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Dear Chump Lady, Do I have to tolerate the OM around my kids?

bosscatDear Chump Lady,

I found out this past Christmas that my wife was having an affair with a neighbor and friend of ours. I quickly signed us up for counseling and tried to make it work but she wasn’t interested and continued carrying on. After about a month, I insisted that one of us had to move out and we should immediately enroll in divorce mediation. And we did on both counts.

The guy she is with has a son who is close with my children and my boys are used to him and my wife’s affair partner being around quite a bit. My wife works out of the house and he is unemployed so last year, they often picked up the kids at school and visited the library or engaged in other after-school activities. She is still with him and they still engage in these activities and much more. We share custody and it seems like every time she has the boys, this guy and his son are around too (despite warning from our kids’ therapist that this could be confusing for them, even if they don’t know he is her boyfriend.) When I mention it to her, she says, “I think he’s good for the boys. They like him.” or “You’re just expressing the way YOU feel.” Even when I remind her that a trained, impartial professional said it too.

Our youngest has a school performance coming up and our oldest has a birthday in July. She is adamant that her affair partner will be attending both events despite my attempts to get her to reconsider. Today, I sent her an email with some info on co-parenting and not creating pressure cooker situations unnecessarily. Who knows if she’ll respond. I also encouraged her to discuss the situation with her therapist, the kids’ therapist or her Mom. She likely won’t because they’ll give an answer she doesn’t want to hear.

Any recourse for me or do I just have to eat my liver and pray I don’t turn these events into an episode of the Jerry Springer Show?



Dear Jay,

How do you like your liver? On crackers? Or fried with onions?

I’m sorry Jay, this sucks, but you’re getting divorced, which means you can’t control a damn thing she does. Actually, you couldn’t control a damn thing she did when you were married to her either. That lack of empathy she was showing for you and the kids in your marriage? Yup, it’s still there.

Cheating is about narcissism and entitlement. Divorcing someone doesn’t cure them of it. There’s no great awakening. Unfortunately cheaters tend to carry their shittiness forward. And yet chumps often think, well, surely divorce will sober them up. They’ll consider the children, we’ll be able to co-parent now. With me out of the picture, now that they’ve gotten what they wanted, can’t things go more smoothly?

No, Jay. For disordered people, life is an endless contest of “You’re not the boss of ME!” It’s life sung in the key of Me. Did a trained, impartial professional tell her not to introduce the affair partner to her kids? Yeah, the professional isn’t the boss of her. Could it be distressing for your children? They’re not the boss of her. Does it piss you off? Bonus points! And you’re not the boss of her.

The only thing that will register with your soon-to-be-ex (by the way, you can stop referring to her as your “wife” — save that designation for someone deserving of the title) — is consequences that pain HER. Your pain? Who gives a fuck? Her children’s pain? Well, they’ll get over it. They’re resilient. And the problem, she’ll tell herself, is you. The way you’re not dealing with all of this is the real issue. No, the only thing that might get through her big, fat noggin are the painful consequences of her own stupidity. And those take some time to materialize.

She gets a reduced standard of living, single motherhood, and an unemployed boyfriend! Oh THAT’s going to turn out well…

Karma is when she gets sick of supporting his unemployed ass. Karma is when his son breaks her laptop, or gets his sticky fingers all over the upholstery, and ceases to be some delightful Brady Bunch blended family figment, but instead materializes as a real kid, who is often annoying and unruly. (Hey, you’re not the boss of him! How’s that feel?) Karma is when the whole fantasy schmoopie dream becomes boring, suburban reality and there are no spouses to sneak around on, and they’re stuck with each other. That is, until one of them finds another hypotenuse to liven things up.

Jay, it’s a mess. She’s a mess. You might get a court order that says she can’t introduce the boyfriend to her kids or have sleepovers for a matter of months or years — and THEN what? Then you’re the divorce police. Marriage police sucked, divorce police is worse. You want to be in her business, monitoring her comings and goings? You want to go back to court to fight about it? All the expense and headache of that? Talk to a lawyer, but in my experience the court only cares about situations that show imminent harm to the children. “Your Honor, he took my children to the library” isn’t going to cut it.

But he SUCKS! They’re CHEATERS! They destroyed your family! I get it, Jay. I get it. Unfortunately, it’s a very common story and the courts don’t care much.

You need to stop focusing your energy on her and start focusing on what you DO control — you. Stop sending this floozie articles on how to co-parent, or suggesting improving topics for her therapist. Seriously Jay — do you think there is a magic ARTICLE? If magic articles were all it took to transform narcissists into conscientious parents we’d be air dropping them across the country as a matter of public policy.

She doesn’t want insight, Jay. This is that Dr. Simon line — it’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree. She knows you don’t like it, or the professionals don’t like it, but it doesn’t matter. She’s a special person, an exception to every rule, and she’ll do as she pleases. Until the iron anvil of karma drops on her head.

Focus on what you do control — being an awesome, involved, sane parent to your children. You are doing an AMAZING job of navigating this shit storm so far, Jay. Your D-Day was only 5 months ago, and look at how you’ve coped. You tried to save it, and when the affair continued, you didn’t stay on that sinking ship — you took action. You initiated divorce proceedings and moved out. You didn’t suffer limbo. You’re very good at analyzing your options and setting a course of action. You enforced your boundaries. You know your worth. Jay, you’re in the upper percentile of people who have their shit together. You can get through a school performance without going Jerry Springer.

Staying classy and showing restraint, however, doesn’t mean you don’t speak your truth. If anyone asks, you tell them exactly why your marriage broke up, and you say who the OM is. You tell your children too in age appropriate ways. Kids aren’t stupid. They’ve met the OM and his son, and they’re spending a lot of time around them as this divorce is going on. Don’t deny their reality. Of COURSE the OM is the boyfriend. And of course that’s why the marriage broke up. You admit that to them, and then you have to refrain from editorializing. (“Mom’s a slut.”) You can of course say, “I don’t like OM and I can’t be friends with him.” But don’t make your children feel like they have to choose between you. Do say, “But I understand you have to spend a lot of time with OM and his son, and your relationship with them is your business, not mine. And I know you love your mother.”

Be the sane, consistent, loving parent Jay. NO ONE replaces you in your children’s hearts. NO ONE. You’re showing your children how to be a class act. How to respond to adversity. And more important, you’re showing them how not to be chumps. Bad actions have consequences — when people grievously hurt us, we must enforce our boundaries and impose consequences.

In time, you’re going to model to them a beautiful life reinvented. There are good women in this world who will be faithful and love you right. Don’t waste your time looking back trying to monitor Ms. Wingnut. Focus on your happier future without her. Forward march, Jay.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Good advice. Lots of guys are dealing with this.
    I will say that by disclosing the true nature of the relationship, the fact that it started as an affair etc, to my kids, I brought tremendous pressure to bear on the relationship. Eventually, with my kids hating him, my XW’s family banning him from ever setting foot on their property, etc, the relationship went down in flames.
    I found it revealing, and really , quite pathetic, that this guy, a trule moron, was perplexed and upset by everyone’s reaction to him.
    My XW is NPD and I am sure she blamed him for the whole situation and the consequences. About 18 months in, she was cheating on him with a married man.
    Now, she and my kids live with this new guy, who divorced his wife, and, once again, they face some pressure. It is less, as my XW’s parents contributed to her development as a NPD by never really confronting her with anything growing up, and they , sort of, just keep mum about the situation.
    In any case, CL’s advice is right on, although tough to swallow, initially. You are powerless over what she does, but make sure the kids get the truth. Boyfriends abuse their girlfriends kids more frequently than just about any situation. Your kids need to know the true nature of this man and his lack of a conscience for their own safety.

    • “Boyfriends abuse their girlfriends’ kids more frequently than just about any situation” – and several species practice infanticide in the wild when a new alpha male takes over the group.

      This the single biggest reason I have not returned to the dating scene. I have two beautiful teenage daughters, and heads turn wherever I go with them – including from men old enough to be their grandfathers. I don’t want to create ANY situation where they may fall prey to some entitled male.

      To say I have major trust issues is an understatement….

      • Red, I agree with you and I’m also hesitant to date for that reason. I have a 10 year old daughter and a 9 year old son. They are still little, but I always say that if I date someone again it has to be an amazing man and human being because I do not want to put my children’s safety at risk. Right now we live with my mother and our two cats and there is peace and love in our house. I want to keep it that way!

        • Count me in on that deal. My goal is to keep my kids’ home stable and sane, and not to bring a stranger into the mix to upset their privacy and place of relaxation. My kids are older, but they need all of me, since their uncle-dad walked out. My time will come, but my kids respect, trust, and love me for being strong and focused.
          If I’d met the perfect guy in the course of my regular day, I’d perhaps have given that a shot, but, frankly, I’m glad I didn’t. I have a friend who has sacrificed a lot of time with her kid to dance the “pick me” dance to her new guy’s four kids. (New guy walked out on his wife for my friend.) I feel badly for everyone involved in that situation.

      • I FEEL ya REd,
        Yea..THIS Scares the SHIT outta Me too…
        Asked Chumplady to ADDRESS this, about Dating Again..and the Paranoia that goes along with TRUSTING Anyone Around them.
        My Daughter Doesn’t have ANY good Examples of GOOD STRONG DESIRABLE Marriage around her 🙁
        I , Sure as GOD lives in HEAVEN, WAS NOT Marrying her DEVIL of a…Spermdonor.
        I KNEW it’d Be HELL… Wasn’t Modelling THAT Shit for her to Follow.

        I Weep that She’ll Never SEE a GOOD Example to Strive for Herself..just what NOT to Pick..
        I Feel like Crying.

        • She has you! You are her role model and believe me, you are teaching her to love and respect herself. That is the basis of all good relationships.

  • Needed this, thanks. My middle son is currently not wanting to talk to me, and I must stay calm, stay in touch and know at all times that he is hurting, and that in 10 years time he might work his Dad out – and that I don’t need to say anything about Dad, just me.

  • All you can do is continue to be an awesome father, and know that this will all play itself out just as it should. Your kids know who you are, know that you love them, and you are their constant, regardless of who mom is banging this month.

    I’ll use my mom as an example again because she was a great one; She was our rock and always a calming force for us kids after our parents divorce. She never said horrible things about my dad even though she had plenty of reason to. We gravitated towards her because she was safe, normal, no-drama and we knew she loved us more than anything.

    I love the advice CL gave you. And it’ll get you to “Meh” a lot faster because the focus is on you, and not the crazy. You sound like you are already on the right track.

  • Jay here. The “magic article” comment made my day! This added a lot of clarity to my situation. And I am an awesome dad, if I do say so myself. My only question is revealing the affair to my 10 year old and 7 year old. I’ve heard conflicting philosophies on that. They are seeing a children’s counselor now and she advised against it. They know and like the OM (as gross as that is) and I’m afraid it will just mess them up even more. Thanks again! Well done!

    • My kids’ therapist said to tell. Secrets are bad, and made worse when things come out later. My kids were 9 and 12.
      And in my scenario below, with the attempt to move in pregnant OW…. I found out after their wedding that my exH told my daughter of the plan to move in the OW, but to NOT TELL ME AS I WOULD BE MAD. My poor baby kept that secret for 6 months.
      Now I know why she was PISSED when she found out about the marriage, the new baby, and the fact that her father was moving overseas with the new family (on the same day, by the way).

    • Tell, Jay. Does not sound like anyone wants to listen to the counselor anyhow, why start with this? I don’t know what good more lies, pretending and denial does. Children need to know the truth, just the bare minimal facts, but that mom was dating OM while married to you and that’s why you are divorcing. How simple is that? They are young but not that young. Otherwise, their reality is as skewed as yours was by the pathological lying and other shenanigans. If there is no shame in what your STBX and OM did, then there is certainly no problem telling the children why their family broke up. We are not here to perpetuate the fraud that was our ex-spouses.

    • Jay
      You and I are in the exact same situation. My kids are 8 and 5 and have no idea about my STBXW’s multiple affairs and I know that she brings the OM she left for around them. The think he is her “friend”, and have not asked about why we divorced and whether he is mommy’s boyfriend. You just can’t control her behavior and it is a complete waste of energy to engage. My strategy, and it has worked as I am a little further out than you, is to not worry about co-parenting, but parallel parent…I have as little contact with her as possible and never ask what goes on when they are with her, just focus on them when you have them and healing when you don’t…Remember as well, someday you will start dating again so take this opportunity by examining how poorly she is handling this and don’t make the same mistakes.

      • MOW and my stbx H were justafriends for the last 3 years of our marriage. She is divorcing now too and I have stood by while 2 families have beef destroyed and 5 kids have been hurt.

        MOW and H planned a million and one activities with our children together under the protection of the church as youth leaders.

        OW often stayed at our house and socialized with us ( against my wishes ). Her H is shattered and betrayed and I wish that both of us had the courage all those years ago to get out and move forward!

        Watching somebody else try to “take your place ” is gut wrenching (narcs tend to just replace the props – oops I mean people in their lives with others who they have chosen to be “special ” ) .

        I have stepped way back and let the two of them drive their own sparkly karma bus. The kids are ” getting it now that MOW has left her H and people around them now see it for what it is. An Affair!

        Your stbx W and her POS AP are no better. Let them hang themselves while you kick ass and divorce this waste of space.

        And the others are right. NC as much as possible – don’t give her any more of your time or energy!

        • Been destroyed ….not ” beef destroyed”. Stupid little buttons.

          But I picture the survivors of this cluster fuck karate Choping ground beef and yelling Take That Cheaters!

