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Dear Chump Lady, How can I keep the homewrecker away from my kids?

Hey Chump Lady,

So here’s my deal — my divorce was just finalized a few weeks ago. The past seven months of Hell led to the culmination of a twelve-year relationship that abruptly ended because of the bad behavior of one person. Like a scene out of a movie, I came home early from work one day to find my husband standing in our bedroom, with the look of guilt on his face like he had someone hidden in the bathroom. While I didn’t find the other person that morning, I did find the apartment brochure and application he had stuffed in his coat. Within a few seconds, my beautiful life had ended and a complete alien had invaded my husbands body and mind.

To spare all the disgusting details, I discovered the affair about four days later. My investigative skills were out in full force and with evidence in hand, I confronted him. How awesome for me that he still refused to admit what he had done. Here’s the best part — he was having an affair with a co-worker, and even better yet, we all work for the same company, in the same building.

Fast forward to the present, divorce completed. I picked my children up today after they spent the past three nights with him (gotta love these no fault states, equal rights for all parents no matter how bad you wronged the other person). Anyway, I pick up my kids and they tell me all about meeting their Dad’s friend, the OW. How I was able to control my body, I have no idea, because my mind was erupting like Mt. Vesuvius.

So here’s my question — how do I get through this? The thought of this wretched home-wrecker being in the mere vicinity of my children is revolting. And to be clear, this has nothing to do with my ex dating. But it has everything to do with my children being around the evil witch who helped destroy our family. Thoughts?



Dear TJ,

Thoughts? You don’t control this. You’re divorced. Your ex can associate with circus clowns, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or pig farmers — it’s not your business. Unfortunately, that also includes associating with the OW. Unless she’s putting your children in immediate and demonstrable harm, the courts don’t care.

Some people are able to get provisions in there for no overnight guests, or no introductions until a certain point. And then guess what? You become the ex police. How exactly are you going to monitor who sleeps when and where, who is introduced to whom? By getting in his business. Or by asking your children. Or by initiating lawsuits when they volunteer information that goes against the order. And that shit is exhausting and expensive, and makes you the bad guy Who Cannot Get Over Him, which is of course kibbles to him and to the OW. Oh, let the triangle continue!

It’s all a total no win. And it’s unjust. I feel your pain. I’m just telling you the truth — there is no way to control your ex’s bad decisions. There was no way to control them when you were married to him, so why would you think this person would behave reasonably and considerably now? Same with the OW. This person displayed no boundaries in going after a married man — do you think she’s going to show some special consideration for your children? No. She isn’t.

You don’t like her (rightfully). With rare exception, the courts don’t care. You’re divorced. If you have some provision in there that he may not make introductions or have overnights, and he violates it — you get to document that. You can get in front of a judge and complain, petition for full custody, and see if it buys you any traction. I tend to doubt it, and especially so soon. If you don’t have those provisions, and he’s just a dickwad — I’m sorry, this is a shit sandwich you must eat.

You only get to control YOU. If your children are distressed by meeting this person, and the whole situation, get them into counseling soonest. Be the stable, sane parent. The OW didn’t win a prize with your ex-husband — and just because she waltzed into his life, doesn’t mean she can steal your children from you. You are their MOTHER. They love YOU. Those bonds are primal. They’ll figure out dad and the OW in their own time, in their own way. Your job right now is to just focus on you and the kids and let go of them.

I know it’s fucking with your head, but the best thing you can do in this situation is practice meh. Remain dignified. Let it play out — because I promise you, it will play out. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “the arc of moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” It’s essential to take the long view. Either this relationship with the OW won’t last (highly likely), or if it does last, it’s two cheaters making each other miserable because they have the life skills of pond scum.

Trust that they suck. You’re going to go on being you — a caring parent, a kickass survivor, a person of integrity. They are going to go on sucking. It is what they do. Your children are not stupid — it make take a few years, but they WILL figure it out.

I know you hunger for justice now, and that begins with her not being able to touch your kids, but she can’t replace you in their hearts. However despicable your ex-husband is, your children probably want a relationship with their dad. They still love him. And the price of admission for his love is putting up with her.

They’ve had a lot thrown at them, so they can’t wear your grief about her too. Best thing you can do is let go on this. You’re free to tell your kids you don’t like her, that you’ll never be “friends.” You’re free to explain the infidelity to them. But you need to give them the space to have that relationship with their dad — which yeah, may suck for them. Just keep being awesome, keep healing, and stay as no contact as you can with the ex and the OW. It won’t be long before one or the other of them I bet, comes home to their own mysterious apartment brochure some day.

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  • TJ,
    It sounds to me like your kids are younger, so this will be rugged. CL is correct – you have to eat the shit sandwich in a no fault state. I divorced in a no-fault state as well – and it was amazing how little (even though it’s on the books as a negative) adultery and bad behavior matter to courts…..or anybody anymore!

    Follow CL’s advise – it’s solid – but I would add one thing – if your kids start to be affected negatively by interaction with the OW (and even their douche dad) – document EVERYTHING. If it becomes an issue that is a threat to their mental well being – you can certainly get them into counciling…..but you also have a certain amount of power in the court system re: this. Courts want to be seen doing what’s best for the child – and if the child is being truly, demonstrably affected by forced interaction with the OW……that does give you traction to a degree. It will cost money to pursue – but if you find that she is letting that toxicity leach onto them…….you do have options.

    But keep in mind – this is only if the kids are being badly affected by her. Don’t fall into the trap of “setting the scene” even without realizing it – by communicating your justifiable rage at both of them through the kids. That will turn and bite you back in the long run. You can certainly let your kids know the facts – but do it in a way that is honest, appropriate and – dare I say – neutral. “I don’t like or respect OW because she didn’t respect me or my marriage to your dad. When someone is married – you are not supposed to date them – but she dated your dad when he and I were still married, and that’s just wrong. Dad also was wrong and very hurtful to me because he made promises to me to always be honest and respectful and love me. So I don’t really want to be around either of them.” You can be that honest – but you don’t have to inflame with what CL calls “editorializing.”

