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Dear Chump Lady, How do I keep the OW away from my kids?

Dear Chump Lady,

I tried to take the high road regarding my cheating ex-husband having my kids around the OW (who he had a long-term affair with). I’ve been divorced for two years, and he claims the OW isn’t in the picture any more, or around my kids. But my kids tell a different story.

So, I find out he’s still with her from the kids. THEN, I find out because SHE texts me, using his cell phone, that I should “get over it,” she “loves” my kids, my ex-husband. WTFever. (Vomit.)

Funny thing, when he dropped them off he tried to chat me up like usual. Says the OW is “classless,” doesn’t know why she texted me, etc. He wants to be all buddy, buddy, but I was all business with him. So then he left sulking, probably headed back to the OW.

I fear my “acceptance” of the OW (because I want to minimize stress to my kids) is going to somehow make it easier for him to advance his relationship with her and create some kind of family dynamic. The injustice is killing me, like they’re this happy family. And I was replaced. And my kids are just cool with that. UGH.

I always used to comfort myself with the thought that he is incapable of really doing a committed full-time relationship. But he seems to have that with the OW.

I am so trying not to let this bring me to my knees.

Signed,

Chopped Liver

Dear Chopped Liver,

Don’t predicate your happiness on what your ex does or does not do.

You only get to control YOU. You cannot control who your ex dates, moves in with, and brings around your kids. Your best, healthiest response to OW is meh. Whatever. You don’t exist.

Yes, take the high road. Yes it sucks donkey balls.

Capable of a committed full-time relationship? Of COURSE he is incapable of it! Look, according to your letter, he had a long-term affair. The man loves CAKE. That’s why he chats you up. That’s why he pretends the OW isn’t in his life. He’s still trying to deceive you, and you might again grant him cake privileges if he can keep that door open.

He appears to be quite excellent at maintaining a double life with no one the wiser. You have no idea what he has going on the side. All you know is that you left the triangle. And now he needs a new hypotenuse.

You are only surmising — imagining — he is giving her what he didn’t give you. Bullshit. She’s texting you using his phone because you make her insecure. He makes EVERY woman insecure. That’s his GAME. To keep everyone off balance. To commit to none. To give juuuuust enough to keep one hooked. Then retreat. Then tease. Then “win” them back. It’s a sicko game.

Thank God every day you’re not on the receiving end of his crap. It’s HER problem now.

HE IS NOT A PRIZE.

Your children will figure this out. OW is a part of a rotating cast of characters over time. Count on it. And if she becomes a significant part of their young lives, (and she might, maybe she’s okay with his fucking around, or has greater powers of delusion), she still could never EVER usurp you as their mother. Just DETACH. Get on with your own life. You cannot control this and you’ll make yourself sick trying.

((Big hugs)). I know it sucks.

This one ran previously. There’s probably been a bunch of OW since then. Embrace the meh. 

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  • One addendum to my advice — if the OW/OM is a demonstrable danger to your child? An addict, abuser, on the sex offender registry? You document it, call your lawyer, and get that shit in front of a judge.

    But the “I don’t like his girlfriend” problem doesn’t rise to the level of imminent harm, IMO. (I’m not a lawyer, just a chump.)

    • I concur – and if the OW has a record (especially drugs) then you may be able to get a court order for supervised visits ( he’ll have to pay). This will enrage him and – brace yourself – you’ll no longer ‘ be his buddy ‘! Remember – this shit for brains and the OW may be infecting your kids to become two legged snakes just like them. Better get after it!
      Peace!

    • Ex-wife will get served a motion to keep her (incarcerated – again – BF/AP) from having contact with our boys soon, probably this week. I’ve had nightmares every night, anticipating the rage, since I hired him.

      • Geez, the entitlement of these people is crazy. Like, you’re the bad guy for insisting her criminal boyfriend stay away from your kids. So dumb.

        And yes, the rage can be scary. The good news is that more often than not it’s just bluster, and eventually you can learn to let it not overly affect you (I did, partially by using my lawyer as a shield… “you must talk with my lawyer about this and not me, otherwise you are harassing me and there’re laws against that.”)

    • Yep. And they sometimes act like everything is hunky dory simply as a shit sandwich coping mechanism, when really they are plenty savvy enough to see through the whole thing already and just don’t want to talk about it or be in the middle.

      • So true that kids will try to make things hunky dory until they can’t anymore. That’s because the priority of children is to just want things to be okay, so when they aren’t okay, they compromise themselves or pretend that it is.

        I remember at 15, my father having an 18 year old girlfriend. I was appalled. It made me feel disgusted that he was into someone just a few years older than me and made me feel nervous that he looked at my friends as potential meat. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the girlfriend, who eventually became the mother of my half-sister and then I thought of her as much older than me.

        Despite all this, I pretended that I was okay with all of it just so that I could feel like there was some peace in my life. Better not to rock the boat and make the most of a shitty situation. Within a year, I was sick of it and just stopped seeing my father so that I could maintain a sane life with my mother. Ended up not seeing him for another 16 years, when I was in my early 30s.

        Remember that when it’s the parent that leaves, kids don’t want to rock the boat for fear that it will make the parent leave them.

  • His great “committed” relationship with Schmoopie involves him pretending they’re not a couple and running her down to other women (you, and certainly others). Dude is no prize. Unless the contest is *America’s Ordinary Asshole*.

    After years of abuse and pick-me dancing, many chumps can’t even imagine a relationship in which people respect, admire, and brag about each other. #ImagineThat

    • This is why I have to come here daily to recalibrate my ptsd brain from all the abuse that tells me normal relationships are prob not possible for me. Thank God for God and this site too!

      • It is possible. When it happens you might not know what to do.

        At one point early in my current relationship boyfriend and I were discussing what to do on our next date. I asked him what he wanted to do and he turned that back on me in the nicest way possible. He said something like “you know we can do things you want to do too. We don’t have to like the same stuff. I can try things you like and find out if I like them too.”

        I honestly did not know what to say. I had to stop the conversation and say let me get back to you in a few minutes. I literally had to disengage to let my mind wrap itself around someone wanting to do something I like doing. It was a big trigger as I had to stop and cry a bit about how no one had asked me what I wanted to do for at least two decades.

        I someday you get to experience a “normal ” relationship too.

        • I used to plan dates and make date suggestions. I the early years ex didn’t care what we did as long as it was with me. Over time, however, he started to complain more and more about the dates I planned so I turned it over to him and let him plan the dates so that we could do exactly what he wanted to do thinking he would enjoy them more that way. When DDay rolled around one of his complaints was “I had to plan all of our dates”. You really can’t ever win.

          I am glad you have a boyfriend who cares about what you want. Hopefully he will also enjoy the things you come up with or at least not complain about it.

  • In regards to the OW usurping my position as my children’s mother:

    Stbxh is now engaged to the newest OW and has a child with her. He encourages our children to call her “Mommy.” Recently, our in public at a sports event, he calls her “Mommy” right in front of me. Another mother of a child at the event, an acquaintance of mine, turned to me and mouthed, “Mommy? WHAT?!”

    Going to court over this wouldn’t help it. I don’t let him get my goat. My kids for the most part still address “fiancé” by her name. But man, these people are so messed up.

