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Kids and Affair Partner(s). The Unavoidable Shit Sandwich.

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How do I protect my kids from my spouse’s affair partner(s)? How do I shield my kids deal from this new blended family that’s been inflicted on them? And…Hell, we’re not even divorced, and he’s introducing the kids to my replacement. What can I do?

I get these questions a lot. And I have the same head banging answer of disappointment — Nothing.

NOTHING?! Are you fucking kidding me?! I get cheated on, lied to, lose half of all my worldly possessions in a divorce AND THAT DOUCHEBAG AFFAIR PARTNER gets to be around my kids?

Uh huh. Yep.

Introducing the shit sandwich you can’t avoid — What Other People Do.

Once you are divorced, you don’t get to control what goes on at your ex-spouses’s house or how they parent. You don’t control who they date (even if they were dating that person while you were married). You don’t control how many fuckbuddies they cycle through each season. You don’t control how many of them get introduced over breakfast to your kids.

Yes, if you’re lucky, you can write into your divorce decree that your ex cannot have overnight visitors, or provisions around sleeping arrangements. I had a judge write this into a custody decree with my ex, and I didn’t even ask for it. The judge just had a thing about unmarried parents having sleep overs with paramours while having custodial time with children. So it’s there. Despite the fact that, in my particular case I don’t care. My ex has dated the same woman for 9 years and she’s the more competent adult between the two of them. He’s violated the order every summer vacation. And if I cared, you know what my options would be? To hire an expensive lawyer and try and hold him in contempt. Spend thousands for a hearing. To do what? Have a judge fine him? If I’m lucky pay my attorney’s fees? (that’s never happened to me, btw, in over a decade of being sued by a mentally ill pro se person). Tell him sternly not to do it again? Spend a life being the ex-spouse police and monitoring how he spends his evenings and with whom? Documenting it all and going to court?

By all means, while you are divorcing use evidence of the cheating and the introducing of affair partners as reasons for why you should have custody and decision making. Some judges care. But many do not. But once you have that divorce decree and that order — even if it has provisions for “visitors” — enforcing it is up to you. And that depends on how deep your pockets are.

Judges see a lot worse. They see horrific child abuse, addiction, unspeakable drama. Unless this person is a criminal or is putting the child in imminent danger, courts don’t care. You saying the person has crap morals and is a slutty home wrecker and should be kept from your kids makes you look like the batshit crazy person.

I know that is hideously unjust. Because what is the most precious thing to you? Your kids! It’s one thing to have your marriage broken up, your bedroom defiled, your finances decimated because of infidelity — but to touch your KIDS? Protecting them from hurt is primal. Clearly cheaters don’t think of this at all. And it pisses me off to no end that so many cheaters eat cake EXACTLY because they figure you would never put your children through a divorce. Which they’re quite happy to pin on YOU (which is why so many of them drag their feet, much better if you’re the Bad Guy).

And I’m sure a lot of “reconciliation” is undertaken with the express purpose of  folks being goddamned if they’ll let the Other Person touch their kids. Understandable, but wrong headed.

Children eat the biggest shit sandwich with infidelity. Their families are broken up by divorce, their allegiances confused — all we can do in response is be the best parent we can be. That’s all we get to control — ourselves.

And it’s a lot to ask of a chump — to be the sanest, most together, consistent parent after D-Day. To not bad mouth the person who has just gutted us. To not try to protect your kids from the affair partner who aided and abetted in the destruction of their family. It’s a Herculean task of sanity. And yeah, it’s fucking unfair.

If you haven’t achieved “meh” about your ex, fake it around your kids. IMO, it’s okay to tell them why you’re divorcing (i.e., “mom cheated”) but not okay to editorialize (i.e., “because mom is a whore”). Shore them up the best you can. Get counseling for everyone. But when you feel yourself spiraling out of control, obsessing over your ex and the Schmoopie, put the focus back on yourself. How can I be a good role model? You really have an opportunity to show your kids what grace looks like in the face of adversity. How to navigate heartbreak. How to survive and thrive (but focus on survive right now, thrive will come later).

I know that’s not very satisfying. These are the days where you wish you had an uncle in the Russian Mafia or a lynch mob at your personal disposal. They pass. Take it on faith that your kids will figure it out in time. (Yeah TIME. Damn you Time!) They don’t have the life experience to get it, and they won’t for another 20 years or so.

Oh, and don’t let your kids jerk you around and do the humiliating dance of “pick me” with them either. Children have been known to exploit an opportunity to play one parent off the other. Your house, your rules. Be secure in your role as their parent. Don’t spoil them or let them get away with shit. Don’t go all soft and wobbly because you’re afraid they won’t love you. (If they’re teenagers, they don’t love you right now anyway.) You’ve still got a job to do — so do it!

Some day they’ll thank you for it. By then your ex will be on their 15th ex-affair partner probably. Life has a way of filling in the bigger picture so you don’t have to.

(((Hugs))) Chumps. Meanwhile, I know it sucks.

This column ran previously, but it always comes up in my stats daily as a favorite, so I thought it’s time for a retread. Also I have to be somewhere really early this morning… Thanks!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Today is my 21st wedding anniversary to Dr. disappointing. I really needed this pep talk this morning. Still no closer to divorce and will most likely have a 22nd. Ugh!

    • My annivers-scary was last week, but this one I am free. Strength and support to you! Stay mighty.

    • Big hugs Brenda. I’ve been putting my ducks in a row and last week my princess hits me with dday 14,658 or 9 I forget. Anyway, thankfully there’s no one else. Whew.
      I’m about 8-12 months away from getting shit in order and I need to buy time. I nearly puked in my mouth urging her to rethink things.

      • Dun Chumpin, I understand the desire to line up your ducks, but is what you’re waiting to do really worth it? A year of insanity is a very, very long time. And there’s always going to be some new problem, with these (disordered) characters, there always is. Everything gets better the farther you get from them: finances, sanity, your health, your friendships, life in general…I could go on. I found the farther I got from him, the closer I could get to my real self. Worth any price.

        • Yes Something New! A lot of clarity can be gained from distance and No Contact. The rose-colored glasses fall off and you can see them in all their inside ugliness (even makes them look uglier) which makes it easier to move toward MEH. What did I ever see in him?

      • I understand the ducks plan. Whether its for your heart or your wallet or your kids your education or your peace of mind to say you did all you could, take the time you need. From others who are already out it seems the message is hindsight will make you wish you acted sooner. Maybe. Fair. But right now I am going to trust that you know yourself and your environment and your situation and that lining up is really what has to happen. I planned on exiting swiftly and executing this rapid leave plan. And now I am still not totally figured out. But I do know that when I am done, when I feel like my plan is complete I will know it was done on my timeline and I was ready for my actions. My decisions were my own. I may regret them or wish I had acted sooner or later … But it will be my journey. So I applaud you doing what you have to do.

        • First, I really do, really do appreciate the support and honestly SomethingNew is right. That said, that’s a luxury I can’t afford right now. Sometimes you gotta choose which shit sandwich you’re gonna eat.
          The reasons are financial and children. It’s also under friendly legal advice. The fact you all care though? So important. It’s like living in a casino here. No sense of reality at all. This is one place that keeps me grounded

    • Brenda – I celebrated 20 with my STBX. 21 came while we were separated and unsuccessfully attempting dissolution, and I have a bad feeling 22 will come and we STILL won’t be divorced.

      This process sucks!

    • I ‘celebrated’ my 18th anniversary with Judas (He didn’t celebrate because unbenounced to me he was planning his exit at that time). When anniversary 19, 20, 21 came along, I sure as fuck wasn’t celebrating then. Yes – my divorce took THAT long….. Stay strong.

    • Today would have been my 39th Brenda. I threw him out shortly after the 36th. So today marks his third anniversary with her as they met while he was with me.
      Technically I was married to him 37 years.

      Mine was finalized by the judge a year to the day from Dday. So today I celebrate my freedom. You will get there. Stay strong.

    • Brenda,

      Happy anniversary! It’s my 21st anniversary today too! I found confirming proof of my x’s extracurricular activities on my 18th anniversary. Yay! I’ve been divorced about 2 years now and it’s so much better!

  • Yes to protecting the kids being a huge factor in staying. Ugh. Know that once a loyal wife has to compete with whores and explain her value, it is over. Nothing to work with. Cheaters are character challenged and have no honor. Integrity and family mean nothing to them.

    I would not have guessed that he would immediately discard his kids once we divorced and was full of fear about losing the kids half of the time. Well, I needn’t have worried about that. He has no time for them. Make sure you have his wages garnished for child support because cheaters have already begun to move on.

    The children say nothing has really changed. I did everything every day anyway.

    • My ex’s fuckbuddy has narcisstic personality disorder and learning that was enough to give me pause not to leave. Which shit sandwich should I choose?

      I did check it out with his wife and she said he barely wanted to spend time with him own kids…. which actually gave me a lot of comfort. I then just had my lawyer write to the ex requiring her to undertake to not introduce them. She never gave it, and still to this day claims they’re not seeing each other, but the pressure (and he potentially for shame) and his disinterest in the kids meant she has never done it.

      I suspect many fuckbuddies aren’t that interested in the kids, even though they may fake it for various reasons (image control, pick me dancing, etc). It will wear off eventually.

      • The webcam hoes and internet hook ups are certainly not interested in our kids. When he finally does find himself a replacement for me – that’s when I am going to start to worry about him shoving his “slunt” in my grown kids face.

        No mentally stable woman would touch my STBX pervert with a 10 foot pole. It’s a given that who ever he “digs up”- will be a loser- just like him.

    • Neverwouldhave
      I could feel the slow burn of anger as I read the topic of today’s post. Finally it has dawned on me how absent he has been from our lives. I know this sounds nuts coming from me as he worked abroad for most of the last seven years but I truly believed that he loved us, our family as much as I did. Realising that he lives on Planet Disordered and can seemingly believe he ‘did it all for us’ and he ‘loves us all very much always has and always will’ while having his affairs was one kind of hurt. Having time to reflect on how much of an absent parent he was makes me feel kind of ashamed for not seeing it sooner or for not expecting more. Hearing my youngest (11) saying that to not see him now is ok because he has never really had a dad anyway just hurts in a different kind of way. All (21,17,11) are pretty much NC with him and already I can see the effort he used to put in to trying to contact them is lessening as time goes by. If they don’t bother he will stop bothering. In the early days I suggested he wrote letters as these were things where he could say more and they would have them to keep. I know kids often say they don’t want contact but that may be through fear of rejection or anger but letters might be meaningful. He sent a couple of postcards for fucks sake. Never put in the effort to actually write to them. My own father was never interested and it has always been quite painful. To now know that I chose this fuckwit and he is exactly the same way it a special kind of hurt.
      All we can do, all I am doing is trying to singlehandedly be everything they need and hope it is enough. It just makes you want to weep for the kids that have to go through this.

      • Big big hugs to you. I understand COMPLETELY how you feel. Be the sane parent. The biggest thing (my catholic guilt kills me here) is that we have modeled to our kids the wonderfulness of a dysfunctional ‘partnership’.

        This is where a good family therapist can help. This is where I have spent $. My legacy cannot be that my kids seek out the same type of crap that they witnessed growing up.

      • Capricorn, I have a suspicion, that with a wonderful, insightful, compassionate, intelligent and dialed in mother like you, your children are not only going to be okay, they will be superstars.

        When old age or illness comes knocking, he will come sniffing around them. I have seen it time and again. It will be up to them if they let him in their lives. Guess who they will ask if they should? You.

        • Cora
          Well. Thank you. I’m copying your post to cheer me up in the dark days. Mostly I’m ok but some days I feel like I have to dig deeper than I am able.

          And the point about old age and the sniffing around. Yes. My own father has made me executor of his will as I am ‘the only one’ he trusts. So narcs can spot other narcs it seems. It will be a vulture fest for sure. I have no intention of being involved at all but the sheer hubris of never seeing or talking me but expecting that I will do his bidding because I am a good person takes my breath away.

      • Dear Capricorn,
        I cried when I read your post this morning. 11 years is a very tender age, still a young child and denied a father who is present and caring. But when I read your son’s words of it being ok as his Dad was never really there any way I know that your son, and his dear brothers, will survive in spite of not having their Dad present in their lives. This is a very strong statement. I believe it is true though because these young men have a very positive, loving, ever present role model with them every day, every step of the way. They have you, their MOTHER!
        I am older than you Capricorn, but I look up to you.
        In my eyes, and in All of CN I know you are admired, respected and very much loved.
        YOU, sweet lady are mighty! You are the most sane parent on this earth!
        (Strength and Hugs on your journey!)

      • My father was never financially invested in me, my mom was his OW he ended up living with while “raising” me, without spending a penny on me pretty much (that was how the karma bus hit my OW mom, he let her pay for everything, including me the affair child and my mom accept that out of guilt).

        My XH has competely financially abandoned me and our daughter (international divorce so forcing child support not that easy). I could not have married someone more similar to my father in that way than my XH, so shocking to realise and I hope my little girl will break the cycle.

        Hugs toyou Capricorn!! I get how shitty these realizations are and how you worry about how it will impact your kids.

    • “The children say nothing has really changed, I did every thing anyway”. Mine said the exact same thing and it is true but it is so hard to accept because that was not how I wanted it to be.

      All you veterans please keep your nuggets of wisdom coming on this one. It is totally defying my instinct to have the kids have contact with stbx now. I get that a judge would think “this is nothing compared to being beaten or sexually molested although he has had physical altrications with 2 of my sons in the past and I feel like I was sexually molested after learning of the cheating.

      He is constantly screwing with their minds but it is subtle. Just this morning he sent my adult daughter who lives on her own a text telling her he hopes she has a great day. He saw her for the first time in months two weeks ago and didn’t even say hello before lashing out at her about not reaching out to her grandparents. She elloquently told him that my son’s sporting event was not the place for this discussion and walked away. Now, out of the blue “I hope you have a great day?”

      I have to keep telling myself trust he sucks but not let the kids know? One of my reasons to trust he sucks is his journal which he gave me after he left. He talked about it for 3 months before he gave it to me. I expected a thoughtful presentation of his reasons for leaving instead it was vulgar and ful of hateful name calling and cutting comments. He would describe situations of us together and then rant in evil terms about me. When I showed it to my attorney, he was disgusted by it but said I should thank him because if the case ever goes to court, it will destroy him.

      The anger and hatred it portrays is incredible so if that is what is inside, how do you calmly send the kids with him?

      • It is scary how their minds work. Mine is similar in that at times, he spews contempt and rage. Other times, he is sugary sweet. It is all about manipulation, but at times the mask slips. I don’t think we will ever truly understand how they think. You got a glimpse with that journal and that is probably more than most of us will ever get.

