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Dear Chump Lady, He moved down the street

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Dear Chump Lady,

I divorced my (abusive) ex-husband a year ago after 17 years of marriage and 4 children.

That wasn’t fun for him, so he decided to choose bars, cocaine parties and hookers over the whole marriage/family gig. He is now allowed 4 hours a month with the kids, which he rarely blesses us with (total blessing). So no-contact has been easy! I have delightfully nicknamed him Charlie, after Charlie Sheen of course.  

I love my life, who I am and the decision I have made! I am no longer scared, worried about drunken rants, violent rages or erratic behavior at events. I am finally living the Dream…………..ish. 

Charlie decided to purchase a large home, that quite resembles a funeral home, directly across from my neighborhood entrance/exit. THE ONLY neighborhood entrance/exit. (Well played, Charlie.)  So for a year now, every day, several times a day, I drive by the Playboy Funeral Home that has purple pimped out Caddy’s, and random beat up white sedans with pink Hello Kitty Stickers on the windows parked in the driveway.

How do I get to “meh” with the current situation? I would love to sell my house and move on, but my oldest has two more years at the high school down the street, and I feel like moving would give Narcissist Charlie the kibbles he is so badly wanting.  

Sincerely,

Living the Dream-ish

Dear LTD,

Well, if you apply that logic — consider what not talking to him does. Does he get high off no contact? Who knows? Who cares? You’re NO. CONTACT.

This is like some philosophical test question — if a fuckwit falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound?

How you proceed and where you move is up to YOU. Make your decisions entirely based on what’s good for you and your children — not on the imagined whims and reactions of a cokehead.

He likes you staying put? He’s got four hours of visitation a month. He likes you moving? He’s got four hours of visitation a month. Visitation he barely exercises.

Let Charlie become increasingly irrelevant to your lives, whether he lives next door or in Topeka, Kansas. He had 17 years of centrality in your life, now evict him from your head. His displeasure isn’t your problem any more. You’re liberated.

Listen, I don’t mean to underestimate how unnerving it would be to have an ex move near you. (Hollywood — here’s your next horror flick — “HE MOVED NEXT DOOR. I Thought We Were Divorced!”) But as shit sandwiches go, we chumps have endured a lot worse. You’ve managed (or he’s forfeited by the sheer magnitude of his fuckupedness) to be the sole custodian of the kids. That’s what matters. You being the sane — and majority stakeholder! — parent.

Can he try to provoke you by building a purple pleasure palace? Sure, but you don’t have to take the bait. Yawn at him. Drive by. Change the radio station. Sing in your car. Flick lint off your sweater. There he is at 14 Man-Child Dr. being Charlie. Sun sets in the west.

To me, the biggest mindfuck is directed at your children. He’s sending the message — I can’t be bothered to exercise the pitiful amount of visitation I have — but I’ll move down the street! Who needs to be a parent when you have the appearance of proximity? He could be goading them into a pick me dance — here I am busy partying! Watch me ignore you!

Which is frankly preferable to asking his children to join him. This is my other fear for you — the seductiveness of Permissive Party Parent and teenagers. Only you can judge what kind of boundaries your kids have with Charlie (hope they’ve had lots of therapy) — but that possibility alone would certainly make me consider moving.

Only you can judge this — Charlie as menace or Charlie as pathetic checked-out father. Only you can weigh what’s best for your kids. The oldest has to finish high school, but then what? There are three more kids behind him.

Do the right thing for you, whatever bolsters your sane parenting and improves your new life.

Charlie doesn’t like it? He can snort another line. He chose his path. You choose yours.

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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.
  • “if a fuckwit falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound?”

    Tracy, you are awesome!

  • Great advice from CL here (as always!). If you can’t get off the stage right now, just play your part to the hilt! I ended up living a few doors down from ex, because financial ruin made it the only escape route at the time. So I have made the most of it, painting porches, installing beautiful gardens, keeping the lawn nice, generally making my place pretty while his falls to ruin. When I finally was able to buy a new car, he couldn’t stand it any longer, he had to make up an excuse to stop and ask if I knew where something or other was so he could check out the car and ask if it was really mine. This is a case where living well really is the best revenge.

    • NotAnyMore

      Your new car reminds me of how I changed the voice in my bead of the Limited stating he couldn’t get anywhere with me.

      I have a list of posters on my refrigerator listing where I’ve gotten without him. It’s a long one that also includes buying a car! Yes living better is the best revenge.

      The pimped our Caddy is laughable.

    • NotAnyMore
      I agree! As I drive by I laugh as he still leaves the garage door open all day and night, even when gone. The party lights around the pool have been on for 3 days straight. And once I noticed he left a car door wide open for a good 36 hours. Oh how I checked the weather app hoping for rain. I am playing my part on stage. Living a happy and good life, the kids succeeding in school, sports and friends, and filling my life with laughter. Thank you for your perspective.

