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Dear Chump Lady, Am I responsible for the kids’ relationship with their dad?

Dear Chump Lady,

Help me understand, am I responsible to repair the relationship my children (17 yrs., 21 yrs. and 22 yrs.) have with their sucky father? This is one of the several emails I have received from him on the subject:

Was just wondering if the kids could say hi. I know these are consequences. I have lost my best friend, my future and no one will talk to me. I was just hoping you could get the kids to say hi.

I am almost three months from D Day #2. It turns out my firefighter husband of 18 years was doing more at CrossFit than preparing for the Open. Apparently he was getting two workouts a day, for three years, one using weights and one using a desperate housewife while I was busting my butt as a high school vice principal.

For every time he accused me of working too much, my children would tell me how proud they were of me. For every time he bullied them when he felt I was spending too much time with them, they would grow closer to me. For every time he drove their anxiety through the roof with his unrealistic expectations, they turned to me for unconditional love.

My husband has a bad case of impression management and our children, like me, are practicing truth, honesty, and no contact. I never speak ill of their father, I just speak the truth. I am no where near acceptance, but am over wanting our marriage to work. Our home is listed and I am working with a lawyer.

I want to believe he wants a relationship with our children, but why now? Help!


Dear LettingGo,

I assume you’ve told the kids the truth of why you’re divorcing — Dad cheated. I recommend here not editorializing (i.e., “Dad is a man-whore.”) And leave it at that. Don’t overshare the sordid details. Don’t slop your grief on to the kids (they have enough of their own). Just try your best to do your sane parent job. That’s ENOUGH.

Divorce frees you of many things, and one of them is the job of public relations officer for your ex. He gets the ugly brown sofa, the wedding china, and all the responsibility for his relationships — his kids, his parents, friends, neighbors, and any wandering Jehovah’s Witnesses who might come to the door. Getting young people to “say hi” to him? Not. Your. Job.

Your job is to abide by whatever temporary custody order you have in place. And you only have ONE minor child — for how many more months? I’m not a lawyer, but I imagine the court will side with whomever your child wants to live with, which sounds like you. That’s good news! You’re in the driver’s seat here.

Which is probably why your soon-to-be-ex is sending you his sad sausage missives. The mindfuck is firmly set to the self-pity channel with this guy.

Shall we UBT it?

Was just wondering if the kids could say hi.

Perhaps they were struck mute by an angry goblin, or ate too much peanut butter and their tongues got stuck to the roofs of their mouths.

I know these are consequences.

I fail to comprehend consequences, because I still think you should do shit for me. And care.

I have lost my best friend,

I have lost her. You know, the way your keys sometimes fall in between the sofa cushions and you really need your keys? And you can’t find them? Because… pockets. Who knows why pockets fail? Or why cushions swallow useful things? Just one of those sad, unfortunate events, losing best friend things.

my future

Woe! Don’t leave me to my fuckbuddy! Whatever shall I do?

and no one will talk to me.

I don’t understand this. I’m so fit! Have you seen my pectorals? Will no one talk CrossFit with me or ask me about my body fat percentages?

I am so fascinating. Yet you deny me kibbles.

I was just hoping you could get the kids to say hi.

My relationships with the people I have hurt are your responsibility. Did I hurt you? That’s your responsibility too. Just because I fucked around on you for three years, humiliated you, destroyed our family, and risked your health, doesn’t mean you can’t still do things for me.

Get the kids to say hi. MAKE THEM. Release them from the goblin curse! Allow them idle chitchat with their father! I command you! Do it now or I shall have a sadz!

Does no one care about my feelings?


LettingGo, his “feelings” are not your problem. He didn’t care your feelings or your children’s feelings. So let him live with the consequences. They’re all his.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.


    Your children are old enough to know the truth and make their own choices. His cheating impacted their past, their present and how they will think and feel in the future.

    Speak the truth, never be the person in the middle and worry about you and your children – not the ‘man’ who is very sorry that he has to face the consequences of his actions and choices.

    I have been there and survived…my kids and I share a beautiful life and an even more beautiful relationship without their cheating father. His choice to cheat and now their choice to not have him in their lives.

    • Never forget – NO is a complete sentence. Don’t let him continue to use you to make his life better and focus on yours instead.

    • @Rebecca I am looking forward to the day when I can proclaim, “I survived.” I getting there… just not fast enough.

  • This question is designed to make you the a-hole if you do anything besides what he wants. It also strikes me as an attempt to get you to respond.

    This isn’t a question that requires an answer. It isn’t relevant to the logistics of the divorce or to the kids’ well being. CL is right – not your job.

    My two cents: document it, maybe tell your lawyer, but don’t respond at all. He will expect a response and will likely ramp up his attempts to get one. Document. Tell your lawyer. Otherwise, you only need to respond, with brevity, to questions that pertain directly to divorce logistics at this point.

    (Well, OK, if your 17 year old has a health issue, you probably have to tell him. Otherwise, he doesn’t need any information the kids choose not to provide. Your lawyer will know best if you encounter gray areas.)

    • The way this is phrased tries to put all the responsibility onto you. If you do not get the kids to talk to him then you are letting the kids and him down. You will be responsible for their failed relationship. My STBX does this ALL the time (he also throws some threats in there as well when I do not respond). It is called blameshifting and gaslighting.

      And I hate it when it gets to me. I desperately want what is best for my kids and he knows it and uses it. Do.Not.Respond.

      Some of my STBX’s lines:
      You should want the kids to have a relationship with me.
      Don’t you want what is best for the kids?
      How can you let a 13 and 15 year old decide if they want to spend time with me?
      I give you 10 hours notice that I want to see the kids and you don’t respond. You are preventing me from seeing the kids.
      You know that I am stopping by sometime on Saturday to see the kids and you make plans for 5pm cutting into my time.
      How am I supposed to see the kids if you won’t let me in the house anymore?
      Can I come see daughter on her birthday right before she goes to bed? (taking OW away for the weekend and won’t get back until late)

      And the one I get every week – when can I see the kids this weekend? Ummm…you got the standard parenting time in the temporary order…did you not read it? Or are you just afraid that if you ask the kids to go places with you or stay with you they will say no or is it just that YOU don’t want that much time with them and only want to make plans after you see where there are openings left in your schedule?

      • GetMeFree –
        This is my life. We don’t have a temporary custody agreement yet so it is complicated. I only pray that when the kids say they don’t want to be with him, he will not force them to go. I am so afraid of them going with him, and then wanting me, and him not letting them.

        • Shit bag wife
          My situation got more complicated with the temporary order. Until then, I had more freedom and control. Now, I have to keep his “time” open in case he wants to use it so I am not in contempt. He hasn’t even tried in the last 6 weeks since it became effective to use it.

        • Here is a great use for scheduling software like Our Family Wizard where you can post information about the kids (school events, sports, etc.) and exchange information about “custody” switches–I put “custody” in q marks to distinguish your situation from legal custody orders. First, you need a place to document what is going on. You may be spending the bulk of time with the kids and you want the court to know that’s the natural order of things in your situation. OFW and similar programs also put STBX in a position to make his own choices about his involvement with the kids. For example, if you put DS’s or DD’s soccer schedule up on OFW, he can choose to go to all the games or none or just a few. That puts his relationship with the kids in his hands. So if you make sure that the info you have makes the OFW calendar–and he does the same with family events on his side, etc.–you can show that while you aren’t responsible for meditating the kids’ relationships with STBX, you are providing the information STBX needs to be involved in their lives.

          Second, you also should start weaning STBX off texts and email and phone so you can be as “no contact” as possible. Otherwise, he will continue to try to loop you in with those weekly emails. If you have to, post the time every week on the OFW site and note if he is a no-show.

          So–let a scheduling software calendar convey the key information to STBX. Document everything there, and note when he misses his time with the kids. That’s important information for a final custody award–why would a judge give him more than he has now if he can’t maintain a set schedule now?? Get busy and document!

          And do NOT allow pop-in visits. If the kids are old enough to make their own decisions, he of course can ask them if they can meet. But don’t do much deviating now because you are setting the precedent for years to come. “Begin as you mean to go on.”

          • I essentially do this between Google calendars and a manual calendar.

            I created a Google calendar for each kid. I actually have done this for years. I then share each calendar with him. That means every morning when he turns on his phone, a list of activities pops up. I put every practice, game, school event, doctor appointment, and the occasional social event (if I know about it more than 48 hours ahead of time). Going to their games is one thing he actually does do. He just doesn’t stick around to talk to them afterwards.

            I then have a hard copy of a calendar that I record every contact or missed contact with the kids and how long each visit is (aside from texts and phone calls directly to the kids). I have been doing this per my attorney since last April.

            He does not want any custody so it is really just about parenting time. I don’t think he really wants set time either. I do believe he wants to see and spend some time with them but it is only when it fits into his plans.

            I have an unusual situation in that the 1 year old has a rare disorder. He hasn’t bothered getting training on how to handle an emergency with her. So right now I have a temporary order giving him standard parenting time, but I can’t let him take her since EVERYONE who cares for her is required to be trained. He hasn’t even asked to take her, so only option right now to see her is at my house unless we find a neutral site and caregiver to be the visit site.

          • I give a custody calendar with his days and mine, three months in advance. Other than that it is his responsibility to procure sports and school calendars. He’s responsible on his days, I’m responsible on mine.

      • Keep sending him the visitation schedule. If he can’t comply with it, you’re not at all obligated to accommodate his pop ins. If you don’t have to have him in your home, then tell him no.

        If you’re kids don’t want to go, they’re old enough to tell their father themselves. Try not to put yourself in the ref position.

        Hugs. I know your pain.

        • ChutesandLadders – thank you for the support.

          As of last Monday, he is no longer welcome in the house (and the temporary order supports that). I don’t worry as much for the 13 and 15 year old but the 1 year old. She is special needs and he hasn’t bothered to get training to care for her. By letting him see her for 1-2 hours at my house allowed them to have a relationship without worrying about her safety. Meeting with my attorney to find out if I have to give her to him if he wants her (per the temporary order) or if I can prevent it based on the special circumstances.

      • Sounds so familiar those lines you get. This CL post is very timely . My daughter has been very emotional the last few weeks. She even said she wanted to die. If seems to stem from something negative she overheard her father saying about a female. She thinks he was speaking about me. I spoke to stbx s father to ask that he intervene in light of the fact that stbx has been entertaining at least two women in front of the children and although my daughter has said to him she feels these people cut into her time with their father he ignored her and accused me of putting the idea in her head. His father’s reply was to suggest I speak to my daughter. And say what I asked. He replied he didn’t know. I said to his father that it is not my job to address stbx poor choice to ignore his child’s complaint.

      • LOVE that! Your ex sure has the blame game and gaslighting down pat! Good for you for not responding!

    • @Amiisfree No contact is a blessing. It is days when I receive above emails that I want to let him have it.

  • He’s a big boy, they’re all (mostly) adults. Let them make their own decisions in their own time. Don’t “guilt-trip” them by telling them about the emails. If he wants to communicate with them, let him write the emails to the kids. Leave you out of it.

    • Exactly! It’s time for the sad sausage to learn to manage his own relationship with his kids. You have 2 adults and one almost adult. Not your problem any longer.

  • This is a great article. And a wonderful UBT!

    The fact that these idiots expect everyone to cater to them after all the distraction they have done is mind-boggling.

    I myself have a toddler and I look forward to when they get older so I do not have to manage more than what I am responsible for. I think there are better boundaries as the kids get older. The way I look at it, my only responsibility is to put my child in front of Skype and to make sure that they are available for visits as agreed. Outside of that, not my job. Although I have yet to get to this point as we are in the beginning, I look forward to the multiple channels of mind fuckery I will have to deal with over the next few years.

  • One of a countless reasons why I read your site daily is because you have a gift for putting into words the experiences and mindfuck that cheaters put us through. Your last 3 paragraphs were word for word what he said to me.
    Our kids were in college, and I was supposed to “make” them love him, “make” them talk to him. He didn’t plead, he was angry that I wouldn’t do that, that I never did that since the day they were burn. It was one of a very long list of reasons why I was such a horrible, worthless wife. Back then, I actually just sat there in silence and grief, and listened to the pages upon pages of reasons about what was wrong with me. 5 years on, I see that list and his demand to make the kids love him, to what it is.

    Letting Go, kids are smart, they wonderfully have a mind of their own, and yours have seen him for who he is and made their own choice. And you are showing them that you not only love them but respect them as well.

  • This is me atm. Hasn’t seen kids in over three weeks since kick out, unlike last time I’m not saying hey when are you seeing them, it’s up to him.
    Doing good on grey rock despite being told 5 mins ago in an email I’m small minded and don’t act normal, yeah projection much, no reply.
    Parenting plan will be done through mediation as he is defiant and wanting the kids with him last Sunday but I wasn’t allowed to know his I’m obsessed with him.
    Sorry buddy. No pick me dance this time, adios

    • LadyB–exactly right not to send the kids for visitation if you don’t know his address. And yes, he does think you’re obsessed with him. They’re not good at assessing data; it’s all filtered through their “I am fab!” schema.

  • I haz a sad ! Bahahaha

    But agreed not your responsibility. My child is 8 and although the cheater is not her father she know we left bc he is dishonest and a bad person. She knew he sucked long bf DDs..

  • At some point, let your kids know that having a relation with their dad will not constitute a betrayal of you. That’s for their benefit, not the cheater’s, since kids usually want some kind of relationship with each parent. You owe your ex nothing in regard to his relationships with his grown children.

