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Dear Chump Lady, *Now* he wants to be an involved parent? WTF?

I have removed this letter at the request of the original poster. But have left the advice intact. 

For the record — do NOT send me letters asking for advice if you do not want them published. If you just want to write to me, fine. If you pen a “Dear Tracy/CL” letter — assume it WILL be published (if I choose it, I get many of them). 


I’m sorry you bred with a monster. I really am — he is a complete and utter waste of carbon life. That’s quite a litany of woe — his neglect, his cheating absences during your pregnancies, his complete disregard for you and your child. No wonder you want to punch him in the face. I’m right there with you. (Hold him, we’ll take turns.)

But you must, must, MUST not internalize his parting mindfuck that the problem isn’t being a parent, the problem is being a parent with YOU. That you are the one that drove him to his abusiveness. That he wouldn’t have to hurt you if you didn’t make him. That’s what all these assholes say. They all blameshift and fail to take responsibility for their abuse. In his fevered imagination, he couldn’t possibly be the problem. He didn’t walk out on his wife and child for his affair partner — no, all of this is your fault. Gosh, if you just weren’t so horrible to parent with. You’re the bad guy.

Yeah, you, the one there raising his kid all on your own. Oh, and hey, you missed a spot.

You have my deepest condolences. I’ve lived this myself and I’m sure many chumps here can relate. You do all the responsible, heavy parenting and then they want to swoop in and play at it, and tell you how much you suck.  I’ve had my custody challenged several times by my son’s mentally ill father (pro se) and I know exactly how maddening it is to raise a kid on your own and be told by some dead beat You’re Doing It All Wrong, while they buy the occasional taco and movie ticket. (Standing ovation! Throw confetti!)

So why does this guy, who demonstrably doesn’t give a shit about his child, want to suddenly play interested daddy? Let’s examine the possibilities.

1. He’s changed. He’s all better now. The reason is that he’s away from you. And you really did suck. This is the reason you fear. But let’s take this apart, shall we? First off, he hasn’t changed. He’s not sorry. It’s been 10 months. Is he in deep therapy? Has he been 10 months of contrite? Has he spent 10 months as a kind, attentive, parent? No. He’s shown interest in his kid for an entire WEEK. Not a very long track record, and not based on any foundation of character. Next, do you suck? You didn’t drive him to cheat and abandon you. You raise a child alone under trying circumstances. You’re there with the kid. He walked out on the kid. So, I’m going to hand the Suck Award to him.

2. He’s a nimrod and he can handle small parenting tasks like a three hour playdate, and not much else. Sounds like your child is not an infant any more and is at the cute, cuddly photo opportunity age. The zoo is not hard. Getting into a good preschool, making all your doctor’s appointments, toilet training, and tending to the ever changing food preferences of a small child? THAT’s hard. The zoo, not so much. So let’s put this in perspective — if he’s stepping up to the plate, it’s a very small plate. And it’s about as high as he can reach… which is to say, not very high. He’s a parenting midget.

3. He’s salting the mines for the girlfriend. I’m putting my money here. If this is the affair partner, but especially if it’s a new girlfriend, he needs to make a pretense of What A Good Father he is. So it’s time for the horse and pony show. If he can pull off the loving daddy act, he’ll lure in his next chump. See? I’m not so bad. That mean, mean mommy — she’s the crazy parent. Not me! I’m all love and marshmellows and trips to the monkey house.

4. He’s an NPD and he wants something. If he’s a narcissistic personality disorder, they’re only nice when they want something from you. There’s an angle here you’re missing. Something in it for them (see salting the mines for the next sucker, above). Maybe taxes are due. Maybe he’s behind on child support. Maybe he wants to change the schedule. Maybe he wants to mindfuck you about something else. Maybe if you lock enough narcissists in a room with typewriters in an infinite amount of time, they will type a Thank You note eventually. So yes, it could be chance, but more likely  — you could be of use to him. He’ll try charm first, before he resorts to bullying, rage, and self pity next.

