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Kids and Affair Partners — The Unavoidable Shit Sandwich

mommypromiseHow do I protect my kids from my spouse’s affair partner(s)? How do I shield my kids deal from this new blended family that’s been inflicted on them? And…Hell, we’re not even divorced, and he’s introducing the kids to my replacement. What can I do?

I get these questions a lot. And I have the same head-banging answer of disappointment — Nothing.

NOTHING?! Are you fucking kidding me?! I get cheated on, lied to, lose half of all my worldly possessions in a divorce AND THAT DOUCHEBAG AFFAIR PARTNER gets to be around my kids?

Uh huh. Yep.

Introducing the shit sandwich you can’t avoid — What Other People Do.

Once you are divorced, you don’t get to control what goes on at your ex-spouses’s house or how they parent. You don’t control who they date (even if they were dating that person while you were married). You don’t control how many fuckbuddies they cycle through each season. You don’t control how many of them get introduced over breakfast to your kids.

Yes, if you’re lucky, you can write into your divorce decree that your ex cannot have overnight visitors, or provisions around sleeping arrangements. I had a judge write this into a custody decree with my ex, and I didn’t even ask for it. The judge just had a thing about unmarried parents having sleep overs with paramours while having custodial time with children. So it’s there. Despite the fact that, in my particular case I don’t care. My ex has dated the same woman for over a decade and she’s the more competent adult between the two of them. He’s violated the order every summer vacation. And if I cared, you know what my options would be? To hire an expensive lawyer and try and hold him in contempt. Spend thousands for a hearing. To do what? Have a judge fine him? If I’m lucky pay my attorney’s fees? (that’s never happened to me in over a decade of being sued by a mentally ill pro se person). Tell him sternly not to do it again? Spend a life being the ex-spouse police and monitoring how he spends his evenings and with whom? Documenting it all and going to court?

By all means, while you are divorcing use evidence of the cheating and the introducing of affair partners as reasons for why you should have custody and decision making. Some judges care. But many do not. But once you have that divorce decree and that order — even if it has provisions for “visitors” — enforcing it is up to you. And that depends on how deep your pockets are.

Judges see a lot worse. They see horrific child abuse, addiction, unspeakable drama. Unless this person is a criminal or is putting the child in imminent danger, courts don’t care. You saying the person has crap morals and is a slutty home wrecker and should be kept from your kids makes you look like the batshit crazy person.

I know that is hideously unjust. Because what is the most precious thing to you? Your kids! It’s one thing to have your marriage broken up, your bedroom defiled, your finances decimated because of infidelity — but to touch your KIDS? Protecting them from hurt is primal. Clearly cheaters don’t think of this at all. And it pisses me off to no end that so many cheaters eat cake EXACTLY because they figure you would never put your children through a divorce. Which they’re quite happy to pin on YOU (which is why so many of them drag their feet, much better if you’re the Bad Guy).

And I’m sure a lot of “reconciliation” is undertaken with the express purpose of  folks being goddamned if they’ll let the Other Person touch their kids. Understandable, but wrong headed.

Children eat the biggest shit sandwich with infidelity. Their families are broken up by divorce, their allegiances confused — all we can do in response is be the best parent we can be. That’s all we get to control — ourselves.

And it’s a lot to ask of a chump — to be the sanest, most together, consistent parent after DDay. To not bad mouth the person who has just gutted us. To not try to protect your kids from the affair partner who aided and abetted in the destruction of their family. It’s a Herculean task of sanity. And yeah, it’s fucking unfair.

If you haven’t achieved “meh” about your ex, fake it around your kids. IMO, it’s okay to tell them why you’re divorcing (i.e., “mom cheated”) but not okay to editorialize (i.e., “because mom is a whore”). Shore them up the best you can. Get counseling for everyone. But when you feel yourself spiraling out of control, obsessing over your ex and the AP, put the focus back on yourself. How can I be a good role model? You really have an opportunity to show your kids what grace looks like in the face of adversity. How to navigate heartbreak. How to survive and thrive (but focus on survive right now, thrive will come later).

I know that’s not very satisfying. These are the days where you wish you had an uncle in the Russian Mafia or a lynch mob at your personal disposal. They pass. Take it on faith that your kids will figure it out in time. (Yeah TIME. Damn you Time!) They don’t have the life experience to get it, and they won’t for another 20 years or so.

Oh, and don’t let your kids jerk you around and do the humiliating dance of “pick me” with them either. Children have been known to exploit an opportunity to play one parent off the other. Your house, your rules. Be secure in your role as their parent. Don’t spoil them or let them get away with shit. Don’t go all soft and wobbly because you’re afraid they won’t love you. (If they’re teenagers, they don’t love you right now anyway.) You’ve still got a job to do — so do it!

Some day they’ll thank you for it. By then your ex will be on their 15th ex-affair partner probably. Life has a way of filling in the bigger picture so you don’t have to.

(((Hugs))) Chumps. Meanwhile, I know it sucks.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

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.
  • I can comment on being the second wife, bringing up my now X’s kids. They are now successful adults.

    My X’s first wife was a psycho-bitch. All I had to do was be an adult mentor to those kids. I did not try to “replace” their mother. All I expected was the respect from them, that they would give any adult in their lives. They knew who the sane person was in our dynamic. I never, ever spoke one bad word about her either to those kids (my X did all of that – he was only a few steps saner in the psycho department between those two).

    The BEST thing for the mom (or dad) who is faced with a new step-parent for their kids is to simply be the better person. No, you don’t have to like her/him; nor do you have to be their best friend, or even friendly. And although you do NOT have to take any shit from them – you should be civil and polite. If not right away, eventually your kids will appreciate what you have done and will reward you for it. OK it may take them until they are 30, but they WILL !!!!

  • Good repost. What so often gets missed in these matters are the children. They are negatively impacted by parental infidelity. But it seems most literature focuses only on the couple. Kids don’t deserve this hurt. Nor does the faithful spouse, of course.

  • XH did not marry OW – thank God! – but he has remarried OW’s replacement. I haven’t met her, but she seems to have a lot of issues. None of our kids has stayed at XH’s since the marriage last November, but we had a situation this past week that required S12 to stay with his dad for a few nights. He said he would never go back. Why?

    Wife #2’s rules, which include:

    *Everyone must get up at 5 am to pray as a family for 20 minutes to start the day
    *S12 is not allowed in the house if XH is not there
    *S12 in not allowed to stay in the house by himself
    *All television, internet, and phone usage is monitored
    *S12 must ask before he can eat or drink anything

    When I went to pick him up, I was not permitted to go to Wife #2’s house; I had to meet XH at a nearby
    Burger King parking lot instead. So in addition to not making my child feel welcomed in any way, she couldn’t even deal with me coming to her front door.

    I have no opinion on the woman other than what I’ve observed, and what I’ve observed is that she’s as happy with XH abandoning his family is OW was. She wants no reminder of his former life. Good thing I have full custody…

    • Red, You just cannot make this shit up! My brother’s ex did not stick around so there was no OM. The kids still ate shit sandwiches. Which is worse…..them seeing a parent all lovey dovey or not seeing them at all? This is how you treat your children if you know your marriage is over. You separate from your spouse. You give your children time to grieve and THEN you gradually introduce them to your newby. So far on this blog I have not read of a single cheater who did the right thing.
      I have a pipe dream. I would love to put all these disordered people in the same place and watch(from a safe distance) to see who showed off the most, who cheated the most, when did the fight break out.

      • My ex tried to introduce final OW before we had even filed. It was bizarre. He just could not understand that th kids needed time to adjust because hey! It was what he wanted and when they didn’t go along with it he went ballistic.

        • Same in my case Nord. X moved out right after Dday and in with OW. He then immediately tried to talk our then 14D into meeting OW and her 6S. X tells 14D “she is just like your mom only younger. You’ll love her”. Not surprisingly 14D told him to go to hell and he got extremely pissed off. He tried a couple
          more times in that first month after Dday to get 14D to meet OW with no better results. Then he pretty much cut 14D off and she hasn’t heard much from him since. That was 2 years ago. Then he blames me that it is all my fault 14D doesn’t want to meet his true luv. I have poisoned her. How about trying to get your kid to meet OWhore days after you dropped the bomb was not very considerate of your kid’s feelings and she reacted accordingly???? He is now marrying OWhore next
          month and didn’t invote daughter or tell her where or when. I guess he is trying to avoid being rejected by her again by pretending she doesn’t exist. But you would think he would have the courtesy to at least invite his now 16 year old daughter and let her make her own decision. Of course he may be afraid what 16D would say to OWhore…..

          • Mommy Chump, my daughters rejected their father just like your daughter rejected hesr. Like you, I was clearly to blame for it. It had nothing to do with XH making life decisions for everyone without bothering to run it by them first. No, clearly, I’m the culprit.

            D17 has told S12 that he’ll be walking her down the aisle when and if she ever gets married. She will excise XH out of her life when she turns 18 in a few months. It kills mre to hear this, but XH made his choice, and it wasn’t for his family. You can’t expect your kids to put you first when you put them last.

            • My three children have no relationship with their father, who is marrying one of his AP’s in July. They are profoundly ashamed of him. Nor has ex tried or appeared to care. Daughter (22) realized early on that she and her brothers simply could not have a relationship with him if he is with AP (he had two decades-long AP’s that we know of), he knew that and continued with AP(s), so he made the decision and (again) did not choose them (the children). He has so far missed oldest son’s law school graduation, daughter’s college graduation last week, and the growing up of youngest son who has not seen since he was 12 (youngest son will be 16 in the Fall). Ex does not seem to care. At.All. Does not even ask about them. Stunning, but in the end a testament to a true monster. I used to encourage the children to have a relationship with him, but then realized he never failed to disappoint them, every time. I now realize that the least and choice is no contact for them as well.

              There is a quote I often think of with regard to him and our children: “Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest.”

        • I moved out of the marital home at the end of March (2 years ago). The OW (Past(wh)or(e)) came to town 6 days later. They stayed at a hotel, but he brought her by the house daily where my adult son still lived. A month and a half later, even though my adult son said he would prefer that his father didn’t, he invited her to stay for a week in the marital home and sleep in our bed – with my adult son in the room above them.

