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Loving 1000 Things That Aren’t a Cheater

Dear Chump Lady,

I’m a Scottish Chump who is at Meh 3 and half years since D-Day (Thank God!).

I’m not sure if you have had a message like mine (please feel free to bin if you have) it’s about loving a 1,000 things that isn’t your cheater. I know I read about it on the site/in the book. Well, I’ve taken on that challenge and embraced it to the max. I started at 1,000 and am working my way down.

It’s been a blast and has kept me sane, happy and loving life. I began 18 months ago and I have bagged 100 so far. I have a strict criteria that keeps it fun. I can’t just love a cappuccino and it makes my list….but others might!!!..🤣.

So far for instance I’ve rocked my socks off at a two-day music festival with flowers in my hair and face painted…😁🌼🌼🌷. FW would never have done that as he considers his music tastes eclectic…yawn! I went on a solo mini road trip to find what is likely the oldest living thing in Europe (it’s a Yew tree and I so loved it). I’ve stayed in the hotel where Bonnie Prince Charlie planned his battle strategies from (yes, am a history buff!!) and I’ve found the tree planted by the Suffragettes in 1918 when women (well some) got the vote.

The list goes on and on and on. The happiness it brings me makes me giddy at times. The point is — I’m killing this single shit by finding my personal happiness again and again and again. It’s thanks to you Chump lady and Chump Nation and I’d so like for you to know that. You guys stood me back up when I fell to the floor crippled with grief and said “me too,” when l felt so lonely I thought it would kill me.

I’m doing my best to bag 1,000 before I push up daisies (I’m 56), but it occurred to me today that I could pass the baton on to my daughter if I don’t get there and maybe she could have fun with it too when I’m gone (hopefully not anytime soon!!!…😁). Thank you, thank you, thank you Chump Lady and Chump Nation….you guys Rock!!!!.

Lots of love,

Scottish Chump….xx


Dear Scottish Chump,

What a wonderful letter. Thank you. A 1,000 things that aren’t a cheater should be a Friday Challenge. I love that you’re crushing your list! You’re an inspiration!

So, CN, give us a list of things that you love — new experiences, food, the Barbie movie — that aren’t a FW. Let’s all channel Julie Andrews!


I’m trying to come up with a list that’s not Monty. (After Mr. CL, they’re all Monty.) Here he is having a staring contest with his blind octopus.


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.
  • Well I love my blue velvet chesterfield. Not something I’d have bought under the “previous regime.”


    • Oh…! I LOVE Chesterfield sofas. My dream is to have a green leather one. I currently only have a red leather wing chair (not sure it’s an authentic Chesterfield, but it’s that style). Your couch sounds lovely.

      I love decorating my house exactly the way I want it, without having to have my ex’s film memorabilia everywhere. My bedroom is pink and girly.

      • Oh YES!! I lived with so many things I really, REALLY didn’t like (being a designer, ugly things actually hurt my soul) because He chose them … and I thought that was the deal when it’s a We.

        One time we had a huge argument in a homewares shop, because I wanted to buy some coffee mugs that he didn’t like. Which, obvs, was an attack on his very being. After Dday he told me that our marriage felt like “submission” … you know, the whole Chump as “angry and controlling” shtick yada yada. Forcing him to submit to my taste in coffee cups etc.

        So. Six and a half years on, I absolutely, absolutely love my home and garden now … they give me the same happiness that Scottish Chump describes, over and over again. Not quite the travelling and adventuring bucket list scenario, (yet … limitations re finance/dependants), but perhaps an example of how Chump Change can happen without change of place. (Yes, I’m still the same house, but not. Did a major hazmat detox riddance – and paint is AMAZING!!!)

        My home (mine, all mine!) feels safe and happy and I love being home.

        PS must mention my spoodle Molly here at home too. (Monty category. CL you may doubt it but she is ALSO the best dog EVAH).

        • I love having a home that’s just mine too! I couldn’t ever imagine sharing one again! 😀

        • “Being a designer, ugly things actually hurt my soul.”

          I can relate. Also, white space is your friend 🙂

    • I bet it is gorgeous… I went with chocolate brown leather!

      • OC,

        There is a lot to be said for a really bright and bold piece of statement furniture.


        • FW considered himself a modernist connoisseur and one of his DARVO complaints was that the house didn’t reflect his tastes. Thank God for that. Never mind that he never would have forked out for the MCM minimalist masterpieces I prefer and would have settled for those awful, cheap knockoffs that wouldn’t survive six months in a house with kids, I could see the end result of his tastes from the Insta pix of her studio the AP emailed to FW a few months into the affair with notes like “This is the couch you liked!” and “Here’s the wall art you choose [sic]!”

          At the start of the affair, the parents of the AP (pushing thirty) put the down payment on a condo to get her and her hookup lifestyle out of the house and, in getting furnishings for it, she reportedly followed Cosmo’s “how to make a man commit” guidelines and consulted with FW on everything so he’d “feel like it was his” and probably in a bid to get him to pay for it (he/we didn’t, thankfully). Big mistake. The affair ended and she’s stuck with dank gray walls and tacky gray, already dated modular everything with (ouch) blood red accents. Bad in theory and worse in practice, sort of like Newark International airport circa 1985 or the bachelor pad of a Pornhub founder.

          Meanwhile I have a pear-green cotton velvet couch with a hand-knotted fuchsia area rug. It also sounds bad in theory but the effect is ethereal and uplifting and somehow never gets dated. I wouldn’t mind vintage Eames, etc., but prioritize kids going to college.

          • Sounds like your former FW chose Patrick Bateman as his design muse. Except the walls would be either white or blood red, no? 😉

            • OMG, your analogy was spot on. Except all cheap bargain basement knockoffs because he wasn’t going to spend the money for the real deals. Not that I’d want it all to be uniformly MCM. Looks too much like Harvey Weinstein’s casting room/Patrick Bateman. Everything has to fit around the kids’ weird ceramic creations, some really old carved Indian teak and a few reupholstered tank chairs from 1950.

          • HoaC,

            I love Mid Century Modern furniture; I have an original Eames Recliner from my family in my bedroom and my youngest daughter has a Barcelona Chair in her room. I made certain to hang on to them when Ex-Mrs LFTT left.


            • There’s a local MCM shop that has some beat up original Eames loungers and ottomans. If I ever decide to invest, I’ll have get one for each kid because they’re heirlooms.

              • HoaC,

                You should do it sooner rather than later. I restored the Eames (which my mother and father bought in the late 60s) earlier this year, as it had endured a lot of heavy use over the years; having beautiful, well designed and well loved “things” in my house a real source of joy.

                That my children also appreciate them (and it sounds like yours might too) is a wonderful thing.


              • Good tip! Prices certainly aren’t going down on authentic pieces. The kids have already absorbed the principle that fast fashion is wasteful and destructive and the same applies to furnishings.

          • Your couch sounds lovely. May I ask where you got it? I am looking for a green velvet couch and haven’t found one I like.

    • I love the church pew I bought. Strange that I never cared about furniture but I love this thing. In fact I am sitting on it right now.
      Tracy you need to up this site for pictures!

  • My living room sectional
    The red pickup truck in my driveway
    My German Shepherd
    Every single completed DIY home improvement project
    The Barbie movie(!!!!!)
    Solo road trips
    Starfishing in my king size bed

  • FW traveled all the time without me or our kids on trips “he needed” so I’ve traveled to Sedona, Charleston, San Diego, Las Vegas, Hilton Head, Savannah, Asheville, Chattanooga, Nashville, etc. Some were solo and others with friends, my kids,

    He hated spending money especially on me so I’ve treated myself to The Rolling Stones, Widespread Panic, Big Head Todd, and several upcoming music festivals.

    • I’m planning to save and take my daughter to Big Bear (CA) for a weekend in a cabin. Something we always talked about but never did because FW doesn’t like snow. My daughter has come out recently as pansexual and wanted to know if there was a place in CA that was super gay friendly. Y’all she didn’t know about San Francisco! That happens to be one of FW’s places so we went a few times but I’m going to reclaim it for me and my queer girl!! I don’t care if I have to save for a couple of years, she and I will go and spend a week there. 🙂

      • Oops, meant to say because our daughter always wanted to go stay at a “real” cabin and see snow. FW couldn’t be bothered to do things that other people wanted. So all our trips were things he wanted or that I liked if they coincided with something he was on board with (San Francisco, Hawaii).

      • That’s awesome❤️. Reclaiming is very powerful, especially when you can do it on a whole other level such as reclaiming San Fran with your girl.

  • Hiring a cleaner monthy as a single mom (Fuckwit was a hoarder) 2 building the most kick ass container garden on my balcony (he said it could not be done) have more tomatoes and basil than I know what to do with.
    3 traveling in my electric vehicle on my own that was paid off in divorce (said it could not be done)
    4 working a 2nd job to pay the cleaner (he got mad if I worked hard)
    5 living in a high rise apt on the top floor ( he hates heights I love it)
    6 building a loving close relationship with my teenagers over the last 3.5 years. Both of them always come to me. (Yes safe and sane parenting)
    7 spending time with my friends (he would make a crisis every time I went out)
    Running a household exactly the way I want all the time. (Priceless)

    I am the same age as the letter writer I still marvel how lucky I am to be free daily.

