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Dear Chump Lady, How do I get over the Other Woman?

Dear Chump Lady,

Boy am I a chump! A struggling chump. My husband of 10 years cheated on me 5 years ago with a coworker. At the time our kids were 5 and 2 and I begged and pleaded for him to take me back. I wanted my marriage to work sooo badly that I was actually pathetic (in hindsight). We counseled, lived apart for 5 months and then got back together. It took me about a year to trust him again but I eventually did.

But, surprise, surprise it happened again. Two years later I was at work and got an email from a complete stranger telling me that his girlfriend was cheating with my husband. I got my facts straight, and then confronted my ex. He denied it of course but eventually admitted it. Turns out he was cheating with 3 different people all at the same time! I immediately kicked him out and got a lawyer.

That was 3 years ago. It took 2 years to finally become “divorced” and a year later we still haven’t divided up all our assets as he’s been stalling! He even refused to get a lawyer for the first 8 months of our separation. Our separation agreement states he gets to see our girls 2 weekends a month plus one day a week. He’s chosen not to see them during the week. He never calls them (not even on Easter, Thanksgiving etc.) My girls are now 10 and 7 and are oblivious to what actually happened and think they’re dad is a “hero” (he’s a paramedic). I know he’s a pathetic, useless, waste of space but I would never say anything bad about their dad to them. I know in time they will figure everything out.

Now to my problem. He is marrying HER (the last one he cheated with) this weekend. I am heartbroken. I am broken because he didn’t want to be married…I did. Now he will be and I won’t. My girls keep coming home telling me their going to have a “step mom” and I feel like I’m being (ever so slightly) replaced. I am living in my parent’s basement and struggling to pay for my kids activities while he bought a new car, new house, went on 3 trips and is now planning a wedding!!! I am angry. I understand the need for my kids to have a relationship with their dad (even what little there is). I understand that I shouldn’t say anything negative about him to my kids, but it is literally eating me up inside watching this woman have a relationship with my kids. She admittedly tries to be their “best friend” and even took my daughter out to buy her first bra. She’s stealing my moments and it’s devastating me. My kids only see her two weekends a month but even that is enough to make me want to be sick. I don’t know how to get over HER. It’s not even about him…I want nothing to do with him. I can’t get over HER. How do I stop obsessing over her and the relationship she has with my girls? I have so much stress and anger that I’ve developed an ulcer and am seeing a specialist for more testing. My health is on the decline while he moved on a long time ago. I feel sorry for her…she’s stuck with a pathetic loser. But I’m so angry and devastated that she gets to have a relationship with my amazing, loving, beautiful children and she doesn’t deserve it.

How do I let go of HER? How do I make it through this weekend knowing that my girls will be at their dad’s wedding, oblivious to everything and building a relationship with this homewrecker who helped destroy their family? Please help. I feel like I’m close to a nervous breakdown over this.


Sick of HER Chump

Dear SoHC,

Sorry I’m getting back to you on Sunday. Presumably you’ve not had a nervous break down and did make it through. Pat yourself on the back. What you feared happened and you’re alive to tell the tale.

What struck me about your letter was the line — “I am broken because he didn’t want to be married…I did.”

How do you think the OW is different? Don’t you think it’s entirely likely she wanted a “commitment” (snort) off him just like you did? And he acquiesced, just like he did for you. And he’ll play married man, just like he did for you. And he’ll cheat on her, just like he did with you.

She didn’t get a different guy. She got HIM. A serial cheater. He didn’t have a character transplant this weekend. They didn’t throw magic rice. She’s not special. She didn’t make him different. He is the SAME him. A man who put you through two years of false reconciliation. A guy, who when you caught him, was cheating with THREE different women. They don’t make Jarred Diamond ads out of that situation, SoHC. That isn’t romance, it’s flaming dysfunction. She’s his new chump. You dumped him, he needs a replacement.

As an OW, she deserves all the karma that is going to bite her in the ass. But right now, he’s got to sugar coat his new life. Creepy people need hooks. So he’ll spend money, buy shiny new things, because he’s a shiny, new guy, right? No, SoHC, he’s not a shiny new guy. He’s creepy old guy — a man who walked out on his little girls and doesn’t call.

No one replaces you as their mom. NO ONE. Those bonds are primal. I know it must pain you no end that she shares any time with your daughters, but this is a no win. If she was abusive to them, hit them, neglected them — you’d want to rip her spleen out — and have a messy legal battle ahead. If she indulges them, you want to scream she doesn’t deserve them. But buying your daughter a bra hardly a “relationship” makes. Better she treat your daughters kindly, than poorly. I’m sure it’s impression management, but your kids are young. It’s going to take them a long time to figure this all out. All they know is that to have a relationship with their dad, they have to go through her. And they will pay that price, because they want their dad. Dad is a “hero.”

The person, IMO, who deserves your anger, and who does not deserve your daughters’ kind regard, is your ex-husband. He’s the one who cheated on their mother, couldn’t keep his commitments, can’t be bothered to call them. He’s the one who necessitated this divorce.

Just because you get a cheater out of your life, doesn’t mean they still don’t want you to perform the “pick me” dance. You fear the OW will usurp you as mother. Pick me! The OW wants to curry favor with her new husband, so she’ll suck up to his kids. Pick me! Your daughters probably desperately want a relationship with this unavailable father they love. Pick me!

That’s four different females doing the pick me polka with your ex in the center. I wonder how many more he’s got waiting in the wings? I can see the spinning disco balls now… Introducing the Pick Me Dancers!

Stop obsessing. Stop feeding him. Be secure in the knowledge that your daughters love you and YOU are the sane parent. You’re the one who has their backs. I don’t care if you live in your parents’ basement. You’re doing the best for your daughters every day, because you are THERE being their mother. The OW is not. And your ex-husband certainly is not. YOU are. You’re the hero in this story. Not your paramedic douchebag ex. The OW just took a serial cheater off your hands. Buck up. Your new life awaits.

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  • I struggle with this stuff as well. The final OW gets to spend time – usually the stress free, fun time – with one of my kids. The other refuses to have anything to do with her. And my sweet kid, who just wants to live a drama free life, is becoming friends with her. And it kills me every time I hear about it. I don’t say anything but deep down inside I think ‘you stupid bitch, you fucked up life for me and my kids and now that kid is eating a shit sandwich just to get some peace in his life’.

    The only good thing I can say is that the kid is starting to see through the act – and mentioned yesterday that she’s getting stumpy. That made me happy. 🙂

    You’ll get through this. My ex also has bought a shiny new place and has a shiny new life… but he’s still a serial cheating douchebag who was cheating on me with her and others at the same time. He won’t change for long, despite the nice act he’s currently putting on.

    CL is right: they don’t change, the new woman will find out the hard way, most likely, and you will always be your kids’ mother. I know the pain of this situation all too well but in the end this woman will not be the one they remember as always being there for them. And I agree that it’s better she’s nice to them than a horror show.

  • SoHC,
    It really is a sheet sandwich, d#*mn if you do, d#mn if you don’t.
    It’s primal, the need to keep my kids away from someone with such behavior: no morals, low self esteem, insecurity… To cheat with a married man, she must have many of those traits. Insult to injury, she is 12 yrs younger than me.

    I know exactly how you feel. I had a conversation my then STBXH about the need to slowly introduce the kids to the OW. He signed the divorce agreement that said no overnight romantic partners in the house….then he planned to move her in PREGNANT while I was overseas. So… That led to a very strict introduction plan via the therapist, otherwise I was canceling the trip.
    She miscarried. But within 2-3 weeks, pregnant again, though I was not told until later.
    Then the decision to get married before the kids have even met her… No idea how she would treat his children, did not matter.
    Kids met her 1x before the wedding… But it was all my fault because I held him to the divorce agreement. They had to wait 3 months to meet her until i had returned from overseas.
    wedding: daughter did not want to attend, so exH did not permit son to attend!!! Then… it was daughter’s fault son did not attend. Oh, the lack of personal responsibility drives me bonkers (and how do you start a new life without your kids….!!!)

    Who knows what is up. Maybe he had to marry her because it is the only way to justify the abandonment of the kids and myself. This time it is true love.
    Maybe all the pressure is coming from her, and he is too spineless to stand up to her.

    I am super stressed and short tempered at the moment, as the kids fly tomorrow to visit them (and their baby sister) for T’giving.

    But, my kids are 13 and 10, and now that their father has moved away, I know the OW will never be a “stepmom,” she will simply be their father’s wife.
    But it is annoying, how she tries to befriend (bribe) them with gifts (2 Wii games for son, a Coach (!) purse for daughter. If OW had been mature and truly caring person, she would have waited to get married until she had formed a relationship with them, and would have involved them in the wedding!
    But, if she was a mature and caring person, she never would have cheated with a married man.

    That’s my takeaway, and should be yours as well… They are BOTH cheaters. They deserve one another.

