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Dear Chump Lady, My kids have never met the OW

Dear Chump Lady,

My ex is getting married on April 21. That in itself is not a huge surprise. There is a part of me that thinks “haha suffer!” But I guess there is a part of me that thinks something different. Maybe I am jealous, not that I want him back, but I am really conscious of the fact that I don’t think I’ll ever trust anyone ever again. He used to tell me my trust issues were a big part of our problem, but of course the trust issues he caused will be with me forever.

What really gets me though is how my children have been discarded. They have never met OW. When she and the ex met, she was 22 — only 6 years older than my oldest. He told my then 16 year old that her age wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for my daughter!!!! He has told my 15 year old (when he was talking to her) that she could come and visit them but she would have to accept that OW was a big part of his life and she would just have to get used to that. Well, consequently OW hasn’t had to get used to my kids being a part of their dad’s life, has she? They have a 10 month old son who my kids have never seen, let alone met, and their father has pretty much disassociated himself from their lives but on his Facebook and Twitter he promotes himself as a “parent.”

His parents don’t seem to care about my kids! OW’s parents are excited about the wedding and none of them seem to be hearing alarm bells that he is either too embarrassed or too ashamed to introduce their daughter to his kids.

So, is this normal? Common? Is there shame involved? Is it just cause he sucks? I hear of other stories of kids going to the wedding, of seeing their father and having a relationship with his new family and yet this guy, the guy who always seemed like a good dad if nothing else, has given them nothing.

I guess if truth be told, that if he did have a good relationship with the kids I woudn’t cope with that either, but I feel bad for my kids and I don’t really know what to tell them.



Dear Nat1,

Personally, I’m not a fan of dragging kids to cheater/affair partner weddings (otherwise known as the Farce Registered at Macys). I realize it happens, but hey, if the invitation got lost in the mail, I wouldn’t grieve. Of course, it’s a no win. If the cheater invites the kids, they’re just props in the public relations campaign that We’re All Happier Thanks to My Cheating. And the kids have to put on the starchy Sunday clothes and endure the awkwardness.

If the kids aren’t invited to the soulmate schmoopapalooza, then you wonder if your kids feel snubbed. Why wasn’t I invited to this significant event in my parent’s life? (Does it ever occur to cheaters to elope? Quietly unite at a justice of the peace? Why are cheaters such wedding industry freakazoids? Kibbles and the seductive powers of Pinterest I suppose.)

But you’re dealing with more than a snubbed party invite. Your kids are dealing with total abandonment. They’ve been excommunicated, rubbed out of the story line by their father and grandparents no less! Those poor things! It’s one thing for adults to wrap their minds around the staggering shallowness of cheaters and how they just swap out people for shiny new ones — it’s quite another thing for children to understand that and not take it personally. After all, we take it very personally. How could they not see this as Dad got a new baby and doesn’t want us any more? He got a new wife too and doesn’t need you anymore. And his parents are apparently equally without feeling.

Teenagers aren’t the most delightful company. They’re snarky, their shirts are untucked, their faces look like gravel pits. And they’re contrary, very much their own people. But babies not so much. Babies are cute, full of potential, they haven’t let you down yet. Babies are needy, it’s true. But they reflect well on your glory, and if you have a sucker to attend to all of their needs, well, babies are preferable to teenagers. Babies grow up into awesome kibble producers eventually — small children who will just adore you unquestioningly. And that’s great until they reach the age of questioning you — puberty.

So, that’s my guess as to how your ex and his parents are viewing your kids — they’re old news. Kind of played out. Interest might uptick if they accomplish something noteworthy — that reflects well on the narcissist. But otherwise, not so interesting. And rather risky to be around — teenagers love to call out hypocrisy and they’re moody monsters at times. If you’re a narcissist, you can’t have that loose cannon factor. You need reliable props. Babies are better.

Now that’s what I think is going on. That’s not what I think the narrative is, however. My guess there is that your ex has told his parents and his new wife and in-laws that you’re a monster who is alienating the children from him. He would love to be a Great Father to his children, but (sniff!) you’ve thwarted that ambition in your evil way.

The OW/wife isn’t going to question that narrative because she’s highly insecure and Mr. Cheaterpants keeps her off balance. You’re a threat, to her, to her new family. Narcissists don’t give much kibble, so she can’t spare any of the precious kibble he gives her. What are children if not stealers of kibbles? Her baby needs kibbles! There’s none to spare! So, best that you all just stay away. Besides, at some level it’s got to weird her out that she’s not much older than your children. She can imagine being wonderful buddies with them, a terrific influence! and yet she’d really rather not try out that theory.

Kids aren’t stupid. Your children know they’ve been rejected and it’s terrible to have to witness that. But one upside of his no contact is he’s not goading them into the pick me dance. The longer he stays away, the longer the reality settles in that he’s not there and he doesn’t give a shit. It’s a bitter pill, but sadly, a lot of kids have swallowed it. I’ve seen my own son swallow it. And you know what? They bounce back anyway. They will feel the love of you the One Sane Parent and it will be okay. Your ex is missing out, his loss. But hey, even if he was there, he was never the sort of person to appreciate them in the first place. He’s just not that deep.

What do you tell the kids, Nat1? I think you just mirror whatever they’re feeling — if they’re sad, say you can understand how they would feel that way. Give them the space to figure out their relationship with their dad and connect those painful dots. And fill their lives up with other distractions and activities, that’s easy to do, kids are always busy.

I think the other thing you do is buoy them, lift them up and celebrate their accomplishments, and compliment them when they show good judgement and character. Let them know you SEE them, you care for them, they have worth in your eyes. Do for them exactly what you’ve done for yourself in this situation — surround them with people who love them and value their company. Finally, live by example —  I will not internalize one idiot’s judgement of my worthiness.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Nat1: I know the cheater’s shallowness and inability to love, especially when so well hidden for so long, is astonishing. My ex has likewise completely abandoned our children. And CL is so right, these NPD’s just cannot take teens and young adults, not enough kibbles, too much calling them on their shit.

    I just saw my counselor yesterday after a long time away- he reminded me that these cheaters all made their own choices and we are not here to fix them or explain them (in CL language we are not here to spackle over for them)–that is up to THEM. It is always good to keep that reminder around for chumpy chumps like us who bear the burdens of the world on our backs and who want to make everything right.

    Believe me, I’ve tried for my kids and realized #1: I can’t make what he did right, #2: there is no way to redeem what he did and make it work out that he loves his kids, #3: he is better off out of their lives than in, considering the person he is. These are the choices HE made. I have no power to effect any change over him or these consequences of his decision to chest and abandon even his children. I can only control me and my reaction to them.

    You and your children will get through it, probably better than most because he is gone. He never deserved you, Nat1, and he does not deserve your beautiful children. (((Hugs)))

    • Thank you CL and Kelly, I needed your posts and insights today. And I will remember yours and counselors words when I’m feeling defeated.

      My XH let his contempt and loathing for me (he’s the one that cheated, left, everything worked out exactly how he planned it So I will never understand why he still carries such ugly feelings for me), spill over to his kids, my family and anyone still close to me.

      He wiped his kids from his life as easily as he did me, and never looked back. It breaks my heart what he did to them.

      • Kath, his contempt and loathing is a defense mechanism, it’s how he lives with himself, it’s how he dehumanizes you, pitiful POS that he is. It broke my heart too, but I have learned the hard way that these are not normal exes and not normal fathers. There is nothing lurking under the cheater’s exterior, except more contempt, more shallowness, more NOTHING.

        In the two+ years since D-Day, I pushed (hard) for our children to see their father
        …probably part of my pick-me dance (“SEE exH, what a great woman and exW I am!! SEE, I am rising courageously to encourage the kids to see you even though you cheated on and abandoned us! Aren’t I SPECIAL, and NOBLE? Don’t you MISS ME?”).

        Anyhow, S25 and D21 have had dinner with him exactly twice in the two+ years since D-Day. S14 wholly refuses and his father refuses to attend counseling with them to address this. D21 told me after the last dinner that every contact with her father is just another opportunity for him to abandon and hurt her and he never fails to do just that. She feels it is a pick-me dance against OW, and since he continues to see OW, my daughter loses every time. She also asks where this is all supposed to go anyhow since she will not be anywhere near OW (who used to be a “family friend”).

        After my daughter came home depressed and crying after the last dinner over Thanksgiving break, I realized that there are no good options, only a better option, which was to for the children to be NC with their father, just as I was. It saves our Chumpy sanity, it will save our children’s.

        NC, NC, NC, for all of you. You are not alone. (((SUPER HUGS)))

        • Wow Kelly, thank you for helping me understand why I, too, encouraged my kids to keep in touch with the narc. That has been bothering me for a while! I wanted to appear super ‘evolved’ I guess, but also it is difficult to imagine cutting ties with a living parent…I could not tolerate that. I keep reminding myself the narc is wired differently. They have managed to figure out how to tolerate him, and I keep my mouth shut!

          • Yes Echo, all I had to do was keep my mouth shut. My children made this decision on their own. Of course, we want to be evolved, the “good” parent, the mature ex. You cannot believe how many compliments I got from people for encouraging or even forcing the kids to see him! even knowing what he did. And then I saw my beautiful daughter torn up and crying, and I thought that the only thing worse than losing a father is having this father in her life.

            I saw a quote that sums it up: “Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest.”

          • Dear Nat1,
            I can totally relate to your situation.y dogturd also abandoned his 14 year old daughter. After I learned he was a cheater – he moved out immediately and in with the OW I told him he had one week to fess up to his daughter or I would give her my non-sugar coated version of his scum actions. He finally asks her to meet him for a wall at the local county park. According to my daughter he danced around but wasn’t spitting anything out. She said she already knew he was a cheater because he had forgotten to meet her for the walk (she called him from the park asking where the hell he was) and then he arrived from a direction that was not possible if he was really staying at the hotel he claimed he was. So she pressed him for the truth. She says he cried crocodile tears which really pissed her off. He claimed he loved her SOOOOO much and this had nothing to do with her. Her response was it most certainly had plenty to do with her. She also reminded him he hadn’t been involved in her life for years so if that was his idea of love he had a pretty twisted sense of love. She felt like he was completely trying to manipulate her. Finally she got the truth out of him. He tried to convince her she would love this woman because she was “just like her mother and he wanted to marry her”. My daughter told him she would never meet the OW and she most certainly was nothing like her mother because for starters her mother would never have an affair with a married man. She asked him if he was paying her to stay at her house. He said he was paying rent. And my daughter told him “call it what you want – rent, payment for sexual favors – she is nothing but a cheap whore.”. He blew up and got really angry with her – how dare she call his precious a whore, she had never met this fantastic woman. So
            my teenage daughter started yelling whore whore whore. Then he we as upset she was making a scene. Being a teenager who has just smelled a huge pile of shit she didn’t care. She evidently also asked him at some point in the conversation if she could change her last name to my maiden name.

            So the sad situation is he periodically sees her, about once every other week for an hour. He tests to see if she will give kibble. If she is pleasant than he becomes really entitled the following encounter and she blows up again. If she doesn’t give kibble he “punishes” by not contacting her for a couple weeks. The problem is he thinks he was some fantastic father figure and she thinks he was a shitty father who never gave a rats ass about his kid. He thinks I have obviously poisoned her against him because he is so fabulous how could she not be crying herself to sleep every night missing him. Her world must be miserable and lacking meaning because he isn’t there. The truth is she is much happier he is gone. As she said to me – you have been a single mother for years. You used to have two children to take care of. Now the problem child is gone and life is so much easier. She is so right !

            so Nat1, focus on the fact that you and your kids are better off than when the dog turd was around. Don’t listen to those idiots who say your children need their father matter what a dickwad he is. Bullshit. Life is hard enough. Kids don’t need dog turds in their lives any more than you do. My daughter and I took up fencing. Nothing like pounding your kid/parent with a dangerous weapon! We got a puppy – best move we made. And we got the kind of dog we wanted. It made us love the dog even more (Scottish Collie) when we learned from dick for brains he hated collies :). We have gone to museums,
            classical music concerts ( we like classical and dickwad. didn’t ), we joined a church which has been fabulous and my daughter loves their youth group plus she joined the church chamber group, we started volunteering together at a horse rescue. We started a scrap book photos album that began with. Dday and our new life. We made a funny page to represent Dday with a picture a pancaked person on the ground and a caption that said “nowhere in the nursery rhyme does it say humpty was an egg” and another picture of the emperor with no cloths. We have kept up the scrap book, writing about all the fun things we are doing and how fantastic our new life is! And so is yours and your kids!


            • I think that is pretty much how everything has panned out here too. At first nothing, then he moved interstate so thought he had a better hance of staying safe until daughter 2 hung up on him and now we’re back to nothing. And yes, I think my kids could relate to having a happier more interesting and engaging life now, with a parent whose stress level has pretty much disappeared! I love the scrap book idea!

        • I’m so sorry for the hell you and your kids have been thru ((( hugs))).

          Thank you so much for your post!! I can’t tell you how much comfort it’s brought. Every day that I come here, there’s always so many posts that resonate with what I’m going thru, how I’m feeling, I honestly don’t think that I would still be able to put one foot in front of the other if it wasn’t for the knowledge, comfort and wisdom that I receive here.

          My D20 had a breakdown last year from all this, her Dad’s outlook “well I never connected to her anyway”. My S23 tried to talk to his Dad, and 2huge arguments later, after his dad said there’s no point in talking anymore, my son was done for good. I always questioned whether I should push them to see him, I didn’t, I let it be their choice. And he barely tried, the OW badmouths them to everyone, she has since he’s met her, and he never stands up for them. I spent so many months (still do sometimes) telling my kids how sorry I am that they received such a lousy Dad.

          It’s sad that these cheaters who abandon their kids will never realize what they’ve truly lost.

          • Thank you Kathy. What a bastard your ex is. My daughter too has had the toughest time of all 3 kids. She assures me it is best when she does not see or think of him, but she did have panic attacks for a while. I hate him so much for what he did to them. D21 tells me he is sick, just accept it, there is no way to change him, so we need to move on. S25 says that he is so ashamed of his father, and that “we are still a family, he just is not in it anymore.” Youngest son is happy he is gone, says his dad was mean to him anyhow. I once asked him if he felt guilty thinking he was the one who made his dad leave, S14 scoffed and responded: “I hope I made him leave.” My ability to understand how damaged and sick my ex was lagged way behind what my kids more clearly saw. I am working on forgiving myself for choosing him as a husband.