    • Nomar
      I like this comment. I like the ‘at some point’ which lets us chumps off the hook a bit in terms of pacing the new relationships that develop after cheating and not having to do everything ‘right’ straight off the bat.
      My cheat left Saturday am (yay) with the final mindfuck of crying in front of the two boys that were home (21,11). Second time in his life he cried. First was when he was lying upon being found out. So they were a mess and so was I. With help from the people who posted in the forum this weekend I am coping.
      But I struggle with telling them yet that a relationship with him will not be ‘against’ me. Well I have said the words but I think have demonstrated pretty much the opposite in other ways. I am giving myself permission to get there and I know I will if only because I try to be a good parent and will put their wellbeing first.
      Unlike him.
      When I am more healed then I can better withstand any relationship they have with him. I think I am lucky my kids are older 21,17 and 11 and have seen a lot of the fallout from his choices. That will stay with them.

      • Cap, they probably need a little time to deal with his sadz routine on the way out. Telling them now might feel like a “get over it already!” expectation.

        You are wise and will know when they need that permission. The good thing is the distance will settle you before it happens.

      • Capricorn, my kids are older (24 and almost 22) and they haven’t spoken to their father in a couple of years. I did give them the “your having a relationship with him won’t hurt me” speech recently but because I am trying to always be honest with them, I followed that with a “but I believe it will hurt you” caveat. Having him out of our lives has been good for all of us. He is such a black hole inside that having him be part of my kids’ lives would do far more harm than good. If he was a genuine person who felt remorse for the damage he caused to them I would feel differently but the only remorse he feels is that his “good guy” cover has been blown. He has not made one real effort to repair his relationship with them in two years. That’s all I (or they) need to know about him. Ultimately it’s their choice and I would be supportive if they decided to talk to him but I would also be prepared to pick up the pieces when he inevitably let them down. Meanwhile, I’m grateful that I get this time to build up my relationship with them without his interference.

        • My STBX sounds just like yours, Beth. Mine will ask to give one of the kids a ride to a game. We set the plan, then he often backs out. Last excuse was I can’t afford the gas.

          Bottom line is that he is constantly trying to change plans with them or backing out. It makes him feel good and like he is a good parent by offering to help drive kids to where they need to go. Then when he backs out, kids are left knowing that dad found something else he would rather do.

          The other thing mine does is say to the kids, “Let me know when you want to go to dinner.” He is putting making plans onto a 13 & 15 year old. He feels like he is making an effort but he never has to commit to anything. Then he runs the narrative that his kids won’t call or text him back and won’t go anywhere with him.

          So hard not to try and just cut off his manipulation of them and trust they will simply see it for what it is. And to be legally bound to encourage the kids to continue to spend time with him is hard. My son told me the other day that he just wants to be left alone by his dad. When I asked what he meant, he said that he wanted to stop thinking about him and trying to understand him.

          I hurt for them…

          • Yes, the good person cover is blown. Fortunately, we didn’t have children . I did have four adult step children. My relationship with the youngest was great, but the other three were always stand offish. I fell in love with my two youngest grandchildren that I was allowed to have a relationship with and had a wonderful time with them. He became extremely jealous that our grandson would ask for me. It was bizarre as I was the one who interacted with him and his sister. That was right as I was being discarded. It was cruel to lose my two youngest grandchildren.

    • That is true so long as you are not dealing with a disordered fucktard. I am helping a young woman who has systematically been abused by her X for the last ten years. He has filled his child’s head full of so many lies, all about how amazing he is and how “evil” (his actual language) she is. Parental alienation is a real thing and malignant narcissists are great at it. Frankly, this child would be better off if he never saw his father again. But the dad knows his “rights”, which apparently do not have any corresponding financial obligations. He treats his child so poorly that every mental health professional who has evaluated all the parties has recommended limited supervised visitation. Of course, they are all “conspiring” against him.

      It is so sad to see this poor child try to cope with having a relationship with this abusive man. I watch the mom do all the things professionals recommend, i.e. never speaking poorly of the dad, never dealing the child the truth of what a truly sick bastard this man is. (One example-dad has a GED and can barely read, yet he tried to convince the court that he should be allowed to home school his son because of the corrupting influence of public school). I also see the dad attempt to sabotage mom’s relationship with the child at every available opportunity. If dad is the moral equivalent of Jim Jones, I do not believe we do our children any favors by not speaking the truth or not protecting the child from that harm.

      Now, my X did a lot of bad stuff and there were times I reacted badly, also. One thing we NEVER did was try to intentionally destroy our children’s relationship with the other parent. My kids were in their early teens and twenties when we separated. I did not try to hide what had happened. Because of the publicity, it would have been fruitless anyway. Oddly, that helped when it came to the kids; had X tried to manipulate the narrative, he would have lost them. As it is, they know what he did and love him anyway, which is as it should be. When one is dealing with a malignant narcissist, however, I do not believe it is in the child’s best interest to ignore the accompanying conduct or force the child to be fodder for abuse.

      • Violet
        Of course this is true. Children are vulnerable to disorder and to force a child to accept a highly dysfunctional adult and their behaviour would be an abdication of parental responsibility from the same parent.

        I am a child of divorce. My dad left with one of his OW. He is a sparkly narc. My mother badmouthed him from one end of the day to the other. She was a covert narc. She left my brother and I in no doubt how much any contact with him would be a betrayal of her. My dad never said one bad thing about her ever to me (not an act of a thoughtful generous man, he just never thinks about anyone else). The OW badmouthed my mother from one end of the day to the other. In the end which was worse? The bile of my mother or the disinterest of my father? Or the sheer petty callousness of the OW.
        As a result I idolised my father, hated my mother. Took me years to realise he wasn’t interested or afraid of my mother like I was.
        Now NC with the whole lot.

        It’s hard to let your children have a good relationship with someone who has grievously hurt you. And no one would advocate any continuation of a highly dysfunctional relationship but the lines sometimes are not straight.

          • Cap you had the same parents that I had. I was reading my life . Yes nothing to do with the entire lot including my sister and her narc child. I am an emotional introvert. I tried to allow them in my lives but they have no boundary respect. So I am no contact with them. My friends are better to me than my family. They want me back, but on their terms. No! Not anymore !

            • Saw
              Yes. We have learned to trust that quite a few people suck!
              Love your posts though such a lot of generosity and insight, so their loss. ❤

    • Nomar, that’s the key. Keep kids (young or adult) out of the middle. No triangulation with anybody.

    • I agree with Nomar. Unless there’s abuse involved, it’s not in a kids’ best interest to cut out the other parent. And yes, letting kids decide weighty issues for themselves isn’t healthy and teeters on manipulation; exactly the thing that was done to you, the chump.

      Be the sane, logical and truthful parent. They figure it out eventually. I get it and it sucks in the meanwhile though.

  • Absolutely no need to respond to his email(s). He’s made his bed, this is the part where he has to lay in it.
    I’m astounded how they all sound the same. Is there a school for cheaters I’m not aware of?

    • @Carmel I thought maybe I was alone in feeling this pressure to be momma mediator… after reading such overwhelming similarities from post to post I clearly see it is just another play in the Cheater Rule Book.

  • Considering the age of your children, I would block this loser’s ass in every way possible. No email, no texts, nothing. Unless it’s an absolute emergency. Do everything else through a third party, like planning apps, or direct deposit in child support. If he wants to whine to someone. I suggest his married whore. Or a replacement whore. Although it’s really not your concern as long as it’s not you.

  • Let me just say that taking all that stuff you used to do for them, whether it’s dropping off the dry cleaning, buying a birthday present for his mother or reminding the kids to call their father, off your to-do list really frees you mentally and physically to get other stuff done.

    @LettingGo it looks like your life is just beginning. Can’t wait to see where you go from here.

    • Mine was pissed he said ‘I have to get a trailer to pick up my bed,, thanks’
      Oh boohoo you have to actually do some arranging instead of muggins here doing everything. We a bought a house I did everything, he came and signed paperwork and helped move furniture that was it, adult world is intimating for him, good luck on your own. Comes from a mother who did everything, it’s called learnt helplessness and I’m the co dependant ‘doer’ was!
      Enjoying the serenity even if it is punctuated with anxiety

      • I am in the middle of having to empty the house of everything except certain pictures, 5 pieces of furniture and a lamp. It is freeing to unload the stuff from 20 years for someone else to sell off the property and out of the narcs whining hands. Soon I will be free of things and then I will leave him with the empty house and 100 acre farm. I am slowly becoming mighty.

  • Typical – he wants you to do all the heavy lifting. You were a useful wife appliance and he depended on you to do your job dammit!!!

    Instead of picking up the phone, writing a long apology or showing his kids that he is sorry and wants to be part of their life, he wants you to do all the work so that he looks good and has to do NOTHING!

    He still needs to control you, the kids and the narrative. It probably scares him that he has lost control and he is trying to put you and the children back in line again.

    NC on this one. The only person he can control now his himself and he hates it. You and the children don’t need to be his feel good puppets any more.

    • Lucky, This is a good point, “You and the children don’t need to be his feel good puppets any more.”. That was what x wanted from our kids. The kids were 19 and 21 and they did want a relationship with him, he was footloose and fancy free after he left and he messed things up for himself. Now he wants me to “help” with the kids, now the kids are 23 and 25 and he can’t figure out why they won’t speak to him to spend time with them.
      The one incident that made me really sad for my kids happened on that first Christmas Day. We had a strange “tradition” on Christmas Day for years. x worked at a store, he had to go in to the store, it was the only day that the store closed, to check the freezers. Every year we would go with him, the kids would get on the intercom and laugh at their announcements. That first Christmas, he gets a hold of them and they are going with their father to the store, without me (believe me that day I had a sadz), but off they go. They came back after 45 minutes, this gave me so much more sadz than when they left. I couldn’t believe they were back so soon. They had not spent any time with their father since September of that year, after 19 and 21 years of seeing each other every, single day, and they are back within an hour. He was having Christmas Dinner with his friends and mother, so he had to go back home stat. I asked if he at least invited them to go over and were they going over, they told me no, he kind of offered them a back handed invitation, and made them feel uncomfortable. A couple of years later I asked my son to tell me the truth, did they not go over to their dad’s that first Christmas, because it would hurt me and I would be alone, he told me no, to be honest, Mom, dad didn’t really invite us. He just told us what he was doing and that he had to get back to his house, and by the way did you guys want to come. What a very foolish man, he’s the only one that distanced himself from his own kids.

      • @flutterby what a loser!! I am glad your children have you, someone they can always count on.

        • How sad these fools are. They have a gift, not earned by them in any way, shape or form, and they just don’t see them, the beautiful, glorious children that they were a part of creating. How much love, true love that they could have….. Fools!

  • This is timely for me as my stbx has also asked me to intervene on his behalf to help him repair his relationship with 20 year old daughter. He is a serial cheater whose ho-worker is a professor at the college daughter attends. Daughter has turned down his requests to meet with him and his usual response is “it’s not right” or “it hurts” or that she is naive and doesn’t know enough about relationships and will regret not interacting with him. (Always all about him and his happiness).
    I ignore his requests but some say she needs to have a relationship with her father. She’s made a choice and I want to support her decision without interfering. It drives me crazy when he tells her she’s wrong for her choice.

    • It is her choice. You are under no obligation to force a relationship on your daughter. The only thing she “needs” is you to support her decision. Each of my children, who are in their late teens to late twenties, have a different relationship with their dad. Some of them choose to limit their contact with X. Some talk with him daily. One thing all of them know is that I will not force them to feel something they don’t feel, be it love, hate, or indifference. It sounds to me like your daughter has made her decision, and that decision should be respected,

    • and let me guess, he has not issued a sincere apology to daughter for blowing up her life, that does not including blameshifting or sad sausage moves?

      • Tempest, you need to help me out here. I am just now figuring out the blame shifting. I read your responses and it’s like a light going on. He apologizes for “the way things are” and his role in that. He is quick to add that he will never bad mouth me but daughter is only hearing one side of the story. If she asks he conveniently tells her she shouldn’t know details of adult relationship. He’s also been known to throw in how much it pains him that she doesn’t want to interact with him.

        • I also have the ex who tells them how hard it is for him, and that this is the hardest thing he has ever had to do. I think it is so inappropriate. He should only be worried about their feelings, and his answer is… “Should I be unhappy so that 3 people are? Should I fake it?”

          I just want this to be over.

          • “I don’t know what your mom has told you to get you to stop talking to me.”

            “I didn’t leave you kids. I left your mom.”

            “I know you are sad and angry at me. That is normal. I am hurting too.”

            Just some examples of things STBX has texted my kids. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone dealing with dealing with an ex who plays these games with the kids.

        • Treading: they LOVE the passive voice, “things that happened,” and anything that distracts from their own responsibility in the matter: “sorry that you were hurt.” YES, by YOU, Fucker! Throw in a bit of Poor-me-I-am-suffering, and they think they have the magic concoction to keep manipulating you and the children. (mine whined, “I will die alone,” while having his AP/now GF lined up to leave her husband if I divorced him). They suck, and frankly, our children are smarter than we are about their suckitude.

          As for the “I never talk down about you,” that’s a load of rhinocerous dung, too. Oh, cheaters are subtle, but even claiming “marital problems” and “I thought your mother/father didn’t love me” as the basis for their affair/s is a way to claim that the chump was deficient in equal or greater ways to the cheater, thereby causing cheater’s betrayal.

          You can’t reason with the disordered. Don’t respond because they are better at manipulation than we are, and we are more prone to see the good in people (which they capitalize on). No contact, grey rock, and telling X/STBX that his relationship with his ADULT daughter is up to him–your only path to sanity. Hugs!

