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Dear Chump Lady, I work with the OW and my ex

After his two-year affair and an excruciating “pick me” dance that ended with me walking out, I am divorced as of a month ago. I have cut contact with my ex-husband.

The problem is, I have to work with him and the OW. (Yes, I have exhausted HR and admin and yes, I am looking for a new job, and no, I can’t just quit because I have kids in college).

He has essentially replaced me with her. They drive to work together, just like we did — her in the passenger seat I used to sit in, they have lunch together, just like we did. And she’s wearing a ring now; they are either engaged or about to be (I do my best to distance myself). I avoid both like the plague but some situations or run-ins are unavoidable. 

What do you do when the affair and humiliation is essentially thrown in your face regularly? I am aware I can only control myself, but any thoughts or strategies or things I can use as a mantra to not get swept up in the shame and anger when I have a job to do? It is very difficult and I’ve only now stopped crying all the way to and from work. This was a job I used to love. 

I know 100% that I am better off, but how do you heal when your replacement wife is in your face daily, is my question? 


Dear Hummingbird71,

Fantasize about weaponizing the office supplies? Staple guns? Poison Post-Its?


God, Hummingbird, I don’t know how to survive such a daily assault on your senses. You headed my most sensible answers off at the pass — quit, job hunt, or talk to HR for a reassignment to Zambia. That just leaves the shit sandwich of continued employment with your ex and his fuckbuddy.

Any thoughts or strategies or things I can use as a mantra to not get swept up in the shame and anger when I have a job to do?

Yes. We have a mantra here at Chump Nation called “Trust That They Suck.”

Your ex isn’t a prize and the OW didn’t win anything, and both of them are an employer’s nightmare. (If Twu Wuv ever sours, the company gets to fend off the harassment lawsuits. No wonder he put a ring on it.)

Your anger I understand. But shame? You have NOTHING to feel ashamed of. You didn’t skulk around in the copier room for two years and mortify your coworkers. You didn’t press innocents into a conspiracy of silence. You didn’t cheat and lie and casually betray the person you purported to love most. YOU LEFT!

You left HIM. Think about that. You stopped the pick me dance, you filed for divorce, YOU ended it. YOU stepped away from the insanity. You are the MIGHTY person here. What’s shameful is that you were ever put in this situation. So hold your head high, woman.

Now let’s take on the anger. I can type at you that these people are loathsome and to not internalize their suckitude, but I don’t have to see ugly mugs in the cafeteria line daily. It’s one thing to intellectualize a tidy mantra of superiority, it’s another to face the motherfuckers.

The cornerstone of healing is no contact. For those with kids, we talk about “grey rock” — minimal contact, which can be borne. But at least parents get separate homes and schedules — you work with these freaks. It’s not sustainable.

Could anyone work with their mugger? The 8th grade bully who shoved them in a locker? The unhinged neighbor who shot their dog? No. Anyone would see those events as traumatic. So why would being chumped — sexually humiliated and conspired against — be shits and giggles at the workplace? It’s completely normal that your body would feel pumped with adrenaline at Code Red every day. I can’t tell you to get used to that — just get away from it.

It’s not fair, but none of this is. You can love another job (like, one that doesn’t employ your ex and his mistress). The way forward is to build a new life on your own terms. To keep stepping far, far away from the triangle.

Because I bet you your next performance bonus, your ex gets off on this situation. It’s still cake — his ex-wife and his mistress unnerving each other daily. Him at the center of all centrality! How do I know? Because the OW performed a two-year pick me dance. She’s the pathetic soul who accepts that. Everyone working together, they still get the frisson of the triangle. Her off balance, occasionally triumphant at “winning.” (Note to OW: If you find a half-eaten sandwich in the trash, it’s technically a sandwich, but it’s still trash.)

Please deny him the triangulation. Godspeed on the job search.

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.
    • You see them and remember all the status you used to have: car rides, lunches, little loving contacts. And you cry for losing what you thought you had.

      But it wasn’t true. It was a dream. No, it was a nightmare, because it was all a lie. You know that now. You lost what you thought you had, but the truth was that it never really existed. You were manipulated into marrying a loser who had no intention to live up to his vows.

      Please stop kicking yourself for losing something that never existed.

      Every time you see them, remind yourself that the OW got the loser’s prize. YOU ARE THE WINNER, because you divorced a man who prefers triangulation kibbles over the rewards of fidelity.

      Cheaters don’t change. If he was that quick to abandon you, publicly, he’ll abandon her just as fast when he gets bored again. Again, NOT YOUR FAULT. Maybe watch with righteous amusement when he finds another OW, which he will, which he’s probably doing right now because you’ve stopped playing.

      He may even circle around and try to entice you again with visions of the fantasy you thought you had. That’s the time to call HR and report him for harassment. Whatever you do, DON’T TAKE HIM BACK!

      • Thank you for posting my drama! Yes, it’s awful…horrific. With a lot of squeaky-wheel action, I was able to move my classroom (I am a teacher, so I also have the worry of students finding out from their utter lack of discretion to add to this). And I know what times to strategically avoid certain areas of the building. I’ve done a pretty good job at staying away. In fact, I think I’ve gone a full week without seeing either one.

        However, just knowing they’re in the building, and that I will have to attend meetings with them (we all three not only work in the same school, but also in the same department (!)), is anxiety producing, to say in the least. She walks around like she won and he acts like this is no big deal. I mean, just a different woman, right?

        It is an awful situation that I am getting used to. People say I’m strong, but I have no choice. I am a mom and a teacher. I can’t fall apart or be unprofessional. And also, my goal is “meh.”

        Chump Lady, any time I get nostalgic, it is followed by a list of the ways he’s betrayed me and the humiliation and pain he’s caused in every aspect of my life. There’s no going back from that, so do not worry! I also keep a copy of your book in my desk at work. It really helps in hairy moments. I’m considering breaking it out at a meeting we all have to attend–ha!

        Thank you all, for the advice and support. And yes, the search for a new job continues! I am coming out of the victim mentality and into a “this is my life now and crying is not going to help”…approaching “Thank God I’m out of their orbit!” state of mind.

        But yes, this has been a lesson in keeping my cool for sure.

        • You are amazing! You are doing what is best for your family regardless of your ex. I saw a therapist early on – she said “you love your children more than you hate your ex.” I remember that – it is so true. Remember you got off lucky – you have a new life ahead – perhaps with someone who truly cares and will love you and not lie and cheat. That is something to be thankful for. As long as the new other woman is in the picture – he will leave you alone (hopefully). You will get strong and when he comes back (I am told they always do) you will be strong enough to have those healthy boundaries!

        • You have rights as an employee.

          Where the HELL was your administration when this affair was taking place with 3 of their employees under THEIR roof with an audience of coworkers and students?

          Get your ass to your doctor and have him put you on FMLA for “Stress Relief.” Your employer wants to deny it? Fill out an EEO form on your ex, OW, and employer for “Unsafe, hostile work environment.” That should keep HR busy.

          While on FMLA for 3 months, find another job in another city and get away from this circus.

          If you are a public educator, you should be contacting your State education agency for help in your job search considering the circumstances. Your principle, superintendent, Dean, president, etc. need their ass kicked for allowing this nonsense to take place under their watch. We still have ethics and codes of conduct in this country.

          Let your anger in this situation help you.

          • I wondered this exact thing, but am not a teacher nor do I work in the public sector. I would think the administration would want to (and be required when pressured) to do SOMETHING about this situation. Great post Super!!

          • I have experience working in the school district as well. You’re in a tough spot. Super’s suggestion on FMLA leave & job hunting sounds like a good one! Administration doesn’t seem to know how to handle “bullying” be it with the students or staff. They usually cater to the aggressor/one at fault and expect the victim to deal with it by avoiding and not provoking the other party.
            Schools around the country are desperate for good teachers. If your kids are all grown, can you check out some other communities, states our even military dependent schools overseas? I hear that can be an awesome opportunity!

          • Agreed! However, FMLA is not a paid event. You should/could look into a leave of a absence of some sort and see how much would qualify as paid leave. And then TAKE IT.

              • It depends on your employer and whatever they cover for short -term (or even long-term) disability. FMLA just mandates that they can’t outright fire you for taking the leave but doesn’t require them to pay you for the time. When I got divorced, I had a hard time with the mental illness I live with being exacerbated by the stress. I took 6 weeks of FMLA leave at 80% salary (short-term disability coverage) and another two at 60% (long-term disability coverage). If you work an hourly job, you just as likely don’t get any coverage during FMLA leave, just the promise that your job will be waiting when you return.

        • Well so much for hoping the company you work for folds after you leave but I still hope you find a new position at a different school soon. The new students will be lucky to have you.

        • To give you advice on the basis of my experience being bullied at work (you kind of are) – until you have another job, find yourself anything to do outside your job – join a sport group, coin collectors group, take care of neighbour’s pet rat, online citizen science voluntary project, spend even more time with your children, knit or do embroidery … Anything that will take substantial part of your time and attention off of work and shitters there. Believe me, it might save your sanity.

        • YOU CAN DO THIS! I speak from experience. My ex-hole moved to another state for a year and a half before applying and being hired into a position working directly with me. I was stunned. And his new manager contacted my manager to be sure I was going to “behave”. It was awful.

          Then other-ho, who was his former employee at a Christian institution, got a job on campus as well. I did not have to work with her directly, however, she had access to all of my HR information through her position.

