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Leave a Cheater, Gain a Bradley Cooper

Source: Wikipedia

CN, I don’t know how I missed this news nugget in July. (I was probably in Michigan, weeding my mother’s garden.) But remember back when politico Huma Abedin was huffing the hopium for creepy-Tweeter-boxer-boner-pedophile-destroyer-of-the-free-world Anthony Weiner?

(I begged her not to here and here.)

Huma was a slow learner, but finally divorced after Weiner got a two-year sentence.

Fast forward to July… she traded WAY up and has been dating super hunk Bradley Cooper.

I cannot relate to celebrities/Democrats/people with zero body fat, Tracy. What is your point?

My point is, CN, THERE IS A BETTER LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF LOSING A LOSER.

As long as Huma stayed mired in unicorn shit, she was never going to have the opportunity to caress Bradley Cooper’s chest hair.

Okay, I’m not saying there’s a Bradley Cooper out there for everyone, (alas… why haven’t we made cloning advancements?) but there’s a better something than unicorn shit. And you won’t find it unless you leave.

Other universal truth? The chump is the partner who has their act together and the FW is an agent of chaos. That’s much clearer once you leave them to the consequences of their fuckwittery.

Huma’s got her high-powered job, her coordinated outfits, her tickets to the Met gala. Weiner lives in a Brooklyn halfway house and sells countertops.

I declare Huma the winner.

No sooner did I start this column than a quick Google search revealed that it might be over between Huma and Bradley.

But look, even a fleeting romance with Bradley Cooper is better than no Bradley Cooper. Any day with Bradley Cooper’s chest is better than the Stand By Your Man shit sandwich buffet.

To anyone waffling about leaving a cheater — get out!

Bradley’s back on the market.

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 think chumps predisposed to the victimhood incessantly expressed by Trump and the new Republican party are probably narcs themselves. That said, I did hear recently about a new pizza shop that opened in D.C. with ties to Hilary and it got me wondering…

  • It’s perfect timing for todays topic for me. I’m a worrier and try to prevent bad things by working out every possible outcome. Think my mind knows what I should do (leave), but my heart keeps saying something is still there and I will be alone if I go. But ohhhhhhhhhh Bradley Cooper!! Feel like Lloyd and Harry from Dumb and Dumber-“so you’re telling me there’s a chance!” Lol

    • BTAW, from my experience there are a few things keeping a chump in an abusive lopsided relationship. One is fear and the other is an illusion of control. Once you face your fears and take your power back (leaving) much of the worry is replaced with peace.

    • BTAW, our hearts are not the best arbiters to rely upon when dealing with a fuckwit. Trust your brain and gut instincts first and foremost. Trust that they suck and it will never get any better…

      Heartbreak can be healed by NC in ways you could have never predicted. But when the brain is still mired in the relationship, there is more opportunity for the fuckwit to manipulate it and you.

    • Now I’m imagining those hideous tuxedos!!
      And, “Our pets’ heads are falling off!”
      😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

    • Post divorce I had a brief rebound situation with a civil engineer who ran his own business and looked like a Calvin Klein (beefcake years) underwear model. Lovely guy came over once because he had made some smoked chicken thighs he was super proud of and wanted me to try some.

      My ex-husband never finished his college degree, worked tech support, looked like Uncle Fester, smelled of rancid fritos – and was as selfish as anyone I’d ever met.

      It gets better.

    • I was “on the fence” for over 5 years although we didn’t live together. The reconciliation industry found me. I was convinced (of course I HAD to believe this) that a wife trumps a mistress every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Believe me when I say FW always was calling or coming by on Sunday. I accepted every morsel of attention… hey I was still the wife.
      I thought I was “right” to do all this for this marriage to a man who was so into me (at the beginning) and the marriage I’d finally found at 49.
      The thing that I didn’t see until one year ago when I let the recovering Covid patient come sleep on my couch and found Tracy’s book, was how all that emotion left me empty. This past year has been great. My life has changed in so many ways to be my life and not one waiting on FW to pull his head out of the orifice.
      I can’t explain why any of us would stay, while we watch a FW lie over and over as cheating on us continues. There are plenty of books for that and friends with opinions. But I do know that one day (the day I read LACGAL) every single thing changed for me. I divorced him, he stopped talking to me (good good thing) and now it’s over.
      There is a LOT of peace in my new world. That decision of staying or leaving was excruciating. What I’ve learned is if ever I come to this crossroad I must choose leaving immediately. Real life is not inside my head trying to make the “right” decision. I couldn’t see a thing until I was really away from all that chaos.
      Reality is he went straight back to her and they are fake married. That’s all I know. But it proves that the COVID survivor lie was still just a lie. Another lie.

    • Something my therapist said that stuck with me: Working out every possible bad outcome requires a good imagination. Use that imagination to dream of every best outcome instead, and choose your next actions accordingly.

  • Tho is timely as I’m actually reading her book right now. I just got to the part where the first red flag was found in his blackberry before the wedding.

  • I guess her at least having a CHOICE is the real win here. She got to go out with a handsome, talented man, and if they don’t work for each other, then she still has her freedom. I hope she either finds her right person, or can enjoy being single.

    • I wish it was that clean a turnaround but Cooper’s ex claims he cheated with costar Lady Gaga in that cheesy remake they did. https://www.her.ie/celeb/irina-shayk-bradley-cooper-cheating-468724

      Is it true? Dunno. Victims are usually so reamed with judgment when exposed that I’m not sure why anyone would pretend to be a chump. I suppose anything’s possible.

