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Dear Chump Lady, Why does he get to look like a Good Person?

Dear Chump Lady,

I didn’t think Valentine’s Day would bother me as much as it did.

I was married for 18 years, with my husband for 25. I supported him through medical school and 7 years of a surgical residency by working full-time and raising 2 kids. He had an affair 3 years ago with a colleague. After I discovered the affair we spent a year in counseling, trying to rebuild the marriage and save the family. In his mind — I took TOO LONG TO HEAL and the therapist made him feel like a horrible person. While we were rebuilding, he had another affair with his surgical nurse. He took our family on an African safari this summer …. while he had a girlfriend on the side. She is also married and has THREE KIDS UNDER the age of 7!!

We separated after he told me he could not end the relationship with her. He refused to move out the house and lived with us for 6 months. We ignored each other, except when fighting and when he would berate and call me “a piece of shit”, “pathetic”, “ridiculous” . His excuse for not leaving was that it didn’t make financial sense (regardless of the fact that he is an orthopedic surgeon and I am a doctor too).

During this time he would leave for work and not come home for days at a time. I had to make up excuses for the kids who are 12 and 15 when they asked me, “Where is dad?”. I reached my breaking point 2 weeks ago and moved out — with the kids. I told the kids he has a girlfriend and neither of them batted an eye. I am not sure if they weren’t surprised or if our living situation is so fucked up that this is normal to them. I didn’t want to disrupt them and take them from their home, but I emotionally could not take it anymore. He continues to tell me that the kids will accept and love his girlfriend because they will see how happy he is in his new life.

On Valentine’s Day, he asked the kids if they wanted to get me flowers. They said, “yes”. He has not acknowledged Valentine’s Day every, except to say it’s a made-up holiday. He proceeded to send me TROPICAL (think orchids and birds of paradise — so un-valentine) flowers. The bouquet cost about $100. He also sent it to my maiden name (which I use professionally only). HE DOES NOT GET TO LOOK LIKE GOOD GUY. People say it’s good for the kids to see him be nice. BUT HE’S NOT!!! He is doing this to look like a GOOD GUY, like a HERO. HE IS A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING.

I have NEVER felt so much anger and hatred towards someone in my life. I don’t feel like I will EVER, EVER get to meh. It’s not fair that he feels NO consequences, gets his new life and gets to look like he is great guy. He is worse than a sparkly turd.

V-day Chump

Dear V-day Chump,

Maybe today’s Fun Friday challenge is a 101 Ways to Dispose of an Orchid Bouquet? Welcome to the wonderful world of impression management. I’m reminded of that John Prine lyric “Beats his old lady with a big rubber hose, takes her out to dinner, buys her new clothes… that’s the way that the world goes round.”

You just got a beating, and then were presented with a lovely new sweater… in front of your children. Yeah, no wonder you’re pissed. He cheats on you, continually disrespects you, refuses to make any of this easier on you or the children by moving out (Can you feel the SORRY?) — and then sends flowers? “Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy the Cognitive Dissonance! Love Fuckwit.”

And the absences of roses or lilies or carnations is a further fuck you. (Hey, flowers have a language, you know.) He sends zero romantic wishes to the mother of his children, but would like you to accept the sort of bouquet you send to the head of the steamfitters union for a job well done on that waste water treatment facility. This arrangement says, “Here is a token of our business relationship. My secretary picked it out. I don’t know what a bird-of-paradise is. I expensed it. See you at the sewage plant! — Bob”

Okay, but really it’s WORSE than that, because he enlisted your children. It’s not a gift — it’s triangulation. It’s enlisting their help in the giant Fuck You.

Let’s go back to our wife beater/sweater analogy.

“I bought you this beautiful sweater!”

Chump looks at it glumly.

“Aren’t you going to try it on? You LOVE angora!”

Chump: “I hate angora. It makes me itch. You know that.”

“Just try it on! It’s totally your color!”

Chump: “It’s puce.”

“MANY WOMEN WOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR A FLUFFY PUCE SWEATER! God, I can’t do anything right for you.”

(Cue the sad sausage and rage channels, now that we’ve flipped through “charm.”)

Off camera? The chump has been beaten. On camera? The chump looks glum, sullen, ungrateful for this gift.

For the cheater — this is an impression management win.

Solution? Boundaries!

No need to dress the local scarecrow in a puce, angora sweater — just return it.

“I’m sorry, I don’t accept sweaters from men who beat me.”

Now you!

“I’m sorry, I don’t accept floral bouquets from men who cheat on me.”

To your children: “I’m sorry. It’s not acceptable for me to receive gifts from your father. He has a girlfriend. He knows this, and it wasn’t okay of him to enlist you in purchase. However, I very much appreciate the sentiment that you wanted to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day.” And then direct them to glitter glue and construction paper, depending on their ages.

Boundaries! It’s what we’re modeling.

And they look one hell of a lot better on you than an ugly, itchy abuser sweater.

Hang in there, V-day Chump.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • PS — to everyone sending me PM of Australia articles I PROMISE to write about it Monday. Thanks.

    • Hi Chump Lady — just a reminder: prostitution is legal in Australia. A popular adds suggests that hubby take a prostitute over his lunch hour. The red light district in Sydney is in the heart of the downtown area.

      • Wow!! I could suggest to STBX that he and his hooker GF could go pursue their business plan Down Under, and I’d be rid of them for good

      • Prostitution is legal only in registered brothels; street prostitution and unregistered prostitution is still illegal. None of which has anything to do with Barnaby Joyce, since he had an affair with one of his staff, and has not been accused of anything related to prostitution
        As to Julia Gillard, our former PM- she has a surname– proof? names? this slur has been doing the rounds a long time without any supporting evidence that I’ve ever seen.Barnaby Joyce had an affair at the taxpayers expense and is still living rent free in a “friend’s” luxury mansion, and is happy to admit to all of it- but it’s a ” private matter”

    • You can use the Daily Telegraph front page image with the huge headline “Bundle of Joyce” as the blog post photo…

      Gawd I love reporter snark. 😉

    • Also, their former prime minister, Julia, is a known serial cheater, with married politicians.

      • She absolutely is not! I live in Aus and I have literally never heard of her referred to as that. (Although maybe my ears had fatigued from all the hysterical crying about her choices in clothing and lacking of fulfilling her womanly potential by having children…no doubt if she had children she would have been lambasted for that as well).

        Way to amplify the misogynistic mudslinging of the intensely conservative Murdoch press though.

    • Lovin’ it. The backlash against cheater Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been very enjoyable to watch.

      Most days when I look at our parliament, I find myself thinking it can only be cleansed with fire.

      But then something like this happens, and it turns out some of us think his wife has been treated really badly as well, and that he’s a gobshite.


  • Thank you. This is timely for me even though the DDay feels like a lifetime ago. The image management. The triangulation. It doesn’t stop.

    I’m usually thrown off balance by this bullshit and cannot even muster a response at the time of the action.

    • I’m going through it right now. My husband has spent a lifetime being known as the nice guy. He infuriates me with his : “hope you’re having a good week” and “ hope you enjoy your holiday’ that he booked and then pulled out of to go on a luxury holiday to NY with OW. His recent email: asked how I was, wished me well, said things are ‘ hard’ and that what he has done is “ “unforgivable ( thank you Mr Pompous Darcy). Yet in that same email he tried to hurry me along with settlement, generously saying he has waited til the end of Feb; until after our anniversaries. He is referring to our 30th wedding anniversary on the 27 Feb and the anniversary of our daughters death; the 28th Feb. No empathy there.

      Then he actually used the word ‘entitled ‘ when trying to access our assets. and rather than negotiate how to manage finances until settlement , he told me how he would dole out our money. He then tried to guilt me because our daughter rarely wants to see him. He wrapped up the email with more niceties.

      He also told all and sundry last year that we had counseling, not mentioning he was still seeing OW throughout. All to appear that he had tried but it just didn’t work.

      He invited me to share a Xmas dinner with his parents and the kids. My other daughter hasn’t spoken to him at all. So I guess the invitation was to get her to see him. And play happy separated families.

      For the other Aussies- From now on we can refer to cheaters as ‘Doing a Barnaby’. For others: All will be elaborated on by Tracy on Monday.

      • Barnaby the bonking beetroot! How timely and the mafs cheaters, so repulsive. Good to see the Aussie public saying it is unacceptable.
        G day from Bunbury WA

      • Oh, the niceties surrounding the actual F.U. message. Otherwise, known as the shit sandwich.

      • My covert narc ex tried to hoover me back in a few weeks ago. Actually, on the anniversary of the day I moved out of his house last year. I hadn’t talked or seen him in 6 months. I had gone n/c, but he snuck through an old FB account that he lost the password to, when we were together, so I never thought to block it.

        Anyways, he tried to be all “nice guy” and even said the reason he was contacting me was because he wanted to “be nice and say hi”. I told him he’s not a nice guy and he was only contacting me because things weren’t going well with the new lady love.

        That a nice guy doesn’t do what he did to a woman and her kids who loved him and wanted a future with him. He blocked me after telling me “I” was playing games.

        These guys never change. He never gave me closure when he discarded me for another woman. Even in this conversation with him, he told me he never betrayed or lied to me. Maybe he disrespected me. “A bit”. THIS WAS THE CLOSURE I NEEDED to know, deep in my heart that IT WAS NEVER ME. I’ve read a lot on narcs and image management and I thought it had sunk in. But this was the moment I needed to KNOW that I am stronger now, and not susceptible to his b/s. It was never me.

        Screw those “nice guy” narcs and their images!

        (And just to shit in his cornflakes, I sent all the screenshots of our convo to his lady love. You know. Just in case they didn’t break up. Then I can get my popcorn ready and watch him blow it all up himself. So yeah. Maybe I played his game, but he forgets: I’m waaaay smarter.)

  • Everything you said, Chump Lady – except beginning any sentence with “I’m sorry”

    Love it. Silk purse – sow’s ear, etc. He is so boring.

  • Dear V-Day Chump
    Wow. Your letter resurrected all sorts of emotions that I thought I had buried deeply. I feel rage on your behalf toward this asshole. My ex has tried similar triangulation exercises and I stopped this shit right up front like Chump Lady is telling you to do now. “People” tells you it is good for the children. I know those people – they used to circle around me telling me what’s best for my children. These people want what is good for “them” which is for you to stop shining a bright white light on what the hell is going on. I told them to F**k off and if they want what’s good for my children, then they can vigorously advocate on my behalf for a good spousal/child support agreement. Not surprisingly none of these “people” were up for that. Discard those people (yes, even long time friends) and trust your own instincts. Just because people (yes- even doctors, social workers, friends and relatives) tell you “what is good for the children”, it doesn’t make them right. This is your life and it is your call what is good for you and your children. If it feels like it sucks, then it DOES suck. Please don’t listen to the narrative about protecting the children’s relationship with their father by not talking about what is going on. He had every chance to protect that relationship and he chose to step away from it. You go right ahead and model solid values by explaining that you moved out because it is unacceptable for married people to have sex with other people and come home and pretend that “it’s all fine”. That is not what married people are supposed to do. Nor should people who have discarded their family squander money on flowers that are unwanted. The anger WILL subside once you have redefined your new life and you have no contact. He is still trying to call the shots which is what is infuriating. Kudos to you for walking out that front door. That must have been so bloody hard but you were very mighty to do it. Reach out to your fellow chumps – they know the ropes. Try to find a chump group near you.

    • I know a 47 year old woman who is still dealing with the emotional consequences of impression management. Dad was a huge cheater, but mom never said a word. The parents never fought and the kids never knew.

      Dad started sleeping with teenagers and that was mom’s last straw, so she finally left. But, because of her own FOO issues, never told the kids a word about dad’s horrendous behavior. In fact, to this day the woman does not know why her parents divorced.

      Guess what? This woman has never had a healthy relationship, because she keeps picking men like her dad! It is extremely sad, because the cycle continues. To this day, she is affected by the lies told to her as a child.

      Stop it now. Your kids are old enough to know the truth. In many ways, I was “lucky”. X was never publicly outed and he couldn’t lie about what he had done. It devastated our kids, who had put their dad on a pedestal for years. It has forced the issue of impression management and removed my kids’ (and my own) rose colored glasses.

      My kids still love their dad and I am fine with that. They are completely aware of his flaws, however, and know he is no role model of fidelity. I don’t want them to hate him. I just don’t want them to be like him.

      • I don’t want them to hate him. I just don’t want them to be like them.

        This!! Honesty and boundaries is the only way to have any chance of that. My son won’t put up with his dad’s manipulations and words used to paint a picture that he’s a good guy. My daughter recognizes it but wants that relationship. More than that I think she is using him right back. She knows he will buy her things and bail her out when she wants something but diesn’t Have the money. Not good.

        Funny how he will give her money for something she wants but refuses to pay for anything beyond court ordered support (like tuition or sports). He is fine saying screw you to me but wants her to believe he is generous.

        • “I don’t want them to hate him. I just don’t want them to be like him” – Yes I feel the same way as far as that goes. At least I don’t want them to be like him when it comes to relationships. If they pick up on his strong work ethic and ability to get things done, that’s ok.

          Meanwhile I fear that my daughter is using ex as well. She knows he is trying to win her back as she was so disgusted by his behavior. Now any time she wants something she says “I wonder if I can get Dad to get XYZ for me since he is being all nice and trying to win me over”. To his credit that only works about 50% of the time.

          • Chump in recovery
            I have observed for years, before I realized that Stbx was a Narc, was deliberately using his only child, a daughter, as his primary flying monkey. He included her extended family as well. She has done the pick me dance with Stbx her entire life. she and her father have no boundaries. The mind fuckery he has done with her, resulted with his daughter having very passive aggressive tendencies – I discovered after I married Narc freak, that his daughter became sexually promiscuous at a very young age, numerous STD’s, got pregnant at 18 and married a man who was 28 at the time. Now as an adult, she’s 34 and has 4 young daughters of her own, she and her husband , found Jesus a few yrs ago , became very religious, and is controlled by her husband, using “the Bible says this / as the reason . Stbx is using same technique’s with granddaughters !

            I would closely monitor your ex’s influence with children and at age appropriate, let them know that he’s using them for his image management. Based on my experience, observing Stbx Narc tactics he used with his daughter- resulted in her at a very young age marrying a man 10 yrs older than her at the time, who is very controlling and plays favoritism with his own children. Stbx Narc sociopath/ he’s been priming granddaughter’s as flying monkeys for years.

            Watch closely and use any means necessary to not allow your children to be manipulated by your ex. The results- the cycle continues!!

        • My middle son sounds like your daughter. He wants dad to pay for college (so do I) so he is willing to suck up to dad and Grandma meanwhile fuckwit is telling him that he is off the car insurance the minute he graduates high school and cuts on him all the time. I have told him, the mindfuck isn’t worth the money. Better to go into debt than deal with it but it is his dad. Sometimes I too, think they got some of the gene that leads to this. Can it be overcome?

          • I hope so. I worry about that sometimes. There are times, my daughter says something or acts in a way that reminds me of the Ex. More than that, I have the same confused and sick feelings at times when dealing with her that I used to get dealing with the Ex.

            And then there is everyhing I am trying to instill in her. When he let’s her get what she wants without earning it or without boundaries, what patterns of behavior is he creating?


            • My daughter and ex have completely different world views and yet they are so much alike. I think my daughter recognizes this and it scares her. She says she doesn’t ever want to get married because she doesn’t trust herself with commitment. She does want the party and the nice dress, however. She says she might just have to marry herself.

    • I don’t need to write anything because Indomitable said it all!! Right on CL as well.

