Dear Chump Lady, How do I get over my envy?

Dear Chump Lady,

D-Day was over a year go and I have since filed for divorce. I am the mother of two young kids and am no contact with the ex except for communications regarding the kids and finances. I trust that he sucks and don’t want him back (although he has tried to reel me back in after I filed).

However, I still feel sad/envious at times when I see happy two-parent families walking about or even among my friends. I live in a neighborhood that just seems to be full of smiling young couples with kids in tow (it’s like stroller city here). I think I’m on the road to “meh”, but what do I do about my feelings of envy and sadness for a dream that will never be — a happy two-parent family with the father of my children?

I also do not currently have any potential suitors and I feel like my chances of finding a good man are pretty dim, given the fact that I’m in my mid-40s and have two young children, and, even if I did find someone, he would never be the father of my children. Chump Lady, how do I get over my envy and grieving over a dream that will never be? Thank you.

Best,

Dreamer

Dear Dreamer,

Envy isn’t very productive, or helpful for your healing. It’s human, I get it, but when you go there stop yourself. Measuring yourself against other people — especially people you don’t know — is a recipe for misery. You don’t control their life’s journey and you don’t know what they’ve suffered or are suffering now. That person whose happiness you envy may have lost a parent, or flunked his/her examinations, or have a cheating partner too. I’m not saying go with the schadenfreud, I’m saying recognize that you don’t know that person’s whole story. Yeah, even if you’re close to them. We all have struggles and hidden sorrows.

And let’s say by God, every strolling couple is deliriously happy — well, good for them. The world is a better place for every well-adjusted, happy family out there. If they’re smug about that? Okay, hate on. (No, not really… but I’ll allow you some snark.) But recognize that their happiness doesn’t take one whit of happiness from you. There isn’t a big happiness well and they’re drawing up more than their share, exhausting limited happiness resources. They’re happy. It’s zero reflection on you.

Unless you make it about you. Which is really what envy is, a kind of projection. I Want That. They Have That. I Hate That They Have That and I Don’t Have That.

So focus on what you can control here — YOU. Your path forward, your attitude, your resiliency.

Ever heard the expression “If first you don’t succeed, redefine success”? You need to redefine success. You’ve narrowed it to being partnered. Worse, even if you want to be partnered, you’ve excluded every potential man from your life because he’ll never be the father of your children. Way to give up there before you’ve even tried!

First off, fuck those definitions of success. That you have to be of some shiny, nuclear intact family. Most people don’t get that — moreover, they don’t get a CHOICE about it. So, how unfair is it to judge people by criteria they can’t even control? It’s like standards of beauty. I’m never going to be 6 feet tall and weigh 120. There will never be a gap between my thighs. My hair will never be straight and fall over my shoulders in a cascade of loveliness. So WHAT? Am I to never feel attractive because I cannot attain that standard? Fuck that. I do my best, take my squigdy middle-aged ass to the gym, eat pastries because I like them, and put a lot of conditioner in my hair on humid days.

I adapt. I overcome. I say, fuck your unrealistic standards of my worth, Society!

You need to do the same. Start redefining what happy is, what success looks like, and arrange your life to get some of your OWN defined happiness. When you do that — you’ll find the envy fades away, because you’re living your life on your terms. You’re not measuring yourself by some dumb one-size fits all standard.

You’re going to grieve what you lost. That takes time. You’re going to have to accept that you’re not going to get the life you thought you were going to have. The rewiring is a process. But don’t make this harder than it has to be, by measuring yourself against the neighborhood flotilla of baby strollers. We don’t get the life we thought we had, or prayed for — and trust me, that can be a GOOD thing. Thank God my reconciliation prayers were unanswered. Every day I spend married to a man who is not the father of my child — a guy I married at 43, being less than a perfect physical specimen — I feel like I won the lottery. Go ahead, hate my treacle. It’s insufferable. But that’s how I feel. So do I tell the universe, I’m sorry THIS WON’T DO. We didn’t meet at 18 and go on to have 50 years together, so I REJECT this as too little, too late?

I could’ve been happy many other ways than my husband. (But I’m glad for him, of course.)  I had a job I loved, a terrific garden, good friends. Geez, there are many good ways to build a life. Be open, be grateful. Some days that’s so hard, but will yourself forward. Don’t let that cheater win. Don’t let him define your life’s success. You’re somebody without that nobody. Put THAT in your stroller and meditate on it.

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Scoops
Scoops
9 years ago

Well said. You have such a wonderful, intelligent way to look at things. I sometimes go to bad places in my mind and play the “never going to happen” for me too. It’s an all or nothing situation in my own head.

To the initial poster, don’t rule out all men. Many of us are kind, hard working, empathetic, and loving. You have no idea how many of us are looking for an honest, loving partner too in our forties.

You are not alone. Your ideal dream is dead. Mourn it. Carry on though, there are new adventures awaiting you. Don’t shut yourself off to other possibilities.

Patsy
Patsy
9 years ago
Reply to  Scoops

Scoops, thanks for that lovely reply.

I gives me hope. Yet, if I said something disagreeing or offering an alternative opinion to the person you described, and they showed interest or offered to meet me half way?

I don’t think I would know what to do. Fall even more in love with them, I think.

I Am A Rock Star*
I Am A Rock Star*
9 years ago
Reply to  Patsy

I had a therapist tell me also to mourn the death of the woman I was and create from scratch who I wanted to be. It was the most useful exercise so far, to dream about what I wish to become, with or without a mate. I’m a terribly envious person, and it’s a toxin.

Susan
Susan
9 years ago

I love that! Create from scratch the woman you want to be! That will become my new mantra…

kimmy
kimmy
9 years ago

After I finally filed for divorce and realized that being a single mom on a budget would be by “new normal” I threw a HUGE pity party for myself. It sucked. I knew that my dream was long gone and I woke up to the horror of my nightmare of a life. One where I didn’t have a partner to share my day with. I was responsible for my two teenage daughters, a home and all of the work. I suffered for a few weeks feeling depressed at the hand I was given and withdrew.

What saved me was writing down the things, however small they were, that I was thankful for each day. Sometimes it was just that I had a job to go to or that I had a reliable car to drive. But that practice led me to realize just how many wonderful things I have in my life. I now have a wonderful man in my life to share time with but if he hadn’t walked into my life I would still have been okay. No one person should ever have the capability of sucking the joy out of your life, especially a cheating spouse who did not deserve YOU!!!!!

You will get there, back to happiness, it just takes a bit of effort on your part to push past the envy. That will fade in time and be replaced with happiness and freedom!!!!

Nord
Nord
9 years ago

Funny, but I woke up from a nightmare last night and couldn’t get back to sleep. And I started thinking about what had been lost since I discovered ex was a man-ho. The kids are away and I’ve been working my ass all week, had a ton of meetings today and was generally exhausted and gripped by anxiety in the middle of the night. Very sad Nord at 3am.

Then I woke up this morning, went to my meetings, got an unexpected offer, then another meeting went incredibly well and as I made my way home on the train a little kid started making silly faces at me. I laughed and made some back. We had a great time for 20 minutes and everyone around us smiled.

Now I’m home, beyond tired and realise that while I won’t have that dream of growing old with the father of my children and looking back fondly on our lives I do have so much and a great deal of what I have is much better than I had with ex. I’m LIVING for the first time in a long time, with all the ups and downs and fears and joys that that entails. Would I – COULD I – have had any of this with ex? I’m not sure. Maybe, maybe not. Most likely not because our lives were about him and his needs, while mine were generally secondary. Partly my fault for allowing it to reach that point but hey, I thought we were doing this for our family.

Now I’m doing what I do for my family, which is me and my kids. And you know what? My kids, having been with me every step of the way through this struggle, are so bloody proud of me. Are they proud of their dad? Not so much. They love him but they see that he took the easy way in life and while I was forced on to a much tougher path (putting back together a long-dormant career in middle age) I’m making it happen and more importantly I am making them a part of it – the good, the bad, the ugly.

I still have my family, just with one less person (and no more nutty in laws). And I have something more important: a bond with my kids that is incredibly strong, along with my pride and self-respect.

You can have your family, just in a different constellation. You can have everything you want as long as you make your life WHAT you want. You obviously don’t want a cheater so forget about that part and think very long and hard about how you want your life to look. Then get down and dirty making it happen, knowing it’s going to take a lot of work but that every time you achieve something you will be one step closer, setting an excellent example for your kids, and you will be living your life on your terms and with the love and affection of those who really and truly actually care about you.

An English Lady
An English Lady
9 years ago
Reply to  Nord

Ditto Nord. Mirrored my view exactly. Really well said.

Deborah
Deborah
9 years ago

Nord,
I love your courage. You are doing exactly what you should be doing! You remind me to keep moving forward even when there are bad days.

Verity297
Verity297
9 years ago
Reply to  Deborah

Well said Nord. 3 and a bit years on and I realise that I have everything that was ever important to me. I’m having the life I wanted all along… he’s just not in it.
Like you, I am grabbing opportunities and have done things that would never have been possible with him around.

TheMuse
TheMuse
9 years ago
Reply to  Nord

Wonderful post, Nord! thank you so much. I feel this deeply: “our lives were about him and his needs, while mine were generally secondary”

Defying Gravity
Defying Gravity
9 years ago
Reply to  Nord

Oh Nord, that’s wonderful! Part of what you said is exactly me. And part of what you said is where I’m headed. Thanks for the encouragement.

whodathunk
whodathunk
9 years ago

10yr SAHM here just had her second interview for a job I am really excited about. Your absence from the working world will not preclude you from finding a good job. Believe me, I was terrified, I am also confident I will find the right job for me. Best of luck – I hear about the job by the end of the week!!

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  whodathunk

Good luck, whodathunk!

Drew
Drew
9 years ago
Reply to  whodathunk

Life requires us to jump in with both feet! I did not realize how living with a disordered unfaithful spouse limits every opportunity you have. But SAHMs (and Ds!) have life skills and gifts many employers seek. Best of luck!

Nord
Nord
9 years ago
Reply to  Drew

I agree. So many opportunities were passed by due to me allowing ex to come first. Now? I grab all opportunities and see what they’re all about. Some are great, some not so much, but in doing this I am making things happen.

Gaby
Gaby
9 years ago
Reply to  Nord

Thanks Nord for encouraging us middle age stay home mom’s. I need to believe that I can start a career and be successful no matter that I have to start from scratch.

Patsy
Patsy
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Nord, you are mighty, and thank you for the encouragement, which I kind of needed.

Susan
Susan
9 years ago

I too mourned the future we were going to have after being married for nearly 30 years. Our girls were leaving the nest and we were downsizing and I was looking forward to moving forward with the man I loved. He blindsided me with divorce as he started seeking happiness with his college girlfriend in the middle of the country.

