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Dear Chump Lady, My ex doesn’t want me to date

allowed2dateDear Chump Lady,

I have been divorced for three years after having the great pleasure of finding out I’m married to a cheater on my birthday. (SURPRISE!) For the most part, things have been going well as co-parents to two young children. Over the last three years, my ex has dumped the other guy, found her true love, got engaged and decided to dump him after two years without explanation. I, on the other hand, have focused on raising my kids and working on myself. The divorce hurt me financially, (as of course everything was in my name), scarred me emotionally, and put a renewed focus on living my life as well as possible. I dated a woman for a couple months a few years ago but realized I wasn’t ready to date. No date has ever met my kids.

I think I am ready to put myself out there and begin dating again. I was never discouraged from marriage as it became clear that it was not the process but the person I chose that was the problem.

My ex is extremely jealous and insecure. She once told me that she’s apologizing in advance for being a “mega bitch to whoever you decide to bring into MY kids lives.” When I brought up the fact that I had always been cordial to her fiance she replied, “Well, life’s not fair.” It was at this point that I decided to end this conversation.

My parents live in California. I’m in North Carolina. Both are sick with my father having a terminal disease giving him a few years to live. Last month they decided they are going to move near me and the grandkids with the intention of spending as much time with us as possible (on my days of the 50/50 custody). My ex was great for about a day, until my mom said in her presence that she looked forward to helping my daughter learn to ride a bike. My ex later called me to say she didn’t like that comment, that’s a mother’s job, and she’s going to have to bite her tongue a lot with this move. Well, even after the divorce I was still shocked to see what is a great dying wish shit on by an entitled asshole. (When I again mentioned that I never had an issue with her fiancé interacting with the kids, the reply was classic. “That was just some guy I was fucking, this is your mom, there is a difference, grow the fuck up.” I promptly hung up the phone.)

Now it is glaringly obvious that whoever I choose to date, if that ever becomes serious and I decide to introduce the kids, my ex will go insane. Do I try to have a talk where I explain she will always be their mom, etc., or do I just live my life, make sure the kids are okay and treat issues as they arise? Part of me wants to have the talk to try and get a foundation of understanding established, but I also realize I’m a nice guy and I can’t always live in the world I want when it comes to ex relationships.

Thank you for your advice,

StephenA

Dear Stephen,

If you date, your ex will go insane? She sounds pretty insane now. I think you should continue with your existence and expect the unwavering constancy of her insanity. You divorced a narcissist. That doesn’t go away with a nice fireside chat.

Apparently, you missed the maintaining the shrine to your ex memo and Having No Other Gods Before Her. While you were single she could imagine her continued centrality and uninterrupted kibble supply. She could even dress that as up as “what’s best for the kids” — you know, you not dating. (Her dating? File that under “Just Guys I Fuck.”)

Double standards are what entitled freaks DO. I know it’s especially galling coming from a cheater. Really? You threw your family away for a series of fuckbuddies? You didn’t give a shit about me? And now that we’re divorced you expect me to honor a monogamous COMMITMENT to you? (Oh yeah, raising my hand. I had one of these freaks.)

Please don’t mistake her jealousy for She Still Cares! And get a faint hopium kick off that shit. No, she’s just trying to exert control and protect auxiliary kibble supply.

Here’s what your new life looks like to your ex — kibble kryptonite.

A loving sane girlfriend will underscore to you, how much your ex sucks by comparison. A new life, with or without a girlfriend, means more activities and less flexibility to cowtow to the demands of a narcissist. (Okay, well, whatever. I was free this Thursday anyway...) People in your life who love you and treat you with respect? That models good things to your children. Of how worthy you are, and how you deserve to be treated, and what reciprocal loving relationships look like. That also threatens your ex’s power, and her narrative of how much you suck. (The great suckiness that compelled her to cheat, of course.)

In the warped mind of a narcissist, her objections make a kind of sense.

But you’re free, Stephen — you don’t live in Bizzaro World anymore. You get to live in Reality.

Divorce was a consequence of her infidelity. One of those consequences is that your ex dates and new people are introduced into children’s lives. She doesn’t like that? Well, she should’ve thought of that before she blew up their home. Apparently she doesn’t care about introducing a parade of douches to her kids — but your hypothetical date is a threat? Please. Isn’t it curious how this whole narcissistic You’re Not the Boss of Me! ethos really translates to I AM the Boss of YOU!

Stephen, stop giving a shit what your ex thinks or does. She objects? She can do it by writing and time stamp it. You can do the same. Let her document your 50 awkward coffee dates on your non-custodial time. Let her show that to her lawyer and pony up money for a custody battle based on “My long-divorced husband wishes to date” or “My ex mother-in-law wants to ride bikes with my child.” Good luck with that, bitch.

She overheard your mom? That’s a problem — stay no contact. Your ex is a person you don’t see or talk to. She’s an entity on the other side of scheduling software. That’s IT. You have a custody order — abide by it.  That is all the obligation you have to the ex.

Your life? Your heart? Your soul? You own those. Start acting like it. This is YOUR LIFE. Fill it with your aging parents, loving friends, and a new girlfriend. Hell, fill it with circus performers if you want. The only person you need to have a “foundation of understanding” with is yourself — you’re FREE.

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.
  • Ooooo. That’s good. And that’s scary for me. Not yet in that situation as I only just filed but I am already struggling with ‘not much contact’ let alone ‘no contact’. We have kids so it will always be some contact I guess but the scary part for me is that I know the struggle I have is with myself. He will be fine no contact or contact, whatever, if he gets lonely he will just wander off and be Mr. Nice Guy, covert bad guy for the next poor woman he chooses.
    But your column for me makes me realise how much space he has taken up in my head. How I have allowed his needs, his happiness, his wants to come first. I do it also to some extent with my kids. I grew up in a family that all knew how to put themselves first. My dad a cheater my mom zero empathy. What an inheritance! I somehow came out like a lovely normal person but with an inability or a fear to make choices in my own best interest rather than my own. I even put our pets first! I’d rather clean them out on schedule than rest up or leave it a day or two.
    Now thanks to CL and the mighty chump nation I can see where I am going awfully wrong.
    I will struggle like Stephen to just get my ex out of my head, stop trying to reason with the unreasonable. I am so glad that you wrote this today as I know that what follows this post I will be able to use.
    How can I best learn and practice to accept responsibility for my life first. To choose to put myself and my own wishes a bit nearer the top of th list in preparation for going full on no contact. At the moment I feel wobbly and it feels I will not be good at it. Early days for me though I guess.
    Whatever else I am I am a codependent champion. And I need to learn to melt down that bloody trophy and remake a No Contact one ?

    • Stick with me @Capricorn and we’ll make you a No Contact Champ!
      It truly is the path to the truth and the light!

