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Dear Chump Lady, He’s dating a mom at our kid’s school

Dear Chump Lady,

I was cheated on by my husband and father of young children after 16 years together, left absolutely shattered. I played the pick me dance and I think he got off on it, until eventually I played the fuck off song.

I am getting better and better at practising meh or at least pretending to. I believe he is a narcissist. 

My problem is that my ex-fuckwit has managed to get himself into a new, but serious, relationship with another mother at the school my children attend. They are all moving in together. 

He comes to see her and her children while I am there at school. Because my children love seeing her children, they all run to her, to him, and her children, so I have to walk over to them all to take them home. I see them all at pick ups and drop offs. 

I want to follow your advice, but how does this work? Do I ignore them? Say hello as if I don’t care if their happiness is in my face? Act friendly with her?

I don’t want him getting the satisfaction that he wants from me, but I don’t know how that should look. She isn’t the other woman, and she is nice, but we aren’t even divorced yet, so it is still pretty hard to deal with. Especially as I found out about their relationship through the kids and used to know her as a fellow school yard mum/acquaintance.

I don’t know if he turns up to make me jealous, make me angry, watch me squirm, or just feels like a king standing there with two women in the playground — his wife and his girlfriend. 

Please help me!

Playground Chump

Dear Playground Chump,

Boy, someone wants her turn on the crazy swing. Poor new chump. (Assuming she’s not an OW. You never know about these things. Nice? You sort of knew her? Doesn’t disqualify her from the possibility.)

Whatever she is, she’s of use. As childcare, distraction, hypotenuse… Don’t envy her. What you’re witnessing here is love bombing. Your children just mentioned this relationship, you’re not yet divorced, and they’re already moving in together?

That kind of reeks of desperation. Or a longer-standing relationship than you know about. Or both.

Anywho, how should you react?

Do I ignore them?

If your kids are there? No. Just go about your business. “Hey kids! Time for parkour lessons!” and then turn your focus to wherever Johnny left his shoes. (No one ever has their shoes. This entire encounter could be completely absorbed by the time it takes to find shoes. Tectonic plates could shift.)

If they’re alone and you just awkwardly happen upon them? Sure, ignore. Be utterly engrossed with your cell phone. Or do the polite wave of acknowledgement, but unfazed, removed, above it all. Like the Queen.

Say hello as if I don’t care if their happiness is in my face?

You don’t care about their happiness. Really, you don’t. As someone who performed a 16-year pick-me dance, you should know this guy is no prize. Sure, New Girl is enjoying his rays of sparkles now, just like you once did, but soon she’ll be fatigued with twitchy hyper-vigilance. She’ll live the same off-balance, shadow-boxing with phantoms nightmare you lived.

How do I know? Because they don’t get character transplants. He clearly enjoys triangulation and cake. He has a new hypotenuse. Thank God he’s not your geometry problem anymore.

And if they’re truly happy? Okay. He’s your past. Look toward your future. His happiness, her happiness aren’t relevant to your life. What is relevant — does he parent? Is this new arrangement affecting the kids? Is the homework getting done? Does Sally know where her allergy medication is? Parenting is full of that stuff. If New Girl can pack a sandwich and Do the Adult Things that fuckwits generally cannot do? That’s a benefit. It’s preferable to neglect. Reframe this through the lens of detached utilitarianism.

Now if New Girl is an OW? This whole thing is galling, and you probably want to claw her eyes out for being anywhere near your kids. But that’s a shit sandwich you’ll have to eat. Divorce means he gets to date (or continue dating) whomever he wants. Unless their conduct rises to the level of “immediate harm”, the courts don’t care.

Of course, I’m not a lawyer. Consult with yours. But as I’ve written here many times — how are you going to enforce the “no new partners” clause? GPS his dick? Stake outs? Marriage police sucks, divorce polices sucks worse. Focus on what you can control — being the Sane Parent.

Act friendly with her?

Not required. Neutrality is what you’re going for here. Embody Meh.

I don’t know if he turns up to make me jealous, make me angry, watch me squirm, or just feels like a king standing there with two women in the playground — his wife and his girlfriend.

Don’t waste your mental energy on What He’s Thinking. Yes, he probably gets off on cake and unnerving you both. Fuckwits miss the pick me dance, and when you don’t perform it, he’ll need to go off in search of new victims.

Playgrounds are small places. You don’t have to tell this woman why you’re divorcing. I’m sure someone else will or has already done. And I’m sure she’ll think she’s Special and can save him from the horrible affliction of his ex Who Did Not Sufficiently Appreciate Him.

Your response to all this?

Good luck with that.

(Now go find the shoes.)

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.
  • It strikes me it’s deliberate on his part – just to make you jealous/triangulate. Good luck and stay “totally disinterested”!

  • When I first divorced I would have had the same issues with my EX seeing someone in my zone. If she had been responsible and reliable, I’d have been even more ticked. (I’d have been wishing a she-demon upon him). Now, having had endless issues with custody and parenting kids who are getting terrible “advice” and “role-modeling” from their father, I wish some other reasonably functional chump had taken his bait and helped my kids out when they were in his orbit.

    There aren’t any good outcomes as far as the kids are concerned. There are just different flavors of terrible. And CL is right–take what benefits you can out of the current arrangement while you can; it isn’t likely to last in terms of the new chump sticking around (and then there will be fallout between all of the kids involved) or being so positive toward your kids (and then you’ll have a new set of concerns). She’s got at least one loose screw herself since she’s making plans to move in with a not-yet-divorced man, so I expect that managing routine pleasantries may be only a short term issue.

    You sound like you are doing great setting boundaries and moving on. I hope you are finding pride and confidence and even bits of contentment in managing such a wretched situation so well.

      • Without even realizing there is a karma bus.

        “Are we really married? Am I living in the house anymore?” In their eyes as soon as they have mentally separated from the marriage, there is no more marriage.

        • That is so very True!!! My STBX was so very angry with me when I told him he could not date and live in the house with me. He didn’t want to move.

          • Same!! And ultimately I had to leave, because he didn’t want to move, and it was hell living with him in the post D-Day/pre divorce limbo stage.

    • I know, right? A healthy person is,going to need some time to process what went wrong in the marriage, deal with the toxic stew that is divorce court, figure out custody, figure out the new finances. A healthy person would take this time to figure out who they are and what they want.

      When someone moves in with you before the divorce? That’s not love, that’s a soft place to land.

      • I’ll to that list – a healthy person is going to want to focus on the shifts in their relationship with their children as all parties adjust to a new living arrangement. A healthy person is going to want to support their children through it – not make it more confusing and unsettled than it already is.

      • In my ex’s case it was free storage.

        We were separated for more than 12 months before he moved his things grudgingly, but on the day he arrived with the new victims elderly father and he took all his crap to her house it took hours because he is a hoarder. But flatly refused to acknowledge he was in a relationship with her “they were just friends” he even moved his treasured piano to her house. That was the late Janruary- they did not acknowledge they were a couple until the week after our divorce was final the first week of March (best birhtday present ever) …..the weekend our divorce was final he stood in the church we served in as a family and belittled me for being the reason our marriage was over, that I had refused to deal with my issues and that he was the victim victim victim. The very next sunday they anounced that they were now a couple, suprise!!!!! in his mind he was not in a relationship with her becasue the had not made it offical.

    • I agree that moving in with someone who is not yet divorced is a dumb idea, and dating anyone who hasn’t been separated for at least a year (and in therapy) is not smart, either.

      However, some chumps are in divorce proceedings through no fault of their own for 2-4 years because cheater is dragging out discovery or mediation (even though they haven’t lived with cheater in that long). Unless there are legal ramifications, it seems cruel to suggest that they not date during that time period.

