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Dear Chump Lady, What do I do when my kids are with OW?

crochetsatanDear Chump Lady,

I am filled with grief and dread over my children having to have dinner with my ex and his affair partner tonight.

I have been making sure my three children are getting therapy as well. (12, 17, 19 yrs old). The therapy for the kids is supposed to give them the skills they need to express themselves when their father bullies them into doing things like this against their will. The kids have told their father over and over why she is the symbol of pain to them, but he is in denial. “SHE IS NICE. GIVE HER A CHANCE.”

The therapist called my ex and explained that he can’t argue with how my children feel. He can make them eat dinner with his lover, but he has to stop trying to tell the kids how to feel.

My therapist keeps telling me to focus on myself the best I can and to keep giving my children the safe space they need here with me.

Would you please ask your readers to please share some of the activities they do to keep from going crazy with over protectiveness and/or worry while their children are with the OW? I just want to lay on the couch and cry until they come home. I do not want ex in my life, our home is so much healthier without him, except on the days of anxiety when my kids go to his place. I just need advice on living through the pain until I get to meh about sharing my kids.

Please I really need some creative ideas. Thank you.


Dear Rainy,

Creative ideas. Hmm. You could crochet little satanic OW effigies. Or maybe take up bedazzling. (“Fuck you, Skank!” makes a nice t-shirt.) How about scrapbooking? I wonder what font says “You stole my life”?

Rainy, I don’t have any creative ideas. But Chump Nation might. I never had to share my kid with an affair partner. I did, however, have to share my kid with a mentally ill wingnut. Since my son was four, he had to go spend alone time with a guy I wouldn’t trust to feed a dog, let alone parent a child. I once found my kid  locked in a car asleep at the local hardware store. His dad took in “roommates” and couldn’t remember their last names. (I asked. In court.) For years my kid lived on 75 cent frozen potpies when he was at his dad’s. (No the guy wasn’t poor. He lived in a $600,000 house and had a job.)

All to say, I survived breeding with a fucktard and you will too. I know having your children around the OW is infuriating and heart-stopping, but your ex-husband is the real menace here. Oh, but they know him. He’s their dad. He’s also the guy that blew up their lives. The kids have no emotional investment in the OW, but they do have a deep emotional investment with their dad.

He’s the person doing the mindfuck of “Love me, love my affair partner.” He’s the person who is creating that obstacle and demanding those allegiances. And you know what the big shit sandwich is? YOU DON’T CONTROL THAT.

He’s your ex. You don’t control who he dates or how he parents. You don’t control his relationship with his children. Your only obligation is to abide by the court order on custody. That’s it.

The therapist called my ex and explained that he can’t argue with how my children feel. He can make them eat dinner with his lover, but he has to stop trying to tell the kids how to feel.

And you have to stop telling your ex how to feel. I can tell you how he feels — entitled. You Aren’t the Boss of Him. You’re trying to achieve consensus for the Good of the Children. That’s understandable, but pointless. The same guy with the crap character who left his family for an affair, is the same jerk you’re co-parenting with. He does not CARE how his children feel. His actions demonstrate that. You and the children and the shrink are all trying to give him insight that his behavior is hurtful. Time to trot out the Dr. George Simon maxim: “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”

You call that “denial.” How about calling it “He doesn’t give a shit”?

Your children have to work out their relationship and their feelings about dad without you. Your job is to focus on taking care of you and building that new life. You’re doing right by the kids by getting them in therapy, and being the sane, stable parent. That’s enough. You cannot police their relationship with dad or the OW. That’s their job.

The kids are teens. The 19 year old doesn’t have to see anyone. The 17 year old is almost there. The 12 year old is probably at the age where the courts will allow him/her to make her own decisions about visitation.

The court only cares if there is imminent harm to the kids. Dinner with Barbie isn’t endangering them. The best thing you can do for your kids is get real busy with your new life and let their emotions about Barbie and Dad be theirs alone. So when they get back from visits you can say “Oh, I saw that new art house movie!” or “I had brunch with my girlfriends!” or even “I went on a date!” instead of “I spent the night weeping on my sofa.”

Probably as alarming as dining with Pops and Fuck de Jour is knowing that you’re freaking out without them.  So don’t. Be the sane parent.

If the anger has to go somewhere, I suggest cross stitching vulgarities on to tea cozies. Hang in there, Rainy. This divorce parenting shit is finite.

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  • It sucks! I know exactly what you are feeling and it’s a kick in the gut. I don’t have a magical answer, but I try to remind myself that my ex and the OW are selfish, awful people and my daughter will see that soon enough. (son already does!) And when I forget I go to the forum (yesterday) and my fellow Chumps help me through it. I pray that the lightbulb will go off in her head sooner than later and she begins to understand that her father/OW do not have her best interest at heart. If they did they wouldn’t have intentionally blown up our lives. Until that day I come here for support. Sending hugs!

    • Responding late to this article, but wanted to say I know this kind of confusion and hurt. I had suspicions that my kids were spending time with the OW, but the ex husband finally confirmed it a week ago. Man, that shit hurt!!! The SOB had the nerve to send pictures of our kids at an event with her and her son. He’s gone and got himself a “readymade” family when he already had one!!! Now, he’s saying that I should just get over it! The nerve of some assholes!! When I asked if the kids really know who she is, he only responded that they know her name. That means that they don’t know that they’re spending time with the lady that their SOB of a dad was spending time with when they were always asking, “Mom, why doesn’t dad spend time with all of us?” For the last 3 years I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that I suspected that he wasn’t really at the office as he claimed. How do you do that to your kids? So, instead I told them that he was always working so that we could have the lifestyle we were living. What a lie!!! He was selfish and arrogant and unwilling to be the dad they needed then, so now he’s trying to make up for it. I’m hurt from fact the he doesn’t feel anything is wrong with what he’s doing with this OW and her grown ass 25 year old son around our kids. But, at this point what really can I do? The being the bigger person and turning the other cheek Shit is for the birds!!

  • Okay, what’s wrong with me that even though this subject strikes a very sensitive cord with me (two kids, haven’t met the OW yet), all I can really think of is WHERE DO I GET THE PATTERN for the little guys up top???
    Oh, and voodoo dolls sound FANTASTIC!
    If it weren’t for karma I’d be stabbing them all day.

  • “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”

    You call that “denial.” How about calling it “I don’t give a fuck”?

    Yep. He doesn’t care how the kids feel.

    My experience having children with a wingnut is that he considered the children an extension of himself. It was…difficult….for him when he figured out the children have minds of their own.

    It’s time for you to stop trying to co-parent with this nutjob and instead be an advocate for your children. The 19 year old doesn’t have to spent time with Daddy Dearest if he/she doesn’t want to. The 17 yo is nearly there. Your job with your adult children is to support them in the decisions they make about their relationship with their father, not make them go to visitation just because the younger one(s) have to go.

    My experience was that when my 17yo refused to do visitation any longer, the cheater couldn’t be bothered to spend time with the 15yo…until the cheater found a new girlfriend and was trying to look good in front of her.

    And while the kids are visiting Daddy and the whore? Do something fun. Spend time with your friends. Watch a movie the kids would hate. Stop worrying. You’re already doing everything you can for your children.

  • Perfect advice, CL, that I needed to hear. My children are grown and I want to curl up on the couch and cry any time I know about contact between them and their father… even more when the skank is also involved. It is so hard to let that go no matter what their ages. Hugs to all those who are “fighting” this battle AND still have to have contact with the asshole!!!

    • I really doubt whether any of the kids have to be with the guy. No court is going to force the 17 and 19 year old to see him and I would bet no court would force the 12 year old, either. It is up to the kids what they want to do. They are old enough to decide.
      How is it they feel forced to go with him and his affair partner? This makes no sense to me.
      Just tell the kids they do not have to go if they do not want to. There is nothing the guy can do about it.

      • I agree with Arnold. My kids are 23,18,15,&13. If they don’t want to see their father, I don’t force them to go. They are old enough to make that choice for themselves. Kids should have a say whether they want to spend time around people with low character or not. My POS H can’t do anything about it if they don’t want to see him. My kids give him excuses when they don’t want to go anywhere with their father. I support their choices because I raised them almost by myself (with my Mom’s help not POS H’s!) and they have better sense & have made better decisions than their 51yr old father who f**ks anything that looks at him twice! Stay strong Rainy! It will get better!

      • Don’t be so sure. Did you read about the lunatic judge who threw three kids in jail with criminal offenders (yes, it was juvenile jail, but those places are horrendous) because they refused to eat lunch with their dad, AFTER the 15 year old said he witnessed the father hit his mother??? The dad’s reaction? Complete nonchalance. His reaction said it all. If that had been my child, I would never have pushed the issue to that point, but he so clearly does not give a damn about the well- being of his children! Narc much? And that judge needs to be removed from the bench!

        • I read about that case and I’m not convinced that it was a case of actual abuse and not parental alienation. The father in question had no criminal record, had been psychologically evaluated in family court and the mother had never pressed charges against him.

          • Read his interview. I have never seen a father so unconcerned that his children were in jail! He was as cold as ice. And the son who witnessed the abuse is 15 years old. PAS is often alleged but rarely proven and typically, arises with much younger children. At 15, I think the young man knows what he saw. In any event, nothing justifies the way that judge treated those children. I fully expect she will be removed from the case, if not the bench.

            • Crap judges don’t seem to ever get removed from the bench or cases. I read about the judge who sent the children to juvenile detention. As far as a judge doing what is right in abuse cases, a judge here in CT refused a young mothers request for a permanent restraining order for her and her infant son from the baby’s father. A few days later, the father killed the baby by throwing him off a bridge. The father then jumped but survived.
              Judges don’t always go the right thing and they are not held accountable.

              • I saw that story. So horrible. I hope that judge burns in hell with the murderer who threw that poor baby off the bridge.

              • @Lulu,
                My ex never had a criminal record either… Until he hit me in front of our kids. He also had a psych evaluation. His attorney got to choose the psychologist. Guess how that turned out.

        • I’d still take a chance. Yes, there are some asshole judges, but I think the odds of your encountering one like the above are minimal.

        • Has this judge never heard of Solomon’s judgement???? Two women were claiming motherhood of a child. Solomon said: very well, I will cut the child in half and give each one of you a half.
          The woman that showed her love by saying ‘rather the other woman take him than he die’ – he deemed was the mother and awarded the child. Because a mother’s love would never sacrifice the wellbeing of a child for her own needs.

      • I don’t know where that wingnut judge is from – but that is a rare exception – NOT the rule. One of your children is a legal adult – the second is almost there and the third is entering teen years. the VAST MAJORITY of courts in the land will not force children to do what they don’t want to do -especially if it involves an affair partner. A judge “might” say that the father should have dinner with the under aged children – but they will not force (nor do they look kindly on) involving an OW.

        If your children want to have dinner with their father – they have every right to not include his mistress. Legally and ethically. If they put it to him in that way – and he disregards it, then have a judge weigh in. You are no worse off if a judge says it’s okay to bring the mistress – he is doing that already. But the odds are very in your favor that your children have more “say” in how they interact with your STBX then you believe. Good luck.

        PS: My daughters don’t see their father more than once a year – their choice. They have told him in no uncertain terms they will NEVER see the mistress(now wife #3). This has been the deal since we separated, and my youngest was underage. Believe me – you are being bamboozled into thinking your children have no options. They do.

      • As a child of divorce, I agree with Arnold too – no judge is going to force a teenager to see a parent if they don’t want to. In fact, it’s really important that they know they have a choice.

        Rainy, I would say it is really ok “to lay on the couch and cry until they come home”. It’s natural to feel that way. And, It’s great your kids are seeing a therapist – in the “neutral zone”. I disagree though with the statement …”He can make them eat dinner with his lover.” Your children have the right to say and choose that they are not ready.

        It is a really difficult situation when children are put in situations where they feel disloyal,or are a source of disappointment for whatever reason. As if they don’t have enough on their plate. I mean if a new partner is “forced” on them, it’s so laden with guilt if the child is uncomfortable with it, or it is too soon. So much of their life gets eclipsed by the focus on loyalty, love, abandonment – at a time in life when they should be spreading their wings..

        While the first few years were just awful for my family, my mother always acknowledged how important it was for me to have a relationship with my Dad – and she let me come to my own conclusions, good and bad. When a parent trusts a kid to do this, it is a very grounding and stabilizing thing.

        Heaven knows – it is a bumpy ride I don’t know, I tend to get quiet and try to be in a Zen place when the storms are around. I would find myself looking up a friend for the evening.

        –Just know and trust that no one replaces you as their Mom.

        Big hugs – to a brave Mom

        • To clarify – I disagree with the therapist’s statement …”He can make them eat dinner with his lover.”

        • My adult children were discarded by their father and has seen them very little over the past year.
          Supposedly. The whore wanted to wait to meet them. How honorable since she didn’t wait to get a hotel. My children know he is disturbed and have no respect for him whatsoever. They were disgusted by his lies and dramatic changes in his oersonality. Suddenly on his birthday they get invited to meet the slut.
          The way they see it is that if they want a relationship with him if it’s not this pig, she will be replaced by the other woman he is seeing on the side. They know what he is.
          It’s not easier with adult children, however it’s up to them to decide. They all agree these are the types he can get and that’s his future. I’m standing back and saying have fun. They know the difference between trashy and classy. I doubt they will have an authentic relationship with him. I will.
          Enjoy your children when yiur with them. For me I’m pretending he doesn’t exist. Not wasting anymore time caring what the cheaters live like.