      • Ditto! Indomitable is correct and said it well. I’m so sorry, V-day Chump, but like me, you were hoodwinked by a master manipulator. It DOES get better! But you’re just going to have to get completely out and go Gray Rock as much as possible. If possible, find a great therapist. And if you get a therapist that says that you have to own your part in what went wrong in the marriage, then IMMEDIATELY dump that therapist. There was NOTHING that you did to cause your cheater to cheat. That sin is totally owned by him. Someday you will realize that he did you a favor by showing his true sides so early in your life. I didn’t leave my cheater till I was in my 50s. And ‘yes’, like yours, mine was “such a wonderful man!” or so I’ve been told for 30 years of marriage. He still has that facade, but he isn’t my problem anymore. He married his skank and now he’s her problem. It DOES get better, just get through this awful transition.

        • Agree with Indomitable. I told the mediator off when she started off by trying to pin the blame for the shitty state of our relationship on both of us. I absolutely refused to take it and told her that it wasn’t me who lied and cheated and blew up our marriage. Or continued to lie to the kids about where he met schmoopie. Or embarrass all of us by parading schmoopie around our town within months. Or take me back to court for 4! child support modifications in 5 years.

          For years I sucked it up and thought about my “role in the breakup.” No more. I tell anyone, lawyer, neighbor, family- you don’t know anything about him or our relationship. You can’t posdibly know what’s best for my kids.

    • Great post! Children should be aware of the cheating parent and know that the cheating/lying/discard behavior is unacceptable from the get go. To do otherwise is blatant dysfunction and so confusing for the kids.

      • All I told my kid (Who was 11 when I left 2 years ago. I just celebrated my 1 yr divorce anniversary.) was that “Your Dad has a girlfriend. He decided he didn’t want me anymore, he wanted her.” The kid was then treated to the girlfriend and her 11 yr old daughter moving in 3 months after I left. The kid got to witness their relationship, and Sara bailing after 8 months. I never said a word about it. The kid gets to witness the whole thing, with Dad’s excuses and blame shifting, and can put his own judgement on his father’s actions. Dad is now working most diligently on a replacement. Can’t wait to hear if he brings her along on the kid’s Spring Break vacation with FuckHead. —

      • So true. Especially adult children. Should they not know that their father is a cheating, lying compulsive gambler that stole from their mother to cheat with a howorker? Saying that “the children are not involved” just does not make sense! Their father destroyed what we knew as our family.

  • Under impression management: Ms. Skanky ran to a store the other day that we used to frequent. She doesn’t know I’m friends with the manager and her husband. She proceeds to glowingly tell the manager about the divorce and then make up a boatload of stories about me, sayin how happy she is blah blah. Mind you, as far as my stbx knows, the woman there doesn’t know about us divorcing. So yes, they are literally running around telling everyone fictions about you and managing their and your impressions.
    In this case I got there first and the manager was texting me the entire time. Here’s the difference, when they bad mouth us, they like to keep it vague, when I tell people the truth, I have names, dates and dollar amounts.

    • True. Their lies tend to be vague . You have to listen carefully to what they don’t say.

      • Yah. Have you heard this saying: “Liars don’t lie.” My therapist finished it with: you just have to listen to wait they’re saying.

        They will mess up the pronouns, and avoid saying “I.” Something in the sentence will be off, to make it grammatically incorrect, or just plain gibberish.

        Often they will admit, but proceed it with something disputable, like “you think” as in “you think I had some women over here while you were at work, and one of them was stroking my ego.” Yah. Like that. Answer: “I don’t think that.!!!!” (“Oh wait a minute! Now I do!)

        In this way he lets himself off the hook. He told you the “truth,” and you didn’t “believe it,” so what is he to do?

        • Queen Mother
          Many times over the years I walked out of therapy sessions when Stbx started the “you did, you don’t- most famous one was “ you don’t follow the Bible in being a submissive wife”! I bolted out of the therapist office / on my way out, looked at Stbx and said, “ fuck you, you have some sick personality disorder “, little did I know / he’s a narcissistic sociopath!

    • Mine said all sorts of stuff about me and our marriage to all of her friends. The problem is a lot of her friends figured out about the A long before she got the chance to impression manage and make excuses – and most of them know me pretty well, so her stories were going to be a bit of a bit of a stretch anyway.

      So now instead of giving specific excuses, she’s just settled on the good old “I wasn’t happy” and everyone just kinda goes with it. It’s vague and everyone can understand somebody just wanting to be “happy” right? Plus everyone knows she’s full of shit, so trying to come up with specific excuses is sort of a fool’s errand at this point.

    • …and cellphone, bank charges and a gps map of your locations… yet, he still denies. ??

      • Kimsoverit,
        The denials- omg, narcs are such pathological liars- the porn pics of married AP I found on Stbx cellphone “ I’m not in those pictures” – I looked at Stbx and said,

        “well I guess when married AP is deposed and her husband discovers you have nude porn pics of his wife on your cell phone , the husband may want to know how it is that you have nude pics of his wife on your cellphone- or were you taking them through a peephole from the motel room next to where married AP was servicing another man – all 3 of you are sick sociopathic predators”

  • Take the flowers to an old folks home or to the nurses station at the hospital. Send a clear message that you will not be bought, especially to dust off his tarnished image.

    Tell your children how much you loved the gesture from them. Redirect the love back to them.
    example: I loved your gesture so much, I want to do something fun together. Let’s go to the movies as a treat. I’ll let you pick.

    Triangulation is a bish, and you don’t want your kids to feel played, but they were.

    • Totally agree to give the beautiful bouquet to anyone who would appreciate it. Just get it out of your home.

      But first take a photo of the bouquet and any card that came with it!

      My wonderful divorce lawyer took all the impression management emails and photos and presented him with them at his deposition. They asked “how can you claim that she had faults when there is evidence that you thought she was a wonderful wife and mother and such a special person?”. Dead silence and shock when he realized that his gestures just bit him in the ass!!!

        • Best lawyer on the planet!

          She is fierce and very protective; I owe her the great life I get to live now. Everyone I have referred to her feels the same.
          Finding her was a blessing.

          CL speaks the truth when she says to get the best lawyer you can find and find a way to pay for it.

          • Wow! Canadian system is so different. Self-employed and they get away with whatever they want. No justice! It may be equitable but it is NOT fair esp. Where Narcs are involved.

      • I got copies of texts were ex was telling his best friend that I am a great mom and a great person very close to when he walked out on us. It was VERY helpful in trial when he was claiming I was a bad mother.

  • Lord, memories! My cheater sent me a bouquet of red roses on Valentines Day of 2014 along with a card expressing his over the top love for me. Only problem was he had left me on Feb. 13th to be with Schmoopie! When I texted the picture and the card to him during one of our famous “phone battles” he denied he had sent them or the card! Apparently Schmoopie must have been reading the texts along side of him. When the flowers were delivered I said to the poor delivery man, “I wonder what his GF got?” Didn’t take me long to trace the info down. A quick peek revealed she got a lousy 20.00 worth of flowers! Wonder what THAT looked like? But he continued his denial that he had sent me roses along with that card! Unbelievable!

    • Ugh, the red roses. Every damn time in our 32 year relationship he ever got me flowers it was red roses (usually from the grocery, not a florist). I don’t particularly like red roses. He never asked what I preferred and didn’t pay enough attention to notice I planted every color of roses in my garden except red. On DDay #2 when I found out about his affair with the stripper du jour I checked his phone and there under various women’s names in his contact list were their fucking FLOWER PREFERENCES. I couldn’t believe it. He actually took the time to find out what flowers a bunch of strippers he was banging in our minivan outside strip clubs preferred, but he never once asked me. That was the first moment I ever let myself think even for a split second that maybe there was nothing to save in my marriage.

        • Better than no flowers at all. In 2015 (last Valentine’s Day together) I picked out a small nosegay while with him…he said he never know what I like. I then proceeded to prepare a wonderful dinner for he and I. Why not just get me the same flowers as her, as he had done the previous year on our joint credit card? In 2015, he gave her $2,200 (again from a joint account) I’ll never know why.

      • that sounds so horrible, i teared up over it. This motherfucker over here never once got me flowers, and once asked on feb 13 if I’d like a potted plant for the apartment.
        God, I’d just love to mush their face in dirt!!

        • my MO FO Narc never ever ever got me flowers but he was buying his Financial predator Ho worker diamond jewelry; I got the print out after he died of all the jewelry he was buying …our jeweler gave me the copy and he was buying two gifts every Christmas…she got the most expensive one and I got the cheaper one…also, he stepped up his game and bought two gifts in July, one for her birthday and one for mine…she always got the most expensive one…the blow job queen…so wonder what schmoopie is doing now that her gravy train is dead? I think she should have gotten a made in china ‘diamond” necklace and a dildo mailed to her for valentines day to take my husbands place..what do you all think? It can still be done, there’s a birthday coming soon….the HO will need a present….

      • Fucker ^

        I received red roses too even though I told him every. damn. year. how much I hated them and ANY other flower would do. He either did it to piss me off or most likely he had a vision in his pea brain of what he looked like (to other people) carrying those roses. It was never about me.

        • Yep. My EX had a standing order with a flower delivery service for roses at Valentine’s and on our anniversary. I don’t much care for roses either. But my taste didn’t matter. On the other hand, I don’t think the similar standing order he had for his mother and an old friend were any more thoughtful. At some point he’d decided that sending flowers twice a year met the requirement for good husband/son/old friend, picked red roses for me and yellow for the other two women, and then considered the matter permanently settled.

          But I was supposed to be thrilled, excited, and grateful every time they arrived. Anything short of cartwheels (to be repeated every day the flowers remained fresh enough to display) made him angry. It was all about celebrating him.

          • Eilonwy,
            I had to laugh st your comment about doing cartwheels over flowers- the last 2 yrs, when Stbx would send flowers, I would put them in a room that only he used – he would repeatedly ask me “why aren’t flowers in living room etc” I would tell him – “oh, they get better sun in the other room and walk away”, he didn’t know I already knew that my flowers were delivered each time he would go to florist to pick up roses to throw on bed of cheap motel room he would take “classy, married AP”!

            Both believed I was stupid – nope – I was gathering every bit of documentation and evidence I would need for divorce!

    • Roberta, the flower people checked into what he bought his Schmoops and reported it back to you? that is pretty sweet !!

      • Nope, had to do a bit of detective work on my own. But I believe in the old “follow the money” and you will get to the truth. Of course, my Ex was a bit of a dumb shit and never covered his tracks fully so it wasn’t too hard. I was able to usually follow his movements right down to where he got gas, where he ate and if the food was for one or two people. Even movies he ordered so he and Schmoopie could take a break from the hotel bedsprings every once in a while!

    • I could not, for one second, imagine being a Schmoopie. Having to read every text your “boyfriend” gets from his wife? Again, you are reading a text between “your boyfriend” and HIS WIFE. Do the alarm bells not ring for these fools? If my life wasn’t devastated by my XH and his whore, I would find her behavior very amusing. I know for a fact that Whormelia read every text I sent to my cheater. She put in her Injunction Against Harassment that I told her that she had a big nose. She conveniently left off the part that I also said she was a greasy-haired whore and that said communication was not to her, but sent in a text to my XH.

    • My cheater ex took me to a resort hotel over (our last) Valentine’s Day weekend for a package deal which included romantic dinner, flowers, room for the night, champagne, etc. This was before DDay #1. After I found out about his affair with married howorker the following April, I asked why he had even bothered to make those V-Day arrangements, since he was already sleeping with her and planning to divorce me. He said, “I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing and there was nothing to salvage.” I mean, you can’t even make this shit up. Subsequently (DDay #2) discovered he was habitual/serial cheater during our entire 26-year marriage, practically starting from the honeymoon. He married his howorker 9 months after our divorce was final, and it seems like they’re living happily ever after….

      • MO FO narc I was married to was conveniently fucking his HO worker leftover with the big degrees from the same schools as him, well, she tried to package herself as Miss classy sophisticated professional, anyway, I wondered why every trip we went on he conveniently never wanted to have sex…come to realize that he must have flown the blow job queen on every trip…which lessened over the years because they were in full blown affair mode, but early in our marriage I now believe that that big WHORE was in another hotel room so they could fuck..After all, the leftover slut he was with miss crab pants, HAD to have my husband because she probably was as disordered as he was. The best was when he took me to St Martin with another couple and after dinner he announced that he was going to go have a drink with the guy we went with while that guys wife was in her hotel room with two small kids…well, my big cheater NEVER returned to the hotel room alllll night. He showed up the next day all showered and told me ‘not to worry about where he was’ …Red flag. He obviously was fucking Schmoopie all night, he most definitely had flown her down so that c sucker could be on every trip we went on…This is how he duped me my entire marriage. That Pig interfered in my entire marriage. But Karma got the d licker when my husband died. Last summer it all came to a point where he fought with me over a sun umbrella. Turns out him and schmoopie were really living it up. I think the plan was that she convinced him to leave me …then he died. I think they were going to have a summer wedding. But that big skank will have to climb onto another married executive cuz Mr. Gravy train left the station…

  • Gaawwwd! They really are all the same. I told ex ah last September no more mutual gifts. But I knew he wouldn’t respect that boundary.
    Xmas: told my boys, ( 17 and 9), get me a small bunch of flowers and make a card. (17 yr old gets it, he knows I don’t actually want anything but to keep the tradition going etc.)
    Xmas eve they come back from their Dads with a gift. Sooo, put me in the position that I had to reciprocate. ( I know!!) so sorted out something small.
    Had conversation again!!
    My birthday a couple of days ago. My oldest son had the flowers and card sorted. All good. Went to dads . Came back. With…. card and gift.
    My 9 yr old walks in the door and says “ this is for you Mam. And here’s a hug from dad for your birthday.”
    Holy shit!! Using a small boy for your kibbles!
    So I hugged my son and said “ well thank you for my gifts, but Daddy is very silly, he can’t be sending me hugs anymore, he’s hugs should be for Jean now!”
    And my son said “ ya, I thought it was a bit odd”
    So I know what he’s doing. He’s trying to get a reaction from me. But I’m ignoring him.
    Later that night I got a happy birthday txt from him. I sent him a ????.
    Nothing since.
    He won’t be getting anything from me for his days. And I’ll explain to the boys why. Actually they already get it.
    I’m feeling more neutral by the day.
    MEH is around the corner I feel.
    Good luck and best wishes to all the rest of you wonderful reall people . X

    • That is an awesome story. Not that gifts from the fucktard part, that sucks. But you getting close to meh and your boys getting it? That part was amazing. 🙂

      • Thanks Beth.
        I read here every day and enjoy your astute insights !
        Love ur sense of humour!x

    • There is a middle finger icon right next to that thumbs up, if you look.
      My daughter sent the smiley middle finger for years to her dad, who cut her off all support at 18.

      I don’t think he ever looked close enough to see.

      You do not HAVE to reciprocate any gift, big or small. Just consider that’s you initiating that action.

      Refuse to let your kids get pulled into this.

      • Look. I agree with you. But at the time it was the most neutral thing to do. I agree wholeheartedly with no contact and all that goes with it. But every now and then you have to roll with resistance to get that outcome. I’m a psych nurse ( so is he), ( but I’m better????), so I’m used to doing that. Although it’s been a learning curve doing it in personal life. And I’m seeing a therapist to help me navigate that kind of thing. Reading here every day is the best though.

  • The Cheaters know all they image management routine
    Their aware of what they don..They. Just. Don’t. Care.

    V-Day, you & the kids shouldn’t have left the home. He should’ve been thrown out! Why make anything easy for the piece of crap?

    Lawyer up & divorce the selfish cheater. Let the OWHORE have him. They deserve each other’s low
    class ways.

    Stay strong ????????

    • Nowdeadcheaters impression mgmt …he sat in his parents house and told them what a fabulous wife I was (which is true, I was fabulous) …I worked, tended the kids, fixed things, managed the budget and could decorate so well our house was lovely …he wanted them to think he had done well and it worked…they saw him as a devoted, admiring husband

      he did, however, leave out the parts about his affairs, rage, abandonment, manipulation…

      • As mine me out to be the villain behind my back, he removed my jewelry, locked me out of his income, tried to report me to the police, lied through his teeth to the church – tried to get me to sign over everything and refused to admit schmoopy, even tho I had a HPV test.
        Threatened me if I did not give him the house, he would make sure I was given tens of thousands in negative equity bill – he would make sure of it.