      • I agree at Chumperella,

        I don’t see why shouldn’t. We don’t live together, 100% of our finances and logistical obligations are separate. We are legally exasperated with an agreement in place. I am actively working through the divorce process, wasn’t the one who cheated, keep 100% of my dating life on my time without my kids. I and my kids attend therapy to work through issues. I spend lots of quality time with my friends and family and time perusing new hobbies. I am as no-contact as i can be with kids and have him blocked from everything.

        I don’t see the harm in the occasional bad first date or a little more, if i wasn’t “doing the work” i guess i would care more to wait.

        • There’s no harm in it at all and no harm in starting another relationship if you feel ready for it.
          I suppose if one looks at it from a strict, religious sanctity of marriage perspective one would feel the need to wait for the divorce to be final. That’s not obligatory for non-religious people or for those whose church is more liberal. Sounds like you are doing an amazing balancing act. Good for you.

      • In my opinion, there’s no harm in a chump “dating while divorcing”. Why should a chump be penalized for going through a divorce they didn’t cause or necessarily want? As long as the chump is in a healthy place mentally and emotionally – go for it! Find cheater-free happiness! I think it’s a different story for someone who is dating/moving in with a cheater of any sort but particularly a still married cheater who lives in the same community. That makes the school mum/probable OW look like a poacher. I would think the rest of the moms/wives in the community would look askance at that. I know I would have.

        • Indeed. I’d look askance at anyone taking up with a known, unreformed cheater whatever the circumstances. For example, my BIL was cheating on his wife while they were dating. She knew it and married him anyway. I predicted they’d be miserable and they are. I strongly suspect he has cheated during the marriage with the same woman he did before. I know he was contacting her on FB and that he once said she was his twu wuv, not his wife. The sad thing is that they have young kids who have to listen to them snipe at each other constantly. It’s a toxic marriage. Why do people marry known cheaters? I don’t get it.

        • me too. I think that is bizarre in the extreme. It is quite possible this new girlfriend had nothing to do with the end of the marriage, then again, who can tell? As the mother of 3 young kids myself, if I were in a position of being single for whatever reason, the idea of moving my brand-new-not-yet-divorced boyfriend into my home would seriously set alarm bells trilling.

          Why not… I don’t know, see how it goes? Fine, he’s divorcing, it’s bound to be somewhat complicated, so let’s get that sorted out, spend some time together, the odd weekend, whatever, and just let the relationship grow, like healthy relationships do. An insta-blended family is a recipe for disaster, and my kids would always be my priority.

          That they aren’t hers or that she has such poor judgement gives me pause.

  • Its probably a pick me dance, does he show more interest in her kids, than yours, if yes, shame on him. Why he is going to the school to pick her kids up, probably image management. Does he stand with the new girlfriend waiting for her kids, why not stand waiting for your kids.

  • Dear Chump Lady you are the buoy that saves us from drowning in the shit tank.. I have worked on forgiveness and kindness and although it feels good at the time, that in itself is a messes with the natural flow of thoughts- to show kindness and to be accommodating to a cheater is just eating more of the shit sandwich. I’ve never fully mastered the art of reacting to his presence- I’m a flip flopper, a hugger, abpatter in the back saying “ there, there now, it’s ok”.
    I just want to be at meh- I was heading there and got side swiped by my own expectations that he somehow cared now.
    The greatest predictor of the outcome of this journey is my ability to forge ahead towards meh.
    This post is just what I needed.
    Heading back to the buoy that helps us climb out of the shit tank. Thanks Chump Lady

    • OMG, Allie, for your own mental health, you MUST give up the ‘forgiveness and kindess’. Those have to be reserved for people who DESERVE them – and your Ex clearly does NOT! When we grant our forgiveness and kindness to cheaters, we are basically lying down in front of them and saying ‘here, walk all over me, AGAIN, and SOME MORE!’.

      I really believe all that ‘let’s be warm and fuzzy toward the assholes Exes, for the good of the kids, and our own personal growth!’ bullshit was invented by the assholes, and supported by the partners who, in the bad old days, could not get away from them or be independent of them.

      Please tell me that now you are on the path of self-protection! It doesn’t require being mean or rude. Bland indifference, customer service politeness, treating them like you would the tax collector, those work great!

      • I guess that makes me a stupid, dependent, I evolved doormat, and possibly even an asshole.

        😪

          • If you mean that you are trying to be kind and you are trying to forgive, I think that shows that you are a decent human being, who tries to treat others well regardless of how you have been treated yourself. You are actually highly evolved, beyond the basic “you hurt me – I hurt you back” mentality. The difficulty here is that the type of person with whom most of us Chumps have partnered are at the very low end of the evolutionary scale, to the point that it makes it detrimental to ourselves for us to behave like a kind person to them. I have had to learn this the hard way and still have to fight the urge to run to help my ex when he is in trouble, sick or threatens suicide on Facebook (again). I learnt last year how dangerous this is when I interrupted his self-harm plan and he verbally abused me on a public street then threatened me so badly I didn’t sleep for a week. Save your kindness for your other friends if you have some or make some new friends who will appreciate the wonderful person you are. Keep all your lovely characteristics – just don’t share them with awful people anymore. You are worth more than that.

        • No you aren’t. I’m kind to my estranged husband, too, as long as he’s not being a jerk, in which case I rip him a new one, as I would to any jerk. It doesn’t cost me anything to be kind. I figure if it costs you too much emotionally to behave decently, you aren’t really at meh. You’re still holding on to the ex, paradoxically, by holding on to doling out his/her punishment. Velvet, if you can treat him with the same detached sort of kindness as you would a stranger in need, you are mehty indeed. It’s a good sign.

      • Yep I can’t stomach the forgiveness nonsense or even worse forgive yourself crap.
        What the hell did I do wrong except love a sorry excuse of a man who isnt worth shit.
        I can swallow it because as you say they don’t deserve it, totally sticks in my craw that does.
        Glad you made sense of it, thanks!!!!

    • Allie. Me too. I’m still in the midst of helping cheater understand he bad behaviour. Why? Because I’m a big chump who thinks all people deserve compassion. Because I think he will suddenly realize what he has lost and act sorry. Not just disappointed he’s lost easy sex and a partner who earned more money than him and did all the unpaid work.

      Every day he seems to be more and more of an asshole. And every day I become more settled into the realization that this guy has nothing left to offer me…

      I’m glad my kids are no longer young enough to need pick ups or shared custody. This would be a bitter pill to swallow.

  • If you don’t have a solid separation agreement in place, focus on getting that done and then turn it into a divorce. He clearly isn’t going to do the hard work here.

    It will give you something else to focus on and it makes sure that you are financially stable. Stacking up with Schmoopies can be expensive.

    On a side note, lock down your custody as well.
    Mine wanted me “to die” so that they could be the Brady Bunch. One big nut cluster.

    Just like Tracy says – focus on the lost shoe. Or your future. Put him in the past – where he belongs!

    • Yes, nail down that financial settlement and divorce.
      Nothing like him having to mail an alimony check to stop the chit chat.
      I found my ex no longer cared to discuss the weather or how my weekend was once he learned I wanted half his pension.

      • Yep. My fuckwit was “nice” to me until I cleared out our family home including all the crap he left behind. I believe these weaklings can’t be without a sucker which I now see as my role-supporting him In whatever he wanted. After 1.5 yrs and divorced he wanted to come over and pick and choose his stuff. I gave him the things our sons wanted him to have and sold, Donated, threw the rest. Now he is major pissed at me and thinks I am unfair. Incredulous what his sense of fairness is. He gets what he wants and I get lied to and cheated on. The divorce decree he and the judge signed said our property was settled at the time of divorce and what is in our possession is ours. Felt good getting rid of his crap and it not going to him. And the stuff I found -multiples of soo much -thousands of dollars -my dollars since he didn’t work most of our married life. Good riddance – finally really feeling good riddance!! Could that be meh? Hugs fellow chumps.

