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The Moment You Knew You Were Mighty?

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Today’s Friday Challenge is inspired by this week’s Humans of New York feature. Venus’s story could be lifted out of CN. Please check it out for an injection of pure mightiness into your veins.

No spoilers, but at one period during her nightmare, she decides, as a mother of six, to get a real estate license during the housing crisis. No one in her world thinks this is a good idea or offers the least bit of encouragement, but she believes she can do it. She believes she can, some day, support herself.

Maybe this doesn’t seem revolutionary, but if you’ve ever been in such a nightmare (CN raises it hands, waves wildly) you know that to have faith in yourself during a crisis is no small thing.

So today’s Challenge — I want to know, what was your mighty moment?  Different than our usual “Tell Me How You’re Mighty” challenge, I want to know what that kernel of self belief was.

When did you think you could do it? “Fuck what you say, I can!” support my family / move to another state / figure out small engine repair.

Also, do check out Venus’s story. It’s incredible. A real punch in the face to the RIC, IMO.

TGIF!

 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • CL – I hoped you would direct readers to this story. In addition to reminding chumps of their own mightiness, it clarifies the playbook of cheaters.

    • I just watched the Melinda Gates interview. She did great. Looks like someone sent her a copy of LACGAL. It was affirming for me to hear her admit that being angry and lying prostrate on the floor in tears were a part of her recovery process too, even with a bazillion dollars in her bank account. Adultery is abuse.

      • Yes, I saw that interview with Melinda too.

        I was pleased when she said, “You’ll have to ask him.” I cheered! What a great line.

        Then she owned up to her own truth and admitted that it was raw and hard.

        Kudos to her.

        • And I cheered when she said she could no longer trust. All light bulb moments when chumps saw – enough!

          • My mighty moment was going to a lawyer one week after d-day. My fw after 22 years of marriage left for the married ho-worker and blindsided me totally. I knew after a week deep in my soul that if he was capable of doing this then he was truly bad for me in every way. I did not internalize his cowardice and failings. That was in 2020 and I moved far away with my son. I have a great job, wonderful new relationship, lost over 50 pounds and just moved into my own home that I worked two jobs for 6 months to achieve. My teenage son has his own relationship with his father and is thriving. I am better off in every way and I am rebuilding my finances which is so much easier without him draining them even with me paying huge lawyer bills since fw fought me for every penny I had. The biggest loser is fw because he no longer gets to live with his amazing son. It was a long hard road and I would not wish this journey we travel on anyone but there is a better life for us on the other side once we realize what we truly deserve!

      • I loved that she said she did everything she could to support her marriage and family starting the day of their engagement. Mighty chump (with a microphone).

  • I knew I was a good wife. I knew I didn’t do anything to be treated so cruelly. That belief sustained me and sent me to several therapists. I finally found my earthbound angel of a therapist who stated “Adultery is abuse.” ( I know, I know, Infidelity is the modern term.) That statement shifted the narrative to uphold my belief I was a good wife. The problem was LTC Fuckface, not me. Then the solution became clear. No contact and divorce have nearly freed me from that abusive man. I say nearly because he is still contesting the Judge’s ruling on the settlements. My lawyer stands between me and his shenanigans. I’m not fighting alone. I was a good wife and I did not deserve his abuse.

  • I slept in my car for 2 years to finish my degree because my ex’s excessive spending/debt ruined my credit & I couldn’t get funding. My family lived far away & couldn’t help much. Everyone (everyone!) told me to stop school & continue working at my low-paying job instead of school so that I could live in an apartment. I just couldn’t stop pursuing my school goals, no matter how cold or hot it got in the car or how inconvenient it was to use the work shower. I did finish my degree & it was extra-sweet standing there up on the podium. I hope my ex felt some shame (for shaming me for living in my car) when I was featured in the local paper for some of the work that I do in my new job. I don’t know where my strength came from, but if you want something bad enough or have a goal you believe in enough, you find a way. x

    • Your ex, the one who caused your financial issues, or at least a substantial percentage of those issues, had the nerve to shame you for… continuing your education to better your life, even though it involved some unpleasant, very hard choices?

      Wow. That person sounds super-special, a real keeper, not.

      • Thank you, Carolone. I guess I disappointed him by not being an heiress who could bail him out. He even told me he chose OW because she had some money. Which she got by divorcing three times before but whatevah, just negligible details to him.

        • So he admitted he’s a parasite who uses women, and that he didn’t love the OW either? What a charmer.

          Do cheaters even hear themselves talk? Their shamelessness never fails to astonish me.

          • Yes, Cam, he obviously is a parasite. And because he no longer cared for me, he no longer had to hide that he’s a parasite.
            I think that’s what will always haunt us chumps….that we didn’t know who they were deep down until it was too late.

    • This will probably sound so lame, but this week, the two little girls I tutor (my first job in ten years) both received awaarda for improvement in their handwriting and literacy skills. I’m so proud of them and I’m proud of me, because I thought I was useless.

  • I know this is stupid but i learned to drive at aged 45 .

    I had spoke with ex many times about learning to drive but he kept putting me down . Saying I drive most people would love a chauffeur no need .

    We can’t afford it you would take months to learn and that’s a lot of money .

    Let’s face facts you are a stupid bitch and the last thing we need is another stupid bitch on the roads

    He left in the March and I found out how much money he had spent on his Ho I was mad as a snake .
    So I called and made an appointment to start driving lessons in the July .

    I was sick with nerves thinking I can’t do this he’s right I am a stupid bitch this was a stupid idea.

    But I stuck with it week in week out giving up other things so I could afford my lessons . I passed my test 5 months later .

    I’ve never felt so mighty . I honestly wanted to phone him and say F U I’m not a stupid bitch and I can do it 💪💪

    • Karmeh, congratulations! It can be a challenge to pick up a new skill In the middle of everything falling apart. You truly are mighty! Enjoy your driving I hope to see you out on the road!

      • Thank you

        Yes I bought a car ( well I’m paying it up) and it’s given me so much freedom and options .

        I’ve even driven past him which I wish I had a photo of his face he did a double take it was priceless 🤣

        • Oh I wanted to tell you, my ex mother in law learned to drive after she was 40. Her husband was still alive, but he was an alcoholic cheater, and he had made her life miserable for years.

          He died suddenly at age 48 and, she blossomed like an exotic bird. She was so happy for so many years, she didn’t have or make much money but she knew how to live on it. We were close, and in fact she lived right behind us when all hell broke loose.

          She actually told me when I went over to her house to tell her he had left me for another woman, she actually said; you would have been better off had he died. In fact she would have been better off too. Until blood took over she was very compassionate with me. I still feel bad for her that she had to live the remaining few years of her life knowing her son was a lying, cheating piece of crap. She had to depend on him to survive by then, because he had conned her into moving into one of our rentals, the only one that was paid for. He conned me too, had I know he was about to blow us up, I would have never agreed to that. I would have warned her that something was not right.

          So after the divorce, when I took custody of that property, she moved into our marital home, until a few years later when her health got bad and he built a mother in law area on to the house he and whore had bought.

        • Karmeh… I love that you drove past him!
          I have a visual in my head of what his face looked liked as you sailed by…
          Slack jawed, stunned, incredulous, and best of all : pissed off! You passed him!
          Lol😂😂😂 Good for you!!!!

          • I learned to drive at 35+ but didn’t drive outside the suburbs when married. Now, at 38, and without a fw by my side, I’m ironing out the kinks and learning to drive highways, tram lines, etc. It’s thrilling!

    • Wonderful for you. My mother didn’t learn to drive until her mid 30s back in the 1970s. She said it gave her a freedom she never knew was out there. Also, she relished having a car in her name only – big doings back then.

    • This is so brave!!!! I had my first baby so young I couldn’t afford to take driving lessons or take my test. I finally got my lisence at 23 and it was TERRIFYING!!! You have given yourself freedom and access to education, resources and support! Well done!!

          • Karmeh, way to go!!! I’m confident that you will be a careful and considerate driver, and you’re WAY better off learning from a professional rather than from an impatient and inconsiderate instructor.

            Freedom! Towanda! Congratulations on being mighty!

    • “He left in the March and I found out how much money he had spent on his Ho I was mad as a snake .”

      That really pisses me off. When I found out how much he was spending on the whore and her kid, while I was scrimping and saving, my son was doing without thing that he would have liked; it is likely the closest to violence I have ever come.

      By the time I found out my son was emancipated, but it still stung. I have through the years given my son gifts and money to help him with his kids. He never asked me to, but I wanted to. In some way that helped me to make up for what he missed out on as a kid.

      • Yes
        Do it ! You can do it . I know you can

        It’s scary , you will want to pack it in many times but keep going

        Good luck 🍀🍀

      • I learned last year, at 58! You need a patient teacher maybe one, who is pecialized for “older” driving students. You can do it, you are not old or middle aged by any standards, just go ahead. I did some research, that we need so many driving hours as our age is, fopr me it would be 58, but I didn’t need as many.

      • I learned to drive after my divorce at 46. I was terrified, but I did it. My sister’s husband took me driving and I used a local driving school. The local driving school can be very helpful if they know where the DMV takes you to road test. I failed my first test but then got smart and found a much, much quieter country DMV to road test at–and passed. Then taught my 20-year-old daughter to drive in a month and she passed on her first attempt. So my biggest tips would be to find out exactly how your DMV tests (there are huge differences between California and North Carolina for example), focus on learning how to pass the test (and then you can learn to drive “for real” afterward), and pick your DMV office carefully. You do not need to go to the one that is closest to you and the office will road test around the office–so think about those roads and what the DMV parking lot is like. And… if I can do it, you can do it!

      • As with a bicycle, always look where you want to go. Do not stare at an obstacle or you’ll hit it. Actually, I find it a great metaphor for life in general 😉

    • You are mighty, and I know, how scary it is to learn to drive later in life, I learned at 58! Not perfect (yet) at parking, but OK with gear shift, which is standard in our country.

    • Karmeh, this is an impressive feat! Congrats on taking the reins and giving yourself the gift of freedom and autonomy. (I can’t help it, I’m an American, and the pleasure and security I derive from being able to transport myself anywhere, at anytime, is deeply ingrained.) Will your quest for aliveness involve an epic road trip? 😉

      My hero is the widow of an FW who killed himself, leaving her and her boys in a world of hurt, with a massive mess to clean up. She bought herself a new (used) tractor, learned to drive it, and now mows her fields and plows her driveway – at age 76!