  • I would move.
    At the very least for my children and then for my peace of mind.

    After all, LTD, it bothered you enough to write to CL. And only you know exactly where the fuckwit shoe pinches your foot.
    No matter how much meh, no contact and not using those 4 hours of visitation rights. Especially if it looks like a funeral home and there are these hello kitty types all over the place.

    Maybe I’m still impressed by that Dirty John Netflix series that I watched this weekend (talk about chumps), but what if he has cameras and is planning something?

    It sounds like you have the means. I don’t give my new address to lots of people. They have my email if they really need to communicate.
    Take care Dreamish.

    • I think you need to be very careful around this human rectal orifice – the fact that he’s doing coke means he may go schzoid at any moment! I don’t know what you think about home defense but I would consider learning to use a firearm – it may be required here – and if he even THINKS you’re armed it’s a game changer. I think it’s a red flag that he moved in where he did – at least get a restraining order for all of your property. I’d be very careful – whatever you do – DO NOT taunt this guy!
      Just sayin’ – you’re one of us now and we DO NOT want to hear of a rage tragedy – tread lightly please!

      • I totally agree. In moving into THAT house he’s all set up to stalk you. You said he’s violent and erratic. This is scary stuff.

        I would be totally unsurprised to learn that he installed high resolution video cameras pointed at your one and only neighborhood exit so that he can watch your car whenever you come and go.

        He probably cruises down your street regularly so that he can identify any strange car in your driveway and know to watch for it. New boyfriend stays overnight? He knows.

        At the very minimum I suggest you immediately trade in your car on a completely different model, get a new license plate number, and park it ONLY in your garage where he can’t see what you drive. That will throw him off the trail temporarily.

        Then MOVE! GTFO! You might stay in the same school district, but wherever you go make sure there are at least three exits to your new neighborhood.

        It’ll be inconvenient as hell, but you’ll be around later to tell the tale.

    • This almost happened to me. X wanted to move across the street with his new circus act so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. He figured the kids could just go from house to house. Thankfully, the realtor he used was also a neighbor, whom I’m now convinced had X blackballed from our city.

      I would have moved in a heartbeat rather than subject myself and my broken-hearted kids to the daily reminder that we never mattered to him. He only wanted to rub his new bliss in our faces. When he finally moved away, the house and all who live here exhaled.

  • Season 2 of “Doctor Foster” (Netflix, very highly recommended) is premised by the Fuckwit cheater moving back to same community where the chump and child live . . . along with hot young wife and new baby. The doctor takes every bit of bait laid out and comes to regret the consequences of “playing that game.

    Do not engage — physically, mentally, or (toughest of all) emotionally. Everything CL said.

    • I like your interpretation of season 2. Its like a warning.

      I felt every bit of her pain until she started acting all stupid. It’s a shame the story took a (in my opinion unrealistic) turn as theres so few characters on TV like this and the cheating story is so rarely told in this way. I think she would have had a win and overcome all that mess to start a great new life

    • “Doctor Foster” is an absolutely brilliant series — highly recommended — I did read reviews from some who thought the 2nd season was a bit over-the-top; however those must have come from people who’ve never had the joy of being cheated upon — in fact that 2nd season shows how the cheater hated being ignored by xW chump and set out to get more anger/hate kibbles (kinda of like the scenario described above)

      So just like CL & @UXWorld said, ignore everything you can

  • Good morning LTD. I moved. And I highly highly highly recommend it.

    I also have four kids. Two were in high school when fuckwit moved out. I went through a period of feeling strongly that it would be best for the kids and their stability and stuff to stay in the family home. Ex moved too nearby for my comfort. I came to understand that the kids “stability” had been up in smoke for quite some time, and that a fresh start in a new home would do all of us a world of good, which it absolutely did, more than I can express. I had multiple long talks with my teens about moving, the how’s, the why’s, what would be lost and gained. My fears of it being too big of an adjustment/unfair to them while in high school didn’t pan out. We are all much happier. Part of that is I’m happier. A stable happy Mom radiates that serenity down to the children.

    I did notice immediately reading your letter how you’re still thinking about what your ex will think about what YOU do. Who cares? Hell with him. That’s real “meh”, not giving a shit or a thought to him at all. And to repeat what you said yourself, it will be harder/longer to get to meh when you’re driving by his damn house every day.

    Please do yourself and your kids a favor. Remove yourself from that situation. Find a new home. Make new memories in it. It’s so wonderful living somewhere that “he” was never a part of. (And I went from a large home to a small apartment). Best decision I ever made in my whole life

  • Please read CL’s post about “Reclaiming Paris”. Cumo Nation – correct me if the name of the post is wrong.

