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Dear Chump Lady, Santa isn’t visiting his crappy apartment

Dear Chump Lady,

My D-Day was in August 2014. My husband was always a terrible liar. It was a running joke in our marriage. It was funny because it was true. So, it didn’t take me long at all to unravel the truth. He was cheating for 3 months when I found out. And, luckily, I found you and the entire Chump Nation in September. I googled something about kids and divorce and up popped your post about “Kids eating the biggest shit sandwich”. I was hooked on the site from that day forward.

We are coming up on the holidays. I am especially concerned about Christmas. Stupid asswipe has chosen his ugly downgrade of a OW over me — and our seven-year-old son. My son believes in Santa and Santa comes to OUR house, not the one-bedroom POS apartment he moved to which is 4 miles from HER house. He told me not long after I kicked him out that he only had 2 days off from work: Thanksgiving and Christmas. He didn’t actually ask to see our son, but that’s what he intimated, I think. 

Do I have an obligation to let him see our son on Christmas Day? The custody has yet to be determined, although I have asked for legal and physical custody and he has been served. I was thinking that he can see his son AFTER Christmas during the weekend. I am just afraid it will be a shitty thing for my son to go through. It’ll be our first in this new reality. Any recommendations to help me? I have a backbone, but it’s getting soft when I think about the holidays and my son.


Dear Connie,

As everyone is aware, Santa has a Naughty and Nice list. The North Pole takes a dim opinion of men who walk out on young children. In fact, Christmas is on a tiered adjudication system. For “naughty” infractions, Santa delivers coal in your stocking. But for really heinous crimes, like child abandonment, Santa throws the offender in a sack and delivers him to his labor camps above the Arctic Circle. There he will be forced to make “Rock n Roll” Elmo dolls for eternity.

Most crappy apartments don’t have chimneys, so your ex might be spared this fate. But I certainly wouldn’t risk it and let your son spend Christmas with him. (“Where’s Daddy?!” Santa shanghaied him. Could be scarring.)

Santa justice aside, you don’t have a signed court order that specifies holiday arrangements. As you seem to have physical custody of your son, I’d say the ball is in your court about exactly when the douchebag sees his kid for Christmas. If Saturday or Sunday suits you, make it then. If he is vexed by this, let him go get a court injunction and explain his extra-marital co-habitation to the judge. Somehow for a guy who only has two days off during the holidays, I doubt he’ll make this a priority.

If your ex complains, just turn that Christmas tune “Dominick the Donkey” up really loud into the phone. He should wilt and shy away.

Enjoy your fucktard-free holiday!


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • You Rock!!! Thank you!! What I also foresee happening is that he will ask to come to the house on Christmas Day to watch our son open presents. As much as I would want “normal” for my son, that is no longer normal and I will have to say NO. He is one of those that just left. NO crocodile tears and no mindfuckery that is so prevelent here. NO, going NC was easy because he wouldn’t talk to me. He is very much trying to protect his image…..still shows “married” on Facebook. Hasn’t deleted any photos of me or anything. Hasn’t told any of his friends and actually avoids some of them. He used to spend every night while I was working the night shift (after homeschooling all day) on the phone with her….actual conversations that my son could overhear and texts. But now, he doesn’t call after dinner time on the days he does call to talk to our son. He goes to her house and he can’t have the two mingle now. Ironic really. Hypocritical to the Nth degree. I think he wants to be “Friends” but that ain’t happening. I want to out him so bad on Facebook but I am thinking of something a bit more classy and subtle- nicely done Christmas photo cards of just me and my son and sending it to everyone I know!!

    • I like your Christmas card idea. I would let everyone in your circle know, so that people have a chance to rally around and offer support to you and your son. You guys could use it now, especially with the holidays coming up. And take the opportunity with the dickwad being out of the picture to plan fun stuff for you and your son. Do the stuff that makes YOU guys happy and fuck your ex husband. He can see your son on the weekend, sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

      • I used the holiday card to inform folks about the split. A nice collage of photos of me and the kids, and on the back within the blurb of our activities that year, I noted that STBXH and I had “parted ways” and remained committed to be good co-parents to the kids.

        I was at least; exH moved away and it now attempting to get the kids the entire summer.

        I DO NOT have joint holidays. We had Thanksgiving together 4 months post split, at my house with STBXH’s family, and I was very uncomfortable. Ex kept texting the OW as she was out of state, and sister in law kept asking ex about his travel, etc.

        I suggest the split the day approach, or Christmas Eve and Day separate. ExH’s family always celebrates Christmas Eve, so that made it easy. He took kids that evening and had them back for bed since youngest was a believer and wanted to wake up at “home.”

        • All of my friends and co-workers knew what ex had done– Walked out (after 25 years of marriage) on me and our 3 children after being caught really leading a double life, neck deep in very long term affairs. He too never looked back or cried one tear. But he also wanted to keep his image and resisted telling his own friends or co-workers. I told everyone I felt like telling, which included my friends, co-workers, neighbors, the man who cut my grass, the hairdresser, etc. You get the idea.

          By our first Christmas we were already divorced (I filed as soon as he left, and we were divorced in a little over 4 months from D-day, so quickly did he want out!). That year, I got some cards from several of his friends/co-workers who he had not told, and who thought we were still together.

          I sent each of them a card back, from me and our children. I added a handwritten note on a separate piece of paper telling them that: “Unfortunately, [ex] has decided to leave our family to pursue other interests, and we are now divorced. Our children and I are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”

          Oh and NO joint holiday (not that my ex even asked, my kids were so disgusted with him they did not want to see him and he never tried very hard anyhow).

          • Unfortunately, [ex] has decided to leave our family to pursue other interests, and we are now divorced. Our children and I are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

            Totally brilliant. This makes you look classy, and him look like the jackass who would leave a family to pursue other interests.

            LOVE it.

            • Thanks Miss Sunshine! In person I couldn’t help spilling my guts, but in these cards I could be classy yet feel powerful that I spoke out,

    • He DEFINITELY WILL want to come to your house for presents. My ex actually expected me to allow him back in the house to sit in OUR living room and have Christmas with my girls WHILE I STAYED UPSTAIRS! You know – because I was such a “downer” and couldn’t just see he needed to be “happy” and wouldn’t “forgive and move on with my life.’ This was – I should mentions – 6 months after D-day and 3 months after he moved in with the OW who had abandoned her husband and two children to be with him their own version of the crappy little apartment 2 miles up from our family home.