I have learned to let go of the dream and have bought a small apartment that I can afford on my salary. There’s room for my girls should they need to be there. But I wouldn’t have been able to move forward without the love and support of my friends and family. I feel very sorry for my STBX because I think he’s searching for a happiness that exists only in fairytales. Would I like to meet someone who cares for me? You bet! I think a positive attitude and seeking my own happiness will bring about a good result, but if I don’t every have that again, at least I have two wonderful girls and wonderful friends. Sometimes that’s all a girl needs!

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago

Being married to the parent of your kids is nice, but it’s not as important as being married to someone you love who loves you and treats you well.

Jode70
Jode70
9 years ago
Reply to  Diana L

Absolutely this!!!

Chumpectomy
Chumpectomy
9 years ago
Reply to  Jode70

I agree completely. I realized that I did not have my dream relationship because he became so mean and disrespectful. I knew I could not sustain being with him as he was acting, but still had the opinion that he was a good person who was struggling. Once I found out that he was lying and had an affair— that was it. I no longer respected him and wanted to protect my son.

Further, his OW had a beautiful home, kids and ‘what looked like’ a loving husband but she acted like a shit just like my ex. I was told that when my ex did not want to leave me for her she was ‘jealous” of me. What a horror.

Jealousy fueled this shit Cabbage Patch to want my life and led my dumb husband to feel sorry for himself that he was not doing as well as his peers and seek comfort in Cabbage rather than me because, well, I was happy with what I was doing and he couldn’t commiserate enough and resented me.

When I see other people’s happy homes I do get sad and feel sorry like why couldn’t I manage to have a loving safe marriage, but I know that I have to come to relationships honestly. I tried to make it happen with my disordered ex, giving him every excuse and believing his lies and look where that got me.

Now I aspire to get my finances in order and finish my dissertation. I invited some good men into my son’s life to show him who kindness is. My brother is a beautiful person and he has stepped forward to care for my son and spend time with him. I hired a very kind 27 year old teacher to take my son from ex to my home so I could go NC and give my son another male role model.

I view cheater-ex as my son’s biological father and respect my son’s love for him but am looking around to fill the void of spiritual/intellectual/empathic father. Cheater ex will only drop another ax and I have to be there for my son and fortify him with individuals I trust.

Family and kinship come in all different styles. Don’t get too caught up in biology. Biology is not the same as love. Biology cannot give you respect. Biology is something to reflect and learn from but it’s not empathy or honesty.

Live your own ideal with your kids. The dream is not dead, it was not in the person you picked.

lale
lale
9 years ago
Reply to  Chumpectomy

Hiring a go-between is a GREAT idea! My ex uses every chance he gets to start arguments, which now the only chance he has is pick-up/drop-off since I won’t respond to his ridiculous text messages anymore. I’ll have to look into that!

Chumpectomy
Chumpectomy
9 years ago
Reply to  lale

Lale, having a go-between has improved the quality of my life and my child’s life. When I had to see ex each week I would get so upset prior. This jackass would start fights, be rude and also be happy go lucky—isn’t this all working out just fine! I wanted no part of his narrative on any level.

I hired a really great person who worked as an afterschool teacher from my son’s school who my son liked a lot. I researched and also spent time with both of them after he brought my son to me. It’s good to have this young man in our lives. He comforts my son and relaxes me by just playing and being normal.

And….I don’t ever have to see stupid regularly again. I actually feel less anxious, angry and “explain” less to him in my head. I can also mourn the loss of having my young son taken from me each week without ex’s narrative—and move on for both our sakes.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  Diana L

THIS!! Absolutely this!

Kara
Kara
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Exactly. As a lot of us have seen here, sometimes the person who fathers/births your children isn’t the person who really deserves you. Anyone can be a biological parent, but not anyone can be a father/mother. It takes more than just the contribution of chromosomes.

Hawk
Hawk
9 years ago
Reply to  Diana L

THIS!

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago

My feelings exactly. And Chump Lady..thanks for this advice. I plan on reading and re-reading it over and over, so I can get myself out of this envy quicksand I’m stuck in; along with the thought that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. (I’m 45..yikes lol)

dani
dani
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

SandyR – You’ve got this… I promise. It gets better. The first 6 months are terrible and YOU DO obsess about what you aren’t, or don’t have. And I can totally sympathize with the “poor” part of it. Much of the advice on here is to do things like “remodel a room” or “buy a new bed” or “take up a new hobby”. Well, all of that costs MONEY. I do NOT have extra money. Since my divorce, I am living on my salary, and mine alone. I have made lots of emotional progress… and I have a bazillion ideas of things that will make my life, easier or better, but it really comes down to money. I survive, but don’t have enough for extras (and I have a decent paying job that I love). It’s just really expensive to raise a kiddo on your own.

That being said, you are in the thick of it… even if you don’t ever get a single red cent from your cheater… you will continue to make progress towards you new life. Without the gas-lighting, without the second guessing, without the chaos, things just continue to get better.

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  dani

dani..the buttfart isn’t even paying child support! My daughter and I had a change of lifestyle OVERNIGHT. Suddenly we are down to my little salary, trying to make that spread out, but it just doesn’t work without his salary..which is 3 times what I make. And I’m sloshing along, trying to pay the bills that are in BOTH of our names, so it doesn’t fall back on me, and I get garnished. I’m so frustrated in every which way, but good grief the financial aspect is killing me. I would LOVE to remodel, buy new furniture, go on vacation for a weekend..anything to get my mind off the situation, but it isn’t in the cards for me financially. Heck..my daughter cashed in her quarter collection earlier this week so she could get $3 to go swimming with her friends. What does that tell you about what a pathetic asshole he is, not even helping out his kid!

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Are you living in a house you own? Could you sell it and live somewhere cheaper?

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Diana L

Diana L..we live in a rental house owned by my mother in law..she said my daughter and I can stay there as long as we want.

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Your mother in law is great!

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Have you filed for child support? Will they garnish his wages if he gets into arrears?

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Court hearing is this coming Monday at 11 am. I honestly don’t know how he and his attorney are going to defend this! Once the child support is court-ordered, since he’s being a buttwipe, it will automatically come out of his paycheck and sent to the local courthouse. Which, by the way, he bitched about..because his employer will charge him $50 a YEAR..yes, I said year, not a month..for the service of taking the money out of his paycheck. I am hope hope hoping that I will be awarded the money he owes not only in child support..but the money he truthfully should be paying to help out with OUR bills. But wish and shit and see what you get, my Dad always says.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

You should get the child support. If you’ve got a list of joint bills, he should be paying his proportional share. The bills thing is tricky because you never want to just pay the minimum, but if you see a division of assets coming, your attorney should have a strategy for making sure you come out OK. Best of luck on Monday. But you probably won’t need luck. Your STBX can’t defend not paying support and not paying his share of joint obligations. Just make sure not to minimize anything and ask for arrearages. (Sure your attorney is onto that but I’ve seen them drop the ball on big matters. So don’t be afraid to speak up if you need to.)

lale
lale
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Take those bill copies to the child support hearing – even though CS is calculated by a formula, judges (here at least) do have some leeway and sometimes will go over the figured amount if they’re so inclined. And see about having him pay for your lawyer!!!

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Oh trust me..my binder is filled to the brim with evidence! I’ve kept copies of every bill I paid, and printed out bank records that show what I paid and when I paid them..all things that should have been paid by both of us. I found out yesterday that he took his paycheck last week and paid everything for himself..made sure all of HIS stuff was taken care of, with not a dime for me. I just can’t jeopardize myself and stop paying..I’m doing the best that I can for now! I had to borrow money from my bank to pay my cell phone bill..which he ran up to almost $1000..or my daughter and I would be disconnected this Saturday. We have no landline, and cells are the only way we can communicate. I had agreed at the beginning of the mess (me being the stupid idiot I am) that I would keep him on our cell plan, which is in my name, provided he pay me his share. Surprise surprise..he ran up the bill and didn’t pay me a penny.

dani
dani
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Gook luck in court on Monday. I know you expect him to care, but he won’t. The sooner you let go of the idea that HE SHOULD care, and just accept that he doesn’t care, the sooner you will be able to get on with things. He is who he is. Let go and let him have the life he’s decided he wants. And you can get on with yours. Once you get some relief from the courts, and some $$ in your pockets, things will start to feel better. I promise! Let us know how it goes, okay. You have the whole Chump Nation behind you. You are not alone. Hugs!!!!!

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  dani

Thanks, dani..and thanks to ALL of you who have been so supportive! My friend pointed out this morning that just because the judge rules in my favor on Monday, the only thing that can be enforced is the child support, because that will be taken directly from his paycheck. Any other financial support that he should pay me stemming from the bills that I have paid myself that were both our responsibility is not enforceable the way child support is..he can just not pay it, and I’d have to drag him back into court for contempt, etc. I’m trying to reconcile myself to the fact that all of the money that I have paid on bills since January is gone out the window, and I’ll never see a dime of the amount he should have been paying. It just burns my butt!!

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

I wish you the best at court, Sandy R.

FinallyDone
FinallyDone
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

If you are hung up on your age, then everyone else will be too! I’m in my 50’s and there are plenty of nice available men looking for loving partners. I have two very good lady friends in their 60’s who just found wonderful men and are making wedding plans. You really NEVER know what life has in store, just around the corner. But if you’re mired in self-pity and telling yourself that there are no good men, then that’s what your life will be – by your own creation.

Nord
Nord
9 years ago
Reply to  FinallyDone

FinallyDone, I agree. I know a woman who is pushing 65 and after two marriages and 20 years alone she is marrying a fabulous man. He’s handsome, successful, and very wonderful to her. They’re ridiculously in love. What she did was get on with her life and when it happened it was unexpected. She was a prize because she wasn’t waiting around for a man.

ANC
ANC
9 years ago
Reply to  Nord

I read this and thought, “that’s me!” Fix me first, focus on a new life, work towards my goals and see what sifts out. I am not waiting on anyone. I won’t exclude possibilities either!

Beach
Beach
9 years ago
Reply to  FinallyDone

I’m in 50tys was thinking since he wouldn’t come back I would be true to the marriage vows I took anyway. The more the sanity comes back, the more I realize that is such hogwash. There is no reason I can’t have a relationship if I decide to, I am just going to be picky, I absolutely don’t want anyone who comes up with lines like we grew apart, there was a lot of drama, vague things, because being solid in a marriage isn’t vague and there is a reason a marriage falls apart, and I really sort of feel almost all of them fall apart because of affairs. Could be my new deciphering sunglasses, but I like them for sifting.

There are some good looking men I have been noticing 🙂

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago
Reply to  Beach

Beach,
I think you’re right about vague answers and couples ‘drifting apart.’ Bet anything it was called an ‘affair.’ Unless there was addiction or physical abuse I’m guessing most marriages end because someone was screwing around. My daughter left her husband and four kids because ‘she wasn’t happy anymore.’ Our entire family was looking at her like, ‘yeah, right’ which she got scorched earth furious about and quit speaking to all of us over. You’re not going to believe this but NINE minutes after her divorce was final she got a boyfriend and he moved in with her.

beach
beach
9 years ago
Reply to  Syringa

Right nine minutes, like she really thinks you are all so stupid to believe that. Oh, her poor kids.