    Good luck – I thank God every day my kids were too old to put under the “shared custody” thumb of no fault divorce. I won’t lie – the greatest healing aspect of my divorce is not having him pop up in any aspect of our lives. I wish you all the best over what is going to be a tough road for the near future.

    And boy – I sure hope CL is right about karma – because like you – I keep waiting for that slow, long curve of justice to descend on my ex as well. Ultimately -as much of an odious, devious, slutty character the OW may be (and the one I dealt with was a real piece of diseased desperate work) it’s your ex who disrespected and did all this to you – not her. Oh – she’s a player in it – and I totally agree with how you feel – but don’t fool yourself that he was “taken over by aliens” – which was EXACTLY the same phrase I originally used about my ex – he wasn’t. He’s been this way all along. All you experienced was his deciding that you weren’t giving him the kibble he needed and so his focus (always on himself) moved to find someone else who did. In the end – he’s the biggest villain – she’s just the plot twist. If it hadn’t have been her – it would have been someone else. Whorish needy women, sadly, are a dime a dozen.

    • All well said, Char, thanks. You picked up on a point I missed — he isn’t an alien. HE broke up the home, not the OW. As you nicely put it, she’s a plot device. If it wasn’t her, it would be someone else. That is not to say she’s not culpable, she is, but if he’d had boundaries, she would not “home wreck.” And if he’d wanted to get out of his marriage honestly, he would’ve done that too. This really is on him.

      And he’s the person the kids will have the relationship with. The OW is peripheral.

      Of course I don’t know how justice will sort out, but I have been at this parenting thing with a fuck up longer. I’ve seen it play out with my son and I’ve seen it play out with my husband’s kids. They figure it out. Trust me on this. Your job is to just live your life — that better life. (It can only BE better with this idiot out of your life. Addition by subtraction.) And be the very best parent you can be for your kids.

      • I hate to say this but just be glad your child did not die like mine did in their care – yet I am still being taken to court because he knows best. Love and God bless – love and hold your children tight they will make the choice.

      • Canada is complete no fault and my ex husband was screwing both his affairs inside our family home it’s disgusting! My young son caught them, 9 at the time and told me everything I have been living in hell for two years now with our beautiful dog!

    • I will definitely use some of your honesty with my boys. My friends keep telling me to take the high road, but I feel like that’s not a path I want to go down on this one…I am always completely honest with my kids, and while I don’t go into full detail, I’m the one who had to explain to them that their Dad left our family because he did not love me anymore. I feel I’d be lying to them if I did not let them know that I do not like the OW. Everyone is correct, he was the one that disrespected our marriage, but she is a little more than just a player in this. It’s crazy to say this, but she has a long history of this type of behavior. She has destroyed two other marriages at our work, and made many other attempts. This is public knowledge, however, the Douche I was married to has his “Penis Blinders” on and doesn’t want to believe it. I like thinking about that game, “six degrees of separation”. If I play it, My XH has slept with so many people in our office, it’s actually quite funny.

      I will try to put my best foot forward. It’s not easy avoiding the work bathroom at certain hours of the day, and being scared to walk out into the parking lot and having a chance run-in with either. It’s also super awesome that everyone knows my business. I guess that’s what I get for meeting someone at work and trusting them to be committed to our family….

      My kids go back to his house for the next three nights. I’ll just have to wait until they tell me about what they did during his time and see if her name comes up. It will be heart piercing no matter what, but I’m gonna try to stay tough.

      • I know it’s tough to believe this now but there will come a time when you are glad of this… Your ex is an ASS and her punishment is now she’s stuck with him… Your children will be fine. They ultimately will be focused on themselves rather than last generations drama. And having free nights 3 times a week will allow you to date when that special someone comes along. And OW and Ex will be stuck baby sitting. Ha!

  • CL- great post as always.
    TJ– I feel your pain, I have been there, and still am…

    I thought exH and I were doing everything right. the kids are seeing a therapist, we met with the therapist, hammered out what is in the best interest of the kids regarding new mates. It is in our divorce agreement, no new mates overnight with the kids in house. Then he planned to move the OW in pregnant (!) while I was overseas for a few months, and he had sole custody of the kids. The kids had never met her at that point, nor did they know of her existence. And that divorce agreement that he was in a rush to sign? Turns out, ex did not think that meant HER, just one night stands (really, would I bring a series of guys into the house ??). A friend told me of the plan, I would have been clueless. Fortunately this all came out before the divorce was finalized. And to top it all, I just found out this week, he told our 12 yr old of the plan, but to NOT TELL ME BECAUSE I WOULD BE ANGRY. My poor daughter had to keep that secret for 6 months.

    7 months later, now 4.5 months post divorce: I managed to hammer out a very clear plan, in consultation with the therapist on how the kids were to meet her… 4 hours at a time for the first 4 months. No living overnight in the house until the kids had known her for a year. My father did this to my mother. My father married the OW and did not care about our feelings, did not care that we did not know this person when he got married, etc.
    I told my exH, I wish they would never meet her: to get involved with a married man, she must be selfish, self absorbed, and insecure. Not someone I want my kids around.
    But, with the agreement,they could slowly get to know her and be comfortable with the situation . OW was supposed to move to our state, as she resides elsewhere.

    Then OW got pregnant AGAIN (miscarried, then pregnant 2-3 later. Um, that is not an accident). So kids did not meet her until this summer (OW lives out of state), partially due to our agreement. Ex and OW married two weeks ago, kids were not involved. Since daughter did not want to attend, son was not permitted to attend.

