Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

The Case of the Dangling Former Spouse

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

Dear Chump Lady,

I am nearly at meh, three years from D-Day and two from my divorce from a world class Cluster B, alcoholic, successful asshole who shared “sex addiction camp” with the stars…

I got some news today that rekindled a WOW moment provided by your amazing insights in my early days of chumpdom.

The story is this: I married a much older man a decade after his divorce. (I discovered too late he divorced over serial infidelities.) While dating, his former wife was much in evidence, doing what I now recognize as the “pick me” dance. She left presents for him. She followed him. After a decade!

I thought she was a nutcase. She never to this day, 40 years after their divorce, left the marital home.. She never dated. While we were married (22 years), she showed up at every family gathering, moping around, following us from room to room. He was flummoxed and upset.

It totally creeped me out. I asked a hundred times, asked both my husband and his grown kids, to talk to her , to let us know when she was showing up, to make her chose what she wanted to attend, so we could skip it. It continued to the point I stopped going to their functions. I grew scared of her. She was crazy.

After separation, reading CL and going 100 percent no contact, I finally realized: she was CAKE. She was KIBBLES. He loved her doing this and loved my reaction. He purposely kept her dangling on that string for over 40 YEARS. Did I say he was good?

I have not read about the phenomena of the dangling former spouse on CL.

My news? XH remarried immediately after our divorce. Today I heard that his first wife has turned his adult children against him because she believed he was going to remarry her. She has finally figured him out…after four decades of “pick me”, cake, kibbles and lies.

Ouch.

I wondered if others experienced this? It was another huge red flag that I missed.

Dianne

Dear Dianne,

Oh sure. Ex-partners — spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, former high school soul mates — are all kibble supply. Think about it from a narcissist point of view — what’s easier? A new mark? Or an old one? Which is more desirable? Both! MORE KIBBLES!

A new mark — downside, you’ve got to sparkle (narkle?) and that exerts energy. You’ve got to give kibbles, which is always fraught. But the upside is new supply! And for a fleeting moment, the new mark is shiny and exciting, and doesn’t know what an utter fraud you are, so it’s fun. Until the inevitable devalue sets in.

An old flame? So much more upside. First, there’s a well-plowed field of mindfuckery. You don’t have to sow new mindfuckery, just regenerate the old. You’re the one I really love! There’s the thrill of winning back the kibble you thought you’d lost. So shiny! And it’s easy, low-hanging kibble. Perhaps you share children or an alumni association. These things are simpler than crafting dating profiles. The old mark is there! Raising your children! Or attending your reunion! Or living in your hometown! Maybe all three! Perhaps you can stay in your pajamas all day, just grunt and the kibbles will appear. Exertion is for the little people…

Anyway, Dianne, yes — this is a Thing.

Which leads me to the inevitable public service announcement for NO CONTACT. Freaks HOOVER. Do NOT go back! Feed NO cake! You are not special, you’re kibbles!

As for your case — you didn’t mention it, but it must’ve occurred to you — his ex-wife was an affair partner during your marriage.

Today I heard that his first wife has turned his adult children against him because she believed he was going to remarry her.

Yeah. Why would she think that? Because she’s crazy, or because of what he told her off screen, when you weren’t around? That she could win that dance. That she’s the one he REALLY loves.

Chumps and affair partners aren’t entirely stupid. They dance for kibbles. Mind you, it’s a starvation ration, but they get kibbles. No one dances for ZERO pay off. He was feeding her, Dianne. Her expectations didn’t materialize out of nowhere.

He loved her doing this and loved my reaction.

Of course he did, the sick bastard.

While we were married (22 years), she showed up at every family gathering, moping around, following us from room to room. He was flummoxed and upset.

No, he had no boundaries with his ex. Which is the way he liked it. Perhaps you’re projecting here — I imagine the two women in this situation were “flummoxed and upset.” He’s feigning it, perhaps, but most likely REVELING in the attention. The only thing that could give him momentary anxiety is that the ex might tell you. But then it’s high stakes kibble excitement! Two kibble sources in the same room, competing!

The point of this crazy, beyond the kibbles, is that it keeps you both off balance and him in the power seat. If he’d had boundaries with his ex, two things would’ve resulted — she would get a clear message that it’s OVER, nothing to work with, and would move on. And you would’ve felt more secure because he had clear boundaries.

There are of course stalkers and bunny boilers, but they are not the norm. People engage when they are encouraged. The trope of the Crazy Ex Who Is Consumed With an Undying, Embarrassing Passion for Me is bullshit. Stalkers and bunny boilers are consumed with revenge and control, not passion. And the way to deal with them is through lawyers, law enforcement, and sternly worded protection orders — otherwise known as boundaries.

Why did your ex refuse to use boundaries, but instead spend 22 years with a furrowed brow, “confused” by this attention? He liked it like that.

She has finally figured him out…after four decades of “pick me”, cake, kibbles and lies.

I hope you’ve figured him out too. Chances are he’ll be back.

Slam the door.

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Not quite the same but I get the impression that my ex is dangling me in front of latest Schmoopie. She’s (slightly) younger than me, prettier, not as much fun I have to admit but …. from what my kids say and from what I have seen on FB and the number of times he tries to contact me, I think he is inciting her to dance. Hell honey, don’t bother. I hate his guts and really don’t want him back EVER so you can stop stalking my FB page!

    • Remember, you don’t have to be in contact with X in order for him to use you to cue the pick-me dance. All he has to do is tell her you are stalking HIM or what a good cook you were or how he should have stayed for the kids. He’s a liar. He lies to you, he lies to her, he lies to his other kibble sources. She’s stalking your FB page looking for evidence of what he’s told her.

      • yep, i think this is what wasband does with the troll. .. . she will randomly attack me or have one of her friends attack me on facebook since i have her blocked. .. .. . who goes thru all that trouble? she has to find a friend, talk shit about me to the point that the friend does not think it is weird when she asks friend to look my page up on facebook. then has her friend send me a friend request and attack me via messenger. .. .. it has happened at least 3 times since my divorce 4.5 years ago. .. . this last time was a couple of months ago. i guess (because i dont ask questions or feed him kibbles) they broke up so he called me to see if he could visit the boys. i have never prevented him from seeing the boys so i said yes. of course, poor little sad sausage does not have a car because his ex troll took it from him. and he still doesnt have a job so he has no gas money for the non car anyways.. .. and foolish nice little me, took the boys to his town so he could visit. grant it, we went to the lake and were not technically waiting for him. he finally showed up around 1. by that time we were fixing to leave because it was 110 degrees outside and even playing in the lake was just too hot. .. . so we decided to go to a peter piper pizza place. the boys and wasband played the arcade. i just hung in the back ground.. .. .i was polite and pleasant but not overly friendly to wasband.. . he was taking pictures of the boys, and a few times i could have sworn he was taking my picture also. .

        well, ironically a week after that visit i am getting attacked by one of her friends. and apparently they got back together. i really think he uses me to triangulate. i know he tries it with me. he made a point of showing me some pictures with her in the picture with him.. . . i respond with a calm, no emotion “thats nice” to whatever he says or shows me. even if my heart is jumping around like a mexican jumping bean. i learned just to glance and say thats nice. .. . i know he is trying to get me to say something about her so he can run back to her to tell her.. . which is what happens when he tells her something about me, she right away starts to see me as a threat and will talk shit about me and get her little thug friends to gang up on me. . .. it is pathetic and i refuse to play this game. (which only has her telling everyone how she “won” or how she put me down or whatever twisted shit she thinks she has done)

        it doesnt matter that i barely talk to him. he apparently makes shit up. i can see him telling her that i was begging him to come back to me or i was trying to get him in bed.. .and she will fall right back where he wants her. she doesnt want him but she doesnt want me to have him either.. .. haha at least they make each other miserable and not anyone else.

        i have peace and happiness in my life. i have my house, my truck and my job. i have my children every day and now i have my grand children. i used to have to remind myself that i did not want to live that way.. . but not anymore. i see it for what it is .. .. bat shit toxic behavior. i refuse to be dragged into that train wreck. she is welcome to him.

        • I happen to know my X’s current gf (not an AP). She looked me up to seriously ask if I was trying to get back together with him, as he claimed. I burst out laughing “No backsies!”

          They’ll lie about anything to look like they’re in demand.

      • So agree with this. Just have to keep reminding yourself. Its very easy to start falling for the ol he left because the grass is greener bull crap

        • The grass IS greener. Very well fertilized with his bullshit…grows all kinds of adoration, kibbles, pride when friends congratulate him, ect, ect, ect…but you have to roll in bullshit to have green. she can have it. i went to blue, to grey, and finally golden freedom and crystal clear sanity.

    • Sometimes I hope i would run into the XH and give him a piece of my mind and unload on his lying cheating ass! But then I remember how manipulative he is and I would somehow just end up looking like the crazy X. So, in dreamworld a good verbal unleashing would be fantastic! But in the real world, No Contact is the only solution. His actions will speak for him and destroy him without my help!