Beach
Beach
9 years ago
Reply to  Beach

eek, but mostly, I have been noticing interactions in couples and I don’t know, my radar is up, it feels better than sad and crying in stores and running out of them leaving a cart of things.

Sammie D
Sammie D
9 years ago
Reply to  Beach

I am in my early 40’s and I have to say I think it is a bit early to be looking to fill the gap just yet as I am only 7 months post D’Day. and the funny bit is that many people around me including STBX are thinking if I just sit by and wait that eventually I will wake up to myself and decide that 8 years of lying and cheating is not that big a deal and I will take him back. he just needs time to work though his issues so he is not tempted to do it again. BUT our 15 yr old son has already asked me if I would consider marriage again and even went as far as to let me know that he has a preferred candidate in mind. LOL

RobinLee
RobinLee
9 years ago
Reply to  Sammie D

You know what? It sounds like you still have a divorce to get through. Some will disagree, but I’d get the divorce over with and wait till I was emotionally level before dating. I’m in my early 50’s, have been divorced for about a year and feel no rush to date. When and if I do date, I plan to be picky. It’s good to feel like you don’t *need* a man…puts you in a better position and seems to be more attractive:-)

Sammie D
Sammie D
9 years ago
Reply to  RobinLee

yeah, here you have to wait 12 months and 1 day before filing for divorce. and to get legal custody of my kids I have to go through government required mediation first. and as expected he has only acted on that at the last minute to prevent me getting a letter of non compliance so it is going to take a while, and at this stage that is fine because the longer it takes for him to piss about the more time I have to strengthen my position.

kb
kb
9 years ago
Reply to  RobinLee

This.

I still have the divorce, but I certainly have noticed–especially after I lost a lot of weight–that some of the single guys at my work notice me. I feel flattered, especially since STBX has not been physical at all with me for nearly the entire time of the affair (thank goodness!), but hey, it’s nice to feel that you’re still attractive.

I wouldn’t act on it, though. I have to get divorced first, then heal up. If I want a relationship after all that, I am confident I’ll find one, but I’m certainly in no hurry!

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

I have to add..in my “I’ll be alone forever” thoughts..I don’t see myself as a “catch”. 45 years old, chunky, thin hair (CL I’ll take that full head of curly hair you have), 12 year old daughter at home, no money (thanks to lack of financial support from STBX), I could name my faults endlessly. Who’s going to want a fat, middle-aged, poor reject with a kid at home?

Bigsvig
Bigsvig
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Sandy R, I bet it wouldn’t take me long to discover something wonderful about how you look (for example, I’ve seen Chump Lady’s hair and it is really quite splendid).

I want to give you a hug and a tube of sassy lipgloss!

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Bigsvig

Thanks Bigsvig..you made me smile!

RobinLee
RobinLee
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

If your hair is thinning due to approaching middle age, you may want to try Ladies’ Rogaine. (I buy a 3 pack of the generic version at Walmart. I think it works out to about $10 a bottle which lasts over a month. Now, I only apply it before bedtime.) It took 3-6 months for me to see new baby hairs, most of which turned into real hair. You can also ask your doctor about meds if the generic Rogaine doesn’t work.

I also use Biotin which seems to help my hair thickness a little more and also gave my hair a healthier texture.

Try to enjoy the life that you have and before you get out of bed in the morning remember to think optimistic thoughts…greet each day. Practicing gratitude really does help your attitude which, in turn, helps your future life.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  RobinLee

I switched to a non-sulphate shampoo (Everclear by L’Oreal) and that helped a lot. It’s also a lot cheaper than the expensive salon brand I was using. So glad we are talking about some of this stuff. As chumps, we’ve spent a lot of time taking care of other people and making sure, or trying to, that they were happy. Now as we begin again, we can start by making sure we are taking care of ourselves, making sure we are learning to be happy, making sure our own needs don’t fall off the radar again.

RobinLee
RobinLee
9 years ago
Reply to  RobinLee

To be clear, each bottle in the pack lasts over a month.

Beach
Beach
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Your kid wants it. Own it, embrace how strong you are! Come on, a strong woman or anyone, is one who navigates this.

Be glad he left, you don’t need that.

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

OK, then you work to change things you’re unhappy about. You go for walks and start taking Biotin for your hair. 😉

You’re not a fat, middle-aged poor reject. You’re navigating some bullshit and that’s hard. But take it from me, sometimes you have to move. Even if it’s little steps, you have to actively move towards what you want. Everybody has faults and things we deal with, but the trick is to not focus on them and to focus instead on what you want in your life. What steps do I need to take to make things happen?

When I go to sleep at night, I visualize what I want my life. (Camper, travel, cute little house). It’s fun, and it always puts me right out. 🙂

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

RK, my little house is a yellow one. The one in my dreams, that is.

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  MovingLiquid

Mine is little and adorable. And I have a cute puppy and grand kids. And I finished college, bought a camper, and am nice and cozy. 🙂

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Nice!

Nord
Nord
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Rumblekitty, the visualisation thing is really important, I think. At night I go over my day and find good things that happened, then look to the following day and find something to look forward to. I lost a ton of weight after dday then put a bunch on so I now go to the gym at least 3 times a week and bike with my kids. It’s dropping off the healthy way this time (meaning sloooowwwly) but it is dropping off.

And poor? Ha! I have been so scarily poor for the past two years that I think I slept about half the time a grown adult should. What I’ve done is get up every day and make phone calls, network like mad, been a bit pushy, really reached out to every single person I know and basically busted my ass. I’m still quite poor but less so … and if the groundwork I’ve laid pays off at all I’ll be in a better position in the next year or two. Probably never rich or where I was with ex but I’ll be fine. Fingers crossed.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Nord

Yeah, I am doing about a pound a week and am maybe 3 pounds from my goal. I run and use the rower but also do weight training and hot yoga and self-defense boxing. But mostly I stopped treating food like a cross between a mother, a lover, a bff, and the comedy actor to cheer me up. Food is fuel. I enjoy it while I’m eating it and then look for other things to make me happy. Now staying this way is the new hard goal.

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

LovedaJackassm, thanks for your comment to me above and b-day greetings. I agree about the chlorine — that is the only downside. There are salt water pools in my area, but they’re more than I can afford at this time.

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Rumblekitty..I’ve actually been walking for about a month or so now. I get frustrated because I don’t see immediate results, lol! I tell you..I have to force myself to get my lazy butt walking some nights, but so far I’ve made myself do it as often as I can. I need to figure out ways to change my emotional outlook. I have to stop throwing myself a constant pity-party. I have to stop making myself miserable! As you all know..that is SO hard to do when you’ve been discarded like yesterday’s trash by someone you thought you knew and loved..and still love, unfortunately. July 10th will be the 6 month anniversary of Dday. So far, 2014 has royally sucked. Here’s to hoping the second half of the year will be better!!

MGirontree
MGirontree
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Sandy R, I just had my Dday anniversary June 24, so I know where you are. I am just beginning to understand what it means to take care of yourself and do things that will make me happy. There are still bad days but they are being outnumbered my good days. Hang in there, this is still very fresh in your heart and mind. They both need time to heal. Give both your heart and mind what it needs to heal everyday. Keep walking, you will eventually see the results. Keep your mind clear of pity-parties and fill it up with What-makes-Sandy-happy-parties. You can make the second half of 2014 better, because you have love in your heart and that is something to be cherished, so start loving yourself more and be kind to yourself. You are not yesterday’s trash, he threw away treasure and may never realize it, but you my dear are worthy of all the good things that will come your way, because you keep moving forward even on those days you just want to sit and not get your “lazy butt walking some nights, but so far I’ve made myself do it as often as I can. Keep it UP!

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  MGirontree

Thanks so much for the kind words MGirontree!

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Keep with it Sandy! My experience with walking is that it takes about three months for the body to take you seriously. Hopefully you’re having some beautiful weather wherever you are.

You already sound stronger. I’m 11 months out. It gets better.

patticake
patticake
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Sandy R. Don’t give up the activity. It is very very difficult to make this new habit. I am one year from Dday . I started to run about 8 months ago. Let me put that another way…I started to walk kinda fast. I was 30 pounds overweight. It helped me use energy and I was able to sleep better despite my endless thoughts of my lost life. I am now training for my first half marathon in Nov. There may be no one at the end of the race to cheer me ,as the other runners have ,and that makes me feel sad. Yet, this is for me and not for anyone else. I will be 60 and have been married for 37 years. I am now 27 pounds lighter and stronger. There are days I have to push push push. Days I just want to wallow and cry and drink wine. Days I don’t want to work and just want to sleep. I have no local friends and two family members with cancer…and the husband who follows the cheaters handbook word for word. So, I run. Kinda like Forest Gump. Got me some new shoes and I RAN.
You won’t regret it. It doesn’t change your cheating spouse. It changes you for the better. So get going and KEEP GOING!! You are not alone..Chump Nation knows your pain and is there for the support you need.

Kerrie
Kerrie
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

I’ve been a runner for years. I have cried many tears during my runs. I pound my stress out on the road and always feel better afterward. I am 51 and did not expect to find myself single again either. My kids are all wonderful but are grown with lives of their own. I am finally enjoying being on my own and staring to look forward to what the future holds. We never know what is waiting around the next bend. Find things that make you happy. No matter how small.

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Kerrie

During my darkest days after d-day I forced myself to swim. There were more than a few days when I screamed underwater, or more commonly, cried tears into my goggles. And then I just kept swimming.

Physical activity is one of the most important things one can do to get through this.

MGirontree
MGirontree
9 years ago
Reply to  Kerrie

Running helps me too Kerrie. I actually went for a two your run right after he told me he had been cheating on me and was being blackmailed by the OW. He was looking at me with amazement as I put on my running shoes and headed out the door. Then I found the space to scream and cry my heart out for two hours. Glad I was not wearing my heart rate monitor, it would have been beeping out of control!!!

andstillirise
andstillirise
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

Patticake (and other runners!)
I would totally come cheer you on. Put me in your mental cheering section at the hard bits. I marvel at runners.

patticake
patticake
9 years ago
Reply to  andstillirise

I just returned from a very long, emotion filled day and got back on CL. I was ready to eat whatever I could find and drown my sorrows. I read all that was written and put the food down. Instead I will get a cup of tea and feel at peace. You are all so caring to total strangers with the only known similarity of being chumped by someone we loved with all our hearts. I did not feel alone any longer. Thank you for all the supportive words and sharing. We all know what we need to do to become whole again. Activity, improve our overall health, seek support from those who understand. It’s all here. I would love to meet for a race. If anyone gets in my area or goes to locations anywhere in the country for a race, post it and maybe we could share the experience.

kitkat
kitkat
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

Congrats patticake on your impending first half marathon! If it makes you feel any better, when I had a husband, I rarely had a cheering section. When I started doing halfs in my late 20s, he never wanted to support me because it was too early for him. Waa! Then I stopped doing them because it was such an inconvenience for him. Then when he got sober, he did them with me because he was so f’ing competitive, he couldn’t let me show him up. Then he hurt his foot (ran too fast – haha!) and couldn’t do them anymore and now he and his whore hike together. I have done two since he left and got better times in my early 40s than I did in my late 20s – with no cheering section at all. Kind of nice to focus on the training and running for me and to be free of all his whining and drama!

