with myself for that, what with the memory of what he put me through. It dawned on me that I had always reacted strongly to just him being close by, and that even in the beginning of our relationship he’d never put in the patient, steady, clear signals of telling me he was interested in me as more than a friend and wanted to date and ask me out. I think I’ve always reacted to his blurred boundary energy with an exasperated “either come close and say you love me or just go the fuck away! why do you come around offering to buy me drinks and ask about my life as if you are doing innocently nothing?”

        So I thought, why should I feed that with my exasperation? Why call out the dissonance that he’s acting boyfriend-y and intrusively if HE’s going to pretend that he’s coming around “just as a friend”? I decided to let the explosions happen internally but to just continue treating him like a music acquaintance.

        So I started allowing the proximity as if he was just a friend I had no romantic interest in at all, telling myself I am fine with the attention of friends who never proposition me. Like, this was a step for me because 1) I was neglected/abused as a kid by my dad, whom I loved, so any male coming close to me with just a normal level of kindness triggered my ‘fall-in-love’ switch 2) I realized, hey, I might also be the one with a blurred boundary between ‘friends’ and ‘solid romantic prospect’ because I interpreted his half-ass mixed signals as interest and helped propel a lot of the relationship by being the one to insist on clarity, and 3) I realized a femme with strong self-esteem and sense of her own attractiveness and worth would be able to tolerate the tension of fielding a man’s approach and respond with boundaries, i.e. only engage with romantic interest if the guy demonstrated clarity, respect, balance, etc., calmly excuse herself if she wasn’t into it, etc.

        Last week he came to one of my shows, and told me beforehand he was going to have to move an engagement to do it. In my head, I was like, a fan of my music can make whatever decision they want around coming to my show or not coming. So I neither yayed nor nayed him coming to the show. After my set, I said hello and he came around to say hi to my friends. Then my friends and I left to go out to dinner.

        I FELT IT that I didn’t invite him. I felt the “if we were real friends I might be asking you to join.” But he’s just a music acquaintance, right? It really gave me so much to process because I still can easily access the depth of guilt and stuck-up-ness I felt having not invited him. Like who the heck do I think I am, excluding someone who’s just “being nice”? It’s bizarre that all that desire not to hurt him came up even though intellectually I know he triangulates me with other women. I think that was a huge step, realizing that his emotions are not mine to manage, and that the level of exclusion and marginalization that I automatically guess he is feeling are about my own history and my father’s emotions (which I grew up trying to manage). I had to be “meh” about “hurting” my ex’s feelings.

        FWIW, ex has since not shown up at any of the open mics I’ve been at, for like two weeks. I also deeply felt his absence as “withdrawn support.” I think getting to meh for me involves really forgiving the little girl inside who was so lit up by his gaze, and is so captivated by the story of our push-and-pull, and always wants the next installation of “does he finally really care now?”

        This past week I’ve begun feeling the feelings of lightness and my own specialness that I’ve never been able to generate on my own. Like finally stopped trying to chase my Dad for love and to be the kibble source he poured into his own hole of trauma. It feels very uppity to think that I am a club that not everyone gets to join, but I guess that’s reality.

        I hope I’m not devastated if I see eventually him with a new girlfriend; I don’t expect that I will be, but if I have feelings I’ll deal with them. The slight jarring from the withdrawal of his attentions has helped me feel that the hills on this roller coaster are flattening out. I’m tired of this ride and look forward to getting off of it.

        I don’t know if that is helpful, but that long story is what came out of feeling that I too have been embarrassed at my lack of meh. Our inner children will always care about the person who feels like the only source of what they never had, until we figure out how to give the kid what they need.

        • Magnolia, so glad you are feeling more lightness and a sense of your own specialness recently. I know that will only continue and intensify! Yes, it is a cultural thing that women are supposed to relentlessly examine their own actions to make sure they are giving men the benefit of the doubt and interpreting all ambiguous actions in men’s favor. Refusing to do that is a hard fuck to the patriarchy. Blessings to you and much success with your heart! (I actually dictated that as “Much success with your art”, but the way it came out works also 😊)

    • I can relate to a degree , but my pseudo”meh” came a few months after she left and the lightbulb came on. I simply said to myself ” Who , in their right mind , would want to be around a lying deceitful , remorseless , narcissistic sociopath. ” I realized what I missed was what she was before her affair. When she changed into someone I didn’t know anymore the old her died.
      To this day , forty years later , I infrequently get choked up thinking back on it. But I survived , with the scar. My life since has been glorious. I was lucky enough to find REAL human being.Going on 39 years!

      • The “old her” was perhaps capable of being sweet and a seemingly good partner, but she obviously wasn’t there for you when it counted. That’s not love in my mind, and it’s certainly not integrity. Selfishness, cowardice and dishonesty allowed her to betray and abandon you. She was never life partner material. Congrats on the upcoming celebration of 40 free!

    • In my view it seems that you are describing the side effects of having to have contact with your abuser. You can’t get to meh with someone who has psychologically/physically/sexually abused you and that is not a personal failing it is a fact.

      There is a world of difference between being cheated on and being a victim of domestic violence/abuse (in which cheating also very often occurs). So don’t be hard on yourself that you are still experiencing this visceral reaction when you see your abuser. I could be wrong but your reactions are very normal in this situation.

      For me – as a victim of DV – I have these reactions when I see him but I am meh when I think of him. I don’t care what he’s doing or who with – I don’t give it a passing thought in the day to day. But if I accidentally see him I feel physically sick.

      Just practice self care and go easy on yourself xxx

  • For me – cutting the last of the Flying Monkeys has been very helpful. Even the one’s I’m related to.

    Meh is one thing. Peace is another…

    • I think I understand the distinction between Meh and Tuesday now. While I think I’m pretty darn close to Meh, I don’t know if I’ll ever reach Tuesday. Meh seems related to healing from heartbreak and trusting they suck; it’s grief over love lost.

      Tuesday is about a larger grief, psychological and emotional wounds, figuring out how to make sense of the past, and the very real and tangible consequences (financial stress, housing problems, future uncertainty, life transitions, loss of friends and community, loneliness, etc.). It takes a lot longer, especially for chumps who have to completely rebuild and will face significant hardships for years to come as a result.

      I think?

      • I had interpreted meh as feeling untriggered about the fw, whereas Tuesday would be more about having your own new life being mighty. Being on the “safe side”.

  • My ex married his affair partner a month ago and I couldn’t resist looking at the pictures online. I did, and when I saw the picture of their wedding rings resting on a book titled “Her Vows” I burst out laughing. In that moment I knew with complete certainty I just really didn’t care. Indifference feels so liberating.

  • Yesterday was the four year anniversary of DDay. This is the first year my mind forgot at first. (The body remembers!) As soon as I realized it, I just mentally put it in the garbage can and went on with my day, the focus being CARE of me, my daughter, our kitty and parrot, and our house, and our life. I did have a therapy session with him and Dr. Kickass Co-Parent, who once again fried him in the hot seat while I sat in my comfy chair with my tea, calmly listening. Doot da doo…..
    Four years ago at that very same time I was a mess crumpled on the floor of the living room. What a difference. I could not care less if I ever see him ever again.

    Where am I today? I don’t want to see him, hear about him, talk to him, think about him unless absolutely necessary because of child or business. I avoid seeing him, talking to him, and I don’t think about him unless it is child or business situation. I feel relief at his absence. I do not love him, miss him, or want to see him (unless it’s in a coffin).

    I haven’t been road-tested by actually seeing him with someone, so I can’t speak about that experience at this time, but it’s clear clear clear that the person I thought he was does not exist, and I when the rare thought of him with someone crosses my mind, I call him OJ in the mind movie to remind me who he is. Or the name of some other abusive violent predator.

    Progress is like watching grass growing. You can’t see it happening but one day you notice it has happened.

    • You have been a huge inspiration for me. I’m struggling with many of the things you’ve overcome. Today is my 1 year d-day anniversary and I’m definitely better than I was a year ago. It’s also the 26 year anniversary of my mom dying to the day when I was 17. There are so many amazing stories of triumph here and I appreciate them all!! I keep repeating something my mom would say, “When the going seems all up hill, just imagine the view from the top!” I’m looking forward to the view from the top. Thank you all!!

      • “When the going seems all up hill, just imagine the view from the top!”

        I love that! A sweet memory of wise words from your mom! I lost my dad when I was 19 and I truly believe I would not be in this situation if he was here. He would have NEVER let me date someone like XFW. But I’ll look forward to the view from the top!

    • VH,
      I think you do remarkably well for 4 years out. You always have wisdom..the kinds wisdom I was no where near having that soon. Good on you.

      Maybe I am a harbinger hope for those who were mired down by Delusional Hopium for years yet somehow managed to get out of it

  • Probably the biggest MEH moment for me was when I went to my daughter’s graduation from Vet school which he attended also and I felt nothing towards him. Also, he sat there and tried to tell me what to do and I thought F that, you didn’t even think she would make it to this point, but your here to take credit. She and I both know that she didn’t make it to this point because of you. Go back to your swamp.

