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Dear Chump Lady, I miss being a full-time parent

Hello Chump Lady,

So I live in a part of the country that never snows. My ex and and his soon-to-be Ho-Wife took my kids on a trip up north this weekend. My little girl just texted me that it is snowing. She has never seen snow in her life before now, and I am missing this moment.

This is the part of the whole thing I just can’t fucking get over. I can rebuild my life, I can find love again, and I have freedom to pursue friendships, pastimes and work that fulfills me. But some of the things he took when he destroyed our family, I can’t ever get back. I am a part-time mother, completely against my will. My children are having adventures and experiences without me, and there’s nothing I can do, because their father fired me from my job as full-time mom.

After two years on my own, my divorce was final earlier this year. I have gotten over him rejecting me as Spouse/Romantic Partner. It took a while to get there, but at this point, it’s pretty easy to see him for the lying self-centered fucked-up asshole that he is, to see that I failed to assess his character properly before I married him, and to understand that I am truly better off without him. He’s marrying the homewrecker this month and I’m not feeling particularly troubled by it.

But this stuff with the kids going off and being parented by and having adventures with my ex and the homewrecker hurts like hell. Every. Single. Time.

How can I make this eternal shit sandwich go down easier?

Thanks,

Struggling

Dear Struggling,

It’s not fair. It sucks. If shit sandwiches went down easily, we wouldn’t call them shit sandwiches, we’d call them ambrosia or something lip-smacking. No, shit sandwiches are for choking. The cheaters waltzing off to the snowy bunny slopes with your children SUCKS.

Gee Tracy, I wanted an answer, not validation of suckitude. 

I’m sorry. I don’t have an answer to shit sandwiches and OW as step-mommies, except to say that it sucks. And it can be survived, as can every sucky thing that doesn’t kill you.

Let’s break this down and reframe it. That part I can help with.

She has never seen snow in her life before now, and I am missing this moment.

Struggling, you’re going to miss a lot of moments. You’re human. You can’t be everywhere. Kids have moments. Mine is off at college right now discovering libertarianism and I missed it. (Okay, his ridiculous flirtation with libertarianism can be missed… may he soon come to his senses…) Point is, kids are little creatures who are programmed to leave us. They have identities and experiences, even as little people, that don’t include us.

When your kids have experiences with the Other Parent and their Schmoopie that are shit-sandwichy, refer to the Cool, Bummer, Wow post. Keep things light and superficial.

I made a snow angel! Cool.

My brother hit me with a snowball. Bummer.

I got extra marshmallows in my cocoa! Wow.

And then change the subject. You are the Sane Parent. Duty prevents you from dissolving into a puddle in front of your kids.

I can rebuild my life, I can find love again, and I have freedom to pursue friendships, pastimes and work that fulfills me. But some of the things he took when he destroyed our family, I can’t ever get back.

Yes, divorce and betrayal are losses. It sucks. You can’t get some things back, that’s a fact. I lost the last years of my fertility to a cheater and I’m never going to have another child. I’m never going to enjoy a 50th wedding anniversary with my husband, because we misspent our youth on idiots. I’m never going to get the $100K back I spent defending myself from pro se custody lawsuits. I’m never going to get that remaining $7K I’m owed in child support either.

A whole buffet of shit sandwiches!

I bet you have a buffet too. And so does everyone who reads my blog, most likely.

You know what makes these losses — and they ARE losses — bearable?

I can rebuild my life, I can find love again, and I have freedom to pursue friendships, pastimes and work that fulfills me.

I’m far enough out — you aren’t — to say, my life is BETTER for having taken a couple tragic turns. Doesn’t make any of it right. My losses cannot be recompensed. But new people and new blessings entered my life BECAUSE those losses created vacancies and new opportunities.

The “gain a life” bit is really better than the cheater bit. Your kids are so much better off having you as the sane, respected parent who is modeling healthy to them every day, than they are witnessing the dysfunction and abuse of a cheating parent. YOU WIN. They cannot cover the stench of their character with snow holidays.

I am a part-time mother, completely against my will.

No. You are a FULL-TIME mother, because you are a MOTHER. That shit is for life. Did you just remember something your child needs to be doing, even though that child is thousands of miles away from you? HelloOoo. You are a mother. In 1988, my mother sent $30 to South Africa so I would get a haircut. The mother job never quits.

He’s marrying the homewrecker this month and I’m not feeling particularly troubled by it.

But this stuff with the kids going off and being parented by and having adventures with my ex and the homewrecker hurts like hell.

Uh-huh. Coincidence that he’s marrying the OW just as they’re all taking fabulous vacations together? I smell impression management. Get back to me in a few years on how interested he is in his children, especially if he has more with the OW. Chances are you’ll be begging for him to take his custodial time so you can catch a freaking break.

Call me cynical. I just read a gazillion of these stories each week.

You’re still healing. It takes time. Every time he does something fabulous and family-like with the OW, you’re going to wonder at some level — WHY NOT ME? How can he be Mr. Wonderful for HER, and not US? Remember, they don’t have character transplants. And you’ll also wonder if the kids are fooled. Will they be easily bought by a slushy snowball?

No. They won’t. You are the sane parent. You are mom and NO ONE takes that away from you. The best thing you can do is invest in your new life, try to enjoy the time off, and come back to your kids refreshed. Keep modeling mightiness. You’re stronger than any shit sandwich they can serve.

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.
    • Struggling, I totally sympathize with your sucktitude struggling but I think there is a very bright side to your story. You daughter had an amazing new experience an what did she do? She texted you. She chose you to share her excitement. She could have excluded you but you were in this moment. She didn’t choose her family situation and I assume she had to go with her dad but through it all, you are with her and she is letting you know. You will always be her mom and no one can take that away despite the unfortunate experience.

      Chump lady is right that are children are separate and throughout their lives they will have experiences apart from us good and bad. The most we can hope is they think of us.

      Last night my 15 year dd went to her first concert with friends. (My older kids all giving me a hard time- you wouldn’t have let me do that at 15). Anyway Kesha was there and because of cl I know the song “praying” and could identify it on the radio thus surprising and impressing dd. So dd texted me when she played that song. I was with her in that moment. The beauty of texting!

      Sending you hugs! Suktitude sucks!

      • Feelingit is SO right! My daughter has had zero contact with the f-tard in 30 mos, and she is so happy to not have been forced to do anything with him or see him at all. When she got her college acceptance letter and her first job these past few months? I was the ONLY one she texted or called. I get to experience the joy of these things with her – not him.

        When our 24 yo son comes over asking for my advice and wants to just talk and relax with me now, I get to enjoy him grown up. F-tard hasn’t talked to him since 2014.

        When said son’s only child played his first pee-wee bball game and scored? I was there. Only I saw that beaming smile and his little thumbs-up toward me. Not that douchebag. I get to hear our only grandchild say, “I love you all the way to Pluto and back a hundred times!” Douchebag only hears some other man’s kids voices.

        Neither of my children are pained by their mediocre “dad” being out of their lives. Neither of them were ever the dramatic type, and were always even more mature than the douchebag. They only get upset over the injustice of ALL of us being lied to for so long, and my wasted years on that fool.

        Life DOES get better once you lose all the dead weight of a lying, cheating douchebag. And all of us Chumps are better off going it alone and authentic vs going through life with someone scheming against you right from inside your own home. (((Hugs))) to all of us Chumps!

        • I am still absolutely shocked that a father won’t contact or care about his own son and daughter? No way. That is crazy. I’m glad they have YOU!

          • Hey, FreeWoman – sometimes zero contact from a parent is a massive blessing. In our case the first 18 months of no contact was because he’s now a violent felon. Evidently, d-bag almost killed some guy who found his way into the soulmate OW’s bed. LOL!! I made the decision that it was in daughter’s best interest not to have contact with the idiot. She had just turned 15 at the time. She’ll be 18 in four months and has had zero forced visitation or contact. She’s held a 4.0+ GPA since he abandoned us when she was 13, has been accepted to a Big Ten university and will study civil engineering. I’ve had her in counseling the whole time each month. Believe me, this girl is WAY better off without the disordered f-tard in her life, making her choke down his lies about “what really happened.” She knows. He is a serial cheater who abandoned her and her mother. Don’t need any more details than that.

            Our 24 yo son is a different story. He was grown with a new baby and was moved out when douche abandoned us. But the two of them? Zero relationship. Turns out the d-bag isn’t the “dad of the year” he’s so often tells whores willing to listen to his crap. My protective order didn’t include our grown son or grandson so why no contact? The douche just knows he’s worthless and never invested time and love into either of his kids. So for him, it’s easier to tell lies about all of us and stay away. That way no one challenges his stories; at least, not the whores he manages to fool. His only grandson will be 6 in a few months and has no idea he exists.

            In fact, a few weeks ago I had a repair guy at the house. Little grandson watched our interaction and when the guy left he asked, “Why don’t you have a boy at your house?” I knew what he meant but said, “I do! I have you!” He goes, “No. Why don’t you have a grown boy at your house?”

            I don’t lie to my family.

            I said, “Well, I used to. He is your Daddy’s dad. But he told lies to everyone all of the time and hurt all of us with his lies. He only pretended to be a good person. I told him he had to leave and he can’t ever come back.”

            Grandson asked, “What is his name?” I told him his name, not a “Grandpa XX.” He tries to think if he’s ever met him. Nothing.

            Grandson (who’s 5) looks in the distance thinking on all of this and said, “He is a bad guy. If I tell lies then I get in trouble. But a grown-up should not tell lies to anyone! Why doesn’t he doesn’t know that?! That’s a bad thing!”

            I said, “Yes, you’re absolutely right. We do not tell lies to each other. It hurts other people. But even though that all happened and we were all very sad for a while, now we are all SO happy! I have you, and Daddy, and all of our family and no one lies to each other and we take care of each other. Doesn’t that feel good, sweetie?”

            Grandson while hugging me, “Yes! That’s very good!”

            #BlessedWithZeroContact

            • I too have a son with zero contact with the ex. My son was 10 months old when separated and divorced. Now at age 7 he has seen dad 3 times the last time, 3 years ago. It is a blessing. My son knows that daddy made the choice to not be a father or be part of his life. I don’t sugar coat, but tell him the truth in an age appropriate way.
              I fear in a few years ex may decided to play Daddy. He mentioned when we were divorcing that when our got older say 11 or 12 he would be a dad then. He said that since our son was so young during our divorce in order to contact him he had to go through me and he didn’t want to have to do that. His brilliant line of reasoning was that if our 2-year old couldn’t talk to him without me being in the room and prompting him then he would just wait till our son was old enough to have a relationship with him on his own.
              Super sucky because when I went to court 3 years and tried to change joint legal custody ex announced to the judge that while he had not contacted or attempted to see our son in years he would. Judge refused to change joint legal to give Cheaterpants a chance to be a dad. That was 3 years ago, the last time we heard from him.

      • Agreed my ex husband not only abandoned me but our beautiful dog! It’s sick they were best friends I think this tramp off a dating site is more important to you than our 24 years together as husband and wife, our family and Rocky dog? It’s pathetic but I know I’m working on a new ME everyday and I’m going to find a real man that treats me like a lady!🌹

      • Agreed 200% and I know these pieces of FILTH that cheat and destroy families they will never be happy! My ex husband his whole family is TOXIC and the red flags were all there but I chose not to see them! I wanted the fairytale if only for a little while!😩

    • Struggling, I’m relatively new here and seldom comment. But, I’ve read several articles on marriage to the APs (Affair Partner). Only about 10% of APs marry and of those, only about 10% last more than 5 years. That means your EX has about a 1% chance of living happily ever-after with his. Fix your picker and find your happily ever-after. Stay the sane parent, and things will work out.

      Prayers and Wishes

      • Thanks! Yeah time will tell what happens with those two, it seems pretty “cray” to me, but what do I know? Lol. I’m still working on my picker… Looking for that “partner, not project”…

        • I’m CERTAIN mine will marry his AF. Because they have to justify what they did and that they couldn’t help themselves cuz it’s TRUE LOVE. I’m waiting for the announcement (I’m sure it will come in a form of email sent to be strategically on my birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. to RUIN that holiday/occasion for me.

          This post hit the nail on the head for me. This is what angers me the most about my situation. And people who have not been cheated on do not understand that even after 2 years after D Day, I HATE that I miss any moments with my son. It was NOT my choice but the a hole decided he wanted to fuck multiple women so now my son and I both have to suffer. But according to my ex, I’m “crazy” and so “unloving”. He told me I’m such a hateful person and THAT is why we divorced (he said this via text to me 2 years after…..2 years after he STILL can not take any responsibility for WHY we are divorced and why my son has to be shuttled for 4 hours EACH WAY every other weekend to visit his lying, cheating, alcoholic, small dick, narcissistic asshole dad.

          • It is so unfair! I feel like if the cheaters really cared about being a parent, then they would not have destroyed the family. My ex kept saying this is between you and me and has nothing to do with our son. Wrong! Because he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants our son gets to grow up with separate households.

            • What’s crazy to me is that these bitches want a small dick a hole who is a cheater with a child. if I met a guy now (and I’m divorced and could theoretically date if I wanted but have no desire cuz all I hear are about assholes), I would run the other way. I would NEVER go and fuck a married man in his martial bed with his wife’s wedding picture hanging over it and their child sleeping in the room next to the room. But they all believe these sad stories these cheaters say saying, “oh my wife is so awful, she shows me no love, I don’t love her but we still live together but only for the child, she’s crazy, etc.” No, asshole, you MADE me crazy. and by “crazy” it’s because we’re angry when we find out they are fucking others. I’m pretty certain anyone would be crazy if they find their spouse cheating.
              And they NEVER cheat up. Always down. Can’t wait to hear about their divorce in 5 years. Count down is one from the day of the wedding.

          • I know exactly mine too he screwing me over right in plain view he never tried to hide a thing. He’s a psychopath like his mother. I know in the long run I’m better off

          • callmecrazyb, I got called “hateful” too! Talk about projection. I would calmly state that I was pissed about something he did and he’d say I was being “hateful” (saying I was “pissed” is so, so nasty of me, right?). HE would say “do you try to be a bitch?” or say things like I “sucked as a partner.”

            But I’M the “hateful” one.

            In reality, their delicate egos can’t handle any anger (so often justified!) directed at their fabulous selves.

      • Agreed I love it and for those of us thrown away like dirty old rags we are amazing, loving, beautuful and smart. I know so many people that have stuck out bad marriages because they are afraid! I value myself too much to allow some cheating dirtbag to walk all over me! I want more out of life it’s so short already! If that means for now I’m alone with my work and Rocky then so be it!👍🌹

  • When I read these stories I am so grateful that my kids are grown. He does try the impression management with my daughter but she generally sees through it. He discarded my son a long time ago. What really sucks is when my daughter opens her mouth and her dads ugly words come out. That’s my shit sandwich to swallow and bite my tongue over( mostly 😖).

