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What If I’m Never Meh?

bitterDear Chump Lady,

I know that meh is the prize at the end of the rainbow for us chumps, but what if you’re not the kind of person who is ever going to be meh about anything?

My ex dumped me in 2013, went off with Schmoopie, destroyed my and our children’s lives, and even though it’s 9 years later—I’m not going to be meh about it, ever.

I have rebuilt my life and my children ditto, but the ramifications will be there forever. The person I loved more than anyone else in the world betrayed me and, on top of everyone else’s expectations that I should be over it by now, I am not. I will always be angry about it and I am perfectly OK with that.

I am still angry about how my first grade teacher, oh, this would be about 1971 or so, was unfair to me. So I think meh is a big ask.

Am I misunderstanding something?

No Meh

****

Dear No Meh,

I think we might be having a Mehsunderstanding. Meh doesn’t mean you’re cool with injustice. Or friends with your exes, or some treacly Instagram forgiveness. It doesn’t mean you never wobble, nor does it rule out anger, which is a natural and valid reaction to abuse. Meh is just acceptance.

This happened. It sucked. And I refuse to give it centrality. I have a better life to invest in.

(Says the woman who has a blog devoted to leaving cheaters 15 years after she left one.)

what if you’re not the kind of person who is ever going to be meh about anything?

Then I think it’s really difficult going through life being you. Because “anything” has as much weight as betrayal.

You’re still allowed to be mad it happened (whatever it is — being abandoned for a Schmoopie or a slight from your first grade teacher), but does it consume you?

Early days, post D-Day, it’s: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! You’re a raw nerve. This shit consumes your thoughts 24/7.

Eventually, with a lot of mental discipline and no contact, it’s: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG sandwich OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! And then… shower, job, small children…  Your life comes back into focus, because hypervigilance and blinding rage are not sustainable. So, whether you want to or not, you move forward. And in time, the OMG OMG OMG doesn’t swamp your boat.

I have rebuilt my life and my children ditto,

Excellent. Well done. That’s what we’re about here. You aren’t in a corner somewhere plotting revenge, sticking pins into an effigy of your ex are you? You Trust That He Sucks? Then consider yourself meh.

but the ramifications will be there forever.

Yes, of course they will. I never got any more children because I wasted the last years of my fertility on a fuckwit. And don’t even talk to me about what I spent in court costs over a decade.

This shit has ramifications. You go on with life and make the best of it. It doesn’t mean that the Bad Things weren’t bad, it means that YOU are stronger than a couple of fuckwits.

Story time…

In 1994, I went to Cyprus with a Greek Cypriot friend. We stayed with her family in Nicosia. Beautiful country. The day we went to meet Louisa’s grandmother, the woman shook my hand and very passionately told me something I couldn’t understand. Louisa translated: “My grandmother wants you to know that this isn’t her house. She welcomes you to her home, but her real home is on the other side of Nicosia, being occupied by the Turks.”

I was there for the 20th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

She’d been living in that house about 18 years at that point. It was full of grandchildren, delicious food, and a well-tended garden. Yet, there wasn’t a day in her life that this rebuilt home felt like true home, because there, in the same city, a few blocks away across a demilitarized zone, was the home she left behind. With all her things, her wedding photos, baby pictures, family heirlooms. And someone else was living in that house, and probably threw her old life out. Just took her house. The house her parents built her. And made her a refugee in her own country.

Did she forget? No? Did she forgive? No. Were the ramifications of this injustice there forever? Yes.

She didn’t pretend it was okay. In fact, this trauma was how she introduced herself.

But I remember that afternoon. And her happiness with being with her granddaughter, and the sweet coffee she made us, and other grandkids at the house, and toddlers crawling over the sofas. The 18 years of children’s photos on the walls. The warm conversation I couldn’t understand a word of. The sense of celebration, the packed lunch she made us, so we could go sight-see.

She still had joy. She had a new home and her family survived. It didn’t make the Turkish invasion okay. But she was stronger than those motherfuckers.

This is meh. It did not break her. She radically accepted. If she hadn’t, there would probably have been a dead lady at the militarized zone trying to take her old life back.

You can co-exist with trauma. It can fade. It can flare up. But the point is go forward and rebuild. Plant a garden for your grandchildren.

You might be more meh than you think.

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.
  • I am with No Meh. The betrayal will never be forgotten or forgiven, but I have moved on with my life and it doesn’t consume me after 5 years. Is it Meh…I don’t know? I probably think about it too much but not often, still get frustrated when acquaintances say I should be over it because she is the mother of my children, would prefer to never see her again and have anger about the past from time to time, but it is not a daily occurrence. I have been NC for a long time and at this point I have more issue with ex being a fake mother and the fact she slept with a married man and hurt another wife. Next Wednesday is the 5 year anniversary from D day and it just so happens that, randomly, on that day, I will be closing on a new home with a wonderful women (fellow chump)I have been with for 3 years. This will be our home, not hers or mine, and we are both looking toward a fantastic FW free future. Just don’t ask us to have dinner with our ex’s. 🙂

    • Dear Chumpman,

      What a great life you’re building with your wonderful partner!
      An attitude that is centered around a new “ours” is amazing. I think you’re one lucky Chumpman!!!

      I’m almost double your time being fuckwit free. If you are at this point in year 5, each day moving forward will be better and better. Will you ever want to have dinner with your ex? I sure as hell hope not! Will you be able to tolerate sharing a major life event in her presence (weddings)? I hope so. That is one of the ways that I define as being at Meh.

      Does meh include just thinking about being in a corner sticking pins into an effigy of your ex rather than actually doing that? In my opinion yes as long as that very rarely happens. 😂
      Can you laugh about the fuckwit as often as you feel rage? I think that’s OK too.

      I’m no CL but I believe that every person here will know when they wake up at meh. It’s a shift in thinking – like CL says, it’s acceptance. Part of my past. A sucky, hard, awful part of my past that has made me the complete person I am today. There is a reason why I picked feet walking over hot coals for my aviator. My feet may never forget that burn but I’m on the other side and at peace.

      Tracy,
      Thank you for today’s post. Just what I needed to read to remember to be grateful for how far I have come.
      ❤️

    • Chumpman, when my “acquaintances” start weighing in on my being over something (whether a betrayal or a death or the loss in a Super Bowl football game, I know to stop talking to them about what really matters to me. Your real friends understand grieving, even after a seeming trivial loss like a football game. It’s a sign not that you should be “over it” in their view but that you can only share your thoughts and feelings with those who are in it with you.

  • NM,

    Almost all of us here will get how you are feeling, but I think that CL is right in suggesting that that you are a lot more “meh” than you given yourself credit for.

    I will never be “OK” with what Ex-Mrs LFTT did to me and and our kids. Not just the infidelity, but also the lies, the deceptions, the manipulation, and the abuse; and it was abuse, regardless of how she tries to pretend that none of it happened and, if it did, that it was all somehow my fault.

    That said, the kids and I are nearly 7 years on from the day that she left to be with her AP. I have seen the eldest 2 through university and into fulfilling employment without an iota of help from her and the youngest, hopefully, will follow in their footsteps later this year. I got a clean break in the divorce and, in the 5 years since it was finalised I have gone from £25K+ in debt and on the brink of insolvency to the point where I am about to buy a house for the kids and I. I get to buy the house that I always wanted, with decent plumbing, a kitchen that I can cook in with the kids and enough space out back to keep half a dozen chickens and perhaps a bee hive or two. Most importantly, I have built a life that that the kids and I love and that is so much better in every respect than the one we shared with her.

    Have I forgiven? No.

    Have I forgotten? Also no.

    Am I at “Meh”? Perhaps not for me to judge, as I still have the odd day when “it” all comes rushing back and threatens to engulf me, but when taken in the round (and this is the important bit) it feels pretty damned good to me.

    So go easy on yourself and look at what you have achieved as opposed to the things that you haven’t quite squared away yet.

    LFTT

  • It is good to be away from nitwits former partners. No doubt about it.
    Coming from three generations of this nitwittery, the damages are unsurmountable.
    The losses irrecuperable. Early deaths by nitwittery. No progeny owing to nitwittery —also, in some cases, a mechanism to block the cruelty?—
    Financial ruin. Poverty. Not-chosen social isolation.
    In the name of radical acceptance, are there any people out there who have not recouped at all?

    • Yes.
      Learning to shrug after mind-boggling cruelty, remorseless treachery, total financial ruin & further enforced poverty due to destroyed immune-systems/ill-health via crushing stress, plus loss of youth – is NOT easy when you want to do something about it but simply cannot due to the Irreparable impact of evil.
      However, although we may not be able to change the ‘big’ things even with all the courage, wisdom and serenity in the world – we can still change small things.
      Never underestimate the power and beauty of the small stuff.
      And the people-destroyers are incapable of ever appreciating & comprehending that it truly is the little things in life in which you can find the most joy.
      🥰

      • The little things 🌸 ☔️ that keep one company.
        Somehow they even manage to underline the difference between malevolence and tragedy.

  • I think I, too, have had a fundamental misunderstanding of what meh is. I always thought meh meant “when it didn’t bother you” or “when you can physically be around the FW and find that it doesn’t really make you feel one way or the other about him anymore.” I conflated meh with that horrible, horrible phrase: “Aren’t you over it yet?” (Like it’s nothing more than a bee sting.)
    I’m over 10 years past the last D Day (there was a first one, reconciliation, then the last one) and I think it will always bother me and I will always be uncomfortable around him to the point of tremors and nausea.

