Where Are You Now? Any Scars?

I always love to get updates from members of Chump Nation. I cherish the veterans who stay on to help the newly chumped, but I recognize that most people gain that life and move on as the FW shenanigans fade.

The other day I got this letter:

CL,

I hope you’ve been well. Last month marked 10 years since I left my now-ex-wife. I strolled down memory lane, including visiting chumplady.com. I’m encouraged that this corner of the Internet still provides support, giving voice to simple fact that spouses deserve respect.

To refresh you, I was a young chump. My now-ex-wife cheated over the course of 6 months in 2013, lying to me and our marriage counselor. At the time, I thought it was an emotional affair. But her lying didn’t stop, her whack-a-mole blameshifting didn’t stop, and her alleged emotional cheating didn’t stop. So I had to leave. I got out before we had kids. And soon after, I confirmed that the affair was not “just emotional,” as if that matters. None of this is unique.

Instead, you’re the reason my story is unique. In case you forgot, I met my “counterpart” here. My ex-wife’s affair partner’s ex-wife was also on ChumpLady. And in fall 2015, despite never having met, living in different states, her arcane screen name, and years having passed, we found each other in the comments section of one of your blog posts. We then had a cathartic email relationship, spilling our stories to one another. We even met in person for lunch. Our friendship has faded since then, both having moved on. But I will forever be indebted to you for that connection.

When I first thought of writing last month, I wanted to have a reason: something unique, clear and valuable that I could offer your current readers…something more important than “it’s been 10 years.” I came up short, but I decided to write regardless.

First, please remind your readers that life improves, slowly, and in fits and starts. But before you know it, you can’t recognize the debt-ridden, emotionally empty, aimless person you were. I’m happily remarried, and my wife and I own our home and both have fulfilling careers. Is my wife perfect? Of course not! But she communicates and shares, and we shoulder life together. We were lucky enough to enjoy the head-over-heels “early relationship” period. But these days our focus is elsewhere: we have a healthy and happy 20-month-old boy, and we’re planning our second child. We find time for intimacy and connection when we can.

Second, tell them that they will come out of this more confident, but scarred. At approximately when my current wife and I would have gotten engaged, we finally dealt with my trust issues. This involved multiple breakups, months of conversations, and even me giving up and moving away. In the following year, we worked through it all, and she made huge sacrifices to be with me. Regardless, even now, I’m not trustful in the way I want to be. She gives me no reason to doubt her; it’s simply my own insecurities from having played marriage police 10 years ago.

Finally, everyone’s story is different, and it’s up to all of us to make the best with the cards we were dealt. My counterpart’s story is hers to tell, but I assure you that it was not “easy” like mine. She had a child with her ex, so she has to deal with her ex. And her ex and my ex-wife are still together, and they have a child together, as well. Being a chump means making peace with whatever your situation; this doesn’t mean forgiveness, but it does mean moving forward.

This is it. This is life, and I have 10 fewer years remaining in it than when my ex-wife cheated. I like to think that I’ve made the most of that time — mistakes and detours, for sure, but overall I built the life I wanted. I wish the same for all current exiles to Chump Nation.

JC

***

Dear JC,

So good to hear from you! I remember you and Free Vixen well. Congrats on your new family!

I agree there are scars from infidelity. But I’d rather have scars than a FW.

It’s incredibly mighty to build the life you wanted, despite the trust issues scars. I think most chumps wear the life-can-bottom-out-at-any-moment scar. But what are you going to do? Not engage with life? Never risk again?

Life is about calculated risk — and intimacy makes us vulnerable. But there’s no true intimacy without risk and vulnerability.

I’d rather go through life with skin in the game. Invested. Caring about people. The shadow side of that is loss. The alternative to never taking a risk is hedging your bets, cake eating, and shallow attachments. The path of FWs. No thank you.

So, the Friday Challenge is — any old timers out there? Tell us where you are now! Bonus points if I ever answered your letter. Every chump has scars. What are they — and how are you getting on in spite of?

We only get this one life and we’ve got to make the best of it. Thanks for the reminder, JC. Big hugs to you and your family.

TGIF!

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Attie
Attie
5 months ago

I’ve been divorced almost 12 years and FW moved back to the States in 2015. I’ve seen him just 4 times since then (I think) – two weddings and twice when he came over to see our first grandchild. The scar that he left me with is my absolute unwillingness to commit to another relationship, and I regret that. I’ve had a couple of relationships since he left but I’m unwilling or unable to commit. Mind you, as you get older the opportunities are few and far between and men my age want women 20 years younger. While I quite like older men (always have) I’m really not interested in being a nurse and a purse for anyone. So yeah, I’m somewhat bitter that he stole my joie de vivre from me. That being said, I 99% love my single life, do what I want when I want, travel extensively with solos groups and non-solos groups and guess what, I’m always in the black in the bank, so I guess life is pretty darn good. I guess that scar really is fading then!

Elsie_
Elsie_
5 months ago
Reply to  Attie

Sometimes I think I might date, and then I think I won’t. I went out a few times with a widow who was an all-around decent guy, but he was VERY clearly looking for a clone of his deceased wife. They had been married forty years. I bowed out and wished him well.

And then I think of all my agemates and their struggles with husbands who are in medical decline and others who are wondering if they truly can retire, and I’m like…NOPE.

I’m comfortably semi-retired and enjoy my freedom. Not a bad place.

thrive
thrive
5 months ago
Reply to  Attie

Totally agree with this!

BattleDancingUnicorn
BattleDancingUnicorn
5 months ago

I’m graduated! 15 months of near constant contact with FW, but I made it to Masters Degree land. I love my promotion and fabulous paycheck.

Every year, my district has a day where we all gather at one campus and do professional development. I had a surprise panic attack when I spotted FW across the gym being all cuddly with someone who looks just like me. It all caught me completely by surprise, but that’s literally PTSD.

I also struggle with anything related to religion or spirituality after being publicly shamed and removed from the church FW and I attended. They were barbed wire monkey people, but at the time they were all I had. I’m fortunate to have found a very inclusive and supportive community in which to practice spirituality at my own pace, without pressure to be or do anything at all.

walkbymyself
walkbymyself
5 months ago

“barbed wire monkey people”

Excellent.

BattleDancingUnicorn
BattleDancingUnicorn
5 months ago
Reply to  walkbymyself

Right? It’s from Tracy’s book, and it was the thing that made all the things click for me.

Ginger_Superpowers
Ginger_Superpowers
5 months ago

“barbed wire monkey people”

This is a perfect visual for me! I can laugh 5 1/2 years out, but at the time that barbed wire caused a lot of pain. Those scars have healed but I have others I wear proudly. Asshat not gonna get me down!!!

BattleDancingUnicorn
BattleDancingUnicorn
5 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

You know, I’m saving the ending for Chumpalooza Story Hour. 🙂
See you in Baltimore!

DrChump
DrChump
5 months ago

I was having second thoughts about attending Chumpapalooza but now I might have to go

kokichi
kokichi
5 months ago

Afterwards, can you update the rest of us! I have been following your story and you are so inspirational. I can’t attend and feel a wee bit devastated to be missing out on all of the fun! Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s experience!

I can relate about spirituality. My church has been supportive, but my lawyer does not want me attending until we get everything wrapped up. But yes, having a Jesus Cheater that preached about grace all while living a double life is a lot to handle. I was fortunate enough to find an EMDR therapist that specializes in spiritual abuse. Maybe you can find one as well?

Mr Wonderfuls Ex
Mr Wonderfuls Ex
5 months ago

I will also be there with UXWorld’s team. HUZZAH! 🙂

BattleDancingUnicorn
BattleDancingUnicorn
5 months ago

Excellent company then!

Stepbystep
Stepbystep
5 months ago

To JC and Chump Lady – Thank you for acknowledging that infidelity leaves scars. I often think that “meh” is simply a lack of nerve endings as our deepest wounds heal.

I’m at an age where I am highly unlikely to find another life-long partner. But I have also lost the refuge of a daily companion, the ability to share memories which begin with “we”, a social life which doesn’t have to be pre-scheduled. Interactions are transactional as I require reciprocity. My gut is my guide and it often feels queasy.

I am making progress with growing confidence in my ability to self soothe and use my precious life for good works. Sometimes I even laugh.

unicornomore
unicornomore
5 months ago

I can’t write much because I have wonderful stuff planned for the day and have to get going…which is a very good sign.

Of scars, I will share that I got a memorial tattoo during a calm time after Cheaters death before I started finding proof in his stuff that his cheating was much deeper and widespread that I ever guesses. I was afraid I would hate myself for the tattoo, but nah, I hardly remember it is there.

My Dday was 18 years ago, but I didnt learn all there was to learn until about the time I was getting married. The deacon doing out marital prep told me something he thought I knew about Cheater that I didnt actually know (that he had affairs prior to the “big”one). In reality, it ruined a lot of the sweet “you are perfect” honeymoon stage of my new marriage but when I came out of the fog, my sweet new husband was right there with me.

Like the writer says, his new spouse isnt perfect, but is present and works at life together. Mine is a super reliable person which I treasure.

I finished 2 degrees since I married him and have had amazing work success even if my employer doesnt seem to value me all that much. My kids have been a handful but area all successfully launched,

Not that this is a major focus, but we have material comforts that I never ever expected which is the biggest irony of my life…my parents and Cheater desperately wanted money and sought it around every corner and none of them really attained that goal, I wanted authentic relationships and figured working middle class was fine, so my circumstances never cease to amaze me in the oddity of it all.

I will always be the person who sees her early life as a relationship war zone. I was treated shitty for decades and it was dreadful. I am happy now and I hope the best for you.

Hubby just called and said breakfast is ready…gotta go

WalkawayWoman
WalkawayWoman
5 months ago
Reply to  unicornomore

The Lying Cheating Loser and I got Roman numeral “anniversary date” tattoos together. About 6 months after I dumped him, I got mine covered up with a bird wing, signifying a song that is meaningful to me: Broken Wings by Mr. Mister.

“So take
These broken wings
And learn to fly again
Learn to live so free.”

My connection to that song predates the LCL, and I have indeed learned to fly and live so free.

Rebecca
Rebecca
5 months ago

I’m one of those chumps that have been around for a long time!
10 years post divorce
13 years post DDay

I am one tough chump!
I survived suicidality, 2 psych hospitalizations, went very public about my mental health story, a nasty, nasty divorce, 2 lawyers (first made a mistake and I successfully refused to pay him), too many moves, a new career and a new business, 2 weddings and 2 grandkids.

I am a fighter.
I fought for the best mental health care. Survived caring for and burying a mother and father who were complicated to put it mildly. I fought for my kids through the divorce and after; they are amazing and we are so close now. I fought to create a new career and to be successful at my job through the darkest days. I fought to make new friends and keep all my old ones. Every step of the whole “get a life” was initially a huge internal fight to get up and get out.

I have many scars that I’m very proud of! All my scars are there for everyone to see. I’ve been honest and open about doubting my self-worth, my lovability and my value. By being open about my doubts, it has allowed space for people to show me how much they value me, love me and how important I am to everyone around me. I’ve learned I bring a lot to this world.

I stay here to share my hard learned lessons. To show people there is a whole, beautiful life out there. I’m not partnered, I did date a lot but remain open to whatever comes my way. And to do everything in my power to help spread the word that “leave a cheater, gain a life” it the only way thru to true happiness!

