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Cool, Bummer, Wow

teenagerDear Chump Lady,

Please help! I do not know how to navigate this entire divorce mess with my two teenage daughters. My youngest sees her father every other weekend. This includes time spent with the OW. This weekend they took a day trip and she took many pictures on her phone from the day. She wanted to tell me all about it. Fine! She wanted to show me her pictures. Fine! With those pictures came selfies of her and OW. Plenty of them. A group selfie….her, her father and OW. One big happy family!!!! No pictures of daughter with just her dad.

I said nothing. Seeing that was like driving a stake between my eyes. I excused myself to the bathroom for a moment to gather myself and to try to decide if I should mention to her how seeing those photos hurt me. I decided to word it in a way that wouldn’t hurt her feelings but would explain my boundaries and to let her know that I wasn’t ready to see pictures like those yet.

My words were (and I held in my tears and emotions), “Can I say something to you briefly…. and please don’t take this the wrong way or be upset? I am not yet at a point where I can see pictures of you and OW. I wanted to hear about your trip and see your pictures, but I am not ready to see you with OW. This is a boundary I need to have in place so I can continue to heal from the hurt.”

She rolled her eyes at me. She said “Whatever Mom” ….. “I can never do anything right”…. “Those pictures were just there.” I am not stupid. She knew those pictures were coming up. She could pull her phone back and pass over them before continuing. She is 16! She isn’t a toddler. She knows how much it hurts to be cheated on. Has happened to her with boyfriends. How does she not see how this would hurt? Did she do it on purpose? Did she want the drama? Why couldn’t she say,”Gee Mom, I am so sorry. I did not do it on purpose. I will be careful next time.”

Why do I feel as though I should be silenced about talking about my feelings?

I don’t know how to handle this. Now she is angry with me and she won’t talk to me and she was verbally abusive this morning to both her older sister and to me. And she said that her sister and I gang up on her. “Everyone sees it”!

This is why I held on for five years (knowing of the cheating) and tried to reconcile my broken marriage. Because I saw what was going to happen to my children and our family. This feels hopeless. I feel so damn defeated. I didn’t want any of this!

How do I fix the mess?


Dear Kimmy,

It’s not your mess to fix. You set a boundary, and when you set a boundary you let go of the consequences. People may not like your boundaries. They might lash out. They might get ugly. It’s your boundary. Stick to it.

I don’t fault you for having the boundary and I think you went about it the kindest way you knew how. That doesn’t mean your daughter is going to like it.

She’s a teenager. If she’s like most young people her age, she resists all boundaries. Given the narcissistic age they’re at, never show your vulnerability to teenagers. You think toddlers are manipulative? (I’ll just bat my eyelashes and look cute here and mom will give me a cookie!) Teenagers have had the last decade to perfect their skills of button pushing. You just handed her your button when you said this hurt you.

You can’t expect your kid to understand your pain, but you can expect her to respect your boundary. I would suggest a simpler boundary for now — what goes on at Dad’s house stays at Dad’s house. You don’t need the particulars. I doubt you wanted to see her pictures, or hear about her fabulous day out, so don’t put yourself in that position. If she goes there, don’t agree to see her phone. Just utter a pleasant banality and change the subject.

A wise person once counseled that all conversations with young people could be reduced to “Cool, Bummer, Wow.”

I spent a terrific day with dad and his mistress!


I got fired from my internship, but it’s okay because I got a job as a tattoo artist!

Bummer. Wow.

Look at my sleeve tattoo! It’s the Battle of Gettysburg only with zombies!


Teenagers don’t want to share everything with you. Don’t share everything with teenagers. If she pushes you on why you don’t want to see 40 selfies of her and the OW, you say, “I’m glad you had a good day.” If she keeps pushing, you just state your boundary. “It’s better for me now if I don’t hear about the particulars of your time at dad’s. Hey, want tacos for lunch?”

Look, she is 16. Whatever her kerfuffles in her dating life, she has absolutely NO IDEA how you feel. She hasn’t the foggiest notion of what it is to invest decades in a relationship and have kids and a mortgage and entangled family. She has no idea what it is to be gutted by adult infidelity.

From her perspective, she knows her family fell apart, and if she can’t have her intact family, then she’ll go with the next pleasant narrative We’re All Happier Now and Everyone Can Be Friends. The reality of your pain, of your boundary of not feeling friendly toward the cheating ex, doesn’t play well with that narrative. She’s grown up watching you eat shit sandwiches. Why won’t you eat this one too?

Because there are consequences for abandoning your family. Because there are deeply hurt feelings. Because it is a terrible loss and you’re going to grieve it. Eventually, I trust you will get to meh about the ex and the OW and their trips to petting zoos or WTFever they’re up to, but you’re not there yet. Because this pain is fresh and raw. Don’t be inauthentic, but don’t discuss your emotional slop with minors either. They just need to know you are still IN CHARGE. You’re mom, this is your boundary. Respect it. Next subject please.

I know you wish your daughter could respond with compassion, but maybe she’ll get there at some point years from now. But don’t predicate your relationship on it. Your pain isn’t her job. And hearing about it probably makes her feel disloyal to her dad, and guilty about enjoying time with the OW. She’s got to work those relationships out on her own and connect the dots for herself. And that shit takes YEARS. Your job is to focus on your new life and parent your kids.

Part of which includes not taking shit off teenagers. She’s verbally abusive to you or her sister? You shut that down. Not acceptable. Boundary. Consequence. Enforcement.

Chumps have this codependent notion that sharing our pain will compel other people to not do certain things. I can tell you about my pain! And that will (guilt them, make them feel bad, and compel them) to not Do The Upsetting Thing. No. Cut to the chase and be direct with people. Here is my boundary. Do Not Do The Upsetting Thing.

It’s much more effective that way and shields you from further hurt. Then your vulnerable underbelly isn’t being rejected.

If the person persists in Doing the Upsetting Thing? That’s good information to have. That means you have been clear and they are indifferent. So you enforce the consequence, whatever that is.

So, in summary — keep your pain to yourself around your kids best you can, but get that boundary right out there in front.

Did your teenager do it to stir up drama? On purpose? Who knows? We’re talking about teenagers. Their brains aren’t fully formed (as I keep telling mine). Drama is part of the gig. Steady on and keep parenting.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

Ask Chump Lady

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  • One of my sons (13 at the time) came to my home wearing a jersey from my ex-wife’s AP’s favorite sports team with AP’s name written on the back. Went straight in the trash. Fuck that noise. Very sweet to watch that son figure out his mom’s fuckupedness in the ensuing years .

    • Lol. Teenagers know who the sane parent is. There is no need to argue with them. ChumpLady’s response is point-on. Keep the rules simple, and try not to move the goal posts. (that is two-faced cheater’s job)
      By the way, I hate the moved-out wife’s constant, “I miss you” to the girls. Can’t she just lay off the guilt and say, “I’m glad I got you [right now].” These kids feel torn. This is not their fault.
      Also, I like the non-sensitive topic distractions, “Nice to see that you wore sunblock at the beach with [whore-face].”

    • That is some hubris for AP to put his name on a sports t-shirt that he gave to your kids. Just wow.

      • Ballsy, indeed. The fact that those customized sports jerseys can be expensive as heck lends a fair amount of poetic justice to the fact that it went right in the trash. Rock on, Nomar.

        • My first xmas after dday my daughter was home visiting and went to see the sperm donor and his whore. See brough this huge plate of baked cookies and brownie treats when he dad dropped her off and he was bragging about whores family cooking all this shit from scratch. Uh no all store bought. Really? More lies to impress him and my daughter. Haha! He said the whore and her family knew you meaning me alone poor thing wanted you to have some treats. In front of both of them donor and daughter i dumped the entire gigantic plate in the garbage and said if i want store bought shit i will buy it myself and i dont want a fucking thing from that whore especially pity baked goods. The fucking nerve! We woman understand taint way more than guys do. No offense guys. I told him she got one used up crabby cheating old bastard i sure didnt need her used up cookies as a consulation prize. She actually tried to get my daughter to bring some of my special christmas dinner to her house so she could taste it. Uh no. Im a damn good cook whore is an assembler. Wanted some of dads favorite recipes of mine so she could duplicate for him! My daughter said no. My recipes? Mine? I was taught how to cook from when i was five years old. Ive taught my daughter many even video taped the procedures and asswipe asked for copies so the whore could learn how to do it. Seriously? I told him flat out FUCK YOU these recipes come from my family not yours. Go fuck yourself and credit to my daughter she wont reveal them. New woman but retaining old life to a huge point. I do a few things well cooking one of them. I cant help it if the whore brings home take out five nights a week and cant cook. What a bitch!

          • The nerve of them both! Why would she even want to make his ex’s recipes, and what makes him think he can leave his family but keep the home cooking coming? Dick. BTW Kar Marie, I love that you refer to him as ‘the sperm donor’ Lol!

            • Yes THE sperm donor fits. Asswipes thing is he wants it all. Whore the main now me on the side! Hes a fucktard cant wait til house financing done then im gone!!!!!!

          • Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?! What a bitch!!!! She’s got some kind of nerve!!!!

            High five and a fist pump to you & your daughter!!!

          • Kar marie you are so awesome!!! Someday that bitch is gonna have the shoe on the other foot and she STILL won’t hold a candle to you!!!! You are THE BOMB 😀

            …the nerve of these assholes is unbelievable! Cookies indeed!

    • Besides, I assume your son’s high school wouldn’t have considered a jersey with “Fucktard” on the back as school-appropriate?

      • Nope, silly dress code and school rules won’t allow that, Tempest, LOL

    • Sweet and sad at the same time I imagine Nomar. No kid should have to experience that ‘oh god my mom’s a whore’ moment.