    • Look Jay, I’m not a shrink, I’m a chump. But my sense as a parent and a chump is that it’s not okay to deny reality to children. They aren’t stupid. To me, denying this very basic and very obvious reality is gaslighting. I’m sorry it’s an ugly reality and I’m sorry children have to be faced with it.

      Maybe shrinks tell a surviving parent who spouse committed suicide to say the parent died by natural causes. (Then how do you explain the grief and anger, and the story that doesn’t add up?) Maybe shrinks advise telling children that babies are delivered by storks or found under cabbage patches.

      Maybe shrinks just don’t trust chumps to not editorialize, to not say harmful things like “Mom is a slut” because in some moral universe a insult is worse than the acts of infidelity.

      I think you can parse out the editorializing from the TRUTH. I say this a LOT here — if you don’t tell the truth, children are left with a very nebulous, scary sense that people just mysteriously “fall out of love.” Well, maybe you’ll fall out of love with them? Maybe mom will? Versus the reality — that life has deal breakers. And when someone breaks the rules (kids get that), when someone hurts us grievously, we must enforce our boundaries, that no we will not be abused. Even if we LOVE the person.

      To me, that’s a very important lesson to impart on children. It teaches them to enforce their own boundaries with people they love, to not be chumps.

      Also, the truth gives you a break. It explains why you’re hurt and upset and why you don’t want to be friends with OM or mom. Concealing the truth makes you eat an even bigger shit sandwich. Gee, why is dad such an asshole? Mom is so NICE.

      I think you can say that when you get married you promise to be each other’s special person, no BF or GFs. That mom broke that vow and that’s and we can’t be married any more. Only two people can be married. Not three.

      • My kids were 5 and 2 when exH left. I didn’t find out about the OW that he left us for until about six months later. My daughter overheard me on the phone with my attorney, and asked me point blank if “daddy had a girlfriend”. I couldn’t lie to her, and told her that yes, that was why he left.

        I was also told by my therapist to tell the truth, as calmly as you could, in an age appropriate way; that kids needed to know that they have one parent they can trust, and that if you DON’T tell them, they will blame you and consider you a liar later when the truth does come out. I sure as hell wasn’t going to be blamed for any part of that, so as they’ve grown, I’ve calmly answered their questions, and they have reacted in a pretty mellow way, most of the time. I would say though that the truth does direct their blame in the correct way (to the cheaters and their partners), which is definitely uncomfortable for THEM, since these folks are not fans of consequences. It was very brave, but incredibly sad when my 3 year old son asked his dad on the phone why he had a girlfriend, because married people aren’t supposed to date. ExH hasn’t spoken to him since. He’s 8 now.

        Our family has had a decent share of issues to share truth on in the past few years; an aunt’s perscription drug addition and incarceration and grandma’s start down the road to dementia. They have sadly aged beyond their young years, but they know they can ask me anything, and that I will always tell them the truth (There are questions that I tell them I will answer later, when they are older, because the knowlege is too heavy for them to carry right now; I have used this for some truly gut-wrenching stuff about their dad that I will not burden them with now, or maybe ever. That is always an option, but don’t make it “mysterious” or they will search even harder for answers.) Hugs and prayers to you and your innocent little ones.

        • The story of your then-3-year old son encourges me with his bravery and how he handled such a tough situation at an incredibly young agem and saddens me with how your ex responded.

      • “if you don’t tell the truth, children are left with a very nebulous, scary sense that people just mysteriously “fall out of love.” Well, maybe you’ll fall out of love with them? Maybe mom will? Versus the reality — that life has deal breakers. And when someone breaks the rules (kids get that), when someone hurts us grievously, we must enforce our boundaries, that no we will not be abused. Even if we LOVE the person.”

        This is why I think it’s cruel to NOT tell the children the real reason. Kids deserve the truth. The truth is much less scary than leaving them to think that Mom and Dad are both capable of not loving people all of a sudden. They need to know that Dad is in a bad mood because someone has treated him badly and that Mom made her choices.

        • Agree with this, Jay. I am adamant that you MUST tell the kids, or they will be terribly confused, may believe something horrible about themselves or the way the world works, may become very depressed and/or traumatized. Your therapist is so fundamentally wrong that I wonder if you should switch therapists.

      • I completely agree with CL, tell the kids. That was the smartest thing I did right after Dday. My parents had a family friend whose husband ran off with AW and she hid the truth from her daughter and ate shit sandwich on advice of a psychologist. Her daughter ended up blaming her for the divorce and ruining her “family” when all she was doing was trying to protect kid and not ruin image of douchebag father. No good deed goes unpunished. So I learned a lesson from this family friend and made sure my 14 year old knew the truth. I wasn’t going to eat shit sandwich for that ass. (I also make sure when I tell people I am going through a divorce that it is because STBX committed adultery with a 15 year younger woman and moved in with her immediately.) The result of her hearing the truth (she suspected anyway) was she is pissed with her father and his poor life choices. She refuses to ever meet OW and refers to her as the whore. My daughter lost all respect for her father. STBX has no relationship with her because she refuses to give him kibbles. My relationship with my daughter is as strong as ever. Of
        course STBX blames me for his shitty relationship with his kid. What do I care, my daughter and I both know it is not true. The truth will set you free Jay. Tell them. They will understand why you feel the way you do towards their mother and the OM. Make sure you don’t look like a bad guy to them – you are the sane and responsible parent.

        • (I also make sure when I tell people I am going through a divorce that it is because STBX committed adultery with a 15 year younger woman and moved in with her immediately.)

          Ha…me too! I let everyone know just what the jerk did. I do not protect him in the least little bit and I never will. He chose to behave like a prick and find himself his skank. I choose to let everyone know that he did it.

          • I agree ….tell. You are so right CL, Sandy and everyone here.

            My XH was mad when I told my kids (while they were at college), as if they wouldn’t notice when they came home that he didn’t live there anymore, mad when I told them he filed for divorce before he even walked out, mad again when I told of his affair with his employee (25yrs younger) that worked side by side with my son when the skank started sleeping with his dad. My son said that the uneasy, off feeling he had whenever he was at work, the whispers from all the other employees behind his back, all of a sudden made sense. Learning the truth made him realize, and my daughter that they weren’t crazy or paranoid as their dad tried to make them feel. There were real reasons behind it all. The truth set them free, as the saying goes. It set them and me free from his abuse and cruelty and lies.

      • I agree – TELL.

        A poster on another forum said she was an only child and that her father always wanted a boy. Her parents divorced when she was in her early teens, and because no one told her why, she assumed it was because of HER, because she hadn’t been a boy. She blamed herself for DECADES, and suffered from eating disorders as a result. When she finally learned the truth, she was FURIOUS – she’d put herself through hell for nothing. She never spoke to either parent again.

        This was the story that convinced me to tell my kids why their dad left. It ended the girls’ relationship with their father, but it also saved their health, because both had started having all sorts of medical issues (migraines, anxiety, panic attacks, etc.).

        XH, of course, blames me. But if he hadn’t cheated, none of this would have happened.

          • You know..Sometimes the ONLY way for Children to ” HONOR ” DISHonorable Parents…is to Grow Up HONRABLE, DESPITE Their Parents’ Shitty Example.

            Some parents are Impossible to LOVE. What They’ve DONE makes it too Hard…and Children ** Even ADULT children ** Shouldn’t be PRESSURED to.

      • I think this therapist’s advice is also related to an inadequate understanding of narcissistic behaviors.

        Narcs want to control the narrative, and they do this by spinning a new version of it every time they need to justify a new lie.

        The only way you can combat this is to tell one simple truth and repeat it as required–“Mom and Dad divorced because Mom got a boyfriend, and that isn’t allowed or right when people are married.” No matter what nonsense narco-Mom tells them, you defer to the simple truth. Even this strategy won’t always make it easy for you, but at least you escape having to explain your spackle and having your integrity called into question by the kids when you “update” your explanation as they grow.

        I also loved CL’s “magic article” comment–though I’ve been on the receiving end of them. The articles I get in my inbox tell me that research shows divorced men have worse health and higher suicide rates than married men. These are supposed to make me feel bad for leaving and show that I am the evil spouse and should return in order to make sure he lives a long and happy life. Their “magic” isn’t working either.

        • Eillonwy, ironic that your ex thinks he can still guilt you into ‘taking care of him’ again, when his actions were what fired you from that job (or freed you, actually). I’d actually consider it a BONUS if my ex’s risk for health problems or suicide were elevated due to my dumping his cheating ass!! (Well, maybe not the suicide part, too hard on the kids, but he could spend a good long time contemplating it, perhaps?)

      • Jay, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon here and say TELL. I tried not telling and eventually my 17 y/o daughter said, “Mom, I’m not stupid, I can figure out what’s going on. Why won’t you just me?’ Faced with that, I had to just tell them. The wrong thing I did was stay with him after that (eventually I got the memo). Me staying after the kids knew the truth just had them constantly wondering WTH I was thinking (and they asked me plenty). You’ve already separated, I don’t see there’s anything to lose by being honest with your kiddos. Then they’ll have the information they need to decide if they actually want to participate in the Brady Bunch any further.

      • I’d like to say AMEN to CL’s comment a thousand times over…….denying them the reality is dangerous and while they may not “know” what is going on they “KNOW” what is going on……I used exactly what CL said here about a marriage is between 2 people and it isn’t okay for Daddy to have a girlfriend……What surprised me even more was when my Son responded to that statement with: “Mom, I’m learning about Holy Matrimony in religion class…….didn’t Dad take Vows?”

        They know more than we give them credit for and we owe them the truth……..without the editorializing… the simple answer there was yes he did…and it isn’t OK……..and it hurt me very much. I didn’tneed to say another word.

        But I find it is kind of like the definition of Faith being ….. “believing in that we cannot see” At some point down the road your kids will let you know that the understand…..and at that moment…it makes a lot of that go away….but it is a hard road to travel.

      • Jay, I can tell you I had a cousin whose parents hid the “truth” from her. She heard whisperings of her father having children from a previous marriage all her life, but no one ever talked about it. She didn’t find out it was true until she stumbled upon an old letter in my grandmother’s closet. I still remember her whispering “So it IS true!” as she sat in the closet reading the letter at age 12. It would have been much better for her to hear the truth instead of finding out that way. Knowing the truth puts an end to a lot of searching for kids. They need to know what’s real and what’s not.

      • Telling your children the truth is vital! How will they ever be able to trust anyone if they are brought up with lies? My CH finally told the kids himself about the OW. He and I are still together. He says they were just friends who were just talking. It was actually an emotional affair at the very least and I have the emails, etc to prove it. But the fact that he told the kids helped me believe in him enough to let him stay in the house for now. Time will tell if he will stay out of trouble with other women. (He ended it with that skank but he is a charmer NPD. So we will see…

      • I’m in the “tell” camp, even though I don’t have children. Instead, STBXH is the son of a man who cheated on his wife for over 20 years. His father worked and spent most of the week in another city, where he met OW. His mother found out and apparently went ballistic, but never divorced him. Instead, no one ever talked about OW, and the father came home once a week to be with the family, just as he’d always done. This merely perpetuated some very unhealthy family dynamics:
        * Neither STBX nor his brother learned to deal with anger in a positive fashion.
        * Both STBX and his brother were both allowed and encouraged to idolize their cheating father.
        * While STBX felt very close to his mother, he also saw her as weak.
        * Both STBX and his brother learned not to talk about things that bothered them (i.e. their father’s OW was always the elephant in the living room that no one mentioned.).
        * Worse, both STBX and his brother learned that the way to deal with tension is to ignore it.

        I don’t think you need to editorialize the reason for the divorce. You don’t need to say that your XW is a lying sack of shit who slept with the lowest common denominator. Just say that you wanted your children to know that daddy and mommy got divorced because mommy had a boyfriend, and married people promise each other that they won’t have special boyfriends or girlfriends. Let your children know you love them, and know that divorce can be confusing, so if they have questions, you will be okay with answering those questions.

        You sound as if you’re a super dad, by the way!

      • Tell your children right away. I did tell, but with one child, I waited till he was done with a very big and good thing going on in his life that took up all his time. I didn’t want him to be overwhelmed because he didn’t have the time to process what his father had been up to. My son was so upset that I waited to tell him. He saw his father as a liar for his infidelity and he saw me as a liar for pretending for four months that nothing was going on. At the time, my son was 20 and we didn’t even live in the same state. Tell. Give your children the security that only the truth brings… and tell right away.

    • You could wait until they start asking you questions, because eventually they will. You don’t have to be brutal, just truthful. I don’t see why it would hurt them to know the truth. You don’t have to harp on it or anything, just tell them why you’re getting divorced.

      • Rumblekitty, this is the approach I chose to take, and it blew up in my face. I had heard all the ‘don’t speak badly of their father to the kids during the divorce’ BS, and decided I would tell the kids (11 and 12 ys old at that time) if they asked, figuring they probably would at some point.

        But they didn’t. About a year after the separation, our daughter figured it out, said NOTHING to me, and confronted her dad. He lied to her, she waited another two weeks, asked him straight out again, he changed the subject. She came home, asked me, I confirmed, and she was FURIOUSLY angry and very hurt, more with him, but also with me because I had not told them the truth.

        They so very much needed to know when they were walking on solid ground, and when not. And they very much needed to know that I was totally reliable, solid, honest and straightforward with them. It took a good while to repair our daughter’s trust in me (and she will never trust her father again, not only because of the cheating; lots of selfish, entitled behaviour).

        I find it weird that some therapists, who would never condone not talking about a parent’s alcoholism or health problems or legal problems in an age-appropriate way, think it’s best not to ‘mention’ cheating when it is the reason for the end of a child’s parents’ marriage.