    But I understand the feeling of injustice. You are the parent. You are the one helping kids with homework and activities, you are the one they probably cry with, and the exH/OW are the Disneyland weekend fun folks.
    As my kids’ therapist told me, it’s good when they cry and yell with/at you, as it means they feel safe.

    Sending hugs your way. It does get better, though I am also not yet at meh where the OW is concerned.

    • Xyz321, were we married to the same guy? She was more than twelve years younger, lived in a different country and she was the pink cow that wandered onto his field in FarmVille. I kid you not, they met online thru Facebook. He married her after a four year engagement. She and her son still live in another country. Talk about confusing for my kids 13 and 7.

      Do u think he isn’t trying to cheat with another online while they live 5+ hours away by plane?

      And she too tried to buy my dd off with a coach bag and a Nintendo DS for dd.

      • Pg,
        Well, in my case, they did not meet online, but all his time on FB, iPhone scrabble, etc, was a sign that things were up (which I even asked about, are we ok?). On your case what a sign of a messed up relationship, marrying someone in another country! And how messed up the OW must be as well.

        I feel for your children, very confusing.

    • Final OW in my case is 20+ years younger than me and she moved in with ex two weeks after meeting my kids. They didn’t talk to the kids about it beforehand, the kids just went over there one day and she had moved all her stuff in. The new place they just bought? Didn’t tell the kids until it was a done deal. He isn’t making a life that includes his kids – he sees them to get kibbles and fullfil his obligation but also because it makes him look good in front of others. But is he a father? No. He has no involvement in their schooling or anything else in their lives. He simply takes them for fun times and that’s it’. I don’t think he could name a single teacher of theirs, or more than one or two of their friends. He has no idea where any of their friends live or the names of any of the parents.

      But he gets fun times and the title of dad and I think tht’s all he wants.

    • SOHC, Even though the OW/ new wife tries to ingratiate herself with your girls, they will always know that you are their mother. No one will ever take your place. Stay strong. Their appreciation will come back to you in spades. Taking your daughter out for first bra shopping was a gigantic toe stomp. So sorry that happened. That would be like the OM teaching your son how to shave. The OW is clueless, callous and deluding herself if she thinks your XH is a changed man.

      Speaking of your XH, I think it is time to get the asset division over. There must be a court mandated end date to resolving your financial settlement. If he is dragging this out, he may be in violation and you would be within your rights to push a legal agenda. I know it is emotionally draining, but really finalizing your divorce is one step closer to MEH.

      Your girls are lucky to have you. Show them how to be good strong women by being confident in yourself.

  • Ugh, Sick of Her, I feel for you. It is WRONG when the cheater and his/her AP waltz off into a bright new day, and seem to be so shiny and happy. It is even more unfair when the chump has to send her/his kids off into that swirling cesspool of filth and immorality. You know your ex is the same liar he’s always been. And he’s marrying a proven skank, cheater, low life with no morals. It’s unlikely they will be together until death do them part.

    But right now, give yourself a break and treat yourself gently. I suspect that after a divorce, even one that didn’t involve infidelity, it is always a bit of a hit when one partner remarries. No way not to take it somehow personally, and reflect on being “left out.”

    As for your kids with the OW: well, it is better that she treats them well and they like her than she treats them badly. You know that, but it still hurts. The truth is, she DOESN’T deserve to see your kids. She’s filth. But try and keep from letting your opinion of her show to your kids. As they grow older, if the OW is still in the picture (unlikely) they will eventually understand and form their own opinions of her.

    I hope you are feeling better today, and did something nice for yourself over the weekend. Hang in there. It really does get better.

  • Dr. I Can’t Believe I’m a Chump here. I wrote Chump Lady about a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. After she promptly dashed my dreams of a think tank career by hinting I might have to spin straw into gold for the likes of Newt Gingrich, she then reminded me that my ex-husband and the adulteress bride aren’t shitting rainbows.

    They are not happy. People like that do not know how to be happy. You can put a diamond on a shit pie and yet, it is still just a shit pie with a diamond on top. Also, let’s get real: A new car, new house, and vacations on a paramedic’s salary= Shitload of debt. You have the freedom, when you feel financially ready, to go where ever you damn well please and you should. I did that after my divorce, picking a place that gave me a tingly feeling, by the water, with outlet malls nearby. As for the kids, that’s tough. But nobody replaces mom and kids are pretty smart. They can sniff out a dumb ass among their midst. They are choosing to believe, for all of the right reasons, he is a good guy. I know because that is what I did. My biological father was a firefighter who had bi-weekly visitation. He was technically my “daddy”, and I tried at least when I was around him to love him. However, he was a total idiot who did not know how to treat people, and I knew it. For instance, I asked him once, just to see if he was paying attention, what the “4×4” on trucks equaled. He said he didn’t know, which indicated he was too stupid to memorize his multiplication tables or did not care I was trying to get his attention. One day, he just stopped coming, no telephone call, no letter, nothing. He never came back. I was the same age as your daughters. My point is your kids get it. But we teach kids to be nice and that is what they are doing. They are giving him the chance you are not. He will blow it. So do not waste your energy worrying about the stupid shit. They are going to need you later.

    You want to know how to get over it. For me, it was the swift realization that they are not happy. It was the sobering acknowledgement that another woman is going to be abused, even if she is an jerk. That alone is unsettling to think about. They honeymooned in the same exact location we honeymooned. Let me repeat: He took his the adulteress bride to the same location for the same reason and she went along with it. That’s just the shit that makes a Jerry Springer episode. That was the final straw that made me laugh and say, “That’s effing tacky.” I don’t want to touch that shit with a ten foot pole and don’t even want to be affiliated with it by proxy.

    Please note my frequent use of the word “shit”. I am more urbane than to litter my every day speech with the expletive, but deliberate chose it to respond to you. Because that is exactly what all of this is: Shit. You are better not to sully yourself with it.

    • Ha…my ex, on his first two vacations with final OW, went to the last two places we went as a family. And didn’t understand why this upset the kids. They really are clueless and yes, they are not all that happy, despite the desperate act to show teh world that they are.

      • Mine is repeating our memories with OW as well. I just laugh. Me and the kids are having new and exciting experiences as often as we can and he is stuck trying to relive things. Kinda sad, I think.

        • Yep– she went on the same family vacation as I went on (which was very painful for the kids… DD called me almost every day because she missed me since she probably remembered doing all of the same things with me in the past), goes with XWH and the kids to the same fun places we used to go to, and they even copy some of the things I do with the kids (after hearing about it from my kids) because they are too self-absorbed and stupid to make any of their own. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the Owife has so little respect for herself that she has no problem moving into the house that was my marital home– she thinks that because my ex has made changes to it, that it’s all different. Whatever. We picked that house together, planned the addition together, and also created a decoration on the house together that she has to see every day (and was so expensive that XWH will probably not be willing to replace it if she asks). Who does that? Oh, I know– someone who is desperate and sad.

          • Yep, lots of the same activities, which I had dreamed up over the years, and so many things being relived. The kids notice it, as in they say ‘dad’s trying to to have a do-over’. It’s kind of creepy but ultimately pathetic and sad. Me and the kids do some of the same things but mostly we try to make up new memories.

          • Moving On – a friend of mine’s XH did the exact same thing – moved his new wife into the dream home he and my friend had created together. Kept the same decor, furniture – even the bed (eww!). How do you start a “new” life together with someone in their old marital space? Then my friend mentioned that her XH is OW’s FOURTH husband. Makes total sense now! She’s just passing through this marriage on her way to the next.

            Cheaters never change themselves. They just change partners…

            • Red, I think it is just a continuation of their need for sick thrills. They no longer have the joy of sneaking around and fooling us chumps, and i thinkmat least in my case my ex really misses it. But hell, they can still get a thrill by moving into your home and into “your” life. I’m surprised they don’t ask us to leave some underwear for them to play with too. It’s like a cat urinating in your territory. They are disgusting….

            • You’d think the OW/new wife would demand at least a new bed, gross. I still have the bed ex and I shared as married couple, but as soon as the happy day arrives that I can afford it, that bed is out and I’m getting a new one that was never tainted by his filthy presence.

        • What is THAT, as i get snippets of stories, he is re-living his life again with her, different locations, but focused around the same activities, beach vacation with the kids, diving honeymoon with OW/WIfe #2…….has he nothing else ORIGINAL to do with himself?

          creepy and weird.


      • We have the same self-centered X.

        He takes bimbo to the exact same places we frequented. He painted their shack the exact same colors of our kitchen twenty years ago. She is “Take 2.” And I’m free of an asshole who clearly only used me as a prop. When I discovered the affair and realized he was absent of any character or values, he promptly threw me away for good. The jig was up.

        My kids keep the bimbo at arms distance, which is exactly how X likes it. He’s quite comfortable with his new hobby, parenting. He brings them for a burger then drops them off. Truth is, I’m glad the kids want nothing to do with her. Any woman that is selfish and stupid enough to get involved with a married man and father of three boys absolutely disgusts me. I’m glad my kids have better radar for crap than I did.