    • I get a raise in January and I think I’m going to use that extra money to hire a cleaning service. I think that would be so lovely. I have enough to do with taking care of my kid and my 1/2 acre property and working full time. Coming home to a freshly cleaned house would be so nice.

      • I have an apt so it costs 150 a month and it is the BEST thing I do for self care EVER.

    • Mine is a hoarder too. Love having no clutter and a clean home, always. Oldest, 14. refuses to go to his pig sty anymore. Tired of dog pee, rodent poop, and shit EVERYWHERE!

    • I’m also the same age as you and the letter writer and I so hope to have my very own home, kitchen and garden one day…. (since separating from eX I’ve been renting a tiny room in a house with 3 other people..) When that happens, I will love that!

  • I go see West End musicals/plays! I still go alone half the time but without the comments of “You’re going alone? That’s weird. No, I don’t want to come.” I love going to the theatre and single seats are often discounted so it’s a win-win!

    I’ve been travelling more! Now that I don’t have (umpteenth rank amateur league) cricket season dictating my holiday dates I can travel in May! And August! And September! And I can do even short weekend hops away! Yay!

    I joined a choir!

    I picked/bought my own furniture! (Instead of his parents choosing for us. Yep.) Yay!

    And last but not least.. My house is cat free and I can breathe allergy-free! Yay!

      • In my head it’s funny that there’s a possibility I’ll have to be a catless cat lady idk. I am sure this is funny to nobody else but that’s fine lol

    • This summer has been the summer of shows for me and my daughter and former MIL. I love her and she has been so supportive (I have always called her Mom Cat because of our shared love of cats; it’s as good a name as any for a former MIL). She proposed a pact because we had always talked about seeing shows together and never made it happen in 20 years!

      Now, if I do the research, find the dates and pricing (we have a very generous budget), secure parking and find a restaurant she pays for it all. VERY GENEROUS. This summer we’ve seen Six, Into the Woods, Beetlejuice and we are going to the Pageant of the Masters (an amazing local, annual art show where people dress up and pose as great works of art–it was parodied in the hilarious TV show Arrested Development:

  • I have a cat (FW was “allergic” to cats) and I love her. I am getting another kitten in about 10 days.

    I love my garden. FW HATED when I gardened, calling it a waste of time and money (that I should have been spending on him and his projects). I also planted an orchard, and didn’t have to justify the $700 I spent on trees to anyone.

    I highly doubt FW would have loved my chickens, but I have 9 chickens and they are so much fun. My son loves the chickens too.

    I love my home. FW and I had a house, and he did NOTHING but complain about it because there were some issues and things were always needing repair (welcome to home ownership). He said he was “trapped” by having a mortgage and it ruined his life. Nevermind that our mortgage payment was WAY lower than rent in our area. Nope. The house was the culprit. When he lived there during our divorce, he let it fall into wrack and ruin, and there was no way I could afford to fix it and at the time I couldn’t afford to buy him out, either. So we sold it. This past spring (about 18 months after FW died) I bought MY OWN HOUSE, and it is my dream. It’s a cottage on a half acre, surrounded by farmland. I did it all by myself, with no help, and I pay my mortgage (double what our previous payment was) with no help from anyone either. I’m (slowly) doing it up exactly as I like, without anyone else having a say. And I actually have the money to buy furniture, etc. rather than using hand-me-downs and things I scrounged out of other people’s trash.

    I love traveling. Last September I took the first vaction I’d had in 10 years. We were always broke because FW couldn’t be bothered to stay on a budget and “deserved nice things” for all the hard work he did. Without him, my bank account grew rapidly, and I paid off all my debts. So when a cool trip to England came up, I just … booked it. I didn’t even notice, financially. FW also had a habit of spoiling any trips we took by complaining about everything and demanding my attention when I wanted to, you know, sightsee. I got to take this vacation by myself and thoroughly enjoy it without his negativity. I’m planning on taking more trips, like taking my son to France, in the next few years.

    I love having my own bed, where I can sleep soundly without someone tossing and turning and snoring, but also complaining if I so much as shifted position.

    Mostly I love the freedom. Freedom to wear what I want. Freedom to read what I want without being criticized. Freedom to be the weight I feel comfortable at. Freedom to have “me” time. Freedom to not have to go out if I don’t want to. Freedom to chat to my best friend on the phone for hours at a time. I no longer have to endure verbal abuse on a daily basis, and constant criticism of everything I did or didn’t do. I no longer have to emotionally regulate a grown man. I no longer have to hold in my feelings and ignore my needs and desires so I don’t upset him. I stopped wearing makeup (never liked it, but felt like I had to “fix” what was “wrong” with me; there’s nothing wrong with my face). I stopped drinking almost completely . FW was an alcoholic, and every occasion involved drinking. I realized I just don’t enjoy it. (I might have a glass of sparkly wine now and again, but I rarely finish a bottle before it goes off.) I don’t have to shave my legs unless I feel like it. 🙂 My house is clean enough, but no one is yelling at me if I decide to put off vacuuming or doing the dishes.

    I love being single so much, I don’t think I’ll ever have another romantic relationship.

    • PREACH!

      After I got divorced I had a revelation that there wasn’t a single relationship I was ever in that made my life better or easier. After 25 years of trying to make men happy, I am working on making ME happy.

      • They say that being in a relationship makes solving problems better and easier. You know, the problems you wouldn’t have If you weren’t in a relationship.

    • Wow, I so recognize the flavor of FW you were married to!

      “Without him, my bank account grew rapidly” Check.
      “Had a habit of spoiling any trips we took by complaining about everything and demanding my attention.” Check. (Also, just had a habit of spoiling any nice moment — probably just because I was happy and having a good time.)
      “No longer have to emotionally regulate a grown man…[or] ignore my needs and desires so I don’t upset him.” Check.
      “Stopped drinking almost completely….every occasion involved drinking.” Check.

      Love to hear about the freedom you have found and starting to enjoy and look forward to the same.

      • That flavor is familiar to me too. Soon after we separated I had more in my savings than we ever did during the marriage and I was single with no job! How is that even possible?

        Anything that was supposed to be fun (like a vacation) was never fun. I don’t ever remember laughing with him unless we were laughing at someone else’s expense. I feel terrible for the way I mocked some of my friends.

    • ISawTheLight , and people wonder why I never married! Yes, I know there are lots of good men in the world who are good partners, but there sure are a lot of FWs!

      Thanks Mom, for telling me it was all right for a woman to be single! It’s a hard road in a lot of ways, especially financially, but it was the right one for me.

      • I’ll never get married again, even in the off-chance that I meet someone I want a long-term relationship with. Divorce is EXPENSIVE. I could have used that $50K for a lot of other things I’d rather have/do. I’ll never intertwine finances, and I will not be adding anyone to the deed on my house. Never again will I allow someone else to have power over my money or me having a place to live. I’d rather not live with anyone. Visiting is fine. I was raised very religious and conservative, and cohabiting was considered one of the worst sins you could commit. I left the church 20 years ago and am now atheist, so I won’t let that expectation control my choices any more.

    • That statement Emotionally regulate an other adult was me! My XH was bipolar and I could never be mad or sad or upset about anything. I had to be kind and gentle. Never an argument never a question to him about my needs. It was all about him 1000%. I learned how to stuff anything I felt so he would not be triggered. Oh but he could have multiple woman and that was his disease too!!
      I don’t have that anymore and I am free to be me. I love my senior apartment. It is quiet with lots of folks who have lost it all and kept going. Their stories of caring for mates and loving each other forever touch my heart. Then there are the couples who look MISERABLE together with the husband’s out right flirting with me. They nauseat me for I can see through them from a chump standpoint . Geezers who never grew up with mommy’s for wives. That would have been me if not for the grace of God. I am so joyful and peaceful all on my own.
      It is heaven…finally

  • I’m starting back up travelling with solos groups. Mallorca next month and Thailand in February (although that’s not a solos group – just an “explore” group). I want to get back to walking in the mountains (or just walking in general) now that summer is almost over. Oh and I want to not waste so much time online. I haven’t watched TV in 18 months but I need to kick the online habit too!

    • I think “cybernation” must be a standard part of recovery these days. There’s a point where it can outlive its usefulness but I’m grateful for it. Before the internet, where could traumatized people find specialized support communities and such condensed information to reclaim personal perspectives, get through the shaking-hands-quaking-voice-not-fit-for-casual-company periods and transition back to their earthly forms? 😀

      • Oh don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the internet, Youtube (and CL was a life-saver). I just would like to spend a lot less time on it and more time actually living!

  • I can get all the chores done and then go out. I know that sounds like a low bar, but it was just such a hassle to get the FW to participate in the running of the home that I did it all and exhausted myself. I used to beg that he helped me so that we could just get jobs done and then go to the beach or something as a family. But no- he told me I was an anxious freak who just couldn’t relax. I so thoroughly enjoy having that small thing back in my control!