Nord
Nord
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

Patti, if I knew where you were going to run I’d show up and cheer you on. Anyone in her area? Go give her some cheers!

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

Your goals sound like mine! Married 40 years and I am 58 years old, but I have been training to run! Like you, there will be no one cheering for me at the finish line, but I will have my own sense of pride knowing I did it! I miss the life I thought I had, but I am going about the business of adjusting my sails and waiting for the wind to catch me!!

ANC
ANC
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Ha! Have to say I think running sounds like the top chump sport. I began running too in sept /October. I’ve been pretty fit up until then, but now I am leaner and looking more like I did in my late teen thru 20’s but with stretch marks and twin skin.

I know the running was and is to run away from the shit at hand. I am training for my first 5-15k in the Big City this November. The endorphins help tremendously with sorting my mess out.

Great job to all who are moving. I know I need the physical aspect of moving to actually move forward and out of my current life.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

OK, there’s go to be a virtual way that chumps running in marathons can be supported by Chump nation. Maybe we could text our support? Maybe you all could set up closed Facebook pages where you could share your progress?

jodezter
jodezter
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

I can’t run worth a damn but the quote I have stuck to my mirror says “She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.” -Elizabeth Edwards
So inspirational in getting through and creating something new!

patticake
patticake
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Roberta..I will be there is spirit for you at the end of the race. We can be spirit sisters. I get a great feeling and am smiling to know there are others with these same goals and circumstances. GO GIRLS!!!

KT
KT
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

LovedaJackass: I’m really excited to hear that someone else has discovered swimming! I’ve been swimming since I was very young and did it competitively for awhile. It absolutely wreaks havoc on hair at any age. (I’m 29, but my hair is frizzy enough without a daily chlorine treatment.) Here’s a trick I picked up that really works: use one of those ugly swim team bathing caps. Before you put it on, completely wet down your hair. Then, put a bunch of heavy conditioner in it. If it’s long, twist it into a tight bun on the back of your head. If it’s chin length, french braid it or twist it back and secure it. The, put your cap on and go to town! The conditioner and water already in your hair keep what little water gets under the cap from damaging your hair. It really works, trust me. (I have semi-unnatural red highlights in my hair and I swim laps regularly. They aren’t fading any quicker than usual, and I credit the fact that I follow the previously-outlined procedure.)

Hope that helps and enjoy the endorphin hit.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

And happy birthday a day early to our dear MovingLiquid. How mighty is it to get chumped and drop 70 pounds. I love to swim, too but the chlorine is so hard on 60+ year-old skin and hair. If I hit the lottery, I’d build a non-chlorine pool! So happy that you are in the zone and determined to reclaim every part of your life, especially your body and your health.

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Congrats on your weight loss, MovingLiquid!! I would love to swim for exercise..I am a water person. But unfortunately where I live, it isn’t an option.

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

patticake..to steal a line from Forrest Gump: “Run Sandy, run!” lol. I have really wanted to start running again, like I did in college..which was only about 25 years ago, lol. Since Dday in January, I have shed 35 pounds since I couldn’t eat or sleep. Now, my appetite has returned, and I’m having to really control myself..I do NOT want to gain back a single pound! Honestly I was about 90 pounds overweight, so I still have a long way to go. But I’m working on it, starting out walking. I am just 5″2′, so I need to continue to lose weight. I have always had the thought in the back of my mind that I want to do some sort of marathon before I die, and I hope that I can keep kicking myself in the butt and keep exercising. I want to do a marathon so bad!! This will sound dumb..but STBX is a BIG guy..6″1 and probably 350 pounds. .I want to kick his ASS in weight loss..Kinda like “see what you threw away” lol!

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Exercise does help. It wasn’t enough to make the complete difference for me though. But I am starting to get rockin’ arms.

Lol, your Elle Woods quote reminds me of the conversation I had with the insurance rep while signing up for renter’s insurance today. He was asking me a couple of questions and the last one was “do you own any assault riffles?” I started cracking up. I said “No, but do you think I would tell you if I did?” I’m living in a totally paranoid pro gun state. Do you think the endorphins keep us from wanting to kick them in the balls? I don’t think there’s enough swimlaps in the whole world for that.

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Moving Liquid is right about all exercising being a good anti-depressant. When I started working out regularly, I noticed the more vigorous I worked the less depressed I became.

To quote Elle Woods from legally blonde ” Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ” I guess in our case it would be “ex” husbands!

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

You know something else I noticed while swimming is that the natural supplement I’m taking to help with mood is really working. Between finding out my ex was a cheating piece of crap, seasonal affective disorder and postpartum hormones I was struggling a little bit. Especially with obsessive thoughts about my situation. My mind had moved on, but my brain just keep repeating it over and over. It’s very noticeable when swimming because that’s an activity where my mind is normally peaceful. After about three weeks my brain is much quieter. I’m not usually a huge advocate of antidepressants or meds in general but what we go through is so hugely traumatic it would be surprising if our brains always jump back into normal without help. So for those who are having obsessive thoughts they can’t seem to get rid of or who are unable to move on very well after a good long time, taking something might be worth looking into. Hey, it’s not normal to feel like nothing good will ever happen to you again even though you’re doing everything right and making good steps towards your new life. I’m taking 5htp which is natural and relatively inexpensive.

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

ML- I love swimming too! I gained 65lbs during my pregnancy. After I gave birth to my son I started going on walks almost immediately. At first they were short because…well, it still felt like the bottom was going to fall out of me. Once my lady parts got cleared at 6 weeks I started swimming twice a week too. It’s such a wonderful feeling. I’m still 35lbs heavier than I was before I got pregnant but I think 10lbs of that is muscle now. It’s also a nice break from my almost three month old.

Being rejected while going through pregnancy sucks because you can’t really put on lipstick and then waddle out and feel sexy. Getting hit on while pregnant is weird. But I’m starting to feel like me again. But wow to those of you training for marathons and stuff. I’m 35 and my knees just can’t handle that. Patticake please put me in your cheering section too!

PattyToo
PattyToo
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Happy Birthday MovingLiquid!!!!
Swim an extra lap for Chump Nation tomorrow, we’ll be with you!
I don’t swim, but I WALK every day, very soothing. I love it so much, and I’m down to 126 lbs 🙂
Gain a life- Yes, I think I will, thanks!

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Dreamer, Sandy, Patticake and all who are forcing themselves into a better life, I so relate to your paths/journeys/challenges.

In mid-October of last year I could hardly walk. I was 100 lbs overweight and had many physical and emotional problems. When my husband cheated and we separated I vowed to stop killing myself, and to get healthy.

Tomorrow is a sort of marker for me. I’ll be 57, I’ll have lost 70 pounds, and I feel (physically) terrific. Many people say how they have to “force” themselves and I’m the same. I force myself five or six days a week to go to the local pool and swim for an hour.

It’s funny how you resist doing something and yet when you’re in the middle of it, or done with it, you feel almost high and wonder why would I not want to do this every day?

Swimming has now become a habit for me. The longest habit of exercise I’ve ever had in my life and I plan to do it for the rest of my life. Swimming is also the best anti-depressant I’ve ever tried and I’m sure that’s true with pretty much any physical activity.

Swimming is a unique form of non impact aerobics and weight training and while you’re doing it you almost feel as though you’re in deep meditation. For anyone with weak knees, and a love of water, I recommend it. And trust me, there are people of all sizes and ages there.

The emotional stuff, including envy of others, is just something I work on every single day. Somedays it’s easier than others and sometimes I feel real setbacks. But I have finally realized that the overall trend is what is important not only with my weight, but with my emotional health.

No matter our age, weight, or circumstances, we can do this.

patticake
patticake
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Sandy R. I ran in college too. So I also remember how much I liked to do it. I also had the initial weight loss and started to return to the old habit of eating when stressed and the pounds came back. To change that took some real self discipline. I realized that I no longer had to buy food for a person who was unhealthy and very limited in his food choices. I was finally able to buy the good stuff for me. In my marriage I was constantly struggling to maintain a healthy weight. I begged H to help me lose by eating healthy and walking but he never did. It seemed he purposely would buy foods that tempted me. I think that was a control thing too. He was able to keep me where he wanted me and my self esteem stayed low. I was dependent on him to feel good about myself. BUT IT IS CHANGING. I am changing. I also have a marathon plan for 2015. One step/one day at a time. I also want to show STBX that I can do it without him and be able to say the same…”see what you threw away”!! HAHAHA

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

Wow I’m impressed! (I wish I could run but my knees get very very angry.) You are mighty! Good luck in your 1st marathon.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Yes, indeed. Congratulations on unleashing your inner runner and going for it!

Sammie D
Sammie D
9 years ago
Reply to  patticake

I hope I have your get up and go at 60 Patticake.

good for you! good luck with the half marathon in November.

patticake
patticake
9 years ago
Reply to  Sammie D

Thanks Sammie D!!! I will put you in my imaginary cheering section at the end of the race.

sunshine
sunshine
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

SandyR, The other folks are right. And remembering that there are others who have it worse also helps. For example, be thankful that at least you are able to walk. I contracted an incurable disease that left me completely disabled, so I can’t even walk. Plus, I have 3 young kids, not just 1. And, believe it or not, but guys still ask me out! (OK, no one yet that I’ve been interested in, but still! If there’s hope for me, then there’s hope for you!) Also, I know there are others who have it worse than me, who don’t have food, or a house, or loved ones. And that helps me appreciate what I’ve got.

Also, I know this sounds crazy, but you should be happy that you are the chump in your story. Much, much better than being the cheater or the OW. You can live happily, knowing that you are a good person! See, lots to be positive about 🙂

Yes, it hurts when you still love the cheater. For me, it took about a year and a half after dday for my heart to catch up with my head and stop loving the POS. But you will eventually get there, if you keep following with your actions what you know to be right (no contact, taking care of yourself, etc). Hang in there, my dear, things will get better – especially if you work on what you want to change 🙂 Big hugs!!!

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  sunshine

Wow sunshine..I completely respect you for having a positive attitude considering what you’ve been through. I hope I can be as strong as you!

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Agreed!

Joy-filled chump
Joy-filled chump
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

Sandy R

You are still on the rollercoaster. Your ups will become more frequent but you are going to have some downs. It will get better.

I, too, thought that I would be married for the rest of my life. I thank God more and more each day that I am being given another chance to have a happy life. I no longer have anyone in my life who is mean and disrespectful. People are kind to me.

I’m still not healed but every day gets better. I realized my marriage was over in Aug 2012 and my divorce has been final almost ten months. I am ready to be 100% and I know that I don’t want to go back to what my life was. I still ask myself, “Why me?” but then I try to remember how fortunate I am. I have been given a gift.