        • Oh girl I’m with you. I was just making a suggestion. If it were me, I’d explain exactly what happened in age appropriate ways so they weren’t scratching their heads wondering who this dude is that’s kissing mommy. 🙂 I made this comment when I misread and thought they were really, really young.

    • Jay, I am currently struggling with the fact that I did NOT tell my kids right away. I listened to my therapist and friends who believed it was best for the kids to “find out on their own”. Well, while I sat back, my kids developed a relationship with the OW that makes me sick. They were both in the wedding in November as HER junior bridesmaids (they were 10 and 7). Then I found CL. I realized that I was wrong and needed to tell them in an age appropriate way. I didn’t want my kids to resent me years down the road for not being honest with them. I was also afraid that they would be angry that I let them build a relationship with her and didn’t tell them who she really was, and what her role was. I decided to tell them a month ago. Sadly, they either don’t get it or they don’t care. I was too late, and that is my biggest regret in all of this. Please be honest with your kids. They need to know that they can come to you with anything, and you will not lie to them like your ex.

      • Was your point to ruin your children’s relationship with the OW? The children are not there to punish their father, or the OW, and it is not fair to expect them to. Asking children to brand the OW with the scarlet A when they found out is not “meh”

        What you did do was to state your truth clearly, and to give your daughters some insight into their father and the other woman. Now they won’t resent you later for not telling the truth, and they are not angry at you for letting them build a relationship with the OW. When the essential shallowness of these people starts becoming clear to your children, they will remember this, and that you were honest with them. Sounds to me like you handled it well, and should be proud of the outcome.

        There is always a lot of discussion of this here, and as the child of a cheater, I have a lot of feeling about this subject. I think Chumplady has the perfect answer – speak the truth but don’t try to manage the outcome. Jay, tell your children what happened, but dont try to force them to hate the other man.

        • My “point” was not to ruin anyone’s relationship. My point is that the relationship my kids have with her is based on a lie. They had no idea who she was or what she was capable of before she became their step mom. While the OW continues to step on my toes as their mother, I sit back and say nothing. I have NEVER said a bad word against either her or their father (hence why they do still have a good relationship with both of them). However, I feel like I did myself a disservice by not mentioning things sooner. While they were building this relationship with her I looked like the angry, bitter bitch and my kids had no idea why. They didn’t know why I didn’t want to talk about her or hear about her wedding. I regret not being truthful from the very beginning. Then all relationships and opinions could have been formed based on truth and not spackle. My kids have and will always continue to be my priority.

          • Worst thing is YOU Looking like the ” Hateful, Spiteful Bitch” when thy don’t know WHY you were Behaving that way.. whilst Liking and Growing Attached to Someone, that had they Known the TRUTH About them, Never Would Have..Wouldn’t have given them the Time of DAY.

            • HURTS to ATTACH to a LIE..Don’t we CHUMPS know BETTER, Knowing what WE KNOW NOW, Ourselves ?? Why NOT want to Protect Innocent Children from what, We ,Adults, Were SHATTERED by ???

              Fuck that Stigma WE Carry…That Pressure to ” Not Talk ” Shit”….aka TRUTH about THEM.

        • well, and I agree. Your kids are apparently going to have to spend time with this guy, so you don’t want to contribute to anxiety for them as they have to be with this fellow. It is what it is, you didn’t create it, but they will know that you are there to tell them the truth, keep loving them no matter what, and are ready to listen to their feelings as they process the new living arrangements, etc. Because sadly, this might not be the only change for them…unknown how much of this their mother is going to put them through, and that sucks. I guess I would urge them that you are a safe place to share their feelings, no matter what – you have to be ready for them to be ok with the new guy, even if it is hard for you. It’s always the scariest thing when the other parent is involved with god knows who, because we have absolutely no control over that. Jay, you sound like a really, really reasonable, mature, unselfish person – you have a LOT going for you already. Your kids are very lucky to have you. I just feel for kids. How fucking confusing. I think they will be able to grow up with memories of their dad being a straight up kind of guy, who made the very best of a shitty situation for them. You are going to have to be the beacon in the storm for them. Take the high road. That means being classy, AND it means being truthful. If your kids ‘judge’ that truth, that’s something they have to take up with their mom. Actions have consequences for all of us. Which are YOU responsible for? Telling the truth? Being a stand up guy? Great role model for your children? Great father? I think you can live with that, eh?

    • Jay, My situation was similar to yours. OW was a family friend, and our kids played together (and are now poised to become step-siblings this summer, woohoo). So yes, I am VERY glad I told my kids (same ages as yours) in an age appropriate manner what went down, i.e., why are you and daddy getting divorced? Because Daddy broke the rules of marriage by having girlfriends. Why don’t you like OW? Because she went on dates with Daddy while he was married, which broke up our family. As CL says, no editorializing (easier said than done), but try your best to give them the limited, age appropriate truth. This has not messed up my kids at all; they are actually Thriving now that their dad’s not around and I’m able to be (mostly) honest with them.

      I’ve talked to many others who did not tell their kids but wish they did, because now it’s too late. The kids either don’t believe the truth, are angry that the parent hid the truth, or don’t care because they’ve already established a strong relationship with the AP. In my case, the kids are ok with the OW because they already knew her and she is nice to them (but not kind lol). But at least they know the truth. Also, my ex is not exactly a prize (alcoholic, drug using, lying, cheating, unemployed, abusive sociopath), so when OW finally catches on to this and ditches him, the kids will be in a better position to accept that, I hope.

      Finally, as CL says, be very careful about abuse with the OM. Not only do the stats indicate danger, but also the fact that the guy is a cheater and so clearly doesn’t have much of a conscience is worrisome. And yes, as CL points out, you can’t control crazy, so just let go of the bullshit that your loser STBX says and does. And most of all, of course, trust that they suck. Big hugs to you and best of luck. If you can hang in there a few more months, you’ll come out the other side much better off than you could ever imagine.

    • Jay, I agree with ChumpLady, it is better to be honest with your children from the beginning. Mine are 10 and 9 and they know what their father did and that it was wrong. They don’t know every little detail but they know at least this much and they immediately figured out the reasons why STBX would not let them play with his phone and things began to click in their heads.

      For myself I also feel like the more truth that I know, the more I can make sense of a situation. I don’t want people to sugar-coat any issue, just tell it to me like it is.

      • yes, Nat, so true. I was just thinking, we all like to feel in control. Kids in particular can feel so powerless while the adults in their lives are crashing and burning…with knowledge, comes some power. You know what you are dealing with. Then you can do something about it. Think how scary and confusing it would be for kids to feel one thing, be told another…then they learn to not even trust their own instincts, much less their parental units. Ugh.
        My own adult kids knew about their dad’s affairs, they already had lost respect, were embarrassed, ashamed, hurt, angry, all of the above; but it was my spackling all those years that really brought on the nuclear reaction. Mom! they’d say. Stop making excuses for him! That’s a lie! and we are pissed off about it!
        So yeah. Fuckin A. Tell them the truth. They know anyway.

        • In telling the truth, you are affirming your children. That is priceless for any of us. And you are saying to them, I trust YOU that you can handle truth – and don’t worry, I will never leave you to handle this alone. I am always here for you.

          That is the promise that you made to them when they were born. So in the midst of broken promises, you are keeping yours to them. That’s what matters the most here.

    • I struggle with this too because my 9 year old son isn’t really going to get that. My truth and his dad’s truth are certainly different. Despite the whole breaking up the family thing, I have no issues with my ex as a father and we parent well together and so for me, i’ve chosen to not share that information. BUT if he came to me and asked, then I would. If that’s wrong then i’m choosing to be wrong for the time being. Naturally my ex sees this only one way and that if I ever tell my son, it’s purely for the reason of getting back at him. NO amount of telling him that it’s to try and build a healthy lens for relationships will change that so that’s why i’ve decided I will tell him, just not now. Again, if that’s wrong i’ll be wrong because he has enough to process.

      • Too young to know the truth? I don’t think there’s an age limit on that. And finding it out later can be VERY hard on the child, and their relationship with the non-cheating parent, as well. My daughter says she feels like I allowed her, even encouraged her, to build a post-divorce relationship with her father, knowing that it was built on a lie, and allowed her to think of her father as being a certain type of person, when he is another type altogether. She still gets upset when we talk about this, and it was only a year between the separation and figuring out the cheating, and it’s been almost a year since then. She feels that by ‘omitting’ the truth, I betrayed her, let her build on sand. And reminds me that I would NEVER be satisfied with her ‘omitting’ an important truth in her relationship with me.

    • One thing to consider is that they may know something already, particularly the 10 year old. Your wife and her jerk don’t care about how their actions affect their kids, so they might be affectionate in front of them or go off into a room somewhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if back before you found out, they used picking up the kids as an excuse for the two of them to get together for sex.

      I also think it is probably scary for children to be told that mom and dad have just stopped loving each other. It makes more sense to understand why.

      There isn’t really a great choice here for them, in my opinion. Their mom cheated and wouldn’t stop and now their family is breaking up. Knowing that will hurt their opinion of their mom and the jerk. Not knowing will hurt their opinion of both their parents and make them wonder if love can last.

      Why not talk again to the therapist?

      • Diana L:
        I am going to bring it back up with the therapist. It might be coming out naturally anyway as the therapist told me that our 10-year old expressed anger in his last session … but only at his mother. We will find out a little more this week as to why but I suspect he knows what’s going on.

        • Jay,

          My oldest just turned 11; it’s amazing what they can figure out; and they are headed into those adolescent years when they see throught (and call out) bullshit pretty aggressively. If you can be honest with your child without making him feel like he needs to “pick sides” – then he will be free to form his own opinions, and isn’t as likely to resent you in the future.

    • Jay – I’m in a very similar situation. And I hear everyone here saying to tell your kids. I have 12 year old twins that have not asked me why we’re getting a divorce. Their mother has had them around her BF and his kids since before I knew about him or the affair, so they know him. My problem is that I have friends telling me not initiate telling my children, but to wait until they ask me. Their mother moved out about 6 months ago and I think she has been slowly (in her mind) exposing our children to the BF as her “friend”. This is a touch situation! I know she wants to control the narrative. I can only imagine what her version is, but I am supposing it goes or will go something like, “we grew to love each other AFTER your daddy and I split up”. I will tell my children the truth. I am just having a lot of trouble initiating this conversation. I do believe they deserve to know. Good luck Jay.

      • TwinsDad: Thanks so much. It sounds like we’re in very similar places even down to what the likely story will be if she tells them. My oldest was actually going through my wife’s phone and looking at texts so he likely knows what’s going on. I am dreading tell them; I hate to be part of their pain although I know it’s not my fault. We will see!

        • Jay – They will know it isn’t your fault, but you’re probably worried like I am about what their mother will do/say when she finds out we told our kids about her affair. We can’t control our EXs, but it sucks that they can lie to our children, maybe saying that the divorce was our fault. “Your father is the one that filed for divorce! It is HIS fault mommy and daddy got a divorce!” Some folks here that post advice about telling the children seem like they may have full custody and don’t have to share custody with their fuckwit STBX. It is that fact in my case, that I have to maintain some kind of parenting relationship, that gives me pause.

          • I gave STBX 1 week to tell daughter the truth or I would and I told him if I had to tell her the truth she wouldn’t be getting any sugar coating. I told him he had face the consequences of his actions and I certainly wasn’t going to have any of his shit smeared on me in the eyes of our child. I wanted my daughter to know I believe in the sanctity of marriage, that I’m bad times one has responsibilities to try and fix the problems and it is never a
            solution to run away from your responsibilities. . I also told STBX I wouldn’t be spackling for him any longer. He was really pissed. He tried not to tell daughter but she forced him
            into confession. Them then came home and asked me if he had cheated other times because she suspected he had. I told her he had confessed to another affair years earlier. STBX was further pissed O had told her about other affair. I reiterated to him – no more
            spackle. If she asks I will continue telling her he truth as far as I know it. She has a right to know and I am not being a chump any longer. Of course the revaluation that he is a cheater destroyed his relationship with his daughter who views him with the disgust and contempt he deserves. He was planning on the one big happy blended family and I ruined it. Such is life, live with it dog turd.

          • TwinsDad, I understand that when there’s shared custody, these things are much harder. But think about the message your kids will get if the truth continues to be hidden;
            – we pussyfoot around bullies in order to placate them
            – we allow ourselves to be disrespected with lies in order to ‘keep the peace’
            – we will put up with a situation we don’t like and know is wrong, in order to avoid the consequences that might come with the truth.

            Only you can know what it’s like co-parenting with your ex, but in many cases, w/a narc it’s not real co-parenting. It’s ‘let’s all keep up appearances by doing what the narc wants’. Sometimes we have to let go of the co-parenting dream (just as we had to let go of our dream of who our spouse was and what our marriages could be like) and do more parallel parenting …. And sometimes, fortunately, the kerfuffle created by our doing something the narc ex doesn’t like doesn’t even last that long ….

          • I have joint custody with my STBXH. The cheater will constantly try to control you, by using your kids. You shouldn’t let the ex control your relationship with your kids and (I have to remind myself this often) it is now up to your ex to deal with their relationship with the kids without you smoothing things and playing middleman. Even when it’s obvious that ex is setting them self up for crappy teen years.
            My kids were originally told that daddy was leaving because we had too many arguments and I just stayed quiet. Then each of the kids started questioning it and my 10 year old went through our phones. Our then 4 year old even asked him “what arguments?” Since we weren’t an arguing couple. I finally sat the kids down and explained to them what had happened. Yes, ex was angry but my kids health was more important than his image and his fairy tale.