          But, you know what? None of that matters. They are both half eaten sandwiches out of the garbage. (I LOVE that analogy.) You were the victim. We are the victims. They can lie and cheat and steal all they want. They can tout their own stories about how great they are, but the truth will always be the truth.

          Avoidance is always good, but the next time you have a good hair day, make sure you walk past them. Nothing says you have moved on like holding your head high and knowing that he will never have anyone who measures up to you!

          I am a few years out, and reached meh some time ago. It will happen for you too. Be the best mom you can be, and know that we have your back.

          • That is just unbelievable that a manager would do such a thing. No compassion for you or your situation at all. Some people just have no sense of decency. I think we need more chumps in positions of power but I guess we aren’t narcissistic enough to get there..

        • I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. I truly understand since I was also a teacher. My husband cheated with two different women (that I know of) and both of them had students in my class after I found out about the affair. Both of them complained to my principal that I was treating their kid unfairly (I was not). One of them sent weekly “anonymous” hate mail to me at work. Both of them got a teaching degree, then got jobs in my building. This was after my husband got bored with them, and they were angry and determined to take it out on me. No, it doesn’t make sense. They are all disordered. My son received a text from another student that the substitute teacher (AP #2) was telling the class that his mom had an affair on his dad. (I did not)

          All of this was so stressful to me, that I started experiencing symptoms of PTSD. I literally had people out to get me at work, and my husband gaslighting me at home. I had 30 years of experience which was enough to qualify me for a teacher’s pension in 3 years when I turn 55, so I quit. I had to for my own mental health. (I am also divorcing my husband) I understand the need to support your college age daughter, but you may need to weigh that against your own sanity. You might be better off talking frankly with your daughter and explaining that you will try to get another job that pays enough to help her, but that you are quitting due to her dad’s actions and their consequences to your mental health. Let her know ahead of time so she can line up student loans or transfer to a less expensive university. She could even talk to Dad about whether he and Schmoopie could help more since you will not be able to:)

          I cannot emphasize enough how damaging it was to me to continue working in that environment. Get out if you can. Hugs.

          • “My son received a text from another student that the substitute teacher (AP #2) was telling the class that his mom had an affair on his dad. (I did not)”

            Why the hell didn’t administration come down on her like a lead balloon?

            WTF were they thinking?

          • “My son received a text from another student that the substitute teacher (AP #2) was telling the class that his mom had an affair on his dad. (I did not)”

            Should have contacted a lawyer….I am not lawsuit happy but this had the makings of a huge lawsuit for defamation, hostile work environment, you name it. The OW/substitute teacher should be barred from teaching, she’s clearly insane.

        • I’m so proud of you!! Your situation has to be one of the biggest shit sandwiches one can be forced to eat.

          I have lived through a similar circumstance and inicially it wreaks havoc with your life. Little by little I have taught myself to respond instead of react when I see my ex or the OW. I now know they have absolutely nothing to do with me, and I refuse to allow the douchebag and slut to run my life, let alone my day. They have definitely ruined entire days for me, but now I’m at the point where I really know they suck. The public humiliation does a lot to reinforce the journey to “meh”.

          One other thing, is time. It’s turning out to be the best balm for my wounds ever. In a year or two I know I don’t want my divorce to be the dominant theme in my life. At some point it becomes THE PAST, and we have an awesome present and future to embrace. If you have great kids like mine, you’ll find they are your best allies.

          I think you rock! I wish you all the best, you must have faith in this truth: that this will all be behind you one day and you will be very happy with your new, powerful self.

        • Hummingbird71 – not sure which state you’re in, but in mine, we have to hire almost 3-1 paraprofessionals v qualified teachers for classrooms. Maybe a different state will pick you up quickly? I’m so sorry you have to endure those dbags on the daily, but the need for qualified teachers everywhere is huge. This spring might be the perfect time to ask for a transfer with your administrative department/team. Be honest with the dept. head and they might make it happen for you over the summer? Also, consider that private schools also want qualified teachers, too. Good luck!!

        • On the plus side – you can count on it imploding in their faces at some point and you have a ring side seat.

          You are extremely strong! And I am sure that many of your work colleagues are also uncomfortable with the situation.

          She won the booby prize ????

        • I am also a high school teacher, and I am absolutely appalled that the school has not transferred one or both of their butts out of there, or considered allowing you to transfer to another school.

          A couple of years ago, we had two teachers in my school have an affair with the spouse also working here. In fact, the two having the affair were caught making out in a classroom by some students. To make matters worse, the couple had two children attending the school. So this affair occurred in the workplace between two co-workers, with the wife working there and two children of the marriage attending. By the end of the semester both of the teachers involved in the affair were transferred to different schools within the board, separate from each other. All of this after union involvement with the administration and school board officials.

          OK. How can this support you?

          Know this. Everyone knows what those two fuckwits did (along with a number of students). And you better believe that just about everyone will side with you on this one, students too. This is not your shame to bear, it is theirs. No one respects them. You should have heard what my colleagues had to say about the teachers having their affair. Their entire social circle dried up. I hope that people rally around you. Find your people and stick with them. Stand your ground. Stand with pride. You are a good person. You care about others. You have been wronged.

          I believe the best revenge is success. As you work towards that transfer, be awesome. Now that you have some time when fuckwit has the kids, work on you, including your fabulous career. If you don’t already, consider professional development at work, committee work, extra-curricular, school initiatives. You will bond with those colleagues and they will rally around you. You are a pillar of your community.

          Those fuckwits are an embarrassment to the profession by prancing their immoral relationship in front of the students they teach. As a parent, I would also be absolutely appalled if I learned that teachers at my children’s school conducted themselves in this manner and were presenting this relationship as normalized to the student body. I would have words with principal about how this can be justified as standard of practice in education of young people.

          Live ethically. Be a role model. Take care of yourself and your children. Be a great teacher for your students. Know that you are not at fault. Talk to trusted colleagues.

          Now, I don’t know what the extended health benefits are like where you teach, but consider taking a sick leave if need be. The advantage of a sick leave (other than the break, of course) is that HR will be all over trying to ease your way back to work by addressing barriers. If your employer does not accommodate you, then your union gets involved to defend your position that the employer is not supporting your recovery. Having a doctor back up that there are key stressors in your place of employment that impede on your capacity to work by impairing your mental health might give you leverage in getting that transfer in. My union covers legal counsel for work-related matters, so I would take advantage of that to get some advice about this.

          If you’ve got EAP (Employee Assistance Plan), then take advantage of the free counselling services and legal consultation that it provides.

          Again, I’m speaking as an educator in Ontario, Canada, the union is very, very mighty here and the benefits are pretty excellent. I hope that you’ve got some of this in your corner of the world. Use it.

          Big hugs from the Great White North.

        • Holy crap they are influencing multiple kids’ lives on a daily basis, no bueno! What is wrong with the school board!!!

        • Hummingbird, you show your strength by your name. A hummingbird is small but mighty as they hover sipping nectar.
          I too was a high school teacher. I understand the politics within administrations and the pay cut taken when you move to another district after the first 7 years. If you are in a small district options can be limited. Talk to your union rep. (and maybe leave the book on the desk top a few times!). I wish you luck.
          Meanwhile you asked about a mantra. As I had to get thru my DDs wedding with the cheater before anyone else knew I repeated to myself…
          strength, dignity, grace. Strength, dignity, grace.
          I thought these over and over again because those were the traits I wanted to show the world. It became my chant.
          I have post-it’s in my mirror that remind me…
          I am enough.
          Today I choose Joy.
          Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says “I will try again tomorrow.”
          Deep yoga breathes and counting 5-4-3-2-1 before I said something helped too.
          Having a prepared response to questions is always good too. “I had to ask him to leave. I didn’t approve of his girlfriend.”
          I still use waterproof eyeliner and mascara and always carry a tissue in my pocket.
          I like to think that I am learning to Ride the Waves of grief like a dolphin or turtle or mermaid.
          Hugs to you.

        • I’m so sorry for you. I work with the ex husband and OW as well. I feel like the OW is a truly terrible person because she knew all about his wife and our infant. She wasn’t some woman who had no idea he had a family at home. I still don’t understand how they show their face at the office everyday. Coworkers really look down at them.

        • How absolutely revolting and appalling. I am, frankly, astounded that the school administrators think this is okay. Surely it doesn’t look good that they apparently support this kind of behaviour among the staff. As a parent, I would be really aghast. They should both be asked to leave, not fired precisely, but at the end of the school year, they can go and ”pursue other options” and that should be that.

          Why isn’t it?

          Anyway. I had a teacher once, lovely guy, good looking, young (most of our teachers were). He never stopped going on about his wife, about no premarital sex, about all those moral things. I eventually finished school… fast forward a decade or so, I run into him with his 3rd lady partner (official I mean). He had cheated on his first wife when they were struggling to have children, knocked up and left her for another teacher at the school, married the OW, then – shock, horror – cheated on her and impregnated number 3. Well. The OUTRAGE from OW2. How COULD HE? I hadn’t let on I knew him before, so I let her run on (our children were in school together), and then said ”Actually, X was my teacher at Y school, but he was married to Teresa then”. Shut her up IMMEDIATELY.

          God that still feels good, remembering. The point of this segue is that this is OW future life. It is. Your future life, while undoubtedly sucky now, is on the up. It is. You are destined for great things. This will be the thing that sends you into a fantastic new job, a promotion, a whole new life, unencumbered by whatsisname.