            • Kelly, you had no way of knowing what kind of husband/father he would turn into. You loved with your whole heart, as did your kids, trusted him, it’s all on him for using that trust and love to betray you, what a cold, cruel monster he is. You have nothing to be forgiven for, your kids are a testament to what an amazing, loving Mom and person you are. They’re your legacy, and that’s priceless.
              You know, my daughter said the exact same thing as yours did. She’s happier if she never thinks of him. That would crush me if my kids felt that way, She’s even gone so far as to block him on her phone. She’s better now, happier, and I will do my best to never let him close enough to hurt her like that again. She told me the same thing that your S25 said, “we have each other, always will, we’re better off without him” . They are also ashamed of him, and have lost all respect for him. And my kids too, saw him with much clearer eyes long before I. It’s been over a year since they’ve seen him, talked to him, and they have no interest in ever seeing him again. NC NC NC, they stressed it to me long before I actually did it. My son said “he will use any contact to hurt you, you need to stay far away from him, he’s sick.”
              It sounds like you and I, and are kids have a lot in common. I hope that your kids and you, continue to gather strength from each other, and find the love and happiness that you deserve.

              • Thanks Kathy so much for your support. It’s amazing how similar our children sound, so strong and healthy under the worst of circumstances.

              • Dear Kathy and Kelly,
                Yes, my daughter also saw the turd for what he was long before I did. It kind of made me feel guilty it took so long to see jom for what he is – low life pond scum. My daughter and I were initially ashamed and humiliated. It took me a good 6 months to get past that. It took my daughter about a month.

                Don’t listen to people who tell you that you need to keep eating shot sandwiches “for the kids sake”. If your kids are teenagers they probably have already figured out what a looser the cheater is. What they need is one good and loving parent. What they don’t need is a manipulative narcissist looking for kibble and trashing them emotionally if they aren’t giving. At one point when the turd was whining to my daughter about “how much I need you” she texted him back saying had he ever considered for one minute about her and her needs? Her needs included him not being a cheater father shacked up with a whore.

                These NPD cheaters are a piece of work. We and our kids are all better off never seeing or hearing from them again.


              • She’s better now, happier, and I will do my best to never let him close enough to hurt her like that again. She told me the same thing that your S25 said, “we have each other, always will, we’re better off without him” . They are also ashamed of him, and have lost all respect for him.

                This is what I have noticed too. It’s like he never existed and it is only me that is worried about the impact he is having on them. They are happier though, everyone notices. They have become confident, assured young women. Despite him! I guess I always thought they were wonderful because of “us”, maybe it was just because of me. I wonder what their half brother will be like, will take back his words about my kids being spoiled brats!

        • thank you, Kelly!! you are telling my story. And your optimism and faith is cheering me up. I pray for the day my kids can get to meh…the words of wisdom in the post today, I will read over many, many times, I can tell already…thank you so much…

          • JerseyGirl, they will get there, each in their own time. All I had to do was back off and let my ex cheater destroy himself.

            • Jersey girl,
              Listen to Kelly. Just sit back, don’t spackle and let the dogturd do the rest. Even if I wanted to sabotage his relationship with his child I couldn’t have come up with the stuff he opens mouth and inserts foot with.

              Just keep reminding yourself that you and your kids are better off.


  • I have teens. The oldest isn’t going to the grand affair. I would love for the younger teens to not go as I feel it as them supporting what happened. I’m blasted for this by my close friends. The general belief seems to be that weddings are exempt from the cheater scorn.
    My kids are torn. He tells them “it’s very important to me that you’re there.” Of course I know it’s the reflection on him – the appearance of the great dad who was just “unhappy,” and using the kids as pawns for sure. Yes! Go elope!

    • ” The general belief seems to be that weddings are exempt from the cheater scorn.”

      the journey sucks, YES–this is so true, isn’t it, and what the heck is up with that? What is it about the OW picking out a wedding dress that legitimates the shit storm that preceded the trip to Kleinfeld? As a culture, do we really need to Say Yes to the Dress THAT BADLY?

  • Nat1,
    You are such a wonderful parent, grappling with what is best for your children.
    As others have said, your exH’s actions demonstrate his feelings (lack thereof) for his children.

    My exH has done similar things, but has not completely abandoned them yet, and I do wish he would do so.
    My exH’s OWife is only 18 yrs older than daughter, so acts like a big sister to her. Drives me bonkers. She does not truly care about the kids. I she did, she wod have taken time to get to know my children. OW and exH decide to marry before kids had met her. By the time of the wedding, they had met her only 1x, when OW was 6 months pregnant (4 months post divroce finalization). The wedding weekend was also a baby shower! Ah, the exH always LOVED babies. Not so good with older kids….

    As for the wedding, DD is NOT want to go, so their father decided that DS could not go without big sister there. On the one hand I was ecstatic, and the other hand I was so angry for DS treatment by his father. Further proof, yet again, that DD is the beloved child, and DS is an afterthought.

    So, there is no perfect scenario. We want our children to be happy, and unscarred.
    We can just give them life skills, teach them to be kind, thoughtful, and observant, and make sure they realize their treatment at the hands of the other parent has nothing to do with them personally.

    Hope you managed to stay distracted yesterday. The day my exH remarried, the kids and I were on vacation in the mountains. It was lovely.

  • When I was in my teens, my parents divorced. My father was King Narc Asshole, spawned from two old world narc assholes. After the divorce, they ignored me and my siblings for a good two years before I wrote him a scathing letter calling him out on his shit and telling him that I, as a 15 year old, I was embarrassed for him; shunning his own kids because it gave him a boner to make my mom hurt for leaving him.

    You know what, we ended up reconciling, for a while, but the relationship was damaged. I haven’t spoken to him (or his side of the family) in at least 15 years because I was tired of years of abuse. But my rambling point is, my mother was always, always there for us. We knew that no matter what, we could count on her and she’d never betray us. We knew she loved us more than anything in this world. We adored her. It got to the point that we knew what an asshole he was, but Mom was always there so fuck him. He couldn’t hurt us anymore.

    If you could make this asshole a better man, I’m sure you would, but you can’t. All you can do is be there for your kids and they’ll know it and they will be fine. Dumbass Dad is going to have to stand out in the sunshine one day, and my guess if those kids won’t have anything to do with him. It’s his loss. Yes it hurts at times, but it’s one of those things you can’t control. Your children will be fine as long as they have you as their constant.

    • Same here, Rumblekitty – thanks so much for sharing! I will always, ALWAYS be there for my kids, so they never have to fear that. They’ve done remarkably well given all the garbage they’ve been through in recent years, but I can see they’re on the right path.

      Sometimes, though, my heart just aches for them. My father was such a HUGE part of my teenage years that I can’t imagine my life without him. He was the only man I could ever trust to do what was right for me. What a shame my kids can’t even say that…

      • I went through a thing when I was younger when I really craved an awesome Dad; the kind that my best friend had. She was daddy’s little girl and I wanted that too. But my mom always would say you can’t regret what you don’t have, you just be grateful for what you DO have. You can’t make other people fit into a mold of how you want them to be. It’s a waste of your time.

        I’m older now, and I regret nothing. I’ve got so much to be thankful for and I learned this from my mom when I grew up. My mom was a rock. She didn’t let him manipulate her and we saw this. She was resilient and not affected by his bullshit. Know what I mean? I think this way, kids learn to adapt to what life has handed them if they are brought up to not fear and to not develop a sense of lack at what life has handed them.

        This is turning into mush. I wish I could formulate this better but my damn job is interfering. 🙂

        • One of XH’s colleagues is an awesome dad who is very involved with his children (like my Dad was). We socialized with their family for several years before the divorce and he and his wife are the only ones who didn’t freeze me out afterward. I keep up with their antics on Facebook.

          Anyway, he’s the scout master for his and S11’s cub scout troop and likes to hunt, fish, camp, etc. XH used to also, but he gave it all up to become a religious fanatic for OW’s church. He’d rather spend long hours at church on Saturday than teach S11 how to do fun boy stuff, so his colleague often takes S11 with the other scouts. Otherwise, S11 would never have those experiences (as I’m not much of a camper, hunter, or fisher).

          Anyway, after a particularly fun adventure, S11 said, “When I grow up, I want to be a dad just like Dr. VG!”

          Ouch for XH – but you know what? I hope he grows up to be a dad just like Dr. VG, too!

          • I see that as a HUGE positive, that he has a GREAT role model to show him that life as a responsible and happy parent is GOOD. I thank goodness for all the happy dad-husbands my kids can look up to. I need them in my kids’ lives!

    • I had one narcissistic abusive parent and another one who lived with us but was absent 18-20 hours a day physically and 24/7 emotionally and socially. A truly fine psychologist told me (once I figured out I had no idea how normal people lives) that all a child needs is “one adequate parent.” Note the adjective: one ADEQUATE parent. He explained that meant the functional parent didn’t need to be perfect or make up for the deficits of the parent who was missing, abusive, etc. The adequate parent needed to provide for the needs of the child, including the emotional needs, teach the child how to function in the world, but mostly love the child and as CL says “see” the child and mirror the child’s worthiness back. I was 0 for 2 on the adequate parent scale, although I give my mother credit for being better than her mother (the original black hole of female narcissism) and my father was a WWII vet who simply trusted that a mother would do the right thing while he went about doing the things he liked. They could both have been much worse, and I had relatives, teachers, coaches–and as an adult, therapists–who helped me get where I am today, flawed but still standing. My point, to piggyback on Rumblekitty’s excellent post, is that Nat1’s kids have a “better than adequate parent” who loves and nurtures them. It is a hard road to be the child of a narcissist but the narcissist does damage whether he/she lives with the family or cheats/leaves/remarries. The one really good thing for all involved is that a narcissist who is “out” for the kids to see because of cheating and abandonment presents experiences and feelings that can be seen and openly acknowledged, as opposed to the closes narcissist who puts on the perfect public face and then devastates the child behind closed doors. So as awful as it is for the Chump and the kids to deal with the Cheater’s new life, complete with sparkly wedding with a too-young bride, the Cheater’s suckitude is out there for all to see.

    • “we knew what an asshole he was, but Mom was always there so fuck him. He couldn’t hurt us anymore.

      What an awesome mama, Rumblekitty! She’s what I want to model myself after.

    • Rumblekitty…it occurs to me that…right now, I am missing Chump Son’s voice big time…and so thank you for sharing your perspective as a child of divorce and as a grown adult. We need reassurance that our kids will come out of this somehow. So thank you so much…

  • Children as props. Sad but true. Saw the ex fiancée grow confused and rage when confronted by one of his kids. How dare he be questioned!?! Dude, it’s what teens do.
    I’m at total meh about the relationship with the cheater but still lament the loss of the relationship with his daughters. Sent them cards to use at college along with a letter stating how honored I was to watch them grow and mature. Received a warm and wonderful reply from the girls and their mother. Said my good bye. Then I moved away. It will be my only closure but it was so important to let them know my love for them will never leave my heart. Hugs Nat1. Stay strong and sane.

  • I’m another mom of abandoned children here! Mine are 10 & 9 and STBX left back in September 2013. I meant, physically left, because sadly he had abandoned us emotionally a few years back if I’m honest with myself. This is one of the hardest things for me deal with because I’m afraid of the long-term ramifications and consequences of the abandonment. Right now, my kids are happy and thriving in school. All thanks to my support and their grandma’s (we are living with her). But I wonder, what will they think of their father’s abandonment? How will this affect them over time? I think that’s something that will weigh on them for the rest of their lives. But, one can live a happy life despite it. My own father has cut off ties with all of us (he was a narcissist cheater too) and we’re doing pretty well. Sometimes I wish I had a father who could be there for counsel but I rely on my own judgement and that of the friends and family members that care about me.

    So there is hope for your kids! Just be there for them, keep praising them and loving them.

    • I can hopefully add a little hope to this sentiment as well. My father was an alcoholic cheater who didn’t abandon but wasn’t too present even when he was. My mom, although not perfect by any means, was a rock solid force who provided us a stable home, a great education and community, and strict morals.

      And my brother and I turned out pretty damn ok, despite us both carrying some chump qualities in relationships into adulthood.

      A very close friend of mine was unfortunately abandoned by her father in childhood, but also with a very present mom, and she is one of the best people I know- well adjusted, happy, hilarious and… go figure, doesn’t take any shit from people. If they suck, she’s done and pretty swiftly. So in other words, you certainly can work unfortunate circumstances to an advantage.

  • I have the opposite problem. I wish my stbx would leave my teen girls alone. He still sees his mistress, just went on a week vacation with her. And she still is married with 2 kids . My kids know this too. And they know it’s wrong. He wants to be In their life’s, being and doing great Dad things with them. I just don’t get it. He ruined our family, but he wants to look like this great dad!!

    Chump lady this bothers me so much!!! It hurts to see him be sweet on the girls and them responding nice to him.
    How do I deal with this?

  • My cheating ex married an affair partner and involved both my sons in the farce of a ceremony (they were 14 and 18 at the time). The oldest went off to college but the youngest was lured by lax household standards and expensive gifts to abandon the 50-50 custody arrangement we had and move in with the cheaters (meaning I saw him only very other weekend). Extremely painful for me and, I felt, extremely dangerous for my son given how stupid and effed up his mother and her new hubby are. Believe me, I would have traded my situation for having the kids full time and their mother ignoring them. In. A. Heartbeat.

    Having said that, 5 years after the fact now and both boys have turned out fine. There were some rough spots along the way (including a pot arrest of the youngest and some very heated arguments in which very harsh things were said). But both boys have become responsible young men. I am on good terms with both, and both maintain their relationships with their mother without any mediation from me. To their credit, both boys seem to understand their mom is a bit chaotic and doesn’t always shoot straight with them and so hold her a bit at arm’s length. They are no dummies.

    All to say, kids sort these things out pretty well on their own given some time.

    Which ties in with a theory of mine that, while cheaters UNDERestimate the consequences of their actions (e.g., I can cheat and keep my marriage, I can not pay taxes and no one will notice, etc.), we chumps tend to OVERestimate the consequences of our actions (e.g. if I don’t tell the kids the right thing about their cheating parent they will be in therapy for the rest of their lives). We need to relax a bit. Trust that the cheater sucks, yes. But also trust that kids are resilient. With kids as with most other things for the hyper-responsible types: The monsters of our imaginations are worse than the monsters of our reality.

    • Thanks nomar, I need to relax and see how this whole thing is going to play out!! You are right kids are not stupid! They are nice to him up front but like you said they keep him at arms length too.

    • Nomar – I really like your thoughts in your last paragraph. It does truly make sense. My STBX completely underestimates his relationship with his sons. I on the other hand have stressed about it for three years. Last year my therapist told me to let it go. He alone is responsible for his relationship with his sons – be it good or bad. I have relaxed a little bit, because I know in my heart that those boys know that their mom loves them to the end of the earth and will never let them down.

      • “I know in my heart that those boys know that their mom loves them to the end of the earth and will never let them down.”

        I have no doubt that’s true.

    • Thanks for this. My STBX is present, but also went the other direction – trying to immediately blend our daughter with OW and her very young daughters less than a week after finding out we were separating. I so struggle with the fact that time with STBX, OW and the girls is all fun and “Disneyfied.” It’s so hard to trust that they suck when you feel you have been kicked to the curb for the fun ones, while you feel like the bitch for not wanting your child to stay up until all hours on school nights, eat crappy junk food all the time and being concerned with things like grades at school.

