Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, Do I have to organize their video chat?

Dear Chump Lady,

Some backstory before I dive into my current issue: My ex-husband (as of July) told me he wanted to separate in January 2018. We are from Arizona, but were stationed in Maryland at the time. Oh, and I was 8 weeks pregnant with our second child.

He encouraged me to move back in with my parents, so I packed up what I could and moved with my two-year-old back to Arizona. I soon after found out he had been seeing Schmoopie since December.

My pregnancy was miserable and full of pick me dancing, but now I have two wonderful kids and contact with XH is strictly about the kids. XH video chats them a few times a week and visits a couple times a year (with Schmoopie and her preteen daughter of course).

My current issue is today he let me know that my kids are going to have another sibling, and he wants them to video chat this weekend for the gender reveal so they can “be a part of the big moments.”

My question to you is, HOW do I do this? I don’t talk badly about XH and Schmoopie in front of my kids, I co-parent as best I can, but I just don’t know how to talk to my kids (mainly the oldest) about this.

He will be 4 when the baby is born and he seems excited, but I just can’t feign happiness. I can’t do it. The child is innocent and I have no ill will towards the baby, but I am disgusted by this situation. I don’t have it in me to facilitate a video chat for this gender reveal.

I expected them to get married as soon as our divorce went through, but this is even worse. How do I go about this with my kids and my ex?

Signed,

Chumped, Dumped, and Pregnant

Dear CDP,

I don’t think it’s your job to gin up excitement about a new sibling. That sales pitch belongs to Cheater McGee and his New Vessel.

What IS your job is to “facilitate contact” or whatever the particular wording is of your court order.

So, let’s break down the mechanics of video chat. You turn the computer on. You log into Skype. You place pre-schoolers in front of the screen. You exit the room.

Or you stand far, far away from the crazy (but within eye-shot of the kids) and let Cheater McGee hold the rapt attention of a four-year-old boy and toddler.

(Mr. CL: “It’d be like giving a PowerPoint presentation to a flock of geese.”)

I’m imagining this scenario.

Cheater McGee: “Look Tyler! It’s a UTERUS!”

Tyler: (Glazed look of boredom. Bed hair. Stares at screen.)

Vessel: “See that blob? THAT’S YOUR SISTER!”

Tyler: “I have a Thomas train Percy and Edward and Diesel. Diesel is the bad guy. And Sir Topham Hatt. I want a coal car. Daddy, can I have a coal car?”

Vessel: (Unaccustomed to the ways of pre-school boys, and their Well, Enough About You! conversational segues, soldiers on…) “A SISTER!”

Cheater McGee: “Tyler? Tyler? Where’d you go? I’m looking at spilled apple juice and the bottom half of a sofa. CHUMPED! Hey! Put Tyler on the screen!”

Tyler: (A distant voice) “I want a COAL CAR.”

(Toddler is in corner off-screen, contentedly eating paste.)

Cheater McGee: “Tyler? Dylan? Where’d you go? You’re going to have a SISTER!”

(Sudden shrieking)

Tyler: “MOMMY! DYLAN’S EATING PASTE!”

Vessel: A sister!

****

Yeah. I really don’t see any reason why you have to be around for this conversation and prompt their squeals of delight. Let them be in contact, (as in, flip on the switch) and let go of the rest.

The triangulation and kibblefest is for their benefit — you don’t have to play along. When it all gets too much, just remember how faithful he was during that last pregnancy. I’m sure he’s just going to be super supportive about episiotomy scars and leaky boobs. And that baby weight. And sleepless nights. Oh yeah, just a ROCK of support.

The shiny bright will wear off. Not that they’ll broadcast it.

Meanwhile, you keep rocking that new life. Maybe have a friend over on video reveal day so you can snark and drink wine (and clean up paste) together. He’s a tool — and he lives far away. And you’ve got the kids. Ha ha. You win.

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.
  • If it doesn’t stick too much in your parents craw perhaps the could stubble the room once you’ve plonked the kids in front of the screen and pressed the button.

    • For mental defense, think of this request as proof positive of how shockingly self-centered, obtuse, dense, emotionally immature, cruel, etc etc your former fake husband is. At the end of the day, good riddance.

      I don’t know many kids who are thrilled to find out that the dad who abandoned them is starting a new family. It usually hurts like hell, often for the rest of their lives.

      I am thankful your children are toddlers right now and I’m blessed oblivion unlike an older child. So, could focusing on that fact could be another mental life ring for you?

      Any of us here might find out we are in your shoes at any moment…for all I know my daughter has unknown siblings. The damage two people can do…to nuke the past, present, and future for generations to come, and defend it in the name of love, blows my mind. Their behavior is the polar opposite of love.

      • Yes. My teens are not excited that the dad who has abandoned then is now having a baby with his most recent gf. They are hurt again.

      • Agreed. My daughter found out she was going to be a big sister at age 7…her dad and I weren’t even officially divorced yet. Then about 7 months later she found out she was getting another sibling.

        Of course top priority for my ex and his GF is for our daughter to immediately accept her new family, they are to be referred to as siblings (not half-siblings), she needs to be a part of family photos whether she feels comfortable or not, she needs to accept that her siblings love her and look up to her, etc. etc.

        What is not a priority, is how our daughter feels. She goes to therapy but no one has taken an interest in what happens there or how they can support it. If she shows interest in her siblings during the 4 days per month they assume that everything is fine because those 4 days per month are the rule, not the exception. If they would talk to her they would find that she feels abandoned. She wonders why it seems like her dad can be a good dad for her two new siblings, but was often at the bar when we were a family. She wonders why she no longer gets 1:1 time with him. She wonders why her dad takes zero interest in her schooling. or her life outside their home (with the exception of certain sports). She feels like he doesn’t care. When I bring any of this up I am not believed. They think she is telling me these things because she thinks I want to hear them.

        • I’m so sorry CC. The way these cheaters treat their abandoned families is absolutely mind-boggling! And heart-boggling, if that’s even a word. The efforts made for image management with no consideration of children’s feelings shows you who they really are. They lack empathy. And no one really gets to be on their fakes good side. Hugs to you!

