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Gwyneth Paltrow Can Bite Me

I’m sorry. I hate “conscious uncoupling.”

On the one hand, I’m thrilled this bit of word salad is getting the snark and derision it so rightly deserves, on the other hand the notion that divorce should be free of baser emotions like grief and anger is still a solid part of our culture.

In fact, “getting over it” has become a competitive sport. Did you have one of those ugly, sad divorces? Was it costly? Were there damaging custody disputes?

Oh not me. We mediated, because we’re adults who can talk out our differences. After all, that’s what’s best for the children! Not wasting their college funds paying those ghastly lawyers. Bob and I had many special years, but life gets complicated. People grow in different directions. We’re still just the best of friends! You’re not friends with your ex? Well you need to get over that! Forgive! Stop being bitter! Invite him over for Thanksgiving! Maybe take a cruise together or double date sometime with his girlfriend! That’s what evolved people do.

Oh goody. Where do I get one of those exes who want a fair settlement and desires my friendship? Are they all on back order? I got a disordered creep who sues me pro se.

People divorce for good reasons, like infidelity, mental illness, or addiction. Who are these people who “grew apart,” wandering off like your spouse was someone you got bored with at a cocktail party? I don’t know them. I know people who got divorced because the wife was a prescription drug addict who wouldn’t get sober or a woman who discovered her husband had a $20,000 hooker habit. Or someone comes out as gay after 25 years of marriage and she learns her husband has been having bareback sex with guys on Craigslist for years while she was supporting his self employment. Or a guy married to a serial cheater who slept with her boss and his best friend, among others.

And these are just the people I know in real life. They aren’t the people who write to me every day on this blog.

So some lifestyle guru wants to tell me the evolved thing to do is “consciously uncouple”? Still consider these people family, closer than before! but just without all the real world headache of living with them? No, the healthy thing to do is get the hell away from anyone who wants to play you for a chump. Let them stay mired in their self destructiveness. You’ve got better people to bless with your friendship.

Does that make me bitter? Unevolved? Not over it? Let me ask you — are you friends with the guy who mugged you? Or the person who robbed your pension fund? Would you like to socialize with the middle school bully who shoved you in a locker? How about sit next to him at a ballgame? Attend a wedding together? Meet his girlfriend?

Look, I’m sure there are people out there who have drama-free divorces, who settle things amicably, and no one’s at fault and you wish each other well. Of course I’m wondering if you have that kind of maturity and fondness for each other, why you couldn’t work it out. But I’m quibbling. What I want to say is — could everyone just please stop assuming that friendly divorces are common or even possible for others?

Let me speak for those of us who did not consciously uncouple. Some of us are dealing with abusive freaks. Some of are dealing with children whose parent won’t see them, let alone “friend” them on Facebook. We’ve got addicts for exes. We worry every week what we’re sending our kid into, and if it will meet the court’s steep criteria of immediate danger to my child and if so, do I have the money to fight about it?

Some of us are just simply heartbroken. We loved with our whole hearts and got replaced in the most humiliating of ways.

The best we can do (and it’s an epic struggle some days) is to act with civility. To be the sane parent. To keep the focus on our own lives, and the welfare of our children, and move forward. We have no illusions that our exes are part of our family. Divorce is the severing of family. It’s often a painful act of self-preservation, taken after years of attempted reconciliation and accommodation.

So enough with the smug “conscious uncoupling.” You’re over it? Wonderful. We all want to be over it. And because most of us would like to stay over it, we don’t associate with our exes. Thank you for your understanding.

This column ran previously. And Gwyneth Paltrow can still bite me.


Every time you support Chump Nation on Patreon, Gwyneth Paltrow regains consciousness and then uncouples it.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I don’t think you can be friends with someone who cheated on you. You can be civil, I think cheaters like having power over the cheated. I think cheaters enjoy your suffering and misery. I only talk about the kids, and what they need. My ex years ago wanted to dump the kids on Xmas day and spend it with the ow.

    • Wow, says it all about their priorities.

      My stbx ran off after her AP and left me alone with the kids last Xmas — I’ll be using that along with a lot of other things if she wants to get funny over the divorce/custody stuff to come

    • How do you stay friends with someone who cheated, became abusive then bad mouths you to anyone who would listen, He actually put me in a wheelchair before he left. Nah I’m ok being alone! My Tuesday will come.
      And yes I did love him with my whole heart that is why I stayed for 30 years. Am trying to heal my shattered heart before anything else.

      • Prayers for the healing. I am with you. I will NEVER be his friend and am still coming to terms with what he has done and the slander that he has spread. I am also a victim of Parental Alienation Syndrome where the disordered ex made sure that he poisoned me to my son (all during the affair). In this way, he was guaranteed to appear to be the “good guy”. Of course it was All my fault. NOT.

        • Same here. My kids chose to live with cheater, he is their hero. Open wallet, free cars, no rent to pay. He tells them I stole money and possessions from him, tho he ended up with almost all our assets and property. And they believe him. They see that he has the properties, all the possessions, but they still fall for his lies and manipulations. Hurts. A lot. But life continues.

          • Going through the same crap here. They witnessed the cheating, some of the abuse and he has lied so much, they believe it.

            Alienating sucks, to lose the marriage and the kids to personality disordered AND the kids is a triple shit sandwich.

            • Me too. My daughter won’t talk to me and my son (who actually busted asswipe having a fuck phone!) lives with cheater piece of shit. After the divorce I bought a house with enough bedrooms in case my kids wanted to move in with me. They chose to stay with dipshit. But – it is their childhood home, so I’m sure it is more comfortable. And yep – Dear old dad buys them cars, doesn’t charge rent, and bad mouths me cuz it was my fault he cheated don’t ya know…

              • Cheater ex moved to another state and youngest (21) decided to move with him (to a much larger and more glamorous city). Everything was fine at first….Son and I texted and called….Son even came home for a visit in February. Now Son is not returning my phone calls/texts. I believe Cheater ex is bad-mouthing me to Son because he is mad about the amount of spousal support he agreed to pay in the divorce. Son is blaming me for filing (I filed after Cheater announced he was moving to another state – this was after DDay #3 and 2+ years of marriage counseling (while he was cheating and lying) and a year of living separately). I believe that Son is buying in to his dad’s narrative that the marriage was bad and that it was my fault. I hate not being able to communicate with my son.

              • I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one. I feel like I have 3 heads when people ask about my kids. They are so pro-cheater it has been all I could do to carry on. And some days not very well. But I try.
                People all say ‘the kids will see thru him someday’. It’s been over 4 years. When is that someday?. As far as I can see the free ride is the ticket. Plus I had to leave the family home, to my shame. But he wouldn’t and I was sick in body and mind.

              • Lady Strange and JustAChump, sending hugs. If any of you alienated parents want to talk off forum it might be worth asking Tempest to exchange emails. Like infidelity, where the assumption is you must have done something wrong for ex to cheat, I think there is also the narrative that if you are a parent and your kids don’t have anything to do with you, you must have done something wrong. We know that alienation affects caring mums and dad, but I think if you’re a mother there is the added shame because of gender and societal constructs, because a child would not reject a mother if there wasn’t good reason, this is the assumption. If you don’t understand the disordered (and you have to be more than an asshole to do this to your kids, you have to be disordered) it’s really hard to move on. You leave a cheater gain a life, but when your kids reject you the grieving never stops.

            • Wow – Im going through the same thing too. He bought our son and daughter brand new cars and I’m supposed to disclose every cent that he gives me in our court ordered support. So unfair. He had a huge party in our house yesterday — the house that I still own too! I just got a part time job that I love but it pays nothing. I was a stay at home mom for the last 20 years while he was bad mouthing and turning my children against me. It sucks. My daughter still likes me but he’s trying to manipulate her too. My Lawyers don’t give a shit and nobody cares what he does because he’s special! Praying for Tuesday.

          • Someone else here may have mentioned it but I think it’s worth repeating is the automatic assumption that you must have been a terrible Mother or parent if your child or children are alienated from you.
            As soon as you say your alienated from your child or they live with the other parent, there’s a pause in conversation, their response is awkward trying to sound understanding, but we can sense what they’re really thinking. She must have done something…, kids don’t just walk away from their Mother.

            I was a devoted Mom, everyday was an adventure from the day he was born, I would say I had Christmas morning every morning waking up to my son. We were once close, we had fun, I celebrated every holiday with him, I hosted the birthday parties, sleep overs, volunteered in all his classrooms, the room mom. It’s sad, I’ve tried everything, dinners, gifts, talking, doing the pick me dance in every form. I wish things were different but I can’t tolerate the disrespect…

        • Same here. My daughter moved in with ex and the 21yr old OW (only 5 yrs older than my daughter and she considers the OW her best friend). I didn’t receive any responses to my texts for 2 years. It was so painful to be rejected again and when she started telling people I abused her I finally realized I needed to be no contact with her again if I’m going to stay sane and recover from stage 4 cancer (diagnosed 1 year after he left). I will never be friendly with the ex who did this to me and let his daughter shun and shame her mother. Whenever he texts me he’s either berating me or overly nice (which now I believe is only manipulation for something that will hit me soon). You can be friendly with someone who wants the worst for you and you can’t trust

          • I’m so sorry you had the suffer from cancer on top of this all. Yes the ‘hoover’ when they want to either look nice or are after money or possessions. The real them is when they berate.