    • I know exactly Newlady 15 my daughter is a teenager and omg sometimes what comes oout ut f her mouth is a direction of her dads bitterness over the divorce that he created! I have learned through counseling to just allow them to vent then hug them! They need you to be their rock! These men and women that cheat, deep down are MISERABLE people!😩

  • Not sure how led your kids are but it doesn’t matter. They eventually start to see things. They begin to notice the differences between you and them. It might start with small silly things like they always give me ice cream but it grows into things like…

    Kid: ” Hey mom, I left you a packet of information about this new school program I am looking into and I’d like to know what you think. If you think it’s a good idea can you sign the permission slip for me to go to the exploratory meeting?”
    Me: “I support you if this is what you want and you are willing to work for it. Your dad can sign the paperwork. It’s O.K.”
    Kid: “School isn’t really a dad thing. I trust your judgement on this.”

    You embrace those moments as something inside you knows they get it. Maybe they don’t have words to say it or maybe they don’t fully process it but eventually it all shakes out and they get it. Keep being the sane parent. Keep handling the responsibilities. It feels like you’re doing all the work and that sucks but eventually they see it. Like you, I hate every moment away from my kid, but like Tracy says, I use the break to get things done and come back to my kid refreshed.

    • Or, as my nine year old came out with a couple of weeks ago, “Mom, how come you, Nana and Papa (the ex’s parents) all have my birthday as your phone password, but dad doesn’t? They notice things.

      • Same here! Bless you for mentioning this. It is a small but genuine proof of love.
        Cheater’s is his own birthday, no surprise there.

    • I have teenagers and an elementary schooler. The teenagers are very tuned in to the situation. They spend time with their Dad and the homewrecker, and come home rolling their eyes. My younger child is definitely a bit swept up with the icecream and manicures and other attention she is getting. At least for now. But I was definitely missing the bigger picture, that the first thing she did when she saw snow was take out her phone and text me…

    • I remember one decent conversation with my mom about our relationship, and telling her that at least she knew me, she knew who I was, what I liked, what I wanted. When I was a preteen, my dad went to pick me up from school one day, and he gave them a different version of my name of the one I used in school. I believe my parents think that’s a cute story, if they don’t manage to pretend that no, never happen. They are never going to see it as how badly he sucks as a dad.

    • Me too and I allow myself to take NAPS and reenergize! My ex husband looked down on naps but I tell you they will help keep your sanity and much more energy for the kids!😀

  • It hurts like hell, but you are a Mom forever — irreplaceable! My children’s father left when they were 7 and 4 — it was very hard. He took them away for every other weekend for years — and I rested (and cried). Then, when they were teenagers, guess what? They wanted to be with their friends, so I had them all the time because he lives 20 minutes away! So that happens. And they were surly and angry, like all normal teenagers are. Now, they are 28 and 25– and the light and joy of my life. They turned out incredibly well. Your children have you, and each other — and that is all they need, trust me.

  • I’m not a mom, but the only thing that comes to mind is there are a lot of things that young kids haven’t done yet. You can ease your pain by doing those firsts with them. Happily with your babies without the disordered cheater there with you. Or maybe next year they get to see the snow with their mommy. I’m trying to think like a kid… I wouldn’t be thinking my first snow experience… I’d be thinking cool snow. I bet it’s not even registering like that to them.
    Hugs to you and everyone else struggling with shared custody. I respect the strength you all have. 💙

    • As another non parent I just want to say – props to you for commenting. Thinking like a kid is a great way to look at it.

    • They saw snow for the first time with him…. big whoop. Schedule their first skiing trip, or winter bonfire, or sledding party on a trip up north. Ooohhh, you could schedule a trip up north and swim in a hot spring in January… next year if not this year…. OUTSIDE!!! Come to Montana! I can recommend some places!

      Snow happens every year… He doesn’t get ALL of it…

  • As the chump mom to two adult children, let me confirm that you will ALWAYS be their mother.

    There is so much more to the lives of your children than their first snow. I know that sounds fun and enchanting but you want to be the mother for the big stuff. When they are hurting or need advice or the big celebrations…when life gets real, you will be the sane parent they turn to.

    I’m way further along than you and it has been a bitch to get here. Lots of tears, self-doubt and wondering about my place in the lives of my kids. I’m writing this to guarantee you that, if you hang in there and listen to chump lady and chump nation, it will be better than you can imagine right now.

    As your kids get older, you can tell them the truth in age-appropriate terms. My kids think I’m fucking amazing for what I’ve survived.

    Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be OK with these vacations and you certainly don’t have to be nonchalant about the upcoming wedding – it sucks!

    Use the time away from your kids to indulge yourself a bit. Binge TV watching, reading great books, warm baths, a massage if you can swing it, etc.

    • I love it and think about this do you really believe two married cheaters can trust one another for a new healthy marriage?😂😂😂😂

  • It’s the financial hardship that I’m struggling with the most. Okay, I get it, he wanted his whore from high school. Good. Go for it. I know he will be facing a huge debt from the IRS next year, and a huge one from the V.A. and his paycheck is going to be awful after my alimony comes out from wage garnishment. And his daughter will probably never speak to him again, and he lost the opportunity of making a life with my grandchildren. But right now, this last year, looking for work and trying to move while living on SNAP and receiving zero dollars and zero cents has been more than a nightmare. I want to quit every day. Every day. I’m still being abused and there is nothing I can do about it until time goes by. No one has any money and while homeless vets are getting $400,000 for simply being kind, most kind women get, “She should’ve known, Why hasn’t she been working, and What a gold digger!” Yeah. Haven’t had my hair cut or colored in a year, no pedicure or manicure for sure, no gym membership, no new clothes, no facials, nothing that golddiggers are known for. I would simply like to have some fruits and vegetables and the energy to cook something proper. I would wish him dead, but for the insurance to pay out will probably take just as long as it has been taking me to find a job and move on.

    • I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, Unflown. I was a SAHM for almost 30 years and have no retirement funds, so all I can expect when Two-Legged Rat retires in a couple of years is any crumbs the judge feels like throwing my way. It’s so unfair for us “gold diggers”.
      But don’t forget that you’re among friends here, and we have your back.

      • Chumpiest, check on the Social Security website. You are entitled to retirement funds based on your husband’s income. There are special conditions (no remarriage, length of marriage…) but that’s something to look into. Good luck.

        • It’s true–if you were married at least 10 years, and have not remarried, when you are eligible for retirement, you can choose your own Social Security payment or 1/2 the Social Security of your X-spouse.

          • And: If you have other income or have worked and have Social Security benefits , you can collect SS on your XH’s benefits at 66 (if you meet the conditions above) and work to keep adding to your own benefits. Then you can switch over to full benefits on your own at 70. All chumps should talk to Social Security as part of their planning for the future. By the way, for Chumps over 50, this is a fairly good reason to be cautious about remarrying. Know these numbers. My wonderful therapist made me do all the research into health insurance, Social Security, etc. before I made any decisions.

        • Thank you so much Better Alone and Tempest. I forgot to explain that I’m a South American citizen and resident, so I get different laws. I might be awarded up to 50 percent of the Two-Legged Rat’s fund (I did not remarry, and he’s paying alimony until his retirement), but it’s a possibility, not a certainty. Plus, he managed to lose all marital property behind my back and his retirement fund is ridiculously small. I’ve saved enough during these 10 years to buy a small condo unit in a nice neighborhood, but I`ll lose health insurance and will have a hard time with monthly expenses. I just hope I won’t be a burden to my two sons. But nothing, absolutely nothing beats being free of the mindfuck!

  • Hang in there, Struggling!

    I grew up in a place that never snows, but I’ve since lived in snowy places where I’m just sick of snow after January. Yet every time we get the first snow of the year there’s a magical feeling. So there will be plenty of chances to share that experience with your kids in years to come.

    By the way, your kids are texting you because they miss you and they want to share special experiences with you. I bet they wouldn’t be so quick to text your ex if the situation were reversed. Take heart in the knowledge that your kids will always have a special connection to you that nobody can take away.

    Meanwhile, the ‘special snowflakes’ that are your ex and the OW will eventually experience their own summer of discontent. And special snowflakes don’t do well in the heat.

  • This post is currently my life…except for the engaged part, or the vacation part. But since my STBX and his whore moved in together a couple of months ago, they’ve broken up twice which included police officers. My shit sandwich is currently stuck mid-throat as I try to not care about their roller coaster relationship (they just got back together a couple of days ago); except my desire to keep my 16 year old away from the whore runs deep. And I find it EXTREMELY difficult to be ok with it.

    So Struggling, I am right there with you. Seeking -meh. Going as NC as possible.

    • I understand 200% my daughter is 15 and this tramp my ex husband is shacked up with is a real piece of work and I know whenever I get my time with the kids he has been cutting me to the ground! I never even speak of him and his slut we just concentrate on being mom, kids and the dog!👍

      • Carol,
        That sucks. I try to not talk about my STBX with the kids, because I don’t want to be that parent that says anything bad…just trying to let the facts speak for themselves. My older two are at least more aware of the reality of his personality, and don’t really seek out contact with him. Wish the youngest (the 16 yr old) had the same feelings. But it’s her dad, and she loves him. But now that he’s moved out, he definitely communicates way more with her, because she’s the one who’s “overlooking” what he’s done. He still reaches out to the other two, just not as much.

        I just wish a “Fast Forward” button really existed, so I can get all of this over with.

  • My daughter was 17 when my ex dropped the bomb and left.
    I was honest with the kids (17 & 23) about what had been the situation with their dad. That he didn’t just get unhappy…..that we didn’t just grow apart…..the shit he had been trying to sell. I didn’t offer great detail but I was honest with them about what my marriage had been. They had ideas about things not being great that were confirmed.
    My kids went no contact with him very early into the process, they have never met the schmoopie with the exception of the things he showed up to with her uninvited to stir things up…….usually when he felt slighted and wanted to make a point. These “incidents” only served to further seal his fate with the kids.
    I am constantly accused by him and his schmoopie of alienating and manipulating these young adults.Its bullshit…..but none the less infuriating.
    The point here is as hard as this is and I constantly fail…..there’s just some parts of this you have to let go.
    I’ve never had to share my kids,but I have had to watch my ex walk away from our kids and go raise hers. It’s better now, but in the beginning almost more than I could take.
    I’m in a great place with my kids and my life is good….my heart is for the most part happy. They know they can always count on me.They know he’s toxic and mentally abusive and he can’t be in their world but it still hurts like a motherfucker and when he whines about the kids and tries to dump that shit on me I fail miserably at not engaging. My resolution for next year is to no longer engage in the mindfuck. No good can come of it.
    The shit sandwich comes in many flavors.It’s like your ex died but there’s somebody who looks exactly like him, he hates you….and he’s got another family.
    But, out of the ashes you have to build something new and let go of what happens over there. It’s not healthy no matter how it looks from the outside…..cause your ex isn’t capable.
    Peace and hugs…..it sucks.

    • Such a similar story to yours PW – my kids are 28 and 25 and he left last year to a schmoopie 12 years younger and moved her and her kids into his new house. He just switched us all out. He has not seen his son in over a year and randomly sees his daughter(mostly for access to his grand child) and he STILL blames it all on me.

      I am completely NC – I know he will “bite” me it I reach out. So I don’t. It only hurts me.

      It just sucks like a MF to see how he hurt the kids. I hate him for that. I do.

      It is just mind boggling to me that he and the whore think they are good people and everyone should love them and their new found happiness.

      As he told me “the kids should be so happy that I am happy now”

      Nope, one disordered asshat.

      Yep. they suck.

      But I would always always rather be me.

      I’m real.

      • My ex did the same… changed us out and knocked her up. He’s pushing 50 and going to have a new baby.

        Hahahahaha.

        But really, poor kid.

      • add me to this level of shit also. only my boys were way younger. wasband got bored and left for the neighborhood party hood rat troll whore when the boys were 8 and 12. when wasband left, he did not say a word to anyone, not to me and not to the boys.. all 3 of us went thru shock, disbelief, incredible pain and heart break. .. my youngest was the most effected as he was super close to his dad, he was the partner in crime, the one wasband took every where with him since he was still little enough to be in the idolization stage and thought dad was so cool and fun.. .

        the first year i cried every day and still tried so super hard to keep my children in touch with their bio dad. i put up with so much disrespect, hate and cruelty from the ex and his thing, just so my boys could talk to their dad on the phone, or so my boys could have dad visit or pick them up. wasband’s thing really enjoyed watching my pain, and as hard as i tried to keep her from seeing my pain, it still would leak out every now and then.. .. i cant remember how many times i put the phone down with tears in my eyes and not being able to breathe, and then to have my sons bio dad drive up and take my boys to mcdonalds or to her house was just adding salt to an already inflamed infected wound.. ..

        i KNOW i am the mom. i KNOW nobody will ever take my place. it still doesnt change the fact that it hurts like HELL when your children are off doing things with some woman who is mostly a complete stranger to them just because she is having fun under my boys dad while i stayed at home taking care and raising those 2 boys that i carried in my uterus and bore.. .. . who is this stranger who is acting like she cares about my sons?!?! and why must my children spend time with someone who obviously has no morals or standards and is NOT a good person!!!!

        i know there is more to raising children then snow and vacations but it is still super unfair that i put in all the hard work and their dad and his mistress get to do all the fun things with my boys. it is super unjust that i miss the special moments. the first experience with my child just because their father is a selfish, hateful, inconsiderate piece of shit that lied, betrayed and cheated.. . . . life is so unfair. and then on top of ALL THAT, he turns around and blames me for the distance between him and his boys. he blames me for the fact that my boys DO NOT LIKE his thing especially after they found out she throws bottles at his face, broke his windshield and slashed his tires, and left him stranded after she had him beat up.. .. but right it is something I SAID to them to make them hate her because i am so controlling and manipulating.. . it is the most painful thing to go thru watching him alienate HIMSELF and withdraw from our sons lives.

        now he is telling anyone who will listen that i am “keeping his boys” from him and how i “dont let him see his boys”.. .. you know because i quit chasing him around and bugging all his relatives for his new phone number and/or address so i can have him and his thing yell and scream about how i need to “get over it” and accept that they are a couple and stop bugging them or stop trying to control him for a few days just so my child can talk to his dad on the phone for 5 to 10 minutes.

        he just cant understand or more likely REFUSES to understand how it is HIS ACTIONS that has lost his son’s respect. he does zero effort to talk to or see his sons but is now doing things for HER sons that he should be doing for his own.. . he is helping them with their cars, and helped another get a under the table job where he is working for cash (so he doesnt have to pay child support). he drives them to work and takes them out to eat. he buys them shoes and clothes. and fixes their cars and things.. .. . and he does all this for HER KIDS even after they beat the shit out of him and put him in the hospital.. .. just BLOWS MY MIND!!! i taught my boys to respect their dad, my children truly believed that their dad was a good man, a good dad and how he could do anything. they loved him and enjoyed being with him and craved for his time and his attention.. . .. and that did not mean anything to him. apparently it is super easy to replace all of that love and devotion with someone else. he not only replaced me with some other mans wife (she is still married) but he replaced his children with some other mans kids. .. .

        it mind boggles me that not only do people think that he and his whore are good people but that they do not see anything wrong in the fact that he spends no time or money on his own children.. . of course people think that it is ALL MY FAULT. people do not see how hateful, selfish and cruel he and his thing are and so easily believe that it is the exwives fault. .. ..

        it took me years to accept that. even thou i did not do anything wrong, all i did was love, support, honor and believe in him.. .. and i ended up getting the short end of the stick. took me a little over 3.5 years to fully accept that life is unfair and unjust and just possibly God really does give her someone’s husband as her soulmate.. .. and nothing is going to change. he is not a good person no matter what mask he wears and if his thing cant see that then more power to him.. . as long as me and my children do not have to put up with his shit sandwiches anymore is all that matters.. . .. 4 years out and i have my peace. i have my children and my grandchildren.. . all he has is some other mans wife and children to fill that empty hole in his heart.. .