    And now the truth is coming: exH apparently does not get the agreement, doesn’t understand the point of it. He told daughter I am angry and bitter about the divorce. This when she told him that i told her that the GF was actually OW, and that he had also cheated in the past.

    Apparently he still insists that the new stepmom was NOT an affair partner. Guess that is how he can sleep at night. He did that in the past… Spent two months while we were in couples therapy, wanting to end the marriage, before he admitted there was someone else.
    It was not an affair, but he was in love with her… Uh, huh.

    So, I did everything I could, he signed the agreement, but then tried to ignore it. As CL said, then I became the police. And what good did it do me?
    He gets to portray me as the vindictive ex wife to the AP and her family…it’s all MY fault that the two of them had to get married before she formed a relationship with the kids.
    (She’s a Latina, so can’t have a child out of wedlock… Never mind she was still married when they got together, just like he was…).
    Never mind he has ignored EVERYTHING that the kids therapist has recommended.

    Anyway, it sucks. I hate that my daughter feels torn because OW is “nice.” I hate that son was in tears not knowing what kind of stepmom she would be. I hate that exH still cannot put his children first.

    But, I know I have an amazing relationship with my children. I am the one who has been there for them for two years. Their father has been gone, either physically or emotionally.
    I talk to them, they share things with me.

    So, TJ, take deep breaths. You can get over it. It is very tough for me (I still struggle with it, and OW does not live nearby). Kids will travel to her city soon, after the baby is born.
    But, exH and new family are all moving overseas in early 2014, so the kids will be with me 80-90% of the time. And with his departure, actions will speak louder than words. They will see how he does not truly care about them.

    All the best.

    • You bring up a good point — just because they *agree* to a provision, doesn’t mean they’re going to abide by it. The rules don’t apply to narcissists.

      Choose your battles. It may be they break the order seven ways to Sunday. Which one are you going to enforce? Child support (give that to the state to deal with, is my advice. Let them be the heavy), visitation schedules, holidays? If you’re dealing with a disordered person, assume they are not an honest broker and will not operate in the kids’ best interest.

      All you can do is DOCUMENT, and be that stable, sane parent. Once you get enough violations together, consult with an attorney about how viable it is to get back into court, if you want to go that route. Most judges will want to see that you did everything in your power to mediate first. They don’t want to be bothered with this shit. They see hardcore cases of abuse and neglect — sleepovers with the OW don’t rise to the level of emergency.

      It’s all so sucky. xyz123 — I’m glad yours is moving overseas. You can probably also speak to how you felt about your dad’s OW. Did he stay with her? Was it happy?

      • As for my father’s OW. They are still together, but none of my siblings have a real relationship with them. My youngest sibling used to spend summers there, but stopped once she turned 15 and felt she could say no. Of the 4 of us, I am the only one who has any contact with our father, and it is only 1x per year so he can see his grandchildren.

        _THIS_ is what I am attempting to help exH avoid, even after what he did to me/us… but he does not get it.
        Time will tell. ExH’s move overseas will make his relationship with the kids very difficult to maintain. I am counting the days until he is gone….

  • I am dealing with the very same thing. Only my daughter is 15. And the OW is super sparkly, super fun. Every time my daughter spends time with her, a knife pierces my heart. (And it’s gotten to the point now where she spends time with not only OW, but OW’s family – brothers and sister, mom, etc.) To a 15-year-old girl, Mom is not exactly on top of her “favorite person to hang out with” list. No, Mom is the person who makes her do her homework (nag), tries to prevent her from staying up until all hours of the night so she’s not entirely exhausted for school in the morning (too controlling) and tries to keep her schedule organized and running smoothly (taken for granted.) The bitch can have my STBX – they deserve each other. But it’s taking all I can do to hang on to my sanity while that bitch takes my daughter for manicures, has her babysit her young daughters (she left her husband for mine and is 20 years my junior) and has now had my daughter overnight in her apartment with STBX. I want to rip her eyes out.

    • I feel your pain. My daughter (who is 9) and I clash over homework, chores, etc. My kids haven’t met my STBX’s whore yet but I keep imagining when they do, she will be a super fun no responsibility person. My STBX has them every other weekend (but hasn’t seen them for almost 2 months, POS).

      When he has them, I’m sure no homework is going to be done, it’s just going to be time with Uncle Daddy. Makes me want to hunt them both down and do some bodily harm… But I’m trying to get to the meh stage. I’m there for my kids every day. Dickhead is only there when it’s convenient for him. The whole situation is the definition of injust and a shit sandwich.

      • I’m getting some of that as well. As in, My seven year old said, “Insert Whore’s name here”, brings toys over to Dad’s house.”…..I hate Disneyland Dads. I also hate fake whores who try to insert themselves into other people’s kids lives. I found out my XH got Lasik surgery last week. This is the same guy who hasn’t spent one penny on our children all summer. Suddenly he has enough money to have elective surgery. Don’t even get me started…..

        • TJ –

          Oh hell yes – I can believe it. It’s AMAZING how he can come up with money for them to travel, dine out, buy two new cars, etc…..and all he did was go bankrupt and tell the judge he had not money to give me for alimony. My oldest daughter just received the requisite “poor me – love me” birthday card with $50 in it (on a check under the OW’s primary account with him as a “small letter” add on (nothing symbolic there!) and all he did was rant about how much he loves her and how much has happened and if only she’d give her old dad a call and try to understand that he needs to be happy….blah, blah blah. My kids got an invitation to his retirement party (yes – bankrupted himself and me, living off of his whore and STILL felt that he was entitled to retire at 57 because “he wants to enjoy life!) from the OW and they just tossed it in the trash after saying that their father was starting to look like some sort of pedophile perv in his pictures. I feel you and I know your pain and I totally empathize and support you. It is HELL to have to know that he is out there and with her – but if we don’t get to “meh” it will consume us. But it’s damned hard. I admire your strength in the face of the raw newness of the situation – I hope that what all the other fellow chumps have shared (along with CL’s great council, as always) has supported and helped you feel – if not better – at least comforted that you are not alone in this situation.

