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Dear Chump Lady, He puts the OW phone to say ‘goodnight’ to our child

Dear Chump Lady,

I kicked my husband out two weeks ago after discovering his affair with a woman 20 years older than me. He’s now moved in with her, and within a week they had a bedroom set up for my son and are planning on keeping him several nights each week.

My STBX has been handing the phone over every night during his goodnight call so the OW can talk to our 5-year-old son before bed. She asks him about his day, says how much she misses him, and can’t wait to see him again. The woman has known my son for less than a week and my husband is already starting to refer to her as his ‘step mom.’

Oh, also, I’m not allowed to meet her or her 14-year-old son who lives there as well.  

I’m relieved my husband is gone; he was a miserable spouse. He’s her problem now. But I can’t deal with listening to her on the phone with my son every night.

Can you please shine some light on the best way for me to respond this? I’m really shaken up!

Thanks for all you do!

Hang Up Mom

Dear HUM,

I think your best response comes from a lawyer. I’m not a lawyer and can’t give you legal advice, but if it were me, I’d want a temporary custody order in place from a judge that spells outs introductions to “new” (cough… cough…) partners and living arrangements.

Courts don’t give a shit about your broken heart, but they do purportedly care about “best interests” of the children — so I would not document how distressing this is to you, but to your son. He’s just a kindergartner! I imagine he’s pretty confused and upset. Let’s hope the judge sees this “meet your new mommy!” bullshit as the traumatic, unnecessary garbage that it is. (Really OW, you need to inflict your pathetic grandma ass on this innocent kid? A WEEK after he loses his family?)

Kudos to you for throwing the cheating bum out. Looks like he misses cake — so what better way to torture you for kibbles than triangulate with your child? OW loves a triangle of course too. WATCH ME BE A BETTER MOMMY THAN YOU! I CARE about his day! Were there graham crackers? I HAVE GRAHAM CRACKERS! CINNAMON graham crackers! I bet you buy generic. I WON your HUSBAND and now I shall WIN OVER YOUR CHILD!

Yeah, whatevs Hag Face. No you won’t. Anyway, your job, HUM, is to resist the bait. No one can make you a hypotenuse if you don’t let them. Keep doing your sane parent job, because daddy and that weird old lady he hangs out with have given leave of their senses. That’s what you want to telegraph to your kid — you’ve got this. You’re confident in your mothering. And you’re not threatened by the antics of two idiots.

Your son needs you to be the stable parent now. The steady person who demonstrably cares about him. Children know the difference between words (Goodnight! Graham crackers!) and actions. They know who shows up and who doesn’t. Focus on what you DO control — you and the example you set.

You’re being remarkably mighty the way you’re navigating this, throwing him out two WEEKS after discovery! And now I’m asking for yet more mightiness. But as you face off in court over custody, it’s really important to not lose your composure and to bring your parenting A game. (As I’m sure you always have.)

Trust me, these fuckers are trying to throw you off. To show how unstable you are, and what Fabulous People they are. Give them nothing to work with. No reactions, except through your lawyer.

The Schmoopie impression management is in high gear now. They need to demonstrate that hurting the collateral little people was worth Twu Wuv. OW needs to demonstrate that she’s Awesome and not a convenient crash pad or a hole to fuck. (Hey, my wife threw me out! I LOVE YOU!) Your soon-to-be-ex needs to make you out to be the Bad Person so he’s not such a pathetic loser by contrast.

So what better way to unnerve you than to bring the Pick Me Dance to your child? Message sent — You won’t dance for me? You can dance to win your child’s affection!

Hell no. Mama doesn’t dance.

You know who you are. And you know what they are. Now tell a lawyer and see them in court.

There’s no controlling all the stupid shit he’ll get up to after you divorce, or the idiots he’ll invite into his life or put on the phone. But there is sane parenting, court orders — and hanging up.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I am so sorry you’re going through this, but you are awesome and with Chump Lady’s advice you totally have this in hand.

    • I’d have concerns over the 14 year old son. Who is he, is he alone with your son, does he share a room?

      • That is my concern as well. My lawyer is running a background check on the OW, I’m wondering if he can run one on her son as well? At his age, he could be violent or sexually abusive. I did have a chat with my 5 YO about what’s appropriate and not appropriate touching and what to do if someone touches or hurts him.

        • Since your son is only 5, you can put his dad’s phone calls on speaker and stay silent until the OW comes on. Then hang up up. That will shut this shit down (STSD) fast.

          You have the right to refuse to let your son talk to a strange woman while he’s in YOUR care. Just as you can control when and how long he speaks to his father (not during dinner, after bath time when he’s peacefully sleepy, etc).

          I kicked my cheater out when our youngest was 5. She took it the worst of the three. If your dear boy is like my daughter, he’s confused and afraid since he has no idea what’s going on. Because he is too young to express it doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel his world turned upside down. You have the right and responsibility to protect him.

          Good luck HUM. You’re mighty.

          • These people are dangerous – make sure you start documenting everything! And tell them they’re on speaker so they can’t use it against you later – assume they’re always up to something – because they are!

          • You’d think that because it’s perfectly reasonable. The judge in my case decided the OW had a “close and loving relationship” with my children after about 5 minutes of her testimony and a 15 minute conversation with them. They’re 8 and 10. She’s nicely manipulative of them, so they like her. At the time of her testimony, she’d lived with my ex for 18 months and he’d been fucking her for at least 3 years.

            I’m also not allowed to monitor their calls with their father or that the Bonus Imposter…not that I was before, but he threw that in for good measure. I’d be careful of that.

          • Completely agree with Sunrise. And I record ALL of my kids conversations with their father. I may not keep them all, but it either keeps him in line or I can use it against him.

      • I had identical thoughts when I read that part about the 14 year old. And would the 14 yo be used as a “babysitter”? Have time alone? Share a room?

        You sound like a super smart and savvy mom, HUM. I’m sure you will address it, and your mind was already headed there!

      • I would definitely background check the OW and her son, if possible. Give any info you find to your lawyer. She sounds like a miserable hag! Your main job now is protecting your son. Thank God you’re rid of your loser husband!

        • Check our Facebook to see if the son has a page…might give you fuel for the lawyer.

  • There is no court order to say you have to even allow the conversation to happen. It’s only been a short time, let him talk on speaker phone, hi – I love you and goodnight ……. click! Far more than he deserved! I’m all about healthy for kids and this thing won’t last.

  • I don’t have children, but nothing makes me sicker than these absolutely disgusting fools who think it’s okay to immediately introduce the AP to the kids. These cheaters really do effectively become insane.

  • Hugs to you HUM. Sucks big time. Thankfully my kids had their own cell phone so I didn’t have to endure. Perhaps your son can talk to his dad in another room and hang up when he’s done. Or you can put your earbuds in once u hand the phone over to your son. It is difficult if not impossible to control what goes on in the other parents house. CL is right. A court might grant the “no intros to significant others” but they may not. Judges are cheaters too. TRUST ME! I had one! Do your best to not be in the room when ur son talks to dad and his crypt keeper. Hugs ((((())))))

  • How I wish I had thrown the bum out as quickly as you! Keep that ass-kicking attitude in your holster handy…you’ll need it. You’ve got the power!

    And haha….Velvet Hammer PI found out through a cosmetology license search that STBX moved Schmoopie to town behind my back. I had the apartment address a few hours later….and guess what? She moved a week after I found out. Why do I care? We aren’t divorced yet so our money has not yet been separated, so it’s on to discovering who paid for the apartment and for how long. Hellooooo, Super Lawyer!

    The gloves are off.

    Of course, everybody here knows the Whack A Mole game, but the power I have! She’s under another rock now for sure, but it’s really fun to turn rocks over and watch the cockroach scurry.
    Enjoy your sparkly dog turd, Craigslist Hooker!

    I’m going to borrow some of your attitude today for the next round of the game. THANK YOU for the inspiration!!

    PS….Scotland was awesome. We were on the grounds of Mellerstain House.

    • PS…do you have to allow her to talk to him? He’s five…I’d be ending the call after talking to Dad.

      • Well done Velvet Hammer. Don’t know if you know the scene, but in the Lion King at one point Scar is “playing with his food” (a rat). You make me think of Scar playing with your cockroach STBX!

        • YES!

          How cool I have the power to light a fire under her ass and make her jump.