          As if those two disordered pigs (and I humbly apologize to innocent, hardworking, pork-producing pigs everywhere) had not provided enough evidence of their disordered functioning, the OW came back for a visit about a month and a half later, stayed in the marital home and she the Flaming Turd from Satan’s Ass tried to get my daughter and son-in-law to double date with them. This daughter is not his biological child. The OW was confused as to why my daughter would not want to double date with them and whined to him that the only time this daughter would spend time with him was when she wasn’t with him. Ya think? This was after they had gone to visit our younger daughter at college and he paraded the OW around campus, on our daughter’s birthday – although our daughter’s friends and professors had just seen us there a few months before as a family. At that time, before I clearly understood the thinking (lack thereof) of the disordered, I asked my friends, “Who does this shit?!”

          I eventually answered my own question – seriously fucked up, delusional pieces of donkey shit who don’t deserve a passing thought or moment of consideration from me or anyone else who isn’t an equally delusional piece of shit. I am happy that my children are grown and I don’t have to really deal with the two of them and he has finally moved away to live with her, the pesky detail of the pending divorce notwithstanding.

    • WOW, Red! This reminds me of an awful story from my family back in the 1940’s; my grandmother had 3 first cousins who were little girls, their mother died when they were very young, the father remarried a woman who literally despised their existence. She made them live in a shack built in the back yard, didn’t allow them into the main house, they ate the left overs from meals that the father, stepmom and their 2 children had and they only received one pair on new underwear for Christmas, no other gifts or supplies at any other time and no holidays observed for them. How fucking cruel.

      Can you say INSECURE? What would posses a woman to treat children this way and what would posses a father to allow anyone to step in and dictate things this way?

      You know what I’d do during that 20 minute prayer time? I’d pray loudly and with so much diction for her to repent and see the errors of her ways. I’d pray out loud that she see her flaws and that she learn to love herself more and learn to reflect the image of God in her heart, mind and actions. But…I’ve always been a bit of a nonconformist and a free speaker….I’d gladly have taken a potential ass beating to embarrass, exploit and humiliate her with scripture in her own home.

      • TheBetterJamie – I’ve heard horror stories along similar lines. XH’s maternal great grandmother walked out on her husband and two sons. The man’s 2nd wife had two daughters she treated like princesses. But she HATED her husband’s sons. She eventually talked him into putting them up for adoption when they were like 10 and 12, and they were fostered out to people who treated them like cheap farm labor instead of children. Not surprisingly, both boys grew up to become misogynists. XMIL’s father used to beat both her and her mother and belittled them whenever he had the chance. Sad.

    • What’s weird is that this is just too restrictive. I’d be fine with Internet/television monitoring (hey, do they subscribe to porn channels that they need television monitoring?). I am very active on the Internet, and I think it’s smart for parents to be aware of what their kids are doing, and for them to let kids know that Internet freedom is earned based on good decisions on dealing with random strangers.

      I’m fine with not letting the 12-year-old be in the house by himself. But not letting him in the house if his dad isn’t there? Weird!

      And the 5am family prayer thing is not going to win any support. Truly, taken as a whole, that’s a list from hell!

      • KB I have no problem with monitoring things, but S12 doesn’t have such tight restrictions at my house, nor did he at his dad’s before XH remarried. It’s wife #2 coming down like a hammer, feeling it necessary to go through his internet history and telephone records like he’s some sort of criminal. She barely knows the kid, yet feels it’s appropriate to police him. Clearly she’s not trying to get on his good side – which doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

        • Oh, I agree with you. It’s like one or two things on her list aren’t terrible, but the rest? Sheesh! There is NO room for your son to make his own decisions, and that is not good!

    • “S12 is not allowed in the house if XH is not there”

      Where is he supposed to go when HS leaves the house?

      • That is some jacked up shit right there, he either lives there or he doesn’t. He’s not a visitor, he is a child and yes, where is he supposed to go?

  • Hurts the kids no matter what age they are and their father tried to get my 31 year old daughter on his side by trying to convince her to convince me to move to a rental so he and his whore could HAVE my house. I was trying to keep her out of the situation between us and he cut her off pretty much because she said no. She knows a fucker when she see one and knew he was trying to screw me. Bless her heart. Our son 29 is loyal to me but he’s immature and follows the money and even he said no. Using the kids at any age to serve your own best interest against the other parent is just so fucked up. Bastards!!!

  • As a chump kid, I have a suggestion as to how you can help your kids. My feeling after growing up with a narcissistic sociopathic cheater dad, the best thing the sane parent can do is confirm reality. If the cheater says he will call and take the kid out for pizza, and doesn’t show up, don’t say “but your father loves you” you say “Looks like he didn’t keep his promise. Not all people keep promises. Let’s have a back up plan next time and do something fun if he doesn’t do what he says”. I think it is healthy to state the truth. It is the “smoothing over” when someone is a true fuck up that screws with the kid’s head. They can’t make judgements on their own. If the OW has your son on a strange prayer schedule, you can say “what do you think about that prayer schedule? can you advocate for yourself if you don’t like it?” Teach your kids to stand up for themselves. Narcissists LOVE it when people are afraid to question them, and don’t let your kids pay that price any more than they have too. You can break the cycle by helping the kids figure out who the looney toons and make sure they don’t partner with someone like that. Spackling is really denying reality, and help your kids by affirming the truth about people. Good luck.

      • Exactly Nancy! I’m am convinced part of the reason I married exH despite the red flags is because of my chump kid issues. Until I was 18 My mother would always say “honey, he’s your father and he loves you. He’s just not that good at showing it”. As an adult, I settled for less because I thought it was acceptable. This even after my 11year old stopped seeing her dad for 6 years because I knew what a douchebag he was. Then I still fell for it when it came my turn. Ugh!

        • Ashley……I still say this to my 20 and 17 year old (Your father loves you he just doesn’t know how to show it”! After saying this so many times it becomes harder to convince them of it and frankly, that just isn’t my job. I started adding to that line. You cannot change the father he is to you. He will never be who you wish he was for a dad. It is difficult to accept but one day you will. At your ages you can determine just how much time you want to invest the relationship.

          My oldest daughters therapist doesn’t agree with me but I refuse to spackle.

          • My cheater is the son of a cheater and the brother of a cheater. Initially, he despised his father for taking a job that moved him 2.5 hours away from his family, and then taking a mistress. However, his parents never divorced, and his father would come home every weekend. The parents barely spoke to each other, but otherwise maintained civility. His mother always made him do what his father told him and told him to respect his father.

            Now, of course, both sons have managed to emulate their father.

            Sometimes I wonder what the sons would have turned out like if their parents had divorced, and if his mother had stopped spackling over what her husband was really like.

            • I have read this blog for over a year and just now am posting as my divorce was completed today and I am not fearful of my x finding it and using it against me….so, to reply to kb: my x’s father also was a cheater, for over 30 years if I am correct. The OW lived in the same neighborhood as my x and I…I would see his car parked in her driveway when I walked our young daughter daily in her stroller. Upon my FIL’s death, I found evidence of his OW and presented it to my x. His response “It is none of your business, OutWest, let it go”. Little did I know that within a couple of months of his father’s death, my x would set up the same arrangement with his own, AP. I divorced my x to try and avoid repeating this sick behavior! And believe me, there is depth to the sickness!

              • Congratulations on your divorce! You will find lots of people here to chat to and confirm that you made the right decision.

          • I’m with you, kimmy. I’ve never bad mouthed Cheater, but I don’t make excuses for him with my kids. And I didn’t lie to kids when he left. I just said, “Dad cheated, and that’s why he doesn’t live with us anymore.” Therapists, however, want you to lie and bend over backwards to facilitate Cheater ‘ s relationship with kids. Many therapists suck, too.

            • My in laws decided to lie to my son when he asked why I divorced Cheatzilla. My 15 year old son (at the time) said, “Grandma said you too just drifted apart”. I said, “Oh like hell we did. That’s a lie. I’m not going to lie to you.” He said, “Well I pretty much know anyhow, I just want to know if it was one of her jerk coworkers.”

              I said it was. The truth hurts, but it heals too. This kid spent two years begging to be told. I didn’t cross any boundary with him until someone who had no business saying anything lied to his face.

              • I don’t think you crossed a boundary then either Scott-if you don’t mind me saying. Crossing a boundary is when you add your own narrative like calling her Cheatzilla in front of the kids (I love that name by the way), which you didn’t do.

                Telling them the truth is not crossing a boundary. Nobody wants to be lied to, and that includes children.

          • There is nothing wrong with letting older children know sometimes people are selfish and think only if themselves. When X abandoned my granddaughter this is what I told her because it is the truth. She knew about the affair because he left our weekend trip to be with his whore.

            Everything is fun and enjoyable when our family gets together now that the cheater is gone. No one really missed him at all.

          • Kimmy: My therapist doesn’t entirely agree with my (almost) full-honesty policy either, but he’s learned that I have good reason for it and doesn’t argue with me anymore. I just learned some news about X’s behavior that I *will* keep from my children because it is SO odious, but the bare essentials of his affairs–no more lying. He made his bed, he can lie in it (including D14 being NC), and my children can trust me to tell the truth.

    • Great advice, Nancy! Thank you! As a mother of a 2 year old I know I’ll have many an issue with my STBX and his “parenting” practices, already do. I will remember what you’ve said here and implement that when my daughter is able to comprehend it.

    • The most important things we can help kids develop: Resilience. Good boundaries. Discernment (e.g., being able to see that something is off or not real or manipulative). Trust in their own instincts. As awful as these issues with APs, second wives and husbands, and disordered parents are, navigating that with the help and support of a sane chump parent will help kids develop these crucial life skills–and perhaps avoid being chumps as adults. I saw one of those stepfamily horror shows when I was a kid–close family friend remarried after his wife died and the new wife wouldn’t let his kids walk on the carpet. In the house where they lived. Friends and neighbors were aware of the situation and helped those kids until they were on their own. Such behavior, documented, might be enough to modify custody so that the cheater has to see the kids away from stepparent or AP.

    • Oh Nancy, you are wise. It took me YEARS to figure out that a man who loves you doesn’t lie to you, hurt you, shame you, embarrass you, disappear without warning only to reappear and try to win your affections with over-the-top gestures. A narcissistic, disordered bastard treats you that way. When I finally stopped trying to find a guy just like my dad, my life changed entirely.

    • Excellent advice, Nancy! This post was actually what brought me to this site a couple weeks ago when I just found out – a week after my STBXH and I moved to separate apartments – that he was moving the AP in with him. I was googling stuff and found this article and it was EXACTLY what I needed. This advice is also what I need to hear – thanks, Nancy!

    • Nancy–I LOVE your suggestions, especially this:

      …don’t say “If the cheater …doesn’t show up,but your father loves you” you say “Looks like he didn’t keep his promise. Not all people keep promises. Let’s have a back up plan next time and do something fun if he doesn’t do what he says”.