    • It hurts no matter how old the children are. Mine are 25 and 21. They knew he is worse than Satan but love him anyway . He continues to show them what a lying, narcisstic amd hurtful person he is, latest example: when he registered his new luxury car using my home address and put his newest recycled AP on the insurance policy. Oh, and that was after he cancelled my discounts. Yes, that was fun to open that bill ,,,ouch.
      I guess i continue to work on me and be glad for all the blessings in my life

  • I’m sorry I don’t have any advice on this. I’m not in that situation yet. What I do have is a related question. I can see getting to Meh about the STBX. (I already don’t care what he does when the kids aren’t around, I just want him to leave the house. ) What I want to know is is it even possible to get to meh about sharing the kids? I can’t even imagine that.

    • AOOK: it really doesn’t get better. Everytime they have contact with Satan is a dagger in my heart. Dont show it and start living your own authentic life. Stay tough! Nmc

  • I’ve said before in the forums that breeding with a fucktard is a never-ending smorgasbord of shit sandwiches. I think my Ex’s AP has finally moved in with her since I see his truck parked in her driveway night and day now.

    My son had a strange reaction to one of my friends (male) coming over last Sunday for coffee and I think it may be related to his mother’s paramour moving in. I got the sense from my kids that their mother had convinced them that her AP was “just her friend.” Now that he is living there and sleeping in mom’s room with her, he may have finally figured out that his mother is a lying sack of shit.

    I’m a bit jealous of the other chump parents that have full custody. My Ex wasn’t quite outwardly disordered enough for me to try for full custody so I got the best my lawyer said I could expect, equal joint custody. So twice per week my poor kids have to move from house to house, just a block away. Every time I have to take them back to her it hurts. Maybe it is a little better than at the beginning, but still hard.

    • Mine too is not outwardly disordered enough for me to have full custody. My kids are too little to see how much my ex manipulates them. All I can do is work with them on setting boundaries and sticking up for themselves and then ship them off to dad’s house 40% of the month 🙁

  • Unfortunately my kids have to live part time with the OW and her 3 hellions. My 13 year old has figured everything out (“Dad…how come you and mom and K and M were all friends and suddenly mom hates K , everyone broke up and now you and K are dating”?). I hate the fact that my kids are forced into this bullshit. It sucks for them and there is nothing I can do about it. I will say to not show them that it makes you miserable. Don’t give the OW or delusional ex that power. Your kids are old enough to be able to say “nope, sorry, not having it” even if they have to sit across from her miserable face. Leave it to them to figure out and to express. They will do it without your help. Sending hugs across the internets (((hug)))

    • Not trying to be critical, Happy. But, why do your kids need to figure it out? Haven’t they been fully apprised of what went down? You can tell them the facts and not editorialize about their dad or the OW. I think then things are less confusing for them.
      I know there seems to be two schools of thought on telling the kids, but, seriously, in your situation, your kids are going to figure this out and telling them saves them the trouble of struggling to do so.

      • My kids were 10 and 16 when I kicked my ex out. He immediately moved in the the OW. The kids had lots of questions. So, when he came over one night to take them to dinner, I had everyone sit down to have a question and answer session. He looked like he wanted to vomit! He had to answer their questions with me in the room to make sure he didn’t leave anything out or lie. That was 6 years ago…..he’s still working on mending his relationship with the kids. He couldn’t lie his way out that night.

    • My question, do at least request boundaries until legal shit is done? or do I eat the shit sandwich, even if a separation agreement is not in place. I only moved out 3 months ago, and D-day was 7 months ago. I think I can do it, by current priorities are me, kids, if canola and flax have an argument, who would win?

  • The first question is, was he a decent father until he broke the family up? If he was pretty good with going to school events and spending time with the kids then no matter what kind of what a jerk he has been to you they can still have a decent relationship with him. Children need both parents. For the betrayed spouse it is doubly painful when the X introduces the kids to the ow. They may never like her but they will love their father unless he is so narcissistic that they cannot stand him. You are their home court. You are their stability. Still, having a hands on dad is what is in their best interest. If you can make yourself get past his behavior towards you and see if he is being kind and loving toward them you may be able to get past this. Sadly, marriages break up all the time. How parents show their maturity is in how they treat their children during and after the divorce. Protect yourself and ask the children not to repeat things they said and heard and did while with their father. However, if they come back with things that alarm you then you can speak to your lawyer.
    Teenagers disappear into their rooms, onto their phones and out the door. They may cling for a while but nature is going to push them to move on into adulthood. You need to prepare for that more than anything. You sound like you are already over the ex so finding interests of your own will serve you much better.
    My sister-in-law abandoned her kids and it had a terrible affect on them for years.
    I am so sorry that this happened to your little family.

    • Sorry, Let Go but this sounds like politically correct mumbo jumbo to me. Fathers who hurt their children’s mother and blow up their family are not good fathers, period. It’s actually not best to have a relationship with both parents if one is abusive and emotional abuse is just as damaging as anything else (see Lundy Bancroft’s books). Just because dad shows up to school events and spends time with their kids, it doesn’t make them a good parent. I do think kids figure this out on their own especially if the faithful parent lives a life true to strong morals and values. I think the best thing we can do as the faithful parent is validate our kids feelings, whatever they are and trust them to figure out the relationship with the cheater. I did file to have our kids interviewed by a custody evaluator because they wanted to be heard by the court. The evaluator said even though dad is involved in their lives, he is very manipulative to his children and only gave my STBX 8 hours every two weeks with the kids and the kids were estatic about the decision. I think we need to stop assuming that a relationship with both parents is automatically what is best for children and just assume each case is different.

    • Let Go – I’m going to disagree with you. Nicole S is right. This sounds like politically correct crap. First of all, “if you can get past his behavior towards you” & “sadly, marriages break up all the time”…. This sounds like subtle chump blaming. It’s all on you chump! YOU cannot get past this… Or marriages break all the time… Get over it!!!

      If you did not mean it like it comes across, the words don’t express it. These two sentences trigger me badly!!!

      Second, kids don’t need BOTH parents. Kids need SANE parent(s). even a sane, stable role model (if not a parent) is usually enough. Nature is full of examples of how the mother or father (depending on the species ) bring up the kids alone. Partner either bugs out or is actually kicked out. The kids do just fine. WHY do we humans not get this?

      Finally, the cheater’s behavior towards spouse is NOT exclusively directed at the spouse in terms of damage. The disrespect, the belittling, the emotional abuse – however subtle or blatant, is being observed n absorbed by the kids. So it’s not just getting past it because he was bad to me crap…. He needs to behave around the kids reality. This stuff damages kids more than not having a dad.

      • I know this is so painful for you. I hoped I was clear that the father needed to have been an INVOLVED one. I know of a family that recently blew up over an affair. The father has never stopped being totally involved in the daily lives of his kids. Do I admire him for cheating? Hell no, but I see how much he means to his children. Most of you on this blog have people who have wrecked your lives and those of your children. That did not happen in this case and I hope for their sakes the children of Rainy have a father who stays in their lives.. My brother’s children were abandoned by their mother and I have witnessed the pain and despair they suffered. What I think is that Rainy’s children are going to be involved in their own “stuff” so she should get her own “stuff”. I went back and read her letter and she sounds like she is over the ex. The kids are right at the age where they will legally be able to choose when, or if, to visit.

        • Just because a father is involved does not mean that he has their best interest at heart. Most narcs use their children for more kibbles. Mine plays the good dad to the world, but manipulates his kids. My 5 YO told me when this all went down, “mommy, daddy takes us to the park, but he doesn’t play with us, he is on his phone the whole time”. Many of these “involved parents” know how to put on the show to get more ego kibbles from the world. If they cheated on their spouse then you can be sure that they are selfish bastards who only use the children for their own selfish gain.

          I also disagree with telling the children to not tell you about what was said or done at daddy’s house. I want my kids to have an open line of communication with me. It may hurt me to hear some of what they say, but as their mom it is on me to suck up my hurt for their sake and to allow them to talk to me about anything and everything. If they are being disrespectful or mean to me then I will let them know that is not okay, but asking them to sensor what they tell me is unfair to them and tells them that their experiences are only okay to share if they fit some acceptable norm from me. That sounds a whole lot like what narcs do with those they are abusing someone emotionally and I refuse to add to the emotional abuse that my children already have to suffer at the hands of their father.

          • I completely agree HeHid. An INVOLVED father is not necessarily a good parent. My stbx is pretty involved in his boys lives but he does use them for kibble a lot, he does not really care about their feelings, and his kids are afraid to express anything real to him, instead they just try to keep him happy all the time. I would hate to gaslight my kids and say “well since your dad is INVOLVED he is a good dad.” Uh uh, no way. Maybe the case Let Go is talking about is different and I hope it is but I have a feeling he’s a jerk too, he just covers it up better.

          • Agree HHBaM – this is along the lines of what I was going to say. My ex may have “appeared” to be involved also. But I was accused of “making” him attend the “stupid” kids events (band and choral concerts, sporting events, community events, Halloween parades, etc.).. he RESENTED me MAKING him look like a better father than he really was. He would rather stay home and cut his grass than seeing his kids do these activities.

            He also takes them to his parents for his visitation (since he doesn’t live close by) and instead of engaging with the kids, he may “be” with them by all appearances, but my kids say he sits there and talks to his mom and dad and rarely truly engages with the kids. Many times they sit and watch tv or play on the computer. And their dad RARELY sees them. I am talking sometimes MONTHS in between visits. Yet for all purposes when we all lived together, everyone thought ex was a VERY INVOLVED father. He APPEARED to be but really was very disengaged to me but not everyone else.

            • Let go: Although it seems like many others don’t agree with you, I do. My ex- husband was a good father to our 3 kids before his affair and remained a good father even after he married his affair partner. I do not condone his cheating behaviour – he was a shitty husband. But he has been fully present in the lives of his children in the 16 years after we divorced. He coached their sports teams, drove them to school, took them on vacations and paid for their university educations. All 3 adult kids are on good terms with him today. They are ambivalent in their relationship with their step mother and that is as good as it gets. They don’t hate her, nor do they love her. If she died tomorrow they would be indifferent. But their father has always played a valid role in their lives.

              • That’s the gold standard. Everyone should have one of those “they were a shitty person to be married to, but they pull their weight with the kids” kind of exes.

                The problems arise when people *assume* that everyone got one of those exes. Sadly, a lot of cheater are narcissistic beyond their marriages and don’t co-parent well.

              • I agree Tflan386 and Let Go – moreover it is about how older children especially feel about their parents. My siblings and I were divided in the beginning – when they reconnected with our father they worked through their issues – My father never failed in his responsibilities as a parent and never stopped trying. – No one is perfect – and it was a messy and bitter divorce but never abandonment.

                By contrast, yes, abandonment by a parent is a lifetime loss. This happened to my cousins – their mother went crazy, and left when they were young. It could have been much worse had she not left. Kids are mighty resilient, though and some are met with seemingly insurmountable challenges in life, but get through it.

                – As kids, we have to reach our own meh with the “other relationships” that enter our lives. But I have never doubted the love from both parents and I think if that is present and felt by children – even an imperfect love, it needs to be left alone and not “fixed”. -Just my take.

      • Check out the Liz Library ( for studies about “fatherless” children and the bullcrap about kids needing fathers, no matter how shitty they are. She has an interesting list of great people in history who grew up… guess what?….Fatherless!

    • What a crock of shit. I was the eldest daughter of a father who was involved when I was a young child and then destroyed my mother by having a long term affair. When he made the cowardly phone call to say he wasn’t coming home, when I was 21 – I knew in that very moment that I would never want to see that thieving two faced bastard ever again. And that the only news I ever wanted to hear was that of his death. And I still have the same mindset even today, 9 years later.
      I certainly would have told everyone, including a court, to go fuck themselves if they had forced me to spend time with him and his sub-continential whore.

  • As a chump kid, older, I would recommend you cut the drama. When you tell the therapist that their father does this and doesn’t do that, and the therapist calls, that is drama. You picked the guy as your first husband, but you kids had no choice in picking him as a father. Remember when the kids were little, and you wanted to visit with someone, and the kids were forced to sit and visit with relatives although they didn’t care about them? Same thing.

    Give your kids a break and let it go. I would recommend you fill your time with meeting more awesome people, so your children had better role models. They are eating a shit sandwich, too but better father prospects are not in the cards for them.

      • Hi Chump4Bolero: No reply button under your response, so I am posting here. Your last paragraph is a gem of advice. Even an imperfect parental love is still love.

