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This Is What You Missed, You Idiot

notplanBDid anyone catch Jennifer Ball’s moving essay on HuffPo, “This Is What You’ve Missed”? It’s a recitation of the small and significant moments that her ex-husband has missed out on when he abandoned their four children for his mistress. Marrying her, having another child, and then having nothing to do with his original family ever again.

It’s heartbreaking. The missed graduation ceremonies, the teenage hijinks, the inside  jokes, the love of the family dog, holidays — and the not-so-fun parts, the teenage drama, the parent-teacher conferences, sicknesses, the unending single parenting chores performed alone.

At the end of the essay she writes:

When you left us, I was so sad. And after I was done being sad I got mad. And when the anger left me, I decided to drink in everything you walked away from. Everything you decided wasn’t worth hanging around for, I embraced it, loved it… I hung around for it.

Thank God she doesn’t see the world through the lens of her cheater. I’m unworthy. My children are unlovable. There must be something terribly flawed about us that he left us and started his sparkly, new family with someone better.

No, she frames it perfectly. Those things you didn’t consider “worth hanging around for, I embraced.”

Not, “I got stuck with,” or “making the best of it without you, wish you were here.” No, Ball sees their WORTH. Cheater? You are the IDIOT. You are the one missing out. I accept you have a new life, but I cannot understand why you cannot integrate your old life — your children — with your new life. (I’m guessing the insecurity of the wifetress has something to do with that.)

Thank God Ball is there every day embracing the life he left behind and not just going through the motions (and who could blame her? One teenager exhausts me, I cannot imagine four). Because what better fortress could she build to defend her children from internalizing their father’s rejection? I am here. I’m glad to be here. I enjoy your company. I want to be here. Even when you’re being a horrible teenager and you reject me and condescend to me — I am here.

I don’t understand men like that “father.” There are so many good men, like the man I married, like men on this blog, who unfairly lost so much time with their children because of divorce. They miss their kids. They step up financially. They parent, making the most of the time they do have. They treasure their children — and divorce is just a fact of life. It’s not an obstacle to their love. Their love is constant. It’s not dependent on their marital status, or if they live across the country, or build a new life. They love their kids.

And then there are the other kinds of men — and women — who abandon. Look, if they could cheat and have such shallow affections for you, why not their own kids? Idiots who can’t cope with the most basic parenting tasks. (You apparently were just born with it.)

My son was supposed to visit his father this summer, and the guy canceled less than 24 hours to say “It’s not a good time.”

Hey, the stars are not in alignment, it’s Not A Good Time.

And guess what? It’s still not a good time, apparently. And over the years when he missed the violin concert, and the stomach flu, and the fractured arm, and the honor roll announcements — those were all Not Good Times as well.

It’s easier without him, really. Except every day I worry that my son internalizes his father’s rejection. I worry that he’ll become a chump. That he’ll set his value low so it’s not too much trouble to love him.

I worry for Ball’s children. Will their father show up at their weddings like nothing happened? Will he need a favor off them in his old age? Will he continue to pretend like they never existed?

Is it enough to be the one sane parent? Yes. We’re the lucky ones. We may not get to share every moment with our children, but we treasure them. We model constancy and stability. Our love is mighty. And what is love stacked against idiocy? Love has to triumph.

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  • I, too, have four kids. Two of which I felt tricked into getting pregnant with (long story, but wouldn’t trade them for anything). So my initial feeling when I began as a single parent was that that asshole left me holding the bag. I was bitter because he just walked off and assumed the lifestyle of a frat boy, while I was “stuck” taking care of all he created in his previous life. It really is like they move on to a completely new life.

    Anyway, it took me about a week of anxiety and anger to realize that I had already been a single parent for so many years, and this was no different. The only thing he was good for was a psychological safety net. Someone I could ask to pick up the slack if I should need it. But, truthfully, he never would come through anyway when I would ask for help (during marriage).

    So after that revelation, and the added realization that he would no longer be there sucking up every extra penny in the household, I started really having fun with my kids. We have routines, traditions, and I’m always finding fun new activities for us. Ex visits with them very rarely and just takes them back to his place and plays video games or watches tv while they hang out in the other room, neglected. They hate being with him because they know they’re missing out on something fun to be with him doing nothing. So, even what little time he still has with them, he is missing what’s right before his eyes. Such a fool.

    I also realized that I don’t think I want to date because it would take such a chunk out of my kids’ childhoods. It doesn’t feel worth it to me. I don’t want to share my kids’ mom with anybody.

    BTW, ex does not pay child support. I take care of myself and my kids 100%, and somehow HE is bankrupt and I have extra for fun activities. 🙂

    • Good for you, JBaby! How old are your kids? My story is almost exactly the same, except I have 3. My kids are the light of my life, and I havent found anyone worth taking my time away from them… My ex also doesnt pay child support. He decided to go back to school instead. So he “doesn’t have enough money.” Of course, if you spend all your money on other things, you don’t have enough money. That’s true for anything. Dude just doesn’t get it, or more likely does and that’s his excuse. He also spends non-quality time with them. But they love hanging out with him (he’s super sparkly and makes everyone he’s with feel special). Anyway, good for you, JBaby, for being such a great parent and making your kids’ lives full without him. I am disabled, so I try a lot too, but there’s also a lot they miss out on. And mine are still in grade/middle school, so the discipline can get to me sometimes :/ Anyway, all the best to you. Doesn’t it feel good to be doing the right thing, for the kids and ourselves?! 🙂

      • Thanks sunshine! And yes, it does feel good. My kids are 11, 9, 7, and 5. Ex and OW pay most attention to the youngest, doting on her and taking just her for visitation sometimes. True to their disorder.

        • Yep, Ex and OW fawn all over younger kid, older kid doesn’t get a look in because he doesn’t buy their act. Sad but true.

    • My, but your story sounds familiar. While my ex does pay child support, his clearly keeps to his visitation time only because he wants the appearance of “doing the right thing.” When you tell your children that it’s their dad’s weekend and they say things like:

      “But we JUST saw him!”
      “Can’t the babysitter come over and take care of us?” (I have to work part of this weekend; I never work on my weekends with the kids.)
      “When are we coming back?”

      I’m sad to say that I don’t think my kids would be terribly hurt if he packed up and moved far away. When the divorce was new, and they were first adjusting to visitation (and he was probably trying harder), they seemed to miss him. Now, they seem annoyed or sad when it’s time to visit him. I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that he married the AP right away and moved her and her kids in. He might as well just pack up with them and walk out of my kids’ lives. They seem less and less connected to him as time passes. 🙁

      • That’s happening with my one kid who sees him regularly as well. He says he ‘has’ to go or is dad will get pissed but finds excuses all the time to not go. It’s kind of sad but he feels like it’s a chore, which is not a great thing.