        I strongly suspect he is continuing to mindfuck Bimbo, telling her that I’m keeping our kids from her. He’s all about secret lives and control. What a loser.

        I also struggle with the shiny new stuff, the life we were supposed to have now. But then I realize all the stuff (that she’s paying for…hahaha!) is a fantasy world. We never would have had that; he was a killjoy. And for all their stuff — the house, the cars, the beer on tap in their shiny new playroom, it won’t buy them one soul between the two of them.

        I hate when the kids go there, but realize I have to let them figure out how they want their story to play out. My long chapter with that loser is finally over, thank god.

        • Ex shouts every so often, when the kids either call him on his shit or blow him off, that I’m trying to keep them from him. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. I stay out of it, I encourage them to have a relationship with him- he just will not see that it’s his own actions that make them back away.

    • I’m so sorry about your idiot bio father. To have a loser father and a cheating husband is really more than one person should have to bear.

      And swear away. Writing about infidelity brings out the potty mouth in me as well.

    • Yeah, they do not seem to be that creative. My ex ended up with the same attorney that I had a consultation with nine months prior. How that is a not a conflict of interest I don’t know. He also ended up moving back into the apartments that we first moved into. It just cracks me up. Not only does he lack morals, values, and integrity, he also lacks creativity… buh bye…

  • Tracy, I hope it’s okay to share this link. This captures what an OW may face in the future. While the woman who wrote the letter was not an OW, she had a relationship with someone who she knew was a cheater.

    As Tracy said, your ex did not have a character transplant over the weekend (I love that comment!) SoHC, what you are going through is very difficult but to your girls, you will always be their mom. The OW cannot replace you, no matter how much she tries. Know that. I hope you are doing okay.

  • So what we all are failing to get here is that in spite of the new shiny stuff these people are train wrecks. Repeat after me my life may be a challenge right now but I would rather it be real, and honest, than a lie. Which is what I had with my ex. Your kids will figure this out, at a young age I knew who I wanted to be like and who I didn’t. And remember no amount of shiny compares to love anchored in integrity.

  • When my STBX left I didn’t yet know about the cheating, but I was devastated. After that day my whole life seemed to blow up. I remember thinking the year before how content I was, how everything seemed to be finally working out, and there I was, everything gone.

    The low point for me was about a month after he left, December, one night when my boys all lost it too, and the two youngest called their dad and told him they wanted to live with him. He came over and picked them up and I was left with my oldest and his girlfriend, who had been kicked out of the house by her mum (a real piece of work, alcoholic and drug user). Oldest son was as injured as I was, in part because he knew, and I didn’t, that his dad had moved in with his girlfriend after leaving me.

    That night I lost it. I called my sister and started to cry, and I couldn’t stop. The sounds were coming up from somewhere deep inside, and all I remember is saying over and over again, “I’ve lost them, I’ve lost them all”. My sister just stayed on the line and kept listening, and when I’d calmed down said, “You raised those kids, and they know it. You will never lose them”. I didn’t believe her, of course, but it helped.

    Two weeks later I found out I was severely diabetic. I look back now and it was my body doing the “Pick Me!” dance, I think, frantically waving for my attention. I was still trying to take care of everyone, obsessed with him leaving and how I caused it, with my kids happiness, with my mom who was slowly dying. I had a choice – either I could keep on the same path, and get sicker and be of no use to anyone, or I could turn some of that energy to myself and start to heal.

    It was hard. It was fake it till you make it at first. I went on medication but refused the heavy duty stuff, started walking, changed my diet, lost weight. I would walk for hours, until I was completely exhausted, because then at least I could sleep. I kept in contact with my boys, went to their events, saw the two youngest graduate grade 12 and the oldest start tech school. I kept my chin up and slogged it out.

    The oldest stayed with me, the two youngest moved out to live with a friend in a shared apartment. A few months later I found out that STBX was living with his girlfriend. I was devastated all over again, but this time I was healthy and much stronger. I knew then that there was no chance of reconciling, that I needed a new life free from him.

    Last Christmas I had dinner at the boys’ apartment. We talked about their dad and I let them know how afraid I was that I had lost them. They both looked at me and one said, “Mum, you were the one who raised us”. Very matter of fact, as if pointing out that them deserting me was absurd. That was a sweet moment, and a true one, and the best Christmas present I ever got.

    SoHC, we need to continue to be the sane parents. The kids know, and although they can’t tell you when they are younger, they know and they will appreciate you being there for them. But you’ve got to be well and healthy to continue the important job you are doing for them. Sending all that desperate, angry, sad energy to the OW is not helping you or your kids; it’s just draining you of the life force you need for yourself.

    As CL says, “Trust that they suck”, both of them. The kids will see it one day. In the meantime, they need you to be healthy and positive. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day, please start focusing on you, what you need, and how you can get it.

    I know it isn’t easy. I’m over two years out, have filed for divorce but STBX is fighting it every step of the way, having decided that I don’t “deserve” anything financial out of our long marriage. I still get stressed, mightily, and cry, and get depressed, especially this time of year. But then I make myself go out and walk or run for an hour or two, or go to a gallery or a concert, or plan for what I will do once the divorce is final (May, Goddess willing), or text one of the boys and find out how they are doing, or call my sister. And every day the anger and the stress and the shame is less, and it is easier to face the day.

    I didn’t mean to rabbit on like this, but please, take care of yourself first. Your kids need a healthy mum to love them through all this madness. And you are strong enough to do it, too!

    • How strong you are, and what great young men you’ve raised. It’s such an important point — all this energy directed at these clowns, is energy directed away from you. And it affects your health.

      • Thanks CL – I find myself in such good company here, so many strong and brave people finding themselves again.

        And whenever I start beating myself up over my relationship with STBX, I think of my boys. There was good that came out of all those years, and as long as I remember that I’m ok.

        • Ex, I think you give good advice and i can totally relate to the feeling of “I’ve lost everyone.” My ex left right as my boys were getting married and moving away, so it felt like I’d suddenly lost everyone. One of my sister-in-law’s (who divorced my ex’s brother) gave me the best advice. She said “the best thing you can do for your kids is be happy. Take care of yourself and create your own happiness. You’ll see, the kids will be okay once they know you’re okay.”

  • Wow, this is a perfect post for me. I have been struggling with this since DDay. STBX has become the Disney Dad, always buying expensive presents or concert tix for our daughter whenever she says she’s interested in something or wants to see a concert. I’m the parent who thinks that one concert a year as a Christmas present is alright, but you have to draw the line. OW is also very sparkly and 20+ years younger than I. My daughter was angry for a while after DDay, but has now come to terms and even enjoys spending time with OW, who has two young daughters that serve as “little step sisters,” tutors her in math, is apparently much more fun to be with than boring old me. It feels like a knife through my heart. There is not enough mustard to hide the taste of this shit sandwich.

    • tell me about it jazzvox. a concert here and there, sure, what about new school shoes or paying for the booklist and stationary….that’s called parenting!

  • My ex has made significant improvements to my former marital home. He’s taken the OW on our yearly family vacation in my place. He takes the kids and the Ofamily on lots of family outings when I had to drag him to do things like that.

    Why? Because it’s damage control. He’s trying his best to show that his marriage to the Owife was meant to be, and what better way to prove it than to play Devoted Family Man? “Look at my lovely home that I continue to renovate (as well as repaint and refurnish to remove all traces of MovingOn)! Look at the time we spend together! I am SUCH a good provider and father. As long as I don’t think too hard about who I really am.”

    But it’s all a facade. They’re trying so hard to win the kids over with superficial expressions of love– this weekend was a trip to the children’s museum, “movie night,” and time spent in preparation for skiing this winter (where the reality is that XWH dumps the kids in classes on the bunny hill and then goes off and skis by himself). They are distractions that are meant to obscure who they really are from the kids– selfish, immoral people who don’t really care about creating a loving relationship with their children; they parent as much as makes them look good to themselves and to others.

    Those “bonding” moments all initially hurt me as well, and my kids have certainly expressed that they like the Owife on occasion. Yet, they also express what they don’t like, and they frequently say that they don’t want to go over and visit XWH and his insta-family. No matter what happens, I know that I will always be their mother, and I will always have the weight of decency and integrity behind me. I don’t need to distract my kids with elaborate outings; we can just be together as a real family because I really do love them, and I don’t have anything to hide from them.

  • I think it sucks that OW took your kid to buy a new bra. She shouldn’t have. The bottom line though is that you’re the mom and you are there for your kids day in and day out.

    Be as calm and gracious as you can and in the long run, your kids will get it.

  • I just want to send lots and lots of ((((hugs)))) to all the parents out there who have to deal with this huge shit sandwich. It’s so so so unfair to have to see your kids enjoying their time w/the ex and the affair partner, when you’ve been treated so badly, due to their immorality.