        I agree with Chump lady that many narcissistic cheaters will not parent well and they will carry their narcissistic tendencies through every relationship in their life – each one doomed for failure. However, my worry when I read these posts is that sometimes the baby is thrown out with the bath water. Branding every cheating spouse as an inadequate parent from the get go, can be the start of the slippery slope to parental alienation. I understand the tremendous feelings of anger – I lived them once myself. However, I would be wary of transferring angry feelings involving your cheating spouse to your children. They have already lived through the trauma of parental infidelity – further trauma of losing a parent is not in their best interest.

        • I agree 100% tflan. Showing anger and hurt only puts the kids in the middle of full-on drama. They need to be protected from that stuff, not involved. Let them make their own decisions and make up their own mind about their father and the kind of relationship they want to have with him — without any outside input or influence. That is their right.

          My son’s father was certainly no prize, and I personally don’t care much for him, but my son does. He’s grown now, and he sees him for exactly who he is. He needed no input from me to come to that conclusion.

  • A good friend of mine went through this exact situation with her rotten ex parading his AP in front of the kids, although it was even more of a bum deal because her kids were so young and weren’t aware of the affair, and they just LOVED Daddy’s young, fun, glamorous new friend (and all the fun activities Daddy arranged for them all to do, days out at theme parks and new restaurants, all to impress the AP of course, ‘look at what a great Daddy I am!’) My friend was absolutely gutted by the affair and the subsequent blow of the kids getting close to the AP, but she figured out a way to deal with it. On the days where the kids were off playing happy families with Daddy and Schmoopie my friend would use that time to pamper herself, she would treat herself to facials, hair appointments, mani-pedi, lunches with friends, or if money was tight she would invite her friends over for movie nights and cook-outs. Basically she used the time to re-establish a life for herself, and if thoughts of the AP crept into her head she would tell herself “Have fun babysitting my kids, slutface, while I’m doing me! Woohoo!”. I know that sounds simplistic and perhaps a little bit bitchy, but a bit of snark can really help sometimes! And it’s the truth! AP might be going along with the ‘happy families’ charade for now, but it’s all for show! These OW never had any intention of raising someone else’s kids, and soon they will be bored of skinned knees and snotty noses and temper tantrums, they will be longing for the affair days where they were the center of attention, and wonder how they got suckered into taking care of your kids while YOU are off lunching and shopping! The tables will be turned, and hopefully by the time they do you will be looking good, feeling better, re-establishing friendships and social connections, and well on your way to Meh!

    • KJ thank you thank you thank you. There were times I felt like someone had to scrape me off the floor because the boys were around their father’s schmoopie. Then, I thought wait, this isn’t so bad, this quiet time. Maybe I can do a few things around the house or something for me. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at begin to change. It’s all in the perspective. I really needed this. Thanks again, KJ, this was uplifting.

    • Well said, KJ. I had to go through this twice. You must accept that this is the kid’s deal with their dad and OW. My ex’s went through women like tissue. Tossed one and another popped up.

      All the children want is their father. They will tolerate the OW. Just hope she is kind to your children. My kid’s fathers hooked up with women from hell. They all wanted his attention and made my children’s lives miserable. Once in a while the a’holes would snag a decent woman, but she never lasted long.

      I always left the door open that they did not have to go to their dad’s home if they didn’t want and they were welcome to stay home. More than once I had to cancel my weekend plans, but that was OK. Their mental health came first.

      My children are all adults. They survived with one sane steady parent. I did get to meh during the exchanges. Their family was reorganized but intact. Still had a mother and father. They figured out who came first in their father’s life.

      Deal with your feelings. I remember how completely torn apart I was in the beginning. Your children will be fine. You will always, ALWAYS, be their mother.

    • Great reply! I hated this crap at the beginning but now I’m pretty much ‘whatever, dumbass, go play Uncle Daddy with your young thang and let me have some fun!’

      • This is the best advice yet… perfect. Even though my kids are older, they are not going to like CFMily and CFMily is not going to like them. thank you

    • My children are mostly grown, and they decided they wanted to have a relationship with their father. They are very aware of his flaws, but he does love them and it serves no good purpose to put them in the middle of our drama. As our children get older, they begin to have their own life and it is important to respect that. So, at some point, all of us must figure out what to do with that extra time on our hands. At first, it was difficult because I had spent so many years living in a big, active and vocal family. It was difficult to not get lonely when they were gone. But I decided that it was time to focus on doing things that I had set aside to raise a family. It’s not always easy, but with each accomplishment, I get a little more sure of myself.

      • I guess just reading these replies it’s really a case by case basis. If the os is abusive, time with them is not good. But if they are not completely objectionable it’s ok. My os’s father was very abusive. So he was not a good one, although legally it wasn’t proven. But he’d beat his kids and verbally abuse etc. just depends I guess.

    • KJ, good idea! Let “slutface” do the heavy lifting while we get on with a life in the real world! Nothing like a well rested Mom/Dad to benefit the kids! Mine are adults. My EH and I divorced four months ago. He moved to Florida to be with his “slutface” two months ago and has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Our kids know what he did and I am letting them make up their own minds how to deal with it. So far they are telling him they will not and cannot do anything until he leaves Schmoopie! Hey…..its their decision to make. I won’t influence that either way. He turned his back on me and ran to Fl. Every weekend while I was battling lung cancer and told his kids they would have to “handle it!” Well, now that he has Cancer they told him that Schmoopie wanted him so she will have to “handle it!” Seems fair to them so who am I to tell them how to feel? They are full grown adults! Guess it sucks to be my EH and Schmoopie right now! Goes without saying that these lunatic cheaters are just a bit short-sighted!

    • Good advice. It really is ironic that cheater and AP both play the part of the attentive, fun and indulgent parents. Both are just acting the part, it is not sincere in the least especially the AP.

  • Try learning all the words to ‘Love Me Love My Dog’ by Peter Shelley – or better still, play the tune loudly on a kazoo as you’re cross-stitching ‘Too many psychopaths, not enough cycle paths’ (thank you Half Man Half Biscuit) on all your commemorative tea towels. Always cheering to laugh at the ridiculous, and you never know, ‘Love Me Love My Dog’ might act like an ear-worm on the kids who simply can’t resist humming it everywhere they go …… 😀

  • Ah, yes well, I sympathize with you Rainy as my turn to deal with this shit sandwich is right around the corner for me.

    STBXH and I wrote into our legally binding parenting agreement that we could not introduce significant others to our son until the divorce was final. It’s not…yet. But guess what the fucktard did? The same weekend I was moving out of our marital home, he was moving into a new place with OW and HER son. What the hell dude? He KNEW that this would limit his time with his son. He has already attempted to introduce our son to his new “loving” family. I told him no by reminding him that we have a legal agreement to NOT do that, I document everything and I have a lawyer. He didn’t make the introductions.

    Now that they are actually living together, our son isn’t going over there AT ALL until the divorce is final. Since he moved in with her, STBXH has seen his son ONE time. One time in 4 weeks. CL is right. These fucktards don’t care about their own children. And I am sure that he believes his son is an extension of himself. He’ll find out soon enough that ain’t true.

    What really sucks is that I had to tell my son the truth about WHY he wouldn’t be having any sleepovers with his Dad for a little while. I had to explain that when he DOES have his first sleepover at Daddy’s new house, he won’t be building a fort on the sofa with Daddy or sleeping with him. Nope, Daddy will be sleeping with OW. My son just looked at me. That was a whole lot of shitty truth that HE has to deal with. So, like CL and all of Chump Nation does, I’ll be the sane parent. The safe one. I will be the place my son always thinks of as HOME. The SAFE place where a parent loves him and has his best interest at heart. Do that Rainy.

    • These dopes don’t get that kids want time with their missing parent ONLY, not their missing parent AND his/her fuckbuddy! The whole, “Love me, love my skank” mentality takes time to backfire big time, but it hurts like a motherfucker until that happens.

      Conniered, I had a similar codicil written into our separation agreement, where Bimbo couldn’t be around our kids until the divorce was final. It lasted all of two months, because X used it to tell the kids they couldn’t visit him because “their mother was being ridiculous.”

      Was it “ridiculous” to want our sons to have some alone time with the parent who had just abandoned them? Well, when X moves out and right into his love shack in Clusterfuckdale with Bimbo, her teen daughter and her teen daughter’s druggie boyfriend, yes.

      Then, X and bimbo pulled out all the stops…

      Living at Clusterfuckdale Memories!

      They “gave” our oldest son his “own” basement apartment at the love shack. Then they moved all of his things into a spare bedroom upstairs when he was at work one day because, “It’s bimbo’s daughter’s turn to have the apartment now.” He found all of his things in trash bags (mixed in with trash) on top of an unmade bed when he got home from work that night.

      Special Vacation Memories!

      They took two of our sons (the third one wanted nothing to do with them) to DisneyWorld for a vacation during April break last year. Our 19-year old, who hates crowds, didn’t want to go with them as a family to a theme park one afternoon. He wanted to sit by the pool instead. As a consequence, they didn’t feed him for the rest of week. Our son had to live on picked-over doggie bags brought back to the room from their restaurant visits. They also wouldn’t spring for two bedrooms, so the same son saw bimbo giving X a blowjob in the bed next to him one night.

      Special Occasion Memories!

      X grudgingly let our junior borrow his car for prom, but was over an hour late getting back to his house from a “work function” (that’s X Code for “drinking with friends after (they) work.” Yeah, he didn’t have a job.) He gave our panicked son the keys to his car and was pissed that our son wouldn’t stay ten more minutes just to “say hi to Bim.” Still, our son did have to return to their shack because X left the tank on empty. Bim was home by then, so X made a point of embarrassing our son by telling her that “[Son] was going to “get some” tonight!”

      Visitation Weekend Memories!

      The happy couple brought our youngest son to an oldies concert one weekend. When our son told his father he hated it and wanted to go home, X made him stay until it was over, and then didn’t talk to him for weeks. Now our son is afraid to tell his father anything that might “make him mad.”

      So now it’s been 2.5 years since X moved out. My sons (now 20, 18,15) want nothing to do with the freak show that is now their father’s family. They only visit when they need something from their father. All the guilt trips, bribery and cajoling can’t get the boys to spend any time there. I’m sure they chalk up our kids’ absences at their parties to parental alienation. Of course it’s my fault for not encouraging my kids to “play nice with Dad and Bimbo!”

      It will eventually happen to your kids, too Rainy. Just let your kids know that you respect their decisions and will always be a safe place for them when they don’t want to deal with dear old dad and his shiny, new fuckbuddy.

      Hugs. This shit may be finite, but it’s still shit when you’re trudging along.

      • Jeebus. How horrible for your kids, but something must be wrong with me for laughing at what a flaming idiot your X is. A refinery fire level of flames.

      • I am literally horrified by everything you wrote Chutesandladders. What a disgusting POS. I’m so sorry for you and your children.

      • Chutes and ladders, that’s one of the worst things I’ve read on here. I am so sorry for your poor kids. Thank heaven they have you! Huge hugs.

  • The OW is out of the picture in my case, so I’ve never had to deal with that. Dealing with my ex’s new girlfriend has been tough enough. She acts like she’s the mom to my kids, and my ex acts like he’s the dad to GF’s kids. Makes my blood boil. His own kids need his time, attention, and funds. Not some GF’s kids. Grrr.

    • eH GF has the nerve to get angry with ME if my children want to spend time with me at an event that we are all at. Hello lady, do you really think a 2 YO will pick being with you over her own mother if given the choice?!

      • Yes, that is some nerve. That would not sit well with me, either.

  • This is by far, the hardest part of my whole situation. I understand the couch weeping. My daughter is only 7, has autism, seizures and is non verbal. She would never be able to tell me if the OW was mean to her. It’s like flying blind. But because of her needs, I need the every other weekend break. And I hate XH for that too. As far as filling in the time, I try to always arrange activities with friends or family. I catch up on laundry, house cleaning, groceries, gardening, paperwork. I’m also self employed (house cleaning) so I try to schedule more jobs on the weekend for extra cash. Also, if all else fails, volunteer. Helping others and changing your focus off your own circumstances for a while can help with the depression. That’s my two cents.

  • Has anyone told the 19 year old that he/she has a choice?
    If so and her choice is to go, you have to drop it.
    My older child chose to not have anything to do with his father except at family functions but has add it clear that he will not attend if OW is there.
    This forces this father’s family to tell him OW is not welcome.
    Younger son will see his father one on one but not OW. Younger son just set those parameters and father has to agree if he wants to see his son.
    As far as you, you MUST find something else to do that night.
    Hard? Horrible? Yes!!!
    But going for a long walk, dinner and a drink with a friend or a movie By yourself will make the evening a tiny bit easier. Go to a divorce group meet/up – but do something!!
    It is important for your kids to know you aren’t home crying. You can certainly tell them that you wanted to be home crying but chose not to.
    A teachable moment about making good, healthy choices no matter how hard it is. Demonstrate strength to you and your kids.
    Good luck.
    We really do understand and agree that it sucks.

    • Agreed Rebecca. I don’t know how it is in every State (I’m in Canada) but at 19, 17 and 12, could they not decide for themselves? The older two can just make plans. Sorry Dad, I’ve got plans etc. The youngest can just refuse to go. I know a friend of mine whose dealing with the same sort of thing. Girls are 11 and 13 and they’re just refusing to go. There’s a court order but Dad doesn’t have the money to enforce it. So the girls basically hold all the cards.