        • i have been thru that. my youngest was 8 when wasband ran off with the neighborhood crack whore. but he was his daddy’s favorite so he felt the abandonment hard. he struggled with his dad just not having any interest in his life anymore. he could not understand it. although ironically my son understood perfectly how daddy just did not like mommy anymore. he could not understood that daddy did not like him.. .. i actually remember him saying this .. but daddy loves me.. .

          poor babies. all i could do is reassure him that i loved him just the way he was and nothing he did made daddy run off. i explained that daddy is a grown man who made his own decisions. we talked a lot about consequences and bad decisions. we had long discussions about lying, and keeping promises and what it means to be a good person. .. all scattered thoughout the years that followed. i warned my son not to drive off with daddy without asking mommy first even if daddy told him mommy said it was ok. i red flagged my kids at their school so dad could not just check them out for lunch or any reason without the school having to call me first.

          i let my son know he still had family with me and his siblings. i ensured him daily that i loved and cared for him.. .. . and i apologized to him for his dad not being a good dad. if he asked questions like “why doesnt dad call me anymore” or “why wont dad come visit me” or “why did dad lie about that” i would just answer with “That is a very good question! i dont know what your dad did/said that. you will need to ask your dad the next time you see him” then we would talk about the action like how i did not want him lying or stealing or breaking promises or whatever.. .. i also would allow my son to call his dad anytime he wanted. (as long as i had dad’s phone number) if son said why doesnt dad call, i say i dont know do you want to call him.. of course he did, and so i would dial the number and hand the phone to my son. often times dad would be “too busy” too talk or dad did not know what to talk about so the conversation were short. if son said i dont know what to say to him, i would suggest things like tell him about your picture or games or boy scout thing. if son said dad doesnt want to talk or didnt answer or said he was busy i would just say “i am sorry son.”

          i know it hurts to see your child hurting because their dad is a fuckwit. but take it from someone who has been there. DO NOT TRY TO FORCE DAD INTO BEING A DAD. let him bury himself. do not make excuses for dad. do not tell the child that daddy loves her but is just busy. children can tell and should know that is not love. i often tell my kids that there is no way i could live a day without them because i love them so much. i never say dad loves you or if dad loved you he would ___.. .. But i do say i love you and i do __ because i love you. i would never lie to you or hurt your feelings and you can always depend on me. i say these things all the time (not just when dad messes up)

          she will figure it out as she gets older. just give her extra hugs and cuddles and love while she does

          • Indeed,let the deadbeat parent bury themselves. They will find themselves permanently alienated from people that they should hold dear. But selfish and self-centered is just that.

          • I think she has him mostly figured out.

            Today I did make him be a dad. He messaged me to ask that I tell our daughter he wouldn’t be at her soccer game this weekend. I told him he needed to tell her himself.
            He did. He told her good luck at her game, he couldn’t be there because his girlfriend’s parent’s invited them to their new cabin to see the furniture?!

            Just when I thought he couldn’t sound like a bigger idiot.

        • also stop telling him and his flavor what she is telling you. explain to her that you can not make daddy do anything. explain to her that it is not YOUR job to make daddy be a daddy (because daddy is a grown man who do that himself).. *i explained to my boys that everyone is only in control of themselves. as much as we would want for someone else to do what we want–we cant force them to. just like we can not MAKE someone happy, nor can anyone MAKE us happy. we can only do that ourselves*.. ..

          encourage her to tell dad instead… help her come up with the words to say it to him. teach her how to express her feelings in a healthy way *and on the flip side to start setting and keeping her boundaries–is this ok to her–is this how she thinks it should be handled*
          and even then he will start saying it is because you are making her say that. you might warn her that daddy might be mad but that it is not her fault. she needs to tell him how she feels. they never take responsibility for the bad thing that happen. however, it will be a learning experience for your daughter. (unfortunately,a painful one) .. .. when she tells daddy she feels sad, mad, hurt.. and he blows off her feelings. she will come running to you. all you can say is “i am so sorry baby. i dont know why dad did/said that but i am always here for you.”

        • C,C how old is she and can you put a stop to some of this. Let her make some decisions on what she wants. Don’t let him dictate to her what she has to accept. They are half siblings and if she wants to call them that let her. That is what they are. I find it telling that you referred to them as her siblings. Let her have some control or there will be more problems. She is in pictures she doesn’t want to be in? Her feelings are not being considered. Ask her what she wants and let her start to have some control.

      • ((((CDP))))
        I just read your letter to CL.
        I feel so much emotion as I had a tiny child and was in first trimester pregnancy at DD time.
        Out stories differ in that cheater stayed. ( I believe the reason was he didn’t have the guts to tell OW that pesky wife appliance was pregnant, as she already felt bad about taking him away from our tiny child).
        He changed jobs ,we moved away. I have no idea what became of OW, I really know nothing about her.
        I have to tell you that I believe YOU are an amazing Mother. You are so strong and loving. Every word you say you put your precious children first.
        Since CL allows us to swear I just have to say “Fuck him and his revealing party.” You children will have a1/2 sibling, a boy or a girl. It probably doesn’t matter much to them, as their father is not a big presence in their life anyway.
        He is trying to create drama where there is no need.
        Just get through what you have to do, breath in ,breath out, do it for your Children.
        It is just another day where he wants some kibble. Give as little as you have to.
        At the end of the day, just remember, YOU are so damned Mighty!
        You are also amazing, loving, kind, and generous.
        I just love you CDP ,and I wish I had been more like you!

        Xxxxxxxxxx
        peacekeeper
        Many many hugs to your kids, they are so lucky to have you!

        • i agree with you.. .. .. i would not agrue with him. and just plan my day as usual. AND not facetime.. .. .. when the time comes and passes and he calls to yell at you. Just say Oh was that today. i am so sorry, we got busy. or my internet stopped working. or my phone went dead. or the cat got ran over. (insert whatever excuse sounds like it will work)

          i will bet my last dollar that he could care less if his 4 year old and his 2 year old be a part of the big moment. THAT fool missed out on the biggest moment of their lives by just not being there. in my opinion, he is just trying to throw it in her face that he is having a baby. and making his exwife feel bad. and getting off on all that. she would shot that down by acting like she forgot. even just a opps i forgot and nothing else.

          if it is not in the divorce degree she is not obligated to facetime or video chat with daddy. But if she trys to explain that to him would just be feeding him keebles. so just op out of the crazy train. and make sure to plan some fun activities for that day to keep her mind off it. take the boys to the park, plan a picnic, go to a movie, a pool, a friends.. … turn off your phone because he will be blowing up your phone. ** I mean really how focused would he be if he was calling and texting the baby momma instead of focusing on the gender revel with the new baby momma. But not your circus, not your crazy.

          seriously, do a 2 and 4 year even care what gender is yet. i know mine did not. there is no way i would subject my kids to that shit. nor subject myself. .. . i would rather color with my kids. he lost that privilege when he kicked her and the kids out of the house. if he really wanted to be a part of his kids life he would have never done that. Follow the court orders.. .. .. *even that can be twisted. no court would hold you in contempt if you had no internet or dropped your phone in the toilet. my ex is good at making excuses so it kind of rubbed off on me. plus my daughters ex actually used the dropped the phone in the toilet excuse and didnt even get a slap on the hand.