  • This will probably sound so lame, but this week, the two little girls I tutor (my first job in ten years) both received awaarda for improvement in their handwriting and literacy skills. I’m so proud of them and I’m proud of me, because I thought I was useless.

    • That’s not lame–it’s evidence! Evidence of your worth and skills and all you have to offer, and I’m excited for you to start seeing all the ways you’re talented and mighty. It took me years (YEARS) to know my worth post-divorce.

  • I am probably an outlier, but after 36 plus years of marriage, my “fuck this, I’m done” moment was the minute I read his text to one of his internet hookups that said, in part, “It feels so good when I’m inside you.”
    I went home, packed an overnight bag, and walked out. I’ve not seen or spoken to him since and the divorce was final 34 days later.
    You see, throughout my life, I have always been able to accomplish pretty much anything I put my mind to if I dedicated myself to the task and worked hard enough. Successful career? Check. Solid lifelong friendships? Check. Raising two now adult and emotionally healthy amd stable children to become independent contributing members of the community? Check. I could go on and on.
    My kernel, as CL describes it was realizing almost immediately the fact that my marriage was a shit-show had absolutely nothing to do with me. In truth, I was a damned good wife and partner. I was loyal, dedicated, and worked my butt off toake him happy. He was the broken cog in the wheel, not me.
    So, in my heart of hearts, I knew I would be just fine, and I am. That’s not to say I wasn’t traumatized by the discovery and the subsequent coming to grips with the sheer enormity of relational abuse I endured over the years. It sucked big time. But, not once since that moment have I ever questioned my decision to leave.
    Life now is full of purpose, joy, and a lightness that is difficult to put into words, but lovely to experience.

  • This is so much less than living in a car or learning to drive. However my first step to independence was buying a rug.
    Moved in 2008. Laminate floor in front of a fireplace needs a rug. In 2014 there still isn’t one.

    He wanted to be involved in household decisions yet however much I rearranged my schedule there was never proper time for domestic trivia.

    • I can relate – My EXH, not the cheater, the FW was after, would never let me make any decisions or buy anything except groceries and such. Not a couch, curtains, car, vacation, etc.

      We had one TV from 1990 and he wouldn’t buy another. He made plenty of money, but we only had 1 tiny old TV. Which he would watch and not let me watch what I wanted. When people ask “have you seen…” my answer is always no. I haven’t seen much of anything because of him and his control issues.

      As soon as I filed for divorce I bought a house and immediately bought a nice big TV. I now have 4 TVs! My daughter lives with me every other week, so it’s not like there are a bunch of people living here. It is a symbol of how I broke the cycle of financial abuse and became independent.

      • Were we married to the same person? Klootzak makes over a quarter million per year plus I work (but don’t earn 1/3 what he does) and yet somehow, we have one little old TV in the living room and the only way it is as good as it is is because I bought it with a bonus I received from work right after we married. I offered to buy a newer, larger one but he would not allow it. My phone is ancient but he won’t “let” me upgrade it. (I bought a burner phone I use to call attorneys for consults and so on to keep the calls off the phone bill. If he knew I had another phone only 2 years old, he’d spontaneously combust.)

        He has streaming service for himself to watch shows and won’t share the passcode. He upgraded his own phone to the latest and greatest. But everyone else in the house has to plod along and make do. Even without his earnings involved, I make enough to buy these things. And the minute I get his ass out of here, I will!

        • Doesn’t talk of him “letting you do something” drive you crazy!!!! Not that my ex could do that to me but he once told me that because he was “the man” he thought he should get to make all the decisions and have final say over everything. I laughed in his face at that one!

          • I was scolded for buying placemats without his approval.

            Place. Mats.

            I’m 48 years old working full time but not “allowed” to buy placemats for the kitchen table. I can’t wait to be rid of him. Aside from all the cheating, he is an ass in so many ways….

          • Attie,
            My dad was like that. In fact, when I was married, he once told me “It’s great your husband lets you have your own opinions.” I just looked at him, then said, “Well, I do have a brain.”

            • The ex was the same. Every decision had to be run past him and he vetoed most things. When I met him he was a lawyer with literally nothing. I was a law firm partner with my own house and car. He owned a tv and video recorder! My Mighty moment was picking up my beautiful puppy, curled up next to me. The dog I wanted for so many years. I looked at other couples with dogs (and we have no kids). I heard ‘I’ll think about it’ like I was a child. And I accepted that like a child. There have been many other moments, but this one is the most precious.

            • Reading this, all I could think of was my dad and mom, too. His bullying, childish rage whenever she questions his selfish and stupid decisions or dared to assert her own desires and personhood. It’s all about maintaining control and it’s disgusting.

  • I discovered a graphic email thread between FW and OW one morning during the third or fourth false reconciliation. I called him at work and said, “You need to come home. Now.” When he arrived, all his stuff was in the apartment hallway. When he looked at me pleadingly, I delivered this line, “You are ruining your life. You won’t be ruining mine.” And closed the door on his sad little face. A couple months later, I loaded my car and drove three kids and the dog halfway across the country to start our new life.

  • Mine was when my daughter graduated from vet school. It was then, that in spite of everything, I had raised a smart, independent, hardworking individual. When she was in middle school and first aspired to be a vet, exhole said she would never be one. I turned around so fast and got in his face and said, “you don’t know what she is capable of! You will never say that to her! With the encouragement, she will be able to do whatever she wants!” After that, I worked harder at my job and saved. I made sure I helped with her academics and was at every volleyball match she had. With encouragement, her academics were very good. Not the best in class. She was not the smartest, but she worked hard and was competitive. She brought the competiviness to the volleyball court where she was talented. I had saved money for her for college. He did not save anything. The volleyball earned her a schlorship to a small private college known for it’s academics and covered most of the expenses. The money I saved went towards her vet school costs. The affair and divorce was when she was in vet school. Her and I talked through things and she was upset, but she did not let what we were going through deter her from her goal. Last spring, I watched her graduate and yes, exhole was there. But, I knew what I had done to get her there and what he had done. Driving back home, I realized that if I could raise a kid like her, I could tackle anything.

  • When, after 3 months of going around in circles about why everything wrong with our marriage was down to my insecurity and anxiety (most of it caused by him, but I didn’t realise this at the time), and me not understanding, I finally left him because I couldn’t take it anymore; he asked for me back, I went back, and after three weeks of more of the same, he came and said “I am not 100% with so I can’t with be with you right now” and I told him “Oh no, you can’t be with me, period”.

    • this is verbatim word for word my experience, pink_nora_rose. He left me out of the blue after a wonderful vacation together, he said he could not do it anymore. then he asked for me back and I went back. It was three months of the same “I am not 100% sure I can be with you, I have doubts, etc”. I was losing weight, not eating, not sleeping, crying until I said “no, out of the door, you go”. The truth about the OW came shortly after that. then the pieces fell together.

      • chumpedlindyhopper, I am so sorry that you went through this too. But you are very mighty to throm him out! I was too exhausted at the time to think clearly, but if it happened now I’d simply say “You don’t know? Don’t worry, I can decide for you”.

        I guess all the back and forth is due to them wating for Schmoopies to clear their heads as well… but this is now too much untangling for me 🙂

        • My back story is a bit different but my decision to leave was the same. I just got to the point where I knew I couldn’t be in the relationship and be physically healthy and a good emotionally stable mother for my children. And my kids came first. I left for them. Only later do I see how much it has benefitted me.

  • My experience was not typical because I never did fully pull the trigger on leaving before The Universe scooped Cheater off planet earth (he died).

    If I had anything close to a mighty moment it would be when my VERY compliant self finally opened a separate checking act and had all of the money from my job diverted to a place he couldn’t see or access and I kept all proof of the act at work. It was a time of rapid change in job/pay for him and by doing it right then, he didnt really notice my meager income missing.

    For YEARS, he made all the financial decisions – always spending more than we could afford on his salary and requiring me to make up the difference. I decided that I was done with him taking on bills he made me pay. If he couldn’t afford something, we weren’t getting it. That may sound small, but for me, it was big.

    Later, as a suddenly single mom with 5 dependents, the day of Cheaters funeral stands out to me that I would have the strength to lead us through whatever happened. My days of being a follower were over. It never occurred to have the funeral home pick me up in a big black car…I drove my own silly self to the funeral…and I drove alone (the kids took a car or 2 on their own) and that was oddly reassuring to me. I was capable.

    • “For YEARS, he made all the financial decisions – always spending more than we could afford on his salary and requiring me to make up the difference. I decided that I was done with him taking on bills he made me pay. ”

      That is just more pile on from the fw. I am glad you stood up to him.

      My ex rarely gave me money for clothing, for me. He gave me household money and I managed that well enough to have enough left over to buy clothing for our son. I really didn’t mind that much in real time, as I knew he didn’t make a lot, but it never got better.

      When my son started first grade I started to work part time in the school system. Just five hours a day. FW didn’t like it, but his mother convinced him it would be good for me. He set it up so that my money went into my account. I told him I would spend what I make on clothing for the family and extras, but that I did expect him to still give me the household money. To my surprise he agreed.

      So for eleven years until my son started his last year of HS, things did ease up a bit.

      What I didn’t know was that since he was managing his check and paying all the bills with it, he was also spending hand over fist on the whore. Or maybe several whores, but at least exit whore.

      I was still scrimping so I would have enough to give my son a few things to enjoy.

      He basically was supporting two households. Or should I say we were supporting two households. He couldn’t have done it had it not been set up the way it was.

      He is gone now, and she is sitting in a trailer park in Florida, trying to pay off the debt he left with little to no assets. Can’t say I lose sleep over that. She wanted my future, she got it.

      I assume she thought those gifts and fancy dinners were going to keep coming after they married. Lol.

      • The way I wrote it, it sounded like I was a reluctant worker. I did think that I would stay home once I had the 3rd baby but we could not live on his income. A little backstory is that many if not most of his peers had SAHM wives…the military did such a number fucking up careers that when kids were little a lot of women suspended their careers. I wanted to but he spent too much and I could not quit.

        My work consisted off 12 hour night shifts in ICU…after caring for the kids all day and I did it twice a week. It left me exhausted all the time and when I didnt want sex because I was too tired, that was my fault too. Perhaps the worst though was…when I left for work, he told the kids (in front of me) that I worked because I was selfish and didnt love them…that I didnt have to work but chose to because I was selfish.

        and like the lady in the story, if I brought up the budget, he became incensed.

        Actually , after my initial post here, I went and read the lady’s whole story and her husband was eerily similar to mine. I also thought the same stuff…do I take my kids away from a dad who is ok most of the time but when he was bad, he was really bad.

