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5 Things You Need When Leaving a Cheater

I’m rerunning this great guest post that I received from a physician, Kimberly, who told me part of her medical practice is dealing with the newly chumped.

We all know the D-Day experience — the shock, the weight loss, the sleeplessness. Since I’ve done this blog, however, I’d never heard from the medical side of things. 

Kimberly, former chump and compassionate doc that she is, decided to create a Care Plan (below). I’m handing over the blog reins to her today, and I hope you’ll share this post with your health care providers. The more awareness and help out there for new chumps, the better. — Tracy.

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Dear Chump Lady,

Many thanks for the valuable public service you do with your empowering, chump-positive blog. It was a rock for me to cling to during my dark times 5 years ago.

I am a family practice doctor and I have encountered crying, newly-chumped patients in my clinic three times this very week! Unfortunately, ministering to weeping, shattered faithful partners is a standard visit for me (just like newly diagnosed diabetes or discovering a cancer). But going through it three times in such a short amount of time made me think, “You know, I really should write this stuff down.”

So, what can a health care provider do to help the agony that is new chumpdom? Or, alternately, what can a chump expect of their primary care provider?

1. We need to build you a team.

The patient’s support team should consist, at a minimum, of the following:

• Primary care physician (PCP)
• Gynecologist, unless her PCP is one of the awesome ones who can also do STD testing
• Psychiatrist or PCP who can prescribe medication if needed
• Best friend/sister/confidant
• INDIVIDUAL counselor who is pro-chump and anti-infidelity
• Spiritual counselor, if that’s your thing.
• Lawyer. Knowledge is power.
• Chump community, like the Chump Lady site

2. We need to get you STD checked.

Just do it. I had to do it…twice. (Thank you, RIC.)

3. We need to address your anxiety, depression, and sleep.

Look up online programs for sleep therapy which are drug free. Take up yoga or meditation or prayer. Talk to your PCP about non-addictive medications for anxiety and depression which will not impair your thinking. You know what REALLY impairs your thinking? Untreated anxiety, depression and insomnia.

4. We need to find you a safe outlet to talk about this trauma.

That could be your friend, your chump spirit guide, your counselor, your minister and the chump community. It is not your co-workers or random people in the grocery store. It is not your kids. It is not your cheating partner.

5. We need to cultivate safe, healthy activities to manage your stress.

You need this as much as you need medication. Maybe you will take up a new sport or a long-neglected hobby. Take out your stress on the treadmill or a kickboxing class. There are also things which will not lead to good outcomes, such as drinking, random hookups, or jumping into a new relationship prematurely.

Help your doctor to help you by bringing up these topics and asking for referrals. Protect your physical and mental health with all the tools you have available. Going through this feels like a marathon of pain, but there IS life on 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.
    • Thanks for that link! After reading the sample and the reviews– one person said “If you like the podcast “The Hidden Brain” you’ll like this”–I bought the book.

      • A report, for others who might be interested: I’m now ten chapters into Williams’s book, about 40% through, and finding the book a compelling read, both in her personal story as well as in research findings related to the physical and emotional effects of loneliness and betrayal on our physical and mental health. It’s clear that her ex was cheating on her–there’s a line about his leaving for a “soul mate.” As a member of Chump Nation there were places I thought she was too willing to assign herself blame for the state of the marriage, and the despicable Esther Perel makes an appearance (only one line), but I would still recommend the book.

        (Sorry if this doesn’t belong here, but I don’t do Facebook or Reddit.)

        • Oh Esther Perel is so despicable. She is now working with Joan Halifax the Buddhist and some well respected leaders in trauma work. Interestingly, Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) is affiliated with the Meadows (Patrick Carnes sex addict ranch). Why is infidelity trauma ignored? Why do these so-called leaders in trauma and mindfulness not see US? None of them know trauma if they don’t understand what it is to bond to someone physically, chemically and emotionally and then find out that was all a lie.

          • there’s a pattern of narcissism, if you look closely. Some are genuine, wanting to help others. Some are there for fame.
            Listen to your gut feeling about these experts. Perhaps they are not the help you need.

    • I recently listened to Florence Williams, the author of this book, on the Fresh Air podcast in “the Science of Heartbreak” episode. She was really interesting!

  • Great advice. It’s quite scary when the person you’ve loved and trusted and bumped along with for years suddenly becomes this stranger monster you can’t even understand anymore. And I cannot thank my orthopedic surgeon enough who was a rock for me when I was going thru hell and knee surgery at the same time. The only thing I can say is it really will be okay. Maybe not tomorrow, but it really will be okay.

    • Very scary. Especially when their secret life is so so completely different than the person you thought you knew. Throws you off kilter in many ways.

      Yesterday a real estate man came by. He talked small talk a bit about his family. Older man who is nearing retirement (60s), some wealth, has three children. The youngest a toddler and oldest ten. My mind went automatically to “I’m talking face to face with a cheater who married a schoops and now has a second family” Now whether that is really true I don’t know. My mind just went there. I was greatly effected by this the rest of the day in PTSD reactions. Just that the swirling thoughts of this stranger got under my skin and think how terribly emotionally damaged and sensitive I am. Not normal.

      The Cheater seems to roll right on through like water off a ducks back.

      • I know what you mean. Almost every man I met i suspected of being a cheater and liar. The mechanic, the handyman they were all cheating me.
        It has taken many years for those feelings to relax a little but I never take anything at face value anymore .

      • When my “female empowering” self-defense instructor embraced my strength trainer when he arrived at the gym, I realized she was the OW and he was a FW.

        Very, very disappointing.

      • Oh wow, I remember for so long post napalm looking at every older man with small kids and thinking, there is a broken woman somewhere in that picture. Still sometimes.

