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Dear Chump Lady, Why does he ignore my questions?

ignoreDear Chump Lady,

Unfortunately, I have to text my Cheater every couple of days regarding logistics with our son, and divorce issues.

What’s up with him ignoring or deflecting direct questions? He will either answer another question, or just ignore them. Why doesn’t he at least give me a yes or a no?

Thank you.


Dear Highview,

Yes and no are so definitive. Where’s the power in that?

Highview, you’re looking at this logically. Son has need. Both parents try to meet that need and share need-meeting responsibilities. Communication ensues.

Wrong. To a freak it goes like this:

Son has a need. (Yeah so?) Ex has a need. (Who the hell does she think she is? Not the boss of ME!) I don’t address needs. I don’t share responsibilities. You wanted a kid — YOU parent. 

As it is, I have to do So Many Unfair Things! Pay court-ordered support. Actually SPEND TIME with my child (although there is some upside here, as that deprives you of the child, and that really seems to irk you.) But children are so needy. Little logistical nightmares, what with their birthday parties. dental appointments, and sports schedules. You want me to answer QUESTIONS that YOU decide upon? I’m not your little bitch, Highview. 

You want a question answered. He sees answering questions as relinquishing some sort of power. He’s not going to be party to your perverted agenda!

Does that make you insane with frustration? Does it keep everyone waiting on him, conferring centrality and kibbles? Does it just make you try harder? (And confer yet MORE kibbles?) WINNING!

Obstruction is for WINNERS! Cooperation is for LOSERS.

I hear you, Highview. But, but… we’re partners! We created this little human together. Surely we can put aside our differences for the welfare of our child?

There is only one child — your ex. He is the center of his universe and you are peripheral, except as caregiver to His Needs. You used to be of some use, Highview. But then you did the unthinkable and are DIVORCING HIM.

The divorce was his idea? Doesn’t matter. You’re supposed to just understand what he wants without him ever having to communicate it. You failed to receive the unspoken message? You shall be punished.

The divorce was YOUR idea? How dare you have agency! How dare you quit being of use to him! You shall be punished.

The child? Children don’t need answers or schedules or predictability. If cheater freak is happy, the child-extension will be happy too. If child is not happy? If child failed to received the unspoken message that said “I am NEVER wrong! And my happiness is paramount!” Child shall be punished. Or at least ignored because his needs are inconvenient.

Highview — he’s getting off on thwarting you. It’s just what these fuckwits do.

If you think I’m being harsh — try and come up with a reasonable alternative for his stonewalling. He really doesn’t have the answer? He’s got short-term memory loss and forgot what you asked? He’s got dementia and forgot you two exist?

If he doesn’t know — he can say “I don’t have an answer to that, but I’ll find out.” Or he could state a need or express a feeling. “I’m really angry with you and I don’t want to tell you.” He could give you some kind of information to WORK WITH that acknowledges the importance of the relationship — with you as a co-parent, and with your child who is effected by his answers.

But the fact that he does NOT help you, that he withholds and thwarts, means he values the kibbles of obstructionism over everyone else’s welfare.

I suggest that you don’t try to co-anyting with this guy. Get a court order for custody and ABIDE by it. Document every time he fails to respond, and what effect that has on your child’s welfare. Use scheduling software and only communicate with him by email (which is time-stamped).

Eventually, you’ll probably have to be back in court with him, but at least you’ll be armed with a load of documentation that demonstrates his REFUSAL to co-parent.

Try to do everything humanly possible to not involve him or need him to perform ANY parenting role that is not court-ordered. Does that mean more work for you? Yes. Suck it up.

His non-responses and subterfuges mean one thing — you’re in this parenting gig by yourself. Wake up to that reality. No amount of nag-by-net reminders are going to change that. You bred with a fuckwit. We feel your pain.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I have the same issue with mine. Luckily our kids are grown but we are trying to deal with the last property and coming up with a legal separation agreement and he gives no cooperation in either regard. He ignores emails or answers in trickles. It is very frustrating and expensive. Of course he blames me for the delays–ummm no I’ve provided everything I have been asked for while he discloses nothing. I also am left to try to maintain a large property by myself. I do know what that is about –I stayed,on the advise of my lawyer after he had almost convinced to leave,promising wreckonciliation that he had no intention of following through with since he subsequently moved in with his AP that I knew nothing about. It was a ploy to get me out..I was a chump….

    • Sad – I’m so sorry you have to deal with such an asshole – he sounds truly disordered. They do hate for us to have anything they perceive as the upper hand – it’s like we’re stealing their favorite chocolate covered kibble. My fucktard and I have a son that just graduated from high school so we have minimal contact except when I’ve had to chase him around to keep utilities from getting disconnected, or to get reimbursed for purchases we agreed to make for our kids together, or to sign taxes, or or or… but no more sadlady, now I ask once, then pay it myself, document it, and (try to) suck it up and move on. As chumps, we like some order, we like to know that things are taken care of, and we think adults will behave like adults. Our exes are barely scratching the surface of normal human behavior, so let’s join together in using that knowledge to gain some peace of mind by taking care of our own shit and letting the attorneys and their AP’s handle their fucked up needs.

    • Been there Sad. It sucks. My ex dragged our divorce out over meaningless trivia for months. Even though he was paying more in temporary support than he would have to pay under the final decree. That was just stupid on his part and against his own interest but he knew I wanted out so… Keep the faith because eventually it does end when the divorce is final and all the financial details are done. My last communication with the ex was him emailing me to be sure and send him any refund from paying off the HELOC on the marital residence. I told him that the check was going to be less than $4 but he wanted to make sure HE got that money not me. So I did send it. Eventually. I waited a good month before putting it in the mail. Maybe longer. You know, now that I think about it, that check did say it was only good for 90 days and that may have passed. Oops, my bad. 😉

  • Weird enough. My cheater STBXW does No-contact with me. But she is dragging heels in the divorce. I think she gets a kick out of it, because I need to contact HER with regards to kids, activities etc. I try to avoid contacting her at all. She doesn’t contact me at all with regards to kids , nothing.

    But she is dragging heels in the divorce (greedy ex wife)… and I so want to contact her and tell her to sign the f-enning papers so I can continue, but then she wins.We could have been divorced 8 months ago, but she is sitting tight, enjoy banging her affair partner, while I pay 2/3 her rent, the luxury SUV she is driving (which she can’t afford).

    I so want to bombard her with message to get divorce done.. but she’ll just laugh and keep on sucking …

    • Doesn’t sound like you have a court date. If not, file and let your attorney handle all the divorce related stuff, you only do the kid stuff. Jedi Hugs!

      • Thanks Datdamwuf. My attorney is busy getting a court date. But only next by the looks of it.

        • Let the attorney deal with her. You know that she is loving the financial arrangement as it is. And she gets the obstruction kibbles by dragging her feet and refusing to cooperate. Get the court date and let her see how lawyer-flavored kibbles taste.

          • Thanks LovedAJackass. Yip.. I know she is loving the financial arrangement (thanks to the courts).

            “she gets the obstruction kibbles by dragging her feet and refusing to cooperate”

            That is what irks me a boatload. She is dating/banging her affair partner who she “loves” (she told me before she left). But yet.. can’t divorce me ? If he was so hot and awesomesause…. why still be married to me for 1 year (and dragging heels?)

            Got lawyer papers today for court… starting to get everything together.

            “Get the court date and let her see how lawyer-flavored kibbles taste.”

            You bet your buns 🙂 Hope she chokes on them

        • I had the same thing with my XH, though we did not have kids in the mix. He dragged his heels the entire time. Truly, the only reason I’m now divorced is that I set a court date.

          • Truly, the only reason I’m now divorced is that I set a court date.

            This is were mine will end too.

        • Yep, the reality of court dates and consequences are cheaters’ worst enemies, but chumps’ best validation/sanity restoration strategy.

          Mine dragged on the divorce proceedings for months, but eventually it got finalized, bringing me the peace and finality I needed to focus on my recovery and minimizing the ongoing joint custody shit sandwiches.

          Hang in there SDK, the ongoing pain of the divorce limbo is rough, but the pain is finite and it all gets easier once the final decree is done.

          • Thanks Chumptitude. Yip.. I’m already done with her crap Hopefully court date will scare her straight into settlement.

            • SDK, this is what it did with exasshole, but he still drug it out, he settled ONE week before the court date. I knew he would settle because he never sent in one thing in Discovery. File for cause if you have that option. PS: exasshole was also living with his girlfriend during that time…

              • @Datdamwuf .

                You know .. I know deep down she is going to fight me. She might back out like your exasshole a week before, but knowing my ex, she is going to court just to show me the middle finger.

                Why is say she’ll go to court. She said “SDK, you always had your way” (never specified what I had my way). But she always had HER way , the cars we drove , the house , the tiles in the house, the colour of the house, the swimming pool, the 3 dogs, the NAMES of the dogs, the kids names, what she wanted she got.. I gave her EVERYTHING, yet she tells me I always had my way.

                So she’ll go to court just to show me. Funny thing is she is dating her affair partner who she “loves” but yet she guns for my money (little bit I have).. and dont’ want to settle the divorce.

                I wish she would marry/move in with him, then I can pay less CS :).

    • File, file, fiile. I tried Ex wanted mediation and dragged his feet. we filed and in less than 30 days it was done!

    • SDK,

      I just want to chime in and let you know I can relate.

      What a fucking bitch. And you’re right not to reach out to her. Not only will it give her a giggle, it might be used to paint you as a violent stalker or worse. Such is the plight of male chumps in the courts.

      What a fucking cumdumpster-fire she is showing herself to be.

      (sorry, CL removed meme)

      • Oh, and she’s doing “silent treatment,” *not* “no-contact.”

        • Thanks Ian. You are actually correct. It’s silent treatment from her…

          “What a fucking bitch. And you’re right not to reach out to her. Not only will it give her a giggle, it might be used to paint you as a violent stalker or worse. Such is the plight of male chumps in the courts.”

          I learned my lesson with the courts (she wanted more money). Us men get kicked in the goonies in court. I was honest in my budgets/expenses etc. She lied.. she got her way. I lost faith in the courts with this…

          Thanks again Ian!

          • “Us men get kicked in the goonies in court. ”

            Actually, the man I refer to as Nexhole (Narcisstic EX —HOLE) stole from me in court what I was most concerned about…my girls’ safety. He is a tier 3 sex offender, yet he got 60% custody of my stepdaughter (who has called me mom since she was 2, but around him she’s always corrected), and 50% custody of our daughter. Until I can prove he is not safe for them to be around (his offense was back in ’86 and not charges or convictions since…I think he has learned to cover his tracks), I have to put up with it. He got the house in the divorce as well. I’ve been struggling to get on my feet, so I haven’t been able to get more than 1 thing tested, and it came back negative.

      • Sorry Ian (and welcome back, you were missed!) but I took down the meme, as it doesn’t look exactly like clip art or meme stuff, but like someone whose visage shouldn’t be shared. (Like bad Halloween costume?)

        • I am sorry to cause trouble with my meme, Chump Lady. I am humbled by your kind words.

          You are truly a mighty potty-mouthed Angel of Divorce!

          • Mighty Potty-Mouthed Angel of Divorce
            I think CL just found her business card title.

  • Do some research on passive aggression and get some tools to deal with it. It is very difficult to navigate but there are ways to go about it that can make your life easier.