    • Hello FormerlyKownAs! I fully agree with you, except for the “low” bar. A well maintained house is not a minor task! I can’t help but wonder whether there is some internalised mysogyny in that phrasing. You deeply hut my feminism by saying it that way! And yes, my feeling is mine to deal with 😉

      • Yes internalized mysogyny and years of living with a psychological abuser who minimized everything I needed/wanted down to as little as he could get away with. He was also sadistic and enjoyed watching me suffer and plead for help – the control was fun for him and I see that now. The trick was he did it slowly over 25 years. I never would have put up with that shit at the beginning of our marriage. So you’re spot on – the thrill of the low bar of just doing housework without the abuse reflects my worn down spirit in some ways but damn it feels good to be free of it.

  • I love my shiny new Masters degree that I’ve earned after submitting my final thesis draft yesterday.

    I love my new puppy.

    Most of all, I love my son and the person he is becoming.

  • My #1 adventure without the cheater happened within the first year post DDay.

    I took my 20-something kids to reclaim Disneyworld (I’m a fan and we went with the kids as a family several times when they were young).

    My head and heart weren’t fully into the trip until my youngest suggested he and I go on one of the crazy, loopy, upside down roller coasters. I’m terrified of them!

    My son turned to me and said ” you will love it. Dad would always be afraid”. That was all I needed to hear! Plus he said the trick is to keep your eyes closed for the first upside down loop to know that it isn’t scary.

    It was so much fun and not scary. Back then, I didn’t associate the word mighty with surviving infidelity. But mighty was exactly how I felt!! 💪

    On some rides at Disney, automatic photos are taken of the riders that are available to purchase after the ride. That photo such shows me with the biggest smile on my face was purchased (largest size they offered), framed and on display.

    That was the first of many adventures that I embraced…alone and better for it.

  • Cats (currently three)
    Plants hanging from the ceiling
    Greased door hinges (he took as a personal affront my doing it -and would not do it unless nagged for it)
    Fenced garden (so we can keep a dog – a pre-marital decision never executed)
    Uninterrupted sleep (I miraculously stopped snorring when he left -he was a secret smoker and I am allergic)
    Watching MY program on TV (the remote was called “power”, and he would never give it)

  • Dear Chump Lady what a shocker that you posted my letter. This has made 101. ……😁 Thanks so very much x

    • It was brilliant best post ever, made me so happy and look at all the replies. Life is truly better on the other side. says:

      It was brilliant best post ever,
      made me so happy and look at all the replies. Life is truly better on the other side.

  • Dear Scottish Chump,
    What a positive liberation….I love it!!!
    May be we meet at the CL meeting in Glasgow august 12 and 13 th, would be so interesting to see you there!!!
    best wishes and I am flying tomorrow to Edinburgh!!

    • Dear German Chump
      Thank you so much…. I will certainly look into it to see if I can attend as it sounds like fun. Hope you enjoy Scotland. Best wishes
      Scottish Chump x

  • Owning my own house! WXH was terrible with money but blamed me for spending all “our” money on things he didn’t enjoy – like cable and internet. SMH. The one time he came over right after D-day (he was staying somewhere else) and his mom was in town for a visit he was so glued to the tv while eating our supper that she kept rolling her eyes at me while we had our conversation. Love that woman!

    • My ex would be like “you take my whole paycheck!” Yeah, for like, the mortgage and the electric bill. Clearly I’m just indulging myself.

    • As a teen, I set a goal of someday owning a house outright with no loans. I owned nice houses with Cheater but he always spent money to the point where we had payments for everything and when something was almost paid off, he bought the next sparkly thing and started the process over.

      Between life insurance money, my ongoing work and being married to Colonel Thrifty, we live a calm life without debt. Our various properties all had major expenses this month and we weathered it without stress or fear. So many other happy, good things can come as a result of having one’s finances in order.

      • Unicornomore, it’s funny how many posts I read on this site where people say FWs are bad at managing money. Seems like it’s an almost universal trait.

        My mom, and wives 2 and 3, all said that my cheater dad couldn’t manage money although he had an MBA in accounting. My mom managed the money and did the taxes when they were married. She said he just wouldn’t save money; he’d go buy whatever he wanted and tell her he’d make more money if they needed it.

        Wives 2 and 3 said he couldn’t deal with paying bills on time…SMH.

        • I always gave my Cheater too much credit for how he handled money…he didnt spend stupid every day but he was bad with overall planning. He considered 2 car payments a “fixed cost” and traded cars in willy-nilly and the debt just kept going up. After died, I gave my son a used Subaru that must have cost us $50,000 by the time all the previous loans were rolled into it.

          The last rage he ever had at me was over money…he approached me to rubber stamp a car purchase and I said “no”…he then smashed things in the house

        • My FW’s view seemed to be that if it was in the bank account, it was available to spend. It never seemed to occur to him that money was earmarked for bills and whatnot. He rarely consulted me, and so I often found us in the red when it came time to pay the necessities. I managed the money because he was hopeless at it, but he also refused to follow a budget (he said I was trying to control him, or deny him or something) or to sit down with me and come up with a plan that he was comfortable with. He would buy small things like chapstick or asprin at the gas station, where it’s three times the price, rather than telling me what he needed so I could buy in bulk, stuff like that. When we were split, I STILL had to tell him what was due when and how much he owed towards bills (we were still splitting things for awhile) and he would FIGHT with me. I guess he didn’t understand that sometimes bills go up, and things like electric aren’t consistent. It was a relief to split our finances completely. Once we did, I managed to pay off all my (our, but in my name) credit card debt, even with paying my lawyer a thousand dollars a month. He spiraled deeper and deeper into debt. I found out the hard way that he hadn’t paid the gas and electric for the marital home (where he was living and was solely responsible for per our attorneys) for SIX MONTHS. The power got shut off while we were in the middle of selling it. There’d been a big rainstorm and the basement flooded because the pump couldn’t run. Ugh. I had to send the electric company all kinds of documentation so that I could open a new account in my name and get the power back on. I couldn’t afford to pay the $2K he owed, and neither could he. His AP lent him about $35K over a couple of years, and he still couldn’t manage. He admitted to the magistrate that he was moving in with her mainly because he couldn’t afford to live on his own (poor AP, she thought he was moving in because he loved her). We had been filing joint taxes because we usually got more back that way, but the year we filed for divorce I ran the numbers for both and discovered that he hadn’t had enough money witheld from his paychecks and owed over $5,000. That would have eaten up my entire refund, and I wasn’t about to pay his taxes for him, so I filed separately and let him know. I don’t think he ever paid that year. His lawyer eventually dropped him for non-payment and FW died owing his attorney (and the government) quite a bit of money. Whoops. Fortunately I wasn’t on the hook for anything he owed. AP had left him already, but she will never see all the money she gave him again. LOL. She thought FW was responsible for the fairly nice life we had, and she had no clue that we were only able to have a house and two cars and all the rest because I was good at keeping everything on track. These APs really target the wrong spouse when they find someone whose life they want. Nine times out of ten it’s the betrayed spouse who made that life possible.

      • Unicornnomore,

        The more I read, the more I’m convinced this cycle of getting in more debt right before the old debt is paid off is an abuse tactic. It keeps us stuck.

        Money mismanagement is nearly universal with fws because it’s a combination of immaturity and entitlement: “I earned it, I can spend how I like” and “I shouldn’t have to pay for electricity and other mundane things”.

  • All of my wildest dreams came true after I dumped the Lying Cheating Loser five years ago; the biggest dream being owning and fixing up an old house.

    Thanks to a modest inheritance, I was able to buy a 1930 brick Tudor Revival in a small town about 100 miles from where I’d lived with the LCL. It was an auction property, and as such, I owned it – outright – before I ever got to set foot inside.

    I call it my Pretty Little Cottage (the PLC for short) though at 1,850 sqft it’s not exactly “little.”

    If I sat down to write the list of 1,000 things I love that aren’t a FW, 950 would be PLC-related.

    My mighty superpower is DIY; I have refinished hardwood floors, laid a flagstone patio, built a deck, painted everything (including the exterior), and most recently converted an old attached boiler room turned decrepit woodshed into a cottage-style catio.

    I had a week to do it, and a budget of $200. Half went to hiring my neighbor buddy to help with some of the demo and construction. The other half went to lumber and a cat door. I finished the project by using leftover paint, scraps from the demo pile, and other free materials.

    The thing I love most about the catio happened by complete accident: since I didn’t have any cat-specific things to put in there (other than some shelves I built) and no money left in the budget, I made a little human seating area with pieces I already owned. And now I go out there in the morning with my coffee, and in the evening with my glass of wine, and my two cats join me.

    It is a life of peace and contentment, joy and gratitude. And I built it.

    • “a 1930 brick Tudor Revival in a small town” <3 <3 <3 Cats! and Coffee! Purrfect.

      There’s an awesome Facebook group called Handy Women I heartily recommend. So many chumped ladies on there (others are widows or single or just into DIY, but an awful lot had husbands walk out and/or cheat) showing their mighty by doing their own home improvement projects and cheering on, supporting, and giving solid advice to others. No one is ever shamed for being a newbie or making mistakes.

      • Thank you, ISTL, that’s a great tip and I will definitely check it out. The Pretty Little Cottage has her own Instagram account, and I find a lot of joy and creativity in both posting and following there.
        (Haven’t mastered Tik Tok yet – I might just be too Gen X for that lol.)

