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Dear Chump Lady, The OW left him and I don’t know how I feel

Dear Chump Lady,

Will you please help me identify a new feeling of mine? Meh-be it’s meh but I don’t know!!!

Yesterday (a Tuesday) I found myself feeling a way that I have not yet felt since my D-day 27 months ago and I am unsure and suspicious of this feeling. Is it meh? Or some type of meh hybrid?

Background: I discovered that my husband was having an affair with his father’s best friends’ daughter (though later, during my 6-month long Inspector Super Sleuth stage, I discovered that he had been having affairs (pl.) over the past several years, if not longer).

Within a month of my discovery my husband moved out, officially leaving me, our two daughters, his dog, our 3 cats, and our house, along with all of his personal possessions behind, with the exception of some clothes, his Rolex, and his Porsche. Two months later I filed for divorce and he moved his unemployed 38-year-old mistress out of her parent’s house and into his new apartment.

We are still legally married because he’s constantly stalling. We mediated for fifteen months until the mediators dropped us due to his lying on his disclosures and hiding of assets, amongst many other lies and omissions. I then hired my own attorney to finish up the settlement agreement reflecting the terms we agreed upon in mediation, but he refuses to sign. 

Over the past two years my husband has lost all of our friends and neighbors (who were really my friends since he did not bother to maintain friendships), my family, his own family (they are appalled at him and are very protective of my children and me), and finally, he has lost the shallow relationship he had with our children as they do not wish to see him anymore. He really has no one left in his life other than his mistress. Until yesterday.

Yesterday my father-in-law called to tell me that my husband had texted him, devastated and desperate, to say that his life is in ruins and that he and the mistress have broken up.

I do not know the details of the break-up and I do not care. But when I heard this news and later thought about how empty my husband’s life must be now (empty from the work of his own hands!), my heart sank for him. I pity him! He has NOTHING left. He threw all the valuable people in his life away and now he is alone and that is so very sad to me. Two years ago and up until recently it was I who felt that I had nothing and as we chumps all know, it is very difficult and painful to rise up from that feeling of nothingness.

My FIL told me that he would let me know the details as soon as he learns more, but I. Don’t. Care. In the beginning of this fiasco I would have done anything to be assured that my cheater and his mistress would go up in flames, that there would be no happily ever after for them after what they did to my children and me. But now? Other than feeling really sorry for him, I don’t care.

What is this strange, sorrowful feeling that I began feeling yesterday (Tuesday) about my cheater?

Is this meh that I’m feeling?
Is this the meh that I’ve been searching for?
Is this meh or am I dreaming?

Will you please advise me on this feeling, Chump Lady, ‘cause it’s really got a hold on me.

Kindly and gratefully,

ForwardOnwardUpward

Dear ForwardOnwardUpward,

I don’t know what you’re feeling for him — collateral consequences? Nanner-nanner-boo-boo? Sorrow for his fuckwit choices?

Whatever it is, it’s not meh. Meh’s heart does not bleed for fuckwits. When Schmoopies end their Twu Wuv crime sprees, driving their get-away car over a cliff — Meh does not mourn. Meh is unloading the dishwasher, or sorting laundry. Oh look, a $5 bill in a pocket! Meh carries on.

Does the evening sky look hazy tonight? Is there a car ablaze in a bonfire of fuckwit vanity?

Meh thinks $5 will buy a nice ice cream cone.

You’re still trying to divorce this guy. No way are you feeling indifference or acceptance about this yet. And I fear that expressing sorrow for his “sad, lonely” life is the gateway drug to hopium. Poor man, I must save him from the affliction of his own stupidity. Perhaps he still cares! Perhaps I have a chance! He will see what he’s been missing and now, NOW! he will value us!

I bet you a dozen ice cream cones that is what your father-in-law is thinking. Why is he giving you Schmoopie relationship updates? Why does he think you give one flying burrito about your soon-to-be-ex’s internal state? Does fuckwit care about yours?

I’d ask your FIL, why your ex breaking up with his fuckbuddy is “devastating”, but abandoning his children isn’t? Or why losing you doesn’t even merit picking up his shit?

Is anyone inquiring about YOUR mental state and making CNN breaking news announcements about it? No? Oh that’s right, Fuckwit is too busy hiding his assets and polishing his Porsche.

When I heard this news and later thought about how empty my husband’s life must be now (empty from the work of his own hands!), my heart sank for him. I pity him!

Don’t. He wants you to. His mindfuck is firmly set on the Self-Pity channel now. Remember, these freaks flip through rage, charm, and self-pity when they want things.

So long as you’re vulnerable to feeling anything for him, you’re vulnerable to his manipulation. And self-pity is catnip to chumps. WE CAN LOVE ALL THE HURT AWAY!

Self-pity is also a disguise. You wouldn’t suspect a sad sausage of hiding assets would you? He’s so broken!

Shields up.

His sorrow at fucking up his life is about as deep as his investment in it. I’m sure he’ll regroup and find a new fuckbuddy soon. If he doesn’t already have several on rotation. Don’t mistake shared history for depth of character. Dude’s a serial cheater.

Not only does this guy know how to play you, he knows how to play his dad. He probably started this shit on his parents. Does his father long to hear how sorry he is, how it was all a terrible mistake? Would FIL like to avoid a divorce? FIL has your ear. How convenient.

I’d stop discussing your ending marriage with your FIL. I’m glad your in-laws are supportive, but they’re also not neutral on the subject.

And neither are you — you keep calling this guy your “husband.” That’s not meh. Legally, yes, he is, but you’ve been trying to divorce him for nearly two years. How about “freak I used to know”? Or just “ex”?

As long as this guy is in your orbit, you won’t know what you feel. The confusion is deliberate. (All the better to mindfuck you, my dear.)

Let me suggest no contact. It feels like sweet freedom.

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.
  • It is just baffling to me that these men (including my DH) want the divorce, then do nothing for YEARS to actually get divorced. I’m there too. I mostly try to stop untangling the skein, b/c what’s the point – it hasn’t brought me any advantage. But jeez. I’m sorry to hear that I’m not the only one.

    It’s a process, OP. I’m still not to meh either. Some(tues)day.

    • They hinder the process. Dday #2 (final one) four years ago after almost 28 years. He signed the divorce papers as I filed because he did nothing. Had a legal financial separation agreement in place 3.5 years dictating what needs to be done and when. He now won’t sign the house deeds over, which prevents me from remortgaging in my own name. He’s not paid a penny for three years towards the house or repairs so I’m left with this expensive mortgage. He ignores letters, emails, texts from both me and my solicitor for 2 months.

      I had to break 3.5 years of NC and call to get him to give me any response – which is to now to fight the contract using solicitors. He signed it and I’ve given him money as directed by the agreement.

      So he whinged at the beginning I had better give him a divorce when the time comes, I said I would and now he’s the one stopping it. He’s still with Slaggy-Anne so you’d think they would want me gone!! baffling

      so gloves off again and I fight. it’s so exhausting.

      • Essentially, they’re people who can’t commit to anybody. A woman I know was some guy’s Schmoopie. You know, his controlling wife forced him to cheat but he wouldn’t divorce because of the children. Interestingly, despite the wife being so controlling he was spending many whole weekends with this woman, and not with his children. But I digress.

        In a few years when the children grew up (or far more likely, wife found out and kicked his ass out), he was free! Do you think they live together and are married? Of course not. They live apart and are still dating. And he continues to cheat, I believe but don’t listen to me because I’m such a moralist.

        • I have a ‘friend’ from grade school days who is still waiting (15 years now) for her married boyfriend to leave his wife. Friend and cake eater were high school sweethearts and went on to marry other people. Cake eater is still married and told said friend that when his kids were out of the house he would get a divorce and they would live ‘happily ever after.’ Now he says once the grandkids are gone, he’ll leave. Get the picture? I don’t call this friend anymore because her life is so ridiculous and pathetic and she won’t listen to anyone. She’s 65….still waiting….good grief.

          • My mother knew a woman, much younger than her that dated a married cop for like 15 years. Mother tried to talk to her and asked her why she was settling for crumbs? Didn’t listen. She was dumped around 40ish. While she could have gone on to date other men, she was never taken seriously, her reputation was shot and is now alone in her 70’s today. The cop died rather young, early to mid 50’s. So didn’t turn out too well for him either.

    • I think they balk when they realize that a divorce will cost them much more than they want to give up.

      They are selfish and greedy by nature. So they likely would divorce IF they could give the chump only 10 or 20 % of the joint assets!

      My ex got fraudulent assessments on the value of his cars, he purposely devalued property to get lower appraisals etc.

      • Ha! So true. It’s like this: I’m divorcing you because you’re so terrible, I had no choice but to find other women to mate with. Wait, I have to lose 50% of the assets and pay you spouse and child support?? Clearly they don’t think things through. And then they become the sad victim, whining to anyone who will listen that their wife is trying to “steal” their money. Ridiculous!

      • Yes, this exactly. My cheater is complaining that he will not be able to claim our 2 children and me as dependents (I have 90% physical custody…which in reality is 100% but I am not bothering to correct that, which we negotiated in mediation).

        So…he loses 3 dependents on his taxes. That is one of the reasons he won’t sign. But…he threw the 3 of us away! Our value as human beings is reduced to tax deductions. So sad and hurtful.