  • I truly appreciate the shout out in support of chump dads, but I’ve got to say this article hits a nerve for those of us whose kids were bribed, uh, I mean, *persuaded* to move in with their more permissive cheater parents and, in my case, move 1,700 miles away. All those joys and wonders you list? I missed them. And the not-so-wonderful-but-meaningful times? I missed those, too. Gone. Disappeared. Like a heavy black curtain rang down between me and my youngest boy. You can’t be a parent-in-full seeing your child only four times a year. There really isn’t any way to turn that and look at it from a different angle to find the beauty. Nothing to “embrace.” Just . . . nothing.

    I was fortunate that my sons were older when this happened, but even a couple of years of such experiences is worth far more than the financial hit I took in the divorce. If there were one law I could change in this country, it wouldn’t be the death penalty or drug prohibitions. It would be that cheaters are ever able to obtain primary custody and move kids more than 100 miles away from a chump parent.

    • Nomar, I’m sorry for your loss of time with your children. That is horrible. The laws on moving with children probably differ from state to state. Here in CA, if there is a custody/visitation order in place, and the non-custodial parent does not agree to the children being moved a significant distance away, the matter goes to court. It’s not unheard of for the judge to decide that the kids are going to now live with the formerly non-custodial parent instead of automatically moving away with the custodial parent.

  • I had tears in my eyes after I read Jennifer’s article. I wish the best for her kids. They know their mom loves them.
    I have cousins whose dad abandoned them and they never got over it. You can’t.

    The new wife, with the new kid, she has to be scared. She is doing a lot of “pick me, pick MY kid dancin'”, because she knows in her heart he has the coldness to abandon his children.

    • Not only that, but even if he stays with the new wife, he has ZERO experience raising teenagers and isn’t likely to be any better at it as an old fart than if he walked away again. Reality check, dead ahead.

    • Nancy,

      Yours is a great comment. After she lands this fish, she realizes he’s a shark and the same abandonment could happen to her.

  • It’s even worse in my situation where my wife was the cheater and she keeps the kids. I’m being punished for something I didn’t do. If God has a plan it sucks so far.

    • I completely understand why you feel you are being punished for her poor choices. But, I spend so much time reminding myself not to he her victim again, I had to respond to you directly. You have to find a way to fight this script in your mind. You are not being punished. The system may have failed you, your attorney may have failed you, but you have done nothing to be “punished” for. Change that script, find what you want for you and your children in life, and make that your goal. Then, with the power and dedication of a warrior, arrange your life to that goal, and fight to make as much of it possible as you are able. Do it for you, do it for your children, but DO NOT BE HER VICTIM AGAIN.

      Sorry, if I got on a soap box… but I had to respond.

      • Chumpnattny, that is good advice. It’s hard to believe that we’re not being punished sometimes. We’ve all heard “what goes around comes around.” I really miss my grown kids living close by. They moved away (for new jobs) shortly after my ex left. It’s so strange to have had a family in your daily life but now live alone. Thank goodness for my friends who have stepped in to be my pseudo-family. My parents live only an hour and a half away, so I see them more often. Sometimes it seems like getting married and having a family was all a dream, because now it’s back to me and my parents again, just like when I was a little girl.

  • I read that yesterday. It is how I prefer to look my my situation too. It still remains to be seen what my STBX will do in regards to our children…but I would venture a guess that it will be a superficial relationship.

    My biggest concern is what you state, chump lady. Will my daughter think she is less than? My kids are incredibly young and have wonderful men in their lives. So far he has been a good dad, but as I’ve seen here, they are attentive in the younger years.

    I love my kids. I love being their mom. I love the late nights, the snuggles, the lunches, the playdates, the bedtime reading. I got the best parts of my husband, 3 best parts!

  • My ex did everything possible so that financially we’d have to move in with my family 12 hours away (including hiding money). Not only did he have no objection to his kids leaving the area, he argued in court that he only wanted to see them for 2 weeks a year. I read this HuffPo article and I have felt everything she writes. I feel for the dads (and moms) who don’t get to see all of these moments and WANT to be there. What do you do, though, with someone who only cares about what makes his life easy. Parenting is not easy, but it’s the most important job you’ll ever have and the rewards? The rewards are bountiful. I could care less about him, but my kids, oh my kids — how will they fill this hole inside?

    • “but my kids, oh my kids — how will they fill this hole inside?”

      That’s my question, and it still keeps me up at night sometimes.

  • “Look, if they could cheat and have such shallow affections for you, why not their own kids?”

    3 years ago I briefly dated a guy.. who a few weeks in trickled in the fact that he’d cheated on his ex wife. I stayed around like a dumbass…but anyhoo

    So he was supposed to have his son to stay every other weekend. In the 2+ months I dated him, I saw him virtually every saturday night. He never saw his son. His apartment had no toys, no pictures of his son, no “child friendly” items whatsoever.

    Lots of photos of his dog and he and his friends smoking cigars and acting like morons though. I lost ALL respect for him.

    I believe he’s long term dating a woman with a son these days – I wonder about her standards and boundaries. He sure is no prize whatsoever.

  • Tracy, one of my blog readers posted a link to this on facebook (I’m a big fan of yours and your blog, but am woefully behind in my reading). I read it in the parking lot of the preschool where I teach full time.

    Needless to say, I walked into the classroom with tears in my eyes.

    Thanks so much for not only reading my post, but for writing this beautiful follow-up in which you say SO MANY of the things I deliberately kept out of my post. I wanted to take the focus off of my ass ex-husband, and put it squarely where it should be: on my wonderful kids. You have so eloquently picked up where I left off, and did it in your usual fantastic manner.

    Yes. There were times (and I’ll be honest, there still are) when I got pissed and resentful and felt as though I’d been left holding all of the “loose ends”. It’s freaking hard, raising kids, and doing it solo, as you know, can be soul-wrenching.

    But I have never, ever made the kids feel like they are burdens. Or that they are somehow, at fault for anything that’s gone down. I also don’t talk smack about their dad, except for the times when it simply is the truth. My kids have struggled, and I’m sure there will always be struggles, but they are so mother effing strong and resilient and SMART. I know they will be okay.

    And by the way, you totally nailed it about the shiny new Wife Version 2.0. She had so much to do with this. She was not welcoming to my kids, and when the new Spawn was born, my kids literally fell of the face of her earth. The bedroom that belonged to the two younger boys was made into a nursery. My oldest son’s bedroom became a playroom. Their beds were sold on craigslist. Pictures of my kids were taken down and replaced with pics of the new baby. Can you blame kids for not wanting to spend time in a place where they don’t even have a freaking pillow???

    Anyways. Before this turns into a novel, thank you so much for this. You are a smart and lovely lady.