        • Teacher transfer time is upcoming. New jobs will be posted. I do wonder about the nepotism clause of your district. Assuming you got special permission to work at the same school, when they are engaged, I assume they will have to jump through the same hoops. Doubtful it would be approved a second time. One will have to transfer.

          Do you feel supported at this school? Do you have a work wife or 6? If not, transfer. If you do, I encourage you to use a colleague friend to contact HR and report the sexual and romantic relationship to hasten THEIR transfer. Who has seniority? You? Him? Her? Use it. Look through the policies and procedures of relationships within schools. MAKE ABSOLUTE CERTAIN THAT THE SITUATION IS RESOLVED BEFORE SCHOOL BEGINS NEXT YEAR. I’m sorry I’m yelling, but I highly suggest using every possible strategy to clear this crap up any way possible. Short of murder.

          It sucks. Feel free to notify the piper so there is payment. There is unethical behavior that needs to be addressed on the district level very, very soon. Make sure they know about it. But I would be sneaky and use a friend to notify.

        • I hope you know what a badass you really are! When times are tough (we have 6 kids and I stayed), I will remind myself of you and buckle down. You’re inspiring!

        • I totally relate to your situation! I was the unfortunate target of a member of AA (I’m a member as well) who thought that since I was working the steps, I was eligible for dating. Let’s forget how I had only managed to stay sober for only a month before relapsing since starting the program Oct 2018. None of that matters because I was working the steps and his sponsor agreed. My attraction to him? I selfishly wanted a relationship and stability. He has 3.5 years of sobriety and a flaming symbol of AA tattooed on his chest, so he MUST be stable right? Well long story short… he said he loved me the first week and dumped me like trash the second week. The worst thing is having to see him at meetings every day and hear about his wondrous sobriety and service to others. He’s a saint. Just ask him. I’m merely another psycho he happened to choose. His sponsor won’t talk to me either. I relapsed after I got dumped, but, hey, that’s my side of the street. The injustice and the daily smack in the face are real. You didn’t imagine it. Other people see it too. Some people won’t see it. They only see his side. That’s fine. I have a life to gain. My recovery has a life now too. I’m on the road to meh but sometimes I burn with the rage of a 1000 suns. I want justice now! I want him to see his side of the street, but he’ll delude himself until the day he dies, and so will his sponsor. I will never receive an amends from him or his sponsor for 13th stepping me, a relapsing newcomer. I will never receive closure except to see him flirt with other girls in AA right in front of me. I live in a small town so it’s a cluster-fuck and this is the only AA I have. Welcome to the hell of facing the consequences of our decisions because, in the end, we chose these fuckwits. We chose this particular form of PAIN. We flew past red-flags and allowed questionable behavior to occur because we spackled and we selfishly wanted what we wanted. We helped build their egos with our spackling. The only comfort I derive from this is Trusting That They Suck. They suck and they don’t even see it. How can they change what they can’t see? They’re doomed to repeat this bullshit. I shudder in sympathy for the next woman and the previous woman before me. Trust that they suck. Eventually the jitters will go away and watching him lead “his best life” will hurt less.

  • Oh man, and I thought my job sucked. My annoyances are stupid management, old tech that is eroding my skill base, and people wanting to sue because they got tossed in jail. This is beyond drama. I’m gonna say an atheist prayer for you.

    • DemHoez,
      You made me smile, a big smile, “I’m gonna say an atheist prayer for you.” is still a prayer!
      You are good and kind and noble.

      • I usually put on my cat ear hat and call out to science. Not sure I’m too noble. I can try this neo-pagan stuff I see on tumblr and bless an emotional support crystal ????‍♀️. I’m bad at religion.

  • Three options:

    Talk to your supervisor and ask him or her for suggestions. Maybe there is a workplace solution that you do not know about.

    Maybe take leave available to you to put full-time effort into your job search. In your effort, include a short phrase of the work you are looking for, shared with everybody you know.

    Finally, as a family member, you too are entitled to consideration. Your mental health / physical health should not be sacrificed for your grown children’s benefit. It might be that you need to quit your job before having another job, and your children will have to fill in the gaps.

  • At work I got to run into one of the many OW of ex. I left. I had worked there for over 31 years. But it was time to go. And my life improved in many ways. The only way out is to move on through it. But you must get out to move forward. Good luck job hunting.

  • “Could anyone work with their mugger? The 8th grade bully who shoved them in a locker? The unhinged neighbor who shot their dog? No. Anyone would see those events as traumatic.”

    Amen to that.

    Also, remember that you have your integrity, and he does not. You are the faithful spouse. Character has a way of showing over time….

  • I personally think they want you to leave. That’s why they aren’t addressing the mess. You will never be able to heal naturally. Clean up all finances and change out college funds monies. This is like a second divorce.
    Who knows, when you get another job you might be able to file a lawsuit. Think ahead and don’t sit. It isn’t going to change or get better.

  • Hope the job search is successful. Until then, think of this as a test, a challenge. The more professional you are the worse they look. The fact is your co-workers are definitely watching and commenting behind all of your backs. It’s only natural. Never speak about them to co-workers, if co-workers mention them, just politely shrug and say it is really none of my business. Professional, polite & a bit subdued will make you look great and ex/OW look like shit. The happy ending will be you leaving for a great position in another company. I really wish you all the best.

    • Just found out you are a teacher…..can’t believe your ex and ow were not at least severely admonished for their conduct. I bet some of the children’s parents would not be happy with a skank ow being involved with their kids.

  • This is a tough one and I don’t have any words of wisdom to offer. Just my sympathy and support as you try to do the right thing and be the sane parent for your kids as they are trying to get their lives going. It’s not always easy to leave a job as folks might think.

    I work at a large academic center in health care and have spent many years in a subspecialty with many certifications and promotions as a nurse. Dr. Cheaterpants is also subspecialized in the same department but different divisions. We use many of the same ancillary services and I cross paths with members of his team frequently. The first time he left early in the marriage, our kids were 2 & 4 years old, he was pursuing a twice divorced, history of cheating on both her spouses, howorker nurse. A lot of drama with her trying to atogonize me (I’m pretty much a rock in the calm and cool dept), and he shit where we eat. For either of us to leave where we worked and stay in our fields, we’d likely have to move to another state.

    The second time he left 12 years later, it was for DD14’s 20-something asst sports coach in our kids Catholic high school. As those 2 fuckwits tried repeatedly to normalize their relationship showing up at kids sporting events as a couple as if it were a legit relationship, the further he dug his grave with our kids and everyone who knew us. I kept my cool by showing up to support my kids and ignoring them. It was absolutely horrible!!

    I so feel your pain and I am sorry you are going through this. These fuckwits are really awful people and extremely shallow. May they get all the happiness they deserve.

    • Twice a chump, I’ve been following your story about those two despicable narcissists since you started posting….I feel a karma bus approaching them…. it’s just a matter of time.

      I’m so sorry you were treated that way.


    • I actually have been able to opt out of meetings if I need to, so that’s good. What sucks is that I love my job; this was my home until these two shit on it. But yes, I do what I can to steer clear of both.

      • Hummingbird71, I am a teacher too, but I don’t enjoy the job. I’m always amazed by teachers who enjoy their job and wish I could be the same!! I don’t know how you are managing this madness with the ex and his skank at work. Are you sure you have exhausted ALL avenues to have something done about them? How can they get away with this and there be no support for you in that system? Opting out of meetings is not supportive either, as you are missing that planning time with other colleagues and probably having to schedule separate times to meet them, am I right? You shouldn’t have to work around them. They should be made to work around you and your requests. If you love your job and the school that you’re at, I would do all I could to get THEM to be removed. They should be so ashamed of themselves, THEY should be the ones to be moving. You shouldn’t have to be made to feel that you have to find another job if this is the place you love! That said, teaching is such a transferable career – I bet you could get a job anywhere. But if you love your workplace that much, I would fight to get them removed. I’m guessing you would love any school you went to. But I get your dilemma – it’s not easy to pick up during the academic teaching year and move on. I hope you find a solution to this hell situation you are in now. Hold your head up high – they, meanwhile, should be scurrying around with their tails between their legs. What a sham! Teachers, no less! I am disgusted for you, that you have to put up with this! Better days ahead – I just know you are going to make it out of this. **virtual tea cup clinks** Cheers to you, for striving on and being a wonderful teacher to your lucky students. As for those two assholes – I am a firm believer in KARMA. Nobody escapes karma. Hugs from the land Down Under ????????????

        • My thought is that your coworkers knew what was happening. Did they tell you? Did they cover for them? Do they think it is ok? I wouldn’t want to work there any more. I hope you are living somewhere that another great school is close.

          • Good point, wonderwoman. I also wouldn’t want to work with colleagues like that, if this is the case. Good teachers, however, become really invested in their students, and its hard to leave behind everything that you’ve built up over (what I’m guessing) to be many years of setting up meaningful learning programs for your students. So I get why it would be hard for hummingbird71 to up and leave all that. If it were me, however, I would be looking to move on. If colleagues are happy to be complacent with what’s going on around them (with these assholes flaunting it infront of hummingbird71, other staff members and even students, my god!) then maybe a new work environment would be the better option. It’s not letting them win. It’s moving onto bigger and better things. They are the ones who shat it in the nest, leave them to sit in it ????

            • I understand that. I’m a teacher also, but I would feel betrayed by my colleagues.