  • “I thought she was a nutcase. She never to this day, 40 years after their divorce, left the marital home.. She never dated. While we were married (22 years), she showed up at every family gathering, moping around, following us from room to room. He was flummoxed and upset.”

    My divorce will have been final four years ago next month. I believe I’m in ‘meh’ – I don’t miss the ex and feel genuinely grateful to have learned and gotten out of that marriage. We “co-parent” two teens, one who is about to start her second year of college. I haven’t been dating (I’m just not ready to trust) and still live in the marital home. I go to all of the teens’ events, though certainly not family gatherings.

    My point here is more, I hope I would not be judged for staying in this house, which is both for financial reasons (mortgage and roof financing will finish when I am 75) as well as that my children love this home, having grown up here. I’m not sure I ever want to go down that dating road again, though it is still early days.

    • No judgement here. I fought tooth and nail to stay in the marital home. KK demonstrated very early on that she saw the implosion of our marriage as the perfect opportunity to “upgrade” in all kinds of ways (less than one month out from DDay: “You know, this is a perfect opportunity to get the girls into a better school system! Ive been looking at prices of condos in [town 35 miles away] . . .”). When I protested that moving our daughters away from their school, friends, activities, etc. was just heaping even more change and uncertainty on them at a time they needed some grounding and consistency, the rage channel ensued.

      Every situation is different.

    • I don’t see the issue with staying in the marital home by itself. The red flags in this are rather the length of time she’s been in the house coupled with the other behaviour. Her actions seem to indicate that she’s keeping the house for emotional rather than pragmatic reasons. That’s the problem.

      • After 40 years, the marital home is paid for. Why leave? And she may have gone to events because her kids were there. And of course, he was no doubt giving her a lot of reason to believe he was coming back.

      • Biggest red flag…operant phrase….
        “I asked 100’s of times”.
        If you have to ask more than once or twice, it’s a GAME.
        I don’t ask anybody more than once or twice anymore. After once or twice the drawbridge goes up in my castle, the moat fills with water, and I let the alligators and tigers and lions out on patrol.

        • “After once or twice the drawbridge goes up in my castle, the moat fills with water, and I let the alligators and tigers and lions out on patrol.”

          I need to create a visual of this every time thoughts of the X enter the mind. He needs to stay out of my castle. I really like this – thank you Velvet Hammer!!

        • Right on! I like that visual too. The kind of people worth keeping in your life – whether they’re partners, friends or family – listen up when you say you’re hurt or feel on-edge because of their behavior.

          • Yes – ex was the first to go. Then a few other crappy friends. One coworker would wear perfume that made me so sick. But she would keep wearing it! She in the cube right next to me. I’m like ok, she still wears it. She doesn’t care. So I’m not going to say anything as she has a power trip going or something. The we went for a hike and she wore it. Back in my car her sweat and that oil – the smell! My daughter got in my car later and she’s said, “What is that smell!?” I explained that’s the perfume that makes me so sick. It made my daughter sick, too. And she asked why would she wear that knowing how sick you get? Yeah. Why. I haven’t talked to that person since. Ugh. So sick of these people. Time to fill the moat! I love that.

        • Velvet Hammer,

          Well said-if I have to ask more than once or twice,it’s a GAME. This person is knowingly batter ramming my boundaries.

    • No, No, No. I, too, remain in the marital home (that I designed, built and decorated to live in forever), and neither do I date, and do not think I ever will. That was just a part of this entire sick scenario. Neither you or I are….filling the ex’s front yard with pinwheels (these people at that time were in their 50’s…pinwheels?), following him on dates and causing scenes, going to his family functions carrying a small brown purse and refusing to put it down (gun?).

      We are healthy and over it.

      The poor dangling one was not.

      • Same. That is now and always has been MY house. I spent a decade trying to get him to give a shit a out it but he never did. I cared for it and remodeled it and decorated it. I’m staying as long as I want. And I’m not dating because I’m still not confident in my picker and I like being single now.

        • Hear! Hear AuntieMame, When I want to know how far I have come, I go to google earth and do the time machine and look at my house. What an utter pit it was. Now when you drive up, it is the prettiest house in the neighborhood by far. All Me! It is my house too. I am staying in it forever. It is paid for, which means I don’t have to move to some unappealing state for the cost of living when I retire. I have been working in my picker too. If you have one ClusterB you have others. They all seem to be able to suss out a Chump, either romantically or platonically male and female. As soon as I figure it out, I creep away on little cat feet. I too like being single. I like living alone too. So maybe I will find someone, but next stop, sailing lessons and seeing the world.

          • “If you have one ClusterB you have others. They all seem to be able to suss out a Chump, either romantically or platonically male and female. As soon as I figure it out, I creep away on little cat feet.”. I just recently had a very serious and life-threatening diagnosis, followed by major surgery on July 19th. Obviously I am still in recovery. The painful awareness of how I have been used by so many for whom I have done so much, who have done NOTHING for me and now don’t even offer a F…K..N THING. Not a single offer of “can I do anything, get anything”. If I listed all I have done here for these people you would say, yes, you are the big chumpy, taken in by male and female-they do indeed find us. This chumpy me who was hurt by a serial cheater who piggy-backed all his women, deceived me into believing he was available, when he was living with his latest other chump. They are cluster B, but what is my problem??? But, I am not creeping away. I am cutting them off, no explanation-just a boom-I owe them nothing. I have a 100 examples, but process this one: a cluster b calls for the first time and says, “Tell me fast, how are you.” I have much worse I could write about, but it’s like not even worth it. Wow, ringinonmyownbell is so right. I pray for awareness so I can creep away in the future.

          • I love your outlook! I’ve creeped – well more like slammed the door in their face – of 2 others in my life since I was awakened by ex’s antics. It feels so great after all of these years to not be avoiding landmines all the time.

        • Amen, Auntie Mame!

          I’m fully enjoying MY newly cheater free house — and the big middle fingers up it is to X that I’m not going anywhere any time soon!

    • Damn straight, I pay 520 bucks a month for my home. I’m not going anywhere. As for dating, my son is autistic, so it’s a lost cause. I still get laid on occasion though.

      • Same here!
        I posted earlier tonight in the forums that when the day comes that I meet a man that is loving and caring with my autistic DD, then I’ll know he’s a keeper.
        In the meantime, getting laid once in a while is good enough for me! 😀😂

    • I stayed in the “marital home”, too, Vicki. We owned two homes,one 2000 miles away. When ex wanted us to move across the country, I’m the one who found the current marital home and we rented out the first marital home.

      Ex was only in the 2nd one for probably 100 days, between his business travel and flying off to see the AP. The 2nd house was ALWAYS MINE. Almost from the get-go. I saw absolutely no reason to leave. I have almost zero memories of him in the new home and wasn’t going to uproot myself or my kids, or incur a bigger mortgage for a smaller home, just to assuage people’s feelings that I was “cutting all ties”. Don’t let other’s thoughts or beliefs change what’s right for you. 🙂

    • I stayed in my house, that I owned before marriage, not that anyone would know that. Nor do I care if they do. I don’t really think it’s an indicator that I can’t get over Narkles the Clown as much as, like Ux, I wanted the stability for my kid.

      You wouldn’t catch me dead in a dickie at a Narkles the Clown family event! I can’t imagine the drama and manipulation fest, and I sure as heck don’t want to.

    • I am also keeping the marital home. It allows me to continue to be the sane, stable parent by keeping the kids in their home, their rooms, their school. But, it’s also a very smart financial decisions given the housing market in my region. My neighbourhood was built in the 70s/80s – houses on very large lots with wooded areas and walking trails and lots of mature trees with quiet crescents. As the retirees and empty nesters move on, those homes are being filled with young families who want city living with a country feel and are willing to renovate and upgrade homes. Land is running out in this region as the population is starting to explode. Keeping my home on what is becoming prime real-estate is a future gold-mine.

      Now I’ve already started changing the decor to make everything new again. My master bedroom is a complete overhaul and resembles nothing from the old room. I’ve been slowly updating all the paint colours, changing photos and art work. Next year will be a new deck and changed landscaping of my whole backyard. Three years is the goal for the new kitchen, which will change a portion of my main floor plan. In the next few years, very little about the interior of the house will resemble the old (other than some of the same furnishings moved around).

      My lawyer just said that she’s so happy when a client gets to keep the marital home, particularly when it’s the woman. First, because of the stability it provides the kids. And, second, because it’s one of the biggest assets that a woman can walk away from a marriage with. Win-win.

    • Your reasons for staying in YOUR home are great, but you don’t need to justify your choices to anyone. I would have wanted to stay in the house that I loved and where our children and grandchildren grew up, if Golden D##k hadn’t polluted it with the OW. They had sex all over our house and in our bed. I had to get rid of furniture, bedding and clothes (yuck) not to mention the “wedding ring” that she bought for him, and insisted that we move. Now the only reminders here are Golden D##k. That’s going to change as well, when I serve him the papers that I should have served him decades ago.