      • I’m in Quebec, and at age 8, here, kids are ‘heard’ by the courts about their custody preferences, at age 12 they can choose how much time to spend with which parent, and at 12, can refuse to see a parent at all, without having to justify that decision to the courts. (And at 14 they can also see a therapist without their parents being informed in any way – very good since with shared custody both parents have to agree to the kid going into therapy, and narc parents usually won’t.)

        This has worked out so well for me and my kids (11 and 12 at the time of separation), as ex was a mediocre-to-bad father throughout their lives (negative, critical, selfish, occasionally very very scary), and unbelievably neglectful after I kicked him out. He came around wanting the kids to be his Plan B when life wasn’t so amazingly perfect with OW and her kids, and the kids told him to take a hike.

        Much drama followed, family therapy for the three of them, etc etc. For the last year and a half they’ve been seeing him for a few hours, once a month. Works well for us! Sucks for him!

  • Rainy,
    Hugs to you while you must be on the couch. I’m still wallowing, badly sometimes. One day you will get off and wonder why you wasted all that time, but for today allow yourself to feel all your emotions. They are yours, do not try to suppress them. It is what will get you past it. Some suggestions: go outside, (if you can in the sun, it does wonders,) clean a bit of clutter, nothing too strenuous maybe just a drawer, read, watch some ole time comedy and laugh, talk to an adult, volunteer for a shelter or something, the company will be good, some gardening perhaps. Do something for yourself that doesn’t have to cost too much, a manicure maybe. Wash the yard. Anything that you can just do without too much thought. It is quite relaxing. Bake so that when the kids get back they have some nice treat. And while you are at it if anything calls for crushed nuts go with it and while you take a rolling pin and crush the nuts in a tea towel you give yourself the permission to think of it as AP’s head! (LOL) Only think OK. Never act on it!
    Hang in there.

  • I have this situation as my ex married his final affair partner 5 months post divorce almost 4 years ago now. I have 4 children, one was married, one was on a two year church mission, but a son (16) and a daughter (14) were still at home. It was very hard to have them interacting with OW and their crap dad. The visits tapered off as my ex realized teenagers won’t buff your image and be willing props. He is a diagnosed NPD so he doesn’t like it when his kids won’t accept his narrative. My daughter did say that her father was nicer to her when OWife was around, so that is one good thing. My kids are very aware of all that went on with his serial cheating, his abuse of me, and that his current wife was not his only affair partner. They actually feel bad for her and think she must not be too bright.

    I enjoy my time on the rare occasions my daughter is at her dad’s. I rejoice that it is not me who has to interact with him. My daughter (son is at college now) always takes a friend with her to dinners so she has a buffer. So Rainy just know that your children know the truth of things. Your ex and his OW are not fooling anyone, especially your teenagers!!

  • I can’t add to CL’s excellent advice in terms of the ex an his mind-fuckery.

    I can however, provide lots of suggestions for distracting yourself.

    Step 1) Make a list of all of the things you stopped doing or never had the chance to do because Ex didn’t want to do those things or was too lazy/prissy/scared/picky/had weak ankles.

    -Go see all the movies he wouldn’t go see because he wanted to see some stupid loud action movie instead. Subtitles GALORE.

    – That little restaurant you’ve looked at with longing for years, but Ex wouldn’t go to because it was too frou-frou and pretentious? Go there. Take a friend if you want, or take a book. But go to that restaurant and enjoy a lovely meal.

    – Take classes in whatever obscure subject area, hobby, or skill that interests you. Ballroom dancing, krav maga, outdoor survival, cookery – whatever. Those skills will not only help you grow as a person, but could expand your social circle.

    -Travel. Day trips to interesting locations for short visitations. Weekend trips for longer visitations.

    -Those museums he wouldn’t go to because they were boring? Spend a whole day there.

    -Try some art therapy. Painting, pottery. Make a pinata in the image of your ex, fill it with bullshit and beat it with a baseball bat. (Maybe wear some old clothes and eye protection.)

    -Exercise. Not because you need to lose weight or pretty up for your next potential partner, but because it reduces stress and will make you healthier.

    Step 2) See all of those items on that list? GO OUT AND DO THEM. Get out of your house. I work from home and I know the perils of putting off leaving your cozy little nest of security. But staying in one place, isolated, for too long breeds boredom, bad habits and inertia.

    Step 3) When you are home alone, try to think of that time as being a restorative, quiet YOU time. Read good books. Take long lovely baths with products from luxurious companies like LUSH or Bliss. Nap. Don’t think of it as being alone. Think of it as being time to yourself that you deserve because you’ve spent the last 19 years caring for small people. You’re going to need those energy stores when your kids come back and need your support.

    You can’t control your jackass ex or his emotions or his actions. You can control your reactions and how you support your kids. Focus on what you can control.

    • Another thing I’ve discovered helps me greatly is downloading and listening to motivational podcasts on my iPod. It works great for when I’m alone and tempted to feel sorry for myself. Hearing positive people give inspirational talks really helps my mind. I find that listening to them helps me fall asleep at night too, hearing them keeps my mind distracted from thinking sad thoughts.

      • Oh, and audiobooks. is an EXCELLENT source of audiobooks in all genres.

        • All great ideas for personal growth during this very difficult time, Pucksmuse and Lyn.

    • PucksMuse, thank you. That is an excellent list with great suggestions.

  • I have nothing to add to this discussion other than to echo “Trying to teach a cheater how to treat people is a pointless exercise in futility”.

  • I couldn’t stand it either. So I made a deal with exhubby. I said, “dump OW and I’ll play very, very, very nice in divorce court. 50/50 custody. No child support. Make OW my kids stepmother and I’m coming unglued and will make your life hell in court.” He didn’t love schmoopie. He was using schmoopie for cake. He dumped her just like that! Schmoopie’s husband divorced her. Schmoopie ‘s husband got custody of the kids. Schmoope lost her job because I turned in her emails and videos of her having sex in her office afterhours with my husband into her boss. Schmoopie lost everything and didn’t even get my exhusband and cheater and it devastated her. And you know what? That really helped me get to meh very fast and I co parent pretty effective with ex and I get along great with wife number 3 that he met off the internet. I hope he doesn’t ever blow it with her because she likes my kids and they like her and I have no resentment towards her at all because she didn’t break up my marriage. It was worth getting no child support for me. It was. I’m six years past the divorce now

    • I wish this was my karma train. I will live through you on that one.

    • My exes OW ended up having to go back to her abusive ex boyfriend after she and the ex had to call it off. I told enough people in each circle about them so that they couldn’t play the “we were just friends and became something more after the divorce” crap. Since everyone knew what they had done, they couldnt keep the “good guy” image and stay together.

  • I dread this too. My STBX swears he and the Mwhore aren’t seeing each other and I plan to put in the decree that NEITHER of us can introduce third parties to the kids for at least 6 months, but we know that’s not really enforceable. It’s the shit sandwich many of us have to eat.

    Here is the good news:

    1. Your kids are old enough to see this for what it is, and clearly they don’t like it. Even the 12 year old.. they know the score on this- you don’t have to tell them a thing. You do need to be there for them, be the safe place for them to vent their frustrations and talk about their feelings. Who cares about STBX or OW.. your focus is them.
    2. Your X is showing what an immeasurable ass he is, to not only his kids, but everyone who sees this from afar.. his family, friends, coworkers. He is showing his true colors here for the world to see- and it ain’t pretty. He’s become a caricature. Forcing his kids to like some two bit slut? Ick.
    3. Your X is damaging the long term relationships with people who matter.. such as his FLESH and BLOOD kids.. Barbie is not likely to last. No matter how strong the twu wuv… statistically speaking, that relationship is likely to crash and burn.. but relationships with your kids are enduring. He is damaging the relationships that matter, and he will pay that price one day.
    4. You are away from this disordered asshole and can focus on YOUR life and do the things you want.

    I agree with the others who say focus on you and support your KIDS’ feelings. If they feel blackmailed by X.. “ie, love Barbie to love me”.. be there for them. Tell them you raised them to be polite, but by no means do they EVER have to “like” her, spend “time” with her, or “respect” her. Those things are earned, and Barbie has already nixed most of that with her behavior as OW. Your kids do NOT have to like this, but they do have to be polite and courteous.. as you’d expect them to be with anyone.

    Don’t lie for X.. don’t cover for him.. don’t manage the relationships of his kids for him. That bridge is on HIM to build. If he chooses Barbie, let him pay the price.

  • CL’s advice is spot on. Your kids are old enough that they can begin (and should) to take ownership of their relationship with their dad without your involvement. Your ex and his schmoopie probably get a little frisson of excitement over how their relationship bothers and upsets you. Don’t give them that power. I have had to endure my teen boys traveling with and spending holidays with my ex and his affair partner (now wife) for three years now. My oldest is almost 19 now and he has chosen, all on his own, to limit his interactions with his dad. My youngest is now 14 and is starting to do the same thing as he naturally is becoming more and more busy with his own social life and plans. My Ex did not want or request shared custody, so my boys have been with me 100% of the time since he left…and the old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder does NOT extend to teenagers who see their other parent on a very sporadic basis. I learned to fill my time when they did visit with their dad with activities I enjoyed, visiting family/friends, or simply just resting and reading or tackling cleaning/chores around the house. Anything to keep my mind occupied and busy and give me a sense of accomplishment. I also made sure that my ex did NOT know that it bothered me for my kids to be with him and his schmoopie. They did not deserve to know that my heart was shattered. My heart was not his to have access to any longer!

    • I totally agree. It is not fair to your kids to be responsible for your emotional well being. They have enough to navigate on their own as kids trying to figure out this world. The last thing they need is to be worrying about how their mom is doing when they are at their dads. My kids know that I hang out with friends, go out to dinner, go to the movies, watch my own TV shows, take naps, heck, I even go to Disneyland without them. They know that when I am with them my life is all about them, but when I am without them I have my own life. It is a good lesson in self care for them too.

  • Rainy, my heart goes out to you! It is so hard. My children are grown, but I still have to get through the times they spend doing things with their dad at his super sparkly resort home. It’s been hard because he can afford to fly them places for family events (the family I loved for 36 years but am no longer a part of). I can’t compete with his entertainment value. I have one son that’s still very close to me, but the other seems to prefer spending time with his dad. His latest comment to me was “without me, Dad would have no one,” but he also enjoys all the things Dad can do for him that I can’t.

    One of the greatest pieces of advice I got was from my sister-in-law, who divorced my husband’s brother. She said “The best thing you can do for your kids is be happy.” It’s so true. You don’t do yourself or your kids any service by being miserable.

    You can’t control what’s going on with your kids and their dad, all you can control is yourself. The way I get through times like this is to book something fun for myself that I’ve always wanted to do. For instance, this fall my kids will be with my husband and his family for a vacation, so I booked a flight to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends from college. We always have a great time together and she’s very supportive. Investing time with other friends and family will always come back to you and enrich your life. It also builds your support system.

    I’m 4 years out from D-day and I can tell you it gets better with time. The further you are into building a life you enjoy, the less you’ll care what your kids do with their dad. I’ve recently spoken to my kids and asked them to help me plan a birthday party for my parents in the spring. They were enthusiastic about it. Planning the event gives me something to focus on besides what they’re doing with their dad. It makes me feel better that they’re planning to spend time with my side of the family too.

    My kids are both married so they have to split their time with their in-laws, so that cuts even more into the amount I get to see them. They’re also boys, and tend to defer to their wives’ preferences for socializing. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that families change structure over time, even when there’s not a divorce.

    I will admit that the hardest part for me is losing time with my kids. I enjoyed watching them play and cut up with their dad, and I enjoyed his side of the family. It’s really upsetting, but I’m tired of being upset. Life is too short to be miserable that the kids aren’t around as much as I would like them to be. I’m going to go on and enjoy my life, and invest time with other family members and friends. I’m going to keep building my support network and help others who might be struggling too.

    Hang in there Rainy!

      • I second that, great advice.

        I too struggle with my daughter going to see her Dad and his GF (not sure if she was an AP but she was seeing him weeks after we separated.) She has young children and my daughter is an only. It was a big adjustment for her to learn to “share” her Dad and deal with the explosion of her life. And I used to think that they were having so much fun over there while I was sitting here with a broken heart.

        However, over time (it’s been 2 years) I realize that it’s not true. It’s not all sunshine and roses over there. Recently they had a domestic that required police intervention. So absolutely no, not roses. I’ve had to stay calm with my daughter (as best I could) to show her that it was safe with me and I’d always be here. I decided that I needed to be strong and show her that my life was moving forward and that I was the mature adult.

        What CL and others have said is true, you no longer get to control what goes on over there. And we don’t get to control how our kids “feel” about the situation. We can only support them and protect them as best we can. As hard as it is, your best bet is to work on having a happy, fulfilled life of your own. I plan get togethers with friends, garden, work-out and do some shopping on the days I don’t have my daughter. I also returned to work and that has helped me feel productive. Do what you can to distract yourself. Your children will appreciate that you can take care of YOU and they know how much you love them.