        As awful as it is, be thankful as it should help you accept who he truly is and let go. Plus, as your lawyer said, it gave you a lot of evidence you do not need to build.

    • Wow, NWHI, did I write that? ditto, ditto and ditto. Although in my ex’s case it’s void of character, not character challenged.

      I agree 100% – get the wage garnishment in place, because as time passes the exholes find anything but their kids to spend money on…trips, pizza, motorcycles, whores, liquor, drunk whores on motorcycles, etc.

      My ex actually managed to rent a place with another narcopath – who is worse at the parenting gig than he is. Tough to do, but he pulled that shit off. Then, as expected – his dick managed to fall into her strage and well worn holes. Her kids don’t visit due to alcohol and drug issues (among other things), and his kids don’t visit because of her alcohol and drug issues – her attempted suicide in the shared residence, and his overall inability to connect with his son. Lord help me if ex ever gets serious about turning his life around, losing the drunken-welfare-whore-roomie, and making a sincere effort to connect with his son. Son wants nothing to do with the “dad” with whom he never had much of a relationship anyways. As much as I try to stay neutral yet supportive of son, I know that I am the only one here truly looking out for son’s best interests.

      They suck….I don’t doubt it for a second. I’m just disappointed in myself that it took me so many years to figure that fact out.

  • You sure hit it there for me, Tracy. There is nothing we can do about it but try to show grace in a time of adversity.
    I think once one gets over the initial backlash of being thrown away, it’s easier to accept this fact.
    I am two years out, NC for 2 months and he is trying to have contact with me and his children.
    I know enough about the monster within to not want to go back to any form of relationship, but this knowledge also means I can call the shots on communication.
    Instead of jumping to do “what he wants”, I can decide myself what I will and will not answer to.
    He is a bonafide narcopath and his ho-worker is more messed up than he will ever be, but I have to at least try to cooperate, if he is willing. That’s a big question.
    My heart tells me that these kids need a father, but if he fits the bill can be debated at length.
    I have finally accepted that we are getting divorced, and that our life together is over.
    I guess part of moving on is just that. Moving on.

    • Yeah, no grace here. When I found out from my preteens he had a “friend” stay over on one of his access weekends, less than 2 months after D-Day, I went ballistic on his ass, sent a letter to his employer that got him within a hair of being fired, and told his mother he was messed up because his sister had disclosed to him how dad had molested her for years as a child…all true and no regrets. Don’t mess with my kids or I will fuck.you.up.

  • This is perfect timing for me. Although I’m nearly 4 years out, ex just introduced the littles (7 and 4) to his Latvian barbie doll/secretary, and I’m struggling with the idea that future visits (twice yearly holidays) will become a “new” family affair, for him to show off what an awesome father figure he is. I feel for the children having to deal with this level of sucktitude, where their dad gives them even less individual attention.

    When I try to talk to him about giving me a heads up about this new situation, he blameshifts and gaslights me to the nth degree, to the point that I regret saying anything. Nothing changing there. Goddess give me strength.

    • Please tell me he did not cheater on you while you were pregnant. There should be a special place for those cheaters in Hell.

      • Male serial cheaters usually start cheating when their partner is pregnant. Fewer kibbles for them so they seek their kibbles elsewhere.

      • This is me right now. Someone said to me yesterday that he has played me so well. We planned a baby under the illusion that we were a happy family. He now says he didn’t think I ‘wanted him’ for 2 years from when our son was 6 months. He had all the control over our marriage because he knew that I trusted him because he was so good at lying and making me feel bad for questioning him. He got me pregnant just so he could continue to control me for many more years. I didn’t even think about that because I guess I never thought of him as capable of that but it does make a lot of sense. This came from a friend who left a verbally abusive husband when her daughter was 2, she is now 7 and still having so many issues with her ex.

      • I am 7 months pregnant with my 4th and found out 2 months ago he’s been cheating. Whatever hell they go to is nothing compared to the hell I’m in right now. So glad I found this site!

  • I am waiting for their D-day. The rumor is he is cheating on her. I really don’t care.

    I am also waiting for the day my kids to get their belly full of shit sandwich. They are teenagers and they have wooed them with no curfews, unlimited money, but I am stuck paying HIM child support. They show up at my house when they need bailed out or need money for school.

    Yes, it is a shit sandwich. This is what I get for breeding with a fucktard.

    I usually don’t curse, but when you involve my kids in your crazy, I get a little pissed.

  • Mine married the whore and they’ve been super sparkly for 4 years. She’s a real smug bitch who flaunts it on social media (totally knew he was married and “won” him). Yep, she won the whore lottery, alright. My kids really like her, too. They live in another state, and when they visit, she does crafts with them 24/7. Yeah, they’re super annoying. She’s the queen of stupid hashtags like #He’sMineForever #I’mKeepingHim and #PowerCouple.

    Well, he’s yours, dear!!???? #Losers

    • Omggggg I could write the same thing. Except my ex and his partner aka step mom of the year practically moved NEXT DOOR to me. And she joined MY KID’S PTO!

      • Ugghhh! Stacie I can so relate. Ex introduced the howorker to my boys (9&11) less than a year after we separated. She and her teenage kids (who she has half time) moved into what used to be my house 1 mile away from me in a very small town. They’re getting married in about a month. My 9 year old is going to be the ring bearer. ?? and I get to risk running into her every time I go to the grocery. Thankfully though she’s had the good sense to stay away from the kid’s events so far so at least I don’t have to deal with that (yet).

        • Stacie & Chumpintrainging, I feel your pain. My X and whore had a surprise wedding during their summer visitation without telling me or the kids. My poor kids were forced to be their maid of honor and ring bearer…and they PURPOSELY got married on our ANNIVERSARY. AND were proud of it…they flaunted it on social media and thought it was the funniest thing in the world. Not kidding.

          • Chump Struggle is real, what a couple of sickos. Only fellow narcopaths would be impressed by something that deranged. Maybe they will both steroid out and get rid rage, they sound like they are overdue.

          • Chump struggle is real – Oh my god! That is terrible! I have posted a bit later about my situation in more detail but my ex is marrying OW 5 months after leaving us in 2 days. Although he did say he would like them there he has accepted my children’s “no”. That is truly awful. What a ba***rd. What I don’t get is that they can’t see that the short term “win” of getting what they want has such a great cost longer term. I guess they just don’t care.

            • Thanks OutOfSparkles, my story gets so much crazier, I could write a novel. For example, wifetress told the kids that she was their REAL mom and I was only their BIRTH mom.

              You couldn’t make this shit up if you tried. I’ve honestly never heard a story worse than mine, but I’m certain they exist, lol.

              After hearing all that they put me through, my therapist said it is a miracle I’m not in jail for murder.

              My saving grace to sanity?

              Hyponotherapy.

              They use it on PTSD patients and I highly recommend it.

              • That really IS fucked up! As it happens I am seeing a hypnotherapist too and am finding it a godsend! I saw him last nigh (he is very good) and felt better immediately. I work in mental health and used to do a lot of hypnotherapy myself although stopped when we moved country as the attitudes in the system I was working in were quite negative. I work in private practice now though and have been thinking how fantastic it is and that I should get back to doing it again. I’m a bit rusty, but a bit of retraining and hopefully I’d be up to speed. I have been trying to do a bit of self-hypnosis in between and it does help. It must be powerful if it has kept you sane amongst that level of craziness! You would think that something that severe would be classified as significant abuse (emotional/psychological) but perhaps not even then. Xx

        • My STBX has moved in with his OW about 5 minutes from our family home where I live with our three year old son. We luckily haven’t bumped into them yet-he often the texts me when they go to the local supermarket?!? Just to warn me that they are going out together!!! He is now banging on about introducing her to our son and starting the process of having her become part of his life- it makes me physically sick that our son will have to see his dad with someone who is not his mum- he’s still too little to understand what is going on. Not happy about it at all- it’s not even been 6 months yet since D Day.

          • That’s SUCKS. My first Christmas away from my children (4 months out of DDay) my Narc Ex-In-Laws and ExN invited the whore to their house with my poor traumatized children there…these “Christian” people let ExN and the whore sleep in the same bed for a week in front of confused sweet babies and acted like everything was just fine and dandy.

            They all claim to be super religious…riiiight…

    • Yuck ?! Just yuck! I can’t believe people fall for the fake social media mask! “Oh, look, they’re so happy, we’re so happy for them!” #fakeisasfakedoes

      • It’s frustrating when the ex and the whore thrive. It feels like they get away with it. And they couldn’t have (and still are) more horrible and remorseless. The worst is when you see people who you cared about comment things like, “I’m glad you found her” under their pics. It’s like everyone condones it.

        I just try to focus on my life and ignore them. I’ve pretty much accepted that the karma train is never coming, lol.

        • The karma train will come, count on it. But the asswipes that post over the top ass kissing comments on fb really do make me sick. Not to be shallow but have you ever witnessed someone, that to put it nicely, is no “oil painting” post a selfie and everyone comments how gorgeous they are? Or someone posts an outrageous, crazy statement and then all the posters agree with the nut job. Totally insane.

          • It’s not that I want awful things to happen, but I must admit a teensy bit of SOMETHING would be satisfying. I know that’s wrong of me to think this way, but it’s like they floated off into the sunset while simultaneously throwing rocks at me this entire time. The whore can’t have kids, but she has an adopted daughter from a previous marriage (yep, she was married, too). But her life’s goal is to steal mine from me, just to prove her superiority and dominance over me. She basically wanted my life and they’ve tried everything to insert her and get me out of the picture. If I have to sit through ONE more custody battle…ugh. Thanks to God for always protecting me and my kids, and I’ve always won, but you’d think these two would get tired of attacking and insulting me after 4 years. I’m not holding my breath….

            • The Chump Struggle is Real…
              We have SO much in common. SO much. I really think that we are living a VERY similar situation. OMG…I totally get what you are going through on EVERY level…people in my life can’t even believe what I have to deal with…one time the OW was at school wearing a name label (from the computer) with my name and face on it! HELLO>>>>”the taken my place” totally went up at notch then. OMG…

          • All the time. I don’t really put a lot of credence into that kind of thing. I’m like, “you do realize that photo is awful, right?”. But I just think it, never say it.

            • Amen, the social media sparkle parade is never ending. The two of them flaunt their happiness and profess their undying love and devotion to the likes of which you’ve never seen. That’s why I’m fairly certain she’s a narc, as well. They’re both into bodybuilding and take professional photos together of their love in the gym. Ex’s Mama is THRILLED over this relationship and fawns all over the whore. THIS is the one she approves of, I was merely the incubator for her grandchildren. I couldn’t have been sweeter to this woman when we were married, but she NEVER would accept me no matter how hard I tried. According to XMIL, the whore is the daughter-in-law of her dreams and they are all one big happy family. Thank goodness they got rid of me, whew! What a bunch of weirdos…

              • Ahh. Wow your ex and his AP sound exactly like a couple I know that just had a blow up of a divorce. Had an affair, the motorcycles, the working out, the tattoos, etc. She worked in a strip club, flaunted the relationship in his ex wife’s face. He was a cop on his way up the ladder and then boom, no promotions and little recognition due to his flamboyant lifestyle. Shortly after they married he had regrets, she clung on for dear life, all to no avail. He had her arrested (pretty sure he set her up) on a domestic and filed for divorce. So the karma will happen and keep in mind that on social media she made off like everything was great and all the while he was making an exit plan.

              • Brangelina finally got their turn under the karma bus and these musclebound meatheads will too!

                Especially since they both seem to be somatic narcissists.

                There’s bound to be more attractive bodies to lust over coming into the environment they spend their time in.

              • Sorry to be stalking you today TCSIR…You know why the MIL loves her? She sees a kindred spirit, I bet you anything she is a narc herself, and this new woman gives off just the right amount of sparkles. You were just being yourself, but this new one is all about appearances, and I have a feeling she will be greasing Cheater’s mom like crazy, and realises that that is what is important to MIL – making a good impression. After all, where do you think Cheater got it from?

              • Bingo StigOfTheChump…you nailed it. I believe them to be an entire nest of narcissists: Ex-MIL, EX-Husband and Wifetress. I’ve tried to find advice online regarding this unusual combination, but haven’t had any luck finding one link that relates to this scenario. Lucky me!

              • Yes, my XMIL also loved the new mistress (former au pair), and now the three of them are one happy family. XMIL plotted with mistress to help her cheat. She turned her whole family against me behind my back with malicious gossip. XMIL even even pick-me-danced on behalf of her son, since mistress was cheating with several married men simultaneously. “No, pick my son!” XMIL never accepted me either during the 20 years of our marriage. I learned about XMIL’s racism finally. She wants all white women like me out of the family. We are apparently ‘stealing’ her sons and brothers away from her, just like the evil white woman who ‘stole’ her own husband away from her. I know that three such disordered people (ex, XMIL, and mistress au pair) won’t thrive together. But boy it hurts. Especially handing my children over to them every week.

              • ChompingChump I’m so happy I found you! I’ve yet to come across another trifecta scenario where the ex, the MIL and OW were all narcs, like mine. Here I was thinking I was alone!

                My Narc MIL was an enabler, too. Sneaking Narc OW to her house to be with ExNarc while I was obviously sitting at home with our two children none the wiser.

                Honestly, how do these people sleep at night?

            • And that sucks Chompingchump, I only encounter my ex and wifetress a few times a year. I couldn’t imagine living in close proximity to these fuckwits! Hugs.❤❤❤❤

              • Struggle Is Real: Re the Nest of Narcs…I would say just watch and wait, it suits all of their purposes at the moment to be best buddies. At the moment they are locked into some kind of ‘Kibble Triad’ by the sounds of it. Mom is probably loving the attention the whole thing has brought her, and being unanimously approving of the OW means that she is validating her son’s decision. Noone wants to have to say, “My son is a flaming asshole, who threw his family under the bus”, because that begs the question of where those tendencies come from. OW is loving the validation from MIL, which gives her position legitimacy, especially in tandem with the narrative that Cheater wasn’t happy in the marriage and they turned to each other for comfort once you both realised the union was irretrievably broken. And of course Cheater is happy and relieved that his mother, in her acceptance of the OW is giving him some good publicity and making him superficially appear less of an asshole “Hey, if my mom accepts it, it must be okay”. And so the family PR machine rolls on. But give it time, once the shine wears off and people are no longer interested in the drama and move on, someone will put a foot wrong and then they will all turn on each other. Narcs need elbow room to ply for kibbles and the jostling will begin.

              • Stig, you nailed it!

                Reading your post, I had to remind myself that you don’t actually know these people. Spot on!