        What would hurt the kids most? Like her, I chose to stay and now see it as a huge mistake.

        I dont know of anything illegal that he may have done, but I wouldn’t put it past him. If someone showed up on my doorstep and said “we think your late husband did the following dastardly thing____” I wouldn’t be surprised. Thank God molesting our daughter was not part of our horror.

        What an awful thing that people punished her so badly for what her husband did.

        • Oh I wasn’t a reluctant worker either. I really wanted to work, because the plan was that I would work part time, then start full time somewhere when my son started 12th grade.

          I do feel so fortunate that though money was tight, I got to be essentially a stay at home mom. The only good memories I have are the times with my son, I had to erase the memories of fw.

          I do think in some ways I had it a little easier than many in the chump world. My son was grown before I found out about his treachery. Also, I was only 40, which is still fairly young. And though I didn’t have a high salaried job, it had health benefits, and was fairly secure. I did manage to work myself up through a few promotions in short time.

          I do think fw loved our son as much as he could love anyone, he just was never going to value anyone over himself. He didn’t have it in him.

  • My mighty moment – one week after DDay, three hours after discovery of his CP cache – was when I found myself sitting in the police department giving my statement for the 5th time in 4 hours. I had literally been shaking and talking through tears the whole time and felt like I was caught up in a badly written law & order SVU episode. The detective told me that it would take days to process the request for search warrant and I would need to go home and act normal in order to not tip off Evil Fuckwit.
    I did it. I went home and gave an Oscar worthy performance of “Happy Wife” while occasionally disappearing into the basement to scream into pillows. I did it to protect my kids and make sure he did not have a chance to destroy evidence before he was arrested. It took a lot out of me, but if I could do that (and oh so much more in the following months), I could do anything.

    • Standing ovation from me. What you did was incredible. Did he end up convicted? What a nightmare for you.

      • He was indicted on multiple felony counts. Trial still pending later this year. Not looking forward to the trial, but looking forward to that and the divorce process being over and done with.

    • You were tested in a way most of us can’t imagine. You did the right thing and you protected your family. Whenever you question your worth, remember that you have a spine of steel, a heart of gold, and as much courage and integrity as anyone on the planet. You are definitely a survivor. Hugs.

  • I am two years out from D-Day and one year out from the divorce.

    On Monday, a supervisor within the organization I work for, not my direct supervisor, lit into me after a public meeting. There were still people in the meeting room. I tried to answer her questions, but she was on an angry rant. My brain flooded over with fight/flight/freeze but I was able to turn and walk away from her and get out of the building….with her still following me, ranting.

    I hear CL’s words “Is this acceptable to me?”

    I’ve had two job interviews this week. One looks promising and even more money.

    NO ONE dumps their shitty attitude on me anymore. I’ve been tested by the fires of hell. I gave up 40 years of marriage over this – I won’t be treated like trash anymore. Now, I don’t cry and feel bad about myself and wonder what I could do to fix it – I take action.

    • Tallgrass, our dumping and divorcing timeline is similar. I’m 62, and the workplace is not always a comfortable place once you hit 60, in the UK at least. I was told this week that my days at the main job (I have 4, 2 paid and 2 volunteer) are to be halved. This is due to financial constraints following an ill thought out business decision by the firm’s leader. I’m self-employed without employment rights. In the past I would have crumbled. Now, I’ve taken it on the chin, will cut back, and will look for other work, either to replace what I have or to supplement it (the latter is more likely). I can now keep my powder dry, plan, use those who treat me badly until the time is right for me to take action, and put myself first. This is life changing. I thank my amazing friends, CN, and my equally amazing therapist for supporting my innate inner strength. FW created a husk but a strong and powerful woman built herself up from the dry, empty shell.

    • Another 60+ year old chump also a couple years out. I no longer accept shit sandwiches.

      The goal is to heal enough to trust any furure caregivers I may need as I age. So far, I have all my marbles and enough resources for reciprocal relationships.

  • Mine was in the middle of my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) unit at a trauma one center. Just two or so months prior, my (now) ex-FIL told me my degree was worthless and I should continue working my dead end job. I knew in the middle of my unit that this was the specific work to which I was called. So, glad I did not give up on my calling when it looked so bleak and so many counted me out.

    • I did some CPE and it was hard. Supervisors have an uncanny way of figuring out where you are weak and suffering and force it to the surface. I was trying to write a verbatim once when Cheater was raging, ripping the storm door off the front of our house (right next to my desk) and saying he was going to find and beat the hellout of the guy who sold us the door.

      I was (of course) trying to hide my fear and horror but it managed to somehow make its way into my writing and I admitted to the group how abusive he was. I still stayed.

      That was an era of our lives when he regularly told me he was going to commit a significant publicly violent act (think mass shooting) and because he had warned me, I would be partially responsible. I think he WANTED to do this sort of act but wouldn’t.

      What he wanted was for me to notify the authorities knowing that I had no proof whereupon he would tell everyone I was batshit crazy and he “had to” divorce me.

      • DM, Im sure I told you that story before, but Im still traumatized by it, so thanks for humoring me on this board…I dont know where else to go with these stories.

        It is interesting that Vera told her kids that they weren’t going to “talk bad” about their dad…funny thing is, when a person does shit that bad, it sounds like you are talking bad about them just to recount the truth

        • Nope, I didn’t hear that one. Wild! Hope you are free from him. Sounds very dangerous.

          CPE is intense. Some Supervisors are kinder than others. Who you get makes a big difference. Glad you were able to share this with them!

  • I always knew I could raise my kids essentially alone if necessary, that I could support us financially and/or tighten that budget down so hard it squeaked, in order to do so, that I could keep on being a good mom.

    What I worried about was my kids well-being, their relationship w/Cheater Narc, their happiness!

    Until one day about a year after I finally got Cheater Narc out of the house, we were setting the supper table and goofing around and chatting and laughing, and my daughter, by then probably 12 ys old, turns and says ‘We’re happy, eh mom? We are happy!’.

    I know I teared up, but I didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes we are baby!’ And hugged both kids tight.

    I imagine they, too, had been afraid they couldn’t be happy if their parents split up/if their dad sucked as a separated parent, etc. So good to see they could be happy.

    (Doesn’t mean that same daughter didn’t later become depressed and anxious, after more crap w/their father, that same son didn’t struggle w/schooling etc. But we got through, and we DO know how to be happy!)

  • Not too long after my ex dumped me for the OW, I met a guy (I know, not supposed to do that so soon after, but I was young). I had always loved the woods, mountains and forests, and had backpacking trips with an aunt and uncle when I was a kid. This new friend was an experienced outdoorsman, and we had many adventures in the mountains, plus he had crazy fun friends who often came along. A backpacking trip to dome hotsprings with them was a blast. Although an introvert, I was learning to relax around people with no pretentions. He was a fun, lighthearted person, yet truly knew the outdoors; I felt very safe. He also was a great cook and would load his pack with food my uncle would have deemed unnecessary. Often campfire dinner was outstanding. This new companion knew what I’d been through, and didn’t push himself on me. He and the adventures that ensued were the perfect antidote to my ex covert narc, always brooding, triangulating, using me, and and causing dramas. Nature is very healing. To experience the deep woods and high country and pushing my physical limits so soon after the breakup enhanced my self confidence and healing tremendously. Later I took off and traveled the world. This episode in my life gave me the confidence to do it with few posessions and limited funds.

  • My stbx refused to speak to our son, or to answer messages or calls for three days. I genuinely started to worry, because he’d been very sick the week before. I decided to drive over and make sure he was still alive (no, I hadn’t managed no contact at that point). When I got there, OW’s car was parked out front. I sat in my car for a few minutes wondering what to do. Finally I decided to go knock on the door and ask my stbx why he was ignoring our son (who was starting to act out because of it). He answered the door and I asked if he was alone. He said no. I then asked why he hadn’t answered his son’s calls and messages and he said he had been too sick (I was angry, since apparently he wasn’t too sick to have “company”). I told him that I had offered to drive him to the hospital days ago. At that point OW (whom, I realized later, hadn’t come down before because she was likely in a state of undress) came down the stairs screaming at me that stbx was “taking care of things” and that I had “no right” to show up. (It was also the same day that he had received a letter from my attorney offering a meeting to discuss splitting our assets, and my stbx kept yelling that I was a terrible person for “serving him with divorce papers when he was sick” and “kicking him while he was down”. Trying to explain that those weren’t divorce papers and that he hadn’t been served with anything was like talking to a wall. He never did respond to that letter, LOL.)

    Up to that point, I had been rather intimidated by OW. I felt like I had to compete with her and didn’t measure up, and that’s why I’d been rejected. But for some reason in that moment, I lost all fear of her and saw her for what she was. I looked her in the eye and told her it was MY house and there was nothing that said I couldn’t be there, and to stay out of this because it had nothing to do with her. She became even more furious. She called me a liar. I, perfectly calmly, told her that if she didn’t stop verbally assaulting me in my own home, I was going to call the police. I told her she had no idea what she was talking about and she was “just a silly girl” at which point her eyes got big as saucers and she shrieked “I’m NOT a SILLY GIRL!”. Again, perfectly calmly, I said “you chased a married man, [name redacted]. You’re a silly girl.” Her voice went about three octaves higher than usual and she said “I just came over to HELP!” I looked right at her and said “Your bra is hanging out of your shirt. You aren’t here to ‘help’.” They must have really thought I was stupid if Iif they thought I didn’t know what was going on. She then seemed to realize she was making a fool of herself and was screaming in front of her sick “boyfriend” who HATED that when he was “sick” and she said “I’m just going to go. I’m sorry for everything I said.” I replied “You’re not sorry for anything.” After that, I tried to have a reasonable conversation with my husband, but it went nowhere and he finally said “we have nothing to talk about”. Rather than argue any further, I simply said “okay” and left. He then proceeded to call me repeatedly for the next hour. I rejected all his calls.

    That was the first moment since we had separated (2+ years earlier) that I felt truly mighty. That was the moment I finally realized that OW wasn’t anything special. She was stupid, immature, naïve, and easy, that was all. I was never afraid of encountering her after that. The next day my stbx messaged me and said “I guess you turned off your phone last night” and I replied “no, I just didn’t feel like getting screamed at again”. He said, “I didn’t call to scream at you, I called to talk”. I asked him “talk about what?” He asked if he could call me at some point and I said “I guess” and he was like “I thought it would be more important than ‘I guess'”. I told him I didn’t know what he wanted to talk about since he had said we had nothing to talk about so how was I supposed to determine if it was important? I also found out later, via our phone records, that he had called OW right after I left, which made me angry. She had disrespected me and he had done nothing to stop it.