    • Yea.. No. They can call her aunt. But not mummy. They have a mother. Its more imaginary living these sickos want. No matter what they do she won’t be their mother.
      I forbade mine to call theuir father’s women aunt though. First name.

      How can we keep ow from children when they won’t even stay away from our husbands?
      They are sick women through and through.

    • That’s one of the things I loved about my custody mediator. First thing she puts in all agreements is that children will not call any future partners mom/dad or any variation in any language. Mine married the ho-worker 6 months after divorce was finalized. Ugh.

      • Yes to this. I had already decided I would insist on this when I divorce my cheating husband who sickly wrote in his “pros” list for the other woman that her children would be “sisters” to my now toddler son. That would be a hell f*#king no. I feel truly bad for her daughters and it’s clearly nothing to do with them…but you, character disturbed husband and OW, don’t get to destroy my family (the affair occurred during a miscarriage…my whole pregnancy with my sweet baby boy…and…into the cake eating present!) and then pretend this is normal. I now have a lot of trouble with the titles of “stepmother” or “stepfather”; there are times when perhaps this applies legitimately but I think those titles need to be exterminated or used more judiciously across the board. Anyway, this decree would go both ways…I don’t plan for any other man I may one day date or marry to be called dad to my son in any capacity. I would likely just have my son call this mythical future guy by his first name. I like the addition of “in any language.” I’m happy to know there are mediators out there like this who get that the injustice and trampled rights for the betrayed can be on multiple levels and who will offer common sense protections for the children involved.

  • I know this post is a repeat but the overall message bears repeating: The best thing we can do as chumps is stop assigning the “so called better life” to our exes and the schmoopies that cheated with them. Trust that they suck! I understand it blows chunks when children accept the sparkly turds as a couple (it even sucks when adult children do it) but after we get divorced it’s really not our business anymore.

    Seriously the best way to move on is to cut them off as much as humanly possible and don’t pay attention to what they’re doing. Focusing on anyone else’s life other than your own never works out in the long run.

      • Yes, that’s a great post on the forums–keep promoting it!

        Newbie Chumps–there are forums! Join the site and read more inspiring thoughts from this awesome community of Chumps.

        Hope everyone has a great, cheater-free day!

    • I understand what you are saying cheaterssuck but this is the seemingly never ending hard part for me .

      He just abandoned me never looked back ( hes been in the house when i am not there ) but nothing not a peep from him ever .
      He moved in with her immediately and i have just been left with all the shit to clear up.
      He got to keep the car , the savings he stole and i am giving him a large sum of money to buy him out of the house .
      He gets the divorce he so desperately wants and gets a partner ( i know its a fucked up situation but these 2 will go the distance ) and i get ???
      So yes to me just now in my current state it does seem like there are no consequences for cheating and it does indeed look like they have a better life

      • Id like to add that i did get a note last week when he was back in the house ( when he is not allowed ) calling me a BITCH that’s as much contact i have had .

        • Hi Karen, I had a similar divorce settlement with someone who effectively hid money right before the divorce (I have only my Chumpy trusting self to blame for that) in a way that was so clever and methodically thought out I swear that man could be a serial killer. I’m not sure what the answer is but know you are not alone -Babs

          • What did he do? I am anxious about this very kind of thing for good reason, and want to know what to watch out for.

          • Thanks Babs – yes he did the same he all before i knew D day was going to strike !

            Chris i can’t change the locks he owns half the house its illegal for me to do it ( or he can also do it ) until we get the house in my sole name which we are almost at . I have a chain on my door now so when i am in he can’t get in but he goes in when i am at work .
            See what i mean about consequences there are NONE !

            • Get a camera. He’s not supposed to be there without letting you know. That’s a violation of the court order and you can file a contempt motion. You’ll need cameras anyway because no one is the boss of him.

              • Yes i have thought of this ( money is tight just now with lawyers fees ) but as i say he has all of this week only to get his stuff out . If he fails to take it he will have to apply via both sets of lawyers to arrange another date.

                Just hope the minutes of agreement can be signed soon to pay him off

              • karen6702, gather all his stuff and put it near the door he will enter–or out in the garage so it’ll be easier for him to load up. Pile it ALL up and take pictures so you can prove he has it. Will it keep him from going room to room to pilfer–of course not. (Mine came into the house I lived in AFTER we were divorced and went room by room and closet by closet using my kid as a screen.)

                BUT what it will do is get all his crap out of the house so he won’t have an excuse to come back in later–which he WILL want to do so he can keep messing with your peace of mind. Whatever he doesn’t take out of that pile, set it on the street and have your attorney tell his attorney he’ll need to get the last of it before porch pirates take it. Don’t give him a reason to need to come back in.

            • I changed the locks and had the lawyer send a letter telling him to stop coming in the house. We’re going through divorce and he rents his own place. It’s harassing behavior and it had to stop. You can change the locks.

            • Where are you based? I was told I could not change the locks. I think he end I took the key back (after stealing) on the basis he had moved out and I had s right to privacy. I contacted a lawyer who said they could help and then I contacted the police who said they could not help. They did say though expecting privacy on a reciprocal basis (I can’t walk into his new gaff right) is a basic right so change the locks and see what he/she does. It gets nasty you go to the police. If you don’t want to change the locks suggest immediate mediation about access that is not intrusive. Horrible. Been there.

              • I’m in IL and at some point we have to stand up for ourselves. I changed the locks myself and for me the letter from the lawyer stopped him. While legally, we are both on the deed for the house, I’ve told him in email several times to stop. My kids told him to stop coming in the house. When my 15 year old stood up for me again, he was shut down by STBX. I’d had enough. It’s just their way of wearing us down and we need to remain strong in the divorce process. The lawyer was there to let him know the harassing behavior had to stop or I would be filing an order for exclusive use of the marital home.

            • Don’t know what the laws in your state are, but my lawyer advised me to fashion an email stating that he is to be respecting my privacy now that he has another place to live and has taken his belonging to the new place. He was not to enter the house without notifying me in advance and making arrangement for me to be present. I was not to change the locks though.

              She said that would be enough to be able to call the police if he were to help himself to the house.

        • The minute the settlement is signed and the house is yours, I’d have a locksmith in and alarm System w/cameras installed. I’ll be dammed if he’d just come and goes he pleases . No, fuck no.

      • Your chapter is not complete and in time it will not matter that they did (or did not) have consequences.

        In time he will not come in to a house or heart that is yours. And in time, you will be writing- just as I am- to a new chump.

        My divorce story is not yet complete, but I’m much further ahead. I still have emotions and moments that need ironing, but I already happier, living a more authentic and awake life.

        You got you. They only have each.

          • @karen6702, I got my lawyer to write a letter to Douchebag’s lawyer stating that DB must give me at least 30 minutes notice before he comes into the house. Before I bought out his interest in the house, he used to come in trolling around, looking for God knows what while I was at work and I saw him on the cameras I had set up and it was very triggering. At least with 30 minutes to prepare I could steel myself up. And I know it would be over once I bought out his interest in the house. And a friend came over and helped me move all of his crap out of my bedroom and bathroom into the garage so he had no reason to go into my bedroom or bathroom. Then I gradually did the same thing with the rest of the house. That helped.