  • Wow — love this! But I immediately thought “only 1,000?” LOL. I know I’ve lost count at how many things I love since leaving FW. Here’s a short list (in any order):

    I love going on fun trips with my son — we have amazing times together. We just did Disney and it was epic! (he even said so!) FW always complained and was hateful
    I love my candles! (I wasn’t allowed to have fragrances in the house with FW)
    I love my doggo!! (we couldn’t have a dog with FW)
    I love my boyfriend!! He’s so much fun and we do so much together. Plus in bed too 🙂 Everything better than FW
    I love going to a million concerts that are whatever music I lOVE! (FW hated country — I love country, rock, oldies, jazz and go to everything!)
    I loved going frequently to Little Serow in DC (Thai restaurant) — so great! And I couldn’t ever get FW to go with me (sadly COVID closed it down though)
    I love DRINKING TEA ALL THE TIME — iced and hot (FW hated tea and would make faces). And I buy super fancy expensive tea. LOVE IT
    I love my friends! So much fun together without dealing with a FW!

    Seriously — the walls sing! So much to be happy about and LOVE

  • I love Pickleball and the group of friends that I have made.
    I love my 18 year old cat (that he also abandoned).
    I love having control of the remote!

    • I have read and seen so much about pickle ball. I wish I had known about it when I was younger. I can’t do it now because of my age and a balance issue.

      I always loved badminton, but pickle ball looks so fun. Tennis was just too strenuous for me, any time I played tennis with fw, I would spend the whole game chasing the ball. We were too unevenly matched in strength and he knew no way to do anything except with full force, much like his discard of me.

    • Me and my Rugby Club contemporaries got a little too old to play rugby, although we all hung on to 50+. Now we are all into Pickleball. Great fun

  • Great letter!! I love this!

    I think I was subconsciously doing the same in the early days post divorce, but it all started by starting fresh and not bringing anything outside if my family heirlooms into the place I rented. (As my oldest daughter said, “no bad juju, momma!)
    My first real sense of happy came when I was laying in bed one night on fresh, clean sheets and realizing I had a porn-free home! No more listening to the thwack, thwack, thwack of him beating off 6 or 7 times a day or waking up in the middle of the night to loud moaning sounds cause he’d fallen asleep mid-thwack and left the TV volume blaring.
    I bought my new forever home a few months ago and I have an Elvis shrine. I also have a big front porch (something I always wanted that was completely ignored) where I get to sit and visit with neighbors who pass by or when I’m writing.
    I spend a few weeks every winter on the beach in Belize and travel anywhere I want to go for as long as I want to stay. No more “We aren’t beach people or I don’t want to be gone more than 5 days, etc.”
    I go dancing. My stories are getting published. And I never have to watch another Dateline, Snapped, 20-20, or any other program I never cared for again!

  • This is so great to read everyone’s list (and get ideas!)… here are just a few of mine through the years:

    I parented my way – no consensus building – my house my style – and now that he’s 17 and doing well, I can look back and see that I did better than ok with my choices
    I go on summer vacations to Europe (always had to spend $10K paying for airline tickets and summer camps and back to school clothes for all my stepkids because FW and his X’s didn’t have the $$ but expected it anyway)
    I take cooking classes and cook amazing meals with ingredients I could have never used with Mister My Food Can’t Touch and should never have spices in it – he literally marvelled at me once that the OW made him grilled broccoli and it was a revelation to him… face palm
    I read… I don’t have to listen to Smallville on the TV incessantly and can just have some music playing and enjoy reading for hours on end
    I advanced my career… always distracted by having to be the marriage police and book counseling sessions and do all the family adulting… I put all that energy into my career and LOVE where I am now… I might even try to go further!
    I have peace in my heart… literally… no more panic attacks because I’m wondering/worrying about where he is or why he is lying to me

    I hope everyone keeps sharing their lists today – I plan to come back and read more… CL and Chump Nation – you are mighty!

  • This is inspiring. I am taking notes. I’m not entirely sure what my near future holds, but living alone again in the next few years seems likely one way or another, and there are only a couple of things that seem like cons on my pro/con list.

    I like to have a place for each thing and put things back where they go when they aren’t in use.

    I like to rearrange at least twice a year to make a space make sense for how it’s being used for that period of time.

    I don’t like to use plastic toys (bendies, etc.), or things that used to be alive and now aren’t (flowers, bones, preserved creatures, etc.,) or heavily used things (stained antique chair with collapsing seat, old kitchen implements, wood tables with bad finish/drink rings, etc.), as decor or furnishings.

    I like to travel to a place and chill out and see what’s personal and pretty about that place, and to use arranged tours when sightseeing, because I want to relax (not stressfully navigate challenges so someone else can “feel adventurous”).

    I like to fix things properly the first time, even if that means paying for it, because that’s usually cheaper than the many attempts that result from lack of experience, and the end result actually works properly. Practical, efficient, effective, low stress, a winning combo. (Sensing a pattern?)

    I like sitting outside in a shady screen house so I can eat and relax without being pestered by hornets or harmed by mosquitoes and other biters. A catio for me, basically. (Why the hell are so many people opposed to shade and screening a space in? I can’t believe how many people seem to feel like not braving every element every day is some kind of failure. I like the outdoors, too, but not 24/7.)

    Someday I want this to be what my life looks like. And it will be. I just don’t yet know when. It will take the time it takes.

    • I wish I had a screened porch. I am not a sun person (I have really sensitive skin that burns easily can react weirdly to sun) and mosquitoes love me. Our back porch (it’s like a mini-deck) is in bad shape, and I’d love to replace it with a screened porch.

      • Do it if you can! My parents put one in after I moved out. It’s attached to their bedroom, and I’d venture they spend 90% of their outside time on it in spring, summer and fall. It’s tiny, but they’ve managed to squeeze in a bed (where they sleep unless it’s crazy weather), a small table and two lounge chairs. Best room in the house and we all congregate there. I always recommend to friends who are building or renovating to prioritize this luxury if possible. Game changer, especially if you can find ways to make it double as a living space.

  • Mine are big and little things. 1). I was in the field yesterday for my job looking at prairie restoration and bison. 90 degrees and humid. I drank tons of water but still had trouble staying hydrated. On the way home I stopped at a grocery store and bought half of a chilled sliced watermelon. I sat in the car and ate the entire thing. It was glorious. I’m sure I looked like some crazed animal but my new self doesn’t care.
    2). I was at a big box grocery store that will remain nameless. I bought a few things and had to self check out. When I got out to the car I realized I forgot to ring up a cucumber. I laughed so hard. I group texted my 3 daughters “Your mom just shoplifted a cucumber at (blank), I’m in the car driving fast.” Reply from oldest “don’t drive too fast you will look suspicious” , youngest “or too slow you’ll look equally suspicious.” My middle daughter ” My mom sticking it to the man one cucumber at a time”. 3). Traveled to Ireland twice, have third one planned with youngest next April.

    • I have a ticket to Dublin for the end of September. Have never been, am so excited to go…. and a little terrified thinking about driving on the “wrong side” of the road, lol!

      • I took buses and tram in Dublin. Car in the countryside. Not too bad, you get use to it pretty quickly. Round-abouts are a little tricky.

        • Went to Ireland w/my siblings before I was married. We called the roundabouts “circles of death.” lol

          • Don’t try the huge roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe unless the driver is Parisian and practiced 🤣🤣 Shrieks, laughs and clutching the door handle as well as bracing my feet

            • Be PROUD of me!!! I am an American and drove the Arc de Triomphe round-about in a rental car with the FW being of NO help!!!! That said, I had lived overseas for years and feel comfortable driving on both sides of the road. Some of the country lanes with the hedges are pretty scary! I was literally watching the Arc de Triomphe come into view on the GPS and was praying like crazy for an alternative route, but it wasn’t that bad!!! The only rule when driving in a foreign country… don’t hit anything!

              • For real clapping…Im an American who is NEVER going to drive a roundabout (circle of death ) in either Ireland or Paris !!

              • Neither will I Unicorn No More, at least not in a country where they drive on the opposite side of the road. Like Australia, NZ, UK, etc. I have no experience or practice ! How do car rental companies even allow American, etc drivers to lease in these countries ?! 🤔

            • Been there and done that, Nut Cluster Free Zone. Fortunately, my husband is a competent and assertive driver so I simply closed my eyes and hoped for the best. That particular roundabout is far more cringeworthy than the ones in Ireland!

      • NotAnyMore, my mom and I went to Ireland in 2012 and had a blast! We stayed in Dublin and did some things there and also took some bus tours to a couple of places. And took a day trip to Waterford on the train and toured the Waterford factory.

        We chose not to rent a car. My mom could drive a stick, but I can’t. And I have arthritis in both knees, and carpal tunnel in both arms, so I’ll never learn now. Also, gas is very expensive there. We took cabs around Dublin; my mom wasn’t a mass transit person, and the trip was on her dime. If I’d been by myself, I would have taken mass transit.

    • I didn’t explain the “love”. I love the ease and silliness I again have with my daughters. I love that little things make me laugh. I love that the grief is gone. I love that I am once again fearless and can travel to another county on my own.

    • Your user name makes me wonder: could you have been at Wildlife Prairie Park?

