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Kids and the Affair Partner(s). The Unavoidable Shit Sandwich.

How do I protect my kids from my spouse’s affair partner(s)? How do I shield my kids deal from this new blended family that’s been inflicted on them? And…Hell, we’re not even divorced, and he’s introducing the kids to my replacement. What can I do?

I get these questions a lot. And I have the same head banging answer of disappointment — Nothing.

NOTHING?! Are you fucking kidding me?! I get cheated on, lied to, lose half of all my worldly possessions in a divorce AND THAT DOUCHEBAG AFFAIR PARTNER gets to be around my kids?

Uh huh. Yep.

Introducing the shit sandwich you can’t avoid — What Other People Do.

Once you are divorced, you don’t get to control what goes on at your ex-spouses’s house or how they parent. You don’t control who they date (even if they were dating that person while you were married). You don’t control how many fuckbuddies they cycle through each season. You don’t control how many of them get introduced over breakfast to your kids.

Yes, if you’re lucky, you can write into your divorce decree that your ex cannot have overnight visitors, or provisions around sleeping arrangements. I had a judge write this into a custody decree with my ex, and I didn’t even ask for it. The judge just had a thing about unmarried parents having sleep overs with paramours while having custodial time with children. So it’s there. Despite the fact that, in my particular case I don’t care. My ex has dated the same woman for 9 years and she’s the more competent adult between the two of them. He’s violated the order every summer vacation. And if I cared, you know what my options would be? To hire an expensive lawyer and try and hold him in contempt. Spend thousands for a hearing. To do what? Have a judge fine him? If I’m lucky pay my attorney’s fees? (that’s never happened to me, btw, in over a decade of being sued by a mentally ill pro se person). Tell him sternly not to do it again? Spend a life being the ex-spouse police and monitoring how he spends his evenings and with whom? Documenting it all and going to court?

By all means, while you are divorcing use evidence of the cheating and the introducing of affair partners as reasons for why you should have custody and decision making. Some judges care. But many do not. But once you have that divorce decree and that order — even if it has provisions for “visitors” — enforcing it is up to you. And that depends on how deep your pockets are.

Judges see a lot worse. They see horrific child abuse, addiction, unspeakable drama. Unless this person is a criminal or is putting the child in imminent danger, courts don’t care. You saying the person has crap morals and is a slutty home wrecker and should be kept from your kids makes you look like the batshit crazy person.

I know that is hideously unjust. Because what is the most precious thing to you? Your kids! It’s one thing to have your marriage broken up, your bedroom defiled, your finances decimated because of infidelity — but to touch your KIDS? Protecting them from hurt is primal. Clearly cheaters don’t think of this at all. And it pisses me off to no end that so many cheaters eat cake EXACTLY because they figure you would never put your children through a divorce. Which they’re quite happy to pin on YOU (which is why so many of them drag their feet, much better if you’re the Bad Guy).

And I’m sure a lot of “reconciliation” is undertaken with the express purpose of  folks being goddamned if they’ll let the Other Person touch their kids. Understandable, but wrong headed.

Children eat the biggest shit sandwich with infidelity. Their families are broken up by divorce, their allegiances confused — all we can do in response is be the best parent we can be. That’s all we get to control — ourselves.

And it’s a lot to ask of a chump — to be the sanest, most together, consistent parent after DDay. To not bad mouth the person who has just gutted us. To not try to protect your kids from the affair partner who aided and abetted in the destruction of their family. It’s a Herculean task of sanity. And yeah, it’s fucking unfair.

If you haven’t achieved “meh” about your ex, fake it around your kids. IMO, it’s okay to tell them why you’re divorcing (i.e., “mom cheated”) but not okay to editorialize (i.e., “because mom is a whore”). Shore them up the best you can. Get counseling for everyone. But when you feel yourself spiraling out of control, obsessing over your ex and the AP, put the focus back on yourself. How can I be a good role model? You really have an opportunity to show your kids what grace looks like in the face of adversity. How to navigate heartbreak. How to survive and thrive (but focus on survive right now, thrive will come later).

I know that’s not very satisfying. These are the days where you wish you had an uncle in the Russian Mafia or a lynch mob at your personal disposal. They pass. Take it on faith that your kids will figure it out in time. (Yeah TIME. Damn you Time!) They don’t have the life experience to get it, and they won’t for another 20 years or so.

Oh, and don’t let your kids jerk you around and do the humiliating dance of “pick me” with them either. Children have been known to exploit an opportunity to play one parent off the other. Your house, your rules. Be secure in your role as their parent. Don’t spoil them or let them get away with shit. Don’t go all soft and wobbly because you’re afraid they won’t love you. (If they’re teenagers, they don’t love you right now anyway.) You’ve still got a job to do — so do it!

Some day they’ll thank you for it. By then your ex will be on their 15th ex-affair partner probably. Life has a way of filling in the bigger picture so you don’t have to.

(((Hugs))) Chumps. Meanwhile, I know it sucks.

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  • This is true. There is nothing you can do to keep your ex from inserting the Ap into the kids lives EXCEPT you can tell the kids exactly who and what this new person is.
    Many, many times the cheaters seemt to try to pawn off this relationship as “new”, formed after seperation or divorce. Let the kids know that is not true. Thye need to protect themselves from these folks.
    In my case, I have three young daughters that were forced to endure the presence of a man who had no qualms about fucking a married mom of three for over a year behind her family’s back. My daughters absolutely needed to know what they were dealing with, an immoral predator with no integrity at all.

    • Arnold, how did they handle this? And how are they now? Are they close to their mother? What do they think about her (vile) choices?

      • Arnold, how did you tell your girls? What was your XW’s response when you did? I would feel so much better about the whole thing if the kids knew why I wanted nothing to do with Mrs. X (whom their father is, apparently, marrying soon). Right now, they think that I’m going to eventually meet her and that we’re going to be the best of friends; they are all younger than ten, so I’ve been careful about what I say. I don’t say much about it– the best I have been able to come up with are comments like, “I don’t know her. She’s a part of your dad’s new life, and I’m not a part of that, so we’re not going to meet.” It would probably make a hell of a lot more sense if I said, “Mrs. X and your dad starting dating while we were married, so I am not friends with her since I don’t think she’s made very good choices.”

        But how do I say that without things devolving into a war of words with my ex? The way he’s been acting, he’ll come to her defense and likely say terrible things about me. I don’t want to put my kids in the middle of that. They have enough on their plates to deal with.

        • Oh, I think it’s TOTALLY okay for your kids to know why you don’t want to have anything to do with Mrs. X. Not trying to get the courts to intercede on their relationship is a lot different than having to pretend to be kissy face friends with that asshole For The Sake of the Children.

          So YES say “Mrs. X and your dad starting dating while we were married, so I am not friends with her since I don’t think she’s made very good choices.” That’s MILD. KIND even. How about, I don’t think she’s a person of good morals. Or I was very hurt by her involvement in the breakup of my marriage. Or I don’t choose to associate with these people.

          It’s about respecting that your kids, yes, have to (and WANT to) associate with these people. But you sure as hell don’t have to. You control that! That’s one shit sandwich you DO NOT have to eat.

          • I just responded to my eldest, 7 at the time, informing me that “mom has a new boyfriend”. I told her, “no, she has been seeing John for over a year”.
            At 7, she looked at me and said “you mean mom was cheating?”(kid read at the college level in 3rd grade).
            I just told them the truth. No editorializing. Told them the guy was not to be trusted and to watch out.
            Thye HATED the guy. Affair relationship lasted about a year or so after that. By then, the teo cheaters were at each others throats.

            • Arnold…My thirteen year old daughter knows everything because she has been on mine and her dad’s phones and read text messages. She’s not stupid. And yes they are password protected phones…again…she’s not stupid. She knows what he has done and she feels bad because she likes the other women. She shuts down and won’t talk about it. All she wants to do is make everyone happy. Not good for a thirteen year old girl. My eight year old son just found out about two weeks ago. He was mentioning something and said her name. He looked at me horrified and I told him it was okay, I already knew. He asked why and I told him because she was the cause of our divorce (she wasn’t the only cause because it takes two). He looked at me with a confused look and said…but dad said they have only been dating for a few months. I didn’t lie to him and I told him that dad and this women have been dating for about four years. He looked and said…so he’s been cheating? They are smart. While I wish my kids hated their dad for what he has done, I have no clue what they are going through and can’t expect that to be the case. I hate this man which goes against my Christian upbringing. We were married for 15 years and were together for 19 years. He admitted to being “inappropriate” with several women that dates back to 12 years. Pretty sad. I just wonder when I stop crying? The divorce was final only five months ago and he takes our kids around her and her kids and they act like one big happy family. I’m not really sure how someone goes on and gets through this. It’s horrible…absolutely horrible. Did I mention that she is a Judge and Divorce Attorney, who was married to an attorney and my ex is in the Law Enforcement Field. Good stuff. I don’t get it and wish I knew what I did wrong. All I did was follow this man around to follow his dreams and now I have no family where I currently live. Absolutely devastating.

              • Broken,
                I feel your pain. My daughters are going to HER $5 million home, where my ex now lives, for Thanksgiving. They are older than yours, 19 and 21. His cheating blindsided me. I went around the world with him to support his career.
                I’m devastated. We’ve been divorced for four months. It kills me that my girls have decided to go across the country to spend Thanksgiving with them. Christmas with me. They know he cheated with her and lied repeatedly.
                I don’t get it.

              • Broken and gutted, a bit late here. but I am sorry about both your situations. I am in Law Enforcement, and my soon to be ex wife is now dating another cop (go figure). I spent my entire career ensuring I provided, coached my kids in soccer and still do, They are 13, 12, and 8. i pickup from school and take most of the days, I do all the shopping in the house, take to all soccer practices and games. I well over 85% of the stuff in the house. The other half has been dating a guy younger shes like 38 hes 28, never been married etc. I try to tell her it will not last. This guy is in it for one thing, He will want a family and you do not. It will not last. She has introduced the kids to him, yet we have not filed paper work yet. I was trying to do what was right remain separated (different rooms etc) and help her get on her feet. She is close to getting a decent job. I explained to her, get on your feet and ride off into the sunset and be happy. She just insist to remain defiant to all.

                The other issue i figured out is i’m 47 and shes 36..Big mistake..I wish i had made the choice to get someone who thought like some of you in here. I work hard, have a Masters Degree, teach at a university part time, and work full time in Law enforcement. There is much more, but i’m not trying to illicit

                Just wanted everyone to know the tide does turn around and it s the guy whose solid and female is a wreck.

                Thanks for listening

              • That touched me. I know it does seem that it’s mostly women upset over their cheating husbands on this blog, but that is not the only way it goes. I think you are doing way more than would ever be expected in your situation. I am very sorry you have been treated so poorly and insensitively. She is selfish and a cheater and a poor example for your children.
                You, however, seem to have far greater integrity and know that valuing her as the mother of your children is the best way to father them. Getting her on her feet is above and beyond, but you are wise enough to realize that will benefit all of you. What a fool she is. I pray God works it all for good and blesses you greatly.

              • Nick
                I agree with saintmagdalena !!
                You are teaching your children how to treat women and a wife with respect even though she is undeserving. But because she birthed your children it’s the right thing to do.

                So sorry to hear it I feel your pain my x cheated on me and kept finances from me and tried to dump me into bankruptcy all while he made 20k a month and I am on a teachers salary told my children he would have to live in a slummy house if I didn’t take his financial deals at the kitchen table. Oh yah all while endangering my kids by driving them drunk to soccer practice .

                You are a wonderful role model!!

              • Broken,
                Reading this a little late but I so feel your pain. My soon to be ex began cheating on me while I was 9 months pregnant with our 3rd child and continued for 3 years (even getting his early 20 something pregnant) until I finally had enough believing his lies.
                My divorce will be final in 3 months and he is planning on spending Christmas with my kids, his new baby and girlfriend. It’s so hard for me knowing my children will now be around the girl my husband cheated on me with. Taking the high road is my only solace and example I have to show my children, but it’s heartbreaking when my 7 year old says, “You should be happy for daddy mommy, he has a new baby and Miss X is really nice!”

                Prayers and good thoughts to all of you and your pain.

              • I just read your story and wonder how you are doing now. I have gone through a divorce about 4 months ago. My ex moved in with this woman and said she was just a roommate with I believed. Stupid me. Next thing I know they are taking all her kids and my son on a European vacation together. I found pictures of them FB all cuddled up. Anyway, I am absolutely gutted. So when I read your story I was wondering if you are healed or in the healing process. I am also a Christian and have wished death on the both of them which I have said in front of my 14 year old son whom adores his father.

              • I know exactly I have the same problem my soon to be ex husband is TRASH! I never new until after he turned 50 MLC horrible nightmare and me, the kids and beautiful dog have paid the price! Two complete sluts and he doesn’t see it, YET!

          • I know this is not a recent post BUT god how I needed this insightful yet funny reading this morning. I love your bluntness and truthful writing. I am hooked now. Gotta read every thing. Lol
            Thank you!!!!! I’m going thru one of the toughest times I have ever faced in my 40+ years and I needed this and I’m so happy I found this blog!!!! Keep on telling it like it is PLEASE!!!!

            • I’ve also been going through the hardest four weeks of my life. I know EXACTLY how you feel.

              • So many professional’s say not to tell them, only that the parents can’t get along. My ex has my life hell this last 2 years. Fighting me on a Passport for our sin, had to find documents with the court and they ordered her to sign the paperwork. That process cost me around 10k just from my side for a $120 passport. We are waiting on final decisions from a PRE. I hope things change more for my favor so I can do the right thing for our son. My ex had a new boyfriend soon as see moved out, he found out she was lying about being divorced, which we weren’t at that time, then she cheated with his best friend which made it better. Now she is with a new guy, moved in, bought a house and did not want her name on the mortgage and got a new dog. All is her MMO.

                But she is creating havoc on my relationship with fighting every little thing. What a rollercoaster ride this last year.

            • My wife of 7 years did the same bullshit. She is from Honduras very atractive but cold as frozen cat shit. I sponsored her 3 daughter into the country 4,6, and 9 + plus we have a 3 year old boy together. After 2 years past with her daughters here she bolted with a mexican drug dealer. This guy is big dealer. He doesnt peddle 8 balls on the corner. He is sending 10 of dozens of pounds accross the us! Well i wss completly beside myself that a nexican drug lord gets more time with my son. As nd i oaid the 10g for her girls to be here. Fuck that. I found the loop hole! I was real real b.s. ice to her the first couple months after she left, so i convinced her to sleep with me sometimes like 1 time a week. She couldnt refuse. This was not the reason she left me. Long story short. I recorded every time we fuck ed. She had no idea! The sancho bought her 2 mexican herb stores. Later she started selling pinacilin, and other desirable pharmasuticles illigally purchased from mexico. So i took 4 recordings of the real hot sex we were having, sent them to the sancho for his viewing pleasure, called Glendale PD about illigally selling medication. The sancho beat her up took back all the nice things he bought her, and the cops sent as undercover cop in to buy iligal medication. She lost the stores. She lost the Denalli and her home, But we are back together again. Not to happy about how i pulled it off but i live with my son thats all i care about!

              • Note : we americans have to get real creative and show of oir big balls if these foregn gold diggers try to use us! We need to send a mesage back to there home land so they will stop trying to fuck us off! But keep it lagal! And keep it cold!

            • I found this article after my ex told me this morning, our 6 year old son has no interest in seeing me nor talking to me on the phone- so she doesn’t think he should have to. Then she mentions how ‘confused’ he is at the situation0 dissolution of his whole little world as he knows it (I got with my ex in 2011. She and I were together on & off until last September with a year of actual co-habitation in the mix. So that’s 5 years together (ish). I left in 2014 because she was abusive. After completely severing all ties unrelated to our children in September, she immediately (literally 3 days after we last shared a bed) entered a relationship with someone else and brought her to our son’s birthday party. After voicing my opinion on introducing a woman you screwed the day you met to our children only 2 days thereafter, I haven’t been allowed to visit or call the kids). She now days it’s like in his mind, he has a new Mommy. She says she corrects him but I don’t trust her- she’s an abusive cop (I totally called for help and nothing came of it aside from expedited entry into a battered women’s shelter) and a narcissist. Why doesn’t she realize how much her piss poor decisions are damaging our babies mentally/emotionally?!

          • Some people like just love breaking a family..ive been told some much. B.s and heard so much b.s about my marriage and family that it crazy and nothing but b.s stories. .im so. Married and for 3 years and have Kids. if he wanted a divorce what was your name again oh chump lady thAt s right, he would be sleeping on my bed right now…and has never mentsiin divorce actually wants another baby…lol get your info right. Your delusional.

        • It’s a matter of being age appropriate.
          What is clear from adults whose parents lied to them about the cheating is that the children are very hurt by the lying. They are entitled to be told the truth at a certain age.
          In saying that I know of a mother of the boys friends who has never told her son. She doesn’t want to rock his relationship with his father. That takes so much self control. I really admire her for that. How strong she is.
          XW,s want everyone to support the new relationship. They want to be friends which just is bullshit. It can’t happen. There has o be consequences. They still live in fantasy land until they realise people don’t support their crazy behaviour.

          • There must be consequences and no way is that cheating PIECE of TRASH covering up anything from my kids it’s FILTH! They don’t need a relationship with him!

      • My ex Narchole is pure filth the affairs came through my MARITAL bed I will NEVER forgive we are headed to TRIAL here in Canada on Feb. 28, he makes me sick. My son caught him only aged 9!

    • My two older kids 19 and 16 don’t want anything to do with the new woman and it will be a year this December since I kicked him out bcuz I found out about the affair….. But my younger ones 3 and 4 boys, thy have no clue n r not age capable of fully comprehending why daddy left…. Thy love their father and get excited like waking up to Christmas presents the one day a week he gets them from 6pm on Friday till 1pm the next day…. Yes that’s it…. N even though thy r with him for such a short x thy do family activities together with her kids n I hear abt it when they get back and I cringe every time but I bite my tongue n say nothing but how neet, n that’s nice…. Thy started drawing pictures of family in school abd were drawing her and I did however have to explain to them that I am their ONLY mother n that she is NOT family just daddy’s friend…. I guess on the bright side I do have to be thank full that she is nice to them but I have no interest in meeting her wat so ever….