      Stephen, please relegate all contact with your ex to email unless there is an emergency.
      I have yet to introduce my current boyfriend (PTSD Guy) to my child yet. It just doesn’t feel right. When it does I know he will be fine. I do worry what Narkles the Clown will do. Then I remind myself that I can’t control him and that PTSD Guy can take care of himself. I’m sure Narkles the Clown will demand to meet PTSD Guy at some point and my response to that situation will be: “You didn’t introduce me to your girlfriends while we were married, why would I introduce you to my boyfriends now that we are divorced an you are no longer part of my life?”

      • That one phrase…”I promptly put down the phone”…WHY ARE YOU ON THE PHONE??????

        Raise your great kids without contact with your ex.
        There should be no way for her to overhear anything your parents say.
        Use email ONLY and only when necessary.
        Your fellow chumps who have successfully co-parented with no contact can help you through this.

        She gave up the right to even know about your life or your dates or your parents, much less to comment about anything, the day she cheated.
        She doesn’t like that? She wants the privilege of commenting on your life?
        Too bad!

        Take back your life and your power and step away from that phone!!!!

        • Yes, I agree there seems to be an awful lot of unnecessary contact, which is stressful for StephenA, which naturally feeds Ex-Ex-Bo-Bex-Banana-Fana-Fo-Fex-Fi-Fi-HO-Hex’s dysfunction at the most basic and insatiable levels. Cut her off, StephenA! And welcome to the wonderful wacky world of dating. (Eat your Wheaties.)

            • Well, I blew it, yellow11. Shoulda been Fee-Fi-HO-Hex. Shoulda had an extra shot of espresso this morning. But it was nice being called fucking brilliant!

        • NC or they mess with your life. My friend has been divorced 3 years and X still calls using abusive language. I told my friend, “You don’t have to put up with that anymore. You are divorced.” Finally, my friend blocked the number. Three years of abuse. Don’t give those cheaters one more moment of your life!

        • Exactly. Never engage in any type of discussion about things other than the kids. Your XW is personality disordered for sure.

      • “You didn’t introduce me to your girlfriends while we were married, why would I introduce you to my boyfriends now that we are divorced an you are no longer part of my life?”

        YES!! Been looking for the perfect response – there it is!

    • Capricorn, you write that you want to “choose to put myself and my own wishes a bit nearer the top of the list,” but when you are single, you should be at the top of your list. All the time. That doesn’t mean that your kids and friends don’t matter; that means you are the adult running your life and you get to choose.

      XH wants to change custody weekend to accommodate Schmoopie’s work schedule for a little getaway? Ah, no. Schmoopie’s schedule is her issue. You can predict custody weekends out for 3-4 years. Everybody needs to plan their vacations around that, including the X in-laws.

      XH can’t take the kids on Wednesday because he has “work.” Fine. But document. And when it turns into a pattern, go back to court and get support raised because you are feeding the kids on his day and your time for work or school or whatever has been impacted.

      It’s your life, Capricorn! Follow AllOutofKibble to the truth and the light!

  • Get out there, Stephen!

    No matter what you do, your ex will find a way to make it about her.

    Instead of not wanting you to date, she could take a different approach: saying how happy she is when you’re dating someone–patting herself on the back that you’ve “both found happiness” being divorced…and therefore her infidelity was “necessary” and “had a happy ending.”

    The point is, it’s all about HER and how her needs/desires/opinions are correct.

    Live your life. Don’t worry one iota about what your ex thinks about it.

    • “No matter what you do, your ex will find a way to make it about her.” You nailed it JC

      Unfortunately StephenA there is nothing you can say, do, think or be that will change the crazy. No amount of mental gymnastics will make her see the truth or behave in a civilized, adult manner. As Chump Nation says, no contact (except of course about the children and in the least personal way for whatever the circumstances).

      I think (hope) you will find that after a few months of no contact you will feel a sense of peace that you had forgotten existed.

      Jedi Hugs

  • Stephen is way too emotionally involved with his ex. She is the type that just throws ridiculous remarks out (THEY MEAN NOTHING) that somehow makes Stephen think she is still attached to him when she is really just stringing him along for back up, just in case she somehow ends up alone. Crazy narcs always need an audience and do not do well on their own. Chump Lady is correct that his ex is nuts, but then again it would appear that Stephen has also indulged her behavior. Cut the ties Stephen, now. Pick your kids up, drop them off and do not engage her. It is simply not healthy and more than likely one of the reasons you have not moved on or dated much.

  • You just came dangerously close to describing my new husbands XW. To her credit, it least appears that she had the decency to blow up the family, leave and make absurd demands before she started dating and in these parts that is gold, but she did a bang-up narc job of “I get everything and make the rules. You lose your kid, money and don’t dare date or I will say awful things to and about you”.

    His daughter was 2 when XW saw a mirage of super green grass over yonder and ran for it. Im guessing it was astroturf at a closed putt putt golf…she didnt end up with any meaningful relationships but he did hear rumors that a guy had to get a restraining order.

    He was so traumatized that he didnt have a date for 6 years. One date was so-so thus he waited another 6 years until the fateful day my dad called him asking him to take my sad sack widowed self to dinner.

    As amazing as it sounds, she now ignores the Timeline of Reality and acts like we were cheaters who ran off together and this is what I expect for Stephen A.

    So advise for SA? First…what CL said. Yes, she is right. Second, my new husband has simply been too polite and solicitous of his xw…he avoided conflict and let her have her way too much and now she is so accustomed to it she randomly makes up new rules totally contrary to the divorce decree. Smack that shit down now.

    Im a great secret weapon because nothing she can say to me will be as bad as what my own clueter Bs have thrown…I’m bulletproof and I care nothing for her opinion about anything, especially what she thinks of me.

    FIRM BOUNDARIES, SA…FIRM ASS BOUNDARIES.

    • Crystal Ball of the Future -> it has been 15 years since XW ran towards the gleaming green putt putt grass and how is life now? She refuses to put their 17 yr old daughter on a direct flight between their cities. XW has dictated where the D will do her freshman hear at college (in her home town). Had to plan our wedding and the Colonels retirement very specifically around dates that his XW couldn’t protest. We are trying to plan a trip to London but daughter says if we take her that her mom will retaliate with hostility towards daughter. XW tried to forbid their D from going to a concert “without an adult” but my D taking her is nearly 21. He tolerated Micromanaging From Hell and that is what he got.

      • Sometimes chumps just have to force themselves to be assholes. It seems to come naturally to me these days though. Hopefully, at some point she finds another target.

        • Ah, LostnTx, you’ll never be an asshole! We know you are too good for that. I know that after years of taking their abuse, it just feels like being an asshole, when it’s healthy boundaries and not taking their crap anymore.

