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Dear Chump Lady, 2×4 me. I slept with my ex.

pickmeDear Chump Lady,

I have been an absolute idiot and an asshole. For almost one year after X and I split (we hadn’t gotten married yet, I am forever thankful) I did great with NC. I went to therapy. Got my head on straight and started recognizing weak boundaries in my life and fixing them. But chumpdom is hard to squash.

A year ago X’s mother passed away from a nearly three-year fight with cancer. I loved that woman. A former chump herself (X’s father), she listened and supported me at every turn. She was a wonderful grandma.

In grieving I allowed myself to speak to X and wound up sleeping with him. I regretted it immediately (then I did it again after my brother died in April), but still left the door open to be “friends.” This lead to the last year of me doing stuff with him and the kids, behind OW’s back. I thought it was nice to be able to get along (now I look back and think, hello? Cake anyone?) He kept saying he wanted to leave her but — insert excuse here. I told him in no uncertain terms that I would NOT take him back. He continued to proposition me, so the walls went back up and for the last month it’s been all business. Then yesterday, having a disagreement over something concerning our son, he said he would be more inclined to cooperate if I were sleeping with him. I am livid over this. I know I have made horrible choices in the last year, and am taking steps to make things right in my life again.

My question is, do I tell the OW anything? A part of me thinks she should know (I am likely not the only person he has propositioned) and a part of me thinks she knows what she’s dealing with. I don’t want to act out of anger, I am waiting to cool down and think. I just don’t know what is right. And please hit me with the 2×4, I have done awful things. My grieving is not an excuse for poor character.

RumorHasIt

Dear RumorHasIt,

It’s hard to 2×4 someone who is already beating themselves up, but I’ll do my best.

As you know, sleeping with your ex is a DREADFUL idea. It’s the bargaining stage of grief, and the pick me dance performed naked. It’s the ultimate falling off the No Contact wagon.

And yet, it’s a pretty common chump phenomenon. (I know I will now hear from all the chumps that wouldn’t touch their cheating ex with a barge pole. Hurrah for your boundaries! The rest of you, read on…)

To make sure you don’t do it again, be clear on why you did it in the first place, and shore up your defenses.

1) Bargaining stage of grief. When you break up, and grieve the loss of what you Thought You Had, it’s natural to bargain and try and salvage some sort of lesser relationship. Well, if we can’t be partners… then maybe we friends with benefits… or just friends!

Answer? Remind yourself — this relationship is DEAD. And remember why it is dead — he killed it.

2) The nature of grief itself. Grief amplifies loneliness. It is totally human to want to be held, especially during hard times. What’s chumpy is wanting to be held by the very person who gutted you.

Answer? Get support. Surround yourself with people who really care about you, and will talk you off the ledge when you want to reach out to your ex. (An online forum like Chump Lady is perfect for 24/7 bitchslaps as needed.) And don’t be afraid to hug others or ask for hugs. A dog is great for hugging too. There are other ways to lessen the hunger of wanting to be held.

3) The pick me dance. Sleeping with your ex tells him that what he did isn’t so bad. Your mouth says, “I am never taking you back” — your body says you are. The cheater revels in cake. And knowing that he is still involved with the OW, sleeping with him means you are doing a very humiliating pick me polka. IMO, this is the core of your shame — the cheaters have reduced you to their level.

You’re doing the pick me dance with your kids too — if you’re not there to mediate his relationship, perhaps you fear he won’t have one at all. Clearly, that’s what he’s telling you — things would work out much better on this parenting gig if you would still sleep with him. (What a pig!)

Answer? His relationship with his children is on him. Get the courts involved so he pays support and work out visitation. Stick to the custody arrangement, and keep it all business. Only communicate via email, so it can be documented and impersonal.

Answer to the naked pick me polka? Just STOP. Brush yourself off, regroup, get checked for STDs ASAP, and never do it again.

4) Not trusting that he sucks. This is the core of your problem, RumorHasIt. He sucks. He is someone who has never committed to you. You had two children with him and no marital status. You had his lame “promise” of commitment, which he didn’t honor with fidelity. So no surprise he wouldn’t honor marriage, either.

He’s the father of your children, so I get that you want to project goodnesses and potential on this man. But face it, like many of us here, you bred with a fucktard. A cheater. See him for who he is and protect your children accordingly by being the SANE parent who doesn’t fall for his bullshit.

Your ambiguity about your relationship with their dad is confusing for them as well. Are we a family? Are you raising their hopes that you’ll get back together again? Are you banking on the kids’ eagerness to compel him to pick you over her?

My question is, do I tell the OW anything? A part of me thinks she should know (I am likely not the only person he has propositioned) and a part of me thinks she knows what she’s dealing with.

Well, you too should know what you’re dealing with and you don’t. You don’t trust that he sucks. I very much doubt the OW trusts that he sucks either, with everyone providing this dipshit so much cake.