        Then put his hand over his heart and told me that “he couldn’t help but be a nice guy, that’s just who he was, just a nice guy.” He couldn’t possibly be with me, because I was such a RUDE person – and he was just so NICE……
        He also told me he was going to church to pray, and I was to stay home and make a list “Of what he was going to get”, IF he decided to stay married.

        • “The louder he proclaimed his honor, the faster we counted our spoons” – Emerson.

          If you have to tell people you are good, honorable, kind, etc., chances are you AREN’T.

          • In total agreement with you. Somebody tells me they’re a gourmet cook ? French Laundry is not offering them a job. Declares themselves “hawt” ? Looking at them or a picture of them ? Not so much

          • I always liked the quote from the poet John Betjeman — “If I thought I was any good, I wouldn’t be.”

        • Magneto,

          First class ass. Not a nice man. You have the emotional wounds. You are one hell of a strong, woman! My hat is off to you.

        • So helpful to see the same playbook moves and statements. Mine said, when I went away for a week to help me clear my head, “I’ll use this time to think about what I want from you.”

      • its funny my cheater had no rage,….nope, he was always smiling completely satisfied that he had successfully duped me and was completely and utterly serviced by his ho worker…and they both had me fooled ! and that was reason for him to smile ! Yep, that pure unadultered sparkly, pristine, good guy image, the one where everyone Loved him, after all he had to have been a naracissist given all the glory and ‘man of faith’ ‘generous’ ‘no ego’ ‘great guy’ wonderful person everyone thought he was. He was a master at image control…all the while him and that leftover that he was involved with at work , who he must have thought they were a power couple…anyway, I digress.. The point is, the rage I saw was when he was about to pull the carpet out from under me when he started to strip me of my vehicles stating ‘you can’t have two cars….wonder why all of a sudden that mattered, oh yeah, the reason was he was about to tell me he wanted a divorce probably cuz his big HO wanted to marry him….after all she screwed him for 17 years the smart HO….she wanted the financial security,,,their plans blew up on them.. Karma has a way of doing that …

          • Well we were married 17 yrs. I have no proof they screwed for all of those years. But she was a HOworker for 15 of those years. Him being a narcissist I would not doubt it
            Most classy normal women won’t be a side piece, let alone for an extended period of time. Unless they are really f’d up in the head

          • Oh, and waffles,
            just so you know, I am an intelligent woman, with degrees, looks great, etc etc, and the HOworker is a bow wow. So I am not going to feel the shame or hurt that I was not good enough because I know I was. But the summa cum laude c^nt was after his money etc.

  • I love this response!
    The “good guy” front makes me sick. Satan loves telling me I’m the only one that thinks he’s a bad guy…. everybody else thinks he is a great guy. This is just my opinion and feelings about him and not the truth. And since I don’t “understand him”, my opinion of him is wrong.

    • Yeh sure he’s misunderstood and all that cheating wasn’t the real him, the body snatchers took over, like mine full of shit!

      • yep Lady B! full of shit! body snatchers. aliens. temporary insanity. ????????????????????
        As long as he says “well I felt bad afterwards” then its like it didn’t happen. that was angry him. angry him is not actually him. move on. He’s a good boy. His mommy said so.
        “You made me do it” also erases it. that wasn’t him either. that was me forcing him to do bad things to me so as a result he didn’t actually do it. I did it to myself. so why am I asking him about it? it was just the consequences he had to serve me. I mean I took a nap… of course he joined Tinder… I didn’t text him back for 37 minutes. I really shouldn’t drop the ball like that.

  • my ex wanted to reconcile, but I was wary, now he has a girlfriend, shes only a friend I said have you kissed her, yes he said, where was the place you kissed her, I cant remember, I replied you cant remember where you kissed her, I think I had a lucky escape, he said I don’t know if I’m going out with her, shes a friend he insists, I said do you kiss all of your friends, apparently he said loads of women give him their phone numbers, it could be the polluction in the London air, I think people need to start wearing oxygen masks. Women in London be aware. I will have to inform the ow, she has competition, for the ahem love god.

  • Hey VDay Chump,

    Been there, suffered that, am very familiar with what you’re going through and know it’s grotesque. I went through the same (also death threats, egregious thefts etc) for decades in more than one relationship (after being severely physically, emotionally and sexually abused in my childhood).

    And I just had the best V Day of my life. Gloriously happy. Doing exactly as I pleased in comfort and joy. Despite the fact that I had to move out of the USA (and on V Day literally was threatened by rocket attack in Israel). I love my life now.

    ALMOST ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN BEING TORTURED BY A SADISTIC NARCISSIST. You just don’t know this yet cos you’re in PTSD. You’re still being tortured.

    Let time go by. Love your loved ones and yourself. Get into your work and relish your accomplishments. Cook great meals for yourself. Get fresh air and exercise. Help and support others often and well. Read CL and check out the many great free videos about narcissism etc available on You Tube until you totally understand how narcs operate and the parts of your own psyche that made you vulnerable to their predation.

    If I could find bliss, so can you. I wish this for you and for all of us here.

    • Yip, it’s really true. And it’s the No Contact that makes meh possible. Meh towards the x-hole, not towards life, however. Life feels much better now. I am happy.

      I’m still running into Narcissists, however, at church. My therapist told me that Narcissists are attracted to the sweet and kind and forgiving faithful who attend church. Ah yes, of course they are . . .

      How do you deal with the Narcissist in church leadership? Say you both serve on the administrative board? He has his harem of needy women (not sexual) who lean on his every word. And other do his bidding, for fear of exclusion.

      I pulled the mask off his face and now I’m about to get an ass whoopin.

      • Mines joined a mediation circle to find new supply. He tried yoga but his ego is to big to do something he is a beginner at.

      • Queen Mother,
        Omg, I love you! You are my hero!

        Church leadership Narc – “I pulled the mask off his face and now I’m about to get an ass whoopin”! That is golden!!!

        I’m so sick of religious narcs and their bs!

        Stbx has one child, a daughter who’s 34, she is his #1 flying monkey! Boy, does she go to church 3-4 x’s week!! Amazing- because she is extremely passive aggressive and has always been jealous of me and my adult children! But, she’s in church several times a week “Praising the Lord”, she’s a fake hypocrite! I overheard her yell into the phone when Stbx called his #1 flying monkey to rage about “ evil wife, did this or that”, I overheard her screaming in the background “Screw her Dad, she can go to hell”, bet she’s right up front in church tomorrow!!

        I laughed so hard reading your last line in that comment:

        “I pulled the mask off his face and now I’m about to get an ass whoopin”!

    • I agree with you. All of us should not blame ourselves. Every single day though I think about how I was fooled. I am so devastated. Clearly I am still suffering PTSD. And the HO got away with it all. I think about her with our marital assets…I know he hid them with her. I think about my life and time wasted. I believed in him and trusted him. He did a lot of shit to me. I left him and came back to him. I gave that Narcissist the time and the space to get it on with that skank he worked with. And he probably backstabbed and told that evil woman everything that were all lies about me…it’s an absolute embarrassment. Then I suffered the wrath and the fallout from his family. I could not even tell you the way they treated me…all because they knew about his HO. Because they enabled him and hid his secrets, then I suffered their wrath and abuse from them…I did not understand it then but it was not only devastating but it was meant to destroy me. All because they were going to get something out of the HO also, her big beachhouse to sit at during holidays and family gatherings. They were ALL in on it in my opinion…because the narc convinced them to that HE was the victim to cover his tracks…to make me look like a horrible person. I learned later that he was a narcissist and probably a sociopath. I could not understand how horrible he started treating me and why not long after the honeymoon. This, I learned was the devalue stage…and it went on from there…..

      • Duped,
        I am so very sorry you went through all of that hell!! Your ex’s family is as sick as he is! You escaped a family of Narc sociopaths!!

        I read the heartbreak and pain in your words! I wish I could give you a huge hug in person and tell you what a wonderful woman you are!

        Narcs and their FOO are truly sick. My Stbx FOO – dear god-the skeletons that came out the last 6 months did it for me / I knew this divorce had to resume because their was no way I was going to be around and wipe his ass in old age . (I originally filed Nov 2016, one month later, Stbx had a heart attack and required open heart surgery this year – so divorce hearings were delayed because of the numerous complications he had)
        I was extremely stupid and made the mistake of letting him back into the house for recovery- I’m a nurse. Attempted wreckonciliation – no, couldn’t do it. His mental health deterioration and the family skeletons exposed within last 6 months, I can’t get away fast enough. Fortunately, I started unmasking him before heart attack and didn’t fall for wreckonciliation!!

        They truly are empty, soulless evil , poor excuse for human beings!!

        Yes, the PTSD is real and will take time to recover from. My therapist suggested I get a picture of hyaenas surrounding their prey – to be a reminder of the type of person I’m divorcing and escaping from!

        I’m so very sorry your ex and his sick family, discarded, humiliated you, and tried to destroy your life! To a certain extent, I’m going through the same. Fortunately, I kept a safe distance from stbx’s family!

        I pray you find peace and healing that you do desperately deserve!!

        Seeing clearly

        • Seeing Clearly,
          Thanks so much for your kind words. You don’t know how much that means to me. I have been going through all of this for a year now. Well, it never came to a divorce because he became ill and died very quickly. It was horrific and as I took care of him at home with his family present, things started to unravel. Him not wanting his job to know he was dying, etc. At this time, I still did not know he had a Ho worker, but things were starting to be revealed. One of the big reveals were his family and their bizarre behavior towards me while he was dying….I wanted him home but his family wanted him in hospice…now I know why, it was to make it easier for his HO to have access and his big HO walked in to hospice ! Afterwards, nearly everyday, I discovered more and more sickening findings…as I was uncovering a massive amount of info., his family was simultaneously trying to destroy me. I don’t know what they were angry about, all I could piece together was it was because they all were in on his big affair and hid helped hide his secrets because they could benefit by her beachhouse…It’s all so SICK! Everyday the more I dug, the more I found out…Nobody told me, things just started coming together. I had been so buffooned and now suddenly it was all becoming clear
          On top of it, It was so complicated, me trying to grieve his death, but finding out he fooled me all these years, and the devastation coupled with the torture/harassment of his family, the realization that he was a narcissist, the lies, the deceit, the betrayal on multiple levels. I did not know at the time If I could pull through all of this. I prayed everyday for God to help me be strong because this was just beyond an unbelievable nightmare. example, the cheater made his sibling executor, even though I was 100% capable and was his wife for a long time, however this was done obviously for very shady reasons===, I believe it was so money could be distributed to the HO in the form of a trust fund or marital assets that the cheater was hiding with the HOworker -the financial predator.
          I am glad you were able to get away because these narcissists pull the rug out from under you when they are ready. They keep that secret hidden and plan their getaway, it’s usually with someone they work with. This bold jealous HO that he involved himself with had the nerve to show up at hospice, and show up on the corner of my street while he lay dying in the living room, while I was taking care of him, while his siblings sat and observed and walked on eggshells because they had something to hide… Yes, the HO had not heard from him and she was sitting outside my house in her car ! Of course, I was told that it was someone looking for his cousin (lied to by his brother) boy oh boy, the betrayal that I pieced together was mindblowing and I have not been the same since….This all began from a rotten no good lowdown evil male friend of his that introduced him to this big HO at a beach party near our house after we were married….then she moved to my town 5 months after the honeymoon so she could screw my husband…and keep him on a short leash and start a non profit company in my town..probably to make it easier for my cheater to hide more money…Oh yeah I found this out from company emails that were going back and forth between the cheater and his friend with the HO copied in. Talk about a real “professional’ Ho worker, who does that, who gets copied in to two men talking about her, so she could read it? A real bonafide golddigging company prostitute, that’s who.
          I love the part about the hyaena’s! That is exactly what I think of when his siblings showed up here to grab as much as they could steal in front of me, they were like a bunch of hyaena’s circling their prey, I still have nightmares of her big clown husband, that POS grabbing at things stating to his wife “get everything”…what lowlives…

          • Duped,
            Your story is so very similar to mine, with the exception Stbx didn’t die! One month, almost to the day that I filed for divorce and obtained a domestic violence restraining order, Stbx had a heart attack and 6 wks later open heart surgery!

            I wish I’d found CN right after I originally filed!

            Because I thought a near death experience would change Stbx and allow for amicable divorce, I stupidly allowed Stbx back into home for recovery! Part of the reason for doing that was I I’m a nurse, unable to work due to an illness I was diagnosed with 6 yrs ago, I knew the recovery would be long and really did think the fact he discovered he was a walking time bomb, within 2 years of needing a heart transplant, would cause him to stop the scorched earth mode and grant an amicable divorce. I had also discovered a plan that Stbx and married AP were setting up a company and finalized plans once I filed!

            During his hospitalization and because I was following up with his assistant on his business dealings- I discovered the true, disgusting, well planned , deliberate details of Stbx, married AP new company formed in her name only – to assist Stbx in hiding and dissipating marital assets. Stbx only child from previous marriage, a daughter, more devious than I could have ever imagined!!

            Stbx put on an Oscar winning performance of remorse, regret begging me to reconsider divorce!
            I remember thinking, 2 weeks, that is all the time I will give him to show remorse is real! Nope- that didn’t happen!

            Stbx had numerous complications for 5 months after surgery. During part of that time , in addition to health complications, Stbx mental health deterioration increased! FOO extreme skeletons in closet came out in full view! I had no idea of majority of these and was blown away!!

            Also during recovery phase, discovered details of Married AP, including disgusting porn pics on Stbx phone , and details of her and her complicit husband that made me nauseous! The level of depravity with Stbx, married AP and her husband- were mind blowing!!

            I’m so grateful I had already started the unmasking process years ago, and had found so much evidence during his recovery and recuperation period-that I knew wreckonciliation was bs and part of a very elaborate plan between Stbx and married AP! The anger, humiliation of allowing that piece of shit back into the home – led me to miraculously find CN, once and for all wake my ass completely up and jump start divorce into high gear!

            The fact that I fell for “narc charm “ years ago through the haze of grief, after my husband of 20 yrs and father of my 3 children, had suddenly and unexpectedly died and that I didn’t realize that the almost immediate discard once I had left a wonderful job, moved half way across the country only to discover Stbx, someone I had grown up with and was friends with until our late teens, was in fact, a narc sociopath! I didn’t have any experience or knowledge of Narc tactics and allowed myself to go from a strong, confident woman, who had survived the most devastating grief after husband died, to almost allowing Stbx, flying monkeys, his daughter from previous marriage and her extended family to almost destroy me!

            I know will take years to really rid myself of the dirt and PTSD effects.

            I now know, and believe that the glimpse of light I see st the end of the dark tunnel I’ve stated at for yours, will illuminate a path for me to a life of peace and freedom from this evil monster!

            Without CN, I don’t know if I could have endured the last 2 months as Stbx put into play, with married AP leading the way, his scorched earth policy to destroy me!

            I’m now feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world! I found CN, received such encouragement, support and wisdom- from so many CN tribe members- I know my Tuesday- will eventually arrive!!