  • I realized I was at meh when I forgot his birthday… our anniversar(ies) passed and I didn’t notice either. I’m not even sure of the dates anymore — I literally have to stop and think. Just so much real life going on, there’s no room to remember that useless crap anymore (happened about 4 years after DDay). Now I’m 6 years out.

    It also helped to get cameras on my house. FW stays in his car when he has to get our teen son… and I don’t stop to look or care except to say goodbye to son.

    Meh comes quietly like a little mouse. You won’t even notice at first — but when you do, you’ll smile

    • Yup. The not-remembering-until-being-reminded is huge.

      The first 2 years post-d-day, I was aware weeks in advance of the anniversaries of major dates: “X weeks until the 1-year anniversary of when she dropped the bomb,” “X days until the 1-year anniversary of confronting her and the Carrot Singer in the driveway,” etc.

      The 3rd year, some of those anniversaries didn’t register until days later.

      Now they’re just occasional blips.

      • UXworld,
        Your timing is similar to mine. Just this week was the third anniversary of my divorce hearing, which didn’t register to me until I had to write the date down on the day itself, and then I thought, “Huh. I got divorced three years ago today” and went about my day.

      • Yes, UX, true. I have forgotten the wedding anniversary for a couple of years now. This year an old friend recently divorced texted me about my anniversary with sad face emoji. It kinda brought me down. I finally noticed our friendship was all about her, tested this discovery and found it true, and we are no longer friends.

    • Under the guidance of my attorney, instructing the Douchecanoe to stay off my property was one of the best things I did. He picks up and drops off in the street, without defiling the sacred and peaceful space I’ve worked so hard to create for me and my family.

  • I know I am getting a little closer. FW sent me a Saturday night mindfuck email to let me know that her and her AP were engaged (almost exactly one year from when they started their affair), she has always loved and cared about me and wants the best for our young children moving forward. The kids had told me about their engagement a few weeks ago and I knew she knew that. It barely agitated me because I knew what a badly damaged person she is. I replied “ok, thanks for letting me know.”

    I am still absorbing a lot of pain and anger from my 7 year old son. Last night he hit me in the face and broke my glasses and said he wants to live with his mom “forever”. He will start his own personal theraputic journey next week. It has been hard especially when FW is shallow and madly in love with her soulmate and her new life. Thanks to CN for a safe space.

    • Sorry MontanaChump, being the sane parent is a tough job sometimes. I’ve been there, still am, it was rough with my 2 kids, especially my daughter who is the eldest. She was 8 when we first separated and expressed a lot of anger when with me through yelling and saying mean things. Counseling helped a lot for both of them and they are very kind, mature 12 and 8 yo now. It helped me getting at meh!

    • I remember a therapist saying the children will act out with the parent they feel enough to do so. On some level, it speaks to your relationship with your child but that is still a pretty tough scene to process. Be good to yourself and keep the long view in mind.

      I hope you have a good support system. Check back here often.

        • Yes I agree that he lets it out on me because I have been both my kids primary for most of their lives. It’s usually when he gets back from time with FW and AP’s house when he is really emotional. It is hard and at times I feel very helpless. Days like today I feel like a shell of a human and gutted by having to absorb so much pain and trauma cause by FW and her choice to have an affair.

          • Montana, I am so sorry to hear about your son and how you are feeling. The only positive thing I can think to say is that this happened when son is young, and you do not have to be with FW, unknowingly clumped, throughout the kid’s entire childhood. He gets to observe resilience, unconditional love, and strength in you. Hug.

        • Navigator
          This is all so true. I occasionally see my XH when I’m driving. We live and work near each other. He always waves to me and I act like I don’t see him

  • I’m not there yet, but I have stopped looking at my own friends, tastes, and preferences through the lens of what my ex would like. I spent 10 years thinking I was uncool and liked shitty things. Turns out, I have good taste!

    I’m amazed I put up with that shit for as long as I did.

    • Yes. Reading this, a sensation akin to nostalgia or déjà vu washed over me because it’s the same for me.

      Related, I think, to reclaiming myself: I no longer picture my ex in my future – ever, in any way. Even after I left, he was so much a part of my identity and my home, community and lifestyle that I could not even fathom my future without him. He was this blurry presence that I couldn’t shake or see beyond. It’s hard to articulate the shift, but it’s dramatic.Still no clue and little hope about the future, but at least that cloud has cleared!

  • I do really well at Meh considering I stayed locked in a Wreckonciliation Hell Prison for a REALLY long time.

    My challenge is that both Cheater and The Universe gave me Trickle Truth…

    He likely started Marital Cheating in about 1987, DDay was 2005. He moved away until 2007 then 2007-2012 was Wreckonciliation Hell

    I got big doses of Truth in 2013 & 2015

    ….yea, a LONG TIME and for too much of it, I ruminated.

    Good for me that the 2013 and 2015 Truth Bombs were huge. Any last lingering shreds of love and the pain that comes from it being twisted in my soul were gone.

    Sometimes I reflect that my entire life was ruined by this but it wasn’t…I would happiness in little pockets and moments. I grew contentment in my heart even when he did his best to throw me off balance.

    I dusted myself off, found love again and Im thriving.

    For me, my signpost is that (like childbirth pains) I literally cannot remember how bad it all hurt…the pain was actually too much for my brain to hold onto. I used to feel visceral pain in my body and that is all gone.

    I remember that he dropped a Discard Bomb in April of 2005 and DD1 was in July of that year but I no longer remember the days. That is a signpost.

    I also never cry over his any more…the tears I already shed were enough.

  • As someone still floundering with wreck-n-ciliation I appreciate all of the comments and wisdom in these posts.

    We are separated but I was with FW just this past weekend, celebrating my birthday but now we haven’t spoken in 4 days because he suspiciously neglected to mention the reason for our trip in any social media posts and also conveniently left out our pictures together. I’d overlooked the fact he didn’t comment on my bday since he took the family out to dinner and said it to me but this was too much. This was 100% image protection and I’m sure not wanting any Tinder or Facebook dating girls knowing he’s a fucking liar when they check out his profile.

    And maybe I’m wrong, maybe he’s as innocent as Mary’s little lamb (after catching him on Tinder multiple times and trying to swallow “she’s just a friend” about his 20yo coworker)…but that little voice is stronger now and saying “you KNOW he’s gaslighting you…you KNOW he is incapable of emotional maturity” – but right now it’s still so raw and painful.

    • I noticed I was not in any of the pictures or videos he posted on his FB page on my birthday the year I found out he was having affairs.

      Fuck that.

      A healthy relationship, which you deserve, is based on trust and safety. Without trust and safety, it is an ENTANGLEMENT. This is what I learned at my local domestic violence center. I agree. I definitely felt entangled with him rather than comfort and and ease, safe and secure. That’s why it was hard for me to leave…I had to disentangle like I was snared in a net or a trap or on a fishhook.

      Tinder = no trust, no safety.

      Gone.

      The whole point of being in a relationship is security. Trust. Safety.

      You deserve those things.

      My birthday wish for you is for you to believe you deserve trust and safety and security, To have trust, safety, security.

      Alone is better than in a bad relationship. Trust, safety, and security are things you can have when you are alone. I don’t believe you will ever them with him.

      ❤️

      PS….he left and moved in with his “sole mate”, the Craigslist Casual Encounters cockroach. Then our daughter caught him on Tinder while she was using his phone. The cockroach caught him going to the illicit massage parlors.

      They don’t change. They just find new targets to dupe.

      • Oh VH, that’s wonderfully and simply put: is there trust and safety? Do you feel safe?

        Also, for those of us having trouble leaving our entanglements (no judgment here! I never, ever would have left my H; I would have stayed with him until the end, so thank God he left me), know these words of VH:

        “Alone is better than in a bad relationship. Trust, safety, and security are things you can have when you are alone. I don’t believe you will ever them with him.”

        Alone is better. Alone is, actually, amazing. I never wanted to be alone before but my cheating FW made that choice for both of us and left (twice). I’ve been on my own now for nearly a decade and it’s been amazing. I feel safe. I feel free. I glory in my independence. It’s fantastic.

    • Oh H525,

      We get so used to trying to make sense that we develop Spackeling Superpowers of seeing hope and sense where there aren’t any.

      Your spouse being on a hook-up site is a giant FUCK YOU, your marriage and your gynecological health. The idea that you could even momentarily grant him the possible latitude that he might be as innocent is Spackle By The Gallon and Im so sorry.

      We CELEBRATE the birthdays of those we care about. My Cheater managed to send his OW a wonderful Birthday Letter and gift (the letter became the smoking gun) in a year when he acknowledged my 40th birthday with a bad lasagne at a pathetic restaurant that is now the office of a used car lot.

      What I realized much later is that he showed me in hundreds of ways that he did not want to be married to me and did not value me.

      People who value their marriages dont do what our Cheaters did/do. Their gaslighting warps our perceptions of normal…Im remarried and now that Im in a healthy relationship, the kind of stuff I came to expect from Cheater looks wildly fucked up to me.