          • KAF, so sorry, A person who alienates a parent from their child is an abuser and isn’t looking out for the best interest of their child. We can never replace the years lost and neither can our children relive the precious years with the alienated parent needed for normal development.
            Slanderous remarks, malicious lies, ridicule and lack of respect for the alienated parent is abuse and heart wrenchingly cruel. Our children will eventually suffer from self esteem and relationship issues and they’re more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
            Our family courts need more education regarding parental alienation and sociopaths including yearly refresher courses as reminders.
            Hope you’re winning your cancer battle KAF.
            Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers..

        • Same here^^^ last night I finally told my 25 year old son I’m done being treating like shit and it’s time to end whatever relationship we have.
          I no longer have time or the energy trying convince my son that I deserve to be treated with respect. I’ve been doing the please like me dance far too long, hoping for any kibble, no matter how small, and thinking it was worth it.
          Sadly my son is a clone of his father which is something I need to accept and move on.
          I’ve put away my “dancing shoes.”

          • So true Brit. My son will look evidence in the eye and deny it. Then he will say incredible stuff like his father is broke. When I point out that his father has 2 properties and over 10 vehicles I am accused of bitchery. Proud of you that you have drawn a line with your son! I have done it all, money, dinners, been yelled at, berated, told what to do, how much to pay my ex: by my son. He is a mini narc. Sad as that is to say. I love him but can’t take the sleepless nites and stomach pain after encounters.

            • We all hope that our kids will inherit our goodness. Sometimes they inherit the other parent’s poor qualities.

              I’m sorry that your kid/s are got the wrong end of the DNA. Take care of yourself and create a life without jerks. Even the jerks that you gave birth to.

            • Kaf, Brit and Mitz, I too have beeen rejected and blamed for everything by my teenager. It’s heartbreaking. She went to live with him the end of 2016, dropped out of school the same week, and communication and seeing her became less and less.

              When she does communicate with me which is not often, it’s all poor dad. She really sees him as a victim. She constantly sounds like a worried parent, roles have be reversed. She also was his confidant which really put a wedge between us. I know she loves me but feels like she’s betraying him if she allows herself t love me. She has never been allowed to grieve the breakdown of her family because that would be about her needs and it’s all about her dads happiness. Every now and again I get a text saying love you, then will be ghosted for weeks, sometimes months after.

              Kaf, like you daughter mine loves OW, thinks she’s cool. She was groomed to accept this woman before she even met her. Because dad wouldn’t be with someone that isn’t nice, because he’s such a great guy.

              I think my daughter is in survival mode. It makes it easier for her not to see me because when she does it brings up feelings of guilt, shame and sadness. I also see her has a victim of abuse and manipulation, her dad takes her love for him and uses it to his advantage. These people are truly disordered.

              I’m so sorry, you are all going through this. Rejection from a child is the most painful thing.

              • To other chumps who are going through this, my heart goes out to you. I have just read thread and seen others are also dealing with rejection and parental alienation.

                I just want to let you know I hear you. Feel you, you’re not alone.

            • I feel very fortunate that all my kids know my XWs cheated and they all love me. Thye tell me they have no respect for their moms.

        • Me too my XH left me, took my kids abroad and moved in with Ho, 12 years ago. Kids were 1.5 and 8 months. I’ve fought a losing battle to bond with them countless legal processes. My life is a living hell. He moved back to US, now all I get is minimal court ordered visitation and the lawyers are useless.

          I’m alienated. Kids despise me because they’ve been groomed all their lives to believe I left them. My narc mother sided with XH behind my back …I was so confused by it all.

          The custody hearing is still pending after 2 years. I just stumbled online in info that in Feb XH was jailed a day for domestic violence…. that was the time my son was telling me not to bother visiting them (another state, we stay at hotels, really hard travel for me), because they already have a stable happy family and a ‘mother figure’.

          • ka-chump,
            It’s horrible to fight what appears to be an endless battle and series of disappointments.
            I fought my own losing battle in court. Judge agreed that X was to bring our son to a therapist, X didn’t take our son to therapy, claimed he couldn’t afford the therapist then told the judge our son didn’t want to go to a therapist and he didn’t want to make him.
            X is an airline pilot and can afford to pay a therapist co-pay, our son at the time was a minor. Apparently that’s an acceptable excuse in family court.
            One afternoon when my 16 years old son was to be dropped off by X at my home. I was at the grocery store which is two blocks from where I live. I called 10 minutes before he was to be dropped off, to let them know where I was if X were to arrive early.
            X had me in court for neglect.
            My home rules were ignored with son calling his Dad to pick him up if he disagreed. Dad had no rules or restrictions at his home and Dad was never there.
            The judge shrugged that off and granted our 16 year old son permission to live without supervision.
            It finally got to expensive for me to fight. Attorney’s aren’t concerned and neither was the judge.
            They weren’t concerned that my sons grades were plummeting, or that he went from an AP student to a student in danger of not graduating high school in a matter of weeks, or that his appearance went from clean cut to EMO practically overnight.
            It wasn’t their son..,

            It’s extremely painful and frustrating. It’s so hurtful when our children say hurtful things that you know they’ve been brainwashed into thinking when they claim they have a “mother” figure with a stranger. My son once told me I was the egg donor nothing more.

            I also know the pain of betrayal of family members who you thought you could trust.
            Maybe knowing there’s others who have had similar experiences will help ease your pain. I wish you all the best..

      • How do you stay friends with someone who endangered your health and life through unprotected sex?

        • It’s impossible to stay friends with someone who not only betrayed your trust but has slandered your name to who ever will listen.
          Someone who is relentless in his quest to destroy you.
          Has no regret or remorse,
          Knows the sacrifices you’ve made for “our” career, after 20 years of marriage manipulates finances then laughs when you’re homeless.
          I can’t be friends with someone who has no compassion or empathy.
          There’s no way I could ever be friends with a person who knew my child meant the world to me, poisoned his mind with malicious lies and turned him against me.
          I wish Gwenyth had married my X, she would be humming a different tune if she had.

    • Right now, even after 8 months after DDay…I find it so hard to be civil…to see him crossing the street, to know he’s still breathing, I can’t look at him let alone stand in an area where he could be.

      I just can’t bring myself to be in the same path as someone who can cheat after 20 years, and lie so easily to my face…and laugh at my pain and heart brokenness as I danced that stupid pick me dance…..

        • 100% this. These are the ones which piss me off too!

          If you’re going to be friends with a worthless piece of shit who knowingly lies and deceives others and also makes unilateral financial and health decisions about another person – you are a person not worth knowing or calling a friend.

          Put simply, I’m not friends with trash. Next!

        • Letting go of those “friends” daily. It’s a hard and lonely process; he says “they chose me!!!”
          I say:
          “Nah. I gave them too you once I found that their moral peralis matched your Bub-bye!”

        • Yes, Queenmother, you’re absolutely right, those that can remain friends with the asshole.
          Speaks volumes…

    • I agree with your observation.

      I just keep it civil but once my daughter is finished with High School my X goes on my phone block list and her emails go to the Spam folder. If my daughter gets married and has a wedding etc…. I have no issues with her mother being there but don’t sit us at the same table.

      Trying to be friends with someone whose morals are in a completely different universe than my own is a waste of time.

    • X spent Xmas at euro Disney with the whore rather than with his 4 kids. He’s 50! Douche bag.

      Fine by me…. I got to spend every day of the holiday month with them … yay me!

  • Excellent column today!

    As I’ve thought myself “conscious uncoupling” was nothing more than a couple of married cheaters having an affair and pretending that wasn’t the cause (blame-shifting).

    Ok I admit as a Coldplay fan and a Brit too I’m definitely in “Team Chris” but GP has gotten smug’er and smarmier as each day passes; e.g. saying that her upcoming marriage to her fellow cheater is actually her first ‘real’ marriage! I think we should start a poll on how long this marriage of “soul-mates” will last and who will cheat first or maybe they both will and at the same time 🙂

    Chris, you got lucky mate. You got away from the goopiness

    • They love to re-write their narrative, don’t they, WaitingInTheShadows? Whatever makes them feel better about what they did and helps them sleep better. She is sleazy easy and has been out of the scene for a while, I’m sure it’s hard for her to be irrelevant. Narcissists need kibble, what better way to have that with her new 1st marriage? Barf….

    • “conscious uncoupling” well, of course they’re in love, and since neither one is to blame for the failure of their previous marriage there’s nothing to learn from the past.
      “blame shifting” at it’s finest.

  • After spending over two decades with a serial cheater, years I can never reclaim, why in heaven’s name would I want to waste another minute with him?

    • Maybe you can consciously uncouple like Gwynnie did when you have tons of money and don’t have that “how am I going to keep a roof over my kids’ heads” thing going on. My ex still thinks we’re friends (ha, bloody ha) but this was the guy that pinned me to the bed by sitting on my chest, threatened me with (his) broken whiskey bottle and said “I’ll do it you know, and I don’t care if I do time for it”! Yeah like I want to consciously uncouple from him. Oh there’s that and the $400,000 of debt he left me with!