    My ex ignores logistical texts often – largely because I instituted the no contact rule unless it had to do with child logistics and it is his petty way of trying to regain some control.

    I just go ahead and make plans, if I have heard from in time to include him, and he can now fit in or fuck off.

    If he tries his passive aggressive nonsense (which had me going nuts for some time), I now just set boundaries and stick to them.


    1) Drop off time for little one is at 5pm

    2) ex often comes early or late, depending on what suits him and how angry he is with me at the time / how much he is trying to mess up my arrangements

    3) If I have an appointment at 5.30, I now just leave at 5.15 (15 mins grace for ex so I’m not being unreasonable), but not waiting and getting stressed out because I am late for a dinner or whatever.

    4) ex arrives at 6.30 and phones in a temper asking where I am. I say the bus left at 5.15 and he can drop little one at new location at his leisure

    5) no more late arrivals by ex.

    Pretty simple.

    I would suggest you apply this to any arrangements that you need to make with the little one – makes your life much more unfuckable with.

    Good luck!

    • Nicole – you’ve proven if there is nothing in it for them (you being angry, late for an appointment) they will eventually back off. For people who have no emotions, they are desperate to create emotions in others. When you deal with them without emotion, there is no payoff.

      BTW – “fit in or fuck off” – my new favorite mantra! Brilliant!

      • I absolutely love this too. I’m adding it to my list. I went against no contact Sunday night with Fucktard because I promised him that I would let him know when our aging dog had to be put down. I told him I had the appointment with the vet on Tuesday and if he wanted to see him before then, he could on Monday. He missed his appointment by one hour when I got a text that he just couldn’t work up the courage to say goodbye and if I would let him know if he got put down.

        I didn’t reply. I wanted to call him a fucking coward, to be a man, and come and say goodbye to his dog. I also wanted to spew that this wasn’t about him, it was about losing our dog and the only reason I told him was because I keep my promises, but I would not stop grieving for one damn minute to text him and tell him that his dog was gone. Fucking coward. But I went back to NC after upholding my word. I texted my sister and she hit me upside the head with the figurative 2×4 for even letting him know the dog situation, but chumpy me felt it important to keep my word.

        • Annie, I am so sorry to hear about your dog. They are so pure and trustworthy and loyal. And the loss is almost unbearable.

          You kept your promise because you live by values that define you.
          Hugs and Support.

          • Thank you for your thoughts. My precious dog got someone who has cared for him alone for the past year, and I actually think that’s better.

        • Oh Anne, that is heartbreaking. Of course he had to insinuate himself into such a difficult situation. I am sorry for your loss. My condolences.

          • Thanks Ian. I really didn’t expect nothing else from the coward that he is. I just added another entry to the list of his douchbag moves because it reminded me of the dozens of times he avoided difficult things because it was too hard for him. The next time he complains about the quality of his life, I’m going to suggest I make an appointment for him with my vet. I bet it won’t be hard and I won’t be crying.

        • Annie, so sorry you had to put the wrong dog down.

          Never apologize for being a decent human

          • I’m sorry for your loss Annie. Too bad you couldn’t have put down your cheater and got the silent treatment from the dog.

          • I’ve been crying most of the day, so yeah, I think I put the wrong dog down. Hmmm, what could I tell the vet about Fucktard so that she’d agree it’s time? He has violent outbursts and appears to be rabid. He won’t stop humping willing bitches. He goes into whinny whimpers and wont get off the furniture for entire weekends. He runs after sparkly things and cannot be controlled…. oh the list could go on and on. In fact, this is quite the feel-good exercise.

            Thanks CN for helping me through today.

        • I’m so sorry for your loss Annie. I’m especially sorry your grief was interrupted by a fucktard.

          About six weeks after I kicked my (now ex) fucktard out of the house, we found out one of our 1 year old dogs (we had a brother and sister) had a rare kidney tumor and had to be put down. He literally went from healthy puppy to dying overnight. My daughter and I stayed with him at the Vets all day waiting for my son and husband to get off work and meet us there to say goodbye. Afterwards, I was so devastated by the unexpected loss that I asked my fucktard to come home with me we could comfort each other. He looked at me and said “No. I have to go back to work.” At 6 p.m. No apology, no hesitation. He didn’t even think about it. Just said no. And that was when he was really trying to convince me that I should forgive him and let him come home. I should have known right then that the marriage was doomed but it took me another two years to figure it out. Duh.

          • Sorry for your loss, too, Beth. Poor puppy. Your X showed his true colors. It’s all about him.

          • What a jackass. I’m sorry you had to go through that Beth. Pets are so therapeutic because they always show affection, listen to all your woes without interruption or worthless advice, do random stuff to make you laugh. The dog I put down was a Jack Russell Terrier. Several years ago he ran toward the creek after what he thought was a small bird. As he got closer, the bird took off. It was a blue heron. The dog ran faster back to the house and didn’t leave my side for the rest of the day. He never chased birds again.

            • We’re a JRT family, too,my daughter & I. I know how hard they bond, & how huge their presence is.
              Oddly enough there’s a blue heron story-Ruby, one of my JD’s daughter’s, is my mom’s dog, and is an escape artist. She darts out the front door & runs straight to our neighbor’s house across the road, they have a dog, kids, & a pond, so she likes to explore there.
              She got out one morning & ran to the pond, just when a heron was coming in for a landing. For some reason, this bird dove straight at Ruby, & flew by inches above her head. We didn’t have to chase her back that day, she was done. 🙂

        • Very sorry about the loss of your dog. It is so painful to say goodbye to those loyal companions. I just wanted to say that I think you were right to let him know about the dog. Your story shows that cheaters, drug abusers and other disordered types are no good at the tough moments of life that are not all about them. Staying away from the dog rather than saying goodbye? All about his comfort, his unwillingness to deal with loss and grief. Been there, done that with XH the drinker and Jackass.

          However, while I am a true believer in no contact, I am also a true believer in “do unto other what you would have them do unto you.” The decent thing to do was let him know and decide for himself if he was man enough to say goodbye to his pet. Chances are, with these folks, they can’t face the responsibility and the grief, neither of which are over in an instant. But you did the right thing all around, including going back to no contact when he passed on his opportunity to show a little love and compassion, not just for the dog but for you as the person carrying the burden of ending a life.

          • Thank you for that LaJ. I really, really, really, did not want to contact him to tell him but I felt I had to. I did however wait to tell him giving him only one day to say goodbye. I did not want drama over the holiday weekend. So as uneffingbelievable said, he can, “Fuck off.”

        • So sorry about your dog. So sad. Cheaters even get in the way of such an emotional situation. God they suck.

          • Annie,
            So sorry for the loss of your beloved dog…A year ago I presented my now ex-husband with a puppy for our anniversary. He had given me a car as my gift. Fast forward a year later, and I have both. No way was I leaving such a loving, loyal, sweet creature with someone capable of throwing commitments away like trash. My dog is a blessing to me, and I can only imagine your pain. My divorce became final last week (confronting him about dragging the process out in front of his skank at the mall brought about this miracle!) and I am free and almost at Meh thanks to my pup for getting me up every morning and giving me reason to get out and explore. Your pup understood who truly loved him and was at peace when he crossed over…be at peace knowing that! XOXO

      • “For people who have no emotions, they are desperate to create emotions in others. When you deal with them without emotion, there is no payoff.”

        This was so insightful, thanks! Everything is now a business transactions about boundaries, timetables (making it clear in writing that if he does NOT respond, that counts as responding/approving what I suggested and asked his feedback for).

        I know that when I used to get angry, or cry that was the only time he seemed to care about me, and asking nicely that we collaborate on being partners resulted in avoidance and outright passive-aggressiveness.

        • Agreed, this resonates. XBF Doucheturd said to me “I love to watch you emote”.
          I see now that dead XH was sociopath whose greatest delight was evoking panic or outrage in me.
          They feel vicariously, through us.

        • This is worth repeating, I think: “Everything is now a business transactions about boundaries, timetables (making it clear in writing that if he does NOT respond, that counts as responding/approving what I suggested and asked his feedback for).” That’s a neat solution to avoid waiting for replies that aren’t coming.

        • Thank you CN for these brilliant insights. Highview, here is in a nutshell a great tutorial on how to communicate with your X:

          Nicole – Within the parameters of a divorce decree, declarative, detailed yet courteous “fit in or fuck off” is the most productive approach to communicating with an X that has a high conflict personality!

          uneffingbelievable – “For people who have no emotions, they are desperate to create emotions in others. When you deal with them without emotion, there is no payoff.” – Best definition of Grey Rock I’ve seen 🙂

          sterling – “Everything is now a business transactions about boundaries, timetables (making it clear in writing that if he does NOT respond, that counts as responding/approving what I suggested and asked his feedback for).”

          If you share custody, court-approved software like custodyxchange, ourfamilywizard, or talkingparents can make a huge difference in your ability to document your X’s behavior (or silent treatment).

          Having kids with a disordered person is exhausting but your son needs you to be the sane parent, you got this Highview, I hope you will give us updates here on in the forum, keep forging on!

    • One thing I think Nicole (and 4am 4ever above) do that seems key is to make one attempt and use it as a boundary. It’s my guess that it’s important that the responsible Chump be able to show the court an attempt to be reasonable. But that means ONE attempt, which isn’t always intuitive to chumps who are getting over ywars of being trained to accommodate.

      So you name a time, you show up on time, and you give the person a reasonable time window to arrive. That’s reasonable and an honest try to comply with an agreement. Then the next contact comes and you name a new time, lather rinse repeat. You learn boundaries, the cheater sees that you now know how to set and hold boundaries, and the court sees a healthy, responsible person trying (unsuccessfully, through no fault of his/her own) to share custody with an irresponsible person.

      Then, when you document the situation, you document your own actions, too, not just the irresponsible parent’s actions. Factually, not emotionally.

      These people are wise. Wish I had followed their advice years ago when I got divorced. It would have made a world of difference.

    • Wow, thanks for all the great advice!! I like the once and done with the questions. He really is messing with me on purpose on this isn’t he? Like Chump Lady said, what a child!! I can see how it would be tempting to ‘fight back with the same’, but I refuse to be dragged down into the gutter. I can see now how he’s done this throughout our marriage in other ways as well.

  • “If cheater freak is happy, the child-extension will be happy too.”

    SO much truth here. I witness it every day, and in her very few candid moments she’s admitted it (without truly understanding what she was admitting to, of course).

    • Oh God, this too. I can see it clear as day now. He’s all cocky thinking our son is the ultimate human being spawn ever to grace the Earth. He has forever bragged about how our son will inherit his amazing athletic ability. Cheater insists he would have been an Olympic Champion if he had better parents. Son clearly is not super motivated in that way. He loves to do other things, like Robotics, more ‘nerdy’ stuff. We’ll see how this plays out. Cheater Ass also insists our son will get into college on a sports scholarship, hence, he’s never saved a dime for it.

  • Every question is answered with ” well, what about you? If you hadn’t_______.
    It’s like arguing with a toddler, but way less fun.
    Glad I don’t have to do it anymore, but it’s infuriating when he does ( and rarely this dos happen) get me to engage in conversation with him re why our grown kids can’t have a relationship with him and I try to review the reasons why….yet again……and he pipes right up with “but what about you? If you hadn’t….”

