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Dear Chump Lady, My ex has cancer

Hi Chump Lady,

I’ve been a former Chump for 8 years; I’ve got the fair settlement, a great house I bought and restored pretty much myself, the better career than I’d ever thought possible, a closer relationship with my kids and No Contact unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for our adult daughter. My other grown up sons cut contact with their former step dad when the whole thing came out and I won’t repeat the history here, because it’s the same old…..

It wasn’t easy. I made a lot of mistakes in the first few years. He went to live with the ‘real’ love of his life, but they split up about a year ago; the edited version I got from our daughter is the OW seemed “disappointed and barely able to look at him.” (Why aren’t I surprised to hear that?) 

So this is the thing that’s rattled me. As manipulators go he was only ever as good as I was an expert Chump, and I spent some years honing my Chump status. But, post split and divorce, with me taking no more shit from him, I’ve always expected him to take another shot. That could only ever happen if we have to be in the same place at the same time, for our daughter. 

That opportunity arose 3 weeks ago. My darling girl was rushed to hospital and admitted for suspected bacterial meningitis (and she is recovering well now).  He pitched up whilst I was at her bedside and she was asleep. “Can I have a word outside?” he said. 

I knew this next bit was coming, Chump Lady. I’ve been rehearsing this in my head for a VERY long time. “I’m being investigated for cancer, I won’t tell our daughter until she’s better though”. “I’m sorry to hear that” I said and went to turn back into my daughters room. “And how are you?,” he said all smiley and keen. “I’m good” I said. End of conversation, I shut it down. 

Obviously because most of what came out of his mouth for many years was a lie, no matter what the subject, I translated this information — “I’ve been to the Doc and there are a number of possible things going on one of which might be cancer, and as this kind of story always worked on you in the past I’m going to test the waters, see if I still have the magic touch”. 

So, turn out, he does have cancer. He had the tumour removed two days ago and needs chemo. Our daughter is obviously very distressed, he told her over dinner the day before the surgery was due, so she took him to the hospital and she was his only visitor afterwards. I am supporting her as best I can given she doesn’t have all the information about prognosis, although he told her it is treatable. 

I’m a bit all over the place Chump Lady. A part of me, the part that can have concern for anyone going through a tough time, feels like sending him a message of compassion, but the other part still feels a tremendous fear of tying myself to that train track so he can ride right on over me again.  (I didn’t realise that until we were both at my daughter’s bedside and he kept trying to entice me into playing happy families with him). My feelings swing from one end of the love/hate spectrum to the other. 

I’m not sure what I want, but anything you can say to bring your mighty wisdom to bear will be hugely appreciated. 

SpackleFreeZone

Dear SpackleFreeZone,

Usually my letters go — A Terrible Thing Happened to Me and Nothing Terrible Happened to the Person Who Did The Terrible Thing. Where is the Justice/Karma/Rain of Fire?

(My answers to these existential questions are very unsatisfying.)

Instead, you present me with the sort of dilemma newbie chumps would thrill to — your ex is Schmoopie-less, sick, and alone.

Because you’re a nice person, you feel compassion instead of apoplexies of Schadenfreude? I can’t beat you up for that, SFZ. That must be just awful for your daughter, especially after her own health scare. No parent wants to see her child suffer distress. And it must be very disconcerting for you to see this former Bogeyman, your cheating ex, laid so low.

But I would caution you to check your chump impulses at the hospital door.

Your ex’s cancer is NOT your problem. It requires nothing from you.

Cell divide weirdly for the just and the unjust. He didn’t do one thing to deserve cancer. It’s a shitty thing that happens.

Having his life implode, his Schmoopie bail, and discarding a quality person who would’ve stuck through him in crisis?

That’s on him. And if he’s the manipulative bastard you say he is, you can be damn sure he wants his chump back now. Those colostomy bags don’t change themselves.

Too bad. It’s sad he made bad choices. It’s tragic he didn’t value what he had. Where’s Schmoopie right now? Probably painting her toenails with a delightful shade of I-Don’t-Know-You.

And where are you? Oh, conveniently there in the hospital room. Of COURSE he’s going to play happy reunited family.

Shields UP, Spackle!

He made choices. You get to make choices too. You’re rocking a new life. Support your daughter in all this — not him. That doesn’t make you a bad person — not investing in his distress — it makes you an EX. A person who used to care, but had that shit beaten out of her.

Feel bad from 30,000 feet. Put some distance there, (as in, no “notes of compassion”). If you’ve truly been no contact with him for years, there’s lots you don’t know about him now (or ever). Like — how many other chumps he’s got lined up, or is trying to. If he’s on dating profiles. If he’s trying Happy Reunited Family on Schmoops.

Is that cynical? No — that’s who he’s been. He’s not having character chemo.

It may also be he’s truly alone, sick with no one to keep him company but his flaccid penis.

In which case, I think they sell those pink, fluffy teddy bears at hospital kiosks everywhere. $14.99. He can buy one.

You’re off the market. Please return to no contact.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I’m not sure what kind of cancer he has or what stage. I am not divorced yet, but about a year after my husband left me to go live with you OP, I was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer. My husband is still happily building his new life 1000 miles away. I don’t have his phone number and he still has not paid me a dime.

    I have met many people with cancer through my journey. I will not say that cancer is ever “easy,” but depending on what stage he has been diagnosed it, it’s very possible that he could have surgery to remove the tumor, go through chemo and then go back to his regularly scheduled life.

    You have no responsibility to him. He made his choices and he left. I have been in this fight for my life for almost 2 years now. If I had hurt someone and deceived and betrayed someone the way my husband hurt me, I would not expect them to come running to my side as I go through this. As a matter of fact, if he is as sick as he says, he should be reaching out to you to make amends.

    • (((((Sue)))))
      Your expert advice is so wise and realistic.
      I am sending you love, and, I hope you have good friends and family support along your journey.
      YOU are Mighty!
      ❤️

      Sparkle Free,
      Support your daughter, be kind to yourself.
      Your cheater made his decision and it did not include you, now your decision does NOT include him.

    • “As a matter of fact, if he is as sick as he says, he should be reaching out to you to make amends.”–That’s the tell.

    • Exactly! I’ve been fighting stage 4 cancer for two years now and he knows that (i had to have a letter from my doc with my prognosis for the depositions as he thought I was lying about it – projection much???). I never heard one comment from him about my cancer. Still nothing about it. Now he has AFIB and supposedly he and shmoopie are no longer together. Suddenly he’s being nice (but still no word of my cancer nor how I’m doing). Fuck him. He treated me like garbage and, sorry, but that’s what a consequence is!

    • Yeah, Doingme! That’s an EXCELLENT answer and way of looking at the situation: the cheaters made all the choices to keep us chumps out of their lives.

      Oh! So they changed their minds? Well, where are the amends? Or do they need someone to clean up after their chemo nausea and colostomy bags?

      I just KNOW that if sparkledick ever gets seriously ill he will try the same trick on me.

      “Where’s Schmoopie right now? Probably painting her toenails with a delightful shade of I-Don’t-Know-You.” hahaha!

      • For me there’s no amends that would ever satisfy.

        One who intentionally harms the mother of their children doesn’t get to use a child’s illness as an opportunity for contact.

        These fuckers who use a vulnerable child as a means to talk about their own illness is more of the same, centrality and manipulation.

        Myself, I’d give no response at all, as if he wasn’t there. Not a Fuckimg word or wasted breath. I’ve used it successfully at wakes, weddings and graduations. It requires no rehearsal.

        • I’ve realized this as well, that there are no amends he can make that would ever be enough to make up for the damage he has done to me and our family. He would have to do a complete “character transplant” and what are the odds of that? So instead, I am trying to put more energy towards that “gain a life” part of the equation. That includes getting better at grey rock, and basically counting down the days until my child graduates high school so I can go no contact.

    • DoingMe exactly, he made choices, unilateral ones, to turn our entire family upside down; he didn’t care then about the consequences and he doesn’t care now because it’s all about him.

  • You are tough and I respect and love it.

    My former spouse’s mother passed away two months ago and he communicates about the service and whether there is anything I would like when they start to clean out her things.

    I had to remind him you took her out of my life with your decisions and I have not been in contact with anyone from your family in over 2 years.

    By the way is your affair partner going to be there? That’s right, you have not told your family the whole story of our divorce. And in the dividing of her possessions who goes first affair partner or me?

    Answer those questions and I will get back to you. I support my children but you, former spouse, are on your own.

    It is a blessing your mother did not know about your affair with your old girlfriend and how you betrayed us and moved us 800 miles away from my family to be near her and lost your job and destroyed your career because of her. And after 18 months of dealing with you job searching and self medicating with alcohol, once you finally had a job, you left and divorced us.

    Take your affair partner, you have an intense connection with her, that’s what you told me.

    Leave me out of it.