    He did call a few days later and hoovered hard, apologizing for having been a bad husband who wasn’t there for me (yet somehow still making it all about him). He did actually let me talk, for once. I told him he was abusive and that his relationship with this woman was unacceptable and I couldn’t even consider getting back together until he got rid of her and got some help for his anger. He apologized for everything EXCEPT the two things I said were the real problem. I think he expected me to start begging him to take me back, but I didn’t, and he eventually said he was tired and we could continue later. I said okay and ended the call. He never tried to “talk” to me again. While he was talking to me, I kept picturing a fork in the road, one path leading back to a life with him, and one leading to a life on my own without him. And for the first time since he dumped me, the path alone was so much more appealing. It looked like peace. He was still denying the affair was anything but emotional at that point (though my gut knew better, I was still in denial), but even the thought of my previous life, where I was always trying to stave off his anger, manage his emotions, center my life around what he wanted, make myself into what he wanted me to be, dealing with the constant criticism and never feeling enough – even without the affair, I didn’t want that relationship anymore. I knew I’d be okay on my own. And he’d shown he was a crappy father by taking his anger with ME out on our 7 year old.

    After that conversation, I contacted my lawyer and began putting together my divorce petition. I was done. I realized I neither needed nor wanted my husband or my marriage any longer. And I felt mighty. (My husband later, after he realized I wasn’t taking the bait, tried to backpedal and say he was only trying to start with a “clean slate” and get rid of animosity, but one doesn’t call one’s spouse by their pet name and reminisce about the good times if one is only trying to apologize so everyone can move on.)

    I know in general it’s best not to confront the OW, but I needed that moment to stand up for myself. To show myself (not her) that I was strong. That she was nothing to be intimidated by. That she wasn’t “better” than me. She wasn’t some paragon. She was a stupid, selfish little girl. She was trashy. And they were welcome to one another. I think my stbx might have been a little impressed. Or perhaps a little scared. I later learned, after he died, just how miserable and tumultuous, their relationship was. She eventually left him (though he didn’t admit that to me for MONTHS, though I put the pieces together pretty quickly – my attorney was impressed and her paralegal said I should have been a private investigator because I made a really good case, and it turned out I was 100% right about everything). He abused her too. But unlike me, she gave as good as she got. Which was sometimes physical. They were both alcoholics. They got in screaming matches. In front of the kids. They were broke (in spite of two good incomes). They were both on lots of medication for depression and anxiety. All the while they portrayed a life of unalloyed bliss on social media. When he tried again to hoover more than a year later, after she had left him, I felt NOTHING, even when he was crying on the phone to me about how alone he was. Part of me feels bad, because he was making multiple suicide attempts during that time, and I had no idea. But in the end, he was the one who pushed away everyone who cared about him. He drove out my love and goodwill. It’s tragic and sad, but you can’t treat someone like trash and expect them to always be there for you. I had to learn the hard way that some people can’t be saved.

    That January night when I found OW at my house was a pivotal moment for me. I was finally able to start to let my “marriage” go. It was the first time in our separation that I felt strong. That I felt in control – of myself and of the outcome. I didn’t have a word for it then, but it was the beginning (the VERY beginning) of getting to “meh”.

    • You are mighty. When we finally see how horribly we’ve been treated and stand tall and speak our truth is everything. That moment of confronting ex and OW is one I will never forget. It was a turning point. The only thing he could come up with was to point out that what I was saying “wasn’t very nice ” No shit. “Being nice” and easily shamed was my calling card and had always worked out so well for him. Always quiet and easily intimidated by him and everyone else, I said very firmly,”I can say whatever I want, and I will.” The whole episode was not only a turning point in my dealings with him, it was a pivital moment in my life.

    • “always trying to stave off his anger, manage his emotions, center my life around what he wanted, make myself into what he wanted me to be, dealing with the constant criticism and never feeling enough – even without the affair”

      Yes, this

  • Like a lot of CN, I felt mighty when I finished school, and then got my first job in my field! I went to college in my 50’s, and I didn’t care, I was just happy to be there. The X responded by saying he was lonely ( I was also working two jobs), and then starting his biggest, most blatant, affair with the histrionic neighbor across the street. Oh, poor him 🙄 little lonely boy! This was 3 months before I graduated, and was studying for really hard finals.
    Then, we moved back east, to try and wreckoncile, and AP started bombing him with calls and letters, which of course he loved. I couldn’t find a job there, and one day magic happened- a friend called me, and said I have a full time X-ray job for you, if you move back here! People, I booked that flight so fast, told dummy I’m leaving, and went to start my career! ( of course he followed me, and more wreckonciliation fun ensued, but I did get away for real eventually)
    It sure was a long process, and I know I did the best I could, to end the mirage. I totally understand chumps who try to save it, it’s hard.
    Sorry for the long story!

    • Well done. I love an I Got Free in my Fifties story. I think it does make it harder than it is when you’re young and have lots of time left to change your way of thinking and build a new life, plus the energy and resilience of youth.

      • True, but in my 50’s, and now my 60’s, I have so much more common sense! So, most things are easier to figure out, and I no longer trip over myself to help Narcs, because I know their games! I’ve also given myself permission to relax, without guilt, something I could never manage before.

  • I have a couple . One was some time after the separation when it occurred to me that I was actually doing it—paying all the bills by myself and I was doing well without that anchor of alcoholism and addiction to cigarettes ( about $200 worth per week) around my neck. He also wasn’t working so I won big time!!
    The other was with my awesome counsellor who led me through several months of appointments to finally say it myself.. I was abused. Before then I would have never said that.. it was a huge eye opener to what happened to me over 36 years of marriage to a man child.

  • I grew up in an unsafe household. My father was bipolar and physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive. My mother would not leave him, even after I stopped him from strangling her, and she once directed me to go up to the haybarn where my father sat with a gun threatening to kill himself. I couldn’t depend on either one of them.

    As a result, safety and security have always been of utmost importance to me. I earned an Ivy League PhD, and, after I was hired as a professor, tenure. (My now-ex and I went to grad school together, and were hired at the same university into a shared tenure-line that over time became two separate lines.) I was frugal with money, saved for retirement, and insisted my now-ex and I buy an unassuming house that we paid off. (Lots of people think professors earn a lot, but the overwhelming majority of us don’t.)

    Worries about money and being able to afford retirement on my own kept me at home with my now-ex for 18 months past the date I knew I’d had enough.

    Unsurprisingly, then, my “mighty moments” (there were several) have to do with security and finances.

    The first of my “mighty moments” came during divorce negotiations. I was doing all the work for the divorce, getting the financial documents and numbers in order. We had agreed in principle that we would each keep our own separate retirement accounts (because we had the same salary and same number of years in, I assumed we had equal amounts), but when I was filling in paperwork for my lawyer I discovered that my then-husband had more in his account than I did.

    I was already giving him a very good deal (worth 10-20 thousand to him, costing me the same) on buying me out of the house, so I decided he was going to have to pay me additional cash to make up for that. I asked for a meeting with him, and was petrified going into it, but I was also determined. As I knew he would, he objected, was furious in his objections, but I held my ground, knowing the law was on my side, my lawyer had my back, and the courts would back me up, and ultimately he capitulated, but not before asking, in a nasty tone, whether the amount I was demanding was “Before or after taxes?” “Before,” I said. I felt mighty as hell after that meeting.

    My second mighty moment was that I decided that after the divorce–which was final in November, so late in the semester–I never wanted to see my ex again, but we were still professors in the same small department, and I had to pass his office on the way to mine. So I decided that despite worrying about finances I would go to the provost to renegotiate my retirement contract to retire a year earlier than I had a signed agreement for. I told the Provost going in that my ask in exchange for my foregoing a year was a paid semester’s leave the following semester–and to my surprise he agreed. I finished out that semester–a fall semester–and the following semester took the paid leave.

    My financial standard of living is not what it would have been had I stayed married, but ironically, only after divorcing and retiring have I achieved real safety and security.

  • i dunno. i’ve had this internal narrator talking to me throughout, so i’ve had a few moments. when X threw me under the bus/fired me after a full performance review at marital counselling, i just thought “this guy is truly fucked up” and “there’s nothing i can do about it” and “i don’t think so.”

    i really believe in listening to your internal narrator. some call it your inner voice. i have a full-fledged voice over, probably from watching so many movies.

  • FW used to beat me up on a regular basis – maybe twice a week when he came home roaring drunk and looking for a fight, and while I told people at work (I NEVER kept his secrets), including the staff counsellor and the doctor, I never took it further. As an American he needed a French resident’s permit and I was afraid if I went to the police he might get kicked out of France (I had no idea if that was true or not). But one night, after he’d drunk 16 beers and half a bottle of whiskey, he pinned me down on the bed by sitting on my chest and threatened me with a broken bottle, saying “I’ll do it you know, and I’ll go to prison for it”! I called our staff counsellor in floods of tears and he yelled at me to “just do it”! So I did. I went to the hospital to get a report and then to the police station to file a complaint. I actually didn’t have any bruises on this occasion so I was a bit worried about it, but the cops showed up and took him in to custody and kept him overnight when he admitted to “just giving her a little slap”! A few months later he went to court and was convicted of DV. He should have gone to prison on that one because he already had 3 DUIs but somehow they never made the link and gave him a 4 month suspended sentence. I realized, eventually, that whatever happened to him, well so be it, it was all on him. He wasn’t kicked out of France (although he left later) but another example of Mighty Me was when he f…..d up yet again on something else and I just said “oh, sorry about that”. I didn’t dash in to try to sort it out as I used to, just told him to ask his FW friends to help him with the language. Man was that a wonderful feeling!

  • I divorced a cheating and abusive man after 30 years, packed up 30 years of belongings and sold a house while having its roof replaced. During that time my 90 year old mother had a stroke.

    HOWEVER. I think
    Any one who survives cheating whatever their choices are is mighty

  • Watching my daughter, who went almost no contact with idiot after Dday, accept her college diploma, early, with honors, with no financial help from her well-off sperm donor father who was trying to financially manipulate her. She did not invite him, and told him so after the fact. She is totally mighty!!

  • Mines not so mighty, but a turning point?
    Had not planned to do it, but I went outside on my lunch break and texted him:
    “Don’t Come Home”
    All he wrote back was: So that’s it, then?