      • My heart goes out to you. I’m a teacher who loves her job still 37 years later . My ex led a double life, produced a child who was put in my school by the drug and alcohol addicted mother . It was not child’s fault of course but the reminder every day of seeing child every day in room next door was rough. I worked my schedule and routes to minimize contact. I understand how tough this is to have your safe and happy place compromised . Hang in there, claim your right to your job and perfect your dodge and weave skills. It’s a horrible shit sandwich but you are strong and brave and chump nation has your back.

  • Hummingbird71, I cannot even imagine the hell you are living in each day at work. I have nothing more to add, but I said a prayer for you — a job with better pay, better benefits and that you’ll love even more then the present job. Amen.

    Please keep us posted on your job search and your new life cheater free. ((((HUGS)))

  • Well, this one spoke to me today. I work with my ex, too, and yes, every day I step into the building and walk past his office to get to my own is an adrenaline rush that re-animates the trauma.
    In my case, my ex is in the closet, and therefore his sexual antics are not clear and visible to anyone else. I’m the one who lived with and knows the extent of his disordered sexual practices and desires. (I’m not being trans/homophobic–I’m saying my ex’s practices/desires were creepy strange.) To everyone else, he’s the surface he projects himself to be. His misogynist fantasies and practices are invisible to others; I watch him put himself on committees having to do with women and win ally points knowing what he’s really thinking and doing. As a result every day I am at work I feel as if I’m living a gaslit existence. The year I spent untangling myself from him and his disorder was hell, and although life is much much better now that I’m away, on my own, and divorced. My contact with him inside work is limited and out of work it’s virtually non-existent.
    It’s better, but it’s still not a tenable situation; however, it’s also untenable for me–a 65 year old woman in a tenured university professorship soon coming up on retirement–to find another job. My solutions have been, one, a therapist who works with patients of sexual trauma and abuse (the maintenance of a closeted sexuality is recognized as a form of family and spousal abuse, by the way), and two, renegotiating my retirement package to advance my retirement so that I have only one year left to teach; I’m soon meeting with my retirement fund advisor to see if I can swing it this year.
    Hummingbird is also of an age that would make it difficult to find another job (children of college age). Queen Mother’s suggestion of asking the supervisor to work with her is a good one (if Hummingbird has a good relationship with the supervisor); I was able, for example, to opt out of most department meetings and gain access to an unused office in another building in order to limit my contact with my now ex.
    I’m probably as angry over the way my ex ruined my last few years of teaching as I was devastated by what was revealed, the rejection, and the discard.

    • Adelante,
      Just wanting to say I am so sorry for what you have lived with in the past. And, I must add I am so impressed with your survival techniques. It cannot have been easy, but you have proven to yourself how a person can rise above life’s greatest diversities.
      You are my hero!
      Mighty, you are Mighty!
      Big Chump Sister hugs to you sweet lady!

      • Peacekeeper,
        I really appreciate your caring and supportive words. I’ve tried very hard to put into practice CL’s wisdom and the insights and experience of CN, but sometimes it feels as if I am swimming upstream in flood waters, particularly when it comes to work.
        I have been torn between simply walking away as soon as I can and never looking back, and fighting the workplace policies that slapped a gag order on me in the name of “protecting” the spouse who put me through what he did. I’ve contemplated contacting both an employment lawyer and the American Ass. of University Professors, to see if I have a case, but I don’t want to continue to prolong the nightmare when I will soon be retired and able to put it all behind me.
        In the name of my mental health (I did the chump calculus…) I have already eaten the shit sandwich of losing a year’s income and benefits by advancing my retirement forward by one year (I did extract a paid leave for this semester out of these negotiations), and I am now hoping that a meeting with my retirement investment counselor will allow me to eat a second one and get out at the end of this year. Leaving my job is, as someone in the comments said, like “a second divorce.”
        I expect that what I will do when I leave–whether at the end of this year or next, if I can’t see a financial way to retiring this year–is to let people in the administration know, before I leave, that unfair workplace policies have cost them a valued and effective teacher several years before they would have lost me. And then I’ll be walking off

    • If you are still wanting to work, consider technical writing. You’d do well with you educational background.

  • Hummingbird71-

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with this every day! I can’t even imagine what that must be like; I just know I couldn’t do it. You are mighty!

    You are already looking for another job so you’re doing all you can there. As far as dealing with this drama daily until you find something else, I think you have to internalize that your ex and schmoopie just suck. As hard as it is, be grateful you’re not engaged in the pick me polka anymore. I did that crap for 3 years so I know what a relief it is to stop that.

    Just know that schmoopie is definitely pick me dancing now so by all means you should enjoy a giggle at the expense of her schadenfreude! Maybe that can help you get through what will hopefully end soon!

    • Maybe Hummingbird could make a comment in passing to a coworker about having seen ex around town with another woman after working hours, see if the rumor circles around to Schmoopie and see what happens. It might not work if they are together 24/7 but if that’s the case they will grow sick of each other soon enough and that could be an interesting show to watch as well.

  • I suggest trying a therapist trained in EMDR. It won’t solve problems, but it”s unlikely to hurt, and it might help to at least lessen the triggering aspect of the constant exposures so it doesn’t feel so hurtful.

    Also, I am not sure how it works everywhere, but paid leaves of absence for illness caused by extreme workplace duress seem somewhat common where I work. If you really get in a bind, there may be some FMLA-related option like that. Even if you don’t end up needing it, it might be worth looking into so it’s at the ready if you do. (Of course, in my workplace, one of them would be repurposed or let go because they are in a personal relationship. Not all orgs are strict about this.)

    My org has an EAP with counselors who can explain things to help get a person started and refer to other resources that can provide confidential advice at no charge. Yours might, too.

    The best thing is that you aren’t minimizing yourself as if this isn’t a big deal. It’s a big deal, and it’s good self care that you are acknowledging it. Keep doing a lot to care for yourself. It’s so important to counterbalance that crap with a lot of soothing goodness.

  • Hummingbird71,

    I’m sending you a giant hug, that shit is above and beyond.
    I know is easy for everybody here to say “just quit”. I don’t know how old you are, what kind of time you have in, pension status….it’s not always so cut and dry.
    It’s not the same….but if it helps here’s a recent story of mine.
    My ex left me after 17 years rather abruptly on New Years Eve 4 years ago. He moved in with his mistress a town away and my kids went NC, I went as NC as you can while still divorcing somebody.
    I just wanted him to stay away, life eventually got good. I got the house, built my credit, eventually met somebody great, got a good settlement…..mighty.
    I made the decision once the divorce was completely done and all the paperwork was finished, that I would have nothing to do with him again. If there was a conversation about money or pension or anything, it would go through my attorney. It was for my sanity.
    Wouldn’t you know, this freak in his mistress build a house a mile away from mine. He now lives right around the corner with her and her children.
    There was a brief text to let me know that he was engaged and that he was living in such close proximity to me. In this text he said if I shopped at the grocery store on this road, they would shop at the grocery store a few miles away to avoid any awkwardness.
    Here’s my point. I have NOTHING to feel ashamed of. They do.
    I’ll shop wherever the fuck I want and not care a bit about them.
    You go to work and hold your head high, do your job and continue to love it. Don’t let them take that from you.

    • I agree with this 100%! Don’t change who you are, don’t skulk around trying to avoid. Hold your head high and keep that secret content smile on your face. You love teaching so teach and enjoy your job and the children and when another position comes along you will move on. I know it’s hard getting full time teaching positions but it will happen. I understand you don’t want to see either of them, especially if Miss Home Economic-Wrecker is walking around like she’s all that and a bag of chips. Honestly, she is disordered if she honestly thinks this is all ok. Neither of them cares about how any of their colleagues feel by being in this situation and that’s so narc behavior. Keep doing what you’re doing and fake it till you make it. I would reward your good behavior with a trip to the salon and a new outfit too!!! I think you deserve it!!! A little pampering never hurt anyone. I’m rooting for you and praying for that new position to reveal itself. That and a huge meteor to land on their car on their way to work. LOL!!!!

    • I totally agree paintwindow. It’s no accident that they move in close proximity. The masters of shifting boundaries no longer get to tell us where we can shop.

      I got a call from the police and found myself explaining what I was doing in ‘their’ town.

      Haha, he can’t afford gas and he owns a town?

    • Paintwindow oh my gosh , my ex built a house a 1/2 mile away from me. I just want him to move to another state. I have been no contact with him since December when he conveniently moved all his stuff he got in the divorce and he didn’t need me anymore to house his shit. My 4 daughters who are in their early 20’s never hear from him. Supposedly he was moving close to us so he could be close to his daughters. Really what a piece of shit.

  • Sending my hugs and prayers Hummingbird. Can’t imagine the daily trauma.

  • This was my life, for a while. If OW is deliberately antagonizing you and HR will do nothing, document and build a hostile work environment case. They are risking losing a good employee over those cheaters. I was told to “get over it,” by the person supervising all three (four?) of us.

    For a while, Pema Chodron’s book “When Things Fall Apart” was my lifeline. The main thing I remember from that book is that emotions actually last only about a minute; it’s the stories we tell ourselves about them that make them last longer. Every time I was upset, I let myself feel the emotion (in private, of course). I paid attention to how it made my body feel, and I fully experienced it. After about a minute there was a flash of clarity and a sense of peace, and I felt stronger. Then I actively avoided thinking about those people. “Trust that they suck” was brought home when OW and Ex got everyone in the office together for lunch, and I was left in the office alone. That sealed the deal for me. They couldn’t hurt me any more after that.