5. He’s an NPD and your kid is just reaching the Age of Kibbles. Infants don’t make good kibbles. They cry a lot and puke in your hair. They’re very needy. Narcissist hate needy. All the oxygen in the room is THEIRS, so what’s this pink little monster doing here breathing THEIR air? Unless it’s a photo opportunity or a ribbon cutting ceremony or something, NPDs do not enjoy being around babies.

And, let’s face it, the early days of parenthood are HARD. I think they’re especially hard for men. Their wives are all busy with pregnancies and then a newborn and don’t have the time and attention they used to have for them. Normal guys tough this stage out, but narcissists? They cannot bear it. I think this is why a lot of them cheat on pregnant women or young mothers. They can’t step up to the adult world of adult responsiblities. It’s not fun, fun, fun all the time. There’s not enough attention for them. They sulk. They withdraw. They cheat.

But your child is now at an age where they get happy, an age at which they just adore mommy and daddy. Especially when mommy or daddy have treats for them. They’re cuddly and imaginative and lots of fun. The kibbles are awesome. In fact just typing this makes me want to adopt some Chinese orphans (but I’ve been forbidden by my husband, because they turn into surly teenagers eventually… and we’re at the homestretch of having civilized three teenage boys… if civilization means getting them to throw their pizza boxes out…) Anyway, my point is — little kids are great. NPDs are reportedly quite the “devoted” parents until the kids cease to give kibbles and go through their own little narcissist stage of adolescence. Then the NPD drops them. Bad kibbles… all this self actualization and independence and autonomy.

Read up on co-parenting with a narcissist. That book I recommend in the box, Why Is It Always About You? has a good section on it. I’m afraid that’s what you’re in for. A guy who is going to confuse your child and be very inconsistent in his attentions. That’s going to hurt. But don’t fear — you’re doing the right thing getting out young, with your whole life ahead of you. Lots of time to build a new, wonderful life for yourself and model good things. As I say a lot — it just takes one sane parent. And you’re it.

He’ll nose dive. It’s what these idiots do. Meanwhile, you just rock on, obey the visitation schedule, and try your best to ignore whatever flavor of parent he is being this week. You’re the real parent here. I know it. Your kid knows it. We chumps know it. Now it’s time for you to know it. Forget him and what he thinks of you — you’re doing the hard work of raising your child. And that speaks for itself.  (((Big hugs)))

Ask Chump Lady

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  • CL you give the best advice. You are always so spot on. While I’m reading this post I’m thinking “Hope she mentions that this guy is trying to look good for the new GF and there it is. It’s just like when friends or relatives come to visist and all of a sudden your H is helping you bring in groceries. All for show. Make sure you stay with the visitation plan. Strictly. Him too. He may soon tire of this. Or maybe he will be a good Dad and won’t that be wonderful for your child. Probabaly he will be like most where the road is paved with good intentions but not much follow thru. Hang in there.

    • Same thought went through my head as well, Janet. He’s doing this to look like Super Dad. STBX pulled this shit and still does. I do all the heavy lifting and he takes the kids for fun times and meals out and movie night with crap food at his place. He has not once gone to their sports, schlepped them around to their friends (they don’t even bring their friends to his place) or listened to their problems. It’s all ‘let’s be positive! Let’s be optimistic! Everything is great!’

      I fear one of mine is falling for the bullshit and it pisses me off. In fact, last night I kind of lost it and pointed out a few things about his dad which I wish I hadn’t done but I was SICK OF THIS SHIT.

      I am not a great mother sometimes during this and I hate what his bullshit has left in it’s wake: me losing it with my kids when I rarely did that before.

  • As usual, CL is right on target! Just wanted to add, you don’t have to worry that your child will grow up thinking dad is this amazing and wonderful guy, because the little time he spent with the kid was all fun, fun fun! (I call this the Uncle Daddy syndrome.) First of all because even being consistent about that is more than most Narcissists can manage. But mostly because kids aren’t dumb! As they grow up, they know VERY well who was really there for them, who was always around when needed, who did the hard work. And that means they will accept discipline from you, even if they never get it at Dad’s, they will value you (although during adolescence they will hide that fairly well!), they will maintain their relationship with you in the long term, and they will be influenced by you, as they will not by their father.

