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Dear Chump Lady, I don’t want to spend the holidays with my cheating ex

cakemanDear Chump Lady,

The holidays are coming and I was just wondering how to deal with the soon-to-be-ex (STBX) and holiday get-togethers. I actually thought we could stay on friendly terms since we have kids together and we will be seeing each other time to time. I really wanted it to be less painful for the kids and I just need some peace and healing.

Today, we were supposed to go to court and end the marriage. I have spent months and over a thousand dollars trying to draft up a decree with a lawyer that would just split our assets, since we both have a house, retirement etc, I thought we could just call it even and go on. When my STBX got the decree he called and was angry. I still don’t know why. Now he has hired a lawyer and they have asked that the trial be delayed, for 75 days! That will put us into January 2015 to go to trial!

So, Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming up and I had planned on having him over for dinner, but I am really hurting and angry right now. He is trying to still control me, after abusing me, my kids and having multiple affairs for over 20 years. He wants to get his fair share of my savings and retirement, but what will happen now is that we will give the lawyers and court most of our savings. What a great guy!

I want nothing to do with him. After he called me two weeks ago, angry because I blocked him on facebook and ranted on me, I had an anxiety attack and suffered heart palpitations for two days. How do I break it to my family and kids that this guy is trying to destroy me and I want nothing to do with him for the holidays?



Dear Chumped,

How do you break it to your family that you do NOT want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with a serial cheater? It’s called a divorce decree. They’re these really amazing documents that free you from abusive fucktards. Everyone (including you) has to accept the fact that divorce means that you’re no longer family with the creep you’re divorcing.

He is your EX. Ex-turkey carver. Ex-stocking stuffer. Ex-Aunt-Mildred-sweater-gift-recepient.

Let’s say that 10 times together, shall we? EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX!

He doesn’t deserve the honor of a place in your life, or at your holiday table, any longer. He lost that privilege when he fucked around on you for TWENTY YEARS.

It’s called a consequence.

Cheaters don’t care for consequences. They prefer cake to consequences. Cake, that lovely, fluffy, moist state where you remain of use to cheaters and project to the world that they’re Splendid People. Do we UNfriend Splendid People on Facebook? No we do not! Of course he’s in an uproar — you took away a tiny bite of cake! Do we object to Splendid People grabbing more than their fair share of allotted resources? How dare you! They’re SPLENDID and more deserving than you are!

See how that works? It’s called narcissism. It’s the same impulse that drove him to cheat for 20 years — entitlement.

Which is why the cheap-o mediated, draft-it-ourselves divorce settlement was never going to work. Your situation is EXACTLY why I tell people to get pit bull divorce lawyers. Cheaters are not honest brokers. The fact that he demands cake shows you how skewed his world view is — me, me, ME… nothing for you.

Equity? Reasonable division of assets? A fair settlement because you grievously fucked up my life and abused me for two decades?

No! You’re the meanie who took cake away!

I’m sorry it’s painful and expensive to get rid of one of these freaks, but think of it as the Christmas present that keeps on giving — you no longer have to tolerate this jerk in your life.

I promise you, you can have a really lovely holiday season in time that doesn’t include a buffet of shit sandwiches. Part of the issue is that there is this myth of the Friendly Divorce (probably propagated by some subsidiary of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex), where even though you’re no longer together (you drifted apart, it was all for the best) — you still put the brave, happy face on For The Children and spend holidays and Thanksgiving dinners together. Just like the Old Times. Only Daddy has a girlfriend now (well he did back then as well).

Hell NO. Children need to understand consequences too. There is a REASON you are divorcing — his 20 years of infidelities. When people abuse us, we remove them from our lives — especially the special times in our lives.

That isn’t to say your children have to remove him from THEIR lives. No, you absolutely ensure that they get their visitation or whatever custody arrangements you’ve worked out.

Is it sad? I’m sure it will seem that way for them at first. Change is hard. But one advantage to removing a cheater from your life is gaining a NEW life. One that is full of your traditions and your values. You invite to your table those people who love you and have your back as you have theirs. They may not share your DNA. Maybe it’s a dear friend, a widow, a neighbor. But you surround yourself with people who give joy, who reciprocate, who honor you.

How do you explain it to the people who were expecting Mr. Cheaterpants? Very matter-of-factly. He’s making other arrangements this holiday season. We’re divorcing. And then you deflect — hey, I wonder how much chocolate Santa brought? Let’s go watch Elf for the gazillionth time! Let’s stay in our pajamas and watch football!

It’s your day, Chumped. YOUR day. This day and the day after. Don’t let him steal your joy.

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.
  • Oh my, you are so right. I needed this slap with a 2×4 today. I was feeling like I had to invite him to holiday meals. I need to start internalizing the ex part of STBX.

    I am currently trying to negotiate a fair settlement with a cake eater. He thinks he should keep his name on the deed to the house, even though he has never paid a dime towards the mortgage and never will. Actually, he is trying to get me to agree to let him continue living here without any responsibility. That’s not going to happen.

    I don’t know why I feel like I have to invite him to family events. It isn’t even for the kids, it’s more for the sake of keeping peace, since he is still in the house. I won’t be able to get him out until January. Peace for me is not having him near me, so I think I will pursue that peace now.

    • If you can’t get him out of the house. Get you and your kids out – just for the holidays. Spend it with better people. Figure out what your holiday split time is going to be, have him sign off on it and that you will rotate it each year.

  • Wow! Chump Lady: Your response is funny, yet raw, real and painfully true. Chumped to the Max: You have suffered for days, months, weeks and years, and to deal with it throughout the holidays could really make it worse. In addition someone is surely going to say something totally offensive, untrue or crazy that’s going to royally piss you off or they could give a false sense of “everything is fine” designed to make you feel guilty. There’s the possibility that you may be alone during this time, but you have finally been allowed to have a voice by filing for divorce and getting the things you need and desire. Take this time to go out to dinner, cook something fantastic for yourself (or not), play some board games with the kids, then watch a funny movie or tv program. For 20 years EVERYTHING has been about HIM. Now it’s all about YOU, and he’s going to have to deal with the consequences of you no longer dealing with his mistreatement AND abuse. Of course, when you give him the news that you won’t be coming due to other plans, smile and let him know how much you appreciate the offer,then kindly and gently hang up the phone. (smile) BIG HUGs! …www.intheknowwithro.blogspot.

  • I am with you quicksilver. These will be my first holidays with an Mr One and Only as an Ex. Until CL´s post today, I was contemplating picking up my children at a holiday event where he would be with all his family, and I wanted to go in and say hello to everyone (they do care for me) but I realized that it would be acting as if they were my family still and they are not. They are my Ex family, and he will be there and if I go, I will be acting as if everything was OK after a year of PTSD and financial collapse. I will now ask him to drop the kids off at my parents so I don´t even have to see him, and kids, grandparents and myself will have the best cheaterfree Xmas ever!

    • A quote by Albert Einstein: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. An Irish proverb: “If God shuts one door, he opens another”. ChumpedtotheMax – think of the message behind these phrases. Take advantage of the opportunity to put your own stamp on family holidays. The first step is not inviting your cheater husband over for a holiday meal. Draw a line in the sand now. Then, create your own traditions – let the kids take the lead if they are old enough. Hopefully, soon-to-be ex-hubby will do his own Christmas with the kids. My kids always say that if there’s any upside to divorce, it’s that they get two birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter meals – one from mom and one from dad.