            • Seeing clearly,
              Wow, I am so sorry you were put through all of this. I would have let the MF suffer the consequences from his domestic violence and not lift a finger to help him through the recovery process. But I get it, you did what you think was right and you come from a place as a nurse of a healing, nurturing great person that he clearly did not deserve one more ounce of your time or commitment !
              I wondered how you were able to find out about the marital assets and it you can get them back? I am in the middle of a situation whereby due to this HO that interfered in my marriage, my cheater, because he was living his double life, that I did not fully discover and uncover until after he died, well, he made his sibling the executor of the estate. It only stands to reason that he did this in order to either have his sibling move the marital assets to this Whore that he was entangled with or the money was for the entire family as there is money missing that does not nearly jive with what his earnings were, etc etc. I wanted to hire a forensic accountant or a good lawyer (mine sucked so bad and drained me of money) but that weasel I hired talked me out of it. Meanwhile, there is no end of shady behavior on his sibling’s part and involvement in all of this (that’s why I hired an attorney) Yes, there is still no end to the web of deceit that my husand created and left wreckage and torture for me in its aftermath. It’s like I am being haunted from the grave of something far more sinister than I ever realized. What the worst part is is wrapping my head around somebody that appeared so wonderful and great, and that everyone loved, and knowing it was a mask that he wore that had everyone fooled …so there’s the dissonance…nobody would ever believe or imagine, so not only do you deal with the grief all on your own but its a double whammy because I am dealing with everything I have pieced together and the horrific way the family has put me through. They clearly wanted to destroy’s too long of a story, but it’s clearly because they know something about his secret life! The man I thought he was was a fraud. I’m left to pick up the pieces. Not a day goes by I don’t think about what was done to me because it’s effect on me has been like nothing I could ever imagine, especially from this man that had he been normal we would have had the fairytale life that people would dream of and I don’t mean money.When I read your posting, it was the vulnerable woman that he say you as a good target, your husband passing away, he knew he could fool you, he used your vulnerability to his advantage. What a scumbag he is ! I think he should die. Ask me how I know that smart wonderful unsuspecting women could be fooled by a narcissist? I never even knew about Narcissists until after he died. I finally discovered the whys and hows and what I was up against and how fooled I was. It is not the normal being cheated on or tortured by someone, oh, no this is worse, because it’s at the hands of a very conniving, devious, smart, calculating narcissist. I don’t have proof but I think had he lived, I believe that the whore was in cahoots with him to get him to leave me. I don’t know that he would actually do it, I have no proof that he was going to, but explain the hidden money…just helping out a whore at work? doubtful. I think they had a plan, but it was not, in not in anyway supposed to happen, some higher power saw to that

              • Duped,
                The fact that you can’t get any empowerment by divorcing your dead husband – is heartbreaking!!

                I can only imagine the pain and suffering you are dealing with on a daily basis, discovering all of this, after he’s dead and buried! If hell exists- I hope your dead husband burns for eternity!! The OW – karma is awaiting!! But neither of those facts can ease the pain you are going through right now!!

                I wish I could hug you in person and tell you – there will be an end to all the pain and that we both have to have faith and believe a happy, peaceful, Narc Free life is waiting on the other side of this nightmare!!

                How did I find out about company Stbx and married AP formed to hide marital assets? He left a paper trail all over the house, online, plus e devices. Stbx and married AP, didn’t consider I have a brain! I doubt married AP knows how “sloppy” Stbx is! Stbx – probably doesn’t realize he’s another “pawn” in married AP and her husband’s “arraigned marriage deal”! The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing and both are using and mindfucking each other! Stbx – probably believes the assets that are in her name only – will be given to him once divorce is over. I hope and pray that with all the extensive documentation that I have and the fact that my new attorney just settled a divorce case with very similar players and multiple layers – will give me the leverage I need for a good settlement. This scheme ,Stbx and AP have put into play, could be career ending and with possible criminal charges!

                I just have to be patient and let my attorney and her forensic team “peel back the onion”, slowly and deliberately using all the evidence I gathered!

                The issue is – both Stbx and AP are extreme covert, toxic narcissist’s, with AP’s husband probably in on scheme! Stbx may be kicked to the curb once depositions start – those marital assets/ I may not be able to retrieve. There are so many unknowns right now – that’s the frustrating part. Family Court in the county , in the no fault state I live in – is so overburdened with cases, all the numerous hearings, continuances, etc are a Narcissist dream and enables them and allows time for “their” clean up the paper trail process!

                My new attorney keeps reminding me / buckle up-will be a long, bumpy road – and reminds me , that she will do everything in her power to get me the best settlement she can and if necessary expose their sinister plot! Sinister is a direct quote from new attorney when she called me several weeks ago – to tell me she could not stop thinking about me and my case and was going to trust me and her gut , and do something she had never done before, waive her retainer and get paid on the back end! She told me “I consulted with a colleague and we believe something sinister is at play in your case and believe strongly that you deserve justice. I will do everything in my power to get you the best settlement I can”!

                Had I not found CN 2 months ago, I don’t know if I would have been able to “get my second wind” and gained the courage and strength to fight. I was very ready to “just walk away” from all of the disgusting mess – which is what I learned from CN, was exactly what Stbx and AP were banking on!

                I just have to focus on myself and my healing and allow the legal process to play out!!

                Duped, we both will survive tand gain a better , well deserved Narc Free life!

                Many, many Hugs,
                Seeing clearly

              • Hi Seeing clearly,
                I just typed a reply and lost it. Here goes…thanks so much for your response and to you too, I hope you can find peace and serenity and feel good about your life again. After what I am still going through I don’t know how to start over. The duping was going on right under my nose. I should have seen the red flags when he had to have everything from the house phone to the computer password protected. I bought all my own stuff because I had a job and he did buy me things but the therapist that I saw while grieving his death, started to unravel things for me. It all began when the whore walked into hospice. The therapist said he was a narcissist sociopath. If you saw him you’d die, you would not believe what a beautiful person he looked like on the outside, A true gentleman, etc. Upon hearing that he was a narcissist I started educating on the subject. I sat for 12 hours and broke into his laptop that he always guarded with his life. And his phone was a company phone. Oh mine was super meticulous in life in general so there was no trace of a text ; all the work emails betwn the two of them sounded professional, except if you are a woman reading you can clearly see the ‘closeness’ of the two and they were both careful. Except they started to get sloppy over time..her saying she wants to come to his office to ‘spread out’ and that she needed a private conference room away from everyone. And the nausea vomiting story of her being sick two years ago. Who tells a married man about you vomiting. obviously the bitch thought or was pregnant. Oh, the things I found out. NOthing in my name, a company phone…etc etc. TO have a whore is costly. That whore drained him…I know I was being financially abused because his money was being blown or given to the blow job queen. I wanted to out her at the job. She is still there. What do you think I should do?
                I wish I had a good attorney, yours sounds great. I want to find the hidden marital assets. My attorney that I had to hire because of shady family members (his) draining me of money for dopey emails, being victimized by a dunce attorney that has done nothing ! He talked me out of a forensic accountant and getting bank records.

  • Ok i will reply on behalf of all of the southern hemisphere. …… after leaving his nuclear family penniless, then homeless, then ‘no handouts’… he proceeds to raise money for youth charities and cycle everywhere for good causes till his lycra starts to smoulder. Apparently it forgives the non event that is his contribution to his own kids despite the massive salary. But that suits narcs with their public image campaign.

    • Yep., even if my exh2/the evil one saved a bus full of orphans on fire about to fall off a cliff, he would still be a narcissistic lying, cheating, stealing piece of sh!t

    • That sounds like my feckless ex-boss with the pathetic work wife, who ‘lost’ his wedding ring. Another Middle Aged Man In Lycra, peddling for good causes.

      • OMG, this is my cheater. He started cycling again, tried racing with guys in their 20s, then switched tactics and started riding for charity events. Is there a high percentage of cheaters who seriously cycle?

  • Dear V day chump,
    Yep, everything you wrote about reminds me of my own situation and the feeling that this is so absurd!! How can they do this, get away with it AND look like a good guy. It isn’t fair and it will continue to not be fair. I am just over a year out from the divorce and 1.5 from DDay. Your husband’s full time job is managing his image not surgeon. And I am sure all of us here have that bubbling cauldron of anger in our guts just as you do (constantly) when we read of the injustice of it all.
    Use the anger to divorce him. The anger is really your friend right now. The shitty part (I am finding) is trying to let go of it after because the triangulation, manipulation (of your kids????) won’t stop. It’s who they are. BUT, the anger about all the crap they pull still keeps the focus on them. They love that and have no ability to see that anything they do is anything more than someone else’s fault.
    At the holidays my 7 year old gave me a store bought card with a 50$ gift card to the movies in it. She was so excited for me to see it and made sure to tell me that daddy “helped” her. I was pissed. Especially since I know it comes from the dancing OW appliance who is most likely supplementing poor poor sadz-y daddy.
    I am realizing that this is because she wants me to believe daddy has changed and is now a great person. All she has as proof is that is that he buys her stuff non stop, the new appliance has “told him to not yell anymore or drive fast” and the reason daddy didn’t like going to work was because his boss was mean. I bite my tongue and change the subject. Unfortunately it is her journey to figure out her relationship with her father and the new appliance. I find comfort in the fact that she is with me most of the time but I am still SO angry at the injustice of it all. I am hoping it goes away if I take the steps to make my own life, but I won’t know that till Tuesday comes. I hope it comes for both of us.

    • Lessee, what to buy with a $50 gift card? Hmmm. Certainly something to give back to the OW, I’m thinking. Perhaps a medical book on STD (with pictures), really tacky cheap accessories from Walmart, I’m certain CN could come up with some GREAT ideas! Or, you could donate it to your favorite charity, claiming the tax deduction.

  • V-Day chump, you’re telling a good part of my own story.

    I was forced to end my marriage to KK after months of horrific deception, including bringing one “friend” to my house for sex after my daughters left for school on three separate occasions. She refused to move out the house and lived with us for 10 months, until the court forced her to leave. I did my best to ignore her, but she would constantly bait and berate me, saying I was “miserable” and “playing the victim” and being “disrespectful to the mother of your children.” She never stated her objections for not leaving other than to say she was “advised not to,” but a good part of it had to do with getting the parenting plan she thought she was entitled to.

    All the while, she kept saying variations on the central theme: “My daughters deserve to have a mother who is happy.”

    And yet . . .

    – When I told her “enough, I’m done” the first thing she did was hand me tickets to a taping of Stephen Colbert’s new late night show: my present for Valentine’s Day. (This showed me that she had every intention of keeping up her cheating behavior for a very long time.)

    – When my father passed away, she made a big deal about donating to the scholarship fund set up in his memory.

    It’s ALL about image management. Empty gestures grounded in nothing but a desire for positive recognition and the need to divert attention to the monstrous shittiness that lies behind the masks they wear.

    • I hope you told her “her daughter’s deserve to have a mother that is t a whore” what a piece of shit she is. I feel for you this must have been a nightmare. I hope you are no contact with this evil women.

      • Kunty Kibbler is pretty much legendary for her narcissistic dysfunction. If you read UX’s other posts, you’ll see just how disturbed she is. UX’s daughters are lucky that UX is modeling the sane parent, because KK doesn’t even come close on a good day.

        • Nah. It’s tame compared to your husband kissing you good bye with PASSION, and stating exactly:

          “I love you so much I can’t stand for you to be out of my sight.” and driving away for his day.

          In love, you carry-on with your day and run relationship and household errands that needed to be done, most of them for his benefit.

          As the hours roll-on, and your cell phone does not ring, you start to call him. His phone is turned off. Hours turn into days. Days turn into two weeks.

          After calling him probably 5000 times?…. A woman answers his phone. He is living in a motel with a drug whore.

          When you try to ask him why he has done this to you, he says he didn’t do anything- he just needed someone to drive him places because he was busy…???

          In this time, your elderly dog went into kidney failure. You texted and called him over and over and he never responds. Radio silence.

          You drive to the vet holding her IV bag with one hand, soothing her when she vomits, changing gears with the other, and finally hold her sweet head as she is put to sleep- surrounded by strangers, her brown eyes loyal but confused until you close them for her.

          When you finally get him on the phone, he allows the strange cruel woman to scream at you. You discover he has let random women go to a storage facility we own and use your own belonging as theirs. Stealing treasured things passed down from your dead father or grandfather -now in the hands of women who laugh at you and had sex with your husband, and then brag about it on Facebook.

          These are only a small part of the atrocities that he committed. You don’t ever recover from it.

          • This is so incredibly cruel, Breaking. I understand how hard it is to recover from such evil, but I know you’ll make it eventually. We Chumps have a way. Hugs.

          • This made me sick to my stomach. I can’t even write anything. this man is pure evil. I’m scared to even know what else he did to you.
            Hang in there Breaking the Waves xx???? I’ve been thinking about what you wrote all day. you are worth so much more than that evil man. Nothing fixes this we just need to run and never look back.

            • yeah, or giving all your beautiful wedding gifts to his whore, then when you ask him where all your place settings (for 20) are that were in the attic, he says ‘they are there” or what happened to them “I don’t know” …f ing liar. Lied about everything…like when my lingerie went missing and you come home to find a big long note jammed in your door , a gushing letter about how great it was to see you…written on the back of a Jehovah pamphlet. Probably the woman he pulled into the house for sex when she came around (and back again) practically breaking down my screen door to get back to him (he claims he gave her money!) but now I am thinking he probably pulled her into the house for sex…Yeah, anyone will do , anyone will qualify for supply, even if they are Jehovah’s witnesses. Oh god, the list goes on and on….

          • Oh my God, Breaking the Waves, how horrid!!!
            I wish you a future of healing peace and recovery.

          • What a terrible cruel man. I am sorry. It may be a painful journey but I’m sure one day he will be completely out of your life and you will find peace. X

            • You have no idea how helpful your kind words are (but maybe you do). You validate me.

              I know this sounds odd, but I wish one person had defended me. No one ever just stated in plain and clear terms how evil he is. Just like the writer of this post laments.

              He still acts like he is just an old country boy, salt of the earth. He takes no responsibility for the horrors he inflicted.

              Thank you for caring.

              ( I have been no contact for a solid two years. This is my soul /sole saving grace and a small point of pride)

              • breaking the waves, I feel for you…while my husband lay dying at home hospice, and his sister just could not find a hospital bed for the house (I now know its cuz she wanted him in hospice to make it easier for the big whore to have easy access to him) he gets a text from the ho worker (under a mans name) and I read him the text and he laughed his ass off…yes, laughed in my face …just like a devil. I got chills, I knew it sounded like a woman…no guy would write what she wrote, but is was a mans name on the text…yes, cuz sneaky liar cheater Narc had her name on the contact as a mans name…can you imagine your husband laughing at you because you are the biggest duped dummy that you never knew he was screwing his skank HO worker and he could laugh at you even though he was dying….and not only that laugh at you because he knew he had gotten away with the biggest scam, biggest con of his life…and the joke is all on me? yes, the joke was on me ! I will never ever recover from that. It is chilling to know that he knew he was dying and instead of saying anything kind or loving, he laughed at me….all because of his sadistic duping/narcissist creepy cruel thing to do to me. I have suffered so much just from that…I just cannot get over him laughing that he got one over on me. Him and his whore both got one over on me. Then to top it all off , his whore walked into hospice and waltzed in and out of there 5 times while he brother had me sequestered in a corner signing autopsy paperwork….and his sisters husband watching me to referee cuz they Knew she would be coming there….I guess they did not want me to rip the bitches head off..even though I am not violent, any wife would want to rip that skanks head off..but I was in such shock I only saw the HO once she came in with her head down…she pulled back the curtain. I guess she wanted to F the dead body.

          • Breaking Waves keep hanging around here. You will have a better life once you divorce him if you’re married.

            Duped, there are no words. What a sick evil asshole.

            It’s so important to fight for yourself and live better. Those are deep scars to battle. It’s not your shame.

    • OMG I have heard that over and over…”I deserve to be happy. I just want to be happy”….the go the fuck away and be happy! Leave me alone!

  • I loathed mediation because it was just a stage for him to pretend to be Mr Good Guy. All fakery.

    As for impression management, X told me he has photographs of the children dotted around his new place as he and Schmoopie love the thought that one day they will be part of their family, and have told Schmoopie’s seven year old all about her new ‘siblings’. Photos are great impression management for visitors to think he’s a great Dad too.

    So, away from Fantasyshitville there is a problem or two with that. 1. X thinks being a Dad is just being present. No effort required. 2. He has no contact now with either of our teens. 3. He has never told either of his teenagers where he lives, and in our son’s case has never even admitted moving in with Schmoopie.