      So take advantage of the control you have currently – he can just sit and enjoy his mistress on Christmas. You deserve the chance to start building your own new family traditions with your son. Don’t be surprised if it’s still painful – Christmas brings out the most vulnerabilities in chumps because of the sentimentality of the season – but shove it aside for the sake of your little boy and have a wonderful, magical and loving (if Merry just doesn’t seem likely) Christmas together! Stay strong, Connie!

      • These people–they choose to lie, cheat, disrespect the people whom they are supposed to love. And then they expect to have all the good times, the special events, the holidays, as if nothing had happened. The nerve of your X to suggest you stay upstairs…

    • Oh, Connie–keep that backbone firm. He isn’t done yet. Believe me, avoiding the mindfuckery the rest of us suffer through would be worth a great deal of money but I’m worried your soon-to-be-X may just be having a delayed reaction. As soon as your and his family learns of his “single” status (the Christmas card with just you & son is brilliant), the full consequences of his actions and his inability to further do “damage control” of his image will lead him to behave in the usual idiot ways that cheaters do. Surround yourself with support, get your son (and you) to a therapist asap–I suspect you’re going to need it.

      • Oh wow. Your comment made my heart pound out of my chest.That terrifies me. I pray there is no delayed reaction but I totally see that it’s a possibility. Our families know….because I told them. He refused. He still isn’t talking to his family hardly at all. His world has become his job and the new friends he is creating there and HER.

        I told our son when the time was right so damage control with him is over. I will not keep his filthy secret. I will be the sane, consistent, honest parent in my son’s life. Damn him! Thanks to Chump Nation, I found the right words when my son said out of the blue one evening, “I can’t wait until Daddy comes home”. I told him that Daddy wasn’t coming home and when he asked me why I told him, “When mommies and Daddies are married they aren’t allowed to have boyfriends/girlfriends. Your Daddy has a girlfriend so we aren’t going to be married anymore”. There were follow-up questions from my son and I asnwered as best I could. My STBXH about shit when I told him. What the hell did he expect? Oh yeah, he expected me to lie! I found out that my son had asked HIM when he was coming home and he just said, “I’m not” and offered no more information.

        • WHAT A FUCKER.

          These jackasses are all the same. What matters to them is their image, not the extreme emotional damage and distress they inflict on anyone else–not even their own children.

          There is really something wrong with people like that. Like [pointing to my head] totally fucked up in there. They look ok, but they are BROKEN in the brain.

          My ex is in that camp of walk-away spouses who did not torture me with false reconciliations and lies. Once DD went down, it was all over. He’d become committed to her, and off he went. And, like so many of these walk-aways, he very much wants to keep things on the down-low with his home-wrecking twat troll–even with his own kids. Those two parts of his life DO NOT MIX. And it is so strange. But the kids just take him for what he is. In a way, I admire him for not rubbing their noses in his new life. On the other hand, he’s a fucking coward. I’m truly devastated for my kids, and particularly the youngest, who absolutely worshiped his dad until the very moment he heard the truth, reluctantly admitted by his father. My boy was shattered–fell to the floor in a heap, as if someone had taken a baseball bat to his knees. That would have been less painful. He is highly functioning and very successful as a young man, but I fear there is a festering spot in his heart.

          For years I expected a delayed reaction. People would say (naive, but well-meaning people), “Oh, you KNOW he’s going to come crawling back to you!” But I know he won’t. He’s been with the downgrade for 4 years, now, and he hasn’t the balls to look me in the eye, let alone ask me for anything. He knows the answer would be stone-cold silence.

          I cannot imagine what goes through his mind in the darkness of night. It must suck to be him.

          • My ex was like yours Miss Sunshine, walked away without a backward glance. The description of what your youngest went through when he heard the truth brought tears to my eyes. My ex made a few pathetic attempts to see our children and when they resisted he just walked away from them as well, and seemed relieved he did not have to face even them. He has not seen our youngest son, now 15, once in the almost 3 years since D-Day. These freaks make me ill.

            As you say so very well:

            “I cannot imagine what goes through his mind in the darkness of night. It must suck to be him.”

          • My ex has done the walk away too, the very night of D-Day when I begged him to do counseling he refused; then I begged him to “stay with me anyway” and he said no because he “already ran the Sharing Idea by OW and she wouldn’t go for that,” my jaw dropped… but he never gave a backward glance, leaving behind me and 3 kids from my first marriage that he had co-parented for 16 years, and saying, “I don’t know what happened, in one minute I went from 100% committed to you to 100% committed to her.” Friends have observed he stepped up to a bigger paycheck and w/o the competition of kids as he snarled at me she was a better girlfriend because she had “no children!”. My kids actually don’t miss him and are glad he is out of our lives as he was verbally abusive to all of us during the whole 16 years. But it still hurts, a year plus two months later, that he’s now living in OW’s new expensive house, and has forgotten us all and our entire sixteen years together. I have had weeks of Meh then recently took a backward turn, I don’t really know why. I trust that he sucks, I gave up on untangling his fuckedupness a long time ago, but still sometimes can’t process why he did this though my head knows he’s a cluster B fucktard and a parasite. It just sucks. But yes, not as bad as BEING HIM sucks.

            • The Coward also left his family for a childless twat. I think that what he really wanted in life was not to be a strong and dependable man of integrity, but a baby. Now he has a woman who, in his fantasy, will baby him.

              As for me, I will be alone until I find a strong and dependable man of integrity. Lord knows the ex was never that man.

              • Oh Lord!! this seems to be my XH too. i thought he was a man but he really just wanted someone to do everything for him. it doesnt seem to bother him that his girlfriend belongs legally to her husband (doesnt bother her either) she is doing everything for him that i did only she is not distracted by children, cleaning house, paying bills, etc. she can give her 100% attention to him, and their partying.

                how people can do that is just beyond my way of thinking. she left her children behind so she can drink, do drugs, stay up all night, sleep all day and fuck other people husbands. my XH left his kids and is doing the same only fucking other people wives. it seems like he has completely forgot about me and the boys. all i did for him for 14 years doesnt mean shit.

                plus it seems like he has zero consequences. he throws away 14 years and our marriage and our family. that is how he told our kids too when they asked him when is he coming home, all he said was i am not, with a you know i love you. i was the one that had to clean up his mess again, answering the childrens hard questions, dealing with the anger, confusion, whining and crying. talking to teachers and counselors to make sure my kids are okay. struggling to pay bills, work, clean house, wash laundry, buy groceries and everything. while he gets to skate off with this wonderful, married other woman who respects him so much more then i ever did. he gets to live life with zero responsibilities, zero punishment, zero pain while me and the kids are trying to uncurl ourselves off the bathroom floor. it just doesnt seem right.

