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Dear Chump Lady, I’m struggling with no contact and kids

nocontactswearDear Chump Lady,

I’m stuck in an immature part of the process, but I can’t help it. I am angry and the things that my ex is doing are infuriating. He led a double life for almost two years. A wild party boy who would drink the most, and take home the easiest woman, while he was frequently away on “military training.” Meanwhile, the perfect family man with an oblivious wife and three young kids living an ideal little life the rest of the time. Eventually the truth came out and we have now been going through a high-conflict divorce for months.

My problem is that I can’t disengage. I have been attempting no contact for a while, but it is incredibly hard because he gets to talk to our kids twice over the phone daily and sees them every other weekend. And he relentlessly tries to talk to me through the kids calls or texts.

I try to ignore him, but there is no justice in no contact. If he constantly tries to get at me and I just ignore him, I feel like I’m losing. I don’t get to explain to him why he is wrong, I don’t get to call him out on his crazy bullshit, I don’t get to defend myself from bizarre accusations. I feel like I’m just taking all his crap and I’m defeated.

Things have been much harder for me as a single mom starting over. I was unprepared. I have the kids the majority of the time and he swoops into town, takes the kids to theme parks and stays in hotels with his new girlfriend helping him care for our kids. Meanwhile, I struggle to find lawyer who can stand up to his manipulation. I struggle to make ends meet, I am trying to find my way either returning to school or heading to work. 

This sucks. I am pissed. And having to just shut up and let him do and say whatever he wants while I fake “meh”?

I know contact won’t really provide any longstanding benefit and that he is just a turd and always will be, but I feel like I have the right to shove that down his throat every time I have to see him. He ruined my life, the last 7 years were all fake, shouldn’t I get to tell him off if I want to?

Bad Attitude

Dear Bad Attitude,

I’m not going to argue with you about the injustice — it IS unjust. Co-parenting with a fuckwit is really just a great big buffet of shit sandwiches until your child turns 18. And then it’s just shit sandwiches at holidays and weddings.

I’m sorry that goes against the We’re All Just Friends Here For The Children consciously uncoupling narrative that we’re all supposed aspire to. But the fact remains that some people are awful, and you have to chew on a leather strap to endure them.

So first, disabuse yourself of the notion that you’ve got a Bad Attitude. No, you’re a person who is going through a traumatic event and it’s not over yet — your divorce isn’t final. Until it’s final, until there is a court order for custody and support, and I hope alimony, you have to wing it. And while you are winging it, you absolutely MUST NOT BREAK and lose it with Fuckwit.

His strategy is very deliberate, I assure you. He is a demonstrably lousy person, with the drinking and whoring, and abandoning three small children and a wife. The only way he can hope to tip the scales in his favor is to make you out to be batshit crazy and alienating him from the kiddos. DO NOT PLAY INTO THAT.

Telling him off? Kibbles and satisfaction for him. AND he can document that for the court.

No, the best strategy here is to abide to the letter of any temporary custody arrangement you have. No formal arrangement? Then talk to your lawyer, but I don’t see how you’re bound to send the kids off for Disney weekends with the new girlfriend.

Right now, you need to DOCUMENT, document, document!!!! every thing you do for your kids and when. And document his involvement. Oh Fuckwit called? Fuckwit took them all to a movie once in the last two weeks? Meanwhile, you are hauling them to school, packing lunches, dealing with ear infections — whatever it is WRITE IT DOWN for the court.

What you do NOT need to do is engage with him in any way that’s NOT about the kids.

I try to ignore him, but there is no justice in no contact.

No contact is your best defense against the injustice. No contact protects you, it does not hurt you.

If he constantly tries to get at me and I just ignore him, I feel like I’m losing.

Every time you deny him a kibble of centrality? You are WINNING. He HATES this. Why is he trying so frantically to get to you? Because you are THWARTING him.

I don’t get to explain to him why he is wrong,

You can’t explain to him why he is wrong. If this was an insight problem, a dimwitted ferret with a head injury would’ve worked it out by now. He KNOWS he is wrong. Really, deep down in his heart of darkness he gets that he’s a piece of shit. But he’d rather not face that. So instead, he spreads the poison around and blame shifts to you.

Don’t be there to listen. The more you don’t take his crap, the more he has to sit with it.

I don’t get to call him out on his crazy bullshit,

Let the court call him out on his crazy bullshit. Let child support on three children awake his senses. Let consequences happen. You don’t NEED to call him out. Let the divorce process do that.

I don’t get to defend myself from bizarre accusations.

I know those hurt. I know the injustice of it makes your head want to explode. But just live your life with integrity and raise those children. You are living the truth. He’s a fraud with a boozy girlfriend. Who cares what he says about you? Consider the source.

I know it’s hard to be the Sane Parent when he’s Captain Fun Times, but someone has to do the hard work of raising those kids. That person is YOU. Model strength and resiliency to your kids. He’s going to model being passed out under a bar table somewhere doing Jaeger shots.

I feel like I’m just taking all his crap and I’m defeated.

Don’t take his crap. #winning

BA, you don’t have time for his bullshit. You have some real challenges here — finding a lawyer who stands up for you. Making a plan for your new life and career. These are all-consuming. Do not be derailed by a fuckwit.

You’re the winner here — you get the kids. You get to impart your values on them. You get the intimacy that comes from raising them. He gets whatever it is fuckwits value — playing Wild Party Boy on reservist weekends.

You lost a cheater. However painful and awful things are now, you are gaining a LIFE. You WIN.



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.
    • Kicking him to the curb with 3 young kids is a Bad Ass move! Dear BA, take that energy and use it to get the best settlement you can. Find that attorney, offer to do any work on the case that can be off loaded to you, it will save some money. While you are consulting to find a good lawyer, gather your financial records. Document anything he might have done that used your marital funds. Keep a journal every day so you have a record of what is going on. You might try getting a punching bag so you can get some aggression out.
      Jedi Hugs!

        • I’d highly recommend one. It helped me burn off more rage fuel than anything else could.

          BA, your story is MY story, except I have 2 kids (1 & 2 years old when he left) and my ex moved to the opposite coast. I SOOOO get the desire to filet him with your sarcasm knife. I burned night and day thinking up truth-clad one liners that I could drop like bombs each and every chance I’d get. But the kind of insensitivity that it takes to leave your family behind cannot be reasoned with. These inhuman bastards won’t suddenly realize this if we can just EXPLAIN things better. The heart-mind-soul disconnect they possess that allows them to knowingly bring the worst kind of harm to those who love them most (and in my case, to move a continent away from their own babies) is not going to ‘clear up’ if we can just get our victim impact statements filled with more adjectives.

          Our words are but a trivial, poisonous runoff in the storm drain to them. Save your words to help other chumps, and write them down in a blog or journal (mine is Don’t let the injustice inflicted upon you and your babies get washed away in the haze of time…write down a record that he can’t just walk away from. Save it and decide if or when you’ll let anyone else see it, but it’s cathartic and helps to get things said without actually saying it to the intended target. I also got an app on my phone called ‘voice record’ and I’d do an audio diary whenever I was alone (a rarity with babies, but still). Lastly, you could use a proxy. Find a thing or person (don’t laugh) that you can rant to as if they’re your ex to vomit out all of the poison you’re feeling. It takes a long time, but I’d swear by these things as the reason I’m not in a white coat in a small room somewhere.

          Best to you and your kids…you can do this, even if you don’t believe that yet. You can.

          • “except I have 2 kids (1 & 2 years old when he left)”

            For the life of me, I will NEVER understand men who abandon their children, and at such an extremely young age. Makes you wonder why they have kids at all, when they just bail as soon as they’re born. I went on a first date with a guy, and he informed me that he left his wife when his kids were 1 and 3 years old. And he proceeded to tell me that he’s glad he’s not there for the bullshit, meaning being there to raise them on a daily basis. I never saw this person again, I was so disgusted at how he thought and perceived his own children. Scum.

            • I was glad I could “escape” 8 h when I went back to work. Raising children is a tough job. But to abandon ship??? Of course, my SBXH made it up and dumped it all on me. That I’m not a good mother, crazy…you know the kind of ammo these bastards are using. And yet, he left his child with me. He trusted me to do a better job than he could ever do.
              I feel there should be a record for this kind of fuckery. Like the one at the police, with parking fines and worse stuff. One for immoral basterds.

              I’ve heard so many times since I found out the truth: adultery is immoral, but not illegal. Well then, at least track it and plaster it all over their foreheads, so they can dance as much as they want with one night stands etc. Cause no normal woman would want to date them even ONCE.

              I’d like a sensor: when he dips his di ck into someone else, divorce, please.
              That should make things so much easier, divorce first and then move on.

              • I just wrote about this EXACT thing, Enraged. ‘Crime Theory meets Cheaterspeak’. Check it out if you like. It details the difference between a criminal and a cheater (hint: there isn’t much of one).

            • Kellia…I will never understand that either. Thank God you RAN from that dirtbag. They were so perversely vulnerable at 1 and 2. It’s made me look at him like he’s an inhuman monster and become filled with rage at the thought of his existence. All the while, he’s just over there bumbling through life, astonished that I can’t seem to be pleasant when I have no choice but to talk with him. You became my enemy when you hurt our children. What is there to understand? They were both in diapers. IN DIAPERS!! If you can’t understand the cruelty of that, then you’re dead inside and nothing I can say will ever change that. I have no interest in flowery pleasantries ever, ever again.

              He is so weak and non-confrontational, but everyone out there in his new life on the East Coast thinks he’s Mr. Cool Sweet Funny guy. He says please and thank you, he holds doors open for senior citizens, he says yes sir and ma’am…but he ABANDONED PARENTING HIS OWN CHILDREN. My level of crazy-making is so unlike most others I read, because while others are confrontational or make mean comments, I just pray mine would. Instead, he’s just blank and/or behaves like Mr. Rogers. It makes me want to walk through Hobby Lobby’s glass frame section with a baseball bat and just go to town smashing everything in sight.

              And, what woman goes ‘Oh, you’re married and have a 1 and 2 year old at home? Let’s have an affair, and then let’s have you move here 2300 miles away from them when you finally get around to ditching that pesky wife obstacle person. Oh, and I’m pregnant. Ah, yes. HomeWrecker does. Disordered dirtbags. Uggg.

              • I agree 100% with you Honeyandthehomewrecker. I sympathize with you on all counts, the cruelty he inflicted on you and your children is immeasurable and unfathomable. This guy is severely mentally disturbed and I was in disbelief at his Mr. Rogers behavior towards others. To think some other woman thought his situation and he was attractive means she’s equally as demented as he is. I hope he doesn’t have more children. BIG hugs to you my dear.

        • My therapist recommended getting some dirt cheap dishes at a thrift store and hurling them at our garage or basement wall when I got frustrated. Best advice ever.

        • By remaining No Contact he has lost control of you. These types are all about control. ANY kind of Attention, be it good, bad or ugly just feeds them what they want. The more emotioal you are the better fuel it is to him. Remain no contact, and when you do see him at drop off or whatever, be business like and very polite, but show absolutely NO emotion whatsoever. That starves him of his kibbles and will bug the shit out of him. I’m so sorry you are going through this with 3 little ones om top of it. At least they are with you most of the time. The kind of guys (and gals) that behave this way are very disordered, and the best thing you can do is whatever it takes to get away from them. It sucks. It’s hearbreaking. Stay Strong BA! Sending (((big hugs))) your way. You are mighty.

          • There is a book called Narcissistic Lovers that does a great job explaining them. The court process is making him nuts because he can’t control it. And they will lie under oath, so be ready.