  • Yep, “former” partners seem to be a normal part of cheater play…keep the kibble supply around as CL points out. They just can’t kick that habit…to varying degrees.

    • Or on the other hand they do attempt to drag you into the game. For me it’s been over for four years. Absoluteny NO interest or contact.

      It took me a while to figure out the coverts play book. He never fights for anyone. I recall the first time I met her and he sat back and enjoyed her rage as I laughed.

      This played out during my marriage. He’d light the fire and sit back doing not a thing. And he’s up to it again, making her believe I’m in competition. WTF!! Does it ever end?

      I get the cluster b. I just want to feel safe and be left alone. I’m consulting with a lawyer.

      • My ex was in rehab 18 years ago. He left his 12-step journal that I found and read after he left. He said that he was a drama king. He liked stirring the pot and then sitting back watching the mayhem. Jerk.

        When we were gong out he asked if I had all my teeth, and I did. He wanted someone with all their teeth. Well, now he’s wearing the dentures. One time our puppy took them off the table while he was napping and chewed them up in the back yard. He was livid. He was in the garage with the Dremel tool trying to fix it as it was the weekend.

  • I posted this yesterday but I wanted to mention it again. It was a terrific website and the forum was amazing. I miss it and feel it has something to offer chumps today too.

    The post by Green Tea about her cousin FINALLY leaving her husband is an excellent cautionary tale. It’s better to be honestly chumped than to sell out your integrity for baubles & public image.

    Today’s Fuckwit Narc Ex was definitely screwing his ex-wife on the side. What a wasted spunk stain he is, now & forever.

    Despite it no longer being an active site – this is worth bookmarking and reading.

    Gentlemen Chumps, it’s for you too!

    http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/manip.sh

  • I think part of the reason why KK is stuck on the Rage Channel is because not even the slightest whiff of kibble comes from me. It doesn’t stop her from getting some attention out of the deal (“see what a prick UXworld is being? Poor, poor pitiful me…”) but I have no doubt that she’s always on the lookout for a surrogate kibble source to keep RPD on his toes.

  • Cheaters love dangling kibble dispensers. The ex wouldn’t tell the OW to stop contacting him while we were going through wreckconciliation; he wanted me to do it. At first I stupidly thought it was because he wanted to show me he didn’t care what I said to her but it was because he didn’t want give up the kibble fest he got from the both of us dancing like crazed ballerinas for the prize that was him.

    So yeah it’s a thing that happens frequently with these jerks. That’s one of the myriad of reasons you have to go no contact with them after you divorce or gray rock if you’re sharing custody of children with them. It’s the only way to get rid of the mindfuckery.

    • How about telling her “You got him, honey. I couldn’t care less if you boff him”?? No kibbles there!

      • I wish that worked Soldering on. I clearly told her of his history and told her I passed the torch. NO..not enough. She was shocked when I told her I was the one to file.

        I’m still confident she wants to destroy me, especially my reputation. There’s no doubt in my mind she wants to harm me. He’s the one putting her up to it.

  • “I asked a hundred times, asked both my husband and his grown kids, to talk to her, to let us know when she was showing up, to make her chose what she wanted to attend, so we could skip it. It continued to the point I stopped going to their functions. I grew scared of her.”

    Quoted for further pondering of how A Manipulated Wife’s Hundred Asks can all too often go unanswered for years without ANY consequences to the husband. That man also got off on her fear. The wife ate the shit sandwich of having to fearfully exclude and isolate herself. What an insidiously, covertly abusive dynamic. *shudder*

    I mean, what a deep, epic, breathtaking mindfucking. The husband was the one to be truly feared here all along. No contact — hardcore no contact— is truly the only way through it.

    • In the last 3-4 years of my marriage, I must have asked at least a dozen times for us to attend marriage counselling. I even went on a “strike” for about half a year when I refused to discuss anything serious with my husband unless it was with a marriage counsellor in order to force the issue. The result was silence.

      Me: “We need some professional help in order to break the conversation that always ends the same way no matter how different in starts.”
      Him: “I don’t really think counselling is the answer. We can’t afford it. We just need to give this time.”
      Result: Nothing. Time resulted in an emotional affair in 2015, trading time with me for porn, and a full-blown affair in fall of 2016 and all of 2017. Then being told that he realized in the last few years that I wasn’t meeting his needs.

      Me: “How about we attend the Marriage Alpha course at our church?”
      Him: “How do we have the time to do that an evening every week? Who will watch the kids?”
      Result: Nothing.

      Me: “Let’s go out on a date night out once a month. We’ll take turns planning. In between we can do an in-home date after the kids go to home. We can alternate planning that too.”
      Him: “Sure. That sounds nice.”
      Result: I plan the first night out. I plan the first night in. I remind him the second month to plan the date. I plan the following date. Then, I decide that I’m not going to remind him again. No more dates occur. When I ask him later on why he hasn’t planned any date nights, he looks surprised and says he didn’t realize so much time had lapsed.

      Me: “I read about a strategy that can help re-build intimacy by ensuring that there is a kiss every time leaving the house and arriving home and increasing light physical contact at least once a day in some other form until new habits are created.”
      Him: “Sure.”
      Result: Continuous reminders to give me a kiss. No reminders for me if I forgot to give a kiss and then feeling really guilty that I wasn’t doing a good job at this strategy. Then, stopping my reminders to him and back to square one.

      Me: “I read an article that talks about couple’s scheduling regular sex in order to get back into the swing of things when action in the bedroom has dwindled. It said that couple’s often get so caught up in the busyness of life that they feel too tired to feel anything romantic. However, if you regularly schedule it, it will lead to getting the loving feeling going again.”
      Him: “Sure.”
      Result: My initiating the first few times and realizing that the biggest turn-off is having to be the one always initiate it. Noting that husband’s issues with erectile dysfunction is getting worse (it was already an occasional issue from the time when we first met and he said that it had been happening to him for a while before – getting older as he was in his early 30s). Becoming afraid to initiate him because I didn’t want him to feel bad if it didn’t work out, so encouraging him to let me know when he was up for it (no pun here).

      What I feel all these failed strategies equate to (plus many others I attempted) is asking for something 100s of times and getting nothing. Why should someone have to ask so many times and in so many ways to be pro-active in addressing issues in the marriage and then feel so alone in the endeavour? Yet, somehow I deserved his affair? He sucks.

      I also suggested a marriage course offered through our church (“Who will watch the kids?”), meetings with our priest, monthly date nights to get back into the swing of things, a weekend getaway

      • We were in marruage counseling for 18 years. He sat in tbe corner with his arms crossed and refused to speak. lip pooched out like a 4 yr old. Bottom line: marriage is bad because they deliberatly create badness. they love thwarting our wants, needs desires. Let go. Move on .

  • “Two kibble sources in the same room, competing!”

    Still sends shivers down my spine…the look of satisfaction and sick smile on his face when I kissed her (AP unbeknownst to me) hello.

    Didn’t know then what it was all about. I do now.

    Not enough soap in the world to make me feel clean after that.
    🤢

  • I fought like a cornered tiger to keep my home. I worked to hard and sacrificed too much to just let it go.

    Chuckles has sadly missed out on kibbles from my end. NC at all times.

    But it didn’t go un-noticed on the once a year viewing, of the now miserable couple, that she was always within three inches of him, trotting around behind him, trying to stroke and adore him (without noticeable effect I have to say) every single time I was present. All yours Slaggy-Anne.

    Seriously I’m the safest woman for him to be alone with, I would touch him with someone else’s barge pole let alone talk to him…. shudder.

    • I fought like cray to keep the home, too, for our daughter and two big dogs. I saw a financial advisor who was chumped. She said sell the house and run – he’ll never let you keep it. But I fought for it anyway. Rage channel all the way I dealt with. Especially since I wanted spousal support.

      My punishment for the amount of support I wanted was threats that would make the judge sell the house, he said. I also suggested deferring sale of the house which he refused immediately. He wanted to sell the house and get the money he was entitled to (entitled to!!! Lol. He lies, cheats, betrays and abandons his family and he’s entitled! Hilarious) He told our 12 y.o. daughter it was my fault she was going to lose her home – because I’m so greedy. His mom used to urge me to go buy clothes because I put his needs first. Now I’m greedy. Hilarious.

      I bought him out. Got the amount of support I wanted (because it was fair). Gave him his ‘entitlement’ money. But now his mom says he can’t buy house because his debt to loan ratio is too high. The entitled spendthrift is out. He probably should have gone for deferred sale now that the house appraises for 60k more now.

      Like his dad said about him one time, “He’s not too bright.”

      And I wonder how many times he’s cheated on his girlfriend. She used to text our daughter looking for him because he wasn’t answering her texts. Glad she took him off our hands. No pick me dance here – I didn’t want him.

