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Stupid Requests Cheaters Make?

Dear Chump Lady,

I am 18 months out after discovering I was a chump extraordinaire. After uprooting our family of four for a new job that required I sacrifice a tenured faculty position at a major university, all while leading a double life, I found out about the OW — also married with a child.

He tried to keep both bags of kibble until I made him choose, and he chose her. Kids went into a downward spiral — straight-A student starts smoking weed all day and almost loses her college scholarship, 16-year old girl starts hanging with the wrong crowd and self-harming. None of this is due to the upheaval of the family, according to him because — “all kids do crazy sh@@ like that” according to him.

So 18 months later, we’re divorced and we have a custody arrangement with set visitation and my daughter is performing in a show at her school. I always go to both performances — something I did all the years he was missing performances trying to juggle his two lives and something I still do.

He texts me today asking, “For the show this week I wanted to ask you if we could trade off days?” And I respond with “??? I always go both days. I don’t care if you go also.” He responds, “I ask because I want to bring a date.”

He is referring to the woman with whom he carried on a 4-year affair while missing birthdays, recitals etc. and while uprooting his family and sacrificing my career.

I respond, “I have no response to that. You want me to change my plan of watching my daughter’s performance to accommodate the woman who broke up our family? Astounding.” He responds, “I don’t mean to be upsetting, just wanting to try and work things out ahead of time. Thanks for understanding.” Wow. A master of passive aggression he is. I start to lose it. “What you did and she did is wrong and it will never be right. Flaunting your irresponsible behavior is a selfish move and it’s for you, not your daughter. You say you don’t want to upset me? Really? Then don’t bring her.”

He has mastered acting surprised in a condescending, “look how polite I am” kind of way. I wish there was a way to publicly humiliate the two of them. Anyway, that’s some pretty Stupid Shit Cheater’s Say. Asking the scorned ex to accommodate his need to bring his affair partner to your child’s performance. Wow. Just Wow.

Madkatie

Dear Madkatie,

First, some strong hugs. ((((((Madkatie)))))))

Second, drop the word “scorned” from your vocabulary. You aren’t scorned — you were defrauded. Conspired against. Mindfucked. Used.

Scorned is a mindfuck itself — it means to be contemptuous of, to bitterly reject. Famously, “a woman scorned.”

It implies that you’re haughty, irrationally bitter, and hate for the sake of hating. It transfers sympathy to the object of your derision.

But you’re not in the power seat — you’re the person who was rejected and abused. You have every right to be angry, and absolutely fractured with hurt. That pain is not scorn. It’s the lucid response to being betrayed.

You may think I’m picking you apart for word choices, but you need a clearer look at the power dynamic going on here. “Scorned” — the mindfucks of “It’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to it” aka “I fail to understand your hostility” — is reversing victim/offender roles.

Why, he’s just a poor misunderstood sausage who wants to attend his daughter’s recital with a date! And you’re the bitter, scorned ex who just denies him, because you can’t get over the Wonderfulness of Him, and you’re taking it out on The Children, whose needs are always foremost in his mind, the tender sugarplums! It’s tragic the way you’re so fixated on him. Isn’t she, Schmoopie? So scornful. (Schmoopie hands him a tissue.)

That’s the bear trap of dysfunction you just stepped into. You want REAL power? You want to model mighty to your daughters and leave fuckwits in your dust? You do this:

He texts me today asking, “For the show this week I wanted to ask you if we could trade off days?”

You: No.

(It’s a complete sentence. If you’re feeling generous — you offer more information, but it’s not a starting point for debate. “I’m going both days.”)

He responds, “I ask because I want to bring a date.”

You: ******** (stops texting… goes and finds an improving Netflix series.)

No response. Because you conveyed the important information in this exchange — you will not change dates, and you will be attending all concerts. Because YOU Madkatie are doing YOU. His plans are irrelevant. (Even if they feel like terrorist attacks.)

He baited you into the Pick Me Dance and damn if you didn’t fall for it.

You want me to change my plan of watching my daughter’s performance to accommodate the woman who broke up our family? Astounding.

Madkatie — your ex is the villain here and she’s his fuckwit co-conspirator, but if we’re denying people attendance to concerts based on their home wrecking proclivities, he’ll never make it past the coatcheck. Ever. Anywhere.

Look, I know it’s unjust. If a person stole from you, defrauded you out of a tenured job, sexually humiliated and harmed you in CIVILIAN life? There’d be lawsuits and jail time. But because you bred, instead you get the pleasure of sitting next to the perp at choral concerts.

The whole set-up is UNJUST. And he LOVES the power inequality of it all. If he can’t have old cake, he’ll have new cake in a high school auditorium. You enraged by Schmoopie. Schmoopie unnerved by you. All centrality on him. He goads you, then looks on with innocent Bambi eyes. (Then he goes home and goads Schmoops too, telling her you’ll be there, so she falls into apoplexies of pleasing him.)

You say you don’t want to upset me? Really? Then don’t bring her.

Wrong move.

You don’t control if he brings her. That’s a cold, hard fact.

He’s a fuckwit who delights in hurting you all (kibbles! centrality!), so he WILL bring her!

You tell him where your pain points are? You’re guaranteeing her attendance.

Correct move?

Ignore.

Ignore them both. But stand up straight, walk into that auditorium, and applaud your daughter on stage. It’s her day, and you’re there to support her. Never lose sight of that mission.

You’re on stage too. A method actress in badass.

Don’t let them break you. You’ve got this.

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.
  • Suddenly, Rhys asking me to wear a certain dress to prove I wanted to be his girlfriend for the day seems almost quaint.

  • “I’ll be going both days” is how you take your power back. He doesn’t get to dictate your actions and shit, if he thinks his daughters performance is a great date night activity, let them experience that date in utter discomfort (fingers crossed). You do you and let him look like a fool. You’ve transcended the fuckery.

      • So, so this. Asshat took Schmoopie to Christmas party (months after abandoning me and kids). Lots of community folk in attendance, including parents from kids’ school as well as several town gossips. Asshat prides himself on his “humble goodguy” reputation. I heard back from several party attendees that most people were disgusted with him because he showed up with her. He was oblivious, but word got out and around town about them; I didn’t have to lift a finger. So yes, Madkatie, hold your head high. People will judge for themselves and him being him will provide enough public humiliation. Hugs.

        • I will. I have a slight fantasy about emotionally filleting her with acerbic wit….channelling Chump Lady. But it will suffice to just watch my daughter rock her solo. And also to look hot. : )

          • Buy something to wear that makes you feel beautiful and badass. Maybe get your hair done. A pedicure. Nothing says the X doesn’t matter like peep-toe shoes. Or Chuck Taylors and pearls. Or combat boots and camo.

            • I have a pair of camouflage patterned Louboutins for such occasions. Nothing says don’t mess with me like 5 inch heels with red soles.

    • Bingo.

      “I will be there both days. Come if you want, or not. Bring a date if you want, or not.” But they don’t get a say in whether you’re there–it’s not a private event. And CL is totally right: “No” is a complete sentence. He/they don’t deserve the chance to negotiate.

      I know this suuuuucks right now but when the smoke clears you’ll be glad you were the bigger person.

  • These guys are all the same.
    If I didn’t know better I’d say that Madkatie and I were once married to the same butt-face.

  • CL, Spot On!!!!!

    A tiny addition — him bringing a date will s-u-u-u-uck for these two struggling girls, so they will need their mom’s full attention and support to deal with the mindfuck he is laying on them.

    The more of Mom’s attention this walking dildo commands, the less support the kids feel from Mom. The kids need all of mom’s attention and intention to cope with this crap of his.

    So, there’s another strong motivator to ignore Captain Dildo as much as possible.

    😊

      • I would say, look through them. Ghost them to their faces.

        Schmoops does something to get your attention? You don’t see it. You don’t see her. You could be 3 feet away from her, but you act like she doesn’t exist, to her face. Ego kibble denied.

        Ignore him too if he says anything to you that doesn’t directly deal with minimum required communications regarding kids. Nothing deflates an ego (and other things) faster than knowing you’re completely irrelevant.

        When you get hime you can laugh about their reaction.

        • Agreed! I ghosted my ex at my daughters concert and he said I couldn’t ignore him but the fact was I could and I did. I gave him the same value he showed me in our marriage when he started to cheat. He no longer controls me and it feels great to ignore him as one would a pesky gnat.

      • This AND look content in yourself as you are doing all those things. Look HOT but try and maintain a calm look on your face. If they don’t see you looking upset, angry or bothered it will be better for you and horrible for them. People like that want to see a reaction and if there isn’t one all the better. Fake it till you make it. They may very well put on a production of their own but just pretend you didn’t see it. I’ve been there and it bugs the absolute crap out of them when you look good AND look like you’re doing good. Be calm, have fun, immerse yourself in the production and then go home and pour a huge glass of wine!!!! I’m rooting for you big time. Please post an update afterwards and let us know how you rocked this!!!! YOU ARE MIGHTY!!!!!!!!!

