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Dear Chump Lady, Why won’t he get a life?!

Dear Chump Lady,

Cheater has been with the same OW since all this started — over three years ago, when I was pregnant with my now 2.5-year-old son. WHY does he insist on continuing to harass me? Why isn’t he content to ride off into the sunset with the woman of his choice, and just let me parent my kids as I see fit the 70% of the time I have them? And WHY is his OW not bothered with how he seems to enjoy making my life difficult MORE than he enjoys creating a new life with her?! It boggles my mind!

Boggled

Dear Boggled,

Basic geometry, Boggled. Fuckwits need a triangle. (Or as I like to add, rectangle, hexagon, dodecahedron…) Playing people off each other is their life force. Gives their freaky disordered lives meaning. (Well, not really meaning, but friction and chaos. Which if you’re a wingnut, works for you.)

Consider what he’s missing. Your ex and the OW had you as their chump. She got to pretend she was winning something. He got to pretend he was some International Man of Mystery worth fighting for. And everyone was doing the pick-me polka around his fabulousness. Good times.

But then you got uppity and left the triangle (rectangle, hexagon, dodecahedron…) Kibbles were lost. The OW might conclude that if you aren’t fighting for him, he may not be a prize. And he would have to work harder to find a new chump to join in the dance. But WHY? You’re there! All he has to do is goad you!

Resulting kibbles depend on where the narcissist channel is set. (Remember they have three settings — rage, charm, self-pity.) Charm = booty call, reminiscing about old times, anything to throw the OW off balance. (DANCE MOTHERFUCKER DANCE!) Self-pity and rage are there to keep you in line and remind OW that you are the Axis of Evil. The cheaters need you as the foil, as it keeps the attention off their own dysfunction and gives them a common purpose (unification in how much you suck).

Unfortunately, you bred with a fuckwit, so it’s a lifetime of triangulation with you and the kids unless you learn to shut that shit down. Which brings us to…

No contact. Grey rock. Scheduling software. BIFF (brief, informative, friendly, firm) communications. Iron-clad boundaries.

Here’s what you DON’T do — try to shame him into better behavior. Don’t you see how upsetting this is to the children? Why are you LIKE THIS? Haven’t you hurt us enough?!

Kibbles, kibbles, kibbles.

No, what you do is IGNORE HIM.

Let’s practice.

Him: I noticed that you sent Bobby home with a Harry Potter book! Which is Satanist fantasy full of British English! (I object to my children saying cello-tape and holiday and gobsmacked!)

You: (crickets)

Yes! Not every bit of idiocy requires a response! Does it have to do with scheduling children or money? (Which can be documented by software?) Leave it alone.

He can call the tune. Doesn’t mean you have to dance. Leave the mindfuck boogaloo to the OW.

Enjoy your 70 percent of sane parenting time. I’m sorry about the 30 percent the kids must spend with the fuckwits, but you don’t control that. So, focus on what you do control — you. Cease kibble production today.

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.
    • Nice cartoon CL! I thought, “why haven’t I seen this before?”… now I know. Hope there’s lots of fun discoveries on the old Mac! I have 2 old hard drives that I’ve been carting with me through the years. I just know there are about 2 years of pictures on there that were sucked into the vortex, never backed up or printed, before ‘cloud’ backup was a thing. My curiosity is piqued now.

  • Excellent advice as usual, CL! I hate the fact that I have to remain in contact at all with the cheater, and he keeps needling me whenever he can! Yes, I do know about the dry skin on our son’s head, and yes I do brush his damn teeth every day (he forgot it was him who used to skip the flossing, resulting in our 6 year old being put under for oral surgery to correct all his cavities in one go)…. etc. etc… I am a full-time parent and I’ve been doing this since his birth, so daddy of the year can go fuck right off with his ho-worker home wrecker that left her own children (in their teens and 20’s) to be with a cheating, lying, scrawny-ass bearded loser. They deserve each other!!

    • I hope you don’t reply at all to those ‘questions’ and comments of his. They don’t deserve an answer. Then if he’s pissed you’re not replying, you can just say ‘I parent when he’s with me. You parent when he’s with you.’ and never respond again!

      • This! A divorce is exactly that. “You parent on your time, and I will parent on mine.” We are not required to have a relationship with our exes…at all.

    • He can’t needle you if you don’t give him access. Switch to scheduling software and use the communication app instead of texting. Ignore anything that isn’t a necessary communication.

      • It’s just theough email, not even text. It’s always in response to some direct and grey rock communication from me regarding our son. We use a google calendar to schedule and I was filling in my son’s activities and days off too… I told him the last time he criticized me for some parenting thing that he could take over since no one assigned me that job and yet I’m always doing it. Of course once I pointed out that I’ve been taking care of it he’s all “I really appreciate it blah blah”. Nope, tough nuggets. If he wants to know when my kid has days off from school he can access the school’s calendar on their website just like I do.

  • Totally agree with this. My ex shithead wanted to meet up to “discuss the kids”. In reality she was wanting to see whether my strings could be tweaked. I politely told her to fuck off and that this could be done by email as I had told her I never wanted to see or speak to her again. She’s tried to odd thing and generally got *crickets* and I think she has finally given up and I hear nothing from her.

    NB my kids are mid teenage/young adult so absolutely no need to involve the ex fuckwit.

    • My ex tries to act like we are friends. He will ask me non-child related questions or try to start a conversation. Four years after he left for a “friend” of mine, he acts like he doesn’t understand why I don’t want to be buds. WTF?!?!

      • Oh mine does this all the time, too. I told him that we cannot be friends as I am not friends with people who betray me. He STILL refuses to accept that. He said, “I don’t know where that came from, but you can contact me anytime about anything and I’ll talk to you.” WTH?

        • “I don’t know where that came from” Well there’s the problem right there. The guy is obviously a clueless idiot if he can’t figure that one out.

        • Mine says the same crap … argh. So annoying (and frustrating). Friends don’t treat friends like shit. They treated us like shit, thus they are not our friends.

          • #metoo. Stop pretending like we are consciously uncoupling and models of co-parenting! You and your family are a bunch of soulless monsters masquerading as human beings. I’m going to have to put an end to the kids’ birthday party fiascos. He congratulates us on our ability to cooperate and greets all my friends who sided with me as if they are long last pals that he wants to catch up with. It totally weirds them out. I do it for my kids, but ugh, it takes me days to recover.

    • My XH told me & DD that any extra expenses for cheer, school stuff, class ring, etc. he would pay for half of on top of child support. I am completely NC with him (thank God our children are 20/17…makes it so much easier), but a couple of months ago, I emailed him the receipts on a couple of things he agreed to help pay for. Crickets from him. After two months of NC by him with DD, he finally comes around to take her out for her 17th birthday. He begins to brag about the things he’s buying (new lake house, vehicle & ATV) for Schmoopie & DD completely loses her shit with him because she knows he hasn’t responded to my emails or sent me the money & their fight continues in my house when he brings her home.

      He informs us that he doesn’t appreciate the fact that we only contact him for money & he’s tired of being treated like an ATM machine, oh & why can’t I just call/text him with the things I need for her & he’ll be glad to pay up. His whole rant was just a fucked up contradiction, brought on by the fact that NC & not being in control of me/her anymore is driving him nuts. I just told him that I prefer emailing him because I don’t want to talk to him….EVER. He finally wrote me a check for his part, headed out the door & I haven’t seen or heard from him since…this was almost 2 months ago. FINE BY ME.

      • Brandib – sounds like you had a win there.
        1) he ‘finally” honoured his part of your shared financial agreement
        2) you haven’t seen nor heard of him for 2 months
        3) DD is fighting for you as well

        • Blee—I absolutely won here! As far as DD…she is THE BOMB DOT COM! Best daughter ever 🙂

          Ya know something though? I think I will just pay for all the future extras myself. Being NC is far better than trying to get him to honor his financial agreement. I work & can afford it…don’t need him or his ATM services!!

          • Not taking anything away from your independence and parenting ability, however you could also (subtly) turn it around and hit him where it hurts.
            He has complained that YOU and DD treat him like a walking ATM machine.
            With enough pressure he coughs up the cash (image management maybe – “I can’t be seen denying DD”)
            There is his soft underbelly – so… Maybe encourage DD to go for the best college course she can get into and shame the ex into paying for it all.
            Meanwhile you continue having a fantastic life 🙂

            • That is exactly how things happened for me (unintentionally … I was a bit frazzled during my early decision-making).

              Since the separation was of the “dangerous – oh-shit” sort, I decided I would request NO money from him (money is a BIG deal to the asshat and he always griped that I didn’t do enough, didn’t make enough money, it was my fault if the bills didn’t get paid, etc.). Honestly, I was pretty scared at first, so I didn’t want to give him another reason to come unhinged. But, I also wanted to be fully independent of him given that he was so unstable.

              What happened? He’s been basically begging me to take money from him. I guess it doesn’t bode well for his image that he’s not contributing to his family’s welfare … the same family he blamed for everything bad in his life. Utter insanity.

          • Yes, but think of other things you could do and enjoy with your kids if he honored his financial agreement. And, if you don’t email him information about his share, he’ll claim in later years that he always paid as asked. So, I’d email him his bill–knowing he might not pay it, and then leave it at that. No reminders, no financial “pick-me dancing.” Refuse to engage in drama, but also don’t let him off the hook.

            • This is what I do. We don’t have an agreement for the extras but I will let him know the costs and ask if he will help cover it. We are BOTH these kids’ parents. But I am not making plans for him paying. He just gives me the self-pity channel on how he has no money (while he drives his brand new SUV). Kids aren’t stupid. They will see exactly what is important and a priority to each of us.

              • Thank you, everyone!

                Definitely things I need to consider in the future.

                DD was so upset over this last go’round that she asked if it was necessary to ask him to pay for any extras. I told her that I didn’t have to as I could afford things by myself.

                I will more than likely follow the excellent advice from you all & email him the receipts just like last time. If he pays, great. If not, I can at least say that I tried.

                Thanks guys!!!

      • My cheater dad regularly pulls the “I’m not an ATM” card. Each request for reimbursement must be accompanied by at least 30 minutes of small talk on the phone. I’m exhausted by it.

        • “No. That’s right. ATMs dispense money without a bunch of whining. And they get the amounts right.”

          I feel like making a little Venn diagram about ATMs , Fathers, and your ex.

  • If you can afford it, a really good lawyer/law firm can help for any essential communication. Otherwise, no contact.

    You don’t have to discuss allaspects your parenting with him.

    You don’t have to discuss anything else with him.

    You are only required to have contact with him that directly impacts the children and his rights with respect to them. In the US, there is no requirement that you do that directly unless it is expressly stated in the court orders related to divorce and custody.

    I’ve seen people use lawyers or other intermediaries (eg a good priest, nanny, counselor) for communication. if you can’t do that, texting or email is preferred. Fewer kibbles, more evidence for a court.

    Find a method that takes away the kibbles without putting yourself in a position of explaining to a judge why you refused to coparent.

    Remember that there is legally required communication (eg “Billy broke his leg playing soccer) and that which isn’t (eg “Billy is really into Porgs).

  • Above all: no non-essential, not legally required communication.

    And don’t do his parenting for him. If he sucks at it, he sucks at it.

    • Amen to letting him suck at parenting. Fixing it for him just creates a false reality for the kids. After being gaslighted for so long by STBX, I refuse to create a picture of a dad he is not. That is like gaslighting my kids. No thank you.

      • My mother basically pushed my Dad to parent and it completely sucked. The odd part is I think my Dad actually wanted to parent, by my mother kept interfering. My Dad was an idiot as a parent but he’s actually fantastic as a grandparent. (Lots of therapy in between.) For years I resented my Dad because I knew he was dysfunctional but I resented my Mom even more because she knew he was dysfunctional and kept trying to spackle over it. My Dad and I could have made our own relationship OR NOT. She set me up to be a chump. “Your Dad loves you so much.” Then he should be telling me and not raging at me over every small and imaginary thing.

  • Following some seriously disturbing behavior from my ex husband, I had to go back to Court to address his strange behavior, which included: stalking me post divorce with a hidden GPS, using OFW to send romantic and sexual messages, calling and texting and using a burner phone, using physical force to over power me and try to force himself on me sexually, and saying and doing inappropriate sexual things while we waited in the pediatrician’s office with one of our 4 young children.

    When we finally got to Court for the initial Court Hearing, (divorce attorney) OW was there glaring at me. She even came INSIDE the Court Room to listen (and we couldn’t stop her).

    As a single mother of 4 young children, I can’t fathom wanting to get involved with a man who behaves in such abusive ways. I can’t imagine the circumstances that would propel an individual to insert themselves in such a sensitive and emotional situation. Why can’t they leave me alone?

    I stay as Gray Rock as possible. Now I’m off to shame the dryer lint, thank you CL and CN.

    • My ex set up a video camera in my bedroom after he moved out…. directly set pointing at my bed. How I found out, I got an alert that my email was attempted to be logged into. When I went into my email account, I saw a video of me folding clothes on the bed. (We used to have this video camera connected in front of our home, he forgot he still had my email attached to the account). When I asked him about it, he claimed it was to have proof if I assaulted him….. assaulted him on my bed? Umm, sure that makes sense. Disordered crazytown.

      • That is illegal as fuck, you have an expectation of privacy in your home. He can be charged for doing that, even if he still lived there

      • I hope you documented this violation of your privacy by reporting it to the police or your attorney—somebody.

        • We have court next month, it’ll be brought up during the spousal support hearing. #documentwackadoodles

    • Stalked, do take care. I am an attorney and the OW attorney you are dealing with sounds SCARY to me and she is likely fueling your ex-husbands behavior. I will just bet money that she encouraged him to send sexual messages to you ‘hoping’ that you would respond and then they would use that information to hurt you in a divorce indicating that you are screwing around, not such an attentive parent etc. Seriously. You have 4 children to take care of so your ex and the OW attorney game plan is intent on getting dirt on you because he is going to have A LOT of future child support to pay etc.

      Is the court aware that this OW attorney is his girlfriend? The court needs to know this if it doesn’t already. Believe me, staff at courthouses do talk and you might just get some useful information if you can insert her behavior into your declarations, exhibits etc. when you are having court hearings.