      I don’t usually follow celeb gossip but whenever I’m tempted to say a nice word about this or that public figure, I now do a chump check. When working as an advocate for dv survivors, I used to check for histories of domestic violence so that I’d never end up promoting batterers. Now I’ve added cheater pants to background searches.

  • THERE IS A BETTER LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF LOSING A LOSER.

    There are so many opportunities once we stop bathing in unicorn shit! For myself it was taking charge of finances, paying down debt, and saving for retirement. It was investing in my own potential rather than unicorn poop. And for others here I’ve observed furthering education, and starting up businesses. It’s never too late date if that’s a preference.

    • Me too! I’ve done wayyy better financially & career-wise being able to focus on myself & not being distracted by the x-FW’s shenanigans.

      • And I might add that it’s never too late to focus on your needs. At fifty seven I was left with a seven year old car, credit card debt, and no assets while supporting myself, adult son and granddaughter. Additionally my position required paying for two rentals.

        Filing before he gave up his business and realized he was getting a very small amount for social Security was a blessing. It allowed me the advantage of keeping my pension and save in a 403b plan. Last week I retired and will be able to support myself. Im also starting up my own private practice as a consultant.

        OW gets to put depends in her budget.

  • I love the true (and irreversible) fact of Weiner’s conviction. Apparently there were red flags in other areas: “The newspaper described him as a person who often worked long hours with his staff and required them to be in constant contact via BlackBerry. He frequently yelled at them and occasionally threw office furniture in anger. As a result of Weiner’s actions, the Times reported that he had one of the highest staff turnover rates of any member of Congress; this included the departure of three chiefs of staff within an 18-month period.”

  • I was left alone with twins before they were born. Years later I’m finishing my nursing degree, looking at buying a forever home and my beautiful gifted children have a role model mother. Don’t give up hope! There’s a better story just around the corner even though you can’t see it at the time x

  • Yes, to anyone staying because they’re hoping their donkey is a unicorn (which was also past me; I stayed until FW left me for GF#3/Wifetress), don’t stay. Your FW is an anchor keeping you away from all the Bradley Coopers of the world.

    I’m fairly committed to staying single but my Bradley Cooper was realizing that I can invest in myself in a way that FW would have never supported. My Bradley Cooper was returning to university. I have a book out now and am halfway through my PhD with an eye on a career as a university instructor. That *never* could have happened for me if I was still married to that anchor. Once freed (and it was painful and took years to crawl out of that depression pit; I don’t want to underplay the work and all the antidepressants involved and are still involved), my ship was free to travel! I could get a cat if I wanted to now! I could try vegetarianism! I could get a job again! I could even go back to university! I could date Bradley Cooper!

    The freedom and the possibilities are endless once you rid yourselves of that anchor.

    • For real that one’s Bradley Cooper doesn’t have to be a man, it can be the thing in life you wanted that was impossible with the FW.

      I finished school too and travel a lot. My Bradley Cooper is a goofy man who is as loyal and dependable as a Labrador. He does hook his phone to his belt and has bought 7 butter dishes in the course of our romance but I am happy to have goofy and reliable over cool and cruel.

      • Unicornnomore, 7 butter dishes 🤣 I love him already. Wishing you many more laughs and quirky-but-never-crazy days together.

      • They might appear cool, but they’re not. Once the hopium and sparkles wear off, they really are just phony, superficial losers who care way too much about their image. I find it amusing (sometimes) that so many people worship my ex.

      • Unicornomore, there are definitely worse things than a partner with a penchant for butter dishes! That’s a fairly harmless vice. Dau

        • So true…CL similarly jokes about either her or Mr CL collecting pinecone elves – harmless vices. 4 of those butterfishes have magically disappeared and we keep 3 in the kitchen but now he has ones he really likes. Thank God we have the same taste in decor so all the antiques in our haunted house motif suit us both even if all our kids think its dorky.

    • In French, the phrase “doe eyes” translates literally to “donkey eyes.” I know this is only tangentially related (at best), but I just last night read this in an entry from David Sedaris’ “Carnival of Snackery,” and your comment made me giggle to recall it. Here’s to chumps accepting that cheaters aren’t unicorns, they’re donkeys. Don’t let those pretty, sad eyes fool you!

  • The whole Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga – were they a couple, weren’t they – while both in other committed relationships has soured this man for me. I hope she enjoyed her time and continues to heal and grow.

    • I suppose you could say Huma got a bit of man-candy consolation but to me cheaters are repulsive no matter what they look like.

    • Of course he is! Every single celebrity I’ve “chump checked” (to borrow HOAC’s term) is a serial cheater. Can anyone name a handsome and charismatic (or even not) male actor who is NOT a cheater? I suspect they’re all out pasturing with the unicorns. Good looking, charming successful celebrities of any gender, for that matter.

      Still, CL’s point is well taken. Great reframe.

      • Barack Obama. Paul Newman. James Surowiecki I hope. I am out of the loop Hollywood-wise but is that really Bradley Cooper in the picture above? It must be. But it does not even remotely match the picture of BC in my head. Clicking over to google IS PROSOPAGNOSIA PROGRESSIVE? now

  • I have heard so many comments from a wide range of people how I traded WAY up from my ugly Darth Vader evil ex wife. Makes me feel good at times and sad at other times. I will say this, I have no regrets divorcing her after 24 years and moving on. I can’t imagine still being with her. Gives me the shutters!

    • ‘Ugly, Darth Vader, evil ex wife’ 😂😂🤣. Good for you Sirchumpalot.