    Ya, that was it. In that moment walking out the back door at my job, I knew I could not endure another minute of the lies, of being in the same room with him, looking at him, knowing he was lying as he breathed, knowing he was having an affair, all of it.
    I came home that night, ive never felt so alone (all 3 children were out of the house by then) and I sat on my couch, in a state of shock, only to learn later he drove right over to his Ho workers house and moved in with her that very night.
    “Don’t come home” was my moment of taking my power back.

  • Mighty? I’m not there yet. So many inspirational mightiness stories here from CN, though! I love reading them.

    Once klootzak is out and I have filed, maybe I will have some mighty feeling to report. Plotting my escape on the DL is moving toward mighty. This baby chump has a long way to go.

    • You are mighty already! You are carefully planning your escape and will have your ducks lined up when it is time! That is some great planning work and it requires mightiness so the FW does not catch on.

    • I remember your story of a mad dash to buy your burner phone without him knowing – that was some kind of mighty right there Mr Wonderfuls Ex 💪💪💪

    • Some of my mightiest moments were when I was living with a cheater. Give yourself some credit. Just coming here instead of smoking hopium with all the other trapped and spackling RIC spouses is something. Your name says it all. We see your mightiness, MeWonderful’sEx.

  • I am not to sure about this being as mighty as some of the other things said here but I had a feeling of accomplishment recently. Basically, I found out about the cheating and my son did as well. I went through just short of two months of the RIC where I refused to take my share of the blame for his cheating. I immediately lawyered up and start gathering evidence (in a fault state). He was served once we built the case and then started everything he could to delay the process. Finally, my attorney put his attorney on notice by telling them that we were no longer going to standby as he wasted assets supporting his Schmoopie and her kids. Needless to say, the cheater never told his lawyer about Schmoopie so that was a shock. Poor sad sausage lied to everyone. He accused me of everything (projection???). After that , they became eager to settle. That was when I started feeling my might. We have everything from the PI photos to the money trail. Now, they have moved into overdrive at trying to complete the divorce process. Looks like I will be fuck wit free very soon. He also will have to pay back those Schmoopie funds. Yes, I am feeling stronger after having been a mess for months.

  • Just after our Decree Absolute was finalised about 2 years after D-Day I got a major promotion at work (big increase in responsibility, but a £10K+ uplift in pay and a big impact on my pension) …… a promotion that Ex-Mrs LFTT had insisted for years that I wouldn’t get, wasn’t worthy of and didn’t deserve.

    The best bit was that because I had negotiated (and she had signed up to) a clean break, she didn’t get to see a penny of it. Knowing that I had achieved this whilst caring for our 3 kids (2 at School and one at university) because she was too busy living her new fabulous lifestyle with her AP was just the chocolate sprinkles on top of a “mighty” sundae.

    LFTT

      • TMT,

        I see what you did there. 🙂

        Alas, I suspect that it was a sh*t sandwich for Ex-Mrs LFTT. She certainly lost her sh*t when she worked out that she wasn’t going to benefit from my hard work.

        LFTT

        • LFTT
          Too bad, so sad for the X!! Not.
          P.S. I realize “across the pond” it’s proper to write:
          “Just Deserts” with one S
          But I just can’t do it!! 😂

          • TMT,

            Let’s just say that she didn’t take it at all well and it really does suck to be her. She still – 5 years on – tells everyone that I scr*wed her over in the Divorce and has taken to telling our kids (now 25, 22 and 18) that they’ll have to look after her in her old age because of it. The sad thing is that she scr*wed herself over by (amongst other things) lying to her legal team and the judge …. but she just can’t see the link between cause (act like an entitled d*ck) and effect (people treat you accordingly). As for the kids, they all gave her a very firm “that isn’t happening” because they have boundaries and know an entitled d*ck when they see one.

            And don’t worry about the linguistic differences; one “s” or two of them, your meaning was clear. Could have been worse; could have been a “z”! 😉

            LFTT

            • Sadly even if she had gotten everything she would have likely gone through it like crap through a goose.

              My ex got all the property, the big paycheck and earning power. Less than ten years down the road he and whore had filed bankruptcy. Huge gambling debts. He wanted to get rich and I guess that is the avenue he had taken.

              He could have gotten rich by safe investments and living like a normal human being, but no. I was soooo fortunate to escape that mess. He would have done the same thing had I stayed married to him; and he would have likely taken everything I earned for retirement with him.

              Asshole told his whore not to worry about anything if he died our son would take care of her. This is after they treated son and family like shit.

              Didn’t happen. Whore lives in FL in a run down trailer court with her wide load loser son, and my son and his family live in TX and have not seen nor heard of her since his dads private service last year.

              My son said the only way they would ever see her again is if they just happen to run into her in public while he and his wife are visiting a friend in FL. If he does he said he will just politely say hi, like he would any acquaintance; and his wife would likely turn around a walk away saying nothing.

            • That’s appalling, LFTT. What a freeloading, blameshifting POS – already putting that on your kids instead of being accountable for herself and making sure that doesn’t happen. How old is she? Reminds me of my ex-MIL; nearly as relieved to free of her as I am to be rid of FW.

              • B&R,

                She’s now 56, but was 49 when she walked out on the kids and I. Sadly it is easier for her to assert that the kids should support her in her retirement (which is still a decade plus away) than actually work hard, live within her means and make sure that she doesn’t become a burden on them.

                LFTT

    • Oh, they think they’re so smart 😂
      You deserve all the rewards you’re getting, for being a decent, hardworking chump! Proud of you! And your kids!
      She can enjoy her budget existence, just like my X is doing.

      • FW,

        You are too kind and glad that you get the satisfaction of seeing your Ex enjoy the fruits of their decisions.

        “Budget existence” is exactly where Ex-Mrs LFTT is headed. Her and her AP have burned through the settlement in very short order, rather than taking the long term view. I really wouldn’t care, but for the fact that she will use her self-generated penury to try and manipulate her family (she’s already started on her mother) and our kids.

        In hindsight, there are two things that really stick in my throat:

        – The extent to which she denigrated me and my abilities – to me and our kids – for years. It really was a case of repeatedly blowing my candle out to make hers look brighter and;
        – The levels to which her entitlement ran. She signed the clean break and received a settlement that reflected it. And yet when I started to do well for myself (and our kids), she cried foul.

        LFTT

        • I was also squashed by my X for years. No, decades! He called me names to imply I was heavy, in fact one of his names for me was ‘Heava’, among others. I now think any weight we are comfortable in, is fine. But he did that to make me insecure. He also tried in covert ways to keep me from graduating college, and generally impoverished us. It was sooooo weird.
          Now, I’m doing just fine, and helping others, too. And I’m going to Hawaii for a week this month, so yay! He only ruined himself.

          • FW,

            Go you!

            It really is disgusting how Cheaters act to undermine and destabilise their spouses and try to prevent them from achieving their goals. I certainly feel that I can achieve so much more knowing the Ex-Mrs LFTT won’t be trying to shove umbrellas through my bicycle spokes when she thinks I’m not looking. It sounds like your Ex was the same.

            LFTT

  • My ex knew what to say to make me feel bad about sticking up for myself. He really amped up his manipulation while we were working with a mediator for our divorce. I found my mighty when I drew my line in the sand about what I would & would not accept in terms of our settlement and told him if he didn’t accept my best and final offer, I would be happy to take it to court. He was scared of losing $$ to attorneys, so he accepted my offer.

    Standing up for myself doesn’t make me “mean” or “selfish.” It doesn’t mean I’m not “doing what’s best for our daughter.”

    Since then, we’ve gone back to court once already, and have another court date scheduled next week. First time we went back, I won. I’m confident I’ll get a fair ruling next week if we don’t settle before then.

  • Amazing story!

    I knew I was mighty when I took reconciliation off the table, knowing that I was a mess financially and that the kids and I might have to move in with friends.

    Thankfully we were able to keep it going, but we had some very lean times figuring it out. I hired an attorney that I really couldn’t afford but whom I believed to be exactly what I needed. Yes, he was an incredible attorney and just an amazing individual to boot.

  • I feel like mightiness was a process. But if I had to pick a single event, it was the day I dropped off the defense copy of my master’s thesis, then drove 5 miles away to the hospital and got a nose job.

    Two dreams years in the making, in the span of less than an hour. All accomplished 100% post-him and without him.

    I’ve been working on my PhD since August. On Monday the program director and my advisor contacted me and said there was an extra department merit scholarship and they wanted me to have it. Two years of partial funding, based on my performance in the program so far, and they’re well aware that I’m part-time / a non-traditional student.

    Meanwhile, my ex paid a whopping $210 in child support in January and $210 in February. 8 years of chasing his dreams without interference from me and he has nothing to show for it. He never made all that money he said he was going to make, he never won any dance championships, he never wrote those best-selling sci-fi/fantasy novels. He can’t even hold on to a stable job that pays decent.

    My whole adult life could have been like this if I hadn’t been dragging his dead weight behind me for 11 years.

    • Love this, Rarity. Two very dreams, both important for different reasons and both done on your own. You continue to be inspirational.

      This post highlights all the little things (not that these are little), but the myriad of small acts that go into gaining a life. We’ve heard your story but this detail is just another delicious addition,

  • Today is my mighty moment.

    I just paid off my car loan, credit card debt and attorney TODAY!

    FW got himself into 50k credit card debt not once but twice. Lost our home to foreclosure right before his final discard. Multiple D-Days. So much struggling to keep our little family together & to keep him in it.

    Since first d-day, and his leaving/discard, I have gone back to school & finished my degree while being a single mom, worked my way up the ladder by working my ASS off, (hopefully) beat cancer (fingers crossed I remain clean for the next five years), moved into a great & affordable apartment that I LOVE, and watched one kid graduate college and the second one is plowing through.

    He agreed to the settlement I offered. Waiting for him to sign & then it will be over.
    But TODAY….TODAY is my mighty moment.
    Because I am in the black and I have MADE IT THROUGH THE FIRE!

  • For me it wasn’t one moment or one thing. It was a series of ugly things he had done and a series of decisions I made about whether or not to give him the chance he was begging for. One, I decided that he was still lying. Two, that he wanted to reconcile just to keep me as a placeholder until he found somebody else. Three, that he is irretrievably disordered. He had agreed to a post-nup, was in therapy, and expressed remorse ad nauseum, but it struck me as false and just another con. Moreover, I just couldn’t stomach him anymore. So I had to get out. This was before I found CL.