      • Oh, yes, the birthday thing is very telling. On my 30th birthday, I was 8 and a half months pregnant with FW’s child. It was also Thanksgiving day, and we had spent Thanksgiving with his family, with me playing the role of the perfect nice girlfriend who was all focused on them. He never mentioned my birthday during the day (and his family didn’t know). That evening, he gave me an unwrapped music CD as a gift. When I quietly commented that it didn’t seem like much of a gift, he said that “birthdays are for children”, became enraged, and literally tore up the kitchen, tearing doors off the cabinets, smashing dishes, and tearing the bedroom door off its hinges. After he calmed down, I apologized to him. That’s how disordered our relationship was.

        Years later, after our breakup and while he and refusing to pay full child support, he took his new wife to an expensive hotel for her 40th birthday, saying that it was the least he could do for such an important occasion, expressing anger about me complaining about that in the context of his refusal to pay full child support.

        Yeah, they spend money and effort on the people they value.

    • Oh F625, I am so sorry. He is definitely not an innocent little lamb, more wolf in sheep’s clothing. All you need to know is your reaction to it. Does it feel good to be around him and celebrating your birthday together? The fact you’re writing to CN about says it all. You need no contact ASAP. He is devaluing and gaslighting you and it is causing damage. Get out of the RIC, it is only causing you pain and helping him with image management and avoiding consequences. Good luck and Godspeed ((hugs))

    • Thank you all for your kind responses.

      I know I’m a long, hard road away from meh. I’m starting therapy with a new psychologist next week and hoping to work down and figure out what keeps me so stuck to a person who’s done everything to show me he wants out of this relationship, but I keep allowing him to keep convincing me with his WORDS that there is hope. I want to know why I’m willing to settle for so little when I know I’m worth so much more. How do I really put myself first? Deal with my childhood abandonment trauma.

      VH – I don’t trust him. I don’t feel safe with him…but unfortunately I haven’t learned to feel safe with myself yet. I’ve been with him since I was 15 and moved in with him at 17…I’ve never been alone.

      Unicorn – This is more than spackel – this is a couple cement trucks 🙁

      Even IF he hasn’t ever physically cheated on my as he claims, he is disordered and I don’t think I can ever trust him again.

      FTS – moments on the trip felt good / almost normal …and of course the hysterical bonding was great. But there were red flags too:
      – even after I asked for it to be “just us” got mad and insisted his sister go (he’d invited a handful of people even after I said I was uncomfortable with other people being around – she was the only one to accept)
      – slept / ignored me when he wasn’t driving
      – insisted on doing something while hiking he knew is a phobia for me – I asked him to please not do it and he did it anyway
      I hear you and know it would be best but easier said than done. I can’t completely go NC – we have a 16yo and technically I can’t keep him out of the house – and yes, I’ve consulted multiple lawyers.

      I also have to stop caring 🙁

      • I ignored and spackled the obvious signs he didn’t want to be married to me until one day he left and didn’t come back. It was Mother’s Day. I was panicked, I looked at my son, who was 16 at the time and he already knew his father wasn’t coming home.
        During the last years of our marriage I made excuses for his behavior and held onto any shred of what I considered love, or he cared, for example, I asked cheater if he loved me, he hastily answered, I’m here aren’t I? I considered that an acceptable response.
        I spackled his looks of disdain, his ignoring me when I talked, his snide remarks until he abandoned me.

        Please be prepared and have a plan if he does walk away or when you decide you’ve had enough and deserve better.

        • “I’m here aren’t I”…I’ve heard this multiple times since he actually leased his apartment back in August.

          Truthfully, I think we’re both showing distain for one another. Fear of loneliness/abandonment is still outweighing peace and sanity.

          The only way to salvage this would be for me to promise to forget everything, never question any of his behavior, never bring any of the last year back up, and beg HIS forgiveness for wanting a more respectful and loving relationship.

          I did it once in 2007. I don’t need to do it again. I just need to find the balls to stay NC and/or say it’s over (for real).

          • “The only way to salvage this would be for me to promise to forget everything, never question any of his behavior, never bring any of the last year back up, and beg HIS forgiveness for wanting a more respectful and loving relationship.”

            So if you did all this, do you think he would stop cheating? Stop devaluing you? Start communicating respectfully? Start expressing genuine love and affection? Make you feel safe? What would you be salvaging?

            All you can do is leave an abusive relationship. You can’t make it better. It’s a black hole.

            • “The only way to salvage this would be for me to promise to forget everything, never question any of his behavior, never bring any of the last year back up, and beg HIS forgiveness for wanting a more respectful and loving relationship.”

              That’s EXACTLY what my FW H wanted from me during our reconciliation. I would have done anything to keep him, so I tried… I really tried.

              It still didn’t stop him from packing his suitcase and leaving once he was convinced he found greener pastures.

              Start working on your plans for being on your own for awhile. Being independent scary at first (terrifying, actually) but it is so, so, so, so much better than living with a cheater.

              I never used to want to be alone; I had been with the same partner since we were 17. I didn’t want to be alone! I didn’t want to be a single mom!

              Then my hand was forced. And, it turns out, I’m awesome at being alone. I’m awesome at being a single mom.

              Your FW is a cancer on your life. You have to get away so you can really and truly start living.

              • It’s a dehumanizing dynamic, and the cognitive dissonance becomes too great a burden to manage. Talk about reverse victim/offender. During reconciliation, when I expected I would be treated with gentle kindness and great respect, I was instead bullied (coerced) into being a victim without feelings, needs or rights. It was nauseating, and I’ve never felt more helpless or ashamed of myself.

                It’s a good thing I was simultaneously focusing on values and reciprocity and learning more about boundaries (also helped that more and more of the truth was coming out every day). It all came to a head because I was seeing patterns and standing up for myself more than ever *and* accepting worse abuse than ever. Classic escalation. It wasn’t until the very end that I began to learn about abuse and disorders, and to connect this to the cycle I was trapped in. The entire premise of giving up on love and respect in order to win love and respect is flawed.

      • You’ve been alone the whole time. You just didn’t know it.

        We’re hooked until we unhook. You don’t need to know why before getting unhooked, but you may need help getting unhooked like I did.

        ❤️

      • Hysteria625, it’s time to care more about yourself. It’s not easy to accept the painful reality of what is and not what we want it to be.
        Make yourself a priority.
        Ask yourself if his behavior is acceptable to you? Don’t be like me and waste time spackling, pick me dancing and hanging onto any small kibble he tossed my way.

        His behavior was an abusive. I was programmed into believing the abuse was normal and to accept that this was just the way he is.
        .
        Changing your mindset to caring about yourself takes work but you can do it.
        Remember you can always come to Chump Nation for support.
        Take good care of yourself.

  • So many, it’s hard to choose…Picking a superstar divorce lawyer who was like a big brother to me? Realizing that his cringy emails didn’t both me anymore? Seeing our kids become lovely adults despite his insistence that I was a disaster as a parent and had single-handedly destroyed them?

    I think for me it was when I bought a house that reflected my priorities and taste. I had been poking around and had a particular model in mind in a neighborhood. When one came up, I had to decide that day because of how the market has been. Just a few minor cosmetic issues that I got handled before we moved, and it’s perfect.

    After I signed the offer, I remember thinking about all the things that my ex wouldn’t like about it.

    Nope, it’s mine.

    • My attorney helped so much. She was like my best girlfriend or big sister who gives it to you straight. We are really close in age and would just laugh over the crazy shit my husband would have his lawyer throw at me. My stbx actually killed himself before we got to trial, and my lawyer was almost angry that he cheater her out of being able to take me out for a celebratory drink at the end of the divorce (it doesn’t feel quite right to “celebrate” someone’s death).

      • Yes, I didn’t have a big brother in real life, but that’s how my attorney would talk to me. He was the founder/managing partner of a firm focused on high conflict divorce and had a certain kind of case he liked, particularly those in a rough spot with a disordered spouse. He’d say, “Beyond the law, if you were my sister, I’d recommend…” He was the youngest in a large, happy family (his dad was also an attorney and then a judge) and celebrated his 40th anniversary during my divorce. His example helped me see that there are indeed happy, family-oriented people in the world that care about others.

        I’m sorry about your STBX. That is rough in its own way even if it cut off some of the drama.

  • Also, no offense to our beloved Chump Lady here, but another sign I was getting better was not being connected here every day on the blog like I was on life support.
    This IS life support and I WAS connected here because it is life support!

    I felt like I was drowning in the middle of a stormy sea and when I thankfully found this site it literally felt like a life preserver which I clung to all day long. Now it feels like I am on a cruise ship and I can swim around without the life preserver. I take shifts getting into the rescue vessel to go out on rescue missions to help newer chumps. I like coming here for booster shots and helping others, but I no longer feel like a desperate drowning person gulping salt water and grasping at anything to stay afloat.

    • I initially felt like I had jumped (been pushed?) off a ship and was treading water, waiting for him to tell the captain to turn around. When that didn’t happen, I was in survival mode aiming for shore.