  • This is true. Listen to CL. DO NOT ENGAGE. I know that it feels like defeat and in the moment it’s incredibly difficult but it’s the right approach. In the end, you will see this to be true. It is very frustrating to have to swallow your words but he’s not gonna hear them anyway. I’m sorry you are going through this – big hugs to you. You can do this!

    • I mutter these things to “him” while I am out walking my dog. The dog doesn’t mind but my neighbors probably think I am a complete nut. But I benefit from saying those things out loud and I also benefit by not actually saying them to him for all the reasons CL gives.

      • Same here, DC! I tell him off CONSTANTLY, usually while driving away after dropping the kiddos at the HellHoleHouse. Generally it’s a whole rant of cursing and occasional yelling. It makes me feel better, it spills my vitriol without doing damage to the kids’ ears, it sends karma into action in the universe. 🙂

        • If the walls of my house could talk it would be a litany of every swear word I have ever known and enough anger to fuel the fires of hell.

          • Yup, my inner speech since D-day is worthy of a boatful of sailors AND pirates.

          • New day… “If the walls of my house could talk it would be a litany of every swear word I have ever known and enough anger to fuel the fires of hell” **THIS**

        • Me too!!! I tell my ex off all the time in the car!! My car has sync so I could be talking on the phone for all anybody else knows and it is quite cathartic let me tell you!!!! Also, venting to someone you absolutely trust, having someone hear the words and validate what you are saying is helpful, come here everyday, comment in posts both recent and past, get the words out!!! It will ease you.

          • Ha! This ‘telling them off’ has made me LOL! I’ve played out arguments, scenarios, confrontations in my car, in the gym, in my house, whilst i’m running. When I see someone else talking to themselves I wonder if they are Chumps too, going through the motions, getting it out of their system.

      • This is great advice. Really, it’s so crucial to keep your cool from a strategic perspective. I did this with my CheaterX, even though we had no children and we live in a no-fault. The key in a no-fault, 50-50 state is in how you draw the lines of division and what goes on the table. I didn’t want him to feel threatened and run off to a lawyer. It was to my benefit to allow him to stay in la-la cheater land in his head, instead of waking up to see a good chunk of his retirement go poof! That he didn’t have a lawyer meant that I was able to give him a 50-50 division, in which he ended up getting all the debt. 🙂

        I would get so angry with him, and I’d want to lash out. I had to tell myself that the long-term benefit of keeping my mouth shut would far outweigh the momentary satisfaction I’d get from telling him that he was a total asshole.

        One thing that helped was seeing that CheaterX would be an asshole on purpose, and that he was playing straight from the Cheater’s Playbook. If I could step back far enough to see that he was being a pathetic Cheater, and that he was doing predictable, pathetic Cheater stuff, I could see the humor in the situation. He thought he was being sooooo clever, but really, he’s just doing Cheater stuff.

    • I echo this advice. You are mighty and strong and you CAN do this and you CAN refrain from engaging with him in any way except totally “business like” transactions re: the kids. Keep all emotion out of any conversations with him. Pretend you are communicating with someone you don’t even know – because you don’t know this stranger at all any more!! The one time I gave in to my emotions (at 2:00 am after holding my 11 year old as he cried himself to sleep over not having heard from “disney dad” in over a week) and sent my ex an email filled with emotion and a few choice cuss words…not only did he not respond but he printed out copies and gave them to his family, the lawyer in charge of our mediation, and who knows who else to show them “what he has had to put up with all these years.” ONE time of losing control and I was made out to be a crazy bitch to people he was trying to impress…when in reality I was just a hurting mom doing all I could to raise two boys on my own and trying to figure out how I was going to find a second job so we didn’t get thrown out on the street for unpaid rent. All of what you are going through is so very, very unfair. It sucks. It hurts. But the pain will lessen with each time you show him how mighty and strong you are and before you know it, you will have a settlement and a divorce decree in hand and you and your precious children will go on to have a great life without a liar, a cheater, a drunken loser, and a horrible rotten soul dirtying the air you breathe!!

      • Same experience here. 7 months after his abandoning, and 3 months after D Day, he was at the house cleaning his things out of the garage. My mom was there helping me pack, as Shithead “wasn’t responsible for any items in the marital home” after he’d already spent weeks sneaking in while I was at work and cherry-picking the house while I was waiting for the court OK to change the locks.

        Anyway, my mother decided to go talk to him. He was full of rage toward me and started telling her the most outrageous lies – I could hear him yelling at her through the kitchen garage door. Suddenly those 7 months of rage, terror, hurt, injustice, exhaustion, fear – all those emotions – bubbled to my surface and I opened the door and gave in to two minutes’ worth of (loud!) venting.

        After 7 months of abuse by him, two minutes for my say was what he used to justify himself. Turning to my mother, “SEE! SEE WHAT I HAVE HAD TO PUT UP WITH FOR 38 YEARS?!?” and this is now the story he has used to defend his actions to acquaintances and his family.

        Stay NC. Anything you say WILL definitely be taken out of context, twisted, embroidered upon, and used against you.

  • This ” You’re the winner here — you get the kids. You get to impart your values on them. You get the intimacy that comes from raising them. He gets whatever it is fuckwit’s value …” is what keeps me from going and buying a gun and shooting Prince Charming. Even though the fuckwit waited to file for divorce after our youngest turned 19 so he wouldn’t be compelled to pay support or even college expenses, I am molding my son’s behavior and attitude toward cheating on a partner.

    There are times when I have flashes of regret that he doesn’t get to share in the relationship that I have with my sons, I know that if ever given a choice, they would turn their backs on their father. HE chose to have an affair with a woman barely older than our eldest child. HE chose to lie for 2 and 1/2 years about where he was living and with whom. HE is the one who chose to manipulate them to have a place to live while she cooled off after finding out he signed reconciliation papers with me. HE is the one who choose to put Cinderella’s needs above their own. I feel sorry for him when his day of reckoning comes.

    I have been told by both my lawyer and therapist that when the whole thing comes crashing down around his ears he will come back. I said good luck to him trying to get to me. Besides my friends it will be a contest who is the last line of defense my sons or my sisters who will all tell him to go fuck himself. He had a good woman and he tossed her away to be “in love”.

  • “Every time you deny him a kibble of centrality? You are WINNING. He HATES this.”

    ^Cannot be stressed enough^

  • I highly recommend getting an intermediary to deal with issues about the kids. A friend who will pass only need to know messages from him to you about the kids. That person takes crazy emails and filters them. He will stop when he gets no pay off. Change all your contact info and then have that person email him and tell him that contact is now through her.

    For kids calls, set up a Skype account on a phone or laptop and get your kids some wireless headphones. They do the calls in their room with their headphones on.

    I have done this now for nearly two years and it has saved my sanity. I literally never want to see or hear from him again ever. I never talk to him or even write him directly and never see him (he does every other weekend pickups at school and when he drops off, i stay behind the door and just let her in and close if. I never see or talk to him).

    One of the reasons you are probably struggling is that you still think that deep down your pain and anger will make a difference to him. It wont. He doesn’t care. He just needs you to be angry at him so he can tell everyone you are crazy. Even with my champion level of NC, I have gone off on him twice briefly (before i got my daughter the headphones) and it makes no difference. He doesn’t care and i have felt terrible after. Dont give attention to someone who is intent on sucking the life out of you.

    My life is peaceful now and instead of focusing on his drama i have time and space to figure things out. Its not easy. In some ways the drama is easier than dealing with fall out. However, it is much more rewarding and propels you forward.

    • I used to try to get the ex Durtbag to see how what he was doing to me and did to me was wrong. Over and over I would try, and I felt terrible after each contact and it would take me days of crying and pain after each time. Finally I started to see that it was like I was running head first, ramming speed, into a brick wall over and over. I would be left bloodied and dazed, and it had no effect on the wall (unless the wall just added more bricks by using these efforts to show people I was a bad person).
      Please stop trying to explain things to this horror show. Piglet’s strategies are good ones. I also agree 100% with CL, it will drive him nuts to not have you give him so much time and emotional space.
      He sucks.

      • YES! A pointless endeavor to try & make them ‘see the light’…..BTDT….Ouch!

        IMHO, I think it is largely due to the fact that most of these wing-nuts TRULY do NOT believe they have done anything wrong! You know, the “I deserve to be happy” type of stinkin’ thinkin’……

        So glad you shared that point for BA ( and as a reminder to the rest of us!)

      • I wouldn’t get an intermediary involved – it’s just another tool for a manipulative person to get kibbles/centrality. I do everything by email. I have a single account that isn’t on my smart phone. I look at it when I am in the mood and then let it be until next time I feel like it. I never call or text. That way I don’t get wound up by the craziness and end up in flame outs with the STBX. Drives her crazy not getting a response, which is an added bonus….

        • No, mine hates it. She doesn’t pass on anything but need to know info and she never tells me anything else he says. It’s actually pretty great. You can’t manipulate someone who has no emotional ties and is a brick wall. Now he only contacts really about schedule changes and nothing else. Or he might contact about other things…but I don’t know about it (yeay me!). Honestly, even having to hear or read anything from him is emotionally jarring. I don’t deserve to be treated that way, so I put a wall between us. He can only email her and not me. It’s perfect.

  • Please listen to Chump Lady!
    Having kids with a cheater means you inherit a lifetime painful thorn under your skin.
    Those of us who walked that path can confirm that there is no greater blessing than being the same parent. I promise that you will reap the benefits of hanging in there and being the rock that your children need. Theme parks and expensive gifts don’t last forever….although it will seem like forever! They will be adults longer than they are children and you need to hang in there by always telling the truth. It’s OK to tell them daddy had a girlfriend and that isn’t acceptable. Always tell the truth.
    I cannot tell you there won’t always be anger about what happened. For me, I share that anger with my sons but they are older. By simply stating my pain to them, they are old enough to understand and they support me. That is far better than any stupid expectations that I might get sympathy from the cheater.
    Does it still hurt? Words can never capture the pain, even years later. BUT I control my story and my future and I have the total support and love of my kids. Watching the cheater now try to connect with my kids – and fail over and over again – was worth walking through the past years.
    YES to focusing on yourself and #1 needs to be documentation and your legal battle. That is the only thing that will determine your future and your children’s’ future. Put everything you have into that!

  • BA, Chumplady is so right, and I give you kudos for making it this far with his games.

    If it helps, just know that every time he tosses a crazy text or a rage your way, no contact IS working. He can’t stand being ignored, and the more you ignore him, the harder he’ll push back. It’s part of who cheaters are to throw anything and everything just to see what sticks, what will get a response. Truth doesn’t matter to them.

    These disordered idiots will intentionally toss the most outlandish crap they can think of, hoping you’ll respond. Think about that, and filter what’s being tossed your way through that lens. It has nothing to do with the words and details, and everything to do with getting you to engage. You have to stay in control here, just by knowing this, and by knowing that the more you stay in control, the more he’ll be out of it. Document the hell out of his crazy, and let him hang himself in divorce court. Smile when he rages, because he’s doing you a favor.

    You’re a mother of three? Surely you’ve witnessed one or two meltdowns or full-fledged tantrums. Ever notice how if you put them in time out and ignore them they’ll stop every once in a while and listen to see if you’re paying attention? If you’re not, they may even cry a little harder to get your attention. This is what your ex is doing. He has the emotional maturity of a two year old. But you already knew that.

  • CL offers a great perspective shift here. Every communication, especially those in writing (but in this day and age, really, it’s every way you communicate), is public information. He’s trying to drag you off the point and get a rise out of you.

    If he corners you in some way that you have no choice to respond, you can still use brevity to stay mostly no contact. He calls you something unpleasant or accuses you of wrongdoing? You write back or say “You are incorrect.” Then relentlessly, emotionlessly, back to the point. “You are incorrect. I will pick the kids up at three. Goodbye.”

