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‘I Left Him on the Side of the Road’

Dear Chump Lady,

My 4.5 year journey to divorce my ex finished in a German court at 9:41 on October 11th. It felt like my marriage was brought in on a gurney and then they called time of death. It was surreal.

What I learned is that my ex is a walking cliche and that karma is a beautiful and somehow horrible thing to watch.

When all of this started, I was a trailing spouse who had lived in 5 countries in 8 years and had been told to get ready for our next country. I had diligently registered my kids for the next school, was looking for an apartment and a job in what I thought would be our final destination. I wrote off his lack of interest as stress.

The reality was that my ex was sleeping with the global head of legal at his company and they were writing tortured love letters to each other on the company server — including their titles in the affectionate closes. Power is a real aphrodisiac.

I understood something was wrong and questioned him, but he lied and tried to convince me that I needed psychological help because I was imagining things. In 4 months, his phone went from nightly charging in the kitchen to being firmly tucked between his butt cheeks so I couldn’t get to it.

Fast forward through 6 months — I lost 12 kilos, my sense of direction and my peace of mind. After those 6 months, I finally managed to open his iPad and get into the trash of his corporate email to find only the first lines of 2 emails which confirmed my suspicions. When I tried to save them to a folder, his iPad suggested one titled “win” where I got to read that we were incompatible people and that he did not care about me or our daughters.

That day I was mighty. I left him on the side of the road in Italy and promptly changed the locks on our house.

The man I thought was full of integrity and loved his family turned out to be a liar and a narcissist. It took me a while in therapy to understand that he was the problem, not me.

What did I do? I felt pain that I did not know was possible but forced myself to see who he really was and not who I desperately wanted him to be. I also realized that he would offer me no answers, would not meet any obligations without me fighting him every step. My lawyer bills confirm this.

I am proud of myself. I found Chump Lady and this amazing community. I went back to university, held my family of 3 together — I was determined that maybe he ruined his family but he did not destroy not mine. I found a job that I love — where I feel like I am making a difference. And I surrounded my family with people who support us and are honest.

My older daughter just started a great university in the UK. My younger daughter will apply to medical school next year. I opted for telling them the truth. They are well adjusted, funny and sweet girls, but they call it like they see it.

The relationship between my ex and the global legal diva didn’t last so he ended up with a Russian former employee. I don’t know how many there were and it really doesn’t matter. He was promoted initially and then almost made the CEO of his company, but the #MeToo movement finally caught up with him and it didn’t happen. The Russian employee’s children will move to live with their mother for the first time ever along with the ex CEO. Karma.

Even though I fucked up sometimes along the way, I took your advice. It worked and I will be forever grateful. I made the decision to make this betrayal something that happened to me, but not something that would define the rest of my life.

I still have moments of sadness, but I take them as reminders to have good boundaries, to hold people accountable for what they say and do, and to expect reciprocity in my relationships. All of the people who give me the forgiveness chat get told to mind their fucking business. People truly don’t understand unless they have lived it.

It was not easy to pull myself out of the hole of self doubt, anger and sadness, but here I am. I am walking forward into my new life.

I am finally free. And it’s Tuesday.

Thank you. What you do for us is life saving.

Love,

Bales of Laughter

Dear Bales,

Congrats on your new life! And thank you for the kind words. The credit belongs to all of CN. I’m one (snarky) chump, it takes a community to give the needed perspective and support. But enough about us. WAY TO BE MIGHTY!

Can I just say, I love the part about leaving him on the side of the road in Italy. Trying to imagine how that exchange went.

***

(Him, sputtering alongside a dirt road. Curious goats approach. Sniff his pant leg.)

“WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME HERE?!”

Bales: “I don’t think we’re compatible.”

Him: “Quit joking. Let me in the car!”

You: “You’re already in the car.”

Him: “I AM NOT! Do you see this GOAT? (shoos away goat) The GRAVEL? This is a ROAD and you deposited me here.”

You: “I think you may need psychological help. You are imagining things.”

(A squeal of tires, Bales guns it, headed for the highway. In the ever-growing distance… a man fights for his pant leg.)

***

You navigated that shit show admirably. And you’re right — his fuckwittery does not define you. But your badass response and continued resilience? That totally defines you. You brought that.

Opening up the floor for Tuesday stories.

Congrats, Bales! Thank you for a great dispatch from the Other Side.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Today, I will scramble to finish the work I have due. I am scrambling because I spent time on Friday evening, Saturday evening, and most of Monday with friends. I went to a party, a performance, on long walks with two different friends, and to a cookie baking event. Before I divorced, I could go 2 months without spending an hour with friends because everything fell on me–my job, all the kids’ needs, every aspect of household management, all the EX’s real needs, and a bazillion dramas caused by the EX.

    Before I was exhausted because I lived with an abusive jackass. Now, if I am tired, it is my own fault for choosing to grab so much of life with both hands.

    CL and Chump Nation have played a huge part in helping me understand my situation, respond to it, and thrive post-marriage. Thanks to all of you.

    • Love love love this story. Good job. Love “he may have left his family but it he didn’t destroy mine.” Motor on! I made it to Tuesday even though I’m still reading this blog and processing. I kicked him out on DDay and gave him one opportunity to go into counseling to fix whatever after DDay. He said he wouldn’t stop seeing OW so I filed, reached agreement on property and divorced in 7 months after 30 yr marriage. The FW lost his GF when she cheated on him after she realized I made all the money and he couldn’t afford to pay mortgage on our beach house they were living in so I sold it. He walked away with a pocket full of cash but no credit rating, no GF and no family. Our sons were disgusted. Built rich life, new friends, retired. I am content. Not sure what happy means but hope to feel that way at some point. My worst day being free from that shit show is better than my best day being with FW during discard. Hugs to newbies. I hope these Tuesday stories give you hope and vision for a FW free future.

      • Thrive: you are mighty!!

        I am married to a FW porn addict. Our 2 year anniversary is later this month. I have known him 9 years.

        Thank goodness I found CL/CN about two months ago.

        Me and FW are older. We have postnup in place (a good nup according to both attorneys I consulted).

        I found what I believe was 5/6 disks of CP in his HUGE porn collection. I reported him to the police the next day without informing FW. That was a year ago last October. FW finally agreed to individual therapy. The therapist was very good.

        Forward to October 2021. FW was in therapy for a year. Therapist asked me to come to a session. I went despite what I had learned here. To my surprise, therapist wanted to hear from me, informed me and FW that therapist will not see FW anymore because FW lied to him and has made no progress. That was the 3rd time FW got dropped by the therapist.

        FW moved out 1 November. I paid attorney in full yesterday for a no contest divorce.

        No debts. Short marriage. Nuptial in place. No fault state….I should be divorced in March.

        I found out after FW left that my energy started to return. I found a part time job fast. I also got contacted by a professional in my network about a six figure job (I had retired 3.5 years ago). I had an interview with the hiring manager. He is having HR rewrite the job posting to fit me! Application done. Barring something unforeseen, I am getting that job. I will WFH until I can move.

        I am getting divorced, landing a six figure job with full benefits, selling my home and moving across the country. Me and my two kitties!

        FW can watch my tail lights and kiss my fat white rear end.

        Porn was discussed before marriage. FW hid it, lied to me up until he moved out, manipulated me and used me as a wife appliance. His behavior is not acceptable and he crossed my firm boundary.

        I am no contact. He will get served at work.

        FW is into teens, rape porn, sex dolls, forced anal and animals. He is quite advanced in his sickness. He is such a sad sausage.

        • You are the mightiness of the mighty! You’re ex isn’t a sad sausage, he’s a deviant creep that likely should be in jail!!