        Hang in there. Xx

  • How to feel? Since you are not at ‘meh’ yet I would concentration the Schadenfreude side rather than pity. Pity is slippery and steep and leaves you vulnerable to hoover attempts. Schadenfreude will do wonderfully until you can find the true land of disinterest. He is getting what he deserves. He destroyed his family and is left with his dick in his hand. Delightful.

    And as far as teasing reconciliation- don’t. Ask yourself one question: if Schmoops hadn’t dumped him or if another entree on the pussy buffet was handy he would not be playing sad sausage and looping back around at all. Some wrote here once, “The problem with someone who behaves better because they are trying to avoid consequences FOR THEM, is that they are constantly re-calculating that equation as conditions change.”

    • Now IC, thank you. You make wonderfully valid points regarding pity, schadenfreude, snd reconciliation…and I love your references to the pussy buffet!

      What is so strange is that I feel no Schadenfreude, which is a main reason why I suspected at Meh! I mean, really, even as recently as 6 months ago I would ha e prayed and paid for them to break up. But I really don’t care anymore. And while I may not be at meh, I do realize the strength and healing that I have achieved since my life’s implosion 27 months ago and for that I am very proud, and, honestly surprised.

      Thank you. Xx

  • Chumplady hit it on the nose and it was my first thought.

    THIS IS NOT MEH!

    You are using spackle in your brain to create hopium that maybe he learned his lesson and comes back!

    IT’S A TRAP!

    These kind of people DO NOT CHANGE!

    Sure he may behave for a few months or even a few years but he will go right back to what he was doing before.

    Advice, just like Chumplady is NO CONTACT. When his father calls to give you an update you just tell him thank you but his relationship issues are not my problem I have to raise all these kids alone and take care of this house alone and all these pets alone. All I really want to know is if he signed those papers yet or do we need to schedule the court date to finalize all of this with a judges rulling.

    Case closed, move on that is MEH!

    • Thank you Lothos, thank you Chump Lady, and many thanks to the rest of CN for your thoughtful responses and advice; I have browsed a bit and look forward to thoroughly reading them all.

      OK, so this feeling is indeed not meh. I truly suspected it was, as I wish nothing well or ill toward Cheater (I am borrowing that from a response below, thank you to the originator), but I now understand and appreciate the difference (gee, I wish I had found money in my washing machine this evening for a gelato). Oh, and I also learned not to refer to him as my husband, thank you for pointing that out, CL (I’m sorry, I was just being technical…and he doesn’t deserve that title, you are right).

      Please be assured that I am not being lured back by hopium (I have kept Tracy’s book in my bedroom for 2 years now and have been devouring and digesting the valuable, insightful words of Chump Nation, as well). I will never take Cheater back. But admittedly, I would not mind if he finally missed us or realized our value, as he is one of those coward cheaters who was caught and then pretty much exited without an explanation, without an apology, and without a glance back. He even went out and got himself a new dog with his mistress after abandoning his loyal German Shepherd with me.

      I do not know if my FIL is a newly recruited flying monkey, as he was not before: FIL had minimal contact with his son over the past 27 months up until recently when Cheater suddenly increased contact with his father (trouble must have been brewing in paradise). My children and I visited FIL at the end of July/early August (he lives in Europe and I want my children to feel that they are still loved by that side of the family, despite their $h!t father abandoning them) and my FIL took me aside and advised me that “I am still young and beautiful and that I should start dating so that I can find a good man to spend the rest of my life with.” Granted, this was before the break-up and before his cheater son suddenly reappeared into his life but still I think (hope) he has my and his grandchildren’s interest in mind. Alas, I told him thank you but at the moment I am too busy and too tired to date as I am raising a family by myself. HOWEVER, I will inform him that I do not care to hear the details of Cheater’s life and please, will he ask his son when he is going to sign the papers already?

      Shields up. Thank you all. Xoxoxo

      • I definitely get it for sure!

        Been there and done that. My brain got so stupid once that instead of Chumplady posting my email she responded within 10 minutes of me sending it and knocking my brain back into THINKING mode because of the non-sense.

        It is a hard road but you (just like me) has to stop projecting what you think he is feeling and realize that he is not that person.

        In my case it was a she (my x-wife) as this crap goes both ways with the mind jobs.

        One last night, there is happiness! You will find someone, just fix your picker, learn from your mistakes and don’t settle for anything less than what makes you happy!

  • No contact is the only way. After awhile it just becomes who cares. These people go down in flames only to resurface with shiny new victims. And the cycle continues. Let it continue without you.

    • No Contact
      No Contact
      No Contact
      Say it with me now, No Contact is the path to the truth and the light.
      Sounds like FIL is happily taking part in the pick me dance, maybe if schmoopie is out of the picture you can get back together and wouldn’t that be fabulous? No! No it would NOT be.
      Move on with your own life, don’t think about his anything. Put your energy into getting that divorce final! Dig into what will it take to move this mountain and then do that.

      • FIL is a stalking horse, softening her up to get her to take the jackass back.

        Don’t go there. Block the FIL’s phone/text. You don’t need this. Or even better, if FIL calls, tell him to tell the jackass to sign the damn divorce papers. And then block him.

      • Thank you Out of Kibble and LAJ.
        Yes, I must focus on moving that mountain and getting the divorce finalized. Xx

  • Do not fall for it! I did, and it just prolonged the pain and agony because 9 weeks after declaring he wanted to be back in our marriage, he decided he couldn’t do it. She told him she could find someone else to pay her bills and to get out because she found out he wanted and signed reconciliation papers. He didn’t keep in contact with her but her brother and other allies. She didn’t find someone else to pay her bills and she wanted him back. And like the smitten kitten he went leaving a new fresh trail of destruction in his path. Nothing like saying that your children weren’t enough to stay in within ear shot of them to really leave some fuckery behind. So run as far and as fast as you can from each and everyone of his enablers – including his family. When you can stand within 2 feet of him and feel absolutely zero for him – you have reached the promised land.

    • Thank you, Laura. I’m so sorry he did that to you – twice. I like your definition of the promised land and hope that you live or soon will live in it. Xx

  • I prayed my ex would stay with his fat ankled skank for as long as possible because if he had no-one on the hook he would come sniffing around me. Sure enough she cheated on him and he thought he was gonna walz back in here!!! Fuck that for a month of Sundays! Thank God he’s the other side of the big pond now with latest Schmoopie!

    • Yeah, mine came back because his MARRIED OW cheated on him. Ouch, hurts don’t it? I took him back and he promised to make the kids and I central from then on.
      Never happened; he cheated for another two decades, while continuing to make his needs paramount and keeping us as background filler.
      Sorry that he’s not happy-ever-after with his OW? No, he bought and paid for his consequences with his cheating dick.
      On another note- thanks for the Tom Wolfe reference, Chump Lady. You are amazing!

      • oldcrone,

        I had 2 decades of cheating too that I didn’t know about because I thought he came clean 3 decades ago – way back when I was really naive and innocent!

        Fast forward to a couple of years ago and my chump story continues:

        Present day I let mine back several times believing his pleas of ‘its over’. I was riding high on the RIC strategies and didn’t know CL or CN existed.

        Like you – he kept dipping and running away.

        Enter LACFAL which somehow made it across my radar a year or more into the pick-me dance and I was stopped cold in my RIC tracks

        Opened my eyes big time. Realized he was playing me all along – trickle truth throughout and I was being a naive chump.

        Changed my life and now I know and hope OP doesn’t fall for the self-pity stories….the x was and is still full of them whenever we have to talk…whines like a 5 year old girl! How did I miss that all of these years? Oh, because he had turned me into his mother and I hadn’t noticed…yep, I own that one.

        Please OP do as others have said – press on with finalizing your divorce and go NC. It is only a matter of time before he ‘strays’ again. These guys do not care. “Trust that they suck” and that means your STBX!

      • Yes, the Tom Wolfe reverence was great.
        Attie and Old Crone, I love your responses and have for 2 years. Thank you!!! And more recently, you too, Elderly Chump. Thank you! I have been Grey Rock (still share young-ish children and a house with him) for over a year now but it looks like I have to manage the in-laws a little better in the future. Thanks again. Xx

  • Chumplady and Lothos are both right, please heed their advise.

    From someone who is WAY down the path (years and years) I think I eventually had an emotion that acknowledged the profound tragedy of the whole thing which did not include the sort of pity that could have been manipulated had my Cheater lived. The fact that someone could ruin so many lives in a selfish pursuit is tragic and its ok to admit it without allowing ones self to be hoovered into the wreckage.

    Divorce this man ASAP and get away from his dysfunction…very icky to be still married to someone having romance drama that has nothing to do with you.

    • This is exactly the feeling I get when I hear of a other one of my ex’s “tragedies.” Not pity but a tad of renewed genuine sadness for the carnage that become our family…the loss of a future that was never meant to be. Grief stuff. But, life marches on.

      • Yes, I agree with the ickiness factor of all of this. Thank you, Unicorn, I do look forward to the wisdom in your comments.

        And yes, I think my feeling relates to the utter tragedies that he has caused. Grief, yes. Thank you NotaNiceChump.