    Dealing with him will be like dealing with a three year old who can’t stop asking “why?” and is relentlessly attached to something he wants and whines like the toddler he is when he can’t have it, only more maddening. He’ll tell you that you’re being unreasonable amd the kids want what he wants. This will be his attempt to appeal to your kind nature and use it to his advantage. “That option is not available. I will pick the kids up at three. Goodbye.” “But why noooooooooooooot, Chump? The kids waaaaaaant it?” “The answer is no. I will oivk the kids up at three as we previously agreed Goodbye.”

    Then document like crazy. Include lots of facts and try to exclude evaluations. Channel your anger and frustration into carefully documenting exactly what he said and did and did not do.

    This sucks ass. There’s no getting around it. CL is right, your best move is to use all of his horse shit to your advantage. It will be exhausting. Complain to us about his shenanigans so we can keep having your back and reminding you he’s insane.

    Good luck.

    • Yes complain to chump nation and get it out that way! Forums are a great place for this when it doesn’t relate to future posts.

    • The most effective strategy for me in getting over the NC hump you’re experiencing was to stop offering explanations or justifications, just as Amiisfree is suggesting. Except I stopped even offering him the courtesy of a “goodbye” in my texts 🙂 Just, “pick up is at 3:00” or “That won’t work, you can pick up at 3:00.” No options, no choices, no questions, no editorial comments. X objected at first but eventually the lack of a response on my part shifted the balance of power back to my side.

  • One thing CEOs and other people in power know is that silence IS power. Just silence. Never engage in conversation. If you need to write out a script to talk to him do so. I learned over many years testifying in court that the less you say the less anyone can trip you up. Just silence.

    • A script is a great idea! I always plan to keep it “meh” but get sucked down the rabbit hole just the same. A script would be a good tool to keep my cool. Thank you.

      • Hugs, BA, it gets easier, but for right now, all that has been said about documenting and venting here is the Right Stuff.

        What worked was keeping it business, and going Grey Rock. (google it-I like Spartan Life Coach’s take on it), and trusting that he sucks and I don’t.

        Good luck sorting it out-there are also parenting softwares out there that track all sorts of stuff for you so you don’t have to deal with your exhole.


  • BA – (I vote for Bad Ass, too!). I have a suggestion: write down every single thing you want to say to him. Rage it out on paper. Buy a specific notebook just for this purpose. It really does help. I have 22 notebooks devoted to my rage toward my X.

    It is so true what CL said – ignoring an asshole like him will drive him batshit crazy! He’s an attention whore and when you refuse to react to his bullshit and show him that he is not worth your breath, it will bring him down several notches.

    The opposite of love is not hate – it’s indifference. Indifference will illustrate to him that you feel he is nothing more than a piece of dog shit you are trying to scrape off of your shoe. Show him he is nothing more than an annoyance to you, someone you refuse to let take up your mental real estate. And you know what? The more you behave that way, the more you’ll actually start to feel that way.

    I know this is so difficult. I’m so sorry you are having to navigate these turbulent waters. But whenever you see his fingers on the side of your boat, whack the shit out of them with your oar! Save yourself and your kids and let him drown in the storm HE created.

  • Bad Attitude:

    PLEASE stop engaging with your STBX! The truth is, based on his past behavior, he doesn’t give a damn about your challenges, opinions, desires or emotional state. The more you try to clarify your position, the more convinced he’s going to be that living his double life and leaving you was the right choice.

    PLEASE have enough respect for yourself to immediately put some impenetrable boundaries in place. If texts, emails or face-to-face conversation must take place on behalf of your children, go for it. But don’t engage with him about anything else… it diminishes you! He’s made his choice and doesn’t have any interest in your feedback/input.

    PLEASE do not EVER speak ill of your STBX in front of your children. Everything you say about him might be 1,000% true, but that’s not what they’ll remember. So if you must, bite your tongue until it bleeds. Call a friend and vent (out of earshot) or go in the garage and hit something. But never badmouth your ex to his own children; it will backfire on you!

    PLEASE give your children some credit. If they don’t know it now, they will know in the future that all the fun, games and other Disneyland experiences that your STBX is providing are no substitution for you staying in the trenches with them day in and day out. They will understand that you’re the one cleaning up their vomit when they’re sick with the flu, packing their lunches, cooking dinner every night, signing their school permission slips, washing their clothes, kissing their booboos, arranging play dates, making their birthday cakes from scratch, coming to their sporting events. There’s no need for you to broadcast it on a billboard; they will see the stark contrast for themselves without you having to say a single word. And don’t worry about the timing of this revelation; you can’t control when their eyes will be opened. Granted, you may have to wait until your children are parents themselves, but they will – I promise they will – understand your unwavering commitment to them, and conversely, will see the absence of it from their dad. So stay calm and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ve got this!

    • Yes, RedSandals, YES! (Love your screen name & pic)
      We should all commit this passage of yours to memory! Beautifully written, my freind

  • “If this was an insight problem, a dimwitted ferret with a head injury would’ve worked it out by now.” Phenomenal. I want to make that my avatar.

    This is the hardest thing you are ever going to have to do, but you CAN do it. I’ve been forced to live with my fuckwit for the last 6 months, watching her transform into the ‘cool older sister’ of our preteen girls — concerts, hotels, parties, overnights ‘with friends’ — instead of the mother they so desperately need. No contact is impossible for me, and Gray Rock is a daily challenge of epic proportions. But it is not only my only option, it’s the RIGHT option for any sane person putting the interests of the children at the forefront.

    CL is right on every count. You CAN do this — the strength is in you. More than that, you MUST do it so that your kids have some semblence of stability. They are internalizing everything that is happening and will remember the reality of their current lives later one.

    He’s just trying to grind you down into a heap so he can point and say “See? SHE’s the one who’s got problems!” Don’t let him. DOCUMENZT EVERYTHING, as outlined in several places on this thread. He’s not doing so, trust me — and when it comes time to argue specifics in court or mediation, he’ll have nothing but his dick in his hand to work with.

    You are not alone — we are all going through it and are here for you.

    • “Watching her transform into the ‘cool older sister’ of our preteen girls — concerts, hotels, parties, overnights”

      This is so true and I’m experiencing this with my STBXW…throw into this allowing my daughter who is 14 drink alcohol and stuff I’m not told about.

  • Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I have to echo everyone else and say that CL is right again here. Remember: logic and justice have no worth in cheater-land. It’s like they don’t even exist. Why waste time trying to explain to and reason with someone who has proven, time and time again, that they don’t care about truth / logic / justice / morals? Having just been through this, I can tell you that no amount of trying to explain anything to a brick wall will give you the smallest iota of satisfaction, compared to finally standing in front of a judge with all your copious documentation there to back you up to the nth degree, and have the judge look askance at the cheater and say, “So you’re asking for WHAT?!” before advising him to grow up and get his life together and stop trying to continue to mooch off of the chump.

  • Hang tough, BA!!!

    So many of the amazing chumps here have successfully walked this treacherous path ahead of you. And they will light the way!

    One of the resources CL lists is Dr. Simon. Get to know him, his books and his blog.

    Also, PLEASE log on to this web-site: High Conflict Institute.
    Mr. William “Bill” Eddy (as well as others associated with the Institute) is a lawyer and a therapist BOTH. Degrees and long-term experience in both fields.

    He has produced materials that are used by family courts worldwide. He deals with these types of high-conflict situations. Check out his books and so on. I have 2 of them (BIFF and “It’s All Your Fault!”) Just by putting the methods in those 2 books into practice have been sanity-saving for me! (But, you are going to need waaaayyyy more than just those books at this time!)

    You will be able to get all kinds of info & assistance to locate all types of resources, including legal counsel that is familiar with these types of nut jobs. Explore the web-site, as they have added to and expanded over the 2 or 3 years I have been aware of them.

    You are in the best place here at the Nation to get the guidance, comfort and whatever you need during this horrific time in your life! Stay sane for yourself and your little ones!

    Forge on, all…..ForgeOn!

      • There is a “Resources” tab at the top of the page, under CL’s picture and a bit to the right. Lots of good stuff there, including… .

        When I started out here, that was the first thing I looked at after I read everything here. I still go back and read Dr. Simon periodically, although now I know a disordered person when I encounter one.

  • HM and a few others here in CN have said it…”It is very frustrating to have to swallow your words but he’s not gonna hear them anyway.” By saying nothing, he understands that your investment in him is gone. He also understands that he has no more “power” over you and that hurts his ego. Unfortunately, that hurts him more than understanding how his selfish actions led your family unit to where it is now. The gig is up! Now he has to pay for what he has done.
    You’ve already learned that words mean nothing… Only actions, right? You’ve translated not his fake words, but his actions to show you who he really is. Now show him who you really are…use your actions in court to take care of you and your kids.
    CN folks understand the value of being a “person of your word” Vent to people who truly have those values and understand what you are going through. He’s not worth the oxygen… CN is your extended family when you need to get it all out. We understand, sometimes more than family or friends really can. So very sorry for your situation. Hugs

    • Do these guys ever wake up and get it? Do they ever feel awful & full of remorse?

      • I’ve been so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. The silence is so deafening and the sad part about it? He doesn’t fill that silence with any kind of remorse or true introspection. Instead, only sadness for himself that he was caught and that the damage is irreparable. Even sadder yet is the realization that he has to tell his two young children what a fuckup their dad was, why the house is empty and why I have to exit their lives.
        Interestingly enough, he was one of those “brazen”, ‘ballsy” cheater types that would throw it in your face and make you curl up in a ball. Now “all of a sudden” he’s sorry…. They are NEVER SORRY. In their minds, they got one over on you, YOU got f-cked over, not them. YOU were the dummy, not them! YOU were the idiot who decided to believe their words and lies. YOU were the one who should have known what assholes they were!
        For these idiots, the consequences of blowing up a family will be short-lived… cheaters have many enablers between family, friends and f-ckbuddies to keep them distracted from how truly disordered they really are. They will chalk it up to another chapter in life and will “move on”. Luckily for us chumps, our quality of life will far outweigh their sad, soulless, meaningless existences. Parasites like that can never find true happiness. They will always be sorry pieces of SHIT. Now THAT is the best revenge ever…. 🙂

        • Very well said!!

          And I agree with this “For these idiots, the consequences of blowing up a family will be short-lived… cheaters have many enablers between family, friends and f-ckbuddies to keep them distracted from how truly disordered they really are. They will chalk it up to another chapter in life and will “move on”.

          They will move on with no remorse. After all, if you aren’t fully invested in anything, it’s not that hard to pick up and leave. Just saying. I’m just baffled that these assholes create families, go through courtship, propose, go through the engagement period, a wedding, have children, and simply walk away at the drop of a hat. The discard. They are seriously disordered and likely always were. We just didn’t know how to read the signs or dismissed them.