I could go either way on this. I don’t really believe you have a moral obligation to the woman who knowingly broke up your relationship. (Did she know? If she was unaware, then I would tell her.) You just tried to do to her what she did to you. Pointless. Cake-y. A revenge fantasy that backfires and keeps you tangled up with cheaters. Pointing it out to her just embroils you in further drama. I would stay NC with both of them.

My only caveat to NC would be if you have an STD, then tell. No one should have their health endangered.

But if you’re trying to save the OW, or give her evidence to trust that he sucks — not your job. And IMO, it will only be perceived as more pick me dancing.

Rumor, just try and put this bad chapter behind you. Learn from it, go forward and do better. You’re a complete family with your kids minus the fucktard. No one needs him. Start living that reality today. Hang up the pick me tap shoes.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Rumor,
    Just think of it as a moment of temporary insanity… Give yourself 40 whacks with whatever you have handy… Broom… 2×4…. Once you feel the sting remeber its nothing compared to the pain and aggrievation of having the fucktard in your life. You have to draw your line in the sand. And know your worth. As i have said ‘ not only would he have to hold a gun to my head to get me back… He would have to unload the whole clip’
    Its easy to fall back into what we know… Like those horrible fuzzy slippers that should have been thrown out long ago. The only difference is they were reliable and a source of comfort. He on the other hand was a different kinda old shoe.
    I think that it is also very confusing to your children and giving them false hope. Cause in their little hearts its all that they want.
    As for the OW…she gets what she deserves. And you should try to be at peace with that. Your continued involvement with him to get back at her puts you at the same level as her. And the real truth is…. You deserve better. 8 billion people on the planet… I am sure you will bump into someone else.
    I know its hard to be alone. I struggle with it everyday. I lost a huge second family… And no one to cook for over the holidays. My family was a way I defined who I was… Now I am seeking a new definition… And finding that road back to me. A lot of times i thought it would be so much easier for my child and the family if i just put up with it. Its no way to live. In limbo. Half in and half out.
    I chose to live authentically and honor who I am. Show my child that This isnt what marriage and love is about. And thats how i sleep at nite knowing that the way i chose to live comes from a place of honor not second hand love.
    My hope for you in this new year is for freedom.

    • “As i have said ‘ not only would he have to hold a gun to my head to get me back… He would have to unload the whole clip’”

      Now I know where your moniker TheClip comes from. Brilliant. And sassy. So many freaking mighty people on here. I love you all.

      And I loved your shoe metaphor, TheClip. Many times I’ve thought of the fact that to my fucktard, I was just gum stuck under his shoe.

  • Like the song that is your namesake, RumorHasIt, you’re hoping that you tell OW about all the passionate sex you’re having with your ex, you crush her soul, she dumps your ex and then he comes running back to you… but instead of taking him back, you slam the door in his face and he is left grief-stricken and alone.

    Except that’s not what’s going to happen. Here are the likely scenarios:

    (1) He tells OW you’re lying and paints you as a crazy ex-wife hellbent on revenge and destroying their love. She chooses to believe him, just as you probably did or continue to do at various points since DDay.

    (2) He admits the truth to OW and she forgives him.

    (3) OW leaves him but instead of coming home to you he takes up with someone else.

    (4) OW leaves him and he comes home… but instead of slamming the door in his face, your loneliness, your inability to draw and maintain boundaries, and your children’s clamoring for having their family back together overcomes your better judgement and you welcome him back. Meanwhile, he’s still trying to win back OW or maybe begins courting another side piece.

    And when you do eventually come to your senses, you realize that you’ve sabotaged the settlement process for your divorce and your lawyer no longer takes you seriously and doesn’t make much of an effort to fight tooth and nail on your behalf.

    Meditate on these realities for a bit.

    • Another scenario: HE tells OW or “accidentally” lets her find out, and SHE ramps up the pick-me dance.

      Wow, such a stud he is! Two (or more) women fawning over him! Daaaaaaaaaaaang, bro!!!

      Gross.

      Grab your dignity, brush it off, and walk away.

      I agree with those who’ve pointed out that this behavior puts you on the same level as OW. How does that make you feel?

      Focus on your kids right. Pull it together for them. They deserve and need all of you–your big-girl self, that is. You can DO it!

    • Please please please listen to Lulu. Exactly what she said is exactly what will happen. I am living proof of that. Although you’re not married so it takes a complication of a divorce settlement off the table. It could very easily interfere with your custodial arrangement. Once you sleep with your husband post day, you do indeed sabotage the legal process and benefitsyou may have otherwise received. By sleeping with your ex or soon to be ex, this tells the courts that you have forgiven him.

  • I agree with CL on whether to tell your ex’s girlfriend. Only if she didn’t know about you to begin with, and/or if it turns out he’s given you an STI.