      • I bought him out of our house too. It was the only home my kids had ever known, in a beautiful spot (farm at the back so they can’t build behind me) and my neighbours are wonderful (which is important when you live on your own). He got the camper and his “share” – which is a big joke as I was out hundreds of thousands (too complicated to go into). Within about 18 months the camper was sold and all the money was gone (and so was Schmoopie no. 1 by the way). Now he has bought a house with no. 2 which will NEVER be paid off and I’m within 5 months of paying this one off and retiring! Yeah, that was a step up wasn’t it – hope they are enjoying it!

        • Well this post today is interesting…I did the hard fight to keep the family home (2.2 years ago) and she moved out and rented about fifteen minutes away…suited me perfect. Think she thought he’d leave his wife when she did…for me out of sight and all that. The legal stuff is all done now so legally separated and cash to be paid (to her) for share of house by next Friday. I live in a small Irish village of c.1,000. Last Friday I learned she is using the settlement to buy a house literally right in the middle of town and irony of ironies, will be 100 feet away from where AP and his still wreakconsiling wife will be opening a new business office. As we have the kids physically 50:50 it means they are closer to my home and only 500mtrs away so good for them. But I’ve barely slept since finding out and she has been showering me with little texts and pictures of the kids In the last two weeks. It’s a mindfuck for me. I actually how people can put up with an ex constantly around I have no idea.( I Grey rock like a master but worry about my sanity henceforth. Our relationship was abusive and I know she is mentally disordered but I was pretty much NC bar kids calls and can’t figure out why she would want to be around me or people who know the truth (I wasn’t quiet on it). I now figure my fight for the kids home was a waste and foolish on my part bar being good for them and don’t want to see or know she exists so can’t figure out why she would want to live close by….my only hope is his (AP) wife loses it and encourages ex to move at some point. He was a serial cheat so likely to be dropping by for coffee!!! Ex is stupid enough to wait for him too….anyone see something like this…maybe I’ll put throw in the forum later for extra thoughts…at wit’s end

            • What a Wackjob Bannerman. Keep the grey rock going. Love your country just returned from a visit with friends.

          • Yeah, sounds like your ex and the AP may still be on, or she is just being delusional and wants to parade herself around, going past the shop because, Oh hey, I just live down the street so I neeed to go past to get anywhere. I am sure most people can see straight through her. Concentrate on the fact that you’ve done right by the kids and let her make a fool of herself all around town, perhaps only taking precautions to mentally buffer them from any fallout/embarrassment they may suffer due to her shenanigans. It’s not your circus anymore, as hard as that is.

        • I bought him out( funny how the bank won’t give a mortgage to an unemployed fuckwit who blew his family’s savings to try to save his dying business). I sold it 3 months later for $250k more than it was valued at during the battle( crazy real estate market here). He lives in schmoopies house.

  • Perfect timing on this post. I’m finally going to court today to get what is rightfully mine ie.home and half of the 401k. I’m lucky because I have no contact and hear limited things about him thru my children. Life can be good if you never dance for cake again. Trust and believe that you are mighty and nothing can stop you now xoxo sweet

  • CL is really spot on in every detail: there are the boundaries, the lawyers and law enforcement for crazy stalkers. Stalking has nothing to do with love.
    Dianne, realize he didn’t use these boundaries on purpose because he liked two females struggling to have his love. Cheaters are disordered narcissists: they thrive on leaving their partners unaware of the pick me dance.
    Remember Chump Nation the first law of Chump club:
    ~~~”If you hesitate between me and another person, don’t choose me.”~~~

  • I think a large percentage of affair partners are people from the past, since like ex called his, they are “low hanging fruit.” They are a known entity, and probably think they are very special, and most importantly probably, won’t rat the cheater out. So it makes sense they would keep up their previous pattern. It’s a lot safer than trying to hook up with someone from ashley msdison, adult friend finder, and free to boot.

    • Yes this is so common, more than we realize. I know a lot of friends who have their exes from high school or college contact them years later. These men are still married and are looking for a side dish. It’s easier to hit up an ex than go find someone new. So true Anita.

      • College, nah.
        High school, nah.
        How about middle school, like first kiss and shit? Yup! That’s what mine did.

    • After I found out about exw cheating, she told me she and her an old BF 5 years earlier had arranged to meet again when our daughter turned 15 (which would have been in 10 years) coz they soul mates etc… since then he’s had a few more kids and so I wonder if they are waiting til they turn 15… Anyway, just total fantasy crap, utterly absurd, pathetic and hilariously immature. I knew she was in touch with old BFs but chumpy me just assumed she was trustworthy. Has been a major lesson for me that people are not as genuine as I thought they were, I look at people a bit harder now. I can laugh about the cringeworthy bitch now but it’s been a tough 15 months separating as I’m sure most here know.

  • I agree with Tracy that something was going on behind the scenes. The woman isn’t necessarily bat shit crazy because she continuously believed his bullshit for 40 years, she could just be an extremely naive massive dipshit. I’m not justifying her behavior by any means but when there is an absence of discouragement, encouragement is present. We are all responsible for our own actions. However, it’s important to recognize all contributing factors and place culpability according.

  • Ah, the “he / she’s psycho” ploy. Cheaters are sooooo good at that strategy! They sparkle their turd selves to you, and disparage the other person, but of course they are doing the same thing with them behind your back.

    Wouldn’t you know narkles told my kids last week that my “attorney is psycho!” Why is she psycho? Well because she knows the truth about his sexual escapades with hookers and strippers, and called him out in court (against the judges ruling). Of course he told the kids she was trying to discredit his financial spending, and not the entire context of what she said. Imagine that… omissions to make himself look like the victim!

    Sadly, in the 3 years he has dragged this divorce out, the laws in my state have changed to no fault, and I was forced to change my pleading to “irreconcilable differences.” Which also means that my attorneys comments were stricken from the record. Yippy, he gets to maintain his good guy image in a court record! “See, nothing here to show this was anything short of a money grubbing psycho ex wife trying to take me for all I’m worth. I’m the victim!” Yeah, $10,000. in a one night visit to a strip club (on a credit card no less) is completely irrelevant, right? Texts showing the hiring of hookers (illegal and dissipation) but irrelavant in court! Our civil system is simply the chess board on which the disordered play their game. It gives them the foundation on which to plan their strategy.

    The disordered treat their lives like a game of chess; the people in their lives are treated as pawns. Their strategy is to sacrifice the pawns to advance themselves. Make no mistake, their feigned innocence over the way other people react to them is part of the strategy. It’s even better for them if you are tight lipped, then you play right into their game (or the court helps them keep their secrets)!

    • Even in a no-fault state, money from joint assets spent on affair partner/extra curricular activities should be recoverable by you . Judges might not be able to control the morality in a marriage but they can control the money. Ask your lawyer

    • A red flag for me is anyone saying “my ex was batshit crazy”, yet my ex is batshit crazy, another glorious irony!

  • I’m only just now realizing that he always kept another woman—colleague, former girlfriend, “friend”—in my consciousness.

    So manipulative and abusive.

    Ah, how different the decisions I made long ago would have been if I had only had the knowledge to see what is so clear now.

    Ah, well. Better to learn eventually than not st all, I guess.

    • People have asked me if I might have preferred going all my life not knowing the truth and believing I had a reasonably happy marriage. The thought of leaving this world as a complete fool turns my stomach. I had finally chosen to divorce him for the emotional affairs with women and he came very, very close to getting away with his true deception of having a boyfriend for 40 years. I am very glad I know the truth as it prevents me from all kinds of unhealthy second guessing as to his total sucktitude. Even painful learning of lessons is always a good thing.

      • Dixie Chump,

        I agree with you… I would much rather leave this world knowing the truth then slide off into the next realm believing that my marriage was wonderful.

        Over 40 years, my XH rotated through a super-duper-secret stable of 14 APs (or at least, that’s the number he’d finally admit to). I was utterly clueless; it’s actually pretty amazing that none of the APs ever spilled the beans to me, considering I personally knew every single one of them. Either they were enjoying the same heartless game playing as my XH, or he had some sort of very incriminating evidence on them to keep them quiet which he threatened to share with their husbands (i.e. the female version of dick pics).

        I’m now 6 years post-D-Day and as of this past Sunday, 3 years post-divorce (Yea! Happy Anniversary to me). I went Zero Contact halfway through our separation, and it was the second best decision I’ve made in my adult life (the best decision being immediately selling the expensive and high maintenance marital home in an isolated small town, moving an hour away and buying an adorable little bungalow for myself). Poor sad sausage, the only cake and kibbles he’s getting now are coming from AP #14 and whomever else he’s got hooked to his fishing line. Not only did ZC help me to put major distance between me and all of his twisted mindfuckery, but it also allowed time for serious introspection (“How did this happen”?) and ultimately, acceptance of the fact that I was used, deceived and royally played for TWO-THIRDS of my life. Call me crazy, but I’m truly grateful for the truth, regardless of how ugly and painful, because at least I didn’t go on to waste whatever time I have left continuing to be a chump of epic proportions.

    • Yes I had the same realisation Cashmere. There was always “someone” that he could manipulate and make me feel ‘off balance’ wth. Always!

