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How to Survive Solo Holidays

singleholidayToday’s post goes out to anyone who’s feeling a bit morose about being single at the holidays.

Why should I feel morose, Tracy? HUH? Are you saying I’m LESS THAN because I’m alone this time of year? Hey, just because I’m not coupled up wearing matching holiday reindeer sweaters with some Goober doesn’t mean I’m not HAPPY. What would YOU know? You’re not single anymore, so STFU.

Ooh. I just channeled my single holiday self there. The Ghost of Christmas Defensiveness.

I understand the tetchiness. Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time of oppressive Intact Family Togetherness. Look, I’m married and I want to throw a brick at every Kay Jeweler’s TV ad. The holidays are not always super jolly fun times. Raise your hand if you had a D-day during Christmas. Double shit sandwich bonus points for anyone who got a D-Day AND a crappy gift! Triple shit score if you got NO gift. Anyone with me here?

So if you’ve ever wanted to set sail for the Island of Misfit Toys, take heart. Here are my pointers for getting through the holiday season if you’re unaccustomed to being single.

Realize you can do anything you want to do. Skip church, eat cookies for breakfast, live in pajama bottoms. It’s your holiday, celebrate it your way. Maybe you like a formal holiday dinner and your ex didn’t? Invite people over and go all Martha Stewart. Maybe you want to curl up under an electric blanket and have Netflix marathons? When you lose a partner, you also lose at least HALF of your holiday obligations. I’m not driving to Pittsburgh in three feet of snow. It’s over a decade later. I’m still grateful.

If you’re lonely, do something about it. And I don’t mean go on a date. I mean REACH OUT. Pet a dog, invite over a neighbor, go volunteer. Heck, go to work and make some overtime. It’s harder to feel sad when you’re active. It’s okay to feel lonely, just don’t indulge too long in self-pity. It doesn’t help anything and most healthy people find it repellent. (So ultimately, you’re not helping the Loneliness Problem.) You know who excels at self pity? FWs. So, be the opposite. And if you must, just fake it for now — you’re self reliant! Independent! Plucky!

If you get misty, make a list of every crappy thing your ex did. Make a virtual bonfire of every shitty memory and set it alight. Burn, baby, burn.

If you’re a single parent, find your own tribe of other kick ass single parents. (Even if you have to find them online.) You there, at the holiday choral concert by yourself? I’ve been on that cold metal folding chair of Single Parenthood. Surrounded by all those uber mommies and square-jawed Irish Spring dads and their photogenic offspring, at every school function making videos documentaries of their Legacy. If you’re feeling wobbly, avoid flamboyant displays of Public Family Unity. Bring a plus-one. Find another single parent to unite with. After a period of adjustment, you can mingle again with the Coupled. But in the early days, especially, it’s rough.

Don’t feel bad about that either. If you just lost a child, you wouldn’t want to hang out at playgrounds either.

It always bears repeating that being single is a gazillion times better than being in a lousy relationship with someone who disrespects and abuses you. If being “single” gets you down, maybe you need to reframe this as mightiness. You’re single because you didn’t put up with crap and respected yourself. That’s admirable, not “less than.”

And if despite my pep talk, the holidays still really suck? (Sometimes they do, sorry.) Distract yourself madly. January is coming, I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving, CN!

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  • This is my second Thanksgiving for three. Me and my adult daughters. I almost said just me and my daughters but you know what? We are a full and intact family, the three of us, and I am grateful to spend the time together. Maybe some day one of us will have a significant other to join us, or one of my girls may be going to Thanksgiving somewhere else with a romantic interest. For now it’s us. We baked pies together last night, I am doing most of the cooking but each daughter is making a side dish. We are going for a morning walk before the turkey goes in the oven. And you know what, the house is kind of messy, I do plan to straighten up after I write this comment, but I am relaxed, I won’t be frantically trying to make everything look perfect for guests. All is right with the world.

  • Christmas Dday. He left NYs day.

    I was caught at Christmas day at my sons house in another state. Didn’t want to react and ruin their Christmas. I actually had known for about a month, but the actual discovery was Dday. He was out talking to her early in the common area, after spending the night talking in his sleep about “absence makes the heart grow stronger” and “I picked up that BBgun for your spawn” etc.