    PS: notice I referred to her as his GIRLFRIEND, she is no longer the OW. He has been your ex for over a year. You have now become the OW, stop it, just stop it.

    Jedi Hugs! You can do this, grab hold of your integrity and stay strong!

    • “PS: notice I referred to her as his GIRLFRIEND, she is no longer the OW. He has been your ex for over a year. You have now become the OW, stop it, just stop it.”

      Yep.

  • I continued slept with my x throughout our many separations. This kept me hooked on him, hooked on hopium. And it was within the last few years that I came to the realisation my x was doing this on purpose. It was a calculated sex, throw trying2fly little bit of kibbles every now and then just to keep her hoping for a reconcilation. He did not want me to move on, so every other week/month there was the early morning knock on the door or during midday on his lunch break. I was still deep in denial of the reality of my situation so I ate up those random bootycalls like a starving alleycat. I saw what he was doing as love for me.
    There were gf’s on his side during our separations and I was too deep in my own self rut to feel any guilt of sleeping with my husband while he was dating. I reasoned, he is my husband and him sleeping with me was my right as wife.

    OP, take CL advice, don’t do it again but also there is no guilt here for you to feel towards the OW.

  • The other day, my therapist compared my setbacks (along the road to Meh) to spending a lot of time winding up a big ball of string… and then dropping it. No one in their right mind is going to let it unravel completely, right? You’re gonna dive after it to pick it up before it gets too undone.

    This is my challenge, and it’s yours, too, Rumor. You gotta stop that ball from unraveling. X’s little juvenile comment blackmailing you into sleeping with him for the kids’ sake (last time I heard that sort of remark, I was in high school, and when I broke up with my boyfriend, he ever so tactfully said, “So does this mean we aren’t gonna f*** any more?” Nice.) just shows that he’s a complete dick. Believe me, I understand how easy it can be to just fall into something that feels safe and warm and comfortable — being strong and alone gets exhausting.

    But he’ll come out of this all shiny (as usual) and you’ll get caught up emotionally again and your ball of string will be all over the floor. Catch it now, pick it up, slam the door in his face. F***? No.

    And Dat is right, you’re the OW now. Stand up, don’t be a chump. You’re tough, you can do it.

      • NWB, I do too. Our marriages unraveled for many reasons (lying, cheating, dishonest, disordered does that) but the problem lie in our exes’ crap choices. RHI, you now control your ball of yarn. Wind it all the way up.

  • I agree with CL. Go to the animal shelter and get a dog or a kitty cat if you want something to cuddle while you’re recovering from chumpdom. The worst a pet will do is chew up some furniture and maybe sh*t in the house. Your ex has already chewed up your heart and sh*t on your life. Much less collateral damage with the pet. Double bonus of good karma – you’ve saved the life of an innocent animal who might not ever find a home otherwise!

    • This! ^^^^^
      Rescuing an animal is an amazing feeling, a whole other drug to get hooked on! And before you know it, you’re turning to Fido for warmth and unconditional love and hopium isn’t interesting anymore because you found something way better. Speaking from experience. 🙂

  • ” I could go either way on this. I don’t really believe you have a moral obligation to the woman who knowingly broke up your relationship. (Did she know? If she was unaware, then I would tell her.) You just tried to do to her what she did to you. Pointless. Cake-y. A revenge fantasy that backfires and keeps you tangled up with cheaters. Pointing it out to her just embroils you in further drama. I would stay NC with both of them.”

    You should REALLY pay attention to this part of chumplady’s response because this is the sum of the whole matter. You want to win. Ask yourself. Did you or will you win????

  • RumorHasIt, forgive yourself for sleeping with your STBX. Dust yourself off and start again. Recovering from chumpdom is really hard so sleeping with your man in the hope that you can just be back together and pretend none of this happened is appealing. Appealing, but senseless and potentially very harmful.

    I also feel that this faux reconciliation is really hard on kids. They really get confused and you’re not doing them any favors by suddenly pretending to be a model family again. As CL says, your family is already whole without the cheater in it.

    For a couple of months after we separated my husband loved getting me to kiss him if we were in the car together. I distinctly recall him saying, “Ok, let’s see what you’ve got.” (How absurd is that?) as he leaned over to kiss me. I admit I kissed him for all of two seconds and then pulled away. I said, “No. That’s not going to happen.” It was hard. I really loved kissing him. He’d also flirt with me on the phone and try to get sexy and ask for phone sex or demand to be told my sexual fantasies.

    It was hard because I still loved him, but I eventually said no. It was clear he was just using me to build up his massive ego. He really wanted to know he could get me to do anything. He loved the idea that I’d be so desperate that I’d become his other woman. So I had to show him that he was wrong no matter how badly I wanted it.

    RumorHasIt, you’ve still got a long road ahead of you. But make the decision to move on from here and work your way to your own authentic life without him.