    I’m pretty certain it suits both him and Schmoopie to carry on pretending while making no effort. Also bribes the seven year old who is an only child. Two teens visiting who will tell the truth on Dad’s parenting skills? Nah.

    But the photos look fantastic, I’m sure.

    • When middle kid was 15 and his dad was living 3000 miles away (probs with Schmoopie) but visiting us in the family home and keeping pretense of an intact family, son called me asking for a ride home and I said “One of us will come get you” and son said “who is the other person you are referring to?”

    • My oldest had the joy of filling out college apps with father’s address as “unknown” yet dear old dad shows up to his basketball games and pretends to be father of the year. Father won’t contribute to college anyways. And I agree mediation did suck.

      • I wondered about this, my sons are 21 and 19 and they have no idea what their fathers address is. He sends them insulting letter (like canceling their health insurance when they still needed it) but uses his work address. How could you do that to your kids.

        He is probably telling everyone I would stalk him, dumb shit, I know where he lives, I just do not care. As long as his address and mine are different I’m good!

      • Same here. My Ex lived with OW for an entire year but kept using our address for everything. Never had a conversation with me or the kids as to where he was living.

        Then again, he doesn’t do uncomfortable situations or conversations. Let’s all just pretend those bad things he did didn’t actually happen.

        • Same. No address for over a year and all the mail came to my residence. Wouldn’t speak about any of it with his own kids. No. Relationship. Skills.

          I have wonder about what the OWs think when the dad doesn’t spend any time with the kids, and they never spend one night at their place?

          I mean, we had dinner together and he said goodnight to them every single evening of their lives. Then, I kicked him out. He moved in with her and has seen these same kids, his kids, for a few hours each week since. So weird.

          They say he’s more like an uncle.

          • I wonder the same thing. In my case, it is a few hours a month. I’ve concluded that he is filling her ear with his sad story about how I am keeping him from his kids. Funny…given that he has standard parenting time (which he mostly doesn’t even attempt to use).

          • I have a feeling they do this because they are not living well and don’t want you to know it. They live in somebody’s basement, her parents, some dive, you get the idea. You know they would not miss a chance to make you feel badly if it were some great place. More impression management.

          • now I know why schmoopie had a PO box. I found out she cancelled her PO box after Narc died. The two of them had it all planned. THe great thing they had going. And she was more than happy to screw me over and make sure she was taking all his money and he was financially abusing me. He had it all figured out to be with schmoopie. That HO thinks she got away with it. But I know more about her than she thinks.
            By the way, all Narcs never care about their children after a divorce or before. It’s all about them, their dick, and their HO

  • When my stbx sent an email about how he and Schmoopie were just friends and not sleeping together blah blah blah, I replied in the largest font I could find “FUCK OFF YOU IDIOT”. After that I went about getting the best deal I could for myself. He tried the pity channel once and I ignored him. My feeling, is we know these morons are evil fuckwits that will continue their drama and if you let them they will rope you in every time and the result you are the one that comes away feeling like shit! The only salvation is to cut them out of your life completely. They can only continue to hurt you if you let them As for friends or family who don’t get it, stop wasting your time explaining, simply tell them ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about so leave it alone” if they don’t shut up, dump them.

    This is a fight for your dignity and sanity. We all know what these evil bastards are capable of, so why give them an opportunity to continually degrade you? Don’t give them the opportunity to discuss how the kids will feel about his whore or anything else in his life. Why would you care? Don’t have any discussion with him that is not absolutely necessary and concerning kids and only by email and use that family software everyone talks about on here.

    As for his image management, you know who he is and it’s just a matter of time before he shows everyone else who he is, too! He’s an adulterous asshole, in case anyone asks!

    • Amen, Sister! Especially the last sentence. It’s always good to have a go-to comeback line in your arsenal to dish out to prying know-it-all’s who want everyone to just believe it’s all good.

  • He is a turd, albeit a smart one. I would have a terrible time with that one as are you and no doubt he knows it. You can’t just toss them because the kids wanted you to have them. I think I would have to look at it that way. I would probably tell the kids that I am so thankful that you wanted me to have these flowers and you two mean the world to me. I wouldn’t think of them as being from the turd at all. I also think that you can tell them that dad doesn’t understand that you can’t cheat on someone and a gift makes it OK. Let them know how hurt you are by their father but you are touched by their thoughtfulness.

    If you still can’t deal with looking at those flowers, explain it is too tough of a reminder right now and quietly move them to the garage where you may cut them to bits and trash them late at night when the kiddos are sleeping.

    He may look like a good guy to outsiders but he is not and I don’t think he really looks as good as you might think. People know, they are often just too polite to say. If they don’t get it, feel sorry for them because they are probably likely to become his victim too.

    I think your top priority is letting your children know your values and that dad’s actions go against them. They likely already know. My children knew and yet for some reason I was surprised and thought I needed to keep explaining what he was doing is wrong. They kept telling me, “I know mom”. DUH!

    Good luck, I think todays comments will help a lot of us who are dealing with the same thing. It sucks.

  • For Christmas both my boys gave me a box of chocolates from the overly expensive grocery store the ex shops at. Filled with tree nuts. Which I am deathly allergic to, and x well knows. Win win for him. He looks like the good guy helping the boys get a present for Mom when I don’t reciprocate. If I don’t eat the death candies I look hard to please. If I do eat the death candies I die or go to the hospital. I just told the boys thank you (and later gave them away). Maybe I should have said more but I wanted to avoid Christmas drama. Since then I have mentioned my nut allergy casually when talking about food so they know.

    • He is lucky you didn’t bring attempt at murder charges. I think you could have made that stick.

      • That was my thought too – you can be charged with murder if you do this so why not attempted murder?

    • During brief reconciliation asshole had peanut butter in the house, knows I’m allergic and can’t stand the smell and frankly am terrified of peanuts. If that fucker had kissed me I would have ended up in hospital. All deliberate, had never had peanut butter in house for 13 years.

    • I just read you comments. I just got chocolate covered nuts for the FOURTH time… and mine too knows I’m allergic. Of course, he isn’t so of course, Blow-up-Boy (he blows up his own ego, over and over) ate them all……

  • Are you married to my STBX? Omg! This was my life!

    The vacations, the refusing to move out even though he makes 6 figures, telling the kids he couldn’t be a good parent if he wasn’t happy, and the impression management gifts. Since cheaters seem to be completely unoriginal, do you want me to tell you what’s coming next?

    When you start to implement boundaries he’s going to up the anti! He will provoke you in every possible way (and he’ll probably use the kids to do it). When fuckface finally moved out he would take every opportunity when I wasn’t home to come back and steal things. In my state it’s illegal to change the locks (because he’s on the mortgage) but there is nothing in the law about changing the alarm code.When he realized he couldn’t turn off the alarm he started enlisting my children’s help to “let him in” (through lies and manipulation of course). I’m normally pretty calm
    And level headed, but he provoked me so much so, that my kids started asking me if I “was going freak out” if there was an event we were both at. I won’t give you all the awful details, but let’s just say the cops were involved on multiple occasions and he convinced the kids “I was the problem”
    First order of advise, no matter how provoked do not lose your cool. Second, INSIST on an exclusive possession order the day he moves out. Don’t let your attorney talk you out of it, or you are handing him the key to make your life a living hell!

    Do not Wait to take your half of joint holdings! If there’s any in his name alone, wave good bye!

    Expect smoopsie to be dragged into your kids lives way too soon, and guess what… the court does not care!

    Expect that this is going to be dragged out “because he’s such a busy person trying to provide for his kids” that he doesn’t have the time to devote to divorce matters.

    Don’t go into this thinking you are dealing with a system of justice, there is no justice in our legal system. Dirty divorce tricks are par for the course, and because it’s a civil system, don’t expect criminal punishment. Assholes are given a lot of leeway in the civil system, and they use every ounce of it!

    Given his behavior, it appears you lost the small window where you could have capitalized on any sense of guilt by getting an agreement in writing. Assume now, it’s time for the war!

    Good luck form the going on 3 years of divorce chump! If you know anyone who’s gone through a high conflict divorce with a high earning spouse, sit down and pick their brain… and LISTEN to their advise! I went into this thinking “oh he would never” and “the law is on my side”. Nope, the civil system is set up to allow financial abuse.

    Things I wish I would have done

    Gotten exclusive possession order
    Order preventing spending over a certain amount (i can’t think of what it’s called at the moment) without the agreement of both parties (example; without one, he bought a new house cash by selling our stocks after I told him no). Here’s the kicker, he asked me to sign a quit claim deed to the new house he bought. That would have taken it off the asset division table.
    Pay off joint debts while you still have access to joint money.
    I thought if I played “nice” it would stop him from robbing me blind. Nope!

    Prepare for battle!

    • This is great advice. The order preventing spending over a certain amount is critical as these narc cheaters love to blow joint funds on their schmoopies.

      • Financial Temporary Restraining Order.

        Kicks in automatically upon filing in some states. Definitely get one if your state is not among them.

    • Financial restraining order. In some cases you can have an agreement drawn up that states one spouse moving out during separation is not desertion of the asset. Legal help is very important. If they are dishonest in their personal life, they will be dishonest professionally and during the divorce process. You will not get your pound of flesh in court, this is a dissolution of a business and it’s assets. Facts only. I would recommend:

      disconnecting all emails, iclouds, cell phone plans. If you have kids, get them on their own plan where both parents can access accounts (in my case I own the phones, but my ex locked down their clouds etc so he could control, spell it out very well in JOD)

      Go to a different phone carrier and buy a new phone if you can that is not connected to anything, set up a new email that only uses that phone on a carrier you don’t have email on. Use your old phone for regular stuff, email all correspondence from STBX to your new phone and email. Never email your lawyer from old accounts that your x would maybe be able to access (yep, mine read all my emails to my lawyer)

      Photo copy everything. Move all documents out of the house.

      If your kids don’t have passports and you think you will travel, get them before the divorce or as part of JOD, this can be a mess.

      Hire the best financial advice you can.

      Leverage on their professional image is a good card to keep to yourself.

      And everyone on this site will agree: DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Every time he so much as ties your kid’s shoes. This is how I got a good custody agreement.

      Remember, if they control you in the marriage, they will try to exert control during and post divorce. Chump Lady’s advice of No Contact is golden. Never write something to your ex that you don’t want the court to see.

      Once you are divorced, stick with the custody plan. you are under no obligation to switch days just to be accommodating, this will backfire in your face. Case in point: year one in Sept-Nov my ex missed 14 of 28 custody days because I would not “trade”. He takes “annual” business trips. Year two, Sept-Nov he missed 7 custody days, Year 3, 4 days. He learned. I don’t trade. Recently he asked to trade a weekend and I considered it until my DD informed me it was not for a “mandatory business trip” but was actually for a ski vacation…..still up to his tricks. I texted back that I was unable to accommodate his request. I threw him a bone a couple months later, letting him have the kids an extra night so I could go visit my mom.

      I have not spoken to my x since the first day of custody exchange when he went to walk into “my house”. I told him in no uncertain words to “get the fuck off my porch and sit in his truck”. I kid you not, not one word. I see him in public and tell my kids to go talk to him, whatever and act like I don’t know him. People find it weird. Works great.

      Three years out and my x still tries stupid shit. This post makes me sound a bit bitter. I’m a divorce mentor and drug and alcohol therapist and I’m pretty no nonsense with clients. I’m no longer bitter, this site is a place where I can speak my mind.

    • Got-a-brain,

      Thanks for the link ! The woman who bought expensive clothes and then sold them at consignment shops was certainly creative-what a way to sock away cash to flee a marriage.

  • My ex did many of the same things. It is very traumatic for you. I did not take time to to take care of myself and wish I had.

    My ex was also so sure that our kids would be so happy for him and would love his schmoopie. Well it has not worked out that way at all. Schmoopie insisted on meeting the kids asap. I must mention that I did ask my kids to be polite. Well to this day, they refuse to spend time with her. They are in their early twenties. These cheaters never think of the mess they leave.

    Truly a shit sandwich for all except the ow and sparkly turd.

    • I got “the girls will simply be happy for me, that I finally found someone to LOVE.”
      — he deadpans to his wife of 30 years. Apparently he figured they would throw rose petals on the ground as they walked into my house together…

      • OMG, yes. The “But can’t you see how happy I am” and “why wouldn’t you support your very own daddy’s happiness” communications from cheater to kids are ENDLESS. Bonus: assures them that he will never “force” OW on them, even as they are shacking up in our small town, she’s being introduced to fam, she’s staying in what is still my vacation home, they are out and about everywhere, he is only available to see or speak to them in the limited windows of timd not devoted to her, and so forth. Yup. Not forced at all. That must be why mom had to miraculously find a job with healthcare after many, many years off the market and toiling away for the fam biz. Because, you know, cheaters are thoughtful and considerate that way. Hah.

  • Yes, they really are all the same! I had the same issue with him taking the kids shopping for Christmas presents for me 3 weeks after he had left. At the time I was a bit blindsided and still not wanting to make him look bad “for the sake of the children”. However, I did talk to my kids about it in anticipation of it happening again – and made arrangements for me (or our nanny) to take them shopping for gifts for me at other times since, so this hasn’t happened again recently.
    At Christmas, however, when my ex dropped the daughter who will visit him back home he gives me a hamper (basket with luxury food/wine/candles for those not familiar with the term!) and a note on it wishing me well from him and his (now) wife. Of course it is meant to make him look the generous, magnanimous one, whilst I am the bitter shrew, totally ignoring his (still ongoing) cruelty towards me and my children. The injustice of it rankled so much but unfortunately I was unprepared and just mumbled a very vague thank you. The hamper was actually very nice but, as it happens, him and I are also doctors and I happen to know that the hamper is exactly the kind that one of the hospitals that he works at gives him each year. So, I know he was only passing on a gift that was already given to him as a freebie – much like the sewerage plant analogy! I was going to regift it but I couldn’t give it to a charity as it contained alcohol and perishable food. Actually my naughty dogs ate some of it! In the end, it just felt like this horrible thing polluting my house so I took it to the dump with me and through it there with the other (genuine) rubbish I was taking. It felt somewhat cathartic anyway!
    Next time, I will be prepared and (with as much grey rock as I can summon) tell him that I cannot accept a gift (in inverted commas) from him. Of course, it will make me the bad guy but I know and accept that they both will be doing that anyway. I think my children understand – and gaslighting them is not ok either. Being shit to people is not cancelled out by giving them things.
    V-day – I think one of the reasons it (gradually!) gets easier is because you learn more of the things your shitty ex is going to do and get to be more prepared. If your ex is anything like mine, because he behaves well at work (major kibbles delivered from that) that people assume he is that same person at home – not the cruel, narcissistic bastard he is. Although yours is an orthopaedic surgeon so maybe, even if he is respected, he may still be a more overt narcissist than mine was! Anyway, regardless who is advising you, allowing our children to be triangulated and gaslighting them is not letting them see his nice side, it is letting them be abused by him. You know that, CN know that – and so do some wiser folks. Even though it isn’t fair you have to ignore the others. I am still angry at the injustice but it isn’t as fierce as it was – it does mellow in time, and it becomes easier to extract yourself in time. You sound strong, and brave and prepared to more than do the right thing by your children. They are 12 and 15 (same age as mine) and they are much more perceptive than we think, I have found. Their narc dad will expose himself eventually, although it sounds like they already have a fair idea about him already.
    Good luck to you

  • So timely!
    We are in the early stages of divorcing (I told him I wanted a divorce at the end of January). Then I moved out of the house for six weeks on a house/pet sitting gig for a colleague.
    On V-day morning I opened my email to read a note from my stbx that although it didn’t seem “appropriate” to get me a Valentine, in the spirit of “kindness eases change” (a quote from a novel he teaches) he had put a small box of chocolate truffles from our local chocolatier in my mailbox at school (we teach in the same department at the university; only a very few people there know we are divorcing).
    I became volcanic with rage. D-day was three years ago. I pick me danced in the most exotic of fashions for an entire year before I couldn’t do it anymore. For the almost two years after that, I wavered between smoking the hopium and trusting that he sucked, slowly, with Chump Lady and Chump Nation’s help, gathering my courage and making my plans.
    In the past two years since I stopped pick me dancing, the only conversations my stbx has had with me over “the situation” have been those in which he raged at me when I asserted myself to erect some boundaries. How DARE he now claim the high ground of “kindness eases change?”
    Thanks to CL and CN I knew that he was switching on the “charm” channel for impression management, and although I’m no longer susceptible, it still made me choke with anger. (No “Meh” here yet.)
    I did, however, eventually gather myself together and wrote back to say that yes, a valentine did feel “inappropriate” and that given our new footing I thought it would be better if I just returned the box of chocolates to his own mailbox. Which I did when I got into school.
    After I did this, I felt as if I’d taken a little of my own power back, and I had an excellent rest of Valentine’s Day–I had bought my own chocolate and flowers, and made myself a special meal (and bought the pets special food, too), and ate it while listening to Bonnie Raitt sing “I Ain’t Blue,” which I think is an excellent reminder that one can by Mighty alone, but keep an eye open for whatever might come along.
    Since in the last two weeks I’ve seen the charm and self pity channels, I’m bracing myself for the coming of rage, but for some reason that one is easier for me to withstand.