      • I might consider conscious uncoupling as well if I had her bank account and didn’t have to fear being homeless or concern myself with paying bills, or those silly extra expenses such as medical insurance or need to see the dentist when a break my teeth from grinding them with all the stress I’m under.

    • Yes Unique, that’s exactly the accounting I do as well. I’ll be out of the red at Meh.

    • Yep, as I told my daughter when she asked me to invite her dad to my HOUSE to celebrate her graduation,”I didn’t divorce your dad to spend MORE time with him. If he wants to celebrate with you that’s great. He can arrange his own dinner!”

  • Interesting this rerun comes the day after KK’s masterpiece of perceived conscious uncoupling (done without my knowledge, of course — where’s the fun and excitement in that?)

    When we were discussing preliminarily how best to tell our girls that we were divorcing (which she promptly disregarded the following night by telling them without me), she said: “we should tell them the truth, that we just want different things and just grew apart.”

    I responded: “You make it sound like you wanted to get Italian take out and I wanted to get Chinese, but we couldn’t agree so we have to get divorced. There’s NO FUCKING WAY I’m going to bullshit my kids like that.”

    • Omg
      Having a gwynnie as the x.

      Lollipops and apples and balloons oh my!

      And summer trips to israel during your vacation time.
      What’s not to like?

    • OMG, my X also wanted us to tell our son “we grew apart.” I don’t remember if I’d found Chump Lady yet, but I had the wherewithal to tell X no way. I told him “we grew apart” was a lie, and we would not say that to our son.

      I controlled the narrative when we told our son we were divorcing. I said that our husband and wife relationship was over, and the reasons were private between us. So I did “cover” for his lying, cheating, disordered father, but at least I didn’t cosign to a lie.

      • Hand up for my cheater wanting the public narrative to be “we grew apart.” That does tend to happen when there is a third party (and a fourth and a fifth and a sixth…., but I digress) between two people in a marriage.

        Nope, I told EVERYone, and it turns out most of them already knew what a philandering douchnozzle he was.

    • Amen, Amen, Amen…

      When fuckwit packed up all his shit to leave, I think he was going to just walk out until I said what are you going to tell the children? As an afterthought he asked me to gather them and then he began “As you know, your mother and I are having relationship problems so I have decided to stay at Kyle RD (his mothers empty mansion that was on the market)) for a while.” They all sat there dumbfounded and I am thinking how could they know about relationship problems, I didn’t even know. WTF?

      When I finally went to his therapist for one session to see if we could co counsel, she used the term “conscious uncoupling” and right then I knew this was going nowhere. I literally laughed and thought anyone who can say that with a straight face is a wackadoodle, Harvard degree or not.

      Lastly, when fuckwit told me he wanted to be friends, my reflex response was “if we could be friends, we wouldn’t be getting divorced.” He stood there with a very confused look. What a Fuckwit!!!

    • UXworld:

      Italian vs Chinese takeout… brilliant analogy!

      Why didn’t I think to utter that witty remark when my XH of 40 years said he was going to tell our grown sons we “mutually agreed to divorce because we had ‘disagreements’ that couldn’t be resolved”?

      The best I could muster was, “Forgive me, but I think telling THE TRUTH is a much better way to go. How about telling them, ‘I screwed 14 other women (most of them married with kids) and now I’m leaving your mother for Debbie Does Dallas at my workplace’”.

      Oh yeah, and his insistence (in writing) that we tell the boys together? Guess he got so excited about the prospect of making his relationship with DDD official that he promptly told them all the next day – without me.

      His morals are so scummy, I’d rather swim in a polluted, algae-infested pond than have him be part of my life. I have been Zero Contact for four years now, and it’s the best decision I ever made.

      And yes, at our sons’ weddings, we were seated at different tables!

      • Cheaters who make an agreement with you to tell the children together intend to honour it as much as they did their marriage vows. It’s just a ploy to make sure you don’t tell the kids the truth first by yourself. They are arranging things so that THEY can tell the kids their own narrative of lies first. Whatever the kids hear first, tends to stick.

    • We grew apart. Yeah.

      Classic stupid shit cheaters says.

      This is the exact explanation sparkledick has been distributing so he can look good in his Official Portrait.

      When this trickles down to me my reply is classic Chump Lady: But he forgot to send me the memo about this and was still eating all kinds of cake, especially my money and my work.

      • My ex was a cheater but claims to now be into “ethical non-monogamy” and finding his “authentic self.” He proudly told our MC, when we were splitting, that he was telling everyone “we fought about sex.” (Yes, when I found out he was having sex with other people, we could not agree that he should stop). And when his father asked him if there was another woman in the picture, he told him “no.” He bragged about that bit of sophistry to the MC, pointing out that it was technically true because he was leaving me to screw as many women as possible, not just one. Whatever. I guess I would care more if I actually valued my ex-in-laws’ opinion. His Dad solicits sex with strangers (men) on Craigslist while his Mother pretend to be morally superior church member, so spackle is in that family’s DNA. I have a friend who is a “life coach” who offered to help us through our divorce so we could be better co-parents. Ugh, I told him that the man I am dealing with is a lying liar who lies through their lie hole, so I’m going to have to stick with parallel parenting, thank you very much.

    • From their perspectives it was “growing apart”. They “grew apart” long before we even knew there was a problem in our marriages. They grew apart enough to think it was ok to fuck other people. We didn’t grow apart though. We were still committed and thought they were too. The more accurate statement from them would be “We are divorcing because I grew apart” or rather “abandoned the feelings I had for your other parent and didn’t follow through on the vows I made to him/her”.

    • The ex and I had agreed (or so I thought!!) to tell the kids that he was CHOOSING to leave the marriage, because he WAS doing just that to be with his married howorker now wife, following his habitual cheating during our entire marriage. But when we actually had them in the room, he changed it up and said “your mother can’t love me the way I need to be loved.” What a jerk….such a despicable thing to do, but he’s all about despicable, and the longer I’m away from him, the more I realize that. He keeps telling the kids that he wishes “we could all do things together.” My kids call it his “kumbaya speech!!” I can’t stand the fact that they have to be around him and especially her and make nice.

  • I decided to go “grey rock” when hubby left for good just after Christmas to pursue his AP after just over a year of cheating, and me playing the pick-me dance after DD last spring. We discuss only matters pertaining to the kids. His initial attempts to engage me in friendly banter resulted in a polite smile from me and a “That’s nice” with no further initiation. He got the picture and started to get cold with me. Now he occasionally can’t help trying to engage me in small talk (especially when we’re in the waiting room at the family counsellor’s office while she’s talking to our children). I attempt to remain distantly curt and polite in my responses to general topics about others, “Oh your buddy’s father passed away. I will call him to offer condolences.” “Oh, you just got made permanent at your job. Congratulations.” I offer him absolutely nothing about my life, period. I’m sure he gets enough through general conversations with the kids.

    However, we will never be friends, especially as he maintains a relationship with the OW. He is the greatest threat to my well being. He has been the greatest threat to my children’s well-being (along with the OW). No one has caused me greater trauma, financial hardship, and anxiety in my entire adult life than this man. You do everything to protect your young children from harm, only to realize that the person who has most upset life as they know it, caused them their greatest uncertainty, confused their value system and sense of family, is their own father. For the children’s sake, I will always be courteous with him publicly to model for them appropriate behaviour. That is all he will get from me and even that is more than he deserves.

    There was no respect nor honour in how he ended this marriage. My dignity/value as a human being was diminished. in the face of his narcissistic choices. I cannot respect the man that he now is. That is so very sad. He lost my respect. He lost the possibility of any friendship through his choices. I don’t need a “friend” like him in my life.

    • ONM, You perfectly summarized my situation as well, though some days I am better at only answering, “that’s nice” more than others.
      I still find myself wanting to talk about my day with him at times. It’s so hard to accept the fact that the man I was married to for 15 years cheated on me and lied to me for months, and now is fighting me on custody of our children and the house I bought before we married (I unfortunately added him to the deed 2 years after our wedding date, so now it is half his). He won’t leave the house until “he gets his money,” so we all still live under the same roof.
      It’s all so unbelievable that this is the same man.

      This is the only place I can come to and feel sane again.
      Thank you CL and CN!

      • I don’t know how you can stand living with that entitled twat. I almost made the mistake of putting my cheater on the title of my house. Evidently my gut prevailed. Cheaters are so cruel and selfish.

        • A decent type will understand why a house is only in your name, and realise that if the relationship is for the long term, that you’ll afford them the privilege of staying there anyway.

          A disordered type will demand their name is on it, “so they can get something out of it”.

          Classic way to figure out the difference, honestly.

      • OMG, I can so relate. Living with your Stbx is its own special version of hell. All I want is some peace and some privacy.

    • “No one has caused me greater trauma, financial hardship, and anxiety in my entire adult life than this man. You do everything to protect your young children from harm, only to realize that the person who has most upset life as they know it, caused them their greatest uncertainty, confused their value system and sense of family, is their own father.”