  • Listen to CL– neutral is the way to go. My ex pressed fast forward on his “relationship” with the OW, getting engaged to her two months after she met the kids (while we were not yet officially divorced) and marrying her a few months after that. They put on the whole “Brady Bunch” act around me at every event, and at first, it hurt.

    I wish that I had never let it get to me and had just seen it for what it was– a pathetic and desperate attempt to get a reaction from me because it made the situation more exciting for them. In your case, though she may not be an OW, she certainly isn’t showing good judgment by moving so fast with your not-even-ex, especially since there are kids involved. She strikes me as very selfish– anyone with half a brain would not want to flaunt these happy family reunions in front of you. Perhaps she also enjoys the possibility of a love triangle that will make their relationship seem more exciting.

    However, no matter what the situation is, just remember that this is not really about you. If anything, he’s hoping to get a rise out of you because it’s exciting for him, and when he doesn’t get one, I bet you that he no longer shows up at school. That was the case with my ex– once I stopped acting tense and uncomfortable, suddenly, it wasn’t fun for them to show up and play Parents of the Year.

    He has missed a bunch of my kids’ events this year and only spent about half a day with them over the entire Christmas break. I think he knows that he’s not going to make me upset by parading her around anymore, and I hope you learn that lesson sooner rather than later. I wasted a lot of time being hurt over someone who was using me to keep the spark in his cheater marriage.

    Hold your head up high– you are an honest, decent human being who would never treat someone’s husband and his children in the same way. As far as they are concerned, always follow CL’s advice– trust that they suck. They do!

    • Yup, as soon as you look and act relaxed about the whole thing, not friendly just don’t care, the sooner he will stop trying to get a rise out of you. Why he does it doesn’t matter. You can’t control it. Eventually you learn to put that energy into you and not give a damn if he’s making a fool out himself by renting an airplane to fly overhead with a banner professing his love for her.

      You already know he is a crap human being. This woman may appear to be a nice and decent person but who moves their kids in with a guy who can’t even get his divorce together? Seriously? She can’t be all that if she is ready to upend the lives of her children for a guy she hasn’t at least on the surface been with very long.

      I am 3.5 years out and Narkles the Clown doesn’t make it to school events any more or extra curricular activities, not even for awards and recognition. At first he would sit next to me. I would ignore him. Eventually he stopped trying to sit with me. Then he stopped showing up entirely. No kibbles to be had from me apparently means No reason to show up.

      Stop asking why? Stop caring what he does unless your children are going to get hurt. Expect him to turn up the crazy as you show less and less care. At that point see it for what it is and keep ignoring. I once spent 20 minutes before a school performance looking up pineapple upside down cake recipes on my phone while he sat next to me. He had no idea it was a chump nation reference. I knew he could see my phone so I used it as a reminder that I needed to ignore him and stay focused on anything else without looking like I was as angry as I was with him there or that I was checking in with my support group here while he sat next to me. Message to him was I have more important things to do, like consider the amount of brown sugar in a pineapple upside down cake, than interact with him.

      Keep moving forward and work hard to push through your divorce, then he has no reason not to commit his life to this new woman, while you build a crazy free, drama free, cheater free life. It’s better on the other side, soooo much better on! The other side!!!

      • AOK, that is hilarious. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is my new code for I can’t be bothered by you. I love that. I am thankful every day that my children were adults when my world blew up for the final time. Complete NC is tastier than any kind of cake, pineapple upside down or otherwise.

  • Let them have their rushed intimacy, let her have the cheater who can’t be alone…or maybe they’ve been messing around for a long time.

    Whatever the case, just remember that you, in contrast, have maintained dignity, values, and respectability throughout stbx’s drama. You’re thoughtfully approaching this new life and will be better off in the long run. All that school yard mom is getting is a whole lotta heartache with a man who takes serious commitments casually. Eye on the prize, my dear.

  • Let them have their rushed intimacy, let her have the cheater who can’t be alone…or maybe they’ve been messing around for a long time? Whichever it is, the foundation is crap.

    Just keep in mind, that you, in contrast, have maintained dignity, values, and respectability throughout stbx’s drama. You’re thoughtfully approaching this new life and will be better off in the long run. All that school yard mom is getting is a whole lotta heartache with a man who takes serious commitments casually. Eye on the prize, my dear.

  • My husband has been doing similar thing exposing our son to his affair partner Even before I moved out. It truly was devastating it still is. I moved out in September with our son and have to listen to tales of my son being exposed under the guise they are just friends. I haven’t told our son the truth because I gave a watered down version of why people divorce because my son thought people marry and just get a divorce which I wanted him to know people divorce for serious reasons not they just divorce. I told my son when two people marry they make promises and commitments to one another. I said ur broke his promises and commitments to me and that is why we are getting a divorce. Well my lawyer said that was parental alienation. I bitched at her because I didn’t see it as alienation. So I haven’t said anything else when he asks me questions I just says it’s to painful to talk about now and it eats me up. I hate not being open or truthful. I too believe my stbx is a narcissist too. The other woman is now being loved bombed just like I was. Becoming a narcissist worst nightmare was eye opening to me. For almost the past 20 years I have been involved with narcissists. I have been investing in my self have gone low contact after I told him to fuck off unless it deals with our son. I refuse to trianglate. Stbx likes that. I am sure after or soon my stbx will bring her around for a pick up or athletic event. I am stressing how to act because I want to hurt them both but they would get off on their centrality. CN any words of advice or a book on co parenting with the ap?

    Just trying to be prepared. At this point I would just stare at them and ignore. Kibbles? If that makes sense. Like a deer in headlights. I want a meh look even though I am not there. Thanks everyone this space has been an a blessing for dark days, and months. Thanks CL and CN I appreciate the help and support. Thinking of u too Playground chump. Listen to CL And CN 😊. Meh will happen I believe.

      • I think your lawyer is way out of line about the parental alienation comment. Explaining to your son about divorce in an age appropriate way is a good thing. I would get another opinion from a different lawyer. What’s next, does she tell you you can’t tell your sister because it’s slander and hurts his reputation?

        • I agree. I do not think your lawyer is right. I had a sub-optimal lawyer the first time and then got an older more experienced lawyer the second time I needed one. The second cost more but was worth it.

      • Everyone thanks for the advice. It’s nice to know fellow chumps have our backs. I truly appreciate the support. Thanks Poconochump

        • I told my son from the beginning (he was 8yo) that I was divorcing his father because he had many girlfriends and it was unacceptable. DS is 11 now and his questions became more frequent and mature at some point and all this time I maintained that I loved his father dearly and was heartbroken when I found out but that such behavior is unacceptable in a marriage.

          StBX has been dragging with signing the separation agreement (although we have been living separately) and got pissed with my straightforwardness with DS. He told DS, and tried to shame me into telling him, that we just had different views on life and marriage and ultimately were incompatible in that. Well yes, but I kept on my story that his father has been cheating throughout our married life while the honest thing to do was to leave the marriage when you claim to be unhappy and incompatible. StBX has been trying to maintain his good guy image in front of our son but son now knows his father is a cheater. He still wants to spend time with him (stbx is excellent at disney daddying) but wants to come home to his routine after a few days.

          I don’t buy when lawyers quote parental alienation. That lawyer may have a history of cheating him/herself. I think children have a very good hunch and can feel if things go wrong. By not telling them the truth we are essentially gaslighting our children. A short explanation without editorializing will suffice.

          I wanted my son to know I took my committment to marriage seriously and if I was divorcing his father and shuttering my kid’s life then the reason must be pretty damn serious. It’s also for the same reason that I refuse to do any activities together or “be friends” (they both tried hard to persuade me) because I cannot be friends with somebody who stabbed me in the back. I also want to teach my son to not have such friends. By openly talking about it and showing consequences I am hoping my son is getting a good example. Not that I wanted this experience in his life but I am doing the best I can without lying to my own son.