      • I totally agree! There was an episode of Black Mirror where you could “block” someone in real life: You couldn’t hear them and if they were in front of you all you could see is a fuzzy grey shape, total No Contact. That’s the idea I used at first to help ignore the idiot and his prize whenever we overlapped at kid events. Just focused on the kids. If the kids went over to talk to him, I went suddenly blind on that side, and distracted myself with small talk with another parent. At first it was HARD and I would crash afterwards. But practice makes perfect, and now ignoring them is such second nature I sometimes forget they are there! And I really do just focus on the kids and enjoy myself! This alone is great for me, but there is the added bonus of not buying in to the narrative he wants to paint for me, and no emotionally-charged conversations is no kibbles. He is doing this to get a rise out of you, to see if you “still care”. Starve a (passive-aggressive) parasite and they will tend to go bother a different host. And you get to get on with building that life.

  • “No”. Yep, that’s a complete sentence. I also like TheBetterJamie response. Keep it simple. You don’t jump to his drum anymore. That being said, go to both performances, sit in front looking fantastic. Enlist a friend or aquantance to sit with. Bring flowers for your daughter and hold your head high!

    I went through a similar exercise with my ex about volunteering at sporting events. I offered him a day with DD he rufused unless she was spending night with him. It had me wound up. My lawyer friend talked me down. Now, my ex goes to sport events and stands in the back. All team parents know he doesn’t volunteer. His kid (now my youngest is in same sport) knows he doesn’t volunteer. I’m on the board, I do ALL the volunteering. My son appreciates it. My ex looks like the idiot he is.

    So, take CL’s advice. Don’t feed the kibble dispenser. No longer your issue. Good luck and big hugs. It gets easier.

  • That is one pimply asshat. What has been seen cannot be unseen. 😳

    You’re going both days. Schmoopie’s discomfort is not your issue.

  • Has he taken any interest in their lives or is it for the benefit of looking good for his girlfriend.
    Is he interested in the mental health of his children, only you can answer that. I would be worried for your daughter, its insensitive of him, but he’s proven what he’s really like.
    Good luck.
    You ex, has a part to play in his children’s mental heath.
    Have you considered counselling, or support groups for self harm. Self harm actually stops the brain from “thinking”. a tacit is get a elastic band, and put it on your wrist, and flick it when you feel like harming yourself.
    Children unfortunately blame themselves, when its not true.

    • Yes, all of this. My ex only shows interest in his kid when there’s a new lady around…and not at first, usually after a year of them dating. It’s a total pattern. My guess is that after a year of crazy romantic tryst, she starts to wonder where is this child I’ve heard about? Why doesn’t he see her or call her or anything? Maybe the sob story I was sold wasn’t accurate? 🤔

      • Read a meme…
        “Nobody rides harder than a new girlfriend who thinks he’s been kept away from his kids.”

    • Yes! Totally agree that a self-harm support group would be helpful, if available in the area. Most, if not all, are geared towards young people. There are also websites that offer support. Again, most geared towards the young.
      I had a wonderful, compassionate therapist who saved me from myself. It was mostly not wanting to let her down that finally stopped me.
      As a lifelong secret self-harmer (over 55 years of my 62 years on this planet), she can find understanding among those who have the same dysfunctional coping mechanisms.
      I have only been “sober” for less than a year, and it is still a struggle when I am triggered, but if I can do it then anyone can.
      She needs to get out of the cycle of self-harm before she creates scars that will never heal. I cannot wear short sleeves, shorts or a bathing suit. Shallow, probably, but maybe if you let her know that she is limiting her choices of what she can wear for the rest of her life, she may try to stop and try counseling or a support group.
      So sorry that she has gone down this path of trying to cope with her feelings. She probably feels a lot of shame and embarrassment about this behavior, I did. People don’t understand it, and can be so judgmental. I think that having a terrible secret like that just adds to the problem, but no one wants to let their friends and family know that they are so weak.

      • BeautifulMatureLady, (my new name for you)
        Thank you for sharing your story and for your wise insight.

      • She does have the support of a good therapist. My friends all know about what he did and it is so hard to know what to reveal and what not to reveal. That a marriage can just collapse and their strong career mom could get derailed is a terrible message. That their dad made a choice that isn’t what most men would do explains that but then tells them terrible things about their dad. I have thought a lot about how I would have felt as a kid if my dad had done this. I’d have hated him. I know that. My mom would have been more stoic than me, though. But if no one had told me and she just kicked him out, I might have been mad at her. And confused. I don’t think there is a right answer as to how to protect the kids from this kind of trauma. The best thing is not to lie and cheat in the first place rather than have to figure out the best way to clean up the mess. I say nice things about him to her in passing. Whenever a good memory pops up, I say something about her dad. She spends a lot of time with him and I don’t complain. But there have been times when he’s put me in a situation where my feelings leak out and she gets put in the middle.

        • I read that older children do need the truth. They are trying to learn dating, are cognizant anyway, and they are more aware of their world falling apart. Trying to shield an older child, belittles them. It speaks that they aren’t mature. They learn that ALL adults can’t be trusted, because all adults are lying to them.
          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2313246/How-ruin-childs-chance-happy-love-life-Have-affair–damage-WORSE-older-stray.html

          That being said, you can’t be ‘opinionated’ with the kids about how bad their dad is.

          HOWEVER, because you have kids who are hurting themselves, it’s very insensitive for the OW to come. The child is performing, has stage jitters. Child needs to be in a positive mindset as possible. The child needs a good performance, to build confidence. A bad performance could lead to more destructive behavior.

          “No. I think it’s in (her) best interest I come both days, giving her cutting and therapy. (She) needs my support to help her performance. If (OW) comes, I hope you are aware of how this might affect (child’s) issues dealing with the home breakup. It could adversely affect her performance. Therefore, I will definitely be there both days to support (child).”

        • My 11 year old son knows. And this is exactly why he knows. I didn’t want him in anyway to think this was his fault or my fault. He still has fun with his dad, but he know the reality of who his dad is. If she’s self harming I think she deserves to know that truth of the situation. She may be blaming herself when dad is the only one to blame!

        • My therapist told me to consider how not knowing the truth of what was happening in my own life, in my own house, with my husband effected me. What I thought my life and marriage were is NOT what my life and marriage were. Then my therapist asked me if I wanted to do the same thing to my children – keep the truth from them. I am 5 years post DDay and my kids, now 20 and 22, know everything. It has been a slow but steady gift of the truth. I answer every question they ask truthfully but only elaborate when they ask more probing follow-up questions.
          Cheaters HATE it when you tell the kids the truth. They are entitled to you keeping their secrets – my X just wrote an email to me berating me for telling the kids saying, “No one, most of all DS and DD, should be subjected to this kind of damage and emotional turmoil.”
          As usual, it’s not what he did, it’s that I dare speak of it. In this house Truth with a capital T is a core value.

          • Oh yes. I’ve said this before on this very blog-different post-if the truth about you constitutes badmouthing, you have a problem. I have told them why he did-the PG version, minus the dildo gifts and other details I haven’t mentioned. My older daughter was mad at me for revealing too much. At the time she was almost abusive to me and it was very hard. I continued to support her, helped her with college applications, helped motivate her to get her work done so she didn’t lose everything she’d worked for. She eventually ended up in a group with several women in their late 20s and early 30s who gave her a different perspective on the whole thing. She is actually finally healing and ready to resume her life. And she, being a musician on the side, has penned a number of fabulous songs. And seems to be stronger for having gone through this. Maybe.

        • You don’t protect them from the trauma – they need to be aware of what went on. Otherwise, they blame themselves, that maybe they were the problem.

          Fuck that shit – you place the blame squarely where it belongs, on his fuckwitted self.

  • This ubt is great. I need to read examples like these. I am trying no contact but get sucked into brief exchanges to get my point across as every interaction is fractious. I need to say things once… And leave it. Let him come back with his sentence always starting with ‘well…’ (ugh). I need this no contact filter on my texts-one message delivered and no interaction after. Thumbs up

    • There is no getting a point across to a jackass. You don’t teach your cat calculus.

      “No.” or “That won’t work for me” if it’s about switches, etc. Or “I will be at the concert/recital/game.”

      Better yet, stop texting him. Always answer on email. Send one last text: “See my email. I will be responding only to email from now on.” Then it isn’t sewage coming straight into your day.

  • I can’t believe OW would go – everybody who knows will look at her as a dipshit homewrecker! And what about the kid – doesn’t he know he’s humiliating her too! It’s almost as bad as ‘Honey and the Homewrecker’! Now that’s a real demented homewrecker!
    Stay strong 💪! In the end you’ll be the winner! Your kids will prove it!

  • “I don’t mean to be upsetting”.

    What a schmuck. Of course he meant to be upsetting! If he wasn’t, he would simply go (with or without someone) and sit as far away from you as possible, applaud for your daughter and if he is gauche enough to bring Schmoopie (and we all know he is), he wouldn’t parade her in front of his daughter afterward.

    But we know he will.

    So look past and through them. They’re roadkill. They don’t exist unless legally you HAVE TO speak with him.

    Enjoy the performances!

    • Seriously.

      “I want to bring a date.” It’s a school play, not your frickin’ high school reunion!

      My assumption is Sugar Tits has been bitching about being more “integrated” into his life and is tried of being hidden away. Total dick move, guy. They NEVER care about anyone but themselves.

    • Yep, JWH. That’s the whole point. We all need to remember that all a narcissistic type wants is attention. From everyone. All the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative. Just attention. Upsetting you gets you to respond. That’s a win for him.

  • One Mother to Another:
    YOU are The Mother,going both days to both performanes.
    This is just who YOU are!
    Ignore them, as CL says.
    Do your thing as you always do it!
    ( I had to learn this the hard way, but after awhile it just becomes a way of life).
    (Real life in the real world)!

