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Holiday D-Days Anyone?

They really pick their moments, don’t they?

About this time of year, there’s an uptick in new members to the chump club no one wants to join. I’m talking about holiday D-Days.

The double lives get strained. Schmoopies demand attention. Shit gets sloppy…

Voila! Discovery.

Inadvertent discovery is one misery. Deliberate abandon-you-at-the-worst-possible-moment is another. And it doesn’t have to be Christmas. Is it your moment in the sun? Or is there some crisis that demands your attention, and needs narcissistic upstaging?

I’m sorry. They Weren’t Happy. KIBBLES, everyone! KIBBLES!

Your Friday Challenge is to welcome the newbies, share your I Survived a holiday bomb drop story, and if you’re further out, how it gets better.

Extra points if you want to share the shitty gift you received that year. (Me: a tie dye license plate cover, because I’m a “hippie chick.” Soon thereafter, I took up welding and destroying metal things with plasma cutters. Coincidence?)


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Asshole just stopped coming home from work in January 2010. I thought something was missing – did we lose the cat? We haven’t got one! Oh damn! He showed up six weeks later solemnly announcing that I would be receiving divorce papers “shortly”. Now I don’t know how he defines “shortly” but I filed myself in July ‘cos he wouldn’t. Wish he’d f….d off before Christmas – we would all have had a better time! Don’t miss that dingleberry one iota!

  • I had just put my FW through nursing school. She was working a night shift. On Christmas Eve, she was on call. But she went out with friends and then went home with a stranger. I knew something was off. But convinced myself nothing could have happened because she was on call.

    On New Years Eve, I stayed home to care for our dogs who were terrified of all the fireworks people let off on NYE in our area. She went out with friends and again went home with a stranger.

    When she insisted on going out again the following Saturday night, my gut was screaming. I took one of my dogs, went to a hotel and confronted her by text. Then the first trickles of truth started to come out. I of course ultimately learned more through the grapevine after we split.

    • Oh yes, “on call” – that great old medical profession excuse. We had one ob/gyn here in town who could never be located when his patients came in to L&D. Turned out the guy was maintaining two households and two families…”on call” indeed!

    • Yes our stories are very much the same.
      Married to a nurse; she went out with her colleagues on Friday and Saturday night; went home with strangers which I only found out afterwards. Next day often too hung over to take part in family activities.
      I’m a doctor, often on call. My on call means long nights in the hospital in quite stressful situations. Not fucking around.
      The amount of nurses who wanted to befriend me after they heard I was divorced – many of them married – was eye opening.
      And our divorce proceedings were delayed because my ex wife’s nurses friends kept on advising her to get more money out of me ” cause he is a doctor”. They were of course all on her side, despite being often first hand witness what happened on those ‘girls night out’.
      Surely, that’s where the story of the “unloving husband who works too much” got told many times.
      I am sure there are great nurses around with high moral values and what I have experienced was just part of a normal distribution – but I stay away from all nurses as far as I can.

      • I’m a nurse and witnessed this so many times with nurses and physicians, it’s just so gross.
        My cheater was a device rep and I now say I won’t go near anyone in sales and likely scrubs ever again.

          • I’m convinced most pharma and device reps are cheaters. All the work trips and time away from home, plus that it’s “their job” to build relationships which often includes dinners and drinks. Sorry that happened to you. I worked pacu for years and the affairs seemed more frequent in that environment. So many surgeons, crna’s, anesthesiologists… it was just like being in the tigers’s den.
            I get a little twitchy when I see these reps in scrubs in flashy vehicles.

      • I’m so sorry to hear your experience. I’m a nurse and my DD was 5 minutes after walking through the door after doing a shift on COVID ICU. I still had marks on my face from the PPE.
        The f*cker decided that whilst I was working constantly and he wasn’t working (has a job with little responsibility), instead of looking after our children, he was going to message his girlfriend.

        What followed is a horror story. I was left homeschooling on my days off whilst he would meet up with her to f*ck her in his car.

        I took a grand total of 1 day off. Put my PPE on went back to work. Looking forward to my divorce now. He is a social slug. Gone from being a respected person in the community to being the cheat who broke lockdown. I on the other hand am the nurse who kept my shit together – just about.

        Awful as it is, and I despise having to coparent him, I retained full custody of all our friends. No one wants anything to do with him and OW. Social outcasts the pair of them.

        • Oh dear! The nasty ingrate!!
          Thank you for your service, for being the sane one, and for your sharp tongue ???????? “having to coparent him”& I retained full custody of all of our friends” indeed. You as the best! {{hugs}}

      • This right here! My ex-husband was a nurse. He loved the female attention. Was often working late and ‘just friends’ with the female colleagues he was texting late at night. I can’t believe I fell for the friendship story..
        He up and left for one in 2020. Good fucking riddance! Oh and I will NEVER date a nurse again!

    • I was married to a physician. My ex used the “on call” excuse to have multiple affairs. For 20 years, I thought my ex was working hard saving lives. Turns out he wasn’t always doing that. Being “on call” is the perfect cover for having affairs.

      • “on call”

        That sound like the medical equivalent to “I’m going out to ride around with one of the guys” for police officers.

        • Those cops- many have “off duty” shifts
          Some legit, some turn into lurking around with OW
          Should have known when i saw the new years text from “friend” saying “I love you” he was back on his bs
          Followed by profuse apologies and me not understanding why you’d have to apologize for saying to a “friend” ???

        • There’s a Friday challenge. Cover stories and euphemisms for contacting and meeting APs. Think I’m at the point where this would actually make me laugh to recall.

          • Oh I do laugh about some of it now. The last year was ridiculous. When it finally hit me the end of Oct of that year that the asshole was fucking around I was so pissed. I honestly wished him dead. I had to pray for forgiveness later for that; but in real time I wished for him to be found floating face down in the Ohio River. (Ohio River has significance)

            My sweet husband who I finally told all of this years later, convinced me I was not stupid, that it is perfectly acceptable and even expected to trust your spouse.

            It took a long time for me to tell the full story of what happened to me, but I was glad when I did. I should have done it right when he left.

          • Golf. Perfect excuse to stay out for 4 to 8 hours on any random day. “You would not believe how slowly the foursome ahead of us was playing…”.

  • I thought my story was bad – discovered the affair right as my youngest child was graduating high school and ready to leave for college.

    But a friend’s husband told her he wanted a divorce on Christmas Day (I subsequently had to convince her that he was having an affair based on what she was telling me). Christmas Day?!? Who does that?!?

    • My father had my step mom served divorce papers on Christmas Eve on purpose. HE never told me he did that but a neighbor told me. I told the neighbor my father was a asshole for doing that.

      • A cheater is gonna cheat and lie to cheat. And lie to his own son about serving divorce papers to his son’s stepmom. Surprise, surprise ! Not.

    • Voldemort did. Right before our family Xmas dinner, said we’re not married anymore & I’m leaving. Had to carry on in front of a huge crowd as if the bottom hadn’t dropped out of my world. Stole nearly half of the Xmas decorations on the way out so I’d be triggered as hell the next Xmas too.

      • That is straight up Grinch. Took half the Christmas decorations? WITAF!?! Klootzak hates Christmas. He hates all holidays, actually. If he tries to take my decorations, there will be a throw down. Many of them I bought before we were married and the only thing I didn’t buy with my own paychecks was the tree. And he can have that crap artificial tree.

      • Hoping that you will look back and see that Voldemort leaving/divorcing was the best Christmas gift he ever gave you.

    • I have a friend who found condoms in her husbands stuff but they were “no birth control Catholics”. Just as the truth was trickling out, she learned she was pregnant. She had a C section and as soon as she was home from the hospital, he walked on her and the 3 kids..on Christmas Day.

      He showed up to the Baptism with OW. Wife had warned everyone lest some relatives who would be shocked might throw a punch at his FW self.

      That child is now in ~8th grade and the mom is still single and the FW is with OW. The Chump, however now realizes that only a Giant Ass would do what her FW did.

      • Boggles the mind that the cheater would not only leave her and the 3 babies but show up to the Baptism with the OW? What a pair of freaks.
        Her relatives have far more restraint than mine…then again with my brothers and male cousins, pretty sure the cheater wouldn’t have dared show up.

      • My cheater arrived home from his solo trip to Burning Man with a box of condoms in his bag. He tried to tell me he only brought them to gift to others, since BM is a gifting culture. He also mailed his leftover illegal drugs from this adventure to our home. He said it was no big deal because our kids were too young to open packages, and the USPS/DEA wouldn’t be able to trace them to him because he put a fake name on the package. This criminal mastermind was a public defender with a degree from Georgetown University.

        • I know a man (licensed attorney) who received ecstasy via FedEx from his dealer who lived on the other coast. Same man who drove from Manhattan to schtup a married woman in Long Island.

          Character shows and it matters.

    • As if the holidays aren’t fraught enough for grown ups. It’s like these people need to make sure that the holidays will always be tainted, even after you forgoten and gotten over it, your body remembers. The cruelty is unimaginable.

    • “Christmas Day?!? Who does that?!?”

      Either the cheater is a hateful, miserable being and or schmoopie is issuing serious ultimatums and he is afraid of losing the OW skank.

      • That is so painful Alexandra.

        For the last few years of our marriage my fw worked Christmas Eve or Christmas day to give the other guys with young kids the day off. Yeah, my ass; in hindsight I am betting he planned his Christmas with whore and her very accommodating parents and I got whichever day was left. Yes her parents knew, he actually told me the day he dumped me that her parents loved her and wanted the best for her too. Meaning himself of course. What I said to him was “and they think a married man is the best for her” He just hung his sorry head.

        I didn’t tell him that my dad wanted the best for me too; and he didn’t want him anywhere near me ever again. Of course my dad hadn’t said that yet because I didn’t tell him until about a week later, but that is exactly what he told me. Susie don’t let him near you ever again; if you go back to him you will hurt the rest of your life.

        When the fw went on hsi apology tour going to my dads house and my brothers house in TX to apologize to them, my dad said to him “You need to straighten out your life and get right with God; but you can’t ever go back to your old life”. I laughed when my dad told me that, because I know he was desperately trying to prevent him coming back to me. By that time dad had nothing to worry about.

        I still don’t know why he went on that apology tour, it was just weird.

    • My ex wanted to tell me on Christmas day in front of friends and family. My daughter talked him out of it. I found out by myself the following Valentines day.

  • D day was December 10 at the company Xmas party. He gave me a vacuum for Xmas. Three years of the worst years of my life before the divorce. Got a kick ass lawyer. I got EVERYTHING. MY LIFE IS NOW WONDERFUL with two new grand baby’s and life is focused on our family. He is out of the picture and we couldn’t be happier. Didn’t realize for 20 years what a complete downer he was to everything. Used to dread the holidays, now they are wonderful family events. It was the struggle of my life to get through it but it gets better, much better when you can put it all behind you❤️

    • “[My] life is focused on our family. He is out of the picture and we couldn’t be happier. Didn’t realize for 20 years what a complete downer he was to everything. Used to dread the holidays, now they are wonderful family events.”

      This is lovely to hear. Isn’t it wonderful how much more our families become true families after the removal of those rusty anchors? (FWs think chumps hold them back from finally finding happiness? Truly, it is the other way around.)

      Often we don’t realize this until some time has passed and we can make a direct comparison between, say, how holidays with a cheater felt vs. how holidays without the cheater feel. I was watching a biography of the late, great Jim Nabors and in it, he described how it felt to live with asthma his whole life: “I could barely breathe.” Someone told him that the air on the west coast was “fresher,” so he and his sister packed up a car and drove out to Los Angeles to give it (and his acting career) a try. He reported that, when he got there, for the first time in recent memory he could breathe again; he nearly wept because (paraphrasing from memory): “Wow… *this* is what it’s like not to take shallow little breaths all the time? *This* is what it’s like to take full breaths? This is amazing.”

      I only recall this now when thinking of Groovygirl, or any of us, comparing those holidays past with the holidays now; it’s an entire shift, isn’t it? We can breathe again!

      In other words, me too! Me too! It’s so wonderful that with the removal of someone that I thought was the most integral part of my family unit (I admit to being a former codependent hero-worshipper), my family became happier and less stressed. Turns out he wasn’t an integral part of the family after all; he was a stone in the machine that stopped the gears from fully turning. Remove that rock and the gears have been moving smoothly ever since. Those gears only squeak or shudder whenever he resurfaces.

      Life is, indeed, focused on family now. It’s great.

      • So true, that they hold us back. Mine was in a financial way. Looking back, his family did insane things to wreck their finances, like buy tons of used yard sale items (that they thought were valuable), stop paying their property taxes, and the dad stopped working in his 50’s, because he didn’t like it. So, of course, my X did the same kind of things. Oh, if I could only go back and warn my young self- look at his family!
        We always struggled, and X would do things like come home and say- I didn’t like being a manager, so I stepped down. Without a word with me first, guess it was none of my business! And he always bought tons of stuff, for himself to play with. Once he was gone, my career took off, and I’ve made a lot of progress, and feel safe for really the first time in decades, it’s a real relief.
        I don’t have a lot of fun Xmas plans, probably a dinner is all, but I am cozy in my small house I bought, and all my sons are doing well, so it’s more of a contented holiday time. That’s fine with me!

        • I feel this big time. My ex left the military because he didn’t want to be promoted, (He wouldn’t become a sergeant, at a certain point you have to or you have to get out. You can’t stay a specialist for 20 years and sane people wouldn’t want to.) I could not wrap my mind around that. To this day, he has never been promoted at any job. He is always entry level. His income only increases when he finds a higher paying entry level job.

          When he refused to be promoted in the military, I should have left. But I thought he was just unhappy with his job and if he found something he liked, it wouldn’t be a problem. Well, he’s been in his current field for what? Ten years now? Still entry level. Switched companies to make more money. Told me in six months he could become a foreman and get a pay bump and bonuses. Nope, that was like five years ago. If he gets a promotion he’ll have more responsibility and he can’t have that. He’s a damn child.

          We always struggled too. Oh, but he always had money for his video games and his porn! Fucking loser.

          • Katie, they are infantile. My X loooooves to be taken care of, he needs a binkie.
            He wasted 100’s of thousands of dollars on stereo equipment and hard liquor, while we had three sons to raise, ugh.
            Glad I’m in charge of my own bank account now!
            Happy holidays to us!

    • I love this. This is what I look forward to. Klootzak is such a downer about holidays. I can’t wait to fully enjoy them again. Good to hear you have been able to experience them FW free!

    • “Didn’t realize for 20 years what a complete downer he was to everything. ”

      x = total buzzkill

      Every birthday every Christmas every celebrated holiday.

      Such a relief to not have to deal with the negativity.

  • My D day was the morning of my very beloved grandmothers funeral. Shortly after came my birthday, would be ten year anniversary, and then first Christmas without the kids. The saddest Christmas of all, I drove 8 hours to spend Christmas with my parents only to find that in my dazed d-day survival days that I miscommunicated had with my parents and they were expecting me at their other house another 12 hours away (they are snow birds). I spent the holiday by myself in an empty house. I found some sushi and wine and did a puzzle and cried by myself. Truly the rock bottomest of bottoms.
    I am 5 years out now and year has been so much better and better and better. I’ve grown mighty. I have a lovely marriage with a man who loves me. My kids and I are so tight (I was very honest from the beginning about why this all happened.) Not that it matters but I hear that my ex cheater went on to keep cheating on the woman he left me for. Who’d have thunk it?

    The most terrible and sad season gives me a lovely vantage point and I wouldn’t trade it. It got so much better than I could have imagined. Thank you Chump lady for being a big part of my strength.

  • Roughly 25 years ago, Cheating Bastard Ex was arrested for solicitation of prostitution two weeks before Xmas. He was on a business trip 1400 mikes away at the time while I was home with two small children.
    I would have never known it happened had something not cropped up that I needed to talk to him about.
    This was before cell phones so I called his hotel first. He had not checked in. Then I left a message at his office. No response.. After going “missing” for 2 days, I was frantic. I finally got ahold of his boss and all she could tell me was she didn’t know where he was either. Of course she didn’t know … his ass was sitting in jail waiting to bond out.
    Once he was released, rather than to stay and work out the week as planned, he flew directly home, which I’ve always suspected was because his boss told him to get home and tell me or she would.
    I distinctly remember telling him that alot of women wonder if something like this could ever happen to them, but in my case, I just wondered when it would happen. He was so deep into porn by that time, in my mind, escalation would be a forgone conclusion at some point.
    My Xmas gift that year? Big box discount chain lingerie … so that I might become appealing to him once again. In front of twenty-five members of his extended family, I should add. Yep, fun times.

    • “My Xmas gift that year? Big box discount chain lingerie … so that I might become appealing to him once again.”

      Wow. Talk about your “I bought this for me, not for you” gifts.