      Love hearing stories like this

    • I had the opposite experience, minus the trading since I’m not quite ready for another relationship. I thought FW was okay looking but didn’t marry him for appearance. I married him for warmth, loyalty and emotional intelligence (cue the laugh track).

      When I was young and flighty I’d formerly dated a Belgian Calvin Klein model. He was sweet but probably better with animals than humans and I lost interest in surface appeal. Then I marry basic FW, we move from a cultural metropolis to a provincial city to raise a family and he turns out to be every provincial bar fly’s ideal of the dashing, handsome stud. Um, huh? I found it annoying. Weekend-binging, middle-aged suburban gossips who loved “Fifty Shades” thought he looked just like a TV actor I found repulsive. Squeal. Even the maternity ward nurses gushed over the resemblance. Ack. I wished they’d shut up before the resemblance sank in and killed my libido forever. I thought he found it annoying too. Nope! Turns out his sexual ideal is provincial suburban bar flies who love Fifty Shades.

      Since this post is using public figures as a catalogue of “templates,” I must be coming alive again because I noted that Domhnall Gleeson and Tony Shalhoub appear to be good husband types. If the impression of loyalty and devotion holds, maybe I’ll eventually be in the market for the single, non-showbizy version of one of those.

      • When I was in love with the FW he looked like (a tall) Tom Cruise. Now to me he looks like Mr Burns from the Simpsons.

        Guess those rose tinted specs got trampled on as I ran for the exit!

      • My ex wife was never gorgeous. I was attracted to our common interests, goals, spiritual beliefs, plus she was a red head. The inner person was way more important to me then the outer. In hindsight, when her affairs all ended and nobody wanted to screw her anymore she gained 150 lbs. She would sit there and eat and eat and eat. When I mentioned how unhealthy it was to do that she would say “don’t tell me what to do”. But I still stayed around for 12 more years because I valued my vows. When DDay happened I was out! Filed for divorce 2 1/2 weeks after DDay. What made me sad was when my friends started saying to me after my divorce “what did you see in her?”. They couldn’t believe I had married Darth Vader. Some of them stopped hanging out with me because of her.

        So when I started dating after my divorce they couldn’t believe how gorgeous and nice my wife was. Even heard it at a church picnic this last weekend. My ex told me that I wouldn’t get anyone as good as her if I divorced her. She hates it that my wife is way out of her league.

  • Before Dday, the story I told myself that he was an asshole but he was MY asshole and my job was to tend my family regardless of his levels of assholery.

    So much of his behavior still didnt make sense and still wouldn’t absent CLs explanation of cake – that explains EVERYTHING.

    There were HUGE stretches of time after Dday where I genuinely felt like I was married and he seemingly wasn’t. Being married, I couldn’t hope for or look for love, I was like a nun locked away from everyone.

    I was very loyal to the idea of marriage and wasn’t going to consider another love. I remember envying the singles around me, even the ones who seemingly had zero prospects…they at least COULD try if they met someone, but I couldn’t.

    I was trapped by fear and lopsided commitment for a very long time….right until the decision was taken out of my hands.

    And now I look back and am flabbergasted when I realize how many different ways he clearly showed contempt for me. Done do that.

    • I look back and feel the same way. I accepted his obvious disdain for me as normal. It was getting so obvious strangers noticed and mentioned that he didn’t act like he likes me. In my mind I thought that’s just the way he is, they just don’t know him like I did. It never occurred to me that his behavior was abusive.

  • I’m striving every day to get to the other side. I know all to well that STBXW is a long-term cheater and pathological liar. There was no danger of staying, since she was the one to walk straight out of my life without warning and move right in with AP. In the end she did me I favor I guess, by not only revealing her true (poor) character, but also leaving and not looking back.

    • Dadof2sons,

      Sounds like you got exit-affaired like me? Regardless, I’m totally in sync w/what you’re saying. I feel the same way about my FW XW. In the end, she did me a favor and fucked herself over.

      Now we’re free, brother! It’s still a slog at times, but ultimately, we are free. And that means a lot. Even if I never have a romantic relationship again (between getting over the FW XW, modern dating sucking, and working long hours), I still know I’m happier being free from the FW XW.

      It’s been over five years since D-day and her leaving me, and no romance is in sight. And I care, but yet I don’t care. If that makes sense. I hope you get that feeling soon too, or unexpectedly find someone worthwhile.

      Wishing you and your sons happiness and peace always. You deserve it. We all do.

      • Thank you thelongrun.

        It is still really raw, being only ten weeks out from DDay. The shock of going from thinking you are in a pretty darn good marriage to discarded like yesterday’s trash is pain like I thought I could never imagine. I am fighting anxiety and chronic insomnia. Just trying to get though day by day. My two adult sons are suffering too at the revelation of who their mother really is. She’s also now estranged from her parents as a result of all of this. The amount of destruction she has caused emotionally, mentally and physically is incomprehensible.

        • Please don’t hesitate to seek medical help for your anxiety and insomnia. It can really help, especially in the early days. You need to have your head on straight for the ensuing divorce (emotions are not a good way to make decisions on that stuff). I was a mess when my ex left me for his coworker. I lost over 30 lb and was basically a skeleton because I couldn’t eat or sleep. Medication (in my case, Mirtazapine, which helps with appetite and sleep as well as reducing anxiety) really, really helped. Once I could function on a basic level, I was able to see things much more clearly and heal much faster.

          It’s so raw, and will be for a while. But you will be okay. In fact, you’ll be better than okay. Hang in there. We are all here for you.