      Just yesterday it occurred to me that I actually arrived at (created) a safe world and he was adrift.

      I’m fours years past Dday#1, three years past Dday#2, two years past moving out and almost a year past final divorce from 30 year marriage.

      I still cry several times a week. But only briefly. My “meh” moments are far more numerous.

  • When I saw her at my kids orchestra concert and I felt nothing for her. She was like any other parent there. Although that made me a little sad. Funny thing, my son had two concerts the last two weeks, I just waved at her and said hi. Didn’t bother me one bit.

  • I was mostly there around two years after the divorce was final. But it wasn’t complete. I think I hit total Meh after my youngest child graduated from high school. That’s when I felt okay blocking him on email. Occasionally I wonder if his current wife will get out from his abuse. Sometimes I think about his parents. His mother was a bitch, but his dad was not awful. They would both be in their late 80s now assuming they are still alive. If they have died no one has told our kids.

  • I’m having trouble with meh because of the ongoing trauma via the court system I am still going through. I am al low contact as I legally can get, but since we have joint decision making, I cannot completely block him. I am truly counting down the days until kiddo turns 19.

    • This is what kept me tied for too long too. I’m sorry. “Co-parenting” with a FW is just more abuse to the Chump. My son is now 15 and although he technically still has to spend a lot of time with FW… FW disengaged once I got the attorneys to agree that teen son should have a say when things would (always) get out of hand during custodial time with dad.

      Just know that this will finally end. It’s finite. You will be free and at meh. The whole court system for chumps is a mind fuck and frustrating. I feel you. Hang in there

    • Meh is tough to fully reach when you’re torment by another is ongoing because of shared children. But even though we may not be able to reach full meh, I found myself in “emotional meh” with my ex, in that I truly stopped caring about his actions and feelings other than how they affected our child. This version of meh came for me when I found myself hoping he stuck it out for a few years with his current [very young] girlfriend because she was good to my kid and seemed to bring him some stability, which is also good for my kid. Just, like, a practical consideration for my daughter.

      But yea, when my daughter graduates high school, it will be a relief to not have to ever again communicate with him. It will be separate stuff all the way. He can take her to a graduation lunch and I’ll make her to a graduation dinner party! She can have twice the special moments throughout her life. I’m even prepared to one day encourage my daughter to have two wedding ceremonies, if she’s ever to get married, for each side of her family. The way I see it, “modern” families need modern accommodations!

    • I had a moment of “Coparenting Meh” that really surprised me (especially since I wasn’t coparenting).

      My Cheater is dead, so I still have shit (admittedly less shit) and a different flavor of shit than most.

      In the immediate aftermath of DDay, I was convinced (with every molecule in the primordial ooze of every cell of my body) that the worst thing would be if he left with OW.

      At my daughters graduation, I sat with my new husband, my drunk mother and my father (who seemed confused but the number of brown people at a college graduation).

      I suddenly realized that I actually WISHED that Cheater and Susan of Seattle were sitting about 20 feet away…hunkered down whispering stupid schmoopie shit at each other and cheering for DD who was the first woman in either of our families to get a Bachelors Degree.

      (If all that had come to be, they would actually have been the “old” couple with me and my new husband being newer and prob whispering lovey-dovey at each other).

      I do not want to stoke the fire of “you are lucky he is dead”…that chorus gets tiresome when it cycles around…lets not go there.

      What I want to focus on is that what I felt SO strongly about at one point of my journey actually totally changed in a direction and intensity that I would have never, ever expected. There is no way in 2005 that I would have EVER BELIEVED I would later felt what I felt.

      What I hope to show here is that the very real pain you feel now (and fear you will have forever) may resolve in ways that you cant even imagine right now. My 2005 self wouldn’t even believe the life I have now.

  • Anger. It’s what got my brother moving. This sweet, quiet man roared at life, got full custody and never forgave her. Not about him but their young children. He hated her for that. He dated lots of women but told them he was not ready for more than that. When he met his second wife he was ready. He died too soon. The people who mourn you keep your memory alive. His kids tell me all the time that he was a perfect father and they honor him by being good parents. He found happiness and meh long enough to give them a good start in life.

    • Yes, anger is an important signpost.

      At first, I shifted back and forth pretty much equally between anger and longing for “what we used to have” (which I now know wasn’t genuine on his part). Once the anger was predominant, and I longed a lot less, I was able to see more clearly. I felt less overwhelmed. I was more determined to fight for my best interests as the separation/divorce process dragged on.

      After the divorce, I felt less need for the anger – I did find it useful and energizing during the negotiations, but once that was all over the anger no longer served a purpose. At that point I reminded myself (like Elsa in Frozen) to “Let it go!” I can’t say it’s entirely gone, as an occasional memory will get me angry. But it’s to a much lower degree and at a much lower frequency.

  • I sleep through the night now — something I don’t believe I’d done for well over a decade during my marriage. You have NO IDEA what a luxury a single deep night’s sleep is, when you’ve gone without it for so long you’ve forgotten what it’s like.

    I had my adult daughter visiting for a week, and something came up with FW’s spending and we both noticed the same thing: I didn’t care. Not “I suppressed my rage” but just … no reaction.

    He’d run our joint finances into the ground and stolen everything he could get his hands on when we were married, but I was awarded half the shared 401k’s and other retirement funds … so he really can’t run up debt in my name any more. And suddenly I stopped caring what he exhausted his credit on, because none of it could touch me.

  • I guess it was a bit different for me because I hated his guts way before the cheating because of his violence and the fact that he wouldn’t give me the divorce I begged for. When I finally filed because he’d moved in with his skank I was still on tenterhooks because he’d keep moving back in every second weekend when he and the skank had yet another playground spat. (He could move in because “it’s still my house”)! So there was relief when the divorce finally went through and I bought him out of the house. That being said, he still lived only 30 minutes away and his hangout was our local town so I STILL had that knot in my stomach about seeing him in town or – god forbid – him showing up at my house “‘cos we’re all still buddies”! So the REAL relief was when he eventually slithered back to the States with his latest paramour. I have nothing against her as she wasn’t involved in my marriage but she’s also a piece of work from what I’ve seen! Still, not my monkeys ….. But I finally lost that gnawing, worried feeling in the pit of my stomach when I no longer had to deal with him, his presence or his self-incurred crises – and it was wonderful! I still had the seething anger and hatred for what he’d done to me and robbed me of for quite a few years, until one day I realized that I was poisoning myself with all the hatred and I just let it go. Now? I don’t hate him and I don’t like him. I just “nothing” him. Or maybe more honestly I kinda feel sorry for him ‘cos he’s an insignificant, inadequate dick and he has to live with that!

    • Yes. Hate takes too much energy and their aren’t worth the commitment of that energy.

      I describe my feelings towards Cheater as “chronic low-level disdain”.

  • A couple weeks ago, I thought I would calculate how much longer I would have to pay spousal support (1/2 of the duration of the marriage). Then I realized that I had actually forgotten the year we were married. I actually had to look it up in my separation agreement. That made me extremely happy. Now that I think of it, I can’t confidently say what my ex’s birthday was or the day of the month I was married either (maybe within three days, but I couldn’t put money on it). I find this funny because I never forgot a birthday or anniversary (although she did a number of times). And now I can open a text from my ex without the anxiety I used to have.

  • Love fun Fridays like this because it reminds us all that MEH really is out here and it comes on a Tuesday when you least expect it.

    I found CL and CN in 2014… divorced my fuckwit in 2016… and Meh arrived, for me, sometime around 2017… it came when I realized being “grey rock” with Mr. Sparkles was natural to me… I truly no longer had a moment where I needed to tell myself to not respond, or calm my emotions down… “Ok. Yes. or Nope.” became my response because in my situation it was often the best answer (“I can’t pick up our son tonight because I have to take care of an emergency (#hooker)… OK”… “I’m introducing our son to the OW, do you want to meet her first?… Nope… (and then… I’m introducing our son to my GF, do you want to meet her first?… Nope)… “I won’t be at our son’s track meet/event because my GF needs something done (#hooker)… OK.”

    I still co-parent as my guy is 16… but less and less (oh, and my son’s world imploded when he was in 3rd grade)… I followed CL’s and CN’s advice… got a good lawyer, put my energy in to being the sane parent and building a safe and loving home, and kept coming back here for sanity. You can do it too.

    One day, being minus your fuckwit will be as natural as breathing. Promise.

  • I’m a few months from Dday. Getting to meh will be the byproduct of focusing on what I need. There is very little extra energy to share worrying about Mr. Olympus Dingleberry. I’m exhausted most days. Sacrifices to be free will be necessary: my lovely bungalow and garden full of maturing Japanese maples that helped sustain me during a marriage full of deception, and thinking there was something seriously wrong with me for not feeling the intimacy that was missing. My in-laws even said “ wow, and all this time we thought YOU were the crazy one”. There are days when I feel shell shocked, like a war veteran, immobilized with indecision and angst. Letting go is not a one and done event. I’m having to focus on the goal and recommit to myself, my healing, my growth, over and over. All my choices, intentions, long term plans include me alone. I’m not used to that yet. It feels weird and overwhelming and tiring. Hearing the successes of Chump Nation give me much needed hope.