  • This is a wonderful post and thread! Hopefully it will lift up and encourage those who are still slogging through the quicksand. My D day was in 2009, and it took me years to dig out from under the emotional and financial rubble. It was hard! Therapy, lots of self work, and working a second job (and sometimes a third) became the norm for a while, and provided distractions that helped me to power through the pain. But one day I realized I could, and should, go back to living, and do the things I wanted to do, even if I did them by myself. Since then I have traveled a good bit – standing in Monet’s garden was worth the work, all by itself – taken art classes and cooking classes, gotten back into the things I loved before I met FW. I reconnected with old friends I hadn’t seen in years and was surprised to find that many of them still liked me and welcomed me back into their lives. I do what I want when I want, go to museums and antique stores and little local concerts.
    And one day not too long ago, someone noticed me doing my own thing, and liked what he saw, and reached out to me. Someone very nice, and very different from the kind of man I would have fallen for in the past. I don’t know where it will lead, but it feels right and I am hopeful.

  • I love the fact that I don’t have to pick up my shoes and put them away as soon as I take them off. I can leave my purse on the table and my coat draped on the back of a chair. I can go shopping and take my time. No more rushing! No more angry looks because I’m not rushing or cleaning! Oh my gosh! I could go on and on, but at the moment, I can’t think of everything. I just know that I’m at peace. It took years post divorce to realize that I wasn’t on edge every time I turned around. He never hit me or cursed at me or questioned my purchases, but I was walking on egg shells nearly my entire life trying to make him happy. That was my constant thought in nearly everything I did. “Will he like this for dinner? How long can I shop before he wants me home? How long can I talk on the phone before he thinks I need to be off the phone giving him attention?” My gosh! My whole entire life was focused on him and what would make him happy or unhappy. I was 22 when I met him, 24 when I married him. After being a house wife raising my sons, I went to work and made the majority of the money, but I was still under his control. It took me at least 4 years after my 30-year marriage to realize that I didn’t have to answer to anybody. I was free!

    • ” I was walking on egg shells nearly my entire life trying to make him happy. That was my constant thought in nearly everything I did. “Will he like this for dinner? How long can I shop before he wants me home? How long can I talk on the phone before he thinks I need to be off the phone giving him attention?” My gosh! My whole entire life was focused on him and what would make him happy or unhappy.”

      Yes, yes, yes. Being free of this is the best. I had to learn what I liked and wanted after he was gone, but it has been wonderful.

    • Amazon – The 30-year number for marriage and the four-year number for the fog to lift matches my experience. I see that with many other chumps, too?

    • And I love that my shoes are put away, the mail is opened and dealt with, coats are hung up! I don’t have clutter around and we don’t have to do the key search every morning. It comes down to having control over your environment and self I think.

  • I love dancing and have learned to tango, foxtrot, hustle, east coast swing and belly dance. I just started improv and I love it! I bought a fixer upper home and installed hardwood floors, painted the interior, repurposed old marble countertops into my kitchen counters and hauled by wheelbarrow 20 cubic yards of tan bark into my yard. I love that I made this a happy home for myself, my two adult children and my new pup. I’m good not having a partner. I love chump lady and chump nation.

  • What a great idea! I’ll play…

    Hiking trips. Costa Rica, Utah, Peru (Machu Picchu – omg it was heavenly), Hawaii and Africa.
    Stripped, repaired and restrained the deck FW left in shambles. All by myself!
    Adopted another rescue cat who is now besties with my senior kitty
    Slowly remodeling the house I bought him out of
    Earned a sizable salary increase the put me back on track to retiring on my original timeline
    Bought a badass snowmobile and trailer and an even badasser truck to haul it
    I sing and play keyboards in a rock band…now guilt free
    Spending time with friends who share my values

    I will be adding to this list moving forward. 😊

    • I am hopeful for either a raise or job change with range that will put me back on mark to retire when I originally planned to. The divorce is going to hit my retirement accounts badly. 😔

  • I have done a few things to keep me happy:::
    -I bought a house and a car on my name only…first time in my life and I’m 44
    -Got me a pink sectional sofa, which would not be a thing if I was with him
    -painted the walls as dark as I could, black living room? Yes! Dark blue halls, a must. I’m living in my Chicago style decor dream
    -went to a weekend in the beach alone for the first time!
    -went to a drag show and enjoy my bourbon in peace
    -have taken my kids in two international trips (it was stressful to be honest, but an achievement)
    -have dated, without remorse and love the journey, have met beautiful kind souls, I might keep the last one
    -got me a snake 🙂
    -started planting outside and the flowers are thriving
    -got back in shape, and removed some sagging skin and I look fabulous, lol
    -dress in any way I want
    -have gone out in multiple occasions without makeup and have been told I look beautiful, but I didn’t needed the validation
    -got a huge award a work
    -have completed two leadership programs
    -initiated in my religion of choice without judgement from him
    All and all good stuff and I need to continue to enhance the list…

    Life is infinitely better for me without him.

    • Black living room with a pink sofa? This sounds absolutely beautiful!

  • I love that I can do whatever the hell I want, whenever I want, with whomever I wish.

    I no longer have to cater to FW’s needs and walk on eggshells.

    I found a prominent place in my home for the oil painting I’d done years ago. FW had suggested I stick it in the unfinished part of our basement.

    I moved to the city to be near my kids. He hated the city. I’m going on vacations that do NOT involve fly fishing.

    The freedom is intoxicating.

  • What an uplifting challenge! I’m almost 9 years out from Dday.. 25 year mirage (thank you VH!) 4 kids. Divorced 7 years and completely NC. For newly Chumped, this exercise may seem alienating.. I get that. In trauma, I also could barely breathe let alone laugh… it’s going to get better and better after you leave… today’s responses are living proof. Here are a few to add to the 1000 things I love: my grandson’s giggles and delight at simple games, hummingbirds fighting over my flowers, my puppy’s smile when we play ball, coffee in the morning, sweat peas, blackberries eaten off the vine, my children’s’ laughs.

    • I want to comment on your credit to VH for “mirage.” I’ve seen other (Spinach) also credit her. I spent my working life in academia, as a professor, at a small liberal arts college. I heard a lot of talk about “the academic community” and how we credit others for their work. But I also saw a lot of behavior that wasn’t in line with the talk. I heard people take credit for things others had done–my dissertation advisor did this to me, in front of an entire class of grad students, with me sitting in the room; a colleague in my department would joke about “stealing” or “borrowing” ideas that would come up in conversations about readings, teaching strategies, or assignments, and then present these to her class without saying where she’d gotten them, knowing they would credit her for them), and saw a lot of competitive cut-throat undercutting behavior.

      It speaks volumes to me that the members of CN give credit where credit it due. The example and company of honest, decent people trying their best to overcome betrayal and deceit, devaluing and discard, while putting their values into practice is why I keep coming here every day.

  • What a great idea! I love this. Starting my list today!

    One thing I love that is not a FW is my little inflatable Intex pool. It’s basically just a little kiddie pool, but it’s big enough for me to float in on a hot day and I’ve been enjoying it. I’d always wanted to set up a pool during the summer, but FW didn’t want to deal with it. I set it up all by myself and have been maintaining the chemicals just fine. I may feel differently about it when I have to take it down at the end of summer. lol!

    • I also enjoy an inflatable pool. I have membership to a country club pool that I enjoy with my son, but some days after work, I just want to make an iced tea and lie in my own yard in a kiddie pool with my music playing just to be cool. Such a simple pleasure.

  • You got me at peonies a long time ago CL. I love peonies, and planted them every where we lived, only to move away. The rental house that I moved into when I left him in December 3 years ago was covered in snow. I found out in May that 8 peony plants thrive between my house and the playground. I loved it and ended up buying that house.
    My collection of Delft also replaced his ugly Toby mugs.

  • I love this letter and mind-set from the sender! So that’s one thing

    Love and finding gratitude — even in the tiniest things — is what pulls you eventually from the death spiral of the trauma. It took me one full year after D-day before I experienced a moment of spontaneous happiness and I remember it with such clarity because it was such a striking contrast to the sadness and pain. A lovely May afternoon while I was taking food to a sick friend. The sun was bright, everything was green, and there was such loveliness all around me! In that moment, I declared dead that May would no longer be D-day month, it would be my victory month.

    I love my six kids, two daughters in law and three grandchildren. I love the lady my second son is going to marry. So, yes, right there are twelve things I love. I love sunrises! I love Vivaldi. I love old movies. I love the Lord!

    Just keep reaching for those things you love. If you want to thrive, keep focusing on the good.

  • I needed this today. I’m at the tail end of cleaning out my mother’s house (am there now), settling her estate (she died last fall) and losing my last connection to the part of the country where I was born and grew up. I’m also still coming to terms with my closeted ex’s acquisition of a new partner (I heard about it two weeks after my mom died). So for the past year I haven’t been experiencing a lot of joy or thinking of “my favorite things” (except in the case of my mother, in terms of loss).

    But the letter today, and CN’s lists of “favorite things” reminds me that a favorite thing for me after leaving my now-ex is a Christmas tree. I grew up in the mountains of Colorado, in a forest, and after I moved away for a PhD and a career as a professor, I missed the smell of pine and fir, so having a fragrant fir tree (Douglas fir, preferred; Fraser fir, next) in the house at Christmas was important to me.