          • Here’s one of his texts to daughter “as you know I did some things over the years that I regret and I wish I could change and because relationships involve two people your mom has done some things too. PLease know I’m not blaming her. No matter what role she played I won’t blame her or be angry with her…” He goes on to say things like he takes responsibility for his flaws but doesn’t feel like it. He cheated several times beginning when I was pregnant with my son 18 years ago. Flaws? Mistakes? How about deliberate choices?

            • Yup, your X got an Amazon delivery of the Manual. “Your mom has done some things, too…followed by “I’m not blaming her,” is CLASSIC. The two sentences are incompatible.

              You’re right–he made deliberate choices, and men who cheat on pregnant women…well, let’s just say that, IMHO, hanging’s too good for them.

              Cheaters LOVE the false equivalency, too, Treading. You burned the pot roast once! When you were tired from 95% of the parenting, you refused to give him a BJ one night! When you had the flu, you didn’t accompany him to the company party! And I’ll bet you let the sheets be unwashed for 2 weeks plus one day–admit it! Exactly equivalent flaws in magnitude to stuffing his privates into numerous other women! (Manual, p 34).

              Just repeat to yourself, you can’t reason with the disordered.

    • When your daughter is past the worst of the pain of having her family blown up by a selfish father, she may at some point want to rebuild a relationship with him. But it is terrible counterproductive for anyone to push her to do so. She may at some point want to reconnect with him, but that should come when she has had time to process.

      That’s what these jackasses miss–that they’ve HURT other people and those people need time to deal with that pain and loss. But jackasses hate consequences.

      • LAJ, your insights are always dead on and resonate with me. D is just not ready and it might be years down the road. I spent time with my therapist today explaining again how his choice to cheat and with whom (a coworker on her campus) made it so much worse. He has said he understands she’s hurt and angry but I think he lacks empathy.

    • @Treading this must be so difficult for your daughter. Imagine the pain we as adults feel when we are betrayed and now imagine how teenagers feel experiencing this. Being a teen/young adult has so many of its own challenges. The day after I told the children about their dad’s affair (he couldn’t face them) my daughter was working at a bookstore and the AP’s sister-in-law, who knew about the affair, introduced herself and said, “I workout with your mom and dad.” My daughter was frozen at the cash and after the transaction she went to the back and cried her eyes out. What on earth are people thinking?

  • Nurturing an authentic relationship with children is the sole responsibility of each parent… whether happily married or not! Looking back, I now see that I was the glue that held our family together for 19 years. Cheater ex was a lazy dad – activities had to be about him or he wasn’t interested in participating. Even now, he routinely does not show up at school events, sports games, etc. As my oldest daughter described it, her Dad was always ‘in the background’, while Mom did all the heavy lifting and nurturing. So is it any wonder that the cheating parent has little ability to relate to the kids after things fall apart?

    My kids (17,15 and 12) now manage their own relationships with their Dad. Sometimes it’s hard but I try to stay out of it. Two oldest have limited contact (once a week coffee or dinner date) and my youngest lives halftime with his dad, but seems to spend most of his time hanging at his friends’ houses during Dad time. When the mindfuck channel is set to pity and ex gets the sadz, I just shrug my shoulders and text or email back, “You’ll have to talk to the kids about that.”

    Letting Go, you are not responsible for monitoring or fixing their relationship. And you never were – married or not.

  • Mine on parting said ‘one day the kids will know my truth’ yeah ok, they know you got a girlfriend and lied to their mums face about how much you loved us.
    His version,our relationship was on the rocks and I didn’t communicate enough and try and work through issues, whateva, you suck as my ex and looks like you are going to suck as their dad. Basically if it involves anyone else’s needs forget it, like pushing shit up hill in a wheelbarrow with a flat wheel.
    Getting strong and now, we are going to rock our new life and eventually I may meet a man with a heart and soul.

  • This is totally irrelevant to the question, but I have to say “what is with crossfit and cheating”? My ex’s first (yes, I said first…I was a chumpy chump) affair was shortly after he started doing crossfit. There are at least 5 couples I know of that have broken marriages because their spouse started affairs at crossfit. Anywho……

    I let my teenagers know it is okay to love their dad, that they are not betraying me. However, I also acknowledge (unlike the fuckwit) that they also feel betrayed. Their lives were also turned upside down by choices they themselves didn’t make. I allow them to pave the path of what their relationship with him is like; keeping in compliance with parenting agreements is my only responsibility.

    • OMG, no kidding. Mine lost 50+ lbs., and in my opinion, his damn mind. He wasn’t doing Crossfit but had twice daily workouts (lunchtime workout was with the howorker) and signed up for every athletic event/warrior race thing and team sport that he came across in 2016.

      Meanwhile, I run every day with our three large dogs and I’d been trying to get him to join me at that (and the evening dog walk) for YEARS.

    • My STBX didn’t meet the whoremat at crossfit but he DID start cheating after getting in really good shape from working out. Obviously the idea of looking amazing and being too amazing for the chump after getting into shape fits with the cheater’s narcissism. Now my cheater is fat and has the sadz after realizing the whoremat ISN’T his one twu wuv and he’s been stuffing himself with food to fill up the hole where his morality used to be before he threw it all away on a manipulative slut. Too bad they don’t realize the chump still liked and loved the out of shape version of themselves vs the AP that only liked the “new and improved” them. ?

      • Sad Shelby, EXACTLY. And thanks for the literal LOL (awkward while at work!): … “fill up the whole where his morality used to be…”

    • @Got-a-brain the gross part is was doing CrossFit too. I just couldn’t go during the weekday, so of us have to work. We would be partners every Saturday while the OW watched on and most of the time her husband was there too. My husband should win an Oscar for his performance. Needless to say I am now working out at home. Bye, bye CrossFit Box.

      @Sad Shelby is it okay to say that I am happy your EX is fat and sadz? LOL

  • and wait for it…wait for it…..the next step will be blaming YOU for destroying his relationship with the children. It’s your fault they won’t speak to him because you turned the children against him with your slander, um, your telling the truth.

    It happened to me, it is happening to a chump here whose X is taking her to court for parental alienation for telling the children the cause of the divorce.

    When the Sadz strategy doesn’t work, blameshifting and rage will be next.

    • Or they bounce between sad sausage, blameshifting, and rage so fast you get whiplash. Only guarantee you have is that it will always be drama filled.

    • @Got-a-brain the gross part is was doing CrossFit too. I just couldn’t go during the weekday, so of us have to work. We would be partners every Saturday while the OW watched on and most of the time her husband was there too. My husband should win an Oscar for his performance. Needless to say I am now working out at home. Bye, bye CrossFit Box.

      @Sad Shelby is it okay to say that I am happy your EX is fat and sadz? LOL

  • Look up somatic narrcassist. Mine was they are obsessed with physical appearance and sex and about as deep as a puddle.

  • The oscars Selma Hayak ” I’m waiting for a man to come along who has bigger balls than me” I hear ya

  • You fix you. You be there for the kids. And when you’re fix and ready, there may be a time when the kid(s) want to have a relationship with their father. They may / they may not, time does strange things. After you take the time to get to “meh”, just prepare yourself for the day that they (one or more) may want to patch the relationship, because you may be so used to having your nucleus that when this happens it may make you angry or blow your mind.

    So my suggestion – fix you from this hurt and anger, let the kids work through their emotions and ground yourself for when and if they kids may want him back in their lives.

    Cheating blows. No doubt. I wish you all the best.

    • Clumped in Chicago.
      This is true. Me neighbor was a chump many years ago when her kids are teenagers. He abandoned the family for the OW so they all were NC. Now her boys are starting families of their own and have been more open to overtures from their dad (and their wives wanting happy grandparents for their little ones). My neighbor (happily remarried) has been struggling with this and feels she is being a lesser person by wanting to not see or interact with her ex. She liked chump lady’s book though so maybe it gave her the words she can use to protect herself. It was a bit dispiriting to see this happen so long after the cheating.

      • Cap, it’s about setting boundaries. Your neighbor has that right, even with her own children. It’s not a popular stance, because shouldn’t everyone just get along.

        I did every “bad” thing in dealing with the end of my relationship with the kids father. I did not want them to get hurt any more than they were and I felt that x would just continue to use them. I didn’t realize at that time, because of my hurt and because of abandonment issues from foo dysfunction, that I was putting too much strain on the relationship with my kids. I resisted posts on CL that said that I needed to let my “grown” kids figure this out on their own, but even I finally realized that I should have never put so much pressure on my kids, they were hurting too. Now I have a strained relationship with D25, her therapist tells her that she doesn’t need to be my “therapist”, unfortunately D25 seems to think that that means freezing me out of her life, until she needs something from me. S23 makes his own decisions and at the moment speaks to his father sporadically, D25 speaks to her dad at times, but apparently tells him he’s an asshole regularly.

        I guess all of this is a learning experience. The only one that you can control is you and hope that the kids are ok and the x isn’t messing with them too much, but letting them set their own boundaries with him.

  • LettingGo,

    There is truth to the saying you can’t have your cake and eat it too… He chose to eat his cake and now it’s gone. Part of the process of severing the ties to your STBX is relieving yourself of all of the various personal management niceties you USED to assist him with. He’s an adult and is responsible for handling his own relationship with your kids. Divorce means he now has to figure things out all on his own. He will discover that there are many consequences to his bad choices.

  • That why they want the ‘we can be friends crap’ so you can still do their leg work, yeah but nah as they say here in Aus.

  • LettingGo,
    Unless your kids have been living in a cave, and are the only people in the First World between the ages of 16 and 25 that don’t have personal e-mail and cell phone numbers, he can contact them himself.
    I would send him a short, curt reply with their contact info:
    “You may contact them at their personal numbers. If you have lost those numbers, you can reach them here:
    17YO (555) 555-1234
    21YO (555) 555-5678…

    This format has the added bonus of being completely impersonal. Nothing honks off a narcissist like short, uninterested business-like responses that say “I’m only spending the minimum amount of communications on you.”

    • I do this and he says dealing with him ‘ isn’t a business transaction” made me laugh

      • LOL, Lady B! A business transaction is ALL I have left with Mr. Fab and only then for another seven months. It’s a pretty simple business arrangement. I do all the heavy lifting, and have 95% custody in another country, he sends indadequate child support, then bitches at me about it….but gets Grey Rock. Then he tries to go through Kiddo, who trusts him as far as she can spit a rat.

        Letting Go-these are some wise Chumps up in here! It is hard for kiddos to manage this, but equally as iportant for them to have YOU model positive adult behavior. Sometimes positive adult behavior consists of Grey Rock or indeed not having anything to do with lying, cheating, or otherwise harmful people. I woild say ‘even if’ that person is a parent, I would say ‘ESPECIALLY if’.

        Stay Mighty! I can’t imagine raising three kids under any circumstances, and you are at a sort of a home stretch. Keep walking.

        • Thanks @Mehphista! I hope you are right about the home stretch. I keep praying for our house to sell because I am so sick of shit sandwiches. I am running, not walk!! LOL

  • “My husband has a bad case of impression management […] I want to believe he wants a relationship with our children, but why now?”

    You answered your own question: Impression Management.

    It doesn’t matter, ultimately, if you believe he wants a relationship with his children. That’s up to him to DO. If he does things that foster a relationship with them, then that’s what he wants. If he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t really want a relationship with them.

    His children think he’s a shit because he’s been doing shitty things. It’s entirely up to him to stop being consistently shitty. The children being told to text him, “Hi” isn’t him doing anything… that he’s asking you to do that shows how grossly he misunderstands his role in having a negative relationship with his children.

    Response? None, preferably. But if you MUST, “These are the children’s phone numbers. I suggest contacting them directly if you’d like to speak with them,” should suffice.

    • Exactly. Having people know their own children won’t talk to them is the ultimate FU to cheaters. When the cheater can’t even convince a 13 year old of the “good reasons” for having an affair, pretty good sign that his/her reasoning sucks. And now other people know it, too. [Except–it’s the chump’s fault for turning the children against the cheater; see post above.]

      • Tempest, one of the cheaters flying monkeys confronted me and told me that I “had turned the kids against x”. I told him, you realize that my kids are 19 and 21 years old and not 9 and 12, right, so that means that they probably knew what cheater was up to before I did. That stopped him in his tracks and he comes back at me, so you don’t deny turning the kids against x, and I said, I didn’t have to lift a finger, x did that to himself and the kids “saw” him do it. And now it’s between him and the kids to sort it out. Nope somehow, it was still my fault and I should “fix” it because cheater had the sadz.
        Not my monkeys, not my circus.

  • CL- great UBT as always
    Letting Go– you are lucky that your youngest is 17. I agree with the previous posters– not your job, the kids are old enough to make contact on their own. My eldest child cut off contact with her father 6 weeks before her suicide attempt, which was 6 weeks after the kids spent the summer with ex, OW, and new baby at their new home which was not in our US state (eldest is ok now, though still some issues with anxiety and depression).
    I bring this up because, of course, I was given the blame for the suicide attempt. Ex said things such as “Eldest was fine when visiting here, and as soon as she returned she turned against me, you must have influenced her, told her lies about our relationsip, etc” he even said this in the court papers when we revisited child support after this. Of course his behavior, having eldest keep secrets from me, moving away, marrying OW, and starting a new family…. This had nothing to do with feelings of no self worth, etc.
    Eldest made contact again for a bit, but is NC again. Ex still not understand that his several apologies were not really apologies as they were all about him.
    OP- this is business transaction. Provide contact info. for the kids, once, if needed. After that, not your problem.