            Even though you know in your heart that they are both crap people, it is difficult when there are kids, because in my case now DB and the OW are married and they are f**king with my daughter’s head the same way he f**ked with mine. Trying to make her feel like the bad guy for not playing happy family. Telling her it was all her fault they had to cancel some sort of fun times with the “new family” because she was not playing along. OK so OW is not a drug dealer or physically abusive, but the mental abuse continues with my poor daughter as the target, and I have to be so careful about how much I interfere or offer advice to her, and that is agonizing.

      • @karen6702….while it may seems that they are blissful….and surely they have their moments….your ex’s new schmoopie will forever be looking over her shoulder, because she will forever know how she got him and wonder if he’s doing the same to her. Sometimes I wish I was a fly on the wall, but then again I am glad I removed myself from the delusional triangle

      • If he is desperate for divorce why are you giving him so much money and assets? Why is he keeping the car etc.? You get nothing for being nice except being called a bitch. Just btw, I hoped you kept the message you never know when it’ll come handy.

        • He can’t divorce me he has to wait a year with my agreement or 2 without it . But I can divorce him for adultery . He told me I just want a divorce so why deny him ?
          I scanned the note to my lawyer I’ve got a call with her tomorrow morning .

          He is getting to keep it cause I’ve told lawyer I’m not fighting him for it . The car is old and what money he stole it would cost me more in legal fees to get half back

          I just want it done I’m tired of fighting him

          • I understand that you are tired of fighting him. I filed for divorce in October and have accomplished absolutely nothing. His attorney just keeps postponing the hearings. He agreed to buy me out, then changed his mind after the attorneys vacated the hearings since we had already “agreed” about everything. I have stopped arguing about the money and decided to subtract it from the total. For example, he hid $4000 and raged at me because I had the audacity to question him about it in front of his attorney and she turned on him. He continued to rage about this for 3 months. I finally told him that I was sorry I mentioned it (truth), and I would never mention it again (truth). I subtracted that amount from the cash that I listed in the divorce settlement and viola, problem solved. I will not mention it unless he or his attorney does. In your case, you should show up to the final settlement with a check for his half of the house equity minus the amount that he stole. Don’t discuss it ahead of time – just do it. He can decide if he wants the check or not. He will probably take it since at that point you have made him believe he would be getting some money and he will have already spent it in his head. He will not want to wait another 6-12 months for this to grind through the courts. Do the same thing with the locks on the house. Change them and wait for him to complain. If he does, then you innocently ask “Were you trying to use your key to come in when I wasn’t home?” Explain that the lock broke and that you had to replace it with one that worked. Do not give him a key since he doesn’t live there and will only be getting his stuff when you are home anyway. Yes, this is not legal, but as you have seen, there are few consequences. If he takes this before a judge, then you tell them how the lock wasn’t working so you replaced it and had he contacted you before coming for his stuff, then you could have made arrangements.

            • Yes, karma mama, this is how you do it. Now that I know how hard it is to get the courts to do anything about my ex, I feel much more empowered to take care of myself. I changed the locks, changed his mailing address, dropped his stuff off on his stoop, everything I needed to do to take care of me. The cops won’t involve themselves because this is a civil matter. He was too focused on his new life to take me to court on these small things. And I had compelling evidence for why I needed to do these things. The worst the judge would have done is tell me to stop it, but I would gladly have spent 2 nights in jail, if it came to that, to cut that a-hole out of my life on my timeline, not his.

      • I so get this and my heart goes out to you. Think to yourself you get your self dignity. Every time you think that he gets off scot free come up with an activity that nurtures your soul. My STBX created a secret life so when I found out he partied the time away while I did all of the responsibility and it sucked big time. I felt like I was dying a little each day while he was energized and excited. The catch is I know I am a better person – I could never have done what he did. I need to hold that in my heart and be the best person I can be. Go be the best person you can be, be kind to yourself, and make sure to find some joy. Try saying “who the hell cares about cheater prick anyway”.

        • This is great advice too, Deee, train yourself to care for yourself. That is the best way to rebuild self esteem and heal the pain. It doesn’t have to be expensive. If you can’t afford a spa treatment, take a long hot bath and use those bath salts you got for your birthday. Acknowledge those things you do for yourself and be grateful for your ability to do them in peace, without a fuckwit to distract you.

    • I second that it sucks when adult children do it. My daughter feels justified in her behavior because Disney dad helps her with her house and the slut teaches her to quilt( quite a wholesome activity for a woman who fucked daddy dearest in our bed, at home, at the cottage and at the place in Florida). I just have to continue to eat the shit sandwich. And she is 30 by the way…

      • Newlady15,
        You have described my worst nightmare — that is — the thought that my children might someday be “friends” with the OW. 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

        • It hurts big time. I do my best to ignore it and hope she sees that she is a scumbag too. I cry when I’m alone.. bite back the tears when I’m with her and when she excitedly shows me the quilt she’s working on…

              • My almost-adult kids haven’t yet been introduced to the OW, but I know it’s coming. I am dreading it. Once they tell me that it’s happening, I hope I can keep my thoughts/words/emotions in check. . .

        • My daughter and OW apparently hd a wonderful relationship. My daughter won’t utter a word about what goes on cause she doesn’t want to hurt me. I am the bad guy of course as I can’t find a way to get her to open up to me. I literally would never turn a hair on my head is disdain about him again but this is going to bite for years. I have no idea what they are capable of. I mean why not ‘like’ pics of him and my daughter in the year you were having an affair and then pretend you weren’t and then get intoduced as a work friend less than 6 months later then move in and in less than a year they are engaged and my daughter spends half her life with them . It is hell and back and back again. I presume she is nice enough. I hold hope in the fact that the many friends I have single that at her age and much younger than me say if I ever met a guy and acted like that about their children you have a right to shoot me. Everyone (including his parents) say it is grooming. At the moment it is the only evidence I have how fucked up things really are. I am the bad guy for not accepting her/them of course. I often literally think I would rather just pass out one day and not less this be happening to me. He can fuck off but my daughter. That said I have not tried to speak to her and enforce boundaries and maybe I should be I have a clear indication she won’t listen. Next up my daughter being bridesmaid at their god damn wedding . Give me bloody strength.

          • Ouch – big hugs to you. I know I will be so hurt if my kids ever become friends with the OW. If they do I sure as hell don’t want to know about it. I have walked through fire for my kids and it would seem like such a betrayal.

      • I have the same challenge…my daughter is very connected to my ex and the OW. It hurts a lot especially since my beloved granddaughter is often with them. But I trust that sooner or later it will go sideways…plus I will always be my daughters mum no matter what my ex does.

    • Cheaterssuck has it right:

      “….the best way to move on is to cut them off as much as humanly possible and don’t pay attention to what they’re doing. Focusing on anyone else’s life other than your own never works out in the long run.” 👏👏👏

      Also, if you look at the “karma” posts on the forum, you will confirm that cheaters cheat and liars lie. They do not change. When the cheater was lying to you and cheating on you, it probably looked the image of a great marriage. I know mine did! But cheating is caused by lack of character and that does not change without years of very intensive effort — it is very rare and if they are still with an AP and making kids eat that shit sandwich then by definition the character change has not happened — cheater is still a selfish narcissist, probably a psychopath.