          • Thanks, I appreciate that. I am seeking medical help. My Dr. has changed my sleep medication three times to no avail. I have an appointment with a sleep specialist but it is a few weeks away. I do have anxiety and depression medication. The overwhelming tiredness is crushing my mood and I think I’d be doing much better if I was sleeping.

            I don’t think these FW (at least my FW WW) have any clue the tool this takes on the betrayed. I know she lacks emapthy (shocking…) but even in the early weeks when I was still in contact there was no understanding AT ALL of what she had done to me.

            • Dad, you could try a mix of GABA, theanine and melatonin. I found any of the three didn’t work on their own, but when taken together they at least relax me. I’m a lifelong, hard core insomniac.

              • I’ll try anything. I’ve got prescrption plus I do take melatonin and Valarian tea. Thanks FW for destroying my health with this insomnia…

              • Just a suggestion, but Magnesium oil spray helped me sleep. (Amazon)
                Hope you get a good nights rest soon.

            • Even IF FWs had the capacity to understand the damage they have done to their spouse and family, they would never open that door and look inside. Acknowledging that one is, in fact, an a$$h*le, is something FWs just don’t do. Especially when they have been busy cataloguing all of the chump’s perceived faults (she doesn’t like sushi!!) to justify their wandering genitals.

            • Are you taking magnesium? Helps with anxiety and sleep. You might start with the lotion and work up to magnesium glycinate pills with meals.

            • Hang in there, Dadof2sons. We’ve been there, too, and it gets better — although I know that’s small comfort when you’re in the thick of it.

              I couldn’t sleep for nearly three years, from the “time and space” before dday1 to the rinse and repeat through to dday3 and leaving, and continuing for months after I left. When I did sleep, my dreams were heartbreaking or terrifying. Every day was a relentless struggle because of the overwhelming anxiety, grief and fatigue from insomnia and hyper vigilance. A lot of crying, panicking, curling up in a ball, long showers, ruminating, zoning out. I also couldn’t eat. With school, work, family, relocating and starting a new life, I couldn’t drop the ball, yet I felt like a zombie and couldn’t function the way I was accustomed. I was hopeless and exhausted, but I knew had to keep trudging because I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t let myself fall apart — for my family’s sake more than my own, because I wanted nothing more than to disappear. I think in some ways, relieved as I was to have escaped a life with an abusive cheater, this time after leaving was the most difficult to get through. Every morning, I awoke with a sense of dread, and my only comfort was thinking about dying. It was no way to live, but I couldn’t see a way out.

              No contact (no kids with FW) was essential to my healing. Even after that, it still took a long time for my nervous system to settle down and for my mind to stop working overtime to make sense of everything. It takes time to process betrayal and a shocking new reality and tongrieve the loss of love, a home, relationships with many people (not just the cheater) you cared about, an imagined future. I didn’t get back to a somewhat normal sleep cycle for a year after NC, and it really wasn’t until this summer, when I had a few days off, that I began to feel a little more relaxed and “normal” again. I have a little more interest in and bandwidth for the things that bring me joy and make me feel strong, creative and healthy.

              It’s still hard. I haven’t had the wherewithal to go on a single date, and I’m pretty detached and numb. The grief and anger over what I lost still wash over me at times; I’m pretty worried about the uncertainty of my future and financial stresses. There are occasional nightmares, some weird anxiety eating at times, difficulty dealing with conflict and emotions, obvious trust issues… I am a completely different person now. BUT, I feel much, much better than I did when I was where you are now. In a couple years, I like to think I will be grounded in myself and feeling good about life again.

              Be gentle and patient with yourself and don’t think anything is wrong with you because of how you feel; it’s a normal trauma response. Bad things happen to good people, you didn’t deserve this, but here you are. “Fake it till you make it” and be hopeful for hope — that’s what got me through the darkest days. CN is proof that chumps are mighty, unicorns aren’t real and cheaters suck, and it DOES get better. Best wishes to you and your boys.

        • “The shock of going from thinking you are in a pretty darn good marriage to discarded like yesterday’s trash is pain like I thought I could never imagine.”

        • Dadof2,
          My symptoms matched ISawtheLight above; couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, was stuck in a ruminating loop, shaking, triggered 20 times a day…basically a full on nervous breakdown (He attributed my odd behavior to “anger issues”). I got a Xanax prescription which is very very scary to me (so addictive), but just knowing I had them gave me comfort. With therapy and time, my symptoms slowly disappeared and you CANNOT believe how good I feel now. Have faith that you too will reach, maybe not complete meh, but at least feeling comfortable in your own skin. You will get there. Keep the faith!!

          • Thank you Kathleen. It’s been a brutal road so far. I literally have to take it one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

            • You can do this, Dadof2sons. That was my rhythmic chant as I walked and sobbed and sobbed and walked for miles and miles every single day. “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this…” And then little by little I noticed the sun shining, the birds singing, the pain lessening. It hurts horribly for a very long time, but you can do this. My very best to you and your sons.

            • Someone once quoted on here, about the shite situation we have all found ourselves in, was ‘how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time’. I repeated this to myself whenever there was a hurdle, be it emotional or financial (the divorce turns into Battle Royal). For me healing didn’t start until the divorce was finalised. Before that I was on autopilot pretty much running on empty. If I can navigate this shit show anyone can.

              I miss what I ‘thought’ I had. I regret the years I gave (35 in total). But I have peace now, a family who I love and who loves me. And I have a whole lot of fun! It gets so much better.

              Come here everyday. It truly helps.

              It won’t always be this hard.

