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Dear Chump Lady, I can’t meet him halfway…. literally

Hi Chump Lady,

Is it unreasonable of me to insist on meeting X at the midway point between our homes to drop off/pick up the kids? He moved to another city 20 miles away. He is making it sound as though I have a screw loose.


“X, I can drive the boys to exit so and so. We can meet you at the gas station right past the road salt silo. To drop off, you can bring them to the store located just off exit so and so on same highway. My cell phone number is the same, so please let me know when you are ready to pick up or drop off when you leave. Thank you, ChutesAndLadders”


“I don’t know what this nonsense is all about, but I will not be picking up or dropping off my children at stops along the highway. Your “proposal” does not meet any reasonable person’s definition of shared transportation. [Son] and I have tentative plans to get together today; if they are firmed, I will be meeting him at [son and my] home.”

The very last thing I want to do is drive way out of my way, through city traffic to his and his bimbo’s love shack, completely redone thanks to his recent inheritance and her own divorce settlement money to drop off my beloved boys when the whim to visit with them suits X. He has not followed the visitation stipulation once. Meanwhile, the kids and my home is falling apart due to 20 years of half-ass fixit jobs by X and because I was a dumbass who stayed home and worked out of our home to raise our children.

Thank you for your consideration, CL!

ChutesAndLadders (CAL)

Dear CAL,

Evil me would like you to respond to him thusly:

“X, I’ll get back to you on that. Right now, I have tentative plans to drop them off at your house as you’ve requested. If those plans firm up, I’ll be in touch.”

And then, of course, don’t be in touch.

Give the douchebag a taste of his own medicine. Because the key word in this entire letter is “tentative.” He had “tentative” plans with your son. If they are “firmed,” he feels entitled to you to drop whatever you were planning (or not planning, really your job is to wait around for him with baited breath) and Do As He Ordered.

From what you report, he doesn’t exercise his court ordered visitation. He wants to see his kids when he feels like and have you drop them off at his door at his pleasure. Not. Gonna. Happen.

Just by way of reality check, I’ve been in this exact situation. I used to live in Pennsylvania and my son’s father lives in metro D.C. The half-way point was Gettysburg, Pa. Court ordered that I drive to an agreed upon stopping point (a coffee house) and do drop offs there. That happened exactly ONCE. Problem was my ex, like your ex, couldn’t keep to a schedule. Things were always in “flux.” Well, I was going to be goddamned if I spent hours waiting for him in Gettysburg, so I said, show up whenever, but you show up at my house. You can’t commit? You pick up and drop off over here.

And he exercised a little less than half of his visitation, and he did a lot of no shows or cancelations on me, but at least I wasn’t waiting hours from home for it.

So I suggest you do similar. I’m not sure what your court order says you must do, but failing a direct order from the court that says take kids to his house when He Feels Like It — I would issue an Emancipation Proclamation that says “This is your custodial time. It’s not “tentative” or optional — it’s court ordered. If you cannot abide by the order, I am under no obligation to be your taxi service.”

And then don’t be his taxi service. If he cannot commit, or wants to be Lucy Goosey about “firming up” his plans? He can drive to YOUR door. Period.

You need to DOCUMENT every instance where he deviates from the court order. You need to email him EVERY TIME it happens. “I’m sorry you were too busy cleaning gutters Saturday (or whatever the excuse was) to see Nathan. When are you planning on seeing him next?” Throw ball BACK in his court. Then when he does not respond — or responds tentatively, or pissoffedly — the court has a record of exactly how much he values his child and how reasonable you are being trying to accommodate his visits.

So when he invariably rattles that saber of taking you to court (and he will, oh these douchebags love to threaten) — you essentially say BRING IT. You’ve documented it. You’ve been reasonable. He is not exercising his court ordered custodial time. Period.

Your bigger issue CAL is that he still gets to you. Every time he says you are not being reasonable, there is a part of you that believes it. You’re so used to trying to please the Unpleaseable — it’s second nature to you. It’s gas lighting. It is completely UNREASONABLE of him to expect you to wait around for him to make up his mind or firm up his plans or WTFever. You have a life. He’s trying to control you, control your time, your ability to operate without his centrality. You need to shut that shit DOWN.