  • When I showed up at the home of a friend after driving 7 hours to get to her, she had my tribe of “safe harbor” friends there waiting for me. I will never forget the acts of kindness and support these women exemplified during the next month while I waited out the divorce process.

    They had me at the doctor the next morning. They set up daily ptsd counseling. When I wouldn’t eat, they’d coax me with my favorite dishes. During the zoom calls with my attorney, someone was always by my side. When I woke up screaming from the nightmares, there was always someone there to hold me and sooth me.
    And most importantly, every single one of them in their own special way were 100% behind my decision to walk away.

    Having a team was everything to me and still is. I owe these women and men in my life a debt of gratitude I’ll never be able to repay.

    Funny thing… just yesterday I drove past cheating bastard ex on the street and I felt absolutely nothing. No reaction, no heart skipping a beat, no resurgent trauma bubbling to the surface. I. Felt. Nothing. And that felt so damned good. 😊

    • Support is the greatest blessing. I was frog-boiled by my marriage and then socially isolated even more by several big moves but thank God my old friends hadn’t changed. We mostly lived far away from each other when I was chumped but they still stepped up in an emotional sense.

      I already knew what a difference support would make in trauma. Years before, I became very controversial for prosecuting a vicious big shot employer for attempted assault when I was an intern in a very top-down, high stakes profession. In some kind of magical, mystical convergence, for all the enablers, flying monkeys and enforcer who were sicced on me to witness tamper, I found myself also surrounded by supporters.

      Several friends, the ADA, my parents, a guy (now lifelong friend) who was employed by the perpetrator at the time, two doctors (who turned out to have intimidating certs), then an ex girlfriend of the perp and another former schoolmate and colleague of the perp, several people at the next job I took, etc., were incredible. They wrote letters to the DA in support, kept me busy, helped me find work, stayed over when I was spooked, invited me on trips, took me dancing, defended me in the professional community, etc.

      I ended up working in advocacy because I recognized that few people have this kind of social net or advantages due to things like race, class and dumb luck. I could see how bleak my situation would have been without that support and wanted to give back. It all reminded me of the PTSD-allaying Navajo sweat lodge practice where the tribe will take extreme steam baths with returning warriors to show willingness to suffer beside the warriors.

      Support had the same effect on me: When I ran into the perp a few years later when I was walking out of an underground parking garage, I felt nothing. It was actually the perp who turned pale and slunk down behind his steering wheel. He was a grease stain.

      My former profession being what it was (narc-filled Thunderdome), a similar thing happened again but I had more flying monkeys to battle and fewer supporters and, predictably, was more traumatized. From experience, I knew more trauma required more justice so I sued the perp on top of prosecuting and won in a jury trial. Even the judge commented that it obviously wasn’t about the money for me.

      Community and justice are the best PTSD treatments. If you can’t get enough of one, try to get more of the other. Just by virtue of refusing to willingly go down easy or alone, you’re informing yourself that you were made for better things.

      • “Community and justice are the best PTSD treatments. If you can’t get enough of one, try to get more of the other. Just by virtue of refusing to willingly go down easy or alone, you’re informing yourself that you were made for better things”.

        Are things like that make proud to be a citizen of Chump Nation. Thanks, HoaC!

      • Thank you Hell of a Chump.

        At 6 years post D Day (discovering his online prostitute searches, Craigslist hookups, and mistresses) I am STILL struggling to find SUPPORT of any kind. I believe people can get through anything if they have support. But what to do when one loses the “friend circle” and in-laws as they sided with FW. His smear campaign started years in advance.

        I have no family support whatsoever and am raising my teen daughters solo as primary.

        I am NC with dangerous, covert malignant narc X.

        I joined Divorce Care and now in its 4th succession to find support.

        This has been the HARDEST part. Not having SUPPORT!

    • i can’t get by the fact that I can’t see my kids nearly as much as i used to. Holidays are divided which also sucks. It’s been 18 months post D-day. Assets split amicably. But no way i forgive her for breaking up the family to feed her narcissistic tendencies.

      I’m civil to her when i see her but I certainly express my views to our mutual friends and colleagues.

      • Not there yet,

        You’re not alone in your feelings of missing your children. This has been devastating for me too. I always have lots of fun doing outdoor activities with my son so I really miss him. I sometime walk around my big house and feel so incredibly lonely. It’s 18 months for me too.
        At the most I had only been 1 week away from my 10 year old (that was when my dad died). So to not see him for half of school holidays is heartbreaking.
        We here at CL get your loss, it is our too.
        I despise my ex for taking my child away from me.
        I don’t think I’ll ever accept this part of the cheating.outcome.
        Take care.
        From Oz.

      • Having to share children with a fw just has to be the worst.

        My son was grown when fw was outed.

        As bad as it was to find out I had bee lied to for years, at least I didn’t have to send mt son to fw and wore while he was young.

    • Tried to post here…

      “What a beautiful story!”

      It showed up somewhere else… sorry if that was not a beautiful story, too!

      You have some amazing friends!!! (I’m sure you must be an amazing friend to have people treat you that way!)

  • I do remember going to my GP after I had my daughter and about 7 months after my ex had left. It was just for a check up after giving birth and she asked me about contraception. I burst out crying and told her my story (like you do after BD) and she was so supportive.

    She got me into counselling, put me on a low dose of antidepressants and even called me a week later to see how I was coping and to see if she could get me any further support.

    I saw her last week when I took my now 5 year old daughter for a check up and she remembered me and told me how well I was looking.

    A great GP.

  • Dr Kimberly Great advice. I am in the middle of it now and wish my primary care physician was more understanding. He was a total ass when I asked him for STD testing. He didn’t take me serious and was condescending. Strange that I am an Orthopedic spine surgeon in the same community.
    Your patients are lucky to be under your care
    Thank you

    • What? Weirdo. Mine was very understanding and said it wasn’t that uncommon for her to have to do it. Sorry that he wasn’t more supportive.