    • Same boat here. I just can’t go to an even that my STBX is at and it is HER family. I’m an EX. I will miss them all, especially my nieces and nephews. I will not have the kids for Thanksgiving this year at all, she has them all day. It will be hard.

      • Sorry, ChumpDad–that is a raw deal. Make sure to find alternative plans with friends or volunteering (I may spend half of Thanksgiving walking dog at the shelter). Do something for YOU.

  • One of CL’s most often used responses is about being honest, to the point, and still respectful and classy. Tell the truth, but don’t delve into all the details. Mom and Dad can’t be together for the holidays because it is not the healthy thing for us to do. As for the extended family, simply state that you are divorcing because he is unfaithful. Then you go on to say that you thought you would be able to be civil about things, but that is not what is happening in the divorce proceedings. Finally, it is in everyone’s best interest for mental health and stability that you do not try to spend the holidays together with an elephant in the room that may charge at any moment. Come up with a plan as to how you are going to split the holidays and how it will rotate each year and have him sign off on it. It sucks!!! But if there is a plan you can live with, try. It also shows the judge that you are trying to be reasonable.

    I will be thinking of all of Chump Nation this season!

  • I had one holiday with the STBX and his family: Thanksigiving at ‘my’ house. It was terribly awkward for me. STBX laughing and joking as always, constantly texting OW. His sister kept asking about his travels for his job (a job which my sacritices made possible, and which is where he met OW).
    It drove me bonkers, especially the texting (PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KIDS!!!)

    Don’t do it. And I echo and earlier poster, so something else and create a new tradition with your kids. This year kids and I will be visiting the “Mouse.” (disney)

  • When I was getting divorced and Jerk was still in the house I asked my counselor how to spend xmas day with him in the house. She told me to ask him to leave xmas morning so I can open presents with my girls. When I asked him at first he was offended but later agreed to it. And later he took the kids to his parents.

    Also don’t trust him at all. They are mean, evil, and don’t want you to have a fair settlement. Hope that helps:)

  • I feel for you. I am new to living life after infidelity so I don’t have any advice to give. But CL is so right. Cheaters want cake. My STBXH thought he could just leave and leave without taking anything and I would be ok with that. So he other day when I asked him to give me half the value of the car he’s driving because it’s titled to ME, he flinched. That was the first real consequence.He didn’t like. He tried to call my bro-in-law (my sister’s husband) to rail against me. My BIL wouldn’t let him talk.

    In life and especially something as painful and devastating as this, doing the right thing is never the easy thing. Standing tall when people seem to judge you and trying to react to this horrible situation with grace so you are the BEST example for your children IS hard.

    This year, we will do the holidays as we have always done minus the Cheater. He doesn’t want to be around my family anyway. His family livs out of state so I don’t have to face them. He hasn’t even asked to see our son and I won’t push it. My son is not going to have his holidays completely transformed to accommodate a cheater’s life style. He has isolated himself from everyone.

    Stay strong.

  • Chump Lady you are the BEST!!! I had MFPOS over last year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the kids. Of course, this was after I asked him to move out and before I filed for divorce. Trying to pretend he could ever be anything other than the disordered f@#k he is. Anyhoo, now that I have an order if protection, that”s pretty much out. Thank God. But last years holidays were painful. At Christmas all I wanted was for it to be OVER. And while cleaning up the dishes, we had some music on and he walked over to me, put his hand out and asked me to dance. WTF!!!! I say it again WTF!!! I looked at him and said the unthinkable.. no. Not only no but HELL NO! And I promptly went to my room and had a breakdown. He told the family that mama is crazy. He did not know why I ran off into my room like that. Poor mama. Not this year. This is my year. WITHOUT HIM. THANKS BE TO GOD. NC and the protection order has saved my sanity. I hope all of the chumps in chumpnation listen to ‘Traci.. Be done with them. They are TOXIC, disordered assclowns. All of them. Happy Holidays to all!!! I know I’m gonna enjoy myself with my kids. Without asshole. YAY!!!!

  • Live in the truth. You are divorcing because of decades of unfaithfulness. Spending the holidays is not what you do with someone who has and continues to treat you with such contempt. Listen to CL! Be truthful and don’t let him ruin your holidays…focus on the good gifts in your life.

    • I spend many holidays with my 1st (ex) husband, but he’s never been anything but a good man, great father, and unfailing friend – throughout our marriage and in the 20 years since our divorce. Now, ex-jerk wad cheater won’t get a card, a text, a phone call, or even a passing thought from me.

      I keep people in my life who treat me with dignity and respect, those who don’t forfeit that right. There’s no need to explain that to anyone. If they do, I just look at them like they’ve lost their mind, because surely they have.

      Don’t let anybody guilt you into anything, or make you feel as though you have an obligation – especially those that threw the obligations you never faltered on in your face. Actions have consequences. Let the cheater suck it up.

  • For the life of me, I cannot imagine even wanting to sit down with my ex and ex-in-laws and play secret Santa, Thanksgiving turkey, wach the Superbowl and Rose Parade or even play a cruel joke on them on April 1.

    Done is done. I can be civil, but we aren’t a family, and I am not a Disney Imagineer with an unlimited spackling budget.

  • I kept my ex-mother-in-law as my friend from H#1. I love her and we never spoke of her son. My kids loved my relationship I had with their grandma. I was lucky to have such a good relationship with her. To this day she is at my table. She has never made me feel icky always loved. H#1 brother and wife always kind to me, always included.

    I have an ex sister-in-law who would come in to our family gatherings when she dropped off the kids for my brother. We all loved her. We were all really glad to see her and the kids loved that we continued to have affection for their mother. We had great sorrow for the demise of the marriage and what took place. I am thankful she would always come in.

    And, that is the litmus test. Fuck the “ex” part if there is love. If you have NO LOVE for the “ex’s”, DO NOT include them in your life. You aren’t fooling the kids. If you do have love, continue your affection. It is really good for the kids.

    Today, 29 years later, I have H#1 at my table. He seems like someone I used to know. 95% of my anger, gone. He helps me out when I need him. My children with him love to see it and they are adults.

    It’s a balance, but keep an open mind for the sake of the kids.

    • This seems like my truth. I have a very supportive mil, who does not approve of her son’s behavior. I’m not planning my day w him, either holiday, but I will play the rest by ear, based on what seems right.

    • My H cheated 8 years ago, but I just found out. If there’s a silver lining in that, it was that we at least maintained the image of a happy marriage until his mother died. My MIL was a sweet, kind woman who would have been appalled at her son’s behavior, since she loved me and our children deeply. I’m glad she was saved from the knowledge that her son is a sh*t.

  • I have spent holidays with him since finding out about his last affair.It was not good. I just know my yougest is going to guilt trip me even though he knows the truth. I will feel bad too, I am just chumpy that way!

    • No, ChumpedtotheMax!! Your brethren at have your back, to allow you to stand tall and throw your cheater out of your holiday celebrations (since you can’t legally throw him from the roof). My youngest was upset that I wouldn’t let dad back in the house until she found out WHY. Children don’t need details, but they do need the truth, and the adults need to make the decision. There’s a reason we don’t let kids vote, drive, or take out loans in their own names.