                Yes, this is EXACTLY what’s going on to a “T”.

                You’re very perceptive, Stig. ?

        • The Karma train will come, TCSIR, just not on our timetable. I too am frustrated by the lack of consequences for Poor Me BPD, the OW. But it will happen. Such awful people cannot keep it together forever, and it will get very messy, I promise you. Even if they do not separate, be sure that behind closed doors they will be miserable, and you know one of the reasons they will try to keep up appearances? You. She, if she is the personality disordered being she seems to be, will still be all about the win and control. And she won’t want you to win, so she’ll stick with the shit sandwich. Or she’ll line up someone else and leave his ass in the dust. So perhaps expect a sad sausage to be served up to you sometime in the future also. That’s when you’ll hear the whisper of Sweet Karma, but knowing how it works, you’ll have reached Meh anyway the very Tuesday before. Best of luck, hang in there, may you and your children prosper.

        • ChumpStruggle:
          What an awful X and OWhore! I imagine they must have cost you many days wishing that karma bus into existence (they’ve cost me several hours hoping the bus hits them, and I don’t even know them). Thankfully, my kids are on to my X, so his super sparkly life in his mansion overlooking the water, jetting off around the world, with his 20-year younger AP/GF, hosting dinner parties for all the former ‘friends’ who no longer associate with me, just makes me shrug. Last I heard, AP/GF was about to go on anti-depressants (the consequence of narc abuse).

          Methinks your X and OWife protest too much. If one has to advertise one’s happiness on social media to that extent, chances are it’s manufactured happiness (same as with mine). And as time goes on, I would SOOOOOO much rather hang with people of integrity (like here on CL) than with shallow ding dongs who think that ‘catching’ a married person is winning.

          • Exactly Tempest. Happy people don’t have to flaunt their love in social media.

            My Mom always says, “Whenever you see someone over-the-top boasting about something, usually they feel the complete opposite about it”.

            It’s like they’re over compensating.

            • My mom used to say, “If you have to say you is, you ain’t!” Sounds as if Mom was talking about your ex and the boastful whore!

    • What a dumb bitch she is for being proud of “winning ” a lying cheating loser. That’s just one thing I’ll never understand. Normal women reject lying cheating losers. Not flaunt them. Bizzarre.

      • Yep, my whore is a social breed of fucked up. Pretty sure she’s a narc, too. My kids are 10 and 12 and they still haven’t figured it out yet.

        She’s the Mary Poppins type of shameless homewrecker.

        The funny part is that in her mind, she thinks we’re still in an imaginary competition and she’s the victor. She behaves like I still want him or something.

        Ummm..nope! I’m good!???

        • He probably tells her that you do. And you know why? Because they she’ll make sure to keep dancing extra hard, to make sure that he doesn’t decide the grass was greener in the home paddock. He’s got her on a string. And you’re free (as shitty as that feels right now).

    • “They live in another state, and when they visit, she does crafts with them 24/7.”

      That says everything right there.

      It’s very easy to be Super Sparkle Stepmom when you barely have to see the kids. If I were married to a man with kids I didn’t like who lived a state away, I’m sure I could pull out the sparkle for them if I only had to see them on rare occasions.

      My ex also married his fellow cheater, and she moved to our town from her home two hours away. They attempted to play Brady Bunch for a while, but gosh– now that they’ve been married almost four years, it’s just not as sparkly as it was. The cheater wife used to do all kinds of “nice” and “fun” things with my kids, and now it sounds like all she ever does is bitch at my sons. My younger son can’t stand her. My other two don’t say much about life at the Blended Nightmare house, but I can tell that my youngest doesn’t like going over there, and my younger son has told me about how he and my eldest son have had talks about “sticking together” because the cheater wife seems to target them and yell at them for whatever all the time.

      It sucks, but with time, I’ve grown to not care about it. I’m sorry that my kids have to go over there and deal with the stepmonster acting like a spoiled brat and their cheater dad catering to her every whim. I’m sure he’s scared to death that she will leave him and put him through another divorce, and Monty Burns certainly doesn’t want to lose more money or to prove that his second marriage is a sham. My kids are getting older though and figuring things out, and at the end of the day, they come to me for the important talks and know that I’m the one they can rely on. I didn’t have to bad mouth their father at all. He’s destroying his relationship with them all by himself.

      Like another poster wrote on here, he’s going to expect our kids to care for him when he’s an old codger, and if I’m still around, I fully plan on telling them that they are NOT responsible for his sad ass.

    • Give it a couple more years, OWife will be in for a rude awakening. Have seen it time and time again. Also it appears she is hanging on for dear life with the social media bs. The cheaters eventually get bored and resentful even when the AP’s bend over backwards to meet every one of their needs.

      • Thanks for the support, I’ll keep you posted. Although they just built a beautiful home (Something he always promised me, but never did in 10 years of marriage) and are living the affair partners dream. It’s so unfair.

        • Yup, again the train wreck of a couple I mentioned bought an outrageous home on the water and now are having a tough time unloading it. Last I knew they have lowered the listing price nearly $200K. Pretty desperate to sell. When all is said and done they will have far less than they ever had as she had to move in to her mother’s 2×4 shack and get a low paying job. All the years he worked OT is all for naught and he’ll have to split his pension. Really, really sucks being them right now. Keep in mind that for years everyone thought they had a charmed life but home life was miserable.

        • CSIR, this is exactly where I am this week. Just found out from my youngest daughter that her dad is trying to push her and her sister to meet his girlfriend. They had not told me about their knowledge of girlfriend since they found out weeks ago because they didn’t want to hurt me. While I didn’t know the relationship had gone blatantly public, I already knew about the girlfriend as she has been in the picture for the past seven years. I only just caught on a year ago and my divorce was final in January. My oldest was with me when we caught husband and OW together out and about in our hometown.
          The bitch of it is, just as I thought I was getting to meh, those wounds of rejection and betrayal seem to have been ripped back open again.
          I am sad for my kids that their father couldn’t give them a reasonable amount of time to get used to the divorce before shoving shmoopy in their faces. And I am irritated with myself for not being able to just roll with it. Any suggestions getting over this hump for those of you who have experienced it?
          I gave this guy 30 of my 45 years. We met as teenagers and now he gets to walk off into the sunset with OW and drag my kids along for the dysfunctional ride. How does one let the bitterness go?

    • OW is of a similar variety. She uses social media to brag about their great relationship. I do go pain shopping every once in a while, they have a big family caricature up as their facebook cover photo, before it was a photograph of their wedding certificate and her bouquet.

      I can tell that things are slipping for her though. She’s gained at least 40-50 lbs in the last 3 years, it’s got to be hard keeping up the charade of perfection and something has to give. I checked out her chump ex on social media out of curiosity, and he’s quite fit and attractive. Both of them downgraded, big time.

      • Pain shopping, totally. My friend and I call the social media circus “emotional cutting” (a reference to the physical cutting that was popular with emo teens for a while.. and maybe still is but I hope that 90s phase has passed!). The carefully crafted story and images can have such a strange power… just the right combination of information and mystery to always prompt me to come up with the most personally wounding scenario. But sometimes you luck out and see that the OW looks terrible and mwhaahaha just feels so good.

        As my mental health improves, I’m starting to see that my relationship with social media is less painful and dependent and more fun. Still a work in progress, obviously (see comments above on my sadistic joy lolll). Raising my own self esteem makes it easier every day to feel less that my self worth depends on coming out ahead in the persona to persona social media competition.

      • You know I wonder about these women who make such a production out of the fact that they landed a man. Among my circle of friends and coworkers, some are married, some are in long term relationships, some are single, but none of us define ourselves by the fact that we managed to get a member of the opposite sex to stick around for some amount of time and put a label of some type on our relationship. Even when I was married, I never had people call me Mrs so-and-so, I really tried to avoid referring to my spouse as “my husband”, I explained “my husband’s name is Joe, and the other day Joe and I were at the movies…”, and just referred to him as Joe from that point forward. Even now when I date, if it becomes pertinent I will say “My ex-husbands name is Joe”… and just refer to him as Joe. I never put wedding photos on my desk. I never wrote posts like “4 wonderful years of being married to the BEST HUSBAND EVER. You my world and my everything.”

        Like seriously – you got a man. A shitty one at that. You must not have much going on for you if that is the thing you consider your most successful accomplishment. It’s so weird to me.

        • CAGal, so true! I think same women with self esteem don’t feel the need to put in a show.

          Their posts are annoying, so I don’t look anymore. It just causes unneeded negativity in my life.

          Attention whores, we are not.

    • Oh TCSIR, what is it with these women that want to take over your life and just slot in as though you never existed? A personality disorder, that’s what. And to get married on your anniversary, and think it’s FUNNY. Mental diminishment at best, but really they may as well just print their wedding invites with W’ERE ASSHOLES emblazoned across them. Noone with any decency makes their marriage about ‘The Win’, after all isn’t it supposed to be a celebration of our love. And whoseever idea it was (Cheater or OW), for whatever reason – her’s to underline the ‘win’ or his to be a cruel sack of shit- who would want to wake up every year and go, “yeah, it’s our anniversary, oh and it’s his/mine and chumps’ anniversary too”. (As we say in my country) Fucked in the head, totally.

      • They chose the same date because she couldn’t trust him to try and remember a new date! 😉

    • At least you know she’ll be okay with it (not really) when the next slunt ‘wins’ him off her. It’ll happen.

  • Divorce was final on Feb 22, 2017.

    6 days later, younger daughter (M the Younger) made first mention of “Mom’s boyfriend.” 11 days after that, M announces that she and older sister (Ethe Elder) had dinner with Mom’s boyfriend. On April 17 — not even 2 months after finalization — Kunty Kibbler informs me that she and the Rider of the Purple Dildo are getting married in 2019, that she’s already informed the girls, and that she “expects me to not interfere with their building a relationship with [RPD].”

    Here’s how I ate that shit sandwich when my daughters came home a day later:

    Me: “So, I hear Mum gave you some pretty big news yesterday . . . ”

    I asked them only two questions:

    1. “What was your reaction when you heard?” (Both said, “Fine.”)
    2. “How are you feeling about it?” M the Younger said: “I’m OK, [RPD] seems nice”; E the Elder seemed none too pleased or impressed with the situation but didn’t say anything.

    Me: “Well, I have two things to say to you about it …

    First — remember what I told you on the day the divorce became official? You’re going to be introduced to new people as part of this. At some point, you’re going to be meeting his kids and other members of his family, and I expect you to be the polite, respectful, considerate girls you’ve always been. I have no concerns about that.

    At the same time — this is a situation that you’re being brought into, it’s not something you asked for. And if there’s anything about it that stresses you out, or makes you uncomfortable, or anything like that, you need to speak up — to me, or to your mother, or whomever. It’s important that you know that — this thing affects you, it’s your life being impacted, and you should never think you don’t have a say in it.”

    “Second — if you’re wondering about me, I want you both to know that the only relationship I care about is the one I have with you. I want the time you spend in this house to be time when you always feel safe and comfortable, where everything is familiar and predictable and not about to change any time soon. I just want to reassure you of that, OK?”

    Being early teenagers, they just said “OK” and we moved on to other things. We had a typical dinner, made fun of each other and ourselves, etc.

    Just a normal, happy day together — just as it should be.

    • I love this! Such eloquent and heart-felt concern that your girls can see and rely on. Good for you and them. I may have to borrow these words some day. Hope you don’t mind!

    • Well done. I wish that I had reacted with such calm and dignity. When my ex started blabbering about getting engaged to his cheater partner to our kids, I didn’t blow my stack, but I’m sure that they noticed the very sick look on my face. At that point, they had known her for barely two months, and now their father was talking about marrying her. Way to teach them how NOT to have a relationship.

    • Beautiful. I especially like “this is a situation that you’re being brought into, it’s not something you asked for. “

    • Beautiful!

      I’m bookmarking this for my own use in a few months. Our divorce will be final in the summer. The kids don’t yet not about their dad’s girlfriend. The lease on his apartment expires midsummer, and I learned through the AP’s XH that she just bought a large house, one that’s way too big just for her and her daughter. We suspect that my ex plans to move in with the AP’s giant house with my kids.

      My kids are about the same age as your girls, so this will be a huge shock for them. All along, I’ve worked to maintain the status quo at home… truly, the “home” that they recognize. I can’t imagine what they’re going through and how hard it is to not be able to control any of it. The best we can do is offer them love and familiarity during their time with us.

      Anyway, when the time comes, I’ll plan to tell them something similar to what you did. Man, this sucks.

    • The High road! admirable! I try even though I have to say some of these things through gritted teeth.
      Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not.

  • “You saying the person has crap morals and is a slutty home wrecker and should be kept from your kids makes you look like the batshit crazy person.”

    Take that to the bank. I am an attorney.

    I was hired by a Mother do take out an Order for Protection from Domestic Violence for her 10 year daughter against the new wife, an Affair Partner. Because I am a chump, and detest AP(s) with a vengeance, I agreed to try to help.

    We had evidence of verbal abuse and just weird stuff: making her go to bed at 5pm, some rough housing in a pool where the little girl thought she was going to drown, lots of yelling. Little Girl testified in hysterics- Judge thought me and the Mom were sick for putting her through it, even though it was a private hearing (in camera) and the Little Girl desperately wanted to never see this witch again.

    Had a psychologist say the little girl was having stomach pains, anxiety, insomina about going around the New Wife. New Wife was a loud mouth bully. I wanted to smack her in court. Interrupting me, the judge, the whole nine yards. Classic bully.

    Not only did we lose, not only did the judge seem shockingly blind to this person’s big mouth and this was a female judge, the Judge acted like I was Stalin and the Mother was Mussolini for bringing the action. The Mother meant well. I believed her and the little girl. None of these parties were wealthy or had connections.

    The judge did not care. Unless they see a bright red line of abuse, addiction (proven- not speculation) or dramatic neglect they are going to tell you to put on a lid on it. And then give you the stink eye when you go back into Court for something you actually need.

    If you do think there is real abuse or neglect, you need unimpeachable proof. And you need to present it in a non hysterical, just the facts manner.

    • Yep, the legal system doesn’t care a lick about morals, and the person who tries to uphold them is seen as the crazy.

      I sent a text to stbx’s parents informing them of the real reason we were divorcing (I just told the truth, and included only things I have a paper trail evidence for). His attorney sent a letter to mine strongly suggesting I not send inflammatory messages or talk to his family, friends or co-workers, because it wasn’t good to create discourse for the children! Are you fucking kidding me! The kids weren’t involved in that whatsoever, yet you can have sleepovers with your new Chump and that’s okay for the kids! Where are people’s brains!