It may be time for another court order that spells this all out very explicitly. Talk to your lawyer. You need time lines in there about exactly when he must give you his schedule with the kids, and what happens if he does not. Mine has to give me 30 days notice before a visit. No 30 days? I’m under no obligation to allow a visit. Perhaps if a judge tells him to meet at a McDonald’s on some expressway he’ll see the “reason” in it then. In any case, you’d like to think you have the sort of partner you can work little shit like this out with — but you do not. So all you can do is document, document, document and get the most iron clad order you can get.

Upside? After a certain age (it varies by state), your child decides how much or how little visitation they want. I can’t imagine your kids are happy with the schlepping either.

Pay no attention to his caterwauling. It’s Very Unfair. He has his fuckbuddy and his inheritance and new house things. But he can’t have control of you. Too bad, so sad.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Why would you need to drive son to ex’s house for their visitation anyway? Is that spelled out in your divorce agreement? Usually the noncustodial parent has to provide transportation for visitation, at least, that’s how it usually is in my state.

    Since your ex has no firm plans anyway, just half assed tentative plans, there is no reason for you to put your life on hold until it’s convenient for him. He follows the visitation schedule, or he forfeits the visit.

    By the way, my ex lived ONE MILE away from my apartment. He would pick up and then return our son twice per week for dinner. That was their entire visitation. Ex claimed his making this tremendous drive counted as his half of son’s $5200 braces, and in fact, went off on me quite viciously, accusing me of being “greedy” and threatening me when I requested he pay his half of the orthodontics, as our divorce agreement required.

    These nutjobs don’t care about their kids, as your ex proves by not even bothering to follow through on visits. They just use the kids as props in their head-trip, power games. It’s pathetic.

  • CAL, unless it specifies shared transport in your custody agreement, you should be coolly informing the ex of when he may come pick up your sons, and drop them back off. If you’re worried he won’t be reliable, also inform him that if he hasn’t arrived within a half-hour of the pick-up time, you will consider the visit cancelled, and get on with your day. (The first few times he’s late, leave the house after that half-hour, go do something somewhere else, so he can’t push and blackmail your sons into going with him anyway. After that, he’ll have understood.)

    If it does say shared transport, then inform him that he will be doing the pick-up (same half-hour leeway!), and you will retrieve your son at the end of the visit. I’m betting there’ll be lots of times you won’t have to do that retrieval, ’cause ‘something will come up’ to cancel the visit. If it’s too painful to go to the ex’s current house, ask to meet in a coffee shop nearby – and you don’t have to explain or justify!!! Again, set limits by giving a half-hour window for the pick-up at or near his place; if they’re old enough to understand, warn the ex and the kids that if they aren’t ready to be picked up within a half-hour of the agreed upon time, you will leave, and the ex will drop them back to your house – Then DO it, to be followed by complaints to the court if it happens more than a couple of times every 3 months.

    And as CL said, document, document, document! Even go back now and note down every time he said he’d take your son and didn’t, every time he didn’t exercise his visitation rights, every time he was late picking him up or dropping him off. This guy doesn’t give a shit about his kid, and that will be clear to a judge as well. Set limits, and be as cool as a cucumber about it, ignoring any complaints from him; that’s the only things these shitheads respect.

    He no longer gets to make you take his opinion of your reasonableness seriously; he threw that away with the rest of the valuable stuff in your marriage and family when he chose to cheat.

  • You could also tell him that he can prove to the kids how much he really wants to see them by making the effort to come get them himself.
    If you’re doing all the arranging for visitations, I recommend you do as much as the court has told you to do, and not one bit more. Let him make travel arrangements, and all that other crap. Something tells me that the minute it becomes inconvenient, he’ll be gone, or as good as.

  • As I read this, CAL, it seems you are trying to split the distance mileage wise in order not to have to park in front of their Taj Mahal to love. It’s humiliating.

    I don’t know what it is with narcissists and the need to peacock an entire conspicuously consumptive life style, but that’s what they do. Trophy wife, trophy lifestyle, trophy house, trophy luv child. See? We’re better than you. You — you were holding him back from the way he was really meant to live. I’ve been there.

