Exactly 3 years ago today I was huddled in a closet wondering why this wasn’t a thing.  Why more people didn’t huddle in closets.  That’s where my sisters found me several hours after the fella ran away from home.  He literally ran away from home, like a child, or a caged bird, or a 6′ 3″ doucheyishbag.  (at the time I would have referred to him as a douchebag, but now … meh … whatever, doucheyish is fine)  He tells people he’s 6′ 4″ for some reason which is a lie, by the way.  He’s 6′ 3″.  So, basically a munchkin pygmy.

He left, I broke down, and immediately made my closet floor my new best friend.   I walked straight in there, shut the door and laid down for what I assumed would be the next 4 years or so.  I should mention it isn’t really a walk in closet, let alone a lay down closet. More the kind of closet you’d find in a house where you’d say “Oh my GOD, this is all the closet space there is??” and then you’d storm out of the open house and complain to your realtor.

My sisters got wind that after 11 years, the fella had gone on permanent walkabout so they rushed over to see if I was O.K.  Me?  O.K?  Yup.  I’m good. I’m in a closet.  Why people reserved this sort of indulgence for natural disasters and World Wars was beyond me.  Huddling in a closet was GREAT.

Thinking back on it I feel kind of bad for my sisters, opening the closet door to see me on the tile floor with the imprint of a knock-off Chanel bootie on my forehead.

For some reason this really alarmed them.

I’m not sure why because I know for a fact they both own closets and have both been in their own closets.  I was just being in mine a little bit longer than normal.  Plus I was on the ground. Plus the door was closed.  Plus my hair was all crazy messy from rubbing against the sleeves of a velvet jacket I had in there.  Also,  I may have wrapped a tunic from the late 1990’s around part of my head like a turban for some reason.  I liked it in there. It was great. There was no sound and no light.  My own private sensory deprivation chamber. Perfect. In 4 years time I’d reemerge, with luxuriously long hair, beautifully pale skin and no memory of whats-his-name.

I was really excited about this plan because for the life of me I couldn’t see a single flaw with it.

So why they insisted I get out of the closet I still don’t know.  At first they tried to drag me out which I can tell you right now I was not impressed with.  They weren’t successful of course, because the piles of shoes surrounding me were acting like speed bumps plus my hair was a little bit velcroed to the velvet jacket.  But they didn’t give up. They really wanted me out. Suddenly laying in the closet with my tunic/turban amongst a pile of wire hangers with shoe prints on my face seemed almost humiliating.  I mean,  just moments before I was thinking I could maybe market my closet chamber, for long term financial gain if I could just get one of the Shark Tank people involved. And now my sisters were acting like it was crazy.  Like I was crazy.  They were getting seriously close to being on my doucheyishbag list.

Then the one sister yelled at the other sister for trying to drag me out of the closet and they started sort of windmill slapping at each other, at which point I burrowed deeper into the shoes.




I eventually came out just to shut them up.  Plus my one sister had brought yogurt and honey because she figured I might need sustenance.  Having your spouse up and leave without warning immediately makes people around you think you’ll no longer be able to feed yourself beyond eating your own hair. So they bring food, the same way they would if there was a death in the family.  It was a sudden and surprising “death” at that by the way.  Where you have no warning and aren’t expecting to be hurt at all.  Like a heart attack, or being trampled to death by a herd of kittens.

I was out of the closet, I ate yogurt and honey, and I reluctantly took my super-cool, protective turban off.  They still weren’t happy. They wouldn’t leave.  I asked them to please leave.  I begged them to leave. I just wanted to be alone with my shoes, my snotty face  and my super-plausible Shark Tank fantasy.  I guess they thought GO AWAY  was “just-been-dumped code” for please don’t leave, because instead of packing up their stuff and heading out the door they started cleaning my house. Everything. All of it.  Like Molly Maids with a never-ending supply of tee shirt rags, wood polish and cocaine.

My sensory deprivation chamber was now replaced with the sound of ripping paper towels and my one sister screaming at the fella on the phone from downstairs.  Which I liked of course.  She was giving him shit. His life would be shit, he treated me like shit, he was just a big pile of 6’3″ shit.  That part was awesome.

But once she was done yelling at him, it was back to the sounds of the Windex bottle and squeaking on glass.  I was up in my bedroom, wondering how to spin the phrase “My sisters are cleaning my house against my will.”  into “I think I’m the victim of a very dangerous home invasion, OMG ARE THOSE GUNSHOTS?!!!” for the fine folks at 911, when I heard nothing.  Silence.

They were gone.



WHIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.  Nope. No they weren’t.  They were just looking for the vacuum. I hated my sisters and wished them ill.

Of course now, 3 years later I know they were just worried about me and wanted to make sure I was O.K.  I mean they went about it in completely the wrong way. What they should have done was taken one look at my awesome closet sensory/deprivation chamber, called a patent lawyer and secured a really cool domain name.  I’d make millions, get a genuinely 6’4″ French boyfriend who, in some type of heroic act had tragically lost all appendages that would allow him to ever run away and I would live happilyish ever after.   But they didn’t.  They dragged and cooked and cleaned with all those squeezy bottles under my sink which I now realize I should have re-labelled  when I refilled them all with plant fungus killer 2 years earlier.

Like it wasn’t enough I’d been dumped, now if I died of a broken heart in my sleep no one would be saying “Oh how tragic, what a love story, look how beautiful she looks even with a flip flop on her head“. They’d say, “Geez, no wonder he left. Have you see how smudgy her windows are?”  The best I could hope for was that someone would notice there was no fungus on them.

