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Signs Your Body Sensed You Were Being Cheated On?

Hi Chump Lady,

One idea for Friday Question: In what ways did your BODY tell you that you were being chumped?

Background: about 3 months into my ex’s affair (prior to D-Day), I had a sore on the inside of my ear that simply would not heal. It was raw and peely and I had never had something like that before. I tried all sorts of things to get rid of it (and probably should have seen a dermatologist 🤪) but it persisted– even after D-Day, even after wreckonciliation (including THOUSANDS sent to Divorce Busters, Marriage Helper, and Break Free from the Affair), even after he filed for divorce yet refused to move out. It wasn’t until after my kids and I moved into our own space and began to rebuild — and listen to my body and my intuition — that the sore inside my ear began to heal. Now, our walls SING and we mostly laugh — and the physical manifestations of that horrid affair are gone.

It makes me wonder: What were our bodies telling us that our minds were unwilling to accept?

Surely Chump Nation has stories!!

Thanks for considering it!



Dear JCC,

Your wish is our Friday Challenge. I had stress rashes and ground my teeth. Of course cheaters risk chumps’ health. The threat of STDs aside, just the constant exposure to mindfuckery is toxic. Feeling off, eating cognitive dissonance for breakfast, running stories through your head…

So, CN — any afflictions? But better yet — any miracle cures after you left?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I apparently appeared “frowny” whenever I spoke or looked at FW even when my voice was happy & I was in a good mood. FW mentioned it, even the kids did “why are you frowning at dad all the time?” Of course, he whined to our kids about it. One day, I caught myself in the bathroom mirror while talking to him & dayum I was frowning!!! I tried hard not to after, but then D day happened. Now whenever I see FW, I snarl. Yup it’s all there in my face lol

    • I’m pretty sure I have a lot of frowning, too. I have caught myself doing it. I don’t remember being that way before I met him. It has deepened my inherited marionette lines.

    • FW told me shortly after DDay that I’d become really negative and it was unattractive and off-putting.

      Gee, I wonder what was causing me to feel so negative? I didn’t know consciously that anything was going on but I knew things weren’t right.

    • Oh yeah. Funny this should show up now as I have recently been reflecting on it. Two ways my body knew:
      1. His breath. We had been married for several years and had had “morning sex” many times throughout our relationship. Suddenly when things changed between us, it was like I wanted to gag smelling his breath while we were having sex.
      2. The last time we had sex I pushed away from him and asked if there was somebody else. It’s like my body KNEW despite my brain telling me otherwise. He later pointed to this as a reason why we should get a divorce, like I didn’t trust him. In retrospect I know it was my instincts telling me there was trash in my midst. My only regret is not being mighty sooner.
      Your body knows. Trust it.

  • I developed a big huge blue blip on my left lower lip. He told me I looked ugly. I went to see if I could get it removed and they said it was risky. So, then I went a paid money to get painful lip injections to make my lips big and funny looking. I painted them bright red to show what a whore I was. Thankfully, it was Halloween at the time. The blue lip thing is gone, right after the divorce. And, please never do lip injections during the pick me.

  • Best miracle cure?
    *starting post-divorce!

    So many ways their cheating manifests inside our bodies and minds.
    We need the gift of time and mental/physical distance for our bodies and souls to heal.
    No rushing this process no matter how much we want to. Sorry to those new chumps here but you need to get done legally and get yourself away before beginning to heal.

    • 💯 this 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻. It took 3-5 years post divorce for me to really feel good. 25 year marriage. 4 kids. Brutal discard.

      • 35 years here and unfortunately I find myself STILL bothered at times even though we’ve been divorced 5 years and I have not seen him in 7. I still have a weekly dream that includes him…ugh.
        Brutal discard (zero contact and it’s not as if I had a choice), and he discarded our kids too. Blames ME for them not being close.
        My question is, what did you do or how did the total “meh” occur? I feel like I’ve done everything I can do to be my best self and generally I feel good. But he remarried the schmoopie and there’s a part of me that feels as if I lost the “contest” since I have not remarried. I say that even though I swear I would not trade my present life for my former.

        • So many similar stories. I’ve also been divorced 5 years after meeting Asshat in 1983 and marrying in 1993. Almost to meh, but not quite. I feel getting over that last little hurdle will take a lot of intention. But I also feel there will always be a part of me that will carry emotions of anger and sadness of what I thought my life would been, although I truly don’t want to be married to that man or ever see him again.

        • DOC1W&3K there never was a “contest” you were always your best self. You are now rid of this cheater which in itself is the best thing a huge WIN! He was doing you more harm than good and will continue to be his awful self with another person. We are conditioned to think we are not whole except as part of a partnership or marital contract which is simply untrue.

      • Similar situation but I’m only 6 months out. Time is helping but it feels so raw and really did a number on my self-esteem. Brutal discard for a person 23 years younger…

      • My divorce was just final yesterday. My first divorce was almost 34 years to the day…apart. My plan is to take my time to heal. 32 years…at least 15 abusive…that does not disappear Overnight.

    • Rebecca,

      I have just started divorce process. I am feeling scared about what my financial future will look like.

      I am curious about what you said, “you need to get done legally and get yourself away before beginning to heal.”

      FW left a year ago. Will divorce put me in a different place? Tell me more!!

      • The end of the divorce will put you in a different place. But you will know where you are and what you have to do next. If it’s re-enter the work force, find a new place to live or work, move, take care of yourself (and kids), it is a multitude of steps forward in YOUR life.
        Everything becomes what is best for you.
        Budgeting and figuring out what you can afford and do, all have the word YOU in it. Sometimes it really sucks but it is all now in your hands.
        Scary days but so much better than the fighting, legal bills and worrying about the cheating and what will happen during the divorce.
        This is the time for therapy and self-care if possible.
        I listened to Tracy when she talked about the “new normal” and “new traditions”. Holidays were VERY hard post-divorce. My family was gone, his dumped us to welcome the OW and we tried different things for the first few years.
        10 years old the traditions feel like they have always been there. I had to move several times but hope this is now my forever home.
        It took me a long time not to feel lonely but I got there. I learned to enjoy my own company and realize there are no “I should be doing…”. I tried dating after I got myself together and realized it will either happen organically or not at all.
        I wish I could show you a glimpse of where you will be 10 years down the line. But, since I can’t, I ask you to trust and take a leap of faith that you too will get there. ❤️

        • Rebecca – It amazes me that the life tasks you’ve described are nearly inevitable either as a young adult, a divorced person or a widow/widower. We have examples of success everywhere we look.

          Yet, the addition of betrayal and gaslighting can make us very ill or suicidal.

          It’s important to remember “thoughts are not facts” and to not burden ourselves with the baggage of FW. Their actions do not define us. But ours do. Every decision should be guided by our safety and full independence. Happiness will follow.

        • Thanks Rebecca and IcanseeTuesday,

          I appreciate the encouragement!! In some ways I feel like I’m in my 20s again. Being on my own, looking for a new job. Trying to figure out the way forward. Those were scary and exciting times too. I met FW at a time where I really wanted a partner and he was nice to me. Looking back, I should have been more discerning. But I don’t regret it. I have my wonderful children and I love being a mom. Those are gifts I wouldn’t trade for anything.

          I am grateful for my kids and although, it’s hard to see what the future might look like, I am getting a lot of positive encouragement from friends, relatives, my therapist, and CN/CL. Thanks!!

        • Rebecca, once the UNCERTAINTY of the legal process is behind you, you will start to heal. The financial drain and anxiety for the future. That calms down. So it definitely gets better..I am one day post divorce and a weight has lifted. That’s a start

      • YES!!! I just went through a brutal divorce (he fought everything tooth and nail, all while telling me he would do anything I asked! Why involved the lawyers and make THEM rich, blah, blah, blah) and there’s just something about not being legally joined with him that is just so peaceful. Even though I left him and wasn’t around him for 18 months while the divorce went on, there was a peace once the divorce was final.

        Also, I had no idea that things could go my way in the divorce—I was so fearful of the actual divorce and had no idea that his behavior made things go my way financially (and I even live in a no-fault state). I don’t know what your specific financials are, but for me, I went into the whole thing thinking worst-case scenario and I was still okay with that. I was surprised that I had a lot more legal standing than I ever thought (which is why you need a decent lawyer—it’s worth it, even though I really did stress about the outlay of money initially. I ultimately got it back in a settlement he was forced to do).

        But regardless of how things shake up financially, you’ll be okay because you won’t be linked to this horrible person via marriage. You’ll be free. Wishing you the best!

        • I did want to add that I decided that no matter if I ended up hugely in debt for years and struggling to make ends meet, when I got my paychecks, I would get to decide what I did with them. I would NOT have to put up with him hiding money, worry about him sneaking around and humiliating me, and then screaming at me about how I spent too much money at the grocery store. It boiled down to me calling the shots. Which can be scary. But is also empowering.

          I just wanted to mention that I also had no idea that I had a few rights, too, even in a no-fault state, which I never would have realized if I hadn’t had legal counsel and went through an official divorce.

          • Yes! I agree with this! I did not know my rights. I wanted to get out with my (small) inheritance intact so I could start over and not be homeless and when he announced we could just split it (while he made like four times what I made) I got pissed and called a lawyer and asked what I could get. Turns out I was entitled to a lot. His repulsive grab for a whole $23,000 he had zero rights to in our state cost him a hell of a lot more than that.

  • Headaches. Awful. Debilitating. Stress headaches. And ocular migraines. They have just disappeared. I find it staggering.

    • 100% this! I started having migraines when I began dating him in college. They remained all through my marriage. Add to that an eye twitch, heart mummer and terrible back pain. I actually got a Cortisone injection for the back pain. After divorce all of the afflictions – GONE. 3 years later FW free and pain free. It’s amazing how our bodies keep telling us something is wrong.

    • Me too! I was having 2-3 day headaches twice a week. Then after d-day they suddenly stopped.

  • My teeth became terrible – cavities and root canals. The stress of d-day, mindfuckery afterwards and the divorce process caused me more than one trip to the endodontist. One of my friends is going thru a divorce (unfortunately she’s also a chump) and she had a sore inside her mouth so her dentist referred her to a specialist because they wanted to rule out oral cancer. Thankfully, it’s not cancer but likely stress induced grinding/possible nawing during sleep. My advice to chumps is to visit the dentist for your regular checkups because teeth problems can develop suddenly and if left untreated, they can certainly develop into other heath problems such as the risk of infections and heart attacks.

    • Yes, that’s one I experienced as well . I got canker sores a lot. I haven’t had any since I’ve been FW free.

    • I got more cavities in 8 weeks of in-home separation than in the previous 45 years of my life. Two of them were below the gum line (which I didn’t even know was possible) and weren’t detected by my dentist. They eventually cost me two teeth; I’m halfway through getting implants. Stress is a killer.

      • This is crazy! I have had a lot more dental work since DDay. I have always gone to the dentist regularly, and was kind of wondering why all of a sudden, I needed a few fillings and 2 root canals when things had been routine for years.

    • FYI, caries can be orally and, according to some sources, even sexually transmissible. Stress doesn’t help but I’m betting whomever your ex was banging had serious oral and gut flora imbalance, possibly reproductive tract imbalance as well. I got my first and only cavity as an adult some time after the AP had a root canal. As it turned out, the AP was a compulsively promiscuous alcoholic and bulimic with PCOS who ate a heavily processed diet and was prone to yeast infections– five separate risk factors. Poetic justice is that FW got several cavities following that escapade. Lie down with dogs and all that. The infuriating thing is that I didn’t consent to flea (or caries) exposure.

    • Funnily enough, I had to have a tooth out the other week. I hadn’t been to the dentist in years, I was neglecting myself so badly, and had started to get toothache and jaw ache, plus things were getting caught in the cavity where the tooth was rotting! Ugh!
      It’s horrifying the way that FWs poison us, isn’t it!