    I remember just laying there dying, I had no power to do anything about it. What I didn’t know was within two months I would regain power, start to see the flaming ass wipe for what he was and I would actually start to feel good again. What he didn’t know was the minute he filed he lost all his power over me. I think it surprised him. “What, Susie won’t talk to me about what I want her to do, something isn’t right; Susie always did what I said”. “What Susie’s lawyer isn’t going to play ball with me, and work with me to fuck Susie over”. “Why, I am the great and powerful Oz, what is happening here”.

    Note: though he was a bit of a sleep talker, I do think he was wide awake saying those things intentionally because he didn’t have the balls to tell me face to face. So he let me “discover” it. That was a fun trip home from AZ to IN. about 18 hours, including a night in a motel.

  • Thanksgiving number 4 that is FW-free!!! My two boys and I spend it with just ourselves. I believe last year I wore PJs for my dinner “dress” (I used to always stress about whether I was thin enough, etc.- my baggy sweatpants HIDE ALL and I no longer give a fuck). My boys are teenagers and do half the cooking now AND they clean up without acting like cleaning up is the most difficult task a man could ever perform and must take ALL NIGHT (seriously FW would take HOURS and would still leave shit undone). And they cook things without expecting a PARADE IN THEIR HONOR (bitch cookie anyone?). I get to spend my holidays with the two humans I MOST want to hang out with. No traveling, no entertaining other people, no FW yelling at my son because he hates the sound of chewing. Just. glorious. us. HAPPY THANKSGIVING CHUMPS!!!

    • chumped48, wow, your FW sounds like an incredible jerk.

      I’d like to ask him how a person supposed to eat without chewing?

      • 100% !!! And of course, he had JAW issues and his chewing involved a disgusting clicking jaw!!!, but his 10-year-old chewing was too much for him. The worst.

  • I still live with FW. He started today by expounding on one of his pet theories. Before I’d had my first coffee. STFU, please. I gray rock as much as possible, and dream of the condo I’m planning to live in with my daughter in Virginia Beach when D is finalized.

    I will continue to get my ducks lined up (stealthily) and dream about better days. Just me and my daughter alone and FW nowhere in sight!

    Happy Thanksgiving CN. I’m grateful for your help during the past year.

    • You have aaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllll of my support and gobs and gobs of strength from me. You are so mighty, even when (and maybe most especially when) it feels least true. You will make it through this awful in between time, but for now, I just can’t overstate my feelings of empathy and support. ⭐

  • Thankfully I got the You Can Do Holidays Any Way You Want memo….literally….from the grief counselor I saw after my dad died in 1991. She gave me literature about holidays after loss, which included an actual checklist of things you can do, delegate, or skip. I am a HUGE advocate of celebrating holidays as you understand them. Rigidity about how to celebrate leads to disappointment and kills the joy that is the point of celebrations. If you feel sad, go with it and ramp up the self care with all things cozy. RESPECT YOURSELF, and if you have littles, respect them too. LOVE is the goal, and I need love from me to ME, and my daughter needs love from me. Our kitty has already had her Turkey and Giblets Fancy Feast. Our parrot will get her breakfast when she wakes up.

    I discovered the true identity of Traitor Ex just before Thanksgiving 2017. Thus ensued the worst holiday season in my recorded history. Fake reconciliation was a factor. If he left when I discovered the Craigslist cockroach, he would look like the jerk he really is, so he pretended to want to reconcile while planning his exit the following February. This included performing his act during a very expensive Christmas in our favorite little Hawaiian dream rental house and gifting me with an expensive Hawaiian bracelet. (I took someone’s advice and kept it. It actually took a few years to realize that I actually bought it for myself. All he did was take me to the jewelers and hand me the debit card to buy what I had picked out for myself. I love it again….)

    Today I woke up looking forward to today with my daughter. I do not miss him at all. She has not spoken to him since Christmas 2019. We are going to go for a walk on the beach and then go up to the Mountain Home on Mt Tam for dinner.

    I wish many things were different and there is a lot of room for growth and improvement, but wishing he was part of my life is not on my bucket list. I am
    still hurting but glad glad glad glad glad we are divorced.

    He gets his untreated drunk alcoholic family dinner and the Craigslist cockroach. Uber fake family unity at its finest. No thank you. He won the enmeshed closed alcoholic family of origin and the hit woman from Craigslist, and I won authentic intimacy with my precious daughter. For which I am sincerely thankful.

    I never thought I would be thankful for getting divorced, but I am.

    • TYPO…

      “He won the enmeshed closed system family of origin”.