Hang in there.

TheMuse
TheMuse
9 years ago

JoyFilled, thank you for this: “I thank God more and more each day that I am being given another chance to have a happy life. I no longer have anyone in my life who is mean and disrespectful.” Those words really help to heal over the pain.. I too hope to feel that way soon.

Beach
Beach
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

I bet you heard that lazy butt thing from your ex. You are very brave, nothing lazy about you.

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Beach

Beach..actually you are right! If I was ever laying on the couch he always said I was lazy and never did anything. Funny thing is..whenever he was home (OTR trucker) he did exactly that. Sat on the couch in front of the TV and dozed..didn’t do anything with me and the kids.

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

You’re not alone. You got Chump Nation too. 🙂

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago

It is true that you mourn what you wanted your life to be, but you can’t spend the rest of your life wishing for something that isn’t going to happen.

For example . . my Dad is a complete asshole. I spent years of my life wishing that he was like some of my girlfriend’s fathers; I wanted a dad who treated me like a princess and adored me, someone that was proud of me and protective. I got a narc who fucked with my head my entire life. Eventually I cut him completely out like a cancer and never regretted it. But prior to me doing that, I’d feel bad that I didn’t have what other people had, envious even. That was such a waste of time to do that to myself.

The only thing you can control is YOU and your reactions to things. You can’t pick your parents, you can’t control what others do, and if you’ve idealized something you MUST have in order to be happy, but you can’t make it happen, all you’ve really done is made yourself miserable.

Don’t limit yourself to what your idea of happy was. The world and circumstances change, you have no control over that. You just control you. You make your own new happy.

Drew
Drew
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Rumblekitty, so wise. “You make your own…happy.” I was happy in my marriage, just unaware of spouse’s cheating! Lol. Looking back, my best days were spent raising my three beautiful kids, building a house, and spending time with friends and family. No doubt we struggle. Betrayal sucks. I do however believe in fairy tales and they never resemble children’s lit! I want a real life. Drama free. One day I will stumble across a kindred spirit. I know I am lovable. Fluffy, approaching 50, and my hair has always been thin! (The guys on my fire crew all under 25 said “we will love you when you go bald!” I was 23 then.). Life is too short. Make opportunities is my new mantra. So, while I needed time to move through the grieving process I now recognize that if I am ever given the chance to fall in love again I will take it. A lot wiser now. 😉

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Me, too, only it was a narcissist mother in my case. I see mothers who really love their daughters for themselves and still get that sadness sometimes. But then I think of what I’ve learned because I had that hard education as a child and how hard I’ve had to work to transcend that craziness.

I’m not sure where these idealized dreams come from. When I talk to my therapist about why it’s so hard to recover from what the cheater did, she points out that I had these hopes and dreams of building a business together, of restoring an old car or two, of road trips and drive-in movies, of sitting on the porch and watching the fireflies put on a light show. We had lists of things to do for the house, plans to pay off the mortgage early so I can spend more time writing. Plans to buy a new car we could take on the road trips. Some of those dreams, not the romantic ones, go back 30 years or more. Now it’s just me at 62 and this house and a huge yard I was not prepared to take care of. But I’m learning. What I am doing is figuring out which of these are actually my dreams, not “our dreams.” I bought my dream car (within financial reason.) I made a list of the things I need to do for the house this summer (painting the outside, mulching and planting, putting up a birdhouse, paving the path near the hammock, replenishing the gravel in the driveway) and I check them off one by one as I get the money to do the job. There is enormous satisfaction in figuring out how to clean the gutters without getting on the roof, in buying a new mower that I can start, in accepting help for the first time in my life and seeing my relationships bloom as a result. I’m still going to pay off the house early, still thinking someday about having an old vehicle, maybe a truck, even if I can’t fix it up like a show pony. I can still go to the drive-in and on road trips. Only I won’t be sitting in the shotgun seat wondering if the guy whose driving is having a FB affair with some chicky-poo who “worships” him. Or if he’s going to dump me at my house on my birthday so he can go home and text his worshipper.

Dreamer: I strongly recommend starting a gratitude journal and writing down what you are grateful for each day, anything you can think of. The rain. Having the utilities paid. Cable TV. Payday. The flowers in the garden. Unexpected kindness from a stranger. I also keep a Pinterest Board with quotations and thoughts about gratitude. I literally used Pinterest as a design board for my life, but the same thing can be accomplished with paper images or computer programs that make collages and slideshows. Imagine your life is a building and you get to plan it. Garth Brooks did a song called “Unanswered Prayers” about how we learn that our old dreams might not have been the best we could attain. You trust that he sucks. Now trust that you don’t and that you can make a better life for yourself. I am older than you are, and I have no idea whether I will ever experience “romantic love” again. I hope so. But I do know that if it does come, this woman will be ready for it and will be making use of her remodeled picker. The world is full of things to love, including yourself.

Kerrie
Kerrie
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Getting Past Your Break up by Susan J Elliot is a good read. It has lots of helpful information to help you through the rough times. I agree that finding things to be thankful for each day helps. Also finding things to look forward too. It can be as small as eating an ice cream cone on the beach or saving up for a trip on your bucket list. I just returned from a cruise in the Mediterranean. It was wonderful.

kb
kb
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Before I married STBX, I did a lot of the handy”man” chores. One of the gifts I receive prior to going to grad school was the book, How to fix damn near everything. Great books!

After I married, STBX wanted to do those chores, so I let him. He’s since co-opted my toolbox, and for a man who’s so picky about his desk and work place cleanliness, he’s terrible at putting away tools. I’ve found items in the rain.

He can have all the tools save my reciprocating saw. That’s mine. I have construction projects in mind for when divorce goes through and I have my own place. There’s nothing so satisfying as seeing there’s something tangible that you’ve done!

For fixing stuff, I

TheMuse
TheMuse
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

LovedaJackass, thank you for a wonderful post.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

You’re welcome. And I’m grateful for all the wonderful people who post things here every day.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Using Pinterest as a design board for your life is a great idea. Thanks for that!

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

So how do you clean the gutters without getting on the roof??? I have this problem! I had to farm out the mowing after I nearly ripped my hand off on my mailbox (long story). Luckily there is a guy in my neighborhood who gives me a cheap deal on that. But the gutters, oy!

Jode70
Jode70
9 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

I got up on the roof a couple of weeks ago and cleaned the gutters… first time ever!!! So proud of myself 🙂 Probably look a sight

Rosie Boa
Rosie Boa
9 years ago
Reply to  Jode70

Lol – I had to get up on the roof to clean out the gutters even when he was here. Poor petal didn’t like heights. This year, I’m getting that gutter mesh installed so I don’t have to get up on the roof by myself.

ANR
ANR
9 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

I guess the I’m not in all the secrets of the man club, because I want to know how to clean the gutters without getting on the roof, too

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago
Reply to  ANR

ANR…I refuse to get on ladders and hire that stuff done. If I fall and hurt myself I’m alone and there is no one gonna help me with that one.

ANR
ANR
9 years ago
Reply to  Syringa

That’s a good plan. I don’t mind getting on ladders, and assume I won’t fall and hurt myself. Of course, I assumed my wife wouldn’t cheat on me either …

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

Yeah . . . I’m going to keep paying a dude to take care of the gutters in the fall. I ain’t got time for that!!

soyouseeit2
soyouseeit2
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Ain’t nobody got time for dat !!!

you must know where thats from… right?

hilarious

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

“I bet I could look up brain surgery and somebody has a tutorial on it.”

You can. I just looked up “How to perform brain surgery” on YouTube and was going to put the link here for fun. But the main photo was so gross I couldn’t do it.

But seriously, you can learn everything from YouTube.

crushed
crushed
9 years ago
Reply to  MovingLiquid

My daughter just had brain surgery two weeks ago. The neurosurgeon told us beforehand to “Look it up on YouTube, they’ve got beautiful videos of the procedure”. I just hope he didn’t take an online course to learn it:)

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  MovingLiquid

I taught myself how to crochet off of YouTube a couple years ago. 😀

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Oh I want to do that!

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

I have trees, trees, trees–300 year-old ones, big oaks and maples. They drop shit everywhere all the time. But I have a single-story house and there’s a tool you can hook up to your hose. I got it at Lowe’s. I can reach the gutter and wash a lot of it out. There is a metal nozzle on the end and I use it to dig around and shove stuff out if the water doesn’t finish the job. There is a similar took that is more like a scooper, they tell me, but Tractor Supply won’t have it until August for leaf season. And thankfully, the young man who is painting my house will do the gutters if they need a big cleanout in the fall. What I will outsource big time is leaf cleanup.

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Get you a leaf vac/mulcher! 🙂 My house is smothered in trees too and it was so hard raking them all up last fall. My brother has a leaf vac/mulcher and swears by it.

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Hmmmm….a leaf vac/mulcher. I’ll need to look into that this fall. Another thing I found out but it’s too late to do anything now. I have two giant cherry trees in my yard and you can get them sprayed early spring so they don’t bear OR get a pressure washer and knock the blossoms off. Lady boner tricks (<;

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

And (heh heh) I used my Swiffer extender-duster thingy to clear the gutter I can reach from the deck.

expatChump
expatChump
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Things I ain’t got time for: THAT! LOL.

Shechump
Shechump
9 years ago
Reply to  expatChump

After I got my gutters cleaned this summer the fellow put in a fairly cheap mesh to keep stuff out of them. How novel – wonder why that wasn’t thought of before! Yes, I’m finding that all that shit he so manly-did around here is easy, now that I’m getting the hang of a few things. Love the lady-boner!

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

I like this post. 🙂

In regards to the yard . . . I wasn’t really prepared to take care of mine either, but now every Saturday I get a lady boner looking at the lines in my freshly cut grass. I absolutely love edging and planting and making it look great. I’m really grateful everyday, just to be here and through the worst.

Bigsvig
Bigsvig
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Love this!

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

I so love the term “lady boner.” I got a big one cleaning out the gutter the other day. I spent a few months whining about how hard everything is and getting teary at Home Depot every time I need to fix something I don’t understand. But every single think I master moves me forward. And boy, if we can get through D-Day and those bad weeks after, we can manage whatever life throws at us. That’s the hidden gift in these horrible betrayals–rebuilding our lives can set us free.

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Yes – every time I figure something out, that perception I had that I “needed” the X gets blown out of the water. I need that idiot like a lobotomy.

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

So true, LovedaJackass and Rumblekitty. It turns out that shit they were doing really isn’t that hard. Giggle.

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  MovingLiquid

I KNOW! Like starting the lawn mower. I look at this thing, and there’s little idiot-proof stick figure pictures that show you how to do it. And YouTube is a wealth of information. I bet I could look up brain surgery and somebody has a tutorial on it.