        Xx

    • I really appreciate the observation of acknowledging that a tragedy took place at the hand of this person’s choices, which is different than feeling pity for the cheater in a manner that can be manipulated.

      It will always sadden me that my STBXH imploded our family, that he chose to go outside the marriage “to deal with his pain,” and that he is lesser the man that God intended him to be.

      I guess in a way I pity him, but that doesn’t mean that I will allow him to ever manipulate me again.

      • “he is lesser the man that God intended him to be”

        Yes. I believe that God gave my cheater many many valuable gifts (among them me, who was loving and devoted) and he chose to devalue many of them. He scoffed at his blessings (one among them his very life that he regularly wished away) and treated me as a horrible burden.

        I really believe he had more than he needed to become a great man and he chose the path of selfishness and ruined nearly everything. The Bible tells us that “he who loses his life will save it and he who saves his life will lose it” which I have come to understand means that is you life for yourself, you will ruin your life and if you value and serve others you will live a rich existence.

        • Unicornomore… You have expressed exactly how i feel but did not know how to put it into words. Thank YOU ! I have come to understand that God answered my prayers by yanking me away from my cheating XH. It has taken me a while ( 4 yrs… I’m slow to learn) to except and go on with my life and that it was for my good.

  • I know this feeling. I think about my ex rambling around by himself–alone in his mid-fifties. His daughters won’t talk to him. The church is removing his membership. And he has never had friends in the 25 years I was married to him.

    I know he thought the kids would all come visit him and treat him like normal. He thought the church wouldn’t care. I kept warning him that he was wrong, and he wouldn’t listen.

    The funny thing is that the kids are actually the ones that snap me out of it if I feel too sorry for him. “Mom, he did it to himself.”

    And one really important thing I’ve also realized: When I feel sorry for him, I’m projecting. I’m thinking how I would feel if I had lost my children, my friends, my church… As I sit here in a home with my kids and my cats. We just relocated, but already a friend from church is bringing us dinner this week because we are in the middle of painting our new place. And I think, “I would be crushed if I lost all this. He must be crushed.”

    But when I really think about it, I don’t think he is. He never really cared about people much. The last I heard, he had charge a Caribbean cruise on a credit card, because now he was free of his marital shackles and could spend money however he wants to spend it. I think that’s actually what he wants. I think he’d rather have that.

    So I don’t feel sorry for him anymore. Whatever “woe-is-me” line he gives people about his wife leaving and taking the children… he pushed us out, and he is so broken up over losing us that… he’s going to the Caribbean on a cruise. He’s not trying to get us back. He’s not getting counseling to sort out his life. He’s partying on a credit card.

    I’m just so glad to be out of that mess. I like the Caribbean as much as anyone, but I’m sick of drama and debt. So here I am painting my new place far away from him. There are cows across the road. The neighbors helped us find our cat when she got lost. My friend is bringing dinner tomorrow. My daughter has a date with a very handsome and kind young man who lives nearby. Life is good for me.

    And really… life is good for my ex too, at least in that he is getting what he really wanted. And sure, he’ll end up in bankruptcy again, but he never cared about that either. He would have run up debt and filed for bankruptcy every single year if I let him. So… well, he got what he wants. I’m glad I’m not there for it.

    • It’s also important to remember that you don’t just HAVE all these nice friends and neighbors. You are also a nice friend and neighbour investing in others bringing them dinners and being there for your children. He has not invested in these relationships. Friendships are not work but they do need nurturing. They need you to show up and listen and not be flakey and not be judgy or mean and be kind and bring dinners and listen about health problems and dead parents. And that’s what you get back plus fun and laughter and a connection to your past and togetherness and belonging. He didn’t invest in that his whole life. He ‘invested’ in other things or people and had other pay offs. That’s life.

      • Yes, Sammy. We have people in our lives because we invest in them. We deserve them! I appreciate them now more than ever because I know that with all the time and energy I spent trying to make my husband happy (I now know that this is an impossible feat and in fact was not my responsibility as a wife) I was unable to focus on friendships as much as I normally did. But, when in a real and mutual relationship (friendship, marriage, or otherwise), it is long-term give and take and not merely selfish, conditional love and chasing sparkles with immediate pay outs. Xx

    • This was lovely to read especially the last paragraph about the cows across the road etc. I think I struggle with imaging what the ‘life’ part of moving on should look like but you’ve really summed it up: warm people, nature and love. It’s not anything that can be bought or displayed on social media, it’s a feeling.

      Thank you- I needed to read that today. And I agree with Sammy, you attract these things by being invested in relationships and being a good person yourself.

      • I love the vision of cows, as well. Sometimes I fantasize of packing up my kids and my pets and running away to literally greener pastures…but that would make me an escapist like a cheater, right?

    • Carol, this is SO WISE. Of course, you are projecting what you would feel (grief, loss) onto someone who can’t feel those things. Leaving a wife, kids, a dog and 3 cats? Who would do that? Someone who doesn’t give a damn about anything but himself.

    • This is lovely, thank you.

      My current boyfriend is also a chump—he lost his step family when his ex blew up their marriage with cheating and abuse. He still mourns the loss of a child that he helped raise for 8 years but ultimately had no legal rights to. 5 years later and at certain times I’ll walk in and he’ll just quietly be crying over his lost step son. Meanwhile, these cheater assholes burn family after family with nary a turned head…because they’d “rather have” that stupid cruise. I’ll never understand.

      And may we all appt I ate our simple but meaningful, non-cheater lives as you do.

    • Carol39
      Lovely words. I too warned mine about the consequences. I am not even sure if they ‘went in one ear and out the other’ – think they bounced off of his forehead. It has taken me a couple of years to realize he didn’t care about any of it/us except as we helped his image management. He is an island unto himself as long as he can have his tech toys surrounding him at all times.

      I have a grown daughter too who got it instantly while I was still in shock and high on hopium via the RIC banners. She summed it all in a couple of sentences. He is gone to her. She doesn’t even want to waste any time talking about a man who would turn his back so easily on her vs a ‘real’ father who would have chased her to the end of the earth to maintain a relationship with his daughter. He sees that all he contributed here was a pay check thus expecting to be respected etc….

      He wanted us all on the side too after the divorce and is still in shock that his plans haven’t panned out as expected…..no shit Sherlock.

      Anyway, thanks for the words and the reminder that ‘the Suck’ and that our daughters ROCK…Love this younger generation – they don’t put up with anything and see through all the manipulation – mine even knew what love-bombing was before I did!!!!

    • Oh wow: Projection. Carol39, you are so right. We chumps would grieve such losses but would our cheaters? Technically they didn’t lose anything but they THREW EVERYTHING AWAY. So yes, it is likely that we are projecting. But still, it is so sad to imagine a person in his/her midlife (my cheater is now 53) puttering around with nothing but a fancy car and a gold digging whore (minus the whore, as of late).

      Thank you, Carol39, for validating this very feeling. Hang in there!!! Xx

  • Middle fingers up, 90% of these asswipes do NOT want divorce, they want Cake. Two or more women cat fighting over them. Sneaking around. Banging low rent whores with no expectations of them cause they are ” married,’. It’s their dream come true.

    • Thanks, Anita. Yeah, I’ve thought about it – he gains nothing by actually divorcing. He can work however much he wants now, and f whoever he wants. We do not share the same values and I do not wish to be married to someone like him.

      Someday.

    • There are a few different versions of Cake…like is commonly shared, the person who breaks the marriage will often get it to a grey, nebulous no-mans-land then stop. My Cheater had an affair and said he wanted to leave with Susan of Seattle and when I told him “OK, get the papers drafted and I will sign” he refused.

      My nowhusband was left by a narc who broke the marriage and left (paying a full yer of rent on her new place from his income) but after reinforcing she did not want to be in the marriage, got it to a stalemate and left it there for him to complete.

      She also initially left her elderly father with her then-husband having not fully thought things through when she pulled the trigger. She also seemed incredulous that he would want to spend time with his only child as the years went on. I think she thought he would get tired of the work involved and move on but he is a devoted father.

      Cake…they want to maneuver themselves into a spot where they get the max benefit of marriage for the minimum investment and then keep it like that.

      • adding…I was one high on hopium who let my cheater eat cake for a good while. I kept home and hearth intact with his spot open ready to welcome him home at any point with few (like none) conditions. For almost 2 years, he had God-knows-what living/cheating arrangements in an apartment in San Francisco and a family on the easy coast with us treating it like it was normal. Im now so ashamed I did not set stronger boundaries.

        • Don’t be ashamed, Unicornomore! You had VALUES, you showed tenacity and commitment. Unfortunately, it was wasted on someone who used/abused you and your wonderful values. We all have regrets but let it fuel you on to spend your time and effort on worthwhile people, interests, and opportunities. We all tried and it didn’t fail, it wasn’t worthless – it goes to show our character and our willingness to work hard. Now, we are still willing to work hard but have better boundaries and are “sadder but wiser”.

          I would like to add to the response to the OP that pity is not necessarily indicative that you want someone to treat you badly. It is an acknowledgment that a person or situation is pitiable. I feel pity for my ex and his fiance because they are sad, bankrupt people who don’t know how to be healthy for each other or their kids. I am free and happy and with a man who loves, appreciates, and cares for me in many ways. So the pity is not misplaced, and it doesn’t mean I want him back. I wouldn’t take him back ever for any reason! I just think he’s pitiful!