    I started looking for a house a few weeks after D-day. I’d find something, then either I’d notice something badly wrong with it or the inspection would reveal serious problems I couldn’t afford to fix. I’d come back from each one so depressed I wanted to die. Escape had been within reach and it was snatched away time and time again. It seemed like the fates were conspiring against me. This went on for six agonizing months. We couldn’t afford an apartment for the fuckwit and to keep the existing house and there was no way I was staying in the house that had so many toxic memories anyway. We also needed a place that fit my special needs-I have allergies so severe that I cannot live in a connected unit because exposure to the perfume, cleaning products and cigarette smoke from other units makes me terribly ill. I also needed to be able to put in whole house HEPA filtration. So I kept trying. Everybody was telling me to give it up and it was better to stay where I was, for him to get a place and me to just take out a reverse mortgage when things got tight. But that would have me paying it until I was in the ground. My disabled daughter lives with me and I wanted her to own her own home, not get foreclosed on after I was gone. Meanwhile, after he was turned down for reconciliation, fuckwit had only gotten meaner and to me the house was irrevocably tainted with bad juju. I had only moved there for him and had never liked the area to begin with. Our nosy neighbors had heard some of our fights and seen me run out of the house crying, so we were undoubtedly the talk of the street. It was humiliating just to have to leave the house to walk the dog and have them looking at me like a bug under glass.

    Then the heavens suddenly parted and I found a cute cottage in my dream neighborhood, an area I thought I could never afford to buy into. I lowballed them and was shocked when they accepted. It needed work but I had enough to pay for things I couldn’t do and the rest I did myself. I pulled up ruined flooring and subfloors (there had been a plumbing disaster) and put in wide plank pine floors throughout, stained and finished them, I painted, shored up some walls and floors that were undersupported, pulled out and replaced bad drywall on the walls, installed new ceilings and new lighting, insulated, and the list goes on. I had a crew doing the siding and gutters. It seemed to take forever. I had to keep at it while going through the symptoms of PTSD, depression, chronic pain, debilitating fatigue for which rest did nothing, and terrible insomnia. I had to take care of my daughter too. I was scared for both of us all the time and I needed for her to have a better life. What my body was telling me to do was give up and sleep, but I dragged myself up each day. My mother died during this time and I was at her bedside all night long every night in the last weeks of her life, while my brother covered days. Somehow I kept going.

    Anyway, it may not seem like that much since I’m retired and didn’t have to work through all this, but it was brutally hard for me with the health problems I have. Every day is still a struggle because of pain and other symptoms (I refuse to use strong opioids so the most I’ll do is a bit of codeine) but at least I sleep better after leaving the cheater. Now DD and I have our peace. We love our neighborhood. The house is small, but delightful, and I made it super energy efficient, allergen free and eco-conscious. Most of all, it is nowhere near fuckwit or any reminders of fuckwit and his whore. He had polluted all the old places I loved by deliberately picking them to go to with her, despicable behavior I know other chumps are very familiar with. Now I have new places I love.

    • This sounds wonderful. I love fixing up houses, too! It sure takes your mind off Fuckwits! I have my own small house now, that X has never set foot in 😌

        • I totally get the juju problem!

          My new place (in a different state) is not tainted by x, which helps so much. I have enough reminders of him in my own head. 😳

          Recently one of my kids came for a visit and said, “It’s great to be home.” HOME!! I am so happy that she views my new place as home. It’s been only two years, and she’d lived in our family home for her entire life (28 years)!

  • This is kind of sad – but I knew I was mighty when I figured out how to change the tire on the car.

    I was afraid to leave because I thought I couldn’t do it on my own (he had robbed me of my confidence). He told me I couldn’t leave because I didn’t have any money and I didn’t have a job….. And the day I changed the tire I thought ‘You can do this by yourself!’.

    After leaving him I subsequently enrolled in college, got a BS in Mathematics while raising 2 kids under the age of 6 – all in 4 years. I really found my mighty!

    • This is not sad, it was just a simple action that was the pivital momenent your life changed. A new tire is replacing one that didn’t work anymore. Like him. You were getting yourself in better motion for a better life and leaving the past, as your wheels spun, kicking up the dust. This is where you left him. You left him in the dust.

  • I know it’s not much, but my ex told me our taxes were up to date but it turns out we were 5 years behind. I did some sleuthing and found the accountant’s email address. I contacted him and asked what was going on. He told me he’d prepared our taxes but was just waiting for us to pay the bill! Apparently my ex was fighting the charges but they didn’t know why- this is the normal process and he’d been made aware of the fees in advance. All very normal stuff. But as I was soon to learn, he didn’t pay any bills and was generally a very difficult narcissistic asshole. Once I pulled my head out of my fantasy life I realized how no one could get him to do what they needed him to do. He’s got this elusive mind fucking weird smoke and mirrors way of dealing with everyone. On that day of talking to the accountant I got a better picture of what I was dealing with. I paid the back taxes from the joint account and had my taxes done separately. The fuckwit went into a massive rage over that and then I also realized how much he’d been trying to control me. It was the day I realized how abused and lied to I’d been. The knowledge made me feel mighty and I started to act in that knowledge even though I felt so confused and traumatized.

  • I just want to comment that we all start our posts with a qualifier like “this is not that great, but…”

    And then there are 20 replies about how f’n great it is.

    CN, you are the best.

  • My ex was gay in denial. 34 years married, 37 years together. He was unfaithful the entire time. My mighty moment was calling a lawyer within 2 weeks of discovery. My heart was shattered but my head said NO WAY this can work. No reconciliation, no discussions, just changed everything thing I’ve ever known for half my life. Close to nine months now and I don’t feel mighty most days. A new reality takes time to process and work thru. Parts of me have wilted and died, and new parts of me have sprouted. I just getup every day and get moving, knowing there is no going backwards. Grateful for all my support and 12 step groups. I am learning I am worth listening to, that I am lovable, and that I am much, much stronger than I ever knew.

    • That’s so traumatic is there a trauma therapist available to
      You? It would be life hanging I’ve always had a fear of this because what hurts more? Discovering your partner is gay and cheating or cheating with another of opposite sex? It doesn’t matter but it’s deceiving as hell and I hope you can get some help to find your joy♥️

  • Just a comment on the Venus story; I’m probably going to get jumped for this, but she sets off my narcdar. It’s an incredible story and she’s certainly brave and mighty, but she comes across like sort of a Tony Robbins wannabe selling a method for success in real estate. She repeatedly toots her own horn in unnecessary ways IMO, particularly with relating that stuff about what her son said at graduation. It screams “look at how awesome I am” though that day was supposed to be about him. She makes an excuse for her lack of humility, saying it’s necessary for her career. Um, no it is not. I’ve known lots of successful realtors who don’t self-aggrandize like that. They may not be as well known as the more full-of-themselves ones, but they sell a lot of houses. I think she’s equating success with name recognition, which also seems narky.

    This is not really an un-chumping story IMO. She didn’t leave because of cheating. She found out he had been sexually abusing her daughter and he went to jail. Even after finding that out she says she still loved him. That took me aback. How could anyone love the man who had raped her child? The reasons she says she loved him were about how special he had made her feel, which she says was 90% of the time. I can see her taking him back if he hadn’t gone to prison.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it and I don’t want to rain on her parade, but my spidey senses are tingling and I don’t ignore them since I got chumped. Being the victim of a criminal sociopath like her creep ex does not mean you can’t be a narc yourself, particularly a covert one. Does anybody else get that feeling as well or am I off base here?

    • My narc radar went off too, having foo narc issues and two problamatic exes, one of which I am positive was a covert narcissist. I can spot them from a long way off now, most of the time. It looked like advertising to me. Besides the photo shoot atmisphere of this and mentioning how even her friends would not do business with her, but hey, she overcame–the exposure of her kids in words and pictures being outed as having a dad in prison for pedophilia is a bit too much. She needs to think of her children and how this may not bode well for them.

      • Yeah, that part about the kids bothered me too. It’s possible she had their permission to tell, but still, it was unwise.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed that. Her story is tragic, but the way it was written in HONY seemed to be a promotion for her real estate business, particularly the photos posing on a magnificent residential property and in front of her real estate business billboard. It felt unsettling to have her tragic story lead to so much attention to her business. I hope her daughter’s life is filled with peace, and that the publication of the details of her trauma don’t cause her further harm.

      • I also noticed there was no mention of getting any therapy for her daughter. She seemed to make even the abuse her story, not her daughter’s. The only references to her daughter were about her subsequent successes and that her daughter had once blamed mom for not stopping the abuse, then changed her mind and realized how awesome mom really is. She says nothing about how her daughter has been dealing emotionally with being sexually abused and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because that would be all about the daughter and wouldn’t give mom any bragging rights.

        Good to know I wasn’t imagining the narkiness.

    • No I feel it too, I hope she got the specific permission of her children to share their story and photos. She is super successful but I can’t help but wonder how damaged her personality was by her upbringing, and I question why she had to get a polygraph on her ex when her daughter disclosed. I hope she was sharing her story as inspiration for others, not just to self-aggrandise.

    • I also noticed the narc clues, but I’m never clear about how or why people participate in Humans of New York. She places a great deal of value on appearances, but seems to recognize where that overcompensation comes from. There also may be gaps in her story, but the broad outlines are familiar and true to the cycle of abuse.

    • My spidey senses were tingling too! And many things in her story seemed far-fetched. Like the many mentions of how broke they were, yet they conceived six kids with a sperm donor. Isn’t that costly?
      I dunno, I think it’s a case of “birds of a feather” here.

      • Good point. Yeah, that is quite expensive, unless it was um…how to put this…an informal donation as in she met some guy and had sex with him, but with her husband’s permission just to get pregnant. Some people do it that way and I don’t judge them for it.

  • I’m sure cheater would’ve formally replaced me but his obvious ineptitude with money must have scared off even the most hopeful skanks. Our finances were always in a roil during the marriage. I finally kicked him out, got a job. About 6 months in–all nerves and no optimism because I was so used to being financially on the brink–I applied for a cell phone account. My credit was approved immediately and within ten minutes I was waltzing down the street with a snazzy new mobile and unlimited data.

    The next week, giddy with success, I applied for a loan to buy the first brand-new car I’d ever owned. I could well afford the payments and was approved on the spot.

    It was grand, and best of all I was able to enjoy the fruits of my labor free of the expectation to share with a disease vector.

  • My mighty moment with FW is the afternoon that I found phone numbers from a woman in his text log, I found the OWs name, texted him “Who is OW?”. When he didn’t reply immediately, I texted him to get his things out of my house and get out of my life.