    • Ah, the sparkly OW. Yup, exH’s new wife is 12 years younger than me.
      Perceptive daughter told me “Dad has a type.. here are the ways you and new stepmom are alike. I told her “yup, and the earlier OW fit that profile as well.” Best part for me (because boy was it a knife in the heart to hear the ways OW is nice), daughter thinks I am “charismatic.” 🙂

      The kids will get it, it just takes time.

      • And FWIW, I realize Sparkly OW did not get into a position to even have contact with my daughter were it not for my asshat of a STBX. They both suck.

        zyx321 – just hope I’m still alive by the time my dd gets it. LOL

  • Re-think your mindset.
    HE is the “home wrecker”, NOT the OW. Do you want HIM to be out of your kids life?
    No, tough situation … but rise above it. You are better, take the high road for everyone.

  • My STBX has a new girlfriend with kids. Despite it all he went behind my back, introduced our child in a round-about way and then formally as his new girlfriend. It’s been less than 4 months since DDay. This is not the AP but man did they move quick so yeah, something was probably up for some time.

    I thought about getting some sort of “morality” clause put into the agreement but my lawyer said, “You will drive yourself nuts. You will die every day on that hill. You cannot control what happens there. You will need to “eat it.”” And he was right. If I go there and even look like I’m trying to control that situation I look nutso. I do talk to my child and I watch for signs that she is uncomfortable, etc. Otherwise, I stay out. It’s self-preservation and it’s difficult for sure.

    Really, as CL points out so well, you can only control YOUR side of the street. You can keep your side clean. You can be the best parent you can be and maximize your time. Kids do grow older and I believe they do understand more than we think. Trust in that.

    Take care.

  • I thank God my son is 17, so I don’t have to deal with the custody/visitation issues those of you with young kids have to deal with. Parenting with a narc is not just a shit sandwich, it is a four-course shit meal. I think kids usually figure it out, but perhaps not until they are older, even adults themselves.

    As for now, I feel for you. My ex did not end up with either of his APs, but I’m sure there will be someone eventually. As CL wrote, you are divorced and there is nothing you can do about your ex and his OW, unless they are truly harming your children. You can’t keep the ex from introducing the kids to OW or having them overnight.

    Best thing to do is nothing. Swallow that shit sandwich with a smile. Anything else will be used by ex and OW as PROOF that you are a crazy, vindictive, bitter ex wife and will PROVE in their minds how “right” they were to get together. Explain in calm, simple terms to your kids what the ex and OW did and why it was wrong. Be the stable, good parent. Don’t try to make the kids feel bad for seeing their dad, or liking the OW. Because in the long run, you are the better person and the better parent, and your kids will figure that out eventually on their own.

  • CL – impeccable timing!

    It really sucks to read that so many of us are in same position. Don’t do what I fid last night and serve your x with a three course ego kibble meal. I couldn’t stop myself. I juat kept letting my mouth ask question after question about xW new man. How she’s in love with him. How she’ll be committed to him but wont get married ……gag. so I went home with my heart in my hands. Tracy is right you can’t control them. You’ll only get hurt

    • True….but it’s easier said than done. I’m admittedly much smarter than XH. I have so many comebacks and things I want to say, sometimes I can’t help myself. I truly don’t want to know anything about his new life; however, when it involves my kids, I want to know everything. I’m having a hard enough time not picking out my kids clothes before school everyday. Now I don’t even know what they are wearing to school three days a week. The injustice of it all, sometimes I just can’t understand how this is “legal”…..

      • TJ – I had a lot to say also, retort after retort. Didn’t make me feel any better. Just egged her on telling me how much he listens to her and does shit for her. Uh yeah dude, so did I. And uhguesswhat? I didn’t cheat on you.

        She was looking for a reason to leave, when she got caught it helped her jump. She left one time before this and when she came back she only had one foot in the whole time. I was fighting a loosing battle. Never showed real remorse for what she did to me the first time.

        I cannot control shit but myself, I let this news of OM really get me down last week and yesterday, no more. I don’t want to be back sliding anymore. My kids love her and rightly so, but I know they will learn who their rock is.

        • RC,

          You gotta go “no contact” as CL says. It is the only thing that works. Of course, she is going to egg you on. If she looked for a minute at herself, she would have to take responsibility for her behavior. To do that, she would have to admit she sucks as a person. That won’t happen. It is better for her to blame you, not because it is based on any truth, but because it removes the spotlight from her.

          As for you, it helps to take a deep breath and ask if you and your EX were really in a healthy relationship. When doing this, include her prior “walk away” and her current cheating. The answer is clear. You are better off without her, period. It doesn’t remove the hurt, but it does advance you toward “meh.” She’s like a waterfall in Yosemite…good to look at, you just don’t want to go over the edge!

          The kids will be ok as long as you are ok. They may “love” her now, but when they are adults and faced with the reality of marriage and parenthood, they won’t have any respect for her. They will be in a position to understand if you appropriately teach them the lessons that you are unfortunately confronted with. Good luck.

          • Matt – I was going no contact. I made the mistake of letting her in. I will be okay as long as I don’t let that guard down with her any more. I know that I will be good. I know that my kids will be good because well….I’m awesome.

