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Living with Your Ex… For The Children?

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doormatThe most amazing case of cake-eating appeared in the Washington Post last week, “Daddy’s home — Why I let my ex live with us on the weekends.”

Here’s an abridged version of the fuckupedness — a cheating man impregnates his girlfriend and walks out on his wife and two children, to another state. Instead of filing for a divorce, the chump wife stays married to the cheater, and lets him live with them all on the weekends — For The Children.

Rather than stage an intervention and demand that this woman have her head examined (FOR THE CHILDREN!), the commentators at the Post are praising her sacrifice and “forgiveness.”

It’s a smile-and-eat-the-shit-sandwich narrative that’s just begging to be put through the Universal Bullshit Translator. So…

The other night, after a particularly jovial dinner with our two teenage children, my husband retreated from the kitchen — and walked down the street to call his mistress.

And I let him walk down that street. Instead of clubbing his kneecaps with a threaded pipe. And laughing as his cell phone skids out of his hand and spins on to the pavement. And thwacking his grasping hand as he lunges for the phone, still doubled over in agony. His eyes would implore me to give it to him…

SMASH! goes the cellphone with the pipe!

I’m sorry, Trixie can’t come to the phone right now,” I purr…

But no. I let him walk down that street instead.

I stuff those revenge fantasies down deep into my psyche where they will metastasize into sugar-coated passive-aggression. #familytogetherness #jovial!

Ours is an unusual arrangement, one I have chosen so that my children can spend time with their father — who left me nearly four years ago for his pregnant 30-year-old girlfriend — in their own home. During the week he lives in another state with the woman and their daughter. On the weekends he drives nearly five hours each way to spend time with our children.

Because the only way my children can spend time with their father is in my home. I’ll be goddamned if I let them set foot around the Other Woman and her spawn. He can drive 5-hours for cake. I’d rather we all pick me dance in pink tutus than Let Her Win.

In the months after the breakup I was consumed with pain, confusion and rage, and I refused to let my husband in our home. I’d make him stand in the doorway waiting for our children so he could take them out to lunch. After overindulging them at the local toy store, he’d drop them back at our house and go to a hotel for the night. The next morning he’d pick them up for brunch, after which they’d go rock climbing or swimming, or simply walk around town. Weekends with dad were like being on vacation, except no child would choose such a vacation.

No, children would much prefer to be around their seething, separated parents and their sham marriage than receive toys or go for swims. #forthechildren

One day I brought the children to the city where he lives and we arranged to meet at a museum. The four of us stood uncomfortably in the foyer for a few minutes before I started to walk away. My son begged me to stay, and when I said no, he asked why. Looking into my son’s eyes, the only truthful answer would have been because it was too painful for me, and that didn’t seem to me a good enough reason, so I stayed.

Looking into my son’s eyes, I projected what I wanted to see — the only teenage boy in the world with separation anxiety.

Drop-offs are a zero sum solution — it’s either total family togetherness or nothing. Don’t suggest that teenagers can wait in lobbies alone, or that a friend drops them off, or that if Fuck Face can drive 5 hours, he can drive an additional 5 minutes to a museum — MY CHILDREN NEED ME.

That is when I began learning how to put my anger and hurt aside and focus on what was best for my children.

Modeling dysfunction. #best4thechildren

Things didn’t change overnight. That museum trip was only the first step, but in time I allowed my husband back into the house when he picked up the children, and sometimes I would join them for lunch or a movie.

Take THAT, Trixie! I bet you wonder where he is now! Ha! HE’S WITH ME! THE CHILDREN!

They were dealing with their own disappointment, grief and anger, and in the early days they often refused to go with their father unless I joined. Our life had been blown to bits in an instant, and my children needed me to show them how to move forward.

I have to do what my children tell me to do. They insisted I be a doormat, so of course, I complied. My children need me to show them how to be doormats.

There were meals at which I sat with a forced smile and nodded politely, while seething or feeling nauseous, but said nothing.

Winning!

There were days it took all of my strength to hold back tears watching my children interacting with their father, and remembering the happier days we had as a family. But I had one overriding goal: to support my son and daughter in their relationships with their father.

By inserting myself into their every interaction.

[Instead of denying our sadness to our kids, we should use it to teach them how to cope]

Yes, don’t deny sadness. Set the manipulation channel firmly to self-pity. Do, however, deny anger and agency.

That’s not to say I was or am perfect. Like most parents, divorced or not, I’ve said and done things I regret. I’ve had to navigate a road I never dreamed I’d be walking, and I have taken many missteps.

There were moments of complete lucidity. I stuffed them down.

In the months following those first tense family lunches, the four of us settled into a routine where daddy would stay over on the weekends in the guest room and make pancakes the next day. During that first summer he and my son pitched a tent in the back yard and spent nearly every weekend night huddled in sleeping bags, watching a movie on a laptop and gorging on junk food. Very slowly, my husband and I became friendly again. We had 20 years of history together, and we still enjoyed each other’s company.

WHO’S CRYING NOW, TRIXIE?

Our situation would be comical if not for the underlying heartache, and there have been ironic moments over the years; such as when I was getting ready for a date and my husband found the perfect shoes for my outfit. Or when the man I am seeing arrived at my house on a recent Friday night at precisely the same time as my husband, leading to an awkward handshake and my teenagers wondering if punches would be thrown. (They were not.) When later I asked my husband what he thought of my beau, he replied that he was well dressed.

Make Daddy do the pick me dance too, Mommy!

Mommy found a nice chump hypotenuse. Mommy can play triangulation too!

From the beginning, some people in my life thought this was an extremely odd arrangement.

Odd was the nice word for it.

Many friends have said I am too nice, and perhaps I am, but after such a long period of sorrow, I would have done anything to see the joy on my son’s face as he lugged pillows out to the tent.

Of course, he could lug pillows to a tent with his father without me, but then I wouldn’t be there to see his joy. And it’s only by forcing Family Togetherness that joy is maintained.

It is too terrible to contemplate my children’s joy without me. They must NEVER feel joy around those who betrayed me.

I felt confident in my decision, until one day my daughter said that it wasn’t normal to live that way, and she wanted us to behave like other divorced families. This gave me pause, and led to a number of discussions with friends about the kind of message I was sending to my children.

My daughter has self-respect. She said it’s not normal to live without self-respect. This led to a number of discussions with my friends about self-respect. I decided against self-respect. #4thechildren

Perhaps, in trying to give my children a semblance of a normal family life I was creating a false and confusing world for them.

Perhaps I was enabling the cheater to avoid consequences and stuff his fat gob with cake, at the expense of everyone’s mental health. Perhaps.

Perhaps in trying to teach them the power of forgiveness, I was instead sending them the message that what their father did was all right, thus setting them up for relationship issues as adults. I took all of this into consideration, and about two years ago announced that daddy would no longer be staying over, or even hanging out. We were going to live like other divorced families (albeit we are still only legally separated).

WE ARE STILL MARRIED.

I left that in parentheses, so my extreme condescension to you divorced people who actually weathered difficult life challenges (like co-parenting with an affair partner) are not apparent. I’m not divorced. I’m completely avoidance and inauthentic — but HEY, let me tell you how you’re not parenting right! FORGIVE, you bitter bunnies! FORGIVE!

Thus began a phase where my children would ask if daddy could come over for certain periods of time. It soon became apparent that my children enjoyed having their father around to simply be. They didn’t want to go to a sterile hotel room; they wanted him in the place they felt safe, playing games, watching TV, or throwing a ball outside.

My teenage children don’t feel safe in sterile hotel rooms or outside the confines of their own backyard. They need to feel safe, with ME, here in my home, near their mother. Always. #dontleaveme

Before long the tent was up again in the back yard, and the fire pit was lit to make s’mores. One night I sat outside on my deck and watched through the windows as my daughter and her father cooked together, set the table with candles and sat down to dinner. Observing them through the glass I knew that that simple meal would do more to heal my daughter than any words I could offer.

I miss the family I thought I had. On weekends I can pretend he doesn’t have a mistress and another child elsewhere. I eat the s’more. It tastes faintly of shit sandwich.

Knowing that I am doing the right thing for my children doesn’t make it easy. Every time my husband leaves to “make a call” I feel another cut to my heart.

ANGER! Must suppress the anger! Eat another s’more, damn it! FORGIVE! FORGIVE! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

A few weekends ago we were cleaning out the garage and found my daughter’s unused scooter still in its box. I unthinkingly asked if we knew anyone with a toddler we could give it to, and in the next second the thought of his new daughter flashed across my mind, and I burst into tears. There are days when I want him out of my house and out of my life for good. It’s difficult to move forward emotionally when the cause of my pain is in my kitchen every weekend.

But then those moments of lucidity pass. I’ll be god-damned if I’m going to move forward.

We once had a conventional family, and now we don’t. I had no control over what my husband did. But he left me. To his credit he never left our children.

Yes he did. He moved to another state and had a child with another woman. But I’m going to buy the bullshit that he never left them, and I’ll enable his delusion by letting him play Family Guy here on the weekends, and not divorce him, or have legal protections, and court orders, because that is what’s Best For The Children — complete vulnerability to the narcissist.

During the darkest days, when neither my children nor I wanted to speak to him, he still drove five hours, often only to be left standing on the front stoop or turned away. Though there is no excuse for what he did, his fortitude and love for our children does not go unnoticed by me, particularly as I hear horror stories from women in similar situations, whose husbands simply walked away.

The UBT would like you to consider the calculus — 5 hour drive versus ZERO CONSEQUENCES. Marriage AND a girlfriend! Centrality to two women and three children! #whatsalittlerain

We all carry scars from our childhoods, and my son and daughter have been dealt a bad hand. I can’t change that, but choosing to live this way will change one thing. When they are grown and look back, they will remember late nights watching clips on YouTube and running through the neighborhood, doing homework at the kitchen table and hanging a Bob Dylan poster, cleaning the hamster cage and bringing home a new goldfish — all with their father.

Who left them for his girlfriend. Cleaning up hamster shit is one metaphor.

Being a parent often means putting your children’s needs ahead of your own, and that’s the choice I’ve made. It may not be the right choice for others, and it may not be a perfect solution, but I know in my heart that my children need their father in their lives, and their lives are in their home.

You other divorced people don’t put your children’s needs above your own. That’s the choice you make, to selfishly divorce. Court ordered visitation and support might be your choice. Building a new life for yourself free from abusive fuckwits might seem like a perfect solution. But I know in my heart that children need dysfunction and fuzzy boundaries, so I let their father eat cake at our expense.

In our home. Together. Fuck you, Trixie.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This, CL, is what you call “building the buzz.” I think you had every member of CN salivating at the thought of how the UBT would rip this column apart, and as usual you did not disappoint.

    “Eat another s’more, damn it!” 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • My media professor gave this website as an example of “vulture publishing.” So, if I am to read this all correctly, you essentially find articles to get upset over, post some attention-getting comments on a particular article, then write a blog showing out “outraged” you are. And in the process drive up traffic.

      This is pretty slick!

      • Yo, Zombiewife – how much do you want to bet that your media professor is a cheater?? Sadly, you are what is wrong with the media today. This post is only one example of what Chump Lady is all about. Most often, it has nothing to do with previously published articles. If you had investigated further by reading older posts, you would have known that. But that would have required effort on your part. I’m thinking Barbara Walters needn’t worry.

      • zombiewife, it’s more like a journal club. Someone recommends an intriguing article, and we all read it, and comment. Or, like a book club.

        And we learn from each article we discuss.

        We bring our own traffic here. We sorta like this community and support each other through some really shitty things and people that have happened to us. It’s really quite enlightening and motivating.

        Come here more often and you might learn a thing or two! 🙂

      • Excuse me zombiewife — looks like the problem is the Washington Post publishing clickbait, not “vulture journalism,” which your “media” professor doesn’t understand … it’s not first-person accounts like we have here.

  • And when the children grow up and realize how little self respect you had…

    And, how little respect you had for them, letting him stay in their lives, part time. Because he had such little care, if any at all, for them that he destroyed their family.

    • Agreed, Jim, and there are consequences to this. My CheaterX always said he resented his father, who left their family to work in a city about 2.5 hours away. There, his father met his long-term mistress, and commuted back and forth between the family home and his mistress. His mother knew of the affair, and apparently there was much shouting. Apparently–according to the younger son who went through the family documents after the deaths of both parents–there was some sort of legal agreement as to what the father should contribute.

      But no divorce. And both sons were repeatedly told by their mother that their father was a worthy man.

      Fuck that shit!

      My CheaterX may have resented his father, but he also hero-worshipped him. He wanted, more than anything, to win approval from his father. Furthermore, while he did everything for his mother and found her admirable, he also absolutely resented her. In his eyes, she was timid and cowardly.

      Both sons cheated on their wives.

      Living with the Cheater for the sake of the children sets up all sorts of FOO issues.

      Keep the boundaries clear, and let the kids grow up knowing that there are certain lines that can’t be crossed if you want to keep your self-respect.

      • Kb–your cheater’s story with his father is a perfect example of how children learn more through implicit means (like modeling) over explicit things–being reasoned with. Which is why the columnist’s story about allowing her not-even-X to stay on weekends is so tragic. She is modeling horrible lessons for these children under the guise of doing what is “right” for them. Her children will absorb the doormat lesson, and act accordingly in their adult life–to either be doormats themselves (the daughter, in particular, is at risk), or to treat people like doormats & expect good things from them no matter how you treat them. Sad and horrible.

        Furthermore, if those kids couldn’t manage a relationship with their father on their own terms, there is a reason for it

        • I find this mother extremely passive-aggressive and manipulative. She is eating the shit sandwich “for the benefit of the kids.” When her life is over and she’s miserable, how many bets she’ll throw the blame for missed opportunities for happiness back on her kids?

      • kb
        “….Furthermore, while he did everything for his mother and found her admirable, he also absolutely resented her. In his eyes, she was timid and cowardly.

        Both sons cheated on their wives.”

        I’ve read that this outcome (sons repeating the cheating behavior of their fathers) is common.

    • I know it is really impossible to really move on when the cheating spouse faithful now or not wants to hang on to move on.

      Im 5 yrs out, only separated cuz I was in one of those LTM that gave up ones life for hubby and children’s. I’m 63 and am clueless on retirement, investments, etc…
      We are living like it was in the old days, I’m kept $ but am trapped, as he knows everything I do as he comes around way too much, ((to ck on this massive house)) Because I choose to stay $ tied to him, it makes it difficult to have a social life.

      He lives else where, I don’t even know the address, I’m sure he has been w other women, we just don’t talk about it. I have a male friend that I go out w but if my kinda X hubby even found that out, I’m afraid what he would do to me cuz he tells me everyday , everything he is doing he is doing for us, that he never let us down???? Even thou he was the one who had the affair at 28 yr if a good marriage. It’s an awful mess I’m in, I’m even feeling like I’m the unfaithful one now for having a male friend.

      It’s a terrible way to live…

      • Susan,

        Yes, this is a terrible way to live for you. I am sorry. I was trying to craft a solution for you. I wonder if you could tell him that massive house is just too much up keep. You could split the money 50/50.

        You could then buy a small villa, cottage, house, condo….wigwam…yurt…to get away and heal your mind. I know dealing with a disordered person…nothing is every easy, and he might say no.

        You could take out a line of equity and “hit the road, Jack.”

        He does not give you his new address? Then you don’t owe him any explanations.

        You are not unfaithful for having a male friend, as he had an affair at 28 years of marriage.

        Now, what does he mean…everything he is doing, he is doing for “us”? That language set off alarm bells for me for your welfare.

        Susan, this what I have learned. Look at what people do. Not what they say. That sounds like a red herring to me…you know this phrase? Like look over here, because I am doing something sneaky to your face. I am borrowing CL’s term : is he using “spackle” to hide what he is REALLY doing?

        I hope your name is on the deed to that house. I mean this in the kindest way: Why not just file for divorce and have the court impose legal obligations where he must give you money as you said you gave up your career to care for children and the home. You would not have to stroke his ego, or hide or worry about what he would do. I know it is hard. But you could find a lawyer or solicitor that would make beef hash of his ass.

        As long as you have a place to live, food to eat, and can survive, this is better than having a lying cheater control your life.

        Because living like that could cause a stroke, a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Our bodies say: No more.

        Have you brain stormed with a male friend, or a trusted person, legal counsel, about ways to escape? Big houses have equity, the potential to be rented, sold….big houses have money in them. There has to be way!

        • Excellent tips, Sylvia. Susan, you have worth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially someone who devalued your marriage vows.

          Hugs.