  • Does he have two hands and arms and legs, a car, or other transportation, directions to where they are? Unless he is handicapped he has the ability to go see his children and try to fix things. If he was a lying, scheming, cheating sack of shit who pulled his children into crazy then there isn’t much he can do.
    I usually think it is best for children to have a good relationship with both parents but there are enough of you who had rotten parents to know that sometimes that will never happen.
    We most often do reap what we sow. It is called Karma, a bus and time.

  • Typical cheater. They get to screw around AND make demands and requests.

    Must be nice when everything’s for you and about you without ever having considered anyone but yourself.

  • This is very timely for me. This past month I broke NC thinking I was encouraging my x to be more involved with DD. DD is captain of a sports team at school and had three all day events that required parent involvement. I texted x asking if he wanted to handle the volunteer responsibilities and be there for a certain date and to please let me know. His response was asking if DD would be spending the night with him. My reply was no, but if he wanted to be at the event for the day it would be great. Back and forth, I know, I am a glutton for punishment. Finally his response was that since the events fell on my custody days and I was “unwilling” to have DD spend the night at his house, he would not be volunteering but “I might show up to all three”. WTF? Wow, ok. So I flipped into chumpy mode there. After talking to a good friend (who is also a divorce lawyer) she hit on the head with the 2×4 by asking why was I being his social secretary at all? He’s a grown ass man who can join the Listserv at the High School. So the events came, he showed up to all three, lurked in the background and stared me down. I guess his short term feelings of power trumped having a good relationship with our DD. Unfortunately, it struck a chord with how well trained I am as a chump, wanting to “do what’s right for the kids”. He’s taking up too much real estate in my head lately, two years out. And as a therapist who works with people going through divorces and addicts, I should have known…’s a day to day process. Hopefully after writing this and reading throughout the day everyone’s experiences, he will be expunged from my mind and I can go back to being awesome . I’m two years divorced and three years out….I would think I have this by now. Glitch in the old no contact rules, they apply no matter how far out you are.

    • OutWest
      You perfectly described what I go through. I am still trying to get divorced but am almost 1 year from Dday#2. Hard part of this is that people who haven’t gone through this just don’t understand how hard it is.

      • GetMeFree
        That is so true. It is a very good thing that this site is here as people here REALLY get it.

      • GetMeFree

        You’re right, if you haven’t been on this merry-go-round, people don’t get it. I’ve had a couple people come back recently as they find themselves in my situation and they usually apologize for “not getting it”. It’s a lonely road. Hugs!

    • “I would think I have this by now. Glitch in the old no contact rules, they apply no matter how far out you are.”

      So true OutWest, I have been super detailed and there are only a couple of loose ends in my custody/divorce agreement… Guess which are the issues that are recurring with the X?? I haven’t slipped from “NC given parenting logistics” but I get triggered and the real estate he occupies in my mind is still far to big for my taste…

      My kiddo is young, and I don’t spackle, but I keep it simple, and careful to balance out the “yeah, that was a selfish decision on your dad’d part” with “yep, your dad is super good at spelling, so glad he’s helping you practice your words of the week.” My kiddo has been doing well at school and does not show sign of guilt… Her teachers told me that she is engaged and they had no idea from her behavior that her parents did not get along… That was a balm to my soul, although as every chump knows, parallel parenting is as good as it gets with the disordered, and no matter what, the shit sandwich keep on coming…

      A great decision was to start my kiddo in therapy during our separation. Having that safe and neutral space helps tremendously… She is entering her teenage years and shows encouraging signs of developing better coping skills than her dad ever possessed…

      LettingGo – CL is spot on, given the age of your kids, you can safely stay NC, and ignore his sadz sausage routine.

      • Chumptitude,

        The devil is in the details I guess. That and the importance of impression management. My x is big on impressions and I try to harness that to my advantage. My daughter is well aware that she is “intellectual arm candy” to her dad and as long as she plays by the rules she’ll get what she wants. I’ve learned to try to keep my comments to myself. Oh the joy of parallel parenting with the disordered….

        • Image management is key to my X too… Since I am no longer covering for him, and have told everyone I know in our community who he really is, his disfunction is more and more apparent to all that have learned to observe his actions over his words…

          I’m getting closer and closer to ignoring the monkeys, the biggest exception is of course when that drama impacts our kiddo… Yep, the unique joy of parallel parenting with the disordered…

  • Here you go:

    ” Hello Fireman Fred”, unfortunately our children are at an age where they make their own decisions to a large extent, and I am not in a position to influence them either way. As you say, you have brought consequences onto yourself and the upside to having my life completely blown up and my children devastated is that I am no longer Impression Manager in Chief. That is now your role. I will of course notify you of any and all information pertaining to the children and matters pertaining to the divorce, most probably through my lawyer. Other than that, I think it’s best to keep your personal matters personal, and to keep our communications of a practical nature. I’m sure you understand. I won’t be entering any further conversation on any personal subject.

    Yours sincerely,
    Free Wife.

    BUT THEN YOU HAVE TO ABSOLUTELY MEAN IT. Just reasonably neutral, not vicious, not sad, not gleeful, just… business, nothing to see here.

  • Thank you for posting this CL. Recently, I met with a “friend” of mine I haven’t seen in a while to catch up. My youngest kids live with me and are 21 and 22. She childed me and said men are Dumb!!! It is Your (meaning me) job to ensure a relationship with their father, etc. (He has essentially abandoned them. Didn’t contact them on Christmas, etc. He was spending the day with ow and her family). I felt terrible. I cried for days. He just sends them a random text to say let me know when you want to get together..ill buy dinner. The kids just don’t respond. It is their choice. I tell them, it is up to them to decide. I thought I was doing the right thing until my “friend” let me have it. During our 29 year marriage, I always planned and arranged everthing. He just showed up. He approached our married oldest daughter 27, wants to be friends and hang out with her at bars etc. She has said, I want a father, not another friend. He doesn’t bother with her anymore either. I am just blown away at his constant selfishness.

      • You absolutely do not need to have someone in your life making you feel guilty for his bad choices.

        • I agree. This is a really old idea, stretching back 100s of years, that the home and kids are the “woman’s sphere of influence.”

          • Thank you for the support. I have cut out so many negative people from my life, one more won’t make a difference. She never called me until after the separation and just wanted all the details. Her advice is exactly like my sisters who offered to call my ex and explain the damage he is doing to them because I refused. Both of them told me I should have just kept quiet about the cheating and minded my own life. I would still have my big house and I wouldn’t have to work or worry about money. Funny thing is…after a year of separation, I like my new job, I am happy to be back in school and I am making a brand new life. It just gets me down when I second guess myself and think about what could have been. I am NC but my sister told me all about my ex latest vacation with ow. It brought me to my knees. I explained I am not jealous…I have so many bills and the kids and I are struggling financially. Both of them are very well off and do not understand how much we struggled financially for past 29 years. Now that is over, he cheated and I’m back to square one. Thanks for letting me rant.

            • DoneTrying, “Both of them told me I should have just kept quiet about the cheating and minded my own life.” Well, who in the f*ck’s life were you living, who got cheated on? Drop them both, I know you love your sister, but does she feel the same about you? That was pretty cold.
              You do not have to help make the person that betrayed you make their life better. This friend is a complete fool, you were fired from the job of being a wife, you were fired from being your x’s Image Management manager, you were fired from the marriage that you thought you had. You owe your x nothing. Your kids are adults, they have their own lives, even if they live with you, you are not with your kids 24/7, your kids can have a relationship with their father IF THEY choose to and you would never be the wiser in this day and age of technology. It’s your children’s choice and you really have no power to stop it or to perpetuate it.
              Stay strong Done, NC is key and there are other people in our lives that that you can stay NC with.

            • DoneTrying–your sisters are shallow, too. Hmmmm…a big house in which I feel broken vs. a life of integrity.????

              Not a hard choice. Unless you’re shallow.


              • I’ve let go of so many things this past year…old friends, our family home, possessions, ideas about myself, my ex and expectations for my future. I am seeing things more clearly than I have in years. Sometimes, I need to remind myself that I am truly in charge of who I allow into my life. I am ashamed to admit this but my familys attitude toward me has been brutal this past year. I have never talked about it because it is so awful to think about. Everything from my mom not being supportive to my dad telling me my ex never did him my sisters and brother telling me they don’t believe me because my ex is such a great guy. I sent them proof..the Craigslist ads..then I takes two to make the marriage work. I also got an unsolicited “don’t ask me for any money” from my very very well off brother. I’ve always held the belief that family is everything but I guess that outdated idea needs to go too. Family are those who care about you period. I’ve had new friends treat me with more kindness and respect than my own blood.
                Letting go of my ex and that stuff gave me my life back. Truly a no brainer for me. Thanks for the advice. Hugs!

              • DoneTrying: I am very sorry. Betrayal and divorce are bad enough without being invalidated by everyone you know. They are wrong, that is all I can say, and you deserved better. Much better. Small consolation, but going forward, your friendships will be forged out of integrity and real connection. Doesn’t make the second round of betrayals from people who should have supported you any less painful (I, too, lost virtually all of my friends to my X), but it does make for a more heartening foundation for the rest of our lives.

                Post in the forums for more support as you need it (Private: General gets most of the old-timers with good advice).

  • This is the position I’ve always taken with my ex, that his relationship with our kids is not my problem.

    I don’t bad mouth him and don’t interfere, he simply gets out of them what he put in.

    This is true whether you’re dealing with a cheater or not. My ex didn’t cheat, he was just a garden variety abusive asshole that thought women were beneath him and kids were not his responsibility.

    Well ok then, just don’t be shocked when you aren’t close to them and they don’t seek you out. You have exactly the relationship you communicated to them you wanted, it’s just that now that doesn’t suit your anymore.

    Because everything is all about the asshole, be it a cheater or simply a nasty jerk.

    As ye sow so shall ye reap.

    Mine will ask about them, which is funny because they’re teenagers and he could certainly contact them directly but for whatever reason he doesn’t, and I’ll ask them if they want to go over. Sometimes they’ll say ok and sometimes they’ll say no, but they’d probably say ok a lot more if he’d put any real effort into them.

    Not my problem. I think too many people get sucked into the mentality that it’s their job to push a relationship because it gives them a way to stay in the jerk’s life.

  • Oh boy – could I use some help in this department as well.

    Last Monday, my older daughter (10) had a melt down and told me that she does not like when I leave the house because she is afraid to be with her father alone. She is afraid he is going to hurt her. Even though I explained that sometimes parents get scary when they are angry, that doesn’t mean he is going to hurt her. She told the story of one time when he slapped her, and since then, she has been scared. She continued to cry that he is always yelling at her, etc. I found myself defending him by saying that just because we hear things we don’t like, this does not mean we are being yelled at.

    She continued to explain that when I am not home, she and her sister stay in their rooms (which they do, because that is where they are when I get home, if I go anywhere), and take the dogs with them for protection. This is the climate he created.

    So I promised I would NOT be leaving them alone with him anymore.

    The frustrating thing is, we had a family discussion because he thinks I am lying about them wanting him to leave again. What do they tell him? “No, Daddy, we don’t want you to go.” I tried to explain to him that they don’t want him to leave EVER, but he chooses to believe they want him here now. He actually had the nerve to cry to our younger daughter (9) and say that “This was the hardest thing he ever had to do” and “When Daddy gets his own place, they can pick out wall colors and bunk beds.” Is it me or is that fucked up?

    So, after spending this past Saturday night out overnight at his “sister’s house” (bullshit), he texts me at 5:49pm on Sunday to tell me he wants to have dinner with “his daughters”. Sorry – we are all out. He went on to say that it seems I am always out with the girls for dinner or they have friends over and they’re too busy playing to spend time with him. Duh asshole. When you were gone for 4 fucking months before you moved back in to fuck with our heads, we actually had a life. I didn’t respond with anything other than the time we were going to be home.

    So – we get home and he, of course, bought them a game! Wow! Super Dad! Only 1 daughter wanted to play, so he had alone time. He told her he wanted to take her and her sister for dinner tonight. Never said a word to me about it until this morning, via text. I only knew because when the older one came upstairs, she mentioned it to her sister.

    So now he wants to know if they are doing anything tonight because he wants to take them to dinner. I am struggling with a response because I also know that come 3:30 when we are all home, they are not going to want to go with him. What do I say? Do I just say they have no appointments? Should I just say no? I also know that he is tough and doesn’t take no for an answer with them, and when they do stay strong, he blames me and says that I am not doing enough to make them want to be with him. Is this my fucking job?

    They are 10 and 9 and he and I haven’t even had the first mediation conference with the lawyers. Everything is still very gray. They don’t mind spending time with him in the house when I am home, but they are reluctant to go anywhere with him, or to have me leave the house.

    Any words of help? THANK YOU CHUMP NATION

    • You should document what your kids are telling you. Time, place and circumstances. Have your kids talk to a counselor and see if they will tell them their fears. Don’t minimize their fears. Especially since you don’t know exactly what is going on when you aren’t there.

      • I did tell the therapist what they said. He told me that if they were in danger, what was I doing? I said that they had JUST told me this and that I won’t leave them alone any longer. He seems to think that I am too sensitive to them.

        I try to record as much of what the kids say as possible, and the therapist said that was weird.

        Any thoughts?