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Rumblekitty…I have borrowing your term ‘lady boner’ a lot lately. I hope you don’t mind. I’ve always been a complete girl. Married twice for a total of 27 years. Had to get rid of a dead mouse in my garage last night. Eewww. Been getting a lot of lady boner’s lately though figuring out stuff by myself. Bought a new SUV last week by myself!! Hooray for our side!~

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago
Reply to  Syringa

Woo Congrats on the SUV! 🙂

It is fun figuring stuff out isn’t it!? Early on in the divorce process, there was no way I was going to call that asshole for help. I just plowed through things and just learned as I went. It took me longer to do some things, but I still did them.

I even bought myself a drill not too long ago and fixed some shelves and curtain rod which weren’t installed correctly (ahem) in the first place. Yesterday, I found the circuit breaker and shut the power off in the bathroom to replace a light fixture. I swear my balls dropped. lol

lunachick
lunachick
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Going through the same exact thing right now re: stuff around the house.

And I say “ladywood” so I am in great company! 😀

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

That’s some funny shit RK. I also installed new hardware on all my doors. With a drill!! Later I found out I had installed some of the levers upside down. Oops. No one has ever noticed.

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

hahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahaha!

Sammie D
Sammie D
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

Sorry to hear about you dad he sounds perfect for my mother. I have had to do the same with her and there are no regrets.

the biggest shock for me lately was realizing I had married a male version of my mother and that his support of my going nc with her was a way of not having my loyalty divided between him and her.
you can’t serve two masters.

scotty
scotty
9 years ago
Reply to  Sammie D

I wonder how many of us here ended up with versions of one of our (likely) abusive parents, searching for that “corrective emotional experience”? I know I did as well.

ANR
ANR
9 years ago
Reply to  scotty

I sure did

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  scotty

YES. I just had this talk with my therapist yesterday. Sigh.

But no more!

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago

Dear Dreamer, I understand where you’re coming from and often find myself looking wistfully at my friends with grown children who live nearby and are involved in their lives. I miss so much being around my kids, especially during the holidays. Seeing other families taking vacations together is also hard when I can’t afford to travel. I always wanted to travel and hoped I could after the divorce, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way.

When I get to feeling down I pick up my gratitude journal and start writing about the things I’m grateful for. It really does help to refocus your mind on being grateful for what you have.

I like this phrase “You can have everything you want as long as you make your life WHAT you want.” I’m slowly but surely starting to realize who I am and what I like to do. I’m figuring out how to make myself happy. Learning to love and care for myself is the biggest lesson I’ve learned since my marriage fell apart. Before that I would drive myself to meet others’ needs to the point that I was completely empty. I was often sick.

When my ex first left, I was sure I’d never have a relationship with a man again. In fact, I thought I might as well join a convent. The thought was actually appealing! Removing myself from the world of relationships seemed so peaceful. Boy was I surprised when an old friend and I started spending time together, and he actually found me attractive and sexy. OMG, I couldn’t believe ANYONE found me sexy. We’ve been dating for over a year and I really enjoy spending time with him, although I don’t feel like I want to get married again. I’m trying hard to just be open to whatever experiences come my way. It’s an adventure.

So Dreamer, you may not find another man to share your life with, but then again you could. You just don’t know what the future holds. Stay open to the possibilities. Count your blessings and develop strategies to distract yourself when the lonely feelings come. For me, putting on an iPod and listening to my favorite music while taking a walk can turn my mind around. There are also tons of great motivational podcasts that can lift you up during rough patches. I’ve been known to put on my iPod in the middle of the night and listen to inspirational podcasts until I fall asleep again. It sure beats laying awake with my own anxious thoughts.

Pay attention to what brings you joy, then find ways to get more of it into your life. You can do this.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

This is so wise: “We’ve been dating for over a year and I really enjoy spending time with him, although I don’t feel like I want to get married again. I’m trying hard to just be open to whatever experiences come my way. It’s an adventure.”

Sammie D
Sammie D
9 years ago

I never wanted my kids to be “those kids” the ones from the broken home and just typing this makes me want to cry.
To come to realize the dreams I had for the future are just. ‘ dreams I had’ because despite all the talk and plans they were never going to happen as they were not our dreams. He just pretended that this ( me, us , our home) was what he wanted. So to realize that is agonizing. To find that the man I hoped to spend the rest of my life with never really existed because that person was fake and the more I tried to hold out hope for that person and what he represented (our future together) the harder the relationship became. I miss the friend that I thought I had the person who would email me many times a day with funny things, and with the weight our daughters illness yes it would be a blessing to have someone to just hug me and tell me it will be ok. But the person who use to email me many times a day was codependent and would manipulate any other friendships I had so that they would contact him instead of me if they need to be in touch, and the man who use to hug me and assure me all was ok would then prefer to read a book when we went to bed and I have since come to understand that his version of ok and mine are not the same.
I know in my heart that my kids are going to be ok even if it still upsets me, because I know that they are no longer going to see a destructive relationship played out in front of them. And as I travel the road to meh, I can show my kids that it is ok to be alone.
I too struggle with the question of are there any genuine me out their in their mid forties who don’t have a mac truck full of issues. And with that comes the whole self doubt of my being attractive etc etc. All these emotions are like a freaking yo-yo some days. So Stuff it. is my current moto. If it is meant to happen, It will happen and in the mean time I will do my best to grow into the healthiest me I can be, and If I don’t meet someone when my kids are grown there is a big wide world out there to explore. I have never been overseas. Life is now mine for what ever I want to make it.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago
Reply to  Sammie D

Sammy D, I know where you’re coming from. I grew up with a mother who was abandoned by her father after she was born. It was during the depression. I would have moved heaven and earth to stop our family from being broken apart after seeing what happened to my mom’s family. The legacy of my grandfather’s abandonment carried itself down through the generations with disastrous effect. It’s very hard to accept that my family broke apart when I tried so hard to keep it together.

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Sammie D

Perfectly said, Sammie D.

Looking for wisdom
Looking for wisdom
9 years ago

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~Dalai Lama.

Envy too is my primary sin and so this post is very helpful for me. Comparing myself to others is not only a recipe for misery but almost entirely an illusion. Looking back, every time I imagined something about another’s life, once I got to know them I discovered I was always wrong. Always! And for those who are genuinely happy… good for them! I don’t know what hell they’ve been through in the past and what a blessing it is now for them to find happiness. I also don’t know what hell awaits them in the future. It has nothing to do with me. Most of all, it’s none of my business. I think we’d all be SO much happier if we went back to the old-fashioned notion of minding our own business. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about or help other people – I’m saying that using them as a yardstick against which we measure ourselves is absolute poison.

Tracy, I loved your line “Thank God my reconciliation prayers were unanswered.” I’m sure those prayers were sincere and fervent at the time! I sure you honestly believed that this is what you needed to be happy. And wasn’t it wonderful to be wrong! It’s a great example in realizing that there is so much more to happiness and to life than just focusing on getting what we *think* we want. A wise spiritual teacher once said something like “Most people pray for God to mend their broken toys.” I’m learning how to adjust my prayers from “Gimme what I want or I can’t be happy” to “Help me to be happy no matter what happens.”

Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
9 years ago

“Comparing myself to others is not only a recipe for misery but almost entirely an illusion.”

It’s just like when you browse other people’s photos in Facebook; NOBODY is that nauseatingly happy 24/7. You’re just seeing the good moments. Nobody posts pictures of themselves having not showered all weekend, laying on the couch with Cheezy Poofs, watching Deadliest Catch.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Rumblekitty

I love Deadliest Catch. Edgar can fix anything.

Sandy R
Sandy R
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

I love Deadliest Catch, too. Except for the Alaskan deckhand that bites the head off a raw fish at the start of every season, lol!

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Sandy R

I’m a Law & Order: SVU girl, myself.

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
9 years ago
Reply to  MovingLiquid

Me too ML! I love criminal minds too but the creep factor on that is kind of high!

The ex watched/probably still watches deadliest catch so I skip that one.

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  cheaterssuck

Cheaterssuck…DITTO about it all. I think I watched all of the back seasons of Criminal Minds while pregnant this last fall. For some reason crime shows worked the best for escape for me.

Ex loves Deadliest Catch.

I also watched massive amounts of Law and Order SVU. Good lord, there were some story lines in that show that hit home. All of those situations you see on tv that seem so out there, like the guy who has a family in the suburbs but tricks another woman into believing he’s in the CIA and maintains a whole relationship with her too. He even fools her parents. Now I’m like wow, I know people with similar stories.

Beach
Beach
9 years ago

I still get in a sad rut and compare and then spiral. Only if he wanted to return, I see I have changed a lot, I would have to give up a lot even in my head, for him to return. I caught myself thinking, if he came back how would I be able to do that?

I mean, I am not the same now, and I like the new me or the actual me, the me that doesn’t come in second or never in plans, it is nice to not have to put him first and move and quit jobs because we are moving because of him.

Sure you won’t have the man who is the father of your children if you do find someone, but wow, it won’t be the man who cheated on you and your children. You know.

The father of your children, look what he did, ewwww.

As Seinfelds baboo said, ‘bad man, very bad man’

lale
lale
9 years ago

I love this Sex & the City quote for those down moments:

“But we keep trying, because you have to figure…
…if the world’s fattest twins can find love, there’s hope for all of us.
Somewhere out there is another little freak who will love us, understand us…
…and kiss our three heads and make it all better.
And in the meantime, we always have Manhattan.”

Hang in there, Dreamer. I know how much it sucks when people tell you “lots of families are blended, it’s a regular thing now” while they themselves are happily married and planning their next baby. I think that’s what’s tough about being single with a young child – most people seem to make it together until their kids are a little bit older at least. But just know that a lot of other people will be right there with you as time goes on, including men who’ve been discarded by cheaters and are looking for someone just like you.