    • Me too my ex husband is GARBAGE! He came from a decent family but went off the deep end at age: 50, fucking every slut he could find in our family home! My sweet little boy only 9 at the time had to be the man and tell me he caught dad in the hallway! This bitch was a former METH addict and using my husband at the time to get money for her next fix, just disgusting! Then not more than a month after I filed for divorce and moved into my own townhouse he was already fucking the SECOND slut he had just met off a dating site! She knew he was still married and that didn’t bother her a bit! I’m so disgusted and now moving forward and our house is for sale I want my money and he can go shack up with his SLUT elsewhere, good riddance!

    • Thank you. I am facing this now.
      My ex of 20yrs is moving in with his 20yr old girlfriend (our aupair) and expecting our kids to be ok they are 14, 10 & 8…..

  • It is THE shit sandwich of all shit sandwiches – if you have children too young to comprehend and years of shared custody in front of you. I honestly don’t know how chump parents handle it – they are amazing, amazing heroes to my way of thinking.

    That said – I have had one tiny drop of happiness in my chump cup in the fact that the end of a 25 year marriage afforded me two “of age” children who can make up their own minds. So I gifted them – as Arnold above said – with the best defense they could ever have in the face of their father and the OW – TRUTH. I was just plain truthful. I left nothing out. They overheard things on the phone and asked? I answered. I didn’t volunteer but I was THROUGH protecting his image and certainly was not looking for the job of protecting the OW.

    I will never forget when my STBX sat across from me the day he told me he “didn’t have it in him to do what I needed to regain my trust” and asked me – no lie – to “work with my children to help them be introduced and to accept and get to know the OW.” Seriously. Because – as he put it “She’s so likeable – she must be – I like her and the girls need to know that she’s in a difficult and bad place and I need you to help me with that.”

    Sorry – no.

    And as a result of being truthful – they are both able to see their father for exactly what he is – not some fantasy that he’d like to portray. And they know EVERYTHING about the OW. And as a result – we are relatively free of him and completely free of her. They have control of when and how they interact with their father – which he detests because the control is not his – it’s theirs. And both have told him in no uncertain terms that his future with them will continue to be very minimal as long as he is with this person because she is the line in their sand. They will NEVER meet her and never allow her in any aspect of their lives. So as long as he remains with this odious predator who was so unhappy in her her own miserable life she abandoned her two children and husband to prey on our family, he will not see marriages and grandchildren and visits and family. He will have to build his new life with her and without any of the gifts I brought to our life together – especially our family.

    My ex has a lifetime history of using women and setting up new relationships before ending old ones. He has skated on his superficial charm and basic likability and the protection of his parents, his brother and most recently me. I have eaten more shit sandwiches courtesy of him than I care to admit – but the one thing I can be sure of is that – because he ruined a great life and messed with the wrong heart (mine) – he’s not skating free. He for the first time in his miserable life is feeling real consequences for what he’s done. I’m not protecting him, his parents are dead (thank God – this would have killed them) and his brother has cut him off cold. So he can keep his OW and build his new life – but he’s not taking any of the beauty and joy of our old life with him. And for that – I am really, really glad. And I am really proud that my two children are adults and have real moral compasses and – while they haven’t cut their father completely from their lives (as I wish sometimes they would) – they will never let him play them the way he played me.

    So thank you, God – for having this happen when they were old enough to decide for themselves. And I’ll never be sorry for being truthful with them. There was little enough truth in our lives the last 4 years of our marriage as he lied to all of us and led a double live.

    • You bring up a good point, I left out (it’s a big topic!) — that for kids, often the price of admission to have a relationship with their other partner is tolerating — or hey even liking (especially if they’re young) — the affair partner. And kids want to have that relationship with both parents. If they’re little, they really need it. You can divorce the idiot, but your kids cannot. Don’t make them choose. Don’t make them feel disloyal to you for loving the other one.

      Char, your daughters are old enough to decide for themselves, and if they’re in their 20s, they have a bit of perspective younger kids don’t have on what cheating means. But I hope they don’t feel that loving or missing their dad is being disloyal to you — even though it must feel that way, I’m sure.

      I did not have kids with my cheater. But the ex I did have a kid with is pretty screwed up. Sure it FEELS like my life would be much easier if my son had zero relationship with him, but that wouldn’t be the best thing for my son, and the courts see it that way. It’s hard, hard, HARD. All you can do is hope that they grow up and figure it out. But I’ve had to accept that my son will always love his dad. Even if I personally think he is a POS.

      Also — and I realize there is room for debate here — but I really flinch away from telling kids of any age too much of the gory details of infidelity. It just seems emotionally incestuous to me. They shouldn’t have to bolster you up. YES, tell the truth that the relationship broke up because of infidelity, lies, a double life, serial cheating. Whatever the story. But it’s not okay to lean on your kids emotionally, or burden them with icky details of their parent’s sex life. Really, most of us would rather believe our parents found us under a cabbage leaf than to imagine they had sex. Infidelity is more than any kid should have to think about.

      My husband has to deal with this. His ex is a serial cheater. I think the kids know there was more than just the current guy she is married to. Maybe they think there was two. (A former boss too.) But I doubt they know it was more than two, and it was over a decade (perhaps two) of cheating and double life leading. So, point is, they can know mom is a cheater. They don’t need details of mom meeting up in parking lots to give a guy a blow job — or whatever other sordid truth my husband has on her ex. He’s moved on with his life. She’s moved on with hers. People’s crappy life choices generally catch up with them, and reflect badly on them. You just have to trust the kids will figure it out.

      • CL,
        I do understand and agree (mostly) with your thoughts on children and the “facts of the case.” As I said – I never volunteered more than just the facts, but if they asked – I didn’t lie about anything. While truth may seem like a burden to some, I can’t help but think of it as a key to freedom of choice. You can’t know what you feel about anyone – parent, lover, friend, business partner – if you don’t have the truth to guide you. It’s messy, it’s painful, it can be operatic at times – but it’s real.

        Narcissists and cheaters use lies and illusion and masks as their stock and trade. It’s what allows them to get away with the pain and destruction they bring to bear in every relationship – be it with lovers, spouses or children. And they count on just the type of discretion that you refer to. They count on people being too classy, too decent, too unwilling to rock the boat to expose them for what they are – to show that the emperor really has no clothes. That’s how they get away with it.

        It’s just my opinion – but if good people continue to just go quietly off into that good night of divorce to lick their chump wounds and go “what can I do but accept” the horrible things that happen to them because of a cheater – nothing will EVER change. A cheater will not be exposed and they will continue the pattern unabated. I would never feel right as a parent if I’d just said “Daddy and I decided we don’t get along anymore and BTW he has a new friend who will be a part of our family and lives.” That’s not right. At least with the truth – everyone gets to make their own call. As I said in a previous post on a previous column – the concept of “shaming” is way undervalued in today’s world. Perhaps cheaters would at least think a little more about how they treat the people who love them if they knew that they couldn’t hide behind propriety, manners and the fears of others to cause a little discomfort by being perhaps a little too candid.

        I do want you to know – I love your blog. You have empowered me and helped me move forward in a way I’d been missing for months. Thank you for speaking to and for a lot of good people who feel so – well – much like chumps.

        • Oh, I’m not saying cover for the NPD and maintain their image. HELL NO. It’s a balancing act, that’s all I’m saying. If they ask, they’re over 21 and they really want to know? Sure, don’t lie. But I would stick to exactly what they want to know. I totally get the temptation to share the whole, sickening injustice with them. But it’s not their marriage. It’s their parent.

          And I would never say “new friend” — you don’t have to spackle. You don’t have to associate with them. You can expose them and tell people why you’re divorcing (i.e., he cheated on me with her, and I decided to leave… or I was left…)

          I’m just saying kids have their own grief — the break up of their family — they don’t need to carry your grief too. It’s a very hard thing. But I would NEVER advocate for spackle. Some discretion with your kids, yes. But take out a full page ad in the New York Times if it pleases you, for the rest of the world!

          • It seems that the truth is the best policy. Children are smart and need to be able to trust their parent. I find it odd that there is so much talk about how the TRUTH could damage the children. Perhaps,the actual adultery,abandonment, and deception is a bigger assault on the children. So much burden is placed on the victim to do the right thing while eating her big shit sandwich. Meanwhile, the adulterers should be shielded ….. To protect the children.
            I believe all the gory details can be left out, however I believe that children deserve the truth and the proper support( counseling) to deal with that truth.

            • I am so glad I read this blog! I have a 5 year old with sharedblegal custody. My ex, who cheated, is now living with the woman and trying to have her as some kind of surrogate mother for our daughter. Since my daughter was so young when we split, I couldn’t tell her the story. About a year ago, after hearing me on the phone with her dad, she asked me why I didn’t like MK. I told my daughter it was because this woman was mean to me. And she was, not just the cheating (and in her husband too) but has been interfering in my daughters life, via her dad, and rubbing it in when she can. My ex wants me to pretend everything is OK. At first, I thought, well, yes, I don’t want my kid upset. Then another thought hit me: It is my duty as a mother to teach her when she is being liedbto or when she should not trust someone. It was also self deserving, but nine the less true. I wasn’t sure about telling my daughter that I didn’t like the OW, but now I see the logic in it. Someday, my daughter will know what happened (if the OW and my ex are still together). They will try to lie about it and blame me and her ex as they have been doing all along. In doing that though, my daughter will see that I didn’t lie and that I handled myself with dignity. Also, she will learn that she doesn’t have to just take peoples’ shit for the sake of decorum. I need to add here that I have not said anything to her about her fathers role. He is a good father and she lives him very much. I suppose when she asked and she is old enough I will tellbjerbthey had an affair. I want her to know that this shit happens. That the person your husband works with and introduces to his family could also be screwing him behind your back. I was trusting because I was trustworthy. Despite any marital issues webjad, I always loved him and wasn’t looking for an out. He was. The worst is he told me after being together for 14 years that he never really lived me. Well, wth? I want my daughter to be smarter than I was.

              Thank you all for sharing your stories!

            • I agree, truth is best but gory details are unnecessary, regardless of the children’s age. It’s not to protect any of the adults in the situation, but the children! Unless the cheater is a psycho, which most are not, it takes 2 to tango and the OM or OW is not usually a predator. If your marriage failed, don’t let the children become pawns, no matter how much of the “sandwich” you have to eat 🙁

        • I’m a big believer in the truth because STBX’s lies have caused so much destruction. I’m not adverse to the little white lie but he lived a lie for years and that caused enormous pain. I get what you’re saying as a result. i don’t lie to the kids but I couch things in appropriate terms. I don’t want the kids to hate their father but I do want them to be aware that he is manipulative. I do this by being honest to a point but also reading books with them, watching films, etc. and then we talk about the people in them and mykids, thankfully, aren’t stupid and can spot things so they say ‘that’s how dad is’ and then they have a little more knowledge with which to deal with him.

          It’s a tough road to walk but it can be done. I will not queer they’re relationshp with their dad unless he does something nuts, then I step in and say something. It’s becoming less and less, though, mainly because he’s finally twigged that I will say something if he does stupid shit.

          • Yeah, that’s the thing with really manipulative people — the disordered wingnuts that are serial cheaters and do the double life thing for eons — your ex, my husband’s ex. They’re reeeeally good at impression management. They play the victim, twist the tale, lie outright. Anything to get sympathy kibbles. Or they act Above It All. “I don’t understand what all this hostility is about.”

            Mindfuckery. Horrible to see your kids either learn it, or suffer at the hands of it. You’re totally doing the right thing pointing it out to them, or reading books about manipulation.

            • “I don’t understand what all this hostility is about.” Man-oh-man – you just quoted my STBX almost verbatim. Amen, and amen.

              Impression management/mindfuckery – they raise to some sort of hellish art form. Spot on, both Nord and CL!!!

            • Please, even today, when we had to email about practical things he tried to get a rise out of me. I refused to deal, just saying we know what happened, I prefer to deal with the present and the future and leave all that nonsense in the past. His response was something along the lines of ‘but that’s YOUR story about what happened’, as if I didn’t read reams of emails and other communication with loads of different women. What a nut job. He almost seems to think that if he says it isn’t true he didn’t really happen that way.

        • This is so true, Cahr. My XWs are both NPD. And, the amount of lying they have done and continue to do is very confusing for the kids.
          Imagine, for example, my lunatic second wife forcing the kids to go to church with her, while she lived with her affair partner , and now lives with a guy she hooked up with while he was still married. She chastises the kids if they lie, but they know she lies all the time.
          My middle daughter was crying to me “mom just lies all the time”. So, I did not want to invalidate her reality, and confuse her further. I simply said “Anna, I know she does. You are not imagining this”.
          See, she even gaslights her own kids. How abusive and damaging. Thye are confused as hell about what she does vs what she espouses.
          So, I confirm their perceptons when they inquire so they do not think they are losing their minds.

          • Arnold – and thank God you do. They are not blind – they can see what their mother is. And the old saying “Do as I say, not what I do” – which must have been thought up by a narcissist – doesn’t hold up in the light of day. The best thing any parent can do – and the most important job they will EVER hold – is to be a good example for their child(ren.) The only legacy we leave behind at the end of the day is our good name and how our children remember us. You are setting a good example that is strong enough to countermand the horrible example of your ex.

            And the worst thing is – narcissism and an inherent lack of self worth/respect that I think goes with the disorder – doesn’t allow the cheater to even make the connection between action and words. She probably thinks that she’s a good parent. My STBX actually said “Hey – other than the cheating and lies – I was a great husband and father – and I still am.” How’s that for surreal? But that’s the nature of the beast, I’ve found. They can rationalize and excuse themselves from any sense of guilt or even wrongdoing. It’s pathological.

            Just keep being what you are – a great dad teaching them about being truthful and instilling a moral compass in them. Down the road – they will recognize and remember you for it in the best ways.

            • Very well put, Char. I can see you have researched the cluster B disorders,as well. I think any BS should look into them to try to explain what they have been subjected to.
              Thes NPDs and BPDs are so messed up that you cannot ever reason with them. Thier entire value system is shockongly bizzare.

              • I am going thru this right now. She doesn’t know that I know she’s been cheating on me. We have 2 boys (8 and 4) and she is constantly raging at me when I have only been a good father. I am on to her cheating ways and when she starts spewing at me, its because she is feeling guilty. I have been holding this in for a few months now and she doesn’t know I know. The whole neighborhood knows that I am a great father, essentially a single parent because of the amount of travel she does and she has no allies. I know my STBX is a narcissist and doesn’t want to be known as a bad mother. However, she is. She is currently on a “trip” witn our kids for 6 nights where 4 of those nights, the kids were with her parents while she went to another city with her BF. Whatever will come of this in the future for her ,I don’t know, but I know that I am being strong for my kids and will do the best I can for them while eating this shit sandwich. I don’t know how long I have to suffer with this, but my therapist, priest, family and close friends know what I am going thru and all have said I have been taking the high road. We have yet to tell our kids, but when we do – I don’ t know if she will have told me she’s been cheating (and I wont let her know I know) – if she has already told me, then I still don’t know if I’d tell the kids what she’s done. I know I will be the primary parent in the end and by me continuing to be above all this crap, the kids will have a role model and someone to respect and look up to. This is easily the hardest time of my life and most challenging .I am trying to look into the future and get past this awful moment.

      • I agree here. What is important is the kids now the truth why you broke up. They don’t need the detail. It would have done us a world of good if some of us hadn’t fond out the details. It’s the biggest mindfuck I’ve ever experienced.
        The kids will figure out in due time what is going on. They will love both patents as long as those parents treat them with respect.
        As is the case with some exes here if they treat the kids like shit then it will come back and bite and bite hard. In some cases the WS doesn’t give a fuck. Sad sad sad

      • Dear CL,
        I tend to disagree that children absolutely need both parents, howsoever, courts or society may view the same. Yes, a lot of times we tend to R just for the sake of our children. In those times, at least, there is a picture of a family for the kid. But not so after Separation. If kids are in an age, where they can comprehend what is going on, then according to me they should not only be told but should also protected against a lot of abuses (especially if chump fears about the ex or AP in that way).
        Contexts play a big role. There can’t be the same rules for all. I have decided to give my son a family of me and my parents (they have been thoroughly involved in his upbringing and my son has always loved them like foster parents). We three together can compensate for 90-95% of his losses. His father has never been involved as a parent should be. He has not contacted his son for months. And I am happy about it. I won’t stop my son from meeting his father but I won’t encourage it either. For both of us he is nearly non-existent or dead. It shall be painful otherwise.

    • Groceries has done this all along. I have only just realised that she will not end a relationship without having the next one set up. I was different in that I met her after she was dumped by her boyfriend. She was a mess.
      She also is highly attracted to older men normally 10-15 years older. I can real their names off. Not suggesting a PA but very good friendships.
      You cannot go wrong being truthful

    • I’ve just read “Char’s” response and I feel like we are sisters. Wow, I admire you and sometimes these situations mimic each other. Kudos to you and your children. Being lied to is like watching the trust disappear right before your eyes. The best feeling is when you walk away and finally feel strong enough to be patient and not wish for the demise of the affair partners’ relationship. Nine times out of ten those assclowns fail without the help of anyone.

    • I have to say this sounds just as selfish and cruel as your husbands affair. Please realize that you may have made lousy choice as a husband but it is not your children’s fault. Realize that your children are made of one half you and one have their father. When you say bad or negative things about their father it’s like your saying half of them are those same bad or negative points. How about rise up, be a better and more responsible parent and show your children that forgiveness is the ultimate love? You have poisoned your own child’s mind

  • I struggle with this one a lot, because STBX tried to drag the final OW into the picture very , very quickly the kids freaked out. He would try to do sneaky meetings, where she would just ‘accidentally’ bump into them. Then it was ‘you’re going to meet her and be nice or there will be trouble’ kind of stuff. Then it was ‘you’re ruining my life by not wanting to meet her’. And so it went, each decision he made in this area worse than the last.

    I finally stepped in because it got so fucking dramatic, with enormous fights between STBX and the kids. I finally told them to accept what they cannot change, be polite if they must and I’d always be here for them.

    Then I decided to think about dating and instead of doing it behind the kid’s back, I sat them down, told them what I was thinking and we worked out how we thought it should be handled if and when I meet someone who becomes important to me. I wanted to show them the right way to do things, the straight forward, non-sneaky way, the way that means everyone is respected.

    So I went on a date a couple of weekends ago and told the kids. They loved the idea, wanted to know about him, I told what little I knew and when I saw them the next day they asked how it went and I said ‘nope, nice guy but too conservative for my taste’. And that was that.

    They tease me about dating a bit and I laugh and we are trying to find a place, slowly and carefully, where we are all comfortable.