    Jennifer Ball

    • Thanks so much for writing that essay and following up here. You’re a smart and lovely lady too.

      I don’t feel bad for wifetress, but I think she must be greatly insecure, as Nancy pointed out above, doing the “pick me” dance with your ex. She tells herself (and doesn’t quite believe it) that she is special and different. That her child is special and different. That they are immune to abandonment. But her actions tell a different story — she’s desperate to erase any vestiges of his former life, like one of those communist dictators tearing down the imperial statues and closing the churches.

      Her fuckupedness is almost understandable. Deplorable, but understandable. It’s never easy to be the stepmother, but it’s got to be a tougher row to hoe if you’re the affair partner that helped break up the marriage. But your ex’s behavior is callous in the extreme. Like disordered wing nut, no empathy callous. To just walk away from his children is unfathomable. And if he’s like other NPDs, he blames your kids. Well THEY stopped seeing ME. They refused to chase ME!

      I feel sorry for Spawn. That kid has two narcissists for parents — it’s going to be really rough. He better really sparkle, and give value, or he’ll find himself out too.

    • Jennifer,

      Thanks so much for writing here. And thank you for saying that you don’t talk smack about your ex except when it’s the truth. I get sick of hearing saintly people say they never, ever say anything about their ex’s except that they’re great, etc.

      In the beginning, after I found out the ex was a serial cheater and kicked him out I was an absolute wreck and I’m quite sure I said some pretty choice things about him to and in front of the kids. Now I say very little but I don’t lie to them about him or his jacked up family, who two years later still talk shit about me – because, you know, I must have issues that DROVE him to follow his wandering dick after any woman who seemed half interested.

      It’s frustrating as hell, particularly because he is the fun parent with one of the kids, and doesn’t have much to do with the other because the other one calls him on his shit. So I have little life outside taking care of the kids and trying to rebuild a long-dead career but your HuffPo piece made me really appreciate the kids and the fact that I’m the one they turn to when they need to talk, when they need to cry, when they need to just share something funny that happened during their day.

      Your piece was great and I thank you for writing it.

    • Thank you Jennifer, I am in much the same situation as you, married 25 years, 3 teenage/young adult children. Sparkly ex just simply walked away when I found out the astonishing depths of his cheating, not just from me but from his three beautiful children. They were upset with him (understandably), and he thinks a text message every 6 months is sufficient. The pain he has caused them, I am quite certain, should be illegal. How do they abandon their own children?

      Anyhow, I thank you sooooo much for your wonderful article. Although it made me cry, it reminded me of the heaven on earth we are experiencing and that our exes are missing, with all of the special and not so special moments with our children. Your children are lucky to have you. Your article reminds me to treasure every moment and welcome all the trials and tribulations of single parenthood with open arms.

    • Jenny, thanks for your article. There are some days (like when I’m the only woman at the scouts meeting because my boys’ dad isn’t interested in getting involved) when I feel like I’m all alone in my situation. It’s also a relief to read about young adults who are thriving with their only caring parent; I constantly worry that my kids are going to turn into really screwed-up teenagers after what the ex has done. Reading about healthy older kids and young adults gives me hope that I can do this by myself and raise happy, well-adjusted children.

      • Naturally you are concerned, because you are conscientious, with a soul.

        I, too, have 3 teen/adult children who are thriving and very successful.

        It’s not so much that they are resilient. You see, infidelity, betrayal, abandonment WILL leave scars, and they will always carry this pain wherever they go. But they heal, and they are learning that they are strong and capable and likable, and as good as they strive to be, as they follow their talents and dreams, and make true friends along the way, and are thankful for the blessings in their lives, and recognize their responsibilities and the rewards that come from living with integrity. The recovery from old wounds is a testament to the presence in them of what their father lacks.

        Their father stole from each of them a piece of happiness that can never be given back–he has squandered their innocence in a relentless and futile pursuit of his own happiness, which, of course, never comes from theft, lying, cheating. This I have hopefully taught my children well. And our happiness overshadows sadness–that’s my goal. That and pursuing happiness just for its own sake.

        I LOVED this post, Chump Lady. I really identified with it, heart and soul. When xH chose OW over us, I immediately recognized that xH was missing out on the most precious part of life–our family. I threw myself into being the best (and balanced) mom I could be. I knew that no matter how busy or stressful it was, that I would never, ever trade places with my xH. There is no vacation, no new car, no “free time,” no hobby, no THING that could EVER bring me the joy that my children bring me. And I knew my children needed me–present and sane and happy–more than ever. And I have absolutely relished every moment of these last years. Maybe moreso because I know that it is an option for some to walk away–but, my god! What they miss! I knew that there could be no lover–especially not a conniving and manipulative creature like the one xH chose–who could ever take the place in my heart that my children occupy, and nobody I would sacrifice my time with my children for. I know my time to date is soon, and so I have put my love life on hold, deliberately, because I know I could never get back these years with my kids. I’ve made a good choice.

        I knew from the time that my xH left, that cataloging the fun times, and even the hard times with my kids, would bring me true happiness now and later in life. I will always know I lived my life the way I know is right–I will NEVER have to regret giving my children up.

        Thank you for yet another great column, Tracy!

        • One quick note on your comment, Stephanie, that “he has squandered their innocence.” Beautifully put, even though describing such a horrible act. Of course we grieve this. I also grieve for all the emotional abuse my kids have suffered as I tried to keep a bad marriage together “for the kids’ sake” (misguided, I now recognize).

          However, I draw strength from one particular insight Lundy Bancroft shares in his book “Why Does He Do That?” (I think it might have been a quote from a poem?) It was a statement for us, the spouses, but I think we can also extend it to the kids: “Wisdom where innocence once lived.”

          Of course we grieve the loss of innocence — and rightly so — but there are two paths possible at that point, bitterness or wisdom. Healing is possible, and we can all learn compassion for others who suffer.

          I know this sounds almost like the “my marriage is stronger!” nonsense, and I don’t want to dismiss the real damage, nor let the cheaters/abusers off the hook, nor suggest in any way that this is ultimately a better outcome for the kids. But I do think that wisdom can be a positive reframing of the loss of innocence, and therefore part of our vision for one sane parent.

          (Note: Bancroft also has a few books on parenting after domestic violence/ emotional abuse; I found them very helpful.)

  • I connected with this piece. My exH officially moved away this past weekend.
    He closed up his place, moved across the country to be with new wife and new baby, and in January all three of them move overseas. I remain speechless that he could do this voluntarily to his older children (our children). All the things he will miss. This week he has missed the conflict with older daughter about schoolwork, but also the benefit concert with some of her favorite performers (including Katy Perry! The look on her face when KP came on stage is priceless).