  • It was difficult for a long time after D-day because I was still energetically tied into a family unit with a chair empty at the table. The phantom limb. But as time progressed, I started to shed that “coupledom” narrative (dating was a disaster) & the societal version of what the holidays should be like. When the kids say they’re going to FW/OW’s house for the holiday, I plan a movie day & eat something luxurious. I no longer have the “family” expectation in my head. I’ve also gone with a friend to Las Vegas at Christmas & had a great time. It’s hard at first but eventually I got my groove back. Its a minor thing that I rarely think about now, but I am thankful that I don’t have to feel like I’m stepping on eggshells around my arrogant ex & his passive-aggressive mother again. Cheers & Happy Holidays to American friends & family!

    • I love how you explain that you were “energetically tied into a family unit with an empty chair at the table. The phantom limb” that has put things in perspective for me, thank you! I have been feeling that way too. Like somehow that empty chair has made me a failure to my kids. That is not true! My boys are doing really well despite the circumstances we all find ourself in now. One son isn’t talking to FW anymore, the other is. They are both handling it in their own way and that’s ok. I’m also (finally!) moving on after three pathetic years of doing the pick me dance. That chair can stay empty. And that’s ok.

  • I’m missing out on all the winter holidays this year as I slowly (and grossly) clean my father’s hoarded estate, and it happens to include all the toxic narc cheaty stuff I always figured I’d find when this time came (which I had assumed it because, why would I have been so cheater-susceptible and generally asshat-susceptible, if it hadn’t been burned into my psyche very young, even if I wasn’t aware of it? It just makes sense, really.)

    It astounds me that out of all the things a person keeps and doesn’t, the person would keep clear evidence in their own handwriting of how awful they were to others, including my mom.

    I don’t feel festive at all. More and more, the longer I have these experiences of people, the more I feel like all the traditions baked into holidays are a kind of emotional prison. All this crap that went on the tree ever year so we could have family traditions, family keepsakes, and all the guilt trips when I had other plans with in-laws and couldn’t be there… and for what?!? So we could all keep pretending what wasn’t real was real? I do value family, as an ethic, but why should I value TIME with family that’s deceptive and mean and manipulative? Wanting to skip that isn’t my moral failing. The cruelty is all on the other side of that table.

    I’d rather eat a turkey sandwich with the cat. She’s so kind and never deceptive, and besides, she’s adorable and cuddly.

    So today I’ll be up to my xiphoid process in dusty boxes and bags of mostly trash with a few treasures in them, preserving family crap for people who still want it (I don’t) and figuring out what goes in the estate sale (because this job should pay something in the end.) My family will all be enjoying holiday time with loved ones. That’s just fine with me. Makes it easier to work. I’m faster when I work alone, and I want this over.

    Everything I put in the dumpster feels like I’ve lost 50 more pounds of bullshit.

    Everything I find showing my dad’s awfulness to my mom feels like a punch in the teeth.

    Screw the holidays. I want a week alone in a little house on the beach to rock back and forth and scream and cleanse my soul of all of it.

    If you’re struggling to process someone else’s bullshit and cruelty this day too, you’re not alone. I raise my cup of tea to you and salute you. I’m grateful for us. We support one another in shedding the BS obligations to eat shit so others can enjoy eating turkey. We are mighty.

    • I feel all this. While my parents are technically still living, mom has dementia and her normal viper self is lost in a weirdly friendly persona who still as selfish and racist as ever. Dad has lost what little common sense he ever has but kept all his narc traits. They lived in a house that was their god and which they liked significantly more than they ever liked me. I found myself in the awkward spot of either cleaning it out and readying it for sale or watching them go into foreclosure, lose everything and land on my doorstep.

      Like you, so much of the crap was evidence of their worst traits and it triggered me left and right. The worst was a huge gilded mirror…the week they bought it, I had completed nursing school and gotten a great job which started 3 days after graduation (ideal since I had zero money)…I asked mom for $50 to buy food to last me a month until I got my first paycheck. She said that they could not spare the $50. They were building a mansion for fucks sake but arguing was pointless so I took out a loan to eat.

      I went to the house 5 days after I was told they could not spare money to feed me and saw the mirror with a $350 price tag on it. For 35 years, I thought I was thrown under a bus for a fine wood mirror. When I sold this piece of shit, I went to move it and learned it was plastic…. fucking plastic…she thew me under a bus for a plastic mirror. Thank God, my daughter was standing next to me the instant I learned this datapoint.