        • you said exactly what/how I feel. the worst part is how it just doesn’t matter how great of a wife, mother, etc. you were/are, they will always make you out to be the bitch and yet, you and the kids are the ones that suffer. I feel you!

          • i know right.. .. i gave him everything. i worked so super hard to make him happy and put so much energy into keeping him happy plus doing everything i could for my children, house, job, yard, and vehicles.. .. he got to play around and spent all his extra time on drinking with people who did nothing for him.. .. i never had extra time for anything..

            now all he has to say is my exwife is a bitch. my exwife complained too much. and people just excuse his behaviors. nobody points out that his thing is a bitch and she complains too much.. .. nobody asks him WHAT i was complaining about in the first place. i was complaining that he wasnt coming home at night and never spent any time with us. but hey, i am so controlling and manipulating… or at least that is what his thing has convinced him to think and he is now parroting to me and everyone else. i went from being the loving wife to baby momma at the snap of the fingers. i hate that baby momma shit.. . ugh

            the only thing that saves me is the people he is telling all this to i dont really know, care about or come in contact with anyway. it really does NOT bother me that a bunch of drug dealers think i am just a mean, hateful bitchy, bitter exwife.

    • Omg! This!

      “The shit sandwich comes in many flavors.It’s like your ex died but there’s somebody who looks exactly like him, he hates you…….”.

      • Live for today 2 and MotherChumper99,
        Thank you. There’s something just so comforting in people that just get it.
        I have many people that love me to the moon, but none of them truly understands what this was really like. It is like he was body snatched…..one second he was there and my husband and with the blink of an eye it was just gone.
        I think the thing I beat myself up over the most is that I just didn’t see it. How was I so blind???
        There is a family here at chump nation…..I’m grateful for the gift of sanity that has been given here.

        • not blind Paintwidow.. .. you were purposely and maliciously TRICKED!! !! once i started thinking of how wasband tricked me, how he purposedly FOOLED me with his lies and acting like he wanted the same things i did.. . i started to heal.

          it was no fault of your own nor mine that we believed what he was telling us. we did all the right things and asked all the right questions. he was lying from the start. he was untrue from the beginning. . . it is no surprise we did not see it.

          do not put energy into beating yourself up, direct that energy into healing and finding your peace. i know i did the best i could with what i had been given. if i had known the truth, if he had only TOLD me he was unhappy or that he wanted something else then i would have handled things differently. if he had been honest and truthful about what he wanted out of life then i would had made different choices.. most likely i would not have chose him and would have looked for a man who was more what i needed then a man who lied, betrayed and cheated…

          sending hugs to you.

          • Thanks for the not blind but tricked explanation! I wonder that so often and your post really made that hit home today>

            • “The shit sandwich comes in many flavors.It’s like your ex died but there’s somebody who looks exactly like him, he hates you…….”.

              Yes, living with this was horrid. I thought of it as living with the man that killed my husband, but looked just like him and would taunt me by pretending to be my husband.

            • you are very welcome!!! i struggled with that for years and then i finally accepted that he was NEVER the man i THOUGHT he was. he had lied to me from the day i met him, he was telling me what i wanted and needed to hear. agreeing with my morals and standards, acting like he believed the same things that i did.

              i never saw it the whole time we were married but i sure did see if after our divorce. it was like a completely different man, a man i never saw before. he was so hateful and cruel. he is doing things that i NEVER believed he could or would do. and for a couple of years i kept wondering HOW could i not know he was like this. HOW could i not SEE it before.. .. until i remembered all the things he TOLD me to make me believe he was not like this.

              I never SAW it because he NEVER SHOWN this side to me. how could i make a marriage work when my husband was never honest to me in the first place? i could i make our lives better when i never knew my husbands true self, never knew his true thoughts on things or what he really wanted out of life? AND THAT WAS NOT MY FAULT in any shape or form.. . he refused to communicate his dreams, thoughts, wishes and needs to me. it was never my fault for doing what i believed was the right thing to do at the time when he never told me any differently.

              for example: if i tell him that i am going to paint the house green and he never told me he hates the color green, how is it my fault that he gets in a bad mood every day he comes home to the green house? i can honestly say that IF he had told me he hated the color green, then i would have chose a different color to paint the house. i would have painted a color that he liked so that he would not be in a bad mood whenever he saw it and life would be good for everyone all around.. .. but instead he never said a word. so i painted and now he is in a bad mood every day because he hates it. and of course is taking it out on me because i was the one who painted the house green.. .. he goes around telling everyone how he hates the green house and how it is MY fault the house is green. .. nobody ever asks him if he told ME that he hates the green house, they all just assume i am a hateful wife who doesnt care about his feelings. every once in a while i would get a nagging feeling so i would try to make sure he was still ok with the green house. i would ask him periodically if he likes the house, if he likes the green color, if he wanted me to paint it a different color. sometimes i would even straight up ask him if his bad mood has anything to do with the house being painted green.. .. and of course he NEVER tells me anything. he will tell me it is ok. or he will even say he likes the color. and he would reassure me that his bad mood has NOTHING to do with the house being painted green, he just had a bad day at work or something.. .. . so here i am in my happy little world, loving my green painted house while he continues to stew about it, being miserable and passive aggressively making my life miserable too.. . all the while talking shit about me and making others believe i dont care about his feelings.

              when all it would have taken was for him to be honest in the first place.. if only he told me he hated the color green, i would have made a completely different choice. i would have picked a color he DID like.. .. because all i wanted was to make him happy anyways.. ..

              so when you think of it like that, it is easy to see how he made himself miserable and it is super unfair that he blame me for his misery.. .. .. and yet it is what we all do in the beginning. we all wonder why he left, we all wonder what did we do wrong. what could we have done better.. .. sadly, it was NEVER about us in the first place.

              i hope this helps someone find their peace.

    • Good one and I have noticed with my ex husband he has AGED! He looks miserable in his pictures and I believe deep down he is ashamed of himself, he would never admit it but even his mother agrees! He thought the grass would be greener on the other side well now he had it!😀

  • The shit sandwich of “coparenting” with a fuckwit is the definition of “insult to the injury;” a parting gift from the cheater. This is another example of why “cheating” isn’t just something that “happened.”

    Immediately after our divorce, X and the cross-eyed CankerSore took two of our three sons (the third one wanted nothing to do with CS; now none of them do) to Disneyworld for April vacation. It was a vacation destination I had wanted to go to as a family for years, but X always made an excuse why we couldn’t. Even with a $10,000 gift* from his mother with her expressed wish for us to use it to go to DisneyWorld, we never made it.

    The trip was a disaster. My oldest (17) has high functioning autism, and could only take so much togetherness in a sensory overloaded place before he needed a break. X and CS didn’t care. They sent him back to the hotel alone, with no money for food. They would bring back doggie bags from the park, and he lived on their picked over leftovers for the rest of the week.

    My youngest (12) was forced to pick up the slack for his two other brothers. There are hundreds of pictures on X and CS’s Facebook of the three of them in front of the landmarks. My son looks like the most miserable kid I’ve ever seen at Disney. He later told me he was on the verge of tears all week. And that he hated how his father acted so fake in front of CS (who he just hated). And that he never wanted to go to Disneyworld ever again (way to go, Dad!).

    IMHO, the worst story from that “new family vacation” of the week was that my sons had to share a double bed in the same room as his father and bimbo, who slept in the other double bed. My oldest woke up one night to CS giving dear old dad a blowjob.

    So two of my sons got their Disney trip, but I know both would tell you it was a nightmare thanks to their father’s attempt at impression management and CankerSore’s attempts to “parent” them. It backfired epically.

    *That $10,000 gift from his mother was just one of many that I and our kids never saw. When his mother died and I was helping pay her bills, I discovered he had been stealing money meant for our family for years.

    Shit sandwiches were my staple for years, but I can say I’ve had to eat less of them now that our kids are older. And now I don’t live with an asshole.

    • OMG CandL, just when I think I’ve read the worst thing possible on CL, there comes another level of Ick Factor. You win today’s Ick award. A blow job in the same room as the kids? I can’t even… Your poor boys. That the stupid OW (Canker Sore is a great nickname BTW) would do it isn’t surprising – disgusting but not surprising. But how could their father would allow that?? That is a level of uncaring narcissism that is stunning even to a cynic like me. Thank goodness your sons have a sane, grounded parent like you!

    • It’s nauseating. The selfish fools. I don’t think they derserve the energy it would take, but isn’t this a crime? They should get a few years in prison for this ☹️

    • Damn, this is one of the most horrible stories I’ve read on this site, and that’s really saying something. I hope you and your kids have been able to make your own family memories of vacations, holidays or just plain old quality time together. Thank god your boys have you, their sane parent!

    • chutesabdladders,

      Here’s to “Teed Off Tuesday”-I’m so disgusted to read off their selfish,boundary violating behavior that I want to take my driver and go all Elin Nordegren on them

    • Yup I know exactly these Narcissists are psychos and I have read that thy are wounded children in adult bodies and they make terrible parents! What you do is just be a sounding board for the kids and you can now save up for your own vacation with them!

  • Whether we stay too long–I did, and in retrospect it was partly to avoid the custody nightmare–or get out fast (smart, and I applaud all who had the strength and sense to do so), a price is exacted from the kids, and that is by far the worst of it.

    The cheater exposed both kids to the most recent affair even as he was nominally acting as a married person. They will be working on recovering from those wounds (among many others that I now know he inflicted) for a very long time.

    Before dday, he basically ignored them, arranging get-togethers with them every month or two, and never failing to post the pics to FB, where both the latest slut and the entire harem chorus inevitably offered praise: OMG, what totally cute kids, and what a super amazing dad you are!

    The kids and I know the facts behind those pics: abandonment, gaslighting, endless lies, exposure to the affair partner, and ongoing verbal abuse. I don’t think either child has, in recent memory, ever passed any time in his company without the whole deal devolving into an argument. He is one angry dude, and that always but always emerges, as does their growing awareness of, impatience with, and unwillingness to submit themselves to his very skewed take on the world.

    I definitely have all of the usual mom fears: They will marry, move into a sparkly mansion, and suck my kids into their horrifying house of mirrors. They will whisk the kids off on sparkly adventures of the sort I do not love and cannot, in any case, afford. The kids will attend or–worst of all–be involved somehow in the exchange of cheater wedding vows, thus defiling both their souls and some poor innocent church or another. They will be manipulated into believing whatever fantasy the cheaters spin to justify their behavior and paint me as the evil one.

    But, so far–despite a few rough moments with the oldest parroting cheater’s justifications–it has not played out that way, even though my “cool, bummer, wow” skills utterly suck. No clue what comes next, but so far they see that mom remains the mom they have always known, and that has been good enough.

    I am and will probably always be a ball of anxiety whenever they spend time with him, because their texts about the latest outrageous idiocy he has indulged in inevitably come, and their distress and confusion afterwards are palpable, but I see them working on boundary building, and hope they continue to do that, achieving whatever relationship they want on their terms.

    A cheater’s willingness to exploit kids for image management, lack of ability to parent in any true way, and fundamental inability to bond normally will eventually out. These things do hurt kids and us–no way around it–but we can all do our best to learn to protect ourselves and navigate the whole deal wisely and awarely.

    Sucks. Hurts. I never handle it perfectly. But, on we go.

    • Cashmere, my sons were 17 and 22 when the Twat left so there was no “joint custody” (thank God). I have tried to keep to “cool, bummer, wow” but I must admit I get a certain schadenfreude when one of them lets slip his latest inanity (is that a word?). Ex moved back to the States nearly 3 years ago and I am in France so it isn’t much of an issue here and the kids really don’t have to see him, but slowly more of his crap is coming out and they are seeing it for what it is. The youngest was always “on my side”, the oldest not so much but even he is seeing his father for the pathetic specimen that he is. My ex got blind, stinking drunk down the pub after my father’s funeral in England (he left us all at my mom’s house and went to the pub on his own)! My brother-in-law picked him up and threw him over a hedge and left him there. I only recently found out that when his own dad died suddenly in the States a couple of years ago, it was repeat performance. My oldest couldn’t go to the funeral so it was just my youngest and his dad. Dad got roaring drunk, could barely stand up and the neighbour that drove them to the airport wished my son good luck getting his dad back to France. I’m not sure how they even allowed him on the plane to be honest. But all that to say, it does come out eventually – they don’t change, and sadly for our kids, they get to realize it all in their own good time.

    • This is all really hitting home for me today. I’m five and a half years out – rebuilt life – it’s all good. But … the kids. Mine are 21 and 17. Just had a lengthy conversation yesterday with the 21-year-old (home from college). He’s gone NC with his father. He hasn’t seen him in well over a year, hasn’t communicated with him in six months. He told me that he has decided to go NC because it hurts too much to be constantly let down and devalued by his father. Going NC gives him a sense of control back. He doesn’t trust his father to do the right thing and doesn’t want to risk being disappointed by him again. He said he doesn’t want to be this way. He wants to love his father. Wants to have a good relationship with him. It just hurts too much to do so.

      My heart breaks for the kids. All of them.

      And thanks for all of you who admit that they don’t always handle things right. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to hear that I’m not the only one. This shit is hard. But I’m learning.

      • Oh no….I got a ticket over Halloween for texting my ex while flipping shit. Yeah….not a stellar moment.

        At least what I wrote to my ex made the judge laugh, so there’s that.

    • “A cheater’s willingness to exploit kids for image management, lack of ability to parent in any true way, and fundamental inability to bond normally will eventually out. These things do hurt kids and us–no way around it–but we can all do our best to learn to protect ourselves and navigate the whole deal wisely and awarely.”

      This really sticks out for me today Cashmere. True, true, true.

      I worried in the beginning that cheater would suck the children into his delusional and that I would need to win them back. Couldn’t be further from the truth. All I have to do is sit back and watch as he digs himself deeper into his shit. He really does suck and he shows it all the time. I am left shocked that he isn’t doing better at image management with the children. He doesn’t want them around unless they behave as his loyal minions and it shows.