      Your situation I just know is TOUGH but I want to encourage you just to continue to be the sane parent and a terrific mom. Some advice:
      1) Don’t even think about dating for now and stay out of bars. If you are being stalked it is because your ex and the Attorney OW want to catch you in compromising places to make false assertions about your parenting for court purposes.
      2) Go to church, walk your dog, visit YOUR family and get your emotional support from healthy supportive sources you need. These things don’t cost any money but investing time with healthy people and activities is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our kids.
      3) If you don’t exercise, START exercising in some fashion. If you can squeeze in 30 minutes a day of cardio 4 – 5 times a week will start to feel a sense of empowerment. Your mind will get more and more clear and you will feel stronger.

      Keep posting please. Let us all know how you are doing. Best wishes to you and your kids.

      • Hope49, thank you for your good advice.

        Our at fault divorce was finalized about 18 months ago (when our youngest was 10 weeks old). The OW hired her own attorney for my divorce (triangle): so I had an attorney, my ex husband had an attorney, and OW had an attorney. She named herself as a witness by calling the GAL at 9:00 pm on her cell phone under the guise of discussing a highly contested custody case they were working on together. Instead she started talking about our case and how much more sober my ex-husband had become over the past 6 weeks. All attorneys involved including the GAL were shocked! She officially became a witness and the GAL made her continue “on the clock”. Every time OW and my spouse got into a “fight” during the divorce she would drunkenly TEXT ME complaining about him, saying terrible things about him and bullying me. Finally the GAL told her to leave me alone. Ultimately she was unable to do so and I had to block her phone, her Facebook, and her fake Facebook,

        The funny thing is, my GPS records were subpoenaed for the contempt of court case and the only places I went were to the grocery store, playground, Church etc. I suppose it’s possible she’s behind the GPS, but when you add in the sexual Our Family Wizard messages, forced sexual touch in front of our children, and all the deviant other behavior that occurred post divorce that nearly landed him in jail….it’s all just so strange. I’m happy to be moving on with my life with my awesome kids. I’m thankful that the family Court has offered me and the children protection from further abuse. Thanks again for your good advice.

  • I’ve gone no contact for 10 years. Now, as my children are older my Ex and his secretary/wife pour on the fake love, as in money. My older two children live under his guise of help and what he calls work when it is enabling. They take care of his properties and his yacht and he pays them barely enough to live. He actually moved one child to a remote island in the Caribbean. All of them drink in excess and think he’s the fun one . For me, staying quiet is creating too much guilt as I watch my children fall into his demented behavior. I have lovingly begun to point things out to my now adult children. Don’t know if it’s right but I can’t sit back and watch anymore as one falls into addiction. It’s way more complicated then this comment allows. Narcissism is a nightmare. Add addiction and it’s almost like I have to walk away from my children. It sucks.

    • I’m sorry that sounds like a nightmare.

      The core of my advice is the same however. You can’t control what other people do (including your adult children). Especially when it comes to addiction. You can absolutely speak your truth, however. And enforce your own boundaries.

      That’s tragic that your ex-fuckwit is enabling the kids.

      • Al-Anon is a terrific resource. If someone has alcoholism or drug addiction nothing you do or say can make them stop or start (if they are sober).

        We say “you cannot control, cure, or cause addiction.”

        Hugs!

    • I totally get it, M. My kid isn’t doing too good either. My sanity has not been enough (yet) to keep her from her own demons. It’s so good (but awful) to hear how other Chumps struggle with parenting. Thank you for sharing! (((hugs)))

    • This is my exact worry, Melissa. X is disordered and an addict. I have a 7 year old and she is already lying to me about things because daddy tells her not to tell mommy…the whole ”don’t get me in trouble because I buy you things and you and I are best buddies” deal.
      I have had to have written confrontations with him because he comes into my home when I am at work and he has a pickup when a sitter is present. He lets her drive in the front seat of his big fancy car rather than in a booster in the back where it is legal and safe! It doesn’t matter how many DUI’s he gets or license suspensions based on points, car accidents or relatives telling him he is an awful driver, he thinks he is invincible. All he does is twist it so I look the the mean parent because I enforce the settlement (although I am still waiting for his first hair follicle drug test after a year) My sitters and daughter know not to poke the bear. I do want people (even my seven year old) to be able to voice how uncomfortable he makes them feel but they can’t/won’t . They just prefer keeping the charm channel on because his rage channel is at an 11.

      I am so afraid of the repercussions of his disordered behavior on my kid AND am feeling sorry for myself that I even have to deal with this knucklehead. His behavior and lack of any real parenting (weekly Dave and Buster trips don’t count as parenting in my book) make me worry so much about her immediate and long term future. It’s the hardest hurdle I have ever faced.

      • Been there. Still dealing with the downstream 15 years later. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever faced (am facing).

        Thanks for sharing – it helps me feel better knowing I’m not the only one.

      • How can he get into your home? First, does he have a key? Does he have the security alarm code? Does the sitter let him in? As CL says: Iron clad boundaries. Make sure no one has a key to your house. Make sure no one but you has the security code. Make sure the babysitter lets NO ONE into the house. There are a number of relatively inexpensive video cams that will send notification to you phone if someone comes on your property. If he is picking up your child when the sitter is present, make rules. The sitter walks kiddo to the car and makes sure the child is securely buckled into the proper seat.

        Ask your local police what to do about him driving without a child secured in the proper seat. Do not worry about “looking like the mean parent.” That’s a battle you can’t win. Your job is to be the sane parent. Hold him to the custody order. If he is supposed to do a hair follicle test and hasn’t, filed a contempt motion. That’s one way to make sure he’s not using and driving with kiddo in the car.

        • Done it all except I need to give my sitter a key. She is too frightened when he comes in to say anything. He doesn’t snoop around (this has happened twice but I don’t think he will do it again.) he just makes himself at home on my couch while kiddo gets ready. He pets the dog, chats with the sitter. Everyone is petrified of this guy because his temper is well known even his “friends” think he is a nut job, but they just “Guy” it off until he turns it on them and they dump him. For a while I just took kiddo to the sitters house but it is early in the morning and I haven’t wanted her to have to get out of bed in this cold. He has now promised “never to enter my home again” but he made sure to spin it with all as he is a victim. Whatever. I work where I cannot have a phone so although my sitter always informs me of his actions I cannot always answer or even look at work.
          Drug testing is being handled but it takes forever.

          • Nejla, it sounds like you are doing the absolute best you can in a really shitty situation (that he keeps perpetuating … which is not your fault). It sucks having to deal with perpetual fallout of someone else’s creation … but we have to, for our little ones. And you are doing just that.

            One sane parent. It really does mean the world to our kids. (((Hugs)))

          • Nejla –

            Hugs to you! Parenting with a fuckwit cheater sucks big time. Parenting with a drug addict is it’s own special kind of hell. My heart goes out to you and your child. I think you wrote to me before and I want you to know how much I appreciated your support.

            I need to start looking into getting my 8 yr old son into therapy. So it’s not just me he has a safe place to discuss things with. I have yet to explain to him why he can’t go to his dads house any more (before I found physical evidence of what I had started to suspect of his drug use). I made a promise to my son that I wouldn’t lie to him. Well the judge finally ruled that as a result of the 2nd failed test that I get sole custody. The day I got the news I felt numb. It’s for the best for my kids but it breaks my heart that their dad couldn’t be the amazing dad that he claims to be and get clean. He’s on Meth. I don’t see it getting any better in the years to come.

            Is your ex required to only get supervised visitation due to the drug use? I had to fight this battle and risked the judge being pissed off if I was limiting visitation unnecessarily. I didn’t want to be right and I didn’t want to be wrong when I wised up to his drug use of Meth and demanded he take a hair follicle test prior to normal visitation. So far he’s failed both. Always has an excuse. Always blames me portraying himself as the victim of my evil and controlling ways.

            Stay strong and never doubt your truth. Because if it’s one thing a cheater (and a drug addict) can do well is make you doubt your reality. Always trust your gut. It will make you crazy if you don’t.

            • Thank you! Actually we have joint custody-I have primary residential-he has her 20 hours every other week and 30 alternating weeks. It is a long story but basically I had no idea he was using or cheating-I just knew that he had been to rehab for cocaine before he met me. He did not drink or use when we met but episodic drinking happened after we were married. I only knew/observed that he was very nasty occasionally, depressed to the point of sleeping for days, always calling out sick from work, but then would work overnights very often and never had any money despite making a good living. I was so perplexed as to what was going on although I suspected he had mental illness or that the drugs had maybe affected his brain. SO, when I was told by some of his work buddies (when I questioned them) that he had been using since the beginning (10 years married) that was all the proof I needed but not enough for the state of nj. I was convinced (by my attorney and his) to accept 4 hair follicle drug tests over the course of a year as proof he was abstaining because “that is the standard” in nj according to them. I just want him to follow the settlement agreement but I have caught him in so many lies about other things that I really have no idea other than he never tells the truth.
              Thank you so much for your advice! It tears me up to think of how hard you have worked just to protect your boy from his own dad. You are so mighty!

              • Thank you Nejla!! This hell with the cheater/drug addict has no end in sight some days. I’m sorry nj even granted him any custody until that damn hair follicle test was in.
                I have discovered since there is no reasoning with the fuckwit that it is best to educate my son. I feel this can empower him and give him an idea how to protect his self. If you told your daughter it’s important that she sit in the back bc daddy could get in trouble or because she’s safer back there would she stand up for herself? My son had no problem telling me I’m “mean” bc I don’t speak to his dad when his dad visits him. That was a great time to explain boundaries to him and that I’m enforcing mine. I told him I wouldn’t expect him to be friends with the kid that was bullying him, etc.
                I know you have to be stressed any time he spends with her. Any tips you have send my way. It takes a village these days😊. I hope today is a good day for you and your daughter!

              • Oh and that’s one thing you can trust 100% – addicts lie! No point in even trying to find the truth, they can’t do it.

            • Not addicted Chump, there are child specialist therapists who specialize in kids of parents who are addicts/alcoholics/acting out sexually (affairs, porn, escorts, etc.). Make certain the person your child sees has these credentials. An ignorant or otherwise inexperienced or uneducated therapist can do a lot of harm.

              • Thanks MotherChumper99! I’ve had a few names given to me but I will be sure to check their specialty/area of focus. My son is 8 and has no clue his dad was using drugs. I was on the fence about telling him but I’ve realized telling him in an age appropriate way is best. Otherwise he won’t understand why he can visit with his dad at his dads house. THIS. SUCKS.

          • Why is he allowed in the house? Why does the sitter need a key? She’s already there> right? I’m confused. The sitter needs specific directives and Cheater needs to know what they are: You cannot come in. Ring the doorbell when you arrive and she will walk kiddo to your car. End of story. If the Cheater makes a problem, the babysitter should call the police.

            In general, babysitters should let NO ONE in the house unless you have specified someone is coming over and has permission, e.g., a kiddo’s friend, your mother, a sister. This is a babysitting #1 rule.

      • “My sitters and daughter know not to poke the bear”

        Correct. You poke the bear. take photos of when your daughter is int he front seat and call CPS. Or have your sitter do it. Get angry and take action. He is endangering your child. Reach out to an attorney to plan the strategy of calling CPS so that the lag time between when he is aware you called and visitation is blocked that you have a plan in place to ensure your daughter’s safety.

        He does NOT want anyone to get angry, because anger is protective and compels you to take action. So he is doing everything in his power to keep you afraid to get angry and reacting in a false protective fear by staying silent.

        Another idea: hire a PI to follow him with your kids. Third party evidence in court speaks volumes.

      • Driving while under the influence of any substance while a child in the car is a crime that is vigorously prosecuted in most states. An arrest for DUI with the child present automatically requires child welfare to investigate. He must be taken to jail upon arrest and kept there until he is no longer intoxicated (usually 8 hours). Most states also revoke driver’s licenses for a period of time after all DUI convictions, and depending on how many he has had, X’s revocation could be permanent. It may be worth your while to have your lawyer get a certified copy of X’s driving record. If anyone observes him driving with your daughter in the car while intoxicated, they should immediately call the police with specific information about his tag number, condition, and location. No child should ever be endangered by such conduct! I am all for going gray rock, except when a child is at risk, and it sounds like your child is being put in a very dangerous situation.

      • I’ve had to address similar issues lately. My STBX had car troubles and used his mother’s car to take DD to the movies, but he couldn’t be bothered to move the booster seat to her car. I simply sent him an email letting him know I was told of the situation and gave him a link reminding him of our state’s child seat laws, which he of course did not respond to.

        Other situations I have backed off from but they continue to concern me. He does not parent her. The four days he has her a month are often filled with a trip to anything fun he can think of or the mall where is buys her trinkets that are not allowed in my home. Often he tells her to lie and not tell me of the things he lets her get away with, etc. I don’t want to call him out on his disordered behavior because it either gets no reponse or is turned around on me. What I choose to do instead is have my daughter in therapy and teach her that lying is not the way to deal with anything. Since I have custody of her her more often than him I have to believe that my “good” parenting will outweigh his parenting.

      • Nejla- My kid’s dad committed suicide. He had an addicted personality so in that arena, it is a blessing that he’s not around to train our son to be a Get Rich Quick while stoned.

        Be strong and the sane one!!

        • Born free, thank you for sharing that. What an awful thing for you and your kids. I keep that mantra in my head every day…be the strong and sane parent.

    • I worry about this same thing, Melissa, but maybe to a lesser degree. Two of my adult (20’s) stepchildren went to a party with the Dad and his newest parasitic host. They bragged out our holiday dinner how much fun it was to get so drunk with Dad and his GF.

      Now these are two young men that should’ve gone to and, by now, graduated from college. But their Dad missed every opportunity to guide them and support them in building a successful future for themselves (I think it is because he doesn’t want his children to out shine himself).

      And, sadly, because they are only in their 20’s, they’ll settle for the kibbles of Dad’s love via basement parties in someone else’s “mansion” doing shots with their 50yo Dad who walked out on BOTH of their mom’s (they’re half brothers).