    • Me too! You don’t even see it until you step away. Always little comments or actions. Just enough to make you question and want to win an imaginary war against.

  • Within mere days of leaving my sociopath ex, he was back in the arms of one of his many local “ex-girlfriends.” Oddly, she wasn’t even the one I caught him with that caused our breakup! I was devastated that he moved on from me so quickly and I was discarded like trash. My whole world seemed to turn upside and I was blindsided by what I was about to learn next. After a bit of research I discovered his ex and he had been together for years despite him telling me he had only dated one woman in his hometown (he lies about everything. he has slept with every single woman and divorcee in that town and the numbers keep adding up – he is very wealthy and women fall at their to have a chance at his lifestyle). I don’t think she knows she was and continues to be just one of MANY. My ex is a master at deception and how he got away with it with all of these women is beyond my comprehension. In retrospect, I now believe she never left the picture even though I was living with him. I think he would stop by her house after work before he came home to me or he went to her house at lunch or in the morning. Who knows? I don’t know what kind of story he was feeding her, but it’s clear, she was accepting his kibbles and he was putting my health at risk. (I couldn’t shake the feeling my ex was going to give me HIV because he lied to me about his venereal disease status!) My story has so many more layers involving “other women” it would make one’s head spin!

    Your story, Dianne, also reminds me of another story. About 20 years ago when I was a few years out of college living in a big city, a guy in our circle of friends claimed he had a “crazy ex-girlfriend.” He boasted about how he got a restraining order on her and people felt sorry for him and feared this girl. He seemed to enjoy labeling her as nuts and giving her this reputation. I remember his story always sounded fishy, though the restraining order was real. I told my best friend at the time, “I guarantee you he is still in contact with his ex; she’s not crazy; he constantly lies to her, sees her, and drives her crazy.” Two years later, he married his “crazy ex-girlfriend.”

    It definitely sounds like your ex-husband never let his ex-wife go. He manipulated her for years like a sociopath. I’m sorry you went through this.

    Stay strong!

    • Same here, Bodhi. The woman my ex stupid sociopath is “engaged” to isn’t the one I caught him with that caused our breakup.
      She’s most probably the 3rd or 4th in line. How sick.
      I found out he had multiple simultaneous affairs with every woman in town. They all keep it secret, he handles to balance a multi-functioning harem like a pro.
      I only wonder, since in my country men above 50 are old style jealous, how come none of the husbands, fathers or brothers serves him a resentful jab of karma. He should have been in the ER many times. They keep it secret too.
      And I wonder also if new supplies ever find out what’s really going on behind the curtain. I know about the prostitutes, the waitresses, the shop assistants, hairdressers, bartenders, our children’s friends mothers, our friends’ wives, neighbors…about 30 OW all in his hidden harem. I found evidence. Will it take years to see his schemes blow up?

      • Merrychump – I hear you! Why aren’t our sociopath exes in jail or the ER? I honestly don’t know how they dodge bullets and fists and why their worlds haven’t imploded, yet?! 30 OW is frightening?!?!?!?!

        I believe in my case his women are either clueless, complicit, cheaters, or he is their sugar daddy and they have no morals. I know he has pursued married women, but I don’t know if their husband’s know – they are all sneaky.

        He can’t buy me, so I made sure to share my story with concrete proof of his infidelities with people who had no idea he wasn’t the charming town hero….and I’m sure these insights will spread at some point down the line. I left town so I have no idea if his world imploding, but even if it does, he is a sociopath and his sullied reputation won’t bother him. He will compartmentalize and find new supplies. He will always have supplies because of his wealth and there a ton of women who just don’t care. Personally, I respect myself and when I die, it’s not going to be because he infected me with something I could have prevented once I discovered his disgusting truth.

        Your ex sounds like a horrid human being like mine. I’m so sorry you were blindly attached to that wretched human. Thank God, you discovered the truth left!!! May your next chapter be beautiful!

        • Two golden rules I learned from therapy at Sandra L Brown’s practice (“women who love psychopaths”):
          1. They are sicker than you (or the rest of the normal population) are smart. You’re not disordered so you’ll never think like they do.
          2. People in the sociopaths inner circle are either victims or cohorts. For your own safety, assume they’re cohorts and stay away from them too.
          3. You’ll always be in the sociopaths Rolodex. Stay no contact and don’t give them anything to work with.

      • Oh my, I thought my XH had set some sort of a record with 14! With 30, how did yours even keep them all straight? 🤦‍♀️

  • The things the ex wife did were not wrong in themselves. She had the right to live in the family home, not date, and to go to family functions. So, whether she actually did anything wrong is debatable in my mind. The husband may be manipulating the second wife to thinking there is more going on than there was.

  • Dear Dianne,
    Read about former tennis player Ilie Nastase and his duet of wives: Amalia and Brigitte.
    Amalia Nastase is touted as a successfully business woman. Which showed up at every dinner of XH with new wife Brigitte. Dinner or events abroad.
    How much would CN admire such a character as Amalia?

  • My ex tried for years to get back with me, on and off. It was a pattern: he’d come see me with vague hints that he wanted to reunite for *real*, I’d take the bait, we would get into an argument, he would tell me this was “it”, the last time, no more reconciliation attempts, I’d be kind of relieved and go with that, and then a few weeks or months later, he would contact me again, wanting to see me. Mind you, he was a very charming and good looking young doctor, and did not want for female attention. I just wanted space to heal and be left alone.

    The cruelest time happened in the late eighties or very early nineties. He came to town for a conference, and wanted to see me to talk about reuniting. I was desperately lonely, as my long time boyfriend had died suddenly a few months earlier, and I was drinking excessively to quell the pain. (Spolier alert: that doesn’t work!) We got together and had sex. Right afterwards, he told me he was in a relationship with some nurse, and that he was going to propose marriage to her. (They did, in fact, get married, and he cheated on her with regularity.)

    It left me feeling so unwanted and unloved and worthless, which I had been feeling anyway.

    I’m much older, better, stronger now. My relationship with Jesus Christ has made me a different person. The ex stopped contacting me a few years ago, and has not even talked to our adult daughter in many years. I don’t know if he ever changed his ways. I pray he did, for the sake of the children he had with the nurse he married, and for her also. She sounds like a nice person who genuinely loves him. And, I pray for his own sake also. Character and integrity and leading a genuine life are worth quite a lot, and are the only way a person cam truly be happy and fulfilled.

    • Why wouldn’t you have told his soon-to-be bride that you slept with him right before he proposed to her?

      Secrecy is a tool of the abuser. Never let them have it.

      • Maybe she was too busy trying to look after herself? Too easy to judge if we are not in that position.

        I agree that some secrets arent meant to be kept, I doubt this poster did it to protect the cheater, maybe she needed to put herself first when she was feelng so vulnerable?

    • Two amazing sons: Your ex was very cruel to have sex and then tell you he’s engaged. Only disordered people do that. Jesus Christ is the great physician. I was drinking to stop the pain, too. And, yes, it only made things worse. I prayed to Jesus and asked him to help me. And he did. I stopped. No help from anyone. Just God. He’s given me strength and a new attitude – and wonderful peace inside. I pray for my ex, too. I pray that he’ll find happiness. I pray for his new family. And, of course, for our daughter who still struggles. It took a while to get to that point. It’s amazing God’s love and protection. Glad life is better for you.

  • Ah, the “will they cheat on me with xh/xw?” That’s another aspect of an affair relationship. Cheaters can not trust each other, plus there is always the direct or implied threat of former chumps off in the distance. Cheaters both wild it to keep the affair partner in line.

    Miserable foundation. Miserable dynamic. It’s a character issue, not a “bad spouse” issue.

      • I heard from D20 that X had once gone AWOL for several days, and moron (AP) was freaking out thinking she had come back to me.

        But yup, Magneto, that kind of stuff happens when you’ve got a “miserable foundation.”

  • I recently read that Pablo Picasso (a serial cheater) once managed to goad two women (an old AP and a new AP) into physically fighting each other over him. The old AP confronted the new AP and told her to leave. Picasso said he loved them both and couldn’t decide (haven’t we all heard that one?) and told them they’d have to settle it themselves. They started wresting and scratching each other. He later described it as one of his “choicest memories.”

    In other words, he absolutely loved it! I have little sympathy for the women, who knew they were APs when they got involved (his chump wife left him–good for her!). But it should be a warning to everyone that these cheaters do not care about your pain. They are not trying to make a difficult decision. Their ideal is not to make a decision and to have their APs and chumps fighting it out for the glory that is them. In this case, quite literally.

    • OMG Carol39
      I love this story. I can so see this happening, in fact, it could have happened to me at any family function we attended (I was really afraid of what was in the brown purse she clutched). XH would have LOVED it. He drove us both batty.

    • Laura Ingalls Wilder is my No Pick Me Dance hero….when Almanzo started bringing Nellie Oleson on buggy rides, she said “Please do not come by for me” and shut the door in his face.