      I was worried he would go for custody and he did say he wanted it but when asked about it all he says is he wants them in counseling. He has never asked them to his house other than for a couple of dinners. It was not even an option that they would spend a night at his 4 bedroom house in a trendy area with all kinds of restaurants ,shops and tourist attractions in walking distance with plentiful sidewalks.

      I am silently glad that he isn’t making an effort because he is a monster and I don’t think it is best to have my children around him.

      At my deposition I was asked if I thought it was important for my children to have a relationship with their father. I answered yes because I know that it would be politically incorrect to answer otherwise. Now I have the opportunity to correct that and wonder if any of you brilliant chumps have words of wisdom. I think I should have said something like yes but I also think that it is his responsibility to inatinate the relationship in a loving adult fashion. Suggestions welcome!

      Another sad revelation in all this has been that it is hard to lead your children when you too are a victim of his actions. It is hard to empathize appropriately that these children have to live with a father who can not show them love. I cannot imagine how that feels although my mom had difficulty with that. She never completely abandoned me as he is doing.

      This weekend all five of my children were received into the church that we started attending a little over a year ago 5mos. post dday. It has been a blessing for us. I hosted a potluck luncheon for all the confirmands (12) and their families. The bishop of the diocese came from another state and was so warm and welcoming. After the lunch, he sat and lead a discussion with everyone. At one point he was quoting Matthew 7:9 which says “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” I could see my 24 year old daughter across the room and it looked like she was fighting tears. (I know I was) My children are asking their father for bread and their earthly father is giving them a stone in many ways. I can’t fully grasp their pain because my father was the one concerned with feelings in my family. I just know it is painful and I can’t fix it.

    • Cashmere, Chumpymcchumpface (lol), sunflower36, I never handle it perfectly either. When Tracy said I have a duty not to dissolve into a puddle of tears in front of them, well, I can’t say I’ve never done that, because I definitely have, more than once. Like you said, nothing to do but move forward, and work on those Cool Bummer Wow skills. But I’ve definitely slipped off the “handles everything perfectly” wagon many times. We’re human beings, and as such we’re going to make mistakes under the best of cirumstances as well as the worst…

      Feeling It: “At my deposition I was asked if I thought it was important for my children to have a relationship with their father. I answered yes because I know that it would be politically incorrect to answer otherwise. Now I have the opportunity to correct that and wonder if any of you brilliant chumps have words of wisdom. I think I should have said something like yes but I also think that it is his responsibility to inatinate the relationship in a loving adult fashion.” I certainly AGREE with your answer here, whether or not you should say that in court… I don’t know… ask your lawyer!

  • Still in same house, she doesn’t know paperwork is coming. Still, she spent the past 5 months out of the house every day, but she just broke up with her charity case so she’s been around more. Suddenly she’s super mom. Except, she’s not. My eldest (arguably her favorite) is now maturing past her mother’s emotional age and can’t understand why mom is so selfish and childlike (her words not mine). She plans things like education and travel with me, but mom is good for making irresponsible decisions, so for the time being, I have to contend with that.
    What you describe though, is a source of intense anger for me. I’m sorry you’re dealing with it.

  • I feel your pain. Douche Canoe cheated and then blamed me. The kids believed this crap for years. He still tells that that he is broke while he drives a new mercedes and takes lavish vacations with the DreamBoat. It is all my fault that he was unhappy for years and HAD to find someone else to make him happy….don’t you all know that he DESERVES happiness?
    He lives 2 blocks away with DB…moved right in with her and her small kids leaving my teens and me to “figure it out” He sees the youngest 2 (we have 5) that are still under parenting time order about once a month if they are lucky. The kids are dragged to events for DB’s kids. He sees them on holidays too and DEMANDS to extend time “because the kids have so much fun with his family”.
    One of my daughters moved out during the process and said I kicked her out. Um…nope. She did not like the new house rules and moved in with DCs sister……and has not spoken to me in 2 years. In her mind, the divorce and destruction of the family is my fault (well….that is the story dear old dad tells everyone) I continue to try but she ignores me…so I love her from afar.
    This Christmas he gets to have them all together…and I don’t. I wonder when the others will get it. I wonder when he will just move on and leave us all alone. I wonder if my kids will ever walk away from him. I wonder if it is my fault on some level.
    It is a shit sandwich…..he is happy now and the rest of us are all collateral damage.

    • TWT! The exact same thing happened to me with my 20 yr old daughter. It is NOT your fault and it wasn’t mine. After she left and moved in with cheater dad, I made the decision to give her the space and time she so obviously needed. She contacted me a year later and moved back in a year after that when cheater dad wanted the flavor of the month in his house and daughter could not handle it. We’ve had a honeymoon period of about 2 months where we enjoyed being together again but in the past couple weeks, she’s been back to her old tricks: blaming me for the affair, being disrespectful… My exMIL has been in town for the last couple weeks… Could it be related? Lol. Anyway, I am (again) setting down the law as to unacceptable behaviors and their consequences with my daughter and that brings me back to CL’s point: We are ALWAYS mothers. I am still raising her and telling/showing her what’s right and wrong.

      • I also have a 20-year-old daughter who won’t talk to me. I don’t know why. My boys, ages 23 & 30 talk to me, but for some reason my daughter doesn’t. I have the feeling her father is buying her off and also manipulating her as he did me for so many years. BUT – I don’t know that for a fact, so I just have to wait and see if she will ever tell me what I ever did…..

        • My 19yr old daughter hasn’t talked to me since she was 16 when she moved in with CD and the 21yr old disturbed manipulative babyshitter. Last year when she was a senior she even told kids at school that I abused her and CD told his attorney’s the same thing. I’m sure the slut told her some horrible things about me as well (this was a girl I brought into our house when she was homeless and had health issues. I have video tape of her, after having sex with my ex in my house, saying that she wanted to f*ck with me more). I guess she wants to learn how to become a woman from a girl 3 years older than her than have to have a real mom. Maybe someday she will reach out to me but after she ignored my texts about my having cancer, I’m realizing that she’s a lot like her dad and unfortunately, having a relationship with her when she’s like this probably isn’t the best thing

  • I’m not a parent, so I can only sympathize about these moments you are missing with your kids. It must be devastating. I feel deeply for you on that.

    I can empathize with the part about how my life changed because of my divorce in ways that I resented deeply because… Well, I guess, because I felt screwed. I had built a whole life and set of hopes and dreams around what I thought he was bringing to the relationship, and having to let go of those hopes and dreams was what really cut to the quick. I was surprised to discover that I cared much more about that than I did about losing him, in the end.

    I feel for you, and I’m not sure there is really any solution for what ails you, except maybe you may get some relief from reframing it to kind of trick your mind. If they had gone for their first snow adventure with a beloved friend or aunt, would it feel easier that you missed the moment? I guess my thinking is to try to turn the volume knob of awareness of who they went with down and the volume knob of your focus on their experience up. I’m not saying it solves anything, just that it might make it more bearable (and make you more present with the kids, which can only be a good thing.)

    I know this sort of thinking can’t help with the part of having to split your attention now that you have to spend more time away from them. That part just stinks.

    You’re grieving what you wanted your entire life to be. It’s really reasonable that you’re pissed and hurting. Go easy on yourself in that sense. You’re doing an amazing job of moving forward. This feeling, though harder to shake, will eventually shift, like all feelings do.

    You have my heart.

    • “I guess my thinking is to try to turn the volume knob of awareness of who they went with down and the volume knob of your focus on their experience up.” really well put!

    • I love this. 😀 I think we do miss the fairy tale because we are always working so damn hard on it! But here’s the thing, the further out you get, the more you recognize what wasn’t there. For me CheaterX was that someone who never “had my back.” He was a great actor though but sabatoging our relationship the entire time we were together. Granted, he provided all the trappings of success-three beautiful kids, had a great job, a dream home, “stuff”- but was never “all in” and I always felt like something was missing. Like I had it all but waited for the “ax to drop.” Hard to be “forever” and a good spouse when the disordered are always looking for something else. Looking back it’s obvious how little effort he put into our marriage, my one overwhelming feeling with him was that I didn’t feel safe.

      • This was my experience exactly! I’m so thankful to be rid of those feeling. I had no idea how toxic living with those feelings was to me until he was gone. They were making me sick! Those feelings – that constant undercurrent of stress and doubt and not being enough – are so poisonous and contagious to the children, I think. My life – financially – is at a lower level- but the price of peace and freedom and happiness is definitely worth the loss.
        I notice now that my “sunshine stealer”acts incredibly envious of my choice to be happy. I can see how he tries to pull me down with his bad feelings and how he’d love to dose me up again and make me responsible for his confusion and fear and the consequences of his choices. But he can’t because I am protected by my mightiness which I had to battle through hell to earn. I may have to share what should be my time with my children with sunshine stealer and the groundhog but I will never share my happiness with him. He can wither away with his nose pressed up to the plate glass window and glimpse my beautiful full life and then go back to the empty sham of his own.

  • It’s thievery. And its the worst part of it. I now will miss out on 50% of my daughter’s life because my cheater wife just HAD to cheat. Hang in there Struggling.

  • Cheaters are all delusional narcissists. I know this because my ex bought himself a “World’s Greatest Dad” t-short a few years ago and wore it every Father’s Day. It made me want to barf- How do I know he’s not the World’s Greatest Dad?….Let me count the ways:
    Went to Dr. Appt. with child? NO
    Attended Parent Teacher Conferences? NO
    Helped with hw? NO
    Helped study for tests? NO
    Spent any time with child? NO
    And the list goes on and on…. kids know who invests in their lives. My daughter knows that he’s not a “real” father. It’s all impression management so he and his mistress can have something to talk about. So he can feel that he’s being a good father and that look see- my kid is just fine living away from me….this divorce hasn’t hurt her in the least. Like I said….delusional narcissist.

    • Omg! Mine just bought himself a world’s greatest dad t shirt too! I’m sure he will tell ow it’s from my girls. My eldest screwed her face up and said “Nice t shirt dad”. And then said to me, I think he’s delusional. She’s 13. I was worried they would not see the truth but they do. My 9 year old has better boundaries than I do. No one can replace their Mum!

      • See…your daughter got it right…he’s delusional!!! The funny thing is if I tried to say anything about the t-shirt, he would say I was the delusional one because he is the “Worlds Greatest Dad”…

  • I’m no expert at getting over the fact that your only option is the shit buffet, but I do understand
    part of accepting the buffet of shit laden food is finding items that at the center, are shit, but you can eat around it and avoid the shit flavor. In other words, picking out the good part.

    Your daughter texted you! You may not have been in her presence, but you were in her heart! THAT IS AWESOME! My heart ached a little when I read that, and I thought how blessed you are.

    My ex set the standard pretty early that if my kids texted me while with him, there would be hell to pay! My daughter got her period (not the first period) in the first few weeks at her dads new house. He was sleeping and she called me at like 9 pm and said “Dad’s sleeping and I’m afraid to wake him up. Can you bring me some pads?” I encouraged her to go to her dad but she didn’t want to, so I texted and called him until he answered. Of course it was MY fault his daughter was afraid to wake him up … whatever! He was pissed and ranted and raved at her about calling me and how I’ve brainwashed them, etc. Of course he missed the sane response “I’m sorry you felt scared to wake me. I’d like to discuss why you felt that way, and what we can do to change that. Let’s go get you what you need for our home.” My kids are really fearful of reaching out to me when they are with their dad, because they know there will be hell to pay! I’ve made it clear to them that I am here whenever they need me, but they know they will pay for it with a rage attack from their dad.

    Over the summer My eldest (18) was going through a tough breakup and was saying she was going to kill herself. My middle child called me in tears at 1:00 am and explained that their dad was spending the night at smoopsies ( 50 minutes away) and she was scared. I went and got them at 1:00 for everyone’s safety. They kept saying their dad was going to be pissed if he found out they left. They were up at 6:00 am the next morning saying, “please take us to dads before he gets back!”

    Try to find the blessings amongst the shit.

    • My Ex told my daughter the same thing……”you are not to contact your mom when you are with me”!

      I shut that down right away! I let her know that she can reach out to me WHENEVER she wanted. He was not in control of that. He gave her hell about it and I SET HIM STRAIGHT! I am her mother ALWAYS….no matter where she is and no matter who she is with. END OF STORY!

    • Good Lord. I’d be in that car too driving to get my children. To hell with that idiot rage monster.

      My son gets nervous about upsetting his dad too. His Dad told him not to take pictures of the house they just bought. Why not? You made a big stink about him having his own room? Oh, but it’s not set up STILL and he calls ME about it???? Then he cried after I called idiot and told him about it because his dad went up to his room asking him why he called me. Fucking asshole.

      Sorry I got off on a tangent. Good for you for being the parent your children know they can rely on.

      • Sounds like a peice if shit just like mine! It sucks that the courts really don’t care if you are a raving lunatic and bully your own children. If they aren’t in physical danger, it doesn’t seem to matter.

    • Don’t feed their fear. Stand up for them. You too are doing impression management as are the kids. He is using his anger to manipulate them and you.

  • I could have written this letter – the sentiment of being fired as a full time mom. Out of everything, I am the most angry at not being able to see my children every day. One of my children is dead, so I know I put more importance on it that normal, but it still is so. fing. hard. I didn’t get to have these moments, days, all the mundane shit, with my dead kid. I don’t want to miss it with the alive ones. But here I am. I don’t know how to temper the rage.

    • I’m so sorry middle finger (love that name). What is probably the most galling is that most of these jerks take their kids just to get at you – not because they want them, but they want to hurt you more. As they say, impression management. And with that I apologize to all the decent chumps out there who are getting their kids ripped from them for just that reason.

      • Thanks, Attie. Beyonce’s Sorry is my divorce song 🙂

        Right – before the divorce he was barely a 25% parent, and now demands 50%. I know it was to demonstrate to himself, the OW, and others that he’s a “good dad.” His impression management is so strong that he has pictures of me up in his apt – like family pics, has expensive outings with the kids each weekend, stopped traveling for work (we’ll see how long that lasts), etc. His image is so tied up in the kids that one is having issues at school. He panicked about it and asks/tells the school constantly that any issues aren’t cognitive right? Meaning, my kid isn’t “slow.” I think ultimately the issues are related to the divorce but he literally cannot admit that the divorce has affected the kids.

        • I think another reason they want any custody is financial. Impression management. New supply bait. Kibble sources. Kid appliances. Like wife appliances.
          Beyond disordered these f*wits!

  • It will get better and it does get better! Last year I spent Christmas at my Mom’s sick in bed. Our boys we’re still living in the house with The Worm.
    This year one of the boys decided he wants to live with me. The other wants out too after he graduates.
    And I have found a wonderful man who treats me like a princess.
    I know it’s going to happen for you too!!!!

  • My kids took their first airplane flight without me, that really sucked. They spend time with the OW and that double sucks. BUT, without the interference of a narcissistic partner who insists every moment revolve around him the kids and I have developed a really great family life. We have routines and traditions, jokes and things we all like and look forward to doing. My relationships with them got so much stronger and far richer.