    Yes, youngest child is with him to meet baby sister, but the planned fours weeks of visits in my town to see the kids between now and the New Year… well, the visits have already been scaled back to 2 weeks instead of 4. And so it begins.

    Back when ExH applied for new jobs, he asked to take the kids overseas for 6 months out of the year. I declined. I felt badly for my children, but exH had other employment possibilities, and he chose the one where he abandons his children. in my state, if parents have joint custody and one parent moves away, physical custody automatically goes to the remaining parent unless the parents file paperwork with the court (or the moving parent takes it to court).
    I also pointed out to exH that he could not get the kids for all the breaks; I deserve time with them without the added stress of school and other activities.
    Again, boggles the mind that my children’s father CHOSE to leave them.
    ExH came to a party last weekend to pick up son, and interacted with all of our friends. It was an awkward moment for many, and I wonder if he got an inkling of what he has thrown away (probably not).

    I truly feel for the parents out there who _CANNOT_ be there for their children, when they want to fully participate. It is bitterly unfair. And all the more bitter for them, to know that there are folks out there who waste their precious time with the innocent children.

    • Yup, I’ve experienced that awkward moment myself many times when Douchebag comes to sporting events and interacts with our friends (well, my friends now, his, not so much anymore) and he pretends like nothing has happened and he didn’t walk out on his wife and two kids.

  • Ouch, this resonates, only 13 months out, about to move a long, long way from Mr Fabulous and OW (his bro’s ex, for special added wtf?!) in a few months. So he will miss the little stuff, the real stuff and the bad stuff. It breaks my heart what Darling Daughter goes through, every weekend a lather, rinse repeat job. I have seen her give him the benefit of the doubt in so many ways, but every time she gets whacked. She is aware of kibbles and glitter, even if we don’t use those terms. On the one hand, he treats her like a forty year old confidante (Keep OW living with me a secret for four months), on the other, that she is a silly little girl, for wanting to move to another country (Dual citizen).

    I trust that he sucks.

    Chumps out there, maybe Chump Son, what were the right things your sane parent did for you? Any other Chump parents? I liked that article, and okay, I get it, I have never not been a single Mom, but Mr Fab is as narc as it can get. We are going to be in the bosom of family and friends, but it will be a long few months, and a complete rebuild of career, etc. at the other end. I am ready to reverse the process and move back, with all that attendant headfuck.

    What worries me is that her anger just isn’t dissipating, as her own chumpitude dawns on her. As a forty-five year old, even I am having trouble getting to grips with the resultant head and heartfuck of realizing that some people are really THAT despicable, or ‘character disordered’ as Dr. Simon puts it. She is 14.

    I understand the age appropriate talking about infidelity as a deal breaker, but what are the thoughts of the Chump nation of how much to disclose

    1) the fact that the ‘after’ Dad is unfortunately the true critter and

    2) How effing abnormal and twisted not just her dad, but his whole family are (Two brothers, with a cumulative twelve exes between them in twenty years, all of whom are batshit crazy, what a coincidence!) Grandad has recently sent an email to Daughter’s godparents about me that is pretty much actionable. But so far, so out of court….Mr Fab has granted permission to relocate, which should have made us both over the Moon. Got it today!

    But we are not. Feels like it is never over with a narcissist and reading the account of an abandoning Dad, that seems better to the continued damage of the connection our daughter feels her Dad deserves. I can already see her attaching to guys who are way too old, and way too sleazy. There is a hole in her heart where good Dad ought to be, which can never be filled. I know it is not my journey, but……That shit sandwich has been eaten by every female of my family for generations…how do you define or model ‘normal’ when ‘normal’ turns out to be sub-Jerry Springer!?!

    Argh, turning ranty. I have had depression, but coming out of the other side. Still utterly infested with assholes, though. I don’t think I could have alienated daughter from her Dad any better than he has estranged her. But the world says we have to play nicey-nice….when daughter is obliged to go to family functions with OW, who has had every male member of one generation. Apparently I am being over-sensitive when Daughter is left in OW’s care (she drinks- and Dad ORDERS Daughter to interact with her).

    So I know Daughter has her Dad’s number….and I don’t want to spit JD on the fire by saying, “You know what? i am not comfortable letting D stay in the sole company of the woman who broke her life, or the grandparents who called my reaction to D’s disclosure of self harm (getting her a GOOD therapist) as “hysterical over reaction with the histrionic overtones of a true pathological liar” – same Grandad who made several passes at me over the years. Daughter knows that for life to be sweet chez Dad, the kibbles must flow. I worry it will make her manipulative, or spackle for all she is worth. Lose-lose.

    Sorry for length, Chumps, been lurking here for a while, and this blog has given me lots of hope and inspiration. But it is a long way to Meh, when more skeletons tumble out of the closet every day, and the music from ‘Deliverance’ just starts to play louder….some kind words from the ‘other siders’ would help…..



    • Memphisto, you’ve given me good blog fodder to respond to at length later, but for now, suffice it to say — I’m glad he’s relocating. Get that mindfuckery far away from you! How about some therapy for the 14 year old?

    • Mephista, my sister’s first husband abandoned his daughter. He married his AP and saw his daughter maybe once a year. She was 4 and longed for him, she tried to call him all the time. My sister’s therapist told her to not let her daughter call him. She said it was important for my niece to understand that it’s NOT a child’s responsibility to stay in touch with a parent, it’s the parent’s responsibility to stay in touch with the child. Apparently letting a child pursue a relationship with a wayward parent is setting them up pursuing sorry losers when they get older. Well, it seems to have worked because my niece is very independent now.

      • I will bear that in mind, have known for months that Daughter sees Mr Fabulous because she is a good person, not becuase he is….

  • Both my kids have had counselling, I’ve tried very hard to get the kids to understand none of this is their fault, and they know I never did anything to drive their mother away. I sometimes still rack my brain in the wee small hours for some clue I must have missed that might have prevented this. I don’t care anymore how my X treats me, but it angers me to see the kids playing third fiddle to an OM and his dogs.

  • I pray every day that my ex will move far, far away and have no contact with our son. Over the summer, he DID move 2,000 miles away to mooch off his dad. Spent three months in his childhood bedroom doing chores around the house for money. Unfortunately, he came back to our state. Spent a month living with a male “friend”, an openly gay guy living in a city known as a gay mecca. Has now moved in with another male “friend” in a town synonymous with homosexuality. Still claims he’s straight and dating women, however. He pays no rent in these various places, just mooches off whoever will take him in. Has more crazy schemes in the works, refuses to get a real job, hides money under the table and does not pay child support.

    Just a couple days ago, our son said, “Mom, if something ever happened to you and I had to go live with Dad, I would kill myself.” My heart breaks for my son. He knows his father is insane, he knows his father is a lying cheater, he knows the likelihood is very high that when he is old enough to work and have a place of his own, his dad will come sniffing around expecting to be taken in and supported.