      • I agree, as soon as he says goodby to dad I’d take the phone away. Let her talk to silence. without saying a word and then hang up.

        If he calls back ignore. And I’d get a temporary order immediately stating no sleepovers with another in the home.

        It’s so disturbing that these creatures want your life. I was approached (harsssed) by the OW a week after DDay stating she was now a grandmother, meaning my granddaughter who I’ve raised with her dad, my son-in-law.

        I sent copies of her arrest record to the other grandmother immediately and let that speak for itself.

        And this OW will insert herself into your divorce, count on it. Be sure you have all financial documents to protect yourself. I’m hoping you’ve filed.

        • The OW in my case was even more interested in my sons, than she was in my husband! She tried to get to know them, but the younger two (22 and 30) absolutely hated her, but my oldest fell for her dumsel in distress routine for a while! He was doing her yard work, and moving stuff, YUK! He finally saw through it, or got sick of her. She’s a hysterical weirdo, which I’m sure gets tiresome. It was so hard for me, but I waited it out, and told him she was a toxic woman. Not very meh of me, but I did the best I could!

        • My ex brought the OW every time we had to go to court! My two adult children wanted to come with me, but I refused, saying it was between me and him. It was very hurtful that he thought he had to bring her along. Of course, she had already been divorced 3 times, so she might have had more experience than his lawyer!

    • Thanks, Velvet Hammer! I’m finding my strength by taking action–hiring a lawyer and cutting him off financially, as he is no longer contributing. He stole my credit card and got $1000 of tattoos, claimed our son on his taxes (leaving me with a measly $15 refund to his $3000 refund). Also–he’s unemployed and living off of credit cards.

      • ….and ditto on beware the 14 year old son.
        With a wingnut mother, he has to be handled with caution and eyes open for your son’s safety.

      • Take care of that child deduction on taxes in your settlement, too. Let your lawyer run him over, then back up and do it again.

        • Make sure all court-ordered support is taken directly out of his pay by the county/state. Then if he is in arrears, any tax refund goes to you.

    • Velvet Hammer, I too equate OW to cockroaches. Funny how our minds can work when we’re going through this hell – I came up with an OW/Cockroach comparison that makes me laugh every time I think about it! It’s crude, but so is infidelity:

      The Difference Between the Other Woman and Cockroaches

      First the similarities:

      1) “Cock”roach

      2) Both have been around since Biblical times, and will most likely be around ’til the end of days.

      3) They both spend a lot of their lives in hiding, and prefer to operate under cover of darkness.

      4) They scatter when the lights go on.

      5) Lots of people are affected by them but most are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it.

      The only difference?

      It’s not illegal to exterminate roaches.

  • CL gives accurate advice here and some judges might enter an order in your favor on this if you’re willing to pay $3,000-$6,000 to file the motion asking for it. Enforcing such an order, though, is a different matter. The reality is that there is very little chumps can do to control how the cheater plays house after separation, absent a threat of physical danger to the child. You’re not going to sound another $3,000-6,000 to file a motion to hold them in contempt for talking on the phone to his child.

    (((HUM))) I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I did as well and it sucked. My cheater ex wife lived in my old home with an AP and had my kids half the time, playacting like our family had just . . . “evolved.” But eventually the kids figure out how to deal with the cheater and their rotating squad of flakes and frauds—perhaps with the help of a good family counselor made available by you.

    • Great advice. Not everyone can afford to file a motion, but I figured as long as she’s got a lawyer to divorce him with and has to draw up a custody agreement anyway…

      But there is the matter of enforcing it, and no one wants to be the fuckwit police. It has to rise to a level of imminent harm.

      That said, eons ago, when I went through custody trials, the judge I got cared VERY much about sleepovers and introducing partners — and he put such wording in an order (I didn’t ask and neither did my ex). I suppose it depends on your judge. And again, there is enforcing it.

      Always document what you do for your child and what your ex is doing if you have to go to court.

      • When I went through this, there was no need to “file a motion,” as, like CL’s case, it was inserted into the custody agreement itself. The time charged for it was pretty much negligible (if there is such a thing when dealing with lawyers). My ex could’ve fought it, of course, but she would’ve had to pay for the extra hours of lawyer time, too.
        Hopefully, this can happen in HUM’s state or province without having to go through the expensive process nomar did.

      • Agreed CL. I’ve sat in on judges you were incredibly concerned with the impact the new household was having on a child. I’ve heard a judge say to a father who had set up shop with his new lady friend “you can’t just play family with your new girlfriend and your son, there needs to be a custody arrangement and a suitable living environment.” In that case, there was a concern about supervision and other aggresive children in the home.

        So, yea, it can cost you, but if at all possible it’s well worth the money.

  • My kids were older but the Twat had already introduced them to his whore before he had the decency to come home and tell me he was cheating. I guessed of course because he didn’t come home for 6 weeks. But what a position to put my kids in. As for our chump, that is awful and I agree with CL that he is trying to triangulate you. Go for that court order – I hope you get it!

  • The ow wants your son, or appears to want him, but your can’t met her, or her child. With the ow/om I think its always double standards. The ow may appear to be interested in your child, but probably is more interested in you, I wonder who decided that the ow should speak to your son. Shes a flying monkey

    • Yeah, I think I’d put my foot down and say no talking to the OW before you get to meet her.

    • Why wouldn’t your husband want you to meet them? If they were anything to be proud of he would be making sure you ran into them to activate the “pick me dance” sequence. Conclusion: She is probably a Sea Hag & the kid is an embarrassment as well.

  • Get a lawyer. Go to a family therapist. The therapist can explain to your idiot stbxh the turmoil and confusion this is causing for your son. Coming from a professional he may listen and understand. Many custody agreements require at least a year before another partner is introduced. Get a lawyer today.

    • And, address the fact that you are not allowed to meet the 14 year old son. Not that you would really know if he is good or bad based on one meeting but a 14 year old boy could be very dangerous to a 5 year old. At 14 he is being introduced to a lot of stuff by peers and he is going through puberty. 14 year old boys are notorious for making poor decisions. I wouldn’t want him left alone with 5 year old which is very likely to happen. You could get that in a custody order too. They may ignore it but if 5 year old told you he was alone with him, you would have recourse.

      • I second the advice about the OW’s son. But I would, also, present this situation from another perspective. The OW just possibly allowed a predator (your husband) in her house.

        Go very low contact. They are loving this triangle.

        • I thought the same thing. She literally knows nothing about my husband other than whatever lies he’s been feeding her, and she was happy to move him and my son in to her home along with her young teenage son! Shows very poor judgment on her part.

          • HUM, I see above you already have your lawyer involved. You are taking this on like a boss! I would suggest setting up an email specifically for communication with your husband. No phone calls between you and him. This saved my sanity. You are so mighty!

          • You need to question why you cant met her or her son. Something doesn’t seem right.

      • Ugh Alert; May be using 14 year old as babysitter so they can have endless screwathon bedroom time.

    • Involving a therapist early on is the absolutely best advice. A judge doesn’t care about your hurt feelings, but s/he will listen to the testimony of a qualified therapist. Do not go saying,”Look how awful X is.” Instead, truthfully explain that there are many confusing changes going on in your son’s life and you need expert assistance in helping him navigate these changes.

      Please make this statement be truthful, because you unfortunately have many years of dealing with this jackass and his mother, er, girlfriend. The judicial system is now very heavily tilted toward “shared parental responsibility,” at least where I live. I personally believe this change in the law is being used by many to avoid their responsibilities, but that is just my opinion.

      It becomes very important that you show you are doing your best to help your son process these changes, but you also must protect him from harm caused by introducing a stranger to your son as “mom” (of any sort). A trained professional can be so helpful in educating judges about what is really going on and how it is affecting (or not) your son.

      Do all of this out of love for your son, not out of spite for your X. I have learned in my long life that intentions, both good and bad, do matter. In the end, all we have is the knowledge that we did our best, with love.

      • I completely agree, Violet. Fifty shades of fucked up for a 5-year old to think he has two moms when the divorce isn’t even final. They do not have the cognitive capacity to understand that situation fully, nor the emotional intelligence to sort it out. Furthermore, such a confusing situation could affect his moral development if not sufficiently explained.

        Cheaters are bad enough when they mindfuck adults; the ones who mess around with their children’s heads (above and beyond the divorce itself) should be pilloried.

