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Dear Chump Lady, Just divorced and my ex is introducing her affair partner to the kids

badmomDear Chump Lady,

Here is my situation. I’m 6 months divorced from my wife of 15 years. We have 4 kids, ages 5,7,9, and 11 (yes, we planned well). Long story short, for the last 4 years of our marriage, I found myself repeatedly giving her free time to “play tennis” and go out with her friends. I stayed home and kept the role as the responsible adult, trusting that I was doing the right thing for my wife and kids. So then I find that for at least 8 months, she’d been cheating.

For the sake of my sanity and the kids, I gave her the speedy and “amicable” divorce she wanted and we opted to not tell the kids their mom cheated. We now share joint physical and legal custody of the kids. Six months later, she has already introduced our kids to her affair partner on multiple occasions (who is not yet even divorced himself).

When I questioned her judgement and timing of this, her defense was that he was introduced casually as a “friend”. I went as far as to seek the advice from a child psychologist, who sat down with both of us and basically said it was indeed too soon for the kids to be introduced, but since their mom was clearly going to do it anyway, I should agree to a visitation limit. We agreed to 2 times per month for 3 months, then to reevaluate based on how the kids were doing.

Now the married boyfriend is angry with my interference and wants to be around my kids more and more (out for dinner, going to movies, family trips, etc.) As far as I know, they are sticking to the agreement, but do I trust them? No. I’m fed up with both of them at this point. Especially tired of hearing from my kids how mom’s “friend” did this or said that.

I totally understand the need to avoid trashing the other parent (both my ex and I can work well with co-parenting), but should I have to put up with him forcing himself into their lives a) so soon after our divorce and b) without my kids even knowing the truth of what the two of them did and who they really are?

I am still trying to be the grown up and protect my kids, but everybody had their limits. Any advice would be appreciated.



Dear All4thekids,

So, you did the “amiable” divorce and didn’t tell your kids that the marriage ended over mom’s cheating. And now you’re pissed. You ate the shit sandwich of Not Telling for the Good of the Children, and she did not return the favor with Don’t Introduce the Boyfriend for the Good of the Children.

Are you surprised? Let me guess. Her not keeping promises and then unilaterally changing the terms of agreements to suit herself was a character issue you dealt with in your marriage. So what makes you think NOW she’s going to change? Because she cares so much about hurting the kids? She cheated on the father of her four children and then she broke up their home for kibbles. Were you expecting maturity and selflessness?

You’ve got two problems here — and they’re interrelated. Problem number one — your kids don’t know why you guys got divorced. You don’t speak of it. Problem number two — into this information vacuum is introduced Mom’s Very Available Guy Friend. A married, adult man who apparently really wants to be around four children under age 11. Dinner, movies, “family” trips, etc.

No wonder you’re mad. The kids can probably connect the dots and you’re colluding with the cheater’s narrative. Unfortunately, we don’t have a time machine where you can go back to that divorce settlement and put the infidelity in there and put in provisions for visitation with new partners. (Not that it’s enforceable. We’ll get to that in a moment. But at least you’d have some documentation of her breaking a court order should this shit escalate.)

Here’s what you can do.

1.) Give up on being Divorce Police. Marriage police sucks, but divorce police sucks worse. If you’ve ever tried  to monitor the comings and goings of a cheater, and accepted the futility of their You’re-Not-the-Boss-of-Me game of whack-a-mole? Consider that you lived with this person and failed to control their behavior when married. Divorced? things just got exponentially more difficult. LET GO of the shit your ex does. LET IT GO. Unless it’s illegal, or endangers the kids lives, or poses imminent harm? The courts do. not. care.

By all means, document everything. (You may be back in court anyway, so document and time stamp all the times she welches out on an agreement and fails to consider the Best Interest of the Children.) But consider that enforcing orders or creating new ones is very costly and very financially draining. You cannot control fuckwits. Focus on what you do control — YOU. I know this advice feels very unjust, and I’ve spent 15 years chewing on the same leather strap of unfairness to keep from screaming. But it’s the truth. And it sucks.

2.) Be the sane parent. Here’s what you DO control — keeping your side of the street clean. You share joint and legal custody — you got half, which is better than a lot of guy chumps get. Be the consistent, attentive, show-up parent. Keep your ear to the ground about how the kids are doing. Let them know you are there for them.

My guess is that Mr. Married Guy isn’t going to be around forever. His fervent interest in family life is not the usual infidelity scenario. The way this usually plays out is cheater wife gets her divorce and Married Guy throws her under the bus, and she discovers that the single-mother-of-four stock doesn’t trade that highly in the dating world.

Now the married boyfriend is angry with my interference and wants to be around my kids more and more…

And you should care that he’s angry… why?

I bet the “interference” beef is coming from your ex — and fact is, she LOVES it. It’s triangulation and kibbles. So LET GO. Don’t show one iota of interest in her dating life. Maintain strict boundaries of no contact unless it involves the kids, and do that communication with scheduling software.

Here’s something else you can do — on the off chance this guy’s interest in four young children is nefarious — teach them about boundaries and what to do if an adult every touches them inappropriately. We should all have this conversation with our kids, not just the divorced and co-parenting with fuckwits contingency.

Keep the lines of communication open with the kids. But also know that it’s okay to have boundaries with them on what Mommy’s Special Friend is up to. At this age — change the subject, divert, distract. You don’t have to listen to every single detail about Disney time together. (I realize I’m asking you to do a balancing act between being open and shutting them down about Mr. Friend. It’s tough stuff.)

Model strength and resilience — even when you don’t feel it at first. It WILL come.

3.) Untangle “trash talking” from speaking the truth. The kids aren’t dumb. I’m sure they’ve figured out that mom moves on awfully quickly. And frankly, they were probably introduced to Mommy’s Special Friend(s) before the divorce was ever final. My advice here is to tell the kids about infidelity in age appropriate ways without editorializing (i.e., “mom is a slut.”) I think gaslighting children is wrong, and they deserve to know why the divorce happened.

I realize in some places truth telling could be considered “alienation.” Talk to your lawyer about this. If it were me? And my cheating ex-wife gave me shit for telling four kids why mommy and daddy broke up? I’d introduce my highly documented dossier of broken agreements and child psychology reports on introducing children to affair partners, and ask if she really wants to go head-to-head on that in court?

All4thekids, I’m NOT advocating trash talking. I’m advocating REALITY. If the kids ask if Mr. Friend is the reason you’re divorced? Yes. Mom was dating while married. But don’t slop your grief on the kids. Let them know you’re there for them and on top of your parenting job.

Truth telling is not revenge for her boyfriend introduction. Living in the truth is better than eating shit sandwiches and pronouncing them “amiable.” Be authentic with your kids. Let them know you’ll always shoot straight with them. That IS protecting them, because spackle starts at home. Don’t raise another generation of chumps.

Hang in there. Coparenting with fuckwits and their affair partners is incredibly difficult stuff. ((Hugs))

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  • All4thekids,

    My XW did basically the same thing – as a matter of fact, 2 years to this very day. She and my neighbor worked together and the same place, and they had moved out of their respective family houses in September. Divorce paperwork was started, but nowhere near the filing process. They decided to meet up at their company Christmas party with their kids. How cute?

    From that point forward, they spent every single second of every single weekend together (they have the same weekends). He has 4 kids. My XW and I have 3.

    Last spring, they bought a house together 3 streets away from me and his XW.

    I told my kids after about 6 months that my XW had cheated on me, but they already knew. It is crystal clear what happened, but my XW and her AP just pretend they are one big happy family. They bought a dog, take expensive trips, do all the things we once did as a family.

    I have gotten to the point that I am much happier to not be married to her (she was emotionally abusive to me for most of our relationship) and have established relatively strong NC. My kids are dong pretty well. The thing that sucks for me is knowing that my kids have such a poor role model in their lives and that I was attracted to such a low life. I considered her AP a good friend, which also has me questioning my judgment in people.

    Hang in there.

    • “The thing that sucks for me is knowing that my kids have such a poor role model in their lives and that I was attracted to such a low life.”

      – Hit the nail on the head with this one Scott, well said.

      • One of my biggest regrets is the poor role model I chose as a father for my son.
        I thought I married an honest man with high moral standards only to find out the person I married never existed. I married a selfish, manipulative, low life, sociopath.
        I don’t think I could have married much more of a disgusting human being.

        • Brit, CN has helped me confirm that STBX is awful, and that there are even worse spouses out there.
          Not a single post goes by without my jaw dropping.

          • You can’t co-parent with a sociopath. They aren’t concerned with setting an example or being role models for their children.
            They’re not going to make the transition of co parenting a smooth one.
            It gives them another opportunity to make life more difficult for their spouse by claiming they’re doing what’s best while the intentions are to be spiteful.
            Their children are the ones who suffer the most. They will blame the spouse who has been the devoted and sane parent all along with “Word salads”
            It’s all about them. They use their children just as they used us as spouses.

          • Ending a 15yr relationship with one, cheated with trash. We barely got temporary orders after he terrorized me to the point I rented a house with the kids, just to hide from his threats. The court system gave him 30percent custody visitation. I have to meet in public place and he gets them. The week the temporary orders signed he moved his trash in our marital home! He has the trash around our children smoking and what not. Our children are devastated and confused, I guess he was faking that he cared about us and we had a good life, cause I was left dumbfounded, thought we had a great marriage and perfect life till he showed up one day said it was over and I found out he was involved with the trash. The narcissist and sociopaths should be locked up, their worse than criminals. Trying to find some comfort in my children being tortured and surviving him.

    • Exactly! I just talked to my son about this yesterday. I tried to explain that I wanted him to spend time with his dad, but I want him to keep his moral compass (he is 15). He is a really good kid but I fear that continuing to be in an environment of drinking, gambling, and cheating will eventually start to dilute his sense of right and wrong.

      • Been there. I raised my step-son, & he chose to stay with me when his father moved out. Unfortunately the draw to his “blood,” denial & lack of visible consequences for his dad’s misbehavior led to his moving in with him after 5 years with me. This child has become the sociopath his father is & I have NC with both for my own safety & sanity. Just saying, in case your fears are realized, there is only so much a sane person can do.

        • Been there too. Raised the traitor and the whore’s son for 9 years. Now he’s gone, I haven’t seen the boy since April. He just went to school from our home one day and never came back. They were cheating on me the entire time. Now the only thing standing between that child and being raised entirely by a family of sociopaths (her family is just off the scale!) is contact with the traitor’s siblings who are ok. First time around when he was with the whore after leaving his wife and 3 sons for her, he didn’t speak to his family for 7 years, because she made up some story that his family had been mean to her at a family function. Bullshit. So he cut them off. They tracked him to my place eventually a year after I met him, and they reconnected, I made sure we went to all family functions and his siblings visited and stayed with us on the farm regularly for years. Lovely, normal people.

          When I told his family that he was leaving me for the whore, I asked them to do whatever it takes to stop her cutting him off again, for the sake of his son. The family has come through. They asked me for his new phone number to invite him for this Christmas. He hadn’t spoken to his family since January, hadn’t told them he’s left me, let alone all the shit that has been going on. I am just thankful his family has the boy’s back.
          It makes me sick to see the power that sociopath whore has over him, who’s not much of a normal person anyway. I was fighting a nest of sociopaths with her family in the background for years, without knowing what was really going on.
          I fear the little boy will become a vicious exploitative sociopath like his mother, a pathological liar etc, with only his parents and the whore’s family as models. But we have a plan with his siblings, and an agreement that they will suck up to the whore big time if necessary to make sure there can be no excuse to cut the family off this time. All done with my blessing, that’s all I can do now to save this boy.