  • Wish I had known this when my son was younger. I was a devoted wife and mother. My son was manipulated by X into thinking I’m worthless and unfit as a mother. I so badly wanted my son not to believe X’s lies and to like me I allowed him to push all boundaries. I would hear from my son after spending time with X and AP that AP is so smart, she is an attorney, a professor and a triathlete.., AP and Dad get along. Dad says you only want me here to find out information about him from me. My son is an adult now and sadly has no respect for me, which is still encouraged and rewarded by X.
    Never hear from him and he never answers my texts, cards or phone calls. My son went from being a loving caring son to someone who I’m not sure I recognize. He did call me after I hadn’t heard from him for over a year at a time when when my son and X aren’t getting along.
    Once X finds out he’s spending time with me, X will laugh at him for seeing me and make fun of me, using me as target of his vile degrading humor.
    Then X will start showering our son with gifts, attention and promises. Son and I were close while he was growing up and into his teen years until X left. Parental alienation was carefully planned and had begun before X left. According to X I’m to blame for everything and am essentially worthless and a parasite. We’ll see how the years progress and if my son and I will ever have a relationship.
    Unfortunately I’m not very optimistic that we will. Not only have I been cheated of being his mother, more importantly my son has been robbed of having a heathy relationship with me.

    • Your ex is a psycho path and your son is going along with the program because, gee there are consequences for having a decent, normal relationship with mum. Now you have to set boundaries, normal boundaries. This treatment from your son is unacceptable and while I know this will be painful you have to cut him out of your life, for his own good as well as your own good. The next time your son decides to contact you, let him know that you no longer will be part of this sick dynamic, tell him you hope he sees a therapist and wish him all the best, but he is to no longer contact you. There are and should be consequences for him treating you like something the cat dragged in. Stick to your guns until he does see a therapist and contacts you to apologize, sincerely apologize. Then let HIM do the work on having a relationship with you. Sort of a tough love process, but it sounds as if this is way overdue and you do not have much to lose.

    • Dear Brit,

      Your story makes me both sad and terrified. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to live the outcomes of your X’s lies and manipulation. You have all my sympathy. I know my own X regularly lies to our kids about me too, and sometimes there are episodes of them believing him, at least for awhile. Hearing the tragic outcome of your experience reminds me of how tentative things can be when one parent has no conscience and a desire to hurt the other without any concern for the consequences on the children.

      The injustice of what you are suffering is unbelievable. I hope you are working toward other things that you love in life, though the absence of your child’s love and respect is not something you can ever fully ignore.

      • If it’s any consolation, my mother was a world-class alienator. She told me awful things about my dad. I believed most of them, although that didn’t stop me from loving him. He was distant anyway, so it probably made no difference in our relationship. But over time, I came to see that she lied about a lot of things. Eventually, I decided that I didn’t need to believe anything she said about my dad and just let that stuff go. The key is to do what you know to be right for you without any attachment to the outcome. Send birthday cards, buy a gift, send a text but don’t expect a response. Just be you.

      • Brit

        I’m sorry for the injustice of it all. I stayed with the serial cheating covert narcissist until my children were well into adulthood ages 34, 31, and 24. My granddaughter is15 years old and has lived with me part time since birth.

        The devaluation was ever present as he presented himself as the simple good guy dad to everyone as he repeatedly undermined me. I did all the work as he sat back and made fun if my cooking, looks, and poked at my insecurities.

        He brought his young children to the OW houses to play with their children. As they grew older he told them untrue horror stories of living with me while he was dating and having them find him girlfriends.

        After DDay I changed. I told my story. I wouldn’t shut up. He lied to his daughter. He went after my pension. I filed and my daughter saw him for what he was and called him out on it. They were willing to go to court with me as he dragged it out not showing.

        As I started to heal my boundaries thanks to my therapist and CN were rigid. He all but disappeared and when he made appearances he tried the victim card and no one bought it. His mask dropped.

        Then came the stories and the cheating with women my children knew. He made look as if I deserved it they figured him out. He’s is an embarrassment. My son ended up living with me as my granddaughter does. I pull no punches. I shut down the lies and manipulation as he blames the druggie whore for not seeing his children, losing his business, and getting into massive debt, I tell them he’s an adult and his ACTIONS got him where he is and they now know I made him look good for years.

        I was fortunate my therapist told me exactly what I needed to do every step of the way. For once in my life I found my anger. We are justified in our fight for the truth. If we don’t tell it no one will.

        When my children look back over their childhood they know I was the one who was always there for them.

        The way I see it is we have the choice to suffer in silence or let the truth be known. Children should know the truth. If they choose to disrespect us at least they know we will no longer be a victim and that we have integrity.

        • “If they choose to disrespect us at least they know we will no longer be a victim and that we have integrity” thank you for that, i needed to hear it.

    • Same exact situation here with my 17yr old daughter. She has chosen to live with him and the 22yr old babysitter and won’t even come to see me. She has never stepped in my new place, won’t return my texts and didn’t even with me a happy birthday. He groomed her also to hate me and think I’m worthless and I’m to blame (she even stayed with him and the OW in hotel rooms together in one room all summer be jade she didn’t want to be in the house with me). My therapist is helping me thru this and I have learned to set my own bounderies. I will never give up on her but I have learned to let her go. Not the way I had planned to spend her last years of high school with him and the babysitter going on college trips but there’s nothing I can do about it. I hope someday she will be my daughter again.

      • It’s heartbreaking to hear of people who lose their children on top of dealing with the pain of betrayal. My kids definitely distanced themselves for awhile, and seemed to cling to each other (they were in their mid-20’s when my ex left). One child seemed to sympathize more with me, the other more with his dad. I worried myself to death over the one who seemed to be drifting away, then he pushed me too far. This child kept asking me to watch his pet while he and his wife went to have fun vacations with his dad, but other than that I barely heard from him. After he left a message asking me to watch their pet one too many times, I called him up and let him know I thought I was worth more than a dog sitter, I sort of let him have it, but I never brought his father up in the conversation. Just focused on my relationship with him. After that things started to get better. Both kids are now telling me I’m in a much better place than their father, they say he’s drinking more, hanging around with strange people, etc.

        While all this angst with my kids was going on I focused on myself, on getting healthier and doing things that made me happy. I continued to reach out to them, send them cards, but otherwise got on with my own life. The best thing you can do is learn how to make yourself happy, then they will be drawn to you. My heart goes out to everyone who’s struggling with their relationships with their children too.

        • I don’t have children, so I can’t offer advice on what to do when your children opt to alienate themselves from you, but I can talk a bit about a colleague whose mother was a much-married woman.

          My colleague’s mother is definitely disordered, and also is an alcoholic. Initially, she married my colleague’s father (maybe?), but quickly dumped him. My colleague never knew her father, and her mother always talked badly about him, how he was no-good, never wanted to see her, abandoned them without a trace, etc.

          It was only a few years ago that my colleague, now a woman in her early 60s, started to do some genealogical research that led her to contact some relatives of the father she never knew. She discovered that her mother had lied. Her mother was the one who ran off, not the father. Her father wrote for years, hoping to see his baby daughter. Not only that, her mother kept those letters.

          My colleague now has some sense of closure about her father.

          I suppose that just letting the children know that you are out there for when they’re ready to initiate contact will be sufficient. Even if they don’t reach out, maybe their children–your grandchildren–will.

          • They the cheaters can never take the blame or put the blame where it belongs on themselves! Damn that burns my ass everyone elses fault but theirs and never even care who suffers because of their lies. Damn damn damn.

    • My X does it too. So many of us have this thing in common. Another cheater narcissist script! Zero originality! I don’t ever talk about him to the kid, never mention him, If the kid brings him up I listen, nod and do the cool, bummer, wow thing. I tried refuting the lie that I was an alcoholic (I may drink 4-6 times a year) and that blew up on me so I learned. I just says “Trust what you know not what someone tells you. If you haven’t seen it for yourself then it might be someone trying to make you believe something that isn’t true.” I’m terrified my kids will fall victim to parental alienation too. It’s hard enough that he never taught them to respect thing alike Mother’s Day or my birthday but that shit will be like daggers. I only hope the kid will be smart enough to see the difference between us.

    • I’m sorry, Brit. I think the kids who are the same-sex as the cheater have the roughest time with the family breakup, especially when they are teenagers and young adults–the person who is supposed to be their main role model for the kind of man/woman they will become has proven themselves to be an insensitive fucktard (at best). Some kids navigate this by rejecting the cheater; others (like abused children) by gravitating toward them to better get their approval. Very sad.

      • Thank you for bringing that up Tempest. I’ve been wondering about that for years now, regarding my brother. He is a bit of a misogynist and I know he has a Madonna whore complex. My dad put my family through a lot and put my mother through hell, yet my brother sees things in kind of a twisted way, telling his wife things like “she did him in.” I often think ‘what house did he grow up in?’ and I’ve always had that notion that he couldn’t really reconcile the same sex parent being the bad guy. He was chumped by his first wife and I would think he would empathize with my mom a little more. But I really thing that’s true that a child becomes conflicted when the parent they identify with is abusive in any way or causes such upheaval in the family.

    • Brit,

      I am so glad you brought this up. In my instance there is more going on here than boundaries and teenage brains. My XH did this with my older daughter too, not the degree that yours did but he did it. It began when she was just little, triangulating her against me. She is now 30 and I have my fingers crossed. She will be talking to my therapist today. Hopefully she will begin untangling this mess with her. One step at a time. She has this fundamental chip on her shoulder about me. Basically, as I have since learned XH had me do all the disciplining and send many confounding messages to her so she was a mess. Oddly, by shear coincidence, XH failed to do that with DS and by the time the last DD was born, I knew what his intention was but still didn’t understand his methods. But I knew I could lose this daughter too if I wasn’t very, very careful. Thankfully I have this daughter. These people are sick and nasty.

      Also one other really scary thought. These people are not just made this way by their sicko parents rather they are born this way. So the way I look at it is 50% of my daughters DNA is fucktard’s and that is part of what is going on here. She has empathy and compassion but not to the the degree that DS and younger DD do. So that is something to put into the mix as you develop expectations of the kind of relationship you can have with them. Alas.

      I am very sorry for you. I would love to develop a thread on this. I used to think that a mother’s love and hard work trumps all, but we are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to this kind of mind fuckery and genetics.

      • i also thought a mother’s love and hard work would trump all, but i also under minded the games these sick people play. my XH put in zero time with the kids when they were little, was only interested in them once they were old enough to be interested in what HE liked. apparently making your kids work for any crumb you might throw them keeps them begging for more.

  • Kind of ironic that after this awesome post there’s a huge ad for tracfone. Trigger, anyone?