  • How is making a six year old call some weird lady stepmom after 2(!) weeks of his family dissolving ok in any world? How is this NOT abuse? Why does the legal system not offer protections? Why is there no system in place to help us protect our littles in this? Maybe daddy shouldn’t get his nightly phone call if that behavior continues. Maybe you just send a pre recorded video goodnight.

    Hang in there, HangUpMom, like CL says play the long game and just keep demonstrating that you are the same parent and your son will understand that you are the safe place.

  • HUM-
    You’re an incredibly strong human being, reading your post filled me with rage and disgust.
    CL is spot on. This whole “not allowing you” to meet people that are in your son’s life-that doesn’t fly. Hell, it’s a widely accepted practice to meet the parents of any school friend, prior to going over to their house, birthday parties, etc.- what a repulsive power play by that shitbag.
    Documenting these exchanges and demands for the legal process sounds like the move.
    Big hugs to you and your son-he has a badass mother.

  • Yes, definitely check this with a lawyer asap to see what the custody laws are in the country/state where you live; e.g. where I am, it can successfully be argued that children under 7 will be better raised in a single household rather than the default 50/50 shared custody.

    So you have a potential window of opportunity to get custody of your son and your X just visitation rights. Chances are that in a couple of years OW (if still around) won’t care anymore and even if your X wanted to share custody you can then argue that it will be disruptive to the established routine/home-life of DS5

  • My Ex did this during my divorce with OM #3 who she was crafting to be my replacement.
    I hated it but my lawyer said that unless his background shows him to be a danger to the children, no one cares. Unfortunately OM #3 became stepdad to my kids a year later and she insisted that they call him “Dad” and tried to get them to call me by my first name which I put the kibosh on quickly.

    HUM, I’d have a background check done on the OW and if she has a criminal past then your lawyer can usually get the judge to do something otherwise it is sadly another shit sandwich you have to eat.

    • I hope you are right, but in my state a criminal past was irrelevant (according to my lawyer) as the perpetrator’s crimes had not involved children. It was just dandy for this recently released felon to live with my EX while he had custody.

      The ugly truths we have to learn to negotiate include: most people aren’t technically criminals; most criminal behavior isn’t going to end in jail sentences or loss of custody; and most custody violations are not even perceived as criminal.

    • She tried to get your OWN KIDS to call you by your first name??

      She is INSANE!!!

      This is a new level of crazy, and I’ve been reading Chump Lady for almost two years. Who ARE these people?

      • Narcissistic sociopaths “replace” people easily. I have learned this through bitter experience.

        My Ex decided that she no longer could “control” me thus replaced me with OM #3.
        He immediately in her mind was the kid’s Dad and I was to shut up, let her do what she wanted and write checks for whatever she decided about the kids.

        I of course fought her on all of that and I became the “rotten no good SOB who abandoned his family”. In her telling these days, OM#3 is a saintly sort who is very religious who came along after I supposedly abandoned her and the kids. Forgotten is that I proved they were having an affair and he moved in with her and the kids less than a week after Dday in the house that I was paying for. Of course those are all vile lies don’t you know. ????

        Ex has mental issues for sure but she knows exactly what she is doing, I’d call that evil rather than insane.

        • Mmm the stbx discarded me and our 3 teens and I could NOT understand how he could do that after 23 years with me. That sounds arrogant but there was a hella strong emotional bond from my side, apparently not much from his. I have suspicions that he is BPD or maybe even covert narcissist from his actions and FOO story but he either won’t spare the effort to find out, or likes himself as he is. I am slowly becoming indifferent but it can be hard to not understand my own story!

    • That is crazy!!!!!

      Here in NY, I could not get my lawyer to put in the agreement about my kids not meeting the MOW/her kids/having sleepovers together for a year as he attorney said, “How are u going to police that?”
      I did get put in the agreement that they cannot can anyone else mom or dad!!!!

      The OW is still married and lives with my ex- husband. Her boys are 3 & 5 and split 50/50 between households. My twins are 12 and it’s hard on them to be split 50/50.

      These cheaters care about nothing but themselves.

  • I’m not a lawyer either BUT….

    No way would I have STBx and/or OW intruding into my evenings or weekends. If he wanted to talk to his son every night then he should have kept it in his pants.

    He needs to man up and be a grown up when sorting out the custody arrangements with you….not himself, ow and you. He can chat to his son on his days and perhaps special occasions when with you or, at a push, if your son wishes to that day (personally if its requested I would employ exciting diversion tactics)

    Two weeks and youre already mighty – kudos – so time for boundary enforcing me thinks!

    Do let us know when you win this battle – it keeps us all motivated.

    The entitlement that he can interfere with your day with some old bit of rip is astounding.

    • Right on, totally agree. He cheats, leaves and you have to jump to his tune at night? Nope! For your child’s sake you tell him daddy said goodnight, period. Don’t answer that phone. Not your problem anymore.

  • HUM is a mighty badass for doing this well this soon…I was still a waffling, vomiting, dancing fool at this point.

    I am of the opinion that most Cheaters and APs are selfish enough and shallow enough that they will soon tire of the plaything that is the other persons kids and they will suddenly have fabulous things to do and the time they fought for will be handed back to you without a shot fired. (Yea, I know, big talk from someone who never got divorced).

    In my case, I still have an image of Susan of Seattle who showed up as an invited guest at Nowdeadcheaters military retirement ceremony (with a fake date). She sought out DD who was 9 at the time. OW brought DD one of those plate-sized lollipops that no human ever finishes before dropping them on the carpet. I didnt have enough proof then to warrant a “get your filthy scales off my daughter you whore” in the middle of the party. She never made any overatures towards our then-teen sons…I think she hoped they would sort of just go away.

    CLs advise is great…you stay sane and get the divorce settled and give those 2 enough rope to hang themselves.

    • Ho-worker turned ho-wife once sent me a text gushing about how much she loved my children. Now she’s rarely home when they visit their dad and skips vacations with them. My ex had to send several messages to my kids, the last one being a threat, to get them to call her on her birthday. The love didn’t last long.

      • Ew. My newhusband has a daughter and I decided I would allow my feelings to grow for her at a natural, unforced rate. I didnt tell her I love her and I dont try to “mother” her. Her 14 yr old self felt foreign to me when me & her dad were first together and I find myself liking her more and more all the time. I now genuinely hope for her goodwill and want the best for her. I am sure I love her after almost 6 years with her dad..I also like her adult self more than her adolescent self. Im glad I didnt gush a bunch of fake love back then (but Im a terrible liar, so it wouldnt have worked anyway)

      • OWife got her guy….doesn’t need to impress his kids or him any longer. If she is not going on vacations with him, even if the kids are present, she has already lost interest.

  • I agree with the advice already posted. Get a court order for custody. But get a therapist too. No matter what that court order says, these kinds of jackasses will violate it, and there is little you can do to enforce it. You need the therapist to help you parent through the situation you end up with not the one your kid should end up with.

    Also, remember, you as the sane parent are playing the long game. The fake phone affection with the faux-step-parent will pass. She’ll get tired of it. The child’s father will get tired of it. Your child will get tired of it. I’m not sure in what order, but this kind of performance just is not sustainable.

    But there will be more crap from the child’s father; so what you are really working toward is helping your child have tools for dealing with all the shenanigans–and the knowledge that you don’t lose your shit when Dad is being a jackass. For this one, you might start by giving your kid an exit strategy: “After you talk to your Dad, kiddo, you can hang up any time you want. Just hand me the phone when you are done.” Don’t bad mouth the faux-step-parent or explain her or say nice things about her. Just make it clear that you support your kid’s choices.

    For what it is worth, although these conversations are being seared into your brain, your child is likely to remember very little of it a few years from now. The voice of a woman he barely knows nattering on endlessly over the phone is less real than the characters on Sesame Street.

    You are brilliant for drawing your own boundaries so quickly and powerfully. If you can teach your child to do this too, you’ll be golden!

    • Good points, Eilowny. HUM–try to parlay this nonsense your X is pulling into sole decision making for medical, psychological, and psychiatric services for you. Your STBX has proven that he has zero sensitivity for the well-being of your child. Fight REALLY HARD for that stipulation; it will be a lifesaver in the end. Other chumps have had their Xs refuse therapy for children, just because they can.