    • I wouldn’t expect the in-laws to have any remorse, embarrassment or otherwise on behalf of their son. They created him!! I contacted my ex-MIL the morning after he was busted at the OW’s. She cried, begged to still be able to see the children (of course you can!! You’re their grandparents!) and said it would kill his father. Almost 2 years to the day later his father passed away … after being a healthy man. The ex used the impending death as a tool to try & get his kids to visit him. The impending death was dragged it for months, and my kids did go to see their grandfather several times before he died. On his deathbed, their grandfather told the boys to always be like their father & tell the truth. Not sure what kind of mind fuck that was for the boys, but even moreso what the hell was the ex telling them that they believed?? Total insane things, none of which would ever make having an affair & dumping your kids ok. The-MIL totally cut me out after several attempts of getting her visitation with my kids. She maybe sees them once a month, if that. It’s astounding and mind blowing, but I have come to the conclusion that his parents are pretty horrible people as well, and they created him. I had seen enough during the marriage to be shocked by their behavior (and of course to rationalize it away … or just ignore it when I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it).
      My parents showed up for the wake & funeral, and Schmoopie was there right next to the ex & the family. For all the world to see – and we were still legally married. I’m sure there were plenty of people that found that odd & distasteful (and wondered where I was, and what th No embarrassment there by the family!!!! Then again, they embraced Schmoopie on day one.
      So trust that they suck, but also trust that their family members suck too.

        • Yep, my MIL told me my marriage had been over for a year anyway.
          I’ve cut her out of my life, who actually needs that shit?

          • According to my MIL, our marriage had been “having serious trouble for a long time”. Ummm, news to me and we’d only been married for 4 years at the time!! Wtf had he been telling her, and for how long? I occasionally wonder what he’s currently telling his super-Christian family to get them to welcome into their home not only him but also known-Schmoopie as well. Then I recall, with relief, that it’s not my problem anymore. The beauty of VLC.

      • Gaaawd, those people sound unbearably trashy. You put up ith them for all those years? You deserve a medal for courage.
        My in-laws are a dysfunctional bunch of narcs and borderlines, but even they are disgusted by what my cheater did and they don’t even know the half of it. His mother, sister and one brother haven’t talked to him since. The brother who does talk to him said “What the hell is wrong with you?”

      • “So trust that they suck, but also trust that their family members suck too.” So true! Ask me how I know!

        My cheater’s family was so awful to me after 42 years of what I thought was a strong friendship, I still am in a daze about it two years later. It all seems like a bad dream.

        But after I stopped spackling and landed at Chump Nation a lot of things began to fit and I realize that they really suck. My sister’s-in-law are too lazy to leave or they suck too.

      • The more I got to know his family, the better sense it made of how he became who he is today. His mother came to beg me to give her son another chance and said it wasn’t his fault but his father’s because he took after him. I went back and asked her if a murderer’s son killed someone, is the judge gonna let him walk free and sentence the father in prion? No accountability and it runs in the family.

  • You can support your daughter, feel compassion for him, but although cancer is horrible, how was he with you when you were ill. When he cheated did he have your interest at heart. Expects pity from you.
    My heart stopped, apparently allergic to analgesia, jaundice, another time, lost 2 stone in a week, due to diabetes, recently sprained toes, still sore after 6 weeks, did he ask out I was, fuck no, but when he’s ill, he expects sympathy. What is galling he always asks acquaintances how they are. Its image management.

  • As a good and caring person, I can imagine withholding empathy and support for someone you used to love feels counter intuitive. BUT IT ISN’T. When he announced he was blowing up the family you built together for another woman and her magical vagina, did he pause to consider your pain… your suffering… your aloneness? NOPE. He skipped off and didn’t look back. I suggest you do the same here.

    Your daughter gets your support and your love. Show her how to be empathetic and make sure her health remains a priority (just like these disordered fuckwits like to ruin birthdays for the attention, I’m sure your X will milk this cancer episode for all it is worth.) AND, if there was no one else at the hospital… NOT YOUR PROBLEM… if anything, is should only reinforce that you dodged bullet and don’t have to spend your life married to someone who cannot make intimate, lasting relationships (or friendships) with anyone.

    Do you. Let God and the doctors do your X.

    • Right. Plus, you can feel empathy and compassion without having to do anything about it. It’s like when you pass strangers on the street who you can tell are going through something. You feel bad for them, but you don’t feel the need to invite them over for dinner.

        • Don’t worry about that. It’s essential for us all to have some feelings of obligation towards others. That’s social responsibility. They just need to be kept within reason. Obviously, you can’t help everyone, but you do what you can. For example, it would be exceedingly unwise to invite a stranger into your home, even if they look harmless. But there’s no reason you couldn’t offer to help them in some other way. I have found that homeless people often like to be listened to. They get so much abuse from assholes and are dismissed and ignored by most people. Who doesn’t have time to listen to somebody’s story every so often? That’s assuming it’s a safe situation. You can also offer to help carry somebody’s parcels, help a disabled or elderly person cross the street, etc. Many small acts of kindness do add up. That in addition to giving to charity and/or volunteering if you can. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re a good person if you have a strong sense of social responsibility.

    • I’ve worked hard at not apologising for keeping him as far away from me as possible. I’ve talked to my younger son about it tonight; turns out ex has already been in touch with my oldest son who looked on ex as his ‘dad’ and found losing him the hardest. Ex introduced the OW to my oldest son 1 week after he left me for her. 1 WEEK.

      So ex is playing a game. Didn’t get anywhere with me, so he’s going for the next best bet.
      I hate him. I want to be indifferent but I hate him.
      I’m indifferent about the cancer though

      • Hey, it’s hard not to hate a despicable asshole. I’ve had no success at it. I hate all assholes, not just my cheater. However, as long as you act indifferent, the jerk won’t get any fuel from the attention.

  • My children were 17 and 23 when my ex left for schmoopie. Our daughter is our child together, my son is a step child.He was toxic to them too and we all went no contact. The kids have not spoken to him in 4 years, I haven’t spoken to him in several months but prior to that it was business only and usually by text.
    While it’s heartbreaking to watch a parent/ child relationship implode, my kids have thrived since he left, and are totally comfortable in their decision to be no contact despite his repeated attempts to reconnect with them.
    I have been very clear that I support them in whatever they decide regarding him and his schmoopie ( now fiancée), but I ain’t gonna lie, life is easier and NC is much easier to navigate this way.I get some PTSD triggered anxiety episode at the thought of that disordered freak ever being anywhere in my orbit again.
    I’m sorry for your sweet daughter that she’s the Lone Ranger in this, but that’s HIS doing.
    Don’t get sucked in, not your problem.
    As we’ve read here before, would we support the arsonist that burnt our house down if he was suddenly in need? No, I sure as fuck wouldn’t.
    Doesn’t make me a bad person. It’s what I need to do for my self preservation, no guilt necessary.
    Love and support your daughter, look out for how you can be there to support HER if she chooses to go on this cancer journey with him.
    Ugh! This shit never ends.

    • PaintWidow I totally relate to the PTSD type anxiety; it was the most traumatising process I’ve ever endured and my childhood was pretty shitty for lots of reasons.
      Luckily my kids understand why it’s so important to me to keep No Contact at all costs and they, of course remember what it was like in their own right.

  • Assure your daughter you will support her if she chooses to assist her father through this, but that he is your X, and while you are sorry for anyone going through cancer, he is none of your business.

    Boundaries.

    On the other side, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer less than two years after DDay and divorce. I am grateful every day that this did not happen to me during the marriage. At least I get to focus on ME. I do not have a whiney baby wanting all the attention and undermining my recovery (remission).

    I have wonderful friends who help me. Your X can do the same.

    • I developed cancer ten years after the divorce. I knew in my heart that had I still been married to the Fucktard, I would not have survived. Back in the day, pneumonia was no excuse for not getting dinner on the table on time. Without the rat bastard, I was able to focus on the challenge at hand, take proper care of myself, get well, and move on with my life.

      As it turned out, the Fucktard developed cancer of a different sort several years before my diagnosis, and died a couple of years after, whether from the cancer itself or side effects of treatment I do not know. But learning of his passing after the fact sent chills up my spine. I felt that I’d dodged a bullet.

      • Two years prior to my divorce, I had broken my neck (work injury– for those who want to, are or have relatives considering nursing as a career–research the injuries and violence associated with this vocation before you think about getting into a low paid, high stress, extraordinarly violent job).

        I recovered from surgery, three titanium plates and 8 screws in my neck, with two bone graft plugs out of my hips–talk about pain–and was home with a hard collar for the next 8 weeks. I was ROUTINELY badgered, harassed, and generally made to feel like shit for not wanting to perform like a stripper porn star every night.

        Although the cheating started long before this happened, it just was the excuse he needed. I was told in one mediation with our lawyers, “If I had known you were going to get injured or sick, I never would have married you.”

        This is the one true thing that is common amongst all cheaters. If they had known adulting would be hard, they never would have aged past 12 years.

        This guy isn’t worth your time, Spackle–they do this to themselves. I have no comment on Cancer, because I have my own theories after 25 years of nursing–and I tend to keep my observations to myself over that subject.

        It’s like the soldier “finding God in a foxhole” analogy. It’s all tough guy, hero stuff until they’re pinned down and facing death. Some knew and face it, do what they have to do because they realize they’ve made this choice—and others beg and pray that “if God spares them, they’ll never do anything bad again” or whatever.

        You are healthy IN SPITE OF your Ex tossing a grenade at your feet, right along with your kids. Where was his concern and happy family feelings then? Was he great to you while he was shacking up with schmoops? Here’s the thing someone else mentioned—how do you know he doesn’t have schmoops on the back burner or even several other schmoops-es?

        I saw an episode of House—where Wilson’s friend, who was a cancer survivor–develops cancer again. In the meantime, when he had gone into remission the first time, he dumped his wife and ran off with a girl half his age. When he gets sick…again…the new gf doesn’t have the maturity to handle his cancer…and voila!….he’s making family noises with his ex all over again. Not only does he do this—but he convinces Wilson that, because Wilson had recommended a higher dose of chemo to kill the cancer and his liver fails….that Wilson OWES HIM a portion of his liver to extend his life. Of course…when the cancer is beat back again….he dumps the wife and is back with young girlfriend and also dumps Wilson after he gives a portion of his liver.