      I asked my attourney if that was an infringement on my freedom of speech. She suggested that as long as I was telling the truth and had proof there wasn’t much in the legal realm he could do, but he could use it in a custody dispute. So not worth it! I’ve come to the conclusion that most people don’t give a flying f*ck about someone’s moral character, as long as they look good on the outside that’s all that matters.

      #shitsandwichesforallchumps

    • “Had a psychologist say the little girl was having stomach pains, anxiety, insomina about going around the New Wife.”

      Too bad judges don’t see those physical symptoms as harm in children. Long term, emotional harm.

      • This case still makes me physically ill. I remember the look on the Mother and her little girl’s face….utter desolation. I wanted to weep.

        You are all right. This is why a judge needs to understand Real Life as opposed to theory. This judge has been married for 30 years and looked at us like we had two heads. She was not smart enough (can you tell I hate this judge?) to extrapolate or empathize what it would be like to be a 10 year little girl, who was already sensitive and had social anxiety, to be around a loud mouth, startling rude pushy bully who she does not know! Who made me antsy and irritated, and I am a tough broad.

        My point was this: Okay, you deny my motion. But what kind of heartless monster makes a child go around a non biological stranger when it is making her sick? Who are we looking out for here? The “feelings” of this Affair Parter, because she wants to play Mean Mommy with someone else’s children?

        UGH!!!!

        • Cora – as a member of the bar, what suggestions do you give to help in these situations? As we all know, judges despise appeals and most people in our situations are being financially “squeezed”.

          Knowing you are harming your child – medically that child could develop ulcers along with anxiety disorders etc what actual recourse do we have?

          It’s downright appalling the “judicial system” is giving more protection to outright guilty criminals than parents trying to protect their children.

          While our “rights” to raise our own children according to our “freedom” are being taken allowing basically criminals to walk free. Hell, even gay rights have more protection as they are getting benefits – health insurance, etc and all we want is to protect our children?

          I’m calling BULLSHIT on studies claiming cheating, lying, narc, stealing, manipulating, grand scheming fathers or mothers should be given 50/50 custody. That’s great influences on the next generations to come.

          Obviously while the “true” parents were too busy parenting, the lawmakers were changing the system creating shit sandwiches, slut laws with the abilities to continue to screw us freely!

  • I guess I’m sort of lucky in this respect. Upon hearing that one of his college GF was getting divorced, X left us and never looked back. Schmoopie was his twu luv – despite his dumping her in college for a Schmoop-of-the-same-name, and even being engaged/breaking off to another woman before he met me. IMO we had a wonderful marriage and two amazing daughters and then out of the blue — DDay. Now we’re finally divorced and he moved Schmoop to his parent’s farm while he searched for a new job (X was a banker in NYC but he was out of funds and Schmoop got a technician job at a local medical facility).

    Of course, they are getting married next week. This came as no surprise to me because I know how X’s mind works and even if he wanted to change his mind, he couldn’t because it would be saying he failed. Anyway, our daughters are now out of college (divorce agreement means he’s on the hook for their loans! yahoo!!) and living near me. Each received a phone call from daddy-o telling them of the impending marriage (they already knew as he was calling Schmoop his fiancé since day 1). Invites arrived in the mail and girls told me that they never opened them and just threw them in the garbage. (Did I say how much I love my girls???) Now he’s got no family but “mother and father”coming to his wedding. He calls to say how much meeting Schmoop would mean to him and to her. DDs say no way no thanks.

    So next week DDs and I are off to Newport to celebrate my freedom on the day of his wedding (at least the day we think he’s getting married!). We’ll be dining and toasting one another for having lived through this crap while he’s standing at the altar saying “I do” to Schmoopie. Karma is moving in….

    • Love it! Your freedom party with your girls sounds awesome!

      Nothing pleases me more than when kids stand up for themselves. I will always support my kids (17, 15, 12) having a relationship with their father, but I also impress upon them that they have some choice about what that relationship looks like. The one good thing about being is this situation is that it has pushed me to teach my kids about healthy boundaries, and communicating their deal breakers to others in a respectful way.

    • Your girls are great… LOL he will have a miserable wedding day looking like an idiot because your girls are not taking part in his kibble play!

  • Yep, as I have mentioned before my little daughter met daddy’s girlfriend and got to “move in” with daddy and his girlfriend (he gets her for 1.5 days a week) a week after we divorced. Wham bam. Up until then she thought that he lived with his friend where she was spending her overnights all throughout the previous 7 months (with many cancellations throughout that time). He was very proud of himself in doing it that way-my daughter came home and told me where she had stayed the night before and I actually had to call him (blech!) and ask where he now lived and where my daughter was staying!! Total douchebag move, but it didn’t surprise me. They had already bought her “bags and bags” (coming from DD) toys with promises of a puppy and other stuff. It’s all good. Buy away folks. I didn’t bother telling him how much she cried after coming home over the next few weeks. She was still drawing the three of us in pictures even though she was aware of the divorce and what it meant. She got it then. Just another thing to add to her “bad memories from when I was 6” part of her brain:(
    Once it was official he has stopped cancelling so much but still shows up late, drops off early-we all know the type.
    The thing is although I never intend to speak to her, I am hoping it lasts for at least 5 years because I’m sure she is providing some stability for a very unstable person.

  • Our kiddo was 8 when DDay happened… Prior to marrying my X, I had been very clear that adultery would be a deal breaker for me (I had been chumped in my previous relationship)… X admitted to cheating on a previous girlfriend, but convinced me that it was over 20 year prior and that he’d learned his lesson and would never cheat again…

    I believed him until I came across an email address with >600 emails between him and his mistress, she was half his age and they had been dating for over a year… Four weeks later, we were separated and I initiated an out-of-court divorce process. Our kiddo asked me why I was divorcing her dad. I told her that her dad had lied to me about grown up things that I’ll explain to her when she was older.

    Three months post-separation, his mistress moved in. Our kiddo was so stressed out, she was sick to her stomach often and had huge sleep problems, but of course X would not send his mistress to a hotel during his parenting time. I found a therapist to help our kiddo, my X was against because there was nothing wrong, dontcha know?!

    It took me 16 months to reach a divorce agreement with X, he used all the tactics in the books to get cake, I learned how to put the hopium pipe down and look at his behavior rather than listen to his paltering. During the divorce negotiation and since the end of the divorce, I’ve been eating shit sandwich after shit sandwich of my kiddo living 50% of the time with her dad and his mistress in the building next door. They were trying to tell the munchkin that they had no idea why I would not talk to them. I told the little one that I had found out they were dating while her dad was married to me, and that is not ok. Disclosing his adultery in age appropriate terms was very valuable to my kiddo, she really understood that the reason behind our divorce and their relationship had nothing to do with her or me, it was motivated by her dad’s lying and adultery. She’s processing this in therapy and asked questions here and there about what it all means as she faces new instances of his selfishness and lying nature.

    It turns out, X married his mistress two months after our divorce was final. I found out about their marriage while gathering info for my tax returns. Their union was such a special event, they had hidden it for over a year. And was the one informing our kiddo about this fact.

    It is difficult to process our lives have changed so drastically in less than three years, but facts are facts. I remain factual in my disclosures to our kiddo, and let her make her own choices using CL’s Cool, Bummer, Wow approach to shared custody.

    The discard is extremely painful, exposing my munchkin to this level of dysfunction is excruciating. But research shows that kids figure it out over time, and that it is better to have exposure to a disordered parent than to feeling abandoned by one. She is building a good sense of boundaries and of being discerning of what she can or cannot expect of her relationship with her dad.

    On my end? I keep our time together about us, about making new memories that are based on consistency, trust, and fun. It is getting easier, but being the sane parent is no walk in the park, only a slow slug with more and more moments of Meh, forge on chumps!

    • “…I learned how to put the hopium pipe down and look at his behavior rather than listen to his paltering.”

      Hooray for using the new addition to the “Dealing with a Cheater Glossary.” Feeling like I’m really contributing. 🙂

      • UXworld, I shared with my son the psychologist, that I had learned a new word the day I read your post. He LOVED it. 🙂

      • Your post on paltering was beyond brilliant UXworld!

        Beyond that post, your contributions are numerous and your insights profound. The dignity you keep demonstrating as you raise your girls, along with the stories of other chump dads and moms have been nothing short of transformational in my chump recovery, thank you!!!

      • Was soooooooooo tempted, this morning, to write, “Why the continued paltering?” in reply to an email from STBX concerning divorce. Opted to say nothing at all, for now, but the temptation is indeed strong.

      • I brought up “paltering” in class the other day to 90 eager faces learning about psycholinguistics.

    • Our kids sounds like they might be similar ages. When my daughter asked why we are divorced (or rather, “why did dad send you away from the house.”) I told her “When people get married there are certain married rules you need to follow. Dad broke the married rules and so we couldn’t be married anymore.” She seemed satisfied by that answer and it’s less vague. She didn’t ask what the rule was. I think most kids know the general rules of a relationship and can fill in the blanks. If she asks me a direct question I try to give her a direct answer.

      • Same here StrawberryJellyfish, my kiddo first asked about general questions, and when she asks direct ones, I provide direct, age-appropriate answers.

        A year post-divorce, she was asking more pointed questions as she started to process the speed of the switch between my separating from her dad and the new girlfriend moving in. I explained that when people get married, they promise to stop dating. I found out that her dad had been dating this person for over a year, and asked him to stop. He refused so I divorced him.

        This really helped my kiddo with her anxiety, as she understood that the onus of the implosion of her family had nothing to do with her. It sucks balls that she is who has to navigate two different households and have to come to terms with the fact that her dad is an adulterer now married to his mistress, but all I can do is help her continue her therapy and remain the sane and consistent parent.

  • I have the joy of co-parenting full time with ‘image management I’m a good person’ mom with two blindsided kids in a 50:50 timeshare. I can’t go no contact, but think (hopefully former) AP is now more focused on his marriage though lurks in background of my everyday life (small town) like an odour. We are one year DDay and separated now though not legally yet. It was like a cluster bomb going off for the family at the time and world of hell for much of the year. I was stressed, angry, and physically & emotionally shattered and half terrified at times. Life hasn’t stopped stbx sad face being a cluster B and the kids don’t know the full story (yet). They know dad is focused on them (especially when with dad ) but doing the house stuff and working when not. They are really starting to get to know who is sane and caring parent now (i hope!). I had the fortune to go on a 12 week free parenting course here called ‘the incredible years’ by Carolyn Biggs Stratton which is a US programme and boy what a difference it has made. I’m a convert as helped enormously to give me confidence as a parent and father after years of being made feel i was not up to the mark. I, ironically, was often being contrasted with AP (father of the year!) who was home more with his kids than his better bread winning wife. The ‘soulmates’ got to ‘fall in love ‘ at the school gate and playground while the grown ups worked. Vomit!

    Anyway. The results from implimenting some of the approache, even within weeks, was staggering. Settled kids, and me, both right down and now contrasts nicely with always snappy mum of the year who is without volumous cake, kibbles and getting to know what real life work and graft means. Yep was doing a lot right it seems (despite only just clinging on to sanity for much of the year) but new learnings stepped me up a few levels. My revenge now is seeing my kids now smiling, laughing and more secure at my house and feel they know dad’s got their back. There’s stuff online and you can buy the book on Amazon but course may be in your area. Originally did it to make sure i could have additional leverage in court to ensure custody remained in my favour. Its Judge ‘ on the day ‘ led here and can be brutal on male parents irrespective of others behaviour. Thankfully we haven’t had to do that yet. I’m not endorsing the course but working well for me and I’m so much more confident in myself as a single male parent. Doesn’t stop the shit sandwiches (for me or the kids) and i currently hate even seeing stbx (now grey rock expert) but know I’m doing the best I can for the kids and now know I got this. In time hopefully they can choose where they want to live and hopefully i get to enjoy their company with me full-time as teenagers (but not from hell!). Hate to say it but part of me half hoped at one stage her and AP would have got it together and kids would have been discarded so i could get them full time. Know though that’s not good for them either and lets face it chumps we’d put up with a lot to ensure our kids got the best life possible.

  • x and ow sat her teenage kids down and told them that x was going to be their new Dad and this was their new family BEFORE anyone knew about the affair. And told them not to tell their dad. These people are unbelievable.

    • Not even gonna clean it up, that is totally fucked up. What the hell??? These people have NO shame. And it’s worse than thinking the world revolves around them. It’s a deeply flowed, more vile mindset.

  • CL is perfectly logical about this (part of what I love about her — no BS!). I just can’t quite get the message to sink into my thick skull.

    My dad was a serial cheater – remarried several times. One woman (along with her kids) physically abused us. Another step-mom just treated us like the servants (no exaggeration).

    My mom’s new husband encouraged me to drink alcohol (at the age of 9), to do drugs, he watched porn with me in the room, and he molested me for years.

    Each of these horrible people seem quite “normal” to the outside world. And during the “dating” phase they were extraordinarily kind and solicitous (bringing us little presents, snacks, etc.). Then the marriage happened – it all went to hell quickly.

    My older girls are young adults and, therefore, (thankfully) old enough to decide for themselves if they’ll have a relationship with their father going forward. But my little one is just six.

    In a way, I’m lucky my STBX came unhinged and tried to commit suicide (protection order was needed because he showed so much contempt for and rage toward me as his motivation). While it still stuns me that I have to consider myself “lucky” that he’s shown himself to be unstable and potentially dangerous, it’s one of those practical realities when it comes to the court systems.

    Even still, given that he hasn’t directly harmed our children, there is a strong likelihood that he’ll still get full, unsupervised visitation rights (though, I’ll almost certain to get full custody).

    And that’s just my husband. Now, take into account the low-life, trashy women he finds appealing (no shocker there … they are 180 degrees different from me, the “ball-and-chain”) …. and long buried nightmares about my own childhood have resurfaced.

    Letting go of what happens to her when she’s with him? When I KNOW the dynamics of those situations — when I know the potential pain and suffering she’ll endure? It’s not possible for me.

    My children are my responsibility – my responsibility to care for them, love them, and to protect them. I have already failed miserably by not seeing the damage that was happening so covertly with their asshole father. I cannot fail them again.

    For now I’m in a bit of limbo, where I’m able to keep her away from him and he’s not pushing it too much (just texts with her every few days). And, I have a plan moving forward. But, I’m terrified. I’m terrified for the precise reason that I cannot control what anyone else does (STBX, his whores, the system). The odds that everyone in this case will actively try to do what is right by my child is nil.