      That’s so important.

      If you lie for your child’s parent, either they learn to accept crappy treatment as “love” and/or they become depressed because reality doesn’t match what they’re being told.

      Really excellent post!!

      • Well, I screwed up my copying and pasting. My apologies–your post is eloquent!

        I also like that you didn’t editorialize. You didn’t say, “Your father is an asshole.” You stuck to the facts.

        Perfect! I can really learn from that.

    • Great advice Nancy. I’ve always believed that kids can get through the most horrendous of situations if faced head-on… no candy coating, no rug-sweeping, no minimizing. Anything less makes them feel marginalized, powerless and confused.

    • I agree! I have a three year-old and I have told her exactly why we are divorcing. I.Will.Not.Lie for him. I don’t need to paper over his bad treatment if me or her.

    • Nancy, we can never expect the narcissist to make good decisions especially when the woman he hooks up with is equally disordered. I firmly believe we can frame things for children in an honest way because we know the loser pair think only if their own needs. Unfortunately, cheater exposed my granddaughter to his whore before I filed for divorce and she was mortified. No we can’t control sleazy actions of the disordered but we can talk about character, morals, and boundaries to older children. Otherwise how do they learn this behavior is unacceptable? My children, granddaughter, her parents, and other grandmother, and X serial cheater are aware if her arrest records and drug abuse. I sent the adults copies of her court records as well as the newspaper articles. We take pride in out children an prefer they don’t have contact with a slut who picks up men while they are out with their wife. But as you know they are entitled and selfish and have no boundaries. I also recorded her when she approached me and called me names. This my family also heard. It’s no surprise her or son is a fuck up having her as a mother. I raised my daughters to respect themselves and others. No one wants either one of in her life. We have an absolute right to be honest and protect the ones we live from the disordered. There’s classy and trashy. We throw out the trash.

  • Yes, the complete mindfuck that is their father and his choices. One day my ex just up and vanished, like a fart in the wind, blowing up everything along the way to his “Happily Ever After.” Immediately after all the crazy and our divorce, he married his AP, an equally pathetic excuse for humanity. My kids were older (high school and college), and while they may still care for their good ol’ dad I do not believe they will ever trust or love him the same. His loss. My kids were hurt by ex’s abandonement and betrayal too so I address their feelings and encourage healthy boundaries. I don’t own his relationship with them though that is his to fix. Children know who to trust. My kids and I spend as much time together as we can and are mindfully aware of how precious it is to have family who love and support us. Actions are telling. We prioritize accordingly. (There is something freeing about no longer having to live with a lie.) One of our early best decisions was to spend a family holiday in New York together (as far away from disordered and the crap in laws as we could get) and we had a great time together. We make new memories. Tracy has this right. Be the sane parent.

    • Drew I did something similar. My first x wanted me to know the woman he was dating was spending the night. He told me he would only keep my son overnight if I came and picked him up early Sunday morning so he could attend church. When I arrived Sunday morning, her car was in the second spot reserved for his townhouse. He answered the door with his shirt off, nowhere near ready to attend church. I threw a fit, which was what he was hoping for I’m sure.

      Anyway, the thought of our first Thanksgiving without him was depressing me, so we decided to forgo the traditional dinner and instead go to NYC to see the Macy parade. That was 2001, just after the towers fell. I felt we were doing our part to stay strong in that climate and we avoided the pain of realizing our family had dissolved. We got a nice hotel room, went to the parade, looked at all the store window displays, then ordered cheeseburgers and French fries from the hotel restaurant while we watched Shrek on pay per view for the first time on a super TV. It really was one of the best Thanksgivings I ever had.

      • My best friend just completed her divorce about 6 weeks ago. Our x’s are friends and as soon as we figured out that we were in the ‘same boat’ we banded together and hatched a plan to take out kids (four between the two of us) on vacations that our x’s would never do. Our maiden voyage was trekking the Grand Canyon! The effort to plan the trip and the fear we both had was well worth it upon the completion of walking 25 miles in three days, jumping off waterfalls and spending magical time with our children! I plan on using vacation time to plan unique experiences as birthday and Christmas gifts rather than giving material goods …

          • Thank you TheClip and Miss Sunshine. I would not be where I am without having read so many stories on CL and how strong and Mighty everyone is. As I’m typing this my x just walked in, he has to vacate the marital home in two weeks….lucky for me, he is leaving for vacation on Wednesday, returns for Memorial Day and then leaves on a ‘business trip’….so after a year of cohabitating with no contact in place, I will finally be able to breath. This site saved my sanity and guided me through a very, very, dark time!

            • OHhhhhhhhhhh, my gosh. Oh, WOW. There is NO way I would have survived what you have survived.

              I literally was eating my own heart out the whole 6 weeks he lived in our family home after bomb-drop. It was killing me.

              I was shattered when he took his things out of here to be with her. But I picked up the pieces and put them back together. Better.

              You are going to be so much better off without that torture.

              I bow down. Well done, Miss!

      • Jen, I believe the further away from disordered we can get the better off we all are. Keep “forging” forward. New memories with others who care are so much better than what we had! 😉

  • I’m dealing with this today and it is worse than everything else we lose in the nightmare. To make matters worse the scumbag she is leaving me for is a criminal …as the police told me a drug dealer and “bad guy”. He was just in the police log again for driving without insurance or registration plus he still has a DUI pending. I will refrain from making more comments to my six year old but it’s hard to regret telling him to be careful of him and to tell Daddy if he yells at, hurts or scares him. I’d do the same if his mommy brought home a pit bull which would be both safer and smarter than this loser.

    The people I respect the most tell me that kids figure it out and will always gravitate to the healthier parent so I have to trust God. It’s sad that I used to compliment my wife on being such a good mother but she’s lost any ability to make good decisions even for his child with this loser in her life. I just pray that he doesn’t get so messed up between now and when this fairytale from hell implodes. It’s hard enough for a six old to go through all of a sudden having his parents split up, multiple moves and being split in two but to have to deal with his mom’s messed up lover spending nights and fake family play dates is too much especially when he understands right from wrong even when the adults don’t.

    • SC, I think you need to take his driving record to court and have it ordered that your child cannot be in a vehicle he is driving. No car, no truck, no jet ski, nothing!

      • Yes. Talk with your lawyer to see what can be done. Is it worth hiring a private investigator to see what’s going on with the children when you’re not around? Is the Felon taking care of them? Driving them around unsupervised?

        Best of luck.

        • Really good advice. I have his driving record from last year as I did a background check and his license was suspended half a dozen times for DUI, failure to pay fines, excessive moving violations, bounced checks when paying fines, driving without a license and failure to register or insure vehicle. Good luck with this loser.

    • In. The. Same. Boat, my felow chump friend. My ex-wife also introduced her loser, jobless BF (with 4 kids from previous marriage) to our 6 year old daughter shortly after D Day, having him over for weeks on end at her flat when our daughter is there and now posts pics of 3 of them on Facebook like a happy family (knowing that we have mutual friends and my family are still friends with her on Facebook). I warned my 6 year old about the guy and told her to be careful with him, e.g. not show her privates to him, etc. I try my best to take the high road and be the sensible, calm and dependable parent, although I am dying inside and would love to say all sorts of crap about them like the truth. It truly is a shit sandwich without any dressing or nutritious filings.

    • I don’t necessarily trust my ex with the children, so we have a counselor. Every other week or so, you kid can go and talk about what’s going on in both homes with someone impartial. That might save you down the road if you ever need to take action on something. And it’s great for them to know they have another sane grown up around who will listen to them and help them if the they need it.

    • Sober, sounds like these two monsters deserve each other. Take heart in a few statistics which will eventually come back to bite your twirp cheater wife. 95% of relationships born of infidelity end in 5 years or less. Most affairs last less than a year. She will likely wake up, next to her AP, and one morning when they slap the cuffs on him and drag him out, she will start to feel the gnawing regret of having screwed up a good thing. See this is all on her. And the best revenge, believe it or not, is patience. Eventually, she will cut and run again, and believe it or not, there will be a few times where she will come begging back for you…that’s a great time to look at her and say, “no thanks, I’m moving on to better people.” And shut the door.

      My ex had the nerve to tell me how our divorce almost “killed her”. What an arrogant POS. And at the same time, I had to smile inside, knowing she brought it all on herself, her kids know what she did, and she lost a heck of a lot for some slime bag. And no one gives her any sympathy. That’s the best revenge. Moving on without a cheater. Oh yeah.

      • Scott-mine claimed he would wake in the middle of the night with panic attacks about the loss of his family. Boo hoo. Serial cheating usually has that end.

        • Exactly, they want to be able to make their selfish choices, without ever thinking about the consequences even for themselves. Toddlers in grown-up bodies. And like toddlers, they are then angry at US for what they’ve created.

          • Thanks for the comments. I know it’ll blow up in her face. She loves telling me that she knows she’ll never find anyone who treats her as well as I have. That is when she’s not telling me how awful our marriage was and how terrible she had it. Those words will haunt her when it all crumbles down for her.

    • My X would be nothing more than a vague, bad memory had it not been for our three sons.

      His bimbo is divorced from a man who raped their twelve-year old daughter. But now that he’s served his time, they are all best friends, bimbo, rapist and X. Bimbo is even his court-appointed supervisor for when he visits his youngest daughter at the rat hole where they are all shacked up.

      Bimbo has deep pockets (good thing because X hasn’t worked in two years) and supposedly paid for a trip to Disney last year for herself, X and two of my three kids. What a treat to hear that my sons had to share a room with his father and skank, who slept in the same bed next to their double bed. One of my kids woke up in the middle of the night to see her giving his father a blow job. And there’s not a thing I can do to help my son “un-see” that.

      I hate them on behalf of my sons.

      • Holy sh*t, ChutesandLadders–if your son is willing to tell that to a judge, you can clearly get the custody arrangement modified. Allowing a minor to view sex acts is sexual abuse, pure and simple.

      • That is one of the most messed up things I’ve ever read on here. Wow, Chutes. I am so sorry for your kids, and I hate those fuckers, too! What kind of sick, evil people would expose kids to that, especially after the trauma they’d already been through? Surely you could get a judge to amend custody based on that?

    • Chutes, they are fucking evil. I believe this is child abuse!! No morals or self respect. Assholes shouldn’t be with children. Beyond disturbed.

  • Great advice.