      • I hear you. It’s so hard to be the responsible one when your kids hold that against you. My shrink told me I had no choice, that a teenager will pick the most permissive environment available to them every time.

        That was my story as well. I mean, my ex moved her affair partner into the 100-year-old house I had fixed up and then ended up with my son there, too. It was as if I had been surgically removed from my life and some other doofus pasted in while I lived down the street in our small town alone. And to add insult to injury I then had to drive by the old house several times a week over the next couple of years as they let the place fall into ruin. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere I think. . . .

        • Nomar, I have been airbrushed from my married life of 37 years and I am starting to accept that, that is how it has to be. I actually text my 31 year old son to see if he would like to catch up before I head away on my trip in 3 weeks time. As he has ignored my previous texts that I have sent him, I did not expect a response. However, he did respond stating that yes he would like to catch up but just to let me know he has lived a drama free life of late and we will not be discussing anything of the past. He is still his sire’s protector. I declined the catch up but I made sure that he did not get away with insulting me any further. Sometimes the hurt is unbearable but I am finally accepting that my life is now without my daughter (35) and my son (31). To think that I raised them but obviously not very well.

            • Hit the button too soon. As a chump kid, sometime you are just tired of the drama of your parent’s crappy marriage. Make the visit about him. He has a life now. Ask him about it. I think he was setting up a good boundry for a nice visit. He deserves it.

              • Hi Nancy. I was reaching out but you have to know what my son has done to me and said about me to others and that I have an unease when in his company. You see he talks down to me and treats me like I am an idiot. I love him and always will but everything is about him. I now realise that I am better off alone. My son has his sire and his sister and the 3 of them have pushed me out and closed the door. My kids know what their sire has done but I am the bad guy.

  • Nat1:
    You and your children – though you may not see it – are the LUCKIEST people in all this!! He has not tried to manipulate, sparkle, cadjole or wheedle his way into forcing your children to accept a hideous, morally bereft situation with an OW the age of his oldest child (and seriously – how cliche’ is that? Stereotypes of desperate, horny, middle aged men are stereotypes for a reason, apparently) and has instead just decided to reboot the entire life system with a new hot wife, a new malleable baby and parents who also seem fine with just throwing his entire past family and history into the dustbin and starting with a new 2.0 version!

    In doing so – he’s shown his children EXACTLY who he is – no hellish dots to connect, no guilt because “we are making Dad feel bad because he just wants to be happy.” He has actually – in a perverse, horrible way – shown them a kindness -they KNOW who and what he is. They can take that kick to the teeth, rebound (and CL is right – they are remarkable at rebounding…but they will also carry the scars, which will make them stronger) and live their lives better than him thanks to you – the actual PARENT and ROLE MODEL. He has shown them the ugly, ugly truth and it has and will set them free.

    And in the process -you are spared the agony of knowing that your children – the gifts you gave to him in your life together – are standing and enduring watching their father behave grossly, moronically, selfishly and immorally.

    Now – a note about the “wedding extravaganza” requirement that cheats do seem to need. Mine, Nat1, is no different. He tried to entice my children to attend an all expenses paid 10 day high season wedding to the OW in Barbados. This is a guy who just was discharged from personal bankruptcy in excess of $250K. But 8 people at a private beachfront villa? Apparently no problem. Hey – the OW still has a credit line!

    Anyway – whenever I hear about a cheater doing the big splash nuptual with the OW/OM – I always think of the great line from Gone With The Wind, when Scarlett tells Rhett that Mammy will never accept a gift from them because they are “mules is horse harness. They can slick themselves up like fine race horses, but they are just mules in horse harness and don’t fool anybody.”

    Mules in horse harness, pigs in lipstick – choose whatever metaphor you’d like (I love CL’s “sugar frosted dog turd” especially) – it applies to a cheater’s need for the big show of respectability. And your ex has actually given your children a gift more valuable than he knows – he’s shown them what he really is – let them chew on it, digest it and then evacuate him from their lives. Don’t worry about what the “civilized, we all get along” crowd say – let them be done with him if that’s what they want. They are adults now and can handle it.

    • Char and nomar,
      Both your posts are going into my hall of fame file. Thank you!

      Char is soooo right. I struggle with my 10 year-old son happily going along with his Dad and his new GF (who moved in mere months after their divorces were final). They have all appearances of being a happy little family and I worry for the day that son gets the rug pulled out from under him when the farce has run its course and GF discovers that her tiger never changed his stripes (I have proof he’s cheating on her, too). You’re getting all of that crap out of the way – the kids can see your ex-turd for who he really is and love you all the more for being the steady, sane parent you are. And if anything, his complete and total abandonment of all of you simply points back at him as the common denominator – HE’S the problem here!

      Best of luck to you and your children. You are all better off this way, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

  • I agree with CL–likely, your children are naught but unwieldy props for the happily ever after Fairyland he’s promised himself and OW.

    As horrible as this sounds, at least your children get to see his true colours and aren’t being swayed by weird bullshit stories. One plus is that he doesn’t get to mindfuck them to undermine your relationship with them. It sucks, but take what you can get.

  • “Believe me, I’ve tried for my kids and realized #1: I can’t make what he did right, #2: there is no way to redeem what he did and make it work out that he loves his kids, #3: he is better off out of their lives than in, considering the person he is. ”

    Thank you Kelly, and all the other chumps here who share stories of kids who are doing well. This is the first place where I’m not clobbered over the head with “ALL kids NEED a dad…and ANY dad is better than NO dad.” As if I chose this situation. My exH hasn’t seen our kids (then 2 and 5; now 8 and 11) in six years. Stopped calling and answering their calls years ago. But every once in a while (it’s been over a year now, thank God), when HE’s lonely, he’ll drunk dial, and want to know “how they’re doing”…

    I’ve come to the same conclusions as Kelly (it took a while, and my counselor also confirmed that he would be an INCREDIBLY unhealthy person to have in their lives); they are better off as we are now – I almost treat it like he’s died; no big emotional drama, just a few pleasant memories of someone who’s “gone” and isn’t coming back.

    I also wonder about the freaks who marry our ex’s – and their families. Sure, they get the cheater’s side of the story – but what kind of person doesn’t wonder, “Gee, why doesn’t this guy have any contact with his kids?” It really sets in stone the whole “trust that they suck” thing – I could beat myself up all day, wondering what I did that made him leave; but he left the kids too, and they sure didn’t do ANYTHING that would justify the total abandonment. It’s not us; it is SO very much something missing in them.

    Nat1; just continue to be the one who loves them – no matter what. Tell them as often as you can that you will always love them, and never leave them. And know that they will learn about what love REALLY looks like from YOU.

    • This is the first place where I’m not clobbered over the head with “ALL kids NEED a dad…and ANY dad is better than NO dad.”

      TOTALLY UNTRUE. No dad is far, far better than a bad one. No doubt about it – and that goes regardless of gender. Cheating, bad mothers are equally toxic.

      Would you say “a pet dog that attacks and bites my children is better than not having a pet at all?” Or “a car that constantly stalls or else won’t turn and causes danger to my family is better than no car at all?” Of course not – you’d buy a different pet or car or do without. Just because there’s a “slot” to fill in the family dynamic doesn’t mean you should fill it with a bad component. You kick the bad out with the trash and find a good replacement….or just change the family dynamic and go without. You’d be surprised how healthy families can be even with a single parent….as long as the parent is a good one.

      • NO dad (or mom) is WAY better than an abusive one; everybody accepts that if the abuse is physical or sexual. But emotional abuse is really damaging, too, and it’s much better for the kids to have little or no contact with an emotionally abusive parent. Using the kids to meet their needs, while ignoring the kids’ needs? Abuse. Manipulating the kids to get back at you? Abuse. Paying attention to the kids and then dropping them as is convenient for them? Abuse.

    • Yes ReDefining, D21 says “My father is dead. There is a man out there who looks like him, but that is not my father.” S25 is about to graduate from law school, D21 is finishing junior year at college and will graduate Phi Beta Kappa, and S14 is smart, healthy and active 14 year old. I tell my fellow chumps this because we need to understand that while it is a terrible abandonment, it does not have to be a death sentence for our children. But again, in an odd way, we are the lucky ones because our exes are simply GONE, and with them goes the torture a lot of these freaks visit upon their own children and exes. Has my ex married the AP? Has his business finally failed? Perhaps, perhaps not, we do not even know, nor do any of my children care. What a relief.

      • I don’t know what my ex does because he moved away to be closer to his AP and no one tells me anything. I’m pretty sure my oldest son (29) has little contact with him, but my younger son seems to see him often (26).

        My ex told my oldest son “you are too close to your mother” and I guess that was his excuse to distance himself. It still breaks my heart what has happened to our family, but it’s out of my control. I’m almost to a place of acceptance about it all. It will be hard when we have grandkids, though, because I don’t have the money to fly them on vacations, or a big vacation home for them to visit on holidays. My ex’s decisions have eaten away at the precious little time I get to spend with my kids and future grandkids, and for that I resent him most of all.

        • I hate these guys, Lyn, I really do. My oldest son had a hard time with me dating and getting engaged again, surprisingly. I already had been just stunned and numbed by everything that had gone on before with his dad, and certainly by my son’s reaction when I got engaged. I told my son I loved him, let him make his own decisions, and continued to support him when I could. But I also stood strong and stood up to him too and continued to live my life the way I decide. If he chooses to see his father, fine (mine is not right now). If he gives me less time (he does), also his decision. I cannot change any of it. It is hard, especially if there are some areas of similarity in father’s and son’s personality traits (my friend calls it the overlap of the circles on the Venn diagram).

          When it comes down to it, the experience of being a chump and living through such a profound betrayal had already forced me to accept that I have no control over many things. But I also vowed early on after D-Day that the decisions about me and my life and particularly my romantic life will forevermore be MINE. I will not hide, I will not pretend, I will not accept lies and manipulation. I demand authenticity, and I will never allow myself to be controlled in that way ever ever again.

          Hold on to your truth as much as you can Lyn, and enjoy the moments you have with the kids and grandchildren. Try not to worry ahead. What is that line from Shakespeare, “the truth will out.” I wholeheartedly believe that it all turns out the way it needs to in the end.

          • Kelly, I work with a lady who’s grown children were upset when she got engaged after a divorce too. Just like you she stood her ground and the kids eventually came around to accept and even love her current husband. Her kids were in middle school when they heard her first husband (their father) on the phone with his AP. So anyway, I hope your son eventually comes around to accept your new partner too.

            Sometimes I do think of grandkids and wonder whether I’ll get to see them much, but I try not to go there very often. It’s best to live in the present. Thanks a lot for commiserating with me!

      • Yes, Kelly, you have smart, wise kids….good for you! My D25 said, well, at least he’s being completely honest for the first time in his life, Mom. Now the whole world will know what we have known here at home all this time. The D23 said, I wish he WERE dead – it would be easier. Then it wouldn’t feel like he CHOSE to leave our family. And the teenage son, so wise, says, I want a dad, but not one like him. So does that sound like my kids are figuring this out?

        • Sure does JerseyGirl. Your kids sure sound like they got this, and it’s funny, the words they use and their attitude are so very similar to mine. Our children rock! We did something right, thank goodness we did not raise chumps!!

        • Jerseygirl, they DO get it! My son was 12 when he said ‘dad misses us when HE’s lonely’, and our daughter, now 13, says ‘I miss having a dad, but I don’t miss him’.

          It’s so sad and horrible that our kids have to figure this stuff out, but at least they do, that’s healthier for them than to keep on with hopium and the pick-me dancing.

    • Sounds like you’ve all heard it too – when people tell me “They need ANY dad” or “He’s still their dad” – I cringe. This IS a safe place where people “get it”. I tried to dance at first too – to get him to call them or remember their birthdays. But they weren’t fooled. So since he was abusive and threatening, I’ve had a CPO in place, and have used that to reinforce the “no contact” – and it’s allowed us to heal.

      And he’s continued to be himself = screw up and show his true colors. Oh, and when I filed for an extension of the CPO? He didn’t mind that it kept him from seeing/communicating with his kids. That wasn’t even mentioned. He only fought it because it “made him look bad at work”. That my sparkly narc, just being himself. Blech.

  • Nat1, it saddens me how these cheaters just leave their families….poof. The fact that the grandparents are doing the same…well, spineless. Your kids deserve so much better. I would echo what CL and others have posted – be there for your kids and give them lots of love.

  • Nat1, my cheater X has been fighting me legally tooth and nail for access to our 20 month old. He has lots of problems- drinking/drugs, but finally he was granted every other weekend non-overnights. His very first visit, in three months, he brought our son back three hours early and took off. I had such mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I love having my son home. On the other, it made my cry to think he’s only fighting me legally because he’s controlling and angry. He doesn’t actually want to spend time with our son. I’m coming to understand it’s so much more than cheating. It’s not caring about ANYONE except on a shallow level. They literally have very underdeveloped emotions. They don’t love anyone very much. They discard everyone. It’s so much more than cheating- it’s who they are. They are unfaithful. To everyone.

    • Rose, that is part of their alcoholic characteristics. My ex is an alcoholic too and only wanted to see my kids if and when it was convenient for him, which wasn’t very often. He was too busy buying cars and taking vacations with the OW. He just wanted “the control” in case he wanted to act like a good dad that day. They don’t care, just angry that you are in charge and they aren’t. They use people so they can shift the blame on us and make themselves look better.

    • The one encouraging thing about people like this who insist on having custody or visitation only because they want to control everything and look good is that they often don’t stick with it. Those visits get shorter, more and more of them get cancelled …. until your kids are hardly seeing their dad or mom at all. Hard to go through that process, but the end result isn’t so bad, when they have an asshole for a parent.

      • I was thinking that. The problem with these people wanting control is that they don’t understand that you control only you. Sure, it’s easier to control young children, but teens are notoriously difficult. Teens are astounding at times, but parents have to put up with a lot of crap especially when the hormones first start flowing. There’s a different parent/child dynamic once the process is complete, but my guess is that for a parent who opts out of being part of this stage in their child’s life–well, they never get a chance for that mature relationship with their child.

  • Hahaha
    The reason they Loooove the big wedding? OW (or man) has to be legitimized! How handy, to do that in one day! Easily worth 10,000.
    Oh, also, does a Narc love a party that’s all about them? I think they do!

    • Yes!They!Do!!!

      After the ex got married, I googled the OW with her new last name, and what should come up but the wedding photos on the photographer’s web site! There could not be a bigger difference between our dignified wedding at a Historic Landmark pioneer church, and their narcissistic display at a premier wedding venue in California. What happens to these guy’s heads?

      LOL! Pictures of everybody getting dressed! Brides toenail polish matches the bouquet! Bride arrives on horseback! No bridesmaids or groomsmen to detract the focus from the happy couple. A swarm of the ex’s sisters, puckered up and mob kissing him. Everybody paying homage to the luv child. And the best bit — the happy couple, in the shade of the chapel, smoking cigars, arms intertwined and blowing smoke at the camera. And finally, in grand game show style, they drive off in a Brand! New! Pickup!