    • Nowadays, advertisements are targeted individually, based on the search history of the computer. This means someone using your computer was looking up info on tracphones. If you spend a few minutes and research coffeemakers, shoes or bunkbeds, you’ll see ads for these instead. I found this out unfortunately well after the first D day. I chumpedly assumed that singles sites were the dominant advertiser! For years, all the ads were about attractive single ladies in my area! Whoo hoo!!

      • My ad was a car. I’m the only one using my device, and I’m not interested in cars. What’s up with that?

      • I keep getting ads for “Is He Cheating on You?” probably because of accessing CL frequently. Lol, a little late for that, Spokeo.

        • I keep getting the same ads pop-up, LOL. I also have/use a Trac-Phone, haven’t had a “contracted” phone in years, but I get why it would be a trigger for some. Maybe that’s why TEO loved his separate Trac-Phone, so I couldn’t keep track of his shenanigans.

      • Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize until just now that I haven’t seen nearly as many of those ‘hot singles in your area’ ads since cheater and I stopped sharing a computer. He must have clicked on that shit all the time. I now mostly get significantly less salacious ads for shoes, zullilly and chicken recipes that more closely suit my non-whorish lifestyle.

        • Hahahahaahaaaa @ “… the more closely suit my non-whorish lifestyle..” Awesome!!!

        • Ditto. Exactly ditto. No more sexy singles AND no more “one weird trick to remove body hair FOREVER” ads either (gag.) Just zulily, cloth diapers, and food websites.

        • +1. The same here! Shoe ads, Zullilly, chicken recipes etc. Oh, us NORMAL non-screwed up Chump sisters!! We rock! 🙂

          • Nobody’s been googling tracphone here…I’m divorced, ex lives far away.

    • Number one: nice work in the moment!
      Be proud of how you handled this.

      When things settle take her out for ice cream (or a pedicure together) and explain what your boundaries are but NOT WHY.

      Total no contact means that anything that happens on Dad time doesn’t get discussed with you, unless it is a problem.

      You don’t need a reason and she doesn’t need to hear one. Just the facts.

      Her world is shaken too. My teens were devistated.

      There is a small possibility that it was her way of introducing the topic and expressing her discomfort (who knows how a teen brain works – especially a female teen). Perhaps you would explode giving her an open door to join in. Not your problem.

      At 16, she has much to learn about how to handle issues, including her feelings about the new OW. Give her boundaries and she will have to deal with them and find a more mature way of speaking with you.

      Your house, your rules. Hang in there!

      • Can you help me understand the NOT WHY? I feel like a huge part of my chump status came from people I trusted not talking to me about WHY shit happens. WHY people can be shitty. Something about understanding the enemy comes to mind.

        I KNEW something was off in my marriage but I didn’t know WHY. I think because we were cheated on, there is this rule that we can’t talk about honesty, cheaters and all that because we are making it about us. But really this is parenting, stupid marriage destroying cheater spouses or no.

        Hey, kid, when someone hurts you you don’t have to engage with them. If their friend at school does something cruel and selfish (heh! look at that!) then .. they have every right to ask that their friends not tell them all about cruel selfish ex-friend. WHY? Because HER FEELINGS MATTER.

        By not talking about the why you are denying your value, denying the reality of your cheater spouse breaking the marriage. I get not going on about that or framing it that way but OW is OW and that’s a fact. If it was New Girlfriend that he didn’t have sex with while you were married, I would put some of that burden on you to move on. But OW?

        The key needle threading is to acknowledge that your teen wants to enjoy time with her Dad and her Dad comes with OW. That you have NO issue with her enjoying time with her Dad and anyone he is with. You don’t want to know about some people he might be with because of what he did when you were married to them. You are allowed your feelings and to express them. And boundaries, but that seemed powerfully and mightily expressed in the CL post.

        That’s my thinking anyway. My cheater ex had all his young things as online friends so I doubt any of them are going to be showing up when the kids might meet them because they were almost all sex flings and the one who wasn’t is a freaking 22 year old. Our teens understand what happened and are very angry with their Dad (mostly his lack of remorse and generally they see how he didn’t do shit for the family while I did and lo, THAT is what he spent time on instead of them?!)

  • Nothing like photos of the AP to trigger PSTD. The person that wrecked your home is now your kid’s “buddy”. I empathise with you Kimmy.

    You’ve reacted better than I have. I’ve gone back and deleted photos of the AP off my daughter’s iPod after I saw some of them together. It hurts too much to think that my enemy, is now my child’s friend.

    The advice from CL is on the mark — we need to handle our own pain (as best as we can).
    Time helps, and we become less sensitive to the triggers.

  • Thanks for this. You’ve helped me realize that I need to stop sharing my pain with my teens expecting them to have empathy and understanding. I think my desire for an authentic connection with them has made me weaken my boundaries.

    • Consequences: being bitchy to you or her sister, disrespectful, etc. The phone goes into a drawer for a period of time until she learns how to behave. Let her do whatever she wants (grumpy, bitchy, etc.)–it stays for another stated period of time.

      She’ll catch on. If not, at least you don’t have to see the photos.

  • Set and enforce the bounderies. Its all we can do just like traci said. My daughter feels my pain but doesnt quite understand shes never really been in love.

  • My therapist was correct when he said the cheaters hang themselves. Initially the limited wanted me to work around the whores schedule to see my granddaughter.

    I set up boundaries right away. Cheaters hate boundaries and they are so entitled they believe we will continue to give.
    I provided my son in law with copies of her arrest records. I let him know I wanted her time with me to be mine and he could make other arrangements through him. Sure enough he abandoned her even though he had the summer off. He throws her a fifty dollar bill two weeks after Christmas. When she was with him she saw his rage.
    Boundaries are the best protection we have with teens. I like to say, that’s nice. She had NO interest in being with them nor do my adult children. The whore approached me and said I’m a grandmother as if she was going to be that to my lovie. I explained the difference between classy and trashy, she gets it.

  • I will add that once boundaries are in place for teens they will push them. Don’t cave. They will thank you in the end. Usually when they are 19 years old.

  • Don’t have kids of my own, but this was a good reminder for the future and for general use. Thanks CL.

  • I’m sorry Kimmy, I’ve been there. It’s so fucking unfair that the homewrecking whore not only caused said children immeasurable grief and heartache, but totally gets away with it. Everyone magically gets amnesia, and you are labeled as bitter and living on the past. Homewrecking should be punishable just like prostitution. Just saying. Hugs!!!

  • My son is not in his teenage years yet…but we have shared custody between countries where he visits his father in our old marital home 1-2 times a year. He lives there with his new wife. It’s been about 2 years since I discovered, divorced for about a year. I had dealt with various situations including the other woman telling my son it is ok if he called her mom…yeah right. I left our marital home with three suit cases, so all my stuff was either donated or is being used. All I can tell now is that there is a light at the end and the sooner we realize it tge better. I wish I knew that back then when I was wasting precious time for someone who was undeserving of it. Look at yourself and start doing the things you always wanted to do, take care of yourself in the utmost precious way and know that you have yourself. You have to come to realize that soon, because you are an individual being in this world…don’t let anyone else make you feel less. Don’t be shy about what you want. Have only positive thoughts about everyone and everything. The OW? I feel pity for her because she broke a woman code, and she will never experience in her life what a true, loving, kind, supportive woman is. I have started to open myself more, which is not easy after 12 years of marriage. Believe in yourself, smile at your child and tell them that you are happy to see them happy. Be an example of what a true woman is to your daughter and in your community. Forgive yourself and your ex, laugh it off and move on. This is just for your sake. Children will grow up and find their own way no matter what we say or do sometimes. For me it is important that my son remembers a kind, loving, respectful mother…even though he knows the heartbreak but does not quite get it. Which is ok, because he is growing and will experience love and heartbreak and may understand some day. Take care of yourself, exercise, be kind, learn a new language, less media and more of the stuff what your heart desires(please not that man who suffocated you with his lies). I can thankfully say that I got to this point without therapy, drugs etc. . Look around your home, get rid of all the stuff that reminds you of “You guys” and start fresh…you are gonna be ok, I left all my stuff behind, grieved, but oh my gosh nothing in my life besides my son reminds me of him and even then I smile and wish him the best.

    • +1… Always find something to smile about. Life can be so painful sometimes for real. Life can be so funny sometimes too.

    • Have positive thoughts about everyone and everything? Forgive yourself and your ex, laugh it off and move on? Smile and wish him the best? Natalia, and here I was thinking of spontaneous combustion as a positive thought that would make me laugh and smile. And I needed therapy and medication, go figure.

  • My kids were adults when the divorce went down so I’m very fortunate in that regard. I follow the same rules the chumplady suggests however. I don’t tell them how I feel, I just steer the conversation in a different direction by never giving more than a cursory head nod and the occasional “Hmm” to give them the impression I’m actually listening. Usually I zone out and go to a happier place in my brain whenever the subject of dad comes up.

    He’s remarried and neither of them have ever told me (I found out by accident) which I assume is to spare my feelings. I actually don’t care that he’s remarried because I fully expected that would happen but there is no sense in discussing it because it doesn’t affect my life at all.

    Eventually your daughters will come around Kimmy. With teenagers it’s all about them but at least it’s just a phase. Testing your parents’ boundaries starts at the age of 2 and continues until you ship them off to college. Hang in there

  • OMG OMG OMG…. I just got into a fight with my teen about this issue. I am in so much pain having to share my kids with that f%cking b(*ch. The very person that systematically tore my family apart is now trying to be my kids buddy. It freaking hurts and I do not think I will ever get over it. She thinks she won the pick me dance and now she wants my kids. Its a very special evil. Hoping to get to meh but its a long way off for me too. Im freaking crying writing this stupid post. I am in a city I can’t stand and working a job I hate.

    Its been hard for me to move on. My BF lives across the country and I moved to be with the kids and give them stability so we are both putting love on hold. I do all the grunt work of raising them while he focuses on his career (like he did while married and now schmoopie has to clean up!), Another large shit sandwich is that I was offered my dream job at twice the amount I have ever made and it requires extensive travel. Do I give that up too? Do I sit here for 2 more years until they get off to college before I can start my life? Its doesn’t make things easy and don’t say try to make it where I am because I am trying but this is NOT the place I am going to stay. But I am trying but its just hard.