      I hate that fucking house and was thrilled to see it go. I ended up (ironically since I was banished from it at various times for daring to tell mom she needed help with her drinking)being the last family member to be there as I finished up the last of the cleaning and fixing for the closing. I stood alone in front of it, flipped the bird on both hands and told it how much I hated it.

      Having that piece of crap out of my life is a gorilla off my back. Whatever ritual you choose at the end of this task to finish it off, picture me cheering you on. You are mighty.

      • And so are YOU mighty, Unicorn. Thank you for your post. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it..

      • Its intriguing how an emotion can be a house. I’m very aware of how a house feels let’s say if I was gonna live there.
        FW had to have this new house/acre land soon after we married. It was also after a DDay (I didn’t leave yet.) He still called it my house too even after the pick me dancing years (I had moved out) and I had keys and could come and go as I pleased. Every time I went there and look around, there was this deep deep grief and crying. Whatever the original energy was there, sucked him and his family up and it’s now a hoarders place. Not like on the TV show but you can see it’s in that category. Things don’t get fixed either for months and months if ever.
        Good luck getting through this sooner than later.

      • “I stood alone in front of it, flipped the bird on both hands and told it how much I hated it.”
        You made me simultaneously smile and tear up with this statement. Badass move!

    • I, too, am spending Thanksgiving cleaning out a house. In my case, the house, in the town I grew up in and a thousand miles from where I now live, belonged to my mother, who died just over two months ago. My brother will be coming up on Sunday, not to help, but to help himself to the items he has spent more time scheming to extract than he ever spent helping out our mother, although he lives only fifty miles away.

      In my family, my father was the cheater (as well as physically violent and verbally and emotionally abusive to her and to us–sexually with me), a fact my mother did not disclose to me until after he died (by suicide). After three decades of abuse, and passing on to me a lot of the behaviors and attitudes that she developed as an abused wife, she finally divorced him, and dedicated the next/last forty years of her life to making up for lost time. She traveled widely, including two international trips a year, skied (downhill skiing) until she was 82, and had an extensive and close network of friends, a lot of them retired teachers like her.

      While I wish she’d done more to clean her house out while she was still able, going through everyone has elevated my respect and admiration for the way she took charge of her life at age 52 after the divorce, and I hope I have what it takes to follow her example.

  • Yep…holiday pay at my hospital for me today! In my experience hospitals do pretty well with Thanksgiving lunch/dinner food wise! Bonus!

    • IAmTheCavalry , thank you for working on the holiday. Someone else was able to spend time with family and friends because you did that.

  • Thanks for this, CL. I love holidays without my ex. The real adjustment is adjusting to her having our kid for the big days, while I have to wait a whole year for my turn. But I intend to have the world’s best lebkuchen, gluwein, and sarsaparilla fest and warble “Fuck the Fuck Off, the Angels Sing” to my sagging Christmas tree. Sure, it would be better with kid along for real fun. But since I can’t, it’s time for maximum solo weird.

    And now you’ve gone and encouraged it even more. 🙂

    • That is what pisses me off that I have to spend half the holiday without my child. Fortunately the shit show started last year when he was 15 and I took him to see family. This year he is with FW. She will take him to one of her “old friends” that I never heard of in 22 years together house where she will tell tales of escaping abuse from a doting husband.
      He did call me earlier to to take him to the gym with me and we had a great thanksgiving lift. He is 16 and knows what is going on

  • I signed my divorce agreement just before Thanksgiving three years ago after way more drama than I had hoped for. My ex’s mental health issues were driving his attorney crazy, and he had been telling mine that he wanted to quit for weeks and weeks. We finally decided to give my STBX 24 hours to sign or “see ya in court.” His attorney added, “sign or I quit.” By then, his had blabbed and blabbed, and we had kinds of dirt for a trial. I was still happy to avoid that.

    My attorney was giddy at signing, saying that it was “memorable and unprecedented” in his 43 years of practice. He’s happily retired now and playing lots of golf. I recently saw his picture on Facebook at a golf fundraiser for domestic violence with the financial advisor that I consulted. His associate who did my closeout (also messy) was also there. His firm was the organizer. I was very blessed indeed with solid legal and financial advisors. Apart from their professional skills and experience, they were just lovely people during the most stressful chapter of my life.

    We joined friends for the first two Thanksgiving holidays of separation, but frankly, it was awkward. I found out after the second time that the hostess had briefed everyone not to mention my now-ex’s name or our situation, and that ended it for me. It wasn’t like I was going to wallow in the mess, but I felt manipulated. We’ve done our own ever since, and that’s fine. The kids are now working adults and get a kick out of cooking everything. I’m a teacher, so I’m perpetually thankful for the rest and quiet.