        • Your therapist sucks. When children (or anyone) reports fear of another human being, therapists should take that VERY seriously. Time to peruse the yellow pages (or Psychology Today has a site to find verified counselors:

    • Get these kids out of the middle. That’s where they are if he is claiming “they” want him to stay and “you” want him to go and you are arguing the reverse. Don’t worry about what HE does. You do the sane thing:

      1. Your kids are so young that it is hard to tell whether they are exaggerating to manipulate your or their father or exaggerating a bit about dad’s scariness to align with you or omitting details–or telling the complete truth. Tell STBX that you will NOT debate about “what the kids want” because as adults, the two of you are making the decisions. You can find a better therapist to allow both of you to get a more neutral view, if that is necessary. That might be very helpful. I’m sure Tempest will have advice about how to interview and find a capable psychologist to do this evaluation. If he is physically or verbally abusing them, you need to know before you negotiate custody/visitation and he is awarded days or even weeks alone with them.

      2. The issue here is that he is cheating and you want him to leave. That’s between the two of you. Refuse to debate “what the kids want.” But your current situation sounds chaotic, with STBX back in the house. Sit down and and tell him that a) you are concerned about what your DDs said because if he is physically or verbally abusive, you can’t let him spend time alone with them; b) on the other hand, if they are manipulating the two of you (telling your something that isn’t true or that exaggerates issues) that is also concerning. A competent neutral professional can give you some guidance about what is going on. This may be very very helpful as you negotiate custody. Suggest that you set up a schedule for him to spend time with the kids but until you can get a handle on things, he

      3. Tell the kids that it is fine if they love both of you, but that you are filing for divorce because Dad has girlfriend(s) and that is your choice, based on Dad’s choices. It’s important to tell them it is not their responsibility to bring the two of you together. That may be part of what’s going on–cheaters use kids to triangulate just as they use APS and spouses; kids seem to be natural triangulates. So make sure you are stepping out of any developing triangle situation.

      4. If you are living with STBX, it’s almost impossible for you to prevent STBX from being alone with the kids. So the evaluation from a competent psychologist will help you figure out what to do; if Dad is striking kids or threatening them, then he shouldn’t be alone with them, as you indicate. Tell STBX that first the two of you need to get this question settled. Then you can decide the next step.

      5. Set up a weekly schedule where you have time with the kids, in or out of the house, but STBX has time in the house where he alone has dinner, plays a video game, etc. You can go into another room and shut the door, but be available. He can bring in take out or cook. Whatever. Then stick to that schedule and see how it goes. Explain that rather than get into a situation where kids can “refuse,” he needs to mend some fences in a place where they feel safe. And you give him some space and trust that if it goes south, you are in the building.

      6. As part of #5, I would start the Our Family Wizard scheduling software, so you aren’t in daily negotiation. A lot of this will sort out with time, but OFW will help you document your contributions, your efforts, and your essential fairness. Good luck. Be mighty!

      • Thank you LovedaJackass,

        I have done just about all of the above. I did go ahead and find a new therapist this afternoon because I think we need someone to address the family, not just the girls. Assface and I are going Sunday for a consultation.

        I do leave him alone with the girls when I am in the house because I am as no contact as possible, so they get to be with him, and they do enjoy that time because they know they are safe. They just get nuts when I leave the house, and they don’t like to go out with him. He is very intimidating, and he always points out what they do wrong. I hate that they always seem to be walking on eggshells with him. He always has something snarky and passive aggressive to say about them.

        He is very manipulative, and he gets them to do things by using guilt and bribery. He and I both sat down with the girls and told them that if either one of us was pushy (I threw myself in there just to be fair), that they should simply say they were feeling uncomfortable. The did this on Friday when he asked to have dinner with them via text. They texted back that they didn’t want to go to dinner with him. He responded by asking if the 3 of them could hang out. My older daughter texted back…You’re making me uncomfortable. He backed off and said he was there if she wanted to talk. I thought that was pretty amazing of my 10 year old.

        When my daughter sprained her ankle a few weeks ago, she agonized over who to take in with her for the x-ray. I said if both her father and I couldn’t go in, it was ok to pick daddy. That just because she picks daddy doesn’t mean mommy will think she doesn’t love her, and if she picks mommy, daddy won’t think she doesn’t love him. I try all the time to remind her and her sister that they can spend time with their father and it is perfectly fine to love him. He is their dad. I think he did so much damage trying to pull away from me that he created a gap. He, of course, blames me.

        Sorry my response is out of order to yours…I am scrolling up and down.

        I want to make sure I do everything for my daughters to be happy and healthy. My mom says that I am being too kind to Ass Face – that I am doing too much. I don’t know.

        Thank you for your support. I just want this over. Maybe I should change my name to that. lol

        • SBW–I hope the therapist you found turns out to be a good one. If you need to find another, you’ll need to ask direct questions:

          1-the person’s experience dealing with family dynamics which include someone manipulative and/or on the Cluster B spectrum. Experience with emotional abuse is also necessary.

          2-Person’s view on infidelity (e.g., as if they were counseling a couple). Correct answer should be that the infidelity trumps all else in the relationship, and the cheater needs to own his stuff before other problem are addressed. Any mention of “both” partners contributing to the cheating means RUN. (I’m not advocating wreckonciliation, but it helps to know a therapist’s stance on infidelity).

          3-Extent to which the therapist thinks children should make their own decision regarding custody/visitation with the parents. Correct answer should be that children should have decision-making power, exp. when they are as old as your kids.

  • You are absolutely, positively NOT responsible for making your children have a relationship with their father…especially at the age that they are.

    My ex used to preach to our kids that life was about choices…each choice good or bad comes with consequences. The consequences of his choices to cheat on me and divide our family resulted in his daughter not wanting to have anything to do with him. He also used to drill into our kids’ heads the importance of always telling the truth no matter how ugly. Needless to say, he is the biggest HYPOCRITE I have ever met in my entire life.

    When our 15 year old daughter began asking him the hard questions of why he was unhappy & why he wanted the divorce, he became very angry and argumentative with her. He told her it was none of her business & that this was between me & him. She pressed him…is it because of another woman? Are you having an affair on mom? He NEVER answered her questions, just dodged them with the same answer that it was none of her business. She got angry with him because it was her business…this was her family that he was tearing apart. When she asked me the very same questions, I told her the truth of the things I knew of at the time that proved his guilt. And actually, since the divorced finalized in December, SOOOO much more information has surfaced that it’s almost insane. He told lies upon lies upon lies.

    At first, in the days leading up to the divorce & immediately afterwards, I used to encourage our daughter to call or text her dad. She quite frankly told me to leave it alone. Yes, he’s her dad & she needed to work on their relationship, but she was mad & hurt & she would contact him on her terms. SO, I left it alone. I realized that the problems with their relationship wasn’t my cross to carry (thanks to her) and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

    He complained to her during one of their “date nights” a couple of weeks ago she doesn’t call/text him or any of his family. She reminded him that the phone works both ways. She also told him that the only person that she keeps in contact with is me and that’s the way she likes it. The way she sees it, his mother, who has tried to stay in contact with her, lies all the time & has actually made inappropriate digs at me on social media to the point I had to block her, so she doesn’t want anything to do with her. The rest of his family hasn’t made one attempt to call her or to check on her.

    She is staying in contact with the people she wants to & it’s all on her terms. I don’t say anything & I don’t interfere. She’s old enough to know who she wants in her life or not. And, she’s sticking to it.

  • My kids stopped speaking to their dad in the year before I filed for divorce. They each had a different reason but it all related to his dishonesty and lack of support for them. In the last non financial/divorce related communication I had with my ex I told him that if he really wanted to have his kids back in his life he needed to acknowledge to them what harms his actions did to them (not to me, but to THEM) and what he was going to do to make things right. The response to me and to them – *crickets*. He continues to send them birthday and Christmas cards with small checks and messages like “I think about you every day and hope that one day you will forgive me.” Some years there’s no card, just a text message where he can’t be bothered to write out “I love you” and instead puts “luv u” which always makes my daughter laugh because how can you take his remorse seriously when he won’t even take the time to spell out “LOVE” or “YOU”?? As far as I’m concerned, I exceeded my responsibility by sending that last gratuitous email telling him how to fix the relationship with his own children. The rest is up to him. He broke it. It’s up to him to fix it. I did finally realize just how much impression management I did for him with our kids over the years. In hindsight it was exhausting. Now all my energy is focused on being the best mother I can be to my adult children. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on fixing his shit.

    The other thing I realized after he was gone was just what a negative influence he was on my children’s psyches. Particularly my son who hero worshipped his dad. As my son got older, my ex used that hero worship to make my son feel that he could never be as good a man as his dad was. Even with the ex out of his life, my son is still dealing with the fallout of years of thinking he wasn’t good enough and never could be. My daughter has all sorts of trust issues where men are concerned although in many ways I think that is more of a positive than a negative. She likes men, she just doesn’t take any shit from them. In any case, as I mentioned above, I told my kids that if they want to have their dad back in their lives, I would support that choice but I followed that with a caveat: I don’t think having him in their lives would be good for them. Still, it’s their choice. I will support them either way but I will do nothing to encourage them to open the door to someone who doesn’t have their best interest at heart whether or not that person is their father.

  • I don’t think Cheater Dad cares about these teenagers. He just needs kibbles. He knows he won’t get them from OP so he’s looking in the next best place.

    The problem with providing the kids’ phone numbers is, presumably they have unilaterally either withheld their numbers from him, or just don’t answer his messages. If it is in fact that he needs them to “make first contact” then he’s preying on them /stalking them and they need to be aware of that.

    What I would do is simply pass on his message saying that he expects them to say “hi” now and then. Also tell them they are under no obligation whatever to do so if they choose . Make sure you CYA by adding, “and I cannot say anything bad about your father or I will be accused of turning you against him”.

    The fine line is, do you also educate the kids to some extent about narcissists drawing you in and inflicting wounds…I can see him doing that to the more vulnerable ones. There’s always going to be one kid who feels sorry for Dad and guiltily tries to make up for the others walking away. I meet grown adults who know nothing about disordered freaks so how can we expect teens to get it? A lot of people muddle along refusing to believe that anyone is truly evil.

    My own father was a terrible cheater, but I stayed on civil terms with him for years after he broke my mother’s heart and she died. Why? I felt human pity, and truly felt he could not help the way he was in his head. I paid the price though in his narcissistic rages at me about my siblings who wrote him off! There’s nothing to be gained from staying friends with these Hulks. Some of us learned that the hard way. I never visit his grave, yet my sister who did write him off goes to the graveyard and weeps.

    • Marci
      I really liked this part of your post

      “There’s always going to be one kid who feels sorry for Dad and guiltily tries to make up for the others walking away. I meet grown adults who know nothing about disordered freaks so how can we expect teens to get it? A lot of people muddle along refusing to believe that anyone is truly evil.”

      That’s my eldest right there feeling like he has to worry about his dad. And yes I knew about disordered freaks (parents) but still got chumped so yes how could kids ever get this stuff.

      • Cap, that’s my eldest too. When the twat lost his licence the oldest used to run him around a lot. To be fair the youngest did too but eventually, after EVERY SINGLE TIME Mr. Perfect Twat ended up preaching how to be a “good person like him”, the youngest flipped and told the oldest to deal with it. The preaching happened EVERY SINGLE TIME with both kids, but the oldest was better able to deal with it. When I asked the oldest why he put up with that shit (this was after I finally wised up and told ex to take a hike) my oldest said “mom, I know you’re tough but dad’s fragile” (“fragile” my arse – a raving lunatic more like). I guess he’s right but it still stuck in my throat. The youngest hardly has any contact with his dad and I think the oldest only rarely, but it is easier now that we are on different continents. I feel for you all with younger kids. Good luck.

        • A very good psychologist told me once that kids will often gravitate to the parent they see as weak and “needy” because they fear for the loss (one way or the other) of that parent.

          • LovedaJackass
            I think that is right. And how can I blame my eldest or other two for thinking that because I always thought he was just a bit helpless. We have all fallen for the same dynamic.
            With my eldest I do share my opinion of what is going on if he asks directly but figure this is a long game and I can be smart about any future intervention and how I approach and deal with it.
            My eldest given half a chance is a rescuer but I have so far been able to give him the tools he needs to figure out his dad based on other relationships he has.

            Attie – loved the raving lunatic bit!! And luckily mine has just returned to Asia to work so opportunities to mess with boys heads are limited.

            • I had to bite my tongue not to say he didn’t seem too fragile when “I was hitting his fist with my head” but in the end decided it wasn’t worth it. And you are probably right – the oldest does worry about his dad because he is such a train wreck (in more ways than one). I guess I can take solace in the fact that the ex can’t outrun himself – he has to live with himself and I don’t.

  • His relationship with the kids, or anyone else for that matter is NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Remind yourself as often as need be. Make it a new mantra: Not my problem. Not my problem. Not my problem……

    We moved to Missouri for his job. I moved back home to CA after the divorce and took the two kids with me. He had a month in the summer and a week either at Thanksgiving or Christmas each year visitation with the kids. He never took any vacation to spend time with them during their visits and the step-witch would treat them badly and give the ex shit if he spent any money on them. They endured the visits until the time they were old enough to tell him they didn’t want to come anymore. I helped them deal by frequent phone calls to see how they were doing, and tried to time the calls when he wasn’t around so they could freely speak. They always knew I was there for them, they could call me anytime, and I would hop on a plane in a second if things went terribly sideways. My aim was never to undermine the visits, but to help them cope with the mindfuck.

    Between visits, he would call periodically to talk to the kids. Most of the time they had no interest in speaking to him. Sometimes I would white lie and say they were outside or not there, but after awhile I would just tell him that they didn’t want to talk to him. I got the “why don’t you just make them” and blamed for “turning them against him”. I learned to not engage in those conversations. Grey rock and eventually no contact.

    The fact that the kids wanted little to do with him is a natural consequence of his behavior towards them. Nothing else. For kids, natural consequences are often the best lessons. For fuckwits, they never learn.