        • Thank you for replying. The thoughts of D is so frightening to me. I had been given an allowance from hubs all thuroughout our marriage. He has done all investments. Manages all money. I dont worry that he is out to cheat me with money, or leave me in the poor house, (( thou i never expected him to cheat either… Not him, ))

          All he wants is the marriage back. Even 5 yrs out after being separated and living apart. Everyday he tells me how muchg he misses me. I feel like I live in a gilded cage. We had a good marriage, and he just cant understand why his 28 yrs of good didnt undo his affair. He really believed I loved him so much we’ld to get thur it. He never believed we couldnt. So now he does everything to make sure I am taken care of. He pays for everythiung as he always did, as I was a stay at home mom. I traveled also a lot w him on his job, another reason I never worked. We had a old fashioned hubby takes care of wife marriage, but I never looked at it like that, in fact I looked at it in complete opposite, that I had the freedom not to work. To travel, to come and go, to have money when ever.
          But boy do I feel like I am paying for it now.

          I also have zero family except for an adult son who has his own life. Both parents are dead, sister, brother. All friends have deserted mewhen the affair happened as I was in a bad place.

          I feel like I have to ask permission and ok everything by him or he gets very wounded… thanks for listening… Dont want to hi-jac thread…

      • Susan gather all your financial doccuments, get credit reports on both of you. See an attorney. You will get half of all assets. There are financial advisors to help you sort this out. This is NO way to live.

    • I continue to be fascinated by separations after cheating. My former MIL asked me to consider such an arrangement after I left her cheating daughter. We didn’t have kids.

      How can ANYONE actually move forward under such an arrangement? It’s really just a delaying tactic, right?

      I responded to the MIL that my state required a minimum of 6 months after filing for the divorce to be finalized, and THAT would constitute our separation.

        • Yep. She said other things about me behind my back during the divorce. Her “baby girl” cheated on me for 6 months, but MIL used my leaving me cheating wife to state, “Look at how JC handles problems! He may not be husband material!”

          That’s all right. She was an alcoholic and remarkably irresponsible even when sober. She can doubt my spousal abilities all she wants–her opinion carries a feather’s weight.

          • I was called “bad breeding stock” by the cheater’s cheater mom. Thank goodness we didn’t “breed”, since sociopathic narcissism clearly runs in the family.

            • At our wedding reception, my MIL asked my father what his financial plan was for his “new grandchildren” (my stepchildren.). The apples don’t fall far from the tree

    • Yes, DM, and dating *another* Chump who’s not man enough to say, “You’re still married to a guy who treated you like $hit — and he stays here on the weekends?! Call me when you’re divorced and this guy is in another state.”

      Ashamed that I played the For the Children game for too long myself. Glad to be over THAT bit of fuckupedness!

    • Yes! This was my FIRST thought. How can you date a man when you’re a married woman???! Then, I thought maybe the kids don’t know they’re still married (I’m sure her date didn’t). But then I thought if her dates don’t know she’s married, maybe she’s sexual active, and then she’s committing adultery. Lastly, I wondered if maybe the married couple still sometimes have sex #only on the weekends #shared history #still his wife. My STBX would totally try that – repeatedly. This is so many kinds of messed up it’s unbelievable. Just. No.

      • This is exactly why any form of “still married, but only on paper” was a total deal breaker during my dating days.

        • And this is why Mr. Sparkles OW finds herself now charged with adultery… he gave her his “living like roommates” BS and she bought it hook, line and sinker. She ignored that he was still living at home, still going on family vacations, not able to talk on the phone any time she wanted… UH, red flags anyone?

          Bottom line for me going forward – if the divorce isn’t final, there is no date. (As you can imagine, I’m aching for my own divorce to be final for this very reason!)

          • And that is exactly what lets you know they aren’t In a Fog, not doing anything wrong, etc. They are sneaking and hiding, which “single” people don’t do.

            Can’t talk right now. Call me when you get a chance. Sorry I missed your call. All bullshit phrases the cheater and whore used. Fog, my ass.

            • And they are EVERYWHERE on the dating sites. Like a bad ant infestation. You try to move on, so your life is not a complete mess. You have hope! You want to meet someone who is not a weasel.

              I “phone met” four men now…..1-2-3-4, and their status says: Divorced.

              I say: How long have you been divorced?

              Oh, well….I am legally separated. Huh?

              But you said you were divorced.

              Ummm…I “might as well be divorced.”

              CLICK!

              They are probably still living at home and sneaking off to call like a weasel freak.
              That’s right Anita….Fog, my ass.

              • My new husband sent me copies of his divorce degree and annulment when we began dating <– good sign

              • Yep. Cheese Fries listed himself as “recently divorced” in his dating and sex ads as soon as he moved out of the house. (And maybe before – but I wasn’t looking for his ads then.) Over a year later, the divorce is still not final. He never filed … I finally did at the beginning of the year after wreckonciliation #2 ended. I always wondered what he told his fuckbuddies, if they bothered to question his marital status. “She’s dragging out the divorce.” “The marriage has been dead for a long time, so the divorce is just a finality.” “Bs, bs, bs.”

                And his dating status was only the tip of the mountain of bullshit in his ads. That was enough to scare me away from online dating.

  • Sounds like the daughter got more going on than the mother. More money for intense therapy. The mom is doing herself and her children a grave injustice and dad gets all the cake he wants. Its up to him and the kids to have a relationship not mom.

  • The mother is not thinking of the damage this situation is causing to her children. And the irony of it is, she’s justifying her desperation and spinelessness by stating it is “for the children”. Oh well, everyone is exactly where they want to be.

  • There was a time, right after XH left, that I would have gone for this sort of arrangement. That shows you where my self esteem and self worth were at the time. These days, I do best when I DON’T see or talk to him because his head is still firmly up his ass.

    D16 and S13 have spent most of the summer with their dad as D18 as been in and out of the hospital for the last two months. XH went to one ER visit with us and decided that was enough – I could have the sick kid, he’d take the healthy ones to “help me out.” They’ve been with him since mid-June and are asking to come back home. Why? To quote D16: “He’s having a hard time balancing work, girlfriend, and parenting.” He goes to work, he spends time with his new girlfriend (the third in the six months since he left wife #2 – their divorce isn’t final yet), and D16 and S13 get the crumbs of what’s left over – meaning they spend most of their time alone. They have the full measure of him and are under no delusions where his priorities are: himself.

    That Washington Post writer needs to hang out with Chump Nation for a while. She’d come to her senses and realize that the next time her husband walks away to take a phone call, he might as well keep on walking, because he wouldn’t be allowed back. #endofcake.

    • Red – your comment struck me. I look at Mr. Sparkles and #4 (the OW) and shake my head. When he walked out on me and our 10yo son, he “took” his son (19) and daughter (16) – who were living with us – with him and then basically abandoned them to full-on love-bomb and pursue the OW.

      What does the OW think about that kind of man as a “parent”? She has two children (12 and 9) – this is a guy who obviously doesn’t give a whit about parenting – but he’s “the one” for her? If he is always with her/them… he’s not with his own flesh and blood.

      In the meanwhile, my stepchildren still spend family time and dinners with me (and their half brother). And, with each passing year, care less and less about their Dad.

      Someday, he’ll get bored by her kids too (when the kibbles stop in adolescence).

      Keep the faith and be the sane parent. It’s a honorable “job” 🙂

      • ICSTMC – No, they don’t care about ANY children, either theirs or their partner’s. XH walked away from his stepchildren from wife #2 without even a backward glance. He’d spent more time with them in the 18 months he and #2 were together than he’d spent in the previous 10 years with his own kids, but when it was time to leave, he was gone.

        Fortunately, as I said, my kids have no delusions about him. They know that when they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind with him. Sad.

  • I thought I’d fall through the floor when she shared that she still wasn’t divorced. Then I realized, well, DUH, of course she’s not divorced! This whole thing is truly sad.

  • Watching them cook while she supervised from the patio? Control freak much? Yes, this is about controlling the kids to never be around ow and the new child. Listen, we’ve all agonized over that and faced it and moved on. That she keeps herself embroiled in the drama of the pick me dance, I just can’t even imagine a more horrible life.

    • I knew how totally crazy this was yesterday when I read it, but CL pointed out what I totally missed, the controlling nature of this mother. I didn’t see that by allowing him into her home, she is able to control what her kids do with him and that they don’t see the OW. What happens when they all announce that they’re spending the week, month, whatever at his house. Unless there’s a custody agreement, she can’t stop him.

      I still feel bad for her because of what the cheater did, but she will never live an authentic life if she stop this contact.

      • Oh, no, I totally agree that’s what she’s doing. But she’s drunk her own damn Kool-Aid and believes she’s doing this noble, self-sacrificing thing that makes her a better mother… I am bereft of even.

        • Yep. Denial and delusion to the max.

          Yet, I feel for her because it seems to me that she can’t let go of the fantasy of the intact family forever that most of us here so wished for ourselves and our kids.i know I did and still do. #fantasyfamilyforever

          • Dusty Springfield! (Dionne W. is wonderful….but that one’s Dusty.)

            On the other hand, there’s Lesley Gore, with You Don’t Own Me. heh.

            OK, back to your regularly scheduled channel.

          • If you had told me two years ago that I would feel LUCKY that my husband abandoned me and our 1 and 2 year old babies with zero warning to move 2,300 miles away for an AP he’d been secretly seeing for 5 months, I would have never have believed it. But after finding Chump Nation and then reading this woman’s sickening, gut-wrenching account (not that she sees it that way) of putting herself and her kids right the eff in the middle of a nightmare, I want to get on my hands and knees and thank God that we are free.

            Yes, watching my three year old cry on the tree-swing last week and say ‘I miss my daddy’ was gut-wrenching. Yes, my son asking why we have four chairs at our kitchen table but only three people in our family now was rough. And after an exhausting day at Disneyland, when they both said ‘We wish we had a daddy to carry us to the car like Cousin Noah does’, I think I cried for the whole two hour trip home. But these cruelties are like little warm hugs in comparison to the nightmares she’s dishing out for her kids.

            Her kids are being denied the chance to process the death of their family as they knew it. He killed it, not her. Every single thing Tracy said was right. I feel only compassion for her. She is deluding herself. Her actions are the epitome of pain-avoidance. And if there’s one thing I can relate to when it comes to the death of my intact family, it’s that. I just pray she finds Chump Nation and that her eyes are opened to the reality that she has been denying.

            My dear woman, it is only the postponement of pain you’ve achieved. And, while you’ve running from it, you’ve heaped on a whole host of new injuries on yourself and your kids along the way. Dig your bloody heals in all you like, but eventually you will have no choice but to move on to that next stage of the grieving process – acceptance. When you’re grieving someone who is still alive, you can’t have them traipsing their corpse through the perennials every weekend. Kick his stinking ass out of your house and call a lawyer.

            • Bravo! Your analogy of the corpse is excellent, and helpful. Your insight is more compassionate and that is good, because something about this woman’s arrogant stance disgusted me and I could not find any empathy for her.

              You are analyzing it up from 30,000 feet, and have many super points, as you lived through the peculiar hell this is. I think my heart is so raw, I can’t see past “cheating” right now without some anger.

              If something is dead, you don’t touch it. It will make you sick. You don’t play with a dead body. And her marriage is dead. But she will not accept it.

              She sounded so delusional when she talked about punches being thrown when her “date” came. I laughed out loud….her husband would not care if a hockey team ran a train on her.

              When your “husband” is cheerfully helping you pick out shoes for your “date”…the marriage is dead.

        • Cue Dionne Warwick’s famous lyrics :”Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’, plannin’ and dreamin’ each night of his charms…..

          • Comes the time be it the day you find out they have cheated or months or years later just to let the motherfucker go out of your life forever, parent if you have little ones best you can within boundaries and let that motherfucker mend his own fucking fences that he alone fucked up with his actions. Asswipe said our kids wouldnt care. He was wrong. It aint easy hardest thing ive ever hard to do but i let that bastard go. I will move look forward to a drama free cheater free life and never ever look back. I grew very tired quickly of reminding asswipe he has kids and family he needs to pay more attentuon to. He didnt now hes mad they dont ignore or hate me. His fault not mine. His job to fix it but he wont. He says hes too old to change. No hes not he just wont. Fuck him. I grew tired making excuses for dad. Again fuck him.

            • Totally agree Kar Marie. Not my job to fix my kids relationship with their father. They don’t see him at all anymore. I stepped right back and their relationship disintegrated. The kids don’t want to see him at all. Not my monkeys not my circus. I too spoke up to the fucker saying that he needed to be more than Uncle Dad who turns up once every few months. Never changed. Never wanted to. He was much too special in his new life with his OWife to bother about the damaged goods he left behind.

      • In California we have a court approved system that allows the children to remain in the family home while the parents rotate. It’s called ‘nesting’ Very California. We also do not use the term ‘visitation’. It’s called time share. Like kids are vacation condos.

        In nesting: One parent living w the children leaves their usual residence and while the ‘out parent ‘ comes to stay in the house with the children and the spouse that normally lives there goes to a designated spot for that duration of time. It’s stipulated in the divorce agreement. And the days and times are too.

        The big difference here is: ONE PARENT LEAVES THE PREMISE COMPLETELY and does not stay to micro manage or spy or put their own life on hold. They give their children time w the parent not as a pretend family.

        There are many times in the original articke where you see she almost comes out of her denial and then ‘spackles over ‘.

        Agreed She’s doing pick me and the kids are the bait. And he’s in a cake eaters paradise. How confusing for these poor kids I wonder what they say when he leaves? Okay, dads going home to his other family now? This can be done without the dysfunction.

        • I’ve heard of the Nesting before and it might be an OK idea IF THERE WERE NO CHEATING. It is just completely creepy for someone who has fucked you over to be living, or even being, in your own personal space. I’m all for amicable divorce, except in cases of adultery.

        • No way I would ever allow fucktard to ever occupy the same space as me, ever again! There would not be enough time in the day for me to disinfect everything he could have possibly touched. Nope, would never happen. Ever. The best thing for the children is to have a happy functional parent.

        • I’ve always thought that sounded like a weird arrangement. The house basically belongs to the kids because it’s their space all the time. The parents have to live elsewhere, in their own spaces. It’s like the kids are in charge.

          I’ve never heard of anyone actually doing the nesting thing, however. There are few families that can afford to maintain three separate households after divorce, especially in CA.

          • Where I have actually seen this is in cases where i am the financial neutral in a mediation. The parties get along so well in the mediation and have seemed to work out so much on their own, that seeing a lawyer and financial in mediation is sort of a safeguard to be sure they’ve done everything ‘correctly’.

            I will admit, every so often that the lawyer and I glance at each other as if to say “now why are they getting a divorce if they seem to be able to come to agreement on everything?”. But in reality I am grateful that we don’t have something really acrimonious to deal with or that no one is being strong armed. It is truly rare.

            I’ve seen couples pay for an apartment or a place out of joint funds. However, I don’t know how it works over the long haul, years after they’ve left the office. Or when kids are teenagers and want less interaction. This is a relatively new development.

            I’m wondering if anyone else watched Real Housewives of the Potomac last year where two divorced spouses lived in one house and the x husband was a cheater? They too were doing it ‘for the children and finances”. But the wife did at least admit that ‘he was the love of her life’.

            • This is what my settlement negotiation looks like to outsiders. We are very polite and accommodating to each other and have each made an effort to be helpful to one another on certain points. We sat down together and hashed out our agreement on all points in about 2 hours with no mediator. Then we had a lawyer write it up for us to make sure everything was legal and enforceable. What outsiders could not see, however, was that my STBX was terrified that anyone would learn that he was gay and had carried on a gay affair for the full 30 years of our marriage. I never openly tried to exhort him, but I was quite aware that he did not want this to go before a judge or to have his boyfriend deposed. So I told him what I wanted, suggested certain things were in the child’s best interest, and he numbly and pleasantly agreed. I think the lawyer we are mutually working with is quite baffled …

              He has signed off on giving me 60 percent of the assets, 70 percent of his income until he retires, and 80 percent of the custody of our darling child. He is an idiot and should have had a lawyer to represent him.

              • Dixie, But for deceiving you on a such a staggering scale, you deserve every shekel (penny) and time with your child. I hope you have a wonderful, warm life after such a life shaking lie.

              • Thanks, SIS. Sadly, money doesn’t make up for the pain and grief all of us here know too well. I have never really been after the money, per se. It was the only revenge alternative I had and I took it. Time with my child, on the other hand, is sweet and I cherish it above all else. Your posts have been incredible … I learn so much when I read them. Thanks for giving so much of your time here.

              • Jesus, Dixie. I’m sorry. No one can ever be adequately compensated for what you experienced. You can’t put a price on that kind of pain. Blessings to you.

          • And I can’t even begin to imagine what so many disordered freaks would do if they had unfettered access to their X’s space for a period of time. Shit would go missing, any papers left anywhere in the house would be searched for and rifled through, maybe a hidden camera would be installed here or there . . . it would be a nightmare.

            • Dixie, that is so kind of you to say that. I feel like a failure and a fool. If I did not have this resource of CL, I might be in mental care ward.Being gas lighted is not for wimps. I have wasted months of my life crying over this fool. He has left me in the dust. I say…but I am pretty? I loved him? I cooked for him? I was his sex bunny? (I was.)