So to everyone who has gone through, is going through, might go through a major breakup.  Don’t worry. In a few years, probably even less, you too will come out of the closet completely and totally gay (as in happy).

Honestly. You’ll be happy.  Probably even happier than before.

I for one can tell you with all honestly that I’m 100% happier than a pygmy in shit.








  1. Darlene says:

    Odd you write this – I was thinking about you yesterday, wondering how you were doing?

    I guess I just remember how sad you were at that time.
    I am very happy you are BETTER!!!

  2. Jenifer says:

    The Closet Chamber is pure genius! Instead, I wrapped myself in homemade Mac and Cheese and red wine for a year. Yogurt as comfort food?? If only. :)

  3. Rose says:

    I remember when that happened and how hard it was reading about it, can’t imagine living through it. The Fella and you seemed to match up so perfectly. Part of the shocking brutality was that he left so suddenly, for no apparent reason. Samuel Beckett wrote, “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” You went on in high style and so glad you made it to the other side!

    • Karen says:

      We were perfectly matched Rose. :) I’m sure he’d tell you the same. In fact I know he would. But yes. I went on. And I will never go backwards. ;) ~ karen!

  4. Chavella Thomas says:

    After I lost 210 pounds (him) years ago, I vowed to live to be 115 years old. I will be murdered by a jealous lover and my boyfriend will be so upset, he will have to drop out of college. We knew you would make it. You had better keep an eye on that french boyfriend, I’ll be around a long time. :-)

  5. Ellen says:

    It’s a short story and was a short marriage (what was I thinking?). I very happily moved out. Friend said “someday it will just be a blip on your radar screen”. Years pass and I’m having dinner in some restaurant….a guy grabs me and says “give me a hug”. I back away, look at him and say in my head “omg that’s what’s his name”. I COULD NOT remember his name!!!

    As the years pass, I am happier and happier, and for the life of me do not know why men and women hook up. My pendulum swung from thinking I need someone to WHY? WHAT FOR?.

    • Linda in Illinois says:

      I agree with you Ellen, Why do I need a man who I have to clean up after like he is three years old.. and What for?? I could find no good reason to believe I wouldn’t be better off without that stupid lazy idiot who only wanted a mother figure. I hurt when he left but was joyfully happy when it was done. When he showed up again months later to get his “stuff” i said there was none of his “stuff” here any longer, I burnt it all on a lovely summer night sitting under the stars with nature and God by my side… lol Priceless

      • Kim from Milwaukee says:

        ‘Burnt it all on a lovely summer night’….that’s beautiful, Linda! Would have loved to see his face when you said that!

  6. marilyn says:

    wow…i almost feel bad for being married to the most wonderful man for 34 years and being ridiculously happy! he makes me feel cherished and loved every day..things happen for a reason..it was part of your journey Karen and look where you are now.better than ever! even with a flip flop on your head.lol xo

  7. Angel says:

    As someone that has been teetering on separating for the last year, this brought tears to my eyes. And hope. That whatever happens, I will be ok. Thank you for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Just think. If you’d bit the bullet and separated a year ago you’d be through much of the pain already. If it needs to be done, it needs to be done. No matter when it happens it’ll be awful, but at least it will be over and done with. :/ ~ karen!

      • Sandra says:

        So, so true. I kept “hanging on”, and all I did was have a couple more kids to “hang on” for. What a waste of time.

  8. danni says:

    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I won’t even indulge myself by listing all the bad luck stories, all that matters is that I am strong and happy and not depending on anyone else to make me so. When you have to work so hard to find the light at the end of the tunnel, you earn the right to just sit in your hammock and get a tan!

    • kari says:

      love this: When you have to work so hard to find the light at the end of the tunnel, you earn the right to just sit in your hammock and get a tan!

  9. I loved this post. For some strange reason it made me think of the Velveteen Rabbit.
    “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
    ― Margery Williams
    You are real….and beautiful.
    And for the millionth time I wished I wasn’t an only child.
    Happy Monday.

  10. Eileen says:

    Cocooning in a closet sounds like a very reasonable thing to do under those circumstances. You have certainly come out the other side of that nightmare with Mr. 6’3″. Good for you.

  11. Ronda says:

    My own personal d-bag left for someone else more than 20 years ago, leaving me with two kids that we were to “share” responsibility for. Needless to say, the bulk of the sharing was my responsibility. And when you have two little ones to take care of, the only thing you CAN do is to pick up the pieces and soldier on. Ex moved to the far side of the country … not quite far enough according to my family! But now, 20 years later, one kid has his HBA, the other is in her last year of college, and life is good. The best revenge is living well.

  12. Maura says:

    Hi Karen,
    I will print your post, tape it to my bathroom mirror and read it every day until I also have made it through.
    I am glad you are better and thank you for being there!

  13. Lush says:

    Hi Karen
    I am so glad to hear you made it through to the other side. It gives me hope.
    I am nearly 12 months on from getting back to the UK after travelling to Australia for my Mother’s funeral & my partner of 6 years telling me that he was in love with our business partner but wanted us both, then dumping me 3 days before my birthday.
    Here I am in the UK, a long way from family, friends & my former life. I moved here because we were carving a new life for ourselves. The business was part of the plan. Did I mention that we are still in business together & I get to see them almost every. freaking. day!
    It really helps to hear that others have hung on & made it through.
    They have finally realised that we need to sell the business, so bring on a buyer!!

    • Karen says:

      Sell the business, pack your bags, and move back home to start new. In fact, if you have the money maybe you can buy the business from him, move it back to Australia and continue on with it on your own or with a new partner. :) Good luck. You’ll get through it. ~karen!