    • Get a new lawyer. This one obviously doesn’t have kids, or they’re a shitty parent. That’s even scarier to kids that “love just evaporates into thin air for no reasom! It could happen to you kid, by your own parents!” No, shut that shit down, fire your lawyer and get a better one. That is fucking up your kid’s mental & emotional & psychological health. You have to show you have YOUR CHILD’S best interest at heart, not the Cheater’s.

      • Wow, none of the well-meaning commenters here are licensed family lawyers in your jurisdiction. It’s a lawyer’s actual job to advise their clients not to disparage the co-parent. Letting you think a judge won’t care about it would be malpractice. The only legal opinion that matters as to “parental alienation” is how your live, local judge sees it. This type of stuff can result in your child being forced into “reunification therapy” and/or getting less custody time with you, the alleged alienator. Yes, the courts do not get it. They are not protective of children’s mental health at all. Yes, it is a shit sandwich and we have to choose our words very, very carefully. And stop giving legal advice and telling chumps to change lawyers as if that doesn’t cost the chump a bunch of money. I love ya’ll but do not ignore live, local legal advice that obviously says don’t alienate. Think before you speak.

        • I am a lawyer. That is not parental alienation. Parental alienation is a malicious course of conduct with the goal of driving apart a parent and child. It is not telling the child in diplomatic, age appropriate but truthful terms that the other parent did something wrong and caused the marriage to end.

    • Ditto on the parental alignation BS. I refused to lie for my STBX. My 14yo daughter knew that we were splitting because of his affair. And I made him be the one to tell her. “I haven’t been a good husband to your mom. I’ve been unfaithful.”

      And while we were in the midst of splitting up, he actually offered for her to meet the OW. My daughter refused. When he kept bringing it up, she finally said she didn’t want anything to do with “his whore.”

      She wouldn’t have anything to do with him for 1.5 years. But she missed him and when she and I had a teenage blowout, she finally reached out to him. He played hero and came into town to save her from her evil mother.

      He’s renting a house in town so he can play super dad. Image is everything!! And now he’s trying to give me parenting advice — the dad who was traveling 3 weeks a month and having a double life.

      We’re closing in on 3 years since DD and he’s still with the OW who lives in another state, which works well for him because it’s fantasy and not real.

      I think he’s wised up about trying to introduce my daughter to her. Right now she can compartmentalize it, but meeting the woman will certainly make it real.

    • I can understand a lawyer cautioning you to be careful about the manner in which you address this with your children. The lawyer can see how the other side could use this to build a case against you, and she is doing her due diligence in informing you of that risk.

      I firmly believe in my children knowing the age-appropriate truth too, but I am also aware of the fine line. We are a Catholic family and I work in Catholic education. I am having it specifically written into the legal separation agreement that our children continue to be raised with Catholic values. I was able to get my ex to commit to continue taking the kids to Mass on Sundays on his weekends, and he’s been doing so just over half the time.

      So, I use all of this to continue teaching my kids values, such as the Ten Commandments. When one of them asked me if “Thou shall not commit adultery” is what daddy did with the “other lady.” I answer that it is what happened with the other lady. I also state that daddy loves them and the time he spends with them. When my daughter pointed out that the “other lady” seems like someone who “covets they neighbour’s husband or wife,” I pointed out to her that when she grows up she must make sure that she does not have inappropriate friendships with husbands and make sure that her husband does not have inappropriate relationships with other ladies.

      The fine line is balancing the truth with more “positive” statements that builds the children’s relationship with the other parent. If at any point, my ex wants to argue parental alienation due to my telling the children the truth, I will also point out all the ways I support the kids’ relationship with him – the flexibility for all the major holidays, making a Father’s Day and Birthday plan with the kids to celebrate with their father (and paying for it all), the pictures and videos that I have emailed him about key moments (first day of school, riding the two wheeler for the first time, daytime Christmas concert). And, then I will invite him to challenge any of what I have taught to be contrary to the Catholic teachings he agreed the children will continue to be brought up with.

      Teach your children values and model a moral life. Often, they’ll learn what really happened later on as they get older, start connecting dots and understanding timelines.

      A few weeks ago, my ten year old son actually said to me, “Mommy, if I ever do what Daddy did when I grow up, you can punch me in the face 50 times.” I countered that with saying that I know he will grow up to be a wonderful man, then we talked about all the good things Daddy does with him, and then we said a prayer for Daddy. We also had a conversation that what Daddy does on his own time is not for us to worry about (I’m lucky that he’s kept the OW under wraps since he left just over a year ago. Weird, considering that he allowed her to spend a day with him and the kids back in summer 2017 when we were still together and he took the kids away for a “Daddy-time” weekend. Why no discretion then and lots of discretion now?).

      • “he allowed her to spend a day with him and the kids back in summer 2017 when we were still together and he took the kids away for a “Daddy-time” weekend”…
        WTAF???!!!
        Was he just test-driving her to make sure she’d get along with his kids before deciding to leave?!!???
        I’ve heard a lot of shocking stories here on CL but this really takes the cake. Seems even worse than bring strange genitalia into the conjugal bed.

        • LOL, well if you think that is weird then…My parents live out of state and come in to visit for our daughters birthday and stay with us.
          STBX wanted to invite his mistress and her children to our daughters birthday party, but I shot that down and he walked out the door, accused me of being abusive and controlling. He came back and I accepted him as I was still not fully realizing the extent of his betrayal. So because he couldn’t parade his “friend” in front of my family and friends at our daughters birthday party he did the next best thing. He invited his “friend” and her children to our house while I was at work and introduced her to my parents. So they would see that she is “just a friend”. It was absolutely humiliating.
          A month later he manufactured a reason to leave the marriage, two days after my 40th birthday. 3 months later he now lives with his “friend”.

        • Haha. That very week was supposed to be our family vacation. We were joining friends at their cottage. Just four days before he said that he needed some “alone” time to figure himself out. I had discovered the affair in March 2017 and we were working things out (I thought). It was now August (2017), and as far as I knew the OW was out of the picture that whole time. He told me he wanted some time in which he didn’t see me all the time so that he could make a clear decision about his life and have the opportunity to “miss me.” Then, he made it absolutely clear that this had nothing to do with see anyone else, but to have some self-reflection time.

          When I asked him what was to come of our family vacation, he encouraged me to take the kids to our friend’s cottage without him and that the following week he would plan a daddy weekend with the kids so that I could have some down time myself. He missed his daughter’s birthday in the days I was away with the kids.

          What really happened? Well, he ended up going with the OW (who never really had been out of the picture all along) with her three children to her parent’s cottage with her parents. YES!!! The OW and my husband carried on a charade in front of her children and parents that he was an available man as he charmed them all weekend long by BBQing for them and cleaning up. Then, he remembered to call our daughter for her birthday at the cottage where his actual family was staying for the weekend. It was that phone call on our phone bill that outed him.

          Then, the following weekend, he had the kids at the beach for the weekend and allowed her to join them for the day. Introduced her to the kids with a nickname that he figured I wouldn’t recognize and said she was an old friend of his. Of course, the kids were telling me about “the lady” within five minutes of arriving home and SHIT HIT THE FAN! I informed his whole family about the affair (I had kept it secret the whole time), provided pictures off the internet of this person, along with the reports on about half a dozen cheater/homewrecker websites of this woman sleeping with someone’s boyfriend for over a year while married to her husband.

          My ex’s good, conservative Catholic family took it from there. That is why this woman is not around my kids. Each member of the family (all brothers and sisters too) have made it absolutely clear to him that the OW will never be accepted in to their homes. They will not have an adulterous relationship normalized to their children (12 grandchildren in total). It’s been a year since my ex left me to be with her, although he keeps his own place for the days he has the kids, and his family has completely stuck to their guns on this matter. She never gets discussed at all, and I am still invited to all family functions.