    But… if meh is more “you rebuilt your life/he’s not centralized anymore” and not so much “you’re neutral about what happened/neutral in his presence now” then it turns out that I reached meh many, many years ago. I’ve been beating myself up thinking that there’s a goalpost I’ll never reach (because I’ll never feel neutral or meh if he’s physically around) but maybe I actually reached it years ago.

    I’ve got to chew on this for awhile.

    • “I conflated meh with that horrible, horrible phrase: “Aren’t you over it yet?” (Like it’s nothing more than a bee sting.)”

      Same.

      Just curious: if you were ever actually asked that question–and I hope you weren’t–did you have a good comeback? I think I would stare blankly, unable to speak.

      • I’ve said to people “if you feel the need to ask me that you clearly have no idea what infidelity is. Lucky you.”
        Shuts them up every time.

        • “if you feel the need to ask me that you clearly have no idea what infidelity is. Lucky you.”
          Shuts them up every time.
          Verbal Kill Shot!
          Nice Rebecca!

      • I was told by a friend “get over it.” And that put the friendship on hold for 5-6 years. Once my friend started learning some hard lesson in her own life, we got things back on track. But still there are things I will never discuss with her. She took a big withdrawal from the bank of trust I had in her and it will take years to ever put it all back.

        The whole “get over it” thing is more about how these other people treat us than whether we are moving through the healing process in the right way.

      • My husband had the nerve to say I’ve been a victim too. I said then you should’ve known better than to do it to someone else! And you most likely weren’t in love it didn’t care

    • “I always thought meh meant “when it didn’t bother you””

      Me too. Obviously. I doubt I’ll ever be in his presence again, though, which suits me fine.

    • The Divorce Minister wrote on his blog a few weeks ago that no one would be surprised if you felt uncomfortable being around a person who had assaulted or stabbed you.
      How would you expect someone to react to being around the person who stabbed them?
      “I will always be uncomfortable around him to the point of
      tremors and nausea.”
      While nobody likes feeling this way, give yourself some grace because you are right on the normal line of the graph. Nothing to be ashamed of or have to explain to others. Seeing a therapist, doing EMDR work, or talking through your feelings with other chumps can reduce the intensity and make it less a part of your life.

  • This was great to read, on both ends. It’s annoying how just because something happened a little while back it should be forgotten and forgiven. Mine was 3 years ago, I call it the worst best thing that ever happened to me. Because he sucks and I am better off. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was traumatic and it hurts still. Someone kicking the life you lovingly build, carelessly disregarding years of the effort put into making a family. My life is so much better but there’s still pain, it’s a weird thing. Thank you for talking about meh, it’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative.

  • I don’t think I’ll ever get to Meh . I wish I could and I am trying to gain a life . Like next year I’ve booked to travel to USA and finally get my dream of visiting Graceland . Something I could only think about while married I’m now making that come true .

    But the absolute injustice of it all eats away at me daily . I don’t have enough pins to stick into things that I want to scream about .
    Until I accept that I won’t get to Meh . I’m 3 years out you would think I would be used to it by now but nope I still await Devine intervention . A girl can dream though

    • Karmeh,
      Three years is not such an awfully long time. And the journey to meh can be so slow that it’s difficult to notice progress. Your planned trip to Graceland is a wonderful sign!
      I am 7 years out and slowly slowly ever-so-slowly I have reached a sort of Meh. But at 3 years out I was right where you are. xxoo

      • Agreed about the length of time that’s needs to pass.
        And I don’t think chumps should even START counting until the divorce is filed and final! You cannot start recovery while you’re still fighting for your life.

        • Yes! I’ve been divorced for over 3 years now, but I’m still struggling to recover because I share a child with my FW. Instead of joyfully never thinking of him again, I am forced to “coparent” with him while he continues to abuse me via family court. It’s difficult to impossible to heal from abuse that is ongoing.

          • I get this, healing is definitely delayed if you are still in the trenches. The xh filed to the court to get money out of me. Court was delayed right through covid….2 years because little pissy pants thinks he is Poirot and wanted his day in court. Luckily the judge suggested he take legal advice (ordered actually, but let’s not be pedantic) and May last year it was dropped…so I’m guessing I’m a year clear of the fxxkwittery, not 3 years…xxx

    • The work is getting to the point where the injustice that was done to you doesn’t control your life, doesn’t rob you of happiness in the present, and doesn’t limit your future. Ruminating about the past keeps us from creating happiness in the present. And it makes the future about what happened years ago.

      All we have is the present moment.

    • I’m 3 years out, and I’m glad you’ve posted. I sorta had 3 years in my head that I would feel better…but I don’t….but you’ve made it normal so that’s helped.

  • I relate to this so well.

    I don’t even understand forgiveness/meh/neutrality. Especially in the face of such awful harm and abuse.

    But I understand focus. I can still see the injustice, hurt, abuse, resentment, etc.—but I don’t have to focus on it and give it the main stage performance. I distract myself a lot. With friends, gardening, nature, books, silence—it gives me something better to think about than the cheating and lying fuckwit who blew up my life as I knew it.

    I still have my life. I work hard every day not giving him the space and attention in my current life. Trying not to spend my brain bucks on him, because I know for sure I think much more about him than he does about me. These idiots are shallow twerps who are playing with the next cheap toy destined to break and be replaced.

    For me, “meh” is replacing and distracting. He’s on the outskirts losing his hair, his looks, and brain cells on the regular. That’s how I marginalize him.

    Forget? No way. But you can selectively remember and limit your attention to it. Like a broken bone you had in 2004 that is now healed and works pretty well getting the job done.

    • FF, I really like what you wrote: “For me, “meh” is replacing and distracting. He’s on the outskirts losing his hair, his looks, and brain cells on the regular. That’s how I marginalize him.”. I relate to that. I call where I’m at “meh” because I too marginalize XH: he’s an alcoholic/addict in late stages, lost his health, lives with a AP who rages at him and she gave her youth and fertility (she’s 40 this year) to a cheater/ATM, his brain has declined such that he’s an attorney but can no longer read….😬😬😬. Unfathomable horror to be him or be with him. He is NOT the man I thought he was.

  • “You can co-exist with trauma. It can fade. It can flare up. But the point is go forward and rebuild. Plant a garden for your grandchildren.”

    I love this! And thanks for the clarification about meh.

    By this definition, I must have arrived in meh-dome on a recent Tuesday without even noticing. My new life has obliterated my old. And I know I’m happier now to be free of him.

    The other day my granddaughter told me that she loves me ❤️ and that she wants to teach me how to surf. She’s 3 and doesn’t know how to surf, but, ah, the sentiment! On the next windy day, we plan to fly a kite.

    I won the luggage.

    • Spinach, it’s so true that we can co-exist with past trauma. I’m living proof too. Before XH and Dday, devalue, narcissistic abuse during the wreconciliation and divorce, I had major childhood traumas including sexual abuse, narcissist alcoholic parents, sudden death of my father as a teen, teen pregnancy, homelessness. And yet, I finished school at the top of my class, went on to get my doctorate, have been a devoted and loving mother, have volunteered my entire life, have risen to the very top of the legal profession. I’m generally very content. After XH of 25 years was found out and divorce was over, daily reading here and a lot of self care, I’ve rebuilt again with a new life with my fiancé and two grown bonus children that were motherless to add to my 4 bio kids. I’m at peace. I like my life. The trauma flares up when I’m very tired or facing something new but I can coach myself through it.

  • Three years past DD#3 and 15 months divorced. I still think about the end of my 30 year marriage every day. But when I focus on what is currently happening, I realize I am closer to meh because I have decided to replace the pain with positive experiences. One of the joys is reading Becoming Duchess Goldblatt https://www.stillnorthbooks.com/duchess-goldblatt. Written by an anonymous author (clever enough to be our own CL), the book describes the trauma of infidelity and the creative coping mechanism used by one chump.

    • ICST, I’m 5 years+ from divorce, 25 year marriage. The passage of time (and very low contact/grey rock/mostly no contact) really does make a difference). I feel a lot better at 5 years from divorce than I did at 3 and light years better from pre-divorce finalization. The healing continues, thank goodness!

  • Hell. Yes. ChumpLady has summed it up beautifully!! 🤘🏻#dontgivethepricksthesatisfaction #boombaby

  • “You aren’t in a corner somewhere plotting revenge…”

    I confess, I’m considering sending screenshots to FW’s Schmoop showing FW’s physical affair with someone else at the height of covid.

    I probably won’t. But, I am plotting.

    • Don’t warn her. She’s a co abuser, let her waste as many years as possible with him and then get blindsided by it. She actually deserves to go through that. Maybe I’m petty but I’d look at those pics every so often and laugh about how she wasted another year getting cheated on. May she be too old to poach a new married dick when she finally figures it out. LOL

    • This is you making the FW and the Schmoopie central. Sit back. Build your own happy life. Let him get on with the job of screwing up with Schmoops. It’s way more fun if you aren’t the catalyst; it’s evidence that life will deal with him harshly for being such a terrible person.