  • When the OW moved to our city to be near FW (and took a job at the same university that he and I taught at), I got hugely sick with an unexplained fatigue. It lasted for several months and was very scary. Two years later, when D-Day came, I put two and two together and saw that the illness might have been caused by this unseen toxin in my environment.

  • This is a great Friday Challenge and good for the newbies to hear so they realize it’s so important to listen to your body.

    For over 5 years I stumped doctors as they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Every 4-6 months I went to the doctor very ill and complaining of the same symptoms: hair falling out, major headaches/migraines, couldn’t sleep, major exhaustion, and the dreaded UTI’s. Each time my doctor ran a full panel bloodwork and each time the only abnormal thing was an influx of cortisol but it wasn’t too alarming to him because that can be caused by the lack of sleep. It wasn’t until later when my body started turning on itself that things got worse – IBS set in, my weight dropped drastically, and my hair started falling out in handfuls, that is when they thought I might have cancer. After a borage of tests that came back negative, my doctor finally sat me down and asked about my family life because all of test/blood work came back “normal” except for consistently I had elevated cortisol which let him know that stress was killing me. He put it like this – he could give me all the medicine in the world but it wouldn’t help me because I was on the road to a heart attack, stroke, or aneurism. And, that’s when I broke my silence about the abuse. In my case, it was more than infidelity. My body was telling me I was in danger!

    Right after divorce boils and acne covered by body in places that I never thought you could get it ….even my toenails would get infected and I would have to get them lanced. Ooof My doctor said my body was purging years of toxins so I needed to be patient.

    Getting out and going limited contact/grey rock helped the most. I have kids so no contact wasn’t an option. He is a certified narc or some kind of cluster B personality disordered FW so the abuse continued but it just took the form of judicial and more financial abuse as well as neglecting the kids. I would have some pretty bad days but at least I had recovery time to heal since we were not in the same house. I went through 5 years of post divorce BS from that fucker until a court ordered psychiatrist (who tested us) wrote a scathing report about him and his abusive tactics during a years long post divorce child custody battle. THAT report saved me and my kids lives! I’m still paying for it and definitely some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I’m almost 10 yrs out now. Whoop whoop!

      • Oh hurrah for that doctor. Many would’ve missed it but HELLO! CORTISOL!!

        • Ps I hope your health now is great. You paid a very high price. And before Dday you had no idea what price you are paying!

          • Thank you! My health is as good as it can be….sadly though, some recent side affects have popped up which they aren’t sure is from Covid or living in survival mode with elevated Cortisol levels all those years.

            Christmas is one of our busiest times of the year and typically after I “crash” and within a week I feel normal again. This year I never felt normal. Instead extreme exhaustion took over my life. I would have to take 3-4 naps a day just to get through the day. I’m in my early 40’s, this is not normal. So, I went to the doctor thinking that it might be my thyroid but it was all normal. Instead, it was my testosterone that was seriously low. They are regulating it now and I finally feel normal. I will forever be on testosterone shots from here on out.

            When I asked my new doctor why did this happen she said several factors could have contributed to it and she included being in a long term toxic relationship can wreck havoc on your body, especially your hormones. Think about it, Cortisol is constantly burning your energy supply (Testosterone is just one of them) to keep you alert and on edge. In my situation, I was born into a toxic family, married and had children with a toxic man, and even after divorce continued the pattern surrounding myself with toxic people in every area of my life until 5 years ago. So, except for the last 5 years toxic was my normal. This is why getting out and going no/limited contact is so important. As well as fixing your picker so you don’t repeat the pattern, setting boundaries with toxic people, and teaching your children so they don’t repeat it. My doctor personally feels that my testosterone was negatively affected by the abuse but then me getting a bad case of Covid 3x sealed my fate.

    • Good for you, SouthernChump. And I’m sorry you went through such difficult travails, until you were finally free.

    • Wow Southern Chump! Super doctor!

      Reading your story, I now must presume that I too had an influx of cortisol during the avalanche of disqualifications from sparkledick whom, as I now know, was in the middle of a torrid affair, hence his need to blameshift and complain about everything, even that my hair was gray.

      I could sense the change in the smell of his breath (the topic of a recent Fun Friday).

      Well, I discovered later that I had developed tuberculosis, my lungs are full of calcified granulomas! My doctor says that I am one of a minority of patients who self cure. I am sure my self-cure came around when I focussed on taking care of myself and divorced FW.

      LACGAL: a new treatment for TB, I guess!

      • Wow!! TB….Holy Cow! ClearWaters, I hate to hear this and I pray you are in remission. Please take care of yourself. Self-care is definitely a MUST!

      • I wonder if he transmitted TB to you from sex workers because the latter reportedly have extremely high rates. Even if he didn’t contract it himself, he could have carried and passed it on. As we all learned during COVID, even someone with effective immunity to the bug can still carry and transmit it.

        Honestly, it should be in the medical literature: FWectomy as TB cure. Peace, blessings and continuing health to you.

    • Our integrative family doctor– a very gentile, ageless and glamorous woman in her sixties– was baffled by my sustained high cortisol. When I asked for STD-testing following D-Day, she naturally had to ask why I needed it after 20 years of marriage. She listened so placidly that I didn’t know what she was thinking. That mystery was cleared up when she immediately cut off FW’s Viagra scrip. I totally adore her.

      • HoaC, what a story! I hope everything came back ok for your health. But that doctor! I love her!!

        • Thank you– cortisol level eventually went back down. From the number of other chumps who also experienced sky-high cortisol while being cheated on and abused, it’s a wonder this biomarker doesn’t automatically trigger alarms over family safety.

          This doctor rocks. She looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth but, underneath, she apparently has a spine of steel. In my experience, most run-of-the-mill doctors– like therapists– will adjust their ethics, perspectives and allegiances to whomever is paying the bills, which at that time was FW. But she didn’t seem to give a damn and flicked him the nuts with a perfectly lacquered fingernail. She also– wisely– ordered pap smears every six months for the foreseeable future. Obviously it’s disconcerting that my risk has suddenly increased so much that it requires doubled HPV cancer screening but, again, your run-of-the-mill grease monkey family doctor might have ignored or downplayed the risk just like they would have downplayed the bill-payer’s abusiveness, so I feel lucky the kids and I are in such good hands.

          • Hell of a – my doctor was the same❤️. And, my FW was paying the bills but that didn’t matter to my doctor. He sat me down and listened to what was actually happening behind closed doors then his face turned red and he stood up and hugged me as I was sobbing and said “I’m not a man that believes in divorce but in this case, I do! He is killing you! This is abuse!” Then he went on to explain what abuse REALLY looked like and how it’s not just physical but escalates to physical. Dazed and confused he gave me an action plan and told me to come back in 3-4 days to check in. I checked in with him for a while till he knew I was safe. What I didn’t know then that I know now is the amount of hidden domestic abuse and infidelity in my community. It’s pretty scary!

  • Overnight it seemed deep kissing was unpleasant. I didn’t even suspect that prostitutes and girls were happening. I just thought it so odd and often thought afterward if my body knew. Or was it after years of rejection and harsh treatment ? I’ll never know. Not an illness, but an oddity.

    • Wow, yes. I started getting grossed out a few months into FW’s affair. They start kissing differently when they cheat. It may not be perceptible to the conscious mind but I think some ganglia at the bases of our skulls is going, “WTF?”

    • I had the same experience. I loved kissing my husband before he started acting out, and around the time he started seeing sex workers, I lost all desire to kiss him. His breath, his mouth, his smell all became disgusting.

    • I feel honored to be present when an epic and sorely needed term was coined for the first time in history. Gad, what was up with clipping chest hair and pubes down to a prickly, painful hedgehog effect? Is that why female chumps get branded as “sexless”– because we start avoiding “manscaping muff chafe”?

      And what’s up with APs tolerating it? Do they all have leathery nethers? Are they perpetually anesthetized with vodka? Grateful not to have to see graying shrubbery? Or just putting up with the pain as part of a desperate pickme dance?

      • I’m here waiting for an ambulance to take me to hospital and you’ve made me giggle, so thank you Hell of a Chump!

        • Shadow, I hope you don’t have a long stay in the hospital. Wishing you a quick recovery from your ailment. Sending you positive vibes & healing through the internet.

        • Oh dear, Shadow. Sending healing thoughts. Please update soon!

    • A man who likes to trim his hair
      May face a problem down there
      When his skin gets red and sore
      From rubbing on his schmoopies core

      He thinks he’s doing her a favor
      By shaving off his natural flavor
      But she might not appreciate
      The friction that he generates

      So before he goes to bed with her
      she should apply a barrier down there
      Or better yet, just let it grow
      The old grey goat with natural flow

      He may think that he is young and free
      But he is old and sad
      He shaves off all the graying hairs
      To forget the years he’s had

    • Weed free
      It goes the other way as well. FW would Brazilian wax and stumble was like course 200 course sand paper. Told her many times she didn’t need to “bring it all the way down” because of the chafe but she continued to. Didn’t know why but now I do

  • A few months prior to D Day he had passed onto me a most awful water infection, he claimed he had a family history of kidney infections as his father had kidney stones! The doctor prescribed antibiotics, it could of course been much worse! Then I broke out in shingles with the stress of it all.

  • I was very depressed. I did not want to go anywhere. Just grocery shopping was exhausting. Just having him in the same room made me feel off. My depression got so bad that my daughter asked me to get help.
    Now I am no longer depressed. I feel safe. And of course FW free.

    • I was depressed also, walking on eggshells, felt an out of body existence when we were together, he was flat and I felt my affect becoming flat and guarded. I had that constant fatigue and nauseas feeling. The body keeps the score!!

  • Twice in my life under extreme stress I have broken out in what looks like major cold sores. Strangely, when tested, I test negative for the herpes virus. But when I finally got that Ex was out dating and hooking up and not actually working on the marriage at all, the major stress of it made me lose 10 pounds (I’m already very thin and my pants were literally falling off me) and break out into a months long episode of mouth sores of unknown cause. I filed for divorce while looking like my mouth would fall off. I haven’t had an outbreak of whatever that is since.

    Before DDay, my body had more subtle clues. I used to dream he was cheating on me, and I frequently had a lot of neck and shoulder pain. No more. Thank God. Like others, I’m often really really glad that DDay happened and I am free of that situation.

    • Holy moly, the dreams! My dreams were always telling me how unsettled I truly felt. I had forgotten the terror of feeling that God, the universe, my subconscious, were telling me a deeper, hidden truth. I used to dream, often, that he was trying to kill me. Then I’d wake up in a sweat and have to either hide what I’d just suffered in my unrestful sleep, or mention it and watch him get annoyed that I was wanting some kind of reaction to reassure me of his fidelity / of “reality,” and then just try to let it go so we could have a nice day.

  • I suffered a strange mouth twitch, I constantly pushed my lips out. It was caused from mental trauma. The mental trauma was instantaneous after an incident where FW got mad in the car at me. He was pissed I was following his plan to purchase a home in the town he had been raised in. He got furious, told me to shut the fuck up, took his iPad off the dash, broke it across the steering wheel. Then threw it out the window, while driving down the highway.

    He wanted that house after attending a class reunion. I guess so he could attend to his mid life crisis and relive his “glory days”.

    It took a VERY long time and conscience effort to get over my mouth twitch. I will never forget how he told me to stop “doing that shit with my mouth”! At one point he told me he was glad that happened!

    Now he sings the “Mr. Sad Sausage Song”. He is on the “I’m fighting for us rendition”! No need to fight for me Mr. Sad Sausage, I sure as hell am not fighting for you!

    • I didn’t see it as a typo at first. FWs could be mad you’re not following their plan or mad when you actually are. The goalposts are constantly moving, there is no rationality to it.
      “You followed my plan?!? That plan was stupid! You should have known by looking at my plan that It wasn’t quite right. and now I’ve come up with something new. It’s not MY problem you can’t see the obvious/ read my mind!” giant eye roll of contempt because clearly you’re worthless

  • From the time FW started his affair with AP coworker, his subtle changes in behavior and not-so-subtle animosity towards me kept needling me. I started feeling confused and off balance but could not put my finger on it. At the same time, I was trying desperately to lose weight… I was eating right and exercising… But about 25 pounds would not come off.