      In my case, until I blocked him, X, who is living with AP, texted me day and night “how are you? What are you reading? I hope you are ok…..” often doing so while in bed with her late at night! 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

      I heard (unsolicited) that X was trying to get hooked up with a divorced colleague and when the person asked about AP he said, “we are on again off again!” I bet AP doesn’t know that! They had literally just returned from a 3 week trip to France— paid for by rich X (AP is a much younger, penniless, goldigger). So….. even if the cheater and AP “look good” they aren’t. They brought themselves and all their bad character and disorder and wreckage they caused to the relationship.

      I do not want ANY part of that drama and disorder today. None. Peace is a very treasured quality for me.

  • “But he seems to have that with the OW.”

    ?? Erm, no.

    Does being in a committed, long-term relationship mean telling – nay, INSISTING “that’s it over and she’s not in mine or the kids lives anymore” – his ex that he’s not with his current, long-term partner, calling his partner classless, and making her so insecure that she feels the need to “set you straight” from.his.phone?

    This is not what commitment looks like.

    You’re taking his *current* assholery to his *current* partner personally. Stop that. Be skeeved out (and look it) when he gets into his personal/relationship stuff, not jealous. Jealous of what? That she gets to be the recipient of his insecure, sociopathic ennui?

    Your kids seem to be at Meh. It’s not that they don’t care… it’s that IT DOESN’T MATTER that they care; this is their life now. They’re smart. They know to not rock the boat they’re in. Do you want them to be having a shitty time, every time they go over? They’re keeping the peace. Let them. It’s self-preservation.

    Be mighty on your own. Be the sane parent. Be bored of anything the Douche has to say and cut him off with, “Okay, well- I’m busy. See you at pickup.”

    • This. So much this. Don’t make your kids choose. Children are smart–they will figure this out when they’re a little older if they haven’t already, but don’t make it harder for them by seething about how they interact with and talk to your ex and the new toy. They have enough going on as it is. And don’t get [visibly] angry when/if they find something they like about the new toy–they have to find their own way to make peace with this or they’re going to be angry and miserable about it forever, and I know that you don’t want that for them.

      I love the comment above about “don’t sparkle the turd for him”. Really, don’t. Ignore whatever they have or seem to have and focus on getting the most out of your own life.

      (Side note: This is why I think people are nuts when they have kids together but “aren’t ready to make the commitment of marriage”. Sharing kids is a FAR bigger commitment than getting married! If you don’t want to marry somebody you sure as Hell don’t want to coparent with them for the rest of your lives.)

      • I do agree but I considered having a family a bigger commitment than marriage. More fool me now the chips are down. I am not religious, I don’t like weddings much I see them as a bit too much falseness in one day, and I don’t really like being the centre of attention so my desire not to get married was because that meant nothing to me I terms of commitment whereas children, a house their commitments did. I don’t have a thing galant marriage but it has never meant for me any additional commitments. Idiot that I am of course in believing in the eyes of the law a common law marriage existed.

    • “They know to not rock the boat they’re in. Do you want them to be having a shitty time, every time they go over? They’re keeping the peace. Let them. It’s self-preservation.”

      Let’s add this to the CN official tablet of wisdom (or whatever we might call it).

      It sucks that our kids have to develop and implement coping mechanisms for this type of things because of the shittiness of our ex’s, but if they’ve been given a good example to follow from us, the odds are good that they’ll find a healthy way to do so.

  • “THEN, I find out because SHE texts me, using his cell phone, that I should “get over it,” she “loves” my kids, my ex-husband. WTFever.”

    Hahahaha – think about it this way. She’s SNOOPING because she doesn’t TRUST HIM. She won the turd in the punch bowl!

    I am sorry that she around the kids but I bet they can smell the insecurity and insincerity (or will) and treat her like an afterthought.

  • Thanks for this. Especially this bit:

    “The man loves CAKE… That’s why he pretends the OW isn’t in his life. He’s still trying to deceive you, and you might again grant him cake privileges if he can keep that door open.”

    My Ex-wife was/is the same. She pretended the OM was no longer in her life to all and sundry, despite her actually being in what she dubbed a “low key relationship” with him the whole time. The thing is, when she finally *had* to admit it (not that she wanted to… but the whole scenario had become such a bloody farce where it was so blatantly obvious it wasn’t so much an elephant in the room as the whole cast of Dumbo) she made out this was a noble action on her part: it was to save me pain and I should be understanding because the whole thing was difficult for her too.

    It’s been a whole year now and still the relationship is “low-key”. Everyone knows because we’re in a small community which equals gossip aplenty. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. They (or at least she) wants to keep the affair going. And that’s what it feels like. She wants me to feel like she’s still single and we’re still a family, but living separately and then have this excting, forbidden romance on the side. The fact I feel I have to keep in on it for the sake of the boys kills me no end. I hold on to the fact it will one day pass.

    • Just to clarify: the issue hasn’t been that she’s in a relationship and just hasn’t told me. It’s true, that’s no longer any of my business. It’s that she *actively went and told people* she wasn’t. That she played the role of the wife-in-weeds, alone and mourning the death of our marriage, when the truth was quite brazenly the opposite.

    • You don’t have to keep up the happy family farce. She’s the mom of your kids, but no longer part of your immediate family, and that was her choice.

      • She loves a triangle. You can choose not to be a part of it. As Cashmere says, you don’t have to live your life based on her false story. She’s not “family” to you. She’s family to the kids.

      • So much this.

        You don’t need to badmouth the Cheater and Schmoopie, but you don’t have to pretend that you think they are good people, either. You probably should ask how the kids thought their stay was. If it was a good time, respond with “cool.” If sucky stuff happened, respond with “bummer.” That’s as far as you need to go. Schmoopie may or may not become a permanent fixture over at the Cheater’s place.

        If the kids respond to tell you that there is a potentially dangerous situation, then you can probe further and contact your lawyer.

        Other than that, stay disengaged from what happens over at the other house. Not your circus, not your monkey, and the kids can learn that each parent has different house rules.

    • @DorestChump…sounds exactly like my ex. After divorce he would call and chat like we were best friends. At first I thought it was okay, but I later realized he was still trying to be “relevant”. It wasn’t genuine at all. As long as things were going his way, he was happy. When our kids found out he married the OW and he had not told them….the games came to an end. I believe he would’ve kept the marriage a secret as long as he could. The whole affair mess is such a delusional game.

  • In my perfect world, the OW would never be permitted to be in the presence of my kids. You don’t get to help break up a marriage and a family and then become friends with the kids whose family you broke up. It is like the perpetrator of a crime befriending her victims.

      • I have had to eat the sandwich as well. Ex and ow both denied anything happened til we separated but it was a lie he got caught out on by the children. Over time the ow has gotten chummy with the DILs but the children are polite and not chummy which ticks the ex off big time. I ended up moving away out of state and grey rocking the triangulation games he was creating. He’d pick a fight about something and she was all ‘oh you poor suffering man’ and I was the mean crazy person. One day he called about something he was all ticked about and instead of engaging I laughed and asked if he didn’t have anyone to fight with that day. That changed the whole dynamic and without me to blame he had to own his shit with her and she’s threatened to walk. I laugh now. She doesn’t even bother trying to make the kids love her more. She doesn’t and never did care except to get me. She makes him go see his family alone for holidays. And he’s afraid to leave her alone too long because, well, she gets around. So fake the meh til you get there. I know he hid money. I know he’s a liar. I know he lacks character. I know how shitty and selfish he is in bed. He’s got bad health so I know she’s stuck. She wanted him. He’s hers.