      • She also spooked the horse into running away with the carriage to demonstrate that Nellie was a wuss. Not sure that counts as not pick me dancing.

        • Yes, and that was before shutting the door in his face. Spooking the horses to get at Nellie, which worked, then shutting the door in his face?
          I still like it! Considering the scarcity of eligible men on the prairie I still say the whole thing was a mighty move.

  • I am sorry now for the XW. She was as abused as I was, well, I guess she was abused more and longer. Once I ‘got it’, thanks to CL, I could see that she was being manipulated. My XH manipulated everyone our entire marriage. I really do not know how he kept all those balls (grin) in the air. He has an insatiable need for kibble and cake.

    He is also a very sick person, a true pervert. I finally found out who he is from his therapist (who felt sorry for little chumpy wife) at the famous “sex addict camp” he went to to “recover”. That is another story entirely.

    He also stalked me for nearly two years, altho the Sheriff said what he was doing was not illegal. He has finally stopped.

    I married him as a very competent, successful, happy professional woman. I divorced him as a broken, horrified chump. Thank you to CN and CL, SOS and Diane Strickland for educating me on these people and pulling me out of the abyss.

    • I am so sorry, Dianne. Disordered Cluster Bs choose only the most capable and desirable people for their chumps (they deserve only the best!), and then systematically dismantle them. I’m glad you are away and safe from that. The stalking happens when you won’t stick around to be used as a “friend.” If and when your XH circles back around to reclaim his lost property (you), do not engage and do not respond. You are mighty!

  • OMG is this letter useful to me. My Cheater wants to “slow roll” a divorce and has for over a year been “considering” whether he wants to commit to his affair partner of 5 years. Now obviously I have no sympathy for the OW but this letter FINALLY made the penny drop for me. Cheater is as crappy to her as he was to me. Again, not feeling sorry for her but wow, talk about your low self-esteem. She is still hanging around begging him to move in even as he pretends to anguish over the choice. Given that I don’t want him, where is the choice exactly. No, he is just making OW dance. And trust me, this man is no prize. He used to be a smart CEO but now he is just a 62 year old guy who has been fired 3 times for his affairs with employees and now is just burning through the money he has. His Porsche gets older every year yet he no longer has the big CEO income to buy a new one. Dance OW, dance. You deserve every bit of humiliation you receive. Thanks for explaining this to me.

  • My ex is a little different. He seems, when it comes to the long term relationships, to cut ties and move on. I think once someone is on to him, he doesn’t want them to stay around. Ok by me.

    • My ex seems to be this way. Much easier to write his story (aka lies). I’ve heard him talk enough his first ex to only imagine what lies he’s saying about me. I know the truth and don’t give two fucks what spew is coming out of his mouth.

      • It’s much easier to keep up being the good guy when no one around you knows the real you.

        My ex was good at never saying anything really bad about his first wife, not directly. His family did it for him. And he played more of the sad sack “She never asked my opinion on anything” “She planned all of our social events without asking me.” Things like that.

        I could write a script of what he’s saying about me and probably get 99.9% of even the words and phrases done exact.

        • There are definitely some stories about ex’s ex girlfriends that I now see from a completely different perspective. He was definitely being a real jerk to at least the one, but from his point of view she deserved it because her priorities were different from his. That should have been a red flag.

        • It’s all about image management. My ex even told his two kids (ages 23 and 21) that he cheated. I’m not sure he told them it was with prostitutes but it really doesn’t matter. He did it for sympathy. Dear ol’ Dad made a huge mistake and will you please forgive him. He’s just a flawed human. Please…..

          The lies about me to the OW keep his image up and keeps her eating cake because she has to be better than me to keep him. Let her cause he’s not worth it.

          • It’s bee a long day. She’s not eating cake. The X is eating cake and eating up those kibbles. Somebody has to make him feel and stroke his body parts.

          • Yep. Mine played the “I fucked up and cheated but she didn’t even care! She never gave me a chance to make things right. See! See how she was all along!”

          • Yes image control. As exw and I were breaking up, I said something like “wow, we are breaking up coz you cheated” & she replied “is that how you are going to spin it”. I had the truth, fuck knows what planet she was currently on.

  • During our latest co-parenting conflict, Cheater X dropped out of the conversation, letting the OW/baby mama do the fighting for him. She was standing up for “her family” defending his bad behavior, never apologizing but saying people make mistakes.Yep. And she is making a HUGE one. I sent her last email to the trash because I’m sure Cheater X was sitting back and LOVING seeing us argue (he was CC’d on all emails and she said she was speaking on his behalf). Seriously, who would want a man who couldn’t fight his own battles?

    Generally speaking, if there is always a conflict with a cheaters ex (and this woman KNOWS he cheated on me) it is usually because he is creating it.
    I’m sure now that I’m practicing stone cold gray rock, he is probably inventing conflicts about me. Oh well. Her problem now.

  • I had one of these super freaks, too. He kept his first wife dangling for 10+ years. I think she only “figured it out” after I had my first son. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he still keeps her dangling to this day. The AP that finally ended my marriage was someone he dated in JUNIOR HIGH, 38 years ago. And they married shortly after my divorce of Saddam. They keep an ARSENAL of people dangling FOR DECADES. CL is right, slam the door, because they’re coming back around, in 1 year, 5 years or maybe 30 years later.

  • “She never to this day, 40 years after their divorce, left the marital home.. She never dated. While we were married (22 years), she showed up at every family gathering, moping around, following us from room to room.”

    Think of her as the Ghost of Unwitting Chumps. You avoided this fate of being a constant Kibble dispenser. For whatever reason, she didn’t figure it out for herself. I vote for being infected by O. unilateralis but it affects humans, not carpenter ants in Brazil. Your ex is the source!

    Staying in the marital home – why not? It’s hers. She earned it through the course of her marriage to the Narc.

    Never dated – well, that’s what you may have been told. Doesn’t mean it’s accurate or inaccurate. She may have been taken in by him particularly well.

    Showing up at gatherings – well, they were her in-laws and they do have kids together. I don’t know if she was following you so much as she was following him.

    It’s still sad. I hope she breaks free of him somehow.

    • JWH

      You hit on something that I realized eventually: that what I “knew” about many things was only the lies he told me.

      And what his others “knew” about me was only the lies he told them.

      And all the lies were carefully designed to bring him as much cover and entertainment as possible.

      This is the way with these people. I will never know all the truth, I can only know that he sucks.

      Thankfully, in order to continue his games, he moved several hours away into a new community where people did not yet know him and his ways.

      He is currently 76 years old. And he will never ever change.

      • Yep. One constant about dealing with a narcissist is that you start off greatly sympathetic. And then things get weird. And then finally comes a Day of Epiphany, and you realize that there is a whole other side to 1,000,000 stories you were told. And finally you realize that you got played. It’s the Arc of Narcissism. “Poor me, nobody understands me, especially not those people who hurt me so bad. Only you truly understand me and all my tragedy … I swear it is her/his fault, not mine! They made me do it! They drove me into it! They are crazy! … AND SO ARE YOU! I HATE YOU! You have been mean to me! Just like my ex… What do you mean you don’t want to see me anymore? Okay, then you’ll find me back at my ex’s. I’m sure he/she will take me back! Because I’m awesome! And you are crazy!”

  • When I came to pick my kids up yesterday, ex dangled me in front of his sex commune members. He was having a virtual meeting with them online, and he turned the phone toward me so the camera could pick me up and they could see me. He said, “They want to meet you!” I said hello to be socially correct, then got the hell out of there. So much fuckery.

  • My ex dangled his HS sweetie over me our entire marriage. Guess who hooked up with that finally made me divorce him? Her. The 24 year specter of the perfect blow job with the better hair.
    Then for 18 months post divorce I was the dangling ex. He was still sleeping with me and taking family trips with me all the while telling me he wasn’t sleeping with her.

    Until he told me she was going on the family trip and I found out he “didn’t mean” to sleep with us both. And lie. Wow. I always suspected only EAs but he lied in a no strings attached environment so now every thing is tainted with “dang i was dumb”.

    I imagine for those 18 months I was the angling ex. keeping her hopping.

    From the way she treats me when she sees me now, i am quite sure i have now become the specter in his quest for dancing.

    I’d almost feel bad for her, but nah. She knew he was married when they started the secret meetings.

    • I have a dear friend whose husband dangled HIS HS sweetie over her head. Then they met up at a reunion (sooo stereotypical) and he left my friend and their three little girls for the sweetie.

      He must be continuing the dangling, but the other way round, because new wifey is insecure and is forever posting on social media all the wonderful things they are doing, like she is showing the world (and first wife) just how happy and successful they are. But, but, she is married to “one of those”, so how happy can she be?

  • I feel like there may be some relevance here for me. I am no longer pick me dancing to win back his love but I am still pick me dancing to avoid his resentment. I am still failing at it too.