      And I look at my son, who is still in middle school, and pray every day that I can keep him on a straight path with limited (court required) interaction as he gets older and ready to stretch his teenage legs with Mr. Sparkles.

    • I would also see about getting therapy for your 7-year old. It may be that she would feel safer telling the therapist the things that her father made her promise not to tell you. Let the therapist know that the father has addiction issues and while you know you have no control over what your ex-fuckwit does with his life, you are concerned with the long-term impact on the child of his lifestyle and his insistence that she keep secrets from you.

      If you aren’t in therapy, you might want to consider it as well. Because your Ex is a fuckwit who advocates deception and lack of communication, you’re going to have to work harder and more creatively to show that honesty and openness are the better decisions. A therapist can help give more ideas on how to do so.

      • Thank you. I completely agree. I have been in therapy for over a year now since I filed and have gone back and forth between wanting kiddo to go too. I have been trying to help her to learn to know she has a voice but I think I need to have her go. I did not grow up with addiction in my family so I canned relate to how hard a road that is for a kid. She does not want to go to therapy or talk about “the divorce”, as she puts it, ie., anything relating to conflict regarding her dad, although I thought she was telling me everything (she even had told me when he has said not to tell mommy.). This front seat of the car thing is the first time I have caught her, but she has lied twice about it.
        I have been poking the bear when it comes to her safety, and it is exhausting. All the things mentioned above have been done save for the camera and PI. It almost seems like I am feeding him kibbles too…I think he likes it…which is disheartening. I completely relate to Boggled in wanting him to just focus on his new life and leave me alone to focus on mine. When he first left and I found out about all the lies I figured he would disappear as he barely showed up for 6 months to see his own daughter. Then, once he secured the new host and her apartment, he started being mr. Disney. Now I wish he would stop showing up again even though I know kiddo loves him.

        • Pieces of your story overlap with mine. I am so sorry about how exhausting it is. Keep up the fight, though. After having several neighbors tell me they had witnessed the jackass doing one careless or dangerous thing or the other with my kids, I told them straight up that it was fine with me to call the police or CPS any time they thought it was warranted. One teacher did (I didn’t have to tell her I was “okay” with it–she was a required reporter). Another neighbor called the police one night when my EX was vandalizing my home–the neighbor did not know what he was doing on my property, but he knew he shouldn’t be there. These were very helpful incidents in getting custody changed. People were afraid of his temper and of making things worse for me, but although the friction and legal circuses were terrible when they happened (and for the months and months they took to resolve), the results were worthwhile. The EX finally learned that there would be consequences for overstepping legal boundaries that protect the kids and me. The kids still do not entirely agree with or understand my decision to press charges–but that is not their job. It is mine (and yours). So be prepared for flack from all directions, but the long-term outcome is worth the wait.

          For what it is worth, if your EX follows the typical pattern, his interest in his daughter will decline over the next few years. The number of parents who start off being crappy at shared custody and end up still seeing their kids regularly five years later is small. Part-time parenting only gets harder as kids mature, so a parent who is not committed to doing the hard stuff is very likely to fade away over time. And once your EX knows that the entertainment he enjoys from provoking you results in a chat with the police or an arrest or a visit to family court or a CPS worker touring his home, his anger will erupt, but it won’t be so much “fun.”

          Finally, if you have even the tiniest suspicion that your EX might harm you or your child, make appropriate plans–these might include visiting your local domestic violence center, making sure your neighbors know to call the police first and ask questions later any time they hear shouting in your home, or even a protection order if one is warranted.

            • Nejia, I suggest either play therapy or art therapy for your daughter. She won’t have to talk about anything at all if she doesn’t want to, but (with a good therapist) these therapies are super helpful!

            • I often feel like I am the only one with an addict/alcoholic as an ex. It is good to know I am not alone though I am so sorry there are so many of us.

              Turdd has been contacting the kids via Skype since his phone was turned off for non-payment. I had to restrict video calls when he got on drunk with my daughter, 11, and had another woman’s name written on his chest in black marker. He told my little one she was seeing things.
              Two nights ago she was speaking with him and a woman coughed, clear as day, and he told my DD that it was the TV. She was so upset that he lied. She sent him a message asking him to please just be honest and to please not be mad at her. He did not bother with a reply and she went to bed turned into knots.

              I am not going to have my girl trained to accept abuse and lies. I blocked his ass on Skype and the next time he speaks to her it will begin with an apology for lying, hurting her feelings and being disrespectful.

  • Love the new cartoon! The hope that my 6 yo mac may have many more years of useful life! And BIFF!

    Thank you!

  • I have found that when dealing with an Ex who is a disordered fuckwit, one must do all one can to keep the “Eye of Sauron” off of you.
    These people live and thrive on drama and if you take the bait, they love the drama that ensues.

    Grey Rock is the only way and eventually that evil eye will turn toward someone else and off of you.

      • I had a boss who used to say “If you have a big wasp nest, it would be fun for a few seconds to take a ball bat to it. However, 10 seconds later it WON’T be so fun”.
        He was right about wasps as well as Exes. It might be fun for a little bit to poke them but then the reaction and drama that ensues will NOT be very fun.

  • “Here’s what you DON’T do — try to shame him into better behavior.”

    Thanks for this, Tracy!

    I bite my tongue a lot, but sometimes it’s SO tempting – there are moments when I’m incredulous, and I fantasize about saying something pithy about his behavior. Fortunately I haven’t given in for months, but it helps to be reminded that he HAS NO SHAME about anything. Showing him that I’m reacting to him would just be feeding the beast.

    I’m going to have a talk with my dryer lint instead.

  • Oh trust me, they try to bait you at every turn.

    Just this past week my daughter called during her dads parenting time because her car (a vehicle in his name) would start. I told her I was in the middle of something but I would come to his house help as soon as possible. I told her to look for the battery charger (which he stole from my garage) and plug it in. Shortly thereafter I get a text from him saying, “I am taking care of the situation, you do not need to involve yourself in it.” What I wanted to say was
    “Excuse me! when MY child calls me for help, I will involve myself every time. Who do you think you are telling me not to be involved in an issue that affects me child!” But I knew he was looking for that reaction… he needed some kibbles, because apparently what I didn’t know was, he was at home that whole time, and my daughter had been asking for his help for hours (she didn’t tell me that). He was just pissed off she was calling the reliable parent, so instead of taking the lable of “fuckwit” he turned it around and made it about “me sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong!” My response was simply a regurgitation of what he said with a question mark at the end … “You do not need to involve yourself in it?”

    Crickets…. that would mean HE would have to explain himself. I didn’t take the bait, so he stopped fishing 🎣.

    Sparkling turds love reactions – I think they see it as their superpower, “here watch me make this puppet dance!” (insert sinister laugh)

    Here’s what I ask myself when Mr. superiority shows up to complain about what/how I’m doing things. It’s like a mental decision tree in my head.

    1) Is he trying to bait me into an emotional reaction?

    (A) Yes. …
    Do not give him what he wants but Identify any hidden motives:
    i.e. … is their emotional baiting wrapped around something that…
    (1) if read by a third party would be seen as addressing a legitimate child issue?
    (2) insinuates false accusations?

    (a) yes. Respond with BIFF
    (b) no. Ignore and move on.

    (B) No , but…. (the but can be anything)…
    ……They are stating a falsehood that should be addressed as to not be used as evidence of agreement/ non-dispute in the future … see response (A, 1, a)

    Text example: I’m trying to sign the kids up for x,y,z … do you remember that time you locked me out of the kids account? How did you rectify it?

    If there is a false accusation, address with BIFF and correct falsehoods.

    (C) No. ignore, move on.

    Breeding with a fuckwit is like dishes and laundry… no one likes dealing with it, but they will always be there, need to be addressed, and just when everything is clean, it’s time to change your clothes and cook the next meal. It’s just part of the not so pleasant parts of life.

    Disclaimer: no offense to anyone who enjoys laundry or dishes 😉.

    • One thing to do to keep you out of the line of fire is to give Kiddo the tools to manage problems on her own. If she has AAA, she can say to CheaterDad, “Should I call AAA or do you want to help me try to get the car started?” Then it’s all on him whether he helps or not, but she has an alternative.

      It’s also a great safeguard against her being stranded when neither of you is available.

    • Thanks Got-a-brain. This is extremely helpful advice. I’ve actually copied it to a folder so I can refer to it in the future.

  • This is exactly why I much prefer for my ex to have a girlfriend! Best yet if they’re super busy having a fabulous life. The periods when he was alone (Shmoopie dumped him. For another man. Twice.) were the absolute worse for his just bugging me and the kids, and cycling through his three channels.

    Fortunately he now knows how Match works. The 2nd time Shmoops dumped him, he had a new girlfriend within a week, and was telling the kids it was ‘a serious relationship’ two weeks later. This one appears to have money, so I’m betting he’s treating her better than he has ever treated a woman in his life. I hope they live happily ever after! It makes my life soooooo much easier. There’s still some crap to deal with, but the kids are old enough to manage most stuff with him. Feels great!

    • Everytime I get that pit in my stomach knowing Dr. Cheaterpants ex and his young parntner in crime BarbieSchmoopie (thanks LAJ) are doing the fun stuff with my teenage kids and spending money like drunken sailors, I remember he can’t be alone – EVER. He is high maintenance and needy. If it wasn’t her, it would be someone else. And since it will NEVER be me again, at least he has a diversion for now.

      I think about it like a sinking boat, perhaps the Titanic, and best to get as far away as possible before it drags you down in the undercurrent.

      • Ha, Twiceachump, my ex–Whiny Passive-Agressive Manchild–is the same. He’s got to be with somebody. Can’t actually commit to any of them, so he just keeps cycling through relationships. So glad to be off that train!

    • Amen, KarenE. Hannibal Lecher is still with his last AP, living in his fancy new house overlooking the lake, jetting around the world staying in fancy hotels, and I could not be happier because it means he leaves me alone. AP/GF is on antidepressants to be able to handle living with his emotional abuse, but better her than me (lest I seem cruel, she was married and ditched a perfectly nice husband to live the expensive Good Life with my X. Karma’s a bitch).

      • I’m so glad he is with his smoochie. Last time he cheated on her he came by and and was all sad. She took him back (dumb ass). But she is pleasant to my adult daughters and keeps him out of my hair. He did just recently accidentally have amazon packages delivered to my house (the marital home). He asked if I would look for them and drop them off with daughter. He also picked up the old dryer that has been sitting on my patio for a year. I wish I had given him a more grey rock answer. I told him no. Asked why now and that I want nothing to do with him. Next time just “NO” will have to suffice. I feel like everything he touches is contaminated or I will get cooties from him. I’ve been out of town so for all I know the packages are blowing down the street 🙂

        • Dumbass cheater was so entitled he Fed Ex’d his ~original truck title~ to me with instructions that I sign off my interest in it (he was awarded it in the divorce). No notice, no heads up that it was coming, just assumed the good old wife appliance would do as she was told. It was sent without a signature required to my old apartment and by gosh I don’t live there, I bought a house and moved just the week prior, an event of which he was not informed. Tracking shows it was delivered. When he called looking for it he actually said, “The DECENT THING for you to do is to go track it down.” Um, no. He didn’t admit he screwed up or ask for help to get out of the jam, no, he told me I needed to be DECENT.

          I have a rule that 49YO fuckwits who abandon their wife of 28 years to bang a 25YO Schmoopie (the same age as our oldest DD) do not get to speak if decency.

          On the other hand, all adult-like, I was able to go right down to the DMV with my title, registration, divorce decree, and $25 and get the car I was awarded put completely in my name, no muss, no fuss. Fuckwit still wanted wifing.

          So, maybe I have that title, or maybe it accidentally fell into my shredder, or maybe it is lost out there somewhere in the world. He can go apply for a new one and grow the hell up. And you can bet he blames me for this latest bit of felony stupid.

            • What is it with guys going nuts over some baby? And what about her?!! My neighbor just buried her older husband.(She was not a ow). She has not had a decent day in YEARS! She was his nurse. It all sounds so romantic until the guy gets oooollllldddd and she is still young enough to want to travel, be social and he is barely able to walk. Your ex is going to be dependent on her and she might just bail. You never can tell.

              Btw, they built a beautiful house in our neighborhood and then he promptly fell apart. They never got to enjoy their new home because he was house bound and she was exhausted.

      • Tempest, how funny! I was told skankboy’s whore just started on medication, too. Good luck with that! He seems to have that affect on people.

    • Zell…. I think you’re right. Sick how they think they “rescued” cheaterpants and then sit in to watch things play out. They deserve each other.

    • She participates in it — she is eight years younger than me but tells me how she thinks my kids should be parented on the rare occasions when we have face to face drop-offs. (They are normally done through school.) She is on every phone call the kids have with Cheater Dad when they are with me — which ONLY started because I said I wanted phone contact on days I don’t have them. He went MONTHS without phone contact! But now they act like their calls are The Most Important Thing Ever.

  • when I was a young warthog… when I was a youuuung wart-hooooooooooog!” Is all I can think about with this comic. Hakuna Matata mf’ers!

  • I think that some of the disordered adulterers want to continue to blow up chumps’ lives even after leaving chumps due to ‘need’ to control others. Also, as my dad says, every place/story needs a villain. Chumps serve as villains to disordered individuals and the fans (both those who know the disordered is disordered and those who think that the disordered are ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ or ‘Ms. Wonderful’) of the disordered. My abusive, cheating ex-husband constantly harassed me during and after the separation, which he initiated with fireworks in court. (He took me to court, accusing me of various crimes I never committed.) 3.5 years after his departure and a few months after divorce, I still wonder how much of his harassment of me led to my last boyfriend (my friend of 30 years you started dating me several months after ex-husband left) to abandon me. Of course, it didn’t help that ex-boyfriend had never dated a parent (he was childless in middle age) and was prone to the Idealize-Devalue-and Discard dating pattern. As he seemed to discretely look at the grass on the other side of the fence (often at work) quite often and lied and disrespected me, I will never know how much of harassment by my ex-husband or my traumatized response to it caused my now ex-boyfriend’s abandonment of me. Now that my ex-husband has a long-term (one year now) girlfriend and I am single (celibate), ex-husband’s harassment of me has subsided–probably because there’s nothing left to blow up in my life. Much like a tarantula sucking its prey dry, once all that can be sucked out of the prey has been ingested, the predator tosses the prey aside without a thought. Still trying to figure out how to recover from the discard by both my ex-husband and my ex-boyfriend. Trying to tell myself that the discards were ‘not that big a deal’ and that being alone (even for life) is not the end of the world just to get through the day. Sadly, I still want to ‘win’ the ‘friendship’ of my ex-boyfriend as I miss the good parts of him and feel as though I must have done something wrong…I am still conflicted!