    My ex hated Christmas. He hated the obligation of shopping for others (although he always had a long list at the ready for himself), and getting him to go and get a tree was like pulling teeth. He always treated it as an imposition. The only part of buying and decorating the tree he warmed to was finding the few ornaments he had from his childhood tree or that his sister had made for him, and once those were on the tree his participation was lukewarm.

    The first Christmas after the divorce (in November), a friend and I went shopping for a tree, a HUGE tree, much too big for the space in my apartment, but I loved it anyway, at least partly as a big “fuck you” to my ex’s Christmas “Debbie Downer” persona. My son came over to decorate it with me, and we had a great time talking about the ornaments and when they were acquired.

    For a couple of years after that I didn’t have a tree–one year I was condo-sitting in a place across from my mother’s so I could help her, the pandemic–and the next year I had a misshapen tree without any of my son’s ornaments on it because I had foolishly thought my ex and I would pass them back and forth so after that first year I had dutifully given them to him and have never seen them again.

    This past Christmas, though, only a couple of months after my mom died, I was determined both to honor my mother’s enjoyment of Christmas and to not let my ex’s selfishness bring me down. My friend has moved to California, but I went out and found the perfect tree, and my son came over and we decorated it together, and despite not having “his” ornaments, all the rest of them have been part of his Christmases since he could remember.

    This year, I will put up my Christmas tree in my new house, one I’ll move into about the time of my birthday in mid-October. And next time CL runs this Friday Challenge, I’m going to have a lot more things on my list.

    • Wonderful!🎄

      Here’s to more “trees” on your list in the coming years!

  • My ex has food allergies (gluten, lactose, soy) so everyone in the house was dictated to follow his diet. The first thing I gleefully purged when he left was anything labelled gluten free. My teens and I have gluten glutton Fridays where we make our own individual pizzas from scratch (and we love how we can eat what we damn want)! He also was a serious health/exercise fanatic and constantly tried to unsuccessfully force the kids to run with him. They would refuse because of his pressure. We have now done our third foam and mud run for charity. I love it because it’s fun, no pressure and we do it together and get so messy! He would always refuse to do these kind of things because it wasn’t serious and there was no acknowledgement to how runners placed.

    • Yes! Same here. Klootzak always pressuring our son to run with him and our son not wanting to. Every time klootzak would go runnings, it made me think of that awful character George Clooney played in Burn After Reading who was a cheater and then always had to go for a run.

      Anyway, I am not an avid runner. I haven’t done any running in almost 10 years now as I hated klootzak’s pressure about it. But sometimes I am inclined to get back to it a bit. Our town was going to have a color run with a shorter distance for kids and I sk wanted to go with our son and do it but klootzak wouldn’t shut up about what a mess we would be. It is now added to my list to do next year!

  • 1000 things to love… this is SO brilliant! Today is cold and rainy, but I’m going to drive over to the beach anyway because the ocean is beautiful when it is slate gray under low clouds. FW would never have wanted to do that, but I don’t have to care what he thinks anymore.

  • I’m able to sleep, even go to bed early, without being punished for it.

  • Scottish Chump and Chump Lady – you have made my day!! I am totally taking this on and by the time I push up daisies, my new mission to have a list of gratitudes and empowerment will be longer than my arm. (leaving that sack of shit that I spent 32 years of my life with was the very best gift to myself) Also going to start at 1,000 and count down. Love this idea

  • German Shorthaired Pointer dogs. XW told me “me or the dog!” Not a problem anymore. That was the first one and number five is under a lap blanket with Buster the cat on a love seat with my wife at the moment. She just retired after 34 years as a critical care nurse and can’t stop grinning.
    My wood working shop. Filled with tools rescued and restored from craigslist. I turn bowls on my lathe, recently built complete set of Shaker kitchen cabinets for my sister-in-law ad 15 mini cornhole boards for kids at church.
    Canoes. I have three and am taking two Monday on an eight day canoe camping trip. Fishing, cooking over a fire, swimming, napping, staying up late telling wild stories and looking at the Milky Way.
    My garden. I planted 13 fruit trees. Peaches, plums, apricots, apple, oranges and mandarins. A vegetable garden I can water from my 1300 gallon rainwater collection system. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans.
    My brother. XW was always annoyed with him. Well, he is not lying cheater like you! He got chumped five years after me and really struggled, but eventually got his legs under him. We are now both remarried, retired, living in Napa and being blessed with grandchildren in rapid fashion. Our wives like each other. We just took the ferry to San Francisco to watch Giants game. We will grow old together and continue to lean on each other.
    Next week it all comes together when I load up the canoes, dog, shop built camping gear and cooler full of home grown produce and meet my brother and grandkids on an island in a Sierra lake. Our wives think it is just heaven too!

    • Bruno
      That sounds like absolute heaven. Just so happy for you.
      Maybe next summer you would be willing to setup a chump canoe trip!

      • I would love to do that.
        It is primitive camping, but there are more developed campsites, cabins, and resorts nearby.

        • I think there should be a summer camp for adults – swimming, canoe and sailing instruction, archery, crafts, campfires, meals in the mess hall, etc. Horses would be a huge bonus. Any suggestions, Bruno or Rebecca? Oh, and the Perseid meteor shower peaks Aug. 11-13th this year. What a great week to be outdoors!

          • I would be SO down for this. Just add rappelling to the list. I miss stepping over the edge of a cliff. It was SO MUCH fun when I went to summer camp as a teen.

  • There are so many things I love about my life now! I love my little house that I decorated exactly how I want it. I love all of my pink appliances in my kitchen. I also painted my bedroom ballerina pink and it makes me so insanely happy. I have plants everywhere and I spend money on beeswax candles that fill my home with lovely fragrances. (FW was allergic) I open the windows on nice days (allergies again, he never allowed me to open windows or doors) and I have more dogs! I just adopted a 50 pound puppy who is an amazing addition to my other dogs. (FW complained constantly about the dogs and I had to beg for every thing they needed) I don’t ask permission to do anything ever. My life is my own!

    • Pink appliances! That sounds amazing. My bedroom has a lot of pink in it too (not the walls, which have a harlequin wallpaper) but the bed, the chair, etc. I put up a crazy woodland-themed black wallpaper (think mushrooms, owls, bunnies) in my bathroom and I love it. I got all new sheets and towels made of real linen.

      FW was allergic to frangrances as well, and I added candles to my life as soon as I had my house (no candles allowed in the apartments I rented for the last few years).

      My ex had this weird belief that outdoor air was unhealthy, and would never open a window at night no matter how nice the weather was.

      I’m not a dog person, but FW was allergic to cats, so I couldn’t have one (I love cats), and now I do. I’m getting another kitten next week. I also got chickens (on a whim! – I mean, I was planning to get them, but I one day just decided to bring home half a dozen fluffy chicks because, why not? My son adores the chickens).

      “I don’t ask permission to do anything ever. My life is my own!” – The best feeling.

      • The fuckwit was allergic to cedar. Now I can have cedar fires, cedar candles, and anything cedar.

    • When our marriage started to get seriously wobbly, she told me we had to get rid of the dog because it was “out of control.” In an attempt to save my marriage, I found a rescue group that would rehome him. When I told her, see stared at me and said, “That would just make me the bad guy!” That moment was when I started to realize there was an alternate agenda in her actions. So glad that I kept the dog. He was my best friend through divorce and was the first of five German Shorthaired Pointers I have had.

      • When my fuckwit said, “You’re making me out to be the bad guy!”, I said, “You are the bad guy!” They’re dipshits.

        • That reminds me of the sketch where one Nazi says to the other “Hans, are we the baddies?”!

      • Bruno, dogs don’t cheat. I mean, they enjoy attention from others, but they know who their human is. Or humans are.

    • I kind of hate the color pink personally but your comment and the idea of this brings me so much joy. 🙂

    • Oh, how I have missed opening windows! Klootzak removed all the screens from this house and trashed them. Outdoor air just brings in dust, he would say. I love not only the fresh air but the sounds of crickets chirping in the yard and the occasional train or boat horn.

  • Oooh man oh man!

    Going to see Barbie with my boyfriend and wearing pink together
    Getting a mani pedi I’ve been waiting for all semester
    Indian food
    Setting up in a good coffee shop to study
    The cat excitedly running to greet me when I get home
    Melissa McCarthy movies
    Kate McKinnon
    The kitten trying to suckle on my boyfriend’s shirt and ending up pulling off a button
    QUIET. Just…quiet.

  • It’s no longer all abut him, now it is about yew. (Sorry, I could not help myself!)