        • I’m stealing the end of your post- are you sure we weren’t married to the same guy! I’m pitting this on my board at home!!!

          So fake the meh til you get there. I know he hid money. I know he’s a liar. I know he lacks character. I know how shitty and selfish he is in bed. He’s got bad health so I know she’s stuck. She wanted him. He’s hers.

    • I’m glad our kids are older. The thought crossed my mind. What if? They both said they didn’t want to be involved with any of it. But there may come a time that they will want to meet the OW? That’s scary, but she will never get the level of respect and love that I do.

  • That great husband you had? Nobody gets him.
    Not you, not her. Because he only ever existed in your imagination.

    You didn’t have a “relationship” with him based on trust, safety and respect. Neither does the OW.

    Neither one of them cared who they hurt. Not then, not now. Probably not ever, unless walls are hit at 80mph and rehabs and earnest therapy and 12 step programs are entered.

    What is taught in my world is that TRUST and SAFETY are the foundation is ANY relationship.
    No trust and no safety is AN ENTANGLEMENT.
    Kids have to tolerate entanglements sometimes….give them tools/therapy to do so.

    Civility is possible when one has to endure the presence of someone who is unsafe and untrustworthy. AFFAIRS ARE PROOF THAT THE PERSONS INVOLVED DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT LOVE IS AND ARE JERKS.

    I am guessing your kids are in survival mode. If you aren’t in therapy with a good therapist, find one and eat macaroni and cheese for the rest of your life if that’s what it takes to afford it. Go to Al Anon….free amazing education on how to live with fucked-upness beyond your control. Keep speaking the truth in a factual way. Keep the truthful (not negative opinion/editorializing) conversations going with your kids!!!

    There is no “getting over” jack shit when two people nuke your life. There is healing and learning to live again despite what happened. Take those comments as written proof of idiocy
    and remind yourself out loud every chance you get how lucky you are that tumor now is attached to someone else.

    • Great post, Velvet Hammer. My first therapist told me that kids will do whatever they can to “save” a disordered parent or one they think is likely to abandon them. So it is that many kids do what they need to do to have a relationship with the cheater.

      I’ve written about my grandfather, who sequentially married and abandoned 3 women, 7 of his bio kids, and 2 stepchildren. The first 5 kids (my mom and her half sisters) as adults fully accepted Wife 3 and the two babies who were way younger that their own kids. My mom (1st kid) accepted the 2nd wife and 4 kids. It was the price of relationship with my grandfather. It wasn’t until he abandoned Wife 3 and those kids that my mother and I had enough. I was over 30 at the time.

  • I would not give her too much thought. She had an affair with a married man, she now is married to the jerk and every shitty thing he did to you he will do to you. Two morons. Your kids love you and they love you more. Unless children are being treated badly or in danger I would not wonder or think about anything they all do together. It’s your free time and breaks for yourself, enjoy the time without the kids.

  • One thing to remember in these situations is that it is hard to tell what kids are really “cool” with.

    Kids often tolerate the new adults in their lives because their choices are limited. Telling Mom/Dad that their new partner is terrible or that cheating upset them means risking the possibility that Mom/Dad will abandon the kid as callously or spitefully as the other parent was abandoned. Going with the flow means they get to keep having a relationship with the parent who clearly does not prioritize them. Kids are survivalists.

    Kids are opportunists, too. If the new adult provides them with shiny objects or lets them stay up watching Netflix as long as they want or otherwise indulges them, many kids gleefully accept those perks. Losing a stable home is a big hit. They feel they deserve some happiness (and they are right–they just deserve more than superficial happiness). Being “cool” with the new adult doesn’t mean they would have chosen to be in this situation, but given that they had no choice, they are making the best of it.

    Kids seek approval. If it makes Mom/Dad happy to pretend to like the new partner, they will often do it in the hope of regaining a normal family dynamic, getting praise from Mom/Dad, ending an awkward discussion.

    Watching my kids manage the fallout from my divorce was 10 times harder than managing my own pain. On some level, I saw my marriage crumble, and I had some agency about when or whether to leave. Kids have none of that, and every betrayal–especially in the first couple of years–kills part of their childhood. Every time Dad doesn’t show up for a custodial weekend, brings a date to the child’s school picnic and spends all his time with her (arriving late and leaving early), rants for 30 minutes in the car about what a “fucking bitch your mother is” reinforces how little they control in all of this.

    If watching your kids manage this is really hard, get counseling–formally or with a friend who agrees to be your outlet over a cup of coffee once a week. Your kids need you to be steady and sane and as uninvolved in Mom/Dad’s new drama as is possible.

    • This right here… The real real on this part of the situation.

      What choice to the kids really have?

    • You hit the high points — they are children, and they will use the situation they cannot control to their advantage when it comes to material things and altering regulations they do not like. However they do have eyes and ears, and they know who they can count on when they really need a parent. Not showing up, bringing a date, rants against the other parent, and generally shifty behavior are noted and cataloged in their subconscious. Mine were 9 and 12. Teenagers are not easy in an intact family, even more so in a dysfunctional one. Mine eventually came around as they gained maturity. Their father’s bad behavior eventually cost him the kind of relationship I have with them. I showed up. I provided home, food, clothes, security. That offsets Disney Dad syndrome, because that artificial gamesmanship is not sustainable. Their father will always act in what he perceives as his own best interest, and for the most part the kids go through the motions with him. He is empty, and they no longer need his flashy displays. It is a hard passage to go thru, but there is hope at the end. All you can do is hang in there and keep doing the sane parent role.

    • Yes, this is so true. And let’s not forget, they have half of the cheaters DNA… They really can turn out to be a-holes too, I have seen a lot of ugly examples…

  • The operative word here is DETACH. Yes detach. You don’t have total control over who’s around your children. He’s the dad. He has control over them half the time. You have no clue what or with whom they are interacting. That’s divorced life. Your kids will be fine. They aren’t the first children to be around OW they won’t be the last. Don’t waste your time thinking parenting is keeping them away from crappy people. Crappy people are ubiquitous. They will have a lifetime exposure to them. Keep being the sane parent. Your job is to raise them with good values and morels. Your job is all that much more difficult because you bred with a fuckwit!! I hope they know this OW is who their father was dating while married to you and living with them as their father. Your kids will figure it out. Kids aren’t stupid. They’ll figure it out. If not it’s still not your fault. Get on with YOUR life. Not theirs

    • DETACH. Don’t even think about changing him/her.

      Then say the Serenity Prayer “Higher Power, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

  • Thank the good Lord I never had to deal with this! Not that she didn’t try. Her target was a narcissistic steroid freak bodybuilding exbf. Who did drugs and alcohol. That great specimen never took the bait and dumped her. She spent next few years banging her boytoy. Kids are now grown. Her choices may have effects but no one will be called dad!

  • Chopped Liver… let’s begin by reframing the situation (as someone who also had to deal with my X becoming Super Uncle Dad and the OW – and sadly, her kids – pawns in the “aren’t we fabulous circus”.)