And I know those small bonuses to being single seem trite when you’re thinking about a split family, but they do add up. I think some of my married friends would gladly switch places with me, to raise their kids how they want to, to not argue with someone about housework, to have the chance to find someone that treats them and their kids better. It’s not all bad on our side, even though it seems like it sometimes 🙂

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  lale

That’s a great quotation to come back to when we get those down days.

hopestar
hopestar
9 years ago

Gosh did I need to hear your thoughts on this very subject today Chump Lady so thanks . I know and get exactly your perspective just struggle putting it into practice some days. It doesnt help having him and his new life paraded infront of me on a continuous basis with social occassions where Im alone and they are there large as life as if they have done nothing imoral or unpalatable at all !!!!
I have had a fantastic family life for 15 yrs so am really struggling being a single mum now and yes feel stigmatised and ashamed of my solo status – I believed in marriage for life and guess am very traditional so its extra hard adapting. I keep wanting to scream at everyone not to judge me and my kids for being here in this position as if we are in some way less than we were before his adultery and abandonment but of course no one really gives a damn except me as people just get on with their own lives right. Im 14 months out and am kind of feeling its worse now than say 6 months ago because we are just a statistic now, a broken family left to struggle whilst he as he puts it has a very happy new life thats affluent and luxurious with no financial worries as she came with cash!! Tell myself its ok as Im doing the living every day with the kids and count my blessings but it does stick in my throat a bit as he has said he feels no guilt for what he did and shows no signs of loss or upset in any way …… thanks for reading

Drew
Drew
9 years ago
Reply to  hopestar

Hopestar, remember you and your children are better off without the disordered. My greatest joys in life are my children. Not the guy who tripped through a twenty eight year relationship and said to me on the way out, “everything about my life is great except for you.” I can laugh at this now, five years out. Because that man was never there for me in ways that mattered. Your ex’s “happy, new, affluent” life does NOT exist. He’s the same grass is always greener little man he always was. I’ll even bet that when life got rough he ran. When he wasn’t the life of the party he was pouting. On your best days, he was miserable. Money will not make anyone happy, I know this. My ex is still cashing out everything he owns to make himself feel… I don’t know what. You are rich because you have a whole family now. Celebrate that every day. We never get time back. I almost lost my son in an accident, he spent eight days in a come. Two weeks later my girls slid off an icy road and totaled the family car. When my daughter called upset after the accident I told her that her father and I could always replace a car….Three years later my ex walked. I know I am blessed. I don’t count on people or things that don’t matter.

hopestar
hopestar
9 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Wow your comments are a leveller and so so true ! Yes I know Im better off without my ex as I deserve better – he never was what I believed right ! My head knows this and my behaviour this past year has shown that but here I can admit my heart is far behind so Im a way to go …. my kids are my life always were and always will be … hate so much that they have suffered but proud as punch also at what they have achieved since he abandoned us …you ladies get it so thank you for commenting

andstillirise
andstillirise
9 years ago
Reply to  hopestar

hopestar, I definitely relate to this: I live in an area (X moved us here, I have been trapped here by divorce agreement) where it’s so expensive to reside, almost everyone (except for me, apparently) is two-professional-income-married. Longterm married. Like, the divorced people besides me just all must have the good sense and better lawyers that allowed them to move, cause I have literally never met a single divorced or widowed person in my town. I have been waiting for my kid to grow up so I can move — getting there now. So, for last 8 years, I have been to all school events, dance recitals, soccer games, etc., by myself with lots and lots of couples (including my X and his wifestress, whom he married immediately after the divorce, and who live a mile away). Wow, did I project the soccer moms and dance moms and school event parents judging me.

I think it’s quite possible that my radar was occasionally right: some may have been judging me, and/or finding me threatening to their couplehood (all except one really terrific woman, who told me she could see my X was a dick, and that she admired me). Most really didn’t notice, I think.

But who cares? I realized that all I had to do was smile with this look of glittery delight, as though I felt that *they* were so lucky to have me there because I have other places to be, and raise my eyebrows the faintest bit to indicate polite interest but nothing more, and I’m bulletproof. Kevlar. Folks don’t mess with me. Some of them are even friends of sorts.

Dat is so right: anyone judging you ? those folks suck. As you heal, their irrelevance will wipe out their mental presence in your life.

Meanwhile, go on and be awesome, you and your children. The folks who matter will see it and rejoice.

hopestar
hopestar
9 years ago
Reply to  andstillirise

I very much liked ” go on and be awsome, you and your children ” thats how I plan to be for my young daughter especially as she needs a positive female role model ! I have learnt to value people in a diffeent way since D day – I try not to refuse any offer of social interaction even though my single status makes me feel awkward for I know people put themselve out for me by asking.
Its good to get anothers perspective so thank you .

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago
Reply to  hopestar

Hopestar, people are not putting themselves out for you by asking you to be around! They LIKE you, that’s why they ask you. 🙂

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  andstillirise

Hugs to you andstillirise! Golly that would suck. This town is not super judgmental about single moms getting aid. (My situation) It’s almost a thing here. So all I have really is my own judgement. But when I move to go to school it will be a different culture. I’m gonna rock my education and hopefully make my son proud some day. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet a man who will make me consider remarrying, but my son and I will make our own awesome family without worrying about it. I hope some day you get to be in a lovely place that makes you happy.

andstillirise
andstillirise
9 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Thank you, friend. I find great wisdom in your words about making a meaningful, satisfying, awesome life with the family that you *really* have. I believe I will be in a more comfortable place soon. And I am grateful for what my best friend calls the ninja-warrior life-skills (basically, the core boundary-maintenance tools) that living in this uncomfortable place taught me.

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago
Reply to  hopestar

hopestar, I hear you, I’m sorry you are so down right now. Most people are not judging you, the ones that do, they suck, so you shouldn’t care about them at all. You have nothing to feel ashamed of, you are mighty and you will raise mighty children.

You are not a broken family, you are a family minus an extra large asshole (I know someone else could come up with a better descriptor). Stop worrying about whether the giant sucking asshole cares, he doesn’t, that’s all you need to know. Take care of yourself and your kids, turn your eyes away from your ex, he doesn’t merit your attention. Jedi Hugs!

hopestar
hopestar
9 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

Thank you for replying – only just looked now and suprised to see comments ! You are right of course and I will re read your comments often. I have to do the time and change my mindset !

dreamer
dreamer
9 years ago

Thanks, CL and everyone at Chump Nation. Your posts have helped me a lot. I also go by “blue.” I read here everyday and shudder to think where I would be without you all–probably reading the Marriage Builders site religiously and waiting desperately for my cheater to come out of the “fog.”

I do not regret filing for divorce, and I know I’m better off alone than without my XH. Looking back, when I was with XH, we weren’t a happy family–he was always so “stressed” from work, blaming me for everything wrong in his life and working all the time, so I was already a single mom in some sense. He typically came home after the kids went to bed and was still sleeping when the kids and I left in the morning. It was always pulling teeth to get him to do something with the children and me on the weekends–he was either working or sleeping or “too tired.”

And he always complained about being so “miserable” about this or that and “working like a dog,” and this was somehow all my fault. I often tried to avoid him as I thought he was going to bring our whole family down with him into his pit of misery. I think I was always waiting for XH to complete his next career milestone so that we could all “relax” and be that happy family. On paper we seemed like the happy family, but, in reality, I was just waiting for it to happen.

It’s funny, a couple months after he completed his big career milestone, he started his affair (with someone 20 years younger). While I was waiting for him to achieve the next milestone so that he could de-stress and join our family he again, he saw it as a reason to be free of our family. I don’t miss him or our family life together; I miss the hope for what I thought we would be once XH was no longer stressed and miserable because he made a certain amount of money or achieved a certain level of career success. But I think that, no matter what, he would always be miserable (though some part of me thinks that maybe he will be this happy, content person with OW or another woman). He was like a bottomless pit that needed constant validation, attention and prestige. Although he makes more money than 99.5% of the American population and is in a well-regarded profession, he was always saying that he felt like a career “failure,” “loser,” that we were so “poor,” never had enough money.” I still get emails from him about how I’m taking all “his” money and he has to work like a dog in order to pay me and how I’ve “destroyed” the children’s lives by filing for divorce, but at least I don’t have to live with that kind of negativity. I notice these emails usually come around the time he has to write me the monthly child support check.

Kerrie
Kerrie
9 years ago
Reply to  dreamer

I can total relate. My STBX was always stressed too because of his job and I thought he would stop being so miserable when he finally found one he seemed to like. He blamed OT on a midlife crisis when he emotionally shut down. Appears the crisis was his affair partner he met while travelling in his new job. He met her in Eastern Europe and of course her goal was to come here. Now two years later she’s moved out. We all deserve someone in our lives that loves us without us carrying the load waiting for them to treat us right.

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago
Reply to  dreamer

Are you sure he wasn’t having affairs earlier?

Basically, he sounds to me like a) a martyr and b) someone who thinks that you get love by giving people money.

Patsy
Patsy
9 years ago
Reply to  dreamer

Hi Dreamer, I took the symptoms (workaholic etc) you described to a counsellor.

Now, the most helpful thing they could have said was ‘is it possible he might be fucking someone else?’, but they didn’t.
But they did say something extremely interesting and helpful: that people who cannot do intimacy, organise their lives so that they can’t be close to someone. They are workaholics, have consuming hobbies, organise shift work so they start work when you go to bed, work on contracts away from home, etc etc.

It was a real eye opener.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Patsy

That is indeed an eye opener. Thanks.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

My alcoholic X (not the cheater) left the house to “exercise” every Saturday at 7 am and spent the rest of the time he was home on the weekends and every holiday except Thanksgiving and Christmas drunk. I never thought of it as a way to avoid intimacy–just as a way to avoid ME. Huh.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  dreamer

I’m no psychologist, but he sounds like a narcissist to me–“a bottomless pitthat needed constant validation, attention and prestige” and feels like a “failure” and “poor” while he has plenty of money. I’ve been reading here for four or five months. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how someone could love me one minute and then end it the next to take up with a woman married to someone else. I know a good bit about narcissism, because of my mother, but until I came here I never connected what happened to me with the typical patterns of some narcissists, who devalue and discard relationships without a second thought. Even living with my mother (who used a million ways to create distance and de-value but stayed with the family because she did not work) I had no idea that people could be such users, so cold-blooded. It’s helped me a lot to read about narcissists and to begin the process of internalizing the fact that whatever the cheater thinks “love” is, it doesn’t match what I have to give or what I want to receive. Pigs are more likely to fly than he is to love anyone. Now I see many, many signs that he is disordered. Amazing what happens when we stop spackling.

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

The further I get away from my ex the more he presents as a textbook narc.

What do a sperm and a narcissist have in common? Both have about a one in three million chance of becoming a human being.

Chump-a-lot
Chump-a-lot
9 years ago
Reply to  Kat

THIS!

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

And if he didn’t want to write those child support checks, he should have stayed away from his Schmoopie. If you figure how much support you will receive until the kids are grown, and divide by the number of times he “gets lucky” with one or another Schmoopie, they’ll have to fuck like rabbits for him to feel like he’s getting his money’s worth.

kitkat
kitkat
9 years ago
Reply to  dreamer

My XH always had to be miserable about something too. For the first 12 years of our marriage, it was his job. When people would ask him if he liked what he did he would always reply “I have hated this industry since day 2.” So damn negative. Then he quit to start his dream business, saying it was going to make him sooooo happy and he’d quit drinking. Guess what? He was still miserable and drank more! Then he quit drinking after the business failed and went back to the original industry and so the house was the cause of his misery. It was the house he always wanted. But I think he knew he couldn’t blame the job anymore, that was getting old. So, finally, it was me that was making him miserable. So I got kicked to the curb. In a few months, he’ll be living in his miserable house, working in an industry that has hated since day 2, most likely with his ex-GF (who made him miserable 20 years ago) turned current Porn Princess. Sounds like a recipe for happiness for sure!!
I struggle with thinking he’s going to be happy with someone else as well but then I read what I just wrote above and realize freaks like this can never be happy and it is ALWAYS the fault of something outside of themselves.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago
Reply to  dreamer

“I don’t miss him or our family life together; I miss the hope for what I thought we would be once XH was no longer stressed and miserable because he made a certain amount of money or achieved a certain level of career success.”