      • <3
        Writing this stuff makes me realize how much crap I've been through in my life. Sure glad to have the good company of CN!

  • During BD/ pick me dance – I was told, {via phone} that “(xh) CERTAINLY didn’t need the likes of me to help him with the children.” All haughty and snooty, like … &*^%*&$%(E(*$&(*!!!!

    He didn’t get help then, he’s not getting it now, not even for an old muck boot. Terrible thing is, I am the only person in the WORLD that could probably convince them to give him a second chance. I’m quite sure I’m fully blamed for “turning the kids” against him.

    He did that aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllll ….llllll on his ownsome.

    • Mine said the same. That he doesn’t need me in order to know what is going on with the children and he wants nothing to do with me. I too want nothing to do with him so this works well. Of course when. I oblige with his request he says I’m not informing him about the children. I remind him of what he said. He never has a reply.

  • “Your father e-mailed me regarding his attempts to contact you hoping I would encourage it. I have no feelings about it either way as he is not my father.” Plain, simple and the truth.

    Now, all of us chumps know he is a lying thieving cheating family destroying mother fucker, but he is still their father….yarf. Sometimes we need to chew the insides of our cheeks out to prevent ourselves from verbalizing our personal opinions.

    Not fair, but I have found from personal experience, the right thing to do.

    Why? Because when the relationship starts to establish itself again, he will bring up an e-mail he sent to their mother. Sucky, but true.

    • I should add, I believe you can certainly tell them you DO have feelings because of the circumstance of the divorce. Either way, it’s transparency and your children will appreciate it down the road.

      It is damn hard being the better person in a fucked up separation/divorce for the sake of the kids. Damn hard.

  • Speak the truth to them. Tell your kids the truth about their father without editorializing. Boundaries are real. Tell the father he’s on his own in all things. The time when you two was a team is over.

  • I’m ashamed to admit this, but in the first divorce meeting with lawyers and us, I asked for $100/month grocery money from him to feed our newly minted 18 year old daughter. His attorney had a table pounding tizzy. They were trying to “starve me out” of the house, by restricting money and leaving me the entire 30 year mess to clean up.

    His attorney accused…
    “WHY shouldn’t the 18 year old “help out”? “Why should she be provided grocery money? “Why should she be paid for lawn care and chores?!?! “WHAT kind of daughter expects money for chores??” “She should GET A JOB!” My xh, I will never forget this, had a smug grin on his face, like “AH ha!, I’ll show you who’s boss!”

    I looked at my xh and quietly said, “Are you sure you want to go down this….” that’s as far as I got. Old iron skirt jumped onto the attack mode again – and I was advised to “pick my battles”. I knew from that moment on, it was going to be all over for father and daughter relations.

    He now says It’s all MY fault, because I relayed this missive to the kids. I am ashamed that any father could throw his biological daughter into the divorce machine for a few dollars. It hurt worse than the affair.

    • Disgusting! Just remember they are not normal. For them it’s all about winning. Doesn’t matter who they hurt as long as they “win”. SMH

    • Aaahhhh the smug grin – I’d like to rip his tonsils out through his arsehole – that’d wipe the smug grin off his revolting, scrawny little face (talking about my ex of course but I’m sure we all feel the same).

  • I should add, I believe you can certainly tell them you DO have feelings because of the circumstance of the divorce. Either way, it’s transparency and your children will appreciate it down the road.

    It is damn hard being the better person in a fucked up separation/divorce for the sake of the kids. Damn hard.

  • I presume he knows the cell phone numbers of each of his children. They are grown people, or almost, who can make decisions about who to talk to If they don’t answer his texts or calls, that’s consequences.

  • A very hard one for us right now. Cheater boy has been a good provider, but will make the settlement difficult. Buys the kids routinely, but then complains that this is all they want him for. They love him and hate him. He can provide them with opportunities, but the cost is high. Routinely puts all of this on me–if I would only “confess” to them that it’s all at least half my fault, all would be well. Anxiety spikes whenever they are with him for any length of time. Never know when his crushing criticism will descend, but never know when he’ll be irresponsibly laissez faire, either. I really don’t think he’s a good influence, shudder to think of them at wedding to AP and involved in all of that in the future. No clue how or whether to let go. Ugh.

    • My DD refuses to go to the next (he and AP divorced – karma) fiancee’s house overnight so her father now makes two coffee dates a month mandatory to continue to pay her cellphone bill.

      He never contacts either child on a regular basis.

      When he does contact them, you know there is something in it for him re: impression management.

      If he is asked to actually do something for the children, he reneges about 45 mins to an hour after he was supposed to show up or he doesn’t show up at all.

      Requests for weekend visits and confirmation occurs Thursday for that Friday. I have told my kids those requests will no longer be entertained. Two week advance notice is needed and pick up and drop off occurs at their school, not my home. This avoids the disrespect of leaving me or the kids waiting at my home for hours.

  • Something I had to learn the hard way on this issue was that the longer I tried to excuse X’s behavior with our kids, the more I was simply putting off the painful but inevitable realization that he will continue to disappoint them. I was, essentially, gaslighting them, and once I realized that I stopped and let the chips fall where they may.

    X continues to make sporadic attempts at developing stronger relationships with them, and it’s hard for me to watch when it looks like he might actually be sustaining his efforts because I know it won’t last. But they need to figure out for themselves that their father has serious limitations when it comes to prioritizing his relationship with them.

    • ^^^^^This!! This post today is hitting home so much for me right now. You all get it and are dealing with it.

  • In the early post divorce days, I did try to somewhat manage my kids’ relationships with their dad. I couldn’t grasp the reality of them not having a relationship with their dad. I would say things like, “he loves you, but is just not well”. One day, my then 23 year old daughter said, “will you quit telling us that he loves us? Do you really want us to learn that this is what love looks like?” I never said it again.

    On a funnier note, my cheater ex told me emphatically that he could manage his relationships with both of our children. I backed off completely. Shortly thereafter, his disordered ways became very apparent to both of my children, and they both went no contact. I think he thought he could continue to manipulate them as he had done for many years. They were both armed with enough information and enough awareness to recognize him for the disordered wingnut that he is!

    Short answer, you are not responsible for your kids’ relationships with the man. I do believe they need to know enough age-appropriate truth so that they can make healthy decisions for their own lives.

    • Isn’t it great when our children call the spade a spade?

      I will never forget after one of my son’s soccer games when STBX came and stood off to the side. He then did his typical disappearing act where he went to his car as soon as the ref blew the final whistle only to text the kid “Good game”. My son read the text in the car after the game and my daughter said from the backseat, “He’s a coward.”

      You then realize that you don’t need to say a word.

  • I am grateful that my triplet sons are 33, and I don’t have to make any decisions for them regarding visitation. As adults, they’re in charge of their respective relationships with their father. If they want to have a relationship with him, it’s up to them to manage it; if not, that’s their choice. I’m completely out of the loop by design.

    When Asshat left me for his married coworker and filed for divorce, my mantra became “Not my job, not my problem”! All 3 sons/DILs know I’m strict Zero Contact, so discussions which include him are exceedingly rare. Son #3 and DIL spent this past weekend with me, and in the course of conversation, they did bring his name up. I assumed they’d say he was deliriously happy with Tinkerbell, relieved to be free of me and finally living the untethered life he apparently dreamed of having. But nope, they said he’s morphed into a weak, pathetic, passive, unhappy man who’s consumed by his guilt and is constantly apologizing to all within earshot for everything he says or does, just in case he has offended someone. In other words, he’s completely unrecognizable.

    Is this his usual impression management at work, Tinkerbell’s influence, or sincere regret over imploding our 40-year relationship, our family and our future? Oh wait a minute, let me start the tape recorder… “Not my job, not my problem”!

  • CL really hit the nail on the head with this one. I am divorced from a lazy cheating man who doesn’t father his son. I have already begun to teach my son to mange his relationship with his father. He’s 9 year’s old. When he says he doesn’t want to go visit his dad, I ask him to call his Dad and talk to him about it. One time I overheard this conversation and his dad, a grown ass man, said “you know that really hurts my feelings”. I’m thinking, “You fucking asshole. You left your son for a whore. You aren’t raising him but instead live with a completely different woman and HER son. You suck to the Nth degree”.

    Right after D-Day, I sent long emails to him about our son and decision i was making regarding his education, etc and I’d get back, “Ok”. Wow. I trusted that he sucked and stopped sharing information. If he asked about our son’s school, teacher, etc then i would answer…but no more volunteering information. I have tried to share “big news” with him and his response is just disappointing and lazy. Like when our son shoplifted a small toy. I lost my mind with how to handle it. I called him. He’s like, “I’ll talk to him”. Really? You going to tell him how to be honest and not lie or cheat? Yeah right. I think even he might have seen the hypocrisy of that.

    The school accidently called him first the other day about our son. he was fine but complaiend of a stomach ache. He immediately texted me. He doesn’t know what’s going on. HE says to me, “I have tried to call him for the last 4 days or so but he’s not answering. (my son has a cell phone) and I’m like so! He’s out playing with his friends every day. And he responds, “Yeah I figured”. He doesn’t even know when he should call his son. I bet he’d prefer to do it on the way home so he doesn’t have to infringe on time with the whore. She don’t share. Lovely home he has there.

  • I felt lucky that my kids were older (27 & 31) so that I didn’t have to have any contact with the Fucktard once the divorce was final but I also know that seeing the rose colored glasses removed from my sons eyes was and continues to be heartbreaking. They thought he was such a fine upstanding person, prominent in the community and well known. But once the last D Day was uncovered by me and the process started, they started to look back thru their life to see he really wasn’t around much. Always to “busy”…. now they wonder busy with whom….
    Letting Go,
    mine was in law enforcement and Fire/EMS but I was the main breadwinner for the last 20 years of our 35 year marriage. I did it all, worked full time plus, raised the kids(he liked 2nd shift so I was pretty much a single parent), kept the house, meals, everything but mowed the lawn and snow removal. Never said anything, I thought I was being supportive as he was always “busy” with his critical jobs.
    The day I discovered the affair I gave him that evening to tell our kids. When I checked with them at 9 to see if they heard from their father and was told no, I had to have them up to break the news. Fucktard just couldn’t do it…..
    I think he was too busy consoling the slut since she was forced to tell her fiancé of the affair that evening also since he worked for Fucktard. Oh and just for more shits and giggles the slut went to school and was a friend of our daughter in law….. you just can’t make this stuff up.
    Anyway, he did ask how the kids took it and all I told him was they were devastated and to leave them alone. I got all the sad sausage stuff but then after a few months it turned ugly. I poisoned them, they just didn’t understand, blah blah blah…. We taught our kids to take responsibility for their actions, I just didn’t know with him that it was a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of thing.
    Two years have passed, no birthday cards, no Christmas cards, not even when our 1st Grand child was born… nothing.
    But boy a couple months ago when he and the 30 year old slut had their new baby, the baby sent both our kids a letter. At two weeks how amazing that child of a 58 year old man is! I didn’t tell them what a horse shit thing I thought it was just that I was glad he reached out to them even though I didn’t think much of the way he did it (major understatement) and if/when the time ever came that they wanted to reach out to him, I didn’t want them to feel like they were being disloyal or hurtful to me (but I will be TOTALLY crushed, at least at this point)
    Letting Go, Im letting go, slowly but surely…. they are old enough to contact him or not, their choice just as it was his to lie and cheat to them and you. I just keep repeating, I can’t control others, only me.
    Stay Mighty!

    • I know you have posted that before about the baby sending a letter! Words escape me – that is so messed up. You sound mighty!
      Yep – can only control ourselves.

    • I remember that letter. Blame shifting fuckwit. You are so mighty. It’s really hard what you are going through. Hugs. ??

    • @had-it, you certainly are mighty!!! I can’t believe he abononded his kids and then had a baby, who writes letters for that matter. Don’t you just hate the good upstanding citizen act? Most people are surprised by our separation and floored when I explain why. Embarrassed to admit I was a master spackler, but the kids know, our families know and people close to us know that he SUCKS! Being a firefighter to my soon-to-be-ex was a licence to get kibbles! I will be okay when the kids do decide to talk to him… it is there dad like it or not. Glad you are moving on. Hugs!

    • Thats so awful but that cheater OW babys letter was just so ROFL… ok and a little scary at the same time.

  • STBX blames his poor relationship on his adult children 25 and 28 on me. No surprises there. I too have told kids that whatever relationship you want with you father – as he is their father – is fine by me. I however, am not going to help.

    Our second wreckconcilation really horrified my kids. That was back in the fall. They could not believe I would try to get back together with him. Even my son- in-law got in my face about what was I doing trying to be with him after all he said and did to me. That’s how desperate I wanted “our family” back together.

    But now, our family is together. He left. We will be ok. My kids call me everyday and honestly we have never been closer.

    He has made no effort to reconnect with his adult kids even after being encouraged by both me and his siblings.

    Why? Because he cannot apologize for what he has done.

    He treated our daughter horribly and she asked him for an apology and he won’t/can’t apologize.

    Adult daughter still holds out hope father will come around and apologize. I suspect I will have to be there to pick up the pieces. Beth commented same thing above.

    Its weird though – the people cheater wants in his life are people who cannot judge him – his 1 year old granddaughter(he never sees her) and he talks a lot about his deceased parents(who were lovely and would be mortified by their son’s actions) – he keeps their picture by his bed and wants anything that belonged to them. I used to have to tell him to call his mom. He never said I love you to his mom or dad that I saw. Just weird.