          • Thanks Kellia. I agree that they were never fully invested! They have no ability to truly love someone and know what that give and take really means. All parasites care about is taking. I’m also baffled at why they even bother getting in relationships! Just be single and f-ck around then! Unfortunately, people don’t have the same care and concern for others. It is really all about them…

            Don’t ask me how I missed/dismissed the signs! I consider myself to be fairly strong/smart person who wouldn’t put up with crap from anyone… I guess it’s like the boiling frog we all read about… Throw a frog into boiling water and it immediately jumps out. Place a frog into cool water and the NARC slowwwwwly turns up the heat until the water is boiling. You don’t notice the heat until it smacks you in the face. They’re very clever types. I can tell you that he came into my life for a reason… (eyeroll) To help others become aware and protect myself from the other NARC snakes waiting in the grass…

            • They marry because they need to hide hehind the image of “respectable family man” with a devoted wife and kids to make them seem legit. All the while he has very little investment because if he’s a Cluster B he is incapable of bonding, has no empathy, no conscience, and no ability to love. Then he operates in secret from that save haven, doing whatever he wants to, delighting in his treachery, often starving the primary partner of affection and sex while being very promiscuous outside of the relationship. It is criminal. Not a real relationship. He knows what he is doing!!!! We love and bond. They attach like a leach and bleed us dry. They can pull this off for decades, pretending to be normal, while severely damaging their partner, emotionally and health wise, actually rewiring the way her brain works. All the lying, gaslighting, double speak, and betrayal takes its toll. Its not even personal, they treat everyone this way. Everything is about manipulation and control. We don’t see the signs because we were carefully targeted and have certain strong and wonderful character traits that are catnip to a pathological person. They need someone with these traits! Things like high empathy, loyalty, blind trust, competitiveness (never quit) resourcefulness, high relationship investment …. I recommend you go to if you suspect you might be involved with a disordered personality. Lots of free information and help there as well as counseling and resources. I realized I had no idea who he really was after 38 years! Now I know I was targeted by a Psychopath, and once he got his claws into me, with all of my Super Traits it has been very very hard to get out. It took me a loooooong time and a lot of BS to be right smack in front of my face before I finally “saw it” for what it/he was. The cognitive dissonance (he’s so good… he’s so bad, but he did this sweet thing, he can’t be that bad…) Someone without morals or a conscience is the definition of EVIL. They will steal your life and not give you a second thought. Once the mask drops, you are of no use to them. They have other sources the whole time to turn to after you are used up. It takes a lot of time and self care to heal, but it is possible. Its 2 1/2 years after DDay number? And I’m finally feeling like myself again. Still have to get the divorce finalized and get through a lawsuit he involved me in. I’ll be free when those are in my rearview mirror along with Gaslighter. Can’t happen soon enough for me.

              • Wow….You couldn’t have explained that ANY better. It’s dead on. What you went through for so many years is far beyond devastating and beyond anyone’s comprehension! I know that there are not enough words to really describe how that feels. It truly is CRIMINAL….They steal your life and don’t give a dam. Heartless, cruel and yes, EVIL….

              • Wow, CC, our time investment with our cheaters are essentially identical, and what you describe is what I’m gradually realizing more and more, the sickness at the heart of the relationship all this time. I’m not as far out from DDay as you, though. The cognitive dissonance is immense in my case, because he was, I thought, mainly such a wonderful partner and father. Um, not. So covert, and yet… insidious effects on me all along. And in hindsight I am seeing more and more.

                Mine is dragging his feet on divorce and it’s getting uglier and more expensive by the minute. Guess this chump STILL was believing the things he said at first about how he’d do whatever I needed, do what’s right, blah blah blah. Ugh.

              • Thank you for the beautiful explanation of what happens when you become the target of a NARC psychopath Chump Change. I am 2-1/2 years out from divorce. I am starting to heal from all of the emotional trauma and manipulation that was charismatically inflicted on me for over 30 years!

        • Peaky – “They will chalk it up to another chapter in life and move on.” THIS! These people don’t see their lives as contiguous. I think that’s why it’s so easy for them to walk out on family history, the life we’ve built with them, watching their children grow. They are not sentimentally or emotionally attached to the past – it seems they are very “that’s over, why live in the past?”. Which also explains why the can’t (won’t?) understand why we just can’t get over the cheating.

          • Yes, they always live “in the moment”. For now they love you, but that may change tomorrow. And it’s whatever suits *them* fine at that moment. It’s like they are stuck in the dating phase forever, never really bonding, getting too deep, and if it doesn’t work out, then next! And just like dating, once they are no longer interested in you, they switch onto the next woman, and wonder why you’re still reeling from the discard. After all, in their minds, you were simply dating (what they consider marriage to be).

            • You hit the nail on the head, Kellia. Their motto is YOLO! How sweet.

              Absolutely Uneff…. That’s why I smile when bad things happen to him… Do I wish bad on others? No, but I do believe in Karma… I will admit…I can’t help having my own revenge fantasies though! LOL I like that saying “I’m not saying I hate you. I am saying that if you get hit by a bus, I’m driving that bus” I also like “I would kill you with kindness, but all I have is this saw” Drops the mic…

      • “Do these guys ever wake up and get it? Do they ever feel awful & full of remorse?” – no. Oh, they feel very, very, very sorry for themselves, but remorse? Requires facing yourself.
        They do self pity very well. Taking responsibility? Not so much.

  • BA, I want to share a couple tidbits with you from the vantage point of being a few years past divorce from a mean, nasty bastard. The first time I met with my fabulously terrifying pit bull attorney he stressed that I was never to put anything in writing that I wouldn’t want the judge to read. It was my job to be adult, sane and classy. I’m not saying I didn’t have slip ups where I expressed anger or dismay but I never used foul language, name calling or rude insults as a way to make a point about him or his gold digging whore. At times it was really difficult but I did develop a sense of pride in rising above. As is the case with many on this site once the legal gears started grinding, most notably on his bank account, he became more vile, nasty and aggressive towards me and our oldest child. Lo and behold, this dumb asshole put it all in writing since I wouldn’t speak to him under any circumstance. I have emails so cruel and nasty that my dear old dad cried reading them. The divorce was settled and these emails remained with me and my attorney. Here’s the thing though, divorcing a jackass doesn’t necessarily end with the divorce decree. Mean lying bastards don’t necessarily feel the need to comply with court orders. I’ve had him back in court on contempt charges and this is an entirely different ballgame. Interwoven with my inquiries about his failure to comply with the divorce decree are all of his foul and crazy rantings. This was absolute gold for me. Our judge now knows exactly who my ex is: a mean, vile, misogynistic liar willing to mentally abuse one of his own children. That resulted in me having my divorce decree being enforced to the letter as well as him being court ordered to pay my attorney for his efforts to string him up by the balls. It was years in the making but all my restraint had a truly satisfying payout in the cash sense as well as the emotional sense?

    • Bravo on you, Sweatpants!!!
      You are MIGHTY indeed! And wise…..very wise!

    • You are mighty Sweatpants! I am forging on and your post reinforces my resolve to keep on giving more rope to show who he is.

      BA – Listen to CL/CN, going NC is the ultimate chump FU to their cheater ex. Every time I feel like replying to anything but logistics, I repeat in my head “chump silence is the biggest fuck you to cheaters!”

      Glad that you found CL/CN, it is so incredibly unfair to have to raise 3 kids with a fuckwit. If you haven’t had a chance, I recommend reading “sharing custody with a jerk” and “disarming the narcissist.” Both these books, in addition to CL’s archives and book were super helpful to kick my hopium habit and manage my anger.

      It took me several months after the divorce was final to really get there, to remove his centrality and go on with my life… Getting closer to Meh!

      And I agree, BA = Bad Ass :)!

  • Every time you argue with him and every time you let him bring out the worst in you, it doesn’t hurt him… it HURTS YOUR KIDS.

    He’s put them in the terrible position of having to deliver his shit sandwiches every time he communicates visits with them. Whether you realize it or not, you children are under considerable stress and emotional anxiety by being caught between two people they love dearly, even though one of them is an asshole.

    So the next time you feel compelled to give him a piece of your mind or fire off a scathing text, ask yourself one question: “Do my children benefit from this is any way?”

    The answer is almost always going to be a resounding “NO.”

    And if you find the wheels of rationalization and justification start turning in your head in order to come to an affirmative then just STOP. Turn on the TV, read a book, call a friend, do ANYTHING you can to distract yourself.

  • When I was married to my first husband, not cheater, I came up with a strategy I called ” Lose the Battle, Win the War. ”

    For a lot of different reasons, I wasn’t able to get away from him for a long time. But I knew that one day he would be out of my life, I just didn’t know when. All my day to day interactions with him were the “Battles”. He was a mean, nasty alcoholic, and the battles were daily and epic. The entire relationship was the ” War”. I was able to survive all the Battles, mostly by keeping my mouth shut and staying away from home. Fighting did no good, so I avoided it when possible. He could think whatever he wanted. He’s a loser anyway, what did I care? Just remember BA, he or his slut aren’t worth your breath so save it for yourself and your children.

  • Oops, sb staying away from HIM, not home. And just look forward to the day when you Win the War like I did, and he is just an occassional vague bad memory in your rear view mirror.

  • I know you want him to know how badly he has behaved and how he hurt you. Believe me, he knows, and it doesnt matter to him at all. Why give him the satisfaction??

    NO CONTACT. Yes. No. Ask My Attorney. Anything else, put it in an email.

    Hang in there.

  • My house sale is finally going through. Should be out of here in about a month. Whoo hoo! Then i go radio silent. It will kill him since he wants to be friends and date me. Ha! Let the asshole think what he wants. I go silent the day i move and will block both his numbers and email and get a new number and email. Hes not sorry and doesnt get it. I told my kids i will not interfere in your relationship with your dad and you kids. Do the best you can i told them. He feigns care anyway. Both of them are under strict orders not to discuss me with their father ever again. Im none of his business. He just wants to eleviate his guilt and maintain image control. Typical! Im not quite at total nc yet but soon. The little i do talk is not enough for him. He wishes to chat and chatter on. I told him plenty of others out there just waiting to hear your lovely voice it wont work on me anymore. He hates it. Too bad so sad. Go as no contact as you can. You will be aggrevated much less ba. Asswipe turned into a completely different pod person than the one o knew for thirty years and i cant wait to get away from him!

      • Exactly true. Try get bored because we no longer represent novelty then try to artificially recreate novelty with us, then they only get bored again. Immaturity rules their lives.

    • I agree! Let the asshole think what he wants. It’s very smart, because you really don’t know what people are capable of when backed against a wall. Never show your hand until you are completely safe.

    • Prince Charming did the same thing. I quit looking for the pod. It wasn’t worth the time or effort.

    • “It will kill him since he wants to be friends and date me.”

      Be friends? After he royally screwed you over by cheating on you. I don’t know, but my friends are very kind, caring and considerate of my feelings. He clearly doesn’t know what a friend is.

      And date you? Well which is it? Either you’re friends with someone (platonic) or you’re dating (sexual attraction). He’s still trying to have his cake and eat it too. Go figure.

      Sounds like your EX has lost it, completely and is bonafied nut job.

      • No he has no idea what real friends are or real love. He has lost it and is on dozens of bondage dating websites pretending to be a strict but caring MASTER who will love you, comfort you, sooth you, spoil and pamper you to the end of your days you know that one special lady who will be obediant in everyway, never question him, let him make all decisions, correct your bad behavior and use and abuse your body as he sees fit. WTF!!!! All news to me i knew he was kinky but not like that the pod is a certifiable nut case. In other words he will treat her well as long as she does exactly what shes told and he can have sex with whomever he wants and she cannot. This is not the guy i married at least i never knew til he let the demons out and omg! I saw this profile for myself, he did quite a bit of lying. Big surprize! And under practice safe sex? The answer was NO! im supposed to be one of the harum so he can have all the women he wants. He hid this well. According to him i should have known and been his complete and total submissive slave then maybe just maybe he would not have had to go looking elsewhere. Right my fault he cheated. Completely different from 27 years together. He is nuts. I guess he wants to be king, dictater and slave master all in one. No safe sex!!!! Thanks alot dude, thank the heavens my tests were clean. Effing bastard and he gets worse every day the more his body hurts the meaner he gets. But wants to see me once a month or so for dating and sex. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Aarrrggghhhhh! Im asuming once youve been with him noone else is ever allowed. His forever. He is fucking crazy. He puts up a great front you know but hes such a nice guy. Suckers. Try living with him. He choked the whore he left me for unconscious because she did something to hurt me! And when she woke up she apologized to him to forgive her for being bad only did it cause she loves him. Come on closing puts me hours out of range. Adios motherfucker!