  • Further out now, when I’m asked by XW to negotiate days, my power is thinking, “does this trade off belittle me?”

    Most often the answer is “no” so it’s easier to co-parent; I want swaps now and then too.

    But I had to find my power first. And I’m further out and with teenagers.

    …………

    Holy crap; it’s TUESDAY!

    • I feel the same way. I’ve got two little ones , 6 and 3. I try to keep the peace by being flexible – for the kids. They are so little and I’m going to have to work with their dad for A WHILE . We help each other when we can. Still doesn’t change what he did to me – but it’s a more positive environment for the kids.

  • “If he can’t have old cake, he’ll have new cake”…perfect 👏👏👏

    Mine did this and it totally messed with my mind. Okay, so you had an affair? That sucks for me. I left, no contact (thanks to CL!). So why do you still keep coming around? Why do you still keep contacting me (no children or shared resources)? Why do you show up to my work events that you have no business being at? Why do you frequent the bar a block from my house (versus the hundreds that are in your city)?

    CAKE!

    Any kind of cake is still cake. What is the antidote to cake?

    COPS!

    Yep, I threatened the police on him and he’s been gone ever since (mostly).

  • I don’t get this whole exchange. Does he NEED permission to see his daughter in concert? Does SHE need permission to see her daughter in concert? This lady who wrote in is messed up in this exchange. Just show up at the concert and enjoy it. Why even have this exchange. My XW shows up at my kid’s concert. I act cordial and nice so that the kids don’t feel uncomfortable. Make it about the kids. Who cares what he does. Focus on the concert.

    • ^^this^^
      Why the freak is the other person asking you for this anyhow? Children are not things that you do ‘halvsies’ with.
      If you have majority custody and language in the parenting plan, firstly the other parent already has access to the children’s calendar and is already able to make these things a priority to attend. Secondly if you agreed that dates or APs wouldn’t be introduced to the kids in any form for a period of time, then that person may not be going as a +1 anyhow. If they do go, as per your agreement, why the freak is the other person asking for permission, essentially? Oh yeah, that’s right….they are triangulating you. Don’t fall into this trap.

      • Over It–I like seeing the absurdity of him when you are try to apply normal, logical behavior to the situation. He missed most of her recitals back when he was “traveling for work” and for this particular performance 2 years ago, when both of our daughters were in it, he happened to be home. When I was planning to go to the second performance he said, “why are we going to two of them? We’ve already seen it.” So maybe he innocently forgot that I always go support my kids on both nights. We didn’t agree +1’s wouldn’t be introduced for a period of time. I wanted to, but he refused to agree to it. He already brought her on a vacation he took them on and said “don’t tell your mom” but then the stupid bitch posted pictures of my children on her facebook page and, since everyone is but a few degrees separated from everyone else, I was informed of this.

          • The grace given by chumps to cheaters is mind boggling, isn’t it?

            “I’m sure he didn’t mean to.”
            “She wouldn’t do that.”
            “That’s not like him.”

      • He wants her ATTENTION so he creates a scenario to upset her: “I’m bringing Schmoopie! Heads up! Time for you to dance to try to get me to not bring Schmoops.”

        Attention. Centrality. Kibbles. Cake. It’s about the world orbiting around their pustulific selves.

    • I don’t get this whole exchange. Does he NEED permission to see his daughter in concert?

      He’s not really asking permission, he just wants to upset MadKatie and see her dance for him. It’s a continuation of the Pick Me Dance. He wants to feel central. Bonus points if she lashes out at OW and he can continue triangulating them. “Look at how important I am! Two women still fighting over me!”

      The only answer is to ignore.

  • I’m guessing Dear Daughter would prefer to not have OW at her performance—ESPECIALLY not in lieu of her mother. That aspect really hurts my heart…

  • You are your child’s mother.
    Hold your head up. Be proud of your child’s accomplishment.
    Smile until your face muscles hurt.
    And don’t bother with the riffraff that they let into the school event.
    Fake it until it becomes your normal behavior. Always look like you’re having a wonderful time.
    Find support in your friends who can help you carry this off. It will be difficult at first but you can do this.
    So tough co-parenting with Aholes who are still abusive even after they blow up the family.
    (You can substitute “father” in the first sentence when appropriate.)
    (((hugs))) & come to CN often for support
    because we get it.

  • “No. It is a complete sentence.”

    Current mantra. Repeating with practice until it becomes second nature.

    Thank you, CL.

    • I know right? I have a very, very hard time with the less is more when it comes to verbal warfare. Words are my weapon of choice and I like to play with them. It’s hard to put them aside.

      • I’m with you, MadKatie–I can wield words like rapiers (and did, post-D-day), but have since practiced a quiet disdain, which hurts narcs even more. Silent contempt is the best weapon ; ).

        Hold your head high and act as if you don’t even see the fuckwith and OWhore. Moral ciphers don’t deserve your attention. Hugs!

        • madkatie & Tempest

          Can you tutor me?! I’m the ‘stone cold one word bitch’ who exercises complete control in the moment. But when I’m out of the situation I think of all the amazing word murder I COULD have whipped out and suffer in silence wishing I had a do-over = D

          • Keep a special journal and write down all the things you wish you’d said to cheater. Post your witty responses in the forums. But your stone cold bitch persona is exactly the one you want to show to fuckwit. Keep up the good work!

          • If you are being compelling, making strong points, identifying hypocrisy, refuting lies, or arguing for what should be common sense or fairness–you are saying too much. That is–if you are engaging with the fuckwit with the goal of “making him see” or “changing his mind” or “getting him to admit something,” you are putting out a giant buffet of kibbles.

            I have a few choice words for the mailman who stopped my mail and screwed up everything from my job contract to my mortgage statement, but that will only give him more reason to monkey with my mail. Don’t engage. As Dr. George Simon says, “It’s not that they [fuckwits] don’t see. It’s that they disagree.”

        • Exactly. Look right through them at something/someone across the room. No focus on them whatsoever. It drives attention whores crazy.

      • Remember that refusing to use those words is a superpower. Silence speaks if what a jackass wants is your attention. Imagine every word is a kibble and he’s eating a buffet.

        If it’s a struggle not to use your wit and words, don’t ever reply using text. In fact, tell him all communication has to be via email. It’s a lot less tempting for you. And if HE texts because no one is the boss of him, say, “Put it in an email and I’ll get back to you.” Then you can email him one word:
        Can we trade days? You: No.
        I want to take Schmoops to X… You: I see every performance/game/event.
        But I don’t want to upset you…. You:

        You can’t use words to “win” with these people because your attention is their goal. So by replying to anything other than what the court requires, you lose. It’s that simple.

  • My ex left me for the AP when our youngest was 17.
    She was in marching band and I was head of our booster organization. He never volunteered.
    His schmoopie didn’t allow him to be in my presence without her so after they went public she came to a couple games with him when our daughter was marching.
    1. If you are so insecure with your new boyfriend that you can’t let him watch his daughter march in a football game….good luck to you.
    2. It actually was just a nail in his coffin every time he brought her around. My kids hated her and asked that she be excluded from these things and she wasn’t having it. Now they are both out of the kids lives….no contact for 4 years with my kids.
    3. Chump lady is sooooooo right. They bring her to these things to knock you off balance and he gets the added bonus of watching her trip all over herself showing she’s the superior partner.
    So now he’s lost his kids, is raising hers…no love triangle.
    How’s that working out I wonder?

    Ugh.

    Go to both shows. Model that you are the sane reliable parent.Dont even scan the room for them, they don’t exist to you.
    ((Hugs))

    • I was president of DS16’s band booster club, as I had been for his older sister and brother. DDay happened in January and DS quit band for his following junior and senior year because he couldn’t stand for asshole dad to attend his games. Scouts was also a casualty. I dragged DS through Eagle but he refused to have an Eagle Scout Award Ceremony because Asshole said, “You’re not the boss of me. I’m coming and bringing New Wife.”

      DS also stopped attending anything that took him away from me at night, such as sleepovers or campouts. So many regrets. So much damage to my son 🙁

  • Why can’t we sue our cheating partners for defrauding us?

    I seriously want to take mine to court for deceiving me from the moment we started dating (not married). I made bad decisions believing everything was genuine like MadKatie. Like her, I uprooted my life and have subsequently suffered enormously for it (now without a job, home, struggling to get back on my feet , living with family, etc.) all because I made bad choices under the stress he brought into my life with his deception.

    Cheaters belong in jail. We need to start asking for jail time for cheaters.

      • Agreed. The “No Fault” really hurts the chumps. So does the family court and the mediation requirements some courts dictate.

    • TwoCentsNewChump , you made the best decisions you could with the information you had. You didn’t do anything wrong. You were misled.

      I too uprooted myself for someone who was cheating through dating, courtship, engagement, marriage and didn’t even stop when in the midst of divorce. I’m now far away in a city I hate, burdened with a car I only got because we were planning to start trying for a baby and needed a second one. I sunk a huge chunk of my savings into it over a lie. I get upset sometimes too, and it’s not fair, but you will get through this.

      What’s done is done – you press forward. What helped was accepting that while the situation sucked, I had to play the cards I was dealt. Then I made a goal: move. To move I needed cash. To get cash I needed to save. To save I needed to cut back, etc. Figure out what you want/need – doesn’t need to be concrete.