    Yeah and my kids don’t seem to appreciate any of it. They cross the boundaries of decency too which I have had to set. I guess I have to respect their boundaries as well.

    I obviously do not have any advice to give. I am in the same position. I have to remember to not expect them to get my pain. They won’t get it. They do just want it all to go away. I am encouraged that others have gone before me and seem to work it out. Thanks for all the posts. Good luck Kimmy.

    • One thing you have to realize too, is that whoring is glamorized right now in our society. Teenagers , some of them, think this is progressive and cool. Music videos show that the way to be a “real woman” is to put on lingerie and hunch around like you are dancing on a damn stripper pole. If you can get a guy to bang you in a parking or suck him off in his wife’s bed , you have “power” over him. Just continue to be the best example you can for your children, male or female. They desperately need it.

  • I have a 16 year old son.

    I am in in the process of joining our local fire department/first aid. Beside my son’s father (whom he does not see), and my elderly mother in a nursing home, we have no family and few family friends. For a couple of reasons, I decided to join the department (one of which to get out and be a part of a good group of people). The first time I visited, the chief suggested I bring my son to the meetings, and maybe he’d like to become a junior member! When I proposed this to son, he showed interest.

    Last night was the first meeting I attended. Did not bring son, because he had just gotten home from a high school game. I had a lot of fun at the meeting. When I came home, I told him about it all and again made the suggestion he come with me next time. His answer? “No thanks – too much work”. Ugh. You’ve got to be *kidding*…. He does shit like this to me all the time. He changes his mind more than he changes his underwear.

    I do admit I am very concerned about what kind of an adult he will be. His grandmother (my mother), and his father are domineering people, and have a lot of Narc behaviors. So the potential for him to naturally gravitate to these behaviors is pretty high. It can be hard to discern between natural teenage Narcism – and the real, engrained thing. One consistent trait he has had since toddlerhood is NOT being able to take criticism. He takes it ALL personally. Even after having talks with him about it, and, with his therapist too.

    I am very grateful, however, that he SEEMS to not be into bad shit (so far), and his friends appear to be OK. He is rarely snotty or snarky with me, and will do whatever I ask him to do (even if the job he does sucks). But, he will never volunteer to help me, except for bringing in groceries (especially if the bag contains snacks). The biggest complaint I have about him beside the mind-changing is he is BEYOND lazy. Although he is into competitive sports at high school, he will grind his heels into the ground if he must do something he does not like, or, considers it to be “too much work”. He has like a B- average.

    • Meant to go on there … And this is with doing his homework in school. He rarely cracks a book at home. He is very talented and smart, and is definitely an underachiever.

      But with all those complaints – I feel very blessed that he is as good as he is.

      • Onthehill,

        It sounds like you just described a normal teenage boy. I raised two of them. My mantra was, “You may never ever shake a baby, but you can shake the shit out of a teenager.” Never did it, but it helped to think it.

        My only advice is to model the behaviors you expect from him, keep communications honest and open, and set your boundaries. My kids are 22 and 26 and are good men (mostly, they’re still learning from mistakes). At each turned 19 they started seeking me out for my opinion. It was a wonderful feeling. I told my youngest that it was nice that he was finally listening to me. He said, “Mom, I’ve always listened to you. I just didn’t always do what you wanted me to.” I think that is a very telling statement and a lesson for adults. Your kids are always watching you and always hearing you. One day it will click for them.

        • I agree. The behavior is normal teenage boy. I have a freshman son (high school). It’s simply stunning to watch him. Why he thinks that rolling the empty garbage cans back up the driveway is some personal assault on him I will never know ?

          • That so funny because it’s so true. It made me laugh because I’ve seen it countless times. If you ask them to get the chicken out of the freezer so it can defrost for dinner, you would have thought that I asked them to go out to the chicken coop in the back forty to behead the thing themselves.

  • Kimmy’s story and some of the comments confirm something I’ve come to suspect: what if it really isn’t all about the kids? I found out about my wife’s affair 9 months ago and after an initial False-R based on hysterical bonding, I decided to go back overseas and continue my life on my own as an international school teacher. Things started looking up for me, I stopped obsessing (somewhat) about the other man, I stopped hating (a little anyway) my wife and I became optimistic about the future. The one problem: I’m leaving the kids and I’m hearing no end of shit because of that. Another problem: I got my cheating ass wife pregnant during one of our hysterical bonding sessions. Well story’s like Kimmy’s and Brits just make me that much more resolved and I can’t wait to leave. Yes, it will be hard on wife and kids but why should I eat “shit sandwiches?” From what I’m reading here, it’ll just be to eat more “shit sandwiches” from my kiddos when they are old enough to dish it out.

    • I have friends who are retired middle school principals and I asked them what was the biggest change they noticed in their 35 years of work. Without hesitation they both said it’s that parents today are obsessed with not ever letting their kids fail, or get disappointed, or get hurt. This uber-protection was without a doubt the most destructive thing they could do to their kids, and it ends up producing shallow, narcissistic adults who can barely handle life on their own. This “all about the kids” stuff is a new thing in history, and completely overdone in my opinion. Of course you don’t want your kids to suffer the devastation that comes from having their family blown up, but you don’t need to indulge their own self-centeredness either and allow them to hurt you thoughtlessly. The answer is not to protect kids from getting hurt but to teach them how to handle the hurt – and not transfer the hurt to others. Being firm with a teenager and telling them that you expect them to respect your feelings, especially in a situation such as adultery and its aftermath, should be a no brainer. They won’t like it, but that’s tough. They won’t see it now but what you are doing is modeling strength, resolve, self-respect and boundaries, and the clear message that other people’s feelings are just important as their own.

      Having said that, I think most instances like this can be handled with CL’s brilliant advice of “Cool, Bummer, Wow.” However, if your kids are thoughtlessly dishing out shit sandwiches right and left, you should make it clear what you will and will not accept, and then stick to it.

      • Thank you for that perspective Jane!
        I’m not saying that you are on my side or anything, but you have no idea the grief I’m getting for my decision to leave. This comment at least shows some objectivity and puts my choice in a better light.

        • AmericanSteve, am I understanding you correctly? You are leaving your children and your newborn baby to your cheating XW so you can get your life started again and your rationale being you don’t want to ‘eat shit sandwiches’ now or when the kids get old enough to really dish them out. If that is your plan, and I hope I am not understanding this correctly, please understand that 2 years from now or 10 years from now, you will not be getting any shit sandwiches from them, you will not be getting anything from them.

          • ringingonmyownbell – well you are twisting my words around but ok, I’ll bite. Yes, I am leaving my two daughters and unborn with my cheating wife (not ex-wife) so I can take a new job in Costa Rica. I’m going back overseas to be more precise but I will continue to financially support her. What I said was, “it’s not all about the kids” and look what happens when you make it all about the kids: you wind up eating their shit as well as the shit your cheating spouse doled out. Yes it will be hard on them and yes they are vulnerable but I guess she should have thought about that before she invited another man into our bed.

            • But the children aren’t responsible for your wife’s conduct! You are punishing them for something they had no control over. Look, I can understand not wanting to engage with your wife, but it sounds like you literally are throwing the baby out with the bath water. That unborn child had absolutely no say in your “hysterical bonding”, yet you are using a discussion about a teenager as an excuse to abandon this innocent child? Sorry, that just doesn’t cut it. Your wife may have invited another man into your bed, but you chose to have unprotected sex. That is on you, not this poor child. As parents, it is our obligation to put the needs of our children first. From the sounds of it, their needs aren’t even on your radar!

              I am not saying you should necessarily stay in country. But please, please understand that your children should be your first priority, regardless of what your wife has done. Sending a check is all well and good, but it is absolutely NO substitute for a loving, caring parent. If you fail to consider their needs, that is on you and has nothing to do with the actions of your wife.

            • AmericanSteve

              Cheaters justify their behavior as you know from experience!

              Surprisingly, you are justifying leaving your children because you might have to suffer shit sandwiches from an unborn child. And you’ll send her money blah blah blah and visit them blah blah blah..
              Unfortunately, in some circumstances there is no better parent just two selfish assholes.

            • Right now your children. Red you more than ever. I think you posted on another forum, and got completely fired upon there too. Deservedly. It’s pathetic that you are using being chumped as a way to escape being an actual parent. None of us asked to be chumped, but we do know how babies are made and that we are responsible for more than just their physical well-being. It’s like you are chumping your children by not being the Dad they should be able to count on. The kids aren’t serving you “shit sandwiches,” you are serving the kids the ultimate shit sandwich.

        • American Steve. Please reconsider. Later, when some time has passed and the pain is less raw, you may feel differently. Your kids need YOU. Why surrender them to your ex? She will model bad behavior and cheaters ethic to them. They will end up like her. She will tell them that you left because you didnt want them. They will believe her because actions speak for themselves. Children need their father! Their real father not some affair partner stepfather! They are human beings who need you…not some inconvenient pets. RECONSIDER before you make a huge mistake!

          • @HD and Yo – most people do agree with you two but what’ surprising is a sizable minority agree with me. Yes, there will be some deflected shit on my kids but shit happens. Plus I’m a teacher and I’ll get see them summers and over that long christmas break. Finally, who said anything about the affair partner raising them? I toasted that guy; he may not have lost his job because of me but I had a major detrimental affect on his career. His wife called and begged me to stop “harassing” him as his work place because she needed him to support her and their kids. She swore she was getting a divorce. One thing is for sure: I went from a shell – a total fucking wreck! – to a man who just can’t wait to get to Costa Rica and take it from there. Like I said, I just don’t think it’s all about the kids. A little selfishness is order IMHO.

            • Well, if you dont want them then its better this way. I hope your wife does want them. Poor kids. Children are a blessing and a gift.

            • And if I recall correctly, uou harassed his wife too. Another chump getting crapped on because “Steve’s having a temper tantrum.”

              Why not tell this forum about your plan to stay married, and shop for your wife-replacement, which you’ve already been doing.

              This forum is for chumps, not chump-harassers and cheaters that want to play victim and abandon their children.

            • And a “sizeable minority” of people agreed with Hitler. It didn’t make him any less of an asshole.