    It was all within a few months of their affair… things started not adding up. We ran into his coworker “by coincidence “ at a sporting goods store while shopping for our son’s little league baseball gear. Then she invited us over for an after work bbq at her house and was surprised that I was there (???).

    FW almost always withheld sex. Never wanted it and I couldn’t understand why. But one night (trigger warning trigger warning) he woke me in the middle of the night and forcibly had sex with me. He was cold and didn’t say anything. I realized I’d been raped by him and I confronted him the next morning. He just stared at me… No words.

    Then a few weeks later a friend (by coincidence or a final sign from the heavens) called me sobbing that she thought her husband was cheating on her. I was already out that day because FW was acting strange and I took myself out to lunch alone. It was pouring rain. I pulled over to listen to my friend… and my whole body started shaking. Suddenly all the pieces came together. And I realized FW was cheating on me. I could feel my whole body telling me.

    And the rest is on this blog many multiples of times, but when I confronted him… that weight I couldn’t lose? 15 pounds off in one week. 25 off within a month.

    • Wow, my ex did exactly the same, withheld sex and then raped me while I was asleep. He was angry afterwards too, like it was my fault. I think now that he was dreaming of her, and furious because he woke mid-sex to find it was me.

      • Knittedrobin, I don’t think they are dreaming or surprised it was us. They do it out of power. Just more control and abuse during discard. And then still blame us. I’m so sorry it happened to you too.

        • I’m sure you must be right,but it is so shocking, so horrible.

        • MichelleShocked, I agree 100%. It’s a control thing.

          They know exactly what they are doing. They have to justify their shitty behavior toward us so they do things to make us lower and lower in their eyes.
          For some super messed-up reason, making you a rape victim fuels their narrative that you’re “weak” or “bad” and therefore they were right to abuse you.

          Six years of reading here and experiences in real life have taught me never EVER to give them the benefit of the doubt.

          He knew exactly what he was doing.

      • The only upside of the RIC debacle was the “full disclosure” bit. I don’t know why but it’s as if FW went into a trance and recounted a year’s worth of previous attempts to have workplace affairs, including several rejections. I imagine it’s very rare for clinical narcissists to confess to being losers and to report how many times they batted out. Getting a candid disclosure like this made me feel like a scientist finding some rare artifact which changed the timeline of human evolution.

        Anyway, the point is that FWs rarely end up with their top tier choice. Most aren’t going to brag about how many times they failed before they found (or hired) anyone to have sex with them. So they aren’t necessarily fantasizing about APs but all the targets they could never get near. That fact may not be consoling but it has some comic relief.

    • My ex would have sleep sex during discard and then in the morning say he didn’t remember it and get mad at me..

      • Consider the possibility he was faking sleep so he could grub a little credibility when he swore to the AP he stopped having sex with his wife. Or he did it just to fuck with your head. If he actually had a long history of sleep walking or “suspension of sleep paralysis,” take comfort in the fact he’ll soon be out of your hair because he’s statistically likely to develop Parkinson’s (heavy clinical association between the two things).

      • Omg, this is what happened to me. Sleep sex and then blame me for it. Something I need to work through with a therapist. The last time before I walked out was particularly forceful. Other ailments I had and disappeared after divorce – headaches, constant acid reflux, insomnia, depression, hairfall, back ache, neck rashes. Acid reflux comes back occasionally when I think of him.

        • Reading the comments and realizing experienced so many more of these. Ulcers in the mouth, tongue, bad breath panic attacks. All of it went away. Developed fibroids though. And a pain in my abdomen which I think it’s linked to current state of hypervigilance since he started inserting himself into my social circles and has not left my suburb. Planning to leave the suburb myself as I can recognise the effect on health now.

    • The scene of marital rape in the movie The Duchess, with Keira Knightley, really staged the way that within relationships people force sex to show their partner who is boss. The duke’s entitled cheating in the movie is also stark; an illustrative dramatic representation of power tripping. I don’t know why I needed that validation, but after seeing the movie, I felt like someone had confirmed my suspicions about certain dynamics, and I had answers to “why does he do that?” The answer: “because he wants to show that he can and to exercise power to have whatever he wants.”

      I’m sorry that happened to you, Michelle. You’ve written about it before but I always appreciate seeing things from a new angle, and how a chump’s experience relates to the question or blog post. Thank you for sharing it with us again here.

      • I saw the film twice and thought the film broke ground by drawing a parallel between cheating and domestic violence and therefore exposing A) what I’ve long believed is the central MO of most batterers– the enforcement of sexual double standards– and B) that, contrary to apologists’ claims, cheaters aren’t expressing groovy “poly” leanings but are, instead, rigidly demanding and enforcing (through lies, of course, but also usually with more directly abusive and intimidating tactics) one-sided monogamy and, C) marital rape, even if it doesn’t happen in every single case (it’s less likely between, for instance, she-cheaters and male chumps), is still highly predictable within those dynamics because the essence of rape has already been perfectly expressed by the one-sided enforcement of monogamy and theft of consent. As a former advocate for battering survivors, I think it’s about time that parallel was hammered into public consciousness.

        That said, I’m deeply sorry that you related so directly to the film’s protagonist because you had similar experiences.

  • I guess nothing big, but smaller issues kept repeating. One classic was a repeating yeast infection. I haven’t had one in almost 2 years and before I had it almost every month. In general my health wasn’t great during those years, many colds in the winter and so on. This last winter was the first winter I didn’t have one cold or anything like that. What I also noticed is that my body changed or my metabolism changed in my relationship with the FW. I was always skinny prior, my whole life, so almost 30 years. It was just the genes I guess but I could basically eat anything and wouldn’t really gain weight. Then gradually I started gaining weight while with him.. Not a lot, but it was maybe 1-2 kg per year and in 7 years that showed something. And it wasn’t like I changed my lifestyle, I was still working out, still eating pretty much the same way.. I did have a baby in between, but all this started before my pregnancy. And the weight would just stick. I couldn’t lose it, even if I really tried and I never before any problems with that. It really frustrated me, because it was totally different than what I was used to. Now, after I am FW free, my body is going back to normal. I lost like 5-6kg in maybe a month or two (after I finally decided and told him to fuck off) without even trying, I actually didn’t have time to workout or anything in that period. Ok, some of it was stress and maybe a bit less appetite, but I ate pretty much normally most of the time. My body feels like it’s my own again. It’s hard to explain without experiencing it, but it’s like I’m coming back to my old self. My friends also tell me that my face now looks completely different and so much better.

  • I was waking up in the middle of the night with chest pain thinking I either and also having some pain in my left arm (probably neck related) or possibly I thought I had breast cancer. I had an ECG done, enhanced mammography and I cut back on caffeine which did help a bit. My ex even bought me an Apple watch for the ECG function. However, immediately after dday and GYFO day all this ended and never came back. Even when I was still crying my eyes out alone in my house during a pandemic, my body was more relaxed!

  • I had a resting heart rate of 117.

    For anyone who doesn’t know, normal heart rate is between 60-100 in adults. And a resting heart rate of 100 is concerning. Anything above 100 is called “tachycardia” (fast heart rate) and it’s not good.

    I said my heart rate was 117 and he told me I needed to “find something to calm your ass down.”

    He left and my resting heart rate went down to 74. Yeah turns out what I needed to calm down was losing about 165 pounds of cheating fuck knuckle.

    • This happened to me too. My heartrate is normally between 55 en 57 (relatively low). My heartrate went up to 80 which is high for me. This month its 59 for the first time in 18 months! I’m getting there.

    • So going to steal “cheating fuck knuckle”. Thanks for the laugh.

    • I had bouts of tachychardia where my heart was somewhere around 180 bpm. I don’t know exactly because it was so fast I literally couldn’t feel a pulse (do you know how scary it is when you feel your pulse and there’s NOTHING???). I couldn’t breathe (well, I’d breathe, but it was like I got no air) and I’d be lightheaded, sometimes for as long as 15 or 20 minutes. It once happened while I was driving. I went to the cardiologist and had all the tests and there was nothing wrong with me. The Dr. did give me his cell phone number in case anything happened at an off-hours time, and taught me to slow my heartrate by pressing on my neck arteries but there was nothing else to do.

      I haven’t had an episode since FW died.

  • This! My brother, the Chump, was so ill that it was a wonder he kept his job. Serious, scary sick so that family got very concerned. Once the pos abandoned them he got well. This was not drawn out. He was up and going within a few weeks. Was not ever sick again until an old childhood illness got him.

      • After he calmed down and we talked, he told me what it was like inside that house. He worked a full-time job, childcare, laundry, food, and was so sick. He was in and out of the hospital. She never lifted a hand. When she was gone, his life went 180° almost immediately.

    • Hearing the stories described second hand from the perspective of someone who really cares about the chump adds another level of heartbreak and also “WTF?” How can some people be so evil as to watch this happen and know they caused it? That’s not to stay that first-hand stories aren’t gugginb. I think it’s just that added level of the story being described through the eyes of love that provides such a violent contrast to FWs’ inhumanity.

      • She not only left without warning, she ghosted them. He got full custody. She made one pitiful attempt to see them but did not show up on the day she was to be there. After that nothing. He got over her and remarried with more children but he never forgave her for what she did to theirs. They have a dedicated step-mother but the cost to them never really goes away.
        I loved my sweet, loving brother, and watching him and his kids go through this was awful. I don’t know why I continue to come here except I hope what little bit of info might help. He went from a quiet man to an avenging one. He was in court within weeks to get full custody and still has the utter devotion of all his kids. And found a wonderful woman who took on his family.

        • By what you write, it seems your brother passed away due to the legacy of a childhood illness later? If that’s the case, I’m so sorry. It always makes me wonder if chronic conditions aren’t exacerbated and worsened by domestic abuse which typically takes such a toll on the health of even the healthiest people.

          • His illness did not come back until later, but others cropped up during his marriage. They disappeared as soon as she left. I’m talking just a few weeks. It was amazing the difference in him with her out of his life. I did not realize, until several years later, the profound negative impact she had on him and their kids. As far as I know, there was no abuse there was just chronic neglect, including emotional neglect.

            • He was the ultimate frog in the water. Had loved her from a very young age. She was a cutie, very popular, very smart. She went out the door and became a different person.

            • I’m guessing your brother had very acute intuition, almost like a woman’s. That’s not to say this is an effeminate trait, just something we more often associate with maternal instinct. The husband of a good friend is a professor of climate physics at a major university and they joke how he’s the most “mom-ish” member of the couple who always envisions and protects against every potential danger their child could encounter on a playground. He just picks up on vibes and probability. Their son obviously knows he’s loved. It’s horrifying to think of how that wonderful sensitivity can be turned into a source of torture by a sneakily corrupt and dishonest person.

  • I was having heavy hemorraging during the year of discard. I put it off to peri menopause; which was possible. I did get checked for STDs, and when I finally went to the dr, I did have an infection of some kind. Can’t remember and he put me on a round of meds.

    After fw left, but we were still legally separated it eased a lot, and did not start again for ten more years, at that time it was definitely menopause.

    I also remember just being so tired the year of discard, especially the last three months. He would come in and say he was going to ride around with the guys and I was so tired I could barely raise my head. How I kept working and doing everything else I have no idea.

    I just think my body was fighting tooth and nail against facing the truth.

  • I had urinary track infections almost constantly. The doctor thought it had to be interstitial cystitis, since antibiotics didn’t help much. Treatment for that didn’t help much either.

    Since dumping FW, I haven’t had one infection in five years. I can take a bath again. 😀 For far too many years I couldn’t, because my urinary tract was so sensitive that it would pick bacteria up from the water. There is, however, permanent damage in the form of scars, so I still have a bit of pain sometimes. I just need to drink cranberry juice every day to take care of it. I even had the scars scraped and burned off at one point, only to aquire more of them from subsequent infections. Oh, what a world of difference it is without that daily agony!