    But it’s true that the kids DO know or figure out who is the sane parent, and that the ex and the AP WILL show their true characters with time. Nobody can hide who they truly are forever.

    • Ah, that is so nice of you. I feel the same way. I cannot imagine how painful this would be.

      All I can imagine suggesting is to find something fulfilling to do in your spare time, and welcome your kids back home warmly, tell them you’re glad they’re home. Be the bigger person, because you can count on yourself to be strong and solid for yourself and for your kids. Fake it until you make it.

      Frankly, I’d put bets on the demise of this particular letter writer’s xH and OW’s relationship. As the good doctor here mentioned, there’s no way he can sustain that lifestyle on the salary he has–and if someone else is paying, the shine will wear off that really quick. If, as I suspect, the dude and his current thing are burning through credit, well, those chickens will come to roost. Suddenly things will get really real, and the masks will fall, arguments will ensue, and he’ll be off boning the next chick who believes he’s a real man. You watch. In the mean time, you stay calm, make yourself a cup of tea and get a good book, or do some cleaning, or go out with friends when those two get your kids. You got this one. Really. Focus on doing something really great for yourself–it truly does help.

  • Sending hugs. I haven’t been through what you’re going through–my ex did not marry the OW–but I endured quite a bit of jealousy about a girlfriend he brought around my daughters. This woman tried to play mommy for a while and brought them gifts. She even had a much more glamorous occupation than me–oddly enough, an occupation very similar to the field I’m studying in grad school. I am ashamed to say I spent more than a little time feeling jealous and superseded, which is silly because now this woman is out of the picture. What I learned is something you should learn too–OW cannot replace your children’s real mom. You are their real mom. Even if it doesn’t seem that they understand what’s happening, sooner or later they will, and they will need someone to give them love and stability. That someone is you!

  • I don’t have children and I can only imagine after reading these posts from my fellow chumps that the next few weeks are fraught with much anquish, angst, sadness, madness, depression, anger and disappointment. Holidays = Family and traditions. happy times smashed on the rocks of infidelity. Myself I cannot work myself up to much. Will make some cookies because I like doing that. No decorating no tree no cards. Bought myself a present. Anyway I wanted to send ((Hugs)) and Love to you all. Be good to yourselves. A new and better year is coming soon.

    • Thanks Janet, take care of yourself too. I am finding memories sweeping back when I did not expect them. Need to remember this. (((Hugs)))

  • I also struggled with all of that too, for quite some time, but now I’m past it.

    My ex did exactly all those things…left me for OW and popped her in my place, took her to many of the holiday places we went, and to all of the other activities we used to do together as a family. Sad to think we are so disposable! But, I was very tired and unfullfilled with that life anyway. It looks good from the outside but is really just a facade ….like CL once said, ” it was living on chocolate eclairs instead of the real meat and potatoes of a relationship.” I remember being in Hawaii with my ex, paradise and I felt all alone, cause he was always zoned out or on his phone about work, or just generally self-absorbed with his own stuff. I know this shiny new life he has created with the OW, is just that…a facade, a hook and the reality is that he sucks!

    My biggest issue is watching my 2 girls do the ‘pick me dance.” He’s always been emotionally withholding but he is a successful man with a successful business and lots of perks. My kids were always proud to have an important and successful father that carries a lot of clout in the real world, especially compared to me who gave up a career to be a SAHM. He plays them against each other. He wanted the younger one on his side so to speak because otherwise he would have to pay support to me, so he really played on that, favouring and spoiling her while ignoring the other one who is older and on her own. That really killed me to see him do that, as it really hurt the one daughter. It really hurt me too, as the younger one went to live with him and left me on my own. He won in a way, but now I see the younger one suffering too. Although she went to live with him, he left her on her own most of the time, and basically ignores her and uses her to do the grocery shopping and shit like that. She does not like the OW or respect her but it is like she is in competition with her, and is losing out. Now she is away at University, she is missing me and coming home to me more often now. I think she will eventually get it, but seeing him do this to our kids is really the hardest. I was always the one there for them, day in and day out, but seeing them compete for their father’s love really sucks and I just hope that one day they get it.

  • Dear SoHC,

    Not comparing battle scars, everyone’s skein of fuckuppedness is different. Read everything on this site, starting with the main links on the home page. Then step away from the skein. It is hard. These are your babies.

    Mr Fab’s OW was an ‘Auntie’, and everyone here is right, they will implode eventually, either together or not. Her fucking my daughter’s Dad while pretending to be her ‘Auntie’ and my friend for ???? years (They have known each other 17 years of the 20 years, and lived on our block) has left DD in no doubt whatsoever what sort of woman she intends to be, since she now has to ‘share’ Dad with OW and her bullying kid (who I pity. And miss). She was just as abusive of DD’s and my trust, and has had sexual relations with ? out of four male members of DD’s family, at least 2. Who are brothers, and the four includes the Grandad.

    AUDIO~ First few bars of ‘Dueling Banjos” from Deliverance.

    I guess it boils down to whether the kids know how the OW got there…but in my case, DD was obliged to lie about OW living with Mr Fab for about four months, finally told me. She and I are moving abroad (dual nationality) in the New Year, so Deliverance indeed. But before we knew we were moving, I surrounded myself with friends who are GOOD influence on DD. That way she has a pressure valve.

    And….it may be your kids are putting a positive spin on it too, and you can’t blame little uns for putting some glitter on the turd because they love you and want to protect your feelings. Mine still does at 14. I gently call bullshit on it, usually.

    Mr Fab IS an uncle Dad, DD regularly back from her weekends at his exhausted and furious. If it gets like that, get them helped. And it is cold comfort, but if they can blast fear and anger at you, it means you are trusted. Chances are they have to paste on a grin and lump it. Sadly, so do you, until they suss it out for themselves, and you would be surprised how quickly they do.

    Lastly, just have a plain old HUG. And find time for YOU when kids are with OW and Shit for Brains. Sounds like your Ex is a narcissist a bit- needs the OW as a prop. Exquisite self care is needed. Massages are fab, or swim/walk/sand/rake/dance yourself tired.

    You are ALREADY better off then both of them. And a better person. Being THE better person in your kid’s life is an intimidating headfuck. But guess what… have been doing it since they were born. So if you won’t pat yourself on the back, we will!

    Bon Courage.

    PS-Tomorrow is a Tuesday, everyone. Meh the Force be with us all.

  • In regards to your girls seeing their dad as their “hero” — my counselor told me that when children idolize a parent it’s usually because they don’t have a very close connection to them. My oldest son “idolized” his dad and also saw him as his “hero.” After my ex left, my oldest son (age 26) was incredibly angry, he said “Now my whole relationship with Dad is going to consist of getting texts from him while he’s at airports.” My son agreed with my counselor that he’d always wanted his dad’s attention but couldn’t really connect with him on a deep level. It might be the same for your girls.

    • Wow, I love that! By far the best thing I have read in a long time, aside from here of course 🙂
      Tempted to give this to the OW, but I know she won’t get it, because….well…….SHE’S special, LOL!

      • I was tempted to send it to the OW too!
        But hey, she barely graduated high school, and doesn’t speak English so…
        Maybe DR.Cheater will translate it for her?

        • I’m glad it helped, back when I went through my shit there was no one like Chump Lady, the bitches site was the only place I found some validation. And hell, send it to the OW anonymous, why not? You know your douchbag is lying gto her like he lied to you. maybe she doesn’t deserve a poke at saving, but maybe she does, OTH for me, I just wanted my abusive ex to focus on her so I’m safer

  • wow, I could have written this post, our stories are very similar SOhc
    After NINE ( I know…) DDays, my husband asked for a divorce….on the second day of a 15 days vacation on Disney World ( I live in Brazil, so it’s not like I could pack my bags and go home ) while our two kids 5 and 2 slept on the couch beside him….after almost passing out from crying all night, the next day the MF wakes up and asks if we can go to ihop to get some pancakes….NO heart, it’s scary the lack of emotion.
    One week after leaving the house, he introduces OW to my kids. They come home raving about how awesome she is…. It’ s been 10 months, and while my kids only see their dad once a week and every other weekend, they think that him and OW are the greatest…
    She’ s a career whore, and was married too.
    It KILLS me that he introduced them to my kids so soon, and that my kids don’t have the maturity to know they’re full of shit…
    She took everything ( he stopped giving me money cause she said he doesn’t owe me anything…the guy makes over a million dollars a year, I’m a SAHM… He only pays for their school ) and now she follows me everyday when I get my kids from school…
    I just can’t get over her….how can a person be so mean????
    I’m really counting on karma on this one…

    • Isn’t it great how fast they become a CFO and turn a self made man into a sock puppet? And CONTROLLING? He didn’t really know the meaning of the word when he lived with me.

      They get mean (both of them) because it’s the only way to deal with their guilt deep down. I love that rant that Dat posted. Yes, they are such a much better person than you. You didn’t deserve him, didn’t appreciate him.