Leedy
Leedy
5 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Rebecca, it’s helpful to me to see you writing this: “I fought to make new friends and keep all my old ones. Every step of the whole ‘get a life’ was initially a huge internal fight to get up and get out.” Newly single, I’m finding this is true for me; it IS a huge internal fight! But your comment reminds me it’s worth it.

Last edited 5 months ago by Leedy
LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
5 months ago

In the 6 years the divorce from Ex-Mrs LFTT was finalised I have: supported 2 children through University and into full time employment; one child through their secondary education and into University; got a major promotion at work; undertaken a major career change and established myself in my new role and; bought a house for the kids and I.

In terms of scars, I guess that the major one relates to finding it very difficult to trust people. My decision to stay single is very much a reflection of this; I don’t think that I would make a good partner as a result of being so slow to trust.

LFTT

ChumpedForANewerModel
ChumpedForANewerModel
5 months ago

Well, my one-year anniversary of divorce is coming up in less than two weeks!!!! So far so good. There is no more drama. My son is doing well and is only about a six-hour drive from me.
I started dating a fellow chump in March and we are still together. I know I have told this before, but it does go to show that life can be very odd. During the middle of COVID, my guy (who was one of our admin officers) called me and was updating our rosters. Naturally this was right smack in the middle of some of my trauma and I emotionally vomited on this poor guy! Many months later as we started going back to the office, I saw him, and he did not run. I apologized profusely because I felt really bad about having done that. A few months after that and after my divorce was final, we ran into each other again and he asked me out. It was then I heard his entire chum story from 17 years ago. We have dated ever since. His son is about a year older than mine, and everyone has met, and we get along. It has been really great. The best thing is reciprocity!!!! Rael monkey love is so wonderful. All new chumps should know that it does get better and even emotionally vomiting on someone is not always a bad thing.

DrChump
DrChump
5 months ago

😊

UXworld
UXworld
5 months ago

8 years out from “The Troubles” and finding CN. It’s been suggested to me that my daily check-in with this site keeps scars alive and pronounced. To which I say: “So be it.”

My daughters are thriving, they have a fantastic relationship with me and, to all appearances, don’t have any anxieties about the ones they have with their FW mother and her husband, who have moved to another state. As a parent, I cannot ask for much more.

I recently celebrated 1 year seeing a perfectly lovely woman — never married, no kids of her own. plenty of scars unrelated to being a chump. But she ‘gets’ my scars — as much as anyone who’s never had this experience can, I suppose — and we’re committed to the importance and rarity and privilege of having a quality person with whom to share life’s moments at age 60ish. We remind each other to always “be present” and appreciate what we’ve found in each other, because so many others don’t have that.

She says my scars are proof that I’m “straight as an arrow” and a person of character. So I see my continued visits here as booster shots that keep the power of those scars alive.

kokichi
kokichi
5 months ago
Reply to  UXworld

From Diane Strickland’s blog (She is addressing people who are supporting victims): Every choice to hear the story of someone that tells about what happened to them diminishes the power of that story for ill purpose. Every act of validation to a trauma survivor gives them back the chance of community again.

I think that is what CL and CN is about. Sure, it’s one thing to shock people with my story, but at the same time, people who have never experienced trauma and abuse are not able to support us in the same way our fellow chumps are able to do. Let’s face it, there are plenty of other infidelity sites that don’t get it and support the RIC.

Plus, most of CN has gallows humor and that has been proven to expedite healing!!! A little snark goes a long way in this journey!!!

Elsie_
Elsie_
5 months ago
Reply to  UXworld

People have said I should stop the divorce recovery stuff and just live. Well, I need the reminder of how far I’ve come at times too. Like a booster shot…

Leedy
Leedy
5 months ago
Reply to  UXworld

A very interesting thread!

Mehitable
Mehitable
5 months ago
Reply to  UXworld

“It’s been suggested to me that my daily check-in with this site keeps scars alive and pronounced. ” Personally I’ve found that it’s helped me examine how cheaters in my past especially the one nearly 40 years ago, permanently affected – changed – my life and has led me to a much greater general understanding of those situations and myself. Otherwise all of this may have stayed at an unconscious level – I think it’s been more productive to examine it because then I can make conscious choices rather than unconscious reactions.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  UXworld

Hmmm, that “keeping scars alive” thing– I don’t see it that way either.

Like they say, “Talking about the problem is not the problem– the problem is the problem.” I think the “problem” is that scars never entirely fade. Then there’s the ache from a few badly set proverbial bones– emotional injuries that weren’t properly identified or processed when first emerging from catastrophe where we might have drawn the wrong lesson from the experience or internalized bad advice. Those “bad bone sets” can show up as phobias/compulsive avoidance, addiction or depression, irritability or even strange “random” accidents on the anniversaries of forgotten and buried traumatic events (so-called “reenactment compulsion”).

Taking the issue head on and talking about it, tracing feelings and moods back to the events that triggered them and listening to others sort and process similar events is really the only way to slowly reset those bones. The more complicated and atrocious the trauma, the more this seems true. Holocaust survivor Primo Levi writes at length about survivors’ universal need to talk, be heard and believed and to compare experiences as an act of reclaiming their perspectives and expelling the warped perspective of perpetrators to the degree that the warped perspectives were “beaten” into survivors.

Of course no one wants to be John Goodman’s character in “The Big Lebowski” who keeps using his traumatic war experience and war flashbacks as alibis for his own bs. But I don’t think chumps need to worry about being like that since that’s how abusers use their own trauma– as rationalizations and pity traps. If you’re not an abusive personality to start with, there’s not much danger of ending up like Walter Sobchak. It takes a lifetime of dedicated practice to become that big an asshole.

I think the real danger for a lot of people post-trauma is in normalizing these scars, forgetting that they weren’t there before certain events, maybe even starting to internalize the typical abuser DARVO brainwashing mantra of “You came like that. You were always defective and broken. Abuse didn’t make you that way, in fact, your defectiveness is what brought on misfortune…” Since survivors of everything will hear that twisted, blameshifting message coming at them from the airwaves and a thousand different sources (to the degree that abusers of every stripe– from corporate and government to interpersonal– are like manic cult evangelists constantly proselytizing their effed up DARVOisms), reminding ourselves that “No, I did not come like this” might require daily reality checks.

Elsie_
Elsie_
5 months ago

I have scars, but I’m not re-injuring myself either. I had several years of therapy after my ex left, but I found that my twelve-step group and CL were what I needed to get going again after being shattered.

It seems contrary, but even six years after my ex left, I have times when my confidence dips and I think, “You’ve been a mess your whole life.” CL reminds me that of course I fell apart over the the implosion of my marriage, but I walked away and each day is better and better. That’s why I stay.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Elsie_

A consulting psychologist who worked with the advocacy network I volunteered for said that trauma can taint memory proactively and retroactively. A major trauma not only colors every less catastrophic tribulation that happens following the major trauma (making it feel like just more bad luck for an “unlucky” person), people may start remembering things that happened *prior* to a major trauma in a new and different light, as if those less traumatic bumps and scrapes were all “harbingers” (fatalistic warning signs) for the eventual big catastrophe. Part of PTSD can be the feeling that one had “always been marked for misfortune.”

I think the idea is that fatalism can be a symptom of PTSD and that the default “fatalism” tends to smack of forms of Calvinism whether vaguely superstitious or outright religious (the idea of a punishing divinity or cruelly ordered universe which rewards the “good” with happy lives and punishes the bad with hardship, poverty, etc.). What seems horribly ironic is that this is actually the “cultish” belief system of all abusers. This psychologist explained that one of the reasons abusers abuse is because, in their twisted world view (usually due to horribly dysfunctional FOO dynamics), there *has* to be a victim so, if the abusers don’t make someone else the victim, then they (the abusers) will have to be the victim.

The thought process depends on imagining a divinity or “force” in the universe that requires human sacrifice to be appeased. In other words, it’s akin to very primitive theology. It relates to the concept of religious scapegoating– endowing some poor village goat with all the sins of the tribe and sending the goat out to the wilderness to die for everyone’s sins. Or, as some ancient Greek philosopher’s defined cult belief system, it’s the idea that “luck is when the arrow hits the other man.” So, by adopting this sense of PTSD-induced, quasi-Calivinist fatalism, it’s as if traumatized victims have been “inculcated” into a cult through abusive brainwashing.

For agnostics, it can come out as irrational superstition and for people of faith, it can tragically color their religious practices and damage their relationship with their divinity. So reclaiming perspective can vary depending on what constituted the victim’s healthy, pre-trauma perspective. Agnostics have to ask themselves whether they aren’t, in fact, developing a type of theology and, if so, to take control of it, decide what they do and don’t believe in, give it some shape. People of faith have to ask themselves if they really believe in such a cruel God who would randomly “mark for misfortune” relatively innocent people.

The Divine Miss Chump
The Divine Miss Chump
5 months ago

I think the biggest scar I carry is the concern over whether my adult daughter’s relationships are healthier, stronger, and FW free. Did I do enough to guide them away from ever walking the same path? To recognize red flags, have strong boundaries, and love themselves first and foremost? To unequivocally demand the respect and dignity from their partners after watching me go decades without the same?

My youngest is visiting me this weekend, and during the course of conversation last night, she off-handedly mentioned that she and her friends fully embrace NC as the best method to handle toxic situations or people. I probably read too much into her statement as we were discussing a totally unrelated circumstance, but I felt like it was her way to say, “I get it, Mom, and I support that you are NC with my father.”

As the days/months/years post-FW continue on, and the growth of new skin masks the fading scars, I just hope against all hope my daughters will have beautiful, loving men or women in their lives that will cherish them as I do.

Caroline
Caroline
5 months ago

I arrived at Chumplady in 2015, shortly after I discovered that my then-husband was cheating and committing massive fraud to support his cheating lifestyle. Two different lawyers told me that I could go to prison for all the fraud stuff he put in my name. But my church kept assuring me that my husband had “repented” (read: gave a lame apology and promised to take steps to right his wrong, and then never followed through), so I was obligated to “reconcile.” Chumplady gave me the strength to push back, although it still took me four more years to line up ducks enough to leave. In the meantime, abuse worsened, as my then-husband became more and more angry that I wouldn’t just “mind my own business” and let him go back to cheating with no consequences. I found out he had also sexually abused a young, mentally challenged teen, and he started making moves on our 13-year-old daughter. That’s when I finally had enough and fled the state. Today, I’m a domestic violence advocate, and although I don’t tell clients about my own personal history, those scars help me better understand them. I also filed a complaint in the (Presbyterian) denomination against my former pastor for abuse of power, since he threatened to ex-communicate me if I left my husband, even though he knew all about the cheating and stealing and even the child molestation. With the help of my current pastor (same denomination), it got pushed through, and my former pastor will stand trial in the Presbytery for abuse of power in a few weeks. The case is already appealed to GA based on the preliminary investigation, so it will go denomination-wide this summer. I’m glad of that. Whatever happens, I want pastors in our denomination to rethink the idea that reconciliation at all costs is a good idea. I want women who have been victims of infidelity and abuse to be heard. So I think scars are motivating. The experience was incredibly painful. But I spent too long silenced and hiding my scars. As CL says, anger gets things done.

MotherChumperNinetyNine
MotherChumperNinetyNine
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Wow!!!! You are mighty!

Elsie_
Elsie_
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Bravo! I admire you for taking this forward. That needs to be done more.

I belong to a very loosely organized denomination. My ex came from the very conservative side (divorce is never an option), and our long-term church was more moderate (divorce may be an option). He said I was brainwashed into refusing reconciliation, but it was 100% me. I was doing it whether they approved or not.