          Believe it or not, I still stupidly did the pick-me dance until the end of 2017. I believed him when he expressed his sorrow for what he’d done. I believed him when he talked about how he was worried about himself, how he felt he was having an identity crisis. He equated this woman to a heroine addiction in which he wants more even though he knows she’s no good for him. In the fall, we did more marriage therapy and a couple’s therapy weekend. Then, two weeks before Christmas, he announced that he can’t do this anymore and that he’s getting a place for January 1st. I had to keep it to myself through the whole Christmas season so that we wouldn’t ruin our families’ Christmas.

          When he left at the end of December is when I discovered the secret email account that he had set up in the fall as a new means to keep in touch with the OW. I have an entire binder filled with these emails that detail the full truth of this relationship – it had been going on for a year and half, he had multiple weekends at the cottage with her parents, they did have sex.

          I’ve shared these emails with his family. They know the truth and they know each time he has lied. But, he doesn’t know that these emails have ever been discovered. Not until the legal separation agreement is signed (I already have the divorce papers ready to go immediately and have started the meetings with my priest to petition for an annulment) will I consider what to do about the knowledge these emails have given me. I bounce between just letting it go or throwing it in his face just so that he doesn’t ever try to lie about it again. His siblings are dying for him to know. My family is too.

          We’ll see.

  • Impression management on his part. More than likely he’s told her your OK with everything.

    Showing up during the pickup can go two ways. If you react it feeds the crazymaking narrative.
    Ignoring them and focusing on your children works to your advantage.

    He’s moving in with her? All the better. He’s not living with you! Follow up with a motion to maintain your residence. He won’t be able to access your home.

    He’ll grow tired of showing up at the playground.
    Speak to your attorney about no sleepovers for the kids, you’re still married.

    Get the best settlement you can while he’s playing me wonderful to his new caretaker and include physical custody. You’ll get to make decisions on your children. Use this to your advantage.

  • I think some Post It Notes on your dashboard with some written reminders (Liar Cheater Booger Eater, Picked a Ho Right Off The Streeter…). would be a great place to start. Call a friend, preferably a fellow chump, before drop off/pick up for emotional support/reinforcement. Have a plan for what to do, say, how to act, and REHEARSE. Reframe the situation; this emotionally abusive man is proving his lack of empathy twice a day for you to see! Ergo, divorce is the next right thing to do! Let someone else take shotgun in his junkyard Pacer while you become a purchase-by-invitation-only Ferrari. Take a friend with you or grab a friend when you get to school when you gather the children.

    “Hey, kids, it’s time to go.” is all that would come out of my mouth. Collect children and walk away. Maybe make a second voodoo doll to play with when the kids aren’t around.

    In my case, the principal of my daughter’s school had a father who cheated. Her third grade teacher had a father who cheated. Her fourth grade teacher had a father who cheated. Her fifth grade teacher’s ex-wife had cheated. And during fifth grade, he was having a second baby with his second wife, and his cheater ex-wife was on her second divorce. These people all rallied around us, holding us up and walking us through the school year. Their numbers are all in my daughter’s phone if she needs to talk to wise trusted elders who have been in her shoes.

    I am so sorry you are in this situation. But at the end of the day he is proving what a jerk he is.

    • Take the “r” (respect) out of the word “friend” and you’re left with FIEND.

      I thought he was my FRIEND. He is really a FIEND.

      • Here’s a song you can sing on the way to pick them up (sung to the tune of the old
        Spider-Man song)

        Cheater Man!
        Cheater Man!
        Does whatever a cheater can!
        Spins a lie!
        Any size!
        Catches ho’s just like flies!
        Lookout!
        There goes the Cheater Maaaaaaaaaan!

          • OMG, Velvet Hammer, you owe me a new keyboard. My current one is now covered in spat-out coffee after reading your lyrics. “Picked a Ho Right Off the Streeter” pure comedy gold. Thanks for the belly laugh.

    • Velvet Hammer,

      You are a QUEEN! A Queen I tellz ya!

      I am using all of that! Liar, Cheater, Booger Eater is all kinds of HI-larious!! And that song? The new Chump Anthem to be sung at all special events going forward. I am going to be chuckling to myself all day!

      • Yes. It’s true. My STBXH picks his nose and eats it. I married Fregley. The fourth grader with the Cheese Touch whom the other kids shunned.

        And he wonders why I didn’t want to kiss him.

        🤮

  • My X-fuckwit practically did away with us all so he could use our family home with the OW and her kids instead.
    I had to eat that shit sandwich that our family home was THEIR family home.
    Luckily I avoid any interaction with the OW or her kids, but my two small kids are there every other weekend with them, and have to share dad with the OW and her kids. That is a shit sandwich my kids have to swallow, just to be with dear ol’ dad….
    I just have to smile and not let it bother me, as long as the kids are happy and ok.
    My point is, if your kids are okay with this, then be glad for that. He could have been with a real hag that treated them badly, that would have been tough to deal with on top of it all…

  • “Whatever she is, she’s of use. As childcare, distraction, hypotenuse… Don’t envy her. What you’re witnessing here is love bombing. Your children just mentioned this relationship, you’re not yet divorced, and they’re already moving in together?
    That kind of reeks of desperation. Or a longer-standing relationship than you know about. Or both.”

    This exactly! Thank you Tracy, I needed to hear this today! When the now XH announced he was ready to date, divorce papers had not even been filed and we were still living in the same house at first I thought, “well this is weird don’t freak out, it’ll be a while before anything serious happens” – I was so wrong. Upon what I thought was his first meeting with his girlfriend, he said he was committed to her and they were going to move in together – and he was going to continue to live with us for six months to wait for her lease to expire. I was stunned, one time I exclaimed “You don’t even KNOW this person, you’ve only just met!” His reply was “That’s something you don’t want to know.” I can only assume that this either was a longer-standing relationship or they are both batshit crazy. About 6 weeks of him rubbing it in my face was all I could take, I kicked him out and a week later he moved in with her. That was in July, the divorce was final in September. Co-parenting is non-existent, he moved 3 hours away – which I now consider to be a blessing. It’s different in my case, our DD is almost 17. She hasn’t seen him since he left in July. I’m working on gaining a life, thanks to CL and CN.

  • That just sucks and I am truly sorry this is happening.
    I am five years post D’day. A year out ex flirted at a presentation night for our sons brigade group (like scouts) with a mother from our kids school right in front of me for two hours, a few days later lost his shit when served with divorce papers and demanded to know why I was doing such a thing to him. But I called it that he had marked his next victim. Weeks later the two of them were full steam ahead, unfortunately her kid and my kid were assigned to the same class. This was really hard to swallow because my kids were forced to spend every visitation with her and her two kids. Then within 9 months they were engaged and just over a year they were married which totally shocked those who new the truth. His OW were actually OM. At every given opportunity the two of them would swan around the school holding hands like first graders. Yes he gets off on making me uncomfortable having had almost 20 years to develop the triggers that no one else sees, he is well skilled at leaving me an emotional wreak while he stands there all innocent. He did this at our last encounter at school 6 months ago and it made me realise just how like me the current victim is. I had played the fuck off song five years ago, choosing to focus on supporting our youngest DD through cancer than put energy into pick me dancing, this would not work for him so he convinced anyone who would listen that the real issues in our marriage was my psychology abuse of him. Hence how he won over the new victim. So he will envade my space at school events, parent/teacher interviews, assembly, presentations, school plays because he knows it gets under my skin and any attention for a narc is good in their book, if I loose it even better. He is just sad. He is a 47 year old looser who now five years on is showing his true colours to everyone. When we divorced and he remarried I set out on the road to meh. I began by changing back to my maiden name so I could not be referred to at school as the other or the old mrs looser.
    Stay strong. People around you know more than you think and it makes them uncomfortable. But most importantly, don’t feed the narc.