      • Well said, Velvet Hammer. Cruel, selfish, lack of empathy and sheer stupidity is what these two suffer from. Who does this? Why would ex-husband rub abandoned chump’s face in this under the pretense of sharing the “happy news” over a video chat with daddy’s abandoned little ones who are too young to really know or care what the hell he’s even talking about??? Cue up the song, “Were You Born An Asshole,” in the background and yes, lots of wine.

  • Just remember “cool,” “bummer,” and “wow.” Also “I’m not sure.” Every single thing your kids say about their new half sibling can be responded to with one of those 4 statements.

    • Perfect. I have also found that practised neutral expression plus Uh Huh, OK and a thoughtful Mmmmm, can cover even tricky areas. Small variations in neutral as required, from pleasant through to sympathetic (if cheaterpants/schmoopie have behaved appallingly – again – and child is upset).

      • my go to is “OH really!!!” “thats great” “i can see you are happy” and “i am sorry” (when they are sad)

        if the OP is lucky. daddy will get so involved with new sibling that he will leave her kids alone. as much as it hurts to watch your kids grow up without a dad. it is so much better all around and definitely for the kids not to be bounced back and forth and subjected to shit sandwiches. it doesnt sound like he is really invested in these babies anyhow. video chats during the week is not the same as coming to visit. sounds he is still in Maryland and she is still in Arizona. i would be looking into how many months/years does it take before she could file for abandonment. i think it is something like 3 years here. of that also means no calls, no video chats, no communication, no visits. but still i would look into it **AND keep that information to myself because she wouldnt want to warn him or remind him.

  • I still don’t get that after being abandoned by their choice that they have the right to encroach into our space because we have young kids.

    Just hearing his and second-hand Susan’s voice in my own home would piss me off. That I have to be in my home at a certain time to facilitate their lives would piss me off. He should have thought of the consequences before he took off / sent you and the kids off.

    I don’t think I would agree to facilitate anything like that – especially not a few times a week and especially not ‘extras’ that in reality toddlers don’t give much of a crap. be awful if ‘the wifi went down’ or had to be cancelled due to lack of money…..

    Luckily my stbx creep disowned his child as Slaggy-Anne didn’t like the small amount of money that was spent with him but that causes its own issues even in my post-teen son….

    • I had to initially facilitate 2 Skype calls per week while Father was away at work for 15 nights in a row. So 4 times each time he was at work.
      Oddly, the children were not super interested and made the barest effort possible. (Hi Dad. I did (this) at school. I have a new tshirt – see. Bye.
      Now, its one Skype call every few months. He messages me, I give him a time. The kids have agreed they will stay in the room and speak for three minutes minimum. Now the eldest has a cell phone he messages her sometimes.
      What Im saying is – it will pass. Baby will arrive, the shiny will wear off, as long as YOU dont get sucked into the drama he wont continue for no reward.

          • It WAS court ordered. It was considered bare minimum. And he couldnt even maintain that. It looked bad on him when we went back to court for a list of my wrong doings, including “child got a cold and was on antibiotic and I didnt tell him” and “child was scratched by cat so cat must be put to sleep” The judge said he was being unreasonably concerned for children he couldnt even speak to 4 times in 15 days. Now it says I will not impede contact with their father and I dont. But I no longer have to initiate.
            I was VERY careful to follow the court order 100%

  • Turn it on, go to a different room.

    Yeah, yeah, he continues to breed. The child isn’t even particularly a novelty item for 3 or 4 year old, not when there is one already in the house. Not that they will see one another that often.

    I feel badly for the pre-teen daughter who is very likely to be pressed into service as a built-in babysitter. Goodness knows that will probably underscore the importance of LARCs to the girl when sex starts happening. I hope she mostly escapes that task because why the hell would she celebrate the very real symbol of their love that may have blown up her life too? CDP doesn’t detail whether or not Schmoopie was married when all of this started, but I doubt her kid is really keen on the man who takes precedence.

  • All good advice… except that I would not personally want to leave any small children I know in sole charge od any computer I own, especially with an even younger child in the same room!

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around why you would ever have to facilitate a video chat. Phone call, sure, but video chat seems like it is asking for a lot, at least to me.

    When the kids get older and they can do that on their own, ok. While they are too small for their own phones, it seems unnecessarily high-contact.

    If he wants to see his kids, he can come see his kids. Says me.

    • There are often court orders about facilitating contact, so I would proceed with caution or read the custody order carefully. JMHO. Talking to a lawyer about these things is always good. If there’s anyway to skip the mindfuck, I would. But you don’t want to look bad to a judge (denying children access — bad, blowing up families with your wandering dick… hey that’s why we’re in family court…)

      • I hear you, and good to point out, and the reason I treaded lightly by giving this as an opinion rather than advice/shoulds. Laws vary by location and any opinions here must be taken with that grain of salt. Good reminder.

    • Ok, I can’t help myself — all this over a gender reveal? Gender is NOT relevant to 2 and 4 year olds. They can watch video later when they are older.
      Compared to being blessed with the great fortune of a healthy baby (because not everyone gets that fairy tale at birth time — I speak from experience), maybe WE shouldn’t find it terribly relevant, either.

      gender reveals are, IMO, crap. Did you know that being born with some form of intersex condition is as common as being born with red hair? Some people don’t even find out they are intersex until they are in their teens via another medical condition prompts a scan or lab tests. Most parents opt to hide it when it happens — often even from the child to whom it pertains, until they have no other choice — but the data is clear, like it or not.

      And don’t even get me started about the differences between traits and identity – because whether some people like it or not, people don’t always feel the same about themselves as their physical traits appear, and that has lifelong impact.

      My lengthy point is, what if you throw a great big gender reveal party then find out later that you had it all wrong? And the answer — unless you find it ethically feasible to reject and/or abandon an innocent child — is that you love and care kindly for your children, and the children in your life, regardless of assigned gender, gender identity, and/or gender that falls in the mid-range of a non-binary spectrum.