My scars also help me do volunteer work related to what I went through. I’m still exploring what that means, but it’s very fulfilling.

Leedy
Leedy
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Caroline, I am so impressed you took action! That takes not just courage but great inner force. It’s only through such action that things will change, whether in churches or in other institutions that look away from abuse.

thrive
thrive
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Good for you!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Amen. I don’t even think of anger as an emotion per se, more like a rocket fuel propelling escape or fight or whatever is required to survive. But most people call it an emotion, so be it. Unfortunately, in toxic-positivity-speak, anger is often depicted as a “bad” emotion. But the woman who ran the DV advocacy network I worked with for several years had a great answer for this. She would say that emotions are like colors in a paint box– neighter good nor bad. All that matters is what picture you paint with them. I think that, with your work in advocacy and your trial against that blamey pastor, you’re painting a beautiful and mighty picture.

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
5 months ago

Hoa C,
Your comments are always so insightful. And the references you include add so much more understanding of things.

I love the paint box reference. For me, the super dumbed-down version is that sure, if you are an angry chump that is lashing out and stalking your ex, slashing tires etc, that is not helping anyone, most of all oneself. But for me personally, and I am sure lots of chumps would agree, the three emotions that have come up the most for me during this chumpdom are sadness, anger and fear. I try to not get too overwhelmed by any one of them. But when I get too sad or too scared, I sort of shut down and struggle to focus. I have trouble getting work done or really doing anything other than sitting in a corner lamenting my situation. Anger though? I get a lot more done while angry. I even think clearer while angry vs sad/scared. I suppose if I got TOO angry and started plotting revenge beyond living well, that would also be problematic. But I definitely think anger can be so useful in the right dose/context.

Caroline
Caroline
5 months ago

I love that! Emotions are like paint colors–I may use that when I talk to DV victims! Thank you!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Thank the brilliant Lily Devilliers. I haven’t been able to access the article but I suspect Lily talked about her “paint box” concept in her article “Insult to Injury: How Pop-psychology hijacked the domestic violence discourse” in the Fall, 2003 issue of Bitch Magazine.

kat
kat
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

You are fantastic!
As a side note- I will admit that I am a subscriber, but sometimes a bit too lazy to log in. For this- I had to make the effort to log in and celebrate you.

Caroline
Caroline
5 months ago
Reply to  kat

Thank you! I feel honored!

hush
hush
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

SO VERY MIGHTY!!!!!

You inspire me!!!! 💜

Caroline
Caroline
5 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Thanks! That’s why I did it. For a while, I told myself I just wanted to get away from that church, and my new church was so welcoming and kind (even paid for my lawyer and sent an elder to court with me!) But then I found out they were putting another women through “church discipline” for divorcing her abusive husband–and CPS had substantiated charges of physical abuse against her husband. So I jumped in to help her, and then four other women showed up. The case now involves six women/teen girls. Some of the cases are even worse than mine. I’m counsel on the case as well as being one of the complainants. Some pastors are very helpful, a few have called me “Jezebel.” The most frustrating are those that say that winning this won’t help us heal. I don’t need to be healed–I have a career, my kids, and good friends. But I don’t want to see other people hurt. Thank you, Tracy, for being mighty. You gave me strength to fight! I remember sitting in “marriage counseling” with that sinister minister telling him, “I’m not going to play your stupid pick-me game. Why would I want a cheater back?” That was all you!

kokichi
kokichi
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

So proud and so impressed! Praying right now for you, for the other victims, over your lawyer, and the final (victorious) ruling. Praying that the truth finds the light and your ashes will be redeemed.

Prayer is what won my divorce and I firmly believe in specific prayer. If you want to share the time/date of your hearing I would love to surround you in prayer on that day. (Or I can be reached at kokichithepig@gmail.com).

(And I agree about being a podcast guest!!!)

Mehitable
Mehitable
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Ministers of all people should recognize that there is also something called justice, and that bad people like your ex, need to be brought to it.

WalkawayWoman
WalkawayWoman
5 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Caroline’s post is giving “podcast guest” vibes! My favorite episodes so far have been chumps sharing their stories.

Leedy
Leedy
5 months ago
Reply to  WalkawayWoman

Yes–a podcast featuring Caroline and her story! I WOULD MAKE A POINT OF LISTENING TO THIS ONE!!

Caroline
Caroline
5 months ago
Reply to  WalkawayWoman

I wouldn’t mind at all! And I could bring on another one of the women on the case too, if you want. I really hope other women hearing it will do the same in their own churches. I told a friend recently, “Change will come when every Presbytery is bogged down in abuse charges against those abusive pastors. Then they will change the guidelines about how women are treated in the church.”

Leedy
Leedy
5 months ago
Reply to  Caroline

Caroline, I can see that there’s the potential for a huge, reverberating story of activism and reform here, and I’m excited to watch it develop. I fervently wish you all good luck in your efforts.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
5 months ago

It’s been 5 years since D day, 3 years since I went no contact, and 2 years since FW died. Our divorce never happened because he checked out before we even went to trial.

Since FW kicked me out and basically moved OW into my home, I have paid off all my debts, gotten a promotion at work (the job he claimed I sucked at and wouldn’t have gotten without him) with a huge raise, saved money, and bought myself a beautiful house with enough land that I finally realized my lifelong dream of a big garden, an orchard, and chickens. I got two cats (FW was allergic), and they are lovely. I’m happy. Happier than I’ve ever been. I found myself again, after FW nearly completely destroyed everything I was. I have friends, I have hobbies, I have time to read, I’m healthy again. I don’t have to listen to constant criticism, or be screamed at, or be afraid. I look forward to the future instead of steeling myself to endure it. I find myself smiling for no reason. It’s nice to be able to enjoy quiet moments of beauty (FW was always GO GO GO), to talk to my bff for hours, read books I love, watch shows I actually enjoy, wander through thrift stores or the farmer’s market, without someone hounding me about all of it. My son is happy too. He’s just lovely, and we are very close.

FW’s voice is gone from my head (finally) and I rarely find myself experiencing the symptoms of my PTSD. FW being dead has helped with that a lot. He can’t hurt me anymore. I don’t have to be afraid for my son as he grows up.

Do I have scars? Sure. I think trust is a big one. I haven’t dated in all this time. These past few months I being starting to think/feel I might be ready. I suddenly got crazy horny, which is weird for me, as I wasn’t all that interested in sex even as a younger person (is this…premenopause?). I had no desire for a relationship, or even sex since my ex left, until recently. I feel like I’d like to have a lover, maybe even a boyfriend/girlfriend to hang with (I’m not picky), but I don’t really want a “relationship” and I don’t think I want to ever get married again. But I do miss being touched and kissed. (However, I also married my first boyfriend who I was friends with for 3 years before we even went on a date, so I have basically zero experience with dating, flirting, meeting people, or anything. I’m 43 now and I got with him almost 20 years ago. I also figured out in the last few years that I’m bi, but I have never dated a woman, so there’s that. It’s just very awkward to get back into it, and I have so little time because of work, my home, and my kid. And most people my age have a lot of baggage. Including me. Plus the risk of being an unwitting OW, or in being cheated on again.) That’s a scar I’m sure. My life now is better than I could have ever have imagined, and I don’t want to jeopardize that in any way. I’m certainly not interested in giving another person access to my resources or any kind of control over me. FW was a spender, and never consulted me about anything, so we were always broke. Now my bank account is never unexpectedly low because FW spent all the money. My house belongs to me and me alone and no one can ever threaten me to make me leave (he said he’d make my life a living hell if I stayed, and that he wouldn’t contribute if he was the one to move out and I couldn’t afford it on my own; now I can pay my own mortgage, even though it’s almost double what the old one was, and no one but me has any say over my house). I enjoy having my own space and being able to arrange it to my liking, I like sleeping alone, I like being able to do what I want with my time, and I mostly enjoy not having to deal with another adult’s emotions (I have an 11 year old son, but I’m okay with helping him learn to self-regulate). But it might be nice to be held once in a while.

We’ll see.

Five years ago I though my life was over, and I thought I’d never be happy again. Now my life is amazing (and FW-free!). I don’t miss FW at all. The memories don’t hurt anymore. I don’t need antidepressants. My home brings me so much joy as I slowly make it into my perfect space. I have fun with my son. I sing and dance.

Badmovie19
Badmovie19
5 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

I can definitely relate. I married my high school sweetheart and after 13 years of marriage, total of 22 years together, my world exploded in the summer of 2019. He ditched me and our 2 children who were then in 1st & 2nd grades for his married coworker. She happened to be 11 years older than me. Our divorce was finalized in March 2020 just in time for the Covid lockdown. By summer of 2021, I was just beginning to dip my toe into dating, was starting to enjoy freedom, and then my ex unexpectedly died in his sleep on Halloween that year while our kids were on their weekend to dad’s house. Since then we’ve had counseling, I sold the house for a nice profit, moved back to our home state, and I’ve renovated my childhood home. My kids are thriving in their new school and have made new friends. I’ve been working remote but im being laid off soon which is just a minor hiccup in the grand scheme of things. I also have a business, so im fortunate that the financial impact isn’t huge. I started dating a guy this summer who is also a chump – he’s divorced because his wife cheated on him with his then best friend. I’ve had good and bad dating experiences post divorce but this is the first guy who I feel “gets it.” I don’t plan on ever remarrying and I don’t think I would even consider living with another guy again even once my kids are grown. I enjoy my own space, freedom, and don’t want anyone to cramp that. I’m taking it slow with this guy and we like doing simple things like dinners out and watching sunsets. Basically the opposite of what I had with my ex who was always trying to be the life of any party and was constantly going to sporting events, concerts, bars, and he didn’t really have much for hobbies. I can do my own hobbies now without his critical take.

zyx321
zyx321
5 months ago

Like JC and Free Vixen, I am a fellow long timer (my preferred term), but I do not post often these days. Feel like those closer to the fray have more to offer.
I found CL April 2013, one month post divorce.

For the newbies, to recap: married my high school sweetheart- together 23 years, 18 married. Turns out I should have trusted my gut when he gaslighted me in marriage year 4. it was an affair… he had at least 3.
Final one, and now OWife, he met her when I encouraged him to take a 1 year leave (we were academics) and he went away for the year since he was “unhappy at work.” The then married AP is 11 yrs, 11 months younger than me– that was a big deal for me at the time, as she was the same age I was when he first cheated. What would my life had been if he had ‘fessed up then and let me be free…. well, would not have had my kids…

CN was vital to my sanity during several very difficult years, especially with child support assistance as ex changed jobs and took an overseas foreign service position, and with the children and how to help them.
Ex and OWife got pregnant during the divorce process, and lost twins, but not before my eldest (12 yo) was sworn to secrecy. Got pregnant again immediately (and again, prior to divorce finalization!), then moved overseas less than 6 months later, leaving kids with me.
Then Daddy’s girl 13yo was super confused– one 5 week visit to them, and apparently I was made out to be a monster (though never by name) as they described what makes a good marriage, etc…. how does a 13/14yo old process that, when they are left behind to live with me me full time? They don’t, and attempt suicide. Fortunately failed, and planned again (but told psychiatrist as I was sitting in the room!). Then there was the guilt when eldest got the attention given mental and medical health concerns, and youngest was sometimes not the focus of attention.
We muddled through that, then 4 years later it was youngest’s turn to express suicidal ideation– I really was at a low point then, how could I go through it again?! But we worked through that quickly, and never had hospitalizations, etc. Both children now have anxiety issues.