              And what haunts me the most…How, in G-d’s name….does this man NOT MISS ME???

              I know…money is cold comfort. Strangely, my Cheating Monster was very generous with his money to me. But his truth and loyalty, I could not get at it with a pick axe.

              I have thought about your situation, and I cannot decide if it is terribly worse or a bit better.

              You did not have a penis. That was the deal breaker. I am not making light of it…I am being honest. There is nothing you could have done.

              Except have a sex change.

              Sometimes, I feel like we have all fallen into a parallel universe of agony. And until you have experienced it, you cannot comprehend how it changes your being.

        • It’s a spectacularly bad idea that teaches kids that the world (in the form of their parents) revolves around them.

        • Yes, that is the arrangement I’m moving into here in Illinois. The point is to minimize the disruption for the kids while still having nearly 100% mutually exclusive interaction with them. I hope to refine it to a point where I never have to talk to her at all, and maybe even never see her.

      • CL zeroed in with laser focus on what bothered me about this writer, but I could not place it on my own.

        This has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CHILDREN. When I read the article, I hated that author and I always have sympathy for someone who has been cheated on and treated like a chump.

        Yet, I felt none for her. I was repulsed by her martyrdom.

        She is doing this because she wants to be around her husband. She likes him at the house. And she can write a maudlin op-ed in the Post (how do I get that job) about what amazing sacrifices she is making (her stomachs hurts! she cries! she has the mopes!) ……

        but I think every time she hears his car pull up in the driveway, her heart sings with joy.

        It is just the most exaggerated, delusional pick me dance, complete with her saint like status that she uses as her cover up. In America, and the West, once someone invokes “children”, you are not supposed to say anything else. But it is for the children….and they have a cloak of protection as to their motives. It would be like disparaging St. Judes Hospital.

        She is clever. She has constructed an entire falsehood so she can justify staying around a man who made a complete and utter fool of her, abandoned her and her children and shit all over their marriage vows, cholera style.

        I did not appreciate her condenscension toward people who actually DO have several sane brain clicking and realize they need to GET AWAY from people who kick them in the teeth, have double lives and walk away calmly away from the crumbling house they set on fire to another a new pretty life.

        We unwashed masses do not “get it”…this is for the CHILDREN.

        I know this: My mother played the martyr for years (and still does) and it does not endear me to her- it makes me want to scream at her and punch holes in the wall.

        *Being a martyr is the ultimate act of control. Oh, you don’t want to come home for Christmas break to see me? But look at what I did for you!
        I gave up so much for you, and now you will not do as I say. You are a bad child! I gave up my happiness for you. Now, you sacrifice your happiness and freedom for me.

        It is a recipe for life long resentment, disappointment and guilt with your mother. And imagine THOSE ramifications for the daughter when she starts dating: Well, this guy did call me a fat ass, but look what Mom put up with for us. I guess this is how it rolls…….

        The way this writer framed the narrative, I thought she was writing about a group of special needs infants, that she had to be present to operate their feeding tubes or give them meds. These are teenagers.

        I have seen 13 years old navigating Bangkok alone, and doing just fine. My friend who teaches 8th grade in America tells me that many of them routinely have oral sex (shuddering thought).

        Teenagers today are almost jaded- they probably wish she would just stop simpering and get a life of her own without them as the focus of her delusional game-that her husband will come back. That she is “winning” everytime he comes over.

        We must find her email address at the Post, or on the Web, and nicely send her a link to CL’s brilliant dismantling of her bullshit.

        She needs to tape it to her forehead.

        *But I wonder why this author makes me so mad? It is her condescension? The tone of superiority? I was revolted by her on a cellular level…is it some issue I have?

        • Excellent SIS! Cannot stand people that use their children to manipulate and that is just what this woman is doing.

        • Perhaps she makes you mad becomes she is implying that we all should put our lives on hold and let our Cheaterpants husbands–conspicuously non-divorced but shacked up through the week with an OW and new child–commute “home” on the weekends.

        • You are completely spot on. And by the way, her twitter address is @jaimieseaton and is openly listed at the end of the WAPA article so it would be fine to send her a link.

      • I wonder CL, if this isn’t what living long term with two narcissists looks like? Not just a few months of survival until other living arrangements can be hammered out, or dealing with the shit sandwiches during a protracted divorce? She’s not just dancing, it seems to me she’s picking the music, the dance, the partner, and the dance hall….

        • Your screen name 4 a.m. 4ever is absolutely brilliant and apt and creative . It also breaks my heart.

          And, your screen name is what that author is living…4 a.m. forever. That bleak, no man’s land of FULL DARK. Will the sun rise? Will the night end?

          Things never look good at 4 a.m.

            • Sylvia and CeliA, there is a story behind it….a combination of full dark and that for the first year after d-day, and sometimes still, I am either awake at or until 4 a.m. I was wondering to myself if that would ever end, and on the day I signed up for CN, I was sure it wouldn’t. When I reach meh, I’ll change it to 4 a.m. no more!

  • The only person who benefits out of this arrangement is the cheater. This woman needs professional help and no doubt will her children.

    • This situation is so bizarre that I have to think she is also benefiting from this scenario in a very sick, perverted way. The children are NOT benefiting, ironically.

  • This is so sick. This woman is screwing herself ( and the children ) up so badly they won’t ever recover if she doesn’t stop this situation.

    The whole story is just off to me. I don’t know any co cheaters who would go for their Boyfriend to desert her and their child every weekend to live with the ex. The baby is innocent and probably wonders where her father is every weekend.

    All these people that are so friendly with the person who cheated on them further the narrative that it’s Really Not That Bad to be a cheating whore and that there will be no consequences.

    • My guess is OW is using those free weekends to fuck other men.

      But yeah, I feel sorry for the baby who didn’t ask to have two assholes for parents.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he were also lying to the OW– I thought maybe he was telling her that he had to work weekends. In my situation, the Owife controls everything; she would have a fit if she thought that my ex spent any sort of time with our kids in my home. I think this cheater is enjoying the little game he’s playing with both women, and unfortunately, they’re both chumpy enough to let him play it.

      • Do the perceptive, schooled readers of Chump Nation believe she is still having sex with this man? I think she would if he wanted to. Sadly, I have not met many cheaters who would not get their rocks off if they were bored. They would attach as much importance to it as a belch…biological relief.

        • She’s doing him ” for the children”. I’m embarrassed to say I continued the relations 18 months past divorce. It was a shameful pick me dance but a nice little FU to the ow. I didn’t really heal until that ended. And I totally didn’t see what a doucecannoe he was either until I got real distance.

          • But do not beat yourself up because being cheated on can make us mentally ill. We lose touch with truth.

            Imagine if there was not this website. So many other resources offer no insight into that one, solid fact: Trust that they suck.

            Some of those crazy self help books actually advocate a pick me dance.

            Few things could be as demeaning as competing with a skanky shitty bitch for YOUR HUSBAND. But, they gaslight, we love them…our brain scrambles…we want our love back.

            Do you know…I found this site…the night I found the first incriminating texts? And I read every single one of her posts. They saved me from doing any pick me dance.

            I did the change my phone number, remove all of your belongings- we are over dance.

            Not that it makes me better. But it was a small grace in just an ocean of shit that I never tried once to talk him out of it, or see my worth. I just slowly started to lose my mind in grief. I think this might be better than competing with a whore. I am not sure I would have survive that.

            The last time I talked to him, he said, I am a dumb ass.
            And I just said, Yes, you are.

            But here is the rub: I don’t think he believes that. I think he believes he has a right to cheat, that I deserved to be cheated on, and that he will always cheat. One vagina is just not enough for the awesomeness that is him.

            I know he will never change. And that is why I am so grateful I have that one little tiny victory. I never “fought” another woman for him in anyway…because that is what pick me dance is. If he could not see my worth, he was free to move on.

            And he eventually did…far quicker than I ever imagined.

            • Sis – love your story!!!!!!! How I wish I had done those things immediately. I cringe when I think oh the dancing I did to try to win him back. Hahahahaha

              • Sylvia, I did the Pick Me Dance for about 2 months after finding out about the affair. Then, after getting external help and reading anything I could get my hands on regarding disordered personalities, I found CL for the first time. Never did the pick me dance ever since.

                This is why I feel so blessed that I found CL before dumping my STBX – because everything he did right after I announced that I’m leaving him was straight out from the cheater playbook. CL and you guys at CN are my anchors that keep me from being sucked into his Hoovering attempts.

      • MO, I thought exactly the same thing! Tells scumbalina, he is working.
        Why not, cheaters lie and liars chea.
        This is a nightmare and she is awake?

  • This little fucked up dance wouldn’t be necessary if Douche Bag Dad didn’t move FIVE HOURS AWAY from his children! He could spend all kinds of time with his betrayed children if he had chosen to live in the same zip code as them. He’s a real hero for driving five hours (one way!) to “spend time with his children”. What a man.

    Listen up, Long-suffering Wife – he DID leave his children. Spin it any which way you want – he left them. He left them and he left you and now he has you in Limboland while he lives two separate lives. There is no doubt your kids will figure that out and with that realization they will also figure out that you used them to control their “wayward” dad. Because I’m sure you get a little thrill out of the fact that Home Boy is spending weekends with you.

    If your wasband is so interested in being a good father, he should move back to your area and fully participate in your children’s lives. If there were a real emergency it would take daddy-poo five hours to reach his kids.

    Bottom line: I know you think you’re doing the right thing. I do. But him coming every weekend to be with his children does not erase the fact that he is a cheater, that he has another family far away that he CHOOSES to live with, that he chose to leave your kids behind, that he is lacking character. Sadly, you are teaching your daughter to take being disrespected by men with a stiff upper lip, and you are teaching your son that women are things. You are teaching them that there is no such thing as commitment. You are also teaching both of them that they should do what feels good because there are no consequences for being selfish assholes.

    • I thought the same thing. What kind of asshole creates children, and then moves 5 hours away. That’s not someone who is interested in taking care of his own kids he brought into this world. He’s more interested in satisfying his dick, than taking care of his own kids. Why did he have children in the first place if he’s not going to take care of them. Jackass.

      • He’s cheating on both women; what do you want to bet he’s going to be sleeping with each of them very soon.

    • I agree with most everything you said, particularly “you are teaching your daughter to take being disrespected by men with a stiff upper lip, and you are teaching your son that women are things.”

      However, the one thing I disagree with is that she thinks she’s doing the right thing. IMO, I think she KNOWS she’s doing the WRONG thing. She knows her husband is a POS and she’s letting him get away with some spectacular cake-eating.

      For her (as I see it), putting it out there in the Post for the world to see and dressing it up in the vestments of maternal responsibility almost dares the reader to find fault and she paints herself as a bit of a martyr in the process. Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.

      • Exactly. I am not buying anything she is selling.

        Her martyrdom and condescension (along with publishing it in the Post) is a bridge too far.
        She is dripping with superiority and self righteous false sacrifice.

        Does she steam me so much because she is minimizing, on a massive scale, the betrayal of being cheated on by a mate?

  • “But he left me. To his credit he never left our children.”

    This makes my blood boil. It’s what my X tells the kids every time they don’t want to see him. “I may have hurt your Mom, but I never did anything to hurt you. I never beat you or abused you.”

    Oh, so apparently all you have to do to be Father of the Year is not beat your kids. My bad.

    • oh, yes, MGM, because hitting your spouse or kids is bad, all the threats, terror, and emotional abuse, well that’s just in your mind and no one can see the proof so it doesn’t count.
      I swear Narkles the Clown still tells my kids “your mother will get over it.”
      Been using that one since D-day 14 months ago.
      Guess what? still not over it.
      But at least I’m not under it like the woman in this article.

    • I like to go back to the science on what constitutes a good dad – “It is the primary role of males to protect and support the women they love, so they can nurture all our children.” See https://ttfuture.org/academy/introduction-james-w-prescott-phd

      A quote I enjoy – “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” – Theodore Hesburgh

      And another – “Children do not need fathers to fight and die for them; they need fathers to live for them, to value them, and to value what they most value – their mothers. A father who truly protects his children cannot possibly hurt their mother.” – Steven Stosny

  • I read this article last week and my first thought was “oh hell no”. This is a life of confusion for all involved – the wife, kids, cheater, mistress, kid with the mistress, extended family, friends, etc. Unfortunately, I see some future chumps (the kids) that will need CL later in life.

    I’ll admit that I allowed cheater to come over during wreckonciliation for a family dinner – exactly twice. The first time, he walked in, dropped a bag with some groceries in it on the counter and plopped down on the couch in front of the tv while D and I made dinner. He ate and sat back on the couch afterwards while we cleaned up. The second time, I had the tv off when he arrived and I immediately sent him outside to start the grill. I figured if he was responsible grilling dinner then he would be occupied and I wouldn’t be stuck cooking. Well, he came in, turned the tv on, and stood by the door glued to it from a distance. D even said several times to him “dad, please don’t burn the food”. And you guessed, the food ended up over cooked. That was the end of any family time together – he showed his true colors by taking advantage and as I later found out, continuing to screw other women and prostitutes while pretending to want to work through things with me.

    I don’t want a fake life. The woman who wrote this article apparently does. She can have it.

  • I admit that I did some pretty chumpy things trying to save my marriage but never in a million years would I have allowed this to be my life or my daughter’s.

    Those children, including the one he abandons every weekend, are the ones that will suffer the most in this fucked up arrangement that only benefits one person – the a-hole that created this unbelievably one-sided, cake eating situation.

    I do feel some sympathy for the wife even though she has the absolute power here to end her own pain and suffering and force this fuckwit to be a grownup and parent his children on his own. But those commenting on how brave and unselfish she is need to take a step back and imagine themselves having to eat a bucket full of shit every single weekend when this a-hole shows up to play daddy.

    There are limits to what a human being can take before they implode. This woman cries and feels physically sick with this arrangement so it’s clear that she is definitely NOT okay with allowing this to happen and her children are picking up on that. My 5-year old knows daddy is a shit and I managed to keep most of the bs away from her. Kids are very intuitive and there is a lot of damage happening here to all of them, except of course to the one that created this mess.

    What I see in this situation is not an just a destructive familial arrangement, but a powder keg that is dangerously close to a lit flame.

  • Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the children didn’t want this arrangement. They were rightly upset with Dad, but now they have to adapt to a situation Mom created supposedly for their own good. And they do, because that’s what kids do, but they are teenagers and I wonder what they tell their friends about it.

    • I know. It’s abusive on the mother’s part to subject her own children to a messed up situation like this. My parents were like this, in that they would screw me over and then tell me it was for my own good. It makes me so irate when I see dysfunction being shoved down the throats of innocent children. This mother is a whack.

  • What she failed to mention is the reason that she has NOT filed for divorce. Something is missing from her story… She does not mention the kids having ANY interaction with their father and his current 2nd family. I wonder if the kids know they have a half-sibling. It makes no sense to stay married and live with that arrangement if everyone knows he left family #1 to be with his girlfriend and their child.

    No, there’s more to this than she has let on. I suspect the husband is shelling out a significant amount of financial support with the current arrangement and those commitment constraints are enough to keep the author ok with the “semi-sister-wives” situation. Who knows? Perhaps she’s also clinging to the idea that eventually he will come back. All I know is that she’s definitely controlling it all. She’s in the marital home and freely dating now as well. I’m not convinced that the kids are blissfully happy with the situation, but everyone is now getting comfortable with it….

    I believe the breaking will come.

    • I have to admit, there was a period of time where there was some overlap in my situation. I had about a month of gleeful lording it over the ow where the ex spent every waking moment trying to get me and his kids back. Then I stepped back and saw how sad and deficient of true substance the whole debacle was. There was no way for me to ever forget what happened, and full amnesia would’ve been necessary for me to live a happy life. So I let go. Now she has him full time, and the real weight of a life lived with the long term problems and obstacles all couples face hit them hard when the fantasy evaporated. Everything new gets old again. The cycle continues.
      Regardless, I had to be completely untethered to this fool and his shenanigans to move on. The Wash Po writer needs to get away from this guy- he’s loving the game play.

    • During the 2 years post D-day, the hope I had of reconciliation wore off and the feelings of love I had for him disintegrated… However, I was not eager to start over again. Our life was comfortable. If my ex was compelled to go live with his affair family and was willing to continue to fully support me in the marital home, with all of the financial benefits of being his legal wife…. I think it would be tempting to allow him “dwell in the basement” on weekends to spend time with our kids.

      HOWEVER, our kids would have to be fully aware of the circumstances behind such an arrangement and fully understand that the marriage only exists on paper. Absolutely no secrets about what daddy did. No disillusions of daddy might one day come home to live with us again… AND a solid post-nup agreement absolutely would be part of the deal.

      I cannot imagine that the OW is happy at all with the current status quo. There’s an awful lot of dancing going on.

  • My STBX wanted to do a variation on this – the kids live with her full time and I visit instead…. whilst living in a small 1 bedroom apartment (to save money….)