    • Ack! False equivalencies!
      Roll your eyes and stop having the same conversation over and over.
      Grown kids = the freedom of true No Contact, that path to the truth and the light!

    • Paintwidow–I agree with AOoK here–you’re still trying to reason with a fuckwit. Do you try to teach algebraic equations to garden rocks? No, because you know better. Do you try to make an infant run a 26-mile race? No, because they can’t. Same with reason & cheaters; to them, your explanations are just more little hooks to keep you invested. No need to respond; he wants a relationship with his adult children, let him do the work to get it. Don’t step into the triangle.

      • Can you use another example other than algebra? I was the garden rock and still randomly scream, “Letters do not belong in math!” Fucking algebra. I think I still harbor resentment toward that particular teacher. I should bring it up in therapy. 🙂

          • Isn’t that a rock band? I say you can’t teach a fuckwit rock-paper-scissors. They always pick rock, it’s in their nature.

      • Agreed. The proper response to, “why don’t [insert adult children’s names here] talk to me/visit more often/etc.?” is “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask them?”

        Or just don’t respond at all, as you know that the question is his version of click-bait.

    • Mine too when we were supposedly reconciling. I wish I knew this site then.

  • THIS, is why I’m happy to have finally left to return to my home country, leaving him in the Nordic region, 15000 km away. Even now, I can’t even schedule a solid time each week for him to Skype the kids. Seeking some routine time that they can expect to talk to their dad is too much to ask. He has to be able to call at his whim and expects us to answer the phone so the children can speak with him whenever he calls. Ugh.

    • Yes jj! It’s always on their schedule. They still have waiting on them – therefore thinking about them – even 15000 km away. Argh, I feel your frustration. Like nicole (above) suggests – set a time & if he doesn’t call during that window, well, see ya next week.

    • It took almost a year to get ex (in Scandinavia) and S13 (we are back home in US) to Skype at a regular time each week. Unfortunately S13 is as stubborn as his father and has no use for him so getting son to talk became the challenge. I finally gave up this year and switched to bribery. Son gets extra allowance if he at least talks to his dad for a bit each regularly scheduled time. I feel sorry for ex in that his first son (different mother) has been no contact and his second son has to be paid in order to talk to him once a week.

      • Why pay your son for something he doesn’t want to do?. As my pastor counseled me regarding something much larger between my son and his dad (whom he hasn’t spoken to in almost three years now), do I really want my son to learn that it’s ok to disregard his moral compass in the name of money? The answer is NO. It is not your responsibility to maintain your ex’s relationship with his son. That is his own work to do. I guarantee you he will throw a temper tantrum and blame you for his shitty relationship (or lack of) with his son. Don’t let it stick; it’s not yours.

      • Don’t feel sorry for your ex Shadowfire. He created his own problems.
        Save your empathy for your son & yourself -people who deserve it.
        Wishing you peace on your journey.

        My 4 kids (2 are over 18) don’t want to be around or talk to their father either. I don’t force them. They need to self-preserve just like we do. Being around or talking to “f’d-up” people isn’t healthy for anyone especially impressionable children. My kids have shown me how smart they are & how dumb I’ve been staying with the cheater for their sake. Not a wise decision in the long run. We separated anyway. There’s only so much one person can take. Peace to all who still have to co-parent with the ‘f’d-up”.

      • OH Shadowfine, you gotta stop that. My son, age 8, is already telling me he doesn’t want to go see his Dad some weekends. I will not force him to go. BUT, I make him communicate with his Dad about his desires. It will never go through me. His Dad does not argue with him. He does not tell his son, “I miss you and I want to see you”. My son is managing that relationship. This will serve him well in adulthood.

    • jj – big time boundary needed here. Let asshat know what window of time he can call. If he can’t manage to find the time in that window, well too bad so sad. Go on and get on with raising your children without him. You are mighty.

  • Cheaterpants stbx wants to text & have conversations while I try to go no contact. I ask precise questions about child care & reply with precise answers, nothing more. What I find amusing is that he was not interested in raising the children one iota while we were married. Now he can’t wait to have a conversation with me. I think it’s more image control & mind fuckery. If I communicate with him it’ll prove his serial cheating was not all bad because see how well we are getting along now ! It was for the best ! Waiting patiently for Tuesday … ?

    • It’s about the control. You took away everything else. It’s the only way they have left to demonstrate any control over you and they hide under the curtain that says “do it for the children” but as mine said to me “I’ll always be in your life, we have kids together.” I saw that as a threat so I reminded him “When he is 18 I no longer have to acknowledge your existence. You only have 8 years of head games left to play.” (I was a very chummy chump until d-day – then I got bitchy.)

      • That’s what snail mail and dedicated email channels are for–you can disseminate information without getting into a conversation. Text messaging is just a mainline into your life and brain.

  • “TheClip” taught me this simple phrase “I don’t co-parent” and I took it to heart. I only text or email Narkles the Clown if necessary. I have No Contact with a kid down to a near science. I only have to deal with him about twice a month, mostly because he can’t parent and has something better to do and I need to step up or because he want to argue about expenses, you know I buy too many luxuries and am spoiling the child with…. shoes. Does it mean I make all the kid’s doctors appointments,take him and get the lab work done, handle the permission slips, cupcakes for class parties, summer arrangements, activities, etc.? Yes, but I was doing all that before anyway so it doesn’t change anything. I have to fork over my kids 50% of the time, that’s my huge shit sandwich. I refuse to put any others on my plate.

    I guess my point is stop asking for anything. Start telling, and document, document, document! You never know when you may end up back in court with an asshat!

    • The pressure to cooperatively “co parent” must be very hard. Major cheaterpants was an unpredictable parent…when were married and raising our kids, he had sparkily spurts where he was “on” and seemed interested, but he would go “off” at any moment.

      We never “officially” separated except that he moved 3000 miles away and had an apt. He visited when it suited him but kids have accurate crap-o-meters and they know who is there for him.

      When middle kid was about 15, he called for a ride home from an event and I said “One of us will come get you” and he said “who is the other person you are referring to?”…wooo THAT is some parenting there.

      The Clip’s advise sounds good. You will never get them to act like reasonable people, never.

      • “who is the other person you are referring to?”!!!

        Oh man you did GOOD! I think that would make my life if I ever heard something similar from own son a few years down the line.

    • This. Everything AllOutofKibble said. And yep, I was doing all the parenting before so the only difference now is that he takes my kids 50 percent of the time and plays Disney Dad, which is the huge shit sandwich I choke down and hate him for every day.

    • “I guess my point is stop asking for anything. Start telling, and document, document, document!” So true, AllOutofKibble! When I follow that advice, communication (or lack thereof) with X is far less aggravating.

      Still, he does manage to get to me on occasion, such as today. We are dealing with a situation at our son’s school involving false accusations of cheating (for the record, I am NOT a parent who blindly defends her children, in this case there is plenty of independent evidence to show that our son did not cheat).

      Managing this situation has been extremely time consuming and challenging to navigate, not to mention stressful for our son. For his sake, it is far better for his parents to be united and on the same page, so I have consulted and copied X on each communication with teachers and administrators (he has to go before a disciplinary council).

      This morning I needed to reply to an email from the principal, which required a great deal of diplomacy in answering. I called X to make sure he was on board with my strategy for answering the email–the other thing our son does not need is X using this situation as an opportunity to go rogue and raise a big stink about his rights being violated before the hearing even takes place.

      After a couple of days of relatively smooth communication, he responded with . . . crickets. Then he texted me saying he couldn’t talk, what is this about? Oh I don’t know, I was calling to see if maybe we could get back together. WTF do you think I was calling about? That’s of course what I wanted to say but didn’t. Just silence in return. I sent the email without his input.

      He had a long history throughout our marriage of refusing to answer emails, texts, or calls regarding time-sensitive questions or issues (and had me trained to only try contacting him when I needed to talk to him about something right away, thereby making his silence even more kibblicious). He’s the freaking boss at his work, there is absolutely no meeting he is ever in where he does not out rank everyone in the room and can step out to take a call–for that matter, he also has a history of texting away during meetings if he feels like it.

      So instead of replying, I decided that’s it, he’s had his chance, now I will simply communicate with the school and advocate for our son without his input. But man, did this shit rankle me today! You all are right, best to give him his chance, then take matters into my own hands.

  • My ex last minute “can’t” (won’t) bring the kids to their practices and sports competitions when it is inconvenient for him. So I waver between jumping through hoops last minute to get them there myself and wanting to just let them miss so they can see what a fuckwit selfish ass their dad is. But he has them so snowed because they are still young – sells some other fun thing to them that they are going to do instead. Tired of picking up the slack. Can anyone in CN help me with finally deciding – suck it up and drive them (thereby allowing him to keep slacking and mindfucking with me) or let the kids miss – this is the one frustration I still have to deal with that I haven’t gotten past. Please share your experiences because its’ driving me nuts and I need a little help here…

    • TITD – I don’t know if this would work, but I do know that Narcs are extremely image-conscious. Next time he pulls this crap, calmly say “okay” and leave it at that. THEN – let him know that when the coach asked where your child was you told said coach that Super Dad couldn’t get his shit together to get the kid to the game. (Or if you feel comfortable, actually tell the coach that.). They enjoy being giant bastards to their exes, but cannot stand others knowing what dicks they are.

      The truth is like Krytonite to these disordered pricks and my bet is he’ll do anything to make coach not see him as a slacker dad. Which includes getting kids to games on time. Which makes him your bitch. #winning.

    • Agree with uneffing…
      The AP joined my son’s travel soccer league in the middle of this mess. I let the coaches know and key parents on the team. When he looked like an idiot he backed down – for a bit.
      I car pooled and started telling my boys at an early age that once you start something you finish. You can’t let your team down.
      You would be surprised how many parents will rally around you to help. It also gives them a glimpse on who he really is. Father of the year – NO

      • I like this idea a lot. If you can get a car pool together, then cheater pants either joins in and does his share or not. If I wanted my kids to play, I would simply assume (absent the car pool) that I would need to get them there myself. But then I’ve done coaching and think practice is sacred. 🙂

        • Either way, make it about the kids and the kind of experience you want for them. My mother was a very very difficult parent to have, but she was always there to get us back and forth to our activities. And whatever issues I have with her, I always remember that she went to the games, drove me and my teammates all over the place, chaperoned the prom, and never complained. My dad never made it to anything. Once your kids get older, they will recall with gratitude the parent who made the sacrifices.

  • Had no kids but exasshole was really good at not answering email to get the divorce done. I just started sending one line succinct emails with one question. If he didn’t answer it I replied with exactly the same one line question again. Then I’d let it go. I feel so bad for anyone who has to deal with kids in such a situation.

    • O .. I know that feeling Datdamwuf.

      I tried to get this divorce done (she cheated).. yet she is living the life now (I pay car etc). She has 1/2 day job, but won’t settle the divorce. Nope. Lawyers are making a killing out of this… sad part? We are spending the kids university money by this time… so she is fucking the kids education over.

      But it’s all about her. She lives for the moment, screw tomorrow.

      • SDK – You are NOT alone! My cheating STBXW still hasn’t produced a complete set of financial documents… a year and a half after I filed…!

        • Sigh. I remember this one well. One year of trying to negotiate and get divorce done without lawyers (I’m sure all of you can imagine how well that went). Filed for divorce and found CL the same month, thank goddess. Took another year to get the divorce, and another year + after that to enforce the agreement.