  • OMG I LOVE THIS POST SO VERY VERY VERY MUCH! I also love Monty and his octopus. Here is the start of my list; I”m going to go off after this and really make a list of 1,000! I LOVE THIS! I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Ok: 1,000: making my own new garden at my own new house, where FW has never been inside or in the back yard (he sees the front yard occasionally). I LOVE GROWING FLOWERS! (this will be ongoing) 999. Going to a sunflower festival near me with my daughter this weekend (I LOVE OTHER PEOPLE’S FLOWERS TOO!). 998. Preparing hard music, designing, and writing my own 2 hour solo voice concert, including 4 arias for the first time (learned to sing opera starting 2 years ago, right after I kicked the FW out). Still to come: 997. Preparing my next concert. 996. Trip to England and Ireland 995. Trip to New Zealand 994. Music tour of Ireland with my daughter 993. more travel! 992. making gifts with the flowers I grow 991. Go geocaching in all 50 states and more countries outside U.S. 990. Visit lavender farms in Oregon and Washington

    • On your trips to England and Ireland, don’t stay in London or Dublin for more than a couple of days. Explore the other parts of both countries, such as the Wild Atalntic Way on the West coast of Ireland, and places like the Cotswolds, the Derbyshire Dales and if you have time, try and get up to the Lake District in Cumbria. You could also go to Snowdonia in North Wales if you haven’t time to travel up as far North as Cumbria.
      I hope our weather is good for when you come over here, it’s bloody like Winter here at the moment! August and I’ve got winter woollies on and 2 pairs of socks! We had to light the stove last night for the central heating and I will likely be doing so again tonight! I’m bloody FREEZING!

  • So much to love…
    While it’s hard only having my daughter half the time, I do love getting to parent my way, and planning our little adventures together.
    I love my paddleboard! It’s so relaxing, my arms have gotten stronger, and I’ve met some really great people. Also recently connected with an AMAZING charity via paddleboarding, and I am looking forward to helping out with them as much as I can going forward.
    I love not having sports on the TV all the time in the background. I love not having to have Friends playing on the tv at bedtime so FW can fall asleep (I will be so happy to never watch another episode or hear someone quote a line from that show ever again).
    I love getting to go camping instead of Vegas (I mean Vegas is fun every now and then, but the beauty of the outdoors is so much more therapeutic).
    I love having more time to take care of myself. I’m stronger. I’ve been able to splurge on laser hair removal (OMG, what a life-changer for miss gorilla legs here!).
    I love getting away for more skiing in the wintertime and teaching my daughter to ski.
    I love getting to watch the Netflix shows with all the accents, lol! British period piece? Yes please!

    • Curly Chump, I am so with you on the Friends hate. My shoulders are up around my ears just thinking about it! (Sorry, no offense meant to those who like it).

      • Once upon a time, I didn’t mind the show, but after it oversaturating the media consumption in my house, I’m just over it. While rapidly descending into the discard, I once suggested putting something else on as background while he fell asleep. “How about Cheers!?” He was so disgusted by my suggestion, as if I had said, let’s put on a dissection of a two-headed frog. It’s classic tv sitcom writing, and if it’s just background noise, what’s wrong with something other than the same thing you’ve been watching for years? I was desperate for a break from the Gellers et al. I still can’t believe the amount of contempt he held in his voice when I brought up something that wasn’t one of his “favorites.”

      • Ya’ll are cracking me up so much with this hilarious “Friends” hate! 👏👏👏 I have never enjoyed the show. “We were on a break!” is so triggering. And how it coined the very problematic term “Friendzone” for men to complain about not getting laid because women don’t like fake nice guys or whatever. Plus that terrible dated sitcom laugh track going constantly, and the crappy theme song “I’ll be there for YOU- uuuuuuu!!!” Um, except when I’m banging other women because “we were on a break!”😭😭😭. Just no!

    • British period pieces, they are the best! I don’t have a TV, but I watch them from my laptop from time to time. Mine had to have the TV on to be able to sleep as well, and I disliked it so much!

    • I was not allowed to watch any comedies or sitcoms. It was either gory action films or Forensic Files and other shows about people trying to murder their spouses and get away with it.

      I look forward to having some time watching a bit of all shows and movies that make me laugh – Friends included – as I spent far too many years without laughter and joy.

      But I completely understand how even something that can be a good thing – in my case, working our and running – can feel like a trigger to be avoided when it has been weaponized by a FW.

      • X hated Seinfeld- because making him laugh was a “manipulation:” Now I watch Seinfeld all the time and double the pleasure

  • I can babysit my grandchildren till late without worrying about X coming home and being annoyed with kids in the house! What about me he said. Look at all the dirt they track in, look at the finger prints. I have peace. No one grabbing me in tender places ALL THE TIME and demanding I do as he wants now, or suffer his silence, blame and rage. I can walk around as I please without anyone handling me 100% of the time. That is pure peace and stress relief to be alone with someone I love (me). Went to PBR Bull riding and got Out late. Had perfect seats. No one complaining about ANYTHING!I can stay out late. I can go to bed early. No more watching Wrestling.with woman made up like creeps pulling each other’s hair out with my X yelling…come watch this, this is good!!! Why don’t you like what I like? No more sitting next to me in church pretending to be a Godly man while doing OW. Living without all those lies. Trying to believe him to save “my family.” The Family he could care less to destroy. I’m so happy To be free of that person whom I believed loved me, but did not. Living without lies is the best blessing of all.

  • I love my new roof. We argued the entire marriage about every single home repair/improvement because he worked construction but had zero design sense. So if it was something I wanted, that he didn’t want, he just refused to do it. And I couldn’t hire anybody because, gasp, how humiliating would that be for him.

    In the surprise attack divorce, one of the major points was that the house badly needed a new roof. It couldn’t be easily sold that way, etc. It was going to be a process to even get the refinancing I needed to stay in my home of three decades.

    He had hunkered down 15 years earlier insisting on a cheap barn metal roof. I am a realtor and many of us in that field are anticipating the time in a decade or two when these cheap metal roofing jobs are revealing their inevitable flaw – they were never meant to be installed on a home. Those homeowners will discover one day that they have thousands and thousands of small holes that have been leaking and will be repairing rotting trusses. To be clear, there is a metal roofing process for homes. But, it is several times the expense of the shed roofing panels popping up all around me.

    I picked the most experienced, quality roofer in the area (by word of mouth investigation) and he shared my prediction about the very popular metal roofs in our area. And then he recommended a color of shingles I might look at on several houses in the county. I did my drive-bys and agreed. It was a color I wouldn’t have chosen without his suggestion. And dang if my house is not totally beautiful!

    I can do hard things! And make it beautiful to boot! My old roofer also finished up the entire exterior of my home, encouraging me to just get it all done and never have to worry about it for the rest of my life on this earth. He passed away in a tragic accident just a few weeks after my roof was complete. He was an angel – sent to me in a most horrible time of my life.

    • Thanks for the post. I was considering a metal roof as I will probably need to replace the shingles in a few years. My ex had a bee in his bonnet about me push mowing the yard. Actually, he didn’t want anyone to see me doing it and think he was slacking. So, we had to have a riding lawn mower for our small yard with a steep hill in the back. He rolled the mower over on that hill. The mower was trashed, but he wasn’t injured. After that, I just push mowed. He made a point to tell people that I liked to push mow and that is why he didn’t do it.

  • After my divorce from a cheater and after I ended a disastrous relationship (the guy turned out to be an asshole and was trying to control me), I went through a period of depression. Part of the advice I got from my therapist was “fake it till you make it”–that is, do things that a non-depressed me would enjoy and keep doing them. So I took a 1. trip to the Florida Keys and swam with a dolphin, 2. decorated my new apartment to suit me alone (gave my bedroom a Florida vibe with tropical cushions and art so it seemed beachy and light even during the long winter months–I love the ocean, even though I’m not a sun-lover), and 3. reached out to socialize and do fun things with people in my new city. Sure enough, before long, those bouts of depression became shorter and fewer.

  • I love that I’m at this very moment, I’m sitting poolside in the sunshine at a resort (by myself!) with my fruity adult beverage celebrating one year (this next week) of being an independent brave badass after leaving my abusive eX & surviving 1 year of betrayal trauma, successfully moving toward healing and a good future!

  • I love the counter space freed by getting rid of coffee maker, I’m a loose tea drinker with an Instant Hot.
    Loved seeing Allison Krauss & Robert Plant in concert on birthday last year.
    Loved the 10pm bioluminescent kayak trip in local River with 2 friends
    Love my MCM Hans Wegner papa bear chairs

  • Oooooh!!!! I love this one!!

    I have started with season tickets to the ballet, going to the art museum, going on a road trip by myself, and booking three non-work trips by myself.

  • My son.

    Not owning as much stuff. I discovered I’m a minimalist. Didn’t realize that being crowded by things we stressful. I’m so much happier not having so much stuff.

    • My son and his wife are both minimalists. I am always amazed and how clean and open their house feels.

      I am not a hoarder, but I do have too many things. I have been downsizing, and it really makes a difference.

  • I love this so much, I can’t wait to read everybody’s.
    It reminds me of something I read recently-something along the lines of really liking the things you like… Thinking about them, enjoying them…
    Kind of like gratitude but different -really taking the time to appreciate everything that gives you pleasure.

  • I love the two local woman friends my age I’ve made since leaving a cheater, being forced to relocate, and cutting ties with all of my toxic family of origin. These women are my real family now. One takes me to the most fun outdoor concerts, films, museums, caves, and waterfall hikes. The other always generously includes me in her family holidays, esp when I’m missing my kids. These 2 more than make up for all of the Switzerland friends I let go of years ago.

  • A cat door! We got a cat before D-Day bc FW was gaslighting me to think I was a bad mom for not letting our daughter get a car. Fast forward D-Day (4 days after getting the kitten) and difficulties getting DD (then 9) to clean the litter box, I requested we put in a cat door so the litter box could be housed in the basement, and he said he would never “destroy a good door!” Fast forward: He’s out, my elderly mom just moved in, and I put in that damn door! Makes me so happy!