      Wow, OptionNoMore. That was beautifully put. It expresses exactly how I feel about my ex. Now more than five years after our divorce, the discomfort and mistrust I associate with him will be lifelong, pretty sure. You are mighty in your determination to model maturity, dignity and sanity for your kids in the face of all the damage your ex caused.

      • Boy, if I could have a dollar for every CN screenshot I’ve wanted to send him…

        I’m continually amazed at how similar our stories are — which, of course is why we are all here. To know we’re not alone, we’re not stupid, we’re not unloveable and we’re not at fault.

        I actually hate the word fault. In our house, I called it The Blame Game. I so tried to get us to stop pointing singers and work together to resolve things. But 20 years of infidelity? I definitely put the fault of the demise of our marriage firmly on him. Not that I was the perfect spouse by any means. But marriage takes two and as it turns out, I was the only one actually in the marriage.

        The author of Daring Greatly states that the biggest betrayal is disengagement, which sets the stage for the end of the relationship. I agree. By the end of my marriage I could feel the disengagement —
        but it was a steady decline that happened over the years.
        If only he had the courage to DEAL with it instead of checking out, we could have either worked things out or divorced many, many years ago.

        Now he has to face his cowardlines every month as he writes my spousal support check.

    • Wonderfully put!
      I interact the same way.
      Narkles the Clown no longer bothers with “how are you?” As an opening to conversation at kid’s school functions. I figured out long ago all he really wanted from that was for me to respond by asking the same so he could complain in detail about everything. Don’t care if I look cold and uncaring to anyone else I don’t even care how he is.

    • “There was no respect nor honour in how he ended this marriage. My dignity/value as a human being was diminished. in the face of his narcissistic choices. I cannot respect the man that he now is. That is so very sad. He lost my respect. He lost the possibility of any friendship through his choices. I don’t need a “friend” like him in my life.”

      100% agree with you on this.

      At first my ex wanted to be friends. I told him friends do not treat friends this way.
      Then I pick me danced and told him he was my best friend. He told me he didn’t feel like my best friend.


      Now he treats me like crap but expects me to treat him with honor and respect. Um no. A hard no.

  • It has taken me 8 years to be civil, and even then, I barely speak 10 words to him a month. He’s a narcissistic bully who ran off with the OW and tries to make it look like it’s for the best. Best for who? Well actually, best for me because I’ve found out that I am so much better off without him. He badmouthed me for YEARS, even when supporting him through stage 4 cancer he ruined my credit, left me with a potentially huge tax bill among other things. I get tired of people asking me if we are friends now….huh? I’m still digging myself out of the mess his nasty behind left me in. With friends like him, who needs enemies? Besides even the Bible says “As much as lieth within you, live peaceable with all men”. Even the Bible accepts sometimes it’s just not possible….

  • The key here with our cheaters is the intentional harm. A cheater allows us to to keep paddling upstream while making unilateral decisions.

    The sheer amount of lies it takes to engage in an affair. We grew apart is an understatement. All the while I believed the WE meant us.

    The WE was the Limited and Nanthony. He consiously uncoupled while I faced my mothers decline from Alzheimer’s. All those years supporting and forgiving him and he couldn’t muster an ounce of care.

    Instead he was at a crossroad. In a last ditch effort he attempted to have me sign for a morgage months after her passing. I said NO.

    The flowchart in his pea brain was hindered by an ultimatum. He consiously chose Nanthony.

    Recently I found out he’d been vacationing with her a year prior. And a week after my mothers death he took another one while I was grieving her death.

    Such toxicity warrants closing that door and nailing it shut. As he’s fulfilling his DREAM and moving I’m asked by my daughter for his childhood pictures.

    I threw them out years ago. Why is that a shock? He wanted nothing from the house with the exception of his wedding band. Always the victim; never a man.

    • I hear you DoingMe.

      I think what most people who have not been through the experience of infidelity don’t get is the exponential number of lies it takes to conduct an affair.

      The world and the cheaters see an affair as one lie.

      When you are the betrayed spouse you know that every word said, every exchange, every action, every agreement implicit and explicit, and every second where you were chumped is an individual lie. They add up and multiply into an incomprehensible number of lies. There are almost 16 million seconds in a year and every one of them feels like a unique and painful lie. Add to that every word, exchange and action. Every betraying text, phone call, lunch, trip, lick, thrust and thought. Every denial, shady explanation and every false promise. Every conversation that you thought was about normal life. Every spickle you spackled to make the relationship work. All lies, all given the Cheater’s seal of approval. The sheer number of lies is overwhelming.

      And it doesn’t ever stop.

  • Here’s what I don’t understand-why parents who divorce and “consciously uncouple” hang around each other like nothing ever happened.

    Take Jen Garner and Ben Afleck. He cheated and humiliated her and yet she still spends time with him doing joint activities with him and the children because “they are putting the kids first.” We all know that kids secretly or not so secretly hope that their parents’ are going to get back together. Why torture them with this false hope?

    I agree that there needs to be civility, but jeez Jen, drop the kids off, say goodbye to Ben and go have some mimosas with your BFFs. Let Ben do the adulting and take care of the kids himself or have the nanny he’s currently boffing do it.

    I’ve never understood this concept because it’s like you’re lying to the kids.

    • Its because of all the narcissistic cuntstains which are so prevalent around them – she would be “judged harshly” if she did otherwise. She doesn’t have the lady-balls enough to stand up and tell them to collectively fuck off.

      It’s why cheating is so prevalent these days and seen as so “socially acceptable” – because people normalise shitty, deviant behaviour. Not enough people tell those sparkletwats to fuck off. There needs to be more of that.

  • So I have mediation next week. Went to the lawyers yesterday and we have not received his updated disclosure, which is legally required. So we are negotiating blind unless it magically appears. In other words, after abusing me mentally, emotionally and financially, he continues to be a dick by dragging the settlement out. Divorce at least was finalised back in February.
    I am dreading the mediation hearing because I never want to see him again and I will have to be in the same room as someone who deliberately hurt me. I have told my lawyer I refuse to be left alone with him, and she agrees. They’re just sociopaths, the lot of them.

    • You go in with a hardball offer, thats what you do. Fuck what he and his stupidity is doing.

      Hardball at the mediation.

      • I agree with Lania. I never hit disclosure though it was requested many times by my lawyer. After a year of him jerking me around and refusing to sign financial agreements he verbally agreed to 3 times I said I’m done I will not respond until you present a reasonable offer. That’s when he finally signed the fourth agreement. I lost plenty but it was worth it to get rid of that slug.

        • No worries!

          You hardball these deceptive fuckers when it comes to anything, mediation is just one of those things.

          Strict boundaries are there to protect yourself from them, and make them realise that they can’t pull that shit with you. Oh yes, they will try to get some wiggle room, but you shut that shit down as well.

    • No disclosure – than you ask for MORE than he could possibly give you… then he’ll have to provide the disclosure to defend himself from your request. And, typically, judges don’t have much tolerance for fuckwits that waste their time (and in some states the JUDGE CAN ORDER your fuckwit to turn it over.)

    • Like you, I found it extremely difficult to understand the problems, lies and fraudulent documents (always late) that he caused during the divorce process. Really? He abandoned me. He had the affair. Then, he refused to cooperate and caused me massive legal fees. It’s like he just couldn’t hurt me enough…emotionally, financially and any other way he could muster up. They suck.

      • I don’t understand this either. He cheated on me and said he wanted a divorce because he wanted to be with ho-worker AP (she is still married however – that I know of anyway – not sure what exactly is happening there).

        I filed and he has stalled every step of the way. Had to get a motion to compel and a court-ordered deposition. Now, he is refusing to buy me out of the house, saying he wants to sell it so he can get more money. He has no problem making me leave the house I purchased before we were married (but added him to the deed 2 years later), and moving our 12 year old twins from the only house they’ve ever known. The 3 of us did not ask for this!!!!!

        My attorney says this can go on and on until he decides to move out.
        What do i do? The marital discord in the house is not good for the kids. He says, “You are the only one arguing.”

        I know for sure he wants this divorce, so why continue to torture me?

        Omg I can’t win!!!!

          • Hardly a genius – I’ve just seen this shit play out before. This is why you need to hardball the fuck out of these people – otherwise they WILL keep doing it.

            I’m a cynical bastard when it comes to the tactics of the disordered, at an age much too young to having dealt with it in the past.

    • Has your lawyer lodged a motion to compel? She/he should do that asap (and ICanSeetheMehComing is right–ask for the moon so that it’s STBX’s best interest to provide disclosure).

    • Agreeing with Tempest …***motion to compel*** asap. Fuckwit doesn’t get to run the show here.

      And, you might consider making it known before going in to mediation that you are giving it one shot — if he doesn’t settle then it’s “see you in court.”

      Completely understand your not wanting to be in the same room with your abuser. I discussed this with my attorney as well. I had the option to stay in a separate room but chose to face him. But, it wasn’t for long. We ended up going to separate rooms for the bulk of the negotiations.

      Hopefully, your fuckwit has a good attorney who can convince him that settling will be in his best interest.

      Good luck. It’s sooooo nerve wracking — I could barely pick up my water bottle to quench my thirst when I was in the same room with my idiot.