        • Having boundaries and standing up for yourself is not being an asshole. It’s standing up for yourself. It’s valuing your own life. These jackasses fired us from caring bout their day-to-day needs. They fired us from making their wishes important to us. They fired us from being tender and engaged with them.

  • Oh, dear StephenA, listen to Chump Lady.
    Your ex is in the past, she’s one of the Dark POS. Let her rot in there.
    You mind your own life. You are so lucky to have parents, ready to move close to you and your children. Enjoy this close knit family, make the most and the best of this time.
    Do not listen, hear, give opportunity, see etc what your ex says, does, hear etc. In short: Stay No Contact!
    That’s for your own sanity, for your own good. You must protect the Good by erecting walls and closing the gates to the Dark that your ex represents. Keep trash at bay, please.
    You can’t control what she says or does, you get to control YOU. Make sure those walls stand tall and the gates stay closed to her! And live your life the best you can!

  • Stephen, my wife sounds a lot like yours. It sounds like it’s a “control” thing (she’s thrown that word around during all of this). She screws around behind my back for years with another married guy – and well, one of the excuses she gives is that she felt I controlled her too much, and she wanted to take back control of her own life (never mind that if I really had any control over her, she wouldn’t be sleeping with other married men, but I digress).

    Now, even though we filed for divorce months ago, I communicate with someone else and she blows up. She’s still seeing her married boyfriend to this day, mind you, but according to her that’s her business. It’s so absurd.

    I want to ask her so many questions so I can figure out what’s going on in her mind. I wish there was some realistic equivalent to the truth serum from Harry Potter. One of my first questions would be, “what did you actually envision would happen to the kids and me after you took off with your boyfriend?” Were we supposed to celebrate her new relationship, put our lives on hold, and just sit around somewhere waiting for her to come back and grace us with her presence from time to time? I’d love to know what she actually thought – it may be a completely delusional response, and at this point I would almost expect that, but I’d really love to know nonetheless.

    • Blindside… go find a “fun house” that is a maze of mirrors and try to get out… that is what it is like inside your X’s mind… you’ll never find what you’re looking for in there, just different versions of her and her personas. Your life (and your kids) is one that is has nothing to do with her and her fun house. Enjoy your freedom!

        • Read this post on “untangling the skein of their fuckedupedness.” And then get busy reading about narcissists and other disordered people and how the fail at relationships. See links for Dr. George Simon under the Resources tab above. It will help you immensely to stop thinking about your STBX or X as the individual person you thought you knew and to start thinking of your X as an example of a disordered person who can’t do relationships successfully.

          I’ve made this point before: my grandfather married three different women and left each of them as the children he fathered with that women hit adolescents. He devastated three women, 7 biological kids, and 2 step kids. Why? Because he was an entitled asshole. If he looked back at the devastation, it was to blame it on others. There’s no point in wandering around in that black hole where their heart should be.

          https://www.chumplady.com/2012/06/untangling-the-skein-of-fuckupedness/

          • And I should have added: every minute you spend wondering about what they’re thinking, why they do what they do, how they “want” you to respond, what they need, how they could hurt your or the kids, when they “changed” (i.e., when they dropped the mask) is just one more minute you are throwing away. Focus on you. Your life. Your needs. Your goals. That is NOT selfish. That is actually LIVING YOUR OWN LIFE. Normal, healthy people focus on themselves. They also pay attention to the impact of their choices on other people and adjust according.

            For example, you decided you would like to move back to your home town to be near aging parents (the opposite of Stephen’s situation). But you have a daughter in 10th grade and 50/50 custody. Maybe what you do is spend one weekend a month with the parents (either with or without daughter) and take her to visit that hometown during summer vacation–but wait to make the move till she is out of HS and ready for college. You pay attention to what you want and need and keep that in the forefront; how and when you pursue those things may depend on the other people you love.

            Not a jackass cheater pants.

          • – Disordered

            – Entitled

            – Fail

            That sums them all up in a nice, neat package. No need to delve any deeper into that upside down world. LovedaJackass pretty much covered it.

            If she steps back over your boundaries again, gently and firmly push her back to crazy town. She earned herself a lifetime ban to your world and all that’s in it as part of those consequences to just fucking some guy. It’s okay if she doesn’t understand consequences because you’re entitled too. Entitled to a normal, peaceful life with someone who understands what it means to love and respect another person.

    • The response you got wouldn’t make any sense to you at all. Their minds are just messed up. You trying to make sense out of the response would result in your insanity. It’s hard but you just learn to trust that the SUCK!

      • I started a journal of the absurd things my STBX has said along with the facts. This way, I can see how disordered these statements are. It has really helped me from getting drawn into the mind games and keep me from feeling insane. And yes, just keep repeating, “Trust they suck.”

    • Blindside, I finally realized that narc cheater simply never ever thought about the results of his choices, for anyone, including himself. This took a long time to sink in, it’s mind-boggling, but it’s the way their heads work.

      The sooner you recognize that they are toddler’s in grown-up bodies, the sooner you can come to peace with what they do.

  • Stephen all these cheaters are cut from the same cloth. My ex who was screwing around on me for all of our marriage and specifically the last year of it with his beauty queen whore, who he continued to sleep with during our separation and after the divorce had the nerve to tell me in one of his rages: “and I know you’ve been sexually active while we were apart, i can feel it!”. Basically implying I was some kind of lose woman. I think they assume we must be like them or their screw partners deep down and can’t fathom that we actually have depth, consider sex to be something intimate and special because that’s not how they view it. Liars assume everyone functions from the same playbook.

    Well I haven’t been with anyone nor do I plan to anytime soon but the point is these cheaters egos can’t handle the idea that we might actually get on with our lives. It’s perfectly okay they were sleeping around DURING our marriage when I had no idea but how DARE I sleep with someone after we are divorced. Psychos think this way! Go into the universe and be awesome! You deserve it!!!!

    • They do think that we think like them Beachgirl. They project their thoughts and values onto us as much, or even more so, than we project ours onto them.

      Initially, we project by thinking that they’ll eventually figure out that what they’re doing is completely shitty and that they’ll change back into that person we thought they were — but they don’t, and they never will. And on the other hand, they project by thinking that we’re going to “take revenge” on them by cheating, that we’re out to screw them over somehow and that we only care about ourselves – but we’re just not going to do that, because that’s not who we are. Sure we’ll get angry with them, but that’s because we’re not happy with being lied to and used. But they seem to assume that we’ll channel that anger into taking revenge and screwing them over somehow.

      • Haha Divinelife, I’m in Florida but maybe they’re related. She is very beautiful but dumb as a box of rocks. When I busted them she told me all the lies he told her about me to get in her pants. I clarified them all for her and she still didn’t want to believe me. Even after our attempted wreckonciliation where he dumped her brutally she Still took him back and believes I’m “crazy”. What these idiots will believe is unbelievable. Oh well, I tried to warn her, all the misery she will endure is all on her. Oh how I wish someone would have done me the courtesy of telling me about my ex BEFORE I married him. She deserves his lying cheating mean abusive ass! Masel Tov!