      I nearly died laughing. Kids were invited, but declined to attend by ripping up the invitation and throwing it in the trash. Thanks God they didn’t have to sit through that, or worse, stand up for it as a member of the wedding party.

      Still, I think the Halloween wedding has it beat, hands down.

      • And the clock starts ticking on that union. It’s only a matter of time before it hits the skids.

        I had a couple friends ask me if I thought my X will last with his AP. I always say, “Nah; she’s not the last person he’s ever going to fuck.”

    • Yup, legitimize the “twu lurv.”
      Only 6 months before exH marriage to the OW, he told me he did not have plans to marry her, as “you can be in a committed relationship without being married.”
      (we were clarifying the divorce agreement, because even though it said “no new mates overnight in the house” when the kids were in residence (and he signed it)… he did not think it meant OW (just one night stands!).

      So, why the wedding? Well, possibly to avoid the out of wedlock stigma for the baby, and justify cheating on BOTH their ex-spouses. IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

      • THIS! Is exactly why they marry so quickly. True love. Lol. My ex was this same old cliche as well (affair and marriage as quickly as possible… But secretly because they were sssooooooo in love. Barf. Reception and a fake ceremony four months later. Funny stuff) except his taste in women are mommy figures (minus the whole getting fat nine months thing because when you are a Narc sex is #1 priority and Ewwww I looked nothing like the women in those porn mags of his when I got pregnant). My fantasy would be to have a man touch my fat pregnant belly and be proud of the fact that I am having our miracle because he truly loves me. Something I never had with my ex. I think when Narcs can’t compete they just check out. Betting THAT marriage will last five years. Then a younger woman will be his third. Sometimes I am still blindsided by how stupid my ex was (and is). Ugh.

  • “My guess there is that your ex has told his parents and his new wife and in-laws that you’re a monster who is alienating the children from him. He would love to be a Great Father to his children, but (sniff!) you’ve thwarted that ambition in your evil way”.

    THIS! This is exactly my life. I still don’t know why I even try to maintain a relationship between my children and this asshole. Well, I know why…I do it for my kids because I know that they want their dad in their lives. But if he doesn’t step up and make an effort then there’s nothing I can do. Nat1, unfortunately there is nothing you can do to change your ex either. He’s made his bed.

    My children (ages 10 and 7) were forced to attend the joke of a wedding, and I wish he would just disappear. I see my oldest daughter struggling with the fact that most of the time her dad is nowhere to be found (doesn’t call, doesn’t text, doesn’t help with homework etc), but when there’s a school event or a dance recital, here’s there raking in the kibbles screaming “that’s my daughter”. I wish he would just disappear and end the confusion for my kids. I feel guilty about that at times but still wish it were the case. I want my kids to stop having to do the pick me dance with him. Whether these assholes completely disappear or remain in contact, I don’t think one option is easier than the other.

    • Sick of her, you are in the toughest situation of all. Your ex is neither an adequate dad, nor completely gone. Take courage in knowing that as they move into adolescence, your kids will start seeing him more and more clearly, and will likely withdraw from wanting their dad so much. (My kids were 11 and 12 at the time of the separation, so already in a better spot for recognizing hypocrisy and lies.) And as everyone here as emphasized, YOUR being a good, caring, consistently-there parent will make all the difference in the world to your kids.

      But I wanted to remind you not to make the mistake I did initially. I spackled for the ex, and I kept trying to manage his relationship with our kids. So when he was thinking of introducing the kids to the OW just 6 weeks after we’d announced our separation, I explained why it would be better for them and for him to wait on that. When he cancelled the second weekend he should have had the kids so he could go away w/the OW, I just told the kids he’d be away (they assumed it was for work) and planned something fun for us to do. When he texted the kids a lot, I pointed out he must be missing them, and when he didn’t (when he was w/the OW), didn’t point that out at all. When he expected them to stay weekends with him in a barely-furnished little apartment, I informed him that it would be easier for them if there were at least enough dishes and towels for the three of them.

      I did these things because I was used to it, and because I so much wanted my kids to have a good relationship with their father. I believed all that stuff about how essential that was.

      But after a few months I stopped that; I realized HE needed to be responsible for that relationship and for his actions as a father. I stopped covering for him, reminding or explaining to him, and when the kids asked about some unfathomable action of his, I started saying I didn’t know why he did or said those things. I didn’t tell them about the affair, but our daughter figured it out anyway, and I confirmed it for them. (Our daughter was REALLY mad that I hadn’t told them – but I hadn’t found CL yet! Didn’t realize how essential and easy that could be).

      Result; a little over a year after the separation, the kids started refusing to see him. Without my pushing and spackling, he showed them who he was, very very clearly. Now he’s trying desperately to get them back into his life, but they are NOT interested, they don’t believe or trust anything he says, see it as entirely self-interested. And he admitted to me, and I informed the kids, that during the year and a half between his starting the affair and their refusing to see him, he NEVER EVER thought about what the separation would be or was like for them, what he could do to make it easier, or what he could do to maintain a good relationship with them. DID NOT CROSS HIS MIND. Sick asshole.

      The good news is, now that all the kerfuffle has settled down, the kids are doing better than ever. Our home life is peaceful and pleasant, their grades are picking up again (after a big crash following the separation, a recovery, and another crash during the fuss after they started refusing to see him). They have dinner with their dad once a month (recently refused to up that to every three weeks), and I have seen them actively studying the men around them, to understand what a man CAN be like, as a person and a parent.

      Your kids WILL be OK. Don’t spackle and don’t ‘help’ him, and don’t encourage them to do the ‘pick me dance’. Be honest with them, in a calm and appropriate way, about what has happened and is happening in your relationship w/your ex. Love them to bits, surround them with other good people as often as you can, and they will know they have one good, caring parent who will always be there for them – that’s what they need!

      • Thank you Karen. It was very difficult this past weekend not having my kids for Easter. It was the first holiday for me without them…and I struggled because I knew it wasn’t just about seeing the kids…but showing them off to his new extended family (barf). I hate to say it (as it does sound selfish) but I can’t wait for the day when my girls finally see through him…and see them both for what their worth. I know that will cause them pain, but at least in the end we will be dealing with an honest situation and not the one that he’s pretending it to be.

        I really appreciate you sharing your story with me. I hear a lot of people say to just give it time. That’s the hardest thing for me. Watching my kids buy into the bullshit. I finally, about a month ago, explained to my kids (in an age appropriate way) what happened to our family. I, like you, did not tell them right away…man how I wish I had found this site earlier!!!! My kids didn’t say a whole lot, but I knew they heard me. I’m done with making excuses and covering up for him. I’m still so angry though that I have to be careful not say the wrong thing in anger…just the honest thing. I don’t want to come across as bitter to my kids.

        My kids initially struggled in school as well but their grades are back up. While I’m not in an ideal situation (living in my parent’s basement), they know I love them more than anything and would never go anywhere. Unfortunately, I feel like they are doing the pick me dance and I don’t know how to change that. I just wish they were a little bit older 🙁

        • Sick of HER are ABSOLUTELY NOT SELFISH! I have struggled mightily with my children wanting to see their Dad. I wish that they would hate his guts and never speak another word to them until the day he dies. I don’t care if anyone sees that as selfish. I was thrown into a situation that I..nor does anyone..deserve. I think that if my Dad did this to my Mom, I would never ever say another word to him. In our chumps do nothing wrong. I don’t give a hoot about the bullshit that “oh there was already something wrong in the marriage”. Okay? So there were a few things that weren’t peachy keen? Did that give him any right at all to do what he did? Hell no! And this huge part of me wishes my kids would see that. I guess I wish they would take sides. That is WRONG, I know. And I would never push them in the direction. But I feel so hurt that my kids still want any sort of relationship with the asshat. He doesn’t deserve it..and never will.

          • This is a struggle for me as well. I feel betrayed that my son still wants to see his dad. Son knows all that his dad did, and continues to do. I know son is entitled to a good relationship with his dad, so I say nothing. But it still eats at me.

            • I feel the same way. My youngest son especially seems to do a lot of things with his dad, although I never ask him. What really eats me is that married OW sells candles on the side to make extra money and my kids have those f’ing candles sitting around their house. I know my ex bought them from his AP and gave them to our kids for Christmas. I had to stop myself from asking my youngest why he would have them in his house after knowing that AP is the one who sells them? Maybe he doesn’t know, I’m not sure. It makes me feel like my youngest son buys into the “we were both unhappy” narrative my ex spins. But I’m doing my best to let it everything go and be happy with my life. I know that being bitter will just push my son farther away. Still, it’s hard for my kids to live far away now and to be in the town where I raised them all alone. Thank goodness I have great friends here where my kids grew up, and wonderful parents who support me.

      • Dear Karen- thank you for this – your words really hit home as it seems to me now that I too have been covering for my ex and trying to help his relationship with his kids – likely I was still trying to curry favour in the pick me dance but foremost I didn’t want to face the harsh truth that my beautiful kids won’t have a committed father anymore – up until the morning he walked he had been a brilliant dad- hands on and fully involved and a unit of four in all we did – to go from that to nothing literally overnight has been very hard to endure for them and me – Ive stopped now but still worry about the effect of his poor behaviour – countless times this past year he has shown them priority lies exclusively with the OW and her kid – my youngest so feels this and my teenager just refuses to be drawn – states he won’t make any judgement but of course to loose his dad the year he sits his examinations is terrible to say the least – they don’t deserve this at all and I feel guilt and sick to my stomach that I can’t make it better – they see him regularly because I encourage it but as time is passing I see it more of an upheaval and unsettling rather than beneficial but would never stop it – just wait and see how it pans out for kids –

  • My stbx continues to tell anyone who will listen that I alienate his children from him and some of his family members. This has been ongoing for months. This coming from the man who lives with his married girlfriend 3 days per week and during these “getaways” has no contact with his kids. He has been home 1 weekend in the last 6 months. From what I have read in their emails the gf manipulates him and encourages him to stay with her. She has a very strong influence on him. He has stayed away from his children on Christmas, their birthdays, etc. There has been talk of buying her a ring although he is going through a divorce and she is still married. Go figure. I think if the happy couple decides to tie the knot the kids attending won’t be an issue. He is estranged from his 16 &18 y/o-they have called him on his BS and crappy decisions. He tries to blame me for this too-he won’t take responsibility for his actions. They are both loose cannons and My stbx doesn’t like that very much because he has a need to make sure that everyone likes him.

    He makes me out to be a bitch so then he looks like the victim and gains sympathy.

  • I needed this post! This is mine and my kids story to a tee!! It does suck, (and so does he, I trust it!) and I have personally apologized to my kids more times than I can count. I’m sure I’ve said it countless times on this website, but it’s worth repeating: my kids are in their twenties, and they know that I am the one who has ALWAYS been there for them. I have provided everything I can for them. They know it. They know he sucks. They know his side of the family sucks, and they adore me. He has kids from his first marriage (who still love me, so I’ve heard) who don’t speak to him because apparently he’s a horrible grandfather now too! I have been prodding my kids to get together with their half siblings, because they are all victims, and they all could use that connection.

  • Nat1, XFIL lived with his OW for 4 years before they got married one Halloween. They wore costumes, had all their guests wear costumes, and made it into a whole big thing. It even got a write up in the local paper. But XH and XBIL were NOT invited, even though they’d both spent plenty of time with XFIL and his OW.

    Why not?

    Because XFIL was STILL MARRIED to XMIL when he married wife #2!

    XMIL learned about it when her niece – who lived in the same town as XFIL – saw the write up in the paper, cut it out, and sent it to XMIL with a note, “I didn’t know you had divorced.” They hadn’t! They’d been separated and living apart for over a decade, but they’d never finalized the divorce.

    XMIL then filed, and XFIL was furious that he had to fork over alimony and part of his military retirement. He thought that by keeping his polygamy a secret, he could avoid the expense of a divorce.

    That’s the kind of crap Narcs pull, Nat1 – their EVERY thought, discussion, and action begins with the sentence, “What’s in it for me?” If it doesn’t benefit them, they don’t do it.

    Your XH is no different. He’ll touch base with your kids again when it benefits him to do so.

    Just part of the ongoing nasty aftertaste of the sh*t sandwich, I’m afraid… 🙁

    • That’s a crazy story! OW got chumped on her wedding day? Learning hubby was still married? OMG.

      I guess you wonder where your ex’s crazy comes from, huh?

      • XFIL told OW he’d divorced years earlier. He hadn’t. Still don’t know if marriage #2 is legal, but OW has stuck by him all these years (25+).

        My mother worried on our wedding day that XH would follow in his father’s footsteps. I laughed and said, “Of course NOT! He’s SO MUCH BETTER than XFIL!”

        Turns out, he wasn’t….

    • Getting married to someone in a costume, that is, ***a disguise***?

      Yeah, I did that once. Though I didn’t know that was what I was doing. . . .

      • Nope, you can’t. There are so many Lifetime Original Movie plots woven in these threads it’s ridiculous…

  • When I was in 4th grade my father unceremoniously left my mother and moved in with the OW (who BTW left her husband the same day). As soon as they got their divorces they got married. My father didn’t tell me they were getting married he just showed up one day with a wedding ring on. I was very hurt that he completely left me out of such a significant event.
    As I was growing up my father would visit us for 1 hour per week until we were teens and didn’t want to be bothered. He essentially abandoned us as a father when he left my mother. Even now (at 48 years old) I am still struggling with the emotional scars he created. I grew up feeling that if my own father didn’t love me I must somehow be unlovable.
    My father died last summer after a 40 year marriage to the OW. They did live happily ever after so it can happen. I know he was happy with his life and the decisions he made. I guess it is up to all of us to make our lives the best we can. I just wish he hadn’t trampled so many people in the process.

    • Unlovedgirl, my father also left us but we were in our teens. It still hurts and I agree with what you said–that if he didn’t love me that I am unlovable. I know it’s not true, but sometimes I struggle with this. This is what I don’t want my kids to think at all. I just don’t know how to do that. I think it is possible to live a happy life without a parent but there will always be that disappointment that the person you thought that had your back did not care at all, or not enough. Because of this, I have adopted a warrior-mentality. I want to protect, to mentor, and to nurture.

      I think it is possible to overcome this abandonment but it takes mental strength and the support of family to get there. And yes, it is disappointing but the way I’m looking at it is that it’s a battle that I survived.

      • My mind knows it’s not true but my heart has latched onto the idea from childhood and doesn’t know anything else. Very hard to undo!!

        One thing I think my mother could have done differently was to acknowledge I was suffering too. She thought we were kids and it we would be fine….that we were too young to be damaged. My little brother was only 4 years old and he says he doesn’t remember or care about his fathers abandonment. I have ALWAYS been hurt every day of my life. And, being told, either verbally or non verbally that I should not feel hurt didn’t help at all. I think the best thing you can do is let your kids express how they feel and acknowledge it.