    • Mine was a bit of an ass too. When I asked for STD testing he really down played the necessity. When I told him that my STBX was having sex with multiple partners he looked kind of stupefied, but then ordered the tests.
      He was her GP too, so I am pretty sure she had already spun quite a story to him.

      • My STBXW and I also have the same primary care Dr. I had come to find out she had spun a tale and changed her emergency contact to our neighbor a year before DDay.
        My primary care Dr and I share many of the same patients. He knows my work and my integrity. I played college sports with his child hood friends yet he bought her story.

    • A shocking number of otherwise normal-seeming people think victimization is “catching” and knee-jerkedly distance themselves from anyone marked as a victim. It defies logic. Some will even endanger themselves by running to the defense of perps. It’s a kind of groveling for amnesty that our ape ancestors would do. Gives new meaning to the term flying monkeys.

      Then again, some bystanders are perpetrators themselves and can’t stand any victim of any offense who “tattles.” Either way, I don’t give negative bystanders a second chance even if I see them being victim-blamey to someone else. Misfortune can strike randomly and when it does, I’d prefer to be surrounded by heroic types than a bunch of jabbering apes.

      • Honestly I think so many outside parties are indeed afraid it is contagious. It is comforting to blame the chump, because if the chump is to blame then of course all they have to do is be the good spouse, and it won’t happen to them. (that they know of).

        And I hate to diss women, but in my experience women are worse at blaming the betrayed spouse. Men tended to be the hardest on fw.

        I hope I am in the minority and it hasn’t been this way for others. My situation happened long ago, and things have changed a lot.

        • Omg Susie and Hell of a Chump. Yes this is exactly what happened to me! The bystanders chose to believe I must not have been “taking care of my man” or that I am a hideous ogre to live with who “kicked him out” into the arms of the OW. FW actually had OW lay low for the allotted 6 months period before announcing to my kids he “found somebody”. FWs buddies all new he was cheating and therefore so did their wives. Yet they all embraced OW into circle and discarded me after over two decades being hosted in my home for Christmases etc.
          all this treatment has left me gutted and questioning my own self worth and sanity many times.

  • I burst into tears when I had to ask my gyn for STI testing. She gave me a hug and told me I would be OK. She then confided that her first marriage ended because her ex cheated, and that she had gone on to thrive and eventually meet her new partner. She called me personally with the test results (neg, thank goodness) and to tell me again that I would be OK. Small kindnesses that meant so much.

    • What a wonderful doctor!

      I had a similar situation with my OB/GYN. I had been in for my annual a few weeks before d-day, so he was joking when he walked in that I must have missed him to come back so soon.

      As soon as he saw my face, he asked what happened and was so kind while I shared my story. I had felt so humiliated when I walked into the office that day, but he made sure I knew I was not alone and told me that everything would be ok. He said he had just seen me, everything was fine, but we were going to run all the tests to be sure. It felt strange to rely on him in that moment, but he truly made me feel better with his compassion & kindness.

    • I too burst into tears when I asked an ER doctor I was seeing because of an excruciating ear pain I was having in the days that followed DDay#2 for STD tests. My immunity has taken a nose dive and I developed otitis media. She was very warm and understanding, asked me kindly if I wanted to talk about my story, requested the tests she could and referred me to a specialist for further tests. I got lucky it was near midnight and there was nobody in the waiting room so we could take time to talk. It was only by the end of the appointment that I mustered the courage I needed to ask to be tested. It was almost an impulse. I still can feel the humiliation of sharing face to face this horrible story with a stranger, albeit a sympathetic one. The specialist I saw by her referral gave me more of a dude’s tough love. A little too rough. I recall him saying, sympathetically but sternly: “don’t you ever take this woman back; she doens’t repect you; she thinks you are a fool; you’re still young and handsome, there will be plenty of woman wanting to get you laid”. Anyway, I am very grateful to these people; they were both very professional but also deeply human and understanding. They all contributed to saving my life and keeping me (able to function) in my kids life. So much gratitude for so many people!

  • i cannot agree more. after d-day, i went into my GP requesting STI testing and she sat with me, asking questions. then she asked me to come in every 2 weeks for “follow-up”. this arrangement went on for 3 months.

    i floundered. during that time, she ensured i had my team and asked questions of me. “what do YOU want?” and “is that acceptable to you?” after the final ridiculous marriage counselling session, i finally realized what the fuck was going on, and told the X to move out. i didn’t need my GP in the same way.

    when i went in for my annual PAP, she told me that she has had a lot of patients who are chumps, that she maintains the idea that “but for the grace of god, go i” and it’s important to her to support women. then she asked me to come in whenever i want to just to catch up.

    i’ve had my GP for 30 years and, although i liked her, i didn’t feel particularly close. but she extended such care and compassion to me during a difficult time and i’m GRATEFUL.

  • Yes, our long-term internist was amazing after my ex took off. He had seen us both for years, but he gave me a similar list and the talk about not being embarrassed that I was a mess and how important the STI test was and to do a retest in six months. He also talked about sleep and exercise. Then he shared that his first wife had taken off several years before and that he was remarried. Ironically she went to the same area of the country where my ex went to.

    Ah yes, he understood.

  • The most helpful piece of Dr. Kimberly’s writing is the “We need you.” For me — four months since filing to end a 30-year marriage — the sense of isolation is mindbending. Like everyone else here, I’ve frantically searched sites looking for a thimble of relief. Most sites say, “You need to do this.” Reading Dr. Kimberly’s soft, compassionate, “We need you…” is affirming and hopeful. The CN community and the very few humans who sit and share pain are like a cot at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. I am endlessly grateful. On a different note, I also find so helpful Chump responses/posts that say, “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” There’s so much fucked-up confusion around this uber-complex trauma — there’s no way to understand unless you’ve been in the cheese grater — simple words of inclusion translate into a warm blanket and a hug.