  • My kids are older-18,25,they know the truth and why we are divorcing, but I know they will still feel sorry for him and guilt trip me if I leave him out.

    • ChumpedtotheMax, I think that’s sad. I feel perhaps you should consider sitting down with them like the young adults they are and explaining why holidays are to be different now. You ex’s actions decreed it. They should not be “guilt tripping” you into anything. They should be feeling empathy and understanding for their mother’s situation. Tell them, “If you left an abusive relationship I would not expect you to invite your ex over just because I like him. It’s time to start forming new traditions.” Cheating is a very serious and harmful form of abuse.

    • Hmmm – something is wrong with this picture, that your kids feel sorry for cheating Dad. Why aren’t they royally pissed off? My cheater ex-husband once claimed that “I did not cheat on the kids, I only cheated on you”. No, sunshine. You cheated on the entire family. You spent precious hours with the OW that should have been spent at home with your beautiful family. Where were you when the kids were doing their evening homework, at hockey practices and dance recitals? You were absent.

      Your STBX must be playing a serious pity-me card, if the kids feel guilty about leaving him out of holiday meals. How many previous Thanksgiving and Christmases did you and the kids spend alone without him?

      • Not only do narcissists play the pity-me card, they also lie.

        This behavior puts kids in a terrible position. They often genuinely love the jackass parent. They desperately want a “normal” family. They are often angry that their reliable parent, upon whom they have always depended, can’t (or from their perspective, won’t) fix the problem.

        For me leaving was very hard, but once I did, the emotional aspects of separation were easy and joyful. Helping my children manage their angst and unhappiness over the divorce (especially when the X wants them to be angry and unhappy, just like him) is a continuing challenge.

        I do encourage anyone in this situation to divide up the holidays rather than “share” them. Sometimes the kids will be disappointed, but if you continue to cook the dinner and trim the tree and wrap the presents so that the kids can see the two of you celebrating together, you are only continuing to spackle and making it harder for the kids to understand the choices you made. If you “make happy” with the EX for the holidays, it is reasonable for sad or angry children to think you could “make happy” all the other days if only you wanted to.

        Chumps often raise their kids to love and respect both parents, to see Mom and Dad as both reliable and truthful, to trust both parents, etc.– so when we divorce the jackass, we have to undo a lot of our previous parenting. It isn’t something that one explanation can fix (especially if the jackass is playing the pity card and lying about everything). Some of the narcissists manipulate the children with gifts and goodies, others do it emotionally, and some of them use every tactic they can think of.

        • “Chumps often raise their kids to love and respect both parents, to see Mom and Dad as both reliable and truthful, to trust both parents, etc.”

          This. I think that this kind of effort does a disservice to the kids. While I think it’s wrong to tell a child that their parent is a POS for cheating, I think it’s reasonable to let the child know that the one parent has a boyfriend/girlfriend, that this is unacceptable in a marriage relationship, and that the parents are divorcing. After that, the child is free to develop his or her own relationships with the parents. It is reasonable to explain that part of the issue with cheating is that it comes with consequences, i.e. no shared holidays, BUT both parents will ensure that the children are able to spend as much holiday time with each parent as possible.

          My late FIL was a cheater, and my late MIL knew it–as did everyone else in their family. But they played nice and never divorced. Instead, FIL lived in another city with his mistress, and came home for all of 48 hours every weekend. They modeled terrible communication skills. FIL would sit in the LazyBoy, watching TV and smoking cigarettes non-stop. MIL would be in the same room, also watching TV. They never spoke with each other.

          And that’s what my STBX thinks is a marriage.

    • seems these young adults would benefit from a tutorial about narcissism and boundaries..

    • It’s normal for kids to feel sorry for the screwed up parent. But do not let them “guilt trip” you. Just say, “I know you love your father/mother. ButI was badly hurt by what he did and he chose to break his vows and lose his place in my life. So while you certainly can plan to spend time with him/her, it won’t be in my house at my table. Set your boundary. Stick to it. And show your kids that it is important to live in the real world and to understand that terrible behavior like cheating deserves consequences.

      • I so agree, LAJ. The kids may pout a little, because they’re kids and what they are capable of understanding is limited. When they are older and wiser, they will look back on the situation with full knowledge, and be able to respect the need to maintain strong personal boundaries. They will understand that we have a duty to maintain – and enforce – what we will and will not put up with.

        Caving teaches kids to be cavers, and that’s not the best way to get the best out of life.

  • Truth is what I need, but his version is still out there, that he is the victim. I have decided not to let him ruin any more future memories and to live in joy in spite of him.

    • Truth will out; eventually he will reveal himself to be a loser–they always do. And do NOT let your kids guilt you into including him on holidays. If they are 18-25, they can drive!! over to his abode!! take him out for lunch!! call him on their cell phones!!

      This is what convinced me to stand firm when I was feeling weak–do I want my two daughters (13 and 18) to see that I am willing to sacrifice my own mental health for someone who deliberately cheated and stuck their privates in someone else, repeatedly? Kids learn more by example than by what we tell them (trust me–I teach this stuff). Do you want your children to implicitly accept cheating in their own relationships later? Hell no, right?

      Hang tough!!

      • Soooo true Tempest!!! All of us lovely Chumps need to realize, as CL so wisely said, “He DOESN’T DESERVE the HONOR of a place in your life, or at your holiday table, any longer! We have all been DISHONORED, probably for so long we have become used to it! How empowering to realize we deserve Honor, it simplifies all of the bullshit! We need to learn to Honor ourselves and when we truly do we will no longer accept dishonor from others! Blessings and Honor to all you beautiful souls!!!

  • Thanks for this today. I’ve decided, if push comes to shove, I’ll spend them alone. No scary thoughts of Ex–he’ll be ensconced in the [whatever] of his married ho-bag, Mr$. Narcissa Parkinson. However, my only child is across the seas, and she’s not coming home.((sniffle)). Gonna try for something with my sister, but have determined that even if that doesn’t happen, I will be OK if alone. I just will! I will treat myself! et cetera.

    Not quite ready to be helping out, as in dishing out food at a shelter (my guilty conscience says I should). But it’s something to aspire to.

    • I live alone, no kids. When I was married (not to the cheater), we had big holidays with his son and family. Now it’s just me. I go to my cousin’s house for dinner, and I am very grateful that she loves me and includes me in everything. But that is just one day of the holiday. So now this will be my second year of “new traditions.” Last year, I planned new decorations, got a live tree for the porch, and wrapped gifts–including my own, to me–for under the tree. I saved all of the little gifts from friends and put them under the tree. I have a long holiday playlist and can listen to that music 24/7. I meet people for midnight mass. I have a Bailey’s Irish creme on ice and toast a dear deceased friend who started that tradition with me. Christmas or Christmas eve, I go to see a holiday movie (theaters are FULL of people on both days. That’s a great activity to do with a friend or neighbor who is also alone. There is a local rock musician here who does a set of big Christmas shows. I always wanted to go, so this year I bought 2 tickets and will go and take a friend. Have no idea who, but it doesn’t matter.