  • Happy Thanksgiving to you, CL and family, and ALL of CN. Today I am grateful for the resilience, understanding, and support of everyone here.

  • The holidays!

    I stopped celebrating Christmas day on the actual day a few years back (before DDay) Only because 3 of my beautiful babies are nurses and usually end up working. Last year it was celebrated 4 days after the actual day. This year however it will be on the 25th due to work schedules aligning.

    My point to this, for those maybe struggling, is change the date! I can’t imagine how shit it must be to cart your precious beings off to a FW. My heart breaks for you. I was petrified that my adult children along with my grandchildren would be enticed to celebrate with ‘it’ and ‘its’ howorker…. not managed it yet and it looks highly unlikely to happen in the future. My babies tell me that I am who brings the sparkle to all our traditional gatherings…. the true sparkle being love. I’m grateful they feel that way.

    We have only just started to celebrate thanksgiving (in the UK) due to now having friends that come from across the pond! This is a new tradition for us and one my grandchildren have embraced.

    This year will be the third FW free Christmas. Its great. ‘its’ not missed by any of us. There’s just no drama or arguments. I didn’t even realise there was until ‘it’ was gone!!!

    Hugs to you all 🤗🤗🤗

  • This is my first Thanksgiving without FW and also the first Thanksgiving that my oldest (21) is away at college and can’t come home. Today will be me and my younger son (17). We have been invited to his girlfriend’s family’s dinner, which is very sweet, but honestly it’s going to be a rough day for me. I don’t really know her parents, though I adore her, and it’s a big shindig with a bunch of people I won’t know at all. I’m feeling very sad, mostly missing my oldest, but also angry that FW screwed things up so badly. Thirty years of marriage was a lie and I don’t feel like celebrating.

    • Mine was also a long haul (31 years). It’s painful. But it does get easier…. I never thought I’d say that. I wrote a list of all the things I would have to attend FW free. It was very long. Slowly, but surely, I ticked off each thing. Some were easy, some I had to excuse myself and sob in private, some I just sobbed intermittently over someone (kind family member or close friend) , some I enjoyed more which surprised me! But I got through them. You will too. You haven’t got to be ok (it’s still so raw) it’s ok to not be ok. The day will pass.

      You’ll super miss your son xx

      Hugs to you, you’ve got this 🤗

    • It WILL be a tough day but it WILL PASS…..You are entitled to feel any way you want to and remember, that when you are at the big shindig, that EVERYONE has their own demons and you have the blessing of having your son with you. Try to look at it as establishing new traditions…..30 years here and then total familial discard…first Xmas was spent with daughter in Jamaica, this Xmas will be a 4 day spa/gourmet food splurge at Hotel Hershey……new traditions……you GOT this…You are NOT alone…let the CN help lift you up and get you through this day as well as others…..3 years later and it does get easier. HUGS and GRACE to you

    • MW – I’m four years out from Dday and two years divorced from 30 year marriage. My experience was that it gets significantly better each year. It’s okay to feel the grief, but don’t suffer the “second arrow” of thinking the pain won’t end. Fill the time with selfcare and new experiences.

    • You’ll be sad and ok, Molly. My first Christmas (UK) was 2019. No kids here. I’d only known about the affair for a few weeks. Ex was flying to Canada to be with exgfOW for New Year. I was with my Mum, sister and family. I was brave but they were not kind. My younger sister who I had helped to bring up told me to give myself a slap. I will never forget that pain on top of pain. Christmas number two in lockdown was with my support bubble gay friends and we had huge fun. Last year, number 3 I did on my own with my whippet pup. My friends were with family in the Midlands. This year I’m doing it on my own with slightly older pup and later with my friends which will be perfect. I think you have made a wise choice. It takes time and you will survive better each year.

      • I feel your pain…my sister was “unavailable” to help me through my divorce, and that hurt more than what FW did. We are back on speaking terms now, and I keep the relationship intact so i don’t lose touch with my niece or nephews. But I will never reach out to her again if i get sick, or need help in some other way.

  • I had written a heartfelt post, because this holiday season is extra sucky for me, plus I wanted to try to give lonely chumps some comfort, but the post was eaten up when a pop up came on and took over the entire screen, booting the blog off it.🤬
    The pop-ups here are super aggressive lately. I’ll have to get a better ad blocker.