    • Don’t go into mediation without the disclosure. Fuck him. He hasnpribabaly been hiding money anyway. Get a court order

      • I’m insisting on disclosure of credit card statements, the only thing we didn’t have joint. I want to see all the money that got spend on the OW on dates (I’m aware of a few short trips through the emails I’ve discovered). Then I am going to tally everything up and present it to him as the cost of his affair that I want reimbursed. Then, I will share a copy with his family.

        Perhaps she paid everything? Hmmmm…

    • Kim, I had shuttle mediation where the mediator goes between two private rooms. I refused to be in the same room as my abuser. Knowing he was close by was disgusting enough.

      Ask your attorney about this option. They stagger the attorney/client arrivals so as to maintain no contact.

      I had just had cancer surgery/chemotherapy #7 and had a hard enough time physically being there. Knowing I didn’t need to see or hear a POS lying cheater was a relief.

      As far as remaining friends with X…
      No thank you. I know my worth and don’t need character disordered, prostitute paying, marital asset stealing, morally bankrupt people for friends.

      I’ll take my cancer, cheater-free life with the beautiful and supportive friends I have.

    • My experience is Patience can be a good friend.

      So is this statement: “That’s my offer. Talk to my lawyer.”

  • No one should ever want to be around my abusive x. He only desperately wants to keep up the nice guy illusion so he can keep everyone in check.
    I refuse to help him keep his facade.

    • I got one that wants to keep up the nice guy illusion as well.

      Hurricane Harvey destroyed my home ~ he also obliterated ALL of the nice guy’s things in the little cottage he was renting from the OW ~ I call her the Circus Clown.

      He told everyone that he was helping ‘his family’ recover from the hurricane. When they told me how nice they thought that was ~ I had a shocked look on my face and told them I hadn’t even seen him.

      Found out ‘his family’ was the OW Circus Clown.

      So even after gaslighting me, abandoning me for the Clown, lying to my face about cheating with her, you name it ~ he still wanted to look like the nice guy.


      • Yep. They are the nice guy. They are the victim.

        Our daughter has discovered what kind of person her father really is and has refused to see him for 6 months. He cries that he has been “thrown away!” Oh, please. He threw us away 2 years ago for his young coworker.

        But he’s the poor hapless victim.

        His mother told me that his lawyer would tell him to behave in court and not make a scene.

        Ummmm – HE’s the one who dumped us and wanted us homeless because I stood up to him.

        They are idiots. We just have to remember to just keep calm. That will drive them nuts and prove that they are the disordered ones.

        Our daughter told her dad she doesn’t like what he did and she doesn’t like his gf.

        At first stbx told our daughter I was so mean and evil and his gf ‘saved’ him from me. His gf and my daughter when shopping, got their nails done….. But now my daughter sees. And she’s mad.

        My MIL said how gf was ‘trying’ with our daughter.

        I’m like ‘trying’ what? Trying to help destroy a family with secrets, lies, cheating, cruelty…..


      • Its amazing that these people think if they say it that it becomes reality.
        My x constantly does the same thing.
        This is really what outs them though. People see how delusional they are.

  • The moment your ex-cheated on you all intangibles agreements are broken! This action is lacked of respect, honesty, love, confidence, responsibility, most importantly trust and more…
    How can you be friends with the ex-cheater? My humble personal opinion: Never!

    • Lying, cheating, gas lighting, untrustworthy, threatening, stealing, duplicity, spitefulness, rage, blame shifting, untreated addiction, drama kings/queens…. Well, those things are just not qualities I look for in a ‘friend.’

  • Our marriage counselor pushed a version of “conscious uncoupling.” She said that since we have an abundance of love for one another that, if we were to divorce, our parenting time could be greater than 50/50 for each of us because we could, say, spend Sunday’s “as a family.”

    That sounds nice – in theory. However, the reality is I cannot stand to be around my stbx for more than 30 seconds. Since that therapy session, she continued the affair in secret for six more months while giving me false hope and watching while I continued the humiliating pick-me dance. She moved out for a few weeks upon my re-discovery of the affair. But when I filed in late February, she decided to move back into our home for settlement leverage, rubbing the affair relationship in my face (staying at APs home half the time, telling me how they’re meant to be, how they have better sex, how the AP is beautiful and that I need to start calling her by her name). Never mind my need for my own space to get over what she’s put me through. While she’s been living in our home, she and the AP have launched their relationship in earnest while usually leaving me at home with our child. They’ve also taken several vacations together, including one that commenced yesterday, this time with my infant son and my stbx’s mother and father for the Memorial Day holiday.

    I’ve been fully replaced and can hardly breathe at the thought of what I’ve lost, and how little I meant to the people who meant everything to me. I’m in tremendous pain and I still cry every day. I have managed to sometimes rise above it all and see that a better life must lie ahead, and I know intellectually that I deserve more from a relationship than to be treated how I’ve been treated. But, yeah, there is no way in hell I could spend “family time” with my stbx (who would love to have her cake and eat it too in this fashion) and still manage to heal and move on to a happy and healthy life.

    • “As a family, you say? That would imply that she was acting like a family in the months before, of which she wasn’t. Instead, she was going around being a deceptive cunt behind my back. No fucking thank you.”

    • The thing is DNM, NOBODY is special to them
      Your partner will demonstrate that again in the near future, you’ll see
      Not even their spouse, nor their children
      Be proud of who you are, you are a beautiful partner with a large loving heart
      Loyalty, trust and bonding is what you know.
      These freaks need ego stroking, attention and gratification
      My ex fuckwit abandoned 2 marriages for a thrill, unfortunately affecting his son twice and my son on the second round
      You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, you can cure it
      I hope to god that you can get away from her ASAP
      Work on strengthening yourself, body and spirit

    • Stay mighty Devastated New Mom! You recognize cake eating so you’re one step closer to Meh, you’ll get there!

    • Truth! If we play house with them it condones them and the sick, f’d up way they treated us and their kids.

      It’s an evil idea, the very concept of it.

      No contact or low contact is best. Why let them rub our noses in it? F them. Subhumans, immoral creeps, selfish a-holes. Contact only justifies in their eyes the dirty shit they pulled.

      Heal, process, and then look for someone better, and have an awesome life of your own. Screw her. It’s just too bad they have their dirty mitts on mutual children. But that can’t be helped, and we have to accept that, not like it, but accept the reality of that.

    • Not sure why we respectfully call the OW or OM “AP” for “affair partner.” I would suggest OC for “other cheater” or maybe “FPS” for “fellow pond scum.” Am open to other suggestions but I think we need to call a spade a spade. “Partner” sounds nice. I like being partners with people. The defining characteristic for the OW or OM is they too like to cheat and lie so…I suggest we rename them.

      • Really good point!

        I’m far too used to AP — need to unbrainwash those RIC terms out — that CL post a few days back would explain the use of AP as of course we mustn’t upset the poor widdle cheater

        I like “OC” as a generic alternative to “AP”

  • The “conscious uncoupling” shit is one of those warning beacons – which tells you to stay the fuck away from any such person which spouts this horseshit. Similar to weird colours on animals which say “Beware, I’m poisonous”. Everyone I have seen or heard of, who spouts this fuckwittery, is a nutjob.

    Cheaters just spout this crap to make themselves feel better.

  • Civil? I struggle to be sane.
    I freaked when the judge tried to put me in a room alone with the jackass who is nuke-bombing our lives, hurt my kids, and subjecting us to ongoing torture. Divorce going over 2 years now. All he does is lie. About to lose my house with 2 kids who he has mind-fucked beyond what can be described. His closing act was bashing our 8-yr old daughter’s face bloody.
    He didn’t tell us he was leaving and never coming back. He never told me or the kids we were getting divorced. And I’m court ordered not to talk to my kids about it! So…
    If I come within arms-length of this twisted fukker I honestly don’t think I’d have the self-control to keep my fingernails out of his jugular.

      • Jerseychic how is your x not in jail? What a complete and total bastard. I truly feel jail is where all of these narcs belong. Abuse is abuse. Divorce is too good for them.
        Why would i ever even pretend they are anything other than what they are? He treats his own flesh and blood with the same disrespect as he treats me. We all know he is a bastard.
        He would love it if we were his friend. It would make things easier.
        I think the courts and legal system are still unaware of how dangerous these people are.
        How a man can hit his own daughter in the face and still be free to walk around is beyond me.

  • Conscious uncoupling, hahaha!

    My ex consciously uncoupled when he started sleeping around with strangers on business trips. Unfortunately since I wasn’t kept in the loop about the sitch, it wasn’t possible for me to consciously uncouple.

    I prefer the phrase “dead to me.” As in, “You deceived me and cheated on me and broke my heart, so now you’re dead to me.”

  • This is so true, and our civil courts are at the root of such nonsense. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think children deserve a relationship with both parents, assuming there’s no abuse toward the children. This doesn’t require the court to force you to be friends with your ex spouse for the sake of your child. Especially if the children witnessed your spouse being emotionally, or even physically abusive.