    I tell this story because I have decided to not focus at all on STBX and his OW. I have an idea of what it’s like over there and it’s not great, from what I hear but who cares. As long as the kids are safe and she’s nice to them then best of luck. I don’t like them having to make nice with the slagbag but instead of giving that my attention I am making a priority of allowing my kids to see how healthy relationships develop, relationships that start slowly, not like a bolt of lightening where you are like two teenagers in heat and plan your future after 4 sneaky after work drinks. I want them to see how the grownups do it.

    I’m certainly hoping I find someone who makes me want to screw like a teenager but I don’t plan on basing my future relationships on that. Passion needs to be there but so do a whole lot of other things, and that means more than fun times and unicorns. I want a proper man this time, who knows that real life is a mixed bag of great, good, boring, dull and downright sucky at times. And who can laugh through it all and still make mad love to me.

    I should use the above as my dating profile. 🙂

    • Love that!

      You totally handled the dating thing the right way and I’m sure your kids appreciate it.

    • I’m certainly hoping I find someone who makes me want to screw like a teenager

      I LOVE that Nord, that line just made my day!!!

    • Nord, I am so impressed with how you handled the dating thing. I need to keep this, in case I ever get to that point again.

      • I’m barely there, trust me. I went on a couple of dates a few months after dday, when I was in the ‘I’ll show him’ phase. Well, all I did was show myself that I wasn’t ready to date (those poor guys!). So I stopped and just dealt with myself and my kids and my friends.

        Then, around Christmas, I started to feel like yeah, maybe after the new year. So I talked to the kids about it but said I was only thinking about it and would tell them if something happened. Then someone asked me out so I told them. I didn’t go into details about the evening other than it was nice and fun but I didn’t think it would go further, although he wanted to take me to dinner at some point and I was thinking about it.

        I strongly believe that after all the lies, manipulation and other fuckery that has gone on since dray (and before, of course) the kids need to have at least one parent who is straight forward and truthful, and allows them the freedom to be the same.

        I don’t always like what I hear from the kids but at least we’re all out in the open about stuff and can discuss things. It’s what I thought our whole family was about but, you know, obviously not. 🙂

        • I think you will earn so many chooky points with this open strategy with the kids.
          How you remain calm with the OW looking after your kids says so much about you.
          I think this is really going to mean a lot in your relationship with the kids when they are teenagers and older.

          • I hope so. I had a talk with one of them this morning because I did have a slight fit last week after STBX and OW took my kid to see a movie we had planned on seeing together (me and kid). I was pissed and ended up being pretty childish and it hurt my kid’s feelings. So this morning we had a talk and I simply told him that although I’m good with everything most of the time every once in awhile something pops up that hurts my feelings and/or pisses me off and I don’t always handle it well and I was sorry, I didn’t mean to make him feel bad.

            It was a good talk and he understood. As we move through this bullshit the only thing to do is be honest with the kids, keep the dialogue open and basically focus on our relationships with them, not on the ex’s and their side pieces.

            I mean, STBX and OW in my case don’t deserve one iota of my attention–they still try to blame me somehow and honestly seem to see themselves as victims in some way. It’s kind of funny, but also quite pathetic.

            • I get the blame for everything simply because I give chainsaw man nothing.

              I refuse to pretend. I’m an open book to the boys. I have the boys 75% of the time but its actually a lot more.

              Take last night for example. I passed groceries and chainsaw man rushing to his apartment at Terrigal at 4.45 I guess to have a cup of tea.

              She didn’t pick up my youngest until 7.30. Lets say he goes to bed at 9.30.

              She has spent 4-5 hours with him this week.

              Kids are not dumb. Sure we have bad days. I’m told its important the kids see you have been hurt. It’s the truth. You just can’t make it an opera or carry it on.
              CSM isn’t in the boys life yet so I have all that ahead of me.

              • You’ll be ok when he is in their lives. My kids deal but they’ve got both their dad’s number and OW’s number…and they’re getting other people’s numbers as well because they can see how badly some people have behaved.

                It’s sucks but I’m honest and they know that I screw up at times because there are incidents and moments that happen that hurt me and I lose it here and there. When I do I pick myself up, talk it through with them, apologise if I’ve been an ass and hopefully they understand.

    • trade places and thats exactly what my ex did/does, except the other person she insisted they like- was significantly involved with their families destruction. Despite their speaking up she consistanly put the other person first. She pulled the “look who happens to be at the movies as well ” stunt alot…my children despise him. My daughter at 13 1/2 was destroyed by finding the ex’s “f’ing disgusting e-mails ” (as she put it) left open on her computer in her room…yes her mother used my daughters computer in her room I assume not to be caught. I found this out from my daughter during one of her soul crushing emotional breakdowns from the burden of knowledge she was carrying. I’ve witnessed 2 of these and when you see your child go thru this kind of pain it’s unbearable- knowing her own mother caused it makes you want to vomit. When it was brought up to my ex about my concern for our childrens sanity (literally) and I suggested counselling -Her reply was simply “I don’t care if you take them I’m not paying for it” There is nothing we can do…I know my kids have picked up on their mom’s disorder. But like me when I knew something wasn’t normal but was un-educated as to what I was dealing with, it’s difficult to say the least let alone the loyalty bind they feel. It’s unbeleivable how many people are dealing with these societal fuck up’s ! It’s as if a plague of selfishness has swept thru. And there is no cure…I could spend hours telling of the most uncomprehensible selfish acts with horrible consequences that she has done and yes – OBLIVIOUS to it all…no I think I am the crazy one now..LOL

      • no you are not crazy. my wife did the exact same thing. she used her own selfish ways to bring another man into the lives of my children they would be devastated to see her with this man and as she tried to introduce them to them several times as her friend then going to his house to see her bra and panties all in his bedroom alone pictures of them all over his dressers. it’s very hard for me to deal with these emotions as we get closer and closer to our child custody date the children live with me and seem to understand what is going on I try my best to be honest with them without putting her down she has not spoken to them or seen them for over a year except at Christmas when she lied and took them from my home to his house they were supposed to be going to the grandmothers house for Christmas dinner and to receive Christmas presents but yet she took them to his house in another state and they did not know where they were going they would totally frightened and scared she refused to let them call me or accept my phone calls finally when they got home they all burst into tears. So yes it is hard hopefully one day I will get to the point where I am NOT wishing a atom bomb just blow them all to hell I’m not there yet but I’m getting there slowly

    • Oh my God that was BEAUTIFUL! I hope I can get that attitude towards the OW. She is only 24 and my soon to be ex husband is 40. Salt in the wound on that one.

  • Dear Chumplady: Wow is this one 100% full of truth. I speak not from my own life (thank god), but from a good friend’s history. Her kids are now 21 & 28– Scum Sucking Ex had the requisite affair and was promptly dumped when the kids were little. Health issues, mental health issues ensued over the years, kids’ residency issues. Oh and just to add to the fun, SSEX was an NPD unemployed lawyer with nothing to do but drag her into court for more spousal support and harassment. It was an eternal nightmare, and she really did keep her cool, and just raise her kids as best she could. She ate every conceivable flavor of shit sandwich, including driving one child at 4:30 AM to said child’s super-special school, while said child “resided” with SSEX dad, and had to bring younger along. For which SSEX thanked her by dragging her into court and accusing her of bad parenting the younger one. I mean really, it went on in Fellini-esque ways for a decade and a half .

    Now however, the kids are really adults. And guess what? They are smart, grounded, they came through it. Scarred, but sane. She did a good job. They can see who is who, and who did what, and who the real parent was. They know who took care of them, went to bat for them, stayed up late, argued with the schools, patted them on the back, made sure they had clothes that fit and a nice place to sleep and have friends over (what is it about SS cheaters that they so often don’t make A PLACE for their kids at the new love nest???), got them to, and through college….

    All of this is a longwinded way of saying, yes, it’s true. Suck it up, be the best parent you can be. Your kids will not only come to appreciate you for it, more importantly, it will help them grow up to be people with values and be grounded in reality. You’ll be able to sleep at night, and so will they.

    • I feel for your friend. She raised her kids right in the face of some really shitty obstacles. You have to take it on faith for so many years that it will work out. I’m really glad it did for your friend. And I hope SSEX nosedived into oblivion.

  • And this is the situation I find myself in. Our older child is a teenager and (thankfully) doesn’t want anything to do with the OW, but unfortunately it’s to the point that she won’t see her father because it would mean having to see OW as well (the two of them are living together). He has made some effort to see her without the OW, but OW always seems to be with him. Poor kid even told me that she still loves her father and knows he loves her, but he loves the OW more (ooh, that was a punch in the gut!) What do you do with that? How do you comfort that? It’s a total no-win situation. At least, in a few years she’ll be 18 and in terms of seeing her father, can call the shots.

    Our younger child? STBX made sure that the OW established a good relationship with him early on (before I even knew about the affair – bleh!) He likes the OW (and she pays attention to him) but there’s tension there, too. Recently my son had a school function and he asked me if the OW could attend (I don’t know if it was his idea or STBX’s). I thought it was weird that he was asking me for permission, and I told him that it was fine (hard to do but you do what you have to for your kids…). Then he asked me what would happen if people asked who she was, and then he burst into tears. And then uncontrollable sobs. Oh, and all this was happening while he was on the phone with STBX, and he heard everything. My son then decided not to go to the event, to avoid the problem altogether.

    The kid tried, and found out he couldn’t tolerate spackle.

    Also recently STBX asked if I could be more amenable to the kids concerning him and OW.

    AMENABLE?!? To the person who cheated on me?!? To the person who knew he was married and did it anyway?!? I told him exactly what I would do, what I’ve been doing. I don’t badmouth STBX or OW to the kids. I tell them the truth, but I don’t put them down.
    That’s as amenable as I’m going to get. It’s hard, but I’ll do the right thing for my kids.

    Too bad STBX and OW can’t say the same.

    • You are a class act, Really. You handled that brilliantly. Give your son a hug from me. Kids heal on their own time table. I’m sure they hate “get over it” as much as chumps do.

      • STBX told the kids to ‘get over it’ two weeks after dday . And never stopped saying it.

        • Ah yes, “get over it” and “grow up” the least likely ways to get your kids to listen to you.

          • Groceries favourite saying “get over it”.

            Nah. I’m not getting over it. You had and are having the affair.

            I’m living a new life with the boys ,supporting and loving them so they grow up to be independent loving ,well adjusted men who respect people. Hopefully they will have a strong moral compass.

    • Really –
      I think you are AMAZING. Just a note – I learned via the courts that – if a situation where a parent is trying to force another person into the visitation mix – that CAN be addressed. As CL said – the courts are all about the welfare of the child. Also – a child of teenage years has a right to determine the circumstances of visitation with the parent – so your teenager can simply tell her father that she is quite willing to meet him – but not the OW. If he continues to persecute her for not wanting to engage with someone she has no interest in knowing – you can address that in court.

      Obviously – your ex is thinking only of himself and pleasing his OW – and not of either his children’s emotional well being. Good luck – you are strong!!

      • Thank you for the support!

        Things turned around after I stopped doing the “pick me” dance. Oh, and the dance I did…truly horrible. I’ll never be able to apologize to my kids enough for it.

        Now at least I can go to sleep at night with a clear conscience.

        The OW didn’t like being cross-examined by my daughter (the last time she saw her) – her answer to my daughter’s “why did you have an affair with him (her father) when you knew he was married” was “get over it – your mom was okay with it.”

        NO, I WASN’T OKAY WITH IT! I was scared of losing the partner I had for half of my life! Being a SAHM, faced with losing everything we had worked for, I agreed to whatever my STBX wanted so he’d be around (and happy to be with) the kids and me. I too kept thinking that if he just saw how good, how understanding I was, he’d come out of the fog and come back.

        Yeah, that was one rainbow-colored unicorn. It NEVER existed.

        STBX and OW messed with my mind for over a year, and they still try. Truly, God knows where I’d be without this site.

        Keep ’em coming, CL!

        • Oh UGH, Really. I’m waiting for the not-so-distant day he does it to her. I’ll pop the popcorn.

          • You and me both but one thing I figured out: as long as they have us Chumps to focus on they can still do the ‘us against the world’ dance and not face themselves and their reality. There’s another reason to just leave them to it, not get involved with anything that isn’t important and just get on with your own life.

            They’ll implode at some point. And if they don’t? You won’t care because you’ll be so far gone. But of course i will do something of a happy dance when STBX and the dingbat OW implode. Partly because I don’t want to see her for the rest of my life but also because it will be funny to watch his family coldly devalue her overnight. Hell, they already say snotty shit about her behind her back so it won’t be much of a stretch.

            • I’m waiting for same thing Nord. Meantime we just got to get on with it.

              That’s one of the hardest aspect of all this.

              I’ve been replaced by a selfish arsehole who abandoned his two daughters in NZ. Groceries family know about him and taken him in but because he’s the knight in shining armour then they accept him for groceries sake.

              The mil and fil will focus on him being the big CEO and proud their daughter is his partner.

              He such a successful businessman but a total fuck up when it comes to his family. I know what id rather be

              • I need help…I’m trying so hard to support my ex, whom by the way left me for my best friend and our daughters were also bfs…after 20 years of marriage. I was psycho in the beginning but truly do want what’s best for my kids sake. My dilemma is that now after 2 years of them together my daughter now hates her and reality has set in. It was fun in beginning because she was with her best friend alot and with the woman she called “Aunt Heather”. Well now that she is 14 she is realizing that aunt Heather isn’t so nice. Sad thing is I found out about the affair because my daughter was on her dad’s phone and saw a naked pic of Aunt Heather. Anyways, after me being crazy for a year and literally assaulting her…I have come to the realization that my kids need to come first. My daughter liked doing fun things with them in the beginning but now hates her and doesn’t want to be around her dad and that devastates me. He has made her feel bad and actually threatens her that if she doesn’t like her or want to be around her…then go live with your mom. Well she has…what can I do to make him realize that he is ruining her and causing harm. He says to her she’s being a brat and has to like her. Why can’t he realize that she’s getting older and seeing the big picture…that dad left mom for her bf and my daughter’s bf. Am I being stupid for trying to tell him what he is doing is crushing her…he says I’m just jealous, blah blah blah… and that is furthest from truth. Just want my daughter to not feel as if he is choosing gf over her…I’ve been there and screwed me up for awhile. We were married for 20 years and I thought we were on the same page..but now since my daughter doesn’t like her, he has turned on her.

        • Agreed.

          What a terrible thing to say to a child.

          The cheaters will lie about anything and to anybody to justify their behaviour

    • Oh. Good. Lord. They really do think they sparkle, don’t they? Thank heavens my kids are all adults, but I remember my cousin (who is almost a generation older than me) telling the sad story about her youngest child, who was about 12 at the time.

      They hadn’t been divorced very long, but the ex had re-married, and insisted on bringing the shiny new AP/wifetress to the school fall open house. Now this was a small private school, and the kid had just started there. My cousin said he was mortified when he had to stand up and introduce all the “adults” to the assembled classmates and their parents. This is my mother, and this is my father, and this is my father’s wife(?). What kind of fucktard puts his 12 year old son through that?

      As my kids are older, I’m now seeing the fallout years later, in terms of their friends’ acceptance of the cheater parent. Most are very close to the betrayed parent – on Facebook I see them mentioned and lots of pictures/visits/vacations with them, especially now that grandchildren are beginning to appear on the scene. I won’t say the cheater is totally absent in their lives, but I rarely see more than a once or twice a year appearance. They seem to be pretty much a non-entity in their children’s lives. They do seem to sort it out, figure out who the “real” parent was, and model that behavior and work to keep a relationship with that parent.

      • “Wifetress” – I’ve been wondering how I’d refer to the OW once the divorce ink is on the page and STBX runs to Vegas to tie the knot with her. That is PERFECT! May I borrow and use when the time comes? 🙂

        • My ex is not married yet, but my sister and I refer to his OW as my kid’s “step-mistress”. I like wifetress too! 🙂

          • So what can I call the OM my EW married? I have a few names already, but I would enjoy one in the vein of Wifetress….?

  • Thanks so much, Chump Lady, for addressing this topic. I know that sucking it up and eating the shit sandwich is the right thing to do, but damn it’s hard sometimes! My kids are young, and they already knew the AP as a family friend before everything happened, so it takes ALL the self control I can muster to hold my tongue. Especially when AP takes them shopping or I overhear my 11-year old daughter (the oldest) tell her cousin “my daddy couldnt help it, he just fell in love with her.” Erghhhh! Of course his story leaves out all the prostitutes, ONSs, lying, etc!!! Anyway, I did tell my daughter that’s not really what happened, but without getting into all the sordid details. I try to be honest in a very do-no-harm, less-is-more way, and mostly I try to get at the topic and associated values by never mentioning my ex or his affair and instead focusing on the lessons I want the kids to lesrn. So they hear a lot of “the truth may hurt for a little while, but a lie hurts forever” or “you are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice,” etc. It’s been a struggle for me, but over time (9 months since dday now), I have gotten better through practice at keeping my mouth shut. And it is SO helpful to hear everyone’s stories here, which have really hrlped me cope thus far and continue to bolster my resolve to do the right thing with my kids. Thank you all SO much!!!

    On a slightly unrelated note, I want to share with everyone here a few additional resources that have helped me along this difficult journey (apart from therapy 😉 One is another blog, Although Chump Lady’s blog has by far been the biggest help of anything, bakadesuyo and its focus on helping one become a better person has also been an eye opener, in a different way. That blog looks at all kinds of different studies about how to be happy, how to do well in your job, how to be the best friend you can, etc, and presents the readers digest version. Super interesting and helpful with all the self-reflection I’ve been doing. Another newer resource is a free, 21-day, 15-minute a day, online, guided meditation program sponsored by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. It’s only available for a couple more weeks apparently, but it has been a great resource for me, as someone new to meditation. Finally, a guy named Dan Ariely, a professor at MIT who writes about irrational behavior incl in the WSJ, has been an interesting source of info. Apparently, he’s starting a new, online course through Coursera, on how people behave in irrational ways and how to overcome those problems. (Yeah, how many of our exes does this apply to!) Anyway, I don’t always agree with his point of view, but it is definitely interesting.

    Well that’s all for now, fellow chumps, and Thanks again, Chump Lady, for another incredibly helpful piece!!!

    • Did my 1st meditation today Sunshine, Thank you, will check out the other link also. Any links are appreciated, looking forward to the day when I can concentrate on a novel again! Like your name!