          • Thank you Love Meh, for further explaining the feeling I have. You define it perfectly.
            And, good on you for moving forward after the devastation. I love hearing happy endings. Take care!!! Xx

        • Ugh, that was me too, literally down to the two year Hopium smoking “grace period” when he was “still working on himself” whenever I asked him to come home. I feel the shame too, but am also so thankful now that he never took me up on it.

          • Beth,
            I remember the moment when the now x was standing in my kitchen after moving out but was doing the coming and going routine thanks to my chumpines and saying to me “I am not ready to come home yet.” I remember exactly what my next thought was and it shocked me….It was and in my head only, “What makes you think that choice is only yours to make?”

            It was in that moment that I realized that something significant had changed in me. It was at that point that my direction changed in terms of him. Realized that I didn’t want him back but still couldn’t really admit that to myself yet; realization only came in hindsight as I was a committed RIC player at that point – pre LACFAL chump.

            He went on working on himself and I made sure divorce proceedings took precedence and luckily he was eager to get on with his life too so all went smoothly – or as smoothly as one can navigating the churning waters of divorce.

            Thankful here too. Tough but not anywhere near as tough as it would be if he had come back and I had let him. I feel for those poor women who take their cheaters back. From what I read on their sites – or did back in my RIC days – they live tormented lives based on fear all the time.

            • EC, it’s great that you had an actual “Ah Ha” moment. Mine was more of a slow drip of small things that finally coalesced into the big picture. What finally did it for me was after two years of separation with him being increasingly unavailable to help with anything, I realized I was fine on my own and I liked being able to make my own decisions. Ex was terribly controlling but I didn’t realize how bad it was until that tight grip on the reins was gone. That and the lying, the cheating, the financial, sexual and emotional abuse… you know the drill. 🙂

              • Beth,

                I had lots of ‘drips’ too after that one. That was the first one I was/am aware of – more followed but it was confusing because I was still programed to being married (30 years of being together didn’t evaporate overnight.).

                More is still coming to light in terms of fully accepting what ultimately happened and me knowing that there really wasn’t any way to go forward with him. Fully accepting that although he ‘appeared’ to want to come back – that he was struggling between the ow and me – in truth he had already checked out years ago and I don’t think he had come to acceptance with that either. The full impact of that at that time would have been too big of a shock to my already shocked self.

                So on my ‘journey’ there has been lots of dripping too. At sometimes it turned into waterfalls but mostly slow water torture.

                Sorry I didn’t make that more clear in my first response. It has only been a couple of years for me and I still am in shock though not as bad as it was. Just feels at times that I am living someone else’s life and that the way it was before never happened – like my past is being erased which it is since it was a lie because he is a serial cheater. The weird thing is that all this betrayal grief process is happening right along with me living my daily life – outward appearance of life as usual while underneath there is huge excavation happening.

        • What could you have done, UNM? I think we know that when we finally set boundaries, that is our family destroyed.

          My boundary came when God-in-my-head SAID to me (it was a voice): if you continue with this, you are actively participating in your own abuse.

          That was the end of that! He didn’t want the marriage to end, but it was all my fault, you understand (not the two OW he was dancing with).

          He moved swiftly on to the real love of his life, the Old Flame Who Should Have Been, and very painfully this month I learned that a family friend accepted them and had them to stay for a major holiday.

          • Oh Patsy,

            This is where the PTSD of it all comes into it for me…all these years later and my life is so good and I still repeatedly fall into thought patterns where I think that I could have controlled something in it that would have resulted in a healthy loving family when in reality none of that was possible.

            The only thing he would have done is what he did, abuse and manipulate me until I ended the marriage then blame me for it.

            He was living in SF badgering me to sell the house, quit my job and move the kids 3000 miles away to join him (and simplify his cake) but it would have been awful for me and the kids and he had already revealed himself as a manipulative cheater. I was 113 pounds, my hair was falling out and I had hives.

            He called one day and I was finally ready to tell him to no longer call or visit, I was done and he said “Im coming home”. That wreckonsillyation went on for 5 years until he died.

            Please know Im not backsliding in my recovery…Im very good. My normal loving mind, however will never find a place of rest for the disordered story of his abuse, it will never find a comfy spot of resolution. It will never fit and perhaps it never should.

          • Patsy,

            I can’t ever remember hearing an audible voice in my head that I would call God
            but
            when we were trying reconciliation #3 I was walking across my front room and I heard a LOUD voice say, “This is too big for you, leave him to Me.”

            No space argument or bargaining allowed.

            I was the only one in the room.

            I have labeled it the voice of God and I did listen and it was another step in letting go. I would love to say that meh arrived at that moment but it has been piece by piece for me of letting go of him, my fantasies of him and our life – past and future. Each piece frees me in ways I hadn’t know possible.

            I consider myself lucky because the x did want the marriage to end so he could have his ‘freedom’ and his tru luv – who has since dumped him. Divorce moved along pretty much without horrendous legal battles. I knew trying to salvage it was futile and by the time he made his decision to divorce I had seen the writing on the wall and so I took the opportunity to get out and protect myself emotionally from further abuse.

            • God expressly spoke to me:

              “You’re trusting in a man who hates you more than a God who loves you..its time “.

              The next week I filed.

    • Well mine is in the other 10% then he can’t wait to get divorced . He just refuses to pay for any of it so i am .
      My freedom and sanity is a price worth paying

      • If they don’t want to pay for the divorce then they aren’t that keen. But divorcing rapidly while he still wants to leave everything behind is very much in your interest, Karen.

        • I am on it Persephone 🙂

          Its not that he doesn’t want the divorce he has pleaded no contest but he is greedy and wont pay for anything .
          He has always been the same, he creates a mess and someone else has to pay to clear it up .

            • Yes. And I am here to say that the fantasy affair does indeed wear off!

              I dread to see how this will negatively affect the terms of my MSA…

              Good luck Karen and Amazon Chump!

  • Sweet FOU,

    Feeling sorry for a fuckwit is, as CL points out, a slippery slope and your in law’s are going to slide down that beotch like a greased pig on a slip n slide.

    Do. Not. Follow. Them.

    My MIL was very sympathetic and protective at first. Then when Cheaterpants’ new love blew up and he had a great big sadz, some how I became the bad guy. Even though he did not want to reconcile! It was insane, he blew up his life, he still did not want or value me or his children, and yet it was my fault he had the sadz, AND my responsibility to make him un- sad by not expecting my share of our assets and decent child support.

    Fast forwarding a couple years, my MIL and I do pretty well these days. She loves her grand kids and has mostly dropped the “it’s your fault my fuckwit son has a sadz” ‘tude. She still mentions how she feels bad that cheaterpants has the big sadz ( he’s “depressed) I simply reply, “I’m not, he will find a new crotch to fall into eventually” and she drops the subject.

    I can’t say I’m at meh. It always annoys me when someone brings him up. And I get really pissed at how he jerks the kids around but I feel like I’m wandering the boarder. I really don’t care if he’s happy or sad, single or paired up. I don’t wish him well or ill. So I know I’m in the right neighborhood so to speak.

    My son has a gym teacher I don’t particularly like but I don’t feel strongly enough about it to try and get his gym teacher changed though. Looking at things objectively, my boy spends more time with that gym teacher than my ex. So I figure when I feel the same about the ex as I do the gym teacher, “what a bummer you are stuck with him again this year. Oh well,” then I will have arrived at Meh. I’m hoping it’s next Tuesday.

    By all means continue you relationship with your exinlaws if they add positively to your or your kids lives but set some boundaries with them too. Like no discussion of their fuckwit son. Not if he has a sadz, not if he’s in twuwuv again, not even if he’s currently about to break the world record for flaming hula hooping.

    Your life and your relationships should be about you not about him. You have been mighty so far. Keep on going!! CL and CN will help Hugs.

    • Thank you, TooSmart. Your experience and advice and insight are so helpful. Thank you and good on you for enduring and rising above your fuckwit’s shenanigans all while managing your in-laws successfully. Xx

  • Hey Onward – CL and Lothos is right – run! It is a trap! He’s just going to scam you again – that’s what he’s missing most – the great con! You’re so much better off – why ruin it with Mr. Cranky pants? You’ve come to far!
    Do not fall for it!!!

  • FowardOnwardUpward,

    Unfortunately CL is right. You can’t move to Meh while you’re still married to a FW! The only true cure for fuckwits and their flying monkeys is no contact. Your FIL is a flying monkey, otherwise he wouldn’t be telling you about how “devastating and desperate” his son is. He is hoping you will save the poor little timid forest creature and you pitying him feels like a step in that direction.

    I’ve been divorced for 5 years and I have been no contact for pretty much that long. No FW; no FW ex-in-laws; and no mutual friends. I have my two adult sons who respect my boundaries (thank you, Cool, Bummer, Wow!) and that is the only connection left after a 27 year marriage.

    If I don’t own a house in Meh, I’m definitely renting one and this is what it looks like: I’m not angry anymore about the ex cheating and I am no longer angry at myself. It’s in the past and I got out. No more beating myself up for choosing him as a partner. Live and learn. I don’t wish him ill will mostly because of the inherent guilt in my Italian, Catholic DNA. I don’t wish anything for him, good or bad. He’s like a grocery store clerk or the mail man.