    • So your ex is still a cheating scumbag and schmoopie is more than likely receiving the same treatment you received when your ex was cheating behind your back. They are not a happy couple. I’d say you got a glimpse of the karma bus.

    • I waited more than a decade until OW was the same age I was when she screwed my FW, and then I send all the proof of her MANY infidelities to her chumped husband. Just to let her see how it felt to be aging and unwanted, you know. I have to tell you, doing that was the only thing in the whole boiling mess that made me feel empowered. Don’t underestimate the gratification of a good old fashioned revenge.

  • Next year it will be 30 years since I fled my violent cheating drunk of a fiance. It took me three goes to get away, but I finally did it.

    I was 23, broke, utterly shamed, publicly humiliated, and had almost no support. I had no idea how to navigate what had happened.

    1993 was a crucible in which I lived on very little and finished a kickass doctoral thesis that I’d been neglecting. I was a hot mess who was too poor to afford heating, so in midwinter I simply put on all my clothes and kept typing.

    It took me a long time to love again – and all my subsequent romantic experiences proved was that my picker was so broken as to be non-existent.

    After the fourth Cheater, I decided to stop dating. I realised that the life I had was actually full of love and good things. I just had to open my eyes.

    I’m very much at Meh. But the wrongs that were done were real. They still hurt sometimes. Like Frodo on the anniversary of Weathertop, I feel it.

    But none of this is cause for shame. Two of my cheaters married other women; two are unmarriageable. Shame on them. Not me.

    • Lola, we are similar. I also put my nose to the grindstone when shit hit the fan. I don’t know how I did it, but I’m reaping the rewards today of getting my doctorate after my first XH abused me physically and mentally, and was caught sexually abused my 10 year old sister— I was 20 and had a new baby but figured out how to get my first and second degrees, solo parent, support us. . . There were times I hand washed cloth diapers (late 80s) because I didn’t have funds for disposables. Now that seems environmentally correct, but at the time it was scary.

  • I needed to hear this. Thank you CN. It’s been 3 years post divorce and I too have made my life a happy place, done things I always wanted to do etc. I worked damn hard at making that happen. I do have moments of anger, and then I think of dick head and the hoe living life large in the trailer park -mind you nothing agAinst trailer parks and think how lucky I am. I just prefer being a snowbird and playing golf. However this past month I found out my close friends are still in contact with the ex and think he is a good guy. I was told “he hurt you not me” and “isn’t it time you got over this?” That has thrown me for a loop but I’m pulling up the big girl panties and thinking I don’t need friends like that even though it hurts Things happen for a reason. Just hugs to all for a place to let me know I’m not crazy and life is good today

    • You’re doing the right thing getting rid of them. I get that it hurts. I lost pretty much everybody. Because I care when a friend is hurt and the fact that they didn’t care made me realize they either didn’t see me as a friend or their definition of a friend isn’t something I want to be a part of.

      But, on the happier side, once I cut ALL OF THEM out I started to heal incredibly fast. For me the last person was my own sister. We went to lunch and she told me that she could see where my ex was coming from. I said, loudly, “He said I was incestuous. Who in our family am I supposedly fucking? You?” Boy, was that waiter startled. I tipped him very well though so I’m sure that made up for it and gave him a funny story to tell. But I digress. I had to face my sister didn’t like me. Because you can’t like someone and understand why their ex made up disgusting lies about them and dumped them as cruelly as possible. She only understood it because she doesn’t like me either. She can relate because she’d like to hurt me like that too. Which was brutally hard to accept because I’m much older than her, I have gone hungry so she could eat. I endured abuse to spare her. I let her move into my home when she imploded her own life so she could get back on her feet. It hurt terribly.

      But, she was the last one I was tolerating. And once she was gone, I felt noticeably better within weeks. That was just a couple of months ago and I feel fantastic now. I’m at meh. The pain is gone. My D-day was July 27,2020. I was in pain right up until the last couple of months but getting rid of everyone helped more than I would have imagined. It’s like, lungs can heal but you have to stop smoking. These people are the cigarettes, you are so making the right decision by flushing them.

      • “My grandma always said / If you want a real good friend / you gotta to be a real good friend / Love is something you can’t – you can’t command.”

        “I Got Plenty,” Hans Theessink, Big Daddy Wilson

  • Wow. Right now, that’s all I have to say. (I’m a writer by trade, even.) Thanks, Tracy. I need to think about this and reread it and then I’ll have more to say later. Love to my fellow chumps.

  • Meh has different meanings for different people. I took the knife he stabbed me in the back with and cut all ties to him. 1.5 years after DDay. I feel no love or hate for him. That’s my meh.

    • Tuesday, I feel exactly the same way. I have, however, questioned whether I was being premature in thinking I am at meh. After all, I’m only a year out. But, I went NC within days of walking out which I firmly believe accelerated the process. He rarely if ever crosses my mind, with the sole exception of when I post here. And that I do to encourage others to cut and run.

  • My ex wife remembered everything that someone every did wrong. It was horrible being married to her. She would bring up to other people what they did wrong as kids! Bring up things I did wrong decades ago. Don’t be like her, a bitter person. That means your ex lives rent free in your head.

    • I do agree that it’s unwise to let someone live in your head rent free but the word bitter bothers me. My Dad told me that I was bitter since my xh left me. I found this statement super unfair as I had done tons to move on and grow and live a good life. Also, my xh didn’t leave. He, in fuckwit style, made me do all the work of filing etc and he refused to move out until the separation agreement was done yet he stalled. I think many people want to ignore the trauma inflicted on people. I am super proud of my growth but my family seems to want me to go along with the narrative that I chose wrong. Often people judge us and the word bitter and angry are used to minimize our trauma.

      • I am talking about the writer who holds on to grudges from 1st grade. That is unhealthy. I haven’t forgotten what my ex did but I refuse to let her live rent free in my head.

        • Sorry, but “holds onto grudges from 1st grade” is a little extreme. Am I still annoyed that my first grade teacher was mean and unfair to me? Yes. Do I think about it more than every three years or so? No. Do I get upset about it? No. I also find your tone about “letting people live rent free in your head” kind of dismissive and superior. That attitude was the kind of thing I was writing about. Nice for you, but not everyone is made that way.

  • Thank you for this today. I actually confessed to my priest (last week) my inability to forgive and the feelings of resentment that I hold. Six years divorced and for the most part, I am ok. But, there are triggers. I recently retired, eight years after my ex, and five years older than when SHE retired. It’s very difficult realizing that I will have HALF the retirement that I should have had and that SHE is benefitting from my thirty-six years of sacrificing.

    • I understand this sentiment. I was the primary wage earner in our marriage and he was mostly a stay at home dad when the boys were younger. And the money he made on any work he had over 30 years was all his. He was a good Dad until… I just see it as freedom is expensive and I’m worth it. Effectively I paid him for his time at home, to coach baseball games, and what he contributed to our life. I am ok with that and our sons are really good men. Hugs!

    • I feel bad when these laws screw over chumps. It’s not fair. I got lucky and they saved my butt, he has to pay me alimony for 10 years, which he deserves for cheating. But it’s so unfair when one has to get cheated on and pay for it. I see now why no fault divorces were such a big deal and why people had a problem with them. I didn’t know enough about it before I went through it to have an opinion but now I get it. People shouldn’t be able to abuse their spouses and then get paid by them. It really is fucked up. I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m glad you’re free though and grats on your retirement. At least you’re rid of her. Maybe the karma bus will plow her down. She’s definitely got it coming.

      • There’s something that a lot of people don’t realize about divorce law prior to no fault and that’s the concept of condonation. If you want to take people back to the time before no fault you need to research that very carefully.

        Essentially if the cheater could prove that the chump had knowledge of the affair and forgave it or continued with the martial relationship, you could not be granted a divorce on grounds of adultery. You would need to prove some other ground, like insanity that’s even harder to prove. A thing that many people need to understand about no fault divorce is that you have to PROVE a reason for the divorce. It would generally make the process of getting a divorce much more time consuming and emotionally difficult. You need to know what position you are advocating for before you advocate for it.

        • Good point lawyer. And the chump had to also PROVE infidelity to beyond a reasonable doubt if they filed for adultery and then the public details caused a scandal. Chumps also have to defend with evidence that they had not known or forgiven infidelity ie did not have sex or live together after finding out about affair. I had to file at-fault because my cheater confessed (and OW contacted me) but wouldn’t settle. I was made to understand the burden of proof which I had but was still difficult to get. When FW did settle at the 11th hour we skipped the trial (probably another year and $25k) and went no fault.

    • NMF I hear you. To be cheated on and then lose half of what you have is an injustice. I am going through it now. There is no penalty for the cheater.

    • I agree that this is one of the bad shit sandwiches of grey divorce. Two people together cost less to live than two people apart. And now you have no time to compensate. Still, I made up for things by downsizing my living situation and it seems ok. But still unfair. And adultery I believe should be one circumstance where the FW forfeits major shares in retirement and alimony.

  • I like to think of meh as being meh about different pieces of the trauma. I am pretty meh at this point about klootzak actually having sex with other people. My initial response was retching and nausea. I remember feeling what felt like motion sickness for days. But does that knowledge overwhelm and consume me anymore? Nope.