But we persevered.
I met a wonderful man, and we have now been together 6 years. Being childless he does not quite understand some things, especially when things were still tough in the early years, but he is supportive, and that’s what counts.

Eldest graduated from college December ’22, just finished a 7 month paid internship at a wonderful placed in their field, and just this week got a “real” job in their field, full time but fixed term (9 months). They still struggle with ADHD/ADD and other health issues, but the depression is controlled at the moment.

Youngest finished high school May 2021– that’s the group I feel for, no standard HS activities senior year, but he is doing well at college. He wants to be a professional musician, and constantly has events related to that.

Ex and OWife, as mentioned, moved away, and I have enjoyed the lack of contact once the kids turned 18. Ex was being childish after youngest was 18 and refused to talk to me about university payments until I pointed out that I had been trying to have the conversation for almost a year beforehand! Their eldest is on the spectrum. I never wish ill on children, but I admit a part of me thought it was karma on the parents given that the pregnancy was during our divorce. They have a 2nd, apparently he is neurotypical.

Kids have progressively less contact with him given the distance and their lives. I remain grateful ex moved far away– I enjoy going to all son’s various gigs and performances, without ex and Owife there. Eldest did not invite ex to graduation. I bet younger will (as his personality is like mine), but that is still 18 months away. Now that the kids are driving and over 18, it is also no longer my responsibility to get them to various (my former) in-law events.

As for me: I just published a local history book (first book!) and create a related exhibit at my university. Our PR person is a whiz, so I was interviewed for all the local papers and several local radio stations, and have talks scheduled at libraries and historical societies over the next year. It has been weird, but gratifying. Now on for my true goal when I wrote the book– writing kids historical fiction! I found a writer’s group, and will join then in February once things have died down a bit and I can sit down and work on my stories. Still not sure how that will happen with all my job activities and responsibilities, but I will make it so!

To all the newbies– there will be dark days. There will also be wonderful days. Just take each day, one at a time. Try to find a moment every day to acknowledge something good. But when things seem particularly dark, remember, it does get better. If things are bleak and you have to sell you house, remember, it’s just a house. Home is where you are. I was fortunate to keep mine, but now that I no longer have child support, I have to rent out rooms to pay the mortgage. I wanted to keep it, so it is what it is…

Jedi hugs to all.
Thanks to everyone for your support, and I will try to be better about paying it forward.

edit– I realize I never addressed the scars– as you can tell from my outline, there are plenty. But they are a part of the story now, fading, but will never be gone. I am ok with that now, at least mine, but I constantly worry about the kids. I am sure that will never change.

Last edited 5 months ago by zyx321
susie lee
susie lee
5 months ago

I didn’t discover CL until fw and whore were blowing up my sons life (or attempting to).

I had not really thought of the horror for a long time. I had gone on to eventually remarry, after several years of engagement. (I loved being engaged). I was busy working and enjoying my new life. Then when he started in on my son I started googling for info on narcissist’s, up came CL site. I read it from back to front. Amazed at all the commonality of what I went through. I indeed laughed and cried. There was no internet or CL in my chump days.

I stay to in some small way help, and also I think the folks on this site are just so smart and funny and I still learn things. I am retired now, so I have a bit of extra time. I did really well in my work with my husband supporting my efforts. Not once did he try to tell me what I could and could not do in my job. Difference between night and day, and he got to benefit from my success as I did from his. That is how real commitment and marriage work.

My husband had a stroke this year (January). He has done really well, but still recovering. He is physically fine, but has some lingering aphasia. He is still the sweet heart I married and I do my best to help him and we are still having a blessed life together.

For all the baby chumps, I wish them the very best life possible, and I think this site lets them know that the most grievous pain will fade, and for the remaining scars we just learn to deal with them, like any other injury.

TallOne
TallOne
5 months ago

I’ve been hanging around, regularly.
5 years since the signed decree.

I have scars. I have joys.

The hard:
I have scars and worked my trauma (It was nice to have it professionally labeled as such). I have touchy trigger system that I need to manage.
It sometimes shows up in my marriage.

The good:
Kids flew through high school faster and with less pain I thought.
I rarely engage with XW since the kids dont need that to happen.

The AWESOME:
I found my partner. My REAL partner. We’re creating a life together and its honest – but its wonderful to be really loved. She brings her boys so I get to parent some more.

My kids are launching, our relationships are evolving.

The REALLY AWESOME:
I’m proud of myself. I like who I am BECAUSE of this experience. I’m brave. I’m more awake. I have my xw to thank (but I won’t)

When this all started, I think CL responded to my letter with a “congratulations” and I was taken aback; who’d wish that on such a shitty situation?

I get it now. Congratulations on getting to point A and congrats on whats to come.

Hugs to newbies reading all of these. Congratulations.

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
5 months ago

DDAY was 2015. Divorced since 2016. So fully free 8 years now.

My scars are trust issues, no desire to marry ever again, and I’m just a changed person…. some for good (I have waaaaay more empathy) and some for not so good (anxiety, trauma, triggers).

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m better for being FW free and my life is exponentially better in every way. I’m also helping my son in every way I can and he is safe with me.

Not to mention, I’m in a better relationship (same boyfriend for almost 7 years now) and financially better than I ever was with FW.

2xchump
2xchump
5 months ago

OK so I am new in CN as of 4 months after D day, 4 months after filing( D day happened and I filed 10 days later. June 2022) But I’m a double Chump ….once in 1988 with a 6 year old and newborn and now in 2022 with Divorce Final in July 2023. So I have experiences with kids going back and forth every other weekend for 18 years. A remarriage to a second cheater liar that lasted, due to my huge imbalance in compassion, and getting a Shakespeare actor for a husband. ..32 years. BUT CL gave me such insights and a new name for my cheater and YOU CN,that breathed life back into my dying lungs and heart. I read this blog every day. I am in true love with Tracy for what she does daily at a huge sacrifice..IMO. Her daily dip in the mud of cheaters is beyond my compression. Thank you forever CL Tracy
Your book is GOLD!!!
I can’t wait to read you daily on CN and comment when the ads part for my treasured words. Its tremendous therapy for Me. I FOR SURE feel beat up and scared, hurting all over. But I am doing boundaries like a Champ where before I allowed abuse. I’m in therapy, intensive right now, I eliminated people who Switzerlanded me. I go part time to church where the pastor forgot his role as a shepherd . So rather than the pew, I help with church in a nursing home. I have scars of trust but I am 70 now and any life time mate might be 2 to 5 years, as guys do not age well IMO. I had enough sex from my sex addled – brained wuzband to last me 3 lifetimes. I have time to heal. I am thrilled for my life in a senior apartment rather than a crazy house with mult OW in a harem I did not know I had joined or agreed to..so yes alot of scars but the benefits of my life far outweigh the horrors I lived through. I did pick.out and write my own Tombstone 8 weeks ago, and I engraved on the front… my name, date of birth and the words. AND SHE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER IN PEACE.
YES!! That is IN STONE…there is a good Bible verse after that and more on the back but the peace part is worth all the scars. Yes it is.

Jade
Jade
5 months ago

I guess I’m a long timer here? I first found out about ex’s affair in 2009. It took two years to save enough money to leave. In 2011, kids and I had to leave abruptly for our safety, with only the things we had with us. Eventually ex allowed us to get more of our personal possessions, and we rented for 4 years. I finally divorced in 2013. I was finally able to buy a house about 8 years ago, so we have a stable place to live.

One kid is in grad school and the other still lives with me. They struggle with PTSD, but both of them have come far since we had to leave. I suspect healing will be a lifelong process for them.

I’m reasonably successful in my woefully underpaid job. Part of my job is public speaking. Yesterday I delivered a lecture about my historical research to a packed theatre in an elegant mansion, and it went well! I can’t share the topic, as Googling it will easily unmask me.

But yes, I have scars. I am extremely triggered by conflict. Probably to my detriment, I avoid all conflict. It’s extremely stressful for me to even witness conflict. I had been involved with organizing a union at my workplace, and things are getting a bit ugly between a few members of our organizing committee. Right now I am seriously considering resigning from the OC because conflict is so stressful for me, it is affecting my physical health. I’m not sure if I should work on this issue, or simply accept that I’m an omega dog, not an alpha dog.

BTW I wish I could say I’ve met my dream husband/significant other and am living happily ever after. I did date for a few months two years ago, but I broke up with him over his “mental health” issues. A few months later, I discovered he was probably also dating a long term girlfriend. He tried to rope me back in, and I went no contact in response. No contact really IS the best road to healing.

Honestly, when the “tell you how you’re mighty” posts come around, I feel badly that I haven’t progressed further since my divorce. I guess it’s mighty enough to be free. I’m thankful to Chump Lady for helping me in that journey–I read the blog every day, but, mostly, I’m just a grateful lurker 🙂

Jade
Jade
5 months ago

Whoops, I wanted to say one last thing. Halloween is my 10-year divorceaversary! I want to do something special to celebrate!

Viktoria
Viktoria
5 months ago

Still a newbie, only 1.5 years from leaving eX. Wounds are fresh, open, sore, hurting bad. Black & blue bruises still showing. Still in deep shock and survival mode. Seriously wondering if “gain a life” will happen for me someday. Thank you to the Old Timers for posting your inspiration.

TallOne
TallOne
5 months ago
Reply to  Viktoria

it’ll happen…
I would imagine myself in a river and if I could let go of the reeds I was holding; ideals or ideas that I was keeping alive, if I could let go of them, I’d move faster to where I belonged.

Your timing is yours. Just trust thats it happening believe in yourself.

DrChump
DrChump
5 months ago
Reply to  TallOne

So well said

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
5 months ago

Divorced now for 11+ years. My cheater was an LMFT at the time and has gone on to get her doctorate in the psychology/counseling field. Lovely, I know.

A redemptive story from my dark days getting Chumped is how it prepared me for my current occupation as a federal prison chaplain among other things. I was very trusting and naive back then. It was a crash course on living in a world with disordered people.

Lasting scars are few for me these days. I have an amazing marriage (10 years married in March!) and am a father to a girl who I got to father since she was 2 years old. Life is truly MUCH better post-cheater!

I am looking forward to meeting many of you soon at Chumpalooza 1.0! It is so important for us to have a community like CL has created here–a crash course central on decoding the disordered.

hush
hush
5 months ago

I just referred my buddy to your site, which so many Chumps here have cherished over the years – thank you so much for all you do! I’m truly sorry to have to miss getting to meet you at Chumpalooza. Enjoy!

Irrelevant
Irrelevant
5 months ago

I’m a Chump Nation OG on the ‘other side’ of healing, who chose to stick around to support those who came behind me. That choice hasn’t always been easy, and I did have to take breaks now and then to move life (and my own healing) to the front burner, but because this community saved me in more ways than I could ever measure, I always returned. I’m now in my 8th year of CN association, and 6th year of being FW free.
 
In that time frame I managed to move cross country, heal well, start a quirky small business, become debt free, build savings, dabble in a few small investments, and redefine myself within the life that came from all of that. I also decided early on not to date until I felt ready and wanted it, but no longer needed it. I do now date on occasion, but a funny thing happened along the way…
 
I got to the point where I was enjoying the life I had so much, I didn’t want to consider changing it up in a serious way to accommodate another person. Maybe it’s my age (now mid 60s), or the fact that I had to fight so damn hard to overcome all the mountains I faced, but utter liberation (once you’re lucky enough to experience it) is addicting as hell.
 