      I’m so sorry it all went down like that. I would have been frantic if I couldn’t locate my spouse for days either. Not only did he cheat and risk your health but he scared the crap out of you as well. In a sitcom or a romantic comedy they’d call this behaviour “inconsiderate.” We know better here.

    • Gah! What a ghastly experience. Whenever I hear stories of people arrested like that, I wonder about the pain inflicted on the Chumps when they learned. To me this is an especially toxic form of spousal abuse (not one that I suffered but I have great empathy over those who did).

      • It pretty much sucked. Recently, I ran across a picture of myself that was taken the weekend before his arrest at a class reunion. I had to pause when I looked at it… I was at my peak back in those days. Truly beautiful. And yet, at the time, I was so beaten down by his lack of intimacy, and rejection in a preference for porn, I thought I was ugly and repulsive.
        Now, last dday and a divorce later, I look at myself in the mirror and realize even though my best years are behind me, I’m still pretty damned attractive. F him for having made me to feel otherwise for so many years…

        • Yes, my late 30s were spent under constant gaslighting from Cheater. He judged me harshly and accused me of inadequacy around every turn to the point I was afraid to function yet criticized if I didnt. Every day was a string of no-win situations while he presented himself as a reasonable person.

          I see pictures from them and I look like a deer in headlights…old and bedraggled. Now Im much older but I have a smile on my face and a sparkle in my eyes.

  • KK backed out of a family holiday party — my family, of course — the morning of, because, she said, “I just want to go see the new Star Wars movie and not think about things” (‘things’ being the 2+ months of calling her out on her deceptive behavior’). I took our daughters myself.

    Weeks later we got a bill for a toll road charge, incurred the day of the party, for a road almost 40 miles away from our home.

    Turns out she got a message that morning from the Carrot Singer:
    “Can you get out of the house today?”
    “Yes. UXworld is taking the girls to a family Xmas thing today.”
    “I’ll have an empty house around 11…”
    “I could be there shortly after that. They are leaving about 10.”
    “[CS’s address]”
    “I’ll text when I’m leaving. Let me know if I have to hang back.” (i.e., to watch CS’s wife and daughter leave)

    That year I gave her a pair of Raybans and an expensive sets of chef’s knives. She got me a compass engraved with the words “I’d be lost without you.”

  • My dday was the day after Christmas. Love of my life, best friend forever – married over 24 yrs. Christmas tree (real) stayed up for weeks afterward as I could barely feed myself. Asshat took down the tree & packed up decorations in the usual manner & then moved out.

    Didn’t see him again in over a year but that was because it was in court for a venue change hearing. He thought by moving to a county different from our marital home & jobs was the perfect place to file; judge felt otherwise.

    Christmas still not the same after all these years.

    • Hurt 1– also Dday on 12/26 (2014). Also 24 year- also I thought he was my beloved. That was 7 years ago – 5 from divorce.

      It’s taken a long time to recover from the trauma. I’ll never likely be the same.

      • I think these numbskulls believe that they won’t ruin Christmas by waiting till the day after. Of course Schmoopies do get hysterical around the holidays and give ultimatums.
        I hate to hear scumbag cheaters put a stain on holidays or important dates. Try something totally different for the holiday…take it back. These assholes have taken enough don’t give them the power to ruin what should be enjoyable time of the year.

  • D-Day #4 was Dec 8 (D-Day was in April). Kicked him out. My daughter was coming home from college the next week. She didn’t know anything was wrong. Needed to have a friend come and decorate the house and tree. I was an utter mess. We had a family trip planned for Italy that Christmas. We went without him. Absolutely the best decision we could have made. Had an amazing time and didn’t miss him. Being home would have been misery. This year is the fourth without him. Cheers to that!

  • Huge red flag for me, when she didn’t want me going to her annual company xmas party, even though I’d gone every year for YEARS. Turns out, she wanted to screw sparkle dick while at the party.

    • Out of the blue friends invited him only to their daughters wedding

      He said it was going to be such a small wedding that partners were not invited, only dear friends. (Well we both knew the parents since our teen years).

      I scoped out the venue, it was at a large golf resort and there were hundreds invited

      He stuck with the lie and said I had it all wrong, Yup. He went alone. A very depressing day for me.

      • That is awful. It is always amazing to me the depth of these cheaters depravity.

        Mine is not that bad, but he did take me to that last Christmas/award event. I think he needed me there to assure he got his bonus. He was pulling a con on everyone. I think it was about a weekish later that someone dropped a dime on him. He came to me the day before the party and asked if his direct report and her best friend could sit with us as they didn’t have dates. (both were employees). It was their last chance to rub my face in it I guess before his house of cards fell.

        I said ok, even though I knew something was up, I didn’t suspect her (surprise). I think my best friend and her husband who were also sitting with us were disgusted by what her best friend said to me. I was too. But, I put on a front and powered through.

        I think that was the night my best friend starting suspecting. I had already started suspecting, but I didn’t tell her. I was basically in the fetal position by that time. Just enduring.

      • I never wanted to go to any of the fuckwit’s work celebrations because he always ended up shit-faced and embarrassing. I did go one time and at 3 a.m. I was walking round making sure all the candles were out and everything was safe. He then got on his computer “because he was a professional” but what the hell he thought he was doing I have no idea. His asshole friend was the only other person left but my fuckwit wouldn’t leave. Then the next day he balled me out for “making him leave the party when it was in full swing”. At least asshole-friend had the decency to yell back at him that everyone else had gone home hours ago!

    • Yes, I was never invited to the X-mas party. Same reason. There was her affair partner and they hooked up for the first time at one of those parties, as I found out later.
      Funny coincidence – Now 3 years after separation and divorce, she contacted me recently.
      She had her work Xmas party and couldn’t find anyone looking after the kids. ( It was her week , we have 50:50 custody).
      Of course I was happy to spend more time with my children. When she picked them up the next morning, she was still in her party dress, just on the way home. She is an attractive woman, but all I could think was ” lipstick on a pig”’

  • Luckily my first Dday fell in July

    It is so great to NOT have to walk on eggshells now on every birthday/holiday !

    Yes the holidays are very different, but they are sane now. No catering to a fool.

    He still tries to torment me through our children, but that can be more or less managed.

    • Me too…DDay in July with a lot of bad fall-out still dumping on me in Dec. I always do a Christmas card with a lot of photos and news (not annoying bragging, more of a “warts and all” kind of thing).

      That year, I was so marginalized that there were no photos of me in existence and I felt like trash since I was treated like trash. I almost sent the card with no photo of me but daughter got a single profile shot of me looking lovingly at the family dog (I didn’t even feel strong enough to face a camera).

      I share this because that was a long time ago and life is SO MUCH BETTER !!!! Me and Col Greatguy just returned from a lovely trip to Italy and we’re happily wrapping all the Christmas gifts we got for people. Nary a fight nor a mean word spoken between us the whole trip.

      Back in that horrible year, I couldn’t have imagined how good my future life would be…my reality went WAY past my biggest hope/fantasy from back in that dark time. I was so afraid to leave FW…I was so full of fear for my kids and what a divorce would mean…so much so that I never left (I was proud of this at the time but ashamed now – I accepted WAY WAY too much abuse).

      My new life happened after my FW died. I seriously do not suggest anyone wait around for this…my experience was a crazy outlier that I had no control over. You, however can control getting rid of a FW by leaving.

      • Yup. Leaving is the surest way to get rid of them.

        Klootzak never sleeps late. I mean, NEVER. We sleep in separate rooms. About a week ago, I woke up and started making coffee and so on. He still wasn’t awake and it was really weird. Mind you, maybe he was lying in bed sending duck pics to the flavor of the month, but I digress….

        Anyway, it occurred to me that maybe he had stroked out in his sleep. He is in prime heart attack years and drinks a lot. Has some extra pounds and allegedly a sleep apnea that he doesn’t use the CPAP for (like he was told he should). For a full minute, I asked myself if maybe he was gone. He just NEVER sleeps in. I told myself if he wasn’t up in an hour, I would go up and check. Eventually he got up and came downstairs but the whole experience made me think I really need him to leave because if anything did happen to him, I don’t want to deal with it. Let him be gone and have a heart attack in bed with some side piece from OKCupid – not in my house. He has messed up my life enough. He has chosen other ahead of me. I don’t want to be responsible for another thing on his behalf. Let some schmoopie deal with it. I can control that and be rid of him by filing. I. CAN’T. WAIT.

        • Exactly! Right after Dday when I had just got him out of our apartment, I was doing phone customer service from home and I got a call from a woman. She was screaming about diapers. And I could hear a man screaming at her. It was clear he was able to walk around because he seemed to be chasing her from room to room.

          Apparently, the company had stopped carrying the diapers she needed for her husband. And the new ones they sent wouldn’t contain all his shit and piss since he went sooooo much in his diapers. So he can chase her through the house just fine but he can’t deal with his own diaper or use a toilet. K.

          I asked her if she wanted me to call for help and if she was in danger. NO! Just get me the diapers! Well, I can’t. We don’t carry those anymore. It seems the last rep who heard this nightmare just quickly ordered her the closest thing we had. I wasn’t going to do that. I did offer to call the police to get her help from her psychotic and somehow very able bodied yet diapered manchild. She didn’t want it.

          I got off that phone call and I had to take a break. I went and had a cigarette and sat there thinking, I’m never going to be that woman. My ex doesn’t take care of himself. I already had to do so much for him and he’s reasonably healthy. That was the first time I felt grateful for the divorce. As he deteriorates, that’s the new girl’s problem. She can waste her life chasing him around to clean all the shit out of his diapers while he has a tantrum. I don’t have to do that.

          • And please don’t anybody lecture me about cigarettes. I’m so fucking done with that shit too. I started smoking at 8 years old because I was an abused child in a fucked up family and I have maybe one pack a year. It’s my only vice. My ex and his family acted like I was the dirtiest piece of shit on Earth because when something big happens like somebody dies or my husband threatens to murder me, I buy a pack of cigarettes and smoke a couple. So if anybody feels like lecturing me, I’m telling you preemptively to stuff it.

            • You had me KP at “able bodied yet diapered manchild”????. You do you-one pack a year ? You’re right. People can go eff themselves.

            • No lecture here. The goal now is to get through all this shit. I used to get after my adult son for smoking then he got cancer (not of his lungs) and he was like “I could have quit smoking and I still got this cancer, so there”

              What kids of fucked up (literal) shit is with this person running around after the wife trying to order his diapers. I feel like saying a prayer for this lady.

            • Yah KatiePig, that is one HELL of a story, and you tell it so well [shudder!]. And enjoy the fuck out of those now & again ciggies.

            • You have to do wht you need to do to survive.

              I feel the same way about lectures about no anti depressants. If I had not taken them for about nine months I likely would have made some really bad decisions. I had never had to take them before or since. The put me on somewhat of a flat plane, where I wasn’t as emotional; and yet I had my focus for my job, which was all I had to depend on.

              • Agree

                I have friends who are suicidal without anti-depressants. It is very dangerous to play doctor for other people.

            • No lecture here either, I smoke sometimes for the same reasons. I’m vegan, don’t drink alcohol, yoga teacher, you name it. But sometimes when shit hits the fan I need that cigarillo…

        • Wow. Your post just reminded me of something that hasn’t entered my consciousness since it happened about 35 years ago. X had a relatively minor surgery, and I hoped he would not make it, that there would be some freak accident with anesthesia or something. I was appalled at the time that I had this passing wish. I felt like a monster.

          But now I think that, in that moment, I had clarity about my feelings. Instead of honoring them, however, I shoved them aside and picked up the spackle knife.

          I told myself I had a good marriage. You can survive on crumbs.

        • Yes MrWonderful’sEx

          You may end up as a nurse to this cheater, taking him to endless appointments, cutting up his food, cleaning up after his messes. Has he earned that ?

  • Ten days before Xmas (baby Jesus really brings the jerkwads out) I got a xmas card from a bed and breakfast he’d gone to for a week in order to clear his head of stress. He clearing his vas deferens instead into a willing hoeworker. Addressed to both of them at our house. Oops. Tried to make some ridiculous bullshit story. I raged. Broke every picture in the house and ended up with a sliced wrist and hands. I told everyone in the ER what he did. The nurses blatantly told him he was an asshole. As I wandered in shock next few days he actually asked what I wanted for Xmas. I told him a murder suicide for him and skank pocket.

  • I didn’t really have a D-Day ON a holiday, but I discovered cheating behavior performed DURING the holidays.

    Cheater had – and still has! – a thing for people born around Christmas (as was he, and I as well).

    Schmoopie was born ON Xmas day, therefore was one of “few magical and special people”, according to his birthday message to her.

    She was also the one who thankfully answered my messages and busted him (she had been a chump as well, and I remember clearly the sincerity in her voice, from shock and disbelief, so distant from his lies).

    That was my experience with “holiday spirits” – definitely not the Holy kind.

    • That is, honestly, one of my worst nightmares: thinking I had found love again only to find out that the person I’m seeing turned me into an unwilling mistress. My skin crawls just imagining it.

      • Yeah, definitely all chumpdom levels suck!

        Though, for some reason, being chumped as the “non-official” relationship somehow would feel less of a betrayal to me, because I would still feel more offended on behalf of the official relationship. It would be easier to see the cheater in a “jerk” light instead of “the love of my life did, what??” light.

        I would also definitely set out to bust them to absolutely everyone to whom their may concern and I would take pleasure in that.

  • Yep, for me Dday was 25 Dec 1989. Oh the last year had been hell, especially the last three months; but he kept blaming “work issues”.

    He didn’t confess on Christmas day, but we were visiting my son in Arizona (he was stationed at DM AFB) he made sure to treat me like shit and, in his sleep Christmas eve he talked to whore, then got up very early Christmas day and made sure I caught him talking on the phone out in the communal garden area. He continued to get worse and worse as the day wore on, even my daughter in law made a comment about his behavior. The long car trip home was hell on earth.

    If I had it to do over, I would have quietly packed my bag, got in the car drove to the air port and left his ass to figure out where his car was. To be sure, the care would have been his only concern. He had already made it clear I was of no concern to him.

    • Wow, that whole Christmas experience of yours sounds like the last few months of my discarding (treating me with indifference and hostility that ramps up daily to the point where even *I* start to notice it) only wrapped up in a holiday whirlwind. I’m so sorry; that sounds utterly miserable.

      Why are they so cruel to the people who did nothing but love them? (Nobody answer that; it’s largely rhetorical.)

      • I will never understand their cruelty and I am surprised at pretty much every story I read, but really I shouldn’t be.

        I still go back and forth between are they just nasty mean and want to destroy you, or are they trying to get us to leave. I suppose both could be true.

        • “or are they trying to get us to leave[?]”

          During reconciliation, FW told me that he had been purposefully awful and antagonistic towards me in the hopes that I would leave the marriage first. That way he could he could be the good guy whose wife had given up on the marriage and… oh… whoops… who is that..? Just-A-Friend who is there to support him in his time of grief after his mean wife left him? And… wait…? They started dating shortly thereafter? Oh dear, no one–least of all them–ever expected that to happen! And none of it would have happened if that mean old wife hadn’t left him high and dry; so, really, this is all her fault.

          Forgive the snark.

          When he admitted that to me I should have taken it for the flapping red flag that it was. Instead, I looked at him with heart eyes–high on reconciliation and “marriage saving” fumes–and thought he was being so brave admitting to that. So brave! So self-reflective! If he can recognize this behaviour within himself then he will never do it again because he told me so.

          Whenever I relive that, I want to find my past self and shake her by the shoulders hard.

          But, yeah… I think he was probably telling the truth at that point (but, I mean… who knows anymore). I’m not sure if it is true for all FWs but he was intentionally and purposefully trying to drive me away with increasingly hostile behaviour because he wanted me to leave as part of his move Just-A-Friend in plan. If I left, then he’d be the poor belaboured left-behind-husband who needed support from Just-A-Friend. I guess that would have been a great plan if I hadn’t had found all the emails between the two of them. His plan kind of stunk. But the cruel discard was definitely part of an objective timeline he had previously worked out.

          And there we go. I just answered the rhetorical question I warned us all not to answer. My bad!

          • Yeah, my ex told me when he tried to come back that “oh I just said that to make you hate me” you know because he just wanted to make it easier for me when he left. But, I am pretty sure he had the she will leave then I will take up with whore and then I can keep my image intact schtick. But, unknown to me mid December someone had called the city counsel and filed a complaint against him. (he was schtonking his direct report and he had not only gotten her hired while he was schtonking her but he petitioned the city counsel for a raise for her in Nov.

            So by the time he walked out the door, his house of cards was falling, and he was sweating like a hooker in the front pew trying to maintain not only his recent promotion but his very job.

            So yeah when the year of discard started I am certain the innocent whore story was the plan, then his pants caught on fire and he was batting the flames like crazy.