        • If she’s going through your XW’s phone, then it’s time to talk about that. I think that you can tell her that you know she was going through the phone, and while that’s wrong, you understand that it’s because she wants to know the truth. Then ask her what the truth is that she wants to know about. If she asks you if her mother was having an affair, you can say that yes, she was. That’s why you divorced. Then say that you won’t keep secrets, and that if your children want to know something, they won’t need to sneak through your phone. You’ll answer them honestly.

          You might want to bring this up in therapy.

        • You were an UNWILLING PART of Their Pain..Same As Them…. You will Mourn this Together With your Sons and Be a Stronger Unit, Because of it. NONE of you CHOSE this. That’s on your ” Wife” and her FUCKHEAD.

    • My kids’ counselor told me to tell the truth when asked any direct questions. Don’t editorialize– just answer directly and honestly. She said that my children need to know that they have at least one parent that they can trust. I think that if I had kept my ex’s secret all these years, it would have been far more damaging to my children than telling them will ever be.

      I think they need to know the character of the OM as well. My kids have to interact with the OW because she’s now the Owife, and I’m glad that they know the content of her character. I don’t want them looking to her as a role model ever.

  • Jay,
    It’s a tough situation that many of us have been through/are going through.
    CL’s advice is good; follow it.
    And yes, our ‘cheaters’say and do what they please.
    After consulting with our kids’ therapist, my STBX and I put in a statement in the divorce agreement describing how new ‘mates’ would be introduced (first 4 months, no more than 4 hours at a time, etc). Instead, STBX planned to move OW in, pregnant (in hindsight, it would have even been before the divorce was finalized). Kids had never met her, I would have been gone on a overseas worked trip, so kids would have been trapped there, uncomfortable. Still boggles my mind to think about.

    New flurry of agreements, OW could not meet kids until I returned from the trip.
    The happy couple announces their engagement, 2months post divorce finalization, 3 days _before_ my return from overseas. The first pregnancy ended in miscarriage? Why the rush to get married…. She immediately got pregnant again (oops! Yeah, right.)

    So…. The kids still had not met her at that point, their father had no idea how she would treat his kids….. But the cheaters did not care about the kids, just themselves.

    Deep breaths, be your best, do not make snide comments, but be truthful when the situation warrants it.
    My son was in tears when I said I would never be friends with OW, but I explained to him that the his father and EZ were bf/gf before we decided to get divorced, and that she was married at the time as well. Good people do not lie, break promises, etc.

    Jedi hugs!

    • It’s Also Good to Teach your Kids NOT to Forgive the Unforgiveable. They’re Not BAD People to be Self Protective AGAINST BAD People, and that THEIR Time, Lives, and Hearts are Valuable…not to Waste Em on those who have proven Themselves Unworthy.
      You MAY be Saving THEM From being a CHUMP LATER in Life.

  • I am always blown away at how great your posts are. Your advice is so dead on! Jay, listen to CL. She is wonderful.

    My ex recently moved in with his skanky whore. He told our kids in one fell blow that he has a girlfriend AND he’s moving in with her. Fun stuff for a 9 and 7 year old to digest. How could he do that to them, I thought? Answer – ‘he’s carrying his shittiness forward ‘.

    • My kids found out through a picture on twitter that their dad remarried (exactly 25 days after our divorce day in court), when all along he said he wasn’t cheating and they were “just friends” Yup, I’d say that is “carrying his shittiness forward” too!!

      And yes CL does have the best posts and the best advice!!

    • I’ve been in the same boat and though it is so hard to do sometimes, always, always, always Take the High Road. Your character and integrity is what the kids will see. They need that from you, the stable parent. And she can run from the truth but will never hide from it.

      Keep doing what you’re doing to be the best parent and person you can be. I’m 3 years into this with my cheating ex (who married the OW) and have finally come to realize that he is who he is and I can’t change that, I’m just thankful that I am who I am because I would NEVER want to be like him or live like him for one split second.

      He keeps digging his hole deeper and deeper with our kids with his selfish actions. He dug himself into it and he has to dig himself out of it. But I can see that the more time goes by, the harder it is for him to begin the climb. Damage is done.

  • The best advice my mom gave me about single parenthood was “do not talk badly about your ex or their partners – your kids’ natural instinct will be to defend them. Talk good about them and you will hear every bad/stupid thing they ever do around your kids”. I agree that you need to be honest, but I extra agree on not editorializing…your kids will see what’s going on and they will respect you for being decent whether their mom was or not.

    • I MY Case..It’s be Really HARMFUL for my Daughter to EVER Trust her ” DAD “.
      I’ll Let her Know She’s NOT her ” DAD “..SHE’s NOT BAD cause HE is..
      She’s Her OWN Wonderful Person with her OWN Beautiful Soul, Her Own GOOD Choices to Make, Her OWN * Hopefully Happy,Honorable** Life, Personality and Character….got NOTHING to do with HIM.

  • “Life sung in the key of ME.”

    Absolutely beautiful phrasing, and such a bang-on description of cheater narcissism. Thank you for this, CL. I also appreciate that today’s post features a chumped dad. It’s always illuminating and humbling for me to see how the other side experiences this shit-show, not only so that I don’t fall into the trap of over-generalizing/vilifying based on what happened in my individual case. It also gives me hope. Like you said, there are good and honourable people out there who will treat us right. I’m hanging on to that right now.

    Jay, you sound like a stellar dad. Your kids are lucky to have you lighting the way, and I hope you find a partner who’s worthy of your efforts. Your STBX sounds like she’s already found a partner who’s worthy of hers.

  • When I was a teenager, I was out in the yard with some friends and walked around the corner of the house and saw my mother holding hands with one of my father’s colleagues. That image has been seared in my mind for many years. Of course, I said nothing and she said nothing. Just another episode in my parents’ 50-year marriage drama. But you have no idea what the kids have seen or experienced in the presence of these two. A truly great therapist told me years ago that the gap between what kids see and experience and what they are told is what undermines their ability to make good judgments for themselves when they get older. I am sure they have intuited that someone the OM has replaced you in their mother’s lives; it is also likely that they intuit her instability, which makes their world unstable, too. Look at the advice that the kids’ therapist gave in context; the therapist wanted the OM to stay away from the kids, which would then allow for more time to pass until they were told of the affair–and perhaps an opportunity for the affair to wither once the divorce is final. But the STBX isn’t following the crucial first half of that advice, so the second half just creates that bad gap between what is really going on and what people say about it. You might sit down with that therapist alone and hash this out, because I see no scenario where the kids benefit from their mother switching intimate partners and passing off the OM as their friend’s dad who just hangs out. Certainly they are seeing things that confuse them. And it does no good for you to continue to “play by the rules” while the STBX and the OM are playing “no one is the boss of us.” A short conversation of the type CL suggests will put the truth back on the table for you and your kids. Your STBX will continue her destructive ways, no doubt, but if you are consistent with naming things as they are, without editorializing, the kids will be far better off in the long run. Years later, I still feel queasy with disloyalty about the secret I’ve kept what I saw my mother do. It’s a terrible thing for a mother to put her kids in this situation. But the truth is always the best mental health prescription.

    • And I frankly don’t think the fact that the kids “like” this guy is germane to the issue at all. He’s a fact in their lives because he is having an affair with their mother. That they may not “like” him so much once the truth is out is merely as CL said, “the anvil of consequence falling on his head.” See yesterday’s posts about “nice” vs. “kind.” The OM may be nice to the kids, but he is not kind.

      • LAJ, you are exactly right about the kids knowing. Granted, my kids were much older, which I am so thankful for, but a year before the shit hit the fan, my oldest daughter was home from college. The OW had a daughter about the same age and a situation arose where my ex blasted my daughter for not being “nice” to the girl. My daughter never said a word to me, but immediately told her friends she suspected an affair. True to her nature, my daughter was trying to protect my feelings.

        Fast forward to a year later when I had to call my daughter and tell her about the impending media circus that was about to become our life. My daughter felt so guilty for not telling me. It was so painful-I still get tears when I think about it. My daughter flew home and confronted her dad (after all she is MY daughter). One of the things she said to him was, “You’re my dad. I HAVE to love you, but mom doesn’t and I’m not going to let you hurt her anymore.” She packed ex’s stuff up and moved him to another house.

        Again, my children are older, but all of them made clear the OW better steer clear. Did she? Hell no, in fact she jumped on the crazy train and tried to take us along for the ride. But I do believe that my honesty about what had happened was healthy for all of them. They knew what to expect, they knew that I was going to do everything I could to keep their lives normal, and they knew I would never lie to them about what was happening. One of the worst things about an affair is that you (and your kids) begin to doubt the truth, even when you see it in front of your eyes. Do not discount your childrens’ truth. It’s just not fair to them.

        • you know what… Your Daughter ** bless her Heart * Has a RIGHT to HATE her DAD , if that’s what She FEELS… What is this HAVE TO Love a Parent Thing ???
          You know ..That’s BULLSHIT. The HAVE to Takes Away a Person’s HUMAN RIGHT to Choose to Love Someone it’s GOOD for THEM TO Love.

          Sorry about this Tangent..I just… It Triggered Me.

      • I know of one friend who’s kids “liked” the OW until they found out she’s the person who caused their parents to divorce. Then they wouldn’t speak to her.

    • This is great advice too LAJ. Like you said, the STBX isn’t playing by the rules to begin with so not explaining what’s going on to the kids just creates a situation that’s confusing for them. There’s nothing wrong with telling the truth. I don’t think Jay needs to hide anything, especially with she’s been throwing the OM in the mix all along.

  • Jay, you are holding center, keep up the good work. This is a marathon, not a sprint, your ex has truly messed up and set herself for spectacular failure. That’s the karmic selfish schadenfreude good news, but you are troubled by how your kids have to suffer through this… in other words you are quality person who is empathetic and cares. Your kids need that.

    I’ve been in a similar situation with my exwife, and this is really difficult. Despite trying to do the right thing in a difficult situation, there is only so much you can do to buffer your kids from the self absorbed earring-wearing loser (oops, maybe I’m projecting my situation) Just being a good parent doesn’t seem like enough at times. Your kids do and will assess the situation as the truth does come out. They will start earning the very adult skill of holding contradictory feelings… having to swallow the fact that they love their mom… and she is a narcissistic and selfish idiot.

    You are doing all the right things, Jay. Hang in there dude.

  • Since all this went down, this is the best I’ve felt. I appreciate the input and support. You guys rule!

    • Jay I felt the same exact way. Hell no if you bring my child around the OW …blah blah blah. While I still have that sentiment, i’m telling you time and distance make all the difference in the world. My ex and I lived together up to 2 month’s past the date the divorce was final and I can say the difference between having him near me and now being removed in my own place…night and day. So hang in there.

  • Lots of us have struggled with this very dilemma. I was a seething hornets nest of frustration when ex-H first left that I couldn’t be the Divorce Police & prevent my ex-H from introducing the OW to our children. I’m 11 years on now & have well & truly reached “Meh” on this.

    Don’t be afraid to tell the children in an age appropriate way as objectively as possible why your marriage broke down. Try to use neutral language & be as open about it as you can be, so they know they can talk to you, without you flying off the handle / crying / frothing at the mouth etc!

    My kids have worked out exactly what kind of a man their father is, without any help or influence from me. Children catch on pretty quickly and usually have an unerring knack of smelling bull-shit.

    Everything CL says about the sparkles falling off the giant turd that is your ex-wife’s new relationship is true. Life has a knack of normalising fairly swiftly and family life is a series of ups & downs & her new family is likely to be no different.

    Us chumps know that actions speak a million times louder than words, so it is your actions towards your children that will count for the most with them.

    Chin up, trust that your ex-wife & OM will dig their own hole all by themselves & carry on!

  • LovedAjackass,

    That must have been horrible – belated hugs to you for carrying that burden as a child.

    Jay, consider that your kids may have seen your soon-to-be-ex in an affectionate situation with this guy – and they are afraid to tell you. Maybe carrying a burden like LovedAJackass did as a child. They need to know that you are aware of the truth, and that the things they say, tell, or confide in you are safe, and that they don’t need to be “secret keepers”. That is WAY TOO BIG a mind-fu#$ for kids.

    I was also advised, and saw clearly, that my kids fed off my emotions; when I was a wreck, they were; when I pulled it together, they did too. Don’t FAKE emotions; they need to know that grown-ups are sad too sometimes – but never let them doubt that you will be ok; and that you will NEVER leave them or stop loving them. My kids have seen a whole gamut of my emotions, and although I wish I could have held it together better in the beginning (when I was a COMPLETE trainwreck), they do understand now that I was very sad, but now I’m not. I don’t want them doing what I did for ten+ years; wandering around hiding my emotions and chumpily pretending that the shit storm was soda pop raindrops. Chump Lady says “authentic” – be that for your kids.

    • They Don’t Need to be ” SECRETKEEPERS ‘….. T H I S.
      What is that Saying ..” We’re only as Sick as The Secrets We Keep “…
      Thing is..It’s Not Even THEIR Secret….it’s Someone ELSE’s. Really Shitty thing to Pin on a Kid. They Should be Off Playing Being Kids , not Protecting Stupid Adult Children BEHAVING Like Young Fools.

  • Jay, I completely agree that you formulated your exit strategy with great clarity and purpose. Most of us stay stuck and try reconciliation for much longer. My fake reconciliation of 6 months is short by comparison to most people. One month is amazing! Good for you.

  • “There’s no great awakening.”

    IMO, those four words are the key to everything when dealing with these idiots. We all waste so much time wishing for ‘normal’ behaviors and ‘sensible’ decisions but in reality, they do ONLY what they deem is best for THEMSELVES. They truly don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else and never will. The sooner we see that, believe that and move away from that craziness, the sooner we can get back to sanity.