    • Carolina,
      I gave up my lovely garden and my house on the street where I raised my kids with the neighbors of many years. It was the price of freedom….

      Now, 4 years out I have a new home – and I’ve created a new lovely garden and it’s all mine. My new neighbors are awesome. And my old neighbors are still some of my closest friends.

      The process was exhausting…. one step at a time. But life is good on the other side!
      Best wishes!

  • Here’s one measure of “meh”: I no longer think of him as an individual, a person, only in his social role. I don’t say his name, I say “my ex-husband” or “my now-ex.” When he comes up in conversation with my son (rarely), I say “your father” instead of “Dad” the way I used to (as in “What does Dad think of that?”), which dissociates him from me. I refer to him now in his institutional role, and prefer to think of him this way, rather than as an individual.

    I think I do this because once I knew that he had been living a secret life for years, keeping his sexuality a secret from me for the entirety of our marriage, that he had, essentially been faking a self and living a lie (and telling lies, too: he once admitted to me that a story he told me of intervening in a racist act, a story that convinced me he was a man with sound values, was a total lie), I realized I didn’t know the first thing about him as a person. For almost forty years I had had no clue of who he was, although I thought I did, and when he did finally reveal himself to me, I was horrified by what he revealed. What he wanted was to become and to act out, for his own sexual pleasure, the most misogynistic, masochistic stereotype of woman you can imagine.

    In my pick me dance phase, I helped him do this, the trauma of which is still with me. If I see him, or even see his name written, I am bombarded by the horrific images from that time. I agree with what Velvet Hammer wrote, above: “I don’t think Meh is necessarily feeling nothing when I am in the presence of those who perpetrated violence against me.” Reducing him to an institutional role and erasing any concrete details that might trigger that trauma keeps me solidly at “meh.”

  • I totally get this. Early on, I had to stop calling my ex by name. Merely hearing her name would trigger an anxiety attack. So it’s usually “my ex” or “(one of my kids’) mother.” She doesn’t really exist in my own reality anymore.

    • I agree. I alway always refer to my XH as my
      Ex-husband. I never never never say his name in any circumstances. Luckily it doesn’t come up very often.

      • My divorce & recovery program encouraged us to use their names, not “my” anything. It gives less significance than “my plumber, my doctor, my brother, my grocery store”. I say Dad only when talking about a pleasant experience with the adult children otherwise it’s just Sean. This helps me feel more detached. Interesting perspective to me.

        • I almost always say ‘the ex’. ‘My ex’ feels wrong because I do not want to be associated with him. I occasionally use his name. As time goes by I expect I will cease to need to call him anything! During the discard and divorce he did not use my name. It was interesting to observe and hurtful with hindsight (my father had just died so I was generally in a state of shock).

  • It really does take some time…

    I moved out 3 years ago and I don’t think I arrived in the State of “Meh” until a few months ago.

    A friend sent me a pic of my ex with his Schmoopie when she bumped into them at a baseball game. They had been together for about a year and a half at that point (he recently broke up with her because she was “getting too fat”).

    I looked at the pic-and realized I didn’t really care. I wasn’t upset or angry-I felt nothing. And that felt AMAZING.

    And one of the NUMEROUS benefits of reaching “Meh”-he doesn’t even try to engage with me directly anymore. He tells our kids things that he knows will get back to me, like, “Your mom really fucked me over in the divorce” and “I’m dating 24 women at once from ‘Plenty of Fish’!” I don’t bite. I don’t engage with him.

    “Meh” feels like taking that fork in the road where you finally choose your own path and enjoy the ride-because you’re in the driver’s seat.

  • I should add that I don’t approve or like that he tells our kids what he does (they are 19, 19 and 17).

    I let them know I hear them-and that I’m there for them.

  • My first camping trip with just my daughter! While we were married, I had often expressed an interest in doing more camping (I had camped a bit as a teen and always loved it). Ex always had other plans he preferred, unless we joined HIS extended family camping… which only happened once. However, our daughter did so well, I was excited about planning other trips to any number of beautiful national parks in our state. Ex brushed me off with, “No I want go back to the same spot, I like being able to jet ski on the empty lake.” I was so disheartened, that the opportunity to create memories in new places doing new things with our little family had so little appeal to him.

    My ex was pretty brutal during the discard phase, so I really wasn’t sad about losing him by the time he asked for a divorce. I did spend a lot of time mourning the marriage I thought we had, and the future I wanted for our daughter.

    Anyways, back to that first camping trip… daughter & I had so much fun, and it was so beautiful and peaceful, I realized that I was never going to have the marriage I wanted with the ex, and at least now I had the chance to create the memories I wanted to with my daughter.

  • For those going through the painful times, please know that the pain is finite. The seemingly interminable days of feelings kicked in the gut will eventually stop. And at some point you’ll experience your first short stretch of time feeling indifferent, which is foreign at first because it seems like you’ve only known pain for such a long time.

    It’s been my experience that the periods of indifference happen in waves, and each new wave of indifference is longer than the last one. The current one I’m experiencing has been going on for months. I’m probably at “Meh”, but who knows? I may experience a nostalgic twinge around the holidays, or maybe I won’t.

    I’ve learned to be forgiving of myself for those times when certain feelings bubble up. It’s natural. I understand I experience those feelings because I’m real and I have a good heart. And I’ve also learned to quickly remind myself that I was married to a hologram. I thoroughly mourned the loss of the hologram.

    The best way to describe what I feel when I see my ex FW now is it’s kind of like seeing the walking dead or a ghost. She’s an empty entity who walks and talks, but the person I knew simply isn’t there. I also experience a serene calm, and even a sense of pity, knowing that she can’t hurt me and that I exist in a better realm/place than she’ll ever know. If that’s “Meh”, then I’ll take it.

    • Thank you for this. So well put and so comforting to think that meh is coming. I also think of my ex as a stranger walking around wearing his skin. The man I thought I was married to is dead & gone in every sense. I have no idea when he left and this stranger showed up because of all the lies, but I’m sure he’s gone now. Sometimes that makes seeing him less painful.
      I’ve never seen his schmoopie IRL and don’t even look her up on socials any more to protect myself. She lives in the states and we’re in Aus. There’s was an online and travel for work debacle of at least 3 years.
      But this year he says she’s coming for a long visit and I’m dreading it, knowing I’m not close to Tuesday or meh.
      Just seeing a pic of her makes me nauseated.
      Considering some sort of exposure therapy to be able to withstand her visit of several weeks and my kids over there every other week.

      • I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing all of this. The sad truth is that our cheating spouses were always that way. They were just really good at hiding their real character from us. They’re also extremely good manipulators who weaponize our love, trust, loyalty and devotion. It is us who unknowingly created our own false perceptions of them. That’s how the hologram gets created.

        Because we’re authentic human beings we experience something like a period of mourning the death of the spouse we thought we knew. That’s the painful part. But it does pass. Then there’s also the anger as we gradually realize all of the lies and manipulations we unknowingly lived through.

        There’s a lot that we chumps must endure. But the good news is that after processing through the mourning, anger and associated cognitive dissonance, we end up in a very peaceful state of being. I can say without a doubt that I am a much calmer person.

        Whenever I encounter dysfunctional people I know there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s kind of like encountering a snake in your path. It’s best to give them a wide berth and go about your business. There’s no lessons they can learn. They’ll always be snakes. Just know that toxic people exist and that you occasionally have to steer clear. “DNE” is what I preach to my kids when we encounter a crazy person. “Do Not Engage”. That’s the way to live a fw-free life.

        I wish all fellow chumps godspeed in their journey getting past the pain to a state of Meh.

  • Dday to divorce final was quick for me. I channeled some inner badass in those early days although I was a gooey mess. Then I spent the next year hoping the karma bus would find him and combing 25 years of dating and marriage memories looking for missed red flags. All the while, I was putting one foot in front of the other and building my own life. Maybe “fake it ’til you make it”?

    Eventually, sightings of meh would happen when I took stock of my current life. It doesn’t matter what he’s up to. I cannot change the past. The kids and I are thriving. Sometimes that’s hard to see when dealing with the day to day. Occassionally taking a wide angle lens to life and acknowledging the hard work and the payoff helps my perspective.

  • Cheater and AP had a “song.” When I used to hear it, it made me sick to my stomach. (It’s by one of my favorite singers, Sia)
    Now, I sing along to it. It doesn’t phase me at all.

  • When I took our framed wedding portrait off the wall and rammed my foot through it. Scared the pets half to death, but it felt SO good!

  • When I could look at pictures of him and schmoopie and not get angry or cry.

    When his insults and attempts to bait me into arguments no longer affected me.

    When I stopped considering what he would think of what I was doing or wearing.

    When I could talk to my son about going to “daddy’s house” without flinching.

    When I threw away some of the clothes he liked and other sentimental things.

    When I could laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

    When I was so busy with my own life and interests and friends that I didn’t feel the temptation to check his social media.