            • My discard was acute for about a year. The last few months were grim. I attended the ex-MIL’s birthday event, a house party over a weekend. His abusive behaviour was extreme. His clear intention was to get me to react by going crazy, frantic, in front of his family. I was to be responsible for ruining the event. If I ran away, so much the better. All while my father was slowly dying in hospital, which he and his family knew. Not one of them held out a hand to me. They must have heard him shouting at me at 3 in the morning that I had contributed nothing financially to the marriage (a lie). And I carried on as best I could. I came so close to leaving and returning home on the second day. But I kept my head. I don’t know how and, in reality, I should have left and ended the marriage then, because the abuse without the affair was more than enough justification. He manipulated and planned his actions in a way that, looking back, was terrifying. I’m working through the trauma of that weekend in therapy. It happened 2.5 years ago! What I have learnt is never to underestimate the dysfunction of some people and to keep myself safe. His intentional behaviour drove me to the precipice. He knew what he was doing. In fact, I think his aim was my suicide and I don’t say that lightly. Every story I read here tells me that they all knew what they were doing. Breaking news on Christmas Day – it’s deliberate. It’s spiteful and intended to hurt, to ruin, to spoil. It’s a scorched earth policy.

  • The house we rented in Hawaii on a regular basis was finally available for Christmas. He was hesitant to pull the trigger after years of talking about wanting to come for Christmas? Huh? I got him to agree, thinking his hesitation was about the cost. (This man throws a fit if an expense is not his idea, whether it’s ten or a hundred or more dollars…).

    DDay was just before Thanksgiving that year.

    Then came the Fake Reconciliation period, which I now know was to Get Through the Holidays. I’m sure that was so he wouldn’t look like the AH he actually is.

    Then came the weirdest worst Christmas ever, crapping all over Christmas and years of what I thought were happy family memories at our Hawaiian paradise. I got a very expensive Hawaiian bracelet featuring the Mokulua Islands. It took me a few years to realize I actually bought it myself. We had gone to the jeweler in town during the trip. I picked it out. I had it engraved with the Hawaiian healing prayer (ho’oponopono). His only contribution was handing me the debit card from our bank account to make the purchase. I got him a piece of Japanese kintsugi, which he barely acknowledged and instantly forgot about. Oh, what a sentimental sappy chumpy chump I am.

    My daughter and I have plans to go back to “our” house in Hawaii and reclaim it.

    Christmas #4 without the fraudulent husband/dad this year. Better but I am still struggling with depression and anxiety and all those other fun CPTSD symptoms. I am GLAD to be divorced but the wound is not completely healed yet. It’s OK; I know these things take a very long time and may always hurt.

    Last year he told Dr. Kickass Co-Parent that Christmas was difficult for him and how Christmas was “really nice” when we were a family. Well, no it wasn’t because he was fake and phony and hiding a secret double life. I THOUGHT it was “really nice” before I found out he was Bernie Madoff’s long lost son.

    Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka and a big mahalo to Chump Nation.

    • When I read The Script by Elizabeth Landers, on their checklist (and he did every single thing on it) was The Expensive Gift. Enter Hawaiian bracelet.

      I got the bracelet back from the jeweler’s with the engraving the following February after he moved out (and unbeknownst to me, but as I suspected, into an apartment with the Craigslist Causal Encounters cockroach. Whom he also cheated on. Which I guess was my fault and because he was Unhappy For Years and Because of Our Marriage too).

      Someone told me to put it away, so I did.

      It took me from December 2017 to sometime in 2020 to realize I actually bought it for myself. I really looked at it as something he had given me when, as I said, all he did was take me to the jeweler’s and hand me the debit card to pay for it. There was no sentiment at all coming from him.

      There was NEVER any sentiment at all, ever, about anything, coming from him.

      I assigned it to him just because he was physically present.

      Denial is an amazing thing.

      • I get the CPTSD reactions to stuff and how it ruins stuff.

        It gets better story:

        While in Italy, I was chatting with the wife of the duo we travelled with. When telling her a story about a trip I went on with my D in 2009 (wreckonciliation era). FW had taken D to a US city on the other side of the country. Once there, he said a work thing came up and I either needed to get her or she would fly home alone. I flew out to meet her and we had a little fun before returning home together.

        As I told the story (with the newer understanding that FW was a serial cheater) I had a stark and sudden moment of realizing that the reason/excuse FW gave me in the moment was likely a lie and side-fucking was a possibility. (I had not yet precesses that particular experience with my newfound knowledge).

        I was able to get from Realization to Horror to Acceptance to What is For Lunch Here in Italy in about 45 seconds. For about 5 seconds, my eyes got really big and I told the lady what was in my head. We then picked up out coats and went out for a lovely lunch.

        The trauma was and is real but I have gotten to the point of working it through rather quickly with scant pain or emotional residue. (For me in the moment, part of that was revealing the truth to the other couple which was a little awkward but they were kind)

        • This. The sad experience of looking back over the long years of your marriage and finally figuring out what was really going on, literally for years, right under your nose because you loved and trusted and never questioned a FW. You lose your entire personal history. I struggle to find “safe” happy memories to recall.

          • Agreed, Whitecoatburnout. I have very little safe memories left which is why mirage over marriage seems so apropos. After DDay#1, when I was struggling to understand what was happening, I told him that our wedding day was the happiest day of my life and he told me that he never wanted to marry me, he had just gotten painted into a corner and everyone was expecting him to follow through and marry me but he was “this close” to running away and leaving me at the altar. But that would have devastated me so he powered through and married me anyway. What a noble knight he was. “Didn’t you ever question why I was sweating so much and was breaking out in hives?” he asked. “It was because I was so stressed about having to go through with the wedding. I didn’t even write my own vows like you did! I just copied mine from other poems.” The next question (as you likely correctly have already guessed) that came from me was a sobbed “Then why on earth did you marry me?!” followed by the explanation that “I was a fat kid my whole life and I thought you were very attractive and you liked the things I like. Therefore, I thought I would never do better, so I grabbed the opportunity.”

            I drove away from that meeting feeling like ten million pounds of garbage. I couldn’t even save the memories of getting married to him from being tainted. There are no good memories left now. Even the good ones have gone to rot. I’m with you on that, WCB. There’s vindication in hindsight but no safe space in memory.

            • I refuse to even try to wring out any good memories from that shitstorm.

              He also told me that he never wanted to marry me. He tried to “postpone” the wedding 2 weeks before citing a stupid reason and not owning his shit at all. Like you, I asked why he did it and he said he felt sorry for me. Asshole.

              I am sure that he thought himself noble for not leaving me at the altar. I have been so tempted to really wish that he had run off, but that would wish my kids away and I cant do that.

              So yes, even the good memories have gone to rot

              • Mine did the same. He never wanted to marry me, he just felt sorry for me. He actually hated me. And I was like “You sacrificed 20 years of your life to do a huge favor for someone you hated?” and he glared at me with his dead shark eyes like he was going to murder me so I shut up. But like seriously?

                Yeah, I have zero good memories of him. I’ve accepted it was all fake. Why someone would do that is beyond me but I don’t understand any of the other shit he does either so I don’t try to understand this.

          • Most memories are suspect.

            At least once a week (not every day, which is progress), a new crappy memory or realization (THAT’S where he was, dammit) bubbles up.

            Usually I can quash it. Not always.

      • Yes. I had read that book fir some reason years early and it’s echoes in his behaviour were what really woke mice up yo the shitstorm that was coming. Especially the accusations that I was being mean and crazy.

    • VH, your observation that FW had formerly been jazzed about that Christmas Hawaii trip only to, when the house came up for rent, become magically and mysteriously hesitant about it reminded me of one of my own red flags (maybe more of a yellow one) that I hadn’t processed until years later. We had always talked about one day being able to finally afford a house, having only rented places as a couple or a family. The year of my (first) discard, my parents forwarded a fantastic grant opportunity to me that would allow low-income earners like us to access a grant that would effectively pay for the entire downpayment on a modest home–*the entire downpayment*! What a gift! I kept showing him the forms we would have to fill out and the meetings we would have to attend in order to qualify but he was, to my surprise, absolutely against the idea: “It’s the wrong time to buy a house” or “I never wanted to buy a house with you” or “Getting saddled with a mortgage would be the worst thing we could do to ourselves” and finally (and angrily) “I am not applying for that grant; I do NOT want to buy a house. A mortgage is a ball and chain.” I was shocked. We had just had our second child; why wouldn’t he want a house for them to grow up in?

      I spackled by thinking that he had changed his mind because his parents never owned a home, he was also of the mind that owning a home was a bad move and that renting for the rest of your life was the way to go. I remembered feeling like I was caught between a rock and a hard place; my parents kept asking “Did you fill out the forms yet? Are you taking advantage of this program yet?” and my husband saying “We don’t want a house; we’ll never want a house.” He, of course (well, looking back now I can say “of course”) had a girlfriend/soulmate that he was making plans to live the rest of his life with; buying a home and moving in with his wife and children did not work with the new map he was drawing for himself.

      So, he told me he didn’t love me and never did. In a deep depression, I packed up the kids and moved into my parents’ house while he, a week later, moved his girlfriend into our old apartment. After I could feed myself and get off the floor without feeling like I wanted to die… well, I applied for that grant myself without his name on any of the forms. Just me. My children and I needed a place to live… and I was one of the applicants picked for the program!! So, at the lowest, most depressing, and absolutely poorest times of my life… I became a homeowner. It was a shack with a lot of problems, to be certain, but still… I became a homeowner! Truth really is stranger than fiction.

      Sorry to sidetrack, VH. Your observation on FW’s interest and then mysterious disinterest in the Hawaii trip, totally reminded me of my FW’s “I want a house” which turned into “I don’t want a house” once the house opportunity (and his girlfriend) became available.

      • Great outcome of your story! I’ve always wanted my kids to have a stable home, and real estate has been good for me, and my sons, as well. Kids need stability, and I’m sure there are other ways to give that, but I like home ownership ( if it’s possible for you, and I know it’s getting harder. My parents paid 17,000 for the house I grew up in!)

        • My parents paid the same in the early ’70s. It was our 1st home. My mother was heartsick when my father’s job transferred us out of state. Thx for stirring up a memory for me.

    • My cheater arrived home from his solo trip to Burning Man with a box of condoms in his bag. He tried to tell me he only brought them to gift to others, since BM is a gifting culture. He also mailed his leftover illegal drugs from this adventure to our home. He said it was no big deal because our kids were too young to open packages, and the USPS/DEA wouldn’t be able to trace them to him because he put a fake name on the package. This criminal mastermind was a public defender with a degree from Georgetown University.

  • Good Morning Newbies and welcome to Chump Nation!

    For the unacquainted, I am coming up on my 1st year anniversary D-Day, and while I technically didn’t have a clue of my freak’s double life until just after the holidays, and though she did deliver incredible pain to me last holiday as she made up some weird story and then disappeared for a week from Christmas to New Years so she could spend time with her Tru Wuv, I can tell you that the pain that came in January when her lie fell apart and the truth came out was absolutely devastating.
    Guess what? I made it a year through hell and thanks to Chump Lady and CN, I’m 6.5 days from Tuesday and awake and disgusted by my ex-Trash ( repulsive trash that she is ). My amazing mother also stood by me and constantly reminded me “ Let the gardener have that tramp “ ( my freak ran off with the gardener ) and when things were really bad for me and CL and CN did all they could, my amazing mother reminded me ( “ That Tramp wears shit stained thongs, she is dirty and ugly and you deserve better “ ).
    Here we are, almost a year out and I understand what happiness feels like and what trash is.
    You got this! If I can make it a year, so can you. There is nothing, nothing redeeming about your freak. They truly suck and are trash. One day at a time. Work on you. No contact. I am really looking forward to this holiday even though I’m all alone because I’m free of trash.
    Happy Holidays. No contact. Remember they suck.

  • My DDay was the day after Thanksgiving break. We had gone on vacation with a group of friends for Thanksgiving and found out on the Monday. She acted all loving on the vacation. So when Thanksgiving is coming up I get all sad.

  • The first Christmas he wasn’t with me and our three adult kids was a very bizarre one for all of us. ( he had filed for divorce in Nov which I did not know about yet and was living full time with his mistress, the kids were just learning about his ongoing double and triple lives. He has been very highly respected and admired and loved by them right up to this moment, so it was a massively shocking reveal for everyone.
    My children had not had any time at all to process this. )
    Christmas had been a fun family togetherness time forever and we always made it really festive, with many traditions. It was magical and much anticipated.
    We lived far away from extended family, so Christmas was always just the five of us and we had some great memorable ones.
    So this year, I was with my kids at my daughter’s house, all of us stranged out by what was happening and pretty much still in shock that it was even a real event!
    Then the kids received a crackers and cheese basket signed from him and his mistress, wishing them a merry Christmas!!
    We all couldn’t process that at all, so they just quietly moved the untouched basket to another room in the house and we continued loving one another and celebrating our time together, ignoring the unreal cold gesture as much as was humanly possible. ( the elephant in the room)
    I think that was everyone’s ‘aha’ moment that their father had mentally slid off some deep soulless cliff and he was truly gone to all of us and on to his new perfect life in someone else’s family now. He was gone.
    It’s really a lot to digest when you thought you had the best family on earth and we all felt that way.( except their dad I guess, but he hid it well from us)
    I think there was a simultaneous shocked “ wow!!!” when we all saw the basket.
    I realized then that he cared about as much for them as he did for me, not at all.
    It made me so sad to know that was true.
    Don’t hurt my kids you unconscious selfish FW!
    He was fully off line and we all knew for the first time that our family went down to a count of four that day.
    It was painful for everyone, we all tried to stay upbeat for one another.
    What a tremendous loss for him to never know or care what he just had thrown out of his life.
    A totally incomprehensible experience. As long as I live, I will never understand.
    But I see over and over again in CN here that my family is not alone with this, that this is who they really are, just not fixable complete humans I guess.
    That hurt a great deal that day, still hurts four years later recalling it.
    My kids are priceless gifts.
    I thank my lucky stars every day that they are such a wonderful part of my life and journey.
    They are my world and they can never wear out my love and I know they would say the same to me.
    I have a great deal of gratitude. We will celebrate together again this year and it will be awesome once more.

    • So vividly well-written C45. I feel like I was in the room with all of you, looking at that stupid basket of cheese and crackers and numbly mouthing the word “…wow.”

      The first present I got from FW after he left and moved in with his mistress was a birthday present. It was a card, signed by him. I stared at it numbly, alone in my house, and had the same “I’m having trouble processing this”/”…wow” moment. FW had always prided himself on giving gifts and always downplayed cards as “something you get when you can’t think of what else to get” or “cards are for co-workers you like well enough but don’t know very well.”

      And there I was on my first birthday without him looking at a card that had his name signed on the bottom. No “to” or “from” or any other message of any kind. I would have rather he had gotten me nothing at all.

      I hope that stupid cheese and crackers basket hit the bottom of the bin later.

      • My 60th was 4 months after the dumping but only 2 months after I discovered the long-standing affair with exgfOW. Several days before my birthday I received a birthday card addressed to me using only my first name (thus removing my full identity). The message inside encouraged me to contact him as we had things we needed to discuss. I filed it away for the lawyer. On my birthday I received a tantrum text accusing me of not getting in contact with him. Just one of the many examples of his deliberate actions in seeking to spoil every key date in my life. Even my birthday, an event which was commemorated long before I met that toerag. I’m currently lounging in my warm, cosy bedroom with a cup of tea and my puppy. If I was still with the toerag he’d be snoring here, hungover having entered ‘December, all you can drink’ month. My life is much cleaner, less poisonous, without him.

    • OMG, he sent your adult kids a hostess gift and signed it from him and his whore! The way some of these FW’s discard the kids is honestly more hurtful that what they have done to us. My ex sends gift cards only to his 2 biological children every couple of years on their birthdays with what we call Facebook birthday wishes – empty and soulless. My oldest daughter – who we raised together for 20 years, (she was 4 when we married, called him dad and had no memory of life without him) has been ignored since the divorce was final – four years running to date. Even if I could forgive him for what he did to me, I could never ever forgive him for what he has done to the kids.

      • Oh, Chumperella, my heart bleeds for your daughter. I hate your asshole ex for that— what a supremely hurtful thing to do.

        May the worst things in life befall him!

  • Cheater went to a Christmas choir concert in a church sat between his howorker AND her HUSBAND.

    Turns out schmoopie is in an open marriage and everyone was super cool with the extracurricular humping. Her, her husband, my husband, and a few other “boyfriends”. Everyone except me, the unknowing
    Chump who’s just too old fashioned to ever understand such a modern and enlightened arrangement.

    In a church. At Christmas. How they didn’t all burst into flame I’ll never understand.

    • This is why I maintain that most polyamorous people are immoral abusers and just all around bad people. The decent people in that lifestyle are just people being abused. No decent person would be cool with him doing that to you. A decent human would find someone else to screw if screwing was really so important to them.