The sheer freedom of being the master and commander of my own universe has slowly begun to trump all for me. I have a great social life, plenty of companionship, a tight circle of friends, but what I seem to enjoy the most these days are the moments I get to have with and by myself—doing things that fill me up in some way.  I LOVE where I live, what I do, but mostly it’s the satisfaction of knowing I alone get to choose which path I want to take each day that makes it the most rewarding.
 
In terms of scars, sure, I have some, but they’ve mostly been relegating to the space where I place all important life lessons—way in the background; quietly informing my life, but not getting in the way of it anymore.  
 
I credit every single inch of my fight to get to the other side to CN. Yes, I am strong, and had to do it all myself, but I couldn’t have done it half as well without the constant support of all the generous chump warriors who came before me. CN taught me how good life on the other side can be. For that, and so much more, I will be forever grateful.
 

Eve
Eve
5 months ago

CL,

You answered my letter in July 2015.

https://www.chumplady.com/2015/07/dear-chump-lady-i-cant-evict-him-from-my-head/

I just re-read it for the first time and I feel so sorry for that poor woman. What a quivering mess. I remember how shocked I was to read “As to accepting your cheater’s view of your worth? That’s a CHOICE. You’re picking that poison. I’m sorry, it’s not cancer, it’s a fucking choice. If he’s dishing out garbage, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it.” Such a radical reframing of my worldview. With bonus sweary words! X would not have approved, lol.

I also remember reading and re-reading the 206 kind, supportive, encouraging comments from the CN community. I couldn’t believe all those people (like Divorce Minister, Nomar, Tempest, Tessie) took the time to care about me. What a gift.

2015 got worse before it got better, as anyone divorcing an abusive FW knows. But 8 years later, I am making good money at my wonderful, stable job. I live peacefully alone in my cozy, empty nest apartment. Adult chicks have fledged and are thriving (daughter just passed the bar!, son just started grad school!).

The emotional scars X inflicted on me and our children are permanent but they’re not the most important or even interesting thing about us anymore. We have chosen to move forward with love and hope. And, on my part, immense gratitude for the support of CL and all my fellow chumps.

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
5 months ago

Almost two years out, life is coming in fits and starts.

  1. Waiting to hear back on grad school.
  2. Found an awesome male counselor after my first one passed; he works with narc abuse survivors, so I am dealing with that.
  3. Parallel parenting sucks, she is good at manipulation and is using that on the boys, learning picking my battles.
  4. Volunteering a lot to help others in church and the community.
  5. Finding new friends and identifying who is safe and unsafe.
  6. Working on my old house a lot, keeps me out of single male trouble.
  7. Attempting to test the waters on dating, it’s the wild west. Sometimes fun, other times, not.
hush
hush
5 months ago

Chump Class of 2015 in the house. 🎓My scars these days are the residue of relocation abuse through the courts (being legally compelled post-divorce filing to move to two (2) different states & then forcibly remain in states which I’d have never freely chosen to live in – this after having been tricked into moving to the initial state 7+ years ago for the secret benefit of my ex’s former AP…)

I’m scarred from having to sit for multiple, horrible professional exams delayed during the pandemic, and starting my career over again two different times in two different states where I had zero network & after a huge resume gap. Worst of all was realizing my parents and all of their boomer siblings well and truly suck, and had betrayed me constantly. Too much drama and my family siding with my X to get into. Good times! Let’s just say I am so relieved that NO CONTACT is very much a thing in 2023!

On the plus side, I’m super happy to be over 7+ years out from DDay, instant separation, and a 12-month-long divorce. When my X walked out, I filed immediately in my true home state. His first lawyer told my lawyer how awesome a strategic move that was on my part, and somehow failed (I think purposely) to have me served with my ex husband’s divorce papers he filed in our temporary state. 😉 He knew he was representing a total Fuckwit! Lol Then my X switched lawyers and sued me one more time for divorce and relocation a year later, did some legally unethical shit that our impeached-then-reinstated-to-the-bench judge left unpunished, but I digress. Judge was in a Reuters article on the worst judges in America so that’s a fun feather in my cap!

I proud I did zero pick me dancing. I love myself more and more each day, and tolerate absolutely no nonsense from anyone. Somehow despite having a covert borderline mom and the biggest doormat enabler of a dad, I grew into a confident young woman who is now a healthy, middle aged wised-up broad. I thank God everyday for that rare blessing!! This energy has not made me popular, but it has earned me a core, reciprocal group of loyal friends who I value so much!! My chosen family! My future Golden Girls squad!

These days my walls sing. I’ve gotten to read every book and watch every film on my list. I’ve already flown everywhere I wanted to visit before the age of 40. I prefer a more mellow life now. Like others have said, healing is not linear. There are good and bad days. If you’re a parent of minor kids, focus your whole heart on your kids’ emotional well-being while they’re little, and I promise you will not regret it. Childhood flies by in the blink of an eye. Do not date right away if you are in any way wobbly/needy for validation and/or think your life sad & incomplete without a romantic partner. Fix your friend, family, and lover pickers. This takes TIME and introspection. Above all else do you, joyfully! Ignore the naysayers and haters who do grasp why you’re “not over it yet.” They’ll never understand. Peace.

Innocencelost
Innocencelost
5 months ago

Hello all!

I only check into the site every so often now, instead of multiple times every day.:-) I’m not sure why, since I don’t have much of a life yet, but there I am! I originally found out back in 2014 on our honeymoon, so I like to say I was only married for 8 days, though it took me almost 2 years to get around to filing since I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he chose to go into therapy. He seemed to improve but it was all master-level manipulation.

Like anyone who’s gone through this, I have scars. I’m still in therapy so I have Financial scars of paying for all that therapy! There’s also all the money that I lost paying for his stuff since he “didn’t have any money” (I only made a bit more than him and he’s an auditor for crying out loud) and paying for partner therapy that just never really worked (now I know why).

I have physical scars from it because he did give me an STI that I had for a year and my doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and it wasn’t until I got an STD panel after finding out that he was having sex with other people that we knew what was up.

I have mental scars where I have been diagnosed with PTSD, complex trauma, and others. I am more aware of everyone’s possible underlying motives and I find it hard to trust. My newly opened eyes have shown me that everyone that I’ve worked with over the last three jobs I have had in this time have all been very unsafe and unwanted by me so I don’t make meaningful connections at work,so i’m a bit of a loner at work. My dad has dementia and we make eachother upset because I need reality to be right and for him, reality is moment to moment and our realities don’t agree. I am working on my part of our new relationship so I can have some connection with my dad. Dementia is the worst disease!

I have emotional scars – some show up at odd moments. I’m still struggling with what I do with the memories of the 9 years I shared with him. Because I enjoyed what I did and where I went with him. But also looking at the memorabilia I got from those adventures still brings up the realization that at the same time he was lying and cheating and purposefully deceiving me. I can’t stand to be around certain people at work because they reflect my ex and it’s made things awkward. Sometimes I get angry at how low of an opinion of me he truly had. Sometimes I get angry at myself for choosing so poorly, when I had much better options in partners at the time. I have dated again, but it’s hard to find a good partner these days. All the good ones are already taken!
And I have spiritual scars because I used to be very optimistic and friendly and amazing and wonderful. And I’m just not that way anymore. I feel a bit be down. I have channeled it into animal rescue to an extent, but I’m just not that person I used to be. And I miss her

Leedy
Leedy
5 months ago
Reply to  Innocencelost

Innocencelost, I resonate with EVERYTHING you say, including the part about missing the person I was before I was betrayed (by two husbands in turn–talk about anger at oneself “for choosing so poorly”!). I really hope time brings each of us some experience of renewal. In the meantime, a big hug to you.

Mehitable
Mehitable
5 months ago

My scar from many years ago was the inability to form relationships with other men as I was just stuck in fear and longing and feeling unworthy for probably nearly 15 years after it ended. It took a long time to get that level of trust back and I think for many people that’s the biggest scar because it really keeps you frozen in time. It can be hard to overcome. My cheater just up and left without a word or explanation and I had no discussion or warning or ability to prepare. It broke me for a long time. But eventually I recovered to the extent I was able to seek out and find someone else and we’ve been together – with problems – for nearly 25 years, but it keeps getting better now. It’s important to be open to change for yourself and to persevere and that you DO deserve it and you CAN have it.

thrive
thrive
5 months ago

Great letter! My first thought was do I qualify as an old timer…6 yrs out? About a year ago I found myself actually laughing at some of the antics that I pulled during the great discard (dumping all his top shelf booze especially a bottle OW gave to him and dumping his viagra in the toilet and leaving the bottle out for OW to see). I’m sure I have trust issues but I’m not looking for another partner. The idea of coupling at this age (72) doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t really want to be intimate with a man. It would be great if that would change because I really did enjoy sex, but Meeting an unencumbered single man at this point seems nonexistent. So maybe that’s a scar. But I’m OK with that scar. What’s left for me that I would really like to get over is a feeling of resentment towards my ex. When I see him at family events, he literally makes me nauseated. And I prefer not to feel that way. I feel like I clam up; I can’t be joyful and spontaneous with friends and family when he’s there. Not sure how to get over that so maybe that’s my scar. I just don’t like him. Hugs to the newbies, and to all of us at CN. This experience has been enlightening. I guess I needed to learn some lessons, and the only way that God could think to teach me, was to hit me over the head with a 2×4, but that’s OK. moving on!

thrive
thrive
5 months ago

Just read through the posts..great posts. Love to see the growth and success of amazing Chumps. Good for us! Go CN! Thanks CL!

luckychump
luckychump
5 months ago

My scars are many. FW is dead, and while trying to find the money I thought we had, I found a huge amount of emails and photographs detailing decades of BDSM affairs with men and women. Alternate identity, extravagant lifestyle, many, many lies told over decades. Most of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I doubt I’ll ever be able to date, I’m 64, but I feel no sexual interest in men my age. There is no joy or happiness in my life. As a matter of fact I’m sure I’ll die alone. It’s sobering. Innocuous pictures of someone’s hand or body part on the internet trigger me, and my first thought is it is FW’s dick again. I am consumed by hate and self doubt. I feel faint and dizzy all the time. I am unable to do much. I feel ineffectual, and exhausted. My house is a mess. I can’t sleep, but I can’t get up and get things done. It’s hard to focus on anything.
I used to do more by 10am than most people do in one day. Now, I spend my days trying to wrap my head around what he did and why. I know the “why” is because he wanted to and I let him get away with so much by being trusting and naive.
I tried counseling, but she was pretty useless. I find most people don’t want to listen to the ugliness I need to speak about. It is pretty telling that people on this site are talking about betrayals that were 5, 10 15, 20 years ago as if they happened just a few months ago.
I call myself “Luckychump” because he’s dead. I know I’d have been homicidal if he was still alive. I don’t know how you other chumps deal with your FWs on a daily basis. You all deserve accolades for not killing them.

Magnolia
Magnolia
5 months ago
Reply to  luckychump

Hi luckychump,

You don’t say how long ago your DDay was. But it doesn’t matter, necessarily, if the wounds are not yet healed enough to be called scars. If you feel the way you describe, easily triggered, tired, foggy, maybe your body hasn’t been able to process the trauma or an older trauma has been stirred up by this experience and you’re maxed out.

Counselling can be such a crapshoot. I’ve gone to many, and many have been useless, and I felt exactly as you say: that no one, including these weak counselors, wanted to hear the ugliness of the memories swimming around in my consciousness. The past couple of years of somatic work, and a therapist who does brainspotting, have been helpful in getting to feel the feelings in a way that they finally get moving.