          • Local PD did nothing unfortunately. I recently got a copy of my police report.

            I then drove to the extremely small community (an hour away in a different community) where he spent most of his life and everyone in that town of 100 knows FW and his entire family. Come to find out the county sheriff office is nearby as the place is too small for a police department.

            I talked to the desk clerk to see if there were any reports on FW for CP.

            Sheriff heard me talking to the clerk and I was invited into his office. Great guy. Told me exactly what to do.

            Now the county sheriff has FW on his radar. I am sure the entire department now knows.

            FW is gonna see the Karma Bus one day.

            Local small area sheriff’s rely on inside Intel.

            • Spedie that is mighty. You sound like a different person from your first posts! Best of luck with the new life. Good for you pursuing the CP – I hope they get him.

              • I learned to trust that my FW sucks. Then I got on that subreddit loveafterporn and started helping people.

                Helping people helps me stay strong in my resolve.

                No contact helps a bunch as I am away from his abuse. I can now sleep, start healing and move forward in a no bullshit, logical way.

                Thanks CL/CN!!

                I had an excellent zoom session today with my female attorney. She is paid in full.

        • Spedie
          Go to the Feds – child porn is often an interstate matter and they care a LOT more that the locals do- ask Josh Duggar

          • This. The Feds care. They arrested and handcuffed my neighbor at his management job at a major tech company in silicon valley. They taped off his cube, and confiscated his work computer. They also surprised him at 5am at his townhouse (next to mine), with a team of FBI agents, kicking in his door and carrying out van-fulls of stuff (computers, disks, videos, etc.). Dude is spending ten years in prison. All over online videos/photos stuff. (No in person-minors involved.)

  • “All of the people who give me the forgiveness chat get told to mind their fucking business. People truly don’t understand unless they have lived it.”

    I’m not at Tuesday yet and that’s fine; everything in its own time. However, I do appreciate that the idea of forgiveness is not synonymous with Tuesday. I’m with Bales. People who push the “you need to forgive the FW” narrative often have their own personal agenda and it may be as simple as “I want to still be friends with FW and I don’t want to keep feeling guilty about it, so please forgive him” or “I don’t want to feel sad everytime I look at you, so please forgive him” or “Adultery makes me uncomfortable, so please forgive him as if he merely shoplifted something so I can forget about it.” (etc) Bales is right; none of those people have been cheated on and abandoned. For them, cheating is merely unfortunate, just the way we’ve been conditioned to think of it in sitcoms and movies.

    Ask a room full of chumps how they feel about arbitrarily forgiveness. The game changes.

    Bales’s story is great and so mighty. One day I’ll be at Tuesday and FW will be just a distant speck in the rearview mirror.

    • I’m not at Tuesday yet, but here’s how far I’ve gotten- I don’t hate him. It just dawned on me recently, that the hate is gone, and that made me feel good. I think the hatred served a good purpose, to push me out of there, away from his grifting ways, and it lasted a pretty long time! But, forgiveness won’t happen, too much was done to me, and our sons, and even hurt my sisters, so I can’t forgive. I’m ok with that. I’m shooting for neutral, or just not caring at all about his existence.

      • Dear Free Woman, you sound pretty mighty and I appreciate your perspective. I’m still at the hate phase, and even if I don’t make it to Tuesday not hating her might just be enough for me on this shit sandwich journey. Happy Holidays.

        • Thank you, Xioba, I think of myself as resilient. I’m happy to have come this far , and grateful for every morning, a new day!
          Lots of things help, like my two funny cats, music for sure, and whatever hobby I’m into. Currently tiling my kitchen backsplash, and I enjoy that.
          I hope you find joy this holiday, and we are all wishing the best for you!

        • It is a journey, Xioba, and you can’t rush it. So don’t try to. But keep steady on your own healing and your POV will change.

          Work on yourself. Work on what role you played in the mess (for me it was allowing myself to remain in a relationship that was sub-par from the start).

          Below this post is a conversation about forgiveness. I arrived at Tuesday when I thought about forgiving.

          Not, like actually, but in my heart. Once that happened, a weight lifted and I made a big move forward.

          And now I’m grateful… sometimes giddy that I was set free.

          But it took a long time and hard work. it’ll come.

        • If someone jumped out of the bushes and murdered your family, would you forgive them? Would you invite them for Christmas? XW murdered my amazing family. We will never again celebrate any occasion together as a whole intact family, Christmas, birthdays, etc. Doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on, but I will certainly never forgive her. The Devil can have her black soul.

          • Um… I think you’re jumping too far. And I’m not sure where you are in your journey.

            Might help if I explain what forgiveness means to me.

            Forgiveness means to no longer carry to burden of the sorrow or grief on a regular basis. It means to let go of that emotional weight.

            I would do this. I have done this. Why bare the emotional jail sentence of walking around with that pain? Wouldn’t you do this?

            Do I have holidays with my X? nope. But its easier being around her for our kids’ graduation parties if I’m not actively angry at her.

            • I don’t think that is what forgiveness is …..forgiveness is a pardon to the other person for their misdeeds. What you have done sounds more like letting go and moving on.
              I ve done that with my ex ….but forgiveness? ….not do much ….he deliberately destroyed his family ….and took glee in trying to send us to the wall financially and emotionally….he knew what he was doing.
              These days he is a shadow of his former self …. his relationship self imploded in spectacular fashion …..and just last week he made the mistake of driving down our street to stickybeak or whatever he was doing …..it’s been 10 years …..my new husband, myself and his daughter saw him doing this ….we just waved at him to show him we saw him …..I have no ill will against him …..but forgiveness …that boat won’t ever come ….unless he does the work to need or warrant it. I don’t think he is capable

      • I am mostly at Tuesday and I still hate my ex but it’s more like I hate what he did. I will never forgive him as he didn’t take accountability- so logically there’s nothing to forgive. However I have forgiven myself which is a great feeling! I gave myself all the compassion in the world for being the person who loved her marriage and her family and her husband and sat through two decades of gaslighting. I am working on not hating him!

        • For me , forgiveness REQUIRES SINCERE REMORSE through action not words! Not withstanding , that’ll never come from a narcissistic bovine asswipe. So meh came relatively quickly , 6 months or so.. There was a better life to come.

        • That is my biggest struggle right now, forgiving myself. I don’t know how not to feel self loathing for allowing myself to be in my current circumstances. When friends discuss the karma that will catch up with Ex and the AP someday, I can’t help but feel that I am the one experiencing karma. I wonder what I did to deserve it. I don’t want my old life back, I would never want the life they are living now, and I can never unsee who my Ex is now that I’ve truly seen what he is. However, my mind is stuck in a continuous loop between pep talks and self hate. I know I won’t be at meh until I figure out how to forgive myself.

    • To me, forgiveness is a religious—particularly Christian—concept, and because I am not religious, I don’t feel like I have to forgive my ex. People also say that forgiving someone else for awful things they did to you is something you do for yourself, and I say that’s bullshit. That’s changing the definition of what forgiveness means, in my opinion. You don’t have to forgive to get to meh. I haven’t forgiven my ex, but I also don’t hate him either. Hate takes way too much energy. I’m mentioning this because there is a lot of pressure on chumps and abused people in general to forgive their cheater, and I felt so much better when I gave myself permission to not forgive him. I feel like the focus on forgiveness is more victim blaming, and to that I say, “eff that!”

      • I couldn’t agree more. Forgiving shitty people does nothing to ease the pain of betrayal and is not at all the same as letting go of rage and hatred and getting to meh. To forgive means you wipe the slate clean and no longer hold their behavior against them. Nope. Not happening. Like so many religious teachings, the duty to forgive wrongdoers, especially those who are not even remorseful, is nonsensical.