    As far as the OW, you need to remove yourself from that drama. Only tell, as others have said, if she’s innocent in this or if you end up needing to tell her she gave you an STD.

    • “For a couple of months after we separated my husband loved getting me to kiss him if we were in the car together. I distinctly recall him saying, “Ok, let’s see what you’ve got.” (How absurd is that?) as he leaned over to kiss me.”

      Wow. What a flaming egotistical narc – boy, is he flying that freak flag in full view!

      • Yeah, what is that about the sunglasses, ex used to keep his on inside too. He accidentally left them behind when he moved out, you wouldn’t believe how quickly they ended up in the bin, they were very expensive too. I have come to the conclusion, you shouldn’t marry a man who spends more time in front of the mirror than you do.

        • Mine too, sunglasses on so often when there was no reason they could possibly be useful, pointy shoes, expensive clothes (charged and ultimately paid off on my dime). And yes, it took him way longer to get ready in the morning than it took me, and he was constantly checking himself in the mirror.

          • Alex & Kelly……must be something to that! Loved the mirror; took well over an hour to get ready! Always dressed to the nines with expensive clothing……nordstroms, saks, neiman marcus to him was the places he thrived! Only the best of the best! Flew out of state to pick up a Rolex watch. Has BMW, Porsche, Raptor and lots more vehicles! Money no object…….thats the ONLY plus to him…….not a penny pincher and spent on ALL his women! Notice I said ALL! I’m the one who got matching diamond/sapphire ring with the OW on Christmas one year! Love it…..such a snake charmer!

            • IHaveHate–identical to the OW? WTF? These guys have no imagination. Keep the diamond & sapphire but get a new setting. yuk.

  • “he said he would be more inclined to cooperate if I were sleeping with him”.

    Wow…he’s a real douche Rumor.Guess he won’t be getting Father of the Year any time soon. How did you refrain from punching him in the nads after he said that?

    As far as the OW is concerned do what CL advised. You know what to do from here on out.

  • RumorHasIt, don’t beat yourself up for sleeping with your ex. I wanted to sleep with mine when I was doing the pick-me dance, but he said it was too soon. I never got another chance.

    Follow the advice of CL and others, and just vow not to do it again, steel yourself to be mighty, and go NC with both the ex and his GF. Wishing you peace and strength in your new fucktard-free life.

  • You’re human, RumorHasIt; you fucked up. Own it, learn from it, and move on for the sake of your own sanity and for your kids. As far as telling the OW, I’d leave it alone. Hugs.

  • you know, Rumor, he could be right…..he might be much more cooperative if he thinks you still don’t see the real him. In my case, once I filed divorce papers and asked for child support, that’s when all hell broke loose and he made it his mission to destroy me. My advice is to be a couple of steps ahead of him in the legal, financial departments. Get a lawyer that knows what kind of person your ex is and protect whatever assets you have.

    • Boy ain’t that the truth. Mfpos has stopped paying child support and is hell bent on splitting our 4 children apart. I guess he figures he can starve me out. Fat chance.

      Rumor, just chalk it up to bad judgement and lack of strong boundaries. Everyone makes a bad judgement mistake in our lives. Live and learn. Just reinforce your boundaries, and don’t ever let your guard down. Trust that he sucks, and build a better life for you. DDW was right, you turned into the OW, and that is an awful place to be. Get some therapy, and fortify your resolve. You can do it! Hugs

  • Karma,
    Mama is gonna get some new shoes! And I would rather run bare foot over broken glass…hot lava …and a steaming pile of cow dung… than to put those fucking fuzzy slippers on again!
    forgive my poor grammar and typing…my mind often works a little faster than my fngers!
    All the best in the new year…may we all get some new shoes!

    • TheClip–that is a good analogy. May we all get some sassy stilletto-heel boots (the better to inflict damage on cheaters).

      • It’s so funny the little things that make you cringe, like a certain movie (the last one we watched together was “Ferris Bueller” — a shame, because I will NEVER be able to watch it again without thinking of that horrible time in my life, us faking trying to be civil and live under the same roof….).

        But the stiletto-heel hits home because shortly after he moved out, one of my coworkers came to work and couldn’t wait to tell me she saw XH & OW at a farmer’s market, and OW was wearing skinny jeans, full make-up, a sheer tunic over a black bra, and stiletto-heel boots… to an outdoor vegetable market. In Alaska. (Similarly, he was there in his pointy-toed shoes and $300 jeans, I imagine.) — I love shoes as much as the next girl, but … maybe not right now.

  • Rumor, after my ex left I had a terrible longing to be held. I desperately wanted to be rocked like a child. I think it’s a normal reaction when you’ve been cut off from someone you loved and were bonded with. I’ve even heard about abused children crying in the ER for their mothers, even though their mothers hurt them and sent them to the ER in the first place! Being abused by a person who you love and trust is very confusing. I agree with CL that you should go NC with both him and OW. You have to learn to put YOURSELF and your needs FIRST. You don’t need someone who manipulates you like this. Your job is to step up and protect yourself.