    Sure, he broke my heart, but never once did I ever question my decision.

    And I didn’t realize then (18 months ago) how much happier I would be without who I thought was the love of my life.

    • It is kind of amazing how the love we felt started to lift when we get away from them. I think once we do we see them for who they really are. But, while they are up close, kind of like can’t see the forest for the trees.

      I wrote him a note just before he left that I would always love him. In about three short weeks I wanted to snatch that note back. I am sure it gave him a high. Truth was when I wrote it, I meant it. I had no idea how I was about to change.

  • I went through big panic attacks and lost weight for months. Trauma and anxiety but I looked at my grown sons who had a dad that said he couldn’t be their dad anymore and tons of other craziness from covert narcissist that I had to stay alive for them . Basically the only sensible adult in their life because his family was hands off and didn’t care. So eventually the panics stopped and just left with a damaged mindset and decided I’d try my best for them. WE are still alive and ex is who cares what where bed he is obsessed with.

  • I left after the 3rd time. We had been married 25 years. I told him after the 2nd that if it happened again, I was leaving no questions asked. We got married when I was 18. The the first time I stayed for the kids. The 2nd time I stayed for me. I was scared each time. The third time I caught him, I said to myself-self. You were essentially a teen mom. You were a Navy wife. You have two degrees and are working on a 3rd. Get the fuck out. You can do this. So I did.

  • I was TERRIFIED of being alone. 28 years living in codependent hell had taken its toll on me and I felt completely helpless.

    Its been 3 years since he left and I signed the divorce papers this week. I don’t feel mighty despite doing many mighty things. I was pushed into the deep end and my kids needed me to be the adult so I had to force myself to do very scary things.

    8 months after he left I had to take my car in for yearly maintenance. As I left the dealership I felt powerful. It’s the one moment where I felt strong everything else has been me faking it.

    • That’s you being MIGHTY! Faking it takes might. Feeling it takes might. You’re mighty all around.

  • She had at me “Everyone I’d looked up to: the best families, the best Christians. They abandoned me.” I broke into a cold sweat reading these words. The trauma of being betrayed by a religious community – a group of people who claim to love Jesus – on the heels of betrayal by a partner is REAL. Being abandoned by my church and Christian friends has been almost as bad as the husband-I-thought-was-my-best-friend cheating on me.

    Venus is amazing. Thanks for sharing her story.

  • I felt mighty when I looked back at my photos from the several years when my con artist ex was cheating on and gaslighting me, hiding multiple secret lives and identities. All together, they were undeniably impressive, and I looked strong and capable, and even beautiful. This external view of myself was so different from the messages I’d internalized from FW, and it was impossible for me not to see that I was a badass and FW’s cheating had nothing to do with me (or the AP’s, for that matter, who were just easy, young and available).

    Reflecting on all of the work I’d done, places I’d gone, relationships I’d forged or nurtured, risks I’d taken and new skills I’d learned made me feel positive, proactive, productive – and extremely fortunate. I was really lucky and worked persistently at being healthy and happy *while* being a kind and responsible employee, community member, partner, friend and family member. In spite of carrying the burden of an abusive fuckwit and all the drama, anxiety, sadness, uncertainty and losses that were inherent to that relationship.

    I’m not perfect, but I’m mighty and I’m a good person. I am not to blame for my ex’s cheating, and I’m not worthless and undesirable, nor any of the other negative, nasty and untrue qualities he gaslighted me into believing. I think every chump here could own this same assertion. I LOVE reading about other chumps self proclaimed mightiness and victories, especially the “small” ones, like learning to drive or holding a boundary. CN prevents me from becoming a total cynic about humanity.

    • P.S. Last night, life felt mighty delicious when I got a text from my sister telling me she was in heaven because both kids were in bed, her husband was out, and she was cozy on the couch by herself, drinking tea and eating pie. My (loving) response: “Welcome to my world.”

  • Tell me HOW you I get that final moment where you just file the darn paperwork?!? My story is old and I’ve been in limbo for over a year but I still think about what I am doing here every single day. Someone who I wanted to share a life with now can’t look at me in the eyes and I avoid him sometimes including intimacy. I don’t try I can’t. He claims he loves me so but his actions seem misleading. The eye contact. The fact that I always have to bring things up and if not they aren’t talked about. His aggravation with talking about the infidelity. He’s waiting for me to just be ok. He scheduled a therapy session after all this time. I walked in yesterday feeling lost like what am I doing here? Is this really going to make him be an honest person? Please tell me how I can get into my head what needs to be done because I have moments where I feel strong and just know and then I slip into something else filled with weakness and fear. In cases where your partner wanted to stay:
    Tell me how you got there please

    • So sorry Shann, sometimes I think you just have to do it and steel up for the storm.

      I am asking this in no judgemental way at all. Are you working? If you are then that might give you some confidence that at least you can pay for the basics. Maybe not where you are but in another location>

      I know others will have way better input. In my case he filed at my request. (he wanted to pin it on me) but I was in a situation where I had a little power to force it, and he knew it.

      It sounds like he won’t do that. Have you seen a lawyer, and found out what you can expect and so on.

      • Hi Suzy I appreciate you reading and your advice- it means so
        Much! Yes I’ve always worked. And now started school (again) so I can eventually have an even better position. I work afternoons. His daughter comes every Friday. Mine is out working and living her life. My therapist says “I know what you should do but I can’t tell you every time”. And yes he set up marriage counseling I guess since I’m not “coming around”. What a mess. Once I spoke to a lawyer and he said it would be quite cut and dry and that I could keep the house if I refinance and pay him the half of equity. I truly believe that’s why he won’t leave because sometimes in a fight he’ll say- fine just sell it and we’ll go out separate ways. Next day buys me food and gifts
        I said he’s a coward for not pulling the plug himself then. Yet so am I!

    • I was in limbo for a long time too, Shann. No, I left myself in limbo. It is such a hard decision and so scary. Only you can decide. IN my case I never did decide, he left. We had two small children and my heart broke for them and our little family. But I threw myself into making the best life I could for the three of us, with him orbiting around, with what resources I had. We moved and the kids were hoping he would move to the new house with us. At that point, I hope he didn’t want to move back in with us. That’s how I felt. Now I look back and could kick myself for such a passive attitude – I didn’t want him back but would have let him for the sake of the kids. Terrible, terrible idea. I’m happy to say it never happened but I’m not proud that I didn’t “grab the reins” of my own life. Giving myself some grace I know that I was in a terrible place emotionally, unable to make a decision.

      I think you are in a similar place right now – I’ve been following your story waiting for you to act. I don’t think there is a magic piece of advice that will give you your answer (although if it exists it is definitely on this site). You just have to act. I found it helpful to imagine I was very elderly looking back on my life and determining what I would be most proud of. For me it was doing the best for my children and, as they grew, it meant taking better care of myself to be a role model and so they didn’t have to care for me. After a long while that included dating when I could. But it’s a long game and you are captain of your ship, not your husband.

      Make a plan in your mind and see how it feels. Make another plan going in a very different direction and see how that feels. Do this a few times and pick a course. It may be that staying in limbo for a while while you take action on a plan, or just a few steps on a plan is the right course for you.

      These are hard times. I look back and regret waiting for so long – but friends have told me it was necessary. Who knows?? I do know you’ve been waiting a very long time and your posts here are very clear that you want to leave.

      One last practical suggestion: with your dominant hand, write at the top of page “what have I not left yet?”. Write your answer to that question with your non-dominant hand. When you are done, do it again. Maybe a 3rd or 4th time too. I was amazed at what came out of my left hand.

      Good luck Shann. Please be easy on yourself and love yourself as much as possible. Keep us informed.

      • “Make a plan in your mind and see how it feels. Make another plan going in a very different direction and see how that feels. Do this a few times and pick a course.” Solid advice.

      • Fern your input has me in tears and I respect your advice so much😭♥️ Your testimony as well. I’m so sorry yet so grateful he left and gave you a more peaceful life. Blessings to you and your children and I WILL be trying this exercise
        You’re so appreciated thank you for this!

      • Fern I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For your advice, for the exercise I will try, for taking your time with ME😭♥️ I will be in touch and appreciate you and EVERY one of you who are watching and listening to me🌞😭

        • Fern gives practical advice in terms of making some plans and see how it feels.

          Also, and I know this is personal so no need to respond, as the old saying goes “how is your sex life”. If it is not good, you are missing out on a lot. Especially if you are a younger woman, and since I am not 72 yonger to me means even forties and fifties.

          Sex is not everything, (it is just the part I am speaking of in this post) but if you are not engaged in a fulfilling sex life with your H, you are missing out. He may or may not be.

          I was forty when my fw left me for greener pastures. In my case I thought I would never recover, financially or emotionally. I did of course.

          Thought I figured I would never remarry, didn’t know if I could trust again, I knew I would have a romantic life. I did remarry and we have been together close to 26 years now. We dated for three years and were engaged for two years. Those years from 40 to now flew by, please try not to stay in limbo so long that you just miss out on your life, whatever that brings to you. Or you bring to it.

          • Susie Lee I respect you and your words of wisdom and don’t doubt you aren’t correct! I am missing it. Thanks for the fuel thanks for sharing your strength♥️ It’s inspiring

    • Talk to a lawyer and consider obtaining a post-nup agreement. It will clarify his (FW’s) commitment, protect your assets and maybe get you a better settlement, if needed.

      Also, be honest about how much emotional – and other work – he’s really contributing. Ask for a specific action and see if it happens without your follow up. Journal at the end of each day.

      • Definitely not much emotional support at ALL. I’ve cried and sometimes he’s rubbed my back and I think “wow, this must be gratifying for you”. Could be an assumption but damn. Wouldn’t you want to take action, rather than sit while I cry because “I don’t know what to do anymore, I apologized and feel terrible for hurting the one I love” barf
        The attorney said I’d most likely need to sell the home or just refinance pay him half the equity.

    • You mean marriage counseling? I wouldn’t bother. You don’t have a marital problem, he has a problem being honest and faithful. He needs individual therapy, but no, that won’t necessarily make him honest either. He can just lie to the therapist. Being a liar seems to be a coping mechanism some people develop early in life. It’s hard to break out of and he doesn’t sound motivated. Neither was my FW, which helped me to accept that he was not going to change.