    I had to walk past the building the ex lived in while I thought we were still married. Funny how the late nights in the office and business trips disappeared. And past the building where the co-worker OW owned an apartment she supposedly lives in (but didn’t).

    I walked past those buildings for 3 years before an unrelated move. Now I am back in the same city, coincidentally living within 2 blocks of those same buildings. They don’t bother me anymore because the ex doesn’t bother me anymore. Took several years and a lot of hard work in my part.

    Give it time. You will always notice the cars and the funeral home but they won’t bother you. Promise!

    • Sorry, meant to say Chump Nation!

      After reading some of the other comments and having had kids go thru high school myself, I think the takeaway about moving is that only you and your kids can make that choice.

      Some things need to be weighed as a family. If a child has an important place on the football or debate team or if their current school offers advanced placement classes or special needs support that another school might not have, these are significant issues that no one except you or you kids can weigh in on. Is either of them on track to a college that would offer a scholarship? That translates into serious dollars and might be part of the discussion. Do they have a hard time making friends and finally have a tight support circle? Again, even with the very best of intentions, none of us can make that decision for you.

      Be open to everything you read here, look at your finances and state of mind and evaluate what is best for YOU and YOUR family.

      You sound like you have a very good head on your shoulders. It should help you make the best choice!

  • My ex (also abusive) husband inexplicably, except in the mind-fuck sense, moved 1/2 a mile a way as well. Chump Lady is right. do what you have to. For me, I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid his house for now. I know you can’t do that, but maybe have a song you play that makes you laugh at the situation? Have something else to look at on the other side of the street or a mantra you say? It’s not easy. I get anxiety just driving by the road that leads to his house. Remember your new life and that you’re free.

  • I’d move, its like an emotional slap in the face all the time, why put yourself through that. He can look at the streets you knew, he can have the ghosts of his children playing to look at but you’ll be gone having some fun somewhere else.

    I think you will feel better. My workplace was opposite the ACTUAL church we married in and all the community “friends’ knew us both – its good to be out.

    • After the first Dday, my in laws moved from England and bought a house a block away “to be there to support us.” Dday2 was three years later, right after I started refusing to go along with his parents’ insane duplicity and manipulation. He couldn’t afford his own place when I kicked him out so he moved into their basement. Now all three of those nut bags are raising my children 50% of the time. (Aaargh!) My ex is practicing BDSM (he has escalated to planning a CNC kidnapping and gang rape) and “polyamory” and his father (a former chaplain in the Navy) solicits sex with strangers (men) on Craigslist. I am convinced the craziest one is my ex-mother in law, who presides over all of this insanity, and still pretends she is the matriarch of the perfect Christian family. My ex now says he is staying put in their house to give the children the advantage of living in a multi-generational household. Uggh! He also says he won’t “let” me move further away if it affects his custody in any way. I have fantasies of dropping a “truth bomb” on their whole operation, but I’m still in the process of trying to find a legal avenue for getting the kids away from all of them, or at least reducing their influence. I have already spent $35k in legal fees and the 4 different lawyers I have consulted tell me “the judge won’t care about their lifestyle unless you can prove harm to the kids.” They also told me the judge will side with my ex if I petition to move, even if it’s to a significantly better school district. I am exhausted from all the documenting and sleuthing I have been doing to protect my kids. I have managed to get a few rules enforced (but we all know he is not in full compliance because he’s a fuckwit.). My kids don’t want to talk about it, refuse to see a therapist because “they are fine” and they defend their dad when I ask any questions. They are learning to compartmentalize and live in denial. They know their dad left because he “wants to have lots of girlfriends” but otherwise he is perfect in their eyes. At 10 and 12, I don’t want them to know what he is up to, but I don’t trust him to keep it on the down-low. I’m at the point where I’m ready to give in and accept this is the lot in life I have given my kids and maybe I just need to focus on being the sane parent right where I am. Being the divorce-police is making me anxious and exhausted.

  • My ex, did cocaine, partied with prostitutes, he said they were fun, apart from all the dumped kids, sti’s, sex shows, apparently.
    People actually think he’s nice, unfortunately he wasn’t stealing from his friends but was from me.
    He’s moved by you for a reason.
    I wouldn’t live by my ex, but he did live around the corner for 7 months.

  • I have a somewhat different perspective. When Mme YogaPants left chasing after her dreams and his wallet, she still worked occasionally at the shop across the street from the house. Maybe she still does. No clue. She lives a 5 minute drive away and I’m sure does pass by the marital home regularly. I’ve seen her car in the village at seemingly random times.

    She loved this house – it may be a female thing – I don’t know. I’m pretty attached to it as well. Since she left, I’ve taken over all aspects, cleaning out the flower beds she let run wild, removing a half-dead tree that she insisted we have, the grass is always well trimmed as it used to always be etc etc. As far as I know she is still living in her apartment over the liquor store. The inside she hasn’t seen since her last trip through the house about a year ago as agreed to in the settlement for the last of her stuff but all traces of her have been scrubbed as have the bathrooms and kitchen. What used to be a mess filled with clutter is a tidy and calm space.