  • Rumor, don’t beat yourself up too much, because it looks like you still have a long way to go with your “recognizing weak boundaries” therapy. You reach out to him (something familiar) each time something hugely stressful for you occurs.

    That being said.

    You are still in control of you. You don’t control his behavior or his girlfriends’ behavior. Just so you know, his girlfriend already knows what kind of man he is—she was cheating with him at one point in time. That’s a lost cause. He’s setting up triangulation with you as the hypotenuse. Don’t do it. This has NOTHING to do with her and her well being, and you know that. You are falling for this “What will you do to win me back?” competition that doesn’t exist.

    You are admitting to being a sneaky person, lying to his girlfriend and doing things “behind her back”. What are you DOING? This guy is so worth lowering yourself to that level? What would your kids think about your behavior?

    Remember this—people know what you do. They’re not stupid or blind. Don’t do things that will come back later on and bite you in the ass–with your kids, a future mate or your family.

    Secondly, do you get court mandated child support from this guy? If you don’t, you are doing a monumental disservice to your children. That support is there for THEM, not you. If you don’t have it, you get it–NOW. Want to watch this guy turn ugly? Make him responsible….publicly and legally….until those kids turn 18.

    Rage, pity, charm. Three gears. You go full legal on him—you’ll get a front row seat to the cycle in HD.

    He sleeps with you because it’s a way to control you. Women and men see sex very differently—it’s a bonding, emotional thing for us to submit to a sexual encounter–we think differently about the why and the what now afterwards.

    You control you. Stop with the lowering yourself to sneaky, lying, OW status for this man and stand up for yourself and your kids.

  • Okay Rumor–I’m going to go NSFW. You know you need to stop sleeping with sleazebag. But you have intimacy needs. I can’t provide a link as I am on a work computer (and don’t need the tech people to see my google search), but there are realistic sex dolls you can buy. Expensive, but cheaper than having a judge think you “forgave” your X while you work out settlement issues, and frankly, the dolls are probably more emotionally satisfying. Yes, you will need to hide it from your children, but that’s why they make locks to put on closets.

    I can’t verify the usefulness of the dolls personally (I only saw a documentary)–but if it comes to a choice between STBX and the dolls, I’m firing up the Paypal account.

    • P.S. Diclaimer: F**ktard made us watch the documentary about the making of these sex dolls. While I found it amusing, it is 45 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

        • To be perfectly honest, I use an extra pillow to wrap my arms around. (I need one for my legs to keep my spine OK and in line anyway). But the arm head pillow really helps…and it never snores…not even my sweetie pie dog is that good! (She’s not a bed sleeper….) and, pillows do not cheat!

    • U crack me up Tempest….maybe i will put my new heels on my doll ! Cross dressing sex toy doll that I lock in my closet! I hope i out live everyone I know so they dont have to clean out my closet and see how i was getting my freak on!!!!!
      That thought alone keeps my credit card in my wallet and off of craigs list! Way too funny.
      ‘ Personal Massager’ ….much less explaining to do in the event of fire!

      • TheClip–Love the new heels on the cross-sex dressing doll! But you’re thinking about this all wrong–when we die (say, in our late 80s), we should WANT two sex dolls to fall out of our closet when they clean our house.

        As Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

  • “he said he would be more inclined to cooperate if I were sleeping with him.”
    Yes, and johns are more likely to pay if a prostitute fucks them. I have seen this phenomenon in numerous break-ups, mine (not the cheater though) and others: guys offered cash or a portion of the goods being divided, in exchange for ‘one last time’. If he gets you to sleep with him in exchange for something, (in your case, cooperation on kid issues) he feeds his own contempt for you as he reduces you to the level of a hired sex worker, someone for whom he need have no emotional concern.

    • “If he gets you to sleep with him in exchange for something, (in your case, cooperation on kid issues) he feeds his own contempt for you as he reduces you to the level of a hired sex worker, someone for whom he need have no emotional concern.”
      Hmmm, sounds like my STBX’s whore, who he flies everywhere, puts up in fancy hotels and wines and dines (all of the places we went together, mind you). So does that mean my STBX is feeding his contempt for his whore, at the coat of thousands of dollars?

      • Well, I was thinking of situations where both parties explicitly acknowledge the exchange is taking place.
        In your case, STBX has probably convinced himself he’s such a stud that she would sleep with him even if he didn’t provide those goodies, and she likely isn’t admitting that’s why she’s doing him. Them not saying it doesn’t make her any less of a whore though:)

      • expatChump — Yes, your STBX IS feeding his contempt for his whore at the cost of thousands of dollars. Those gifts and trips, which for some men in some situations might be a love offering, for him are a way of asserting control and demonstrating to himself that she owes him. He’s already demonstrated he has contempt for the women he pretends to love — there’s no reason to think that he ultimately feels any different about her than he did/does about you.