    • Jessmom.
      My heart goes out to you for everything you have suffered. The fact that you do know what can happen is a sort of advantage IMO. You know your girls and I don’t have a shred of doubt that you will be attuned to any changes, obvious or subtle in their behaviour or their ways that give you cause for concern.
      I would suggest books like The Gift of Fear and also some just for kids to make sure they are well equipped to deal with nasty stuff that might come their way.
      Keep watching and talking. We are also a pretty smart bunch here so thinking our way past some of these fuckwits is surely possible.
      I too beat myself up for choosing to marry this ‘nice’ guy and keep up that myth right up until the end. Now we have to play super smart and figure out where the mines are buried and act proactively before our kids get there. I never (well…being honest, almost never) badmouth their dad but I think my kids have already figured out that silence or a no comment from me is me keeping back a negative comment. If they are upset about something, usually that he hasn’t done or didn’t do, I ask what they would do in his position. This gives them a sense, I think, of the choices that are available and the way their dad chooses to make his decisions. We can protect them quite a bit in subtle ways by always speaking about moral everyday choices, respecting others’ feelings and a sense of their own agency. I’m sure I am not at subtle as I think I am but hey I’m a chump so I’m giving myself a pass. This isn’t a level playing field IMO so if we have to watch movies quite often so I can pass on a few important life lessons, if we follow certain news stories that lead to a useful discussion of ethics, if a topic comes up in conversation that I think holds broader lessons then I’m relentless. I have been able to share with them a few thoughts about what happened to me when my parents divorced and the kind of dad mine turned out to be, when I think they are struggling with the abandonment. I’m sure they are all hoping a calm down a bit soon so we can just hang out and have fun but it’s a scary place to be as a parent.

      • Thank you, Capricorn. I very much appreciate your kindness.

        Following CL’s advice (which confirmed my intuition on the subject), I have been honest with the little one in what I hope is an age appropriate way (dad has made some bad decisions that aren’t good for our family … that kind of thing). Given the level of dysfunction with my STBX, it’s tough find the right words – but I try.

        And, like you, I’m trying to find subtle ways (kids books, movies, etc.) to encourage understanding of the situation, to promote solid character development, and to constantly reassure her that she is safe — mom is going nowhere … my refrain is “You are stuck with me!” — and that she is loved.

        Though, given my sensitivity to the issue and my deep concern, I also have to be careful not to let it show too much … particularly by spoiling her (which seems to be a strange default that my brain keeps wanting to jump to). She needs stability — and she needs it from a person who is desperately trying to hold her shit together.

        I will never understand how anyone can look at an innocent child (blood related or not) and decide that he or she is inconsequential — or, worse, a good target for adult angst. If nothing else, kids deserve to be protected. And they sure as hell should know that they are loved. Anything else is inhumane.

        I’m so so sorry that you and your boys are having to claw your way through this. But you are wise, caring, and your inner strength is strikingly evident. I have no doubt that you and your children will make it through this — and you will shine. Wishing you all the best.

    • JessMom, I’m so sorry for what happened to you as a child, it does never truly leave you, I am sure. I am a psychiatrist and the particular work I do means that more than 50% of my (predominantly female) patients were sexually abused as children. A high proportion of these were abused not by direct biological family members but by indirect family members/friends – often stepfamily. Often there is no other abuse but there is frequently neglect/lack of supervision from the direct relatives making these children more vulnerable. This is my greatest fear and, like you, I don’t know how I am supposed to let go of this. Once done, however much support you get, it can never truly be undone. I have 2 DDs – age 14 and 11.

      My ex is getting married in 2 days time, less than 5 months after telling us he was leaving and apparently less than 5 months after meeting his wife to be (he claims to have met her a couple of days after he let me know he was leaving). We were together 20 years but never married so legally he can do this. He told my children about his OW less than a week after we separated, introduced them after 3 weeks (against my advice and wishes) and then included her in all visits with them until DD14 became suicidal at the prospect of having to spend 3 nights with them on their return from their overseas trip to meet his parents mid Feb since when they haven’t seen OW. A particularly distressing event for DD14 was on one of the few times he had them he took them to a party at OW’s house (DD14 is socially anxious – actually so is he and never came to parties with me, I generally had to go alone) where she was left alone for most of the 6 hours to look at her phone. The event that particularly troubled her, though, was when all the adults went inside the house leaving her alone with her younger sister and another 11 year old in the swimming pool. DD14 expressed her concern to OW who just said “they’ll be right”. My DD14 stayed with her sister to supervise her but was very concerned – obviously her father had also left them alone as well (something I don’t think he would ever have done previously but impressing OW and her social crowd is more important than ensuring your daughter doesn’t drown, obviously).

      Ex is definitely a narcissist – lacks empathy, grossly entitled and a history of repeated lies (not just to me) – but very covert, so much false humility (when someone is looking). In retrospect, I realise that he was emotionally and psychologically abusive throughout our 20 year relationship, although it took me a long time to see it – and not really properly until he left. I realise that that is pretty hard to prove, no-one is going to care anyway and that trying to do so does make you look crazy (the dynamics of narcissistic abuse!). I am hopeful that remaining the sane parent (trying v hard, not doing too bad I don’t think, although definitely some wobbles recently) will, however, protect them from this enough. My real fear is the potential for them to be abused at the other house when they move in together permanently after the wedding. OW has 2 sons – 17 and 19. I realise this doesn’t make them abusers, but they will also have friends. 11 and 14 year old poorly supervised girls make very easy targets. I do realise that my sense of danger around this is probably heightened but sexual abuse is, as most people know, very common.
      I don’t know how to let go of this either. I have obviously talked to my girls (without trying to scare them) about safety around these things but they are young still. I think they would probably report it but by then it is done. I have even thought of talking to me Ex about it but any efforts to discuss concerns re: his behaviour and the girls (however tactfully I have tried) are just met with rage.
      This entire topic is so pertinent for me currently. I do not make generalisations about their father as a person but I also don’t want to gaslight them about his behaviour being ok, it is a fine line to tread. Maybe you get better at it in time. I know once this weekend is over with I will find it easier.

      Accepting that our children have to eat shit sandwhiches and there is pretty much nothing we can do is pretty hard but, thank you CL, probably the only way to maintain sanity and a reminder is very pertinent now for me. Protesting makes you look crazy and further disadvantages you as an advocate for them – I am slowly learning that. My particular fears for them, I think, I will have to find some way of living with too for the same reasons.

      • OutofSparkles – my STBX’s personality sounds quite similar to yours. And, oh man, the false humility … it is mind-boggling as much as it is irritating.

        You mentioned “A high proportion of these were abused not by direct biological family members but by indirect family members/friends – often stepfamily.”

        Once the molestation was “outed” (by a confidante) in my family, my mom blamed me and everyone else acted as if it were no big deal because he’s “such a nice guy.” Everyone expected me to “go along to get along” even when it came to my own daughters (they thought it was appropriate for my molester to babysit them … which did NOT happen, regardless of the guilt trip they laid on me).

        I carried that guilt with me, but I still protected my kids. It took me years of being away from the insanity to see that –objectively–it makes sense to be sensitive about whom my kids are around. If I know a person is an abuser, it’s not only logical, but fully appropriate that I want to keep my kids away from that person. (As nuts as this sounds, it’s how everyone else acted that had me thinking my gut was wrong — and that I should forgive, forget, and even trust my abuser … and it’s the very same mentality we are up against with society in general.)

        And, in my current situation, it makes sense to be concerned about step-families — not only from my own experience, but simply because the statistics completely back up the concern. More often than not, it IS a step-family member (or, as you pointed out — an indirect person from the step-family) that commits the abuse. Given the prevalence of sexual abuse (something like 1 in 4 girls … sorry, not sure of the stats on boys), it is glaringly evident that caution is vital.

        But, of course, none of this changes the horrific fact that it is all happening. The situation itself is beyond our control … the disordered assholes have made and will continue to make disordered, asshole decisions that impact our kids. And, they have full autonomy to bring other disordered assholes into our kids’ lives. This is a monumental shit sandwich.

        The best we can do is, I think, what we are doing. Staying on alert, trying to educate our kids, giving them as much stability as we can muster, etc.

        I am sending all of my best thoughts to you and your girls (particularly this weekend). I very much hope things start to smooth out for you soon. Take Care.

        • JessMom, that is all so awful for you, and such a familiar story to me too, sadly. So many people tell me that if/when the abuse was finally revealed, instead of support and protection they were blamed and shamed, and definitely not protected. I think for many people this is more damaging than the abuse itself. I am glad that you are able to see this as wrong now, although you obviously carried it for a very long time. There is still this ridiculous notion that if someone is pleasant/reasonably functional they can’t really be an abuser.

          At least, in the very worst case scenario (horrendous to have to consider) this would not happen to our children – they would be absolutely believed and validated. And in the meantime, like you say, try to teach them to keep themselves safe and provide stability ourselves.

          Sending good thoughts back to you too!

      • @OutofSparkles: the Girl Scouts have a self defense program for girls even as young as 11, certainly good for age 14. Self defense teaches more than just fighting, it teaches that it is OK to have your OWN boundaries and stand up for them.

        I recommend self defense/judo classes for all children, but ones going off to “the dumps” need it the most.

    • JessMom, “I have already failed them miserably by not seeing the damage that was happening so covertly…” You speak elequently to the ongoing Legacy of abuse that cotinues to haunt our adult lives in a miraid of situations as a result of our own experiences. IMO, where you would have “failed miserably” would have been having the knowledge of what was happening-and not responding appropriately to it, i.e., do nothing. But you *did* respond and appropriately, OK? That’s not a “miserable failure.”

      Your experience illuminates the process of grooming, of normalizing abnormal behavior (in this situation through minimizing) and by the adults around you demonstrating behaviorally you have no right to object to any violation of your person be it physically, psychologically or emotionally. If or when our abuse/neglect is exposed, once again we’re given the message we don’t matter. Our experiences don’t matter. The most fundamental right of all living entities is the right to self-defense: Even a slime mold that lacks a brain or CNS “knows” to move away from a potential threat. This is the primary, most consistent and most damaging tactic all abusers employ. Our most primal self-defense mechanism is completely disabled by abusers-often while we are still pre-verbal. We are never allowed to say “No” to anything our parents or any adult subject us to. They tell us what we think and feel-which is even more dehumanizing and confusing.

      As a result we are set up for every kind of Predator out there. IMO and experience, the most successful Predators are those who are covert. These are the individuals who rarely if ever get “caught” and successfully prosecuted. Of course we bring our childhood experiences for better or worse into our adult lives-that’s what human beings do. As a result our radar is more finely attuned to the potential threats to our own children and as you describe, trying to find that middle of the road between “our stuff” and the on-going situations/experiences of our children in an effort to assess potential threats to their wellbeing is one helluva dance. But consider this: You’ve already demonstrated you have the skills to accurately identify a threat-and a covert one no less-and taken steps to remediate it. I hope you can see this as a win, a confidence builder in your Tool Box-it’s a huge one.

      Ah, the “Forgiveness Police:” I call them the Moral Morons cloaked in their transparent Moral Superiority Mighty Mouse Capes wielding their plastic sword of Dire Threats(tm). Because if you don’t “forgive” (and of course, they get to determine exactly what “Forgiveness” actually entails) you’re gonna be or already are some facsimile of an “angry,” “bitter,” (or for the “churchies” in the crew) “condemned for allll eternity!” person.

      Oh bull shit. I’ve never “Forgiven.” And Forgiveness wasn’t even on the menu (gasp!!!) so I long ago flunked the Course in Miraculous Mendacity and Stupid Shit Simple People Propagate. Summa Cum-pletely LawdHelpMe. Abuse goes beyond the skin, beyond the bone right to the cellular level so tell it to the “ase” enzymes that drive Transcription and Translation. Yet allll these decades later, I’ve not spontaneously combusted. Been struck down by a lightning bolt. “Run over by da Karma Bus”-the Hubris Bus always arrives first-and without a muffler. Would I “forgive” a bear for messing in my berry patch? That’s their dinner table, it’s what they do. Would I “forgive” a deer for a severe ass kicking if I unwittingly wandered too close to a woodline where they stashed their fawn? That’s what does do-and please note, a wild animal affords their offspring more care and protection than we received. How sad is that?

      Those who perpetrate child abuse and neglect are Predators. They are who they are. And we know that. So don’t try to stick the victims with a “Forgiveness Bill” when they’ve paid any alleged moral or ethical invoice with our lost childhoods, adolescence and often, adult lives. We live with those memories. Our refusal to pass on the Legacy foisted on us is an on-going rebuke to the Perpetrators-and forgiveness for the little ones we once were. Our antenna are finely tuned to our responsibility to ensure our children will never know the hell we lived through and with: If that makes us “over-reactive” or “unforgiving” so be it.
      You hang in there Ms. JessMom. You’re doing great. If you “lack” anything as a momma-bear, just let anyone test that fallacious belief heh, heh!

      • (((hugs))) Tundra Woman. Thank you.

        >>”But you *did* respond and appropriately, OK? That’s not a ‘miserable failure.'”

        I try to remind myself I did the best I could given the depth of the lies and deceit. And I take some solace from the fact that my intentions were in the right place. But, I just don’t think I will ever be able to forgive myself that my kids were hurt on my watch.

        When I got married and started having kids, it was at the forefront of my mind that my kids would never know the kind of childhood I had. My kids would be loved, they would be safe — and they would know it. Yet … here I am … here they are. One of the things I’m most pissed at my STBX about is that he purposefully put my kids and me right back into the cycle I was so desperate to stop.

        >>”As a result we are set up for every kind of Predator out there.”

        Yes. The residual harm is omnipresent though so subtle that it’s simply not conscious. One of my (very) conscious markers of interest in my husband was that he was nothing like any of my abusers. Obviously, I was utterly wrong. Turns out, he’s almost an exact replica of my father (though opposite in appearance). I had no idea … even though I was looking specifically for it. The point here is that with all of my confusion and the residual harm from the abuse, I didn’t know what in the heck to look for.

        The Forgiveness Police:

        I agree. It’s strange since I am entirely too forgiving normally, but when it a certain line has been crossed in my head … (mostly, when I am certain the person intended to hurt me and I’m just as certain that they are not remorseful) … I have zero fucks to give when it comes to forgiveness. I still hated being vilified, and it made me feel bad (I was treated like I was a bad person) — but I could never bring myself to forgive someone who crossed that line. I’m good with that. 😉

        Another thing I’ve realized about the Forgiveness Police … they’ve done more emotional damage over time than the abusers did with the abuse. Again, it’s the insidiousness nature of it. This is partly why I’m vehement – and a bit of a bitch – when I see abuse happening. I call it out; I levy blame. People tend to hate this (even those who aren’t the abusers). For me, it’s an imperative. There is an innocent victim who needs to know SOMEONE gives a shit. As you said, “If that makes us “over-reactive” or “unforgiving” so be it.” Exactly!