              Good luck!
              ❤️

        • Dadof2Sons,

          Reading your description of your state of being right now, so soon after D-day, reminds me of exactly how I felt when my FW XW left me. You feel like shit and you’re questioning everything about yourself.

          Because that’s what an thoughtful, caring individual does when a so-called loving partner abandons them and fucks them over w/adultery in leaving (or just fucks them over w/adultery. That’s a bad enough injury to your sense of self and belonging in the world).

          You haven’t said it, but I’ll bet you are having trouble sleeping at night like I used to in the early days, months and years (four hours became the norm for awhile for me, waking up after painful dreams involving the FW XW and/or her POS AP). It was an awful time for about 1 1/2 to 2 years.

          Then, through a lot of soul-searching, reading about adultery and chumps (thank you CL and CN!), and talking to a LOT of people about what happened to me (too many, I think, when I realize how many were covert or not so covert narcissists themselves), I came to realize that as imperfect and fucked up as I am, I at least never cheated on the FW XW.

          I loved her fully. I gave her as much as I could, without totally giving up being me. I may be a character, but I have a good enough character that I would never have committed adultery against her. Yet she had no problem doing it against me. And that was on her, not me.

          I finally accepted mentally and in my heart that if who I was at the low point in my life and job career wasn’t good enough for her, then that was HER bad character showing, not mine. If she was so unhappy w/me, with our life, all she had to do was say I’m out, and we need to get a divorce. She had at least one better ethical and moral choice available to her. And she willfully chose otherwise. Again, that’s her bad character at work, not mine.

          I’ve said it before that had she simply left me w/no adultery involved, that that would have probably decimated me as well, but I would have had to maintain a certain level of respect for her for doing it in an adult and non-abusive fashion. If not, then we’d be talking about MY lack of good character.

          But it didn’t happen that way. She had to pile the abuse of adultery on me in leaving me (w/her fucking cliche-ridden, daddy-like older, 40 years married, rich boss! Such a fucking joke). And it became clear just what a narcissist she was to do that both to me, and in blowing up our family. No thinking about how this will affect the kids. Just me, me, me, me, ME.

          So please, Dadof2sons, give yourself a gift in knowing that as you process this heinous act, this gut-wrenching betrayal by a partner you loved fully, you will over time realize that you are so much better off without this monster in your life (and there is no set time for you to reach this understanding; everybody’s different). That you are worth something, that you have a basic good character, and you deserve better in life than your awful ex-partner.

          The worst will likely be seeing your kids dealing w/it. Whether from how awful and embarrassed they feel in the aftermath, to how depressing it is that they don’t understand what their mother has done ON PURPOSE to you, them and your family as a whole in the name of selfishness.

          Because no kid wants to think one of their parents is capable of such a low act of character. They will also always have a very different relationship and perception of their mother than you do. It’s inevitable.

          Unless you hit the lottery and your kids see the act for what it is, pure selfishness. Mine can’t right now, and may never. And I’m not pushing them to. Like me, you will hopefully learn that you can only try to control yourself. Let the rest and everybody else go. Even the kids. Unfortunately, mine are influenced I feel by both their mother and the RIC. I can’t control that, so I have to let it go. You learn to care about these things that hurt, but not care.

          So, you can get through this and not only survive, but thrive. You don’t have to get a new degree, earn a ton of money, or do some other magnificent feat. All you have to do is pay your bills, be there as much as possible for your kids (while trying to be as sane as possible for them), and enjoy the little things in life. If you do something spectacular, great! But for me, it’s spectacular enough that I am self-sufficient, a caring, loving dad, and am enjoying my life w/out the FW. That’s my win. It’s enough for me, and that’s what matters.

          I highly encourage you to embrace always looking at life positively. As in, things could always be worse, so count your blessings! It made a HUGE difference for me, and I think it’s essential to surviving and thriving.

          For example, my FW XW and her AP first moved literally a half mile down the street from me after she exit-affaired me (within two weeks of D-day), then eventually moved to an eighth of a mile behind me to their current residence. It’s not where I’d like them to be (the ninth level of hell), but I try to frame it in my mind as, at least my son doesn’t have far to go for our 50/50 child custody arrangement. I’m always trying to look for the bright spots in my life, instead of looking at the negative. It’s so much better for my mind and soul.

          So, I wish you and your family all the best. I know you’re in a bad way right now. Keep going. Keep slogging. It seems you have to work your way through this shitty experience to get the perspective you need to rise above it and thrive (that’s probably true of all shitty experiences).

          You can do it. Many of us here at CN have, thanks to CL and each other. Feel free to reach out to me or anyone in CN anytime. We’ve got your back.

  • “The chump is the partner who has their act together and the FW is an agent of chaos.”
    A truer truth was never truthed! And like CL says, it becomes super evident post-breakup.
    Even when we chumps struggle in life, it’s infinitely less hard than it was or would have been with the FW in our lives.
    I’m in a season of struggle right now. But I go to sleep at night knowing I’m not being lied to and cheated on. I wake up in the morning knowing my job is to take care of me and my two cats. No longer do I have to be the LCL’s chaos janitor and shoulder the burden of adulting for a selfish manbaby.
    When I’m tempted to feel discouraged, I think to myself: it could be worse. I could still be shackled to a Lying Cheating Loser.

  • My take on this is that:

    – Being in a relationship with a Cheater suck a*se.
    – Being single and “Cheater-free” is awesome.
    – That being in a relationship isn’t the ultimate goal; living a happy and fulfilling life is where winning is.