  • Thank you CL, and everyone!
    The Gf knew me and was friends with both of us before the affair. So she knows what sort of person he is. A big reason I haven’t told her is because I did not want the drama. Also she scares me a bit. Thank you for saying it is okay to not tell her, being on the fence about that has been stressful and keeping me stuck. Now I can let it go and move on.
    I hate that I behaved the way I did, but I’ve hated this past year in a general sense. So ready to wash my hands of it. I was doing so well before.
    Oh, and court enforced child support and visitation has been set up for over a year now, that was done while I was still doing well with this stuff.

    • You were doing so well before, and you will do well again. It’s easier to get back on a horse you’ve been on for a while (I mean your recovery, not your XH!). Good luck. It’s a struggle, but you’re going to be so much better off without that guy. What a cretin.

  • You wrote ‘but still left the door open to be “friends.”’

    Friends don’t do this to friends. How can you ‘friends’ with someone who cheated on you? Unless that is acceptable to you, which I don’t think it is.

    I had a hell of a time finding my boundaries after I left. But you have to find them and stick to them and eventually they will come second nature to you.

    Stop beating yourself up and keep moving forward.

  • Please step off the stage of the Springer show, by taking the stairway marked with the neon “RUN” sign overhead.

  • HI, Rumor. In the first weeks after DDay, I kept the door firmly open to friendship. I thought if he ditched MOW he’d come back and somehow, magically, it would all be OK. This in spite of the fact that from DDay on, my therapist told me I couldn’t go back–not shouldn’t, but couldn’t, if I wanted to be happy or healthy. I found a couple of reasons to stay in contact, although he had more or less gone no contact even as he was creating the impression (before I found out about MOW) that the change in our relationship was temporary. I remember telling my friend that I was going to get him back and just have “friends with benefit” sex because why should MOW get him? But the big thing is that you can use any event (family death, kid’s birthday, the jackass’s birthday, Easter, etc.) as an excuse to break NC and set up the cake buffet for him. I can remember thinking about the “occasions” that would allow me to send a note or a text.

    Then I found the Chump Lady site and started learning about narcissism and abuse, which answered my questions about how someone could have done what he did. And I figured out how screwed up but typical it is to know it’s right to leave but still hold onto that fantasy relationship that he killed. I was very, very lucky that he walked away, which gave me space and time to grieve and recover without a lot of actual temptation. I wrote a bunch of letters to him that I never sent but once I went NC, I stayed that way.

    It’s harder when you have kids, but you have more at stake, as well. You need to set a good example for them. And for your own sake, you need to value yourself. You’ve already allowed yourself to have two kids with this jerk without the benefit of marriage (which would have allowed for spousal support and division of assets). I’m not one to judge people for sex out of marriage–not at all. But you have to start thinking about the life you are building, who you are, who you want to be, what kind of home you are going to make for your kids. It’s worth thinking about going back to therapy or some sort of women’s support group to get some help sorting that out.

    And save your pennies for massage. There are places that do chair massage for $1 a minute. You can get 10 or 20 minutes. A full massage or even a pedicure gives you the skin-to-skin contact that will help you if you start feeling starved for touch. Touch is a major human need from infancy on (and one reason solitary confinement is so cruel). And finally–volunteer at the day care or church school or play group or the nursing him and start giving out and collecting hugs. The world is full of people to love. Not all of them expect you to sleep with them as quid pro quo for living up to their responsibilities.

    So think about those moments when you might get triggered and tempted and decide NOW how you are going to get around them. Delete his number from the phone. Limit emails to business and use a separate account. Go to court and make your arrangement legal and formal. And start working on you.

    • PS–Missed the reply where you said you have the court order. Good for you! So full steam ahead on no contact. You relapsed a bit but that was yesterday. Today you begin again.

  • Dear Rumor,

    First of all, please stop beating yourself up over this. At least you recognize that what you did was wrong and you’re reaching out for help. I agree, Chumpdom is hard to squash. Part of the reason it’s hard to squash is that the cheaters in our lives recognize our chumpdom and continue to try to cash in on it.

    If there was ever a better argument for staying NC with an ex, I’d sure love to hear what it is because I think this is the best reason of them all! I get that not everyone can go completely no contact if they have minor children in the mix, but contact can certainly be minimized. By your own admission you were fine until you allowed contact between you and your ex that didn’t have anything to do with your children. That’s where the trouble began for you and I would suspect every other chump that runs into this problem.

    Get back on the NC wagon and try to use this as an example of why you should never get off it. Your ex using your children as pawns to get sex out of you would be another reason to stay no contact. Business transactions that only concern your children and child support and if you need to be in contact. If he’s being disagreeable, talk to an attorney.

    Sending Jedi Hugs!