        Again, thank you for your sincerity and support. Interestingly, I’ve received more kindness and support from the people on this site than I’ve ever received — anywhere. It’s hard to explain how much that means.

      • What a powerful post, Tundra Woman. Your line that abuse goes beyond the skin, beyond the bone, to a cellular level is SO accurate – scientifically, we now know, of course, but also metaphorically too. I can’t stand the forgiveness police, either – projection of blame onto the victim again, and such hypocrisy most of the time.

  • The fact that your kids especially the older ones have already been exposed to subconscious messages and subtle lies and gas lighting themselves means that layering any more half truths and excuses for cheater dick will leave them with a permanent questionmark over how relationships are supposed to carry on . So what to do ? Just call it out . Dad left us because he decided he wanted another person in his life that didn’t include us. Cos these cowards that run off without giving u the courtesy of giving you the heads up of what was going on in their pea brains means you do NOT have to be their PR agent . It is Not ok to be picking their shit up because they fucked over the family and need u to play nice. Thats what tyey expect cos thats what you always do….trouble is they already told all their buddies you are a bitch before they told you the news of the apparent sadness in their life. So when u flip out like WTF u dig your own grave and they set u up …no they are not getting any more spackle …you ran out of good will when they fucked you over.

  • My boys were 9 and 12, and not at all surprised when I divorced their dad. They knew who to count on, and who was responsible, already. They weathered their dad’s constant changing of plans, and general lack of attention really well I think, eventually telling him (as teens) that they did not want to stay at his home on overnight visitations because it was no fun to be away from their friends and “stuff” — and he wasn’t there most of the time. Stumbling in sometime during the night and enjoying a hangover the next morning was not a pleasant way to spend their time. They looked at the constantly changing parade of girlfriends as further evidence of their dad’s inability to maintain a relationship. When he finally found one stupid enough and submissive enough to marry, they objected — to him — because they thought she had some temperamental disorder, and nothing in common with him — they didn’t really get that he needed a servant and she needed a green card. The strange thing is that she still uses her name, and no one attended the wedding or saw any pictures, but, whatever.

    The main thing is I raised my boys to be polite and thoughtful of others. We had talks about them behaving when they were with their dad and his many “friends”. They lived up to my expectations, and then some. I used to worry that they may adopt some of their dad’s habits, but I think they may be more chump than narc — for better or worse. I have seen them get hurt by their dad, and their own friends, room mates, and girlfriends. They survive, and eventually figure it out. My oldest has told me that I had a much better life with his dad than any of the subsequent girlfriends, and he feels some pity for the current “wife”. I, fortunately, don’t care at all about her or any of the long line of girlfriends. They had their own karma and lessons to learn — and it was not my job to try to save them. Their dad — well, he is reaping what he has sown, as well. Time does take care of these disordered twits, it is slow, but it does pass. In the meantime, my life is not perfect, but it is certainly more peaceful and I am more content than I ever was being married to a fuckwit. Being a chump is painful, but thankfully I survived.

    • Rather a chump than a narc. Your boys sound fine young, men credit to you, and also will be better informed about the possibilities, of these things which is like narc-repellant lotion.

  • This is the worst. Just the worst. Five years (and counting) of sharing my kids with the lowlife who co-conspired with my XW to bring about that which would emotionally harm my children (then 5 and 8, now 10 and 13).

    Here’s my situation:

    He doesn’t like my kids and they don’t like him. He’s a younger guy, no kids, never been married. XW moved in with him weeks after introducing him to my kids. He predictably and promptly tried to buy their love by giving them a barrage of expensive presents. Didn’t work. The resentment has only grown over the years and it’s chaos over there.

    Though they don’t know the details of their parents’ divorce, my kids blame him for mom and dad not getting back together and for their mother putting his needs above theirs. (The latter is very true.)

    Just last night I had to comfort my son who was upset that once again his mother “chose” POS (Piece of Shit) over him in a particular situation. He told me, “Mom said awhile ago that she would break up with him if I asked her to. I’m going to ask her.”

    Poor kid. He really thinks she meant it and will follow through. He will be gravely disappointed. I told him not to get his hopes up and avoided telling him exactly why–that he is exactly right, his mother does indeed put POS’s needs and her own above her children’s.

    Anyway, for those in the early stages of this particular angle of the shit sandwich: it will be ok. My POS AP (a real douchebag, a short, ugly, alpha-male wanna be new-sheriff-in-town coward who carries a gun) has tried his best for five years to undermine and alienate me: badmouthing me to my children. It didn’t work. They love me and know I’m a good dad who puts them first, as evidenced by actions, not mere words.

    They will never replace you.

    AP are the lowest of the low. But try not be consumed by them. They are bottom feeders. It’s our ex’s that fucked us over.

    Oh, and the “but they are living happily ever after!” pain? Uh, no. My XW broke off their engagement. Their lives are chaos. She doesn’t love him; she just can’t deal with being alone. Three years ago, mid-divorce proceedings, she made one final hoovering attempt at me, which I rebuffed, and made it clear I am following through with the divorce. That’s when she moved in with POS.

    Live your life. Remember: their punishment is being themselves with each other. Be the sane, stable parent. Your kids will remember who acted their love and who merely spoke their love.

    • The AP’s are the lowest of the low. That’s the sucky part of all this we have in common. We KNOW how shitty they are and we’d never want them around our children in the first place. We’d never attempt to destroy families for our own happiness, how could we be happy knowing we did that??? But these cheaters, well, we just got smacked in the face with the unthinkable. Shitty character gravitates to shitty character…and we had NO idea how shitty it was.

  • I have told a hole flat out if his overseas dream lover ever visit him here, which will probably never happen he will not be introducing her, they know who she is and will freak out if he tries. By all means introduce them to a serious partner one day, if you can find anyone who will stay with your broke ass more than 6 months but hell will freeze over before he introduces whore to them.
    We have no court ordered arrangements and that totally works in my favour. No ones mind fucking my kids with that bullshit.

  • I would never recommend reconciliationf (although shamefully, I have in the past) but in my case it did have one bright spot. Ex never did have a relationship with his Dream Whore cheater partner so my child was never subjected to meeting her and her clone juvenile delinquent offspring. Thank God. He hasn’t really found anyone to date except on a casual basis and has our child on a pretty limited basis so she hasn’t been introduced to a series of women. Again, thank God.

  • That the 34 year old AP who has never been married, never had a child, and never had either a substantial job or a long-term replationship apart from those gifted to her by the STBX has had such a destructive influence on my children’s life, but serves as the cheater’s confidante and advisor on matters concerning them just makes me nuts.

    • This+++ except it is a 24 year old AP and my two teenagers want nothing to do with her. They are willing to spend time with their dad but every time he tries to insert anything remotely connected to her into their time (even picking them up in her car), they add a few more bricks to the wall going up. My STBX moved in with his young thing right away, too, which means both kids have adamantly refused to go there.

      I, of course, make the arrangements for them to go and then let them put down the boundaries. Even though I encourage them to spend time with their dad, I will not force my kids to go into situations that they find uncomfortable and morally reprehensible. STBX started screwing around with AP while I was still pregnant with their sister. They have valid reasons to not want anything to do with her and have lost respect for their dad.

      • Sigh, yes. What in the world are they thinking? Just saw a letter that the bimbo wrote when she did not get a position that she wanted, and felt that the one she was offered was a “step down” in her fantasy world. Hello, bimbo. Not getting that gig was a clear signal to you that everyone with true education and experience knows that the only reason you were ever in a decent position at all is that you were blowing the boss. He’s gone; you’re gone. It’s that simple.

        But she is advising him on our kids? Lord, have mercy.

  • This is one of the things that keeps me from fully divorcing my husband. He didn’t have a girlfriend – his issue was porn addiction. This is one shit sandwich that I refuse to eat while my kids are minors. We can go our separate ways when the kids are older, but no way am I going to let anyone have unfettered access to my children and I have zero say in the matter. It would be different if my husband was violent or unrepentant or had sex with other women.

    The main reason is because my husband and his sister were both sexually molested as children by a family member (one a male cousin, one a female cousin). Both told to ‘forget it’ and I suspect the family has a longer history of just sweeping shit under the rugs. Absolutely no way in hell am I going to let me kids go to family reunions (which one of the cousins still attends). My husband can stand up to his parents in not giving unlimited access to extended family members when I am around, but I know he would be relying on them when he had custody (especially over the summer). They didn’t protect their own children, I have no confidence they would protect mine.

    So, I will eat the shit sandwich of reconciliation before I eat the shit sandwich of giving anyone access to my children when I know my husband’s side of the family. I was always vigilant with my kids and thankfully so, because it wasn’t until the porn was discovered by me and then my husband went to counseling that the molestation information came out. I confirmed with his sister myself. Yes it happened, yes their mother had them sweep it under the rug, yes one of the cousins is still around and showing up at family bbqs. Thankfully I had gotten creepy vibes and stopped attending events when my kids were still quite young.

    Nope, nope, and nope – not a sandwich I will take one bite of.

  • When your 25 year old stepson says, “When I look at Dad, I don’t see a MAN at all,” that provides a bit of foreshadowing for what I can expect my son (now 11) to say down the road, so I try not to think on this one too much.

    When Mr. Sparkles first left me for the OW, I was shattered over this idea, though… the blending of my son with her two kids. Them all playing “family” while I was the single mom outcast. She was a planner, just like me, basketball games, pumpkin patches, bike rides, the beach… he basically picked an “insert here” version of me. And it killed me.

    Then, I found out that he STILL had an ad on Adult Friend Finder… silly fella. Once a pathological lying cheating whore, ALWAYS one. He didn’t change for her. And, something inside me flipped… she was now sucking up his abuse and trying to make things normal for the kids when they were all together and I had another thought… at least someone is paying attention to my son when he’s with his disordered Dad for weekend visits and the one week summer vacation. Better than just being stuck watching his Dad play on the Xbox all weekend and order in pizza.

    Then, the OW broke up with him… seems she didn’t like be lied to and cheated on… funny that. BUT, fear not, with his two gym memberships he was able to find a new schmoopie lickety split. This one, five years younger, no kids, never married, lots of pets. And, bless her, she’s trying. She’s taken up the planning role… ice skating… roller skating… kid movies. And, I feel NOTHING for her except sad – but I can’t spend any more energy trying to get the girl out of Ted Bundy’s car.

    My son has a very clear understanding of his Dad (all age appropriate). He sees that Dad doesn’t communicate (via text or phone) when it isn’t his “visitation”. He sees that Dad was already through one relationship before the divorce was final. He WATCHED as his Dad made his moves on the new schmoopie at the gym … he knew that woman was becoming his Dad’s next GF before she was introduced. Talk about weird.

    I guess what I have to offer on this one is GREY ROCK keeps me sane. My son is learning who his Dad is without any help from me. My #1 priority is to remind my son daily that I am there for him… I am not leaving him… I will be a parent to him (not his friend)… and I will always love him.

    I’m sorry I picked a fuckface for his Dad. Who knew. But it doesn’t have to define his childhood.

  • Our mediator was suggesting that if Schmoopie was going to be an important part of STBXs life I would have to encourage the children to have a relationship with her. Ok, I can agree not to badmouth her or call her Schmoopie in front of the kids and not actively discourage them from having a relationship with her. I draw the line, however, at actively encouraging them to have a relationship with someone who has a proven track record of putting her needs ahead of theirs. Its up to STBX and Schmoopie to convince them that it is in their best interests.

    I was going to try to get a clause in the agreements to wait a year or two before paramours could be introduced. I have changed my mind, however. Let him figure out for himself that introducing too soon is a bad idea. I am done protecting him from his own stupid choices.

  • I truly feel for those whose kiddos are younger, and therefore have a longer sentence.

    Letting Kiddo draw her own conclusions about her Disney Donor was one of the hardest things ever, but paid off.

    Last summer, Kiddo is with Ex and the Downgrade who was our SIL. Lived down the street, cousins raised pretty much as sisters. Dgrade tries to boss Kiddo around. Mr Fab sticks up for Dgrade. Kidoo’s reply (her cousin told me this):

    ” No I do not have to do what you say, XXXX. I would have, once upon a time when you were my Auntie, but now you’re just my dad’s girlfriend.”

  • I needed this today, Chump Lady. Thank you!

    I have been playing Ex-Chump Police, simply because I have STANDARDS for parenting. Like that my kids eat actual MEALS rather than nothing but fruit snacks and ice cream. That they have a bedtime. That they actually do HOMEWORK at his house.

    None of it matters. I have NO CONTROL, despite the fact that many of these things are written into our custody agreement.

    All I can do is remind my kids to make smart decisions when they’re at his house, but what kids aren’t going to take advantage of no rules?

    I laid down the hopium pipe of Cheating Hubby Might Be Faithful. Now I realize that I also need to lay down the pipe of Ex Cheater Might Be a Good Parent.

    Thanks for the wake up call. It’s a painful realization but I needed it.

  • I have to respectfully disagree a little here with CL. Do I control what the other parent does or what goes on in her house? No. Not even close. But it is my job as a dad to try my best to protect my kids in areas of their life’s where I can. And so I did. As soon as my x wife mentioned she was going to ‘warm up’ our boys (ages 12 & 13) to the idea of her AP I sent her boyfriend a message letting him know that if he goes anywhere near my children the CEO of their company will get a very detailed letter explaining that he started fucking my x wife shortly after he interviewed her for a promotion. My kids are at a very impressionable age where they are learning to become men. They don’t need a man who’s been divorced three times and fucks married coworkers in their life’s if I can try to prevent it. Funny enough, after I sent him that message there’s been no more talk of introducing him to my kids ?

    • Yeah, I just can’t agree with the idea of turning your children loose and hoping for the best. I guess I feel that way because of the ages of of my children. They are not at an age where they can protect themselves. I do not agree that with the idea that children are automatically resilient and can overcome any type of harm. Some issues aren’t just about an affair, there are some people that are actually dangerous to children and I am not going to simply step to the side and try to be ‘sane parent’ and let someone actively harm my children.

      It isn’t my husband that is the issue, it is his family. There is a deranged cousin that molested his sister when they were younger and he is still allowed around the family. My husband stays away while I play ‘parent police’, but I know if I dropped active policing my husband would bow to the pressure of pretending to be the perfect extended family and a predator (that NO ONE will testify against in court) would have open access to my children. Over my dead body!

    • Good for you! We only eat the shit sandwich if we open our mouths to take a bite. I’m with you on this. If a mugger, a robber, a rapist, an extortionist, liar in any other form hurt our families, would we just sit quietly by with a dumb expression and sad smile? Not even. No way. They are who they are and we can call BS on the whole mess they created.