    Over the weekend it was my daughter’s birthday and my parents were in town. Saturday was supposed to be ex’s day to have the kids but he was very accommodating so that I could hold a birthday party for our daughter (18, wow, I am the mother of an adult child) at my house and they could spend time with their grandparents. He did spend some time with each kid individually that day, but gave them up for dinner. He was also invited to the party but chose not to stay long. His aunt was at the party so he got to see her briefly. His sister, mother, niece and nephew were also planning to come but had to cancel last minute. I have my own relationship with them and since they could not make the party I invited them to brunch the next day. Later that morning (Sunday) I remembered that this was the weekend that ex should have had the kids for breakfast on Sunday. He graciously gave them up for that too so they could be with their grandparents. Meanwhile, because plans always seem to fall through when we try to get together with his sister and crew I really wasn’t sure they would show up for brunch that morning and so I didn’t think to mention to ex that they might be coming. Well they did show up. I was thrilled to see them, we had a lovely brunch and the cousins had a ball playing together (my 18, 15,and 12 to her 6 and 4 year olds). After they went home I left for another event with my daughter. I then received a string of texts from my ex who was very hurt that he hadn’t been invited to brunch with his family. My immediate reaction was remorse because it really hadn’t occurred to me to invite him but I could see his point and why he would be hurt. He had been very accommodating and gave up the kids on his morning and then I go and have a party without him that involves his family and he’s left out. I can certainly see why he would have been hurt in hindsight. Old habits die hard. I apologized immediately, told him that I had truly hadn’t meant any offense and that I would be sure to include him next time.

    Later I realized how not at meh I am. Why should I care if he gets hurt and why should I care if he resents me for it? A year ago he had told me that he didn’t want to be around me and his family together anymore because it made him uncomfortable. He certainly hasn’t invited me to any events with them. His family and I still care for each other, however, and so I made my own plans to see them myself and they made the effort to come out. Also, the last few invites that have been extended when I felt it was appropriate (usually something involving the kids) he has politely declined. In that context I really didn’t have any reason to think that he would want to be invited to brunch yesterday. The only thing I might really have reason to feel guilty about is that he gave up his kids that morning so I could have brunch with his family without his knowledge. Why do I feel so bad for having offended him?

    I can’t untangle his skein but maybe I can untangle mine. 1. I really don’t want to make anyone feel excluded or hurt in any way, not even ex so it pains me when I know I have done that to someone. 2. It makes me feel like maybe he was right to leave me since I seem to be so incapable of reading him and anticipating his needs. Maybe I was being inconsiderate by not thinking of him and I was guilty of that all through our marriage. 3. I know CN espouses no contact but I do like the easygoing nature of our willingness to accommodate each other with coordinating the kids schedules, activities, etc. without any drama (until now) and I don’t want to lose that. What if he now decides to stick with the letter of the agreement and not be so accommodating of me the next time I want to infringe on his kid time? 4. As I said at the beginning, I am still pick me dancing just to avoid his resentment. I still can’t get it right, however, and apologies mean nothing to him. 5. I still care about my relationship with my SIL and MIL and what if they think I did him wrong or he resents them too and they think they have to avoid me to avoid offending him and losing him in their lives as well?

    • I feel for ya! Trying to do the right thing and it blows up for a certain someone. Don’t second-guess yourself. You did do a good thing for your daughter and your ex-inlaws – and that’s what truly matters here.

      “I know CN espouses no contact but I do like the easygoing nature of our willingness to accommodate each other with coordinating the kids schedules, activities, etc. without any drama (until now) and I don’t want to lose that.” I appreciate this struggle. I remember dealing with the ex’s first wife (they have 2 kids) and being accommodating has ts advantages. Favors can be returned and resentment can be kept at bay.

      Don’t be yourself up over this – I’m sure he’s not giving it that much thought. This was probably just a way for him to make you feel bad and make you jump through hoops. He knows what buttons to push. Don’t feel bad because you can’t read him. I was with the X for 19 years and I can tell that he flips his own scripts. If he can’t keep track of his lies/story/morals/values, I sure as heck can’t either.

      • Thanks Missbaily. You may be on to something. When he does favors for me around the house it gets no reaction. When he asks for kid related favors (switching a day or helping with pick-ups/drop offs during his time, etc.) I always just say yes. When he wants to get something that is really his anyway from the house I say “sure”. When he deliberately excludes me it no longer gets a reaction. When he shows up with Schmoopie I ignore her but otherwise no reaction. I haven’t raged at him in a long time. I don’t even snipe at him anymore. Generally, I only talk business with him while being accommodating and respectful of his relationship with the kids. Maybe he knows that the only way he can still get anything resembling an emotional reaction out of me is if I think I have a reason to apologize to him. He would never admit (even to himself) that he wants to get a reaction out of me but he has always been subtle. Hmm.

        • Sorry but I think he has quite the nerve to take you to task over anything at this point. If he had a shred of decency he’d suck it up and say glad you all had a lovely time at the brunch. I also think for your emotional well being you need to go no contact as much as possible.

        • Chumpinrecovery – my reply is meant with love here, but you definitely need to work on setting boundaries. He’s “doing things around your house”? “Picking up stuff from your house?” That shit needs to stop so you can heal. He’s invested in your house so he can spy on you and ensure you’re not dating. NONE of which is his business.

          I understand trying to be accommodating with the kid’s schedule. But you’re tying yourself into a pretzel that he wasn’t invited to brunch?? I would have NOT texted him an apology, but instead said “Talk to your mother and sister, it sounds like they didn’t invite you, either.”

          What your ex is doing is continual emotional abuse. He’s testing the waters to say “at what point does CIR turn herself into a pretzel apologizing all over me?”

          He’s just doing a game of cat and mouse with you. Get his shit OUT of your house. You’re not free storage for the freak. These freaks WANT you to build a shrine to them and save their shit forever, because in their sick minds, it means you’re pining for him.

          Hire contractors, get a neighbor, do NOT let him touch one blade of grass on your property (my ex would intentionally destroy appliances while we were married so I’d have to deal with the fallout while he was on “business trips”). Again, this is a boundary issue.

          We talk a lot about getting to meh here. If the Cheater is dropping in at your house, doing things for you like a spouse would around your house, you will never, never get to meh.

          Which is what The Cheaters all want, that you NEVER move on.

          Protect yourself, CIR. We’re here for you!

          • Gosh, this really puts some perspective on some of my situation.
            The neighbors started mowing my lawn after ex left and he hated it. Told me that he wanted me to hire a lawn service. He didn’t want the neighbors helping out. I could not figure out why he cared, but this sheds new light on it. He also left most of his stuff in the house for months after he left. And you’re right, I thought it was because he really didn’t want a divorce, but the truth is he didn’t want me to move on. He could do whatever he wanted, but he freaked out when a car was parked in front of our house one morning (the neighbors). They love if we can’t move on because it boosts their ego and also makes it looks like they were not the problem because they can find someone new.

            • Exactly, CC. If they’re in your house, fixing your faucet, plunging your toilet, you’re first all 1) Breaking No Contact. Just like the cyber terrorists that are always barraging the virus protection software, Cheaters want to test boundaries. They know you’re doing “No Contact”. The concept is all over The Internet. If you have kids, you know True No Contact is impossible, but Cheaters should have NO access to your life. They’ll want to break you from No Contact. That’s part of the fun for them and proves to them you haven’t moved on.

              2) It’s a MAJOR invasion of privacy if they’re in your home. They can snoop around, see if you’re dating, open your computer, check your tablets, go through your fridge, check your mail. Cheaters should NOT have Refrigerator Rights in your own home (this is a real concept and a book, it’s about how many people in your life can just come into your house and open your refrigerator without asking). You will never heal and detox if your Cheater is walking around your sanctuary as if they own the place.

              3) Even if you’re divorced, if you have kids with them and you’re letting them in your house, you could be giving them ammunition for the next custody battle. “I saw a dirty sock on the floor”. I wouldn’t trust my Cheater in my house not to plant drugs somewhere, or rub his balls over my couch or jerk off on my pillow.

              We ALL have boundary issues. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have become Chumps in the first place. No Contact is for YOU, and because of that fact, it’s a key tenant necessary for your survival, healing and moving on, it’s going to be bombarded by Cheaters as a threat to them not be able to hover in 1, 5, 15 or 40 years.

              • Yes, this. The current Mr. Survivor has a child who was dropped off to live with him for a minute that turned into three years while her mother was homeless and the child was in high school. The child let Mom in to inspect and ransack the house more than once and take what she chose. At one point, the X demanded to stay for “just two weeks” because her eviction career left her unable to rent. The answer was no. Letting an X have access is nothing but trouble. Take care with that.