        • Dam Kar Marie. Glad you will make it out of there in one piece. Good for you for being smart and playing to his ego till the house is all set. Praying for you…

        • “According to him i should have known and been his complete and total submissive slave then maybe just maybe he would not have had to go looking elsewhere.”

          Wow, just wow. If he was kinky and into this kind of shit, then we should have been up front BEFORE proposing to you. I mean, you need to know what you’re signing up for. Otherwise, he lied to you and didn’t tell you what he preferred sexually for 27 years. Talk about being a fake and a fraud. I mean there’s a lid for every pot out there, and I’m sure there are women out there who like this 50 shades of kinky. And that would have freed you up to marry a guy who had your standards. One of my gfs was dating a guy and they became intimate. Right off the bat, he told her he was into this kinky stuff, with S&M, and other things. She stopped dating him, no hard feelings. It’s not her thing, period, she moved on. Sounds like your husband wasn’t truthful to you from the start. how about he told you FROM THE START that he wanted a submissive slave and was into this kinky stuff, then you would have made an informed decision to marry him. I’m sorry he wasn’t honest with you up front. He’s a fraud. Good riddance.

          • Yes, but it takes the fun out of it if you’re honest! The deception is the best part for these disordered freaks.

          • Yes a big fake and a big phony. I had no idea the extent of his deparity. Hes sick. He appeared a little kinky not bad that i could live with but total domination do as im told, in every aspect of my life, give myself over completely, he makes dinner menus, decides what i should wear or know what he wants me to wear, cuffs, chains, mouth balls, ass plugs and severe beatings for sex and rule infractions i dont mean light stuff but heavy serious stuff that would require long sleeves and long pants for hiding nasty bruises i mean vicious stuff. I told him thats sadistc and sick to want and get off on hurting someone so bad. He loves it. Its not sick everybody does it its a power control trip and the organsm is terrific. Nope to want to physically hurt someone so badly not even just for sex but because they broke a rule and need to be punished is a sick bunch of people who need professionally help. And when thats no longer getting him off then what? Broken limbs, cutting, blood letting that choking shit they do. Murder. Makes sense to me now why he never hit the kids he was afraid hed lose control. Ill be out soon im keeping my fingers crossed.

            • Omg, he’s a sick fuck. My coworker’s husband was like this, she knew he was kinky, but he hid the extent of it. Until he hit 60 years of age, and then it all came out, like a volcano spewing lava in full eruption, where the pressure had built for years and years. They divorced and he turned onto full on bondage, sex craze, S&M, all of it, you name it. It’s like all these years, he was repressing his true colors and it was just a matter of time before his true nature come out in full force. People like this are total FRAUDS.

            • Glad you are getting away from him Kar Marie. It sounds like he has completely given himself over to the evil that has been inside him from day one.

              Ewwww, just ewwww. That’s beyond sick.

              • We got together on a fair and mostly equal partnership its what he said he wanted then. Kept the real demons hidden til they burst out and now the s and m seems to be all he wants. Hes known from day one ive a strong will and knew my own mind. I guess approaching sixty he couldnt or wouldnt keep the demons in. Its like theyve burst out and taken over now its dominate, dominate, dominate for him in mostly every aspect. Sorry pal im too set in my ways to become at 60 a sexual slave stepford wife i think its all he thinks about now. What really set it off on my opinion is the screaming dick stopped working properly and with viagra and vicious bondage sex it works much better. Wished he would have told me when the demons started to break out. Hateful bastards. But then he would have to admit he has issues. Cant honor your wifes loyalty and let her go honestly. Far better to torment and torture me instead. He thinks a woman had better behave and submit to his every whim in and out of the house. The big showoff to other guys his woman will do whatever he says and looks for infractions for punishment i cannot believe this is the same man. Thank goodness most men are not like this accordinging to him they are not real alpha men if they dont. What an asshole. There are women who want this 50 shades of stupid they can have him. He likes the dark side he needs to come out of the dark ages its 2016 dude.

  • Just a thought.

    He’s in the military now? If he is, does his CO ( commanding officer ) know about the adultery? The UCMJ ( Uniform Code of Military Justice ) frowns upon adultery.

    This may be , or not, something to think about.

    • Adultery is a criminal offense under the UCMJ and could result in court martial or termination. She has 3 kids to support, IMO BA probably should not go there.

      • If he was in the Reserves or Guard I would. As a part timer he must have a full time civilian career.

          • PS: even if BA goes there, it might make things way harder for her to get a good settlement and end the marriage quickly. Pissing him off by doing it before the divorce is final could suck, or it could help her. Only BA would really know which.

            • He cheated while on active duty, I think it would be fitting to take that from him.

              But if BA thinks it may make things worse, I would not.

              • Still has to be something he worries about, hence goading her into “crazy reactions” while being “disgustingly nice and cordial in all writing.”

    • Jim,
      I am a military vet who comes from a long line of military personnel. Yes, adultery is frowned upon, but I think that, sadly, it is so common that no punishment will be assigned even if the adultery is proven.

  • A lot of you are suggesting to invest a lot of time and dedication to documenting things he says or does. Other than the obvious reason of having a record, has this every benefited anyone? How can I use this information for my benefit? He is careful to be disgustingly nice and cordial in all writing. What am I looking for? What types of things do I need to document?

    • Yes, it does and it did. Prince Charming asserted that he got together often with our sons and had a great relationship with them. I provided documentation that proved him a liar. I provided his cell phone records that showed he rarely called or texted our eldest son who has autism. I also provided evidence that showed him making plans and then cancelling them at the last minute. One particular incident involved him cancelling lunch with out son because he had to work. Well, I printed out a map from Mapmyride that showed that he was on a bicycle ride at the same time he was supposed to be having lunch with our son. I also documented when he said he would change the oil on his car and it still wasn’t done 3 months later.

      In the report provided from the Neuropsych it stated that people like my son thrive on predictability and routine. Sudden changes upset them and cause anxiety. I believe that with the evidence of his neglect of our son was what basically had the mediator to say to him that she would not recommend our son moving in with him and his girlfriend and he was to pay the house off. I proved that he could not provide an encouraging stable home. Despite his assurances that he could provide for him financially.

    • Can a Chump with kids help BA out on this? I recorded phone calls, legal in my state if one of us is aware of it (me). He admitted to things he’d done, he threatened me, and even though I didn’t need the recordings in the end, hearing them when I was calm really helped me see who he was and helped motivate me to get the hell away from him.

      • I don’t have kids but I watched Jackass get his butt kicked over visitation by a woman who was pro se.
        * Record exact times for pick up and drop off of kids. That way, you can notice if STBX or X is shaving time off visitation. Consistently picking kids up at 9:15 instead of 9 and dropping them off 20 minutes early shows a pattern of not using available custody time–and disregarding the other parent’s schedule. Very useful if X gets tired of paying support and wants more custody to cut down the payments.
        * Record time and duration of phone calls for the same reason. Save text messages or emails to kids.
        *Document what you spend on clothing, medicine, school supplies, sports equipment, activities etc. Document X’s contributions.
        * Make note of all requests for reimbursement and any responses, including payments or “no response.”
        *Document days you miss at work due to child’s illness or accident.
        *Document any involvement of kids with AP.

        If your STBX is being “disgustingly nice and cordial in all writing,” he is probably documenting everything you say and do. Just another reason to go no contact and gray rock. He’s setting you up for trouble.

    • Documentation is VERY important. You may never need it, but if you do, then you will be in great shape and all of your STBX’s crud will be come to light one of the places it really matters–with a judge.

      At the advice of CL and my lawyer, I kept a daily journal.

      On days that you have the kids and have no interaction with the jackass, the entries will be short. For example: “I took Child A to her dentist appointment with Dr. Smith at 2:00. I also took children B and C to their soccer practices from 5-6:30 at City Park.”

      You are documenting the ways you support your kids in their daily activities and you are leaving an easily traceable record that includes names and times.

      On the days that you do have interaction with the jackass, you stick to the facts. For example, ” STBX called at 2:30 and asked me to have the kids ready at 4:00, which is one hour earlier than our agreement states. I told him that would not be convenient and the kids will be ready at their normal pick-up time of 5:00 p.m. I told him good-bye and hung up the phone. STBX called back three times demanding I change the pick-up time. Each time he used an angrier tone of voice with me. I told him I would hang-up if he couldn’t speak to me with ordinary civility, and he responded by saying I was “showing my bitchy side again.” I hung up without responding. He called again, and as soon as he began to yell, I hung up again. I continued with my planned errands, and made sure that the kids were at the house and ready to be picked up at 5:00. STBX yelled at me in front of the kids for not having them ready at 4:00. Child A started to cry, and I kissed her good bye and said I would see her on Sunday.”

      Do not engage in any editorializing or judgment about STBX.

      With this kind of record a good attorney can make hash of STBX in front of a judge. You’ll know all the names, facts, dates, etc. He may make wild accusations about how horrible you will, but your attorney will start asking pointed and detailed questions that will shred his complaints about you.

      Be prepared to do this for awhile. It might take 2 years for the STBX to learn that your boundaries are real or to stop trying to use the courts to stir things up.

      I also found that the journal is a great reminder of what a jackass my EX was an how far I’ve come.

      Good luck! You are mighty!

      • Added bonus: I tried for years to address my ex’s abusive email and text habit through the attorneys to no avail. Narcissists don’t do well with constructive criticism. What did catch his attention and finally got him to practice some restraint when typing was me informing him that every vile thing he ever sent to me had been printed and was neatly and chronologically organized for his children (if they expressed interest as adults) or anyone else to peruse. Mine too started with fake remorse and empty promises til the lawyers got involved and he realized what the divorce was going to cost him. Mask off and so began his scorched earth policy towards his meek chump wife who miraculously grew a backbone and a sharp set of legal claws.

      • I documented for years and have proof of repeated criminal activity by my STBX. I have had several judges in my very long, acrimonious, and very expensive divorce. None of them has every even glanced at my journal or my records. If any of them had and had cared, my STBX might have done or be doing time in jail.

        • There is injustice, I should know, falsely arrested for DV when my ex attacked me. I am so thankful for the judge in my PO case, the cops sucked when he did it again. That does not mean one shouldn’t document. In fact, my journal helped me in the PO case a great deal

  • When things were fresh I’d go out in the yard and say everything I wanted to get out so I could more easily cope. And I didn’t have kids, nor did I have to speak to him, emails only. I also found singing along with “Look it Up” (at the top of my lungs) was purging, maybe it will help you too.


  • As a mother, you know that you wouldn’t want your kids to be engaged in a verbal war with a bully. You are righteously angry. You’ve been wronged in a most terrible way. But he didn’t ruin your LIFE. He ruined your marriage. Those are different things. As CL says, “Lose a Cheater. Gain a Life.”

    One of my favorite images is the Tower card in Tarot (I am referencing it as a symbol, not some fortune telling mumbo jumbo.) The tower in the card is breaking apart; it looks like a giant lightning storm hit it. People are falling through he air. The situation looks dangerous, crazy and chaotic. But what the Tower symbolizes is the necessary chaos, often frightening and painful, that precedes important changes. Your marriage is like the tower. It had to crash because YOU WERE MARRIED TO A TERRIBLE MAN. What might have ruined your life was to live all of it with this abuser, this cheater, this liar–but even then your love and good works would have given your life meaning.