    Keep job hunting, that is your light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe go to a recruiter? I was able to get another job in about a month once I signed up with a recruiter.

    • Thank you for mentioning this book. I just went online and looked at it. A resource I think will help me a lot right now dealing with STBX and this whole situation. I ordered it and another one by her.
      What your ex and his OW did to you. Not realizing that they just look like huge jerks in the process. Yes…..they SUCK!!

  • My XH had an affair with one of my supervisors at work. (I found out because he told me when drunk). I tried confronting OW (wouldn’t recommend, it just feeds their narcissism) and then coped with it on my own for a few weeks until I eventually told a line manager. They agreed to change rotas so we didn’t work at the same time. I also made a formal complaint as I suspected OW was using her knowledge of my shift pattern to organise her meetings with XH. I said it was unethical and unprofessional of OW. They didn’t find against her but a while later the post was deleted!

    I too really liked my job and it meant I couldn’t even ‘lose’ myself at work to forget about XH/OW. I hadn’t discovered Chump Lady but I moved quickly through the RIC propaganda to knowing I was better than all that nonsense. I left the job and moved hundreds of miles away to be near family. I went No Contact and divorced the idiot. Getting away is really the only and best option. So Hummingbird71 I’d suggest you make that your priority. Think big, think promotion. And keep your plans under wraps and just disappear from their tawdry world.

  • I would worry that the OW is trying to set up Hunningbird in the office. Good luck with your job search.

  • I too had to work with an ex once, not a spouse, but a guy who dumped me and humiliated me with unexpected cruelty. A smug, arrogant prick who was also a bigwig, a real”golden boy” at the company and everyone thought he was a great guy, which was particularly galling. I eventually got out of there, but until I did, I made it a game to see how little I could interact with him and still do my job. I got quite good at it. If he was going up the left staircase, I was going down the right. If he parked in Lot A, I made sure I was in Lot B. If he was at the front of the room at a meeting, I was in the back. If I did have to pass him in the hallway, eyes ramrod straight ahead, and I’d say to myself “Warrior Woman! Towanda!”

    If I had to contact him about something work-related, it was always by email – never on the phone or in person. I was lucky I could do that. Once in awhile I would have to go to a meeting where he was presenting a PowerPoint or something like that, so I couldn’t escape looking at his ugly mug. He’d be up there smiling and charming and everyone thought he was wonderful. But I would say to myself, “I know what he’s really like… I know what an asshole he is – and so does he.” I found that particularly empowering.

    Was it fair that I had to go through all these contortions to avoid him at work? No. It was hardly meh. BUT it made the job bearable and the more I could play the ‘avoid him’ game, the more it seemed like a secret mission I could succeed at. I felt like one strong, badass secret agent! Hope this is helpful.

    • “Once in awhile I would have to go to a meeting where he was presenting a PowerPoint or something like that, so I couldn’t escape looking at his ugly mug. He’d be up there smiling and charming and everyone thought he was wonderful. But I would say to myself, “I know what he’s really like… I know what an asshole he is – and so does he.” I found that particularly empowering.”

      This is very useful for me! I know that my ex clings to his closet like a baby to a pacifier/toddler to a transitional comfort object, and just seeing me makes him anxious because I know the truth. I’m going to remind myself of what you’ve said when I have to be around him in work situations. And maybe on days I feel really strong I’ll even go out of my way to make sure he sees me.

      • Adelante, my ex is still in the closet, too. My lifeline in that department has been Many cities have in-person support groups and there’s a secret Facebook page. One of the things they stress is that we, the victims, do not need to stay in the closet with them.
        I don’t make a point of telling people that my ex is gay but I will discuss it when appropriate. Of course, some people don’t believe it because “he’s such a great guy, he would never do that to you” crap. They didn’t see the verbal and emotional abuse, either. But I understand, as he’s such a very covert narcissist that it took me decades to see it.

        • I am on the SSN, and active on the forum (under “Out of His Closet”). Once I decided to come out of his closet I began to feel much better, but I have been told by my supervisor at work that he is a protected class under Title IX and I may not say anything to anyone he works with, whether on campus or in my own home, because he is guaranteed a workplace free of discrimination. Telling the truth about my life is not allowed, and is, apparently an act of discrimination against him. I’m not talking about malicious outing; I’m talking about telling my friends who are also my colleagues.

    • This was very helpful. We have an open floor plan office environment and our desks face each other one row apart. We were dating five years and there were several break ups and other women. People in the office know about us and I struggle daily. There are days I sit and cry and then discreetly run to the ladies room. He hovered a few times and I fell into the vortex again. Now we are back on silent treatment and I have no idea why. I wish I could leave but I have two kids and single mom. When my youngest graduates, I hope to move to another location. By that time he should be retired. He is 11 years older and I guess I always just thought he considered me to be “the one”. Well, at least that is what he would tell me.

  • Hummingbird71,
    I’m so sorry you have this bad luck!

    But you have your health and, like CL points out, your dignity. You were and are mighty!
    I am praying that you find a new, lovable job ASAP.

    This will end. Courage, Hummingbird71, courage!

  • I just hope you find a good new job soon with a company that has more compassion. Then I hope the company you work for now goes belly up due to poor management.

  • Godspeed Hummingbird71! My piece of advice…look like a million bucks every time you walk in there with your head held high, standing straight, shoulders back, smile on your face and a pep in your step. Be the happiest person you’ve ever been, even if you have to fake it till you make it….It will BLOW their minds! Definitely no contact but if you have to, I would even go so far as being overly nice. And, if it were me, I would get some tactful snarky comments in when you can such as if someone says “You seem so happy” respond in a very matter of fact happy tone something to the effect of “I am! Thank you for noticing.” or “Oh, I am so much happier. Life is great!” I know it’s hard and I feel for you. But learn to eat the shit sandwich with pride. You will notice the happier you make yourself be the happier you become and it will completely change your attitude to where you actually can bare the shit sandwich. Much love and hugs to you my friend.

    • Thank you, Southern Chump. I was going to give the same advice. Hummingbird, look your best every day at work and be happy, even if you have to fake it. Trust me, the slut has many insecurities when it comes to you and the fact he loved you enough to marry you, even though he turned out to be a piece of shit. She harbors fears he still loves you. No doubt in my mind she is worried she will not measure up to the wife (you) and if she has one brain cell in her head, the fact that he cheated on you can mean that he could cheat on her too. Her fears and insecurities are valid. You are so much better than her if for no other reason than the fact you don’t open your legs to a married man. She has nothing to be proud of with a liar and cheater as a partner. Ick.

  • Hummingbird,
    ( beautiful, thoughtful name)
    Wow, I am not sure what to say.
    As a Chump who really knows a big fat nothing about ow and one who wonders endlessly of what was her name, what does she look like, etc. etc. to your life of having to see ow and your cheater daily! What a horrible extreme.
    You certainly are MIGHTY!
    I love what CL said about the 1/2 eaten sandwich in the trash. Every time you see them together think of that as 1/2 of a big, thick, shit sandwich stinking in the garbage. YOU are done wth it, you threw it away. But ow lives with it everyday, she is stuck with it.
    Hold your head high, you did nothing wrong.
    I hope you are able to find a good job far away from them.
    In the meantime, every time you sit down to your lunch, smile, thinking of what the ow has to dine on. NOT your shit sandwich any longer!
    Stay Mighty!
    As a Hummingbird!

  • Dear Hummingbird

    If the sexual harassment policies were not followed and you are suffering extreme distress, perhaps an employment lawyer would be an idea.
    Of course, this is always a risk, as it could impact your new job search. But I cannot believe your employer does not bear some responsibility.

    Maybe you can work at home and get paid. Seek that legal advice.


    • Nice, Kara!
      Yeah, I am sure everyone on here knows someone who is looking for a good hire. Considering you were level-headed enough to not scramble over a desk and knock them out, I would say you are very patient and resilient.

    • Awww how sweet. I’m a teacher in New England (CT). Also, I guess I’m older (47 lol). I have asked for a transfer and have been denied because 1. “you’re too good of a teacher,” and 2. There are no openings. My principal has said she is trying to move him and that would be the best case scenario.

      • And if they can move Schmoopie to yet another school that would be even better.

        • At school? Oh you are in good shape!

          Document document document


          • You might be a fantastic teacher. But my take on that is the administration doesn’t want deal with it.

            Facilitating a hostile work environment = EEOC

    • Haha thanks everyone.

      But I was asking the OP what her profession is and her location because I can help. If she does IT work and she’s in the area of our clients, I can help her find a new job.

  • This would be my nightmare, especially because my ex & the OW lack self awareness and really aren’t that bright.

    You could, go to HR and ask them for considerations:
    1. Placing you elsewhere if your company has multiple locations
    2. Work from home (the beach, coffee shop, the mountains)
    3. Ask them to help you make reasonable working conditions for you (do this in writing)
    4. Go to your superiors and let them know you deeply value this job but considering the circumstances, could they assist you with being a reference or know of anyone that could use your expertise. I have seen this happen where someone valued needs to get out- execs have other execs as friends…they talk. It could be that they would rather have those two leave lol…but I think you would find more opportunity.