        • Good for you telling your son the truth. Cockroaches like your husband (and all of our husbands/wives/exes) are scared of the light, which is exactly why we should cast it on them.

          I hope your husband stays away, but keep some emotional reserves if he doesn’t.

    • My STBX also still has married on his Facebook. In fact when I removed married from my status, he sent me a request saying to confirm married status. He also pitched a fit when I removed “wife” from my other social media. What is up with that?

    • Don’t let him come over for present opening. Hell to the NO on that. Do you have a burly brother or uncle or random bouncer to guard the door that day? Seriously, tell him it’s Saturday (or whatever day) and stick to that boundary. He lost the right to play Happy Family when he abandoned you both.

      • that is what i told mine on 4th of July. that it was a family day, he didnt choice this family. go spend time with your new family. you wanted those people not us. it didnt go over to well because of course his loving, respecting, protecting MOW told him what to say and then when he wasnt saying it right she took over (because after spending 14 years with someone i wasnt sappose to notice that his texting style mysteriously changed right in the middle of a conversation AND all of a sudden he learned how to spell words he has been misspelling for 14 years.)

        that was also when i got the “he divorced you, he did not divorce his kids” line. WTF last i checked when he left the house, moved in with her. that was including leaving the kids too. last i checked not coming home every night and spending any kind of time with the children, not paying child support and not visiting is called abandonment. *shrugs* but of course he didnt divorce the children.

        after the bullshit he pulled on the boys birthdays (having someone else deliver the balloons and cards at school so he doesnt have to hear my voice, talk to me or face me)…………i am not sure what to expect for christmas. but reading this today is super helpful!!!! i am prepared to say no, and go spend it with the family you choice over this family. after all THEY treat him so much better and with such respect that we never did.

        • Mrs Vain isn’t it amazing how they change the narrative. Of course I didn’t leave the kids. Just couldn’t be bothered being a part of their life, can only see them when I have nothing better to do. Once every 6 months seems to be adequate for being a parent… send them a text or facebook message every couple of months makes me a wonderful parent. NOT!!

          I too got texts from the other woman telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Telling me that I need to let go that she is his now blah blah fucketty blah. sweetheart you are most welcome to him. I started to see red though when the OW starting sending my kids messages about how they should be treating their dad, how they should prioritize him in their lives and how she is disgusted with them for not doing so… um.. he just up and left them not the other way around.

          Connie, I would just say no. He is not part of your family. I did the split Christmas day a couple of years ago. My kids had the morning at my place, got picked up just after lunch, lasted about an hour at his place and wanted to come home. Were home by 2.30. Haven’t spent a Christmas with him since. They chose not to.


            what is with these women who stalk and fuck another womans husband and then get all territorial? stupid asses. she “protects” him now from whatever i tell him. if i try to talk to him, she tells him what to answer. i never knew he was such a little baby that needed his gf/woman to tell him what to say, think and do.

            i know the shit is going to hit the fan one day. i am not sure when but it will and of course it will all be MY FAULT. like everything else was.

            although it hurts and kills me and has caused me so much pain……i do believe it is probably better for me and the kids. we dont see him. we dont have to talk to him. he is the kind of person who will let his girlfriend call and yell at me, and tell me all sorts of shit. he seems to get off on having someone “fight” for him and enjoys my pain.

            she is so much more fun and understanding to him. all she wants is a man who has zero responsibilities like her and who likes to party, drink and do drugs. Compared to me who was trying to get him to straighten up his act, and recognize he is fucking up.

            oh well his loss.

          • Jode70 – oh NO she is NOT contacting your children. You need to block that whore from having access to your children’s devices. If she continues, threaten her with charges of emotional abuse of your children. It’s bad enough they know she is the whore who knowingly contributed at least 50% of the shit that destroyed their immediate family, but now they have to put up with this bitch’s bullshit about what a WHORE thinks is “disgusting?!” LOOK IN THE MIRROR, WHORE!! There’s your pile of disgusting! Fuckers!! The fact that is asswipe DNA donor “dad” won’t even protect or defend his own blood from this bitch is enraging. Block that whore. Seriously. What this whore is doing is psychologically abusive to your kids.

  • Dear Connie,

    Last year my girls were in college when we were presented with the holiday dilemma. Since I was trying to regain my sanity at my brother’s home in woodsy CT, my STBX had rented a small two bedroom apartment in our town about 45 minutes south. I thought I’d be spending Christmas Eve by myself but my girls and X convinced me to join them at his place for as much merry-making as was possible. One daughter had a meltdown on Xmas Eve and we never made it to church and since Dad was singing in the choir, my other decided she didn’t want to be sitting by herself so the three of us girls, crawled into bed together and watched old movies. Not what any of us wanted to be doing! Christmas morning was like something out of surreal movie. He woke everyone up early and the girls opened presents and within half an hour he was bolting out the door for a 14 hour ride to see his lamby-kins.

    Luckily for the girls and me, we have a wonderful support system and we packed ourselves up and drove an hour to my sister’s house where we spent the rest of the day and overnight surrounded by the love of my family. This had been the plan from the start.

    This year I don’t forsee celebrating(?) with him at all. I now live within a mile of him so if the kids want to see him they can pop over and leave. But Christmas Day we will be once again celebrating with cousins and aunts and uncles and the giant sleepover.

    Good luck to you. Try to involve family and friends to make a new tradition for your son. It will be a difficult time but take it slow and remember to breathe.


  • Connie, we moved a lot when my kids were little. They asked a couple of times if Santa knew where they were. I told them he always knew where they were. Kids accept what is in front of them. Just decide where Santa is going to be and go with it. If douchbag wants to share tell him he threw that “right” in the trash along with his marriage. I don’t believe in starting WWIII but I don’t think being a doormat gets you anything but stomped on. Let the asshole find out what life is going to be like.