        Forgiveness nazis always disingenuously try to convince you that you should forgive for your own sake, as if they know what is best for you and you do not. When you tell them you are actually quite content with not forgiving, it flummoxes them. It’s amusing to watch.

        • Even BEFORE Jesus went public,
          John the Baptist was preaching “Repent”.
          Confess & Repent (THEN Forgiveness).
          Confess (tell the truth).
          Repent (stop that sin).
          Both are required.
          WHAT Cheater Confesses & Repents?

          It’s written “God hates divorce” BUT
          “Do not commit adultery” trumps that being 1 of the 10 commandments.

          DivorceMinister.com explains well.

          Matthew ch 7 vs 6
          “Do not give dogs what is sacred,
          do not throw your pearls to pigs.
          If you do, they may trample them
          under their feet and then turn and
          tear you to pieces.”

      • I am not religious either (though I was raised Christian). I don’t necessarily feel the need to “forgive”, but for me, forgiveness simply means that I no longer allow what happened to me to control me. It’s more like walking away. It will have no effect on the perpetrator. I don’t need to inform the other party of my choice. It is in no way meant to alleviate the guilt/suffering of anyone else. For instance, I realized that I “forgave” the OW. I didn’t tell her that. I realized I no longer hate her (and honestly, she got what she deserved; however, I don’t think she has learned anything from what she went through and probably never will). I reframed my narrative – she did me a huge favor. Without her selfish actions, I might still be trapped in an abusive marriage. It doesn’t exonerate her in any way. Her actions are inexcusable, and I will never forget them, nor allow anyone else to treat me that way. I have become wiser, kinder, better.

        That’s as close as I’ll get to forgiveness. And I’m fine with that.

      • Very much agree with you SC on the focus on chumps forgiving. Not only will I never forgive my FW, but I still fucking hate her because of her continued alienation of my kids from me. I would bet many if not most of our FWs keep giving us new reasons to hate them.

        • I am Christian and feel absolutely no need or pressure to forgive my ex. He has never expressed one ounce of remorse or asked for forgiveness. Even parole boards and 12 step programs require at least that much. Everyone’s path is different, but I kept my vows and don’t feel I owe him anything further after he broke his. I also don’t hate him, but I do not forgive him.

          • I am a spiritual person, but not a Christian, nor do I adhere to any religion. The Christian “turn the other cheek” thing always flummoxed me, until one day, walking on the beach, it suddenly came to me what I think it means. You see, I was imagining all the people in my life who had hurt me, standing in a group behind me on the sand, as I walked away from them on the beautiful beach at sunrise. For me, I think “turn the other cheek” means turning your head (the other cheek) to see the beauty and potential in front of you, leaving behind the painful past, ignoring it and going towards a beautiful future. Forgetting, moving on, embracing a state of grace.

            • ” I think “turn the other cheek” means turning your head (the other cheek) to see the beauty and potential in front of you, leaving behind the painful past, ignoring it and going towards a beautiful future. Forgetting, moving on, embracing a state of grace.

              Beautiful and though I never put it in words, it is how I think of it. I never thought turn the other cheek meant that I should just let someone continue to use and abuse me.

            • I’m a practicing Christian. The concept of “turn the other cheek” is discussed in the context of people persecuting you for your Christian beliefs, not laying down and accepting any and all abuse for any reason. It’s definitely not, look the other way while your spouse is cheating on you!!!

            • Turn the other cheek for me means thinking that maybe someone in my life screwed up without meaning to. It’s me giving them a second chance after I let them know how they’ve hurt me. If they aren’t remorseful and try to do better there’s my answer. If they hurt me again there’s my answer. I only have 2 checks and I don’t count the ones on my backside.

          • I am a spiritual person, but not a Christian, nor do I adhere to any religion. The Christian “turn the other cheek” thing always flummoxed me, until one day, walking on the beach, it suddenly came to me what I think it means. I was imagining all the people in my life who had hurt me, standing in a group behind me on the sand, as I walked away from them on the beautiful beach at sunrise. For me, I think “turn the other cheek” means turning your head (the other cheek) to see the beauty and potential in front of you, leaving behind the painful past, ignoring it and going towards a beautiful future. Forgetting, moving on, embracing a state of grace. There is no need to give these people any more head space, and certainly no understanding or sympathy for whatever caused them to harm and hold others back. I have studied many religions, and I do believe the idea of “forgiveness” has been grossly misinterpreted. We are to simply do our best and put it behind us, or as Tracy so aptly describes it, arrive at Tuesday.

          • Also a Christian and feel this 100%. FW also “asked” for forgiveness yet still does the same thing (hoovering, working 3 channels (charm pity rage) – I stopped wasting headspace on him many moons ago.

            I don’t hate him anymore and don’t wish him ill will however I am of the mindset of “I never knew you” and “Don’t throw pearls to swine.”

            I don’t look for him at all – gray rock and parallel parent and he doesn’t exist only for the moments I need to confirm business details for hostage drop offs for Uncle Dad weekends with my nugget and that’s it.

        • “I would bet many if not most of our FWs keep giving us new reasons to hate them.”

          Yup, I can honestly say I had gone on with my life and had not thought of fw for years other than a passing “how is your dad” to my son. I didn’t really care much how he was, it was just polite. Then fw and his whore blew up my sons life and it was on again. That is when I found CL while researching narcissist’s in an effort to understand and maybe help my son.

      • Ya, I have a very Christian friend who kept pressuring me to forgive. She almost had me convinced that I would feel better for it. It never felt authentic though & even fraudulent. I finally had to firmly tell her to stop beating the forgiveness drum or I wouldn’t forgive her. I quit talking to her about my now-ex & anytime she has brought him up, I change the subject. I love my friend, but she can stuff that forgiveness stuff!

        • Acceptance may be what you are looking for. Acceptance to me means: I understand this happened to me. I am not to blame and I am not responsible. I don’t agree with what you did, and now I am moving on. Forgiveness to me is only possible when the offender expresses true remorse, asks for forgiveness, and works to make amends. And even then I am under no obligation to listen or forgive. Acceptance is for me. Do I want to stay here? Do I want to be defined by this terrible experience? forgiveness is for the offender, but only if you want to and only if they have earned it.

      • SC, I assume the friends who apply pressure to forgive were cheaters in their past. Looking to assuage their own guilt.

        BTW, love the screen name!

      • I agree with the victim blaming.

        Right out of the gate most chumps get the you have to forgive lecture from some asshole.

        But, I wonder how many of those you must forgive assholes go to the cheater and say you must make restitution, so that chump can then forgive you.

        I am betting none.

    • I asked a PTSD therapist who consulted with a dv survivors’ advocacy network “Is there any bottom to bystanders lobbying for victims to ‘forgive’?” Like any crime so horrible that the forgiveness crowd stands down? He said bystanders, even helping professiinals, do this to children, too, so no, there’s no bottom.

      I think it’s telling that my estranged ex MIL tried to get FW to “forgive” the adult man who raped FW when he was a minor teen so that MIL could keep the rapist in her groovy arty hipster friend collection. It’s an unfathomable betrayal.

      I see it as bystanders insisting that a wound be sealed up without being cleaned and disinfected so they don’t have to see or smell the festering gore as it heals. And of course it’s also so they can stay pals with the perp who put the wound there because… “What wound?”

      • It seems like trying to force people to forgive is an attempt to make it go away for others. Too bad. What happened is our experience and we have to go through it our way, on our timeline. If others are uncomfortable with that, its their problem.

    • I’m indifferent to fuckwit now (it took a long time though). I don’t wish him well, I don’t wish him ill, I don’t wish him anything. But will I ever forgive him? Never in a million years!