  • I am so sorry that you have to be tortured like this on a daily basis. The first time that I was forced to be where my ex was, was at my son’s wedding. I found power and sanity in just ignoring him and his entire family. I also did not wear my glasses, so it was easier not to see them. Luckily, the howorker was not invited. I am sure that the story is “what a bitch she was”! PS: I still will not shop at the grocery store in “their” area of town. Baby steps.

  • Keep reminding yourself that this is temporary. And that you are doing this for your kids, which makes you a great mother.

    There is no upside to having to witness this. It’s another shit sandwich to eat due to us having kids with a traitor. But you have done the noble thing here by not just walking away from your job. You are a Queen, you rock and someday this will be just a memory.

  • I too work with my ex husband Limp Dick and for the first 6 months of their true love Pond Scum also worked for the company I also owned. There was nothing I could do and it was unbelievably hard. I was traumatised every week when I went to work she made a point of being in my face and I simply had to learn to be the better person. After a few months, their great love affair faded, so did she and it became marginally easier! It’s still a shit sandwich by the way!
    Nowadays he is much more congenial and I am winding up joint marital assets, organising divorce and working really hard at crafting my better life. There are no words. It is an impossible position to be placed in. All I can say; is that living better is the best revenge. It no longer triggers me because he has revealed himself in his absolute stupidity! He has 3 daughters who have zero respect for him; he has lost every friend and family member except the solitary syncophants.
    I have bought a house, sold my business, bought a commercial building and will build this next chapter without the taint of the earlier part of my life. I am 61; so in some circles it could be said my choices are limited! Fuck that! My world has opened up for the final chapter and it’s bloody interesting! Stand tall & believe in you!

    • Ozziechump, you are an amazing and talented woman. A highlight of my road to Meh was the masterclass with CL and Mr CL and the hilarious dinner we had one evening. Wishing you all the best things in life, you are making it happen right now and an inspiration. Hugs xx

  • I’m sorey for your situation 🙁 that’s all I’ve got.
    And, that i agree with QueenMother about having your mental health in mind, and your grown kids figuring a few things out for themselves. You can’t shoulder all the burden forever and i think it’s somewhat of an excuse, pointing at them and saying “but I’ve got the babies to think of”. They aren’t babies. And you’re probably overloading yourself with cooking, household upkeep, laundry, etc… you keep this around subconciously as a distraction but also to say “these are the things i have to do”

    • Wow, Mg, you’re making a LOT of assumptions, then criticizing the OP for things you don’t even know she’s doing! The ONLY thing the OP said was that she can’t just quit and spend time not working at all while looking for another job, since she has $ responsibilities for kid college.

      • Interesting MG. I have to say that when my life was falling apart in 2014 I made a conscious choice to support my adult son and granddaughter. It wasn’t a distraction at all.

        It was hard work making ends meet. They saw me struggle for years as I made massive cuts to survive all the while encouraging my son and living my life around a 13 year olds schedule.

        I have no regrets. Survival mode was living without many things. My granddaughter and son are thriving. They respect me and treat me with kindness.

  • I have not been in this situation, Hummingbird71, but if those two are alive you get a gold medal.
    You get a gold medal for dignity, endurance, resilience, loyalty, and emotional maturity as well. Hardware that makes YOU the ultimate winner and extremely valuable employee IMHO.
    I own a company and I would be looking for a way to legally fire those two, believe me.

    I am so sorry for the daily assault on your spirit.

    I definitely would be on the hunt for another job in order to protect myself if they were determined to stay.

    All I know how to do is pray that a better job comes hunting you down ASAP….or that they are removed, so I will do that now.

    • “Please bring a better job to Hummingbird71 or remove her husband who cheated and his cheating acccomplice from her place of employment.
      Thank you very much.

      I submitted the above to Unity…you will be in prayer for 30 days.

      It’s all I got. I hope it helps.


    • Fresh burst of outrage…how in the name of Mike could you be your best productive self at your job while being assaulted emotionally and re-traumatized all day long?!! I am SO ANGRY for you at those two low lifes AND the company you work for.

      Jiminy Crack Christmas. There has GOT to be a solution to this other than everybody pretending everything is okey-dokey at the Shit Sandwich Co.


  • I imagine you are already pursuing possible transfers to a different school. You might also consider opportunities to teach abroad. Some programs welcome faculty swaps for 1-2 years or some districts will let you teach on a Fulbright exchange or through some other program in a host country without losing status and seniority when you return. Getting away will do wonders for helping you shift your perspective!

    In addition to the out right pursuit of another job, try to network with people in your field over coffee or a glass of wine to learn about how you can move to a position doing curriculum development or outreach of some kind. Let people know you’d be interested in taking a temporary or interim position in administration at another school while someone else was on leave. You don’t want to lose whatever benefits your current job holds, but if people know you are flexible and want some new experiences and opportunities in another building, they may be able to funnel choices to you.

    For whatever it is worth, I’ve worked in two schools where someone from my department cheated on a spouse with another member of the department. No one liked working with the cheating jackasses and the OW/OM. Once the gloss rubbed off the new romance, I think the cheaters discovered that trust and collegiality were permanently damaged. I’d like to say their careers tanked, but they did not. The cheaters did, however, leave after a couple of years in search of greener pastures where their poor reputations would be merely rumors instead of established facts.

    I can only imagine how terrible it must be to have to come into work five days a week and be civil to these jackasses. I hope your own classroom is a small, protected island of sanity for you.

  • Sending good vibes in the hopes you find a spectacular new job soon.

    When you’re out of there, think about where it leaves them too; like CL says, they most definitely get off on the drama. They want to see you miserable. When you’re gone, that’s gonna fuck up the drama triangle. This guy is scummy enough to cheat on his wife in THE WORKPLACE where he Works with his WIFE, he will do it to her. I guarantee it.

    Once you’re gone, drama factor goes down. It’ll be a year tops before he’s flirting with someone in B pod.

  • Hummingbird71;
    You sound perfectly with it, on it and capable of assessing the options of your situation. I’m sure you have exhausted every possible work place scenario for getting away from the turds.
    I am very sorry you are facing this now.

    Do not be encouraged to move jobs unless it is a lateral or improvement for you. Not at this time, anyway. You shouldn’t face any more financial loss due to two asswholes choices….

    The cognitive dissonance when you feel like you were replaced is awful. Especially since it is in your face.
    You question what you though you knew. Very normal.

    I felt the same way after being abandoned. BUT I refused to re write my memories. To do so would be using a cheater’s filter on my experiences – phooey.
    After accepting that I did have good memories of my past life I was O.K. —
    but, I had to face that is not my reality now.

    I would elegantly embroider “Trust That They Suck” and frame it for your cubicle. No other explanation necessary. When you feel like you need strength — your reminder will always be there, like your patronus.

    • Thank you for talking about memories. That was one of the hardest thing for me to reconcile when the shit show started. I was like, what do I do with all the memories? Were they a lie, did he mean any of them? My cousin asked me, do they feel real to you? And, they did. I will be damned if I will let him ruin all those wonderful things that did happen during my 19 years with him. That’s a skein better left tangled.

      • So true. My dd13 told me yesterday that she felt her whole life was a lie. It breaks my heart.

        • Tell your daughter that her life and memories weren’t a lie. They were real to her too. This is a hard lesson to learn as a young teen. A wise uncle told me that we may have questions that never get answered. We have to find peace knowing that the answer may never come and go ahead living our life. Maybe she can find some consolation too. Big hugs to her and you.

          • Your life was not a lie. Your feelings were not illusions either. If you were sincere and trusted your spouse…put yourself into your life 100% and were happy…. why would you go back and reframe things based on another’s actions you couldn’t control anyway???

            Accept the sad scenario that those things are in your past, but your distress IS only temporary and there are things you can do to facilitate your personal recovery.

  • I realize money is tight, but for what it’s worth, I say just quit any way and find a lesser paying job until something better comes along. Honestly, it really is just money. I have had to go from living in high style to a barebones apartment for me and my kids, and you can adjust to a lower-standard of living. Though it sucks at first, eventually, you might come to like it better. There is something to be said, sometimes 🙂 , about having to play a board game or read a book, rather than experience a blitz of electronic entertainment.

  • Your ex and OW are together 24/7. Work together, eat together, live together. Just…….let that sink in. Is it because of trust issues or is it just because they wuv each other so much? I’d bet the former. Also being with someone 24/7 gets really old, at least for this introvert.

    Your ex may have “put a ring on it” but is he really a prize??

  • “They drive to work together, just like we did — her in the passenger seat I used to sit in, they have lunch together, just like we did. ”

    This screams of insecurity of two cheaters. They don’t trust each other enough to be out of sight of each other. This is all image management – aren’t we wonderful! Barf, no you aren’t.

    HB71, I agree with some previous posters to start documenting every instance and build a hostile workplace case. You say you’ve exhausted all HR remedies but does your company have an employment handbook? I bet there is some vague language (it’s always vague!) about dating at work. See if you can leverage that with your state’s EEOC to explore violation of their own policy by not applying it consistently or not enforcing and thereby creating a hostile work environment. If the EEOC starts sniffing around, you can bet the HR department will start listening. Furthermore, the EEOC is less expensive than an employment lawyer and can be your first option for deciding how to proceed.

    Also, I’m guessing you’re an older worker? Ask the EEOC about the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and what protections it offers, too.

    • HAH! ADEA= nothing. There is nothing that is resolved using that worthless piece of legislation. Anyone (myself included) who is over about 50 y.o. doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting another job.