      My ex has a ton of poly friends. He’s big into the poly community in two different cities. They all think it’s super cool and good, sexy fun that he attempted to destroy me and drive me to suicide. They’re bad people.

      • Thank you. I’m tired of people shoving poly in my face and accusing me of “discrimination” when I call a spade a spade.

        I must’ve met a hundred of these people by now (spent a lot of time in cities where it’s popular), and I have yet to see a poly relationship that didn’t have cheating and abuse. Even the people who swore they were the unicorns making it work ended up getting divorced.

        Another thing that doesn’t get talked about enough is how poly people view any single woman as fair game. I thought I was the only one dealing with this until numerous other women started complaining to me about the sexual harassment they’ve endured even in places they thought they were safe like business conferences or married friends.

        It’s so bad that all of these women (including myself) won’t even be friends with poly people. You can’t. It’s only a matter of time before they harass you. It’s like a cult.

        • Yes, the abuse is real within some of those relationships too.

          They have a kid, schmoopie had my x babysit while she went out on dates with her husband so they could “re-bond”. X would be “working late or out with friends to watch the game” on those nights. The same excuses were given on his special days to screw her.

          Her husband doesn’t partake of the deal (xtra relationships for him) and runs around doing everything to please her while she has 2 or 3 other guys running at a time.

          I see it as the pick me dance it is now. I feel a little badly for him but at the same time he lets it all happen.

          • I have an acquaintance who posts about two things on social media: his poly lifestyle and his financial hardships.

            Like, dude is always saying he and his kids are about to be homeless and is chronically underemployed.

            But he always seems to have time to fuck a stable of strange and preen about how enlightened he is for being poly.

            And yes, his children are old enough and savvy enough to find a read about his extracurricular sex unless he’s locked down who can view his posts.

  • I discovered the affair on January 23, 2000. He was being so cruel and I couldn’t understand why, so the Christmas before I told him all I wanted from him for Christmas was a list of 10 things he liked about me. I look back on that now and think how pitiful that was. The things he came up with were so shallow and stupid. I couldn’t figure out what had happened; his behavior had changed so completely in the previous year and a half. Second d-day was the following June which is when I kicked him out.

    My life is great now. Have been remarried for 18 years to a wonderful man with a fantastic family that I call my own. I come here to offer encouragement to all the newbies who are in the worst pain anyone can imagine. There are few things in life more painful than betrayal and all of the abuse and gaslighting that goes along with it. It changes you and all of your relationships forever. I have become much more self-protective and careful about whom I let into my life and heart. I think that is a good thing, since we chumps tend to be too kind to and trusting of others before we know they are worthy of it.

    • Thank you, Wiser Now. Horrible how the supreme betrayal and devastation leave a permanent mark and destroy our innocence, isn’t it? You are very generous to continue boosting the morale of the newly-chumped and to give such an inspiring message of successful survival.

  • Ah, yes. Final December before dday.

    Ex asked to borrow all of my Christmas dishes, because in the other state where we had our main client and he bought a house “for business purposes” (i.e. a really nice place in which to shack up with the affair partner), he was hosting a Christmas party. Private chef, fancy dinner, festive china would be required. So, even though I knew by then, I packed everything neatly, carried the boxes up for him, and carried on with my life.

    That life included doing all of the decorating, shopping, and wrapping. It also included hosting the traditional family “girls day out with dad” alone, because of course the ex had obligations with his girlfriend.

    As had become usual by then, he showed up late on Christmas Eve, bitched about my extravagance, then did the “look at the fantastic life I have provided you” thing all day on Christmas, after which he melted back into affair land.

    In addition to the usual ugly pajamas and sweaters (suitable for a centenarian, maybe, but only if she were feeling even older), the idiot gave me a diamond crucifix that year. A license plate frame or a vacuum cleaner would have been far preferable, because here we had a tiny, ridiculously pricey symbol of something that he could never even begin to grasp, value, or care about at all. I always think of that crucifix as the perfect embodiment of him: missing what matters in favor of showy, expensive glitz designed to impress, and not even to impress the recipient, but to display a nonexistent generosity to some vague group of others who always matter most.

    Every Christmas thereafter has been as harried as usual, of course, but sweet, peaceful, and entirely free of lies, hate, and fulminating discontent.

    Over the last year, the idiot has had a child (always a good plan at 60), married (yup, in that order), beaten up my son (who is finally zero contact as a result), and weirdly bomb armed my daughter (also zero contact at the moment) with photos: of his pathetic holiday dinner, of me holding a turkey on a platter early in that marriage, of the holiday tables I set, and most recently of our wedding, which is what prompted the block, because that’s some “this is a dangerous person” level stuff. Who sits at home with the new wife and infant flipping through old albums and taking phone pics of the family he nuked, and then sending those pics to the daughter he replaced with a new baby that he gave nearly the identical name?

    There’s a level of disturbance there that is well gone.

    Still in court, because ex is one of those, but that little trickle of relief that was there even in the most crushing moments of revelation has grown into the wide and peaceful river whose banks I happily wander in every season.

    Freedom from all of that madness is life itself, and zero contact is absolutely the key, so for those still the midst of the worst, I urge you to minimize contact if you must have some, and to cut it off entirely the minute that is possible. Ah, yes. Final December before dday.

    Ex asked to borrow all of my Christmas dishes, because in the other state where we had our main client and he bought a house “for business purposes” (i.e. a really nice place in which to shack up with the affair partner), he was hosting a Christmas party. Private chef, fancy dinner, festive china would be required. So, even though I knew by then, I packed everything neatly, carried the boxes up for him, and carried on with my life.

    That life included doing all of the decorating, shopping, and wrapping. It also included hosting the traditional family “girls day out with dad” alone, because of course the ex had obligations with his girlfriend.

    As had become usual by then, he showed up late on Christmas Eve, bitched about my extravagance, then did the “look at the fantastic life I have provided you” thing all day on Christmas, after which he melted back into affair land.

    In addition to the usual ugly pajamas and sweaters (suitable for a centenarian, maybe, but only if she were feeling even older), the idiot gave me a diamond crucifix that year. A license plate frame or a vacuum cleaner would have been far preferable, because here we had a tiny, ridiculously pricey symbol of something that he could never even begin to grasp, value, or care about at all. I always think of that crucifix as the perfect embodiment of him: missing what matters in favor of showy, expensive glitz designed to impress, and not even to impress the recipient, but to display a nonexistent generosity to some vague group of others who always matter most.

    Every Christmas thereafter has been as harried as usual, of course, but sweet, peaceful, and entirely free of lies, hate, and fulminating discontent.

    Over the last year, the idiot has had a child (always a good plan at 60), married (yup, in that order), beaten up my son (who is finally zero contact as a result), and weirdly bomb armed my daughter (also zero contact at the moment) with photos: of his pathetic holiday dinner, of me holding a turkey on a platter early in that marriage, of the holiday tables I set, and most recently of our wedding, which is what prompted the block, because that’s some “this is a dangerous person” level stuff. Who sits at home with the new wife and infant flipping through old albums and taking phone pics of the family he nuked, and then sending those pics to the daughter he replaced with a new baby that he gave nearly the identical name?

    There’s a level of disturbance there that is well gone.

    Still in court, because ex is one of those, but that little trickle of relief that was there even in the most crushing moments of revelation has grown into the wide and peaceful river whose banks I happily wander in every season.

    Freedom from all of that madness is life itself, and zero contact is absolutely the key, so for those still the midst of the worst, I urge you to minimize contact if you must have some, and to cut it off entirely the minute that is possible.

    • I sometimes think it’s cruel for women to get pregnant by men 60 and older. They’re kind of damning their child to be traumatized by the death of their father when they are kids.

      I have a friend who is much younger than I am who just lost her elderly father. She has three children under the age of 10. She is the product of her dad’s second marriage to a much younger woman. (I was only in her father’s presence twice, and both times he thought it was charming to make racist remarks in a diverse group of people.)

      But maybe that’s too judgmental of me.

  • My BD was mid August when he told me in the middle of my daughter’s sleepover birthday party. However, we did some MC ( huge mistake ) and I was still living in the rectory because …chump.

    Christmas morning x had a huge grinchy grin on his face as my children opened their presents. He was excited as he announce to the kids that this would be the last Christmas together as a family !!! And he was visibly happy about it.

    Shortly after this he went to give the Christmas sermon at our Church.

    We had just told the children a few days before. It was horrible.

    Re-claiming Christmas has been a huge win for me. His dreams of a blended family with MOW’s ( now wife ) kids is just a dream. They were so selfish and entitled that the kids show up as briefly as possible or not at all for the big day.

    • There is a special place in hell for a minister who do what he did on 1 of the 2 most sacred days of the Christian calendar. Although, I think all cheaters will have a special place there, your ex will be in the 7th and bottom circle of hell.

    • “Christmas morning x had a huge grinchy grin on his face as my children opened their presents. He was excited as he announce to the kids that this would be the last Christmas together as a family !!! And he was visibly happy about it.”

      Im sure I heard you tell this story shortly after it happened, but it still never ceases to shock me…what a fucked-up thing to do. It reminds me of how my FW had convinced himself that the kids would be SO HAPPY having 2 families instead of one. He had a friend this happened to and FW used it as an object lesson because his friend was “so happy”. Uh, no, this friend is a wildly fucked up mess (then and now) and it still gobsmacks me to this day that both of our FWs used such awful excuses to justify their treachery.

      • “I’ve scripted out an entirely new life for us all! Isn’t that wonderful? Why are you crying? *Why are you crying*? You just don’t want me to be happy, that’s it!” Ah yes, I had that conversation with my FW too.

      • They’ve always ‘got a friend’. The ex described his friend (I never liked him and now laugh about the fact that he is a far more successful lawyer than the ex and got promoted over the ex’s head at the law firm where they met). His friend and his wife had been separated for 3 years, he said. But they continued to live happily together, with their little 7 year old twins who they worked so hard to conceive, being ‘oblivious’. They bought property together. They each had new, long-distance partners (exgfOW was, coincidentally, also long distance). They were so sophisticated, so urbane, so civilised. It was nonsense, of course. This friend was a great enabler for the ex. He and his wife (no idea whether they are divorced) were profoundly dysfunctional, messed up people. Every man and woman admired by the ex was a drinker and a cheater. He had no respect or time for decent, kind people. They were ‘boring’. I knew this at the time but pushed the thought down. It takes a lot of salt baths to get that level of toxicity out of my system.

    • >Christmas morning x had a huge grinchy grin on his face as my children opened their presents. He was excited as he announce to the kids that this would be the last Christmas together as a family !!! And he was visibly happy about it.

      This is one of the worst things I’ve ever read on this site. My god.

      There’s a special place in hell for this guy.

  • Trust in Karma – she takes her time, but she always gets the job done.

    I filed for divorce in January, without telling him I was going to do so; he found out when the papers were served on him by a sheriff on Valentine’s day, lol! After he dragged his feet in the divorce process (costing us both a fortune unnecessarily) the final divorce decree came through *on his birthday*.

    Totally made up for all the Valentine’s and birthday gifts I never got! 🙂

    • “Trust in Karma – she takes her time, but she always gets the job done”

      Yes she certainly does…it may not appear to affect narcissists and sociopaths as some react differently to devastation. Mostly they just move on to let someone else clean up the mess but they are black holes so misery is a constant.

  • Yup mine 2016 two weeks before Christmas and the other woman moved into my home while my ex husband claimed child abuse charges against me!????

  • My DDays were not on holidays but the FW never failed to complain about holidays. Christmas was always the litany of what horrible gifts gave to him and how he hated the holidays and the religious aspects of them. Of course since Schmoopie, he has turned into a different person in terms of religion and gift giving. She is just perfect and my son and I just never knew the real him. This year I gave him the gift he probably always wanted (and well ahead of time too)- divorce papers.
    We are in the midst of trying to settle and FW had a sad because he thought he would get 95% of assets. He needs them for his 32 years younger Schmoopie. Even his lawyer told him that he was not going to get what he wants. Alas, his holiday will be sad this year . My usual gift was cash thrown into a plain envelope for the majority of Christmasses.

  • Dday for me was a couple weeks before thanksgiving 2016 after 20 years of marriage. I was a total mess at that time. I could barely get out of bed and barely functioned. I was being totally gaslit, played by the cheater and I fell for it all. I was so confused, scared and heartbroken. My now XH had moved in with his sister at this time. She lived 2 blocks from us. The AP Was the neighbor directly behind us. So that was an interesting dynamic to start with. Christmas Eve came around and I had no where to go. (No kids and very small family). Cheater was spending Christmas Eve with neighbor/girlfriend and her children and I was 500 feet away in the house we shared for 20 years not able to even get out of bed. It was awful

    • So sorry, I had a neighbor-f***er too. He would sit in her front window, that faced our house, and drink and carry on with her. What the hell is wrong with these weirdos?

      • The ex’s girlfriend lived across the street from our house. She was happy to tell me that they would have sex standing in her bedroom window overlooking our patio while I was home and sitting out there.
        I consider this type of behavior (which included them having sex in our bed and throughout our house) to be an act of aggression.
        WTF is wrong with these people? Isn’t it hurtful enough to be effing around? Why the extra “effort” to really grind it in your face that they have zero love or respect for the person who loved them?

        • I sometimes wonder if this is fucked-up issues with authority/parents — like, some people hate bosses simply by virtue of the person being a boss. They need the job, they say yes to the job, but in their hearts they’re just taking what they can get and resent being told what to do. It seems like these people feel that way about marriage: they go into it saying what they’re supposed to say during the interview/love-bombing/dating stage, and then once it’s about responsibility, they let out their loathing for the person who they see as some kind of killjoy boss/parent who “makes them feel” like they “have to” do stuff (like loyalty).

        • They definitely are cluster B fuckhe*#s. The only thing about the situation with it being the neighbor is if they screwed in my house/bed. I know they were screwing in my garage while I was sleeping so I guess its very plausible that the did it in my bed when I was away????????‍♀️????????‍♀️

  • It really is striking how the holidays seem to bring about DDays. After 10 years in grad school and post-doc, I was looking forward to the first holiday season with a real job making decent money. I thought our life together was finally getting out from under all that stress. One day, the week of Thanksgiving, I came home from work for XW to tell me that she had taken our 3 sons that day to pick up one of her friends (that I don’t think she had seen in 15 years) to take him to his work because his car was in the shop. Makes sense that someone you hadn’t seen in years would call you to help him out, right? Red flag thrown for sure with that one.

    On Thanksgiving day, she gushed to her family about seeing him, and Saturday after Thanksgiving she texted me to say that she has to stop at his workplace (he owns an auto body shop) on the way home from a hair appointment because he made her a customized thermal cup as a thank you. She got very defensive when I questioned a single man gifting a married woman something he made as a thank you for a relatively inconsequential favor. My gut was screaming at me by then, and the time leading up to Christmas was unsettled to say the least as XW seemed very angry much of the time.

    We finally make it through Christmas with her bad attitude even as the kids tore open presents on Christmas morning. The week after Christmas she spent a couple of nights out with ‘the girls from work’, including New Year’s Eve, while I stayed home with our boys. I guess by mid January, XW had finally decided that she had shown enough respect for the holiday season and told me by text message while I was at work that she wanted a divorce. This was the day before our youngest’s 1st birthday party. I spun out for another couple weeks smoking the hopium until I finally got the proof I needed when I saw her car in OM’s driveway.

    That was 4 years ago. I really enjoy the entire holiday season, so I think I’m lucky that I’m able to look back at that one year as a blip rather than let it destroy my enjoyment in succeeding years. My oldest son (14) gets in on the holiday magic-making for the littles, there’s no more unspoken but obvious resentment from XW for having to share some holidays with my family rather than only seeing hers, and everything is just peaceful and joyous despite how busy it can get. For all the newbie chumps struggling through this holiday, it gets better. You’ll be joyous again.

    • “She got very defensive when I questioned a single man gifting a married woman something he made as a thank you for a relatively inconsequential favor. My gut was screaming at me by then, and the time leading up to Christmas was unsettled to say the least as XW seemed very angry much of the time.”

      So familiar. Every time I dared to venture to my husband that I was uncomfortable with him spending evenings (and evenings and evenings and sometimes nights) away from his wife and children to spend time with just-a-friend (GF#3/Wifetress) I got some very angry rebuttals which always boiled down to “You just don’t want me to have any friends, is that it? I should only hang out with you, huh?” Heaven help me if I pointed out that, with his track record of affairs, maybe he shouldn’t hang out so much with the same girl repeatedly in the evenings because it always netted me the same response: “This marriage will never work if you don’t trust me and there is a decided lack of trust on your part. It’s insulting that you can’t let go of the past.”