        I was always told that kids didn’t have real problems and I should pipe down and conform. I was taught to stuff my feeling down and not bother the grown ups. Sad really.

          • Acknowledgement is totally the key! My kids were very upset by their father’s absence and neglect … until they figured out that HE is an asshole, and that this is on HIM. It’s not about them or whether they deserve a good father or whether they are ‘good enough’. He has done enough asshole things to other people as well that it is very clear to the kids that this is on him.

        • Unlovedgirl, you are bang on with that one. A few years ago, one of my best friends lent me a book (can’t remember the name, dang it!) about a 30-year research project on kids who went through divorce. At the time, my friend was going through shit with her daughter (then 30), due to unresolved issues from her divorce 25 years earlier! My friend thought it had been enough to just love the kids and provide stability in the blended family, and that everything would somehow be fine. But it wasn’t. Twenty five years later, on the eve of her wedding, my friend’s daughter was still so mad about the whole thing that she wasn’t even going to invite her mom and step dad to the wedding! To make matters more interesting, the daughter had never given ANY indication that there were any issues to be dealt with. So I do think that we can take things for granted and assume that things are fine just because the kids aren’t acting out.

          Reading through this book was a real wake-up call. I read it for my kids (as I was in the process of my divorce), but what I found was myself–a kid who experienced her own parents’ divorce, when I was 7. Holy cow! Lots and lots of stuff I figured was just my own personal failing, but it honestly did stem from the divorce (even though I knew back then that the divorce was the healthiest thing for all of us). The first thing I did after finishing the book was go to both my kids and APOLOGIZE. I knew the reasons why I had to divorce my XH, but what they needed was acknowledgement from me of what THEY were experiencing. And not just that, but an honest-to-God apology, the “on bended knee” type, for not being able to keep the family as they’d known it together. That apology was transformative, truly. Since that day, where my girls had blamed me, there was a real release and a moving forward. Now they know the whole story, so things are very, very different–and I just hope they can forgive their dad. But for sure, kids need to be able to vent and have their feelings ratified. Thank you so so much for posting this.

        • Although I loved my mother she cheated on my father when we were all small kids and the ensuing shit storm lasted for years. We had to leave town and she went to work at a restaurant and got involved with the married owner. They eventually got married and stayed together 25 years. It was the worst and I mean WORST marriage on earth! They both became raging alcoholics and prescription pill poppers. Every day was a Shit Show. Mom’s sister’s tried to do interventions to get her out of that hell hole of a marriage but she refused to leave. Her life was beyond awful. My step dad was an abusive piece of shit. I saw him hit her and throw her down stairs and lock her out of the house at night in her nightgown. I’d try to intervene and get knocked around too. I did the only thing I knew to do. Get pregnant at 16 and flee.
          All of us kids got thrown to the wolves and we’ve all paid the price to this day. Forty years later.
          Back in those days though it didn’t seem like anyone cared about the kids. We were the flotsam and jetsam.

          • The point I was making here was that cheaters can get married and stay married. Whether they’re happy is another question. I think they often stay together even in they’re miserable because they are ‘proving’ something. What, I don’t know.

            So, to my fellow chumps: Just because our cheaters marry their AP’s doesn’t mean much.

            I loved the story where the bride came on horseback! The hell you say!! And the toenail polish matched the bouquets. Jeebus, why don’t these people elope? I don’t get it.

        • You are absolutely right, Unloved. So many of us struggled with not having our feelings taken seriously when we were growing up. I hope you are in counseling to work through your father’s abandonment.

          My mother’s father abandoned their family of 5 kids when she was born during the depression. He ended up marrying his AP and was with her 40 years too. When he died his obituary said he left a wife and two daughters (the AP’s children). My grandmother wanted to crash the funeral and announce that he left a hell of a lot more than anyone knew, but her children talked her out of it. My mom says now that maybe they should have let her have her say.

          Anyway, after seeing the damage to my mother’s family from her father’s abandonment I NEVER had any intentions of leaving my marriage even during tough times. I’d seen the consequences throughout the GENERATIONS of children in my mother’s family after her father left. I think that’s why I still can’t believe it happened to our family after I tried so hard to keep it together.

    • Unlovedgirl,

      I am heartbroken by your story. I am sorry your father abandoned you, and that you felt/feel you may not be worthy of love because of his selfishness.

      One thing I wonder about – if he cut off contact with you, how do you know he was happy? It doesn’t sound like you had much visibility into his “new” life, so maybe you’re believing the smoke and mirrors version of what he presented to the world. These guys (gals) can’t let anyone know that their shit choices wound up being a bust, so they do all they can to save face. Just a thought that may help you see him from another angle. (((Hugs)))

    • Unloved Girl – I can only imagine the scars you carry – but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to quit holding them in front of you and obsessing over them and take them for what they are – warrior’s scars that made you stronger.

      The things you say about your father are totally contrary – he was a cheater and abandoned his whole family….but he had a happy fulfilled 40 yr marriage to the OW? You know this but you never had contact with him? How do you really “know”? Longevity doesn’t mean success, trust me. Who can say how happy he was, really? More to the point – even if he was happy – what does that say about him? He could be blissfully happy after ruining so many lives and abandoning his family and responsibilities like the biggest deadbeat in the world? He built a “happy 40 year marriage” on the carcasses of his wife and children’s lives? THIS is what you pine for and feel “unloved” because of? A total dissolute loser?

      You are 48 years old – if you still are allowing him to dictate (from the grave, no less) your self worth – then maybe you should take a look at what you can do or what help you can get professionally to peel the scales from your eyes and see what happened all those years back as it really was – you were a lovely little girl who had a bad, irresponsible, shitty, selfish dick do a terrible thing to her and her family – cheat, abandon and not give a damn.

      If you can get past your own head in this – you’ll see you are strong, brave, tough and loving – all traits that he lacked completely. Give your mother her due for raising you and shy from blaming her – remember – she was living her own hell, and I can tell you that no parent is perfect in their child rearing. But SHE STAYED. SHE LOVED YOU. SHE TRIED EVERY DAY. That’s worth ten million of whatever he was.

      Whatever he was – he was no father and even less of a man. You are your own person – love yourself first and the rest will follow. (Geez – that sounded way too “new age” but you get the drift!)

      • Wise words. Just because a cheater and OW get married and stay married doesn’t mean they are deliriously happy together, believe me. My bio father was a big cheater on my mom. He finally left her and married one of his OW. He stayed married to that woman for the rest of his life. But were they happy or faithful together? Who the hell knows. I doubt it. He actually told my mother that he “did not love the OW, but she gave him his space.” That doesn’t sound so great to me. Trust that they suck. Hardcore cheaters do not change. Just because they appear happy with the OW means nothing. Remember, this people make a lifetime career out of pretending to be what they are not, lying and rewriting reality.

        • “she gave him his space” ? Hmm, let me run that through the Cheater Bullshit Translator ….

          “She turns a blind eye to my cheating”

          Yeah, that sounds right. Probably the secret to the success of their long marriage.

        • Glad, my uncle married his AP after a 10 year affair. He had been married to his wife for 50 years!! The woman he married was only a few years older than his oldest daughter. He does seem much happier with his new wife and has been married to her for 20 years, however his kids from his first marriage barely speak to him. He’s in his 90’s now and I can tell you this hurts him every day. He’s tried to reach out to them but they don’t return his calls. So there were definitely consequences for his bad decisions.

        • Norman Mailer’s last cheater married him and stayed with him. She was proud of having stuck with him and felt she was creating stability for his kids. She seems glad she married him, in her autobiography.

          On the other hand, he cheated on her constantly. She took comfort in the fact that the women weren’t as attractive as she was and thought that was a sign he cared about her. She blamed the other women for coming on to him, apparently he couldn’t say no.

          Some people are just willing to put up with it.

      • Wonderful post. And a reminder that once we are adults, we must find our worth in ourselves, not the Cheaters who couldn’t love us or sustain adult commitments.

      • So true Char. We are not the reason others are fucked up. We can only own our own and hope to do our best for our children. I think today’s parents communicate better because there is so much out there and worth commenting on. Morality and lack of are in the news everyday which gives us parents little moments to teach. The other thing lacking is experience. Our children will not recognize their parent’s true betrayal until they are in life experiences that are comparable. I know we all have this parenting thing down (one of the funniest things I’ve shared w/my kids is that I pretty much parented them “the opposite of how your grandparents raised me” and I still fucked it up! What I do know, Chumps have great kids, and we will all get through this. Four movies my young teen/adult children were able to relate to: It’s Complicated, Click, The Kids Are All Right, The Descendents., and The Impossible.

      • I have been in and out of therapy for the past 12 years. Mostly it has not helped. My mother had other issues but I know she did the best she could. I know that both my parents did love me as best they could. However, they were mentally abusive to me and unintentionally systematically harmed me throughout my child hood. These are the things you struggle a lifetime with and there is no easy fix. These days I am more aware of the harm that was done and how it has effected me as a grown woman and that is a step in the right direction. I am hopeful that thing will continue to improve.

        • Unloved, have you been with different therapists, with different approaches, during those 12 years? Because it really, really should be making a noticeable difference, and if it doesn’t, you may not be working with the right person or the right approach for you. If problems are deep like yours, you don’t get zip zip to being all perfecty, but you should definitely feel and manage things MUCH better after that much time.

  • This bothered me:

    He used to tell me my trust issues were a big part of our problem, but of course the trust issues he caused will be with me forever.

    Umm, lookup gas lighting because there’s a reason you couldn’t trust him , right?

    Trust is a funny thing. You have to earn it, and to earn it you kind of need to practice honesty, integrity, and consistency.

    What do I mean by integrity? Thankfully Warren Buffett’s advice to his employees on how to conduct themselves professionally sums it up, so I’ll just steal that:

    ““…I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to
    have any contemplated act appear the next day on the front page of
    their local paper – to be read by their spouses, children and friends
    – with the reporting done by an informed and critical reporter.”

    So you didn’t trust your ex? It appears there might have been reasons for that. Namely, he probably didn’t earn that trust.

    So you don’t trust hypothetical male strangers you might hypothetically date? They haven’t hypothetically earned your trust (and vice versa) either 🙂

    I think you’re going to be ok. He can’t rob you of trust in all others because that trust is something others earn themselves, and it isn’t his to take away.

    • Excellent analysis, TimeHeals. I copied the Buffett quotation for my own files. It’s a good measure of behavior. I agree, too, that Nat1 no doubt had real reason not to trust the X, as history demonstrated. Those of us who have been gaslighted about trust issues and then–surprise–were betrayed sometimes forget that our instinct not to trust that person was correct. That said, for most of us “trust issues” come down to one thing: can we trust ourselves enough to correct our “picker” and to know that no matter what happens, we can survive with help from those who love us. So many of us have wonderful friends that we chose and have demonstrated their trustworthiness; the ticket is trust ourselves to really pay attention to someone’s behavior, to put down the spackle for good, and to have high standards for those we let into our lives. And of course, we can still be fooled. But the lesson is not to avoid trusting; the lesson is to learn discernment so we can trust our own judgment and to learn how strong we are even when others let us down in the worst ways.

  • This resonated:

    “Interest might uptick if they accomplish something noteworthy — that reflects well on the narcissist. But otherwise, not so interesting.”

    Big Chief Dumb Fuck NEVER took an interest in his two girls unless they were recognized as “stellar” for one thing or another. Athletics, music, academics, art – if they didn’t finish first, it wasn’t good enough. Even today, he completely ignores their existence except when he can post a drippy, fawning Facebook photo of doting dad at daughter’s magna cum laude graduation, or dance competition, or Dean’s list, etc. And all of The Short Fat One’s friends fawn all over him for having such beautiful accomplished daughters – syncophants all of them, and he laps it up.

    Daughters see right through it, and only do obligatory occasional restaurant trips so that they can get a fancy meal and a cash hand out (he won’t pay child support, prefers to hand out cash in person so he can feel oh, so very Lord of the Manor generous…)

    A pox upon him and his amoral floozie!

    • He doesn’t pay support? Are they still minors? I’d file a motion like yesterday with your local child support enforcement office. I hate that he just thinks he can dole out cash like he’s some munificent king!

      • Chump Lady, we separated when my oldest was a sophomore in college and my youngest in 9th grade. I made a deal with the Devil: if he continued to pay his portion of oldest daughter’s tuition/room/board until she finished her degree, I would keep him on my health insurance until the day the last payment was made WITH THE CAVEAT THAT HE HAD TO GET A VASECTOMY WITHIN 90 DAYS OF THE MOVE OUT!!! I’m evil – I had no intention of sharing any of his money with Floopsie’s spawn.

        He paid a nominal $150/mth for youngest until she went off to college this year. Now he pays a couple grand a year for her tuition (and I pick up the balance of the $40k tab!), but no more monthly allowance for her. He’s “too broke” even though he boasted about how much he was saving in $$$ by moving in with Floopsie.

        I’m incredibly fortunate to be financially independent. Always have made more than him, which oddly enough was one of his excuses as to why he had to acquire not one but TWO side piece women (and likely a dozen other casual encounters) over the course of 17 years. Apparently I made him feel less than a man….. Meh.

        • Hope you got documentation proving that he got that vasectomy – my experience is that they’ll say anything with no intention of following through. Unless I was in the operating room – I’d never trust and want a video showing it was completed.

          • Oh, honey, when the medical insurance is in my name, I receive the Estimate of Benefits forms. I know exactly what he had done! No wiggle room at all, so to speak…

            • MN, you are my hero! I got my tubes tied after our second child was born (still incredibly fertile at 41, and didn’t want a third child with the first two being 16 months apart). The narc actually said he’d get a vasectomy if I preferred, but I stupidly turned that down!! At the time I didn’t realize he was a freak, thought he was a normal person, and since he was almost 10 years younger than me, thought he deserved the chance to have more kids if we ever broke up and he got involved with someone younger than him.

              Now I am just grateful the OW is also older than him, not going to have more kids (she already has 3, broke up their intact family by cheating, before setting her sites on the narc and breaking up his, too (with his ENTIRE cooperation)). But I do worry if they break up; he’s only 45, I hate to think he might have more kids, so he could wreck their lives too, with his negativity and selfishness, even if he never cheats again.

              Shoulda gotten him ‘fixed’ while I had the chance!

              • Getting fixed was one of the greatest things my ex has ever done. I can’t imagine what kind of child those two cheaters would produce. The poor kid wouldn’t stand a chance– he/she wouldn’t have one normal, loving parent. The two whores have done enough damage to the five children between them that they already have.

                Unfortunately, my ex also received a lobotomy when he got snipped, for about two years after the procedure, when he could no longer knock anyone up, he thought it would be a great idea to cheat! *eye roll*

              • My ex and I had our children in our early 20s. Our first son lost his hearing after an illness and we struggled with the idea of having any more. We decided to have one more child and after he was born the ex decided to get a Vasectomy. On our first consultation, the good doc tried to talk to my ex out of it. He said “You are awfully young to have this procedure done. If you and your wife break up, you may want to remarry and most young women want children.” I was thinking “Um hello, I’m in the room ya know!”. Fortunately the ex was adamant about not wanting more children and I was definitely in agreement. Now I sort of chuckle when I think of that appointment.