  • You hold that head up high and make them squirm in their seats. You did nothing wrong except love a cheater. I wouldn’t be above dropping a few choice tidbits at the water cooler when you are leaving for that cheater-free new life and new job. If you get my drift. 🙂

    Seriously, I can’t imagine what you are going through having to see them every day. That’s a special kind of hell and yet here you are, being mighty and holding your own. Don’t lose sight of what you can achieve and what you deserve. Them – they will get their comeuppance. Hey, just having each other may be their punishment. He’s no prize that everyone will be fighting over, and she sure as heck isn’t either. You got the best prize – a chance to live a better life for you.

  • I too, work with my ex. It’s excruciating. It’s a small place so everyone knows he cheated on me AND that he took me to court to reduce child support by 12K a year AFTER he just received a 12K a year raise. It’s disgusting. I have been no contact for over two years thank the Lord. However, what is most difficult is that other employees often tell me about his unprofessional or perhaps even unethical behavior. (He was widely despised while we were married, little did I know then.). Even though I tell them I don’t want to know, there’s always someone new who mentions something and I really can’t send an email to 300 people telling them not to talk with me about him.

    I don’t have to look at the OW though, and that must be a circle of hell I can’t even imagine. STAY STRONG! I guarantee people think more highly of you than they do of either of them.

    It is constant retraumatization for me. He was diagnosed as emotionally abusive, and even put double in his retirement than mine for the 13 years we were married. So, after being ridiculed by him constantly for being frugal, he’s making out like a bandit, with my money. A lot of legal mistakes led me to this, mainly my attorney failing to attach the child support worksheet to the divorce agreement and his attorney being former law partners with the judge. (there’s so much more though – ugh.)

    I’ve been looking for another job but it’s HARD, plus, I love my job, my daughter (middle school) has good friends, my elderly parents moved to town to be near us, and he’s taken so much from me I don’t want him to take this too!!! No matter what people say, I just can’t quit and wait to land another job. Financially, it’s not an option.

    I have been just avoiding him like the plague for two years because I don’t want to start screaming at him in public and be labeled “that” person. But my anger is growing. Most people who complain about him won’t do anything about it (like go to HR or the dean) because they are scared of him. I’ve tried treatment for PTSD with an excellent therapist but she eventually told me that it was like treating a veteran still at war.

    Everyone says to wait for the karma bus to come along but that doesn’t always happen.

    Even given all this, I think I’ve managed pretty well. I just want my freakin life back.


  • Hummingbird 71, this too will pass. They cling together because of their SHAME and insecurities, Usually you loose them the way you got them. Remember that you are the faithful, strong, respectful and Im sure MUCH loved teacher, In time others will see them both for who they really are.

    I was married to my xh for over 3 decades. Divorcing these AH is much like living with them, while they lie and cheat about everything in their life. They end up disgraced, you just need to wait for it. I wanted to warn you though about after the job hurdle passes (and it will).

    Life goes on and eventually those college kids graduate, get married, have babies and other situations where both of you will be in attendance. Practice your NC now bc you will need it. I have learned to ignore him as if he doesn’t exist. (they really hate that too) A few weeks ago I attended a baby shower where the xh was invited to golf with the men. I arrived enough late to avoid seeing him and left early enough to avoid him again. Mine didn’t end up with any of the many AP’s yet but Im sure that day will come. In a bold move he forced his gf introduction on one of my sons with a visit after Thanksgiving. In time no one cares about what they do or whom they are with, Just prepare yourself for same shit, new day!
    I hope you will find peace in everyday that you don’t have this crap in your face. BTW most people who know you from your job are uncomfortable with the situation as well mainly bc they don’t want to be US. We aren’t supposed to do this! Trust that they SUCK! Yes they do!


  • Jedi hugs.
    I am one who knows personally the difficulty of working with the STBX/Ex.
    In my case, fortunately it was only a year for ex, but one of the APs is still here. Fortunately we rarely cross paths, and we have an agreement that she can only talk to me for work related matters. She has broken that twice, but I just ignore her.

    But I understand the feeling of being ashamed. With the workplace AP, I was gaslighted and really thought it was all in her brain (she does have issues confirmed by others). But there was the unease as I realized more probably happened, and that others at work were aware/suspected.

    I had more (misplaced) shame with the last AP. This happened away from work when my ex took a year’s leave from work to pursue the “dream job.” I fully supported the decision since he kept claiming his unhappiness was work. When he returned we were in the process of getting divorced. And the coward would not tell anyone– I had folks come up and say how happy I must be now that he was back home full time. I even went to the known gossip mongers and told them, so they could spread the word. For me the ashamed part was that he left me for a woman almost 12 years younger, 10.65 years younger than him. One day he brought her to work (she was visiting, lived elsewhere), and I was PISSED and called him out– I have to hold my head high, and he brought her. His lame excuse, you are telling everyone I cheated, why do you care. Of course, I had NOT mentioned the cheating, but everyone figured it out– comes back, getting divorced at 20+ years together, much younger women, etc etc.

    Anyway, I am babbling. Point is, many of us know and understand the extra stress. Deep breaths, lots of hugs.

  • Hummingbird

    I’m so sorry your experiencing this horrible situation.
    Please stay strong & keep moving forward. Let the two
    losers crash & burn in their own time. It will happen &
    by then you won’t care about losing a cheating piece of garbage who betrayed you so terribly.

    Hugs to you ????

  • It’s tough. I work directly with my stbx. Fortunately the ow neither works here nor is in the picture. She lives 400 miles away. Stbx is remorseful and regrets losing his nice hose and family. I try to limit in person contact.

    But. We used to drive to work together and eat together, which means we are both actively trying to avoid each other. It has made work much less enjoyable.
    I have moved on to eat with a different group who know the whole story. Some of them work with/for the cheater, but that’s always a problem when you live in a small town.

    Cheater and I have been at this company for 22 years. We are both fairly senior and well paid. Neither of us will change jobs.

    I try to look at him like a colleague. I don’t have to like him or hate him, I just need to get the work accomplished.

    It’s working for now. In my next job position I will ensure we no longer have regular contact. 8 more years to retirement.

  • Hummingbird, I admire you so much. You are truly a great person to put your children and your students first. You are setting a great example for them all on how to live a life with character and integrity. I can’t imagine dealing with your situation. I would venture to say your coworkers respect for you is immense and your x and his ap are a running joke.

  • Hummingbird hugs, hugs, hugs- recovery from infidelity just takes time and having the fuckwit and tranp in your face makes it twice as hard. You didn’t say how far out you are from this mess. Just know that meh is coming. One day you will see him and feel nothing, no anger, no pain. Just relief that someone so unkind and lowlife doesn’t affect you. Until then keep crying, sharing, and achieving small victories. Being as gay and happy as you can at work will show you are the winner-fake it til you make it! I hope you are doing things you love that make you happy – like going to the gym, yoga, hanging with friends, joining a group that you love -book club, growing new interests that feed you-whatever makes you feel good about you. Best my friend!

  • Also I would not be so fast to leave that job if you truly love it unless you really can’t tolerate the situation and it won’t grt better for you (it will). Why should you give up what you love for someone so disgusting. You have given up enough. Fuck him and the horses ass he ride in on. Stay-he can leave. And I agree with above about going to war with HR beside you. This is an intolerable situation they should deal with.

  • I understand completely and you have exhausted every so called outlet that is supposed to help you? I know exactly! Two years out of DDay, healing well but nothing is getting easier FINANCIALLY!????????????????????????????

  • My X and his tru luv work together. He is actually her supervisor or he was not sure about that now that they are living together. But while all the shit was going on I asked his supervisor to transfer him. I never got an answer. They didn’t care what he was doing or her. They were “ secretly” meeting in her office everyday. And everyone knew. Still nothing was done. Most workplaces don’t care. He works as a police officer # 3 man in charge at a large university. She is a sgt on the same department. Nothing was done. I would have lost my mind if I had to see them together everyday. Now they live together, work together and are together 24/7. Wonder how that’s working for them!!

    • Sounds like something that happened at the university where I work, in the police department. I was talking to a lady in my yoga class, and she told me about 2 professors that were cheating on their spouses. Shit happens so often – whatever ever happened to morals???

  • Might be worth talking to a lawyer who specializes in Employee/Employer cases. Seems to me your employer is allowing a hostile work environment and at a minimum should do something (e.g. offer you a nice severance package so you can focus on your job search full-time.).

    As much as possible, pay them no attention. She’ll be in your shoes in due course because he won’t change.

  • Hummingbird71 –

    Until they can move one or both of them to another school (or you leave for a better and higher-paying position), I have two wishes:

    1) You have a life insurance policy on him that you pay for and for which you are the beneficiary
    2) An anvil falls on his head

  • My long messages to Hummingbird keep getting wiped out on my computer and my phone!

    Here’s a summary:

    I, too, am an educator. I feel awful for you, Hummingbird.