      Yes, even if it renders your gender reveal party void. (Turns out, someone else’s gender is not about you.)

      Which is why gender reveals are, in my opinion, risky at best and generally crap. Because even if all of the above doesn’t apply to you, supporting the idea that it’s a failure or mistake if it applies to someone else puts all innocent babies at risk.

      And all that is much more complex than anything that pre-K kids need to deal with on a video call or at any other time.

      If you go through a pregnancy and end up with a baby, that is nothing but a precious gift. Don’t take it for granted. Take your job seriously and love that baby not just no matter what, but embracing all the “what”.

      And that’s why a gender reveal is not relevant to a small child.

      My two cents.

      • (If you like gender reveals, rest assured, I am not judging you. You do you. This is just an opinion and food for thought from a person who has learned the hard way that gender is the least of my concerns when it comes to honoring the sacred value of a human life.)

        • As a labour and delivery room nurse for a long long time, I salute you, yet again, Amiisfree.
          A beautiful live baby placed into a loving parents arms is the greatest gift any human on earth can ever receive.
          And, yes, ok, to look below and learn if it is a boy or a girl, that is great too, but that shouldn’t really matter.
          Ask me how I know?
          I can certainly tell you.

          I.LOVE.ALL.BABIES.
          THE.GREATEST.GIFT.ON.EARTH.

          • I did NOT want to know if I was having a boy or girl for either of my pregnancies. I had to warn all the Dr/nurses/sonogram people to not tell me, because they were all so damn excited that technology allowed them to actually do so. I felt that I was growing a beautiful baby, and all the effort, throwing up and kicking would be worth it to get to the biggest surprise ever! I didn’t want any preconceived notion of either baby until I’d actually meet the little humans on their Birthdays. I also didn’t choose a name until we’d met. Very few things in life are truly a surprise once you’re an adult, but I wanted to protect that moment for myself. It made sense to me then, still makes sense to me now. Are there any modern day Mom’s who can still opt for this? “Don’t spoil my surprise please”? Is it even possible I wonder?

            • I do hear of expectant parents who insist on not knowing the gender of their baby before the actual birth date.
              You are right, it is difficult to keep this news from them, but still possible and well worth the effort if that is their preference.
              It can be stated in the amom’s prenatal record that she does NOT want to know the sex of her child and this information can be blocked out. Difficult, but still possible. And very well worth the effort.

              Kimsoverit, I agree there is nothing like meeting your beautiful newborn child ,and hearing the Doctor say, ” It’s a boy, or It’s a girl.”
              Just give me that baby to hold close, female or male, it matters not!

              I have never never forgotten how one father ran out of the delivery room and headed for home when his wife delivered their baby. It was the couple’s first child ,and it was not the sex that the father wanted.
              I never saw him again the whole time the lady was in hospital.
              My heart went out to her and her perfect, healthy baby.

          • You grok me. 😊

            Once that cute little song plays on the speakers over and over for everyone but you, it stops seeming like such a cute idea.

      • Absolutely agreed. I wish people would stop calling them “gender” reveals. At the very best (and as you stated, this is not even a “for sure”) they are “sex” reveals. Penis or vagina? That’s really the gist of it.

        Can they not just have a freaking baby shower and be done with it? It’s exciting to learn the sex, sure, but an extra party about it seems excessive sometimes. Or forcing a 4 year old to be involved/excited/focused….yeah. Good luck with that.

        (As Amiisfree says…you do you. I am just spouting off my opinions, as per usual 🙂

        • I agree, Amiisfree! Thanks for that great post!

          The hoopla over the “gender” (Liz is absolutely right: it’s sex, not gender) is like a having a selfie party. “Look at this picture of ME (well, the inside of my uterus)! Isn’t it worth certain colored streamers/balloons/scratch-off-cards? Wouldn’t you like a copy of this selfie to take home? And wouldn’t you also like a copy of my dental x-rays?”

      • Yes!

        Although I actually do judge people who have gender reveals, just as I judge all people who push the “there’s two genders and you can tell by sex parts” oppressive narrative.

      • Even if it’s a gender reveal party where a cake is cut & blue or pink interior is revealed, or blue or pink smoke is shot out of a blaster (my neighbor did this) it still seems the ex is doing this for selfish reasons. To a 4 year old & a toddler it’s going to seem more like “na na boo boo! Even if it’s a gender reveal party where a cake is cut & blue or pink interior is revealed, or blue or pink smoke is shot out of a blaster (my neighbor did this) it still seems the ex is doing this for selfish reasons. To a 4 year old & a toddler it’s going to seem more like “na na boo boo! You can’t be here!You can’t be here!”

        • good point. how is the 2 and 4 year old going to act when they see the party and the cake. .. .

          and not have any.. … i still say skip it and blame the internet went out

          • Your absolutely right, their post-video-chat meltdown over NOT getting cake and balloons will be epic. Um, why open yourself to that drama. It seems a little cruel, imho. If you absolutely must, at the designated time, take the little ones out for a bakery cupcake and let them have a phone call from Ex while you’re there. Kids will likely be much more interested in the cupcake than Dad’s ‘news’. They won’t care, you win, because “cupcakes”. “Hey kids, remember that time we went for cupcakes? YEAH!!” Don’t give this more energy than it deserves…yawn.

      • What a self serving load of crap that is. A video chat with a 4 and 2 year old for a gender reveal of a child conceived during their fatther’s disgusting affair? These assholes are despicable. They are attempting to make something deplorable and outrageous into something acceptable. I feel bad for the innocent child these two shit for brains people are bringing into this world.

        • Thanks, I was feeling ashamed reading all the other comments. I feel nothing but contempt for ex and schoompies definitely to come baby. I already call it bastard and since I have a restraining order for him to enter my premises. I make exception for driveway for pick ups. I have already told him that should he ever pick up our daughter baby in tow, he can just leave the bastard in the stroller right outside the driveway. He never even touched our daughter when she was a baby. He doesn‘t like babys and they don‘t like him. I would never agree to video call unless court order.

          • I save my contempt for people who have agency and use it to do harm. I can have indifference for an infant, and I can feel reactive in the presence of an infant because of what they represent, but personally, I don’t have contempt for infants and can’t condone neglect or abuse based on my indifference or my reactive feelings about their parent(s).

            Might just be a word choice difference. If it isn’t, though, we won’t have more to discuss. I am non-negotiable on this point.