        • I’m torn. I think my father must have felt the same way. I was twelve when my folks divorced, and nobody would really explain it to us kids. My mother and grandmother didn’t trash talk my dad, and I learned eventually that my mother had been the cheater. She died of a brain tumor before I found out. Growing up, it wasn’t hard to convince myself that dad was the problem, but I never heard it was infidelity, mostly I was told Dad drove Mom crazy charging things they couldn’t afford, and leaving it to her to worry about paying for things.

          Which may have been true, but she chose infidelity as a way out. There was no ‘irreconcilable differences’ basis when she got divorced. When I spoke to my father shortly before he died, he told me she said she wanted a divorce, and said “I don’t have grounds, but you do.” I have learned enough both before and after that conversation to believe him.

          I don’t condemn you for your choice, Steve. I know for an absolute fact that one of my sister’s would have been flinging those shit sandwiches. But as for me, I just felt that I didn’t have a father. My own left the state with a new wife and her daughters, and my stepfather and I didn’t get along all that well. I could have used a dad. I had some really bad experiences after he left.

          I had a bad attitude about marriage for a long time. Hell, I had a bad attitude about a lot of things. I’ll never know how I would have acted to him, but I’m glad we reconciled before he died. I hope things go well for you.

          • Heya PearShaped – do you mind if I ask you: how often did you see your father?
            I don’t know the particulars of your dad’s situation but for me, if I passed on this opportunity for “the sake of the kids,” I’m sure I would be one bitter and resentful dad. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you even if it hurts the kids.

    • AmericanSteve–It sounds to me as if you’ve already made up your mind, but let me throw out a few things: You don’t mention how old your older 2 children are, nor whether they are male or female. Sons, in particular, need a positive male role model, and daughters’ self-esteem is heavily tied to a relationship with a father & the degree to which the father is affectionate. There is no way you will be much of a “father” in the fullest sense of the word only seeing them half the summer and at Christmas (plus, perhaps, one or two more times a year). Their main influences then, will be cheaterwife and AP.

      The children may also perceive what you are doing as abandonment, which brings its own bundle of psychological problems.

      The infant (whether born yet or not) has a critical period for attachment within the first 2 years; while this does not preclude bonding with you later, it may not be as a father figure. Furthermore, the quality of attachment in those first 2 years predicts a lot of elements of social and emotional development throughout life (and some cognitive measures). If STBXwife is not a stellar parent, and you are nowhere to be seen for those first few years, heaven help that child.

      Lastly, there is no guarantee you will be eating “shit sandwiches” from the kids. One set of researchers described parenthood as “All Joy and No Fun.” It is haaaaarrrrdddd work, made significantly worse by breeding with a fucktard, especially one that you probably hate (and rightfully so) for infidelity. But to have no sane, consistent parent around most of the time raises the risk to your children significantly for all kinds of emotional and behavioral problems later on.

      At least know the risks you’re taking.

      • Seriously, I thought this guy was a troll. I will say ‘Shit happens’ but just about every single parent here turns themselves inside out, and walks through fire to make sure that as little shit happens to our kids as possible. This guy is abandoning his kid to his cheating disordered XW and unborn child because shit happens and they better get used to it. All I can do is pray that your XW cheater that she is, has love for your children because you will not be there to protect them from her, from any horrendous new man that comes into her life. Ask many of the people here, many of us can tell you what happens to kids under these circumstance. You are giving up a very precious thing because of your desire to avoid shit sandwiches.

    • The biggest crap sandwich you will ever have to eat will be how much your children feel you abandoned them, seeing them lash out at you for that, or finding out about all the things they did because they didn’t feel loved by you and were looking for someone who valued them. I understand the feeling that you want to just leave it all behind and move on with your life, and the desire to think your responsibility is just financial, with some long visits thrown in. But as a teacher myself, I see kids every day who are engaging in all sorts of negative behaviors for attention, or are depressed, and do almost nothing, all because of their home life. Do you honestly want your children to become those children? Do you really want your youngest child to be awkward around you and cry because s/he doesn’t know you?

      I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you are mixing up your anger with your wife with how you feel about your children. They aren’t extensions of her and the terrible thing your life has become. They are casualties of the same thing that happened to you. They are depending on you. They are too young to understand that you don’t think that you’re abandoning them. They are just going to feel abandoned.

      My sons grew up with a father that would bail on our family time for almost any pretext at all–he “had” to help so-and-so, he couldn’t take time off from work for their birthday (but for an important soccer game, sure). They got used to his not being there, and it became increasingly awkward when he was around, because he didn’t know them or their interests, and just wanted to be gone with people he thought were more fun. They felt abandoned and slighted. And he was living with us (although he had a night job)! Now he mostly comes for his 2-hour weekly visit, which my 2-year old loves, and my 16-year-old hates. My youngest doesn’t know what kind of person his father is, but his older brother does. He is coming to grips with the fact that his father doesn’t really care about him, and isn’t a good person. But their cheater father abandoned them, not me.

      I get that you want to be free of this. I want to run away from everything sometimes, too. But I don’t, and I can’t, because I love my children, even when they are doing things that cause me stress and pain and anxiety, like flunking all their classes in high school. Ask yourself: are you the kind of man that bails on his children when they need him most? If they were in a burning building, would you leave them there, escaping by yourself, assuming that the firemen will get them out? Will they forgive you when you apologize to them in the burn ward for all the suffering they could have avoided if you’d thought of them, too?

      Parenting is hard. It’s not for wimps. Lots of people have told you the truth about how your children will likely react to your taking this job. This is not the moment to be selfish at their expense. Personally, I think it’s time to man up.

  • I put it in terms that my younger teen could understand after Dday, imagine if you had a bully at school that you saw all the time and it made you sick to your stomach and anxious to see that person and then you didn’t see them any more, and you felt at peace. Then one day you see them again and those feelings come back. That’s how mom feels when I have to deal with someone who bullied me and broke my heart.
    It was like a light bulb went off for him and he was more understanding of my feelings.

    As he got older, we did have one bad fight after he had mentioned something personal about my family to my ex, who used this info to contact me and use it to his advantage to give a lame apology ..GRRRRR, I WAS LIVID,
    I told son, I have been quiet and thoughtful about your father to you , but he is a scumbag and you are never to share anything about my family to him again, my son said, don’t you think I realize what a shitty person he is? But he is still my father…
    I explained he is to share things about his life, about his school, his friends, his concern’s…. BUT my life
    and my family (that he also screwed over) are none of his business.

    Raising teenager’s is not easy and it is a challenge at all times, Boundaries are a must with ALL people to live a peaceful life.

    • LRRH–good strategy telling the story about the bully! The best way to teach children empathy (at any age) is to get them to see situations from another person’s perspective by putting themselves in the person’s shoes.

      Kimmy–I know this event happened a while ago, but your daughter might understand best if you say, “Imagine you had a boyfriend who cheated on you with your best friend, but then I kept inviting the best friend over for dinner. How would you feel?” It frames the issue from her perspective (teens can be pretty self-centered, after all), and drives home the point.

      • Good point, Tempest. Sometimes we have to put ourselves in our kids’ shoes too!

  • “Pay attention when people react with anger and hostility to your boundaries. You have found the edge where their respect for you ends.”

    That said, I agree with CL…she’s just a teen.

  • I have 5 stepchildren from my marriage to Mr. Sparkles. The eldest two are twins, one lives here in NJ and one in FL. The NJ stepson and his girlfriend are now FB friends with the AP. When the girlfriend reached out to me recently (she’s 24) to see if we were going to have a summer vacation this year (all the kids together, me organizing and paying)… I said I didn’t think so. I told her that I was hurt that she and my stepson have become FB friends with the AP and it would be awkward for me to continue staying so engaged with my stepkids if they’re ready to move on to a new potential “stepmom”. (I’ve been in their lives for 12 years).

    I was told… “FB doesn’t mean anything.” But, when I replied that it does and that this woman committed ADULTERY and broke up my family, the response was “the kids all know that, but we have to make nice with her.” And that broke my heart…. But I get it… it is their shit sandwich to eat if they want to be with their Dad.

    Please recognize, this may be your daughter’s way of trying to cast her anger on you for the shit sandwich she has to eat being around the OW. Setting your boundaries will give her permission to do the same as she gets older.

    BUT – it is NOT my shit sandwich to eat… I’ve got a full buffet going getting divorced from this fuckwit and co-parenting our 10yo. So, I’ve given up trying to stay in their lives… or rather, I’ve let go. Not my monkeys, not my circus.

    I hope you can remember that too… you’re allowed to have boundaries and self-care… they are great behaviors to role model for children… you’ll teach her how not to be a chump as an adult.

    • No, they don’t HAVE to make nice with her. It’s their choice to make nice. They want to. If they want to suck up to bullies, they will. You’ve done a great job of not being a doormat for more abuse.

      • Most people are cowards and will take the path of least resistance. If chumpdom teaches us anything, it is that moral cowardice is not an appealing trait.

      • I agree Nain! Adult children who make nice with the AP are making the conscious choice to do so and I think that is totally an asshole move on their part. Why cant they say, “I will see you Dad, but not her” or “yes you can come to dinner at my house Dad, but not her”. I truly do not think that is asking too much of them. I don’t believe for one second that the adult children need to play nice. The younger kids, like mine, have no clue what it means to hate someone, nor should they, so they usually end up liking the AP. The whore was in my daughters life at 3…she had absolutely no say in it and it’s like a dagger to the heart.

        • Mehcoming,
          Do you love these kids? AND most importantly do the kids love you, or do they just like these free vacations. If your sense is that they just love these free vacations, then pass. If these are kids you love and they love you, then fuck the OW and fuck Mr. Sparkles, you keep your family together and do what you do to show your love. Eventually, (lord knows how long) they will figure out that OW is a slunty and dad is a douche, their douche but the very best thing he ever did for them was to give them you as a step mother.

          I have a friend, who has a step daughter from her XH. That young woman loves my friend and she loves her too. If it is appropriate, don’t let these douchy people rob you of the best part of your relationship with Mr. Sparkles.

        • What my adult children do with their dad and his companions is not my business, nor should it be. Am I going to get bent out of shape if they have dinner together, etc.? No,because I do not want to be in the middle of their relationship. On the other hand, I also do not want to hear about it and my kids respect me enough to honor my feelings. The danger comes in wanting our adult children to carry the torch for us.