    • Wow! I had intersistial cystitis during my marriage. So much pain. You just gave me something to think about

    • Get Cystoplus, drink a packet at the very beginning, presto, gone. You can buy it at Walmart. A pharmacist steered me to it during COVID when I couldn’t get in to see a dr. cured it faster than the harsh antibiotics the dr would have put me on. It just rebalances your system. I get them from eating acidic fruit.

    • Buy a bag of powdered “d Mannose” on Amazon. It is the active ingredient in cranberry juice, but much more concentrated, much cheaper, and no calories/sugar. And take much more than you read. It is natural and harmless.

  • This may not be exactly physical, but I could no longer eat in my house. It made me physically ill. I had no idea anything was wrong in marriage at all. I am a praying woman, so I was praying about it (cause I thought it was really weird) and I felt like it had something to do with my ex. Weird how our bodies know.

  • I experienced symptoms of trauma following discovery including significant and rapid weight loss, insomnia, hypervigilance. But, amazingly, I haven’t been sick one day in the last four years.

    During the months? years? of undiscovered cheating, I spent hundreds of hours looking for homes in rural settings hours away. It was like an addiction which helped me calm. I think my body knew my marriage’s current location wasn’t safe.

    • Omg, I did the same thing! I would often feel perplexed because I didn’t really want to move, I love my home.

      It is obvious to me now that some unspoken part of my brain was trying to get me to flee

  • The ex was cheating with long distance exgfOW for years (possibly 26 years, as long as our relationship lasted). For the last 10 years, I continually had coughs and colds and sinusitis. I have had none of this since he left nearly 4 years ago. I was dumped and discovered the affair later. At the time of dumping, the cough became so bad that, coupled with the 2 stones weight loss in 3 weeks, my GP sent me for a chest x-Ray to rule out lung cancer. Turns out that living with a cheating liar was the problem. Now I’m amazingly healthy for my 63 years. People regularly say I am ‘glowing’.

    It’s funny though. Before discovering the affair, I had cause to see the ex at a prearranged event. I was still desperate for him to explain, return, give me crumbs. He was jowly, spotty, and had a horrible cold. It was as if I had been absorbing his noxious substances throughout the relationship. Once I was free, even if that wasn’t what I had wanted, the noxious substances remained where they should, in his body. This man used to sweat yellow, oily, stinky, fluid from his pores into our bed. He was a heavy drinker and I put it down to that. Now I believe that it was his evil nature seeping out. My bed is as fresh as a daisy when I get up, even when the whippet has snuggled under the duvet in the morning! Long live freedom!

  • Years before I knew he was cheating I started having random panic attacks. I developed food sensitivities and then a thyroid problem. I got lots of coughs and colds. My health was horrible after DDay due to the trauma, I weighed only 90 pounds. But oddly a lot of my health issues went away and no more panic attacks.

  • I had a fascinating reaction when I was pregnant. My husband must have just started his new affair when I was abouts six months pregnant. I was miles away at work, but all the sudden I felt as if someone had kicked me in the stomach. When I arrived at our apartment that evening, he was getting out of a car with a strange women. Of course he had excuses why he was with her, but down inside, I knew.

  • Oof, this kills me to think about. That I thought my health problems at the time were unrelated, even though doctors were telling me they were likely stress related…

    I had a menstrual cycle that got progressively heavier and longer until one day it just didn’t end. I took hormones for months and eventually had a surgical procedure to correct this. I got sent to the ER for a blood transfusion once because I had no detectable iron levels. I would get abdominal cramps that were so bad that I couldn’t walk. Several doctors that didn’t take my pain seriously later, I finally got one that said that it was stress-induced IBS. All of this was in our first two years of marriage, before I had a D-Day. My body knew what my mind suspected.

  • I spent months going to a chiropractor for back pain. The minute I found out about the A and he moved out I no longer had to go to the chiropractor

  • My kids (in college when he left) and I had significant gastrointestinal issues and were on medication and restricted diets, particularly my daughter and me. I lost a huge amount of weight because I could barely eat during my separation. That began well before the split and then gradually faded. We were perpetually on high alert when he was around for years.

    Now? We eat everything and just have a little reflux at times, but nothing major.

    I used to also beat myself up for my struggle with anxiety, and one of my kids developed debilitating anxiety. Now? Gone. Maybe I’ll be uneasy going to a medical specialist or waiting for an Uber, but that’s it. Just normal stuff that fades.

  • I got one painful hive, large, on my butt, same place, same time. It would take forever to heal. Never had one since. The body keeps score. Dr. said it was the Herpes simplex virus, hmmmmm wonder where I got that from????

  • This is such a good idea!

    Weird dreams about him cheating long before I even let myself wonder.

    Constant sinus infections. Constant. Zero healthy days ever. It was bizarre- I’m usually pretty peppy.

    Migraines so bad I was bed ridden for a year. Now I have those maybe twice a year?

    And kiddo was constantly falling and injuring himself – we had so many urgent care visits. Post-divorce, he’s the most athletic, coordinated kid.

    I always say you’ll never spot a psychopath unless you look at the people around them. When you see one angel surrounded but flaming hot dumpster fires in human form, be very very suspicious of the “angel.” Good people care deeply about the condition of their loved ones – and tend to heal or hide their struggle from public scrutiny.

    • This is a good point. I felt bad about it but I remember meeting my ex husbands friends and being surprised by how… below average? they seemed. I don’t know how to say it nicely. One was in school and working on improving her health during this time and i remember feeling relieved when I met her because it was like here’s someone with some goals! But it was weird to me. I know I might piss some people off by bringing up weight but the reality is that there are very different lifestyles between being fit and weighing 400+ pounds. Usually people have things in common with their friends. None of it made any sense to me. Now I wonder how much of a negative effect he had on these childhood friends who were clearly already struggling with issues. I know he gave me issues. He probably made theirs worse.

  • A tangerine sized tumor (benign, mercifully) that was discovered weeks before my divorce was finalized. The tumor was formed by cells that sheath nerves. I literally had a ball of nerves cut out of me at the same time my new life was beginning.

  • Even before the whole “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” BS got released, my body knew something was wrong. I couldn’t eat all day, or else risk getting sick at work, and when I finally couldn’t even drink water without my stomach rolling, I went to the Dr and was diagnosed with IBS. I was put on a diet that removed a couple common food triggers and was able to eat again, but lost close to 30lbs very quickly – to the point that a coworker asked me if I had cancer. I said no, with no idea there was definitely a cancer in my life. When I finally found out the truth of what was going on and divorced FW, the weight came back (I’ve never been a large person to begin with) and I still have to explain to Drs at my annual physicals etc that I have been miraculously cured of the IBS – I tell people I didn’t have a gluten intolerance, I ad a FW intolerance.

  • Oh wow, I had so much. The UTIs where I pissed blood were a big one. The random swelling of body parts, usually one of my lips was not fun. But nothing tops the hallucinations. Things telling me to run. My bedroom wall lighting up like it was becoming a portal and screams to “get out!” coming from it before he’d come home from work. A scary “little girl” thing I dared not look at that would ride in my backseat and whisper at me not to go home, to keep driving.

    I was very ill with a deadly disease and having neurological issues that caused the hallucinations but I remember telling a therapist that it seemed like my subconscious was trying to warn me about something. I just didn’t know what. That was dismissed as paranoia.

    Blows my mind now. I remember he went away to work in another city for almost a year. I was exhausted and still dying but the hallucinations stopped. Then I had to drive to meet him for a vacation and the little girl came back and whispered at me to just turn around and go home the whole time. I was sick and going crazy but part of me knew and was desperately trying to save me. The human brain is amazing. I trust myself now. If I get a feeling about something, I listen to it.

    • My sister heard voices with hallucinations. She began listening to the voices and do what they directed her. At work, they interrupted her to tell her to go home immediately. She found her FW in their marital bed with another FW.

      • Oh wow! That’s so amazing to me. Her subconscious was fighting for her with everything it had. I’m glad she listened.

  • Before marriage, I’d never used fabric softener before. He used it, so when we were married I added it to the laundry repertoire. And I found out VERY VERY QUICKLY that I’m allergic to fabric softener in a place where ladies do NOT want to be allergic to fabric softener. I mean, when we’d do it, I half expected to see smoke coming from down there; it was chafing so bad. A couple doctor visits later, and when I threw away the fabric softener and switched to a different detergent, and all good except for the occasional flare-up.
    Except during the Great Disintegration (as I’ve begun to call it, when he started drinking like a frat boy and clubbing until 3 am, but it didn’t even occur to me that he was cheating), I started having flare-ups CONSTANTLY.
    Now that the trash took itself out (three years ago tomorrow), I’ve only had one flare-up, and…. not a single panic attack except for the first night in my new house, and IBS attacks are now rare!

  • I am so glad this is the topic because I was just thinking about it the other day. Right before DDay I had awful shoulder pain. I tried everything possible. I went through physical therapy, massage, exercise, resistance exercises, lifting weights, Xrays, and an MRI. Could never determine the cause or what it was. Once I moved into a house and the divorce was closer to being final, the pain magically went away! I have not had any pain whatsoever since being away and divorced from FW.
    During the whole process I had some serious hair loss as well. That is much better. My hair is now thick again and probably even curlier than before (a real pain at times). I am trying to find some better products to get it under control.

  • An ulcer. Although I didn’t recognize it for what it was for several years. I also developed tension headaches so bad that my doctor put my on muscle relaxers. And oddly, I couldn’t stand the smell of him, it literally made me nauseous.

      • Oh yes, the stink! I normally have very little sense of smell but he suddenly stank to high heaven, even right out of the shower. Not a BO type smell – it was sort of a sickeningly sweet, somewhat moldy odor. And I have a relatively strong stomach but I would retch if I had to get near him. Also the intermittent hives and migraines. Oddly enough, everything resolved itself within a month of the divorce.

  • Before DDay, my legs would tingle when I layed down for bed. After divorce they no longer feel that way. Also since DDay my hands tingle, even after 4 years. The first month after DDay I lost 30 pounds and couldn’t taste any food. Now I am back to normal weight.

  • During wreckonciliation I was losing hair by the handful, I had UTI’s, had an unexplainable red angry rash on my arms, and I lost an unhealthy amount of weight… While my mind was trying to convince me that “you can work this out” my body knew better and couldn’t handle the stress and it took its toll. Once I got rid of FW, I also got rid of all of the physical symptoms.

  • I was diagnosed with IBS long ago. Had terrible flareups. Hmmmm it’s been four years since my last one and four and a half since I kicked him out. Coincidence? I think not. Especially if you believe in Chakras, namely the Solar Plexus (Manipura) Chakra.

  • In the three years before Dday, I knew something was off, but didn’t know what. He did strange things. For instance, while on a trip to visit his father he got clocked by a camera speeding, and kept it secret from me, including hiding the photograph under his table mat for months, then taking it out to brandish it at me, shaking the photo at me, saying, “Look! I was crying!”, as if it were my fault and I ought to know what I’d done. He ramped up his devaluing–one time he left me at the T-Mobile store waiting for the clerk to finish up initializing our new cell phones because he “had” to get to a meeting with the ex-student he was involved with–and I spent years internalizing it. I had attacks of PSVT (paroxysmal supra-ventricular tachycardia) and was hypervigilant, a feeling I knew from my childhood (I grew up with a violent father). It felt like PTSD, only I couldn’t put my finger on a cause, so I engaged in a lot of negative self-talk.

    After D-day, when I learned about the ex-student and his secret online sexual life, which included BDSM and transgender porn, my hypervigilance ramped up even farther. I had dreams in which I was in a building searching for an exit, as if my body/mind were telling me I needed to get out, but I was having trouble bringing myself to do it. One night I heard a voice in my dream very clearly tell me, like an auditory hallucination, “Get out now!”, as if my psyche had decided I needed to heed the obvious.

    It’s been five and a half years since I left. I can’t say that I am now Margarita-ville calm, but I’m in a much healthier state of mind and being.