  • Great advice here. We need a team when going through the major trauma of betrayal!

    The most amazing people seem to appear in a crisis. One was my family doctor, another a nurse at the local hospital, a third was a lawyer who I went to see on an unrelated matter.

    • “The most amazing people seem to appear in a crisis. ”

      So true. A couple we used to go to church with many years before Dday, appeared to me out of the blue. Helped me so much, listened, made sure I got out some. Even offered money, which I didn’t take. If I had needed it, my family had offered.

      My family all lived far away so no daily support, though they called a lot.

  • She has good advise but it is skewed toward women. Men have a special difficulty when their spouse cheats. It damages their manhood. My PCP was kind and understanding. He had no problem giving me STI tests. I had a support team already in place when DDay happened. 😃😃😃

    • Thank you for adding this point to an otherwise great post.

      My immediate thought was that men need immediate medical testing for STDs too!!!! It is important to help them navigate who or where to turn to for that.

      I would also add that chumps who feel they would benefit from medication find a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner who believes in the GeneSight test before prescribing any psychotropic medications. It isn’t always perfect but important to use science to make the most educated choice before choosing a medication. The test uses each persons
      specific genetic makeup to categorize the best medications for every individual.

      In my case, my adult children knew the affair partner and had a vested interest in helping me process the affair and assist me in the legal process. Each chump needs to decide for themselves how involved the “kids”should be. I do believe they should NOT be the sole source of support. Chumps DO need professional counseling if at all possible. I just don’t agree with a blanket statement about kids not being a support system.

      Thank you for a thoughtful, important post!

        • I’m there with ya! They are working on an “anal pap” but it is mostly for gay or bisexual men. They can detect some hpv up there. My FW is upset he has to just wait until he has something big to find out. I’m like “you have it to me, you have it too.” Just depends on how the body fights it.

          • This type of pap would have saved the life of an acquaintance of mine – she got colon cancer and she later found out the cancer was from HPV after she was anally raped. Sadly she passed but was very vocal on social media that if her paps had been more comprehensive too it would have been caught before it was too late.

    • great point, Sirchumpalot. do you have further recommendations to add to the list above? it’s helpful to know as much as possible so as to be supportive–

    • I’m sorry guys feel that way.

      It has nothing to do with your manhood….some women are just whores.

      Not that you didn’t know that…..just wanted to say it.

      • Kim,

        I didn’t see Ex-Mrs LFTT leaving me and our three children for her AP as an attack on my manhood ….. but I know some people who did/do think that I should have framed it in this way. Two people who I thought were friends had the gall to ask me “What do you think that he has that you don’t?” They were stunned when I replied “A drink problem as big as Mrs LFTT’s and very low standards.”

        They were not friends for much longer.

        LFTT

        • In my particular circumstances I do regard my FW XW cheating and choice of AP as a direct attack on my manhood as perceived by her, and intended to look so. She herself hinted at it (she was looking for an altogether different kind of man – everything I was not, in her own words during the discard).

          To my maybe (probably) biased standards, her AP and her new boyfriend are very soft as compared to me (the former I would say is even a little efeminate).

          Just yesterday a former female friend of both me and my XW (not hers anymore) pointed out to me that FW always seemed to resent some of my distinctive male traits. And before anyone thinks there is something innapropriate in this conversation, this friend is our yongest son godmother and I am close friends with both her and her partner (male). They were really supportive of me through my darkest hour. True friends.

          I live in the midst of a very machist culture here in Latin America and the very fact that I didn’t get violent over being cuckolded is frowned upon big time as unmanly. My (cheater) elderly father, for one, told me recently that he would have “taken care” of the infidelity issue by putting a bullet in someone’s head. As if I was a huge disappointment for acting calmly. This kind of comment sucks donkeys’ balls. This is not what being a real man looks like to me.

          I’m hurt, but I know in my heart of hearts that I am a better man than my father, the AP and the new boyfriend.

          Maybe being a better human being is all that really matters, but being of a sexual nature by itself, infidelity arouses these stupid, irrational gendered insecurities of mine. I am ashamed of them. I really thought I was better than this.

      • And thank you so much for saying that, Kim!

        It’s good to hear that coming from a woman. I speak for myself here and no one else, but at many points after the DDays I felt somehow defective as it comes to my manhood (whatever that may be).

        I sincerely don’t know if or how it is different for chumped women, but I’ve been feeling less manly since I knew I was chumped. It was never an issue pior to DDays: my FW XW would scoldingly refer to me as an ogre. I’m a physically very strong and agile guy, healthy, an experienced martial artist in more than one very effective style, hairy, problem-solver, singleminded, very skillfull handyman and have a quite strong sexual drive. Nonetheless, I feel somehow “less than” a lazy, balding, man-boobed, capped-teethed, viagra taker, metrosexual piece of shit that had to have my XW shaved in order to go down on her because it was “too gross” for him to take when he couldn’t get it up. How come? This humiliation will stay with me forever.

        Being a man is not a big deal (being a woman is way more challenging and rewarding I imagine), but it is part of my identity and it is really hurt right now.

        Thank you again for trying to sympathize with us chumped men. I acknowledge it must be difficult after being victimized by one of our kind (albeit in the subspecies “fuckwit”).

        • My ex wife is a covert narcissist . The “ taking away my manhood “ was systematic , subtle and ran me slowly to the ground .
          She used to say after sex – which I thought was good “ I’m just not attracted to you “
          Often after sex she initiated .
          I’m athletic , lift a lot of heavy weights for fun. I probably got a bit too heavy after a bulking period. I lost 20 kg , my body fat was 14%.
          Her comment “ I can’t really that you lost any weight “

          And so on.

