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Dear Chump Lady, Did I do a bad thing?

Dear Chump Lady,

My ex got involved with my daughter’s hockey coach. It lasted a year. I discovered months of “I love you more and more every day, if that’s possible” emails. Fortunately I didn’t do the pick-me dance, and we are now divorced.

But I now coach my daughter’s hockey team, and the asshole has moved his kid to another town (for the record, he was such a shitty coach, he was almost removed by the association, but that’s another story). Because we are in neighboring towns, once in a while my team has to play the idiot’s team. We played last week and, in hockey tradition, there was a hand-shake line after the game.

I couldn’t stop myself. Instead of shaking his hand, I handed him a note that read: “Think of what you did to this 11-year old girl. You destroyed her family. You ruined her financial security. You made it harder for her to pay for college. That’s what you did asshole.”

I flashed him the finger when I handed him the note. The kids didn’t see, they were heading off the ice by the time it transpired.

I wish I had had better self-control. I wish I were beyond that. So my question is: Did I do a bad thing? Any advice for how I get beyond the bitterness, the rage I still feel?



Dear Neal,

Did you do a bad thing? No. You did an un-meh thing. Totally human and completely understandable. Keep it in perspective. You didn’t hunt him down with a cross-bow, or tar and feather him, or make him a Phoenix Coyote’s fan. (Forgive the tangent, but people shouldn’t play hockey in southern climates. It’s ridiculous. Hockey players live in places like Detroit or Winnipeg. Not Arizona. If it’s 85 degrees in February and you can retire there? — you don’t deserve a hockey team. Chump Lady has spoken.)

The reason we don’t want to be un-meh around affair partners is NOT that they are not pieces of shit. And it’s not that we don’t want them to internalize our judgement that they are pieces of shit. It’s that paradoxically they enjoy the attention. It means we still care. They interpret our upset as indication that their soul mate schmoopie is really special, and don’t you want her? Nanner nanner boo boo! She chose me!

You intended to shame the guy with your note. He sees the note as you doing the “pick me” dance that he thinks was already danced, and he won. So what if the note was about your daughter’s pain? He doesn’t care. Propriety didn’t stop him from having a year-long affair with one of his players’ moms. Insomuch as he thinks of your daughter, he probably tells himself, “Oh, kids are resilient.” Or “Well, she’ll understand we did it for True Love.”

He does not think — this was her world and I destroyed her family with my selfish affair.

No, Neal, it’s way more complicated and sophisticated than that. She is but a mere child, and you are a chump, and neither of you can understand the forces that compel fabulous people. You see, you sucked, and he had to rescue your ex from you. Your daughter is collateral damage, but hey, if you hadn’t have sucked so much, and if he wasn’t just so gosh darned irresistible (you know, like, BETTER than you), this wouldn’t have happened. Really you should blame yourself.  This note is just further validation of what a batshit crazy brute you are.

Neal, this is his narrative and it will take more than a piece of paper from you to change it.

Really, if we could persuade people with little notes, just imagine all the idiocy we could save the world from! — government shut downs, wars, bad table manners. But, alas, none of us possess magic post-it notes.

Guys like him are impervious to shame. It’s not that he needs insight into who he’s hurt — he doesn’t CARE.

You know what’s effective at shaking these idiots up? Letting them know that people perceive them as fuck ups. They HATE  that. Home wrecker? So what? But tell him he sucks as a hockey coach and everyone knows he was nearly removed by the association and has concluded he’s a loser — oh that would hurt. You gotta know where to aim those poison arrows, Neal.

But never mind. The guy is a TOOL. Please stop giving him mental real estate. You could shame my Australian shepherd easier than that guy. (She’d pee on the floor and forget what it was all about 5 minutes later.) Time to put the focus back on YOU.

I get that you’re angry. I’m sorry your daughter’s family broke up. You’re a good dad, so of course it just kills you to see her in pain. But here’s the thing — kids really are resilient. (Cheaters are not allowed to say that, because they use it as an excuse. Hey! I can fuck everything up because Kids Are Resilient! It’s like saying, I can light fires in movie theaters, because management has fire extinguishers.)

She really IS going to be okay, and college will happen, because she has an awesome dad like you. As I say a lot here — it only takes one sane parent. So focus on being that great parent. You get to control that. You don’t control the conscience of the OM.

I know it’s hard to bounce back from this injustice, but you need to start reframing this. Yes, it is unjust, and that’s a hard shit sandwich to swallow. You are going to grieve, and a big part of grieving is righteous anger. But bitterness and anger sometimes hang around too long because some part of you believes the bullshit — that this is your fault, that he “won” something of value, that he’s somehow better than you.

Those things aren’t true. You lost an unfaithful wife, someone who put you and your daughter into a world of pain and humiliation. If you lost a moldy box of tennis balls, would you feel bad? You lost a person who did not love you and your daughter the way you deserve to be loved. Whoever she once was, or whoever you thought she was, isn’t who she is now. Your ex-wife is the person who deserves this note: “Think of what you did to this 11-year old girl. You destroyed her family. You ruined her financial security. You made it harder for her to pay for college. That’s what you did asshole.” 

Neal, I know you don’t see it this way now — but as your new life dawns and better people come into it — people who value you, and maybe some day a new partner who loves you right — you’re going to see the OM was just a catalyst to that new life. An asshole, yes. But he took away a faithless woman who was hurting you.

Slip yourself a note. Neal, you are an awesome father to an 11 year old girl. You are her family. You will raise her in financial security. You will help her with college. You’re a good man and hockey coach, that’s who you are. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Listen to CL, “you’re going to see the OM was just a catalyst to that new life”. I haven’t found a new love yet, barely even looking for that even after a couple of years. What I have found is that I am grateful to the OW in a weird way, she is stuck with an asshole now. I am free of my ex, so actually she is his GF now and that is a good thing. The OM didn’t break up your family, your spouse did that, realize it could have been anyone, it just happened to be that guy and it may help you direct your understandable anger in the right direction. After the anger you really feel is out you can get to acceptance.

    I know it sucks for your daughter, I am “lucky” there were no kids in my relationship. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old though, and I turned out all right. I’m sure the other chumps with kids can give better reassurance on that point than I can.

  • Wow, Tracy. Just…WOW!

    Had I read that five years ago, I would have handled things SO differently.

    I wasted two full years in the “pick me” dance, trying to get both XH and OW to see the error of their ways. NOTHING I said got through to them. Now it all makes sense:

    “You see, you sucked, and he had to rescue your ex from you. Your daughter is collateral damage, but hey, if you hadn’t have sucked so much, and if he wasn’t just so gosh darned irresistible (you know, like, BETTER than you), this wouldn’t have happened. Really you should blame yourself. This note is just further validation of what a batshit crazy brute you are.”

    I COULD NOT comprehend OW’s sense of entitlement or why XH stood by her and not me. Now, I get it.

    I like this part the best:

    “You lost an unfaithful wife, someone who put you and your daughter into a world of pain and humiliation. Whoever she once was, or whoever you thought she was, isn’t who she is now. Your ex-wife is the person who deserves this note: “Think of what you did to this 11-year old girl. You destroyed her family. You ruined her financial security. You made it harder for her to pay for college. That’s what you did asshole.”