        This is art imitating life. This happens every single day. I see it all the time. People in general are opportunistic, but most have a filter and leash on it. Some don’t. Your ex is in the “some don’t” camp.

        Keep him out of your life and support your kid. Ex can fend for himself, just like you did.

        • And if you felt like a member of his staff, you were right. A broken neck was no excuse for not performing like a trained seal, so he was justified to act like a fool. If the shoe was on the other foot, you would probably need a leave of absence to properly care for that jerk.

          I am so sorry. You deserve better. And most people aren’t opportunistic in my experience. Just those who want it all at anyone’s expense.

    • You see, they really don’t have two shits to give about other people do they? How dare you get ill, when they have needs that far out weigh yours?

  • I can assure you that if you were the one with cancer he would not care in the least. These type of character disordered only care about them.

    My ex discarded me while I had cancer. When he was here he belittled me during chemo, made light of my condition, never helped around the house and then left me to go out and party while I took care of our child.

    He very quickly moved on with his life starting a new family. He told me I deserved the way things happen. The ow told me why should he have stayed with me during cancer? Like I was a horrible person. No mention has been made of my cancer since except when occasionally he and our daughter run into people we haven’t seen in a while and they ask how I am and he tells them fine even though he has no clue. OTHER PEOPLE ask how I am and never once has he. They don’t care. And the only time when he cared iscwhen he could break the news to people so he could get all the pity. So don’t give them any of your time or space in your mind.

    • CC, I am so sorry and hope you are doing well?

      This is exactly what I meant about being happy that my OV was post divorce. His having a sneeze would have trumped my cancer. And me being Super Chump, I would be taking care of him rather than me. And he would have thought that right, and good.

      • I am doing well. I’ve been NED for a year.

        “This is exactly what I meant about being happy that my OV was post divorce. His having a sneeze would have trumped my cancer.”

        Yes, it truly was more traumatic than having cancer itself. Everything was more important than me. When I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, he offered no emotional support. Instead he said things like:

        “This is no big deal. Basically just a medical blip”
        “If it were me, I would just walk into the woods and disappear and no one would care.”

        But then he alone told his mom and friends. It was my news, yet he told people without know any of the facts. He would come home and act all solemn, ” I told ___ today” “Oh now I have to tell ___” I realize now that he was using it to get sympathy. Who knows what he really told those people? Probably, now she has cancer and I’m stuck.

        My first chemo treatment was the same week as his work holiday party and not only did he go, he spent 2 nights in a hotel, just 10 minutes away because he had to be there early for set-up. He refused to be home to help me.

        A friend of mine set up a GoFund me to help with bills and he was SO offended. Then He looked at me and said “You should probably thank me. It’s because of me they want to set that up for you.”

        I had one of the worst kinds of chemo (called the red devil). I would get chemo on Thursday, be fine Friday and crash on Saturday. One of these Saturdays, he took our daughter to see Santa. I was really bummed to not be able to go, but i was couch bound. After 3 hours he came back walked in the living room and said, “Well I’m done for the day!” Grabbed a case of beer and his laptop and disappeared into the basement. He came up about 20 minted later, looked at me and said “Are you going to be like this tomorrow too?” Then disappeared again.

        And all of that was before I found out about the affair. After d-day it was all woe is me. Everyone is going to see me as the bad guy. But also, he would tell me that I deserved all of this. I was a chump and reading all of those RIC pieces of crap. So I was kind to him, I would cook dinner and make him coffee in the morning, get our child ready…and I HAD CANCER! He never once offered to help. One day he actually accused me of making him coffee JUST to make him feel bad.

        After a few weeks, he decided he couldn’t do it anymore and left. Moved in with his mom. I tried talking to his mom about the situation. All she would say is “Well we all know he’s selfish.”
        So then he stayed at his mom’s. Went out to bars. Picked his child up for a few hours on the weekend. Finally I made him take her every other weekend. Meanwhile I was driving myself to weekly chemo appointments. He never asked how I was doing. When I had surgery he took our daughter that weekend, only asked me how long the recovery was going to be. Then I went on to daily radiation treatments for 6 weeks. I don’t think he even knew it was going on. By that point he had met another woman and got her pregnant. He raged at me on and off during this time. Told everyone I was a bully and controlling. Told everyone I was crazy (I was on steroids, he’s lucky I wasn’t crazier).

        I still hear the horrible words he said to me in my head. Cancer is tough, but realizing the person you vowed to spend your life with has not one single ounce of care for your health or wellbeing other than how it makes him look to others is so completely demoralizing. Honestly, I think I could forgive the affair more than I can forgive that.

        My daughter loves her dad but is also SO angry with him. At 7 she had to help me button shirts because I couldn’t feel my fingertips. She helped around the house because I was tired. It breaks my heart that she had to go through all of that.

        He caused so much pain…and yet he gets to walk into the sunset with a new girlfriend and 2 new babies.

        • “I had one of the worst kinds of chemo (called the red devil).”

          I had four rounds of that shit, then 12 of Taxol. The mastectomy and radiation were a snap by comparison to AC. Did you have to have ovaries removed too?

          Best wishes to you. Cancer sucks.

          • Sounds like we had similar treatment. I also had 4 rounds of AC and then 12 of Taxol.
            I still have my ovaries. I get a monthly shot of Zoladex to put me into chemically induced menopause.

            I agree. Everything was easy compared to the AC.

            • I could not do the A because it is hell on the heart, so I did the other two simultaneously. Taxotare and cytoxin, for the better part of a day, every three weeks. Six rounds of that, and then seven weeks of daily radiation. After the first dose of chemo, I went into immediate chemopause. So add all that good stuff about hot flashes and not sleeping into the mix. Not a fun time. But I had a boyfriend for about five years at the time. He took time off to sit and hold my hand during those long days of chemo. I married him after all that, even though I never thought I would ever do such a thing again, and we’re strong to this day.

              So never say never. Watch more than you listen.

              • “I could not do the A because it is hell on the heart”

                I had to be on a statin the entire time I received that chemo. Scared the crap out of me, still does because it could have caused damage I am unaware of.

        • What an appalling man. Really, truly, appalling monster and I get what you mean about the affair being almost forgiveable compared to his cruelty about your illness.

  • You are kind hearted, so it’s natural to to want to help, but prayers and well wishes work perfectly from afar, and allow you to not get caught back up in the nightmare you were able to get away from. Chump Lady said it well – “he’s not your responsibility”. Hugs…

    • So right RO.

      Grant him prayers, but no more. His OW left a year ago, she can return to care for him. Why should you after so many years?

      Your daughter is grown. Support her in supporting her dad. Cook her meals, loan her the car, whatever, to alleviate her burden to be with him.

      If your kids were young then I would understand you having to take them to visit him and knowing more about his health so that you could try to explain it to them. But, that’s not your case.

      Let him go. As was stated some comments above. If he was truly wanting to reach out to you for genuine reasons due to his cancer causing him to re-evaluate his life, it would be to extend heartfelt apologies for what he did to you all those years and expectation of nothing more.

      • Actually as I read more and more of the replies to this thread (and I am so grateful that so many have responded) the compassion I felt has drained away and all I feel is ‘meh’ so you have cancer now, get on with it.

        • YES! You are no longer available for servitude, so do not make yourself available for that. Unless you are sure of receiving the same in the same situation (ain’t gonna happen), don’t go there, okay?

  • Be there for your daughter. Give her love and support. You owe nothing to your EX. He showed you how much you meant to him when he cheated on you. As you can see where is the women he cheated on you with? She bailed. You owe him nothing. I am sure if you were ill he would not even give you a second thought. He knows that you are a kind and caring person and he wants to use that for his benefit. He chose to cheat and now he is finally paying consequences. And sadly for him is alone.

  • I’ve had this type of scenario in my head ever since the divorce was finalized. Because I absolutely 100% KNOW it’s coming, whether the Chiring Special is still in the picture or not.

    My template for handling it aligns well with CL’s comments, but, as always, its helpful to see them validated.

    But … “It may also be he’s truly alone, sick with no one to keep him company but his flaccid penis.” This makes my day.

  • When I was diagnosed with breast cancer before I found out about Owhore my ex didn’t take off from work the morning I had my mastectomy. It was a red flag but I was so terrified I didn’t focus on it. He wasn’t emotionally there for me after surgery & during chemo. I think he was unhappy that I lost a breast then had a breast reduction for I’ve always was large busted.

    His Owhore had enormous breasts & that was probably one of many reasons why he was attracted to her. He is that shallow of a man/child. I survived so far thank God but the Owhore died last year. He’s now with someone else. CL is absolutely correct! He’s not your concern anymore & let him deal with his own crisis.
    He wasn’t concerned for you & your daughter so he doesn’t deserve anything from you. As much as I feel compassion for anyone whose ill I wouldn’t lift a finger to help him. If my ex got sick .. too bad Karma’s a bitch!