  • Yes, struggling with why a liar is good for the kids and a role model? Dad-rat went straight to OW house one night without warning- and immediately the new relationships was in our children’s faces. Anyway, I’ve been “brainwashing” our eldest girl (just 9 but very mature) who referred to him as a “stranger” and while I don’t want her to feel abandoned (and have done the “daddy still loves you”/”it’s fine for you to go with him and have a good time, your relationship with him is different to mine”, he has been happily oblivious to the girls’ distress and went so far as to say that it is a “new and exciting time for the girls” in a mediation session…yes, that went down really well with the mediator and me- since when and in whose distorted reality do kids love a parent walking out suddenly for another relationship that is splashed in their face straight away?! Legally, girls too young to have a say but the child specialist said he should back off and give the eldest space as she is under too much pressure to have to be with somebody she has such strong feelings about and feels so let down by. Hard when the kids are young and supposedly too young to have a voice legally.

    • I know exactly what you are going through. Cheaters don’t know the difference between alienation and estrangement and sadly, in most cases, a child can’t be heard unless a Guardian Ad Litem is assigned. Crazy how cheaters think what they have done should just be accepted by the children and there shouldn’t be emotional fallout.

  • Your kids are experimenting with finding boundaries that are effective for them. They are probably unsure how much time they want to spend with their father, how much they want to confide in him, how they want their future relationship to look. So, for now, they are taking space and time to think these very important things through.

    Good for them.

    Do not undermine their growth by trying to fix, bridge, or facilirate anything. Just tell them that you support them as they navigate their way toward a new relationship with their father. Let them know you’ll love them if they are in communication with their dad, and you’ll love them if they aren’t. Tell them that you are proud of them and know that figuring all of this out is tough.

    Your job is to help your kids. Your EX has made it clear he prefers to manage his own social life. Do not do any of his work for him. You’ll only signal to the kids that they are “supposed” to kiss and make-up with dad just because he wants it that way.

    (Sorry if this is bossy–I have strong feelings on this issue; some of which are a result of my own struggles in this arena!)

    • @Eilonwy, not bossy, but appropriate. It is obvious that you are speaking from experience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

  • Thank you to all of the people who noted that what they SAY is “it won’t hurt me if you decide to rebuild with cheater dad/mom,” but what they MEAN is more like, “OMG, I know that it is the ethical thing to do, but it is going to suck so hard and hurt so bad that I have no idea whatsoever how to handle it.” Such a dilemma, and a terribly unfair thing to be wedged, against our will, between a rock and a hard place, that way. I know I will never lift a finger to condone or normalize what happened here. I want very badly to warn them to be careful and to guard their hearts–have slipped and more or less done that–but can already see that this is the one thing, above all others, that I have to shut up about. Nothing to be gained by anything I might say. Really hard to be quiet. Working on it, because that seems to be the only peaceful path.

    • The worst part is that if this was anyone else in their lives, say a bully at school, a coach who devalues your kid, or friends who are making immoral choices, as a parent we would be telling our kids not to spend time with them. In this case, we have to continue to encourage them to have this relationship. Sucks.

      • I think that we don’t need to “encourage” a relationship with them, but I think it is really “not hindering” a relationship with them. And that is where you are between a rock and an hard place. You finally find out that this person, this person that you procreated with, is a f*ckwit that only thinks of themselves, regardless of the position of parent and protector, and you have to not be hindering their relationship with their cheater parent.That is the hard part, it’s easier when your kids are young adults, but it is still troubling, you don’t want them to be hurt either.

    • Much depends on the children themselves. My kids are used to straight-talk and snark, and I have been very clear I hate their father, and they know the Cliff Note version of his serial cheating. I have told them it is their choice whether to have a relationship with him. (One does, one doesn’t). If I tiptoed around an issue, my children would ask “who are you and what have you done with my mother?!” then have me committed.

      Other children are more sensitive, and will need to have things put gently. E.g., my niece is a fragile and sentimental child, so I am more circumspect with her than with my daughters.

      Sometimes finesse will be required for one child in a family, but not for another. Use their questions as a guide–they will only ask the questions they are ready to hear the answer to.

  • My first post, but I’ve been following since December, and I have gained so much strength and knowledge from CN, and CL. I bought your book (after 2 months of dancing) and it all became so clear to me. I had no idea what the signs of a Disordered Narcissistic Sociopath were. I thought he was just being immature and despondent because of the PTSD he suffers from the job.

    I can totally relate to “Letting Go.”
    I am the second wife (I only found out recently he did the same thing to his first wife). My D day was 4 months ago when my firefighter husband of 13 years filed for divorce (didn’t tell me) one day after our 12 day family vacation to California. While we were there, we met with the admissions coordinator of a prestigious tennis academy for our 11yr old daughter to attend when she turned 13. We looked at neighborhoods to live in and had the best time. When he told me he filed, I was completely blindsided & he told me not to “drag our daughter in to it.”
    Cheater said he hadn’t loved me for 5 years, we had nothing in common, etc. Then he left. Crying so hard that your eyelids flip inside out is a real thing!
    The next day he came back & I asked who she was, he admitted to an affair (a mom whose 8yr old son goes to the same school) that started two months before vacation so I get the pleasure of seeing the AP everyday and interacting with mutual friends. GEEEEZ!
    I looked back at all of our texts & even while the affair was going on, he was telling me how much he appreciated me taking care of things at home while he worked, how much he loved us & we were his world…no red flags. We did weekly check- ins to be sure we were meeting each others needs, no red flags, and just an occasional argument.

    Fast forward to present. I counter filed in November (he wanted to remain friends) so he wouldn’t drag his feet on the divorce & I filed petitions for temporary support, temporary exclusive occupancy of the marital home and temporary child support a month ago. Our daughter is devastated (knows everything that’s going on), won’t see or talk to him and now has anger issues (We’re both in therapy), but he expects me to bend over backwards to repair their relationship. She’s told him and texted him that she does not wish to have any time with him until she works through her feelings & he had agreed to respecting her wishes, until a month had passed. Then the AP started calling the school and lodging complaints that our daughter was giving her son dirty looks. After informing cheater, he and the AP had the police pay me a visit…not even a police matter. So cheater filed a petition for allocation of parenting time because I’ve “poisoned the mind of our daughter by villainizing him and telling her he abandoned us emotionally & financially(he did drain the bank account), & denied him parenting time. Ya, he’s a fantastic bastard!
    Pretrial hearing is 2/28 and I am as prepared as I can be. Since my daughter is 11(very mature 11), the court will order the visits, but after both attorneys listened to my daughters emotional breakdown I recorded, they agreed that until her anger & bitterness is better managed, we should have yet another therapist to facilitate the relationship between the two of them. Praying for God’s wisdom and Grace & longing for the day the divorce is final.

      • @Ms. Movin On, glad you could relate to my letter! This is my first post too and I have been following CL and CN since Dec. 11 (D Day #2). I bought the ebook and read it three time. The hard copy came in last week and I am on Chapter 2. It was what got me through. I was so scared to post because until recently I have felt like a bumbling idiot. I was using all of my capacity to be an effective VP during the day and was exhausted by the trauma at night. Your firefighter, sounds like my firefighter – a self absorbed, narcissistic fraud. My husband used PTSD as the reason for D Day #1. No wonder your daughter is experiencing such a range of emotions, she is just a kid. I am glad you are both are working with a therapist you trust. You are lucky to have each other. Hugs to both of you.

        • @LetGo – Thanks. The book really helped me too. I couldn’t put it down and I finished in a day and a half . The book gave me good laughs when I needed them, and it also gave back my power because I could better decode his BS. Stick with CN and will get through this. God Bless

      • @LetGo – Thanks. The book really helped me too. I couldn’t put it down and I finished in a day and a half . The book gave me good laughs when I needed them, and it also gave back my power because I could better decode his BS. Stick with CN and will get through this. God Bless

      • Update: justice prevailed, I was awarded temporary support (both spousal and child), and sole occupancy of the marital home. His petition for allocation of parenting time was denied and a third therapist was ordered to help facilitate the relationship between the two of them. Power of ?? wins over evil.

    • Ms Moving On – Ugh I hate to hear how you are in the thick of this. This is tough stuff and your STBX sounds like a complete and total asshole. Good luck to you – sounds like you are strong. Go and be mighty.

    • Praying for you Ms. Moving On. God grant you His Peace of Soul. I pray that your daughter’s plight be the only thing at this time that the court hears and justifies, then your divorce and a good settlement.
      I’m sorry that you and your daughter are being put through this. God bless you and keep you both safe and sound.

  • My situation is unique and would not apply in the case of most fuckwits (i.e. don’t try this at home). In my case, I have been facilitating STBX’s relationship with his kids, but only because he and they seem to all want to have a relationship with each other and he seems to be willing to try and be a better Dad and repair the damage he has done with them. He really does need my help for that, but he recognizes it and appreciates it (one of the few things he does appreciate about me). He says he is grateful that I am still talking to him and letting him see the kids as much as I do. He will humbly ask my advice in terms of how to interact with his kids “because I need help with these things”. He still has relapses like when he was manipulating our daughter into doing him a favor a couple of weeks ago, but when I pointed out how he had let his job hijack her daddy time it was like a light bulb went on and he realized what he had done. It remains to be seen whether or not that will make a difference in the future, but at least he acknowledged it rather than getting defensive. I only give him advice when he asks for it. In his case he is asking about what he should be doing rather than telling me to make the kids do something. All of this benefits the kids who are upset with their Dad for leaving, but they do still love him and they want to feel loved by him. I don’t tell the kids how to interact with their Dad.
    All of this is a huge improvement over where we were a year ago. A year ago he was being a jerk to me and the kids. He seemed to have devalued all of us, almost like he was embarrassed by us and wanted nothing to do with any of us. Of course he was at the height of affair mode at that point, but I had no idea what was going on with him. I was concerned about how he was treating me, but even more concerned about how he was treating the kids. In June 2016 I left on a two week trip to Europe with our daughter (the boys were away at camp during that period – I now know how he spent that time  – DDay was mid July a week after we got back from Europe). He had said that we were not communicating well so I started communicating. I left him a long letter to read while I was gone to explain (in as un-confrontational a way as possible) my views on a lot of things. I put a lot of emphasis on the kids and all of the positive things about them. I wanted to make him understand that they may not be perfect kids, but they are good kids and we have every reason to be proud of them. I was not successful in turning around his thinking about me, but it seems that I was able to remind him that he does love his kids. He showed immediate improvement with the kids after that and has been steadily getting better. I want to encourage that for the sake of the kids.

    • You did nothing to “turn his thinking” around. You are not that powerful. I hope you don’t try to manipulate untangling that skein anymore.
      By proxy you are still tying to fix him, you are trying to set up the relationship with his kids. Going to bite you in the behind. It’s not your relationship to manage anymore. Believe this or not, even wayward cheaters can develop relationships back with their kids all by themselves.

      • Hmm. You could be right. I thought I was doing it for the kids but maybe not. Maybe I am still trying desperately to salvage something from this mess he created. Of course the referenced letter was sent before I knew what was really going on with our marriage. I am sure I will be less and less involved in his relationships with the kids as time goes by and I am able to complete my detachment (it has been slow I admit).

  • I have covered over my stbx’s serial infidelity for my kids’ entire lives (they’re all older teens). I have propped up his otherwise neglectful and indifferent behavior as well. I was stupid. Really stupid. Always trying to present him as good and respected in order to keep things happy between the two of us. Before he walked out, he looked our kids in the eyes and told them we had communication problems, that he had no other woman and never again wanted another woman (I was that bad to live with ;)). I knew better and had suspected another mistress for some time. I was right and he has openly gone about with two different mistresses this past year (and at least one other girl friend). In our state infidelity can carry over into the separation period that is required for those with minor children. He does not care in the least. He pulled a similar sob tale stunt with me. He is suffering. “I miss the children desperately,” he said. This was after I had warned him that they don’t appreciate that he lied to them about the other women and that they know he goes around with them. So his next move…guilt trip them. He sent them a short letter with some flattery followed by, “Every morning I wake up and hope today will be the day you reach out to me.” Seriously? Two of mine are adults too and the third just 1 1/2 years off. They now know the truth. Not every nitty-gritty detail and the oldest two know the most, but he is not getting my help any more. He is not going to pretend to be something he is not while I spend more years making him look good. Consequences! He should have known they were coming.

  • Here’s a twist —

    I cooperated with him in the early days of our divorce, when my sons were 9 and 12. “Just call if you want to see the children more — we’ll work it out.” That lasted about 2 months. Then he went to visitation every other weekend. Then he was unable to do that — “work” don’t you know? Then the boys got older, and they told him SEVERAL times that they did not want to be picked up and dumped at his house, and not see him for most of the weekend. They would rather stay at home, where at least Mom had food and they could always get ahold of her, even when she was out of the house. So they started being unavailable to go — “school events” don’t you know?

    I didn’t cover for him, and I tried to say as little as possible, because the boys seemed to be figuring it out all by themselves. I did, however, continue to teach my children values and to be compassionate and caring people. Now their dad is 71, and showing some symptoms that may be dementia. My son’s were discussing what they needed to do to “help” their dad, this past weekend when I saw them for lunch. In spite of everything they know, and everything he did and didn’t do, my son’s still have compassion and a sense of duty to him because he is their dad. I was proud of them for being good and caring son’s, but I am also sorry that they didn’t have a better father. It was a tough moment for me, because even though I know that life is not fair, I hate it most of all when life is not fair to my sons.

    Their dad has always been able to get more than he deserves, and he doesn’t appreciate any of it. Even though my boys have been through what they have — they want a good marriage and they want children. I think they will be much better fathers to their own children, though they certainly did not learn how from the father they had.