  • HUM,
    Why is your son visiting where the OW lives? Is that required by some law or court order? If dad wants to see him, let him come to your house for VERY SHORT visits (twice a week, if that). I wouldn’t leave your son alone during any phone conversations with dad. And, NO CONTACT with OW – in person or on the phone. Agree with Feelingit — your son should not meet or be with her14 year old son! Get a court order. I don’t think that it will cost thousands to begin this “Stay Away” policy.

    So sorry this is happening to you. Take care of you, so that you can stay strong for your son. Keep him from any Sicko Harm. Give no control to the two abusers. Peace.

  • I don’t get it. Why does your little one have to be in contact at all, much less sleeping over “several” nights a week? Jeebus, it has been TWO WEEKS!

    There would be exactly ZERO contact between my tiny kid and my cheating X, his hag-whore, and a potentially violent/molesting 14 year old until a judge said I HAD TO.

    What is the fuckwit going to do, have you arrested because your child is in his own home with his mother? There is no order requiring this contact and it is just confusing. If necessary because the little one asks, explain to him that daddy has a girlfriend and so he can’t live with you anymore, that he broke his promises. If the little one wants to talk to daddy on the phone you can allow it, but HANG THE FUCK UP if the hag-whore starts talking.

    This is not using the child as a pawn, it is straight up protecting him. PROTECT HIM FROM BATSHIT CRAZY.

    • I just want to speak up on behalf of the 14 year old. It probably isn’t the first time she has done this. He probably isn’t the center of her attention, or even an asterisk. Before assuming the 14 year old is a hormone-driven violent predator, you should be able to meet the boy. (That this isn’t permitted is a big red flag- what is Ex husband up to?)

    • Some really would call the cops and try to have you arrested. My husband called the cops and the ambulance on me when I was pregnant at home with our two year old. I told him I needed my space after I just found out two months prior that he cheated on me and he possibly fathered a child with his mistress at the time. It did not work out according to his plan because the deputies asked me if I wanted to press charges against him for trespassing. My husband was told that if he misuse the service again they would arrest him.

  • WOW, thanks Chump Lady and everyone else for your kind, empowering words and support.

    After stating to my STBXH that I will be hanging up the call if she gets on the phone, I received a text from the OW stating that “she will never overstep her boundaries” and “that I should be truly proud of my wonderful son, who is taking everything in stride”. Pretty sure she overstepped my boundaries when she slept with my husband and set up a bedroom in her home for my son. Also, she has nothing to compare his behavior to, considering her entire “relationship” with my son is based on her participation in destroying his home.

    I didn’t respond but I did screenshot it for my lawyer.

    Thanks again everyone! You’ve made my day!

    • The boundaries she has exhibited so far are a tad loose for my palette.

      You’ll be setting your boundaries not her. not him. not your son. You’ll also be setting your son’s boundaries when he is in your home with you. No discussion.

    • You are documenting! Good work. There is no way to get out of this kind of mess without pain, but it sounds like you are a fantastic example of someone doing everything possible to leave the pain behind as quickly as possible.

    • Go you. Set the boundaries early. Give them an inch they take a mile. Your response to her text is to never text you again or you will file a police report for harassment. Set the boundaries early. Take zero shit. Zero! I didn’t say be a bitch but don’t take the crap they are trying to pass off as normal.

    • Hang Up Mom, you are a legend.

      Yes, block her. You’re Grey Rock now. He doesn’t get to discard you and his responsibility as a father and still play Dad and pretend happy families with his OW.

      Good luck, lovely!! xxx

    • Hang Up Mom, you have been dealt a terrible blow. Good riddance to your F**kwit husband but I deeply sympathize with the situation with your son.

      Definitely disconnect the call if your ex hands the phone to OW. If the ex complains, don’t explain or respond. You are under no obligation to foster a relationship with anyone other than your son’s father. Nor do you have to explain to your ex what you are doing. Why does he get daily phone calls anyway? You have agency here. In the absence of an agreement, you can just tell him he can have his son overnight every other two weeks (standard) and speak to him on the phone twice a week at other times (also standard). Don’t bother with “generous” access – you won’t be thanked for it. Lawyers and therapists say it will “look good” but, given that your ex has no money and is unemployed, you might not be able to get in front of a judge any time soon unless he represents himself.

      A therapist / social worker can help in setting boundaries but they can also be really meddlesome. You don’t want to get one of the ones that think that you should “put the child’s needs first” (which you already do) and be pals with your ex. Choose this social worker very carefully because, as noted above, their opinions will receive quite a bit of weight (more than yours) with a judge.

      You are the full-time parent – you call the shots. It sounds as though you did all the heavy lifting when it comes to parenting and that he wants the OW to do that for him now. Shut that sh*t down from your side. As chump lady said, and it is so true, a child knows who has their back.

      Block that stupid woman from all forms of communication and stay away from any social media involving them. Take lots of pictures of you and your son and put them on the fridge and in his room.

      I am so impressed that you kicked your ex to the curb. If you could do that, you will be able to figure out the rest of the way forward. Do some research into “Cool, bummer, wow” and “grey rock” on this blog. It will be useful to you.

    • Yea, the fact that she has your number is already a major red flag of a problem. Because your ex’s boundaries suck as does his new girlfriend, yours will need to be extremely strong. If I were in your shoes, I’d NEVER text the OW at this stage. Block her number. Until a formal, court certified custody arrangement is made, all communication should go through the father. And in fact, any communication with his new girlfriend may be used against you, depending. Like, if you want to assert that your son cannot stay at her home, but then there’s a record of you and her “working things out” or just communicating, that could cut against your request.

      Obviously, she wants to to set up shop with your kid. It seems like she’s trying to drive this process, but you should be. Your lawyer should be.

      Get that custody order in place. Be no contact with her. And yes, hang up the phone when she gets on it to talk to your son. And be open with him in an age appropriate way (“well, mommy doesn’t know this lady and neither do you and daddy barely does either, so until we are sure she’s a nice lady it’s best to keep a little distance. This is mommy protecting you. It’s confusing but you need to trust that mommy knows the right thing to do here.” etc. etc.)

      And, get your kid in therapy. And consider consulting with a child therapist yourself on the best way to deal with this very intrusive situation. But mostly, do as CL says and be the safe, sane, and stable parent. Engage in zero drama, be matter of fact, respond accordingly. Spend less time telling those 2 what you will do and more time just doing it. Show them that you are a serious person and someone not to be reckoned with. Go full mama bear.

      Good luck. It’s tough because we’re all dealing with our own emotional crap BUT then we gotta logically navigate the practicalities of ending a relationship with a fuckwit. Totally unfair, but necessary.

    • What a noxious cow. And literally who does she think she is. Utterly deluded, so so crazy it beggars belief.

    • “Her” boundaries involve sleeping with a married man, making a room at her house for your son, and finding out your phone number and texting you. Her fucking mantra is “It’s all about me and my needs”.

      Fuck her.

  • You need to get a psychiatrist to see this. This is creepy.
    He is setting the child up to be exploited. Your x has issues of being exploited as a child himself.

  • Private therapy with a child psychologist is a great step.

    In addition:
    If your child is in a public school. Notify the administration about this situation have the admin tell the teacher ( things coming from the top down is most effective.) Hopefully the principle will bring the teacher/specials into the meeting so they can all be on the same page, other times not. Remain neutral, give them only facts, state your concerns and your path forward for your kid only.
    State your problem. Facts only
    State what you are doing at home to help.
    State what you would like them to do about this situation (be aware, monitor)

    They see this very frequently.

    See if they have a qualified school social worker and or school psychologist on staff. For the most part, school HATE and will not be drug into domestic fights, but the staff and classroom teacher should be made aware of the earth shattering new condition the student is dealing with, and be responsive if they see new behavioral issues.

    I am so sorry that you have to deal with this cow shit, but putting your kid first is your goal.

    • *principal. sheesh.
      Document, document, document.

      Also, advise them once and wait for their response. Nothing worse than a parent who constantly contacts the teacher to “add into”. Many times primary teachers extend sympathy and parents take is as “taking sides”. I assure you the side they are on is the childs.

      Be available and responsive.

    • The big issue regarding schools is to alert them that the OW is not a person who can pick up kiddos, attend teacher conferences or make decisions.