  • Even with my young adult daughter, the first separated thanksgiving Ex made *her* drive to his place for an extremely award and un-celebratory something or other (she said). This after a real Thanksgiving with me, my sister her kids and their SO’s, very lovely. But we cut it short for Mr. WingDing. What a mistake!
    It’s a memory we’ve both tried to shuffle to the back of the pile.

    All the more galling that: it was all on his terms, she had to rush around to suit him, and, turns out, the schedule was dictated by his new married-to-somebody-else Schmoopie.

    Ah yes, the family celebration with a fucktard. Not. I wouldn’t bother (although to be fair I didn’t have young kids who needed explaining at the time, and it wasn’t Christmas.) By Christmas she was ready to wash her hands. I still think she went for her last awkward meal, but that was it. Over, done, punkt.

    She & BF are talking about a trip to the US this summer including a x-country drive to visit friends in the Bay area, and I asked it she thought she’d visit her dad. She looked at me like she’d stepped in a dog turd with bare feet. Hells no!

    • As we enter the holidays, all we chumps need to remember that our cheaters sacrificed the right to have ANYTHING on their terms.

      Stand firm, chump brethren! (this is as much a pep talk for me as for the rest of you–only 7 weeks out from D-day and the holiday season fills me with dread of how badly wrong things can go if I let my jerk dictate what happens).

  • he left his family for some twat – no way should he be allowed to come to your house to enjoy the normal christmas he threw away however I do think he should be allowed to see him on christmas or christmas eve for a few hours where he can do whatever bullshit christmas shit he can come up with which I’m sure won’t be that great this will look good to the courts when you do go to court that you “support and encourage the relationship with the non-custodial parent”.

  • CL is right (per usual), but that said the holidays are tough…really emotional and you likely will be depressed. I am not too proud of a man to admit there were some tears when i went to bed alone thanksgiving night, and was more than frustrated christmas day due to my ex cheater calling my son every hour. So expect it to suck. But do what cl says on this one and enjoy your son.

    • Can you get some kind of agreement where she can’t call more than once when you have your kid, unless there’s an emergency?

      • Hah! Let her call once, then have son put the phone away. If there’s an emergency she can call 911 or the current guy she’s with.

        • In my step-parenting days, the kids’ mother interrupted every meal, every holiday with some crisis that required her to call the kids (to report that the water heater broke, etc). We finally made a rule about “no calling times,” not with his X but with the kids. It worked fine and eventually the calling stopped.

  • I tried being nice at first for my small children’s sake and letting him come over to my house to see them Thanksgiving/Christmas Day. If there is any way around doing that, I would highly recommend doing something else. Now we do what the court said- we are supposed to either split the holiday in half, or if we cannot do that, rotate holidays. We are still trying to do the split, though if this year goes like last year, we will probably end up having to rotate holidays. I don’t know what you are supposed to do before court orders are in place, but I wouldn’t want to give him any ammunition in court either! “She kept my son away from me on Christmas!” I would advise you to make some sort of offer to him – “You take Johnny at 3, and have him back at 8 in time for bed” or whatever. THEN, if he is too busy playing house with Schmoopie, YOUR lawyer can say in court – “He had time offered on Christmas, that he failed to take advantage of.” I’ve always erred on the side of caution about his “time” with the kids, because I have a relative who is dragged to court CONSTANTLY by her crazy ex saying he wasn’t getting his “time” and I’ve heard horror stories worse than what she’s going through.

  • My hoildays are crazy too, as my son is much older. Still wants family together when possible, so ww husband comes into the house,…still we have dinner, we cook and eat as the family did, but at the end of the evening we sleep in separate beds. So much stress, I dont like hoilday’s.

    • Dear Susan,

      I am so sorry to criticise … not least because I don’t have children and you would be perfectly within your rights to say ‘what the hell would you know about it Jayne, you haven’t got kids’. But I have to say the set up you have with your ex coming over and playing faux happy families for the holidays, really alarms me.

      I can totally understand the drive to make the holidays as happy as possible for children, and if they’ve expressly stated they want to play ‘let’s pretend we are still a happy family and nothing has changed’ I can see the temptation to do what you can to bring that about. The trouble is, doesn’t this give horrible life lessons to your son? A sense of entitlement to have whatever he wants, regardless of its connection to reality? Isn’t he being taught that mum’s happiness (and possibly, by extension, his future girlfriends / wife) is, and should be – ‘because mum accepted having to play nice with my abusive father in order to keep me happy’ – absolutely secondary to what he wants, and mum’s feelings are totally unimportant? We only get one go on this planet, and it’s short enough, you don’t need to prove you love your son by feeding and entertaining a man who abused you by cheating, and you really don’t need to be spending the holidays feeling stressed by having this man back in your life. I’m really sorry, but I don’t think giving your son this much power, in that he can force you to eat shit sandwiches every holiday to keep him happy, will, in the long run be any good for him.

      Sorry Susan 🙁 I’m sure you are coming from a place of love, but IMO it’s fubar-ed, this arrangement with your ex.

      Jayne x

      • I pretty much agree with Jayne but we don’t know how you ended up in that situation.

    • At a minimum, send the Mo..Fu… to a hotel for the holidays. He gets a free meal with his kids, then have the door hit him on the way out.

  • I am happily NOT in your sad position, but I would go with what another poster has suggested. Tell him that he is definitely and under no circumstances whatsoever going to be playing any version of happy families on any holiday ever again, but that you are very happy to have him collect your son at 3pm (which is when the little dears are nice and bored anyway), and to please have him back by 8pm latest, and to ensure he’s eaten before he gets back so that he can go to bed. The end. No one could accuse you of denying him access to his son on a major holiday, your son gets to spend some time with his dad – which is nice for him, given the age he’s at – BUT you get to dictate what happens and when, not the downgrade OW, not anyone, you. It might not always go that way in future, control it while you can…

  • Connie-keep the backbone, very glad you have it. As you don’t have to worry about official court sharing time with custody use the power you have and make your own decision. It doesn’t sound like you want him there and as you have no obligation to make sure he is there, my vote is to not impose an obligation onto yourself when there is none. If you’re worried about your backbone getting softer maybe you can make Holiday plans with other friends/family? That way you’ll still be around people who care about you, you have support around you if you need to cry (it’s the first holiday like this, you probably will have a few moments) or need someone else to chase the stbx with a broom if he tries to come onto the property. Start a new tradition with your son. Love the Christmas card idea. Keep your holiday plans to yourself as well. If you’re going to spend them somewhere else you’re also under no obligation to make those plans known to your stbx.