    In the winter weather, my route home goes by her apartment once or twice a week depending on what site I’m visiting. In the summer I went around it on back roads. It used to bother me to see her car there / not see it there. Over time while I still notice her rather unique car parked there, it doesn’t (really) bother me.

    I think over time, ESPECIALLY with no contact, that we become meh about them, their lives etc. I do also know from long divorced chump friends that a certain amount of pain will always remain. And TBH – I feel a smidgin of karma at the fact that I am still living the life that she had worked so hard for.

    BT

    • “I feel a smidgin of karma at the fact that I am still living the life that she had worked so hard for” Ha. I know I still have work to do as a chump because I sometimes feel a smidgin of guilt over the same thing. He chose to leave that all behind, however, so I guess he is happier without it.

      • Hell I love the fact that I stayed here in the mountains in France and the Twat moved to a house back in the US right next to the airport. Even if he doesn’t miss me or the kids he misses that view.

  • I get it. My ex moved near me and I have to pass by his house on my way to work every day. Yes, I could take a different route, but it would take twice as long and I am usually running late anyway.

    He lives in his grandmother’s house, which in actuality is a beautiful home, when they were living. Him and OW have now turned this home into “Sanford and Son”. I am sure his grandmother is haunting it because she HATED OW and now her beautiful home looks like white trash.

    Move if you want to, however, the chances of him moving first is more likely. These people cannot have stable relationships and finances. Just drive by and realize you are too classy to have a purple Cadillac or beat up cars with Hello Kitty stickers that scream “drug mobile!”

  • Mine moved in with his GF on the next block. So I moved to the other side of town. Do I still have to see people we know in common? Yes. Does his GF run the Chamber of Commerce and have her own stool at every local bar? Yes. Does Super Dad only use 3-6 hours of nonconsecutive parenting time a month (if at all?)? Yes. Did Super Dad move from teenagers to tiddlers? Yes.
    What does that mean to me? NOTHING!
    He chose his life. I chose mine and I chose FREEDOM!

  • This is what worries me most:

    “This is my other fear for you — the seductiveness of Permissive Party Parent and teenagers”

    I think your focus really needs to be on your kids and how they are experiencing this “fuck you” from PimpDaddy. Seems like he is giving you some great opportunities to discuss the “neighbor” down the street and how neighbors like that are unsafe and really bring down the neighborhood because of their attitudes/visitors/lifestyle choices.

    I agree that you shouldn’t have to move, but you do need to act and take this opportunity to keep talking positively about their futures and how to not end up like the PimpDaddy on the corner.

    The more you can depersonalize him as their Father and make him more of the nuisance neighbor, the more the kids can mentally distance themselves from him too.

    And, if he is a neighbor breaking the law… don’t be afraid to call the police… as a concerned neighbor.

  • These kinds of decisions are so difficult, and highlight how little is fair or just when dealing with disordered cheats. In an ideal world, the cheater would move/disappear to spare the ex and their children such up close proximity to their selfish, disordered life. But the cheater has shown, time and time again, that he or she will not act in the best interests of anyone but themselves. That means it is the chump that has to do the heavy lifting for the sake of their own sanity, whether that means having to move, to file for divorce, to go no contact, etc.

    I admit that I struggle with the lack of justice. Ultimately, I had to vacate the family home and file for divorce because cheater was “divorced in his mind” and assumed it would be okay for us to continue to live together and co-parent our child while he dated, until he maybe one day got around to putting the house up for sale, filing the paperwork, etc. Who knows how long that would have gone on for? Yet being a super-chump, I actually tried to make that work, thinking he was “in a fog” and we could somehow get past this. Of course, the emotional abuse and devaluation continued to escalate until I realized that this was not an acceptable situation for ME or my child. Meanwhile, the ex has happily moved on, replacing me and erasing the life I thought we had built together. Intellectually, I know I am better off in the long run, but emotionally, the pain of being devalued and discarded like this and then having to be the one to actually take myself out to the curb, because he couldn’t even bothered to do the actual work to be rid of me, still stings.

    • MehBeSoon, big hugs to you. I understand.

      Your story matches mine so closely: “I had to vacate the family home and file for divorce because cheater was “divorced in his mind” and assumed it would be okay for us to continue to live together and co-parent our child while he dated, until he maybe one day got around to putting the house up for sale, filing the paperwork”

      I’m currently in the vacate and file phase.

      Remember, you took out the trash, but you are NOT the trash. Proud of your mighty!

    • You didn’t take yourself to the curb, you moved out of a bad neighborhood to a new one where you can thrive.