    • “I considered her AP a good friend, which also has me questioning my judgment in people”.Please, don’t be so harsh on yourself.. In my country we have a popular saying that is so true. “You measure and judge people by what you are”. You are a decent and honest human being, so that is your impression of others too, until they show otherwise.
      See? That is not your poor judgement in people, your project what you are onto others .Plain and simple.
      Have you ever considered telling your kids the truth? Did ever cross your mind that such a dishonest person as your X would not have any problem telling your kids that YOU cheated , if it suits her? By now , please believe that some people trow mud on others so they can look clean.

      • “so they can look clean.” , I mean; so they (themselves) can look clean Hope it makes sense in english .

  • Don’t try to co-parent-by-concensus with a cheater. Their word means nothing and expecting them to do what they say is a recipe for continual chaos. In fact, letting them know what you want or expect is often an invitation for them to do the opposite, just to exert their power. Disengage from the cheater, keep your parenting opinions to yourself, and act on your values wherever possible unilaterally. Good luck!!

      • Nomar I think you are 100% correct in saying that cheaters do the opposite of what you want. Mine does. I try to keep him informed about our daughters school events like parent teacher interviews, but he never shows or communicates (email only) about those things. I’ve stopped now. I show up and make sure she has what she needs for school. Cheaters relish disappointing you. Yuck.

        • I’ve often marveled at the way cheaters seem to have some sort of vindictive glee toward their chumps, as if it was they who were traumatized rather than us [we? too early for grammar].

          In my experience, it goes beyond power and kibbles — it’s almost more similar to a petulant teenager who finally gets a job and a car and then runs around town flaunting his/her freedom, “I can do what I WANT! YOU’RE not the boss of me!!” Once again, I am reminded XH’s perception of my role in the marriage was never one of Equal Partner or Cherished Lover, but instead of some sort of parental figure who also happened to sleep with him. So, y’know, … that’s really gross.

            • Nail on the nw bibilo. Before I even knew we had problems I felt like he was acting like a 14 year old. I tried to please him but as he was trying to be difficult, he refused to be pleased. It’s hard to be a pleaser and live with someone who will never be pleased. I tend to be honest, so I state my opinions, and I tend to say, ” hey this is just my opinion” but towards the end I’d do experiments and agree with outlandish things he’d say just to see what would happen. His face would just fall. When you refuse to disagree and support unilaterally they get even more upset. It’s really weird to me.

              • So true that being agreeable is also infuriating to them. Because then you are messing up their narrative of being an unreasonable wench.

                Nwbiblio, you are so right. They are always the victim.

              • LOL I used to do this with my MIL!
                Just let her go and throw in a “you poor thing” or “imagine that”here and there.
                Like I’ve said before she’s been dying for over 20 years, even the grim reaper doesn’t want her.

          • Perfectly said!
            I have enjoyed some success with STBX with reverse psychology. Whenever I suggest anything, he does the opposite.

          • It felt like a parent/child relationship in my marriage, too. My XH was always accusing me of being “too controlling” and he would act like a teenager rebelling against me, like I was his mother or something. Good old, “you’re not the boss of me” mentality again… It was so exhausting, since I was trying to have an adult relationship with someone with arrested development. So glad he’s gone, because that’s not what I signed up for!!!

            • I remember it crossing my mind back when the kids were babies, “Is it possible that he’s one of those guys that no longer feels attracted to his wife after she has kids?” I put the idea out of my head as being ridiculous, he’s a good guy.

              But, there is no doubt that things changed when the kids came, and I became more motherlike and he became more childlike. I hated that it was happening and wanted him to take more ownership. I became the nagging wife.

              He left almost 20 months ago and just admitted to me that he had an affair and feels awful that he was such a coward. HOWEVER, he did not leave the marriage because of the OW (even though he’s still with her). Oh, he had broken things off with her those last few months and decided on his own that he had to leave. He would have done it anyways, so leave her out it. There is so much more to there relationship that it’s unfortunate start…

              Way to go on the minimizing buddy. You’re just mad to learn that your kids understand what you did and that the OW isn’t a nice lady. Now that you’re trying to introduce her (after your buffer period of time to manage the impression), your daughter had a meltdown when you announced a day at the beach “with your friend and her kids”. You thought that should be no big deal.

              Well, it is.

    • Nomar’s point is why maintaining as little contact as possible and doing so using scheduling software is such a good idea. They can’t know what you want (and refuse to do it) if you don’t tell them.

    • Yes to all that.
      So, you decide to tell your child in an age appropriate way ( my kids were grown but to address all here) and then the cheater comes back with that bucket of shit that sounds like :
      1. “Yes, I was talking to her before, but we didn’t take it to a romantic place till after I left”
      2. “Yes, I was seeing her. But my marriage to your mom was over. We had grown apart and she knew it too.”
      Yep, it’s okay to blow up a family because the chump is just too dumb to know you grew apart…..I must of been in a coma.
      The hardest part wasn’t getting mindfucked by him myself, it was watching him try to sell this horseshit to my kids.
      Glad I’ve got smart kids .huge hugs to the chumps who get fucked over and then had to endure their kids drinking the cheater koolaid.

      • My ex whore did the same to our daughter, to this day (daughters 19 now) she swears she didn’t “cheat” but our daughter isn’t that stupid..moms iPhone welded to her hand 24/7, quickly hiding the phone when she came in the room, mom leaving on Fridays and coming home Sunday night after another weekend “with the girls”, staying even if our daughter begged her to come home…just total cheater horseshit, looking back I’m much better off with her gone

      • My divorce has been final almost 3 months. I was blind sided too. However, he did have an affair years ago when I was 6 months pregnant. I forgave him, told no one and we swept it under the rug.
        I made him tell our daughter that he was the one who wanted the divorce. She is well aware I was caught off guard as was she. She also knows I would have fought for the marriage and family. My ex has used the same narrative that he didn’t do anything prior to moving out and asking for the divorce to his family, friends and one day I expect to my daughter too. I have told him he will justify everything until the day he dies but I will defend the truth until the day I do.
        The issue is every counselor, lawyer and parent etc has told me I should NOT be the one to tell her that he is a liar, cheater , sob… I mean unfaithful.
        He told our daughter he is moving in with his mistress next month. My 13 yr old has not even met her yet! She is totally creeped out by this. The counselor has told him several times she doesn’t recommend he move in with her because it is too fast for our daughter to process. But he only heeds her advice when it works best for him. He also wouldn’t sign the paramour agreement and the lawyers said it wouldn’t stand up in court. So I didn’t pursue it.
        I told my daughter I knew about the ow and she doesn’t have to hide it from me. She asked me if that was the reason for the divorce? I answered, “I did not want the divorce and would have done anything to save it so that is a question for your dad”. But we all know he would re-write history and the truth if asked. I am always so conflicted on how much I should say. It has killed me for months because of all of the lies he has told her, me and everyone to hid his indiscretions. I have not exposed any of the lies to her in fear it will hurt my relationship with my daughter. She gets defensive if I bring up anything about the divorce. It turns out she has been snooping around and has questions or discoveries of her own. I think she is piecing together the facts and trail of lies on her own without any help from me which is what my counselor said would happen. She said this is best because I can’t be blamed by him and my daughter can’t harbor any resentment for me for saying anything bad about her “daddy”. (But that doesn’t mean I don’t tell the truth as I know it to adults)
        She has told her dad she doesn’t want a relationship with the ow. But he treats her like a 4 yr old and told her she can’t be disrespectful or dictate what he/they can or can’t do. I guess it is ok for him to be disrespectful to her and his family. However, she is a people pleasure and will accept the situation because she has to.
        But it kills me that he can have his cake and eat it too. I have no doubt they will marry. They grew up together and have reconnected so there is not the baggage of introducing someone new in the mix. They have mutual friends. He is the extrovert with tons of friends. He makes a lot of money. So he comes out on top with everything-he gets his lover, financially set, tons of friends, his family lives close, his daughter goes along because she doesn’t want to upset the apple cart. No one seems to care what he has done.Everything is all on his terms while playing house down the street. It just sucks..that is all anyone can say!

  • I’m very thankful that my kids know the truth about their cheating father. The night I had to force my ex (he’s all about delaying tough conversations/avoidance) to tell the kids that we were getting a divorce, he lied (of course he did! that’s what he’s so good at!!) and said that we “grew apart” and we “both” wanted the divorce. I set that shit straight right away and said, “Your dad is lying!” and it was HIM that wanted the divorce and that I was fighting for our family. The Lying Cheater didn’t “like” that I said he was a liar in front of our kids. Well, HE IS and they needed to know it.

    He was all about *controlling* the narrative. In the Divorce Letter he said, “I’ll never say anything bad about you. And you’ll never say anything bad about me.” Ummm, what exactly did I do wrong that he would have anything bad to say about me?

    But I had A LOT of bad things to say about him and he knew it! I went along with his little plan for a few months until the fateful Easter 2015 when his mommy dearest accused me of, “So, no you are keeping the grandchildren away from the grandparents and their father.!” The thing I would NEVER do, I was being accused of by that fake, lying bitch. So…..I lost it and that evening when my now ex came home from his mommy’s house, I let him have it and they kids were around to hear everything their father did to me, including cheating on me. I’m happy they know. They deserve to know the truth. The are old enough to know that their dad is a cheater and liar. He cheated when I was pregnant with our second born. He’s spent our entire relationship and marriage triangulating me with many, many women. They need to know that this is not healthy behavior. This is not how a marriage relationship works. This is emotional abuse. Where else are they going to find this out besides their mom who kept silent for 25 years? Abuse ends when we finally start sticking up for ourselves and others.

    • Wow.. So similar about controlling the narrative. My fuckwit did the crocodile tears to 3 nearly adult kids …Boohoo daddy loves you so much but… Then I stepped in just in case he slipped up and went down the ‘mum and I decided to separate BS’ route. So I helped to finish the line …yes kids I love you too. But dad wants to divorce me and is going to live somewhere else tonight. He gave me a look that said ‘ I could kill you for ruining my exit line ‘ sorry to rain on your parade honey but I got a heads up from my sister in law who bought that t -shirt and had her kids turn against her because daddy made out he had no choice but to leave… Poor me victim pity party . thx Kerry !!! His fake storey was confirmed when he stumbled around the house getting the kids to help him packing a holdall even though he’d organised his suitcases the day before …typical narc all for show . I’m sure getting your own kids to help you with your bags to the car as you leave your family after 22 years must be considered a form of child abuse .
      One year and counting no contact . because as chump lady says you can’t control a fuckwit ! Love it !!

      • He had your kids help bring his bags out to the car?! Fuckwit is right!

        One day I realized a ton of photo albums were missing from our bedroom closet. I approached the Lying Cheater and asked him what happened to the photos. THE PAUSE while tapping the keys of his laptop. Then THE LIE. He said he was gradually taking his photo albums out of the house so the “kids wouldn’t be traumatized” him move out. YEAH RIGHT! I asked him why it took him so long (the pause) to answer my question and he said, “I thought you were talking about the pictures of the wall.” Yeah, right. The pictures that were still on the wall. Narcs PAUSE for a couple of seconds while they fabricate their next lie.