    • OHFFS it sucks when you are kicked when you are down. Sorry but Thanks for the effort and thought.

    • OHFFS,

      Often I have gotten booted off while posting.

      I work from my iPhone, and when my thinking cap is securely attached, I compose my post in Notes, and then copy/paste/post.

      The whole first draft of Moby Dick was lost at sea. Herman Melville had to write it all over. If I get booted I just figure it means my second attempt will be better written….

    • So sorry about that! I have a ticket in with my IT person on this issue (the ad network can’t “replicate the problem”… so I have to call in the software developer guy). The ads are super annoying. Unfortunately, I need the income to support running the blog.

      It shouldn’t come at the expense of your valuable contribution though and others. All to say — working on it!

    • Alexandra,

      I understand. Last year, FW admitted to having used massage parlor hookers for the past several years. He also confessed to a daily habit of porn and Tsunami handshakes. It was difficult to deal with finding out about this after spending (wasting) 38 years with him.

      But today, I’m feeling optimistic. I’m not owning any of his twisted, lousy choices. Too bad – I cannot cut ties completely because I need FW to provide financial support. Our adopted, mentally disabled 14 year old daughter requires care for life. Her situation was too much for him to handle I guess. So I became the designated adult, while he became the designated adulterer.

      Hugs to you and here’s hoping for better days ahead for all of us.

      • Tsunami handshake !🤣🤮👏🏻 And I thought I’d heard at all on this blog.

      • Love this, because it’s clever and it’s true: “I became the designated adult, while he became the designated adulterer.”

  • Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow chumps. I hope few of us are feeling sucky being alone during the holiday(s), but Tracy’s post has got a lot of great ideas and spirit for how to beat or at least, minimize that loneliness. And just remember, all your fellow chumps here are thinking of you, and have your back.
    Love and feelings of meh to you all. Today and everyday, I’m thankful for CL and CN.

  • Being as our Thanksgiving was back in Oct. and it was the first one in 20yrs that stbx was not around, I skipped doing anything. My two kids still at home did not seem to mind. Not sure what we will do this Christmas, But I have been informed that ” Even a Charlie Brown Xmas tree would be nice”. So That is going to be my starting point. I must admit to looking forward to not being disappointed on prezzie opening xmas morning. Half the time the presents sucked, the other half of the time, there were none. I will raise a toast Christmas eve, To CN and trusting that cheaters suck! Happy Thanksgiving to all my southern neighbors.

  • I discovered my then husband had frozen my credit card when I tried to use it to buy groceries for Thanksgiving week. I stood in the checkout line, stunned and terrified, then pulled myself together for the sake of 11-year-old who was with me. We left empty-handed, and drove to a former realtor, to pick up one of the free holiday pies he had offered to his clients. Fortunately my ex had not taken the pie reserved for us. The realtor overheard me tell one of the staff what had happened, took me aside and handed me a $100 bill. Thankfully a friend invited us for the holiday, and I brought the giant pie.

    Even when things were very tough financially, I held onto that bill, and still have it in my wallet, just in case I face some other disaster. It also serves as a reminder: No matter how bad things can be, how horribly ex treated both of us, and how disappointing it was to be abandoned by so-called friends, there are still some decent people in the world who will help others. I have been amazed at how many people have reached out to help us, even strangers. And here’s hoping that all of us can reach out to help others, as we do at Chump Nation.

    • That is awful. So glad someone reached out to you.

      I did cancel fws and my joint credit card, and I didn’t tell him. But, that was after he left me to go to whore, and I had just read the three year print out of our cc history where he had spent hundreds, actually more than a thousand on whore and their dates.

      I did not want to be responsible for one more red cent spent on entertaining his genitals.

    • It is amazing where help comes from in times of crisis. Someone I peripherally knew found out and gave me a religious medal, ( Mary Untirer of knots). I carry that everyday more to remind me of how caring people can be

  • I’m in France and I’m not American so obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. That being said, I keep in touch with my ex-MIL (in the US) and spoke to her recently for her birthday in October. I guess they will all be going to her daughter’s for Thanksgiving but she was telling me that Schmoopie is a miserable sod and “she’s not like you – you always pitched in and played the stupid games we play”! And she’s right. I never cared if I looked stupid playing charades or whatever, but Schmoops – oh my goodness, she mustn’t be made to look silly! Ha, my ex was a party animal so I’m sure he’s enjoying every minute of it (not). Happy Thanksgiving o all US chumps out there!