      How else do children learn good behavior from bad? If we don’t express what’s morally correct, why should we expect the external court to care.

      Stand up for yourself. Boundaries work.

      • That is a FANTASTIC LINE “We only eat the shit sandwich if we open our mouths to take a bite.” And it is so true! I was blessed that my ex left when my kids were 18 and 16 – but he tried the old threat, legal action, custody routine with me when they didn’t want to see him at all after he abandoned us for the OW. And you know what my lawyer said? That no judge would take the opinion of a child over the age of 13 and rule against it. So I stood my ground, told the truth and now – 7 years later since D-day, we three are happy, well adjusted and a family, and my ex and the OW (now wife number 3) have no part in our lives. At all. I even received a poison pen letter from the OW talking about how she “accepted” that the kids would never want to meet her or consider her family, but they should try to remember how much their dad loves them. I call BULLSHIT – and in fact asked CL to process that letter through the UBST – but she must have had other topics more relevant. Here’s what I’ve discovered – you CAN set your boundaries, and you CAN be truthful with your kids if they are old enough. Younger kids – that’s a tougher and totally different situation. But if you have a teenager – and they don’t want to visit dad or mom and the AP du jour – the courts take that into account. At the end of the day -it’s about what’s best for the child – not what’s best for the cheater and their schmoopie.

        And for the record – I don’t think a little truth in editorial language hurts either. You don’t have to expound on it – but my ex-husband’s mistress/wife #3 was a whore of the first order – whether I said so or not. So I might as well say so. And best news? He’s already cheated on her! Circle of Life – cheater/narcisist style!

  • It’s because of this shit sandwich that won’t allow all Chumps to move on 100%. We have continue to be who we are for our kids knowing that the cheater is not going to be who we thought they were. It is the fucking gift that just keeps on giving. Patience, living in the moment, doing our best, pouring out all that love we have to our kids knowing that time is on our side.

    My cheater ex and whore have been living together since before we divorced…because he needed help paying the bills. That’s what he told our then-8 year old right after his (our son’s) birthday. They still live together going on 3 years now. The newness of having my son visits every other weekend has definitely worn off. That happened some time ago. She tolerates him. There is no room in her heart for him.

    I doubt cheater ex will ever marry whore. That would require some type of action on his part…and commitment that binds him to her. Funny that. While we were married, hee used to say he didn’t think *I* would ever marry again if something happened to us. I may not. My standards are higher these days. And I actually care about my son and he fits into that calculation. Unlike him. OR the whore he chose.

  • This was a big issue for me – BIG.
    I got it in the divorce decree that ex would have to be with someone 6 months before he could introduce my son to whomever. Low and behold, their affair started when I was pregnant and the married, skank co-worker rubbed my belly, was at baby shower, and held and tried to kiss my kiddo when he was about 3-6 months old. He cried – screamed the entire time she held him – he knew she was evil.
    Fast forward to after divorce, he never abided by the decree that she could not be around my son for the 6 month timeframe.
    I met with a Christian lawyer and he stated exactly what chumplady stated – the courts do not care if skanky ho-worker is spending quality time with your kiddo. Many Christians have an issue with the moral dilemma of other parent teaching child questionable morals and character values, but the courts see really bad stuff and really do not care that your ex is playing fake family with the ho-worker. My lawyer did state to document EVERYTHING. You will lose the tiny battles, but the goal is to win the war.
    It’s been a year and half since I met with that lawyer. I document every time he switches the schedule, each time he cancels his time with kiddo, each time kiddo comes home and tells me they went to skanks house, when they go to dinner just the 3 of them, when they play family with her 3 kids, when they spend the night and how kiddo did not get to spend much time with his dad because daddy was to busy with skank. It’s a fine line between crazy obsession and just the new normal. The way I handle things may not be for everyone. But it helped me get (at least illusion) control back from ex and skank.

  • My STBX is talking about over night contact with our son. He doesn’t even have a proper place to live yet. Him and AP are going to be moving in together as soon as possible. He is still trying to manipulate and control me by even mentioning it now 5 weeks before I give birth. I guess I have no choice if my nearly 3 year old meets her but the baby will not be going anywhere near her for a very long time. It seems to me like cheater has more rights than me, totally unfair when he has left me to deal with pregnancy, giving birth, single parent to a toddler and a newborn and getting a divorce all at the same time. As well as having to explain to all my family, friends etc and all the health professionals that your husband has cheated, lied and abandoned you for a teenager. Add into it the blameshifting, manipulation and general mindfuckery.

    • OMG PC. There is a special place in Hell for cheaters like that. I wish you well with your labor and delivery. Do you have family and friends close by that will be helping out?

      • Yes thank you, I have been very lucky with having lots of support from most people. Everyone is disgusted with him and what he has done to me and his children. Everyone thought we had a good marriage, as did I because he never portrayed anything else. I see now how he was devaluing me and abusing my trust. I didn’t see it then because I trusted him and I was honouring my marriage vows.

  • Long time reader but first time commenting as this issue is particularly relevant to me.

    I will try and keep it brief as my story pales in comparison to what some of my fellow chumps have gone through.

    In my case my cheater had introduced OM to my children well before DD. In fact the children were used as excuses to meet OM as what I thought to be mummy/daugher swimming days where in fact mummy/daughter and OM/his 6 year old daughter swimming days. (OM is Disney Dad having walked out on his ex and daughter when she was 3 months old). Multiple trips to our local shopping complex with our 18 month old where also excuses as OM works there.

    Following DD my cheater has thrown herself headlong in her relationship with OM. Initally she was trying to keep secret how much he was seeing our children and effectively bribing our 3 year old not to tell me so much so that one night my daughter got so upset when I asked having come from work what she had done that day she said she couldn’t tell me as it was secret. However cheater has moved so fast now that my 3 year old calls him by name and regularly tells me that mummy doesn’t love daddy anymore because she loves OM.

    My cheater only works part time having given up work to set up her own fitness business funded by me which launched in January aroubd same time as cheater started her affair. OM doesn’t work Monday’s so they play happy families every Monday at my expense as cheater still lives at home.

    In March cheater after dropping me to train station as I was flying to another country for a family funeral proceeded to then go straight and pick OM before they spent day together with our children and the went to our family home and spent night together at our home as I was abroad.

    Cheater also had OM collect her on Mothers Day from our home driving our car as they were going for a meal with OM mother.

    Cheater has had OM and his daughter and our children at our home for dinner whilst I have been at work.

    Cheater is moving out next month to rented property but I suspect OM is moving in. I have been able to get her to agree to shared care arrangement. it wasnt hard as since DD cheater has spent well over half of the nights away from our 3 year old and 18 month old (44 nights away out of 77 at the last count) including her birthday, most of mothers day and virtually all of the Easter weekend with OM in his one bed lodging.

    As someone else has already mentioned I guess I am struggling with fact that OM who is 26, never married, never in proper long term relationship, rents a bedroom, has worked same low paying job for 6 years, whose main interests is taking selfies of himself and going to the gym, who has no objections to sleeping with married women, who is happy for a married woman to fund their affair lifestyle and who walked out on his daughter after 3 months ( I forgot to mention he featured in a TV programme before his daughter was born in which he and her mum thought it was ok for the mum to smoke over 6000 cigarettes during pregnancy) will now spend regular time if not live with my children and potentially influence them/my cheater and their development or that my Cheater sees him as a good role model.

    However like CL says there is fuck all I can do about it except be the sane parent when I have my children

    • CFL, I disagree that your situation pales in comparison. Hearing that your 3-year-old is being told to lie to their other parent, to the point that it upsets her??? Her figuring out already (or being told) at 3 that mommies can just go start loving someone else??? That is horrible. And evil. That is a biological parent so caught up in their own selfish needs they can’t be bothered to be a real parent, guiding their innocent kids through the world in a rational, loving way. I am so sorry.

      I’ve got two 3-year-olds that are already saying things like “mommy loves daddy but daddy doesn’t love mommy anymore” and it breaks my heart. My more sensitive child has panicked moments where she tells me to my face “mommy don’t stop loving me ever ever.” Oh my God I sometimes can’t take it! I do count my blessings that while they are seeing lies being modeled at STBX’s house, they are (so far) not being told to lie.

      I hope for both our sakes that everyone here is right, that being the sane parent will pay off in the long run…if we can just handle the pain of the short-term.

      I’m so sorry.

  • Today is the 26th anniversary of my wedding to my lying cheating spouse. We’ve been separated 6 months. I don’t know how long it will be before we can actually be divorced. It won’t be soon enough. He’s out of the house, but he still comes to church and acts like he’s the perfect person everyone always thought he was. I just avoid him. My kids are struggling, and I’m doing my best to maintain life as usual. Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of practice being a single parent over the years, so parenting isn’t as hard as it could be. I do need to find a yard service though, as I’ve declined his offers to keep the yard up.

    I’m almost to meh. Can I ever be at meh if I still really want them both to be hit by a bus?

  • Here is a topic that is not often addressed with the kids, the relatively short life of an affairage on the children in both relationships. AP relationships have an ice cube’s chance in hell of lasting past 5 years. Often quoted in the 3% – 7% success rate, the transient and temporary nature of these AP cohabitations or affairages results in usually two major “nuclear family” catastrophes for a kid in a matter of a few years. The original divorce then mom or dad’s second divorce/breakup two years later.

    Step siblings that children were sworn to be “your brand new brothers and sisters, so treat them as such” are suddenly gone – poof, never to be seen of heard from again in many cases. That has to be traumatic, especially when the step siblings bond over the crappiness of their new family situations from the beginning. I hear this at school frequently, and kids are expected to shake their heads and take it all in stride….. until your “new brothers” or “sisters” come along…..

    Due to these statistics alone, I imagine affairages are drama filled with lots of conflict, or they would not crash and burn so often. Not really model relationships for kids to observe. Let alone kids are often drug into the affair relationship battles, used as scapegoats and used as pawns between parents and step parents. That’s a lot of unhealthy.

    Bad enough dad left the family for OW, but for a parent to chose AP over children’s best interest has to be traumatizing on some level for an perceptive kid. With everyone acting like “whatever makes you happy is groovy!” attitude, it would be hard to be a sidelined kid – needs put behind a AP who PROBABLY won’t be in the picture very long.

    It amazes me how ignorant affairs make people.

    • The whole blended family thing could be an issue for our kids if STBX tries to go there. Schmoopie has 5 kids, 4 still minors. Two are the same ages as our older two and they have had classes together in school. Our DD doesn’t like Schmoopie or her kids (before she knew about the affair) so that would be a tough blend right off the bat. Although I have done nothing to encourage or discourage whatever feelings she has for Schmoopie I have made it clear that her kids are innocent victims in all of this too and they are also suffering and that she should harbor no ill will towards them.

      • I am very lucky that my youngest was almost 18 when cheater announced his pursuit of “twu wuv”, Schmoopie had an 18 year old herself. I saw they invited my kid and her son to their LinkedIn network – (Gee, maybe they thought they could double date???)

        Both of my girls were financially abandoned by a wealthy father, who took education savings with him – simply relabeled it as “his savings”, to provide for OW’s new apartment household.

        HER husband and her son found out and 12 days later MOVED her out (with my XH’s truck) into an apartment. Her son had a bedroom at the apartment, too.

        I danced the pick me for a few months, much to cheaters delight, as he was spending the nights in the apartment, claiming to be at this brothers.

        It was such a freeking, inconceivable nightmare that if it was written as a story, it would not have been deemed believable.

    • You mentioned the step-siblings and losing them along the way as well. This was an interesting aspect of my childhood that none of the grownups seemed to comprehend.

      My mom abandoned us – dad’s second wife had three kids (all older). We had a blended family for two years when my dad told my brother and I that he would be divorcing Wife#2 (before informing said wife). A few days later, he told his wife that she had the weekend (literally 3 days) to get her stuff packed and get out — with her three kids. He then left the house. My brother and I were stranded with Wife#2 and her kids bombarding us with questions about infidelity (I was 9).

      Three days later, they were gone. Yes, “poof.” They had to move back to her home state with her parents. I heard years later that one of her kids killed himself.

      The day they moved out, soon-to-be Wife#3 moved in. Yep. The same day.

      My brother and I didn’t like Wife#2 (she was physically abusive as were her kids) … but still, it was a LOT of upheaval. Nothing stayed the same – nothing was sacred – nothing was safe. Hard lessons that kids that age just cannot process.

      And, yes, the dysfunction stays with them – no matter how well they seem to handle it at the time.

      • Sorry, should add that my mom came back into our lives at about the same time. But, that’s a whole different clusterfuck of dysfunction.

  • My ex cheated on me with my cousin.

    My 15 YO son met him, and punched the exes AP out. The AP was lucky it wasn’t either of the two older, bigger brothers.

    I has a talk with all three of them about that while I understand their anger all too well, the consequences of them kicking his ass could be very serious legally. They asked why I don’t go after him. I explained that if I did that I would go to jail, and the ex and her AP would likely move into the family home because it’s half hers.

    Fast forward four years and the boys and their mom every established their relationships, but they despise the AP.

    I feel sorry for the boys when they go to her new house and that douche bag’s there. Awful.

    I haven’t ever seen them together personally, except some unknown person recently sent me a video of the two of them together.

    Hopefully, we will never cross paths. I’m not sure how I will react. I have no feelings for the ex, but I’m still pissed that my cousin played a role in destroying my family.

  • I can only imagine the ordeal it must be to have the AP come anywhere near your kids. I think it is completely wrong that the law gives cheaters the same access rights to their kids as faithful partners. Simply wrong. What are they teaching the kids?
    Chumps who have to eat this shit sandwich, I think of you every day, not kidding, and hope that you find the strength to deal with this added injustice and that your kids come out alright anyway. Big hugs to you all.

  • Potent post today. Of all the crap that I’m struggling to be ok with, this is the biggest pile and I don’t know how I could ever accept. I mourn the loss of my marriage. I squirm and cringe remembering the gaslighting and emotional torture of last year, and the “what if’s” of my own actions last year trying to save the marraige. I struggle to maintain NC/grey rock now.

    But thinking of having to drop off my kids with her there???? Thinking of her possibly being a major figure in their lives? Laughing with and buddying up to them, going to fairs and beaches with daddy and her…thinking of her modeling to them that lying is no big deal….It makes me want to puke. It makes me want to break things. There’s unfair…none of this has been fair. But then there’s in-your-face, kick-you-in-the-gut, impossible to ever accept unfair.