  • Connie– another tip, but seems to be more or less covered: I’ve started early (and often!) to line up other rels and family to share celebrations with. My folks and all that older generation are gone, so me, my sibs, their kids, and whoever else are the collaborative. It calls for a little persistence and creatively, or making peace with solo holidays– maybe a nice woods walk with my beloved dog? (Because, I have one child and she lives on another continent–not home this year.)

    But facing that it’s not going to be the way it was..and then, “How can I remake the holiday so it’s good for me?” (and whoever I care about who is in my orbit) becomes the goal.

    Schmuck-face’s needs are utterly irrelevant, and I wouldn’t even answer an email.

    good luck.

    • You might think about doing some new things, too. Like eating the big dinner Christmas Eve and then making breakfast or brunch the Christmas Day meal event. Maybe you could do a community service project, or get a holiday movie marathon tradition going–everyone can pick one movie. And think about inviting someone who is alone to share some part of the holiday. There are so many ways to make things memorable. I’m living alone now but I spent time before the holiday making decorations (me doing crafts!! Who knew!) and baking, which I haven’t done in 20 years.

  • Personally, unless he SPECIFICALLY *ASKS* to see your child on those holidays, I wouldn’t bring it up. As much as he may try to use the ‘she-denied-me-access-to-my-child-on-major-holidays’, your trump card is, “HE NEVER ASKED TO SEE HIM”. It really isn’t up to YOU to ‘offer’, but it’s up to HIM to ask!

    • Amen Gypsy57! I am getting into the habit of that now with just regular visitation. I don’t ask him if he wants to see our son on the weekends. He will let me know and if he doesnt’, then no visitation. And if he waits until Thursday to ask, then still NO. I have a life and I make plans. I won’t let his lazy self mess them up.

      He doesn’t ask, I am not offering. And I document, document, document!!!!

      • I am with you. It is no longer your responsibility to organize his life or anything. If he doesn’t bring it up, you have that much more ammo for when you do have to get the custody officially sorted out. Also, keeping your son as much as possible benefits you, and your son and your custody arrangement. When the time comes, you can say, I have had him 24/7 from this date to now. Dickhead didn’t even ask to see him on Thanksgiving and Xmas. So I think I have full custody and would like full child support, thank you very much.

      • i would also tell him that the child is used to santa coming to this house or the house he is in so of course christmas morning MUST BE at your house. if he wants to see him, he will have to see him after the morning rush to open presents and whatever. i agree that afternoon would be good unless you have something you go to.

  • Ugh, my ex also kept it quiet after he left. I was flabbergasted when I had to break the news to his brother, who was supposedly his closest friend on earth. When they slink away and hide after blaming everything on you, it speaks pretty loud and clear about shame IMO. Either that or extreme laziness. Connie, best of luck to you on the holidays. The first holidays are tough after divorce, even when the kids are grown. Here a local church is holding a seminar on surviving the holidays after divorce, I was thinking about going. My problem is my kids are grown and won’t be home, one will be out of town and the other always goes to his wife’s house for Christmas (although he spends T’giving with us). I don’t know what I’ll do after my parents are gone, but for now am very grateful to have them around to spend the holidays with. I’m also going to try to look for others who are struggling through the holidays and do something nice for them.

    • Lynn, I hear you. On Christmas Day, it was always: open presents, eat an awesome big breakfast, veg and then go to my parents for more presents, food and fun. And on Christmas Eve we always threw a party with my family and neighbors and played bingo. No reason to stop all that now. We’ll just do it again…minus one. And maybe do a Christmas Eve service at our church. I always wanted to go and we always traveled on the holidays when I was growing up. That will be a new tradition for us. I will still decorate like a crazy person and make a BIG deal of it all for my son!!!

      • Will your parents let your ex come to their house to celebrate? You might want to find out what they would do if he asks.

        Could you ex pick up your son at your parent’s house and take him to his house or a restaurant or whatever for a few hours? That might be a good way for your son to have all his old traditions and still see his dad for a bit.

        • Look, when you walk out on your family, things change. They change for this poor kid, but he still has his mom and maybe grandparents to celebrate with. They SHOULD change for the guy who abandoned his family too — his reality is he lives in a crappy apartment and spends holidays with OW. That’s now his son’s reality. Connie’s family shouldn’t have to pretend this guy is still part of their family. That’s just removing the fuckupedness of faux family togetherness by a factor of one.

          Frankly, if I had a daughter and her cheating husband wanted to come spend Xmas with me, he’d find ground glass in his egg nog.

          Divorce means separate holidays with separate parents. I realize you’re trying to preserve the semblance of family get togethers on the holiday for the kid, and spare him pain, but I don’t think this arrangement accomplishes that.

          • I’m not suggesting that she invite her ex. I’m wondering what her parents might do. She can’t control them.

          • that is another good reply IF he calls. i can tell him “when you walked out on your family, you gave up the right to do special things with the kids.” and “it is not my fault you are not going to see them for Christmas eve (he knows we go to church) or christmas morning (when they are opening santa gifts and others), this is what you wanted when you choice your hood rat over your family.”

            he can spend christmas with whatever things his new hood rat does with him. after all it was sooOOOoo much better then what we ever did for him for 14 years. i will more then likely allow him to come over to deliver his gifts for a couple of hours christmas day before 3:00 when we go to my sister for christmas dinner and opening the rest of the gifts at her house. however, i wouldnt be surprised if he doesnt call or come by.