    • Actually, this is weird if he is coming to school at pick up time and it is not his pick up day. So he is just coming to see the new woman at pick up time? For me, I had to make sure I stooped whatever I was doing at work and rushed over to pick up my kid. So it was a bit stressful and I was not quite ready to stop my work but I did. So he leaves work and comes to pick up time to meet the other woman? WHat is his job? It is definitely to get a rise of the playground chump. Very selfish both he and the new woman. The optics of this are clear and the other woman should find a different way to meet this guy if she has any sensitivity and empathy at all – not at kids pick up time. Yikes.

      • five years on they still come to parent teacher interviews together because despite not having visitaiton with our 14 year old DD, because she called him on his bullshit and stopped going, he still goes to all events at the school in order to maintain the facade that he is the loving doting parent. He shows up to pretty much everything and then blindsides DD with the new victim demanding hugs in public…….I still have people try and tell me how great and caring he is, I don’t try to correct them any more it is not worth my energy.

  • My STBX cheated on me both times with women in my kids school. One in my daughters grade so we see each other frequently and the current AP he’s still with pre divorce. They seem to be the only 2 people who don’t think it’s weird he goes to events with his girlfriend and then tries to hang out with his wife….whatever

    It’s hard but i just act neutral, haven’t spoken a single word to his current girlfriend in the entire 5 months since we separated and i plan to keep it that way as long as humanly possible. I realized very early on in our separation that my STBX cast a wide net and she just happens to be the dumbass who got hooked, she’s as interchangeable as a light bulb to him so i give her about that much mental space.

    Of course she thinks it’s true love and knows nothing about the other women so she’s earned what she’s got. I know they argue constantly and break up and get back together frequently and that he’s cheated on her with AP#1 already so that information makes it easier to be mostly at meh.

    At first it was unnerving seeing both APs at all school events. But at this point everyone in town knows we’re separated and the why and the whos so he’s the one who has to eat the shit sandwich in social situations not me. Most people thinks he’s a dick as his true colors are showing bright as can be. I try to remind myself of that as often as possible.

  • I’d bet $100 that she absolutely was the OW !

    Still, I understand because my Ex moved in with OM before the divorce was final (with my 3 kids) and got married 18 months later (secretly so he could get custody of his son…they were really sad when I found out and alimony stopped 😁).

    It’s a Big Mac sized shit sandwich that you have to eat but my advice is always play nice. Even if you want to punch them both in the nose just smile and say when you see them “hello, I’m doing great hopefully you are too”.
    They HATE this because what can you say about someone being nice to you ? It also ends the triangulation and after awhile they turn their attention away from you and mostly will leave you alone.
    Meanwhile remember that she has to live with him and after the glitter falls off the turd, she’ll have to put up with the BS you used to and she’ll get hers.

  • It’s been 4 years since D-day, and I think my ex may STILL be playing this game. Her current boyfriend (not one of the OM, at least as far as I know), mysteriously seems to show up whenever she and I are at a thing with the kids. On Halloween, for example, when we were supposed to be trading kids out, he “just happened” to drive by where we were. We were on a neighborhood street which was nowhere near either of our houses. He just stopped by so he could give her a big kiss in front of everybody, then leave. WTFrick?
    Doesn’t this nitwit realize he’s won the pick-me dance? You won the “prize,” a serial cheater, she’s all yours!

  • Look bored as hell when you encounter them.

    Yawn. Say you have to run, you have yoga class/guitar lessons/French lessons/breakfast or lunch with a friend etc.

    People who are capable of interchanging their partners truly suck. They will never know the joy of honour and loyalty. He is a fake. An actor, a poser. A shallow hearted walking haircut.

  • I don’t care what people with shitty character think about me. I don’t care if they smugly think they are getting one over on me. People with shitty character are shitty and, therefore, their opinions are irrelevant.

    It took me years and years to get here. Now that I am here, I am finally Ami-is-FREE.

    I learned, after a lot of hard work on boundaries, that they only way I have enough energy to set and firmly maintain my boundaries is when I am focused entirely on what I (and anyone vulnerable that I am caring for) need and want as I identify, state, and uphold the boundaries.

    That doesn’t mean I live all of my life in a selfish space. It does mean, though, that in terms of the boundaries, they are for me and they are not determined by what the other person wants from me.

    Besides, most people who find themselves on the receiving end of any significant boundaries are people who are being at least sort of crappy toward me/my charge at the time, so it’s appropriate that I am taking care of myself/my charge in that moment. Nobody else in the conversation will do that, so it has to be me.

    My circular approach comes to this landing point — the cheater’s opinion and/or gloating are as irrelevant as the weather across the globe at the present moment. The cheater lost the right to any votes when s/he cheated. Only the kids matter now, just like CL said, so the kids get centrality. Nobody else.

    (And if there are no kids, then the next level of centrality is the self, not the cheater.)

  • Whether the girlfriend is new or is/was the OW……what the heck is wrong with these mothers of young children becoming involved and moving in with a man they have only known a short period of time? Desperate losers comes to mind but it is so pervasive in our society. They say the majority of strippers and prostitutes did not have a proper father figure in their lives and had a weak mother figure as well. I’m guessing this could also be the reason these young mothers move way too fast with men they barely know or only have dated a matter of weeks.

    • Besides the “twu luv” it is also usually financial. Schmoopie thinks she hit the jackpot and doesn’t want her new “Daddy Warbucks” to get away thus she wastes no time tying him down.

    • The x moved in with his AP who had an 11 year old daughter within weeks of him announcing we were separating. He stayed just long enough to con her into letting him do it. It is her 4 th serious relationship and she is 9 years younger than him. Our kids were 28 and 24 at the time. I think some women are desperate to have a man. I am working on my picker so broke up with my bf of 2 years after he showed disloyalty disrespect and didn’t care about my protection. Buh-bye.

    • OW/OM are people that don’t know their own worth and may possibly be as narcissistic and shallow as your SO is.

      My STBX moved in with the Cumpster within 3 months of abandoning his family. Although I was initially quite upset about this, I have now reflected on the sheer desperation that the Cumpster must have in order to:

      – Have a married person move into her apartment
      – Start a serious relationship with someone whose worldly possessions fit in a car
      – Start a relationship with someone that works the same dead end job as you

      The Cumpster clearly does not know her worth. I do know my worth. I married for love, he was a musician so I knew the deal and I have 12 great years and a beautiful daughter to show for it. But if there is ever a second go round on a serious relationship then that person better be bringing the same if not more to the table as I am. There is no way in hell at my age (40) that I would be letting a person move into my house under the conditions stated above. I did my time being the only responsible party in a relationship. The Cumpster will learn soon enough that she was sold a bill of goods (especially after his car gets repo’d next month) or she won’t, either way it is no longer my problem. She wanted the prize and she won it, I say good for her.

        • Thank you, Thank you *takes bow. I went through several disparaging handles for her and settled on this one. It has punch and is straight to the point, she is a dumpster and a receptacle. She is the office bicycle from what I hear and has slept with at least 4 men she works with, my husband makes it 5. Looks like she achieved Bingo on the office slut bag card.

    • Keep in mind, though, that we don’t actually know that they’ve only known each a short time. There’s often a lot that’s been going on behind the scenes. I go back and forth whether to give my XW and her AP “credit” for the years they put into their relationship while they were married to other people.

    • yes we as a society should defintely restrict the capacity to have new relationships to the men who move away from their kids and deny it to the women who are left with all responsibility.

      the fact is it’s really hard to have all that responsibility and sometimes people just grab on to whatever support they can get because the alternative is drowning.

      and the reason my tone is a bit snappy is that I was up with a sick kid and I’m exhausted and it’s not fair that I don’t get a break or the chance to move on like that.

  • Boy oh boy… this is the Big Mac of Shit Sandwiches… that said, I think one thing CL said really resonates for me… if this new GF can be the adult/parent when the kids are not with you… embrace it. If it gives them stability and the sense that they are cared for when not with you, put that first in your mind.