    • i dont do video chats often as they see their dad twice a week, but when we do i basically hand my phone or tablet to my eldest and sit off screen, where i can hear, but not be seen. doesnt usually last kong with children that age anyway as they get bored and distracted easily

  • The age of the kids and their distance from dad, the recent divorce, and the fuckwit’s obvious callousness all point to a triangulation. Fuckwit isn’t looking to share his joy with his kids who won’t likely know what he and Schmoopie are talking about. He’s looking to play games with Ms. Chumped. 😠
    Chumps should always do the bare minimum to comply with these orders. Especially when it’s Fuckwit’s decision that his children live far away so he could start a new family.

    • I also think that the sole purpose of this Skype session is to play triangulation games with Mrs. Chumped. She probably needs to switch the computer on, maybe she needs to stay in the room to keep an eye on her children but she can read a book while there’s gushing going on, or knit a winter scarf. It defo not her obligation to participate in excitement over a new baby.

      If anybody complains, she can point out that unlike husband she knows what boundaries are and unlike Schmoopie she isn’t interested in inserting herself into other people’s lives.

      It’s a shitty situation though.

  • I do not see why there is any obligation to facilitate a video chat on your weekend. If it’s not in the court orders you don’t have to do it. He can tell your son during his own visitation time.

    • That’s the stance I would take too. She said he let her know he wants it. She says she doesn’t have it in her to comply. Seems to me that’s asked and answered. Unlikely this will involve a judge.

  • The idea that your children and this new child will all be part of one big happy family is a boatload of delusional hooey. In what sense is he their father now? A skype call twice a week and two short visits a year? That’s grandparent status–especially if he brings presents when he does show up on those visit. And once that new baby arrives Granpa Daddy will have even less time for your children than he has now. I would bet that Schmoops is behind this as part of her moves to ingratiate herself with him, decenter and taunt you (“When you were pregnant he left you for me! Now that I’m pregnant he’s a true family man!”) while upping the triangulation factor.
    I’m with Chumpy Chumpy Chump Chump UK edition: it would grind my gears to have to hear their voices in my own home, and especially for this. The best you can make of it is that this latest sorry episode is a shining example of “Trust That He Sucks.” (And she does, too.)

    • Yes, I agree Schmoopie is feeling insecure and is behind this charade. She’s making damn well sure he doesn’t run back to you and the boys. Plus the fact he hasn’t made a move to marry her must not be setting well with her either. They started an affair in December and in January he leaves you for her……way too fast even for the dysfunctional cheaters.

  • Perfect advice. Never engage in triangulation. Takes half the fun out of affairs, and speeds up the wearing-off of the shine. Lucky you (and lucky kids) that you have the kids and he has video chats.

    • Yeah, screwing you over is probably more than half the fun.
      Why other women find this an exciting thing to do is perplexing….you have got to be very selfish!
      But then I remember, I am the Chump.

  • Mandated Skype chats are bad enough, but a forced gender-reveal party with their dad and his new wife — that’s just gross. Fortunately, the ex’s use of very young children with microscopic attention spans as his supporting players in this All About Me ‘n’ Shmoopie kibble play will probably turn out very much the way CL describes. I’ve skyped with toddlers; I know. It works about as well as putting them on the phone used to. “Shall I put him on? You want to talk to him? Here honey, it’s your Aunt Marge!” (Toddler gingerly allows phone receiver to be held to his head, responds with confused silence to Aunt’s tiny voice emerging from phone)

    Ahhh, the good ol’ days. 😂😂😂

    OP, I wish you a sudden inexplicable decrease in signal strength, lots of delays and pixels, and sub-par audio. Try setting the laptop far, far away from the Wi-Fi, and maybe turn on all your other online devices during this important Skype call. Might as well run a blender or vacuum in the other room while you’re at it.

    *evil laugh*

  • My son can only FaceTime on his phone so I tell him to go to his room when he wants to talk to his dad. It’s a trigger and just to painful to glimpse or hear his business. The bedroom boundary works for me because I don’t need a portal into fucked up and he doesn’t need a portal into sanity.

    • Same. My son likes to talk to his dad on speaker. I have made him enter a different room or take the phone off of speaker. Now I put both headphones in my ear and occupy myself.

  • If you are required to do this by court order then do it. Given the age of your kids stay in the room but out of sight for the camera, ideally where you don’t have to see it. Wear earplugs. Seriously. I do when the ex calls to talk to my son. When they wander away from the screen announce, ok they are done switch it off. If there is any complaint about that reply, I think it’s best if we keep calls timed to their interest / attention span. It won’t help them maintain a positive connection with you if it isn’t a positive experience for them.

  • So schmoopie has a pre-teen girl and is now preggers. Oh this is going to be such fun. Your ex is not going to know what hit him when the little girl is between the ages of 13 & 17. Right now she may be sweet but anyone that has had young teen girls, well even when they are at their best, they are a total pain in the ass. They resent being told what to do by their own flesh & blood parents, someone not blood related, it’ll get ugly.

    • That just gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling KB 22. Ex’s schmoopie’s Daughter is now 15. The games are beginning. My kids are 30 and 27. Muwahahaha.

      • Yup and then the OW also has to take sides (daughter vs cheater scumbag) and of course by now the tru wuv stuff has worn off. Even with the best of people under the best of circumstances this is a trying time…..but with selfish cheaters….oh boy.

  • You all are amazing and strong.

    I need some serious instruction on “cool, bummer, wow.” I cannot maintain the poker face very long and get so angry, that it’s hard to deliver the line with any authenticity.

    I have a little one with Judah’s, and am in this for at least another 12 years. The hate Skype calls and hearing mg about “daddy’s new friends”.

    Does the angry/pain ever go away?