        And the *funny* thing is the kids watched ME pack for a month straight (I had to get away from him as he was driving me bonkers with his daily covert narc behavior) and watch me move us out of our home and that didn’t traumatize the kids.

        Lies, lies, lies yeah. There gonna get you. I CAN’T WAIT until someone really important catches him in a lie. Lying to the pastor. Lying to me. Lying to our kids. Lying to his family. Lying to my family. Lying to people at work. I’m unsure how he can look at himself in the mirror. But yeah. He didn’t do anything wrong. Good luck with that.

        • the kids taking his Bags out to the car was just one mind fuckery. He came back a few days later to clear out furniture he ‘needed’. He asked me with a straight face if he could take some plant pots to make his balcony more homely. Luckily my next door neighbour was there to witness the insanity and of course he didn’t get those – but thought it was ok to take the mattress off our bed. !? After 4 hours of this madness he fully expected the kids who were standing around as their dad strip mined the house (including taking the beer out of the fridge) to come with him to help unpack and decorate his new apartment which he just happened to get organised a couple of days after he told me he wanted a divorce. He even had the nerve to ask our adult son if he could ‘borrow’ his TV! – what could he say? – sure dad have a great night in with a beer. To think my kids now have this mental picture in their heads of how a 25 year relationship ends as perfectly normal freaks me out.
          Can I be excused for thinking he was having a mental breakdown? – the next day he writes me an email complaining that my ‘life insurance’ (which I was not even aware of at that time) had come off his credit card – his exact words were ‘ I’ve been stiffed for your life insurance’ – and he would be billing me for it. ONe year on and he still complains (to friends and neighbours) that when I ask for money for the kids things like school uniform or their documentation/passports he accuses me of extorting money from him and trying to blackmail him. !!Any respect I had for him is buried under the pile of shit that he keeps shoveling himself into. (Also – what is it with these men who seem unhealthily attached to their mothers still? – she helpfully made a list of items that he should take from the house so he could set up in his new place – including tablecoths – so I knew a 45 year old man would not be thinking along those lines. I have a mental picture of her snooping around my house with a clip board making notes of everything in my house while i was at work. !!)

          • The plants???? You should of told the old idiot that he could have stood out there in place of the plants, so it could look “homely”. I’m sure the “homely” was a typo in your post, but it sure fits the situation haha, You wrote “if he could take some plants to make his balcony more homely.”

          • Durt’s mom lived with us, or should I say me, while he was off on a duck fest “tot” with his 20 years younger slut puppet. After I filed for divorce, she packed pretty much everything up that was in the common areas. When I confronted her about it, she went bat shit crazy, so I recorded her and told her I was doing so. Best thing I ever did. I wish I had recorded all the bs lies that spewed out of Durt’s mouth. I ended up with very little household goods to keep the peace, but kept the antique furniture and other things I wanted.
            I can tell you why Durt was so close to his mom: she was of use to him. It made him look good that he “cared for his mom”, when in reality, he used her for his money and credit.
            SMH. The slut puppet still believes it while he runs around with his side pieces. Can’t wait for the karma bus but she may be too stupid to catch on.

    • Oh my goodness, all these posts. They are all so much alike. My stbx was telling everyone how ‘mean’ I am. Telling our daughter how ‘mean’ I was. I asked her, when did you see me be ‘mean’ to your dad. Well, he said it was all behind closed doors. Oh brother. When it all came out all the lies he was telling – he was so mad.
      I went through this exact same thing 20 years ago with my first husband, but thankfully we had no kids and no assets, and he divorced me without my knowing – which was great. When I stopped reacting to his insanity and went grey rock, the crazier he became and then everyone figured out he was the crazy one. My best friend from elementary school later apologized for believing the rotten things he said about me to her, he was that convincing.
      My mom was a narc. I married my mom. I’m repeating the pattern of my childhood. They blame everyone else. As said by someone else – they play the victim so people will feel sorry for them – while they victimize and manipulate others. They will watch you hurt and look at you with dead cold eyes.
      I am just heartbroken that this time I had a daughter that has to be dragged through this crap. But, yes, it is abuse. And I need to show her that we don’t put up with it. Keep up the good fight, Martha!!

  • Strangely enough, my old husbands new love used her own kids to ingratiate herself into his life- having them do special things and send weirdly familiar Facebook videos to him while we were still married. My own kids were having no part of that as their bullshit meters were reading “super high” on the whole debacle.
    I feel super sorry for the other woman’s still not ex husband, as he has to endure his kids fawning over a guy he doesn’t know and live through recurring nightmare with his wife.

    • Ugh No, the OW in my case also worked things the same way. The relationship between my husband and OW was totally on line. We were in in Wis and she was in TX. The OW had 8 kids by 5 different fathers. 4 of the kids were younger and still at home. She had the kids write letters and cards to my husband calling him Daddy and that they loved him. They had never met him. She was in the process of being divorced by her 3rd husband over an affair she had there. I sent copies of these cards, letters to the natural father. She was screaming over that. She was training my husband to feel responsible for these kids.She was also training her kids to accept a person they had never met as their father. I can see her forcing these kids to write. Very disturbing person.

  • All4thekids,

    Clever name btw. This story has just rattled my sphincter.

    You mention, “for the last 4 years of our marriage, I found myself repeatedly giving her free time to “play tennis” and go out with her friends.” – All this and your youngest is 5 yrs old? Harlequin!

    My exwife did the same but her 1st affair started when my youngest was 4 mo old.

    They have small children at home but instead of embracing those gifts, they rather engage in an affair? Then they justify introducing their AP’s to the kids even though professionals advise them not to.

    The only way to fight this level of ENTITLEMENT is DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT and DOCUMENT.

    Also, tell your kids in an age appropriate way as CL says.

    Continue to be the sane parent.

    My guess and since I survived what you are living, you must DOCUMENT everything because this level of a cheater will continue these harmful acts.

    I think with this level of fuckedupness, you will find that custody will change in the future to your favor as it has for me.

    Your EX has dug her grave and is clueless that she has done so. DOCUMENT.

    • SCAL,
      An affair 4 months after your youngest was born!?! That boggles the mind.

      4 months after each of my kids was born I was hip deep in stinky diapers and baths and bouncing babies to sleep and nursing every two hours, and so sleep deprived…I was a zombie. How is it possible to find time to have an affair with newborns, or the energy, and why would anyone be interested in a zombie mom! 🙂

      Everytime I read about Whorrie, I think she is an evil comic book villian, because no one could be that insanely corrupt (your sister’s husband in your home, in your bed! Buying crack with 3 babies in the car!).

      The scale of emotional abuse you experienced is staggering, but here you are – usually laughing on CL about the complete absurdity of what happened. And so positive and serene, and so darn hopeful. Thank you SCAL, you give me hope. If you can survive what happened and 3.5 years later be ok, better than ok! Then we can all believe (trust) that we will be ok, better than ok.

      • Thanks Brightness,

        You asked how is it possible to find time to have an affair with a 4 month old…,the answer for Whorrie. – Convenience.

        She had my sis’ husband come to my house – and on my bed – for a quickie while kids were downstairs.

        Of course, I didnt get full admittance from her until years and years later when she got pinched for her 2nd affair. Dealing with 2 known affairs was challenging.

        But i laugh today because of the absurdity. 🙂

    • Friend of The Court will care about her flaking off on agreements and psychological recommendations related to your children’s well-being – and when FOC cares, the Court tends to pay attention. Look into the best interest factors for children in divorce in your state. Michigan has 12 and moral character features largely throughout.
      Document it over 6 months or so, then present it to FOC and request a face to face meeting with them. She’ll get her turn to present information related to your history of meeting the best interest of your kids – so be the sane parent and delight in serving her the shit sandwich she deserves.

  • Dear a4tk,

    My story here is well documented so I will keep it short, I was in a bad wreckonciliation after a LONG era of misery that included husband cheating, being very distracted from our family (to the point he actually forgot about the kids) and him moving 3000 away “for work” and I never told the kids the real reasons for any of the strife … husband dropped dead then I found out his cheating was much worse than I ever knew before.

    If I tell the kids now I look like a shrew. Im really mad at him so I still look like a shrew. I was the sane parent who cared for them when he was chasing hoes and now Im stuck looking bad to my kids. I wish I had told them in real time.

    • Look,this not telling the kids deal is bullshit and bad for the kids. How can they make sense of things without this info?

  • All4thekids – I found CL through a search on that very topic (here is the “cool, bummer, wow” post I landed on

    My then-STBX moved his mistress in from out of town 4 months post-separation, we had just started our divorce negotiations, and there was nothing I could do but watch my kiddo live 50% of her time with my X and his mistress… In the building next door to mine…

    My kiddo started having nightmares and almost two years later, she still has trouble sleeping at his place. Of course they manipulate the narrative, and I am the bitter bunny for not getting along with the Happy Family story line they’d like to portray. Instead, I sang like a canary and all our friends and acquaintances know that she is a mere 23 years younger than him and that I filed for divorce upon learning that my X had been an adulterer for at least 13 months.

    The courts where I live consider telling the kids about an affair “badmouthing an ex” so I told my kiddo that I divorced her dad because he lied to me about grown up things I will explain to her when she is 18. I keep my line of “I have proof he told me big lies, and that is not ok.” In time, she will come to realize that lying is his preferred problem solving strategy. As CL mentioned, the courts here are not sophisticated enough, they will go with the “give the child the most possible time with each parent” unless there is immediate physical harm involved. My X is too smart for that.

    And again, CL hit it right on the head “I know this advice feels very unjust, and I’ve spent 15 years chewing on the same leather strap of unfairness to keep from screaming. But it’s the truth. And it sucks.”

    Staying mild about what I tell my kiddo about her dad’s adultery and what I think about his whore’s presence in her life is the hardest thing I have ever done. I still have many years of eating shit sandwiches ahead of me while he lies to her and manipulates her, she is seeing a therapist and I am hoping the strategies she learns there, my parenting style, and consistently calling out his lies will help her develop a better picker than the one I had when it came to choosing a life partner.

    • I want to second the recommendation of the “Cool, Bummer, Wow” article from Chumplady.

      My ex demonstrated extremely poor judgement and overblown sense of entitlement throughout the years he destroyed the marriage. So why would it be any surprise that he introduced the kids to the AP at the first visitation following the divorce being final? From then on, it’s been one big cozy at his apartment, her house, hotels, and relatives homes. Now he’s shacked up in her house and the kids visit him there. And there’s nothing I can do about it but carry on as the one sane parent.

      But from the start, I told the kids that although I was ending the marriage, he had destroyed it due to infidelity. And the proof was right before their eyes, watching him texting and emailing love notes, and snuggling up with a certain waitress. He has spent little time with them, as he’s always focusing on one or another woman during his visits with the kids. This is not lost on them.

      So my job is to raise the kids, and hope his influence on them is not too influential.

  • Yep? I ate that shit sandwich before he even moved out of the house. I ate that shit sandwich 2 days after mediation when we agreed to wait on overnights. Of course an unsigned document doesn’t mean anything to the law, so go and ring a bell that can’t be un-rung, right? I am still not divorced and my kids have babysat her kids, been on vacation with her, sat at a dinner with their dad, grandparents (who claim to be super religious people) and his girlfriend. If a cheater isn’t bound by a law don’t expect them to choose the moral high road; they’ll do as they please just about every time! Realizing I was dealing with a self-centered asshole that comes first in his life was the day I stopped expecting anything that is bound by law, even in that case if I don’t have hard evidence, I know it’s my word against his because he will lie until my ears fall off. Welcome to divorcing a cheater!