            • RC- I like your attitude. I told my XH a hundred times during our divorce that I was a rock star. I’m happy to say I’ve lived up to that title all summer long. And he has lived up to his title, ” The Douche”. Have you seen those T-shirts with a picture of Jeff Bridges from The Big Lebowski that say ” The Dud”. I’m thinking about putting my X’s face on a shirt with ” The Douche”. My family and friends would line up to buy them.

              • TJ –
                Its a long road, I make a ton of mistakes, and I’m still on the roller coaster. Thing is I started to confide more in my family and just vent instead of letting it all build up on me. None of us are good at this. That is why we are all here. I would buy a shirt with my wife’s face on it that said “The Douche” or “Vomit Bitch”

                My attitude is improving, like I said its a battle. Everyone here is great continue to post and ask questions and vent. The kids are the important thing.

                A cousin of mine gave me advice to “Play the long game” My xW is playing the short game, she is putting a bandaid on it with this new guy, she is introducing my kids to these people, and I cannot control it. I want my kids to know that my house will be the place they can come to and relax, be comfortable, and have rules/boundaries. I have to constantly remind myself of this, and I loose site of it often. My family knows my plan(s) they help me stay on track. Don’t let your cheater bring you to his level. Matt was telling me last week that we have to find our values and live by them, you know them stick to it. YOU ARE AWESOME! HE SUCKS

  • Well we have an agreement – yep, but the day after I kicked him out (Jan 2 of this year) he introduced our 15 yr old son to his ‘new family – stepmom and step sisters’ – I kid you not. She still wasn’t divorced from her husband, mine had just been kicked out by me and we had an agreement in writing – they don’t give a crap about what is in writing.

    They don’t believe the rules apply to them.

    • Mine waited a whole month to introduce my boys to the OW and her kids and it did not go as well as he planned …love it!!!

      • My daughter AND I already knew OW. Thought we were friends. She was tutoring my dd in math. 1 week after we told dd we were getting divorced, STBX told dd that he and OW had “started dating, and how excited they were that they could all (OW, STBX, DD and OW’s 2 young DDs) now do things together.” I was livid. DD was distraught. Got her into counseling right away. Time has passed and now the “one big happy blended family” does things together. It makes me ill.

  • Besides, what you sow, you reap.

    My Ex got the kids all involved with the AP and I decided early on to facilitate it being easier for *them*, not me. By that I mean that I was clear about my boundaries, but I did not interfere with their relationship with her.

    I am now happily with someone and expecting to get engaged soon. We live together, and my Ex, you guessed it, absolutely cannot stand Mr. Spiffy and is yanking my chain big-time. Mr. Spiffy has no problem being direct with my Ex (which the Ex hates) and the Ex then piles more on me. We will see this through: it smacked of the early part of our divorce where having the GAL involved was what it took for my Ex to see where the boundaries really were.

    I wish he could read CL today: I wish he could ‘get’ the way that I ‘got’ that in the end what happens in Vegas (read: Mom’s house) stays in Vegas. He has no jurisdiction while our adult disabled daughter is with me. I expect he’ll try to get a re-do at the Agreed Order from the get-go to ‘punish’ me.

    If you were to succeed in getting in his homelife, you’d be giving him the green light to meddle in yours. Is that what you want?

  • My exnarc introduced d11 (at the time) to his skank within weeks of telling her of D, and his moving out. Subsequently, they played house, fucking 10 feet down the hall from my daughter while we were mediating divorce. Being a mother to two younger daughters herself did not matter to her sense of morality or role model (right…) – they did what the fuck they wanted – even though we had all that stuff in our parenting plan….

    I even had a counseling session with her (on their suggestion) where I asked for three things. Stop fucking him down the hall; respect that she needs time alone with him; and one other I can’t even remember. Did she even try to follow it? NOT at all. All BS.

    I learned early on you cannot impact their life, decisions, attitudes, anything. In fact, I think they are kind of annoyed that I am so NO CONTACT with them. Daughter tells me they trash me all the time, even though there could not be less contact. I don’t even acknowledge their existence. THIS irritates them I’m convinced. Two narcs get
    ZERO supply from me….and it bugs them. So…they have to construct shit to dis me on. What a love shack…

    As a result of skank (now stepmonster)…actions, and her dad’s actions, daughter really has no respect for either. She loves her dad of course, but she has called her SM slut, teenager, dumb, not too bright….and on and on. And, she now gets her dad too…but the kids just still want to be around them.

    Let it go. You go on and rebuild your lovely life and that will become what matters. Living a good life, and purposeful meaningful life, is the best revenge.

  • I don’t have kids and probably shouldn’t comment here but…My Mom cheated on my Dad and divorced him to marry her AP. Her AP was an abusive jerk but he tried to be nice to us kids for my Mom’s sake for the first few years. Also, because he was afraid of my Dad but that’s a long story. I finally got to go live with my Dad at 14 when Mom’s husband basically said it was him or me. I was hell on wheels trying to fuck with him so I could get the fuck out of that house and live with my Dad.

    Anyhow, my Dad didn’t say one word about the cheating, nor did he put the guy down. He only told me to let him know if my Mom’s husband did anything that upset me. Thing is, if my Mom’s husband had been a decent guy and treated me well then shared custody would have worked and probably would have been better for me growing up.

    So, my point being, I hope for all of you suffering this shit to realize that if you fuck with the AP they will take it out on your kids. That is what happened to me. If the AP is treating your kids well and doing right by them, don’t fuck that up for the kids. As much as it hurts you, if your kids like the AP and the AP likes them, it’s a better deal. If you do shit to piss off the AP, cause them to resent you, they are also going to resent your kids and they will take it out on them because they can’t get to you.

    PS: CL, is the site having issues with time out? or is it me?