    That conversation didn’t last long – and she is still soooooooooo bitter that I have the same sized house as the former marital home that she refuses to sell (AKA suffer consequences such as a smaller, more affordable home for her single-parent lifestyle).

  • I recognize some things about the way this woman thinks. She is willing to put her needs aside to suffer for the “good of the family.” She hopes her kids will one day appreciate her sacrifice. She probably feels it’s her duty as a mother to give precedence to everyone else’s feelings. The problem is the pain of living this way will one day destroy her. Her husband is not forced to face the full ramifications of his actions. She doesn’t mention her husband suffering or stuffing his feelings to cope with this situation. Maybe when he was standing on the porch waiting for them to open the doors in the early days, he felt a little bad.

    I also miss those family times very much. Watching my husband play with our children, being part of their interactions. It hurts not to be included in that.

    However, I agree with Done4Good that there are limits to what human beings can take before they implode.

  • When I asked my STBX to move back home I made it very clear that he would be expected to be committed to the marriage, in all aspects of what a marriage means. While I wanted him to re-commit to his family, I was not interested in playing housemaid nor in competing for his affections from any potential fuckbuddies. I was the chumped wife but I still had my dignity and self-respect when it came to allowing him to knowingly fuck someone else.

    It turns out he did the best thing he could for me by not moving back because he knew he couldn’t stick to that arrangement. He did suggest that we continue living separately while staying married but I shut that noise down immediately. If he wanted to work on the marriage while living apart, that’s one thing, but allowing him the status quo of marriage while living the single life is something I have no interest in and now he knows it and has accepted it.

  • I believe the raw, naked truth that explains this woman’s motivation is CL’s observation that she cannot tolerate the idea that her children ever experience joy with their dad when she is not there. Because that would seem like the final, ultimate betrayal. They would be off doing something fun and bonding with each other and she would be … home alone. I understand this pain and loneliness. But if she truly wants to do something “for her children” she needs to let them separate from her. She is also harming the innocent third child. I know it is not her responsibility to consider that child, but given her sanctimonious diatribe, it seems fair to mention it. Her kids should be allowed to meet and know their half-sibling.

    This whole situation is about as fucked up as could be.

    • It is difficult for me knowing that my daughter spends time with STBX minus my presence and it does feel like a serious blow to my idea of our family’s future. He repeatedly asks me to join them in things and I used to do that but I realized that my presence is really not for her it’s for him as he has admitted that “she enjoys herself more when you’re around.” I would go with them thinking it was better for her but it was always tough for me, like it is for this woman, knowing at the end of the day we would be going our separate ways and the reality of our uncoupling would be slammed into my face again. I finally decided I couldn’t do this to myself anymore. Even though it’s not what my STBX wants, I know that my daughter is perfectly fine spending time with her daddy without me.

      This year, for the first time, I will not be spending the day with her on her birthday. That was an extremely tough decision for me, but as I have started the process of divorce, I realize this will be the new reality. He doesn’t like it but has accepted it. If he wants “family time” then he needs to treat me as his family. Not as some kind of parental chaperon. It’s called being an adult and it forces him to face the reality of what he has created. Two separate people trying to do their best to parent our beautiful little girl. If he wanted to keep his family intact he wouldn’t have willingly blown it up.

  • The worst part of this is the smug superiority..(“putting your children’s needs ahead of your own, and that’s the choice I’ve made. It may not be the right choice for others, “)

    WTF. Yeah you bitter bunnies with broken homes, nyah nyah nyah boo boo, I’m better!

    She’s created her own private hell living in the fake bubble of still having her husband.
    I feel sorry for her.

    The other thing that struck me was the comments on the WAPO story, about half of which posed the false dichotomy that either you eat shit sandwiches, or you are a bitter hateful shrew so no wonder he divorced you.

    One more thing: My home was never broken, my kids had lots and lots of love, for the last thirty years. Families survive divorce.

    • Yes, Muse, there are far worse situations in life than divorce. This woman proves that contention nicely.

    • “The other thing that struck me was the comments on the WAPO story, about half of which posed the false dichotomy that either you eat shit sandwiches, or you are a bitter hateful shrew so no wonder he divorced you.”

      ^^^This.^^^ That bothered me too. My thought – – lots of people that either have never felt the pain or are cheaters themselves.

    • There was a comment on the WaPo site where I wanted to beat the man with my baseball bat. He actually wrote:

      This broad sounds bitter/I can’t blame the guy for trading up! With sunglasses/smiley face emoticon.

      Subhumans walk among us.

      • Lol–if that guy thinks the woman sounds bitter, he should read some of us here (esp. on a day when ideas are floated for cheaters’ physical demise at the hands of medieval torture instruments).

  • No, no, no! Your kids will have more respect for you if you quit this. My kids have both mentioned how I should have thrown their father out earlier and we all would have been more happy. Please stop this behavior. Make him drive to them and stay in a hotel. Go for some serious counseling. You aren’t doing anyone any favors.

  • I honestly think this is a variation of what my ex thought would happen with us. But he’s in the same town, so he’d probably hang around during the week so he could sleep late and fuck the whore on weekends.

    But for someone who ignored his child while married, he brought up 50/50 custody in the first 30 seconds of divorce talk. I know now this was to avoid child support . But his ideal model was that I have our child alone during my 50% while he was out fucking whore. Then we would spend his 50% as Family Time, so I would be available for child care, while he sat on his ass, watching TV and emailing/texting the whore, like he did while married. Oh, and he would be able to avoid living in his mother’s “basement” (ie. sofa) 50% of the time. Clever, huh?

    • Clever like a sociopath.

      I have seen that a lot: 50/50 in their lizard brain actually means= No child support!

      I used to disdain ideas from religion, or my heritage, and I moved toward moral relativism, shades of gray, find your bliss, you do you and I’ll do me.

      Then I was cheated on by a man I loved to the point of madness. There was nothing that meant more to me (besides my dogs) than this man and a life with him. It was all a lie, in his heart.

      After being cheated on, and reading carefully exactly what adultery does to families, to hearts, to children…I have been called “old fashioned” now, and I am fine with it.

      I don’t care who you are with gender wise, as long as no children or animals are harmed, get your groove on.

      But, once you make the promise- ethics, morals, commitment, loyalty… MONOGAMY…..I see now that it is the moral glue that holds together happiness and stability in life.

      I learned this lesson through personal agony. No book could have taught me. The only person…* the only person*…that benefits from cheating…is the cheater.

      Every time CL writes about cake, I see someone like Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, manically and frantically shoving huge gobs of yellow cake in his mouth, with butter creme frosting in his hair and cake stuck to his hands, arms and face, while others stand in the background and look sad and hungry. That is the family betrayed by the cheater.

      That is what cheating is. My needs matter! Until I explode with pleasure! Your needs? Fuck you.

      • “Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, manically and frantically shoving huge gobs of yellow cake in his mouth”

        That is the perfectly illustrated representation of a cheater!

        My daughter loves this movie. Now I will laugh every time I watch that scene LOL.

        • It is a great movie! I loved Charlie’s humility and love for his Grandparents. And I have always thought Gene Wilder was sexy. (I know…) It was the intelligence and wit shining in his eyes.

          The author of the WaPo article is like Augustus’s mother or Veronica Salt’s dad. Even as Augustus floundered and drowned in the chocolate river…she still defended his “cake” eating.

  • So I found her twitter feed and her professional webpage, then I creeped on her facebook.

    Lots of her “friends” are telling her brave she is (at the same time saying they couldn’t/wouldn’t do it).

    She refers to him as her ex and has even written articles about online dating.

    In fact, she said her ex read the article and started to read the comments but just couldn’t. And of course, she isn’t reading the comments, because haters gonna hate.

    I don’t hate her, but my heart breaks for her. She is so incredibly stuck. She even has an old family picture up on Facebook that talks about “happier times.” Actually kind of made my cry for her.

    • I admire your compassion and mercy toward her. This is incredibly perceptive of you…she is stuck.

  • Also, under his during the week arrangement, he would be able to “go to work” and arrive home about 7 or 8 o’clock, and be able to spend an hour or two with our child before bedtime. So he could get “credit” for 50/50 custody with about 10 hours a week “effort”. Sorry, mofo, not happening.

      • YES, although I don’t think she’s codependent, I think she’s disordered and a manipulative control freak. Mommy is the one in charge of this entire sick scenario, though she pretends she’s doing it all for the kids.

      • I dIsagree–son wants her to stay at the museum, she does. Daughter wants to behave like a normal divorced family and mom bans dad. Kids then lament the loss of dad, and she lets him back into their lives.. #kidsincontrol

        • Maybe. But personally, I’m skeptical that the teen boy felt all boo hoo sad and wanted mommy to stay at the museum, or that the kids were begging her to stay when they were having fun with their dad. Toddlers, maybe, not teens. I suspect that she is spinning the story quite a bit to suit her martyr complex.

          “The next morning he’d pick them up for brunch, after which they’d go rock climbing or swimming, or simply walk around town. Weekends with dad were like being on vacation, except no child would choose such a vacation.” Well, not if she gets anything to say about it, anyway. I’m speculating here, but I’d say those kids enjoyed time with dad just fine (as she herself says) but SHE could not stand them having a good time with dad. Thus the complex machinations to control the entire situation.

          • My 5-year-old had issues initially not wanting to spend time with her dad without me. I get it. Mommy is the stable one. Mommy didn’t leave. The first few times she cried and I explained that daddy loves her too and wants to spend time with her now. Now it’s practically a non-issue. These kids are teenagers. It’s bizarre to think that they can’t spend time alone with their father without getting upset.

          • Yes, I have two teenagers and I LOVED the comment about her having the only teenage boy in the world with separation anxiety! Lol

    • I had those thoughts as well. It’s confounding that teenagers can’t deal with visiting their dad outside the marital home??? Have to have their mommy with them??? Come on…

      • I took that to mean that the kids were not happy with spending time with cheater Dad, period, but they were required to so Mom and Dad could keep up the facade of a happy family. Bad enough Mom wants to eat shit sandwiches without force-feeding the kids, too.

        • In the beginning that was the case, but eventually the kids would go with their dad alone. Then they started begging their mother to go along. Mom acquiesced to their pleading… then eventually dad was allowed back in the home to visit, etc. All to keep up the facade of happy family for the kids.

    • You guys are all correct. Her narrative present a scenario where the kids are running the show, to everyone’s detriment. But it’s likely that the what the kids want or seem to want is an excuse for the mother not to let go of the (now-faux) family.

      • Plus a truly awesome celebration of triangulation–Chump, Cheater and kids and Chump, Cheater and OW. And a side dish of Cheater, OW and FirstKids (and thereby Chump.)

    • Nobody’s in charge in that household, the poor kids are modeling their moms lack of boundries. They are pick me dancing too. They are being fed false hope every weekend cheating dad visits that THIS is the weekend he’ll come to his senses and return to them – if only they’re good enough kids, get good enough grades, make enough s’mores with him, watch enough You Tube clips with him, be perfect enough kids for him.
      My heart breaks. A lot of us did that as adults trying to “win” back the cheater. I can’t even imagine the long term effect on your self esteem to grow up doing it in order to win back your dad. Please love us enough Daddy, are we good enough yet? Are you bored with the new baby yet? When will Mom be happy again? It’s up to us to fix this.
      Mom you’re triangulating with your kids. Child cruelty dressed up as self sacrifice.
      Ugh

    • (1) my thought exactly, Tempest, and also in all caps.
      (2) it seems likely to me that there may have been some programming involved on Dad’s part. You know, poor me, Mommy’s bad, she doesn’t want to stay with us, us against Mommy, etc. At least, it’s possible.

  • Thanks for the UBT CL. Spot on as usual. I hate having to be a single parent to my 6 year old knowing all the while that her father is spending more time with his mistress’ kids than his own daughter. It’s a bitter pill. Yet, he elected to take the most limited visitation possible. I’ll never forgive him for that. I can hardly look at him much less consider spending any “family time” with out daughter. Makes me physically sick.

    • Yes asswipes new sparkly family is more important than his own. When the kid came to visit he spent no alone time with her at all. And one day dragging her to new familys functions and she was here for two weeks. He paid for her ticket and that was the extent. How these idoits can ignore their own kids is beyond me. Image management i guess. Dazzle the new kids to impress others while ignoring your own. Some people dont deserve kids asswipe sure didnt not when he compared the whores beautiful perfect children to his own fucked up ones and they are not fucked up asswipe is the fucked up one. His comment my kids are fucked up and greatly dissappointed me but at least they are pretty. Who says this shit! But the whores kids are perfect and flawless. Ha no they are not.

      • The more I read about your Asswipe X, he is hideous, appalling and a monster. He is revolting and needs a beat down with the threaded lead pipe that CL put in the UBT article above.

        Any man that would compare his children to another set of children with his whore is so disordered and cruel that I am at a loss as to how you manage.

        I fear I would be in prison. He would be fertilizer for my geraniums. #onlyhalfjoking.

        • Thanks sylvia. Mostly i ignore him, am indifferent to him but go along with us being best friends when i move. Asswipe is buying this house so i give the appearence of goodness for now. I will leave him and this house when i get cash in hand his saggy balls will spin. Then absolutely no contact. I will never forgive him ever and not just the cheating but the horrible things he said about our kids yes he compared our awful dissappointing kids to her wonderful children. The kids dont know what he said about them i wont tell them but asswipe is an asshole and one day it will come out of his own mouth to them. My girl got his number and doesnt wont interact with him much and the boys use him for money. One day when hes old and alone he will want them around to take care of him but hes burned that bridge. HIS LOSS.

  • Oh THE CHILDREN!!!! #howdoesthismartyrlookonme #thechildrenarethefuture #triangluation, #pissedOWathome.

    I could go on.

  • notsurewhat2do, this is a great observation–and thanks for creeping so I don’t have to: “I don’t hate her, but my heart breaks for her. She is so incredibly stuck. She even has an old family picture up on Facebook that talks about ‘happier times.’ Actually kind of made my cry for her.” It’s very sad that she has so little interest in the integrity and wholeness of her life apart from her kids and her cheater husband with another family. The saddest part is how she actually questions her enabling and how [it’s] difficult to move forward emotionally when the cause of my pain is in [her] kitchen every weekend” and then whipsaws everyone back to continue this damaging refusal to move forward.

    And she doesn’t see that good parents never, ever give control over the major family decisions to the kids. As someone who lived in a family that at times operated that way, nothing good ever comes of it, and for the kids, there is never a sense of security or safety because there are no boundaries.

        • That is right. This is not my field, but I read that the worst thing for a chid’s development and future adult happiness is UNCERTAINTY. Instability. Which way is up?

          What mood will Mom be in today? Is Dad “okay” today? What are the rules today?

          Children WANT someone to be in charge. (Just like dogs thrive on it).

          I also know it from my life.

          When my father left when I was 12, life became so muddy. Some days my mother was a snarling witch, other days, she ignored us. Some days she was indulgent (flying me at 15 alone to see my best friend who had moved) Other days waking us at 6AM to clean the bathrooms with Mommie Dearest guidelines and consequences. We hated her, we pitied her, we wanted to make her happy, we wanted her to leave us alone.

          My sister and I are both emotional cripples, to just be brutal. We have both been with men who beat us up. My sister’s second husband committed suicide, after beating her over a period of time. We eschewed the “good” guys for the “bad” boys.

          We are both alone now, in our forties. We are both over educated, depressed, confused loners who cannot make a good decision with men if we had a team coaching us.

          We lived in chaos during our adolescent years, and we duplicate it daily, even when we both “intellectually” see how sad, bad and wrong it is.

          (But I am working on it)

  • CL – you nailed it

    The entire article should be re-titled #4me or #4momindeepdenial….. as every decision is about mom’s refusal to accept her marriage is over, her husband has moved on and as much as she wishes otherwise, her former “nuclear” family does not exist. Her un-articulated hope that she will “win” her cheater back is clear.

    She needs to know that she is stuck in serious denial and indeed, she is the the architect of her own suffering……..pain is physical – you solve it by pulling the knife out of your leg……..suffering is psychological – you stop it by ACCEPTING WHAT IS……suffering = refusing to recognize what is

  • If the GF is aware of where this fuckwit goes every weekend then I’m completely bewildered that this a-hole managed to find two women willing to deal with his bs. Or, it’s like someone else pointed out, the GF fucks around on him while he’s off playing daddy. Either way, this scenario is all sorts of fucked up and has my head spinning.

  • My ex and his new wife hung out with MY mother (Queen of Switzerland friends). I used to think why in the hell would his new wife want to be around his former wife’s mother? Talk about a Chump

        • As bad as my mother is, she would gleefully run over the women the Cheater betrayed me with me, and then back up over them to make sure the job was done. I am sorry your mother did that to you….it is hugely fucked up and hurtful.