          She cheated with a bold fat guy.
          I felt inferior to him .

          Luckily I got over that.

          • I hear you, man. Sorry we’ve been through that. At least we are not alone (sometimes I feel like a freak).

            During wreckonciliation in 2020, I lost 15 kg (after having already lost another net 15 kg during another FW-manufactured chaos in 2014-2015). As I got ready to accompany her to some place at night out of worry for her safety she mocked me in front of family saying that I should stay home because a 60 kg bodyguard would make no difference at all. It hurt a lot, but I sucked it up and didn’t say a word (as usual). I went with her anyway and she was mad, nasty at me all the time. I think I killed some buzz that was going to be.

            At another time, still during wreckonciliation, she grabbed me by my shirt and asked me angrily when it had been the last time I bought some clothes for me (it had been a little while, indeed). Then she said that that was one of the reasons why she couldn’t stand me. She needed a man that takes care of himself (meaning one that groomed himself very meticulously; I am not that guy and never will be). She said she would raise my sons (with AP, I am sure she thought) to be “strong, independent men” (like AP?). I was in shambles by that time. I cried a lot after that. What a monster.

            But I have to say I regret my post above. Too braggy, I feel even more ridiculous (if that is possible) now that I reread it. But… this is how I feel sometimes (I was exhausted and a little ragey last night), I just can’t wrap my mind around FW’s very choice of AP, it has to have been meant to humiliate me, otherwise it makes no sense. If only the guy had some money, but he is broke as hell and when he gets some money it is from little swindles (I believe enabled by FW, his former boss). He is the man without qualities (not even a mathematician). Unbelievable and hurtful.

        • My ex wife is a covert narcissist . The “ taking away my manhood “ was systematic , subtle and ran me slowly to the ground .
          She used to say after sex – which I thought was good “ I’m just not attracted to you “
          Often after sex she initiated .
          I’m athletic , lift a lot of heavy weights for fun. I probably got a bit too heavy after a bulking period. I lost 20 kg , my body fat was 14%.
          Her comment “ I can’t really that you lost any weight “

          And so on.

          She cheated with a bold fat guy.
          I felt inferior to him .

          Luckily I got over that.

    • I don’t think that what men need is so different. Other than not needing a gyn, obviously.

      Men may have more difficulty pulling off some of the steps (particularly the part about reaching out for help to friends), but I think the recommendations would be pretty similar.

      There are some nuances (I get the feeling people accept more readily “my husband cheated on me” than “my wife cheated on me”) that differ between most men and most women, and probably the whole question of sex comes out differently. But tbh I think those are mostly details, and probably not any more important than other details (such as age, job, kids, financial stability, mental resilience) that also vary significantly from person to person but aren’t as correlated with gender. The core 5 points are pretty universal.

      • Substitute the pap advice for paternity testing when there are kids involved. That’s a unique hell for men that women don’t have to think about.

    • Great point, Sirchumpalot.

      I dated a male Chump who was very hurt by the whole mindfuck about manhood. He discovered unfortunately specific emails about AP’s “manhood.”

      I can say this Chump had absolutely nothing to worry about. He was very attractive and great in bed. But he still had to live with being degraded in that way, and I think it will be messing with his head for a long time to come. He dated before he was emotionally ready and I think the manhood mindfuck is a big part of why. So some great advice in the Dr’s letter is not to self soothe new relationships/random hookups.

    • I agree there are differences, but honestly I think a woman’s self confidence is shattered as much as a mans. Not being a man, I obviously may not understand what you mean by manhood.

      All I know is I felt totally undesirable, and my self confidence as the attractive smart woman I was, was shattered. After all, my husband told the whole world that he desired another woman way more than he did me. And that was on Dday. Before that he had been living a long term romantic relationship with her, unknown to me until after Dday. I was so ashamed of that, I told no one for a long time of the emotional, verbal, and financial abuse I had suffered. It was too humiliating.

      • Love to you, Susie Lee.

        My ex FW asshole actually told me he was “disappointed” with my post-baby body. After I caught him, of course. Dance, Chump!

        Mind you, I was maybe 110 lbs, 5’4″, it’s all excess stretched out skin and a diastasis, nothing I could control. Mind you, I was happy with adopting vs giving birth; he was the one that wanted biological children. Mind you, at time of cheating, he still wanted a third child (we have two). Mind you, I had 2 C sections so it’s literally just my looks that are affected. (No offense, only massive respect & a little jealousy for anyone who had a natural birth – that’s what I wanted. Also understand that’s probably part of the mindfuck that’s put on you mama Chumps.) Mind you, the fucker just bitched about money so I never got an offer for a mommy makeover or anything.

        Yeah, that kind of crap sure makes dating hard, post-FW.

        Susie, I hear you.

        Lady Chumps, here are some body positive comics I read yesterday that I liked https://www.boredpanda.com/comics-about-women-lainey-molnar/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

        • Love your linked site.

          Yep, what theses FWs do to us (both male and female) is heinous.

          My fw didn’t say anything about my looks, and she was not in great shape and quite literally was the town bicycle, so I was left feeling like; how bad was I that he preferred her. Truth is it wasn’t about us at all. But for a while it sure feels like it.

  • I told my Primary Care Physician about the cheating during my annual physical a few months after I moved out. I focused, at the time, on my weight loss and new selfcare program. In retrospect, I wish I had asked for cortisol levels to be checked along with my regular blood work. I wasn’t interested in medication, so maybe that wouldn’t be relevant except for broader medical research.

    In the subsequent two annual visits, I re-iterated the emotional trauma suffered by chumps. I think I said “treat them like a rape or mugging victim”. She was great, supporting my wellness program and congratulating me on my vastly improved numbers – weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

    My rapid weight loss (about 27 pounds) ended and slightly reversed during the pandemic. I think the anxiety and pounding heart actually burns calories.