    Let me put your mind to rest. Inside that house, everyone is miserable because they cannot relax for trying to keep everything so perfect. Your son will figure that out at some point and call a halt to visits anyway. Literally, there is nothing for him to do there.

    At my humble abode, the beds are not more important than the precious children that sleep in them, and my kids know it. The furniture is not more important than the people that use it. They can have friends over to hang loose without having the mistress of the house embarrass them by nagging their friends to sit up straight and use coasters under their glasses. Everyone has a nice time and enjoys each other, but by the ex’s way of thinking, we’re all just a bunch of slobs.

    Do what is called for in your judgment. Always position yourself to look like honoring that court judgment is the most important thing in the world to you. (Document! like CL says) That way, if necessary, it will be easier to get them on your side.

    • The description above is so like my xNPD! I lived under tyranny in my marriage. A clean house was put ahead of all interpersonal harmony. A dish left in the sink was a sign of a serious character flaw. Everyone in the house may have a bleeding ulcer and be walking on eggshells, but g-dammit, that house was clean! Chumpalicious, I think your description of life with the NPD in the big house is spot on. Nothing to be envious of.


      • Slightly off topic, but what is it with NPDs and their version of neatness? Mine didn’t care if the sheets on the bed were filthy, the bed HAD to be made immediately! Clothes, clean or dirty needed to be folded and put in drawers. It’s as if the appearance of neatness was more important than being actually clean. I guess that sums up their personality-all show, no substance.

        • It’s all about Image Management, Annie. Substance is not an NPD’s strong suit. Your post describes my MIL. I laughed out loud because I had forgotten about that.

          • I think the clean house thing is just a control mechanism. I mean how can you keep up 24/7 with a house. Mine would complain that there was a cobweb in the corner. I showed him how to remove it, you know sometimes you don’t see them unless the light is just right. Oh course he never would do that it was easier to bitch at me.

            • My STBX was that way, too….*very* concerned about image. He wasn’t willing to do any actual *work* himself to get things as spiffy/sparkly as he wanted (house, lawn, etc.) but he darn sure wanted me to do the work. He loved buying shiny new things, but then didn’t want to maintain them. As soon as they needed *any* kind of repair or had any kind of flaw, instead of fixing it – he cursed it and let it rot, then went off and bought another brand new shiny thing.

              Kind of like our marriage. Was a shiny (fantasy) in the beginning, but as soon as it took actual work? He went creeping to find something new.

              Knowing this character flaw in my STBX makes dealing with him much easier. What does still tear me up is that he is that way to our kids, too. Always comparing them to the neighbor’s kids, or his friend’s kids…..breaks my heart.

              • Same here, LUD. Mine wanted to have the appearance of perfection, but he wasn’t really that interested in contributing to that goal. I was supposed to keep everything perfect and sparkly, and like you, that was also true of our marriage– I was supposed to be perfect wifey/mother by day, keep the children out of his sight/hair unless they were behaving perfectly, and then be a porn star by night. However, his idea of being in the relationship was being lazy and doing very little by day and then grabbing my breasts as foreplay by night. Gosh, no wonder he needed to replace me because I didn’t care for that very much!

          • Yes, when image became more important than substance (the whore was interested in the image) that’s when my Oscar turned Felix. I’d known him since the college days and refused to move in with him because he was such a mess and lousy cook to boot. Not signing on for that duty unless married.

            Of course he says he left because I didn’t give a shit about things, including the kids, and wouldn’t properly take care of anything — but I know that even if I’d been Suzy Homemaker, I was still 20 years older than Miss Hot Stuff. It’s just an excuse he used to bait her with. She’s got nothing going for her except that she can fuck and clean house better than me. Which she is doing! She should be proud of herself.

    • I agree, totally about control (and a touch of OCD on my ex’s part). Another narc similarity!

      He used to fight with me about how well I’d squeezed out the dish sponge, how well I’d compacted the recycling, whether there was too much milk in a toddler’s sippy (an ounce or two might end up wasted). He’d go through a phase of a few months about one thing, then move to something else.

      And all this was FAR more important than having peace in the house, making a pleasant home for ourselves and our kids, than maintaining a good relationship between us, even at times when he was working a TON and didn’t spend a lot of time at home. To him, it was worth fighting and being nasty every day about these small things!