    • I have a mother like that, and I finally had to go no contact with her.
      There is a website Emerging From Broken that has helped me sort through all the issues of such a damaging realtionship with her I reccomend you start reading that

  • As a chump two years out I no longer recognize the woman I had become after the spackle cracked and the mask dropped.

    I lost my power the minute I forgave. There were no consequences. Are we inclined to protect our children? Yes. I stayed to maintain the ability to raise my children and give them a better life.

    It didn’t get better it got much worse. Suffering in silence was a learned behavior. I believed he loved me and our family. He was an actor who used me and our children to maintain an image while leading a double life.

    I bonded with my abuser. I sacrificed myself believing a sociopath. The coping strategies I developed in childhood kept me believing my life was great. I learned to survive in chaos by looking and accepting the good while ignoring the truth.

    In this woman’s view she is willing to not sacrifice herself, but her children to maintain what she believes is control. To write about her solution tells me she is probably a sociopath herself. She is victimizing her own children not out of selflessness but selfishness. They are objects in her game.

    • Doingme- We have both “done time” with sociopaths (Mine was diagnosed by an addictions psychiatrist, I am his Healthcare POA and I read every single line of his records)…I think we tune in on the red flags them for survival.

      Remember: THE FIRST, CRITICAL POINT…to know when ascertaining if someone is a sociopath:
      ___________

      Is there any mannerism, any type of behavior, any use of language, that can identify a sociopath?

      According to Martha Stout, Ph.D., author of The Sociopath Next Door*, the best clue that you are dealing with a sociopath is the pity play.

      “The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness,” Stout says. “It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”

      The combination of consistently bad or inadequate behavior and frequent pity plays, Stout continues, is the closest thing to a warning you’ll ever get that you are being manipulated by a sociopath.

  • Thank you CL and CN for the reinforcing UBT and comments. I read the article yesterday and it touched a chumpy chord that still lives in me: I felt a pang of guilt that I continue to refuse STBX’s offer to “return home for the kids.” I now am certain that “return home” to STBX has nothing to do with the kids– he showed how little they meant to him in the devaluation and discard– rather, it means getting cake, avoiding financial and custodial consequences of divorce, enjoying benefits of pick me dance, enjoying kibbles, enjoying power and control over me and kids, controlling my attempts to move on such as breaking up my boyfriend and I because there’s no way that amazing man would put up with douche back in my home, etc etc etc.
    HELL TO THE NO!!!!!!

    All I have to do to snap out of my martyr-fueled fantasy is recall how it felt on DDay 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, ….to infinity.

    I matter. I deserve to be treated as the human being I am with the basic right of free agency. I want my kids to see that I will accept no less in life and teach them through my actions that they should do so too. I wouldn’t wish that life on anyone except STBX and the OWs (plural intended!). I certainly do not want that for my kids. No way in hell.

    • What is best for the kids is always to live with one sane parent who demonstrates honesty, self-respect and good boundaries.

  • In this particular case, while the cheating, abandoning, get-the-girlfriend-prego husband is a piece of shit, I actually think the mother is the one with the worse problem.

    She’s a control freak. She writes about her teenage children as if they are toddlers incapable of surviving without her constant presence. She cannot bear that they spend any time, or even experience any enjoyment, with their father, so she must shove her presence into their every encounter, a psychic “Don’t forget about me and all I sacrifice for you!” cloud hanging over everyone’s head. She’s the ultimate martyr, guilt-trip mommy, sacrificing all for her kids. I don’t believe for one second that those kids aren’t being passive-aggressively informed of her “sacrifice”, and that it isn’t going to be held over their heads for the rest of their lives.

    Controlling and infantilizing her children is NOT in their best interests, and she is NOT doing this for them, she is doing it for her own disordered self. Is the husband eating some cake in this situation? Yes, most likely. But is the wife still exerting the ultimate control over the whole sick charade? Yes, I think so and that’s why she set it up and allows it to continue. In the end, it’s her children who are being harmed. I’d love to see a followup on this story in about ten years…. those kids are eventually going to realize that mommy has some serious control issues and is never going to allow them to live their own lives, which is going to force them to get the hell away from her if they ever want to live independently.

    This story actually made me feel ill. Those poor kids.

  • I was one of those children. Like her daughter, I resisted. I THOUGHT I didn’t get compromised by mindfuckery; I only had to live with the insanity for 6 months before my mom the him out. Nonetheless I got brainwashed. No matter how hard I resisted, I internalized what I saw: it’s okay for one person to abuse another. The abused will not only take it but justify it. And when evil gets couched in the service of a greater good? God help you.

    It wasn’t for the greater good. My siblings have both been institutionalized. I made it because I decided early on to use my brain and buy my freedom. That, too, turned into a disaster. I had my horrible reckoning: a total breakdown at 23, no psych ward, but what a waste.

    My parents separated when I was 6. He’d been cheating for years. I’d met her a few times.  I knew something was wrong, but because he treated my mom like shit and she didn’t say anything, I wasn’t sure what to do. Three-year-olds who know something is very wrong are already at the mercy of insane-making sicko dances. Yes, for three years the divorce devastated me. Then I adapted and was pretty much okay.

    When I was 11, he moved back in, allegedly because I had gotten in a terrible accident and had three huge plaster casts on three limbs. THOUGH I COULD SCOOT MYSELF around, she had a “hard time” helping me up to the toilet (uh, not).

    When she told me he was moving back in because of my casts, I couldn’t believe it and was irate. Why? Because I knew he was a creep to her and to women. I knew that she had done nothing except ignore his raging alcoholism. She had done nothing for years about his cheating.

    Horribly enough, I blamed her more than I blamed him, then. I knew he was a creep. He’d been mean to her, and mean to us. Another woman mattered more than we did. I thought my mom was more normal, so I expected more from her. (WP lady, you might be CRAZIER than your fucked up sperm donor: he’s not in denial. You are.)

    She told me it was for us kids.

    I retorted, “Don’t you dare bring me into this. He hurt all of us and knew exactly what he was doing. Didn’t stop when you begged. Didn’t care when you sobbed in a bed because you’d had post-op C-section complications and you couldn’t go see your baby in the ICU, born 10 weeks early. He was out carousing. You had me, a one-year-old, and an ICU baby who was pretty much all alone in that hospital.”

    What I did not add because I thought it was mean: “And it’s not okay to pretend. There’s something wrong with you. I wish I could protect you from yourself. I wish I didn’t have to think about that. I don’t ever want to be the kind of woman you are. I’m not sure who disgusts me more, you, or he.”

    Six months later, when she kicked him out because he was cheating, I was so relieved. But the damage was done. No matter that I was feistier than many. No matter that I kept resisting, that the reconciliation wasn’t very long: As I said, I had my reckoning at age 23. Total breakdown, severe PTSD, have no memory of weeks and months. It seemed to come out of nowhere. It wasn’t nowhere. My psyche couldn’t hold, any longer, both my resistance to abuse and my internalization of it.

    I got help. I worked hard. I survived, and then I thrived. I was lucky.

    15 years later, I married a serial cheater. I doubt that was an accident, despite my believing that I had chosen a man completely different from my dad.

    And then, more subtly, I behaved just as she did. I didn’t even think that he might be cheating, because he preceded it with a rage campaign directed only at me. Because I learned how to be a doormat, because I tried to fix everything my whole life by trying to be perfect, that’s what I focused on … what I had done wrong, what I was doing wrong, especially because he proposed and married me while with the OW. Of course, NO ONE would marry a woman while having essentially another marriage. My mom didn’t teach me that abusers don’t think or act the way empathic people do.

    WP lady writes: “When they are grown and look back, they will remember late nights watching clips on YouTube [and doing all sorts of things you sentimentally classify as psychologically healthy] — all with their father.”

    No. They will remember that their mother acceded to an arrangement where their father lived in another state with another woman with a baby. They will remember that he both cheated on and left you, you took it, and then took him back.

    What they will not consciously remember is this: it’s okay to abuse people. Let’s make life as normal as possible for abusers, even though they don’t think the way that people with conscience do — no, let’s enable their crazy and their cruelty. That way, when one of us becomes an abuser or abused, we’ll either feel entitled to be abusive, or we’ll tap dance just like you did. And make no mistake: they will learn that they and he are more valuable than you. If you’re lucky, you might not produce narcissists. If not, be warned: a young person in lockdown in a psych hospital because they were literally made crazy by mixed messages? Some part of me will despise both of my parents for as long as I live when I think about both of my siblings. If they don’t quite make it to the psych ward, they will figure out a way to repeat your crazy. You might be on your deathbed before you admit this. Good luck.

    • ClaireS – Your entire post is very insightful. Thank you so much for sharing. You are a modern day hero, where you survived a horrible and hurtful childhood. Big hugs to you! You are so mighty!!

      • Anyone who has lived with a mother who took abuse, condoned infidelity, and then used her kids to justify it will understand what you are saying. It is a terrible, terrible thing for very small children to be used in this way. I’ve lived it and it set me up for a lifetime of screwed up relationships. Claire, you are mighty to have survived your childhood.

    • Huge hugs Claire.
      I too was the child of two cheaters, narcissistic alcoholics (millionaires and high functioning but abusive as hell). Despite introspection, a lot of therapy and years of 12th step work (Al-Anon and AA), I still married two serial cheaters, abusive, narcissist alcoholics. I get it.

      IMO the WP lady is dead wrong in her believe that this arrangement will have a stabilizing, nurturing effect on her children. Instead, her kids are likely to face a life of anguish and hell with “partners” (there should be a word like frenemy for partners who cheat) who will treat them exactly as WP lady’s husband treats them and her. What a disaster.

    • ClaireS – thanks for sharing your experience. I know a lot of us wonder how kids experience this and you’ve just filled us in. So glad you’ve made it through – you are very strong.

    • ClaireS, So insightful, brave, well written and +++TRUE TRUE TRUE

      This:

      “If they don’t quite make it to the psych ward, they will figure out a way to repeat your crazy.”

      Unbelievably smack down raw truth.

      I am so glad you made it! You are brave. I think your intellect saved you. I hope life brings you joy, love, great sex and PEACE.

    • ClaireS–that was wonderful. The underlying message in your post resonates greatly with me (even if the particulars are different). I, too, was sassy, constantly told my mother to divorce my narcissistic & emotionally abusive father, and here I am years later, having lived her life for 24 years with Hannibal.

      We absorb our lessons as children, more so than doing what we are told.

      • My God, you are all so sweet. I’m fighting back tears. I don’t understand why I weep when people are kind.  I thank you. I am startled to find how much these replies bring RELIEF.

        I’m so glad others made it and lived to tell, no matter what brought you here. I’m so grateful for this site, for all you brave, fierce, kind people whose stories remind me of what I so often teach: tyranny is not okay.

        I do not feel mighty at all. Who survives all that, has three successful careers fighting for the dispossessed …. and then ends up … utterly gobsmacked, universe is upside down, crying in grocery store aisles, because she was sure, just sure, that she had grit and sense, would never emulate crazy again?? Answer: I. Until I read these responses, I had no idea how isolated I’ve become. I can’t thank you enough — it’s the first time in months I’ve felt peace.

        • CN is awesome and full of support. There is strength and healing in sharing your personal story, ClaireS. Thanks for being so courageous to do so. You are not alone, and you are mighty!

        • The first year is a roller coaster of emotions. I, too, cried at small kindnesses because we are not used to kindness.

          We need to get accustomed to kindness.

  • For a variety of reasons we shared our marital home until our divorce and my new home sale went through. It was only for 9 months, and thank goodness XH was out of town on business for a large majority of those 9 months. In hindsight, it was a bad decision on my part. I should have made him move out. It ended up hurting our daughter even more because it maintained that illusion of mom and dad were still together (even though she’d met the GF during those 9 months). The days after she and I moved out were difficult for her.

    So when I read crap like this all I see is a really fucked up way to live … for both of these women and their children. What kind of example are they setting for their kids and moreover their daughters ? To be spineless? To sacrifice themselves so that the cheater doesn’t have to deal with the inconvenience of a 5 hour drive and a hotel stay and organizing things for his kids without his ex-wife (oh, wait a minute she’s not an ex-wife – they aren’t divorced!)?

    And the GF. What story is he telling her? That he’s staying in a hotel? I can’t believe that she let’s him go off to his “ex-wife’s” for the weekend. He must be something special to get so much CAKE.

    Like MidLifeBlast said, it made me sick reading her story.

    • awake

      She hasn’t done either of those things. He left and she lets him come back to stay with her on his terms. They aren’t reconciling (at least from his perspective) and so there is no “staying” in this scenario.

      If you read the article, she is clearly emotionally stalled because he is in her own home with so much frequency. sucks for her and is a really bad model for her daughter (despite what she might think)

    • First, we have to get over caring about what anyone else says–whether we go or we stay. Let the cheaters and OW worry about impression management. The issue is how do we live healthy, authentic lives and model that kind of life for the kids?

        • I think it is more like this:

          Someone burns your house down. They do it intentionally. You now have no where to live.

          And the arsonist turns to you and says…Gee, you don’t have a home now. I do. See you later. Goes and gets an espresso and drives home to clean sheets, happy.

          You are left with charred remains. You sleep in a tree. Dirty, dehydrated and lost.

          The arsonist comes into town and needs a place to stay. He says…Well, this is inconvenient!

          And you frantically start building him a fort, while you have been living in the charcoal debris he created.

          Like Tempest says….what is guiding our actions? Logic and self respect, or frantically trying to please someone who set the house on fire in the first place?

  • I have my own list of chump moves I made I’m not proud of. I’m pulling for her that she gets some therapy to realize she is only hurting herself and her children and lying to herself that he is a good dad.

    Banging another woman and having a kid while he stays married to her and swoopes in as the wonder hero weekend dad is typical narc bs.

    I’m hoping a new article follows from her where she recognizes she f’d up and fixes it! Kicks narkles to the curb.

  • Hmmm. I told my friend if her husband wouldn’t move out, I could always move in. Maybe some soran wrap super glued to the bottom of the toilet seat, and super glueon the top. After spiking his coffe with a little Epsom salt. A little poison ivy worked into his clothes. Slip knot playing every 20 minutes beginning at midnight. Polka music on repeat during the day. I could take up a new hobby like learn to play bagpipes. Never considered a threaded pipe though. Would it be mean to give my chump a copy of chump lady’s book for his birthday? He isn’t familiar with the blog. I choked on my Starbucks reading the threaded pipe part because I was laughing so hard.

      • Go Mom! There are also creative uses for what my cat Ernie leaves in his litterbox! The boy’s “doings” could be used as a weapons of mass destruction. 🙂

        *That is why I always tip housekeeping in hotels or hide my toothbrush!

  • I looked at the author’s Facebook page. What’s really strange about this (well, it’s all strange) is that the daughter is 16 and the son is probably 14. Do they really want to spend their entire weekend hanging around the house with their cheater father. ?? And their “long suffering ” mother. My child is only 12 and doesn’t do that. She reads, watches TV, plays in her room, does stuff with friends. I’m just still not buying the story this lady is doing this for her kids. She tasks talks like they are babies or very young children. Strange.

    • Yeah, I didn’t get that either. My daughter was just counting up how much time is left before she’s old enough to get a learner’s permit for driving. Once she has a license, I don’t expect to see her much. Is the daughter in this situation having to spend every weekend playing happy family with dysfunctional Dad and Mom? That’s practically cruel and unusual punishment for an older teen, I would think.

    • Anita,

      I looked too. I suspect that he goes to their activities and they likely weren’t going to visit him much.

      I am worried about the author — those kids are gone in just a matter of years. Then what? she will have wasted more years being stuck.

  • CL & Chump Nation,

    I read this based on the title, thinking it might relate helpfully (validatingly) to my own situation. It related, but not in the way I had hoped. It called into question my own take on what’s best for my own children. I’d like clarification from all of you on what’s right. That sounds wimpy but sometimes those of us here don’t know what we don’t see and need it made plain by others who “get it”.

    My situation is different, but my question is: is it meaningfully different? Am I, by staying married, doing the right thing for the children?