    • RSW–You did nothing wrong. Yes, I am going to shout it now, YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. If x-BF broke up because your XH was causing too much trouble, xBF wasn’t worth having. And if I recall, x-BF refused to post any pictures of the two of you from the beginning, which means he was a Shit from the beginning. Nice on the surface does not equal Person of Integrity on the inside.

      I know it does not feel like it right now, but you are worth respect and love. Please write that in lipstick on your mirror so that you read it several times a day until it sinks in. You were coming off an abusive and high-conflict divorce when you started dating BF, and had not yet fully calibrated your Asshole-meter because it probably felt good just to have someone be nice to you (we’ve all been there, done that). But xBF was never worthy of you because he doesn’t have an admirable character. TBH, that was evident from things you posted about him early in the relationship. Compared to your sociopathic XH, yes, BF looked pretty good. But that is setting the bar very low; a person semi-courting another woman while in a relationship with you, sucks. Read some of the stories of guy chumps on this site, who did more than their share of parenting, tolerated their wives’ eccentricities, and didn’t once contemplate cheating. THAT is character; your xBF merely feigned character.

      Now go write that message with lipstick, and invest in you–not by merely taking bubble baths or getting a pedicure, but by surrounding yourself with people of real kindness and integrity so that you get used to it (and can kick people like xBF to the curb at the first sign of assholery, and then keep them out of your headspace). Big hugs, friend!

      • I’ve been reading this site for over a year, and there are definitely some solid guys on here. Too bad I’m straight 😛

        • Yes, it is enlightening to read the stories from guys on this site and to see that narcs and fuckwits come in all genders.

      • Tempest is absolutely right (as ever) RSW. I too remember how shitty X-BF treated you, from what you’ve posted previously. He was a ‘friend’ of 30 years and KNEW the hell you’d been through with XH – you’d think 30 years friendship would have earned you at least a modicum of respect and kindness, wouldn’t you? His ‘friendship’ is/was a sparkly turd – just like him. Charming, funny, urbane – perhaps, but also cruel, selfish, thoughtless, unempathetic, fair-weather friend. You really are better off without him in your life – you don’t need another arsehole masquerading as a safe haven then kicking you while you’re down.

        I’ve been celibate for 5 years – never imagined I’d choose a life without sex – but honestly, I’d sooner spend the rest of my life with my right-hand than tolerate another ride on a Narc-ousel. In the words of Eddi Reader and Fairground Attraction: ‘It’s Got To Be-eeeeee Perfect!’ ‘Til then, I’m shutting ’em down and shutting ’em out!

        Happy New Year Everyone 🙂 xxxxx

        • Jayne.
          I feel as though YOU have known me for 30 years! And would have made a much better friend than the partner I thought was my long-term friend. Thank you!

      • Yes, dear Rock Star. Your XH didn’t make XBF abandon you. He did that all on his own. You did nothing wrong, other than pick a pair of sparkly types who can’t go the distance. Give yourself a year or two of no man in your life. Fix your picker.

        My first therapist told me: Many men will “love” you. Few of them will be worthy of your love in return. Please do not blame yourself. Your situation will start to change when you can better gauge a person’s character. A man in his 50s with no kids is not a good potential partner for a woman with young kids for a lot of reasons. And you know he had a pattern of discarding dating partners. Did you think you would change him? Work on getting past the need for a partner. Once you get there, then you can figure out what a good partner might look like.

        • Thanks for you support, LAJ. I don’t think that I know what it’s like to seriously date a good, psychologically healthy man!

          You mentioned that a childless man in his 50s is not a good potential partner for a mother of young children. I am curious why you say that. (My middle-aged next door neighbor, who has never married and has no biological kids of his own, has virtually adopted his girlfriend’s kids, raising these young kids quite well from what I observe. I think that he is a special man who might not represent the norm. Middle-aged dads can just as likely be jerks as childless men and come with problems, not always of their own doing, can’t they?

          I think that I have just been bludgeoned too hard by the last couple of intimate partners to feel excited about dating, or virtually anything for that matter. I”m going to put myself in ‘intensive care,’ which includes occasional massage, gentle exercise at the gym, reading, snuggling with my kids, nurturing animals at a shelter, and sometimes feeiding my real friends simple food (as I am exhausted from, among other thinfgs, often preparing healthy, pretty food to a boyfriend who didn’t appreciate the effort) to try to recover from abuse and mistreatment. I hope that my kind fellow chumps can do the same.

          In the future, I am not going to try nearly as hard to impress and support those who do not consistently show me love, commitment, respect, honesty–too little return on investment. (Jekyll and Hydes are out.) Odd when I think about it (as a former financial analyst)–if someone told me, ‘You can sink millions of dollars into this investment and spend all your tweekend me managing it for virtually NO return (in the short-run or long-run),’ I would never contribute money/time to it. Yet, when it comes to romantic investments, I will chase these terrible investments and refuse to acknowledge sunk costs once I get into them and realize that they are bad. Sometimes, there may be no reason to go down with the ship.

        • LAJ,
          Regarding thinking that I could change my ex-boyfriend, I did not. I thought that because since many years had passed since he behaved in less than ideal ways to previous partners, he expressed regret (sound familiar?), had underwent seven years of psychotherapy (maybe I should have asked more questions about that), had been chumped by his wife (who he divorced before we considered dating each other), I thought, ‘Nobody’s perfect,’ and he was Mr. Nice Guy to a very large group of people (everybody’s best man), seemed modest, I thought that he had changed for the better. And of course, my partner picker has been broken for a very long time.

      • Tempest,

        Thank you for the tremendous pep talk. Sometimes I realize that my ex-boyfriend, to some degree, used the fact that my ex-husband was a very disordered person as an excuse for not sticking around (When I thjink about it, telling me, ‘I don’5 want you’ without elaboration and telling me that the reason he was afraid to be seen in a group photo with me was his cheating ex-wife who had left him several years ago might see us together was just a couple of the tip offs.’) I hope to never again be treated like someone”s ‘dirty little secret.’ NO legitimate partner deserves this! After reading your message; I wwnt to my local animal shelter where I volunteer and spent half an hour with people adopting cars and dogs as well as cats. (Nothing like scratching the chin of a stray two-month old kitten), dogs, and a rabbit and her babies. Now I’m going home to hug my kids, who are kind to me l (before diving into my second job, child/rearing/housekeeping. Way more pleasant than spending any time with people you know are f–ktards at the core!

        • A got who treats his lady as a Dirty Little Secret is hiding from someone else, like a not quite ex wife who he “forgot” to disclose to you.

          #itscomplicated

          • My now ex-boyfriend WAS divorced when we started dating. (I knew him for 30 years. She had moved out of their house 1.5 years before he and I started dating.) I think that he was trying to hide me from my replacement at his office. He also told me after I discovered that she was dating him that she had been at his very small company (his office) for all three years he had been there, but in all the 15 or so official and unofficial company events I had attended over those years, I neither met her nor heard of her. He said I hadn’t seen her because she was ALWAYS out of town during these events. (Hmm…) He could be telling the truth about this particular matter, but based on his track record, especially of late, and the fact that I never saw her/heard of her until the ‘big reveal,’ I suspect that she joined the company probably just a few months before he dumped me and his eyes were already open to greener grass on the other side of the fence, so to speak, when she came on the scene. Emotionally unavailable, dishonest men.

      • Rock Star 🙂

        I second Tempest 🙂

        You need to realize this basic fact!
        You, Wonderful Woman are way more than enough!!! You need to realize this basic fact!

        • Thanks, JeepTess!
          It’S great to realize that after the ship has gone down, my compatriots in my true ‘band of brothers,’ is treading water beside me, helping not only themselves stay afloat but also helping others in countless ways!

  • Hey All,

    I’m not sure this is the right place to post this but I’m very lost and suffering greatly. I found out my wife was having an online/emotional affair at the end of October, that involved a lot of sexting with a much younger man (wife is 49/ Cheater partner is 35 and married with kids). I did the pick me dance, and paid over $1000 for a divorce buster coach, which I spoke to alone as she wanted nothing to do with it.. I begged and pleaded. I did that for about 6 weeks while she continued to have her affair and lied to me daily about it. I then gathered what shreds of dignity I had left, and told the kids what happened and asked her to leave on Dec. 22. I’m leaving out a lot of details but I don’t understand how the person who was literally the center of my universe for 25 years could do this to me and the kids. She has become a completely different person, who was been so cruel I don’t have the words to describe it. I have since found out that her mother – who is a horrible person has been actively encouraging the affair from the start.

    The first 2 weeks I cried about 5 hours a night, and have been a zombie. I cried at the gym, I cried at work. She completely broke me.

    Since then I have slowly in the smallest ways begun to recover. I saw a lawyer this week and have started the divorce process. Everything is happening so fast I haven’t had time to process anything. She has been coming weekly to get clothes, and tries to make small conversation but thankfully I found this website and have gotten Tracy’s book which I have read about 3 times and refer to it nightly.

    When she came this week she started to cry and told me I was right about the guy and that he dumped her, and that she was sorry for “everything”. She didn’t ask me to take her back – it’s like she wants me to ask her back. Instead I went through the checklist of major things for the divorce. When I got to custody of the kids I told her that I didn’t have to fight her for them as they have both made it clear to me that they want to stay with me. She started bawling saying it wasn’t fair and I told her that her affair wasn’t fair and I never asked for this.

    It was insanely emotional and I feel terrible. She accused me of being angry and trying to get back at her but I’m actually not angry at all. I’m so deeply hurt. She has taken everything from me. My trust, my best friend, my lover, my confidante, my dreams together, and has crushed our 25 years together. I told her I refuse to be angry because I don’t want her to ruin what future I had ahead of me.

    Since then I can’t stop crying. I cried all day yesterday after starting to piece myself back together in tiny ways.

    Is this normal? I’m so consumed by grief that I have no words. In typing this is difficult. My parents have been great (even though they are crushed and grieving), and my brother and my close friend have been supportive. Im thankful because Im so overwhelmed taking care of the house and kids by myself and trying to be strong to support them as they are suffering as well (they know what she’s done).

    I feel so broken and hopeless. I feel like no one will love me again and I don’t want to grow old alone. I’m trying not to wallow in self pity but it just overwhelms me at times. I don’t want a divorce, I don’t want this I want my wife back but I know I’m holding on to a ghost and it’s not her anymore.

    I just need to hear it gets better. Somehow.

    Thanks and sorry if this isn’t the right place.

    • Dear Lost,
      What she did isn’t normal, but it really does hurt this much. It does get better. It gets better when you are ready to be angry, and constructive, and no one gets to tell you when that is but you. As long as you are functioning, you’re moving towards it being better.

      I remember not sleeping for more than a few minutes at a time in the seventeen days it took the Husband I thought I adored to pack his things and move out of my home. Seventeen days. By the time he left, I was pretty near sleep psychotic.After he left I slept for 24 hours straight. I am not a drinker and I drank a tumbler of bourbon one night just trying to let sleep come. Sober, I would lie on our bed and literally feel the room roil like as raft on choppy water feeling the deepest sadness I had ever known. I would go to the gym and swim laps, repeating a single thought. “You are a good wife. You deserved a good husband. You are good. You deserve to live.” Meanwhile, I made food for my child, missed my stepchild he’d sent away, I fixed a hole in the bathroom floor. Gutted.

      I am so sorry for what you are feeling, but it gets better. You will not grow old alone. In the meantime, may whatever glimmer makes you okay in your own company slowly grow strong. And I welcome you to the company of this lifesaving place.

      • Thank you, I’m crying reading all the replies and am shaking as I type this. I appreciate your kind words. For the first time since yesterday, reading these replies – has let me breathe a little and find some small peace of mind in my head.

    • Yes, it does eventually get better. You are experiencing what we all did, the death of a dream. It is perfectly normal to cry and grieve that life you thought you had. Your wife didn’t become a different person because of her affair. She was always that person, you just projected your good character on to her. It is so very hard to believe we were duped, but you were duped!

      Keep reading here and the light will continue to come.

        • The deeper the love, the deeper the grief. It is what I have learned and lived for two years after losing my partner of 15 y, my home, my past, my future and most recently my Mom. Hang in. I feel for you. Get yourself stronger. Xx

    • lostandreeling

      IT GETS BETTER. A year ago I was you. I could hardly stand upright. I was in physical pain. I cried all the time, slept with a hot water bottle and my dog. Drank too much, cut myself, made holes in the wall of my house, didn’t sleep for days.

      Now I don’t feel pain when I think of him. I still feel hurt, angry, embarrassed, regret but not all at once and in a more general way. Married 31 years and having to start over makes me anxious. I found a really good therapist and see a bigger light at the end of the tunnel every day. I have setbacks but they get further and farther between.

      You are in hell right now and I am so sorry. Please cry all you fucking want. You lost something you loved that you thought was good and true. You will get through this. I’m angry for you and would come and poke holes in the walls of your house if you like.

      Sending you love and hugs. Keep reading CL everyday and the archives. It helps.

        • Very impressed at how you have been mighty despite the grief. bewilderment, pain and confusion. Don’t give in to her manipulation. Keep reading this site to see how “well” wreckonciliation works out for the chumped!

    • Completely normal, and I am so sorry you are here, man.

      This hit home: “She has taken everything from me. My trust, my best friend, my lover, my confidante, my dreams together, and has crushed our 25 years together.” I was/am right there with you. For me it was 14 years, but she was the same for me. And it hurts–my stomach was knotted for months.

      You are mourning the death of the life you envisioned, that idealized future where she had the same values regarding the marriage as you.