      • And they can’t stand that indifference on our part. They would rather we hate them, because it makes them relevant. Mine came sniffing around after is marraige (not to the OW) disinegrated (suprise, suprise). I calmly listed all the crappy things he had done to me and what I thought of his character, everything. But I did it without emotion, as if reading from an inventory list (it was! An inventory of his shortcomings and charcter defects.) Just the facts. It gutted him.

    • Forgiveness and reconciliation are two very different things. Forgiveness is “I’m not giving you rent free space in my head anymore.” It’s a decision to stop poisoning yourself by letting go of what happened. It does not require the offender to do anything. The victim chooses to forgive for their own peace of mind. Reconciliation requires the offender to admit fault and to take steps to repair the relationship. You can have forgiveness without reconciliation.

      • I agree. I forgave but it doesn’t mean I need to have that fuckwit in my life ever again. Especially since he’s not repentant in the least.

    • A lot of us hopped on this idea of forgiveness. My own experience with it is that I absolutely *hate* forgiveness propaganda that floats around out there that one must forgive the party who injured them in order to move on with life. I have found this (for me, anyway) to be objectively untrue. Forgiveness, of course, is different for everyone though.

      Stage 1: Ultimate Forgiveness.
      For me, I forgave FW instantly… like.. so quickly. I just wanted him back. I forgave him everything. All throughout GF#1 and #2, he didn’t come back. So I forgave him because even though I was numb and in deep depression… well, heck… I just didn’t want him to think badly of me. He did keep telling me that his affairs were directly/indirectly my fault, so I wanted to stay in his good graces because I had done him the unhappiness of marrying him and loving him.

      Stage 2: Ultimate Forgiveness Electric Boogaloo.
      He came back! He wanted to reconcile! He’s sobbing, he’s crying, he says he’s done everything wrong and he didn’t know how I got through it! He said that he’s so sorry that he almost threw away everything; he even drove to a bridge and considered throwing himself off, that’s how bad it was for him. Crying, I threw my arms around him and told that everything was forgiven! Everything! I was just so happy we had a second chance; not everyone gets that blessing. (etc etc… many of you know this dance)

      Stage 3: Forgiveness as a Free Pass.
      Reconciliation soldiers on. It’s miserable. I’m miserable. He hates being with me and the kids. But he really hates it whenever anyone–anyone! friends, family, me, doesn’t matter–brings up his affairs. “That’s the past. If you talk about the past then you don’t move on from it,” he’d say (angrily). Two people in my life held off on forgiving him: my mother and a family friend. They told him in a personal meeting that they’d *consider* forgiving him but he would have to earn it.

      He was furious with them. They should have forgiven him right away, he thought. “I SAID I was sorry!” He thought that anyone who was incapable of forgiving him his transgressions was a sorry excuse for a person with bad character.

      I began to really regret forgiving him so quickly.

      Stage 4: Forgiveness Lite.
      FW meets GF#3/Wifetress, packs his bags, and skips off into his happily ever after. I’m left with children I’m still toilet training, no income, depression, a broken heart, and a mountain of debt. For years (years, I think…? that time was such a void) I still figured I had forgiven him for all he had done but I didn’t want much to do with him anymore. I just didn’t want him to hate me. He could bring the tears to my eyes quickly by telling me that he didn’t think all that much of me, so I stuck with Forgiveness Lite because I thought that’s all I could give him in order to make him not hate me.

      Stage 5: Screw Forgiveness.
      He’s gone. He’s been gone a long time. I still have to soilder through parallel weekend parenting with him but I use Grey Rock parenting software and am otherwise No Contact. To conduct myself otherwise brings pain and tears. But with each passing NC day I feel stronger, better, and… what’s this…? ….happier? Oh my gosh… yes.. I’m actually happier. And I can *directly* tie this slow growth of happiness in my life to the absence of FW. Holy crap, I didn’t think it was ever going to be possible but here I am.

      And then, years out of it, I start thinking about forgiveness. You know what? I change my mind. I *don’t* forgive him. I look in the mirror. I say it out loud: “I take it back. I don’t forgive him.” And it feels glorious. I don’t feel weighed down by it; I feel lighter; I feel propelled forward. I feel empowered. Finally, I can let go and move on even a little more precisely because I took that forgiveness back. Honestly, it felt so good and it moved me closer to Tuesday.

      Does FW know that I “took that forgiveness back”? No, it’s none of his business. This was just for me. And it felt great.

  • Yeah, you rock Bales!

    As for me since fw is out of my life I cannot seem to go out of the dating swamp pool, but at least as soon as I run into these kind of creeps I have to admit I actually enjoy confronting them with their own delusions in my own chumpy way, right from the start. My attitude is so different from how I went through dating before, thanks for that Chump Lady!

    Now maybe I have just become too sarcastic and need to find a middle ground, because so far no one really seems to stick around 😁

  • You are badass mighty.

    I was a trailing wife for a long time and moved where I was told to move (lived in the house he chose, drove the car he picked out and worshipped at the Church he preferred).

    He was so accustomed to me acquiescing, he did not know what to do with the “No” I gave him to another move when he became the most selfish person alive. (I did waffle a little where I said I might move then regained my senses).

    There is a certain destruction that happens when we see things written where they admit how little regard they have for us. For me it was a paper that said “I never loved my wife”.

    Kudos to your mightiness

    • Yep the “I never loved you” is brutal. Be it on paper on from their mouth.

      It did create hatred and yes I think the hatred helped me move forward. Even my preacher never gave me the forgiveness speech. His only caution was that I need to get mad; because for a few weeks I was a puddle.

      I think he knew that I would come to forgiveness in my own time and way. At some point in time I quit imagining him floating face down in the Ohio River, that was my forgiveness. Then years later he treated my son and his family horribly; and I got pissed again.; but that is when I found CL. I learned to laugh at some of it, shake my head at other parts and I believe finally truly forgive myself for letting him treat me so horribly.

  • I’m graduating today from nursing school. At age 45, I went back to school to get a degree that would let me both support my kids and do work I love and that makes a difference in the world. For so many years, when I was married, I struggled to figure out what career I wanted, all while he kept telling me I “didn’t have time” for anything but staying barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, cooking food he would criticize. In two months I’ll start my dream job at the best hospital in my city, making more money than I’ve ever made in my life (and more than most the students in my school cohort!!!). I’ll work 3 days a week and have the rest of my time off to hang out with my kids. Next year, I plan to pull that novel out of the back of my brain and get it ready for submission, in between my numerous volunteer activities, social activities, and classes I take for fun (I’m planning on aikido).

    Wild how much more time I have as a working single mom than I had as a married stay at home mom! Tuesday is just OVERFLOWING with free time to do all the things *I* want to enjoy!

  • Bales, you rock!!! CL, I hope you’re inspired to create a cartoon of that guy on the side of the road.

    I’m standing on the edge of Tuesday, dipping my toe into its warm, inviting waters.

    For the first year and a half, I was crushed by the rejection. But now I flip that: He was bad for *me*. Lordy, I have my faults, but I also have integrity. I don’t lie. And I’m kind (sometimes to a fault, but I’m working on that). That moody, mean, lying man is not good enough for me. I reject HIM!

    I’m not always happy, and memories pop up that send me reeling, but the happiness curve is trending upward.

    Recently I had a few (vaccinated) people for dinner. As we were chatting, laughing, and enjoying our meal, it hit me that these are people from my new life in a new state. None has ever met my x. Heck, two years ago, I’d never met any of *them*. Through tears and grit, I’ve gained a life. And it’s a better life than the married one I had for (gulp) 35 years. Overall, I’m happier.