    Re-framing it makes ALL the difference in putting the blame squarely where it belongs: on the cheater.


  • Neal, you rock. Seriously. You’re a great dad and your daughter is lucky to have you in her corner.
    Don’t judge yourself too harshly on this. I agree with CL totally. Not bad, just not meh.
    It always helps me to remind myself that my problem is not really with the OW, but with my ex-H. It’s easy (often much easier) to focus anger on the other party, but ultimately they were not the one who promised to do right by you forever and ever, amen, and then upped the bet by creating a child with you. She’s the destroyer. He’s just the guy she picked to do it with, unfortunately.

    • Yeah, Neal! And you WERE totally justified. Not too many people would object to what you did. If you were in a Hallmark movie, the viewers would be all, “RIGHT ON, NEAL!”

      But CL is right, it doesn’t do you any bit of good.

      I still don’t think you should shake the guy’s hand after the game, however. Is that bad of me?

      I don’t speak to xH unless I REALLY have to (such as getting permission to take our minor child out of the country, or when a CS check is late, and then it is one or two on-point sentences on e-mail only.) And I will NEVER speak to OW, for she is an evil destroyer, a husband poacher, a soulless twat troll, with a black spot where her heart belongs. And I don’t want any of that filth to get on me or my eyeballs.

      • I recently spoke with final OW and the little darling was a snotty bitch to me. I just laughed, thinking ‘you’re going to be an asshole to me? Go for it, sister, ’cause I AM FREE!’ And she’s got a serial cheater on her hands…and she knows it. 🙂

  • Brilliant post, CL, as usual. This line in particular is a sheer gem: “She is but a mere child, and you are a chump, and neither of you can understand the forces that compel fabulous people.”

    It was extremely liberating for me when I realized that divorce meant I never again had to defend myself against his crazy accusations, nor try to convince him of anything ever again! Divorce means we don’t have to agree. He’ll go his way, and I mine, and we’ll have completely different narratives of what happened — not only of the divorce, but of the entire relationship — and that’s okay! What a huge relief: I no longer have to expend any energy on the Sisyphean task of trying to show him my perspective.

    Neal, you will get through this! You are amazing. Write down CL’s reframed note and read it regularly. We all salute you for being a wonderful father.

    • Your line about never having to convince him of anything ever again really makes me look back and realise how often I would spend stupid amounts of time trying to convince him of basic things that anyone would say ‘yeah, sure’. I’m talking really, really basic stuff that he would argue with me about, I think, simply to argue with me…and it was probably to distract me from his wandering penis. Funnily enough, other than getting aggravated with the kids here and there, I rarely get pissed off these days. It’s so weird to realise taht most of my feeling angry and stressed and on edge was directly related to him.

      • Hear, hear! I sometimes used to get angry, but more often depressed. It was like a bottomless pit of hopelessness, because no amount of effort on my part resulted in understanding. It is deeply painful to human beings to feel profoundly misunderstood – especially by our own spouses! It’s an unbearable loneliness.

        My husband used to say, “You never talk to me.” He argued our problems could be solved by communication (well, except for the days he was claiming we had no problems). But our male MC was able to pinpoint the issue within just a few sessions: “You say she never expresses herself, but every time she does, you immediately deny/dismiss whatever she says.”

        Meanwhile, any time *I* questioned STBX — even simple, sincere requests for clarification — he would explode at me for “provoking” and “challenging” him. No kidding: recently, he made an offhand comment about a TV commercial, referring to our mortgage using a number that’s not what we (I) actually pay, so I innocently said, “What do you mean?” — and he completely flipped out, sarcastically repeating the question back at me over and over, then huffing off.

        The conversation where the freedom of leaving finally crystallized for me was when I told STBX I had consulted a lawyer, and he argued I was wrong: we couldn’t divorce in this state, because our wedding wasn’t here. (I know, I know, totally dead wrong.) And I realized at that moment that I could just let go: I had no obligation to try and convince him.

        Now, chumps, we’re free. No more attempted convincing of basics, no more facing demands to justify our every action – nay, existence. No more frustrating attempts at communication that we always had to start with “But…” No more arguing with crazy. No more shadowboxing with the gaslighting. Now, we can just walk away from it all.

        • Yes, that moment where you realise you simply do not have to try and convince him anymore because there is no longer any point. Before we were probably trying tlike hell to keep the marriage together (and probably didn’t even know what we were doing) and part of that was fixing and guiding and showing them the way…all against their will because they’re sometimes like squalling babies.

          Now, every time ex writes me a dumbass email that is looking to get a rise out of me I simply stare at it and think ‘what a git’. I don’t have to convince him or anyone else tht what I think or that the choices I make are right….because I know they’re right and that’s good enough for me.

          This if course drives ex crazy, leading to more emails that try to get me to react. And the more he does this the more business like I get, with not one single emotion pushing through for him to see. I don’t even have to try anymore. He can’t get me upset about anything – he actually makes me laugh with how transparently juvenile his attempts are.

        • “No more arguing with crazy. No more shadowboxing with the gaslighting. Now, we can just walk away from it all.”

          Yup, you say that so well, Psyche. My ex did it all so so kindly, he just “adored” me, he was the “luckiest man alive,” who had it better than him? etc etc. But he was extraordinarily passive-aggressive, and everything (and I mean everything) was a maddening and subtle put-down. No more wondering why things seemed slightly “off”, no more feeling that something was just not right if I could just take time from the myriad and constant demands of my job and kids and house to figure it out. No more crazy! 🙂

  • I agree with CL, the note did nothing to him other than give him a laugh and further convince him that you are the crazy one. He’s right, this shit drives us crazy.

    I still struggle with occasionally thinking about my cheating wife’s AP and why she would want to spend time with such a needy little turd. When she has three loving kids, HAD a committed husband, and a beautiful home. Your XW picked a guy who is lesser than you. We all know that and it sounds like many others already know that too. Good guys don’t almost get removed by an association. Good men do not go around and screw married women. He’s not a good man. You are!

    Trust that they suck and that you are better. Take all the time you need to heal, because when you are ready, you and your daughter will “Survive and Thrive”
    ( Call me crazy, but I still like the part where you flipped him off )

  • Awesome post CL. I almost got a little teary eyed at the end. Being cheated on and left by your spouse produces a lot of justified anger. One thing I have worked very hard at during my “healing” (I am one year past dday) is not to react from my anger. Other than a couple outbursts shortly after finding out about the affair (I came this close to lighting my ex’s hockey equipment on fire one night, so I know where you are coming from), I thankfully have been pretty successful with it, even though it is soooo easier said than done. I am tested when I sometimes unfortunately see them in public. I found that ignoring them, rather than showing any whiff of anger or reaction at all, made me feel so good. The regret that comes from acting out is replaced with a feeling of taking back power. I control me, not them. It really helps when eventually it really sinks in and clicks that our exes were far from a prize (so, so, very far). The OW/OM took a lying, selfish and cowardly person from my life. And in my case, my ex left me for a married woman, with two kids, who thinks it is totally appropriate have a 6 month relationship with a married man and cheat on her children’s father. Gross. The cheaters get to live with the embarrassment of being looked at like complete soul less assholes to their peers, friends, family, and eventually (if not now) your daughter. They have already dug their hole and for a time they got to drag us down with them. Not letting them have power over your actions will make you feel better and will get you out of that hole of resentment and anger in no time. Good luck Neal!