  • Char, been there. My ex moved out (I was totally blindsided), lied about whether there was someone else, continued lying when I confronted him with the evidence 3 weeks later, and shortly thereafter moved in with OW. She left 4 young kids behind with her H. Our kids were young adults, so it’s a little different. Guess what, though? Ex and OW have since married and the kids told me that 4 years later they still call her their step-tramp (I found out the hard way you only find out nuggets like that if you shut up and refrain from editorializing on the situation, though.).

    Your kids will “get it” eventually.

  • Although I was devastated by my ex’s affair with co-worker, I am thankful every day that I didn’t have to deal with the added pain of sharing my children. My kids were 24 and 26 on D-day. They struggled with losing their sense of family, and that their dad was now who they thought he was, but they were both already married and out of college. For those that have young children my heart goes out to you. My kids never talk to me about their dad, so I have no idea what goes on with him and his married ho-worker. I like it better that way.

  • This has been a very bitter pill for me to swallow. My three kids are little– the oldest is nine– and XWH is, lucky me, the one idiot cheater who actually married his AP. She moved into our town with her kids, resides with him in my former marital home, and is currently attempting to reenact The Brady Bunch with my kids and hers.

    I have read enough to know, though, that there isn’t anything I can do and that I should be grateful that she’s not a coke-sniffing prostitute who brings her tricks home. My kids seem to get along with her and her kids, and I always tell them to be polite and decent when they are around her. They don’t have to love her (as they expressed anxiety about that), but they should treat her like they would any other adult in an authority position in their lives. That has worked so far.

    It’s early days yet– the happy couple has only been married about a month and a half– but it’s been nice to hear from my kids that although they get along with her, they always miss me and want to stay at my house. I try to remember that when I hear about the funny thing they talked about at XWH’s house or the family excursion they went on. XWH and the Owife can spackle their crappy behavior with as many zoo trips and pool parties as they like, but ultimately, my kids want to be with ME– the stable parent who is always there for them and didn’t force a new boyfriend-turned-stepfather on them only months after they discovered that their parents’ marriage was over.

    It totally sucks, TJ, but my life is so much better without XWH in it, even if it means that the AP is on the scene. Just be firm about your boundaries– I’ve been 100% NC with the AP and only email/text/talk with my ex when it has to do with the business end of parenting. I’ve made it clear to XWH as well as my kids that the AP and I will never be friends and that I have no intention of getting to know her. As far as I can tell, she goes out of her way to avoid me (as does XWH), and that distance has contributed to my healing significantly.

    (((TJ))) Hang in there. You’ll get to meh (or almost-meh, as I am at this point) in time.

    • Sounds like you’re handling this well. Sane parents ftw! Separating and dealing with the AP with small kids is rough as hell. My X has a daughter from a previous relationship, and he and I have a son. They are 7 and 2.5, respectively. I have no say for his daughter, but requested that my son not be around the AP and he actually agreed. Now though I’m not sure, its a little weird that he takes his daughter to play Brady Bunch every other weekend and not his son. But I am glad he doesn’t. He’s still living a double life, since no one wants OW around.

      I’m not quite to meh either. And would love some karmic justice.

      • Thanks, rumor. I try as best I can, but it helps that they do whatever they can to avoid me. If the AP approaches me at some point and thinks that I’ve suddenly forgotten everything, and we can now be parenting buddies, then things could get pretty tense. That’s the one consequence that my XWH will have to deal with for as long as he’s with her– I will NEVER be her friend, “get over” what they did to me, or forget their atrocious behavior. As it is, I wish that I could completely ignore him, but I’m stuck dealing with him because of our kids. The AP? Sorry. She doesn’t get the time of day from me. She has no legal rights in my kids’ lives, and the only time I might have a civil conversation with her is if it’s a life and death matter.

        I wish that I could be some paragon of virtue and treat her nicely, but the best I can do is treat her like she doesn’t exist. I hope she and the ex have accepted that. If they stay on their side of the fence, then the next 13 years won’t be as hideous as they could be.

  • Perfect, CL. I needed this today. For all those times when I wish everyone would see how much they both SUCK. We are part of a large facebook community of “costumed activists” (think KickAss only more legal and lots of homeless outreach) and while I have them blocked, I still see when someone mentions them and I want to scream that “they suck! They are horrible people! I don’t care if they pose with shelter puppies, they fail at life! Shun them!” The local team here banned OW from working with them. So they know she sucks. Sigh.
    Also for times like last weekend when X’s daughter came over to play with her brother (she is 7 and not legally mine, he is 2.5 and mine) and told me how at OW’s apartment she sleeps on the recliner. He only has her every other Saturday overnight, but still. They suck. I want to slap him. But she is not mine, her flakey mother would need to step up about that. (I am sadly the sane parent for her, too, when I can be.)

    They sparkle. I don’t.

    Thanks for the reminder Chump Lady. It is my mantra. “Trust that they suck.”

  • I’ve been where you are, TJ. It’s been over a year since I found out about her and how long they had colluded to embezzle money and rewrite our marriage story to their advantage.

    I won’t lie to you; it still cuts me when I hear about “Dad’s girlfriend,” but not as deep these days. I still cry when I see my son get into his father’s sweet new ride with the bimbo in the passenger seat. But the tears don’t last as long now, and then it’s back to my new and improved life.

    Pretty soon, I hope the sound of her name will be nothing more than an annoyance, like a gnat I get to swat away. And someday, I even anticipate laughing my ass off knowing that while I married the young man with a promising future, she fell for the married old-coot, has-been, lying loser who never amounted to anything more than a “temp.”