      You will be okay. I’m sending you hugs – I’ve felt a lot of anger over the mass inconvenience that my sham/fraud marriage to a lying bastard has cost me, so I totally get it.

      • What we can do is warn our kids not to uproot themselves until they get a pre- or post-nuptial. It’s not “romantic,” but if a someone has a tenured position and the spouse wants to move? Where’s the compensation for giving up a CAREER and a home? That shit should be in writing.

        • The problem is, prenups are often bunk, because the disordered will screech “I was forced to do this!!!!!!” and it is thrown out.

          Always ensure you have a “This was not done under duress” clause!

    • THIS absolutely! It’s contract fraud at a minimum. I can’t get past that there are ZERO consequences for cheater. And OW gets to fuck around and keep her family cause she has Ann “agreement” with her husband.

      I hate this world. I’m kind and care about others and it gets me cheated on, loose my son, my house, loads of money, and if I had a dog I probably would have lost that too.

      Seriously, what’s the point of continuing on?

    • Twocentsnewchump and Fearful&loathing–I totally agree and felt the same way. The no-fault law was originally supposed to protect people who needed out of a marriage due to something like abuse –relieving them of the obligation to prove “fault”. And it got sort of co-opted by those who aren’t big fans of monogamy to try to use it in the financial settlement, etc. It’s just supposed to mean if you want a divorce, you can ask for one. But then, probably to curb airing dirty laundry and fighting in contentious divorces, there was an addendum added that affairs were inadmissible in divorce proceedings, unless it involved decompensation of money spent on the affair. So you can’t use it, for example, as evidence that you deserve compensation for losses of money in moving for the fuckwit or giving up a job for the fuckwit, because you can chronologically prove he was knowingly deceiving you while you were giving things up. You are treated as though you are airing dirty laundry. It really benefits the cheater. And it sucks. I am so sorry that happened to you. And fearful, there is always a point in continuing on. Did you lose custody of your son? You can fight that. There are lawyers that will help people on a sliding scale–good ones. You need to ask around. It’s hard because you don’t want to make him choose or force him into a back and forth living situation but he needs his mom. Sending positive thoughts.

  • OP, you do as CL stated. ‘No’ is a complete sentence. Go and enjoy your daughter’s performances. What your Asshat and human fleshlight chose to do is on them. No action or reaction is needed on your part.

    I haven’t sealed my decree yet. Already my Asshat is asking some weird image management stuff from me. As long as it is not in the decree or other important docs, I can smile and say a positive non-commital response.

    Our realities are all the same: we were fired from our SO jobs long before it was revealed in any sort of honest manner to us. What these idiots chose to do now is their responsibility. It is right and just to NOPE OUT of anything to do with them.

  • Thanks all for the comments. And Chump Lady, why does it sound so logical from you and not my 300$ a session therapist? And actually, the fuckwit has already humiliated himself in the presence of her friends. Via a long grapevine, I heard he thought it a good idea to bring a dildo as a birthday present at a party for a female friend of the OW -someone he had never met. Then text her the text day and ask her if she’d charged it up and used it. Hopefully my daughter’s recital will result in better behavior. And I am going both nights. And from this day forward, I will curb by need to say too much. Thanks Chump Lady!

    • Via a long grapevine, I heard he thought it a good idea to bring a dildo as a birthday present at a party for a female friend of the OW -someone he had never met.

      *screaming*

      Then text her the text day and ask her if she’d charged it up and used it.

      *SCREAMING INTENSIFIES*

      Katie, that is HORRIFIC. My guess is everybody who meets your ex knows he’s disordered. Anybody who doesn’t either has poor boundaries or just hasn’t spent enough time around him yet to see beneath the mask.

      My observation is most people eventually see through the disordered, who inevitably end up broke and friendless. Yes, there are high-functioning sociopaths who do well, but you need super duper resources (LOTS of money and power) to overcome the burnt bridges. That’s hard to pull off long-term. Eventually, the bill comes due.

    • Wha…wha….WHA?! He’s absolutely out of his mind! Thankfully you are out of his sick world, but now you have the stressful task of finding a way to protect your kids from further harm from exposure to his deviancy and vileness. I’d be tempted to run away to another country and change all your names. Document everything, and eventually if he does enough creepy shit, you might be able to get a court order to keep him away from the kids.

    • “I heard he thought it a good idea to bring a dildo as a birthday present at a party for a female friend of the OW -someone he had never me”

      Read 3 times. WTF!?!

      “Then text her the text day and ask her if she’d charged it up and used it.”

      He’s testing this friend… he’s got the hots for her… he thinks he’s the “Cat’s Meow.”

          • I admit my mind first went to a restraining order, but that might be hard to get in certain jurisdictions if you don’t have explicit threats of violence.

            More’s the pity, because if I could, I would absolutely want one in this case.

    • Holy crap! From one Katie to another, just…no words (and that is rare for me!)

      I mean. Wow. How was that even acceptable to Shmoopie? I know the bar of acceptable behavior for OWs is pretty low, but…? Woww.

    • One practice I’ve put in place to assist me with not reacting and saying too much (despite the traps and bait set in his every communication) is to wait a minimum of 24 hours before responding. It’s rare that a response is required urgently, only emergencies of life and death need a response straight away.

      Before answering anything, even the basics of logistics, I wait. I allow the natural heart rate increase, the flurry of thoughts, the witty digging potential retorts in my head, the caving on requests to breach my boundaries, the general desire to scream f#%k you and the question of “what is his agenda”. I allow it to pass.

      After 24 hours I try to come up with the shortest business like answer, if an answer is needed. I try to make it as bland as possible, boring and non committal like I don’t care what he does with it. I try to imagine if he used it in court, could a judge see anything in it which could go against me.

      It’s helped. What he, or anyone thinks of me is none of my business. What he does or doesn’t do is also none of my concern.

      How I hold myself and choose to operate IS my only concern. I choose to model my behavior in a fashion that I can feel proud of and demonstrates the character I want my children to grow into. I am mighty, and so are you.

      Enjoy both performances!!!

  • Katie, I wonder if your children are spiraling for reasons other than their homes being broken by a cheating father? I wonder how far he’s gone with his good guy narrative?

    In my experience, cheaters often adopt the narrative of how they were being abused in their marriages. If your ex has done this with your kids, they are in deep conflict over the mother they see with their eyes (the kind that always goes to all the performances, the kind that sacrifices her career for the ‘good of the family’) with the one they’ve been told abuses their father.

    It’s a real mind killer.

    It’s gas lighting, blame shifting, parental alienation, with a healthy dose of loyalty conflict.

    And if you’re responding to drama invites (like, “Can we switch nights?”), then it would only add credibility to claims of your abusive behavior. You HAVE NO IDEA what those kids have been told by their father. You may think you do, but -in truth, you don’t.

    Get as sane as you can as fast as you can, Katie. Your kids are at risk and desperately need a sane parent. And stop projecting your basic humanity on your ex, because he is nothing like you.

    • NoMoreNews-that comment was frighteningly accurate and made me feel like you actually know me. Point well taken. Daughter #1 just got out of a program after taking medical leave from college. She understands I was not abusing her dad. #2 is highly conflicted. I do know this-he badmouths me by saying nice things that undermine me. If that makes sense. He’s really a brilliant mindfucker. And a brilliant scientist. No basic humanity though, you’re right. And professionally calls himself by a nickname shared by a rapper. Instead of his name. Even in press releases and interviews. And people don’t laugh at him. They follow like starstruck fans. Quite frightening.

      • My cheater is also a high-profile scientist. I wonder if they’re drawn to that kind of world – one where your reputation is based on intellect and paper citations, rather than kindness and empathy. It’s certainly true that hard scientists tend to be lacking in the social graces, so perhaps people who have trouble constructing reciprocal relationships find it easier to fit in there. Plus, of course, as they climb up the fame and money ladder their sense of entitlement grows: I’m pretty sure that XW’s being courted by her current big-name university is what convinced her that she deserved an upgraded husband as well as job.

        • Involuntary Georgian-I’m guessing you got moved to Georgia when XW got a job there? I’m a scientist, too, and I think I have empathy. But then, I was the one who gave it up for the family. Sort of. I still do consulting. But academic science definitely fosters competitiveness. After all, you get to vote on whether your peers get a promotion. And often you are competing with your peers for the same pot of grant money. If it’s any consolation, there are very few upgraded husband prospects in academia.

          • Yes, I’m a scientist too. I’m stuck in XW’s department for now, as I was the trailing spouse – discarded about two months after we arrived here for her job. XW snatched a husband from her experiment. It took a couple of years to get him fully divorced, but she pulled it off and they married a few months ago. I’m not sure how that went over within the collaboration as she’d been describing me as her “saint of a husband” a short time earlier.

            I’m not the most empathic person – actually, this whole shitshow has really made me a lot more understanding of others’ life difficulties – but even so I am frankly mystified that my XW doesn’t comprehend that destruction of our family has been hard on the kids (and me, but I don’t expect her to care about that). As of today, 4 of the 5 kids affected are in therapy. I know correlation isn’t causation, but … really?

      • Katie, stop focusing on him and his egregious choices to conversely validate your worth.

        Just.Stop.It.

        ______________NOW_____________

        And start digging (even) deeper into what’s actually going on with your kids. And then face it head-on.