  14. Gail Dedrick says:

    Congratulations, Karen. You successfully figured out that the staying angry part is what impedes your happiness. Many folks wrap themselves in that like a blanket. Letting go of that takes time, though. I’m proud of you.

  15. Anna says:

    My ex was 6’3″ and told everyone he was 6’4″ too. Why? At that height, is the extra inch really all that impressive? Were you bullied by a gang of guys who really were 6’4″ in your childhood? I don’t get it. But of course, that was the tip of the iceberg-of-things-I-don’t-get-about-the-ex…

  16. Sandra Lea says:

    It happened to me too, husband left after 29 years of marriage and at the time you think there is no way you will get through it but you do, it does get better. I’m just sorry I wasted so much time with him in the first place. And what is it about men that they always seem to add an extra inch to their height? Thanks for sharing your story, while it is happening you think you are so alone and that it’s never happened to anyone but you. By the way, yogurt and honey is one of my favorite things.

  17. Alex says:

    Three years ago, out of the blue, I suddenly thought, “I wonder what happened to that girl who used to be on TVO? I LOVED her monologues. What was her name? ” So I Googled (stalked) you until I found you – just as you were “retiring” heartbroken from the blog for a while. You were just like a wounded animal. My heart went out to you and I wrote to you at that time to tell you to hang in.

    AND then you were back, firing on all cylinders and better than ever. Yay for the will to live. Ya Boo Sucks to the Silly Fella.

    • Karen says:

      Well, now you get my monologues in written format with hand drawn pictures, lol. Basically the same thing as television only I don’t have to brush my hair. ~ karen!

  18. Miriam Mc Nally says:

    I too thought of your amazing pizza oven, and all the super things you’ve done since he left.
    I love the closet picture, and think your idea of closet sensory deprivation sounds fairly perfect in the circumstances.
    But I thank your sisters for saving you, and being there for you.

    Rock on Karen, you are amazing!

  19. Cathy says:

    and now you have an awesome pizza oven, a new kitchen with toasty floors, a non leaking toilet and your books and… a life. You have a funny wonderful, ups-n-downs life. You chose to go on and are the better for it.
    But your closet is always there should you need it. Oh, and your sisters too.

  20. Linda-Leigh says:

    I stumbled across your blog looking for “can’t remember what” and have been loving it ever since.

    I too had a 6′ 3″ F $#@tard dump me 3 years ago so I know your feelings all too well. My sisters didn’t clean so much as get me drunk. Very drunk. However I am happy to report that I am happier too now. It really was for the best.

    Happy to hear that you’re doing fantastically well and am looking forward to your future posts. Thank you for being an inspiration.


  21. It’s ok that I love you, right? Rhetorical. I know it is.


  22. Annarica says:

    Although, that being said, I see how much I have changed and how little I care for public opinion any more. In fact, I am well on my way to bring the crazy old chick in the corner house who feeds hundreds of wild birds every day, has a weird routine including saluting the sun and collecting white bird feathers every day and guards her privacy like a rabid T-Rex! And, fools are no longer welcome or tolerated. My single space is sacred now.

  23. Annarica says:

    Oh I empathise! My closet was too shoe-full to take me, my three Yorkies and Flappa my pet pigeon on a leash, so I moved to under the bed. It was so great that it was an antique cast iron bed and so it was high, if it had been a more modern bed – who knows? Congratulations on surviving the emerging from the cocoon of double-ness and so glad that you also feel that singleness is a welcome state, not one to be dreaded. Big hugs! Annarica

  24. Trish says:

    Jeff, this is a good time to stay quiet.

    • Auntiepatch says:


    • Karen says:

      That made me laugh. A genuine donkey laugh! ~ karen

    • Jeffrey Mathews says:


      There is an old Louisiana folk wisdom that you might find of some interest to the effect that until the coon and the coon hound learn to talk or read and write, the only version of the coon hunt that any of us have is the hunters’.

      I may be entirely wrong but after reading your comment and the attendant Greek Chorus, I looked for the N/B (Nota Bene-Please Note) asking that all comments reflect an intensely subjective and blogger supportive point of view.

      It is still entirely possible that I have missed that request and if I have, I should gladly stand corrected.

      But in the event that there was and is no such request by the blogger, I do believe that I am permitted a very polite question regarding the authors’ intent.

      Graciously permit me to rephrase for all of you gentle women:

      If the situation were reversed, how would the author have wished the inevitable breakup to have occurred? What should he and what could he have done or refrained from doing that would have obviated the closet experience?

      Secondly, if one admits that one no longer has those kinds of feelings for the once cherished other; is the duty then to simply remain out of a sense of prior obligation or spiritual debt?

      As for myself, I never met anyone that I thought that I could go the distance with. Given the “till death do us part” long mutual suicide that my own parents called a marriage, I could hardly have had a good perspective on the institution. Even after several decades of their passing, I recall both of them with the utmost loathing and did not attend my Mothers’ Funeral.

      I should also like to add that my niece, AnneHarper that I raised (long story) is graduating Harvard in two weeks. I must have done something right.

      Might I direct your attention to the prefatory first chapter in Evelyn Waugh’s novel “Brideshead Revisited” in which the narrator, Charles Ryder compares his loss of love for the British Army in which he is a company commander waiting for D-Day, with the loss of love of a beloved wife. I think he captures the horror and sense of loss than most men feel when they discover that their deepest love for the thing they love is slowly dying and that they are helpless to arrest or reverse that loss.

      That is of course if you will graciously permit the coon or the coon hound to speak in your august assembly…

      • Jackie says:

        Get over yourself, Jeffrey.

        • Jeffrey Mathews says:

          As I am a gentleman, it is ever my duty and my pleasure to insist that the ladies always go first.