  • CL raises an interesting point about abuse statistics, of which all of us with children need to be aware.

    Although physical and sexual abuse are, of course, not likely, the risk of a child being physically abused is 20x greater in divorced families, and 33x greater when a mother cohabitates with a man not biologically related to the children (Whelan, 1993). Girls, in particular, are at greater risk for sexual abuse in such circumstances:

    • My hackles instantly went up when reading A4TK’s letter stating the the AP was highly interested in spending time with the four kids. Pedophiles always attempt to access children in the easiest, most direct path possible. Caution! Caution! Caution!

      • My thoughts exactly. What married AP male wants to soens a lot of time with the kids…. My Spidey Sences went off. I actually had the hair stand up on my arms.

        • Yep, there is something really odd about that man wanting to spend time with the kids when he is not even divorced. CL is right to advise to educate the kids on boundaries. So maybe in this case this is the priority, rather than telling them the truth about the affair. Just keep things smooth so the kids feel comfortable talking about everything to their dad, so if anything untoward happens, they will tell dad immediately. Dad should encourage them to talk to him about all the “good times” they have with that man. Play nice and make sure the kids keep talking.

    • This statistic is agonizing to me. And the way it can be handled by the authorities just burns my toast. I work with special needs kiddos and have been tortured by this. The things I’ve seen. ? And I have two daughters too.

    • Yep, I can personally vouch for those statistics, lived that one out. Dad abandoned my mom when my twin brother and I were 4. Mom gets lonely and dates a man whom she bought a home with AFTER I told her he had touched me inappropriately. The molestation continued for 4 yrs. Now that my husband has abandoned me and our four teenagers, I will not date until they are fully launched, as my kids are worth that sacrifice.

  • I’m another voice chiming in for documentation. I just cannot see this getting any better. Parenting 4 kids is a huge task, and if she couldn’t be bothered when she had a supportive spouse, she’ll find it even harder in years to come (after she is either dumped or has managed to marry a guy that brings even more kids into her life). You can plan on the fact that pretty soon she won’t want all 4 kids for her custody time, or she’ll want you to drive one kid to music lessons and take another one to the soccer tournament all weekend because she is “busy.” Learning to refuse these requests, even when it is clearly harmful to your kids will be a big challenge (and balancing act, because sometimes you will decide that helping the child is what needs to be done, but you must not let a situation develop in which everyone relies on you to pick up the “tab” in terms of parenting duties and then gets to blame you when things don’t go right).

    And on the topic of blame–recognize you are about to be blamed for everything. You’ll be blamed if she gets dumped; you’ll be blamed if she doesn’t live up to her responsibilities according to the settlement; you’ll be blamed when (not if) a child is difficult (all kids are difficult sometimes); you’ll be blamed for what you tell the kids and you’ll be blamed for anything that is not told to the kids. This is why, despite your experience of reasonably effective co-parenting so far, you need to move closer to NC. You must only be responsible for your custody time–not hers and what happens during it.

    The kids are fortunate to have you. And your responsibility is to just keep being a sane and loving parent. Document, document, document. If you need the documentation, you’ll be very glad you spent a couple minutes a day keeping notes.

    Wishing you strength and patience, and 4 happy and healthy kids.

  • My story is basically the same except the AP has no kids and wasn’t married: just a scumbag who was all too happy to save the damsel from The Bad Husband and be The New Dad in Town. XW moved my kids (then 8 and 11) in with him three months before our divorce was final. Predictably all hell broke loose: cops were called, DCF were called, son acted out in school, grades plummeted, daughter became obese… Insta-family did not work out to say the least.

    Listen: you MUST let it go for the sake of your kids and your sanity. If you fight it–if you obsess over how you can control the situation–you will go down a very dark hole and it will be all for naught: all that will result is a hollow wreck of a dad who will be no use to your kids when they are with you and a brooding mess when your kids are with them.

    It’s probably the worst aspect of all of this terrible tale. It’s profound betrayal upon betrayal. But you must fight yourself. The battle is primal and deep: your young are with the monster who played a role in the destruction of your family. But it’s a battle that must be put into perspective using your logic and rationality. Your children will NOT replace you with him. You will be the stable, loving dad. When they come back to you, you will say breezily, “Hope you had a nice time!” And that’s it. No interrogation, no bad-mouthing their mother. I have had to literally bite my tongue and clamp my hand over my mouth to resist both.

    This was over two years ago. It still sucks when they are there, but it’s gotten better. I am closer than ever with my children, they prefer living with me. They “get it” even though I’ve never told them the reasons why I divorced their mother. In a few years I predict they will simply refuse to go there at all.

    My XW and AP? Well, what a shock: it’s not rainbows after all. She called off their engagement, occasionally tells me weepingly that she misses me, blah blah. Whatever. We have a nice happy crazy little life, the kids and I. They want me to find a girlfriend, which would be nice, but I’m in no rush and I sure won’t insert anyone into their lives until and unless I am certain it will last.

    Simply: it’s horrible and so difficult, but you need to let it go. It’s out of your control.

    • My story is very similar. My daughters are older teenagers now, so they get to choose where they spend their time. They choose me (dad) the majority (90%) of the time. They will figure out who the sane parent is. Just yesterday, oldest called me 1st to tell me she made the college cheer squad. Me! Not crazy mom whom lived through her in high school since she was the popular cheerleader and led the life mom dreamed. Like everyone said, be the sane parent and just stay connected with the about the situation. Take any and all action to keep them protected!

    • Powerful post, David.

      You said: “The battle is primal and deep: your young are with the monster who played a role in the destruction of your family.” I admire your courage and dedication to your children. Well done to you.

      Lostntx, Congrats to your daughter, and you too for being the sane parent.

      Chump Nation changes lives for the better.

      • Talking about your young being with the monster who played a role in the destruction of your family, when the traitor and the whore had their son, a hippy-dippy friend of hers made a picture frame for a photo of all 4 sons, the 3 from his first wife, whom he dumped after his affair with the whore, and the whore’s son. On the frame she had drawn a family tree: the whore and the traitor were the mum and dad of ALL FOUR BOYS!!! The whore had the 3 boys’s real mother erased from history. I hated her from the start when I first saw that frame. This is the kind of psychos we are dealing with.

      • Thanks, Ian. Yes, this is how I chose from the beginning to frame the trauma–as primal. I always said to myself, “Something else is going on. This pain is unprecedented. I did not feel like this when my beloved parents died, when my best friend died… There is another dimension to it.”

        I have a scientific mind so I wanted to know more about the science behind abandonment. The book that helped me the most is “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing.” It approaches breakups from an evolutionary perspective, examining the neuro-chemical responses in the brain that occur when one is abandoned by one’s mate. Our brains are reacting in essentially the same way they have for three million years–when abandonment meant literal likely death and when it meant that we could not protect our young or propogate our DNA.

        There is an evolutionary compulsion to stay together; hence the terror and panic when our mate leaves us. The same feelings are there that were present when he/she left for another cave 🙂

        Perceiving it on this materialistic level did not decrease the pain but it certainly enabled me to understand it, put a “label” on it, and absolve myself of blame. I was scared that I was reacting in an abnormally intense way. I know now that I was not–and of course sites like CN, where I found others who were also experiencing the same depth of agony, also help enormously.

  • Telling my kids the age-appropriate truth was one of the best things I ever did for them. “Your dad was dating [Dimwit] while we were married, and that breaks one of the most important promises of marriage.” My ex can attempt to spin that however he likes, but I maintain that calm truth, and my kids know what the deal is.

    I’m sorry that you’re going through this, but you aren’t her PR person. Take care of yourself and your kids.

  • CL, spot on as always.
    A4TK: I know personally how unfair this is. I agree with another poster, if you did not tell them why you divorced, time to do so in a fact appropriate manner. “Mommy had a boyfriend before we decided to get divorced… You do not do that.”
    My ex and I agreed to not tell the, about the cheating (yes, I was a chump, an acquantiance, a child psychologist whose area of research was children of divorce, told us not to). I thought I was in the clear since the MOW lived 2k miles always.

    My story is a bit long, but will be helpful, I think.
    How did this go wrong? 12 yr old looked at ex’s iPad and found pictures of the girlfriend. We were separated and divorce was underway, so no problem, right? (M)OW got pregnant so STBX told daughter cuz he needed some to confide in… And told her not to tell me because I would be mad. They planned to move her in pregnant while I was away on an extended work trip overseas and the kids had no where else to go but live in the house with someone they had never met! A week later, AP miscarried. At this point daughter thought AP was just a new girlfriend, did not know about the cheating (and the earlier cheating).
    Our divorce agreement, days away from filing, said no overnight guests and a slow introduced to new mates. STBX said he did not think that meant HER. (Same conversation STBX told me AP had been divorced a year, ha! Found out later still married.
    The kids’ therapist and a court mediator I consulted with agreement on the timing arrangement. So… We changed language to add in AP.

    What could happen? AP got pregnant immediately again (accident 2x, uh, huh.) ex waited to tell me until I was on my work trip.
    AP met kids during video chats after divorced finalized. The day after I returned from my trip, ex told the kids girlfriend pregnant, they are getting married, and moving 2,000 miles away. That’s now you get around strict introduction agreements — can’t keep kids from the new spouse.

    Eldest child was so upset, she refused to go to the wedding….so ex did not let youngest attend (for kids happiness, I would have let him go).
    At this point I told them of the cheating– factually. Daughter was SO angry, too soon, etc. Did I mention she was 12, and a Daddy’s girl?
    A year later when kids visiting for 5 weeks, ex must think I gripe about ex and new wife, so he has these long conversations with daughter about how much better the new relationship is. said I probably call the new wife a “whore.” Actually, I do not think that way, funny that he used those terms
    Shortly thereafter, daughter attempted suicide and actually texted ex “now you will listen.”
    My poor baby was in so much pain, but she hid it.
    She planned another attempt 6mo later, but told me and we got her hospitalized again. (As an aside, we found an amazing therapist! Kiddo is better, but still stumbles with depression and anxiety).
    Ex did not come to our town after the first attempt– new job, could not risk losing it, so he said. Winter break was ex’s turn, said he could not afford to take them…. So chumpy me arranged a visit my family nearby, and he took son for a weekend, daughter refused to see him.
    Ex INSISTED I meet the new wife, and at the meeting I told him daughter is at the park next door and would like to see her baby sister.
    Ex’s response– if she won’t see me, she cannot see her sister.
    Oh, if only my son had not been standing there, I would have turned to the new wife and said “look WHAT you married.”
    But really, she cheated on her ex, so pot, meet kettle.

    Sorry this is so long winded, but gives you insight into the brains of the entitled narcissists.
    Take back the narrative– tell the kids of the real reason you got divorced. It will be so much harder if they find out later!
    Find a good therapist– turns out my daughter did not have a good connection with hers, and hid her depression and suicidal thoughts.

    Sending Jedi hugs your way.

    • What is it about cheaters and their inability to be real parents to their children when those children really need it?