        I wish you all the best

        • NoMoreNarcs-I am. I drive down to visit the one in program every other week. She’s coming home to live with me for the summer and get a job, then is going back to college in the fall. Younger daughter is in therapy. We play music together and make coconut cookies. Go on hikes. See movies. I help her with her Calculus. She won’t talk about the situation. At all. Gets angry if anyone suggests her problems are about that and not her. I let her discuss that with her therapist. I hid the knives. She’s doing better and both she and her psychiatrist say she’s seems not to be self-harming now. As for the OW, she has met her and won’t talk about her. For all I know, she likes her. This blog is a safe space to bitch about him rather than my kids. And it helped me NOT react this upcoming Thursday and Friday at her show.

  • Madkatie… I feel for you. I too co-parent with a Sparkly Turd. And like you, before the cheating and discard for the OW, he was absent from most of our son’s events (e.g. he’d come one night… but not all nights too).

    Suddenly, to more perfectly play the role of “Dad” to his new schmoopie, he starts showing up at everything. But you have to understand and internalize that these actions have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU OR THE KIDS. He is kibble seeking. He is bored and wants to triangulate you with his OW. He is an attention seeking whore.

    I made no bones about telling our friends the truth about the divorce. He cheated. He left for the OW. (I didn’t go in to details around his many online profiles, personas, etc.)… but I did make it clear that Adultery was the cause and it was on him. I was blessed to have not one Switzerland friend because they all saw that I was the invested parent… I was the one showing up… I was caring and giving… he was just the great pretender.

    One time, he gave me TWENTY MINUTES notice that he was bringing the OW to our son’s basketball game. I had never met the OW and we had even yet to begin the divorce proceeding. I walked right up to her, politely introduced myself, and told her I found her being there completely inappropriate and I left. Mr. Sparkles chased after me while she scurried out a back door. She was gone by my return to the game. I came to find out later that Mr. Sparkles told her I had known weeks in advance that she was going to be there. DO YOU SEE THE GAME THEY PLAY? This is real… this is what a disordered fuckwit does… they are like a cat with a toy… they bore easily and they know how to manipulate drama.

    The only way out is No Contact. I post my son’s activities on Cozi.com and that is all. He shows up with GF, he doesn’t show up with GF… I don’t care. I’m there for my kid and my friends. And my son knows I’m there every night (and every day since I have primary custody!). I’m the sane parent… and you can be that person too!

    You Ex is a manipulator. He lacks the character to own his role in the challenges your children have faced since the divorce, but he can be Sparkly Turd with his GF at the school event… fuck ’em. Teach your kids what strength and courage look like… take the high road… walk away… the air is sweeter and nothing mindfucks a psychopath like silence.

  • I forgot to comment that the fact my fuckwit’s behavior gets the CL stamp of fuckwittery is therapeutic in and of itself.

  • I am not looking forward to this and I know that this will come eventually.
    Like some writers above I have shared my side of the story in a very factual way. “He cheated and left me for the OW.” He is hiding her, but I know that they are still seeing each other. I think she has become some sort of a booty call person for him. He knows very well that he cannot get away dating her without looking like the asshole he is. She used to be his subordinate and left the company the same year we separated.
    Some colleagues know she is the reason for us divorcing, because I told them so. I used to work for this company and knew a lot of the people as friends. So I used that connection to get that part of my truth spread. Since she is also now divorced and our divorces are on the same timeline things are going really poorly for their “true love”.
    The only thing my cheater cares about is his image. She will feel like a second fiddle soon.

    To the post. NEVER change your plans to accommodate the cheater. I have regretted every single time I did something like this, because it almost always backfired. He would never return the favor. AND he would never acknowledge I did something nice, because he felt entitled enough to assume I had the obligation to answer his request.
    Trust me, I’d rather deal with the rage (by ignoring it).

    Arguing any point is useless.
    They simply do not see the world the same way.

  • Once my ex married her he brought her around to a kid awards banquet ( same table) I was so nervous. When i got there she actually HID BEHIND HIM. The power dynamic flipped on a dime and i was so surprised to realize i threatened her more than she did me. TBH, we did split performances if there were 2 so kids don’t feel torn, but if its a single event ( like graduation) we all go and send together. She does not like these events, LOL, and i can tell my ex’s leash is short and tight, as it should be, i might add. 🙂
    I’ve since moved on and take my date as well. You will get there. Once you get over the first time, you will see the anticipation is 1000 times worse than the event.

  • I deal with this on a regular basis with sporting events my kids are in. Sucks so bad.

    Simple rule I’ve been following is whenever my cheating ex-wife sends a text or email and it contains the word “I” as in “I think” or “I would….”

    I ignore it.

  • Boy I can relate to that frustration. I went through a period where catching even the slightest glimpse of Schmoopie filled me with a sense of rage, especially if I saw them together. As such, I tried to avoid it as much as possible but ex kept finding ways to put her and their relationship in my face. The summer we were getting divorced he claimed I was being petty for not wanting to keep the pool membership next to Schmoopie’s house and I caved. Then every time I went to the pool I had to drive past her house and see his car in her driveway (no way in or out of the parking lot without driving past it). Eventually I started to get used to it. He also started bringing her to baseball games. Then I had to witness my son sitting next to her at an awards ceremony for my daughter when it was his night to have the kids. Ouch. Seeing that caused me to hurt all over again. After I stared dating someone ex decided that since he was civil to New Guy I should be civil to Schmoopie. He brought Schmoopie with her kids and mine (his morning to have the kids) to the pancake breakfast I was working for the youngest’s boy scout troop. Her son used to be in that troop so he figured it would be appropriate for her to stop by. He told me he was bringing her. I told him he could do what he wanted and I would just ignore her. He got huffy and said “I was nice to New Guy”. Yeah, well, that’s his problem. When she showed up I hid in the back and did dishes while others served the pancakes. Ex tried to make out that I was being petty, but I was just protecting my feelings. New Guy or not, it still stings to see him trying to play happy family with the interloper. Even now I generally prefer to ignore her existence as much as I can and thankfully, Ex seems to have gotten bored with putting her in my face and trying to shame me into making friends. I did tell him I would be cordial to his next girlfriend. I just don’t like the one who was an active knowing and willing participant in tearing our family apart.

    Now here’s the interesting part. When my SIL was having a B-day party she was expressing concern about having us both at her party (I know what you all say about Switzerland friends but I can’t reasonably expect her to blow off her brother on my account and she has no choice but to be civil to Schmoopie to keep him in her life). I told her that I would understand if she left me off the invitation list but that if she did invite me I would come and I promised to avoid Schmoopie (they have a big place) and not to make a scene. Her response was “you’re not the one I am worried about”. Interesting remark. Perhaps Schmoopie isn’t any happier about having me around than I am about having her around. Does my presence make her uncomfortable? Is showing up at my kids baseball games and award ceremonies just part of her pick me dance? Ex often leaves her standing to come over and say hi (or really just discuss kid related stuff but she woudn’t know that) when we are at such events. I wonder what she thinks of that? I feel better about seeing them at events now that I suspect I am not the only one who is uncomfortable. It also helps that I am now in a place where I recognize that the prize she fought for and won isn’t really all that great. It also helps that I have been more involved in the kids activities than ex so the other parents, coaches, scout leaders etc. know me and tend to socialize with me more, so I don’t feel quite so sidelined. He’s got Schmoopie, I have my crowd of friends and acquaintances who appreciate me.

    My advice to you is to just go to whatever kid events you want. Focus on your daughters and ignore the turd and the turdette. If you know other people there, hang with them and socialize. Let them see you being part of a crowd that is having fun and being supportive parents at the same time. If you know people who don’t know or want nothing to do with turd and his “date” that’s even better. Let them be the ones on the sidelines with everybody ignoring them and feeling left out. Maybe they will get tired of going and stop all on their own. In fact they are more likely to stop coming if they think that you don’t care and neither does anybody else.

    • I’d remind him that New Guy wasn’t banging you when you were married to him and didn’t have a hand in breaking up your family, so of course it’s easy for him to be nice to New Guy. What a laughable false equivalency. These cheaters live in an alternate universe.

      • So what if your ex wants to charm the New Guy. Being overtly friendly to people they don’t give a fuck about is what the soulless do best. Fuck him and any skank/victim he brings around you.

    • “I can’t reasonably expect her to blow off her brother on my account” Why not ?! I know a woman who finally divorced her jerk husband after many years (and coparenting a love child from his first affair earlier in their marriage) and guess who her in-laws picked ? Her ! Not their son and brother.

    • Chumpinrecovery- First, thanks, I will be attending regardless of whether she goes. It’s the fact that, on top of bringing her, he wants ME to accommodate HER that really got me riled up. As far as the response to your saying you can’t expect your SIL to blow off her brother on your account, I agree with Sucker Punch that you could think it a reasonable thing for her to do, but I agree with you that you can’t expect it. For some, family ties are the most important thing. My ex is first generation Ukrainian. Blood runs deep there. Sometimes those borne of nuclear American families a few generations in are less likely to let family ties trump respectable behavior. Either way, it is painful. I really like my SIL and BIL and actually spent more time with them at family gatherings than my ex did. They have reached out, gingerly, with their expression of sympathy but do not want to get involved. Thus, ex and Schmoopie get the in-laws. It is one of the hardest things about this whole process, right? Especially in my case, I have no extended family and the only first cousins my kids have are on their dad’s side. Eventually I guess they grow up-the kids- and have their own families and the constant presence of the ex’s family dissipates. It’s easier to disengage. I am hoping.