I hope you find your way out of the dizziness and self-hate. The exact same life can look and feel very different, i.e. peaceful, even happy, when your body isn’t on high alert.

luckychump
luckychump
5 months ago
Reply to  Magnolia

Thank you, and you are absolutely correct. He died April 26, 2023, D day would have been in May, 2023. Everything you say about time changing our perspective is true. Thank you for all your thoughts, I’ll research brainspotting.

OHFFS
OHFFS
5 months ago
Reply to  luckychump

I suspect you may be clinically depressed, love. Consult your doctor and consider giving Welbutrin a try. The SSRIs tend to make you tired, but Welbutrin gives you energy and motivation. I’ve been on it for eight years. I hope you get the help you need.

luckychump
luckychump
5 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Thank you. Very kind of you to mention it.

20th Century Chump
20th Century Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  luckychump

I second CurlyChump’s suggestion to not give up on therapy! Finding the right therapist can be a process, but it can make a real difference when you find the right one for you. Your FW stole too much of your life, and you deserve to feel peace and come into your own.

One thing that helped me pull out of my post-cheater depression was to adopt a “fake it till you make it” strategy. I continued to do things that previously gave me joy (doing things with friends, going to plays and concerts, etc.) even though I was too depressed to feel any joy at that point in my life. Little by little, like a black and white movie turning to color, the joy seeped back in.

Also try to eat well, try to exercise (start with small expectations), try to develop good sleep habits. (Best to do the latter without medication and its side effects–try cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.) And try mindfulness meditation (there are some good apps for that, and I imagine there are some decent podcasts), which can help you gain calm and an ability to deflect intrusive negative thoughts.

I know this likely sounds like a lot when you’re depressed (been there), so start with one thing, maybe the mindfulness meditation, then add a second thing, etc. Baby steps can bring you back to a place where you can cherish your one precious life.

Hugs to you! You deserve to come into your own.

luckychump
luckychump
5 months ago

Thank you for your thoughts and your kindness. Exercise and meditation are great suggestions.

Leedy
Leedy
5 months ago
Reply to  luckychump

Luckychump, my heart goes out to you. What a massive, traumatic experience of discovery you’ve been through. If I may, two things that have helped me to get some good leverage against my own tendency to feel “ineffectual and exhausted” in the wake of betrayal are therapy (and it can take some looking to find the right person) and antidepressants. The antidepressants in particular have an effect for me that is like night and day. I’m still not happy–I’ve only been legally separated for a few months–but the antidepressants greatly reduce the feelings of helplessness and worthlessness that have flooded in since D-Day. Good luck to you.

luckychump
luckychump
5 months ago
Reply to  Leedy

Thank you, I appreciate the excellent suggestion of antidepressants and it’s great to know they really can help. It occurred to me I sound really depressed after I read my own letter.

20th Century Chump
20th Century Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Leedy

Yes, I know many people who have been helped by antidepressants and therapy with a good therapist. We don’t hesitate to get treatment for a broken limb or a severe infection–it’s equally valid to get treated for the kind of emotional trauma, anxiety, and depression that are the result of being involved with a FW.

luckychump
luckychump
5 months ago

Thank you, you are exactly right, thank you for your kind response.

Last edited 5 months ago by luckychump
CurlyChump
CurlyChump
5 months ago
Reply to  luckychump

Lucky, I will say, don’t give up on therapy just yet. It took me a few tries to find the right one, but once I did, it was such a huge help.
Keep coming here to vent your experience if you need to. Write it out in a journal. Even if it’s the same thing over and over again sometimes.
I found kickboxing classes to be super helpful in providing a physical release for the anger. Being able to hit somebody’s mitts, because I couldn’t hit my ex probably saved my sanity. Sometimes followed up by a primal scream in the car. You’ve got to release that stress somehow, or it will eat you alive.

luckychump
luckychump
5 months ago
Reply to  CurlyChump

I did write a letter on reddit, and you are right, it helps tremendously to organise your thoughts and keep track of ideas as they arise. Writing my letter and Chumplady are the only two things that saved my sanity. Awesome idea of something like kickboxing, it would not have occurred to me. Thank you for mentioning it.

HappilyDivorced
HappilyDivorced
5 months ago

I registered for this site so long ago that I had to re-register, but the new name fits better anyway. It was the fall of 2012 when the ex and I went to marriage counseling for a few sessions, and I found this site somewhere during that period. The brief stint in marriage counseling was my final ultimatum to the ex after several years of discovering one emotional affair after another. LOL…”emotional affair.” A positive HPV test was the only confirmation of a physical affair that I ever got, detected after I already told him we were divorcing. I’ll never forgot you posting about EAs, saying something like, “adults don’t just play footsie, they have sex.” That is one of the many pieces of wisdom you’ve provided that truly helped me at the time. And I continue to rely on your wisdom to this day, always trying to challenge the prevailing infidelity tropes as they pop up. I have learned so much from you and all of the generous people in this community. Thank you.

Two thoughts for anyone who is newer to the club: first, I was so filled with shame when my marriage imploded and I knew it would all become public knowledge. I’m happy to say that you, Chumplady, had a major role in helping me reframe my thoughts. It took time to sink in, but I know now, unequivocally, that it was never *my* shame.

Second, back during that final-implosion-of-marriage time, I was so deeply sad and ashamed, and at one of my lowest moments I was sitting on my bed when the ex walked in. Choking out sobs, I told him that I felt so unloveable that I just wanted a hole to open up and swallow me. I felt like my entire self was completely stripped bare in that moment of admission. Ex stayed standing across the room, puffed up his chest and said, “See? I know *I’m* loveable. I know *I* have love to give.” And he walked out. It took about a year before a realized it was actually the opposite: I am the one that is loveable. I am the one that has love to give. It was all the reading here that helped me get to that point, and I’ve never doubted it again.

FooledAgain
FooledAgain
5 months ago

Wow, he sure sounds super-loveable. Prince Effing Charming. Isn’t it amazing – once you see who they really are, you can’t believe you ever gave them the time of day.

susie lee
susie lee
5 months ago

I had never heard of “emotional affair” until CL which was years after my Dday. I wonder if the cheaters manual was updated to give the cheaters an out if they got caught.

SandyFeet
SandyFeet
5 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

EA s grew by leaps and bounds with the popularity of Facebook and high speed internet. So many contacting their high school or college loves. Then they became physical cheaters as soon as possible.

FW just went for the low hanging fruit at work.

KattheBat
KattheBat
5 months ago

Had this conversation yesterday with my friend, who is getting married tomorrow. At her bachelorette party, we were sitting next to each other and talking about where we are vs. where we were with our exes. How mine had no boundaries (we took a sip of wine and said “Fuck him” to that one.) And how we both remember the day she finally dumped her terrible ex (he had been treating her like trash for the better part of 6 years and I remember the moment she texted me saying she couldn’t take it anymore and I said “Girl…do it.” She ended the relationship that very moment.

We talked about how he tried to get her back by stalking her, trying to spread rumors about her new boyfriend in a group chat (which he forgot she was part of…) and even sent his mom after her (block!) He got a new girlfriend and we’re pretty sure he did that in an attempt to make my friend jealous. Didn’t work. We hope she eventually wised up and left him. We both had a laugh and sai she should come join us on the other side.
“Come to the other side! WE DON’T CARE.”

And it’s true. The other side of pain is meh. WE DON’T CARE anymore. We are both in better places. She is getting married tomorrow, I am two months away from graduating nursing school and I will be starting a new job and moving in with my boyfriend.

Do I have scars? Sure. I had PTSD from a particularly nasty and abusive relationship. I still sometimes panic at unanswered text messages and the silent treatment is torture to me. But my boyfriend doesn’t do that to me so it’s been a long time since I have had a panic attack.

And my exes? I do not care what they’re doing. I don’t know what my ex husband is up to because I haven’t spoken to him for years. We have been divorced longer than we were together. I haven’t spoken to my abuser since 2016. My friend hasn’t spoken to her creepy ex in…I don’ t know how many years but a while.

Really. Come to the other side! WE DON’T CARE!

Last edited 5 months ago by KattheBat
Rumblekitty
Rumblekitty
5 months ago

Let’s see, after my D-Day, I had initially happened upon the place that promoted the 180. I know I told somebody there that behaving that way was not only impossible, as I was feeling like an exposed nerve, it was also really shitty advice. I was a chump, but I wasn’t an idiot. Then somehow my searches led me here and it was a total lifesaver. I remember printing out some articles for my therapist, who loved the site by the way. That was 2014?

I remarried another chump who I had went to high-school eons ago. I moved 1,000 miles away and basically started over. I know I’ve reached meh because I’ve forgotten the exact date of my D-day. Just had our 8 anniversary and so far so good. It’s not rainbows and sparkles all the time, but at least I don’t have to look over my shoulder and worry he’s cheating on me.

I’m 57 now. If something happens and I’m betrayed again, I won’t curl up and die. I feel like I’ve been through the worst with that, so if it happens again, fine. Gives me more time to crochet and play video games. Life is too short to let anyone tear you down.

Bruno
Bruno
5 months ago

DDay 2001, divorced 2002. FW was a Jesus Cheater that went to AP’s church the morning after their sexcapades in a cheap motel. 25 year marriage and two sons that turned 18 during or shortly after the divorce. So NC was not too hard to accomplish outside of college graduations, weddings and now grand children. I do not mind being in the room with her, but I do not engage.
I remarried in 2004, and left the intensity of Silicon Valley for the beauty of the Napa Valley a year later. We led DivorceCare groups for six years in two different churches until we became disillusioned with how divorce, reconciliation and remarriage was treated by dominant Evangelical church. Highly patriarchal and pushing reconciliation as the greatest good. I then discovered DM (Divorce Minister) and through him the ChumpLady blog and book. CL has been huge in reconsidering my experience as a chump. Thanks CL and CL Nation!

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
5 months ago

I’ve been divorced 3.5 years, separated 4.5. Not all the way on the “other side” so to speak, as I’m still parallel parenting a child w/FW ex. I regret agreeing to 50/50 custody. At the time, I thought I was doing what was best for my daughter. I hadn’t found CL yet. Now, I wish I had just agreed to every other weekend. My attorney has advised me that it’s very difficult to change that around here unless there is a dramatic change in circumstances. I document what I can, but just do my best to sane parent when I get my parenting time.

My biggest scar is worrying how all of this will affect my daughter (8) though. FW quickly remarried to “Just a Wife.” I hate that that is her example of a loving relationship. Just a Wife is a big-time wife-appliance.

I’ve dabbled in dating. I guess the upside is that I’ve really learned to think about what my boundaries are, and I’m proud of myself for walking away from red-flags and boundary stompers. It’s slim pickings out there though… finding a man that’s not an entitled mess, who doesn’t look like a potato, with a custody schedule that works with mine? That feels like a unicorn. I am often so busy, I don’t feel like I have the time to date, and take many, many long breaks from that scene.

Getting some time for hobbies and focusing on myself when I’m not focused on my daughter is nice though. Slowly making new connections with people that share more of my values and interests (a lot of local friends were Switzerland friends).

Things are definitely looking up, even if they look different than what I had hoped for once upon a time.

Last edited 5 months ago by CurlyChump
Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
5 months ago
Reply to  CurlyChump

As to dating, we’re out there across the fruited plain looking for our unicorn too. It’s slim pickings for males too, a lot of people just refuse to work on themselves because that is difficult, easier to date and continue the cycles of damage to others.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
5 months ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

Josh, I don’t doubt that the decent men out there have their problems in the dating world too. I only spoke of my experience as a divorced mom, because well, that’s what I know. Not trying to imply that the male chumps don’t have the difficulties on their end either. Hope you find your unicorn.