    • So sorry you have to see them in public.

      Does this help? When you see them, rather than create an image of romantic togetherness that they’ve excluded you from as you accidentally glance over at them, say this to yourself, instead, “Oh, my gosh, EW! EW! Gross!” Then turn heel and walk away.

      Anyone else have any suggestions? That, I have to say, is one of my worst fears, is seeing the two of them together, holding hands, or whatever. I think I would throw up my entire stomach–the stomach included–if I saw that. But I’ve made up my mind that I would act as though I were seeing two squooshy turds on legs out for a walk together if I did. That’s pretty much how I treat xH when I have to see him occasionally.

      Because you are right, they both are gross and soulless assholes and they can have each other.

      • I don’t think it necessary helps a lot, but we don’t live in a huge town so it is bound to happen. Also, because we don’t live a big town many people know what went down and frown upon them anyway. Time makes it easier. I find that when I see them I don’t even really recognize my ex anymore (I do physcially but you know what I mean). I used to really dread the day that I would hear they are engaged or something. But now I think I would just laugh because I truely know that they deserve each other, and not someone as good as me.

        • I live in a fairly small city, so I’m sure that people have seen STBX and OW together on dates, though I think STBX tries to take her places that aren’t frequented by people either of us knows. Still, the small town nature of the area means that when people see the two of them together, they’ll think “wow, can you believe that guy c heated on his wife to hook up with a woman who spreads her legs for anyone who buys her a drink?!!”

          Anyway, the point is that in their weird internal narrative, their forbidden love is so special that no one can ever understand. However, to the outside observer who knows the parties involved, they’re totally fucked up beyond pathetic.

        • I also live in a very small town and yes the utter humiliation that not only I had to endure but also our children was almost too much . She had gaslighted me so bad that I couldn’t go anywhere without people shunning me /us . School functions, little league games, the local store , county fairs I noticed the “down the nose stares” and “oh it’s him ” avoidance and as much as I wanted to scream out that I was innocent I just had to keep chewing that rancid shit sandwich…but…yes there is a faint silver lining…one day after about a year or so , my daughter 14 at the time was visiting her grandma, started to cry out of the blue and she confided that she was upset about what people were saying about her mother around the village. She was hearing from her friends things they overheard their parents were saying and they were not nice obviously. Possibly things like LIAR and HOMEWRECKER and WHORE I mean after screwing her best friends husband what kind of nice things could you say.Who knows she never gave details but it did tell me that not everyone was convinced by her bullshit or they were at first and the make believe crap they were told didn’t hold water after time and they saw thru it . It only gave me a little spark of vindication but it doesn’t change that our exes still caused irreversable damage to us and their children and walk around oblivious to it. My exes affair didn’t last he was seeing someone else the same time as her and they fought alot. I have watched over the past 5 yrs how she eventually lost the respect and support of her league of Frenemies , some family members , HER CHILDREN who have matured and see her what she is sadly capable of and unfortunately bury their pain as well. she has had no lasting relationships and the looks are hitting the wall or maybe her reputation precedes her?.. who knows who cares . I met some amazing people since then and with each one realized more and more how shitty this woman was to me over our marriage and that she will never change and in someways its sad to watch but only from our side. We feel sadness for what was lost and the anger of the pain we endured…they don’t ! I have to keep reminding myself of that THEY DON’T . As much as we want to laugh in their face we have to grin silently . You could have a 20 block tickertape parade with signs all over saying “YOU LOSE” and they still wouldn’t take blame or except it…they just don’t get it. So finish your shit sandwich, brush your teeth and smile ….you can’t change them but you can change you and maybe somewhere, sometime in the far back corners of their empty hearts they will at least say to themselves …boy did I FUCK UP !

      • I used to end up seeing my ex in public too. It didn’t help that one of my friends knew him from high school (I didn’t know this…) and he showed up at this mutual friend’s Halloween and 4th of July parties. So my ex ended up being friends with a lot of MY friends.

        Thankfully my friends knew me first, so he didn’t get to control the narrative with them.

        But he did, however, make attempts to approach me. The first time, I simply looked at him and said that I knew about two of the other AP’s, watched his face freeze, and then walked away. (He clearly didn’t think I would find out about them after our actual breakup. …Surprise.)

        Every other time after that, he would either avoid me and send me dirty looks. Except the one time he walked into my place of employment and followed me around the store until I had to tell a manager, and she let me stay in the management booth until he was gone. I told him, repeatedly, that I did not want to talk to him, I do not want to see him, no, I will not EVER meet with him ANYWHERE to discuss ANYTHING and he can leave me alone.

        I moved states, so I can confidently walk out of my apartment and know I have absolutely zero chance of running into him.

        My advice is either 1) Act like they don’t even exist. It drives them CRAZY. Being completely nonplussed by them tells them that not only have you moved on with your life, but that they are NOTHING to you. And if there is one thing a kibble-muncher hates, it’s being nothing to someone they used to dupe.
        2) If they approach you, like my ex did, tell them straight up that you do NOT wish to speak with them for any reason. Unless it’s for the purpose of custody arrangements, which can be done through email. But be as straightforward as possible so there is absolutely zero room for them to twist your words or try to pretend that you told them anything but “GO AWAY.”

        My ex may not have listened to me when I told him to fuck off, but he knows I told him to.

        • When I have to speak to my ex W, I like to use sarcasm because I know that really pisses her off. For example couple of weeks ago she said something to me, in email, about doing what’s best for the kids. So I wrote back and said “I’m glad you’re thinking about the kids because you certainly didn’t do that while you were parading around with your AP.”

          Just the other day we were having tense words via text about some difficulties my daughter is having in school, and she said “oh so it’s all my fault.” And I replied: “yes it is all your fault. I’m glad you finally admit it.”

          I know that pisses her off, when I am sarcastic and give off an air of superiority (and why not, I’m not the one who destroyed the family)

          • Neal, I’d drop the sarcasm if I were you and just speak with her (if you must speak to her at all) with the bland, unemotional voice you reserve for local bureaucrats.

            You do want to take the high road around the kids and be ALL business. Sarcasm makes you look like a dick, and weakens your “superiority” position.

            If you’re divorced, you don’t control who she and the kids hang out with and that includes OM. Sorry, we all eat that shit sandwich.

            School work? Take the emotion out and work on solutions. “I’ll take Suzy to tutoring on Mondays and Wednesday, how about you do Tuesday, Thursday?”

            Think your evil. Don’t spew sarcasm. Being indifferent to her is the most powerful message you can deliver, that you’re better than this.