    If one of my kids told me that he and the OWife split, and I doubt they would, I can’t say I’d feel anything. It’s not my circus or my monkeys and that is the beauty of divorce and no contact. There is no hopium, only gratitude that my head is out of the mind fuck blender.

    You need a divorce and no contact (or as much as possible) with your ex-in laws to move into the land of Meh. We’ll be waiting.

    • Thank you, Cheaterssuck. It sounds like you have waded through the same fuckwit BS that most of us have. Stay strong and I look forward to seeing you all on the other side! Xx

  • You are a better woman than me ForwardOnwardUpward.

    I will never ever feel sorry for the cheating fucker . In fact if he ended up with nothing i would be positively gleeful . I actually smiled reading your letter and thought this sounds marvelous i’d love him to end up with no one and nothing exactly what he did to me !

    So fair play to you as i don’t have a sympathetic cell in my body for him .

  • Meh is feeling NEUTRAL. And I am looking forward to arriving there.

    I am definitely driving the right way on that freeway. Last week I told him to please go enjoy “Sole Mate” because she cost him an awful lot. He traded a rare diamond (daughter) for a nugget of fool’s gold (Craigslist Causal Encounter). I was being sincere.

    My daughter does not want to talk to him, text him, see him, or live with him. That is the karma bus, which he didn’t see coming. I feel the same way she does, but neither of us can be totally No Contact. My new name is Gray Rock.

    I also will no longer communicate by text. He can call me or email me (documentable) about matters concerning daughter, business, money, divorce. He hides behind texting, and fewer options to communicate improve communication with a communication skill school dropout.

    Don’t waste precious non-refundable time or breath conversing with proven liars or their spokespeople. Unless you know everything they do, and you never will, there can be no true authentic communication. The airplane hanger full of secrets and lies (about thoughts, feelings, and actions) skews the discussion and renders it pointless.

    • Velvet Hammer…you mean to say your cheater XH actually met his schmoopie on Craigslist under ‘Casual Encounters???’ FFS. Like a real person would ever post there OR hook up there. Gross.

      Which reminds me, I met a guy on a dating site a couple of years ago and went out with him a couple of times and then someone told me to browse CL under ‘Casual Encounters’ and lo and behold there was this asshat. Dumped him so fast his head spun and blocked him everywhere. Us chumps know how to cut and run like that.

      • That’s what he told me….true or not it, it means something is seriously extra wrong with him. If it’s true? Gross to the tenth power. If it’s another lie, what could possibly be the reason? She could very well be an illicit massage parlor worker and the Craigslist explanation was the better story?

        Lysol required no matter what the truth is.

    • Airplane hangar full of secrets and lies. That’s right. Good luck Velvet Hammer and thank you. Xx

  • Not meh, sorry.

    Look what he took when he left you and your children: his Porsche and his Rolex. Those are his values and he will never change them.

    I wouldn’t touch ex with a barge pole.

    You are brave and you can do It!

    • Thank you for your support, ClearWaters. You are right…cheaters are different from us as they value the wrong things in life. I do see this so clearly now. Xx

  • I kind of find this not meh but rather typical.
    Freaks seek out empaths….were their type. We’re fixers, we care to a fault, and we are LIFERS, all shit these disordered freaks love.
    FOU, you were chosen for the very qualities I described here, and I’m sure he’s sitting in his sad sausage condo somewhere waiting for you bake him a casserole to console him.
    Wtf knows what meh is. I feel very happy in my life but if my ex got dumped and somebody called to tell me I would gladly hear that tea and celebrate with an ice cream cone….no casserole for him.😂
    That’s the current state of meh here.

  • My son mentioned the other day that his dad had called him on his birthday. Son only has sporadic contact with his dad, my daughter hasn’t talked to him in years. Son tells me that his dad told him that one of their dogs (ex lives with and is engaged to one of his stripper GFs) was hit by a car and apparently died a grisly and painful death. Son noted that his dad said that it was a “fucking nightmare to clean up all the blood and gore” and that his dad was relieved that it was his fiance’s dog that she had before she moved in, that got killed and not the dog that was “his”. That right there is why I would never waste a second of my time feeling pity for ex. I will save my pity for the animals and people who have to associate with him and be thankful that neither my kids, my dogs or myself are among them.

    • That’s a sociopath talking right there (your Ex). Most normal people would feel just as bad if it was a stray dog that was hit never mind one in your house or “yours”.
      No empathy at all, glad that you are rid of him.

      • Most people would take the dog to the first vet and if they didn’t have the money, beg on their knees to euthanize the dog.

      • Me too, LG. When we were newly separated, one of our two very young dogs was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer for which there was no treatment or cure. My daughter and I spent an entire day with him at the Vet’s office waiting for my then husband and my son to get off work and come to the Vet’s office so we could all say goodbye before the poor baby was euthanized. We were all in tears, including the Vet’s staff, at losing a dog that was so young. Afterwards I asked ex to come home with me. He looked at me with this completely annoyed face and told me no, he was going back to work. This is literally 15 minutes after we lost our dog and after we waited all day for him to finish work. I should have known right then and yet it still took two years for me to pull the trigger on the marriage. Hopium is a powerful drug.

  • It’s possible he doesn’t want a divorce so he has a reason to not marry whomever he’s stupping. You are still of use. And he still has dibs on everything til it’s divided. So be careful. And I hope your FIL isn’t dreaming of you getting back with his son – ‘the way it ‘should’ be.

    • “It’s possible he doesn’t want a divorce so he has a reason to not marry whomever he’s stupping”

      Exactly this, Trudy. I pushed through the divorce as quickly as possible so that a) he was less likely to argue about the financial settlement while he was covered in a layer of schmoopie lust and b) to remove myself as a block to their “twu wuv that cannot be denied”.

      I’m 100% no contact so I have no idea if the twat has married the skank (thanks for the nicknames Attie). The twat was stingy as hell so I like to think of him twisting himself into a pretzel and fretting about losing everything in his next divorce. As someone once said when talking about divorce settlements, as the first wife “I got the best half” (plus he’s an ageing covert narc so the whore is welcome to his grumpiness, stinginess and constant farting).

    • Thank you, Trudy. Yes, he may well have also dragged this out so he wouldn’t have to marry her…but I don’t know and I don’t care.

  • Thank you CL for sharing this today! I needed to hear it. FOU – listen to CL’s advise and no contact is the only way to go. You are still hooked in my friend and FIL knows this as well as your ex. Believe me, I have a similar story with my recent ex (serial cheater) boyfriend and felt sorry for him which led to the last 9 months of mindfuckery beyond compare. It was worse than my divorce bc with my physically abusive narc ex husband – I did go full no contact….it was easier since he was physically abusive. You think I would have have learned my lesson and know how to sniff these fuckers out. NOPE! Mental abuse is worse and more damaging than physical and you are still hooked. Be careful! Shields Up, RIP out the hook (as hard as it may be), TELL people you don’t want to know about his drama, and MOVE ON. You and your kids deserve better…..remember that when you feel pity for him. Karma will do the rest of the work. Promise!

  • If you look for gold in these letters you will almost always find a nugget. There’s one right there. His 38 year old unmarried mistress who moved from her parents house to his. That conjures up so many wonderful thoughts. It does not matter who broke up. What does matter is that he stay far far away from you. If his ideal woman is a 38-year-old unmarried person who lives with her parents then that’s who he needs to have in his life. He does not need a grown-up with children. That’s you of course. Meh is when you absolutely don’t care what’s going on in his life because he is nothing more to you than that used tire on the side of the road.

  • The fact that his affair partner left him is only what he deserves. You said he was a serial cheater? The chickens have come home to roost. He shits on people who love him. What does he expect? He has stabbed you in the back for years. He probably was cheating on the new one as well and she found out.

    How sorry was he for you and your children when he was blew up your lives? And tried to cheat you on a fair settlement. Save your pity for those who fall into misfortune by no fault of their own.

    • He shits on people who love him. Yes. And was not sorry for it. And is trying to cheat me out of a fair settlement. All of this.

      Thank you for your support, Mitz.xx

  • “… his dad was relieved that it was his fiance’s dog that she had before she moved in, that got killed and not the dog that was ‘his’.”

    D-I-S-O-R-D-E-R-E-D.

    In what possible way could that sentiment ever be spun into something defensible?

  • OMG GET THE DIVORCE FINALIZED! Find a way to push it though before he manages to screw more stuff up.

  • I would not be surprised if the reason your stbx did not finalize the divorce reflects his refusal to admit that there are consequences for what he did, and that he expects to be able to come back “home” when he decided he wants to. There are a lot of kinds of denial, our chumpy one, the one that keeps us spackling and hoping and hanging on, and the fuckwit one, which is a form of “I can do what I want and s/he’ll accept it.” For right now, returning home seems like his best option. The sadz is a strategy designed to grease the wheels of getting you to do that, and your father-in-law is his tool for getting his foot in that door. Once you know how this all works, you can sit back and watch the plot unfold. But be prepared for anger and a “stick it to you” in the divorce when you say “no.” He is going to bite and kick and scratch not to accept that there really are consequences for his acts.