          Kindly lead the way if you please.

        • Katrina says:

          Why am I picturing, “Jeffery” looking and talking like Dr. Jody Kimball-Kinney on the Mindy Project?

        • Jackie says:

          I don’t know who Dr. Jody is but Jeffery comes across like a big Wuss & probably needs to find a different blog. He needs to keep his nosy ass questions to himself. He seems to be much too delicate to belong here.

        • Jeffrey Mathews says:

          As it happens Ma’am. I lost my left hand when my platoon was overrun in October 1971 ten months into my second tour with the 101st Airborne.

          I’ve been called many things in my life but neither ungentlemanly or a wuss were ever on that list.

          It strikes me that you have no personal experience of the men of old Southern families. And it must be admitted that I certainly have no experiences with women of such sensibilities as yours.

        • Jeffrey Mathews says:

          I must beg your indulgence as I have never seen the TV show. My niece likes it though and I shall bring this to her attention when I venture north of the Mason Dixon line to see her graduate in two weeks.

          If this is any help, she refers to me as her “crazy Confederate cat uncle.” And all because my favorite Tee Shirt has a picture of charging Confederate Cavalry with the words: “Every time a Yankee dies choking on his own blood, another angel gets his wings.”

          As William Faulkner put it so beautifully: “ In the real South, the dead past is not dead. It isn’t even the past.” Or as my niece would put it: “Oh God uncle. I can’t take you anywhere without you embarrassing me!”

        • Karen says:

          I have the feeling Jeffrey, that most of what you’ve written today stems from your own lost love. The law. :) ~ karen!

        • Jackie says:

          Oh – Poor Jeffrey, I hurt your feelings – maybe you should stay down south where the women swoon & drink mint juleps & where you all still fight the Civil War over & over again waiting for a different outcome. I’m sorry you were injured fighting in a war but that doesn’t mean you can come on here & ask nosy questions. Karen shares enough of her life with us – you don’t have to ask for details. I can’t believe that you not only loath your parents but that you would post that on here – plus the fact that you did not attend your own mother’s funeral. Now that’s just sad.

  25. mia pratt says:

    Yer a rock start, honey! Way too much class and style to be hinged for life to that coward.

  26. Grammy says:

    I’m glad you didn’t tell us about the closet incident back when you first let us know that he’d taken a hike. There would have been a whole bunch of women from several continents streaming into your little corner of the world to help your sisters take care of you, and your house would never have recovered from the onslaught. It’s what females of our species do. I don’t think it’s possible to live past about the age of 30 without having had the same kind of experience, either as the stricken one or the rescuer (or both in turns), so everyone relates to the tale.

    I have two sisters, too, and none of us will tell anyone else about how the others look all snot-nosed and with eyes that have cried so long that they seem permanently swollen and red. So people like you tell on themselves and draw graphic pictures of just exactly how bad it was. It was bad, Kid. And now it’s not. Because that’s how it works.

    Not caring about whether he suffers or not is the best indication that you are healed and whole. And we, your readers, win. Please tell you sisters “Thank you,” from the rest of us.

  27. Liz says:

    Thanks for sharing Karin and glad you made it out to the other side. You’ve got guts.
    I mean, you have chickens, you build EVERYTHING yourself and you can cook. Life is good :-)

  28. Bev says:

    I know it probably felt like your world had melted into a pool of nothing. But actually… It could have been worse Karen…

    I heard of a woman who discovered her ‘closet’ in Kmart. She climbed into the middle of the wracks of clothing and sat down and cried and cried and was there nearly two hours before someone heard her sniffling and alerted security. At which point no one dragged her out, she had to climb out on her own, with a red face and snot on her chin and try not to feel completely mortified by the crowd that had gathered to see what was going on and who the guard was talking to so condescendingly. Only your sisters shuddered at your hair style. Not a whole mall…

    Life, men, even Roosters can be complete arseholes on occasion. I’m so glad you feel better, happy and still killing it – and you are. You are an inspiration to a lot of people. And thank you, for coming out of that closet, even though you didn’t want to. You are loved. xxx

  29. Laura Bee says:

    So happy you are happy. So happy to know we can survive heartbreak. A few douchebags had passed through my life (none for longer than 10 months) before my love came along.
    One dumped me just before my birthday, another just before I thought he was going to propose & two cheated with an ex-girlfriend & got them pregnant. The first I dumped & the second left me for her without saying goodbye even.
    18 years now with my bf & there are days my old insecurities get the better of me & I wonder when he will leave. I hate those days.

  30. Cynthia Jones says:

    It’s how he did it Jeffrey, not that we know details. We don’t.

    What happened to him? I think he might have disappeared up how own butt, cos that’s what I wished he would do.

    Then I hope he got involved with a tyre-slashing, unmedicated bunny boiler disguised as highly sexual, perfectly manicured and aloof.

    • Jennifer says:

      I just happen to be going through these comments and by far the funniest description of that type we all know…

  31. TucsonPatty says:

    Another thought after reading the comments so far. Karen, you are my hero! You are so brave to put your life out here for us, and I hope you do realize that you show us every day that indeed – “…It ain’t that hard…” You are a very awesome woman and show us all the strength you have which you put forth three years ago. Doucheyish pigmy indeed! P.S. I also love your drawing and wish I had all those shoes and flip flops.

  32. Jeffrey Mathews says:

    I realize as the presumptive enemy (I am a man), I am walking on eggshells here but I wonder if it would be acceptable if the “fella” made it clear that he was very unhappy with the relationship but would nevertheless stick it out as matter of loyalty to an idea of fidelity?