    Mr. Sparkles OW was duped. She was sold a bill of lies about our “divorce” and our marriage. She bought the lovebombing ,until she found out he was cheating on her too (funny that). As OW goes, she sucks… I confronted her with my truth but she chose to believe the cheaters narrative, what can you do but pray for her. HOWEVER, she was a good mom… she had two kids of her own around the same age as my son. She planned outings for the kids… they did FUN things… they did homework… they ate healthy meals.

    But, now that she is gone and there is a new GF who only has experience raising dogs, my son is left much to his own at his Dad’s place with the GF. They go to the gym while my son sits on the Xbox. They bring home Happy Meals and pizza for “dinner” for Jack while they kick back their protein shakes. No one asks about homework, no one plans outings (except for the movies). My son actually wishes his Dad had stayed with the OW because it was “better”.

    SO – I guess what I’m saying is… pray for the new GF; count your blessings if she isn’t a complete fuckwit too; and as CL always reminds us… a child’s love for you is PRIMAL.. no one will replace you in their hearts. They may like her and her kids… and they may like lollipops… probably to the same degree. Don’t project.

    Get your divorce and get on with your cheater free life.

  • You cannot tell new GF why you are divorcing, however, there are other ways. After D-day, I sometimes found it useful to convey a tidbit or two of information about my X’s shenanigans to just a single person, who happened to like gossip and was very likely to pass on the information. Just sayin’.

  • She may appear to be “nice” based on how good she is at putting on a public face. But she’s not KIND, or she would not be appearing at school functions with a man still married to another school mom. And if she had a lick of judgment, she wouldn’t be moving him in with her own kids.

  • I just want to say that this website has been a life saver for me. Just this past weekend I have had to grapple with the fact that my STBX is still taking my daughter over to his AP’s apartment when he has visitation. He moved there last month and hid it from me as he knew that I find involving our daughter in his adulterous life style inappropriate. He works on the weekends and I absolutely do not want that woman alone with my child.
    My daughter on the other hand likes her new bedroom there and Daddy just bought her a TV and they take her to Dave and Busters. But of course Daddy can afford these things because he isn’t supporting a household or paying down the debt or paying full freight child support yet or hell even paying for his car. I don’t want my daughter to be disappointed when the honeymoon ends and or when I can’t keep up with Disney Dad.
    I feel like on top of all the lying and stealing my life, my family, my dignity that there is just no way I can win. I am so afraid that my daughter is going to run off to Daddy’s because he’s love bombing her too, because he feels guilty. I can’t compete with that, nor will I. I am not going to raise a spoiled monster. I feel like nothing I do is the right thing.

    • Oh, Worthless (fyi -you are not Worthless!), I am so sorry that you are feeling like you can’t win. This shit-show sometimes feels like that – and it sucks.

      Try to remember:

      1. You are the mom and nothing will ever change that. Your daughter will love you even when she’s being love bombed by her father.
      2. Kids often see the truth more clearly than we realize. She will eventually see that him for what he is.
      3. You are the strong stable parent in her life. You’ll see her turn to you for the important things in life and that will feel good.

      Hang in there – hugs

      • Thank you so much for the encouragement I desperately need it. And as for my nom de plume I know that I am far from worthless. My STBX in order to justify destroying his family has decided that I was worthless see you next Tuesday from the begging of our relationship. The first time he said it I chuckled and reminded him why he had a roof over his head. The second time he said it I literally LOL’ed in his face and said “I ain’t even mad, as a matter of fact the depths of your delusion are quite impressive.” The lengths that man will go to in order to assassinate my character is unbelievable. But I have found a joyously perverse irony in owning that moniker and deploying it as a punchline when discussing the situation I have found myself in.

    • Worthless CNT, get yourself a temporary order ASAP. You should not be paying for STBX’s car nor all the accumulated debt. I know you probably already know that, but please keep track because you can (in most community property states, anyway) get back half of what you paid if the order is worded right.

      FWIW, I used to worry about my son wanting to live with “Father of the Year” because of dinners out, movies, no rules, etc. Though son is now 15 and a semi-rebellious teenager, he has not yet made the threat of going to live with his dad because, ya know, no rules. Even he realizes that his dad is useless blow hard whose words don’t match his actions. Kids intuit who the sane parent is.

      • Thank you Her Blondeness. I have all the records of everything that I have paid and will be seeking reimbursement. I am not paying for his car though, I stopped that two months ago, yet he has not made the car payment. Nor do I think he will, I suspect that he thinks I will pay it in order to not have my credit ruined, but at this point credit schmedit I’d rather see him have to take a bus. Or better yet have to explain to the Cumpster what happened to his nice new car LOL.

        I know my daughter will be ok, but it’s still killing me that this is happening to her. I am a child of divorce, yet my parents worked with each other and made it about us kids. My STBX’s parents were married for 49 years until the death of my FIL 4 years ago. He has no idea what divorce does to a kid, not that he would care anyway as it’s all about him right now.
        I just have to keep reminding myself that I no longer have a partner, that my expectations will not be met by the father of my daughter even if it is the right and decent thing to do. He abdicated responsibility for anything when he abandoned us. When he does something messed up I have to remind myself that “Assholes’ gonna Asshole”

  • The only way to win (not that “winning” is really an option here) is not to play. Can someone else do the pick ups for you? (Your divorce isn’t final so presumably there’s some flexibility yet in the childcare arrangements).

    I will bet $5 that as soon as he can’t bask in the triangulation (and no matter how you react or do not, he is getting something out of it so long as you are THERE), the Cheater N Schmoopie R One Big Happy Family Show will get canceled, at least as far as the kid exchange goes.

  • Haha this happened to me. The new GF’s kids went to the same school. She wanted to make a good impression on me I think, so she walked up to me the first time and spilled her life story. I was odd. The situation was very much the same and I always stayed back and ignored them. I knew he was trying to rub it in my face. It didn’t bother me at all tough. It all seemed like a show for my sake and I was not going to be a willing audience, which irritated them both. They want your approval, don’t give it. Stay back and wait for the kids to be done talking to them. Tell the kids in advance they get 2 min to say high and then need to go with you. It will get boring for him if you aren’t playing along and he’ll stop coming.
    My ex is currently on his 3rd or 4th GF since the divorce. They never work out for him. Meanwhile, I’m remarried. He can’t stand it.

  • If it is any consolation, the girlfriend might be uncomfortable in your presence too even if she tries to hide it. Do you know any other moms at the school who know how your marriage ended and might be able to offer moral support by interacting with you in a positive way when you come to pick up the kids, someone who will display a genuine happiness to see you when in his presence? This will distract you from being focused on your STBX and show them that you are well liked and respected among your peers, if they also ignore STBX and the new GF because they aren’t worth the time then even better.

  • Ell wrote: My ex is currently on his 3rd or 4th GF since the divorce. They never work out for him.

    Hahahaha. I lost count of the OW while we were married *and* then the girlfriends after we divorced. Now Cheater #1 is all by his lonesome (awwwww) and complains no one wants to “date someone with a kid”. No, dumbass, they don’t want to date a grouchy, balding, pudgy loser in a dead end job, driving a beater car and living in a crappy rental. Your kid visits maybe, maybe one overnight a month. He has nothing to do with your non-existent love life.

  • Looking long term– the school years go fast, gotta play the long game. They’ll be adults longer, so I am focusing on that. My X happens to be a pretty great parent. We’ll see how she’ll be as the kids become adults. Can’t wish a bad relationship on the kids (though I still do)…

    I’m beginning to date. Beginning. I was in a 20+ yr relationship with one person. The last time I dated, baggy pants were in style. I know how to live with someone, empty the dishwasher, be a partner.

    BUT I’m JUST beginning to get to know me, who I am and what it means to me to love someone. And its going to take a very long time to be really ready for another marriage. But once I’m really ready, I’m told it’ll happen fast.

    Running from one relationship to another is a recipe for a pretty lame relationship. I can see that.
    So, that karma bus will hit fair and square.