      • wait a minute. my hub was preyed upon by a former beauty pageant queen too, from Alabama and now Florida. Married 4 times, broke up 3 other marriages. Could it be the same person?

    • They also believe that, like them, we can’t be alone with ourselves and our thoughts, can’t stand on our own two feet, can’t look in a mirror. So they are convinced we have to be fucking around. And if they see that we don’t, then they say there is something wrong with us.

  • I think Stephen, you need to build up your list of noncommittal responses–things along the lines of, “Uh, huh,” and “Okay, I’ve heard your view on that topic now.”

    If your spouse is not talking about the kids’ school work, doctor’s appointments, or schedules, you don’t have to pay any attention whatsoever.

    No contact is not possible with shared custody, but really minimal contact is. The less you engage, the less you’ll have to deal with the impossibly entitled expectations of your EX. Don’t waste another minute trying to make your EX happy or contented–her goal is to make sure that anything fun or memorable happens under her watch–she is still looking for kibble–and there is no reason to think that any kind of arrangement or accomodation will make her stop. All you can control is yourself–don’t feed the animal!

    I think it is great that your parents have chosen to make you and the grandkids such a high priority, especially under such tough circumstances. I hope you all spend the next couple of years making a lot of great memories together!

    • ^^Yes! ALL of this!

      The next question is “How do I transition to low contact?” After all, it’s not like she’s going to fail to notice that the kibble supply is dwindling. My answer comes from experience co-parenting with an egomaniac: Play off her weaknesses as a narc. Your ex is all about centrality and she loves a lopsided situation. If you’re able to frame this transition as a something that benefits HER and somehow screws YOU over, she’s gonna love it.

      Alternatively, you can try the “fade in” method. Maybe you decide you’d like to limit communication to email, and that you’ll only communicate with her regards the kid’s schedule, and medical/school needs. Once you’ve set up your (narrow) criteria, you stop taking her calls and limit responding to her messages to email only. No texts. No phone calls. No face-to-face. Just email. If you use scheduling software like My Family Wizard, even better. She’ll probably go a bit bonkers once she realizes what’s going on, but if you hold steady and stay consistent she’ll eventually give up. Pay little attention to the threats and tantrums. As long as you’re abiding my the orders set forth in your custody agreement, you’re good to go.

      • How do I transition to low contact? I just flat out quit responding to any attempt at communication if it wasn’t an important issue involving the kids. I can’t tell you how many texts I deleted instead of responding. Phone calls were never answered and voice mails not returned. Kids were texted that I was almost to the house to get them and again when I got there. They came out to the car without the slunt. My kids were old enough for that though. Truly, you just don’t communicate with them. No small talk. Nothing.

        • LostinTexas, you GOT this! The minute fuckface blew up my life (our kids were in HS/college) I realized I was done communicating. About anything. It’s not my job to be anything in his life anymore. Kids schedules? Nope. Time to be a parent. After 28 years together, I think even the dumbest Cheater can understand why they NO longer rank. StephenA, I echo CL and the rest of CN. Email only. Model healthy boundaries to your kids.
          We are divorced for good reason. Now get on to your better life.

        • Same here lostntx & Drew, only txt and email about kids logistics, no words exchanged at drop off/pick up.

          So many great pieces of advice StephenA, I hope you will listen to CN/CL, your XW will continue polluting your life and your thoughts as much as you let her.

          As you look forward to a new relationship, this video on “not getting fooled again” by R. Grannon might be helpful… Let’s see if I can embed…
          [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YUkv86n1Hc&w=560&h=315%5D

  • Get out there Stephen! You’re free and clear. My ex husband wanted a “grace period” of mourning before I started dating again, which was full fledged hilarity considering he’d been dating while we were still married.
    Then as soon as I met someone great he suddenly had endless time and energy to put into keeping himself central. Showing up unannounced, cobbling together video and photo montages of our life set to weepy Smiths songs, posting non stop on Facebook about lifelong bonds that can never be erased… Except by legal means of course…
    Staying mired in that primordial ooze keeps you from moving forward- which I found out is super critical to being happy and moving on.

    I hope Stephen finds a great partner, gets to spend quality time with his family and his ex hits the road.

    • Heavens, what a manipulative, entitled POS. “Primordial Ooze” is right! I can’t tell whether or not his machinations complicated your life or hindered your recovering from him. If they did my comment here doesn’t apply because some things just cost too much … I was slightly glad that he showed his whole world, or at least those who are discerning, what shameless, ruinous, creepy hypocrite he is.

    • If I knew mine would flip out, I would hire a really hot date to be seen with. Anything I can do now to repay the selfishness is well worth it.

    • ” a “grace period” of mourning”

      Damn, that is funny! How about a ‘grace period’ of celebration and bacchanal to equal what cheaterpants experienced DURING the marriage?

  • Stephen…Just wanted to let you know that I get it…I found out on my birthday as well!…. As if getting older wasn’t already depressing… Just keep on keeping on and don’t worry about what she wants!

    • Same here – (just after birthday 3 years ago) Birthdays and Christmas are peak D-days according to Vikki Stark.
      Stephen I so agree with the others – do not discuss anything personal with your ex, or expose your parents to her toxicity. It is none of her business if you date or if your parents want to teach your kids to ride bikes. Email only – she is a super psycho and has no right to know if you are dating or not!

  • You have to cut her out of your life!!! Why does she get any say in any of the things you mention? The court gave you 50/50 custody. Take it! When the kids are in your care, she doesn’t have a say as long as it isn’t harmful. Period. You have to quit communicating with her. Really! Only discuss the kids. Discussions about them need to be to the point and real issues. If you don’t cut her out, you are going to stay miserable!

  • StephenA,

    The time to take CL’s advice is RIGHT NOW before you go on the first date- no contact except scheduling software. Based on the things your Xhole has already done, this is beyond justified. That software was created for your exact situation.

    The reason I say this is that if you don’t limit her ability to do this with you now, it may really impact your future relationships in a very negative way and cost you the relationship you deserve to have. f I were newly dating a man and he allowed his ex to treat him like this, it would be a huge red flag for me. I would look into the future and see years of aggravation not to mention it would make me question his ability to set boundries. Don’t let this Narc ruin your chances with a good woman! Put an end to her crazy communications and inserting herself into your life, even it it takes additional legal/administrative steps to do so.

    Good luck! There are lots of good women out there looking for a decent man like you!

    • THIS!!!
      I would not touch a man with a ten foot pole if I noticed that his X had him by the short curlies. Keeping an X central means that our relationship will be stressed and likely fizzle out because of it. There
      is no room for three adults in our relationship…already been there, done that…not going to be competing with an X or any other person of no account again.