  • Connie,

    CL explained everything and as usual her advice is right on the money! I doubt your asswipe would really care if he sees his son on Christmas, he have a new fuck and more than likely he will want to spend his “2 days off” with his skank, so no worries there. If your son asks if Santa will go to his daddy’s new place just tell your son, “Santa will be coming to your house because Santa comes and brings gifts for awesome, great little boys just like him and all the gifts Santa would bring for him will be under the tree in your house”. Your son is very young and there is no need for him to be affected in anyway, just because of the shitty decisions that his daddy made and there is no need for your little boy to spend any time in a one bedroom apartment on Christmas. Like CL said, since you have the physical custody of your son and your asswipe already moved out of the marital home, specially without signed court order, your asswipe doesn’t have a leg to stand on to do anything or force you to hand over your son over to him any given day. So if he yaps about anything just do exactly what CL said; just turn that Christmas tune “Dominick the Donkey” up really loud into the phone. 🙂

    PS: it’s very interesting that he moved in to a one bedroom apartment instead of moving in to her house. I guess the OW, whom he risked you and your son for wasn’t that in to him, because if she really was, she would’ve let him move in with her. Which is very common by the way, because some OW only stay with guys like your idiot, as long as he was with someone else and when he is completely free the thrill is gone (predator women) so they move on to other men who are taken.

    • The 1 bedroom apartment thing is a big deal when considering child custody. If he wants “parenting time” (not that these jerks ever parent! – maybe should be called something else: drunken neglectful time, abusive time, psychotic ranting time, etc.), your son will have to have his own bedroom, with his own bed, clothes at the house, etc. Use that information to your advantage.

      • Honestly, I wouldn’t count on it. Well, maybe for custody, but I definitely wouldn’t count on it for overnight visitation. Absolutely document it, bring it up to your lawyer, but don’t count on him having a one-bedroom apartment and no real place for the child as a negative against him.

      • HIm getting a one-bedroom apartment when he had the option of getting a 2-bedroom apartment speaks volumes to me about his prioirities. It seems location (in relation to OW) was paramount over making any accommodations for our son. He had to get a furnished unit for crying out loud as he took nothing from our home with him. It’s a sad little place and I think in my rural county, the courts WILL consider his decisions.

    • I don’t think it was by accident that he mentioned he only had two days off. It’s my guess that he’s making it known that there won’t be a whole lot of time for the kid. Guys that run out on their families like that, usually do it whole-hog.

  • I think it’s worth considering letting the two of them get together on Christmas Day.

    For one thing, although you don’t have to do it legally, showing that you are making an effort to accommodate your ex and promote a good relationship with your kid would look good. I don’t think all judges care about extra-marital affairs when it comes to child custody. You could ask your lawyer about this one.

    Mostly, though, I think you have to accommodate your kid at Christmas. That might or might not mean having him see his Dad. It depends a lot on your kid’s feelings and how your ex is treating him.

    I think it’s way too much to have your ex come into your house and I don’t think you should pretend to be friends and do things together. I think you should be able to have your kid wake up Christmas morning at home and get his presents and stockings with you.

    Then, I think it may make sense for your kid to go spend part of the day with your ex.

    In the end, I don’t think there’s one formula for this. It depends so much on what your kid would want and how your ex will act. Does your kid hate seeing the OW? Can you trust your ex not to have her there? Does your kid like your ex’s new apartment? Is there some other place the two of them could go like grandma’s house? Does your kid miss his dad? Will dad give him a good holiday experience?

    • You are so right, Diana L!
      Connie: Judges don’t give a rat’s behind about cheaters. That’s why most states are “no-fault” states. What they care about right now, is “Father’s Rights”. They will say they are looking at what is in the “Child’s Best Interest”, however, it’s not true. It is all about FR right now in the legal system. If you show that you are being unreasonable, they will nail you. You will have to start working on a plan. It doesn’t mean that you have to offer it. Wait for him to ask. But you need to decide, does he get Eve and you get Day? When is the trade off (not him at your house)? Does it stay that way every year? Does it rotate even and odd years? It’s sucks!!!! But I am just trying to help you get prepared for what is ahead of you.

      • Amen to all of that, Home School Mama! I’ve seen so many people blindsided by the court system. So many people hauled in over visitation schedule fights, the phrase “parental alienation” thrown around, etc. And the few sole custody single dads I know have had the same battle.

    • I agree with Diana. No way let him into your home (if he even asks), but do let your son spend a few hours on Christmas with his dad, if the dad requests this. Later in the afternoon, after gifts are opened and enjoyed. This will look good in court, and it also is best for your son, who is entirely innocent of his dad’s being a fuckwad, but presumably still loves his father.

      • i would rather have him at my house then have my kids at who knows wheres house. XH enjoys company of drug dealing cousins, and crack whore sisters. i am not sure where he would take my kids too. even if it is to one of his almost normal family members house, my kids have not been visiting his family very often and would more then likely be uncomfortable. and very likely ignored.

  • Connie: Are you still home schooling and do you intend to continue to home school? Is your STBX supportive of this? If he is, then you need to get it in writing NOW!!! If you don’t, there could be some very serious backlash coming your way that will only make your son suffer for years to come. Develop some kind of written plan and description of what is in the “BEST INTEREST” (buzz words for the court) for your son. Have him sign it. Do not tie this to spousal maintenance or child support or anything. Simply make it an educational plan that outlines your son’s needs, why he needs to be home schooled vs. placed somewhere else, your short and long term goals for his education, etc. Remember, the more backbone you have, the more backlash you will get. I am not saying don’t have one – on the contrary. What I am saying is get your ducks in a row an be prepared for the worst.

    • Home School Mama,
      I am no longer homeschooling. It was just too much for me when everything hit the fan. I was already so tired from homeschooling and working the night shift until midnight. I was grateful for the change. My son got a great start by being homeschooled n the early years. He is doing GREAT in school. I actually think this is where God wants us to be and I am at peace with it. That is not to say that I am done with homeschooling. It is still an option for us in the future. I will address this in the custody mediation/court when our time comes. He did support it and never gave me any problems. He trusted me with our son’s education. However, I don’t know him anymore so I do need to protect my options.

  • January 2013 I booted my cheating husband out the door. He also did not want to admit that he was no longer living with his wife and daughters. You know how I figured it out? My Christmas cards!!! Every year I do a photo Xmas card, usually our daughters or all of us together. I did one of my daughters and I….AT THEIR REQUEST!!! LOL Anyway…..sent it out and some people contacted me totally stunned. AND…..I also received MANY Xmas cards addressed to Mr. and Mrs.!!!!!!