      Eventually I figured it out and just stopped fighting back, stopped defending myself, stopped trying to show him he was being unreasonable, stopped buying into his ‘this is important to me, therefore it IS important’ bullshit. I would tell him to stop, he was being ridiculous, and walk away. As coldly as possible.

      Not a good sign when you have to do that. And not a good sign for the relationship when you’re a chump and become capable of doing that. Sigh.

      • My wife is exactly like that: loves to comment negatively on almost anything I do. Definitely a control tactic.

        • And I think they get a little jolt of self-righteous pleasure each time they can point out how someone else is doing something wrong. The ex does this to EVERYONE – except people he’s intimidated by; for them it’s only behind their backs.

          That jolt is actually worth more to them than peace, caring and compassion in their relationships with the people they supposedly love. Anybody know how to make a throwing up emoticon??

          No wonder he has no friends, our kids severely limit how much time they spend with him, and even most of his own family can’t stand to be around him!

          • That jolt is actually worth more to them than peace, caring and compassion in their relationships with the people they supposedly love. Anybody know how to make a throwing up emoticon??

            Yup – like that with her parents, our kids … anyone she can get away with it with.

    • A Word in Defense of Neatnik Chumps

      No one should feel that their own home is a “tyranny.” However, a home can be kept too neat in an unloving way, or too messy in an unloving way. The degree of neatness isn’t as important as how much care and concern each spouse demonstrates for the wishes of their partner–and the couple’s ability and willingness to negotiate their differences in good faith.

      In my case, my cheating ex-wife knew that keeping a reasonably nice house was important to me, hated housework herself, and was perfectly happy to let me do more than my half of the household chores. If I asked for some consensus or compromise, she’d agree to it grudgingly and then do whatever she wanted. In retrospect, I believe her slacker ways were part of how she sowed chaos, kept me off balance, ginned up resentment, and obscured deep fissures in our marriage caused by her cheating (“He must be an as*hole to make such a fuss about dishes and laundry and whether the mail gets opened”). After our divorce, she used this narrative to try to persuade my sons that I *forced* her to seek solace outside the marriage. It worked—for a while. Until they got old enough to see through it.

      All of which underlines the importance of placing a high priority in finding a partner with shared values. This applies to profound qualities, like honesty and compassion, but also to the mundane, like whether you’re a morning person or a night person–and how house-proud you are.


  • CAL, If my ex made the choice to move out of town, I would tell him that it is HIS responsibility to pick up HIS kids from you AND drop them back off to you. If his children were his priority, he would not have moved out of town. Why should you be inconvenienced and waste your time doing something that, ultimately, doesn’t benefit you or your kids?…IMHO 🙂

    • KDL, his original plan was to buy the house across the street and move the whole Freak Show in. This would have served two purposes; he wouldn’t have to pay child support because the kids could go back and forth from house to house, and I would get to watch how fucking fabulous his life became now that he dumped me. I’m not kidding, he looked at three houses in our little cul-de-sac before my real estate neighbor talked the bimbo into talking him out of it. God bless that neighbor!

      I’m grateful he lives 20 miles from us in what I snidely refer to as “Clusterfuckdale.” I don’t have to see his ugly mug or her cross-eyed Stepford Wife look at the store or in places the kids and I frequent. And in a few years, it will all be a bad embarrassment and he will be long gone. But now, it pains me to hear how fabulous life is for him now that he’s loaded and in love, especially when I am working my ass off just to pay a mortgage, keep groceries in the fridge for my kids and having to hold me tongue when the kids tell me what a great time they had at Dads.

      He is unemployed and living off his inheritance and her money. In our State, child support is directly tied to employment income. Oh, and I had to pick up our family’s health insurance too, including him. He is ruining me financially, and enjoying every moment.

      If you looked up Chump in the dictionary, you would see what I look like. Mostly, I can hold it together, and am getting stronger and letting go of anger every day. But nobody understands that I’m as fragile as a glass Christmas ornament ball. I shatter inside when he keeps on coming at me for sport.

      • How did you not get a chunk of that inheritance? My ex got half of mine. He’s living in it.