      • Thanks for helping me re-frame things. Some days are tougher than others. The past few days I have been processing some very painful truths. It hurts like hell now but it’s part of the process and hopefully will help get me on the road to Meh.

  • I’d move. No house/neighborhood is more important that the ultimate peace of mind of you and your kids. THAT’S the true narrative, no other. Staying put for school is a big issue, but an even bigger issue is the potential baggage this kind of situation can create for you and your kids. Do you really want them being reminded of their dad’s dysfunction on a daily basis? They aren’t stupid. They’ll cop on to a LOT more than you think.

    • in my opinion, teenagers who are reminded of their dad’s dysfunction on a daily basis is actually a GOOD thing. it is only a bad thing if the children are younger then 10/12 and dont understand what is going on. i was always honest with my boys about their dad. i told them that dad had a girlfriend and you dont do that when you are married. my youngest was 8 when we divorced and had a hard time with it. but now he is 13. he has seen his dad’s dysfunction for himself. i did not have to say or do anything except answer my son’s questions and make sure he knew that it was wrong to lie, and steal. i explained to both my boys are good and bad choices and the consequences for making those choices.

      my ex and his troll moved 2 blocks down the street and 2 blocks over. it was hell for me. i made sure i never past by their house. unfortuantly, he made sure he was outside when my teen was walking home from school and made contact with my son (behind my back). the first thing he told my then 14 year old son was “dont tell your mom where i live” (so he was very aware what he was doing both by moving to that house and by stacking out to see my son).. .. it was not a good situation for my son. he tried to follow his dad directions on not telling mom but i could see that it it was eating him up inside. i already knew where dad lived and that son was going over after school every day, i was just waiting for my boy to come to me. .. which only took 4 days. he finally told me the truth, feeling bad that he wasnt doing what dad wanted. .. .. . i took the opportunity to explain how messed up it was for an grown ass adult to put a 14 year old in that position, much less how messed it was for a father to tell a boy to lie to his mom. .. .. i explained that it was not right for dad to do and said that i already knew he was going over to dads. and it did not bother me if that is what my son wanted (it actually bothered the hell out of me but i never let on to either son or the ex).. .. .. after 2 weeks my son saw for himself what a dumbass my ex and his troll really are. he realized how selfish and self centered his dad is (dad never asked how son was doing and was not too interested in my son’s school stories). so he stopped going to dads house after school. .. .. my ex ended up moving even closer to my house. which drove me up the wall. i would have to past by his house to take my boys to school every morning. i purposely did not change my route just for him but it would mess up my whole day.. especially if he was outside when we drove by. .. .. on the flip side, my house is huge. i have 3 city lots of yard and my boys are forever playing outside. i often yell for them to come inside for dinner or to stop jumping off the garage or whatever. i know he and her could hear me yelling and whistling for the boys every evening.

      as much as it bothered me, and stressed me worrying about my boys running over there, it ended up being a good thing since my boys were able to witness dads true behavior and actions without mom having to say a word.

      • just wanted to say that my ex moved within 6 months. they cant stay in one place for long, he cant keep an house or apartment, job, vehicle or phone for any length of time. the OP did not say how long he has been living there but maybe if she waits it out, he will move.

        another thing is to be careful with the children, they know dad is living that close and probably have questions on why doesnt dad visit/want them. the OP did not say how old her kids were but it can screw with their little heads and hearts having to see dad’s car and house and thinking dad doesnt want them. i hope the OP explains that it is NOT their fault and dad is a grown man making bad decisions. i also used it as an opportunity to explain to my children how drugs can mess up your life (my ex and his troll are currently hooked on meth and often homeless).. .. my kids were able to witness that first hand with their dad. (not how i wanted my childrens life to be but better to explain real life situations then hide it or lie to them about it).. .. .. also had a discussions on casual sex and std’s.

        on the flip side. .. the troll that the ex left me for, bailed on her own husband and abandoned her own 4 children when her youngest was barely 2 years old. as her children turn to teenagers, they moved in with the troll and the ex, seduced by the lenient rules and party lifestyle. Ex’s girlfriend has no issues with smoking weed with her kids and apparently turns a blind eye to alcohol use as well. it has been 5 years, and my boys have seen how the first 3 of her kids are now all in jail. ironically after moving in with her and the ex. the last 2 kids are the ages of my boys, so one of her kids in jail is barely 15 years old.

        not anything i would wish for any kid but something that the OP needs to be aware of. hopefully her baby daddy will not try to trick her kids to play and party with him and his hello kitty’s.. ..

  • Hey Dream-ish, I can sympathize.

    My cheater left on August 31, 2018.
    He has had four mailing addresses since then.
    **All four were in the same dead-end neighborhood as me.**

    It sucked. It sucked haaaaaard at first.
    I had to pass cheater and schmoopie’s house just to take out the trash. How fucked up is that?