  • When I was diagnosed with breast cancer my ex wasn’t there for me emotionally. He didn’t take off work the morning of my mastectomy. Even during chemo he was barely concerned for what I was going through.
    I saw it as a red flag but I was so sick & frightened that I didn’t pay attention. He was upset that I lost a breast then had breast reduction. He always liked big busted woman but I guess I wasn’t appealing to him anymore.
    The Owhore had enormous breasts which was more to his liking. If he truly loved me he would’ve been glad I was still alive.
    Karma hit last year when Owhore died. He’s now with a 80 year old woman whose taking care of him saying he can’t satisfy her sexually. ( I don’t know many 80 year old woman who are still interested in sex)
    But CL is correct! He is not your concern any longer.
    Let him deal with his illness by himself. He wasn’t there for you while he was cheating so you should go no contact & have a better life with your daughter.
    Many hugs to you & good luck 🍀

    • When I had a gastric bypass and spent a night in the ICU, my ex left the hospital to go play poker at the Hard Rock Casino.
      It blows my mind the stuff he did that I excused away.

      • My daughter was born two months early and in NICU for a month. My STBXH didn’t even take a day off of work until she came home. In fact, he went away for a boys’ weekend two weeks after she was born, leaving me to heal from a c-section, chasing a two year old, pumping breast milk seven times a day, and trying to get to the hospital in the morning and evening to kangaroo our 4 pound daughter who didn’t even have a sucking reflex yet to be able to nurse.

        A piece of my spirit withered that weekend.

      • It took me a while to forgive myself for ignoring and excusing all the obvious clues that this man was no catch and then that he was actually harmful.

        I couldn’t face the truth that I’d married a pathological liar, cheat, thief and serial adulterer.

        • None of us could or we would not be chumps. I gave 16 years over to a serial liar and cheater, who pursued me out the door so we could be “friends” even as he broke into my new living space to steal what I was given by the court. Bad people do bad things, even if they look good for years before you can see the bad in them.

    • ((((Kathleen))))
      What a frightening surgery to go through, and your ex not even being there, beside you.
      Just mind blowing. I am so sorry for all you have been through.

    • What an ass. Many hugs, Kathleen. You deserved so much better. I hope he rots in hell (sorry, if that was a bit extreme).

    • He actually whined about you losing a breast to cancer because he likes big boobs, then cheated so he could be with somebody with giant, intact hooters? Good grief! You would think people like him must be members of an alien race. That simply isn’t human.
      My cheater, at the point of devalue and discard, simply ignored my chronic illness and refused to make allowances by helping out more. He wouldn’t even do his share when he was cheating. However, when I had to get a biopsy (due to the HPV he gave me, but I didn’t know that at the time), he did come to the hospital. I guess he’s partly human. I’m looking foward to being with somebody who is fully human.

      • This is reminding me of a time when cheater XH and I were out on a Friday night and I got seriously ill. I didn’t know what was wrong with me but it was terrifying, I felt like I was going to pass out and I could see lights flashing in front of me. I told xh that we had to leave and he had to get me home and he got so pissed. He said ‘we just got here and I’ve only had one beer!!’ He told me to drive myself home and he’d find a ride later. I insisted that he go with me because I thought I might die. He whined ‘well, can I at least have ONE more beer before we leave?’ Chumpy me said yes and then I had to whoozily run down the waitress to pay for it so we could get the hell out of there.

  • It goes against our nature to not help and support somebody who declares they need it. That is why we are chumps and why the disordered know how to manipulate us.

    Notice how your daughter is facing a terrifying illness -but he still manages to make it all about him?

    Read up on Narcissistic Hoovering. It will help you understand what he is doing.

    Not your job any more – he is an x for a reason!
    RUN!!!

  • I was handicapped and couldn’t walk due to post-infectious neuropathy (May 2015 and I am still not 100% recovered and may never be). While that was going on, he was taking the cheating accomplice bicycle shopping because she expressed an interest in riding bikes with him. And during this time he declined being my gun buddy to help me rehab. (She crashed the bike during the test ride and broke her collarbone. No sympathy from me. I would really like to be 100% WWJD but I am not there yet).

    Now he needs a new knee. Now he has a handicapped placard. He told me he dreads going to Costco because it hurts to walk. I listened politely and said “Yes, I know how that feels.”

    He can find someone on Tinder to do his Costco shopping or anything else. My interactions with him are business and child and that is it.

    I don’t pet rattlesnakes or black widow spiders anymore.

  • This post is why I keep coming to CL every day even though I’ve been divorced two years and NC for 3 — DDay was 4 years ago. With kids the fallout is still occurring — to people in my life who haven’t been chumped (and certainly to those who have been cheaters and I’m in recovery and know a lot of former cheaters in AA) they just don’t get it. But the great Chump Nation understands how hard it is to have to keep eating these shit sandwiches: graduations, kids’ events, weddings, births of grandkids, illness, deaths, etc. Having to deal with X in the picture at all keeps me here daily— My grief and trauma and losses are triggered by so many little and big life events, although on the outside I look like I’m doing great. On the inside, emotionally, I struggle a lot with the fallout. I recently did 12 sessions of EMDR therapy ($2,500 out of pocket😫) but it really didn’t help much. Hopefully time will continue working it’s magic on me. I am focused on building a life and maintaining no contact so I know I’m pointed in the right direction but I want to be honest here — this shit is hard. I still cry once or twice a week. I still think about X and what he did to change our lives (26 years together and 4 kids) every single day— it’s the first thing I think about every morning, which is depressing at times — I try to be kind to myself and realize that I bonded deeply even if he didn’t, and it will take time to undo those bonds completely.

    • Motherchumper help!
      Someone came up to me at a meeting yesterday and told me I shouldn’t share about him/my divorce…said it was throwing him under the bus….in my share I did not say his name or say he cheated….we were reading from the book in the section “Working With Others”…page 99 where it mentions separation/divorce. He does not live in my town anymore and NEVER went to meetings on his own, never worked a program, had a sponsor, or even had friends in the program…this REALLY rattled me (and ten other people thanked me for my share and said it was awesome).

      • My X went to meetings I still go to and when DDay hit it was revealed that X had never been sober — he even spoke at a big Saturday night meeting a year before DDay — all lies (it was a freaky non-solution based share – should have been a huge red flag). I shared a lot about the pain of it all in meetings. Alcoholism was and is devastating for the family and I prayed before every share to be inspired and to help carry the message that no matter what I am staying sober through this horror with the Steps, prayer, meditation, daily AA meetings, Al-Anon, sponsorship. I’m sure the cheaters hated it but a lot of women asked me to sponsor them because I was honest. I share in a more general way now most days but when new stuff happens to challenge my serenity I’m honest but praying to be kind and carry the message.
        Ps— I’d love to connect IRL. If you agree, I’m happy to have Tempest share my email address with you. 😘😘😘

        • MotherChumper99
          I just want to tell you that YOU are such an incredible person.
          I have followed your struggles, and I understand how struggles are unending.
          Still, I want to shout out to you that YOU really are Mighty.
          You fight the battle every single day ,and ,YOU are victorious in my eyes, and in the eyes of CN!
          Every day, VICTORIOUS.
          (I am so sorry for all the pain that comes with the victories).
          Stay strong.

          I hope that you and Velvet Hammer connect.
          Velvet Hammer, YOU, too,are Mighty!
          You give so much of your heart and soul to CN.
          You are so appreciated!!
          💞

      • That’s just more mindfuck, Velvet Hammer. Tell that person that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and you have every right to come down hard on your cheater. I was talking the other day with a young girl (around 30) and my former life came up. Whenever I mentioned the ex, I would call him ‘the dick’. The young girl cringed and said, “Can’t you call him a lost soul? Don’t you think you’re staying stuck by calling him something so ugly?” I turned to her and said, “I’m just calling a spade a spade. He’s a dick. He’s not a lost soul. He went to Catholic school just like I did and he learned the commandments just like I did. He chose to do the things that he did even knowing the consequences. He chose to be a dick. ‘No’. I will not stop calling him a dick unless I see that he starts changing. And since he has never apologized to me, he remains a dick.” Your ex is a dick. You’re not throwing him under the bus and don’t allow estupidos/estupidas to make you feel bad about it.

      • Velvet Hammer, I’ve encountered someone telling me I shouldn’t have announced my divorce or the reasons behind my divorce. My reply to her was, when your husband’s employee drops her pants in your husband’s hotel room in Paris, and then accidentally impales herself on his penis, thus setting off a chain of events imploding everything I’ve known for the past 15 years and subsequently turning our children’s lives completely upside down, then and only then can you critique the way I divulge information about my experiences.

      • Part of the reason AA didn’t resonate with me is the need for people to comment on things outside meetings and the personality conflicts that develop in groups.

        The power of the meetings is the ability to say whatever you need to and to NOT have others minimize it by telling you how you were wrong or what you should do differently. That women needs to stay on her side of the street.

        I love hearing people’s honesty though. It’s so rare.

        • Thank goodness I came to A.A. (NOT well People Anonymous!!) from Al Anon….I said the right thing in the moment to said boundary violator, but still had the feelings around the boundary violation. For sure, and I agree Marge…12 Step programs are to be regarded like the real world populated by people at all levels of mental
          and emotional health…..

      • What happened to “Listen without comment to what others say because it it true for them.” ? A longtime CoDA member modeled good boundaries by asking them at the end of meetings “Can I comment on your share ?” Sheesh

    • You’re only two years out. Continue to be kind to yourself. Do a lot of praying, and keep coming here. I hope that you bought CL’s book. Also, pick up a book on boundaries. I personally like Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It speaks on boundaries from a Christian perspective. I’m 4 years divorced after 30 years of marriage and subsequent discard. So many of us understand the mindfuck completely. I can personally attest that it really does get better and you really do reach meh. But it takes focusing on you. It’s hard to shift your focus, but it’s time. Once you start working on you and not thinking about the injustice so much, you heal and are eventually free of it all. Good luck to you!