    Then there is the non-stop lies and deceit which continue to this day. I am pretty well at meh on that, too. I can’t stop him from being a liar and a cheat. I trust that he sucks. Just in the last few weeks, klootzak told a huge lie with our child right next to him hearing it. I kept gray rock and the moment there was a full city block of distance between us, I flipped my lid. That was the first time I witnessed him lie right in front of our child. I am sure he has lied to him plenty but to see it set me off. I am angry that he did that, so my boat was rocked, but beyond an hour or two of stewing about it, I’m not swallowed up by it. I work my job, get kiddo fed, bathed, and off to school. I function and even thrive in spite of this lying liar who lies. So after a brief unsettling, back to moving forward.

    The next hurdle is getting to meh in response to the extraordinary legal expense he will run up for me to get rid of him. I expect he will be very ugly and pull crazy stunts to haul us back to court again and again. I expect I will have a big emotional response. There will be more anger. It’s a wave I know I am strong enough to ride out. But also, I know in the end, I will be very grateful to have him out of my life to the greatest extent possible. I know I will never love, like, or even trust him again. When I see him act like a nice person, I know it’s all an act. He never deserved an honest, loving person like me and, like CL, I was cheated out of not only years of my life wasted on him but also not being able to bear more children of my own. I can let that eat me up all day or I can move forward and not dwell on it. It’s my reality I have accepted. Some broken part of me put up with his crap and ignore red flags. I was the frog in boiling water. But it will not define me.

    • You’ll know you’re at meh when exFW tells a lie and you internally roll your eyes and understand that lying liars lie and they have no boundaries so of course they lie in front of kids or whoever! They have no standards or compunction. You should expect lying as his norm! It will no longer upset you or have any impact on you. You won’t be mad. You will correct your child should they ask, but feel no need to correct FWs lies to spare anyone else. I feel no need to defend myself because our divorce is over and he’s got nothing on me and never did have. The people whose opinions count know me and won’t be swayed by unfounded lies, straight up name calling and word salad. If they can’t tell the difference mores the pity—for them. Not my monkeys, not my circus.

  • The “OMG OMG OMG” descriptions of dealing with DDay and beyond were so spot on Tracy… thank you. Best description I’ve heard yet.

    I guess for me “meh” just meant that I reached the point where I know longer loved FW, no longer cared what he did anymore and basically: fuck him and the AP. Who cares what they do now except in relation to my son?

    I spent a literal small fortune (Is well over $100k small?) on court shit fighting FW and protecting myself and especially protecting our son. Our divorce was done in one year, but FW made our son so miserable we had to keep going back through attorneys … it dragged on for 5 years and even now (almost 7 years past DDay) that prick finds ways to involve attorneys and fuck with our now 16 year old. Yet I feel I’m at meh.

    I stopped caring about the money. I stopped caring if FW got married to AP (let them! Let her get tied financially to that dope). I stopped caring where he was or what they did. I didn’t even care when I saw that he now earns $350k a year when he was always in debt with me. I guess for me “meh” has been recognizing that no matter where he goes, there he is… and I want nothing to do with him in any way shape or form. He could own the best house, travel the world, have fancy cars… who cares? I know he is a loser. He’s boring. He’s shit in the sack. He was always dead weight in our marriage. I have zero interest in having anything to do with him anymore. Meh

    And I don’t forgive him for what he did … why? I just don’t care.

    But I am concerned that No Meh can’t let go of the anger. Don’t let stupid shit consume you forever. That would be worth working on for yourself. Learning to accept and let go. No one needs a heart attack over a FW. Find your zen and peace…. Just for your own health and happiness.

    • “…no matter where he goes, there he is.” They can’t escape themselves.

      So true! When I wobble and think that he’s now living his best life with the wifetress, I remind myself of this.

    • I agree with you in Spinach. I was holding on to anger and now I am done with him and the anger. Yes, he is still being a Fuckwit in settlement discussions(through attorneys) but that is just his typical behavior. I know I now have an honest life and all he has is a 32 years younger Schmoopie that he has pay to keep. She will be there as long as there is cash flow but when that stops she will be gone and he will have to find another or live with himself with no one giving him his kibble. I am okay with that. He is an object of pity and does not get any space in my head or heart anymore. My main focus is on taking care of me, my parents and hoping that one day my son will get married and I can spoil some babies.

  • Eh, I understand because I’m like this too. The answer lies in what you think of as meh.

    I left my ex and I still think he’s a piece of shit. He’s as phony as they come and would love to have a phony “friendship” so he can tell everyone what a nice guy he is. He’s all about image management.

    I have zero interest. I don’t like him….he’s a nasty phony…and the way he treated me and my kids still pisses me off.

    But I have plenty of meh in that I don’t care what he does, who he sees, or even if he’s alive. I don’t wish him harm but I could give a shit if it happens. That’s his snotty daughter’s problem now…good luck to her.

    Meh doesn’t mean forgetting. It means, IMHO, getting to the point where your life isn’t impacted by it. It sounds like you’ve gotten there.

  • Such a good topic today. I had a surprising reaction this weekend when I saw FW at our grandsons football game. It was FWs birthday also. I acknowledged him with a hello. I felt indifference like he is just someone I once knew and no pain or angst. I did not wish him a happy bday or inhabit any space near him. Just enjoyed watching 8yr olds learn to play football and chased my 3 yr old granddaughter around the stadium. I felt joy even though my abuser sat a few feet from me. Hugs! To newbies! Glad and sorry you are here! It gets better. The only way to the other side is through.

    • So nice to hear! I rarely to never see FW but ‘meh’ to me, partly, is my surety that he no longer holds any power over me —including the power to hurt me in any way. I’m free from his drama and the train wreck of his life. He can no longer take us down with him due to his terrible choices and lack of compassion. So freedom and safety are ‘meh’. And probably even more than those is the fact that he is no longer central in my life—I don’t think about him much. I no longer know him, or what he is up to with whom and I don’t care to. The stress has gone down considerably.

  • Great post. I love reading/hearing stories like this. Humans can act so shitty; humans can also be gloriously inspiring. Thank you for this Monday morning pep talk 🙂

  • Im Meh about myself, in fact I gloat a bit seeing what a mess he has made of his life (2 more wives, several Tai ladies also) but Im still raging about the mess he made of my daughters education and adult lives. They are OK now, but everything took longer than the kids who were priviledged to have a decent Father.

  • When people ask me how I am doing, I say, “It’s up and down but forward.”

    There is a lot of tragedy and trauma in my life. They’re wounds that require periodic cleaning. Pain and anger and fear cross my mind. The trick is to keep it moving toward the exit, refocus on the moment I am in, love and care for myself and those around me as best I can. Rinse. Repeat.

    Years ago one of my beloved kitty cats was in palliative care at our veterinarians whose office was located two blocks from Ocean Beach in San Francisco. My daughter was two, so every day when she woke up from her afternoon nap we would drive in to the city and spend time with our kitty. Then I would stop by Ocean Beach so my daughter could run around. One day, it actually felt like summer when we were at the beach, which it often does not in San Francisco. I watched my daughter running after the birds and became aware that in that moment I was feeling joy and happiness. Yet a half hour earlier, I was overcome with grief and fear visiting our kitty at the vet. It taught me that I need to really tune in to the present moment, and learn to surf those present moments because feelings are like waves and weather.

    I have been on my own since DDay, and I was on my own way before DDay but didn’t know it. I was living in a mirage and my contentment was based on ignorance, not reality. I have changed radically in these four years. I never truly knew him. I loved a facade. I do not want to be married to the real him.

    Progress.

    That I feel and feel deeply and appropriately about things is a good sign. It distinguishes me from him, who is evidently completely disconnected from his feelings.

    (Cheating, and fooling around with people in committed relationships, requires a lack of empathy).

    By the way, he never came on those daily drives to visit our kitty. And it just so happened that she died on one of those visits when I was holding her. The last thing I said was, “I love you and our family wouldn’t be the same without you.” It was a little thing I told her every day since we rescued her. I wouldn’t ditch my kitty for another kitty, or abandon her, let alone my husband and child.

    I’d rather be me with all my feelings intact, anger and all.
    It takes a lot of cruelty to be in an illicit relationship.

  • Someone explained it to me this way. Think of pain and triggers like a box with a large ball inside it that is rolling around. When the ball bumps a wall, there is a trigger an pain. At first the ball is large and constanly crashing the sides, making a person constantly aware of the pain. The more you are triggered, the faster and more unrelentless the movement becomes.

    As time goes on and self care is applied, the ball beccomes smaller, and the crashes happen less frequenty, further apart. Eventually, the ball becomes the size of a marble or pebble. It does not distract you all the time, but it is still there, rolling around, causing smaller, but still noticeable memmories of triggers. It happens less often, and the trigger is less painful. The triggers that are synapse/andernolyn firings that are painful, are calmed and re directed or trained into less painful reactions.

    Meh is when you identify the trigger (bumping) but can acknowledge it for what it is, and not have it derail your joy.

    • I don’t think meh is always possible. don’t know hold old you are, No Meh, but I do think meh could be impossible to achieve if you are a late life chump, because you wasted so much of your life on the FW and may not have enough time left to fully heal and build a better life. How can you accept that you’re most likely going to go your grave still traumatized?