    I hear that he’s licking his wounds, has the sadz daily, and is complaining that he’s lost everything. I wonder how the AP/wife feels when he says he’s lost everything. Like a consolation prize? I’m starting not to care.

    • “and is complaining that he’s lost everything.”

      He didn’t lose anything, he threw it all away willingly. I think at some point most if not all of them realize it, whether they ever admit it out loud or not.

      • When x happily hopped in bed (OUR BED!) with the AP, he didn’t consider that he was throwing anything away. He thought he was gaining cake. And for the nearly three years of his secret sex life, when he and I continued to have regular sex (ugh), he must have felt that the “win” column would remain cake-filled and kibble-rich.

        Such was his self-deception that he seems to have had no idea that the the win column would shrink so rapidly when he fessed up to the affair. Stupid man! (And to think I always felt inferior because he’s an MD. That’s my own stupidity.)

        I have to say that he did gain something he seemed to want: a younger, attractive woman. He can walk into a room with her on his arm and imagine the envy of other men–in his mind, these are men who remain “tethered” to their wives. He tricked himself into believing that he was brave enough to take a risk and that they are jealous. I think he knows better now but am not sure.

        They are about as jealous of his life (lost more than half his $$ and has no contact with his kids and grandkids etc..) as they are of his massive upper-thigh tattoo.

        Shallow is as shallow does.

        • Oh I am sure my fw though his nirvana of illicit sex would last forever. After all he was in control, and he had this. Then the house of cards fell. But still he threw it all away by his own choices. He could lie to everyone, but he knew. Did it really hurt him to lose me, nah; but losing his cushy office and promotion. Now that had to sting, I don’t care who you are. (hat tip to the cable guy)

          I know I am in a position where I saw his life crumble, and I will be honest it put a spring in my step at the time. But, I still think most know at some point, they know what they did and they have to own it.

          I do think some are able to fool themselves and keep lying to themselves but not many.

  • Bales, you are mighty! I am glad to here that Tuesday is coming for all of us. I am in the midst of the process with a FW. So much black and white proof and he still tries to deny. He does not want to settle because he needs the money for his 32 years younger Schmoopie. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that he will want to go in front of the judge with the evidence from both the PI and forensic accountant. Plus my son saved all the nude videos of him and Schmoopie that FW left accidentally on the family account. Know my Tuesday is coming but it will be a while yet.

    • Have faith, CFANM! After 2.5 years of FW arguing/delaying and everyone saying cheating doesn’t matter much in court, we were three weeks out from the court date (coincidentally my wedding anniversary) and my lawyer put down Other Chump as a witness.
      I’ve never met Schmoopie, they’re out of state, so apparently FW had no idea I’ve been talking to Other Chump for 2 years. Or maybe he just didn’t think I had the balls to impact his career/child support by bringing up the cheating.
      Either way, FW immediately caved. I’m getting a little more than I asked for, which granted was already down to bare bones just to get out without going to court. Still, I’m glad to be done with it & wishing the same for you! There is no justice, as they say, just little victories that eventually set us free.

  • “to have good boundaries, to hold people accountable for what they say and do, and to expect reciprocity in my relationships”.

    Not quite at Tuesday, but my very busy life includes people with the qualities I deserve and the qualities I am capable of.

    The people who are in his life are those who should have called him out, but didn’t.

  • I don’t know what day it is in my life, but I went to back to back Christmas events this weekend which showed how much progress I have made since I found out my marriage was a MIRAGE in October of 2017.

    Saturday night was the Christmas dinner at a local restaurant we host for our employees. (I own a company I co-founded with Traitor X). My daughter opted to go with me. He looked awful, sporting his long layered high-school haircut (he is 57 and sporting his long layered high school haircut, a newborn development in the history of knowing him, looks ridiculous. I worry that our customers think we are dealing dope).
    My daughter and I were seated at a table with our backs to him and we had a pretty good time. We were as aware of him as we were of the dead flies in the kitchen.
    I only go because I own the company (for now) and the company party felt like a minor inconvenience instead of another traumatic event.

    Sunday night we went to a other annual party that is a circle of friends who have known each other for years. One woman is a fellow chump, mirage-d a few years longer than I had been, whose DDay was a few months after mine. She has been on and off the merry-go-round of wreckonciliation; the last I heard she was kicking him out. They arrived at the Christmas party together. All I can say is that I do not want what she has. I overheard him talking to someone at the party about the situation and he is still a lying cheating fraudulent POS. When you come here long enough and pay attention, you can hear the cheaterspeak bullshit as clearly as someone speaking English in Japan. She did not look well and I know she is extremely depressed and on anti-depressants. He fills me with revulsion and it’s clear to me with the time I have been Minimal Contact that he is no unicorn. You really need to get away to break the spell to start seeing and hearing and feeling clearly. The Siren song of a cheater casts a very powerful spell that keeps you tranquilized, hypnotized, unconscious, foundering, flailing….and drowning. I was snared and my leg was in a bear trap. It hurt like hell, and still does, but I got free and am definitely healing.

    I like being on my own and feel excited about uncovering who I am. A relationship with someone who is a liar and a cheater and a thief is actually an entanglement, with no trust or safety or security or loyalty, or peace of mind, all the things that are the whole point of marriage. I didn’t have it with him. No one he hooks up with will have that either. Especially anyone who cheated with him.

    • “you can hear the cheaterspeak bullshit as clearly as someone speaking English in Japan.”
      Yes! Both children and I feel like we have a PhD in narcissism (thank you good therapists and CN) and we hear and read it clearly.

    • Wow, Velvet! I took a screen shot of this: “A relationship with someone who is a liar and a cheater and a thief is actually an entanglement, with no trust or safety or security or loyalty, or peace of mind, all the things that are the whole point of marriage.” Boom; mic drop!

    • “When you come here long enough and pay attention, you can hear the cheaterspeak bullshit as clearly as someone speaking English in Japan.”

      Cheaterspeak, yup. Briefly, at my lowest and loneliest periods, I would scroll internet dating sites. I found *far too many* men trolling for mistresses. Even though they weren’t saying it directly, I was picking up on the cues. It was just too depressing to know that everyone of them had an unknowing chump back at home, so I stopped checking out those sites.

      • Screenshot their profile pic, do Google image search, internet search to find their address, print out their profile and mail it to their (un)suspecting wives ?

        Nope. Waste of one’s precious time.

  • I remember one day I was taking a long walk, which I frequently did. I always liked to walk as it helped me think and plan. Anyway, this was a post discard walk, and I was pretty down. I remember I was thinking well we are legally separated now, he has his freedom; he can do anything he wants to. I sobbed a bit, then I stopped dead in my tracks, I remember the exact spot I was standing in. Anyway suddenly the thought came to my head, wait a minute if he gets his freedom, I get my freedom.

    Oh I still had my days, but from that day forward I knew I was going to be ok. I was going to be poor as a church mouse for a long time, but not forever and I just knew if I kept working hard and making the best decisions I could I would be ok.

    I had no way of knowing what a mess he would make of his life at the time. All I thought was he was going to go on to his new exciting life that I helped him build and share it with another woman. So in that moment, I felt pretty strong that despite of that I would be ok.

    It was like everything my dad, my brother and my preacher had been saying to me finally kicked in.