    Life is strange.

    • Life is strange Portia. I think that your kids are a treasure for you. Like all mothers, we wonder if our treasures are throwing their pearls before swine. But in the end, in the judgement, our treasures will triumph and that is ALL WE CAN ASK FOR. God sees it all and goes forth accordingly…. I’m sorry, I don’t know if you are a religious person or not, and I hope this doesn’t offend.

  • I haven’t read all the replies yet, but I’m shocked to find myself not 100% agreeing with the main theme this time!

    Here’s why: In my early to mid parenting years my mom would call me every couple of weeks and remind me of family things that she could tell I was about to miss because of working more than full time, raising 2 growing girls and being married to the biggest energy suck on the planet. She’d say little things like, “Granny’s birthday is next Friday,” or “Don’t forget, Aunt Trixie passed away and Uncle Pete would love a card or a call from you,” or “Do you have time to mail some photos of the girls in their Halloween costumes?” Today I’m so grateful my mom helped me to stay connected to my family, be more in their daily lives and them in mine. Now I find myself doing this with my kids.

    They were 16 and 21 on Dday 2-1/2 years ago. Divorce was final just over a year ago and now my girls are now 18 and 23. I spent over a year racked with agony over the betrayal, then it gradually lessened and my blessed Tuesday arrived! So now I remind my kids to call their grandmother, send cards and photos of the fancy dress worn at the college Founder’s Day dance – including to my x and former in-laws.

    One of my kids said to me, “I can’t believe you’re on Team Dad.” My reply was, “I’m on Team ME, period. And being the captain of Team Me, I don’t want anyone saying anything bad about MY kids, so helping you make a minor effort to share and stay connected is in my best interest. You don’t have to take my advice. It is simply advice.”

    Recently I asked one daughter if her dad was doing anything to help her move into college (meaning – it would be nice if your dad felt included in your move-in experience) and I said to the other, “just let me know if your dad is attending your performance at church just so I can be prepared” (meaning – your dad would appreciate an invitation to your performance.) What they choose to do with that advice is 100% up to them and absolutely I DO NOT JUDGE either way! I can brush off his presence as easily as his absence. But I do value the help my mom gave me when I needed it. *I like the person I’ve become with her guidance.* Maybe my kids needs a little guidance, too?

    • NewHere, I think what your mom did to encourage you in sustaining your family relationships is sweet, and it’s nice that you can do the same for your kids. But that’s not the same as letting the ex make you responsible for their relationship with their kids, when the kids actively do not want to have much, or anything, to do with that parent. There are good reasons for the kids’ attitude, and it’s up to the cheater to repair/maintain that relationship.

  • I haven’t read through all of the comments but I have read some and there’s a lot of excellent advice here for various personality types, situations and age ranges of children. I wish this had been around years ago.

    My children were mostly adults when the final break occurred (the youngest was 20) and I didn’t initially have CL and CN to guide me. My children did begin to tell me things of which I had been unaware had been going on throughout the entire marriage. My Ex had put me down to the children, intermittently expressed dissatisfaction, said he loved me and at times said he would not leave me because of them. My children suspected him of cheating off and on throughout the entire marriage. I didn’t have a clue.

    With that said, once I began to recover, I recognized that the unhealthiness of the marriage had created some unhealthy coping mechanisms in my children. I realized that as I got healthy, I had a responsibility to not only model healthier behaviors, but to re-orient them as best I could to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics. That meant acknowledging my own bias, expressing how I might view a situation from my lived experience and from my healthier perspective. I freed them from financially NEEDING their father for anything (because he used/uses that as leverage – he equates money with “love”) so that they were able to engage him completely on their own terms. I don’t talk to him, he fired me from the job of managing his PR, I resigned my position as general manager of his universe and I no longer run interference between him and his children by telling him how his behavior may be creating more problems than it is solving.

    They will occasionally come to me and question regarding some lame or distorted excuse regarding his victimization, many times because they’re not sure if he’s “playing” them. I always engage it from his point of view and then ask questions. For instance, when he recently told at least one of the children, if not all of them, that he didn’t understand why no one would accept the OW and allow her to come around (thus, “preventing” him from coming around) because she wasn’t really a “homewrecker” as he had decided in his head that the marriage was over, I started by conceding that he may very well have decided that. From there I simply asked, “How did he then go about ending the marriage? Why was a third party involved before any mention was made of his decision? Why did the third party insinuate herself into decisions that had repercussions for the existing family? Why not resolve any and all financial issues in a way that proved less harmful to me in particular and to the family as a whole? They didn’t have to give me any answers – I threw the questions out there for them to think about and answer for themselves. I’m speaking to adults, so not only am I speaking to them about their father, but I’m forcing them to think about questions and answers that they may themselves confront in their own relationships one day. I am not just talking to my children, I’m talking to someone’s potential husband or wife and someone’s potential parent. I don’t want them treating anyone the way their father treated me (and them to a lesser degree) nor do I want them to miss the signs of someone not treating them the way they deserve to be treated.

    This is all very difficult to navigate. My best advice is to put your children’s best interest first as best you can and manage your relationship with them. Your Ex will either figure it out or he won’t. He fired you from being the general manager of his universe.

    • @Chump Princess thank you for sharing your story and for your thoughtful advice. I am putting my children first now, but I am ashamed to admit that I put my husband first for all of those years. I am even more embarrassed that I didn’t recognize that I was until all of this happened. My children are such kind, respectful and empathetic human beings. I was tell my son that is father is a nice person and he puts his life on line to help people in our community, and he stopped me and said in the most sincere way, “Mom, he is not a nice guy.” I like your example of how you use questions to help your children think deeply about others perspectives, feeling, situations, etc.

  • Love this CL.. Its been nearly 6 years since the ex ran off. I spent the first two years trying to do my “best” and organising him to be a father. He abused me once too often and I stopped everything. All forms of contact. His relationship with his kids totally disintegrated. He never bothered. I then received a text message from the OWife about 2 years later stating how I was using my kids as a “pawn in my childish games” and that the kids would realise what a wonderful father and man my ex is and how I needed to let go and move on. Considering I hadn’t spoken to him (or about him for that matter) for about 2 years by this stage, I think she might have been the one that needed to move on! I sent her a text in return thanking her for her input but the kids relationship with their father was between them and nothing whatsoever to do with me. I wished her the best….. Both my kids are adults and can make their own choices. They chose not to have him in their life. Neither have seen him for years now.

    • JABT, don’t you just “love” when the homewrecker whore feels she should tell you how you should raise your kids??? After all, this little beacon of moral values saw fit to be an accomplice in destroying your family! Schmoopie’s, for some fucked up reason, believe we give a good shit about what they think! It certainly convinces me that these cheaters believe they are so very smart! Unfortunately I had a beloved dog that had dementia who was smarter than cheater and Schmoopie! It pisses me off to no end the lengths these assholes will go to in order to take over our lives! Luckily my disordered halfwit Ex finally woke up and realized she was nothing more than a common whore who was NOT particularly gifted with a whole brain. Unfortunately she ruined his life! Fortunately, my kids and I saw her for what she really was!

  • My heart goes out to the chumps who have young children. You are all amazing! I can’t say I would have the grace that you all have. My kids were all grown adults with children of thier own when my Dday came along. My youngest of four children was 30 years old. All my kids have a firm grasp on right and wrong. They also watched thier Dad treat me pretty shitty throughout the years. Of course I would try to spackle those “crappy” moments, but even the kids would call him on his crap behavior. Not that he cared or listened! Fast forward to his affair. My kids warned him to his face that they would cut him off like a cancer if he kept that affair going. They reminded him that they had impressionable kids who would NOT accept some whore he was shagging. And they did cut him off completely. When his whore finally called to tell them he had cancer and wanted thier help they calmly reminded both of them that they left me high and dry and very sick so they could pursue thier fairytale romance. He had also ignored all but his only son over the two years he was chasing her. His elderly parents were ignored also. My son reminded Schmoopie that she wanted him so badly and now she could deal with his illness. Needless to say Schmoopie had pulled every trick in the book over the course of thier affair to establish some sort of foothold into the family and into my in-laws life. Both cheaters were shunned with no apologies. They were reminded in no uncertain terms that they obtained, selfishly, exactly what they wanted… each other and the families were NOT included as a package deal. Yes, I did bad mouth those cheaters and I was desperately ill. My adult kids had to rearrange thier whole lives to get me through two horrendous surgeries and recovery. They saw how thier Dad, who lived right in town at a hotel not two miles away, saw fit to ignore me! They saw how Schmoopie. Knowing I had cancer, still taunted me and baited me! My kids still hate this woman and daddy dearest has been broken up from her going on two years! They want the Karma bus to visit her badly! But they also would like me to reconcile with thier Dad! It’s tough no matter what age they are at when this shit show comes down the pike! Hats off to you chumps who have to navigate these shark infested waters. My prayers are with ALL of you!

  • It is pathetic how these cheaters play the ” can you help me” card. Mine did it too. ” I am a poor communicator” Oh, please!
    He manages just fine with the slapper and her children. How about you pay your child maintenance and stop lying and then communication might improve.
    My kids do want a Dad, and see him on holiday. Now after a gap of 5 years !!!, he is beginning the Disney Dad approach. Very annoying to witness.
    I do struggle with this. Life is un-fair. In reality though what upsets me the most is the clear fact that my boys have a rubbish father, nice holidays or not.
    He is a bully, and as yet they do not stand up to him. My eldest is just beginning to aged 20.
    I leave them to it, and I hope they grow some backbone as they age.If I am honest I would love them to give him a real mouthful about his behaviour but doubt they will.
    He is a successful businessman and they admire that about him. I cannot contradict that as he is good at his job.However very little of his money trickles down to us, so big deal!!
    I am wondering how to clearly point this fact out without coming across as bitter.

    • Seriously, I found it very helpful to talk to my kids about OTHER bullies, manipulators and assholes, to point then out in movies and TV shows, and in my stories from work and from my past, and their stories from school….

      Then we’d talk about their problematic behaviour, how to recognize it, and how to deal with it. Assertiveness, polite limit setting…

      Then my kids applied this to their relationship w/their father.

      I never had to say anything about his assholery to them. And they learned to have spines; a very useful life skill.

  • Also the idiot other women writing and telling you you need to allow your children’s father to see his children” is laughable. I got that too. Nobody was stopping him!!
    I think it simply shows how much they are also lying to the girlfriend. Hence they have as much love and respect for them as they did you. They are just the new shiny wife appliance which will also get tiresome.
    In a weird way it should make us feel better. The lovely twu luv is no different. Liars lie and cheat. They cannot be honest (about anything)

  • Gonna agree with everyone else. While it’s not your prerogative to vent all your anger at your spouse’s cheating on to your kids, it’s also not your responsibility to repair your ex’s relationship with his kids – especially once they’re grown. He wants to fix that, he can do it himself. You stopped being responsible for his familial ties, his laundry, his dentist appointments, and his clothes-shopping once you divorced. Not. Your. Problem.

    • WHat happens at the D day/split/affair/ walk out – is that overnight you are holding the cards re the kids. but it is a double edged sword and that means the cheater – even though he walked or did the damage seems to become teflon in the light of ‘don’t turn the kids against me’ – ‘ I miss them/dog/home/meals/ every day’ as a pity play and the impression management they just handed you that if you don’t play nice in the divorce you are bitter and twisted. SO – cant win is a biggy. How do you win? – playing unexpected. No contact a big plus – also truth ; truth is not slander it is the truth undressed and fact checked. kids are easily manipulated but when cold hard facts are observed that stays with you. You dont have to paint it any other way. Good luck with the long road of mind fuckery that comes with a disordered fuckwit who holds on to his public image but chooses to ignore his own close family examining his actions.

  • Even my dreams are about being deceived atm, guess my brain is trying to work through things, makes me feel crappy though. Wingnut went to mediation first session which is about seeing kids. He sent me info and seems to think there is a possibility of getting back together in a year if we both work on our ‘issues’ umm fuck no.
    Did not reply to this, he must think the sun shines out of his ass and he can put me and kids on a shelf as plan B, have his year of fuckerising around and if its not what he thought it would be come back.
    My Mums words ‘ hes got a bloody cheek’
    Not telling him stuff all, keeping my cards close to my chest.
    He is seeing kids for first time in a month tonight. I had an assertive conversation with him last night and told him his relationship with them was not for me to arrange. He naturally came back with Im stopping him seeing them crap, he’s turning out to be as good at part time fathering as he was as a partner. He wanted them at his house last week but we were not allowed his address !
    He is seeing them at the beach tonight I will drop them off, hopefully it will be ok. He wants to show them his place but they just want to swim so will be interesting to see if he respects this or not. Its all about him always.
    Back to basic emails. God help me .

  • Wing nut has spun out tonight 20 emails in 2 hour tuned to the rage channel . Im the most controlling person he has ever meet. Im going to go to the bank Monday.
    Whateva keep squirming because you are getting no reply, oh and he hates me!
    Oh and hes a good guy apart from cheating on me.
    Frigging hilarious anyways back to my kids and chardonnay and nice camping trip with friend for two days. Phone will be staying at home. Oh and he blocked my number,, um hello I blocked yours a month ago idiot!
    Think he is whoring for attention.

    • Lady B: Congratulations on your Class-A no-contact!!!! When you’re removed from it, it’s moderately amusing to see the disordered derail into the rage channel.

      I hope you and your “controlling, meanie” self enjoy that camping trip and the chardonnay and your kids. Well-done!

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