      I also don’t think you can get there if there are other toxic people in your life and you are constantly being re-traumatized by them.
      So No Meh, maybe getting rid of the people who tell you to get over it will help. If they are just acquaintances it should be fairly easy. What makes it hard is when it’s close family members doing it, especially if it’s your kids. How to be meh under those circumstances I do not know.

      I think it’s okay to hold a grudge as long as you like, against crappy teachers and FWs alike. If it’s not consuming a lot of your time and energy with ruminating, I don’t see the harm.

  • I felt that story. Thank you. Meh, is no longer contacting my ex warning him about his gold digger AP to accepting that she likely will swindle (I know about her last 2 swindleships) our family home & our children’s inheritance. Meh is accepting that he’s a stupid FW & there was never ever anything I could do to change that. Meh is me not working any harder at caring than the person who should be. Meh is neutral.

  • i’m not at meh, but i’m moving along. it’s 1 1/2 years from D-day and 1 year since X moved out of the house.

    TBH what i struggle with most is how poorly my X treats the kids. yesterday, my daughter told me that my X commented that the only thing he misses is the hot tub. that’s right, the hot tub. he informed he that he liked living on his own, a lot. fucker.

    “you know i can’t do a thing about what your dad says and does, but i’m sorry you have to deal with his behaviours,” i said.

    “it’s okay. i like to think of it as character building, and good for my comedy act,” she joked and returned to doing the dinner dishes.

    both kids feel abandoned.

    i find myself seething at 330am, the worst hour of the night, but try to distract myself with a mantra. of course, the days are busy enough that i don’t think too much about X, except for days when i have to deal with lawyer stuff. and occasionally i burn my X’s things in the back yard fire pit and it makes me feel better. because. fuck that guy.

    i know, intellectually, that i’m better off without my X. my health has improved and i’m calmer, and, although i’m in holding pattern until the SA is signed, i can see my future ahead. i have options. and i’m feeling blessed with the thoughts i’ve always held that i can live as a single person, that single life is enjoyable and fulsome, and ultimately rewarding. i have plans.

    but that doesn’t negate the pain of building a life together for 30 years to have it blown up by active alcoholism and sexual acting out. i’m dealing with co-dependent issues as best possible through Al-Anon, and it’s helpful, but i’ll be dealing with it for the rest of my years. raised by a narcissistic mom, i was primed for this rodeo. i can see this. thank god for therapy.

    it’s a non-linear, individual process.

    • can i clarify that although i intellectually know certain things about my grieving process, there’s an emotional lag. and it sucks.

  • “Mehsunderstanding”?

    “You can co-exist with trauma. It can fade. It can flare up. But the point is go forward and rebuild. Plant a garden for your grandchildren.”

    Tracy how are you so funny and so deeply touching at the same time?

    I think this is one of my favorite post of yours ever. I am six years fuckwit-free and love my life and consider myself to be “meh”. But I do sometimes let my mind wander to that anger and injustice. And I think “gee I’m not being very meh right now”. Thanks for explaining it so well here, it’s ok for me to sometimes be angry about what the most trusted person in my life did to me, as long as it doesn’t consume me, which it doesn’t. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the story about the great grandmother thank you so much for sharing that.

    How’s it going in the new home? I am amazed you wrote something today when you must be neck-deep in boxes

  • This is a beautiful story, CL. It’s important to remember and I will try.

    Im embarrassed to admit this, but I will anyway – I read this post and CL’s thoughtful words and I thought ‘Well, at least the grandmother still had her family together. She didn’t get that stolen away! She can have her memories, at least’. Such is my vast distance from meh and my current painful struggle with how to deal with family photographs. And gosh I know that’s an INCREDIBLY selfish and insensitive thing to say. Forgive me, CN. My bitterness and resentment is all consuming. I

    But the photographs on the wall…that really got me, and my poor brain and it’s tendency towards compulsive negative thoughts – I got stuck there. Imagining a grandmother surrounded by family photos and it made me jealous. I’m having such a hard time with photographs. What do you do with them? How can they be happy anymore when you now know what was really happening?

    I worry about never feeling Meh, too. I just started reading ‘Living and Loving After Betrayal’ by Steven Stosny. I think it’s quite good so far.

    • Lost I am so sorry you are going through this and I’m guessing you are in the earlier stages of this shit journey. The photos are a difficult one aren’t they. I had many on the walls. In the beginning I couldn’t take them down as my children were in them with FW. It felt very painful to even think about removing them. By taking them down I felt I was tearing parts of my life away. But slowly I managed to take each one down and replace it with a newer recent photo (memory). It feels much better now.

      It will become less intense. The pain, the feeling gutted, it does subside. In the early days I would look at a photo of my children (all adults now) and feel this gut wrenching emptiness, but it lessens over time. I have become very disciplined in not ‘going there’ with my thoughts. Its been hard work doing this and I still wobble every now and then.

      Hang in there, CN will offer support. Visit here frequently.
      Hugs to you ❤️

    • Lost, I feel the same way about photos. I put all my photo albums in the basement. The only photos I keep out do not have FW in them. Eventually I think I might go through the albums and cut him out of the pictures. Maybe that will help. I doubt I’ll be able to even look at the wedding album ever again.

      • I placed all the framed photos of us in all the boxes I had to pack up for him. Right on top. That way, when he and his office girl opened them, they both came face to face with them. Our life.
        I also threw his wedding suit, and wedding shoes on top too, for good measure!

        • I placed tons of pictures, wedding album and 150 letters/cards from him in one of his packing boxes.
          I sure didn’t want them.
          He can figure out how he could say he wasn’t happy and he didn’t love me when all those letters said otherwise. His loss.

  • I too am No Meh. My problem isn’t the betrayal itself any more, but it’s the “second rape” I was subjected to by the VSC judge. Every single day for the rest of my life, I have to live in financial insecurity because he twisted and contorted the law and his own position to make absolutely sure my husband would get to keep the money he’d clearly stolen from me — for which I came in with documentation the judge refused even to glance at. He told me the prostitution money (again, I had documented proof he refused to glance at) was no different than if my husband had been spending money playing golf (the law in the state of California disagrees, but this is all off the record and confidential, so the judge gets to make shit up). He said my husband’s spending on prostitutes was my word against his — and this before my husband had even uttered a word. Thus, he gave my husband permission to lie not only to him, but to any other judge I went before. He tried to manipulate me by suggesting, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, that my fight for a decent settlement was traumatizing my adult daughter, thus placing me in a position where my own interests were adverse to my daughter’s.

    This is the “second rape”. And every day, I live with a settlement that was inflicted on me under extreme emotional stress by a man who was determined to break me down. It wasn’t the fuckwit. It was Judge Hank Goldberg, and every day I’m trapped in the unconscionably one-sided “voluntary” deal I was dumb enough to sign after eighteen exhausting months of working with a different mediator, and no end in sight, and after having been reduced to tears of frustration because he wouldn’t even pick up my proof and look at it, because he took my respectable white male husband’s word for everything without even a hint of skepticism, demanded no proof or backup, and simply handed over my entire financial future to the man who’d been stealing from me for 24 years. I will never travel and relax in my old age.

    So no “meh” for me, unfortunately. I am naming him and happy to defend every word of what I say in court, if he even dares to complain.

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you. Out of curiosity I googled Judge Goldberg. Apparently he has “earned a statewide reputation for his expertise in family law and overseeing litigation matters”! Damn! I’m so sorry you got landed with that AH!

    • Good for you for naming that SOB! I’m so sorry you were treated so horribly by the “justice” system. IMO, it’s impossible to be meh about life altering injustice. I hate to disagree with CL, but I don’t think the woman in the story was meh about it either, at least not in the way I see meh. I think she would have to be mad as hell a lot of the time. If, for example, the first thing I say when I introduce myself to new people is that I was cheated on, that’s not meh. I guess we all define it differently because we are individuals. For some people, particularly if they are religious, it includes forgiveness. For others, it just means accepting what happened. I can’t see how anyone could accept that their financial future was screwed by some asshole judge.

  • I’m ok with ‘almost meh’ that I define as I don’t think about it when I wake up in the morn and it doesn’t keep me awake with festering thoughts at night. Is he still pond scum? Yes. Did he rip out my heart? Yes. Will I ever truly forgive his perfidy? No. But I learned to stop thinking about it using the rubber band wrist snap technique (whenever I think about him I snap the band – it worked for me). I’m NC except for rare child related things. I don’t attend family events if he will be there. My kids are ok with that after he ruined a birthday. Like someone above said, it’s the worst best thing that happened to me – lost 250 lbs of pain in the neckery. And I’m good.

  • I did eventually get to “meh” when it came to FW and schmoopie. Seeing them together stopped hurting. I literally did not care what they did. I wanted nothing to do with either of them. Experiencing FW taking his anger at me out on our child, and seeing him back out of time with our kid to spend it with schmoopie killed every last feeling I had for him. Time and distance (and therapy) also did wonders for getting perspective on just how abusive FW was to me, and I stopped being jealous of OW. She was welcome to him. Honestly, looking at her social media actually helped me get to meh. The sheer exposure to photos of them together made me less sensitive to it. Seeing what a shallow little twat she was took away any feeling of being intimidated by or needing to compete with her. She wasn’t prettier than me. She certainly wasn’t smarter. She wasn’t better. She was just stupid and easy. She made the stupid decision to get involved with a man she knew full well was married. I also started to see her change in her photos and recognized exactly what was happening to her: the same things that happened to me. She lost a ton of weight (she wasn’t particularly heavy to start with), she looked sick, she had aged ten years in just 3, she looked tired with hollow eyes. She was dressing more and more provocatively as if she were trying to please/placate him. She gave up so many of her hobbies, etc. that she’d had when I first met her (yup, knew her). I could imagine what her life was turning into. She had NOTHING I envied. She wanted my life? She could have it. I gave up a lot in order to get OUT. Eventually she wised up and left him.