      My gut was also screaming at me only by this point in the rodeo I didn’t suspect. I knew. He packed up his suitcases and left to live in her house a few months later and had the temerity to cling to his paper-thin lies. “She’s just-a-friend and you can’t make a marriage work because you don’t trust me.” As he was moving out. GF#3 didn’t want to play that game and made them “Facebook Official” shortly after he moved in. He sheepishly told me, later on, that “she wasn’t supposed to announce that yet; she did that without telling me she was going to do it.”

      I’m glad you’re enjoying your holiday season Chumpity. It gets better and better the more a FW recedes into the rearview mirror.

    • Your story reminds me there are stages when one is engaging in an affair. The initial stage is the cheater is very happy and nice, second stage they are disappearing and become defensive and then there is the everything about the chump annoys them and pisses them off. Towards the last stage they are extremely short tempered and resent their family. I think a Friday, stages of the affair (or whatever you want to call it) would be interesting.

      • I’ve never read anything that so accurately describe the stages of the affair. These are the exact stages of ex’s behavior before final discard. Initial stage, happy and nice, reminded me of a teenager in love…, then disappearing and defensive, third stage, I felt like an annoyance, the fourth, short tempered, he’d go into unprovoked rages over something insignificant. I remember asking ex how his Mom was feeling after a visit with her (I don’t think it was his Mom he was visiting) ex became enraged, calling me names, I thought he was going to strangle me, he said he wanted to but I wasn’t worth it..?
        To outsiders he’s the perfect gentleman and he has people believing he’s such a great guy.
        It’s infuriating.

      • I think so, and I think it also applies to serial cheaters. They stay nice and good, as long as they are going from one strange p to another, then they get attached to one, or get caught in a net by one and the next three stages come in pretty rapid succession.

  • My D Day wasn’t at Christmas but on holiday in a foreign country . He just sat there shrugging and laughing at me .

    He left me in that country by myself . He went back to the hotel room after telling me and showing me how in love he was with Ho worker and emptied the safe including my passport so I couldn’t get home . He never left me 1 penny so I could even buy a bottle of water

    He wouldn’t answer his phone , never replied to a text . The receptionist at the hotel had to give me food and water . She also had to translate to the police my husband took my passport and I couldn’t get out of the country

    I’ve still never heard from him since that day . Never even turned up to get divorced ????‍♀️

    • And THIS is the guy you think you miss (on occasion)????? But I still crack up about your friends offering to tell the customs officers that “it really was you” if they questioned why you didn’t have a passport!!! You have good mates – and new wifey can now cut his toenails!

      • That was honestly the funniest thing ????

        Wasn’t at the time right enough but when they said we can get you a flight to London and we will drive down to get you . I said but I don’t have a passport I can’t get on any plane Mel pipes up and said but I’ll tell them it’s really you ????

        Oh ok that will work !

        Can I have your passport please

        I don’t have one , I found out my husband is having an affair and he’s left me in this country and took my passport , I don’t have a bank card or a key for my own house he’s taken everything , but if you could phone my mate Mel she’ll vouch for me ????????????

    • I have no words to describe how awful your ex is. Here’s hoping the reason you haven’t heard back from him is because he’s rotting in a ditch somewhere. I believe you can divorce him in absentia if he fails to reappear within a certain time period.

      • No I got divorced very soon after D Day on grounds of adultery ( she was pregnant with my husbands baby so not difficult to prove)

        But he had to attend court to defend the motion and put in a formal lodging of agree or disagree but he simply never turned up . The judge asked his lawyer “ where is your client ? “ She said I’m not sure your honour

        Divorce granted on grounds of adultery . I think I proved my point ????

      • Agree. Shocking. And scary. The reason (along with being 61) why I will never date again. Also why I struggle with ‘their karma is having to live with themselves’. They don’t care about having to live with themselves. The ex was entirely comfortable with who he is. I was ‘too altruistic’. People are kind ‘only because they get something back in return’. Being kind is ‘selfish’. He believed this to an extreme. ????

        • The irony of his belief – selfishness is taking without giving back. True kindness is giving without expecting to get anything in return.

  • Not Christmas time… but at the end of June 2015 my son was 9 years old at the time and LIVED for summer vacation! He was so excited that school was over and summer!!! And we were all looking forward to our 4th of July trip to a big party at a friend’s lake house and big beach vacation the following month!

    Instead, a few days after school was out, asshat FW walked out on us and moved in with his coworker and her 2 boys. He even took his “new family” on a 4th of July trip. Blindsided us both and my sweet happy son was so traumatized he cried every night for a month and learned what it’s like to go to therapy.

    FWs are abusive pieces of shit

    • I hate so much that asshat FW did this. It kills me to hear about our kids being traumatized! Hugs to you and to your son, Michelle. Sometimes childhood trauma can help shape sensitive, emotionally healthy teenagers. Hope that’s the case here.

  • Yup I got discarded on November 28, 2019. He must have had a brief panic attack because he wrote me a letter saying he regretted everything he said 3 days later. I proceeded to pick me dance until D-Day (January 27, 2020) when I finally understood what happened (that there was an OW). It is a mark of how trusting we are as chumps. I could tell something was clearly wrong since July 2019 but I could not place my finger on it. He literally had to spell it out for me. I am a trusting chump but I also have a scientific mind. It took a lightening of 2 seconds for me to make up for 6 months of oblivious trusting chumpness.

    I went NC on January 29, 2020. I only broke NC once this month, when I realized my tablet was still logged on to his amazon account and I had accidentally purchased something with his money.
    We don’t have kids so it makes everything much easier, I suppose… Although to be fair, at the time of the discard, all I remember thinking was “I got at least a kid out of it”

  • Present one year: a Swiss army knife and a bush hat to cut the grass with. I still have the hat and the knife is so practical…to open packages, clean fingernails, and the scissors is the best for embroidery! Still cut my own grass and have saved thousands on landscaping! Of course the landscapers around here give me stink eye in the summer but I’m single, pay my own way and could care less about peoples games and egos.

    • I LOVE my Swiss army knife. Have had one on me for over 40 years – but seriously, the tweezers and the corkscrew have got to be the best bits?????? My son was married, until recently, to a Swiss girl and he used to crack her family up about how the Swiss Army captain would walk up and down the ranks saying “now men, I’m going to show you how to crack open a bottle of Chardonnay”!

    • My last pre-dday birthday present from FW was a nice leatherman knife. I got rid of it when I left and recently re-purchased the exact same one. I have purged nearly every item that sociopath ever gave me.

      • Isn’t it great to deep-six tainted gifts and their associations? One of my happiest days was when I got rid of all the really dumb presents exH got me, such as the item NEXT to the one I had actually pointed out in the antique shop. Mind-boggling how many times he did that, hence my receiving FOR YEARS items I never wanted. Still not sure if he was just really, really stupid or if he was doing it intentionally, since he also gave our daughter the same exact earrings THREE times. It’s all definitely in my rear-view mirror, so it’s only a minor quirk now, another pebble tipping the scales over to the “thank god I’m free” side.

  • My D-Day was the day before my birthday. He told me he wanted a divorce, in the middle of watching a movie. No explanation. It was October. He said he would leave after the holidays because he wanted to spend them with the kids. I was in such a daze I didn’t know why he was doing that. I still had to go through the moves going to Thanksgiving at his parents, preparing Christmas for the kids (by myself as usual) so that he could enjoy it. All the while I knew he was going to shatter my little kids’ world on January 1st and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The whole time he refused to give me any explanation. Thankfully it was during one of many sleepless nights during that time that I found Chump Lady and CN and things started to get back into focus.

    4 years later I am finally divorced. FW slowed down the divorce process every single step of the way, even though that’s what he wanted… who would have thunk? The last 3 Christmas’ were undoubtedly better than the 10 before that. Keep at it new chumps, it gets waaay better.

    • “I still had to go through the moves going to Thanksgiving at his parents, preparing Christmas for the kids (by myself as usual) so that he could enjoy it. ”

      Why do us chumps do this. I did it too. Asshole was treating me like shit, and though Dday was not until Christmas day I knew something was terribly wrong. Yet I let him tell me the we would go on a family trip for Christmas. After we got back I was miserable, I wanted to cancel our New Years plans with friends, he said no; I don’t want to ruin their NYs. I went along. And I had no kids at home to worry about.

      What I should have said was “Go to hell you asshole” “you want to take a Christmas trip, go for it” And I should have called those friends (they had no idea) and said “hey asshole is cheating on me and I am kind of falling apart here, so gonna have to cancel new years eve”.

      But no I pick me danced my way through it all, until he decided 2 Jan was the day he would move out.

      • Why do we Chumps go through this? It’s a good question. I know that it didn’t start that bad. It happened gradually, with more and more put downs, and me trying to get everything right for someone who was never satisfied. For me it was the end of a long year of brutally confusing discard. I was in shock and not recognizing the person I was living with, holding on to some semblance of normalcy for dear life and trying to shield my kids who were too young to understand but old enough to get really hurt.

        When I was ready to admit to myself that The asshat was living with OW and had had a relationship with her for probably years it didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was that I had realized how badly I had been treated for years and that’s the main reason I filed for divorce. I didn’t need to find any proof of an affair even though I had plenty by then. I never wanted to be treated that way again, especially not in front of my kids. I just had to wake up and go no contact to start getting better.

  • Mother’s Day Eve, 2015. A day that will live in infamy. After years of being treated like crap and months of it ramping up and getting worse, I did some detective work and discovered suspicious emails in an old joint email account. Googled the OW’s address, drove over, knocked on the door and found out she was introducing my husband to her parents. I was asked to leave and then to keep my mouth shut at Mother’s Day brunch the next day with both of our mother’s there. Some how, I stayed classy. Barf….

  • Wow. I just don’t understand behavior like that. OK, he is going to betray you and upend your life (for whatever reason is totally justifiable to him), but taking the passport is just petty. Needlessly mean – like mean just for the sake of being mean, not because it actually does him any good. As they say, your XH is a real four-letter man.

    At least my XW never does anything just to be mean. She would betray and destroy me if it advanced some personal goal, but she won’t do it for no reason. To be fair to her, I doubt this oversight is due to any character issues: she is a very busy person and probably just doesn’t have the time and energy for it.

  • I am embarrassed to say that I think I probably had 4 or 5 D-days. The last two were around the holidays. I found out he had been on every dating site known to mankind and screwing many APs on his lunch breaks while I was 7 months pregnant. That D-day was on the evening of December 6 – St. Nick’s Day – which my Catholic family has always celebrated. I remember that day now as the day I stopped loving FW. As CL said yesterday, anyone who can do that while you are carrying their child has an elevator shaft where their soul should be. But whatever lingering hope I had that I could continue married to klootzak was over. From that moment, I focused on caring for my child and setting up to get out as soon as I could.

    From that day, I asked myself if I would stay until kiddo went to college. I knew the answer was no. Could I wait until he was 12 and able to maybe have a say in who he wanted to be with? I thought it unlikely. I knew I needed kiddo to be in school and I had to get back into a solid job to take care of us. Then when my son was 2, in December that year, I found a huge box with tons of individually wrapped presents for schmoopie and her kids. I nearly threw up. All I could think was, what if our son had found them? I confronted klootzak and told him that if his alleged sexual addiction was not under control, I was not sleeping with him. Period. He said he heard maybe his hormones would settle down as he got older. Oh great, I thought. I’m giving up my good years waiting to get his old leftovers?

    A year later I was employed, but part time. Klootzak ran off out of state to hook up right after Christmas and didn’t come back until after New Year. On January 3, 2020, he announced he wanted to take a job hours away, move us to the other end of the state and that then he wanted me to find a place to live and move out. He said he wanted to show our son was a good, loving relationship looks like. So rather than stop fucking around and try to build such a thing with his wife, he likely had it has an AP lined up. I said I needed to think. I lied and said I didn’t want a divorce. And I immediately went into action researching attorneys, divorce laws in my state, etc. I made my list of ducks to line up, bought a burner phone, and started rolling.

    Now he has been spending a lot of time trying to position himself in that far away city. He may even have an offer. And when he announces he is taking a job there, I am filing and serving him so he can’t take our child away. HE can go find his own place to live. We are not uprooting ourselves so he can be closer to AP. So if he announces this crap at Christmas this year, he is going to be in for quite the surprise.

    • DO NOT agree to move.

      Divorce is hard enough in a familiar place where you have friends and support. You do not want to try it completely on your own.

      • I know! My attorney said do not move. The cost of living here is so much better and we have all of my son’a friends, his godparents, his private swim coach he has had since he was 3, his best friend up the street (and that kid’s mama who is one of my best friends)…. Nope. Not moving. Suck it, klootzak.

        One issue has been that if klootzak doesn’t leave of his own will, the courts here won’t force him out unless there is domestic violence. Once he leaves and takes a job elsewhere, it is clear he does not want the house and can’t argue that I should not be able to buy out his half and keep it. Attorney said unless you are at risk of harm, ride it out. Stay. If you think he will go, hang in there. So I am. And it looks like it will be happening soon.

        I hope he announces at Christmas dinner that “we” are moving. Yippee-ki-yay, mother fucker, no WE are not! I might be the only chump to give a FW a D-day story. BWAHAHAHAHA

        • The best outcome would be for him to move with the expectation you would join him. And then you decide not to go. He’s left you, the house and kids, which puts you in a much better position custody-wise. Talk to a lawyer, and probably don’t put anything in writing (you don’t want to seem to be acting in bad faith), but I would be very surprised is a judge told you you’re not allowed to change your mind. If the kids have roots in the community, that’s likely to be the deciding factor if you and STBX are going back and forth about where’s the best place for the kids.

          (If I had just known a few weeks earlier, I would have been in this position because XW moved ahead of the rest of the family for her job. Unfortunately, she kept me in the dark *just* long enough so I missed the window, legally speaking. The funny thing is, XW wanted out of the marriage asap but couldn’t even file for 6 months because we hadn’t been in the state long enough to establish residency).

        • Be sure to change the locks the minute he is moved out, even if it is just his basics. Once he moves into another living quarters you should be able to change the locks. You don’t want him to sneak back into town while you are at work and raid the house. Ask your attorney when you can change the locks.

  • My DDay was Dec 15th. As you said, they get sloppy this time of year, and his sneaking around had turned into a sex craze that was hard to ignore. For his boss too, since she was the receptionist and they made work their main hookup spot.

    I kicked his a** out as soon as I found out and he was fired for sexual misconduct the next week. So cheers and karma to him.

    I was in a daze, but did what I could to focus on the kids and give them a decent holiday. Not much had been done since grumpy pants had refused to do anything other than park it in the living room to sext on his phone and start day drinking. Oh the signs I didn’t see but instead tried to help the poor sad pants. My brother showed up with an Xmas tree, my family rallied around us, and we somehow made it through.

    Life is much lighter now without that grumpy man, who was a dead weight dragging me down. I would have never considered a divorce, but kept pouring my all into him and his career. I’m free of that now and focus on myself. The days of being a single mom are long, but I got what mattered out of the divorce – the kids and the house I bought pre-marriage for our stable home. And I’m free of his horrible family, who made every holiday difficult.

    The first couple of holidays after could be sad and awkward, but I focused on creating holiday traditions and memories with the kids. That, and therapy for us all. This holiday season there is no mention of him and we three are in a groove together enjoying it.

    I didn’t get anything from him that Dday holiday, and I regifted my gift to him to someone more deserving.

  • My D-day came between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was straightening up the sofa where my FW had been sitting the night before, and found a viagra which was interesting because he had cut me off from sex decades earlier. Fun fact: between our first date and that moment … we’d been together close to three decades, but he accidentally forgot to mention the fact that he was gay (or as he called it, “bi”).

    Our adult daughter was coming home for Christmas, so I decided I would wait until after the holiday to confront him — I didn’t want a pall hanging over the house while she was home. Spoiler alert: there was a pall. But the delay gave me the chance to do a little more shall we say poking around in the corners of the house I don’t normally get to clean all that often.

    Let’s just say it was productive, at least for me. Not so great for him, as it turns out.

  • Mine was a total shock on Dec 16 a couple years ago. Told me he was in love with new coworker/soulmate and wanted my permission to visit her 3000 miles away to see if it was “real” or “infatuation”. Gave me an oven mitt for Christmas gift. How disgusting. I told him he had free will and if he left to visit her, I wasn’t his mom and this wasn’t summer camp or an internship, and he’d never be allowed back home. He left, I meant what I said. He ruined the holidays for me forever. After 30 yrs, I had no idea he was capable of doing anything like this. I’m strong but it took its toll on my mental health. And yes, he was subsequently diagnosed as a narcissist/sociopath.

  • Dunno if this counts, it wasn’t Christmas, but I found out just two days after my birthday this past August. She forgot, of course. Walked out into the living room, yelled at me for something, went back to bed, came back an hour later and said, “oh yeah! Isn’t it your birthday?”

