Chapter 1

The Wallowing Days of Yore: Finish Your Wallow

and Move On

It started one day with this niggling female intuition. Something was different, but what? Perhaps his behavior? His air of distraction ? Sometimes it was a new book, a new cologne, or a new short-term expensive interest—like his sudden taste for fancy Australian red wines when he had always been a microbrewery kinda guy. Just when I thought that I had him figured out, he would swerve in a new direction. The changes were so frequent that I felt like I was being whiplashed. Busy with life and work, I put those thoughts out of my mind for the moment. Some days, though, I just could not shake the feeling that something had really changed, although I had no idea what. After weeks of this sinking feeling, I did some late-night soul searching and started checking out things around the house.

His phone was locked. Never did that before.

Started to lock his briefcase. Never did that before, either.

Then I found this weird female body lotion that my grandmother used in his medicine cabinet. I did not remember seeing him buy that, but it explained his odd new smell. What in the world was going on?

I checked out his checkbook and found visits to a so-called yoga studio that also offered “erotic massage.” He wouldn’t know a downward-facing dog if it bit him, so what in creation was he doing there? When I asked him about visiting there he vehemently denied it. Looked straight at me—and lied. Never blinked. Just told me a bald-faced lie and didn’t even want to know why I would ask such a question.

And then one night I found the receipt. No, two of them: a credit card receipt from restaurant where I knew that we never dined at and two ticket receipts to a play that I had always wanted to see. Tried to sleep that night, but to no avail. Went down to the kitchen to our brand new breakfast set at about 6 a.m., where he was calmly drinking his morning coffee, and got the true confession.

It felt like someone had “sucker punched” me in the stomach. It hurt to move, to function, to eat. All I did was cry and shake my head, asking why? When a student at school asked me, “Why do you look so sad? You were always so funny!” I knew I had to do something. I needed to take some decisive action.

Strangely enough, I had just recently read the statistics about couples and cheating: 90 percent do not get back together after it’s exposed. So, after weeks of soul searching, I decided that I would become part of the 90 percent and get on with my life. That was the most difficult, painful, gut-wrenching decision of my life. Yet I had finally had enough with the self-recrimination and decided to get even. It was time to move on.

But first, I knew I had to stop wallowing in self-pity. Too much weeping and wailing would drive anyone crazy and I did not want to go that route. I tried a variety of first steps and strategies that I’ll fill you in on as we go along. Eventually, I decided that the best way to get even—big-time—was to share my story and those of my friends in a book. I would detail the lives of women recovering from their own wallows and living their lives to the max.

We can all learn from each other—and did I ever learn a lot!