    I would still get angry with him as he dragged out our divorce, and fought me on every tiny thing, which got extremely expensive. He also agreed to things and then backed out. It was so frustrating. However, he would try to bait me into fighting with him by insulting me, or bringing OW’s name up when there was no reason to (or copying her in on emails that were none of her damn business), etc. and I was able to go grey rock and not respond to any of that (which infuriated him). I got off all social media so he had no access to what I was doing, who my friends were, activities, etc., especially since he was having OW infiltrate private Facebook support groups and spy on me (but she was dumb enough to leave her photo on the bottom of the screenshots he sent me to try to blackmail me, so I reported her to the admins, then left the groups).

    I had pretty much reached “meh”, and was loving life, happy, filling my life with good things, not caring about my ex, etc. and then he killed himself, which spun everything all crazy for a while. But now that he’s completely out of my life (okay, there is an urn in my coat closet, but whatevs), I have total peace about it all, and life has, frankly, gotten a lot easier. I’m now a full-time parent all on my own, but honestly other than the physical presence of my child every day (which I don’t mind at all), not much changed. I was already doing all the logistical “parenting” stuff anyway, like school and medical appointments and clothing, etc. FW was just a Disney dad.

    The only thing I still struggle with is that my son (who is almost 10 – we split when he was 5) sometimes acts like his dad (lack of empathy when he says/does something that hurts someone else, breaking my things when he’s angry, throwing a fit when he doesn’t get his way, or when I don’t say/do exactly what he wants) or says things that are hurtful, some of which I think he learned by overhearing his father and OW, whether talking about me or fighting with each other, like calling me “stupid” or saying things “I hate you”, “you’re a terrible parent”, or that he wishes he had a different mom. Yesterday he said he wished I had died instead of daddy, and I won’t lie, that was awful. I know most of the time he doesn’t mean what he says, he’s just angry. But after over ten years of verbal abuse from FW, and a spouse who often destroyed my possessions in his rages (never his own stuff, no matter how much he said he just “lost control” of himself), it is hard to stay detached and not take it personally. I sometimes hear my ex when my son is nasty to me. I’m working on it. My son is in therapy, but he’s autistic and doesn’t often share his feelings. I’m sure there’s a lot going on underneath. Most of the time he is a sweet little boy who is very affectionate.

    So yeah, anyway. “Meh” took about 3 1/2 or 4 years from D Day. It’s a process. I haven’t forgotten any of what my ex did to me. I haven’t forgiven him or OW. But it is no longer at the forefront, and has little to no impact on how I live my life. It doesn’t haunt me. If I get triggered or have an angry or sad moment, it doesn’t last long, and I’m able to acknowledge it and move on with my life. Just keep swimming.

    • Isn’t it funny how they only break your stuff when they’re in these uncontrollable rages and never theirs? Sending hugs to you and your son!

  • I’ve had multiple surgeries. I have some scarring that precludes any career dancing naked with a pole. The surgeries saved my life, ended the worst of my pain but it left me permanently visibly scarred.

    Infidelity left me scarred. I will always have reminders of the trauma of betrayal. But most days I don’t even remember the scars. I can look in the mirror and not even see the surgical scars. It will eventually be like that with the trauma scars of infidelity. That will be my Meh.

    I’m heading back to Court in May. LTC Fuckface is determined to change the settlement agreements he signed. He keeps dragging me back to Court. It is hard to be Meh when that cheater is determined to ruin me.

    • Good luck, LTC.

      My x tried to pull that same stunt, demanding we renegotiate the mediated agreement he’d already signed. I was stunned because he seemed so apologetic regarding the affair, and I thought he wouldn’t begrudge me a decent settlement. hahaha. I was still projecting on him good qualities. lol.

      I shut that shit down, btw, telling my lawyer to convey to FW that any renegotiation would result in my asking for more not less. Oh, and I made it clear I was perfectly willing to go to court and put the AP on the stand. Sadly, I knew he’d want to protect her, above all.

      Ugh. This brings up some really shitty memories.

      • Protect her delicate sensibilities or hide the embarrassment? My lawyer accurately predicted that the threat of deposing FW’s ex AP would make the whole process less combative because, typically, FWs– if they’re classic narcissists– would rather die than have the APs subpoenaed because it reflects on the narcissist. My lawyer didn’t say anything about “protecting.” He said that, in his experience, “Affair participants are never exactly presentable.” He told of some cringe-worthy depositions in other cases. All kinds of concealed ugliness is revealed, whether it was icky facts the APs failed to hide, their cheater demeanor, appearance or just the overall impression they make when the situation isn’t lubed with alcohol, politics and fakery.

        I thought of what my lawyer said after seeing Nichol Kessinger’s police interviews. The inappropriate laughter, lack of self awareness or awareness of context and her bizarre attempts to be cute in the face of such hideous destruction. And everyone in the situation is wondering, “All that chaos and horror for the sake of THAT??”

        Let’s face it, unless your ex was a matinee idol, billionaire (well, not even then) or rock star, what are the chances they got with anyone who’d live up to that kind of scrutiny? And the basic qualities of people who would poach aren’t typically that marketable.

        • I’m almost sorry we never got to court. I would have loved to see schmoopie on the stand. The plan was to depose her. She ended up leaving my husband and offering to testify against him (he was abusive). Either way, as his supporter or mine (LOL), it would have been entertaining. She isn’t the brightest crayon in the box. I had also planned to inviter HER ex husband, since I felt he was entitled to know what his children’s mother got up to. Alas, my ex died before we even had our pretrial hearing.

  • My meh came when his birthday came (3 days before mine) and I didn’t remember it for the first time.
    We had always celebrated together. In a way, relearning to celebrate my birthday on my own was a metaphor for relearning to enjoy my life on my own. Spoiler alert: I enjoy everything so much more without FW
    I cannot believe I used to love him so much. He was not loving, caring, considerate or sweet. He was intelligent, smart and funny to converse with. He knew how to charm a crowd. But he was cold inside his heart.
    I don’t know why I loved him. This is meh! Accepting that I gave my love to the wrong person, that I was misguided but that it’s okay because I am now FW-free

    • CLHopper
      I’m connecting with “
      I cannot believe I used to love him so much. He was not loving, caring, considerate or sweet. He was intelligent, smart and funny to converse with. He knew how to charm a crowd. But he was cold inside his heart”…..
      I don’t know why I loved him.”

      I think those qualities-intelligent, smart and funny combined with that crowd-charming ability- –
      are engines for trauma bonding that we get caught up in. For me those charms spelled
      here is a really amazing person, and being the object of his attention was an energy magnet. Those charms co-existed with the coldness in his heart you described-and so that tug of war was there in everything.
      (I think CL calls it his sparkle.)
      For those of us vulnerable to that charm-wit-combination that warms you and then freezers you-it was an awful addiction. The duality made it hard to get a grip on the reality that their charm offensive was a cover up for bad character and capacity and willingness to do damage.
      It was such an ongoing contradiction
      and for me it was blinding.

  • I appreciate that Chump Lady calls it “meh” and not some loaded term like “forgiveness” or “let it go” because I’ll do those when hell freezes over. My pain is pretty recent still but my fantasy of “meh” is that I can put my bitterness in a box and take it out when I need it. And then put it away again and not let it consume my day. My Tuesday.

  • My son had told me that when he talks to his father, it’s weird when his dad brings me up because he acts like I’m angry over some minor thing and I’ll just get over it eventually. Lately he’s seem irritated that I’m not over it yet. I guess he expects me to call him and apologize? LOL I don’t know but my son says it’s very strange. As if he has no idea why I wouldn’t want to be friends with him.

    I was talking to my best friend about it and told her “The thing is, there’s nothing to get over. He’s a bad person. There’s no reason I’ll ever want anything to do with him. It’s like if I see a news story about some sick fuck who molested his children, I don’t want to go be friends with him. That doesn’t make me bitter or mean I’m living in anger. But I’m supposed to want to be friends with the pedophile who betrayed me personally? Why the hell would I want to do that?”

    And she has an asshole ex so she was like, “Yep, exactly. They’ll call us bitter but why would we ever want to be around these men with what we know about them?” I don’t live in anger. I’m quite happy most days. My life is certainly much easier without him hanging around my neck like a damn anchor and I actually make progress towards my goals now. It’s great. I’m not staying away from his as some sort of punishment to him. I just think he’s a terrible person and I know from 20 years of experience that not only does he not add anything to my life, he detracts from it. I’d have to be a moron to welcome him back in to do more damage. But so many people just don’t want to get that. I’m starting to think they do actually get it but they pretend not to and hurl the bitter insult at us because they are also abusers and they don’t want to lose potential victims.

    • It seems your ex is making you out to be someone still obsessed with what happened when really he is the one that won’t drop it. Just tell your son that his Dad needs to move on, you have and no contact (or minimal) is your choice.