      Do a Christmas movie marathon of the movies you love, from the old standbys like “it’s a Wonderful Life” to “Die Hard” (yes, Christmas movie) to “Love Actually.” If you live near a city, see if a good Chinese restaurant is open on the holiday and get dressed up and treat yourself to General Tso’s Chicken and egg rolls. One thing I do on many holidays is to drive to my childhood home, weather permitting, and do a five mile walk on the river trail, one of my favorite places to walk. You might not be ready for soup kitchen volunteering, but you can do one “random act of kindness” every day in advent. You don’t need to spend money. Put an old person’s newspaper on his porch. Shovel a snowy sidewalk. Send an anonymous Christmas card with $5 or a gift card to someone who has had a bad year. Read Dickens. Spend the money you would have spent on your X on someone who is struggling economically. Pay off someone’s Kmart layaway or I was terrified I would be sad and lonely last year, but I was OK! Most important, use the holiday time to reflect to mark your progress and think about what you want to see in your life in the coming year. I’m really looking forward to seeing how much holiday spirit I can build up, with a little help from my friends.

  • I agree with CL. Go right now and get yourself a damn good lawyer. If not, your EX will eat you for breakfast. Even though you think it is a lot of money — I guarantee you it will save you a ton and also reduce your stress levels.

    CL is also so right. He is your EX not a friend. You do not need to spend the holidays with him. That is lunacy.

    You need some really practical advice though on how to do this. Here are a few ideas.

    1. Create your plan and stick to it.

    What I mean by this is — YOU set the schedule for the holidays. This might look like — on Thanksgiving the kids are with you until 2 pm, then they go to his place and on Christmas you have the kids on Christmas Day and he gets them on Boxing Day. Next year, you’ll do the reverse.

    Never – ever – deviate from the plan.

    2. Prepare your ‘speech’.

    Most people, even family members, won’t have a clue what you are going through. They don’t understand boundaries and default to….’oh, isn’t it wonderful we are all together’.

    Don’t try to be like that movie ‘Four Christmases’ and do everything on one day.

    So the speech might be: ‘We want to have a peaceful and relaxing holiday because we’ve been through a lot this year. I have decided that I will be at home with the kids on Christmas and then the kids will go to the Ex’s place on Boxing Day. I think this is so great for the kids because they will get to spend the time they want with their Dad. What if we schedule a special dinner another time with the kids on x day because we miss you and want to spend time with you when its not so chaotic.’

    3. Tell everyone the plan’.

    See speech above.

    4. Be prepared to say ‘no’.

    See speech above.

    5. Do not bash the EX.

    See speech above. Rise above the chaos and dirt that your EX will be creating.

    I learned all of these things the hard way.

    Hugs and best of luck.

    • Wonderful words of wisdom, Moving Forward. It is super difficult to not bash an ex who has embarrassed, harassed, cheated on, hurt, or abused you over and over again, but we are moving on to lives that are now drama and cheat free. Let the people they hook up with deal with that stuff! (lol) However, when we do feel the need to share our frustration, it’s a blessing to know we can do so openly with ChumpLady and others on this awesome site. Hugs…

  • Holidays are hard. There is a tiny part of me that is still mad about how my Ex showed up super late for Christmas Eve two years ago (right before we separated and right after DDay #2). No consideration for me, my parent’s, or my 88 (almost 89) year old grandmother. Of course I can see now that he was probably with the Evil-Bitch-Co-Worker. Arranging with work so he could hit the road earlier would not have meshed with his narcissism and cake-eating.

    Now I get to be the only one spoiled rotten by my parents plus I get to spend 2 weeks with them at their gorgeous, ocean-view house in a milder climate. I win. Also the first Christmas since the divorce – so I win again !!

    If your kids know the truth, then it should be a simple conversation. “Your dad hurt me and it is not healthy for me to be around him.” End of discussion. They are old enough to not play guilt trip games. In fact it kind of makes me angry that they would make you feel bad for not having him there. Please be strong and make plans without him (and plans for when the kids are not there too).

    Yes, Live in joy !!

  • Question along these lines: what do you put in the Christmas card?

    I first asked for a divorce on Oct. 29, 2013. He moved out April 8, 2014. Announced our separation to family and friends on FB in May 2014. Divorce finalized Oct. 29, 2014 (yes, exactly 1 year later).

    So, this will be the first Christmas card without him. I do the annual Christmas newsletter thing. What do I say in the newsletter? I know to keep it as short as possible, but I was kind of hoping to say something more than “we went our separate ways.” A touch of dark humor would be nice.

    • I’m thinking of saying in my Christmas card “I lost 230 pounds this year!” (ExH weighed that much)

    • I plan to keep that part of the note short and sweet. “(Cheater Name) and I are no longer together due to his multiple infidelities over the years. Looking forward to the coming new year and new memories with my wonderful family and awesome friends.”
      I have been and will continue to sing like a canary about the breakup if asked. It’s on him, and I am not going to gloss over that sh*t one iota. Not my shame, not my blame.

    • I would be tempted to say, “After a hard year, I am finally single again and ready to date a wonderful man who is kind and faithful.” (I am not big on dark humor, but rather a subtle verbal stiletto).

      • i agree. i was thinking what would i do if one of my family or friends sent me a card saying that. the first thing i would want to know is are they ok now. so put in something classy, like “For those of you who dont know, i got a divorce this year. i would rather not go into details on the card, and the kids and i are doing okay. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, as we do for you and Enjoy your holiday season”

        or something like that. i am not a writer so i cant put it as classy as i would like but i hope you get the idea. expect some phone calls i am sure. i havent done cards in forever and most my people know i am divorce since it happened at the beginning of the year. so if i do cards this year, i am just going to sign MrsVain, MrsVain child #2, #3, #4 and #5.

  • Chumped,
    I could have written this letter myself. Seriously. I had to check go make sure it wasn’t mine, but alas, I was only with my cheater for ten years not twenty. You sound like a kind caring person willing to move forward for your kids. You see the perfect victim for a narcissist. Mature adult behavior is for reasonable caring people who recognize the impact of their behavior in others. This is not the kind of person your ex is. You have to let go of the dream that you can be adults who put your children first, because your ex is not capable of that. They prey on our insecurities and giving you anxiety brings him joy. Never let him see you sweat. You have to get tough and unemotional. Save that stuff for a good friend or therapist.

  • Chumped to the Max – you are not obligated to do a damn thing with regards to your ex. Your emotions are valid and life is too short to spend another waking second thinking of these scumbags. You owe him NOTHING. I hope my STBX will officially be EX by the end of this year, and by god, what a perfect wonderful Christmas gift that will be.

    Tell your ex to shit in his hat and have a great holiday season with you and your kids.

  • Oh yes. She’s so right. Do yourself a big favor, bite the bullet now while it’s fresh and clear. If you don’t, it gets messier and messier. (“Well, why not? We did last year . . . and the year before . . . “) Take it from someone who has spent six (6) holiday seasons wishing for a pleasant holiday in our own home, from someone who has squandered too much of my life trying to be civil for the sake of the children, or because I was a big stinkin’ coward. I’d spent so much of my marriage life spackling over the pain and trying to get our family to pass as normal that I was habituated.

    Things were mushy, undefined, and it left my son confused as hell. For years, we packed up all the Christmas decorations and went out to spend a few dysfunctional days at the old homestead. Oy! I was confused, too, and held out hope for awhile that unicorns were real. Maybe white picket fences? Maybe Mommy and Daddy? He’s 20, and still confused. Mea culpa.

    My only excuse is that I didn’t know any better. Then. Now? Now I have discovered Chump Nation, now I have read CL, and now I have no excuse.