    • Mine liked to leave me places to punish me for not doing exactly as I was told. I was left at a Walmart, a garden center, and an airport. He was so fucking mean

      • That’s not simply mean. That’s Control and punishment. Look up Narcisstic Sociopathic Personality Disorder. Its similar to and overlaps BDSM tendencies. Its all about control.

  • When Cheater was in grad school (the one where he suggested that he move 3000 miles away for 2.5 years without me and the kids but I thought he was kidding) I knew he acted like he did not love me or want me around but I did not consciously think he was fucking around. I lost my sex drive (ya think ?) and I was always cold…so cold I used to rewarm myself by blowing warm air into my clothes with a hairdryer. My body felt malfunctioning in many small ways.

    After Dday, Iike most, I couldn’t eat and lost a lot of weight. Around the time he he moved away (while assuring me that we were “together” and that he was only working elsewhere…fucking cake eater) he badgered me on the phone every time we spoke. I weighed 113 pounds, my hair was falling out and I had hives. I was right at the point of telling him to stop calling and visiting, I was done. On the very call where I was planning to tell him, he said “Im coming home” which (at the time) made my Unicorn heart happy, but dang…another 5 years of wreckonsillyation was ahead of me…ick.

    When I started dating forever-husband, people kept telling me that I looked younger every time they saw me.

  • I have never suffered a black eye again after changing the locks on my ex…

    • According to your ex, it’s because you stopped walking into doors so much. If he’s not currently bunking in a 10×6 cell with a 300 LB biker named Snuff, we all have some mass rallies to attend.

      • I have miraculously been cured of running into doorways! Thanks for your support Hell of a Chump….and the dream that on day exFW will meet up w Snuff and his gang 🙏

  • I had anxiety that was through the roof, to the point where I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking for about 2 years. Because my cheater hated us spending $ on medical care, I didn’t bother to seek treatment for it while with him. (Went straight to the doc after I left though, and am doing tons better – no more shaky hands after living on my own for a while. Panic attacks are rare now, too.)

    Also, a pretty strong aversion to have sex with him.

    Our bodies are so smart!

  • I started getting anxiety and panic attacks. I even started going to therapy because they were really starting to take a toll on my daily life. I’m still stressed out (prepping for divorce) but my anxiety is way less than it was and I haven’t had a full blown panic attack in months. My therapist told me that anxiety and intuition are often confused. I know she wasn’t being completely serious when she said it, but I’ll never forget that. Or ignore my body again.

    • Yep, I never had a panic or anxiety attack until this all went down, what an awful feeling.

    • Prior to my 2nd D-day, I became severely claustrophobic and started having frequent anxiety attacks. This was all new to me and being in my sixties I attributed it to menopause. Then the nightmares started, ones with snakes and me running and falling and STBX watching from the edge of the woods. Then, in the middle of a pandemic, I discovered evidence of serial cheating, lying, and gaslighting, despite the fact, “we started over after 1st D-day”. Now, 2 years out, no panic attacks, no bad dreams and my divorce will be final July 11th..a Tuesday!!!

    • divorce dealings are stressful, that’s for sure. i got a stress rash/excema every time the subject of pensions came up. #thepensionrash

    • Chump-o-potamus, there is a wonderful book called The Gift of Fear and in it the author writes “intuition is always right in at least two important ways; It is always in response to something. It always has your best interest at heart”. Your FW may not have had your best interest at heart, but your intuition does!

  • Yes! The last year of my marriage, my body felt like it was operating on survival mode. I remember feeling that it was shirking away from the Dickhead, like it was involuntarily stepping back, away from danger. He never physically hurt me but I realized that I did not trust him at all, and I knew that he did not have my back and was not my friend.

    Plus my hair got grayer and then it got darker, after the divorce. My story and I’m sticking with it.

  • Aside from your basic depression I dreamed he was cheating on me the night before I discovered the affair. I even told him about the dream and we laughed about it. Either my subconscious knew or it was a message from the beyond. Crazy the affair had been going on for 18 months and the dream was the NIGHT before discovery.

    • I found out through a dream as well. Confronted him and he confessed. I find dreams fascinating.

  • I’m not much of a crier. Apparently I was such an Italian opera as a toddler that my mother did what every generation of her family from the “old country” had done and co-slept with me so she could get sleep herself. She would joke that I got it all out of my system. But man did I cry a lot when the DARVO/devaluation stage began during FW’s affair. The only time I’d experienced that level of grief is when my middle child was diagnosed with a supposedly incurable cellular disorder as a baby. That was so bad that I developed a temporary heart murmur. But within a week of my son being diagnosed, I’d kicked into military recon mode, searched the world and found the international medical community developing safe Lorenzo’s Oil-type protocols for my son’s condition. As my son rapidly improved, the heart murmur went away.

    It’s always been my pattern to get a grip and solve problems but that failed me during FW’s affair and gaslighting. I remember relating to Valerie Plame’s speech in the film “Fair Game” when she states, “I thought: I’m Different. Bullet-proof. I don’t have a breaking point. I was wrong.” It’s like I kept frantically punching codes into my trusty problem-solving machine and nothing worked so I started falling apart. I’d go to sleep crying, wake up crying and would have to ice my face to hide evidence of it from the kids. Then I started getting frequent eye infections. I always knew when I was going to get one because it was preceded by a certain kind of crushing hopelessness I’d never experienced before. Normally you’d think tears are cleansing but mine seemed to be poison. From the mountains of medical literature I read related to my son’s condition, I figured I was experiencing stress-impaired immunity. No matter what I ate, I kept losing weight and was also sick all the time, partly because FW was binge-drinking and gorging on junk food with his barfly AP so much that his health went to hell and he’d bring home every bug in circulation.

    Cut to the present, everything is better. I don’t feel like I’m completely bulletproof yet. I got COVID twice but, relatively speaking, I think I sailed through both bouts and I don’t freak out if someone around me sneezes because I’m no longer prone to catch everything going around. According to tests and labs, I’ve reverse-aged about 15 years. My BP is a stable 100 over 60.

    One of the simple, effective measures medically recommended for my son’s condition was removing everything toxic and inflammatory from his environment so I took it one step further. No processed, pesticide-laden food, no chemical toiletries or cleaning products and no FWs. 😀

  • I think it was when my son gave me a timeline that didn’t match up to anything that went on, I felt so filthy and wanted to get out of my own skin. I couldn’t get clean enough when I realized what the condom was for.

  • I had a security blanket that I slept with, wrapped myself on the couch with, travelled with. It was old and dingy but I needed it to function. Ex needled me continuously about my stupid blankie. Like Linus, I didn’t care (is it too shameful to reveal I still sucked my thumb sometimes?). When Ex left, so did my dependency on my childhood comfort behaviors. Turns out the security was to protect me from Ex; no more cocoon needed.

  • I had raging IBS. My stomach hurt so bad I saw a gastroenterologist. He was quite thorough and looked at everything, then said my labs were all great and it was probably a combination of stress and certain foods that I don’t digest well.

    Ex was causing me a lot of stress. And I found the thought of him disgusting. Side story….ex had raging ED that he wouldn’t deal with. After I found out about the side whore ex gf I started the detachment process, during which time ex decided to get little blue pills to try to pull me back in. They worked ok, but I found the thought of him so disgusting i could’ve get into it. I’d keep avoiding him until one day he gets into bed and says “I decided to take a pill because I figured you’ve had enough time to feel better”. I looked at him like the piece of shit he was, turned over, and said go ahead. I laid there while he did his thing, then he started to whine about how uninspiring it was. I just got up, got dressed, and walked away. That was the last time I let him touch me…..moved into the spare room after that. He proceeded to play dumb and paint a phony smile on his face just like he always did. Of course my stomach was killing me.

    Well shucks… soon as I filed for divorce and moved out most of my symptoms went away. I do have to watch certain foods but the stress was a big part.

    My lovely bf of almost 5 years has never made my stomach hurt.

  • My ex was a perfectly adequate driver – never screamed at other drivers, used turn signals, kept a safe distance. Just before D-Day I was terrified to be in a car with him when he was driving.

  • First it was hypertension. Then it was breast cancer, then Type 2 diabetes. All can be caused by stress hormones. So his secret double life nearly killed me. I’m 11 years out from my cancer surgery now, but I still have high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

  • Well aside from the fact that I actually DID get an STD and my body had to TELL me, without words but with nasty symptoms….
    I didn’t realize I was in a constant state of hypervigilance until I felt peace. My heart rate doesn’t increase for seemingly no reason. I’ve been told that I look like I’m glowing or have I gotten Botox or something? The body knows. It’s our chump brains that cannot possibly know. I’m so glad I get to take the good with me and he still nothing but a FW.

  • When I looked in the mirror, I did not recognise myself. I seemingly had a happy marriage, no fights or violance but I had lost the aura and energy I have always had. Make-up didn’t help. I have always been slim and I thought I was perhaps losing weight, but no I wasn’t. Even when his affair started, he continued to act like a loving husband and hid everything really well. I was still sensing something but brushing the feeling off. I started seeing nightmares about him. All these were happening despite his attemps to fool me when we were traveling abroad and having fun.
    But the scariest one is this: I was so stressed out and confused that one night I peed on my bed. Never ever experienced this even as a kid in my life. It was shocking for me. I still cannot believe that playing with someone’s head this much is not considered crime.

  • NSFW

    The sex began to hurt and not feel good. We always had amazing sex. Until we didn’t. It just fell off a cliff and became awful.

  • In 2011 I went back to my previous career because X claimed he was too stressed as our sole wage earner despite the fact that “we” (I) lived well below our means and had invested in several income producing properties. I started having deja vu episodes, which I later found out were seizures. It went on for a year- brain scans didn’t show a cause. Dr wanted to put me on heavy meds. I refused. Come to find out X was in one of many affairs at that time and completely bashing me to his AP and family. After Dday in 2014 and 18 weeks of the hell of wreconsillyation (his attempts to manipulate me into not filing for divorce) I said GTFO. I’ve never had another episode. I wonder if he was poisoning me. He was later diagnosed as narcissist with borderline personality disorder, leaning towards psychopath. I’m lucky I got out alive.

  • Unfortunately, having lived chronic trauma since childhood, I was very unaware growing up of the toxicity that relationships were causing to my mental and physical health.

    But I know during my relationship with ex cheater I spiraled hard into “needing to fix” my chronic pain, which was constant. I had treatments and mostly a couple of oral surgeries that helped with my skeletal well-being but the end of these also coincided with me leaving the relationship. It’s been 6-8 years since that time and I never had body pain ever again (I have other health issues unfortunately, and yes, I believe partially related to still being in the cheater’s orbit for financial/logistic reasons)

    In the last years of our relationship I had developed harm OCD out of nowhere, for which he pressured me to go on meds and I didn’t. I was able to trace back the moments were my OCD was peaking to HIS escalating behavior behind my back.

    The mind KNOWS! And the body keeps the score.

  • I started having dreams where FW was appearing as my abusive mother. Very strange because FW was always sweet, supportive and doting on me. When it would happen I’d wake up and think “some say you dream opposites and this is proof because FW is the best”
    I cannot blame the cancer on her but she didn’t go to any chemos and phone records/emails/texts reveal she was screwing while I was at treatment

  • Alcoholism, a case of shingles and psoriasis. 3 years sober now- it’s amazing how easy it is to be sober now that I’ve escaped a toxic, soul and spirit crushing relationship with a cheating narcissist. My life in recovery is beautiful.