        • Withbravewings

          As a child of an abusive narcissist father I had to put myself in his home weekly to see my mom who had Alzheimer’s for 14 years. More depressing than knowing she hated him was that in the end ii too had to suffer.

          Staying with my abuser also made my own children suffer. Given that adult children love the fantasy of a good father we have to let them make the decision on their own. Now didn’t I model that for them by going to my fathers home and by spackling the shit out of the Limited covert narc fir 36 years. Guilty as charged.

          It angered me to think my daughters and son would be in her company. Yet they call her the cuntwhore and crazy lady. They prefer normalcy and see the difference in visiting my now happy home. We have famiky get togethers without the drunk father swaying with a beer laughing at nothing and banging on a drumset like a wannabe rock star with no conversational skills.

          My therapist said to let it play out as he couldn’t maintain a healthy relationship with anyone. He was right. My children make plans with me and duty calls they hate with him four hours a year. He’s a fuckup. My daughter said I didn’t tell him anything personal, why bother. The other one tried and it’s psychologically damaging. My granddaughter deleted his invite to the beach last summer and doesn’t want him to engage with his raging.
          It’s not our choice we can only do what we are best at in providing an authentic alternative.

  • You are oh so right in shutting this shit down immediately, Kimmy. OWhores aren’t really known for being uber friendly to the betrayed children, especially teenagers. So this is 99% certain agenda related.

    Image management. Ego trip. Way to get her nasty ugly photos into your life. See, I’m so fun!!! Your ex wants me, and do does your kid. I can turn your kid against you with this shit. The list goes on. What her agenda is doesn’t really matter. Just know it’s what’s driving this situation.

    I would also set my daughter straight on her lack of respect, to you and her sister. On the plus side, this mess is of limited duration. OWhore is probably of limited duration but whatever, your girl is 16. Almost an adult. No need to hear anything about the whore.

  • My XW and her AP are moving into a house in a week after divorcing their chumps this year (although they claim they never had an affair). My one son wants me to be happy for him and talks about it incessantly. It is a big, newer house that is much nicer than the rental his mother chose to move into when she broke up our family. He actually wanted me to drive him over, so he could show it to me. I refused, and he cried. I didn’t feel bad about it, and I told him I would never set foot inside the house ever. I told him that I wanted him to be happy when he is with his mom, but I do not support what his mom and her AP have done to me, his wife, and our children. Furthermore, I do not want to talk about it. He still talks about moving into the house, and I say, “that will be nice” and then change the subject.

  • This is very timely for me to read. My 22-year old daughter spent the weekend with EX and his AP. She knows how I feel about both of them. She ALWAYS shares some of what goes on just so she can process it herself. This weekend the 2 asshats told her that I’m crazy and she doesn’t need antidepressants for her confirmed diagnosis of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. She hasn’t told them that her anxiety disorder and PTSD are from the way EX treated the family over the years (deciding to relocate every two years all the time they were in school; EX expecting HIS kids to be perfect so he looked good for the church he was serving, etc.) – she’ll probably never tell him because the drama factor is too high. Any way, I’m crazy because I insist she see a doctor regularly and discuss her meds with them. Both AP and EX told my daughter that I “forced” EX to take antidepressants when he didn’t need them. Really? The man gave me his suicide plans and told me how many times he tried to take enough Benadryl and muscile relaxers to die. They also told her that she needs to quit allowing me to make decisions for her and start making her own decisions – WTH?! He’s the one who has always found fault with her decisions. I’ve always told her that we would support her no matter what she decides to do in life. The final straw for me was AP telling her that she should move in with them and commute to finish up her college degree. I live 5 blocks from her college, they live 2 and 1/2 hours away. Neither my EX or the AP talk to our 24-year old son. He refuses to toe the line for his dad. Never has, never will. He’s generally respectful but almost impossible to sway. EX is a pastor (so is AP), son is an avowed atheist – apparently that’s my fault too. Truthfully, I functioned as a single parent for most of our marriage. Each of my children has told me that they can’t count on their dad to follow through on anything.

    I found it very painful to hear what EX and AP had to say about me. I found it painful that my daughter had to listen to them. I did ask my son if he felt their comments were valid (No!). My one bright spot was that my daughter told me that she found their comments insulting to both herself and me. Kimmy, there is hope!

    Personally, I think both my EX and his AP are loony tunes. He isn’t taking any of his meds for his medical conditions and has decided that his mental conditions were misdiagnosed so isn’t taking them either.

    I hope they are very happy together.

    • Pastors? Jesus Cheaters.. the worst. No wonder your son is an atheist. At any rate, it’s his right to decide what his beliefs are and that’s his journey, not yours and not your POS X’s either. My son is 13 and has also proclaimed he really doesn’t believe in god. He said.. “Its possible there is a god, but it’s not likely”.. he’s a left brainer and what can I say, he’s done the research. This galls my mother who is overly religious but at the end of the day, it’s his journey.. he might change, he might not. You have my sympathies bepositive. Be glad you are away from the shitstorm!!!

  • I saw this post when it ran some ago. It was such awesome advice. My son had yet to do visitation with his Dad and the OW but i knew that day would come. Nowadays, our conversations about his weekends are exactly like that…he tells me something and my response is “Awesome bud. I’m glad you had a good weekend.”

    The one thing that tripped me up was that the OW is into making hard candy. Every. Single. Weekend. Ugh. He brings home bags of it. He wants me to eat some too. You know I don’t want to eat any of her damn candy. That was hard. I’d say, “I’m good. Maybe later.” and he’d forget about it. He’s 8 yo.

  • I’m sorry it sucks right now, Kimmy. ChumpLady is so right on I can’t improve on what she said. Just wanted to send you a big cyber-hug.

  • This event did happen quite some time ago and I thought I would share what transpired in my household as a result of my boundary. Daughter and I had heated words because she decided to take offense to my boundary. She told me she wasn’t going to school the next morning because SHE was upset. I enforced my power as mom and got her out the door. She got to school only long enough to report to her guidance counselor, then called her father, who was more than happy to come to her rescue! He picked her up from school. UGH!!! Then she packed up some of her belongings and stayed with him and OW for one week!!!!

    She eventually came home. I was furious with her and her father. She blew things way out of proportion and he underhandedly usurped my position as parent. I am quite certain that she told her dad and OW that I was mad at her for sharing their weekend photos. They likely LOVED that and they spoiled her for a week.

    I almost felt like explaining my boundary to her was a mistake and I should have remained quiet about it. ALMOST! However, I have learned that I need to have a voice when something upsets me. Nothing will ever change that…..even a temper tantrum from my teenage daughter. I told her next time she decides that she wants to escape to her dad’s because of an argument with me, that is fine, but she better be prepared to stay there. She WILL NOT be allowed to bounce back and forth when she is upset about rules or has an argument. Communication is the way to resolve issues…..not running away from them.

    • That must have been the hardest week for you. Good for you for sticking to boundaries and telling her she will not bounce back and forth. Parenting is hard work and dealing with a divorce on top of it, I can’t imagine. It must feel like the Pick-Me-Dance for your kid’s love.

      I always made the difficult decisions fin my kids best interests. Stbex always wanted to be their friend. My youngest had just turned 18 when he decided to go out past curfew. He had been going over the boundaries regularly and I had enough. I told him no. He told me he was 18 and that he could do what he wanted so he took his car and left. About 30 minutes later he was stopped by the police. The cop told him that if he didn’t return the car that I told them to arrest him for Unauthorized Use of a Motored Vehicle. He told the officer that it was “his” car. The cop said, “Son, the registration is in your mother’s name and so is the insurance. You don’t own anything.”

      He brought the car back immediately, packed up his clothes and said he was 18 and moving out. He walked down the long country road. It was a very difficult night for me. Stbex slept like a log. The next day I got a text from my son asking if he could come back to the house to talk to me. I told him to meet me there at 6. He told me he was sorry for his behavior and for not following the house rules. He said he would follow the rules and not give me a hard time about things. I asked him what changed his mind. He looked at me and said he slept in one of his friends nasty campers and he had nothing to eat and it was cold at night. He said, “Mom, you have no idea how hard it is in the real world.” I didn’t laugh, but gave him a hug and told him he was welcome to come back if he kept his promise. I said if he couldn’t, he would have to leave. We had arguments since then, but he followed curfew, didn’t have anyone over without permission, and never took the car out without my permission and knowledge.

      • Wow Anne I am so impressed, it sounds like you handled that perfectly! When (not if!) I have a situation like this with my son, I will keep your words and actions in mind and try to deal with things like you did.

    • Well-done, Kimmy (but how infuriating!). At least some of the time, teenagers are assholes. Mine is in perpetual danger of being apprenticed out as a plumber, but always manages to get herself in line before I actually pack her bags.

      How is your daughter doing now with boundaries, Kimmy? Did that situation help in the long run?

      • Things have gotten MUCH better since this happened. We had a long talk when she got home. I do think a lot of what happened was caused by teenage angst but that is no excuse for treating me poorly, leaving school without an excuse and taking off to her father’s house. After we talked I think she understood my position a bit better.

        If I have to be honest, I think part of new attitude adjustment is the fact that she does not like going to her dad’s anymore. She doesn’t like or get along with OW anymore and she says she doesn’t feel like she belongs there anyway. The house feels like it is OW’s house and not her dads. There are no pictures of my daughters there…..just OW’s family.

        This is likely keeping her in line! LOL Hey..whatever works!

        • In most cases they really do know who the sane parent is and they know where they’re wanted and loved.

        • I know what you mean, time and patience reveals all…I know The Evil One and Mrs. Dumb-Ass tries really hard to impress my Autistic daughter when she’s with them, but she honestly doesn’t care… she’s all about Mommy…

          Now, my older two kids went through this back-and-forth with me and their dad and whatever woman/step-mom of the month he was with at the time. I just stayed the sane, consistent parent and in time, the boys figured out their dad and life has been calm and peaceful…


    • Kimmy, Love this! “Communication is the way to resolve issues…not running away from them.” It’s interesting because I believe many of our exes ran away from “real life,” all that was good, and choose chaos and drama over beauty and peace. That is why all we hear of their new lives is that it is so fucking great. Got to spin that new lie! “It’s the same as it ever was…” (Fantasy is so much easier you know. Lol.) Reality is, Cheaters have no idea how to communicate honestly.