              • CL almost always has fantastic advice. She’s right on this one. Don’t play the sarcasm. Your ex already knows that you’re pissed at her. Rightfully so, but there’s no real need to keep drilling at it. It’s not going to change her. She won’t suddenly wake up one day and realize that she’s a horrible person who destroyed her daughter’s family. She’s just going to think of you as crazy and bitter, pat herself on the back and tell herself that “she had no choice” because Her Ex Was Crazy.

                Really want to drive her nuts? Be completely deadpan. CL is right. If you’re talking about custody arrangement, being completely business and nothing else is the best way. With anything for that matter. She tries to text you about something else? Tries to goad you into an argument? Don’t reply. Ignore her.

                Cheaters HATE being ignored. Narcissists HATE it when they are not the center of attention and cheater narcissists HATE it when you’re not going out of your mind over them.

          • Dude I know how you feel but CL is right it sets you at her level of communication ,although they were good comebacks they are wasted on her, she doesn’t get the meaning. We all have to co-parent and yes I get the same stupid texts and comments but I learned no response can be the best, for example: she told you about the school trouble …don’t answer her at all take the information, discuss with your daughter go to the school and speak with the teacher or guidance counselor etc. and take charge of the matter . Really thats all thats important that your daughters dilemma is being looked after. The school will know you care your daughter will certainly know you give a shit about her first and dont even acknowledge the ex…dont tell her you looked after it she will hear soon enough that you are the better parent.

      • Sorry Stephanie, I think I misunderstood what you were saying. I meant that it doesn’t really help me that much to actually see them in public but it’s just something that is going to happen. Thank you for your advice though 🙂

    • Ah, yes, the seeing them in public. I admit, I was worried about that, and it is my one bit of happiness that ExH is abandoning his kids and moving away. I may never meet her, at the very least, probably not until the eldest child graduates high school.

      I dreaded seeing the young thing, 12 years younger than me. But, I realize, she got what she deserves. They both cheated on their spouses, and I pity the new baby that just arrived. Poor thing, such immoral people for her parents.

      ((( HUGS )))

  • Thank you CL, and Neal. This. Perspective is the one I need to stay focused on. I didn’t losea good wife and marriage. I lost a disruptive source of chaos and pain.

    By the way, earlier I posted about my concerns over whether to settle or finish the trial. I decided, against the advice of many, to finish the trial. Since making that decision my life has began to start falling back in place. And, since I’m representing myself, I am seeing all the factsas a lawyer now, not a chump. The best part is, as I prepare for trial, looking only at facts and evidence that yields a jury verdict, I can see clearly just how much chaos and pain she had made for everyone in our family for nearly a decade. I’m fairly confident I will win the trial, and no longer feel like I lost anything of value. Now I just need to do my best to put the kids the safest, most stable environment possible.

    • This line may become my new mantra: “I didn’t lose a good wife and marriage. I lost a disruptive source of chaos and pain.”

      Here’s to a victory in court and winning at life!

      • Yes, that line stood out for me as well and refers a bit to what I was posting a few above. Ex was the one thing in my life that caused strife and chaos. How do I know this? Because since I kicked him out and got to the point where he couldn’t bother me I have very, very little chaos or strife in my life, other than financial concerns…which are the direct result of him.

    • Best of Luck to You! I do like that perspective – “I didn’t lose a good wife and marriage. I lost a disruptive source of chaos and pain.”

      I think I am going to substitute the word “husband” for the word “wife” and paste it on my bathroom mirror.

    • Please keep us posted! I am proud that you have taken up the fight for your justice. I cannot wait to hear how it turns out. Good luck.

  • Thank you so very much for this— I needed it today. Going in to the lawyer/mediator for a penultimate visit: they always freak me out. (We’re doing mediation since I have an airtight post nup that’s the model.) This process, which I absolutely know is essential and the only path to take, is the only thing in my life that sends me down the slide into wishing things hadn’t turned out this way, wondering why he had to be such an asshole (pointless endeavor!) and generally feeling like crap about the last 25 years of my life.

    I do have a fabulous 21 year old daughter–although she will struggle with her father and his shitty choices for some time, I am her rock and she knows it; I have managed to provide financial stability for both of us (and I might even get that job I’m waiting to hear on); I have made her a loving home for when she needs it, and a place that I call the shell that I can collapse inside of, and go out from when I’m ready… and so on.

    Thank you CL for the reminder that despite the sorrow and loss, the grief, the anger, and bewilderment, there is a new something here somewhere. And that that new thing is worth hanging on for.

  • When I discovered my husband’s affair, he was deployed overseas to Iraq. I couldn’t confront him, so I called the OW and dumped all over her.

    I know – totally the wrong thing to do. In hindsight, I wish I had said nothing, got my act together, and moved out while my husband was gone, so when he came home the house would be empty but for a tidy pile of paper containing a printout of every email, picture, text….

    Anyway, this OW was married too and completely freaked out when she realized her fantasy world was about to collide into her actual world. She cried, apologized, kept saying over and over again “it wasn’t real, it wasn’t real” I said “I am real. My children are real.” So while I know my actions were far from meh – and since it was mere hours after discovery how could it be? – it did make me feel a little better.

    Neal, I don’t know how to get past the bitterness and anger completely. Most days I think it is gone and then some little thing will happen and it’ll flare up seemingly out of nowhere. Don’t beat yourself up over this incident.

    • The bitterness goes away, in time. Lots of bad days in the beginning, less as time went by. Sometimes I was so overcome by anger, by the injustice of it all, that I wanted to physically harm both of them, especially OW. It took me about 3 years after Dday to get over it.

      These days, I’m usually pretty meh, because I’m actually enjoying my life. I don’t have to fit it in around XH’s schedule, I don’t have to get up and make sure everyone’s quiet so he can sleep, etc. It’s been a delightful change of pace…

      • I agree with you Red.
        It has been nice not having to live my life around XH’s schedule and being his assistant, cook, maid, sex toy, nanny, financial planner and work a full time job on top of that. I too had to try and keep the kids quiet while he was sleeping after working midnight shifts. No more. 🙂 That in itself has been soooo liberating!

        • Casey, the first time it occurred to me that keeping small children quiet in the morning was insane was when I had S10 and my aunt came to help for a week. I’d been up all night with the baby, but got the girls (then 5 and 2) up at 7:30, as usual, to get them ready for preschool. My aunt got up to drive them. She and I were talking quietly while the girls played and I nursed the baby. Then D2 started hollering about something, and I frantically shhed her and told her to be quiet.

          “Why does she need to be quiet?” my aunt asked, confused. “The baby’s already awake.”

          “Yes, but XH isn’t. He needs his rest.”

          She looked at me like I was insane. “And you DON’T? HE should be down here getting the girls ready for school, not you. I swear, I’ve never seen a lazier new father in my life! He should be ashamed of himself.”

          I bit my tongue. I didn’t dare tell her that the only paternity leave he ever took consisted of precisely one afternoon after baby #2 was born in which he came home and promptly fell asleep on the couch and left me to deal with the newborn and the toddler on my own. When I woke him up after 4 hours to go get some groceries, he said that if all I was going to do was put him to work, he’d rather BE at work. I never asked for his help again. He never offered.

          Sad what you get used to, isn’t it?

  • “But he took away a faithless woman who was hurting you.”