        • How did that happen, Chumpalicious? Did you mingle monies when you were married and transfer it to a joint asset? Most states you can’t touch an inheritance, just half the appreciated value of it. Now, if you sell your stock (or whatever you inherited) and buy something new with the spouse — now you’ve made it something dividable.

          In any case, I’m so sorry — that must suck epically.

          • It does suck. It was the land and home my where my kids were born. Owned free and clear. Forced to sell.

            The real estate bubble had ballooned it up so high that I got it’s original value out of it, but can’t pass it on to my kids. So it could have been worse. The cash part of the inheritance I long ago used on our lives there.

            Before we moved out, the ex took my son out to the back fence and promised him that while he probably wouldn’t inherit that place, he would inherit some place….. that was before the anointed golden child was born. Now he gets told “The world doesn’t owe you a living” from the man who stole his way into the position he’s got. Such a flaming piece of shit, Mr. Disciple of Christ is.

            • I might add that the fact that there wasn’t a big fat mortgage payment due on that place every month is the only reason the ex had enough spare cash to go running around, turning himself into the perfect gold-digger’s mark. He actually told her that it was his income that paid for the “whole enchilada”

              They live nicely now, THANKS TO ME AND MY KIDS, but the cash flow isn’t the same, what with a mortgage and support payments to make……..

            • Mr. “Disciple of Christ” sounds more like a Shephard for the Devil to me.

              • It’s true. Somebody mentioned seeing a cold black reptilian look in their ex’s eyes. I’ve seen it. Coal black, heartless evil. I think that’s why a lot of us claim it’s not even the same guy anymore.

      • CAL,

        Are you saying that his hoochie is unemployed too? I’m asking that because you said you are covering him under your health insurance.

        I literally feel what you are saying – my STBX is planning on living the “rich” life with his AP. She got a huge divorce settlement from her third husband and is living a rich woman’s life. When I got the financials together for the D, I realized that in the past few years I have invested a boatload of money in the family in general, and the children’s education, in particular, none of which I will ever see again. Him? Not so much. I am currently living from paycheck to paycheck, and trying to help my children finish college. He recently sent my daughter’s tuition statement to me unopened as if she’s not his responsibility if it costs too much. Did I mention that he earns significantly more money than I do?

        I will fight to try to get the best divorce settlement deal I can, but currently, on paper, it doesn’t look like he has any money. I don’t have that many more years to work and sometimes it keeps me up worrying. I am going to have to pay more in insurance costs, etc., and I can’t afford it. This sucks and so do they. I just have to keep faith that in the end, I am going to be okay and I really believe that you will be okay as well.

        (((Hugs))) (((Hugs)))

      • “it pains me to hear how fabulous life is for him now that he’s loaded and in love, especially when I am working my ass off just to pay a mortgage, keep groceries in the fridge for my kids and having to hold me tongue when the kids tell me what a great time they had at Dads. ”

        Oh boy, this is pretty much my situation too. Im working overtime just to keep the bills paid, and my ex (who argued down what he pays in child support because he said he couldn’t afford it) has a new huge flat screen tv, new Harley, is looking for a new car, and has promised the kids an Xbox for his place. He takes them out to eat and buys them something on almost every visit. Is it ever anything they need? When both kids needed summer clothes, he bought my daughter 1 pair of flip flops. To get them ready to go back to school, he bought them each a backpack. But damned if he doesn’t have the cast to buy them dvd’s and video games.

        But you know what? If my choices are to go back with ex or live with less money – I’ll live with less money. The price I’d pay being in a relationship with him would never be worth it. It might be a lot harder financially now, but Im surviving and to that’s priceless.

        • Same here. The XWH and the Owife likely have a combined income that blasts way past what I make and receive in CS. But I’m perfectly content living in my little home, only being able to do day trips for vacations, and driving a fairly old car. I’m much happier, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s showed me that less is more– I’m so much happier without a giant house filled with stuff that needs to be taken care of and all the financial worries that come with living with a man who constantly needs to spend money on expensive home improvement projects (that he won’t make back if he ever sells– his renovations and what we bought the house for originally are way over the top for the area; he’ll be lucky if he breaks even some day).