        Children are born to leave us. Sad but true. The dynamics of your family have changed and it’s not fair or right but you can do this. Treat yourself and love yourself.

    • Lyn-thank you for your wise and insightful post. I have to keep in mind that “families change structure over time, even when there’s not a divorce.” Something to ponder when these four boys get older and may go on to have families of their own. My sons only get one childhood, and it should include a strong resilient mother who did not let a divorce define her.

      • One thing that helped me a lot was finding an old photograph of my “family” at Thanksgiving when I was a kid. I noticed that more than half the people in the picture are no longer here, but at the time I considered them “my family.” It was then I realized that our “family” changes over time, no matter what. Something about understanding that concept helped me to let go of my kids and realize that whether there was a divorce or not, our family would inevitably change. The good thing is I’m reconnecting with old family members now that I didn’t have much time for when I was married and raising kids.

  • Thesis so relevant. Ian suffering through the same (but different) circumstance.
    Currently I am getting emails in my email inbox from Myanmar to pass on to my children from my ex. He is on his first overseas vacation with his affair partner since we separated 9 months ago it seems berserk to me that I am expected to pass on photos of their expensive resort rooms and infinite swimming pool plus pictures of him taken by her and stories of “us” and “we”. I am inclined not to show them …is this wrong? What’s wrong with a postcard or a phone call and some pictures when you get back if you must?!

    Additionally he has not told me, or the kids, she is now his girlfriend and is introducing her through subterfuge (“she is only staying over because her bedroom is being painted” etc) plus she is being introduced as a “brand new” girlfriend (to acquaintances and ex family) not an existing relationship from 2 years before he left us. Also she has no kids of her own and is revelling in the “cool aunt” role…taking my kids to the theatre and on dates by them selves etc. I have never even met or seen her- but have read 10 000 of her text messages so have a pretty good idea of her personality, agenda and thoughts about me. I am completely “meh” about him but can not stand the subterfuge and infiltration she is practicing in my kids. I also hate the”Zoe ISO fun because….” stories when the get home (meanwhile i am cobbling together three part time jobs so I can support them and be around for the elite and after school- it’s hard work and it as”fun” as the theatre. )
    They are 10, 8 and 6 so no autonomy there and I am trying to keep them out of any negative experiences explanations. Help!

    • You are NOT wrong at all. They are TOO YOUNG to have to understand this mess.

      Separated? Does this mean you aren’t divorced? What he’s doing is morally wrong and you are under no obligation to force your children to see it, in fact, I would do the opposite.

      Delete the emails and pictures. Don’t give him the kibbles.

    • No way should you have to pass pictures on to them. When the kids go to see him, then he can show them himself. I don’t think it’s wrong to tell him that either. Even if your kids are little, you do not have to manage his end of their relationship. He’s an adult (or maybe not so much) so he should manage it himself.

      That is such an a-hole move on his part. Why the hell would he send those pictures to his ex wife? Delete, delete, delete.

      The OW undoubtedly deserves his kibble devouring ass.

      Sending jedi hugs your way.

  • Rainy…
    I went thru this too! When I learned that my 15 year old daughter was going to be introduced to the OW who was a nightmare to me for five years, it sent me to my bed for TWO DAYS with no food or water! I literally did not get out of that bed for two days. My parents were threatening to drive five hours and yank me out of bed on the second day. I finally mourned enough over it and got up. I tell you this so I can tell you that it does get easier. My daughter spends every other weekend with her father and OW and I rarely think about it any more. I think they set poor examples for my daughter, as she knows how they came to be, but she also now sees thru them and doesn’t respect either of them. She is 17 now and I suspect she is very close to not going there to visit any longer.

    With time this gets easier. It’s still feels shitty but you learn to deal with it. Make adjustments to how you think about it. Use the time alone to your benefit. Go do something nice for yourself, like get a pedicure. You will begin to look forward to that time. It’s kind of like mind fucking yourself! LOL

  • On the bright side, these whorFairs are usually very short lived once they go public. Your older kids are of the age the whore doesn’t have to be in their life at all. I have an eleven year old so I know how you feel about her being exposed to this crap. Luckily, mine never had to meet the skank so unfortunately I don’t have any advice there .

  • Learn to knit. Read. Netflix marathons. Girls’ night. Bake 12 loaves of banana bread and stick them in the freezer for later. Make 20 crock pot meals and stick them in the freezer. Sit in the sun. Drive to a river and dip your toes in. Eat something decadent for dinner. Clean out your closets. Get a dog. Listen to Aretha Franklin. Paint something. Go to flea markets. Plant a complicated garden. Clean like crazy. Long bath, with red wine.

    • You are singing from my song sheet all sucks but I try to do something nurturing for myself everyday.

    • This is ALL so up my alley. lol – I wish I had a neighbor-friend like you!

  • Rainy, you’re fortunate that your children are teenagers and that they’re on your side. They understand why your marriage ended and who was responsible, and they’re not growing up with OW as a stepmother.

    Furthermore, your oldest is legally an adult and your middle child will be in another year. Neither of them are obliged to subject themselves to the OW against their will. If they want to stand their ground against seeing her, they should. It’s up to your ex and not you or the therapist to manage that relationship.

    As for the youngest, that’s a bit trickier… he’s got to put up with his dad for at least 6 more years and he’s at a very difficult age, emotionally and developmentally. Be strong on his behalf. Listen to him when he needs to talk, be loving and stable, and do your best to not let your own pain over the end of your marriage and your husband’s betrayal stop you from being the best mother you can be.

  • My son was introduced to the OW by my pos STBXH about a year ago (he lied and told her we were divorced) and was dragged into their interactions from the beginning. Fast forward six months and son was having mental issues from lying to me about their affair…I had STBXH served with the divorce paperwork in February and he moved in with her at the beginning of June. Guess what, the bloom is off the rose! He’s moving out – she discovered he “cheated” on her a month after they met (while he was still married to me)…so who was he really cheating on? What a piece of crap he is…now, of course my son bonded somewhat with the OW and her child. Now that’s ending, I feel a bit bad for my son. He needs to learn these thing rarely last and his dad probably will go through quite a few skanks. 🙁

  • I’m also dealing with some of these feelings. XH moved AP in within two weeks of us moving to separate apartments. Thought he would just tell the kids she was a “roommate”. Perfect example of his intelligence. The kids were told the truth and my 12yr old son has made it known that he is not comfortable around the AP. My 9yr old daughter does not really understand the whole thing and she is also a kid who is very happy-go-lucky so she gets along fine with the AP. Although I have banned sleepovers for the time being, (son doesn’t want to be there with her anyway) it will happen eventually. They are spending more time over there now, they live three blocks from us, and I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that she is going to be in their lives. There’s that shit sandwich CL has written about so effectively.

    The others’ advice is good – do something for yourself!!! How often do you really get the time alone to do something just for you? Think about all the time you put in to make your kids lives positive. All the time over the years you put in to making your home a good one. It’s time for you to give some of that back to yourself. I took myself out to dinner and a movie the other night and really enjoyed it. I promise – going to the movies by yourself is actually really easy. Plus, you don’t have to share popcorn with anyone!

    Also – think about how much mental energy you are spending on worrying. How much energy you are wasting on thinking about your XH. You need to refocus that brain power back on yourself. I have to remind myself to do that often. When I start getting spun up in my head about what an ass my XH is and how he and the AP are living this happy life – I say, out loud, “thanks brain, not going there today”. Then I refocus on something else.

    You can do this Rainy, and it will get easier. Stay strong!

  • I have a lot of younger friends who date guys with children. A lot of them use the girlfriends as unpaid baby sitters while they are out cheating. What better way to get out of the house. One friend was always with her bf’s daughter, and he was using that time to date someone else

  • Chump Lady is SO right.

    First, give your kids some credit. They are certainly old enough – including the 12 year old – to get what is going on. Like CL said, LET them take control over their relationship with Dad and Barbie. STAY OUT of it. Unless your kids are being threatened (like, “I’m gonna smack you, you little shit” – NOT, “You can’t go to your friend’s if you don’t try to at least be civil to Barbie”), YOU be the bigger person. If you try to influence your kids against Barbie/Dad & Barbie, YOU will be doing just as much harm as he. And if your kids try to rope YOU into being in the middle … DON’T bite. If your kids are having issues with Barbie and Dad, refer the to the therapist. You MUST stay impartial as best you can. Let those two jerks stub their own toes (Dad and Barbie). 9 chances out of 10, they’ll have not trouble doing so, eventually.

    I know what you are afraid of. You are afraid that the kids will wind up loving her. That is, indeed, a completely understandable fear. If you badmouth, you just might drive them into it. However, if by some chance they DO wind up really liking (or loving) her, the only way you can really deal with that is to say something like this to your kid: “Listen, honey, I’m glad you had a great time with Barbie and Dad. Please understand that the wound from the breakup of our family is way too raw, and I’m still really hurting. So I ask that you not go into detail about your time today, OK? Thanks.”

    As far as what to do, yeah, you need to get yourself going and NOT focus on how much this sucks. Read up on how to fix your self-esteem. Take courses. DO something you always wished you had. GET OUT of the house, even if its to window shop or enjoy a decadent cup of special coffee.

    The sooner you feel better about yourself and how you are going to move on, the stronger you will be, and better able to handle the situation with your kids/OW/Dad. First thing to be grateful for? Your kids aren’t 2, 4, and 8.

  • Just remember that there is no hell like the hell teenager can create at dinner if they feel like it. Your kids are old enough to know and understand what is going on. When they don’t want to go, no one can make them be sterling citizens. Find anything to do that will be distracting and possibly fun for you. I’d give each of them smart phones and an iTunes card right before they go in case they have to download their favorite music. Your kids can handle this together. Just take care of yourself.

    • As someone who is packing a teenager for a camping trip, may I add — hell is teenagers. Making teenagers *do* anything. Even things they WANT to do. (What, you think little elves come at night and pack your bag?)

      A teenager who doesn’t want to sit down to dinner with you is a pox.

      • Hell mine is only 12 and he LOVES me and I can’t get him to do a damn thing. You think he’s going to accept some two bit slut just because his daddy says so? I doubt that. He’s a lot smarter than anyone knows.

        The 4 year old you could snooker with a lollypop but even a 4 year old knows something is amis when daddy has another “mommy”.. even a 4 year old knows that ain’t right. 4 year olds also look to their older siblings and feed off their emotions. And 4 year olds can throw hellacious tantrums. They can also poop in their pants without warning.

        Enjoy Owhore.

  • ok, let me share my advice before I forget it.

    #1. Pretend they are someone else’s kids (It is hard, but I learned it from John Walsh’s book… btw. he was a chump too whose son was murdered…)
    #2. I come here.
    #3. I open my palm. I open it upwards and tell my mind…”let go”
    #4. I listen with my heart to their silent cries and when the emotional pain hits 10 on a 0 to 10 scale, I expose the abuse in my journal… because the best way to disarm an emotional overwhelm is exposure.
    #5. I go to and read about parents who have it bad. Sometimes I call senators or governors. It is therapeutic.

    Best of luck!

  • Hi Nancy:

    Excellent Post. My dad cheated on my mother, but I still love him. When my mom puts me in the middle and tries to bad mouth him, it makes me think less of her, and I have to wonder if her bossy controlling nature is the reason why he cheated and left for another women.

    I like my step mom. She is very sweat and I can totally understand why my dad liked her. I like my mom, too. But she is always trying to get me to hate my dad and step mother. It’s is annoying.

    • Dane, you will only begin to understand what your father has done when you are older and in a committed loving relationship of your own. I do hope you know what is right and wrong. I love my Dad too but I don’t have to agree with his poor choices or the way he treats people I love. When you marry vows are a very sacred thing. Your Mom is hurting. She loved your father and did nothing to deserve having your father go out and shop for someone new. Making and keeping promises is what grownups do. I didn’t trade in my husband just because he got grouchy, or ran away when life got tough. Your Mom needs your support. She doesn’t need you to hate your father but she does need you to recognize her feelings. I have a hunch your father never placed her needs before his. Be mindful of what your parents modeled as it will help you in yours. Cheating is never a solution to having an honest conversation with your spouse and a good person is respectful of the one they marry. Give your Mom time. She will one day recognize that your father’s choice to leave her was a blessing.

        • Thank You, Miss Leah. I teach (always have and always will) and am ever mindful of the example I set and model every day. I recognize that even tiny moments impact those I meet. I am not the driver cutting you off, or angrily tapping my foot in checkout. I was very focused on what I wanted (grew up in a dysfunctional household) and who I wanted to be, even at a very early age. I loved my ex and worked hard to have a successful marriage. Was intentional, mindful, loving. My friends laughingly call me “enlightened” but I have been through many, many trials. Life changing and a reminder to live at your best self. I recognize we have one shot (at this life). However I could not compete with “new” or my disordered spouse’s skewed lies/perspective…. IMHO, I am here to leave a good legacy. Raise happy children, be a supportive friend, sister, daughter, Mom, be a supportive honest loving authentic partner. I am floored when people get off on being crap people. 🙂

          • It’s funny you mention drivers and checkout lines. I believe in empathy and the golden rule. If I’m in the checkout line with my full cart and four sons, and I turn around to see a person with one item, best believe I’m letting them go in front of me. I see the disbelief on their face followed by relief, then gratitude. I in turn feel gratitude for healthy children and a full cart. As far as driving goes, that person that cut me off and speeds ahead, who knows if that’s a person rushing off to the hospital because they just found out a family member has been admitted. You just never know. It’s about perspective and empathy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to explain this concept to the STBX, but he might be a lost cause. As long as the children get it, (kindness but firm boundaries) I guess I can say I did something right.