    Exactly. Write yourself the note Chump Lady suggested Neal. THAT is the truth that you must cling to.

  • As others have said, it’s best not to give the cheater any fuel for their twisted, rewritten version of history. Most likely, your ex has given the OM a ton of bullshit about how you were abusive, or an asshole, or no passion or some other lies rationalizing and justifying the affair. So handing him a note will only add fuel to that fire. Still, I admit I think flipping him off is kind of awesome, and I absolutely understand your feelings.

    Heck, considering that cheaters and AP’s get murdered by the betrayed spouse not infrequently, the OM got off pretty easy. I have an uncle who is a divorce attorney, and one of his clients was gunned down on the courthouse steps by their STBX. Remember that woman who drove the car back and forth over her cheating husband? So a note isn’t that bad.

    Neal, we all understand how angry you are, how hurt, how totally messed up it all is. Your ex is a POS. Lying, cheating skank. Eventually, you will meet someone SO MUCH BETTER than her. Really. Remind yourself that you have integrity, that you were faithful, that you deserve so much more than a woman with no decency or honesty. Because you do.

  • OH man believe me I often wonder what I will do if I ever run into the ho-worker. IT’s been just a touch over a year since I had my proof and I still don’t know if I could stop myself from doing somethign similar. Really time is the only thing I think that makes us less bitter. I’m still just as angry but I deal with it differently, better. It doesn’t consume my thoughts anymore. And in an hour I go in to sign the default judgement because the future ex didn’t respond to being served – so it’s a good day!

  • I can understand why you did it, I’d have been tempted to punch him out just out of sheer principle. Personally I think these people do need to be called out for there actions, sabers at dawn would have suited me fine, however it came out in the end.

      • Okay, so this isn’t really funny or the right thing to do but….
        After I found out that it was a lot more than one time and no protection was used, I will admit, I punched him in the face, several times. Gave him a bloody lip. I had NEVER punched anyone before in my life and we never had any issues of violence in the household before his adultery. It was not the right thing to do.
        However, I thought to myself (after the fact) that his AP was/is a jail deputy so what is he going to do, call his cop coworkers and have me arrested only to sit in the jail where his AP works so I can shoot off my mouth. Boy, that would have been priceless….
        What I do find humorous about this is that several months later in false R, after I got in his face about all the lies, he ended up pushing me against a wall and then on the floor. In the divorce documents, he claims that I assaulted him, which I did. No reports were ever made. But, he never made any mention of his assault against me. Fucking coward. And he is a cop. The only thing that I regret about that now, is that I didn’t punch him harder.

        • Casey,

          I am so jealous!! I would love to punch my husband in the face – and the stomach, the throat, stomp on his instep and kick him in the nuts. However, he would just twist it around to say that was why the marriage couldn’t work. He actually tries to provoke emotional reactions from me, which I allowed him to do throughout the marriage so I alway looked like the crazy one. Usual abuse tactic. Of course since I actually have GENUINE feelings, after awhile he knew which buttons to push to get me at full throttle.

          Now, even though I am nowhere close to “meh,” on the few occasions when I have interacted with him, I watch him go from topic to topic and say subtle cutting remarks to try to get me going and I don’t respond. The only thing that rises is my eyebrow as I observe his insanity as if I was studying some strange insect that landed on my shoe. Even though I can feel some of those old emotions roiling on the inside, I remain cool on the outside. It is worth it because I can feel it making him crazy. Sometimes, that is ALMOST as good as punching him. However, I would still like to cock punch him.

          I will admit that the other day I made an unflattering comment about Reverend Ho-Bag’s physical appearance (it was an accurate assessment), which appearance has deteriorated somewhat over the years. He was very insulted and I realize it was very small of me but it is the first thing I’ve said about her since I found out that she was his side piece months ago. I had to get it out of my system so I understand how that feels. Sometimes taking the high road wears out your shoes and you have to take a small dip into the valley to take a break and lace up a new pair of high road walking shoes.

          • Told my STBXH after I confronted him that “I feel like slapping you so hard right now so that you can feel the pain that I feel, but I don’t think I can slap you hard enough.” I’ve been taking boxing classes for the last 4 weeks. Lol.

  • Thanks to all of you for the support and especially Chump Lady. I smiled while reading your responses, and I definitely feel better. I admit I’m not even close to meh.

    Now here’s something that might make you guys smile. Or maybe shout “Yeah!” and punch the air. About a year and a half ago (I knew at the time there was something between XW and douche bag OM, but had no idea how serious), there was a “friendly” game among hockey coaches. I arranged to be on opposite teams. I waited and waited. I didn’t want to go out of my way and just get in a mere shove. And then with five minutes to go, the stars alligned. Puck in the corner. He’s skating to get it from one direction. I’m coming in from the side, quickening my stride, ice crunching beneath my blades. Ever see a train hit a car sitting at a crossing? That’s what it was like. His stick goes flying. He falls, sprawled on the ice, slams into the boards. Gloves knocked off. I just turned and skated right to the penalty box with a smile — which told everyone watching that I meant to do it, I knew it was a penalty and I didn’t care.

    I hold on to that memory and think about it when I am trying to get to meh. I really don’t need to say anything more. That check said a lot. After that I hoped to get another shot at him and arranged to sub in the league he plays in (he sucks so he plays in the lowest level at the rink). by then everyone at the rink knew about the affair and were scandalized. A couple refs said they’d, um, look the other way. Alas, every time my team played his, he was out…wonder why… 🙂

    CL, you are totally right. I should give that note to the XW. I did give her something like that a few months ago. It was a doozie.


    • That is awesome Neal! I have always said in my mind that if I run into the turd I would either punch him in the throat. Or kick him square in the junk and when he folds over give him a knee to the nose. Will I do it. Probably not (I’d get turd juice on me.) But I would like to see him crumble to the ground just like I did when my cheating wife confessed.

      • How I look at it too – someone is volunteering to relieve me from responsibilities for my aging husband. I know, it will be a real joy when he gets to his 50s and 60s with no medical insurance nor retirement savings (everything’s been covered under my plans so far). Why should I resist? Of course, I make it clear that a “no return” policy applies

        • Ouch on the menopause though. It’s not the death knell.

          When in counseling my ex said “But you’re entering menopause!” That was one of his reasons that he had to have an affair with someone 20 years younger.

          • Me in menopause and the girls in puberty and it’s STILL more pleasant around here than when XH lived with us. He was more moody than all of us combined. LOL!

      • I love this one. I got her best years and he gets the saggy, menopausal whore leftovers. (I’m still very angry after 10 months of you can’t tell).

    • It boils down to this:

      If OP broke into your house and stole your television, you could have them arrested for theft. But if they break into your marriage and steal your spouse, you have absolutely NO recourse. NONE. There are no laws against having affairs anymore (except the 10 Commandments). But if you punch the OP or follow them around, YOU can get arrested for assault or stalking. It’s about as unfair as it gets.

      There used to be “Alienation of Affection” laws in most states, but all the lying, cheating politicians have had those repealed over the years. Only a few states still have them, including North Carolina. That’s where former American Idol runner up Fantasia Barrino is from, and when she started having an affair with a married man, the man’s wife filed an “Alienation of Affection” lawsuit against Fantasia and went after her money. It got pretty ugly. But I bet Fantasia thinks twice about hitting on another married man in the future.