      But, do you want to be her Plan B? Her young dude left her and now she thinks she can just fall back to you. Okay, but what about the next time she finds that next sparkly boy toy? If you take her back, there are no consequences to her choices and entitlement, and she will become emboldened. I speak from experience, I did take the wife back after the affair with the co-worker, and what did my wife do? She had sex with a 25-year-old alcoholic/meth addict in rehab. It is their nature, it is what you do.

      Is that the life you want?

      • My head knows what you are saying is true. My heart of course disagrees but that is the nature of things. I so desperately keep looking for any sign of remorse but the only remorse she has shown is for herself. I guess I’m grieving so much not only because of the betrayal, and the loss of my wife but the fact that inside I know my marriage is over.

        Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to respond to me. I will take what you say seriously.

        • And my head and heart did the same thing. But, even if she eventually shows remorse for you and instead of for just her (doubtful because she is entitled and selfish), the trust is gone. My wife eventually did all the right things that the therapists say to do. She provided complete transparency (she gave me access to all her passwords, she allowed me to track her, etc.), she went to marriage counseling and did the work, etc.

          And you know what? It didn’t help because the trust was fundamentally gone. I was anxious, irritable, and angry all the time. I was exhausted being the marriage police, of the mind movies that play in your head, and of the resentment. And I couldn’t stomach living like that anymore. It was not who I am or how I want to live.

          I did this for two years, and I intellectually knew in the first five seconds that it was over, but my stupid heart want to hold onto the dream. But, the dream was gone because reality, her entitled choices, shattered it.

          Your pain shows your deep capacity to love because of your clearly have a deep capacity to hurt. That well of emotion and decency will trade very high eventually with the right person when you are ready and healed. Know it!

          And keep coming back here when you start to forget.

          • Oh My God, your story is my worst fear if I took her back and it resonates because I already know that she’s not capable of fixing what she’s done. Not that she’s asked to come back so it’s a moot point. I’m sorry you didn’t find success the second time, but you’re a fantastic person for trying. I have nothing but deep respect for you.

            • We are both chumps. I wish I had found this site sooner like you did and saved myself two years of hyper bonding (desperate sex with mind movies firing off every time), pick-me dancing until I collapsed, and just a general sense of foreboding because I knew my day to leave was coming, and I was hiding from confronting that that day and the emotions.

              You, on the other hand, have the opportunity to be a bad ass from the start, because that is what you are by the good choices you have already made. I know they feel like horrid choices right now, but you didn’t ask to have to make them. She forced you. So, stay bad ass and do what all cheaters hate–don’t feed her positive or negative kibbles and deprive her of the good man you are. She will remember and it will haunt her. Live well and get the best revenge by doing so.

              And they always trade down. Always. A 35-year-old prick that doesn’t honor his commitment to his wife. My wife had sex with an alcoholic/meth head. What catches! You are 10 times the man that prick will ever be. That sad sack of pathetic shit. And at some point you will believe it.

              Best, man!

              • Extra bonus points for citing the Lola Doctrine:

                CHEATERS. NEVER. TRADE. UP.

                Huge hugs to you, lostandreeling. I have been you also. It gets so, so much better from here.

          • Yes the trust is gone. I often wonder how anyone truly reconciles after something so fundamental to a relationship no longer exists. Sure I met a couple friends who went through this and stayed in the marriage. They claimed they trusted their spouse or worked through it etc. Well one still has these moments of suspicion that creep up on her every time he works weird hours or has to travel for something. I honestly am glad not to be her even though initially I was sad my marriage didn’t last like hers. And the pick me dance sucks so much in itself I truly don’t know how one recovers from that experience to once again have a relationship that both individuals are on equal footing. Before I confirmed my suspicions I did it for a couple months. I went to therapy although he didn’t want to because apparently any struggles in our marriage were a result of me?? Whatever, hindsight I was sent on a fool’s errand while he was off riding his new motorcycle and sneaking visits with OW. I was busting my butt trying to be a “better” wife. Not asking him to help as much with the kids and pretty much doing everything around the home. He had it made and I was exhausted. Eventually like most of us you figure it all out and get angry which is a good thing. You begin to really see how that person you trusted to be your life partner would screw you over and take advantage of you on every level to fulfill their own selfish desires. I know it sounds negative but I really don’t believe you can rebuild that trust once something like this happens. It’s scary for sure having to start envisioning your new life and realizing the life you had planned is not going to happen. But slowly you accept it I promise. And in some ways its like ripping the band aid off fast versus the slow, more painful process. Once I got through D-day and a couple weeks making an attempt to discuss counseling I realized it was time to move forward. It’s so hard and each day brings new challenges but looking back it couldn’t have been any other way. I moved with kids to another state and finished a second Masters degree. I’m still trying to piece things together and climb out of the financial hole this divorce and his actions cost me but I know it was healthiest for me and the kids. He ended up a few months after our divorce marrying OW and never told me. The kids did after a visit. Clearly nothing to be proud of and now that I see him for who he really is I feel both she and he got what they deserve. Revenge truly is living well. It just takes time.And keep using this site and those who can understand what this experience is like for support. You’ll need it.

    • Lost,

      So sorry about your pain. So glad you found CL!!

      It does get better, but in the beginning after xhole imploded our 30 year marriage, I didn’t believe it. It does get better, but it hurts like a motherfucker getting there. I was a walking zombie. I prayed for sleep to come. I survived on crackers for weeks. It took every bit of strength to get out of bed, brush my teeth, and go to work. I thought the grief would kill me. BUT it didn’t.

      You are normal. You were vested and bonded. You have been decimated by the person who should love you the most. You are grieving. That is normal. Cheaters are the abnormal ones.

      Each day is a day closer to feeling better. What you need now is to survive. Continue rereading Tracy’s book. Go to the forums and post anytime. There is always someone with wonderful advice who understands…really understands.

      Big ((((HUGS)))) Lost!! We understand and we are here for you. It will get better!!

      • Thank you so much for your kindness. Im actually crying reading these messages. I tried registering but I never got a confirmation email. Would you be so kind as to point out where the forums are?

        • At the top right-hand side of the home page is the menu for the forums. You need to have a registered handle on this site and then you’ll be able to post on the forums. The confirmation email takes a bit of time to come, so don’t give up.

    • Fellow male chump here — as much as you feel like a gutted fish right now, you’re taking all of the right and necessary first steps (including finding this site and CL’s book).

      If you’ve not done so yet, make sure you can log in to the forums, spend some time on the topics there that interest you, and do not be shy about posting your own. What you’ll find is a nation of fellow chumps (male and female alike) who really do get what you’re going through and are extraordinarily generous in their willingness to help.

      Nobody wants to be here until they need to — when that happens, there’s no better place in the world.

      • Thank you for reaching out to me I appreciate it. I can’t seem to find where the forums are. Could you point them out to me? I tried registering under “log in” but never got a confirmation email.

        • Sorry you’re going through this nightmare.

          If you haven’t received your confirmation e-mail go to the top of the page where it says contact and contact Tracy personally.

          Forums are open to read once you’re confirmed.

    • Lost –
      My X decided to get a fuck phone behind my back and was sexting women. My 17-year old (at the time) was the one who found the phone and broke it to me. I too was a mess for nearly 3 years. That was about how long our divorce took because he is such a narcissistic asswipe. I cried every day for 3 years and am grateful my boss didn’t fire me, although I KNOW I was worthless for a long long time.

      I can say it does get better. I have some great friends who made sure I got out of the house and we went out and had a great time. I’ve traveled more now than I ever did. I’ve met a lot of new people and have a whole new realm of friends.

      My advice – get the divorce over with ASAP so you can move on. Dump that bitch ass and don’t look back. You deserve better.

      • It seems that since I caught my wife and was checking her phone, her mother provided her with another one so I totally relate. It’s incredible the lengths and things she did to hide her affair. If I wasn’t drowning in sorrow I would laugh at the stupidity of it all.

        Thanks for reaching out to me. I appreciate it.

        • Her mother provided her with another phone so her daughter (your soon to be ex wife) could continue to deceive you ?! Wow ! Well, guess that explains where this woman learned to be such an entitled, duplicitous narcissist ! I’m guessing that this master manipulator presented it as “My husband is trying to control me Mommy ! Waaahhhh !”

          I feel your pain, your marriage and your life as you knew is over and dead. Mourn that and don’t let this woman back into your life. Her mask fell off and you’re seeing her for who she really is.

          (((Hugs)))

    • Dear lostandreeling,

      Sending you big hugs (and maybe a small 2×4.) You are mighty for every single thing you have done post Dday. Your Dday was Oct 2017 right? You are just starting the journey through grief. Read up on the stages of grief. It 100% applies even though she didn’t die (you might wish that in some thoughts and that doesn’t make you a bad person either – those are your feelings). You lost what you thought you had, what you dreamed of having, and you have your kids grief that will be coming your way too.

      You didn’t do this. She did. Trust that she sucks. Anyone that can cheat and destroy 25 years of life and family, by their multiple shit choices, doesn’t deserve you. You chose her every day in those 25 years. Start choosing YOU! EVERY. FUCKING. DAY.

      Here’s a list that may help (and your 2×4)

      1) She sucks. Put her shit in bags and set it out for her next pick up. Don’t let her trickle in and out to get her stuff. Fuck that.
      2) Don’t communicate unless it’s by email (text works for some but email is better and easier to track and refer back to). I promise you it can be done even with kids (mine are 13 months and 8 yrs old)
      3) Check with the attorney to see when you can change the locks and if you are living in the house make sure your attorney files for physical occupancy of the house in the initial filing.
      4) Don’t communicate with her about your next steps or plans for custody/child support/etc. You don’t owe her shit. That’s between you and your attorney.
      5) Document. Document. Document. Not sure if you keep the financials or she did but get everything you need now. Your a dad, and I don’t know how courts rule in your state but document everything you can about being a primary parent and involved in their lives.
      6) Don’t forget to post in general forms when you have time. CN is amazing and spot on. I wish I had found CN and CL sooner – I wouldn’t have done the pick me dance for years.
      7) Check into short term disability at work. Can you take a leave? This will let you go through the motions, process your grief freely and will let you be the best you for the kids.
      8) Therapy. Journal. Sit and cry. Do anything you can to protect you and those kids.

      lostandreeling – I was with Tweaker (STBX) for 21 years and married to him for 14. I’m 10 months out from being walked out on. I was loyal and saw my marriage as forever. Today, I can say I am thankful that drug addicted, cheating, lying asshole walking out on me. Is it easy? NOPE. Is it getting better? EVERY. FUCKING. DAY!

      • This is excellent advice. The only piece I’d question is going on short term disability–some judges (and a lot of jackass cheating spouses) might try and use this as evidence that you are not in the right place to be the primary custodian of the kids, so check that one with your lawyer first.

        What should you document? Just facts. Begin today. Start a daily journal that outlines the regular schedule of the kids (when do they get up? do you make breakfast? pack lunches? drive a kid to school? shoo them out of the house to the bus stop? Show your work. Then on subsequent days note any variations–soccer practice on Tuesday evenings for one kid, regular dental appointment on Thursday morning (which you left work to attend to) for another kid, on Saturday drove one kid to the Smith home so he could work with his team on a science fair project and picked him up 2 hours later, went out with other kid and bought new soccer cleats on Saturday, dinner out and a family movie on Sunday, etc. No opinions, no complaints, no criticism of their mother. Just demonstrate that you are the sane and reliable and stable parent.

        Also, brace yourself for shared custody. Most states will assign some version of shared custody unless one parent has actually harmed a child (doing dangerous crap is rarely enough, and treating you horribly doesn’t count at all). Even older children will be directed to spend some regular time with the other parent.

        Your pain is normal. Horrible and normal. You will thrive, but that is somewhere down the road. Today, you are surviving, and that is enough to be proud of. Your kids are lucky to have you.

        • Eilonwy is right on every angle!
          I’m really glad she elaborated about the type of documentation you should do.
          You do have to be careful about the short term disability. The cheater will use anything you do/say against you. If you function at work then that is best. If you are at risk of losing your job then you gotta weigh the decision that’s best for you and be prepared to support it to the judge.

          • You can go on Family Medical Leave Act leave if you need to do it. For 12 weeks per year if you have been employed for a year. Care of your children is an adequate reason.

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. I’ve started doing a lot of that. Since she left the house the attorney told me I could change the locks if I wanted even if she is a half owner. Both my kids (17 and 13) have told me they wanted to stay with me full time and I told them both they could see their mother anytime they wanted – it would not be up to me.

        Again, thank you it’s overwhelming to get the support here. I’m at a bit of a loss for words.

        • There is nothing like the pain you are going through. Only someone else who has been through it can understand. The ones who have caused this pain never get it. They never see what they did to us. I used to think it would have been easier if he had died.

          Right now you are basically a big, open wound. Do one thing at a time. You are not alone.

          • So true that the very ones who caused all this pain and turmoil never get it. Or take any responsibility. I was naive enough to try communicating about it and the things kids were going through (and my ex is a therapist and the OW a psychologist LOL) but he could not relate or acknowledge how his behavior caused anything. In fact, it was fascinating at times to see how everything was somehow deflected onto me. Things that I didn’t even do or hadn’t happened. It was so bizarre. You just have to shrug (metaphorically) and walk away. They truly are personality disorders and can’t fix that.

      • Hang in there Lost! I feel for you brother! Your whole world gets flipped upside down, can’t figure out why your wife would do such a thing, but yet there you are dealing with the day to days and trying to finish the shit stew she made for you.

        I am 14 months from Dday, after 20 years of marriage, first court date in 3 weeks, and just 3 days ago my wife told me that I’m such a fucking pussy. I haven’t spoken to her since, still share the marital home, but I was supposed to get over her misdeeds and let her carry on. For the most part I’m over her shit, BUT, I will carry on, not her. Some days it seems like the hurt, anger, disbelief, etc will never end but it will.

        Stay strong, and welcome to your new circle of friends here!

        • Hang in their 50 Chump! Stay mighty.