    My wife has not admitted adultery. I have strong reason to believe it has happened. I have learned before marriage she was promiscuous (worst 10% according to the CDC) and she was a serial cheater with every boyfriend before me. I have learned she cheated on me several times while dating and has even had a fuck buddy call for sex four years into our marriage. She was diagnosed BPD with narc and anti-social features. Also diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, with potential transient psychotic episodes (minor and brief, but occurring life long). She is an alcoholic and attended Intensive Outpatient Counseling and AA (sober 3 years now). She has been eating disordered (bulimia) since her late teens. She was suicidal at age 14 and when “all this” was exposed during a torturous and traumatic (for me) six month period 3 years ago she became suicidal again – was even placed by police on a 72-hour hold in a psych ward. Primarily during this period, but also in the years afterward, all manner of vile deception and manipulation and ridicule of me came to light. I married an absolute figment of my imagination. I even believed the portrayal by this atheist/agnostic that she was devoutly faith-filled (one of many deep misdirections of who she was as a person – she lived life with me comfortably like a Russian spy). I realized I had “spackled” every breach in the facade for years. In spite of her Gone Girl makeover presentation, I am guilty for being a fool and thinking what I wanted to think. There were clues. She is now on prescribed psych meds and is in therapy which, as a condition of treatment, the therapist required that I attend as verification of truth/deception. She is a compulsive liar – more comfortable within a lie than even in a neutral truth. To this day she is a resentful narcissist, although claims to recognize it – even reveals her twisted internal thinking, as such, during therapy. A real train wreck…

    But now to the part that worries me (ha!)…

    She has two siblings, sisters. Both are horribly selfish divorced narcissists – okay, just my “diagnosis”. One of them was similarly eating disordered. The other is also an alcoholic, also excessively promiscuous, tramp stamp and all, and is on prescribed psych meds (my wife’s psychiatrist selected her anti-depressant based on the effectiveness of the same drug in her sister). This sister has spoken openly of her physical abuse as a child by their father. This one is at least honest about her issues, but its more because she oddly feels a superiority in her “achievements” and an FU power in it than any presence of character. They have each confronted their disordered father (somatic narcissist, pervert) about his impact on their daughters “shut up dad, or you’ll cause an eating disorder” and the like for years as he expressed his weight-fat-sex appeal fixations daily. The mother is the “golden-child” daughter of two life-long alcoholics from a grossly dysfunctional family. She is a cunning, cold, image-manager and the powerful black hole at the center of this eco-system. I foolishly asked them to help early on. I naively expected decency from them and shock and concern at what their daughter really was. Instead they dismissed and recommended burying it. “It’s in the past, what are we supposed to do about it now?” When I wouldn’t, and pushed for therapy and fully confronting issues, they recommended divorce. When I finally (stupidly) connected the dots to see the shared patterns and where all of it had clearly originated, and asked them to be introspective and face their issues together, they responded as slandering, attacking harpies.

    This family is a mess. My “wife” has gone no contact with them for these past years of therapy. I began it all 3.5 years ago thinking it was my Christian duty as husband to work to fix the issues in my wife (before I knew most of what I know now). But I fully understand this is wrong when it comes to this level of disorder. As a decent therapist told me: Disorders don’t go away, they simply get “managed” – we were talking BPD, but even that is “unicornish”. Christ himself recommended “shaking the dust from your sandals” against such as these. But as I learned more, I feared more. I saw how, even with me there, she used and manipulated the children. The same old NPD trait of seducing children to serve her ego and needs that her parents had employed. Everyone is an appliance to a Narc. The psychologist she sees now has been very helpful in bringing her to admit these abuses in age-appropriate ways directly to the children. I have come to see how this really helps the kids – without being placed in the middle, they gain a realism on people which I gained too late. There is ongoing recognition and management of behavior within our “family life”. But it is and must appear a sterile model. But leaving or staying is like “picking your poison”…I have just preferred to know I’m right there to see and correct. I have the greatest fear of what she and her family will do to impact my three children if I am not there. No contact has saved my daughter, for example, from having her grandfather take she and a little friend to lunch and discuss the size of her breasts, or asking her to bend over a railing so he can pretend “spank” her, or comment on her “gorgeous legs” and so on as has been done without incident to her cousins. My being there has kept the cynical godlessness of their grandmother – the one who sent her daughter out of town to spend her high school weekends sleeping with a part-time bartender/golf instructor – from looking like a “cool” grandmother. And my being there has kept fuck buddies from the house and from any place in my children’s minds or memories.

    Am I getting it wrong? Am I enough the same as this woman in the Washington Post article to need a 2×4 dose of truth? I appreciate your help…

    • Nick

      A typical narc tactic my X used was to relocate to another state and take the family along. Pick a state and RUN.

    • Remember this you cant fix anyone, you can encourage but you cant fix anyone. This much dsyfunctional stuff. Wow, just wow.

    • Nick,

      I think it is true that you are probably able to protect your kids the most by being there, given what you describe. You are not staying because you wish to spend another minute with your deranged wife, but you KNOW what your kids would be exposed to under anything but 100 percent custody going to you. So what I strongly recommend is that you document what you have said here in excruciating detail and get a good lawyer … build a strong case for 100 percent custody with supervised visitation so that you can safely leave WITH your kids. Best wishes to you.

    • What you have here is Demonic Spirits that have infiltrated your wife’s family for a couple of generations (at least). There is no modern day Physicians “reference” that covers these things…so they just assign a “mental disorder disease” and treat it with drugs and counseling. This does help to a degree to subdue it I suppose, but never gets to the root cause.

      The “lascivious spirits” have been granted an easy open door to corrupt the mind and heart of your wife via her parents and Family Of Origin. You, being a Christian, might want to pray about that for confirmation…but my advice is to STAY for the sake of your children, praying against the spirits that inhabit/influence your wife, and praying for the Lord to protect the children (I am sure you have). Your presence in their everyday life is probably the ONLY thing that keeps everything “in checks and balances”. Sit your children down each day and take turns reading the Bible out loud…15 minutes or so. See what happens when a man of Faith takes the bull by the horn in a spiritual way.

      God Bless

  • I’ve not seen a situation like this before, that’s for sure. He’s living two separate lives, but in the open, not hidden.

  • She’s gonna need a psychological counseling 529 for her kids. Good Lord.

    UBT was spot on. When i’m done laughing and crying, I’ll tell the story of how my 23 year old step-daughter and 24 year old stepson told Mr. Sparkles he was NOT WELCOME at our holiday dinner that he had invited himself to attend at my house.

    Kids aren’t stupid.

  • “Or when the man I am seeing arrived at my house on a recent Friday night at precisely the same time as my husband, leading to an awkward handshake and my teenagers wondering if punches would be thrown. (They were not.) When later I asked my husband what he thought of my beau, he replied that he was well dressed.”

    So she has her hubby leaving his Schmoopie and baby every weekend (what’s up with that? Does Schmoopie know where he’s going, or is she busy with another side piece of her own?) to stay at her place where she can not only snoopervise every interaction between her teens and their dad, but also engage in some serious triangulation with new boyfriend (and what’s his story? He’s okay that his girlfriend is not only still legally married, but has her hubby staying over every weekend playing happy family?) and hubby, all the while gloating that the Schmoopie is all alone five hours away with the baby.

    There’s a lot of serious dysfunction going on here with everyone (except the kids, I feel so sorry for all of them), but I still say most of it is on the letter writer. Just because someone is a chump does NOT mean they aren’t disordered themselves.

  • I love the magnanimity of the folks commenting on the article. Such praise for this woman’s Courage and Dignity.

    You know, as long as she eats the shit sandwiches and plays nice, then the rest of us don’t have to be inconvenienced by the awkwardness of what the cheater and whore have done to fuck up a lot of kids’ lives. This way there’s no evident pain–everyone gets along, and it’s soooooooo lovely the sacrifices that the cheater is making for his kids–all that driving he does for them! Whew! Such dedication. Except to the baby, but the baby gets M-F. Well, some of F.

    Hey, everyone–there’s enough of him to go around!

    And I’m sure the cheater is fully present and engaged on the weekends with his older kids, who also must play nice with dad every fucking weekend. I mean, raise your hand if your teens wanted to spend every fucking minute of every fucking weekend entertaining their parents, who were making such sacrifices for them. No? Anyone?

    But, as others have pointed out here, if you’re not around M-F, you’re missing out on your kids’ lives, and it was a choice. And if you’re not around on the weekend for the little one, you’re missing out on that kid’s life, too. And it’s a choice.

    I smell a lotta bullshit with this one.

    But I would take the focus off the mom, who’s doing the best she can with a shitty situation, and focus on the fuck-up “dad” and point out that he created a fucking mess, and no amount of “balancing” is going to make up for it. It’s NOT all ok.

    • I agree. I think the mother is taking way to much of the blame on this thread. Dad did this. She’s doing what she thinks is right and what society is telling her is a good mother. I think she is very codependent which is a serious mental illness. She definitely needs help but she is not a sociopath.

      • Awake, I understand your posts in support of the mother. I think everyone here agrees that the father is a complete shit and has caused this horrible situation. No doubt. And I also think most of us here have furthered our own abuse by pick me dancing, limbo chumping, trying to reconcile, and so forth. So some of the frustration and “attacks” directed at the mother are coming from a place of recognition and frustration. We know that unicorn doesn’t exist and we wish others to avoid our mistakes. I guess the point is that the father is obviously not going to end such a nice set up (for him) and thus the only one who can do so is the mother. I also strongly dispute the mother’s contention that this is in any way good for her kids. And to allow it to continue over 4 years is just exponentially increasing the harm done. So while I don’t agree with your position, I just wanted to acknowledge that I understand it and am giving it serious consideration rather than just dismissing it because it is different from the majority view here.

  • Until I read they were legally separated, I thought maybe this chump had a plan. Not being divorced can eventually lead to life time spousal support requirements. Of course legal separation puts a stop to that so she’s not doing it for the money. #doingitforfree

  • I love, just a little bit, how the media has gone the way of extreme conservative 1950’s Christianity on this issue. If a Catholic priest had demanded she live this way for her soul, there would be a huge negative reaction. But it’s in the Washington Post, so it must be good. I can’t stop chuckling.

  • Yes, marriage can be a wonderful situation, and great environment for raising kids and securing a financial and emotional future. It can also be a snake nest of dysfunction and abuse. The “stay at any cost’ people, whether the church or the WashPost, prefer to conserve and preserve institutions at the expense of actual people.

  • That is true. Or if an Evangelical Pentecostal or Baptist minister commanded that she accept her husband’s “transgressions” and continue her marriage, people would lose their minds.

  • I was lucky to have an evangelical pastor say my STBX broke the marriage by his behaviour and it was not a sin for me to leave and divorce him. Probably the first time I heard that point of view. It resonated!

    • And I know that was a great relief to have someone validate that his behavior was an abomination and betrayal. That give me hope…I am glad you had that pastor.

      • *gives me
        I run all my comments through Google translate and at times, it makes me look illiterate. I promise I can read and write. 🙂

  • OK, somebody said something that struck a chord with me, about the effect this will have on the kids. My stbxw’s father cheated, moved in with the other woman, actually was married to two women at the same time if I can believe what she said to me (ok, we’ll leave a question mark next to that…), and would come over for dinner so my MIL could cook for him. They ended up getting re-married, and were together until he died last week. So, this was the example that my stbxw grew up with. Her mother swallowed her pride and her dignity, and tells us it was for the good of the kids. Well, the kids turned out to be ROYALLY fucked up. I thought I had the SANE one, and she’s bat shit crazy, thinking that walking out on me will be good for our kids. Jesus, man, I just can’t.

    • oaktree, this comment hit me like a baseball bat to the face.

      To the best of my knowledge, the KK’s father did not cheat on her mother, but was emotionally absent from her life and the lives of KK and her two sisters. The mother dealt with this by drinking and depression, and the combination I believe led to a highly dysfunctional place to grow up. So, for all appearances they stayed together #4thechildren and to sustain the public illusion of the happy family.

      I said FOR YEARS “thank god I got the normal one” — the other two both cheated and ended up ruining their marriages, probably because they didn’t want to ‘end up like mom.” I have no reason to believe that KK did anything prior to the past year or so (maybe she thought she was the normal one too), but its pretty clear now that she feels like she is entitled to some serious catching up, at the expense of our 20 years together and the stable upbringing of our two daughters. She’s said on more than one occasion: “it’s better for my girls to see me as a well-rounded person, rather than some stay at home ‘fishwife’ who has no life.” Thanks to CL and CN i’ve come to understand just how batshit crazy she really is, and she proves it almost every day.

    • oaktree and UXworld, I’m willing to bet tons of us have had the same thought: “I got the sane one”. It was literally a thought in my mind while dating – I almost choke on my psychology ignorance and naivete. Oh how I wish there had been a mandatory college course on family systems, disorder, etc. The problem is you only come to know about it AFTER the traumatizing cluster-B baptism. There should be a CL term for this “mine is the sane one” delusion. Fate was laughing at us. Terms like Spackle and Chump apply well to other, bigger, parts of the process but don’t seem to capture this more particular precursor to impending doom. It should be the title of a romantic comedy along the lines of “I married an Axe-Murderer”.

      • I absolutely agree, Irish-ish! CL should do a page on “I thought I had the sane one.” If only I knew then what I know now…

  • Readers, I am not mentally ill for posting so much today. My X is only about one hour away from me right now (He has a court date!) and I am using every ounce of my will power to not call him. And to distract myself from the fact that he is with another woman (I know it) and WILL NOT come here.

    Fool that I am, I have checked the front porch for any sign of remorse…a card, flowers… nothing. It still breaks my heart. Like a stab in the gut.

    Reading the destruction that these fools cause in real lives, keeps me from making a LIFE CHANGING mistake and dialing his number. It would set me back to non functionally.

    I apologize if I am posting too much, but I am channeling my sadness. 🙁

    • I’m posting a lot today too Sylvia. Things are finally coming to a head in my life and the STBX is poking the bear with his text messages today. You be strong and so will I 😉

      • Done4Good,
        Is he antagonizing you? (poking the bear)
        What does he want from you?

        Yes, we must stick with the basic tenet from which all decisions must flow:

        TRUST THAT THEY SUCK.

        • He wants to remind me what a good person he is and that he still considers himself married. ????

          I’m not sure what that has to do with anything or why it’s so important for him to tell me this today.

          He knows I hired a lawyer. He seems relieved that I am the one taking care of it so he doesn’t have to.

          As usual, his behavior leaves me confused and aggravated.

          • I think I know what it is: he is worried. I am a good person (NOT) so please do not sic your lawyer on me and destroy my world. He is saying…he considers himself married…as in…I do have loyalty to you. I am not a total dirt ball. Please do not make my life unbearable, bankrupt me, ruin my reputation.

            Damage control, worry, and self preservation.

            But…of course…very confusing when you LOVE/LOVED someone.

            But don’t let it confuse you. In the very few (so few) times my X tried to get me to forgive, I would feel so confused. I would make lists and worry that I was making a mistake because of the strong love I had for him.

            But I would always just go back to his actions. What did he DO. Not what he said.

            Sadly, this always led me back to the real potatoes: He was a cheating liar who betrayed me with whores.

            It is so hard to parse out true remorse or someone worried you are going to make a meatball out of them with your lawyer. Sociopaths…look above at the #1 criteria for spotting it that I posted. It is so helpful:

            Appalling behavior coupled with pleas for pity. Reminding you he is “good person” is just a cousin to pity.

            You hired a lawyer. You mean business. He is worried. Think of all the pain he caused you and your children.
            If you can, ignore the texts. I know it is so hard. Or do not respond.

            Let him sweat.

            • The thing that finally got me free of the love feeling was when I finally found my righteous ANGER! It fueled my no contact for a long time. Keep with the truth and it will piss you off, and you’ll take more steps forward.

            • My X always said “See I love you and really care for you”. Whenever he did something “nice” or “sensitive” or “thoughtful”. I call it fishing for Kibbles. No one who is a “normal” human being draws attention to their actions that are part of being a decent human being!!
              He told me once that he “was being Jesus Christ” by going and spending time with an old school mate who had lost his father. Huge Narc red flag. Seriously I nearly wet myself laughing thinking gee “When’s the crucifixion!!” I want ring side seats. Perverse I know but I hear it’s one of the worst ways to die. ?

    • Keep posting, Sylvia–NC is the path of truth and light.

      And you’re doing the rest of us a world of good with your insights, as well! Hugs.

    • Post away, Sylvia! This forum has saved my sanity, for sure! And your posts, believe it or not, are helping other chumps. We wouldn’t be a community if nobody came here and left something to read.

      NC is so important in times like this–remember. You’re exercising your strength, putting more minutes of silence between you and the cheater. Silence is the BEST offense and defense against these assholes–trust. It’s so simple and so powerful. It’s not easy, but truthfully it’s easier than flicking off the scab over and over and over so that it can’t heal. Leave him alone. You already know he doesn’t love you the way you need and deserve to be loved. So don’t settle for his crumbs. Don’t be his back-up plan. Don’t accept being abused.

      I love your posts, by the way. You’re perceptive and smart and kind.

      Done4Good–same goes for you. I LOVE that you guys are leaning on each other right now. That’s what this forum is all about!!

      • Wow. SO kind, helpful and what I needed. Thank you so much for being so gracious, Tempest and Stephanie and Oak Tree. I did not want to be seen as hogging the forum. My hands were shaking today, as I realized with relief and horror, that he WAS NOT coming to beg for my forgiveness. I ran to the porch so many times. He never came. But it is okay.

        NC is the key, more than you know.
        Well, take that back, YOU ALL KNOW.

        This person is capable of such cruelty that it literally would steal my breath. He is just down right mean. Tempest, it really would be less painful to put my hand in the ceiling fan than to dial those numbers.
        (Again..wasn’t I the one who was supposed to get to be mean? This did not happen).