          The cycle for me went like this after I filed and had the required judicial case conference to set the rules for interim support and financials:

          1. Request document or action required by law for divorce, or to comply with the JCC.
          2. Be met with silence, or excuses, or anger. No document, of course.
          3. File contempt of court charges
          4. Day before court date, X would cough up said document (never complete), or take half-assed action, just enough to say he complied.
          5. Rinse, repeat.

          It didn’t change after the divorce was granted by judge. In fact, it was worse, as his lawyer fired him and he ended up with yet another one, a bitter middle aged man who seemed to have no idea that the divorce had actually been granted. X would not do anything set out in the final order, saying “I didn’t agree with that” or “you and the lawyers are ripping me off!”., and his lawyer was not much better. See above for the cycle. My lawyer, who was wonderful, couldn’t believe how passive-aggressive both of them were, how mean, and she had worked with a lot of high-conflict divorces.

          I am not a rich person, and the divorce cost me a lot of money. But it is done now, as much as it can be done. Some things he will never comply with – our kids are adults, and he agreed to support them through university, but of course never did. I finally just said, forget what X promised, I’ll help you all out, and that’s what I’m doing. Better than spending the money on more lawyers.

          And now there are sweet moments. Last week one of my kids graduated with his Batchelor’s degree, and I was the proud parent attending. I don’t think X knew, or cared to know. His loss.

          Hang in there, Sephage. Keep fighting. It ends.

          • BIG congratulations on the degree!! Your kid knows who was there helping, I’m sure! (The one who showed up to watch them walk!) You are the one who cared. At least they had one parent who knew how to be supportive, and that’s better than none! I know how this situation feels.
            It’s sweet, and bittersweet, all on the same day, to watch your kid graduate in spite of the dumdum other parent, who caused nothing but trouble. At least our kids know how to triumph, and have skills to get by in the world.

            • Thanks, FW! It’s been a hard road for them, but things get better every day now that X is fading into the background. It isn’t the easiest of jobs being the Sane Parent, but it’s so worth it.

              • NewMeme, I have all this ahead. Of course I have paper with the ex that he will pay half of kiddo’s college, but how likely is that, when he pays me less than an eighth of what it costs to raise her now? It is not doubt better the plan to just bloody do it, rather than hold out false hope and then get pissed off. Just need a ‘real’ job and I’m golden…..

        • sephage

          Damn.. you too? My STBXW dont’ mind spending my hard earned money (she got 50% in any case). She (and her lawyers) doesn’t come to the table at all.

  • My cheater face once told me “It’s important that our daughter see me happy!” in response to my asking him to delay introducing her to his loser girlfriend. Yes, their happiness is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Selfish creatures they are.

    I document everything. I don’t co-parent (it’s a losing game with a narcissist and will drive you crazy) I set clear boundaries and fortunately my daughter is a teen so she is starting to see the light. I stick by the custody agreement and don’t engage around dramatics or his crazy personal life.

    I do agree with CL that cheaters love to mess with any children you have together. If the child isn’t with you, they delight in that. It’s messed up. I find that it’s easiest to do my own thing in my home and when daughter is with her Dad, I let that go. I know she’s safe and fed but yes, she does get exposed to his brand of loser. Unfortunately that’s the price of breeding with a fucktard – as CL has said.

  • I’m glad you wrote this article. My stbx seriously has this down to an art form, And has ever since we got married. I used to attribute everything to his being tired and totally gave him the benefit of the doubt. I’m so stupid. Now I see it for what it is, anger and punishment. I’m afraid of my ex though and it’s really hard for me to set boundaries. His family tends to stop at nothing to get what they want, and are all very high achieving.

    • Kay, of course if you are afraid that your X or his family would cause you harm, physically or otherwise, you must be very careful. Get as many of the boundaries set in the divorce and custody agreement as you can, as to how kids will move between houses, who spends what holiday where, how extraordinary expenses willl be dealt with, etc. Then if he doesn’t comply, document and let the courts deal with him. It is hard to set boundaries if you’ve been run over and abused for years. A good therapist can help you start setting boundaries and learn how to enforce them without ginning up more conflict. That’s a good use for short-term therapy.

      However, you may be able to simply limit your contact by using email from a dedicated account that you use for only that purpose. Gmail is free. Set up the account and read any email once a week. It’s a lot harder for him to manipulate you if he doesn’t have instant, immediate access to you via texting or phone.

  • In terms of divorce issues, there isn’t much to do but wade through the process of asking questions and being manipulated by non-answers, tangents, and silence. As much as possible, hand this work to your lawyer.

    But when it comes to child issues, I have learned not to ask questions or try to negotiate. I now just text statements. I don’t inquire whether the EX would prefer to pick kids up from daycare or the house. I know he won’t show up on time or will “forget” or will otherwise exhibit a form of jackass behavior. I just tell him “the kids will be ready at the house at 4:00.” My custody agreement doesn’t say a thing about catering to his ever shifting whims about wanting them dropped off here or there or left at a place closer and more convenient for him. And he can whine all he wants about preferring some other arrangement or calling me names when I won’t capitulate to his demands, but my kids have been left waiting on the curb too many times now. I don’t try to “co-parent” any longer.

    My lawyer has confirmed that as long as the arrangements I make are reasonable, abide by the custody agreement, clearly communicated, and keep the children’s best interest in focus, I do not have to dance to his tune.

    The tough issue is not being firm with the EX. Once you get started, you’ll find it is so much easier than your old chumpy ways. The tough issue will be the kids. They will want to know why you won’t accommodate daddy; they’ll get an earful from “daddy” about how you make everything so hard for him. I still struggle with this.

    Of course, I document religiously. He’s so far in the hole it would be insane for him to take me back to court to try to change the custody agreement, but he’s also a narcissist, so I can imagine him trying.

  • Welcome to the wonderful world of co-parenting with a fucktard, my sincere condolences. If you don’t have a parenting agreement please work on getting one, hopefully as the sane parent you have majority custody so the impact on your kiddo is minimal. If, like me, you have 50:50, then you need to have a strategy. I know it hurts for your kid to miss out and you would do anything to protect them, so you need to learn to play the game. For example “Jonny has accepted a birthday invitation, please drop him off at xxxx”(assuming he has him at that time). No requests for early drop off cos that will mean they’ll be “shucks traffic was heavy soooo sorry we’re late”. Party starts at 4, accept that it’s ok to be a little late. The less you react, the less he gets to mess with you. Lose some battles but win the war. Get third parties involved, he promises to pay child support, great – first time he misses a payment hand it over to the agency, let them deal with him. Don’t let him be central in your life any more, he’s the turd you accidentally stepped in, wipe him off on the grass and keep walking. (((Hugs))) – you’ll get through this.

  • I was always the primary caregiver — even when I was married — so it was not much of an adjustment for me to be the one responsible for the children. I did not want to say bad things about their father in front of them, but I found they were very perceptive about what was going on, anyway. I made a point of telling their father about upcoming events, ballgames, school, sporting events, etc, IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN. I would put them on the phone to personally tell their father about the event. Then, if he did not show up, they knew he had been told, and that he had not arranged to come. I could not be accused of “excluding” him from their lives. No more, “you didn’t tell me” “yes I did” arguments. What a damper in his day!

    I also developed a circle of wonderful babysitters/friends/family members who would help me if I needed last minute childcare or help driving somewhere — when there are two children it is inevitable that they will have to be in two entirely different locations at the same time. That way, if he did not show up when he was supposed to, I already had plan B in place. My children also learned another helpful and useful lesson — when their father called to offer some excuse about “running late” or “need to cancel at the last minute,” we all would let the call go to voicemail, or would not respond to a text. That way we had documentation that he had, once again, found something else to do with his time, and we did not have to listen to lame excuses. The bottom line is — don’t show up, don’t complain about not being included. My sons also found that this was useful whenever he called upon them to do something for him at the last minute that was very inconvenient for them. They could say, “sorry dad, I didn’t get the message.” What could he do? It was his own words coming back to haunt him.

    One of the things children remember is which parent was there when they needed something. They may not appreciate it at the time, but when they look back over those developmental years and remember the events — (who took them to the doctor/dentist? who took them and picked them up from school, music events, sporting events, birthday parties — and on and on ?) guess whose face they will see.

    Just pretend he is dead when you think of him. If you were a widow, you would not have help. Life isn’t fair, but when you have no expectations that the other parent will act like a responsible, loving, caring human being, you won’t be disappointed. If ghost dad actually shows up and does what he should — you have just been given an unexpected gift of time. Enjoy it, but don’t expect it.

    • “One of the things children remember is which parent was there when they needed something. They may not appreciate it at the time, but when they look back over those developmental years and remember the events — (who took them to the doctor/dentist? who took them and picked them up from school, music events, sporting events, birthday parties — and on and on ?) guess whose face they will see”.
      Portia I always appreciate your excellent posts, however the paragraph above that you posted has my name on it and yet I have been pushed aside by my 2 adult kids. I am not sure if my case is the exception to the rule but I did everything and I do mean everything for and with my kids. My own son told me about 2 years ago that he was appalled at “what I am” (I actually saved him from bankruptcy and many other failures) and I was the “worst mother of all time”. I can only assume that in my kids minds history has been rewritten because I have been cut dead and replaced with their father.

      • Maree, I don’t know if you are the exception to the rule, or if not enough time has past. My son’s were 9 and 12 when I finally divorced their father. When we sat them down to tell them, they already “knew”. They love their father, no matter what he did, or has done. But they could see the reality of what he did to them — and I did not share a lot about what he had done to me. For one thing, it was not age appropriate. For another, I was trying to keep the peace so that he would stay involved enough in their lives to live up to his financial obligations. He had a sales job, and his income came in at irregular intervals. It was easy for him to hide money — not just from me, but from the IRS and other interested parties. He was selfish, and he lived for immediate gratification. He loved being the “fun” dad, and would use the children to create a false image to impress others. Eventually, almost everyone figured him out, because he just couldn’t keep up the effort those false appearances called for.

        When it came to other women, I counted on my children’s powers of observation to figure things out. When they asked a direct question, I answered honestly. They know he treated me badly and was a real jerk, but he is still their father and they still love him anyway. I worry if they may have inherited some of my Chump tendencies.

        He eventually remarried an oriental woman. She had been dumped by her previous two husbands, with a child from each relationship. She can barely read and write English, and pretends to be a big Christian, although she stopped going to church as soon as she married him. She puts on a false front with my children, and pretends she wants to be a “good step-mother.” She is careful not to say anything bad about me in front of my children. My boys are chumpy enough to believe what she tells them, and they do not think that the big age difference (about 15+ years) means anything, or the fact that she needed a green card was relevant, or the fact their dad puts things in her name only to hide assets means anything. Their dad has told them “she” will make sure that they each get 1/3 of his estate when he dies. They cannot grasp that his estate will not include property in her name, or that property he has given her the cash to pay for is only in her name. She may not be good at language, but she is certainly good at feathering her own nest, and I am sure that agreements we made at the time of the divorce will not be honored. I had to choose at the time to sell properties for pennies on the dollar, or allow him to continue to manage them for the children. It is all spelled out in the divorce, but it would probably take an expensive auditor to figure out what happened with each of the properties that should not be a part of any marital estate, but should go directly to the boys. I have resigned myself to this as part of the loss of marrying and having children with a total narcissistic fucktard.