    • It does get easier MotherChumper99, but I’d be lying if I said it goes away completely because of the children.

      Unfortunately my ex did play a small (a very small) part in creating our wonderful daughter and there isn’t anything i can do about that but I comfort myself with knowing that she was a part of me, I knew her way before he did because I carried her and looked after her before he even met her. My ex and yours can’t ever change that.

      • SpackleFree, that’s a lovely thing to say – that you knew your child long before he did when you carried her. There’s a wonderful quote somewhere that points out that women are born with all the eggs they are ever going to have in their life. I feel that means that our children are born with us and always with us even through our own childhoods. When I was thinking about having children, it was almost as if they already existed somewhere and I just had to open a door for them – even my beautiful accidental twins! ❤

    • Reading this just makes me want to become a litigator and make this a crime on the books. I totally chafe at the injustice of this kind of nuclear damage to another person not being prosecuted.

      I have to excuse myself to go scream now, with my boxing gloves on.

      🤬

  • What I noticed in your letter is that your ex chose to break the news to you that he might have cancer while you were at your daughter’s bedside while she was in the hospital with an acute illness–bacterial meningitis!–and even with treatment might have died. Centrality, much? Even in a situation in which your daughter might have died he was concerned with himself and wanted to shift the spotlight onto him.
    My ex used to do this as well, and I clearly remember the time I finally saw it for what it was. I had driven a thousand miles to be with my mother after she had had a stroke, and not four hours after I arrived my ex texted me with a made-up crisis over something I’d asked him about two months prior to my trip. It was such a transparent ploy that I marveled at it even as I recoiled from it.
    What people here are telling you is right: it’s appropriate for you to support your daughter, but it’s not your job, your obligation, or your business to help your ex. Nor does support for your daughter include that stepping in to help take the burden of care (and caring) off of her. In fact, a better form of support would be for you to ensure that your daughter establishes healthy boundaries for herself as she supports her father. If he’s got no one else in his life, you can bet your bottom dollar that he’ll be happy to substitute daughter-appliance for wife-appliance and take advantage of her, too.

  • 15 people who have posted so far and 4 were abandoned while being diagnosed with cancer (and one ignored post-divorce) and further 2 had difficult health issues and also abandoned/ ignored. While this is a testimony to their mightiness it’s also profoundly shocking and depressing.

    • It’s normal. A friend of mine is a nurse and says men usually cut and run. It’s so common medical staff will coach husbands on the best time to divorce. Men usually don’t get dumped. often, they have ex wives taking care of them.

      Reason #48696937 why I have no interest in having a long term relationship again.

      • A 2009 study published in the journal Cancer found that a married woman diagnosed with a serious disease is six times more likely to be divorced or separated than a man with a similar diagnosis. Among study participants, the divorce rate was 21 percent for seriously ill women and 3 percent for seriously ill men. A control group divorced at a rate of 12 percent, suggesting that if disease makes husbands more likely to split, it makes wives more likely to stay.

        http://www.oprah.com/relationships/why-men-leave-sick-wives-facing-illness-alone-couples-and-cancer/all

        • That’s why it’s important to develop and maintain a circle of female friends (ride or die types).

          I dropped a woman who I thought was a new friend when she flaked on me regarding a medical procedure (I needed a ride to and from as well as some tea and sympathy).I sat with this woman during one of her long,boring chemo sessions and also looked after her cat a few times, for free.

        • Eh, I get why it happened. Divorce is a serious emotional trauma that can set back someone’s medical treatment. It’s not that the staff wanted them to divorce, it’s that they saw so many women get ditched they would assume the worst. Their intent was to get the guy to wait until remission to pull the plug.

    • They were never in it for the duration. It’s typical of Cluster B’s to cheat and abandon when we are most vulnerable; births, deaths, buying a home, an anniversary, retirement and sickness.

      The Limited was the one who got cancer. For years I went without sex due to prostate cancer, surgery and the implant process. My reward? He was dating multiple women, looking for someone to support him financially.

      We learn to survive, face our fears and then thrive. To me it’s a mindset. Here we are never alone. They never achieve what we already had, integrity.

      • Yup. The EX began his EA and devaluation/discard process when one of our children was going through a terrible struggle. I will never forgive him for that. When his family needed him most, he went searching for something to make himself feel better.

        In the years between the EA and discovering of the actual affair, I developed so many physical ailments — migraines, stomach issues, etc. — that in his disordered mind accelerated his search for my replacement. When the marriage ended, so did most of the ailments, and I feel healthier now than I have in years.

  • I left a reply but the website ate it, apparently, so I’m trying again.

    What I notice in your letter is that your ex chose the time to reveal HIS health problem (and cancer at that point was just one possibility among others) while you were at the bedside in the hospital of your daughter who was acutely ill from bacterial meningitis and actually might have died. Centrality, much? That his concern was for himself rather than 100% on her speaks volumes.
    Please listen to Chump Lady and the others here. Do not engage with him. It’s appropriate to support your daughter, and to remember, as you do, that her support of her father does not extend to her becoming a daughter-appliance. She also needs to draw healthy boundaries, and not allow herself to be drawn in to becoming a substitute-wife-appliance. Her father is an adult, with an adult’s resources–he can arrange for care through a number of public and private agencies–and the burden of his care should not fall disproportionately on her.

    • You’re so right. The centrality of it. I thought very, very briefly on this topic a few weeks ago. I’ve been divorced 4 years and the estupido still hasn’t updated his phone number and address with his heart doctor. Because he was diagnosed with a minor blockage about 8 years ago, his heart doctor wanted to keep an eye on it to make sure it didn’t progress. Since then he has had bi-annual checkups and each time there has been an appointment reminder on my recorder; I just delete them. But I’ve noticed that his appointments are much more frequent. The doctor’s office has called about 5 times in the last 6 months. I happily delete the messages. With the frequency of the messages, I’ve wondered ‘what if my ex is having major heart problems? How will I react?’ I didn’t think too hard on the subject at the time, but this post has made me think. And I think were he to come up to me (at a child’s bedside) with such information, I think the best response would be, “Sucks to be you. And for your sake, I hope your skank is going to take care of you because I sure ain’t going to be wiping your ass.” And if I was accused of being cold and unsympathetic, I’d just reply, “Yeah. But it certainly can’t be as cold as a dick that has a skank in the background for 15 years. Now that’s cold and unsympathetic.” And if he was to tell me such a thing at our child’s bedside, I would probably have to continue by saying, “Now, let me focus on my son and quit trying to be the center of attention again.” Thank you for pointing out how it’s still all about them.

      • I would just block the number, thats what i do with everything the STBX still has sending to my cell or my e-mail. Not my problem he cant log-in or call to change his contact information.

  • Instead of telling you what to do, I’m going to say “do as you feel”. Just don’t put yourself at risk, stay in a position of power and have your own well-being in mind first. But if you can keep your power while extending a helping hand (if, and only if, that’s what you feel like doing), then you CAN do it. That doesn’t mean you’re going to fall for him again or end up doing a series of things you didn’t want to. That’s an exercise in boundaries. Especially, after being chumped, you don’t need one more person leading your life for you. You can make your own decisions for your happiness. While you have zero obligation towards any benevolent action, I don’t feel like you MUST stay away from him because “cooties”. Just don’t go anywhere where he has power and you don’t.

    • “This apple won’t kill you, it will make you like god.”
      “What harm could there be in one little drink.”
      “I am being investigated for cancer.”
      Begiluiling language from known serpants.
      You have been warned before…

    • So that’s what I’d like to be able to do, in my least angry moments.

      But what I felt a very strong urge to do when I was in the same room as him, by my sleeping daughters bedside while he tried to make small talk with me, was to punch his fucking lights out. And I’m not going to do anything to give him leverage so it’s No Contact business as usual no matter what the future holds.

  • Well I am going to address this from the other end. Yes, please do listen to all of the advice to just support your daughter without getting sucked in again yourself. That is just protecting yourself. That being said, it is ok to feel sorry for him and have some compassion (from a distance) for what he is going through. It is ok to not be gleeful about it. Cancer sucks and it can happen to anyone. It isn’t satisfying because it isn’t Karma. It could just as easily happen to you (and yes he wouldn’t care so you don’t need to care about him either). Karma is satisfying because it is people suffering as a result of their own poor choices that hurt others. It is consequences. You can trace it directly back to the choices made. This is something different. Schmoopie discarding him, that’s Karma. You can be gleeful about that. I supposed having to face cancer with very little support is also Karma. He left the person who would have stood by him in favor of the one who ultimately “Couldn’t stand to look at him anymore”, but actually getting cancer was just random bad luck. That’s why it isn’t satisfying. We wish consequences on our exes (and their Schmoopie’s), not random bad luck. You don’t have to be gleeful that he is stuck going through this with so little support, but you don’t have to feel guilty for not being the one to step up and help him get through it either. He lost the right to your support when he discarded you.