      My CheaterX’s brother was also a cheater, cheating on his wife and two children (aged 11 and 14 at the age of the cheating). The younger child was diagnosed with OCD and was cutting herself. There was some suspicion that she’d been sexually abused as a toddler by a friend of her uncle’s. The child was in and out of the hospital. Her mother had to shoulder all the visits and care herself, and found a good therapist for her daughter. The father? Well, he was having an affair with a 19-year-old employee whom he supervised (ewwww)–an employee whose father had recently died and was very vulnerable (ewwwww).

      The good news is that the girls’ mother was a stellar parent. She and I have talked a bit, as I told her that CheaterX was just like his brother. Both girls are now grown women. Both are holding down successful, responsible jobs. Both of them look to their mother as the sane parent, and the older daughter sends Happy Father’s Day messages to her mother.

      • yup, my ex does great with babies and young kids.. not so good once they are older and have their own views and opinions. Glad both girls are doing well!

    • zyx321, Jedi hugs to you for dealing with these demented perverts, and Jedi hugs to your poor kids. I hope they will recover from all this eventually.

  • A very interesting topic to me as I will be living in this exact situation pretty soon. The only difference is that I don’t see the OM being very interested in my kids since he doesn’t want any of his own (so why would he want to deal with somebody else’s kids?). I think he’d rather just stay with his wife than take on my wife’s baggage full time (but they can still hang out on the side I’m sure).

    I’ve stated my intentions to her that I don’t want his loser-ass hanging out anywhere near my kids. And make no mistake, the OM in my situation is a total d-bag. But I’m sure she’ll just blow that off (“you’re not the boss of me!”). My kids are pretty smart though, and once they figure things out (I’m not sure how/when I’ll ever have the “why” conversation with them), they’ll probably avoid him anyway.

    Nevertheless, I’ll be reading the comments for anyone’s experience in dealing with this crap.

  • I tried to be amicable until I couldn’t anymore “in the best interests of the child.” I got tired of eating shit sandwiches and thought it was about time to turn the tables. I discussed with my lawyer about some of the issues and I was always the “yes” mom – it was him that told me to start saying “no” and that it was time for me to sit down with my child and simply explain his dad’s gambling problem and some of the issues in terms he would understand.

    And I did just thay my son is 12 – I told him that it is no ok or normal to gamble (the ex’s idea of a vacation is pawning son off on his parents on a cruise so he can sit in the casino the trip) and that it was one of the many reasons that mom had to hire a lawyer to help her deal with some issues she was having with dad. My son witnessed the raging verbal abuse that I endured and I have reiterated with my child that you NEVER treat another person like that and it is not ok.

    As for the slunt OW she made it too easy, I knew her well since she was married to my exes dead brother. I explained to son that she was of questionable nature and that when her kids were younger and their dad was out of town she invited strange men over to the house and sent the kids upstairs so she could entertain these men and that it was disgusting and horrible for a mom to do that. She also had a habit of getting so drunk she would need to be carried out of the bar and one night ended up hospitalized for drinking herself into a coma – again I explained to son that she was someone that needed psychiatric help and it’s not ok to drink like that especially when you have children.

    All I can do is reinforce with my son my belief and morals on what is ok and not. It is hard to be sane in all the madness but the sane do prevail.

    My ex let me raise our child and he did whatever he wanted for two years before approaching me with 50/50 shared parenting. I told him to take a hike and promptly sued him for child support (he had been underpaying and looking for discounts from me) and custody of our son. The ex hates boundaries and being told what he can and can’t do and your not the boss of me works both ways and he’s pissed and miserable and I am happy with very little contact.

    I repeatedly told my ex that slunt would not be raising my kid – EVER, he must of thought I was kidding but he had no idea – he raised the issue of custody and I ghosted him and promptly sued him. Now he has a the same amount of time with our child that he had following separation when he was to busy taking care of his selfish needs and I’m a happy mom and he can be as angry as the wants because now his anger brings me joy!!

    • ‘The ex hates boundaries and being told what to do.’
      I couldn’t even tell my stbx to come sit down for dinner – he’d say, “You can’t tell me what do do!”

  • Listen to CL, there is very very little you can do when you are in the trenches co-parenting with a fuckwit. In fact, set that bar super low. Cheaters have shitty character and that doesn’t stop when you get the divorce judgment. Nope, they continue to fuck up, lie, gaslight their own kids and generally make life miserable. However, the good news is that kids get it. They understand who shows up and who doesn’t. They get who has their back and who doesn’t. Sadly, they get that strange vagina and penis was more attractive than courage, honesty and compassion. That’s the shit lesson cheaters pass on to their kids.

    So, keep your home friendly, safe and sane. Tell your kids Mommy cheated in an age appropriate way and leave it at that. Expect backlash from Ms. Wonderful, but if she fusses too much do what cheaters hate the most, ignore. Telling your kids the truth isn’t parental alienation. She threatens court, send her the phone number to your attorney and disengage. Go no contact with your cheater, just emails and texts as much as humanely possible. Stay strong, you’ve got this.

  • A4TK – Yup… co-parenting with an adulterer… good times.

    Here’s what I have learned over the last two years of riding the crazy train.

    – Kids KNOW. They just do. My teenage stepchildren were well aware their Dad was stepping out on me when I traveled for business. My son – well, I followed CL’s advice and told him that Daddy got a girlfriend one summer while we were on our family vacation… and married people shouldn’t do that. (I’m still trying to finish my divorce!)

    – Talk to your kids about their day. Stay engaged in their lives. Build that connection every day. Even when I’m not with my son, I drop him a text to let him know I think he’s cool… or that I’m proud of his grades… or that his feet stink (which makes him laugh!)… enjoy their childhood. Get the eldest a phone so you can stay in touch with all 4 without having to go through Mom.

    – Don’t contribute to the triangulation. As CL said… it’s chewing on a leather strap. But it is also KIBBLE DEPRIVATION. And these cheaters HATE THAT. (And, there is a good chance the boyfriend PA feasts on kibbles too, so let it go.) Let them be shiny in front of the kids. Kids know bullshit and sooner or later… the shine wears off when the kibbles dry up.

    – Read CL’s book – if you haven’t already. I read from it every day… just random pages… keeps me focused on me.

    – Trust that they suck. And guess what… the odds are against them. 50% of first marriages end in divorce… 75% of second marriages with blended families… and 86% of third marriages… you see where this is going, right? My STBX left me for the AP. They lasted just under two year. He’s already on to his next victim (they probably overlapped). I have 7 more years of watching this and trying my best to explain it to my son. SO – whenever I can, I point out other male role models to him… our Pastor at church… his music teacher… one of my college friends… so he knows what “normal” looks like for himself.

    – And, for me, finding my faith again and getting involved in a really amazing church has brought me more peace of mind than can be measured. And, it is something I can share with my son.

    The situation may never get better – but your response to it can. Control you. The kids will see and learn.

    And, document, just in case.

    • Yes, those statistics are staggering ICanSeeTheMeh, but even more so…..The likely hood of a cheater marrying their AP and the marriage *surviving* is 1% to 3%. That is it.

      And yet these ass-clowns still think it’s worth blowing up their spouses and kids lives because:

      -“I couldn’t help myself.”
      -“There was something magic in my relationship with schmoopie.”
      -“It’s something bigger than me.”
      -“Blah, blah, fuckity blah.”

      So what we have left is parallel parenting with a cheater (co-parenting doesn’t work with the disordered).

      Thank you cheater. Oh btw, the kids said thank you also.

      • Right?!? There’s a great observation in CL’s book by a divorce attorney… cheaters that remarry the AP = repeat business!

        Let’s be honest… they use the kids for kibbles… as the kids get older and the kibble balance changes (right around the tween years)… these Cheaters drop off in their desire to “parent”… that’s when it is really fun to be the sane parent and explain why the X keeps cancelling visits and promises.

        • ^^This. My daughter told me the last time her mother rescheduled her visit to DD at school – twice – that when she finally got there it was like she was crossing a chore of her list. No wonder the poor thing is depressed.

  • First off, I would not be making any “arrangements” with my ex’s married boyfriend. This shit needs to be outed, to everyone involved, stat. All the kids need to know is that he has his own family, and should be spending time with them.

    The good news is that this guy probably won’t be around for long after you make the necessary changes. Right now he is munching delicious cake, instead of the shit sandwiches he and their whore mother deserve. Quit making it easy for them!!

  • So… my story is very, very similar with a big twist… I have the girlfriend now. My ex-wife cheated on me for a few months during the summer of 2015. We have 2 boys, 5 & 8. We tried wreckonciliation and then she dumped me. I moved out exactly one year ago to the day. We maintained the same, ‘not telling the kids’ of her affair (which occurred while they were sleeping and I was out of town on business) and 50/50 co-parenting. The guy was a classic tru-wuv.

    In our divorce agreement, I wanted to have a clause that limited any new partners being introduced within 6 months or a year of divorce – particularly since she was staying in the house. She thought it was best for the boys that she stay in the house since I traveled and they were accustomed to being there with her. She didn’t want to put any timelines on anything. I spoke to divorce veteran friends who said that most of those terms were unenforceable and you just have to hope for the best. We officially divorced at the end of March of this year. The boys have adjusted very well… we had the older one in play therapy this year from January to April – just to be sure.

    My ex’s tru-wuv dumped her like she was nothing. I ended up meeting a beautiful, intelligent, caring SINGLE woman in May. She is a pediatrician, no kids and has a heart of gold and head full of sanity. In October, my GF and I decided that for the relationship to continue to move forward, she should meet the boys. Prior to the meeting, I consulted my ex-wife and informed her of it… we ended up delaying a bit because of some adjustment excuses she had etc. She objected and pointed out the clause that I wanted to put in there… that she didn’t want to agree to!!!

    In late October my GF & I had a casual meeting with the boys over ice cream. My ex, also requested to meet my girlfriend – which was interesting. There have been 3 casual meetings, no overnights. She is genuinely interested in them and they really like her. She is also cautious about getting too close given the recency of the divorce. My ex had a real problem when I told her that my mom was coming over (from out of town) and my GF would be at my house for dinner with my boys at the same time my mother visited. My ex and I had a big argument over it… she feels a certain way and it’s her opinion.

    At this time, I’ve decided that I am not going to tell my boys about the affair. This could always change but if I tell them, then my ex will have time come to terms with it and fess up. Whereas if I don’t, I think she will worry the rest of her life, that I will tell them…. and I think of her living with that worry & fear as my little revenge.

    • Miromesnil, when I met the traitor he was separated from the whore and their son was 2 years old. After a couple of months he wanted me to meet his son. First I insisted that I must met with his mother and have her approval. We did meet and things went ok. I always showed respect for her position as the mother, even though I despised her as a person for what she did to his first family. I also felt a bit sorry for her because she was now a single mum, and that’s tough. So I was always helpful and respectful.
      I think I behaved very much like your new girlfriend. Problem is when you are dealing with a sociopath ex, that counts for nothing. Just a warning to you and your nice girlfriend. No matter how nice you are, the ex is a POS and always will be. They’ve already proven it.

  • I strongly advocate telling your kids an age-appropriate reason for the why the divorce will or has already happened. If you do not provide a rational reason, the kids will come up with one of their own that is likely far more scary and full of self-blame than the actual truth. Your ex will also fill that truth vacuum with an explanation that benefits his or her self-image at the expense of your kids.