    By the way, it’s not the being gay that bothers me about my ex, it’s the hiding it, the lying, the cheating and the insanity. I would actually have a little bit of respect for him if he would come out and admit he is gay.

    He sets a mind-blowingly bad example for our son. Showing him videos of himself having threesomes, lying all the time, cheating, gaslighting. He uses our son as nothing but a prop to make himself look like a great dad when he posts on Facebook. Big deal, he has dinner with son a couple times a week when it’s convenient. The dinners are usually with friends willing to provide a free dinner. No parenting beyond that, but he sure brags like he’s father of the year.

    It is so unfair that GOOD parents here do not get to see their children, yet monsters like my ex get to use their children to make themselves seem normal.

    • “Showing him videos of himself having threesomes,” – did I read that right? Isn’t that grounds for police intervention?

      • It wasn’t a real video of a threesome, though Lord knows ex had those. It was one of his many videos he made to show what a great actor he is, at least in his own mind. He insisted son watch it. I have never watched it, but a couple of my friends have. Said it wasn’t graphic, but absolutely creepy and inappropriate for a father to insist his teenage son watch such a thing. Son himself said it was inappropriate and weird.

        Believe me, there are many, many other instances of disordered behavior from my ex towards our son. This was just the one that came to mind.

        • I would have those friends in a courtroom testifying and that sick prick wouldnt have access to that child …just sayin…. thats effed up beyond

  • Thanks, C,, Mike and Glad,

    Daughter is in therapy, after ten month’s resistance from Mr Fabulous- her anxiety and insomnia couldn’t be anything to do with his choices just MY craziness. He gaslights her all the time.

    Mine sounds like a picnic compared to the threesomes guy-ewwww!, and yep, I see my daughter being used as a prop for ‘normality’. And yeah, if he had said he was keeping on with OW it would have been better than months of D trying to keep a lid on it, and me wondering wtf is going on.

    It bothers me, though, to hate him, and to see her hate him- I am from a classic Chump FOO, plus, it wastes sooooo much energy. I don’t want to hate anyone, but every time I see Daughter’s scars, part of me wishes to bring his scrotum out through his nose.

    Daughter is more forthcoming these days, and cracked me up earlier, by quoting my lovely Poppop back at me ” Never get in a pissing contest with a skunk.”

    I think the distance will be great- better mac and cheese and sleeping in Mom’s garage than sipping single malt in Hell.


    • “Being used as a prop for normality” – yes! This voices what I have been thinking about my Ex for a while. His time with our boys is limited to things that he does with them and his GF and her child. He went for months after leaving (while living literally only a mile away in our small town) without seeing them but for showing up at the occasional soccer game or one or two trips to the movies. Then, when he gets a new GF six months or so ago…all this sudden interest in seeing the kids at least once a week (he lives three miles away now). My oldest son is having none of it. He is 17 and has a very busy social life and a part-time job & school activities that keep him “too busy” to see his dad very often. But my younger son eats up the scraps of attention like a starving puppy. Ex’s visits with him involve going to GF’s house for a cookout, or to the movies with her, or a day at the lake. I feel like my sweet, gullible 12 year old is being used like a puppet. I can almost hear Ex’s internal dialogue – “See new GF what a wonderful Dad I am!! I have this great, smart, kind, funny kid and it’s all because of meeeee!! I am super dad!!” Literally makes me ill – but my son is so grateful for the attention that I have allowed it to happen. My only hope is that he will wise up as he gets older and see for himself that he is simply a little planet revolving around the sparkly sun/dad and decide to slowly disengage as his older brother has already done.

      • I am sure he will, a year ago, my daughter was the same, now she makes so many plans for her weekends that she never has to hang with Dad and the GF for long. It is heartbreaking, but they have to draw their own conclusions….a single dad pal of mine said something wise, ” Kids grow through it, you can’t ever stop that.”

  • Jenny’s post is a beautiful one! I love her Happy Hausfrau blog……
    My X left one day and never looked back – sure, he sees the kids on ‘his’ weekends, but other than that, he is not available to catch any of the fall his leaving did. He has entered a new life and can’t be bothered with the old. If a weekend with the kids doesn’t suit him – for example when he is travelling with the OW and her kids God forbid he should take his own – he cancels them on a day notice. My eldest child doesn’t go there anymore at all. I have seen him try, and try and try, I have held him when he cried with disappointment of what and how his father had become. My son made his own decision. It was a hard one.
    I am quite close to MEH. But stuff can piss me off still. The X is not paying child support, and mind you, we have 3 sons. And still he finds it in him to take me to court trying to have our divorce agreement declared null and void. Claims I abuse circumstance. hahaha, I just hope the judge finds it as ridiculous…..
    The things that puzzles me though, is that even though I know who he is, know him without the sparkle and know what is behind the mask (nothing….) – every time he does a little thing that seems almost normal or considerate towards the kids, I start doubting my whole view of him and wondering if maybe I am mistaken to judge him so harshly as being an A-hole. But I DO know that a decent man does not cheat, a decent man pays child support, a decent man makes steps to right the wrongs by at least stepping up after the divorce etc. Why do I doubt myself and my point of view just because at times he does something slightly decent?
    And then my mind starts playing games. If he is normal and decent after all, then what does it say about me that he did what he did and how he did it? That a normal and decent person might feel that I deserve all that?
    Anyone recognises this?

    • I do this as well. I think for those of us who are decent, and perhaps a little bit naive or tending towards too much forgiveness (speaking for myself here, this might not describe you), we just can’t wrap our heads around the sheer BADNESS of these people. We want to believe they aren’t as awful as they appear to be, and we certainly don’t want to accept that they just walked away from us, our children and our marriage without a glance back or a moment of remorse. So when they toss a little crumb, we eat it up and believe it actually means something.

      Caribbean, your ex is NOT normal and decent. If he was, he wouldn’t treat his children the way he does. He’s just a POS like most of the cheaters here. You get fooled by his glitter, and forget that the glitter is covering a TURD.

    • Recognize it? I think I wrote the script for the play and the screenplay for the movie.

      I am never amazed by the people, including his family, who think my STBX is this wonderful, compassionate, caring, understanding person because he has that act perfected. The fact that he is in a “helping profession,” means he literally has it down to a science. He has everyone fooled and he had me fooled for years. I was his staunchest defender – people just didn’t understand him, he was special, he had qualities that people just didn’t understand, he was too sensitive, he should be allowed to have all the cookies in the bag and he should be able to have your cookies, too! When you inhabit that reality (which is actually the most fucked-up fantasy ever!), it is hard to pivot to, “Oh My God! I have been married to a foul as fuck alien life form!” They still appear in a human skin, sometimes pretending deep human emotion, sometimes telling you they care, and the part of you which always responded to who you believed them to be, gravitates back to what it thinks it knows because it looks and sounds so wonderful and so beautifully familiar dontcha know!