  • You have made a mistake but please do not think all is lost – you are not back at square one – you know it was a mistake which is half the battle in not repeating it.
    Recognise that he caught you at a vulnerable time and, being human, you allowed yourself to be sucked in.
    As for OW or chumped GF or whatever name she answers to these days – she knows he is a cheat anyway so go nowhere near her. Do you want to do the old pick-me with you as OW and her as rightful partner? All lovely kibbles and cakefest for the cheater.
    Please just pick yourself up and learn from this…avoid situations where he can manipulate you and groom you. Imagine a big bubble of white light all round you that he cannot enter…one day at a time. You are worth more than this sort of shit so if yourself slipping come on here and get the support you need…we all have setbacks.

  • Rumor, whenever I violated contact with ex, I told myself that the next day was a new day and I could start over. I pictured it like those factories where they post a sign saying: “We have been accident-free for ____days.”. I started again, forgiving myself, but learning from my mistakes. I am sure I would have slept with my ex at one point if he had wanted to. He just “poofed” and was gone, so I was lucky, I didn’t have the chance. Even so, I would still try to find reasons to email or contact him– sending him a photo of one of our children at a school event (he abandoned even the kids), a “question” I just had to ask him about the bills, etc. I soon realized however that I was manufacturing reasons to still have some contact with him. I also learned that he would forever disappoint me with each and every response to my contact. A friend just post D-Day instructed me that from then on oink dealing with him it was “just business”. So you do not allow yourself in situations where you are vulnerable. You do not dream up reasons to talk to or contact him. And no, you do not need to attend his family’s funerals and vice versa, you are not family or moral support for him any more. They threw us away so we don’t share those intimacies any more.

    The bottom line is that they are like an addictive and very bad drug. The longer you are away from them the easier it is to stay away, the saner you feel and the healthier you will be. If you cannot go complete no contact due to children, then go low contact.

    And remember, tomorrow is another day.

  • LAJ, very thoughtful, sage, and kind advice. I appreciate that. Kelly, I love this,”We have been accident free for ____days.” My ex just walked too and it took me the day he announced he wanted a divorce to figure out he had a side piece fuck. So I spent my marriage pick me dancing, just wasn’t aware there was someone else. No Contact is the only way to “happy and healthy.” Especially when you have children who need to see healthy relationships modeled.

  • Treat this day and any future days as precisely that.
    Don’t beat yourself up over a minor lapse of judgement concerning the fuckwad.
    By telling his whore about your activities it just makes you look like a fool, and gives her ego-kibbles as well as him. She deserves nothing but your contempt – and if, heaven forbid, this comes out and its in a position in public, you just show your contempt towards her.
    Thats what this situation should fuel you to be – contemptuous towards the pair of them, if ‘meh’ doesn’t exist yet.
    Live your life for your kids, not for being ego kibbles to a narcissist.

  • The Clip and Karma Express – well said. As the Chumplady mentioned, passing on any news to the other woman wouldn’t solve anything in the long run. She has her own cross to bear and believe me – she has or will soon. Kudos to you RumorHas It for recognizing the mistake and being willing to start again. We’re with you. Hugs…

  • Rumour, your sleeping with the ex is like the day you eat creamcakes after having successfully dieted weight away. We all fall off whatever wagon we’re on once and a while, so pick yourself up and keep going. Just make sure you don’t keep slipping up from now on. I have felt similarly to you as my ex has wanted to get back together now for over a year. But I keep reading a saying I found on pinterest to keep me sane – giving some people a second chance in your life is like giving them another bullet for their gun because they missed you the first time.
    Stay strong.

  • “He kept saying he wanted to leave her but — insert excuse here.” As Datdamwuf pointed out above, YOU are the OW. She may have been the OW while you were in a relationship with your ex. However, they are the ones in a relationship and now you are the OW. You’ve become the very thing you loathed so much in the first place. Is a full sized picture of her on your mirror so that when you look into it you see her enough of a 2×4? I really don’t have any sympathy for you and considering you were asking for a 2×4 I don’t think sympathy is what’s actually going to help you/what you want. I can’t say with full certainty whether the therapist you had wasn’t very good or if this is entirely on you not really doing/not finishing the work started/needed to be done. For starters, get yourself back in therapy (with a new therapist if need be) and get a game plan for what to do when people die. You can’t stop people dying and your current coping mechanism of having sex when death happens doesn’t seem to be working.

    • Feisty, I respectfully disagree that RumorHasIt is like the OW. She is being played here and I think she is beating herself up enough already without more accusations about becoming the thing she loathed. She was clearly emotionally invested in this arsehole and was in the throes of grief when she got sucked back into his shit. Yes it was bad judgement on her part but I think comparing her to the OW is way too harsh really. She most probably was in that ‘hopium’ phase when and thinking with her heart.