        If things happen as I believe they will, my sons won’t figure out this woman’s true nature until their dad is gone. She will have no one to impress at that time, and my children will learn a hard chump lesson about their dad and about how the choice of an immoral partner can adversely affect their lives. In the meantime, I do not want conflict with my children, so I do not talk about these things. My son’s find the “TRUTH” a bit hard to take at times. I think they know I am right, but they choose to ignore certain things so that they do not have to deal with them now, and they will pay a price for keeping the peace and keeping up appearances with their dad. It is only money — and it will be an expensive lesson for them, but I just have to have faith that they are smart enough to figure it all out in time.

        Your story breaks my heart, and I wish I could offer you a good solution. All I can say is try to keep communication lines open, and let time take care of the rest. Eventually the truth will out, but whether your children will be prepared to deal with it is another issue. Accepting loss is a hard thing for anyone. For me, accepting a loss for my children was harder. I hope you can find the strength to deal with whatever happens, and I pray that your children will figure things out before it is too late.

      • I hope that’s not always the case. I worked hard and long hours so my CW could be a stay-at-home mom. I made most all of their games and events but mom did a lot of the hauling during the day. Then went youngest went to college she immersed in fakebook, found and fucked her old boyfriend. The children don’t know specifically but I hope they recognize my contribution to their well being.

      • Maree, a wise therapist once said that kids (even adult ones) will side with the parent whom they think “needs” them most or the parent they most fear losing. Your XH may have demonstrated, with you, a fairly radical ability to cut loose from people. So your kids toe the line with him and believe his lies so as to not be cast into darkness.

        You have come such a long way. If you continue to keep what this same therapist called “responsible connection,” at some point your kids may rethink what they are doing. By “responsible connection,” I mean sending a small gift and card on special occasions, just acknowledging the event, and simply not expecting reciprocity. Just keeping the door open. We can’t see the future, but you can continue to be the steady, loving person you were when they were kids. They have 50% of their genetic makeup from a narcissistic abuser, and they’ve seen first hand that people like him sometimes come out on top in the short run. But I am sure a lot wiser than I was when I was 30 or 35. And while I am much more clear-eyed and discerning about my my mother’s abusive side and my father’s negligent behavior, I have a lot more understanding and affection for them both. Here’s hoping that your kids will at some point see the light on their own.

  • God this is so true on what Chumplady is saying.

    Sorry to chime in on my story but I had my daughter for Memorial Day this weekend. When I picked her up on Sunday from her mothers she got in my car crying and told me to hurry up and drive away.

    Apparently her mother was yelling at her to get out side she said “That piece of shit fucking man is parked in front of my house and I don’t want that fucking idiot in front of my house. Get your ass outside now and leave.” My daughter told her to give her a minute and her mother yelled at her some more.

    As soon as we got home my daughter told me she can’t take this anymore and does not want to go back to her mothers.

    She also told me about 2 months ago her mother also yelled at her and told her she wished that she had never been born and that she hated her.

    Fukwitz are horrible and this was the same issue I had with her mother. She would say such off the wall horrible stuff and if you called her out on it her reply would always be “It’s the truth so deal with it”.

    So starting the paperwork for round 2 custody, but this time I am asking the court to assign my daughter an attorney directly. It will be my daughter vs. her mother, instead of me.

    God I can not understand how some people can be so selfish and horrible!

    • That’s awful Lothos! This makes my ex-wife seem a paragon of virtue and sanity. My heart hurts for your daughter.

    • Man Lothos. I’m so so sorry. No child (or even adult) should ever have to deal with this situation.

    • Please get your daughter some therapy to go with that lawyer. ((Hugs))

      • She is and the therapist is on board with the change and is trying her best to support her.

        • I am so sorry Lothos, for what your daughter and you have to endure. Given what your X dared to utter in the presence of her own child, a custody evaluator might be a good person to add to her team in addition to her lawyer and therapist.

          Keep fighting to give your daughter a sane and safe home away from your X!

    • Big hugs to you and your daughter. My heart breaks for her and the pain she must be going through. I wish you both the best.

    • That hurt my heart to read this. I’m so glad your daughter has you.

    • Lothos, you WILL make it through this. Because you are managing the situation.
      But how that must hurt for you both. I am very sorry. Hugs.

    • What a horrible, horrible thing for a mother to do. Your daughter is lucky to have you to help her through this. Keep us posted.

  • My ex went an entire year without answering a single email. He’s now gone 16 months without seeing the kids…his choice. He still only answers about 10% of the emails I send. It’s definitely a power trip for him…I’m not the boss of him anymore. Whatever you little fucker. You’re the loser who WON’T see his kids. It’s still frustrating.

  • Wow, CL, it’s like you’re in my ex’s tiny little mind! If you want a good example of a cheater’s perspective on meeting needs and how little it has to do with the chump or kids, my ex was in a supervisory position for about a year before he received so many complaints that he was moved to a non-supervisory position. One of his favorite employees (and the only staff member he didn’t hassle much), asked for a few days off to visit family. Ex refused to sign his leave slip or to say no. He just let it sit in his in-box for weeks until his employee had to ask about it twice because he needed to book his plane ticket. Ex told me how annoyed he was with this, and I asked him why. He responded that he was annoyed that his employee was expecting something from him and that he wanted time off. I told ex that he was being unreasonable, and that if he didn’t want to meet someone’s needs that he shouldn’t put himself in a position to be needed. I reminded him of this phrase throughout our active separation process, and I either got an annoyed acknowledgement (because he knew I was right) or the shark-eyed stare. Now he has landed himself with a knocked up mistress, and just keeps digging himself deeper into other peoples’ needs that he will refuse to meet. But his needs? God help the person who doesn’t elevate his needs above everything and everyone.

  • Yes! I don’t have this issue but a very good friend of mine does. She rolls with it and picks up the slack whenever her ex changes the plans because she would rather be with the child than have her daughter left in the care of the affair partner so her ex can go do…whatever.
    I wonder if the best way to go is to continue to let him run the visitation or lack there of or say “sorry, it’s your weekend…figure it out” and make him actually have to start figuring out his shit. I would love it if she would keep the child and take his ass back to court with all his cancellations documented…..she won’t. She refuses to take him on.
    I never know how to advise her. Her daughter is 12 and dad does nothing with her when she’s with him, she sits on her iPad.

    • At some point, the daughter will probably opt out and refuse to go.

  • I am dealing with this now. It feels good to understand what the hell is going on. I keep assigning rational thought to my John-Hole, and I see now that is a losing battle.

    He wanted this divorce. Plotted it, dreamed about it, conspired with his whore to get it. Yet, I am the one who filed. I have my mandated child class done (everyone must do it in my state) and have completed my first session with the mediator. I have signed up for classes, re did my bedroom, made a mini vacation for my children in July. Got a new bank account and a new email.

    What has Mr. ILYBINILWY done since April 16 2016? Takes the kids out to dinner once a week, moved in with his girlfriend and THAT IS FUCKING IT. I’ve resorted to emailing him about our divorce, what he needs to do sell property etc.. I could not figure out why he wasn’t doing all of these things to achieve his sparkly happiness. Now I know. It’s a power trip. Plus I do think he made promises to his whore that he would marry her once we were divorced, and maybe the reality of living with her isn’t as romantic as fucking her behind my back.

    Anyhoo — I do feel better knowing that he is what he is and that is no reflection of my worth.

    • This is it exactly. If I had waited for Fucktard to file, or do any damn thing, I would die married and miserable.

  • Because he needs to SHOW YOU that he’s still in charge and can make things difficult. He’s going to mess with you and make things as hard as he can and if you call him out, you’ll be the big bitch, the liar, the needy ex, the psycho and the hanger on.

    If I were you, I’d take this to your divorce attorney and ask how to handle things that your ex won’t participate with. See if you can’t start using email instead of texting (easier to save) and only have to notify him of something one time and if he doesn’t reply or help out, it starts looking bad on him when it comes to custody.

  • One good option for dealing with the fuckwits is as people have mentioned; statements, not questions.
    – children will be ready for pick up at 5 pm.
    Then give a window until 5:15, and have a back up plan that you can take them with you for whatever you’re doing (and make sure it is OUT of the house, so fuckwit can’t just show up at 6:30).

    And for other issues, the ‘if I don’t hear back by X date ….’
    – I plan to sign little Bobby up for soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 16th to July 24th. Since he is at your house on Thursday evenings, I or another soccer parent will pick him up there at 6 pm and drop him back at 8:30. If you object to this plan, please let me know by X date, otherwise I will assume you are OK with it and will ensure he’s ready at 6 on Thursdays.
    (then have an extra bag of clothes/equipment for your kid, and some energy bars and juice, ’cause you KNOW the fuckwit will quite possibly not have him ready or fed)
    – I plan to have little Alice assessed by a hearing specialist. Unless I hear back from you by X date, I will book the appointment.’
    (then decide if fuckwit should be at the appointment or not. If so, book the app’t when it’s convenient for YOU, and inform him of it. If not, book it, take little Alice, and give fuckwit a one-line summary of the results)

    My ex can’t do this about the kids, ’cause a) they barely see him anymore, and b) they’re old enough to deal with him directly. But he still does it about the few other things we need to discuss, like the house and $. Currently he has no life insurance, as far as I can tell, and has ignored my requests for confirmation of this. I’m going to have to get (and pay for) insurance on him, and then get him to sign the permission. GAD! It’s so aversive, I’ve let it go for months. The sucker had better not die until I get this done!

    • I use the same approach KarenE – I state that his non-response will be take as an agreement to my decision. I have learned the hard way… Every time I wrote something with any opportunity for confusion, an alternate interpretation, or God forbid, a question… It came back to bite me.

      Parallel parenting is what works in my case. I stay grey rock when in his presence at exchanges/school events, I enforce our very detailed parenting plan and keep using the you-don’t-respond-you-agree emails/txts for kid logistics.

      Breeding with my X means eating shit sandwiches for several more years. It is tough, but through it all, I keep remembering that it could be worse… I could still unknowingly be married to a lying cheating coward.

  • “What’s up with him ignoring or deflecting direct questions? He will either answer another question, or just ignore them. Why doesn’t he at least give me a yes or a no?”

    That’s because he can’t be bothered. He’s done with your relationship, and the attachment is no longer there, so he just doesn’t want to engage with you anymore. It’s too much effort and work, and it’s easier to just avoid you altogether. You’re an annoyance in his mind and an unpleasant element in his life, like a thorn stuck in his finger, and he just doesn’t want to deal with you or his kids, or any part of his former life for that matter. So he just brushes everything aside when it comes to that part of his past life. He’s moved onto other things and can’t be bothered with anything else. It’s a very self-centered way of existence.

    What happened to doing the right thing? Honoring your family and parental obligations. Some males are not real men, and some never become real men. What happened to the real men out there. Sigh…

    • Also, I forgot to add, that his behavior could also be a very passive agressive way of dealing with things, and he’s trying to piss you off. He’s angry at you for something or is resentful and he’s not answering your questions in a proper way normal human beings would. So I can’t tell which is it, whether he no longer cares or if he’s pissed off at you and is trying to piss you off royally. The former is very rejecting and the latter is covertly aggressive. Either way, this guy is incredibly immature and a POS.