    Also did a Rage room with a fellow chump! Amazing, cathartic experience! Highly recommend!

  • Taking my teenage sons on a Christmas cruise to the Pacific Islands! The ExFW would think it would be below him to go on a cruise, he also owes $40k plus on child support so what he thinks is none of my business 🚢 🥳 🍹

  • I can’t do as many things as I’d like to without the FW XW just yet. But the little things, like going wherever I like when I have a day off, seeing a theater performance that I want to see, not having to deal w/her migraines anymore (don’t get me wrong. I was always cared for her as best I could when she did have them, when I thought she loved me the way I loved her. But not having to deal w/that now is freeing), etc. Those little things really add up.

    I am taking my vacation next week to visit my younger daughter who just moved down to the Wilmington, NC area. And my youngest, my son, is coming w/me on the long road trip, which is great. I’ll stop off and stay w/my sister overnight in VA on the way down, and hopefully might be able to see my 88 yo mother on the way back (we all just saw her for her 88th birthday a couple of weeks ago).

    This visiting my sister and mother on the way is something the FW XW was not willing to do doing during the last two years before she exit-affaired me. So again, it’s a very freeing feeling that I no longer have this awful person next to me that is actively discarding both me and my family, and me not understanding what the hell is going on to make her act like this. Oh, but it’s obscenely clear now.

    It’s amazing how blind you can be to people’s words and actions when you’re in love w/them, but don’t realize they’re not in love w/you anymore, or maybe never were. That you, to them, were only useful for as long as they saw fit, and then tossed aside when they felt you no longer were useful to them.

    What pathetic, awful people they are. They really are in their own personal hell, but don’t realize it. And I for one, have no desire anymore to try to enlighten her. Honestly, I haven’t for years now. It would be a waste of time and energy on my part. And I wasted enough time on her in my life.

    Here’s to all the good things we’re enjoying w/out these fuckwits in our lives. Let’s continue to make the most of our lives going forward. We all deserve a better life, I think. Best wishes to everyone.

  • I have travelled solo 1st time ever in June, loved it so much, have booked 2 more trips in September to the Greek islands, absolutely loved travelling without a Whingey, winey man-my child complaining nonstop….oh the freedom, it’s delicious,
    I have my own apartment, can put the light on in the night if I want, just bought myself a running machine, I walk on it but it keeps me fit, UK weather is diabolical at the moment, I’m definitely at Tuesday & loving my life at 62, blocked ex of 28 years, adult kids want nothing to do with him, their choice, so I’ll never have to have anything to do with him again, heard he has gone back to the very first girlfriend that he cheated on, 🙄 some people never learn but hey ho, not my problem 😁 was rather disappointed with my in-laws but they can stay in Switzerland while I travel all Europe 😊

    • “(I) absolutely loved travelling without a Whingey, winey man-my child complaining nonstop….oh the freedom, it’s delicious”… Oh goodness, I could have written this! The complete sucking of any joy out of any place or activity. Once it was all over, that’s what I got back, joy. A small word but how I welcomed it back in all things big and small!

  • My cheating ex was there for the struggle years, for ramen, red beans and rice, and local driving vacations. Then her cheating was discovered. In the 14 years since, she missed out on the sweet payoff of a life of hard work: Christmas in Vienna, oysters in New Orleans during jazzfest, attending a World Series game, and hundreds of other treasures. Her
    memory is largely buried beneath a mountain of blessings she knows nothing about.

    • Good for you, Nomar! They might not know what they’re missing, but we do!🤣

    • This is something that really got me too. FW and I struggled financially for some years (health issues, job loss, new baby, etc.), but we made it through. And JUST as it was all evening out and we were on track to start doing really well (both of us finally having good incomes, full-time work rather than on call, etc.), THEN he cheats, and both of us have to spend all our money on lawyers rather than securing a good future for ourselves. I was also pissed that OW just waltzed in when life was finally going well, and wanted to step into my place as if she’d had something to do with FW’s success, as if my blood, sweat, and tears, my scrimping and saving and going without meant NOTHING. She didn’t have to deal with any of that. She didn’t take a chance on a broke, 27 year old college student with big dreams. No, she grabbed a guy with a house, two cars, a kid, two successful and critically acclaimed films under his belt (that I had worked so hard to make happen), etc. She got screwed over in the end and I’m doing great, so it’s all water under the bridge now.

      FW died a couple of years ago, but it sometimes amuses me to think how angry he’d be to see my success. He HATED that I was able not only to survive, but to THRIVE without him, and resented it so much when I had anything good happen to me (particularly with money/work). I was supposed to curl up and die without him, I guess. I almost wish he was still around to see the house I bought myself, to see me take vacations, and all the rest. But then, I’m so glad I have peace and am not being threatened or abused anymore, or having to coparent, and I’m all good.

  • So many things! Here are just a few.

    Guitar lessons and a beautiful Jackson electric guitar. I could never afford to have a hobby when I was with the ex. He had several and all were costly.
    Only eating food I like. I don’t have to cook vegetables into a brownish green mush.
    Buying and learning to use tools and make simple repairs. However, now I can afford to hire someone to do work around the house.
    Only having to do laundry for myself. I’m pretty sure my ex never washed a load of clothes in the entire 25 years we were together. Even when I broke my ankle, I had to carry the dirty laundry down the basement steps to the washer, and then carry the clean, wet clothes back upstairs to the dryer.
    A much less cluttered house! It’s amazing how much stuff I let go. It is an ongoing process, but I’ve made tremendous progress. The ex never threw anything away, so the task is so much easier without him sabotaging me.
    A growing bank account. I’m not in the red every month anymore. I’m replenishing my savings after years of financial abuse.

    • I had the opposite; klootzak insisted on doing the laundry. He claimed I didn’t do it right. In truth, I think he was trying to keep me from smelling skank on his clothes.

  • He used to watch movies at home all the time. He placed a TV in the bedroom, another one in the kitchen, and yet another one in the living room. We never had a peaceful night, just chatting over a bottle of wine. I dislike TVs, the brightness, and the loud sounds make me tired. Despite that, I always accompanied him in his movie marathons. He always expressed a need to distract himself and couldn’t stand being alone with his thoughts. At that time, I didn’t fully understood what it meant, but now I do. So, there are no TV’s now at home. All gone.

    We had very little furniture, but I realized that he bought whatever he wanted. He would complain and refuse to go shopping, so I probably got tired and gave in. He got chunky, huge things like a lazyboy and a giant sofa. I am a minimalist, and I disliked how ugly they looked. Those pieces of furniture are gone now, and my friends say they’ve never seen my home so pretty. He would even interfere in choosing salt shakers, dinner sets, or cushions to buy, which I found really weird.

    My list starts with a minimalistic lifestyle.

    • ” I always accompanied him in his movie marathons. He always expressed a need to distract himself and couldn’t stand being alone with his thoughts. At that time, I didn’t fully understood what it meant, but now I do. So, there are no TV’s now at home. All gone.”

      SAME. My ex always needed SOMETHING. He aboslutely couldn’t be alone with his own thoughts.

      I had a TV but when my son broke it, I didn’t replace it. My son only used it to play video games, but he would get super frustrated and scream and cry (he’s autistic, and has trouble with emotional regulation), and one day he threw the controller at the screan and smashed it. So when we moved, I had the movers put it in the dumpster. I can’t believe how much more calm my son is now. He has a tablet so he can watch shows if he wants, but getting rid of the video games has been great. I also think TVs are ugly and I didn’t want one in my house. If I want to watch a tv show or a movie, I watch it on my phone.

  • I went to New Orleans solo! Loved every second of it and saving up for my next trip there. FW wasn’t interested. He only ever wanted to see LA and wasn’t interested in the East Coast. We are Aussies and NOLA are all my dreams come true LOL.

  • You make me proud that my last name IRL is Scott. I think you should get your own chapter in the updated edition of THE MARK OF THE SCOTS. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • It is sad that I don’t have much left after my 20G divorce. I’m retired and will live on what I saved the rest of my life. No travel to the Emerald Isl. No cruises, no little house to fix up…no lots of things. But that does not disturb me at all. The minute I left our house to my XH and his number 500 OW, I was in heaven. I got my body back from an abuser and no one will ever use me like he did ever again. I was a vending machine and his dark porn addiction took over our lives. This addiction is not cured, it festers and grows through the years. I became an object. The moment I moved out I found instant joy, instant peace, I found the lovely ME who had gone into hiding to survive such abuse after 32 years. No, I did not have to wait for the fog to clear, or 4 years to get it all together. I got my freedom from his chains and I will gladly sit on my little retirement apartment and read a book quietly, enjoy my grandchildren and live the rest of my life in peace. I’ll watch thr travel Channel and thank God and CL and CN for saving me in the nick of time. I could have died and now I can live.

  • A couple months after cheater left, I walked I to my house and realized it smelled GOOD. Gone was the stale cigarette smoke that lingered on him and his stuff as he walked into MY house. He didn’t smoke inside, but it clung to him and one he and all his shit we’re gone, so was the stench.

    I found used cigarette butts from time to time in my yard, the gutter and basement, but that eventually ended and I didn’t miss it at all.

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