              • ugh glad I got mine fixed before he left he’s also almost 46 but will reverse it for sure if he remarries…just to spite me I’m sure.

              • I am the one who got my my tubes tied..the buttwipe wouldn’t get a vasectomy. He’s 44, the whore is 40 I believe, so the two of them could still easily procreate and have the spawn of the devil. The thought of them having a kid makes me seriously want to do some major projectile vomiting!

        • Love the vasectomy stories – my ex (after we had both children) THEN decided the time was right to announce that he “never wanted kids”. We had trouble having them, and his “count” was so low, I’ve always wondered if he’d had some botched, foreign vasectomy that didn’t take, and just didn’t tell me. A girl can dream, right?

          Fast forward to now, with the new wife. He claims she “hates kids” – whew, if it’s true. I’m hoping so (the world doesn’t need more abandoned kids), but also because my daughter has always expressed (and she doesn’t say much) that the one thing she hopes is that he never has any more children. Maybe because she doesn’t want them hurt, or maybe because it still somehow makes her feel special that she’s his only daughter. Either way, here’s to fixing the lot of them…

      • That’s exactly what I thought – I’m stealing big chief dumb fuck. If only I could change my contacts to reflect that. It would give me z good laugh every time. Too bad my kids use my phone.

  • How does this work? Weddings usually have God mentioned. God says I hate divorce and adultery is against the Ten Commandments. God doesn’t bless sin. I’d frame it to the kids this way. Marriage is for life. Two become one. When one leaves it’s the tearing of the one flesh. Adultery is wrong. Cheating’s wrong and divorce is wrong (unless there is adultery or abandonment and unrepentant abuse of any kind). You can’t right that wrong. The righting of the wrong is the Unicorn of Reconciliation which evil cheaters don’t want. They need a new toy. Notice to those who marry a cheater. If you marry a cheater, you marry a cheater. If he did it with you, he’ll do it on you. Why do they think their magical love story (UBT: I want to fuck you and you alone) will last. It won’t. Enjoy the new strange. Strange becomes normal. Normal becomes stale. Stale becomes a desire for new strange. Even the lion kingdom chooses mate more wisely than humans.

  • Though it hurts, I think kids are better off without a truly disordered parent in their lives. This lets them come to some level of acceptance and move on, with the help of the stable parent and other good role models. When kids have to deal with the disordered, they are hurt over and over again by the selfish behavior, they are used as props to make the disordered look good, they are manipulated and tricked into dispensing kibbles to the disordered parent. Kids figure out eventually that the disordered is feeding them a shit sandwich.

    I would be thrilled if my ex moved on and dropped contact with our teen son. I used to think that was going to happen, but ex uses son intensely for glory on Facebook. He’s the dad of the year, according to himself. Unfortunately, son chooses to continue contact with his dad. I hate when son is with him, because my ex is so bizarre and disordered, totally without judgement. For example, he recently had son over to dinner and served him up alcoholic drinks, though son is not even 18.

    My own bio father married his OW without telling or inviting us kids. They had been living together for a long time, and perhaps they just went down to city hall and got married in the courthouse, I have no idea. The first I heard of it was when my bio dad announced that we had a new step-mother. I didn’t even know if he meant the OW he was living with, or some new floozy at first.

    As I wrote elsewhere, I ended up with a wonderful step father who raised me like his own flesh and blood.

    • The same thing happened to my niece. Her real father disappeared but her stepfather has stepped in to be a loyal father for her.

  • I’ve known people who had a parent walk out of their lives. One young woman said her father left when she was ten. They sent him updates for a while, but he never responded. He kept out of their lives until–bingo!–college! Then, for some reason, he wanted to be Dad again. She said that she had no desire to reconnect. He’d missed every important part of her life because he was too busy even to send a card. Her mom was her real parent.

    And only now do I realize that my father was also in the same boat. His own father was an alcoholic. When my father was in 5th grade, he and his mother went to the train station to put his dad on a train to the West Coast, where his father was going to look for a job. The last words from his father were that he would send for my dad and his mom.

    He never did.

    Fast forward a decade. It’s now World War II, and my father is in the Navy on active duty. He receives word from the Navy that his father has died, and that he would be entitled to some leave to attend the funeral and deal with the effects. My father refused to take that leave or deal with his father’s estate. As far as he was concerned, his father had died several years previously.

    At any rate, the upshot is that the children will always know who has their back. Even if their father decides to come back later on, the relationship is damaged.

    • My ex walked out on me and our 3 kids (16,18,20) and was having the time of his life with the OW and forming a new and better life. hardly talked to the kids. 16 months after he left (in the same month our divorce was final), he got married on the beach in Florida. My kids found out a few weeks later on Twitter. Their father never told them he remarried. Missing birthdays, graduation, holidays, everything…

      Fast forward 2 years and now that the new-ness has worn off and he spends his weekends doing yard work and drinking, he realizes that he misses the kids. But guess what? They have spent almost 3 years learning how to cope, heal and move on. How to take care of themselves. He has not apologized and does not feel he has done anything wrong besides go after his own happiness which he rightfully deserves. They want nothing to do with him. And they are being disrespectful “just like your mother taught you to be”. Yup, all my fault!

      Maybe someday they may have some contact with him but it will NEVER be the same, they see that although life has been hard, it is much more peaceful without his drinking and his drama. They may find forgiveness but they will never forget what he has said and done.

      They know I will be there for them 1000% anytime for anything! I am their constant and they are my world. And we are good 🙂

      • And by the way, their grandfather has not seen them in the last few years either. He sided with his son and discarded his grandchildren as well. Now he an almost 80 yr old with no one besides his alcoholic, cheater son. How he could side with his son…who cheated, left a 25yr marriage and disowned his own children….and think that what he did was not wrong?

      • He has not apologized and does not feel he has done anything wrong besides go after his own happiness which he rightfully deserves. They want nothing to do with him. And they are being disrespectful “just like your mother taught you to be”. Yup, all my fault!

        I didn’t realize you were married to my ex, too! 🙂 EXACTLY the same lines – and that respect part always makes me laugh. He honestly thinks that respect is something you are just given by biological right – like having a certain eye color. He doesn’t have a clue that respect may be initially given…..but when lost, is lost forever unless real change takes place. But no……it’s the ex’s fault! Funny…..

        • My ex HAS apologized to the kids (although initially was totally doing it while minimizing what he’d done and any responsbility on his part). At my suggestion, they went to family therapy together, and he apologized a ton. But they see EVERYTHING he does as being self-interested, and believe he only regrets his screwing around/exploding their intact family because it hasn’t worked out well for HIM. At this point, even his apologies and attempts to repair that relationship and declared ‘guilty feelings’ and regret mean NOTHING to our kids.

          Karma is a bitch, sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t even take that long to come around. Beep beep!

          • In a few months, I’m moving far away, and taking the kids with me. The ow is history, I’m still gutted, and I feel guilty about leaving with the kids. I’m not filing, that will legally restrict me and my soul is crying to get away from where I am now, it’s toxic narc in law hell. I have no support from anyone where I am. My teens (who are aware of the affair) will manage, but my little guy is going to be a wreck without his dad, who has spent the last 6 months with us all the time, trying like a crazy man to fix this shit. I will financially be strapped and will have a very drastic change in lifestyle. Like OMG drastic step down. My goal is financial independence in 2 years. Haven’t worked in years. I wake up in cold sweats and anxiety attacks thinking about this. Is the fire less risky than staying in the frying pan? I have no fucking clue. Am I hoping h will move mountains to join us? Yup, but if he doesnt, I’ll be where I need to be. Am I doing the best for my kids or is this about me? I can stay here with the cushy stay at home yoga studio pretty lunches life and shitty marriage situation of uncertainty and an xOW who has left a film of scum all over my immediate and extended family, or I can start over and feed my kids beans and rice for the next while whilst having a solid support system of friends. Im questioning myself today. But I feel the opportunity to leave is an open door I need to walk through, almost a lifeline. I don’t feel safe (emotionally) in my marriage right now, my well-being is not protected by my h. My self esteem is gone. Am I hurting my kids by moving them away from their dad? Someone hit me with some chump wisdom. The thought of acquiring a rental home, a car, health insurance, a good job….I’m terrified. So fucking scared and the clock is ticking.

            • CL — I think this needs to be tomorrow’s post.

              Nic — If you can move to a place where you’re supported before the legal system is involved in any way, do it. I wanted to move with my kids to family property a mere 70 miles away in time for my son to start freshman year in a new school. The ex fought and fought against it, even though I already had sole custody and the custody mediator’s approval. Only the fact that the OW was 6 months pregnant at the time and school registration was to happen that very day (his case was hopeless) caused him to relent. I will never forget the feeling of not being in control. Once the court system has jurisdiction over you, you need “permission”. I’m not used to needing “permission” to do what’s best for my kids.

              You will be seen as kidnapping them by the “toxic narc in laws” though, you know.

              BUT, if you are ever to get your H to a place with his head clear, you have to get him away from the people who mess with his mind. I think my ex tried several times to unwind the mess he was in, but every time he tried to, he just end up getting sexed by the OW to make him feel better. Or he’d talk to his sisters about not being able to do this to his kids and they’d tell him our relationship was not healthy for the kids to be around. Oh, yes, his own sisters, who would castrate their husbands for straying, had it in for my marriage. And they weren’t even in the same town as me.

              One of my rural neighbors where I used to live had a saying when it came to situations like this: “Easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission”

              I vote you follow your gut instinct. Chump Nation?

              • “Status Quo Order” I’d been trying to remember the name of what I was threatened with to keep me from moving to where everyone (but the ex) agreed I should go. So I said, OK, I guess I’ll just stay here in our old place. I even went as far as enrolling them in the old school. It was a very heavy duty bluff because I knew he wanted our home. No way could he afford it’s equivalent. He needed the place (pregnant OW) more than he wanted to control us and jerk me around.

                Anyway, here’s the legal verbiage describing the straightjacket from the Oregon Revised Statutes:

                A temporary status quo order restrains and enjoins each parent from:

                (a) Changing the childs usual place of residence;

                (b) Interfering with the present placement and daily schedule of the child;

                (c) Hiding or secreting the child from the other parent;

                (d) Interfering with the other parents usual contact and parenting time with the child;

                (e) Leaving the state with the child without the written permission of the other parent or the permission of the court; or

                (f) In any manner disturbing the current schedule and daily routine of the child until the motion for modification has been granted or denied.

                (3) For purposes of this section:

                (a) Childs usual place of residence means the place where the child is living at the time the motion for the temporary order is filed and has lived continuously for a period of three consecutive months, excluding any periods of time during which the noncustodial parent did exercise, or would otherwise have exercised, parenting time.

                (b) Parents usual contact and parenting time, present placement and daily schedule of the child and current schedule and daily routine of the child mean the contact, parenting time, placement, schedule and routine at the time the motion for the temporary order is filed. [1995 c.792 §2; 1997 c.136 §2; 1997 c.386 §1; 1997 c.707 §§10,10a; 1999 c.649 §47]

              • Nic, I am doing exactly that. Same boat, no job, living at Mom’s, but freeeeeeeeeeee!

                Freer, anyhow. One pal gave me some good advice, which is that the kids will grow through it.

                So will we. Tell you what, Nic, I’ll hang in there for you, you hang in there for me, as will all of Chump Nation!

              • Nic, YOU CAN DO IT! Your gut is telling you what would be best for you and your children and in your own words you do not feel safe. Go. Go to where you will get the most support. And I know it’s scary. Starting over, finances, etc. Just use those community resources. Now is the best time to start over. Do what you want to do. Check out the local community college if you need to. Someone once told me that all I needed to do was to take baby steps forward, and that everything else would fall into place. It has been hard financially but I am beginning to recognize there’s a lot of help out there, you just need to ask for help and trust that you can do it.

            • Nic, I can’t give you legal advice, but my gut CL advice is to go. Start that new life and surround yourself with the love and support you need now and so rightly deserve.

              Dad has choices. He made unilateral choices to betray you all. You’re protecting yourself and your kids, IMO. He can choose to follow you and try and save his marriage. Least he could do, really, given the circumstances. Something tells me that will be All Too Much for him, and you know that, which is why you equate this move with the End of Things.

              Per rental home, car, insurance, etc. Make a list. Tackle one thing at a time. Forward march.

              I bought a house under my cheating ex’s nose. And everything that entailed, financing (had zero money — family bailed, a friend came through), inspections, moving, secrecy. Couldn’t believe I pulled it off, but I did. Freedom felt incredible.

              It is scary. Of course it is. But you control it. You’re taking back your power. You choose the rice and beans, the job, the people you let in — and it’s so healing to not be vulnerable to a wing nut anymore.

              IMO, lay this burden down and go. The kids may not understand now, but they will in time. They’re resilient and so are you.

              • I would just add, every state is different, but my lawyer deliberately did NOT let me sign a “do not move” order. Didn’t make a difference. My ex sued me anyway each time I moved. And he lost in court, because… hey, I’m the sane parent and it shows.

                Just be the sane parent, and document why it’s come to this.

            • Big hugs to you Nic. You are doing the right thing by leaving. Please don’t spend the rest of your life eating shit sandwiches & letting your children view this as what a marriage is supposed to look like. Don’t let the fear & anxiety paralyze you-make your escape plan & execute it.

              I am currently in a situation close to yours-I have no job, no where for me & my 4 year old to go, medical insurance & banking are under stbx and the hits just keep on coming. I was an absolute wreck for a few months after D-Day. The shitbag refuses to leave because he will be inconvenienced, apologized via text message 3 months later because I have trying to arrange for other members of his family to take him in, and continues about his merry bullshit with secret phone apps in front of me & our son.

              The fog of paralysis has lifted & although I fear the unknown-fuck him! I am going to counseling, interviewing for jobs, looking at apartments, selling personal items to raise money for attorney, etc. and I got a storage where I have been quietly moving stuff out. All of this is being done when he is gone during the day. I got a throw away phone so I can make attorney calls without him knowing. Oh, and I am collecting evidence of all his skeezy hooker exploits to help me in the custody battle.

              It’s only a matter of time before we are free and I have come to feel somewhat excited about starting a new, shit free life with my son. I know it will be hard for him but what is he going to miss-there isn’t room for anything else in stbx’s life but him. My son will see that someday. I refuse to spackle for that crazy asshole any longer.