    • You’re right, Chumpinrecovery. It is random bad luck. It could be me with the heart attack, or cancer. In fact, at age 58, last November I had appendicitis. I have no one at the house to take care of me. Fortunately for me, I had enough sense to realize that something was not right, so I got myself to the emergency room at 5 AM (after making sure the cat had enough food and water), and that morning I had laparoscopic surgery to remove the appendix. I spent one night in the hospital and drove myself home the next day. I took the rest of the week off and babied myself. I feel extremely fortunate. It could have been so much worse. My sons were concerned and called their dad (who lives 15 minutes away from me). He told them that if I needed help that he would come by to check on me. What a guy! What a peach! (I’m being sarcastic.) I thank God that I did not need his help. I thank God that I have wonderful friends that were willing to step up and help me if necessary. I pray that I will never need the dick’s help again. But though cancer is random bad luck, I agree with you. there’s no reason to feel guilty for not being the one to step up and help him. I don’t think I would find glee if he were to be the one in dire straits, but I don’t think I’d help him out either. If he had the audacity to bring up his diagnosis at a gravely-ill child’s bedside, I think I really would say, “Sucks to be you.”

    • So that’s an interesting point you raise about Karma because I’ve never been big on Karma; I just believe like CL said, cells divide and they don’t discriminate.

      But I was very pleased to hear the OW and him didn’t work out. I was very pleased to hear that he’s mortgaged up to the eyeballs in a property they bought together which needs tons of work doing before it can be sold and she still has young children so she ain’t going anywhere for some time and he’s living in a holiday chalet during the week because that’s all he can afford. I’m delighted about that.

  • “He didn’t do one thing to deserve cancer.”

    Well, no. He did everything to deserve cancer. He is worthy of cancer.

    Lucky it got him.

    Most of the time it seems like the bad things pass by the evil and land on the good. No telling how that will work out for anyone, and we have little control over such things. Fate is often genetics or happenstance.

    Little babies get cancer. THEY didn’t deserve it.

    Fuckwits have it coming.

    • I agree with this. In this world, good people far too often have awful things happen to them and never receive any form of justice or compensation, and horrible people far too often have good things happen, and never receive any type of consequences or punishment. So although I know perfectly well that cancer strikes where it will, regardless of character, in this particular case, it totally serves the guy right.

  • Dump all the loving and caretaking your heart has into helping daughter. Make her casseroles or mini freezer dinners, offer to clean her home and or run errands and be amazing to her.

    Sure- paying it forward might help your ex because she may use that capacity to help him. But that’s not the point, the care and compassion is raining down on her. And lightening her load. Because she is going to try to help him as she can, regardless of your help. So make her load lighter, so she has an easier time. It’s not about him. It’s abour ensuring she is ok. And it gives you somewhere to channel that energy.

    Much love

    • Today it was a jar of Nutella with a spoon because she’s trying to make like it’s all ok and she’s not scared stiff. So I’m doing what I can. Thank you.

  • It is sad but true.

    Trump lady hit this one real good!

    It is always the same, when something seriously bad happens to these people and no-one comes around they are desperate to try and rekindle the flame from the old schmoopie they lied to so many years and use the sympathy card to try and get them back.

    Been there, done that and no thank you!

    Same advise as chump lady.

    Be there for your daughter, encourage her to spend time with him while he is at the hospital as cancer can take him at a moments notice. Even when they say its gone it may not be. I had an uncle pass away a month later from cancer even after they told him it was all gone and the operation was a success.

    BUT

    That does not mean you need to be there with him to. You can stay in the waiting room and let your daughter be there with him. You can go get your daughter dinner (or lunch) while she visits him and when she comes out you can give her the food etc… and give her a shoulder to cry on if she needs it.

    He is not your responsibility

    He is an X for a reason that he created!

    Good Luck and my best to you and your daughter.

  • Stand strong. He doesn’t deserve you, your compassion or your sympathy.

    This triggered something for me, just now. In the last couple of years, the Dickhead would take this mini-jabs at me disguised as caring concern. He would talk about how he wasn’t on any medication at the age of 44. Hell, either was I! But, now I take meds for thyroid and chronic gastritis, both of which I did nothing to cause. I also gained quite a bit of weight and, believe me, I know every day that I need to lose. Nobody needs to remind me.

    However, his image of well-being is marred by 1 vasectomy, 2 elbow surgeries, 1 tonsillectomy, 1 hernia operation, an emergency run of severe allergic reaction, and 1 broken foot followed by a surgery. Me? I’ve had one little minor surgery for trigger thumb. Through all those surgeries, I was home taking care of him, I was by his bedside for each surgery. And the day of my thumb surgery, he could only manage to take off 1/2 day for me.

    I owe him nothing.

  • I think OP handled this well and CLs advise is on target.

    Before ex left us but while he was acting like a huge dick. I was pregnant and got diagnosed with melanoma. Really scary for me, because i was afraid of having to undergo a treatment that would put me in a position of choosing an abortion. I had told him that i would rather have a miscarriage then have to choose an abortion.

    After the surgery to remove the melanoma (which thankfully was no where near as bad a stage as the initial report said) , the fetus heart beat did stop. I had to induce a termination with some sort of medication because it wasnt coming out on its own. I called him at work panicking, right before i took that pill and he was annoyed at me for disturbing him.

    Later on after he left, i brought that up and he twisted it and told me he was like that “because you said you wanted a miscarriage “. I bet he tells his new girlfriend, who my son told me is a kindergarten teacher all about his evil ex that wanted a miscarriage.

    Another note…. the day after my surgery at 7 in the morning, he woke me up telling me it was my turn to watch son (4 year old early riser) so he could sleep. It was fathers day. When i complained he said “it was just a mole and they didnt even use general anesthesia” Thats because there was this whole big debate at the hospital amongst the doctors and admin and the compromise was to use local.

    I know it wasnt brain surgery and i know my results were great. But i was still exhausted from the stress and being pregnant.

    These people suck. I doubt OPs partner would be there if situations were reversed.

    • As a person who, due to congenital reasons, lost several pregnancies (the genetic disorder has a 50/50 thing) I can confidently say that your ex is a soulless zombie. When you have a health condition that you know might end in losing your baby and have to make difficult choices–for your husband to mischaracterize you in such a way is nothing short of flat out evil. Your decision was brave and the loss of your child was tragic. For him to respond with anything but love and compassion is horrifying. God bless you J and your tiny babe. May perpetual light shine upon him/her.

  • It’s interesting timing- alone and this cancer diagnosis. Could it be a massive Hoover-Oncology edition?
    I love all of the chumps here, and gently disagree on the level of support with an adult daughter.
    Our boundaries keep us safe, they’re not negotiable. Part of healing includes our children not engaging with us in a chumpy dynamic- I would want to give space for my adult daughter to go through this process with support groups, close friends, etc. with healthy limits on my intervention. Amber flags on co-dependency “at large”, which could easily morph into ending up at his bedside, as “support for her”.
    The priority is the mother-daughter relationship healing, not his health crisis- which history says may be a mix of fact and fiction.

  • The most helpful advice – from Tracy’s book! – I ever got re: these kinds of situations is (paraphrasing): “He fired you from the job of caring about him.”

    Stung like hell at the time, but hoo boy, is that a powerful lever once you internalize it. “He wants X? Oh, that’s right, he fired me. He needs to get X from whoever the newest employee is, I no longer work there. How odd that he would ask me at all.”

    For your situation, I would say (internally, of course. No reason to ever talk to Cheaterpants.),
    “Yes , I see that you’d like to rehire me to clean up the mess left by the last 2 or 3 employees who quit in disgust, but I’m not looking for a new job. I like being my own boss, and I’m doing well.”

    • That is such a good point to bring up. And honestly, when I think of it in that way…getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me! Just like a toxic job, you often don’t realize how exhausting it is to run around caring for, enabling, and spackling for our cheaters. You cry and work through the shock of getting fired when you were in it for the long haul.

      Only after you get fired from the job of caring for them, step away, and use that care on yourself do you realize how awful it was before! And when the toxic boss tries to call to ask you for just one more thing…of course you don’t pick up the phone!

    • Oh yes. My standard line for this situation (which I got from my divorce attorney) is “I don’t wife for you anymore.”

  • Offer to do things FOR YOUR DAUGHTER while she is hanging out with her father.

    He gets none of your time or attention.

  • Re: cancer and treatment. “Bummer”.

    Not your circus, not your monkey.

    Many cancers are highly and effectively treatable today. He’ll be ok. There are groups that can provide in-home healthcare today. His medical providers can help him with that, you don’t have to.

    Be there for your daughter, not your Ex.

  • My cheating XH had stage 4 cancer while we were married and was supposed to die. I took care of a devastatingly sick man for two years and then he had a miraculous recovery and insisted we renew our wedding vows. Five months later I caught him at the Econo Lodge fucking schmoopie and now they are living happily ever after as far as I know. There isn’t a diagnosis in the world that would make me feel sorry for him or take him back.

    Run like the wind, Spackle Fee Zone…You owe him NOTHING !!!!

  • Hi – I am a ca survivor. Significant cancer with surgery, chemo radiation. I am solo parent since ex is unable to parent. No family or support system. I had to get rides a couple of times from friends but ow this was managed by me. My daugther was 13 and we made do with take out and mac and cheese and stuff. It was not that bad.

  • I’m just amazed he really does have cancer. I’m sure I’m not the only one with an ex cheater who claimed many times to have serious “health scares” that were either flat-out lies or greatly exaggerated, including the time he got slightly dehydrated and posted numerous pictures of himself lying in hospital bed with claims that doctors said he was near kidney failure, (He sent both son and I enraged text messages saying we weren’t being sympathetic enough. And no, he was NOT in kidney failure or even close to it.) the time he had a wart removed and messaged his family claiming doctor said he had cancer, (total lie) and the time he texted son that he’d had a heart attack and was in ER (Son saw on Facebook that at the very same time cheater claimed to be in hospital, he was posting about being out with a friend.)