    • This is a great comment. A reminder that if we don’t take responsibility for setting appropriate boundaries with our ex cheater husbands/wives then we risk everything else good that might come our way.
      And honestly if we can’t learn from living with the worst of these people and going through years of pain, then when will we? Future possible partners would be right to question our suitability- or we would fall prey to exactly the kind of person we were trying to avoid. Another narc.
      I’m going to tattoo this on my forehead.
      Metaphorically….
      Great. Advice.

    • So much truth in this. People who are capable of having good relationships are put off by those who can’t demonstrate the ability to set and hold a boundary.

    • yes!! I agree with this. Stephen’s actions concerning his crazy ex would be a huge red flag. I would consider him weak minded to acquiesce to his lunatic ex. Weak minded men spell big trouble in my opinion.
      We have other male chumps on here who navigate these same issues with strength and grit. It’s called no contact, and it can be done in Stephen’s case.

      • Yeah…and they spell big trouble simply because of the fact that if they cant set boundaries with an X who clearly deserves it, then HOW can he manage to deflect other women who might make a play for him once he is settled down with a new wife?

        You see…for me, if I was dating a man who was showing any kind of deference towards his cheater X…either emotionally, physically, or giving her mental real estate and bringing her up more than even once a month outside of child issues, then I’d think he was still secretly carrying a torch for her regardless of whether or not his comments about her seemed hostile. The opposite of love is hate and there is a very thin line with all that unfinished “business”.

        Putting strong boundaries will ensure that he will get further into MEH and would make me feel as if she can be no threat to our future.

        My cheater never stopped talking about his former X, either good or bad…he would inquire about her to everyone who knew her including his grown kids. I felt very devalued…and I was.

    • I appreciate this reply. Not ready to date, but if and when it’s nice to know a real person would understand the cold shoulder I have towards X. I seriously flat out don’t like her anymore. I refuse to play nice or speak to her. I just keep my distance so as not to engage with her at all. Should either daughter get married and she doesn’t match my contribution, i will not allow her to help in any way. None. No picking out the dress, flowers, reception, nothing! Hey slunt, this is what screwing other people while married gets you. If that makes me a jerk, i really don’t care.

    • UnknownComic-

      That is probably the most truthful and well articulated piece of advice ever. Outstanding. Spot on Comic!

      I would *only* date a woman that modeled strength. It’s a huge turn on for me.

      I’m not into “fixing” a woman anymore – I’ll leave that for Tim-the-Tool-Man-Taylor.

  • To reinforce CL’s opening line : She’ll go insane? She already is insane……..

    So glad your kids have you and their grandparents in their lives on a regular basis to model ADULT behavior

    Good luck StephenA!

  • Stephen… I feel your pain. I’m still trying to divorce Mr. Sparkles after he walked on me and our son two years ago. His relationship with the OW – over. So, he’s back out trolling to single waters and trying to hit me up for kibbles (positive or negative, doesn’t matter… he’s an attention whore.)

    Unlike Mr. Sparkles, I have a very full life with my career, raising my son (we’re 50/50 too), and maintaining my family and friend relationships. I haven’t been on a date yet since he moved out.. but by a conscious choice. I’m making sure my son is grounded and feeling secure and, frankly, I’m making sure I’m emotionally and psychologically – and physically! – ready to be available to meeting someone.

    Recently, Mr. Sparkles texted me about a “Meet Up” event that I was registered to attend. It was on his night with our son so I didn’t understand the “I see you’re going to XYZ.”… and the “I’ve been a part of that group since last year – why haven’t I seen you at XYZ?”

    I was dumbfounded. A – it’s none of his business where I go or what I do when he has our son. B – DUH… why would he see me out if it’s my night with my son… and basically, why is he even bothering to text me about this.

    Just as CL says… he doesn’t want me, he wants to control me… big difference.

    So, I like your style of just ending the conversation… but maybe here is a better one… refuse to engage in any conversation if it isn’t directly about the children and your X’s pick up/drop off times. Put up boundaries and honor them. You deserve that much and so do your kids. Model what “healthy” looks like… they’ll get it more and more as they grow up. You needn’t cater to her crazy… let some other guy she “just fucks” get the honor.

    Be Mighty!

  • Stephen, you need to live your life and ignore your ex as much as possible. Controlling, manipulative people just make your life miserable. (You wont do as I say? Then I will badmouth you, ruin your reputation, get you fired…)You have to make a stand and say No More. If you give in or compromise, she will keep on manipulating you because she knows she can. Live your life on your own terms. She wont like it but she will respect you more. You deserve to be happy! Your daughter needs to see you happy! I hope your new lady love is The Whole Package and that beotch is jealous as hell. Serves her right.

  • God, these cheaters really are all the same. I rent the downstairs apartment of my home in order to help meet the mortgage and there was a couple. They had just moved in about two weeks when I was outside cleaning with the new tenants husband (sweeping up the sidewalk). My ex was dropping the kids off from visitation.

    He storms into the entry of the house, and begins to rant” I’m very concerned about who you have around the kids”. He had affair with a fellow church member who he brought into our home to babysit our children for almost 3 years. The affair was going on for over 4 years by the time I found out, fired the ho and kicked him out. My reply” This coming from the man who brought his whore to babysit our kids?” His reply” Are you going to keep bringing that up? ” “As long as it continues to be true”.

    He barely drove out of the driveway to complain to my father who is a minister “She has a boyfriend!” Wait, so his 4 year sexual affair with another woman was conducted in front of our kids was ok while active being married, but me possibly dating after we are separating isn’t?

    Wait till I really start to date…by the way, he has his affair partner over with visitation with the kids and has been doing it for the last 5 years….

    • Tell him to stay the hell out of your house. He made his choices and he now has no say in your life. Don’t even engage him in the BS talk. Just tell him to leave or you call the cops and get a restraining order. That’s the only language they understand. They are GOD and nothing they do is wrong! But you, you are just a fault. You need to tell your dad to cut him off too!

      • This happened about 6 months after Dday. He no longer has access to the house, drops the kids on the porch, my father wants nothing to do with him and I ONLY discuss the kids with him. He hates it….he made his bed, let him lay in it…

        • Good for you! It’s awesome when people have to live with the consequences of their actions! And honestly, I have to have a discussion with my dad about totally cutting the X off.

  • Stephen, it seems like you’re spending too much time with your ex and it’s probably hampering your ability to move on with your life, hence the fact that you haven’t dated much during the divorce. You’re not going to have space in your life or in your heart while your ex is still a huge presence in your life, even if you’re technically divorced on paper.

    Why was she hanging out with you when your mother visited? By “co-parenting” do you mean that you’re having “family time” together? If so, you need to cut that out. Your ex might be your kids’ parents, but she’s not your friend. Any conversations you have with her should be limited to discussions pertaining the children, and you really shouldn’t even be seeing her much unless it’s for a major event of your child’s (like a graduation, wedding, communion, etc).