    If I stay single (I’m 7+ years out from D-Day, 5+ years out from the divorce being finalised and have yet to start dating) I continue to win …. and I would only enter a relationship if it did not put my ability to continue to win in jeopardy.

    LFTT

  • Even better than Huma’s Bradley Cooper story: I lost a cheater and eventually . . . GAINED A CHUMPLADY! Talk about trading up.

    • Wait, Mr. CL is a Red Sox fan? This is fantastic! And yes, you obviously made out like a bandit. In the most positive, moral, and ethically monogamous way.😁 And I don’t care if ethically monogamous sounds repetitive.😂 I doff my hat and bow to you, sir!

  • For me the beauty of all of this is not in the sordid details, but in Tracy’s unmatched wordsmithery and talent for making me belly laugh. Huma Abedin and any of us other chumps can’t escape the pain of betrayal and abuse. But gosh, I feel RESILIENT when I begin the morning with a cup of coffee and laughter. I feel damn good about myself and proud too!

    Tracy, others have said Ted Talk. I think radio show. You speak truth. I’m so grateful for you and CN.

    • A PODCAST. Interviewing individuals from Chump Nation and other assorted people from the pool of those who see cheating for the abuse that it is, with lots of the spirit-lifting snark we enjoy here every morning.

      I would totally tune in to a Leave a Cheater Gain a Life podcast.

  • One of the things that got me through the worst of post-cheating feelings (and, crucially, one of the things that got me through initial NC) was that, as in love as I always was with FW, I did have crushes while I was with FW and also while we were married. I nipped all of them in the bud – I did this consciously, because I valued FW more. So after he cheated, I wondered what became of those people. That made me realise that there would always be someone else who I liked, with whom it seemed like it would work. So if that happened while I was in love, it could also happen while I was in pain… But single!

    • “…in love as I always was with FW, I did have crushes while I was with FW and also while we were married. I nipped all of them in the bud – I did this consciously, because I valued FW more.” Me too, PNR. I appreciate how you’re using that experience to remind yourself there are other interesting people still out in the world…always will be.

  • I dumped my loser shitbag ex and got a 10 years younger model, complete with a dick that works.

    Note that he’s 10 years younger than ex, not me. He’s got 8 years on me.

    This makes me chuckle because it’s such a running joke that men get a 10 years younger model. LOL

    • Kim your post made me smile. I also married younger (four years) after leaving fuckwit. All his parts work without pills and we are in our sixties. Life is grand!!

    • 👍

      In my case I was 40 and new guy was 50, with not only a functional dick; but a working knowledge of how to treat another human being.

      FW actually came by when he heard I had gone on a date and warned me this guy was too old for me. I basically laughed in his face. Then he tried to get me to go see his new batch pad. I declined.

      I think it pissed him off that new guy got a younger good looking, smart woman and all he got was… Well I will let it go at that.

  • I left my cheater within one month of realizing I had been married over 40 years to a complete fraud. When I left the world opened up like a flower blooming that had been shut tight for years. It is difficult to describe how things just fell perfectly into place. I would have never bought my own home, met my wonderful husband, have better relationships with all of my family if I had tried to “work” on the marriage. When you realize there was no marriage only a mirage as has been said before you cannot unsee what you have seen.

    • I too was married for 40 years. DDay came at 37, and I filed immediately, but he dragged things out by refusing to turn over financials, etc. CoFox, I’m happy to see your happiness. Congratulations on buying a new home and improving your family relationships. It’s wonderful to know you found another and presumably much better husband. I hope that will be true for me too.

    • Agreed, and it was much to my surprise in the beginning. It began to make sense of course as I got further and further away from that old life.

      Unfortunately there is no way to fast forward through the shit pile.

  • IDK if I have my shit together, but I do know that being on my own, Bradley Cooper or Bradley Cooperless, is light years better than being in a shit relationship with someone who flunked Relationship Skills for Dummies. Cheating is the proof that they don’t have what it takes nor do they have what I want.

    Stick with the winners. Cheaters by definition are not winners. They created their own trap with someone just as unskilled as they are.

    If you didn’t lie and cheat and have a secret sexual double life, that makes for winning behavior. Birds of a feather flock together. Hold out for your flock, be it friends or romantic partners.

    • “They created their own trap with someone just as unskilled as they are.”

      👍

      So much meat in this statement. Could likely be a whole article.

      I went on to remarry, and I never had the issues with my now husband as I did with fw. Marriage or any relationship with someone with your same basic values is just not that hard. The whole do unto others thing really is simple for folks with actual character and basic life skills.

      • The sad part is when you thought you did share the same basic values. Nearly thirty years in and she turned on a dime into someone I didn’t recognize, as she had a two-year long affair and subsequently left for him. That part has been so hard to process for me.

        • Yeah, it’s jarring when they seem to change overnight. We lose our sense of what was real. The foundation on which we stand shifts. We can’t get our footing. It’s 100% destabilizing.

          I’m not sure the same is true for everyone, but, for me, after he dropped the bomb (his big confession that he’d had a multiyear affair and wanted to marry the AP) and when the fog cleared somewhat, I sifted through the relationship rubble and could see some earlier signs of bad character on his part. He was always a bit selfish, impulsive, and entitled. It was there all along.

          That said, I, too, thought we shared the same basic values.

          And I NEVER thought he was the type who would cheat. I just didn’t think he was like that.

          Now I wonder why I thought all the other shitty treatment was ok as long as he didn’t cheat.

          As others have said here before, it was the 2 x 4 I needed to knock me out of what I really thought was an ok marriage (but was actually a mirage–thanks VH). I’m better off without him. So are my kids. But I didn’t see that life was better until a year or so after D-Day.