    I’ve also spent almost seven years struggling financially to raise our children and pay a mortgage because I was too wussy to get a divorce, and require ex to pay child support. To be fair to myself, I left a relationship in fear and wanted myself and my children to be safe. That was also then. I’m not afraid anymore. I have a lawyer, and while she may not be a pit bull, she’s definitely got some growl to her.

    I spent years not even able to say the `d-word’. Yesterday I was driving home and musing, and realized I liked the sound of that word. It’s got a clean, crisp sound to it, a feel of clarity and freshness and finality. It’s derived from the Latin divertere (di- vertere, to turn), the root having given us lovely words like invert, revert, subvert, versus, vertex/vortex, reverse, vertigo, revolve, and goes back to the proto-European root, `vert’, with a Sanskrit cognate, vartayati, `he turns’. So this concept has been around for a long time; we have needed a descriptor for the act of turning away for a long time. I’ve needed to face this word for a long time. (To everything, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, turn.)

    To divorce myself from something means to turn away from it, to separate, to call it over. It means there’s something that I don’t want to be a part of, and I have an opportunity to finalize that, to announce to the world that I am a separate being from that which I am repudiating.

    `Repudiate’, interestingly, was a legal term in ancient Rome, and meant “to cast off by divorce,” from adj. meaning “divorced, rejected, condemned” (1464), from L. repudiatus, pp. of repudiare “to divorce or reject,” from repudium “divorce, rejection,” from re- “back, away” + pudium, probably related to pes-/ped- “foot (“This foot is made for walkin’ . . . “)

    Or in the words of CL, “Divorce decrees: they’re these really amazing documents that free you from fuckards.”

    What’s not to love about that?

    • What a powerful post, Enough Already. I will be adding it to my ever growing file entitled “CL and CN wisdom”.

    • Thanks, EnoughAlready. Very timely. I was sitting alone last night stunned to think that I was ‘separated’ (by Cheater’s choice) after spending years trying to hang on to a marriage that was often horrendous. Your defining these terms (‘divorce’ and repudiate) makes divorce and separation not seem so scary. I especially like the idea of repudiating that which is bad for us.

    • EnoughAlready, thanks so much for sharing the origins of the word divorce. I found it really interesting, and it helps me feel more comfortable with the word. I think each time it occurs to me that I am “divorced,” I will try to reframe it to myself as “I divorced my unfaithful ex.” To make it an action verb that I did instead of a descriptor of my own state of being would probably make me feel more empowered about my life when there is so much I didn’t have control over.

      • I couldn’t say or write the word “divorce” for the longest time. In fact, my file with the papers is still labeled “D documents.” But now I say I’m divorced with pride because I survived. I didn’t think I could at first, but I did! Once you move from the shame of being a victim to the pride of being a survivor, you’re on your way to a happier life.

  • Best reply here is “Let go of the dream”. It’s a hard reality but one you need to learn in order to survive. Your adult children can make their own decisions but do be honest with them. Plan your holiday, invite them to whatever you plan and leave your ex to do the same. You need to consider yourself a separate entity now.
    CL is right re the divorce too. When challenged on behaviour and assets, narcs get incredibly angry and fight dirty. Your health and peace of mind comes before money now – get yourself that pitbull lawyer. No narc will look at a fair settlement and be reasonable. They will go for the jugular. Prepare yourself mentally for the fight but know that you will come out the other side, like many of us have.
    It’s hard. No doubt about it. But give up the dream of him being fair and reasonable just because you are. He’s not.

    • I like this post Justine. I never thought I would let go of the dream but I have. I have now gotten to the stage where I would like to see my ex husband (37 years) meet someone who he actually loves and loves him in return and not pretend to love, which he did to me for our whole marriage. The problem with this is that he is after teenage Asian prostitutes and I cannot see a happy future for him. His choice not mine.

  • I will join in the chorus….Get a lawyer, get a lawyer, get a lawyer!
    And then have that lawyer go for as much in the settlement as you can. While you were playing by the rules, he cheated and blew up your life. You are under no obligation to him whatsoever. Stay being so nice.

  • Dear Chumped To the Max:

    You’re children are adults and I am sure you have raised them to be well-adjusted and thoughtful. They can still celebrate the holidays as a family, but they will spend time with you and spend time with him– Separately. If your husband wants a pleasant, Martha Stewart holiday, he can put his own show together. If he wants to sit around like the washed out bastard he is, that is up to him. You are under no obligation to keep the Christmas party afloat for the sake of everyone else’s yuletide happiness. You do have an obligation to take care of yourself.

    Just simply send out a warm invite to your family and if they ask about dad, he is not coming this year. That’s it. No drama.

  • “No! You’re the meanie who took cake away!”

    Thanks, CL, for explaining my XH’s sheer anger at me. He’s the one who told me more than a year ago that I was the cause of his unhappiness, that if he weren’t married to me, he could find true love and happiness, and actually cried about how miserable he was married to me. Even his sister told me that I wasn’t a good enough wife for him. Well, ok, everyone’s got their wish (I filed for divorce), so now XH should be so happy to be free to find his true love and happiness. But instead he’s yelling at me in the corrider of the court house, cursing at me, blaming me for destroying our kids’ lives, saying he never wanted the divorce.

    • Yeah, there’s no logic in crazy. Apparently you were supposed to let him be married and do whatever he wanted as well.
      Do these people ever really hear themselves?

    • Borderline, narcissistic cheater perhaps? Lots of (borderline) spitting and projection it seems. Justine asks, “Do these people ever really hear themselves?” I think that certain psychological defense mechanisms prevent them from hearing themselves. They probably would hate themselves if they truly listened to themselves. Introspection is hard, if not impossible, for most of the character disordered.

      • After DDay 2, I asked STBX if he was going to stop seeing his skank and he said no, because “if we couldn’t fix this he wanted to pursue a relationship with her.” I told him he should write down the things he says so that he can go back and read them and then maybe he would see how utterly crazy he sounds.

  • this is correct, the cheating narc is playing the victim card and everyone is falling for it. the kids are angry at him, but he is still their day, so yeah, the X is playing on our compassion

  • No need to explain anything to anyone, other than your kids. But if you must simply say that the divorce is not amicable and you want to enjoy your holiday without the man you’re divorcing for cheating on you.

    I did one holiday with ex and that was enough. We tried a birthday at a place with one of the kids but ex started a fight by telling my kid just prior to said event that he hated me. Kid promptly told me and burst into tears.

    Make separate plans and let the idiot sort himself out. My ex’s family always sorts everything for him because they’re enablers and he’s a middle-aged weakling.

    • Yours and mine both. My ex didn’t get that way on her own. She had a lot of help.

    • “My ex’s family always sorts everything for him because they’re enablers and he’s a middle-aged weakling.”

      Mine, too! He’s had a nice soft landing after the split because he moved in with his parents, who won’t let anything bad happen to him. He doesn’t need to wish for anything for Christmas; he’s got everything right there (except his Schmoopie, who lives in another country).

    • I agree with Nord. I tried to hold out the olive branch to Cheater, who seems to live by the motto, “Let no good turn go unpunished.” Following my attempts at reconciliation and amicable get-togethers, he proceeded to tell some dear relatives that they had ‘issues’ and I made his life horrible, because THEY, through their ‘horrible child-rearing habits,’ had made me into an awful person who made him miserable for years. Beware character-disordered individuals who will exuberantly wage scorched earth campaigns and won’t quit until they’ve destroyed you (and maybe them).