    On April 16 of this year, my child and I drove to an out-of-town extracurricular event that included a 4 hour each way car ride. And by the way, there is no better place to have difficult conversations with a child than in a car … nice and neutral location, no threatening direct eye contact required, and no walking away possible. On that drive, my child came out and asked me point-blank if ex and I were going to get divorced. I had already told my ex I wanted a divorce some weeks prior but we were waiting a year and half to act on it for pension reasons. I could not lie to my child and we had a deep and truthful conversation about why there was indeed going to be a divorce and the reasons why (girl friends, drugs, alcohol). I was very careful to avoid editorial commentary about ex and attempted to be reassuring about my child’s ongoing relationship with the father he loves.

    Thank goodness this conversation occurred when it did. Just 8 days later, I learned the truth about ex’s 30 year homosexual affair, and ex was moved out and living a state away just 5 days later at my insistence. This rapid chain of events would have been very traumatic for our child if he had not already had a basic understanding of the truth. Instead, it went smoothly and with little drama for my child and I.

    My long-winded point is that you may not be able to anticipate in advance exactly when your children will benefit emotionally from knowing an age-appropriate version of the truth. I believe this even more firmly when you are sending your kids for overnight visits. They need some basic understanding of how and why things are as they are in order to make sense of what is happening all around them. And they need to know that YOU are the parent they can trust to help them make sense of it and figure out how they fit into the new situation. Much better they work through these things with the parent who truly has their best interests at heart. Good luck … it is a rough road ahead but your love for your kids will make any burden lighter.

    • When my daughter asked why we weren’t married anymore I told her that when two people are married there are certain rules they have to follow, and her dad didn’t follow the married rules. It hurt me very much and so we had to get divorced.

  • Douchecanoe introduced OW to our 2 year old daughter literally 2 months after we separated. Initially ex moved out of the house and then moved back in when I found my own apartment 2 months later. OW spent the night in the house with my daughter the night after I moved out and my ex moved back in. I found out by my daughter telling me about her and how she brushed her hair and baked cookies and was so nice. I asked to meet her since she was spending time around my daughter. 3 years later and I’m still waiting.

    Ex-douchecanoe knew he couldn’t hack it on his own so he used OW to help him take care of our daughter. She was giving her baths and doing her hair and all the things a parent should do. He slipped her right into our daughter’s life immediately because he knew he couldn’t do it on his own. Literally a couple months later they were going on trips together, attended my Ex-MIL’s wedding together with my daughter, even got “family photos” together in the backyard and posted them all on facebook. “Our family.”

    Chumplady is so wise. You literally have to find a way to let it go. Lorezapam helps. Booze helps. (But not combined) But really you just need to feel the feelings and process through them. Go to the woods and scream and beat a tree with a big stick. Take a spin class and channel all the frustration out through your legs. The courts DO NOT CARE. They don’t. And if your ex and AP are anything like mine they literally get sexual pleasure over pissing me off. They adore it. They revel in it. So I learned to stop showing them when I was annoyed or enraged by the shit they pull on a regular basis. They have built a relationship on a foundation of “look at how misunderstood we are. Our love is forbidden. Nobody understands our great love. Our exes are horrible people who don’t want us to be happy.” My ex literally sent his entire family an email on the eve of his wedding to OW saying that “Strawberry has been actively trying to sabotage my happiness with OW all year!” They feel like they have something to prove to the world through their relationship and they unite over their common enemy. Don’t give them anything to unite and bond over. Step back, step away, and even though you care so so so much you need to stop showing them how much you care.

  • My STBX has yet to sit down and even have a real conversation with his kids (13 & 15) about his leaving. He left a year ago. Just 5 months after leaving, 2 1/2 months after our daughter was born, and just one month after starting to try to do a dissolution, he showed up at my son’s soccer game with his girlfriend in his car. They did not get out, but my son saw them. After his game, he got in my car and said, “Dad had a woman in his car. Is he dating someone?” To which I just said, “Yes.” He then asked, “How long has he been seeing her?” I told him, “To my knowledge, since at least the beginning of February.” His response was, “But that was before the baby was born and you are still married and that is adultery.” To which I just nodded. My son didn’t speak to his dad for two months following that. Both my older kids want absolutely nothing to do with this OW. They would rather not spend time with him than have to spend time with her.

    The kicker is that the AP is a 24-year old graduate student in mental health counseling. Of all people, shouldn’t she have known how damaging that would be? These cheaters and their APs operate on pure selfishness and a total lack of empathy.

    • Getmefree, studying mental health counselling can be a red flag, especially in a young person. Many students of psychology or counselling are drawn to the field because of their own difficult backgrounds and personality vulnerabilities. It would take a lot more wisdom, experience and specialised training in family therapy or marriage counselling for a young student to be on top of this issue, and even then people like to separate their professional knowledge from their personal lives!

      • PS – please don’t think I’m defending the OW – what she did is atrocious, and I’m really sorry to hear about your horrible situation. Just adding “mental health counsellor” to the potential red flag lists, even though most are decent people

  • Okay….my kids are 19 & 25 now, 17 & 23 when he left.
    I never had to do the whole co parent thing.( thank god) and my kids were pretty clear when he left for his AP what the deal was. I never trashed him but didn’t lie when asked a direct question by my kids. They know….they know all the sordid details and I’m not sorry about it at all.
    They choose to be NC with the ex . If they wanted a relationship with him I would encourage them to do what’s best for them.
    Bottom line….I subscribe to the idea that if either one of them ( the ex or his AP ) cared about our kids they would of behaved better.
    My ex now is trying to get the kids to re-engage with him selling the idea that they can build a relationship with just him and never have anything to do with her. Umm….they live together and I’m pretty sure he plans to marry her. What? He’s going to meet our kids out for pizza alone forever??
    Just one more way he proves how fucked up he is.

    • My idiot Father did something similar. Except that my Father is all class…He Married his golddigging whore OW without telling his 3 adult children and thought he would get away with it. I’m NC for the last 2 years.

      • My stepmother was on Irish Radio (she started a Catholic charity to do with Grandparents) and posted a link to the recording on FaceBook. My youngest daughter listened with particular interest to her description of how she met and married my Dad – her Grandfather (eyes met across a crowded room, love at first sight etc etc).. and rang me.

        “Mum, Grandma Sparkles forgot to mention that Granddad was married to someone else with two kids under five at the time – what a hypocrite!”

        Nuff said!

  • I think that CL gave you good advice, All4thekids.

    1) While there are a few outstanding exceptions, the general consensus is to tell your children the truth about the divorce in age-appropriate ways. Talk with your lawyer about doing this. You want to have a very supportive, open, and honest relationship with your children. You want your children to know that they should feel free to confide in you. Keeping the reason for the divorce a secret shows that you can’t tell your children important information. As long as you are very neutral (you can practice your responses ahead of time), you can let your children know the reason for the divorce without trashing their mother or her creepy boyfriend. Again, talk with your lawyer to see if it’s okay.
    2) Working with your children on establishing boundaries for personal contact is very important. This is a good survival skill for all of them, even if the MOM is not a child predator. I was reminded of this on another group the other day, when a woman reported that a toddler boy was hitting her toddler girl. The little boy’s mother made excuses (“He does this because he likes you”), but while that’s understandable that she’s trying to play down the intent of a 2-year-old, the more appropriate response would be to talk to the boy, telling him that hitting people is a bad way to gain attention. He needs to be nicer.
    3) Be the engaged dad. Talk and text with them as often as you can–even on a daily basis, if possible. You’re going to have to put up with some shit sandwiches with respect to the fun things that their mother or that creepy married OM has done with them. You don’t have to cut off the conversation, but merely acknowledge that they had fun and then turn the conversation to something else. This shows that they don’t need to keep secrets from you. By the same token, if something happens that they don’t like, again, listen to them. This might be a case of house rules. You have your house rules and their mother has her own house rules. As long as what they’re doing doesn’t come under the heading of endangerment or neglect or any other criminal activity, no court will interfere. That said, you can again acknowledge that they feel the way they feel.
    4) Document any violations of the custody agreement. Does she drop the kids off on time? Is she late picking them up? Does she ask you to pick them up from school on one of her nights? Are you getting reports from the kids that she’s leaving them in the care of creepy Married OM? Keep note of any and all of these things. Better yet, use a software scheduler so that you have a really good record of whenever she deviates from her schedule. My bet is that a woman who starts an affair when her child is a baby is a woman who finds that the time and emotional commitment involved in raising children will put a real crimp in her style. She’ll be able to hold to the schedule initially, but over time she’ll dump more parenting on you. If so, the documentation will help revisit custody and the amount of child support you’re paying out at this time.

    Best of luck to you!

  • All4thekids, I am so very sorry that you have had to endure this. I think your 4 kids are very, very lucky to have you as their father.

    I’ve been in the trenches with hundreds of adults who experienced divorce in their nuclear family. Not one wished to have truthful information withheld. The advice re alienation of affection MUST be factored in ~~ but truth and authenticity were uniformly desired. Big surprise, eh?

    2 facts:

    1. Few people go to bed at night praying for half truths or omission of info.
    2. Cluster Bs excel at withholding and distorting the truth. ?, V

  • Absolutely tell the children how the breakup happened. She should not get a “pass” on that.

    You can’t control who she spends time with or who she introduces the children to, nor should you, she’s divorced she can live her life how she chooses…. don’t YOU want the freedom to do the same? Do you want HER telling you who you can be with or who you can introduce the kids to? Probably not. But you can get the upper hand here by being the sane one.

    I agree with Tracy 100%, OM is just acting like he cares about the kids because it probably gets him more kibbles. He soon will tire of it and dump your Ex and she’ll be a single parent of 4 realizing she should have spent that “spare time” on her marriage.

    Sorry this is happening but I see it as a very temporary situation.

  • Down the road, the kids will eventually learn the truth. They won’t be happy that you lied to them and hid it from them even if they understand that you did it “for their own good.” Kids value a trusting relationship just like we do.

  • Just wanted to note that if anything demonstrates the selflessness, kindness, maturity and emotional stability of chumps then today’s posts should be required reading.
    The tone of all the posts has been courageous and somewhat sombre reflecting the difficult realities of parenting with dysfunctional others.
    I have never been prouder to be a chump, frankly.
    My heart goes out to all. ❤️

  • I hope anyone who is pondering, today, what to do about telling the kids reads this post and the comments. Even if telling the kids about the affair is “parental alienation,” it is not alienating to tell kids that marriage involved being trustworthy, telling the truth, being faithful and keeping promises and that the other parent broke up the marriage by failing to do those things. And if the sane parent has documentation of the cheater going against the recommendation of the court, of introducing a married affair partner and taking trips, and of failing to follow the court ordered visitation, then I agree with CL–bring it on. Let’s go to court and explain to the judge why Cheaterpants is sleeping over with the kids and a married AP. Not a conversation Cheaterpants wants to have.

    But this letter really shows the importance of getting certain points into the divorce agreement: no contact between kids dating partners for a full year after divorce and no contact at all with married dating partners. Not that the court order prevents those things. We’re dealing with liars and gaslighters here. But at least a chump has a shot at getting the kids settled before a new person enters the situation.

    I’m writing this part not from the perspective of a parent but from that of an educator. Kids aren’t stupid. Those who are old enough to date understand cheating. They will figure things out. It helps kids when parents tell them the truth but allow them to figure out what that means for them. Most kids want love and attention from both parents, no matter how screwed up and broken and dangerous those parents might be. Sane parents will work on their own healing and let kids find their own way with the other parent, with appropriate support when needed and within the limits of the court order. Sane parents may notice that the kids take them for granted and work harder for the approval of the cheating/ClusterB parent. But isn’t that familiar? Isn’t that what chumps modeled for years–the desperate attempt to “win” the favor of a narcissist/Cluster B type who doesn’t have the capacity for empathy and reciprocity? That’s where it can help to just listen to kids and help them figure out their end of things, as you would when they get their heart broken for the first time or a friend lets them down.