  • The CONTROL this guy is trying to have!!! WOW. Personally, I would let him talk to dad, then hang up the phone right after. No speaking to the OW and NO visiting ex/ow until court orders are in place. This poor little guy must be so confused 🙁

  • It’s very eerie when you realize that an OW not only wants your husband, but wants you children as well.

    • I think it’s money. He doesn’t work. Is he trying to establish a 50/50 pattern so he gets child support? See a lawyer and a therapist. And tell the school she is not allowed to pick up or parent.

      She’s probably doing this to play into their new fabulous family life and he’s probably doing the pity party. Just sick. They are just thinking of themselves and not the kid.

  • You’ve definitely got to think LONG GAME here.

    1. Get a lawyer and get the custody agreement and child support in place while you work on the divorce.

    2. As part of custody, you can request the moon – might not get it – but I’d be asking for all kinds of personal details about the aged schmoopie… DUIs?… Employed?… and make sure her 14yo is a good influence since he is in the house and your 5yo is exposed. ASK UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTIONS TO THEM AND ABOUT THEM THROUGH THE LAWYER.

    3. Pick your battles right now… OW and your X and trying to triangulate through your 5yo… no doubt. Don’t play to it. To your child, someone he is being forced to be around is being nice to him… you lucked out… she could’ve been a bitch on wheels to him… just be STABLE and NORMAL to your child… they need that (and will FEEL that more!) right now.

    4. Cry and scream in the shower. Keep your 5yo’s world as stable and consistent as possible because I can guarantee you, it is a rollercoaster at the other house. Can’t think a 14yo is thrilled to have a new “stepdad” moving in along with his 5yo kid every few nights… things in that house are about to get very interesting.

    5. Know what you want and work toward that vigilantly. You want primary custody… do what you need to in order to get it (not ever judge goes for 50/50)…but if you do get 50/50… make the best of it for your child… this is their childhood… they only get one… make it as joyful and stable as possible.

    6. Remember… your fuckwit is a cheater. This won’t be the last time your child is going to be introduced to another woman (stats support this fact). All the more reason that your child needs ONE SANE PARENT. You can do it… many of us chumps are doing it… and our kids are thriving regardless of the shit show every other weekend and the occasional weeknights. (My X is on his second… my son misses the first one… lol… she at least had kids to play with… this new one only has dogs!)

    You can do this. Hugs.

    • that is what i did. while he ran off with MOW, setting up house with her and so distracted with her wonderful newness.. .. i filed for divorce, asking for sole custody and zero visitation. (grant it, i filled out my own forms that i got from the court house for 20.00) we had to sign in front of a notary but again, he was so busy with his new love and worried about being with me (she did not want him to talk to me or be at my house or be alone with me) that he just signed the papers where i noted and ran out the door. i filed at the court house for $200. the judge signed a month later and i was divorced with everything i asked for.

      not sure if you can do it this way, but i highly suggest filing first and asking for what you want. (sole custody and zero visitation) and let it play out from there. Hit him fast and hard while he is distracted with his new love.

      Good luck

  • Hang Up Mom,
    YOU are Mighty!
    You threw out that cookbook immediately, no more baking cakes for him, AND, you have replaced that cookbook with CL’s Leave A Cheater Gain A Life, by your actions. So good on you! Seriously!
    A five year old child is so very easy to love, they can be such a joy to be around when everything is going well. Five is also such a vulnerable age.
    OW is clearly playing the lovely DisneyStepMomLady. (Puke).
    I am so impressed, and so happy you have come to CL, CN for advise as you handle this shit storm.
    Stay strong, come here anytime, do what CL, experienced CN Chumps tell you. You got this! You are definitely the sane, present loving parent, so necessary in all stages of a child’s life, especially a five year old’s!
    Many big (((((hugs)))) to you and your sweet little guy.

  • Can you not tell your ex that there will be zero sleep over visits until there is a custody order in place? Putting your child with some strange woman and her totally unknown 14 year old son seems risky. You have physical custody of your child right now. If you let him go the their place they can legally keep him there as there is no order. He potentially could be left alone with this woman or her son? You don’t want that this early. It’s not in your son’s best interest. Introductions should be made gradually. This is all highly abnormal.

    I agree with the back ground check on the OW, who knows what will turn up? She is an unstable person to be even wanting to speak with your son this early. That is way abnormal.

    Tell him you will put together a custody agreement asap and you will get the conditions sorted out for the safety and emotional welfare of your child.

    Inform your lawyer immediately about what is going on.

    You can tell your child that the court has to make an arrangement on when he sees dad before sleepover visits begin. Put it on the courts. It is the truth.

    • I would take this a step further, and only allow him to visit your son in your home, or somewhere with you present. Otherwise he could keep your son, and/or bad things could happen during non-overnight visits with dad and his new world of freaks.

  • The fact that you are not allowed to meet her or her son is ample reason that you don’t allow contact!!!. This is outrageous. Get to your lawyer and keep your son home till there is an order. Don’t be cowed by these freaks.

    • That is very suspicious, to my mind. Not that you would want to meet her, but that he forbids it.

      • Yeah, and who the fuck is he to “forbid” anything? What a control freak douchenozzle. He’s probably embrassed by his loser skank and doesn’t want to be laughed at for the pathetic downgrade he made. It’s obviously a sick situation that no child should be involved in. The OW has put her own kid in it, now they want the young child to eat the shit sandwich as well, just to triangulate his mother and pretend they’re actually a family. What a couple of whack jobs.
        My cheater’s AP was like that, too. She had to involve her kids in her sick little serial cheating, boozing world. She brought one of them on a date and even briefly held hands with my cheater while her daughter was sitting next to them, believe it or not. Of course she said he was “just a friend from work”, but at 15, that girl had to be savvy enough to know better. He was hanging around her house pretty frequently in the first two years of their creepy ego-fest “relationship”, but never when her husband was there. Kids aren’t that stupid. The crazy bitch made sure the kids saw him when they went on walks around her neighborhood. I guess the kids knowing she cheats makes it more exciting for her. One of the reasons I gave the cheater for never forgiving him was that he participated in this emotional abuse of her children. Absolutely disgusting. He just did whatever the whore wanted, didn’t question or give much thought to anything she did. In his mini-mind she was great, so all her choices had to be great as well. The point being, perhaps the guy in today’s post is blindly, stupidly following the OW’s wishes and needs a stern talking to about the emotional impact on his son as well as hers from a therapist or social worker. I would get a psychological evaluation done if I was in this situation.

  • No lie, it’s stories like these that make me terrified to have children. It’s not enough to have your whole world upended and be stuck dealing with the collateral damage – (having to relocate, change your name, STD testing, times & expense of divorcing etc.) Nope – that’s not enough, Let me screw with you some more by effing with our kid because that’s what “I” want and just in case you forgot, I only care about me.

    Also, this OW is probably less interested in OP’s son and more interested in having a father for her own kid. No disrespect but some of these types get super desperate to have any guy around the house. Setting up a room for the 5 yr/o was probably just to increase buy-in from Superdad and a cheap tactic to legitimize this farce.

    It’ll be fun to see how long he lasts = D

  • Hi Hang Up Mom–

    You are very mighty! You absolutely have this, but there will probably be a side order of shit sandwiches in your future, as CL mentions. Definitely follow the advice she gives and see your lawyer!

    1. Every state/country has its own standard custody laws. My state is 50/50. The only way to change this is for the court to decide that a different distribution is in the best interests of the child. Dad being a Fuckwit and living with OW isn’t necessarily a factor unless you have a therapist that indicates that your son is very confused by the current arrangement.

    2. Talk with your lawyer about a temporary custody arrangement now. You don’t want your STBX to get a jump start on this.

    3. Get your son into therapy ASAP. This is all very confusing for him. Dad has moved out and now there’s this lady who wants him to call her “mom” and there’s an instant big brother. The therapist can ascertain how your son is dealing with all of this. If the therapist believes this is too confusing for your son, the therapist can recommend a staged approach to custody in which your son works up to 50% of his time with his father.

    4. Get your STBX to use family scheduling software like Our Family Wizard, and send all custody correspondence through that. This allows you to track how well STBX is holding up his end of the agreement. Right now, your STBX is in full image management, as is OW. That gets very old after a while, and especially after the dust of the divorce settles. At the end of the day, they’re going to have a teenager and a kindergartner in the same household. It’s not going to be nearly as fun for them to have to deal with both ends of the age spectrum.