    But whether real or imagined or exaggerated for effect, none of that is my problem any longer. And SpackleFree, your ex’s health problems are no concern of yours, either. Let the doctors and his insurance company take care of him, nothing needed from you.

    • I was amazed too, Glad. I’m reminded of the time he faked a broken jaw just after I discovered he’d cleaned out my bank account. The time, just after DDay when I’d kicked him out that he said he was being ‘investigated for a serious health issue’; and many others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.

      It’s the old ” I know i’ve devastated you, but DO I STILL MATTER” ploy.
      Nope Ex, you don’t still matter.

      • If you had been the one diagnosed when he was with his OW he would not have dropped everything to be with YOU.

        Chumps have an excess of empathy for others. You can wish him well from a distance.

  • As a person who, due to congenital reasons, lost several pregnancies (the genetic disorder has a 50/50 thing) I can confidently say that your ex is a soulless zombie. When you have a health condition that you know might end in losing your baby and have to make difficult choices–for your husband to mischaracterize you in such a way is nothing short of flat out evil. Your decision was brave and the loss of your child was tragic. For him to respond with anything but love and compassion is horrifying. God bless you J and your tiny babe. May perpetual light shine upon him/her.

  • I am expecting to hear he has the C as he is prone. Serial cheater for decades can contract all kinds of things just like they can give cervical cancer to their screwees. (his ex-wife had cervical cancer) He has prostate issues, heavy smoker, and currently lives with the cheater partner who he then cheated on and she found out-it’s her house, his son lives there too, she paid, $410,000. to house him and his two sons. Her chump husband made her move out of his house where she was living with the cheater guy after the chump husband moved out. Now one son has moved out, the cheater couple remain unmarried, she has the mortgage in her name only, and as of yesterday’s comps, 2/3/2019, is underwater by $150,000. Stress is rumored, strongly, to cause cancer. Imagine the stress he has-has to stay with her for his financial reasons, she has to stay with him for her financial reasons-the odds are that house tension must be crazy high. Even if C doesn’t hit him, the karma train has.

  • At 25 years of marriage, then H was diagnosed with cancer with a very poor prognosis. A year of grueling treatments/ 2 transplants and all that entails he recovered remarkably well. I am a nurse and cared for his every need including bringing his dad with Alzheimer’s and his legally blind mother for frequent visits in hospital. I prayed daily for his survival.

    Lo and behold his EA started while in treatment with his office file girl. After a 6 month recovery at home ( while I was his caretaker) I find an itinerary for their scheduled secret rendezvous to Florida.

    Major chump for three years in limbo hell. Happily divorced for 4 years now.

    This wasn’t his first Schmoopie rendezvous so I refused to listen to those who blamed it on chemo brain.

    My point being is your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Ex’s cancer will return as it is not curable. Longest survivor of this type/stage is 17 years. He is on year 11-12. Will not go back to be a caretaker for someone who has no problem kicking me when I am down. I have empathy that he most likely will not be around in 6-7 years, but he made it crystal clear that I was fired as wife/partner/friend/caretaker. I have no desire to reapply for that job.

  • I consider my ex to be a stranger. He is not the person I thought I married 30 years ago. I have no idea who he really is (although I have a pretty good idea) therefore he’s a stranger. At best, he’s like a bad boss I had years ago. I recognize the name and remember how unpleasant he was and I certainly wouldn’t wish cancer on him, but I have no interest in having contact with him. SPZ, as many others have said, if I were you I would do all you can to support your daughter through whatever lies ahead but that is it. I would gray rock the hell out of anything beyond that. Cancer? Wow. Bummer. Good luck. I would give him the same response as I would any danger-tinged, red flag waving stranger who told me they had cancer. “Sorry ’bout it. Best of luck but not my problem.”

  • I, also, got hit with the “I-may-be-dying” brick. About two years after she left, the ex-w asked for me to take the kids more so she could do her treatments and what-not. I said yes.
    No requests for taking the kids for treatments have been forthcoming. But, frequent requests for sympathy and for breaking the rules of the custody decree, in the name of cancer, have been made. Trips to Europe, cruises, and marathons have all been done, too.
    I honestly don’t know if she has cancer or not. I think she might actually be using this as a con game. People tell me she is requesting money from people over the Internet as she is broke and sick, but said trips all seem to indicate otherwise.

  • Great advice all around, thanks CL. I’ll add: that he used your shared daughter’s medical emergency to disclose HIS medical problem tells you all you need to know about how much he hasn’t changed. He didn’t have to share that, in fact his diagnosis was uncertain at that point (lots of grown ups chose to keep uncertain diagnoses to ourselves so as to not worry folks unnecessarily), and instead of allowing you to just focus on your daughter’s emergency, he thought to muddy the waters with his own potential issue. It’s, once again, about him.

    Your side of the street is clean. Just keep supporting your daughter in whatever way she needs–which may include ongoing lessons in boundaries with her clearly self-centered father.

  • I have a eerily same situation. XH has a bad family history of severe dementia, both sides, especially the men not knowing their family for decades., having to be guarded in their rooms for fear of running away. I always accepted that as possible part of the package, just hoped for the best (I bet OW was not informed of this, she is 7 years his junior).

    He always had a fear about this. Now that college is over for both of them, he is trying like heck to get in their good graces, this is the thought at the back of my mind. He’s afraid of dying alone. (took the shortest route to guarantee it, though). OW exceedingly germophbic and as greedy as XH can SO I can see where this situation may lead.

    I predict they will get set with a broke severly disabled father, but it is not my place to say a word, they will have to face that.e

  • Isn’t it sad we are even in situations like this to begin with?

    Cheaters are takers. Sometimes I feel like they won’t be satisfied until they take our souls.

  • I’m amazed and thankful for all your replies; I haven’t read all of them yet but I AM reading them and I will respond properly.

  • SFZ– I can guarantee you that if the shoe were on the other foot, and you were the one undergoing treatment for cancer, he wouldn’t give you a second thought. I had my own cancer scare about seven years ago, and it happened shortly after I moved out into my own place and before we actually filed for divorce. We were still on civil speaking terms at that point because he hadn’t yet begun his twisted campaign of bringing the Schmoopie into our kids’ lives. So, when I called him to tell him that I had undergone a biopsy and was waiting on the results, I figured that he’d care, right? I mean, he’s the father of my children, and we had spent almost two decades together, so I was sure that he’d be sympathetic and ready to volunteer to help with whatever I needed.

    It was like talking to a freaking robot. I got a stilted response that went something like, “Well, we will just have to see what happens, and then we’ll decide from there.” It was like we were talking about something inconsequential– like a change in my schedule or having to pay for a parking ticket. I hung up feeling so cold and empty. A good friend of mine who did battle cancer and is now in remission commented to me after I learned that the spot was benign, “If you had gotten sick, there’s no way he would’ve been there for you.” SFZ, if you were diagnosed with cancer, he’d act like it was no big deal and would sleep just fine that night. Don’t give him one more moment of your headspace. He doesn’t deserve you, and he never will in any way.

    • I know you’re right. So many have said the same thing, if it were me he wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I knew that before I posted and I think that’s partly why I came here; because it hurts to know that I can feel compassion and want to reach out to someone who so clearly doesn’t deserve it, when I know that, at best, I might get a lukewarm and dismissive response from him, were it me.

      I needed to come here and be reminded that he still sucks and I have to stay well away. I’ll always have to stay away.

  • SpackleFreeZone is a great name, and great motto. Hold onto it now. SFZ, like me and most if not all Chumps, you are a caring good person, so natural feelings of empathy and care arise. But this is an EX. They left that position that made caring your responsibility. Caring can be possible at a distance with self preservation.

    I am a health professional and chump. 2 and a bit years go, my now Ex , (also a health professional), (final settlement was last month and I am free but mortgaged!) left rather than chose me as Plan A, when I finally drew the line after many years of super chumpdom and no longer wanted to accept being anything less. Really they had left, checked out a long time ago and I had been solo working on the “relationship”, which I really wanted to work out. This was finally evident when I was the only one of us at the couple therapist in the end.

    Among many issues of lifestyle and relationship responsibility, one of our disagreements along the line was smoking, self care, health, lifestyle. You know, smoking, the thing that causes cancer. And affects other people through passive exposure. And stinks. And yes I am an ex smoker, and we are the worst about noticing the smell, etc. (and Im not dissing smokers here- Ive been one, know how hard it ca be to stop, it is a very addictive thing, and not easy to give up and everyones on their personal journey. But this was my relationship, life partner, and I had an interest in having them around, healthy in the future).

    One month after they walked out the door- yep you guessed it- a lump needed investigation. Yep it turned out to be cancer.

    Ex didn’t even tell me personally. A 25 year relationship, that had only “trial separated” a month or so earlier, I was still in delusional-gaslighted-sparkle-unicorn-chump-love and I was at Ex’s request informed by telephone via mutual friend. (triangulation) who thought she was helping by conveying the news.

    Ex not only didn’t didn’t tell me personally, Ex didn’t ask me recommendations who the best specialists were (I have vast expertise) didn’t want me to help, attend consultations or even drive them to hospital on the day of surgery. They asked a neighbour! You can imagine how, in the social world, this made me look like a heartless Ex that didn’t help at time of great need.