  • My 3 adult children and grandaughter are spending Christmas with me.They are disappointed that their dad is away from 24-27 Dec having a family occasion at the home of OWs old mother complete with her folks. He will not see his own grandaughter at all as she is away from the 27th until after new year. He will be watching OWs great niece open presents instead of his own 2 year old grandkid.
    His choice…I have not criticised or made comment. However, he wants to use skype to put in some sort of appearance on Christmas Day and I am not comfortable with having this set-up beamed into my home…nor do I want to be creeping around out of range of the camera as my home is private. OW has already invaded my home by making a scene here in the past.
    My kids think it will annoy her but dont seem to get the point that it will also annoy ME…I just want to enjoy a family Christmas. So do I put my foot down and risk giving kibbles or have the great man make an on screen appearance?

    • The kids can go Skype at a coffee shop, or in the garage. You don’t need to tolerate being digitally “invaded” in the sanctity of your home. My two cents.

      • Here, here! Enjoy your holiday and revel in your strength in setting boundaries. I like the garage location for the Skype reunion. Make sure the garage is unheated, with noisy appliances running in the background. Merry Christmas!

        • I suspect OW might share that sentiment – from OWs mothers garage to our garage – happy holidays across the miles!

    • i say let the kids skype. not biggie. surely there is somewhere in your house where you can point the webcam to a wall, so it doesnt show anything in your house except the wall. in a corner of a room maybe. you dont have to be creeping around the camera. set a time. and just be out of the webcam view. and let kids skype dear old dad.

      1. he cant say you are being unreasonable. skypeing really isnt that fun. it actually kind of sucks. but if he thinks it is going to make him feel better by skypeing his kids on christmas, he is going to be disappointed.Plus the kids get to say merry christmas to him. (which is a good thing even thou it feeds his ego a bit)

      2. if he thinks he is going to spy on you, see a window into your christmas holiday, again, he will be disappointed since you pointed the camera at a wall (one he already knows what it looks like preferable or a blank wall). he will see the kids faces and a blank wall behind them. he will not be able to see your decorations, or who you have invited or what you prepared for dinner. so again, no harm done to you and a lot of damage inflicted on him.

      and last but no least 3. his girlfriend is NOT going to like it. it will upset her perfect day that he wants to skype with his kids and she gets pushed into the background for once. even if SHE hovers and creeps around the edges, she is still in the background where she deserves to be. Maybe she will understand that she took him away from a family who should have came first. Maybe it will put her in her place for once. but really anything i could do to fuck up her day, would make my day. especially since it was HIS idea and not something you came up with….even better cuz you are just going along with it, Mrs Nice girl while she sits there and gets pissed off.

      {but then again i am a huge chump so maybe this is not good advice after all. if i could do this, skype instead of having him come to the house, damn right i would do it. i would put in the back ground wall, a picture that says “Family Before Everything” or “Family First” or “I am BLESSED with my family”}

      • Thank you MrsVain, I really do not want to be back in the ghost of Christmas past this year – maybe it is a seasonal thing but we had a festive DD a few years back and we won the pick us dance for the turkey dinner. It was a sad parody of an event and absolutely sucked.
        Last year he had the family round the day after christmas with OW in situ and it was all very awkward – my son took his friendly rottweiler uninvited and it seems OW is not good with dogs – he ended up telling the room that he prefers the company of dogs to certain people! My other son did not like the food and dad made him something else.
        I suspect that this year she wants him to herself without the pesky family he produced with me.
        I have learned to just stay out and let go. Maybe he will have a wonderful time with his new “in-laws”…or maybe not.
        I think you are right…if I make something of this then I am regressing and setting myself up to be cast as Scrooge.
        No, I will be busy cooking for my family. I know I am blessed to have them. I guess it wont be all log fires and the snow scene from “Love Story” for dear old dad anyway.

  • Santa’s hat is Red
    Christmas tress Green
    Kids and I are happily celebrating
    Cause the Grinch split the scene

  • My boys were 9 and 12 when I finally divorced their dad. They are 24 and 27 now. My tactics and conversations have changed over the years, as I have mellowed and learned more about the disorder(s) their father has. I try to put the needs of my children first — but their needs and what I perceive their needs to be can be quite different. I learned that they did not need the picture book holiday — we had not really had them anyway. There was always tension in the house, always expectations and needs that were not being met, holidays added special strain because usually more people (extended family) became involved, and everyone was trying to “put on a happy face” for the holiday.

    So I offer this advice from a survivor’s perspective. Try to do the right thing, but keep your boundaries intact. If you need to be at an event with your ex, do so, but that does not mean you have to act like you are the best of friends and there was no yesterday. You may not want to bring certain things up — but sometimes something is said, and it is best to have a fast exit strategy at hand. I always have my own car, I always have my own phone, I always have someplace else I can go if need be. Over the years the tension has dropped considerably. I can endure a great deal so that my children can have a nice day — their graduation from college, for example — I sat in the same row as their father and his current flavor of the month, and I didn’t blink an eye. My concentration was on my graduate –not the sins of the father, past.

    With meh, you don’t get yourself all worked up. After time passes, and you realize you are better off, and the ex will never change, and will always be miserable as a result of his/her own actions, you see your children have worked out their own survival strategy, too. My son’s will always love their dad because he is their dad, and me because I am their mother. That does not mean they do not see both of us as human, and far from perfect. They know, and can even list, our faults. They know they are loved. They can talk to me about the importance of concepts like character and honor, and commitment and lying. They know who they can depend on. Ultimately they understand the divorce and why it happened, but we don’t dwell on it. I didn’t volunteer information, but I answered their questions honestly. They were smart kids — they knew a whole lot more than I thought they did, even at 9 and 12. Just have faith that this will pass, and you are strong enough to survive.

    I’m not saying any of this was easy — just that it can be done. Grit your teeth and set your priorities. Get legal help when you need it and emotional help when you need that. Endure.

    Good Luck!

  • or for his social media fans on FB

    Candy canes are sweet
    Plum pudding a treat
    I left the big fat ass loser
    Did you see my tweet?

    most of your friends and family are aware of your split…dont give him anymore lip service…it will kill him not being included in the annual Xmas news letter…and simply put ” lets raise our glasses to old friends and new beginnings”
    …then burn an Elf -on-the-Shelf in efigy…post that shit to you tube…that should cover it.

  • Here is a contrast that maybe wil give you another perspective.

    I got married very young and by the time I was 23 I had two daughters. When I was 26 their dad and I divorced. There was no cheating, we just couldn’t make it work. We were young and stupid and really, really incompatible. The divorce was tough but simply because it was a divorce and there were a lot of issues to work out as we settled into being two separate families. We did holidays separately but did attend teacher conferences and such together. By the time our youngest was 16 we were both remarried with 2 more kids each. His wife and I were friends. We went in together to buy our daughter a car for her 16th birthday and had a joint party for her with all of our families there. When she graduated from college we threw a joint graduation party for her and all stayed at the same hotel, had meals together, the kids all swam together, etc. Our extended families all consider themselves related and our girls (2 together, 2 of his, 2 of mine) consider themselves some kind of half-half sister thing. We are one pretty big extended family and it works for us and our kids are all the better for it. I feel very fortunate that it worked out that way and welcome anybody into my life who wants to love my kids.