    But you know what?
    I’m glad that he did live next door because he ended up fucking himself over.

    My situation is a little bit different. Our divorce isn’t finalized and we have a preschool-aged child.
    We had our first custody hearing yesterday, and apparently, the referee didn’t take it very well when she found out he lives less than two-hundred feet away and doesn’t see his daughter, changes mailing addresses every other month, and lives with his paramour.

    Yes, it is a shit-sandwich, Dream-ish, but I’d happily eat it and beg for more just to witness karma coming down first-hand again. Maybe you are able to make this situation work out in your favor like I was able to.

    So you have a shitty neighbor? So what. We all have shitty neighbors every now and then. If you choose to move, Dream-ish, it’s because you found the mega-house of your dreams at an unreal price, not because dumbass can’t seem to get his shit out of your life.

    You got this shit, girl. Go live your best life.

  • X moved to a studio apartment with the young gold digger OW in the neighboring city so she could attend grad school that he’s paying for. We have four kids, one who graduated from college 8 years ago and is same age as OW. The other 3 are much younger including my youngest who is 14. X also forfeited any residential time with her and sees her for a dinner once every week or so. Last year he spent 70 hours with her the entire year. In four years she has only spent two overnights with him. Sickening and I feel so bad for her but I also know that he’s on drugs (pot, adderral, tons of alcohol) and is a full blown raging narcissist with BPD so it’s better in many ways that she isn’t exposed to that much. She’s been in therapy for four years with an amazing counselor that she loves. The counselor is a child specialist for kids with cheater abandoning parents.

    I know so many families IRL and on this site where the cheater abandoned their kids. I wonder why there aren’t more published studies on this topic. There should be— it would help those who don’t believe this is yet another predictable part of the narcissist personality and is not “alienation” as many cheaters accuse chumps of in divorce proceedings.

    Are there any psychology-research folks reading this thread that are studying this phenomenon? I’d love to hear about it.

  • the picture he presents to the world is, “I want her more than she wants me.” That should be a great turn-on for all his future women encounters.

    • Danni Smith- THANK YOU! This makes so much sense to me. Along with the image of being close in proximity (lazy way of looking like a parent) I have often thought “he just can’t make it on his own without me being near…”.
      Now I can add your view. I’m sure the hookers don’t care where I live but anyone he wants a serious relationship with will.
      Thank you. 🙂

  • A lot of these fuckwits will force their unwanted presence onto you after you get away from them.

    You shut him out, he made it so that you have to drive by his house now.

    In his mind he’s “showing you”. “Ignore ME will she? Then I’ll move to the entrance of her neighborhood and MAKE her notice me!”

    All you can do is uphold your end of NC and keep ignoring him.

    I told my ex never to contact me again. We have no children, mutual friends, or shared financial interests. There is no reason for him to contact me except to force his unwanted presence onto me.

    I dumped him 3 years ago, and never heard a word from him. Maybe he tried but I blocked all means of contact I could think to block.

    But earlier this month he contacted me on a social media app. He sent a message saying “This is (fuckwit), I hope you’ve been well”. I dismissed the notification without opening the message.

    They can’t help but force their presence onto you. Because any reaction is kibbles. And just being socially inappropriate by attempting contact or forcing their unwanted presence onto you is also kibbles.

    They won’t respect NC, so you have to enforce it as much as you can and then ignore them when they try and force their way in.

  • Unless there is only one neighborhood in the entire town (it happens), you may have the option of moving to a different neighborhood within the same High School district. This would improve your situation without causing too much stress on the older child(ren).

    The younger children may have to change grade or middle schools… but that’s temporary. They will make new friends, but it wouldn’t be difficult to stay in touch with their old friends too, and it’s highly probably that all the friends will be together again when they attend HS.

  • I stayed in the marital (but really only for a couple of years as we had recently moved cross country) home so the kids would not have to be uprooted and moved again. It is a good place to be for the kids (and me) for various reasons that outweigh any weirdness from having shared it with ex for a little while. He doesn’t live nearby and we aren’t NC anyway because of the kids. I am lucky that I can stay there without being triggered. I probably would move, however, if he moved down the block with Schmoopie.

    I absolutely did spend some serious money to go get a new pool membership, however, so that I wouldn’t be forced to drive past her house and see his car in her driveway every time I went to the pool. I put up with that for the summer we were divorcing because he gaslighted me into thinking I was being petty for wanting to change pools. That pool sure was convenient for him. If I was there with the kids it was so easy to duck over from Schmoopie’s house, say hello, bring popsicles and play good Dad. Screw that. I learned my lesson. We now go to a new pool a long way away from her house and he has to make an effort to spend time with his kids.

    Oh yes, and last summer that pool got flooded out and had to close for the season so ha! (her house also got flooded but I actually felt bad for her as much as I dislike her – I was only slightly smug about ex’s car getting flooded out because it was parked there).