          I’m sorry you still have to share a marital home with her. Just remember when their lips are moving they are lying:) That song is catchy by Megan Trainer. Not sure what you listen to but might provide a smile today. And I’m pissed off for you with her nasty comment. I’m certain sure she’s a fucktard to call you that after you were there for 20 years of marriage. She cheated – not you. Sounds like she’s on the rage channel about something.

          • Thanks not addictedchump, I listen to everything, my teenagers rap, country, metal, etc….
            One of my current favorites is:
            Fuck you and all your friends by
            Falling in Reverse

            Gets the blood moving!

            • I don’t fuck with you by Big Sean has been inspirational for me. Sure, if I have to listen to a 3 minute song saying “I don’t give a fuck about you or anything that you do”, I’m not at meh. But that’s okay. Embrace every stage of your grief and don’t let her shame you into not being angry at her. You will stay stuck in grief if you never feel the anger.

        • Thank you for your words and I wish you the best. I consider myself “lucky” that she left and went and stayed with her enabler mother – it’s allowed me to take tiny steps towards resolving my grief.

    • Lost- Chump Nation is telling you the truth to say we have walked where you are. “Hello, my name is Chump, and I have been discarded.” Our stories have some variation but all have felt the pain. It is good that you came along to find us and Tracy’s book relatively soon in the process. There are so many good things here and many small lights in the darkness.

      You will receive more compassion and genuine care from CN then from the woman who promised to love you forever. Don’t let her back. Trust that she sucks.

      ((hugs))

      • Oh, and Lost— tell the OM’s wife if you can, with evidence. She deserves to know what she married and can protect herself, too.

        • Thank you for your words, I appreciate it.

          I will tell her once my divorce is finalized – I don’t want to jeapordize anything in the meantime.

    • (( Lostandreeling)) I’m so sorry. Yes, this is the right place. Yes, go find the Forums as Chump -pin suggests. It is so early days for you. Be kind to yourself. Know the pain you are feeling is equal to how deeply you love. At just 3 months after my DDay – I couldn’t eat, sleep, barely breathe. It’s a shocking, horrendous nightmare. Take all the time you need – there is no deadline to how long you can grieve, and you are grieving. Don’t expect to be ‘back to normal’ for at least a year – AT LEAST. Find your anger and indignation – it will help.

      With love

      • Thank you so much for your words. My mom is actually concerned that I haven’t had any anger at all. When my stbw was over and we were discussing custody she said “You’re angry and trying to get back at me.”

        The reality is that I actually am not angry nor do I want revenge. I’m just heartbroken, and I loved her so much that when I saw her sitting there, broken and sad, I still felt bad for her and loved her. My brother said it’s because I’ve spent more than half my life supporting and protecting her that the instinct is there.

        Maybe anger will come but I don’t want to be an angry bitter person in the future. I want to be my best for whomever may come next.

        • My therapist said that anger is one of the last stages of grieving. So perhaps you are not there yet. It took me 10 months to get there (hence the holes in the wall). I was so angry. The next day I woke up and thought “did I really do that?” I felt a little embarrassed but then I actually laughed at my beautiful well earned crazy!

        • Anger is an important emotion. It’s one way we know our boundaries have been violated, that someone is wounding or disrespecting us. Of course you are “heartbroken”; you are still thinking that an alien spaceship has kidnapped the woman you married. Being angry when someone violates you is not to be an angry person. Anger doesn’t define us. It’s an early warning system, ideally, and a late warning system (but better late than never).

          Note how you defer almost automatically to her projections. Child custody is not about anger or revenge. But her comments might be an indicator into how SHE sees custody–as a way to hit back at someone or get revenge.

          It’s very tough, when you have formed a real bond, to put that aside to protect yourself and your kids. The kind of love you describe, involving supporting and protecting, is the real deal. It’s not just transient emotion. And you have a habit of behaving that way for 1/2 your life. But–but you must rearrange your priorities and love yourself FIRST. This is analogous to how on airline flights they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you assist your child. If you are unconscious, there’s no one to protect the kids. You may still have instinct to take care of your STBX, but your first priority now is to take care of yourself on every level–physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially, and spiritually. Your kids need one healthy sane parent. That’s you. You will not be near 100% for a while, but when those loving feelings rise up about your STBX, remind yourself: “She fired me from the job of protecting her and supporting her. Now I have to protect and support myself so I can secure the best future for me and the kids.”

          My XH was a substance abuser, not a cheater (so far as I know, although Canadian whiskey and opioids were as good as mistresses, to my view). I still care about him deeply. I waited for years to marry him and it was hard to leave. But I can’t throw away what’s left of my life living with a substance abuser who can’t even ask me when I’m scheduled for surgery. I deserve to be loved and respected. So do you. Of course she wants you to go back to “taking care” of her, no matter how badly she behaves. If her Schmoopie ditches her, she’ll want to come home. If she leaves, she’ll want the kids and child support. If you divorce, she’ll want everything. I’ll tell you this–when I left my XH, he got first choice of EVERYTHING. He could choose the house or his half of the equity. I gave him every stick of furniture that I hadn’t brought to the marriage, every pot and pan, every towel. Everything. I helped him pack. I wrote letters to help him get a mortgage. I didn’t whine and say “that’s not fair.” One of the most important things you can do (other than continue to grieve) is to recognize when you are projecting your decency and kindness and responsibility and capacity for love and respect. Don’t project. Make your judgments based not on what she says (she lies, she manipulates) but on her actions. Do her actions demonstrate fairness? Awareness of the consequences of her actions? Of the damage she’s done? What is she DOING to address her problems? Look at what she does. And try to look at her as if she were not your beloved wife but as a character in a movie. Take 10 steps back and look with objective eyes. You can grieve the woman you thought you knew and married without being fooled by the woman accusing YOU of being “angry” and wanting revenge. See, right there—that comment shows that she knows what she’s done is wrong. That you have reason to be angry.

          So change the locks. Keep documenting. Read and learn. Observe. Don’t fear the grief. It’s horrible but coming out the other side, you will be so strong.

          • I am so touched by your words and the time you took to write them. Everything you wrote resonates deeply. I wish I could do more than just say Thank You.

        • lost

          Anger can be channeled.
          1) Please make sure that you don’t channel it inwards (I am to blame for this)
          2) Your cheating ex wants you to be angry with her, which is part of her plan (she can then use her own sad sausage manipulation routine to screw you over more)
          3) Use your anger to gain the upper hand on YOUR life. Set some goals and work on them. Step out and live for yourself and your children – be the best Dad in your family
          4) Finally, your anger will subside (it is too exhausting) and you will find you are on your way to MEH.

          Read back through CL archives. CN stories abound of situations similar to yours, and yet peace and harmony eventually arrive.

          • This is more great advice. I have felt that I have no anger towards her because I have loved her so much that it isn’t in me to hate her, as much as she has destroyed me and our family.

            When I do become angry I will heed what you wrote.

            • Lost,

              I feel much the way about my STBXW as you do yours. How can I feel angry towards someone I loved so much. You do still love her, at least part of you does, and maybe always will. You will be angry because you cannot understand how she could be so foolish in her decisions, how she be so uncaring towards her family, and how she could take your love, which she obviously didn’t appreciate, and throw it away. That will make you angry, and it should, but you don’t need to stay there. She will choose what she will choose. You can’t control her, you can only control what you do. You need to look after you and your family. You don’t need to be cruel or hurtful, you don’t needcto put up with bullshit either.

              Look after yourself and your kids. Your kids need you to be there, but remember that you need to be able to look after them only if you are in a good place mentally so you need to take care of you as well.

              SHE made a bad choice, not you.

              Also, I know in one of your earlier posts you mentioned you felt this may be a MLC. I have felt the same way about my STBXW, but your wife didn’t get a tattoo or buy a motorbike, she blew up your family in the most fantastically hurtful way possible. There is no going back to where you were. That sucks. I know I lost my best friend and who I believe was the love of my life. All we can do is choose how we move forward. Frankly, I was depressed to find out that there were so many people with stories so similar to mine, but thank God we are around to help each other through some pretty shitty moments.

    • Kudos to you Lost for seeing this for the bullcrap it is and being Mighty! Your brain is working and doing the right thing while your heart is trying to catch up. You have come to the right place. She will get real nice to you again once the fuckbuddy is gone and she faces consequences for her choices. Unfortuantely you will also see the other 2 channels along the way when you hold you ground–self pity with the sadz and anger/rage when that doesn’t work.

      She has shown you who she is, what you and your family mean to her (diddly squat and acceptable collateral damage to her fun and happiness). You just can’t stuff that genie back in the bottle again. You are strong and able to do the hard work to value yourself.

      Once you have some time and distance, it’s likely you will see the relationship for what it’s likely been all along, lopsided. You’ve probably done most of the adulting and chores while she’s had fun and done what she’s wanted to do. And no matter how you give, it’s never enough for these types. Another site that may be helpful is Infedilityhelpgroup.com (and they refer to ChumpLady too).

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.

        I’m starting to see the things you mentioned. For one thing, I see all the pimples and wrinkles (metaphorically) that I didn’t see before. I see her differently now, and it’s not even by choice. I also see betrayal everytime I see her.

        I’m starting to realize it has been lopsided.

        • Well, there you go. CL talks about reciprocity as a hallmark of a healthy adult relationship. Here’s one thing I’ve noted in reading here over a period of years (I’m 4 years post D-Day): in the first weeks or months, people write about how sudden the change was, how blindsided they were, how there was some mysterious “change.” The chumps who stick it out and go through divorce (or separation, for the non-married) start to re-think the past. They start to see “it has been lopsided.” I truly don’t believe that someone who is “all in” with their partner even has time to cheat, especially when there are kids! And even if the partner pulled his or her weigh in the home, quite often the emotional component is one-sided, with one person being a taker and the other a giver.

    • Lost,

      Today is the one-year anniversary of my last, big discovery of my husband’s affair, so I’m going to try to give you my perspective a year out.

      I remember the early days, bursting into tears while doing dishes, literally curling up on my kitchen tiles and sobbing like I was dying (I am not an emotionally dramatic person by nature). Sleepless nights, wishing I would die in a car accident, wishing he would die in a car accident, explaining to my toddler that mommy was just sad and the crying while daddy was at work wasn’t because of anything she had done. Staring at my newborn son and wondering if he was a terrible mistake. I went through all stages of hope and despair and rage.

      Here’s the thing I’ve really learned:

      You are enough. You are loveable and deserved to be loved. Your children are loveable and deserved to be loved.

      Lost, I don’t care if you folded the socks wrong or never took interest in her basket weaving or were on your phone too much or had any of the million faults that any of us have. You are human. You are imperfect. You are enough. You are loveable and deserved to be loved.

      When you believe that, truly internalize that, you will look at her efforts to slither back to you with an astonished, “Oh, gosh, no thank you! Not with a ten foot pole, but thanks anyway!” Because you are worth more than that. If that’s hard to feel, think through your kids. If your child called you up years from now and related that this exact thing had happened to them, what would you say? What would you do?

      Sit in the anger you would feel on their behalf and use it to move forward. They will learn what to expect out of relationships by watching you. Show them how to model self-respect, self-compassion, dignity and self-worth. You can do this. You are strong and worthy and you WILL make it through this. It will suck. It will suck big, hairy monkey balls, but you will find reserves of strength and courage you never thought you had.

      And if your marriage was anything like mine, you’re going to realize at some point that your wife had been subtly (or not) devaluing you for a long time, that it’s hard to remember a time when you really felt like you were accepted and loved by her. You will eventually find yourself again (or, if you’re like me, maybe for the first time). Make a decision that you’re going to use the dumpster fire she created of your marriage to forge the very best version of yourself. Not in an “I’ll show her!” way, or even for your kids, but for you.

      Stay here. Keep reading (Infidelity Help Group also has some very good info, and I found Brene Brown’s stuff very helpful for gaining a life). Join the forum. Ask for support. There is life after this, better and more honest. Don’t let your wife waste any more of the life you have waiting for you.

      • Thank you for taking the time to reply to me Nottoday. Your words have made a big difference (as well as the others). I’ve managed to stop crying, and feel a bit of hope. I will look at the resources you listed.

    • Lost: I second every bit of advice from above. You have found the right place (as much as it sucks HAVING to find it) … this site and the people here saved me and my kids. They are kind — and they really get.

      My marriage was 23 years — and many people on here dealt with the destruction of their long-term marriages. So, please know you aren’t alone.

      Sending a big, virtual (((hug))). I know it feels like the bottom of the earth fell out, but I promise you didn’t deserve this … I promise your kids didn’t deserve this … and I promise you WILL make it through this.

    • LostandReeling, Early days, so don’t feel like it all has to be done soon. Baby steps are good (big fan of What About Bob? and other movies or books or music that inspires me). Do read here. CL and CN are mighty. We were all gutted losing our dreams to the reality of a cheating spouse. (The disordered can be very good at deception.) Your response is normal; you are grieving. When Fucktard blew our marriage up, I was a mess, had been with him for many years and wanted that fairy tale. Had it all except an honest spouse. ☹️ But I also recognized that I needed to have a plan. I spoke to my young adults about priorities, about how they needed to take care of themselves, and that I would do everything in my power to pursue a good outcome (ie their wellness and eduction was my big priority), so I focused on that. I was sad at first but grew angry quickly when I realized what he’d done in the years (days, hours, minutes, seconds) leading up to Dday. My anger saved me. It propelled me to move forward. Truth was, cheating was my dealbreaker. I was a great spouse, and never doubted my worth. I fucking rocked. And it still fell apart. So, I encourage you to get busy moving. I swam in the lake and walked every day. It helped me process my feelings. I also knew when to just take a day off to practice extreme self care. Work was a blessing though as it helped me to focus on something else. I relied on my friends and family. I binge watched Hulu. I took care of my kids. And I moved ahead with the divorce. There is a lot of value in slowing down, in approaching life with intentionality…. So reflect on what you want and need and move towards that. (((Hugs))) and best wishes.