      Right now I’m having this slow motion, long distance argument with the ex over where I should send him mail. I’m actually pretty much no contact but had been sending photocopies of his computer generated support checks for his records (he wouldn’t otherwise get a copy of the cancelled check) Out of the blue he sent me a letter saying that the last several things I sent him he didn’t open and just threw away because my “negativity, criticism, anger and hatred are well known and unchanging”. You know, just like Jesus would do. Anyway, that told me that SHE’s opening the mail because I don’t believe for a minute it doesn’t get opened. So, I sent a post card to his business mail drop in another town, pointing out for all the world to see that the return address on the checks was the mail drop so I feel fine sending mail there, since what goes to his house “doesn’t get opened”. He then sent a letter *to my lawyer*!! (who I kept on retainer) complaining that I send mail to a closed box (first lie) and that the only reason he got that mail is he’s good friends with the owner of that business (second lie). And furthermore, he continued, that guy is not going to do that anymore, and that mail is going to be returned to sender or thrown away.

      NORMAL people who want to get their mail at home just enter a forwarding address right? No muss, no fuss.

      I couldn’t resist — I sent him something there priority mail with tracking. Sure enough, his good buddy rejected it as undeliverable and gave it back to the post office. USPS checked their centralized system and didn’t find any forwarding address, so now he’s listed as “moved, left no forwarding address” in the central system, so ALL his mail is going to start getting returned to sender. Credit card statements, his bank statements, every last little bit of financial privacy he was hoarding away from HER — goes back to maker. Sweeeeeeeeet.

      You can’t make this shit up. They’re just fucking nuts.

      • “They get mean (both of them) because it’s the only way to deal with their guilt deep down.”

        That’s the only answer I can find…because I find it hard to accept that I spent 13 years of my life with a person who would do this on purpose…
        I get all the time how I’m SOOOOOO NEGATIVE, can’t I just be positive and happy and get it over with already????? ( Kind of hard when I have the two hurt kids, used to have no budget and now ask my father for money everyday so that my kids can live normally when they’re with me…)
        I’ve been NC with him for 2 months, I don’t even say one word when he comes to pick up the kids, last friday when he got the kids I was having a BBQ with all my friends, a rare day of happiness with all the people I love, when I opened the door and he saw all of us laughing and have a good time, you could see the rage in his eyes!
        How do I DARE to have a life without him!
        He called the next day ( after 2 months of NC ) to ask why can’t I be happy like that everyday???
        And today when he came to pick up the kids again, he told me I should stop losing weight already, I look like I have AIDS…
        Who says that?????
        Maybe it burns a little that I lost 75 pounds since he left and I’m back to my gorgeous self, the beautiful woman I was when I got married to him!
        When everybody would ask him how the hell he got a woman like me to go out with him!
        OW was prettier when they first met cause I was “fat”, but now, not so much!
        Not only I’m prettier, I have morals and character!
        I just realized she should be jealous of me, not the other way around!

        • “OW was prettier when they first met cause I was “fat”, but now, not so much!
          Not only I’m prettier, I have morals and character!
          I just realized she should be jealous of me, not the other way around!”

          The OW should absolutely be jealous of you, because YOU are not a lying, cheating whore and she is. It took me a long time to get to a place where I didn’t feel like the OW my ex was banging when he dumped me (they are not together now) was better than me because she’s 12 years younger, she’s pretty (although so am I), she’s in great shape, she teaches exercise classes, she’s very bubbly and outgoing.

          Well, whoop de dew. She’s all that, and ALSO a disgusting woman who KNEW ME, had me over to her home, invited me to dinner, played tennis with me, talked to me about homeschooling, all while fucking my husband. She would hire a babysitter to watch her two little autistic sons while she banged my ex in our minivan. She’s a liar and a cheat. She had threesomes with my ex and another woman while encouraging her husband to play the pick-me dance. She was in MC with her husband yet still in touch with my ex, still fucking him.

          I wake up everyday knowing that I was 100% honest and faithful. I may not be a perfect person and I was not a perfect wife, but I took my vows seriously, I did whatever I could to make that marriage work, I live with integrity and decency. I’m the one providing a home and good life for my son.

          My story is just the same as pretty much everyone here. There is no reason for any of us to feel less than the OW/OM or the cheater. They are scum. It doesn’t matter how sparkly and pretty they are on the outside, their inside is black, shriveled and cold.

          • Wow GIO…you make me Ex’s OW sound like fucking snow white…
            I thing that’s one of the thing the brings us chumps most comfort…knowing that we kept our vows and integrity to the end.
            There’s a VIP session in hell for these disordered lunatics…

        • I got all the ‘be positive’ and ‘look to the future’ and ‘get over it’ in the weeks and months after dday and me kicking him out. Well, I started to put myself back together and the further along the path I get the more enraged he gets. He seems to go insane if he hears I have friends over or do something fun with the kids or just enjoy myself in some way. I get the emails/texts giving me a hard time for actually spending money on a social life. He’s an idiot. He cannot stand, it appears, for me to enjoy life. Quite frankly, he can suck it.

          • Ugh, the ” look to the future” is the one that enraged me!
            Who can see a future after being hit with something like that?
            Mine said, ” it’s sad cause you never find another man” !
            Delusional!!! Just because I don’t get out much!
            He CUT the child support we had agreed on because he said and I quote
            ” He will not pay for me to go out looking for men “…
            So his kids don’t have money to eat because I can’t go out?
            So logic…
            They always count on us doing the pick up dance forever, and when we got off script they go insane.
            Well, after my shark of a lawyer is done with him, I’ll be looking for men with his money in Paris, first class all the way!

      • Chumpalicious,

        I went through the exact same thing. After texting him to warn him I was going to put RTS on any more mail that came to this address He said he got a box at a mail room but had no $ to pay for it… Well the owner of the mail room is a good friend of MINE, and when I called him to see how much he owed ( it’s cheap and I would have paid it just to deflect his mail from coming here) turns out he didn’t owe anything for 3 MORE MONTHS!
        Stupid games. Now anything that slips through gets RTS on it. Asshole.

        • You’re so awesome, Toni. It’s been such a pleasure to read about your healing and growth over the past months (I’ve been lurking but only started posting recently). You deserve happiness and it’s going to be great to watch that happen!

      • This is classic shit, after I got the PO with ex allowed to email once a week he had me sending his mail to him. I told him to forward his mail, I would do it for two weeks only, after a month he hadn’t done it so I emailed him once to say that I was marking all his mail “no longer at this address”, he fixed it and did the forward. Then he started “accidentally” having Amazon/shopping sites send his orders to my house, the first time I forwarded it to him. The second time I told him he had to get a return label mailed to me or I’d throw away the item, I would not send him anything else. He said I was a spiteful bitch. No, I have boundaries now and I will not let an asshole keep controlling me when he’s gone. I have a beard trimmer and some smelly man products if anyone needs em 🙂

      • Chumpalicious, tell him one time via mail that all his mail will be marked “no longer at this address” and let it go, he’s just trying to keep you in his orbit and doing his bidding. Even what you are doing is giving him attention. This is classic shit, after I got the PO with ex allowed to email once a week he asked me to send his mail to him. I told him to forward his mail, I would do it for two weeks only, after a month he hadn’t done it so I emailed him once to say that I was marking all his mail “no longer at this address”, he fixed it and did the forward. Then he started “accidentally” having Amazon/shopping sites send his orders to my house, the first time I forwarded the package to him and told him to fix it. The second time I told him he had to get a return label mailed to me or I’d throw away the item, I would not forward him anything else. He said I was a spiteful bitch and did it a few more times, that shit is still in my basement. Not spite, I have boundaries back and I will not let an asshole keep controlling me when he’s gone. I have a beard trimmer and some smelly man products if anyone needs em 🙂

  • As I started reading this, I actually got chills; also married 10 years – also with kids 5 and 2…how sad these similarities are, but how incredibly blessed we all are to have found this place.

    I remember too – the day the exH called – it was about 2 years after he left – a Monday. He had an odd tone to his voice, and I said, “What’s the matter? Did you get married over the weekend, and don’t know how to tell me?” (It was kinda fun freaking him out like that – let him think I have magic Jedi mind powers…evil chuckle…). “Yes.” He stammers. And my exact thought was that he had told me so many times, “I don’t belong in a family. I never wanted to be married.” And now you are. And I’m not. And that is NOT FAIR.

    But two things saved my sanity. The first is what so many others have noted. HE still doesn’t want to be married, and he still DOESN’T belong in a family. She’s just his new victim (he didn’t marry any of the other women – he met the new wife after they all dumped him – but she is about 20 years younger than me 🙂 ). She has now inherited the lies, cheating, flashbacks, abuse, and my crazy in-laws. And him.