      There is nothing wrong with you!! AUTHENTIC human beings respond favorably to gestures of affection, love and caring. The problem lies with the foul as fuck alien life form appearing before you in the COSTUME of a caring human being. There is a theme running through everything I’ve read about people with narcissistic personality disorder – you cannot take their behavior personally. IT IS NOT PERSONAL. We think it’s personal because it is personal as hell to us – well, because, I’ll be damned! we’re actual people! – but not to them. Everything is a game to them. They are always maneuvering for position, looking for an angle, constantly on a search and destroy mission with you as the target. YOU don’t even exist as a human being. The children don’t even exist as humans to them – they are props in their play/game pieces to be arranged on a board, to be picked up or discarded as needed. How does a normal, feeling human being even begin to make sense of that level of insane bullshit?

      I have to keep telling myself that the person I believed existed never existed – that the person I am dealing with now is who he really is and who he has always been. Easy? Hell to the No. It is a process and who knows how long it will take for my brain to reprogram and for me to cease to care who he was, is or isn’t.

      To all of you who feel bad that your husbands/wives have abandoned their children, I so get that. But I will speak from a different perspective. My husband stayed, as a large part of his image maintenance involved being viewed as the ultimate, caring father. Plus, better to divorce when child support is not an issue – just be a lying, undercover cheating piece of raccoon shit until that day arrives. That creates a different type of damage. My children were raised in an emotionally abusive situation. There is no way to live with someone who is personality-disordered and the situation not be abusive and exploitative. That creates a different type of damage. I recommend Lundy Bancroft’s book for you to really understand how profound that damage can be.

      As many of you have articulated so well, it is not the involvement but the type of involvement and how it manifests that really matters. We can heal ourselves and our children through a therapeutic process. Those Baboon Shit-Crusted Assholes who caused the problems? They get stuck forever being who they really are – and in some way – maybe that is punishment enough.

  • Hey Carribeanchump,

    I think it is the same sort of crumb-tossing thing kept in relationships with abusers in the first place: one of the most refreshing thing about this site is not being pressured to recognize ‘our part’ in it. I think that sparkle is just that, sparkly. It draws the eye, it is meant to make you doubt. They do it when they feel the grip slipping. Challenge them, and they roar.

    Check out Dr George Simon’s stuff, I have found it helpful. These aresholes aren’t misunderstood, they are contrary.

    Cheaters know fine well what they do. Sounds like yours is a proper N, like mine. So the sparkle is for show, IMO.

    And you doubt yourself, because you believe in humanity, which exists, just not within your ex.


    • When they toss those crumbs, it’s so hard, because you remember the man you thought he was for so long, the man you thought you loved, and the man you still wish he would be if only for the kids.


      While we know that in our minds, our chumpy little hearts give a start every damn time, till our brains tell us to walk it back to reality.

  • My biggest fear– one day when my ex has blown it all, his money (almost there anyhow), his friends, his looks, his sexual “prowess,” his career, his affair partners, he will come crawling back to the only possible option he has left– our children. How can a child protect themselves from these monsters? How can we as the sane parent help our children?

    Chump Son/David–any advice??

    • Yep. I am concerned about this as well. Even my son’s girlfriend, who is only 17 herself, has told son she worries that one day, ex is going to expect son to support him. It’s bad enough all the shit ex pulled on me, but the crap he lays on our son is truly beyond forgiveness.

      • Yes, Glad, I know my ex is heading for a huge fall one day, and I think it will happen sooner than I expected. It’s already falling apart with his AP’s, he was to marry one last year (“as soon as our divorce is final”) but a year and a half later it has not happened and she (and the other known AP) is long gone. He is living in an apartment, doing his consulting and public speaking work, and I think the wheels (while not yet quite falling off) are starting to become loose. He has reached out for the first time in all that time to our oldest son, 24, and daughter, 20, to “rebuild our relationship.” My son is going to be an attorney soon and my daughter is a kick-ass student. I expect ex thinks he can live off of them when the time comes. And it is coming….

      • Over my dead body will the ex be allowed to make a nuisance of himself in the kids lives when they are older. If the new wife isn’t around anymore, I’ll hogtie him and throw him in the back of the pickup and take him to one of his sisters who thought the whole idea of a 55 year old getting a fresh start was so wonderful. Two of them are widows now — they can work on their damn FOO issues together.

        Either that or he gets a mildewy old airstream on the back 40 next to the blackberry thicket and skunkcabbage swamp.

    • yeah! That’s my worry too. x lived around the corner for 10 months and had zero to do with my 3 teens. then he moves hundreds of miles away and he has started ringing. he checks FB and emails to tell me that there is no netball, from 600 miles away! WTF! then he rings every couple of days. Miss 17 and Miss 14 weren’t interested at first and he doesn’t seem interested in Miss 11. But suddenly Miss 14 will talk to him. If she doesn’t he emails her immediately after getting off the phone to tell her he’ll call tomorrow. It rings very faintly of the “stalking” he did to me when we met. The stalking of his now 23 year old mother of his 4th child (he is 50!!!!) why is he stalking my children after 10 months? I just want him to leave us alone, I am worried about any further damage he’ll do from afar. Especially as he is still lying to the kids about me while they live soley with me and know what he is doing. It’s that stalking, that persistence that worries me….

      • Nat1, I believe that since they are not capable of love as we know it, they only know how to scheme and manipulate for their own purposes. There is something in it for him that he now wants. That “stalking” is part of whatever plan he is now pursuing, which is of course all in his own best interest.

  • Oh boy is this ever timely.

    This weekend, I have the opportunity to attend a professional conference that would be very helpful to my career. I would need to stay overnight. The kids are older (2 teens and 10 yo) so not really needing care just supervision. But their father can’t even provide that. My oldest even said “Dad’s not going to watch us, is he?” He doesn’t buy food, just snacks and beer. He has left the youngest home alone to go hang out at his favorite bar. Every single time I’ve ever gone anywhere or done anything for myself, he gets his revenge by making them miserable.

    So I was scrambling to figure out what to do, and the teenagers have homecoming and parties and don’t want to babysit their sister or take care of their pets and they are all just giving me a hard time about going and I totally lost my temper and said some things I regret about when is it finally going to be my turn to have a life after two decades of doing everything for their father and them.

    I feel awful, and need to apologize and can’t decide if I should even go anymore.

    • Do you have a friend you could ask, or a neighbor? Do the kids have cell phones? Could they find ways to their events that doesn’t require you canceling your conference?