    Being about 7 years out I am watching this play out in my children. My Ex has money and has spent the last years taking them on vacations, buying them homes, cars, etc. My teenage daughter now keeps him at arms length. By distancing herself from him, he is now holding college over her head. Getting her into counseling was a life saver. The counselor pointed out his behavior and has given her tools to stand up to him. She sees him for the pathetic human he is but loves him regardless.

    The AP tried to step right in after the divorce was final and post pics of them online hugging her. It was heartbreaking but easy to see through. Desperation eventually pushes people away.

    My Ex has been telling the children lies and that the divorce was amicable. I started writing my truth which he read and told my children was a bunch of lies. They have begun to ask questions. It’s heartbreaking to watch but lies cannot be maintained and children learn the reality of the situation eventually. For some it can take years, others it’s immediate.

    My struggle comes from wanting what I thought was a close loving family. I want the Sunday dinners back. I want the congeniality and feeling of love back. At least from my children, without the fakey fakey that dishonesty and distrust brings. Reading this helped me stay stable and not play the games with my children. My hope is that stability is what they will eventually desire and see their father for what he is. They can still love him, just know what he is really about, himself.

  • Nancy, great comment! My mother’s unwillingness to acknowledge my father’s obviously poor behavior did me little favors in life. I like the examples you gave of how to endorse the child’s experience and teach them how to stand up for themselves.

  • This was the very first article that I saw & read here at CL and my first taste of fully understanding what and who I was dealing with. I can’t tell you, CL how much this particular article did for me. I’m still shocked that after all the researching I did online that I wasn’t brought to this site sooner, but I’m glad I found it eventually.

    I’ve been forever changed from your insight and advice and this site, you, this community helped me find the humor in an awful situation. Thank you! This article holds a special place in my heart.

    • The re-posts are so valuable; even if we’ve read them before, we are at a new stage when we see them again. And of course, to newbies here they are brand new, priceless advice.

  • I appreciate this re-post. It’s very timely for me. As I am still separated, I know that my STXH is slowly beginning to talk to our son about his skank ahd her son. He has already given our son hand-me-down toys from her teenage son. As soon as the divorce is final, the introductions will be made…if he does the honorable thing and waits until the end of summer. My son, being 7, is eager to be a part of his father’s “whole” life. Skank knew he was married. We had even met and talked about raising sons one time. She knows what she has done. I do not talk about about his dad or her. When he says he has a great time with his dad, I tell him that I am happy for him. And I mean it.

    Funny, on the other hand, my son, still remember he is 7, wants ME to remarry. He wants to have a dad at home. He says it’s “boring” with just me and him in the house. AND he’d prefer I marry someone with kids. Yes, our conversation was rather candid. I used to pray to God for more children. I wonder if this is a prayer that will be answered. My son used to pray that too. I am in no hurry to marry, but I do want a special someone in my life.

  • I’m 19 months post D-Day and in a much better place and healthier relationship now, but reaching Meh with respect to my kids and the AP is hard… I’m not there yet.

    My Ex-wife is with her AP and I hate that he gets to spend 50% of the time with my kids. What they did to my kids and me is unforgivable, immoral and selfish.

    To top it off, my son’s barmitzvah is in September, and ex-wife is bringing her AP to the various events.
    That’s going to be my mega shit sandwich. It’s painful because I know that it’s awkward for my son too.

    The blogpost sums it’s up rather succinctly… I can do nothing.
    And some Tuesday, I’ll reach Meh or karma will arrive.

    • The good news London, about her trolloping out her Man whore, is that everyone who knows you, and loves you, knows exactly what she is. In fact, bringing the man whore around just drives the point home MORE. Shows what a POS she is.

      I am sorry, but there are good women out there London….. you will find one!

  • I honestly feel for step parents. I know they have been dealt a difficult hand. That said, I loath the fact my kids have to interact with the OWife. As I told my then STBX, I wish they never had to meet her. Someone who pursued/was pursued by a married man, while married herself, is selfish and immature, at the very least.
    The OWife professes an interest in my children, but at heart does not care about them. She just wanted a baby daddy,vand mightbhave daddy issues herself by getting involved with someone over 10 yrs older than herself.
    STBX planned to move her in, pregnant, the instant the divorce decree was official, contrary to the signed divorce decree (no new mates overnight in the house when the kids were there). I caught wind of it and stopped it. (I would have been away for an extended work trip, and then kids would have been forced to stay there. At that point, youngest still hoped we would get back together). They then decided to get married before the kids had even met her. Less than six months post divorce finalization, they were married, had a baby, and moved away.

    It is tough figuring out what to say to the kids. I give the outline (BF/GF before we decided to end the marriage). Ex thinks I spout all sorts of nonsense, since eldest is NC with him. Ex told eldest child last summer, “your mom probably calls her a whore.” Actually, no, I do not think in those terms, and he should know it after 23 yrs with me.
    I am happy they moved away, and I do not have to interact with the OW.

    For all those folks out there in this situation, it is tough. Hang in there.

    • I’ve been a stepparent, but not through the dubious route of being an AP or OWife. Stepparenting is indeed difficult; it’s best done from a clearly thought-out set of principles and values, as well as boundaries that respect the kids’ actual parent. It means standing up for your own needs while thinking also of the actual parent and everyone else involved. For example–XW#1 didn’t t get to decide when we celebrate Christmas every year or where the rehearsal dinner would be since we were paying for it. On the other hand, I would wear an attractive but modest dress at the wedding so she could shine as mother of the groom. It’s about not needed the center of the stage, about knowing your role in that extended family and being secure in your own skin. It’s especially tough, though, if your spouse is a weak parent and prefers to hand off responsibilities to others–which is a textbook description of many cheaters. Some of the APs and OWs are no doubt control freaks who want to control Cheaterpants’s interactions with others, as they (more than anyone else) know that a cheater can’t be trusted with anyone or anything. Others are no doubt surprised find themselves filling the chumped partner’s shoes as the person responsibility for making Cheaterpants happy by making up for his or her crap life skills. If that is what’s going on, you’re seeing a big stop on the AP Karma bus line–the stop in which they have moved from Schmoopie to “secondary keeper of cake and kibbles.”

    • I am waiting for the day the disordered moves away with the land mine he stepped on. But I doubt it as he is still cheating.

  • I found myself in an uncomfortable position when I dated a man who I knew had two pre-teens.

    He had given me (and every other woman who read his profile on Match) the indication that he was divorced. We dated several times and it was going well. I then noticed his profile had been changed to ‘currently separated’.

    HUH?

    The next time we were out together I inquired as to his marital status and he sheepishly confirmed he was indeed still married, divorce was in the works but was going to take a long contentious time to get accomplished.

    I ended it then and there. Not only had I been duped into dating him, I did not want his children, if they learned that Daddy was seeing someone, to think that I had in any way, shape or form been responsible for their parents’ breakup.

    He said that was a silly theory, the kids had seen how they didn’t get along and would never blame me. I told him again I wasn’t willing to be in the mix. He persisted in trying to convince me to stay in the relationship but I refused and excused myself from the evening.

    A couple of days later, I messaged him and wished him well. That is when his entitlement was confirmed–he was not ‘man’ enough to acknowledge my message.

    • Hesstthecurb, I was thinking of going on match when I started dating and someone told me the same exact thing happened. Given X lied to every AP and told each one we were separated and hadn’t been happy for two years, I have reservations about dating sites. That was his script for 36 years and 17 women (that I know of). These guys are so slick. Good you recognized and called him on his bullshit. I went on a few dates and had fun. A friend of a friend asked me out and so far so good. I haven’t been this happy in years. I look forward to the holiday weekend, exactly a year since DDay.

        • Thanks Tempest, this is such a huge step for me after spending my life with X. I am a little overwhelmed. This time last year was DDay and my final order should be in the mail this week also. Last year I thought my life was over and now it’s just beginning.

  • I can’t think of anything good about trying to reconcile with the cheater, except that due to that time with him my daughter never had to meet the OWhore or her Spawn Protege daughter who is exactly like her. If I had to do it over again would I do the same thing? Probably.

    My thoughts are that anyone he dates other than the affair whore aren’t doing anything wrong. Unless they are a crack whore ex prostitute like her, then it’s not OK. To my knowledge, OWhore is out of the picture. One thing I did when reconciled was compile quite a dossier on this skank. She would probably crap her pants if she knew he told me her scummy little secrets. If for any reason I find out she is anywhere near my child, it will all come out. Hope it never comes to that.

    • I have 5 children, 4 with my X. My S21, is in the Army. My two youngest daughters, 9 and 7, have limited visitation with mfpos. The older 2, S13 and D12 are NC with him. The judge talked to all my kids, and she allowed the oldest to choose no contact. And she told him he had to respect their decision.
      This has caused my S13 to pit himself against the two youngest. He cannot understand why they don’t get what x has done. He hates that they visit with him. And that hatred bleeds over into real anger and meanness to the two who chose to still visit him. For those who don’t know me, x is a porn addict. He exposed my son to porn, and his dad molested 4 of the granddaughters, my oldest daughter one of them.
      So they all know. Their is a court order prohibiting any contact with their mfpos molester. They are all in therapy, but the fighting at home is really rough. I had to explain about the porn. I had to tell them about the molestation. The police conducted safe house interviews with them all. I have lived this nightmare for 18 long months since I kicked x out on his ass. He still visits his parents, who live 4 blocks from me. I finally got primary custody, and got court approval to move to another state. In the financial hearing, x revealed that he is following us to my new residence, and will be living 10 miles from me and the kids. The 2 NC kids went nuts when they found out.

      Sorry this is so long, but Nancy is spot on. I do not cover for x or his behaviors. I tell them the truth suitable for their age. No details, just plain talk. In this whole mess, I am heartbroken for my kids. I am a survivor, and I will be ok. They have just begun their lives. This is a HUGE SHIT SANDWICH. But I will not try to convince them that it is ham and cheese. NOPE. It’s shit alright. And you don’t have to pretend. Ever.