    – You are not Chopped Liver… You are Wagyu at $500 an ounce
    – You’re X and the OW cheaters… it is a fact, but he is still their Dad and the OW is being thrust on them… assuming you’ve raised them to have good manners, they’re going to be nice to her ‘cuz it is the “right” thing to do
    – You don’t control your X or the OW… but you do control KIBBLES… and it sounds like both of them will starve like vampires without blood if you refuse them kibbles… so NO CONTACT is the way to go here
    – In the course of their lives (thinking long game here now)… they will have to meet many women that Dad will “fall in love with”… these fuckwits aren’t monogamous and the OW is just next in line (even if they marry)
    – The OW cannot and I repeat CANNOT replace the primal connection that exists between kids and the SANE PARENT… kids are smart: they know what real love, being fed, being clothed, being supported, feels like… The OW is a sparkly turd… not you… you’re their MOM
    – The high road is lonely, but rewarding… your battle with your X is over (via divorce)… but your kids have to shuttle between two homes now and that is stressful enough… don’t make them feel like they have to “choose” you over Dad or even over the OW… your only responsibility is to make sure they are safe when in their care… other than that… try to learn to find things that interest you and give you joy and fill that time/space when the kids are away… let them come home to a refreshed Mom and a safe place where they can exhale.

    I’m almost five years out from discard for the OW, almost 3 years post-divorce. The OW is gone and was unceremoniously replaced by someone – bless her heart – knows he’s cheating on her and chooses to stay and is trying to be Super Girlfriend to my son (‘cuz he’s awesome!)… and I’m powerless (or to reframe… I’m free… not my monkeys, not my circus)…

    You can do this… love your kids enough to trust them and let X and OW starve to death.

    • Exactly! Don’t put any more of your energy towards him or the OW. The more you show interest the more he’ll try to parade in front of you to try and get you to react. None of us want our kids to be influenced by someone we don’t know. Unfortunately we have no choice. Just be HAPPY that you no longer have to be influence by your ex. I sure am!!!

  • It’s painful. The kids are caught in the middle. If they snub the OW then their father will find a way to punish them emotionally. The kids are just doing their best to navigate a bad situation.

    Please don’t respond to her if she texts you nonsense using your ex’s cellphone.

    • That says everything about who he is to the kids if that is his reaction.
      I’d use it as a teaching moment.

    • In fact, her use of his phone is a great “reason” to block his phone. Tell him to use email only or switch to Our Family Wizard and keep that channel secure. Use this stuff to your advantage. Not giving either of them access to text messaging will be a huge step in no contact.

  • I get this feeling. Mine married a second OW right after the divorce. The first OW and I neither one knew about her. He planned on moving me to the new town and then taking the boys and leaving me with nothing. It was planned to leave me in his words “penniless, homeless, kid less and car less like I deserve”. I found out about the affair with the coworker at the old job before I sold my home, on our anniversary. Well, it has been 5 years and on the surface he has a great life, a few major vacations a year, triple his income with the new job. New home, new extended family that likes to party and a fun and lot younger wife. She went from government assistance to living huge so she really sees him as her hero. I never knew if she knew he was married. It looks like the best thing that ever happened to him was betraying me and abandoning his children…. Crazy huh.

    Here is me a SAHM, I had to buy him out of out family home, raising our two sons (high school then college fees with NO help) and recovering from cancer (yep was sick when he left) and surgeries. So on the surface he wins and on bad days I even see it that way. But the truth is, my sons have blossomed and matured in a way that would not have happened with him in the house. (they are completely No contact) and I am still struggling with finding me, but I get this opportunity to find me. And I can finally look at my past without rose colored glasses (childhood too) and then accept it and move on from it.

    It has been a 5 year journey and at my age that stinks to give up that much time to a stroll thru Hell but it is better than a few great vacations and life time accommodations in Hell. As hard it is for me to accept at times he did me a favor.

    • You are very mighty. The “so-called good life” is not all that it looks like. He will go to his grave being the kind of man who tried to do scorched earth with the mother of his kids who had cancer, to leave her “penniless, homeless, kid less and car less.” The OW2 is living with a monster but she’s willing to do that for “stuff.” Whatever else she knew or knows, she knows his kids won’t talk to him. I can’t imagine a “great life” built on trying to destroy people.

    • I am so sorry he even tried to do this to you & I hope you are much better health wise (( hugs ))

      Thankfully we never had Children he never wanted them but i can bet my last £ she will be pregnant soon which i sort of hope is true because by the time the child reaches 18 he will be retired !

      I read here every day and the people are amazing and been through so much more but its just the blatant unfairness that’s annoying me .

    • TheBestMe, very wise words. Your story is hellish and yet 5 years later you calmly speak wise words and model how to accept and move on. Very inspirational.

  • I have a front row seat, popcorn and a beverage to the show right now. Need more napkins.

    Dad is marrying his AF this weekend. Oh – true love prevails!!!!!

    Never mind the others he dated while he strung her along for 10 years. Or the prostitutes ( yup ), porn or possible love of another man.

    She has an inheritance now, the cash sale of a house in a good market and the church is giving them a rectory in our area in which to play happy families. But he takes my son’s $20 for gas money because, you know – he’ll pay him back as soon as he can.

    It’s the wedding of the century!!! The blended family that they have dreamed of for so long!!!

    But wait, her kids aren’t going to move down here. My oldest is not on board. My youngest is at Meh and happy to go between both parents, matter where they live as long as there is food and internet.

    The Fiancé Miss Piggy screamed at my daughter this weekend when she tried to get a hotel room at the same hotel as them ( and the rest of the family ) and told my kid that it’s NOT ALL ABOUT HER.

    Miss Piggy has been trying to smother ( ooops I mean Mother ) cough cough -control my kids for 10 years now. It’s a giant shit sandwich smorgasbord for everyone involved. And yes – it used to burn my biscuits.

    I can’t control any of it. But now thank God I can laugh!!!!!

    • In case you think ill-wishing them might bring you bad karma, I’ll do it for you.

      I hope it is an outdoor wedding plagued by a flock of birds who swoop overhead and poop on the bride and groom during the vows, May the reception be plagued with vicious mosquitoes that only disappear when the skies suddenly open up sheeting rain on everything, and in the hasty move to shift the event under cover may the cake topple over.

      In case it is an indoor wedding, may the groom mistakenly use your name during the vows instead of the bride’s and then correct himself using another wrong name.

      And finally, let the wedding be the highlight of their marital bliss.

  • As long as he isn’t hoovering (which he is not) I am perfectly content to have my ex act like Schmoopie is no longer in the picture. He doesn’t mention her, the kids don’t mention her, and I don’t mention her and that’s the way I like it. For the first couple of years after DDay and all through the divorce he had her in my face all of the time and that was painful. It is much better now. I know they are still together, but I no longer have to face it every day and agonize over the thought of him actually being happy with her and treating her the way I wanted to be treated. If they are happy together it is probably only because he is gone 4 days a week for his job. He always was better at long distance relationships.