    When imagining a future without him sounded so much more appealing than a reconciliation.

    When I stopped feeling like I needed to watch a million YouTube videos about narcissism, cheating, and abuse.

    When I was able to look in the mirror and see myself as a sexy, beautiful woman again. (He regularly called me fat, ugly, a crone, undesirable, and many other awful things until I believed him.)

    When the songs on my playlist went from “why don’t you love me? I wish I could get you back. What did I do wrong?” songs to “I’m a badass awesome woman with a bright future” (there was a “fuck you I hate you I hope you burn” period in between those two, which is necessary but NOT meh). I even changed the name of my playlist from “If Only” to “You Got This”.

    • I actually realized I did kind of get the Better Version of him.

      With me, he was pretending to be Mr. Nice Guy. I actually believed he was a nice guy who loved me and our marriage and family and would never cheat in a million years.

      The women he was f**king behind my back knew he was a lying liar and a cheating traitorous two-faced duplicitous untrustworthy backstabbing snake. Yet they believed what he said and CHOSE to get involved with him knowing he what a two-timing jerk he was.

      Cheaters don’t change their insides. They change their outsides…it’s easier (like painting over dry rot is easier)

      I thought he was bedrock. He is dry rot. I don’t want dry rot for a partner. I want bedrock.

  • When I started to feel pity for him.

    He’s alone. His one grown child is busy with her family and is much closer to her in laws. He’s 66, can’t deal with aging so he wears a shitty black toupee that everyone makes fun of, and he can’t get it up.

    He’s obsessed with his phony nice guy image, but is secretly resentful because he feels powerless since he’s too much of a coward to deal with things that bother him. Instead he looks for passive aggressive douchbag ways to get his digs in so he doesn’t have to be uncomfortable by owning anything.

    One example: he would drive aggressively, purposely not let people get over, then when they’d cut in front of him he’d lay on the horn. But when they’d pull up and look at him he’d look straight ahead because baby couldn’t deal with actual confrontation.

    His whore was on her 5th marriage and even if she’s divorced he can’t bring her around because she’s ttash and what would his church and so called friends think?

    He’s miserable but paints a phony smile on his face. It’s such a sad way to live and I care so little about him that the general though of any person living like that makes me sad.

    • Pity as a sign of Meh has also worked for me with other tormentors in my life.
      I have a mom and sis in law (and a few others) who both tormented me for decades and are now so pitiable that I dont have to spend any more time thinking about how dreadful they were to me.

  • Ex got married in a “whirlwind romance” to the girl he had been dating for a couple months (as far as I am aware), and with whom he cheated on his last girlfriend (and likely used COVID as some tall tale about them living together but no longer being together…she doesn’t seem in on the actual timeline). Got a big laugh from me, but honestly mostly meh. “Your dad got married? OK.” Like I mentioned the other day, he was just so dedicated to that “alone” time to try to get himself together (i.e. kept those girlfriends lined up). I know what marriage really means to him, so what’s another? Good news is that he seems to aim upward from the weasel he really is, so at least my daughter can benefit from having a seemingly decent female parental figure while at their house.

  • I’m not there yet, but the signposts say I will be.
    Memories that would have had me in tears a year ago are now just bothersome and I mentally shoo them away. Eventually I suppose I won’t think of them at all.

    I do believe severe emotional trauma is not a thing you ever really get over, but you do learn to cope to the point where you can acknowledge it’s there, in the background, but know that it doesn’t have to rule your life or affect your behavior. In the early days, it’s all you can think about and you have no control over your thoughts. So to any new chumps out there- please know that incredibly painful phase will end.

    • Agreed. I see meh as different than emotional trauma. Like, I care not what my ex does (aside from how it affects my daughter), but my life is filled with emotional trauma triggers and land mines that are linked to the way he treated me. Maybe it always will be.

      • I agree with you NotANiceChump. I divorced ex within a few months of discovering affair (he had left the home 2 months earlier during which time I pick me danced without knowing I was pick me dancing). I have been no contact since the discovery, save to sort out financial aspects. That and therapy and a wonderful WhatsApp group of women in the same boat have saved and rebuilt/reinvented my life. No kids and my FOO is beyond disordered. Most of this has been done while I’ve been physically alone in multiple lockdowns in the UK. I’m proud of my resilience, my capacity to learn, my zest for life.

        The ex blamed me entirely for the marital breakdown. He threw many cruel and heartless observations on my personality and character at me during the discard. I was in shock, I now recognise, and could not fight back. I froze. One observation was that I ‘make people feel very, very uncomfortable’. That comment played into my deepest insecurities about my physical appearance and my personality. I am a shy person who has worked hard to not let that shyness rule my life. With hindsight and therapy, the projection from him in that comment is easy to spot! And I’m sure that I can make some people feel uncomfortable. Some people prompt uncomfortable feelings in me too, not least the ex.

        The word ‘uncomfortable’ still brings out physical sensations in me. Even now, typing the word, I feel nauseous, tightness in the chest, prickling on the skin. Two years plus later. I have concluded that for me my job is to learn slowly to live with these unpleasant sensations. To be aware that they are present, what caused them in that moment, and to recognise them as the aches from old scars. The feelings will always be there, and meh does not exist for me. But meh does not have to be my goal. I loved the man with all my heart. He is part of my fabric. Meh for me would mean discounting the scars left behind. As I sit in bed with my cup of tea with a wonderful quiet Remembrance Sunday ahead, puppy curled up asleep at my side, that’s meh enough.

        • Alternate viewpoint: making people uncomfortable isn’t always a bad thing. I like to say that I’m not for everyone. Being a people pleaser and always fitting-in is overrated. The key is to find that tribe where you do fit in and can thrive. The rest of it is noise. As a women with educated opinions and the gravitas to speak them, as well as being large in size and stature, I’m quite certain I make people uncomfortable. That used to bother me once upon a time, in no small part because my cheater ex was hyper critical of it. But now I see it as a strength. I can shift the dynamic of a room with my mere presence. I hold mirrors up in front of people’s faces and often force them to deal with themselves. It’s a super power actually, and once I learned to appreciate it and use it appropriately, my life exploded (in a good way). So, best of luck to you in turning that insecurity into a superpower. Imagine where your life could go if what you have been hard trained to believe is a weakness is actually your shining light of power.

      • NANC & MW,

        Each persons experience is different but Im actually shocked that I genuinely got to a place where the actual pain is nearly gone and what is left is more chronic annoyance. My Cheater was an ass-bastard in how he treated me and like MW, I had physical reactions to triggers to words also (like to the word “connection”) but those are gone.

        I hope for true, contented pain-free Meh for you…it is within the realm of possibility

  • I have finally arrived at that “what was I doing with that clown” peace of mind. I moved back to my birth county, now live in rural Northumberland, the most northerly county in England, where I joined a Women’s Workshop (WW). I moved north in 2018 partly to get away from the ex but still embarked on wreckonciliations, long distance, because I just could not, for the life of me, break the addiction, the trauma bonding, grasp and believe the truth of cognitive dissonance which was ever present and the general mind fucking. It kept me, and I allowed it to keep me, ill for a very long time. Suicidal at times. Addiction to a person is so real.

    I moved 350 miles to a place where I knew no one, no friends or family. It has been a long, lonely and dreadfully painful road. However, the WW has been a life saver, plus an excellent therapist, 12 step Emotions Anonymous and Codependents Anonymous, Chump Nation, Lady and LACGAL, many other self help books, hours and hours of guided meditation and a lot of courage on my part. I know that I am finally at Meh because I live knowing that I am safe, free from drama and turmoil, and from abuse. My tummy feels settled. My eye sight is clear. No fog.

    In the last few months we’ve been running a drama group, a series of workshops exploring women’s lives, cycles, relationships. It finally came together last week in a performance, which we’re also going to repeat on 29 Nov at the conclusion of #16 days of action to end Violence against Women and Girls. We jointly developed the script, cried and laughed and planned and penned. The 3 women remaining in the workshop, (several dropped out due to personal circumstances, but their contribution was oh so included), each wrote a monologue based on our experience, read at the end of the play. I thought I’d share mine with chump nation because this was my moment of reaching the land of Meh. The title of the whole piece is Savage Daughters.

    He said I get more pleasure working on my classic car than I do having sex with you.
    Savage daughter says go fuck your exhaust pipe.

    He said I wish you’d still dye your hair. Even blond would be be better that grey, though you do know my preference for brunettes.
    Savage daughter says I celebrate and am proud of my long witchy grey hair. I choose not to conform to societal expectations of the preservation and grasping of youth.

    He said I wish you were more demure.
    Savage daughter snorts. She says I embrace my powerful, wild, untethered woman.

    He said I want you to have a gastric band. He said I bet you had nice pert breasts when you were younger. He said I’ll marry you when you’re a size 8 (UK). He said I want to see your ribs.
    Savage daughter says I embrace the DNA passed on to me by my dearly loved, departed, wise savage mother. Her body was, and my body is, beautiful.