  • OMG…I can’t tell you how I struggle with this. This is absolutely the bane of my existance. My ex-H makes a LOT of money (which he gambled away during the marriage, but thanks to his high yearly (I mean really high) he is doing just fine now. He and the married OW started the affair when my kids were 10 mos., 2 and 4. I had NO idea what a narcissistic asshole I was married to, and gave him max custody, because I was scared that he would drop out of the kids lives. Now…they have lived together over a year (the kids are 3, 4 and 7 now) and they have known her for a year and a half.
    I had to see her with my kids for the first time the other day (she doesn’t have any kids of her OWN and doesn’t want any…she is 38, I am 41). To see her holding them, especially my baby, broke my heart. I don’t say bad stuff about her, I try to take the high road, but dammit, it is killing me!
    Our divorce agreement isn’t iron-clad and he isn’t living up to many of the details he is supposed to and tries to control me about everything. I swear to God, these two are going to be at every soccer, basketball and dance recital in the forseeable future.
    BARF. BARF. BARF. I am not struggling financially, but it definitely isn’t easy, starting my career over after being a stay at home mom for 7 years. He has considerably more money than I do (she makes $400,000 alone…a job he got her, btw…) so you can only imagine the insane trips, the shopping, the house designing/shopping. I am trying not to be jealous that she stole my life, but now she is trying to steal my kids, too. I really don’t know how to deal with this daily shit sandwich. Uggh.

  • Sorry…so upset that the last post is confusing. She is divorced now and she and my ex will be getting married soon. Great. I get to spend the next 15 years in this hell. Lucky me.

    • Same here– only 13 years left! My XWH has a ton of family money and will likely get more when his parents pass away. The Owife isn’t employed and likely doesn’t have any job prospects because she’s a college dropout and has been out of the workforce for so long, but what she likely gets in CS (let alone whatever settlement she got) she could live on without a problem since her XH makes six figures. They have way more financial security than I will ever have; I won’t be surprised if I hear about a big trip to Disney or some other grand family vacation in the near future.

      But… I don’t want to be with my XWH. No amount of money could change that. I am not happy to be a divorced, working mother, but the stress that I felt toward the end of my marriage from living with a manchild was not worth it. Plus, I think that living with me provides my kids a good reality check– no, we cannot afford a fancy trip. No, I will not buy you the latest gizmo because it’s too expensive. I’m teaching the kids real-life skills– being responsible, budgeting, living within one’s means– so any showy displays of money on my XWH and the Owife’s behalf is a parenting failure, IMHO. As it is, my kids often comment on how he added a third bathroom to the house and how unnecessary it was (he had to impress the OW with a fancy master bath that I had never been interested in spending money on), so I think that they get it.

      It also helps that my kids know the truth. They know that their dad lied to me and broke our marriage vows with their stepmother. They know that I’m the parent who tells them the truth and isn’t a hypocrite. I’m the one who will be there for them, for better or for worse– they’ve already seen that their father couldn’t commit to that.

      Hang in there, starlight. Just take it one day at a time. Love your kids and do what makes you happy. That’s all you can do.

        • Thanks, MO. I didn’t mean to bleed on everybody’s shoes! It is just so hard to see your kiddos caring about another woman who doesn’t deserve to even KNOW them. I know that I have to find that “zen” place and stop thinking about what I can’t control and focus on what I CAN control.
          Lately, I have spent WAY too much time thinking about THEM. Not good. I need to focus more on me.
          This site, and of course, our HERO, CL, has been a Godsend. It has truly been the most helpful piece of my recovery.

          • We (unlike our pitiful partners) make decisions with our kids’ best interest in mind. Often times these are really tough decisions. You are a strong woman and a devoted mom. Your kids are still pretty young to understand and appreciate all you’ve been doing for them. So, it will be a while, but they will get there and down the road you will get the confirmation that you’ve done right. Hang in there. You can do it (((Hugs)))

  • Marriage to these narc/sociopaths is the gift that just keeps on giving.

    I am fortunate that my children are grown (the last two are in their last year of college), but my Glittering Sparkly Turd wants to double date with the children. He keeps asking my oldest (who is actually MY daughter from an early relationship – but he did help raise her) and her husband to meeting him different places and she has had to make it a policy to turn him down because he may show up with his narcissistic minister ho-bag without telling her. He figures if I find out about it, it will hurt me, which it probably would. Fuck That Guy. He and the minister ho-bag are two pigs from hell (my apologies to wonderful, bacon-making pigs everywhere). He had her staying in the marital home when she came to visit about two months after I left, even though my son said it would make him uncomfortable but that it was his house so he could do what he wanted. He said she would stay elsewhere, but then she ended up staying there. No respect for his son’s feelings whatsoever.

    I try to ignore him and his behavior (when I would much rather just be featured on an episode of “Snapped”) and have to trust that my children know I love them and that they love me. I can’t do anything about Fucktard Frankenstein Sperm Donor who is their father.

    All together now – THEY SUCK!

    • The beatings will continue until respect improves. That’s how I see my ex’s approach to relationship with his teenage and now adult kids. Narcs absolutely do not respect the feelings of anyone else. Especially kids, who were supposed to be a non-ending kibble supply just like when they were babes.

  • Good advice, CL. Control what you can, your space. Make your space a good solid place for the kids. That’s what counts, and they’ll get the contrast in time. Take the high road. Otherwise, you’ll go nuts with anger.

    Chump Son hasn’t been in this particular situation, but it still speaks to me. Sadly, when wronged by a narc, a Chump can fall into a pit of almost everlasting anger. The reality is that narcs won’t change and aren’t good for us, so we are not “missing” anything when free of them. This is a tough turd to chew, but taking the high road is the way to go, the high road to Meh…..