    Don’t stand in the rubble of the Tower and rage at the lightning. Your job now is to redesign your life into something beautiful. Into something where no jackass will dare to go. I like all the suggestions you are getting, especially those who counsel methods for eliminating your contact with this jackass. Hyena. Snake. Here are mine:

    1. Redesign your family communications to put him on a schedule. He calls twice a day? Who agreed to that? If it was the court–fine. The kids’ routine is to be ready to receive those calls on schedule. Set an alarm to go off 5 minutes before he is SCHEDULED TO CALL. That is the kids’ signal to go get ready in their rooms. Whatever you have to buy is worth it–and get the lawyer to have him reimburse you. Your goal is for him to have to deal directly with the kids. If things don’t go well during the call or visit, it’s not your responsibility to mediate those relationships. He blew it when he cheated.

    2. Every other weekend is your time to recharge your batteries from single parenting. Start building in some life-enhancing stuff for you. Don’t worry about the Disney dad phenomena. It will wear off. Jackass was a (cheap) Disney dad. Spend every minute of custody in the mall, at the bookstore, at a restaurant or a movie. His daughter saw right through that. It’s not an injustice that he gets to have “the fun.” He’s really setting up a terrible situation for himself, as he is not likely to get more time with the kids than he has now, so long as you don’t blow it with your rage. Let him spend the money entertaining the kids with the OW. Document, document, document. Your goal is legal and day-to-day control of the decision making in raising your kids.

    But what CL says is worth repeating: “No, the best strategy here is to abide to the letter of any temporary custody arrangement you have. No formal arrangement? Then talk to your lawyer, but I don’t see how you’re bound to send the kids off for Disney weekends with the new girlfriend.” Sort out what is required of you by the court from what he “wants,”

    To that end: pitfall lawyer. It’s not that hard to find one if that is your sole focus, to find the one professional who will guard and protect you and your kids.

    3. Find ways to channel and work through your emotions that don’t involve the hyena. Write letters to him or journals about his suckitude, so long as you don’t send them. Exercise–walk, run, take boxing classes, do yoga, whatever helps you burn off the adrenaline. Do Pinterest boards. Freshen up the house. Paint walls. Dig in the garden.

    4. Get into therapy, maybe with a therapist who can see you on the alternating weekends, while the kids are gone so you have time to process. It won’t be so expensive if it’s twice a month.

    Writing to CL is a first step toward getting your own life back in control.

  • I write my ex letters I never send to help myself with anger.

    Also another great tool for the court is when you divide a peice of paper into to colluims 90/10. Write down everything you do. Pack lunches, school, tv time, groceries, everything you do for your kids on your side for each day.

    Then on his side there will be 2 lines. He called for 3 minutes. He called for 5 minutes. Write down if he used that time to talk about you.

    Weekend log: On his side reads like this: took them somewhere with a woman and had her take care of them/ bath them, watch them. (Which indicates he can’t do anything alone to take care of the kids).

    Nothing helps a judge see more clearly the 8 minute dad then visual aids! Hang tough! Xo

    • This ^^^ is priceless. Visual aids! And it will help chumps see how much they do.

  • Dear Bad Ass – From one “co-parenting with a fuckwit” parent to another – you’ve got this.

    Your first problem – getting him out of the house – is solved. And, trust me, that truly was your biggest problem (well, ok, getting the divorce will be monumental too, but for different reasons.)

    JOURNAL. Whenever you feel like breaking no contact, JOURNAL. Write it down, get it out. Might also help you with the documentation you will need over time regarding custody. In addition to my feelings, I jot down little things like – hasn’t called or texted our son in 5 days… slept over at OW’s house with son… called son a crybaby for expressing his feelings. I’m coming to understand that Family Law judges really value truth and documentation (dates/times/etc.)

    Limit your contact to EMAIL – it’s easy to lose track of text messages. Email, not so much. Create a special folder for the fuckwits missives.

    Keep funny Memes on your phone. Whenever the Fuckwit texts you and it upsets you, go look at a slew of them and get grounded again in the FACTS. He is a character disordered person – a liar – a cheater. He is not worthy of one extra second of your time. Plus, most of them are pretty funny… yesterday, I saw this one:

    “It is so hot today I almost contacted my ex so I could be someplace shady.”… or something like that.

    As for the “every day is Christmas” with Dad… trust me on this… even that gets old. Kids want normal. Kids want playdates. Kids want homecooked meals and the familiarity of their daily life – it roots them and they need that to thrive. In the interim, let them spend Daddy’s hard earned money on Mouse Ears and Rollercoasters…. less he can spend at the bar and on hookers.

    Focus on you. Get counseling, get a great lawyer, get a plan. Include your kids in the planning, if you can, so they feel listened too and valued and vested in the outcome of making it succeed.

    My 10yo knows Dad got a girlfriend while we were on our family vacation and he knows that Mommy has filed for adultery as the cause of divorce (and that adultery is a sin.) That’s it because that is all he can handle at his age.

    My stepchildren (ages 18-23) called their Dad a “Man-Ho” and the OW “irrelevant”.

    Other than that, we don’t talk much about it anymore (18 months since D-day)… we’re mostly eating popcorn and waiting to see how the horror flick ends – for him!


    • Oh this is so true: “Kids want homecooked meals and the familiarity of their daily life – it roots them and they need that to thrive.” When kids go away to college, what they miss is their own bed, their mom’s cooking, their pets, and the parent who lives with them. And sometimes their HS friends. That’s a short list but it amounts to HOME. The one thing that Disney Dad can’t give.

      • I can verify, too, that even though my kids are now grown and I live in a new home in a different state, they say it feels like home when they visit me. They can relax. They tell me it feels weird at their dad’s (and he still lives in their hometown). He didn’t know how to be a parent, to provide stability and security. He can be fun, but he can’t hide that he’s also selfish and immature. Kids notice more than we think.

        My advice when dealing with your ex is to EXPECT that he will behave like a jerk. You know that he will fail at remaining civil and will say or do something to push your buttons. Practice various gray rock responses so you are prepared for a face-to-face with him. As soon as the conversation gets nasty, end it. Do not respond to disrespect, don’t say anything other than “good-bye” and keep your facial features neutral. Don’t give any clues to how you feel. Once you are away from him and alone, then you can yell, cry, cuss, etc.

        • My therapist has me guesstimate how many stupid things this woman in charge of a shared activity does in our weekly meeting. If I guess 5, I am pleasantly surprised if it is only 2 or 3.

  • You need to document times he spends with them. Right now he is polishing his reputation. The fact is if he is military he needs a somewhat clean one for advancement. The man owes child support unless he plans on living stateside forever. His nasty side can’t stay hidden forever. Just go to the store, buy spiral notebooks, start a new page each day, write down everything, staple anything you might need to the page and keep it locked up. It is a pain in the ass and might not help at all but you never know. Remember that in court only facts matter, never opinions.

  • Sorry to keep writing but here are some things the court needs. What is your house payment or rent payment. How much do you spend on food for the children. How much would daycare cost if you need to work. What is your education and how many jobs have you applied for since the separation. You need to prove to the penny how much it cost you to live and how much you take in. Judges have seen so much of this in court that no matter how sad you are or angry you are they are going to go on the law. Chances are the law says you have to stay right where you are. It is a shame that people cannot move home to family who can help support them while they get on their feet. Your ex or soon-to-be ex is a royal piece of shit and you need to accept that he is dangerous. Not necessarily physically but he has absolutely no guilt over what he has done to you. His whole life is one party because he is about nine years old. Keep that in mind when you are dealing with him.

  • I’m putting this into a separate post so it won’t get lost. I’ve said it before but here goes again. You wouldn’t let a cheaterpants follow you to work, into the shower, climb into bed with you after the divorce (we hope), go with you on a date with someone new, tag along on your job interview, follow you into your home and stay there every minute with you. But that is just what you do when someone has text access to you and abuses it.

    Texting seems convenient. It’s a habit. But it is only safe if the people who have your number are decent. I actually give out my phone number to students who need it. Never, ever once has an student abused it. My XH didn’t abuse it. But Jackass? Of course. Block him on text. Screen his calls. Or get a cheap burner phone and tell him this is his emergency number to call if there is an EMERGENCY with the kids (health issues, accident.) That’s it.

    Otherwise, use dedicated email. Set up one of those family schedule things–the folks here know a couple of good ones to use. Send no more that one email a week confirming pickups and drop offs and advising him if the phone/Skype time must change.

    Use GRAY ROCK language. short, simple sentences with one subject and one verb: “Joey has a game at 7. He will be available for a Skype call at 9 pm.” “Your share of the new school clothes comes to $250. Image of receipts attached.” “Susie has had diarrhea and must be on the BRAT diet.” Clear, civil and concise.

    Designing your mode of communication with an enemy is part of recovering and rebuilding your life. My current supervisor is an enemy. I’ve grown very skilled at giving her nothing to work with that makes me look like the lunatic. No texts. No phone calls unless it’s an emergency. Dedicated email. And until you get good at it, send those emails to a trusted friend for review.

    Turn your anger into strategy that makes you and the kids central, not Cheaterpants and his AP.

    • LAJ, what is it with psychotic supervisors, lol? I’ve had two, and one of them made Satan look like a nice guy. Very educational, though, i can spot one now pretty quickly. Like you say, Disengage , as much as possible.

  • Ladies, we have no fault divorce (I’m assuming in all states) now. When you marry and have children with a man (or he has them with a woman), or even if you don’t marry and have children with a man, you are at risk. Your marriage can fall apart at any time and he can just walk away. So can you. My advice at age 66 and four marriages is make pretty damn sure you get one of the good guys…….they are few and far between now. Have shared values. Go in with a prenup whether you have any money or not. Get a job as soon as you can. Limit your children to one or two…..not three or four. You can’t support this many children alone if he bails. Get clear-eyed about what you are dealing with here. Me, if I had it to do over again I would never marry. I haven’t had children and that’s my choice and has been a good one. Get your head out of the romantic cloud. And as Chump Lady says get out the minute you know he is cheating. Immediately get out. Get the best lawyer you can find and pin his ass to the wall. But save yourself the heartache by really thinking marriage through and what you will do if he bails and you have children. Vet that guy from the get go and any red flags arise, heed them.

  • Weirdly enough, this person was far worse as a mere co-worker, where she spewed lies in every direction. (Narcissistic and into impression management by slandering others.) But now she has attained her greatest wish–to have the title! And now she can’t badmouth us because it makes her look bad. Who knew…? 🙂

  • I have a different perspective on reasons for no contact that you may find interesting. I have great difficulty not raging at my X. However, when I do send those long “you’re a piece of shit, destroyed our family and ruined our lives” emails, his response is always to agree with me. He always says things like, “You are right not to forgive me. I am a piece of shit. I did ruin our lives and I will regret it for the rest of my life. I hate myself.” I do believe he truly feels that way, and is not doing it to patronize me. It is his genuine response. He says the same things to our child when she rages at him once in a while. I’m guessing this is the response a lot of people would hope for… but I can tell you that it is no more satisfying than the nasty responses you are all getting. It leaves me feeling sad, bitter, pathetic, and out of control. I’m not telling him something he doesn’t already know, so what is the point? Yes, for a minute I get my rage out, but it makes me feel so negative and stuck. I always feel disappointed in myself for a long time afterwards. I guess my point here is; no matter what response we get, any contact makes us feel bad. NO CONTACT is the only path to satisfaction and happiness, because it keeps you focused solely on yourself. It inevitably makes you feel better about yourself because you are demonstrating maturity and restraint, knowing you are not getting sucked into the negativity of the past. It always feels better to take the high road. No matter how we got here, that relationship is OVER, and we need to let it die and move forward. Easier said than done- I know. Every time I feel like spewing vitriol over an email, I tell myself LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE. I know that is the truth, and the path to true, authentic freedom!