  • Chump Lady, my 15 year buffet has definitely sucked, and the jury is still out on how my kid is going to get through all this…

    So reading columns like this just never gets old – even from my cozy corner of Mehville.

    Thank you

  • I had one of these moments just a couple days ago. While we were married I started getting an ornament for our tree with each of our names on it and the year. Last year, after he left me, I found them as I was decorating the tree for the first time as a single parent. It was so sad to see all the ornaments of our family of three and even some from when we were just a couple of newlyweds. I went and bought one for the tree with just myself and my son and put it up. This year it is the topper of our tree, in our new apartment. I just hit the mall this weekend and got another one for 2017. Again, it is just myself and my son. I showed it to him and he asked why there wasn’t a third snowman, for his dad. I told him that it’s just him and I now, that his Daddy doesn’t live with us anymore. He ran over to the tree to say that “at least we have the one on the tree with everyone” I had to point out that it wasn’t, just two people making one snowman with just mine and his names. I told him that I have saved all the ornaments from when his daddy lived with us and he can have them for his own tree when he grows up, and that seemed to make him happy. Inside I was so sad, because he is only 8 and he doesn’t fully understand yet what has happened. Inside I was mad that his asshole father has tarnished even this (what I thought was a) beautiful yearly tradition. Those were some of my favorite ornaments, and Christmas is my favorite holiday. I still can’t believe sometimes that this even happened to me, and I’m so sad for my son. I know we are making new memories and it will be ok, but it still sucks.

      • The truth is in every way that counts you are both mom and dad now. Start new traditions with your son as I am doing the same with my daughter. Hugs to you and your son. This year will be tough but you will get through it and it will bring you a day closer to Meh.

  • I do not have to “share” my sons, but, the shit he serves them is unfathomable. What kind of father/ person texts their son a photo of what he has just cooked at the whore’s house for she and HER family (all while still denying that he LIVES there). I am so glad that I taught him how to cook! He still claims that he “just spends a lot of time there” and is not embarrassed to claim that he lives at his mothers. Also, while married, he never cooked meals for me and our sons. In fact, cooking was my forte and it was also one of my faults. He and his mother claimed that “all I did was go to work, cook and go to bed early.”

    • I got a really creepy vibe when I read

      ” He and his mother claimed that “all I did was go to work, cook and go to bed early.”

      This sounds like a manipulative way of saying “NMF never wants to have sex.” Why on earth does his mother agree with (or even know about) that?

      Major boundary violation if he confided in his mom about your sex life. Creepy.

      • He confided everything to mommy. Recreated our entire marriage history in order to avoid telling mommy about his six year affair. You see, he had to have an affair because I was so dreadful. After ALL of the accusations, exMIL actually stated “you had a BAD house”. I should have slugged her!

  • I echo the “she texted you” sentiment which means a lot. Your mothering will go on for years and take many forms which Cheater will not be able to steal from you.

    My nowdeadcheater LOVED basketball… my kids were not into sports but there was HUGE excitement when son#2 was at Univ and his school team made it into the “final four”. It was mayhem in his city… palpable excitement. I was at a cafe with Cheater and son called to share the excitement with me. We had a lovely chat and I hung up. Cheater asked who that was and I said son#2… our sons had learned to never count on their father and that revealed itself in big and small ways.

    My new husband has had to move heaven and earth to stay connected to his D18 since her mother took her on the pursuit of greener grass when the D was 2. We are planning a cruise with our 2 daughters for next Christmas and we will introduce his D to Barcelona, Marseilles, St Tropez, Florence & Rome. A fucking fabulous time will be had by all. His x will stew…we won’t care.

    • Unicorn,

      One warning there – don’t necessarily expect your husband’s ex to make it easy for you to show their daughter a good time. My now husband’s XW ran off for greener pastures with their daughter when she was 10, and did a fine job of teaching their child that Dad was someone who mattered only to be used. This attitude endured through high school and into college while she lived with her Dad, and beyond after she moved back in with XW.

      When we married, now husband’s daughter was 20. We invited her and a friend along on our wedding cruise for an all-expense-paid week in the Caribbean, thinking that she’d have an exciting adventure. We were hoping to make some great memories.

      Her behavior was shocking, even to her friend, and included a weekload of snark that clearly originated from her mother’s mouth. First words were, “It must be nice to get a 17-day cruise when you only gave me a week.” She was rude, demanding, and generally unpleasant. Her onboard bill was enormous. Lots of internet time reporting back to her Mom. Casino cash charged to the room. Endless cocktails (she was underage).

      We don’t regret that Herculean effort, but we won’t repeat it either. Sometimes disordered people nurture their kids to become disordered as well, or use them for revenge against their former spouse. I hope you don’t have a situation like that.

      • In defense of her mother, I wouldn’t be so quick to blame it all on nurture because if that were the case, what about all the time she spent with father.

        My 24 year old is no contact with her father and was for months before I was. I tried to encourage her to make amends but she would have no part of it. Now I think, she had the right instincts from the beginning and I should have followed her.

        She has gotten a couple of texts from her father accusing her of being my puppet. She gets so angry. She has asked me “doesn’t he think I have a brain of my own?”

        So, her mother may be disordered but at 20, she does have a mind of her own and I don’t think you can blame her mother for everything. She needs to be held accountable so she learns responsibility for her behavior. I hope her father called her out on her rude behavior rather than ignoring and passively deciding not to include her in the future. I don’t know if it is biological or not but you can hope she can change.

        • Feelingit:

          Sadly, she has not changed. Those years living with her father, she pretty much answered only to her enabling mother (they both agreed that his rules were Unfair!). Even gave her Mom a key to his house so she could poke around in there. When she moved across country to finish college, her Mom followed her. When she married, her Mom moved in with the newlyweds. At 27, the child is divorced and living with her mother, who cleans up after her, runs her errands, does her laundry, and such.

          Her father did discuss her rude behavior afterwards, which didn’t make much of an impression as she still behaves badly. She still consults her mother when she is spending time with us. It’s more like having a mole visiting than a family member.

          Parents are parents for life, but one of the hardest and most important parts of parenting is teaching children to be competent, caring, and independent people. That can be really hard if the coparent is working just as hard in the other direction.

  • Struggling:
    My heart breaks for you. I and probably everyone at CN can sympathize with your feelings, it totally sucks. That being said…..it does get better. It gets a bit easier as time goes by. Here is what I can tell you about the pain you are feeling. It hurts your stomach. It hurts your heart. It hurts your head. It keeps you awake at night. It consumes your thoughts. Why? Because you care and because your children are your life!!!! And that says alot about the person you are. And even more about the person you’re not. You are not the one who walked away and broke the heart of your spouse and children. Over time your children will see this. They will also look to you for stability. Your ex and his flavor of the week are not stable. They are trying to LOOK like a perfect couple/family and maybe they are succeeding at the moment but that won’t last. They are selfish people and selfish people do not have time for anyone but themselves.

    My youngest daughter clung to her father and her ideal of him being such a great dad when in all reality he did nothing for her. She just didn’t want to lose him. Over the past four years she has come to realize that he is very selfish, doesn’t have any time for her (because he is kissing OW/new wife’s ass) and everything he did when he first moved out was impression management. He doesn’t even call or text anymore on a regular basis and doesn’t see his daughters even though he lives 15 minutes away!!! I just learned that he does however have a GPS tracker in my daughters car, in his new OW/wife’s car and I’m guessing he has to have one in his as well. NO TRUST!!! They can’t trust anyone since they have both seen what some people are capable of.

    Only selfish people do what your ex has done. He likely will not be in it for the long haul, the relationship dynamic with your children will change, the mask will fall and your children will spend more time with you and less with him. Sad. But this is usually how it goes.

    In the meantime, try (I know it is hard) to enjoy your ME time and try to distance yourself from details of their time with their father and OW. I promise it will get better! Chin UP!!!!

    • Thank you for this. You definitely know the pain I’m feeling. You nailed it.
      Over the last year, I have spent hours trying to figure it all out. Never do I come up with an answer.

    • Kimmy,

      I’m alarmed to read your ex has a tracking device in your daughter’s car. Is the car’s title in his name or did he gift her the car ? Wondering about the legalities of this controlling behavior…

  • For those times when the shit sandwiches seem particularly hard to swallow, you might want to do what I do: I look towards Two-Legged Rat’s house (he lives around the corner) and sing at he top of my lungs “Rata de Dos Patas”, a song by Paquita la del Barrio that I’ve turned into my new national anthem: “filthy rat”, “hyena from hell”, “bloody cockroach”, “venomous snake”, “poorly made butt-ugly thing”, “I hate you and I despise you”. No need to understand Spanish, you’ll get the feeling. I don’t know if this will work, but here goes the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9obV__MFMaY

  • I just had a similar experience. For my son’s 16th birthday my ex, and the tramp he cheated with, took him to a skydiving place. Afterward my ex texted that it was such a great time and my son loved it. Thanks for sharing dickwad.

  • With respect to CoolBummerWow, I also want to highlight posters who celebrated that your daughter wants to share these experiences with you. “Kids these days” conduct a great deal of social interaction by app, and to them it isn’t quite as second hand. Explore FaceTime, Snap, all the ways you can stay connected while apart. I am so grateful my teens include me in their lives in this way; I engaged with that technology when they were young and it’s normal now.

    And the first snow? I support you sobbing into your cab later, I do, but in the moment? Mirror back the intensity of her joy over that snow, and you are emotionally THERE. I promise. You can’t see her face, or touch her cold nose, but from her vantage, if you squeal back, she can feel your love. Snow! Whee! You must be so happy! So fun! And it will help HER feel the loss of your physical presence less acutely.

    You’re doing awesome. Your meh over the wedding gives your daughter space to feel her own (likely conflicted and/or subterranean) feelings.

    • I had to go back and look at my texts to her and make sure I responded with enthusiasm and happiness for her… and I did, lol, whew! Good grief, of course she missed me too, my little sweetie. She didn’t ask for any of this…

  • Sending hugs. I too felt this. Hated the fact that the idiot ex and his skank got to play happy families with my kids. It sucked big time. The funny thing is I am now 7 years out from all this crap and guess who gets a Fathers Day present every year… me. I get cards saying thank you for being the best mum and dad ever. The last time the idiot decided to actually make an effort and see our kids was over 4 years ago. They get a text once a year on Chridtmas Day now which they never even reply to. As CL says its all impression management. The kids know who has their back. Who is always there for them. The funniest thing is my son who is now an adult said to me that the one and only holiday that the idiot took my kids on about 6 months after he ran off was in his words “the worst fucking holiday he’s ever been on”. He only told me that recently. I always pictured them having a wonderful time and playing happy families. It couldnt have been further from the truth!!

  • Struggling – I feel you on this one. Please remember, you might miss a moment, but to you little girl… she still shared it with you as she told you about it. CHERISH THAT. CELEBRATE THAT INCLUSION. I always want my son to know that I support him and the shit sandwich that he has to eat throughout his childhood. Mr. Sparkles wants to take him camping – GREAT. Mr. Sparkles wants to take him to American Ninja Warrior parks – GREAT. It is my son’s childhood as much as it is mine.

    And, please know, it isn’t all snowflakes and sunshine while they are playing family. For example, my X took my son snowboarding for the first time (and he was skiing for the first time) because the OW and her kids were all skiers. It was meant to be a “family” birthday weekend for Mr. Sparkles. Guess what happened? Mr. Sparkles sucked at skiing… hated it… ended up sitting in the car for 1/2 the day. Next day tubing, my son wanted no part of it… so again, spent the day in the car with Mr. Sparkles.

    Life happens. How we respond to it determines our happiness (and thereby, the happiness of our kids.)

    Hang in there. You do you.

  • Hi Struggling –

    I thought I’d chime in for a moment to try to offer you just a little positive perspective on this.

    As Chump Lady and other brilliant people here often remind us, this isn’t the pain olympics, so I don’t mean to compare your shit sandwich eating story to mine, but bare with me a second here…

    When I met my whore-fucker, I was in my mid 20s. He was in his mid 30s and already had kids from his first wife. At the time, I was undecided about wanting kids, I was still working on my career, etc. I married him without ever completing the “kids” conversation.

    By my mid 30s, I decided that I did want to have a child, but he decided that he didn’t. By this time, he was in his mid 40s, and he offered arguments about him being too old for a newborn, about him never being able to retire if he had another kid, etc etc.

    In my mid 40s, we had a whoopsie. I found out I was pregnant. I was pretty excited. When he came home that night and I told him, his face fell like I’ve never seen anyone’s face fall. Like he had just found out that I blew up kindergartens or animal shelters. He told me this: “If you have this baby, it will ruin my life”.

    I had to make a choice between his happiness or mine. I loved him so. At 45, I aborted my one and only chance at motherhood.

    A year later, I found out he had been fucking prostitutes during his lunch break for about 5 years.

    Now, pushing 50, I’m divorced, childless and enjoying (ha) the beginnings of menapause.

    All that to say, I’m okay. I’m WAY better off without him, but there are still moments that I get really, really, really angry that I don’t have a child. I read your letter with a touch of envy. Your little girl is here. She loves you. YOU’RE HER MOM. CL is right, no one can take that away from you…. like it was taken away from me.

    This wasn’t meant to take away from your sadness, just to hopefully give you a bit of peace in reminding you that things really aren’t that bad. And you already know they’re going to get better.

    • Omg my heart. It’s brave to share such truth. This is what nonchumps don’t always understand. They say oh selfishness so what oh move on people cheat marriages end. Like its acceptable to be evil and they are mimimizing the details that they know nothing about.
      But now look at this. Ending a pregnancy so you don’t lose your husband… and he’s banging prostitutes for 5 years! It’s beyond words.
      I got pregnant unexpectedly also and didn’t tell him for months. He told me if I got pregnant and the baby wasn’t perfectly healthy he would leave me. I was so scared. I lost the baby and he didn’t care. He accused me of having an affair and getting an abortion to hide my affair. Tried to convince me that i didn’t have a miscarriage. I keep hearing oh you’re so lucky you didn’t have children with him. But I don’t feel lucky. I feel robbed of my chance to be a mom so I just wanted to reach out and tell you I understand.

      • Wow, thank you. Thanks for taking the time to share YOUR story. You’re right, people who haven’t been though this think that having your spouse fuck other people behind your back is the beginning and end of the pain. Nope. Not even a little.

        Your husband sounds like a monster, too. How these people say and do the things they say and do, leave such carnage in their wake and then sleep at night, is beyond me.