  • I’m sorry to hijack this post. I’m just so angry right now. I know I’m supposed to take the high road and stay no contact. My cheater used me to start a business. He is a nobody – has no education – wasn’t ever a success – used his sparkly qualities to make me believe we were starting a business so that we could build our future together. Used my ideas – I taught him everything. Took over $30,000 from me while he was cheating on me. Took over the business and still hasn’t paid me back over $15,000. I can’t help looking the the businesses FB page where tonight he posted some shit about how well things are going. I lost my dignity, my emotional well being and even though it’s been a year haven’t managed to recover from the devastation of all the lies – so I posted something nasty in the comment section on the page. Probably not a good idea – but it’s the truth. How does someone who lies and cheats other people out of their money and their dignity. Someone who claims to love someone do this and then act like they are so happy and proud of themselves??? It is disgusting. I am so angry right now. This guy deserves to be in the gutter and he proudly posts on FB how great he is doing! It pisses me off – using my money!!! After lying and cheating on someone who gave him the idea for the business – I can’t stand it – where is the justice????

    • Gottogetbetter, what you have gone through and are still havingto watch is so unfair and infuriating! But keep in mind always that the more the narc is trying to sparkle, the worse things often are in reality. So his posting about how great things are going may well be wishful thinking.

      But even if it isn’t, even if he’s doing great, just keep in mind that HE SUCKS. And this will eventually become evident to anybody who has better values than he does. Shit covered w/sparkles is still shit, and the smell can’t be covered for long!

      • Listen to Karen, gottogetbetter, TRUST THAT THEY SUCK, and that they are poop covered in sparkles.

        My ex is also super-sparkly, and never was the success he pretended to be. He simply used my money, my connections, and the respect my family and I had in the community to live off me and to build his own “consulting” business in the financial services industry. But….I paid off $30,000 of his credit cards just 2 weeks before D-Day (go figure, financial genius that he is). Anyhow, that he now gets to go out and pretend to be a normal, successful person is infuriating (oh, and two of the people working for him in his own business…wait for it…. two of his AP’s with whom he sometimes has group sex!) Anyhow, I reached Meh about a month ago but then lost it again.

        YOUR EX IS A PIECE OF SHIT, and I am so sorry you are going through this. But water seeks it’s own level, I’ll bet you in the end he’ll make less than a resounding success of the business YOU gave him…These guys are classic underachievers for the most part.


        • Thanks Karen – I wrote this whole long thing but got timed out… They suck – they really do. And he is a total underachiever. I just hate the way he seems so happy after all he has done. It makes me so mad…

      • Karen,
        You’re right. It’s hard and I get upset at myself for even looking at the FB page and giving him the satisfaction that I still care… But I do. I was invested in that relationship. I loved him and really believed he was a good person and we were trying to build a business so we could do well TOGETHER. He on the other hand was cheating on me and not giving a shit about taking money for me and having me work on a project that was never really for US. He only used me. And I feel so bad my heart hurts every day knowing I was trusting of someone like this. And now when I vent to him he is like just move on – I have and you need to…Yeah like it’s so easy when you are the one on the receiving end of this shit…

        • We’re with you gottogetbetter, we’ve all been there and done that. It is the ultimate mind-fuck, bewildering, stunning, soul-numbing (I’ve yet to come up with the right word to describe it but somehow 1 1/2 years post-D-Day I keep trying). It is just something you cannot mentally or emotionally digest. You look back and think, no it cannot be true, no he could not have done that to me…and of course the good old, “what the fuck WAS that??”

          I could not believe my ex did all the horrible things he did for as long as he did and JUST DID NOT CARE once I found out. They are truly sick in the head, sociopaths I think, and they have no conscience, no remorse. Chumps like us keep looking for love, insight, regret, SOMETHING to show it wasn’t all a lie and wasn’t the biggest con in the world….but it was. It is the most incredible thing to try to wrap the mind around. I saw a comment by a woman somewhere who said she would probably go to her grave stunned by what her ex did to her. I feel the same. Even though I have reached the mystical land of Meh (one Tuesday last month, but then I lost it again), and though I have a wonderful new man in my life, I still feel the horror and fascination with my sociopath ex. My mind continually goes round and round with how he gets to live on and sparkle, how he blithely took my money, my youth and my sanity, how he abandoned me and our children, and why karma doesn’t just plain old jump up and bite him in the ass.

          It does get better, but sadly it really does take time and effort to look away, look forward and move on. And you will have slips and moments of weakness, of course we all do. Learn from them and keep going, keep moving ahead one step at a time. Don’t let these bastards win.

          • Kelly,
            You nailed it. What you wrote is exactly what I wake up feeling every day. Every day I wake up and think how could this have happened. It’s paralyzed me. The month before this happened he wrote me such a beautiful email. Pouring with love and affection – how much he loved me. How happy and grateful he was to have met me and to have me in his life…All words. He had begun cheating from then. 2 months later he flew the other woman to his home country for 10 days. He called me on my daughter’s b-day while she was with him and told me how much he loved us…How sick – having sex with her and telling me and my daughter how much he loved us. When I found out he never even called once – not once to say something – anything – showed no remorse. After claiming I was the most important person to him and he would always have my back. Now? Nothing…Just you need to move on and says he doesn’t want to apologize anymore. He’s done. Just like that.
            My mind goes over and over it and can’t make sense because like you say they are not normal. People who can do this are just not. We chumps look for something remorse, regret, sorrow…And there is none. Nothing. And it makes you realize it was just a con. Nothing more. It’s sad. It’s devastating but I get some solace knowing I am not only one whose been through this. Thanks for your support and I wish you the best.

  • My children get to choose between me and the homewrecker Goldigger my former husband just married that ruined our family .
    They hate her . And they will never sleep in a house where she is . Hopefully your kids can figure that out soon enough . Make it hell for her and you will have them 100%

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