  • I was always the magic of holidays, meaning I was the one to clean, to decorate, to plan and cook meals, to arrange the calendars so that we could connect with people, pick the thoughtful gifts, send the cards. So any holiday magic I want is still there for the asking. I’m several years post divorce now, so much Meh there isn’t any hate or rancor left, just a sense of pity for the empty meat-suit that was my ex-husband. I learned a new squash bisque recipe with apples and onions that he would have really liked, but he needed ego kibbles from Craigslist whores more than he valued his house elf. More for me and my tribe of people who show me so much love and reciprocity in my new relationships. If he hasn’t found a new wife appliance yet I assume he’s eating casino buffet between hands of poker. You do you, buddy, bless your heart.

    • I love how 2nd Gen, you were the magic. I wish I saw myself that way. I’ve always tried hard, but it always fell flat. FW could whirl in and make everything look good and flashy, but everything was last minute and the stress of his poor planning fell on me. He looked like a rockstar with a half-ass wife.
      This year FW and AP are living in a massive house and telling our kids how big their tree will be.
      I pray that CL is right and being the stable sane parent pays off some day. Does anyone else feel that the magic left with their FW?
      I’m not saying I’d want that fake life back, just that there was a lot of sparkle on that turd.

      • Yes, every year I worked for days straight shopping, cooking, cleaning, making all of the side dishes, setting the table, making the house look gorgeous and he got all the credit because he put the g****** turkey in the oven and carved it.

  • Only have to remember my 7yo repeatedly asking “where’s my dad” (he was at a work party hosted by his boss and the wife/colleague/ap) for hours on our last xmas eve to thank my lucky stars for all concerned we are now separated.
    I hadnt really even noticed this was a pattern over the years until my son pointed it out and I could see how sad and confused he was.
    Of course Walt Disney dad post separation now demands his xmas time including xmas eve with the kids 😏

    • I’ve jumped to xmas sorry from here in Oz~ I dont even understand what Thanksgiving is other than something to do with turkey.

  • I got the ILYBINILWY speech the day before Thanksgiving. D-day was two weeks later. So yeah, the holidays are the anniversary of discovering the affair. See spent time in wreckonciliation and I have to say that being separated/divorced is better than being together but unstable when it comes to being around happy families. I used to look at them and think that I would probably never have that with FW and now I look at them and think I might someday have that with someone else. Like even when I was married, when was the last time I felt we were actually a couple? I have also realized how much I have always done on my own. Other than hang Christmas lights from the roof, I did all the interior decorating, baked Christmas cookies, purchased and wrapped gifts for others, etc etc. I still do that stuff but I no longer feel resentful for doing it alone. My fears over losing time with my children for the holidays was also (slightly) misplaced. Kids don’t ever get burnt out on celebrating the holidays more.

    For the new chumps, it’s amazing how being alone can feel less lonely than being with someone who does not care about you.

    • This… “it’s amazing how being alone can feel less lonely than being with someone who does not care about you.”

    • FW’s love to drop their bombs around the holidays. He said he was leaving a week before our anniversary which was just before the holidays began. This is my 2nd year of this crap and I’m holding onto each of the comments saying it gets easier. The first year for Christmas he told my toddlers to call AP “mom.” I’m counting down to January.

  • Every year since DDay in 2015, I’m sooooooo very grateful not having to spend Thanksgiving with FW’s horrible parents and especially his narcissistic controlling mom that makes the worst meal ever (it’s the same for Christmas and Easter). The turkey is made a day or 2 before, stripped of all the skin and sliced and placed in a casserole dish then completely covered in water. Then she puts it in the oven for an hour (basically it’s boiled to death). The veggies are all canned — creamed corn, green bean casserole, and canned sweet potatoes (which she won’t touch because she hates sweet potatoes and all vegetables). The so-called “twice baked potatoes” are just mashed potatoes filled with margarine, non fat cream cheese and non fat sour cream —- they congeal it into an unidentifiable plastic as it cools. And her pumpkin pie crust is always so very salty it’s inedible. She eats none of this — just sits and watches. It’s creepy. And she is very clear that she hates anything “ethnic” (always — not just at Thanksgiving) and that she will only eat her own food (but, she doesn’t eat it). I had to stop eating most of it because I have stomach issues and all the artificial crap she uses would make me violently ill.