      • Yes, I think in my most recent cases this was it. It was mainly about logistics of him moving things etc. !

  • I’m still a chump spinning my wheels. Still with my unicorn parenting a 10 and 12. I have always noticed that my husband will not answer direct questions either by text or in person, and have found this odd and frustrating What’s is this about? Training me not to ask? Gas lighting? Can then deny what was said? It makes me feel like the crazy one.

    • Mo, it is ALL those things, and it’s mostly just a power thing. By not answering, I can mess with her! No one can pin ME down!

      Start using the strategies suggested above. It will take much of the pleasure out if it for him, AND reduce your powerlessness in the relationship.

      He won’t like it. That’s OK. Be calm and reasonable and don’t get into a big discussion about it. Keep repeating; if you answer me, I will take that into consideration. If you don’t, I have to make decisions.

      But you know this is yet another sign that it’s an unhealthy relationship, eh? And that your kids are learning from BOTH of you, they’re learning that in couples, one partner craves power and manipulates, while the other puts up with it and tries to accommodate. Your kids are picking which role they’ll each take in their future relationships …

      • Yes. I didn’t know this was another thing to add to the pile of behavior. I really didn’t put everything together until I found this group. His behaviors didn’t make sense but it didn’t add up to a diagnosis.. Just checking off boxes now.

          • If you’re divorced, it’s fine that your son finds out about it. Because you have taken steps to be as free of this asshole as you can get, that shows that you have and enforce self-respect. And your ex is dealing with the consequences of his life choices, without your assistance and support.

    • Yes, Mo, it is a handful from all of those things. I have been in a 12+ year relationship with someone who did the same thing, and he wasn’t even a cheating scumbag – lol!

      Obvs, when someone is cheating, being vague is a wonderful tool keep an unsuspecting partner from noticing too many red flags and contradictions. But this technique is used even by non-cheating assholes who are high in narcissistic or manipulative character traits. My 1st ex was this person, and it was a very subtle – but VERY EFFECTIVE – control technique.

      “What time will you be back?”
      “Oh, I won’t be too late.”

      “Where are you going?”
      “I have to do some running around…” and then names multiple places/people and throws in at least a few “it depends on if they are open,” or “it depends on if he is home.”
      You don’t realize until after he has walked out the door that you still haven’t the foggiest notion where he is going to be for the next 10+ hours…nor any idea when he will be back…only that he “won’t be too late!”

      “The children want to go to the pool this weekend. What time should we go?”
      “Well, I have to do x/y/z, so we’ll leave after that.”
      “Ok, what time do you think you’ll be done?”
      “It depends on x/y/z. Keep you posted.”
      “Well, I need to plan for dinner and naps, so can you give me a ballpark?”
      “Oh, honey, don’t worry about it! Go with the flow! Should be in the afternoon sometime, but that depends on x/y/z.”
      This can go round and round again, and you will never get a straight answer. Or, you will get a straight answer eventually (Fine! Two o’clock, ok?!?!), and it will come with a clear side of exasperation and make you feel like you are being unreasonably demanding.

      “What do you think of x/y/z?”
      “Well, on one hand there is ‘this,” and on the other hand there is ‘that’, I dunno…what do you think?”

      “When will you get x/y/z done?”
      “I have to do a/b/c and then I will take care of it. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten.”
      “But when?”
      “Sometime this month, depending on x/y/z.”

      It is all an exercise in avoiding accountability of all kinds. For many, many years, I thought it was simply part of his nature. I thought it was actually an unconscious mechanism that he had developed over his lifetime, he wasn’t really aware of it, it was just habitual.

      Then I sat with him in therapy (not marriage counseling, his individual therapist asked me to attend a few sessions with him when she was exploring if he fell on the NPD spectrum), and he flat-out admitted it was intentional and deliberate. He stated unequivocally that he was intentionally vague about everything under the sun so that when another person became angry or upset about anything, he could claim innocence and deflect the problem back at them as something THEY had misinterpreted. He could (technically truthfully) claim he had NEVER SAID THAT THING. And he did this with full knowledge and agency of WHAT he was doing.

      • Little Mighty Me – Mine made an art form of using passive aggressive vagueness as well!

        Mo – Take back your power by using direct and unequivocal language based on the advice in this thread. Your X might rage and attempt to pull some shit, but stay firm and implement consequences every step of the way. Your X will learn and your life will be less drama-filled as a result.

      • OMG, this is exactly what the (cheater narc) ex of a good friend does! Initially I thought I was the one who was unclear and confused about what he said. Maybe because we had been speaking French at the time, and it’s not my first language. Or maybe we were speaking English, which is not his first language. But eventually I realized, no! I understand everybody else, no matter which language we’re speaking together! He’s just vague and confusing, in every language, and probably on purpose!!

        This makes perfect sense now.

      • This was so helpful. Thank you for posting it. It was a light bulb moment for me. I was always screaming in my head, “Just make a fucking decision,” or “commit to something.” With all the other bullshit behavior I had forgotten about this. Now a lot more makes sense.

      • This just gives me a creeped out feeling all over, probably because it describes my ex’s behavior without the admission of fuckery.

      • Darkness would never make a decision, about anything. But later claim, if the outcome of a decision made was bad, that I never consulted him, and that he would clearly have made a better choice if only i had included him in the decision making. Or even better, he would often deny that we ever had a conversation/ever made a decision about something. Such a complete mindfuck. It was infuriating. If I made decisions (because he refused to decide) I was “controlling”, if I refused to participate in the decision making and said I was fine with anything, then he would become angry that I wouldn’t communicate. A no-win situation. I never realized it was severe passive aggressive behavior until reading CL. There is no way to effectively communicate and make collaborative decisions with someone who does this. It is so manipulative. Everything would just get so twisted around, so that I couldn’t even understand how on earth we got to point B, from point A, in the conversation. I really need to read/learn about how to deal with passive/aggression.

        • This exactly describes my whole marriage, starting on reflection from day 1 of the honeymoon – sigh! Had no idea people like this existed at least my kids have a fighting chance of being able to spot and avoid such people.

  • Both my ex and I have missed a few emails, so things do get missed.
    That said, my ex frequently simply ignores messages. I have waiting right now, sent two weeks ago, asking if the dates for summer travel are sufficient, or if he truly required every single hotel address and phone number. One child maid are traveling g, only staying a places two days at a time.
    Stuff like that… He does not pay his share of child expenses unless I remind him (every 5-6 weeks argh… Just pay it monthly along with the child support!), but the instant he books the ticket for youngest to come visit, he expects IMMEDIATE repayment,

    So passive agressive, all of it,

  • Cheater freak doesn’t like the shift of power. That is all it is! Cheater can’t handle that you put an end to the kibble supply. The cheater wants you to be waiting there for his answer. It gives the cheater a thrill knowing that you are waiting but they are withholding the answer.

    I stopped waiting for an answer. I also began rewording the text or email. I simply gave the information about the appointment, event or situation involving the child/children and explaining my decision regarding same. Then explained if he had any objection, other idea or solution to problem he should contact me. If I didn’t hear from him I took that as a sign of his agreement to my decision and I went ahead with it. WAY less stressful!

  • I have a procrastinator/avoider ex that I am coparenting with. Oh and he has depression, whatever that means, that he self-medicated with online sex. He’ll say he wanted a wife (ha!), kids, the house and yard and all that, but he then avoided ever engaging with any of it as much as possible. Only on his terms if he wanted something.

    I would ask about this and that and the other thing about the divorce or the kids and get crickets. Or get told, without a response to my questions of course, that he was ‘overwhelmed’. Poor guy, I used to do everything and now he has to adult and it’s just so /hard/.

    My therapist recommended “biff” which when I googled it was for high conflict people. Huh, avoiding is high conflict? Yes, neglect is one of the most harmful forms of abuse because it is insidious and .. not there. A yelling H you know what he says. The one who hides and resents and makes up what you think/feel (all negative of course) and then blames you? Who the fuck knows what is going on in his head?

    And I don’t care except that I need his input on D issues and kid issues. So — I email him the issue, what I want to do, ask for his view and then PUT A DATE ON THAT. If I haven’t heard back from you by next Wednesday I WILL TAKE THAT SILENCE AS AGREEMENT. Bam. Got tons of things done and I’m sure he just hates me even more but I do not care because the kids are cared for properly.

    • I am so taking everyone up on texting the statement, no response means yes!! Mine is like what you just said. No yelling, just a silent deconstruction of me into someone horrible enough to lie to and cheat on, and now mess with apparently, after getting exactly what he wanted?! What a nut job.

  • I don’t, mercifully, have to co-parent with my ex (who, btw, is finally officially my ex! Divorce was final in April!), and he hasn’t been as unhelpful as some of the exes discussed here. But I have experienced this with him to some extent, most notably is perplexing refusal to give me an address or even acknowledge my repeated requests for one when I was trying to get divorce paperwork in order. My too-understanding (read: chump) self thought maybe he just missed them, except he’d respond to everything else.

    The only thing I can think of is that he and/or mistress convinced themselves of this little fantasy wherein her husband and I would come storming into their apartment and attack their love.

    • Holy crap – my asshole won’t tell me where he lives, either. I know his whore just went through a divorce (her husband CHEATED!! She needed a shoulder to cry on, poor dear) so maybe she’ll lose alimony if it is proven that she is shacking up with a guy 15 years older then her.

      Still…..there is something horribly insulting with my legal husband refusing to let me (and his children and even HIS own mother) know what his fucking address is.


    • Mine, too–he told my daughter and friends not to tell me where he lived when he bought a new house (despite that the decree says he has to tell me since we still have a minor daughter). I shook my head–I divorced HIM, why would I want to know where he lives? But…since he didn’t want me to know, I looked it up in public records ; ).

      • Idiot cheaters. If you buy a house it’s public record. For my county all you need to do is go to the county website and type in their name. Presto! Their address, how much they paid, who else is on the deed, previous owners, etc.

        • Mine too, after ex left (I kicked him out but he was happy to go), I filed the divorce complaint within days. But I couldn’t serve it because he wouldn’t give me an address. He wouldn’t even tell our children where he was! I threatened to have him served at work, but was concerned it would be hard for them to find him there, and that could take a long time. I finally had to have him agree to GO TO MY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE to accept service of the divorce complaint. Idiotic freaks.

  • As if I ever needed a reminder – Chump Lady. You got this. What an amazing and comprehensive answer. Thank you.

    “You wanted this divorce,” is the narrative some cheaters work off of. My cheater wanted this divorce, and she still thwarts. (Thwart and centrality are the two terms that Chump Lady used to answer my letter months ago. I had no ability to grasp them then, Highview, but now they go a long way in helping me identify the actions Match Girl exhibits to prove that indeed she sucks.)

    Good practical advice CL gives. Chumptitude was the one I saw offering the custody software. What a blessing that can be to parents.

    Sorry he sucks so bad, Highview. Thanks for your letter.

    • I need to study thwart and centrality a bit more I think! I can’t believe I’ve been so blind. I’m starting to see his back and forth of being really nice and accommodating and then, silence. So now, after reading CL’s answer, and others, I think I’ll see it more as an overview, instead of a case by case thing! This will help a lot.

  • YESSS. My ex (not a cheater but a narcissist all the same) does this to me. We have to “co-parent” but he refuses to answer any emails or phone calls from me. I just gave up a few years ago. Some back story: he left me, there was no cheating, nobody got screwed over (but me) – and yet he STILL won’t speak to me!