    • LAJ, “Sane parents may notice that the kids take them for granted and work harder for the approval of the cheating/ClusterB parent. But isn’t that familiar? Isn’t that what chumps modeled for years–the desperate attempt to “win” the favor of a narcissist/Cluster B type who doesn’t have the capacity for empathy and reciprocity? That’s where it can help to just listen to kids and help them figure out their end of things, as you would when they get their heart broken for the first time or a friend lets them down.”

      This should be a public service announcement for telling your children, in age appropriate terms, what the cheater did.

      Good point LAJ.

      Chump parents, please tell your kids about what happened to their family, to their intact family, in age appropriate ways. It’s hard, ugly and awful, but if you don’t, how will they know what their cheating parent is doing to their family….. It’s another glorious shit sandwich for the chump, but it’s part of the shit sandwich that the cheater has put you into, and you are the only one that can make the ugly truth known.

  • I agree with the advice on the site to simply try not to police OW/OM, because it is basically futile, BUT absolutely make sure your kids feel free to communicate what is going on at XS place.

    I remember a case where XH and OW were shacking up, and to the poster’s dismay, the OW was bathing her 2 children together with her child. Apparently, XH/OW were taking the “new, one big happy family” fallacy to the maximum, only by accident did the child mention to mom that this incident was even happening.
    The child thought it was absolutely normal to do this – saw no reason to tell, just mentioned it one night to mom during bath time….

    XH felt insulted when the poster objected, he refused to make it stop, told her to “accept” the OW was part of their kids lives now… It did take legal action to get this situation resolved. She won BIG TIME.
    The original poster was drug through the mud for making “false and insidious” claims, but in the end, she prevailed.

  • We’re not even divorce and STBX has introduced our daughter (15) to other woman who has three kids and still lives with her husband. They all hang out love bombing the hell out of each other.

    My daughter thinks she’s super cool. Having to practices Cool.Bummer. Wow.

    I’m being goaded with how wonderful everything is. Double helping of shit sandwiches.

    • Daughter knew from the beginning about snowflake, before her dad even left. He’s been grooming her for a year, so no surprise she was going to think snowflake was super cool.

      • I am so sorry. That really, really sucks.
        STBX has been love bombing our middle child like crazy. Middle son is the hardest sell and the most aware of what is going on. He has shown some signs of drinking the koolaid – it is so hard to watch.

      • WTFhappened, I am so sorry, this must hurt so much. You are doing great if you can manage CBW in these circumstances. They are soooo good at grooming, they do it all the time. It’s sickening. Big hugs.

  • All of these cheaters who get together with their APs have the same delusion I had: I knew my girlfriend–>fiancé–>wife had cheated on prior boyfriends. And I ignored that red flag because our love was special, different, “real,” etc…and marriage is a bigger deal than dating. So she’ll never cheat on me!!!

    That was definitely the most illogical and downright stupid thought I’ve had in my entire life.

    So, these APs, who are willing to cheat on their spouses and children and (at a minimum) willing to disrespect the very notion of marriage and family by dating another persons’s spouse…

    …these cheaters think they’ll somehow get different results. They believe they’re somehow more loveable and worthy of fidelity and family responsibility than the APs family…and their OWN family.

    The cognitive dissonance required is breathtaking. I was dumb enough to be afflicted by it, but I learned through the terrible experience and am not so dumb anymore. Cheaters (including my manipulative ex wife) go through the same terrible experience–albeit on the inflicting end instead of the receiving end–and take away no lesson at all.

    They don’t learn that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. They don’t learn that values and character are forged over decades, not months. They don’t learn that AP is heavily interested and invested…right up until he/she isn’t and then will liquidate their position so fast it’ll make your head spin.

    They learn nothing.

  • Dear All4thekids
    Those kids are entitled to explanation as to why Mom and Dad are not with each other. Any explanation that does not refer to Mom’s infidelity (albeit in an age appropriate way) is not an explanation. I decided that as being lied to was the most hurtful thing around the affair I was not going to lie to my son in order to protect his Mom’s reputation. The fact that the truth does not reflect well on her is not your problem.

  • All4thekids, I have a question, you said: ” Six months later, she has already introduced our kids to her affair partner on multiple occasions (who is not yet even divorced himself).”

    Do you know for a fact that the AP is actually getting a divorce? Cos if not, you have other options to shut this shit down. My ex continued to tell his AP that he couldn’t leave because I was in pain long after I told him we were divorcing. It is entirely possible your exassholes AP is telling her he is divorcing when he is not. Just sayin it’s worth checking on. If he’s not divorcing letting his wife know what’s going on would probably take care of the issue for a while.

    Jedi Hugs!

  • good advice above.

    just wanted to reinforce the point that you have no control over what your ex and the loser-she’s-fucking-at-the-moment say or do. just let it go and try to train yourself to focus on something else when these thoughts come up, because they can become an obsession. it works for me.

    doesn’t mean you have to deny your feelings: i hate the shithead that my wife cheated with. he was a friend of the family and already had (and continues to have) a relationship with my daughter. he’s smart enough to make himself scarce when the time comes to do the child swap (we’re 50/50); i don’t go out of my way to cause trouble with him or the ex.

    the idea that you shouldn’t tell the kids about mum’s cheating is the kind of concept that could only come from the mind of a cheater or a shrink who deals with reconciling couples. i fell into this trap, too, and it sucks. one way to work around it is to just respond honestly to any questions your kids have. in response to a question about her mum’s relationship with the dickhead, i told my daughter that her mum was seeing a married man and that this is the wrong thing to do. i explained why it’s wrong. she doesn’t know about the affair pre-divorce yet. i still struggle with this and waver between telling her straight out or just continuing to wait for the right questions. my gut tells me to just tell her the truth – so if i was going to give advice about this then that’s what i’d recommend.

    over time, the depths of your ex-wife’s loser-ishness will become very apparent to you. what she thinks, says and does won’t carry much weight in your mind. best to just try and be the decent parent.

  • All4thekids please do not do *anything* with the AP. If he is already an angry person-you do not know what he is capable of. Disordered people make up lies and cause lots of trouble for chumps. Do not give him any fodder. Do not give him anything to fabricate into a bigger lie. It will cost you money in legal fees that you surely would like to go to your children’s college fund and not to an attorney (hers or yours). Because if you give any fodder for him to do so (telling x’s AP’s wife) he can make a mountain of lies up out of the tiniest grain of truth and then your facing stupid civil crap on stalking and harassment (very easy to procure).

    It sucks to see your children with him. It is viscerally painful to know that your children could be with you but are instead with him. I promise you that time will solve your problem and he will not be in your children’s lives much longer. It will be too difficult a relationship for both to maintain and he will send her packing in some dramatic fashion. The hard part is trusting that this will happen. It totally will. Pinky promise. AND then x will be with someone else and someone else and someone else and your children will come to believe she is flaky and unreliable but they will have YOU! They will have a safe place to come home to with you and they will notice that. And as she has more someone else’s you will care less and less because 1) that someone else did not break up your marriage 2) he probably won’t last very long either.

    Be good to yourself. take good care of yourself and your children and come here when you need support. I know it isn’t easy. But it is possible.

  • Usually I read all the previous posts and then I’m too tired to post something myself. Tonight I will post first and read later.

    My life at 9 years old got turned upside down FAST.

    Within a year, my dad was gone, my dog was gone, I had to move into a shitty little apartment from the only home I’d ever known, and change schools. IT SUCKED!!

    I had no control and there were no child phsychologists around to see me through.

    I faltered, my grades slid for a few years…I was painfully shy in the first place and felt hopelessly lost.

    My dad isn’t what I would call a sane parent, but out of the two I was given, he was the better bet at the time. Both my parents moved on very quickly. In that same year, my mom had two boyfriends and my dad had a pregnant girlfriend.

    The second boyfriend my mom had was rich. He was pretty nice to me and I liked him. He bought me a bike and gave me $100 for my birthday. He taught me to play backgammon and brought me candy one time when I was sick.

    He didn’t stay in my mom’s life because he cheated on her. To this day, he was my favorite mom boyfriend. BUT, he wasn’t my dad. He wasn’t even a great boyfriend to my mom as it turned out. He was nice to me for a brief time when my life was turned upside down.

    It doesn’t make it right that your ex-wife’s boyfriend is a douche bag but kids just think in their world. I didn’t care how my mom was treated or who my dad was seeing or if their day was good or bad. The only thing that mattered was how my life was affected.

    My dad did not bad-mouth my mother and he was much more stable than my mother and I ended up living with my dad from the age of 13-17.

    My mom kept moving and dating and could not hold a job and my life was much better when I was away from her craziness but she made those choices. I held her responsible as a child and not her boydriends.

    As difficult as it may be to have another man in your children’s life, Tracy is correct in saying he probably won’t stay. And it’s not up to you if he does. If your kids are happy, please let them be happy. They’ve been through so much.

    You are not being replaced.

    I’m just trying to give a point of view from a child’s mind. We are all happy when we are being treated well but we also are able to figure out who is fake and who is not, even at a very young age.

    Be the sane parent and try to let your kids enjoy any good times they may have with other people. They are working through a lot right now.

    Peace and best wishes. 🙂

    • Wiseoldowl, thank you for giving us the kid’s perspective. Life sucks so much when you’re a chump, it’s easy to miss the kids’ view point.

  • I have a question, I get that you tell your children about the cheating, but what about when the XH is trying to get as much money out of you as possible? Like when the ex is a total non maintenance paying deadbeat, then wants to try and get money and threaten to make you homeless. Do you tell on his fake Disney dad lying ass?

    • I believe you should NOT discuss any money issues with the kids. That is definitely between the adults and is completely separate from visitation issues and telling kids the truth about why there is a divorce/separation. For example, not allowing a child to visit his other parent because the other parent didn’t pay support punishes the child for something he has no control over. Children also worry a lot about whether there will be enough money for housing, food and so forth. Don’t add to their worries … reassure them to the extent you can.

  • My children were told “when you get married you cant have another girlfriend or boyfriend. If you do that, you have broken your promises and you cant be married any more”
    I have also spoken to the older one about what promises you make when you get married (eg look after each other, share with each other, be honest…..) and said if you break them then your marriage will break too.
    No editorial, statement of fact only.

  • Wow, just wow. Thanks for all the thoughts, advice, and well wishes. I’ve decided to definitely tell the kids (been looking at age appropriate ways to tell them). Also going to take CL’s advice and just let go. I’ve done the best I can by my family, and won’t stop now. I so very much wish I’d have found this site a year ago. Thanks again everyone! You’re all amazing and inspiring!

  • Is anyone there?
    I broke No Contact and texted my X about a form that looked ominous from the IRS.
    This is what he allowed the OW to text back to me in part:
    Note: I have NEVER done anything to this person, other than twice ask to speak to my X fiancee with utter politeness.


    There was definatly a reason why you havent never been married or with anybody before and i would have to say its definatly NOT bc you was “saving yourself” for you elementry sweetheart! I would have to say its definatly bc if you ever did have a boyfriend before ****** he probably ran so far from your dangerously sick stalker ways and never once turned to look back.. So bitch do us all a favor.. better yet do the world a favor find the closest tallest bridge and jump!