      • ^^^^^ This.

        Also, kids (and adults), sometimes, do try hard to see a thing in a good light because it is too scary to look it square in the face as bad. I’m not a parent, but I could sure see how, for a kid, seeing the Cheater as a misunderstood sad sausage would be a lot less scary than seeing the Cheater, his/her parent, as an actual monster, and seeing the chump, also his/her parent as vulnerable, abandon-able, lacking enough value to get sad sausage to stay, etc. I’d suspect this kind of fear is the root of the personality disorders that lean toward fantasy thinking in the first place.

  • Sorry, Kimmy. I know this sounds weird, but maybe your daughter does on purpose because she knows this hurts you (you told her and she is old enough to understand) and somehow it gives her a sense of power to cause you pain (like it probably does for her narcissistic father).

    Also, her behavior shows a disrespect of your feelings and therefore you. She probably absorbed your ex’s feeling of disrespect for you and saw that you were okay with it/an easy target. I think this is a danger of staying with a cheating or otherwise abusive spouse for too long–your kids will start disrespecting you because they know deep down that you don’t have enough respect for yourself; otherwise you wouldn’t tolerate such behavior.

    I think the more you set boundaries for yourself and enforce them, your daughter will come around eventually and start showing more respect for how you feel. If she doesn’t, probably best to minimize contact with her when she is an adult. As CL, you can’t control her behavior or her opinions; all you can do is control yourself and set boundaries for yourself. GL.

  • To add, since you’ve already told your daughter how her showing you the pictures makes you feel, if she continues to do this, next time I would just act indifferent. If she sees that you don’t get a reaction out of it, she may be less motivated to do this. She may be an emotional vampire who feeds off your pain.

    • I think teens are self absorbed, hurting, and just want “normal.” Dad’s feeding the “let’s all be happy blended family crap” as does society in general and I just think Kimmy should just keep parenting. My ex treated me like shit those last few years, while busy fucking me, and dissipating our life’s assets. So a lot to digest and heal from. My job as a parent is to live the truth. Not my truth or his, but THE TRUTH. If nothing else I live it now. I am honest with my children and recognize they suffered too. Recognize your children’s pain and keep on being the sane parent. Enforce those boundaries and keep on loving them. Time will take care of the rest. I know. 😉

  • Note: Marriage to a Cheater, no matter the good times, the beautiful children, the years spent together, and the wealth, will never be what makes you happy. 😀

  • I think all problems related to children can be helped if you remember you will only have them for a limited time. If you are happy with them, you will be thrilled to treasure the time. If you are upset with them, you can remember that “this, too, will pass.”

    Children are more observant than we believe they are. My two were not at all surprised when their dad and I decided to divorce — they guessed it when we said we were going to have a family talk. They did not like fights or yelling going on in the house. They knew who they could depend on when they needed something. They tried the old game of playing us against each other to get what they wanted. They called both of us out if they thought we had done or said something inappropriate. They remember who apologizes and makes amends when a bad decision has been made (I think it is important to acknowledge that you are human and you do make mistakes, and that apologies and amends are necessary). Of course they are selfish and want their own way — they are children! Teenagers are even worse! But if the foundation was laid correctly, and if you were consistent with your rules and consequences, they may get angry, but they will come around.

    They like predictable and dependable, boundaries make them feel secure. The other parent may try to buy their love, or be “Fun” — but this usually does not last long. For one thing, if a parent is selfish and needs instant gratification for his/her own wishes, raising children will not be “FUN” for that parent. My son’s liked food in the house and on the table on a regular basis, clean clothes, transportation to school and events that could be relied upon, having money for their sports/school/and music events. They liked knowing I could be reached on the phone, on time to pick them up, and that I was there when they needed me. Even when I was angry with them I told them I loved them. They probably got sick of hearing “hate the sin, love the sinner” — but they knew what I meant when I said it. I said NO often, I explained that I didn’t have the $’s often. I was the parent who set standards and had realistic expectations. I picked them up and dusted them off when they fell down, I pointed out that their head would be permanently damaged if they didn’t do something to get the swelling down when they were full of themselves.

    The hardest part of co-parenting was at the beginning. After time had passed, it settled down into more of a routine. The boys realized they would have to set boundaries with their dad, the same way they had boundaries at home with me. They told their dad when they did not like something, and if he did not listen (as in, “we don’t want to spend time with your girlfriend du jour when we are coming over to see you,”) then they started telling him they did not want to spend time with him. By that time they had figured that their dad mostly wanted them to try to impress someone else that he was a “good father.” The older they got, the less time they spent with their dad — and the less he asked to see them. They never stopped loving him, and he did not abandon them — I made sure he knew when they had a game or a concert, and any school event. Sometimes he came, sometimes he didn’t. They figured that out on their own, too.

    None of this was what I wanted and envisioned when we decided to have children — but it worked out anyway. You have to have stamina to survive as a parent, and you need to remember that your battles are not your children’s battles, even when it is about them. It is probably wise not to talk about your feelings about your ex or the AP(s). Your children did not ask for their world to be changed either — but they are trying to adapt to “different” and are probably doing better than you are with handling the changes. Don’t make them feel guilty for loving the other parent, it is not a competition though it may feel like one. Usually the new step-parent will not have the same motivations you do for your children, and if there is a rotating new AP change going on frequently, you do not have to be too concerned about the AP’s influence. In all likelihood the kids will know the AP is “useful” or not to your ex. It is harder on them when they figure out that they may be “useful” or not to their parent.

  • Thank God my kids are grown…. part of the reason I stuck it out longer than I wanted…. not sure how to deal with the other person situation related to kids… that has to suck!

    • My kids deal with that whore rarely and only when they have too. Of course the sperm donors thought process is now we are divorced and hes not obligated to be nice or like me he likes me better and wants to spend time with me because he doesnt have to and thats better! WHHHAAATT THE FUCK! who says this shit? Crazy fucking people thats who! The completely disordered. Im sure its the same way with our kids oh shit i have to love them spend time with them i fucking have to cause they are my kids. Oh bother well her goes cause i have to. Shit id much rather be spending time with whores kids cause they are new and sparkly and i dont have too! But my own? Pfffft!!! My kids have seen his actions over the last couple years and the way the whore has inserted her fat ass between him and his kids. They want little to do with her. They either tow the line and get totally on board with her and sperm donor fuck me or off with their heads! Nothing. Sick fucking people. If it were my dad who did to my mom what asswipe did to me and what hes done to them. Id disown my dad but its not my choice better to let the kids see his actions and realize on their own. And the money he throws at them on occasion aint working. They all have realized her and her family mean more to him than they do. Last christmas he spent all of four hours with her alone total and the rest of the time he was off in whore juices family stuff. Basically ignored her she felt it and she was pissed. He has lots of making up to do but he wont. Cause he doesnt have too see its all good. Throw money thats the ticket! This us why me and my girl when she comes home to live with me will be hours away and he wont be welcome in my home. See how he handles that shit. Fucking asshole they just dont get it!

      • Kar marie:

        Yep, same here… I had the same argument with The Evil One every month for about 6 months- February was the very last time I did and will ever have with himagain on the issue that as much as he professes to be working and can’t spend “extra” time with our daughter, he made plenty of extra time with his OWhore and her two kids before she moved in and became Mrs. Dumb-Ass than he did with his own daughter…he had nothing to say except he didn’t/doesn’t spend “extra” time with DD because he doesn’t want to deal with me, Pfffttt, whatever asshole…

        DD doesn’t ever ask, cry. or speak of him anyway — she can’t really miss something she never really had.

    • DavidB, yes I am also glad that my 2 children are in their mid 30s. They were well and truly adults when their father pulled the rug from under not only me but also them and the world they were used to. However, the wall of silence I am greeted with is just numbing. There isn’t anything I can do to reverse it unfortunately, you see the ex planned my exit, set the narrative immediately and the things that have been said about me by my ex husband and our 2 children are just awful. Also, not to mention some of the things that have been done to me. I wish my kids were still teenagers and giving me cheek. At least that would be some kind of conversation but I get nothing. You see I am the emotional parent and my ex is the distant, cold, calculating and cunning parent, so therefore I have been perceived to be unstable.

      • You counter that narrative by find a different path. You can be kind, loving, supportive, and interested in the kids and their families. What you can’t do is rehash the infidelity and the divorce; you can’t take your pain and your rage out for them to see. The situation you are in might be temporary–who knows? You can’t control what was said before or what is said now. What you can control is whether you feed the lie that you are unstable by how you relate to your kids.

        No Contact Ever with the Ex.
        Birthday cards, holiday greetings, etc. to your kids that show you care about them (not about who they show allegiance to).

        I can’t imagine how painful this is, but you have to at some point let go of the situation and focus on your own physical and emotional health and recovery.

  • Kimmy, my kids are grown men now with families of their own…but I still had to shut that shit down. My oldest works with satan so…he sees and puts up with a lot from him. Bout a week ago he came to see me and begged me to talk to satan cause he is having health problems. I told my son, ‘If his lips were moving he was lying to you. He wants you to mention this to me so I will think about him. He fired me from caring about him when he decided to step outside our marriage. He is his own problem now and I won’t be caring to try to fix anything for him at all ever.’ I love that my son has such a huge heart and cares. That is all that I care about. You need to just shut the door on the goings on in your x asshole’s life in order to heal and move on to your amazing cheater free life. You did the right thing and you did it better than I would have I am sure. I spent over 3 years just trying to stop crying and breathe. I can’t imagine doing it with children to care for. You are mightier than you know. (((((Kimmy))))) 🙂

  • Great advice!I have found my young children, not teens, need similar boundaries. They both tend to push their behaviors now, acting out more, especially mouthing off when they don’t want to do something, arguing. I’ve been nipping it immediately, but was also wondering if I was adding to the family crap and felt a little guilty. I’ve also had to talk to my 20-something son about defending his cheating step-dad because he feels awkward in a discussion about what’s happening. I asked him to stop doing that. This post really helped me to feel confident about what I’m doing. HOWEVER, this also helped me realize that I don’t need to be talking about it even in front of my older children, either. I need to re-establish some of my own boundaries and keep them. Thank you!