    Having been a family law attorney in Los Altos, California (now retired) I can attest to the effects of the breakup on both parties-even the one who initiates the breakup. I am simply not sure that a marriage can exist with just the external forms present without a real affection for the other. Sometimes, two people with the best of intentions and trying extremely hard simply cannot force feelings.

    The fact that the other party simply did not see it coming speaks volumes about the state of the real relationship. Would you have handled things any differently than he did if it had been you that felt the relationship was ending? Isn’t the important thing to realize that despite everything you did and he did, things just could not be worked out and part with sadness and with dignity?

    Might I enquire if you have any idea as to what happened to him?

    Very respectfully,

    Jeff M.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jeffrey! The point of the post isn’t tell let you all in on every single aspect of my personal life. It’s to share an experience. And to let others know (you’ll notice in the post I didn’t refer to men or women in terms of breakups) that if they go through a breakup they will be happy again. It’s not a man bashing post or even a fella bashing post. It’s just a post about getting through a breakup. ~ karen!

      • Jeffrey Mathews says:

        Ma’am: With your very gracious permission, I was trying to discover whether it was the act of leaving or the manner of the leaving that was the cause that left you “en dishabille” as it were?

  33. Laurie says:

    That’s just a very heartbreaking story. Life can really throw us a massive curve ball. It’s the worst when you love a person and you don’t see it coming. You’re all in and suddenly he isn’t. I really feel your pain. It’s what we all fear. You made it through and you sound better than ever. For that we are all grateful.

  34. Elaine says:

    PS: me again … I forgot to say I love your artwork!! Perfect!!

  35. Bridget Donzé says:

    Breaking up sucks. Sorry you had to go through that.

  36. Elaine says:

    Wow … I sure wasn’t expecting THIS on a warm fuzzy day such as Mother’s Day!! Oh Karen, I’m not sure even how to comment on this wrenching story but I guess, the best I can add right now is say first of all, I’m SO very sorry you went through such a painful, heartbreaking experience! Your humor isn’t hiding the pain you went through at all!! I picture you in that closet crying your eyes out! But secondly, how wonderfully lucky you were/are to have two such loving sisters in your life!! I’d practically give my right arm for a sister (and I’m right-handed too). I think my lame attempt at humor is to cheer myself up more than you as this story is SO sad. If there was support such as you had (from your sisters) available to someone I know, I think she’d be brave enough to leave an unhealthy situation but she’s too scared to move out! From what I see, a person can be lonelier in a bad marriage than living alone but it takes courage to go it alone and start afresh. The 6’3″ (maybe he wore shoe lifts and was a squat 6′) sounds like a real jerk (**) and you are better off without him. I promised myself I wouldn’t swear (**) on Mother’s Day but I’m swearing as I type this. A friend of mine (back in the 60’s) married a bad apple (we all knew it but she was nuts about him). She gave birth – two days later, he came to the hospital to say he was “checking out”!! Nice, eh? You are funny, extremely smart, very attractive, over-the-top capable and kind – you don’t need a guy to complete you …. ever!! If a Prince Charming shows up someday, great. If he doesn’t, that can be great too. Life can bring lots of bad knocks and I’ve had my share health-wise, etc. Can you imagine how that jerk (still not swearing!) would handle life’s serious challenges if they came your way down the road? You’re MUCH better off without him now – before he showed his true colors later on when life gets really tough! I’m sending a big hug! ?

  37. Kathleen says:

    It does knock the life out of you for a while.

    And then when you realise one day that you haven’t cried that day, you realise that you will survive this…

    and then one day you realise when you laugh spontaneously at something, that you are beginning to heal…

    and eventually you realise that you actually are truly happy. Then you know you have healed.

    Took me a long time to get there, but I too did it.

    Glad you are there too, Karen. *high five*

  38. Brandy Ballard says:

    I can so relate! My closet hiding came about just the right time to almost blow up my pursuit of my master’s degree. Thankfully I had understanding instructors and an adviser willing to go to bat for me and totally have my back and I was still able to graduate on time. Now I’m working on my doctoral degree and have been promoted at my job. He, on the other hand, has gone backwards at his….the small part of me revels in that. :)

  39. Ardith says:

    You’re awesome. Cheers, Ardith

  40. Tracy Egan says:

    Sometimes, I wonder… if we aren’t the same person.

  41. Paula says:

    You are a strong, confident woman and by permitting your vulnerability to ‘shine’ through you to help others. Of course you do it in a written, Karen’ish’ type of way :) Good for you, success.

  42. I would love to have sisters who clean. My sisters would have brought alcohol and junk food.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with alcohol and junk food.

    • Karen says:

      What I would have liked was a sedative, lol! Just 1 single, slow release sedative where I could wake up about a week later and start dealing with everything then. Nope. I got yogourt. ~ karen!

      • Andrea says:

        When I broke up, my best friend who is a dr told me to take dendritic. I did that first three days so I could sleep. After that I could handle the pain. More or less.

  43. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Think how many people, women and men, can’t wait for your posts, love you dearly and beyond, and have watched you become better than ever? I love the drawing, but I think your cute little sniffly nose really does set the tone for that drawing.

    I might want to try to save it….but I don’t know how to do that. Hmmmm, I can budget for a 12,000,000 engineering project and can’t save a photo from the web???? Oh well.

    • Karen says:

      You should just be able to drag the photo onto your desktop. Just drag ‘er on down. :) And thanks Kathy! ~ karen!

    • Bobbles says:

      If you’re on an iPhone, just click the power button and the home button at the same time. It will save it to your photos. Isn’t that clever? I just learned it yesterday!