    Oh God, someone please talk me out of murder. She is the OW! She blew up MY LIFE.
    I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to move. I don’t know….???

    • Kendal: The OW is a piece of shit. It’s apparently not enough that her moral code allows her to sleep with someone else’s partner, but then she resorts to nastiness and threats against you? Consider the source–a sleazy, possibly disease-infested, mean girl has lashed out because she knows you’re a better, more valorous person.

      I’m sure you feel murderous, but frankly, you have to laugh at her ridiculous rant. And lesson learned–let your ex get hauled for a hearing at the IRS. He gets NOTHING forwarded to him, not bills, not parking tickets, not 1040s. If he instructs OW to respond instead, he is a coward and a fuckwit. Water always finds its own level, and they are both pondscum and belong together.

      There is an amazing trend for the cheaters and OW/OM, who harm US, to lash back as if they were the victims. Mind-boggling, I know, but emotional intelligence and self awareness are not their strong suits. View their behavior clinically–it’s pathological, not really personal as they would do horrible things to anyone in your position. Simply think to yourself, “Hm, that’s interesting behavior which illustrates a cruelty streak and poor impulse control” (as if you were watching my X do it to me, instead).

      The good news is that the OW is obviously a classless piece of work, and your X is now stuck with her ; ). You, on the other hand, once you navigate this post-infidelity emotional field-of-landmines, will emerge smarter, stronger, better (yeah, I never believed that either early on, but it’s true). Big hugs!

    • Wow! The OW is pathetic, sadistic, and sad. Go no contact and stay that way.
      Any important IRS forms addressed to my ex go straight to the top of the recycling bin, unopened. I did informer the IRS of his new address, and his hiding of assets. If he can’t be bothered with changing his address with the post office, I hope identity thieves find the documents with his social security number on it. Consequences. What I do NOT do is contact him to try to help him avoid the consequences of being a sociopath cheater who hooked up with a drug addict unemploable slut.

    • Kendal,

      She’s toxic. Her hate isn’t for you — she doesn’t even KNOW you — she hates the pick me dance. Of course, she can’t articulate that, or realize she’s being played (she’s an idiot). She hates the COMPETITION. She’s bought into the idea that YOU are the problem, not her own set of morals being involved with a cheater.

      She WINS the PICK ME DANCE. Forever. Eternally mindfucked. Which is what she deserves.

      Walk away and don’t look back.

  • Anyone help out with the OW telling me to jump off a bridge? See above?
    I don’t know why I feel so bad. You never loved someone if you let the OW talk to you like this.
    I was trying to help him.

    • That’s. Why you have to stay no contact. Do not engage. Go punch a pillow and pretend it’s her face. And then forget about it. It sounds like she’s punishment enough for herself.

      No contact for ANY reason. Pretend they don’t exist.

      She is dying to draw you in. DONT DO IT OR SHE WINS THE ROUND.

    • I think the OW is intimidated by you, she’s lashing out in fear. She says you’re a stalker and bitch (name-calling), and seems to want you dead by your own hand (so she won’t have to be insecure anymore). Please don’t give this loser any more of your mental real estate, it’s not worth it. You still are sad over the loss of a relationship, and maybe obsessing about how are they doing together, lots of us have been there! Next time his mail comes, mark ‘wrong address’ and put it back in the mailbox, you can stop doing him favors1 Protect yourself, practice NC, and go forward with your new life. You have love in your heart, so you will be fine, it just takes a lot of time.
      Pulling for you, K!

      • You are just the best for responding, FreeWoman! I have never posted, ever. But, it was so jarring.
        I reread what you wrote several times and your analysis gave me peace.

        Everytime, everytime, I contact this jerk, I end up feeling worse than I did before.

        No Contact. Everytime I break it, I pay. Not him! I pay.

    • Kendal, the OW is a downgrade who can’t string a sentence together and can’t spell. Don’t try to help your cheater. He is the downgrade’s problem now. Be glad he is her problem, be glad she is his problem. Kendal, you deserve better. I know it’s hard, I know you feel like shit right now. Make yourself go No Contact, absolutely. It sounds like you were not married, have no kids together, right? So you are free of this shit anytime you want. Make that time NOW. Trust us here, no matter how much it hurts, how hard it is to do, do it. It will work. Thank god you are rid of that trash.

  • Oh thanks! I was praying one of you would come and offer support. I did not respond.
    I was doing some deep breathing and reread CL’s excellent post about an OW cyberstalking.
    CL said basically…let them have their crazy.

    Telling me to kill myself? I know this may be obvious…but no one happy or confident would say that, would they?

    Thank you so much, WiseOwl.

    • Kendal, the OW can’t even spell.

      YOU can spell.

      No Contact, No Contact, No Contact. But you knew that already.

      It’s amazing what a planned time-out can do. If you find yourself again in a similar situation, prepare for it by saying, ‘I will not respond to this for the next 12 hours’.

      In that 12 hours, hash out every mean thing on paper or electronically, or verbally, or set it to music and sing it, if you have to. Just hash it out.

      Then remind yourself of all the things No Contact does in your favour.

      At the end of the 12 hours, you will no longer want to respond.

      That’s the best thing about written communications – you can give yourself a really long time-out. It’s so much harder when they say it to your face!

      • Yes….wouldn’t you be embarrassed to send such a vicious text…and then to be so sloppy and lazy, or I guess illiterate to send it?
        I was just talking to myself and said: Wow, you got a real prize. They are both cheaters. She is, wait for it….married.

        It reminds me of they go low, we go high. I will NEVER give that heifer the satisfaction of any response from me. She does not deserve to pump my gas.

        But, it is ironic…I have never bothered her ONCE. She texted my fiancee when she knew he was with me. Texted him about her pussy. Slept with him when he was engaged. But, I am the stalker.

        Who are these people? They should all be rounded up and shot. I am only half joking.

  • Dear Chump lady,
    My situation is similar to All4thekids, except that I let the kids know at the get go about their father’s cheating/affair with the OW. My 15 year old boy gets it and has told me to never take him back (not that he wants to come back! too busy enjoying his “happiness” as he is “in love”). My 11 year old is another story. she is curious and on the father’s side – feeling pity that he has to leave the house and rent other digs while waiting for the divorce to come through and obtain enough money from the settlement to buy a new place for him and the OW and her 2 kids (from 2 different guys – yes, I know! ). He also plays the pity card to her that he has no money and was chased out of the house (hallo, I let him stay for 3months after D Day!). In any case, I told him specifically that the kids must never meet the OW. So far, he is keeping his end of the bargain. However, I find myself wondering periodically, whether it has really sunk into 11 year old that there is in fact an OW. I wonder if my narrative will fade over time with the kids since they see no evidence of the OW. then again, why am I even musing about this? Should I be repeating the fact of the affair to the kids periodically to ensure that they do not forget that the reason for their parents splitting is due to his cheating? he hasn’t denied it to he kids but he fumbled with excuses – “she was already estranged from her husband when we got involved.” !!! yes, 2 cheaters together – the perfect match! hammering the point in repeatedly to the kids makes them roll their eyes so I’ve tried not to do it too much. Let everyone move on already. And I put it in the divorce documents about the affair as well.

  • All4thekids, you are doing a wonderful job for your kids. It’s not too late to start your narrative to the kids. Tell them the truth- the 11 and 15 year olds can probably understand it, tho the 5 and 9 will not grasp the moral significance. But they will eventually, and they will also realize when they are much older what their mother did to split up your family. time and distance is important for you and the kids to grieve, heal and move on. You are blessed to have 4 kids. I wished I had more kids (have 2) to care and love for since now it’s only the 3 of us left! But keep up your efforts – divorce has to be endured but Tuesday will come , it will! (hugs) No contact and letting go is my mantra. And ” I can only control me”. My divorce came through within 4 months from D day as I also decided to give the cheater a quick and speedy divorce and I feel nothing looking at the final judgement, Tell yourself that she’s history and you are lucky to get away from the disordered while you could!!! good luck!

  • This is the worst, AFTK. But it will get better, and letting go (as heart wrenching as it is) will allow the kids to compare/contrast the two homes. Mine have realized who is the sane parent; they know. We took some divorce workshops and they mentioned how a lot of kids have angst over their parents’ divorce. Mine don’t, because they know. When he chose to introduce the AP to the kids three days after leaving…please tell your kids the truth and then let them sort it out. They will. The amazing thing is, they know and they get it and they understand. Give them that clarity so they can try to make sense of a crazy situation. Good luck!

  • I also agree strongly with the age-appropriate explanation, otherwise they will be so confused and bewildered, and possibly blame themselves. I insisted ex tell them with me before he moved out, because OW was already telling everyone how miserable he had been living with me, and that they were a couple. Her prayer group was not impressed! He said something like that daddy was now in love with OW and was now unhappy to be married to me. They didn’t say much but I’m glad they heard the truth.
    My ex also couldn’t wait to hang out with OW, which he justified because they already knew her as my son’s music teacher. They moved in together within months and my kids were lumped together with hers. They refused to go to the wedding which was only 16 months after D-Day.
    As they grow older, I am sure it was the right thing to do, otherwise they will grow up thinking marriages can just fall apart with no obvious conflict. Wanting them to have an ongoing relationship with their other parent and not trashing them shouldn’t mean you have to lie by omission about why they left.

  • My Ex introduced my kids to her AP after 3 months of me discovering her affair, I hadn’t even filed for divorce! When he died a month later, she met someone new within 4 weeks and introduced my kids to him 2 months after meeting him. Trying to explain to her that it was too soon simply fell on deaf ears and she made me out to be the crazy one and spouted BS such as “Life’s too short and I’ve learnt that the hard way, and I am not willing to sit around grieving for 6, 12 months”, “It’s like you don’t want me to be happy” WTF!!!

    The best one she came out with was..

    “We (BF) are serious about each other, You need to trust my instincts on this one…I’m the first person he has introduced his kids to in 18 months since he split from his wife. His wife waited only 8 weeks to introduce the kids to her new boyfriend” so hypocritical that my ex is criticising her BF’s ex wife for doing exactly the same thing that she was doing – thick as pig shit!

  • Child’s play here. My ex introduced my kids to his GF 2 months after moving out and she has been their constant companion ever since! My youngest, at the time 12, asked him why she had to be with them all the time and he said “because I’m lonely”. My son said “how can you be lonely? I’m right next to you”. Out of the mouths of babes!! My spouse has now moved in with her even though we aren’t divorced.
    I’ve never said a word but my kids get it. They understand how screwed up this is. They spend very little time with their dad and his GF and when they do they ask for money. So…….don’t sweat it. Kids aren’t stupid.

  • All4thekids, I totally feel for you.
    From my experience, I can tell you it’s not so bad.
    What would you do if the nanny turns out to have an affair with your husband, 1 year before she even started to babysit?
    What if you would discover she is in fact a sex worker, and your husband of 10 years has been performing in front of your child?
    Enraged! That’s how I felt.

    I applaud you for giving time to your wife. You dedicated yourself completely to your family.
    My husband’s idea of giving me time for gym was to spend it with the babysitter…
    Life has some horrific twists. Make your best with what you’ve got.

  • Ugh. I filed for divorce. We told the kids a few days later, less than a week later, he introduced my son to the OW. He had introduced my daughter to her before I even knew about the affair. It sucks

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