    • I wonder what a box of truffles up his ass would ease? I would be curious to find out. For purely scientific reasons, of course.

    • Excellent!!! Good on you!!!
      I too bought myself a nice dinner and enjoyed a home with dd.

  • Dear V-Day Chump! Well, your post sure struck chord with me! I’ve been with my husband for 21 years….married just short of 18. He too is an Orthopedic surgeon (Spine). We met during his residency (I am an RN), dated all through it and through his fellowship. I quit nursing once we had children so I could be the stay-at-home Momma (trophy wife). Only now that we are having issue is he starting to discuss how I don’t work, etc. Isn’t it interesting how they can create a world for you, flaunt it to everyone they know like they are so amazing, yet hold it over our heads! We have two children ages 10 and 7. He cheated on me in 2012 with a couple (that I know of) escorts! I can’t begin to tell the whole story but let me just say it would make a GREAT movie. Very scary, dangerous stuff. Anyway, we stayed together. It was a HARD road, but he was truly remorseful, etc., etc., etc. I felt like we went through the pain of it all together and somehow (stupidly) I thought it would NEVER, EVER, EVER happen again. Guess what? I was wrong. I discovered last June that he was having an affair with a nurse on the Ortho floor. Worst part…….he’s 56 and she is 27!!!! I told him he is the ultimate, embarrassing cliche! Does he really think this 27 year old wants him for how hot and amazing he is (I’ll give it to him that he is pretty hot for a 56 year old LOL), but the only reason she was interested was $$$$$$$! He and I separated on and off for months, all the while him telling me it was over with her and he was using the time to “reflect” and for “clarity” and to “right his path”. All the while BS and still sleeping with her. It finally all ended the first week of November (only because she and I ran into each other in public and sat down and had a long hard 2 hour talk). At this time she finally realized he had been lying to her all along as well and manipulating her. Anyway, enough about her….she means nothing. So here we are in February and maybe I’m being a chump, still here, still believing and “working” on things. I’m sooooooo glad I found CN because I’m realizing all the stupid shit I’ve been doing. Reading ALL the infidelity books, highlighting things for him and/or reading him to read, scheduling therapy appointments of which he would attend maybe 2x/month, going to therapy myself (EMDR) to get over the freaking trauma of it all, obsessing over what’s going on with him……blah, blah, blah. I just found CN this week and I have to admit is has been empowering. I told him this week I’ll NEVER read another book on infidelity again. I’m going to read about empowering myself, protecting myself, and caring for myself from now on. I’m tired of being the cheerleader here. All I hear is about what he is going through and how messed up he is and how he got off the path and how he’s struggling with his identity and how he hasn’t even begun to address the shame and remorse yet. Really? I wonder when that comes? Regarding Valentine’s Day guess what I got?? NOTHING!!! Not a damn thing! I lost my mind! He said that since our marriage is in disarray it made no sense to pretend things were normal and buy me flowers, etc. I told him, we are SUPPOSED to be reconciling so all the more reason to do something to show love for his wife and the mother of his children. Believe me……the kids noticed. Completely unacceptable! Anyway, I just wanted to write to tell you that I’m pulling for you. I think the male surgeon mentality really makes it hard to compete with their God-like complex. All the little ninny nurses and staff bow at their feet and the narcissists that they are believe they are indeed Gods. Too bad they don’t realize they are married to angels!

    • Get out. He will just cheat again. I’m not saying that it is impossible to save a marriage from infidelity but he has proven he is a serial cheater. That won’t change. And until you get free, you won’t realize how much you are sacrificing of yourself just to stay.

    • Welcome Mrs. B to a club that no one ever wanted to be in, but here we are. I’m so glad you found Chump Lady and Chump Nation. This blog puts it all into perspective for us and brings a clarity that we could never have gotten on our own. We learn that these cheaters are all cut from the same cloth and there is nothing unique or special about any of them. Just your ordinary, garden variety cheater working from the same cheater playbook. Who knew they all said and did the same exact things?

    • Mrs. B.,
      Welcome aboard, matey!
      I’m glad you’ve found us. Keep on working on yourself.
      Get clear of him and his bullshit. No more highlighting or making appointments for him. Do it for yourself.
      He isn’t in it to win it.
      Get everything lined up, documentation, etc.
      Keep on fighting for yourself and your children.

    • Mrs. B,
      You and I have similar stories. Married 21 years to serial cheater MD. All I can say is the medical field is filled with tons of cheaters. It’s so easy for them to use the excuse of being “on call” or “working late” because hey they are being the good guys and saving lives/helping people. It’s just so hard for nurses and axcilliary staff to resist their greatness and what better way than pulling down their underwear and spreading their legs.

      • I want to add (from bitter experience) that medical conferences are full of people looking to hook-up with other doctors. “Look at ME! I’m fucking a DOCTOR!!” My cheater’s passion is fueled by the perceived intelligence of his target, probably because he is a college dropout.

      • So true!!! The “god complex” is alive and well with narcissists and especially those who are surgeons. I told my husband he is the ultimate cliche! If he worked at the local landfill this 27 year old girl would have had nothing to do with his 56 year old ass. Yes, he is hot and fit and blows away most 56 year old men, BUT he is the same age as her Dad!!!! Ewwwwww!!! I reminded him that he is a target with giant dollar signs over his head and if he thinks differently he is a fool. I guess I am a fool too. He actually went looking for a “mistress”. Yep, he propositioned her….a business deal of sorts. How worthless do you think that makes me feel? I’m so fucking scared to start the process of divorce. I know it will only be a transference of pain. I’ve been with this man since I was 23 years old. I have to go back to school to do a refresher course to get my RN license reactivated as well. A lot to think about. A lot to be afraid of. I KNOW he will be evil in a divorce. He pretty much thinks he’s smarter than everyone he meets and he has obviously shown me how manipulative he can be. That being said I know I should not let fear stop me. I know I want to be a good example for my children. I want to show them that I am strong and resilient and teach them what boundaries are and that it is unacceptable to break them. I want them to understand the concept of trust and love. I also don’t want them to feel the pain of a divorce! Uuuuuuuugh!

  • Covert contract:

    I will do this nice appearing thing, and you won’t try to make me look bad, even thought I’ve done REALLY bad things.

    Chumps. There is nothing negative, bitter nor angry about refusing a “peace offering” that hits more like a kick in the pants. Don’t fool yourself that the intentions are innocent. It is grandstanding for the crowd.

    Politely return or donate the item. Set it out at the street next to the trash for pick up – re gift it to ANYONE else, or politely refuse.

    Since I have been labeled a creative evil genius by my x, I look for Magneto ways to get rid of items. There is a lovely man on u tube who finds creative ways to blow up anything. I don’t recommend you play with fire, but it is a hoot to watch random items boom.

    • Funny Magneto, my kids are always looking for things to use for target practice with the BB gun.

    • “Covert contract:

      I will do this nice appearing thing, and you won’t try to make me look bad, even thought I’ve done REALLY bad things.”

      I believe that nowdeadcheater was scared to death of being outed as “that guy” who left his wife/kids for younger coworker. He was not willing to just do it and claim his shit. No, he tried everything to get me to throw him out or for me to agree to a quiet, ostensibly a “conscious uncoupling”…nope, I assured him if he left for Susan, I would tell the world he was an assbastard who dumped us and ran off.

      He had used blame as his only coping skill for SO long that he had no strength or backbone whatsoever.

      I never gave into his plan and he was never strong enough to do it without my acquiescence. I thought our non-divorce meant that we were reconciled, but that was stupid.

      • I believe that nowdeadcheater was scared to death of being outed as “that guy” who left his wife/kids for younger coworker. He was not willing to just do it and claim his shit. No, he tried everything to get me to throw him out or for me to agree to a quiet, ostensibly a “conscious uncoupling”…nope, I assured him if he left for Susan, I would tell the world he was an assbastard who dumped us and ran off.


        Exh2 wanted so badly for me to throw his ass out. Of course, I didn’t realize the depth of what he was up to nor his intentions to leave. Not until D-Day. Even then, I refused to confront him. I remained silent to him, but told everyone in my circle about his shenanigans.
        He cracked and busted himself wide open of his intentions to leave, but never admitted anything.

    • Magneto
      Took me years to wake up and realize the “gifts were actually “covert” tactics by Stbx and all was just as you said, grandstanding-image management for anyone watching!

      Once you realize it – it’s a gut punch! Understanding that you were just part of an evil scheme – it’s almost too much to much to comprehend and understand .

      I, too, have been labeled “evil, bitch wife who’s divorcing him for no good reason “!

  • The ex sent me Valentine’s Day flowers with a gushing love note, then broke up with me through Facebook and blocked me. Apparently there was enough time between the ordering & delivery of the flowers that things got solidified with the Schmoopie & I was no longer Plan A or B… just disposable. That was years ago & it’s merely funny now, in a sad, dark, pathetic kind of way. Sending you genuine love from all of us here at Chump Nation… as opposed to the Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Crap you’ve been getting for years. Dump on us all you want… we care, & we’ll listen. XOXOXO

    • You sound happy and joyfully at Meh. Thank you for sharing your sunshine. Peace and hugs.

  • Sigh. Here’s how this played out here on V Day.

    Cheater always but always sent a dozen long stemmed red roses from the local florists. Any sort of romantically inclined day, and they arrived like clockwork. A vase full was in the house on my dday, which doubled as our wedding anniversary.

    My daughter is the one who finally exposed the cheating. She was pissed as hell about the flowers on the ongoing lie they represented. She and I have been close since she arrived, and the discard/gaslighting phase was long, so she saw many, many gifts happen, and knows exactly how meaningless they all were.

    On V Day, he sent flowers to her. First time ever. With a “Love, Dad” card. She regarded the whole deal as though it might be a bouquet of poisonous snakes, gave the card a contemptuous once over, and then asked me to get rid of the whole deal.

    Asked her if she was sure.

    Yes. She wanted it all in the trash.

    So we did that, then went to Ash Wednesday services, exchanged our gifts, and had dinner together.

    Love bombing the kid with classic cheater moves, right down to the card? Yup. That happened, but she wasn’t playing.

    • cheater would leave valentines day cards on the table while he was out on a romantic night with his whore. I was usually working and he was no where to be found. He could always lie and say he was traveling while he was shacking at the HO house

  • The greatest trick that the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he doesn’t exist. That is what these people are all about.

  • Your story resonates with me as what I came to refer to as “guns and roses” moments.

    A friend once shared with me advice she received from her counselor:

    “The man who walks through the front door with a dozen roses is the same man who walks through the front door with a loaded gun.“

    When I started looking at my marriage as “guns and roses moments“ it all became crystal clear. It was an incredible “A-HA!!!” realization.

    Here’s an example of my first guns and roses moment, and probably my favorite example:

    I was setting the table one night for dinner as then-hubby was finishing cooking. We had been in the same room for about 15 minutes but hadn’t said a word to each other. He calmly and quietly said, “You’ve gone off your diet haven’t you?!” I had been waiting for that comment to come for several weeks, so when it finally did all I could do was smirk and giggle quietly. He caught my smirk and obviously didn’t appreciate it. He slammed down the chefs knife that was in his hand and flew into a rage calling me a “fat, lazy pig“ and spewing much other filth. As he typically did when enraged, he then proceeded to move about the house collecting his things (car keys, eyeglasses, iPad) in preparation for flight. On his way out the door I heard his final pound of a door or wall with his fist and his departing “fucking bitch“ goodbye. Our three children didn’t bat an eye, as they had become too well accustomed to this scenario. He returned several hours later and headed straight to bed. The incident was never spoken of again.

    Two days later he came home from work with a small bakery box containing a chocolate mousse roll, a dessert he knew had been my favorite. (Oh, great … my roses!!!) I didn’t dare eat it, as it would only make me fatter, which in turn would make me lazier, which in turn would make me more of a pig. So it sat in the refrigerator for four days going stale. When he came home on day 5 and found the stale treasure in the garbage, the gun came out again. Seeing the situation for the “guns and roses“ moment that it was, I simply smiled to myself and left the room. It was so empowering to finally realize I wasn’t the crazy one.

    • The fact that my kids sat through obscene, blasphemous, emotionally violent rages as if they werent happening shows me that I stayed married to him too long…something that awful should cause reaction in people…I cried and cried when he did that shit.

      He drove dangerously in a rage and kept it up at home later fleeing like you describe because I went into the 7-11 while he was gassing up the family minivan and got the kids a slurpee.

      He left during rages and later came home with groceries…like that makes up for abuse.

      No rages in our house since he died, go figure

    • I am so sorry. What a disgusting human. I hope you are eating everything you love and enjoying every bite!

      • Actually I’m eating much healthier now, exercising regularly, and look pretty good for the 54 year old that I am. Food soothed and numbed me during my marriage, but no more.

        I still kick myself every day for staying as long as I did (26 years) and that their father’s rage became my kids norm. Sadly, the kids (3 sons) sided with their father and are estranged from me. My biggest fear it that they’ll treat their girlfriends and future wives the same.

        • Oh JamLady! One of my biggest fears is that my son will write me off eventually because his dad gives him everything and rarely enforces boundaries. I’m so sorry to hear that you are estranged from your sons and I hope you eventually get your day of reckoning! Good for you for taking your health care into your own hands! I can’t stress the healing power of sunshine, exercise, and a smoothie a day, enough. I hope you find fulfillment developing during this new stage in your life.

        • How do you cope with the enstrangement? The same happened to me? I’m find it very difficult to process.

          • X showed very little interest in our teenage son until X moved our of our home.
            To avoid paying child support X carefully manipulated our son by showing him attention, gifts, money, and they could live together like college room mates.
            X vilified me and portrayed himself as the victim with his dirty tactics.
            My son would have nothing to do with me and we were estranged for years.
            A year ago X’s gf told him she would move in with X if our son didn’t live with him.
            Father of the year told our son (college room mate) who is going to college and working to find his own place. Since our son found his own apartment and hasn’t had as much contact my son has been visiting me and acting like more like himself than his father.
            During the years I didn’t hear from him I occasionally would write a short note telling him I was thinking of him. It was really all I could do because he wouldn’t speak to me.
            Recently my son apologized for his behavior.
            I never told my son the truth about his father and his AP. At that time I thought I was doing the right thing, I’ve since changed my mind and wish I had told our son.
            X would deny the truth then use it against me as more evidence against me that I was mentally ill.
            We are in the early stages and admittedly I’m cautious, I still feel as if my son has an alliance with his father.
            Pattimint, and others, as hopeless as it might seem I think in time your children will come around as they mature.