      The buddy system saved me. I will gladly watch my friend’s kids, and I didn’t hesitate to ask for them to return the favor when it was me. I had one SAHM friend who — I just couldn’t have done it without her. I used to have to travel for work every month when I was a single mom. I’d try to schedule it around the ex’s visitation, and invariably he would cancel and I’d scramble.

      Be a friend, and lean on your friends. Hope this can work for you. Also family members!

      • I don’t have any family nearby, and (I’m embarrassed to say) no real friends. I have them online. It’s hard to make friends as an adult, and harder still when you constantly have to cover for or hide your drunk husband.

        They have cell phones, they are coordinating rides, and I am working on getting a college student to come over (free wi-fi! free food! do your laundry!)

        Whenever something like this happens it just reminds me that I chose to make children with an idiot that I can even trust to look after them for 48 hours.

        • YetAnother, Why don’t you call a local church or synagogue? Often they have lists of trustworthy babysitters/ housesitters/ etc. Or maybe your town is big enough for a nanny agency? They usually have vetted, on-call people you can hire for a short period. And don’t beat yourself up too bad for losing it in front of the kids. just use it as a teaching moment. You can apologize and say see mommy gets upset and stressed too/ I was wrong I shouldn’t have taken it out on you/ everyone makes mistakes, what matters is admitting them, apologizing, and trying not to make them again/ etc. Most importantly, though, Id hate to see you miss the conference, since your wants/ needs are important too. We chumps have to remember never to treat ourselves worse than we treat other people.

          • I really can’t afford to pay anyone. But thank you for the ideas & encouragement. Honestly, my two older kids are old enough to stay home and take care of their sister. And part of me is deeply resentful that they will not do this one thing for me. But then again, this is how I raised them. I expect nothing from anyone, do everything for others, and this is the result.

  • My parents divorced when I was six. My dad was a cheater and finally left my mom for one of his AP. He did stay married to that AP until he died. She was not married before him, never had kids.

    I was shipped off to visit every other weekend. Step mother certainly did not make me feel welcome and used to say that my mother sent me as a “spy” on step mother and bio dad. Bio dad was somewhat cold and withdrawn. When I was old enough, I said no more to the weekend visitations. I was 13. I did not see my dad again until I was 21, and sent him a letter saying I’d like to have a relationship with him, and wanted to see him. NINE MONTHS LATER, he called and we went out to dinner. He made no further contact after that for years. He did not come to my wedding, though he was invited. He met my son one time, when son was six months old. I only saw bio dad three times between the ages of 21 and 32, and two of those times were at grandparents funerals. Ironically, he died on father’s day the year I turned 32.

    I would receive a greeting card on my birthday and holiday, that was the ONLY contact from bio dad during all those years. He wrote nothing on the cards but, “Love, Dad” no further message. No phone calls, nothing.

    Some people just don’t care about their kids. My bio dad was such a person. He treated my mother horribly during their marriage. He really didn’t care much about his children (I have two brothers). I do believe my bio dad was damaging to me as a child, but i was fortunate that my mother married a wonderful man a couple years after the divorce. My step dad was a good man and treated me like his own beloved daughter right up until he died ten years ago.

    Sorry for the rambling. I very rarely think about my bio dad, but this post today brought up memories.

    • That is so chilling and sad, what a terrible father. Something must just go wrong in their brain, or their hearts. Thank goodness for good step dads and substitute dad-figures.

  • Our 13-year old has sucked it up and decided to play Dad’s game (roll with it or else) in order to have him in his life. I get that.

    What is hard is de-programming my son after hearing shit about me for the 1-17 hours he has spent with his father. He comes home from Clusterfuckdale all pissy and disrespectful, spouting cranky, old-coot remarks about everything. When he went off on “Obamacare for lazy people on welfare,” I reminded him that his father is also on welfare. “No he’s not, Mom. He’s unemployed, and paid into that so he could have it when he lost his job.” Hearing his father’s moral relativism come out of my 13-year old makes my hair turn gray.

    • Yep, I know that one, too: angry, borrowed syntax, utter frustration. I was told to take the anger as a sign of trust, ie kids do not blow up anywhere they think it isn’t safe to do so. ‘Deprogramming’ takes two to three days, then the carousel starts up again. 🙁

    • Chutes, so sorry that is happening to your son. Sadly, I think it’s normal for a boy to want to be closer to his father in the teen years, as it is for girls to want to be closer to their moms. My ex tried to sell that moral relativism to my teen daughters too, by using his sister to give them a “talk.” My girls had guessed that the marriage had gone bad because of cheating, and they confronted me with that question not long after we had left. I felt it wasn’t a good thing to lie to them, considering their age, so I told them the truth without any elaboration. When ex took them to their aunt (also a cheater), she asked them what they knew, then told them “there are two sides to every story.” My girls didn’t buy this, and btw this is why I think it probably is important to be straight with kids about the real reason for the breakup. Chutes, all I can suggest is for you to live by example around your son who you do have him–if he wants to have a good relationship with his wife when he grows up, he’ll need to understand that women should be respected and morals aren’t in the eye of the beholder.

  • Yet Another, I have a relative who finally left her alcoholic spouse and found a wonderful network of friends that she depends on and they do her. His illness is making all of you sick. You need to think long term. What is this doing to your kids?

  • My childhood BFF was an only child; her parents divorced when we were 12. She and her mother moved to the east coast, her father moved to the west. But he missed his daughter so much, he remarried her mother three years later.

    Three years into the 2nd marriage, her father moved out. The first time my BFF realized there was an OW was when she dropped by her dad’s apartment to drop off something and let herself in with a key. She was met at the door by a half-naked woman about ten years older than herself. It went downhill from there. By the time her parents’ 2nd divorce was final, OW was 5 months pregnant. My BFF was SO disgusted, she didn’t speak to her father for YEARS.

    Meanwhile, she got married. A male relative gave her away. Her mother sent a small wedding album to her father at his work. When he got it, he apparently wept for days. He and BFF had been so close once; now he wasn’t even invited to her wedding. It hurt. A lot.

    OW had been married before and had two small children. The dad resented having to raise OW’s kids, and at 50, he had little interest in his new baby with OW. So he told his stepkids and the 2nd daughter for decades that he didn’t have any money to spend on them because he had to send it to his first family. In truth, he was just a cheapskate. But it created a riff.

    When the father was on his deathbed in the hospital 25 years later, my BFF called to see how he was doing. Her stepbrother answered the phone, refused to allow her to speak to her dad, and hung up. When the dad died a few days later, the stepbrother told her NOT to come to the funeral, that she wasn’t wanted there. She didn’t go – and has been bitter about it ever since.