      From your description he also does not sound remorseful. I don’t believe a marriage can ever be salvaged if there is no remorse. You might stay together, but it will never be a true relationship if he doesn’t even feel bad about hurting you. This is probably why you can’t have sex with him- it would not be genuine intimacy, it would just be mechanical. Are you sure he’s even stopped cheating? He can’t look you in the eye, suggesting he has something to hide.

      There isn’t a magic piece of advice that will get you to decide, but I suggest you read the archives. All the stories helped me to be sure I had made the right decision in leaving.
      Fear is something you just have to face head on. Ask yourself what’s scarier; a new life on your terms or limping along in a marriage with a dishonest person who doesn’t communicate and could cheat on you again, maybe even leave you the next time.

      • Thank you so much for taking your time with me- your advice is appreciated and no I suppose I can never be too sure! I didn’t suspect he was with her before and the way he’s self employed- it’s convenient to do his own thing. Scary but he claims he doesn’t even talk to or see her (or anyone else) but I just feel shitty all the time. Especially when it’s myself with him and his daughter. (It’s her mom he cheated with) makes me sick. This child calls me mom.

    • You have to start valuing your own life more than the wreck of your marriage.

      It might help to see your own therapist.

      You have to be willing to make a plan and follow it through.

      It might help to have a support team that includes the therapist, you BFF, maybe a relative, and so on. My therapist told me “You can never go back” and I believed her.

      • Agree.

        I think that is where some of us get stymied. We want so bad to do a rewind and change history. Won’t happen. I was fortunate that my fw was so nasty, he left me little choice but to accept that my future would be to go on without him in it.

  • I had been married for 42 years when I discovered my husband’s affair and he told me that he did not love me. I was also a good — no, a GREAT wife — and was devastated. But, there was a tiny voice in my head that said “this is your chance to get out”. I made a conscious decision to listen to and nurture that voice. I did not try to save my marriage. I focused on saving my finances.

    It was not easy being suddenly single at 63. My mantra was/is “life is a learned skill” and I can learn to do what I need to do to build a new, happy life.

    I am nearly three years post D Day! For the most part, I have succeeded in building a new happy life. You can too.

  • I think the defining moment for me was when I thought everything I had worked towards for years had just failed. My year of discard was also the year I had been working on a huge project. In addition to my regular job I was involved in a team of people writing a proposal to fund a facility that I would co-direct if it went through. It was exciting and challenging and a lot of work in addition to my job and taking care of our two little kids. Of course FW chose this time to start acting out more and more, but it seems to be a pattern from what I’ve been reading here.

    Then I was done writing and we were waiting for the results when the wheels started really coming off. He had destabilized me for the past year and finally asked for a divorce refusing to give any reason. I had to go through the holidays with him in the house “for the kids”… I was in a daze not knowing what was happening. Then he walked out. I didn’t know where he lived, he’d come once or twice a week to see the kids. All the while I kept going to work, took care of the kids, trying to make ends meet.

    Then one day I heard that our big proposal was turned down. I thought everything was over, my marriage, my carrier. When I woke up the next day I realized I was still there, my kids was still there, my job… I was still breathing, literally nothing had changed. I was going to be OK.

    That week I looks at adds for apartments and I took my kids to visit a few. I explained to the landlords it was going to be just me, my two kids and my cat. I was fearful to be turned down at first but I was met with a lot of kindness actually, and that was it.

    I rented my place, moved out. The next month I opened my own bank account and retained an attorney. The day I thought I had lost everything was the day I found my mighty and I started getting myself out of the mess I let myself get in with FW. Never again.

  • My mighty moment was moving all the crap he left in my basement to a storage locker during a below-zero polar vortex. Bought the locker for 2 months, bought the lock, sent him the locker number and one key. It was cold and lonely work and I cried all the way through it. But it was the beginning of getting him out of my house, my life, and my head. It was the moment when I committed to no contact.

    And for what it’s worth, I kept anything I paid for.

  • The idea that I deserve better has been my kernel of self belief throughout my entire divorce. When my soon to be ex found out he was losing custody of our daughter, he told me no one was going to want a “hypergamist single mom with trust issues.” Ever since he said that to me, I’ve just known I’m better than that. There’s no way a man who became an incel over the fact that he wasn’t having any luck hooking up with women behind my back is the best I can do in this life, and anyone who would call me a single mom with so much disdain (never mind being the REASON I’m a single mom) doesn’t deserve any woman, single mom or not.

    • Ugh. I know I said before that I think men with harems are the worst – but I’m starting to think that married incels / red-pillers / MGTOWs (and I have met a few now) really take the cake.

      I have no issues with men authentically going their own way, but these guys still expect to have someone do their laundry for them

      • My husband was a married incel who also had a harem of women online and at his place of work lol. In one of his journals he wrote about having a “backup plan” so he could be a true mgtow, and his backup plan was to go on a bunch of dating apps and monkey branch away from me, which is the exact thing the incels accuse women of doing!

  • Wow… this hit waaaay too close to home. FW also couldn’t have kids and we went through sperm donors for our two children (ie he’s not genetically related to my beautiful daughter). FW also had a ‘sex addiction’ for 10 years with pay-to-play female escort type services.

    I do worry that my daughter is not safe with him… but I have no proof of anything. It’s terrifying to leave the people that you love the most (your kids) with someone you just…don’t trust.

    I say this because ultimately THEY are my mighty moment. The strength that I found to leave came from the questions that I asked myself about what I would be teaching them if I stayed.

    What would my daughter learn about how women are to be treated if I showed her that it’s OK for someone to lie, gaslight, and endanger you for a decade?

    What would my son learn about how men should treat women if I accepted that FW used and discarded women like Kleenex until he couldn’t even remember them anymore and played me for 10,000 different kinds of fool?

    I don’t care what the world thinks of me, but those kids are everything to me and I could not live with teaching them to be victims and monsters.

  • My moments of mighty come and go. After the big mighty of leaving there were lots of others that followed. Initially, there was a lot of paralysis concerning decision making so when I made one it was a mighty feeling. I struggle with that much less now.
    Laying it out in court who he really is the last time he took me there was HUGE. It put my life at risk. When I sat down I actually wrote on the notepad to my attorney that he was going to kill me. He said that’s why he brought the evidentiary abuse affidavit I gave him in 14. Court date was last year and we left in 14. Im finally am getting back on my feet after that and working with a new therapist on loving myself.
    I have a lot of positive life accomplishments with my kids and career but I think that’s different from those mighty moments of overcoming shit that was driven into us. I have days now that are so peaceful and joyful that it astounds me. I love reading what everyone has accomplished. Nothing is tiny when it comes to this.

  • Although I am still a long way from Tuesday; I had a moment of mighty last week when my settlement agreement was signed by my FW. We were not married but were in a 32 year relationship (with shared home and car ownership and bank account) when FW told me he had been cheating on me for months and was going to leave me for the whore (no other word suits). I had found overly friendly but not sexual texts between the two of them in March last year. When I confronted him he swore he would NEVER cheat on me because he knew how much it would hurt me. He appreciated me for all I had been to him and I was the person he wanted to be with. As I look back, I wish I had never given over my trust so easily. Of course, I see the red flags now that we are over but then, I really believed his words and this is what hurts me the most. He was sure that he was secure in leaving me that I had no legal recourse because there is no common law marriage in our state. He had removed $286,000 from our shared account before leaving me. He said it was “his” money. He said I could have the house (which is $200,000 in disrepair thanks to his neglect-he is a contractor!) and so “graciously” my car. He thought this was enough. I did not. So I talked to lawyers. I got him to quitclaim the house, sign over the car, deliver promised wood and pay for a hot water heater…then, the best part, I sued his ass! He was stunned! After a lot of fighting, last week he signed a settlement for $300,000. It is not as fair as it would have been had we been married but it will definitely help me to have a house that isn’t falling down around me. My next thing to take on is the laws that don’t protect non married co-habitants like us. It is antiquated that I was not able to have my full rights respected by the courts and had to rely on the civil process. I am fortunate to have had a good lawyer (I interview 5 others before hiring her). She believed in me and stayed strong throughout.
    The hard road ahead is healing from his horrific act of betrayal. I think this will be the truly hard work ahead…
    Thanks to all of you for helping me to not feel so alone….

    • You are not alone! It hurts me that you were betrayed like that. You didn’t deserve that. I know there are good things out there waiting for you.

      What triumph for suing him!!

  • I had two moments when I knew I was mighty.

    Moment one: After an extended post-dday limbo of 2.5 years, he stood before me on the curb at the airport drop-off; his red eyes nearly swollen shut and snots rimming his upper lip, and sobbed, “Aren’t you even a little sad?!”

    Before that airport goodbye scene (I didn’t shed a single tear), I’d spent the entire final year of that hellish limbo turning the tables on his misery feeding frenzy; I made him believe I wanted the split more than he did. It wasn’t elaborate, nor planned beyond knowing I had to cut off his supply to my grief and misery. I simply took an axe to that pipeline and started treating him with kind and civil indifference. I never waivered once (in front of him) while I quietly moved mountains in order to make myself safe. The kindness was added in only because it compounded the upending and confusion he began experiencing.

    Moment two: In the height of the first big wave of Covid, when I did admittedly find myself concerned about him in the midst of all the death (he was in one of the big hotspots), he sent me an email. We’d been 95% NC for 2 years at that point and in spite of a couple of mild attempts to lure me into emotional speak, I hadn’t let the cold, business only communication exterior slip even once in all that time.

    His email read; “I am so worried about you. Please tell me you are safe.”

    I wanted to give in to the enormous impulse that told me a quick reply would be appropriate considering the worldwide pandemic was so much bigger than me, him, or anything that came before that moment. But I couldn’t. Not even for that.

  • I knew that I was mighty when I filed for divorce and asked that my ex husband buy me out of our rental property business. He agreed in a court ordered meeting to do so in front of both of our attorneys, then refused to do so for the next 6 months. I worried about how I would maintain even half of the houses we owned since he had previously handled it while I worked outside the home. He spent the next 2 1/2 years refusing to do any repairs or maintenance. You know what? I handled it far better than he ever did. When three tenants moved out at the same time, I either did the work myself or hired someone to do it if I couldn’t. I had all three done in a week. The last vacancy my ex handled took 6 months for him to get it ready to rent and another month to rent it. While my funds were tied up in the divorce, I purchased a foreclosure house for cash that I earned after filing for divorce, rehabbed it, and moved in. I bought the house next door and just finished remodeling it and rented it out last week. He is the one who should worry about whether he can do it without me, not the other way around. I handled the finances AND worked on the rentals AND worked outside the home. I am not sure what he did besides cheat.

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