    So far he’s (mostly) honoring my request to keep her away from the kids until divorce is final. Though he balks at it like I’m batshit crazy, and says he’s only doing it so I don’t “use it against him in court”. I could explain til I’m blue in the face how my reasoning is to avoid confusing two obviously-already confused young kids. But he just. Doesn’t. Get it. He things she hung the moon and stars, and that I’m scum of the earth for finally setting boundaries.

    When he’s really mad, he breaks the agreement. They all went out to a Valentine’s dinner together at our favorite restaurant and posted about it so I found out. The kids spent the next week in a massive potty-training regression. Which he denies could be remotely related.

    But I don’t expect he’ll even vaguely honor my request much longer. They’ve already planned vacations with our kids this summer. In anticipation of “her precious new kids” she FaceTimes with them whenever she can, apparently. Must be a window into her cheater’s soul to suck up to them. STBX told me, all concerned for her and looking for my sympathy, that she’s furious and offended and deeply hurt that I don’t want her around our kids (poor baby…BARF!), that she’s a great parent and always wanted a girl. Yeah, a great parent who wrecks her own family with cheating and lies, abandons her own kids during her custody time to fly out to play house with her cheater…and lies to them constantly about where she is. I don’t want such dishonest evil around my amazing, bright-eyed daughters.

    I knew it was going to be a crapshoot having kids – you never know what sort of child you’ll end up with, who they are, or what they’ll want to do with their lives. I accept that uncertainty. But I did NOT have kids so that someone like HER could raise them!!!!! If I’d known that was the deal, I would have gotten sterilized at puberty! I struggle with my unchristian urges to badmouth OW in front of them and turn them against dad and OW. Which of course I never will do. I’m disgusted I even have those thoughts.

    And yet I’m going to have to be “the sane parent” and will try. I get that. And I will do the “chewing on glass” task of talking up how great it’s going to be at daddy’s house, as I’m driving there and my fingernails are bloodied from clawing at the steering wheel. I read from one of the other folks in this CN that “we’d throw ourselves in front of a bus for our kids, so we should be able to do this too”. I think of that constantly, it provides some solace. But how will I be able to sleep at night after doing it.

    Wondering when the hell this will hurt less. I have 15 years ahead of me for this crap.

    • You might want to rethink the” talking up how great it is going to be at daddys” thing… GASLIGHTING is never ok.
      Tell kiddo you WILL be there when she gets home, call if you need me to talk… . but please do not gaslight your own kid!

  • NYPB, what a sick creep that woman is!
    Luck has worked in mysterious ways for me that we had 6 miscarriages and no child together, maybe there was a good reason after all. The thought of my child spending time with the whore who fucked my partner while I was alone at home looking after her child !!! I have nightmares that if we had had a child together and s/he had to spend time with them, where and with whom would they leave my child when it suits them? I haven’t seen the little boy for a year, apparently I am such a toxic person and dangerous driver thinks the whore who only has a restricted licence at age 42… I wasn’t when they were cheating and they left the little boy with me like a dog at a boarding kennel (except we had a great time together, better than when the Traitor was around).

    • Am reading this now, 2 yr after the comment and I could have written in word for word.
      I feel like another part of the unjustness is that because of the trauma the STBX caused, I won’t have any partner to introduce for, who knows? Years? Ever?

  • The biggest looser is my son, of course.
    Oh, long are gone the days when I would stress that my son gets to stay with the whore.
    My lawyer was right all along. See the bigger picture, get to your goal.
    And the goal was to relocate, away from his cheating ass and his crazy.
    My son gets to be with his dad twice a year. His OW can do her best to prove herself as a maid and care taker.
    By now my son knows exactly who his mother is. He knows his dad is not with him because he’s with her.
    I did my best for my son. Now I need to keep it going for him: stay sane and healthy. Weed crazy people out.

    • I spoke too soon!
      Where can I find a mobster, please? The OWhore gave birth and my X announced the “big news” in an email to my family. The Whore thinks she’s related to me now! I shudder.
      She has another kid (with problems) and my mom suspected all along that this is how she got married the first time: she got pregnant and the guy had no other choice.
      Of all the stupid people in this story, I’m the biggest, for choosing the ultimate looser as a husband! WTF was I thinking??? How can I fix this now for my son?

      • I worry so much about this possibility….that my kids will, somewhere along the way, gain a half-sibling. I will hate him so much more if he does this to them. And no, the OW is not related to you OR the kids. What a scumbag.

  • This is the perfect topic for me to vent today. I just got back from a session with the mediators and the one who is a marriage counselor by trade was still harping on why I should be encouraging the kids to have a relationship with Schmoopie for their sake. The implication is that I need to make it clear to the kids that it is ok for them to have a relationship with her. I don’t happen to agree. I feel as if I am being scolded for not accepting that relationship because it is making things harder on everybody. No, his getting into a relationship with her in the first place is what is making things hard on everybody. Personally I don’t think that encouraging the kids to have a relationship with her benefits the kids, it only benefits STBX and Schmoopie and I don’t think it is my responsibility to help them avoid the negative consequences of their behavior. If they have to work extra hard to overcome those consequences that is on them and they are not going to get any help from me. I find the notion that somehow I am being unreasonable or irrational over this to be highly offensive.

    • That is bullshit!! Makes me so mad. Not your responsibility at all. They did the deed now they can deal with the consequences.

    • Truth! I do not encourage my children to “have a relationship”with either their father or owife. Not my circus anymore.

    • Mediator you say?
      That individual is a cheater himself! Who feels entitled to be supported along his destructive ways. I’m glad you disagree. I am really proud of you for being able to asses this as bulls*!

      By contrast, our mediator was a lady who divorced while pregnant. Want to hear what question she asked my then estranged husband? If he cared to spend time with the baby, why did he move 1h away from our home? Yep, it blew my mind at the time – why didn’t I think of that myself.
      It makes you think who these people are, doesn’t it?

  • Being cheated on is nothing compared to the hurt of watching your kids have to deal with this shit!! It kills me. My kids were introduced to OW less than a month after their dad walked out. They all are so upset and have told him they don’t like being around her but he doesn’t care!! It’s been 8 months, divorce is now final and my kids have given up telling him how they feel. They just have to go and deal with it every other weekend and I feel so helpless. It makes me physically sick. How can they act like this is no big deal. Kids all know she is why he left. Can anyone who is farther out than me with this give me any insight? How do I deal with this?

    • Be the sane parent. They know they have you and that is the biggest thing for them. Teach them right from wrong. They already know it, you’ll simply confirm it for them. This will build their confidence. They will turn out just fine, you’ll see.

      My son (2) said nothing of the time spent at his father. This speaks volumes to me.

  • There is no sorting it out. These weirdo’s do not see the damage they do to their children. End of.
    There is nothing you can do because the law has decided that 2 parents, however odd one may be, are better than one.
    ALL our children will be damaged goods for the rest of their lives. It is so depressing.
    The only thing you can do is try and limit the damage. This means HUGE and endless responsibility for the sane parent.
    Then of course the weirdo parent turns up for the odd event and plays ” decent dad/ mum”. It drives me nuts it is so unfair.

  • My STBXH’s AP sent both my teenage children friend requests on Facebook. Meanwhile her husband was sending threatening text messages saying he was coming to harm me and our children. After all this my STBXH “doesn’t understand” why his children want nothing to do with him.

  • After reading and digesting all the comments, it is straight forth and blatantly obvious the ones suffering and confused are the kids. We are being forced to have our children compromise all the principles, character and morals instilled. Why are we being forced to share 50/50 custody with someone that walked out, abandoned, cheated, lied and totally disrespected, humiliated and destroyed their children? To expose bad influences on them? That’s surely a role model!!! (Emphasis added!) The cheater has absolutely no conquences whatsoever because the law is basically “do whatever” and you still get the “joint custody”.

    Yes, newbie here and not accepting that after devoting your life, even going through the POS’s cancer, you get served a shit sandwich while he destroys the kids.

    • SothernBelleHell,

      My stbx texted me that I don’t want our child living with him because I think he’s stupid.

      Well, let’s see – I don’t want her living with him because he is someone who, as you stated above, walked out, abandoned, cheated, lied and totally disrespected, humiliated and destroyed a family – I’m forced to have the principles, morals, integrity that I tried to instill in my child, the security stability blown up, my child is worried that people just leave you at the drop of a hat….. Well, maybe he IS stupid. I dunno. Just maybe. Could be…. Definitely not too bright.

  • I refuse to give Fucktard or Owife the power to hurt me. Best move ever is To Get Busy Living. The kids (all young adults) and I vacation together now, as often as jobs, time, and money allow. We make great sacrifices to do so and we are having the best time together. That was never true with their father (as he was too busy living a double life). It is such a pleasure to be free of disordered and we recognize now that family doesn’t have to mean a mom, dad, and kids for it to be enough.

  • My husband divorced me after 25 years of marriage, married his affair partner 10 years ago. Kids have a progressively getting better relationship with him but have never met the wife. I get crap from people about it but absolutely don’t care about their opinions. They didn’t walk our walk. She’ll always be excluded.

  • I fully agree on not encouraging any form for relationship With the AP.
    As ChumpinRecovery said so well:
    “Personally I don’t think that encouraging the kids to have a relationship with her benefits the kids, it only benefits STBX and Schmoopie and I don’t think it is my responsibility to help them avoid the negative consequences of their behavior. If they have to work extra hard to overcome those consequences that is on them and they are not going to get any help from me. I find the notion that somehow I am being unreasonable or irrational over this to be highly offensive.”

    THIS!!

  • My stbx was ‘working’ and ‘out all night taking pictures’ with 22 y.o. coworker. Telling me I was insecure, nothing was wrong. When he finally left he took our savings to rent an expensive house in expensive neighborhood. And guess who moved in right away. Our daughter went to visit them a few weeks later. I asked the mediator how I was supposed to take my daughter to their house for visitation. He said, “Oh you get used to it.” And I thought, wow this is going to be one messed up system to deal with. They court says they’re all about the kids, but after a year of this divorce dragging, it doesn’t seem like it to me. STBX brought this girl to our daughter’s piano recitals at her school.

    How do you do have the nerve to do that? But I’m sure he thought, look at me the stud!

    Schmoopers is about to have a baby. It’s almost our daughter’s birthday. It would really suck if the baby was born on her birthday.

    I read earlier – winning a cheating loser. Yep, that’s your prize. I found his journal from rehab 15 years ago saying he’d never been faithful to anyone. I wonder if he’s cheated on her yet.

    And yes, it’s so weird that the mother in law is calling me saying, “Oh we’re going to the baby shower this weekend! I’m shopping right now and I want to pick up something for your daughter, too!”

    That’s nice. How exciting! Have a great time at the shower!

    It’s so bizarre. My son has dumped his family and started a new one without even being divorced! I’ll call my daughter in law and let her know we will be celebrating that fact this weekend! Yay!

    And then she tells me she loves me.

    OK. Then tell your son that dumping us and then trying to kick us out of our home so he can get as much cash as he can to maintain all the expensive toys and things he’s buying to keep his young thing is just wrong.

    In my dreams.

  • Ah, it is so hard to let go, to truly let go and let your arsehole, narc ex shack up with his bit on the side AND have your beautiful, precious children go over. It nearly killed me. I would feel the searing heat of pain every time in the early days. How dare they play at happy families, whilst I was left on my own with just grief and hurt to keep me company.

    I was filled with indignant rage and bust my breeches trying to force him to play ball and pick up the children when he said he would, stick to arrangements and not have Bit on the Side return them to my doorstep. I wasted so much energy on it all and as Chump Lady so rightly says, you actually have NO control.

    I’m not sure when the penny dropped, but it did eventually & I finally reached “meh” and decided I really didn’t give a fuck anymore what he was doing or not doing but that the kids and I were going to live a fulfilled and happy lives of our own & if he wanted to be part of their lives, that was up to him.

    13 years on, they hardly see him and they loathe Bit on the Side. They think he is the useless dad that he actually is & we have a great time because I really have been the best mum I could have been. Hand on heart, I will go to my grave knowing that & it is a really good feeling. So take the advice here & let go a lot sooner than I did.

    • Honestly, I think this is the hardest part of this whole process. Not divorced yet, but he’s been out for 2 months. Every time I think of this coming in the future I am filled with rage and loathing. I have put everything into my children and I cannot fathom having someone be a part of their life in this way against my will. That is just so fucked up and wrong. They do not deserve to have this foisted on them and he has not earned the right to do this to them. So much hate for this side of divorce. 🙁

  • My Wonderful Boyfriend (WBF – a Chump who introduced me to CL and CN), is going through HELL right now over his kids. His ex (kucktard) cheated throughout their marriage and has now married the strange (mucktard) that ended the marriage (mucktard also blew up his family). Fast forward a few years past the bitter divorce stuff, and it turns out (not-surprisingly) that kucktard has been schilling a narrative to the kids that, “Your Father and I got divorced because he was controlling and wouldn’t let me do what I wanted”.

    The kids have been acting out with their Father (my WBF) in anger because they blame him for all the misery of life in a divided household and for ‘hurting’ their mother (kucktard). The whole time, WBF has been faithfully keeping mum about her sexual and financial indiscretions (both egregious).

    Recently, one of the kids asked during yet another fit of dramatic outrage, why his parents got divorced and WBF lovingly calmed him down and asked him if he really wanted the truth, and with no malice told his kid that, “your mother and I got divorced because she wanted boyfriends”.

    Now kucktard is retaliating (as they always do when you go off script)

    She is trying to get their kid in therapy (which is not a bad idea) because she herself was traumatized when she found out her own father was a lifelong cheater.

    So I ask you, Chump Nation, what kind of a low life selfish looser experiences a trauma first-hand and puts her own kids through the same thing that traumatized her so much?

    I think the answer is, The Absolute Worst Kind.

    Those poor kids. At least they have one sane, grown-up parent.

    There has to be a name for this particular kind of behavior – where someone inflicts on others the thing that traumatized them most

  • Actually its very common. Genes? Conditioning? My ex sister in law hated boarding school. Guess where she sent her own 3 kids?
    My ex had parents who cheated. He hated the rows as a child.
    He is exactly the same.

  • He denied and lied that he had brought DD around OW, but I knew he had. Dhe was no better bringing her kids around, going out together with my then-husband, posting pics of the 4 of them together. Scumbags.

  • This just makes me want to cry so damned much. This is the hardest part for me. In no way can I make sense of having some other person in my kids’ lives. I don’t even think their dad deserves to see them let alone his lover(s). It makes me so angry that his crap behavior doesn’t count against him.

  • Almost 6 months from D-Day! On the 90 day “cooling off” period, after filing and serving summon. Just wondering if it is legal to include background check and phycological evaluation of the “new partner” in the agreement prior to introduction to the child. Any thoughts and opinions?

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