    • Fearful&loathing, yes, the pain goes away. The anger subsides. I divorced Cheater #1 almost 15 years ago. I admit it took awhile, but now I maintain a healthy sense of schadenfreude because the narrative never changes. According to C#1, it’s always somebody or something else that is at fault when those “friends” dump his ass. Definitely NOT because they realize he is lazy, misery, self centered slob. Yeah, only a loser like you who has exactly *zero* visitation time would use the excuse “People don’t want to date people with kids”. Uh, your “kid” is almost 17 and sees you one weekend a month, tops. When it doesn’t interfere with your skirt chasing. Yeah, what evs, dude. (eye roll)

    • I don’t know if anger or pain goes away. I have been out 21/2 years and have 121/2 to go still have pain. The anger has subsided lately; but schmoopie did leave him about 2 months ago. haha

    • i am 5 years out and i could give a shit what he is doing. .. .. the only time i think about him is when i am on this site. he sees my boys once a year when he pulls his head out of his ass and remembers he has 2 boys. my boys are not 13 and 17 and they also dont give a shit.

      if dad comes it is fine. if dad dont come it is fine. they have me. they have family. they have friends and active lives without dad. they dont want to call dad anymore. they will answer he facebook messages (i told them not to give dad their phone numbers because i dont want them to get that 2am drunk suidcide call).. .. but dad hardly sends a message.

      i was a wreck when all this started. i remember i could not breathe and my heart hurt so much it physically pained my chest and body. i cried every single day for a year. and cried periodically for another year. i would pain shop by checking his new crackwhores facebook and she was good at posting pictures in public so i could see their happy loving relationship. .by the 3 year i realized that THIS was the real him and he never really loved or wanted me in the first place. and i stopped thinking of him and started thinking and focusing on MY healing.. . . last year i realized that he will never change. he cant keep a job, a house, a car. his relationship was off and on. they were toxic, beating each other and hateful to each other. addicted to drugs, alcohol and now meth. living in his van or in crackhouses (run down empty houses that have no water or electricity) so different then the happy loving pictures she was posting.

      And i remembered that i DID NOT WANT TO LIVE that way.. .. i am so glad that i am not.

  • Unless Skype is specifically listed as a required form of communication on the decree then a simple phone call will suffice. This is triangulation at its finest. Hell no!!!

  • Who’s to say you can’t plan a party going on when the Skype begins. Maybe poster boards of his other girlfriends. Your own pregnancy pictures and his other girlfriends listed.

    He’s bring his trash into you’re home show him he’s an unwelcome A$$.

    Plan a revenge party and watch them shut it down really quick.

  • My ex is getting married in 10 days or something soon anyway (I know this secondhand, and only because it messed up my youngest daughter’s plans to be with her BF who is home from college that day spectacularly).

    My fiance and I are going away for the weekend. Because we were anyway and because I spectacularly don’t care. Have been at MEH for a while and only care about Beer Breath and his fat fiance because of how they spectacularly don’t care about his kids (which includes him going back on his promise to help my youngest out with her rent, while also failing to pay me the alimony he owes me which I was using to help my youngest while I was out of work – he’s several months behind and I’m pretty sure he is planning to take me to court to try to prove I’m cohabitating. Good luck with that).

    So I will spend the weekend making mad passionate love to my wonderful fiance and NOT thinking about Beer Breath and Fatty. MEH is wonderful and I hope this poor young mom can get here soon! It’s always Tuesday and life is GREAT!

    PS I would love to know how he justifies telling the kids and me that he is “broke” when he has clearly been spending money on a wedding…hmmmm. WHATEVER ASSHOLE 🙂

    • Hi Mehtoo,
      I understand your animosity towards your ex’s fiance, but what does her being fat have to do with her gutter morals? Fat shaming really isn’t necessary. I’ve been publicly fat shamed in front of a whole crowd of people, and I can tell you that even when it isn’t personally directed at me it still stings. It was one of the excuses my ex gave to me as to why I was no longer worthy of him, and it’s hard to recover from that. It’s not your fault he mindfucked me in that manner, but I’d venture to guess there are others on here whose exes did the same to them. It took me almost two years to start loving myself enough to place my health as a top priority and I’ve lost 56 pounds since January.

      I am happy that you’ve found a new love and I wish you all the best. I’m also sorry to hear your ex is such an asshole. That’s surely one thing we all have in common.

      • I don’t think mehtoo is crucifying or making fun of people that are overweight. I think she is directing her comment only to the OW. I take the comment to be directed at people (specifically cheaters) with less than stellar looks or definitely not perfect by society’s standards and still thinking they are the bees knees. The remark is to take these specific jerks down a peg or two and let them know, guess what, you may think you are fabulous and better than me because my spouse cheated and left me for you but here is the reality, you are …….fill in the blank. Lets face it, the majority of us are not SI cover material. Personally, (and I am far from perfect) when someone is a nasty piece of work, has a high (delusional) opinion of self and makes it a point to make someone feel “less than”, I’m going to zero in on their flaws and make fun. I make no apology.

      • Pepe Le Pew I’m so sorry for what happened to you. You are absolutely worthy of love and respect. Congrats on your weight loss. It takes strength and bravery to make changes. I hope it and your new life makes you happy. You deserve it, regardless.

    • This is unnecessary. Women come here for support. Almost all of them have been beaten down and insulted by their exes, and one of the most common weapons is their weight. They come here feeling less than nothing, desperate for support and a little kindness. They come here broken and hating themselves as it is. They don’t need to hear their Fuckwit’s bile coming from another woman. And in this post “fat” is absolutely being used as an insult and a measure of worth, as it sadly is every day in many venues.

      I’m sorry your husband left you. I’m sure it it hurts even more that you feel physically superior to her yet he still left you for her. I understand you are angry but a quick read of the comments on any article should really be enough for you to see to keep your disdain of “fat” people and your options on their worthiness of love to yourself.

      This post is a perfect example of what I mean when I say no one deserves to to be cheated on, but being a Chump doesn’t automatically make someone a decent person.

      • Um, since I’m fat myself I am not sure that me fat-shaming her is really the issue here. I call my ex beer breath which could be construed as breath-shaming I guess, but it is his choice. He also chose a partner who condones his choices. I did not and therefore I am no longer his wife and he chose another. She is fat. This is not fat-shaming. It is just a fact. We call OWs sluts and other derogatory words here all the time. How is proclaiming truth okay only about certain facets of someone? Just asking. Again, let me repeat I AM ALSO FAT – this is fact.

        • See my comment at the end. It didn’t nest properly. I wish you well, but other than that I have nothing more to say to you after that

  • Nothing he does is important to you any longer. You are living your life not his. Take the kids to build a Bear during time he would Skype. While he’s trying to make it about him your kids will be focused on bears. Then say, gotta go, kids need me. Click. Buh-bye

  • I wonder how “Tyler” is going to feel about all of this when “sister” shows up and it’s all about her at Dad’s place. If he is and continues to show “excitement” over the baby then it’s really just his own version of the “pick me” dance. He needs to know that he has at least one sane parent who loves him unconditionally. Thank God he has that in you.