        • Jam Lady…I was also married to a rage-aholic who would break everything in the house (inlcuding the windows) and go so insane the neighbors would call the police on him. I am so ashamed at what our daughter saw. The kicker though, to this day she blames me for his rages and all the other mental and physical abuse that was heaped on me and we are now estranged. Her dad was and will always be the hero and I’m the bad guy.

        • Jamlady good for you! Its funny how much better you feel when they are gone! Its like you can breathe again and you realize how they constantly created problems for you. I experienced the most insane rage at the end and i know how it can crush your spirit. I’m so glad you havent let it!

        • my ex used to throw fits about my weight too. he was much bigger than me. i had given birth twice, 3 miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome, ect. he would make crappy fat comments then order pizza, or buy the enormous candy bars that come as jokes. or make cookies. he refused to walk or exercise with me. it was humiliating and ridiculous.

          • oops. thst was a,repeat.

            My ex put his fist thru every door in every house we ever lived in. His rages were epic. Somehow he made it all my fault. Since the divorce both my kids believe his lies and hate me. I’ve never seen my only grandchild. My life is more peaceful but very lonely.

    • Golly, JamLady,
      Idk if your ex buying you your favorite cake after an episode like that, was really a makeup gift for acting out; as much as it seems to me to be some kind of test, to see if his rage still carried power over you. After calling you a fat, lazy pig, no wonder you refused your favorite dessert. To me, it seems like that was his goal, yet, it’s like his feelings were hurt that you didn’t eat the cake.
      Ugh, can’t win with these bastards.
      Glad you’re out of that situation.

    • my ex used to throw fits about my weight too. he was much bigger than me. i had given birth twice, 3 miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome, ect. he would make crappy fat comments then order pizza, or buy the enormous candy bars that come as jokes. or make cookies. he refused to walk or exercise with me. it was humiliating and ridiculous.

  • This week has been exceptionally hard.
    My bday follows vday. All the memories flooded back of years of neglect, verbal abuse, blowing up holiday/my day and the cheating.

    Never a vday gift ever, but went on and on with stories about what flowers he bought for his past women. Never any flowers for me, unless you count a few stems of wilted grocery store Alstromeria as a floral gift. He did ask once on feb 13 if I’d like a small potted plant (money tree) because he saw it in an office and liked it. I politely declined that “gift”.

    He was travelling for work on vday and bday a few years ago. Vday i get the usual call “happy vday, what can i get you? Here’s what i bought my ex’s blahblahblah” proceeds to surprise me with jack shit.
    On my bday no call all day. No text. Nada.
    Calls at 9 pm to say “good night and btw, happy bday”. Weeks later i found out he met someone on the 13th and proceeded to carry on, e-mailing,calling, texting the chick all day on my bday and for weeks afterwards.

    Happy fucking bday to me.

    To the LW: take all the advice here.
    Put kids 1st, thank them and tell them kindly you can’t accept gifts paid for by the ex.
    If they want to treat you to something then have them dip into their piggybanks and have them “take you” to icecream or something. I do this with my son, and later secretly deposit his $ back.

    As for the flowers, I’d take it out after the kids have gone to bed and stomp the living shit out of it. Then bag it up and deposit in trash so the kids don’t see it.
    Keep the cards as evidence like ppl said above.

    • Yep, one night not long after he moved out, I found some stuff of his he had left behind.
      After DD went to bed, I piled it all up in the back yard and beat it all down with a baseball bat to specs. Most healthy way for me to excise the rage I felt.

    • Mg, actually it is a happy birthday for you. Consider it a gift to be rid of him.
      All days will be much happier with out that worthless load.
      She deserves him.

      Happy Birthday!

  • Image management is one area I don’t have to worry about with my ex except for the lies he tells our daughter. But everyone – even his sons and his mom – know he’s a jerk and an arrogant ass. The only person who might think he’s the “good” guy in all of this is his stupid schmoopie who is so dumb you could give her a roadmap of all the wrong he’s done in his life and she’d still find an excuse for him. She’s welcome to that train wreck.

    • Amen, Keepin Calm!!!
      Everyone thinks my exh is a piece of shit, except apparently the OWife

  • One last bit of Magneto advice. I have taught school for 30 years. I know a bully personality from a block away.
    Bullies love “making” you do things.

    Consider that you sending back or reciprocating a small gift with a gift, or replying nicely to a text, displaying flowers and the like is you participating in the relationship still.

    What stops bullies? It has nothing to do at all with the target using threats, or nasty or kind words back at the bullies. Bullies know when the target is done with them when they sense the shift in the targets attitude.
    They usually move onto the next victim.

    I think I remember the email exchange that sent my XH off into “find someone else to” land. It took years of gray or no contact and LOTS of reading to get there, but it finally clicked.

    He has not tried to influence me again.

    I respectfully remain,

  • Mine didn’t say “Happy Valentine’s Day” because he probably knows that would lead to a throat punch. He did make a big fuss of asking what I wanted him to make for dinner (nothing, thanks). He tried again last night, as I worked a closing shift and didn’t get home until 11 pm or so. He was in bed in his own room like a ‘good’ boy, and had made another big fussy attempt by texting me a picture of the plate of food he’d put in the fridge for me- which I saw while eating my dinner on my break. I work in a deli, you idiot- you think I won’t eat when I get hungry? Why would I eat at 11 pm or later? I didn’t say a word and the dog had a nice breakfast this morning.

    So incredibly maddening. Gray rock is tough, y’all.

  • The purchase of an itchy sweater is an analogy that triggers me, especially the week of Valentine’s Day. Married one month shy of 25 years (over 27 before high conflict divorce finally wrapped up.) My Ex insisted on giving me red roses with baby’s breath, for EVERY occasion.

    My favorite roses are not red, my favorite flowers are not roses, and I dislike baby’s breath as a filler. Earlier in our marriage I would be diplomatic about pointing out my preferences (yellow roses with irises YES, sunflowers, gladiolas, Gerber daisies, regular daisies, those cream to yellow roses with dark pink or magenta tips YAY). Any green filler aside from baby’s breath. I would point out all the pretty, economical alternatives. I was a frequenter of the local farmer’s market and would fill the house with flowers that I liked. ANYHOW – one of the last years or our marriage, my Ex gave me red roses with baby’s breath for 3 occasions in close unison (might have been V-Day followed by my birthday and then Easter). Now some folks might think “first world problems, bitch.” It got to a point that even one of my teenage daughters blurted out “dad you know mom hates red roses.” Of course he then insisted I was ungrateful and unappreciative and “entitled” and FINE there would be NO MORE FLOWERS for me, EVER.

    I know everyone on this site gets it. Passive aggressive, bullshit emotional abuse, in the extreme. In front of the children. Painted up as a loving gesture. God I’m glad he’s someone else’s problem now.

  • Just want to add: I hope VDay’s kids know that their father has had a girlfriend since ….date. Because he can try to spin it that the marriage was over, he had tried the marriage counselling, there was so much fighting. He was justified in getting a girlfriend, NOW. Without mentioning the fighting was because he was a serial cheater, and the counselling useless because he was still cheating.

    Kids deserve to know the truth, they NEED to know it. My ex is another one whose father cheated repeatedly (and was violent), until his mother kicked him out, but she never said a
    Word to her kids about why. So they learned nothing from their father’s choices.

    As brilliantly said above, ‘I don’t want them to stop loving their father. I just don’t want them to grow up to be like him.’

  • Vday chump….. I totally get this. It’s high level image management when you mess with the kids’ mind. My cheater wife plays the “poor me card” with our daughter. She cries in front of daughter and tells her how financially broke she is so that daughter will feel sorry for her (even though she has been screwing me over financially for the past three months). She is grooming daughter as her new emotional caretaker (a role I filled for the past 17 years.)

  • My cheater actually has no existence outside of impression management. His entire life is built around being Mr Nice Guy who is unfailingly wonderful. And in fact, he DOES do a lot of nice things for people when it’s convenient for him or going to get him a lot of strokes. He has a huge circle of fans…. I have absolutely no doubt that when he eventually croaks, there will be hundreds at his funeral, all gushing over what a great guy he was.

    Of course, for me, it’s different. He knows that I know what he really is. He knows that all of the lies, cheating, con games, and mind fuckery he pulled on me — and still occasionally pops up to attempt again — give the lie to his Mr Wonderful persona. So his hatred for me knows no bounds, and there are no attempts at fake kindness towards me any longer.

    A skilled disordered person can fool most people with his/her fakery. That’s how con artists do their thing, after all. But once the disordered know you are on to them, the mask drops and you’ll see the real person inside. That’s when it really gets ugly.

    • This is me ex-narc to a T also. He is genuinely kind (or at least his actions are) to many people, however it is always motivated by how it will make him look. He was contemptuous of so many people behind their backs whilst playing the saint to their faces. His whole existence is image management too – even after 20 years I still found it hard to describe him in any depth and now I realise why.
      When I started to finally see behind the mask myself – not just the lies/infidelity (that had been going on since the beginning of our relationship) but the emotional abuse that came with it and, most importantly, he realised that I saw, any pretence of decency was just completely thrown out the window and he has been very ugly (was always cruel, I now see, but more overt now). Just before he left he told me that over the last 6 months he “couldn’t stand to feel so unloved”. What he really meant was that he couldn’t stand that his gas-lighting, blameshifting etc was finally exposed and not working so well.
      He does fool many people and it is hard to swallow at times. I try to avoid as many of those that I can but unfortunately I can’t avoid them all due to our working in the same place (and some kid crossover stuff). I just try and remember that I know the truth though.

  • V-day Chump,

    You have my HEART-FELT condolences!

    My husband (now ex-husband) used to send me flowers shortly after abusing me, sometimes for up to seven hours straight. I stayed in my marriage to act as a human shield for my children. (I used to barricade my children and me in the children’s bedroom every night–before my children and I went to the safe house at the recommendation of my attorney and friends. Not surprisingly, I don’t have recent fond memories associated with flowers.

    My post-separation boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend, brought me flowers once, on our first official Valentine’s Day together. Looking back on that day and all the others we were ‘together,’ I think that he bought the flowers for me out of societal obligation (you bring your lover flowers on Valentine’s Day). A week later, on an anniversary outing, shortly before walking into a restaurant to celebrate, he ‘yelled’ at me out of the blue, ‘I will never marry you.’ Once inside the restaurant, he calmly, coldly asked, ‘How do you feel about that?’ I responded, ‘I don’t know.’ Why I didn’t leave on the spot, considering what he did that day and other days in the previous year, and why I wooed him back for a few months and then stayed another YEAR in spite of increasingly awful behavior from him, is the topic of much self-reflection and guided reflection.

    Both my ex-husband and my ex-boyfriend are experts at impression management. Both looked incredibly sparkly (Mr. Modest Super Star for my ex-husband, and Mr. Nice Guy Executive Boss Everyone Wants for my ex-boyfriend), have flourished in their careers and have titles and financial statements that reflect not only their technical talents but also their impression management talent. Their intimate relationships–often blown to smithereens. (And in my husband’s case, often involving exchange of money, including our children’s money for college.)

    The other main adult male in my life, my father, along with my sons, bought me flowers. I appreciated the gesture. Today, he is back to the routine that has gone on for approximately half a century–calling me stupid and a failure as an athlete, a student, an employee/academic, a wife, and a mother (alone and in front of others, including my children). He tells me and my children that I am cruel for letting them stay in child care until 6 p.m. a couple of days per week for a few months. I need to do this so that I can work full-time and, for reasons I don’t full comfortable explaining here, and to protect my children in various ways from more than one male. You think that my family of origin may have had something to do with me tolerating the unacceptable from romantic partners? Ya think?

    V-day Chump, you sound like an intelligent, independent, resilient wife, mother, practitioner, and all-around person. I think that your life will get exponentially better after you cut the cord with your sociopathic, narcissistic ‘husband.’ Although I cannot officially diagnose your spouse, from what you say, it sounds as though his case meets virtually all, of not all, the line items in the DSM. (In layman’s terms, he’s a F–ktard.)

    I wish all of my kindred spirits (good chumps) a great day!

  • My youngest son’s B-day is just after Thanksgiving. My parents were in town. We all went out to dinner. The ex came along too (my fault, I allowed it so his son could see his dad on his birthday). He was friendly with my parents the whole time like nothing had changed. Then he insisted on paying for dinner. What a swell guy eh. My parents were friendly back but afterwards my Dad confided that he would have preferred to have not ever had to see ex again. Good Dad. He was the first person (besides the MC) in whom I confided about the affair so he saw my raw pain and remembered who ex really was and just what he had done to his daughter. For my mom the cognitive dissonance was disturbing in the same way it was for me.

    I don’t want him to be a jerk to me the way he was before and after DDay, but I don’t want him to act like nothing has changed or be extra nice. Indifference isn’t the right call either. Ok, I will admit, there is no way that ex can act towards me (and non kid family members) that isn’t going to disturb me or piss me off in one way or another. It’s his turn to be damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. There is no way for him to win now, especially when I know he is going to go bang Schmoopie after every interaction with us. He wrecked it. He can’t ever be the good guy ever again.

    • I admire your self-insight, knowing that any type of interaction with your ex will still piss you off. I’ve been fake friendly before and beat myself up over it, and I’ve been minimal and avoidant. The latter is better.
      Close family will understand.
      I don’t engage in fake b.s. interaction anymore with my ex. Strictly logistics and choosing minimal words carefully. I don’t return/respond to any of the, “How’s it going?” Or, ” Hope you have a good whatever…” Any minimal contact still pisses me off, but it’s as good as it’s going to get, so those feelings are on me now. Taking focus off of him and looking at myself, shows me that I’m pretty much at meh, and that it’s about the anger, itself and not necessarily my ex, (even though he’s still a douchebag; yet my life is actually better now w/o him.)
      It takes every ounce of my being not to want to punch my ex in the face and vomit, simultaneously, every time I see him. It’s been 4 years.

      • I’m sorry, Chumpinrecovery- returning to your point: i believe indifference is best, because it saves your sanity and helps you move on. It’s a good boundary to set for yourself, especially if you have a tendency to get sucked into the “niceness,” and mistake it for genuine connection. This is not good for healing and only prolongs what inevitably must happen as a separate family. Idk, some people are cool with exchanging pleasantries and moving on, without much thought; and I feel this is commendable and probably ideal. Sending my kid with his dad just triggers me, so not attaching to any narrative about the interaction or the past which led to this separation, is particularly hard for me.
        I hope you find your new normal.

    • I love that, “It’s his turn to be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.” It’s the perfect summary of how they play us–we can’t win. If we’re good little wife appliances, we’re not sparkly enough. If we aren’t, we drive them away.

    • I love this – I spent more than 20 years being hamstrung whatever I did. Mine still wants to present as the good guy/victim in all of this and is so offended by my rejections of his “help/niceness” (none of which have anything but his own agenda behind them and are at total odds with his other behaviours towards me and my children).
      I know he is saying “I’m damned if I do/damned if I don’t” and he is right. The only action that is acceptable is to stay the hell away from me – but that he can’t bare that as it would mean loss of control and doesn’t fit with his image management. So he can stay damned. Fuckers

  • I have been honest with my grown sons from DDay. Fuckwit has thrown all sorts of crap at us about the OW and the whys mostly related to his unhappiness in the marriage.blah, blah, blah. My sons have said to him you could have chosen a better way to leave that was not so hurtful to us and Mom. They have stuck by me because that is what their Dad taught them before he lost his mind in a “midlife” crisis of wanting to fuck other women. Sucks but honesty is the best choice. I also told my sons they were not him and they can make better choices than him. I want them to be men if Integrity, love and protect the family not another fuckwit!! I am modeling good parenting for them and it is hard as hell!! That is what is right for the “children”

  • VDay Chump:

    Your cheater is a disrespectful, self-righteous SOB! I hate the fact that he was so disrespectful to you by not leaving your home, speaking horribly to you and then leaving you to explain his absence to your children. I hate him for you!!!!