    The other thought, and it was almost a physical reaction, was a HUGE weight lifting off my shoulders. I was a super enabling chump. Because my ex had a horrific and terrible childhood, I felt it was my job as his wife to support, mend, fix, spackle, and love all the pain away. I had such a hard time hanging up the phone when he called – even after he’d left – if he was upset. And now, because he had a new wife – I WAS FREE! This was now HER man, and it would be morally wrong of me to help him in that way (it was never right, but I hadn’t figured that out yet…). If you can, take some sense of relief from this. He is absolutley, no longer YOUR problem. That OW wanted him, and she got him – ugliness and all. And now you get to take time for you – time to heal – and someday, when the time is right, you will have a chance again to be loved by someone who DOES honor, respect, and cherish you – someone who actually believes in those vows. Know that there’s hope.

  • @ Lyn–Very interesting comment from your therapist about children idolizing a parent with whom they’ve no close bond. Both STBX and his brother idolized their cheating father, although their mother also encouraged their perception. I’ve no idea why she felt it necessary to reinforce this perception of the cheating bastard she opted to stay married to. Talk about dysfunction!

    Anyway, for SoHC–Yes, you are eating a shit sandwich. There it is. BUT, CL is right; the real villain in this story is your worthless XH. When things get married, just remember the following three things:

    1. OW is getting a serial cheater. Your XH cheated with 3 women at the same time. OW is no saint. Women who think it’s okay to screw around with married men deserve what happens to them. But remember that she’s getting a serial cheater and he is getting a woman who’s okay with having affairs with married men. This marriage won’t last.

    2. XH may be spending a lot on OW, but do the mental math. XH is overextending himself. He’s trying to show just how sparkly he is to OW, to your kids, and also to you. He can’t sustain this lifestyle, and soon he’ll revert to being Mr. Cheapskate. Paramedics don’t make all that much money that they can afford child support, vacations, new homes and cars. That’s all about being sparkly.

    3. Your kids will always know you’re their mom. Yes, it’s going to hurt when they do stuff with OW, but remember #1 above: it’s not going to last. Also, even in the unlikely event that OW remains married to XH, remember that it’s better that they’re with someone who’s at least kind to them. Also, they’ll watch their father blow up this marriage in the same way he blew up your marriage. Dad will still be their dad, but he won’t be a hero.

    With respect to their seeing dad as a hero because he’s a paramedic. Well, you don’t have to feed that hero image. There are age-appropriate ways to let your kids know that their father is good at his job, but he’s not as good when it comes to being a husband. One thing that might be useful is to get your kids in counseling (and you, too). Your kids need to be able to see their dad as a flawed human being who can be both a lifesaver on the job and a train wreck in his personal life. It’s important for them to learn that their father can be both.

    Hugs to you!

    • WEird. Ex idolised his father, as well as his mother to an extent…yet had a seething buried resentment against them that would pop up every so often. He once told me he didn’t feel he knew his father until he was in his 20s and even then it was only via a work thing they did together. His father is a prize narc and the family treats him like he’s a kindly king for noticing them. I always thought it was ridiculous, particularly since ex FIL had a horrible relationship with his own family and treated them all badly.

  • I have read your posts for a while now, and know I shouldn’t even entertain asking this question. But I am going to because I waffle back and forth on this sometimes. For the record, I am one whose marriage was NOT good before this happened. We were having problems. Although I felt the same way he did, I DID NOT CHEAT. I focused on our children. Anyhow, the comment was made about he didn’t have a “character transplant”. As soon as our divorce is final in a few weeks, my X2B is also going to marry his OW. And like always, they are blissfully happy (and I, too, wanted the marrige; he didn’t, yet he is getting married and I am busy raising our children). Anyhow, it DOES seem like he has changed a lot of the issues WE had and is doing the right things with her as others point out. So my question is what IF they really are nicer people with someone other THAN US? Could it just OUR dynamic with each other that made him a rotten person with me and do what he did? Because I had contacted her husband to alert him to the affair and we would chit chat a bit about our marriages. And coming *from her ex*, SHE IS THE PERFECT FREAKING WIFE. She NEVER argued, got on his case, said ONE thing to nag him, always agreed with him, etc. So what man wouldn’t want that? Even when she was ignored? (Of course, she just cheated on him for years behind his back, as a church pianist, to boot). So, I sometimes am in the same mindset as the poster here… and maybe it was just our dynamics with our Exes, but with a woman who is “perfect”, their bad sides won’t come out?

    • Hey, take heart, it is ALL A LIE. And the goody goody happy happy joy joy church pianists are really old Testament Delilahs lying in wait for the next stupid Samson to come along. The married ones are just easier than the ones who never commit in the first place, so we’ve got to quit taking it personally.

      I really loved my church pastor — he was a young guy and the real deal. But he had no illusions about what was going on in his church. People are such a mess. When I finally went in to a counseling session with him, all the window blinds were raised and his wife was sitting there. He had learned the hard way never to have a private session with a woman. So sad.

    • You answered your own question: she was the ‘perfect’ wife, except for that serial cheating thing she had going on. And she never argued? Talk about passive aggressive! She sounds like the female version of my ex: never confront anything, just do passive aggressive shit behind your back.

      Maybe your ex will be the perfect husband to this perfect woman…but i doubt it.

    • Well, maybe that OW worked hard at appearing like the perfect wife to distract attention from how she was banging a married man on the side. The disordered are all about appearances. Many of them excel at wearing the mask of Mr Wonderful, or Perfect Wife/Husband or Good Christian or Father of the Year or Nicest Guy Ever. But it’s just a part they are playing in the movie about themselves that plays in their heads. They live off positive strokes from other people, and you don’t get that by appearing like a jerk.

      AllALie, your ex and his OW aren’t perfect people by a long stretch. They are liars, cheaters, fakes. Sure, they might appear happy now, the honeymoon is still on their affair. Once the blush is off the rose, the odds are very high that one or both of them will cheat.

      I can’t tell you how many people over the years commented on how much my ex “loved me” and how wonderful he was. Sure, because he made CERTAIN to portray that role of wonderful, loving husband to others. It’s all fake. Cheaters have no integrity, and the disordered ones have no real self, just masks they wear to get the attention and strokes they require to feel alive.

      • ~I can’t tell you how many people over the years commented on how much my ex “loved me” and how wonderful he was. Sure, because he made CERTAIN to portray that role of wonderful, loving husband to others. It’s all fake.~

        My ex as well, “adored” me and let everyone know it, till the minute I caught him. Then he just didn’t. The “perfect” husband and father walked and he never looked back, never had one tear, not a bit of emotion other than an odd sort of glee at first at my distress, followed mostly by disinterest. That was the real man behind the mask of the loving husband and father. These people have no souls, not our exes and not their cheating AP’s.

        My 20 year old daughter had dinner with my ex this past weekend, first time she has seen him in the not-quite two years since D-Day. He told her how he was going to be alone on Thanksgiving and waswishing she or her brothers might decide to see him then. He told her that he knew he was a “horrible person” and “thought every day” about what he had done, blah blah blah. Yeah, and I am sure he knew every day of the 17 years of his cheating, affairs and group sex what he was doing and how he was lying to all of us, but he kept doing it. What does Dr. Simon say? It’s not that they don’t see, they just disagree.

        These cheaters are all about appearances. They try on different personas till they find the one that works best in that moment. Right now my ex is trying the pity play– because despite the fact that he betrayed me and our children and then abandoned us in the most spectacular fashion imaginable, it is, of course, all about him. That “perfect” church organist or our adoring husbands, are all the same, they are just self absorbed empty shells.

    • AllaLie – I ask myself this as well. Here’s a story that helps me when I begin to doubt. After the divorce was final, I got together with some of his old childhood friends for dinner. I couldn’t help but ask them, “Was he always like this?” Their answer: “yes, he cheated on his former fiance, but we just chalked it up to immaturity (they were quite young when they were together) and we thought he had changed for you.” And now we all strongly suspect he cheated on the many others they had met over the years. His former fiance is a doll – and she’s different from me. She’s in the medical field so she’s a caregiver (I’m in marketing) and way more bubbly than me (dry sense of humor here). My point is – she was pretty different from me, but he did it to her, too. It’s a deep-rooted character flaw that won’t change for the next one(s), no matter how much “better she is than you” (insert snort here – she’s not, my dear. She’s an OW. ’nuff said.).

      • Wow…I was told by someone close to Ex that Ex had always been a cheater but everyone thought it was different with me because we were so happy. How weird to read something so similar. And creepy. They really don’t change.

        • One of my x’s few friends thought he had lied to me on dday when he told me he’d been cheating since “Day 1” he was convinced that he only said that to hurt me. Guess everyone here knows the rest…

    • Shortly after DD#2, and my kicking the ex out, he actually said to me ‘I know I’m difficult to live with, that I bring home all my stress, that I don’t know how to ‘do’ relationships, that I filter out the good and focus on the bad.’

      I thought; ‘wow, maybe he finally gets it, at least a bit!’

      Then he said ‘What I need is a woman who doesn’t bring that out in me.’