  • Damn! That passive-agressive SOB needs a beat-down. I smell the rancid aroma of a covert narcisisst.
    I would have probably said; “Okay, if you you insist on bringing her, know that I’ll be calling the other parents to apologize in advance for the awkwardness of the spectacle of my husband proudly diplaying the homewrecker he broke up our family with and who was instrumental in ruining our children’s lives. See you there. Kisses to schmoompie!”
    I doubt he’d show up.
    Now my jerk had an OW who used to display him in front of her kids *while* the affair was going on. Yes, her “good friend” was often around her house and she made sure they saw him. She even insisted on bringing one of them on one of their dates and reached for his hand, with the excuse that it was too dark for the girl to see, but no doubt secretly hoping she would. They were both minors, but not young enough to believe the “just a friend from work” line when he shows up to walk the dog with her all the time. What opposite sex “friend from work” does that? That, IMO, is emotional child abuse. I bet those girls have some serious problems, and my ex asshole helped cause them. Bastard.
    I feel terrible for the kids in this story. Of *course* the father running off with his skank is the cause of their distress. He knows it, too. He just doesn’t care.

  • Need advice, need help in figuring out how to be more contact/ gain some power back.

    My DDay was 7 months ago. Husband never came clean, originally told both me and our 14 year old DS that he was moving to MO for a job he managed to get at Boeing whole DS and I went to SC to visit my dad as his cancer was back. What I thought was a really supportive husband was a man who wanted to go visit the woman he had an affair with 25 years ago while we were gone. She had already come to NY State for a visit and they attempted to have sex. He all of a sudden was going to a urologist…..at the time I was worried he had a prostrate issue.

    I’ve practiced as much no contact as I can — that said in reading this today realize I’ve been being to polite / long winded, trying to not make him mad.

    Since he asked for the divorce his parents have been my rock. Very supportive. They still love their son, but don’t like what he did or all the lies he’s told. My son actually goes there after school. They’ve been really helpful with some of the things I need to get done – 85 year old mother-in-law and son dig up my septic top so I could have it pumped while I was at work. His family asked Andy and I for Christmas (EXH and whore in MO).

    So you ask, where is the issue? My EX makes requests of his parents to do things for DS. This week he wants his father to take his bike and get it ready to ride. Odd thing is, that’s not anything my EX would do when he was here. If I’m honest my immediate reaction was to get angry he was still trying to control things in my life. It’s great if bike is looked at, DS needs a helmet….which I will need to buy. While I don’t want to communicate with him should I tell him he needs to email me and request these things? He’s also spent hours on the phone telling our son how to start the snow blower and the lawn mower. I had to tell our son he couldn’t use them without my permission. He’s not the most mature 14 year old and neither are things you learn to use over the phone at 8 pm. EX used to also call DS at bedtime or after – once (think EX was drunk) he kept him on the phone an hour past bedtime on a school night.

    How do others deal with the EX trying to make things happen in a certain way? Another example is our divorce/separation agreement says he has free contact with our son – phone, FaceTime etc. plus half the holidays and three weeks in the summer. Our son started not taking his calls – would turn off his phone etc. EX tried to tell everyone I wasn’t letting DS hav contact, which was not the case. I actually was encouraging DS to talk to him. EX told me AND our son that ‘the agreement says he gats to talk to him everyday’….I actually had to email him and tell him no, the agreement says I need to provide access to DS. He needs to figure out the relationship with him. For weeks EX would call DS 4 to 5 times a day, and that just made DS angry. I suggested to mother-in-law that EX needed to give him some space, that the more he pushed the less likely he would take the call. I was lucky in the fact DS showed this behavior in front of his grandparents the week there was no school. She stood up for me with EX and suggested space. I suggested to DS he think about how he wanted to interact with EX and how often. DS told him he would talk to him Sunday’s, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s…..of which there are nights EX doesn’t call.

    So, what / how did others prevent EX from pulling strings from a distance? Or am I being overly sensitive and letting my anger over everything cloud my feelings? I need to be the best mom, if I need to eat this shit sandwich just tell me.

    • Silver Anniversary,
      This blog helps a lot. Maybe not with the pain, but with finding some humor in the whole thing. I may very well have gone to this performance Thursday and said something I would regret. It’s hard because taking the “high road” is …well… not being the one that cheated and lied you’re on the high road….but taking the high road every time you come to a fork feels like it’s teaching condoning his behavior. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Everyone says you have to eat the shit sandwich and if you don’t, you’re hurting the kids by putting them in the middle. If you do eat it, you feel like you’re teaching a lesson you to your kids that is confusing and to which you are fundamentally opposed, i.e. that marriage isn’t something you have to stick with, that it’s ok to cheat, etc. There’s no right way to do it. And if your anger spills over sometimes, like mine did, and the kids see it…all you can do is keep being there for them and supporting them. Eventually they’ll understand that no one is perfect and those of us handed this shit sandwich do our best. Good luck. Hang in there.

      • “I may very well have going to this performance Thursday and said something I regret ”

        So what?
        Give the shit back to the people to whom it belongs.
        You got something to say to them? Say it.

        You’re going to miss the performance Thursday because fuck wit and fuckwit are coming to the performance?

        Instead of avoiding it spend time practicing what you want to say and be very clear about saying it precisely the way you want to say it. Fukk them.

        • Oh no..I’m going to the performance. I’m just going to keep quiet. That was a dangling modifier I put in there. The “say something I might regret” was what CL and all you fellow chumps have helped me see.

      • Yea, you aren’t perfect, noone is. It’s just fine to do the “wrong” thing. Be kind to yourself. I like to think that taking the high road shows my kid how to have restraint under adversity. Also, the high road doesn’t mean you have to spackle. It’s just fine to let them know at opportune moments that you disagree with the way their father has behaved and that you and he have different values…which is why you are no longer together. Then live your values and they will see the difference.

        We are at our best version when our values and actions and words and thoughts align–that is when we can be truly happy. And that requires a fair amount of restraint and self reflection and letting go and painful stuff like that. But it’s good work.

        This website is a great place to come and laugh and get validation and commiserate. I know I need that–sometimes alot more than others. But don’t get stuck.

    • My first thought is to ignore him, You can’t control him or his attempts to pull strings.

      What you can do is have firm boundaries with his parents. X is using them to triangulate. The parents, X and you. The parents X and kiddo. So you talk to the grandparents and say, “You guys are really helpful to me. You’ve been great. I appreciate the help. But please don’t get in the middle between X and me. If he asks you to do something, tell him to email me. For example, if X asks you to get DS’s bike fixed, tell him “Email Silver about that.” Just remind them that if you need help, you’ll ask. And if there is something in particular that they want to do, they can just ask you.

      The rule I have is “I don’t deal through third parties.” So if the parents tell YOU, you just say “if CheaterX wants to talk to me about bikes, he should email me, not use you as a messenger service or a bank machine.” Then change the subject.

      Give up trying to control what Cheater says or does.

    • I agree with LovedaJackass here. You’re continuing to be triangulated by X and are under the guise of “not wanting to hurt your child”. You didn’t hurt your child, you did nothing wrong & have maintained a relationship with those who are supportive in his life. That is honorable. BUT. X will do anything to keep central & keep you dancing to his tunes. X is using his child and his parents to play you, and you’re trying to work out how to stop dancing.

      Your son is asserting boundaries which is excellent! Back him up. Don’t encourage him to contact his Dad! That is teaching him to cave on his boundary. He outlined when he would speak to X. Support him. If X doesn’t call at those times, X misses out! Your child is showing you how to set boundaries, follow suit. Your son isn’t 5 years old, he will very quickly become a man in a few short years. Let him sort it out with his father- if and how he wants. The Bike is an excuse.

      Let go of control, set clear boundaries (with X AND his parents) and go grey rock with X. His parent don’t “trust he sucks”, but you need to! Chumps eat shot sandwiches, Mighty people know their worth, stand firm and don’t let sucky people keep playing their caring compassionate natures.

      Him and his parents want to fix the bike? Great! They can do so in their own time, at their own place. Their desire to do something nice for your son should not have to involve you at all. Your son gives them the bike, they fix it, they give it back to him. Full stop.

      Boundaries are great. Knowing what you want them to be is great. But a boundary is useless if you don’t enforce it and defend it with your life. Work on that. Good luck!!

      • This is a messy situation and acknowledging that is the first thing you need to do (and keep doing–it will get messier in different ways every year as your son grows.)

        My advice, having lived through a similar situation, is to emphasize boundaries and let the chips fall where they may.

        If your son needs to be off the phone at 10, then at 9:30 warn him he has 30 more minutes and at 9:45 that he has 15 more, and make him end the phone call at 10. The fact he is speaking to his Dad is irrelevant. Ignore all your EXs complaints about your son not responding to calls or texts. You are providing the opportunity for your son to be in touch with his Dad, and that is it. Do not encourage or discourage your son from communicating–he is old enough to decide himself. Tell your son that if he wants to talk to you about how to negotiate the relationship with his Dad, you’ll help, but beyond that don’t even offer advice until he seeks it.

        Similarly, your EX can rattle on about snowblowers and other crap as much as he wants on the phone. If your rule is that the teen cannot use the snowblower, then that’s your rule.

        Your son needs to know that you set and maintain the rules in your house–no matter what Dad says. If Dad wants to let him use a snowblower at Dad’s house, that is his business. At your house, you get to decide.