  44. Kelli says:

    May that pygmy douchebag shrink embarrassingly forevermore (especially where it counts!), while you continue to grow and become cooler, funnier…stronger, better, faster…oh wait, that’s the $6 million man. But you get my drift.


    That is all.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kelli! But you know what. I don’t even wish him a miserable life anymore. I never did really. Takes too much energy. O.K. I wished it for a few weeks, but … that’s about it, lol. ~ karen!

      • Maureen Locke says:

        How do you do that?? My husband left after 20 years for a little girl in her early 20’s. He was 40. My son was 17. Just said he couldn’t take it anymore and walked out. End of story. After a painful year of waiting for him to come back I filed for divorce and moved home. A year later I met the love of my life who is more than anything you could want in a husband. Loving, supportive, easy going, tender AND does all the housework, except the bathrooms. However, as happy as I am, I can’t forgive the idiot. My best friend bought me a voodoo doll because I thought I needed one, but I haven’t got the heart to put a pin in it. I just wish I could let it go, but I can’t. Him and his wife are living out all our dreams and I hate it…. it eats away at me. My hubby now and I really don’t have any dreams except to retire someday. I still want all that stuff my ex is enjoying. It’s still my dream but not my hubby’s. We’ve been together 20 years, I’m very happy with my life and want for nothing, why can’t I get over this???? I don’t wish him death, but I don’t want him happy either. I’m pissed that he took my best years and just threw them away and now my hubby is left with an old woman who farts all the time. :( Boy, don’t I feel sorry for myself. Neway, I just wanted to know HOW did you get over it?? How did you let it go??

        • Maureen Locke says:

          PS… I sooo love your picture. Those eyes are so pain filled.

          PS.. I LOVE the picture. Those eyes just beg me to hug that little girl in the closet and take the pain away. I’m so glad you’re ok. xo

        • Karen says:

          Hi Maureen. I just figured it takes way more energy to be angry all the time. It’s life sucking. I didn’t consciously say I’m not going to hate him, it just seemed for me to be happy, I had to not care about him. Also I don’t go out of my way to find out what he’s doing and who he’s doing it with. That’s not helpful. You having a son makes that much harder to do! ~ karen

        • Maureen Locke says:

          Not just a son but three children who have spent their lives trying to please their father. So sad. Me, they come to for hugs and food lol. I wish I didn’t know what was going on in his life. It would be much easier. I’m soooo glad that you are at that place with Himself. I hope to some day be there. Thanks Karen. { Hugs }

        • Cheryl Smith-Bell says:

          Well first, you MUST forgive him. If you don’t, you are giving him control over you. Your forgiving him, does not mean you did wrong, or that he did right, it just means that what he does, no longer controls you.
          The Lord said we must forgive, for him to forgive us. You will never regret it, because it will set you free. Sounds simple, and it is, but I know it is still hard to do. Just don’t give up your life, for someone who was not worth it! sound to me like the new man is worth you being 100% with it with him.

        • Maureen Locke says:

          Cheryl, I’ve been praying for years for the ability to forgive him, but it just hasn’t happened… probably because I don’t want to. I pray for it almost daily…. help me Lord do this. I want this pain to go away and have prayed about it for 20 years but it’s still here.

        • Pam'a says:


          I went through something kind of similar, i.e, watching the dreams I had play out for someone else, and having a child who adored the guy. It’s soul-sucking and totally unfair. “Just forgive” doesn’t help at all. I’m not sure what will do it for you, but after twenty years, maybe you should seek some help with it. Time to lay that burden down– It would be the most elegant revenge you could take on him. You deserve that.

          p.s. Except maybe having the new wife go completely psycho and divorce him– All these years later, I now look like the GOOD ex. Heh.
          Best of luck to you. :)

        • Ann Brookens says:

          Maureen, it takes you deciding you are going to let it go. Decide it this minute and then focus on the good in your life. And then decide it again the next time you get hung up on him again. And the NEXT time. Eventually, you’ll stop worrying about his life and focus on your own. If you really want his stuff so much, maybe you should share with your husband how much you care about those things and figure out a way to get what you require to live a fulfilled life.
          My advice, though, is to not let things be more important people.
          Good luck, and God bless you.

        • Jac says:

          Maureen, I have to butt in here ’cause I was so in the same place. What got me going in a better direction was the realization that dwelling on the matter was hurting me. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it. And it is, really. No matter what I did or thought it wasn’t going to have any effect on him or the situation; I had to accept the fact that a part of my life had just simply ended and gone out of my control. I could NOT fix it. Kinda like a death. Exactly like a death. It can NOT be fixed. Once I accepted that, the only choice was how to deal with it. I could keep making myself unhappy by constantly thinking about it, or I could choose to move on. I bought a book called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. It changed my life. It has to do with figuring out WHY your inner self is making it hard for you to do what your logical self knows is obviously best. Then you beat the crap outta that inner self a few (dozen) times over some period of time and one day you realize you just really don’t care about that old, sad and depressing part of your previous life anymore – you have a new life that you’ve made for yourself, and you have too much to be grateful for to ruin any precious moments with ugly thoughts. That’s been 27 years ago and lines from that book still run through my head every day and help me to keep myself grateful and balanced. Who’s the boss of what runs through MY head, anyway? Damn sure I AM. :) Best of Luck, -Jac

        • SusanR says:

          First, my heart goes out to you. What you went through is very difficult, but as you said, you’ve now found the love of your life. It’s very difficult letting go of dreams, and there’s no reason you can’t take those dreams and make them yours again with the man you now love and who clearly loves you, or find new ones together. If there are financial considerations, the dreams can be trimmed down a bit, without losing them. I know this, because I went through something similar. For my ex it was a 19 year old. At the time it happened, I felt like I’d spent my life to that point preparing for the fairy tale ball, only to find not only wasn’t I going, someone else was going to be wearing the dress I’d made for it. It hurts. Deeply. To the core. What I did when I found it difficult to let go of the dreams, was when I found myself thinking of them, I’d take a deep breath, clench my fists, and then open my fists to full open hands, symbolically letting go. I also made a conscious decision to think of something else when I found myself dwelling in the past. It worked. And I’d also look at my new husband, thinking of how much his love has healed my heart, and recognize how lucky I was that MY personal idiot was no longer in my life, or else I wouldn’t have the love I now have. My new life is different, but I wouldn’t trade it for that old life for a moment. I’m absolutely certain I’m happier now than I ever would have been had my idiot NOT gone haywire. So get out that doll and stick a pin in it. Stick a hundred pins in it. Tear it to shreds. It’s a symbolic step towards healing and letting go. You CAN do it. You’re not letting go of something that’s real, you’re just letting go of some thoughts, in exchange for a better reality right now.

        • Penny says:

          Yours is the most helpful reply to Maureen by far. Well done for finding a strategy to ‘let it go’ and move on.
          They do say that the best revenge is a life lived well.

  45. Patty Martin says:

    I like my closet. I sit in there probably more often than I should. It gives off some nice vibes.

    • Karen says:

      Where the hell were all you closet loving people when my sisters were trying to drag me out of mine? ~ karen!

  46. Ter'e says:

    Girl – I don’t even know the douche bag, but I can tell you………he is nothing but a waste of energy. You are so much more better off now. Is that proper grammar???? Whatever.
    You keep being your precious self. Screw him.

  47. Amanda says:

    I love a good closet cry. I have a slightly larger closet but it’s also full of crap so I usually have to sit inside a suitcase but it’s quite cozy and you have so many options of what to wipe your tears with because it’s a closet!

  48. Kimberly says:

    My fella left after 30 years. For another woman. Divorce should be final any day now. I so know what you went through. I’m dealing with it one day at a time but it’s rough. But it does seem to get easier with every passing day. I hope you really are doing much better. It gives me hope that it will for me too. Sending love and good thoughts your way.

    • Karen says:

      I am! I’m great. It’s such a cliche, but he did me a favour. I’m genuinely and completely happy. Not content. Happy. I don’t feel sorry for myself, I’m not mad, I’m not … anything. I’m really just happy. And so will you be. ~ karen!

      • Barb says:

        What she said! He really did do me a big fat favour 4 years ago- I am stronger and happier and I have truly found out what I can do and it feels amazing. Sometimes scary, but amazing. I have a saying on my wall: “this is the part where you find out who you are” and it is so true! I found out who I am and I like me. I sold my wedding rings and had a new one made that says “fearless” on the inside, and vowed to try to live up to it. I have- people tell me I am brave and fearless, but really I am just doing the best I can to live how I want to live, and saying “yes” instead of “what if I can’t do it?” If that’s fearless, I’ll take it! Oh- and I have chickens now… is that a thing?

        • Karen says:

          Well if you know all about flystrike then being fearless is a prerequisite for having chickens, lol. :) ~ karen!

        • Barb says:

          Ugh. I hope I never have to deal with flystrike- I will be putting up flytraps everywhere!

        • louise Segsworth says:

          Hi – I would like to sell my rings but not alot of options in Kingston where I live. Would you mind sharing where you sold yours?

        • Barb says:

          A local jewellery store has estate jewellery. I had to sell the wedding rings to be melted down but the engagement ring went as a “dinner ring”.

        • J says:

          Louise, if you mean Kingston Ontario, I believe you have a jewellery store owned by Sonja Roe. I have never had anything made by her, but I hear she is good. And no, don’t sell them, the rings and your marriage are part of your story, get them made into something completely different, something that reflects who you are now, or who you want to be. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, or a caterpillar emerging as a butterfly .

      • wendy says:

        Glad you found your way out of the closet,life is so short.You deserve to
        be happy,free of negativity and drama.Stay strong.

    • Kelli says:

      Just *hugs* Kimberly. Just *hugs.* You will will survive. And be stronger.

    • Bobbles says:

      My hubby announced he wanted a divorce…on vacation…in Mexico…and thought the rest of the vaca could just continue, with us sharing a room and bed. It was final on our 30th anniversary. Kimberly, you’ll be fine but if you need anything, I’ll be here for you. Just drop me a comment or ask Karen to send you my contact info. It’s a hard situation to get through.

      • TucsonPatty says:

        Mine was 4 years ago tomorrow (the day after Mother’s Day) after 26 years, also for a new girlfriend. (I call her Brown Tooth Horsey Face.) I am happier than I have been for years and years. It was a gift and it was one of the hardest things ever. Kimberly, you will get past this, and sooner than you realize. I thought I might die for a while, but I’m truly happy now – not just simply surviving. Why these doucheyish bags think they need to do things like this is beyond me! Congratulations, Karen, for doing oh so much more than surviving, and to Kimberly and Bobbles and all the other gazillions of us out there – keep on keeping on!

        • Bobbles says:

          Patti, I delight in the knowledge that ex had to BUY a wife (Asian mail order bride) to get one with all my talents!

        • judy says:

          I wonder if men just are not as evolved as Women? I think they are constantly driven by the procreation gene, survival of the species-must make more of me cause sadly wonderful me ain’t going to last forever and a thing as fan-damn-tastic as I needs to live forever. They think ..with their bald heads and red convertibles.. that they are hot but its really all those dried up tadpoles in their nether regions screaming for eggs to pursue and conquer.