    So the kids are resilient, are they? The resentment is still going strong in that family three decades later…

  • This is what the XW missed today. a parent teacher conference that nearly brought me to tears of happiness.

    Our daughter has always been a delightful handful. She makes you laugh like no other person and has a heart as big as the world, but she also has a short temper and does not tolerate frustration well. She has been a hitter and has thrown things in class to the point of needing to be sent home. Her teachers always love her, but they knew that she could be unpredictable and difficult. Conferences have always been “I love your daughter but…” “She is doing great except for…”

    Not this year. She is maturing and is learning to handle herself and her temper. The chaos of her early years is receding and is being replaced with the stability that I have been able to provide her. So … today was one of those conferences that parents love. “Your daughter is a joy to have in class” “She is making friends and is doing great academically!” I was so happy for her and proud of her that I wanted to shout with happiness and cry with joy. Where was XW? No clue. I am not mad, sad, or surprised. I only felt sorry for her that she missed out on the opportunity to hear such wonderful things about her own daughter.

    This was a conversation I wish I could replay over and over again. I am so very glad that I had the good sense to have been there! 🙂

    • That is so good to hear, you have obviously guided your daughter through some rough seas and she has come out the other end happy and healthy. Congratulations to you both. The fact that her mother, or any parent, chooses not to be around for their child is utterly bewildering. I wonder whether these abandoning parents have simply lost their evil little minds.

    • Congrats, BL, and kudos to you as a dad! There is nothing in this world more enriching than the love of and for your child.

  • As a kid of a NPD, I think I can help you with “how to help the kids” issue. Sad, but true, they got the short straw in the parenting arena. However, you can teach your kids how to recognize manipulative people, and how to stay away from them. It starts off with lying.

    Teach your kids to recognize liars. That is the crux of sociopathic behavior. Show them examples of people who say one thing and do another. Point out people who don’t make any effort to help others. Also, show them the good people and their friends. Teach them to spot kind people, which is different from “nice” people. Kind people make an effort when no one else is watching. Watch tv shows with them. All those reality shows where people are mean to each other? No friends in the end. I have two teenage girls and school life provides a lot of lessons. Who is causing the discord in the group? Who is reliable? Who stays loyal? Who passively lets the bully get away with it? Who pays their fair share? Who treats? Who looks shiny but really isn’t? You can talk about this with your kids, and to lift a paraphrase, you can “control the narrative” but in this case, you can show the value of positive behaviors of people who would make good friends and mates.

    My mom was manipulated into believing she married a normal person, and he put on a good act until he thought he had her, and didn’t have to behave anymore. He got his cake. However, all his kids hate him. Never put any effort his relationship with his kids, just depended on my mother to do it. We saw it all happen and took notes. His number one tactic was causing chaos, so it was hard to blame him, because, well, …….. he couldn’t help it because…..(insert any bs here).

    Show show them how to live without chaos. Who is reliable? Who has money for important things? Who lives within their means? Who keeps friends? Who works? People with these traits have lives that get better and better. Explain this to your kids will and they benefit from your lessons and will learn to their lives with pride.

    The reason you got chumped was you didn’t realize sparkly turds existed. Well, your kids know all about sparkles, and can be taught to stay away.

    • Thanks, Nancy, this is all very, very good advice. I will try to teach my kids everything you said.

    • Nancy, what wonderful advice, I am saving it to re-read when I ponder how to handle things with my kids. Boy, you described the situation to a T.

  • When my ex first moved out and in with his (now) Wifestress, he had the fantasy that he could be the primary custodial parent with her as the Mom. Like changing out a set of spark plugs, I guess. She bought him a house less than 15 minutes away from the marital home that looked disturbingly like our old house. He wanted our disabled daughter (our son was emancipated at the time) 50/50 and…you guessed it…he didn’t want to pay support.


    I filed for, and ultimately won, Temporary Custody as her Primary Parent. We got a Guardian Ad Litem and my ex had the concept of “best interest of the *child*” (read: NOT YOU) explained to him. And when he realized that the fact that I was now going to be a single mother, that I’d have to work more and that I’d have to move to a new and different type of house would only mean he’d have to pay more $$ and that it wouldn’t change the fact that I had been, was and would forever be her primary caretaker ~ well, he just let go of the rope.

    He opted for every Wednesday, every other weekend (Friday night through Monday morning) and three weeks in the summer. He pays monthly support on time…and he’s good.

    I have to offer a Right of First Refusal if I need to get a sitter ~ the last several times he’s declined ~ which is fine: he’s allowed to do that.

    But I grimace when it gets back to me that he tells people that I pressured him into spending less time with our daughter: that he sees less of her because I fought him in court. He doesn’t tell people that I offered him more time with his daughter and proposed a 50/50 schedule for summers (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off) ~ AND THAT HE DECLINED.

    His Wifestress ~ who was so very eager to be my daughter’s Best Friend while she was dating a married man refuses to watch my daughter: so my ex-trims down his visits with her to those times when he can watch her and not miss his other fun activities.

    And me? I met a wonderful man, got engaged, and we live in a very nice (albeit different) home. My kids like him, his kids like me and my daughter and son can see that family life can continue in a healthy way and that there are people who really want to be around them.

    Jennifer B ~ peace to you and your kids. It is his loss (and theirs). Rejection hurts; but the love you are giving them will last a lifetime….

    • During our separation, ex actually texted me that if I didn’t accept the little he wanted to pay in support money, he would fight for 50/50 custody just to get out of paying ANY support. Not smart to put that threat in writing.

      Of course, this is the same guy who told my attorney “It isn’t true I told Glad I was interested in another woman; I told her I was interested in TWO other women,” and also complained to my attorney that I had “gone on a $200 shopping spree at Walmart.” He’s clearly not the brightest light on the Christmas tree.

      Ultimately, it made no difference anyway. He has never once paid the entire amount he agreed to pay, and now that he’s been unemployed for nearly four years and bounces around from friend’s couch to friend’s couch, I have little recourse to do anything about it.

      • Bwahahaha Glad, your ex would be hilariously dumb if it weren’t so sad. A true testament to the idea that these NPD’s reside in their own little mixed up world.

        Doesn’t he have an earning capacity even if he refuses to hold a normal job and actually earn something? I don’t know if you are in the US or if so what state you are in, but he shouldn’t get a free ride, he should go out and get a job at Target or Walmart if necessary and support his children. Throw his ass in jail 🙂

        • He definitely has earning capacity, but I’m in CA, and the state child support agency does nothing here. Way too overloaded with cases, understaffed and just don’t care. And since my ex works under the table, moves from place to place, and has no assets whatsoever, there is nothing the state will do.

          I’d laugh if he was sent to jail for arrears, but the jails here are letting criminals go due to overcrowding and budget cuts, not putting deadbeats behind bars.

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