  • Yep! My therapist told me stop idealizing their relationship- remember they lied to everyone for 5 years- so they are probably lying to each other and to everyone else. I know my ex would rather die that show another failure to the world so I have a feeling they’re stuck with each other. He has to show he blew up 20 years marriage and son’s life for something!!!! And as for the OW- she was fine with him sleeping with 2 women for 5 years – leaving her to work on things with me and then when I said I’m out running right back to her. Luckily I think more of myself than to accept that behavior from any man!

    As for my son- he puts up with the ow- but he calls them both assholes for doing what they did. He loves his father but has no respect for either of them. So they can think that they are playing happy family all they want- my kid comes home to me and tells me how he really feels and obviously they don’t give a crap about how my kid feels- ex has been forcing ow on my kid – doesn’t tell him when she’ll be around just springs her on him. So yeah- they’re trying to force it and it’ll only backfire on them.

  • My XH, the serial cheater, started the Pick Me Dance/Disney Dad Dance THE DAY AFTER we told them that their dad wanted a divorce. HE TURNED INTO A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DAD THE NEXT DAY! He was always the type of dad that was pretty much checked out of their lives and only showed up at dinner and if they needed help with math. Or at the school and church events where it would be obvious he wasn’t there for them. After telling them, instead of going off to work the rest of the night away in his office or our bed. He started hovering over them. Playing cards with daughter while listening to her music. Or sitting next to son while he played video games. And MIL started inviting her disordered son over for dinner and included the kids at times. MIL NEVER invited us over for dinner except for Easter Sunday.

    And now my XH’s whore is not only dancing for my X, but is dancing for my kids too. Probably his entitled family too. I don’t know, because I don’t ask. But I know my X hasn’t changed and I have no doubt he painted me as horrible wife, which I was just the opposite, so she probably feels like she doesn’t have to compete with me. My daughter is now driving the whore’s car. I can only imagine what goes on when my kids are with them. But I’m sure there’s a lot love bombing my kids.

    My X is not the dad who he’s been playing the last almost five years. He’s the dad he was when we were married. That’s the real him. The dad he is now is for image management. I’m not sure if the kids noticed the change, but they are benefiting from it. And his whore who is no doubt kissing up to them; they benefit from that too.

    But I will always be their mom! No one can ever take that away from me! My kids and I still talk about funny and happy moments from their childhood. I always knew what was most important! Family! And my actions and how I lived my life proved it. I have never had to Pick Me Dance with my kids, because they knew that I loved them. They have no other choice to accept what their dad did to our family and also accept his whore. I stay out of it and never ask any questions unless it has to do with schedules, school and doctors appointments. I don’t want my kids ever to feel bad about going over to their dads. I always tell them, “Have a nice time.” and send them off with a kiss. They know I love them even though I haven’t always been the mom I was pre-D-Day. But they’ve been very understanding and forgiving the last almost five years. I know they have no clue how horrible this has been for me and I pray to God they never know the pain of infidelity and divorce.

    • My cheating ex was the same. And I had to laugh when I read about yours “showing up to help with their math” because he would do that and was actually terrible at grade school math. He’s a scientist and very smart, but he has forgotten all the math basics. So, I even had to correct the math help he gave them. LOL. And he absolutely became a different dad the next day. Because when we were married to these asses, we covered for their absence and once we’re gone, unless they want to bear the label of deadbeat dad, they have to actually interact with them. And it’s so much easier when they aren’t burdened with making them do homework or eat healthy food.

      • Yep! Same here, Madkatie. I 100% made up for all the time he was away from home and also him working at home/absent dad yet still in the house with us. And I spackled and spackled over so much. I ALWAYS talked highly of him to the kids; never once said anything bad about him, even though I could have said a lot! Six months post-D-day and I got my voice and mighty back! All the crap he did over the years — I let loose all the stuff I covered up and said to them, “If your dad ever introduces you to XYZ, this is the woman your dad went out on a date with and is cheating on me. She is the reason your dad is divorcing me and breaking up our family.” He was livid and kept denying anything to do with cheating. My kids know the whore he’s with dated and fxcked their dad while he was married to me. I’m so happy I said something to them, because he was lying, gaslighting and rewriting my kids history to them. That is one thing I will never forgive him for! No one messes with my kids minds!

    • Same here- my son told me- now he wants to spend time with me when he didn’t before the divorce- kids see it- they’re not stupid!! He said dad blew it when he was younger- and he’s not interested in helping him make up for it now so he can impress the few people who he still has on his side- especially the ow. I actually wonder if they move in together how long he’ll be able to keep up the act- because when she’s not around he’s the same old asshole he’s always been to our son.

      • Yes, Iwillsurvive2018! My sister said from the very beginning that “kids are not stupid and will figure things out on their own.” That’s great your son can see that his dad blew it when he was younger. I told my XH many times after I moved out, “You will never get back all the time you could have spent with your kids when you wasted it at work, working at home and out whoring with “friends”. No one can ever take all the time I spent with my kids away from me. And no one can ever take all those memories away from my kids.

  • The tragedy long term is that most dads like these cheaters are loved by their children in spite of who they are instead BECAUSE of who they are. My kids love their dad and pity him and get annoyed with him. And it burns the ex because they pretty much thought he was the man before the ow entered the picture. They love him but that kind of respect is just gone.

  • I found out from my 4 year old a few weeks ago that she had been around the OW and her kids. At first she didn’t want to tell me what they had done with their father that weekend, so I joked around with her, and finally she told me they went to a park. She said she didn’t remember the names of the kids they played with though. Then she told me one of them had a broken arm, but now it is all better. I said ohhh, is that “so and so”, she looked at me like how did I know the kids name. I acted super cool with it, and just said, it’s alright, I know who their daddy is.
    The next night she told me a little more, I asked if the other 2 kids were there, she said one of them had a birthday party that day, but the youngest one was also there. I was like, okay cool, I’m glad you had a good time. Then she tested me and asked if I knew what the mother’s name was, and I just calmly responded, oh, Ms. So and so, and she was like yup.
    This killed me on the inside, but I want her to feel comfortable talking to me about anything that goes on at her father’s house.

  • This is my situation and Chopped Liver –if you are reading this–your feelings are totally justified and normal. It does suck and I do agree getting to the “meh” stage about her is probably the healthiest thing you can do. But it’s not easy. I know from my own experience there is a stage where one can almost willingly embrace the anger. I know that even while taking advice from Chump Nation, I was nurturing my anger toward my ex’s OW. After much therapy, I think I have realized that the ability to reach that place where you truly move on and focus on your own life is hampered by the narrative that goes along with the betrayal. What your ex and OW are doing is pretty sociopathic and yet if they are getting that pass from society at large and you are getting more criticism for not being ok with it than they are getting for doing what they did…that’s maddening! And the RIC really pushes that on us. My ex and his *insert an impolite word for a “woman of ill repute”* are successful business types, and use polite quiet voices while they are totally fucking up peoples’ lives. And they have not just ruined each of their respective families. My ex has had people fired after climbing over them up the ladder, taken the job of the person that recruited him and used the travel his company provides to carry on his international affair. And everyone he works with LOVES him. I know because I have consulted for his company. There are people that are so focused on superficial etiquette that these outwardly polite sociopaths can steal your dignity after they have betrayed you by bringing you to a full-fledged state of fury. All of our family friends, the parents of all my kids’ friends–they all despise my ex and find him deplorable. But somehow my girls, my ex mother-in-law, my ex sister-in-law, their kids and some of our casual acquaintances…they all think she’s “nice”. They think I’m mean and nasty for harboring this hatred. And that makes the hatred pop out of everywhere. I will think I’m over it and one little incident-like the one Chump Lady so nicely advised me on where ex wanted to bring OW on a date to my daughter’s recital-will send me reeling and, before I know it, I’ve lashed out, said angry words and fed their narrative. It’s like a wound that starts bleeding everywhere before you realize you cut yourself and before can stop it. And the blood stains. But I digress. My point is that watching people you DO love- people who didn’t wrong you; people you can’t dislike just for not joining you in your anger-watching them accept the OW (or OM) can really hamper the moving-on process. I have no solution to your heart not being ready to let go of the anger. But I can tell you that you are not alone, not wrong, not weak. You are a normal, caring person capable of feeling.

