Somewhere between D-day and Meh is a place I look back on as “the slog”. You’re no longer married (or connected) to your cheater, but they still take up mental/emotional/spiritual space in your life.
Maybe you’ve got a court-ordered visitation schedule in place and child support is set-up. Maybe you’ve gone back to work and now have to juggle being the sane parent with being the bread winner. Maybe you’re an empty nester and your fuckwit is starting a new family. But everywhere you turn, there they are in the shadows…
“Are you sure you want to do that?”…
“I don’t see why you think I have to use the parenting software.”…
“Can we switch nights so he can meet Schmoopie and her kids?”…
See what I mean? The slog. And birthdays and holidays, don’t even get me started. Dating, don’t make me laugh!
For me, trying to figure out “what comes next” was initially overwhelming. I had followed the counsel of Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I filed first, I held my ground in mediation, I kept my child fed and loved and on a regular schedule. And, to some degree, I fell into robot mode. I was tired. Bone tired. I fought the war and came out weary and needing to rebuild a life… and get to Meh.
The first thing I focused on (after keeping my son on track) was me. And, let me tell you, that was not easy. Relearning things that gave me joy. No longer living in fight-or-flight mode, no longer living with cognitive dissonance, no longer living paycheck to paycheck… was unnerving.
I started small… on the nights my son had dinner with Mr. Sparkles, I made a conscious effort to get out of the house… I’d take a walk; invite a friend to dinner; go to the library… something just for me.
Room by room at home, I removed anything that reminded me too much of Mr. Sparkles but also didn’t make my son feel like it wasn’t still his home. I replaced photos in frames to just me and my son… I burned my favorite scented candles… I watched TV shows that made my son laugh instead of feeling we had to disappear so Mr. Sparkles could watch “the game”. I cranked up the radio playing my favorite songs on K-Love. My best friend surprised me by repainting my bedroom and changing my bed linens while I was on a work trip. And sage, I burned a ton of sage (ha ha).
Slowly my baby steps turned in to mighty steps, I made the medical decisions… I made the vacation plans… I reignited my career… I dated. I built a cheater-free life.
All told, I’m nearing 8 years since my finally D-day (I spent many years spackling, it happens.). I’m in Meh. My son is thriving, I love my home and my social life and my job. I’m No Contact and have been for years. We discuss anything about our son via email. I do not engage with him at all, and I think that has been key to my healing.
If you’re going through the slog… keep coming back to CL and CN. We are your tribe, we understand your journey. We aren’t bitter, we’re forever striving to be better… and that is a big difference. In the words of Maya Angelou:
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
Rock on Chump Nation – you’ve got this!
Do you have a Gain-a-Life story you’d like to share? Email me your submissions.