        Your son will be conflicted. No matter how thoughtful and compassionate and loving you are, he will be conflicted because your EX wants him to be. All you can do is your best to make sure your son is not conflicted about the fact that you love him. The other conflicts he’ll experience are out of your control. There will be silver linings eventually–maybe your son will end up with great people management skills or a great radar for detecting BS–but that will all come much later.

        Put your seat belt on–parenting sons with a jackass EX who wants to be the boss of the teen (and or you) is not fun nor for the faint-of-heart.

  • Sounds familiar.
    The ex wanted to alternate attendence at football games and wrestling matches to make it “less stressful” for our youngest son. Bullshit! She was just trying to weasle her AP into the family. I solved the problem with running into her in the stands: I got the job of being on the first down marker team. She got to watch me on the field at every game!

  • Madkatie, I can totally, and devastatingly relate. After DDay 4.5 years ago, x blameshifted on me and 4 kids. Three youngest teens went completely off the rails— dropped out of school, suicidal, drug abuse😫😫😫😫😫

    After years of all the help money could buy we are barely surviving, but we ARE surviving this brutal and cruel treatment.

    Last week for the first time ex showed up at a kid event and brought the whore. After nearly 5 years?! We are a long divorced, two years, and I’m completely no contact. He rarely if ever sees the kids let alone comes to any of their activities. I figured this could only be evidence that he’s trying to get her to pick me dance. I guess “twu luv” has worn off. Assholes. I simply ignored them. I refuse to be the third angle in his sick hypotenuse.

  • This seems to be such an obvious attempt to tweak your nose, Madkatie.

    18 months out he is trying to tune up the band to get some pick me dance going again. Now that things have settled out he needs to find a way to get the whirlwind going again, and what better way to do that than to force this issue and ask such a stupid thing. He did everything without consulting you and now wants some buy-in on this dick move.

    Infuriate him by ignoring him. Don’t ever engage in his bullshit again.

  • Simply respond with “I plan to go both days.” End of story. Then when he shows up with her (and he will), go sit somewhere else where you don’t need to see them.

    My ex pulls this at my kids’ sporting events. He looks like an ass. People who know our story are disgusted by him. And the kids want nothing to do with her which just creates even nore distance between them and their dad. He got to control what choices he made in his life. His teenage kids control what responses they get to have to those choices.

    It is ALL about them without a care for their (or your) feelings or boundaries. Stand tall with your head high and pretend they do not exist.

  • My ex-fuckwit ran off after having an affair with the 23 year old nanny–that I hired–
    and will pay $600 in legal taxes for this year. We are still
    separated and the divorce isn’t final. He asked me several weeks ago to watch the our 3 kids
    for him to go on a personal…aka…visit his girlfriend trip… over Memorial Day weekend.
    They are clueless, right? I told him I was unable to watch the kids for personal trip
    unless I had the kids for a Memorial Day party. I wanted to say “Fuck You,” but all kibbles
    must be denied.

  • I have adult children in their 40s -30s when my husband ran off. He has almost no contact with any of us but occasionally, (less now it is 10 years since he suddenly left), he will write about something in the house like the heater in the loft (longtime redundant ) or insurance policies (none in his name) and so on. Clearly he is at a loose end for a moment or two and this is the best he can come up with. But it is also clear in his writing that he doesn’t think anything has moved on since he left that day.. We are somewhere in the annexe in his mind. BTW he has never admitted that he lives with OW (ex GF from 1969) not even to his mother. They are seriously weird these cheaters

    .No is absolutely a complete sentence. Stick to it. Short replies are always best and give nothing to work with. Email works best for this because one can rethink them before sending.

    It is a struggle and I feel for your daughters. With therapy and your support I am sure they will grow into strong women.

    • This is intriguing: “But it is also clear in his writing that he doesn’t think anything has moved on since he left that day.. We are somewhere in the annexe in his mind.”

      • It’ the way he refers to everything as if he was still part of our lives. Take insurance on the house for instance. He said we should continue to keep his name on the policy. Of course it isn’t there as he gave his part of the house to the kids and to me 5 years ago. Out of the blue emails about this sort of thing would arrive. I suppose he is able to compartmentalise but it comes across as someone who just popped out or is away from a few days.

    • Or your ex thinks he is somehow showing his concern by checking in on all those things you “can’t do without him”. What a nice guy. He should meet my ex who is so concerned about upsetting me.

  • Luckily she had some warning. 30 minutes before my daughter’s master’s graduation (our only child and we were married for 37 years) I received a call that the ho-worker would be attending. I debated on even going to the graduation. Luckily my precious sister was there with me and talked me into going. Unfortunately, we almost ran into those destined to hell people. I’m sure my sister still has bruises. Six months later I had to endure my ex and his family’s presence at my daughter’s wedding (my daughter made sure that the ho-worker wouldn’t attend but it was hard to exclude his family). There should be some law that these people can never ever ever ever ever have any contact in any way with you again.

    • I’m glad you went though and didn’t let them win that one. And bless your sister for taking some bruises for you. Hope she bruised ho-worker a little in the process.

  • “Method Actress in Badass”….YES!

    I’m putting that on a post-it note on the fridge right next to the other best gem I got from ChumpNation: “Don’t fight over a turd”.

    I feel this letter-author’s pain – bringing APs to your kids school events is so hurtful! Also agree that letting them know it hurts makes them want to do it even more. I had the AP-date-to-kids’-preschool-music-performance shit sandwich to eat just months after the affair was uncovered and right around when I filed for divorce. I pleaded for him not to bring her, as it would upset me, the kids grandparents, and confuse the kids. In retrospect this just egged him on to do it for sure.

    I was distraught but took ChumpNation counseling to walk in there like Queen Cleopatra and ignore them. I did so, in my highest heels, with my parents as a human shield, and focused on the kids. It was tough but worked, the kids were ok, and the AP hid behind my Ex when I had to engage with him briefly over a kid-transport issue. THat’s when I knew I’d played it right.

    He’s since brought her (and her kids) to other preschool events. Nothing I can do about it, but by accepting that it gets easier every time. I try to never take the bait on letting him know what hurts me…agree with CN and CL here that “no” is the best, complete answer here. Pretend that AP doesn’t exist at such events. I dearly hope this letter-writer’s kids stabilize once they feel their mother’s steady, unbreakable love.

  • And doesn’t he think that it will be upsetting for his daughter to show up with the OW at her show?

    • Quite simply, no he does not. He believes the girls both wanted to meet and were happy they met the OW. He also thinks a dildo is a good present for his girlfriend’s friend and that kids just “do drugs and drive around-that’s what kids do”. BUT…she LOVES her dad. She is in an overwhelming state of cognitive dissonance over this. And I’m sure OW behaves well around her and probably doesn’t make her do her homework or tell her she shouldn’t smoke weed. So…for now, I will not go there…asking her if she wants OW there. She will just think I’m asking for me.

      • I mean, it’s natural to love your dad, no matter what he’s done. That’s not really dissonance. It’s practically a birthright for every human.

        I’ve read some of your responses on this thread–between that and your letter this is all I know about your life, so please take all advice with a grain of salt. It just seems that you are way to concerned about what’s happening over THERE with THEM. I understand it can be hard to turn that off, but your time is better spent doing practically anything else but considering THEM.

        I’d focus all that time on the weed smoking and self harming and what not on YOUR TIME at YOUR PLACE. Be the parent who cares to deal with it and ignore the antics of the one who does not. I use the same phrase over and over with my kid: “well I disagree with your dad on that parenting choice, and we do things differently over here.” And then, I actually do things differently at my place.

        • Notanicechump who is actually nice–you’re probably right that I spend more time worrying about them-as any time is too much time. But this is a thread about the first time he has actually attempted to bring the OW to an event or asked me to accommodate him and the first time that there is a possibility I might actually see her in the flesh. So between the thread actually being about them and all the firsts, the day’s conversation on my end is a bit skewed. I actually spend a lot of time confiscating weed, setting boundaries, getting support for parenting kids and working with an alcohol and drug prevention team in our school district. In fact, I spend a lot of time on that–to the point that I’m working with the school district to provide actual science education on how commonly abused drugs work and what regions of the brain are affected. Because it just so happens that my area of research was the kind of receptors that THC binds to. But…it is therapeutic to have a day of venting totally about these two asswipes.

  • I used to play a game with myself where I would see what the fewest number of words I could in a response was. I was amazed at not only how many one-word responses I could do (“Yes,” “No,” “Ok,”), but how often I could just not respond at all.

  • Approaching 16 months since final discard and the STBXH has yet to breathe a word about this woman to the kids, his family and most of his good friends. She’s still the dirty secret. Not sure how that’s working in that relationship. What does he say to her that makes it okay that she’s gaining to entrance into any other aspects of his life.

    However, were he to ever want to bring her around to anything, they would both rue the day. I would ensure that I ignored them and carried on my merry way. But, if they cornered me into any position, I would likely just tell it like it is.

    Scenario 1: Both approach me…”Hello, we haven’t met. I’m the wife that was left at home with the kids those 20 or so months he was running around with you. See those kids over there. Those are the children you didn’t care a fig about when you were fucking their mother’s husband.”

    Scenario 2: I’m approached with other people around…”Hello, you remember my children’s husband, right? Well this is his affair partner.”