    Suddenly both my main roles in life- Partner, and Health Professional were being completely devalued by the person who I cared for and valued, and who I thought was meant to care for and value me.

    Plus I still cared! It was a nightmare time. This Blog, my Dogs, Family and friends and a team of health professionals kept me afloat. It was like I had trained for this role all my life, but was now surplus to requirements.

    Looking back it was fortunate, as Hoovering at that stage would have sucked me right back in.

    But the Ex held the Trump Card of “The Big C”.

    Plus now there was “C-Word” as we advanced into the legal world of separating assets. Chumpy me allowed the Ex a 3 month moratorium on separation negotiations while ex dealt with treatment- losing valuable momentum and leading to time delays that worked against me in the settlement. Ex stopped working. The Ex’s bulldog lawyer tried to make the most of all of that, as income potential, health and future needs came into calculations.

    I might add it was a lump caught early and a complete cure is likely.

    Recently, 2 years later, a short time AFTER final separation papers signed, and following 2 years of minimal contact, Ex contacted me wanting to visit and talk because they thought they were having a “nervous breakdown” and wanting my support. It is a communication worthy of the UBT if someone can tell me how to send it.

    Cutting a long story short- the leopard doesn’t change its spots.

    The world of Chumpdom is a Shit Sandwich.
    But its a Shit Sandwich you don’t need to keep eating.

    There are privileges of reciprocal love and care that an intimate life partner gets. The Ex resigned from that role. Support person is no longer my job. Trust that they suck.

    It sucks someone one cared about gets a health problem like cancer. And its alright to care and feel compassion and sorrow over what is and was and wasn’t and will never be. Its also alright to have moved on, have boundaries, and close some doors and open others.

    Positive thoughts SPZ, and all Chumps dealing with complex emotions and situations. Stay strong and true to oneself, and put yourself in the care equation. Choose a different sandwich.

    • Speaking of smoking, I quit on 10/31/2012 and haven’t smoked since. Was slightly tempted during the emotional stress of D-Day and divorce but decided that my progress was not worth losing.

      The Dickhead quit smoking back in 2001 but still did chew up till 2010. He used to bug me to quit and telling me how bad it was for me. He would make comments about it smelling bad (it does) and how it was affecting my breathing (it was). So I eventually quit and don’t regret that decision though I still long for the calming effect of that long draw.

      Anywho, the Dickhead took up with a lady who…smokes. And guess what, he started smoking. After all that shit, he put me through and he picked the habit back up. This was the man who lifted weights for the last two years and started running again, and complained that McDonald’s was pure trash. After he started leaving for the weekends to visit OW, I started finding McD bags in the trash can. I just shake my head.

  • Thank you for this. A mutual friend told me recently that Cheater #4 is now in the depths of black depression and cannot attend functions because of it.

    I felt sorry for him; I really did. I felt sorrier for his girlfriend, the Exhausted Frump, because he’s not easy to be with at the best of times. I suspect she has obtained her annulment, and he is now looking down the barrel of future commitment after five years of pretend-dating-while-they-discern-marriage.

    And it crossed my mind to be Nice and Reach Out. It’s the old Being Nice thing; the sly little people-pleaser that lurks within. Noblesse oblige from a great height. More in sorrow than in anger. Perhaps I Can Help.

    And then I thought, ‘Why? All I can do is make him think I’m the escape hatch from his current mess. He already tried that once with another friend of ours. Five years of blissful No Contact. Why spoil it now for the sake of a gram of Schadenfreude?’

    I also did an exercise I call ‘Taking It All The Way to the End’, in which I mentally play out the entire interaction as it would probably happen in real life – the whole interaction, not just the ten seconds or so when I’m really nice and feel like Mother Teresa.

    And of course my planned sympathy, listening to his bullshit, soon evaporated into me scolding him, telling him it was his own fault, and wishing him in the downtown business section of hell.

    So I didn’t contact him. And it feels really good. And I’m glad I am learning.

  • I know for a fact that mine would not lift a finger for me if I needed it. I cared for my X during three years of severe depression. Our life was a nightmare, suicide treats and all. All that while he was cheating on me. Then, he finally recovered, got a job on the west coast (we lived on the east coast). So I commuted as often as I can, I was dead tired from it all. Of course, he cheats on me there, but you know, he needs to do what he needs to do because he’s sick. Then, one day I get the news that I need a hip surgery (in my 30s so it is a bit unsual). Nothing life treatening or heavy for him to deal but it has a very long recovery on a wheelchair and then with a walker for like 6-12 months. I called him up and I said: I will need this surgery soon, you always complain you miss our dog, could you take him with you for the recovery time? Not being able to care for him (even potty breaks were an issue, we lived on the third floor, no elevator…) was a problem for me on top of having to go on medical leave from my job. I did’nt ask help for me, I knew I would not get that. I just asked please, take the dog so he can walk every day and be happy. I tought at the time: finally he can do something for me rather than the other way around! I’m sure he will enjoy that and I’m not asking something crazy demanding! wow the chumpy….

    What did he answer me? Not : of course honey, you are always there for me, let me share the load in a small way. No. He actually said I should move over to the west coast for my recovery so that I could care for him and the dog over there…. His solution to a small problem was having me travel across the continent (with a dog!), forgoing my healthcare coverage during my recovery (!?!!), all this on my own and on a wheelchair… but yeah sounds like a plan…

    It was actually one of the things that made me leave. I had always been afraid of being sick alone. No idea why, I just was. It happened a few times close to the divorce and it was’nt that bad. I coped on my own and I was fine. At one point, even the chumpiest of the chumpy understands there’s no reciprocity there.

    So yeah, I would’nt worry about him to much. I’m sure you did that plenty when you were married to him. Reciprocity is the issue here, it seems.

    Best to all the chumps here with cancer or in recovery. You are mighty against cancer, too!

    ps: my dog stayed with me, through divorce and all. He died in my arms as an old dog last year. He had a happy doggy life and he made my life better. More than can be said about X. It was the best thing ever that X did not take him. Always keep the dog, chumps!

  • I’ve been thinking more about the Being Nice and Reaching Out thing, which has some subtle variations:

    1) It will show him that I am a superior person to him (given that he never contacted me when I was seriously unwell).

    2) It will show our mutual friends that I am Splendid and evolved and forgiving.

    3) It will show him that he really missed out on a wonderful partner.

    4) It will show me that I have truly moved on.

    5) When he moans to me about his self-made problems, it will show me all over again how wise I was to let him go when I could.

    This is all bullshit. The people who matter already know this stuff. What he thinks is of no consequence to me, and hasn’t been for years.

    We might call it Being Nice, but it’s actually the last gasps of codependency and Florence Nightingale syndrome. Chumptastic Voyage had it right, above.

  • My ex has had an impressive array of ailments, including references to cancer, since we parted.

    I remind myself of how callously he treated me when I was down and out. Plus if his lips are moving he is usually lying.

    NO way will I enter that swamp again.

    • “If his lips are moving he is usually lying”

      I feel so sorry for our daughter. Someone upthread mentioned co-dependency and I had never thought of that. She is stuck with the same Chumpy dilemma’s I used to have. Knowing that her father is all the things so many ex Chumps have described here but loving him nevertheless – because he’s her Dad and the only one she’s ever going to have.

      And I recognise how close I came to getting back into it either with him or through her and that way fuckedupness lies.

      Thank you CL, thank you all. Thank you for sharing your stories of mightiness. I didn’t make contact, I didn’t reach out, I got in touch with ‘meh’ again. I talked to my sons who KNOW that nothing has changed despite ex’s diagnosis. We are stronger together.

  • D-Day was March.
    “The talk” was April, he stated he was “done” and was leaving after I had a total hysterectomy and hernia repair surgeries two weeks later.
    So, I didn’t even list him as emergency contact.
    My sons and a few friends were at the hospital as I was in surgery, TEO showed up. I found out later that He asked to see my phone from my son to “contact family about your mom’s status”.
    He went through it. He read all my plans. All I had knew up to that point. Everyone I was talking to about TEO.
    I was in the recovery room and he was yelling at me to wake up. I groggily asked him, “what are *you* doing here?” And rolled over away from him. He didn’t answer anything noteworthy.
    I was wheeled into my room, and he was just standing there in the corner smoldering. My sons and friends were there too, no one spoke to him.
    I asked everyone to.step.out and looked at him and asked what was the problem now. He then proceeded to go off about everything he had learned by going through my phone.
    I’m writhing in pain post-surgery and this asshole is giving me shit. I started to cry and hyperventilate. The nurse came in and asked me what was wrong and I told her I was in pain, so she told him to leave
    As he’s being led out, he asks, why didn’t Anyone call me when she was done with surgery?
    Nurse asked him, “who are you?”
    He hotly retorted, “I’m her husband”
    I snorted and cried at the same time loudly, my son heard this and said, “not for much longer thank God. Leave”
    The nurse told him the same.
    I tell this story to remind myself that if he *ever* is in this situation or anything around that level, I’m paying back his care and compassion ten-fold
    He is a narcissist abusive bastard and deserves nothing from me. Total crickets. Cool, bummer, wow.

  • That doesn’t make you a bad person — not investing in his distress — it makes you an EX. A person who used to care, but had that shit beaten out of her.
    Love this. I will be using it repeatedly. ❤️

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