    I too, think you should find someone else to give the flowers to who will enjoy them. A real and simple explanation to your kids is all they need. They are old enough to understand your feelings.

    SOOOO many people had advice for me regarding my kids as I navigated my divorce. Some of it was helpful. Some not so much. In the end, I did what I felt was right. After all, who knows your kids better than you?! Also, my therapist was very wise!

    My daughters asked questions and I DID NOT make excuses for their dad. I was honest and straight forward and they appreciated that. After all, they were also affected by his cheating and breakup of the family.

    Over time it will get better. You will one day get to meh. It sucks that it takes so long!!!

  • I used to send flowers on Valentine’s Day (and our anniversary) and she used to be happy about it year after year until one point where she started making snide comments about them. “What a waste of money” “They’re just going to die anyway” “You need to be more creative”……..

    In retrospect, I tied this change in attitude to right around the time when her A began with her COW. I don’t know if I was making him jealous or ruining the ongoing story of me being a terrible husband, but she seemed to get really crabby about flowers at work out of nowhere.

    So then I started buying gift cards to the gym she went to (with him as it turns out) instead……boy what an idiot I was.

  • So painful. Trying to pick yourself up off the floor and protect your kids.
    I accepted some of cheaters outreach after Dday when I though reconciliation was possible.
    I am sure it confused kids. Two sons speak with their Dad, daughter was okay at first but now refuses any contact. I have let them reach their own conclusions on how to interact with the cheater – they know he had GF and that she was young and a co-worker (27 years younger– didn’t emphasize that!) but mine were so shocked they didn’t need details to be outraged.
    I know the kids can’t stand the fact I am still nice to STBX/ work on joint parenting – and hated the fact he has crossed the threshold after I asked him to leave.
    But deep down kids know and respect the sane parent!…..Right after asking STBX to leave….my 18 year old said ” Ya know mom – when you think that Dad’s living in an apartment doing whatever he wants with no responsibilities – and that all of his adult children are still talking to him – you must think he hasn’t been punished enough.” He went on to say: “mom you did all the hard work – dragged us to activates and fought with us over homework. Dad only did what he wanted – he was really an “a la carte” dad.”
    I didn’t say a word, but I knew then that all three of them realized Dad is a shit…..

  • To answer the original question, these horrible people “get to look like a good person” because that’s all they’ve got going for them–their ability to present a false front to people. And because most people don’t look beyond the surface when they deal with others, so impression management can work for public consumption. If people can’t look at the public predators and psychopaths and learn to dig below the surface, there’s nothing we can do to wake them up. The more sparkly the person, the uglier the dirt they are hiding. The more that a person needs the worship and adoration of the multitude, the more narcissistic and shallow they are. So one thing we can do for ourselves is to understand that discerning people will get that someone is a jackass and others won’t. It helps if we concern ourselves with what we know is true and in living our own lives more authentically.

    But the impression management used on the kids is maddening and dangerous. CL gives the perfect response. It may help to work with the kids to find ways to honor birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. without spending a lot of money. Make music playlists for different moods. Make a book of “gift certificates” for cleaning the bathroom or walking the dog or babysitting without whining! Maybe give the kids a budget and tell them that their gift to you is planning a family outing that YOU will enjoy based on the budget. Maybe a portrait of the family pet. If the kids get an allowance, they can buy inexpensive things at the Dollar Store. I would LOVE 2 or 3 dustpans with whisk brooms…or socks….or $5 Dr. Teal’s bath wash (eucalyptus mint or lavender!). Set a low budget. Enlist grandma or Aunt Susie or your BFF to help with the choosing. Lots of cool stuff under $5. Make it about delight, not about money. And if SparklyDad or SparklyMom or Schmoops insist on pressing a gift on the kiddos, let the kiddos bring it home and decide as a family what to do with it. Teach them about boundaries. Teach them it’s not about managing what people think of you but about being KIND. It’s not kind to press gifts on people you’ve wounded. It’s kind to respect their boundaries.

    • And “I’m sorry Dad puts you in the middle, but I appreciate how kind you try to be to both of us.”

    • For the win….
      “It’s not kind to press gifts on people you’ve wounded”
      Just shows how clueless they are
      My STBX left me a an anniversary card and flowers for me two months after I asked him to leave – the card was titled “A Love Letter to my Wife.” My therapist nearly gasped when I showed her. The lack of empathy / plain old common sense is insane –

      • It was our 30th anniversary and I had gone to my parents to fall apart in private. My fellow chump told me to throw the flowers in the garbage and send him a picture!

    • I love this response.

      Disney dad is trying to make himself sparkly by spending a lot of money in order to impress the kids. That’s because for a lot of our Cheaters, relationships are transactional. My own CheaterX would bring me some kind of gift home that would be somewhat related to whatever he’d recently bought for Schmoopie. Spending money on these gifts is a bit like love bombing the kids, but from the perspective of triangulation. Yeah, it’s twisted.

      By setting the kids a budget and showing them that it really is the creative thought that’s more important than the dollar amount, you help your kids see through the sparkly that is their father’s attempts to show them that spending money means he’s awesome.

    • “It’s not kind to press gifts on people you have wounded. It is kind to respect their boundaries”. Your answers are always so wise, LAJ, but I think these 2 sentences sum the whole thing up. I will try and remember them for use in the future.

  • I too struggle with this, mostly because my children are so small, and I am not able to explain to them much about my relationship with their dad. For Christmas I got a card from each of them and a Mary Berry cook book and flowers from a supermarket. He had also brought DD’s (6 months at the time) present at the same time, it was a cuddly snowman that was twice the size of her. I have not given him any thing ‘on behalf of the children’ since we have been separated/divorced. I am still pissed about the amount of time, effort and money I spend on him the Christmas before D-day. Whilst I was finding the perfect gift for him, he was finding my replacement.

  • Ugh. The triangulation is so obvious when you take a step back. For valentines day I got included on a happy valentine text to his aging relative. No mention of me, just the implied fuck you. The games these people play.

  • Tropical flowers are compostable.

    Tell your children you are getting a divorce and don’t feel comfortable accepting anything from their father given his actions.

    Let them know you’d prefer it if he puts money in their college fund for their future.

    • Birds of Paradise have a nice long stem that one can shove up their lying, cheating asses. Just a thought.

  • Wow, your story is eerily similar to mine. My ex-husband was also a surgeon, I also have two kids (though much younger) and when he was having his affair he wouldn’t come home for days at a time. First he said he was sleeping in the call room at the hospital because he was on call (I later discovered he was renting a hotel) and then he started renting a 1-bedroom apartment near his hospital he said because to be closer to work because he was on call so much (I didn’t know about the affair then). Then he would come home only about once per week to get his mail.

    I filed for divorce about 6 months after he gave me the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” speech and about 3 months after discovering his affair and finding out that he didn’t end it when he said he did. This was after I moved out of our marital apartment with the kids to a new apartment. And the first few times he picked up the kids for his visitation he had my 8-year old son give me flowers bought by him! And he also did not want to divorce (I think for financial reasons) and his patients and fellow colleagues love him because he’s such a devoted doctor who always goes out of his way for everyone except for his family of course.

    FYI, it’s been several years since the divorce and he sees the kids only about once every 2-3 months for dinner, even though we live in the same city and he is literally 6 train stops away. Kids seem fine and don’t really seem to miss him (it’s truly his loss not theirs).

    • There seems to be a lot of us on here whose ex’s are doctors. There must be something in it.
      Mine is also revered by his patients and the majority of staff (although not absolutely all, some of the more astute see through him). He goes above and beyond for them, so it is hard for them to imagine that he would be so poor to his family, but he was and is. He worked very long hours at work and at home, when he was here, sat in his office doing paperwork (and other things! – but he avoided the rest of us, anyway).
      I am also a doctor (and well thought of, I think) and I do care deeply about my patients. However, I have clear boundaries between work and home – and have always prioritised my children and home life. Even before I became a mother, I always said that if you can’t look after your own children properly then you cannot call yourself a decent doctor in my field (his too) – as so many of my patients have FOO issues.
      I guess that is the hard thing – what is really about them gaining huge kibble supply looks like great benevolence, except that it isn’t. Not worshipping them at home constantly isn’t good enough for them so we are inadequate and unworthy and eventually must be discarded.

  • OMG! I wish I had found this website two years ago.. My hopefully soon X (I’ve just got to Grey Rock him I’m learning) just sent my present #4 that I’ve thrown in the trash. Nothing like getting chocolate covered in nuts four years in a row when your deathly allergic to nuts. One always loves getting gifts that could potentially kill you.

    • This seems to be a bit of a common theme! I believe that there have been cases of people being charged with murder/attempted murder for doing this – perhaps you should use it for evidence.

    • No to deathly nut clusters from a nut cluster (Cluster B personality disordered) !

  • Im sorry for all of these horrific stories, truly.
    In my case, exh2 has never (even when we were married) bought me anything remarkable nor done anything special for me for any holiday, esoecially valentine’s day, not even on behalf of my children.
    Three Valentine’s Days now since dday and divorce.
    Three Valentine’s days with nothing, not even for DD.
    first valentine’s day post dday and divorce, he blew up on me cussing me out, flipping the bird at me in front of dd, OWife and her kids, plus everyone else at the gas station because I parked too far away from him that day.
    Second Valentine’s day, he made it a point to drive by me on my way home from work. He knows my route and about what time I drive it. He actually slowed down to make sure I noticed him driving OWife’s car with her kids, but makes a point to mean face me as he drives by? SMH
    Third one, no see, no hear. Not even to treat DD. Sad, but good at the same time.

    As far as today’s post goes, again, I guess I’m lucky. Anyone and everyone I know that knows him thinks he’s a total asshole and deadbeat piece of shit. He has burned so many bridges and done so many people wrong and pissed so many people off, I cant imagine anyone ever thinking well of him.

    Whoever/Whomever is in his circle or life, I have no idea how they see him, or what they think of him.

    When he first left, he honestly expected all in my circle to side with him. He was sadly mistaken when I started telling all. His stories of an “amicable” divorce between us was soon shattered, and he couldnt convince anyone otherwise.

    Its like a bumper sticker I read years ago: “Jesus loves you, but every one else thinks you’re an asshole”

  • Unsinkable

    Isn’t in nice to have peace, finally? Your timeline describes it perfectly.

    I believe we are the ones who finally achieve the status of not giving a good fuck and attain clarity.

    Holidays become an indicator to measure where we are in terms of growth as these are typically the times the disordered fail the most over time.

    One of my pet peeves is when I hear that Cluster B’s leave out of boredom. And yet the Limited was unimaginatbly predictable in his actions. Cowards meet expectations with lackluster entitlement.

    It’s not about what they give; it’s about what they lack. Over time it becomes apparent. Great point in recognizing this.

    With the Limited his ‘audience’ became narrow. At sixty his peers are her brothers and sisters well into their later seventies. They are retired with assets and have achieved a comfortable lifestyle highlighting his inadequacies.

    She has a granddaughter under two and he gets to play grandpa to a BABY. He has to be tied down to a dog.

    Knowing him these are all the things he was running from namely aging and responsibilities.

    Hello, here I am forgoing the token bouquet and I have a LIFE! It’s refreshing to know that trade off landed me a shot at retirement, the respect of my children/granddaughter and HIS family.

    Molly you are indeed Unsinkable!

  • I have friends and relatives who are on Facebook and Instagram and they always present happy faces. Yet, I know they had a lot of sadness, I know the pain they had. No one gets through life without angst, anguish, grief. The one thing they all have in common is the ability to give and receive love. It isn’t false. There is no Naugahyde there. Your ex might look like a winner but think about what he is missing at his core. He has himself. There isn’t room for anybody else. A therapist told me that a person with a large amount of narcissism who surrounds himself with sycophants becomes even more narcissistic until he becomes monstrous. You, on the other hand, know love, feel empathy, celebrate other’s joys. Just let him go. He is going to age and die like the rest of us. His time on earth is no longer your concern. You live your loving life as you always have.

    I have an acquaintance who constantly goes on cruises in the Caribbean. One day I was feeling a little jealous until I realized I had been on two to some of the same places and between being bored and being hot I could not wait to go home. Her life is not mine and I don’t want it.

    This is the last verse of a song by Garth Brooks that says beautifully what I mean.
    The Dance
    And now I’m glad I didn’t know
    The way it all would end
    The way it all would go
    Our lives are better left to chance
    I could have missed the pain
    But I’d have had to miss the dance.

    Dance till your shoes wear out and sing at the top of your lungs.

  • I just broke up with someone I was dating. He told me that he and his ex had been unfaithful to each other multiple times until she eventually left him for someone, made a big legal mess around custody etc. I also learnt that he was unfaithful to her including with gay encounters. Our breakup was overdue for other reasons but this also confused me. How are people living such messy lives? I don’t trust that he’s fucked up – rather I do but so is his ex as they were both unfaithful and he told me that an open marriage would have been his ideal. Yet he also said he was broken when she left him. What I don’t understand is this casualness about cheating and yet when it happens to them they’re heart broken. It creates a strange situation where people can be very heartless when talking about cheating, or see rules and honesty as boring and traditional but also be very hurt by it. Or maybe that is just narcissism. In principle you don’t go against cheating because you always leave the door open. But then you’re broken when it happens to you. Rinse and repeat.

    • That’s because he’s a narcissist and the rules of healthy human interaction don’t apply to him. He can dish it out but he gets upset/sad/hurt when it’s handed back to him. Or it’s just an attractive but meaningless pickup line to get your attention.

      • It wasn’t a pickup line. He told me after we broke up. Thanks for your response though. I think a lot of people say things indicating that they believe normal rules don’t apply to them. Sometimes this is just to put you on notice that anything can happen and to manage down your expectations. That should be a bigger red flag for me going forward because such rules do apply in my life.

  • V-day Chump – Kudos to you for moving out and being honest with the children. Keep being honest with them as is age appropriate and teach them what’s wrong with what they’re seeing, and how they should instead treat people and expect to be treated, so they can break the cycle. They will see him for what he really is. Kids are usually wiser and more aware than we are.

  • V-day chump, I’m very similar to you (doctor with Orthopaedic ex). There will always be adoring nurses and allied health colleagues who buy into the Surgeons Are God myth, it seems most of them cheat from what I’ve heard since. Fear not, the attempts at impression management will fizzle away and you will end up with raging entitled abusive emails blaming you for the cost of child support they ageeed to (signifying just how happy they are with their one true love!)

  • To the letter writer – Your circumstances are similar to my parents (my dad is an orthopedist). After 34 years of marriage, he didn’t even wait til they’re split up before looking online for a girlfriend. He then insisted on staying in the house when they separated, WHILE DATING. My mother isn’t perfect, but she was a good mom and a good wife for 34 years, and my dad acts like everyone is demonizing him unfairly for expecting him to show our mom and his long-time wife some respect til they get the divorced finalized. (For the record, she gave him a quick divorce, it was over in 4.5 months from the time they made the decision to split, so it wasn’t like the divorce was drug out.)

    He met a new girlfriend while he was still living with my mom, and is acting like we don’t want him to be happy because we don’t accept this woman. The reality is that we don’t approve of him flaunting other women in our mothers face so soon after saying he wants a divorce. He humiliated her around town, and now wants us to act like we’re happy for him and his new girlfriend even though he refused to consider his families feelings whatsoever. I maybe could have been more forgiving if he had been discreet, but it felt like he was trying to intentionally hurt our mother with his actions.

    Your kids are a lot younger than we are, so they have less agency to stand up for themselves, but I can almost certainly guarantee you that they don’t see your dad as a good guy, and in time will realize what a narcissistic ass he is. Keep your head up, try not to drag your kids in the middle of your marital problems, because over time that WILL make you look like the bad guy. I hope things get better fast for you, and I know they will eventually – you’ll find someone who treats you with respect, and it will be a good model for your children to see that.

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