    • I’ve axed a lot of people from my life over the years. I worked in a very top-down industry that has always notoriously attracted extra-narcy narcissists so it’s just part of the training to occasionally get sucked into weirdo agendas when you’re young and naive and to wise up and move on. I rarely ever think about those people. But what you wrote makes me realize that these types probably still go around saying that I and every other person who eventually cringed and backed away are bitter and are punishing them. Wouldn’t we have to think about them to punish them? Is our mere absence so punishing? If we were narcissists, that would be top-shelf kibble, Lol.

  • I call it the “all better” myth. After several decades together, I am not “all better.” I don’t have gaping wounds, but certain scars and lessons remain. Being older I have various scars on my body from accidents and surgeries, and they remain and bug me at times, but life goes on.

    My wonderful attorney had a saying that I’ve often repeated here, “Only a fool would be friends with the person who burned down their house.”

    • “All better.”

      I get a little upset when well-meaning friends and family see my smile and laugh and assume I’m “all better now.” My family seems to know better, but one friend actually said that to me. I think they want so much for all to be well. It comes from a good place. I get it. But the fact is, the pain of betrayal persists. I suspect it will always be there. It’s just part of me know. It’s, as you say, like a scar.

  • Thank you. I really needed this. It’s been about 4 years since the separation and I am still very upset. It’s the trauma of it all plus my ex was sexually violent towards me, two of my friends, and multiple others including minors. I don’t think I will ever be fully okay after that. I don’t even feel like I have the right to forgive even if I wanted to because of all the harm to others. But I am moving on with my life. I have my own life, goals, dreams, and loved ones. My ex is in no way central, except when the trauma is triggered, but that’s not all the time. I’m coexisting with the trauma the best that I can and just living my own life.

  • This is a great testimony thank you for sharing. Personally I can’t walk around angry and bitter I do t want to be that person. I’m mad and hurt and when I think about my life and much different it could’ve been right now makes me more sad than anything. Especially when I too gave up my childbearing years. Last summer I had an unexpected miscarriage right here at home and mainly alone while he worked and went in with his days(luckily our daughters weren’t around) but it told me no this isn’t the right time for you or the right thing to have happen and as much as it hurt mentally and physically I knew it was for the best. What hurts me the most is that the secrets of cheating were hidden and on top of that I still care for their daughter. It’s a constant reminder it’s maddening that he didn’t just leave. I honestly consider any cheater who leaves the better of the two options for the chump .now I have to choose. Everything. I have to be the only true adult. While he tries to show how good he is. So the fact that you rebuilt was huge. And that you’re nine years in- don’t allow him or what he did to you and your children to steal any more if your time.
    Out lives are short. I like Tracey won’t have any more kids. So I started college. (Again). I am trying to get the strength to either leave my marriage or accept this as our new normal and I struggle every single day. So maybe if he’d left I’d be getting on with it much easier

  • There is a lot of room for meh on the spectrum of Gwyneth Paltrow to Betty Broderick. Your “meh” doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.

  • “You can co-exist with trauma. It can fade. It can flare up. But the point is go forward and rebuild.”

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I have moved forward, I have rebuilt. But the betrayal is part of my trauma, and it has flared as of late. I was all up in my feelings this weekend. But I kept moving, I didn’t let myself drown. I started a big project – an overwhelming-to-me project. And I made progress, and I have a goal.

    Am I still sad? yes. Am I still regretful? yes to that too. And I never ever lived my life with regrets before the FW. I do trust that he sucks. I am ashamed that I ever trusted him to be anything other than what he really is.

    Every day that trauma is with me. I thought he loved me, that I was finally worthy of real love. It was never real and that is part of the trauma.

    • It’s been 19 months since D-day and I’m still learning from the trauma and betrayal. He was the only person that ever cherished me, that made me feel lovable. (childhood abandonment issues). To know that he was deceiving me for his own selfish pleasure will always hurt, to know that his love-bombing was the way he covered his darkness, and that his love was never real, that hurts.

      And he has rewritten his story, as he can claim that he has learned from his mistakes, dumped the AP, and oh look! He found a new love, he’ll never cheat on her and they’re getting married! He’s telling the story that he doesn’t let his past mistakes define him, that he really is lovable.

      I’m sure she feels like I did – that she is loved and adored, that his past doesn’t predict his future actions, that they have a bond like no other.

      He thought that I would never leave him no matter what, and he was wrong. Maybe he thinks this woman is an upgrade because she really will never leave him because of her faith, and that’s why he got that ring on her finger.

      This is the flare, hoping to return to indifference and meh soon.

      • I don’t know why our first impressions are so stubborn. It takes a while to shake. So you thought he was the real thing. Nope. He was likely good at faking it since research shows that domestic abusers channel more psychic energy into image management and creating false impressions, so that accounts for the extra clinginess of that first impression. You were being preyed on by a pro. And to the degree that that stubborn first impression keeps coming back like a figment, you might imagine he’s capable of building anything sustainable with anyone else. Based on the first revelation, nope. Either she’s as big a con artist or will wake up one day with a raging STD but “happiness” as normal people think of it is not in the equation.

        Your trusty brain will keep doing the math and I think you’ll return to the land of Meh soon enough. In the meantime, banish all bearers of FW news and never check social media. There’s schadenfreude ahead and it will find its way to you through other channels but by then you’ll just cringe and ick over it and bleach your brain with kitten memes.

        • thank you – I needed this response. You are exactly right – I was preyed upon. He is a predator and his past and future prey all have one thing in common – we had all been lacking affection. I know she is duped the same way I was.

          You are also spot on with the image management. That has always been his m.o. – he wants everyone to think of him as a nice guy.

          Kitten memes, Kitten TikToks are my life. I even create my own kitty TikToks because my kitties are my true loves.

  • I love the story about the Greek Cypriot grandmother. This is exactly what Meh means. We don’t ignore what we have lost through betrayal or even terrible things like assault or murder or invasion or war. Traumatic events change our lives. They leave scars. They involve losses, small and large. My therapist and I talk about death a lot because I deal with young people who are often experiencing it for the first time, and I need ways to help them. She always uses the analogy of how a loss is like a mark on a tree. The scar is there, but we go on to build around it.

    This one is a keeper, Tracy.

  • That was a beautiful analogy. Very well put.

    In my case, I’m four years out and feel meh, but think the pandemic has made things more hard going than they might have been. My main hurdle is I often feel like I’ve been treading water. I left the cheater but not gained a life. Nothing new has been able to take root and grow, because it feels like the whole world’s had the rug pulled from under it. Lockdown does not a new life build!

    So yeah, left a cheater. Hoping to gain a life (finally) now.

    • Not that there’s any silver lining to a deadly pandemic but I kind of look at it as if the world was sync with the need to step back from the whole circus for awhile and regroup. None of us were really alone in being alone in other words. It at least takes off some of the social pressure to create a fab life when being “okay” is about the most anyone was accomplishing.

      I also think it’s hilarious that cheaters who, as statistics predict, would otherwise have soon broken with or cheated on their co-cheaters during this time were sort of stuck in the icky mess they’d made with their icky partners in crime or else chewed their paws off and ended up alone themselves. Another possibility is that they kept perving around in a pool of other pervs who flagrantly ignore the risks of all and sundry communicable diseases, not just Covid. Is it only decreased screening that made cases of syphilis and gonorrhea shoot up during the first year of the pandemic or was it because the only people still circulating were more likely to be infected?

  • Chump Lady!!!
    Your response was spot on and compassionate!!! The story was so beautiful about the Greek Grandmother!!! I often think that how am I to FEEL MEH?? Am I going to wake up one morning and not remember all of the nightmare I went through?? No, you will always remember but you don’t need to dwell on it. You can’t change the past, you just grow and live your best life!!! It’s been 5 years since D-day and I’ve come such a long way!! I didn’t have children, so no contact was easier for me than some.

  • My heart was broken when the ex left me in September 2019. My heart broke again when I discovered his long-standing, long distance affair with exgfOW in November 2019. We were together 26 years, married 18 years. I was nearly 60, retired, no income, no children, no pets, and an unsupportive FOO who blamed me. I was suicidal. I have turned that horrendous situation around. I have no idea what he has been doing since he left me. My scars are bumpy and lumpy. They are there forever. They are an excellent reminder of what I have learnt along the way and I love them. They are part of me, created by me to help me heal, to protect me from harm. I pity the ex. He is a small thing, a minnow, a coward. He may never have scars because he doesn’t have the courage to learn, to grow, to develop. He has spent his life looking backwards. That’s a fool’s way and I am not a fool.

  • This post is a ‘wow’ for me too. Thank you No Meh, for writing. Thank you CL, for your incredible words and perfect analogy and snark – as always, the perfect blend. Thank you CN, for your thoughtful responses.

    I present as meh for my own ego but often am not, on the inside. I have gained a life, but the scars are reopened when my kids are in town and spend half the time with their cheating dad (they do it to be fair – something I taught them all too well), when there are graduations, and in a few weeks when my ex is coming to my dad’s memorial (I’m allowing it for the kids – thanks to someone’s post a few days ago, I’ll be able to offer to friends/family wondering why he’s there a quick response, “image management”).