    Now, I am almost divorced from hubby #2 and it’s a whole different ballgame. We were married for 17 years when things started to go very, very badly. He was abusive in many ways, there was an emotional affair, physicall affairs, lies, etc. His behavior has consistently been abusive, disrespectful, deceitful, and on and on. He blames me for every negative thing in his life and is quite open about what a terrible person I am. Let’s not forget that I am also mentally unstable. He has virtually abandoned our disabled daughter and is gaslighting our youngest by telling her that everything is Mommy’s fault. He’s broken just about every agreement we’ve made but claims I am untrustworthy. BUT he wants us to just “get past all of that and move on because it’s the mature thing to do.” He wants me to be friendly and chatty and “let go of all that negativity.” Right. He would gladly spend holidays with me and the kids if I’d let him and the tramp come into my house. And that’s never going to happen. I may very well let go of the past – but that’s for me, not for him. And letting go in no way implies forgetting and/or continuing to allow myself to be abused. There are these things called boundaries (anathema to narcissists) and I’ve worked hard to actually acquire some. No way I am going to let him even put one toe over my boundaries. He does nothing but use and take and then complain that it wasn’t good enough. Fuck that noise. I’ve got no room for it any more and I don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt over it. My youngest tries to guilt trip me, too, and I tell her the truth (Daddy and Mommy are not friends. Mommy believes that friends are kind, honest and considerate so she will only be friends with people who act that way. I’m sorry that’s painful for you but that is the reality of this divorce.). Then I send her to her therapist to talk it out there – because it is not my job to fix this for her. Believe me, it has taken a lot of my own therapy to get to this place of understanding what is and is not my responsibility. Feelings belong to the feeler is one of my mantras. Anyway, I don’t foresee a time when the ratbag and I will ever be friends. His family turned his back on me just like he did. The tramp is a piece of gutter trash with daddy issues and I don’t expect she will be around forever. So it won’t be one big happy family this time. For good reasons.

    It is so hard for us way too kind and compassionate chumps to stop making excuses and spackling and taking on other people’s issues. But it’s the only healthy way forward. I do not want any of my daughters believing that it’s okay to let someone abuse them. If I accept the ratbag as still part of my family then I am basically demonstrating that all of the things he did are okay. DivorceMinister said it beautifully: Live in the truth. Do not maintain some illusion just because it’s easier than the disappointment, pain, and possible conflict with the ex or the kids or anyone else.

    • Lissa, so beautifully said. Circumstances being what they were I have buried my Ex. No Contact is the healthiest thing I have done and I have buried my Spackle trowel. My ex chose scorched earth and that is exactly what he’s getting. Healthy relationships need to be modeled for our children, healthy marriages, and healthy boundaries too. If there’s a great lesson in all of this it’s that I no longer tolerate crap in my life.

  • PS: This will be my first holiday season truly free of that soul-sucking, joy-destroying, assclown and I am looking forward to every minute of it. No, I won’t have my youngest with me on Christmas Eve and that is painful. But it also means I won’t have him around to ruin everything for everybody so if that’s the price then I will gladly pay it.

  • Chumped To the Max,

    On our first Christmas after the divorce in 2011, we were still trying to finalize the custody agreement. XH was supposed to get the kids at noon Christmas day, but the kids wanted to spend Christmas morning at my house AND have Christmas dinner with me. So, I suggested a compromise: I keep the kids most of the day, and XH join us for dinner mid afternoon. All he had to do was show up – I’d do all the work (as usual).

    About an hour before he was supposed to come, I had an issue with one of the dishes and texted him to come 30 minutes later than planned. He went BALLISTIC, saying that I was trying to rob him of time with the kids, and he’d already capitulated enough. And here I just thought I was being courteous. Silly me!

    It was the LAST Christmas dinner he ever had with his kids. I never invited him again.

    You don’t owe your STBX ANYTHING, CttM. He’s the one who messed up. If he “bites the hand that feeds him,” he can just go hungry. My XH certainly has…

    • I too have had my fill of festive OW shit and drama. Mine waited years for the great pretender to grace her table instead of doing his duty with wifey and the kids…she must love that role deep down as her last husband was also a man who had been married for decades and once he was hers she cheated on him with my ex.
      So this year he is all hers…no pick me…no exchanging of token gifts…no farce of playing happy families. We had a major DD at Xmas 2009 and I remember walking round the supermarket in a daze buying food I did not want. The canned music was all the usual silent night/santa baby/silverbells stuff and it felt like being tortured. That year marked a new depth of low in a long line of lows.
      Why do we spend so long trying to fix something that is fundamentally broken and making ourselves ill in the process?
      My daughter once remarked that everything is smooth for a while til the next big shockwave hits us…I had to pull the plug on the shockwaves. No, he will not learn the hard way, come to his senses, realise its me he really loves. I cannot nice him back and, even if I could, there would be further shockwaves up the road.
      It is such a blessed relief when we finally stop fooling ourselves.

  • Last year at holiday time, I was not yet divorced and I was still in the marital home trying to get it sold. My two teenage daughters and I shared the holiday without their father. I did extend an invite to him for a visit that day so he could see them and exchange gifts. I even offered to leave the house so he could have that time alone with them. I did this solely because my oldest daughter (19) does not want to meet the woman who tore apart her family and so she would not go spend any time with him at his place with OW. He refused to come to the house because he wouldn’t leave OW alone for even an hour on Christmas day. You can’t fix stupid!!!! Needless to say…….he will NOT be getting this same gesture offered to him this year. He can just figure this all out himself.

    • Such great advice from everyone. I really needed this right now, feels like my heart has been put through a blender lately. I am so glad I found this website.

      I spent Christmas with the STBX last year because my oldest son was coming from Germany with his new girlfriend and I thought we could have one last Christmas together. My STBX behaved badly, argued with my son’s girlfriend. Drove like a crazy person with us all in the car then pouted when I told him he was behaving badly. I don’t think I can do another holiday or special event with him again. Even the kids got sick of him last year and avoided him, which meant they also avoided me.

      The STBX is just playing for sympathy right now and my youngest son is falling for it, even though he knows exactly why I am divorcing his Dad. We both need to learn to create some boundaries and not get played.

      I will keep this as a reference to keep me going through the holidays. Next year, when the divorce is finally done, I know at least i can start my life again without crazy rages, temper tantrums, pouting, blaming, ranting, and most of all, no more surprises of girlfriends showing up at my home or on his phone. Happy holidays CL and fellow chumps!