  • i’ll stick with the facts. i suffer migraines. prior to separation/divorce, they escalated in intensity and frequency. now, i rarely have migraines and they are associated with wild weather changes. i have an increased BP and am treated with a beta blocker. prior to separation/divorce, my BP was 140/94. now, i consistently have a BP of 120/78 and lower.

    i was diagnosed with SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) about 5 years ago, suffering periodic episodes in the 175 beats/minute. now, i occasionally have an episode at 135 beats/minutes. much improved.

    i think that my body held a lot of tension for a lot of years, and it manifested itself in exacerbating migraines and heart problems. i do have a family history of both, but tension is a factor, too.

    i had a number of skin ailments as i went through the divorce process, namely stress induced excema mixed in with a few hives. good times. you say pension and, poof, i’ve got a rash. i laugh about it with my friends because IT’S FUNNY. #pensionrash

  • Oh, this Friday challenge speaks to me. I’ve posted before about the FW ex who I eventually suspected to be a pedophile. Pretty much the moment I got the title of girlfriend, he started taking other women to “business dinners” and turning his phone off for the whole night, and my nervous system went into overdrive. I’m usually an eat-my-emotions type, who gains weight comforting myself with food, but I lost my appetite and lost weight.

    The nerves showed up most in my driving, though. I couldn’t focus and was like a trembling, chittering squirrel inside. While on the road, my mind would always be running through something he’d said, something he’d done. I got into SIX (6!!) fender benders in the eleven months we were together. One was more than a fender bender and led to a years-long drawn-out legal challenge. If I had known how to recognize and listen to my body’s cues, I would have had “enough information” and wouldn’t have waited til I had visual, physical evidence of his pedo-ish ways.

  • In my 20’s I looked like I aged 10 years in just the first few years of my marriage. I chalked it up to becoming a mom and getting “older.” My health declined steadily over the next 20 years, and my weight increased. By the end I had been diagnosed with ME/CFS, an endocrine tumor, sudden new food allergies, and crippling Endometriosis.

    But here I am in my mid 40’s with glowing skin, zero wrinkles, and feeling great. It’s like the moment the divorce was actually final 20 years of stress melted off my face and body.

  • Insomnia. My hair was falling out. Ulcer. Intestinal problems. Anxiety/panic attacks. All of which cleared up once I got out of the madness.

  • I had an STI for 2.5 years!!!! Went to my GYN for meds, creams, suppositories, pills…NEVER WENT AWAY. Then bam!! D DAY and NC…5.months later.
    ..wait, what? Healthy, zero signs of anything!! I was blamed for it, gas lite,told hey I’m fine must be you!!! You have problems.One day after D day, my STBXH Said he had been going to his urologist and was told he was FINE, his tests negative. So he’s doing OW and going to a Urologist for testing , hmmmm every night?? He actually said post D day when I told him it was HIM ALL ALONG…He said he was PROTECTING ME by seeing his doctor!! Really?? Has Any other STBXH ever taken such good care of his appliance wife than for your supposed husband to be so thoughtful while doing strangers? I’m so touched! My first cheater was not as kind. He kept OW until our baby was delivered and just left. Filed and left.Hard to believe the lies are so thoughtful and professional. Yesterday’s posts riveted me in that these Xs think up stories for YEARS and play a role. Then they are ready for D DAY with a book of stories from their play. I feel so much pity for those of us who hang on for YEARS. They just get more refined while we crumble before their eyes. It is 💔!!

    • Your GYN really let you down. Despicable behavior by doctors sometimes.

    • Yes, and they set you up to add more chapters of grist to their mill, and you don’t even realise you’re being baited. I didn’t realise, when I was being my real authentic self (and by that I mean getting angry and frustrated by his BS) that I was in competition with the ‘cool, girl, not like the other girls – anything goes’ AP.

  • Alongside extreme stress and insomnia and random panic attacks, when my immediate family didn’t believe me when I said I thought I was being cheated on, or tried to ask me what I was doing that caused my spouse to be suddenly distant with me, my mental health snapped.

    Maybe it was a cry for help because no one would help me otherwise. I don’t know. But I had extreme compulsions to self harm. It’s out of character for me. I didn’t know why I was going so insane. But id smash my head into drywall until I put dents in it, or id take a knife and start carving myself. It was only when my brother saw me in a bloodied state did the alarm bells finally go off in the family. He drove me to my mom’s house. That’s when I insisted I was being cheated on. No, I didn’t have complete proof at the time. But people started believing me.

    My spouse knew I was getting suicidal and physically dangerous with myself and he did not admit anything when questioned.

    The first time I got him to admit any extent of the cheating was because I held a knife to my own throat and asked him three times to tell me the truth, each time pressing the blade harder to myself.

    Writing this, I sound psychotic. Like some snapped chick from a horror movie. It almost doesn’t sound real. I feel almost ashamed of myself, like I was harming myself to manipulate other people, but I don’t think that was my motive. I’d been gaslit, lied to, walked on eggshells, been devalued for so long and with increasing frequency and no one would tell me the truth, help me, or believe me. I genuinely wanted to die. I genuinely did not know of another outlet to express how trapped I was.

    • God love you Kaela, that’s truly horrible for you! He must be a monster to have driven you to that! It’s HIS shame, not yours my Duck! You weren’t psychotic, you were a victim of grave evil!
      I hope you’re OK now? Sending hugs!

  • I was clenching my teeth so hard as I slept that i shattered a molar before d-day.

  • He’s only just moved out so I’m not sure physically about the relief, yet, but I know that over the last few years I have had chronic insomnia, hypertension that didn’t respond to one medication but required two, recurring migraines, mystery stomach ailments, and was diagnosed with Diabetes Type II. I also have elevated cortisol levels, too.

    I anticipate that when we finalize the divorce I’m going to experience a lot of health recovery.

    • Oh yeah, and I developed some food allergies that I’d never had before. I’m curious if that will reverse when all is said and done.

  • I had years of IBS-type symptoms, and increasingly felt exhausted and listless (as if someone had turned on a tap in my foot and drained all energy out of me) for years leading up to the discard by XW FW.

    But most of the health issues happened for me after D-day; extreme anxiety, panic attacks, chest pains for the first year, then 2 years of chronic dizzyness, ‘visual snow’ (where it looks to you like its raining all the time) plus the ongoing IBS and fatigue. A brain scan was clear (thankfully!) while a colonoscopy just showed intenstinal spasms during to all my muscles being so tense (which also caused shallow breathing, hence the dizzyness)…while the years of fatigue was a freeze response to being around a covert, sociopath FW …it took me a LOT of researching to finally work that all out! (big thanks to CL/CN for providing such a lot of research data! 😉 )

    The good news is 4.5 years out, I’m pretty much through the physical effects – still anxious but finally feeling like I’ve ‘built a life’! Just thought I’d mention my experience in case any other chumps suffer with the same physical conditions and I can help speed up their research! Also to highlight that a lot of the physical effects of cheating/abuse only come out in the body AFTER you’re away from the FW and feel safe!

    • I suffered from unexplainable exhaustion and fatigue for years too, and blamed it on stress of trying to sell the house after the global economic crash of 2008, etc., but since he’s been gone, have noticed my energy and vitality slightly increasing and the tiredness I feel is normal, not that “dirty, poisoned” feeling I suffered from for years. I am waking up early and get to sleep early if I can. I still wake up with a cortisol surge and my heart nearly bursting out of my chest and take a while to get over the sense of utter exhaustion but the quality of my sleep does seem to be improving.
      Now I have this debilitating pain that I believe is IBS, but perhaps that’s my body clearing out all the poison and trying to “re-set” itself? Because as you say, there’s stuff that has only been able to come out now he’s not here. Perhaps in some of our cases, our subconscious won’t allow us to be TOO ill, because it knows it wouldn’t be safe?It knows that FWs not only would resent our being really ill, not only wouldn’t look after us properly, but might even punish us? Just wondering!

      • …”that dirty, poisonous feeling”…such a good description of trauma/freeze-induced fatigue (as opposed to normal tiredness)!

        Digestive or heart-related pains both seem to be a common theme in a lot of posts here…not surprising, given that living in a constant state of being ‘under threat’ plays havoc with the brain’s fight/flight (limbic) system – and the two systems in the body which are most impacted by your fight/flight response are the heart (i.e it works harder in preparation to fight/flee) and digestion (getting rid of waste then shutting down to prioritise energy for fighting/running)…hence you get a lot of IBS and chest pains amongst chumps (who’s limbic systems/intuition will have been sensing ‘threat’ from FWs for years, even as our rational brains told out intuition to shut up as we believed the FW’s lies or gaslighting!)
        Once you’re FW-free, it takes plenty of rest/sleep/self-care/nutrition/exercise/therapy, but a lot of the symptoms do then improve!

        • Oh I hope so! I had to go to hospital yesterday but what a farce! I was put through to the ambulance centre by the our-of-hours doctors, who wouldn’t come out. I was taken to A&E, then sent to the pre-op assessment unit, where I was told all the medics were in theatre and didn’t get seen by a doc until hours later. He was an orthopaedic surgeon, said he didn’t think it was an ortho issue- I knew it wasn’t- and referred me to the urology team, as he was querying kidney stones!!!
          Anyway, that eejit refused to come up to the pre-op unit to examine me, and insisted I be sent down to Triage in A&E! So about 11pm last night ( and I’d been in hospital for about 11 hours by this stage!), I was put in a chair and taken down there! Just before that, I’d finally been given some pain releif-I hadn’t been even offered any pain relief for hours, as there were no medics on the unit to write me up for any, but after pestering them for some because I had had nothing since some soluble codeine and paracetamol that morning at home, I got a codeine and paracetamol tablet! Whoopie do!
          I was told the urology bod would see me “soon”, Triage was not that busy considering it was Saturday night, and yet was just left in the chair, until I could stand it no more. One of my sons mate’s had been waiting around for hours with his car to take my son or both of us home, so I says let’s go home before the painkiller wears off and I can’t even sit into the car! On the way home a doctor rang me on my mobile and said if I go in this morning, I will be seen first as she’s going to flag me up as having been in hospital all day yesterday not yet assessed and diagnosed and that I am to be seen first! FFS! My son’s mate said he’ll take us in, just give him a ring! He’s a sound lad!
          I’ve been awake now since about quarter past 5, have took some more soluble stuff and want to say feck it, I won’t bother, but I reckon I’ll have to! All I wanted really was some adequate pain relief! I was a nurse in England from 1979-99 and NEVER did I come across a case of a patient admitted in pain who was left so long without pain relief! The Irish health service is a feckin’ disgrace, a shambles!
          And I do blame FW for this and all, for dragging everything out and making it like “death by a thousand cuts” when I just want it over with!

  • First, after the multiple d days I developing horrific joint pain. No more. And second, I’m going to sound crazy but FW was cheating on me from the get go. We married young and I already had a few gray hairs and over 20 years later, was almost completely gray. In the two years since I left him I swear my hair is slowly growing in less gray!!! It’s the weirdest thing.

  • I didn’t really notice physical symptoms while the cheating was going on, though certainly my health fell apart after D-day.

    Looking back, though, my body WAS trying to tell me that the FW was not the right guy for me. After we had dated a while and became intimate, I could not fall asleep next to him. I would be awake all night long, tossing and turning. I had never experienced that with a partner before, and this went on for months and months. There were no other changes or stressors in my life at that time. I wish I had listened to my body then and not married him. Lesson learned—our instincts are always right and we just need to trust them.

    • Oops, sorry! Just wanted to commiserate. My very first kiss with my STBX was repulsive to me because of his bad breath and his just not being a good kisser. Why on earth did I continue to date him let alone marry him and have kids with him?!

  • I had a panic attack for the very first time in my life (at age 32) out of nowhere, while driving on the way to the grocery store. Never had a history of anxiety or panic attacks before that. I didn’t even know what the hell was happening, at the time.

  • I had a crazy dream one night that my FW was in the balcony at my childhood church having sex with playboy bunnies during a sermon.

    Yep, he’s a Jesus cheater. He was always adamant about being at church every time the doors were open. But I guess the adultery & porn were cool with Jesus, in his mind.

  • Appropriately: lacrimal gland inflammation.
    There are many reasons for this, but strangely not that one cries too much.
    I asked my ophthalmologists that. All tests and a biopsy were performed, but the cause was not found.
    Of course I had a blind eye over his affair the whole time. Apparently my body wanted to tell me to “look”, even if it hurts.