    • I had the same experience right down to the weight loss and regain. I realized the other day when I was feeling down on myself for gaining some of the weight back that that was normal for me (I’m an “easy keeper” as we used to say about horses you didn’t have to feed much to maintain their weight). What *wasn’t* normal was not to feel like eating or sleeping for *months*. I can’t imagine how much damage I did to my heart, etc. being hopped up on adrenaline and cortisol for like six months after DDay. Absolutely bonkers. I’ll take my new peace of mind with a side of extra fluff any day.

      • Oh trust me, the stress weight loss is not healthy. I lost primarily muscle. Coworkers acted like I had cancer. The weight loss wasn’t pretty.

        Glad you both are feeling good enough to eat. That’s awesome. Me too.

  • I didn’t get quite this much info from my PCP, but he did prescribe some medication, talked with me for a while as he too had been through it, encouraged me to purchase AAA to alleviate some of my “car trauma” and suggested I read through the Psalms. I wasn’t really a big fan of his and had considered switching doctors, but after this appointment and the compassion he showed me, I think I’ll stick around a little longer.

  • Wow.
    Publish that in the Journal and make it standardized. They’ll make an ICD especially for it.
    Thanks —

  • This is great!! I’m going to send this to my doctor as I have been one of those people who was holding back tears as I explained why I needed an STI test after decades of apparently monogamous marriage.. She offered me couples counselling but this is BETTER.

    Thank you!

  • Thanks Dr. Kimberly, for your understanding big caring heart, very helpful advice you gave. (Can we clone a few thousand of you?!)
    You do feel like some sort of pariah out of the gate of this trauma. It is very isolating.
    I really appreciated Liberated’s metaphor “ The CN community and the very few humans who sit and share pain are like a cot at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.” Man, that’s so true!!
    You feel such a deep loneliness that seems like it can never be lifted off you.
    I felt the loneliness most, strangely, when I was surrounded by people.
    I would cry every single time I went food shopping for a couple of years I think, I was glad that we had to wear Covid masks, it made it easier to disguise my sadness.
    I’m not personally a big advocate of meds, although I know they are beneficial to many and can be helpful as a bridge.
    I guess the path is a bit longer for me in that case, but I haven’t given up that I’ll get there and I do believe we all have a deep internal strength that needs to be patiently unearthed.
    I’m 4 years post divorce and the cosmic earth shattering sadness has lifted some, but I’m not completely whole or completely okay yet. It’s a LOT!
    Just to know that there are so many people out there scattered every which way, filled with kindness and love and that some of them actually really “get it”, is such a grateful relief and a godsend.
    It’s quite the life changing journey to be on. God bless the ppl that reach out and care.

    • I am 4.5 post gtfo day and 3.5 post divorce….and you aren’t alone.

      The unbearable sadness/rage/hopelessness episodes are fewer and further between but they still.come. and I am struggling w loneliness and a sense of apathy.

      But covid didn’t provide the best environment for making a new life so give yourself some grace on still struggling.

      Between covid and FW constantly trying to manufacture drama via our daughter, it has been hard to feel completely healed, to feel like I am moving forward and not just stuck in suspended animation.

      You are normal, it’s ok. I still sit in the bath and cry sometime. Or in the yard. Or at Publix.

      It’s ok to still not be ok.

      • It is ok to still not be OK. This. When I first found out about the cheating and tentatively kicked him out- not really believing this could have happened. 20 year marriage etc. – I wanted to know how long it would take to get over it. Now I want to know that it is ok that 3 years from DDay I’m still not over it. Divorced 9 months ago. Still struggling to understand so much. But also better in so many ways. It helps now to hear that the struggle takes what it takes and hearing that from other chumps is like a hug.

        • Yeah, it does feel like a hug, I agree.
          Somehow helps to know you’re not lost on your own little island somewhere with not a soul who gets it and that the struggle “ takes what it takes” to get over is going to be okay too.

    • Thanks Chumpasaurus45 and Ragingmeh for sharing your timeline. I’m 6 years post-separation and 5 years post divorce. The fw passed away 4 years ago. It’s been a struggle at times to heal from divorce and grief from his death. It’s difficult to grieve someone you didn’t like.

      The episodes of depression and fear have lifted. Days of staying in bed don’t happen anymore. I feel bad for an hour and move on. Reading CL helps tremendously! <3

  • I also got compassionate care when I went to see my PCP to ask for STD testing. It was a horrible time and I was in tears. Thankfully, everything came out fine. Right now, stress is pretty much the issue but I am trying to push my way through it. I realize that I am in the eye of the shut storm right now but hopefully it will be over soon. The FW wants a fight but has nothing to fight with. Thanks to my lawyer, the forensic accountant and the PI the ducks are pretty much in line and the cheater is basically busted. Of course his hope is to discredit everything but I doubt it will work since pictures are worth a thousand words and we have a bunch. He also tried per the cheaters handbook to hide money but the accountant has that tracked. At this point we are just waiting for either a decent settlement proposal or the judge can decide as scheduled on a Tuesday.

  • Excellent post. I also am a family physician and here are my 2 worst cheater horror stories:
    1) Patient who paid cash rather than use his insurance which would have revealed his real name. Wife was pregnant with a boy. He made it clear he was excited about producing an heir. He came in once a week for STD testing during his wife’s entire 3rd trimester because he wanted to protect this baby from the medical consequences of STDs (you know, things like blindness, encephalitis, fatal neonatal herpes etc.) He was still sleeping with both AP and wife, and unwilling to stop sleeping with either. Wife totally unaware.
    2) Different patient came in with a sad story of his wife dying of breast cancer after a multi-year battle. Wife having to say her goodbyes to their 2 grade school age daughters. Wow, sad! …About a week later, came in again. This time reveals that he is frustrated at his wife for not dying sooner. “When they first diagnosed her, they gave her a year, but it’s been 6 years. I mean of course I’m glad, but I emotionally prepared myself for her death, you know?” Complains they have not had sex in 2 years “since the cancer went to her bones.” This has been stressful for him! …Next visit about another week later: Employer (a church) has caught him having an affair with his secretary, are threatening to fire him. He wants me to write a letter stating this affair is a type of “bereavement reaction” and that he should not be held responsible. I point out to him that he is not actually bereaved, as his wife is still alive. I refuse to write the letter.