    • First of all Dane; who is Nancy? The chump lady is Tracy and the letter is from Rainy. I’m a little confused.

      Second of all-everything Drew said.

      • Nancy here… I chime in as a chump kid whose Dad cheated and my mom stayed with him..high drama my entire life.

        Dane, I totally get your point. You have no control over your parent’s marriage, you have no idea what it is like to be married to either of them, however, your mom is your mom and your dad is your dad.

        I feel your pain that when you visit with your mom she complains. I mean really, does it ever end? It is narcissistic in a way, it’s all about what happened to her. I’m not defending your dad’s cheating, however, you had nothing to do with any of it. If you dad is kind to you, and your stepmother is kind to you, again, what are you supposed to do? Hold every grudge your mother decides to keep?

        My point for the parents is that it is very difficult for the children, since they cannot divorce their cheating parent, and do have to manage the relationship at some level, until they are old enough themselves to evaluate it and decide on the level of contact. I know it is hurtful to the spouse that was cheated on, but it is very hard for the child, too, and I would say things would be a lot easier all the way around if you realize you have to give up control and let the child figure it out for themselves, and they do not want the rest of their life filled with stories of how horrible the marriage went.

        If I told you how much of my life was consumed by the drama of my parent’s marriage..well, in ten seconds you would be late for the door..… like T
        racy says… lose a cheater… get a life!

    • Gee, I fucking WONDER why your mother hated your fathers guts? The fact he was being a disrespectful piece of shit?
      If you can’t see that, you’re fucking blind. Remember, that stepmother is an evil tart who didn’t think twice about destroying a family – and you call her ‘sweat’? Blind indeed.

    • Dane – assuming you are not a troll or OW in disguise, i suggest you tell your mom that you are sorry she was betrayed so hurtfully by a husband who vowed to be faithful, you hope he didn’t give her an STD, and you hope she will find happiness in her new life because she deserves to be happy…then let her know that hearing negative things about your dad and the adulteress isn’t good for your happiness.

      if you cannot empathize enough to make this be sincere, think of a time you were betrayed by a friend. then multiply it by a thousand. or imagine a best friend repeatedly stealing your iPhone, saying it is your fault for having one. as in, it. never. ends.

      i don’t think you would be very happy with the thief.

  • Time is on our side, trust me on this. I agree on the carving out a new life advice, and pampering yourself in those early months is important. Grieve if you need to. The best thing without DISORDERED is that you now get to focus on YOU. Exercise (those endorphins are great!),in those early years it is so important to take care of yourself (ie eat well, sleep, and get fit), take a class (ceramics and jewelry are my favorites), refinish furniture, paint a room, learn to dance, go swimming, camping, fishing, anything that pleases YOU. Learn to do something new. I also do chores because they are never ending. I read, go see favorites in concert, and binge on Netflix. I travel with my kids and do this on a very tight budget. Be the sane parent. My ex walked out and became Mr. Intermittent Dad. Once a month dinners. Then we all moved away. He had a new life, you know. Didn’t seek custody as he was busy screwing us over financially. He is also joined at the hip with his whore, now Owife. The kids don’t want to spend time with someone who preaches about life and what is best for them and has set the example he has. Funny as hell. No thought process. My kids were older when the shit hit but I encourage them to do what they think is best. They all attended the fake wedding (their Dad had already gotten married as quickly after our divorce as he could) and had a great time because they snuck off to another part of the reception to watch a ball game and spent that time with each other. Over time Narcs show you who they are. My kids are busy now carving out their own lives and are in their 20s. Their focus is not on their father, which is healthy (and one I learn from!), but on making a new life. We are a new family now, all scrambling to make a living but scraping together enough to do one really wonderful vacation per year. Together. Life does move on and it’s way too short to allow any of our exes too much of our precious time.

  • This is Rainy. Thank you so much Tracy and friends. I so very much needed to hear your reasons for not obsessing and wallowing. Too many people who HAVE NOT BEEN THROUGH THIS give advice that plays with my head. I was really excited to see what you, The Chump Nation had to say. I understand that these are my feelings. I have to feel them to let them go. It feels so inadequate to acknowledge that my actions are what I can control. It is so true however. My feelings make me want to protect and stand in the gap and then when I realize I can’t, I focus on being helpless. I am not helpless you say…. I have power in projecting calm and self healing as a role model. “IF I CAN SURVIVE THIS KIDS, YOU CAN TOO.” (?)
    I LOVE SO MANY OF YOUR IDEAS. I love the self improvement ideas because as a stay at home mom for the past 19 years, I have focused on being a bit too codependent with all the members of my family. Since EX left, I have taken classes, I have brushed up on my resume, I have been researching careers for myself, I have gone on a few dates (last one the guy kissed like a lizzard so he is OUT), I have been working out, going out with my new group of single friends…. I just fall hard when the kids start feeling anxiety before they visit, especially the youngest. None of them like the OW. My 19 year old is rarely available to visit his dad. My 17 year old gave her father three chances to get along amicably. His reaction is to try to control her behavior so she currently removed herself from his mindfuckery and she no longer visits or plays his games. For now it is a healthy boundary, so please do not judge this as something not good for her. I am in total agreement that spending time without a NPD is better for her now. My youngest is the tough one. He has Aspergers, high functioning so he is very intelligent and he is capable of communicating his feelings. THE PROBLEM IS HIS NPD FATHER CHOOSES NOT TO LISTEN! X TELLS THE KIDS HOW THEY SHOULD FEEL. But you are all correct, I can’t stand in that gap any longer. The children will have to figure out how to deal and protect themselves. I bought my12 year old some more books and action figures to take to his bedroom at his father’s so that he has something to do when he needs to escape the “clingy couple.” My children actually have good moral compasses, that is why it all is so upsetting to us and for now, the lawyers say my youngest has to go. I told EX and youngest, if anything happens that makes youngest morally uncomfortable, he has my permission to come home.
    I promise I will not let my children see me cry on the couch about this. I promise I will plan some more outings for myself when they are together. I promise to keep working on self interest exploration. I promise to keep my home the safe place where feelings, ideas, morals, and our religious beliefs can be shared openly and VALIDATED! That is the key isn’t it. Knowing we have each other through the storm.



    • Oh! Hugs! PAPrincess! It is not easy! It messes with our whole world, this crap. Healthy boundaries and focusing on our own lives is what gets us through. XOXO

    • So glad we could help Rainy! It does help so much to talk to people who understand exactly what you’re going through.

    • Rainy you’ll be fine. Don’t beat yourself up if you have tough days. You will find though, that they will get farther apart as time goes on.

    • Glad you checked in Rainy. I couldn’t contribute much because I got divorced when both my kids were adults. If I had to take one positive thing away from wasting 27 years with the exhold, that was it. I feel for all those in chump nation and everywhere else that have to co-parent with a fucktard.

      It sounds like you got this! Kudos to you for stepping out into the scary world of dating. I’m not ready for that yet.

      Don’t beat yourself up. This shit is hard.

      Jedi hugs to you!

  • In my state, kids can decide how much time they want to spend with noncustodial parent at age 12, and judge will give that serious consideration. At 17 and 19, those kids don’t have to see their father if they don’t want to, which makes me think that they actually DO want to spend time with him.

    Assuming the noncustodial parent is not abusive or an unfit parent, and is not endangering the children, there is really nothing you can do about it. He has the right to see his kids if they want to see him.

    Best thing you can do is show the kids what a sane, stable parent/adult looks like. You accomplish that by going about your life in a sane, stable manner. You do not freak out because kids want a relationship with their dad, that is their right (and yes, I know it hurts, believe me.)

    Make plans to fill your time while they are away. Take tennis lessons, go out with friends, go on a date, see a movie, paint a picture. Get off the couch, dry your eyes and get busy. The only life you control is your own.

  • Rainy
    I say all of this with love and compassion and as a chump,who eats a shit sandwhich several times a week…. I have now included them as part of my regular diet until 2020 my daughters 18th birthday. I however have chosen what condiment and side I will have my shit sandwhich with …oh! and frosty beverage. You can chose to eat the shit sandwhich before everything else and enjoy the rest …. Or eat what you like first and save the shit sandwhich for last… I tried nibbling off a few bites between the things I liked… But it didnt work… And just prolonged it all. I gobble down my shit sandwhich first…. Then i enjoy the rest of my meal. What I am trying to get at is for your children sanity and your own you will learn how to do this to. You must. I will not bore you with the sorrid details of my divorce or the two years that lead up to it…. Its been hell.
    I understand your pain and I understand your reactions. I will tell u how I dealt with it and hopefully you can pull some coping skills from that but first let me tell you something that guided me to make the needed changes in my coping or lack there of. I did my share of screaming into a pillow and plotting my revenge… All anger directed at him and his little underage twit. Not useless anger… Purging is what I call it. And its necessary. Keep screaming into the pillow.
    It goes without saying that I love my child…. And i really had to look at what all of it was doing to her…. Her dad fucks off with a teenager and her mom is a basket case for months… talk about a shit sandwhich! i read some articles on kids and divorce… Marginally helpful… But then I read a forum set up for kids of divorce… A common theme kept popping up…. Kids just wanted life to be normal. Yes, kids wanted their parents back together but understanding that wasnt possible the wanted the next best thing…. Normal life to return. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I could do that. I could do that! I could make her and my life normal. I have to tell you it was largely an act to begin with but I sucked it up…. Ate the shit sandwhich… Packed her bag and sent her to her fathers with a smile and said’ have a nice time at your Dads. Seen you in a couple of days.’ Kissed her bye..I could see the wave of relief wash over her.Mom was back. Mom got this. Mom has her shit together. Then went home a screamed into a pillow. I paced the house. Then i jumped into the car and drove 60 miles on the highway with tears pouring down my face. The next time i only drove to the city limits and back…. Now I go fucking shopping.
    Do whatever u gotta do to be the sane parent. Get back to normal for them. Get back to normal for u.
    What i did to get there? Accept u will eat a shit sandwhich for your kid… Would you walk on broken glass to get them the medicine that they need? Yes u would. Find out what you like to eat with your shit sandwhich… Or how … And do it. Fine china does it for you then bust it out and the waterford crystal.
    I drove a lot… Miles…… I could not stay in the house. I mowed the fuck outa my lawn… Best lawn in the neighborhood. I moved… Walking… Driving… Visiting…. Divided my grocery list into three separate stores in opposite directions…. Just to be out and not think.I made myself physically tired… It was the only way i could sleep wiithout her in the house.
    It s been a year. I still have my moments and when i do i drive. I pack me and the dog in the car and go see the city lights… The stars…it took me awhile to see the stars. You will too.

    • TheClip, You Go Girl! Admirable, to say the least. We are wasted on the disordered and there’s a whole new better world out there for us.

    • When I need to screem or really cry it out, I go to the local high school parking lot at night and let it out alone in my car. TheClip, I choose to eat my shitsandwich and then have a few chocolates with a glass of a oaky chardonnay. How’s that?

      • chardonnay and chocolates!!! Delish. I have a couple of favorite combos…. After my shit sandwich i like a mojito and jalapeno poppers or very cold beer and french fries with truffle salt…cuz i am fancy like that! On those really low days, when i gotta eat two shit sandwiches … truely….nothing beats hagen daaz chocolate chocolate chip … The whole pint… Strait from the container.

    • TheClip – Oh, really, really good.

      “…with a smile and said’ have a nice time at your Dads. I could see the wave of relief wash over her.Mom was back. Mom got this. Mom has her shit together. Then went home a screamed into a pillow”

      ^^^^^ this ^^^^^

      -Great strength & balanced advice in your post – and that is exactly the piece a child needs most under certain circumstances. Because in the beginning, in those first years post separation and divorce for a family, everything is so surreal – on so many levels.

  • They SUCK!!!!! This story made me sick, my good friend has a 6yr old that she shares 50/50 with x. She found out from daughter that she sleeps with daddy and schmoopie – in the middle of them in their bed !!! OMG this made me sick to my stomach. Then the precious little one wakes up recently to find both of them in another room/bed –fucking! My friend came unglued, but feels powerless. My serial STBxh tortured me with lies, deceit, betrayal for 31 years but never wanted a divorce. I suffered and got the kids grown and now have filed for divorce. Im only going to say THEY.ARE.NOT.NORMAL.

    • Now THAT she could take to a judge. I would refuse him visitation and let him pay the court costs. Totally unacceptable.

  • Wayward spouses really are from another planet. Give her a chance??? Is he kidding? Basically he’s so F’ed in the head that he wants his children to give a woman “a chance” that was the woman that broke up their home and helped their own father betray their own mother? Give her a chance? HELL NO!!! NEVER!!!