    Your boys will have to learn this truth on their own as well. Sad, but they’ll have their dad to show them love and kindness. It all gets better when you let go and start to move forward.

  • Jay-

    My situation is quite different than yours since my children are both adults but it still can teach a lesson.

    My eldest son was away at college when I found out about his dad’s affair. Since we (and by we, I mean me) were going to take a whack at reconcilliation, I opted not to tell him. My youngest was at home, working full time and got ring side seats for dday so he knew about the affiar but at my request, didn’t tell his brother.

    Fast forward to 3.5 years later when I finally got a clue and left Mr. Cheaterpants; the news was not surprising to the younger son, but it blindsided my older son. He was a little annoyed at me for not telling him what happened years earlier.

    In an age appropriate way, please do tell your children. They need to know they have one parent that will always be level with them.

    Congrats on your swift decision to move on too. I stayed stuck for far too long and have a lot of admiration for those who don’t.

    Good luck Jay!

  • Oh Jay, your letter SO hits home for me. This is THE most difficult part of my marriage break-up. I, too, had a situation where my daughter already knew OW and had spent time with her. I would actually take daughter out to hear OW perform with STBX, thinking we were all friends in the music biz. After STBX confessed his involvement with OW and I told him I could not stay married if he continued the relationship, I’d asked him to please wait a long time before blending our daughter into their relationship. I knew it would be difficult and confusing for her emotionally. He said he wouldn’t. That lasted about 1 week. Our daughter was 13 at the time, and our impending divorce was a total shock to her. And on the day STBX brought her into his relationship with OW (and her 2 young daughters) I came home to find my daughter in such a distraught emotional state that she was in bed under the covers and wouldn’t speak to me. I was furious with STBX and said “Don’t you remember my request that you not bring our DD into your relationship with OW right away? She’s beside herself!” To which he answered, “I remember, I just don’t agree. I asked if she wanted to spend the afternoon with OW and her daughters and she said it was okay.” (Never mind that DD probably felt pressured into saying okay in an effort to seek STBX’s approval.) He went on to say, “Don’t treat her like such a baby. Kids have to learn that relationships end, hearts get broken, life moves on.” What. A. Selfish. Ass. And he continued to push this on her until she eventually got used to it. Now she seems to enjoy spending time with OW, OW’s extended family, and her daughters. They are just one big ball of fun, so that’s very inviting for a teenager.

    I understand your pain, Jay. This is like a knife in the heart. Its’ the huge shit sandwich for which there will never be enough mayo or mustard.

    And all I can do, is simply continue to be the constant parent in the life of my teenage daughter. I will never be the “fun one” nor the “Disney Dad.” But I think she’s figured out that I am the one on whom she can rely. I’m not her friend – I’m her mom. I’m here, and I will not lose sight of my focus on being her rock.

    Know in your heart that you are the one who will always place the best interest of your children first. Eventually they will figure this out. I know it’s hard to believe. And I need to be reminded of this constantly. Just ask my friends to whom I speak of my plight regularly! Our narcissist ex’s will always think only of themselves and their happiness first.

    Continue to hang out here with your comrades in the trenches. You are in good, caring company.

  • Jay:
    My therapist advised me to tell my children in an age appropriate way what had transpired to cause their dad and I to divorce. My eldest daughter heard us fighting about his AP and thus already had the info she needed. It was a horrible way for her to find out the truth but at least she had it. I DID NOT listen to my therapist about my youngest daughter. I thought she was too young to know the truth. Here is the important thing, this back fired on me HORRIBLY!!! My youngest daughter was mad as hell at me for not telling her!!!! It caused a huge rift and it took me several months to gain her trust and love back.

    Your children deserve to know who they are allowing into their lives based on the truths that you are holding onto. They have a right to decide for themselves if they would like to be in the company of their mom’s “friend”. Keep the dirt out of your explanation but be honest!!! It’s always the best way to go!!!

  • Jay, amazed you didn’t stay long in lost limbo. Really important you tell your kids what really happened.

    I feel you are afraid this om will take over, look how they go do things. You will never be replaced in your kids lives, you are their dad. You don’t have to worry about a jerry springer school function, your wife has already taken your kids to front row seats of it. About time they know why you moved, I suggest today as a good day for the news.

    Why would you want to give parenting advise to a woman who is doing all this? I know, your kids. Be the parent and person you are, you kids are watching you. You are the only normal adult in this for them.

    This is quite a deal for the om he has no job and can move right in with your wife. I wish she had moved and not you. What about you going for custody of your children then, who says she is entitled to them more than you?

    I am very amazed how strong you were to file in such a short time, I wish I had. Believe me if you hadn’t this could of drug on years. Why knock the cake off the table if it is fine sitting there, just take a little piece.

    Now I know you filed etc, but think about it, you are offering cake offering advise, shut it all off, she made her choice, time for her to live with it.

    • Tess,

      I am not afraid this dipshit will replace me in my kids’ lives. They like him but he’s a shiftless dullard. My kids adore me and I adore them. My ex and I are sharing custody 50/50.

      I didn’t move; she did. I’m still in the nice old Victorian we purchased 9 years ago. The OM didn’t move in; he’s still living under the same roof as his wife, who he is in the process of divorcing. (It ain’t pretty, folks!)

      Once I found out she was still communicating with this dummy, I pulled the trigger. She even said, “This is moving really fast.” No fooling, crazy legs!

      So I am concerned about how the divorce is going to impact me financially but I’ll be fine because I am a BADASS DAD!

      • Cake would be sitting around, dragging your feet in filing for divorce while you let her fuck another man. That’s something you definitely didn’t do. 🙂 Yay You!

      • OK–I am laughing so hard right now. “This is moving really fast.” Yeah, she had no idea you wouldn’t do the “pick me” dance or collapse in denial. See how smart CL is? Don’t dawdle around–go straight to separation and beyond. The Cheater, deprived of cake (and especially home and financial support cake) is starting to sense the iron anvil of Karma poised above…you give me hope that there are good men out there who get it.

        • LovedAJackass: She is starting to freak out because we are nearing the end of mediation and she is now realizing what her financial future is going to be. She is now mentioning lawyers, etc. I’ve already contacted one too. The thing is, by the time the kids are 18, she is only going to be 50 so at that point, it will just be her and either this shiftless loser or someone else.

      • The doosh bag will never replace you period. He sounds like a mess and your kids will sense this & figure it out and not want to be there with him & and your ex ,,,,,trust me on this just give it time ,,,the more normal life you give the kids the more they will want to stay away from the other drama bullshit & your ex’s fuckedupness kids CRAVE NORMAL good luck keep your head high dont let the kids see you fall into the drama be above the bullshit !

      • Good on You for Putting the ” Smackdown” on her Before she could Even BLINK.
        She Didn’t WARN you About Fucking Round..You Needn’t to have Warned Her about Curbing her. You get What Ya Give…She’s Gonna figure THAT Out…Hopefully SOONER than Later.

        • I’m doing my best! She’s been acting pretty skittish the last couple days, like she finally realizes the mess she’s in. Hey, it’s not my problem your new boyfriend smells like Aqua Velva and Cinnabons!

          • Now that is a power combo man if I had this info I would be getting laid left & right !!

            Wait do they still make Aqua Velva or did they stop because it was putting a hole in the ozone layer ???!!


    Excerpt: “According to Dr. Frank Pittman, author of “Private Lies: Infidelity and Betrayal of Intimacy,” children who experience secrecy and lies cannot trust what they are told, they become insecure and dependent. When the framework of the family finally collapses, there may be no honest relationships to fall back on. The children feel cast adrift.”

    Pittman is spot-on.

    The only part of this article I disagree with is the author’s (Cathy Meyer) suggestion that the infidel whitewash the moral turpitude of adultery by prefacing the explanation with the phrase, ““The reason we are divorcing is because I’ve fallen in love with someone else.”

    Ah… NO…your mother/father is NOT divorcing me because I fell in love with someone else. S/he is divorcing me because I violated a sacred promise in a very hurtful way and then tried to lie about it and cover it up in order to avoid the inevitable consequences.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for 99% of cheaters to come this clean with a child. Not happening!!

    The best that the faithful spouse can do is make every effort to model with behavior consistant assurance to the child that s/he is a person of reliability and commitment, who (short of death) is going to BE THERE.

    So, YES, children should know the real reason, and it should be conveyed to them in an age appropriate manner.

    Further, I don’t believe that conveying one’s set of values with respect to honesty, honor and commitment is “editorializing.” It’s called “teaching,” which always works best with (1) a direct instruction component (2) followed up by what educators refer to as, “modeling.”

    So, as excruciatingly difficult as it is under the circumstances, make YOUR lessons for the children as attractive to them as possible by using gentle honesty and being a living example of the character attributes you wish them to learn.

    • Yes, and in all of this kids can see that there are indeed consequences for lying, cheating, betrayal and breaking your word. For disloyalty and hurting other. What can be more painful than the family breaking up? The kids are already dealing with that reality and more.

    • Amen, Notyou!

      I needed to hear that. No mean feat, when the PTSD happens, for both me and DD.

      We teach ourselves as much as our kids. Hang in there, Jay!


    • Totally agree, NotYou. The cheater definitely did not just “fall in love with someone else.” If he did, then why the hell was he still fucking his wife lol. Most people do not fuck others when they’ve just “fallen in love.”

  • Mommy chump I agree with all you said. My girls were about to go off to college when this news came out. They already knew of his affair. And so he wanted us to tell them the news. I came in I swear 30 seconds late to hear him telling them ‘mom and I decided to divorce we don’t love eachother anymore’ where I lost it, reinterated no your dad had an affair the women is 9 years younger than me. (note they already knew anyway) he was PISSED.

    They named him manwhore, to this day my youngest will not speak to him, the oldest it is painful to see he is serving her shit tokens like one phone call a year for 10 min which he complains all she does it talk about herself. What kid in college doesn’t talk about themselves? They are in a whole new world. Just great, it has to be all about him even still.

    I have been blamed by him for the rift, they tell me it is from his cheating, them knowing, him lying to them, his continuation of it, he is too afraid to introduce the ow to them, they are in their on again off again break up make up shit relationship of nothingness.

    The kids will see the fallout, and I have found, they usually will side with the parent who was not cheating, that parent didn’t decide to destroy the family, to make a decision like that, for the entire family.

    • Mine tried to pull that shit. “Your mom and I are splitting up. We’re not getting along.” [To a 16-year-old.]

      Nuh-uh. Hey, dick bsg how about you tell them why we’re “not getting along.” So he was forced to say why, appropriately so. He wasn’t mad, except in the crazy sense of the word, just ashamed, I think. He hasn’t rubbed their noses in the filth that is his new life, thank God. He’s pulling farther and farther away, he and the home-wrecking twat troll. Ew.

      It was hard for me to trust that they’d know he sucks, but I think they get it. I leave that alone. They love me and trust me, and I like that a lot.

  • If I want my daughter to tell me things and tell the truth when she does, so I make a point to do the same.

    I try not to put too much truth on her when I do tell her things b/c she’s a kid. She doesn’t need to know all of the crappy details.
    Still, I’ve found that a lot of things that are told out of the blue just confuse the kids.
    So, I think telling the kids is important but it needs to be said in a conversation that relates to the divorce.

    One day my daughter will know her father cheated not once, but 3x. At that point she’ll also know that her mother stayed and put up with that kind of treatment. I don’t want either truth for her but it’s inevitable.
    I don’t intend on telling her about her father until she asks or it relates somehow.
    I don’t really want to be the one to tell her but if she asks I won’t lie. I have lied to protect him over and over for years.
    He doesn’t deserve my loyalty and she deserves the truth from me.

    Good luck, Jay. It’s not easy.

  • Jay, CL is dead on ,, you can’t control or cure a person with NPD its all about them and their silly little lives,,, and they dont care who the fuck they crush including your kids. Dont worry karma will fix her ass in the future, be the best dad you can be and just let her go ,,,,your kids are smarter than you think they will figure shit out, they prob already have,,, good luck to you !

  • The more I read here, the more I see how F***ed up so much of the world is. It’s amazing how people think lying can help the situation, when we knows as Chumps that Cheater lying and attendant gaslighting nearly drove us crazy and we’re adults.

    notyou wrote: “I don’t believe that conveying one’s set of values with respect to honesty, honor and commitment is ‘editorializing.’ It’s called ‘teaching,’ which always works best with (1) a direct instruction component (2) followed up by what educators refer to as, “modeling.””
    Edie wrote: “If I want my daughter to tell me things and tell the truth when she does, so I make a point to do the same.”

    It’s not easy. It’s not painless for anyone. Kids can’t be protected from reality but need the truth, presented in age- and maturation level-appropriate fashion. But it’s simple. Live and model the character traits you want the kids to develop.

  • One thing that’s hitting me here is the cheaters who have the nerve to blame their kids for judging them. This should be something someone expects – if you do something wrong, your kids may think worse of you.

    People should be given the message from counselors, churches, everyone, that cheating is simply wrong and your kids might be mad at you. You should be ready for that and sorry and take responsibility for breaking up their lives.

    • THIS..
      but it’s asking the Dicks and Cooches for Brains to Think of Someone ELSE Besides Themselves…. I’m sorry, but they just DON’T . If they DID WE Wouldn’t BE HERE.

  • I suspect my 10 year old might already know. At last week’s counseling session, his therapist said he expressed anger … but only towards his mother. She is following up this week to see what that is all about but I’m guessing he knows.

    • At least He’s Directing his Anger towards the RIGHT Person.
      Sometimes it’s WE who catch shite.