  • A few weeks before DDay, my period became extremely heavy and would not stop. I ended up having it non-stop for more than 4 months, and it took a uterine ablation to make it stop. I was weak and anemic, and dealing with such a heavy flow it inhibited my ability to do normal things. Then of course, I had to recover from the surgery and all that entailed. All told, it was more than 5 months before I was “back to normal”. This cost me my fertility, as you cannot carry a baby after having an ablation. I hadn’t planned on having another child, but it was still shocking to definitively lose my ability to do so. I absolutely attribute that to the toxic, traumatic stress I was under as a result of the affair. Another loss, among many others.

  • Suspecting (but before actual confirmation of an OW), I remember being so incredibly exhausted that I would be still be in the exact same chair 9 hours later when FW came home from work. Almost in a catatonic state. Null and void is the best way to describe it. Not ever having depression before, I wasn’t aware of what was happening to me. I now know that I had what is called “situational depression.” Everything was too loud, too colorful, too sharp, too jarring. I just wanted semi-darkness and complete silence. After discovering there was an OW (and had been for about a year), it took everything I had to “will” myself out of that state as I knew I had to end the marriage (as he had no intention of doing any of that heavy lifting). It was hell. Absolute hell. Emotional rock bottom is a very frightening place to be. Sometimes my daily victory was that I got the dogs fed or that I washed my hands. It took about 2 months but once I was able to align and channel my emotions and brain into a congruent path of anger (even bordering on rage), I was able to take complete control of the situation. After that, I became his worst nightmare. He never knew what hit him.

  • Sickening feeling in my gut. I knew something was up for 5 years before Dday. I thought (and was gently nudged to believe) “I” was the one who was a little crazy. After a few years on anti depressants, I figured it out. Then I stopped eating and dropped 50 lbs. Zero appetite. 11years after Dday I’m finally in therapy to deal with the PTSD. Yay.

  • Spent almost five years with nosebleeds the Dr could not explain. Rashes, no sleep, and anxiety galore. Within three months of the fw moving out, no more rashes, I sleep at night and I haven’t had a nose bleed. It’s been almost a year [tomorrow is the one year mark of separation.] and while I am doing better, meh is not in sight yet. When I think about it there was a lot I was ignoring. Now, I have been paying attention to what I need. And what I needed was to pay attention to me. Gotta look after me, ’cause no one else will. A hard lesson , but one I needed to relearn.

  • During the 3 years before my husband left, I kept having this dream….I dreamed of an old boyfriend – I was in a relationship with this old boyfriend for 10 years, and he had cheated on me twice, besides the fact that he was verbally, violently abusive, so abusive that when I told him I was leaving he held a gun to my head. (Yea, lucky to be alive, I didn’t think verbal abuse would lead to physical, dumb, I know).

    In this dream I never left my boyfriend, in fact, I realize in horror, that I married him. I would wake up absolutely terrified and confused, and then it would dawn on me that I had married my husband instead, not him. I dreamed this same dream many times. I kept thinking…“why?” Why would I come up with this scenario, dreaming of this cheating boyfriend some 30 odd years later? I never had that dream again after my husband left. Was my subconscious trying to tell me something?

    • Yes. I think your subconscious was telling you that you married another version of the same person. Now that you mention it, I had the same experience! On several occasions I would dream I had married exBF and wake up glad I had not. But now reading your post and realizing what my subconscious was telling me!!! Yikes.

  • Oh my god. It was my body telling me things that my mind wouldn’t accept that tipped me off. I woke up with dry heaves and vomiting every morning for the entire duration of his last cheating. He would stand over me at the toilet screaming for me to stop…like I could. I would get a buzzing sensation if he touched me. I hated his smell. Canker sores galore. And a reoccurring strep infection that kept me sick for months, a ruined GI tract die to antibiotics, and a lovely HPV infection.

    Thank goodness his liver and kidneys are failing him at 60.

  • Severe anxiety, depression, fatigue, severe insomnia, unexplained nausea and vomiting, rashes all over my neck and chest, swollen glands in my neck, significant hair loss, aching bones, persistent muscle aches and pains, swollen joints, chest pain, wheals on inner elbows, wrists, neck, scalp, back and shoulders. And then when the infidelity was found out, a couple of STDs to round it out.
    Such fun.

  • Whilst being chumped I developed ulcerative colitis, had a cancer scare, kidney issues and ultimately a heart attack.. My body telling me in big bold letters something was seriously up.

  • I suspected he was cheating. I then got HPV. Found out 4 yrs after divorce he cheated the entire marriage of 37 years. 🤬🤬

    • I am so sorry. It is the theft of our lives, and I don’t think many of us truly ever get over that.

      Doesn’t mean we don’t have joy and happiness, but the scars run deep.

  • Immense hip pain which is where emotions are stored that I’ve not had since I left.

    Shoulder pain from carrying the burden of trying to figure everything from the gaslighting etc. I still have some pain but it’s from injury.

    Hives that required an emergency room visit and diagnosed as stress related.


    Adrenal fatigue

    Anxiety of course

    Last year I had an antibiotic related issue that was a long recovery period and will be a lifelong problem. I was questioned about my antibiotic usage which I said was really little to none. The problem with that was I was thinking of only recent years. I’ve had none in the 8 ys since we left.
    When I was married I was on antibiotics constantly because of things he dragged in and blamed my body for the issues when questioned. I was furious when I put that together. I literally could have died.
    Years out the effects on your body from an abusive partner still rear their head.

  • I thought I had irritable bowel syndrome. Nope! Just a cheating spouse!

  • I recently saw photos of myself from that time and was shocked at how old and sick I looked back then. I developed anemia, vitamin D deficiency so severe my doctor almost hospitalized me, insomnia, weight gain, weird skin rashes, painful cystic acne that came out of nowhere, my hair fell out – you name it, I had it.

    The weight (emotional and physical) melted off when I left. Within months, I’d lost 25 pounds and I still don’t know how.

    It’s been a decade and I now look a decade younger than I did back then.

  • I was so worried about FW and his behavior change, evasiveness and what I thought was depression. I started having terrible insomnia, teeth issues and some hair loss. I would finally fall asleep and wake up looking for him. He was on shopping sites (backpacks and sunglasses), porn sites, saying his shoulder hurt. I couldn’t get him to see a surgeon. I started losing weight and wasted so much time and love on a lying FW.

  • Racing heart and very high blood pressure. Lost weight. No appetite. An acquaintance asked my cheater if I was doing drugs

  • Yes. I felt like I was going to die. I felt defeated, doomed, hopeless. Now that FW is gone, I have peace!

  • My shoulder froze and doctors never really knew why. May have been overdoing it working out to try to look more attractive for him since he wasn’t interested in intimacy with me anymore. He still made me help him move a couch, drive everywhere we went, lift my luggage into the car while he sat on his phone in the seat (probably texting her) even though it was extremely painful to use my arm. I’m happily divorced and it’s back to normal.

    • I had a frozen shoulder last summer. I had never even heard of adhesive capsulitis before. It was a year out from Dday and the divorce being final. Since she had had an exit affair that I only discovered months after she had moved out, things were still very fresh even though the divorce was completely done. It was a miserable five months going from, “let’s stop lifting weights for a while so that it can heal,” to “this isn’t going away, I need to make a doctors appointment!” Weird autoimmune thing? What could have caused that? If only all the other FW induced damage could be fixed with a steroid injection and a $40 copay.

  • I woke up one morning, sat up, then tried to get u out of my bed and couldn’t stand up for the tearing pain in my back! I ended up being referred by my GP to a gynae specialist, and have fibroids plus “markers for tumors” on my ovaries!
    It’s turned out that it’s the fibroids that have caused the markers, but I have been in the same sort of pain all day yesterday, could barely move, and the GP couldn’t come out. I was told call an ambulance but I felt it would be a waste of their time and of an ambulance because I believe the pain is IBS, caused by stress. The stress is caused by the dragging out of him getting his stuff, of getting the house ready to sell, my desperation to move back to England and just the culmination of the misery my life has been made by him! It still hurts today but less and please God, it’ll ease off altogether in a while. I couldn’t even dress myself properly yesterday, my son had to help me, like I was a bloody invalid!!
    Oh yes, and a month before I kicked him out, we both caught colds. Mine lingered for a whole fortnight and the usual stuff I take just wasn’t working as well- I felt so much more ill than I would normally from a mere cold and why wouldn’t I, when my immune system had been taking such a battering! I also realise I had been suffering a degree of clinical depression over the Winter too!

  • Panic attacks, racing heart day and night, major insomnia, orgasm headaches, weight loss (I was down to 90 lbs), no menstrual cycle for 2+ months, so so so many issues. Doctors ran EKG, I wore a heart monitor, had Echocardiogram, CT scan, and MRI. Everything came back as “normal” and the symptoms were all from stress.

  • Well, I had a $3million life insurance policy and noticed that every time I traveled out of town with FW, I was having episodes of severe nausea and vomiting. To this day I suspect he was trying to poison me and wasn’t quite succeeding. I still think about that.

    • This is terrifying! So glad you are stronger than evil FW.

  • He infected my body with Mono, though I didn’t know until my doctor told me a year later. I was upset that I kept feeling tired all the time, but I thought maybe it was COVID (??) He got mono because he was screwing a college student 32 years his junior. I kept testing negative for COVID, but I couldn’t figure out why I was knocked so low for a year on and off. Then there was the five years (on and off) of frozen shoulder. It was very painful and had started during a previous (unknown to me) affair.
    As soon as I stopped trying to wreckoncile and went NC my shoulder cleared up entirely! Never to hurt again. And a few days ago our sweet dog died of cancer. He was very heartbroken when dickhead left us and I think he died from the sadness. It’s been so sad without him. I miss him beyond missing any person. I felt so sorry for his pain and tried my best, but he was always outside looking for the jerk to come home. I gave him a big yard and took him for nice walks and showered him with affection, but how could he understand the disappearance of his person? Ten years then gone, how could he understand. He was just waiting… I will see him up in the other realm.

  • I was told I was grinding my teeth due to stress. I also just always felt anxious, sad, stressed etc. I feel so much better since getting divorced.

    • I remember in the year previous to the year of discard, I was feeling a bit angry at him a lot, alternating with a depressed feeling; both were not normal for me.

      I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I remember just before he was promoted to Captain, I sat in my car and thought to myself, Susie you need to snap out of it, you have a husband who loves you and a good life. HAH. Right after he was promoted he officially started the year of discard. I noticed the change almost over night. I even talked to him about it and he said “work stress”. I spackled until towards the end of the year, until I FINALLY began to figure it out.

      I still hung in there until he left, mostly in the metaphorical fetus position.

  • Teeth grinding including 2 broken teeth, insomnia, depression, anxiety, self medicating at times. Some therapists think I have PTSD from deployments though, vs just FW issues. Some things have followed me after divorce, but it’s better.

    The one that really can’t be explained away is the hair loss. It was only during this certain period while FW was away for training. The one time I visited him he was straight mean to me for no reason, clearly didn’t want me there. Then when he came back he couldn’t perform, said it was due to too much exercise. Now that I know he’s a FW, I think about the hair loss and other things I didn’t realize were connected 8 years before dday… he was either cheating or had a porn addiction way back then. If only I knew the signs.

  • I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I had all the symptoms. That was before I « knew ». But of course, I had a feeling that something was not right. I left when I found out but I’ve allowed him to hoover around. It took me 5 years to remove him fully from my life and for my symptoms to gradually disappear. I realized only then that he was my disease.

  • I have a question. Many here, including me, experienced hostility and abuse from FWs for years. But, if FW was the one cheating and being dishonest, why would he/she be angry at the chump? Logically, wouldn’t a FW be nicer because they get to eat cake? Help me understand.

    • Logic doen’t apply to cheating.

      I think thought that some are in the beginning of cheating. I think my fw was flying high for quite a while, then he started the year of discard to leave me for whore and that is when the real meanness started.