    • Lost, You are describing me at the end of 2011. I saw a 16 year marriage with 3 minor kids go poof due to Ex having an affair.
      First of all, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT !! You are suffering and in shock and have your close friends and family supporting you which is great. Soon though you will discover that people whom you thought were good friends were not — CL calls them “Switzerland friends”. It will hurt when they turn on you and ask you what you did to cause her to cheat. Cut off contact to anyone who does this — you don’t need it.
      Next, LISTEN TO YOUR LAWYER !! Your Ex is now starting to feel the consequences of her actions and will be desperate to get you to lighten up –don’t !! Some good advice that I got was that you need to put your emotions on the shelf until after and treat the divorce like a business negotiation because it is. What happens with the divorce decree will affect you for years financially so do what your lawyer says.
      Finally, take care of you. I strongly recommend getting a therapist for you and maybe the kids to help you get through this. I’m not going to lie, 2018 is going to suck for you and be very painful. You are cutting a deep cancer out of your life and it’s really painful to remove. Once it is all over though things are going to get much better for you. Hang in there !!

      • Thank you. At first I blamed myself but after reading ChumpLady’s book and site I realize that I am not to blame at all. I know very clearly what my faults are and the work I need to do on them, but I will never take responsibility for what she did.

        I’ve also had some “switzerland friends” already. Who needs people like that?

        I’m definitely considering seeing a therapist and soon.

        • Hey Lost, you are definitely in the right place. It is somewhere none of us wanted to ever be, but thank goodness we found a place to support one another! You will get better. Limit your contact if you can, keep it civil and cool. Yourwife has shown you what she is capable of, what else do you need to see? My situation is similar to yours, mywife of more than 20 years, best friend and lover for nearly 30 years decided I wasn’t good enough for her. Our family, three great kids, and what I thought was a great future were all blown up. I wasn’t even given the opportunity to reconcile, and as heartbreaking as it is to me,maybe this was a blessing.

          I would say that seeing a therapist can really help you to look at things clearly. I know that I have been prone to some very negative thinking about myself, but it wasn’t accurate or realistic. You didn’t control what your wife did, she made those choices on her own.

          Keep being the best dad you can be, keep putting one foot in front of the other and it will get better.

    • Dear Lost,
      I’m so glad you found this site, you are in the right place coming here.

      Nothing, and I mean NOTHING ever hurt as much as having the person I loved more than life itself have an affair on me and walk out the door. I never saw it coming and have never been so sucker punched in my life. I thought we had a great marriage. Over time, I came to the realization that I had a fake life and a fake marriage and I was married to a fake man. It was like navigating a ship with a false map. Nothing was real. I didn’t sleep or eat. I lost 20 lbs in a month. I cried in front of my coworkers, I cried in front of my clients and I cried in front of strangers. In hindsight, I should have applied for Family Medical Leave because I ended up losing my job over it. When business got slow, I was the first to go as I was seen as the ‘weakest link.’

      But….I’m here to say it does get better and there is an end to this. I got a much better job that I love, I was able to keep my home and even found love again. It took me years but I take a long time to get over things. I’journey there was no Chump Lady or Chump Nation to lean on. I found them years later but still got tremendous strength and lots of laughs from their wisdom and humor. I’ve even made friends with some of them in real life. So hang in there, get the help you need and come here often. We’re here for you !

      • Your words are so encouraging. Thank you so much. Everything you wrote is how I feel. It’s hard accepting that love is not enough. It should be but it isn’t. I genuinely hope that I can find and make some friends here as I find it difficult to really approach a lot of real life people about it. I’m so broken but I want to get better. You words help.

      • I lost my job last April and have had some temping work only since and have lurched through 2017. I don’t know how to bring it up in interviews. I thought I was holding it together at work but clearly wasn’t. I was in accounts so required a bit of brain power. I like to be honest. Can you give me any advise on gaining work after being ‘let go’?
        Thanks

    • What’s true is that old saw that when you’re in hell you don’t stop to pick flowers. You keep moving forward even if you feel like you’ve been shot and you certainly don’t want to drag the shooter along with you. That’s insanity, right? You keep moving. You get to safety. You build a wall. You tend your injuries. You heal. You try to take your shooter with you and all that energy you need to recover is going to go toward sleeping with one eye open. That’s no way to live.

      Here’s your reassurance – it will hurt like hell and then one day it won’t. Feeling are not permanent. Prepare for the next year to be a free fall emotionally. Start paying great attention to your feelings and you’ll start seeing how they’re like storm clouds with rare breaks for a glimmer of sunshine. Then the storms grow less frequent and you get a tiny bit of blue sky after days of flat grey clouds. And then one day a longer stretch of blue sky opens and the sun comes out. Not to stay forever- it never does- but you see that it does shine.

      There are lots and lots of great people in the world to love and who will love you. The big secret is that you have to love yourself first though to attract the kind of person you’re really going to want. You have to choose to be happy (eventually- not right away although you can start thinking about it-and you’ll have to practice it a lot like you’d practice the piano or your golf swing until it feels natural). True Happy people are the very most attractive – everyone wants what they’ve got to offer. And the best part is that when you are really happy you won’t NEED another person which makes you a chooser instead of a needer and that’s super attractive. A happy secure chooser who has been through hell is going to attract lots of people and is also going to have the experience and judgement to kick the disordered to the curb.

      You obviously already know that love isn’t scarce. You’ve loved from a deep pool inside yourself. And when you’ve loved you’ve felt so happy. We all worry about trying to get love but its when we are giving love that we feel it. So resist worrying about who is going to love you or how you will find love. It’s like looking for your glasses and finding them on top of your head.

      • Wow thank you so much for your beautiful words. I will continue to read them over and over. You have all helped me make it through a dark dark day. I feel awful that my kids see me break down but I can’t help myself – my grief is so overwhelming at times. Thanks for throwing me a lifeline. I appreciate it.

        • Your kids should see that you are a loving and caring man. You thought you were in a real marriage, and were all in. You loved your wife and family, do not feel ashamed for grieving that. I think that kids would be proud to have a father that can love like that and show it.

            • From another canuck:

              Let the kids see you grieve. It’s normal. Let them also see you pick yourself up again. They need to have a good role model about managing emotions. You said they are teenagers? They will be having their hearts broken soon enough, in ways adults consider minor relationship-learning and which is HUGE to their hormonal emotional rollercoaster, and they need to know how to recover.

              My ex sometimes asks my kids not to tell me things, tells them to lie to ‘protect my feelings’ or ‘not make me sad.’ I don’t want them to learn to be liars, or to feel they can’t confide in me about anything, so I always tell them I am an adult and I can manage my emotions accordingly.

              Plus, when my ex goes off the rails in their presence, which is known to happen, they learn that this behaviour is truly immature.

              • This is fantastic advice. I’ve gotten so much today I don’t know what to say. Thank you.

    • IT GETS BETTER. but it totally sucks ass.

      And when I say it gets better, I only can say 6 months in, it gets better than the day before. I still cry. But not for hours.

      I see my STBX as messed up. I’m seeing my past life as messed up now that I see it as clearly as I do.

      I’m JUST beginning to understand what divorce means. What it means to put the kids first. What it means to divide stuff up; literal and emotional stuff.

      It gets better. I have no idea yet if it gets great.

      • Thanks tall one. I also think I’m grieving so heavily because we’ve started the divorce process and in my heart I know that it means it’s the end. That terrifies me in ways I can’t describe. My heart would take her back but my brain knows that it would in all likelihood be a mistake. She doesn’t have the ability to repair what she has done. This I know for sure.

    • Hey lostandreeling. From one male chump to another I feel your pain. I really do. You’ve already had great advice from the other CN posters so I wont repeat it. But I will provide my insight if that’s suitable.

      When my ExW dropped the bomb I like you visited that site you mentioned a lot. And for a very long time. Here’s the thing. You’re read those books. You devoured them because you wanted to save your M. Right? Yea, I did that version of the pick me dance as well for a very long time. But I also discovered this site very early on and do you know what? I wasn’t interested in the phlosophy being peddled here. I could save my marrage. I could bring her back. But whey do they rarely mention an AP? And do they talk about how shitty life would be if you did manage to reconcile? Nope, doesn’t sell books nor time with a DB coach.

      What a load of bullshit. She checked out because she’s a shallow selfish bitch. She threw my family and my kids future under a bus for an ego boost. Kibbles.

      CN is rignt. You should be incredulous, no infact down right angry at her. How dare she.

      Now from my perspective I eventually started to feel better once I’d sold the marital home and moved in here. NC was near perfect and she couldnt get to me. The advide about GAL is good, and you should do this. I get you won’t want to do that right away but let is plant a seed in your head. Say yes to any and every opportunity to have fun. It does help.

      Case in point. An overwhelming amount of people suggest hitting the gym. Well I’m not a gym bunny. Never have been but I tried. It wasn’t for me.

      So I took up the guitar. My ExWhore hated people practicing the guitar so I never really got the chance. Now I love it. I’m rubbish, and I don’t care. Ill do it anyway.

      I mention this because its has two points. One, it’s something I could never do if I was still with her. Two, you get submerged in it. And that takes your mind of the shit storm your in. You get to be at peace with yourself.

      These things do help. I rarely go to the fourms here (I’m way past needing advice but I still come here for the reminders) but I will visit and look out for you.

      Oh and one last thing. I have a friend that visits that site you mentioned. He’s still there and still hanging on for reconcillation. 3 years later. 3 years man. His W is gone. Yet he’s still instant she’s going through a MLC. So undignified and such a waste of a life. Don’t be him.

      Peace bro

      • Thank you so much for your words Notmehyet2, I appreciate it a lot.

        I did go to divorcebusters, and paid for a “coach”. However my wife rebuffed me at every turn and I just couldn’t properly process that she was fully enmeshed in her affair and wanted to leave me for him.

        It’s hard to do things because in the last 20 years we’ve been married I think we’ve been apart a sum total of 7 days. I’ve realized that I can’t run away from everything that reminds me of her because we did everything together. It’s pointless so I just have to get used to the new reality and move forward as painful as that is. I did take almost all the pictures of her in the house down as they are too painful to look at.

        I so appreciate your kindness and while I do think my wife is going through a MLC, she is completely and utterly responsible for her choice to cheat. I could never wait three years. I won’t give her any more of my time than I have to.

    • It does get better. But you can help yourself. Set some boundaries around communication. Use email. Set a date for her to move her stuff somewhere. Make sure your lawyer is tough-minded. Get to a therapist who understands the trauma of infidelity and dealing with someone who is disorder. Print out NotAddictedChump’s list above. It’s pretty comprehensive for this stage of your journey.

      You wrote, “She has become a completely different person.” And of course that is how it seemed to you. But what really happened is she took off her mask. Do as much reading on “character disorder” and narcissism as you can. CL has great resources at the top of the main page. Educate yourself. It will take a long while for what your mind knows to filter down to your heart and your gut. But it will. And don’t worry about “diagnosing” your STBX. She may or may not be a narcissist, but people with character disorders tend to behave in the same way. What you know–what you KNOW–is that your STBX’s behavior is not how normal people behave. So the woman you are seeing is the real woman. And now she’s boo-hooing because the piece of crap person she cheated with turned out to be a turd. Oh well.

      The thing for you to do is stay the course. Get the divorce. As you practice no contact and start to heal (and that will include some fiery anger at some point), you will be amazed at how you will see, in retrospect, that your life with her wasn’t as great as it seems to you right now, in the freshness of your pain. I cried for 2 solid months, pretty much everywhere except at work. It’s normal. It hurts.

      • Thank you for responding. I’m not sure she’s a narc but she has so many of the behaviors/responses that Tracy has written about. She definitely is a disordered person. Both of her parents have abandoned her at various points in her life, and her mother has had an 20 year affair that still continues to today. She has become like her mother. She hasn’t realized that I have been the only person who had truly loved her and supported her this whole time.

        I realize that it doesn’t matter what her past is or why she did it, but looking back at how she was raised I was foolish thinking she could be somewhat normal.

        • This !

          I battled this forever even in marriage.

          StbxW’s Mom broke up first family marriage long ago. She’s just repeating that pattern.

          My p’s just celebrated their 50th.
          I thought I could save. Be a hero.

          There are books that might help (it didn’t start w/ you (?) and The Body Remembers(?)) But it doesn’t matter for you Rt now. For me either. Just have to get on.

          My STBX was always depressed and fighting anxiety. Always fighting back demons. Now I know who they are and who she truly is.

          Would have never asked to marry me long ago.

          BUT got two kids out of the deal!

          Forward marching…

        • Lost,

          I will not tell you what to do, but I will share with you my experience of taking back husband and boyfriends who have betrayed me. I was scared for various reasons to be alone (in spite of education and a pretty good support network). My disordered husband and my dishonest, cruel, and in some cases, unfaithful boyfriends got WAY worse after I accepted, or sadly ‘won’ them back through pick me dancing. They knew how low they could go with me! after I took them back. My husband even made a spreadsheet which showed my daily scores as a wife to determine whether I deserved to stay his wife after D-Day #1. (Purportedly, a therapist had told him to rate me. My husband told me that I did not need to rate him. After several weeks of this, he told me that I failed.) He also told me to sign and notarize in one day a form offering to forfeit my half of our joint assets if I filed for divorce–a few minutes after demanding that our youngest child leave our bedroom after a couple of minutes of snuggling with us, throwing his wedding ring on our bedroom floor, and telling me how often his mistress gave him sex (much more than I did although I am far from a cold fish. As a touring entertainer, of course she, his co-worker could have sex with him way more often.). On top of all that, later that day. He spanked me, repeatedly not in a playful, sexual, respectful way. (After the second time, I told him that I would call the cops if he ever hit me again. For the next few months,although he pretended to run me over with his car (without provocation) and scare me in various ways, he called the cops purportedly to protect him from me! I never abused him–I couldn’t stand touching him at that point. These examples are just the tip of a very sick iceberg.(You can look through archives for some other bizarre, colorful examples of my life with an extremely disordered dangerous spouse) Do you want that to be your weeckonciliation ecperiemce?
          In himdcsight, I (and perhaps my kids and others) would have been much physically, emotionally, mentally. and financially better off had I left at the first sign of inexcusable behavior. Has I cut off my husband at the first sign of very bad behavior, I could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars, years of my life, and more.

          I think that you are handling your situation incredibly well. Know that a LOT of good people are behind and with you.