  • If anyone has tips on how to get through a family celebration with the ex I’d love to hear it. Not looking forward to the tension that’s always in the room whenever we’re together, which has only been once at my son’s wedding. It was a large venue and fairly easy to avoid each other, but an upcoming event is going to be much smaller. Hope it gets easier as time goes by.

    • A friend’s ex-husband recently passed away. The funeral is tomorrow and is apt to be awkward. They have two adult kids and several grandchildren together. They had been married 35+ years when he left for a sparkly OW several years ago. Naturally, it was not a happy parting as she went through thick and thin with him, like any normal marriage. She wasn’t even mentioned in his obituary which may have been a kindness or at her request, but his OW was listed as his “companion.” In the end perhaps karma caught up with him or she had some measure of justice as she can now enjoy the ultimate NC. No more tense family events. But she is upset none the less for her kids and wants to support them. They all had 35+ years of happy memories before he went AWOL.
      I know you are a classy lady Lyn and will do just fine. Hope you give yourself a nice reward afterwards.

      • If you can, take an understanding friend with you. Set an exit time and stick to it. Practice a few class, civil lines in case someone says something stupid to you, like, “Thanks for your concern.” If you take a friend, the friend can also check his or her watch and say, “If we are going to be on time for X…” And then you can go off and treat yourself to a drink or a movie or a walk around the lake…That of course won’t work if you are the hostess!

      • That’s what I think about too, SeetheLight. We were together 36 years, married for 31. That’s a heck of a long time to have been a family. So hard to now not be speaking. I just had to go NC in order to preserve my sanity after he left. I know it made him upset because he’d envisioned we’d be happy friends and still do family things together. But I had to get away from him. Now I’m feeling better but still hurt that our family has so much anxiety whenever we get together. I NEVER thought we’d lose even our connection as parents. Maybe it’ll get better being around him some day, I don’t know. So hard on our kids.

        • Lyn, you are singin’ my song. Wow.

          “I NEVER thought we’d lose even our connection as parents. ” It was his complete abandonment of the four kids that we wanted so badly that really drove in the last nail of the coffin….I thought he was sick and disordered during our marriage. It was the divorce that really brought it out into the light. And yes, so hard on the kids..

    • Lyn,

      GO. Hold your head up high. Act classy. Never let anyone see you sweat. That is what you do.

      My X nuked our 33 year marriage 6 years ago. Thank heavens the youngest was just completing graduate school. Even as adults our children find it incomprehensible that one of their parents can cheat and cause collateral damage in everyone’s lives. Actually they didn’t believe me until I showed them just enough of the PI’s tapes to make them understand that I was not delusional about anything.

      It took them awhile to process it (actually a couple of years) and the youngest had been the hardest nosed one of them UNTIL she discovered that her own husband had done it to her–with her best friend! She was in the process of divorcing him anyway because he wouldn’t keep a consistent job, was bankrupting them, and was generally being a verbally abusive asshole; but it wasn’t until a year and a half after she moved out that the REAL story came to light about why her H would not go to counseling, work on their marriage and become fiscally responsible. By that time she had a good job and was the primary $$ maker. She has since apologized profusely to me. Her actual words were, ” I didn’t even love ***** anymore by the time I found out that he had been having an affair during the last 9 months of our marriage; but the news still traumatized me beyond belief. It explained exactly why he had been such an unreasonable asshole about working on the marriage. Mom, I now know exactly why you went temporarily crazy. You did better than I did, though; at least you didn’t threaten to kill them! I am so sorry. I can never be sorry enough for not understanding you. Can you ever forgive me?” [My own mother had told me time and again that it would happen like this if I just kept my dignity and gave it time. She was right.]

      Youngest D took sadistic delight in confiding to her doting father that she had discovered her X’s affair. Her father’s response upon hearing the news, was stunned rage. He referred to her X as a, “stupid, stupid, Mother F**ker.” (Yep, that Karma bus begins to make those preliminary passes earlier than we know.)

      For a couple of years, I had been scrupulous (because I wanted to spare them) about adhering to their wishes that they divide holidays up between the two us… as well as assorted other in-laws..because X was so obviously uncomfortable when I was around. The logistics of it were a nightmare and I decided that it was going to end…even if they had to bite the bullet and face the dragon. I assembled all of them and said, “I did not blow up this family. He did. I can be polite and civilized around him and even look him in the eye. He is the one who slinks around on the periphery of any family gathering like some guilty egg-sucking dog in the hen house…acting pitiful and putting some kind of guilt trip everybody. No more will he attempt to dictate my life and by extension parts of your lives. He can grow a set and act right… or boycott. In any event, the triangulation stops here and now. I don’t give a shit how tense he is. You are MY family and I have “dropped anchor.” If he acts all pitiful to try to “shame” you, by all means BLAME ME. Tell him that ya’ll can’t handle me and aren’t even going to try…that you are busy living, don’t have time for drama, he needs to DEAL.

      I don’t worry about family gatherings anymore. I go. I have a great time. He is warned that I will be there, leaving him the option of attending or not. He chooses to avoid..but then he is avoidant anyway…so what else is new?

      You reach a point where you just don’t give a shit about what they think, what they do, how they act, where they go, and whom they are with. You LIVE. You enjoy yourself. You savor the joy and peace. You do your thing. You appreciate those who love and support you, and you avoid people who try to drag you down or exploit you.

      Your “picker” becomes finely tuned. You are able to spot the “victim act” a mile away and don’t cater to it… regardless of who is putting on the show. You learn to smile and say, “No I can’t do that,” without a twinge of guilt or having the first tiny urge to explain or justify.

      My X is nothing more than the occasional blip on my radar now and that only because we have mutual children and grandchildren. My kids have seen the light and adjusted. They don’t go out of their way to accommodate any kind of unreasonable expectations on his part–or my part either for that matter. I have no morbid curiosity about what goes on when they are visiting him and his family. Its like, “Whatever…”

      No, he has not remarried either, has never owned up to the (still) married OW or publicly dated anyone. Although the kids have their ways of intuiting through little clues that he still “sneaks around,” they find it comical and juvenile. They snicker and snort. (Sucks to be him, eh?)

      I suppose what I am saying is that if you bring up your kids to have solid values, and show them how to live authentic lives in which they don’t wrong others but don’t lie still for being wronged either, they learn to roll with the punches and be a good person.

      Chumps. I am telling you. You CAN stop giving away your power, take back your lives and make those lives better… without the asshole.

      For the freshly wounded, it does not seem so. It did not to me. I was devastated…flat and dried to a crisp like an armadillo rolled over by all 18 wheels of a semi-rig on a West Texas highway in August. I really was. But not anymore.

      I promise you: It will not always be the way it is now.

      • APPLAUSE!! Wild cheering applause and a standing ovation for notyou!

        Thank you so very, very much for sharing this part of your story. It’s an inspiration.

      • Thanks so much Notyou! I had already been thinking that I just needed to start dealing with and not fearing encounters with my ex any more. When I really sat down and thought about it, I realized that what I feared was the intense pain being reignited inside me. But then I realized that he can’t hurt me any more. I’m much stronger now, I can protect myself, and I’m not going to let fear keep me from being a part of my son’s life. Our family is going through some rough adjustment right now since the stupid divorce blindsided us right at the time the kids were getting married. So not only are they trying to adjust to the typical newlywed issues, they are dealing with their own family disintegrating. Ex picked such a great time to blow everything up, although I guess there’s never a good time. I’ve told both my kids repeatedly that this was not my doing or my choice.

        I’m so glad to hear that eventually the ex falls off your radar. I’ve always said the day I can look at him and feel nothing will be a good day.

        • I hope it helped in some measure, Lyn. Do not let that man permanently steal your joy. Your children will respond to your steady love for them. Bear up and take a Valium if you have to. But you go to that family event and act like you are the calmest, most serene and pleasant person there. He may not notice or care, but the ones who are truly important will surely do so.

      • Thanks notyou: I still need this. Rereading that last line. and the previous paragraph. Over and over.

  • Jay,
    You’re doing Wonderfully..and I am Soo Proud of You ** hope that doesn’t sound condescending…I’m Proud of Everyone who goes through this shit with DIGNITY **

    I Know how you Feel. So Friggin Nervous about my Ex ever Getting Vistitation, let Alone any Custody Arrangement… I Know what he Aligns Himself with..and They are Shite I want NOWHERE Around her.
    Along with All the Other Betrayals, you Have to Worry about the Boys Getting ATTACHED to the Affair Partner and His Kids..and when it Blows Up, they Get Even More hurt, Losing MORE People….
    Your EX is V E R Y Selfish.
    KEEP you ” DICK ” Away from your KIDS till they Become SPOUSES..What DON’T these Idiots Understand ?
    I Mean..Are they gonna Grow up thinking His MOTHER’s WAY and Her AFFAIR Partner’s Ways are NORMAL and RIGHT ?! And Because He’s CLOSE to The Kids it’s a DOUBLE Slap in the Face….almost DARING You to become Angry at your Boys for Liking HIM.
    It’s SERIOUSLY a BRAIN FUCK..and Your EX and Her ” Prick” Are doing it on Purpose and to Hell with You and Your Boys after the Fallout ** and it’s Gonna Come, Believe me *** … AAARRGGH.

    Praying for You and Your Kids.
    Hold Your Head Up…The Kids need SOMEONE Balanced… not just ” Shiny”.

  • Great advice from CL, no doubt about it. But boy oh boy is it a HUGE struggle for me! I did specify in the divorce settlement proposal that STBX is NOT allowed to take daughter out of the state. In my case, the OW lives far, far away from where we reside. I refuse to let the STBX haul her around America because he’s a selfish asshole. I will fight for this in the divorce decree. As of yet, my kids have not me the whore..oops, I meant the OW..and one thing that works in my side of things is that the skank lives several states away. My kids don’t have to be subjected to her on a daily basis like Jay and most everyone here deal with. I hate hate hate the OW with a passion, and I do NOT want my daughter around her. It angers me, it sickens me, and if she thinks she’s going to waltz into my daughter’s life and play Mommie, she can kiss my ass.

  • Jay – The thread has really centered in on what to tell the children, and I think its been covered pretty well by all the smart and seasoned chumps that have responded. But, what hit my gut in reading your letter and CL’s response was the part about the “Magic Article”. This was huge for me. I was so CONVINCED that if I just showed him the RIGHT information, if I found someone that he would HEAR, if this trusted friend said that ONE THING – JUST RIGHT… he would “get it”. He would WAKE UP, the crazy veil would LIFT and clear his vision. Oh Jay, I wasted so much of my big heart on this useless exercise. I had no idea that my then husband had a character disorder. I didn’t know about NPD and BPD. And I didn’t find ChumpLady and the ChumpNation until 18 months after DDAY. Lucky you, you are getting a jump on all of this stuff. My hope is that you will learn much quicker than I did… Don’t. Waste. You’re, Time. As CL says here, over and over – that is putting the focus on her and trying to control her actions and behaviors. And, all we get to be in charge of and control is ourselves. “But, I’m just trying to be helpful!” “If he just saw it THIS way…!” my heart would screeeeeam. But, I finally had to quiet that voice and let it go. It was a very difficult lesson.

    So, this will be hard, but I encourage you to put your inner “teacher” to work on other projects. Modeling class act behavior for your kids, maybe. So many other options… find them. You cannot teach these disordered folks, you have to set that down. Jay, seriously, go ahead and set that down.

    Such GREAT work you’ve done so far. I wish you warmth and light as you navigate this new path.

      • It’s a tough one Chumparama – To me it was giving up on him, and giving up on him just made me so, so sad. I had to re-frame it. I had put the focus on me. What can I teach myself with the energy I’m using on him, re-direct, re-direct. I finally got it, it became a new habit, and I set his burden down. He’s responsible for carrying his own stuff. Good luck, Chumparama.

  • Another thought –

    My son is adopted, and I attended hours of training and coursework related (in part) on how and when to tell your child that he/she is adopted, and the circumstances that led to their placement for adoption.

    The OVERWHELMING recommendation is that you tell your child their adoption story before they can even talk, so it is always their reality and never a secret. You begin very simply (“your birthfamily could not take care of you”) and add additional detail in an age appropriate manner, being careful to NEVER lie or say anything that would have to be changed or re-framed as they grew up. It is even advised that you tell difficult details (conceived as a result of rape; birth parents are dead..etc.) by the pre-teen years so that the child will have several years to deal with that reality while still surrounded by and supported by you as the adoptive parents.

    I used this logic (with the blessing of my therapist and my childrens’ school counselors) as it related to the divorce. The kids didn’t need every gory detail (and never will) at 2 and 5, but they did need the truth. I was told repeatedlly that “they need to know they can trust YOU.” And there also needs to be some degree of emotional discipline in these discussions, just as there would be in the case of difficult adoption circumstances – it’s not the child’s fault they were placed for adoption; nor are our marraige issues our childrens’ fault or burden to carry. A simple, “your mommy or daddy has a new girlfriend/boyfriend. When you get married, you promise not to date other people, so we can’t be married anymore.” If confronted by the ex with “being a bitch..” you can simply say, “what part of that explanation is incorrect?”

    Yes, it’s still hard; but having ex’es who are liars cannot be permitted to turn US into the same thing; even if our intentions are good, and even if it hurts our children at the time; after all, wouldn’t THEY claim that’s why they didn’t tell us about their cheating?