    My gift was a watchband that didn’t fit, still in the mailing envelope because she hadn’t bothered to wrap it. I had picked out the watchband I wanted and sent her a direct link. It should have been a slam dunk.

    I had to make my own dinner reservations, and when the place was closed (apparently did not exist? It was strange), she took me to a bar and we drank on an empty stomach, then went home.

    She said, “this is what our relationship can be like going forward,” and I thought she meant improving our marriage, because we did have some pleasant conversation for the first time in months. No. She meant our post divorce friendship, in which she would live separately, not give me a moment’s fucking consideration or thought, and I would continue to be nice to her.

    She spent the next two nights out with the horseface bitch while I dutifully stayed home with our two year old son.

    Then I found the incriminating love letter— in my bed!!— the night she got home. I let her know real fucking fast that there would be no friendly post divorce relationship.

    Here’s the kicker: not once in the entire decade that we were together did she EVER feel that I had adequately celebrated her birthday. I dreaded it every year because no matter what I did, she always cried and said I forgot her birthday and didn’t really care about her. One year I got her a $400 massage and spa treatment. That was the worst year. She threw a fucking tantrum.

    If I had treated her the way she treated me, I’d have been hearing about it for the rest of my fucking life.

    • Exactly THIS! If I’d treated him EVEN ONCE like he treated me, he would have been butt hurt and wondered what the hell had hit him (as opposed to him beating the shit out of me a couple of times a week, spending us dry and drink/driving so many times I can’t even count)! Yeah, enjoy that treasure Schmoopie!

  • November 22nd 2020 was my discard day. I was still in quarantine with my two kids after having COVID thanks to the FW and AP. I took the kids to a hotel for a few days and came back for Thanksgiving. FW stayed at home but didn’t bother to make anything for dinner so I did. We spent the next 5 weeks living together while she ramped up her affair and was barely there. I made gingerbread houses, got a tree and decorated it; strung up Christmas lights and made a homemade traditional German meal for Christmas Eve dinner. FW was not engaged and moped around waiting for her move out date (January 1st). On New Years Eve she told me she was going to a party for the night and would be back in the morning. I knew she was going to be with her AP even though she denied their was someone else. I watched her do her hair and makeup. Before she left I wanted to have a final moment together. I cried and she said she was sorry for hurting me. She left and came back the next morning. I left with the kids to head to a hotel so she could move her stuff out. That was it. I was in the discard pile and so were my children. Her AP had moved out of his house on NYE and left his wife and kids for FW. They are married now and this holiday season is all about me and my kids. I get them for Christmas morning and I am so excited!

  • I had just passed my medical school board exam and FW was aggressively ignoring me, giving me the silent treatment and flirting openly with other women and sleeping with them. The open aggression and cheating was the point – narcissistic upstaging indeed.

    30 years later I am happily married, have a great career, have raised 2 great kids and he’s dead. He died at age 56 from alcoholism. Loser.

  • My ex told me he was having an against on our daughter’s 8th birthday… in front of her. She asked if he was leaving is, he said no.

    Fast forward 2 weeks to my birthday when he said he was leaving me.

    He picked our 11th anniversary to get his military buddies to move his shit out of my house, about 3 weeks later.

    On the 10th anniversary of the day we laid our son to rest, he filed for divorce.

    But hey… that was all 5 years ago. I’m over that. She can have him, it took awhile to realize what a fucker he was, but I did.

    His latest antics?
    Our daughter began having mental health issues last spring. In May, right before I planned to have my girls for an big Memorial Day weekend, he took emergency custody and I didn’t have them for 6 weeks. The court gave one back under the current custody order, but I wasn’t allowed to contact the other one. He kept her from me all summer, enrolled her in a new school. In September I was allowed to have her for 2 weekends a month.

    Since September, I’ve taken her to the hospital twice, both times she was sent to an inpatient mental health facility, which is where she is presently. Last week she was diagnosed as bi-polar. Yesterday, I was served with another ex parte motion, barring me from any contact at all until January 10, effectively taking any holiday time from me at all.

    I haven’t had her for any holidays all year. That last one was New Years Day, 2021. I didn’t even get her for my birthday.

    So yes, let’s talk how they always fuck up your life during holidays.

  • Second hand story of evil timing: A friend’s father chose her wedding rehearsal dinner to let the bomb drop on her mom. Mom was crying in the bathroom when the bride went in wondering what was wrong, was it the wedding, did she have objections, what was the deal? Mom finally broke down and told the daughter what her father had just done. Cue horror all around. Still, bride let the dad walk her down the aisle the next day. Her dad did his best to destroy it all but she tried to carry on. She has a thread bare relationship with him now (I would be NC).

    She said the father had the bright idea that the new whore would just live with him and his X wife, he actually thought he could be noble by still giving the old wife appliance X a place to live in the spare room while he was in the master bedroom banging the new replacement appliance.

    These people are disordered.

    • I thought I was the only one whose XH came up with the “brilliant” idea that I didn’t have to move out, that I could stay on and continue cooking and cleaning for him while he banged his AP(s) in the master bedroom. And pay him rent for the privilege of doing so! I laughed in his face and noped out of that one at the speed of light.

      Some people’s heads are so far up their asses.

  • Went to visit her hometown to visit her parents for Christmas. Left the kids with her folks to go to a house party with a few of her old friends from before we met. I didn’t know anyone there. There were drinks, and I fell asleep on the couch during karaoke- I’m usually not a lightweight and so suspect something extra had been added.

    I woke up to the sounds of wife and OM having sex in the other room. She tried to deny it at first, but I know what I heard. Then she said it “just happened” spontaneously… I found out months later they’d been planning it all year- he had the party specifically so he could get her to his house.
    Their texts were very graphic about how they wanted to touch each other along with how much they regret not getting together when they were younger (I regret that they didn’t get together before I met her, too). When OM asked her “what about your old man”, she said not to worry because I wanted her to fuck him and then tell me about it. In the aftermath, FW tried to tell me it wasn’t even very good sex, so I shouldn’t be worried about it.
    Turns out she was having another affair in the town where we live- had sex with the other other man in our bed while we had guests at our house for a holiday party!

    Covid hit just as I was about to leave and I’ve spent this whole time being miserable about what to do. We have a nice house and beautiful kids and I have been wondering if I’m evil for wanting out.

    I stumbled across ChumpLady’s book just last week and have a much better perspective now- and an appointment with a lawyer.

    • I am so sorry that happened. I’m very sad for you.

      And I’m angry that there is little protection by the law for people who have been abused in such a way.

      Your wife is a really disordered woman. Choose a good lawyer and be careful.

      • Since he suspects something extra was added to his drink to knock him out, I would suggest being extra careful around his disordered wife.

        • Wow, DoubleChumped, the fact that you think it’s possible that you were drugged is pretty revealing about how disordered she is. Good luck to you on seeing a lawyer, and no, you’re certainly not evil for wanting a normal, loving partner and a peaceful existence. Best of luck to you as you take the first steps toward your new life.

  • Mine sprung it on me a week before Quarantine Thanksgiving 2020, but instead of breaking down (FW was legitimately surprised) I got us into mediation within days. FW claimed that the divorce was happening because I was an unfit parent and he had to “rescue” our child from me, but it took the mediator about 10 minutes to figure out he was merely a textbook cheating FW. A few weeks later, just before Xmas, FW informed me that I’d be getting a tree and preparing Xmas dinner, and that he’d stop by so we could all celebrate together as a family. I calmly informed him that that would not be happening. FW then brought up my “unreasonable demand” in mediation and was shocked when the mediator laughed in his face. Happy Holidays, everyone!

  • This is my first time posting about my ordeal. Two months ago, I was forced to run in the middle of the night when my abusive STBX came after me following my discovery of yet another affair and his on-line crap. The level of my continued shock and denial amazes me, as does the protective cloak I’ve enshrouded myself in to survive his unimaginable cruelty and my hostage-like existence. Reading these stories reminds me that every discovery through our 30-year travesty of a so-called marriage was during the holidays. The first was two weeks before Christmas when I found a checklist on the floor of his car written by the OW detailing the activities they were doing together. How I buried that pain until now. It’s truly sad and sickening. He left, the kids came home from college and like an idiot, I invited him back to the house to celebrate Christmas together. Geez, what I put myself through and my kids. I so wanted the happy family. Ugh. It took me seven more years of pain and misery to finally file, which I did this year in early October. I’ll be with my kids for the holidays, and I am grateful for that. He will be with his latest OW in the Maine cottage we bought together. God, the pain is overwhelming at times. I keep reading all of your comments that say the pain is finite. That keeps me going.

    • I lurked for a long time before I ever posted too, I’m glad you posted today!

      I stayed too long as well, but I know we both were doing the best we could do, even if we wish we did it differently. I am still technically married (we live separately), and just TODAY started the process for a legal separation to protect myself financially.

      Reading and posting here has slowly untangled 18 years of chaos. I too shrunk myself so so so small just to survive. It’s part of why we couldn’t get our act together to leave. You can’t see the bigger picture when you are just trying to get through each day.

      I am just starting to see the edge of Tuesday on the horizon – those small glimmers of light that a life of freedom awaits. Not lonely, just FREE of being treated terribly by a demon with no soul.

      • I love your posting name, Free Dobby! Brings a much-needed laugh and sigh of relief. Thank you for your kindness and optimism. It means the world.

    • Dear Liberation!,
      Stay the course. No contact and remember your STBX is an awful awful person and sucks.
      You are not an awful person. You have character and you trusted someone to give them your youth and children. What is he? He’s a sperm donor at best.
      Chump Lady is the expert, so read her books and abide by her rules. You’ve shown you can survive torture by a disgusting narcissist, so I believe you can and will improve your life, for you and your family.
      Every single day is going to be difficult— I can’t lie about this— because as CL says, you have character and heart and soul and you were duped by an empty, soulless walking penis.
      Every day is your gift to work on you. You have nothing to prove to we chumps so don’t worry if you have a bad day or you think of or look up your FW’s social. It’s ok, because the journey to Tuesday is for we chumps and CL is our guide and CN our mates. We’re here for you. You got this. One week, one month, one year, one second away from your freak is your reward. You just gained a life free of a repulsive person. Do you see? Yes, it hurts and is painful right now, but imagine a life with that person and then you see that the pain is beautiful medicine for you to improve you.
      You got this! Happy holidays.

      • I can’t thank you enough. The grief is overwhelming and breaking through the years of denial is like throwing back a blanket to find unimaginable horrors and maggots that seem to keep multiplying and getting worse. But kindness and compassion, your words and understanding, are the flip side, the healing blanket I need. I’ve been trying to keep it together for thirty years and now that I’ve escaped, I realize how isolated I became and how I need others as I step forward. I can’t thank you enough for your warmth and compassion. Happy Holidays to you too.

        • Liberated, once you begin to open up to people, you’ll probably be as amazed as I was at the kindness of strangers. I sobbed, blubbered, and then silently wept in public for two solid years after everything finally came to a head. Seriously, tears were dripping off my nose and chin as I pumped gas, bagged groceries, sat in my car at stop lights…. I spilled my guts/vomited my grief to just about everybody who asked, and I cannot tell you how many warm, comforting people there are out there. I got hugs from strangers and heard many tales of how they had survived gut-wrenching betrayal. One time when I was gulping and sobbing on the phone trying to explain the horrible situation to an angel-in-disguise credit-card representative (then-husband had both sold our stocks without my knowledge and had also run up massive credit card charges), that lovely woman listened to my story, said “That works for me,” and cleared me of responsibility. I will forever be grateful to all those kind, caring people.

          I hope your holidays will be peaceful and a time of introspection and growth for you. Your chosen name says to me that you’re moving along the path toward a lovely life.

          • Over two years here, divorced a year on 23.12. This is the first Christmas where my brain has had the capacity to be mindful of Christmas and think properly about what the future might actually look like. First year I’d only known about the affair for a few weeks and I was a mess. Second year I was exhausted having survived divorce and financial battle in repeated lockdowns. This year feels different – not celebratory but reflective. However, I still find tears running down my face at the oddest of times. Walking the dog is a common one.

            • Thank you, Eirene and MightyWarrior. I got sentimental this morning about Christmas traditions and started blubbering. (Love your description, Eirene) Then I switched back to reality and my constant wondering whether he was texting another woman on Christmas, which he was. Maintaining the duality of delight and horror, walking that tightrope for oh so long, was my existence. I told myself today that the Happies were of my making. That part was real and I can cherish that memory and continue to be who I’ve always been. I choose now to give up the tightrope walking and guessing about love. But yes, when I think of tender moments – our cats – the pain comes back. It was real, but it walks beside the betrayal. Sigh.

    • I did the same, so much denial for years to keep family together. I had a newborn and 2 year old and found a pretty little wrapped box of jewelry in his glove box before Christmas. I thought it was my gift, although I never got it. I knew he had a close relationship with his co-worker. But I knew that day. I was so worried I’d have ppd and wouldn’t be able to function with 2 babies under 2 I pushed it out of my mind and kept going. I forgive myself
      as I didn’t have the strength to battle that at the time. I’ve been battling for my liberation now for 2 years and it has been hell. I’m close but still captive. I love your name and the pain does lessen over time.

      • Aw, LC, I can feel your pain when you opened that glovebox and later knew. It’s not possible for others to understand the head-spinning pain of those moments, when keeping things together seems the only option. All I hear is strength and resolve in your post. I suppose it’s a moment to moment choice to live with honor and dignity and to try to model that for our kids. Thank you for your kindness.

        • Ahhh… Last D-Day was when I found a receipt in an empty bag from a jewelry store in my husband’s car right after Christmas. My daughter (home from college for the holidays) was driving at the time, and we both just looked at each other, stomachs sinking, knowing that he was a lying cheater who had betrayed us both.

          • Wouldn’t it be hilarious to just rip open that gift, put in on and announce to your spouse “Oh honey, I found my present ! You shouldn’t have ! I love it!” Of course, it never plays out like that because chumps are dazed and confused by what is happening.

            I vote for a new ending to that movie where Emma Thompson finds a gift for her husband’s mistress. She receives yet another scarf. She maintains her composure on Christmas Day for the sake of her children. And the couple stays together, muddling through.

            • Correction

              Karen receives a Joni Mitchell cd, not the necklace. She is made a fool of by her husband played by the late, great Alan Rickman in “Love Actually”

              • The scene where Emma Thompson so excitedly opens what she thinks will be the jewelry was so heartbreaking. And then to watch her wiping away tears, sucking it up, and putting on a brave face for the children—pure agony. Every time I see that movie, I feel renewed hate for that that slutty floozy for coming on to him, even though he was such a foolish weakling to be so bumblingly flattered by her attention. Very memorable vignette.

            • ““Oh honey, I found my present ! You shouldn’t have ! I love it!””

              I was thinking the same thing. If only we could have a redo, if I had found that and done that my fw likely would have said, oh dang that is for friends wife; I was hiding it for him, no way can I afford that.

            • I considered it in that moment, and damn if I could go back I absolutely would! I could at least sell it to help pay for the attorney! ????????

          • I can feel it, from what you wrote. So sorry you and your daughter were betrayed. Hurts like hell. Somehow seeing through your children’s eyes (even if they are adults) makes it worse.

  • Oh, Christmas! I remember the Christmas when my son was little where I didn’t get anything. I went all out making sure they had a great Christmas and I had nothing under the tree. Oh, he felt so bad! My gifts were just arriving late! And for some reason he couldn’t tell me that the day before or anything that there was this shipping issue, he had to wait until Christmas morning after he opened all his presents and then saw me sitting there with the realization that I didn’t get a gift. Poor sad sausage, he felt worse than I did really, couldn’t I see that?

    Then there was the goth gown Christmas. all I got was a goth style gown complete with black fur and corsetting and just, no offense to goths, but I am not one of you. I have never been even slightly goth. He must have been fucking a goth girl behind my back at the time. I remember just staring at him after I opened it and he got all teary and put me through a guilt trip for not liking his gift. So I wore it on a fancy date with him to the Olive Garden and looked and felt like a dipshit because even if I was goth, it was too formal for the fucking Olive Garden. But that’s his fancy date place.

    Funny side story, my boyfriend actually takes me to nice restaurants on dates but we stopped in at the Olive Garden for lunch. My ex never used to drink, at all. The last couple years of our marriage he suddenly announces he likes this particular wine. I love this wine! Can you pick some up for me when you go shopping? I’m so confused. How did you even try this wine to find out you like it? You don’t drink. It was weird. So anyways, we’re at the Olive Garden and they have these little screens at the table and up pops my ex’s favorite wine! You can try a glass of it today! And I just lost it. He was on a date with some weird bitch at the Olive Garden and that’s where he discovered his favorite wine. It’s hilarious. They can have his fancy Olive Garden dates. I can do better than that. LOL

    Every other Christmas, I do absolutely everything, people ask when to come over to fart into my couch cushions, eat my food and snark about the presents I stressed myself out buying everyone. People snark about how my baked goods aren’t pretty enough. People snark about how the presents aren’t decorated well enough. People snark about my decorations. One year I got my sister a few mini lipsticks in her stocking. She demanded to know why I also had mini lipsticks in my stocking. She kept staring at me and saying it was weird, like I did something wrong or offensive. Um, we both wear lipstick you stupid, fucking bitch? Is the Christmas slave not permitted to have stocking stuffers? I had to buy them for my fucking self, I’ll have whatever I fucking want.