Elsie_
Elsie_
5 months ago

Sure I have scars. I had a formal diagnosis of PTSD and C-PTSD because of all I went through. My attorney said my divorce was “memorable and unprecedented” in his forty plus years of practice. He told me at signing that I might hear from him again if he wrote his book, and the judge signed off the day after he retired.

I found CL during closeout when I was attending an online group through my attorney’s firm, led by their in-house therapist. She mentioned it. I was finding it really hard to process what exactly I went through, not knowing anyone who had been through anything like I had. Then the pandemic hit, and I did a huge amount of reading and watching YouTube while building my business (online instructional design, how timely). I used that business to pay off my bills and buy a house.

Now I’m semi-retired and loving life. I’m on the leadership of a twelve-step group with many side groups, and I’m busy with that, crafts, and this-and-that. I’ve found that my experiences mean a lot to locals in similar situations, and I’m thankful every day for the legal team I chose. They were efficient and effective.

I wear my scars proudly!

kokichi
kokichi
5 months ago

I don’t know how else to say this, but the scar I just found today is that I felt happy for the first time since at least 2017. Yes, I have had moments where I laughed and I’ve enjoyed things, but this was the first time that happiness felt attainable and sustainable instead of like a far off reality. And it was the smallest, most random thing that triggered it…

Long story, but it was my appliance repair dude that cause such joy. Who knew that a broken range could spark joy! But I think that is the lesson from all of this pain. I have learned to LOOK for joy, even when things are not going well. I think that is the wonderful thing about chumps. We are kind, caring people. And now that I have gotten The X’s negative energy out of my life, I am attracting more and more positive, kind people and it feels wonderful.

And the appliance guy’s kindness means even more to me because he has a crazy ex-wife that has withheld his three-year old son from him for the last three months. (I don’t know if he is a chump.) But, we have been comparing notes and supporting each other since 2020 and it feels wonderful to be able to pay forward the scars and burdens to bless others.

Orlando
Orlando
5 months ago
Reply to  kokichi

Just be cautionary with anyone that describes their ex “as crazy”. If we know anything here, fuckwit bad behaviour can cause chumps to lash out in “reactionary abuse” & then fuckwits label them as crazy. Whenever someone labels their ex as crazy, it’s a red flag to take note of.

kokichi
kokichi
5 months ago
Reply to  Orlando

I appreciate your caution. To better clarify, I am the one labeling the ex-wife as crazy. He has only said that she tried to go “scorched earth” during their divorce, similar to The X. He has also used the term “red flags,” so he has some of the lingo for being a chump, or at least Cluster B informed. As proof, his ex-wife is currently demanding a $10,000 child evaluation, when the court only requested a $1,500 report, and she also wants three years of his financials, when they are already divorced (meaning she wants to spy if he is dating). She refuses to use the court ordered parenting app and insists that all communication be through their lawyers, even though she is claiming to be unemployed. When they try to get her to use the parenting app, she always has an excuse to not use it. She was letting him see their son until their son reached an age where the parenting agreement resulted in a decrease in her receiving as much child support… Pretty easy to do the math on that one.

This man is a total sweetheart and has proven that over three years of our commiserating about the losers we got tricked into marrying. Further, his 18 year old son is no contact/gray rock with his mother. (Yes, my warranted appliances were an all new line that came out right before COVID and have had continuous issues due to being “smart” and “energy efficient” and “good for the environment…” I see this man at all of the neighbor’s houses and pass him on the road all of the time! Meaning, we have spent quite a bit of time in dialog over this whole mess.)

Bruno
Bruno
5 months ago
Reply to  Orlando

Yellow flag.
I had a diagnosed crazy XW who ended up being subject to a restraining order because of domestic violence. I appreciate what you are saying, but it is not a hard and fast rule.

OHFFS
OHFFS
5 months ago
Reply to  kokichi

I had a similar experience with a plumber. He was just so kind and respectful (not to mention handsome!) that it made me hopeful that good people are out there. I’m not dating, but it’s still nice to know there could be dateable people around, just in case I change my mind.

DrChump
DrChump
5 months ago

Thank you for the letter and CL’s great response.

zmichelle
zmichelle
5 months ago

11 years out from d-day, 7 from divorce.
I moved 200 miles away, and started a career that has skyrocketed. I sit on several nonprofit boards, rebuilt my social life, and have traveled all over the country by myself. I finished college at age 54 and am now in grad school. I landed in a toxic relationship for several years after my divorce, and it was so hard to get out. But I’m out, and am one year into a calm, reasonable, authentic relationship with an old friend who is now widowed. Oh, and ex-hub married the OW, and my grandkids call her “grandma.” Do I love it? No. Does it impact my life? Also no.

Meh

Anne1684
Anne1684
5 months ago

Married 28 years, he left me for a 28 year old (not a typo) 4 years ago, divorced since March 2022, I’ve had a few drinks so here goes…

I haven’t dated not because I can’t but because I want to learn how to truly happy alone first. I’m 57. I’m financially struggling but that’s because I was a sahm for 15 years (stupid). I rent, have gotten a few raises but life is expensive now. I kicked my son (23 years old) out a few months ago because he’s too much like his father, makes more money than me and I’m over it. He lives with my FW, the AP and her 12 year old son. Have fun with that. Lol

It’s just me and my girls now (21 and 18). My house is all girly and I’m happy. Not because I’m buzzed but because he truly sucked. Im glad he’s gone.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds but for today I’m smiling. Chin up to all the new people here. It gets so much better I promise

Anne

Menage a Chump
Menage a Chump
5 months ago

My letter was answered, on Nov. 2, 2020. Odd that I even saw this new post. The email notification of a new post came into my inbox… my main inbox. Which never happens (it goes into my bulk emails folder). I guess it was a sign that I should read the post and make an update? I stopped following the blog a couple years ago.Emotionally, I just needed to do my best to stop reading and talking about affairs. I quit social all social media around the same time, and I found it emotionally freeing. (I’d been on facebook since 2004, so quitting was a big change for me). I have no desire to relive my 2020, and don’t even want to go back and read my original letter. I just don’t want to read and relive that hurt.

Therapy and anxiety/depression meds got me through the last few years. Lots and lots of therapy. Including EMDR. I am more confident than I was when married. I am less anxious. I am able to make my own decisions. I decide what I want to spend my money on.

I was a stay at home mom when I discovered the affair; ex had said a couple years prior that he didn’t want me to work because we had more time to travel. (I worked full-time, in social work, before moving across the country for ex’s job. This is when ex said he didn’t want me to work anymore). A couple months before I discovered the affair, when I was loving life volunteering at our kids’ school and for various social service agencies, ex told me he wanted me to work full-time again. (Clearly, after I discovered his affair I knew why he was pushing me to work). I worked as a teacher’s assistant for two years (which was a good transition into single mom life), and now am a certified special education teacher. Which I LOVE. It was something I had considered in passing when married, but never pursued because I already had a career. Well, getting divorced while jobless really pushes you to make changes. I’m excelling in my new career, and am thrilled.

I still have not tried dating. Ex was my first and only boyfriend (we met at 18 and were together for 20 years; married for 16 of those). The thought of dating terrifies me. And right now I am focusing on taking care of myself, taking care of my kids, and making sure I am successful in my new career. I don’t want to add on more stress by dating also.

Ex and AP are still together. And will be getting married next year (although, they’ve lived all together for a few years now). They bought a house together right after our divorce was finalized and live in the same area. Well, I say “they” bought a house. But she doesn’t work. (Remember how I said he didn’t want me to work because he wanted to travel? I guess it’s the same with her). Ex puts work, AP, and vacations before our kids. Ex can work from anywhere, and being a part-time dad is probably his dream. He will try to change parenting time sometimes, saying he has to “work,” but my friends tell me that he is posting on social media that he is in Europe or on a cruise. When this happens I am guessing her kids are with their dad, and it’s the perfect time for him to get another stamp in his passport. (My friends tell me that it seems like he is going somewhere at least monthly). She does not attend my kids’ events (instead choosing to do things with her kids), but ex drags my kids to her kids’ events and won’t listen to them when they say they don’t want to go. (Most of them are old enough to stay home). When they bicker (like siblings do), my kids say ex takes the side of her kids. Our kids get yelled at and punished by my ex, but nothing happens with her kids. Her kids will even taunt my kids and tell them that they’re going to tell their dad something (that isn’t true), just to get my kids into trouble.

I’m finally to a point where I don’t actively fantasize about ex and AP dying in fiery plane crashes. This might be the closest thing to “forgiveness” that I’ll ever get.

One of my kids went through a major medical issue last year; they were in the hospital for three weeks and had two major surgeries. That really could be a whole post in itself. Navigating a medical emergency is hard, navigating it with an ex is harder, navigating it with an ex’s new spouse/partner is really hard. But navigating it when the partner was your former best friend who had an affair with your (now ex) husband? When that AP won’t let you talk to your ex alone, because she thinks you are trying to get your husband back? (When really you just don’t want to see her at all, and want to talk to him in private?) It was a horribly stressful and emotional experience.

This post is crazy long, so if you read this whole thing, congratulations. I don’t even know if CL will see it.

Menage a Chump
Menage a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Menage a Chump

Well, after I made this long post, I re-read CL’s blog post. I thought she had asked “where are they” (as in where is the ex and/or affair partner) but now realize it said “what are they” (meaning, what are your scars). It’s late. Way past my bedtime. I should’ve read the blog post slower. 🤦🏽‍♀️ I thought I was odd that she wanted to know how or what they’re doing. I guy was it just shows that one of my scars is that they still live in my head? And a scar that I don’t want to be around her at all?

never broken up
never broken up
5 months ago

I may not win the trophy for doing things the Chump Lady way, but I never would have found my path—a path I’m pretty happy overall with—without your guidance. For now I’m still married, having apparently won the pick me dance by refusing to dance at all—not that I haven’t been invited!

After hearing back from Chump Lady in September 2021, I opened my own separate bank account and started making smart decisions about the future. I consulted attorneys and soon realized a settlement for me wasn’t going to be that great, especially if I filed right away. So I figured out a path forward for myself. In short order I landed an exceptionally good job that has me living internationally (making divorce and custody issues much more complicated). Despite my complete lack of dancing, my partner has been desperate to stay with me, and has started a dance of his own. He’s actually become a better partner in many ways than he was before.

Your first and most important words to me were to “set boundaries.” And I have! I’m a decent human being to him. But I don’t change for him, I don’t help him out of messes he makes for himself. He finally started his own therapy and is growing slowly as a person. He has somewhat improved his relationships with our kids. I occasionally throw him a bone by attending a session or two of couples counseling with him. But I do not ever subscribe to ideas from the RIC.

I still predict that we’ll part ways in the future, and it will probably be when he realizes that I really actually am not ever going to change for him. But in the meantime I have graduated two more kids from school, built up a good cushion of savings, and I have real hope that even when that day comes, we can part amicably and honestly. It’s okay if that doesn’t happen, but I’m proud of myself for behaving ethically and for hopefully making everyone in the family better off for my decisions.

I am deeply grateful that you said the hard things to me, helped me see the gaslighting, gave me permission to want what I want for a change, and set me on a path that isn’t reliant on anyone else’s cooperation. Thank you!

thelongrun
thelongrun
5 months ago

I’ve been coming to chumplady.com since late 2017, about six months after D-day. I sent an email to Tracey through the site, because I was questioning what the fuck the FW XW had done to our family and me by exit-affairing me w/her rich, older, forty years married boss and she emailed me right back telling me the FW XW was an idiot. Tracey was the first person outside my small circle of support to validate my feelings of utter betrayal by the FW XW.