    • Right on the mark Over It ! No matter how much you brilliantly tell them off or lay into them, it will never be enough, nor will it bring satisfaction. No contact or if you have children and absolutely must speak, keep it to the point, very short and ONLY about the children as in pick up and drop off stuff. Acting or being indifferent goes a long way and in the years to come you’ll be happy you chose that road.

    • Over it- I can imagine how unsatisfactory it is to have your ex admit and agree with all your statements. I assume that any contact with him reminds you of the fact that he didn’t want to be with you and still doesn’t. Any contact with him would make me feel like crap. It’s not like he’s stating, yes I was a jerk and so let’s get back together. He’s agreeing he’s a jerk and still not want to be with you, or be a family. I agree that I wouldn’t talk to someone like this or keep contact. What’s the point if they don’t want to be with you, then why would you want to talk to them? It’s like a friend who talks to you over the phone, but doesn’t want to spend time with you in person or see you. We wouldn’t want to spend time with this friend, what’s the point. I agree No contact is the best.

      • Kellia, thank you for your reply. Just to characterize the situation properly… he wanted to stay married, I did not. I just couldn’t get over the no trust problem. I knew I could never be truly happy and at peace with no trust. If I asked- he would come back in a second. That’s a bit of a struggle, too. Although we are divorced, I constantly question myself- did I do the right thing? should I give him another chance? But I always come to the same conclusion… I tried to reconcile, but quickly realized things would never change and I would be living in fear and suspicion for the rest of my life. No contact is the only way I can truly let go and move toward meh. I can’t wait to get there. The road to meh is long and difficult…

    • I think that the best ‘revenge’ regarding adulterers, abusers, etc. is the opportunity to observe them shooting themselves in the foot by getting caught doing the monstrous things they do. If they treat you like crap, then they usually treat at least a few others like crap. By being crappy so often, at least a few people, at some point, usually discover what jerks these rotten people are. That being said, once I stopped thinking about injustice, revenge, etc., I started enjoying life! The extent of my STBX’s happiness/unhappiness does NOT affect the quality of my life. I just don’t care how well he is doing compared to me (and he will likely be noticeably richer than me for the rest of our lives). (I am at MEH, which is a great place!)

  • BA,
    I spewed bile at ex many times and it is very difficult to be restrained,given how you’ve been treated.
    Then,having bashed my head off a brick wall metaphorically,many,many times I realised he was deriving satisfaction from seeing me all riled up.I wrote a note to self in my phone for times when I was tempted to rant.It went something like this
    – It’s a pointless waste of precious energy.
    – He doesn’t care what you think or say.Water off proverbial duck’s back.
    -He gets a high from your pain.
    -You can not impact a person devoid of conscience and empathy
    -Ranting at him only shows him he still matters and that you haven’t detached.He can still affect you,thereby proving how awesome he must be
    -Angry rants tells him he still has power over you.
    -He toddles off happy that he’s had a fix of narcissistic supply and triangulation,him and the OW against the world.
    What causes these fuckers most discomfort is loss of any control or power over you and a refusal to engage sends that message to their disordered brains.
    Good luck BA.

  • Write it all down. At night when you can’t sleep, when a phone call pisses you off…write him a letter, edit it until it says exactly what you mean & want to say. Then leave it in your computer. If you ever decide to unload the whole thing w him in therapy or you need to really share, you have it later. But mostly you leave it in your doc file & move on.

    Writing it down is almost as good as telling them off. It’s real, plus you don’t have to send it. And you can always change your mind later.

  • BA, first of all, my heart goes out to you because what you’re dealing with is very difficult. It’s not something you can do on your own. Just taking care of your 3 kids and trying to keep your sanity while going through grief must take all your energy.

    Everything CL says is true, so stay no contact. It truly is the best way to heal because you can’t heal when you’re sucked into their crazy machinations. It’s like throwing yourself on a knife again and again when you interact with them, so you have to stop itHe will never “see your side,” because he doesn’t want to. He can’t look at himself, he doesn’t have the guts.

    I watched a friend of mine go through a very contentious divorce and even though she was justified in her anger, she got lost in years of texting and email battles with him. Focusing on trying to make him understand what he did actually distracted her deepest fear, which was figuring out how to build a life of her own. It delayed her healing for a long time.

    You are justifiably angry. It most definitely isn’t fair. But only people that have been through it really understand. Surround yourself with supportive people. I worry that you are isolated because of moves you might have made for your husband’s career. Do you have good friends? A supportive church? Family close by? People who can help with child care?

    One resource is to look for a DivorceCare group in a local church. The group I visited did things like help people pack and move. They really knew how to pitch in. The ones who were further along in healing helped the newbies.

    A good counselor is incredibly important. Not just someone who agrees with you that your ex is a jerk, but one who helps you see where you’re stuck and why, and nudges you to move forward. Don’t stay with any counselor who tells you to accept blame for your husband’s behavior, though. If that ever happens just fire them and keep looking. My counselor was one who had extensive knowledge of how to deal with family of origin issues. Very important.

    I was blessed with a pastor who truly understood what it was like and who reminded me that I was loved. He was a Godsend in the early days when I couldn’t stop crying.

    Others have suggested keeping a journal. Although it can feel cathartic to get everything down on paper, you might consider keeping an “encouraging” journal where to praise yourself for small victories. Maybe today you didn’t get sucked into that phone call…write that down. Maybe you took the first step in finding a support group…write that down. Notice that you felt happy for a few minutes? Write that down and record what you were doing that brought you joy. This will help you figure out how to become your own best advocate and supporter.

    Most of all, take care of yourself and realize you don’t have to accept someone else’s determination of your worth. You are a worthy and valuable person deserving of love. Especially your own.

  • BA – DO NOT ENGAGE! Don’t! Everytime you don’t react, you win. Why? Because he is left with someone he doesn’t want to be left with – himself. Everytime you react? He wins. Why? Because he has ‘got you’ and ‘proved’ that 1. you still care about him and 2. you are batshitcrazy, and he ‘was justified’ in what he did.

    Also, your kids hear you, and it really hurts them.

    You engage because you still feel connected. But he doesn’t care about you! So don’t give him the pleasure. Grit your teeth, and DON’T REACT.

    I learned the painful, hard way. ONLY NOW I have finally shut up and stopped screeching, is he sitting in his miserable life and tasting his consequences. All the time I screamed and ranted, he had something to be contemptuous about and push against. Learn quicker than me! The gf won’t last, trust. Don’t have anything to do with this piece of sh* you had the misfortune to breed with. Leave him with his nasty self.

  • My kids were adults when the ex and I divorced so BA I can’t offer a lot of advice about how to work around “limited contact.” There are many chumps here who have to co-parent with a fuckwit and they are much better at navigating the shit storm and can give you valuable advice.

    I will say this. Whether or not you are co-parenting with them, engaging with a cheater post divorce never works in your favor. I got sucked into to one particularly nasty text war with my ex, right in the very beginning. He baited me on purpose and the war began. Out of all the things that make me cringe, that one tops the list. Not of what he said but of how I reacted to it.

    A couple of months later, after he spewed all that nastiness my way he sent me a “Happy Birthday” text. Undoubtedly to bait me again. It was so phony and I froze him out for so long that he had to find a way to hoover me back in. I didn’t take the bait that time. Didn’t acknowledge the text and went one step better. I blocked him from my phone all together. I also made his email address re-routed to “junk mail” for all of my accounts except one.

    Now he only has one avenue of reaching me and he’s not used it in over a year. I cannot begin to explain the clarity no contact brings to this situation. I realize you can’t go full on no contact but from what I read you can get pretty damn close.

    Just like every other situation in life, you can’t control him but you can certainly control your reaction to him. You will drive him far more crazy if you disengage to the max. Eventually he will get bored and that’s your goal. No amount of explanation ever penetrates their thick, narcissistic skulls. It will be used against you. Trust me on that. When I lost my cool, our divorce was settled and there were no legal actions pending but it still made me look like the crazy one. Don’t let him reduce you to that. The satisfaction you will get from not engaging far outweighs any temporary relief you will get from “giving him a piece of your mind.” They don’t care. They aren’t capable. It isn’t in their nature. Your only winning move is not to play!

  • Going NC was the best thing I ever did for healing from The Coward’s cowardice. It was hard. There are times even 5 years out where I wonder if I should reach out, for a variety of bullshit reasons, but those feelings always pass, and each time they do, I reinforce with myself that NC is definitely the way to go.

    I got tired of being the fly on the windscreen, the moth to his flame. I realized everything I said could be used against me, either to his family, with OW, or, worst, to my kids, if he were to share examples of my angry outbursts.

    I got tired of reinforcing to him that he was important, and that I was emotionally helpless without him in my life. I got tired of sharing my feelings with a man who did not love me. I got tired of being hurt over and over when he failed to break down and crawl back to me, and when he failed to show that he hurt, and failed to help me. I got tired of feeling so alone and mocked. I got tired of the reality that when he finished hearing from me, she was there with him, and she was the one he cared about. I got tired of shaking and obsessing.

    So I went NC for a day, then a week. I resisted any and all urges to break NC. I called chumpy friends, and wrote emails to The Coward that I knew I would never send. I edited thise emails repeatedly. Re-reading them I am SO glad I never sent them. Like Dixiechump, I marched my sweet dogs in the dark and muttered under my breath all the things I thought I needed to say to xH and OW. I came here to vent, most of all, and I still do. I learned about “gray rock” for the couple times per year when I had to speak to The Coward via email about the kids. Every time I was hurt by The Coward and OW advancing their relationship, and wanted to lash out, I gave it time, and processed my hurt until it didn’t hurt any more, and I congratulated myself for never letting on, for never giving them the satisfaction, for not embarrassing myself.

    And that first day turned into years of NC.

    This shit is hard. But it’s like exercise. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the stronger you grow, and the better you look.

    You can do it. You must.

  • A final thought from me: someone reading here might wonder why we are all so adamant about “no contact,” whether we have just succumbed to “group think.” Those chumps further down the road to Meh have made the dumb “contact” mistakes, done our pick-me dancing, sucked on the hopium pipe and finally concluded that what allows us to heal is to get away from the mindfuckery, gaslighting and blame shifting. Every time you engage in a (losing) verbal battle with one of these disordered people, you get hooked deeper into their twisted psychological and emotional world. Establishing and maintaining “no contact” other than the impersonal delivery of truly necessary business information (and not just excuses to put a foot in cheater world) is the first step toward re-achieving a somewhat normal perspective on the world. It takes a long time to heal from abuse, and every contact, every incident of repeated verbal and emotional abuse, sets you back.

    You want to “argue” with your cheater? Make your happy, healthy life your argument.

    • I really agree with this. Now that I don’t discuss his behavior with him, I realize how fucking crazy his behavior is. He can’t justify or twist things around to make it my problem. He can’t make me feel bad for having emotions and not be a robot who doesn’t care about anyone or anything (except his whore who apparently is worth all of the emotions or something). I am mad at myself for what I put up with, but pleased with myself that I very quickly came around to the value of NC. On the day we signed our paperwork and some addition forms I walked out the office and didn’t say good bye or wish him the best or acknowledge him in any way. I just walked away. Separate from a single line about some tax paperwork (“I will take care of it this week.”), I have been no contact for about two months and it’s the best thing I ever could have done. I am discarding him just like he discarded me.

      • “I am discarding him just like he discarded me.”

        I love this! Way to go CaGAl. This is the perfect way to think.

  • “I learned long ago, never try to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and the pig likes it.” – George Bernard Shaw

    I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments but if it’s been posted already, it’s worth repeating.