    • What a couple of jerks! Both thinking much more about themselves than the wives they are supposed to love or once maybe loved.

    • This is just awful! I give you credit for maintaining your composure. Clearly, it isn’t your place to pass judgment, but I’m sure that you had to focus really hard so as not to react to this bullsh*t.

    • Would asshole patient #1 not have cared if the baby were a girl ?! What a p.o.💩. And how is that even possible these days to go to the doctor, pay in cash and hide one’s name and address ?! Isn’t a doctor ethically required to report when a person (in this case the pregnant wife) is being harmed ? Mind boggling.

  • This is so great–thank you, Kimberly, for creating this care plan. My PCP was one of the first people I went to see because the anxiety I was experiencing was out of control. She was very supportive and helpful. I’m going to send this to her.

  • If your cheater is physically abusive, see your doctor ASAP, and tell the scheduling staff why you need an immediate appointment. Ask your doctor to document your injuries and note your statements that they were the result of domestic violence. If you raise violence as an issue in court, cheater and cheater’s attorney may demand proof that you needed/sought medical care.
    Don’t make the mistake of protecting your cheater, thinking that there must be a medical cause for the aggression. File a report with the police. Brain tumors don’t make cheaters beat their partners.

  • I would add applicable 12 step programs.
    Al Anon is particularly helpful for staying detached, validation for how crazy the situation is, and lots and lots of effective helpful tools and wisdom for navigating the insanity. It’s free!

    You need to be as sharp and clear-headed as possible. I highly recommend staying away from alcohol or other mind-altering substances as well. If I can tolerate the pain without it, which does lessen, you can too. Alcohol is a depressant…not helpful at all!

    • Thanks VH for calling out Al Anon! My wife started to help her cope with her adult son’s alcoholism. She has participated for three years and it has also helped her understand the issues surrounding the divorce from her son’s father. It is a great organization.

        • I agree, I was married 34 years before the money started disappearing, I discovered it wasn’t all for the howorker. His addiction has been supported by hefty withdrawals from IRA, the 30 yo will disappear when the drugs & 💰💰💰are gone. Everyone has been shocked 😮

    • Yes, a 12-step group gave me a wonderful group of friends and healing that went beyond therapy. I help with a divorce group through my attorney’s office as one of their post-divorce clients, and I recommend that folks there at least try it because it gives you a new mindset and way of dealing with problems. Mine is faith-based, and it helped me work through that part of it too.

  • Thanks Ragingmeh. Appreciate your kind comments.
    Yeah, Covid has def not helped our healing, that’s for damn sure.
    But when we seem to need it most, someone drops a tiny crumb of kindness on our laps and it gives a burst of fuel to keep on keeping on.
    There’s a plethora of crumb dropping kindness givers on this site, what a find that is! 😷👍🌷

  • great point, Sirchumpalot. do you have further recommendations to add to the list above? it’s helpful to know as much as possible so as to be supportive–

  • Hello all. I’m grateful for this post shared by the dr and cl. Haven’t commented in a while. Last June when I visited the gyno- she said we’re you cheated on?(based on some of my responses she knew) I said yes unfortunately. And I don’t even know how long ago(he says years). She said you guys talk. Figure this out. Do you really think you’re going to find someone better? Do you see what’s going on out there? All I could say was if like to think I could find better than that. I’m not a cheater. I am better than that. Won’t someone else be too?
    It took everything I had to complete the appointment but I never went back and I won’t. I don’t even know her name. What kind of old school bs was that?!? I’d never tell another female the things she said.
    Thanks for this. It’s been so long I was told by my therapist that it’s now just as much my fault for still being here. I’m just so tired. I don’t want to pack this house up.
    I’ve started school. It’s an outlet. I’m taking social work classes. One day I’ll have a masters degree and God willing- help those like me(and you) here’s to all of you taking the steps-
    I commend you all

    • Sometimes the shit comes down like rain and you gotta put on a raincoat and hat to get through it.
      CL Nation is your hat and raincoat.
      Let that bull shit slide right down into the gutter where it belongs.
      We got your back!

    • Shann, please consider reporting that gyno to whatever clinic or practice you saw her at. Even if you don’t remember it, they’ll have records of her name based on when you saw her. They don’t like losing paying patients and they sure don’t like the risk of malpractice suits.

      I would bet she is either a chump who decided to stay with her cheater, or a cheater herself, and shutting you up was how she dealt with her own issues.

      Thank you Dr. Kimberley!

    • “I’m not a cheater. I am better than that. Won’t someone else be too?”

      I hope you get your new cheater free life, even sooner than you think.

  • A warm, heartfelt thanks to CL and Dr. Kimberly!

    Another PSA –if your fw is using abuse to keep you silent, report it to the proper authorities. I called the police. The least of the fw’s troubles was all his physicians dropped him as a patient after I told them what happened.

    Take care of yourself and don’t worry about the fw.

  • So many feelings reading this today.

    One is anger that when I was sitting in an exam room talking to my physician about not sleeping for over a week because my husband wasn’t sure if he wanted a divorce, he was screwing his coworker, both of them having taken a vacation day from work. He knew I was at this appointment because of overwhelming anxiety and met up with her. This was pre-d-day. And then he had the nerve to ask me for emotional support after he left me.