    • Yes, this, this! The purpose is just to obstruct. I will try my damndest to be difficult/impossible, conflict things just to PISS YOU OFF – even at the detriment to my child.

      “Does that make you insane with frustration? Does it keep everyone waiting on him, conferring centrality and kibbles? Does it just make you try harder? (And confer yet MORE kibbles?) WINNING!”

  • God, why do these fuckwits use the children to punish us? What kind of person does that??

  • Every time I read these posts about sharing custody of children with these giant fuckwits, I kneel down and thank Jesus, God. Buddha, and whoever else is listening that my children were adults when this went down.

    I very politely excused myself from navigating his relationship with them and was able to go true no contact.

    So Highview even though I have no great words of wisdom about this I can tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s called adulthood.

    In the meantime take CLs advice. It’s always spot on. Plug away, enjoy your children and be the sane parent.

    Hugs to you

  • I do not co-parent because the Ex wouldn’t/couldn’t do that. I do not share information with him anymore. There is no point. If he wants to know something I will share but I am no longer offering information about our son.


    He also does NOT want to take any financial responsibility for our martial debt. I have been stuck paying for all our debt since DDay. He walked away and has NO debt and our paid off car. I got the car that isn’t paid off, a personal loan and a credit card. He won’t show up for court!!! And he has NO lawyer. Stupid Ass. And now it’s a waiting game…until October to have my day in court. How does a MAN leave his wife and child with all the responsibility of a life and a home without a second thought!?!?! I will never know the answer to that question. The entitlement, the absolute vacancy of empathy in their hearts…all the while knowing what is right and what is wrong.

    I pretend he is dead. He has no place in my life and he is slowly making himself irrelevant to my son. What a legacy. #imagecontrolfail

  • Hugs to all of you in the thick co-parenting. Grateful CL and CN are providing such good advice.
    part of why I gave my cheater over a year to try to reconcile – and kept things under wraps – was a conscious effort on my part to wait til youngest was 18!

  • If you think the situation ends when your children are adults think again. My adult children are learning that everything from their father comes with strings attached. My daughter is in another country for a study abroad that my ex and I each paid for (half). She posted pictures on her Instagram that also goes to her Facebook. Years ago she blocked him on Facebook. Well, through his mother, a Facebook friend of Daughter, he found out about the posted pictures that he wasn’t privy to. I suppose it looked bad that his mother saw stuff he didn’t about his own daughter causing him to loose face. He then sent daughter a message saying that she needed to add him on all her social media, “after all I paid for your trip”. Daughter forwarded message to me and asked what to do. I advised her to send him a few pictures by text and not add him as she had a right to her privacy. That was not good enough of course. A few days later she got an email saying he was cutting her off financially because she didn’t give him access to her social media accounts. It was a good reminder of what a d-bag he is and not the “changed man” he likes to seem in public. He really is shooting himself in the foot by being such a jerk to his kids.

    • It is even more galling because I recently remarried and saved him a huge amount on alimony he will no longer have to pay. He could easily be more generous to our children, but chooses to manipulate with money instead. Money to him is power.

    • Hmm. Right now CHeater is being really nice to our son. While he lived with us, he would get so frustrated, when son was being a typical pain is the butt kid sometimes, he would lash out at him and call him a jack ass, or some other name, like he was another kid. I could see him doing something like that, his own version of it, as time goes on if son doesn’t please him in the correct way.

    • Too bad she is probably a very sweat kid. If not, she could take down all her pictures, then grant him access to FB. She could post his picture and say, “This is my Dad. His name is cry baby. He said if I don’t give him access to my social media he will not support me any longer. So here is his access. I will not be a contributor until he grows up and gets off my FB.”

      • You can adjust ALL of the pictures/videos/timelines/friends privacy settings on FB. For instance, there are lots of videos of my daughter that I only want access to, not my friends, not public, so I have those EASY TO FIND settings adjusted on all of those. Basically Facebook acts as a backup photo/video storage for me in that instance, should my hardrive ever crash, my phone die and data sticks go corrupt.

        I also have a friend who I disagree completely with politically. So anytime I would post a little joke about something, he’d crap all over my wall… I just post to EVERYONE BUT JACK. (Which is also an option).

        I don’t have my friends list public, so none of my friends can see who any of my other friends are or “how many friends I have” etc.

    • She should start a fake Facebook page and add him to that. Screw him, dare him to figure it out.

  • I don’t think cheaters have nearly as much insight into their behavior as we’d like to give them credit for. I think that when they are confronted with questions they don’t want to answer, a frowny-face emoji pops into their head. They don’t question the emoji, they just know its bad so they base their actions off that. The problem is, just about every input triggers the frowny-face emoji which means you’ll generally get stonewalled, a super defensive answer or just plain lied to.

    • I think cheaters have zero insight into their behavior. If they had awareness, they wouldn’t act this way, with such disregard and callousness towards their partners. Their emotional maturity is that one of a 3 year old. Would you expect a 3 year old to have empathy, understanding of how their behavior affects or hurts others? They aren’t capable of it, the same with cheaters.

      • It’s not that they ‘have no insight’, because to be able to have insight, you have to want to understand your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours and be responsible for your choices and possible consequences. They don’t WANT that, so they actively avoid awareness!

        I saw this occur very clearly w/my ex. Super smart guy, Ph.D. and MBA. When he got into positions at work where relationships with others (rather than with a computer) became more important, he started buying books, thinking, reading, and making changes to his behaviour. He had this kind of info from some of his MBA courses, he would talk about it with me at length.

        Also when I set clear limits on his behaviour, it would improve substantially, consistently.

        So it’s not that they can’t, it’s that they won’t. They don’t want to! And nobody can make them! And they are really really pissed when there are consequences they don’t like, but that’s ok too, because the consequences are ALL somebody else’s fault!

        (Actually a lot of 3 year olds have quite high empathy. Not a lot of impulse control, though …)

  • Just FYI, to anyone interested. I’m being interviewed today at 5 p.m. ET and you can listen here:
    From the “Radio Show” menu, click “About the Show” and click the “Listen Live” button) (click the “Live Stream Player” and select the Katherine Albrecht show)
    I know it doesn’t look like the most natural fit — (privacy?) but apparently Ms. Albrecht is a fan of the blog/book and I’m happy to spread the chump message to anyone who is interested. Nice of her to ask me.

    • Good luck Tracey! Hope she archives it so we can listen to it later if we can’t hear it live.

    • Well done, Chump Lady. Curious to know her opinion on Betrayous.

      I’m sure you already know this having lived in Texas, but GCN is Alex Jones’s network. Beware the tinfoil hat.

  • I’m no psychologist, but I find it to be a general trend with disordered people that they give non-answers, evade, distract, or outright refuse to answer questions as much as possible. It’s because knowledge is power and questions are one way that we obtain knowledge. To both ask and answer questions is something normal human beings do as it denotes mutuality in our relationships. But disordered people want to hold onto power as much as possible, so they try to deny you your share of the knowledge (power) by not answering your questions and keeping you in the dark.

    I had this problem a lot towards the end of my relationship with my ex-boyfriend (not a cheater, but an emotional abuser). At one point I told him, “Why should I stay in this relationship? What are you even bringing to the table here?” He sneered at me, “This isn’t a job interview!” and continued to insist that I’d asked an “impossible question” that he couldn’t answer. On another occasion, I asked him whether he had reconsidered something that was a dealbreaker for me. I said, “I was just wondering whether that meant you had reconsidered ______.” He didn’t answer. For 2-3 days, he would text me a “hello” and try to start a conversation with me, at which point I would point out that he hadn’t answered my question from the day before, and he would go silent and not text back. He finally said, “What question?? You didn’t ask any questions!”, I sent him a screenshot and he said, “That isn’t in the form of a question!” I questioned his maturity and why he was treating this like an episode of Jeopardy and he said, “Come on, you’re a grown woman, you know how to ask a question properly!” Pure, bullshit mindfuckery.

  • I remember asking my husband questions that he refused to answer, just gave me a stare. He wasn’t much of a talker, at least not to me, so I wasn’t sure how to interpret his stonewalling. In the end he held me accountable for not knowing what he wanted. He was very controlling that way, I keep telling myself you can’t work out a relationship with a person who won’t talk to you. Still amazes me to this day that he spent hours talking to his married coworker love of his life, though. When I saw the phone records it was hard to comprehend, he hadn’t talked to me that much over the course of our 36 year relationship. LOL. My counselor told me it was because he HAD to talk to her to woo her. He had long since left me in his mind, he just didn’t bother to tell me. He was always traveling anyway, it was hard to tell the difference.

    • Lyn, we were married to the same person I swear. My ex would only ever give me a grunt or a 1 or 2 word response and even better just a shrug of his shoulders. However, he did talk to me when trying to woo me but not in great depth. I am an intelligent and articulate person who was starved of his attention and affection which he could only show with sex. Sex was his great gift to me. God I feel like such a fool for staying as long as you did but we are free now.

  • This came at a right time 🙂 My four year old daughter is having her 2nd ballet recital in 2 weeks. Fucktard missed her 1st recital last year because his slut prevented him from going to the recital – at that time I didnt know about the affair and she’d threatened to expose him if he went to the recital.

    Fucktard lives on the other side of the country. I’ve been telling Fucktard to let me know if he is attending the recital as I need to buy tickets. I also told Fucktard I need to know his travel plans as I would like to make plans myself too. Fucktard obviously will not give me a straight answer as to whether he’s booked his trip, his travel dates and whether he’ll be attending the recital.

    I bought the tickets this morning. I didn’t buy the tickets for him – told him to go get it himself. I’ve also blocked his number and will go through email for all communication.

    • gang003, I agree it’s not your job to purchase tickets for your ex. He’s a big boy, if he plans to come he can figure it out.

    • I never understood why someone would deliberately choose to be with a person who prevents them from seeing their own children. I look at how animals in the wild protect their young and this guy is just ok with listening to the OW’s threats preventing him from seeing his daughter and he goes along with it, so he can satisfy his dick. This is a coward and louse of the worst kind. If I had children, there is no one on this planet that would prevent me from seeing them. It makes me sick.

    • gang003 – Good job on not buying tickets for him! All you owe him is a note about the time/day of the recital. That is it. Then make plans with your daughter to celebrate her performance.

      If your X doesn’t proactively make plans to spend time with his daughter after the performance (and nothing is spelled out in your divorce decree about that), all he gets is seeing your daughter’s performance.

      If he throws a fit, don’t let him bait you, calmly state over email later that for future performances, any plans solidified and agreed upon at the latest two weeks before the performance will be honored.

      You got this gang003!

    • Gang003 I used to forward emails from school with show/ recital details. No hello no goodbye no how are you, just the email, plain and dry.
      When I get a paper note I take a photo of it and email that to him.
      Nothing else, he wants to come he can buy his own ticket and come, he doesn’t want to I don’t care.
      I ignore his replies, they do not matter.

  • I didn’t have to be divorced to have this kind of stonewalling. My XH thought it was pretty much beneath him to answer questions unless of course they related to image management. Then he was all over it. I used to have a mantra, ‘That’s ok Ring’n, single mothers do this all the time.’ One ask, no response, oh fucking well, you had your chances and off I went with what I thought was right. Asshole. So glad he is gone.