    5. Insist on first refusal if STBX can’t be in town on one or more of his custody nights. You don’t want the teenager babysitting your son over the weekend if the two Fuckwits go out of town.

    6. Keep an open channel for your son to tell you how things go over there. While you don’t want to know the nitty-gritty details (“cool, bummer, wow” should cover most situations), you do want your son to be able to tell you if something is really wrong. Kids will keep secrets if they think they’re protecting a parent. If you send the message that you don’t need to be protected, and that there is no reason for secrets, they’ll feel better about telling you things even if they’ve been told to keep those things secret.

    You are totally mighty, and especially so for 2 weeks after Dday!

    You are going to ace being the Sane Parent!

  • I’d have hung the phone up. Let’s see what she finds to bitch about. That child wants to talk to her as much as he wants a colonoscopy.

  • I’m going through the same hell here in Canada, two years now. We are in trial on Feb. 28 he’s a an awful excuse for a husband the past 4 years. I love my kids and I’m never backing down!

  • I am so sorry you are going through this. My ex did the EXACT. SAME. THING. And it’s horrifying to have a child subjected to such mindfuckery.

    Consider getting your child into counseling. My boys were 6 and 8 years old when the ex took off. He had an affair with a friend, and her kids were friends with mine, all attending the same school at the time. The narrative that he told the boys was that he was in love with their friends’ mother. The set up a bedroom for my kids at her house, and started a campaign to take my boys away from me, alleging that I was an unfit mother and drug addict (with zero evidence of anything, and no issues of substance abuse in my life whatsoever). These people don’t care what kind of mud they sling around. It took the court 4 months to issue a visitation order, but when they did it was written in that overnights were prohibited when the “paramour or her family members” were present. That didn’t stop the phone conversations, and him making the boys talk to their “step mother and brothers” every single time. But eventually the boys got old enough to shut that shit down or hang up the phone. Fast forward through 4 years of mind boggling drama and I have a court order keeping her kids away from my kids until they are 18 (one of her kids is extremely troubled to put it mildly). The Ex has given up custody of my boys – which he did within the first year, then dragged out the divorce over the financial aspect for another 3.5 years. He chose a very limited visitation schedule, and has continued to throw my boys under the bus every single chance he gets. But still shows up at all public events to “look the part” of the concerned parent, and of course slandering me the entire time.

    He was stalking me this past fall, and terrified the boys. After that they refused to spend visitations with him. I went to court to get a protective order, but there has been too much time between incidents and this was deemed a single incident (that lasted all day long – but it was just one drawn out incident). I don’t have the money to go back to court to change visitation, so I force the kids to have a meal with their father during visitation weekends. He also has to be in agreement with this arrangement, which he has been so far. My point is . . . things will unfold for you in unimaginable ways. You need to be the sane parent, because the lengths these fuckwits go to is astounding. Your child will need you to be his homeground. I know that you are hurting immensely, but you are mightier than you know. Hang in there, be strong, and get some protections in place for your son. At 6 years old, my youngest just went silent and refused to talk with the counselor. But they were able to get a rapport built and eventually moved to talking while playing checkers or legos. He eventually started opening up, and having a counselor made all the difference for the kids and the visitation arrangement.

    • You’re story sounds eerily similar to mine. It’s such a total mindfuck when it’s a friend. My children also played with her child and knew them as neighbors… now all of the sudden she and her spawn are living in our family home and we are not.

  • My sons were 9 and 12 when I divorced their father. He was fearful, at first, of what I would do, because he knew I had plenty of evidence against him. He was afraid I would ruin him financially. I wanted him to work and pay child support, and I pointed out I had no reason to harm him financially as long as he did that. He feared I would try to keep the children away from him. I asked him when he would like to see them, and suggested some additional times if he was interested. He went from having visitation every weekend, to deciding every other weekend was best, to not even seeing them that often. He went from having two weeks of vacation time, to barely keeping one week. All of this was because he did not get drama from me, and the children were old enough to be vocal about their own observations.

    He dated a long line of inappropriate women, most of them did not last long. My children despised some of them, and told their father they preferred to spend their visitation time with him, only him, and did not want it to be a “date” with one of his ever changing women. As usual, his wants and needs were more important, and he did not honor his children’s wishes. As they got older, they chose to spend less and less time with him, and told him why. He finally married a totally inappropriate Asian woman, younger and in need of a green card, and under the impression he would provide a lot of money. My sons did not want him to marry her, but after he did, they tried to get along with her. She pretends to care about my sons, but the only thing she does that they really like is when she gives them monetary gifts. She tries to buy their affection, but my sons take the attitude of not sending a gift horse away, when all that is required is that they be polite. I raised them to be polite.

    In the meantime, I continued to do all the significant parenting, I had been a single mother long before we divorced. My sons gave me the usual teen aged rebellion problems, but finally got thru high school and college, and now they work. They stay in touch with me regularly, and generally screen their dad’s calls to see what he wants. They are 29 and 32 now.

    Be the best parent and example that you can be, and trust your children to notice, and form their own opinions. They will eventually see thru the faux care and concern of their father and OW. She may not even last long, if she is as fake as he is. The situation sucks, but at least your children will learn early that life sometimes sucks and some people always suck. Maybe they will end up better prepared to deal with the dysfunctional people they meet than we were. I wish you the best of luck in staying mighty. The life you gain will be worth it.

  • What CL said, but in the meantime, just tell him you’re not comfortable with it and if he wants to say goodnight, he has to keep his whore off the phone. If he refuses your request or agrees and then violates the agreement, he’s no longer allowed to call and you can ignore his bedtime bullshit. Let the phone go to messages. He’ll probably leave angry messages you can use against him. I don’t think it’s good for your son to get these calls anway. He’s just being used to help those sick fucks triangulate you, and young though he is, he probably senses something is off. How dare they use a sweet little boy like that! Don’t forget to document every call as the harassment it is if he keeps calling when he’s been told not to. What a bastard.

  • I am steaming! My head feels like it’s going to explode and I’m pretty sure smoke is coming from my ears and my heart is pounding. WTH? I feel so bad for you and especially for your little one who has no choice in this matter. For him to be forced by his daddy to play nice with this OW is unconscionable. Is the OW willing to pay for therapy your son will need to sort this all out? As for the 14 year old, chances are he’s not thrilled with this new living arrangement either and might resent not only your STBX but your son. Are they using him as a babysitter? So many concerns. So STBX won’t ‘allow’ you to meet the OW or her son? Big red flags! Go around him. I would be on every search engine I could think of to find their social media presence to try to figure out who these people really are. Your STBX is not putting your sons best interests first – if so, he wouldn’t be doing all this in the first place, and he’s not a responsible parent. Sounds like he’s using your son to put on a show for OW and to also peck at you. He’s not playing fair. It’s time for your Momma Bear claws and fangs to come out. Find a lawyer. A good one. While you’re at it, find a good therapist as well, for both you and your son. Document everything. Take deep breaths, try not to let your crazy show (that’s a tough one!). I’ve been praying for you and your little one since I read your post.

  • I strongly suggest you let dad leave your son a voice note rather than an actual conversation. He can send one back, it’ll be fun! But at the very least, it’s on speaker phone and the second the Hag starts, you end the call. Just do it. No explanations. Don’t be drawn in. Simply end the call. Do document the situation though, because it’s bizarre in the EXTREME.

  • I think perhaps you should call the OW back at bedtime and tell her it’s so you can talk to her 14 year old before he goes to sleep because you want to ask him about his day and tell him how much you want to see him and tell him how much you love him. Ask her if it would be okay for you to mail him a little gift and a letter because children love presents and mail and since the boys are going to spend time together that you feel the need to explain some things to him. Make sure you ask her where he goes to school, too, and exactly how to get there and what he looks like and if he’s on social media. Then mail him an unsigned no return address thinking of you card in care of her.

    If you’re going to have to feel unsettled and worried about your child it seems to me she might benefit from a dose, too.

  • Dear HUM.

    I have been meaning to right something along these lines to the lovely CL for a while as I am aghast at how I deal with a similar situation and just how awfully galling it is after what you’ve been through to add this insult so firstly, in a roundabout way, many thanks from me for raising the issue.