        That’s right, I love what you wrote, Stephanie: “Leave him alone.” Everyday I leave him alone…I feel a bit better. I can make a plan. I can trust a hope that maybe…I might make it.

        Even the physical draw of him shrinks as I leave him alone. I used to ache for him. Even the way his arm hair looked! I loved to smother his face with kisses. That is over now. It is gone. I will never have that with him again. Acceptance. It is the only way forward.

        This is what a life with him would be: Accepting him having sex with whores behind my back and then acting like a lunatic when I find the evidence. Gas lighting me.

        Staring at me with shark eyes and saying: You are crazy. As I read the texts….???!!!

        What a life that would be.

        Building on the theme of FOO issues and cheating, I remember his Aunt told me that my Monster’s mother would cry at restaurants because of the shameful way Monster’s Father would flirt and like a fool with younger women in front of her. She was overweight and so tired from all his gambling and failed business ventures. She worked like a manic to keep food on the table for these ingrates.

        And Monster will tell you with a proud grin: My dad could have you dig a ditch for $5 and you would thank him for the opportunity.

        I would say: This is a con artist. This is not a good thing.

        The legacy will continue. I will not be partaking.

  • No worries, Sylvia, you keep posting! That’s what we’re here for. Wishing you LOTS and LOTS of strength. You have it in you.

  • Thank you Oaktree! I am not going to call. The cruelty waiting on the other end of that line always leaves me in a heap in the bed, self medicating or staring at the ceiling fan.

  • abridged version, indeed. As commenters on original post noticed, some key information has been omitted.
    I mean, this guy goes to “work” in a different state during the week, and comes back home on weekends. He’s getting MORE than spending time with his teenage kids.

    If you look from above, he’s not with the other “family” either. He’s working, which means his time with the girlfriend and her toddler is limited.
    He’s not with his initial family either. Although not stated, I doubt he’s footing bills. He’s not running with his children to the dr, helping doing homework, going to school to speak with teachers.
    This guy has the best of 2 worlds.
    And what do THEY – the women in his life get? An in-week-worker, never present for the weekend fun, or a fantasy, a weekend dad.
    This guy gets to come and go as he wishes, he can choose to leave when the tough gets tough, he gets to show up for the fun or for the young. He’s a piece of s* and both women allow him to keep them on a leash.
    I know it’s easy for us to see the big picture and not so much while you have a chain on your heart and fog around your mind…

  • What a mess this woman’s going to be in a few years, when her children grow up, are more interested in spending time with their friends, leave for college, jobs, etc. Her husband will likely stop coming around at that point, and her feelings of abandonment will only be compounded.

    As for her “dates”, there isn’t a decent man alive who will commit to a woman who isn’t actively pursuing a divorce and whose husband is still living with her. So she’s either deceiving men about her situation or she’s dating guys who aren’t at all serious about a future with her.

    It’s grossly unfair to children to place the burden of your choices– which include the choice to remain unhappy for decades– on their shoulders. Life is hard is enough.

  • I was initially doing this but quickly learned that it was only benefitting him not my children; they didn’t want anything to do with him after watching him invest so much time and resources into another woman and not them. I forced them because we were all he had, he was isolated, but grateful I woke up and stopped allowing him to make a mockery of me…I still have work to do. Below is from his AP about the article…perhaps he should have thought about what he was doing and who he was actually hurting. He has shown no remorse nor has he invested in their healing but I allowed this monster to enjoy my home which is all he was seeking-the comforts of our nice loving home. He wanted to “co-exist”. Honestly and sadly he wants nothing to do with his children-he shows 2-3 hours late, cancels, or just doesn’t show.

    “Sometimes it’s hard to see past your own hurt, pain and anger…. But sometimes you read something that just makes you stop and think and rethink what you’ve been doing and who it’s actually hurting. Adults fall in and out of love, it’s s fact of life, but it’s not with their children it’s with each other…Sincerely, the OW”

    She has no clue as to how this man disregarded his children for her, other affairs, and “his other lifestyle(s)”.

  • Wow. Such hate. You may have made another choice. But spend this much time spewing hate. You…you and those like you are truly the worst kind of people.

    • Smills,
      I don’t understand. Where is the hate? I am being sincere. I did not see anyone spewing hate.

      I can tell you though…if you have had your life set on fire by a cheater, hate is very easy to reach. I mean effortless.

  • I don’t think anyone here promotes hate, per se. Self-respect – yes. Facing the facts and dealing with reality – yes. Cleaning up the mess after infidelity – yes. Justified anger – yes. Supporting others going through the same trauma – yes.

    Cheating, on the other hand, is so hateful it is hard to quantify – for individuals, marriages, families and society.

  • So let me see if I have this straight: You’re tearing this woman apart for not moving on, whereas you have only created an ENTIRE WEBSITE AND IDENTITY that’s purely a response to being cheated on. Okay. That looks pretty moved on. Healthy and whatnot. Totes emancipated and such. Anyway, cool job tearing down somebody who’s gone through similar heartache. Sisterhood!

    • If you read the tag line it clearly says “Leave a Cheater, Gain a life!” The whole premise of this website is that it’s healthier to leave a cheater. I guess I’m not understanding your disconnect here. The woman who wrote this article is not leaving a cheater or gaining a life. She (by her own admission) is breaking down whenever she is reminded of her husband’s infidelity and since he lives with her every weekend, it’s pretty frequently. She cannot move on from that trauma if he stays in her life like this. Her whole set up is very unhealthy in my humble opinion and my advice would be for her to leave and stop making excuses that she’s doing it for the children.

      In the end, it’s not modeling behaviors that you want children to see anyway and it’s confusing to them to boot.

  • I kinda agree. Usually I’m all on board with CL. This one kind of makes me feel sad for the chump. She is obviously very codependent and instead of encouraging her to get help everyone is calling her a sociopath. I’ve got divorced thinking it was the best for my child. You can’t believe the hell I went through for doing it. Fighting a narcissist is the hardest thing you can ever imagine. They will do anything to win. Don’t even get me started on their flying monkeys and the havoc they help create. Its a no win. My heart hurts for this chump.

    • This woman is not asking for help. She wrote an article which seems to herald that she is quite content with the choices she made. She didn’t ask chump lady for help. The UBT is used two fold in this post. To illustrate an example of what chumps should NOT do and it also points out some of the absurdity of her justifications. That article is a walking/talking contradiction. She’s proud of her choices yet she’s reduced to tears whenever reminders of her husband’s infidelity come surface. Something that will continue to happen as long as he’s in her life to this degree.

      This situation isn’t healthy for her or her children, no matter what the reasons are. When the lady wants help I am sure chump lady would be happy to give it to her. For now she’s just a screaming example of how not to conduct yourself after you’ve discovered an affair.

      • That nailed it, Cheatzrssuck.

        I am still confused about the hate comment, though.

        Her actions essentially “excuse” the crime of blowing up someone’s life because you want to get your freak on….cheating. Many readers do not buy her “but it is for the children” routine. I do not.

        I do think she is halfway scary (the author) because of her smug superiority in allowing a dirtbag to run her life after he set it on fire. But her column is truly about eliciting pity for her….she goes into some detail about it.

        She is just sophisticated in her delivery. She writes it as a piece about an alternative lifestyle, a Paltrow conscious uncoupling where she never uncoupled…but actually the piece is about what?

        HER SACRIFICES. It is actually a well disguised piece about what a great mother she is…right? About her suffering and the misery she soldiers through for her pre adult children.

        And….I guess it rubs wrong when we know that, well…any one of us chumps could eat a buffet of shit sandwiches too to stay with our cheaters for a number of justifications. But I do not think it entitles me to sainthood if I made such a short sighted, bad decision to do so.

        I don’t know. I would drive back 3 miles to get a turtle out of the road because I worry for them getting squashed.. I feel outraged when I read these stories of cheating.

        But her mindset and actions leave me cold to her.

        If she just said, My husband cheated on me, and I cannot accept it, and I will take his crumbs rather than give him up…then I would think, I feel so bad for you. I hope you can dump him!

        But it is NOT about that. It is about her amazing martyrdom and how she suffers for her children, and the agony of him being in her home.

        Nothing she writes has a ring of truth to it. And I think this website is about that: No More Bullshit.

        I think her article was bullshit.

  • What upsets me is that her daughter quite clearly told her that she did not enjoy the whole scenario, but the mother went right ahead and bulldozed her own needs over the top of her daughter’s. What a lesson for the daughter in how to subjugate yourself to a man.
    This isn’t ‘for the children ‘ . It’s absolutely for herself. And it makes me feel ill.

  • Who knows what kind of BS her husband had feed to her. I know I have gone for some stupid deals with my STXH a few times. I rationalized my behavior with emotions instead of logic and believed what I was doing was for the best. My cheater took advatage of my chumpieness. I am so glad I found this website when I did. Otherwise who knows what kind of ‘pick me dance’ I would be doing right now. She needs to discover this website and I believe her eyes will be open that this is not healty situation for her or her children. I do pray she find her way out of this arragement soon. I am very familiar with being so lost that you lose yourself in the process. My eyes have been opened to my cheaters BS but the journey wasn’t easy to get to this point.

  • Got a 2-part comment from Chris DiRico. (He was having some trouble posting it.) Great stuff… here it is:

    I’m OG Chump Nation and I’ve been unforgivably silent on this forum for way too many months. But I had to break my silence after reading this devastating cacophony of heartbreak and mindfuckery. Even if I live to be 200 years old, I will never, EVER be able to wrap my head around the absolute treachery that poor Jaimie subjects herself to….on a WEEKLY BASIS! It’s this kind of wretched misery and anguish that makes all of us Chumps want to gather ’round in a big group hug. It also makes us all want to forcefully grab this woman by the forearms, shake her forcefully, and scream: “What the FUCK is wrong with you?!”

    My sympathy stops there. I have empathy for Jaimie but not sympathy. She’s no Chump. Chumps are self-aware. You’re not an alcoholic until you admit you have a drinking problem. Otherwise you’re just a drunk. Similarly, you’re not a Chump until you admit to yourself that your marital situation is what the kids would call a “hot mess.” That what you thought was your perfect, happy-go-lucky Family™ looks more like a smoldering, radioactive dump of toxic waste.

    After reading her Post editorial and stalking her Facebook page, it’s clear to me that Jaimie has completely lost touch with reality. I’m willing to bet that her delusional behavior is 100% trauma-induced, but this woman is not only stuck in her own past, but she’s addicted to the fantastical narrative she’s constructed of her present.

    It’s no accident that the Post editors chose a photo of a Welcome mat to accompany the piece. It’s like everybody who’s read the post (RiC commenters aside) recognize that Jaimie has allowed herself to become her ex-husband’s doormat. Everybody except Jaimie.

    A cursory glance of her Facebook page reveals a picture of her, the ex-fucktard and her two adorable kids on vacation in Viet Nam circa 2008. Date the picture was posted? September 12, 2015, just eleven MONTHS ago. Mind you, ex-hubby dumped her ass for his pregnant side piece FOUR YEARS ago, yet here Jaimie is posting an old Happy Family pic less than ONE year ago. Of course, parents post #Throwback pics of her their kids on social media all the time. But throwback, happy family pics with the husband who abandoned you and your kids and moved 5 hours away?! OH HELL NO!!

    But the Viet Nam throwback family pic couldn’t have been a more perfect metaphor for the batshittery that follows in the Post piece, but because there is a CIVIL FUCKING WAR going on in that house, while Jaimie herself has declared war on real life. Her unrelenting heartbreak over the train wreck that her husband turned their marriage into. Her stubborn insistence on maintaing the illusion of a happy, intact family by any means necessary. Her desperation to pretend that the last four years of her never happened. Her refusal to even refer to the Cheater as her ex. NINE different times in the article she refers to him as her “husband.” Granted, since they’re not yet divorced, he remains her legal husband, but this sure as hell ain’t a case of mere semantics. She believes it! And she wants so desperately for the man she still loves so dearly to come back home for good—a man who does NOT in ANY way DESERVE the title “husband—that she’ll maintain The Perfect Home for him, free of grown-up things like responsibility and accountability, so that he can come and go as he please. And soon as that car pulls up every Friday night or Saturday night, you better believe she’s slapping that vein underneath her forearm and exclaiming to her kids (but most importantly to herself): “Daddy’s Home!”

    This ain’t Chumpdom. This is the disease of addiction. This is an obsession with control. She may think the story of her life is Grace Under Fire, but it’s more like Delusion Under Dumpster Fire.

    Meanwhile, there’s the 3-year-old baby girl that her ex went and fathered with a younger woman; a daughter that her ex ditches every weekend to come play house with his older kids. Does Jaimie NOT see anything disordered about even that?! Is she THAT used to sweeping all of his shitty decisions under the rug? Or is she so obsessed with getting back at the OW that she could give two fucks if the baby girl is wandering around the house 5 hours away wondering where her Daddy is?

    More importantly, is THIS really the kind of parental role model she wants around her children every weekend? He dropped those kids like a sack a shit the first time to go start a new family with the OW. Does Jaimie not see anything wrong with the fact that he ditches his 3-year-old daughter on Friday, then ditches her kids again the following Monday?! Doesn’t she see the blatant sociopathic narcissism on display? Doesn’t she understand that this man doesn’t love her anymore? That he doesn’t give a fuck about anybody, least of her all? That he’ll drop his oldest kids again IN A SECOND should anything get too real around that house? It’s like her ex tied her to a telephone post and set the Tennis Ball Machine on autopilot. How many times does Jaimie need to be pelted?! How does she NOT FUCKING SEEING WHAT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER?!

    Jaimie also states in the article that “occasionally” he’ll take a call from his “mistress”, or that she’ll be reminded of the nuclear fallout that’s become of her married life. In the drug world that’s what’s called a “comedown”, and its rife with sadness, depression, and, in some cases, painful physical pangs for the drug. Notice how Jaimie mentions literally feeling sick to her stomach on multiple occasions. But then she taps that vein again and injects a fresh batch of Spackle Crack: Family meals, Netflix marathons, and s’mores.

    Reality Check: The only reason this asshole is so good at playing Dad right now is because she’s letting him get away with it. He doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of his actions or the needy OW (and their 3-year-old daughter) 5 hours away. Jaimie doesn’t question anything, doesn’t mention anything, and she sure as hell doesn’t let her never-to-be-ex (as long as she can help it) see her immense heartbreak. Every weekend it’s the same routine of s’mores, tents, forced family togetherness, and Jamie carefully watching as her delusional family narrative plays out precisely the way she’s constructed it.

    What really saddens me is how much she projects her agony and her controlling ways onto her children, particularly her young son, yet doesn’t even seem to realize it. On what planet does a 13-year-old boy refuse to spend the weekend with his father at a hotel because hotel rooms are too “sterile”? What 13-year-old boy ever said he didn’t feel “safe” at a hotel with his father?! And what fucking teenaged boy insists on pitching tents in the backyard?! Seven-year-olds do that! Outdoorsy teenagers are prone to these things called “campgrounds”, and I’m sure Jaimie’s stomping ground of New Hampshire–one of the most heavily wooded states in the Union–has more than a few of them. But it doesn’t sound like the ex and Junior are allowed out of Jaimie’s sight for longer than 5 minutes. What if he calls the mistress while they’re away? What if some AMAZING father-son bonding moment happens and I’m not there to witness it so I can get my fix?! What about ME?!?

    I don’t think it’s any accident that the father-son activities described in the article are ones that fathers typically do with much younger sons. If she hadn’t mentioned that both of her children were teenagers, I would’ve guessed that her son was about 7 or 8. Whether Jaimie indulges in infantailizing parenting or simply clings to the picture perfect family portrait she posted in the Viet Nam throwback pic, it’s clear that Jaimie refuses to let go of her past and come to grips with what a piece of shit her ex-husband really is.

    I’ve read a lot of bizarre Chump behaviors on this site over the years—and indulged in quite a few of them myself–but this is the first time I’ve ever read a story about a Chump GASLIGHTING herself!

    • PART 2.

      Since Jaimie is stuck in the past, I’m going to do her the unsolicited favor and look into her future. Us Chumps have all been down this road before. We ALL know that “Daddy” ain’t fucking home. He hasn’t been home in years. We all know that the proverbial other shoe is going to drop any second, and it’s going to puncture a motherfucking Texas-sized hole in the floor when it does.

      I hope you read this, Jaimie, because one of the following is GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU:

      1) Junior, based on how you described him, seems to be a very young 13. It’s okay. Most teenaged boys are late bloomers anyway. But eventually he’s going to want to spend his weekends doing other things besides hanging out with his Dad. It’s nothing personal. It’s what teenagers do. RESULT: Your ex will stop coming around.