  • Okay, lots of stuff here and some very good advice. Tracy tells you true. This isn’t Meh. You’re still way too wrapped up in him. Meh happens after you’ve disentangled yourself. Will you feel the same after you take him to court and he switches to Channel Rage? Probably not.

    Here’s the thing. You can’t expect fairness from him. Witness that your mediators dropped your case because he’s been lying on his disclosures. There is NO WAY you can expect honesty. There is no way you can expect him to sign off on items you both agreed to because he is fundamentally dishonest. He agreed with you to get him off his back (and avoid extra legal fees). He had no intention of following through.

    So, I trust that you retained an attorney experienced in high conflict divorces with disordered fuckwits, because that’s what you have. Go to court. Insist on full disclosure. Hire a forensic accountant. It sounds as if he has a bunch of money squirreled away somewhere. Forensic accountants are expensive, but if your STBX has money and investments, you’ll get back tenfold what you spent.

    Insist your attorney set a court date. This is the ONLY way that you can bring your fuckwit to the table. Otherwise, he’ll just refuse to sign. My CheaterX was also a guy who dragged his heels because he hated consequences.

    This refusal to act is very typical of cheaters.

    Once you set an actual court date, he’ll switch to Channel Rage because, as your stbx FiL says, he’s lost everything. The self-pity is a hoovering tactic.

    Stay strong! Meh will come AFTER the divorce!

    • Thank you. We mediated at his insistence because he doesn’t want any of our (his, maybe?) specifics in the public record. I agreed because I get anxiety and knew that it was healthier for me to not have to prepare for court and face him in court. I have been considering a forensic accountant recently….but then we have to start at square 1. It’s a much better deal for him to sign and it’s much better for me mentally…but he won’t sign. I hate this. Why can’t cheaters just go. That’s what they wanted, right? I’m giving it to him but he won’t take it. What is wrong with them?? Leave already!!!

      Thank you so much for your advice. Xx

      • Why can’t cheaters just go.

        Once you understand the whole kibbles and cake thing, you see that they dare NOT let go. Sure, in some cases they up and leave, ghost their Chumps and their kids, but that is not typical.

        Cheaters like Spouse Appliances. You have a very useful function. You make sure there is a home to come home to. This gives your cheater kibbles. You are also the fail safe for when the affair goes south. You’ve already discovered a previous affair. Why didn’t they leave? Because you are a very good Spouse Appliance. When the affair fizzled, they had you.

        Yes, you are Plan B.

        Go ahead and retain the attorney. Don’t tell your STBX. Then get that court date. When your STBX squawks at you, direct him to your attorney, who will tell HIS attorney that since mediation was stalled despite having a property settlement that both you and he agreed to, you have no choice but to go through the courts.

        If he is truly worried about his affairs, as it were, in the public record, then he’ll sign.

  • What you are feeling is called empathy-something your fuckwit lacks. I’m not sure what meh feels like because I still rotate between anger, sadness and empathy. But it’s not meh. The Father-in-Law sounds like my (ex) Mother-in-Law. The family members that buy into their cheater offspring’s story are also disordered or really gullible because narcissists use self-pity as a way of getting their fanbase back. I watched my fuckwit tell his mother -who was initially appalled at what her son had done, how he had been trying for 17 years-and then elaborated that actually he had been pretending to be someone else his entire life. He was so depressed and this wonderful person who had fucked him while leaving her own son and husband looking like fools, was the only thing that made him happy. He was like a second class citizen in his own home, working hard, traveling the world on an expense account while fucking other women and then he would come home to all this chaos… of kids doing homework, dogs and his wife would be badgering him with questions like whether he was ok with the cost of the air conditioner repair… and it was SO UNPLEASANT. He felt like a “second class citizen in his home”. On his business trips everyone praised him. At home, he had to be a participant. His mommy bought it hook, line and sinker and suddenly I was clearly to blame because I didn’t praise him enough and I let the dogs sleep in the bedroom (where they had always slept but apparently this was among my many flaws). As soon as you DON’T go to the rescue of devastated fuckwit, FIL will certainly see you as the problem. Your feelings aren’t important to him or his father.

    • If they’re not being placed on a marble pedestal, and constantly praised for doing anything at all, then they feel treated as a ‘second class citizen’! Sniff and boo hoo for you, everyone is mean in this family! Don’t they know I’m the King?
      Sounds just like my X. The self pity is so strong, unless they are the center of all attention. It’s exhausting!

    • oooh I am fuming just reading this on your behalf. I can only imagine what gets said. Yes he too is revered at work. I made him ill apparently and ‘people who knew him could see his sadness’. Guess who. Yes her. Leave well alone. I have a few rough years ahead with custody (well why shouldn’t she live with me, the better school is near me) and more back-tracking on our settlement agreement (we aren’t married) I just dread it. But you know who is prepared to tell massive lies just to justify their shitty behaviour right.

    • MadKatie63, are you talking about my life? This is exactly what I went through. My FIL/MIL were both supportive until I told them that their son was not allowed back in the “family” home.

      Ex also told them how I never praised him. And, how he felt unloved because I didn’t constantly compliment him on his looks. Poor baby, he tried to make our 13 year marriage work, but he couldn’t fake it anymore. He literally did pretended to be someone he is not. Not only is he a serial cheater, but a closet gay man. The worst thing is that he will never come out.

      Everytime I start to feel sorry for my ex’s life, I think of this passage that I read in HelloGigles.com.

      “[You]might be thinking ‘Awe, how sad – that poor person – I can convince them they are great and worth loving…’ and to that I say NOPE. That work needs to be done by them, for them. And regardless, don’t think about helping them – you need to learn a lesson about what just happened to you.”

  • Go no contact. Tell your FIL that you do not want to hear anything about his life. Do not feel sorry for him. He sure did not give you or his children one thought when he cheated. While the idiot was cheating on you he was putting your life at risk. Nothing says I love you more than an STD. I am sure he has another women he is eyeing up. These fuckwits do not change. Please do not make the same mistake I made. I agreed to work on our marriage. Our agreement was he would never contact Skankella again. And he would never message women behind my back. I agreed to pay the credit card bill. I kept my promise. He kept the agreement to never contact Skankella. However, I found out a year later that he was messaging his ex girlfriend from high school. When I asked him about it. His response was that he did not think it was her. He thought that I was playing a trick on him. I packed his bags and told him to get out. I kept my promise. As you can see he sure did not keep his. Contact your lawyer and speed up that divorce. He is not your problem anymore.

  • “Don’t mistake shared history for depth of character. Dude’s a serial cheater.”

    Truer words were never spoken! The hook that these cheaters try to spear you with is the “shared history“. The problem is, there isn’t one. Your history reflects living a real life with a real man and a real marriage and raising real kids, and his history reflects lies, betrayal, deceit, going underground with his merry-go-round of affair partners and doing whatever is necessary to not get caught. My XH thought our “shared history“ (40 years and 3 children) would sway me to remain “friends“ with him after he dumped me for Married Howorker. It’s so preposterous, it’s laughable. Like I said, he had his history and I had mine… they were not even close to the same thing.

    PLEASE GO ZERO CONTACT!!

    And this doesn’t just mean cutting off all communication with your STBX (EVERYTHING should go through your attorney). It also means controlling the flow of information from outside sources, like your in-laws. If you’re close with them, and want to maintain that relationship, then you must lay down very strong boundaries so your STBX is no longer a topic of conversation — ever! This is what keeps you orbiting around his gaseous planet and unable to get out of his gravitational pull. As Chump Lady said, shields up! Only after you’ve disengaged will you ever have a chance of getting to Meh.

  • “Meh”, it usually takes YEARS after the divorce is final to get to “Meh”.

    I read so many people post on here who are either still in the middle of their divorce or just a few months after and say they are at “Meh”.
    NO probably you are NOT !! It usually takes at least a few years of NC and often therapy to get over the trauma of what happened and then eventually you get to “Meh”.

    Myself, I am 90% at “Meh” after 7 1/2 years after the divorce was final and I am happily remarried. I hardly ever think about my Ex and could care less what she says or does. I say 90% because if someone brings up certain painful memories of the past, I can get triggered and all of the anger and pain floods back for a little while. Some wounds are too deep and never heal rather they just scab over. If that scab is ripped off even years later, that old would will still bleed.

    • YES. I’m also around 7.5 years post divorce and remarried. I would also say I’m around 90% meh and I expect that’s as far as I will get, as my cheater really did a number on my mind. Like you say, the wound is too deep and sometimes the scab rips right off and reopens it.

      I admit that if I heard cheater’s latest victim (not an OW) dumped him, I’d laugh, because he deserves to be alone. But I wouldn’t feel sorry for him, that’s for sure.