      • Thanks! And glad you like the meditation! Guess it’s just one day at a time for all of us.. . :/

  • Wow, as always great post. My daughters are grown up, but after 12 years of looking up to him they were very very hurt too. I have been so emotionally deranged that I haven’t given them the attention regarding the whole thing, just trying to maintain.
    About a week ago things between him and I turned very ugly with him threatening me, etc. over getting the last of his shit out of the apt. I have been slowly throwings things out, one box at a time, even hurting my back in the process. He showed up 2 days in a row took NOTHING and threatened to call the police on me for tampering with his mail (I’ve done no such thing)
    Well, my older daughter, the soft hearted non confrontational one, did the last thing I would ever expect her to…..She called him up – first time she’s talked to him and said..
    “We love our Mom, we need our Mom, and we need you to take your shit and stay far away from her”…….!!! He came and got his stuff the very next day, promised it would be the last time and it’s been a week since I’ve seen/heard from him. Hopefully it will last but either way I am so incredibly proud of her. And Grateful. I just want to try and heal…and read my CL in peace!

  • I think the kids must be told the truth about the affair partner. These folks are without morals and are a danger to the kids.

    • 100% agree, and it is unfair to lead the children to believe that a) marriages break up for no reason–or that you act on whim, or, b) that immoral actions are without consequence. Kids need to know they can count on you to be there for them. They need to know they can trust their instincts about a person. Cheaters are self-absorbed liars, and not just in marriages. It’s likely that the APs make your kids uncomfortable, anyway, and if they are alert to it, and informed that it’s ok for them to not like the AP’s behaviors, they’ll be able to use their judgement better, and be able to do what is right for themselves, without inner conflict and confusion. Kids need to know that cheating and divorce is NOT ideal, it is NOT normal, and should not be celebrated nor normalized.

      I think you should be truthful, sparing kids sordid and salacious details that are more of a burden than useful information. I think you should be honest about your very difficult feelings and circumstances–consequences of cheating and divorce, but also make every effort to collect your shit and move on, emotionally and otherwise functionally. Do NOT burden your kids with caustic remarks and wailings about the ex and the AP. If the happy couple (*cough*) are harming your children, then step in and fix it to the best of your ability. But your best bet is to be a sanctuary of sanity and peace for your kids–no venting to your kids about the snake and the pig. I believe your kids can be your friends, but not the sort of friends that you spill ugly details to–find an ADULT to vent to.

    • I know this isn’t right but I told my husband he could do whatever he wanted but that if he ever brought the ow near my kids I would hand out flyers at her kids school and her faux socialite charity organization detailing her actions. I know I should be more mature but I draw te line where my kids are concerned

  • Divorce means you have no control over what goes on in your ex-spouse’s house. As CL said, the only exception is an act or omission that puts your kids in imminent danger (e.g., drinking to the point of passing out, consuming illegal drugs, hosting convicted sexual offenders, and not much else). You can (like I did) get a legal agreement attempting control. Which order your ex will (like mine did) completely ignore. Feel better? Didn’t think so.

    The sooner you choke this sh*t sandwich down, the better. In my case, I found distractions helped wash it down. Keep busy as much as you can when your kids are at the house of Your Stupid Ex. Even better once the shock of infidelity begins to fade: ***luxuriate*** in your lack of parental responsibilities. After 15 years of non-stop dad duty, it was ***amazing**** to have a whole week to myself. To go see a movie on a Wednesday night. To drink 3 beers on a Saturday afternoon while watching a whole baseball game, then take a nap, then get up when it gets dark and go our for a steak dinner. You can do these things now, people! Just because your ex has the kids doesn’t mean you have to be a martyr. Live a little! When your kids come back, you’ll be more relaxed and focused and a better parent for it.

  • I’m going through all this now.
    Groceries ( that’s what I’m going to call the ex now) moved along the road just over 4 weeks ago. She says the boys wanted her closer. She gave both of them keys. To date they haven’t used them. They have only gone there when she is at home.
    The boys are 13 and 17( last week).
    Since moving in groceries has had chainsaw man there every weekend. She told he boys they can come over but he will be there. They haven’t visited except for my oldest birthday on Saturday. Her whole family was there but not chainsaw man on the boys request.
    I have no communication whatsoever with her family apart from minor communication woth one of her sisters. I chose not to to stay safe.
    The boys ave full access to Mum. They can go there whenever they wish to.
    They have the power and they chose.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong here

    She is saying to the boys every weekend chainsaw man is a greater priority than you. I still love you but I want to move on and this is the new deal. The boys chose not to be part of it.
    To protect me.
    They don’t want to meet him.
    Don’t want the embarrassment
    He’s an arsehole and they know it
    They have more fun at home

    I think she has taken this strategy to eventually wear them down. Time solves all problems. Who knows?

    These are the facts.
    The boys know the whole story.
    They were lied to
    My oldest son read the text messages between chainsaw man and groceries for 18months before d day and didn’t tell a sole so from a young age he’s had to hold a lot in.
    Before d day there were no signs at home that anything was wrong. No fights. No arguments. The three of us supported groceries in her training for the New York marathon.

    The boys see everyone’s actions.
    They have seen me completely fall apart last year,cry my guts out, panic about the future etc. etc.
    I have never stopped them going to their mother. I’ve told them groceries has done what she did however she loves you dearly. She is just infatuated with chainsaw man.
    He’s older and they see that. I don’t think they understand what’s gong on. I don’t think groceries really sits down and taks with them. She just tells them he’s a good man.

    Here are the facts if others haven’t read my pervious posts:

    His ex wife said she caught him having two affairs.
    He left a 12 and 16 year old in New Zealand with their mother
    He sends money over every month and supports them financially which is easy when you earn $200,000 + a year.
    All his family live in New Zealand
    He’s 58. I’m 49. Groceries is 45
    He has never met my sons. D day was 30/12/11

    I am of course the biggest arsehole in the world. I’m bitter and do not support their relationship. I refuse to move on. I’m damaging the boys relationship with their mother because of this. It’s all my fault.

    I don’t know what the right thing to do is. Everyone is in limbo.

    I have met a friend. The boys know about her and my youngest son has met her on many occasions before I met her. My oldest son doesn’t want to meet her yet.
    She never comes to the house unless the boys are well away. She doesn’t want to upset the boys. She travels and buys the boys many gifts and they know they come from her.
    The bottom line is she respects the boys position. She provides amazing support to me. She has no kids. She is single.
    Groceries knows about her. I know groceries wants me to fall head over heals in love so I will take my focus off chainsaw man.
    I’m really pissed off because chainsaw man takes up too much thought every day.
    I wish I was ‘meh’ about him.

    I don’t know if I’m acting in the best interest of the boys. It would be easier if everyone just got on but I just don’t see that as being realistic.
    The boys are free to chose where they want to be.
    I can’t seak to groceries. I just can’t trust anything she says.
    She flocks to couples that began their relationships as cheaters. Otherwise everyone knows how their relationship began.
    The blogs say 3% of these relationships work our a d my therapist is adamant they will marry ASAP to justify the drama of the affair and all the destruction it has caused.
    Both of them are narcissist and they feed off each other.
    It’s vey hard but I just have to try and ignore them.
    What I’m finding really challenging is my best friend, lover and mother has turned into this selfish person that I just don’t know. I have to stay away to protect myself.
    It’s the most bizarre situation I’ve ever been in.
    I just hope the boys colour the other side ofvthisin one piece.
    You are all such a wonderful support. Thank you

    • Baci, I would work very hard to be meh, and not focus on CS man or how much time your kids spend with mom, or with him (I know he is the scum of the earth, really I do). They may hold back because it upsets YOU to have them around mom and Idiot. You need to project “meh” to them, not us. So it’s okay for them to love you both, yeah, even if jerk face is there.

      Look, if she does marry him, are your sons not supposed to have a relationship with her? At some point, if he insists on being in the picture, they’re going to have to deal with him. My guess is he’ll be peripheral to your kids. They know who dad is. And who mom is. Everyone else is a satellite.

      As galling as it is, the cheaters do have a point — adults have partners. Kids have to deal with that. Kids grow up and leave us. That’s their job. Their job isn’t to bolster us and keep us company and be loyal to us. Their job is to grow up and get their own lives separate and apart from us someday.

      Your GF sounds like a gem. It’s wonderful that she supports you and dotes on your boys, and lets things go slow on the intros. But if it were to get to a point where your kids were, hey, dad — no girlfriend. We don’t like it. I do think you get to play the adult card and say you’re entitled to a personal life.

      I realize some may disagree with me strongly. I read a lot of — my kids come first. If they veto my partner, I dump him/her. We’re a package deal. Well yes and no. If you asked my son four years ago if he’d like to have his life uprooted so I could marry a Texan, he’d have said NO. Four years later, he’s very happy in his new life and adores my husband. If I’d dumped my husband because my son didn’t want me to date, we would’ve both missed out terribly.

      Chumps take their responsibilities seriously usually and cheaters do not. But my basic point is — adults get to chose their partners for better or for worse. You don’t introduce anyone to your kids lightly. But we will move on. Our exes move on. Our kids grow up. I hope to God those affair partners aren’t in the picture for long with anyone’s kids — but I think everyone should just hold their nose and learn to deal. Set a good example for the kids. Let them practice “meh” towards CS man. Oh, you’re here? Oh hey. Whatever. Hi mom.

      • CL,
        I agree with you to a point. We will all move on and hope that our kids accept them in out lives. That is far different accepting that the person who helped break up their family. As you may remember, the OW in my case taunted me by “jogging” by my house in her sports bra in the weeks following Dday and has exhibited other taunting behavior. Quite frankly, I am scared what a person like this would do to my children for her own means or to try to rile me up.

        • For the kids, the price of admission to be in cheater mom or dad’s life is yeah, putting up with the affair partner. It’s a price they will usually PAY because they want their parent. We cannot hold that against them, no matter how much it hurts us. No matter how unjust — the OW taunting you, for example.

          Pearl, you can’t control what that woman does, to get your goat, to rile up your kids. You don’t control it. If it rises to the level of danger to a child, then the courts will act. If your kid is old enough to decide for him or herself they don’t want to visit, that’s also an option. But you don’t get to control the OP who wants to fuck with you.

      • The boys have a really good relationship with Mum. They know she lied etc but they are ok with that. I have supported them on this that we all make mistakes and she really cares and loves them.
        What I won’t do is tell them to embrace CSM. he is what he is through his actions. That simple. Facts. Do you want to hang around a guy like that. It’s your call.
        All they have is the information to make an informed decision.

        If I screwed a 25 year old I would expect to be expelled from the family. I would assume there were real consequences of my actions.
        If groceries has CSM over for the weekend then that is sending a big message to the boys.
        Why Doesn’t she go to his apartment in the weekend like they did when having the affair. No she is making a statement now. I just don’t know what the fuck she is saying.

        Groceries what’s the message?

    • Baci, she did not just turn into this. She has always been this way. I am sure of it. People do not just turn NPD.
      When you are a little further along, take a close look at her history, if you can get the info. These people have patterns.

    • They have seen me completely fall apart last year,cry my guts out, panic about the future etc. etc.
      Oh Baci my heart hurts for you, my poor daughters have had to witness the same and even though it’s Not thier Dad I feel bad for putting them through the pain.
      And something else, for the last few days I’ve been REALLY missing my best friend too..don’t know why all of a sudden but Just having that person to talk to that “gets” you, even though that hasn’t been true for a long time… mind is a very strange place right now -more so than usual, hang in there Baci!!!!! We are all here for you!

      • Toni, that is the hardest part of this. “Missing my best friend ”

        I too go through this and can’t work it out. How do we trust in the future if our best friend does this to us. What about my reaction. I’ve behaved like a crazy idiot swinging from welcoming her back to wanting to never see her again.
        It would be so easy if she lived in out back China.

        It is such a crazy experience. All we can do is try and get through it. Everything helps including this wonderful forum we can talk to each other.

        Handy in there. You’ll meet someone special again. The universe takes care of that for us.

    • Baci, Here is what I predict. Groceries and Ex wife will marry and have a ‘showy’ ceremony celebrating their ‘LOVE’. They’ll invite her family, talk about how much they fell in love in their vows etc., etc., I’ll bet that Groceries will likely be so NPD to wear ‘white’ at her wedding to Chainsaw man. Your ex will ‘hound’ the boys into being at the wedding.

      I am bothered by the fact that ‘Groceries’ moved so close to you down the road. Your teen boys are definitely upset and bothered by her behavior. I mean think about it. She’s not even being discreet about her relationship with Chainsaw man- she’s so damn needy that she just puts it out there and expects the boys to just ‘get over it’. Hell, they have to deal with the embarrassment factor and all. Very shitty of Groceries to do all this. She only cares about herself- it’s B-A-D.

      Soon after the wedding, the ‘sparkle’ will fall away- Chainsaw man will be engaging in ‘another’ relationship and cheat on Groceries At that point, Groceries is going to be one really messed up woman. Really needy, attention getting crying ‘poor me’ sobbing will ensue on her part, maybe even suicidal.

      She is trying SO hard to convince everyone that Chainsaw man is ‘wonderful’ and everyone one around the fallout can see him for what he is.

      Love your boys, continue to be a good Dad, and continue be a man with a moral compass. TAKE the relationship with the new woman S-L-O-W-L-Y. In your situation be a Dad first, and a boyfriend to your girlfriend second. Why? I think your boys and you have really been through HELL. However, If you can enjoy your life with them free from Groceries and just enjoy being decent men with friends, you will have given your boys the best solid base ever to forge ahead in their own lives. They will be very careful about girlfriends and women to marry in their young lives.

      I do know this. Your boys will love you forever! BIG (((Hug)))

  • Just to let you guys know what happens in Australia regarding visits for kids.

    Over 12 the child virtually decides. The judge makes a ruling but it is always in the kids best interest and the child has a huge say in matters.

    Under 12 and it’s the character of the parent.

    Down here if the boys want total protection from chainsaw man they can have a restraining order put in place. I don’t think that will happen. I just think groceries will live her life and just see the boys individually two nights a week. She just seems to want access to them.
    While they refuse to meet him chainsaw man still has the company apartment as refuge.
    Interesting that groceries in the last 4 weeks hasn’t gone there in the weekends but chooses to have chainsaw man at her place. They can’t hide anymore because the black Volvo is in the driveway.
    Strange behaviour if you ask me.

    • Baci, I lived your worst nightmare. My two boys were similar ages 4 years ago when my ex’s cheating was discovered. After I threw her out, she talked her last affair partner into leaving his wife and two small kids to move in with and eventually marry her. The kicker? One of my boys is away at college, but the other lives with the two cheaters 1,500 miles away. I see him only four (yes, only FOUR) times a year. Sucks the balls of rabid rhinos, it does.

      I won’t belabor the heartache this situation involves. It is the absolute worst and my heart goes out to you. Having said that, I’d suggest you need to cultivate a sense of indifference even to the relationship your kids develop with their mom, and even with the asshole (or assholes) she brings into their lives. ***That is between them and her.*** In a healthy world? You wouldn’t even really have a clear sense of WHAT their relationship is like, good or ill. And the good parenting instincts you feel, and your innate sense of justice, don’t affect any of that. It’s not about you, or morals, or justice. Kids just want both parents, period. Even selfish effed-up parents. And they’ll pay a helluva price of admission (including horrible step-parents) to make that happen. You can’t take that personally, and you can’t let yourself become collateral damage to a child’s natural desire for the love of their mom.

      Shift the focus from your kids’ relationship with the cheaters to their relationship with you. You can influence that, make it a strong and beautiful thing. something that will steel them for decades to come. One good parent is all kids need. You can be that parent.

      My post-script: I’m ***very happily*** remarried to an ***amazing women***. My relationship with my two sons from my first marriage (though much reduced in the amount of time I see them) is better than it’s been since my first marriage ended, and I gained an ***wonderful*** new stepson by re-marriage. Life reconstitutes itself, my friend. Have faith, and stay strong.

      • OMG how do you deal with that. You feel for me. Shit I am with the boys constantly.
        It must be so hard to be away from your kids.
        Great that you have an amazing woman. Chance to rebuild a healthier life.
        It taken time and a ton of work but the faith is back thanks to people like you I have never met.
        I wish I could shout you a beer on Bondi Beach

    • Baci, I really feel your pain! That whole scenerio stinks and I have seen this several times with other friends whose cheater and AP move into the same neighbourhood and street even. They say it’s for the sake of the kids, so they can be closer, but I think that’s only a small reason why they do it. It’s like they get some sort of sick satisfaction for having this in your face on a daily basis. Like these are my two families-don’t I have lots and lots of ego kibbles, or my fing harem. I had a friend who was chumped and she didn’t find out until the OW was pregnant. She’d had absolutely no idea and was totally devastated. He left her with three young kids but bought a house down the street from her with his new OW and new baby. She couldn’t stop him from doing that, but she ended up selling and moving away from them and it was the only way she could heal and move on.
      My ex, just recently moved back into the same small town that we lived in and that I still do live in and bought a house with his AP. I was furious as well! While having the affair and when he left he moved into a condo in another town closer to his work and I was happier with that. Now, I have to scan parking lots everywhere I go into town to make sure I don’t run into him or her-it sucks! However, I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t care. I figure if I do ever run into them, I’ll just pretend I don’t know them. I haven’t done anything wrong and I intend to hold my head up high and go wherever I want. But your situation, I couldn’t stand. How very insensitive of your feelings to move just down the street, where she’s sure you’re watching …it’s sick! If I were you, I’d move!!!!

      • I’m not moving!!
        I few times I’ve walked into cares etc and CSM has been there. I just look at him and he gets very uncomfortable.
        When you’re morally superior you diminish their power.
        He wants me to flee with my tail between my legs. Not today Josephine!
        I do know of a mother who moved away when her ex had an affair with her best friend. Then she returned when they moved away.
        Just got to stay calm and focused on the boys for now

        • I wouldn’t move either Baci! I say keep doing what your doing. Chainsaw Man is too damn selfish to be welcomed into any social community. He’s going to be uncomfortable for a LONG WHILE. He’s not the type to be coaching soccer, helping at the Soup kitchen or anything like that.

          I find it interesting that he is keeping his ‘apartment’. Mmm. . . . I’ll bet Groceries is getting a bit nervous about that. Who is at his apartment when Groceries isn’t around? Eh?

  • Another perspective.

    My father was a serial cheater. I am 50, so this was a while ago…. I knew about it, once I was an adult and my Mom confided in me. At the time, I wondered why she didn’t leave him, and she claimed how hard it would have been on her, single mm with three kids, etc. I made no judgment.

    BUT, I do think it colored my thinking to the point that I chose the NPD, much like my father, and tried all the pick me dancing and unicorn chasing. My kids saw this.