      2) OW, whoever she is, will eventually start asking questions. Remember that affair partners are just as disordered as the cheaters that ran off on you, if not more so. They DEMAND centrality and kibbles at ALL TIMES. Do you REALLY think he’s going to pick you and your kids over her? HE ALREADY DITCHED YOU ALL FOR HER ONCE! He will do it again without question. RESULT: Your ex will stop coming around.

      3) Let’s say Junior doesn’t graduate into school dances, football games, and drinking parties as quickly as other teenagers. That’s a good thing, but what happens when your ex starts manipulating him into spending more time outside the house? What happens when he texts your son: “Hey, pal! Wanna come out to my house this weekend and meet your little sister?? Tell your Mom I’ll meet you guys halfway!” Yes, Jaimie, that means he’s going to introduce Junior to his mistress AND the bastard child they conceived behind your back. Whatcha gonna do then?! You’re either gonna: a) Suck it up and acquiesce (RESULT: Your ex won’t come around as often); or b) You’re going to (finally) start holding him accountable for his actions. But remember that as soon as that mask gets pulled off, it’s over. Cheaters have no further use for you. (RESULT: Your ex will stop coming around.)

      4) What happens when your kids start asking questions?! Sounds like your 16-year-old has already started. C’mon, Jaimie. You were a teenager once. When we were teenagers and something didn’t make sense, we questioned and analyzed the fuck out of it….and that’s BEFORE we discovered pot! What happens when one of the kids drops a wildly inappropriate but ironically timed question during those squeamish family dinners? Remember, the second ANYTHING gets too real or too grown-up in that house, ex-hubby is out the door. Again. RESULT: Your ex will stop coming around.

      5) As long as you keep up this charade, you’re not ever going to find a serious boyfriend who actually loves and cares about you. A lot of heartbroken women crave a “decent” man to ride in on their white horse and sweep them off their feet. Believe me when I tell you that no decent man will date a woman in the midst of a 4-year separation with no divorce papers filed. And he certainly won’t put up with your ex’s weekend sleepovers. The only guys that will put up with that are the ones who don’t care about you. I get it. You’re depressed. Depressed people seek out valueless, go-nowhere relationships to alleviate the broken heart they feel they’re destined for. I’m saying you deserve better.

      6) What happens when your ex gets bored with this charade? And yes, Jaimie, it IS a charade. If he cared enough abut the kids he wouldn’t have abandoned them for the side piece in the first place. This isn’t about the kids AT ALL. This is about impression management and kibbles for him, Fantasy Playhouse for you. Eventually he’s going to get tired of the 10-hour, roundtrip trek to partake in all of the fatherly responsibilities he already abdicated the first time. It won’t be long before every weekend turns into every other weekend, once a month, then once every other month, etc.. RESULT: Your ex won’t come around as often.

      In other words, Jaimie, sooner or later your ex is going to set the Tennis Ball Machine he’s got you tied up in front of to Ludicrous Speed. You think you’ll get it then? He. Doesn’t. Give. A. Fuck. About. You. You can spend most of your waking hours pretending his 3-year-old daughter doesn’t exist (untouched scooter in the box be damned), but she’s living proof of how little your ex values your feelings. As the child of an extra-marital affair myself, that’s a really difficult thing for me to say.

      We Chumps know it didn’t work out the way you wanted. We all went through that. And we know how desperately you wish you could have him back. But he ain’t coming back, Jaimie. His mistress is actually his partner now. Whether he’s staying true to her or he’s out screwing around behind HER back, it’s none of your business and none of your concern. The only thing you need to concern yourself with is the REALITY that he’s GONE.

      You think you’re modeling strength, support, and unconditional love to your children, but what you’ve helped create is a kaleidoscopic mess of dysfunction. Kids learn from that and in some cases they grow up to REPEAT it. A REAL husband and father wouldn’t have knocked up some other woman while married to you. A REAL husband and father wouldn’t have moved 5 hours away. A REAL husband and father would be (physically) there for your kids 7 days a week.

      Other chumps can fill you in on the strengths (and perils) of long-distance parenting. That’s not my turf. But the sooner you divorce this man and let him go out of your heart, the mightier you will be in the long run. Your kids will be hurt, too, but they’ll adapt. They’re resilient. And they’re smart. They’re going to catch on to this charade sooner or later. And they’re going to TELL YOU—like your daughter is already TRYING TO DO—what a useless mind-fuck this all is. LISTEN to them. BELIEVE them.

      I admire your courage to tell your story, and who knows, maybe this your subconscious crying out for a Chump #Bitchslap. Well, my darling, the bitch slap has been served. Neither do I condemn you. Now go and gaslight thyself no more.

      Daddy’s NOT home. He hasn’t been home in a long, long time. In the immortal words of Eddie Vedder: “It makes much more sense to live in the present tense.”

      Hugs from Chump Nation <3 <3

      • WOW!!! Da Bomb! It was just…..so good! Like a mental orgasm! (sorry)

        We must find a way to send this to her. I do not have twitter or FB but everyone on here is so tech savvy, we must send this to her.

        It helped me as well….the tennis ball machine analogy was spot on. Cheaters are not original.

        Building on the Pearl Jam theme…..we can help Jaimie avoid a “Don’t Call Me Daughter” scenario in her future.

      • Really–wow, Chris. GREAT stuff!!

        I would add that when (let’s hope it’s when and not if) she finally shuts the door on this charade, it’s going to be hard. Withdrawal SUCKS, but it’s the only way through the addiction.

        And you’re going to be judged. It will be by people who are mean, who are insecure, who have NO idea how badly it sucks to be chumped. And you will learn to brush your shoulders. Because you will know who you are, and you will know you are strong, and that your values are sound. That you are NOBODY’s door mat. But that insight will only come from integrity, and integrity starts with throwing an abuser out of your life and moving on with your dignity intact. So let the ignorant judge all they want, but, really, what the hell do they know?

        WE know. And we really think you can and should do better. Do it for yourself, and model for your children.

      • *standing, slow clap* WOW! Chumplady, I do believe you have found your guest blogger for when you go on your book tour.

  • Great stuff Chris! I looked at her Facebook page a little. She is acutely aware that she’s been discovered by the chump lady. Her updated status announces that a mean person wrote hateful things about her but she’ll be wearing a smile because she earned her very own blog and had a good swim. Of course knowing all this is brought to you by yet another person in my age range that has yet to master the privacy options on Facebook. We get slammed so often about this by the millennial set and I know I shouldn’t care but in this particular case they have a point. #getaprivacyclue. Unless of course she wants the whole world to know absolutely everything about her….which could certainly be true.

    Nonetheless, she is deep in denial. As you said, her own editors chose a doormat for the picture to represent this article. That pretty much says it all right there. I cannot cast judgement because I did the pick me dance during wreckconciliation myself. No matter what color tutu you wear, it’s still a dance. Hers might be a brighter shade of pink but its in the same neighborhood of the dance I did (minus the love child and the weekend arrangement). It’s a learning process and some of us take a little longer and more abuse before we get there but I hope she gets there soon. This is really no kind of life to model for children.

    • Thanks, cheaterssuck! The only thing I’ll add is that the photos that I saw and the status you read are probably set to Public on purpose. If I, a complete stranger, can view those pics, then surely the OW can.

      It just goes to show you that Jaimie’s not even there yet. She doesn’t get it yet. She’s still competing with the OW. As they say in recovery when someone doesn’t show up a meeting, “She’s not done yet.”

      She’ll get it eventually. I hope to God that she actually visits this “mean” site and pokes around. Her story has been told countless times by countless Chumps. There IS a way out of this.

  • So, I just got home from seeing Bad Moms in the theater.

    WOW. Really saucy language.

    Chumpy mom wins. In case you’re looking for inspiration and don’t mind some really, really adult humor.

  • Okay. I confess. After reading that some of you went to her Facebook page curiosity got the best of me and I went and took a peak as well. So, i take back my comment earlier about “believing her eyes will be open if she found this site”. She is feeling attacked so right now her mind probably will not be open to the amazing revelation that this site has provided many of us. I do hope she sees the light and get out of that situation. You know that saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” (is it horse? I always mess quotes up but you get the idea. Lol)

  • The sad thing is that she thinks she has control. She allows this shit sandwich arrangement, and they stay married, and the OW he left her for can’t marry him, and therefore the OW’s child is illegitimate. Now she can be the smug winner of this booby prize cheater! There are so many secondary gains here that none of us would tolerate. Sad.

    • I completely agree, Meg, the writer has the illusion of control. I feel sorry for her in that respect–of course when we feel helpless we struggle to maintain some kind of control over our life.

      But not-even-XH is driving the bus, the children are driving the bus. Mom is at the back of the bus without a seat belt.

  • I can kinda see not going so far with drawing lines just for the sake of seizing control in the other direction. Like we are separated so you must wait on the porch while I get the kids so I can scold you like a child. It’s not my style and doesn’t make ME happy. I am fine with a wide breath of flexibility. Though the latitude my ex has today will not likely continue b/c I doubt it will continue to work for me. The sad thing about this persons story is that she doesn’t sound very confident about the sarcrafices she is making and she seems to have resolved herself to be a tortured soul. She isn’t moving forward. In my mind, that’s different than if the flexibility worked for her and the kids. It simply doesn’t. I disagree that you should feel compelled to do things to “make kids see you have self respect by drawing this or that line”..maybe I’m misreading. But I do think you should have self respect. As a child of someone who never moved on, that’s a heavy load for a child as well. I don’t see it as my mother had no self respect. I just think it’s sad because she could have had a happier, more fulfilling life for herself if she had the courage and to allow her life to change. That’s the sad part my friends.

  • Okay. I totally missed that Dad is acting to the world that this other lady and baby don’t exist. That’s so out there.its beyond what I meant by flexible. You can’t cover up his lie. It muddies your integrity with the kids. If he wants to live elsewhere and take some visitation at your house, I don’t think it’s out of this world crazy. Plus you get more time with kids. But to live a lie is just pretending that nothing really changed and it has. You’re not your traditional family. He’s a dad coming to see his kids on the weekends. That it. Kids know. They are smarter than we think. By doing this, you’re forcing them to live a lie too. Just say it. Daddy doesn’t live here, we aren’t together. He will be coming to visit. He’s involved with woman he likes and they have a child and they live in another town. Many things have changed and many things won’t change.
    Just spit it out. You can do it.

  • What amazes me is that the letter-writer seems to have completely missed the idea that the children’s father could be in their lives without living with her on the weekend. And if he can’t, what does that say about him?

    Sure it’s harder to afford seeing your kids when you live somewhere else, but that’s real life.

    The things her kids aren’t learning – you shouldn’t hurt people, you can get away with hurting others, and you don’t have to face reality. Not to mention the very likely possibility that Mom isn’t doing it for the kids, she’s doing it to stay in her exes life and upset his girlfriend.

  • Now this is a volunteer doormat. I posted a comment a few days ago asking CL to do an article on doormats and everyone jumped over me, angry, accusing me of trolling.. but I think everyone agrees with me now that this lady is a doormat.

  • Unfortunately the letter writer hasn’t managed to get to the stage of grief where she is just damned angry.She’s stuck in denial and bargaining. Like others have said she keeps referring to shared activities associated with elementary school aged children not high schoolers. Not normal or healthy.
    Teens need to disassociate and become independent. She’s building up a scenario where her son becomes a mama’s boy who thinks mommy and wife appliance is the sole purpose of every woman. And her daughter will either have it deeply ingrained in her that all men are cheap narcissistic assholes who are allowed to treat women like replaceable servants or she will deeply resent her mother in adult life and avoid her to stop seeing Mom throw away her life and dignity to become everybody else’s doormat.
    Mom needs to put on her big girl panties, shut down the weekend guest motel (hell move in her parents, cousins, sister, friends, boyfriend for the next couple of months), and make her house HER home not her kids’ home (it’s only their home til they are 18) and most certainly not her husband’s weekend cottage.
    Get a life mommy…move on because he has and the kids are going to be gone in a few years.

  • My major problem with the article was her superior attitude that’s she is such a “good mom”. So much better than a mother, who like myself, shut the ex’s horseshit down. I also think the husband is using the first family as an excuse to get out of the house with the new baby mama. There’s a third side piece somewhere. Probably somewhere along that five hour drive.

  • Jaimie is trying to snag an agent for a book about her amazing life as a dirty worn out lonely doormat to her narcissistic husband.

    I hope she reads all of these comments and is able to put aside her (likely) hurt feelings from so many strangers criticizing her life and actually get a grip.

    Her public Facebook posts have her daughter tagged in them so this reveals her study husband’s last name. No Bueno. Do you think someone will bother them?

  • This website is such a breath of fresh air! Thank God CL and others can see this kind of behaviour for the sick desperation it is, rather than applaud the mother for her saintly forgiveness. In my shock fter my ex left for OW, I agreed for him to eat dinner with us once a week but after 2 weeks realised how sick it was and stopped it. Another local family situation – dad left for OW, and has the gall to bring her and the new baby to school events. The dumped mom sits with them playing “I’m a saint because I get along with my ex and his new wife” and the other parents applaud her behaviour and tell other single cheated-on moms “you should be like St Dumped-Mom, she has let go of all that unhealthy anger”. No, firm boundaries with minimal contact and self-respect are much healthier.

  • I’m the daughter of a ‘Jaimie’, and excuse my french but she’s full of shit, she’s not doing this for the children, she’s doing this for herself, my mother met and fell in love with my father in her teens, he was her first everything, first boyfriend , first love, first , first first, .I don’t know when he started cheating on her, I know we were very young, she was working to put him through school, so of course the kids had to take a backseat to her DH, she would come over to our nannie’s house and sit there and sob, all I ever remember of her was a pretty pervasive sadness, she was an immigrant in the sixties with very little support and half a dozen kids from a moslem culture that allowed polygamy, time passed, she grew sadder, my dad kept cheating , with the neighbor, with the maids , we could never keep any help because he was always hitting on them, as a teen I never wanted to bring my friends around because he would make a pass at them. My mother could have had a brilliant future but she dropped out of school because he knocked her up, when asked why she stayed , she would always say it was because of the kids. You know what I wanted as a kid? , I wanted a kick ass hard nosed bitch of a mother , someone that would stand up to my dad and his various side pieces, not the sad woman that cried all the time, and was immobilised by depression. Sure she would cry and sob, but then she would still stay with my dad, she never got the guts to leave, we all hated the situation, twenty five years of misery that only ended when he left her for another of his side pieces, by this time she was in her fifties she had no employable skills, she had nothing, we were all in college or scattered around the country abandoned to be raised by his relatives or in group homes.She left me feeling conflicted and resentful. I appreciated the fact that she realized that she was dependent on my jackass of a father, and that if she left he might not provide for us, but God how I wished that she had some back bone, that she would stand up for herself. It gave me a rather warped view of life and people, one in which most men were pigs, and a woman had to stand tall and be independent because there was no Prince Charming riding to the rescue, or as Rihanna would picturesquely put it ‘Fuck your white horse and your carriage’. I became the woman that I wanted my mother to be. I’m educated, self employed , run my own business, and yes, I’m a single parent. I just could never do any pick me dance, no wreckonciliation, my childhood gave me a complete abhorrence for ‘drama’. Unfortunately it also left me with a deep seated distrust of men, and very little tools to deal with conflict resolution, or as my friends would say an extremely low tolerance for bullshit.

    My world view is as follows

    1) If he cheated with you , he’ll cheat on you
    2)You didn’t break him , you can’t fix him i.e I have no time for tortured souls, lost men, or damaged men who just need the love of a good woman,
    3)When a man shows you who he is believe him, no excuses
    4) Don’t go by what a man says go by what he does, love is not what you say you feel , it’s what you show
    5)If you have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out off , you need a pre nup and a will
    6) Everyone should try to be financially savvy, my mother wouldn’t know what a stock was, let alone how to invest in it.She paid dearly for her dependence on my dad When I see women who give up careers to stay home with the kids I pray that they are not married to NP’s , and I wonder at the kind of joy filled bushy tailed optimistic lives that they must have lived to put such faith in another person and trust that he wouldn’t trade them in 20, 30 years down the road, or that if he did, he’d be fair
    7)You can’t change another person, if your partner is an addict an alcoholic or a cheat, s/he might say they’ve changed, but I wouldn’t bet the bank on it
    8) You only have one life so you’d better live it well
    9)Bullshit left unchecked will expand to fill the universe, make it your duty to check bullshit when you see it

    Chump Lady . You are a hero. The Jaimie’s of this world need more people like you.

    • I’m sorry for what you went through with your parents. I’ve long believed that “martyrs” are way more dangerous than they seem.

      So much wisdom in your post, but this is one of the best things I’ve ever read: “9)Bullshit left unchecked will expand to fill the universe, make it your duty to check bullshit when you see it.”

      • Thank you BetterDays, I see these ‘martyrs’ like Jaimie, all the time, I just can’t with them,and with the degree of self delusion that it takes to live their lives.There are many worse things than being single, being in a bad marriage and pretending that you’re doing it for the kids is in my top ten.

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