              Save yourself and your kids Nic-you are absolutely doing the right thing

              • Thank you everyone. What a cyber hand squeeze. We relocated here 18mos ago for family business reasons which turned out to be a disaster, and within 3mos of our arrival since none of us were happy or worshipping him (Id not seen this side of him before), his subordinate picked up the slack. Thus began the only clean extramarital affair in the history of the world that would hurt no one. Right? Mil decides the reporting structure shouldnt change, and I have to throw up in my mouth before any family function since (married mother of 4 and still unknown to me) ow shows up to say hello with her mouth and I fucking hate you with her eyes. I unilaterally opted out of any and all of these functions making me queen snob bitch among the kumbaya clan. H, the hero of the family, couldn’t stand up for me and tell the xow to eff off. So I decided to eff off. Yes she still reports to him, as per my mil who is well aware of everything and is the pic you see when you look up ‘narc’.

                As far as laws, I’m north of the border, and I know I’ll be forced to remain. There are a lot of fantastic reasons to live here – socialzed medicine is awesome, no guns, clean, safe, civilized (yawn), kids have autonomy and independence in a huge city – but he ruined this experience and i now hate what it represents. Used the free medical to get my std testing though! Since he will crucify me for divorcing and taking the kids, I can stay married, I’m not planning on dating. There’s still hopium left in the medicine cabinet, but I want to be settled elsewhere before it runs out, not be a heap of tears who can’t take action, knowing the laws will force me to stay.

                He has handled a lot of crap by reacting (forgiveness not permission), and as the sahm, I’ve been hog tied by these reactions. This is his chance to man up frankly. He needs to get his balls out of his mother’s purse and commit to us or not see us as much. The lack of boundaries in the business/family/personal life of my in laws is icky. We lived away from them for 15 yrs, and it was fine. Once she lured him back, I was out. He’s unable to manage that he’s his mother’s (ew) life partner. He has called my plan to relo vindictive, victim restitution, bullshit. But who is going to protect me? And by not feeling safe, how am I the best parent to my chipmunks? I’ve cried a river over the last 18mos, and I know there’s a lot more loss to come. As a card carrying chump, I still hope my h swoops in and does the right thing, joins us and keeps the family intact. Cue today’s tears before 2d coffee.

                While he canoodled under the guise of work, he never checked in with, “homework done? Everyone taken care of? Fever broken? Teachers conferences ok?” because he knew the home front was under control. He was free to play, he never had to end a tryst early with, “I’d love to tuck my babies in, see ya later”. I need to remember that. So mil views him as super committed to the business. The flip side is my breaking free will mean less time with my kids. My h has fucked up a lot of lives and I have to react. Or am I being proactive? My head is spinning.

              • iPad saved my name change from Nic – I’m a rock star is Nic. If I say it it will be so. Sigh.

              • Nic/RockStar, have you consulted with a lawyer about what your rights and responsibilities are while still married? And if separated? Depending on the province you’re in, custody laws vary a lot, but pretty much anywhere, if you move with the kids without his permission and he decides to get nasty, he probably has the law on his side. (Since you’re the mom, I hope you’re in Ontario, where default is kids stay w/primary caregiver, other parent gets some time. Here in Quebec, default is half the time to each parent, often one week on, one off. That’s one of the reasons I stayed w/the ex so long … until the kids were of age (12 ys old) to chose living arrangements/custody for themselves.)

                But if you can possibly manage it, moving away will be so helpful, to you and your kids. As you said, if he comes to you, that says a lot about him and his commitment to his kids and you ….

      • Samantha, loved your last paragraph. A lot of us here have three! And years with children do go fast, the hardest thing when crap hits is to be present. When my ex abandoned his family my firstborn was a junior in college, my youngest a junior in HS and my middle child graduating from HS. On parents weekend you know when your child tries out the college they’ve chosen (where they stay in the dorms, meet professors, and sit in on classes) my child and I travelled 400 miles to check his school out.. Well that was the same weekend ex (Shithead) decided he would not be paying for his son’s tuition. (All his money was going to OW and his great new life. Yeah.) That weekend at night I slept in the back seat of my son’s forerunner while he slept in the dorm, and decided that if this were the school my kid wanted to attend I would do anything to make it happen. Looking back I can see that hard times just made the kids and I that much closer and though we all struggle financially (three kids in college at the moment, woohoo!) we make every effort to plan a vacation together every two years, usually around Christmas. I have a lot to be thankful for and these kids will always be my priority. Their dad is fast becoming a memory. The one they knew and admired. Now, not so much.

        • Drew, for 2 years all 3 of my kids were all in college for at the same time. my ex paid NOTHING, NIL,ZERO, NADA, NOTHING!!! Not even for a flipping pencil or notebook. Two of them lived on campus…I bought (or rather charged) everything they needed. I helped pack and move them in. Then I helped unpack and move them back home. And then did it again. Why? because they are over 18 and his financial obligations are over and he was not going to be their back account. Why should he? After all, they were being disrespectful to him for not being happy for his new-found love and life. As the judge said in court on D-Day….”There are both legal and moral obligations to being a parent.” That’s right, he couldn’t force him to pay b/c they are adults. But morals is something my ex apparently does not have. Plus he was too busy using his $$ to take the OW on trips and buy a new car, new house, new tattoo, new jewelry…..crazy!! Thing is, this is her 4th marriage (and she is only 52)….boy did she find another sucker!!!
          Don’t ask he how, but somehow we are making it. Finances are horrible, penny by penny and day by day. My kids work and pay for alot of their own things. One works fulltime now. The other 2 work part time, play sports and both made dean’s list. I am BEYOND PROUD of what their doing and how hard they have worked to become the great people they are despite their A-hole father. And yup, he’s missing it all!! Oh my, I am in tears right now…it just makes my blood boil that he told my daughter in an email a few yrs ago “Just remember who gave you the good times, that’s right it wasn’t your mother.” I get blamed for everything but my kids know, boy do they know…and we are such a strong family for it.

  • Nat1

    Cringed when reading, sure you were made to be the one who turned your kids “away” from him and that is why they didn’t want to go to the wedding, he tried to invite them. You and your kids know what really went on, that is all that matters.

    They have disappointing grandparents, that is over the top from them.

    So many get a lot of pay in pain for a cheater. Just remember, you and your kids know what really went on. Your ex can’t take it out of your memories.

    He is a complete loser.

  • from a cheater not for

    Also, mind did this, was looking like a normal dad and when I found out he turned into someone else and walked off out of all of our lives. He cut off from our kids completely, they were in their late teens. He is just now he thinks in their lives if you can count a gift card mailed in someones life.

    They know I was there, they said I am their only parent, they consider him dead.

    He made all the choices himself, when I told him it would mentally harm our kids he scoffed.

    Well, you live with your choices.

    Nat1 I found it is easier to not have to deal with them, he sort of gave you all a gift.

  • My kids attended the wedding. Though it was really the reception cause ex and OW had already snuck off months before to a local jop on Friday, the 13th. Lol. My kids overheard snarky comments re OW. Ex was her third husband, la la la. I think not running interference allows children to make up their own minds re their relationship with their father. He does only show up for events that reflect well on him, Graduations, etc. but my kids are beginning to see through it and are out for themselves. Kids are resilient, and they know what’s up. I asked my kids if they had enjoyed going -my kids are foodies and I was hoping they at least had a great meal 🙂 -and they said they had snuck out to the bar downstairs, had a few drinks, and watched a game together. Which is why they all went. They got to see each other.

  • My situation is a bit opposite. My kids are 23, 20 and 12. For their entire lives, he has been the worst father ever. Never around; when he was around, didn’t do anything with them anyway. Never. Now? Since he’s been with his whore? He is SUPERDAD! No lie! He calls them all of the time; always wants to see them now; and is suddenly the father that he never was. Can someone explain this to me?

    • My ex did this. I think he was distancing himself from the responsibility in case the kids didn’t turn out to be decent, productive members of society. It’s like a preemptive blame shift.

      Also, he’s allergic to work, and teenagers require a lot of work. If there’s credit to be taken after the job’s done, it’s pretty easy to show up and take a bow.

    • Guilt.

      Also, some men do more for their kids after divorce. I guess being apart makes them think about how much time they should spend with their kids.

      • I hoped this would be the case with my ex, but no …..

        When this stuff happens, I always want to see how long it lasts, and will that parent be there through the hard stuff as well as the good times.

        • Karen,
          No, I seriously think we were married to clones, cause most of your entries match my x to a T. My freak shows little to no guilt. He is sparkly and should just be taken as such by my young, adult kids. Sometimes I think that Choosing to do Evil makes them retarded. My kids saw, heard and know all the shit that he did. Even when he tried to explain “it” to them they both were amazed that he would spew that kind of shit. I believe that x thinks that he is in his late teens, early twenties, and that my kids would “understand” what he is going “through”, because they are those ages.

    • my exH as well. He was a decent father/partner in general actions (changed diapers, cooked dinner etc), but was not emotionally there. I got the blame for that… he was unhappy, became distant.
      So… now that he is “happy,” he is the Disneyland dad.

      • Yup, mine too. Couldn’t be bothered with our child for the last few years and now? – oh gosh I’m so involved and la de da. Give me a break.

        He’s a loose nut.

        I’m all about second chances. I’d really like to believe my STBX is going to show up and be that “great dad” and honestly, this would be a real gift to our child.

        Reality? Not likely. Unless there is some immediate benefit to him he won’t show up. I think for the most part it’s guilt based. And that guilt is transitional. It passes. Cheaters have to have a good denial system and guilt is a “useless” emotion. So I don’t believe it lasts in the long run. Eventually all cheaters reveal their true selves.

        • I don’t even think it’s guilt, for the most part. I think they know it LOOKS bad to be dumping their kids along with their ex, and they can’t stand LOOKING bad. So they make all sorts of sparkly efforts to be the greatest parent ever, the most fun, the best! But because it isn’t based in love, caring, and real interest in the kids, it doesn’t last that long. Sometimes they can convince their new partner to do most of the actual childcare, that seems to work a little better as far as consistency …

      • Same here, zyx. He was there to parent in body but not in spirit.

        Now? He and the Owife are hellbent to prove that their tawdry affair that resulted in the split of two families with young children was “meant to be.” EVERYTHING is a frickin’ party with those two clowns. Holidays like Valentine’s Day, where I’d put a little treat in my kids’ lunches with a note, are parties with heart-shaped foods and little presents, etc. at their house. It’s like they’re parenting on steroids. Everything has to be FUN with a capital F because they are great parents!

        Never mind that they basically neglected their kids when they were running out to get a little strange after meeting online. But yeah, that was my fault. Now that he’s with his soulmate, he’s the perfect daddy. *barf*

        • The neglecting the kids, yes!
          The year exH and I split custody (going through the divorce), STBXH apparently ignored the kids when they were with him… constantly texting and on the computer talking to OW, who lived in another state. As daughter told me, the kids were constantly “left to their own devices, literally. [allowed to be on the TV, computer, whatever, as no one was watching them]

          It broke my heart when I heard that. No wonder daughter did not want to attend the wedding.

  • “Also, he’s allergic to work, and teenagers require a lot of work. If there’s credit to be taken after the job’s done, it’s pretty easy to show up and take a bow.”
    Truer words were never spoken in the case of my lazy-ass STBX. The only time he would ever do a damn thing was when it benefited HIM.

  • I think the OW may be to blame, too. She might be laying down the law as to how he treats her and how the kids have to respect her. It’s much easier for a hot young thing who’s been giving you lots of sex to pout and get her way.

    Not that any of that excuses the parent for wanting the sex more than his kids.

    I’ve seen advice for step-families that tells the parents they need to put their marriage first, before the kids. I think this is disastrous advice for someone who is marrying an affair partner.

    Kids have a right to be furious at the person who broke up their family. Small kids may not care, but teenagers are idealist and very concerned with hypocrisy. They are old enough to understand that this new person did something bad and to be repulsed by love that comes at the expense of their old family and its love. They are old enough to see if you are unhappy. They have brains to make judgments in all this.

    Anyhow, a couple that is marrying after breaking up a family, should put in the time and effort to accommodate the kids. They should acknowledge what they did. It is not a comfortable thing to go through. It’s probably a lot like having your partner be mad at you about the affair, only worse.

    I don’t think most people who cheated and are justifying it to themselves will see it this way. Advise-givers should at least.

    (Although in general, I would advise a parent who broke up their marriage with an affair to dump the affair partner, get counseling, and then start over looking for a healthy relationship.)

    • AMEN. That is exactly what my children said to my ex; if he got his act together, showed real remorse, atoned and tried to straighten out his life and found someone else down the road – they would be much more open to it. But as long as he was playing happy homewrecker with his OW – they were out. Funny how smart kids are.

      • Someone taught those kids that there are consequences for actions, and I am pretty sure it was not your ex.

      • Same here Char. The last time my kids saw their father (they saw him only twice in 2 years) he admitted he was still seeing one of his AP’s. So they decided that was the last they would see of him.

  • I am working so don’t have time to read all the replies but one thing my kids’ therapist has told them is that they can’t choose the parents they have, they simply need to accept them and learn to deal, no matter how that plays out. One sees ex, the other refuses to do so. Both are hurt by their respective choices but the only thing I can do is be there for them and make sure that at least I am remaining constant in love, support and not going off the rails.

  • Nat1 don’t worry too much. There’s many here in a similar position.

    My oldest son S18 has never met chainsaw man( I sometimes call him big ears now because he called me Noddy). He has enormous ears! We are now more than two years since d day. My youngest son S14 had the unfortunate experience of big ears just show up while he was staying at mums. He locked himself in the bed room.

    Like your kids they just don’t want anything to do with him.
    Groceries keeps saying what a wonderful man he is. WONDERFUL PEOPLE DO NOT FUCK OTHER MEN’S WIVES. That’s very simple behaviour that the boys undertsand.

    Big ears is also the reverse of what you have on your plate. He’s nearly old enough to be groceries father. The boys see the old bugger mowing the lawns etc

    The boys won’t allow him at footy matches, and they only go to mums if he is away or not at the house. It’s their rules. They put up the boundaries. They gone from staying with her half the time to 40 – 50 nights a year. She lives at the end of the street. Big ears moved in last November. Therefore it’s no longer just mums house. The boys feel like guests and they had no say in him moving in. They don’t like that.

    The boys like the truth. They like been involved in all decisions. They want the freedom to have their mates over to stay. If I moved a GF in then she would have a foot print in the house and the boys wouldn’t want that. I’ve seen it over and over again. Be the loyal parent, the kids need. It’s bloody hard work but its hugely rewarding.

    As my therapist says our exes totally change their value systems. What we rate as important they don’t rate as highly. We have to deal with a new person one totally different to who we were married to. It’s their choices in the end and they ( and us and the kids unfortunately) have to live with the consequences.

    They will promote themselves as good parents but you just need to look at their behaviour. They will expect kids to conform but when they reach a certain age the kids have power to make their own decisions. Most of the time they are right.

    It appears in both our cases the OW and Big Ears just took what they wanted. They didn’t care about our kids. Now they have what they wanted they want to be “seen” to be doing the right thing. They are wing nuts.