    • Good for you that you were strong enough to do that. I wish I could. I am unable to stay in the marital home without being triggered. He had started with his whore before we even moved in and was with her the whole time we lived in it, until he got caught. I also have too many memories of his emotional abuse here. I only moved to it for his sake in the first place, and I busted my ass renovating it because he was so lazy. I gave up a beautiful home and a small town lifestyle I adored (I despise city living) for him because he wanted a shorter commute, he said. It was only a half hour commute, FFS. I now know it was really that he wanted to be closer to bars to go drinking and look for women. My “reward” for what I gave up for him was a cold-hearted discard and no gratitude whatsoever. The devaluation had already happened long before the move, but I didn’t know it. So I am leaving this mausoleum. Luckily, I don’t have kids in school. I am in awe of people who can stay in a home they were abused in. What mightiness.

  • I moved with both of my kids, but we managed to stay in the same school district so my Dear Son (with Aspergers) could finish his last year of HS out in an environment he was comfortable with. I put my daughter in private though, so that after that year we would have more flexibility.
    Maybe theses are options to consider?

  • Move. If you have 4 children, I’m guessing at least one of them is male, and at least one will end up a rebellious teen. Having their father’s free-wheeling life style just down the road is going to mess up a child who fits either category–boys will use their father as a role model OR hate the father for his behavior & take it out on you; rebellious children (often a middle child) will also gravitate toward the no-rules-at-dad’s-house lifestyle and (at least temporarily) be attracted to that lifestyle or “fun” dad. My recommendation is based on knowing many, many stories from CN about how kids respond to a divorce.

    There’s risk of the above happening even if you move, but at least you reduce the proximity.

    • That’s a great point. I advised her not to move because it would give the fuckwit the power over her he wants, but you’re right.

      • I am normally with you on the side of “take back X” when it comes to not giving a fuck what the cheater does or where he/she lives. However, dynamic changes with kids involved.

  • My ex did this. Then he used to “randomly” bump in to me in local places. I later found out that he would go on to all the places I usually went looking for me. It was very annoying and totally manipulative in his part.

    Luckily my fuckwit makes a lot less money that I do and eventually could no longer afford to stay in my neighborhood. He moved in with someone other Chump who lives no where near me.

    If anyone were to ask me for advice about a similar situation I would say to move. You have no idea how much it’s actually dragging you down until they are gone.

    And it’s not a good idea to have him so close to your kids that they can walk over. You don’t want them exposed to that crap. The eldest can take the bus or you can get up earlier and drive him. It’s not worth the stress and risk having him so close.

    And who cares about Kibbles? He’s getting them now knowing you have to drive past his place.

  • My narc-ish father ghosted my brother and I when we were in high school. He lived in the same school district about 5 minutes from my mother’s home. It hurt knowing that he didn’t care that much about us to make contact, to remember birthdays or only see us at the holidays. I can’t imagine having to see his house, his car and her car every day. That’s a different pain.

    Talk to your kids, ask them how they feel. Maybe NC and distance would be good for the whole family.

  • I know it’s hard, but try to see the humor in the situation. After all, if it weren’t for your past with him, you’d laugh at this loser and his pathetic party palace. Drive on by, chuckling at the pimp mobiles and ugly, funeral house. Don’t let this fucktard force you to move. That’s what he’s trying to do, so he can feel powerful and central. You rarely have to actually see him, so leave him to his laughably appropriate funeral home, his whores, and his druggie parties. With that lifestyle, he’ll be sick before too long and die young. Bonus; he can have his funeral at his own home! 😉 That will be a funeral you and your kids won’t be attending, because by the time they reach the age of majority, they’ll likely have completely jettisoned him from their lives and not give a shit about him. Your mantra could be; “Dude’s a douche and he’s gonna die” and you can chant it as you drive by. Sorry you had to go through that hell, but you are out the other side, so don’t let him pull you down.

  • Even if you were to move is no guarantee he wouldn’t follow. I really have no idea why cheaters want to stay close to their former chump/kids. I guess it’s another form of cake. It’s more of what CL says in that abandoning the chump/family isn’t so much of a stretch since they were never fully in it anyway.

    This finally made some since to me knowing while Dr. Cheaterpants was married to me and participating somewhat with our kids, he was always looking for an out. When he found the first out, it wasn’t quite the sparkly dream he thought it would be and begged back. Then left years later for yet another schmoops and now I know there were at least 2 others in between there.

    After he moved out, he was looking at really big, expensive houses in my area for him and schmoops. Really? Just why? You’re not part of a family just by being in the near vicinity. Since I live in an older part of town, there wasn’t quite the selection so him and schmoops moved out into a very popular subdivision with huge McMansions. Thank goodness!!