    • Ugh. Using “politeness” as a weapon to destroy others or as a means to get what you want. I have nothing against manners but I now know better than to think that good manners equates to good character. My ex is always polite, deferential to authority, complimentary of everyone, appears to be a good listener and even in an argument is soft spoken and doesn’t ever yell or scream. He is much more subtle than that. To the casual observer he comes across as calm and rational. It’s no wonder he was so good at gas lighting me into apologizing to him for being irrational and unappreciative of him every time I tried to call him out on behavior that was disturbing to me. I only met Schmoopie twice before DDay and have avoided her ever since, but I get the impression that she is much the same. She knows how to impress others by appearing calm collected and rational. Neither one ever lets down his/her guard in public and will always present a respectable façade. It is aggravating. I handle it mostly by trying to copy their façade as much as I can when it comes to ex and the end of my marriage so as not to look like a crazed looney by comparison. It is difficult and I have slipped up from time to time, but for the most part it has been successful and it has paid off. Avoiding Schmoopie certainly helps because I am not sure I would be able to contain myself so well in front of her. With Ex I look at it as a contest. Who can out polite the other whenever we have to interact. As a result, I have the admiration of many people, including his relatives, for having handled such an appalling situation with so much dignity. During the worst of it post DDay and through the divorce a few people saw glimpses of my pain when I couldn’t contain it but then it would pass and I would go back to being dignified again. This just makes them admire me more because they know how badly I was hurting and yet still mostly held it together and did not let it derail my life or the lives of our kids.

    • I am also reminded of a sermon we heard at church (the church he was so hot to join and then ended up despising) one time when the minister was discussing better ways to argue or discuss grievances without using harsh or incendiary language. He suggested using the word perplexed as in “I am perplexed as to why you feel that way or why you did xyz”. After that, whenever ex started a sentence with “I am perplexed…” I knew I was in for a complaint about something. He knew I had heard the same sermon. He had no intention of being kind or voicing his concerns in a less confrontational way. He knew I knew it had the same intent as “Why the hell…” but to any outside observers he would appear to be the nice guy and I had to respond as calmly as I could in spite of his intentional provocation in order to not look irrational to bystanders.

      • He’s a snake/aka wolf in sheep’s clothing for using something he learned in church to abuse you.

  • The OWives/OMen situation– always a shit sandwich.
    I recently found an old email message to my exH (as we were discussing divorce agreements) that I wished the kids would never meet the OW given that she had also cheated on her husband with him.
    And I admitted I feared the kids likely her since she was so much younger than me, 11yrs, 11 months.
    She could be an older sister to the kids (she was 18 when my eldest was born).

    And I also feared that the kids would be content/happy with the “Happy Family.”

    Truth is it confused my DD. She was 12-13 years old at the time. She came back from one trip and said she thought I would get along with the OWife (knife in gut! I said nothing). Apparently OWife wished she could talk to me (gag!). But I found out years later, OWife, because DD tolder her father she had trouble reconciling the nice OWife with the fact that she cheated on her husband– OWife told her basically that ex pursued her and wore her down so she cheated.

    Um, so how does that help? Telling the 13 year old, a Daddy’s girl, that her daddy actively planned cheating on her mother.

    DD attempted suicide 4 months after that trip. And is now NC with her father, Owife, and the 2 half sibs. DS is neutral. He does not tell me anything about visits there (which are fortunately not often given the distance–2500 miles).

    I know I will have to face them when DS graduates from high school, etc.
    Ex forced me to meet her at one hand off (where she had to drive three hours out of her way in a separate car, it was bizarre. I kept my hands fulls so as to not shake her hand, and simply nodded.

    My biggest feat right now is that DS is facing the same “relationship” talks which exH and OWife subjected my DD with– he is at the same age as she was then.

    My long winded point here, which is what others have said– the insecurity, “not so happy life” is on them. Keep your head high– they are the disordered ones. Don’t compare your life to theirs– who wants to be associated with disordered narcissists? I know the overwhelming desire that everyone see them for who they are, and the desire to keep the kids away from that shit show.
    Take deep breaths.

    I love the mantra here– not my circus, not my monkeys.

    To all of you suffering through this– know you are not alone. Visit the forums if you need to vent. etc.

  • Dear Chopped, You walk with your head high, be an excellent example to those kids. They will eventually see the true parent who truly loves them and they will benefit from that to go on to be like you for their own families. You can rest easy for that gift you give them. It’s YOU that matters now more than ever. The side chicks are desperate ,flawed, delusional women who are happy with leftovers to prove their self worth. Not worth your time, you have better things to do. We care about you now, and want you with us to help those still in line to become us. Peace to you.

  • I will never forget the pain , the knife in the guts when I saw a photo of my daughter and OW smiling on facebook. They looked like mother and daughter. He did not want to pay child support so turned her against me. After 4 suicide attempts and on the streets, my daughter has autism and took it all badly. She is 3 years under my roof now. Went back to school. Happy, healthy, off all medication ( he had her drugged to the eyeballs) and she is going to uni next year. It all nearly killed both of us. Its taken 6.5 years to bounce back after all the sick damage ex did to me and my kids. Meh is good, i now have a beautiful home, my kids are safe. He hardly sees them now as pressure of c/s over. He is not interested in kids now. Can see from cycle, new wife running out of time. He is already playing up on her. He is such a sad sausage. Only because of CN and CL my family survive it all. Thank you

  • If any Other whatever uses the ex’s phone to call or send a text you know three things. The first is there is some huge insecurity about the relationship. The phone is being checked as well as used for contact. Remember, known cheater, what is he/she really doing/saying, and with whom? Second, may be trying to hide contact information, possible for a sneaky reason of some type. Third — how belittling for the ex?? Is the ex so worthless and gutless he/she cannot speak for himself/herself? The answer is yes. The Other has already realized the situation is not tenable.

    • After DDay, while we were in marriage counseling but he was still texting her all of the time, I so wanted to grab his phone out of his hands, run into the bathroom, lock the door and use his phone to tell her off. The only time I managed to get his phone out of his hands he managed to hit the off button before I could run off with it and I didn’t know his pass code. Oh, well. It is just as well as it wouldn’t have done any good and they would have just used it as proof that I was unstable and leaving me was a sane choice. It is too bad, however, that I didn’t quite have the nerve to toss his phone in the toilet. Sigh.

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