          It takes time.

          It’s early days for you, Dadof2sons. I’m sure you’ll feel better as time goes on. From what I can tell, virtually everyone here is better off without the FW.

          • Spinach@35 Thank. It’s just sad to think that so much of who I believed she was just wasn’t true. At one point in therapy I mentioned how we came from similar backgrounds, same religion, same values…
            My therapist stopped me: “you don’t share the same values”. That was a real 2×4 becuase reality proved it to be true.

        • As much as it may be ‘untangling the skein’ as CL says, learning about narcissism really helped me figure out where I went wrong. Why I stayed so long —I made the wrong decisions for good reasons. I couldn’t fix my picker without understanding how narcissists operate.

          To wit—narcissists mirror your values back at you. They are empty shells of people who admire aspects of their victims and take on those qualities to attract you and reel you in until you are hooked (trauma bonded eventually). Love bombing is employed so you think you won the best mate ever. They can’t hold it forever though. Then comes the discard. There are many red-flags to be aware of but mirroring is a big one. They are chameleons who take on the aspects of whomever they are with —which is why so many chumps report the ex-FW doing a 180 and becoming the opposite of what they were with them or espousing things they supposedly hated. They are just not that deep and have no substance on their own. That is why they can literally just replace you with someone else. Chumps don’t work like that. FW are capable of only shallow bonds and so breaking them doesn’t make them feel bad. It doesn’t hurt them to hurt us.

          It’s still very early days DOTS. You may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but it’s there. Do what you need to do to get through the divorce and hire a fierce attorney to fight for you and be appalled on your behalf. They will talk sense into you when you are shell- shocked and unable to fight on your own behalf. Im sorry to say there are no shortcuts —you have to walk through the pain to get to the better life ahead. ‘When in hell, keep going”, as Churchill (?) said. Give yourself some time and grace. What you are feeling is normal for the depths of betrayal you were served.

          We are here and CL is here for your daily dose of encouragement. Find a good therapist who believes infidelity is abuse and understands cluster B personality disorders.

          • Queen of Shade
            Thank you. It is clear, even if not diagnosed that FW wife is a covert narcissist. She checks most of the boxes. I ignored a lot of red flags over the years, because much of it wasn’t directed at me in the past. More her family (mother in particular), her boss, random others…
            She literally did replace me with someone pretty much polar opposite. I guess she now gets to pretend to like a whole new bunch of things.
            She did say on Discard Day that we “weren’t compatible”. Yeah…I guess so now that you are mirroring someone completely different. Took her thirty one years together to figure out we weren’t compatible.

          • Queen of Shade,
            You nailed it on narcissists! This is my FW XW to a T. Thank you for putting it together so nicely. It really hit home for me. Lots of love and peace to you and all you love.

        • I feel you, D…Fuckface was a fraud and pretended to have the same values as me for 15 fucking years…he’s a pathological liar and master manipulator. I honestly have zero clue who that evil monster is…he’s a complete stranger to me. It’s a total mindfuck. And the pain of that is absolutely soul crushing.

        • Yeah, I’ve been there, DOTS. I always said that my ex might one day want out of the marriage, but if so, he would come to me and tell me he wanted a divorce. He would never cheat. I was so sure because we were together 28 years, married 24, and I thought I knew him like the back if my hand. But I didn’t. He carried on a secret double-life for at least the last six years of our marriage (that he admitted to). It is hard to process.

    • “If you didn’t lie, cheat, and have a secret sexual double life, that makes for winning behavior. Birds of a feather flock together.”

      Check, check, and check – contrary to all the smear I’m getting in the divorce. Difficult times. This really helps. Thank you, VH.

    • “Stick with the winners. Cheaters by definition are not winners. They created their own trap with someone just as unskilled as they are.”

      THIS!!! Yes!
      Thanks, VH.

  • Even though I am still two months away from the court finalizing the divorce, moving into a new home and making a new life has been absolutely amazing. I am way too busy with building the new life to even consider any relationship other than a friendship. Right now, I am just enjoying not having to walk on eggshells around a FW. It is liberating. It is also great to be able to do what I want, when I want without worries that FW will be upset or angry. I no longer have to hear about how badly I performed as a wife appliance (cooking, cleaning etc. while holding down a full time job). Yep it is great to get up in the morning and relax with a cup of coffee and to go to bed when I want and read in bed if I want to. Adjusting to that has been great. I think the only icing needed on this cake now is the finalization of paperwork and the payout (yep, FW is not getting or keeping everything he thought he was entitled to). Once that happens, I will have the certainty of NC ever!!!!!
    My son was home a couple of weekends ago and he started mentioning that it is a lot calmer without FW around complaining or forcing his opinions on everyone. He is NC with his father (which FW blames on me as if I can control an independent 26 year old young man). It is just so much more relaxing without FW around. Just having friends and family without FW involvement is trading way the hell up.

    • Good for you.
      I’m a little behind you, having just retained attorney, and only a little over two months post-DDay. I have two adult sons, one is NC with his FW mother, the other has only had the smallest, tense contact. I havve been NC with her for a few weeks, and everything from here on can go through lawyers.

      • I remember my fw being so irritated and confused that once he left the house, and me for another woman; that I wouldn’t continue to be under his thumb.

        That didn’t turn out at all like he imagined it.