    He said I’ve had beautiful bodies, now I want a beautiful mind.
    Savage daughter says I relish my fierce intellect and I accept, without self recrimination, my many and varied stages of womanhood.

    He said I love to watch a new, pretty prostitutes face go down on me.
    Savage daughter contemplates….

    She breathes deep into her spirit…. Waiting…

    Waiting for the rage of millennia of women, oppressed by the patriarchy, to well up, to feel the ancestral subjugation.

    And to know that savage daughter will take no more.

    I am that savage daughter.

  • I think 2 years ago when I totally forgot what would have been my wedding anniversary. I was reminded of it by a friend a few months later when our conversation turned to a discussion about a couple of mutual friends that were getting a divorce and she happened to ask me how long I had been married. (Married 21 and now divorced 5-1/2.).

  • “When I was able to look in the mirror and see myself as a sexy, beautiful woman again. (He regularly called me fat, ugly, a crone, undesirable, and many other awful things until I believed him.)”

    Old story but ….Cheater was so mean, while we were married, he told me his goal was to get rich and get a “Trophy Wife”. I was treated like yesterdays trash.

    While on a date with new husband, one of his coworkers referred to me as “Trophy level” then realized his comment was objectifying and he half apologized/half inquired if I considered his comment offensive.

    I responded with “No, Im kind of relieved”. Admittedly, my response was kinda weak/lukewarm and I did not defend the dignity of womanhood in that moment, but compared to my first husband’s discard, I felt like the Queen of the World.

  • I think I am starting on the road, he will occasionally send an email about a settlement topic and I just have a cut and paste that says, please have your attorney contact my attorney. He no longer gets a reaction. Then he send something nasty and again I cut and paste an appropriate neutral response like” too bad for you” or “bummer”. Last message was that going through attorneys was costing him to too much and I just sent the bummer response. I am sure he is annoyed that he gets no reaction (I usually wait several hours to several days to respond to his shit).
    Some things that helped included getting a friend to smudge and sage the house. I am certain that got rid of the cheater stink. The cheater smell really made me feel yuck. Sending any mail to that he gets at the house to his attorney once a week or so no longer has meaning. No or low contact has helped on this road. After all he has Schmoopie to take care of him and I am sure she will do an excellent job. Just glad that I no longer have to deal with his crap.

  • Most of the time, I don’t care anymore. I haven’t forgotten the past : I have looked at it, analyzed it and by now squeezed every lesson out of it.
    99% of the time I am calm and collected , and I am polishing my grey rock skills.
    Every now and then she does something which stirs my mind up: and this is only in my mind. To her I still look like the grey rock.

    There are quite a few examples where my internal reaction would have been ‘fight or flight’ , but I have learned to sit back and think.
    My responses are now always guided by:
    ” respond, don’t react ”
    ” What is best for the children?”
    ” This is a long game ”

    It still all occupies a little too much headspace for my liking but it’s a massive development for me.
    I used to overthink and justify and write long emails. That’s long gone. The ex gets the grey rock answer. Neutral, polite , facts.

  • When I found a bunch of naked photos of OW (and many others) on an old phone that he’d given my son. Huh, I thought, all that waxing. Must be painful. And all that for a guy with an addiction to prostitutes. Just praying my son didn’t see the pics (I don’t think he did). I gave my ex the phone back and said it had a bunch of NSFW photos on it. The look on his face was priceless. I had no expression on mine.

  • It may not be meh but my son let me know that he was invited to Thanksgiving by his father. Thanksgiving with all of our former friends who have now happily replaced me with the adult baby girlfriend who is my son’s age. They’re going to spend a lovely thanksgiving together. Perhaps they’ll change each other’s diapers at the dinner table next to the turkey?

    I cracked up. Like I said, it may not be meh but it just struck me as hilarious. Well, have fun talking to the child girlfriend who tawks in baby tawk and calls my ex daddy and sucks on pacifiers and wears adult size baby onesies. I’m sure that will be super comfortable for the extended family members. It’s just hilarious to me. How disgusting and uncomfortable. I told my boyfriend maybe I should send something since I usually contribute to their Thanksgiving. Perhaps a box of Pampers? And I laughed myself silly all over again. Thank God I’m out of that freak show. For them to all be like “Yes, yes, an adult baby our children’s age, this is an appropriate sexual partner for him and we accept her immediately.”

    Jesus Fucking Christ. I’m just pissed I wasted so many holidays with a bunch of degenerates in a shithole ass town. I could have actually gone nice places with my son. I think of vacations I wanted us to go on but my ex wanted to see his faaaaaamily! Most of them not being biological family but actually his secret fuck partners. So many missed vacations because of the diaper lovers. It’s unreal.

    May they poop and pee to their heart’s content this Thanksgiving. I’m just so glad I’m away from them. That’s what I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving. I shudder at the thought of wasting another unknowing holiday with those degenerates. Thank God I’m out. It may not be meh but I’m immensely grateful about being out of it at this point.

    • All the places you missed when you were with that crowd are still there and travel is sort of happening again … I hope you get to make up for lost time. Im a Pied Piper of making up for lost time…I schedule trips and adventures as if I had a terminal disease (I dont now but you never know).

      People are traveling to Italy again…my friend arrived in Padua yesterday and the innkeeper said they were the first Americana since the pandemic started. Rates of covid there are lower than here. I leave for Florence in 2.5 weeks

      • Thank you! That is a really good way to think about it. I am looking forward to things getting all the way back to normal and I’m planning some trips. I want to do a yoga retreat and go camping and I’m looking forward to that.

        Enjoy your trip! That sounds wonderful. I hope you have a a fantastic time. Thanks for giving me some perspective, it helps.

          • What beautiful photos. It reminds me of the screen saver I have on my TV, just the most beautiful places and I’ve started going where is that? I want to go there.

            • I didnt even have a passport until I was 46. Cheater was so shitty on trips that I had developed an anxiety disorder around travel. What I eventually learned is that I didnt hate travel, I hate travel with HIM!

              I have visited 15 countries since he died and I have 3 trips planned. I am taking a calculated risk planning stuff when covid is still a factor but prices for stuff are really low.

              I frame my trips around drinking coffee, eating pastries and seeing great art (Renaissance, Byzantine, & Netherlandish paintings are my passion and I take selfies of myself in front of the paintings I seek out.) I have also gotten to know myself and which parts of a trip are (for me) worth a splurge (great hotel) or not (Im not a foodie and I dont drink alcohol) …find your style and go for it.

  • Seeing gxh cycling in an outlandish striped ensemble including beanie, meeting the eye of son and saying in unison “Was that …?” then both bursting into laughter.

    It might not be meh but it sure as heck was hilarious. A total “really? what was I thinking?” moment.

  • When I see photographs of Mr. Sleazy, I no longer feel longing or loss or attraction; just feel mildly repelled by the affectation and dissolute, jaded world-weariness I can now see in his expression. This makes me think I have reached Meh.

  • it’s great to hear chumps stories about MEH.

    it’s early days for me so i’m a lot like charlize theron in mad max: fury road. i’m driving a weird ass machine across a desert, going way too fast, in search of gas and water. there’s a sand storm and i cannot evade my pursuers. there are shenanigans.

    but i’ve got momentum.

  • So glad I can contribute to this and perhaps help out a newbie. After ExH “needed his space” and moved out shortly after our 21st anniversary, I spent the next two years crying, not eating or sleeping, mourning, and feverishly googling him. He has become prominent in his academic field and began lecturing (pre-pandemic on cruises) and in exotic locations. Early in our marriage my few times accompanying him were to horribly crummy locations, staying in C class hotels with the communal toilet down the hall, occasionally actually getting screens on the windows (never any AC), and suffering from food poisoning/scorpions/malarial swamps. I had already blocked him and poopsie on facebook, so I created an anonymous account in order to snoop/pain shop. I tormented myself for a few more years and thought that they were living the life that I thought he and I had been working towards.

    The last time I ever felt the desire to check was the day I saw a video of him lecturing, and I finally saw him for the bloated, blathering boob he had become. At the beginning of the lecture he introduced his now-wife, the former poopsie, and I recognized the look on her face—she didn’t trust him either. Ha ha ha. I no longer wear the furrowed brow and pinched look of a deeply unhappy, suspicious woman—she does!

    To most eyes, he has reached the pinnacle of his professional career. However, my daughter says he complains bitterly about all his responsibilities. It seems that his passion for teaching has abated, since his student reviews became abysmal and contain phrases such as “impossible to get in touch with,” “never holds office hours,” “hasn’t returned the graded papers after four weeks,” “rambles,” and “is impatient and arrogant.” What a far cry from the genial guy who for 20 years had hosted parties for faculty/students at our home.

    So what changed? The jerk showed his true colors once he “hit the big time,” I guess. However, none of that matters, as I am blissfully happy for the most part and am finally feeling as if I’m living my authentic life. I’m poor, I’m alone, I have learned how to do my own repairs and to do without, but I have self-respect, and I’m absolutely certain that I definitely got the better part of the deal.

    Good luck to those of you still in the throes of gut-wrenching pain and sleepless nights. Please believe me, it truly does get better. Eventually.