    • Well said, ReDefiningMe, I agree 100%. And I also think Jay should be prepared for his STBX to refute his truth with lies, if/when he tells. When I told my kids “Daddy has a gf (OW), which is against marriage rules, so we are divorcing,” my ex promptly told them that it wasn’t true, that I was lying, and that the reason I didn’t like OW was b/c I was jealous that he was with her and not me. Uh, say what?! I was shocked, because I had actually kicked HIM out, and also OW looks and acts like a troll. She’d actually been jealous of me and wanted MY life. Plus, fortunately, their cheating had been out in the open for a couple months so by then all my family knew, all his family knew, I had email evidence, he’d already moved in with her, etc, etc. Not sure what he was thinking on that one.

      Anyway the kids did ask me, “how do I know who’s telling the truth, you or Daddy?” It was hard, but I decided not to get into the whole he said, she said crap. So I just told them to look at the actions/ facts of what happened and not our words, and it’d be easy for them to figure out the truth. The old “actions speak louder than words” bit. A good life lesson, but too bad they had to learn it from, and about, their dad. Anyway, I also told them that they could ask anyone in either of our families if they still had questions (we all are/ were fairly close), adding that if they were still interested later when they got older, they could ask me to see the emails, texts, etc. Hopefully that’ll never happen 😉

      Yeah, the whole shit sandwich really sucks for the chump and chump kids. Especially for the kids who feel like they can’t even trust their own parents, because one is a lying POS who then maligns the other. But as people have said above, the kids aren’t stupid, they get it. They will eventually realize who is the honest, sane, dependable parent. But who knows, Jay, your STBX may already be lying to your kids… :/

  • Nothing like a Shitty Parent Coming round YOUR Kid, Putting on The Fake Charm and Mimicry of SuperMUM/ DAD Towards YOUR Children.. and Your Kids Buying the Act and becoming Attached to the Sparkly Shitheap.. When They’ve Fucked Up their OWN Kids’ Lives. Fucking Wanton,WannabeThieves, Disgusting Hypocrites…Expecting YOU to go Along with their NARRATIVE to ” Keep the Peace ” and ” Avoid Drama “…Trying to STEAL what isn’t THEIRS..after they RUINED their OWN.

    • The OW has two of her three sons hating her guts as she subjugates herself to my ex who had her quit her minimum wage job to keep him company and raise his kids (we have joint custody). She’s a gold digger who hated SAHMs with a fiery passion. I was targeted and replaced. The affair was never a secret, carried out on a school yard. My learning disabled son had to switch three schools in a year as a result. She endears herself to my kids because she knows the score, she’s a hole and a baby sitter. If she drops the ball on either, she’s out jobless with three dependent kids. I even have to tolerate the fact that my 4 year old crawls into bed with them when she can’t sleep. We here understand.

  • In the beginning I hunted that “person” down and found out all that I could about her. She was bisexual, into polyamourous men, had a number of much much older boyfriends (all well documented online), was a 21 year old entrepreneur (in the business of making her money from other peoples husbands) and she fucked other peoples husbands. I told my x that I didn’t think she would be an appropriate influence in the lives of my daughters and they weren’t going to meet her! How controlling am I?! The fact is that my kids, even then, were old enough to make that decision for themselves and he couldn’t control that. He told my eldest her young age would mean D and OW would be great friends. She called him a pedophile and he didn’t like that, oops! He told the middle D his “friend” would be a big part of his life whether she liked it or not so she might as well get over it. As my youngest says ” he still hasn’t told me he had a gf” and then proceeded to discuss the birth of their baby in front of her with her netball peeps????? I’m telling you this because he has faded into the ether. Those conversations were the ONLY conversations they’ve had about OW. Apart from the ugly wedding pics on fb she might not actually exist. One way or another the kids are able to dictate the outcome eventually….and you don’t have any control over that either!

  • My kids are now 30, 27 and 23 and I have never told any of them that one of the reasons I divorced their father was because he had an online affair. I want to tell them, especially my 30 year old daughter, because she never forgave me (it seems) for breaking up her happy home (she thought). But how do I do this NOW, 20 years after it all happened? I always thought they would just figure stuff out on their own, and they have mostly, because they know he didn’t help support them financially and did so unwillingly, and they know that he is wacky (probably bipolar). But they don’t know that he was a cheater. Should I tell them? how? To compound things, 10 months ago I found out that my live-in BF of the past 16 years was a serial cheater.

    • TheMuse, the horrible experience w/your long-term boyfriend may actually be an opportunity to bring this up with your kids. You can say something like; this is especially difficult for me, because your father also cheated on me. And then wait for the comments/questions.

      Be prepared for some backlash from them, about not having told them the truth to begin with.

      But at least it might give you a more solid place to build on from now on out, with your kids.

  • Hi Jay,

    I have been reading many of the comments and agree: tell your kids. I have no idea why but therapists are so quick to say not to tell. The books advise secrecy too. When my sicko ex and I planned to tell our child, I did a lot of research. We told him that we argued a lot as he was aware of the tension in the house–that it would be better if we live apart. After that my child went on a campaign to get us back together.

    Months later, I started reading CL and it was clear to me that of course he should know the truth. How is he going to know us, why we divorced and why he is asked to shift between two homes? I was still working on my marriage until I learned of the affair (he did not tell me,the shit). After Dday I could never live with such a cruel, headcase, nut job disease. Of course my child does not have to know his father is a nut job-case study in disorder. Just that he broke a promise that is marriage by having a girlfriend when we were married. That’s what we do this damned marriage ritual for isn’t it–to be honest, intimate and exclusively romantic/sexual/lover-loving with each other? That is what I was doing, anyway.

    Your story Jay, as well as so many others on this site is my next nightmare. Having the OW in your children’s life. Shiver. Thank God the OW-piece-of-shit is not in my child’s life, but who knows what she is plotting in that cousin IT head of hers. I believe you have the strength to deal with this and move on, but if that happened to me now I would die. I am still reeling from joint custody. Perhaps this is all a way to bargain to God that please please do not make me deal with the OW in my child’s life. Oh please God.

    My child is connected to my soul. I want people to respect him and respect the people who are important to him, namely me! I want people around him to act with consciousness and thoughtfulness. I don’t want people into his life that have a record of hurting him, ignoring him or competing with him or with me to usurp me in my own home. (My ex would take my child on play dates to her home and in our home with her kids–the thought makes me sick).

    I want honest people influencing my child so that he will have good interactions not just mindless ‘let the good times roll haw-haw isn’t this a good time shit.’ If you can’t be honest about who you are then get out of my and my child’s face. Unfortunately his father is a person I wish was not in his life but I am supportive of my son’s relationship with him. Not the kind of supportive of: “Wow isn’t daddy the greatest!” but “I am so glad you had such a good time with your dad:” The reason being: his father my sicko ex takes care of my son pretty well, really wants to and my son loves him. Whether this is a deep love or not, time will tell. I hate to take the chance but what choice do I have? I should have divorced when he was a raving alcoholic but I gave him an ultimatum before Dday and he seems to have remained sober. It hurts though. It really hurts to have this kind of father for my child. But it is the reality.

    All this to say, as much as I don’t want to admit it, CL is right. It’s a brutal lesson that we as Tracy Chapman sings: “can’t possess another.” I have not given up on being the best parent I can be however, not by a long shot. If these losers are out of our lives and we fill ourselves up with honest experiences and trustworthy people we will have that to give our children. I guess it’s what all these smart people on this blog are saying.

    I am rethinking my role as a mother every day. My child is so young. I keep daily contact, ask questions. I am making a photo album of every year of his life so he will know I respect and love his life and that he has every right to have all the memories he has and can bring them up freely. There are complications of remembering people I am no longer in contact because of the affair while also trying to keep them away from him by keeping them out of my life.

    Finally, I am finding the book The Reality Slap helpful in managing my horrifying liver-eating thoughts. You may also find it helpful.

    Best of everything to you, fellow chump. Get out there and be fabulous! You are living my next nightmare and surviving–getting advice and getting to a better place. So you are helping me be less afraid. Thanks for being out there and willing to ask the hard questions. To all—thanks.

    • Hang in there, chumpectomy. You obviously love your son more than anything or anyone in this world, and that is the sort of mom every kid deserves. He will know who has his back. And nobody will EVER replace you in his life. You are so conscientious and thoughtful. You will surely be ok. You’re doing great!

      • I do I do. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement Miss Sunshine. I want to remember that I am my child’s mother even though he is not with me half a week. I am still battling that reality within. I need to let go, but somehow it feels that if I let go of feeling that not being with him half a week is harmful I am giving up my child and can’t protect him. It is all one big ball of fear, rage and grief right now. It feels like my child has been ripped away from me. Part of me thinks shouldn’t I fight like hell to get him with me all the time. Then: But he loves his dad. Then: but he is only 6 and his dad is a shit. I have to protect him. Then: But it’s his dad and they have a loving relationship. Now: I have to accept my reality soon. I am trying to make the time we have together awesome and loving and chill. There are all kinds of families.

        • Keep your door open. Their relationship will evolve. Follow what you said: “I am trying to make the time we have together awesome and loving and chill.,” and you will be fine.

  • Kids should know, right from the beginning. Everyone should.

    I come at this from a slightly different angle, as I was the one who was not told – my kids, Toddler Boi’s family, the people in the business all knew he had immediately moved in with his AP when he left. The only one who didn’t know was me. He swore up and down that there wasn’t anyone else, told the kids to “respect his privacy” and not say anything (and of course, good chump that I am, I never asked them, as I didn’t want them involved.) It wasn’t until a tiny, insistent inner voice made me ask him again in the middle of another fruitless conversation about dividing assets that he finally admitted the OW was living with him, had been for ten months. And that is all he admitted to.

    I can’t tell you how betrayed I felt at that moment, by him, by my kids, by people that I had talked to on a regular basis, by my in-laws. I love my kids dearly, but this experience will colour the relationship I have with them for the rest of my years. I have the constant underlying expectation now that I can’t really trust anyone – no idea if I will ever get over that, really – and I will never, never forgive Toddler Boi for this last parting shot that drove so deliberately deep into my heart.

    I can’t imagine how a child would process something like this. Just tell them the (age appropriate) truth right from the beginning. Betrayal is the worst thing, the very worst thing.

    • Oh exrepeatedmeme, I feel for you. It’s horrifying what you have been through. I too gave my lying ex lots of space out of respect and he corralled an entire birth and childcare community–so called friends—to keep his secrets. Nearly killed me because I felt it all and he denied everything I felt. It does a number on us. I think we can use this to see the world clearly and not be afraid to speak up. There are a lot of cheater narcs out there and those who support them as allies in ignorance and/or in fear. We live life with more caution and badassness. Perhaps the world needs more of that aspect of Chumps. Have you told them how you feel?

    • Just wanted you to know that I don’t blame you for feeling so lousy about how that went down. People think they are keeping information from us because they fear it will hurt us more. In truth, the deception hurts more. Dumb people.

      • Yes, I did tell my kids how I feel in no uncertain terms. Not meanly, but directly. That’s as far as it’s gone.

        I don’t blame them. My STBX as turned out to be a breathtakingly good liar and as he told me on DDay he had “talked to everyone for three years” before deciding to “pull the trigger”. I have no idea what kind of narrative he developed; I do know that there were quite a few friends, and his family, who cut off all communication with me after he left once they found out. (And I had to tell them he moved, as he pretended to still be living with me for a year after he left. The mind of the disordered person is truly incomprehensible.)

        One day maybe I’ll have a conversation with one of the kids and find out what really went down. For now I’m happy to leave it in the past. It’s been over two years to dig myself out of the deep, dark hole he left me in, and he is still fighting the divorce (while living with the OW). The kids have seen him for what he is, that I know, and understand that he had no intention of sparing my feelings. It was all about him, and cake, and drama. Once the divorce is final I don’t intend on ever seeing him again. He has proved who he is, and I finally accept it. If that is all that comes out of this sad, unnecessary, difficult time in my life, it will be enough.

  • Jay
    Personally, I feel that regardless of your marital situation you still need to be a father to your kids. You still need to teach them what they need to know to function as adults – how to cook, balance a check book, get good grades. They need to know that they can count on you, and that you will be the one to set the rules and enforce same.
    Whatever responsibilities you had regarding your spouse ended once the date of separation is finalized. She no longer has access to your income and all that it covered. This includes covering for her. So, you tell your kids the truth when they ask about everything, including why you divorced.
    I am sorry that your kids have to learn a harsh lesson at a young age. There is a sad truth that the sins of the father, and the mother are visited on their children.

  • Thank you, thank you, Jay and ChumpLady. This is my reality right now: I am managing some aspects of watching my husband force my kids and other woman together well enough, but I haven’t marched to set the divorce in motion as well as you have, Jay. But this entire post really spoke to my life and I did understand right away that trying to enforce some kind of boundary between the kids and OW through the law/courts was never going to work. I eat the shit sandwich every day. Pass the condiments, Jay.

    • Moving on quickly was the best thing I ever did. And honestly, ask yourself what you will miss about your ex. Were you having a lot of fun together? Romance? Sex? Yeah. Me neither! You’ll meet someone who can give you all that and more.

      • You are right! The last ten years of my marriage were such a drag. I could not figure out why everything seemed like such a colossal effort for my ex when we had everything good. Vacations with him, a drag. Sex, which is the best thing about being married to someone you love, ditto. He was not happy but That guy was so sparkly for every one else that I often wondered what it was about me that made him withhold his affection and why I felt so empty. I always felt like I was on the outside of life and wanting and deserving something better. Thing is my spouse is empty, disconnected from any real concern for others and has no more to offer his new schmoopie than he did me (in our
        entire 28 year relationship). You are right Jay. There are people out there who recognize what it is to be in a real relationship.