    Last year I did invite my exH (divorced wasn’t final yet) to Christmas morning along with his parents and his brother and wife. The inlaws have ALWAYS been there for the present unwrapping. I figured I could suffer through it for my girls. They are teenagers and they expressed an interest in them stiff being there. ExH said WOULD NOT show up and leave OW at their apartment alone. Oh well!!!!! His problem.

    Since the divorce, there is next to no contact from the inlaws. I have had them over to see our new place and visit their grand children but they have not reached out to me. Therefore…..this Christmas in our new place will be completely different. I will invite them over anytime Christmas day so they can stop in to see my daughters but Christmas morning will be ALL MINE with my girls,

    • Maybe at least get final decision making. If not for everything, at minimum for educational decisions.

  • Our visitation schedule says I get the kids Halloween and Christmas, he gets the kids Thanksgiving and New Year’s this year. Next year we’ll switch.

    I will not celebrate any part of those holidays with him. Like CL says, you lose the right to play happy family when you walk out on your family and cheat on your spouse.

  • So yeah holidays are crappy with wasbands involved. This post prompted ,e to pull out my standard visitation order to see what’s is store for me … So the I get the kids for thanksgiving , he gets them for Xmas and I guess New Years is not a holiday no mention of it. So if I will have the tree and gifts here in my house celebrating and empty house Christmas and not get them back till 12/28.. What’s the point?…..I guess they have to wait and open their gifts when they come back from their dads. I refuse to go to main laws to join in what used to be normal family celebrating as for me it will be very uncomfortable. I have no family in this state, so what am I to do. Tag along with my friends families Christmas seems weird and sad. I have honestly always hated holidays even when I was ok with the wasband, the deciding who’s side of the family we go to and always end up arguing. I guess I figure something out, here is hoping sAnta bring me my divorce to be final would be the best gift.

    • INEnds, How about taking on some other Xmas traditions with your kids. You could put their shoes out on December 5 and fill them with Chocolates, like the Dutch do. You could use ever weekend to make a special batch of cookies with them and then start delivering them to friends. Also remember that Xmas doesn’t start for much of the world until December 24 and presents don’t arrive until the 3 wise men do and that is January 6th. Most of the Eastern Orthodox religions celebrate like this, as to Latin America. I have Polish friends and the tree doesn’t go up until Xmas eve. You could also have an Xmas Eve feast. There is so much fun stuff you can do… Christmas is about making memories. I know people who pick an Xmas tradition from around the world and celebrate like they do. You can have a lot more fun with your kids. Bugger that old Bugger!

  • Yeah….the holidays…they are coming and I’m sorry Connie that you are new to all this at this time of year.

    When my h walked out on me I had some friends invite me to their house for a holiday celebration and it was so wretched. I felt like a token homeless person they invited from the mission. It was very nice of them to consider me and I appreciated it but it was all their happy family and it just made me feel even sadder. I stayed as long as I properly could and left. Grabbed a bottle of wine on the way home and went home and drank it and cried. Now I pump myself up for holidays. I take it from Jerry Seinfeld and call it ‘Festivus for the Rest of Us.’ I have a good friend who we try and out do each other with cheesy Christmas presents (all found at thrift stores of course) Last year I found her an antler hat that played ‘Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.’ I cook a big fabulous prime rib dinner for my family and invite all my single friends.

  • Their desire to have you continue to provide them with a respectable family image never ends. I think it comes from that place of pure entitlement – they believe that they will be able to have cake and experience no repercussions. They cant stand being revealed as the bad guy. And generally for some bizarre reason they actually believe that you will continue to make their life as simple as you have in the past. These people generally choose partners that are very family focused and provide a perfect picture to the world of respectability. We are good mothers, we create lovely families etc etc….. What they don’t realize is that when they betray you they also betray their children and their family. They don’t get to keep the wholesome image and it really bothers them.
    Children like an intact family – it gives them a sound base and when those fucktard’s make the decision to start sticking their dicks in other vagina’s they show they don’t actually put anybody’s needs above satisfying their own selfish desires – including those of their children. As soon as we have children we are no longer masters of our own destiny – for normal people the best interests of those children are always our priority – but not for cake eaters – they see that as ‘your’ job …. they get to do what ever feels good for them … no consequences and so they reveal themselves for what they truly are – selfish pricks.
    Of course he will want you to continue to allow him to enjoy the benefits of family holidays – were he had once played a central figure, but he voided his right to be a participant in those special celebrations when he chose to put his needs above what was best for his child and his family. He will tell you that him spending time at your house for holidays is what is best for your son – this is bullshit – he wants what is best for him – he wants all the benefits of being the great ‘Dad’ and the joy of special family occasions but he has forfeited his right to those moments.
    My guess is that like most of us chumps you have been the main driver in your sons moral and spiritual education. You have taught him about honesty and the value of relationships and family and your husband has coasted along on the benefits of that for most of your sons – life while contributing very little in terms of effort or guidance. You are no longer required to engage in his relationship with his son and/or manage it – that is his work. You now have only an obligation to focus on developing your relationship with your son and providing memorable alternatives to special holidays for him to enjoy, which you will do. You will come up with new traditions and they will be totally awesome. You husband on the other hand – given that he takes only 2 days off work a year will continue to provide shit experiences and memories but that is not your concern – his life will be lesser for it.
    Sadly your son needs to see who his father really is and whether he is prepared to put some effort into his relationship with him and you get to sit back and watch him struggle with the effort and emotional insight involved in that. Cake eaters are generally lazy in relationships ….they rarely have the energy required to develop meaning connections -even with their own children. for them life is generally all about their image and meeting their needs, having to focus on the needs of others is just confusing for them.
    The good news is that you are no longer required to do anything that makes your husbands life easier or more enjoyable – and the times when they feel the true repercussion of their appalling behaviours is those special holiday ‘family’ times … he will try to avoid experiencing this loss by getting you to participate in a charade that allows him to avoid actually experience the repercussions of his unfaithfulness – the loss of his family ……do not allow him to manipulate you into that – let him suffer.
    At some time in the future you will see how much time his absence actually frees up in your life to engage in meaningful and valuable relationships and how much time you have to focus on the things that make you happy. That is when you reach the sublime state of Meh.

    • Kristil, do you know me??? I think we should be friends!!! Do you live in the South by chance?!?!?! Thanks for the lovely post.