    There seems to be this assumption that if you aren’t actively pursuing a friendship with your ex, you are somehow damaging your children. Has anyone ever considered a refusal to engage with an ex spouse as a method of protecting the kids from being witness to dysfunction. A way to model to children that abuse isn’t acceptable, and they should never stand for it. We tell kids if a bully is bullying you, walk away. You would never tell them if they want to maintain a relationship with someone who is involved with the bully their only choice is to befriend them.

    No, you would encourage them to come up with alternatives to maintain the other relationship, while simultaneously setting a boundary with the bully.

    One thing I’ve learned is that abusers are reliant on victims to uphold social norms that allow them to abuse. Social tolerance assumes that the responsibility for regulating behavior lies not with the abuser, but is an interactionist issue. Of course everyone is responsible for their own behavior, but responding to abuse and manipulation with normal human emotion does not make you responsible for that interaction. Couple that with this norm that “ex’s should be best friends” and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Abusers toe this line of interaction, pushing just far enough to maintain plausible deniability; being careful not to push a victim so far that they retaliate. This has two successful outcomes for the abuser…

    1) It places the focus on the reactions of the receiver.

    2) It creates a dynamic essentially the same as the analogy “boiling a frog slowly.” The frog doesn’t realizes its being boiled, until it’s too late.

    Abusers rely on an expectation of politeness to get away with manipulation. The truely disordered will use your normal human reactions to their manipulative behavior as evidence to support their victim hood. Of course they omit important details, changing the context of the interaction.

    When you are dealing with someone who denies, attacks, drops the context, reverses reactions, minimizes, all under the guise of politeness and feigned innocence, while they are the one breaking social rules. They use them as an expection of how YOU should behave, disregarding the fact that they broke them first. It’s like being forced to have water dripped on your forehead. At first it’s no big deal, then it becomes irritating, then really annoying. When you say “okay, no more. Stop now!” and are forced to keep enduring, you do reach a point that politeness is no longer an effective method to deal with a situation that’s literally driving you insane!

    It’s maddening, and the only way to stop it is gray rock. Gray rock is the healthy response to an unhealthy situation. “Let’s be friends” is a healthy response to healthy relationships.

    Be nice
    Turn the other cheek

    • Oops, I wasn’t implying be nice and turn the other cheek. Part of that was going to be in my post before I changed it. I didn’t see it when I hit comment

    • Got-a-brain, thank you. This is the clearest explanation of mindf**k I’ve seen in all of my internet scouring. It is particularly helpful right now when I’m trying to understand why his attempts to co-parent feel so wrong. It’s exactly as you describe- he relies on me to follow social niceties that let him push boundaries, play the victim, or deliberately hurt me. My ex usually sounds perfectly nice and reasonable while trying to get away with something. It is very difficult for me to recognize and counter.

      Gonna print this out and read it over and over.

    • Having an affair is emotional abuse (and financial, and physical), so they should be relinquishing any and all rights to their children as well.

      What part of “I fucked strange and took up time doing that, that I should have spent with my family” makes a person acceptable to be around their children?

  • I’m going to look at this differently… I did consciously uncouple. Once I realized that I was married to a pathological liar, serial cheater, bisexual and trusted that he sucks… I consciously hired a lawyer to consciously file my divorce papers so I could consciously uncouple myself from any further abuse.

    With regard to allowing a post-divorce friendship, I believe my son deserves better than that. He needs to see authenticity, boundaries, respect, integrity, love, truth so that someday he can have a healthy relationship and not a toxic one. I model strength and resilience because he’s my son.

    • There you go! That’s it, exactly. I made a very conscious decision to remove that ethics free ass from my world permanently.

  • “Look, I’m sure there are people out there who have drama-free divorces, who settle things amicably, and no one’s at fault and you wish each other well. Of course I’m wondering if you have that kind of maturity and fondness for each other, why you couldn’t work it out?”
    I agree. If you have no problem getting along, why the heck are you getting divorced? Maybe these people (if they actually exist) are just really super shallow.

    • That was part of the mind fuck for me. We generally did get along and were fond of each other even through the divorce with the exception of when I was raging at him over Schmoopie and he was mad at me for not accepting her and encouraging everybody else to accept her. Schmoopie was really the only irreconcilable difference we ever had during our 23 year marriage. We had always worked things out before. It’s really the only thing that sometimes causes hostility between us now (when he wants me to be nice to her and I refuse). Since DDay, he has claimed all kinds of issues in our marriage that made the marriage already over and Schmoopie had nothing to do with it. I call bullshit on that. If he were really that miserable, we would have already been divorced. None of those “issues” were deal breakers until she came along and he thought he had a shot at something better.

    • Exactly. If you get along that well, why the fuck are you getting divorced in the first instance?

      Not liking the same things? Big deal. Grow up and be adults.

  • Has anyone else read about Gwyneth thinking of having her ex walk her down the aisle at her wedding?

    • Faceplant. Please, Chris, no. Aren’t the rumors that she cheated on him, and that that was the cause of the divorce?

      • Or maybe Chris just wants the chance to hand her over to the OC “Other Cheater” and with a little wink say “all yours mate — good luck!”

        Oh and Yes — if you look at the timelines then it was a definite affair while both of them were married — such a solid foundation for the future

  • LOL–Gwyneth can bite me as well. I will enter mediation with my Cheater right after Hell freezes over. Would Gwyneth suggest mediation against a guy who robbed her house? Kidnapped her kids? Stole all her money? I think not. I think Gwyneth would haul the burglar/kidnapper/thief right into court where he belonged and rely on the laws and the courts and the judge to make it as right as it could be made given the wrong(s) done to her. So Cheater lied, spent marital assets vacationing with OW and her sons, lost his job (you are not supposed to have an affair with a woman who reports to you, spend company dollars on the affair, and give her preference over your other employees–who knew?) and changed my and my daughter’s financial future. All the glory came with of course lie upon lie upon lie. Now tell me Gwyneth exactly how I am supposed to negotiate a settlement with a man who has done nothing but lie and cheat! Has he suddenly become honest and fair? Has he sprouted a moral compass? Again, LOL. After 37 years of marriage, I believed this guy through at least 8 years of affairs. Who knows how many lies I was really told? No way I would negotiate splitting a piece of cake with him. Let the courts take care of it! Don’t be guilt-tripped into how much money a divorce costs. It was no me who decided to cheat and steal and ruin a family and a marriage. In law with have a concept called “fruit of the poisonous tree” which basically means that all things that stem from the original wrong act are tainted by that act. In my book, his decision to cheat is what caused the $$$ spent on lawyers and divorce.

  • The first time I spoke to him after the affair was exposed he said “I want to be your friend.” Yeah, right. I need a friend like you like I need a hole in the head. Asshat!

  • I gave my ex the heartfelt opportunity to consciously uncouple. He had been acting off and wasn’t moving to where our infant son and I lived. I told him that if this isn’t what he wanted that we could go our separate ways, stay best friends, negotiate affordable off-the-books child support, and have a really good co-parenting relationship. I told him that I wanted him to be happy, and if our son and I aren’t making him happy that it was OK for him to look elsewhere. I assured him that I would be OK with my recently-purchased home, my stable, well-paid job, and my family nearby.

    He declined this offer. He swore that he adored our son and me and wanted nothing more than to be together. He didn’t want to separate. He loved me too much and was in it for the long haul.

    Unbeknownst to me he was already fucking the other woman. A year later I would give up my stable life and go all in to move where he was, only to have him tell me to leave weeks after I arrived with nothing to go back home to. He did not want to consciously uncouple; he wanted to consciously disempower and destroy me.

    He manipulated, lied, and intentionally set me up. This concept of conscious uncoupling requires two willing partners with a shared goal of fairness and equality, and a sense of mutual respect. When cheating or abuse are involved, those necessary minimum requirements are, by default, NOT present. You cannot consciously uncouple from a spouse who does not want to consciously uncouple from you.

    I have yet to meet a consciously uncoupled (former) couple. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I just think it’s just another brand of unicorn.

    • FreeVix – I am so sorry! Your story is almost identical to mine sans the child. My gazillionaire bastard ex had me move in with him, give up my financial security of employment, and change my whole life for him. I was his “love of his life.” Little did I know my fairy tale was in fact a gruesome nightmare. He was playing me and about 8 other women all at the same time. Who even does that? I slowly began to feel like something was just off shortly after moving in…things are always difficult, he’s coming home late, he hides his phone, all the typical cheating shit. I attempt to leave and he manipulates me back telling me my gut assumptions are wrong. He cries like a baby and I return. I later get his phone records and learn he was playing me and about 8 other women all at the same time. The story gets even more twisted when I learn he is a sugar daddy and he lied about not having venereal disease. I could go on and on and on about the lying mental abuse.

    • They say most narcissistic men deeply despise all women. Maybe that’s why the end of their relationships are such nightmares for their wives, girlfriends and even the OW. I think they prop them up or lull them into feeling secure for a period of time to make the discard all the more shocking and painful. Add the smearing, stealing, etc. during the break up and voila…..they have succeeded in completely destroying the woman chump.