  • LOL
    It is SO easy for me to *wave like the queen* when confronted by my ex and his new wife.
    Being jealous of him/her is like getting jealous of someone’s major dental surgery without anesthesia.
    An added bonus is that my cheater ex hates nothing more than seeing he has no power over me and can’t evoke an emotional response. I am friendly and casual the way I would be with a random cashier at the grocery store.
    It actually upsets cheater ex and his family so much that my ex MIL pulled me aside once years ago (during a visitation pick up) to explain that I was about to lose my ex husband for REAL because he proposed to his fiancé and it’s twu wuv. Then she studied my face to watch for the devastation. I just shrugged, said ok, and asked if the kids were ready to go yet. Honestly I was confused as to how I was even supposed to muster feelings about that? When I divorced him, I divorced him.

  • Yes, generally I talk to other mums to look like I don’t care as I get on well with other mums. And yes, he leaves his high paying job early, just to be in the playground with us both at the same time. She was not the OW. The OW was first class crazy. She did have to get her partner to move out so she could start this relationship. I think the person who said that at least it means she can be the stable parent there for my children got it right. I will continue getting better at Meh until I really feel it. Thanks for all the advice everyone.

    • Silly to leave a high end job (or any job) early to get some weird thrills. Unprofessional. Totally weird. I remember I had to put a brake on work and rushing over in traffic even when I would rather stay and finish up work tasks at the end of the day.

  • This could have been written by me a year ago. Talk about shitting on your doorstep. A year ago I thought they were so in love, going to be a blended family and live happily ever after. What a difference a year makes. I held my head high in the playground, focused on my girls and let them get on with it. My kids couldn’t stand her or her kids and stopped wanting to go and stay there. He gradually saw them less and less, realised the grass wasnt greener and realised what a huge mistake he made. Found out yesterday he’s left her. So all he gave up was for nothing. #karma

    • “realised the grass wasnt greener and realised what a huge mistake he made. Found out yesterday he’s left her. So all he gave up was for nothing. #karma”.

      I so want this to be the way this chapter of my story ends. One can hope.

  • I am betting you are hearing a lot of the same chapter and verse, I haven’t read all the comments, but yeah, you are doing a mighty job of dealing with your soon-to-be-ex fuckwit. This guy cheats on you, expects you to compete for him, then when you have had enough he decides, yeah, it would be a dandy idea to start dating, and someone whom was in your former aquaintance circle whom you would be forced to see on a regular basis because school. That’s just super deliberate, I’m afraid. Unless he was super involved with school activities previously (and a lot of those types aren’t interested in the kids lives at all, unless that was a source of kibble for them), that would have to mean he went out of his way to make contact with this woman, turn on the sparkles, and overcome any scruples she might have about dating a friendly aquaintance’s ex in an ongoing confronting environment. Which probably means he’s been making you out to be a sexless shrew or else you were super fine with the arrangement he had with you and this isn’t a big deal, but now you’ve obviously changed your mind, because you seem a bit put out. Which brings us to the woman, she’s either a little naive/confused/simple or simply doesn’t care so she’s real quality either way, right there. I guess the best you can hope for is that she’s nice to your kids when they’re together, and doesn’t expect sympathy when he does a number on her. So he’s gone to all this effort so that he can have someone who will keep house and cook for him, run his errands, look after his kids during custodial visits so he’s not put out, in other words the myriad of day to day things that you did that he now would have to do himself if he didn’t find a new domestic appliance. So I wouldn’t be counting this ‘romance’ on my list of soul mates/true loves of the century: he’s simply found someone who’s easily impressed/has the requisite low self esteem to slot into his currently very messy life and do for him, while he looks out for the next source that actually impresses him. She is an ‘interim source’, so please don’t see her as competition of any sort. As for him, he’s a dyed-in-the wool asshole narcissist and you are well shot of him. Keep being the sane parent, don’t feel the need to make nice, he’s an asshole, and shutting down that clownery with a slightly stern, confused look on your face, like, you’ve been a shit, what is this attempt to make nice, how can you think that is ever appropriate, goodbye is an appropriate response. Attend to your kids needs, and know that in all probability that the rest of the school thinks you’re a badass while he’s an assclown, and go about your business like the no-time-for-this-stupid-shit person that you are. I don’t know if it would work for you, but do you have close school-mom friends who could run interference to shorten/head off such interactions? Good luck, you’re doing fine. In a couple of years you’ll be in a totally different space, and will merely roll your eyes when the kids relate the latest installment of your ex’s circus-tent life.

  • I am going to weigh in on the dating-while-divorcing for Chumps issue.

    I am going to do this by letting others speak:

    https://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/if-youre-healing-why-are-you-dating/

    https://boilingwaters.ph/stop-dating-while-youre-healing/

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/rediscovering-love/201611/15-questions-help-you-decide-youre-ready-date-again

    https://marriedandyoung.com/need-healing-perhaps-stop-dating/

    Why not give yourself some time to heal – take time alone to face the pain and damage that’s been done to you – and ask yourself the serious questions about whether you’re actually medicating with people?

    • Actually, the lone time is a gift that really helps us grow psychologically and emotionally by processing all that went on.

  • Sorry for your situation. Oh he’s playing the Happy Horseshit dance with a new one! God I’d feel sorry for her too. Once the love bombing wears off and reality of the assclown she’s with kicks in, boy o boy reality check and it’s not your headache anymore!!! Just demonstrates his character traits even more not waiting to play the look at my newest game until after a divorce and date the right way. Immature lil male children games, the look I’m trying to make both women jealous and envious over a man. No thanks. No d$ck is worth it. Period. I’d be decent to her, because you both are getting duped. The Universe always has a way of evening things out. Maybe he’ll cheat on her too with someone above his league and she will take him for a financial and emotional ride. What goes around comes around! Try to stay positive and wishing you good vibes.

  • As the saying goes: you can’t control what other people do, only how you react to it. Is there another pickup spot you can meet your kids after school? Are they old enough to walk down the street a bit to meet you where you park? Walk across campus to meet you at another exit?

    I’d spend my time trying to bypass the issue entirely and reduce your exposure and not waste one more minute wondering why he does this. Give him nothing to work with.

    • And I know some might say “why should SHE be the one to change her routine?? She’s in the right here.” I respond…would you rather be right or happy? You can’t always have both.

      I learned that avoiding my ex’s hurtful behavior (such as not walking my daughter to his door at drop off, giving her a hug and kiss by the car instead, to avoid him shutting his door in my face), while sometimes inconvenient or initially upsetting to me (as her mom, walking her to the door felt important), made my life a thousand times more peaceful in the long run (we’ve adjusted to our extra big carside hugs, it’s fine now, and no chance for him to be a dick to me in front of her).

  • This is somewhat similar to what I’ve been experiencing, my XH informed me via email that he was in a committed relationship with the divorced mom of one of my kids friends, but they had only been dating for 4 months and that even tho they have been discreet, people have seen them around town and other parents at school knew about them, so he wanted to tell out kids Right Now about their relationship. Oh, and they have no plans on moving in together…yet!..Mkay.
    A few things wrong with his story: I knew there was something going on with them for at least 4 years, we’ve been divorced almost 3 years. Our legally binding parenting agreement says one must be in a committed relationship for 6 months before telling the kids one is dating. The OW pulled her child out of my kids school at the end of last year and put him in a neighboring school, which I thought was telling. And for the record, my XH committed serious financial infidelity heaped upon mountains of lies with regard to every aspect of his life. Anyhow, I let him know via email, that he needed to wait the full 6 months before dropping this info on our kids, what ensued was a barrage of shitty emails demanding I allow him to tell our kids. I stood my ground, he finally dropped it and May 1st came and went and he didn’t tell the kids and this subject has not been brought up again. I think they either cooled the relationship or already broke up. My kids have been spared from this drama and chaos, for now. He’s a crazy maker and a giant turd. Good times. 🤮

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