      I’m with Mike. Sabers at dawn makes total sense. Or even a few rounds in the ring. I don’t care if OW IS 20 years younger than me – I can still kick her ass. 😉

      • Red,

        I’ve considered the alienation of affection route (I’m in a state where they still have the law on the books), but the lying, cheating male politicians have taken all of the teeth out of the law. The monetary award in my state is minimal and the standard of proof is relatively high.

        And you’re right – there’s a higher penalty for breaking my down my door and stealing my television than breaking into my family and compromising my security and the security of my children by having an affair with my husband. That’s the real cost of living in a society that has become more materialistic and narcissistic over time and continues to move in that direction – things have more value than people.

        As far as Fantasia is concerned, I don’t think she has the requisite critical thinking skills or intellectual capability necessary to recognize that her behavior was morally repugnant. She’s another professed Christian with situational morals.

    • I guess I’m more vindictive then you guys….a beating on the little dweeb would have been to easy……I gave in to revenge sex with with OM’s wife …more then a few times ….I know , I know I was weak but it was her idea and apparently there was a “first time” that took place according to her and she made sure there was …”evidence” I often meant to ask her she ever used it but never did …we both were betrayed big time… she not only by her POS husband but by her supposed best friend as well …my ex. So revenge can be sweet sometimes

  • This is an actual note I gave my ex. Many of you can probably relate to this. (Background is that after the affair, she kept having contact with the asshole, she’d talk to him in front of me, in front of our dauther, too — even as we were in MC. Nice way to show you want to stay married….). I edited to remove names.

    This is why I am angry.

    It’s not the affair. That was bad, but we all make mistakes. No one’s perfect. Life is about how you fix mistakes, what you do about them. That’s what I teach the kids in hockey. It’s OK to make mistakes, but learn from them.

    What I don’t understand is that you gave up on the marriage. You threw it away. Like it was garbage. You gave up on the family. Our family. The family and home that [our daughters] loved and cherished and believed in. You threw that away.

    We took vows. We promised each other. We promised your parents, my parents, your grandmother, all our friends. We promised them we would to stick together. For better, for worse, in sickness, and in health.

    You broke that promise. Apparently you were unhappy in our marriage for a long time. But you never told me that in a simple declarative sentence. At any one of those dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of times at the coffee shop, you could have said, “We need marriage counseling. I am very unhappy.” But you didn’t. You could have gotten counseling for yourself. You could have written it in a note. You could have gotten a friend to tell me, if you were unable to say it yourself.

    You can say what you want about me. Porn. The stress I brought home from work. Yelling at that punk [from down the street]. Not taking out the garbage enough to make you happy. All mistakes, yes. Like you, I’ve made mistakes. But I never stopped wanting us to have a good marriage. I never stopped wanting us to be happy together. I would have done anything, faced up to anything, to be able to have a good marriage with you, to keep our family together, to have the four of us – you, me, [our two daughters] – stay together in a good, stable, mostly happy family. That time in Utah, what did I say was my New Year’s wish? To have a weekend with my wife. That was after you had started with [your affair partner], and even then, that was what I wanted. I wanted us.

    I have made mistakes. But at the end of the day, all of my heart was still in the marriage. I didn’t abandon it. You did.

    You went out and formed a new relationship with another man. And after I found out about you and [your affair partner], you couldn’t or wouldn’t or didn’t want to find a way to make a serious effort to fix the marriage. Instead you threw it away. You turned your back on the family, on the girls’ family, on their home, on the center of everything those girls know and believe in, on the source of all the trust and guidance and comfort they have.

    It wasn’t the affair itself that killed the marriage. It was how you reacted after the affair.
    You threw the marriage away. You stomped on it and crushed it and smashed it down and threw it in the trash. You looked at the 20 years we’ve been together and looked at all we’ve done – the trips to Paris, the lucky sweater, the day we lost Ernie, Ashokan Farewell, the lions in Africa, the Muffendorf Weinhaus, this house, up north on the Fourth, Christmas with the Germans, taking your parents to Wolfgang’s, the day [our first daughter] was born, the day [our second daughter] was born, the Rockets, the grand tour of ‘98, Karlovy Vary, biking along the Mosel, Neuhof, the Chelsea Lightning, the Gandy Dancer on Christmas eve, — you took all of that, so many things that I cherished, loved, collected, revered, admired, treasured, valued, and adored – and you threw it away. Like it was garbage.

    That’s why I’m angry.

    • I wrote much the same letter and just burned it, I realized once she was done with our marriage nothing I had to say mattered anymore. But the truth is years from now she is going to remember what you wrote word for word, but it will be way past the time it will do any one any good.

      • You’re right, Mike. The note won’t make a dent on her. She’ll look at it with the same ice cold, unemotions, Jodi Arias stare that she gave me so many, many other times. But *I* feel better knowing I said what I had to say to her. I feel better not holding it in. I don’t think she will remember what I wrote. She’s way too empty for that. But years from now I will be in meh-city and I’ll feel better knowing I told her exactly what was inside me.

        • Neal I wrote that same exact letter – it could have been word for word. Get out of my brain! I did give it to my future ex. He did read it and he reacted – he was quiet, he had tears in his eyes, but it didn’t change anything. I would do it again because it was part of my process. Theres’ no way I couldn’t have shown him those words. Doesn’t matter if those words didn’t reach him and doesn’t matter if it didn’t make me feel better – It had to be done.

        • I may never have sent the letter, but did say my piece. I hadn’t seen my x one on one for over a year, I’ve been as NC as it is to be when kids are involved. I spoken to her three times in the last 2-1/2 years, total time about three minutes. I had to meet up with her to change the ownership over for one of the cars last year. When we were done I said “before you run off there is something I have to say. I don’t know how you could do this, even if you had been a quadraplegic for the last 20 years I would have never had done this to you” then and I turned and walked away.

    • Neal, it’s interesting how habitual cheaters don’t seem to be very sentemental. I was honestly starting to think that I was the only one who cared about these sorts of things. My husband sees the day our daughters were born as just another day. Our anniversary is an inconvenience. I don’t really play the “remember when?” game because, well, it just doesn’t seem to matter to him.

      She lost someone who obviously cared about her. Men have the winning hand in terms of time and prospects. I think you’ll find that you’re far happier a few years from now.

      • My ex started his last affair on our youngest daughter’s birthday. The one before that was before, during and after I was pregnant with our eldest daughter, which was an IVF pregnancy. What is the opposite of sentimental? Indifferent.

    • Your note made me tear up, Neal. Like you, I could forgive my wife’s affair if she was willing to fix the marriage. But she’s not — she wants me to fix it while sweeping her own actions under the rug. All those memories, all those years? Not worth her time or discomfort. Just a goddamn shame.

    • That’s a fantastic note, Neal. Your wife never deserved you, not for a second. She’s like all the other cheaters here; selfish, entitled, dishonest, manipulative, disordered and beyond repair. She is garbage, and that is why your marriage was doomed, not because the marriage itself was garbage.