  • Like always, CL is spot on and timely. I was recently thinking about a slight threat my cheater-Ex said to me the other day that I should not speak badly about OW when he introduces her to the kids in August because it will “harm” me and the kids (I also have the divorce decree article about no overnight visitors or any relationship partners that are not serious being presented to the kids and he does seem to be respecting that though I think the OW does go to his home when the kids are there as part of a group of friends or colleagues). He is trying to prepare the territory so that the kids think that the OW is a new girlfriend that he only started dating after divorce. I told him that when the time came, I would not speak badly about her but I would say the truth to the girls of why I did not like her. I already told my older one the OWs name because he is trying to convince them that he ended his relationship with her eventhough he tells me otherwise! My daughters still cant comprehend that he lies because he gets very angry and goes bizerk whenever they tell even the smallest of lies. But they are beginning to tell the differences between both parents in every day things like: “How come you congratulate us when we get a good grade and Papa asks us why we didn´t get an even higher one?” “Why does Papa get angry over EVERYTHING?” etc…

    ANd the crazy thing is that cheater wants us to be best friend co-parents and have similar rules,(but that only apply to me control issue). So for example, I can`t tell him anything about the crappy food that he feeds them, but he wants me to control their use of tablets and computers in the same way he does! WTF…! He always criticized my parenting decisions and fired me from the job of being his partner, why should I do anything at my home with my kids that mirrors his control-freak-authoritarian parenting style! I have told my girls that they dont have to stay at his place for extended periods of time unless they really want to.

    Thanks to CL and CN for helping me be conscious and not fearful…

  • My shit sandwich in this respect has a bit more bread than feces due to the fact my two kids are now both over 18.

    However, what flashes in my mind when my ex and her fellow narcissist AP-“soulmate” (he has kids too) do buy their house together, I refer to their future situation as “worst Brady Bunch spinoff ever…”

  • Good post, CL. It’s a reminder to me of what so many of you went through (or continue to go through) by having children with a cheater. I wish you all the best. Very little of this sounds pleasant, and it adds layers of difficulty to your daily lives.

    I’d just like to comment on one thing you wrote:

    “And it pisses me off to no end that so many cheaters eat cake EXACTLY because they figure you would never put your children through a divorce.”

    I have no direct experience with this, given I don’t have children, but this is consistent with my understanding of cheaters. Cheaters know that we chumps are conscientious and empathetic. We take others’ feelings into account when we make decisions…including our cheaters’ feelings (which is why it’s so hard for many of us to leave in the first place). So, of course we’d worry about how a divorce would affect our children.

    I’d extrapolate that further and say that cheaters eat cake because they figure we would never put ourselves, or our families, through a divorce. Divorce is devastating. It knocks you down, and you get up very slowly…emotionally, financially, socially, etc. And it’s admitting a mistake in your choice of life partner (even if your life partner exhibited only a few signs of being a cheater prior to marriage). It sucks, and I know of NO ONE who initiated divorce lightly.

    My ex-wife never thought her behavior would end in divorce. She saw herself as too important, and me as too attached, to willingly initiate one of life’s most painful experiences. She never figured I’d put us through that…even though it was actually her behavior that forced my hand.

    • I second this. I think that my ex expected me to beg him to stay– that I would change myself, become the wife he wanted. When I told him we were done, at one point, he asked me: “If I got down on my hands and knees and begged, would you change your mind?” (No, I’m not exaggerating or making this up.) I told him, “Please don’t. You’ll only embarrass the both of us.” I totally caught him off guard– he thought I’d be the Uber Chump and give him a Second Chance For The Children. I am so grateful to my family and to CL for reinforcing my gut instinct to run away from him as far and as fast as I could go.

      Now, he’s married to the OW, and I think he went for it because he wanted to prove that he didn’t do anything wrong. Since they’re married now, it means that they were meant to be and are truly in love, so his cheating (in his mind) has been validated. However, I’ve had a lot of time and distance to become less angry and to see them for what they are: completely pathetic and desperate, clinging to their bad decision to marry each other out of desperation. He’s got to show his mommy (and me) that he’s right, and she needed a new man to take care of her uneducated, dependent self. Their relationship makes me enjoy being single more and more each day! 😀

      • Moving… He married the OW to prove that he didnt do anything wrong… BINGO. If Idiot backed out now… Left Tweeny…what fucking excuse would he have? BINGO !

      • Yup, Moving On , I think the same in my situation. By marrying the OW, it means it was meant to be.
        Joke’s on the X!

  • My children have been and pretty much remain no contact with their double-life-leading father….he had at least two decades-long AP’s and is marrying one of them this summer. Youngest now 15 has refused to see him since D-Day, that was over 3 years ago. Other two children have only seen him 3-4 times for dinner. Ex does not even seem to care and is quite comfortable not seeing his own children, it’s astonishing, but in the end I have never had to eat what I think must be the most horrible of shit sandwiches. My strongest kudos to my fellow chumps who have to do this, you are all beyond mighty.

    • I am in the same situation as You Kelly. My Chester X abamdoned his child and like your kids my then 14D went no contact and has been pretty much so for 2 years.

      As I read these horrible stories where fellow chimps have to eat the shit sandwich of shared custody my heart goes out to you. It has all been horrible enough without that guy wrenching piece scooped on top. All of you in that situation really are mighty.

      Thank you Chump Lady for reposting.

  • As Princess Elsa once said:

    Let it go…

    For your own sanity, you have to let this one go. For me, it was easy. I have a special breed of disordered fucktard in my STBX, so I am actually thankful for the OW.

    No, really.

    Idiotic Twat, which is what I call STBX, has never, like, actually cooked a meal–other than microwaved hotdogs and macaroni and cheese–and has never given my girls (ages 3 and 4 now) a bath from start to finish by himself. He’s never read a bedtime story or rocked the girls to sleep. He’s more of a put the kids in their cribs and just let them cry themselves to sleep kind of guy. Not very effective now that they can walk and talk. But, whatever, his problem…

    So, yeah, I was happy that another human was there to make sure that my children lived to see another day. And, you know, ate the occasional vegetable.

    Yes, I had a legal document that prohibited him from having guests of the opposite sex after 10pm. I also had a court order that ordered him to pay me child support and half of his 401k. It’s been 6 months, and I ain’t seen a check yet. And the OW moved in with him as soon as he got his own place. Court orders don’t matter to the disordered.

    With the disordered, you have to pick your battles. Luckily, I am raising a threenager while also battling Idiotic Twat in court. My tactics are the same. I pick what is really important, and I focus on that. Everything else, I let go. It’s not worth the fight. Or my time.

    You have to really get to this point and make your peace with this. If my 3 year old wants to wear a Disney princess costume to the grocery store, fine. But, damn it, she will brush her hair and teeth. Same principle with Idiotic Twat.

    The secret to letting this shit go is focusing on yourself. If you are so busy making yourself happy, you have no time to worry about what your own Idiotic Twat is up to. This is the key. This is the important part.

    Also, if it really doesn’t concern you, then what does it matter? I make the threenager brush her teeth because dentists are expensive and her father sure ain’t footing the bill. Same with the OW. Yes, she reads my kids bedtime stories, and yes, it does irk me that she rocks my kids to sleep. But, hey, at least they are getting bedtime stories and getting rocked to sleep. That wouldn’t be the case if she weren’t there.

    Obviously, if something serious, like child abuse or neglect is happening that actually fits the legal definition–and not just the hot dog and macaroni and cheese for dinner variety–then yes, go in guns blazing.

    But, when the kids are gone to the dark side for their visitation, let it go. Focus on yourself. Do things to make yourself happy. Book a spa day. Take a girls trip for the weekend. Post up in the garden section of the local home improvement store with a girlfriend and play a rousing game of “Hot or Not” as the men come along. Join Tinder. Take an aerial yoga class–that is an excellent conversation starter.

    Just have fun.

    Do not worry about what is going on at the Idiotic Twat’s house. You have no control over that anyway. And why focus on something that you know will only piss you off or drive you crazy? Especially when you can be focusing on a wine tasting at the local “nice restaurant” in town (you know the one)!

    The point is if you are so busy focusing on you and your happiness, you won’t have time for that foolishness. You’ll find the coveted Meh much sooner. Most importantly, you’ll gain a life. And isn’t that what we are all really after anyway?

    • Like! So needed this as STBX is leaving MOW with D4 on her mid week overnight. Hurts like hell, but I know I can’t fight it. What REALLY pisses me off though is that he won’t discuss it or develop an “in case of emergency plan” (he works out of town) should something happen while he leaves our child with this stranger.

      • Qwerty, Idiotic Twat has been “fighting” me for 50/50 custody for over a year now. Why? Because he doesn’t want to pay child support.

        Isn’t that expensive, you ask? Isn’t it cheaper just to pay the child support rather than the lawyer?

        You’d think… But Idiotic Twat is a special breed of disordered. He figured out that if he didn’t pay his attorney, his attorney would call the docket clerk the morning of court, and say she has a scheduling conflict. If she has a scheduling conflict, I have to file to get a new court date. The new court date will usually be at least 6 weeks out from when I file for the date.

        So Idiotic Twat just bought himself another month of not paying upwards of $2,000 a month to me.

        He can get a whole lot of girls in bars drunk enough to sleep with him on $2,000….

        Also, Idiotic Twat took a job working for a company in New Orleans. We live in Northwest Louisiana. New Orleans is 5 hours away, minimum. He simply rented his buddy’s bachelor pad house when said buddy moved out with his family. He just uses it to say he “lives” here. He works in New Orleans and the surrounding area.

        I know this. He knows I know this. We have conversations like:

        Me: Just picked up the girls. Your grandmother said you left Caroline’s glasses at your house before you left to go out of town. When will you be back? Both sets of glasses are at your house and no one has a spare key.
        Him: I’m not out of town.
        Me: Your grandmother said you left today for work.
        Him: She was mistaken.
        Me: Ok, well, you only live 20 mins away, can I pick them up?
        Him: I’m busy, but I’ll drop them off at daycare first thing in the morning.

        Did he drop them off? Hell no. Why? Because he was out of town.

        What I had to do was hire a private investigator. They can go on a few random days just to check things out. They report if he is there or not. If he is with the child or not. If he leaves, where he goes. If someone comes over, who it is. Then at court, the investigator would say, look, I went there on a random Monday on this week, a Thursday the next, a Saturday, and a Friday, and each time, he was there, and was scheduled to have the child, but the child was never seen with him either coming or going. Or, he took the child here, then went there, etc.

        Or, they can put a GPS tracker on the other person’s vehicle. The GPS tracker will let you know where they go and how long they stay there in real time. If he is not at home, your private investigator can go to where your child “should” be, where you agree that the child is safe, and if the child isn’t there, Boom!

        For me, for example, I tracked GPS for a month to get a general idea of his routine. Then I would text something like, hey, I’m at the store, can you look and see what size the pants I dropped the girls off were? But, when I dropped off the girls, I had a witness and pictures of their clothing and document that I cut the tag with the size out. He sends back a size, and is caught in a lie. Or I ask to talk to the girls, knowing he isn’t with them, and he says they are sleeping.

        Plus, the simple GPS records will show how much he is gone.