  • Congrats Bales! Your story is practically a mirror of mine, I have a 16-year-old that called him out on his shit and he eventually destroyed their relationship too. He’s still with his unemployable, scam running, system bleeder of a girlfriend after 4 1/2 years she’s still begging him for marriage. Front row seat to the shit show is a reminder to my daughter and I how narcissistic and dysfunctional they are.
    I don’t specifically recall when Tuesday happened for me, but I definitely don’t dwell on anything in my past, 4.5 years focusing on raising my daughter & undoing the mental/verbal abuse she suffered, The sweetest most caring man has entered our life. Six months in & I put him through all the Narc tests & he’s a keeper. Hands-down we are emotionally connected, he is engaging with my daughter, AND at 53 I can’t believe I’m having the best sex of my life! THE RECIPROCAL KIND!!!
    Trust me, dating at 53 was no picnic, but I was patient and by chance on a dating app… we connected.
    Be patient ladies… The best is yet to come!

  • As fun as that CL scenario about the goat at the side of the road is, I’m kind of surprised she didn’t jump on the ‘including their titles in the affectionate closes” part for a snarky scenario . . .

    Date: December 14, 2021
    To: Mary Jane Honeybox, Corporate Head of Head
    Subject: Upcoming agenda

    Pursuant to the above referenced meeting — I want you to put on camouflage face paint, a flak jacket and a strap-on dildo, then pound my ass mercilessly while shouting “INCOMING!!” with every thrust.

    Cordially,
    Larry Superself
    Executive Vice-President of Ego and Self-Delusion

  • “I decided that this betrayal was something that happened to me, but not something that defines the rest of my life.” Thank you Bales, I needed to read those words. I refuse to let him define the rest of my life. That is my job! “Reclaiming my time.”

    It is Tuesday!!!!

  • Wait a minute – he kept his phone tucked between his butt cheeks?! Words fail me but I can only imagine “Excuse me while I answer this”. Thank you for providing me a giggle today and now every time I think of that I will smile. I always did wonder where my STBX hid his phone and maybe I was just looking in the wrong places 😂.

    • I love the phone between his butt cheeks analogy.

      Cell phones were in their infancy when fw was using his work provided phone to talk to her non stop. I was never privy, but I wondered if when someone dropped a dime on him, if the mayor had the phone history ran. He would have found likely thousands of calls to her at all hours of the day.

      All I know is he got busted, put back out on patrol and his cozy relationship with the mayor that I helped him build was gone. Quite frankly that likely hurt him more than anything he ever lost. Neither whore nor I ever really mattered, it was always about him.

      Just recently my son told me that he had complained to him about how awful the mayor treated him after he had been so loyal to him. I looked at my son and said “did he say that with a straight face” We got a laugh out of it.

      He did tell his dad “Dad, you put the mayor in a horrible situation, you were doing things that people lose their careers over”

    • I wondered the same thing about that phone. All night in-between butt cheeks.

      Yuck! Gives a new meaning to the term “crappy phone”!

  • I loved your story, Bales. I’m nearly 7 years out from Dday- 5 from divorce. My Tuesdays came slowly but steadily. I remember being very relieved when the ruminations stopped, when I decided to go no contact for my health (not to get him to do “the 180”), when I studied for the CA bar exam and passed, when I took a new job and was named partner, when I fell in love with my fiancé, when I overheard fiancé tell a friend how lucky he is that XH was such an idiot because otherwise he wouldn’t get to be with me, when I realized we have a host of friends who never knew me in my 25-year life as Mrs. Wife-of-FW and know nothing of the devalue and discard, when I no longer cried thinking of what XH did, when I heard about another one of his “issues” from the kids and felt relief to be free, when none of my dreams of the future involve XH in any way shape or form … when I’m happy and filled with joy, which is frequently the case.

    • Wow, Motherchumper and others, including the MIGHTY Bales, I’m a newbie and surviving on CN stories. I filed two months ago to end a 30-year marriage. The physical pain, flashbacks, revelations, rage, grief, and all that comes with it are often unbearable. I also have moments of zen, and I am proud I finally got out. These MIGHTIES help me keep focus on Tuesday, which I know is a long way off. He’s already shown he will make the divorce a living hell. It will be interesting to see where I am in six months.

      • Congrats on your escape in progress! I will be filing soon. I don’t even think of where things will be 6 months from now. I think of where I will be 3 years from now and 5 years from now. The legal stuff goes slowly for most people and the emotional healing requires going through the complete set of seasons a few times, I think. Maybe it is just me who moves at a glacial pace; I just can’t imagine I will see much progress in myself in only six months.

    • “ when none of my dreams of the future involve XH in any way shape or form ”

      THAT was a paradigm shift for me. That was when I knew I had broken free from the cycle of abuse. After fifteen years together, my identity was so wrapped up with my ex that as much as I hated and wanted nothing to do with him, I still COULD NOT picture my future without him. And then, a few months of NC after leaving, I realized he wasn’t looming. He still haunted me, but he – the person, not the consequences and memories – was in my past.

      The truth is, the future had been fuzzy for a long time, and it was killing me. Rather than confronting the problem and leaving, I spackled and stayed because of love and loyalty, sunk costs and potential. My entire adult life, I’d been unable to plan for life with *or* without my abusive ex. It was a mindfuck, and it took a toll. I molded myself around a fuckwit’s needs, I made short term plans and goals, and I was flexible and resourceful and hopeful, but I could never get beyond treading water for as long as I stayed in that relationship. I tried everything – except leaving.

      And so, everything I cared about and invested in was stolen out from under me (more than once), and it was a hard lesson to learn. It nearly killed me – no exaggeration – but I think I finally, finally get it. Instead of internalizing that the problem is me, that I will never have what I want no matter how hard I work or how mighty I am (which years of abuse and disappointment had conditioned me to accept), I can now challenge myself: I lost, over and over, because the game was rigged – because something is wrong with me. And now, I’m back to square one, but I’m not playing the game against a cheater; or rather, *with* a cheater for a partner, a con man pretending to be on my team so he can take advantage of me until the very end.

      I didn’t have control *in that abusive relationship*, but I have some control now. I’m limited because of the pandemic, my age, my fears, what I invested and lost. Some dreams have passed me by. I’m still very unsure about the future, but it’s a different kind of uncertainty. I have agency and I can set goals and work towards them. When I feel hopelessly overwhelmed by what lies ahead, when I don’t care about anything, when I am disappointed in myself for not being closer to Tuesday by now, it helps to be reminded of the progress I have made. Your comment reminded me of something important, Motherchumper, so thanks.

      • Bread and Roses, this is all me. Thank you for putting it all into words. I hear your conviction and it is so soothing. Married for 30 in an awful abusive marriage. Just escaped in October. Wow. I love what you wrote, what you’re feeling. Full speed ahead.

      • I hung in there way too long because of “the investment”. Well some investments are just bad investments. The fuckwit was just a bad investment, and like all investments, we just keep hanging on thinking that if we do, they’ll pan out. There comes a time to cut the losses. 6.5 years ago I got rid of the bad investment, began to reorganize my collateral, and started investing in me for a change. I’m at Tuesday and at peace. I rock!

  • Bales, you are the wind beneath my wings.
    What an inspiring story. The thought of that loser left standing on the side of the road is hilarious and your transformation is awe inspiring.

    I’m feeling too old and tired of living to truly gain an amazing new life at this point. I have no particular plans for when Tuseday comes. I’m retired (late 50s) and just want to be at peace, here with my beloved pets, my sweet little house (that’s all mine and FW has never lived in) and my garden.

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit envious of chumps who are young and energetic enough to do a complete career turnaround, get a whole new social life, start dating again, etc.. What chumps here have accomplished is nothing short of astounding. It’s not in the cards for me and that’s okay. I can leave this world knowing that in my own small way I tried to make a positive difference and I didn’t treat other people badly. FWs can never have that feeling.

    • On Friday I went to a decoupage workshop. 4 strangers and an instructor. Not new friends but a civilised afternoon that fed the soul. I recommend this sort of thing for the quiet life.