    So I’m over it. I’m not hosting shit. I’m making a small ham dinner for myself, my son, and my boyfriend. I may watch Fat Man. I bought my son a few gifts, literally just a few. And I’m going to put a bunch of cat toys and treats in various bags under the tree and have fun watching the cats go insane over it.

    And everybody else can go fuck themselves. I am so done, put a damn fork in me.

    • The visual of your fuckwit ex husband on a “classy” date with Morticia Addams at the Olive Garden is cracking me up. What an absurd, tacky little man! Hell yeah you can do better.

    • I laughed so hard at your post today KatiePig????
      Your irreverent style is refreshing. It reminds me of my younger sister who wears buttons that say things like “the older I get the more everyone else can just kiss my ass”.

  • My ex gave me a huge instapot, crockpot thingy for Xmas last year. I gave it to the neighbors. They use it often and when they do they share. I’m old school and near 70 years old. I am open minded and let people be themselves. Before discovery, my cheater wanted to show me his “little black dress with gold bling” and I said sure, not wanting to be a prude. He walked in and I acted so cool @nd collected, I asked him what’s the allure? Oh the slinky fabric and the mystery of what’s underneath he said, as he paraded back and forth in front of me wearing the damn dress. I knew then, even before he admitted he had been acting on his desires for decades, that we were in deep trouble. Monogamy was never a consideration on his part. My love was totally blind and unconditional. We were both living two different realities for many years. Takes time to work through. Absolute and total mindfuckery. Six months later, I can almost laugh at the absurdity of it all. It’s way too disturbing for most folks to even fathom having to face and move forward with. Being mighty takes guts of steel.

  • Mine told me 16th December last year, my daughters birthday, that he wasn’t happy and wants space. Only to mess me about for the rest of the Christmas period and walk out on January 4th into his soul mates home. They got engaged in April. We are not divorced yet. He has said that hes “going to let me have the children Christmas day this year because he’s not a heartless b#@$*%d.”
    This has been the worse year of my life but I’m actually looking forward to spending Christmas day with just me and my beautiful children. No drunkeness, no belittling. I’m finally starting to see that I’m not a bad person and that I could have been a goddess in every room of the house and he still wouldn’t have been happy. I may have not been good enough for him I am for my babies and that is the best feeling in the world.

    • Yeah I got the “I need space” BS –and around Christmas too!–which I have since learned is cheater-speak for “I’m fucking around and I want out, but too much a coward to be honest about it.” A Happier Christmas to all of us chumps!

    • Santa, I am sorry that you’ve been through this. What he means is that he doesn’t want the children at Christmas. He’s letting the world know how ‘generous’ he is whilst also getting what he wants. However anyone worth anything in the world will quickly spot that this man has no values and is, therefore, worthless.

      It’s interesting how they so often refer to themselves in the way you describe, as if they are hard men. I was told ‘I know you think I’m a complete b#£&4rd’. My response ‘no I think you’re a lying, cheating snivelling coward’.

  • Christmas was triggering to me for a long time. He was the king of the grand gesture, which I now know is part of the narcissistic cycle of abuse, but he always pulled out all the stops for Christmas. Suddenly all the things he was too overworked or overtired for during the year were ok to ask for (not gifts, but going out places, little trips, just time together).

    The Christmas before he left was the best ever. We had just closed on and moved into our “forever” (his words) home. We had my family over and did the whole traditional thing. Christmas Eve morning he asked me to take a drive with him. We drove to a farm, where he surprised me with a puppy, the exact breed as my beloved childhood dog. He had already bought the dog crate, collar, leashes, food, toys, everything, and he was not a big planner of details like that.

    In August, to my utter shock and bewilderment, he told me he had never loved me and wanted a divorce. I didn’t believe it, couldn’t believe it, wouldn’t believe it. We had just taken a vacation to Hawaii and he told me I was the most wonderful wife in the world! After too much pick me dancing (he denied there was anyone else – he just suddenly needed to “be alone”) he moved out in November.

    Christmas came again. Same house, beloved dog, family, but no husband. All day I kept waiting for him to show up, tell me it was a horrible mistake, make Christmas “normal” again. He did not, and I locked myself in my bathroom, sobbing on the floor.

    In January he moved into a college dorm where a teenager he met god knows where was going to undergrad. I finally believed then.

    I eventually realized enduring his narcissism for the promise of a nice Christmas was not enough and never had been enough. The holidays are wonderful again, for very different reasons.

  • D-Day was around this time of year 2 years ago. The day of my family’s Christmas party I finally went through Nitwit’s phone while he was sleeping in after an all-night video game session and found the texts from the OW. When he woke, I confronted him about it and he admitted to the affair after seeing that he had 0 plausible deniability. I cried so hard that I texted my parents to say that I had a massive sinus headache and could not make it to their party (not a lie, crying aggravates the sinuses like nothing else).

    My instinct was to file for divorce then and there, holiday season or not. Unfortunately Nitwit talked me into an “open” marriage. That Christmas was the most awkward holiday ever, and I am including the Christmas day when we received the news my grandfather had passed away. The following January I turned 30. Nitwit refused to buy me a present or go out for brunch with me. It was actually far more peaceful eating by myself anyway. I filed in mid-July and was stunned to see how drama-free Christmas was without him, even in the middle of a pandemic.

    New chumps, if your instincts are telling you your marriage is over it is. Do not go to marriage counseling. Do not agree to an “open” marriage with someone who has been anything but open with you. Just cut your losses and head for the exit.

  • Knave-man and I had a tradition of visiting Paris together in mid-December.
    One year when I couldn’t go, his schmoopie really applied the pressure, “If she’s not going, then take me!!” So many back-and-forth messages were sent in this conversation that a part of it became accessible to me accidentally.
    At least I always assumed it was accidental ~~
    But it made for a terrible holiday having to pretend nothing was afoot while I gathered evidence and consulted an attorney.
    Zut alors, quel con !

  • The ghosts of Christmas past definitely haunted my marriage. I guess still do since I’m unable to get a separation agreement and he refuses to move out. There have been extended absences that left me wondering, moodiness that was unexplained at the time. There were odd “work tips” with lots of time he wouldn’t answer his phone or a text, which I thought was odd since it was always glued to him. There were condoms and burner phones found, and jewelry boxes I found but never received. There were so many little things, that maybe weren’t so little.. if I remove the cognitive dissonance. Memories of Decembers past are traumatic, I never knew what surprise was next. I tried to focus on the children and in hindsight that over function was a coping mechanism of distraction. Now I’m waiting again except this time it’s for separation papers.

  • D-day birthday present here. FW just “couldn’t keep hiding his truth” any longer – after three marriages (yep. Three) he’d “finally had an epiphany” and realized that he’d “never wanted to ever be married.” For some reason it was important that he unload this revelation three days before a birthday that I had considered remarkable for different reasons. And it certainly had nothing to do with the fact that he and his whore had grown closer than ever and had been assuring one another that my fifteen years of marriage to FW meant nothing.

    In spite of the sadness I feel around holidays (this will only be my second Christmas and birthday since D-day and the first of each since formal divorce), I wouldn’t trade the progress I’ve made emotionally for the world. He is engaged to marry his whore – surely the fourth time is the charm ???? – and I am so close to Tuesday that I can almost taste it.

    Hang in, chumps. We’ve got this ????????

  • I found out on our wedding anniversary. Not our actual date we got married, but the day we had come to celebrate it because he callously contrived to be busy on the actual day for six anniversaries, coinciding with the timeline of his cheap, nasty affair. Naturally he was with her all those times. The last year he had contrived to be “busy” from morning to afternoon with buddies, then from evening until two in the morning whoring, so I didn’t see him for more than a few minutes. Nor did I get so much as a “happy anniversary” out of him in passing, nor did I a gift, but that neglect had come to be normalized. I didn’t even get so much as a measly chocolate bar, FFS, but he bought his OW one nearly every day all year long, the rat. He gave me absolutely no say in any of it, unilaterally deciding how my life would be just by refusing to be even a half-decent husband, while still expecting me to be a stellar wife, and he could not be reasoned out of his double standards. So I tried to make the best of it and sucked it up like a true chump, figuring he was going through some kind of weird phase.

    Anyway, the last year, FW had put himself in a position where there was a substantial risk of being caught, no doubt for a cheap thrill. The night before our fakeiversary, he’d been brazenly squiring schmoopie around at a place he knew somebody who knew me would be. He actually took the initiative to go up to this person and literally point out the “friend from work” he was out on the town with. The person he showed her off to isn’t that bright and bought the friend excuse, but the next day he mentioned it to a relative of mine who is no fool- my daughter. So my daughter had the grim task of telling me her own father was cheating, right after we came back from a “romantic” anniversary date. He had expected to get laid that night and was perving on me in the car. This after flaunting his whore, not caring if he was found out or not. Though he knew he’d get in shit if he was caught, I’d be hurt, and after all, how amusing that would be. I suppose watching me suffer and feeling superior because he could inflict pain on inferior creatures was well worth the probable consequences, or so he figured. He found out the reality was quite different from what he had imagined. I didn’t grovel and beg him to love me as his narcissism made him think I would, I went nuclear on him and got a new house, car, $250,000 in equity from our old house and 60% of his salary and pension. He hadn’t thought it through, clearly, convinced he was in the driver’s seat and could lord it over me. Then I inherited some more money from my mom, too late for him to try to get a share. His life sucks and schmoopie is long gone.

    The arrogance and sadism of these people is off the charts, so dumping them and cleaning them out is satisfying. But at the same time it’s terribly sad that it had to come to that. All that for a nothingburger of a woman who didn’t even really want him and now hates him. Smh.

    • “unilaterally deciding how my life would be just by refusing to be even a half-decent husband, while still expecting me to be a stellar wife, and he could not be reasoned out of his double standards.”

      FWs criticism of me was incessant and absurd. I would be insulted regularly for anything going wrong even if I had nothing to do with it. He was not to be criticized, ever. If he was, his reaction was swift and severe.

      I begged and pleaded for him to simply be decent, I asked him if there was a baseline level of decency we could agree upon that he would not sink below and he said “No”. I simply refused to see that he tried in a hundred ways to get me to pull the trigger on the marriage so that he could get out of it without it looking like he was the one to end it.

      • I think for most cheaters that year of discard is exactly for the purpose of forcing the betrayed spouse to pull the trigger. It gives them power if we kick them out.

        Though I understand the betrayed wanting to be first to file, I have never understood why they think it is empowering. In my case it was definitely to my advantage for him to file, financially and emotionally. Of course if he had tarried too long, I would have had to go ahead and do it.

        • I didn’t think of filing first as a vantage point or a one up. I was fleeing and instinctively knew no contact was best and he no longer got to gaslight and manipulate me. A clear message that the marriage was over. I was done.
          He said he would never leave when I asked him to but he would move me and the kids out. He wasn’t going to control the narrative or step foot anywhere I was going to land. I had to get out.
          I think if he had decided to divorce me and filed first that it would have been harder than it was to deal with him. He was blindsided. Throw multiple disorders in the mix with extreme wealth, threats and entitlement and it gets nasty fast. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have survived.
          I vote for getting the paperwork served first if you are dealing with anyone disordered. I’m so thankful I followed my gut on that one or maybe he unknowingly forced my hand thinking I would continue in his abuse since I did for 33 yrs.

          • Oh I know that each has to do with what is best.

            In my case I hadn’t even thought of the financial part until I ran a CC and saw the money he had spent on her.

            When he moved out he took his desk which had all our documents in it.

            So I got a good lawyer referral from a friend who worked for another lawyer.

            I told the lawyer that I wanted him to file because he was the one that wanted the D. My lawyer advised me that if I could get him to file that it gave him (my lawyer) with some extra options. So I went home called him and told him if he wanted a D he needed to file to get our finances separated etc. He wanted me to file, I said no you wanted the D so the least you can do is take responsibility for it.

            Then he asked me to use his lawyer to save money, I said no and said the sooner you file the sooner this is over.

            I was also in a situation where he was boinking his direct report and I knew that he was fighting desperately to not only maintain his recent promotion but his very job.

            I do agree with going with your gut. I did that and while it took a while to get some of the money back he had stolen from me, he didn’t get too pushy. He knew all I had to do was pick up the phone and call the mayor and tell him he was harassing me and he would be toast. That mayor did not want any ugly publicity, he was trying to manage a powder keg of a situation.

            But I wouldn’t have called the mayor, I would have called my lawyer and let him handle it. But as long as I knew the fw had that fear, I wasn’t going to tell him any different.

            My lawyer had me set up with a temp maintenance plan where the fw was paying everything in two weeks.

            That is why I caution folks not to get too wrapped up in the no fault/50-50 state thing. no fault does not mean they get to steal you blind and walk away, and 50-50 does not mean literally 50-50. It can mean that of course, or it can mean that the stay at home person gets a lot more to make up for the earning power, or lots of other things.

            In my case, I just wanted my money back or at least some of it. And I wanted either a pay out or the only property we had that was paid in full. He got everything else and I was fine with that as he could pay it off. He also had to pay off all the debt, which the judge thought was fair since he ran most of it off.

            Having said that I also realize that being able to afford good legal help is sooo much more expensive than it was when I went through it.

            Of course if he had tarried too long, or refused; I would have had to file. It also helped me that he hired some loser lawyer that lived in the same trailer park as his whore. They had it all set up how they were going to screw me into poverty. Assholes.

      • Geez, that sounds like pure torture. Yeah, they’re cowards and don’t have the guts to file because (horrors!) other people might not approve. It’s about image, image, image. I’m sorry he put you through that.

        I had wondered if my fw was trying to get me to leave, but at the same time as being a prick he was doing the intermittent rewards mindfuck, where he was miraculously (albeit briefly) transformed into an actual husband. Doing that indicates they want you to stick around so they can continue to use and abuse you.

        One example; I had to go for tests for a biopsy (unbeknownst to me, I had HPV courtesy of FW) and FW insisted on picking me up even though I told him repeatedly it wasn’t neccessary, I could drive myself as it was only local anesthesia. I joked that I don’t use my cervix to drive, so it was no problem. But he showed up, all warm, solicitous and husbandy. This was the same guy who was cold, dismissive and indifferent much of the time. These kinds of things baffled me until I learned about operant conditioning. He didn’t know that’s what he was doing either, but I believe that for narcs it is a natural instinct and they have honed this method of manipulation since childhood.

        • True, I dont think they possess the mindfulness to truly understand how manipulative their behaviors are…they just get some primitive sense of when to turn on the charm.

          I was a really good appliance and he seemed to find meaning in the raising of children, so even though he spoke of divorce, I think it was to
          1) scare me into behaving the way he wanted me to
          2) allow him the fantasy that IF he got totally fed-up with family life, he could just walk away and be as free as a bird

          Either way, he was a master at throwing crumbs at exactly the right moment to keep me in my place.

          • My experience too. It’s very confusing and keeps the abused spouse/partner hooked in until they cease to be of any use. The little hoovering that happened after the ex left was consistently driven by his drive to get everything he wanted when he wanted it. That worked until I discovered the cheating. And some mornings I wake up with the feeling that I hate and despise every cell in his body. This is one of those mornings.

            • Moments like this are, I believe, part of the healing and necessary for most of us. For me the step after was evolving to see that it sucked away too much of my energy.

              Now, years out, Im reflective that he was SO MUCH MEANER than he had to be. If he wanted out of a marriage, there was a decent way to achieve that goal – but it required integrity and honesty.

              It was shocking for me when I finally (after reading about a zillion “trust that he sucked” posts) realized that he was cruel to me to spare himself personal discomfort and accountability. He tried his very best to destroy me all so he wouldn’t have to simply say “Ive decided that I want a divorce”.

              I can’t even calculate how much he had to have hated me to decide that his chosen path was the best idea among his various options.

        • “Yeah, they’re cowards and don’t have the guts to file because (horrors!) other people might not approve. It’s about image, image, image. I’m sorry he put you through that.”

          So much truth in this.

          Cowards slink around in the shadows and hide themselves and their actions. They are happy to lay all their sins on anyone they can.