    The other, and stronger, feeling is gratitude. My friends and family were amazing. Hell, even his family was amazing. I had a friend who would drop everything and meet up with me when I needed her. One of my coworkers made sure I ate lunch. My mom spent the night with me. My sister in law picked up my kids from school. My in-laws had me and the boys over for dinner. The most random act of kindness, and one that still makes me cry when I think of it, was the guy I called for an auto/home insurance quote for when ex and I no longer could share a plan. He told me that I would be ok and talked about his own divorce and re-marriage. And even though I’m not a religious person he told me he would pray for me and I found it comforting.

  • If I could add one thing to the list that my doc insisted on, it’s this: Get STD tested immediately and then do it AGAIN 6 months later as some STDs don’t show up until then. I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t listened to her and got the labwork 6 months later.

    • Yes, that’s what my internist recommended. He actually booked me for a six-month follow-up for that and other reasons and put a note in my chart to retest.

    • AC

      The ER doc friend said the same, he said I’d really feel better if you got a third test…
      He’s also the guy that said “I hope we’re not missing something organic here, he’s always been so devoted to you and the kids. “

      Of course when we discovered he was a late life addict we realized there was no brain 🧠 tumor.

  • Sadly I too get to meet several “Chumps” in my line of work. I point them all in the direction of LACGAL . Two things I stress is taking care of yourself physically and mentally protecting yourself and nothing you did caused the cheater to cheat.

  • I would like to add “Dentist” to the professional chump care team.

    AD’s can cause dry mouth (xerostomia) and that can lead to cavities. Stress can lead to grinding and destroying your mouth.

    Salivea toothpaste has enzymes that can help with the dry mouth issues, but you still need to see your dentist. As long as you’re on AD’s you should try to be seen at least 3x/year. Possibly more (4x), occasionally the standard 2x. But please, do not neglect your oral health!

    • Have a nightguard fitted to your teeth if you’re grinding at night. Otherwise you’ll pay for it later with fractured teeth requiring root canals and crowns. Don’t waste money trying to mold your own with an otc one from the drugstore. Request a hard plastic one, not soft because your sleeping brain will chew on/grind on something soft. 🦷 😃.

      Some people stressed from the pandemic get Botox injections in their jaw muscles.

      • Definitely go through your dentist. Turns out I am allergic to the an ingredient in the soft guard (custom made – molds and a dental lab) and had to get a hard one made.

        I woke up in the morning and it appeared I had tried to fellate a bee hive. Anyway, they immediately took it back, sent it off and had a new one made with different materials.

  • Thank you, Kimberly, for this post and for the work you do. Compassionate care makes a world of difference to chumps. When we can’t trust counselors and are accustomed to taking care of ourselves *and* everyone around us, even the “small” things, like recommending STD tests and providing mental health/DV referrals, help us feel safe and get the basic care we need.

    I hope your message is making its way to more PCPs and medical professionals.

  • Less than a week after the last D-day, I was at the medi spa. I had an appointment I had made over a month earlier I was not willing to give up even though my mind was a mess. I answered all the questions to update my file and get medical clearance to proceed with getting a little Botox done. When the owner of the place – a nurse practitioner – walked in to perform the injections, she gave me a big hug like she always does and asked how I have been. I fell apart. I hadn’t told anyone what had happened and just getting that big hug from her let it all out. Before I left that day, she had given me name and contact info for a counselor and for her own attorney. She gave me her personal cell number and asked me to check in with her at any time. I had briefly told her of how the RIC had helped klootzak DARVO everything before and I was now not willing to subject myself to any such thing ever again. She nodded, “You have put up with enough of his shit.” Since then, I go in from time to time. She asks how it is going. I told her I was building up my credit score, lining up my ducks. I told her the time is soon. “Rip off the Band-Aid!” she said. If I have a divorce party, she will be on my invitation list. Occasionally out of the blue, she texts me and says “I’m so proud of you.” I see her more often than I do a regular doctor and she is a real gem. A provider who can help put chumps in contact with solid resources and set them on a path to wellness is worth her weight in gold.

  • My phone’s battery is almost gone and so is mine. Maybe it’s for the best because I am prone to overshare today and already regret some of my entries above.

    Just wanted to say that I think I remember reading today’s post a while ago, when still in the throes of heartbreak and the paralysis that ensued. It was a life saver, one of the many I got from reading from this blog. I made sure I checked items 1 to 5 one way or another. As for anxiety, depression, mood swings, sleeplessness and lack of appetite, I overdosed in strenuous physical activity to avoid taking any medication (what would most certainly be weaponized against me should custody be disputed). It’s been working so far.

    Interestingly enough I just (re)read Dr. Kimberly and a commenter refer to some of the support they found as “rocks”, when just hours ago I was heartfeltly thanking a dear friend of mine for being one of these life savers, and saying that she was like a rock for me. The exact same words, believe it or not. When so many people you thought would have your back turn theirs to you, you discover who your real friends always were. Very useful life skill.

    I am very grateful for my true friends, my lawyer, my therapist and above all Tracy and her amazing Chump Nation, without whom I am sure my fate would have been so bleak.

    For the last couple weeks I am feeling like the first sunbeams of Tuesday are dawning on me.

  • This article should be marked as the Go-To checklist for cheated partners. I didn’t even know the term “chumped” when I found myself in this situation (I’ve SEO-ed a bit the page)
    On my medical visit, I felt like a machine with batteries running out and needing a technical check.
    The Dr said it must be the theme of the day, as a patient earlier that day came in for the same reasons.
    I would add to the list some vitamin supplements. My energy levels were to a minimum. I was eating on schedule, like a robot. I didn’t have the option to fail, with a 2 years old waiting for me at home. I ate because I had to.

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