        Something to think about. I have a pretty disordered fucktard that I am battling, so if it can be done, I’ve probably had to maneuver around it. I’m always here if you need any help or suggestions 🙂

        Big hugs! Remember, if you focus on you, and let the private investigators report to the attorney, and bypass you as much as possible, you will be much happier. In this case, ignorance is bliss. Trust me on this.

        Plus, each minute you aren’t focusing on the cheater is a minute you can focus on yourself. Chose yourself.

      • Qwerty, as an aside: You as the child’s mother have a right to know where and with whom your child is staying.

        You, as the mother, have a right to say, hey, if you’re out of town, bring the child to me. Or if you’re out of town, you can leave them overnight with this person only.

        You’re the mom. That’s YOUR RIGHT.

        Idiotic Twat leaves the kids primarily with his grandmother, but he has left them with strangers before–like the neighbors of his “not residence” residence.

        If I ask him about it, he lies. But our children are 3 and 4, and they wouldn’t lie to me about going to Miss Rachel’s house. Who is Miss Rachel, I ask. She’s daddy’s neighbor. We stay with her when daddy has to go to work. What are your neighbors’ names, Mommy?

        Yeah…

        So, if your ex won’t play ball, then document and take his ass to court to reduce his visitation and increase his child support. Don’t play his games.

        I repeat: Do NOT play the games.

        Case in point:

        Our visitation schedule is wonky. It’s week on/week off, but on Tuesdays, the “week off” parent gets to pick up the girls at 6pm for a 24 hour visit. Well, a few weeks ago, my dad was coming into town on a Wednesday, not a Tuesday, on my off week. I asked to switch to Wednesday. Idiotic Twat said no, because he didn’t like that I refused to try to negotiate a custody arrangement the week prior when he wanted me to.

        Keep in mind, this is a year into our custody fight.

        When he answered with that, I asked if that was his final answer. He said yes.

        I sent back the following message:

        “If you are refusing to accommodate my reasonable request to switch from Tuesday to Wednesday on [date] because I won’t meet you for dinner to negotiate custody without lawyers present, then this is what I will do:

        I will call [StepMom/Lawyer] and tell her what is going on. Since she is the one planning the dinner necessitating this request, she will naturally take action. She will call your attorney, explain the situation in lengthy detail, and ask your lawyer to ask you to accommodate the request. Your attorney will ask one of her office staff to call you and tell you to accommodate the request. Then your attorney will send you a bill for $300, and I will pick up the girls on Wednesday instead of Tuesday on [date].”

        And I did exactly that. He sent me a text two or three days later informing me that he has reconsidered and was ok with me picking up the girls on Wednesday versus Tuesday. I didn’t feel the need to respond, so I didn’t. Two hours later, he sent me a text asking if I got his text. I sent a thumbs-up emoticon. He asked if I had any questions or anything—basically just trying to engage me in conversation or fishing for thank you kibbles. I sent a thumbs-down emoticon.

        I’m a big fan of the thumbs up and thumbs down emoticons. I decided I would only use them to communicate with Idiotic Twat.

        For 2 reasons:

        1. They basically can only answer a yes or no question. I don’t want to engage any deeper in conversation with Idiotic Twat than a yes or no question.

        2. The emoticons subtly give the psychological message that whatever communication Idiotic Twat is trying to achieve is not worth my actual words. Just silly cartoony pictures. It lets him know he is beneath even words to me, and I am a one of those irritatingly chatty kids who would talk to a tree if it would talk back…

        Bottom line: Do not play games with these assholes. Don’t let them win. I know for me, especially being raised as a genteel Southern lady, I have civility, manners, politeness, and accommodation in my DNA. We Southern girls come out of the womb smiling, and saying “yes, ma’am.” But, I had to kill that shit zombie-style, just like I did the hopium in the early days. It’s the only way to make it through this shit.

        Are there days I struggle with it? Abso-fucking-lutely. There are many days when I could cheerfully high-five his forehead with a baseball bat.

        (If I wanted to cause him bodily harm, which I don’t, btw. Disclaimer!)

        On those days, when I want to clobber him, I call a friend, vent, go to dinner, drink some wine, take a run, stay at work late and find stuff I’ve put on the backburner, or just anything I can to put my energy into something positive. If the girls are with me, I will find something that we only rarely do, like paint with glitter or playdoh, and I watch them get excited for a special treat activity.

        Usually, though, he only really pisses me off when he has the girls, because it’s usually him neglecting to do something. Like today, for instance, my 4 year old, who has cerebral palsy, goes to weekly physical therapy sessions. Idiotic Twat has the girls this week, and he no-showed for therapy today. The therapist called me at work to make her appointment for next week.

        And, you know what? I’m not going to even mention it to him, because he would just lie and say he DID take her, or that he forgot, or whatever. I just document, breathe, and shake my head because he sucks at life. And, then, just as quickly as the irritation popped up, I push it away, and make myself focus on something else—like answering comments on blog posts! 

        It’s like anything else, with practice, it becomes habit.

        And when all else fails, I take a Xanax.

    • You are so right, Kelli! Recently I’ve been trying to do all those things you suggested, and I’m much happier!

  • My ex of five months is marrying the OW this weekend. Two of my adult kids (31and 25) are going and one (29) s not. I understand the two kids are going, because it is their father. My daughter said she can wait till they get divorced too. I am hurt that my kids are going, to me it shows an acceptance of the adultery. It gives the OW the acceptance she craves. No one has spoken out against their behavior except my one son.
    It just hurts and I feel like I am being kicked in the gut again.

    • Beth I totally understand your feelings. My 3 adult kids all went to x’s wedding a couple months after our divorce was final (1 year ago). D30 let me know he was getting married. I have tried to be the better parent and say nothing when my 3 kids and my 3 grands all get together for Christmas at x’s and howorkers but dont reciprocate with me-I get to see them only during outside family gatherings for the holidays. I have been supportive with only a few weepy slips at the beginning of this ordeal, for 4 years since Dday. Since then, D27 barely speaks to me or x anymore, S34 and his girlfriend visit x and howorker wifetress almost weekly but treats me like a third world country, and D30 with the 3 grands sees x maybe 2-3 times a year and she and her family have become my new family. No one talks about the adult children that abandon the left behind spouse. It is a double shock to be devalued, discarded by x and as you start healing your adult children devalue and discard. I think this is harder to recover from.

      • Overcomer–I’m so sorry your children have taken this route. It is worse than a double-blow. I can only hope that over time they see the error of their ways, and the truth about cheaterpants.

        Hugs to you.

        • Overcomer… Ya u got the double decker shit sandwich. Dont have any words of wisdom… Just empathy and huge cyber hug.

        • Overcomer – please just hang on in there, make your kids welcome when they do come, behave as well as you can, do not bad mouth anyone or guilt trip your kids. Tough.
          Give it time as these situations tend to run their course if you stand well back. My friend was chumped in a horrible way and her adult kids supported her for a while – then met OW and attended the wedding when they married.
          Daughter fell out with mum for a long period and seemed to accept and embrace Owife…ouch! Son continued to meet with them.
          My friend just waited it out, cut no one off, issued no ultimatums….and karma kicked in.
          Daughter and Owife had a spectacular falling out and the result is sad…the young woman and her father are not in contact. The son and his fiancee also fell out with them when Owife served up meat to the veggie fiancee and took offence at her rejection of the meal. Son and daughter both found their own way through the mess of divided loyalties and are in mums life but not dads.
          My friend does not gloat or enjoy this as she loves her kids and they miss their father.
          Just be mighty and gracious and wait for the tides to turn – they will.

  • My ex moved right in with the OW. He has since bought a new house and the OW moved in as well. There are no overnights for our daughter as long as OW lives there. It nearly eats me up alive thinking of my daughter over there and when she comes home she tells me how great the OW is and she’s her best friend. Granted my daughter is 4 but it’s like I’m going to be eating a shit sandwich forever. I try to tell myself the skank OW is just one more person being nice to my kid. Not how I pictured my life at all.

  • I appreciate this re-post. And I appreciate the advice and anecdotes many of you have shared. Dealing with the “shared custody” issue is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

    I do have one bit of advice to add to CL’s. Document. She’s right that violating the “no over night visitors” provision won’t matter at all in court. But if the jackass does something really bad, as mine eventually did endangering the children and losing most of his custody, your ability to show a pattern of violations and disgusting behavior will be helpful. If he/she violates it, just send a one line email or text reminding him/her of the provision. And then keep a copy. This demonstrates that you never agreed to any changes. It is a pain, but the trick is to keep it brief and keep it up.

    I also advocate telling the kids the truth without editorializing, but steel yourself for the fact that this won’t be reciprocated. My EX tells the kids all sorts of lies. If he gets a speeding ticket, I’ll learn from my kids that “Dad knows you set the cops on him.” If he is short cash, it is because “You stole all dad’s money.” If they get sick while in his custody, I’ll learn that “Dad says we get sick because you are a toxic person.” Often the kids say these things without malice, but I still struggle with them. I hate the fact that even if only 2% of it sticks, they are 2% poisoned by him. I know they love me; I know they know he is unreliable, but I also know that our relationship is much harder than it ought to be because they struggle to love a man who wants them to show their love by hating me.

    In regard to my own relationship with the EX, I pretty much live in “Tuesday” now. But in relationship to my kids, it is always tenuous. He can’t make me care about him anymore, but I can’t stop caring about how he treats the kids.

  • The kids really eat a shit sandwich. My daughter was the one that told me about the affair, she read the text messages on his. She picked up the courage whilst driving on a motorway. Fortunately I kept control of the car. This was really difficult for her and she had to deal with my eventual grief when the truth really hit home. Three years later when I tell him why she is so angry with him and that is why his relationship with her is so difficult, his response is she needs to grow up and get over it! This is the mil advice too. He is such a fuck wit

    • Get over it is what we all hear, I think. Me and my kids have heard it since about two weeks after dday. Just get over it, move on, no one cares, blah blah blah. It’s incredible when you think about it. I’m well over it but I’ll never forget and I will never forgive what he put me and the kids through -stuff that was unnecessary other than he wasn’t getting his way so he had to punish us.

    • Same here Polly….my son found the cheaters cell phone. My son was institutionalized for 19 days – we all thought he was on bath salts. Turns out he was freaked out by the fact that his father said to him “You can tell your mother about the phone. It may lead to divorce, but you can tell her.” What a POS! Basically blaming MY son for our divorce.

      • They don’t care who they run over in their quest for sexual freedom and living an impression-managed life. I’d love to think there is a hot spot in hell for cheaters or parents who risk their children’s mental health.