  • CAL,

    First of all (((Hugs))). I don’t have the issue with visitation and custody as all of my children are adults (barely, but adults nevertheless). However, I can speak authoritatively on assholes and jackasses as for pretty much my entire life I have been a magnet for assholes and jackasses (I’m working on that – I don’t want that to end up on my tombstone).

    He may be your XH, but in reality, and for all practical purposes, he is an asshole (I apologize to respectable rectal openings everywhere) and he is behaving true to the asshole code of assholery. What’s worse, he’s a narcissistic asshole, clearly the worst of the basic asshole lot. Therefore, he needs to be treated as such. Asshole behavior is designed to control the entire dialogue – the new family situation, the old family situation – everything, because he’s the Big Burger With Everything, complete with fries, dontcha know. You – because you’re a decent and caring person and don’t feel the need to control everything in heaven and on earth – OFFERED him options, because that’s what DECENT, CARING people do.

    Fuck that Guy! As the other posters have said, if you don’t have a court order that specifically states you have to offer him options, then you TELL him what works for you (and by extension, the children). As Chumps, it is important that we learn to use declarative sentences. We probably didn’t use them much in our marriages. Let Mr. Big Burger suggest a compromise, and if it meets with your approval, then fine. If it doesn’t, give him the big negatory and tell him to try again. I am learning that anytime you attempt to approach and deal with an asshole as a human, they will spin you around, bend you over and fuck you every time – without your permission and without vaseline.

    Do I sound angry on your behalf? Good! Because I am! I resent the hell out of these “Minute to Win It” lying, cheating dirt bags who use visitation as a means of continuing to control a former spouse or to achieve leverage inside and outside of the relationship. Most of these clowns know that a Chump’s weakest link is the love a Chump has for their children and they use that to (continue to) manipulate us.

    What kind of non-custodial PARENT makes “tentative” plans with their children? He has court allowed visitation – inherent in that is making “definitive” plans. It is no easy task attempting to treat assholes like normal people and trying to co-parent with them. The only effective way to do it seems to be to go all Dirty Harry or Charles Bronson when necessary because that seems to be all they understand.

    Peace to You and your children CAL and good luck to you. It ain’t easy being green.

    • CP, your response reminds me that for years, my brothers and I never described really shitty people as “assholes,” as assholes perform useful functions. These people don’t. Therefore, they are shitheads.

      • Point happily taken and I stand corrected. In the future, I will no longer insult hardworking, useful assholes and will try to remember to insert shithead instead. LOLOL!

        • I kind of alternate between shithead and fucktard, but there’s an eloquence to asshole that everybody ‘gets’. Scum is a good one too (although pond scum is actually kind of nice and useful stuff, so I guess we’re always insulting something else by comparing to them!) And with scum you can get that REALLY disdainful and disgusted tone of voice going ….

              • OOOH!!! Laurel and Chumpalicious, I ABSOLUTELY love those! If I ever call my STBX any of those things to his face (if I should deign to part my lips and allow a sound to emerge), it will amuse me to no end to realize he will have to go home and look those words up in the dictionary to figure out exactly what I called him.

                Good times! Good times! (I have to take my small pleasures where I can).

                Laurel, you must be an awesome Scrabble player.

          • ironically, I never play scrabble. Wasband does, however, and it was one of his ways of picking up women online. And yes, I learned most of my big words from him. pompous prick.

    • “I am learning that anytime you attempt to approach and deal with an asshole as a human, they will spin you around, bend you over and fuck you every time – without your permission and without vaseline.”

      you make me laugh so hard, CP!

  • CAL, My heart goes out to you. Are your kids still little ?, sounds like they are the age when “fun” means sparkles rather than substance. I can see where your ex moving out of town totally works for you! To see them regularly would be very painful. I agree with CL that he is mind-_ucking with you when he sends you those emails implying that YOU are being unreasonable. He does that because it works,(I know ,because it worked on me for years) Even though you have relief that you dont see them around, (yes, God-bless that neighbor), it is still true that HE moved, therefore should take more responsibility for seeing his kids.

  • I think “sleaze” works quite well!! My ex absolutely, positively CANNOT be alone. He typiclly has one on the hook, while trolling for others on dating or hook-up websites…sleeezzy.