  • 12/24/20 Lied to my face about how far his cheating had gone (I still don’t know details and probably never will) and had a hotel booked for a week ahead of burning our family to the ground. I’ll never know why he picked then, assuming the OW wanted to spend Christmas together and he needed an exit. Funny thing is he left for what he assumed was temporary and he was not allowed to return to MY home so the trash took itself out. Divorced now, working out the final legal details with what we co-own, and waiting for him dodging child support (beyond his meager lowball $200/month informal payments that I had to initiate) to finally catch up to him. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, there was no hope for reconciliation because he wasn’t remorseful or felt what he did was wrong; it was my fault for being an adult and having grown-up responsibilities like our kids and my aging family members. I hope for blaming me for caring for a terminally diagnosed loved one as his reasoning for cheating, life hands him a life-altering diagnosis and no one shows up to care for him.

    • “I hope for blaming me for caring for a terminally diagnosed loved one as his reasoning for cheating, life hands him a life-altering diagnosis and no one shows up to care for him.”

      What a garbage person he is. At any rate, he’ll certainly need care in his old age, and schmoopies don’t tend to stick around for that. Karma delayed, but not denied.

  • I can’t say that any of my several D-Days were on Christmas, but his final AP before I divorced him was doing the pick me dance, so he had her doing his Christmas shopping. What do you do when the guy you’re screwing around with asks you to buy gifts for his wife and wrap them? You buy her plus sized clothing. I am not plus sized. I will always remember my ex husband trying to salvage things by saying he thought that size was “equivalent “ to what size I wore. I would have known he didn’t buy the clothes even if they fit because they were the style tastes of the AP.

  • This brings me a lot of comfort to see that I am NOT alone. My D-Day was December 18, 2018.

    Right now I have zero Christmas decorations up because it is very triggering to me, after D-Day, my kids left with their father and have nothing to do with me. He took most of the money, household goods, and my vehicle. He is an extremely high-income earner and owns two huge expensive homes worth over two million, and married days after our divorce last year. Our counselor diagnosed him as having significant psychopathy. No surprise there.

    I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered and dismantled life ALONE. Having been an at-home mom for 25 years with no skills was terrifying. I now have a 3.95 GPA and am graduating with a Masters’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and starting an internship in 4 weeks. I am starting my own practice and helping people who get horrible, and awful advice from inept therapists, and let me tell you they are in full force in our town. Tracy’s book will be passed out to everyone I encounter who is being abused.

    Now for the way things are turning out for FW…..

    Karma is a son-of-a-bitch. My only and youngest son had a massive brain aneurysm recently and is disabled, my oldest daughter moved in with FW to take care of my son, and my youngest daughter relapsed into drugs. All three kids have deteriorated terribly. So his new wife is left to care for the grown kids, while FW does what he always does….drink and work. But, hey, she got my “stuff” and lives in a two million dollar house.

    Just so you all know, I DON’T want this for my kids, but I think if it has to happen, it is good that FW and schmoops have to figure it out. They have iced me out and gone to great lengths to alienate me from my kids, and now they are paying a hefty price for that evil.

  • Congrats on your graduation! We need more good therapists like you.

    Yeah, it sounds like your kids paid a hefty price for choosing FW over you. Your daughter has to care for her brother because FW is lazy, selfish and offloads his parental responsibilities. Great choice, kids.
    Watch them come to you for help once you’re earning good money. To me, blood and shared DNA doesn’t mean much. It’s love that matters. I disowned the kid who deserted me and favored fuckwit and I wouldn’t give her one red cent or the time of day. Haven’t spoken to her in years. So not sorry, too. She’s a narc just like her dad. She even scammed FW out of money when we were still together. I only found out after D-day because FW had kept it from me, but he spilled his guts during his brief confessional phase. Good riddance to both of ’em.

    • Ya. It’s so hard but you are so right!! DNA not enough to stay in abusive relationships even with kids that were birthed from your loins.

      All of your comments were very much appreciated. One poster was so empathetic!!

      Love this place where we get advice and love.

    • Funny! And so many of us can relate, no presents for Mom ☹️
      It also is a good reminder, to not make the holidays a commercial festival, with waaaay too much stuff we don’t need! That dog got too many presents ????

  • New Year’s Eve 2019. Neither the first nor last dday, but it’s the date I celebrate because it was a turning point and the first time I saw evidence (email with AP) that my ex was a long-term serial cheater and pathological liar. With this discovery, I knew what I had to do and for once didn’t hesitate: I forwarded myself a few emails, texted my ex a couple of photos, packed a bag and jumped in the car and left before he came home to stop me.

    Thought I was done for good, but I came back one last time after that. The good news is that THIS New Year’s Eve, I will celebrate one year of No Contact. I will celebrate taking back my life. I haven’t seen the fuckwit in over a year, and I have no vestiges love or respect for him, nor remorse over leaving.

  • New Year’s Eve for this chump, at 6:30 in the evening, while our then 17 year old daughter was getting ready to go out and our other 2 children (young 20 and 24) were out with friends and not coming home until the next day. He didn’t care enough to wait until our youngest was out of the house for the evening. I held it together until she left and proceeded to pick me dance while he tortured me with the details of his new love who had already told her husband before the holiday. He also taunted me with what became a huge miscalculation on his part – he said that I would never figure out who she was. He then calmly went to bed with all of his electronics and truly slept like Rip Van Winkle while I was unable to breath and paralyzed with fear (I could not move my fingers which had curled up in a distorted sort of fist). In a stroke of luck the dumb ass left his email open on our home computer. About a month prior I was looking at his phone – he knew I suspected something and told me that all he ever did with the phone was use Facebook – he really thought I did not know about Messenger. With his email account open I was able to access his Facebook account by changing the password and eventually he and the whore started messaging – I had her name and more importantly her husbands name by morning.

    He left on New Year’s morning to be with Schmoopie – he said that he would be back to talk to the kids but I knew he was lying – he packed a change of clothes and his work computer. Once he was gone, I took the opportunity to contact her husband and let him know where they were – the local gym where incidentally my son had worked – they actually carried on there when he knew my son was not working. Her husband went there and she decided to go home with him leaving my FW in the parking lot. My youngest daughter was with me and fortunately had the presence of mind to stop me from going to get him as well – she was so disgusted by him that she told me that if I let him back into the house she would move in with friends. FW did not come home that day, never contacted me or the kids, just went radio silent – I figured out later through credit card statements that he went to the motel where he and Schmoops would meet and waited for her. She apparently was and no show and he had the nerve to text me on Jan 2nd at 2:30 in the morning asking to talk. The kids and I had just fallen asleep – we were huddled together on our sectional in total shock. He woke us all up. He honestly got mad when I said no and tried to fight with me in the middle of the night. The next morning he texted and asked if he could come over – I spoke with the kids, the girls did not want to be there, my son insisted on being there to support me. I gave him a time. He showed up half an hour early, dressed up, smelling nice and thinking he could just come back home. The girls were still home and he was incensed when I made him leave and come back at the agreed upon time. Once he got back he tried to talk, I refused and he proceeded to try to badmouth me to my son. At that point it got heated and my son demanded that he pack a bag and leave – that and a threat to call 911 convinced him to do so. He never spent another night in our family home.

    The entire first year I dreaded the holidays and then they came. Holidays without the stress of having self absorbed Narcissist in the house are the greatest. The holiday season that year was the nicest the kids and I had experienced in years, since then every year has only gotten better, we have been in a new home for three years now and have built new authentic memories.

    I was married for 20 years, 4 years ago I was terrified about how my life would turn out – well over 50, broke from his financial abuse and devoid of all self confidence in a way that 20 years in an abusive marriage does to one’s self image I could not imagine a happy future. Now I am on my own and enjoying the peace, my children, the “therapy” dog we adopted shortly after he left and my beautiful home that my kids and I planned and built together. I am completely comfortable being on my own and have no desire to find another relationship although I would welcome a suitable companion if one came into my life. My children were young adults when this all went down and are NC, although he never really fought for a relationship with them – he was more interested in fighting with them until they agreed with him that he was right and I was a monster, a narrative that they were unwilling to buy into. Currently, they spend their holidays with me, they are adults now and building their own beautiful lives. I realized that I have come a place where I feel that any time I get to spend with them is a holiday of sorts; I honestly try to make our times together special and I am comfortable with knowing that when life evolves as it tends to do and I end up spending an “official” holiday or holidays alone it will perfectly fine. I really never thought I would get to this point but here I am and it feels great.

    • Truly inspiring. Helps me so much. I especially LOVE that you and your kids planned and built a new home together. My STBX is happily ensconced with OW in the Maine cottage that I found and which was to be our retirement dream and cozy refuge for the adult kids. How wonderful to contemplate rebuilding something solid home with my kids, even if I’m the only one who will live there at this point. Thank you!

  • Christmas Day 2016 – my gxh is in Paris. My eldest son sends him a photo on a family chat of me sitting at the Christmas table, dishevelled, tired but happy after cooking and serving lunch. Unaware that I could see it, gxh messages “eeuw”. The kids were horrified.

    Unknown to long-abusive gxh I had lined up my ducks while he was away, ready to move out in the new year – but I waa very wobbly and the smallest sign of respect, regard or affection from him and I would have stayed.

    I left on Jan 2nd 2017. He was blindsided. Happy New Year mofo.

    He hated Christmas and we’d all learned to have fun in spite of him but Christmases since have been such relaxed lighthearted fun and happy days without the grinch. And just quietly Jan 1 has grown into my own private truth and freedom day.

  • D-Day was December 2. (That’s right, 9 days ago.) I was getting ready for my work party in his apartment and found a woman’s toiletry bag under the towels. He tried to say it was his ex’s bag that he “just never got rid of” despite us being together over 3 years and the cabinet being less than 3 years old. There were other red flags along the way, but this one was the most obvious and had the worst excuse. I went to my work party alone and pretended nothing was wrong.

    I’m still struggling with reconciling who I thought he was with who he turned out to be. Even worse is that I thought this was my first healthy relationship, I was so proud I’d broken my pattern of narcissistic partners, and then… I was wrong.

    I know I’ll recover eventually, I just need to power through.

    • redflagredux, please give yourself lots and lots of credit for being mighty and going to the party without that lying, cheating jerk. Good for you! And please thank your subconscious for subtly warning you about him by revealing those “red flags along the way,” and realize that you are not to blame for what is ultimately his poor character. It’s hard to fix your picker (ask me how I know), but it can be done. I’m learning to really examine my gut if I find myself attracted to someone new, and if there’s any love-bombing or red flags, I recognize it as a signal to pull back and observe. It takes time to build self confidence, but eventually you begin to realize that your life can truly be complete without a partner and that you are enough. Once you begin to project those qualities, you will attract a better quality partner.

      I used to think that I was a magnet for the disordered (based on decades of crappy relationships with crappy men), so now I’m working on finding my own happiness, and eventually know I will succeed in fixing my picker. Good luck to you, and please continue to read here and to learn from the wise members of this wonderful community.

      • What’s horrible is that I don’t only gave this problem with romantic partners, but also with friends! I had to cut off my best friend of 18 years because she told me a Big Bad Lie for six of those years. I was in a decade-long relationship with a narcissist whom I married (but didn’t merge assets with, so the divorce was easy). Then after that I had a 3-month fwb with a worse narcissist. So when I met Shady, and none of my alarms sounded, and he had nothing in common with them, I thought I was safe. Even my friends said Shady was nothing like the fwb and they all liked him and thought he was good for me. Now I’m completely lost as to how to filter these people out.

        • Don’t beat yourself up. What you’re going through is normal.

          It takes TIME to learn who someone really is. Which is why it’s great not to move in with/marry someone you have known for less than a year.

          It’s easy to filter out the flakey-flakes because they have no staying power and they start acting up really quickly.

          But the Deep Fakes take longer to uncover. And it’s harder with the Deep Fakes because you’ve usually invested more.

          And then there’s the people who started out well – but after 20+ years of slowly pulling back, slowly dis-investing, and plenty of time spent looking for the next thing, they up and leave you.

          I guess the take-home is: There’s no foolproof way of Being Completely Safe In A Relationship.

          Every relationship – friendship or romantic or work – involves a degree of risk. That’s what makes it fun and interesting. Being vulnerable is hard – but it can pay off – but yes, you can always be hurt.

          People can and will always let you down, even when you’re not married to them. But by growing stronger in yourself, these knocks will hurt you less and harm you less.

    • I found a cosmetic case with my guest room. My ex denied any knowledge and then said he found it outside and thought it was mine. In retrospect, I think the OW left it intentionally.

      It was a rare piece of physical evidence, a frightening example of his ability to lie and a more frightening example of my ability to spackle. It took me two more D Days and almost two more years to leave.

      Sounds like you still have your own place? Also sounds like your relationship began as his marriage was ending? Time to go.

      • I’ve been kicking myself ever since because I should have left a note in the bag to alert whoever she is! Oh well. Hopefully she (or they!) don’t fall for his crap for as long as I did.

        He’s never been married, we were in what I THOUGHT was a committed, long-term relationship. I moved to be closer to him. I knew things were probably going to end soon anyway because I wanted us to move in together and be a (childfree) family, but he kept dodging the conversation, so I knew something was incompatible. I just didn’t know it was infidelity.

  • Almost 3yr ago. DDay was the morning after my 40th birthday, and friends overseas were still wishing me happy birthday. Found message open on his phone screen m, with howorker. Cheater had gotten me cycling pants and swimmers as a gift. It’s also birthday week for the kids too. One child had turned 6 three days prior. The other would turn 3 just two days after DDay. Then a week or so later, Xmas. It’s impossible to forget these dates. But you can try and turn them around, into freedom day. Fuck them.

  • My Christmas day story is short. When I asked why I received 4 identical frying pans and an empty stocking, he stopped texting long enough to drop the D-word.

    It’s been 6 years from that day, and nearly 4 years on my own to start feeling like ME again. AND this is the second year I’m actually enjoying the holiday season again. I reclaimed a couple of traditions I always loved, and adopted some new ones. Life and the holidays are so much better when you finally get to the other side.

  • My D-Day was 2 days after Valentine’s Day. I did not receive a gift or a card. FW told me on the 16th that he could not find an applicable card. I was told we were living as friends. He was not in love with me anymore. So, he blew up Valentine’s Day, of all days. That says it all.

    In retrospect, I should have known when he came back from a business trip in December and immediately washed everything in his carry-on. I later found a long dark hair in our shower. I have short hair. And, she bought him a $100 bottle of Puerto Rican rum. Foolish me.

  • My last but not first d-day was 12/25/19. For Christmas that year, my ex gave me an Ikea catalog that he just tossed in a used gift bag. He told me to pick out furniture to redecorate our living room. Several hours later during his family Christmas celebration, he was texting OW that the marriage was over and making plans to meet up with her. He laughed about his bad timing. He told me the next day that need some space and was going to leave after his parents left town; we had to pretend like everything was fine.

    As painful as this was, it was somewhat of a relief to know that I was not crazy. He spent the previous year gaslighting me about his relationship with OW. I accepted his lies and thought I was overreacting to their “friendship” because I was in a very vulnerable state just having finished cancer treatment.

    Despite all of this happening on and around Christmas, I am actually enjoying the holidays this year. I realized that Christmas doesn’t suck. He does.

  • Not quite a ‘leaving on the holidays’ tale here but the preparation was underway. My dad had terminal cancer and by Xmas he was pretty sick, he’s done well and had a good part of a year with no treatment which must have infuriated OW and EX cause he is a good guy and wasn’t going to leave me until he was dead.

    Here comes Xmas and we have a stressful one relocating up to my dads cause he was living in one room and had healthcare professionals coming in. There is no heating (another story) and all the fam came and we made the best of it for my dad cause you do right as it’s clearly his last Xmas but by god was is stressful for me. EX had stayed out just before Xmas and he had lied about where he was, I hadn’t had time to even think about it I had so much going on.

    EX was a fucking a-hole that Xmas, he was weird with me, with everyone else and at one point flounced out because of my behaviour and given there is a dying man we’re all trying to just have a nice time for it was the most selfish arsehole behaviour I had ever seen, not even giving a consideration to the stress I was under, most days I was physically shaking. He wasn’t helping. God I’d even invited his dad down who was grateful for being allowed to come on what was clearly an emotional time for us all.

    Dad dies in Jan, week after the funeral EX tells me he’s leaving and then I start to piece things together (as you do) and I find, on the OW’s instagram a lovely little note that EX had written in one of the moment probably where he flounced off in a huff and had to go home that said ‘help me I am being held against my will, send Interpol or the Salvation Army’. She had written …. ‘When the Xmas festivities get too much for some LOLZ……

    For that alone I could smash both their heads in. So yeah Dad made it to January and then he waited a week after I buried him before I suddenly got full barrels what had been leaking out over Xmas about how unhappy he was blah blah – you all know the rest and she then started writing tweets and insta posts about him being ‘free’ and their new life together.

    Unbelievable when I look back at it. It made it exceptionally exquisitely easy not to miss him in any form though.

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