    This isn’t about being mean or spiteful… you need to emotionally detach and get out of this self-imposed purgatory that you’re in. Even if your kids are happy with the current arrangement, they need to accept that their family is now two separate units.

    Last but not least, you need to be a wolverine about protecting the women you love from your ex, be they your mother or a future significant other. If your ex says anything nasty, you call her out on her bullshit. If she apologizes in advance for being a bitch, say that her apology is unacceptable and you expect her to treat your partners with respect.

    • In my personal opinion, there is absolutely no reason for his mother or any future girlfriends to interact with this sicko, at all. That would be the respect they deserve.

      • I absolutely agree, which is one of the reasons I advised Stephen to limit any time with the ex to special events for the children. But unfortunately, during those times, his parents and significant other will be in the same room as the Sicko. Also, how much do you wanna bet that Sicko is going to badmouth girlfriend and grandma to the children?

        He needs to put the shields up, but also be ready to snap back if she manages to worm her way through.

        • At events like weddings and graduations and kids’ games, people can sit or stand in different areas and not interact for the most part. What’s dangerous is the kind of “family time” where the chump is having a family get-together and consistently includes the cheater. That’s way too much centrality and access to give a disordered X. Now, normal people who get divorced may eventually pull this stuff off, but not if you divorced a Cluster B type.

  • I’m sorry, what the fuck? I would definitely block this bitch from texting me or calling me. Children or not, you shouldn’t have to listen to her shit any time she wants to blab her mouth.

  • Marrying these jackasses to begin with is just the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it?

    StephenA, one thing concerned me in your letter (from your end),”Do I try to have a talk where I explain she will always be their mom, etc.,..”

    Despite everything she’s done, you still harbor a small sliver of hope that rational conversation will alter her behavior. It will not. It will make things worse, as it gives her a hook of something with which to impale you. Altogether now, “NO RATIONAL CONVERSATION CAN BE HAD WITH A CHEATER.”

    • Tempest – spot on… “No rational conversation can be had with a cheater.”

      Case in point… Mr. Sparkles wanted to have a discussion with me about my stepdaughter. He proceeded to tell me that if I had any questions about him and his new life, I could ask him directly (vs. it coming up in conversation with my SD). I replied: “I would never ask you anything. You lie.” He was rendered speechless. It was fun to see the tables turn for a change.

    • Correct. Let go of the thought that you can “make her understand”. I tried that for WAY too long while trying to keep the marriage going. Never worked. It was just me projecting rational thinking onto him.

      Their brains are not wired correctly. No amount of conversation will work. That would assume that they are open to self reflection. Just trust that she sucks and let her brain deal with the crap that lives there.

    • Tempest: “NO RATIONAL CONVERSATION CAN BE HAD WITH A CHEATER.”

      Love this, and the comments that follow. In the thick murk of WTF, I add two sentences to that sentiment, for my stubborn, uncomprehending brain:

      It’s not just UNproductive, it’s COUNTERproductive. Enough hell here already, thanks.

  • Before I was a chump, I was married to a chump. His X has Borderline Personality Disorder, and the conciliatory, Stephen-like approach he took to placate her only enabled and encouraged her abuse, and was ultimate a significant factor in the demise of our marriage.

    Get on those boundaries, Stephen, because once you do start dating, no healthy woman is going to stick around as you allow your disordered ex unfettered access to abuse and destroy the boyfriend/stepkids/relationship/self she loves and cherishes. Believe me.

    As far as No Contact goes: you are squandering a goldmine in documentable abuse by talking to this psycho on the phone. Let her communicate her personality disorder via emails that you can hand to your attorney when she throws a hissy fit and takes you back to court (when your mom rides a bike with HER kid, I guess).

  • OMG – The articles here seem always in time of my current crisis with Ex-Wife.

    Thank You Chump Nation!

    This is what I needed today. My ex-wife found out I was dating and suddenly did a 180, and wants me to come back.. 2 yrs. out from divorce and 4 yrs. with her coworker that I’m aware of? I’m like WTF?

    “Your life? Your heart? Your soul? You own those. Start acting like it. This is YOUR LIFE. Fill it with your aging parents, loving friends, and a new girlfriend. Hell, fill it with circus performers if you want. The only person you need to have a “foundation of understanding” with is yourself — you’re FREE.”

  • Stephen, you have a dangerous ex-wife. She does not have a knife or a gun but she has her narcissistic personality to do serious damage to you. I had a friend, so I thought, until I found out that she was all over the personality disorders. The best I can tell she was borderline and narcissistic. She always, always misinterpreted things that I said. Usually I heard these when she and I were with other people. Her misquotes were so off-the-wall from what I said that I asked my husband if I was losing my mind. He told me that because she and I worked in the same profession and often crossed paths it was important that I understand she could be doing this around my coworkers and my boss. I finally realized I needed to let go of the friendship. This is the concern I have for you. Be careful to keep communication between the two of you at a minimum of texts and emails. If you are not allowed by your state to record conversations then do not have them. This woman does not have your best interest at heart. You need to keep that in the front of your mind at all times. With your parents close by I hope you get out and find a life for yourself away from her craziness. The sooner the better. Grandparents make great babysitters

  • Thank you for all the comments. One thing is painfully clear and that’s my walls are weak. I try to maintain the calm for the sake of the kids and I realize this leads to four things. 1) My cheating ex gets too much access to my life. 2) It forces me to exert lots of time and energy. 3) The woman I want in my future would be leery of someone whose ex has this much influence. 4) The example I set for the kids is not one of a strong self sufficient man.

    Boy am I glad I wrote that post. These were all things I once did and have gradually let slip. I was a wolverine and now that I have moved on with my life I have turned into a goldfish not realizing the presence my ex still has on me.

    That ends today. I have seen more in two days on this site that I can relate to then six months of therapy trying to figure out what happened. I always say I’m too nice to not be pleasant. Why?! Because she doesn’t deserve nice. She deserves nothing, not from me at least. I found out when my son was a month and a half old that she had met the man of her dreams on twitter. A married man across the country she had never met in person but had been skyping for months.

    Two things-one that felt great to say because I keep that inside a lot and two, who does that? People already past the point of being reasonable.

    Somewhere along the line I lost sight of the boundaries and I applaud Chump Nation for showing me the error of my ways. The right woman is out there and I know what to look for. And as far as the ex, no contact starts today. We do use scheduling software and that’s all we’ll use. This sounds great to say but I feel outstanding. Thank you. I’m so glad I was recommended this site and look forward to helping others in the future.

    Ps- I’m a wolverine again ex, go fuck yourself.