    • That guy has got you doubting yourself. Think if you hadn’t apologised to him immediately, all this stuff would have come to you, including the fact he said he felt uncomfortable with you and his family, and then you could have just said, well, I know you feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t mention it. I know it’s probably not much help, but it is no longer your job (and shouldn’t be for all of us chumps but we do it out of the goodness of our hearts) to play social co-ordinator for entitled cheaters. He is sad sausage and perhaps does not appreciate not being able to triangulate. It sounds like he liked to keep you on tenterhooks, catering to his whims, uncertain of what would please him and making you feel as though you are an inconsiderate person for not putting his welfare first at all times. Well, where is the reciprocity? I am sure when he left/was doing all that shit behind your back, he was not thinking of you and your wellbeing. He is just used to being the king of the Castle and likes to remind you of that through guilt and manipulation. I have a sad sausage too, and I hate it because that is my weakspot. Someone is an asshole, I’m like, “Yeah, you’re an asshole”, but I hate seeing people hurt or sad. And you’re the same, and he knows it and works it to his advantage. Try not to anticipate his needs, I know it’s hard.

  • So this clown has been cheating 45ish years? This is his hobby, his avocation. How old his he?
    He probably had his wife nuts by the time they divorced. I wrote this somewhere on this blog. It takes about a week to drive someone crazy if they trust you. He sound like he knows what he is doing.
    The only good thing about all this is no one has perfected immortality yet. He will shuffle off this mortal coil at some point. 🎉🎉🎉🎉

  • My ex ‘dangled’ female co-workers, mothers of our kids, women he volunteered with. At the time I wondered what it meant. Now I know.

  • When Mr. Sparkles ex-wife attended my stepson’s 8th graduation (in a small suburban town) wearing a slinky black dress with lots of cleavage and high heels… I could only think “sweet jesus, did she think she was going to a cocktail party”?

    I came to learn, through her own confession, that she was fucking my husband at that time… whenever she came up to visit her kids (who lived with us) and whenever he was in her town (for whatever reason).

    She thought he would come back to her. She thought she was “getting back at me” for marrying her husband and starting a new family and raising her kids. When I told her that he was fucking MANY OTHER people throughout our marriage – not just her – she was stupefied.

    No one is special to a narcissist.

  • In addition to Chump Lady’s amazing book, Leave A Cheater, Gain A Life, another book I found incredibly helpful is Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That?

    One of the types of abusers described by Lundy Bancroft is “The Player”. For me, “The Player” (and “The Victim”) is a really enlightening description of the type of behavior chronic cheaters employ in order to manipulate and abuse those around them.

    I know the secret affair partner who had an affair with my abusive ex husband had an extremely combative, hateful, competive attitude towards me. When the OW contacted me via Facebook messenger (on Christmas Morning of an advancing pregnancy) to reveal their affair to me, I simply filed for divorce. I never said a word back to her. However, OW went scorched earth on me. I could never understand it. Despite her being 15 years older than me, divorced 3x, and a divorce attorney by profession, I remember once gently explaining to her that she needed to stop contacting me (as my attorney had already advised), there was no competition with her. I gently explained that as an adult woman, I don’t feel comfortable “fighting” with another woman over a man (even if he’s my husband and I’m pregnant with his baby). I told her any issues she had with my husband were problems to be addressed with him and NOT me. Her anger towards me (a person she had never met) was greatly misdirected…and my ex husband was LOVING the drama!

    Here’s what the author Lundy Bancroft says in his book: (male chumps, please change “he” to “she”)

    “Much of the Players satisfaction in life comes from exploiting women and feeling like a sexual animal. Women around the Player seem to get angry *at each other* a lot, rather than at him, and sometimes get into physical confrontations. These tensions work out well for him, diverting attention from his infidelity and dishonesty.”

    • On another site I used to recommend his book so often that I joked I was getting a nickel for every book sold!

      Also remember the acronym FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) when dealing with these fools. (“Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You”)

      “Don’t Shoot the Dog” by Karen Pryor is old but still relevant. No dogs get shot as long as you buy the book! Okay, that’s not true. That was the most famous National Lampoon cover ever. Back in the early days when it was funny. My parents got that magazine and I remember seeing that issue as a child.

  • Dianne, again. Tracy told me to comment. Maybe I am, too much!

    Cluster B: A group of personality disorders including antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and most particularly, narcissistic personality disorder.

    Manipulative, exploitative interactions with others. Unpredictable thinking and behavior. Patterns of behavior regarded as dramatic, erratic, threatening to others and disturbing. A pervasive disregard for the law and the rights of others. Extreme “black and white” thinking, instability in relationships. Inappropriate seductive behavior, pervasive attention-seeking behavior and LACK OF EMPATHY.

    My XH was diagnosed with Cluster B along with other “isms”…alcoholism, etc. He was nevertheless extremely smart and successful (by using others). He is also what they used to call a “sex addict”…most “sex addicts” are cluster B’s.

    It is not successfully treatable.

    • BPD411.org used to be a really helpful community for those dealing with a disordered person. I don’t know if they are still active or not, but you may find it useful.

      Although I can sum it up for you – RUN. RUN!!! 99.99999% of the time they are not interested in becoming self-aware and pulling themselves together. Play the odds and run away!

      Which you have done, but you may want to make certain you haven’t picked up a case of ‘fleas’. Or Toxiplasmosis gondii, thus rendering yourself more susceptible to another Cluster B in the future.

      Although I think all of CN would alert you to weirdness if it were noticed.

  • the first law of Chump club:
    ~~~”If you hesitate between me and another person, don’t choose me.”~~~

    Yesssssss!

  • I can so relate to this our entire relationship consisted of being triangulated with someone else , co worker , ex , old girlfriends even his daughters.
    After I kicked him out 5 weeks ago,as he wasnt sure what he wanted (played the pick me dance already no thanks ) i went email only about settlement or finances. Not too soon i was accused of harrasing him etc .Realized then he was doing the same thing to his AP triangulating her (look at my pyscho ex ) with me .Now ive gone NC hes trying other methods to get a bite. Not paying bills etc .
    Its a game to keep us all dancing. .
    No. Just no.

  • No question he strung her along for 40 years. Come on she showed up at every family function? That should have been a big clue. Then he runs off and marries a different lady? Dianne is still not getting it! The lady didn’t get her kids to turn against him! He did it himself. Guaranteed he was not having this ex think they were getting back together he played his kids too and let them believe it. Bet you the farm that is why his kids turned against him.

  • I mean he did have the ex thinking they were getting back together. Guaranteed he was screwing her and who knows what he was telling her and the kids about the wife. They saw him for what he really is when he married the different lady. That is why his kids turned on him.

  • You sound like a high and mighty know- it-all. Like you are superior to the ex wife. Sorry, but to me this letter sounds like you are gloating about how you are so smart while trying to paint the ex wife in a very negative light. Very similar to some OW letters who write in about how the wife is such a nutcase! What’s your point?

    • Nanda, I have to agree. It’s standard for the narc to say his ex is crazy…and standard for the new supply to agree. If she was ‘acting’ crazy at all, by not letting go, it is because he was leading her on for years, or she deeply believed in the sanctity of marriage and was willing to wait no matter how long it took. She was not crazy, just misguided in wasting her life on the creep.

  • I was spared the dance of pick me or being triangulated or me needing to do NC. He no contacted me! If I attend any family functions (even the in-laws side) for our children or the grandchildren then ………. he refuses to attend. Now you’re probably thinking he is the chump but no, I was chumped good and proper. (OW known to me.)

    He fits the profile of a narcissist, but appears to need no kibble from me. It does my head in cause I stroked his ego in perfect chump style until I refused to do it anymore. I left him and we had a 4 year court battle mostly at his instigation, which eventually ended well for me.

    Once, I happened upon him at the birth of a grandson and with no exaggeration he looked fearful of me. And, believe me I am no ball tearer. I was civil of course.

    People say he has lost his power so this is his chosen move….. total avoidance. I find it hard to comprehend that what appeared to be a strong man now seems quite the contrary.

    Does anyone else have a similar outcome to me, as I feel alone on an island with this story.

  • There are some people who believe in the covenantal marriage theology. Mainly christians. I am a christian myself so I am not bagging them, but I don’t agree with this doctrine/teaching. Basically it is the teaching that marriage is a covenant that cannot be broken, not a contract, therefore even if your spouse is an adulterer, even if he divorces you, you still stay faithful to the marriage, and wait, no matter how long it takes, for your spouse to come home. I know women and some men, who have waited 20 plus years, and their spouses have remarried years ago, but they still consider themselves married. They call themselves ‘covenant keepers.’

    Perhaps this lady was one of them? If so, she wasn’t crazy, just keeping her covenental marriage vows in her mind, and standing for her marriage. However in my experience the women that do this, most become mentally unwell to a degree. Because it is not natural or healthy to wait for a man who has treated you like garbage, committed adultery, and married someone else. It is the epitome of living in limbo, for yeeeaaarrrrs……the founder of Covenant Keepers waiting 25 plus years and her marriage was never restored.

    I feel sad for these people as they have good intent, and are faithful to the marriage their spouse broke. They are good people who get sucked into a bad theology/false teaching. Jesus said you can divorce and remarry in the case of adultery. He sets the captives free. He does not imprison them to evil people who violate the sanctity of marriage in the worst possible way,

  • Since when do we bash other chumps on here? Are you sure your relationship with him didn’t start out like an affair Dianne?

  • >