    Be zen, trust in your child’s love, and hang in there!

    • Uncle Daddy–how weird. During my little rant last night I actually called STBX that to my kid. And you’re spot on, Karen, about the adolescent being pretty good at not valuing what we’re doing – or at least not showing it. My teen wants so much for his dad to be a good guy that he criticises me and accepts crumbs from his father right now. I want to shake him and say ‘wake up! He has an agenda!’

      I’m supremely grumpy today so ignore me while I rant all over the place.

    • Let me check… I think I have a threaded pipe around here somewhere…

      • I’m pretty sure there’s a group of us lining up—the court says I can’t beat on my ex-husband, but the judge didn’t say anything about other people’s ex-pieces of shit.

        Point me at ’em!

  • From reading this letter, I was under the impression that the shit just hit the fan 10 months ago, and they aren’t officially divorced yet. She did say he announced he was going to make divorce attorney appointments when he found out she was pregnant again. In that case, he probably had a chat with a lawyer and found out that if he TOTALLY ditches on the kid it’s going to cost him lots more in child support.

    So he’s just starting the “I’m an involved Dad show” so he can go for at least 50% custody. Not that he’s suddenly decided he actually likes spending time with the child, or should just grow up and actually act like a real parent (not that zoo trips and fast food stops count as real parenting), but because 50% custody will (a) cost him less in child support and (b) hurt her some more. Because with NPD’s it’s not enough to just rip your heart out, they must also “stomp that sucker flat”.

    All us chumps would love to take a turn at punching his face in. He sounds like a special kind of monster, and I’m glad you’re rid of him.

    • To add to McJJ’s thoughts……. He also could be getting “divorce advice” from his GF. Maybe SHE already went through the big D, and is dispensing her “valuable” advice.

      Either way, start moving the divorce along for YOURSELF. Get a good lawyer, and don’t let him just “drop by” anymore. That is not fair to you, or your child. Random drop-ins just disrupt you and your child, which I’m sure your H loves to do.

      Good luck and hang in there.

    • Wow, this sounds so familiar. .. spent the last year and a half watching my poor douche bag of a lying cheating husband have his pity party because I did and am holding him accountable for his actions. As soon as I filed he wanted to be involved. It is pathetic! ! He can’t keep up the show forever. They all suck! And mine is a cop. Whatever happened to setting a good example not only to the kids but also the community. I can’t wait to be rid of him.

    • I think it’s about money too. My ex did some funny business in the interest of cutting child support as well. I used to try to get the kids as much visitation as possible, was bend-over-backwards accommodating. Then one day he texted me saying “keep the kids for now”. I was like, “WTH does that mean?” and he just gave me some vague answer. Next day he called our oldest daughter, who was expecting him to pick her and siblings up later in the day, and told her he couldn’t pick them up because the judge and the court wouldn’t let him see them right now. I explained to the kids that there was no such order and I didn’t see why they couldn’t visit with him. Couple week later it all becomes clear when I am served with his response to my petition for divorce. In it he makes a free-text declaration that he is “devastated” because I am keeping his beloved children away from him, and all he wants is the well being of our children and I won’t even let him see them, blah blah blah. I guess the idea was that he could make it look like parental alienation and get some kind of break. The joke’s on him, though. The judge never gave his declaration two seconds of attention. I also believe this ‘strategic’ move was made based on advice from his AP.

  • My boyfriend’s uncle had little care for his daughter and left for Florida with his new wife when she was young. When she got older his presence at any event of hers, or any event that didn’t focus on him in general, was always a question mark. She saw how hard her mom worked and how her dad only looked out for himself. When she graduated High School she decided not to send him an announcement. He found out through his parents and called to demand to know why he wasn’t included.

    “I’m your father.”

    “No you’re not.”

    Your kid will really know who care in the end, no matter how many treats your ex stops by with. NP can’t remain consistent. It must be about them. Kids can be smart.

  • My guess is he’s aiming for more custody so he doesn’t have to pay child support. Looking good for girlfriend/fuckbuddy might be part of it, but my bet is $$$$$ is the bottom line. It always is with these types.