  • I went through something similar. Everyone’s case is different, but I set strict boundaries around video chatting. OW was not allowed in my home, either in person or on video chat. I told cheater that our son could video chat with her to his heart’s content on his visitation time, but not on my time and in my home. It’s been 5 years and the rule stuck (albeit with enforcement on two occasions). My son is free to video chat with his father and toddler sister without restriction, but I will not allow them to vomit their feigned happy into my world. I also stopped allowing cheater to schedule video chats with my son after we separated. He failed to show up twice and left a heart-broken toddler, so I told him that from then on he could text to see if we’re available but I would no longer set my son up for disappointment when other alternatives were available.

    Here’s how I would have handled your dilemma: “I’m not available for video chat that day. You are welcome to fly out to pick him up so he can attend the party in person, or you can take a video and watch it together on your next visitation.” When he pushes back, say “I’m sorry, I’m not available. Let me know which of the other options you’d prefer.”

    The have an expectation of accommodation. Feel free to pop that bubble and let them figure out alternatives on their own.

    • Spot on, Free Vix. Unless it is in a court order that the kids have to participate in a video chat for a ridiculous gender reveal, I would tell that unfaithful fuckwit to go pound sand. And the cunt too.

  • Unless your custody agreement says that you must do this, then you don’t need to participate in any of this nonsense. Your children aren’t even of age to care or comprehend, let alone sit in front of the computer watching some party somewhere.

    Again, unless custody agreement says otherwise, this is more about triangulation games, boundaries and learning how to say no to all that. A case of, sorry got a haircut appointment at that time and hang up.

    A gender reveal party is social nonsense. You aren’t actually preventing your children from knowing their half sibling once/if they come along. Still a lot can go wrong between now and birth realistically. Even then, your job isn’t to facilitate but merely not to stand in their way. Up to fuckwit to handle that.

    Fact is that “daddy” abandoned them and it’s only a matter of a few more years before they connect those dots. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t push daddy relationship on the kids. It’s going to burn them that much more later. Of course….always deferring to your court ordered situation about contact. What I’m saying is comply, but don’t go one stride above that.

  • On another note, I am glad that my kids were old enough when all of this went down that they can set up their own Facetime calls with Dad. That being said, I probably would facilitate those calls if they were younger and couldn’t do it themselves. In our case, he isn’t a danger to his kids and I don’t want them to feel the same sense of abandonment that I do so I encourage him to spend as much time with them as he can and I encourage the kids to accept it. Even so, they know he spends more time physically in the presence of Schmoopie’s kids and they certainly feel that sense of wrongness. I can’t fix that but I am grateful that at least he pays adequate child support, never falls behind on it, and still sees his kids in person and via Facetime as often as he is able even when he is traveling (especially when he is traveling, hmm). I am glad he didn’t just walk out of their lives even it means I still need to interact with him myself every now and again and hear about Schmoopie or whatever from the kids (mostly my daughter complaining about her, the boys don’t mention her at all).

  • Turn on the computer and place the children in front of the screen then walk away. Sorry you have to deal with this “grand reveal” garbage.

  • There is no way I would subject my kids or myself to this kind of bullshit.

    The Internet went down, the device for communication was not to be located, (kids, they lose everything) Bobby had a poopy mess and needed a diaper change, whatever it took, I would not allow this kind of manipulative triangulation enter my home or sanity.

    Good luck taking it up with a judge. “Shit happens, your honor. I couldn’t help it!”

    Fuck that shit.

  • If you are not required by law to do this, you have an opportunity to set new boundaries. All emotion aside, his request is inappropriately invasive and your intuitive reluctance is telling you that. He is not asking you to accommodate Skype visits with him which you have been willing to do and probably believe are important for the children to sustain contact with him outside his physical visits.

    He is asking you to facilitate the creation of his blended family, a virtual one, which is not your responsibility. If we wants to include your children in this milestone of his blended family it’s HIS responsibility to facilitate. Tell him you are happy to make the children available if he wants to share this moment outside your home, either in person or with third party facilitator paid for by him ( a mediator could provide this service).

    Ive lived my ex’s subtle invasion of my family life bulk shit (no typo here – my new word for bull shit because there so much of it) and it and am finally recognizing its subtlety and setting boundaries.

    It’s a pretty simple response – you are happy to make the children available for his family milestone outside of your home at his expense. It’s inappropriate for him to share this in your home. He will be angry at this response but he won’t ask again. You have an opportunity here.
    And if you do comply with his request there will more expected later from you in supporting your children’s presence at these virtual milestone celebrations.

    All the best,

    HWH

  • As a woman who underwent years of painful high-tech treatment for infertility to have even one child, I understand the excitement surrounding pregnancy, but these ‘gender reveal’ events seem over the top. In the OP’s situation, the whole thing sounds like a bastard brainchild of narcissistic, disloyal XH and OW. Whatever happened to just ‘We’re having a girl/boy’ over the phone or in person? Oh yeah, we’re talking about people who don’t care about anyone other than them.

  • You mentioned that you “coparent” with your ex. Video chats and two visits a year is not what I would call coparenting.

    Get yourself a pair of headphones, start the chat, put the kids in front of the screen, and then sit so you can see the kids but not the screen. Put the headphones on and listen to your favorite music. It is not your responsibility to keep the kids interested and focused. Just think of it as a task you have to do, and then mentally check it off your list.

    Coparenting…what a joke!

  • If this is not a regularly scheduled chat, but an extra one, it’s not part of the agreement and you don’t have to do it.
    If they plan on doing this in a regularly scheduled chat, you do not have to agree that OW can be involved. I’m assuming she is not part of the legal agreement and has no legal right to such contact. I would stipulate she is not to be involved in any of the Skype sessions. Pseudo-dad can do the “gender reveal” himself. He doesn’t get to use this to triangulate, with OW squealing away about the baby in front of you. Give him only what he’s *legally entitled* to. He has no other entitlements with you. That ended when he cheated and replaced you. It’s time to lay out your boundaries and rigidly enforce them, because these assholes plan to use anything they can to mess with you.

  • Agree with most, this is chumpbait-what an asshole. either just say no, have other plans or if you must sit toddler in middle of toys and turn screen on. Be sure you are not in pic. Good luck-sounds ridiculous. Hugs!!

  • I feel the need to share something I’ve recently learned that has helped me take a huge step towards Meh. I’m going to butcher these, but bare with me.