      • What a beautiful and sad note, brought tears to my eyes. I know it is useless for them, nothing gets through that dead space. But it is so so true. (((Hugs)))

  • Good note, Neal,

    I have written scads of excoriations I will never send, don’t want to give Mr Fabulous any oxygen, or OW (replace ‘Hockey Coach’ with brother’s ex wife and we are doppelgängers).

    Your kids will know, in the end, who did right by them- CL is right- we are not of the Fabulous, so we won’t ever understand, and we are, in the long run, lucky for finding out.

    A long way to go to ‘meh’ too- DD has decided to move away with me and start over somewhere ‘clean’, but there is still a load of Anti-Meh to get through first.

    Good luck everybody.


  • I had to share space with ex and OW for my daughter’s graduation. Thankfully I had my siblings with me. I behaved like a mature adult, while my sisters blatantly took pics of OW and made a show of laughing while texting the pics to others. It was very upsetting to the happy couple. Fun times.

  • Silence is the best response to a fool (or in our case, assholes). Truer words were never spoken. Well done, CL! And forgive yourself, Coach… at least you didn’t blade him in the groin.

    • My XB cheated on me recently… Not with just one OW…several. He says he doesn’t even care what they look like. I think it’s all about the number of OW he can get. Yesterday was my birthday. He sent me flowers to let me know he was still thinking of me. My first reaction was to dump them on his car. I didn’t. Is it better to just ignore the gift & do nothing?

      • I agree w/Preya. Don’t give him the satisfaction of knowing that his ‘gift’ even registered on you. Throw them out, or if you’ve got the time, drop them off at a hospital or old-folks home so someone else can enjoy them. And continue to ignore him. It’s not only better for you, it drives the narcs CRAZY!

        • Holly, I would add that you should refuse any further such gifts, just refuse the delivery of any more flowers or whatever else he might send. NC is the only way.

  • Neal, you sound like a good man and I believe you deserve better. I like your hockey story! I think it’s only natural to respond like that and if I was given the opportunity to check my ex I’d love it!

    I don’t think it really matters to them what we write or say. What matters to them is that we live a great life without them. I think they just can’t believe it’s possible for us chumps, but it really is.

    My STBX was having an affair while we were in MC and during a trial separation where we both “promised” not to see others. He swore up and down there was nobody else. When he decided to come home I was relieved but weary. Turns out my instincts were right, he was having an affair the whole time. And he took her to our home for sex without protection.

    Now when I found out about his affair, I pretty much called divorce on the marriage. I could not image being with someone who would lie to my face over and over and disrespect me and our life together. I could not imagine bringing someone into our home where we live with our child and having unprotected sex. For me, while it was incredibly difficult, but I felt I deserved better and asked for a divorce. And there were days when I wondered if I threw it all away too fast. But my answer came: He was with another woman within weeks.

    Chumps beat themselves up because we want to believe that what we loved and treasured was worth saving but at the end of the day it really is best to cut your losses and move in a direction away from the pain and toward a healthy and happy life.

    I wish you the best.

  • This Canadian and hockey MOM knows how humiliating your pain is. You JUST don’t do what your ex did——especially since it surrounded hockey. Many Americans reading this post canNOT possibly understand how humiliating this experience must be. Many Canadians eat, sleep and breathe hockey; and to have your spouse cheat with a hockey coach on your kid’s team is sacrilegious……evil and cruel…… I hope you get to “meh” I haven’t yet, but I HOPE you will.

    Sincerely, Hockey mom

    • Heather, you are totally right. There is something very wrong about a coach getting involved with the mother of one of his players. Coaches sign a code of conduct where they pledge they will not harm any of the participants – that means players parents assistant coaches scorekeepers referees and especially their own players. This idiot was supposed to be in charge of his players and protect them. Instead he destroyed the family of one of his players, and exposed all the other kids to his bad , deceitful, and immoral behavior.

      It was somewhat humiliating for me, but truly much worse for him and my ex. They are now outcasts at that rink. When they show up, nobody talks to them, people stare at them, people talk behind their backs. It’s far worse for them than it is for me.

      • I think in a lot of ways it’s easier to achieve “Meh” if the X moves somewhere else and you have very little contact with them. I’ve never seen my X and OM together except in a picture and can’t imagine what it would be like having it thrown in your face like that seeing them at the rink. I rarely see my X, almost three years on now since she left and I sometimes wonder if my marriage ever really happened, it’s more like my X died.

        • My ex walked away too Mike. He moved 1/2 hour away, swearing he would move even closer to his main AP who is several states away, but that has not happened yet. Once the divorce was final, it appears that the AP’s status changed from “soul-mate” to former, aging f*ck-buddy. Anyhow, my ex has not seen our children in 1 1/2 years. I have recently been attempting to facilitate a meeting between him and our older two children (ages 24 and 20), so they can try to get some closure (fat chance I know but I try). I have a 14 year old at home, though, who has not seen his dad in 1 1/2 years. He has grown 4 inches since D-Day and his voice has changed….I doubt his dad would recognize him right away at this point. I tell myself it’s a blessing but what kind of parent abandons their own children? Self-centered does not describe it. I too feel like the person who was my husband for 25 years has died, except this husband’s “death” brought with it a desecration of our family memories.

          • Kelly, so sorry to hear the situation for your kids, that their father is not in their lives. The are very lucky to have you. I’m sure it’s not easy, but years down the road your kids will be OK and it will be because they had to you hold them up when times were tough.

          • what kind of parent abandons their own children ?…my kids mother thats who … when she moved out into her tiny apartment where she still lives…her words to the kids…”it’s too small and there is no room for you there so your going to stay here with Daddy”…13 12 and 7 heard that and it crushed them….I wanted to choke her

      • Well, they kind of earned whatever the public reaction is for however long it persists. You just trusted somebody, so that doesn’t reflect badly on you.

        On the bright side, you don’t have to deal with somebody who doesn’t value you day-in and day-out (which can be exhausting), and if you still have primary or even shared custody of your daughter, that’s a HUGE plus in my book; there are a lot of kids out there in single-parent homes who don’t have the benefit of spending much time with the parent that values commitment and who is looking out for them near and long-term.

        • In that I’m very lucky, my pretty much walked away from everything, both of my kids live full time with me, the X sees them about once, sometimes twice a month.
          Most of the kids at the school mine go are back and forth between parents, seems a lot of marriages don’t make it past 15 years these days.

          • Hi Mike, mine just ended 1 month shy of 16 years. I have a question though, what do you tell the children the real reason is for the divorce. Mine thinks its because dad always travels. I haven’t corrected her yet.

            • I haven’t told my kids the real reason we got divorced (Mommy fucked around with your hockey coach). My therapist says it woudl be bad to tell them that, and that later in life they might be tempted to do the same in their own lives…good enough reason for me to keep my mouth shut.

              I have told them that “I didn’t want to get divorced” and “Mommy didn’t want to be married anymore,” which is true. But that’s as far as I’ve gone.

              They havent asked me why we got divorced. Yet. I’m sure that question will come. And then my answer will be “Mommy didn’t want to be married anymore.” And if they want to ask her about it, they can and then it’s her problem.