    He’s a pig, and doesn’t deserve to breathe the air on this planet.

  • If there’s any chance it’s about custody and $$$, document EVERY parenting or non-parenting moment of this guy’s life. Ask him to provide advance notice of visitation, or to submit a suggested visitation schedule ahead of time, all by e-mail. Do not accept ‘spontaneous’ visits or outings. Note down his arrivals and departures w/the child, and any info pertinent to parenting (he brought the kid back late, exhausted, hungry and dirty? Kid has a fever he didn’t notice? He was late picking up or dropping off or missed a promised visitation time?). Hopefully you will never need this info, but in case you do …..

  • 3-4 and 5 for sure…these POS’s are all alike…its only to get what they need from it and yeah its how to exploit the kid best for the best gains….geeeezuz can we take these idiots out to the cornfield ?…they are so disgusting when they do this

  • I almost gagged at this:
    “All the oxygen in the room is THEIRS, so what’s this pink little monster doing here breathing THEIR air?”
    Would you believe my h actually told me that he wouldn’t sleep facing me because he didn’t want to breathe my used air!

    Everytime I get twisted around with the cruel things he tells me (the air thing was just stupid) I remind myself that his perception is all about him. It has nothing to do with me, or what I am like, or reality at all. It sounds like you are a great parent, and his opinion means nothing.

  • CL,

    This may be one of your best answers EVER. You are a GENIUS.

    What you describe is a syndrome that we can call “Suddenly Attentive Parent Opportunism” (abbreviated as SAPO, which means “frog” in Spanish). It’s all about the separated NPD-parent weaponizing the kids, trying to prove something to the new partner, trying to prove something to himself, and seizing every opportunity to attack the parenting of the one really good parent. (“It took you 12.5 seconds too long to call me after Johnny sprained his thumb. Clearly, you are inadequate.” Of course, this does not mean that NPD parent wants full custody with his new love….) All this has NOTHING to do with real parenting. Such NPD and separated parents will focus on the kids (as you point out) during the kids’ high-plateau ego-kibbles stage (about age 5-11, when kids still idealize the parents). But this is ALL about the NPD parent and has nothing to do with the kids. Little babies and toddlers are hard, as you point out, as are adolescents. But there is an intermediate “sweet spot” for the separated NPD parent (ages 5-11), when you can be the hero by buying a toy, buying an ice cream, etc. etc. etc.

    You nailed this one CL, as you do all these complex topics. In the end, however, buying lollipops is not going to make the separated NPD parent a good parent, and the kid will figure that out. My hat’s off to you, yet again. Damn, you are GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • They definitely don’t want the kids fulltime. STBX has threatened me with all sorts of things, including taking the kids fulltime. So I finally said ‘Ok, let’s do that then. You take them full time and I’ll revert to your schedule of here and there, when I can fit them in’. Crickets from STBX.

      I guess fulltime parenting might get in the way of his reborn youth.

  • I got stuck on the ” just waltzes into my house, breezily asks about our kid”.
    Why is he waltzing into your house? Why give him access?
    Breezily asks? Why not keep the communication to email?
    Are you hurting yourself by letting him come into your home (he has his own place – do you breeze in there?)?
    Parenting questions can be dealt with other than breezy conversation.
    I wonder how happy he would be if you insisted that parenting be done by email so you have complete records?
    And what about you walking your child out to the car and a bit of adjustment time outside or even McDonald’s…keep your space as your space.

    • Yep. It took me four months to get the keys back and I only got them back because I told him flat out that he gave me the creeps when he was in the house. He would still come over and tell the kids to get their feet off the sofa or whatever and I finally said ‘you don’t live here anymore. I’m ok with their feet on the sofa so leave it’. He didn’t like that.

  • Disneyland Dad is definitely trying to feather his bed for the divorce. Don’t let him get by with that at your expense. Best defense is a good offense. Asshat is not your friend.

    CL is right – he’s trying to look good for the new gf. He’s also trying to make this work to his financial advantage. All of this is nothing but a self-serving act. He is playing daddy.