    I don’t have kids with my ex cheater, and my kids father is a fairly decent guy, but I am truthful about the cheater ex, who was a step father to two of my kids (the third always disliked him). I want my kids to see where boundaries should be. I wish my Mom had been more honest with me when I was younger.

    • ((((tamara))))) That’s quite a legacy those NPD serial cheaters leave.

    • Wow Tamara,
      My Dad was too,and I was always in the middle because my Mom literally went off the deep end and took it out on me, physically and mentally. He was beloved by everyone, and I don’t even know how to explain how many “Mothers” I had that truly loved me. Some crazy f-d up shit but I tried to learn from it in my later years and be grateful for the love….but it definitely colored my choices in life, and as my Father was “larger than life” while alot of people romanticized it (still do even though he’s passed away) I always saw both sides but followed the pattern (I see now) causing me to “choose Daddy” over and over again in my own life. But I never forgot the pain my Dad put all the women through…whether they knew or not they either thought he was worth it or I actually think he might change for them. God what a mess I am.
      So at my “young age” of 52 I’ve decided I’m going to try and live for me. My daughters too of course but they are both grown and we support each other. I just feel so bad for the X’s kids, they NEVER had a father at all and I believed his lies about thier “crazy” mothers…….at least I can say on my Fathers behalf he always took care of all the kids, if not physically then financially and with all the time he had to give. Sorry if this doesn’t make alot of sense but this is a part of my life that is “glamourized” and only family knows…it feels good to be able to “say it out loud” Thank you all….XO

  • Baci,

    Thanks for the post. I know that the goal of chumps when considering the Cheater is “meh.” I get the idea conceptually but I am not sure what it means in practice…you know the day-to-day grind and details of all this shit. I think that is probably where you are at too.

    I will say this as it concerns your situation. Cheating, separation, divorce — what this ultimately means to me with respect to those of us that have children is that you parent your kids the way you see fit without input from the cheater. The marriage is over and the family unit you and your Ex put together is over. That is the consequence of continued and unrepentant cheating. So don’t let her co-opt you into supporting CSM and your boys.

    Your only angle is what you feel in your heart is in their best interests. That’s it. Plain and simple. If you think it’s wrong for them to be around CSM, so say, tell them why, let them know their relationship with Groceries is their decision, whatever they decide, you will respect it and that their decision wil not affect your love and support for them. In the process, let them know that Groceries cheated, lied and manipulated for her own ends and that CSM wants her and not the instant family, in your view of things. After that, trust your kids to make good decisions for themselves.

    I will add that your post(s) reveal a fear that CSM and Groceries will replace you and your sons as the predominant family unit in their lives. I understand your fear and emphathize with it and you. Understand that you and Groceries were their only biological family, ever. There will not be another one. Nothing Groceries or CSM will ever alter that fact. You and your two boys are now the biological family unit. Make it a good one for them because they need it.

    The thing that helped me the most came as an epiphany, literally out of the blue while driving. I was so tired of all this shit and just worn down from trying to figure everything out, how to deal with it all, etc, when one single thought clarified everything for me — “I am not going to live my fears.” Fear of being cheated on, fear of a divorced family unit, fear of asset division, fear of paying my wife alimony in addition to child support, fear of being single, and the list goes on. Fear makes even the strongest weak.

    Baci, don’t live your fears. Don’t worry about Groceries or CSM. Let your kids decide for themselves after a short simple talk. That’s it. Have some faith in yourself and the basic goodness of your life. Like Arnold, recalibrate yourself. Go on a date with this new woman and enjoy her for who she is.

    About Groceries and CSM. Another thing I have learned is that there is never any justice in cheating. Groceries fucked you and the kids over. What else can you say? You were faithful and honest and she wasn’t. I’d rather be you than her. If she is not remorseful for what she did, she doesn’t have a conscience. If she doesn’t have a conscience, she’s a sociopath of some sort or another. Why be married to that? What there is in cheating is grace and mercy. For you, not her. Those are gifts you give yourself.

    • Matt. Mate sorry but I reared up reading this. Are you a therapist because you write with such clarity.
      The fear comes from their financial ability to grab whatever they want but since I have realised the boys don’t care about money. They want enough. Wouldn’t matter if CSM had a huge mansion they still wouldn’t go there. They are happy at home.
      CSM and groceries always spoke of each other kids in their emails and how they care for each others kids. Of course you going to say that in the affair- whatever it takes right?
      The reality is his oldest daughter hates groceries. The youngest one is recovering from substance abuse. My boys don’t want to meet him. I don’t know why. Maybe because they see him as the main reason our family was destroyed. Maybe they see the mess their friends are in after parents divorce.
      They just know if they just stay with mum there’s no drama. They can be with her and enjoy each others company. No strings attached.

      Thank you thank you thank you for such. Wonderful thoughtful message.
      I do realise I’m far better off in a new life. It’s just a process to get all the ducks in line.

      • Hi Baci,

        No I am not a therapist. I am actually a lawyer, so I guess in a way I do give advice for a living! It’s tough being a chump, doubly so if we are a chump mom or dad. There are a couple of principles at work in your posts from yesterday that I think are important for you, me and the rest of this community.

        One is about the kids, the cheating and the destruction of the family. From a kid’s perspective, the cheating destroyed THEIR family. Pre-cheating your family was safe, happy and loving. So the destruction was all the more intense for your sons. Kids are proud of THEIR family so CSM is going to get all the blame, and rightly so forever. Later, when your kids go through life, they will re-evaluate Groceries’ role. Right now, and CL is truly right on this one, they need both a Mom and a Dad. But they also need from you, the preservation of THEIR family. Groceries and CSM will never be able to give them that because they are the ones who destroyed it. Groceries and CSM literally cannot replace you as the only family unit which does not cause your sons’ pain and hurt. Once you know this fact, you can act with integrity with respect to all the slings and arrows Groceries and CSM send your way.

        I would also venture a guess that your sons’ only want you to rescue from this mess whatever personal happiness you can. In other words, your kids want you to have a happy life despite Groceries and CSM. You will, no doubt.

        Second point. Society calls Groceries’ behaviour cheating for a reason — It’s CHEATING! It is not a good thing any way you look at it. It makes Groceries and CSM bad people for having done it. Again, they cannot change this fact despite their talk or subsequent behavior. So it is not a question about “everybody getting along,” as your reply post comments.

        You get a chance to honestly discuss with your sons what it means to be a character-driven person, e.g., actions not words, count. Groceries and CSM are perfect case studies how to fuck up several lives, including their own. Seriously, like I said yesterday, do you think they are really happy? The only two answers are yes or no. If they aren’t happy as a couple, they will self-destruct again but this time it won’t affect you. If they are happy, after what they did to you and the boys, then they suck as people. Either way, you are lucky to be free of it and that your kids have a family — you and them — that doesn’t model dysfunction. The point is you are the winner either way! Go with it!

        • Thanks Matt.
          It’s a great name.
          I think it’s important for the boys to have a really good relationship with Mum. It shows their maturity that they can put all the affair aside and still love their mother.
          To her credit she is being patient to a degree for not introducing CSM. The boys say they don’t want to meet him.
          What she is doing however by saying you can come over in the weekends but CSM will be here is putting all the responsibility on them to make that decision. That’s a big call IMO.
          Last year the boys had the turmoil of the break up and establishing how their new life will pan out. As long as they have power and control over their lives I think they will get through it ok.
          What it’s teaching them is they can chose who they want to be around. My oldest son chooses not to hang around mates that drink or smoke.

          You’re spot on about the family. I’m just trying to keep things as normal as possible for the boys.

          This is not something I wanted to win! I now realise I just want to enjoy life and hope the boys enjoy their time at home and have fulfilling lives in the future.

          Matt, many thanks for you guidance. It’s valuable advice

          • You are right about the winning part…an unfortunate metaphor on my end. It is about enjoyment, fulfillment and wisdom though. The amazing thing is that the anxiety can still strike us even a year or so out so I understand the difficult moments the same as you. You just learn to let them pass I guess. Kudos to your boys for their strong decisions and laughing at Groceries’ attempt to force CSM on them. Hope your boys have a stubborn streak. As a final word, I will never understand cheaters or reactions like your in-laws to it. I think you have handled your situation very well and good luck with the rest of it.


      • Just know that kids are innocent and love their mother and father no matter what pos they are…best thing to do is to never say a negative word about the other, support their relationship, and enjoy your time with them and make the best of it. So hard when the person you have kids with is not what you wanted or expected them to be…but is what it is and sooner you realize that the better you will be. Spent to much time trying to fix my ex of 20 years btw, relationship with my kids. Very sad to witness my kids devastation but finally realize nothing I can do.

  • My sister’s and I watched my father humilate my mother for years with his serial cheating. Children are not blind. I don’t ever remember my mother talking about this with us but we knew. We were all older (25,21 and 18) when he finally divorced my Mom for a 30 year old. We never met her didn’t want to. He lost alot of our respect over the years because of the way he treated her. My Mom gave us a stable home life when he was out galivanting around, living with other women etc….

  • As a child, my parents went through a nasty divorce, and while sometimes it can seem impossible and exhausting when you keep hearing “give it time,” it really is all you can do. I also can’t stress enough that it really is important to give your children the facts and be honest about the “why’s,” because my parents weren’t and it caused my dad a lot of somewhat-avoidable heartache.

    My parents divorced when I was 9, and instead of my dad telling me “your mom had another boyfriend,” I was just given the generic “we grew apart.” My mom was granted full custody (she made more money, was a police officer and “friend” of the court, and was a master manipulator). My little sister and I made nice with mom’s “new boyfriend” and were constantly fed lies and insults about our father, who thought he was protecting our innocence by “taking the high road” and never outing or insulting our mom. Because of this, I acted like a wretched brat towards my dad and blamed him for the divorce.

    As I got older and a little smarter, I started catching on to my mom’ act, and my dad finally gave me the reason for the divorce. I later chose to go back to court and ask to live with my father. Life after that got a whole bunch easier for us kids and my dad.

    A lot of this could have been avoided, or at least shortened if we were told the truth. I know we have talked about this before, but please, those of you who are parents: talk to your kids honestly in an age appropriate way. You will be pleasantly surprised by their understanding of these kinds of situations. I still had to see my mom (until I was 16), but as I got older, I was able to make choices and decide for myself the relationship I would allow myself to have with the “other man.”

    I will agree that no matter what, it IS a shit sandwich, but there is hope, and your kids won’t be kids forever and will hopefully respect you and the idea of marriage more for your bravery.

    • Wow. A lot of children of cheaters/NPDs on CL. I’m so glad you figured your mom out, Crazy. And at an early age too.

  • Wow, Char’s experience with her ex sounds exactly like mine. My ex-husband had the audacity to try and convince me and our 16 year-old daughter at the time, that his OW was a “great gal”. He only wished that “we’d just take the time to get to know her because we’d soon discover that we all had a lot in common”. I called “total bullshit” on this load of crap! If not for my daughter, I would have stuffed a “poisoned pine cone” up my ex-husband’s anal opening. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go into the disgusting details about her father being a serial cheater and his “side piece” being a married woman with 4 sons; our daughter figured out a lot on her own. She’s now a 19 year old, college freshman, and she let her father know in “no uncertain terms” that she would never be his “side piece’s” BFF, and she had no intention of ever being around “his whore”. My daughter figured that any woman who could stoop so low, didn’t deserve her respect, admiration or friendship. She deals with her father from a distance, she informed him that she still loves him, but she is very disappointed in his selfish behavior, his immaturity, and his lack of a moral compass. My daughter totally ignores the OW, in her mind, the OW is considered “persona non grata”. In the end, her father has lost the most. He missed out on daughter’s “Sweet 16” Party, (she discovered that her father was out of town with the OW- she may never forgive him for this idiotic stunt), our daughter purposely cut him out of her prom night events, he couldn’t attend her high school graduation (because he wanted to bring the OW to the ceremony). As long as he’s with his “soul mate”, he will not be invited to any family celebrations that are connected with our daughter. He’s now a pariah, and he brought this on himself. He never realized that the cost of getting a “little sump-thin on the side” would exact such a “high price”. Perhaps, one day he will learn from his foolish mistakes. In the meantime, my daughter and I have moved on , and we’re having a great time enjoying the new chapters of our lives as they unfold.

    • Ms. Jay:
      LOL!! You did have something in common with the OW – HIM! You are absolutely correct – we have had a mirror experience dealing with a douchebag cheater. I’d bet there are more out there, as well. And seriously – didn’t it take a load off your heart to have your daughter not only be old enough to understand the reality of the situation (not his “spin” fantasy of soulmate) and the strength of character to say “NO” – I will not just accept what you’ve done because you told me it was the way things are! I know I was never more proud than when my STBX stalked my daughter at work, and to get him out of there she agreed to meet him and told him exactly how the future relationship between them would play out – and that she would NEVER meet the OW. He was angry, pouted and wheedled – but she was unmoved. Both my kids have said that – as long as he is with this OW – there is no real future for him with them. But…..they did say that if he ended up without the current OW (either by his choice or via getting dumped himself) – a different, new woman would be given a fresh chance. And I am absolutely fine with that. I think they are being very mature. For them – they feel that the price we have paid for his actions have been very, very steep (I still am digging out financially from this a-hole and just now am starting to feel life again) and they have determined that for once in his pathetic, user’s life – he is going to feel what it feels like to pay a steep price as well.

      If he learns from it – great. Doubtful, but great. The only concern to me at this point is their physical, emotional and mental well being. And the truth – without doubt – regarding their father (sans nitty-gritty details) has set them free. The burden is now his to bear. It’s our form of forgiveness, I guess – we’ve let go of all our old expectations of him and given him the burden of guilt to carry. It’s been freeing. Best of luck as you build your new version of life with that wonderful daughter of yours!

  • CL, you know, I can’t help but wonder if your opinion would be different if you had a child with the cheater, and then were obligated to send your son off for weekends with the NPD POS and the sidepiece squatter. It’s really different. I’ll tell you what–you’d wonder what sorts of garbage that POS was feeding your kid’s brain, what sorts of lies he was telling your son behind your back.

    I am glad to see from the replies here that there are so many principled kids out there who don’t feel the need to excuse and normalize cheating. It’s WRONG. Period. It is one symptom, albeit perhaps one of the most offensive, of a very disordered person. I don’t feel the need to direct the child into a relationship with the parent, just so the kid can have a set of parents.

    Yes, my children deserve two parents who love them. Unfortunately, one of their parents is a fuck-up, we found out, so they don’t have the ideal situation. I can’t make it better by insisting that the kids eat shit sandwiches. So I don’t. I don’t insist that, “You need to spend time with your father. He loves you.” Because bailing for an alcoholic homewrecker is not love. Not being there for the mundane stuff of life (those are some of the best parts, by the way) is not love. Pouting that you’re not the center of the universe, and taking off in a tantrum, is not love. And the kids know it. So, they “spend time” with the guy who used to be their father, but it’s awkward, and everyone knows it. I can only wonder what they have to talk about–their not-parent’s exciting new life, as if it has been SOOOOOOOO worth it to bail? WTF? What my ex HAS done right, with my early encouragement, is to not foist the interloping parasite onto the kids, insisting that they all get along. That has probably salvaged some of their relationship. On the other hand, it’s been a good tactic for him–the kids are still a little disbelieving that there is another woman. But, all for the better, frankly.

    Anyway. My $0.02.

    • My 2 young boys ask me questions from time to time about the divorce, and I try to answer them honestly but without too much detail. My 11-year old daughter, on the other hand, does not want to talk about it at all with me. She sees her dad as her “hero” and believes his lies about “finding his soulmate,” even though he essentially abandoned his family to move in with his AP on the East Coast (except for phone calls and visits) – we are on the West Coast. So, what should I do? I’ve been honoring my daughters desire not to discuss anything about him, but it kills me that she’s totally ok with all the lies he feeds her and what he and the AP have done. It’s not like I want to give her all the nasty details; I just want her to know the truth. Anyone been in this situation before and/or have some advice?

      • She is only 11 and at that stage the far away father is her lost prince. I think as she grows up she’ll be able to see what is going on. In her mind she knows but in her heart she still doesn’t. Just be honest with her even if she doesn’t believe you.

      • Stephanie, excellent post! Best thing I have heard since my ex cheated and left. I wish I could talk to you!

      • Absolutely!! My children are now 13 and 14 and I still say their father hung the moon. Btw, he had affair after 20 yrs of marriage with my bf. Anyways, my feelings and what happened doesn’t matter. We are divorced for 2 years and now my kids realizing what has happened. I still stick up for their dad no matter what. Their brains aren’t equipped for the truth. They will figure it out in adulthood. Now my daughter hates her and he is choosing relationship with gf over her. But still even though I feel he is a pos..defend him and put him on a pedestal for my kids sake. Might not make since what Im saying because so much has gone on that is to long to say…but this woman is evil and only has her interest in mind. She’s been married 3 times and 3 different fathers…met her in woman’s church group because me myself was no angel. Besides my feelings..still struggle and try to support my ex and be as nice as can be for my kids sake. And when I tell you he is a pos…I mean it. Abusive, controlling, narcissist….geez I’m tired of defending him…but will til the day I die for my kids sake.

    • Stephanie, I don’t insist on the kid spending time with his dad, the court does. And, I’ve come to believe that my son is better for having a relationship with his dad — who is utterly toxic (will get back to that in a moment). He gets to figure it out without me deciding it for him. He can judge how his father has failed him and how he has contributed to his life. He’s now a teenager, so he can really decide how much or how little of a relationship he can have.

      Now, as to can I relate to sending a kid off to a toxic parent? OH YES. I can’t relate to the affair partner, but I have a front row seat to my husband’s travails with that one (as the mom married the most recent of the APs). But toxicity? Heaps. I had to call Child Protective Services on my ex last summer. He’s a hoarder and it had gotten so bad my son told me the kitchen is not functional and his father doesn’t feed him except for frozen pot pies he buys each day. The courts STILL made him go, and frankly, my kid wanted to see his dad and his friends, and living in filth and squalor is his price of admission to have a relationship with his dad. I have called the county on my ex so many times because of the hoarding. CPS — I should’ve done it years ago. They didn’t remove my kid btw, they made the dad clean up. (Which is what always happens. He “cleans” and then it fills back up.) He is mentally ill and downward spiraled for over a decade since we’ve been divorced. He used to be a functional person. I don’t recognize him now. He’s unemployed, uninsured. An ill, untreated person. And he’s toxic — he’s sued me pro se for years. He sued me for custody when he was an unemployed hoarder and owed thousands in child support. Try choking down the shit sandwich of spending close to $100K in legal fees over a decade because your crazy ex is litigious. I live 1500 miles away from him and he calls teachers, school principles, my son’s eye doctor, and makes demands.