  • Years ago, I read a book called “Emotional Incest” that deal in detail with the problems of getting kids involved in adult business, including “carrying” the emotions of their parents (meaning the parent is angry or sad at X and expresses that to the child who is now also angry or sad at X, while the parent feels some relief. The child is carrying some of that emotion). What I took away from that book is the importance of maintaining the strong boundary between parents’ business and the child. Where that boundary is strong, kids can count on the strong-boundary parent to be the grownup and manage both the home and the parents’ emotions. Where the boundary is weak, kids turn their focus into partnering with the weakened parents and taking up an adult role, which they aren’t ready for. Adults have friends, therapists, hairdressers, religious figures, and support group members to talk to about their own pain. It sucks that in the horrific pain cauldron of infidelity, chumps have to (after the first few weeks) pull it together and maintain those boundaries, with help from other adults.

    Look–pick-me dancing isn’t just about the triangle between Chump, Cheater and AP. It also can start up between Chump, Cheater and Child. And the person who starts it up can be the kid, whose deepest fear might be total abandonment or, on a lesser scale, concern that the family will be totally non-functional. What could be worse than one parents taking up with an AP and starting a new “family” and the other one in horrific pain? Kids who have been raised on triangulation and watching the serving of endless shit sandwiches have to learn (as we chumps do) that nothing good comes of living that way. Don’t put your kid into a pick-me dance. And don’t allow yourself to pick-me dance with the AP for the child’s attention.

    We have to learn to see a pick-me dance when it starts up–whether at home, at work, or among friends. We have to know a shit sandwich when we see one.

    • LAJ – I could not have said it better myself. The cheater has no qualms about putting a child in an emotional incest dance. As chumps, we MUST refused to partake or we become no better than the cheater.

      Recognizing this is yet another hurdle we must jump. It is what it is whether we like it or not.

  • When my ex ran off to be with the blonde, I tried to ‘do the right thing’. Drive the kids over to see hIim. Pick them up. I ended up with more and more abuse from the ex and his OW. The day I had enough was when I went to pick my daughter up one day from his and the OWs house and he came to the door and said to me when was I going to start treating OW with respect. I think my jaw hit the ground. She had certainly shown me no respect by sleeping with my husband. I had steam coming out my ears.

    I went home and said to my kids that was it. I would never again take them to their father’s place. If he wanted to see them, he had to make the effort and pick them up and drop them off. I was totally done. They were welcome to see him whenever they liked but they had to organise it (they were teenagers at the time). That was nealy 4 years ago now. My son saw his dad once after that, nearly 3 years ago. My daughter hasn’t seen him coming on two years now and only a handful of times before that. Their father just doesn’t bother with them at all. It is quite remarkable how when I set up that boundary, I stopped enabling my ex and he never stepped up to be their father.

    They never even mention him. My kids and I are really happy in our lives!!

    • My children do not think about their father, who abandoned them 4 years ago. He made a few weak attempts to see them post D-Day, and with my encouragement they tried to see him a few times. But in the end, the children decided ex was not worth it since he ended up with one of his AP’s (who he has since married). For his part, ex does not appear to care in the least and does not ask about or check in on the children, not even the youngest who is 16. He has missed everything from parent nights, sporting events, and honor society awards, to college and law school,graduations, without blinking.

      My children know what ex did and what he probably is, a charming sociopath, and a man who led a double life for decades before being caught. This has taught them to enforce very clear boundaries in their own relationships, to question the sincerity of people and particularly love interests in their own lives, and to hone and use their (not inconsiderable) skills of discernment. Their impresssive ability to analyze and honor any feeling of discomfort they experience in a relationship and to set very firm limits was honed by the incredible deception their father perpetrated. Sometimes I wish we could just all go back to our more innocent days, when these superpowers didn’t seem to be necessary, but then that would be just like the lie that was my marriage for so long.

      • Very well said, Kelly. I firmly believe we had perfect lives, right up until our spouses chose to cheat. It has been a hard lesson though and we both want more for our precious kids too. A spouse committed to a loving partner, to marriage, to kids, to family. A proper legacy. I want that. Cheaters really suck at this though…. #epicfail

  • I have four kids who were all teenagers at D-Day. WAW was cheating with middle sons best friend’s dad. She had my daughter, who was 20 y.o. at the time, buy WAW a second cell phone so she could continue to talk to her OP. Told my daughter that she was getting ready to leave me, that I was a bad husband, bad father, and drunk. Eventually, my daughter bought mom a pregnancy test because she thought she was PG and didn’t want me to find out. My daughter was a willing participant in the cover-up and lies. Basically, three of the four kids knew she was cheating and no one said anything. It was and is very painful. I’m trying to rebuild carefully, but they were all (WAW and kids) old enough to know this was wrong.

    Now, almost four years later, oldest son will not talk to his mother. He said he has lost all respect for her. Middle son lives with WAW and her new husband, who she started dating after OP left her. Seems like the middle son is still seeking approval, or just doesn’t care. The youngest son lives with me. He turns 18 in August, graduates high school in June 2017. Youngest son sees mom, maybe 1x per month. I’ve caught him using drugs recently, it is very hard being a single parent when I have to work two jobs to survive. Relationship with daughter is odd, we’ve only spoke about the incident and what happened a couple of times, very time she says something it is just more trickle truth and lies. Forgiveness is hard. It’s not odd that I haven’t reached meh yet, but am working on it. It is difficult anytime i see or talk to the kids.

  • Wow, ffghtr67, it’s amazing how many families struggle after a parent blows up the marriage. Cheaters move on to a new game and leave all the wounded behind to deal with their mess. No surprise there. My kids, all three, were affected too. All are walking wounded. There father was unhappy for many years, married to me and fucking his racquetball partner. Not one is seeking an intimate relationship, and I worry…. They are just throwing themselves into work and friends. Six years out and I get bits and pieces of truth and what it was like for them to grow up with a father who eventually ran away with his mistress and a clueless mom who loved and placed her family first. Like most children they will hope that a successful marriage will be had when they don’t do anything I have done. I missed the signs for sure.

  • “and if she can’t have her intact family, then she’ll go with the next pleasant narrative We’re All Happier Now and Everyone Can Be Friends.”

    this is hard to understand at first, but once you’ve experienced it for a while it really makes sense. there’s no way kids/teenagers can be expected to understand our feelings on this. they really don’t want to and i don’t blame them. they need the happy narrative so that they can keep moving through their lives with relative positivity. let them have it.

    don’t take the bait. think of it as a shit test – if you bite the sandwich they know they feed you another one. if you can be consistently chilled about it then they’ll move on.

  • The thing with the kids is odd. My husband (also a chump) had his ex take his child and head off to find love on the internet when the child was 10 years old. I heard from the child that they had a whole new family planned out, but it didn’t work out. New siblings and everything. Wow. Pulling a 10 year old in on deceiving your spouse is not good.

    Now, two or three internet fiances and one stepdad later, and 15 years later, the child is a beast. The stepdad had enough of her mom, and mom inherited a few dollars and wouldn’t think to pay any of her bills, and they divorced. The kid came out to visit and assaulted me in my home and told me I had no rights in my home because it was her dad’s house and she could do anything she wanted in her dad’s house and I had nothing to say about it. But none of that was true and she knew it. I sold my house and her dad sold his house and we bought our house, where we can do what we want. So we waved goodbye and vowed never to have that thing in our home ever again. A year later, the child graduated from college and married, all in a weekend. She did not invite her father. She hasn’t given him an address in years, because her mother lives with her and her husband, and we do get calls all the time from mom’s creditors. He might get a text: Happy Birthday Dad! or Merry Christmas Dad! But we don’t send gifts anymore because we don’t have a relationship with this person and we don’t have an address. That is probably best.

  • STBX is trying to alienate DD #3, she is 17. She is the most fragile of the 4 kids emotionally. Since abandonment 5/15 she has been arrested for alcohol related offenses twice, tried to kill herself twice, dropped out of 11th grade and given up all friends and activities– too depressed and anxious. She was a competitive dancer and cheerleader with dozens of friends before D-Day (she discovered – POS blamed her for snooping).
    6 weeks ago she tried to kill herself again – with multiple drugs and alcohol- and I took her to the ER and demanded a parent initiated treatment in the behavioral unit (they kept her 7 days) then transferred her by secure car to another state for treatment (kids here can consent to refuse treatment at 13).

    POS has been inconsistent with showing up. He told DS she just needed to spend more time with her cats, he yelled at her that she’s “fucking insane” but then flipped and said he would let her drive again right away (I won’t- she drove in blackouts). DS started saying she wanted to live with “daddy” when she gets out. He encouraged this although he hides where he lives – he’s been lying said he broke up with AP in January, never lived with her, is “sorry”, wants our family back (but still blames me for everything – all unicorn – no real reconciliation actions- was outraged when I suggested a post nuptial, etc.).

    Last week while planning discharge I called their bluff: go live with him if you must. I won’t be triangulated and blamed and villianizes by both for enforcing safety rules.

    POS seriously back peddled. I showers proof from PI I hired that he’s been living with AP this whole time -paying 100% for an expensive one-bedroom apartment downtown. Then the latest bombshell! He couldn’t be bothered to pick up DD from release date because he is on a 10-day “business” trip in Italy. In 25 years with me he refused to leave the US – said we had no $$ for that. PI confirmed that he took AP on the Italian vacation. All while our daughter is in the treatment center.

  • Here is what my son did at only 2 years old!
    He was seeing his father on weekends, but upon his return, he would not say a word about how he has spent his time. Nothing. It was like he had 2 worlds and did not mix them.
    Sometimes curiosity would make me ask some question, how he spent his time…but I would get silence.
    My son could feel that I was hurt and he was protecting my feelings…

    Oh, but when he was upset and wanted to hurt me, he would call me OW’s name. At 2!
    Children know exactly what buttons to push, it’s something instinctive.

    You were very gracious in how you approached your daughter. All you have to do from now on is to keep your ground. Do it to protect yourself, as a form of self respect. Do it for yourself.

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