    Scenario 3: I’m approached/run into OW…”Congratulations on your major victory of winning a proven liar and cheater. By the way how do you like his family? Oh that’s right you haven’t met them in all this time, have you? I remember when I met his entire family three weeks after our first date and it was his mother’s 60th birthday party. But, I don’t suppose his conservative Catholic family is of interest to a woman who prefers to sleep with married men. But, best wishes with your windfall.”

    Madkatie – You are likely involved in the your child’s school and know lots of people. Go to her events. Enjoy yourself. Surround yourself with love and let your cheater make a full of himself and the OW all on his own. It won’t be hard.

  • No where in this post is an acknowledgement of the damage it could do to the poor girl doing the concert.

    • Why? You don’t know the girl or the lead-up. I have been schooled for the past year by psychologists and ex in-laws that the OW is about the fuckwit and me. That I can’t assume they see it the same way as me. When I found out he introduced the kids to her, I was livid for THEM. I confronted him about it. And in my family meeting with my daughters therapist (not in front of her), I told her that this had happened and she has been very silent since coming back from the trip and that it may have impacted her negatively to have to play house with the woman that disrupted the family. And she told me that I shouldn’t see it that way, the affair is about him and me, yada yada yada. So I stopped making that comment. I just never mention her. If I were to ask her how she felt about it, she might get mad at me.

  • Just some insight for the long haul– I have been through this as well (though my ex just brought his Schmoopie, without asking, to whatever he wanted). Oh, they were such an adorable, loving couple at every happy little event! Anywhere they could show off, they most certainly would. I felt terrible because instead of looking forward to seeing my kids’ rooms at Open House, I had to wonder how I could navigate the room and avoid them as much as possible.

    Until… my, my, my. It just isn’t as fun after a while, especially as the kids get older and are less inclined to fall for sparkly behavior. In addition, once I stopped looking uncomfortable or sending emails about how to handle each event, the Power Couple stopped showing up to everything. In fact, now my ex either doesn’t come at all, or he comes alone. I’ve seen him with Schmoopie maybe twice this year (and both times, I gave it a mental eye roll).

    Hang in there. Believe me when I tell you that the excitement wears off. The faster you can act “meh” around your ex, the faster it will happen. I did too much hand wringing at the beginning of this whole mess, and if I had just played it cool, I’m sure that their posturing and performing would have ended that much earlier. Fake it ’til you make it– it’s a cliche, but it really does apply here.

    • I want to encourage you Madkatie. Take CL’s advice, please! My ex was literally sending hateful emails (I had already blocked texts) and then a sudden change in tone…”DD wants me at her high school graduation. I think it would be best for her if we sat together.” I replied he could sit with our two other kids who were attending, and I would sit elsewhere. He was livid. I didn’t care. I could never pretend again! How dare he use the “best for the kids line” to manipulate the situation so HE could look good. What was best for the kids was never in his mind while cheating, but somehow, he and other cheaters are all over that line with Chumps becuase they know our pain points AND that we sacrifice for our kids so they try to use us still and to manipulate. I love my kids and do much to sacrifice for them, but never again will I sacrifice my integrity, which is what I would have done by sitting with him! Ugh. I could not be a hypocrite.

      Fast forward a year, and we both attend a college graduation. He brought his live-in GF at the time. The kids liked her I suppose- said he was more normal in front of her. LOL The kids pressured me for family picutres. I could have cared less about the GF (# 576???), but I was NOT going to take a picture with him. My kids and some friends gave me grief. I stood firm because I was not ugly or hateful about it. I said I could go last for pictures when they were done. I would wait for a text and come and take as many as they wanted. I had zero emotion about it, just a sentence, “I am sorry, DD, but I just cannot do that now.” A combined picture with the perpetrator who was still not paying child support, alimony and was a complete ass in the divorce in addition to serial cheating, lying and horrible betrays cannot EVER be my friend again. Trust cannot be repaired after that much damage. I don’t pose for fake pictures in my new life- not knowingly anyway.

      PS. GF left him within a couple of years. I continue to be no contact. I even refused to respond to the grand hand written apology letter and offer of rekindling a family “holiday” to remember the old times.

      PSS. CL is so spot on with this response. Mine still is telling everyone he can that I am bitter since he keeps offering the olive branch and I give him “crickets” (which means he notices no contact!)

      I don’t care what he says. I know the truth. I am no contact calmly and with a purpose- to live authentically in peace. That’s sweet- not bitter at all!

      • Bravo free2bme. Cheaters fail to understand that you are no longer a family. The cheater destroyed that and acting fake is not right either. Continue to maintain the courage of keeping your integrity.

  • madkatie,

    I hope you are financially well compensated in the divorce for leaving your career behind for the move. What a fuckwit – he could have moved and left everyone else in peace. Totally selfish – even beyond the cheating. He is asked his wife who he is cheating on to drop her career and move. Wow! Did I understand it right? Did he have an explanation for why he would ask you to move if he was cheating or unhappy in the marriage?

    • Kale. YES! You have it absolutely right. His raise was more than my professor’s salary. So it didn’t make financial sense for me to ask him to stay. I happened to be in a bit of a frustrated state –scientists go through that with funding and all. So I would have been asking him to not take a job that meant more money for us, so that I could stay in a job that was currently frustrating me. And yes he was involved with her, I now know, at the time. Which is the question I repeated to him over and over and over. Why did you move us up here. I gave up the job I worked my life for. And my pension-taking the early retirement penalty. And his answer, “But you hated that job.” No, I hated aspects of it. “And you made the choice to leave.” Yes, and like most people, I weighed all the pros and cons…except that a big piece of information was being deliberately withheld by you. “But I didn’t know I loved her at the time.” To avoid homicide, at this point, I went for a run. And I was very lucky. Very lucky. His new job came with stock options and a promising set of results sent the stocks soaring. I sold my half.

      • Of course – I am assuming your dealing with a logical person with empathy. Your question should have been (and it likely was) you did not tell me you were having or contemplating an affair. That makes a difference to choices – no? Anyway, you yourself are probably a very bright person. I hope you get another job that you like (if that is what you want). I am in academia and there is good and bad aspects to it. I do hope remorse dawns on him. Also, I wish you meh and all good things in life and for your children too. One way to get to meh (for me at least) is to de-personalize it and think of it as a curve ball from life rather than one’s spouse doing this to you. I guess that itself is meh. I do hope the karma bus hits him though – I get mad at irresponsbility.

  • Ah, you have yourself one of those “nice” exes who doesn’t want to “upset” you. Yea, got one too. The passive aggressive, cover narcissist type. They’re a special kind of fuckwit.

    Agree with CL here. Anytime you express your discomfort or pain to your ex you are giving him an engraved invitation into your emotional world, which allows him to further exploit you at one time or another. Also, you telling him all this is some kind of effort on your part to have him UNDERSTAND the pain he has caused and FEEL BAD about it and CHANGE HIS BEHAVIOR as a result. I put these words in caps so that you can scream them in your head when you read them and hear how ridiculous it sounds that this guy would actually do any of those things. He never has, never will. Give up that hope my dear, as subconscious as it may be in your head. Just let it go.

    I resolve similar issues by either arriving a tad late so I can choose my seat away from the ex and out of his line of site and hopefully vice versa OR I arrive early with a group of friend-parents and sit in the middle so there’s no way he can sit near me.

    Whatever you choose, as CL says, you do you. You control your narrative.

  • Madkatie. Try this one on for size. The Ex”s GF texted me her kids sports schedules so *I* can bring my son to watch hers play. I think I may have hurt my self laughing so hard.

  • OMG! This ex also has a kid. When they all played house together she had the gall to post pics of her kid (age 6) with my girls (both on their phones being teenagers) and caption it “my son and his new sisters”. I’m sure I’d be getting his karate and soccer schedule if they didn’t live on another continent. Oh that’s right. Mr super Dad bought a house on another continent and rents a house here. I guess I’m lucky that they don’t actually live nearby. Wow. Just wow. Narcissism really can make you an idiot. You are toosmartforthisshit!

  • I’m tired of hearing from these fuckwits they get away with murder but you can’t cintrol that, WHY???? I don’t understand why there are no LAWS against Adultery and JAIL TIME for destroying your family? It’s FILTHY???😩

  • Ok, English wonk here — the phrase “a woman scorned” means “a woman who has been rejected”. So yes, she is a woman scorned, because her ex chose the OW. The full quote is “hell hath no fury as a woman scorned” — there is no one angrier than a woman who has been rejected.

    • Miss Adventure-the Shakespeare reference is what I was going for, with fury being implicit, but CL makes a good point. She’s not arguing the literal meaning of the word -she’s saying I shouldn’t waste energy feeling scorned because it isn’t an empowering position when dealing with a narcissist. I’m only a scorned woman if I let myself be one. I can rewrite the narrative. That’s her point I think. .

  • My therapist suggested I rehearse how I wanted to react to the OW at my kids’ events. In other words, don’t focus on how I might cry or act out, but instead who did I want to be in this situation. It SUCKED the first time she was at a kid event, but I acted with dignity. I did not cry in front of her.

  • I used this to my advantage this year. I actually INVITED him and his affair partner ( male ) to our daughter’s graduation dinner, knowing full well that he hasn’t told his parents the FULL story of why I left. ( I am the bad guy (gal), because when you lie by omission, people will generally assume what you want them to ). He would rather get a root canal without pain meds than tell his parents he cheated on me with other men for YEARS before I found out and left.

  • “This is your daughter’s performance, not a fucking date night, and with the whore who you fucked around with behind my back.”

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