      Once they know they are leaving they start building their case against the BS. Then they start to feel anger because the spouse who they have built the case against is standing between them and their bliss… someone has to take the fall, and it isn’t going to be the cheater if they can help it.

      Anyway that is my view from my experience and what I read.

      In my fw’s case I think he actually planned on waiting one more year before leaving for political reasons, and then someone dropped a dime. (he was screwing his direct report). Within a year he was busted in rank, and back out on street patrol. I don’t think that was part of his plan, but best laid plans and all.

      As for whore, she got re assigned to another job, from dog catcher to dispatcher and she screwed that job up by putting two officers in extreme danger; so they fired her.

      This was in the late 80s early 90s. Had it happened about two years later she likely would have become wealthy via lawsuit. Instead all she got was a Tshirt and a cheating/ gambling fw.

    • You are being punished for their inadequacies. Cheaters are transactional and once your tab is up, you are of no use. They have no more emotional investment so they take out their own pain on us. Dr. Ramani and others have videos on this that explain in more depth.

      This took me so long to understand. It didn’t make sense that Asshat was so mean and nasty when he was supposedly getting rid of me (all that was bad in his life) for his soulmate. He should have been on cloud 9. It just proved that he truly sucks and he wasn’t happy with HoWorker/Wife. He’ll never be happy.

      Their mask comes off and you begin to see who they really are.

    • Guilt, trying to get YOU to file. Happy they have a back up and their mask of kindness falls off..the true person emerges. They don’t need you anymore. Arrogant and entitled under the mask of a good person. Tired of the act. Bored with you. Well I guess that is untangling the skein. I still do it sometimes. It’s trust that they suck. That is the best answer of all.

    • My understanding, though I’m sure many answers are equally valid, is that if (in their crazed mind) you are so bad, then what they are doing pales by comparison, or maybe you even “deserve” it. I noticed the FW always had instantaneous reactions to criticism, he would make a comparison between us, claiming I was …… , thus making me “as bad” as him (in his crazed mind). He has a highly competitive mindset, it was all about being the best, and I felt putting me down was helping him convince himself he was still the good guy, not a lying, deceitful Cheaterpants.

      Hell of a Chump wrote a very interesting comment to SortOfOverIt in “Can I send the OW his Emails begging me to take him back” about the mentality of Batterers. It’s a bit frightening, but I can see a lot of the FW’s behaviour and “reasoning” in her description. There are some seriously messed up heads on FW’s shoulders.

  • Frequent stomach aches…and during the year of my doing the pick-me dance, I lost 30 pounds (not in a good way)

    No more stomach aches after I left

  • 0h, I just now, just now remembered my hair falling out and coming back in Thin and stringy. I could not figure it out because I had not even gotten covid. I got situational high blood pressure while in a fetal position in my bed. I turned hot all over and sweaty when my husband touched me. Like a furnace being turned up high.I had an STI till he left after 3 years of cheating. I also recall one night, early on,he came to bed shaking all over and wore a mask. It was during covid..
    . I tried to comfort him. I suspect now, that he had acted on his addiction and perhaps did someone out there for the first real time. It was porn before and reams of emotional affairs. It’s just a guess but it was a very strange moment. My hair never came back normal but the STI cleared up 6 weeks after I locked him out. My Divorce was final yesterday July 1. I am thrilled and can start the true healing

  • I couldn’t fall asleep next to him. I felt so tense that I’d toss and turn trying to get myself relaxed enough to sleep. When I’d fall asleep I’d wake up within a couple of hours unable to fall back asleep.I’d stay up and go through my day trying to prove I had value. Looking for approval..

    The tension I felt had me looking forward to having a glass or two of wine each night at dinner.
    During the discard/slander phase cheater used it against me and confided in neighbors or anyone who would listen that I was a raging alcoholic and he didn’t know how much more he could take.
    After ex moved out I’ve never had the desire for a glass of wine. As a matter of fact I haven’t had an alcoholic drink or since he’s been gone.

  • I developed a cough, it wasn’t just a little cough, it was violent coughing – enough that I would vomit and the blood vessels in my eyes would burst. I went through three days of testing at a major hospital and they couldn’t find anything wrong. They said – without really saying it – that it was all in my head. I was SO PISSED because it was physically happening to me damn it!! Funny how when he left, so did the cough. My body was trying to tell me, I just didn’t know WHAT it was telling me.

  • Mononucleosis. 6 months into marriage at age 31, I was diagnosed with the teen kissing disease and spent 2 months on a lite work schedule to recover. Can you say “red flag?” But I never figured it out until D-Day came 26 years later.

  • I got worse and worse until I was essentially bedridden for most of a year. The year before, I was waking up every night at 3am, laying in bed for hours in misery and vomiting. I was able to hide this from my job and my family for most of that year.

    At this point in time it became clear that if I didn’t figure it out I would need to ask for a nursing home. An assumption you make in a long term marriage is that you will take care of each other as you age. It was very clear I was wrong. He had no intentions of caring for anyone. It became so obvious that fuckwit neither cared nor would ever do anything to help me. He bristled at bringing me a drink when I couldn’t get out of bed. He made more plans with friends.

    My chiropractor was running every test he could on me and trying supplements, homeopathics, heat, etc. One day, in a biofeedback test I flagged for wheat. He told me this as I was walking out of his office. He was disappointed because he wasn’t finding anything he was looking for and he saw the wheat flag as a minor possible food allergy he should mention. Little was known about gluten intolerance at that point in time. I picked up that small hint and started researching. I was desperate.

    I studied and isolated the wheat/gluten problem and then spent five years purposely healing my gut. I rarely left the house. I completely controlled my diet and even my shampoos, etc. Ever so slowly, my gut began to heal. At year six, I was able to go back to part time work. And I knew, knew, knew I needed to take care of only myself this time so that I did not fall back into the hole again. I was 60 years old. I could not get that sick again and be able to recover.

    And that turned out to be the end of my marriage. When I was physically forced to take care of myself first – to stand up for myself – he quickly became disgruntled and shopped for a new wife appliance. It took about three years for him to get everything locked in and then he did a surprise attack discard after 40 years of marriage.

    Looking back, I now see that he always had side supplies. He was very very busy hiding his secret life right under my nose. But, he had me raising children, cleaning, cooking, making him look like a solid good guy. I nearly worked myself to death keeping up the facade.

    Now I work full time. And I care for only myself full time. And my responsibilities are so small in comparison to when I cared for the pouty, helpless fuckwit man-baby.

    • tallgrass, thank you for sharing your experience. It helps me a lot to read how others have gone through similar things and survived, and that the burden truly is less once you are shot of the FW.

  • Shortly before D-Day, the ex aND I were having problems. I didn’t want to sleep with him, didn’t want to be near him and I didn’t know why. I couldn’t explain it because I really really loved him, but I avoided bed with him.

    During a frustrated conversation about his “needs,” I finally explained to him that I was feeling like I did when my first husband abused me (his was physical, being beat up, threatened, intimidated) and I couldn’t understand why. I wasn’t experiencing physical abuse from him, but I couldn’t shake feeling the same way. It was so confusing to me. I felt terrible about it and subsequently took on all the responsibility for the sexual dysfunction in our marriage.

    And the SOB let me, knowing FULL well he was responsible. He just continued on with threats that I needed to get it figured out, because he was very close to walking out if I didn’t start pleasing him.

    I still feel angry whenever I think about it.

  • I had had a terrible lung infection that normally only affects the very old or people with severely compromised immune systems (AIDS patients, for instance, or people with leukemia). There was no reason I should have gotten it as a healthy 35 year old woman. I am convinced it was due the huge amount of stress I was under from daily abuse (verbal, emotional, mental). It left me with holes in my lungs, one of which refused to heal up. After FW died (in the middle of the divorce), it closed.

    FW gave me HPV (he was the only guy I had ever been with). I tested positive several years into our marriage. I had multiple test and treatments for it (cryosurgery, etc.) over the years, including while pregnant, and it kept coming back. After we separated, it cleared up and my tests have all come back negative. I never had it tested to see if it was the same strain or different strains. It is entirely possible that OW was not the only AP.

    During our separation (which FW said was because he “needed to be alone” and was lying about OW), I lost over 30 lb (and I was not heavy to begin with). I couldn’t eat or sleep, and looked awful. But even after I forced myself to eat more, I continued to lose weight. I was just skin and bones and 00 size pants were falling off me. My Dr. put me on some anti-anxiety meds, which helped. Once I found out about the affair (or confirmed it more like), filed for divorce, and went grey rock, I was able to put the weight back on (and then some, but I don’t care) and get healthy. My PTSD, panic attacks, and insomnia all went away after FW died, as did my tachycardia (mentioned in another reply above).

    Interestingly, in spite of supposedly being “so happy”, FW had a lot of health problems during the affair. He cracked two molars from grinding his teeth, had to have a spinal fusion in his neck, had constant kidney stones and UTIs, muscle tension, depression, migraines, you name it. The alcohol and prescription drugs probably didn’t help. OW also suffered from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. And probably has an STD or two now as well. Life isn’t always as rosy as the FW and OW make it out to be (I didn’t find out about some of this stuff til after he died).

  • I had an autoimmune disease ever since first child was born. He was conceived after i forgave ex for his affair with a girl he worked with. He planned to elope to Russia to meet her (she went to study there). I struggled off an on with this disease – often triggered by stress or body changes, for 11 years. The next blood test i had after i asked him to leave (finding out about his 2 simultaneous affairs this time) and my levels were normal!
    The most stressful time of my life, caused by him, his financial abuse, stealing, lies and disgusting treatment of or children and my test results were great.
    7 years on and my levels have now flared up due to radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer treatment.
    He was a cancer in my life too! And i fought to rid myself of him, just as i am with my breast cancer.

    (Also the awful discharge i used to have cleared up when i stopped having sex with him! )

  • Sadly I didn’t realise at the time that these were signs of FW Stress Syndrome, but I do in retrospect: very early into the relationship I got Epstein Barr virus (mononucleosis) and chicken pox at the same time, both for the first time (mid 30’s). I became anaemic and had a swollen spleen and liver damage. I continued to have bouts of high fever and exhaustion for another 10 years, whilst continuing to work to support us both and pay for all costs with no appreciation expressed. The FW just expected me to “get over it” and keep functioning like a good Wife Appliance.

    After I finally managed to rid myself of the high fever bouts, my weak kidneys worsened to the extent that I had water in my lungs. I managed to get help with my kidneys but by that stage I was starting to go into a very deep depression, losing all sense of my self, my purpose, my interests. Chump Lady has been such a blessing, not only for helping me get my head out of FW Fogland, but also for making me laugh. Nothing made me laugh any more, but gradually I laughed my way out of the fog and could start making decisions.

    Even from early in the relationship, I felt such inner pressure (always having so many problems and chaos caused by FW which I felt obliged to fix) that I literally stopped being able to wear a bra because my shoulders were so tense that the straps caused unbearable pain. I would also get incredibly intense lower back pain due to tension that I could not stand for longer than a few minutes. When the pressure increased even more, I developed a syndrome called a broken foot, meaning it’s as painful as if your foot is broken, but it’s not. It is like being the Little Mermaid.

    When I was in a phase of being angry with him, but not feeling I had the right to express it and make demands, I went through about a year of the worst cystitis imaginable. It was living hell and took a very long time until I was able to get rid of it. All the while working and smiling at my customers. I had a mirror next to the door to look in before I let them in, to make sure I had a smile pasted across my face.

    Now I no longer live with him the symptoms are gradually reducing, although I know I need total NC to be really healthy. Hope to be there soon.

  • Just seen this:

    A year before D-Day I went for a routine check-up and was told that I was 42 lbs heavier than I should be, had a heart condition and had Stage 3 hypertension.

    Two months after leaving the She-Devil I went for another check-up and was told that my weight was perfect for my height, that my heart condition had disappeared and that my Stage 3 hypertension had vanished. I was apparently the healthiest I’d been for years.

  • I was smelling phantom smells and had a yeast infection so bad, it caused thrush. I should’ve known something was amiss.

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