      • kind of sounds like our christmas last year. XH had really made 2013 a bad year all around. All year i was trying to save my marriage, trying to talk to him and find out what was wrong so i could fix it while he just keep staying out all night drinking, not coming home, i have no idea where he was, not giving me money to pay bills, when he was home he was too busy distancing himself from us so he was always in the garage, never did anything with us, all the suggestions i attempted to do something as a family was always shot down but he kept complaining that i didnt want to do anything anymore. it got really bad at the end of the year, i was still trying to figure out what was wrong and why he was acting this way. halloween was a wreck, boys birthday was good but he was in and out of the house (like usual), thanksgiving was good cuz we went out of town, and christmas was good cuz i put ALOT of effort into it.

        we went to church on christmas eve as a family, i prayed for my marriage, i told him i was praying for our marriage and i thought we were going to make it thru this. he agreed. he even made sure he was in our annual christmas family picture. acting like everything was normal and we were ok.

        needless to say, the whole time all this was going on and i was foolishly thinking we just made it thru the year from hell and christmas was a sign that things were going to get better…..he was planning his exit strategy the whole time. scheming with his supporters and his MOW about how and when to leave me. i know this because one of his messed up druggie cousins used to leave 2 houses down from our house, i used to have to go over there to get him in the middle of the night. (yep, MOW was there in the end too) about a week before christmas, i watched them move from that house. i was wondering, why are they moving. they kept looking over at my house the whole time. and that made me wonder too. but i was super happy they were moving, unbeknownst to me, they were moving to a bigger house (that one was just a 1 bd and druggie cousin and her bf were living there together) one that was a 2 br, so that cousin and bf had a room and XH and MOW had another……WOW!!! the discovery of that KILLED me. that he was planning to move in with them when the got the bigger house BEFORE christmas!!!! while i was in church praying for my marriage and he was kneeing right beside me and our children….he ALREADY KNEW he wasnt going to be staying. Making sure he was part of our christmas picture, while in the back of his head he KNEW it would be the LAST family picture we took together. watching the kids open their gifts and then talk about what they wanted to do (with dear old dad) next year, the whole time knowing he wasnt going to be here to do those things with them!!!!!

        who the fuck does that!!!!! he was always ready for the fun times i planned. but he would alwasy fuck them up by being a dick, getting mad at something really stupid and then pouting about it for so long that it bothered everyone, (you can only ignore stupid for so long) he would always leave me out of the fun, go off by himself or with one of the older kids while i was stuck on baby duty. he never cared if i had a good time or not. as long as he did.

        i am looking forward to more good times with my children without the drama his ass used to bring to everything.

        • Mrs. Vain–you have put up with so much! I hope your holiday season is much improved without your f*cktard (I am coming to LOVE that word).

  • Chumpedtothemax, Chump Lady is right. When my ex ran off with the blonde and I started legal separation for finances etc, he came storming into my work one day and started to abuse me because “he never thought I would be like this”. Um.. and what is that – making sure the kids and I are financially ok?? I extended an invitation to the ex to come over on Christmas Day. He came, so did his parents and aunts and uncles. He was texting half the day, I felt so awful, tried to put on a brave front. had to keep going into my bedroom to cry. Never again. Now (3 and a half years down the track) there is absolutely no contact. I have had two emails this year and one text. He tried to call me about a month ago. I have his number blocked on my phone. If it was urgent he could still leave a message or text me. The kids don’t want to spend Christmas with him and the OW (their choice). I have people over and/or go visit on Christmas Day people who care about me and my kids, who have got my back. So much better.

  • I don’t know if this was posted. The reason he wants to wait until 2015 is for tax purposes. By remaining married past 12-31-14 you file jointly = less tax burden.

    You already know he’s a selfish ass. Celebrate w/o the creep. He’s not hanging on because of nostalgia. He’s a controlling, greedy motherfucker.

  • Chumped to the max-

    I thought I could remain friends with the ex as well but I think once you get far enough away from that craziness you realize how ridiculous a notion that is; not because of you but because of the narcissists that we once called our spouses.

    I second what chump lady says about the lawyer thing, if it’s not too late. I did the mediation route because I thought we were being civil. He purposely left his Harley (which was paid in full) off the settlement and never had our house appraised for fair market value. I also foolishly waived alimony because our salaries were almost equal….almost. He still makes about $20,000 more a year than I do and I have custody of our adult (handicapped son) with no financial assistance from the ex (ass hat). Occasionally he’ll throw our son a bone while he tries to work towards his MS in Clinical Social Work but only if he begs.

    If your children are young you can’t go completely no-contact but I would strive to get as close to that as possible. Now that my children are both adults I only allow him one venue to contact me and that’s email. Ain’t no way I’m having anything to do with him for the holidays!

  • I’ve been on the receiving end of the npd – chump experience and also work in a divorce related profession.
    CL is giving valuable time and money saving advice here (again) I’ve rarely seen a timely, successful mediation w a disordered person. I’m not saying it can’t be done but it takes a master mediator.

    It’s usually the chump that does most of the emotional and rational heavy lifting, trying to save cheater pants a few bucks or thinking ‘if we don’t blow money on the lawyer, it’s more we have for our kids education’. Chumps often give up more than they should because they’re still walking on eggshells and don’t want to ‘set him off’. All of that is wasted on cake-eaters.

    Tracey’s right. You can not negotiate in good faith w a liar. They bring all of the same crazy making, entitled, circle jerking, manipulative stuff into the process that you had in your relationship. They will string you along until it’s almost complete and then blow it up over a misplaced comma just to prolong the dance. They think nothing of your feelings, wasted time or money and YES then they’ll be all butt hurt b/c they have to eat alone on XMAS after they’ve destroyed your entire life. .

    It’s time to ‘UNLEASH THE DOGS’. Hire the most skilled person you can afford and extricate yourself. You could never make him happy during your marriage,because they are soul less miserable people and you will certainly not gain his approval during the divorce so quit trying and cut the best deal you can for yourself.

    PS Just b/c you were married for the entire tax year, it’s not mandatory to file jointly.

    • You nailed it, I blew through twice as much money and time trying to “mediate” a settlement, finally had to file or I’d likely still be married to the asshole. They do NOT want a divorce and it becomes clear when the divorce starts becoming a reality to them.

  • Chumpadvocate: “Just b/c you were married for the entire tax year, it’s not mandatory to file jointly.”

    Can you help to explain this to me? We were divorced in Sept and I thought it was mandatory to file jointly. Would it benefit me not to? Thanks!

    • It is not mandatory to file jointly, I filed separately for the part of the year after the divorce was finalized. It will make a huge difference if you got the house because you will get more of the tax deduction. I have a CPA do my taxes so I can’t speak to other particulars.

  • If you mean divorced in Sept 2014 you are single for tax purposes. You can not file jointly bc you are no longer married.

    From IRS pub 17

    You are considered unmarried for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you are unmarried or legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. State law governs whether you are married or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree.

    Divorced persons. If you are divorced under a final decree by the last day of the year, you are considered unmarried for the whole year.

    if you have children at home You ‘may’ qualify for ‘head of household ‘ Filing status

    Any year you have a drastic change in the financial circumstances in your household, like divorce, consider getting some professional tax advice.

    If your x husband took care of all of this, this is a great time to take charge of your own financial future. It’s easier than you think. You can do it ! :-).

  • Oh my. I remember it well. “I want a divorce but I still want to come home for holidays and go on family vacations.” He said that.He actually had the gall to tell me that when he told me about his shmoopie and his plans for happily ever after.

    No way, I told him. I explained to him in as few words as I could that divorcing me meant he was leaving the family. And leaving the family meant no holidays and no vacations.

    Don’t let your STBX steal your holiday happiness. The moment he decided to step outside your marriage is the moment he lost all rights to happy times with the kids, in-laws and Kodak moments.

    Don’t fall for that “the lawyers will suck up all the money.” That’s one of the oldest lines in the book that they use once they realize their little on the side has suddenly become fucks for bucks.

    Good luck. And do something fun and totally indulgent for the holidays. Bask in the knowledge that you’re soon free of him and the new year is bringing you a new and greatly improved life.

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