    • I guess after 4 1/2 years post divorce I believe that I’m at Meh. And yet…, am I really? I pity the dick that he will never pull his head out of his butt because he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with his actions. He felt entitled and I have no doubt he will always feel entitled. But I certainly never want him in my life ever again. Am I at Meh when I still refer to him as ‘the dick’? And I still think that if I heard that the ‘luv birds’ experienced some kind of mishap, I’d get a little thrill. Will I ever reach Meh if I still harbor some kind of schadenfreude? I don’t hate him anymore, and if there are any tiny twinges of love for him, I’ve figured out that not everything you love is good for you, and he wasn’t good for me. I don’t think I’d cry for ‘him’ were I to hear that he died. I’d feel sad for the loss of what could have been had I married a decent human being. I’d feel sad for my children, but I think I’d be glad that he would no longer be a physical issue in my children’s lives again. I wouldn’t have to share them with the dick. I’d never have to have them ‘accidentally’ mention what the dick and his skank are doing. I certainly don’t ask what’s up with the ‘luv birds’, but kids are kids. They just talk and because the dick is part of their lives, they mention him from time to time. So Chumplady…, what exactly is Meh? Is it giving up all schadenfreude in its entirety?

      • Only CL can give an exact description of “Meh” since it is her term, but you understand my point.

        You are mostly at “Meh” but can you ever really be 100% at “Meh” especially if you have kids with the cheater and HAVE to have some contact with them until the kids are 18 and even after at weddings, births, funerals, etc ?
        Like I said, I’m 90% at “Meh” because i rarely think of my Ex now and could care less what she says or does but the old deep wound she caused me will always be there.

        • Taking great pleasure in watching the karma bus run over some asshole. Being thrilled at another’s comeuppance.

          As Tracy wisely wrote, a watched karma bus never arrives on time. Or something like that. Strive for meh (reaching indifference to the person that wronged) and work on building a life that brings you contentment.

    • Laughing Gator – I agree that it will likely take MANY YEARS after divorce for me to get to the promised land of Meh.

      Someone here, I wish I could remember who, said “Meh is great I hear, but all I can really manage to this day is a kind of gallows humour and not actively seeking revenge…”

      That’s where I’m at right now, 3 years post-divorce: nowhere near Meh but not actively seeking revenge (and no expectations of karma striking the twat and the skank either).

  • My XH and his AP2 broke up twice. After the second time, he sent me one of those “I miss you. I always thought we’d be together. etc” emails embedded in an alimony accounting. I ignored it. Then I looked him up on match.com. The poor depressed little cheater was back at it, looking for new cake. They can’t handle being alone. What I realized is that AP1 and AP2 both dumped him because they had more information about who he really is: someone who leaves a wife, kids, and dog but takes the Porsche. But now, WE have that same information. So, stand back. No contact. You have enough information to know who he is, and more importantly: who he is NOT. Move on!

  • Onward, you may think he is devastated because his life is in shambles and he threw away his family for what? No. He is devastated because things did not go his way, not because he had an epiphany on what a piece of shit he was/is and how he ruined his precious family life. He doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself. Do not buy any fake remorse. If I were you, I would now really go gangbusters on the divorce being finalized and go no contact. His parents are gonna go down the “he temporarily lost his mind” route. They’ll never be objective and think deep down sonny boy has good qualities. They are also hoping everything goes back to the way it used to be….family intact. Right now though karma has hit. OW will always be considered a skanky tramp that blew up a family and cheater will be considered a cheating asswipe that deserted his family. No getting away from that shit.

    • Even if they know sonny boy is a screw up, they understand that he was better off with Onward at the helm. If she’ll take him back, they won’t have to worry about him. It’s that simple.

    • Thank you, Meg, KB22 and Survivor. Thank you for the 2×4. You are right: He doesn’t care about the devastation he’s left behind but rather that things didn’t go as he planned.

      I promise not to fall for any fake remorse and will go full force on the divorce proceedings. Thank you so much. Xx

  • My guess is the cheater asked FIL to “feel out” Onward for signs she would take cheater back. I would almost bet money on this. FIL is reporting every word of his conversations with Onward back to his son, and they are hoping Onward will solve the problem of the poor little cheater’s lonely existence, and most importantly, prevent him from having to pay support money by taking him back.

  • He and schmoopie will be back together. Fight yesterday, cruise tomorrow. Or he will find schmoopie 2.0.

    Don’t unfile or release your divorce case! Especially if this has been going on for a few years and if there’s hidden assets. Talk to YOUR lawyer, especially about look back period. Letting it drop could release some or all your claims for wasting marital assets, child support and alimony.

    FIL is a flying monkey. Your ‘husband’ is not faithful or honest. And one day of losing schmoopie 1.0 doesn’t change him.

    • Excellent advice, Meow Mix, thank you. The thought did cross my mind to release the case while he is weak and refile later and with a trial, not mediation. But you raise very valid points. Besides, I don’t want to suffer through this divorce one day longer than I need to.

    • I don’t think they can NOT behave. Their behavior shows immediately The problem is the unlearned don’t recognize the red flags, e.g., Entitlement, Charismatic, Concerned about how he/she appears to others, Lacking real empathy, Actions contradicting words, Doesn’t take criticism well or apply any critiquing advice, Need for unwarranted attention, and Gaslighting.

    • They don’t “behave.” They are just very careful to keep the mask on–and often their target victims desperately don’t want to see the red flags of disorder.

    • My ex lasted 10 with his first wife before he found others
      He lasted 11 with me, did the same
      No question that he was cheating during both marriages the entire time, especially during deployment, which he volunteered for
      You would be crazy to reconcile with what you know, you just can’t unknow!
      Gross, empty soul.

  • Don’t worry ForwardOnwardUpward …

    he will very quickly find someone else. My X is on his FOURTH soulmate. But this is the one! They are getting married and in his 50s and she 30s she wants children!!!!

    [my poor kids]

    It is very hard for us to truly fathom how shallow they are, how little we meant when we invested our all, how people are replaceable, how even the children are replaceable, how we were actually in an emotional ponzi scheme.

    It hurts. I am meh, but will I ever stop feeling sad? I don’t think so.

    • Emotional Ponzi Scheme. Sadly, Patsy, you are spot on about that. Thank you and hang in there. Xx

    • “It hurts. I am meh, but will I ever stop feeling sad? I don’t think so.”

      Wow..in my response to your post above, I pretty much said this exactly.

      We are at meh but being there doesnt stop the fact it was all sad and tragic. My cheater claimed to love his kids even when he loudly proclaimed that he didnt love me yet his actions towards the kids displayed anything but actual love.

      Maybe were onto something here…that the blissful neutrality of Meh can and does coexist with a real sense of tragedy and that is what resolution often looks like. Great post-cheater lives and dramatic karmic retribution don’t undo their damage but that is the best than can be and living it doesnt make us Bitter Bunnies.

  • If his Dad is so sorry for him, the Ex can move back in with him. That’s his problem, not yours.

    Tell FIL you aren’t interested in the Ex’s problems.

  • Do NOT feel sorry for your cheater. He is in this position as a direct and foreseeable result of his actions.

    What? An OW didn’t turn out to value commitment through good times and bad?!? Say it ain’t so!!

    You play in dirt, you get dirty.

  • My in-laws did this to me. Cheater left me for seven months for the company of another woman in the year preceding our planned white wedding. MIL insisted it must be some inadequacy of mine that “made him do it”. They campaigned to pull our marriage back together, and stupid younger me thought a girl had to fight for her man.

    When he came crawling back, they offered to pay for the whole wedding AND a new house. The 23 year old me took them up on their offer. Stayed married to the the fuckwit for 29 years but never loved him. Controlled by the in-laws the whole time. He was a nightmare, travelling 5 days a week and having all the extramarital fun he wanted.

    Finally got the courage to leave in 2009 and have had a free and enjoyable life since then. Don’t think your in-laws are on your side. They only want to save their son some money and save face with the community. Watch, as soon as you balk at reconciliation you will become the bad guy.

  • He has a sadz. Awesome. If FIL or MIL ask what he can do to get back in your good graces, tell them he needs to sign the divorce papers. A fresh start and all the shit.

    Then drop him like a plaster of Paris enema.

    • Forward Onward Upward, if your cheater was truly remorseful he would behave differently. A truly remorseful cheater who loves you would not attempt to contact you. He would see the devastation of his infidelity on your life and leave you alone. He would be too ashamed to risk hurting you again.

      True repentance is evident in long term change. He doesn’t love you. He loves how you served him. His attempt to contact you is further evidence of his disdain for you. He knows you are a chump. He betrayed you when he fell into strange. He continues to betray you by attempting to reestablish your marriage.

      All he can do to truly express his remorse is pay you promptly and leave you alone. You deserve a real love not this fake cheater mess.

  • I’ve had this feeling before. It was after my first long-term relationship ended horribly. He refused to apologize for his abusive behavior toward me and we both moved to different cities. I was on to something new in my life, whereas he was floating alone having trashed his dreams. (He was not a citizen and was denied re-entry into the country after his arrest for assaulting me.) I was so happy to be free of him. But I have a memory of one night back then in my new apartment, sobbing my eyes out, thinking how sad it was for him to just totally fuck up his life like that and lose this person he was so proud to be with. That pity is hard to describe. I wouldn’t have taken him back, and that’s why I was so sad. Knowing that he had messed it all up so badly that I sincerely did not care what he did with the rest of his life.

    Anyways, that was it. The feeling went away and I spent very little time thinking about him after that. I had occasional nightmares about him for years, and thought about him when telling new boyfriends about that situation. But otherwise it passed and I’ve been at meh with that guy ever since. Hopefully it will be the same for the letter writer. I would suggest being extra vigilant about the no contact now (I had it easy; we were living in separate countries). Take that “I don’t care what happened” feeling as a sign and tell your father-in-law thanks for filling you in, but you’d prefer not to hear the details at this point in time.