    DO NOT let him do this waltzing in and out of your home any longer! Establish your boundaries and stick by them. Be fair, but don’t be nice. You two are finished, and he can’t play at your house any more. He can set appointments to see little guy, at times that fit your schedule.

    You don’t owe him a damn thing after all the time he has neglected you and your child.

  • Parenting midget. Lol.

    My husband has ignored his children for the last 18 months, gone every Sunday to a ‘friend’s house’ and working late most nights. Since he confessed his affair two months ago, he’s been vying for father of the year and actually paid attention to them. It didn’t last though. He hasn’t seen them in almost two weeks and never calls them. He’s too busy looking for his own happiness to worry about the happiness of his children. Parenting midget personified.

  • We were not married, and I have 2 grown daughters who loved him dearly, as much as I hate to say it he WAS there for them, but when DDay happened and NC went into effect it applied to them too (thier choice). Well it finally happened with my oldest daughter, he saw her in the store and hugged her and said he was so, so so sorry. The man who DOES not HUG, does NOT say he’s sorry….

    Her reaction. Nothing. She very coldly froze him out, and as soon as she could call me she said “Mom..all my mind said was “What does he want?” This is from my mamby pamby daughter that is 99.9% heart. Her reasoning is that she doesn’t want to let him think he can wedge his way back into our lives and hurt the Grands. Total instinct… And I’m so glad she feels this way because I feel guilty for bringing him knto my girls/grandkids lives…

    You will be great, your questioning and reaching out is right on!

  • Guy sounds like a total sociopath. No feelings at all. I would not trust my kid with him for a minute.

    He’s after the money. Document everything.

  • Again, you just described my entire marriage and post marriage, when a narcissist’s children mattered or didn’t matter according to the narcissist’s needs. This post is a keeper!!! Thank you CL! I wish you well R. You are the parent who will make a difference for your children! Blessings 🙂

  • Chump Lady,

    I love your humor…it is good to laugh. I especially related to this last post! When it comes to our children, we so much feel the hurt because we actually care. Thank you!

  • Chump Lady – I wish someone had given me this advice 4 years ago. You are spot on.

    My advice is to Document Everything ! I mean every little detail. This was the best advice I received when I filed for divorce and it saved me in court. He took me back to court to try to get more custody because he said he missed his kids (Actually, he didn’t want to pay the measely $570 /month child support for for two children). He stated to the judge that I never gave him any extra time with the kids. Well when I pulled out my journal and showed the judge all 25 dates that were either extra visits or extended visits, he got shot down on the extra time. Keep notes on visits and phone calls, money issues, keep receipts, email as much as possible and either load them onto a flash drive or print them out. This came back to bite him in the ass when he claimed he emailed me about vacation, then had the OW fake a forwarded email. They are so silly sometimes! Keep texts too. Like the one where he says he’s not bringing the kids home on time and go ahead and call the cops cuz he loves his kids and he’s not putting them in the middle.You can download them and then move to a flash drive. You need to do what’s best for you and your child and having the documentation you won’t be as easily gaslighted! You have proof that he said or did something even when he denies it and tells you that you’re crazy.

    My suggestion is go out and get yourself a really nice daily calendar/journal and start now. It will definitely pay in the long run.

  • Just a note on the ‘kids are not stupid’ side of things;

    My kids were 11 and 12 last year when the ex cheated for a second time and I dumped his ass. Kids know the separation was his decision, don’t know about the infidelities. The ex made little point of being w/the kids, easily accepted their staying with me 80% of the time (normal in our jurisdiction is 50 -50), blows them off for a couple of long weekends so he can be with Schmoopsie, etc. Then at one point he’s texting and calling them a lot, and I say, in my nice encourage-a-good-relationship-with-their-father tone ‘papa must be missing you!’. To which my son replies ‘papa misses us when HE’s lonely’.

    • Smart kid. STBX told the kids at one point that he ‘HAD’ to make things work with IW because he fucked everything up with me and he wasn’t going to sit around alone waiting to see them a couple of times a week. He really said that. And I realised that it was true–he has few friends, his family control him now and if he doesn’t have a woman in his life he doesn’t know what to do. He literally can’t be alone and when OW is busy he texts and texts the kids and wants them to come to see him during their time with me. But when she’s around they get nothing.