    As my last partner, the guy who almost everyone considers Mr. Nice Guy but was really Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (at least to me and I think some of his other exes), discarded me, after 30 years of what I thought was a loyal friendship, for the last time 1.5 years ago to marry his much younger (almost young enough to be my daughter) work subordinate, who he claims had worked at his company for years although I never heard of her/never saw her at any of his little functions and the first time he discarded me I don’t think that he dated her. So many lies, so little time, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…(I think that they married within a year of him leaving me.) Although most companies have anti-fraternization rules, it seems as though anything goes in that arena at my ex-boyfriend’s company. Three of the executives in the little company have mated with/married female work subordinates. I used to burn up thinking about how my boyfriend often told me that he didn’t have time for me due to work and then rode off into the sunset with the young, childless, rich, rising star and gets to sleep with her, ride to work with her, work with her, eat lunch with her, and probably make babies with her. And here I was driving many miles, although I had kids and he didn’t, to see him whenever my kids were not with me. I kick myself alternately for not ‘being good enough’ and for hanging onto him (as an intimate partner) for a few years in spite of him lying to me, insulting me, criticizing me, telling me things like he missed being married but wanted to run away from me, even on special occasions like dating anniversaries and my birthday. Hummingbird, you have handled things much better, divorcing your jerk of a spouse, instead of waiting for him to officially leave you. You deserve way, way better!

    My ex-boyfriend’s work space is ‘open office’ (no walls between desks). Fortunately, as a classroom teacher, you have your own physical domain for the most part.

    Regarding what HR can/will do, what does your faculty conduct manual say? Did your ex and the OW violate any rules regarding public display of affection on campus in front of students? Did either one sexually harass anybody? I was sexually harassed by my first (male) mentor at the first school in which I taught. The first (male) principal told my mentor that he MUST stop harassing me. This good principal was then promoted out of our school. The next (female) principal did nothing. Thus, mileage with HR and HR issues may vary. I’ve seen mileage vary tremendously in the corporate world, too.

    If you love your job, your work location, and the people at your school, minus two jerks who deserve a serious kick in the teeth and then some, then you might be best served by staying in your current job. As I have gotten older (am now in my early fifties), in spite of more education and more experience, I have found it increasingly more difficult to secure jobs, even in the education field, in which I have spent many years. I am not saying that you won’t find a job at least as good as your current one–just sharing my experience and the experience of some other people I have known. Spring break and summer break will likely give you a reprieve, one that most employees can only fantasize about! (In my last job, which ended last week, I had ZERO weeks of vacation per year.)

    Fortunately, your kids have already reached adulthood, albeit college-attending adults. (Good for you! You rock!) Mine are still in their pre-teens, which makes things tougher for my family. As a result of my last boyfriend marrying the woman he left me for, telling me that my career wasn’t good enough for him, which he later denied saying (but apparently hers is) and me now being an over fifty, unemployed, non-home-owning in a wildly expensive area which I cannot leave without losing ‘good’ custody arrangement, divorced mother of pre-teens with an unfaithful, abusive, unreliable ex-husband, my self-esteem and my financial portfolio have plummeted. I was even suicidal the first time my last boyfriend/now ex-boyfriend, who started dating me months after my husband left. As devastated as I have been by multiple losses, not only of partners through their divorce/discard of me but also deaths of relatives, disabilities, job loss, etc., 1.5 years since last discard, I am starting to sense ‘scar tissue’ figuratively growing over my badly burned ‘skin.’ I hope that this is happening for the sake of my kids, if for no other reason, as I have been almost literally curled up into a ball for years now. If I can emotionally/physically recover, at least to the point of functioning, then I think that Hummingbird, who seems very strong, will, too.

    Lastly, Hummingbird, if you have not tried the following already, you might consider trying somatic (mind-body) psychotherapy, listening to podcasts by Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodron, and similar practitioners of mindfulness.

    I wish you the best going forward!

  • I am so sorry you have to put up with this. I will never understand how OW think. I bet your principal is dying to transfer these two cheaters to another school. I bet your co workers support you. I know I would. Chump solidarity!

  • Yeah I have to agree with the Nation, that is rough. I would feel sick. I wonder though that you might be able to become more ‘used’ to it. You know they say if you don’t like spiders you can past that by facing your fear. Play a game with yourself. Today for 10 second I will be near them and feel OK before it makes me feel bad again. Next time, I’ll get to 15 seconds of not caring before they make me feel bad. And congratulate yourself of every second because that’s one for second of meh and one more second you regain control.

    I do this when OW turns up sat in the car on my drive, only happened a few times but I felt sick. First time I ran indoors, second time I was outside didn’t look but carried about my business. Third time, I just stood there, didn’t react but stood my ground. It’s my house. It still makes me want to break down but I feel I am winning in little steps. Only 400 more meetings to go before I open the car door and punch her in the face – ha ha ha!

    When you have know choice which I can see maybe you don’t almost anything you can do to make this less painful could pay dividends. It could even get as stupid as imaging a bum every time you see her face. I don’t know if you can find something that makes you laugh internally it may give you something to chuckle about and that will help reduce the awful stress that you must be feeling.

    More than anything every encounter you have done nothing wrong, nothing to be ashamed of, they should be ashamed to look you in the eye, not the other way around. Give them the look that says that you know that and THEY know that. And go about your business with your head held high!

  • I’d stay in your current position. He doesn’t get to control your life. If you’ve been there awhile I’m guessing you get longevity pay and have seniority.

    1. Bid into another position within the district.
    2. Determine the necessary classes you need to get certified for another position. Become an administrator.

    I’m sorry for the shit sandwich. These fuckers enjoy your losses. Hold your head high and work towards something; don’t run. Every single day will become more tolerable once you focus on yourself.

    Your foundation is your own. Build upon that and hold your head high as your doing it with integrity.

    Your school will pay for classes. Follow up on that. And when your child graduates from college she will look up to a strong mother.

  • One thing I wanted to add as a teacher is kids are smart and aware! Oftentimes more than adults. As such, by hanging in there, you set strong example for your kids and students.

  • Hummingbird, I absolutely feel your pain. My work was my haven as I went through the tsunami of divorce. I pray for you and peace to come. My ex’s howorker moved into my old neighborhood when she got divorced from her husband because she wouldn’t stop the affair with my ex. I would see her picking up her kids, running in the neighborhood and driving around. To avoid running her over, I moved. She literally pushed me out of the marital house that I had poured blood, sweat and tears into renovating. I knew I had to go for my sanity.

    Hold your head high because you have morals, integrity and grace. Big hugs to you!

  • My thoughts, keep your eye on your very important priorities. Your children in college, your students, and You! Surround yourself with kindred spirits and carve out your new life. Life is unfair at times but you can and should make healthy choices…. No contact is best but if you are making concessions on the job that is something you may need to address with your union. You should not be made to change plans or feel badly because of someone else’s crap choices. Continue to hold your head high and fake it till you make it. Practice extreme self care, busy is helpful those early years. Also you are allowed the truth. Know you rock and keep moving forward. People who can walk away from family never do better and your family now deserves your undivided attention, that is where your reward will be. During our divorce, X was the typical runaway husband and cheat. In the years after, he has become more and more someone I don’t recognize, trust, or respect. Our children have learned many hard but valuable lessons and you can bet I am modeling what it is to no longer care for crap people and to put us first. Lastly, I look at the whole experience as my saving grace. I was wasted in that marriage, and now I can live.

  • Hi everyone has been giving the same advice and I agree wih them. I do not know about school districts but we have fairly strong HR at the University where I work. You can talk to the EEOC, HR and if that fails an employment lawyer (I know that becomes expensive). But just talking to them will help you if only to understand how EEOC and employment lawyer looks at your situation. The OW should be ashamed and apologetic not walking around like a winner. But you did nothing wrong – hold your head up and march strong. Sometimes a physical fitness hobby (like martial arts) can help strengthen you emotionally. Make time to do something that feeds your spirit.

  • The OW has become a Stepford you, and somewhere deep down inside she knows it. Or if she doesn’t then she’s too dumb to breathe. And most of them are. And deluded. They are small, unintelligent people who think they are big and splendid and worthy of attention. That is their oxygen. So give them a little brain damage and ignore them. They are the ones who look like dicks around the office, you are a badass. Hugs and new jobs to you.

  • A red winged blackbird.

    They fly to trees near where I walk. They sit on a branch and focus at things. They see me. They fly away from any branch when they are ready.
    Fast, agile, intelligent, pretty, free.

  • I, unfortunately, also work with my ex-douchebag. I would never give up my career just because he decided to be a turd. However, I understand the difficulty when you have to see them in your place of employment-awkward run-ins and all. I got good at pretending he doesn’t even exist. I let one of my colleagues assist him if he needs something. I don’t interact with him at all- I look past or through him. He doesn’t get to occupy any kind of space in my life. Good luck to you Hummingbird- you are strong!

  • Can you stick a big letter “A” on his door? Nickname him Dimmesdale in your school contacts?

    How about putting a poster on your wall, “The Handmaid’s Tale”? Or dress as a handmaid for Halloween?

    Just kidding. Don’t really do that, but it could be fun.

    The local high school had a scandal a few years back. Principal and teacher at the school both divorced their spouses to get married to each other – while their kids were attending that very same high school!
    The last I heard, he is now superintendent at a different school district. Ugh! Sometimes life is just unfair.

  • So I’m not the only one who gets to share her workplace with the very person who destroyed my life (attempted to, rather). I came on here today looking for advice on how to let go of the hate. Luckily, I just work with her, my former friend, now girlfriend of my ex. When it’s “his” day with our baby, I get to know she’s going home to MY son. The hate and anger will not subside and I don’t know how to deal with it. I am a nurse, I work in labor and delivery at the only hospital in town. I’m not leaving. But how can I do this? Idk. I’m so sorry to hear that someone else in the world is in a very similar predicament. No one should ever have to feel this way.

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