    Secondly, yeah this one bites. Similar story, they were introduced 6 months after our split. This 6 months believe me was for the king of image management to be able to look like he never had an affair – I knew exactly when this period would end and right on cue OW is introduced to my daughter after ‘we’ve had the summer to adjust’ (whatever that means). I wasn’t told he was introducing her (none of my business apparently), it has caused some real issues with my daughter lying to me about where she is when she’s been taken away by them. I raised this and how damaging it was but, guess what, all my fault and I needed to find a way to get her to open up to me. I have told my daughter that after a period of much upset I am OK and knew about Daddy’s girlfriend and I”m OK with it but she gets there is something to hide. And yes, my daughter seems to love her. It’s a form of grooming, there are pics of her cuddling my daughter, sending her texts which are reciprocated saying love you so much. It has caused me so much stress. Everyone agrees it’s wrong and just OTT but what can I do really and I don’t want my daughter to be upset. The one that really got me was a few weeks ago after this now having happened for months (similar thing, when my daughter is over there she rings OW to talk about her day etc etc and this is very much encouraged because they have a wonderful relationship apparently) we had a big mum/daughter day out in London. In the middle of it OW texts her to say ‘did you enjoy the theatre?’ I don’t normally react but I just did a big sigh and said something like, can’t she ever leave us alone. This is unfair cause its puts my daughter in situation of feeling bad so I said look it’s nothing you’ve done love its just our time together and it’s like she wants to take over parts of my life. Then of course my daughter I see later texts her back and her dad saying Mummy says you took over her life, she is over reacting, you didn’t. You texted me at a really bad time. And the OW has the gall to be the big pacifier ‘Don’t worry dolly doll, she says, no one needs to get upset (are you FUCKING KIDDING), I love you daddy loves you, we all love you

    Cue my blood pressure going up the highest I think it’s ever been and wanting to go out and purchase an automatic weatpon IMMEDIATELY. Fortunately that passed 🙂

    But you get what I mean. It is the shit sandwiches that CL talks about. Even his folks this it’s quite dark, I have other girlfriends who are OWs age (quite a bit younger than me but not like in her 20’s) and no one can see how she thinks it’s appropriate. It has truly been the bit out of it all I think that has screwed me up the most, they are so good and getting my daughter on-side and I feel this is set to continue until his almost stated aim of her going to live with him when she’s older.

    Some people say I should confront her, I know I can’t win and this will be made to be my problem and I mainly don’t do it as I don’t want my daughter to show the upset she showed about being caught in the middle of this one night despite doing all I can to reassure her that I’m OK with the situation. However, being the bad cop really makes me mad.

    Thanks for your post. I am going to read every single response and you have given me support just by posting this.


    • Get therapy for yourself. You have to. I went through the same thing. Lots of bad stuff happened to me. He is getting the daughter to turn against you. My x did this with both my daughters. He then cut them both off the money as he got married and supported her two children fully. His intent is to mess up your daughter and to dump her to make a bigger mess.

      • I started out thinking this wasn’t possible, now not so sure. You don’t know Beetle what is coming or how screwed up this could get. I heed all your advice and experience.

    • I would be doing the EXACT SAME THING right back at her. Every time your daughter is doing something special with her dad and/or AP, I’d be sending her a text to say “How did it go? Hope you had fun! Love you so much!” Your kid will probably roll her eyes at that, but no one can fault you for letting her know you love her and are thinking about her.

    • Your daughter is cozying up to the OW out of fear. Fear her Dad will also dump her or move on without her. So she is accommodating him but also fearful the OW will turn her father against her if she does not play nice. Your daughter may not even realize what she is doing but I can guarantee you she is playing along for what she perceives as self preservation. The OW is hanging on to your daughter so she can hang on to cheater. This is such a typical narc scenario. Always have everyone worried that you will leave if they do not make you happy. Ugh. All you can do is support your daughter through this crap and hope she one day becomes strong enough to tell her father and whatever skank of the month to take a hike.

  • Do NOT let your son spend several nights a week with him. It will set a precedent with the judge who will then give your STBX joint custody or even full custody. Let him go over there every other weekend and maybe they spend one afternoon a week together, not weeknight! Trust me, I’m a hardcore veteran of divorce court. I have had friends who got divorced and most of them listened to my advice and were grateful. The two who did not listen to me very much regretted it… I know it’s hard to be a hardass about it but your son needs your protection from this bullshit, now and in the future. Who knows how many women your ex will bring around this poor kid.

    Good luck!

  • I am no legal scholar but is there a option in the custody/child care agreement to stipulate that both parties will not introduce new partners to child unless the ex-spouse and new partners have been together 6 months? This is to prevent a rotating cast? If there is an overnight stay of the kid with a new partner in the house, can they not request a background check at the expense of the ex-spouse who has the new partner? Not sure. There are some lawyers here and may be they can comment.

    • You can, I have one. BUT, they are tough to enforce. The standard language is if the other parent is in a “long term committed relationship…” Which, is at their discretion to say. You can put in details like length of relationship, etc., but then those are rarely legally binding. But, better to have one then not. At least it gives you a reason to see a judge if you need to.

      The problem here is that it appears that all of this is occurring pre-custody arrangement, which could potentially be setting unfortunate precedent. She needs a temporary emergency custody agreement and bring a full stop to the kid staying at this lady’s house until a permanent arrangement can be made. Ultimately, she may not be able to prevent these overnights, but the longer this goes on the more likely a judge will allow it to continue.

      The tough spot is that the mother cannot prevent the father from spending time with his own child. Any attempt to limit his time with his child could get her in trouble. He has a legal right to collect his son and spend time. Only a custody arrangement can solve this problem. Hope she gets one…today!

  • I would be infuriated with OW pulling that and with Fuckwit for encouraging her.

    I’m leery of the 14yo boy – but you know, not all of them are awful. He may know his mom is a nutter and have veered wildly in the other direction ( a parentified child – so hyper-responsible). Definitely have a therapist make declarative statements about that situation. Plus your attorney. It’s stupid to shove them together to play happy step-family.

    Remember – the first person to hire a therapist is the bound to be viewed as the Sane Parent. I know it’s you, but you want it to be you by default!

    Good luck, HUM.

  • HUM,

    Sorry you are going through this experience. You are doing a great job. Stay the Sane, Loving, Loyal Parent.

    My husband, after he left (for one of his affair partners) but before our divorce was finalized, had our young children stay with his new girlfriend and her kids for four straight days, starting just after our kids had spent a couple hours with my husband’s new girlfriend! He tried to hide the fact from me. As she sounded like Wonder Woman on all fronts, at first I worried that my kids would be happier with her at her home than with me at my modest home. Now I don’t give a F—k as long as my kids are safe and my ex-husband doesn’t take my kids to a brothel/massage parlor to have sex. My ex-husband has informed me that he dumped that girlfriend over a year ago and that he goes through approximately 40 partners each year. All I can do is behave as the Sane, Loving, Loyal, Ethical, Partnerless Parent. Based on my 16 hearings in divorce court, I conclude that most judges don’t care or won’t create ‘no sleep over’ orders as they don’t care or realize that trying to enforce them is generally a waste of effort.

    It may help to remember the notion of regression to the mean—people tend to reveal their ‘true’ selves after the honeymoon ends. Your unfaithful ex-spouse and his new live-in girlfriend will likely let their masks drop soon. Fortunately, you have no mask to drop—and I believe that your son will very likely realize this, probably sooner rather than later.

    • 40?! How? Just how?! I can’t even do that kind of math.

      You are Ahhh-mazing RockStar, to remain sane while parenting with that level of drama.

  • First things first, she is irrelevant. The problem with these narcissistic men is that they want to shove these OW down everyone’s throat. Get mad, get angry but not in front of your child or them and don’t live there in that negative space. Then pull yourself together and get ready for one of many battles. You see it doesn’t matter how many battles you win or lose but rather that you win the war. So figure out what your ultimate goal is and start strategizing. Your son is young and impressionable so he can be duped right now so you have to just keep talking to him and being the stable parent. He will tell you things after he’s been with them that may annoy the hell out of you, work through it. These men and women are relentless and selfish. They don’t care about you or your son, it’s all about boosting their egos. I have been in this battle for almost 4 years and it is exhausting. To the point that now it is affecting my health. Don’t let them steal your peace. Legally you only have to give him reasonable access to your child, not his pathetic playmates. I hope you can find some peace.