    • Remember the difference between “nice” and “kind.” “Nice” is when we try to manage someone’s impression of us by how we speak and behave. A chump being “nice” caves in to the whims and demands of others or suppresses their own values. A predator or cheater type is “nice” to hide behind the mask of normalcy. In either case, the person is not being authentic.

      Being “kind” means not hurting people unnecessarily, including yourself.

      • “A chump being “nice” caves in to the whims and demands of others or suppresses their own values. A predator or cheater type is “nice” to hide behind the mask of normalcy. In either case, the person is not being authentic.”

        This, x100. Once again, LAJ . . .

    • Who does that? A monster. Stephen, cut her off as much as you can.
      Your parents sound great, how wonderful for your kids that they have moved closer. Great for them to have a sane female role model in your mum. Go ride that bike grandma!

    • Go Stephen!! Prepare yourself for some tantrums but you are absolutely doing the right thing. Once you start setting boundaries it’s very liberating.

    • StephenA,
      No contact is the way to go! She’ll hate it but it will keep you sane!
      Remember, you don’t have to respond to texts, phone calls or emails.
      Treat her like a stranger….works, I promise! :))

  • Stephen, I totally feel you. I am terrified that my ex will mess with my (FULL) custody when I meet someone new. I know that he can’t do anything unless I’m with someone who is not good for my kids to be around (which, being a moral person, I would NEVER do). But it’s so scary. I agree with the other posters that say your Ex is too much in your head, as my Ex is too much in mine. No Contact is hard when your kids are young (my youngest just turned two), and I’m too nervous for the kids’ welfare to have him alone with them (due to his mental issues and his AP, who is not a law-abiding person and has a lot of disdain for my children). So me, Ex and the kids do family time once a week. It’s not ideal. I long for when my kids are grown and I can really go NC, and then I feel sad for wanting to rush away their childhood. Cheaters are the worst. Hugs to you.

    • You might consider some type of supervised visitation, when it’s not you but perhaps your mother or a responsible third party as a way of transitioning from “family time.” This may even be an issue for the court, if he has “mental issues” and the AP has made negative statements about your kids.

  • Stephen as a dad and someone who got blindsided, all I can say is FUCK THAT SHIT. You did everything right from the beginning choosing to look out for your kids the only way you saw fit. You are probably still financially recovering (I’m two years post divorce and still stuck in a mountain of debt because lawyers suck) and she can just “go fuck somebody” else if you choose to seek new company. If you want to be good and spiteful (and why wouldn’t you this woman is freaking insane) find someone a good 5-10 years younger than her and watch her blood boil every time she has to see you two in person. It’s beautiful to witness, it’s the ultimate karma little debbie for her to enjoy, and you just rise above the misery that is your ex and continue to do your thing!

    • I would caution against dating anyone to spite the ex. Date someone you have a lot in common with, including mutual respect and affection, whatever her age. And I would avoid any contact with the ex, especially if the motive is to witness her suffering. That’s a toxin you don’t need in a relationship. Check your motives–live for yourSELF, not for anyone else, and not to spite anyone else. Be authentic to yourself.
      But otherwise I love your advice to rise above the misery! I cherish the perspective that you men bring to Chump Nation, erasing the pervasive myth that only men are cheaters, and offering support to other men and women.

  • I am dating a divorced man (the Very Kind Man). He is still entangled financially with his XW, and prior to our relationship, she relied on him for things like help buying a car. That was a big red flag for me, and thus a topic for discussion early on when considering dating exclusively. I came to understand over time how the financial situation works (as his XW has very poor credit and earns minimum wage) and he is in a position to at time loan her money, which she repays. They have been doing this for years. She pitched a fit when he started dating but he set that boundary and over the past year, she has started outsourcing her “advice” needs to others. What’s interesting about this is that he continued ties puts a limit on how far our own relationship can go, because I don’t want to be entangled in that whole deal in any way whatsoever. But it has also been an opportunity for me to be in a dating relationship without going codependent and trying to “fix” his issues. He needs to work out that stuff. I am in no hurry. She is not an issue in my life. And we progress. Because Very Kind Man is a healthy while somewhat introverted person, once he sees that something is a legit problem, he deals with it. And I do the same.

    On the other hand, Jackass’s disordered relationship with XW#2 caused havoc in our relationship, with angry emails, texts, hysterical phone calls, certified mail and using the child to fight her battles. So even before he cheated–red flags flying. So in addition to fixing our pickers, we have to evict the cheaters and ex-partners from our brain space, our electronic devices, our homes, and our emotional lives in order to make space for something new.

  • StephenA,
    I feel for you!!! (everyone here does) I’m glad you are gong to go no contact. I’d say that phone calls should be completely off the table except for emergencies about the children. And even then a text with “911 kids” could be an initial contact message.

    I haven’t spoken to my ex cheater on the phone but maybe a handful of times in 2 years. He made it clear from the beginning he was done with me and so I helped myself out by getting a clue. Unlike your crazy ex, he does not care what I do or who is around our son. When I once told him I was dating, he wished me well. Not anything. Nothing.

    Be your badass Wolverine self!!! Buy a Wolverine t-shirt and wear that shit!!! LOL. Put a bumper sticker on your car just to remind you of who you are!!

  • Listen……she isn’t going to BECOME sane after you try to reason with her regarding your potential dates. Sane people do not blow up their lives over a roll in the sack. Please don’t even waste your valuable time.

    My ex had a 5 year long affair. We were in the middle of the divorce and I went out on a date (which I was NOT telling my children about) and my insane ex followed me, took pictures of me in a restaurant with this man and then showed my kids!!! See what mommy is doing and NOT telling you about??!!!

    Crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These idiots are not rational thinking people!

    • What a nut job!!! I can screw around in secret but you better not see anyone else even though we’re divorcing! You should’ve used the photo to get a protective order against him! Jackass

    • Crazy is right Kimmy. Hopefully it was an expensive French restaurant! Foie Gras and Truffles anyone? 🙂

  • The ex of and mother to my gorgeous, amazing, exChump boyfriend’s kids has tailed me in her car and tried to friend me on Facebook.

    She plays the Mom card all the time. I’m a Mom, too. Being a Mom is not some birthright to crazy privilege.

    But we are scared of her crazy and live with the sword of a future custody battle living over us…

  • Two useful things.

    The Empathy Trap
    Understanding Antisocial Personalities
    By Jane and Tim McGregor

    A beautiful and short book full of useful tips. And a useful discussion of apaths which are third parties used to facilitate antisocial personalities abuse (affair partners fit the bill here).

    A definition of psychopathy I memorised for dealing with my mother but not useful for STBX

    “A biologic organism outwardly intact showing excellent peripheral function but centrally deficient or disabled”

    I now try to think of anthropomorphism when I look at him. He doesn’t understand the world the way I assume others do.

    Brilliant comments today.