  49. sara says:

    That drawing of you in the shoe closet is by far the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on this site in the YEARS I’ve been reading your blogs.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Sara, I kindda like it too! I’m particularly proud of my eyes welling with tears, lol. :) ~ karen!

      • Bobbles says:

        Yes! I love that drawing, I feel very drawn to it!

        But seriously, from the first of your columns I read (the one where you were trying to take a totally necessary pic of him at night…but I can’t remember what it was a pic of, except him and I immediately thought “he just doesn’t understand or deserve anyone as good as Karen. Why doesn’t she realize that!”), I had the internal mother cry. You know, the one where your motherly instincts know but you can’t say anything.

        But it takes time. And shoes. And I’m happy and proud that you’ve come out the other side. But now I need to go look up that column. Congrats!

      • sara says:

        It was the red nose that got me. That, and the fact that it looks exactly like you- and honestly, exactly like me when I finished reading that post you wrote about this whole ordeal. Finally telling us his name after all those years of it being a secret made it seem so final! I don’t even know you and I was sobbing in my own closet over it!

        What I’m saying is that it’s not fair that you got the writing skills and the decorating skills and the organizing skills and the hosting skills AND NOW DRAWING SKILLS? I know your whole thing is “doing stuff,” but is there anything you can’t do?? Chin ups?

        • Mary W says:

          The saddest bit of literature I’ve ever read was the last line when you returned from summer hiatus – his name was Chris. Somehow, telling his name made me burst into tears since I knew without any shadow of doubt that once you said his name, it was over and you had to be totally empty-devastated. I sobbed out loud to no one. I hurt for you. And now, I’m thrilled that you can describe it in your normal funny way – even though it is so sad. You are truly gifted.

        • Karen says:

          Thanks Mary W. That’s me, leave them laughing or crying apparently, lol. ~ karen!

        • Ev Wilcox says:

          I had the same reaction when she told us his name, Mary W.
          Amazing how much you can love a friend without ever having met her, isn’t it?

        • Karen says:

          Well I presently have a torn rotator cuff so chin ups are definitely out. In fact I can’t really wave at the moment without looking like a giant weirdo so … there’s that. :) ~ karen!

        • Erin says:

          Gasp – what about the garden? Hope it heals soon!

        • 1. It’s so good that you’re really happy now – huzzah!

          2. Torn rotator cuff – ouch. I borked mine in November 2014 when I fell halfway down a mountain.

          I had almost no mobility in my left arm, and my partner had to help me wash, brush my hair, get dressed and undressed… almost everything. Even writing, stirring food, sewing, etc. was problematic (I’m a southpaw).

          I eventually went to see my doc at the beginning of February (’15), who sent me to the hospital for ultrasounds and x-rays (as well as giving me some super painkillers… wheee!).

          I was then given a cortisone injection – have you had one? It really helped. Not in an instant-miracle-cure way but it enabled me to do physio exercises, which meant that over the next few months I began to be able to dress myself. And do other stuff, such as de-Hagrid my hair.

          At the end of June last year, I was finally able to do my bra up myself, and put on a tee shirt unaided. It was very liberating!

          It’s now, I’d say, 99% healed but I do still have to be careful with it, and a few times when using resistance bands, I’ve felt it threaten to ‘go’ again. However, that aside, and apart from the occasional twinge, it’s all good.

          I really hope yours heals quicker than mine but do be prepared for it to take a while. And don’t push it!

          Sending you loads of anti-ouching thoughts.

        • Karen says:

          Hey Nicole! Yes, the bra thing is an issue, lol. Who knew you had to be so bendy in the shoulder to do one up. I do physical therapy and a LOT of proper exercise to build up the muscle around it and it’s getting better every day. It’ll be another few months before it’s right as rain but at least I can feel it improving. ~ karen! (had cortisone for an elbow problem years ago and LOVED it!!)

        • Good to hear your shoulder is on the mend!

      • GiGi says:

        And the red nose…..beyond awesomeness!! I truly get it.

      • Kimberly says:

        I absolutely love that picture. The eyes are perfect. I have two sisters that have really helped immeasurably and the best girlfriends anybody could ask for. Just can’t wait to be over it.

      • christine says:

        I also loved,loved,loved it.As in please blow that up and frame it in a big antique gilt frame and name it “I was too smart for him anyways and everybody else knew it” and hang it on that wall you are going to paint black.

        • Marti says:

          I’m guessing you can print those up and sell them for your next fundraising drive here on TADS.com, Karen. Depending on the price, I might sign up for one.

          Followed an etsy store selling your custom made art… how far behind can that be? You can name it “APgymyInShit.com” — say, I bet that domain name is still available!

      • Barbie says:

        I have to agree with Sara! ….especially the nose! What a great drawing! Made me want to cuss out the Fella along with your sister
        in fact!

  50. Alison says:

    Girl, I had a mini situation like that, and I’m here to double down on the closet idea. There’s something really nice about being tucked away behind your clothes, safe and sound, and so out of your element that you go catatonic. I’m so glad you’re kicking even more ass than before! Now Idris Elba will never be able to resist you!

    • cindy says:

      I wish I could GET INTO MY CLOSET. After supporting myself, going to college by living in a low income area and paying myself, and a couple of “duds or dudes” (ask me on the day for which generalization applies most) and supporting males in the work environment who literally are DISCOVERING the education as they go for what they were apparently trained to do (funded by parents or the military) – i.e., only had to do homework – this article cracked me up on a very bad day. And I am not a lesbian, nor bitch, nor do I ask to do more than my share in any department other than sex where I, of course, expect to do the most. Now, I do – well, I don’t do at all. Write it!!!

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