    So anyway — SO GRATEFUL to be free to celebrate Thanksgiving in peace

    This year my mom passed away and sadly, so did my boyfriend’s mom. Our dads have both been gone for many years. So I brought my son and he brought his son and we’re celebrating Thanksgiving at a crazy fancy restaurant. My son already wanted the turkey experience earlier this week so I bought the Costco turkey breast with all the trimmings (stuffing, potatoes and green beans) and that was dinner on Monday.

    Peace to all. Everything is better without a FW.

    • It’s stories like this that make trauma bonding absolutely believable as a construct (even if you don’t like Patrick Carnes).

      I think all of us look back and think HOW DID I PUT UP WITH THIS?

      We look at those freak shows and recognise our own Stockholm Syndrome.

    • MichelleShocked , wow, I’m not much of a cook, but I know better than to abuse a turkey that way. And I can make better side dishes than those!!!

    • wow that meal description was just the thing to kickstart my new diet of never eating again

  • Yeah, holidays can be hard at first. D-day was my 54th birthday (September). That’s when I found out that FW had married his Schmoopie in Vegas two weeks earlier, on our 24th wedding anniversary weekend. Nice. I was totally blindsided. That Thanksgiving, he was back from rehab, and he left the house in the morning without a word to me or our 13-year-old son. He showed back up while we were eating dinner, stared at us, didn’t say a word, and went to his room. That Christmas he started fight, during which he yelled, “This is my house! I’ll put you both out on the street!” in front of our son. (It wasn’t his house; it was half mine. He was basically delusional.) His sister finally convinced him to move out shortly thereafter. Now, six years later, holidays are fine. My son comes to my house from college, and I don’t even know what state FW lives in. So, it gets better. Hang in there, chumps.

  • This is my first Tgiving after filing. Honestly, it barely feels different. My family is in town now. I cooked like normal. It was a little hard to motivate but less difficult than focusing for work. (My #1 struggle right now). In the past, STBX would stay in his precious basement almost the entire time my family was in town. He would occasionally text me (mostly requests) and that’s about it. I’m still getting texts but doing better at withholding responses outside of kid logistical arrangements.

    I’m sure I will still struggle with some things i miss about him or being married in general, but I am increasingly encouraged by how much I am remembering the ugly things about him. Man, that helps.

    CN, you guys have turned me around in just a few short months …thank you so much!

    • CrispyChick, don’t fret that brain fog is a real thing. I’m 2 years out and it’s just starting to clear. I wonder how long others had this for?
      Sending hugs.

  • Good advice. Thanks, Chump Lady!

    I’ve never married, partly because my parents’ marriage was so awful when I was a teenager. So I got a pretty lousy example of marriage. And I haven’t dated much for a while. I used to spend the holidays with my mom, and some mutual friends. But the mutual friends died in 2015 and 2016 (respectively), and my mom died in 2020. My relatives are a plane ride away from me, and I haven’t felt comfortable with flying. So 2020 and this year were solo holidays, with Thanksgiving at a friend’s house last year.

    This year, I’m doing my own thing. I’ve been watching Planet of the Apes movies and X Files reruns on Comet TV today. And I cooked a turkey breast for me and the dog, with a side of broccoli and rice casserole and some Panera sourdough bread. Dessert was a Godiva milk chocolate bar.

    Next year, I think I might feel safe flying.

    • That meal sounds just perfect! One of the things I am really loving about my new, unexpectedly single life, is that mealtimes are so simple.

  • I get those double points! woot! DDay Christmas eve (last one….anyway) and crappy gifts, including him “forgetting” a GIANT gift my (now ex)ILs had sent me… in his office… I mean, the box was over 6 FEET long and he… just…. didn’t … see it there…

  • Whew, I know I am late on this one but it has been crazy busy. Final divorce was this week, now just waiting for the judge to sign and paperwork to catch up. That is one huge thing to be thankful for. Thanksgiving this year was awesome. My parents were over plus one of their newly widowed friends from their senior living place (they are all independent living so do not need much care other than meds reminders and help cleaning their apartments). My son was home from the Navy (he had a six hour drive) and brought two of his friends. No walking on eggshells with a FW around! We were very casual and I had a lot of help cooking and cleaning up too. FW never helped but was quick to complain. Although things were not perfect (stents lots of time trying to get lumps out of gravy) it was fabulous and we could laugh at mistakes without FW criticizing. Now slowly getting the new house ready for Christmas. Holidays without a FW are virtually stress free!

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