      • Lady….Mine did the same… Told our child it was a secret. i cant even write the type of torture i wish upon him and my Ex

      • Yes, their selfishness takes the breath away. Daughter asked about pictures of OW on her father’s iPad (after separation).
        He told her she was pregnant, going to move in, but to KEEP IT A SECRET FROM ME, as I would be mad.
        End result for my daughter 2 years later, two hospitalizations for depression and self harm.

  • It’s a different yet in some ways similar story when you are dealing with grown children. My grown children have opted to accept their father and his skank (who, at age 53 still wears a Hello Kitty bikini when my kids go to pool parties at her house that now also houses their father–WTF!) They give him wide berth and accept his behavior including his predatory ways with married women (this includes his current whose husband used to be his good friend.) They accept his 2 DUIs and his smarmy doings and his many affairs and in off-handed ways still try to make me the one to blame for the break-up of the “family”–because, I guess, after over 30 years of marriage, I finally hit the wall and decided to no longer accept his wayward ways when they involved a very willing friend of mine. They do so because, “he’s my dad!” They want him in their lives regardless of all the strings and bad ju-ju that comes along with that. They know what he did but half-believe him when he says that he didn’t “poke her” (his words) until after we were separated….yeah, right. Such a liar–looking straight into their eyes when he says it! It’s been almost 3 years now and my heart still tightens when they tell me of their plans to hang out or do something with their dad and the skank. I just can’t help it. I’m so much into ‘meh’ over him and what he’s done but it comes barreling back when my kids justify or rationalize their willingness to bend-over-backwards to accommodate that despicable cad who hurt me and betrayed me more than anyone ever has. It makes me mourn when my beautiful granddaughters look forward to seeing him and my daughter posts pictures of the happy reunion on FaceBook–with the skank in the background looking on. UGH!

  • This post hits home so deeply that it makes me want to weep with recognition. CL, you have described all the intricacies of this complex situation so very well; it should be required for all chumps staring down joint custody–even if the original AP is no longer involved.

    I remember the point–well into the divorce process–where I realized that all of these morality clauses (or child support orders, separation of assets–all of it, really) were going to be on ME to enforce. It’s on ME to take him to task if he doesn’t pay child support, screws me on assets, or has overnight guests while with the kids. As another poster said, court orders don’t mean much to the disordered. It was a singularly depressing moment. I was already Detective Chump for years; in that moment I realized I’d be trading in my badge for a different beat. Shit sandwich, indeed.

  • My heart goes out to all you chumps who have to swallow the shit sandwich! But it seems you have learned how to at least cope with the crap being flung at you! You are mighty! I am glad mine are all adults. They have nothing to do with their sperm donor and they made it clear to him that he is never welcome in their lives, nor the whore he met on Facebook! They supported me through my fight with lung cancer and saw the emails he sent to his lawyer with a cc to his Schmoopie hoping I would die! They are appalled by him and told him so! They let him know that he is not to contact them or their children as they do not want their kids thinking that Grandpa is an alright guy! They have told their older children exactly what he did and their children want nothing to do with him! Even his own siblings and his parents told him they will never let him bring her around! I’m fortunate enough to have a family that loves and respects me and knows the truth. He can’t rewrite history, they know better and have told him so! So my ex has one person in his life now….. His Schmoopie! Hope she doesn’t tire of his old broke ass or he’s going to be totally alone. Her kids hate his guts also. They blame him for their mom & dads divorce! Oh well. Looks like they got what they wanted, each other. But that’s all they have. Two cheaters and liars depending on each other now! That should work, right?????

  • Thank you for this re-post! Very timely for me. My D-Day was close to a year ago. I proceeded quickly with divorce which is now final. I thought I was getting better until a couple of weeks ago when I heard through other family that my X is considering moving in with his affair partner. She has five boys, we have one daughter. Not to mention she is still married and LIVING with a boyfriend that isn’t my X. What a wonderful role model for my daughter. I am absolutely scared to death for her. I have no idea who these people are. He says I should just “trust” him because he would never have anything to do with anyone that would be a bad influence on her. TRUST?!? She is only six. I am making myself sick over this, and I am so disappointed! I know I have to be patient but I was starting to feel slightly normal again. I feel almost like I am at square one. I guess I was hoping that he wouldn’t end up with her. It just seems like this turmoil is never going to end. It is difficult and I sympathize with all of you. Finding this out is almost worse than D-Day.

  • It is ironic this post happened today because even though my two grown children do not need co-parenting; this crap still goes on.

    My eldest son is graduated today and getting his MS in clinical social work. He understands how the world works and knew that he had to invite his dad first to make sure he is central and important so he wouldn’t be a jerk. Wouldn’t you know the crapweasel told our son he’d be taking 3 of his 4 tickets for himself, his mother and the skanktress?

    That left my son to choose between his brother and i for the remaining ticket. Nice huh? Like that skank that broke up our family has any right to attend his graduation? She had precisely nothing to do with his success. Breeding with a fucktard is apparently a gift that keeps on giving right through eternity!

    • cheaterssuck,

      You and your son have my sympathy that the piece of shit did that. I am full angry on your behalf.

      Unfortunately, had this been my situation, for better or for worse, I would have felt the need to go Evander Holyfield on that asswipe, because no way would either I or my son’s sibling be forced to miss his graduation to accommodate a SkankWhoreTrampSkunk.

    • I agree with Chump Princess–your son should man-up and offer CheaterDad two tickets. If he refuses to come, that’s on cheater. Selfish fucktard.

  • Yep – nothing you can do here. It gets to you after a while because you’re watching your kid(s) being tossed around between people. Easy to fall into a rut of feeling very sorry for them. This is where I am at the moment. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve had to book some time with the shrink.

    My ex’s AP is still married to his wife, even though my ex and I have been divorced for 2 years (separated for 3). He hangs out with my daughter all the time. Drives me nuts if I think about it too much.

    Timely post for me.

  • “Children eat the biggest shit sandwich with infidelity. Their families are broken up by divorce, their allegiances confused — all we can do in response is be the best parent we can be. That’s all we get to control — ourselves.

    And it’s a lot to ask of a chump — to be the sanest, most together, consistent parent after DDay. To not bad mouth the person who has just gutted us. To not try to protect your kids from the affair partner who aided and abetted in the destruction of their family. It’s a Herculean task of sanity. And yeah, it’s fucking unfair.”

    Excellent advice.

    I would like to add that, even if you’re ambivalent towards your ex, this issue can still hurt you. As mentioned above, I’m going through this now. I genuinely don’t care what my ex and her AP do in their own time, but her behaviour lately (I’ll spare you the details) has been so selfish towards our daughter. It’s getting the poor kid down – you can see it in her behaviour. In this situation the chumped parent has the additional responsibility of trying to keep a positive face even though you kind of feel gutted.

  • Nailed it again, Chump Lady,

    I won’t go through the whole Saga of Mehphista, Mr Fab and the Downgrade. Skipping to the end, three years out from DDay, Kiddo (D15) and I now live 8000 miles away. This cost me about 10000 pounds in money, 60 pounds in weight, a career, and about 400 scars on the Kiddo. OW was Mr Fab’s ex sister in law, Kiddo played regularly with her cousin, the Downgrade’s kid. All one big happy extended family, with Mr Fab and the Downgrade at it like the clappers when I was out working and kiddo at school. She is a drunk, I specified that neither I nor Kiddo was happy for her to be left in Downgrade’s care, but she was. That resulted in absconding, a suicide attempt and eventually, Kiddo coming to the conclusion that her Dad had truly pissed in the chips, and she couldn’t continue to live where she had grown up. What sucks is (just like me) she still wishes her Dad would be what he pretended he was. I am now pretty “Meh” about the exhole, but it is very hard to be ‘Meh’ when your kids are also under psychic attack. Kind of hits the Momma Bear button really hard. Or ‘protective parent’, to be gender neutral. Thing is, the Chump has usually been the only real parent all along.

    Cheaters, while they are cheating, know that they can hold the kids’ welfare over you. To quote Mr Fab, when I said we needed to talk about it all, “Go ahead, break up with me, I dare you to break DD’s heart.” That was YEARS before DDay. And they manipulate you with it ruthlessly while the whole abusive discard is happening, but, eventually, they vote with their feet. He shacked up with the Downgrade right away.

    Kiddo refused, in the end, to spend her weekends there. Kiddo still sees Mr Fab, for a month each summer. If last summer is anything to go by, she will spend about three nights under his roof, the rest with friends. I overheard him saying he wasn’t sure he would be able to take more than a week off while she is there. I nearly stormed in on the Skype call. She immediately said she was cool with that (having already made plans to stay with friends). I doubt she will have anything to do with him after age 18. He will likely hold college over her heard, but my career Mark II will cover it, given a fair wind and the creek don’t rise. And she already knows she will have to work towards it herself. Contemplating Psychology and Law. She is MIGHTY.

    I feel for those who have little uns, that the headfuck will go on for them so much longer. But model sanity. Model integrity. For yourself, AND the kids. It pays. You both grow THROUGH it. I recently was on a third date, and the guy said something red flaggy-” You hide behind your intellect and should get more in touch with your feelings’. Old Mehphista would have tolerated it (Pick me! pick me!). New Mehphista said, “Goodbye.”

    Nancy’s advice is dead on. Truth, not truthiness. I do sometimes editorialize, but more often, I find analogous behaviour in other people around her. Finding examples of narcissist socipathy at an American high school isn’t hard. She actually said, “Sexist Sociopath Smith is exactly like Dad-he expects women to wait on him. But at least SSS will grow out of it.” It truly sucks, but when the kids know where YOU stand, then they can find out where THEY stand. And they will surprise you-Kiddo has always known far more than she let on. I have a looong way to go. Breaking the Cheater/Chump conditioning is hard, as is hopium withdrawl.

    Okay, so that was a saga….love and strength to those Chumps with a ways to go. Point is, there WILL come a day when you look back and realize there isn’t a damn thing you could have dine, and what you DID do made all the difference.

    love to Chump Nation!
    x-Meh

    • Mehphista: Your daughter is mighty!!

      When I tried to leave last March because of X’s emotional abuse and criticisms (before I knew about his serial cheating), he held oldest daughter’s out-of-state college tuition over my head. He told me she’d never be able to go to her prestigious university if we divorced. I stayed, ate the sandwich, and left after D-day in September. Surprise, surprise, there IS money for her to continue her college career (which X will always find because she is the only member of the family talking to him)!!