    I’ve had a few experiences of being “sucked in” with my cheater ex, mostly over issues with our daughter or finances. However, I’ve learned to take a deep breath before responding to him in any way. I don’t text or email immediately and if I need to vent, I phone a friend or write in my journal. I keep my responses to a yes, no or let me think on that. I’m clear, direct and if he becomes unhinged playing the “I’m a loving Dad and you are a meanie” routine, I remind him that our daughter is available and on time as per the custody arrangement. Anything further than that, and he can talk to my lawyer. That shuts him up.

    I’ve had practice at this and yes, you might send off a few choice words but nothing makes them happier than you losing it. Even years out my cheater still tries to poke here and there, and while I now find it annoying, I recover quickly and sometimes even find it amusing. I never text or email when I’m angry. Cheaters are pathetic losers. And they hate losing control and losing that ever so important image of being all that. So if they can provoke you, they will. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

    So as you’ve read here, stay calm and divorce the cheater. You’ll have years of this so you’ll need a strategy and minimal contact is the key. The more you practice it, the easier it gets. In time the cheater moves on and plays less and less….the key is to let them move on and that gives you the peace and happiness you deserve.

  • BA – you have my empathy and wishes for a speedy resolution.

    I had it pretty easy compared to some people, my Cheater didn’t really fight me. He was happy to be free to be an asshole without me around making him feel bad for being a massive cheating asshole. But even then, I did have to suck it up on occasion. For me it was knowing that he is hiding some cash assets from our business and knowing that he is spinning the “we grew apart, we never had sex, she was mean to me” sad sausage narrative. I am a fair person. I like fair, I try to be fair, and treat people with respect and do what’s right. I had to accept that I was going to have to let this unfair thing happen to me. That there is a pile of cash somewhere that some amount should be mine and it is in my best interest to let it go. That his family, who I liked, but was not close to, will be fed lines about whatever crazy ass justification he makes up. They will think of me not as the victim of a fucking narcissistic borderline personality disorder cheater, but as a cold bitch who didn’t support him or really love him and was just after his money.

    And for the sake of moving on, I have to allow this. I have to allow this unfair thing to just happen to me. I think I hear maybe a little bit of that in your letter – when he throws an accusation at you that is mean and just a straight up lie – you are just supposed to let it happen?!?! It’s unfair. Yes – it’s unfair. But if you can kind of relax into that reality, it makes it a lot easier to let it go. I found reading the thoughts on going gray rock really helpful. Like CL says, every time you refuse to engage his crazy, you are not being a push over, you are manipulating him. You are forcing his hand to either ramp up the crazy (which you will document) or you will break him and have peace.

  • BA,

    My situation sounds very much like yours, but I have been in this ‘circus’ (dealing with an abusive, cheating spouse) for longer than you have (married for twelve years, separated for two). Repeat this, ‘Silence is your friend.’ I used to fear that law enforcement, Child Protective Services, and the Court would believe all the false allegations my STBX made against me and that, consequently, I would lose the kids, the kids and I would get hurt, etc. Now I have seen my STBX shoot himself in the foot with all his lies. Police in various cities and Child Protective Services no longer listen to him when he bears false witness against me (accusations of sexual molestation, attempted rape by me, a petite woman, theft of his papers by me while we were still married and living together) and my relatives (who are still kind to him in spite of his horrendous treatment of my extended family and others). Several employees of Family Court think that he is an a–hole. (Wish the current judge saw through him.) I have accepted the fact that life is unfair. In my case, I have accepted the fact that I will bear the burden of paying for the kids’ extra-curricular activities (other than the Disneyland Dad ones he decides to purchase, perhaps to promote an image as Father of the Year), braces, medical assessment, and treatment, and college tuition as he used part of the kids’ college savings to fund his prostitution habit while we were married and not legally separated. Once I gave up pursuing justice for the kids and me, as I did not think that the kids and I would get justice, I felt more peaceful and started spending my time making my life and my kids’ lives better by working on things over which I had control (e.g., tutoring my kids, training for a triathlon, working on my job search, which resulted in me securing a full-time job). I don’t have justice, but I do have pride and self-respect, and I can model for my kids a healthy, resilient attitude and healthy, ethical behavior as contrasts to the attitude and behavior of their law-breaking, destructive, mentally ill, personality-disordered father.

    Keep calm and carry on. There is no winning arguments with disordered abusive jerks. I used to tell myself this when I felt tempted to engage in ridiculous arguments with my disordered husband or get my husband to comply with reasonable requests to follow the law (e.g., pay child support): ‘Would you argue with the schizophrenic bag lady/man babbling to herself/himself at the bus stop?’ No, of course not. So why would you argue with your husband? It will do no good; it will just raise your blood pressure and keep your cortisol level high.’ Now I am less tempted to back over my STBX when he breaks court orders (e.g., order to stay away from my parking space–he would sometimes camp out at my home parking space although he repeatedly cheated and filed for divorce), which were requested not by me, but by a former Family Law judge who was trying to protect me. The more you can focus on YOU and your kids the better you will feel and the sooner you will feel all right or even good! More than two years after D-Day #1, I feel better than I have in the last couple of decades.

  • Right now is so hard, but trust you will get through it. Peace will come, it will just take time and a damned good lawyer. I hope you found one.

  • BA,

    You are really doing so well – small children, kicked him out, getting divorced. ((HUGS))) Once you REALLY make up your mind (forget your heart – it’s stupid as fuck) to go no/low contact, you have to take it a day at time, sometimes a minute at a time. Don’t project out long-term -that’s what trips us up. Forget the narrative and pay attention to the details of any communication your STBX manages to slip through. You will begin to see with your own eyes (and maybe hear with your own ears) the crazy behind the nonsense.

    My screen name really should have been “hard-headed chump.” After years of cheating (most of which I was unaware until close to the end) the Ex tossed me over for an old neighborhood friend who had been wanting to marry him for years. The children were mostly grown so he did it when he knew he would not be responsible for child support.

    The entire time I treated him as civilly as I could, but basically went no/low contact early on after finding this site. It was a long road for me to full no contact (where I am now) because I had to convince myself that he was who I thought he was – hard headed chump. Plus, he could win the Soulful Sad Sausage Award for his portrayal of a wounded, emotionally struggling poor widdle man. Gross.

    Don’t engage your Ex. I am speaking from the experience of someone who tried and failed to maintain just a minimally civil relationship. I started noticing how I felt each time after having any contact with him. It was as if I was injecting myself with small doses of poison. Then I started really paying attention and using the CP’s Flaming Turd Bullshit Translator (an incredibly inexpensive knockoff of the patented Chump Lady Universal Bullshit translator). I was finally able to read and see how he twisted and distorted everything I said, all the time. It was all so much Diarrhea of the Disordered – just free flowing shit. Then I had a long talk with myself and I said, “Girl, what do you get when you engage a liar, cheater and deceiver? Why, you get lies and deception,” I told myself. Then I had to ask myself, “Why would you talk to someone who only has the ability to lie to and deceive you? You hate lies and liars. You hate deception. What POSITIVE thing are you getting from the interaction that is of BENEFIT to you or your children?” I haven’t talked to him in months, nor do I intend to. The divorce is over and so are we. I’ve given instructions that if I get sick, he is not to know. If I die, he cannot come to the funeral. I have still have feelings for this man – we were together for nearly 30 years. It was not easy, but it was so necessary. I can’t even describe the peace that comes from disengaging from these holograms.

    BA, there is little to nothing positive you will get from voluntary (or even involuntary) interaction with your STBX. The hardest thing to accept is that these human clones don’t care about us – they don’t have the capacity to care. You can’t fix that. Your STBX is a like a D-List Hollywood wannabe – any attention is good attention. If you were to give him a piece of your mind, all he would hear is, “she cares about me, she cares about what I think.” It doesn’t make sense to us, but he would feel satisfaction from getting you to lose control. Have you ever watched young siblings and how one picks and picks at the other one until the other one loses control? Have you ever seen them smile with satisfaction once they’ve managed to get the other one in trouble? That’s what your STBX is doing. Don’t waste your time or your breath. That would be better spent calling around to find a kick-ass attorney.

    Think of your STBX as anti-freeze. So easily disguised in something tasty to drink, but deadly to consume. Don’t drink the anti-freeze BA. Have some wine instead. 🙂

  • I have been exactly where you are now. I’m 9 years out now but years 1,2, and 3 were identical to yours but with two children. I also felt the infinite need to defend myself, remind him of just who screwed up and destroyed a family. Hell, two families. Together 20 plus years with small children and I was a stay at home mom. It was brutal. I did nothing wrong but was in this vortex of craziness where I had no control. Just two people who know one another so well we knew just the right things to say to infuriate the other. I finally shut it down with no contact to regain my sanity and control. Email only. Don’t fall for the threats. Let the pit bull attorney scare the crap out of him. Trust me. After,6 years of tjis..I won. He broke…realized his family moved on without him with no problem. That hurt him the most. If you have to, fake it til you make it. Your kids need comfort and stability. And, 7n time, they more than know who did right by them. Then you’ve won twice. My ex married his affair and is now admittedly unhappy. I also got a job, got more schooling and do all the running. Your kids will be proud of you and come to know the truth. My advice, don’t date for a few years. Get your new life running smoothly and then look, if that’s what you want. Your kids will be so grateful for that time to bond with you and know it wasn’t you who ran out and replaced the other parent.

  • The encouragement and advice you are getting here is priceless.
    KNOW that the best F.U.

    Is his view of your rear end walking away with your intact (new) family.

    • That should have been one statement…

      The encouragement and advice you are getting here is priceless.
      KNOW that the best F.U. is his view of your rear end walking away with your intact (new) family.

  • Don’t beat yourself up, we have all been where you are. The most important thing is, in the face of his PROVOCATION (because that is what it is), is to learn to self-soothe.
    ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics or other dysfunctional families), Al Anon or any other 12 step programme focussing on co-dependence is a huge help in learning to calm yourself and keep the focus on you.

  • Dear Bad Ass,

    I would recommend that your attorney file a motion that he is only to communicate with you through a court email program called family wizard. When he calls the kids, let him use a cell phone so that you can identify his call and immediately hand the phone to the kids or don’t answer.

    Good luck,

  • I had the opportunity at first comment here the other day but didnt post anything as I was not sure what I wanted to say – I thought about it since and I hope this is helpful…

    It is so hard for those of us with normal brains and norma consciences to grasp that these folks are SO disordered that even if you could get through to them, you would still never get a decent. reasonable, considerate response.

    There was one day soon after Dday, during the monster phase where I got nowdeadhusband to sit down and listen to me explain to him how horrible this had all been for me…I poured my heart out in the most descriptive ways possible to explain how the betrayal, the lies, the dismissing of my concerns, the stories of how wonderful OW was – all that shit that we all suffered through – was SO horrible …

    Of course I was hoping that he would CARE and it might make him see he was making a terrible mistake and he would say he was sorry for hurting me and promise to stop and he would devote himself to healing our family and nurturing our marriage…all the things we hope to hear and he said”

    “If one of our children died, you wouldn’t do very well”

    WHAT? that was his response? to compare it with some other disaster and say that I woudlnt do well? who the hell does “well” when their child dies anyhow? It was his way of showing me that I didnt do well with stress. Him, the person who found solace in diverting his emotional efforts to OWs rather than care for the family he vowed to be true to. Blameshiftfuckfest it was.

    You will never ever get a reasonable response from a selfish monster .

    The fact that I still didnt give up after that is something Im still trying to get my grips on. I did not accept that this nasty man was showing me who he really was. I wasnt strong enough to accept that even if he decided to return, this is the mess I would be getting in the deal…and I did.

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