  • Why is the 19 year old going? I would even think the 17 year old couldn’t be forced to go unless of course 1. the “children” are playing both sides against the middle ? not accusing, but it happens or 2. Is daddy holding finances over their heads, cars, college, the new game station? Seriously what’s the hold here between jerk father and his “children”. The 12 year old, maybe but certainly not the other two.

    As for you what to do. Yeah the last thing you do is let your kids know the angst and hand wringing you go through when they are with their father and whatever twat he chooses to bring along. Please don’t tell me you’re really scared they will like her better than you:( They won’t so don’t even give them a reason to use it against you and trust me, they will. Kids are selfish like that. They all do even in the best of circumstances and divorces.

    So here is my suggestion. Go see the new Magic Mike movie. Have fun and enjoy your alone time. The gang will be back soon enough with really juicy stories about Dad and the Twat. And if you play your cards right they just might tell you, so dry those tears and use some Visine, it could be really fun and funny. Now that would make you the cool parent and the one they choose to be with and not forced to be with.

  • Rainy, hang in there, I known sucks.
    I share a toddler with a narc sociopath…I’ve come to the realization that his girlfriend is better for our child than he is. How about that for meh?

    My first overnight without her was tough. I worked until 9 then blubbered on my couch until I fell asleep. Every week got better until now, at 20 months out, I take it as a welcome break from being a single mommy 95% of my life. I go on a date, I make plans with friends, I hang with my mom, I watch a movie….whatever the hell I want. Because I can. Because I should. Because I deserve to.

    You deserve to focus on you! Go make some fun plans and don’t waste another moment worrying about your kids. They’re old enough to be figuring it all out and to speak up if they’re unhappy.

  • Those of us who had very little chance of getting custody, have it even worse as many of our cheating exs are living with the kids full time with the cheater living there, as well. It was very difficult and scary to know that my XW cared so little about her children that she , immediately, started living with a guy who had demonstrated his integrity and morality through a willingness to have sex for 2 years with a married woman behind everyone’s back. A very high % of these new “boyfriends” abuse the kids.
    I have three teenage daughter, all extremely good looking, like me, and they are around this POS for two years until the XW cheated on him and they broke up.
    Now, she is married to a guy who was married at the time she pursued him. He has no driver’s license due to various criminal offenses. So, the kids are around him all the time, as well.
    I cannot fathom why the courts do not consider adultery and exposure to the affair partner in evaluating fitness.

    • I’m so sorry, Arnold. That is extremely unfair to you. It is so hard to swallow the injustice of it all!

      • Thanks. But, you know, it has come back to bite her in the ass, although it was not good for the kids. They all know what she is and have little respect for her or her husband.
        Sometimes, I wonder if I should have ignored my lawyer’s advice and spent the tens of thousands to fight for custody.

  • I think we can all apply the “he/she doesn’t give a shit” logic/trueism to every single situation involving a cheater. Because it’s as simple as that – they don’t give a shit about a damn thing except for themselves.

    This morning I woke up absolutely seething. I felt like my soul was set on fire. I’m nearly 5 months out from my d day and a break up and pick me dance… But this morning was really something else. Even now, at quarter to 3 in the afternoon, I have a hankering to go and break stuff.

    But this article brought me an odd sense on comfort. Because it’s true – no matter what, why, who, where, when… A person with no character (a cheater) doesn’t give a damn. And that’s a damn shame for them AND every single person they get “romantic” or coupled up with in the future – because if they don’t give a shit with you or I, who is to say they’ll EVER give a shit about anybody or anything???

    They probably won’t! Unless perhaps, they let down their guard just once and somebody takes advantage of them in such a traumatizing, damaging way. But either way, we win, don’t we?

    • dollparts: I found great peace when my psychologist gave me a harsh 2×4 about this a few months after I filed for divorce and said, “Stop trying to build consensus with someone that you know doesn’t care what you want and will agree to anything and then do whatever she wants.” It applied to virtually everything about the divorce but was most helpful regarding my kids (17 and 13 at the time). How much they studied at her house, what time they went to bed, what they ate, who they hung out with–none of that was in my control. I did my best when I had my boys and I had to . . . let go. Sounds like you may be close to finding a similar peace.

    • I am glad I am not the only one with a hankering to break stuff.. it’s so hard to go through this expecting normal responses to abnormal people.

  • One of the things I’m thankful I did when I kicked cheater out was not get involved in how much time he and our daughter spent together. She was 16 at the time and they could text and talk without my involvement. It hurt like hell for a long time when she was with him particularly after he realized I wouldn’t cave and let him come back since that’s when he started spewing lies. She knew he cheated from day 1 but certainly not the details. I don’t ask her anything about him when she gets home other than to say I hope you had a good lunch, etc. and I have asked her to not discuss anything about me with him. She’s 18 now and the time she spends with him has dwindled to a couple of hours for lunch on Sundays. His loss – she is a wonderful young lady.

    • Rainy, this sucks, but I don’t think you realize that you will be/are divorced. You need to accept that 1) you have a new life 2) your ex has a new life and 3) your kids have two parents that live in different places and lead different lives. Does this sound harsh?

      You can’t control the experiences that your kids have when they aren’t with you. But what you can do is start defining your new life and setting some boundaries. What does this mean? This means that what happens between your ex and the kids stays between them. He is still their father and they have to learn how to deal with him on their own. Get out of the way. ByeByeCheater is right. Do not inquire about the event or the details in any probing way. You can listen if they need to vent, but take the high road.

      Start building your new life. Keep things stable for you kids. They need that.

  • “Your only obligation is to abide by the court order on custody. That’s it” I disagree with CL on this. parenting our kids after infidelity extends far beyond following a court order.

    I think we, as sane parents, are truth bearers, the north star of a healthy family, and emotion and boundary coaches. kids of most ages (even young adults) must learn how to have boundaries with a narcissistic parent and with infidelity. We guide our kids with other vital interpersonal relationships…i think we need to do so with the other most important person in their life.

    To me, more than “abide by the court order” looks like simple statements such as, How do you feel? What do you think? in response to dad and OW. This helps kids develop boundaries and be sane after infidelity trauma. Also, simply answering their questions with age appropriate honesty about dad and OW is also helpful.

    For Rainy, dear, it really does suck. I would suggest sending the kids off with: “Having dinner Dad and his adulteress is hard for me, but i know you love him and i support you having a healthy relationship with him (smile). I am going to the movies with Jane and will be home when you get here.” THEN have a big boohoo or vent with a friend after they leave (briefly). THEN enjoy the time off with any of the fun ideas many of us chumps have posted 🙂

    Also, Rainy, whenever i felt handcuffed by advice from well meaning friends or experts, and did not say what i needed to say to my kids, i always felt the worst. soooo if you need to say or do something you believe is in the kids best interests, do so! you won’t regret it and you will probably feel freer. which is part of the wonderful land of Meh.

  • Rainy, If you can get through the next few months by being strong-not letting the kids see you crying on the couch in the fetal position,etc I think you will have weathered the storm. Most of the time the OW is not in the picture very long. What goes around usually comes around… a ninja shit boomerang ! Wap! Hang in there!! You’ll look back in just a matter of months and realize how far you’ve come !

  • I fail to see how someone who cheats on the mother/father of their children can possibly be a good parent.

    An involved parent, yes. A quality parent? No. No f-ing way.

    A parent models behavior for his/her child. If cheating, that parent is modeling lying, disrespect, abuse, subterfuge, and several other terrible qualities that the children are most certainly picking up, whether obviously or not. If you think that those things are justified/okay, then you’re simply not the best parent that you can be. Any other conclusion is compartmentalizing the situation beyond reason, IMHO.

    Bottom line: as a chump, you’ve reason to be at least partially concerned whenever you ex has the kids.

    My stbxw is quite an involved parent. But a good parent? Not unless she seriously shapes up her life (or gets a character transplant).

    • I agree Sepahge. In the unlikely scenario where someone willing to inflict this damage actually is involved and does care about certain aspects of the kids’ lives, the modeling deal outweighs most everything. These cheaters have , essentially, modeled some of the most destructive, mean spirited behavior around for the kids and that has to have a major impact.
      As with children of alcoholics or drug addicts, the kids seem to either go one of two ways: they repeat the behavior, or they go so far in the other direction that they become doormats, out of fear of it happening to them.

  • Rainy, one of the things that makes being the sane parent hard is that your kids will often do things that feel hurtful to you because they know it is safe to do so. Lots of kids are very torn about how to respond to a poor parent after divorce. Like us, they expected to have a happy family, and then it fell apart. They often desperately want to sustain a relationship with the parent who has left the marriage. Telling that parent “No, I won’t have dinner with you and your girlfriend/boyfriend” is horribly risky. They saw your husband abandon you (through the affair), and they have little faith that they won’t be treated the same way if dad/mom gets tired of them for whatever reason (and their fear is not misplaced).

    So, lots of kids will continue in uncomfortable relationships with dad/mom, put up with affair partners, and generally suppress their feelings in order to keep feeling like they matter to their disordered parent. They know you are hurt and disappointed, but they also know that you won’t respond to those feelings by abandoning them. You can be trusted. But disappointing that disordered parent, well that is just scary.

    In the end, the best thing you can do for your kids, as Lyn and many others have said, is try to live a rich life yourself. See a movie, meet a friend for a glass of wine, go window shopping–just have something to tell your kids about so that they know you are okay with them working through their difficult new relationship with disordered Dad. Let them know you love them no matter who they are eating dinner with and that you’ll support them whatever choice they make because you are proud of them and their courage in facing tough choices. And then let it be.

    It is hard. It gets better. It does not get easy, but that’s because you are doing your best to be a great parent, and that job is always a tough one.

  • Reading these posts makes me all the more grateful that my ex never wanted custody or visitation.

  • I get a stomach ache every time I see this topic.
    My kids are 15, 12 and 7. STBX moved in with OW but opens his mother’s condo every other weekend when the kids are with him. Not his choice, but I’m sure his mothers.
    I’ve put up a very big fucking fuss when OW is driving my son to a soccer game because there is a conflict with the other son. Neither of them want her to- why would they have their father’s girlfriend at their soccer games alone? And a kicker- she teaches a few of them in high school! Imagine the horror when my son’s team mates ask why their Spanish teacher is at their game.
    Very screwed up- OW thinks it’s great. She has two boys aged 13 and 10- my kids are shoved to the side and her kids get a new dad!!!!
    Here are my rules for pick up- I don’t allow dog shit in my driveway. If she is in the car with him on pick ups- he stays on the street. The children don’t need him at the door and he is not allowed in the home that he vacated and I pay for. He’s pretty crafty- knows when I’m home and pulls his look at me shit by sauntering up to the door like he owns the place.
    Slowly but surely he sees the kids less and less. The 12 year old doesn’t want any part of him and the 15 year old is too busy with friends- as he should. My 7 old has to go solo and is very confused on if she is an object or a daughter. 🙁

    • I’m so sorry, DD. This situation sucks! You keep your boundaries iron-clad, and hold those kids of yours close. No doubt they know exactly what the truth is, even if they can’t articulate it. What a POS your ex is, and it seems like OW is his mirror image. Hugs to you, mighty one!

  • Rainy, as infuriating as the situation is, keep in mind that your kids are old enough (even the 12 year-old) to realize what is going on, and they probably hate that whore almost as much as you do. She ruined their family, too, and made them live in broken homes.
    It is also more likely than not — though by no means certain — that the relationship with the OW will die out on its own anyway. How can you build a close, exclusive relationship with someone who you already know is a liar and a cheat? Exactly.
    My advice, which I hope does not sound casual or insensitive, is to NOT focus on her or your ex. That is the point of being “meh.” That awful woman will never replace you as “mom,” and may make your kids appreciate you more. I wouldn’t ever talk about her in front of the kids, and, unless one of the kids is in physical danger, I wouldn’t interfere with whatever subpar parenting goes on over there any more. You’re just stroking the a-hole’s ego; trust me on this.

    • So True, MapTheWorld, I equate my kids hanging out with their Dad and Owife to them spending time with a friend of theirs I don’t like very well. I say I don’t have to like everybody they hang with and I can respect my kids’ individual decisions on who they choose to have in their lives. It’s amazing, Chumps do a great job with their children so you need to trust that they will make good choices. Stepping back from toxic is healthy. Most here have it right. Narcs don’t make time for giving, the time they spend with their kids is padding their delusional great narrative (“I am a good Dad”…yeah, right. Not when you stole your daughters savings…), and they do what makes them look good. It often is NOT what our kids need. Our kids figure this out pretty damn quick and even all that money begins not to matter. Once upon a time my ex was a good father, now not so much. Again, his big loss.

  • Rainy:

    Yes, it sucks!!! The early days of my first divorce- our boys were only 9 & 3 then – I spent so much time agonizing over the woman/women my EXH was with around our boys was such hell for me. ..I can’t tell you how many tears and prayers and screams I put out that I just about lost my mind, literally and figuratively. The good news is that I survived, I healed, I moved on and came out much better in the end.