    • Your comments broke my heart. I had a similar situation. Married at 24, husband 28. 1 year in I got pregnant. I told him over the phone, I was at my mum’s house and so pleased I rang him. His response? Anger. Angry I told him over the phone. Angry I was pregnant. Said we weren’t in the right place to have a baby. He was an asshole for 3 months until I terminated the pregnancy. Then he bought me a bunch of flowers? We did counseling for 6 months. I didn’t get much out of it but he said he did. I was angry for a long time, but eventually I forgave him and kidded myself his reasons were genuine, foo issues etc.
      Fast forward 17 years, we have 2 girls. He left 10 months ago for a girl who worked for us. Except we have never seen her. She is happy to sneak around while ex and family have tried hard to evict me and kids out of our home and business. I have since found out he was having an affair when I was pregnant the first time. And a few others in the intervening years.
      I feel bad because my kids are essentially being treated the same as my first child, just discarded. But I will model to them how to be strong and not take disrespect from anyone.
      Incidentally, my ex told eldest about the termination. He said it was my decision. I put her straight on that one.
      I’m truly sorry you don’t have your child. I know all the emotions you feel.

    • GTT… I gasped out loud… what a sad thing for anyone here to have felt pressured by a spouse to end a wanted (even if oops) pregnancy. I’m sorry you want through that

      One of my jobs as wife appliance was to push out babies but he was so damn hard to live with, 3 kids was all I could do. When he told me he didn’t love me and wanted to leave, one cited reason was my “refusal to have the 7 children I wanted” Lord have mercy… where he ever got the 7 is beyond me. No matter what any of us do, they decide it was wrong.

    • GTT… I gasped out loud… what a sad thing for anyone here to have felt pressured by a spouse to end a wanted (even if oops) pregnancy. I’m sorry you went through that

    • GTT, thanks for sharing your story. So sorry what you sacrificed for someone utterly unworthy of your devotion; that you chose his happiness over yours, because you loved him and he never deserved it. I’m in awe of you, you sound really “mighty” considering what happened. Thanks again for sharing

    • GiveTimeTime, I don’t know how to process your story, I just keep reading it and it just keeps breaking my heart. I am so sorry.

  • Struggling,

    You sound like a great, loving parent and partner. I know the pain of losing time with your children because your spouse ‘fired’ you. My husband moved across the parking lot from me–I could see him and our kids coming and going, but I could not hug them although they were only 100 feet away. I got ‘used to’ the separation by doing things while kids were gone that made me physically and emotionally stronger so that I could help my kids.

    I really admire you for making your life so great (being so mighty) within just two years of your split. I feel suicidal after my post-separation boyfriend abandoned me for girl at work (four months ago)–work and parenting issues are presenting major challenges, too.. You are doing better than a lot of people! Keep up the good work!

  • The problem is that my daughter always comes to me to talk about her problems or anything else she is puzzling over. This is fine when it is school stress, her own relationships with kids her age, her anxieties about herself, etc. It is a major problem, however, when she wants to puzzle though her emotions regarding her Dad and Schmoopie. For her sake she is looking for any silver linings that she can, but to me there are no silver linings. I have told her she can’t talk to me about that because I am not a neutral 3rd party and I really can’t help her with that one. Sometimes she gets so desperate, however, that she will try to talk about it with me. When that happens I usually end up saying things I shouldn’t be saying in front of her and then I will have to leave the room so I can go lose my shit somewhere else where she doesn’t have to hear it. It is hard for her, however, because she needs someone she can talk to. Her therapist isn’t available at midnight when these things are on her mind. All of her local friends have in tact families. They can be somewhat sympathetic, but they don’t truly understand her pain, confusion and conflicting emotions. Are there any support sites out there for teens in her situation that might give her an outlet? I don’t think Chump Nation is the right place for her because her situation and the emotions she is trying to process are different than my own. She still has a relationship with her Dad.

    Meanwhile, whenever daughter brings up Schmoopie I discover how much anger and resentment I still have left to process in all of this.

    • I understand, Chumpinrecovery. It is so hard to see our children’s pain and confusion but still protect ourselves too. My kids keep pressing me to spend holidays together with their dad, they just don’t understand what they’re asking me to do. I can forgive him and go on with my life, but I’m not at the place I can be enjoy being around him and acting like everything is great.

      There aren’t a lot of places for teens and young adults to get support. When I was looking for help for my young adults there wasn’t much out there.

      You’re right, our relationship with our husbands has ended, but our kids’ relationships are ongoing. To me it’s like my ex is dead, but he’s still very much alive to my children. It’s hard.

    • Chumpinrecovery, don’t be so hard on yourself. I don’t think it is so bad for her to see your raw emotion. It is the truth. Not that I advocate hysterics but in a case of betrayal, I think it is understandable. In reading your story my takeaway is this is not an isolated event. She comes to you on a topic that she knows is upsetting. One of two things, either she wants to upset you or she trusts you. I would hope it is the latter. I think you should be elated that your daughter is reaching out to you on such an intimate problem. This is not necessarily typical of a teen. It is more than Ok to want your daughter to have your good values. It is Ok to let her know that her dad and his schmoopie don’t share those values and that it is Ok to be emotionally distance with people who do not share your values even if it is your father.

      Chumpinrecovery, you give amazing advice to other chumps. I love reading your posts Talk to your daughter. Show her how to live. I want her to follow in your footsteps post chumpdom. Hey, my teen age sons will want good wives some day. I am counting on mothers to teach daughters strong values so they will hold their husbands accountable!

  • Thank you for the timely post. I have been “negotiating” the holiday schedule with my STBX today who has the sadz because the girls only want to spend 3-4 days with him. I almost felt sorry for him and then remembered that his “adding” a third party to our marriage created the ultimate imbalance. Fuck him.

  • Hey chump nation, I’m at work and haven’t been able to read all the comments yet. But one thing I want to say quickly is you guys are so right, she DID text me, she did include me in the moment, and I should be thinking positively that she shared it with me and not negatively that I wasn’t there. Tracy is right , REFRAME! Thanks everyone for supporting and commiserating

  • Ah, yes. The shit sandwich of not always having your children with you. CL is right, we are and have to be the sane parent. It sucks so bad to not have the children with us for those sweet little moments and for some holidays. Its really NOT fair.

    My son is 10 yo now. He had just turned 7 when our family was destroyed. He loves his Dad and wants to have a relationship with him. But he does see the crappiness of life with Whore. The weekend after Thanksgiving, just two weeks ago, he told me that if his Dad ever married Whore he’d stop going over there. I was shocked at this. I guess in his mind, if they marry, it’s final. She will always be there. For now, he tolerates her at this point and vice versa. Well, my son actually gets lots of one-on-one time with his Dad but Whore seems to resent the time they spend together. What an complete and utter asshole. I wanna say, “Bitch you knew he had a son when you fucked him. and you’re surprised you have to see your cheater boyfriend’s son?”

    Anyway, my son already sees the disconnect over there, the lack of concern for him, he is treated like an interloper over there. It’s sad. But he is a boy who is tenacious with a soft heart. And he reaches to me when he is there. I love it that I got him a cell phone. I will never regret that.

    It will get better. Being the sane parent is a long game. I remember CL saying that one time. We are the steady, constant, reliable, loving, supportive parents in our kid’s lives. Know that.

  • Struggling, I feel your pain. My kids were grown when D-day happened, and at first my oldest son was really angry with his dad. But my ex bought a sparkly, big resort home and now both my kids seem to enjoy spending more time there than at my small house. This Christmas they will be at dear old dad’s with his big, happy, extended family. The kids are making plans, however, for one kid’s family to spend a night with me before and the other after Christmas. So I try to focus on that.

    It hurts not to see my grandchildren’s first Christmas together. It’s totally not fair because I didn’t cheat on and discard their father like so much trash. I don’t even feel like talking to the kids on Christmas day and hearing how happy they are when I’m not included. It sucks. I’m just trying to put my focus on those two weekends before and after that I’ll get to spend time with my kids and grandkids. I’ve also scheduled a flight to visit one of my kids in January. That takes away a bit of the pain. I’ll have them all to myself for a weekend!

    Life isn’t fair, but what can we do? Whining and getting pissed does nothing but drive our kids further away. Any suggestions on how to reframe this sucky situation will be appreciated!

  • I went largely No Contact after “hanging my shirttail out” over Halloween. Before that, I was prompting visits. I quit and found that for the last 2 months, he actually asked for them far less than I was actively sending them. I was quite surprised by that. I thought he wanted them with him 50/50….turns out he doesn’t. He wants them so he can add him to his fantasy family when they are going to be out and about in public. He accuses ME of impression management.

    This morning, I took the day off and he dropped them off at school. (I live across the street from the school. He lives in the next town over.) They saw I was home and burst through the door because they have been missing me since Sunday. We did our little morning prayer that we say before school and work every other day, and then they went off.

    They want to spend some time with their dad, talk to him on the phone, but they come back to me.

    I will also say that my 1st ex husband, though he never cheated on me, was a huge narc. My adult children totally have his number. They spend a little time with him, but it’s always on his terms. They can handle him in small doses and he is not successful in his ability to manipulate them without their knowing what’s going on. They learned that from me.

    This was a good post, Tracey. Thank you.

    P.S. Maybe your son will discover Conservatism! 😉 (don’t let your head explode, Tracey….You are MIGHTY!!!)

  • First time my kids saw the snow we were together as a so-called intact family with whore attached in disguise. I found out she was one of his multiple affairs 15 yrs later, he invited her while we were unaware of her reputation and of him being involved with the whore.
    They waste good memories.

  • Cheater x couldn’t bother with them because he was so focused on the homewrecker. Almost no visitation, didn’t even tell him he was getting married, didn’t invite them to the wedding, and they never wanted to meet her.

    Then, the 60 year old cheater and his 28 year old whore spawned. A lot changed because my girls feel replaced by the baby but love him. The youngest wants to know why she being the baby wasn’t enough. He built a brand new shiny family in under a year and just replaced us all.

    Only good thing is he signed off on 70 percent custody. Having been a SAHM, 50/50 would have killed me. I feel so sorry that chumps have to sacrifice time with their kids to these losers. And why do cheaters think their relationship with the kids won’t change?

    It’s so unfair, Struggling!

  • The shit sandwich of involving the kids with their whores. They are so disordered they think it’s all okay because it was twu wuv and everyone including kids should be happy for them. And they think schmoopie can take your place as mother easily. Interchangeable pieces in their lives. They just don’t bond and the kids are more impression management until they act up and don’t mirror back positively on the cheater.

    My kiddos were teenagers when dad left for his young schmoopie because he was ‘miserable’. At least that’s what he told the kids. They soon learned of schmoopie. Now schmoopie stays with cheater and kids spend 3 nights a week with them and her little dog. Meanwhile DD16 is not allowed to bring her puppy but there are new professional pictures of this puppy in his big, expensive home. They are holograms. Shallow. Not real.

    The kids consider the sane parent home and comfortable. The sparkly turds are for well, sparkles only. It may take years before the kids mature enough to see it. But that’s not what being a parent is about. Being a parent is about giving even when you get nothing in return. It may take years for that payoff to come. But the joy in giving is for the giver, not the receiver. Enjoy giving the best home and all the love to your kiddos knowing you are developing their character and setting the stage for happy, healthy adults one day.

  • Struggling –

    Turn this around and think of all the “firsts” you will experience with your children that your ex will miss. There have been events and experiences that I have had with my sons that just can’t be recreated that he missed/will miss. And it’s okay. It sucks the first few times, but be mighty and make as many firsts with your children that will create memories and a bond that can’t be broken or manipulated.

  • I am just going to copy my response to this from the forum:

    “I have no advice, but I can offer a bit of perspective. If you were still married and things were ideal, your kids will still be off having adventures without you–at school, at camp, playing with friends. That’s part of what they must do growing up. It’s just that custody and visitation makes that normal experience happen against your will in places and with people that hurt you deeply. As a consequence, you feel robbed. So what you are feeling is a totally predictable and normal reaction to that shit sandwich chumps with kids get to eat every so often. It’s part of the rage and grief caused by the betrayal.

    And can I gently point out that you didn’t miss the moment? You didn’t see the snow, but your dear daughter sent you her delight in it. That’s quite a testimony to the role you play in her life and how strong your bond is. My suggestion is to have your own adventures while they are gone—and share that with your kids. When we love people and they love us back, we are never really separated. So sorry that you have to go through this.”

    • “It’s just that custody and visitation makes that normal experience happen against your will in places and with people that hurt you deeply. As a consequence, you feel robbed.”

      Yes!!!! You nailed it, here. The “I was robbed” feeling. But that’s not on her, and she did share the moment with me as soon as she could get her phone out of her pocket, because she missed me too. I need to take that “I was robbed” feeling and…. I don’t know put it somewhere else for a bit and just enjoy the moment as it happens…

  • Social media makes this shit worse. About 9 months after my ex whore left our daughter and I for her new sparkly life I threw our daughter a big 18th birthday party at the house with all her friends etc…I was still on half assed speaking terms with my ex in laws as they were family for 24 years. I sent pics of the party ex mil who immediately forwarded them to my ex. Of course she plastered them all over HER Facebook page with big PARTY TIME! And HAPPY 18! Banners, making it look like SHE threw the party. So of course everyone commented Congrats and all that bullshit, she got her full of kibbles being super mom when she didn’t even bother asking about any party or knew one was being held.

    Thankfully 4 years out I’m 100% no contact with the entire disordered lot of them and both my kids are adults. As much as it sucks it does get better. I highly recommend blocking all social media though, that shit is just fake.

  • Im a dad in tbe same situation. Even though ibhave them half the time the other half is hard to accept. Especially when you hear tgey do things you always talked about. Like fun trips or just daily matters of tucking them in
    But as tracy said youre tge MOM . Like im the DAD . Doesnt change. My oldest doent want the new boyfriend tucking her in or cuddling like we do (and im her step dad!) And my youngest wrote her first letter in front of me. Asked her sister if she could do that already and she was just as shocked as me! Good chance that doesnt go down over there.
    My girl is just as excited to go on camping and hiking exursions all summer as the prospect of a trip down south with mom. With the new guy (impressionism at its best. My youngest isnt invited)
    They make grand gestures to overcompensate for the shit storm they create. We make a more genuine effort to make life fun and busy in a big part to keep us busy and not go crazy with hurt and loss. Not everyday is an adventure but the focus being on them with us more than the self centered show offs on the other side i think will be more appreciated in the long run . I see it even now.
    I hate not seeing my kids everydsy becaude like you i signed up for a family not a broken home. So im focusing on them having a blast ehen tgeyre with me. Becsuse a trip down south is fun but from what i gather the rest of the time its just life as usual.
    Stay strong.

    • Couldn’t agree more.

      My ex wife does the same thing. Grand gestures.

      Which do you think my son will remember more fondly?

      Me taking him camping and catching his first wild fish in Scotland.

      Or her taking him to Austria with The Virus(OM) to go snowboarding?

      You already know the answer to that.

      Peace

  • I’m lucky in that I have my daughter 86% of the time. At first, those days away were torture. Now I look forward to them as they are a much needed recharge. That said, there are still some things that get to me. Like when STBX took her to a Harry Potter party with the new OW even though he HATES Harry Potter. My daughter and I share a love of HP, so that one stung. He also opening stated several times for the past 2 years that he never wants to go to Disney World. Watch that be one of the first vacations he takes her on.