    • Thank you for sharing your story! It’s so often about the not so nice reality behind the personas that seem so wonderful in public life, isn’t it? I also admired fw for his talent, and his humbleness about it, only to find out he had nothing but contempt for anyone that was not him.

      Maybe there are only very few people that can handle success graciously, or maybe they were like that to start with. In any case, there is very little to idealize about it.

    • PLUS you have a great sense of humor!

      I will be laughing about “bloated blathering boob” for a long time!

  • I feel I’m at meh and my Tuesday is clearly in sight. After reading all the comments here yesterday I dreamed about the FW. In the dream two random women were talking about a new workshop FW had built. In the dream I was jealous that he’d got a new workshop and that two random women who I didn’t know had seen it. When I awoke I laughed to myself as I couldn’t give a shit what he had or who he’d shown 😁

    16 months after DDay #3. 1 year in battle Royale (divorce).

    BTW he had built a smashing workshop/garage/bike showroom in my garden. Its huge. I decorated it for him. It housed 6 classic motorbikes. When he left I told him to take those machines ASAP. I converted that smashing workshop into a tiki bar/playroom for the grandchildren complete with Wendy House, sandpit and waterplay inside.

    Helllllooooooo Tuesday!

    Hugs to you all ❤️

  • This was probably when I knew I was at meh, is when a friend of mine told me I should look into going on vacation to Hawaii. That night I looked up Hawaiian vacations, as I looked at through the vacation packages a link to Hawaiian weddings kept coming up. So at the end of my search for vacations I opened the Hawaiian weddings link and it took me to Hawaiian wedding Facebook page. The first wedding posted was ex and his AP. I took a second look and enlarged the photo. I burst out laughing, I surprised myself with my reaction, it may have been the sappy look on their faces gazing into each others eyes.

    The caption under their photo read, We have never seen a couple so in love, Mr. and Mrs. ** they couldn’t take their eyes off of each other, they never stopped gazing into each others eyes. Yes, they were seriously gazing into each other’s eyes, they looked ridiculous. Look at us, can you tell this is true love? when we’re together our eyes are locked into a trans like state. Fake, just like the two of them. AP in her long flowing “white” gown, ex looked pale, his face bloated.

    I scrolled down to look at photo of other couples and they all were smiling, looked natural, and noticeably younger, which made me laugh even more. They looked out of place. AP and Ex are pushing 60, the other couples were in their 20’s, 30’s, maybe early 40’s.
    There was a couple people around their age renewing vows with their kids and grandchildren in attendance. I wonder if they noticed, oh, wait, they couldn’t, their eyes were locked into each other.

  • I remember that not even too long ago Chump Lady had a challenge about “tell us how you’re mighty” when I was not feeling so mighty at all. I had accepted the fw for what he was, but was still very much in disgust. Men seemed, even though I was trying to date, unattractive semi-human beings with no interest to me.

    Now, fw is a tiny, painful pinpoint somewhere in the big story that is my life. The life that I started in a new country since then has become absolutely lovely, meeting lots of new people and enjoying the discovery of what we have to tell each other. I’ve had a fun tiny romance that has given me back the the pleasure in dating. There also is one person with whom something nice seems to grow between us. It could be friendship, but who knows more. And if ever we start seeing each other romantically, the way I would get into the relationship would be so much different from how things went with fw.

    So for whoever who is still in the process: it’s feasible! And it goes with ups and downs. Don’t force yourself, it ain’t over till it’s over. Hugs!

      • Ah, well with pleasure! 😊 And let’s not forget, I still have my ups and downs too, which is just what comes with life. But the little feelings of triumph sometimes merit to be celebrated 🙂

  • When I stopped having a sobbing breakdown every day. Which took about 4 years.

    Not that I didn’t have happy times mixed in. But I felt I was progressing at that point.

  • Meh came for me when I realized grief and sorrow were signs that I was alive, vibrant, filled with energy and knew how to love. Many variations on this saying abound, but here’s the jest: You know you can love and be loved when loss brings grief and sorrow.

    Knowing that the cheater has no sorrow nor grief while destroying a marriage, family and future in a most depraved way shows that their ability to love and receive love is absent. Knowing that the cheater can abandon, ghost and disconnect from a long history and their own children is telling. Knowing that the cheater can systematically deceive others using diabolical planning, scheming, lying, theft and harm while taking delight in the process is bone-chilling.

    Coming to the conclusion that the cheater has no ability to love or be loved brought me to Meh. It also healed me of further wondering, worrying, owning any part of the destruction, and having any concern for the cheater’s present or future life. Once I owned that I loved, participated, was fully-in, gave with grace, rose to the occasion and have alot to show for it and be thankful for – I found Meh and peace.

    We were not partnered with emotionally healthy people. Consider it a gift that your eyes are now open. Then, go live a better life knowing you’ve plumbed the depths of dysfunction and will no longer take people at face value or for what appears on the surface.

  • Honestly? When I stopped checking this blog every morning and feeling sad there weren’t posts on the weekends to keep me going. I still come here, but just sometimes to see what’s up and feel the community. But it doesn’t feel like a lifeline. It feels like I’m on shore.

  • I had four Cheaters and four different Meh points – and they didn’t come in chronological order.

    I broke up with Cheater #1 in 1993. I knew I’d hit Meh – which I didn’t even know about as a concept then – when in around 2009 I looked up his Facebook page and realised he was just as big a shit as he’d been then, and was treating his wife just as badly as he treated me. Block. End of.

    (I later had to block his father – also a cheater – who started circling me on Facebook, and his brother who randomly started abusing me on Facebook. Not a nice family.)

    Cheater #2 ended in 1995. He was the one who tried to hit on me again in 1997, and again via Facebook in around 2008 after he was married. Block. End of. I was at Meh with him in 1997, to be honest.

    Cheater #3 ended in 2013 after probably the most protracted rinse-repeat cycle I’ve ever gone through. By the time he announced he was going to break my heart by leaving me for the Other Woman, I simply burst out laughing – especially when I found out who she was. It was the most blessed relief. So I was at Meh within 24 hours, and have been there ever since.

    The first time I saw them together, she looked really happy and gorgeous and in seventh heaven. I thought, “Well, there you go. Good for you.”

    Every time I saw them together after that, she looked progressively sadder, more tired, more frumpy, and more insecure. This was his special gift with women – he did the same thing to me – so it’s definitely no tags back. He’s all hers.

    Cheater #4 ended in early June 2017 and was surprisingly painful for such a short time dating, but there were complicating factors involving a manipulative friendship and a health crisis and a job redundancy. I was at Meh by September 2017 (removed the friendship, fixed my health, got another job).

    What helped was that I didn’t marry any of them, and didn’t have children with any of them, or buy property with any of them.

    I don’t date any more, which is the biggest Meh of all. It’s wonderful. My life is good, productive, peaceful, and happy.

  • All those days I spent obsessing over his every action and inaction, writing it in a journal taking notes. I thought that if I stopped thinking about him, then he would forget about me. Somehow I had to constantly think about him and wonder what he’s doing and pain shop and drive by and investigate. That was my life snd I thought it would magically keep him thinking about me.

    One day I forgot to think about him, and I did not notice until the end of the day. I was frantic, oh no! That means he forgot about me today. Oh boo boo. Then another day I forgot to think about him and I realized it at night. And it did not bother me. I said, oh this must be what his life is like, he spends days at a time not thinking about me. I bet he even goes weeks without thinking about me. I realized that it’s possible he has not thought much about me since he left. And it helped me realize I was getting over it. It was more of a gentle calm instead of frantic dopamine nerve endings burn.

  • 20th Anniversary was a couple days before this post. I was typing contracts at work. Was on the 4th one around 4:00 in the afternoon when I actually paid attention to the date. Thought about it for a few seconds and moved on with my day-because it meant nothing.
    I am as close to Meh as you can get when you have children with a narcissist sociopath, because the American justice system doesn’t let you free!

  • I can say with 99% certainty that I have reached Meh. It took just over 5 years from D-Day to reach it. About a year ago I realized I couldn’t keep obsessing over someone who treated me worse than shit. I got a book on December 21, 2020 called Exaholics Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby that treats my chumpdom as an addiction to my ex. I slowly worked threw the book/ steps and I finished it today. So just over 11 months semi-actively working threw my stuff so I can just move on.

    However, it was Chump Lady and chump nation who helped me the most. I was on here daily connecting with other chumps just trying to get threw it. I emailed Chump Lady at some point during the year and she actually responded back and before I knew it I was in meh. I was no longer obsessing over Ex and the ongoing legal entanglements. I got an attorney to deal with that stuff now.

    I think I realized I reached meh a few months ago when my family attorney reached out to me about something they were going to send out and I honesty forgot I was in the middle of a family law matter. It was weird but in a good way. That was the moment of clarity that I finally arrived at meh.

    I fee really proud of myself for getting to this point. Those who are just starting their journey to get to meh. If you are here chump nation embraces you and can’t wait to see you become more and more mighty on the way to meh.

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