      • Mine too. He’s already cheating on the ho-worker that was the final straw in our marriage, with his first ex wife. LOL oh this train wreck is gonna be fun to watch.

        • hmmm… this is the kind of asshole… sorry, I meant shithead who will put in his “dating” profile that he’s look for something “drama free.”


    • *raises hand* My ex is like that as well. He has his main supply but always has a few backups going, even if they’re ‘just friends’. I have no problems with friends of the opposite sex because I’ve always had them…but then again, I always introduced ex to them and included him in the socialising. I realise now he had all kinds of ‘friends’ of the opposite sex who were feeding his ego. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…when I think about how he is and how he’s always been I feel a teeny bit sorry for her. She’s fallen for his sparkles and thinks this is soulmate time, not realising she’s there for him to prevent him being alone (he told the kids this at one point, after admitting he had fucked it up with me beyond repair). The man HATES being alone to the point that he will have the TV on constantly and just stare at it if no one is around to entertain him.

  • oooo, I like that, it so fits. He’s getting very bold about it…looks at it with my kids right there!! Their respect for him is, sadly, reaching new lows. My son has found better role models,God bless him 🙂

  • KarenE “Anybody know how to make a throwing up emoticon??” LOVE IT!!!

    I was lucky, my sons father met me half way…we lived almost 200 miles apart and he never complained and was always on time. Of course when I was married to him he did the whole neat and clean routine because appearance mean more important than peace, as someone already mentioned.
    Three weeks after I had my twins we moved for his job….the company had movers come in and pack everything (we know how that goes…laundry detergent in with cat food) but then I was told I had to have the house completely unpacked and set up in 3 days!!!! And guess which idiot did it? Yep, me.
    Why do we do “IT” (whatecer “it” is) the first time?

    Control control control….I used to say (about my present husband) if I make him so miserable and he has to poke around on line why doesn’t he just leave? Now I know because if he hooks up with someone new he has to play nice for about 6 months before he can start gaslighting.

  • CL said: “This is your custodial time. It’s not “tentative” or optional — it’s court ordered. If you cannot abide by the order, I am under no obligation to be your taxi service.” AND “If he cannot commit, or wants to be Lucy Goosey about ‘firming up’ his plans? He can drive to YOUR door. Period.”

    Wow, this is pretty cool. I am soaking up all of this custody-advice, too….cause I’m gonna need it.

    The biggest card my STBX has to play with me is the welfare of my kids. If he can act like it’s imperative for me to bend over backwards – not for him, but because it’s best for the kids – then I’m in danger of doing so. That’s my chumpy self. I’m going to need to take CL’s advice (along with other posters here) and resist bending over backwards, because he *will* use the kids as “hostages” to make me dance, if he can. Guar-an-teed.

    • Ducks, using the kids to manipulate you and get you dancing to their tune is also classic narc behaviour, so you have to be STRONG. Keep in mind that

      a) if the kids are disappointed by something he’s done or not done, that is on HIM, and with time they will figure that out,
      b) your kids may be sad or upset temporarily by their father’s behaviour that you don’t compensate for, but in the medium and long term, you are giving them a VERY important life lesson about self-respect and setting boundaries, and about dealing with the consequences of our behaviour (in this case, HIS behaviour).

      When the ex fails his kids, I try to remind myself of these things; I don’t want to raise narcs, but I also don’t want to raise chumps!

      • KarenE – Good points. I will have to really try, since my instinct still motivates me to keep my kids from the ugliness of it all, even if that means “explaining away” their father’s behavior. I don’t want them to think that behavior is okay.

        I don’t want to run a “Chump Training Camp” with my kids as the campers. That wouldn’t be good.

        • LUD,
          I know it’s tough, I tend to protect the kids as well. Their therapist recently told me I have to stop protecting them. As she said, the sooner they see what he is really like, the better.

  • Here’s the latest from X…

    “First of all, my visitation windows are not “court ordered (sic) time,” they are awarded options. ”

    Well, doesn’t that just explain everything!?

    Even the most talented soap opera writer wouldn’t be able to concoct a more clueless, self-important dickhead if they tried.

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