      • Your DD is mighty, too, T!!! And her being in contact with him despite everything speaks volumes about her character, and yours. Going NC is painful, even when totally necessary.

        I am just reconciling with the fact that I will have to plan (in the next three years) to put her through college myself. It is just another item on the independence list, along with re-establish career, get out of marital debt, reinstate savings and pension…..yaddayadda.

        Finding out you were the only real parent is scary as hell, but after a while, you realize how resilient you have had to be all along. It is the awareness of the magnitude of the task that really can spin your cogs. One day at time saved my ass. I don’t need to put Kiddo through Harvard YET. If Mr Fab contributes, bonus! But, he won’t. Proper my dear old narc douchebag father, my money is on him cutting her off as soon as she stands up to him. That is what happened to me. Two Master’s degrees later, my Dad would boast of my scholarship, knowing full well he had done nothing to help.

        80s kids-remember Saint Elmo’s Fire? When the Mousey one talks about waking up stressed in the middle of the night, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and knowing everything would be okay, because it was HER house, and HER peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Much better than Shit sandwiches!

        love to all,
        x-Meh.

  • where do I start with my disordered fuck? As some of you may know my Idiot was bringing our daughter on dates with him. Yes for almost 6 months before the cat was outa the bag… But of course he denied and I was insecure and crazy. His affair partner is only 8 years older than our 13 year old. The started the affair when Tweeny was 18 yrs or so. He fails to understand my ick factor. And truely it borders on pedophilia. Tweeny is now 21. I am almost 30 years her senior. The mother in me cant see her as anyone predatory… I feel she has been manipulated. And she doesnt understand the monster she has entwined herself with. I dont excuse her behavior. That about as much sympathy as I can extend.
    Since our divorce August the Idiot has tried some new tatctics. He kindly refers to me as ‘ It ‘ or ‘ They’ to our daughter. Yes, I am no longer her mother. He also insists that she not call her home( where she was born and raised) her home anymore. She can not say ‘ I left it home’ without being corrected that the house that she lives in 80percent of the time is not her home. She is also not permitted to discuss any part of her history that pre dates the divorce… The trip to Disneyland… That didnt happen…. The day we brought the dog home from the pound… Didnt happen. His archives have been wipe clean and he is attempting very hard to re write our childs history.
    My daughter is not developmentally where she should be and has a few medical problems…. Yet she is perceptive enough to call it what it is. She says ‘Daddy pretends you dont exist so he doesnt have to feel bad. ‘ She doesnt understand why all of a sudden I am the enemy in her fathers eyes… Or why I am being objectified and depersonalized. She never witnessed me doing anything but take care of our family. Her father keeps things vague with statements like ” i will tell you one day ” or ” when your old enough to understand what your mother did” Keeping the mystery alive… Cause god knows it must be pretty horrible if he cant tell her!!! Trying to burn her mind.

    Wanna talk about eating shit sandwiches? I have a shit sandwich twice a week… With a side of suck it up coldslaw. But if I am gonna have to eat a shit sandwich for my kids sanity… I am going to eat it my way. Its 5 more years and counting.

    • Strength to you, TheClip. Remember, it will pass. Last three years were the longest of my life……Jedi hugs.

    • So sorry theClip. Just when I think some of these disordered fucks can’t get any worse, I read something like that. It sucks to wish away 5 years of your life and your child’s life but that is probably the only thing that keeps you going. Jedi hugs to you and your kids.

    • TheClip–your X is the damn Wolfgang Puck of shit sandwiches. He’s so disordered I wonder if he has to slip his pants on over his head. Is your daughter still keen to see him? She is at the age where she can make decisions regarding visitation.

      • He is fucking special thats for sure.
        She has mixed feelings. She has some special needs and is an extremely sensitive child. She loves him but is very wary of him. He has made her afraid of him so she doesnt tell him anything. She puts up with the two days a week she has to go and then decompresses at home. She tells me a lot. And while I seeth inside there is very little I can do unless he is locking her in a closet for the day. Have talked to a lawyer or two. She wont challenge him and gets worried that he will take things out on me. She doesnt cause waves when she is there and essentially eats her own shit sandwich to make him happy with her. He triangulates her and Tweeny. They both compete for his attention. He will ask them what they want for dinner… Tweeny says one thing and our daughter something else…. And he will always side with Tweeny. Tweeny makes a point of always being the chosen one. If she complains to her dad that Tweeny always gets what she wants… Our daughter is told she is being a spoiled brat. So she has learned to’ behave’ and not make waves. He takes her silence as acceptance or compliance. Even when he calls me ‘ It’ She is just coping the only way she knows how.
        She and I talk a lot about it. I dont pressure for details of their life. I listen mostly. She is putting things together. As much as I would like her to hate his gutts…I wont do that to her. I figure in time she will form her own opinion of him. She already is. She says that her dad is a liar just as easily as she says he is a cop.
        She is in therapy… And as her mental developement catches up to her physical self the pyschologist helps her put words to her feelings and how to separate her obligations as a daughter. Just because you are family doesnt mean you allow people to hurt u.
        The one thing that I did consciously change… I stopped being angry around her… Stopped. The day I stopped letting all this shit consume me is when she started to breath a sigh of relief… All she wants is her life back. And while I cant change it… i can change how I respond to it. Sounds cliche… I know. But what a difference for her. I dont bury my feelings… But I dont let it rule my day… Like it was doing. She has her mom back. And how sad for a lot of these kids…. Cause as much as we try to hold our shit together… We still fall apart… And they sit and watch. Lose two parents. Just because you are the one who stayed doesnt mean you aint fallin apart. Guilty here! Granted its important for the kids to see its painful. Because it was important. But it also super important for them to see its gonna be ok… And there are steps to getting there. Healthy steps. Not easy ones but important ones. She has watched me and i wont fail her. I am gonna be real as the day is long… And i will falter… But I will get up and take the next step. Its not an option.

        • A-MEN, theClip. Bruce Lee allegedly said, “Fall down seven times. Stand up eight.”

          stay mighty,
          x-Meh.

  • My daughter had a huge and important sporting event this past Saturday over an hour away. Then prom back at home. I drove to the race, drove her home, got her ready for prom, went to watch the “procession” and stayed up waiting for her to come home.

    He never even showed up for any of it.

    He told her he was there but I asked if he took any pictures. He said “no because I wanted one with only you in it.” I didn’t see him or my son who was home for the weekend there. It sucks.

    Now I am sitting here listening to her tell him all about her weekend. She sounds happy talking to him.

    I’m glad she is happy. She stays with me full time because she sees the way he manipulates and changes course like a boat. She has caught him in too many lies. I’m glad she is with me. She attracted a disordered person into her life already he sent her some crazy texts yesterday that spun the story like a spider web. I told her to stop talking to him, remove or block him from her phone and let go of knowing him.

    Glad to read on here there is hope for her future. I think I have lost one child to his issues, hoping I can save the other 2.

    • My stbx didn’t attend my daughter’s senior prom 3 weeks ago either. Now he wants me to send him pictures – probably to make people think he was there….

      • Oh, I love that. My ex asked me about sending him a picture for something my son did a while ago, and thankfully, I wasn’t there to take pictures because one of my other kids was sick. I’m sure that won’t be the last time he tries to treat me like his personal photographer, though. I should probably tell him that I charge 40.00/hour…

  • I am 22 months post DDay and this, by far is the hardest shit sandwich to swallow. I am reaching MEH with STBX but not with AP. My X abandoned me and my 7 year old daughter who has special needs, and never looked back, moving in with AP less than 8 months after he left. I hate that my daughter has to spend time with them. To add insult to injury, my daughter is non-verbal and cannot even tell me if they are being nice or mean to her. I never know how she is. It’s like flying blind. She doesn’t even understand what happened or what’s going on. She is so vulnerable and innocent. I never imagined life would turn out this way. This post was very helpful.

      • Thank you for your understanding. It means more coming from someone on this blog because your pain is my pain and yet you recognize the unique difficulty of my personal situation. I don’t know why I waited so long to respond to these posts!

  • This just makes it very clear how disordered and just plain cuckoo our exes were, to have no conscience when it comes to taking care of their own kids. To triangulate and to use them as pawns in the relationship, to betray them in the property settlement, and to hold taking care of their needs over the spouse who actually gives a damn. Nobody’s kids deserve a crap parent.

  • My kids are grown but it still hurts that they associate with OW although I know that they do this for their dad and tolerate her for his sake.
    This woman ambushed my house when my ex was doing fake reconciliation with me and kindly told me that they had been involved for years – not the “couple of months” he claimed.
    Hurtful things have happened – he chose mothers day to introduce the skank to his reluctant and embarrassed sons. OW insulted and swore at one of them on the day she banged on my door like a madwoman because “her man” was in the marital home trying to reconcile.
    My tiny grandaughter was taken to visit the folks of this childless middle aged woman – I just sucked it up.
    She moved in with ex last year and my kids are now asked to remove their shoes at the door and rarely visit because its so awkward.
    Here is what I have learned:
    He is still their dad and they want him in their lives.
    I am mum and always will be.
    My grandaughter has a close bond with me, looks like me and has a blood link with me – whoever her grandfather lives with.
    Guilt tripping my kids will backfire on me so I will refrain.
    I will not bad mouth dad and his partner to them – they will feel defensive of him.
    I will not ask questions about him and change the subject if they volunteer unwanted information.
    I will not gloat or egg them on when OW annoys – if daughter refers to her as “the witch” I say nothing.
    I am civil, polite and detached.
    I set and enforce boundaries for my own protection.
    I will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
    I am mighty and aspire to meh….if I lapse I forgive myself and move on.

    • Mary, i am glad you found what works for you. the MOW, now live in girlfriend of XH, is just as duplicitous and destructive, but in different ways.

      i have thought a lot about today’s post, that there is nothing we can do about many of the OW/M shit sandwiches. there actually IS something i do about my adult children and the expectation that they silently eat OW shit sandwiches — so she and their dad “can be happy”…

      the MOW (working on her divorce now, 2 years after mine…) is obviously narcissistic and unstable (at least) and chooses to spread evil. i would not keep quiet about my children’s exposure to other people like this in their lives. why would i stay silent now?? as young adult women emerging into their careers, i want to teach them about protection. it is not about slandering OW. it is about de-chumping my own daughters.

      so i developed a “go to” statement for myself when OW is discussed in my presence. i have only said it a few times, but it felt right and true:
      “she obviously does not have your best interests in mind…”

      they can do what they want with this information, as i spit out the bite of shit sandwich i almost swallowed!

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