          • Hi rockstarwife, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your story. I can’t believe how utterly fucked up you’ve been treated. It actually makes me angry. I hope you are in a better place now and thanks for your support.

            PS: I have registered for the forums and my name has changed from lostandreeling to bigdaddio.

  • As the parent of a 13 year old, can I just say two things? Chump Lady Speaks the Truth and It Gets Better.

    I don’t care how long Sparkles and Sparkle Monkey are together. If theirs was an all consuming Love of the Ages, there is no way he would still be harassing you. Eventually, if he sees no blood from his attempts to scratch, he will find another toy to bat around. And let’s say he and Sparkle Monket are JUST MADE FOR EACH OTHER. Well, they objectively suck, so keeping them all up in others knickers keeps them and their afflictions away from us Normies.

    My ex husband fought bitterly for 50/50 shared custody. His child support was 35.00 a week. As soon as he received shared custody (even with a domestic violence conviction from punching me), she gradually began to scale back his parenting time. He now sees his daughter 4-6 days a month. She still has no room or bed of her own where he lives. He’s collected a second child along the way and that relationship was equally awful. At one point he even called me to “finally apologize” for his affairs because now his Sasquatch Baby mama was being unfaithful. Classic sociopath- only thinks things that affect him are wrong. Has no perception that things that are wrong are wrong.

    His child support is now tripled because of the reduction in time. I doubt if you asked him he could name any of daughter’s teachers or doctors, except her cardiologist because they both have the same rare genetic heart mutation that garners him rock star attention at the hospital. That’s how fucked up he is. he also knows I use every fuckin’ penny on our daughter. The baby he wanted to kidnap and take to Massachusetts to shack up with and online whore he’s never met is now a happy, healthy girl with Merit Roll grades, a passport and travel and extracurricular experiences that anyone would envy. He takes her to Cincinnati sometimes.

    We’re not rich and our lives are not perfect- hence the busted three year relationship that brought me to CL. But parenting with a fuckwit is possible if you stay sane or fake it till you make it, ignore any small acts of intentional fuckery that do not harm your children, and you detach, detach, detach.

    For me, I knew meh was coming when regardless of what former partners threw at me, I was living my live as if they hadn’t tried to destroy me. Not only does it PROVE they didn’t destroy us, but living my life for me rather than in reference or reaction to the past- That’s real freedom. That’s getting on with it. Hugs to you. You are phenomenal to get this far.

  • Wow! Apparently I am a very lucky super villain. I have not heard “boo” from xh, besides his plots and schemes since divorce. Every turn it was a nasty scheme to bait me into a scam of some design.

    Except last year, on Valentines’ Day. Wanted to trade “muck boots”, since in his hasty retreat to run into schmoopies cow shit arms, he grabbed one of his, one of mine. Really? St. Valentine’s Day?
    He INSISTED we meet to exchange proper poop boot ownership.

    I ignored until his third request. Emails sent to my work, personal and old email addresses.
    — I did reply; “Yeah.. … … naw, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

    To which he replied with another post. Deleted. Forgotten.
    Not one word since.

    “Yeah, … … … naw, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” My nine words to live by.

    • LOL – ” He INSISTED we meet to exchange proper poop boot ownership. ”
      Made my day Magneto. Thank you:)

  • My ex STILL occasionally pops up to harass me, try to cheat me out of the money he owes me, or pull control strings. Our son is young adult, ex is not triangulating me, and I do not ever contact him first, so he really has no reason to ever contact me, but it’s simply the nature of a demon; he is filled with hate for me because I know what he is and my very existence belies his image as a wonderful, Christian, good man who describes himself as “an honest man of my word.”

    The truly disordered will often continue their attacks without any clear reason and without any clear gain…. it’s just their nature, and especially if they believe you’ve seen behind their masks.

    We’ve been divorced for five years. I’m remarried, ex is living with a woman who supports him financially and they are engaged. You’d think he’d leave me alone entirely at this point, but no.

    • You’ve put it so well . . . “I know what he is and my very existence belies his image as a wonderful, Christian, good man who describes himself as “an honest man of my word.”” This explains my EX beautifully. Your insights may be hard won, but they are brilliant!

      • Yes, I know what he is and what he did. I am so glad I divorced him, moved on and saved my own life!

        -His wish for me to die from cancer didn’t come true. I battled for two years and am now winning my fight against cancer. This, in spite of him engaging for years in unprotected sex with prostitutes/AP’s, selling our marital assets and draining retirement accounts (leaving us with near nothing) and being unbelievably mentally cruel during highly contentious 13 month divorce.
        -He hates me, hates state laws that forced him to pay alimony to a 34 year wife, with cancer, who didn’t deserve to be cheated on and stolen from. He didn’t think he should have to pay a penny.
        -Narcissist injury and damage to his image ignited more cruel acts toward me and double-downing on his image management.
        -He keeps coming at me through needless and baseless litigation, triangulation between adult son (maintains limited relationship with), he and I. Sick and evil human!

        Here’s my take away from a 2-year perspective (TY CL/CN, great therapist and non-Switzerland family & friends):

        -NO CONTACT!!!!! Shut their shit down! Get off the crazy train.
        -Never take them back or “hear them out”. They showed you who they were, believe them! Stop being a chump!
        -Stand up and rise. Never let their dysfunction keep you down. Grieve and use your anger to be your fuel to heal and propel yourself toward your best life.
        -They project an image of “happy in their new life”. Don’t believe it for a nanosecond. How happy can they be in their new life if they have to return and continue abuse you? Miserable humans!

        If they were sooooo happy, you likely wouldn’t be on their radar. They are miserable people sharing a new “image” life with shitty character cheaters. Don’t fall for it and remember…

        -NO CONTACT!!!
        -Trust that they suck.
        -No “pick me” with them or “believe me” with friends & family dances. No Switzerland’s! You are worth more and deserve the best.

        Stay strong and Monday hugs chumps ❤️

    • Isn’t there some form of legal “No Contact” thing that can be done? If he’s continuing to harass you without any reason, you have the right to be left alone.

  • Hello Chump Lady and Chump Nation,

    I hope this is okay to post here. I know a lot of us have been involved and abused by narcissists. My ex-narc for sure emotionally cheated on me from the very beginning of our relationship and when I asked about his “friend” in the Army that he was writing letters to, he said of course “she’s just a friend.” I won’t get into all the specifics why I now know that was a lie. He committed love fraud. I never would have married him if I knew the truth about him and what he was doing behind my back for 24 years. Our relationship cycled through the love-bomb/devalue/discard stages a few times. Lots of Jekyll and Hyde behavior. Pathological lying that made me feel crazy at times. Gaslighting, cheating, triangulating me with women and so much more! And when I finally caught him out with a newly divorced whore – this is the short version of the story – he pulled the rug out from under me and told me I was to blame because I didn’t trust him. For months and months after that I felt like I was going crazy. Deep depression. And then months later I found out from a very good source that he did a massive smear campaign at the very exact time we entered Christian counseling with our pastor. He totally smeared my good character by telling tons of lies about me, to the point he had his co-workers convinced I was going to damage their property or hurt them. I would never ever do that and never even thought to do that. I could barely get out of bed and get to work each day, let alone stalk or hurt people that I could care less about! And now I see people that used to know me and used to call me “Sweet Martha” around town and they look at me with fear and walk quickly away. And this is all from my ex Jesus Cheater Narcopath. He did all this. I have no problem calling people like this evil. I have no problem calling him evil.

    I know it’s too late for justice for me, but I think it would be great that there would be laws on books for people who do this kind of stuff. If there was, I could easily go to court for emotional and psychological abuse. What he did could easily be proved by deposing people he lied to me about. I could depose his last employer who fired him when he was having an affair (that he was abusive towards me for a year — he deny’s the affair of course). I could do a lot if narcissistic abuse was punishable.

    So, if you feel inclined to sign this petition, maybe it will be at least a few steps in the right direction to hold these abusers accountable for all their actions. Please feel free to take down CL if it goes against your policies. I know it’s your blog and I don’t want to do anything that’s against your wishes. 🙂

    https://www.change.org/p/protect-victims-that-suffer-emotional-psychological-and-financial-abuse-by-narcissistic-personality-disordered-individuals/fbog/847449762?recruiter=847449762&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish

  • Fortunately I do not have an ex that won’t leave me alone. Part of it is forced because I block him from almost every electronic venue. He can’t call me on my cell or text me or facetime me. There is only one email he can reach me with; the other two I have are set to send emails from any of his addresses to junk mail. If he absolutely had to get in touch with me, he could do it but fortunately it’s probably too much of an effort because I haven’t seen or heard from him in 4 years.

    Of course, the adult status of my children helps in this regard. The other key element is that we have absolutely no financial ties. Because of the length of our marriage and the fact that he earned more money than me, our mediation lawyer said I was entitled to alimony and he was worried that it might raise a red flag with the judge that I wasn’t getting any. At the time the ex wasn’t making a whole lot more than me so I told the mediator I wanted to move ahead without it.

    Would it have helped? Absolutely because our eldest (adult) son lives with me so he can pay down his enormous student loan. I pretty much pay for everything (rent, electricity, cable, phone) while he pays his student loan, car payment, gas, insurance and food. I have to pay for a bigger place and more utility costs so the extra monies would have helped.

    However, when I did the math and worked aggravation into the equation I decided it wasn’t worth it. It seems the other thing cheaters have in common is their propensity to feel like they have a say in your life if you are getting money from them. It also flips their switch to rage when they can’t do whatever they want all the time. And if you’re really lucky some of the rage comes from their schmoopies too!

    I understand that it’s not possible for all chumps to do this but honestly, if you have the means then forgo the alimony. Never child support because that money is for the children but alimony seems to go right up their ass even further than the child support. Too much drama for it to be worth it in my humble opinion unless you really need it or they’re really loaded. 🙂

  • Narcs also hate losing their preferred punching bag. My narc ex-husband sent me horrible e-mails at least once a year for years after we divorced, none of which I ever responded to, but all designed to goad me into some kind of response. They were so pompous and self-serving (insisting I owed him an apology) that I would scan the first line or two and then block that email. Naturally, he’d use another email. Eventually, he stopped. So it just goes to show that crickets or gray rock are your best bet with narcs. They need responsive targets, so they usually move on. If not, you most likely have a sociopath on your hands.

    Happy ignoring, everyone!

  • Thank you for this! I am, as you know, Boggled — and it really honestly helps to hear this. I know the lessons conveyed in this post, but since my kids are so young, I need reminding — not only to grey rock him and the OW, but also that what I’m doing on a daily basis as a single mom is good and right and will help my kids grow into the people I hope them to be!

  • Just a quick example of hard core NO CONTACT.

    Ex gave my 14 year old son for Christmas, I swear this is true, a flame thrower.

    Didja hear that Chump Nation? A FLAME THROWER.

    And while my kids were visiting, ex sat down to watch TV with them and he picked Black Mirror. For my 12 year old daughter and 14 son. Black Mirror is very very extremely inappropriate!!!!

    Sigh. I stayed NC. But I’ll be damned if my son plays with that thing.

    PS, yes, he is still a Presbyterian pastor.

    • This would almost be funny if it weren’t also so messed up. There have been a number of times in my life when I have had fundamental doubts in any sort of divine power, but going through betrayal, a desecration of vows, a complete discard of years of devotion have been the most difficult challenge of all. To read the posts about all the supposed men of the cloth being responsible for this kind of hurt makes me pretty ill. The hypocrisy is absolute. Wherevis a good lightning bolt when you need one?

      • He also thought it would be great for my kids to watch Future Man, which I get is really funny BUT us also very inappropriate for kids, since it has graphic sex and other things in it.

        I mean, COME ON. Be a parent!!!

    • I love Black Mirror, but I can’t bare to watch it post-affair discovery. It’s just too dark. Definitely not for young kids, every adult I know struggles with it. Trying to be the cool parent maybe?

  • Been thinking about this post all day, obviously. It’s actually rather interesting that the night the cheater told me he wanted a divorce, which was almost 2 years ago now, because we have been battling out custody and financial matters since that time — he emptied his 401(k) without my knowledge to finance his affair and then lied on joint taxes which he submitted without my approval so the IRS is still on both of our backs for his mistakes, and I was completely in the dark —. One of the things he told me that night was that he wanted to have a fighting chance at happiness. I just can’t get that freeze out of my head because I think it’s pathetic. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who finds happiness with someone else, but I have never been happier than these past two years getting away from that soul sucker and being able to focus on my children and my career. He obviously thinks that in order to be happy he has to have someone with him. Such a narchole! I did online dating for a while, but it wasn’t for me. I was finding that I would rather be at home and sitting on dates, and I’m sure that if I ever do find someone, it will be when I least expect it. Admittedly, I am early to the divorce club.

  • In keeping with “why don’t cheaters get a life and leave us alone,” here’s my story for today.

    Son just returned from a trip to ex’s state, prompted by the unexpected and sudden death of ex’s father, son’s grandpa. Ex refused to pay for plane ticket there although he demanded son’s presence. He said son has “plenty of money.” Note that son is a full time college student who works a few hours a week at a minimum wage job, while ex is also barely employed, but currently lives with wealthy fiance. I paid for airline ticket so son could attend grandfather’s funeral.

    Son arrived home last night with a suitcase FULL of dirty, crumpled, used disposable plastic grocery store bags. Said ex gave them to him to bring home to me so I could “use them as trashbags.” WTF. Ex literally sent me his trash.

  • Thank you Martha 🙂

    It should be a punishable crime.

    I signed.

    Please post this link in the forums so all will see it. I don’t know about others, the ‘notify me’ button hasn’t been working for me for months. I hope you repost in the forums.

    Again, thank you 🙂

  • One of my resolutions is to keep grey rock and avoid the knee jerk desire to respond to his BS. Drives me crazy to get condescending comments on my parenting or financial decisions. Or, how I need to do certain things (which he will dictate) “for the good of the children.” And the flip flopping! In one breath I get grandiose offers of help (pay your child support yo!), in the second I’m given bills for urgent care visits he took the kids to 9 months ago. As little contact as possible is the best way to go! Keeps the drama away!

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