She was also the only person that was offering another saner, more logical and (IMHO) more honest view of what awful people these cheaters are, and how best to respond to their scummy behavior. And not in an effort to exact revenge, though that’s always so tempting and all too human a reaction to this type of treachery. No, it was how to best return some peace and sanity to your life after being traumatized by this abuse to yourself and your family.

I will always love her for providing such a simple, straightforward, yet unconventional take on infidelity and how best to respond to it. It matched up very well w/my sentiments and character, and it seems to have done that for a lot of people here.

As for scars? Yeah, I’ve got them. I’m sure we all do. I hope that for most of us, they’re badges of courage at this point. We suffered greatly, from an unjust act of abuse by a purported loved one, and we survived, and hopefully thrived.

My scars are evident in my reluctance to jump into a relationship In a care-free manner anymore. I haven’t dated yet because the dating scene nowadays feels ridiculous, especially at my age. Online dating, to a then newly-chumped forty nine year old as well as a now fifty five year old introvert seems to be a joke.

If you’re not tall and/or have a full head of hair anymore, it seems unlikely anyone you might feel attracted to will be attracted to you. It’s worse in the small state I live in, because there’s such a smaller pool of women, and most of them seem scarred as well, except by men (at least some of my divorced male friends here feel the same).

I empathize w/these women, but it doesn’t do much for anyone’s love life when none of them are willing to actually even meet you just to see if there’s any possible spark between you.

So, I’ve basically come to the decision that if anything’s going to happen romantically for me, it’s going to be w/someone I meet IRL, not online. And though I’d prefer someone my own age, I’m not limiting myself to only that group. I figure that if I meet someone that I click w/, age is only a number. Obviously, they’d have to feel the same.

And if nothing comes my way romantically, I’m ok w/that, too. I remind myself that any life is better without a lying, cheating, back-stabbing, fuckwit, so-called partner in your life.

The best thing to come out of this whole mess is that I’ve shown myself (and hopefully others) that I can survive and somewhat thrive on my own. I now view things in a much more glass is half-full manner. And that makes such a difference in life, I feel. My mantra is, “look on the bright side! It could always be worse!” I also have embraced that I can’t control anyone else. It’s hard enough to control my own life, but that’s what I’m trying to do.

As a final note, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Chumpalooza. You guys have given me a lot of wisdom and validation over the years. It’ll be nice to put some faces to usernames!😁 Safe travels, everyone.

madkatie63
madkatie63
5 months ago

I’m late to the game on this because it’s Monday, but I’m adding this anyway. You did answer my letter 5 years ago when my ex wanted to bring his affair partner (now wife and baby mama) to our daughter’s music performance at school. He had asked me what night I was attending so he could “bring a date” the second night. I always went to both nights of their performances and wasn’t planning to give up one so he’d feel comfortable with her. I had fired off a nasty response, which you chastised explaining I needed to go “no contact”. But you gave a scathing and entertaining analysis of his request. I came here often and commented those first few years and was reminded of you today because a newsletter from you randomly landed in my inbox.

My kids are grown now and in college. FW is still living overseas with schmoopie and their now 4 year old daughter, along with her son (part-time) from the husband she was cheating on with mine. My kids tell me they get deja vu watching them together because he is now treating her the same way they remember him treating me, with a tone of bored dismissal. I haven’t managed to find love again. I dated someone for a year, but he was single because he had never been married (I was 58 and he was 59 when we first started dating) and it was clear after awhile he was still single because he couldn’t commit to anything. So I broke it off, although we’re still friends. I just turned 60 and I’ve tried dating apps, but it’s hard to find someone that doesn’t want a much younger woman, isn’t just too different from me, or isn’t a perpetual bachelor afraid of commitment. I’m not sure I’ll ever have intimacy again. Maybe I will. But I have a vibrant network of friends and activities and I am less alone now than I was with the FW.

Last edited 5 months ago by madkatie63
madkatie63
madkatie63
5 months ago

My comment was posted and then I corrected a typographical error and now it’s being flagged as spam.

madkatie63
madkatie63
5 months ago

I’m going to try this again since I posted my comment and then it got flagged as spam. I was a daily follower, CL, and you answered my letter nearly 5 years ago. The letter was regarding a text exchange with my ex, in which he asked me which of my daughter’s two music performances I was attending because he wanted to bring a “date” with him. I knew he meant his mistress and I always went to both performances and I wasn’t going to give one up for his comfort. I fired off a nasty response and you gently chastised the response (recommending no comment) and gave a brilliantly biting analysis of his request. I came here often back then and was reminded when I received a chumplady email today. I logged back in, and had recovery my password it had been so long. Then I saw this particular thread from Friday.

Where am I now? My kids are grown and doing fine. FW is living overseas with schmoopie, married with a new kid. And part time, they have the son from the husband she cheated on with mine. My kids say they get deja vu watching him treat her the way he did me-with bored indifference and see her get frustrated and angry with him. I dated someone for about a year but he was too non-committal. I’ve tried dating apps, but men are mostly looking for younger women. I just turned 60. Or they are just perpetual bachelors. It’s hard to find love at 60. But I have a wonderful network of friends, lots of activities and am better off single than I was with FW. Let’s see if this doesn’t get flagged as spam this time.

okupin
okupin
5 months ago

DDay 4.5 years ago, been divorced and NC 4 years:

This was interesting to think about. I’m definitely a different person after being chumped and discarded (all in one weekend TYVM) but I wouldn’t say I’m scarred. If anything, it’s the opposite–I feel like I’m a lot more open in the relationships I have but at the same time a lot wiser about choosing those relationships.

For the first couple of years, dating sounded horrible and I wanted nothing to do with men. But as I recovered from the trauma and abuse–both in my 18-year marriage and in the discard phase–those reactions dissipated. I still haven’t dated, and honestly I’m not sure if I will again–but not for any negative reasons. I love my life. I have authentic relationships with my friends and family. And being at a different phase of my life and with a much more realistic idea of what an intimate relationship can do for and to me, I’m just don’t need that right now. To put it another way: a potential dating or marriage partner would have to bring a lot of value added for me to judge that relationship worth the loss of independence and time, the compromise, etc.

But this judgment doesn’t come with any fear or disrespect of men. On the contrary, I think it reflects a much more mature idea on my part of how much work and sacrifice a good intimate relationship requires. So for now, I’m choosing independence, but it feels like a healthy choice, not the result of scarring from my marriage and discard. In fact, I would say that the discard and divorce broke up a lot of scar tissue left over from my marriage and FOO issues…. Emotionally, I think I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, thanks to God and a good therapist. I’m certainly the happiest I’ve ever been.

uniballer1965
uniballer1965
5 months ago

It’s been 20 years since my ex-wife had her affair and I gave it a shot at reconciling.

That 20 years has offered some clarity.

Let me walk the tight rope here, and let’s say this up front, I don’t own any part of her choosing to have an affair. She was a grown ass woman who should have been able to use her words if she wasn’t happy.

What I do own are my actions regarding the relationship. Big difference, but not all who read this are willing or able to understand.

Some, like my former pastor will ask questions like, “What did you do to force her to have an affair?” – Nothing, she has free will and made that decision all on her own. No force or coercion was applied by me. She has agency and instead of using it in an ethical fashion to partner with me to create the sort of relationship she wanted, she remained silent, walls up and then secretly chose to have an affair.

So I don’t own her choice to have an affair.

I do own my choice to pick her as my wife.

I do own not ending the relationship a few years before her affair.

I don’t really have any contact with her, but her most recent boyfriend ended up in the news due to the crazy way he died. I won’t go into details, but it was an interesting story where he was missing and later found dead. No foul play, just poor choices on his part. (Imagine that.)

My wife pointed out the story when this happened in January. I supposed I’d eventually find out as our daughter would have shared with me.

Anyway, it got me thinking and not always in a good way. So, back to therapy for a bit of a tune up. Didn’t want to obsess, wonder “what if” and so on. Healthy thoughts, living in the present and not allowing the past to come back and haunt me.

But that also means an honest look at the past.

One thing that came to mind during therapy was a day about five years into the marriage where I was unhappy that we spent little to no time together. I’d quit my traveling job because she wanted me to be home. Yet, a year into being home didn’t have us any closer.

So I asked, “What do you need from me to set aside an hour a day to reconnect?”

I left it vague, I didn’t define connect, and had she said an hour is too much, that would have been more feedback than I’d received in months or years.

Instead of an answer, I got the deer in the headlights look. I suggested she think about it and come back to me the next day with an answer.

Of course, like many times before, the promised answer never came.

My mistake was to brush it off, make excuses for her and to simply be more patient and wait.

Wrong play.

What I should have done was to say “This isn’t working for me, things change or we end this.”

But I didn’t. I was too focused on keeping my vows and we had a kid that was 3 at the time, etc.

So, I withdrew, jumped into hobbies and so on. I’d always invite her, but other than that, not really trying.

I think today it would be called quiet quitting.

I think the only other meaningful conversation we had after that was sometime in late 2002 or early 2003 when I said she would either have to return to work (she was a SAHM) or spend less.

She returned to work and ultimately met the OM and it became apparent something was wrong in the fall of 2003. By Thanksgiving, I had details on the affair, etc.

I say this because I’ve learned and had my own growth.

I speak up more if I’m not happy. Not in a child like tantrum way. But rather, I’m able to say, “This isn’t working for me” when things are not working. Of course, it helps that my wife of 16 years can use her words and is willing to both listen and speak.

I recall a time about 5 years ago where I’d just finished an on-call rotation at work, so a 60 hour work week. I was WFH on Friday and got all sorts of stuff done while “working” from home. Dishes, several loads of laundry, vacuuming. Even mowed the lawn.

The next day was my mom’s birthday and we were going to have lunch with her and then go to my high school reunion that was near where mom lived. I was on a 50ish mile bicycle ride and called mom at the 1/2 way point while having a coffee and scone. Mom said she was not feeling well and wanted to postpone. Called my wife and told her and suggested we hit some sort of fall festival. Octoberfest or something of that sort. She agreed and I started the 25 mile / 90 minute ride home.

In that time, my bride decided she would start to pick up things off the tables, as most folks know flat surfaces collect items. I got home and showered and was ready to go to the festival.

Wifey got mad at me for not just jumping into what she was doing.

I gave her the list of things I’d done the day before, the rundown of my week and her reply was, “That stuff doesn’t count, you like to do some of those things.”

I’d never dropped an f-bomb in the entire time we’d been married, so when I said, “That’s fucked up, the stuff needed to be done and I did it, so it counts.”

To her credit, she recognized that what she said was pretty fucked up. She owned it.

What this the point of this long tale? It’s an example of my growth. The younger, more immature me would have said, “Yes dear…”

Instead, I called out how fucked up her statement was. I didn’t attack her. I was merely critical of what she just said.

I still get reminders of the old marriage. One would have to have their head in the sand not to.

But what I see today is a cautionary tale and one of personal growth.

I choose better today.

I’m not AS afraid to say difficult things.

I seldom attack people, trying to attack bad ideas, problems, etc.

I’m not as afraid to say “This isn’t working for me.”

I might not have learned those lessons if I hadn’t had to go through the pain, suffering and ultimately the growth and healing from the experience with my ex-wife.

I don’t think I’ve arrived by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve made progress on the journey when I look back to me and how things were 20 years ago in 2003.