      OoooooooooK. Good luck with that.

      But even so, a couple of months after we separated, I had a thought. Maybe he’s right. Maybe he did it in a shitty way, but he really did need to leave, needed to find a different person to be with so he could be happier. And maybe he’s even right that I interfered too much in his relationship w/the kids. Maybe he WILL be happier now, and have a better relationship w/the kids! I actually felt MUCH better after that. Because breaking up a family to be happier makes some sense, while breaking up a family to continue to be stupid and unhappy is just, well, stupid.

      But it’s been less than a year and half, and he’s MISERABLE. Admitted the relationship w/the AP was never supposed to be a long-term one, but he sticks w/her because he can’t stand to be alone. That his meanness and orneriness is seriously undermining that relationship too, as well as causing trouble at work. And after he did several things that made it clear he didn’t give a shit about the kids, plus their figuring out he cheated, they barely speak to him anymore, and won’t see him.

      Don’t forget that if your ex is a narcissist, NOTHING ON THIS PLANET will make them happy, no-one will be ‘enough’ to satisfy their bottomless pit of need for kibbles. If we kowtow to a narc, they end up despising us, and if we stand up to them, they hate us. Once the honeymoon is over, they will start treating the new people in their lives just like they treated us, and the results will be similar.

      And if the AP is also a narc, capable of keeping up a perfect facade while betraying and cheating, you can imagine just how fast THAT combo will go down the drain!

      • “Don’t forget that if your ex is a narcissist, NOTHING ON THIS PLANET will make them happy, no-one will be ‘enough’ to satisfy their bottomless pit of need for kibbles. If we kowtow to a narc, they end up despising us, and if we stand up to them, they hate us. Once the honeymoon is over, they will start treating the new people in their lives just like they treated us, and the results will be similar.”

        I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken KE. I tried everything in the world thinking if I could just figure out what he needed I could make him happy. What a waste of 13 years!

  • AllaLie I was the “perfect wife” felt he worked so hard and had such a demanding schedule I never nagged, took care of him, did not ask for help unless I really needed it ran the house worked full time ect.. 23 yrs later none of that mattered. And yes my bad side has come out now I am tired of his lies, his nastiness his put downs ect.. I did nothing to deserve any of this. perhaps the dynamics were as the H put it “you treat me like a son and not a husband” (I hear the OW in that statement) In a normal marriage there is give and take that is the dynamic however narrsictic personalities are hard put to give and take. Guess there weren’t enough ego kibbles for him. I could go on and on and on…. Trust he sucks and after the sparkles fall off he won’t be any nicer to her.

    • Yep…I was that wife as well: took care of everything, supported him fully, praised him for being such a hard worker, etc. Was always on his side and backing him up when things went wrong…even took care of some of his work problems for him. It all meant zero due to him wanting to fuck new people. Well, now he’s with final OW and he’s trapped, angry, mean and generally a total asshole. I ignore him 99% of the time and I figure this means he’ll start looking at her with a keener eye. He tries to push my buttons on at least a weekly basis but I simply do not respond. Let him go off on his merry way. I’ve got bigger fish to fry than worrying about him and his special brand of crazy.

      • AllAlie I had this exact same conversation with my 20 year old daughter last week.
        How maybe now he will learn from his mistakes, not be the same in this relationship etc.
        And she said to me “maybe he will. But it doesn’t matter because he was an asshole to us”.
        In that moment a light bulb flashed.
        He was an asshole to HIS kids and HIS KIDS MUM. Nothing he does can EVER make up for that.
        He is missing out on his kids lives.
        It was 12 months Dday for me on November 22nd and my divorce was final on November 23rd.
        The day came and went.
        It’s just a piece of paper I filed away.
        He killed the marriage the day he decided to turn his back and give himself the right to start a new relationship.
        I feel meh is approaching and it’s such a happier place than 12 months ago.
        Thanks CL and fellow chumps(especially Nord, Stephanie and Gladitsover. I’ve seen so many similarities in our stories).
        I can honestly say you have all been my companions and comfort in the wee small hours, at lowest points.
        And to everyone enduring this shit, your lightbulb moment is just around the corner.
        Keep looking ahead for that light and not back to the darkness.

          • Yes.
            I went into manic mode for a couple of weeks at first trying to organise everything and just cope, surprised by how ‘ok’ I felt.
            Then it hit.
            A friend took me to my daughters school parents evening and I just sat there and never said a word. My friend did all the talking. She convinced me to go to the doctors and get some anti-depressants.
            I stopped taking them after a week. Not for me.
            Therapy is not a big thing in the UK. We just don’t do it.
            Crying. That was the thing that worked. And oh how I cried and grieved the loss of what I thought I had. Like many here I couldn’t eat and sleep never came, only in very small amounts. I became well acquainted with 2,3,4 and 5am.
            No contact really helped.
            Some days I’m still sad, but those days are less and if I have a down day I now know they pass. It’s learning to go with it.
            In the depths of it you feel it will never pass, but it does.
            Early on I read something by a woman who had gone through divorce. She talked about putting a limit on grieving of 12 months. She didn’t want to be defined by her divorce or be a victim of it.
            I don’t want that either.

            • Hugs!

              Don’t put an arbitrary time limit on your suffering. It will take as long as it takes.

              I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I may never get over it. The hardest times are when I am bored or lonely.

              But, it’s true–I don’t let it define me. I’ve got so many other things going on and so much I am looking forward to doing. Not enough time to do everything I want to do–so I do a few things at a time, and that is what defines me.

              This HAS made me tougher and better, I will give it that. I am more compassionate, but less gullible, maybe. I am more enlightened, less arrogant.

              Hang in there. You will have many lightbulb moments. They are AWESOME! It’s like a game of chutes and ladders. I really feel like the lightbulb moments are like drawing the ladder card. You move up faster toward “meh.” You do have “chutes” moments, too, but you recover more quickly.

              One thing is, we sure are in good company. We chumps are the best! 🙂

  • Has anyone seen the movie Stepmom with Julia Roberts? I think it came out in late 90s. I just wonder how realistic is it.

  • I have a question for those whose cheaters did not leave for their OW/ did not stay with their AP. Is it “normal” to still obsess over the AP even when the affair is over. It’s been only 4 months for me but I find myself alarmingly more curious about what she’s like as a person since I’ve only met her once during a brief confrontation which did not go over well. I mean, I’m a bright woman but this Facebook stalking, googling and pulling her personal info off the Internet is even scaring me. Why am I doing this?

    • Because you’re still licking your wounds and sometimes it’s like playing with a scab. My advice? Block anything to do with the affair on all social media. Do not look. It will make you crazy. Part of going NC is not stalking online and it’s important to do this. Trust me, I’ve been there and the best thing I ever did was slowly start to block anyone and anything that would remind me of this mess. It saved me and helped me start to move forward.

      • Why do you see her everyday?? That’s gotta be super awkward! How do you deal with it, if I may ask? I posted a similar question earlier but haven’t gotten any responses yet. I’m wondering HOW I should act when I see OW because I know I’m bound to run into her since we live in the same neighborhood. I don’t know why this thought terrifies me so much either. It’s like I’m imagining such run in being the absolute worst nightmare come true for me. Would it also make me sound super nutty if I admitted to the fact that I’ve been short of looking over my shoulder when out in public (if I’m near her house.) I don’t know if this is some kind of PTSD? Basically, almost everything seems like a trigger to me these days. I’ve stopped going to our church because OW goes there (the irony!) I go to a grocery store next town over because… yes, you guessed it- I’m afraid I might see her there. Can someone help me with this?

        • The OW lives in the same street as both mine and her kids schools… and they get out at the same time, so everyday when I pick my kids up she’s there, BUT, she lives on the opposite direction of my kid’s school, so SHE GOES OUT OF HER WAY to see me everyday…
          At first I laughed my ass off, because, didn’t she take everything??? The ” prize” that is my husband, my kids affection, the money… she supposedly should be having the time of her life, but instead comes after me!
          She obviously doesn’t have anything better to do…
          After 2 months it started getting annoying…so I called him, after 2 months of No Contact, and asked if he would please do something about it.
          He didn’t, so I filled a police report that she was following me…
          Anger got the best of me, cause days later I ended up going after her with my car, and kind of hit her car…it was an accident and none of the cars got damaged but, she doesn’t deserve this attention from me.
          So now I just smile and wave!
          I think of how miserable he made my life, and what’s coming to her!

          • I totally get the ” looking over the shoulder thing”, I did the same thing until I finally ran into her…I used to have panic attacks over it, one day I actually passed out at the grocery store for fear of running into her…
            Until it finally happened and I think she was just as shocked as I was!
            It was awkward but after the first time, it got easier.
            OW is kind of scared of me, cause the fucktard told her I have a bad temper AND because I have a nice little video o her giving him a BJ… so she knows she better behave or she’ll become an internet superstar!
            My STBXH is a surgeon ( she was his patient, how ethic!) and if the video got out, it wouldn’t be good for his business!
            Stay strong, keep you head up, because YOU didn’t do anything wrong they did!