    What I can count on though is that my daughter talks to me about her feelings. She doesn’t do that with her dad because he doesn’t believe or have feelings. My little girl has asked me on more than one occasion in the past 10 months if her dad loves her because he never says it, hugs her or listens to her. Except for this past weekend, when suddendly out of the blue he decided to tell her he loved her and give hugs. WTF? She was sick yesterday and almost decided to go to school just to have a 10 minute car ride with her dad because he finally made her feel loved over the weekend. Full on melt down because I made her stay home. But guess what? He didn’t contact me at all during the day to ask how she was feeling. So obviously his actions did not back up his weekend words.

    • I can relate to the whole Harry Potter thing. Ex hated Harry Potter and resented the time I spent reading the books to the kids. Now, Schmoopie likes Harry Potter so suddenly he likes Harry Potter and took our three kids (Along with Schmoopie and her four still at home kids) to the Harry Potter Festival. He has also made noises about Harry Potter World. It pisses me off that he wasn’t willing to enjoy Harry Potter with his family before but now suddenly he has to be just like Schmoopie (including selfish, self centered and slutty).

  • Struggling,
    You aren’t a part time mom, you are a full time mom. And guess what? Kids aren’t blind. That’s why your daughter texted you…I’m 6 years out from DDay, but divorce was only final early this year. He calls the kids only 3-4 days a week. He pays child support at the end of the month. The kids complain that he does nothing with them on his weekends. I am the one who has attended every parent teacher conference, every doctor visit, every play…He’s so busy planning his new life with the OW ( they live at his parent’s house, lol) that he spends so little time on them. My DD10 comments that he doesn’t even buy clothes for them for his house, “only grandma does”(his mother).

    It’s true, you wonder if you are doing a good job raising them in this worse case scenario, but in time you will see your investment . Kids grow up, and they know that you are their rock. All those trips and stuff…he can’t keep it up indefinitely. Definite image management. The selfishness thing is real and shows over time. As one of my girlfriends put it….nothing has changed but his address. I had an altercation with my son a few months ago. So I asked him if he wanted to go live with his father and his girlfriend since I bothered him so much (he’s 12 so I’m getting the teenage crap already). He got down on his knees and begged me not to make him go there to live. These days I get hugs and kisses and what he thanked God for at Thanksgiving was his great Mom. Dont give up, I know it’s hard…

  • Wow, this is exactly the type of melancholy I was going through last week, of feeling like a part-time parent, and not getting nearly as much time with my son as I used to. He learned to ride his bike at his dad’s, and I am grateful for it yet sad I missed it. I feel like they are all the new family unit and I am just me over here, struggling to adult and parent alone, with no one in the home to help. He married A.P. a year after our divorce. Sure, nothing is stopping me from getting into another relationship just to have the feeling of a complete family; but for me, the sacrifice of my freedom outweighs the benefit of being committed. Basically, I’m committing to the fleeting moments I have with my son. I tried a relationship but it was an unhealthy rebound, and I feel I missed a year of my son’s life wrapped up in that drama.
    My son knows how I feel about missing him when he’s gone; but I have also told him, that his job is to grow up and leave my home, as children do; and I have to deal with my own feelings about it. I tell him I am happy he has a dad who is involved in his life; so when he’s gone, I keep busy. I do generally use the ‘Cool, Bummer, Wow,’ approach to his story telling about the other home; but often fall apart over it later. I feel I will never forgive my ex for the fact that he lied in mediation to get our son 4 days a week and 3 wknds and now his wife is spending more waking hours raising my son, over his own mother. I had a shit passive lawyer and a flaky mediator who spent half an hour talking about her hair and then charged me for it and rushed me out of her office. I was an emotional wreck at the time and my ex’s lawyer is family, so that was free for him. It’s something I have beat myself up over the last year and a half, and I’m trying to save for another lawyer to hold my ex accountable. Yup, shit sandwich, every day. And then fear…fear if I try to go back, my ex will lie again and find some loophole (he has more than one place of residence,) or obliterate my character to try and take custody. He’s vindictive a.f.
    I figure, I will probably continue to be angry until I take action, become mighty and do something…or at least try again. Seems silly to go to spend thousands, to go to court, over one evening in the middle of the week; but my ex lives 75 miles away and my son goes to school where I live, and the travel is killing him. Our state requires meditation but I almost want a judge to hear it, yet putting that much faith in the court system is such a gamble, and my ex would punish me for the simple fact of making it a legal matter. It’s already 50/50 physically, more in his favor, because of his four days. I know that going back to mediation for that one day, will have my ex demanding more Summer time, which is already split equally. I don’t think I need to give up any more time, just that the kid should remain in the same town he goes to school in during the school week. Here I sit, stewing in victim-hood until I finally gather the courage and the funds to pursue it. I was actually hoping my ex and his AP wife would hurry up and procreate already, so they could have another kid to focus on; and hopefully my ex would default to pawning our kid off on me like he used to. Time will tell.
    I have been reading many stories on the internet, who feel the exact same way about sharing a kid, and that is about the only amount of comfort I found-basically marinading in the feelings until I’m burned out and ready to move on.

  • This is an off-topic comment, but I wanted to introduce myself to CL and CN!

    I “officially joined” CN in late August but haven’t yet commented. CL’s posts and CN’s comments came up as I frantically Google searched all about my new reality (infidelity, narcissism, sociopathy, etc.), and have been a lifeline for me ever since.

    I’ve read enough here to know that I am a “lucky” chump: in my mid-30s, no children w/ F*cker (the moniker given to my X by my therapist literally last week), and only made it to engagement, not marriage.

    Yet, after knowing my X since 2006 and being both professional colleagues and friends until we began to date in 2015, the sting of him dropping me as his fiancee out of nowhere hurts like a third-degree burn.

    Right after we booked our wedding venue/date in June, F*cker went on a work conference, where he met Schmoopie and embarked immediately on their path to “twu wuv.” I later found out he flew her from her home state to ours a couple days later for an overnight date. In July, he and I went on our planned weeklong vacation to Italy where I know they communicated when I was asleep or in the restroom. In August, on a weekend I was wedding dress shopping, he flew to Schmoopie’s house for another “work conference.” They slept together while I was trying on gowns. Schmoopie knew this and knew all about me/us. Two weeks after returning home, after a beach vacation with both of our families, he broke up w/ me, focusing solely on my own shortcomings and how I do not meet his “emotional needs.” Two weeks after that he sent me an email introducing Schmoopie as “an acquaintance I made this summer and am planning to see in a few weeks.” But, by the grace of the universe, I found all their daily emails to each other later that day. F*cker never logged out of his secret email account and left it on the PC screen.

    I’ve heard it all: “I wasn’t the real me this summer; you knew the real me for a decade.” “Your introverted personality just doesn’t meet my emotional needs.” “I can’t get over that I do not think you will be a good mother; you lack the mental fortitude and physical energy and enthusiasm.” “I hope all is going well in your new condo.” (I transferred ownership of our newly purchased home to him and his homebound mother and got myself a rental.) “Schmoopie really is a good and decent person who is and has been incredibly concerned for you. So am I.” “I am extremely happy now.”

    I am far from “meh,” but it is encouraging to see how many people here have reached it. It was really dark for awhile: I lost 10 pounds in a manner of weeks, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, had to go on meds and start going to therapy. Had to hire a lawyer to get back at least a portion of the $ I put into our new house. Had to let go of significant extra income I made working as a freelance writer at F*cker’s company. Am grieving the loss of the family I intended to start next year. Am in a constant battle for the safeguarding of my self-worth, as someone whose friends have all been married for years and have multiple young children. Yet, as of just last week, everything house- and finance-related is settled, and because we do not have kids, I no longer have to converse with F*cker. I am learning from CN how much of a blessing that is. But, right now, my overwhelming feeling is wanting to see he and Schmoopie suffer GREATLY.

    If you have read this far, I thank you and I salute you for your mightiness, and for blazing the path to mighty and meh for relatively new chumps such as myself.

    • Thanks for sharing your story. You thought you knew someone, like many here at CN, and it turned out you didn’t. We all know that unexpected things happen, floods, tornadoes, and unexpected illnesses, but getting chumped isn’t like that. It was a conscious action by someone you had planned your future with. Not having children with your X just makes no contact easier, it doesn’t change the feeling of rejection and blow to your self-worth. I’m still new to this experience, but it does seem to be getting better.

      • Chumpster,

        Thanks for coming by. I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but not marrying and not procreating with a cheater will one day feel like a gift. Your betrayal is real and your pain is deep, but it is finite. Losing years of your life is better than losing decades. Cancelling a wedding is more easily accomplished than divorce. Trust that he sucks, and trust that you are mighty!

        • Survivor…hi! I am working every day on “trust that he sucks.” Whenever I need a reminder, I come here. Often, I need a reminder at 3 or 4 a.m. when I wake up and cannot get back to sleep! So, thank you for today’s reminder 🙂

      • Thank you, CanadianDad! It does help to remind myself that this person made conscious decisions on a daily basis to deceive me (as well as his mother, who lived with us). Especially since one of his favorite things to say back when we were still in contact, was, “I still do not know how I was capable of doing what I did.” Really?! You didn’t have a single, drunken, “oops” moment! You had agency and used it to make deceitful decisions every single day. CanadianDad, I am glad to hear that it does seem to be getting better for you!

    • ChumpsterFire, first of all welcome to the club no one wants to join. We are glad you are here! Next, I’m sorry you had to hear:

      “Schmoopie really is a good and decent person who is and has been incredibly concerned for you.”

      Oh really, if she was so f’ing concerned for your welfare then why did she help him stab you in the back? I hope you tell him actions speak louder than words, so he can keep his mouth shut about their fake concern.

        • kbchump: You are sooo right. After having to listen to the “I am extremely happy now” comment, I decided NO MORE. And many people have reminded me how he said the very same thing when he first started dating me, of course. Yet, just a couple weeks ago, he said “I am still trying to figure out what makes me happy.” These people will never have true, lasting happiness because they can’t find and nurture it within themselves.

          • Happiness is fleeting for narcissists ChumpsterFire. They are pod people and empty inside. Congrats on getting away from that jerk !

      • Lyn: Thank you! Yeahhh…he didn’t like it very much when I said they both are weak people with poor characters. Apparently just because they would discuss “how best to handle this” all summer and “how best to break it to me”, it means they are good people. No…it means you are selfish and manipulative, and, in his case, that his “commitments” don’t mean sh*t. F*cker’s mother actually told me, in person, that she thinks I am lucky and will be better off. I am very slowly starting to believe it.

        • Discussing how to break it to you ALL SUMMER while you shopped for a wedding dress and made plans for your future (and presumably looked after his mother) should tell you everything you need to know. F*cker’s mother is right.

    • ChumpsterFire,

      I am totally pi–ed off for you! Many years ago, I was engaged to a guy (not the one I unwittingly married) who let me fly across the world to his home country to visit him and buy my quite expensive wedding dress and decorations for the wedding, realizing that he had changed his mind about marrying me but not bothering to tell me. I discovered his true feelings months later through a letter he sent me (he was too cowardly to call) and could not get a refund on the dress.

      Years later, my ex-husband and most recent ex-boyfriend (who I thought was my friend for decades before dating me) screwed me over in various ways.

      You sound very strong. I think that you will forge a healthier ‘relational’ path than I have. I wish you happiness and good fortune post-F–ktard!

    • Hi

      Sorry you had to join this club.

      Trust they suck.

      “And many people have reminded me how he said the very same thing when he first started dating me, of course.”

      Of course he did. And that’s the sucker punch. When you realise all the promises they made were hollow.

      When you can’t sleep at night (and we’ve all been there) just remember it’s he who has the problem. Not you.

      Go be magnificent.

      Peace

  • Struggling,

    I hope what I have to say brings some level of comfort to you. Here at CN we have all heard about Tuesday and meh. I have been hoping for Tuesday to come and it finally did. Tuesday comes to each at a different pace and I don’t think you can rush it into existence.

    I’m 21 months out from D-day, and 16 months out from divorce. My ex secretly hooked up with her HS Boyfriend via Facebook and married him within 6 months from divorcing me. On the outside it looks like they are all living the Brady Bunch life. Many shit sandwiches came my way following the implosion of my 14 year marriage. It Hurt Like Hell.

    Tuesday came to me during a sporting event with my youngest son whom I coach. Ex and her Ho-husband (I laughed at your wording so I’m using it) were at the game. I went over to Ho-husband and Ex after the game. I looked at Ho-husband and felt nothing, NADA! It was a fantastic experience. Just this week I have had to interact with the Ex and while talking to her after the championship game for my son it hit me, I feel nothing but gratitude that I’m not with her anymore. Hallelujah!!!

    Just know that Tuesday comes to each of us and it will come to you even as it relates to the time your children are with your Ex. Hang in there Struggling. As many have said in CN you can do this.

  • Also, remember that things will definitely change once the AP gets the ring on her finger and she locks The Cheater up. They may still be nice to your kids once they are married, but they are really now going to put the screws to The Cheater that they want things to go back to the way that they were when the Cheater was love bombing them. My Ex love-bombed the AP with 26 vacations a year (which he disguised as “business travel” and she would tag along). She wants to go back to that. Luckily, Saddam moved 2,000 miles away from us, but before he married the Schmoopie, she would pay for plane tickets for him to come out and visit my kids. Once she got the ring on her finger, ALL of that stopped – no more money for plane tickets, and thus, he goes six months without seeing his kids.

    Which shows how Disordered they are – WHO goes SIX months without seeing their kids?? Anyway, now that Schmoopie has Saddam locked up, she wants all money to go back to doing constant travel and vacations. Your Cheater didn’t woo the AP with talks of soccer practice and homework and visitation with kids – they wooed them with vacations and weekends away and dinners out and drinks. The AP wants to go back to that. CL is right – things will definitely change once the Cheater re-marries.

    Hang in there and keep being the sane parent!

  • “I’m far enough out — you aren’t — to say, my life is BETTER for having taken a couple tragic turns. Doesn’t make any of it right. My losses cannot be recompensed. But new people and new blessings entered my life BECAUSE those losses created vacancies and new opportunities.”

    YES. Just like Tracy, I am far enough out now to have created a whole new, much better life that I NEVER could have had back with the cheater. Yes, I lost out on many things, and yes, I was cheated in every way possible. Yes, I suffered horribly and am left with emotional scars. But life goes on, new and better things come along, and there really is life after a cheater.

    There’s a song I love called “Thanksgiving” by the group Poi Dog Pondering. The lyrics are kind of my personal anthem these days, and I think they speak to all of us who are further down the road towards Meh and healing.

    Somehow I find myself far out of line
    From the ones I had drawn
    Wasn’t the best of paths, you could attest to that,
    But I’m keeping on.
    Would our paths cross if every great loss
    Had turned out our gain?
    Would our paths cross if the pain it had cost us
    Was paid in vain?
    There was no pot of gold, hardly a rainbow
    Lighting my way
    But I will be true to the red, black and blues
    That colored those days.
    I owe my soul to each fork in the road,
    Each misleading sign.
    ‘Cause even in solitude, no bitter attitude
    Can dissolve my sweetest find
    Thanksgiving for every wrong move that made it right.