    • OHFFS … I hear you. And the world you created for yourself sounds calming, and charming. I too, could not imagine hurting people like we’ve all been hurt and being able to sleep at night.
      I often say to myself what you wrote about that: not treating other people badly.
      We certainly need more of that in this world.
      I’m in my early 60’s – still working so I am out and about, but I love coming home to a calm, peaceful home (and garden) and on Sunday (pouring rain here!) I binge watched
      3 James Bond movies, (Daniel Craig💕) and I felt…. Content!
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m still totally POed at my x – but I still feel like everyday is…a Tuesday. Like the others wrote above about forgiveness- I totally agree. Not forgiving him (or her) has not held me back in the least. I hope you have a good day, OHFFS!

    • OHFFS: I am 58. I posted my progress above. I, too, was retired.

      We can do it. As long as we are still breathing there is hope.

    • I think you sound like you have “an amazing new life” yourself. If you love your mom, your pets and retired in your 50s, that sounds like a great life to me.

  • One of my songs in rotation on Spotify is The Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice.” Helps to be alone and sing it loud! I add songs to my “soothes the wounds” list regularly. The newest one to add is “Cheater, Cheater” by Joey and Rory.

    Sending love and light to all of you who throw support to me from across the interwebs. I would not be where I am today, working towards meh baby step by baby step, without you!

  • Why would I forgive him — he never said he was sorry.
    The last thing I ever said to him, before no contact, was; “Are you sorry for what you did?” He said, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
    Blame shifting to the end

    There’s a saying, “Do I forgive you? You’re alive aren’t you?” That’s how I feel.

  • I wish I could have left mine on the side of the road somewhere…
    But I did get him out of the house, and promptly changed the locks.
    The “changing of the locks” was the moment when I knew: this is really happening.
    80% Terror, 20% Glee.
    Thankfully, 3 years later… those numbers are turned around.
    Not so much terror any longer, except I do live in Northern Ca and I’ve always been terrified of earthquakes… and even now, alone, I’d rather have a “rattler” than him here, in my life. He was more destructive than an 8.2

    Yup, it’s Tuesday.

  • Your amazing Bales!
    I love this letter! I agree that good boundaries are a huge part of moving on and being happy. I have stumbled a few times along the road to Tuesday but for the most part I have arrived. I expect reciprocity in all of my relationships. Including but not limited to friends, family, coworkers, managers, neighbors etc. This can be very difficult for people who are on the codependent side. It amazes me how many people I know will talk about how poorly they are treated by people in their life and just take it because they think they have to. People tend to confuse forgiveness with indifference. Forgiveness is given when someone is sincere and changes their behavior. Indifference is given to those who don’t or won’t. This includes family and spouses. You shouldn’t be treated poorly by anyone and you don’t have to forgive to move on in your life. If someone asks me what I think of their situation. I tell them the truth. I never tell people what I think they just want to hear and I never tell someone to remain in any relationship, no matter what the relationship is if they are treated poorly.

    • Love your post Lorie. If I had had any boundaries at all, no matter how feeble, my life might have been very different. I’ve achieved so much since being unceremoniously dumped 2 years ago and then discovering the betrayal of the affair. I’m proud of myself. It has been hard and still is. Boundaries are a key foundation for my new life.

      And Bales, what an inspiring, extraordinary life you have led so far. That bit of karma thrown in makes it extra special.

      I’m not interested in forgiveness. Some actions are unforgivable and part of having boundaries for me is recognising those actions and not feeling a compulsion to forgive because others say I should. Let them forgive him and her. Plenty of them have. I choose not to.

      • Mighty , you definitely are Mighty!
        I agree. No on the forgiveness thing. Its indifference we shoot for. Its not easy. I have been a codependent type my whole life. Love to please and definitely don’t want to rock the boat. But over time I’ve grown a backbone and don’t allow anyone to treat me poorly.
        We’ve got this!!!!!!!

  • Bales you are absolutely mighty! Wonderwoman flying over Gotham City every night (mixed metaphors???)! But your karma story made me think of my sister’s karma story. Her ex-FW had many women on the side (as she found out later) but since it would appear he was sending them money I’m pretty sure no love or sincerity was ever exchanged! It would, however, explain the anonymous phone calls he received around pay day every month though! Anyhoo, her FW “fell madly in love” with a Russian woman, 20 years his junior, who he met over the internet but had never met in person. She reciprocated because he was just so awesome (NOT!!!!) and eventually he managed to wangle a way to get her over to his country (in Europe). This is when he left my sister and tried to make her and her four kids homeless. What he hadn’t realized though was that the Russian came with two bratty kids (around 10 and 12 years old) AND her mom. So he got to shack up with the AP, Babushka and two brats. Bet he never planned on that! Anyway, see if you can guess the end of the story! Go on, I bet you don’t know where this is going! Yeah, she ripped him off his share of the money he got when he and my sister sold their home, (still married) AP was deported back to Russia (along with the brats and Babushka) and as far as I know FW ex-BIL is jobless and homeless! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

  • “In 4 months, his phone went from nightly charging in the kitchen to being firmly tucked between his butt cheeks so I couldn’t get to it.”

    I’m going to hazard a guess that he had it on vibrate and as vigorously as possible.

    So glad you’re free of that biohazard! I love the image of him standing on the side of the road, pulling that phone out of his undies to dial Schmoopie to rescue him only there is no cell phone coverage…

    Congratulations to you, Bales!

  • bales, i aspire to be you, complete with an italian drop off (that sounds quite menacing in a tony soprano kind of way and i like it) and a complete re-set. a girl can dream.

    fanculo quel ragazzo.

    • Bales, you rock! Speaking of rock, I have an ear worm song drilling into my brain y’all might appreciate. Giving my age away here – remember Kate Bush’s hit “Babooshka?” The wife in the song sets up her own chumpdom with her suspicions. But the cheater husband pursues Babooshka, which to me is the point of the whole song. The wife had her reasons to set up the sting:

      She wanted to test her husband
      She knew exactly what to do
      A pseudonym
      To fool him
      She couldn’t have made a worst move
      She sent him scented letters
      And he received them with a strange delight
      Just like
      His wife
      But how she was before the tears
      And how she was before the years flew by
      And how she was when she was beautiful
      She signed the letter
      All yours
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja
      All yours
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja
      She wanted to take it further
      So she arranged a place to go
      To see
      If he
      Would fall for her incognito
      And when he laid eyes on her
      He got the feeling they had met before
      Uncanny
      How she
      Reminds him of his little lady
      Capacity to give him all he needs
      Just like his wife before she freezed on him
      Just like his wife when she was beautiful
      He shouted out
      I’m all yours
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja
      All yours
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja
      All yours
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja
      Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka ja, ja

      Here’s the link to the video. So 1980. LOL. I LOOOOVE Kate’s outfit when she morphs into Babooshka.

    • Bales:

      Very sorry for the pain you and your family have been through. Horrible. But I applaud you for the prompt letting him out on side of road…..once you found out. Your story inspires me as I am sure it will others.

  • Insightful post. A saving grace for Bales was that she realized fairly early in the game that this wasn’t about her. How true. She was able to realize she had to extricate herself from a situation. I was chumped a few decades ago while in a short-term marriage with a long-term dating history. It was horrendous. Back in the day, technology wasn’t what it is, so there were no cells phones or hidden emails to help piece together the puzzle of deception. It was a longer, agonizing “Am I imagining this?” journey. Or course I wasn’t, and the devalue and discard phase was brutal. And, since lifesaving sites such as CN weren’t around, my head was spinning trying to decipher what was going on.