      Trust me — I know what it is to send your kid to someone you fear will fuck him up irreparably. I know the pain of doing EVERYTHING for your kid and the fuck up parent buys him some trinket and he’s awesome! I know the pain of seeing your ex hurt your kid with neglect — real physical neglect — and emotional neglect. My ex is miserly. He once took my kid to a train museum when he was younger (and my ex was still employed), let him look at the trains, but wouldn’t let him ride a train because he wasn’t worth the $20 ticket. He dumps my kid off at his friends during EVERY visit (which pleases my kid), but argues — poor him! — he never sees his son.

      I GET IT. I get the sucktacular, toxic, dangerous parent. The failed parent. The loser parent. The amoral parent. (Who btw, does the character assassination too.)

      This is how my kid has turned out — he’s a sweetheart. He’s a honor roll kid who runs cross country. He walks our widowed neighbor’s dog. He’s kind and empathetic and has a good work ethic. He’s starting to figure out his dad’s mental illness, I’ve always told him the truth about that. He still loves his father. And that is HIS burden, not mine.

      • Well, what you’ve and your kid have experienced is awesomely sucktacular. I can’t top that. You kids sounds like a compassionate sweetheart.

        It is heartbreaking to watch them lose faith–not because their father isn’t a screw-up, but because you can see in them that it hurts to finally realize it.

        I know my ex struggled to believe that his father, right up to his father’s death, was a hero. That’s important to a kid, I know. And, I suppose that I should think of the alternative, and that would be if the ex NEVER EVER wanted to see his kids–moved an ocean away, vanished forever. That would have hurt the kids more than anything. I have explained to them that their father is really struggling to figure out who he is, to feel good about himself, probably with severe masked depression. And I believe it, too.

        I will have faith that they will continue to see clearly. I do believe they can and do.

        To be clear, I do not badmouth their father–ever. I don’t speak of him at all, and the kids have a car and can visit with him whenever they like–and they do, on his and their terms, usually in public, not where he really lives with the parasite OW.

        Hm. What an experience this has all been.

  • This is THE most important and sensitive issue for me. I need to comment further when I have a little more time to collect my thoughts. Thanks, CL for bringing up this subject. More later.

  • Thanks for the post, CL.
    This is a tough one. The thought of my children interaction with AP churns my stomache.

    Last summer I told ex I would never mention the infidelity to the children. A neighbor is a child psychologist and recommended that action, if I wanted the kids to have a decent relationship with their parent. My father did the exact same thing to my mother that ex did to me, and I have virtually no relationship with my father today. He comes once a year to visit the grand kids. I am the only one of my siblings that has any contact with him.

    However, as I think about it more, both my grandfathers cheated, and both my father and FIL cheated. I want the lying and cheating to end, the cycle needs to stop. I want to raise my children to be proud of themselves, and be truly caring and considerate of others.
    And I want them to understand the devastation that occurs when you cannot be honest with your partner.

    At this point the children simply think ex has a new romantic partner. This person this out of state at the moment, so they have not yet met this person. That will happen this summer when AP moves to town (though I worked hard in mediation… Kids will be slowly introduced to this person, and AP has to wait 12 months after introduction before moving into the house with ex. Still flabbergasted with ex’s comment: nothing immoral with living with someone unmarried if you are in a committed relationship. Agreed, _IF_ there are not minor children living in the house!)

    But, I think when the kids ask why I do not want to meet AP, I will tell the simple truth: they were friends before we ended the marriage.


    • Sounds like a good plan, and I admire both your control and self-control! The only thing I might do differently is say that they weren’t just friends while you were still married (since that would’ve been ok) but that they were bf/gf while you were still married…

    • I would be honest. My FIL was a cheater, my MIL was a cheater, my SIL is a cheater, my STBX is a cheater, and there is no way in hell I’m going to help raise another generation of cheaters.

      That’s one of the reasons I told the kids and why I talk to them about having character and integrity and living honestly. That there is nothing wrong with wanting to leave a relationship but if they want to do that they do it with respect and without hurting the other person as much as that’s possible. Sure, people don’t always want their relationship to end but it’s better to end it because you’re not happy or whatever than to end it through infidelity and that sort of betrayal and hurt.

      My older one recently had a bit of a thing with a girl and then she started playing games. My kid was honest with her about his feelings but said he wouldn’t play games and he didn’t feel she was a loyal person so he wished her well.

      Yes, I was very proud of how he handled it, even though he was very hurt. Now she’s back sniffing around but I don’t think he’ll give her the time of day.

  • One reason I think it’s important to let the kids know the truth is so they know that it is not their fault. Kids blame themselves even if there is nothing said to make them think so. It broke my heart when my daughter thought that it was her fault that we were fighting all the time. They need to know why.

  • CL – I must admit that this posting has been the best I’ve seen since discovering my ex’s affair in October 2012. The feelings that have been expressed have so closely matched mine, and it’s hugely helpful in knowing there are others out there going through similar situations.

    My ex-wife (married for 7 years, together for 10 total) was a stay-at-home mom to our 3-year old daughter, and I discovered the start of things when I looked at our phone records and found 5,000 text messages going back and forth between her and her personal trainer over a 6 month period. Fast forward to August 2013, finding more electronic evidence, having mutual friends ask why they are seeing my ex and her trainer together so much, and my ex refusing to separate herself from the situation and go to counseling together – and, the divorce was finalized last month.

    I have been extremely involved in my daughter’s life from the moment she was born and cherish her more than anything in this world. As others have said, I can deal with the divorce, but it brings me to tears knowing that my innocent child is being uncontrollably dragged through this mess. Rather than spend thousands on attorneys, I chose to support my ex financially until my daughter is school-age. To me, the goal very quickly turned to one of minimizing any impacts on my daughter, which meant avoiding daycare and disruption to normal routines. When my daughter is school age, her mom will go back to teaching (which is convenient because of vacation schedules, etc).

    I have my daughter 2 weeknights a week and 6 weekend days a month, so no more than a day or two goes by without me seeing her. And, to be honest, she is doing exceptionally well. This though, I think, is eventually going to become an issue. My ex is renting out the former house of mutual friends, and so we simply told our 3-year old that their house is lonely, and you and mommy will be living there while Daddy stays in his house (the houses are only about 1/2 a mile apart). Her mom and I never bad-mouth each other, and my daughter is very comfortable and loving being with either of us.

    The problem now is that the affair partner and his 18-year old son are constantly spending time with my ex and my daughter. The affair partner has already been married twice and was engaged to another woman when he began the relationship with my ex. My daughter appears to like him, but it KILLS me to hear her speak of him. I am at a loss of what to say. How do I approach this? When is the correct time to tell her, or shall I just address questions as they come up? She is so young, everything is so concrete to her, and I don’t want to alter the apparently positive state of emotion she seems to currently be in. On the other hand, I don’t want her to think that this is okay, and I want her to understand at some point why I will never be in the same room with this guy. I also wonder if it might be best to ride it out for a year or two given the affair partner’s track record. My guess would be that this relationship cannot last long.

    It seems that many folks have been through a similar situation but with older children that are more mature and aware of what’s going on. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Hi Colin.
      I’m going through this now but the boys are 13 and 17. They form their own opinions. They don’t wish to meet ap so it’s putting a lot if pressure on ex.
      It is so easy for us to give you advice but we are not in your shoes. The feelings of how unjust the whole deal is and they are all happy now are incredibly hard to manage day to day. You need strength that you probably thought you never had. It sounds like you have your daughters best interests at heart.
      I have seen it in many solo mums around our community where they put their children first and just put up with the pathetic behaviour by their exes and ap. some if the aps are their former best friend. The self control needed is immense.
      I try but as CL says I have a few wobbles. They’re more than wobbles and its bloody hard work.
      Surround yourself with good supporting people and keep relationships woth your daughters friends and parents. You will derive enormous support from these people as she grows.
      I kept been told the other relationship won’t last but really you can’t focus on that. What will be will be a d karma will take care of that.
      Meantime mate just one day at a time. It’s a shit sandwich but it sounds like you have the proper focus and that’s your daughter.

  • I needed this today. I just ran across your blog today for the first time when surfing the internet while I should be working to pile up yet more evidence that I won’t do anything with that justifies my anger that my STBXH has introduced my sons to his girlfriend before the 12 month agreement we made and without giving me a heads up. Nothing like hearing it from you child first. And the STBXH said, “well it would have been hard either way…” No asshole. I could have dealt with it on my own or with my therapist or with my friends, it wouldn’t have been as hard as hearing her name come out of my son’s mouth.
    Anyhow, I’ve now subscribed to your blog. I like your tell-it-like-it-is style. I’ve definitely found writing to be very helpful for me in this process.

  • What about when the AP wants (encourages WS) to raise my child with him whilst him and I are still together?

    We haven’t broken up, but reading her emails to him stating that she wants to raise our child with him and how he could get 50-50 custody of our child and that she really isn’t trying to confuse him but rather she is looking out for his “mental health”. Apparently living with me is such a depressing experience. Maybe he should try living with someone else and see how much fun they are. Oh wait, he HAS lived with other women and cheated in every single serious relationship he’s been in. He seems to forget that every relationship isn’t roses and tulips ALL the time. Sometimes you have to wash the dishes, something he wouldn’t know about because that’s my job isn’t it?

    He’s lied to her about me, not sure what exactly, something about us being broken up and how apparently I won’t let him see his child. ARRGHHH, I’m so angry. She keeps alluding to me having a “messy life” and how he shouldn’t be fixing up my life for me blah blah blah. If she actually knew me she’d know that the only messes I currently have in my life are from WS. Sure I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my son, but WS never had to inject himself with needles nor did he have hypos whilst caring full time for 3 children. The money troubles he tells her about was his doing not mine, I still support us all on minimum income (rent, food, clothes, fuel, the lot) being as frugal as I can be so that we can survive whilst he keeps buying himself toys and whinging that he doesn’t have enough money.

    And she tells him that she wants to raise our child with him! He insists its all over and that he only wants to be with me and that he loves me. But how on earth could he entertain the notion of raising my son with her? And he comes home to me so I wash and cook and clean and have sex with him? I gave birth to his child (not her) and she’s encouraged him to leave me for her so they can raise my newborn together? ???

    I struggle every day with not ringing her up and blasting her over this. She has a kid, you’d think she’d understand what a hurtful thing to do to another person.

    1 1/2 months since D-Day and every single day hurts like hell. Still very angry.

    Sorry, rant is over.

  • My wife has been speaking to a man since November. We are now separating and I’m hurt. We have a 5 year old daughter and has already blamed me for the affair. “She’s not happy!” I always thought marriage was about the ups and downs, and since she told me about wanting a “break” I actually thought she understood. It turns out she just wanted another man in her life, even after all the sacrifices I’ve made! This hurts. I must be sick in the head because right now I’d take her back if she asked, I must also be delusional for thinking she would. The lesson here for her is that happiness isn’t found in another man, or through an exciting fling, but through yourself. Cheaters aren’t happy with themselves, and they cheat because they think the paramour will give them that happiness. When reality hits they’ll realize that they could go through thousands of paramour and never find that happiness.My heart hurtsand vindication is on my mind. NC still allows alienation of affection suits, and I plan on filing one against the paramour. What I realize is when you’ve hit rock bottom, you have no where else to go but up. Now I need to think of my daughter and he well being. She asks me all the time, where’s mommy. I want to say she’s out fucking some guy, but I just reply I don’t know. I don’t want him to have contact with her, and I want to push him as far away from my wife as possible. I may never get my wife back for doing it, but at least I’m protecting the one woman that does love me, my daughter.

  • I don’t know if anyone will read this but I just really need some advice.. My mom cheated when I was in grade 11 (2 years ago) and i found out from looking at her phone. This was with my best friend’s dad, which was the worst.. (her parents are divorced also because of an affair). I kept that a secret for a very long time, i had no idea what to do it was like my heart just dropped when i read her texts.. i felt like i just shut down. This was about he time when me and my best friend were not hanging out as much and drifting apart, as we went to different high schools, so I didn’t tell her.. even to this day. I wanted to confront my mom, it wasn’t fair to my dad.. but i really did not know how to. So i tried to put it to the back of my mind, but i cut her off emotionally like nothing was wrong but really i was checking her messages almost everyday.. they ended it though not sure how long its kind of a blur for me. This was still in my mind though, i never thought my mom would do that.. it almost made me feel crazy almost like it wasn’t real. But i told one of my best friends, took me a while though, she was supportive..a year later, i saw on her fb messages that she was talking to her old friend just saying over friendly stuff.. and also not being happy with her marriage.. and apparently she had been sending dirty pics to him my dad said, it was horrible when my dad found out so much yelling.. my dad would call my mom a whore and say she should of kept her legs closed and stuff it was very scarring for me, he said those things every time they fought, from that point of they fought almost every night.. i wanted them to get a divorce, i just it was just bad. My dad was completely heart broken and i felt so much pain for him, he did not deserve that, no one deserves to be lied to. My dad has every right to be mad, but just the way he blew up at her made me so scarred and just overwhelmed. Eventually they got better, i’m pretty sure my dad knew about he first guy as well, even though the fighting lessened it was very awkward.. like we were pretending everything was okay.. Okay but now theres another guy. this is what i need help on, so i’ll tell you the story first. So my mom is in massage therapy and taking her course.. she had a teacher who was fired, they talked a lot and texted.. and i sensed that she was out cheating since she was staying out late, and making excuses and lying about where she was, one time she said “oh i lost my phone in a field and we had to find it” ( they were on a message theory field trip or something).. and yup turns out she was having an affair with him. my dad finds out, theres fighting, and now she moved in with the guy she had an affair with. I’m so pissed off my dad does not deserve this. My mom says she has been unhappy with her marriage for a long time, and was the only choice to make was to cheat. (she had a job but not anymore, she is in school right now) so financially she couldn’t support herself if she wanted to move out. That makes sense that she moved in with the guy. But this guy is not a good man. He was also married!! he is so manipulative.. my sister talked to him on fb commenting on my mom’s timeline while tagging him (she was upset) and he is so disrespectful, he’s like “teenagers always think they are right” all my sister said was for my mom to think things through and to get out of that bad environment, and when he comments back he implies that since we are young our opinions are not that important or valuable or even logical. that pretty much what his defence was. they moved into an apartment together and thats where they are now. I have seen my mom like twice in two months..I love my mom of course, but i really hate what she did. But more importantly i don’t want her to be with this man.. she promised me that she was stay with he friend but that hasn’t happened of course another excuse for that… i feel like she just lies all the time.. I’m just fed up, i don’t know if she even wants to rebuild our relationship.. for all my life it seems like she was so loving and caring. she did so much for the family, she truly was a great mom all before this chaos happened, but now she’s gone..maybe she was tired of it all.. i feel like i’ve been rejected, even though I’m 18 years old i still want my mother in my life.. and i’m worried about her.

    so this is my issue, i didn’t go right into detail, i left a few things out, this is a brief summary of was happened int the span of two years or so or even three..
    i would just like some advice, I don’t want my mom living with this guy.. i still care for my mom. but idk, i just don’t know what to do should i not see her? my dad doesn’t really want me to after a time when they met up talked recently and were laughing ( but it ended bad) ITS JUST SO CONFUSING , my mom says that this shouldn’t involve me and its her life and i shouldn’t worry about her.. like should i just let her be and never see her? cause if she is with this guy i don’t want to see her.
    Ugh i’m just so confused sometimes..


  • Anna I know how disturbed you are because the same thing happened to my sons. Your mother needs to admit what she’s done to you and your family and be truly sorry for it for you to go on and have a relationship with her. She is living in denial that she destroyed your family. Lincoln once said, : a house divided against itself cannot stand. She has to show remorse and remove herself from her affiar partner and show that you are more important than her sexual partners. That is my take on it. It is so sad that you as a young person have to deal with this.

  • My Ex took up with a younger guy when she was out clubbing (which was my fault, I was supposed to tell her to stay home instead of letting her go out, she later said). She’s diagnosed with depression, and she has some BPD traits (my mom is diagnosed with both depression and BPD, so draw conclusions on why I ended up with this woman, and also my dysfunctional coping mechanisms which led to this). After 4 months of pretty much tossing the r/s in my face, she finally moved out. I served her papers and we have joint custody. her neglect of the kids was borderline (no pun intended), but if I were the mother, I would have gone for majority custody. I figured it was a conflict that wouldn’t have made anything better, despite her neglect. She’s doing better now (other than signs of emotional incest, but as long as she has a romantic partner, it probably won’t be that bad).

    She introduced the kids to the guy right away, which caused problems such that our 4 and 1 year old didn’t want to stay with her for a while. Got past that, and for almost a year, our 4 (now 5) year old still wanted us back together as a family. Pretty normal. She lied to the kids, however, telling the 5 year old that she moved out because the house was messy. I told him the truth, kind of, “it’s every one’s responsibility to keep a house clean, which is why I tell you guys to pick up your toys. Mommy moved out because she and Daddy didn’t love each other any more.” He replied, “But Mommies and Daddies should be together.” I said, “I know they do, buddy. You’re right. But sometimes things happen.”

    Now she’s getting married to her affair partner, who will be a step-dad to my kids. I stay as detached as possible (my ex wanted to be something like BFFs without the romantic aspect, but I had to keep up my boundaries… I am not an object to serve her needs, which in retrospect, our whole r/s felt like). I never alienated the OM to my kids, and it pained me every time they mentioned him. They may figure it out at some point, but she should have been truthful from the beginning.

    • Wth is it with cheaters who want to remain “friends”? My future ex-husband is having an affair and he spends every single weekend at her house, abandoning our two kids. The SOB won’t even stay to watch them on the weekends when I have to work. I have to get a babysitter. He’s still living in our home because we haven’t filed the separation agreement yet and I can’t force him to leave and for some reason he doesn’t want to leave. At least not yet. ANYWAY, we had this huge fight last night and he asked me if we were still friends. I responded that no, I don’t want to be friends with him because I don’t treat my friends so disrespectfully nor do I allow my friends to treat me the way he’s been treating me for the past 7 months. And he seemed to genuinely not understand what my problem was. How could I not want to be his friend? Unbelievable.