      • That might be true for some but I don’t think my ex despises women. He equally despises anyone with needs. I saw him mistreat both male and female employees any time they asked for anything, no matter how reasonable. He once refused to approve a male employee’s vacation request months in advance when there were no schedule conflicts. He wouldn’t deny it either. He just refused to respond until he came home complaining that the employee kept asking about it weeks later. I asked why it was a big deal and why he didn’t just approve or deny it, and he said he resented being expected to respond at all. I told him that if he doesn’t want to meet peoples’ needs that he shouldn’t put himself in a position to be needed. That pretty much sums up our entire relationship. I’m sure the OW is having a BLAST with him. ????

  • This post makes me cry. I agree with everything said. I was played for a fool and I am a chump. It hurts like hell everyday.

    I know I’m better off and I will heal, it’s just that this is the 2nd time I got played by two mentally abusive lying cheaters. My head is still spinning on how I let this happen a 2nd time to me.

    I learned the first time forgiveness isn’t in the cards; it seems illogical despite all the Buddhist philosophy. All I can do is process what has happened, accept that it happened and forgive myself for being duped. But forgive a mentally abusive individual who consciously lied, manipulated me, and put my health at risk for his own self interests? Nah. I accept he is sick in the head and I try my best to make an effort to heal my wounded heart and soul everyday.

    • Same here NMS. This is my second marriage (4 years, then 15 years), and second time being left for a coworker. However this time, kids are involved. It’s hard to ever trust again.

  • this term from the moron who made a public speech about anal sex, who has school age children. Bullying? oh yeah, for the rest of their life. She ‘curates’ i.e. sells expensive crap no one can afford and hands out medical advice without any facts what so ever. Oh, rumor are her new man is gay. What a role model.

  • I can agree with “conscience uncoupling” if applied in these terms:

    I am conscience and aware of X’s character disorder and his undying love for evil.
    I am conscience and aware that staying with him is destructive to my well being and a losing proposition.
    I am conscience and aware that I must be as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove while I plan for my freedom.
    I am conscience and aware that he will be dead to me once the split is complete.

    Next is the “uncoupling” part:

    I make long term plans for splitting up…using his assets to open my own business and buying a house.
    I keep a sweet smile on my face and pretend that nothing is wrong (this is the hardest part).
    I make sure to get the narrative (truth) out first to those who matter to me.
    I stockpile assets in undisclosed places (easiest part since his entire focus in life is his dick and booze).
    I wait for the perfect time to let him know that the game is up once my position is rock solid.

    So yeah…if this is “conscience uncoupling” with a cheater…I am all in.

    Luckily…we were a couple in our 60’s and had no kids together.

  • I once heard a story about a woman who befriended the man who was in jail for killing her child. The story was about the power of forgiveness. I found it highly disturbing. Rather than evolved I saw it as messed up. Parents are supposed to love their children above all others. If anyone harmed my child I would hate them forever and that’s the way it should be. Sometimes not being friends is what makes sense and being friends is what isn’t normal or even morally right.

    Hating people you don’t know based on ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political differences, etc. is wrong. Not wanting to be cordial to someone who deliberately and knowingly screwed you over for personal gain is just fine, especially if you were betrayed by someone you loved and trusted.

    • I agree the woman who befriended her child’s murderer was not evolved at all, she had some missing component and not only in the mothering department. IMO she enjoyed the attention. Disgusting.

    • This: “Hating people you don’t know based on ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political differences, etc. is wrong. Not wanting to be cordial to someone who deliberately and knowingly screwed you over…is just fine.” Personal gain isn’t even required as an element IMO. Hating people as a group based on cultural factors is ignorance. Befriending someone who has already proven to not have your best interests at heart is also ignorance. Staying the hell away from someone who is willing to deliberately and knowingly hurt you is self care and survival instinct.

  • To the outside world ex and I did do the conscious uncoupling thing. We went through a mediator, no individual lawyers. In our case it worked out because ex was in the guilt phase and gave me everything I asked for and I am a decent person so I didn’t ask for more than I truly needed to keep life as normal as possible for our kids. In some cases I was also able to use his ego to get what I wanted. That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a lot of anger and resentment just under the surface, however. I chose a more outwardly civil approach because it worked in my particular circumstances and made my life easier. Being civil to him now is the same. Being able to communicate directly makes coordinating the kids much easier. It also avoids giving him excuses to be a jerk to me because I wasn’t nice to him (after all he’s done for me. Pfft). Even so, my hard feelings are always there and it isn’t so easy for me to keep my mask in place (I never had as much practice as ex because I generally do like most of the people with whom I interact on a regular basis). I have chosen this approach as the best option for me and my kids. Still, it bothers the heck out of me when everyone comments on what great parents “we” are for keeping the divorce civil for the sake of the kids. Why should he get any credit for that? He is the one who deliberately blew up our marriage and tore our family apart to please some stupid slut. I would be well within my rights to be openly hostile to him. Most people wouldn’t blame me if I were. I have more reason to be uncivil than he does, so why does he get equal credit? I am being nice to avoid him feeling justified in being a jerk to me, he is being nice because he likes being praised for it and it makes him feel superior.

    All of that being said, I draw the line at being openly civil to Schmoopie. Ex resents me for this and I am in danger of triggering ex’s hostility by refusing to do so. Luckily for me he is passive aggressive so the kids and I are in no physical danger, but it does affect communication. We can’t really talk face to face anymore (especially as she is almost always at his side), everything is via text or occasionally phone or a brief conversation when kids are picked up if I happen to be home at the time. I can feel his resentment. It is worth it to hold that boundary, however. I will not stoop so low as to say hello (or anything else, she should be thankful) to Schmoopie.

  • The British Royals are a different bunch too. Inviting exes to weddings. The exes showing up. Brideses hugging husbands exes. It is all surreal to me. Uggg!

    • That wedding was a huge public relations performance, in my opinion. I burst out laughing when the words “forsaking all others” were read during the vows. Zoom in on Chuckles (Prince “I want to be a Kotex between your legs”) and the Rottweiler, Charles and Camilla.

  • Conscious Uncoupling was a manipulation tactic on my exes part.

    He wanted friendship and good feels but did not want to divide assets or pay child support. He wanted to f@#$ whom ever he pleased but still live in my home comfortably. It was a complete mind f*&^ and the realization I had later was that his consciousness is not anywhere near giving and parenting…. its penile. He is now $50,000 in arrears for child support and has bankrupted our family business. I managed to bail the house out of foreclosure by paying his creditors directly (not included in the child support arrears) and still have to listen to his poor me sob stories. I was married to this man for 20 years.

    He was a parasite not a conscious partner.

    Not all people are cut out for Conscious Uncoupling. Beware

  • I had some people push me to be like G. Paltrow “for the sake of the kids.” it infuriated me and i stood my ground. He is a bastard. I didn’t care what anyone “thought” i should do. I knew they were wrong.
    My x started out acting like mr great dad. That lasted about a week.
    He has been awol. And i hate to say i told you so but….
    People really don’t understand. Or they do because they are just as disordered as him(I’m talking to you mil) and they really need for you to help them keep up the facade.
    That is not my job.
    Protecting myself and my family is my main priority.
    His mommy can take care of him.

  • Color me and my circle of friends blindsided. I just found out some new today about a friend. Had a job here that she loved, a community that loved her back. 2nd marriage for her, 2 kids together, one from her former spouse. Happy life, good schools and nice circle of friends all around.

    Last year, oh the sads! Her husband got a better job, career move in another state! Bittersweet goodbyes, everybody wishes them well.

    They have not been in their new situation for six months. Out of blue, Husband wants divorce.

    Like…he could’t have done that BEFORE she gave up her job and uprooted herself and her children from a situation and a community that she loved? Or made an INFORMED decision about the move, rather than a blind and mistakenly trusting one?

    What do you think the calculation was there?

    And what is the over/under on a Schmoopie waiting in the wings?

    Peace out.

    • I can’t imagine what the husband is thinking but that scenario is quite common. I know of several couples that made a major move to another state across country and shortly after the husbands/boyfriend dumped their partners. A few of the couples relationships were not exactly stable at the time and on shaky ground but the others seemed fine.

    • Probably moved there to follow Scmhoopie. Typical selfish male. Cake eating until he decided which one he wanted. Disgusting.

      • Please don’t bash the males. We’re not all selfish. Cheating isn’t gender specific.


        • No, cheating is certainly not gender specific. My beautician left her darling husband of 25 years to run off with her high school boyfriend. It was more than I could take. She said to me one day ‘So what is Dingleberry up to?’ I knew she was referring to my cheater XH. I said ‘you mean the guy that did to me what you did to your husband??’ So weird that no one ever sees themselves in their shit behavior.
          Peace to you NotMehYet2

      • My X1 did that. Then I returned home to live with my parents and reclaim my job (my replacement didn’t work out). Cue up the interstate divorce & custody mess.

      • This just happened to a male friend of mine whose wife pulled the cross country move-and-ditch. Cheaters and assholes come in every flavor and with every variety of bits between the legs.

    • This happened to me. My ex did what is called “forum shopping” to file for divorce in a state with more favorable to him divorce laws, and —you guessed it — to be with Secret Schmoopie.

      • My x was told by the Bishop that we were being moved to this new city far from schmoopie and their gang or rabid hyenas because it was a problem….