  • Another timely post. Got an email from stbxassclown today telling me that the password for his benefits account had to be changed (it is the health insurance access for our kids) but that the username is the same. Surprise – logged in and the username was changed too, He creates havoc by essentially forcing me to then reply and ask for this information knowing full well that I need it. By not offering it he thinks he is all powerful and so smart and such a great dad because he gives his kids health insurance and forces me to engage with him cause he is so great and whateverelsethefuckhethinks. Fucker.

  • Reading all of these posts convinces me that the relationship dynamic with cheaters and other disordered people is primarily about power and control. It obvious how they use stonewalling, silence (not no contact, but silence when communication is called for), vagueness and other strategies to control spouses, Xs, and kids.

    But on the other end of the dynamic is a chump, trained to please, placate, and pick up responsibility. As a recovering co-dependent, I am shocked (I tell you, SHOCKED) how much of my life I spent trying to get drunks, drug abusers, cheaters, and other narcissistic types to shape up and do the right thing. That’s the codependent end of the situation–we want to make control out of disordered peoples’ chaos. And so we try to insist that the cheater answer our questions, respond to the kids, live up to commitments, etc., when they couldn’t even do the most simple thing–be faithful in the marriage. We break our hearts over and over trying to get people incapable of simple reciprocity to do the right thing. The only people we can change is ourselves.

  • I know a Chump whose textbook fucktard uses the Chump’s non-responsiveness to random crazy as an unwillingness to coparent. And uses the non-response as a platform for veiled threats

  • I ‘felt’ in my last email problem, before I asked CL the question, vaguley threatened. Not physical, but in a “I can really make your life miserable” way, which he could. He still pays bills and has a key to my home. I just have to play nice till this divorce is over, then I’ll drop the stupid texting that invades my life, switch to email as suggested, and cut communication to nothing but logistics. God I want the D to be over.

    • And get the locks re-keyed!!! I hope that day comes soon, Highview!

    • No reason why you can’t add deadbolts to your doors to keep them locked at night. If he comes to get kids and asks about that, all you need to say is that you worry about home invasion while the family is asleep or burglars when everyone is gone.

      • Can I just add, electronic key pad dead bolt. There is an emergency override key that you should never give to ANYONE else. But you can lock your door and change the combination as often as you want. If you think it’s been compromised, change the combo. I installed one myself. It was pretty easy. The keypad even lights up in the dark so you can see the numbers. LOVE IT!

    • I can’t wait! Party at my house when this is done, then after everyone leaves, I’ll lock my new locks!!! Yes!!! I can’t risk even adding deadbolts now, he’s too ‘sensitive’. Baby.

      • CL: “Try to do everything humanly possible to not involve him or need him to perform ANY parenting role that is not court-ordered.” If it wouldn’t hurt my son in a negative way, I’d be SO HAPPY to never see cheater again and go full time Mom. Ahhh, people can dream right?

  • Thank you CL and Highview. It’s like something I should know and realize, but my chumpy little mind just didn’t put it all together in the right way. Ex was always passive-aggressive and a master at misdirecting conversations, even during our marriage. The man was maddening, our children and I were well aware of it but never understood why. Not sure I still do. Sure, some of it was misdirection so we do not realize his affairs and alternative lifestyle. But I mean that cannot account for his inability to avoid misdirecting so simple a conversation as when or where to go shopping or out to eat. I mean the man was so passive-aggressive that he never even had an opinion about what he wanted to do or what he was hungry for…nothing, nada, zilch. I now realize it was his ultimate fuck-you while he cheated on me for decades, but he never had the guts to go at me directly. He always was a coward and a pussy.

    And now, over 4 years post-divorced, it still hurts me how distant and disinterested he is in the brief, rare and financial-related e-mails we still have at times. He does not even see our children, does not seem to care, does not even ask about them. I always wondered why he only answered one of the questions or addressed only one of the issues in our e-mail exchanges. There would be my lengthy synopsis and his brief reply, my lengthier response and his brief reply again. And he would simply ignore three-quarters of what were were supposed to be talking about. I thought maybe he was stressed or embarrassed or self-conscious.

    But I think for me at least, Kellia’s comment above nailed it and forced me to again acknowledge the painful truth. It’s really much more simple and obvious but really hard to stomach. We are of absolutely no use to him now and he is simply bored and disinterested in any contact, so much so that he cannot even be bothered to finish reading an e-mail or to fully respond. Too. Much. Trouble. Couldn’t. Care. Less.

    Add in a dollop of I am not the boss of him, and that his ego has to ensure that he is perpetually the rejector in every interaction large and small (whether with me, our children or anyone else),and you have yourself our exact dynamic. And chumpy me is always a little stunned by it.


    • “I thought maybe he was stressed or embarrassed or self-conscious. ” Me too!! I have all sorts of ruminations of why he only addressed one point of a few etc. I love the approach suggested of One question at a time. A time limit means Yes or No. I love it! Just like dealing with a toddler!!

    • Kelly, your post is very eloquent.

      A quality wasted on your ex loser.

      It’s stunning and disheartening to realize that people like this exist. But here we are.

      And the stories about their behaviors and traits are so similar. And it cuts across all strata of society. It’s been so helpful and hilarious to read everybody’s stories here.

  • By the way, in the beginning when he was missing all sorts of special things with our son, I thought he’d realize he missed him and would come home. Chumpity-chump

  • I was just having this conversation with friends about my ex’s behavior. I am supposed to go on a vacation with a friend while ex-moron takes the kids out of town for their yearly vacation. Usually, he sends me the dates of the vacation in a timely fashion, but so far, I haven’t heard a thing. I wrote and asked about them, and he said that the dates are in the online shared calendar… only they’re not. I’m not saying anything else because this is exactly the type of behavior this post is talking about– I’m not the boss of him; I can’t demand those dates from him until he’s good and ready to give them. Plus, I’m sure he knows (based on my plans last year) that I’m making travel plans, so he’s delighted to be able to string me along and potentially mess with my plans.

    Thank you for this post, CL. This is one of the issues that I am still dealing with in my attempt to parallel parent with this lower life form. I guess it’s yet another one of those behavioral patterns that is common to cheaters, and I need to stop fighting it and to stop expecting my ex to behave like a grown-up and be forthcoming about any information I might need in a timely fashion. I haven’t said anything else about the vacation because I’m sure he’s hoping that I’ll send him a bitchy email, demanding the dates, and then he’ll string me along even longer.

  • My ex is a damn child. He turns off his phone when I ask him a question.. and he ignores me. MADDENING!!!

  • Ugh, you’d think after moving an ocean and a continent away two years ago I wouldn’t have to put up with this shit……Mr Fab just triangulated DD about her airline ticket to go visit. I pay for stuff kiddo needs-glasses, therapy, etc , he pays me back when and only when I produce a receipt, putting me out of pocket for weeks/months. So right now, I do not have the couple grand it will cost, even though I know I would (eventually) get the $ back.

    So I emailed him, said, here are a bunch of reciepts that add up to the cost of half a ticket, please buy and forward me details, I will make up any difference.


    I don’t want to punish kiddo, she looks on these visits back to her hometown as a great chance to catch up with her old life, not necessarily her Donor. So as days tick by with no ticket, she gets more anxious. I cannot buy one outright, rent comes first. And I had to explain that to her”………¥€€#*£>*+£>@&@!!!

    I guess I should cheer myself up with the grim understanding that this tactic is really all he has left.

    • or with this quote from George Bernard Shaw:

      “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

  • Well, I guess I’m lucky in a lot of ways I haven’t said a word to my X since Sept 2011 when I tossed him out. I really feel for the Chumps who have to deal with these disordered minds. I worked in a prison all my life and had yrs of practice at it. You think they act like children in the outside world you should see what they turn into when locked up. Whinny Brats. I have got the spiel many of times that “I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for them”. I should be grateful “to THEM”. Then the ever so popular, “You put me in here.” “Hey dude I’ve never met you before so how do you figure that?” The people of the State of Mich put you here because your an asshole and can’t be trusted to act like a human being.

    What is really interesting is your get a bunch of disordered minds together and watch them play the same games they preyed on us innocent people on each other. Inside the prison the other inmates not as nice as the victims in the real world are. You piss someone off, there are consequences. The new-comers learn respect really fast. Even working inside you learn to limit any verbal exchanges with them.

    Where my X doesn’t talk the OW does to make up for it. The OW in my case thinks she is a famous book writer. True she has written around 8 books. Her previous husband paid to have them put in print. When you happen to sell maybe 10 books a yr and your X-husband reaps half, your not famous. But she fancies herself that. So when your “all famous” you do a Blog site. She likes to slam me on her blog site. Put me in my place so to speak. When she got no response she decided to just show up on my land on a regular basis.

    I count my Blessings with not having to deal with young children and these disordered minds. My heart goes out to those of you here that do it on a Dailey basis. My sister-in-law dealt with her X for yrs. It only ended when their son died at 9 yrs old from leukemia. Then there was nothing to control any more and he turned human again.

  • Goddamnitt my ex husband does this too! He wasn’t a cheater, but he’s being just as obstructionist as one. He doesn’t tell me a damn thing about stuff that’s actually important. I had to find out stuff by basically badgering him into answering me. At one point I had to threaten to drain the bank accounts and lock him out of them if he didn’t answer (this was before we had split our accounts, they were joint. But it was difficult to work that out because he never fucking responded.) My mom still talks to him and I’ve had to get information from HER. Like the fact that he’s moving.

    He can move wherever he wants, but if he’s moved and he does not receive the divorce petition from the country clerkship because the address has changed, I’m going to be furious.

    He didn’t tell me he had started the process of changing the lease on the old apartment to his name (since I wasn’t living there anymore) and I found out by getting a phone call from the property manager asking me where my documents were. I was pissed about that. They called while I was in class. I don’t care that he was changing it to his name, I DID care that he didn’t tell me.

    When we had to take care of our taxes (we had to file a specific way because we had lived together for the first half of the tax year.) I show up to our tax appointment to find out that not only did he NOT actually MAKE the appointment, he expected me to do it (despite telling me the name of the preparer and that this person “already had his w-2’s) AND he was 30 minutes late.

    He also did not inform me that he had gotten a lawyer, after we agreed that it was not necessary. We have no children, we did not own property, we did not need to split assets. Yes, I DO care that he got a lawyer after we agreed not to, I DID get pissed that he didn’t tell me he did that, and I got even MORE pissed when not only did he not answer me when I told him I ALREADY FILED THE PETITION (did it entirely by myself, took two days, and I did not need a lawyer) but when he didn’t believe me and his stupid lawyer DOUBLE FILED.

    And now not only is HE not answering me when I ask him 1) If he has received the documents from the clerkship yet and 2) I told him I want to speak to his lawyer and I have not heard a PEEP. This supposed lawyer he’s being so secretive about has made absolutely NO EFFORT to speak to me whatsoever. The only reason I know the papers have been double-filed is because I got them from the lawyer’s office. After I had already filed them myself.

    Also, my ex does not know where I live, so I’m wondering how the hell they got my address. And this of all things is what he actually does answer. He said his lawyer got my address from copies of the documents at the courthouse.

    So to get this straight: His lawyer needed my address to file a petition for divorce…so he got it…from copies…OF MY PETITION FOR DIVORCE.


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