        • After I moved out of our house, but still lived near the ex, I was constantly afraid I would run into him out somewhere, constantly looking at people I passed on the street, always worried I’d run into him or the OW. And I DID run into him once or twice. Each time, I had a sort of panic attack and took a few hours to stop feeling sick.

          I hate to say that the constant anxiety about running into him didn’t go away until he moved half hour away, and I no longer had to worry about him being at the local supermarket or driving down the same street as me.

    • heartbroken, I can’t remember if you’re still married to your cheater. The answers to your question will be different, depending on if you’re still married.

      Affairs are “over” only for the cheater and the AP. They’re not over for the chump. For the chump, that any affair has occurred is a betrayal. Betrayals are forever. So, what’s that mean for you?

      For one, it means you’re grieving, and anger is part of that. If you’re divorcing or divorced, you’re still coming to grips with the fact that you were betrayed. You have to go through all the grieving process, and some of that is anger. It’s natural to know more about this person whom your partner valued more than you, more than the vows you exchanged.

      For another, if you’re still married and if you’ve bought into the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, the Internet stalking is your way of telling you that no, you are NOT okay with the affair. If your spouse tells you that you need to get over it because the affair is over, well, that’s not remorse. Read more of this blog. Lawyer up. Leave the cheater.

      Certainly get into therapy either way, though. A good therapist should be able to have you work through this stage.

      • Yeah, I’m still with him because I have no means to support myself so I’m doing this faux reconciliation you all refer to- which by the way, how did you know it was fake? Do you call it fake because it didn’t work out or you simply knew from the beginning that it was just a stalling tactic. The latter is certainly the case for me, I’ve told my hopefully STBX that I’m giving him another chance but deep down I’m in so much pain that I know forgiveness just won’t be possible. My intuition tells me I will find a better spouse one day, I’m still relatively young (mid 30s.) so for now I’m pretending I’m on my way to forgiveness but secretively planning my exit strategy: getting a job, roommate, shifting savings, etc. I don’t even feel guilty about having this plan as it doesn’t feel so perfidious to me after what this assshole put me through. Btw, reason for his cheating, if I haven’t mention it on here yet, weight gain on my part and depression. Apparently, I’m no longer fun either. His AP was barely out of her teens and with “hot rocking body” (his words.)

        Back to the obsession over OW- it’s been brutal 4 months since DD. I’ve lost 50 pounds, developed severe anxiety bordering on panic attacks, I’m a high functioning wreck of a person. What I’m really struggling with is the FEAR of running into OW around town as we live 2 miles down from each other. The fear is consuming me but I’m not sure what I am actually afraid of. Any idea why the thought of seeing this home wrecker is so traumatizing to me?

        • Ah yes, the ‘you’re just not fun and she is’ crap. I heard that. So did my kids as I kicked him out of the house. Seriously, that’s what he told my kids. Well, she’s not so fun anymore, I’m looking better than ever and you know what? I gained weight after two kids and a serious illness. If that’s enough to turn him into a serial cheater then so be it. Except he cheated, it appears, before that even happened.

      • That’s an excellent point, thank you. Btw, I am NOT married to this SOB. He certainly threatened to use a custody attorney if can’t agree on the plan in regards to our child but otherwise, I guess I lucked out that I don’t have to deal with the paperwork of divorce.

        • heartbroken, I think like all of us you want to understand why so you keep looking. It’s like why this train wreck? what the hell? There is no good answer, look for now if you need to, get a therpist if you don’t have one so you can get past it. best thing is to realize she isn;t better than you, she has nothing on you. What she has is the luxaury of showing your STBX only her best self. And he’s doing the same thing while YOU deal with his worst self. This is no different than when you first dated and fell in love with your STBX.

          Once you kick his ass out (or move out) and she has to live with him she won’t be thrilled. As for him and custody, you get a lawyer if you don’t have one and a better one if you do, not married! Awesome, you have much more leverage, hell you can say he didn’t want the kid and go from there. One thing I’ll say with my martyr man, if you go hard cold dead serious, do no contact, take no fucking prisoners then he’s likely to fold. In my case many reasons, 1; they don’t want to waste any money, 2; they want all your money, 3; they will do anything to fuck with you, except see number 1. This does not apply if your STBX is rich enough to fuck with you and not mind spending 10s of thousands of dollars.

    • I went through 4 Ddays, 4 OWs. For me it took close to 2 years for me to stop wanting to know everything about OW #1. OW #2 took around the same, but in her case she kept herself in the picture, sending FB messages and telling people he worked with to relay messages to him. By the time OW #3 came around I was pretty much over it. I realized that it wasn’t the OW that I should be focused on. He was the common denominator. She was just another tramp, dime-a-dozen. Apparently OW #4 is a keeper. The only thing I think that made me stalk her a bit was that my kids were spending time with her and my ex is really dumb with passwords (it was too easy).

      You may be different, heartbroken, but I think 2 years tops. Hang in there.

      • Heartbroken it’s horrible that you have to deal with all of this and still fake wanting to reconcile…no wonder you lost 50 pounds…who can eat while going through all of this…
        My STBXH also gave all those excuses, me gaining weight and not being fun anymore…we all can’t be fun like the nurses who would fuck my husband while he was on call at the break room…
        I never had any problems with anxiety and now I have panic attacks if I set foot on the supermarket I used to shop in, that is located right across from OW’s building!
        She lives in the same street than my kid’s school and I see her EVERYDAY…
        It’s heartbreaking seeing her parading around with her new car, LV bags and Loubotin shoes, while he doesn’t pay child support…
        This fear of running into her is horrible, but don’t let that defeat you.
        You’re better than her, you’re a decent human being, she’s just a whore who will get her ass kicked by karma.
        While you sit back and enjoy!
        Hang in there!

  • Because she stole what you thought you had, or a zillion other reasons…..but mostly, because you have had a shock, your limbic system is fucked with the stress, but you are working on your Great Escape- every day, another cup of dirt scattered in the yard.

    She doesn’t know you, but you have her number. So paste on your best Mona Lisa smile, and think about how excellent life will be when you are out.

    And get some support. I am pretty sure I had PTSD. People have been fucking with your reality, but you are here, we gotcha!


  • One more piece of advice. Beg, borrow, and steal to find a barracuda of an attorney who will get that property settled and some child support coming in ASAP. You and your children shouldn’t have to scrape by on pennies while Mr. Big lives the high life. It infuriates me when men just financially abandon their children.

  • You get over the other woman by laughing at the fact that he called her his “everything” and declared his undying love to her while continuing to have amazing sex with you for a year before he finally left. You get over her by realizing that she gets to introduce her family to her married, alcoholic, broke-ass boyfriend with the unshaven, bloated face when she foots the bill (again) for him to travel to visit her. You get over her because you now realize what a sad, broken man he is. You get over him because your daughter likes to remind you that “your parents always taught you to give your old toys to the less fortunate.”
    She’s as worthless as he is and not worth your energy.

  • Well, I made it through. It wasn’t a pretty site, but I’m so glad it’s over. I shed a few tears, but all in all I did ok. Sunday was good for me…today rough again. I know it’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster for the next little while so I just need to figure out how to hold on and take care of both myself and my girls (who by the way never even mentioned the wedding when they came home Sunday).

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts, concern and words of advice. It means the world to me to have people like you there to offer ideas/advice on how to get through these difficult stages. Like CL said, my worst nightmare came true but I lived to tell about it. Time to get stronger from this point forward!

  • This post and response was so helpful to me! I have been struggling with the OW having a relationship with my 3 year old daughter but you are right, I am her mother and will always be. She can play happy step-mom but I am the one taking her to the doctor, school and taking care of her day to day!

  • Ah, yes. The shiny knew life. I always knew when mmy NX was dating a new target bc he would suddenly demand tons of info about//xtra time with our dd. He finally found a very young, very religious, very inexperienced (never had a boyfriend b4) girlfriend. She was moved in within 5 months, he got a shiny knew car (that I’m sure she paid for – she still drives her old car, of course), and a big house way out of his price range (looks okay, but was a bank-owned forclosure….ots of spackle, appropriately). Those are a LOT of financial obligations for a guy who is bringing in only $ 40k a year. But a shiny new life does not a shiny new character make.

    As far as new wife goes, she truly believes that I am crazy and horrible, out to get the dear, sweet ((ee: gay, cheating, diagnosed NPD) love of her life. She has also been convinced that she is in competition with me ((arcissistic triangulation, better known as the Pick Me dance) and that she must be a mother to dd. And you know what? Good! Someone needs to take care of dd when she’s at her dad’s, and he’ll only do it if there is an audience to admire his efforts. I couldn’t be happier that new chump wants to compete with me for Mother of the Year. Dd benefits, and I don’t have to cut nobody!

    Hang in there.

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