  • I agree with CL and the the rest of you.

    My Ex got it into his head that if our adult disabled daughter split her time evenly between the two households, he would not have to pay support. While I wanted her to have liberal time with her dad, I filed a motion to be named the Residential Parent (we share guardianship). Thousands of dollars we did not have, and a verbal report from a Guardian Ad Litem later, he learned that support was based on our daughter’s *need*, not her schedule. Once he learned that no matter how often she was over at his house, he would have to contribue to her care while at mine given the difference in our incomes, he let go of the rope. He listened to the GAL’s recommendation that I become her residental guardian and she spends 20/30 nights per month in my home.

    And its best for her. He dropped the Disneyland Dad arrangement (which he used when trying unsuccessfully to convince, me, the GAL or the judge that my autistic adult daughter could “choose” her residental parent ~ and that he wasn’t bribing her!) and became her Dad again.

    His new wife (who was the reason for the divorce in the first place) didn’t seem so keen on the 50/50 split anyway.

    Get your divorce on file; get in front of the judge, and get a GAL. It was expensive ~ but it was the best money I ever spent…

  • “if you lock enough narcissists in a room with typewriters in an infinite amount of time, they will type a Thank You note eventually.”


    Now my sides hurt 🙂

  • yea
    more than likely he just wants to look like a big shot.

    when we divorced my exwife didnt make a big deal out of custody.she was way too busy working two jobs so she could keep up the appearance of “Keeping up with the Joneses” .i had already agreed not to ask for child that time we were getting along better as friends then we ever did as a married couple and we had been separated for most of a year.
    But BOY when she remarried.she devoted her and her new husbands income to getting custody.they separated and it all fell thru for her.THEN she wanted to be friends again and my dumb ass fell for it hook line and sinker.

    • I’m actually at this stage right now.
      My STBX was never a great, hands on dad. Never taught DD to ride her bike, swim, read with her etc.
      It’s 6 months now since he left and introduced her to AP after 3, mainly due to the fact it was becoming too much hard work taking her out on Saturdays alone!
      He seemed to think her could drop his daughter into her ready made family (she has 4 kids) and our daughter would accept it.
      That one went down like a sack of shit!
      Daughter came home in tears and didn’t want to go again. After waiting 24 hours to calm down, not over react I contacted him to make the point he’d acted like a fuckwit.
      Of course I was the one who was twisting things!
      Another 3 months down the line he’s asked daughter if she wants to go away with them to London and camping. She told him no.
      Kids may be young but they are sure as hell not stupid if they’ve gone through this. My daughter is 9 and I think she understands way more than her dad.
      At least she has a clear sense of right and wrong.
      CL is right, it’s all about looking good in the eyes of the new partner and in my ex’s case getting her to look after his daughter because he’s fed up of it now.
      We don’t conveniently fit in with his plans any more.
      I work full time Monday-Saturday to pay the mortgage. He is contributing nothing financially and he’s moaning because DD doesn’t want to go Sundays with him. (The only full day DD can spend with me). He was taking daughter Thursday and Saturday. AP works Sundays so Saturday is ‘their’ day together. He’s suddenly had to start working Saturdays (lies) so must see her Sundays.
      I’ve said why doesn’t he take her after work on Saturday and get no response.

      Kids figure it out. I see it in my daughters eyes. She knows in her bones who’s holding it together and who’s to blame.
      Know who is the REAL parent and not the pretend one. Damn Right!!

      • Eve1274, my daughter will be 9 tomorrow and I dread the day of the first visitation at her father’s new apartment. The apartment which he has to have ‘to find out who he is’. I know who he is. He’s the scumbag that’s been having an affair for a year and a half.

  • Wow!!!

    Sorry CL, I am surprised. I thought this was a place where everyone knew that their thoughts were public. Maybe it was the advice of a lawyer???