        • “so irritated and confused”. Mine too. I just caught a text screenshot from the DDay way past, where FW went from “I want a divorce” directly to a laundry list of “I need you to do x with this car, need title, leave keys here, or here, and I need checks and can you write a check and send my car payment, is the bill in the mail? (car he had secretly just bought)” and I just ignored it all.🤷 Clearly I had just been fired 12 hours prior!!🤷 So he put my adult son (still in school, living at home) on the mission, until son told him “I’m not getting in the middle of this and NO she’s NOT going to HELP you!! WTF!!”. FW actually thought I would still be doing all his adulting for him. FW was enraged. Nobody was cooperating with his plan or lack thereof, sad sausage.
          Like yours Susie Lee, that didn’t turn out at all like he imagined it. That was 7 years ago, and I finally got divorced in February of this year. I’ve had zero arguments with zero people since then and the peace is fantastic. Now, whenever someone asks me “what are you doing?” I still think, not say, “Whatever the fuck I want, and it’s great!”

      • Dadof2sons, Once you are minimal to no contact, things start becoming easier. Handling it through the lawyers will take some pressure off. I noticed that once the agreement was in hand and court dates were set, it gets even better. Just having a FW out of the house and away is absolutely liberating. I think once I have the final papers I will be well on the road to Meh and hopefully Tuesday. Each step forward will help you through this and sleep will start coming easier.

        • Thanks. FW out of the house was no issue, since she up and left for OM the day she revealed the affair herself and said she wanted a divorce.

  • I looked up that article on Bradley with his ex that CL sent and the first comment on it was “ where is this land of sharks and pigs?”
    Lol, that made me laugh, I was wondering about that too.
    Yeah, thank God Huma got free of that soul sucking pathological wiener man, what a nightmare he had to be for her. She’d be in better health if she lived alone in a closet for the rest of her life than having him drag her into black holes of chaos and destruction forever.
    She’s a beautiful intelligent woman, she’ll find a better life.
    I’d like someone to leave Bradley in a basket on my front stoop though, even if I do have many questions about his wandering eye and how faithful a man he’d be. With completely limitless choices, he doesn’t seem to be able to fully commit to anyone.
    I’m pretty happy in my singularity four years divorced. No current desire to complicate up my life combining baggage with another, as much as I do miss being part of a couple.I’m still to traumatized by the betrayal to venture out and risk it.
    But the freedom being single gives your life has also been an unexpected and welcomed surprise to me. I enjoy directing my own life with no one else’s criticisms that everything I do is somehow flawed.
    I think I’m doing pretty damn good figuring things out and I can take all the time I need to do it. I’m enjoying the journey to a better place.

  • I am my own Bradley Cooper! Lol. Seriously, once you get through all the crap you have to swim through to survive divorce negotiations, you realize the coast is clear. We are free! We hear the birds sing! I had been negotiating life with a bulldozer for so long, I hadn’t quite realized how boring they and their cheaty bull crap really was. Me myself and I were so infinitely more fun and interesting and companionable than being with them on their best day. They were so exhausting! Annoying! Did I say boring? I didn’t have to wait for the fishing, golfing, work events, football games to end before getting a crumb of attention. And most all those events were just covers for cheating. I am just so over all that boring stuff. I do everything on my own or with friends. Once I forced my brain to not look back and not think about them anymore, I found the right person for me – and it was me. Dating is much easier now because I know what I don’t like. Didn’t happen overnight but it will. Face forward!

  • I was lucky enough to sort of live this… I met my kid’s friend’s dad at a party and I couldn’t believe the guy was even talking to me he was so, well, something else entirely. Ex Israeli secret service, 6’3, he looked like he should be onscreen – he was 55 so middle aged but perfectly fit. He took a liking to me and we went out for 2 months. I did not think of FW much over those 2 months! It was a summertime romance and was over at the end of summer, but wow, every time I think of that I smile. How lucky was I!

  • While I was trying to fix my picker and figure out why someone would choose not to change when given the opportunity to have a much better life if only he would put in the effort to change his feckless ways, I had two strange experiences in the workplace. I worked for two different women who were in very unhappy marriages but chose to stay. They were supportive of me while I was drinking the RI Complex Kool-aid, but when I actually left cheater ex 1 and 2, they suddenly did not find me such a prize employee.

    I remember wondering if Huma had the same type of FOO influences I had, and if Hillary’s choice to stay influenced her decision when she was going through her shitstorm.

    You may be strong, and able to survive sordid scandals. But you should not feel that you “must” because you promised to love and honor. If one partner unilaterally breaks the marriage contract, it seems to me the other partner is entitled to dissolve the non-existent union

  • I love you, chumplady! I will toast (my soda) now to Huma and all chumps as they journey towards their own super hot, loving, high character Bradley Cooper!

  • So I was just talking to a guy at my credit card company (it was his first day on the job) and he was blown away by how pleasant and friendly I was. He said most people are surly or hang up on him when he calls to remind them to make a payment. It seems like a small thing, but it made me remember that yeah, I am a kindly, good natured person and lots of people probably notice it and don’t take it for granted like FW did. So whether that brings me somebody new eventually or not, I am okay with who I am. FW, not so much. He’s a mess. They all are, underneath their bluster. Way to get a life, Huma. 👏

  • This is so true CL. I left my cheater and got my own Bradley Cooper three months after my divorce came through (it took a while as he claimed he had no money). My new partner is kind, fun, loving, good looking, hardworking and helps me with the kids way more than their father ever helped. Once I kicked the cheater out, I quickly realised being on my own was better than living with, and exposing our children to, the toxic environment he created. Being on my own meant that I was available to meet someone who is superior to my ex in every way and makes me very happy.

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