THIS! That’s what I was waiting for too…and it never came. The day he could slow down and relax and didn’t feel like he had to work like a dog 24/7 so he could be a part of our family.

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago

Dreamer,
We’ve all been there, watching other people enviously knowing that this was not the life we envisioned. I would watch old people walking down the street holding hands and just crumple. That was supposed to be us! We put our house on a 15 year contract so it would be paid off early and we could retire and travel the country. I refinanced it last summer on a 30 year loan so I can afford the payment. That little dream shot down. It’ll be paid off when I’m around 90 now.

A book that really helped me is Dr. Dyer’s book ‘Wishes Fulfilled.’ I learned from it how to mediate at night before dozing off and only putting positive thoughts in my mind and after the words ‘I am…’

Will I find love again? I certainly hope so. But I’ve spent a long time working on my picker and this time I’m looking for someone I’m truly compatible with and I’m not going to overlook those ‘little’ things that tug at my gut. I wouldn’t even consider a man who cheated on a spouse or significant other. You’d be surprised. I’ve had more than a few men admit that they have done that to me. Of course, they’ve ‘learned their lesson.’ I think to myself, ‘tell it to someone else’ as I fade to grey.

dreamer
dreamer
9 years ago
Reply to  Syringa

Thanks, Syringa. Looking back, there was a big red flag when I met XH more than 20 years ago as a college student. When we started dating, he already had a girlfriend, who was long distance, but he was always saying how she had “forced” him to be her boyfriend, she was the one who pursued him, he was never in love with her or attracted to her, just felt obligated to her, and that he cared about her, as she was “nice” and “sweet,” but she was more like a sister to him. Probably similar things he said to OW about me (or at least similar to what other cheating husbands say to their OWs), but, back then, I thought we were “soul mates,” and he was soo in love with me. Back then, he apparently thought it was okay to start a new relationship (with me) before ending the old one (and I guess I did as well). His previous girlfriend eventually dumped him, and I was “there for him” for his heartache over that. Perhaps there is some karma for what I did when I was 19, or perhaps our relationship should have never even happened.

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago

I meant meditate not mediate. Ha! Divorce lingo still lingering.

nomar
nomar
9 years ago

I think the best cure for intact-family envy is knowing a chump who reconciles, which truth be told is usually done to preserve a material standard of living and/or avoid the unfathomable pain the comes with confronting a life-long con game. I’ve known several such folks, and though on the surface they may “have it all,” I wouldn’t trade places with any of them for anything in the world. Nothing there to envy, at all. They live lives that seem to me at once frantic and terribly lonely.

My dignity is more valuable to me than any house, car, or wardrobe, and my example of setting boundaries and knowing right from wrong has been more valuable to my children’s upbringing than any electronic gadget or private school–and certainly preferable to setting an example of spackle, lopsidedness, and dishonesty.

Uniquelyme
Uniquelyme
9 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Nomar, I was one of those for over 20 years. Twice chumped, twice reconciled, fighting so hard to be “normal.” There isn’t enough money in the world to make me do that again if I had a do-over chance. No way. It’s purely messed up.

Dreamer, I get what you’re saying and that’s why I reconciled. Once I accepted that I married a cheater who wasn’t going to change for himself or for our family, I filed for divorce. In my case, fighting what is just caused more misery and suffering. Instead, I focused on the gift of a new life – a life of peace and authenticity, and maybe even an opportunity for a relationship based on mutual love and respect if that is what will come. I am not hung up on the outcome (another relationship) but at least now I am in control of my life. I can make decisions based on the facts and not be subjected to someone’s lies and manipulations. In the meantime, I am gaining more and more self-awareness and strength that I can spot a user a mile away and be done with them immediately, and this includes friends. I live a life of peace now and intend to keep going on this path.

Champ Not Chump!
Champ Not Chump!
9 years ago

Dreamer,

Sometimes the life you thought you were going to have gets taken away because of some selfish asshole’s actions. Sometimes the life you thought you were going to have gets taken away through the fault of no one.

It sucks either way, and trust me, I’ve been in both sets of shoes. I can tell you that in either case, the only way that you’re going to learn to love your new life is if you are a Warrior Woman and get damned determined that you absolutely WILL have a good life.

If you’ll do that, if you’ll dig deep and refuse to let this define and determine whether or not your life can be awesome, I’ll make you a promise. Three promises, actually…

I promise you will learn some amazing things about yourself. I promise that you will do things that you never thought you could do. I promise that you’ll look back later and realize that some of the astounding things you’ve accomplished were things you never would have stepped up and done had your life not been changed from what you previously imagined it was going to be.

PS: Pushing mid-50’s and found the kindest, most generous and loving man who I intend to marry as soon as we can clear our calendars and get it done. Life’s not over… He may get taken away, too, but dammit, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of my happiness for every second it’s there!

Kara
Kara
9 years ago

Never compare yourself to other people, it’ll just drive you crazy. Pretty much for the reasons CL said. You just don’t know what their lives are actually like. Maybe something you thought would be really great isn’t all that much. It’s the whole “grass is greener” outlook.

You have to realize that what works for others may not work for you, and the other way around. What strangers are doing with their lives shouldn’t impact how you see yourself. Because whether you are happy or not, they will be going about their lives on their own.

So worry about what works for you. Find a space in your life where you can feel happy with yourself. Be that through a hobby, a project, etc. Don’t depend on a romantic relationship to make you happy and don’t let it define your idea of happiness. Honestly, I used to think that being in a relationship was the only way I could be successfully happy and I found myself in a lot of really shitty relationships out of a need to just be in one, rather than with someone who was really right for me.

I’m married now, but I found happiness elsewhere before then. Re-discovering interests I’d lost, finding new ones, opening back up to a world I’d shut out because I figured that without a relationship, I was nothing and there was something wrong with ME.

That wasn’t true, and I don’t believe that’s the case with you. There’s a whole world out there of new things and interests to try, other sources of happiness and success. Once you find your niche on your own, it will be easier, and more fulfilling once you meet someone who loves you the way you deserve. Because they get you as a whole person. They “add” to you, so to speak, rather than act as a filler for a hole in your life.

TimeHeals
TimeHeals
9 years ago
Reply to  Kara

Never compare yourself to other people, it’ll just drive you crazy.

I don’t think the problem is comparing yourself to others exactly. I think it’s comparing a rather selective view of yourself to an imaginary ideal of what you think others’ lives are like. It’s biased sampling, if you will.

Somewhere somebody just had their life ripped apart by war atrocities, for example. If I compare myself to somebody going through that sort of trauma and grief right now, I feel pretty lucky to be living such a relatively peaceful life.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago
Reply to  TimeHeals

My mother has a lot of health issues. More than anyone should have to bear. She is often depressed and down. But something happened the other day that made her see life from a different angle. One of her new doctors was located in the cancer clinic and as she sat in the lobby waiting with patients who had no hair, were missing limbs, parts of their faces, she started to realize that her life could be worse. She’s had 5 back surgeries, but she still has all her arms and legs and they’re functioning. Her face isn’t disfigured. She told me she realized then that she could have it much worse than she does now.

MovingLiquid
MovingLiquid
9 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

Aww, bless her.

paula
paula
9 years ago

Wow, oh wow, this was a timely post.

In so many ways I am at a peaceful meh but envy remains my biggest challenge.

Oddly, mine seems to be a “retroactive envy”. When my kids were little, my ex and I lived in a lovely part of very urban area. All us moms took pre-natal yoga and had zen birthing plans. We pureed organic vegetables for our babies and every item purchased for our offspring was earnestly researched and fair trade. Ah, looking back it was a bit ridiculous.

But now, when I’m in that part of the city and see the young families, I am awash with envy and sadness. Those wee ones for whom I fretted over every pretentious enrichment activity and every 100% cotton onsie are now 18 and 22 and a million kinds of messed up. Thankfully they are good citizens who value education and hard work but they are bewildered and bitter and no longer believe in romantic love. Fat lot of good toddler Thi Chi accomplished… When I see those young families, doing everything in their affected power to do right by their offspring, it makes my heart sink. We were those families. That was us.

And even though the day after my divorce was final, I got a small (tasteful) tattoo on my shoulder symbolizing the transition from a family of 4 to a family of three – even though my mind is now still and quiet and happy – I look at those precious young families and wince at my naiveté and smug cluelessness.

Drew
Drew
9 years ago
Reply to  paula

This! I look at young couples. That was us so many years ago. And yeah my kids (in their teens when dad began affair and now in their early twenties) are really struggling. The full impact of my ex’s decision has hit them full on. I pray for the day they realize their worth isn’t measured by someone’s absence.

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Ha, I totally wanted the prenatal yoga, organic baby food, crunchy granola life. But moving from a granola mecca to a place that’s a little less hip made me realize that my kid isn’t going to turn out horrible if he doesn’t have %100 organic food, clothes, lotions, etc. In fact not having those luxuries sort of jolted me into recognizing things that actually matter in life. At the local coffee shop there’s a collection jar. The paper on the front of it has a picture of an adorable baby boy with down syndrome. The story reads “My son and daughter in laws’ third child Jonathan who is my namesake has been diagnosed with leukemia. He is in Seattle for treatment. Please consider donating to help with the medical costs. Thank you, Jonathan.” I look at that and I’m broke as hell but damn do I want to contribute because that’s the kind of stuff that means something in life.

Or my mom’s friend who just lost her 25 year old son to a brain aneurism after multiple surgeries to try to save him and the fund that’s been started to try help with their medical costs.

Don’t get me wrong, I think organic is important. I look at my son though and think that he and I will both be better people because we didn’t end up with the perfect yuppy lifestyle. There’s some wise saying that I’m totally going to mangle here, but basically a man is asking a guru how to get over the bad things that have happened to him and the guru answers that the best way is to help others with their struggles.

Btw, this was not a judgment or admonishment to anyone else. I’m really only applying it to my life. What happened to each of us was/is awful. We each deserve to mourn what our hopes and dreams were for our life. And damn it if I still don’t want the soccer mom black suv. And maybe someday I’ll get one. But hopefully it will be just a small part of a larger life that actually has meaning. I just have to remember to balance my yoga with actual compassion.

paula
paula
9 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Ugh – I hate that I came off sounding so shallow and yucky. My intent was to express that my family got blown to smithereens and my kids are wounded by explosion and that my pre-emptive mothering meant so little.

For what it’s worth – I work at a non-profit, live amongst severe Appalachian poverty, shop at thrift stores and am a really, really nice person.

I love being a part of Chumpnation and want to remain in the good graces of this wonderful fold.

Kat
Kat
9 years ago
Reply to  paula

Don’t worry Paula, my response wasn’t to you. It was more of a healing moment for Me to realize that missing out on My idealized lifestyle isn’t really as important as I thought it was. I’ve got nothing but compassion for what you’re going through. 😉 We’re all mourning different things and I don’t think any of those is less legitimate. All I see is a mom who worked her damnedest to ensure the well being of her kids and who is expressing grief over not being able to protect them from such a horrible experience. Love and luck for you and your kids!

paula