  • Like everyone else says: no contact, no contact, NO CONTACT.

    She is upset because your mother is spending time with the kids as she pleases on YOUR parenting time? Tell her you are fresh out of fucks to give. Don’t try to reason with her by pointing out sensible things like it’s silly for her to object to this when you didn’t object to her introducing her fuck buddies to the kids. Just tell her it’s none of her business and end the conversation. These people can’t be reasoned with.

    She’s going to be a bitch to whoever you date? There’s no requirement that you introduce her to your date(s) until the relationship is serious, and even then, your date should only have to see her at hand-offs.

    If she texts you, calls you, or e-mails you about anything unrelated to the kids, you just don’t reply. And if she’s saying batshit crazy stuff about the kids (like the request re: your mom), you still don’t reply.

    Like CL says, if she doesn’t like it, let her be the one to try and make a case to the court. “Good luck with that, bitch” indeed.

  • Stephen,
    It sounds as though perhaps you are having way too much contact and conversation with the ex. Your personal life, your parents’ plans, how you spend your own time with the kids…should be NONE of her business. You need boundaries enforced. Get tough with her!

    You remind me of my BF who is a conflict-avoidant chump. He still, 15 years after divorce, is letting his ex know way too much. And their kids are long ago adults! I have finally convinced him that the ex has no business giving her opinions on his life (I am the GF that suffers the brunt of her nosiness). He is now simply answering her inquiry habit with “myob” and although it makes her mad as hops, I notice she is gradually backing off. He is soon going to cease responding because he has FINALLY realised that he has absolutely no reason to care what she thinks.

    Unless you enforce some firm boundaries now, I can guarantee that no good woman will put up with being bullied by your ex. Neither should you expect a stepmother to parent your spawn. You will do better if you take complete responsibility for their care, rather than dreaming some new GF will sail into the picture and fall in love with your kids as well as you.

  • “Isn’t it curious how this whole narcissistic You’re Not the Boss of Me! ethos really translates to I AM the Boss of YOU!”

    THIS BIG TIME!!! It is so true and they are oblivious to it!

  • Stephen,

    Your ex-wife cheated on you and you are now divorced as a result. She doesn’t get to say whether you can date or not. That is up to you. Congratulations on recovering to the point you are ready to date. It does sound as though your ex has the potential to scare any future date or relationship away. I encourage you to date but to go slow and not flaunt any new date or relationship in your ex’s face. It sounds as though her logic is, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.” Also, you cannot have an open, honest conversation with a narcissist. Ask me how I know. I would go slow too when it comes to introducing your children to a new person. Your ex is probably already quizzing the children to find out if there is anyone new in your life. When the right person comes along and you are pretty confident that it has the potential to lead to a long-term steady relationship, then it will be time to introduce her to the children. Minimal, business-like contact with your ex regarding your children only and not your personal life will help you to achieve this.

  • My ex banged my cousin and blew up my family for eternity. That was five years ago. We divorced this past August. I spent the five years as a single Dad (my sons lived with me) and held off on the divorce so she couldn’t blow up things further and I could get my kids through high school without losing my family home. I bided my time and never once did my kids see me with another woman. I think they know that I have had some dates but I have kept all of that separate from them. Now that I’m divorced I am feeling better about maybe being open to another relationship. There is one girl I am close to but she lives in the UK and me in the US. That’s about all I can handle at the moment. I feel great that I improved my picker. What that has done is allowed me to see very quickly when a woman is not right for me. And I have to say, just dipping my toe into the dating ocean, and it’s loaded with great whites, jellyfish and all sorts of bizarre creatures. I was married 20+ years. Man have times changed.

  • Stephan,

    A few thoughts from a single lady who is dating and living happily in the land of Meh.

    Dating, with all its ups and downs, has brought me solidly into the mythical land of Meh. There are plenty of crazy people out there. You picked one, married one, had kids, and divorced one. Let that be your last crazy woman. I agree with your approach to heal and prepare yourself to get whole and healthy before dating. Long term, it will be successful.

    As a single woman, i would feel rather uncomfortable with your ex being so much of your life, post divorce years later. It indicates someone who is not fully emotionally disengaged from a divorced spouse, and who is not ready to find a new relationship, or at best, someone with poor boundaries in relationships. Since your relationship ended due to your wife cheating, there is usually no amicable relationship after such betrayal, so as a single person, why prolong any contact with the misery that is your former spouse?

    Your ex is a flaming narc. I assure you, once you find a good person to date, she will try everything to undermine and destroy the threat she sees to her centrality and you as a kibble source (narcissistic supply). Please develop stronger boundaries with the ex wife. You still have years of life, and she does not get any more of it. I wish you the joy of a healthy, reciprocal relationship, uninterrupted by someone who destroyed her relationship to you. She’s done. Stick a fork in it, call it good, and close the door.

    I do have the luxury of complete no contact with my former partner, and i understand your situation is different with co parenting. However, no sane woman will want your crazy former spouse inserting herself constantly into your life. We all have former partners, but how we handle those partners and those experiences says a lot about us. I too, took many years to heal, and prepare for a healthy relationship. I personally found individual therapy and this blog/community to be a great help in resolving my deeper issues with my FOO, as well as understanding the abusive relationship i had with my former partner. I support whatever brings you support, peace, and healing to change your patterns of behavior and thinking to leave behind your previous abusive relationship, and effect positive change for yourself. You cannot control other people, but you do have control and agency over yourself. You had the courage to divorce her. Now the next stage of healing involves finding the courage to thrive and live well.

    Lots of strength!

  • When my ex started his affair and told me over the phone that he left me because he wasn’t ready and wanted to be free (yadayadayada) and no compromise RIGHT NOW (I was 8 months pregnant with out daughter), I told him I would not sit around and wait for him, I could end up with someone new in the future.

    Then there was a silence on the phone, I could hear him swallow in shock, he had not thought of the possibility that if he left me I wouldnt be just there waiting for him to *maybe* someday return to me if he felt like it, his response: “but… you dont need to get married right away to someone or something!!!!”. few months later he was tired of OW and I told him I wanted divorce… now I am scared to go visit back home because he raged when I told him I dont want him back and our now 1,5 year old daughter has never met her father (we are overseas).

    IDIOTS!!!!

  • You sound like a good guy who has put his kids first and did the work on yourself. You deserve to be happy and to have companionship.

  • “That was just some guy I was fucking, this is your mom, there is a difference, grow the fuck up.”

    Oh, of course you’re the one who needs to grow up. How immature of you to allow a grandparent to interact with their grandkid. In fact, most grandparents must be super immature to want to have an active role in their grandkids’ lives. Face it, if you could see inside your ex’s brain, you would just go “WHAT THE FUCK?!” Most cheaters make no sense.

    Many women would be happy to have a faithful, devoted family man. Your ex is an anomoly.

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