  • Christmas is a time for family – and given that he abandoned yours, he relinquishes all rights to celebrate it with you and your son. He made his bed, he can bloody well lay in it.
    As for him trying to fluff up his story where nobody knows of his cheating, thats on him. He can’t control you – and by them not knowing of the situation its a lie by omission. Screw that.

  • Lot of pain and anger coming through, I get it, I would likely have the same feelings in your shoes. I have no kids, and often on this site I hear how lucky I am. I just want to remind you parents how lucky YOU are to have the kids. Despite having to deal with the cheater over holidays, custody and visitation and all the rest of the fuckedupedness that I know you have to deal with, your kids love you and they are a rock for you as much as you are for them. I hope as you navigate the crazy train with your ex’s you remember that those kids and you will be on the same trail together for a lifetime. You have a family minus one, find the joy. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old and there were issues, but I remember holidays happily anyhow. I think your kids will too.

    PS: I’m not asking for a pity party here, so don’t ya’ll start. I DO want you to think about the alternative. I put up a tree each year, it’s beautiful and I love it, there are no presents under it and no kids to tell to be careful with the ornaments. I have no one to share it with, that tree is only for me. So even if you have to share your kids time with the ex/AP, at least they are in your life, family; you have it. Celebrate your time with less anger at what you do not have, and more joy in what you do have.

    • Good points. I would add that there are a lot of single people around the holidays who would probably enjoy your tree; construct a family to share the holidays with.

    • Beautifully said, Datdamwuf, I think we all need to be grateful for what we do have in our lives. Good health, a job, friends. When my ex abandoned our family he left me, his wife of 20 years, with three beautiful young adults. They are easily my best blessings. I remember thinking that we could allow his crap life decision to define us (and it has impacted us in both good and bad ways) or we could finally work really hard to have the life we deserved. Because in all that time together we were wasting our time, our precious lives, on “his life.” It’s so freeing now to have choices. To not have that negative belittling distant influence. To not be isolated and hundreds of miles away from extended family. You know that ol’ eighties film Risky Business? We have adopted a new family motto, ” Sometimes you gotta say What the Fuck and move on.” So as a family we no longer tolerate many things: lies, hurting others, unkind words and deeds. They understand now that our actions define us. There’s a great freedom spending time together with those you really love and who really love you. I think we all realized how much life always revolved around my downer ex. He always found ways to sabatoge our great days. Birthdays, holidays, vacations. (All those lies get in the way, you know, but I was blind to it then.) My children and I, on one of our first holidays together, flew to the east coast (firstborn had moved to DC after graduating college) and spent two weeks on a very frugal budget exploring DC and then NY City. Fun times. We played tourist, ate out, and just plain enjoyed each other’s company. We volunteered at the neighborhood soup kitchen, great people there! and it was easily one of our greatest memories. My kids and I now collect “experiences” and appreciate any time we make to spend together. It’s a challenge though. ;/ We are intentional about what is most important, our family, and we honor that. DDW, I suspect you are a fellow kindred spirit whose gifts were wasted on someone incapable of truly loving you. I work with teens and undergrads and the impact I have on their lives is great when I just give them my time. I would encourage you to gather your own family close, and they need not be related–my kids, being scattered to the winds, do this :)and I thank those who embrace and value my children when I am so far away–so I hope you reach out to others. At work, at play, teaching, doing things you enjoy. Life is too short not to share your gifts with those who will truly appreciate them.

      • It all sounds lovely Drew, I am so happy for you. To both of you, I was pretty much completely isolated by the time I got rid of ex, all the friends gone save two; I thought it would be easy to meet people and find a tribe again, it’s not so much. I am trying. I need to find a local place & cause I care about and volunteer. So far, I created a neighborhood website and most folks have joined it, they put me on the Civic Association board, because of it I guess. I’m happy enough most of the time, we all need people, it’s in our DNA. No worries, last night was one of those times when I was regretting the decision not to have kids. Probably because I was carving a pumpkin and it came out great, so I sat in the dark looking at it alone, the cats were not impressed, heehee. Trust me, those days pass pretty quick.

    • I am so grateful for my son. We got pregnant through IUI when I was 35. It was such a blessing. I now believe that the sole purpose for my 12 year marriage was to have him. He is my greatest joy and we have been a rock for each other. I believe that God has plans for us that required the removal of my husband. I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday because it was so fitting:

      “Sometimes bad things happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.”

      Can I get an amen??

      • Indeed you can Connie, amen!

        My saying is similar “if nothing bad ever happened to us, how would we know what good looked like?”

  • That’s true Dat.

    But I read these stories about fathers walking away from their kids and I just can’t think of a more worthless waste of skin. Who does this shit? Walk away from your children for what? Who in the world has such magical genitals to make someone do that? I can’t wrap my head around it.

    My cheater XH and I never had kids together but while we were married my daughter adopted a set of adorable twins from China and they loved their ‘Papa’ so much and I thought he loved them. He was in their lives for years and they spent a lot of time with us. He walked out on all of us and never looked back. He’s never seen those girls again. They’ve pretty much forgotten him now. I always felt so bad for them. Their birth parents abandoned them and he did too. Somewhere in their little psyches they remembered being left in buckets in a ditch. Then this sparkly turd abandoned them too. He just had to have his skank woman. Obviously she was worth more than his wife and grandkids and home and dog and money. She must be one bad ass platinum pussy bitch. Ha!

    • No, she isn’t worth anything. Oh, new pussy. Just as he isn’t. Old dick. She made him feel special, Syringa, because these people never feel special about the way they have chosen to live their lives. My ex was the world’s sparkliest turd. But friends? Nobody of value liked him because all that mattered to him was what he wanted. When life happened, when life threw challenges our way, he ran. He never “manned up.” I think this inability to be a decent person leads people to cheat. They are missing something. Heck, look at all those celebrities who cheat. I mean what makes a guy like Arnold Shwarzenneger fuck the convenient housekeeper, have a child, and hide the secret for ten years!?!? From his wife and kids!?! Who should have been his LIFE and only priority…. People, right? the same as your ex and mine, they just don’t think, or behave, the way we do. And they have all their shit reasons too. Our club is so much better! 😉

    • Syringa, nope, you are thinking the wrong way around – HE was not worthy of you, your daughter or the twins, end of story.

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