    I work continuously to encourage the boys to take every opportunity to be woth their mum but she keeps wanting to play with big ears. They therefore take that on board and deal with it. They don’t have a choice

    When big ears moved in I received an email from groceries instructing me to encourage the boys to stay on their normal nights even though big ears will be there. That’s not our responsibly. I feel a responsibility to encourage the boys to maintain a heathy relationship with their mother only. Big ears can get fucked. He had zero respect for me and the feelings mutual.

    Keep being a sensational Mum

  • My ex-wife, a serial cheater, is getting married in the next few months. I hate myself, for not telling my kids the truth about why we divorced, I thought I was protecting them but I realize I was protecting my ego. They are now both going through confusion and struggling. My son needs to go to rehab for alcohol and drug addiction, but the ex wife has insisted we put it off until after her fairytale wedding. Our daughter is little miss perfect, she’s rebelling by being perfect in order to be loved and noticed.

    My ex has pretty much abandoned them. She’s leaving them behind with me to go live in another state with the new husband. My daughter, freaked out that this new soon to be step dad has guns all over the house when she went for a weekend visit with her mom.

    It’s Texas, my ex wife explained to her. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    • Heartbreaking, P.F. Do what is best for your children NOW. Find a counselor where you can all talk about how this has affected your life. And wow, your ex is a serial cheater not because of anything YOU did. And she is NOT moving away from your children because of anything THEY did. Best thing I ever did was start telling the truth. Just the facts P.F. Recognize that children need to know YOU will never abandon them and start by doing the hard work now. Routines. Eat dinner together. Every night. Stay present. Be kind to yourself. Take your kids to the gym, learn a new sport together. Stay present. I know one day you will look back and you will see how far you have come. You and those precious blessings of yours.

    • Never too late to tell the kids, P.F., and it might be helpful to their getting their heads, hearts and lives straightened out. And it will help them in understanding that her abandoning them is about HER, not them. You start with ‘There’s something I didn’t tell you before, but that I think you need to know ….’.

      Ex-wife has insisted that TREATMENT for your son’s addictions should wait until after her wedding? That is a SICK SICK SICK puppy. More ‘all about her’ is impossible! Unless she has to consent or she’s paying for the rehab, you should ignore that and get your son the help he needs as fast as you can! (In my jurisdiction, kids 14 and up don’t need parental consent for any kind of treatment.)

  • Schmoopapalooza. One for the record books, CL.

    Nat1, it’s true, it really sucks for the kids. I feel for yours, and given that you are the responsible parent, I feel for you (that whole thing about kids being your heart walking around out there on two legs…and how it doesn’t seem to apply apply to cheater “parents”, aka gamete donors. Yeah, that.)

    I can offer some experience from a slightly older child (therefore–please God–somewhat more in perspective)–who also has a really good therapist. My kiddo, nearly 22, just got up and walked out of the restaurant when her Fuckchuck dad visited her at college just to tell here he has a new GF and is moving to the opposite coast…the one on the opposite side of the country from flying to Europe where she is about to move, permanently. The choices these people make!

    Both Fuckchuck and his new buddy are unlikely to procreate, she being 50 and in possession of a progressive illness. I pity you that little extra bit of…joy. So sorry.

    But the kids do get it, and the older they get, the more they see what’s what. My niece for example told Fuckchuck’s older brother OldFuckchuck that he would not be welcome at all at her wedding if he brought his hoe-faced mistress, and when he left her home, she still would not walk down the aisle with him. And she never permitted him to come visit her in the UK where she lived with her husband, with or without hoe-face.

    This niece is now about 35, married about 10 years. So you see…they get it. They know what a loyal parent is.

    And I reinforce the message verbally and via PMs and texts: ” I love you, I will always be here for you; I know you may be feeling reliability-challenged right now, with good reason, but I promise I have your back.” Stuff like that. And I mean it. And, I tell her I am so, so sorry she has to deal with what is on her plate. Because that is really the truth.

    As much as we want to, we can’t fix what is wrong with their other parent for them, or mediate that relationship. (Heaven knows we tried…that’s why many of us are chumps.) But we can validate their reality without being too terribly shitty about the other parent, and tell them we know it’s a hard thing to live through. And we can find them excellent support services, like therapists, who are not us, that they can be honest with and work it out.

  • Two years ago my husband was asked to stand in a wedding for a friend that at 50 had left his wife and 2 teenage daughters for a 26 year OW that he was marrying. Husby wasn’t excited but agreed. It was the wedding from hell.

    So we go to this wedding which was comprised of groom’s elderly parents and 50-60 year old brothers, the bride’s family and her friends – friends who generally ranged in age from 20-28. Groom’s friends were scarce.

    The highlights of the occasion:

    My husband looked like a perv as he and brother groomsman had to escort 23 year old bridesmaids on their arm.

    During the wedding party pics, the bride gets all snarky /shitty at the groom’s brother. Husby is like, “what’s that about”? I bet him $10 that bride hated BIL cuz he probably told groom at some point that he was an A-hole for leaving wife and kids, and groom shared that gem with bride. Got my $10 by the end of the week.

    One of groom’s teen daughters refused to attend and the other was in the wedding. So here’s this pretty 9th grade girl standing up with the b-maids during the ceremony, while the bride and groom stated their original vows – to each other – like the groom stating to his OW/Bride in front of daughter whose life was turned inside out: ” I knew the moment I met you that my life was complete.. I loved you the day I met you…” Obviously didn’t mention that OW was tutor for daughters and he stayed with wife another year until she found out and threw him out. All I could do not to walk up there and smack the shit out of the guy during his wedding.

    And last not least, the groom gets a priceless cell phone call from his exwife during his wedding reception. Daughter #1 who didn’t attend, just got busted for underage drinking at a party that was raided. And oh by the way, he needed to drop whatever he was doing and go and sign her out of jail – his XW reminded him that it was his night to have the kids for visitation. POW.

    Husby had enough after that wedding and we haven’t seen groom since.

  • I wish my crazy ex and his wife/mistress would leave us alone. But both seem hellbent on this notion that I’m a ‘BAD MOM’ and have taken me back to court in hopes of gaining full custody.

    As for farce wedding, not only did my 9 year old have to attend, she was in the wedding as a junior bridesmaid… Cherry on top – those two took daughter to 4 hours of pre-marital counseling with them, so she could be told how much GOD wants her to support and honor this marriage

    • Yeah, don’t you know for Jesus cheaters The Ten Commandments are strictly pick and choose? Hypocritical assholes…

  • My CH left me for a while when our boys were 3, 1, and newborn. He said he had found “the one”! Barf! He wanted to take my boys to her house and I freaked out. My wise friend said to let them go. I kept the newborn home but let the one year old and three year old go. My husband also took his 8, 9, and 10 year old boys from his first wife too. Well, Claudia must have really enjoyed her time with the 5 boys (and the thought of a newborn at home). She didn’t want to see my husband anymore after that! Lol!
    If only Chump Lady had been writing back then, I would have realized that I could have just quick the pick me dance and gone on with my life. But I took him back.

  • I am so glad for this post. This is my situation exactly. And the only explanation that I have come up with for why a parent could just discard his own flesh and blood, as though they never existed. It is so complicated for them, it is incredibly painful to watch your kids go through that kind of rejection. And I feel so guilty for picking him in the first place, but well, I didn’t think it would turn out this way then anyway. But you are right. When raising teens and young adults gets messy…when they grow into minds of their own, when their bullshit alarms become realized, when they have lives that don’t revolve around the narc parent…out the door he goes. Just can’t take the heat – and yes, it’s a loveless task to do this on your own. But that’s what good parents do, that’s what families do. They don’t bail when it gets tough. And I see the former in laws being loyal to him as their son – a loyalty he does not even display himself. It’s crazy making! And I can say it’s crazy – but for my kids? Way more complicated, and way more hurtful. This is their blood, and it is seriously fucked up. Ugh.

    • And I see the former in laws being loyal to him as their son – a loyalty he does not even display himself.

      Good point!

      • When my X left in October of 2012, I made a point of telling my MIL to be a grandmother and not feel like she wasn’t still part of our family. When the kids still didn’t hear from her last Easter I made my kids send an email to make sure she was ok, wish her happy easter, send an update of their lives etc. her response…” How can you be such horrible girls to your father, he is so sad”. Not once have any of them, their own dad included, asked how they were coping. Clearly they had less reason to be sad when compared to their poor father!!

  • I feel so horrible for these kids whose parent has walked out on them. Like it’s not bad enough being a chump. Kids don’t get to choose their parents and sometimes that is very unfortunate.

    My dday went down when my kids were 23 and 20. I didn’t divorce the cheater ex until 3 years later. My oldest opted to live with me because his normal routine is closer to where I live now than where we used to live as a family. My youngest moved out of our house shortly after I left and got a place with a friend. Their dad hasn’t cut them out of his life but they don’t have much to do with him. My youngest is very confused by the way his dad thinks and has referred to him as a coward on a few occasions.

    It’s sad that he feels that way but I guess I also feel lucky that this didn’t happen when they were young because these stories are so heart wrenching. I have never been more moved by the stories on this site or more impressed at how everyone has handled the aftermath of their cheating fuckwits with regards to their children. Chump nation really is mighty!

    • I agree. Parents need to do what is BEST for their children no matter what and I think we need to recognize that no amount of spackle is going to make a poor parent better. I was guilty of this now I sit back and watch the whole show. I have stopped making excuses and tell my children that you can only count on people who show up. And to rely on yourself. Because at the end of the day you need to be your own hero. No one else can do that. That is what I’ve learned. Our children are going to be hurt. Allow them to own their feelings. Let them know it’s okay to grieve. Hopefully they will soon learn to surround themselves only with people who truly care about them.

      • “You can only rely on people that show up”

        How true is that statement. Groceries shells out extra money to S18 but that’s about it.
        It’s peanuts though. I’ve taken them to NZ amd Queensland and to the footy every home game.

        You have to be very present in their life as they need you but not a helicopter parent

  • Thank you everyone! I am all at once overwhelmed, saddened, gladdened, inspired and healed by your responses to my letter and all your stories. When I wrote the letter to the wonderful Chump Lady, I was on the tip of falling into that abyss again that comes every so often, but somehow I avoided it. Easter with family, taking my youngest daughter to watch the footy on Easter Monday (even though his team beat ours!!!!Some bastards get everything don’t they!) Even with a couple of shitful sleepless nights, the day passed with barely a thought of him AND I have still managed to resist the urge of looking for gossip on the all the regular social media. My girls amaze me because they are so level headed and are beautiful high achievers and I am incredibly proud and honoured to be their mum. It IS his loss and I know I need to stop trying to understand him, I loved Nomar’s comment about us chumps overestimating the damage. Oh my gosh if I could remember that, I reckon I would stop making myself crazy and just just enjoy the wonderful life I have. I’m going to re read and re read everything you have all said and learn it all off by heart. We might be chumps but were pretty fucking powerful. Thank you.

  • My dad realised he was gay about 15 years into my parents’ marriage, Mum didn’t find out until one of the guys he was screwing turned up at our house one night and apparently was blackmailing my dad, so somehow he ended up staying the night? Mum found out soon afterwards why the weird guy turned up – I think Dad had to tell her, as this guy was after money for silence (we all were a bit perplexed at why this guy came and stayed in our guestroom?) This was about 17 years into the marriage, an otherwise pretty good one, they did actually love each other, they tried to stay together, about another year-eighteen months, when Mum realised she was staying with someone and, oh dear, she had the wrong equipment! She asked him to leave, just shy of 19 years of marriage. I was off to uni, so thought it didn’t matter, very cool about it all. After all, Dad was a distant, quiet and undemonstrative father, and she was the opposite, loving, caring, fun, funny-and-stable as fuck! Two younger brothers still at high school though. He just walked away. Mum and I ran the farm until I left for uni, and then Mum was able to sell, Dad’s guilt was so bad, he gave extra in the divorce settlement, so she and my brothers were well set up. However, I still to this day don’t know if he ever paid any child support? I think he did for a while? I know Mum spackled, not about the reasons for the divorce, they sat us all down, one at a time, and together they told us the truth, I imagine Mum made him do that. No more lies. But, she tried to make us “stay in touch.” Dad pretty much fucked off, and we only saw him on Christmas Day, when Mum forced us to go visit him. This must have gone on for a few years, I partnered up, and was never in the same place as him, had a few kids, so we must have gone at least a decade with NC, as I think he turned back up when my eldest was about six, which was eleven years into my relationship. Eventually, somehow, he turned up back in my life, to a degree. Dad is not a happy chappy. He has drifted from one thing to the next, boom and bust, a multi-millionaire for a few years, running several successful businesses, then BOOM! almost bankrupt, then money is back again. This has happened at least three times, and now he is in his 70s, he is on a bust round again, with little chance of making it back at his stage of life. He used to turn up at odd times, sometimes ringing me in tears, in the middle of the night, because his lover, who was a year older than me, a greasy, alcoholic nobody, with anger management issues, had punched a hole in the wall, or driven off somewhere in a drunken stupor, in the sports car Dad had just bought for him, insert fuckedupness here. My partner and I would always open our home to him, I would wait for him to drive the two and a half hours to our place, have a bed with fresh linen, make him a cup of tea, talk to him to calm him down, when we were to be up at 5am to milk cows, often with a small person teething, or not sleeping, hell, we didn’t need the extra sleep. When my D-day hit, nearly five years ago, I just decided I wasn’t going to have anything to do with Dad anymore. He’s not a bad person, he’s just a fuckup. I have enough fuckups in my life, and he is never happy. He comes to me when he is especially unhappy, to cry on my shoulder. I wore that for about fifteen years, and I won’t anymore. Mum was an awesome woman, and she was that rock that we always relied on, who always had our backs, and our fronts, and our sides! She eventually remarried someone who made her VERY happy for eleven years. I miss her terribly. She died suddenly at just 55, 13 years ago, and whilst I have been going through the utter cesspit of despair since my partner’s affair, I have missed her wisdom and love more than ever. My brothers are scattered to the wind, and I have no family to support me, the people I considered friends couldn’t get away fast enough, so I have been slogging through this solo. I didn’t need my depressed and needy father to add to my pity party, lol! And if my children’s father thinks his affair did them no harm, I just quietly mention that I thought my father’s didn’t do that much damage either, but look at what happens to your coping mechanisms when the shit hits the fan later in life. I always “knew” men were untrustworthy, that was my father’s lesson to me, and I learnt it well. But, of course, I thought I had found THE ONE, the only guy who wouldn’t let me down, and I gave and gave and gave, until he took it all. Twenty-six years later, here we are, I am a member of the Chump Nation. The sane parent sure does make life “normal” and functional, but even deluded people like myself, who thought that a deadbeat dad was no drama, learn later that there are shit sandwiches still, but the best thing is, they’ve been rotting away for later 🙂 To keep my three, who are young adults and teens, from this pain is something no parent can guarantee, but having a lying cheating arsehole for a parent isn’t the best form of prevention………or maybe it is, I thought so. I thought I knew what to look out for, I thought I was smart, and wouldn’t take any shit!

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