  • Sorry for everyone. It is hard. I unfortunately and on the other side. I did the wrong thing. I should have left long before the affair. I got what I deserve. I guess our whole family hates me. For years I didn’t let my ex know I was unhappy and felt ignored and ill treated. I should have tried to fix things. Maybe we could have and even if we couldn’t we could have split on better terms. My finance are wrecked but that doesn’t compare to the hurt of my kids. I didn’t think they even liked their father. He has been pretty absent their whole lives missing all kinds of stuff because he didn’t want to get off the couch. I wanted to leave but my mother insisted I stick it out. I should have or left long ago. All I can do now is be a better parent. If my kids need me I am there. When they want me out of the way I do that too. They are grown but it hurts them and makes things awkward when family comes together.

  • I’m grateful and humbled to read all your articulate, sincere and emotionally open comments about how your lives and your childrens’ lives are affected by affairs. I was the other woman. And whenever I feel tempted to be seduced back by the married man who relentlessly pursues me, I read your stories. I did not cheat on my husband (He is much older and we have an “arrangement”). However I had no such arrangement with my affair partner’s wife. These stories bring my rationalizations into perspective for what they are; excuses for my bad behaviour. I apologize. For what that’s worth.

  • Hi everyone,

    I have found so much of this blog helpful in my situation. As a quick run down, my marriage wasn’t good for some time, but we had had some very significant stresses from the outside (family fallout which included my livelihood and business being signed over for nothing), which is what I put it down to at the time. I discovered her affair, which she denied, then asked for an open relationship, then admitted to loving the new man (all in the space of about two months) between February and July last year, we went from a struggling married couple with two girls (3 and 6 at the time) to her moving out and then her moving in with the new man by september (in a house I was paying for……) and then in their own noes place in november. He also left his wife and 8 year old child to be in this new relationship.

    It has been HARD!! I have struggled with my health and sanity, but somehow I feel I’m on the way back to the light now. I have my kids half the time and do all I can to concentrate on them when they’re with me and give them the best I can. I will soon move out of the family home now it is sold and hand over half of all I have to her (and him) and it is stirring up lots of anger and resentment in me, especially as I have met someone recently that I really want to have a future with myself, but I am worried that this anger will hold me back a bit if I’m not careful.

    So much has happened, so many bad and horrible things said about me and I have discovered exactly what a Narcissist is, can’t believe that I was with one for over 11 years and the damage it has done to me, but being aware has helped me to repair and regain who I was once.

    My fear is for my gorgeous little girls and their future. Finding a new partner is such a hard thing, especially as the “tick list” is about a million times longer as you have to consider children and deeper values.

    To you all I wish you love, light and the best of everything. And remember, once you are divorced, the ex’s problems are solely, completely and totally THEIRS and nothing for you to worry about – maybe they need to be told that once in a while to remind them!

    Sorry for the long rambling post…..hope someone finds it helpful.

    • Dave, So sorry this has happened to you. I too had a liar, denier, etc..who moved right in with his affair partner and is now married a year after the divorce.My girls are older than yours and it is just plain hard.

      Do the work to heal. You do not ever get OVER the trauma, but you can try to get THROUGH it. But you need help from safe people.

  • Such bitter, bitter people… Nearly every post I read here DID drag their kids into it. Getting revenge on the cheating spouse by “just telling the kids the truth”. And you wonder why he/she left you!

    • All professional opinions say that the kids should be told the truth, age appropriately. When children find out that a parent lied to them is much more damaging, and kids do eventually figure it out. Mine have, implicitely, because their mom was so wrapoed up in herself and her boy toy, now husband, that she was oblivious to the fact that she negkected and emotionally abused her children. Our son said he wished she would die. I haven’t said a word to him, and I go to great lengths to validate them and not say anything about the OM. All of his anger, and every issue, including him being written up at scholl for what he blamed on his mom, has been on her side. Selfish, empty people are child abusers. 100% of that blame lies on them. You should be shamed of yourselves.

    • Such bitter people……I believe MOST people would be a bit displeased when their spouse cheated, lied, and destroyed the family. As to the comment “no wonder he left you”….1. Once cheater decided to cheat…. The cheater potentially brought the children into the situation… It is NOT…. The other parents job to LIE to protect the cheaters poor choices 2. Perhaps the person cheated on decided to leave the cheater
      3. Finally , your rational is a bit skewed…. No wonder he left… So by this logic…. It is justifiable to leave/ cheat because of a spouses desire to tell the truth( or be bitter as you put it) BUT…. It is NOT justifiable for the person who was CHEAtED on to simply respond by being angry and speaking the truth
      A bit hypocritical don’t you think
      It is one thing to drag the kids into it by trashing him every day
      It is quite another to tell the truth and hold him accountable for his role and ap role in the situation.
      Kids , particularly older ones are not stupid…. And will resent a parent who tries to lie to them
      Not covering up someone else’s mess is not bitter

      • I have read and re-read every syllable of this post. I agree that I cannot bash the ex who cheated, but will definately tell the truth… my kids are 14 and 11 and as everyone probably knows, they see and ‘know’ a LOT more than the cheater probably expects them to see. The 14 year old is aware of not only the cheating, but the AP (as she was a ‘friend’ of the family). The daughter is disgusted with them both and it is with the ‘chump’ that the responsibility falls upon to keep things positive… Cheating, lying, and the cheating ex insulting and blaming the mother… what a path of destruction in these kids’ lives…

      • Hi Sue B.
        Ex is a high functioning alc. I loved who I thought he was very much. We were together for 20 years/married for 15. Through kids’ activities, met an unhappily married woman with 2 kids of her own… same ages. Offered her a new life (he is incredibly successful financially and has great family wealth). She took it. Our divorce is complete. Her’s is in progress. ‘They’ started dating in Feb 2013. Ex approached his daughter when she was 11 if she would be ok if “Daddy” asked Mommy for a divorce in May 2013. He asked me for a Divorce in Aug of same year. He placed blame on me directly to the children that I was the cause of the divorce he asked for. He was emotionally abusive, knowing that I loved him throughout the separation… wouldn’t leave the house. There were many nights when either my children spoke up to their Dad to “leave me alone” while he thought they were sleeping and had waken me up (while I sleeping with either one of the kids), and ask for ‘favours’ … back rubs, whatever. He has never admitted the relationship to me or the children but they have seen ‘proof’ elsewhere. They are incredibly angry about the lies. We all are. My son is sad that his father drank in the basement every night. My daughter is furious about everything. Lots of healing and repairing to do. The drinking never helped and still doesn’t. Again, he is extremely high functioning, even after ‘downing’ litres and litres of wine/alcohol on a nightly basis. There it is… 🙁

  • Oh… and I agree with Victir… lies are far more damaging than anything else… what do we try to teach our children to do? Tell the truth… even if it hurts. I’m not suggesting you tell a 5 year old about these things, but if you have a teenager who is asking questions, then I believe there is nothing bitter or angry about being a responsible adult, with calmness and kindness… walk the talk and tell the truth.

  • My husband recently moved out 3 weeks ago and professed his love for his coworker/affair partner. I am currently 17 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child and we have a 3 year old son. We just started the divorce proceedings and by just started I mean he hasn’t even been served yet. I just found out that he has moved in with his affair partner and instead of staying with his Grandparents he has taken our son to stay with them in her apartment for the weekend while he has them. I find this very inappropriate as my son still doesn’t understand why Daddy isn’t home and even says his own little prayer to God every night to bring his Daddy home. I don’t trust this woman or her family and not out of jealousy since she has been a huge factor in the breakup of my 16 year marriage but the fact that have have harassed me and told me that I’m the crazy one and that I’m the narcissistic one for trying to fight to keep my family together. I just hate that my child is forced to be around someone with such low morals and I can’t say anything at this age. Plus I don’t want to alienate my son from his father. It just sucks to see my son hurt and I don’t even know how things will work out once our 2nd child is born. The worst part of it all is I still love him and want to fight for our family.

    • I’m so sorry that you are going through this Misty. The infidelity and projection are hard enough without children involved. My Ex left then barely 4 son, and D1 and introduced them to her affair partner within days of moving out. As of last summer, he is their SD. We still have seoeration issues regarding the kids. I only watched them for 4 hours today on her custody day, but D3 was whining, “I want to stay with you!” I hadn’t seen them for 6 days due to the holiday, our longest seperation. Validation goes a long way in these cases. Validate their feeling, “I know you want to stay with me D3, and I’ll miss you too! However, you have time with Mommy for the next 3 days, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.”

      I had to deal with two years of our son trying to get us back together. Being consistent, and not lying (as your H is likely to do) is key. “Daddy moved out, and he has his home, and we have ours. It’s sad that we aren’t together, and sometimes I’m sad, too, but I will always look forward to the times when you are here.” Edit appropriately.

      The hardest thing for me was to not engage in alienation of the other partner. If he doesntblike her, validate that. If he does, validate those feelngs, no matter how tough, and I know it is.

      If this ends up in court, find a good lawyer who is a god litigator, and has experience with high-conflict divorces, which usually indicate a personality disorder, or traits. Resist the urge to “rescue” him, even with regard to his fatherhood.

      • Thank you, and info have an excellent attorney handling our case thank God. My ex even gave me what I call is my golden ticket in an email verifying the affair and his love for the other woman and even said he tried committing suicide and that his love for her was the only thing that stopped him from pulling the trigger. I don’t want to keep my son from his dad however my attorney has advised me that due to his email and the fact that I also have an email where he had a conflict with the OW at their place of employment and had to get HR involved just a little over a month and half ago shows his mental instability and that I should t be surprised if the judge orders limited visitation on his part. It just hurts and is a very confusing time since he is the one that left and had the affair and has somehow made me out to be the bad guy and can only speak to me in anger and resentment. He even told me that he resented me for loving him so much and for trying to keep our family together. He is completely unbalanced at this moment.

        • Sounds like he might have BPD, or strong traits of the disorder. Cheating isn’t a diagnostic criterion, but suicide ideation is. Projection is typical. I was “sent” to therapy both in the beginning and at the end of my r/s. My Ex has traits, though she is only officially diagnised with Depression. Diagnosed or not, there are BPD support groups out there which can help you navigate these tough times. Search for them (I won’t promote on CL’s site, but you will find them). Projection, suicide ideation, and push-pull behaviors are indicators. After years of care taking my Ex’s behaviors, I finally served her with custody papers. it’s better to be proactive than reactive, which is likely juxtaposed to how we acted in our relationships. I understand that you want to salvage this somehow, but protect yourself first, and then your kids. Salvaging a future co-parenting r/s may be possible, but stand firm by your values.

  • Thank you thank you. Tears… You’re so right. I’m ashamed for being resentful of my husband telling the kids about his GF. In one breath he tells them he wants to come home. The next day he tells them about the OW. It’s a spiral. And yes I must file the divorce as he wants me to be the bad guy. He’s told the kids i want to come back but mommy doesn’t want me to. It makes me sick to my stomach. Kids accept her and him because they just want daddy to love them. I only pray they don’t think his actions are ok and repeat this behavior when they grow up.

  • Hmm…it’s so damm hard to deal with your ex and the OW. It’s so damm hard to put a smile in your face for the sake of your children.

    I have 2 children. My oldest (girl) is 11 and my youngest (boy) is 7, yesterday they met his gf at their therapist office. I believe it was the best way for them to meet her. They got back home with a smile in their faces. My STB teenager girl loved her (ughh), my little guy said mehh (lol). I know in the “perfect” world the best thing is for them to like her and vice-versa, but in my world, the mom’s world, all I wished was for them to hate her and to tell their father and their therapist that they don’t want to be around her. Is that selfish of my part? Maybe.

    Just a little bit about our history. My ex and I were married for 11 years. Two weeks after we celebrate our 11th anniversary (August 2014) he came home and said that he was leaving the house, he didn’t love me anymore and we were wrong for each other. I asked if he had someone else in his life, his answer was, are you out of your mind? A week later, I learned about the OW, the same one my children met yesterday. After I learned about her, I had a nervous breakdown, it was the worse time of my life! I committed a huge mistake, I contacted her to see if she knew about his family, his children, she didn’t say anything, however she brought me to court. She made false accusations saying that I was harassing her with text messages, phone calls and emails. The judge asked her if she could prove that, she said no. Thank goodness the judge saw the low class that she is and he looked at me and said, I’m sorry you’re going through this, he then went back to her and said, next time you come to my courtroom with false accusations, I’m going to hold you in contempt. My ex not satisfied with that, tried to bring all those false accusations to the family court, of course didn’t work. We signed our divorce papers last April. It was a short battle, however felt like hell to me. I have sole physical and legal custody. He does pay child support, however doesn’t pay alimony, it was part of the agreement for me to have sole custody.
    He still with the same low life/class bitch. Now, she’s going to be part of my children’s life as well. Am I happy with that? Absolutely not! Is there anything that I can do? Nope. The best thing I can do right now is to take deep breaths, and make plans for myself every time my children go out with my ex and the OW.
    My children know that their father left the family bc of her. My children know who she is. Maybe with time my children will be able to see their father and the OW true colors.

    • So so sorry. That is awful. I understand about the nervous breakdown thing. It shatters everything you know to be real. I do not know how or when the shock wears off….or even if it should entirely bc you do not want to be such a cold person that something so outrageously wrong does not effect you.
      Surround yourself as much as you can with people of good values. Stay the course.

  • What a great, great article. My husband of 14 years had an affair with my “best friend” of 11 years just 3 months after delivering my 4th child (and she was in the delivery room). Our families were best friends. Our boys were best friends. And now that we are divorce, and they decided to continue their relationship, this is a very unfortunate and sick situation. But, thank god for time and good friends and family. Just trying to be the best role model for my children.

  • I am currently having to deal with the fact that my still husband is now engaged to his mistress coworker when he left me pregnant with our 3 year old son just 3 weeks before Christmas. I have been sent messages from the mistresses sister saying how dare I get pregnant by my husband while he was in a relationship with another woman. This woman and her family have zero morals and my soon to be ex is the biggest POS I have ever laid eyes on. Together for 16 years and still shocked at how things have turned out. Funny, he even cancelled our family vacation to Disney World and took her instead. And through it all because I refuse to be friendly to her and just roll over and not fight for what is rightfully mine in this divorce I am the narcissistic one that is a horrible parent and should be thanking my lucky stars that my kids will have such a loving and wholesome example for a step mother. I swear I want to be sick thinking about it.

  • My daughter is the adulteress and her new “friend” are getting together with all their 6 total kids for outings while my son-in-law is still in town. She shows no remorse and has even shunned us as grandparents- unless she needs a babysitter. Once her husband, as the divorce is still over 6 months away, leaves town at his next military assignment, she will probably “need” us as babysitters once her “friends and neighbors who said “I understand, Mary, you need to do what makes you happy” have politely drifted away. My husband and I are terrified of the situation and believe that the worst is yet to come for our daughter and her four girls. Daughter fell into self-pity, self-centered mode and even went to counseling (albeit “divorce ahead” counseling) although she was already involved with this man. It makes me feel like a trapped animal. I loath liars. If you don’t like me anymore, tell me. Divorce me. Then you are free to date anyone or any two you desire. Just be honest.

  • I went the opposite way with this, my ex husband had an affair with my “friend”/baby sitter. Found out, walked out. I asked him to give our then two year old an adjustment period of 6 months, get him used to daddy and mummy living apart until he introduced his now girl friend. He agreed, if he didn’t I thought to myself he can feck up the way his son reacts to his new relationship all he wants for the sake of a rushed introduction, kids aren’t stupid they put two and two together. Would ibhave told my son, no, he didn’t need that on top of everything else he’s been trough, plus with autism he wouldn’t have understood. If he was older and asked ” mum, did you and dad split up because of xxxx?” I would have said yes but don’t worry about it mums fine. My son loves his dads partner, she is the mature one and the one that kicks my ex up his arse, she’s the one that plans days out, she’s the one that buys him presents and makes sure the house is ready when he goes over near his birthday with balloons a cake and games. She’s the reason my son loves going. It worked out well for us, my son is happy with both step parents and sees both couples working together for his sake, he must feel so loved and secure.

  • How old should children be before telling them the whole truth? My husband is dating a woman, he met her and moved out on me and our three young children while we were away for the weekend. We got home and he was just gone. My babies are hurting but he could care less. He is actually helping her move here from FL right now. If they live together I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t want her anywhere near my kids! They are so hurt right now and it would kill them to see dad with some other woman. We are still married. Isn’t there a way to keep her away from them while we’re still married? I heard there was a no paramour clause or something that could be added to custody petition. I feel so angry. I don’t know how anyone gets through this.

  • I’m incredibly grateful for you taking the time to write this. I’m going to bookmark this so that I can read it often. My husband left me (and the kids) after eleven years. I devoted myself to that man in every way I could. He was active duty in the military, and I faithfully stood by his side albeit all the years of loneliness through deployments, training, etc. My children are visiting him for the summer, and they informed me via a telephone call that they just helped their father pick out flowers and make dinner for his new girlfriend who is the “love” of his life. My sweet daughter told me that she saw a picture of the girlfriend and that she was “soooo beautiful.” Naturally, I was crumbling on the inside during my talk with the kids, but kept it as chipper and positive as I could. After though, I fell apart, crying and sobbing like a child. My ex never, ever did any of that for me. Hell, he couldn’t even give our marriage enough dignity to wait until our divorce was final before he started dating the ‘love of his life.’ I still question myself as to why I was not good enough. It’s a constant struggle to make peace with it all. I’m still in the “I hope you suffer from hypothyroidism and get fat” phase of my grieving. But I am hoping that it will pass. Many thanks again. I needed this far more than you will ever know.

  • My ex walked out after Christmas, claiming he wasn’t sure what he wanted. I was about 2 months pregnant then. Fast forward to February, when he was calling around a lot and I thought we were making things work out. He claimed he left due to his depression, but found out on Feb 20th 2016 that he was in fact seeing someone else.

    Things moved quickly and they are now renting a house together from 1st April. I am now 8 months pregnant and about 6 weeks ago my ex introduced his new partner to my son as his friend. This was after a message he sent me saying if I wasn’t going to be on talking terms with him, he saw no option but to introduce his new partner to our son. After months of trying to protect my son from the news, so as not to confuse him as I’m pregnant with his father’s child and he’s shacked up with someone else, he went ahead and made the introduction.

    My son came home and when I was getting him ready for bed, he told me about meeting daddy’s new friend and then asked if this was daddy’s girlfriend. I told him that she was. I wasn’t lying. He’s 6 (almost 7) and I wasn’t going to cover up. My son was sick and so upset.

    Since then, my ex has been dead set on introducing this new woman and I have resisted at every opportunity. We both agreed that until the baby is born, the introduction wouldn’t happen, but he did it anyway.