  • I would NEVER want my cheating XH to break up with skanky OW because my checks would stop and he would come hoovering back to me because he can’t live without a mommy. Ugh. No thank you.

  • A few tips:
    – The legal system has a way to deal with spouses that just won’t give up. Have an attorney get things finished up quickly, forget mediation (if that’s an option). At some point, a judge will just force it on him whether he agrees to a settlement or not.
    – Go over all financial statements he sends, and carefully match it up with what you had from before he left. If there are large sums of money unaccounted for, be wary.
    – I agree with CL that the soon-to-be-ex-FIL may be trying to manipulate you — or being manipulated by his son — into taking him back. He might actually be a decent guy and think you would want to know that karmic justice had been served, but you really can’t be sure. He could be playing on your pity to allow his son to come back.

    This might not be “meh,” but I think it is certainly on the right path. Looking at the glass as half-full, at least you didn’t run back to him.
    I would say to be thankful this guy is out of your life, and out of your neighborhood. Most of us with kids have to have a zombie-like relationship with our ex’s every week.

  • I’m late to the party on this and I have not read all the comments, but I can assure you your ex won’t be alone for long. He will have a new victim in his hooks in no time.

    I highly doubt your ex isn’t recycling old affair partners either. Remember, your ex is a liar. He lies to everyone and uses pity as a way to manipulate people.

    I’m sorry you went through this, but for the love of all things, don’t feel bad for a guy who cares about no one but himself. Ick.

  • have what you may consider a unique situation and need your advise please. His GF has left him finally.
    My husband and I work together and he started to have an affair 5 years ago with one of our colleagues who was also a former friend of mine, he made it so obvious and wanted to leave me and our 2 little girls saying she was the love of his life. I was absolute devastated and I started to lose weight to win him back immediately, I refused to let him go where his new GF and I were fighting for his attention “pick me dance” which he absolutely loved. He would leave us for days on end crying and yet I would always still be nice and let him in the house whenever he wanted and to my embarrassment I constantly tried to sleep with him even when he went to see her, I would bombard him with emails and text messages, selfies, you name it. I took responsibility of the affair and said it was my fault for not being a good wife as I was lazy before, I changed my ways completely devoting my love for him, lost 20kg in weight I found new confidence, I went to get a boob job to impress him, in-fact I went to get 4 more boob jobs, wanting to go bigger and bigger as I knew his new interest had one done, botox. you name it and I did it to win him back! He was loving my new look and so was I loving the attention. He would sleep with me occasionally even when he was sleeping with her and I became a sex addict myself, I dressed up for him constantly on my toes to impress and win my husband back. He would be nice to me but had left me for 5 months to live with her, when they would argue he would come back to me without me hesitating and he would just say sorry and it was her fault not his to why he behaved that way. I took responsibility and said I will be the best wife ever desperate to put it under the carpet and show him I was the winner not her. We went on multiple holidays to spoil me and he would buy he what I wanted, kids would be left at home with the helper (we are expats where we have hired help) and go on date nights to rekindle US BACK . We were now this cool good-looking couple he always wanted us to be. It was always about me losing weight and I was now that woman for him. I never really had outbursts and just accepted and was happy my husband was back home. I was of course concerned we still worked with the other woman but he convinced me he would never do that again. 8 month later he did it again with the same woman, said he tried but its not working with me, I was devastated, he made me move homes, filed separation documents, threats etc as we rent here (this was the second time I had moved without him, didn’t mention the first time the year before) he moved next to her in her apartment and again I would beg and plead for him to come back. My life is nothing without him, he has the money and I love my lifestyle here. I have to confess I also went on tinder twice and found myself sleeping with some guys while he was away. I have become a sex addict too and wanted revenge on him but on the side I still always wanted him back. After this second time, his whore GF broke it off again as I was admittingly putting him under a lot of pressure to see the girls and me, I started to become him and wanted to fight him back off that whore! He came back home and broke his lease on the apartment near his whore, again we had a few talks but I just wanted him home with me again in my bed, he promised me he would do it again for the second time and was sorry our girls had also seen her and had been going to the park with them etc. Again, I took him back and I was happy, my family was back together. I’m clearly the forgiving type and he comes back and takes me on holidays and some how he wins my trust. last year he did this for the 3rd time AGAIN, this time he divorced me, I didn’t put up a fight and signed whatever he said to sign as I believed he would do me right, he gave me my fair share and full custody of the girls. I did not want the divorce and pleaded with him but he insisted we were done.He went back to her after everything he said, he put me and the girls through hell. I moved into my third apartment alone with the help of him to settle the girls briefly. This time my whole family and friends knew and told me to run but I couldn’t, I just wanted him back, I love him dearly. I did find a guy on tinder I liked which gave me hope that I won’t be lonely, he told me everything I wanted to hear and later I found out he was also sleeping with other women too which hurt me a lot but I convinced myself that all I was interested was in sex too so I continued seeing him for months.my ex knew I was seeing someone too and I tried to tell him we could still get back together as now it was tic for tac but although I know he was jealous he wanted to go back to his little whore! I tried to convince him we both have done wrong and could start again. I don’t want to be a single mother alone, and I do love my ex husband dearly, he was my best friend. I was always nice to him even when he left, even when he took the girls with his new GF away to a hotel and they were all sleeping in the same bed which broke my heart to bits, he tore me to bits telling me to go back to Australia which I refused as I love my life here and want to be close to him as I lived in hope he will come back. I knew one day he may come back and dreamt of the day we may re-marry as being nice always wins, his gf is a vile bitch. My girls hated his new GF , I had told them all about her and of course they would side with their mummy, they made her life hell which I loved and then she left him AGAIN, this time again he came back begging and apologizing that she is a narcissist and is unwell and he is seeking help to get out of her Webb once and for all.he told me I am nice and always have been nice to him and he realizes he loves me not her. We are good friends and I love him, I want to get re-married to him and I know this all sounds crazy but has anyone else experienced this? can we work this out? he is saying he will do anything for me and it’s all her who made him react the way he does.Its only been her no one else so if she is finally out the picture and he has seen the light do you think we have a chance? she has also recently left work too so he won’t be bumping into her either. Please help me, I want him back once and for all and I think believe him, his gf was poison and he is now seeing it for himself. Has anyone been in my position here?

    • Chumped, you need to get some help. If you care about your daughters at all do not set this kind of example for them. You have no identity apart from this guy. You say you love your life wherever you are an expat. What do you love? Until you get a job or some other healthy outlet you are just going to focus on men and sex.

  • My opinion is don’t take him back because of poor example it sets for your daughter’s future relationships. That is why I left my husband.

  • Chumped?
    My first response is ‘run like your hair is on fire.’ As the above poster said, think of your daughters!
    Get help for yourself so you can deal with your issues.

    Read all of CL archives and her book. That woke me up because I would have taken mine back but he was the one who kept leaving until I finally saw the light after reading LACFAL.

    Get recovery for yourself. You are very clear on your issues and how they are destroying you. Your daughters need a sane parent. Be the sane parent!

    Once a cheater, always a cheater. Books, legends, movies, songs etc are all full of this because it is the TRUTH. Mine cheated years ago and said it was over. HE just went underground= more skilled at lying.

    My opinion only.

    • Thank you, I low you’re right, I just don’t have the strength. This is the 3rd time he has left us and wants to come back just blaming her for why he was the way he was, she is unwell and sick and now he see’s the light. My girls want their daddy back and I never stopped loving him. I guess I’m living in hope that if she is out the picture once and for all he will stick with me? It only ever been me and her? not like he was sleeping ad having affairs with other women. He has no family and and friends, I guess that’s another clue to his character. If im truthful I do need help, I convince myself im a good mother but im clearly not, im too busy trying to keep up appearances on facebook pretending everything is good, trying to win him back with how I look now, and dont want to be a single mother. He has destroyed me and our kids and has said the most harmful of things but he says ve also done worse now so its tic for tac. He Is really good at convincing me. I sound so stupid even writing this but since he has been trying to win me over again, I have been meeting him for dinner and sleeping with him at his new place and also going back to doing things with the kids as a family. It was only a month again the kids were seeing their dad with her. He hasn’t moved back in yet. He is being really nice to me and telling me everything about the other woman, putting her down as I know he use to do with me. I want to move back to our home country as we’re expats here which he has suggested we do next year but also saying why should we go when we love it here because of HER and we make so much more money here. I feel I just can’t get him out my system, I feel like I’ve won him back over her which is victory but if im honest you’re right I just mask the wrongs with saying its for our children but in fact its for our own selfish needs. im living with a happy ever after, when he came back twice before we had a good time, I barely mentioned anything, I slept with him at least 15-20 times per week, and he was like my best friend but when she comes back its all downhill. When she is gone our life is good. Have anyone heard anything like this? Please be honest and transparent with me. I need advise

      • “When she is gone our life is good” means “when hubby feels like keeping me around and persuading me to come back again, he’s nice.” It’s not about her, it’s about him and his fickle-ness. He’s only nice to you when he feels like it, and then he’s right back to her (or someone else) when he feels like it.

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