    I finally filed for divorce after he came home one night, very late in the morning, with the nauseating stench of a pay-by-the-hour motel swirling about. He owned his own business, so staying out until all hours didn’t cramp his sleep habits. He could go to work when he felt like it. If I dared to question where he was all night, and without calling (remember, no cell phones, only land lines with answering machines), he’d make up some flimsy excuse … “met up with a friend for a drink, playing poker with the guys” … and on occasion, offer a tepid apology. That was if he felt magnanimous to throw me a bone. If he didn’t, he’d ignore me and give me that “leave me alone” stare. Truth was he was out screwing around and snorting cocaine (ah, the 80’s).

    What I know now, decades later, is that I had hitched my wagon to a self-centered, narcissistic, cheater who presented himself in a charming at first, love-bombing bow. The one thought that constantly hassled my mind throughout our relationship was, “Why can’t I get this to work?” – with the operative word being “I” – and “Why doesn’t he love me as I love him?” (Or treat me as I treat him).

    A few years in, I was head-on in a trauma bond, so I wasn’t about to leave until I hit rock bottom, which I did after we married. In the interim years, I pick-me danced, fluffed myself up, and became an accomplished chameleon, all to no avail. He was simply too self-involved and self-centered to care, and consequences were immaterial to him. I made the egregious mistake of teaching him through acceptance without boundaries, so that his poor treatment of me seemed sanctioned in his warped mind. My youthful naivete kept convincing me to stay, and I looked at my marriage as a Rubik’s cube… Dammit, I’d figure it out, I’d get us on a path to real love and intimacy with a few more strategic twists and turns. And, as often is the case with narcissists, the kibbles kept me hopeful. There were kibbles of great sex, until there weren’t. The castigating discard period involved freezing me out from any touch, not even a hug. He’d react to a brush on his arm as if I were nuclear waste. Post-divorce, I also got the “I never wanted to marry you…” speech, as if I had held I gun to his head at the altar. I didn’t.

    Now that I’m 60, light years removed from that awful time, and filled with the wisdom that only life-lessons and the passage through menopause can bring, I’m filled with gratitude that I didn’t spend more than 12 years with him. Having recently battled breast cancer, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I’d hung in there, sacrificing my sanity and happiness to remain his wife appliance (which he most likely would have allowed since he didn’t have a desire to fully commit to any woman. The affairs were fleeting, and I presented a polished image to the world). Going through cancer with him by my side would have been like being diagnosed with a secondary cancer. I see clearly now: He’s a completely apathetic individual, devoid of any real compassion for any living creature. While I’ve been no contact with him for years (we didn’t have children together), I’ve heard snippets of his life through the mutual friend grapevine. Karma did bite him in the ass, but that’s for another post.

    Here’s my revelation: There are very disordered people in this world. Like the Twilight Zone episode when the department store mannequins come alive after closing hours, these narcs are adept at pretending they’re fully human. They walk, talk, get educated, socialize, make love and often marry. But they do NOT bond. They do not have the ability to bond with other living creatures. They can connect like a barnacle does to the hull of a boat, but they don’t bond. We can all be scrubbed away.

    I’m grateful for the ability to bond. I bond with my family members, my friends, my beloved animals and some acquaintances. It’s what life is about, human connection. I feel the pain that comes with loss. I feel love, acutely. I’m capable of intimacy. My ex-husband did not. We now jokingly refer to him as “the cyborg.”

    • My son learned in school what empathy meant and, while discussing the lesson with me, described FW as a robot. FW doesn’t connect with real emotions – sadness, embarrassment, etc. FW does what he wants and pretends to be human but doesn’t know or care to know how other people feel. DS mentioned that he wants to be called by his name; FW has a stupid nickname for DS that DS doesn’t like and we have both asked him to stop using it. But FW doesn’t care because he just does what he wants and is easy for him. The emotions of others do not compute. He didn’t even shed a tear when his own mother died. They absolutely pretend to be human. You don’t get more shallow than that!

  • He left you on the side of the road a long time ago.
    He just didn’t have the courtesy to tell you.
    It’s funny how cheaters complain how they feel treated badly after the truth has been revealed.
    My ex still asks for an apology for the way I talked to her after I found out.
    I kept it all civil and polite, because of the kids.
    But I spelled out a few uncomfortable facts to her.
    She didn’t like that, and felt I was mean to her.
    Ah well

  • Bales !
    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    “Ciao bastardo” Bastardo roadside 👍🏻 hitchhiking 🧳 🇮🇹 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    One of the few times my chumpy mum stood up for herself, she threw my narc brother out of the car. My father weaponized my brother against her before the final discard of all of us.

    My mum and I picked up my brother one evening from his after school job, busing tables at the local hotel. He mouthed off to her, as he was in the habit of doing, so she pulled over and told him to get out. “Walk home !” she said. A couple of miles later, he walked into the house. He had crapped himself !

    I grew up in a “nice” leafy suburb and people would have called the police if they saw him squatting in their bushes or on their lawn 🤣 Not much going on in the ‘burb, except spouses abusing their wives behind closed doors. I’m sure some wives being bitches too.

    When he walked in and protested about his plight, she announced “I guess you shouldn’t have been so fresh, huh ? I’m not washing your clothes. Scrape off the 💩 into the toilet and go scrub your underpants in the set tub. They’re NOT going into MY washing machine.”

  • This story of mightiness is on par with Left Him at the Airport’s tale of escape. Brava and bravo to the chumps who had the emotional strength to pull the cord on the parachute 🪂 after jumping out of abuse Aeroflot.

  • “I was determined that maybe he ruined his family but he did not destroy not mine.”

    What a powerful way to look at family, post- D-Day.

  • I’ve been thinking about forgiveness (see upthread). I choose not to forgive the ex and the exgfOW and his family and many of the friends. None of them have ever apologised to me for their dreadful behaviour. The most I got from ex was ‘I feel bad about that’. As my therapist says (and she doesn’t say much), the ex and exgfOW had a firm intention to destroy me. That’s frightening and does not merit the gift of my precious forgiveness. The person I forgive is myself. I forgive myself for caring so little for my needs and, in the ‘cliche for a reason’, my inner child. I left that child at the mercy of the same neglect, terror, anxiety, and abuse that she faced at the hands and minds of her parents and others in her life. That child was screaming out to me to be heard and nourished. In the marriage I was regularly ill with horrible long-lasting colds, coughs, sore throat, sore eyes, sore stomach and ears. I was on anti-depressants for 3 years for ‘work stress’. That child’s needs were crushed in order to keep the ex happy. Our lives were, for 26 years, built around keeping one man happy and feeding the bottomless resentful pit of his needs. I forgive myself for that. That child in my 62 year old body will get all the love, care and nourishment she needs to thrive for the rest of her days. From a woman who recognises that she did her best with the knowledge she had at the time. I forgive me.

  • Forgiveness literally means to write off a debt – in it’s original usage it meant that the injured party wouldn’t hunt down the offender and do creative medieval revenge techniques against the miscreant, his family unto the seventh generation and probably his dog too.

    There is nothing in the definition that says you have to be neutral, tolerant or even in contact with the person, you just agree not to hunt them down and get medieval about it.

  • Congratulations on your strength. And thanks for providing us with a (relatively) happy ending.

    I’m just about to spend my fourth Xmas in a row on my own. You might say that my ending is not quite as positive as yours.

    Happy Xmas xxx

  • I’m not quite at Tuesday because I have not met all my goals yet. But I am very lucky to be celebrating the holiday with my children at the slopes and I should be financially secure for the rest of my life based on the decisions I made post divorce. That feels pretty good for someone who was only working part time and whose scant savings were eaten up by his refusal to settle for anything fair. I’m glad I chose to be a little hungry.

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