    I’m so upset about the situation. When he collects our son from the house, I can’t even look at him, let alone speak with him. I try to keep it light for my son and I do the handover as quickly as possible.

    Everything is on my ex’s terms. He’ll turn up late when he’s meant to collect his son or cancel, but then tells me that I’m stopping him seeing his son and that he should have unrestricted access.

    I absolutely loathe what he has done to me.

  • Adultry destroys families. My daughter in law is still married to my son. While he was away she moved a man into his home and started fornicating in front of my little granddaughter. This boyfriend is horrible and will not let me see my granddaughter.I can get no one to help me.

  • robinson.buckler(@)yahoo . com is a wonderful spell caster. Very trustworthy, My husband cheated on me for Almost for three years. he ignore me for several months and left me with nothing, but i am happy today that Robinson brought my husband back, I am so happy, Now my husband is all mine again. I can now say I’m happy again. Great spell from Robinson buckler, Robinson is genuine. I truly believe in him and his spells. he is a professional. I really enjoyed the result which i got, his love spell is marvelous, he is truly gifted, his love spell has brought me happiness, I am extremely pleased, it worked out to my taste, he has the most powerful love spell, I recommend his love spell to anyone who is ready to get his or her lover back

  • I am fighting to the death to get my sons custody. He is a newborn and my husband originally didnt want to take him till he was 5 years old but ow wants him when he is a year old. I am not a jealous person but just protecting my son. He is abusive to her and they were together for only two months. We split because of this and he’s already doing it to another woman and he wangts our son every other weekend when im done breastfeeding in a year? He shows up once a week for 10 minutes and doesn’t pay child support either. Ummm no.

    • Easy fix. Just keep breastfeeding. Many of my friends breadtfed their children till they were at least 2 years old…and they’re the healthiest kids around. If you’re not done breastfeeding, your child can’t be away from you for extended periods. Problem solved. Also, he’ll change his mind about the child soon enough. It’ll be too much responsibility for him. He just wants the child to get back at you; to “win”.

  • When my own parents divorced I was 10 & never blamed the “other women” in my fathers life of which there were many. I didn’t blame him either, I didn’t blame my mum of course, i just felt sad and lonely.

    I am now dating a separated man who’s “wife” who he was in counselling with( to help work out the best way to tell the children) has been in his emails & found me on facebook & messaged me, then told the children I am the cause of the divorce.

    What I want to know is why do supposed “adults” need to apportion blame? Least still drag the kids into things they don’t understand?

    My mum would never have lowered herself to blaming another woman & if she dd she had the good grace to leave her kids out of it!

    People can talk all they like here about “new partners with low morals” but falling in love with somebody with a complicated separation in progress is not spiteful, its not cruel & I actually found this forum because I was looking for advice on how his poor kids must now be feeling.

    Bitterness & jealousy are very ugly so ugly people should try hard not to be bitter & jealous.

    And yes Im a parent, a single one, who experienced horrendous domestic violence and was repeatedly cheated on. It hurt, it was humiliating & I fought in court to keep my chld safe for 3 years. So if all is your husband has left you for another woman & you dont want your kids near them & so feel the need to say “daddy cheated” “mommy’s new friend is not a very nice person because he was with her too soon” then please grow up for the sake of your kids & sanity.

    • I was cheated on albeit our relationship was not great but I loved him and I didn’t want us to split, My daughter met the OW four months ago. She is twenty years younger than him and I and has two kids and they play happy families every second weekend. She tells me all about what they did and how much fun they had. My heart breaks every single time but I smile and tell her I’m glad she had a nice time. Never will I burden her with how much her daddy hurt me or how disrespectful his girlfriend was when she posted pictures all over Facebook of the two of them knowing that’s how I would find out about them. Never will she know that I sometimes cry because her daddy is now being the family man I always him to be. Never will she know how I was screamed at and shouted at for asking him to spend time with me. Never will she know that behind all my smiles is a broken heart. He is her father and no matter how much of an emotionally unavailable cheating prick he is I will always be respectful when talking about him or his girlfriend to her because she deserves that. I can’t allow my hurt or my feelings about him to ever be known to her. I completely understand why people do though and I wouldn’t judge them for it but I feel like I’d hurt her too much so instead I will always keep what he did and how much he hurt me to myself.

      • I DISAGREE 200% I allowed my kids to know from day 1 of my little boy finding out about his cheating, disgusting dad that he is a LOW LIFE and that what goes around, comes around! I REFUSE to hide any of his dispicable affairs from my kids aged 11 and 15 and they know that he is trash and that he will get his KARMA! All the neughbours know what he did and we live in a smaller town and both our families know everything! My lawyer said to just stay the hell away from him, take your money and RUN these types are PLAYERS and they will not change their stripes!

  • Here is my 34 yr nightmare at it’s finest and I am almost to the point to flip the page. My husband beat me for the first 25 yrs of our marriage, And while he was beating me, he was having affairs and treating his hoes like queens. The last 22 yrs, he has had prostitutes in his truck–2 which he got pregnant. He is an ex felon and continues to disobey the law. Adultery is a felony in our state, but he threatens to take all my VA disability monthly compensation if I open my mouth or file for divorce. Note: last week he said he would commit suicide if it weren’t for his current hoe. After he tried to kill me in April 95, His adulterous affairs forced us into bankruptcy. He made us homeless for 6 months in 1997. I am still afraid of losing everything again.. Note: I am wcb for MS since 95 and on O2 24/7 for copd. I want help out of this marriage– putting his hoe out in street and sending him to 3 hots and a cot motel for life!

  • Life is not fair, it’s not easy and it’s not clean. All you ladies that were cheated on need to get on with your lives and not drag your children into the dirtiness. How do you think dragging your ex or the other woman through the mud will benefit your children? Whether you like it or not your children relate their core self to the other parent and view themselves in relation that parent. They are half you, half them. If that parent is “bad” kids view themselves as bad. My ex cheated on me and then decided the commit suicide 7 years later. He ended up being with the OW for longer than we were together and she is God sent. My son loves her, she loves him and the child they had together is his real sister. She still continues to have a relationship with him and it makes him happy to still feel part of his dad’s family. Instead of seeing the bad, look for the good. Your marriage ended and now you can find someone who can love you the way you deserve because they obviously didn’t. What I see in the OW is another person and family to love and support my son in his life. I could have talked bad about her because I was bitter but how would that have helped him? You don’t know what life has in store. Be good to your kids. Talking crap and bringing kids into the ugly details of a bad marriage or your own personal hurt doesn’t help them, it just causes the need for therapy as an adult. If you have 50/50 custody it puts them in the middle and hating, being resentful and feeling like they have to choose between parents is not good for children. I look to the positive if they find one more person or a whole family that can love them and support them then it’s a win.

    • I DISAGREE 200% CJ I will not allow any man to get away with garbage like this all the neighbours and our family know, he’s embarrassed as hell and in trouble financially! You allow a man or a woman to treat others like this your as bad as they are! Even my lawyer agrees you take this kind of trash and we have NO laws in Canada against adultery but you wring every last dollar out of the prick that you can get! God will take care of his KARMA!????

  • I know I’m late to this threat but I’m currently going through a similar situation. My wife and I hit a rough patch in our marriage, and she left. Prior to that I noticed her behavior change, spending more time on her phone, in the bathroom for long periods of time, phone having a lock on it and contents hidden, when neither of us had locks in our phones before because we trusted each other. She was just very distant and stopped sleeping with me (romantically). Less than a week after she left, my eight year old was telling me about another man that stays with mommy at grandma’s house, who was showing him car stuff and fishing things (things I feel are mine to do with my sons). I ask her who this guy is and she straight up lied, and I told her if she’s bringing men into their lives, I have a right to know. Not even a week later she shows up at my house with this toolbag to drop off my boys, who spend 6 out of 7 days of the week with me. After she left my 8 year said this guy asked him, not even a week and a half after his mom left his dad, if he could date his mother. My 8 year old DOES NOT like that his mom left his dad and is now with another man, he’s been so depressed and stressed out and it breaks my heart. I’m 100% positive this relationship was going on before she left me as she trying to move 73 miles away from our children to be in the same town as this douche. I never bad mouth her in front of my children and even have her back when talking to them about her not wanting to be with me. She their mother and I know she lives them and I don’t want to make them hate her or anything, but do I have to encourage my kids to like someone they really don’t want to like? I mean, can I tell them a real man doesn’t date a married women?

    • Yes I told my daughter aged 15 that this other woman is a tramp and I’m currently in the process of going for full custody of both kids and divorcing the slime ball! He disgusts me and he also had a lock on his phone for two years before he walked out on our family! My lawyer says he’s a player and he won’t change!

    • Your soon to be ex wife is a tramp my dear just let her go if she were decent she would WORK on the problems through marital counseling, mine also refused and it looked terrible in front of the Judge because she had suggested it in the first place! I’m done mine and I’m proud as I got rid of so much ANGER towards him and realized I’m a good person and he’s not worthy of me!????

    • Dear all,

      I too am late to this thread, but glad that I happened upon it. My wife had begun acting odd about two years ago and when asked about it said that she was going through a difficult time with a friend dying etc. She asked for time and being the understanding ‘chump’ that I am I tried to give it. Fast forward two years and a whole lot of half truths to her leaving and the final proof coming when my 2nd daughter borrowed her phone only to find a lot of very explicit texts from the guy she has been seeing for the past two year. She suggested counseling and I agreed, happily, believing that there was a glimmer of hope only to have her not want to go any longer when the conversation turned from telling me what a terrible person I was to her behaviour. She took an apartment in another city ostensibly to be close to a team that she coaches and to give her time to ‘think and reflect’, but that too proved to be a subterfuge as it was only an excuse to better legitimize her affair with this guy. In any case I know that she will find a way to insinuate this man into my kids life (they are grown and adults) but still my kids and I hate to see them manipulated; but has been suggested in this thread not much that I can do – mores the pity. If you are reading this – thanks – cathartic to at least have a cry in the wilderness in the hopes that it is heard somewhere. – P

  • What I love is how these narcs think that if the kids (13 and 16) in my case and who were personally exposed to his “look at me, wow aren’t I great” to the other woman, while she was married to her now ex, in front of then, his wife (now ex) .. yah… he wooed her during family vacations he set up with her and her husband and kids with our family. There is no way on earth that I will ever teach my daughter that the advice I would give her if one of her friends starting trying to date or start up a relationship with her boyfriend (if she was even dating) is “hey… human frailties. Press on. She’s really a good person!” Oh sorry sweetie… did your known boyfriend and your friend, while you were dating your boyfriend fool around together? Oh… that’s ok honey. Shit happens. Get over it and try to be friends with everyone. What a bunch of bunk these people expect. And what galls me the most is that the ex keeps stating that we are all somehow “stuck” because we don’t “press forward”. We ARE pressing forward. Just not in the same direction as the narc and his schmoopie and her kids.

    Love you all on chump nation!

    • Mine is so screwed up he’s got me me in a townhouse two blocks away paying my rent at a whopping $1500.00 per month and screwing his new dating site girlfriend in our old bedroom with my 11 year old son in the house and it’s up for sale. All the neughbours are disgusted and it doesn’t faze him!????

    • Mine was such a piece of human garbage we are so DONE! I was a stay at home mom 14 years he wanted that also as we both came from very Traditional families! As soon as he turned 50 all hell broke loose and funny thing I went to a very renound medium about 4 months prior and she WARNED me something is not right with this man but did I HEED the warnings, NOPE I thought I was married to a hard working, decent family man, WRONG! I trusted this piece of garbage with our life, kids and finances what a MISTAKE! He brought a neighbour two doors down who was already cohabiting with another man, very sexual relationship into our home while he was away working out of town and the kids and I were asleep! My 9 year old son caught him and told me the next day after school I was LIVID! I approached the lying piece of trash that I called a husband and father to my children at work on his cell phone. His first question was where is she? Did you kick her out, I said yes he went BALLISTIC and picked her up on the way home from work, took her to sleezbag motel down the road and screwed her for 4 days while I sat alone at home with two kids crying their eyes out! This PIG did ZERO to help get either of the kids counseling I had to pick up all the filthy pieces, alone, my daughter had just become a teenager so hormones going crazy and I husband who is now a loose cannon! I’m amazed I survived with NO help whatsoever and a family that doesn’t even live in the same city! I then got the strength to find a lawyer I filed for divorce immediately and got myself and my daughter into counseling! It’s terribly expensive to divorce I don’t recommend it but I was NO longer living with a man I could not trust our marriage was based on all LIES, 21 years and 3 years that we lived together! He is now currently living with his latest online, dating site girlfriend or slut as I call her and she was already willing to stay with him even though she knew full well we were still married! It’s disgusting where are these peoples MORALS? I’m currently alone but I hold my head up high and I’m PROUD of myself I was the FAITHFUL one and I upheld my marriage vows!????????

  • I found myself crying this morning thinking how not to hate my youngest because of her dad’s AP. Your article opened doors and set me on a path of survival again. Thank you guys

  • My ex cheated when my son was born and god knows how long before that. He quickly moved in had her baby and married her. Then took me to court for 9 years with allegations of everything under the sun. They attacked me relentlessly and took my child off me convincing the courts I was evil. I have not seen or spoken to my son for years they did everything to rid me. Not only did he replace me in a heartbeat he replaced me as a mother too. Cruel cruel man and even more cruel is the women who would have done anything to destroy and rid me too. They won and I’m alone to old to have any more kids. I’m sure my son thinks his stepmother is his actual mother as that’s what they would be telling him. The worst thing about it was I was a good wife. Don’t know what the hell I did to him to make him so incredibly hateful of me and to take a child out of womb and replace me is just the biggest blow of all. I pray my son still remembers me poor little thing. I was a good mum. These people are beyond cruel.

  • Thank you. For this article. For the comments, too.

    My now ex-husband sprung it on me last fall that he wanted a break… at first my fault… then just because, I was never clear. I finally took the hint that I wasn’t wanted. I agreed to separate.

    Now through all of this, a friend and her husband were getting a divorce. A week after I move out, my ex admits to me that he and the friend were talking about dating already. REALLY? What a bunch of cunts. Anyway, he cheated on me 6 years ago so I wasn’t surprised but I was deeply hurt. He still denies that there was any affair before – not even emotional – but I don’t believe him.

    So she’s in their lives quite a bit and it has caused a lot of problems. I have told my son that I don’t like HER and that she’s not my friend and that I don’t want to hear about her. Now, I didn’t want to be an asshole, but it was such a trigger. And now reading what you guys have said, I feel way better about that decision.

    But it hurts A LOT to have to share my boy with that slimy bitch. It’s bad enough I have to share him with his loser dad. So… yeah. That’s tough.

    • MJ I know exactly how you feel. I’m having some serious issues dealing with the fact that my ex has the affair partner in my daughter’s life. My daughter is 3 years old and doesn’t understand. But it is killing me!! It’s not bad enough I was disrespected for so long then found out.. I now have to endure this cunt in my daughter’s life. They were both married when it happened… Disgusting pieces of shit. They destroyed 2 families and still get to be together?! I’m sick thinking about it. I just found this article and it is just what I needed. I’ve been spinning my wheels wondering what I could do.. And my rational brain knows that what this article says its absolutely true.. Tho is the hardest thing to deal with. Absolutely no control in who is in my kids life… It hurts so much.

  • I just cannot deal with the prospect of my ex’s affair partner seeing our kids!!! They are so young. It has only been 4 months since the affair was revealed and they moved in STRAIGHT AWAY. I have not allowed her to see them yet, and I am going to FIGHT against it for as long as I can. I have heard awful things about her that scare me so much. I do not want a person who would destroy two families to be anywhere NEAR my kids. What an awful example of a human being. I know that, in the long run, I won’t be able to do anything to stop it. I am just going to try and avoid it for as long as I can. These people are so hurtful and cruel. Why do they get so much joy out of ruining other peoples’ lives? Yeah I know, don’t try and untangle that. Get over it. Get to MEH. I just don’t see why as a society we accept this. It’s wrong. I’m sorry, but it is. You get to destroy two families and then play mummy to both???? SORRY. NO.

  • I am so glad I found this article and comments. My ex told me almost two years ago to the date that he was unhappy and wanted to separate to “figure things out”. He was having an affair with his old girlfriend from high school who had already started divorce proceedings from her husband (with a 18 month old and 3 year old). We have three kids and at the time of separation they were 7,5 and 2. I will never forget the day that my daughters were home with me and my 5 year old asked me why we separated and asked if it was because of ‘the girl daddy talks to every night’ and that her older sister said it was daddy’s girlfriend. Her sister then comes in and flat out asks me if she is and I said ‘yes’. She then said ‘how can daddy have a girlfriend if he is still married to you?’ And I was honest and said he should not and that’s not right. Fast forwarded to today and we are now divorced and my oldest will not let her sisters talk about AP/still girlfriend around me at all. I tell her it’s okay and her response-‘Mom, if my husband left me for someone I wouldn’t want to hear about her when you don’t need too’. I fought against them being around her for a long time until I had no say. They have now been introduced, been on vacation with her and met her kids. And I worried about the overall outcome of a person like her in their lives, but as you see from my oldest comments the truth will come out. Keep showing grace and know that your kids will ultimately make up their own mind. I’m confident in how I left our marriage because I tell my girls that I did everything in my power to save it, which I did and which they witnessed.

  • My cheating ex has been having his affair with the AP since my child was 5 months old. I’ve stayed with him for 3 more years trying to work it out, but he kept going back to the AP. We’re now divorcing. Unfortunately, he has involved my daughter (4 now) with the other woman the whole time. My daughter likes her. What do I do?!?? This sucks soooooo much!!

    Note: the AP used to be my friend too.

  • My husband left me for his ex wife, This was just 2 years of our marriage. The most painful thing as that I was pregnant with our second baby. I actually thought it was over that I lost it all.

  • I did everything I was asked to do and got a love spell to bring my husband back. My husband not only come back but also bought me a brand new car and we are going to bahamas next month for a week vacation. This is why his ex wife will not let us be in peace.


  • I did everything I was asked to do and got a love spell to bring my husband back. My husband not only come back but also bought me a brand new car and we are going to bahamas next month for a week vacation. This is why his ex wife will not let us be in peace.


  • Thanks to (love solution spell. n e t) for everything, The two web place belong to (sango priestess love solution @outlook. c o m)


  • I am currently navigating this exact situation. Everything said here spoke to all the emotions I’ve been going thru. It hurts, it’s sucks and I want to be that batshit crazy person. Thank you for this piece.

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