    • Unless he’s doing the pick me dance with the wife and ap. Then the ap doesn’t exist. Until she gets pissed off for being hidden and contacts the kids directly.

  • I am completely baffled by why them setting up a bed at the OW house would mean your 5 yr old has to sleep there or EVER go over there. They can setup beds for anyone they want. Who cares. Their skanky life doesn’t involve you or your child. He chose to leave the ‘family’.

    Visits by Dad would be infrequent and with me there in the room. Sorry, Dad is out of town for business. My husband travels occasionally for business. If he was kicked out it would start to become a phone call every second night. Sorry, kid fell asleep and missed your call. (Turn off the phone so kid doesn’t hear it ring.) Daddy wasn’t able to call but he sends your love. Ween your child off Dad.

  • do you really want to meet her or her son? fuck that.

    i told my ex i don’t want our daughter talking to the ap on the phone when she’s at my place. also said i don’t want him talking to me when i drop her off. that all worked out.

    have you tried telling him you think this contact is inappropriate? he might capitulate. if not, you could supervise the goodnight call – tell kid to hand you the phone once he’s said bye to dad. then just hang up.

    i’m not in the u.s. don’t know if the above is feasible for you – just thought i’d put forward a suggestion.

  • I know this has been mentioned but I would get her and her son back checked. They may not be violent but if they are associating with shady people, that puts your son in a potentially risky situation. I also think you should document everything. I wonder what they would do if you perhaps just missed a few of his calls because you are busy. I am sorry you have to put up with this. These cheaters are unspeakable cruel.

  • ” pathetic grandma ass” “Yeah, whatevs Hag Face” ??? Ageist much? hhhmmm I think you missed on this one Chump Lady.

    So what if the writer had said the woman with whom her husband had chosen to cheat with had not been 20 years older, but of a different race, or ethnicity, or religion? Would you have made such remarks? Pathetic Grandma Ass?? What does being a Grandmother have to do with cheating? Is it ok to disparage an older person but not a race, or ethnicity, or religion, or sexual orientation? How is it that being “old” allows you to Ad Hominum?

    AP are people with disordered characters. It has nothing to do with age. You know this. Besides how old is the guy 25 that would make her 45. Is that a pathetic grandma ass to you? She may be an ‘Old Hag Face” I’ve seen lots of 35 year olds with Old Hag Faces. Too much sun, booze, late nights…. And I’ve seen lots of 50, 60, 70, 80 that look fantastic. Doesn’t take age to make a Hag Face.

    How about stick to their character disorders and not their ages or any other physically defining feature when slamming the AP’s. Not cool punk

    • Right on Anon!

      I totally agree with you! So many of us who frequent this blog are in our 50´s, 60´s and 70´s. And it does feel awful to be disparaged for our age. I am sensitive to that, in part because my ex left me for a 26 year old and he´s 58. I´m 57 and have really struggled to feel that I´m still worthy as a woman, and am finally coming into my own power.

      The fact is, men who cheat can cheat with anyone of any age. Some want to recapture their never-to-return youth, others want a new mommy. All of them have issues they´re not willing to face and try to escape one way or another.

      • There—. I hear you and I’m sorry this has affected your self . It shouldn’t be so. You get it not she’s got nothing you want

        I’m amazed how it’s ok to make fun of, disparage, name call older people. That SNL skit with Alexa comes to mind. Had that skit been done using race, religious, ethnic stereotypes SNL would be drummed off the air. It’s apoarantly ok to dress like an old person and portray them as too stupid to work an Alexa!! Well i get along quite well with my Alexa thank you very much.

        This woman was an asshole long before she got old. I’m certain she was a disordered jerk in her 20s. So what does being a grandmother have to do with being a cheater or a jerk? Or even an old Hag. Pretty sure cheating isn’t just for the young and beautiful.

      • Exactly, it’s not her age that makes the OW a vile person, it’s what she’s doing to screw up a young boy’s life, not to mention breaking up his family. She behaves like a parasite.

  • Personally, the second he transferred the phone to his fuckbuddy I’d be hanging up. Fuck that shit. She isn’t family so she can fuck off. And your fuckwit of a husband already got to say goodnight, so that’s all that needs to be said from him.

  • Sorry but I’m calling some of you out here, Just because he’s the OW’s son, male and fourteen does NOT make him an abuser, pedo or dangerous. That kid is as caught up in here as your son. Now I know you are all here hurting, I get it …I’m here too for a reason but perspective by others would have been better as their/your prejustice is why decent fathers and men like me have to deal with mom’s never allowing their daughters play with mine (this has happened me)…she can never have sleepovers unless they stay with my ex wife (the cheater….hello ?) or I’m had mom’s say some cruel things to me implying there was something wrong with me if my wife cheated and I can talk and have fun with kids….and be male. Oh and I’ve had to regularly deal with OM’s kids as two are in my son and daughters class so have daily proximity to fuck up’s kids constantly. The nut jobs had even mused if they could set up the respective kids as boyfriend and girlfriend in the future….you have no idea wtf sometimes…

    Two weeks ago that 14 year old had what he thought was a secure life with his mom, a shitty one… but his mom. Now some random guy has just been introduced into his life as new dad (maybe one of many) and some random kid invade his life, mom’s affections and sanctuary. He’s as confused as hell too. He’s not going to take it out on some small kid…that will go mom’s way or your stbx’s.

    OW is looking to mess with you and rise you….don’t forget too she’s heard multiple stories of what a crazy and lazy mom you are (I got that in reverse), that you are always out and never give a damn about the kid, their school work, blah.. blah… blah. She wants to think of herself as supermom (see I’m a good person!!) and off to the rescue of a lost little boy…she’s a hero in her own mind and he’s egging it on for cake…they both live in a la la land for now. Once the divorce starts and they are consequences for real more than likely she is going to be out of your kids life soon enough…or when she gets tired of super dick deadbeat dad. At worst she might start to question things though may be desperate dancing for a while. Lawyer up, set boundaries, be tough on same (read some of the advice in other parts of the site) but never, ever, ever let her see you get emotional or angry. It’s 100% what she wants as it proves she is supermom and you’re everything he says you are. I got all of that for a bit but had seen the emails so could see all the lies too. Learn to grey rock like a master so you give them nothing and I mean nothing no matter what…they will raise the stakes for a while then get bored and stop. Make visitation timelines and stick to them for now….but let your lawyer handle what you can’t…for now. Be your own super mom ….your kid will love you for it anyway as you are his rock. You will eventually come out of their crazy land… and so will he…maybe her kid might ask you to adopt him as well….I feel for you all.

    • Thank you, Bannerman. I was logging on here to say the same thing. That 14-year-old boy is just a child who has the unfortunate luck to have the OW as a mom. Please, please. All of the compassion in the world for HUM and her child, and please spare a little for this other child as well. Let’s not project our trauma onto him. He likely has no idea what is going on or that HUM’s cheater is refusing to let her meet him. We have no evidence to suggest he is a predator or anything like it. We do have evidence to suggest that he is likely as much of a victim in these circumstances as HUM’s child.

      • Completely agree. A 14 year old boy does not need to be investigated or held accountable for his mother’s choices. He’s an innocent child too, and his home life is also being disrupted because of adultery.

  • Mmm the stbx discarded me and our 3 teens and I could NOT understand how he could do that after 23 years with me. That sounds arrogant but there was a hella strong emotional bond from my side, apparently not much from his. I have suspicions that he is BPD or maybe even covert narcissist from his actions and FOO story but he either won’t spare the effort to find out, or likes himself as he is. I am slowly becoming indifferent but it can be hard to not understand my own story!

  • A 58 year old hooking up with a 26 year old. How pathetic. In any case it will not work out and I hope she takes the idiot for a $$$$ ride in the meantime.

  • I sympathise with this situation. Very similar to my own. My ex walked out and moved in with his Co worker he had been getting closer to who is “just a friend”.

    He aaked if he could take my 6 year old special needs child and 7 month old at the time away for the week in a caravan with her and her daughter, a month after he left…. My repsonse was of course “over my dead body”.
    My ex was bold enough to start introducing her and her daughter to us months before he left. Insisting they come to my sons bday and visa versa. He uses the excuse now “you cant stop them seeing each other, they are friends”

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