      • Sex dries up rather quickly with the personality disordered, in many cases. It is a tool they use for ensnaring you, but, once enmeshed, it goes by the wayside.
        I lived like a monk for years. Always thought it was my fault, but could never figure out where I was going wrong. These folks are , really quite monstrous.

    • This discussion is helpful. I have a no contact clause in my divorce contract. He agreed to not be a conduit for having the OW and friends in my son’s life? I don’t care about him but not my child. He says he is in no contact and will never be a conduit for my son to be in contact. Am I deluding myself? Is this at all possible when the cheater is somewhat ashamed? I have no idea what people are capable of anymore.

  • Jay, I feel for you. I’ve been there. My ex-husband introduced the kids the kids to his boyfriend 3 weeks after I asked him to leave (and expected me to believe even after his repeated infidelities while we were married). The kids therapist told him it would be best for our kids to wait for a year before introducing someone to them and only if it was serious. . .so he waited 2 months and then took OM on vacation with him and the kids where he let my 6 and 8 year old (then) crawl into bed with OM. I was furious — and your anger is justified. But in the end I agree with CL and others — really you can’t protect your kids from this and they already pick up much more than they let on. All you can do is is be a sane, supportive presence — not being negative about their mom but not covering/spinning the situation for her either. One thing I will add though is that I think it is important for kids to have a neutral third party they can talk to — whether it be a therapist or a trusted friend or relative. They also may need to express concerns about the situation, the other man, and the feelings of inadequacy that having a narcissist for a parent naturally brings up and that can be hard to do with either parent.

  • My therapist told me to tell the kids. As she put it ‘The kids and you have lived with lies long enough. Time to start telling the truth’. I told them and they figured out a lot of stuff on their own. I am open when they have questions but reserve the right to say I’m not comfortable answering something.

    I was not always careful at the beginning with my editorialising but I give myself a bit of a pass (and have given my kids a big apology) because I was so absolutely traumatised that things just fell out of my mouth when some latest bit of fuckery was visited on us by my ex. These days I just deal with hearing about final OW and my ex and don’t much care, although I do snicker when I hear that things are not all wine and roses over in Cheaterville.

  • CL, you gave him excellent advice and I can’t add to it.

    It is amazing, though, how selfish his wife is being that even when dad says he’ll be there, she invites the other man. Has she turned off all her emotions towards her ex-husband? Don’t answer that. I know the answer because I have seen the look on my husband’s face that he simply didn’t care about me or my wellbeing any longer.

    It’s as though the person we thought we knew has been kidnapped and an impostor took their place.

    We can’t control what others do, but we can control how we react to what they do. Trying to have some dignity in this process is helpful to me in my own separation. I ask myself frequently, “What Would Lady Grantham Do?” And believe it or not, it helps.

  • Jay – there are consequences you might need to be prepared for. When the truth was revealed of my ex-wifes affair to my kids and family, she went on a huge CYA, damage control campaign as NARCs care very much how the world perceives them – resulting in much lying from her to the kids and family causing much confusion. Believe me, there is no truth with cheaters, only their own reality distortion. So my kids (and the rest of the family) have been told I am a jealous, angry dad. The truth is ugly and no one really wants to hear it or have to face it. No one likes drama and opening the truth can will possibly bring you much drama. Your kids may even believe your ex’s lies and hate you.

    Its hard to just walk in integrity and hope your kids will see that you love them and are not a crazy jealous angry dad who is just being negative on mom. (In my case, I had no choice – the facts were revealed to my kids and family without my ability to control how the information came out). Regardless of how it is revealed, age appropriate or otherwise, the truth is not necessarily a clean or smooth karma balancer – it has many ugly consequences and your ex will most likely lie and say nasty things about you to the kids as she sparkles her self image and you may even be blamed for all of it, regardless of how innocent you may be in the marriage collapse.

    To be clear, I am in the truth camp – they will find out sooner or later – truth cannot be hidden, but just be prepared for the consequences – the truth does not necessarily make things better or even make you feel better. Nothing does. I would have done anything to save my children from seeing things they can never un-see. I agree with most of the comments here that the truth is better – but its kinda the lesser of 2 evils. Be strong and be ready.

  • Just an update: the kids know now and have started to turn against the OM, who they previously liked very much. My oldest (who is almost 11) learned on his own and then confronted my ex, who admitted it. I told him I knew so he wouldn’t carry it around as to whether to tell me. I also told him that a marriage means just a mom and dad and his mother broke that promise. My ex asked me last week what I said to them because they were now acting cold torwards the OM. I said I told them the truth. She said she was concerned that I had set up a “me vs. him” dynamic with the kids to which I replied, “No. You set it up when you decided to go outside the marriage.” Her. Bubble. Slowly, Bursting.

    • love love love that you burst her bubble and you hit the nail on the head with that “NO. You set it up when you decided to go outside the marriage.”

      love that answer, good for you.

  • good for you!! i love that answer, it took me a while to get it thru MY head that he did this to the marriage. His choice, his decisions, his actions. not me. i have told my kids in different ways about his girlfriend. yes, we were separated (for a 6 weeks) when he moved in with her but we were still married. i couldnt believe he did it, in fact that is what i told him, plus how can you do this to me, how can you do this to the boys. then i filed the divorce papers i was holding and waiting, thinking we could work this out…the very next day.

    i asked him repeatedly not to have his MOW with him on his first visitation. begged and pleaded, telling him the kids dont even really know what is going on, they dont even really know what divorce means, give them time before you throw your new girlfriend in their face. he never said a word, just schemed and plotted behind my back. took the girlfriend, dropped her at the park and then came and picked up the kids. of course i found out as soon as they returned that she was there. was so nice, even let my 12 year play with her tablet, “you can download minecraft on it” but was too stupid (or just didnt care) to find it to download. i was sick to my stomach, cried and was shocked that he would do that to his boys and shocked that he didnt give a flying fuck about my wishes.

    but that was the first time i sat the boys down (12 and 8) and told them both, she is not your friend. she is only trying to trick you into being friends with her. she is the reason why your dad left. and have been telling variations of this for the past 3 months. now after reading this i have new material to tell them. about breaking the rules, which ironically i kinda went into today (his visitation). i can see i really need to sit them down and explain that mommy divorced daddy because daddy had a girlfriend (not his first either but i wont tell them that just yet) and that it is not in the rules to have a girlfriend, no matter how much you dont agree with what your spouse is doing. it is never okay to have a girlfriend when you are married.

    i have struggled with the visitations (FYI…I got sole custody and zero visitations in divorce). i want my kids to see their dad. only he has turned in a lying, backstabbing, hateful, mean and nasty person. (i suspect BPD) he has tried in the past and i know he will continue to try to turn the boys against me, but i warn them and tell them (and they already know) that daddy is mad. i cant stand this MOW. not just because she convinced my husband to leave his loving wife of 14 years and abandon his children. (if it wasnt her it would have been someone else) but it is just against my morals and value to have a person who is still married (separated 5 years from her h and my XH is like boyfriend #4, and not the first marriage she has distroyed, seems to be her speciality is finding men who are unhappy or struggling with their married and convince them to leave their wives who “doesnt treat them right”) but also has 4 kids of her own that she doesnt take care of, lives in a different town altogether from. she doesnt have a job, doesnt have a car, doesnt have a house (was living with one of my XH cousins, that is how they met. he denies f*cking her while he was living at home, shrugs, although i dont believe it) doesnt want to take care of her own kids. has actually spent more time with my kids then her own. what kind of woman doesnt want to be with her kids? help them with homework, go to school parties, hell go to their own kids birthday party.

    anyhow, that is NOT the type of person i want around my kids. to influence them, to trick them into thinking she is a good person. ugh!! i hate it. i dont have to allow my XH to see the boys, but my youngest still thinks his dad is great, although that is slowly changing and not because i am telling him anything. he is just catching on about all the things his dad is missing because he is not here everyday. he used to call him when he did something good or big (like boyscouts) but my XH doesnt always answer the phone when i call so littlest one is figuring out that daddy doesnt care about what is going on all by himself. But still gets excited about visiting his dad (ever other sun afternoon) 12 year old is very angry, got into trouble at school, dropped out of soccer and boyscouts. this one never wants to go see dad but i still make him. and even thou he argues, and comes up with some good points like dad doesnt talk to us anyway cuz he is too busy talking to her (one of my points i used telling XH he cant give his kids 100% of his attentions when she is around) and that they never do anything anyways (XH has NO CLUE what these boys like or do) he still comes back in a good mood and is all happy after a visit. i have tried telling XH about the boys anger issues, but was told my MOW that “XH is mine now, he is not yours anymore!” and “I need to get over it, he is not coming back!” what that had to do with the boy i still havent figured out. but point being is XH allowed her to read my texts and then answer while he sat there and did and said nothing.

    i have started the visitations after no feedback from XH with every other weekend because that seemed to be the norm on ever divorce couple i asked. being that the court did not ORDER visitations i was trying to come up with something that was fair. XH works on saturdays and boy have church and catacysm on sun mornings, so sunday afternoon was decided. 2-5 after he brought them home after 9pm and it was a school night. so i can feed them dinner (apparently neither he nor the wonderful girlfriend think boys need to eat not junk food), go over homework and get them in bed by 9pm.

    only to be told by XH just 2 weekends ago when i was trying to decide on a summer schedule that “just because everyone else does every other weekends doesnt mean that we have to do it that way” of course when i ask so what do you want, i was then told “i want to see my boys as much as possible” asked “so what does that mean to you” and got no answer (probably because he has to ask her what that means to him). i suggested that he come by after work during the weekdays, he can drop by whenever he wants, no invitation necessary, come over, throw the ball, play basketball, or just talk and watch a movie with the boys. only to be told “it doesnt always have to be at your house” “i dont have to just see my boys here”

    like someone posted, he is now someone i dont even know. he helps everyone else but me. he blames me for everything even thou he was the one who was not coming home on weekends, not answering my calls, not giving me any money from his paycheck to pay bills, no talking to me when i kept asking what was wrong. I have seen the look on my husband’s face that he simply didn’t care about me or my wellbeing any longer nor my wishes or wants.

    i finally stopped worrying about it. if he cant tell me what he wants (without his MOW telling him what to tell me) if he wants to believe everything she is telling him about me and motives, if he doesnt care about my feelings then why should i care about his? i am still struggling with this because it goes against my nature. for 14 years he was the center of my world, it was always about what he wanted, what was his problems, what could make him happy. he blew the tranny out of his truck 3 days ago and i felt bad for him. took everything i had NOT to text him and tell him, and NOT to fix it for him.

    i believe if you want your child to value honesty, then you need to be honest with them. i tell my boys i dont like the OW, i tell the boys she convinced daddy to leave us and he lets her tell him what to do about us, they know that i love them, that i will never leave them or stop loving them (littlest one actually asked me) i try not to pump them for information, although that is hard because when they come home from a friends house i always ask what did you do, where were the parents, where did you go, what car were you in and did you wear your seltbelt. what movie did you watch etc. i still do that with the kids and they tell me more then i asked. i just say wow. and then if it is something i dont agree with i will tell them that and explain why i dont agree with whatever actions dad or OW did or said. 12 year old takes my phone and i have taught him how to call the house phone, he is to call me if they are fighting, drinking or using drugs (oh right i left that part out, MOW and cousins are meth heads, might explain the change in XH) or if they go to a house they dont feel safe in.

    i still dont like her talking to my kids, but i feel like i prepared them for these visits and whatever might happen. they know they can talk to me and tell me things they see or hear that they know is wrong.

  • o, and he also told me that i was just trying to control him, trying to control the time he sees the boys. once after the boys and i went to a park, the boys wanted me to call daddy and ask him to come push them on merrigoround. so i did. XH wanted me to take kids over to cousin house (uncle was dying of cancer) because everyone was there and he wanted boys to met some of their cousins (never took us when we were married to met them). so me trying to be nice said they can go for a while but it was our day at the park (before divorce was final and visitations set). so i took the boys and told him i would stay in the truck reading a book. Apparently that pissed of MOW big time. she was leaving when i drove up. so i thought well how nice, she is giving his space for his kids. WRONG, she intended on just driving around the corner and coming back after i left. because that is exactly what she did, drove around the block and came back. only to drive off like a kid, pealing out when she saw my truck still there. boys were inside for 20-30 minutes, she drove by 4 times. after they came out (i told him they could stay longer, i didnt mind) we went to park, he met us after 20 minutes, pushed boys on merrigoround, never looked at me, didnt talk to me. so i walked to my truck and smoked a cig inside truck. i came out and stood at the table so he could have his space. they came to where i was standing so i moved again, he pushed them on second merrigoround. then i heard him tell the kids bye and he loves them. he was there 10 minutes and his phone was blowing up the whole time. then they ran off to monkeybars a ways off. he comes to me and starts yelling, how i dont have to watch his every move with his boys, that he is not a bad father and doesnt need to have his visits supervised. apparently she was ALL upset taht she couldnt come to park with him. i was like what the fuck?? (took me a day to figure out it came from her telling him he needs to tell me that)

    and i still get that. he tells me ” you dont have to supervise my visits”

    so fuck it! I am done being nice. now he is mad cuz the boys wont be there for fathers day (they are going out of town to my parents) but next weekend is NOT his scheduled visit anyways. i let him take the boys on mothers day since it fell on his weekend. no happy mothers day, no thank you. nothing. he just doesnt seem to get this visitation thing.

    i only do it for the boys. i intend on taking the boys to store to buy dad a card, and maybe a small gift. then call him on thursday (we leave on friday) and give a hour or two with the kids.

    yes, i know. chump!! and i am still being way too nice. but i think it is a good thing for the boys plus it might cut down on his bad mouthing me. (probably not)

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