              • I asked my therapist the same question a few minutes after I posted here… She said a similar thing only that I could add that I don’t like the “ow” and don’t want my daughter receiving gifts from her. This has been a big stress the past few weeks, hearing how dad’s “friend” has this and that for our daughter, and keeping my mouth shut about how I feel. I was literally about to burst! Not looking forward to this conversation but my innocent child is being lied to and minipulated so that she’ll like this piece of shit.

              • Neal, I don’t see the reason you can’t tell them the truth at age 18. They should be old enough then to understand and they will find out eventually.

                You don’t want them to believe that neither one of their parents was honest with them. They already have one liar.

            • Nocake4u, I’d tell them the whole truth in an age appropriate way, without anger or bad mouthing the STBX, the kids figure out who is the bad one soon enough with out our help.

              My kids were older, when my wife left my son was 13, my daughter 18. At the time I didn’t know why my X left, but I had my suspictions, all she told me was “She hadn’t been very happy for a long time” ( news to me) and she left three days later. She left while my son was at summer camp, I had to break the news to him when we got home… before I got past telling him that his mother had not been very happy and I had no idea what the problems were he cut in and said ” Dad, it sounds like Mom is having a midlife crisis, just like my friend Y’s Mom did ” I agreed and said we should give her time to sort things out because we didin’t know the whole picture.

              My Daughter at 18 going on 19 I simply told her what I knew, that her mom had claimed she was very unhappy, wanted out, had stated she was not interested in any sort of marriage councilling, then left. I also told her that another man was generally involved when this happens, but I had no proof, to cut her mother some slack ( she really wanted to blast her) until we knew more about what was going on. It was my daughter who got verirication of the OM four months later, via an email from a freind of the OM that spilled the beans, at which point I told my son and my Inlaws.

              • Nocake4u, I agree about telling kids the truth, in an age appropriate way, if they ask. I absolutely disagree that hiding the reality from them would in some way protect them from becoming cheaters (or chumps) themselves. Much to the contrary, it keeps you from having some very important conversations with them about what is and isn’t OK behaviour in a relationship, about integrity and committment, and about taking responsibility for our own behaviour. And it can keep them from seeing their other parent as they really are; not a good thing.

                I also think it’s particularly important that kids have some idea what actually happened, because it’s very anxiety provoking for them to have this vague idea that people can be apparently at least OK in their marriage, then suddenly everything changes for no apparent reason, and the marriage ends.

              • I agree with telling, age appropriately of course. If other people know, our kids are going to find out sooner than you could imagine anyhow. Unless they are toddlers they already have a gut instinct that the cover story is false (if the chump can be chumped into lying on behalf of the abuser of course). Their reality will be skewed because they know something is off but don’t quite understand it and even if they did understand it don’t want to believe it. Sound familiar chumps? That’s what our exes did to us. Don’t raise another generation of chumps….or abusers.

  • One of the most helpful things I read in the book “Narcissistic Lovers” is that our emotions, our anger and pain and everything else, becomes narcissistic supply to the narcissists. Both my Ex and the OW are narcissists, so I try not to give them any of my feelings. It hurts me more than it hurts them to see that even when I share my feelings, they DO NOT CARE. I find that no-contact is the best gift I give to myself. Now that the divorce is done, I am so much closer to meh. I am no longer emotional eating. I don’t feel teary. Even during the brief hearing for the divorce, with my Ex seated right across from me, I didn’t even look at him. I smiled, head my head high, and listened to the judge congratulate us for being so civil and respectful in settling out of court. I resisted the urge to send any of the AP’s flowers, thanking them for taking this monster off my hands. I thought briefly about sending the current OW the ugly flannel pajamas with different dogs’ head on them, that my Ex gave me for Christmas. She will get to know first-hand what a terrible gift-giver he is, and how awful it is to live with him. I had the same experience with him never helping when I had a newborn, since he liked to sleep late. Today, one week after the divorce was finalized, I am no longer angry, hurt or bitter. I am happy, optimistic, and free!! And sadly, my Ex has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and is getting a taste of “Karma’s A Bitch” that he can’t blame me for!! Sadly, one of the effects of Parkinson’s is sexual dysfunction. I empathize, to myself…

    • Good for you Meg, you are a very strong person. That karma train CAN be a bitch. They left behind the people who truly loved them for a soulless and superficial life.

  • I’m actually closer to meh than it might appear. I’m seeing someone who’s super nice to me, thinks I’m smart and funny and successful, is always glad to see me. Most of all she’s NORMAL. She likes sex (I believe my XW is schizoid personality disorder — those people don’t care for sex with other people).

    I spend tons of time with my two kids, coach one in hockey, go to my other’s hockey games/practices all the time, am teaching her to drive.

    They know I have a girlfriend and are ok with it (I haven’t introduced them and don’t plan to unless they ask to meet her). So life is so much better than when I was stuck in the same house with the schizoid.

    It’s just when I see the idiot OM in person that I feel like I have to say something.

    Interestingly his wife and I stay in touch. we coordinate so that one of us is at the rink when the two cheaters might be there at the same time. I don’t know why she hasn’t kicked him out. This wasn’t his first time. But that’s not my problem.

    I’m just trying to be the best Dad I can be, find time to play a little hockey myself, drink lots of water, stretch, get plenty of sleep, keep my head clear, be honest with people, live a good life.

    • Neal, “living well is the best revenge”. I get flack for making this statement, some see the revenge part as being a negative, but early on we do need to channel the anger into something positive and prove to ourselves we can survive. It’s a good time to make a bucket list and become the best man you doing it and being there for your kids.

      • Anger and the idea of “revenge” by surviving and thriving despite what my ex did got me through. Those feelings have to go somewhere, may as well ride that energy. Anyone who claims not to be angry after what we’ve been through is either lying….or Ghandi.

  • I don’t mean to hijack the comments but I have recently gotten this “brilliant” idea (I’m a brand spanking new chump) to wait until around Christmas time to send an anonymous Christmas card to the place of employment of the AP’s spouse with detailed information about the sex (i have received many explicit details from my cheater that only he would know.)
    Reason/ when I shared the discovery with AP’s spouse, he refused to believe me and as far as I know, they’re still together. I also didn’t have much evidence of the affair at that time. I’m hoping it would at least ruin their holidays, no?

      • Sorry, Arnold but her spouse is not so innocent. He apparently facilitated the affair by turning a blind eye to it because he’s dependent on his wife’s money (he’s perpetually unemployed.) I have a strong feeling he knew it was going on but when decided to be in denial for self preservation.

        • You did the right thing by telling him about the affair. The rest is entirely up to him – he doesn’t want to know, apparently, so no point in providing evidence.

          • Maybe he was too traumatized to act. After all, most( probably all, actually) cheaters are disordered a users. If he was with her for any length of time, she , probably, brutalized him.

            • I agree with Arnold, AK, it’s not his fault, these pathological users play with your head, who knows it better than we do. Be kind to him, don’t ruin his XMas (plus you’ll risk allowing exH’s and AP’s story that you’re crazy).

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