    My oldest two boys (now 21, 15) had to live with my EXH#1 and his Owhore for a bit…she made my oldest boy the scape-goat for all that was wrong, bad in their marriage— he HATED her and she made my EXH chose between him and her after about 2 or 3 years or marriage. He chose HER and he came to live with me…long story short, she then turned her spite and malice on our younger son, but EXH stood up to her and she threw him out.

    Fast forward to now, EXH stood up, accepted responsibility for his choices, actions and repaired the damage with our boys. It’s all good now, but those days were hell on earth- I’m not going to lie. … that man had over 12 different women around them in about 8 years- most of them fiancés that puttered out in a few short months. It got to the point that the boys were like, “It’s whatever, Momma” – they just accepted the fact that their Dad is just a weak man that can’t be alone. He’s now on Wife #5 – I was Wife #2. in the last 13 years since we divorced..

    How have my boys come out dealing with all that in their formative years? My oldest is now engaged and has a relationship built on communication and commitment- I have to instilled in him that with out those two, he will never be a real husband to anyone! My younger son has had to learn the hard way that making comments that are hurtful and say, “I was just kidding!” is unacceptable- I had to make him realize that just like when his dad goes off on tangents and spews his venom (then of course, apologizes) the hurt and pain is still there. He has finally understood this, but it took a long time.

    Rainy, I know you’re hurting right now, but I promise you- it will get better!!!

    Sending you mega-hugs!!!


  • Thank you for your advice and personal experiences. Good night Gracie!

  • I wish I had kids that didn’t want to have dinner with their cheater parent and the affair partner.

    This is my last sticking point with separation and divorce too. My sons were very young when my ex cheated and left us for his OW. Everyone told me their relationship wouldn’t last, but years later, I’m still sending my sons over there to be happy family without me. Now that I’ve gotten them through the hard work of the diaper years and sleeping through the night as a single mom, their father wants more time with them.

    They are so young they don’t remember my ex and I together, and think it’s normal for us to be apart, and for the OW to be their stepmother. By the time they are old enough to understand infidelity, I’m sure they’ll be fully indoctrinated into loving her. She’s like the fun babysitter while I’m the stern mother.

    My sons look just like their father, too, so I’m sure that when the four of them are out and about, everyone assumes she’s their birth mother. I doubt either of them correct this misconception.

    My ex is now making murmurings of taking them on an exotic holiday, the family holiday he never wanted to do when we were together, and I can only think of irrational reasons to say no. Apparently stuff like him being a manipulative liar and her stealing someone else’s family are not relevant.

  • The mother of a colleague makes these. I am so going to ask her to make me one. 😉

  • Heh, this was supposed to be in response to the voodoo doll comment.

    For parenting, I suppose if your X is a nutjob, the only real hope is that the AP is kind to them. That’s a whole new shit sandwich: when the homewrecker AP is genuinely nicer to your kids than their biological parent is.

  • I thought I would share a few realizations I have had on the topic of the OW meeting/living with my kids – the very idea used to terrify me. To clarify, I kind of have the “gold standard” situation (although STBX only became dad of the year after I confronted him) – the STBX is still currently honoring our agreement that the kids not meet any boyfriend/girlfriend for at least a year and ideally only if a relationship is serious enough to consider marriage – side note: he is honoring it b/c he is afraid I will meet a man who will be a better father figure than him (and I think he is trying to avoid introducing MOW to his family – her reputation precedes her as they all knew each other 20 yrs ago), not b/c it is in the best interest of the kids).

    I hated (and still hate) the idea of my kids meeting her and possibly thinking of her as more fun than me. But then I thought of my 2 female friends who married men with a child from a previous marriage (no infidelity); and the kids were young (both under 4) so as far as they are concerned, my friends have been in their lives always. And neither of my friends have amazing bonds with those kids (not that they didn’t try!!) – the fact is, the mom always remains the mom and the kids could do without the stepmom even if they like her and have a “good” relationship. So huge exhale of breath on that realization.

    I also realized that “ya, I am irreplaceable” – no stepmother or gf is going to have inside jokes about farts with my 5 yo son!! So by default, she will never be more fun than me in my sons eyes.

    Then a friend of mine also going through divorce (she only found out 6 mths after her XH left (“he didn’t love her anymore”) that he has had at least 3 affairs. And at 18 months out she found out the current gf is also the final OW) sent me a journal entry her 11 year old daughter wrote on her old phone. To set the scene, both kids like the gf and have even told her they love her (insert dagger to heart), but very recently they have told their dad that they don’t want to spend all their dad-time with her too (this was a big deal, the kids were upset but my friend encouraged them to share their feelings with dad) – to his credit, for the time being, he is honoring their request.

    But back to the journal entry, it reads: “it’s been fun and stuff but I got uncomfortable when dad and OW slept together I did not admit it though. I kind of want to go to my moms house instead. they are so loveydovey and I just can’t take it. I wish I spent my spring vacation with *someone else*”. So third exhale – kids are smart and perceptive. Her son actually told her that he thought she was making “better choices” because she now has a bf and the kids know he exists but she will not introduce them or take “their” time to date him.

    So although I do still dread the day my kids will meet her (esp. since they already know her as daddy’s co-worker and the mother of one of their old babysitters – so gross how they tried to integrate the family even before being caught…vomit) I am hoping I am a little better prepared mentally!

  • I understand your feelings and my ex had a bitch for a new woman who couldn’t speak a civil word to me and treated my son like an inconvenience but I bit my tongue, why? for the sake of my son. My son told me everything because I took it well and never “lost it”. Yeah his dad disappointed him, his dad’s truck was parked out in front of the bar every night when I picked my son up from daycare because I was working and his dad was too “busy” to see him. As far as my son knew that was where daddy worked.
    My son was 3, he figured out his dad all on his own, I was always the stable rock of a mom at home for when his dad let him down. I never cut his dad down to him (behind his back you betcha!!) At around 3 my son saw me crying about his dad and while I was soaking in the tub I heard him talking to someone. I listened wondering who it could be, I hadn’t heard the phone ring. My son was telling his dad to not make mommy cry any more. In his most mature and firm 3 year old little voice. I heard him say,, “OK Daddy, you promise? OK I love you too. Bye bye daddy. ok I will.” click. I got out of the bath and called his dad right away to explain I did not put the kids up to it and he hadn’t received a call. he didn’t have a clue what i was talking about.
    I then knew that my son had called some random number and some random guy picked up and when he heard that tiny voice admonishing him for making mommy cry, he played along and promised to stop and said he loved him and told him to sleep well daddy loves him.
    I don’t know why I shared that story. Maybe just to show that there are good men in the world, men that care. Your kids aren’t 3 year olds with a mommy with a broken heart. One is almost an adult and the other one is not far behind. They have been raised by you that whole time and by their dad. They are not stupid and they are quite capable of making decisions and maybe for a while they have to go there but in not too long there will be nothing making them do anything. Then they will choose who they want to spend time with, the mom who held it together and was there for them, positive and supportive, confident in their ability to protect themselves and speak to the counselor if they need to. Or their dad who ignored their feelings. Maybe they will like the other woman, it doesn’t diminished how they feel about you or what you have given them. They will feed off of your reactions, they will be worried about sharing with you because they don’t want to upset you, they will feel guilty if they do have fun because they don’t want to hurt you.
    Cry the whole time they are away if it makes you feel better but the greatest gift you can give them is to be ok. They need you to be ok, if you are ok, they will find their way to ok also.
    They are your kids, you raised them, trust you did a good job and they will survive this. They only have one mom.

    • Oh Carrie, thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes as well as a smile with hope for the future.

  • My kids are 22 and 24. They are adopted so the role my ex played in the last 5 years has hit hard. Kind of abandonment again. He hardly sees them. Too busy with miss Chinese cheater pants who is 30 years younger then him. We all know what her agenda is.

    Just to make you all smile, my daughter, who does not want to meet the whore, said that on the other hand she might as you need to get to know your enemies so you can utterly destroy them. Daughter is a powerful young women with the verbal agility of a Shakespearean heroine. Mess with her at your peril. Even I think twice!

    But hugs to you all, I am grateful at least that my kids are grown and have the resilience to withstand this.

    They see their father when they want something. Poor sad sausage says he feels excluded, my daughter said, well that’s consequences coming to bite you.

  • about not saying anything bad or negative about OW to children..who are also victims of, at the very least, her deceit. we would warn our kids about a teacher, coach, “friend” or anyone else in their life who is a relational sociopath. why not the OW??

    i think it is fair to give a warning about reality with facts such as: OW did not have their best interest in mind, she lies, does not honor marriage vows.. and true love does not involve destruction.

    such messages of course need to be crafted with age appropriate wording. they do not need to be said repeatedly. my own anxiety dropped 90% when i warned my young adult daughters about OW in this way. i only said it once, actually. their response? “yeah…we totally get it mom. she can’t be trusted.” my anxiety about their vulnerability to her dropped to zero. Amen!

    • What a great thought, Chumpette. They can’t be trusted. Enough said.

  • My therapist gave me the best line with dealing with NArCs and very similar to CL’s advice over the years. “Don’t expect milk from a chicken”. Stop thinking that these people have scruples. They don’t care about you or the collateral damage that they caused. You think that they should. Quit expecting milk.

  • I read a lot of horse shit psycho-babble from therapists, shrinks, etc. that might say you have to help them adjust to this new “relationship” with OM/OW if your filthy cheating ex is with them. That’s a huge load of bullshit. If a convicted child molester or a hood-wearing KKK member moved next door to you would you tell your child to accept them? Hell no. Cheaters are scum. They’re liars of the worst magnitude. They’re bad people. Really bad people. When there are kids at home they’re even worse people. Like nazi bad. I’m not going to tell my child to accept that and have a relationship with these people. My own daughter wants nothing whatsoever to do with her own mother because her mother is a scummy cheating lying bitch. I don’t blame my daughter, on the contrary, I applaud her for being a good judge of character. When the idiot therapist says my daughter needs to accept what happened and patch things up with her mom I ask why does she have to do that? They really can’t answer that question. Cheaters are scum. They deserve nothing by contempt from society and misery in their personal lives for the horrific pain they have inflicted. Thus endeth the rant. Have a nice day.

  • Gotta agree , Houston. We run into the advice to avoid parental alienation, but , if your kid comes to you, as mine did , and says “Dad, mom lies all the time”, are you supposed to deny the kid’s reality and gaslight her?
    When my daughter said this to me I simply said ” You are right. She does.”
    My kids had been through enough of this abuse so I was not about to deny what we all know.
    I’ve told them the truth about things:
    Cops do not come to your house and take your mom away and leave a police woman behind with kids because ” Mom witnessed an auto accident.”.
    The power in the house is not out for 5 weeks because ” the landlord clipped the line when tree trimming.”
    One does not barricade her bedroom so the kids cannot come in at night if they are scared or sick because ” burglars might come into the house ( nice , one, eh? If burglars come in, Mom is safe and you kids are on your own.)
    One does not lose their driver’s license for three plus years because of a couple parking tickets. etc , etc.
    If my kids accepted some of the weird lies they are told, they could never navigate life.
    So, was it “parental alienation” to set them straight so they did not think they lived in bizzaro world?

    • Exactly. We teach our kids there are good people in the world and bad people in the world. Sometimes one, or both, of their parents happen to be bad people. Children should not have to accept a bad person in their lives just because it’s a blood relative. Adult role models that lie, cheat, and betray are definitely a negative influence on children and should be kept away from them.

  • I was stunned when my husband, now STBX, moved out and took our children with him for an undetermined amount of time. (We had no custody order at the time, so I could not force him to return the children to our home.) My husband took all the furniture and goods he wanted, shut off services without informing me, and knowingly left me with some of his bills. I think that I mainly stared at the walls of my home for almost three days. Fortunately, our children returned to my home four days later unharmed. I realized that I had no control over what happened to my children (ages 8 and 7) when STBX moved out. At first, I was extremely distraught by this notion (and still am some days, going through a highly contentious and extremely expensive divorce, having lost my career and ability to get into a career that I have long worked toward, witnessing some of my relatives, even children, experience fatal diseases, unsuccessfully trying to help one of my children, who has special needs, get services he needs, and living with a chronic painful joint condition). Now, I am better at accepting the idea that there is much we cannot control. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to influence anything–but it does mean that I try to use my limited resources (money, time, energy) where I can affect change.

    For awhile I was concerned that STBX’s affair partner, a former psychotherapist who had two DUIs and admitted of her own accord that she was alcoholic and had been the Other Woman with multiple men, might harm my children (by getting into an auto accident while driving them somewhere). I was also worried that my STBX, who has psychotic breaks, has numerous personality disorders (Antisocial, Narcissistic, Borderline, Paranoid) and has committed various crimes over several years, might harm our children, especially when they were not with me.

    While my children are gone, I try to do things in the service of my children (e.g., arrange the furniture in my home to make my children more comfortable, plan menus that they like, organize activities for them, earn money for them and me). Doing these things makes me and, I believe, them feel better, and empowers me.

    I hope that you get to meh regarding the Other Woman soon and take comfort in knowing that your character trumps hers by light years.

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