        Thinking I could finally fix things ( in the pit of hell I thought things were looking up ), I was not excited to be uprooted from family, friends and job – but hoping it would be a new start.

        As I was unpacking boxes in a strange city where I felt isolated and unsure, I got the speech. As well as having no rights to the rectory, I couldn’t find work. I had to buy a map to find most things, and the city ( I am a county girl ) sucked!!!

        He wanted me to be punished in the worst of ways. He had just finished 7 years of schooling, got ordained and had a house and a career. I had nothing left to give – so I was tossed like yestetday’s news.

        6 years later and I am fine. Listening to the waves and the beach and my dog is sleeping at my feet.

  • I saw a meme a long time ago that spoke to this topic. It went something like this:

    “Yeah! Sure! You just shat all over me and my entire life, so of course we should stay friends,” said no one EVER!

  • Conscious uncoupling implies a MUTUAL decision to end the marriage. When there is a cheating spouse involved, the decision is rarely mutual. It’s a one-way, underhanded, sneak sabotage, hostile choice to get their selfish way!

    Plus, most of Hollywood seems barely conscious. They treat themselves to better drugs than we have available. They try to tell us how to vote, how to spend our disposable income, and have no empathy for real life chumps.

    • Amen! Every time someone donates to ChumpLady, Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair looks even more like a straw broom.

  • In the world of probability and possibility, I suppose it is possible for a couple to part ways and not hate each other. I think when I finally divorced my son’s father I was exhausted from the years of trying to work things out and spackling. I just didn’t have the energy to continue to actively hate him, but I did detest many of the things he did to get us to that point. I still had to raise the children with him, so I had to be civil. The most important thing to me was I had to live with my own actions. My instinct, at times, would have led to actions which would have been hard to defend without the white hot heat of anger to propel them. I also realized my son’s would be carefully watching us both, and making their own determinations of right and wrong. That was an effective reason for me to be civil and attempt to be fair.
    But when people tell you what you should “feel” – that takes me to another mental place entirely. First of all, they have NO MORAL RIGHT to determine how I should feel. Second, they do not know or understand my experience. They can share their vision of “how the world should be” if I am in a tolerant mood — but most of the time that is as effective as arguing about how many angels dance on the head of a pin. It is a fantasy, not real, and not worth wasting my precious time.
    One thing I have noticed whenever other people tell you their stories and talk about why they feel the way they do, you only have their perception of reality, or their “truth” about their reality. You were not there, you did not experience it. Your background or education or life experience may be vastly different from theirs. The remarkable thing is two different people, in the same place and at the same time, can have a very different version of “truth” or reality.
    For example, I was the oldest of five children. We had the same parents, but we each experienced those parents differently. We share some opinions, some memories, but we have very different versions of the “truth” even if we were all there, at the same time. All of our filters are different. Some of the children have no memory of events I found traumatic. Both of my parents would deny some of the things I remember clearly. They would say “I don’t remember that at all.” Some of those things may well be things they do not want to remember — Denial is a method used when someone cannot handle the reality. It is powerful — and can cause people to do very dangerous things because they Deny the reality of what happened. This disturbing way to cope can confuse anyone else who is listening to very different versions of stories from different people who share an experience. Think about how difficult it is to find witnesses who agree on what happened, or what the criminal looked like when a crime has occurred. It is the same phenomena.
    The point is, if someone wants to spackle and say “conscious uncoupling” they may need that description for some reason we will never understand. I try to remember this when someone tells me how I should “feel” about my father, or one of my ex’s. I don’t like it — but it serves no purpose for me to get angry. I usually tell them they can “feel” anyway they want to when they have actually lived my life and experienced my situation. My answer to them is as impossible as their unsolicited advice to me. It only seems fair to exchange one useless thing for another.

    • No one will dictate what my emotional output should be. When I hear the words “You should…”, I hear judgement. I don’t allow others to tell me what my feelings or thoughts ought to be or what my experiences are or were and I try to do the same with others.

    • “In the world of probability and possibility, I suppose it is possible for a couple to part ways and not hate each other.”

      Sure. And when Nero came through that black hole, he changed the space-time continuum and ended up in an alternative reality where there were now two Mr Spocks.

      So yeah.

  • In my announcement post after filing I said that divorce is less a “conscious uncoupling” and more a “catastropic disassembly”.

  • First off, Gwyneth Paltrow can suck it!

    Secondly, I have two exh’s, both left me, both have kids with me, both lying, cheating, theiving assholes.

    Exh1 divorced me, went right to OWife#3. Within weeks, I met The Evil One, and exh1 was shocked! Shocked I tell you I moved on so quickly! Ugh, I can’t even… The first few years post-divorce were a painful, horrible, struggle for me to recover and heal and find MEH. The Evil One was a good distraction, but not a healthy or good relationship. … I couldn’t handle being in the same room as him, much less sitting at the table for Thanksgiving dinner with him and OWife.

    Then, after a few years, it just stopped. The stress, the anxiety, the drama ceased. I split custody of the boys with him to finally end the revolving door of court and legal fees. For a couple years, it was a good time for me. Then, two things happened: OWife#3 chucked exh1 out the door and left him completely broken and despondent. I never liked her (she was a friend from the ballpark) and I told him before we divorced, “you will regret ever looking her way, I’m telling you, she will break you”. six years later, it came true. The second thing that happened was that after DD was born, The Evil One turned on DS1, ran him off in tears to exh1, so back to court we went and I lost big time. I have never forgiven him for that.
    Now, ten years after both of those events, the boys have grown up and exh1 and I are actually friendly. We chat infrequently about our sons, now 24 and 18, and we leave each other alone. DS1 got married a couple years back, exh1, his wife #5(LOL, yep), and I sat together, posed for pics together, etc. DS2 graduated high school last week. Again, we sat together, had family dinner together, etc. Is he still an asshole? Yes, but he readily admits it. Have we had “closure”? Yes. About 9 years after divorce, he called me and apologized to me for doing me so wrong, and for everything he’s done to me. By the time he had gotten around to doing that, I was so far at meh, I didn’t want it or need it anymore. As of this moment, it’s been 16 years now. It feels like yesterday in some ways, but the pain and hurt are long gone.

    Now, with exh2/The Evil One, I have nothing for him. Nothing. I don’t have any contact with him in between weekend visits, when I see him, it’s quick, dry, grey-rock conversation about DD and off I go… Three years now since D-Day and wreckonciliation, then GTFO-day. Divorce was final September 2015. Co-parenting? Nope. Conscious uncoupling? Nope. Could not then, nor can I now ever want to be anywhere with him for any occasion except me at his funeral in a red dress and bright red hat that would take the prize at any Kentucky Derby party and be the talk of any royal wedding.

  • This is so spot on. I get sick of explaining myself and looking like I am unreasonable. Thank you for writing this. Boundaries are what we need after dealing with an EX like you mentioned.

  • Before I knew about his cheating I’d known that we were in a rut for awhile, and would have gladly “consciously uncoupled” if he had just talked about “our” problems with me instead of everyone else behind my back. I definitely didn’t want all this drama or pain and probaly would have been able to make out better financially by being nice and new ageing it rather than exposing him for who he is.
    Little did I know we were in a rut because of his funneling time and energy away from us to put into his cheating! My grand prize for this certaintly isn’t financial. It isn’t emotionally gratifying to see the damage. It’s not been healthy for our child or myself to divorce this way.
    Knowledge isn’t power any longer, evidence is. Knowing that he sucks doesn’t pay any bills, or place food in my child’s or my mouth. I can say that for me ignorance would have been bliss, emotionally and financially.

  • I think I win the prize for the chumpiest—I’ve been completely civil and caring at times throughout the last 1.5 years as we’ve been trying to tie up our married life and move on. It’s all pretty much a big fat lie and I find myself questioning the wisdom each and every day. Most of our friends are completely unaware, and at times, we act as though nothing is different too. I’m doing it because needs be as needs must. I’m nearly 60, do not have much in the way of retirement savings, I haven’t worked out of the home in over 15 years, I had a recent cancer diagnosis AND I’m a full time caregiving for my 93 year old mother with dementia. What’s worse, is I just finished burying the last of my siblings—the only direct family I had left who remembered me.

    Desperation is a mighty motivator. I had nowhere else to turn. IF it was only me, I would’ve had no problem kicking his cheating, lying, depressed ass to the curb and dealt with the consequences. The man is cruel, mentally abusive and emotionally vapid. But as a much needed means to an end, I’ve perfected the art of the fake smile and insincere sincerity just to get through this horrific last year so I could get some ducks in a row for me and my mom.

    I wish, with all of my being, that I could’ve had the satisfaction that so many of you have had in booting the disgusting miscreants from your life. But I console myself with knowing that someday soon, my day WILL come.

    My point is sometimes civil breakups aren’t as civil as people make them appear. Trust me on that.

  • Well I thought I could be friends with him… until he started “dating” HER right away. And then I realized what had been going on before.

    He still acts shocked when I come across as “cold”. It’s just business now. I do my best to be civil. I haven’t tried to rake him across the coals in the divorce. I do what’s best for our son.

    But I’ll be damned if I’m going to be friends with him.

    I don’t need friends like that.

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