    Every morning when I see the newest blog in my inbox – wondering if meh means not opening the link – I open it anyway. I’m almost 7 years from d-day and I handled it mightily, thanks to the best therapist on the west coast, but I’ll never be over it and today’s post is a welcome reminder that I’m still okay. Glad that I continue reading and learning.

    As an aside, I was being diagnosed with cancer right as I discovered my ex’s yearlong affair. I kicked him out of the house and went through three surgeries on my own, while in the process of the divorce. Friends were constantly asking me about the cancer, as if that was the most difficult thing I was going through. It wasn’t. Cancer happens. Dealing with a cheater who actively makes choices to cause harm and hurt is much more difficult than cancer.

  • “ Plant a garden for your grandchildren”.
    What a beautiful, accurate post that was Tracy, just loved the whole thing! Thank you so much for that. Gosh, I needed to hear all that!
    I have some guilt over not being at meh yet and maybe not fully understanding what that would even mean for me truthfully.
    I tend to compare myself to other’s experiences with betrayal divorces and have put some pressure on myself to not fall behind, keep up with everyone else’s
    “ go live your best life” stances.
    Well, my friend Becky got replaced and divorced two years before me and she’s already purchased her own home three years later and doing renovations.
    I am 4 years past divorce, doing okay, but still mostly directionless and see nothing that fully grips me yet to follow.
    I should be up to at least her level of healing by now I tell myself, but I still am in a tiny rental apt with no desire to purchase a home for myself, even though I can do that if I chose to.
    I think of myself as weak some days for not fully rebounding yet and jumping into some whole new life situation, which honestly the idea of doesn’t fully enthrall me too much either, even though reading all the success stories from other chumps makes me feel really good and proud of their reset journeys.
    I still can’t even say what I want fully, 46 years with a man I could not have loved more and a family I felt such pride in, just vanished into thin air one day. That’s how it feels to me.
    The shock of it hasn’t dulled too much, still feels like a nightmare that haunts me daily, maybe not all day, but never really gone from sight either.
    Some days I feel like I’m letting my kids and maybe even myself down by not bouncing back to where everyone else thinks I should be. Then I remind myself, it’s my healing journey and no one is really going to understand where I am at.
    Other days I know I’m working on me in positive ways and feel I’m a better me without him to take the wind from my sails over and over again.
    I don’t have a set goal in mind, I haven’t decided whether I’m happier in that space or if I’m just convincing myself that I’m okay, because I can’t envision what healing will look like and the not knowing is scary.
    Maybe there should be a term for it, like “post divorce limbo”.
    Your post was perfect and really helpful to get meh clarified a bit more. I’m getting it’s more to be personally defined, rather than to try and keep up with the resetters.
    Many situations have eerily similar stories, but the paths we walk are ours alone to get through.
    Maybe when I stop putting pressure on myself to get to meh, meh will just get to me.
    On that random Tuesday of some random year, it just will happen to show up, coming unannounced and free of judgement of any kind. Just meh.

    • I think part of the issue is that everyone we know wants us to be over it already. And of course we have to have a new partner, etc etc etc, and if you don’t you’re not the “winner.” Well–I have zero interest in finding someone. Just none. Don’t know why, don’t care, don’t feel like my life is lesser for being single. Just can’t be bothered. Please yourself. Feel however you want to feel about anyone, and if anyone else doesn’t like it, too bad.

      • I think having no partner at the moment makes me the winner. I have peace and tranquility in my life. That’s what I’ve wanted for years. I am not sure a man (or woman – I’m flexible) could really add anything to my life at this moment. A new relationship doesn’t mean you’re more “over it”. It can actually mean the reverse – that you are using another person to make yourself feel better rather than working on yourself and finding your own happiness.

        It’s easy for shitty, shallow people to find new partners. My standards are far higher. I’ll wait. And if it never happens for me, I’m okay with that. I don’t envy my ex or OW. They ended up with each other. I wouldn’t have traded places with OW. Imagine having to hurt someone to find “happiness”. And then discover that I wasn’t a bitter, mercenary bitch like I was painted by my ex. That my ex was everything I said he was (abusive, a liar, terrible with money, etc.). OW wised up once she moved in with him. After three and half weeks of vicious fighting, she left him. She’s out $30,000 and looks an absolute fool. They were VERY public with their little fairytale love. She had to quit her job (because she worked at the same place he did). She lost her house. She blew up her marriage and family for him, and her ex remarried so she can never fix that. She put three kids (two of hers, one of mine) through two huge traumas of broken homes just so she could have what she (thought she) wanted. She was a silly little girl, and I had the pleasure of telling her so.

  • Hello from Finland. How I love your blog and your book; they have given me so much hope and strenght. This writing is my alltime favourite of your posts. Thank you so much <3.

  • There’s a difference between ruminating over past offenses and pining for the past offenders. I relate to the one and ward off the other. I think anyone who’s been seriously abused and traumatized needs to spend at least part of their recovery in a war council with friends heaping aspersions on their abusers and cackling like a coven about it until there’s nothing left of them but a bad smell. At the very least this is to ensure that any future tendency to pine or yearn or idealize has been killed stone dead. Then maybe years later in therapy one can “own the love that once was there” because it’s no longer a slip-slide back to sympathizing with the devil.

    “Ruminating”– better known as processing– can be healthy if it’s about studying enemy tactics and staying safe moving forward. Personally I theorize that the risk management part of the brain will not fully let go of past traumas until it’s assured that the individual is safe from falling prey again. Like Neo being trained to fight in the virtual Matrix world, the risk management faculty will keep running fight simulation programs until we learn to fight. If emotional flooding and flashbacks won’t let go and keep cropping up intrusively for years and years, it could be a hint that we’re not well defended yet. Time to read up on abuse dynamics again, take a self defense class, review the characters of friends and contacts and clean house if need be, etc. I suspect when the lizard brain is assured we’re finally relatively safe, the intrusive flashbacks might start fading.

    But what if someone’s social environment doesn’t promote that and casts “processing” as “dwelling” or “wallowing”? I think they’ll have more trouble getting to meh because the only way out is through and the irony is that the trauma may remain more acute. There’s a lot of data in traumatic experiences that requires processing and we need support to do it as social beings. For anyone who feels stuck, finding new types of friends or a support group that know how to artfully bitch and process might be helpful. That’s the brilliance of CL and CN! Though having that face-to-face support in real life too is ideal.

    One wrinkle in all the above that should be familiar to every chump might be that people who do bad things are always playing victim to their victims. They do a kind of ruminating themselves but not in a way that ever leads to resolution. They may weaponize their own suffering as an excuse to abuse others but will never really square off with their own past abusers and may even continue to idealize past abusers. For instance, I’ve known a few former side pieces who could never let go of the “heartbreak” of those past affairs and continue to pine for their co-abusers who may have been genuinely abusive to them. Abusers can still be abused themselves. I think in those cases it’s obvious why they weren’t willing to strip the “twu wuv” glazing off those situationships: because this would leave them looking like plain old creeps by default. So another obstacle to ever really reviewing and recovering is the unwillingness to cross back over their own mountain of misdeeds.

    I don’t think the “wrinkle” applies to chumps. I think the problem might be largely about ditching any cultural bias against processing (and ditching people who define it as “wallowing” or “negative” or “bitter” or whatever) and finding social environments that support going through all the steps to graduation.

    • “…how to artfully bitch and process…” reminds me of a knitting meetup poster I once saw. The group was called Bitch and Stitch. Thank you for the chuckle, Hell of a Chump! And I love the risk management assessment idea. I couldn’t care less about the X, but I obsess with inventing scenarios of cheating and abandonment. Not reliving my own past but as exercises – what would I do now knowing what I know? How would I handle this? Or that? Fight simulations indeed.

  • I’m 6 years out from D day, and 4 from divorce being finalized. Am I at Meh? I don’t know? Can you be “mostly meh”? I share a special needs child with the ex. Really the only time I get worked up is when he’s shitty to my son. But because he’s a shitty person that happens pretty regularly. I have good friends that let me vent, even 6 years later without telling me to get over it. I wish I was able to accept that he’s always going to be shitty to my son, because well, he IS always going to be shitty to my son. That’s who he is, the kind of fuckwit that will gaslight, emotionally abuse, and neglect a disabled child. Nothing will ever change that. I am not dating and don’t really expect to. But it’s not because I’m not over the fuckwit. It’s because there are not a lot of emotionally healthy single guys out there looking for a chubby 55 year old that comes with a disabled child that will need her care for the rest of her life. I’m sad about that sometimes but mostly I just accept it just is what it is. And I wouldn’t trade my son for anything.

  • Post divorce I am back in school , got a promotion/6 figures , am building a house , my kids moved in with me and share their lives, the friends that were loyal are my rock .I am as angry and non forgiving as DD1.
    You can either crawl under the rock or go over the top if it . Rock will always be there ..but meh is going over the top and leaving it in the gravel bank while you live in the meadow

  • If I needed any confirmation that I am at “meh”, I got it today. I was filling out paperwork at the doctor and wrote the date, and only then realized that yesterday was my wedding anniversary. I hadn’t had a single thought about it.

  • I came here searching for articles about Meh because sometimes I think I’ll never get there. It’s been four years and I’m still mad. And now my son is going to college and I’m going to be living alone. I don’t want fuckwit back — and I’m clear on that — and I’m pissed off that this is my life.

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