    A coworker’s husband left her and kids for her wannabe gold digger acquaintance. The coworker remarried and built a new home with her husband and their kids. Her cheater ex and schmoops built a home behind them in the same subdivision. I really just don’t understand. But I didn’t understand the cheating either.

  • My kids x wife moved a 1/4 mile away from me and the kids too. We see all her boyfriends visit, yet she rarely if ever visits the kids. Matter of fact it’s been seven months so nice my son saw his mom. Somehow it’s his fault that he caught her banging two of his wrestling coach’s

  • These cheaters are all the same. My ex fuckwit moved to another town which is great, however he still drives to my town to use my pharmacy just to save a few dollars so he can waste it on schmoopie. Fuckwit still has not come to the conclusion that driving a large truck for half an hour cancels out any savings and he rarely sees our sons. Anyhow, loved this article.

  • You could move, but there’s nothing to stop him from following you again. I suggest going with your gut and letting your kiddo(s) finish out school where you are. We all know that fuckwits get bored easily and like change for the sake of change. Chances are, he’ll eventually move.

  • Maybe it’s not an either/or thing.

    What I mean is, you could talk with the kids about what kind of place you’d choose to fit the needs of the new shape of your at-home family, then look around together to see what’s out there in your area. Maybe you’ll move, maybe you won’t, but you get to keep an open mind and even get excited about possibilities as a family, which may breathe new life into things in unexpected ways.

    That way if you move, it’s forward, not away.

    As far as what the cheater thinks of your moving, it becomes irrelevant if you are moving for yourself and the kids and not because of him.

    Just a thought for the thought bucket.

    • I agree Amiisfree. LTD, you have to make sure you are running to something and not running from something. Any move would have to be to a strategic location though because there is nothing to stop him from setting up camp in your new community. I would definitely move, although I would hate the thought of giving him the satisfaction of uprooting my life because of him.

      • Dear Amiisfree and Rachel’sDone

        I agree 100% I want to move for me and the children. Not for anyone or any other reason. I have been discussing a move with the children for awhile. Different neighborhoods and keeping them in the same private schools. Pointing out that a smaller house would allow us to travel and experience more things in this big beautiful world. They are slowly getting on board with this idea. Positive thinking and enjoying the journey and all I have to learn from it along the way. Thank you for your support.

  • Dear living. I would start looking for a house in the same school district. Hopefully you are not in a really small town. Start looking seriously and I bet you could find something. I understand not wanting to uproot your oldest. It would be another major loss and stability and friends is important especially since the X behavior was very damaging. Yes, I agree you can ignore him but I believe he is also f! $@$#/ with you by moving close. Keep it very quiet and look. I think it is hurtful to your kids to have him that close. Good luck

  • Yes CN….We might all be in the same shit sandwich. I do not believe in coincidence. This house was for sale at the perfect time he needed to move out. At first, I thought, “Why?”. It was so hurtful for the kids to drive by every day and see daddy’s car there, but not at their games or events. He is such a good liar on top of it….the best. (His own mother will tell you). He would tell us he was travelling…nope….daddy’s car is in the driveway. He would beg me to come back and that there was no one else……Hello Kitty. Later found out the HHIC – (head hooker in charge)- is named Kat! Ha! Clever hookers they are. And I would like to add that I am in Texas, the purple pimped out caddy had spinner wheels and a huge long horn nailed to the hood. You can’t make this shit up!
    Safety- While traveling, about a year ago, my video cameras on my house caught a confused Charlie trying to break into “his home to take a shower”. Yes, MY cameras, my children, myself and the home surveillance company that called (at 1pm) all witnessed Charlie walking around my house checking all the doors wearing 1 flip flop and carrying a handle of vodka. Crazy? Yes. But, God was letting me see his true colors. Front row! And unfortunately/fortunately, my children are seeing it also. The cops were called and I have had no more need to call the cops since. The last thing a crackhead wants are the cops knocking on your door.
    Rebellious Teen-My oldest is going through a rebellious stage. Thank God he knows everything. (eye roll) He keeps trying to run to daddy’s house every time he doesn’t like one of my rules. I have had to “man up” and tell him he can hate me and my rules all he wants, but I am his warden until he is 18. That this is what all attorneys and the judge decided was best for all of us. I have had to send legal letters to Charlie reminding him of his rights he chose with the children, just to stop Party Dad’s influence. He is making good grades and also made the baseball team. Good kid….teen phase.
    Conclusion- I can move now and hope my oldest gets the rules and doesn’t run to daddy which is so much closer to school than where I would move….. Or I can stay until he is 18 (18 months) and hope by then my son matures. Once the oldest is 18/senior/done with HS…..I’m outta here. Sorry Charlie, I have 3 other children to guard and protect and a fabulous life to live.

    THANK YOU, CN, for all of your comments. I love the feedback and support.
    Living the Dream-ish

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