      • Cheating is cheating. If the person you’re having sex with is in a relationship with someone else and they’re having sex with you behind their significant other’s back, you are the other man/woman. It’s not rocket science. I don’t get how you can label your ex as a cheater and then turn around and tell someone else, (a former/current chump in particular) that’s cheating that they’re not cheating. She is NOT a timid forest creature. It is not too harsh. She asked for honesty, hence the 2×4. It is the truth. Call a spade a spade. She is doing the very thing she loathed from the get go. There is no excuse. Whether or not she’s still being played by the ex has nothing to do with whether or not she’s cheating. One does not someone erase the other. Yes she is being played and yes she is cheating. She IS now the other woman. If the ex’s girlfriend was someone other than the one he cheated on her with, your comment wouldn’t exist. You’d call her a cheater instantly. Who the woman is doesn’t change the action. What your advocating is the cheater argument of “oh you poor thing, you’re in a horrible relationship, you can sleep around with other people, that’s okay.” She’s cheating. If she’s not cheating then all the other exes on here that slept around with someone other than their significant other also didn’t cheat. I don’t make exceptions.

        • Well Feisty, I do think you are being harsh and sound terribly dogmatic and unforgiving here. And no, I never advocated the cheater argument as you suggest. Nor did I suggest that she was a timid forest creature. Have you ever been prey to manipulation in the throes of grief or by an cheating partner who you devoted your heart to? Have you ever let your heart rule your head when it comes to someone you had children with and were emotionally entangled with.

          Like I said, she’s been hard enough on herself here without others loading it on.

  • After the shittiest xmas since festive DDay 5years ago I think the penny has finally dropped for me…yes 5 years of lies, drama, scenes, false reconciliation and shit.
    Just when I thought I was out of the woods I get floored again!
    My lesson to learn is a simple one. It also applies to RumourHasIt and, I suspect, many of us chumps. These guys have shown us who they are but we do not want to believe them…they are involved with or even living with OW but we still let them poke around in our lives and cause chaos. We are not their priority. They will step over us to get what they want. We have been nice, we have given them time, we have given them second, third and fourth chances. We have needed antidepressants, we have cried at work, our kids have been hurt. It will go on if we let it.
    My New Year resolution is to go NC with this guy unless it is to sort out our joint finances or practical family matters. I do not wish to be his friend, his enemy, or his anything…except ex wife.
    I did not reply to his xmas text message…he wished me a good one then proceeded to wreck it. I will not call. I will not socialise. I will respect my kids right to have him in their lives but he will not be allowed to mindfuck with mine.
    NC, cold turkey, call it what you will….lets not sleep with them, follow their movements, call text or email them. Do not offer coffee, meals or chit chat. Polite, civil and businesslike is plenty.
    Its like sticking your hand in the fire and saying please do not burn me anymore…

    • Yes. Its a comfort zone thing for sure but my life is infinitely better without him. My new years resolution is to try working again. I’ve been on disability for years (prior to having DS) but I want to try to support DS and myself. I’m scared it will just confirm that I can’t work enough, but I want to try. I would love to be that independent.

  • i kicked my XH out last news years day because he didnt come home new years eve. unbeknown to me he already had my replacement and oviously wanted to be with her on the new year. but i still wanted my marriage to work and didnt know of OW yet. some point in january i wanted to have sex with him. but he didnt want to. oh he said it was because he didnt want to think he was just using me for sex. i didnt try very hard. now i know it is probably because he didnt want to cheat on his new girlfriend. with his wife!!!

    how fucked up is that? i found out about her (after we talked and agreed to marriage counselin g) on feb 9. i filed the next day. i could have fought her for him. and he probably would have came back but it only would have just a matter of time before he did it again. i was his anchor (he told me that) but he couldnt stay out of the gutters. i wastire of chasing after him and reminding him that his family comes first.

    after fathers day, we never saw him again. it was too hurtful for him to see his sons and be reminded what he threw away. the way he just walked away and forgot about us shows what he reAlly is. again, i could have continued to remind him how his sons need him. but seriously what kind of man needs to be reminded every time to do the right thing? so i let it go. yes i still hurt like crazy. yes it hurt my boys a lot. but it is NOT on me. it is HIS choice. and he didnt choice us. i dont know if he will ever remember that he has kids. i dont know if he will ever try to talk to me or them. but i pray when he does i am strong enough. but i know the desire to have sex with your ex. it is hard to remember how evil. how cruel and selfish they are especially since they know exactly what to say to you.

    be strong. dont beat yourself up too much. think of it as a booty call. i doubt you had sex in front of your kids but be careful with having him around them. he IS making you the OW. and maybe if you keep reminding yourself that now YOU are the other woman your intregity will stop you from having sex with him anymore. it is a game for him. but for you and i, it is always more then just a fuck. that is dangerous for us. fins someone to give your heart AND have sex with who will appreciate your worth. happy new year.

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