  • Kay H, I am also dreading the first visitation night for my three kids ( 8,11 and 12) at their fathers and AP new apartment. It’s been 10 months since separation and until now it has just been day ( or 3 hourly outings) on weekends that suit him . He has told them that it is near the harbour , and is trying to impress them ( AP is a wealthy business woman with no kids and a huge ego). It really upsets me to think she could buy their affection or friendship when she has broken up their family and taken their father away from them on so many occasions over their year long affair. ( overseas trips , long weekends away every month, Friday night “meetings”.). I know it’s not in the ‘best interests of the kids’ , but I want them to hate her as much as I do , and make it as unpleasant as they can when they go to visit, but I have brought them up well , and know they will be on their best behavior and use their manners . It seems so unfair that she ( and their father) will benefit from all my hard parenting work , while they were living it up . It makes me so mad to imagine her near my kids . I would love some tips on how I should cope with this . I’m trying to be positive in front of the kids when they talk about the soon to be visiting arrangements ( ” one night every second weekend, but it has to be flexible”), but I am finding it very hard , so usually don’t say much . I would love some tips on coping and any experiences that people have had .

    • Hi Julia,

      It sounds like you are already on the right track. If you can’t be genuinely encouraging (and really, in these circumstances, I don’t think there’s too many of us who can, and I don’t think there’s any shame in that) then less said (to the kids) the better. Just remind them they are going to have fun with their father & that you will see them xyz night (or whenever). If you can say it honestly, even go with the idea that you are glad they are going to have fun with dad. If you can’t express that honestly, no shame, just don’t go there.

      One thing that I started doing was reminding Radio Flyer Princess that I had this that or the other scheduled–that I was going out with friends, etc. Once she knew I was not at home moping about missing her, I think it kind of gave her permission to have fun with her dad. (And yeah, sometimes I was home moping missing her, but she didn’t need to know that. She’s the kid; I’m the parent; She’s not supposed to parent me.) I didn’t go into too much detail, no reason to hand Andy a play-by-play of my plans, but RFP enjoyed her weekends with her father more after I sort of “gave her permission”.

      The other thing to remember is, their father & his affair partner are not the ones who are benefiting from all your hard-work parenting. Your kids are the ones benefiting from the _fact_ you are a good parent. Dad & AP are just getting the effect of being present in the same room as some great kids.

      As far as the AP buying their affection, kids are a lot smarter than we generally give them credit for. The most effective thing you can do for a kid is *be present*. When the shit hits the fan, _presents_ lose out to _presence_ every time. Kids know who they can rely on when shit happens, and they know it is not the person buying them TVs, game systems, and Malibu Barbie.

      Remember, you’ll still be Mommy years after AP is sick to death of clingy, sticky kids that want what they want when they want it. If she’s never had kids of her own, she’s in for a rude awakening the first time one of them vomits in her bed, has to be run in to urgent care at 3 am, or has a full blown-face turning purple tantrum the night before the wedding.

      You are Mom. You love them through all that crap and back again. It may not feel like it when your youngest is 14, but when your oldest is 30, they will know who was and was not the responsible adult in the situation.

      I hope that helps a little bit.

  • Hi Chumplady,

    What should you do if a man, living with his girlfriend, tries to cheat with you? Do you find a way to expose him? I’ve done ton of research on this guy and he’s had problems in the past. Messed around with a married woman only a few months after he and his second ex-wife married – second ex wife cheated on him with a woman, by the way. He and his girlfriend have been back and forth rocky for 11 years….they met in 2001 at the place they both work, while she was still married, and she filed for divorce in 2003. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to put two and two together about how they got together and what I’m sure they were doing behind everyone’s back, especially after my own interactions with him. This girlfriend was arrested for DUI back in 2008.

    Obviously lying to her and his own kids – if anything by omission – lying to me about how unhappy his home life is and how they are not having sex and “I can’t tell you the situation I’m in right now” and blah blah fucking blah. Let’s just say I have, um, ‘stuff’ I have prepared, and have locations I can place the said ‘stuff’, but am worried about it coming back to bit me in the ass. LOL But it is a feeling that won’t go away. What do you recommend?

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