  • Be the sane parent. Its THE hardest thing in the world to do, but its worth every bit of hard work that’s required. My sons were 10 and 13 when we left. Their dad is a raging Narc. I took care of everything they needed and never complained in front of them. Thank goodness for my circle of friends who I complained and cried to, and for the support here from CL and CN, but be the sane parent. They are 16 and 19 now. They see their dad for what he is (or what he truly isn’t) now. And its not because I spoke bad about him in front of them. I let them develop a relationship with him which I didn’t dictate. Did I tell you how hard that is? Its hard as hell. But for every time he didn’t follow through on a promise, or step up to the plate and have their backs, they knew that their mom – the sane parent would be there. Every. Single. Time. I was and I still am and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So yes, this single parent life is HARD, but your children and your relationship with them is worth it. Get help from your family, get help from your friends, read about all the mighty people here at CN for inspiration, but don’t ever let your kids down. The sane parent reaps the rewards – maybe not immediately, but you’ll see it soon enough. And there is no better feeling than a warm heart and knowing that you did right by your kids.

  • Struggling,

    My kids are 5, 3 and 2. My stbxh is a horrible human being who cheated, abused etc. He now plays Disneyland dad with the kids on the weekend.

    This is what helps me:
    I allow myself to fall to pieces. I allow myself to lock the bathroom door when I need to cry and want the kids to think nothing of it. I speak the truth with no editorializing. Allow yourself to grieve. It SUCKS that your ex is doing all of these fun things with the kids but without you. I feel that way all of the time. *But then I remember how nice it is to do things with the kids without him (without his abusive language, threats, lies, texting the entire time or adult tempter tantrums ruining whatever fun we were trying to have.) We’ve started to create our own traditions and do things that he would have complained about in the past.

    It’s hard and it sucks.
    Much love to you!

    • Yes! That’s what I always remind myself of when I am with my daughter! I am lucky that I have her 85% of the time without an abusive, disinterested and unhappy misery of a husband to ruin our days. He is on his best behavior (I think) with my kiddo as is the OW/girlfriend appliance. They eat out every meal and buy her lots of things which is their prerogative. I get to wake her up in the morning and rub her back at night before she falls asleep, drive her to school and all her after school things, cook for her and with her, play with our doggie in the back yard, help her with school work and talk about everything. I missed her when she went for her 3 weeks with him in the summer but am happy for her that she had a good time. Things will change, I know, but I try to keep it about her and not feel sorry for myself…too much;) That being said, I am certain it would be much harder for me if we shared parenting time 50/50, so I so empathize with Struggling.

  • My adult children tolerate their dad. He moved in with his honey after 2 years of false reconciliation. I thought I as going mad, he told me I was crazy. Truth is I was closer to the truth than I had been for years. I would cringe when they all would meet him for “breakfast”. For some odd reason I felt so left out. I always tell them have a good time, but I never ask for details. They usually offer. They have never met her and they don’t want to. He told my middle son it wasnt all her fault. My son replied your my father and I can’t change that, she is nothing.But I found out in the last 2 months what a truly selfish bastard he really is. My oldest was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer just 4 months after divorce was final.After a year of chemo, he was ready for surgery. His father decided not to go to the hospital, because it “would be tough for me”? Really? I don’t give a rats ass if he was there or not. Nothing and I mean nothing would have kept me away from the hospital. Things went well for the first 4 days post op. Then he developed and infection. There was an emergency surgery where they removed, the colon, large intestine, ilium and appendix. Guess where the ex was? I have no damn clue! I sat on the floor next to my adult son holding his hand when he was calling for me,while a team of 10 Drs were examining him. I sat there stroking his hand because he was terrified. So was I but I couldn’t show it. I never hated someone so much in my life. At that moment I knew that I was and always will be the parent that has there backs. Sure I am going to miss a few things but I know that I am the one they can count on. I am their mother and no one will ever change that. And I pity the whore that tries

    • No one ever needs to wonder who would step up if the worst happened…your child faced real crisis, more than once, and you were right there, for all to see and remember. You were tested, you passed with flying colors. What a comfort your faithful love and constant support must be for both of your sons.
      Sending you all wishes for happiness & peace and improving health for your son.

  • Dear Struggling,

    I haven’t posted on here in a while, but I had to come out of lurkdom because you sound just the way I did a few years ago.

    It started out the same way with my ex and his OW. There were fun outings. Many gifts. Lots of “Brady Bunch” activities (her kids and my kids doing things with the two of them) and playing happy family at every Open House, school concert, etc. I didn’t care about my ex, either. I knew that getting a divorce was the best and healthiest decision for me to make. However, hearing about all of the good times my kids were having without me was very difficult. I remember a real low point for me occurred shortly after the ex married the OW. He picked the kids up for the family vacation with his relatives, a vacation I had been on for many years, and there she was, sitting in the front seat. I felt replaced.

    Fast forward four years. The bloom is off the rose. There aren’t any fun outings anymore (or they occur very rarely). She and her kids aren’t at every event anymore, and they don’t go on every vacation together anymore. The Owife and my ex are now showing who they truly are to my kids– they are hypercritical and difficult to please; my kids get in trouble if they don’t immediately seek out the Owife and say hello when they come over, and one of my kids got in trouble for not saying hi to the dog (not making this up… the kid doesn’t really like dogs and has a dog allergy, but my ex and the Owife take his disinterest very personally and have made it a point of contention).

    I had to take my kids back to the therapist because of the problems they’ve been having with the Owife, and no matter what she says/does, my ex stands with her even when she’s clearly out of line. And, although my ex typically takes them regularly for visitation, he no longer asks for any extra time, and there have been several times when he didn’t take them but didn’t ask to make the time up. You won’t be surprised to hear that my kids never seem disappointed when visitation falls through.

    I don’t really know what’s worse– seeing your kids talk about how wonderful the magical Disney weekend was with the cheaters or having your kids deal with a couple of negative, soul-sucking dungheaps who were more than happy to destroy their families and are now well on their way to destroying the faux family they created together. I know how awful it feels when the kids come home and extol the virtues of the cheaters after they went bowling, had a movie night, and made cookies together, but I can tell you from experience that if this lasts, I will be shocked. It may take a few years like it did in my situation, but cheaters who are so focused on their own wants will inevitably turn on each other, and the fun times will end. I hope that, in your case, your ex shows a modicum of sense and leaves the OW when their relationship falls apart. Hang in there!

    • “I don’t really know what’s worse– seeing your kids talk about how wonderful the magical Disney weekend was with the cheaters or having your kids deal with a couple of negative, soul-sucking dungheaps who were more than happy to destroy their families and are now well on their way to destroying the faux family they created together.” You had me at “soul-sucking dungheaps”. Seriously, yikes, shit-sandwiches for everyone, sooner or later…

  • What a timely post. Today—yes, today—my ex, Navel Gazer, is marrying his soulmate schmoopie, and our 11 year old daughter will be in attendance. The divorce was final in July (the day before what would have been our 18th wedding anniversary, bless that judge for signing the day before). A year ago, D-Day hadn’t even occurred. In fact, a year ago, Navel Gazer hadn’t yet met soulmate schmoopie in person (although he had communicated his deep, epic love for her via text, after meeting her via his online dating profile at the same time he was telling me he loved me, wanted to get counseling and work on our marriage).

    My life is better in every way since I was relieved of Navel Gazer—except that I get much less time than I’d like with my 11 year old daughter now due to joint custody and 50/50 parenting time. I am stronger, healthier, far less stressed, and more actively engaged with my own life than I have been in many years. Being freed from Navel Gazer has actually allowed me to invest in myself and flourish. So, I am not one bit sad that he’s marrying soulmate schmoopie today. Holy hell, better her than me! I consider myself quite lucky to have truly recognized that I didn’t lose anything worth having when I lost Navel Gazer.

    But. But. My happiness is tempered by the loss of time with my daughter, and always, always, by her unhappiness. While I have gained a life, she has experienced only loss. She had an intact family and a father who was present, loving, and involved (really, he was). That’s all gone now, blown up. Now my daughter has a father who has psychologically discarded her—but who in true mindfuck fashion won’t give up a minute of 50/50 parenting time because he wants to maintain his Swell Dad image. She was thrown into a new instafamily 7 weeks after we told her about the divorce (and 7 weeks after he told her that “if” he ever “dated” anyone, she wouldn’t meet them for at least a year). And if she expresses anything less than sheer joy about the new family, Navel Gazer punishes her emotionally. He spent tons of one-on-one time with our daughter her whole life, but now won’t spend any time with her alone because everything must include the new family. Navel Gazer prioritizes the needs and desires of his new stepdaughter and fucks our daughter over to do it (I can only assume this is required as part of his demonstration of fealty to soulmate schmoopie). Navel Gazer gaslights, mind fucks, and blame shifts with abandon. His/their household is chaotic and volatile. And today, my daughter gets to experience the official cementing of this lovely new family at the shitshow wedding.

    So, I can’t ever fully embrace my newfound happiness because it seems as if it came at my daughter’s expense. She regularly expresses dread and reluctance to go over to his place. My daughter and I are close, and have grown closer through all of this. But the fact remains that as I blossom and flourish, half of her life is experienced as loneliness, abandonment, betrayal, chaos, and sadness. I want to fix it. Save her. The reality is that I can’t . . . but I nonetheless feel as if I am failing her. And knowing I’m not the cause of her sadness doesn’t really help—because what I care about is that she’s sad.

    I understand all of the comments about how kids will figure out who their cheater parent really is, will recognize the sane parent, and will at some point be able to choose the relationship they want to have with each parent. I get it. But at the moment, I find cold comfort in all of that. My daughter is smart, perceptive, and emotionally astute. She’s already figured a lot out about who her father is now, and has already referenced wanting to be older so that she can decide who to spend time with. But her knowing her dad is behaving like a fuckwit isn’t much relief—because she’s still stuck with a fuckwit father. And I know, as everyone keeps telling me, kids are resilient. Well, I never wanted her to have to be this fucking resilient! Or to have to be resilient not because of the cruel world, but because of her own family. She deserves a good dad. She deserves better than what she’s gotten. And that, dear fellow chumps, is the real heartbreak in all of this.

    So, while I do miss the hell out of seeing my daughter every day, I could live with that if I knew that everything was OK when she was with her father. I ache, because it’s not.

    • Holy crap, STM, the wedding was today? That’s unbelievable. Well, I won’t repeat the advice/perspective that you summarized here, I see you know it well. Sounds like you know that over the course of her life your daughter will be fine; she sounds emotionally intelligent like her mother, and after all, we all have our crosses to bear. But nevertheless, you have every right to be heartbroken for your daughter. I’m so sorry 🙁

    • The situation sounds very, very painful, it’s not fair at all that you and your dear daughter have to suffer.

      At least you know this about your ex…can’t make vows and keep them. Can’t set good boundaries for DD’s sake and keep them for even 7 weeks!. One can only hope that his plans for keeping her 50/50 will go by the wayside as well, his promises broken in her favor for once.

      It’s great that she has your love for contrast, you seeem so wise and calm, you see the big picture. Wishing you both peace and joy together this season.

  • I felt the same in the beginning. The first time Cheater took our son on a trip to the mountains, I felt like I had been kicked out of the family. It was awful. But then I played out in my mind the reality of what actually happened when we traveled in the past few years. He was gruff quite often, and never really ‘took in’ our surroundings. It really was not that pleasant, in fact oftentimes in was such a relief to get home. I agree that the fact your daughter texted you to share is wonderful. My son freely shares the exciting things he does with his dad and I am honestly able to get into it and enjoy what he is sharing, as in what he and his Dad did, not what he and Mr. Skank doer Cheater Pants did. It is a weird separation in the mind but I think it makes it easier on both my son and myself. In a way it’s not that Cheater broke up our family, it’s that he was never a real family member to begin with.

  • Struggling,

    I can’t contribute much to this post today because I was blessed with having my two children reach adulthood before their in tact family blew up. If there is anything good about wasting 27 years with a fuckwit, the blessing of not having to share custody or beg him for child support or any of the other horrific, co-parenting mind fucks I read about here daily, it’s that and then some.

    I feel horrible for you and all the parents on this site that are forced into partial custody situations because I know that’s not what you signed up for when you made the commitment to raise your children together. It sucks, plain and simple but I do hope that Chump Lady’s advice and all the caring chumps who have walked this path before you helped you feel a little bit better today.

    • This, but I never had children with mine.

      I may never have children because I choose to be with a fuckwit during my fertile years.

      But we all have to eat our own shit sandwiches.

      I’m glad I didn’t have to co-parent with a narc. Hats off to you chumps in the trenches, every day, being the sane parent. I salute you all.

  • What’s awesome?! I’ll tell you!
    I got an email from his mothers questioning/commenting on my parenting choices. She also stated that I am keeping her grandkids from her. Um no!
    “All of this has to stop. Let the animosity go. We love the kids with all of our hearts.. LET THEM LOVE US.”
    Never once had she requested to spend time with the kids nor come to any of their events(I email schedules)….. all this prior to Christmas because he called up mommy to tell her I won’t let him change the rules….. which is nothing close to the Parenting order….. perhaps I should send Her a copy of the order for Christmas.

    • Oh, this thing made me lough.
      It’s like a Christmas card, ain’t it? They remembered they have grandchildren at holidays! Once a year!
      What a bunch!

  • I am late to this post but I was just trying out my new iPhone listening to the Killers mr. bright side please look this up fellow chumps to get your rock on and my 17 year old told me it took him a whole minute to get my attention since I was into it to tell me his online status shows he was just accepted into his college of choose. He was so happy and wanted to share that with me. Cheater will never get that experience and he will not bother telling cheater since whatever school would just be criticized. You may have missed something that could have happened in preschool or anywhere without you but cheater will miss so many more things! Your child will tell you about both their great joys and great sorrows but you will be there to experience (and help them through both). Good job!

  • Dear Struggling, I feel for you. I know exactly how you feel.
    I am 2 years out, 1 year struggling to get custody and be able to relocate to my homeland, another year of living with my parents. 2 years of different kinds of hell.
    Now I’m writing form my home, the first comment after I enabled my internet connection!
    Small victories. Small steps. Small pleasures. When I’m sad, my son (3!!!) tells me to smile.
    It gets better, but the part with the kids doesn’t change, I’m afraid. It takes constant practice to overcome the shit sandwiches. Be prepared and manage them down the best you can.
    I guess it’s something in our karma, we need to be the better and bigger people for the sake of our children. They feel it and they know it! Be strong for them! Be their rock!
    Hugs! You are not alone, we are a beach of hard and shiny rocks!

  • I am 4,000 miles away from my kids this Christmas and New Year, in a another country. I am not going to see them at all. All our traditions and little Christmas decorations that have meaning just to us, rituals and parties with friends, favourite foods, gone.

    I have lots on in this country, its going to be huge fun, but this is one of the shit sandwiches his selfishness ruining our family, I have to eat.

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