    On a podcast, Buddhist Robert Thurman expressed that (here comes my butchering) everyone deserves love. Even the worst of the worst deserve to know and understand love. My X deserves a life where she comes to understand and be filled with complete and knowing love.

    More importantly, my kids deserve a fantastic relationship with a mother who understands and is filled with that love.

    Thats a tough nut to swallow, but its true. My kids would have a better chance to pass that knowing and true love down generations if they learn and feel that love too.

    Kind of hippie-talk, but a really powerful challenge.

    Do I have to love her? Hard no. But I dont have to wish against it.

    Which brings me to another buddhist story I heard and will share (and butcher) — Im not a buddhist btw. But the gist is a man was forced to carry another half way up a mountain. After completing the task and continuing up the mountain, he complained about the weight of his guest and the pain of the experience. A monk asks him why is he still carrying the load even after finishing the task.

    The point being, why carry the burden in your head afterwards… Lay that burden down, the job is done. Its freeing.

    Let this goof try his best to connect with his kids. Maybe he’ll learn how to really love them. Maybe he wont, its not your burden to carry.

    • I can’t thank you enough for these stories, you have no idea. This is totally selfish on my part, but I really struggle with the fact that my DS18 still loves his father, even after all he’s done. I know he has that right, and I’ve told him that his relationship with his father is his to navigate; I don’t try to convince him otherwise. Now I see that my son probably simply understands that even his father deserves love. It’s definitely not the same kind of love he had for him before, but I think he accepts that his dad just isn’t that deep. His dad still shows an interest in him, so he’s latching onto the best parts of his dad. It gives me hope that he won’t let the infidelity ruin his chances to have authentic relationships where he feels safe.

      I need to put down that burden for real, and listen to myself when I tell him that his relationship with his dad is his business. If my ex learns how to really love someone, it should be our child above anyone else. But it really isn’t my burden. I’m just happy that my son hasn’t become cynical.

      THANK YOU

    • Tall One…
      I completely agree. x left the kids, 3 chihuahuas and myself for another woman he met while stationed in Japan. I had no clue he was unhappy and I thought we were good and I certainly, at least deserved, my husband of 8 years to at least TRY to save our marriage. I was going to turn myself inside out to make it work! He had already made his mind up and I just didn’t know…stupid me…

      But one day while folding clothes in my room, I had an epiphany….I realized that my x handled the situation of leaving the kids and I the way he felt he needed to do it. I didn’t agree with how he handled the situation but he did and there was not a damn thing I could do about it but accept it. He needed to do what he felt he needed to do to be happy.

      He loves his new wife obviously to go thru everything they had to to get her here to the US. All the paperwork, the thousands of miles apart for 10 months and all the hoops I can imagine they had to jump thru to be together. That’s awesome! I am grateful she treats my daughter good and they love each other.

      That evening I sat there with piles of neatly folded clothes on my bed looking out my window into the dark and I thought, “well there you have it LasVegasChump….all neatly folded up like these clothes with a bow. Now process, feel the feelings, let go and move on. ”
      I reached “meh” that night.
      I am now free.

      • What helped me the most was when I realized my ex simply was not capable of giving me what I wanted. He was never going to be the husband and partner I wanted. And it was unreasonable and unfair of me to continue trying to force him to be who I wanted him to be instead of accepting him for who he was and wanted to be.

        That really helped me see the situation for what it was and to move on. I don’t know that he’s happier on any deep level as he’s living the same shitty life, but he probably is happier in general as he has someone now who is more supportive of who he is and doesn’t try to force him to be someone else.

        It really made me take a long hard look at myself and how I treat people. I no longer try to force people to change, instead I spend my energy looking for people who are already the type of person I want on my life.

        Every single cheater here has shown they are a certain type of person deep down. Nothing we do will change that and it’s us who is being unreasonable in trying. I’m not saying accept shitty behavior, but walk away. Don’t try make someone into who you want them to be just because it’s easier than leaving and doing the work on yourself.

    • What utter b.s.

      I think this is a response for the spackle question of yesterday.

      This “deserving of happiness” is the same line the cheaters spin. All the cheaters had to do was end the marriage in an honest way. None of them chose to do that. We all deserved to be treated with dignity, like decent human beings. Cheaters didn’t do that.

      Her happiness equals kids happiness equals your happiness? That’s some of that RIC new math and doesn’t really add up.

      • Easy up there F&L…

        thats not the equation I put out there. Nor did I say its possible. I also didn’t say it was easy.

        I did say my children (all children) deserve to feel completely loved through and through by both parents. I did not say its possible. I also said to let it go, because wether its possible or not, it no longer has to burden us the chumped.

        Now quit knocking my experiences/emotions down.

        • The only burden – as a mother- that I will carry to my grave is the fact that my children were cheated . They were cheated on. And No matter how hard I tried- I could not stop the bullet train to destruction.

          I will carry that burden to my grave.

          My fault.

        • You are right – the children do deserve to be loved by both parents. The problem seems to be that many cheaters love themselves first so their kids don’t get that unconditional love they deserve.

    • Sure my ex deserved to be loved and he was, by me. He didn’t need Schmoopie for that. After DDay he said to me “all I ever wanted was to be loved”. I found this perplexing because I loved him, but he refused to recognize that fact. It didn’t matter what I did to try and show my love, he would interpret it in the most negative way he could. I stood by him and was loyal and faithful for over twenty years. I did my best to facilitate his happiness and encourage and support him in his life goals and he was never satisfied. Then she comes along, sucks his dick a few times and suddenly he believes that she’s the one who cares and she’s the one who loves him? She really hasn’t seen him at his worst. He’s helped her through some difficult times but she hasn’t had to do the same for him. I don’t see how she could possibly love him although she may well need him. From my perspective, he traded tarnished silver for fool’s gold and he thinks he got a good deal. What helped me was the realization that even if he was making a foolish choice, there was nothing I could do about it and I am not responsible for whatever harm he suffers as a result in the long run. As you say, that’s not my burden to carry. The consequences of his choices are his to bear. That being said, sometimes I suffer consequences as a result of his stupid choices too and that’s annoying because I really don’t deserve to be punished for something over which I had no control.

      • I agree, it’s all very well to say that everyone truly deserved to be loved, but that presupposes that everyone has the same definition of love. Chumps tend to take love to mean showing up for someone, through good times and bad, accepting their partner’s faults and less-attractive attributes, and ‘being there’, being loyal through thick and thin. It appears that cheaters define love as sex, ‘loving uncoditionally’ ie letting them doing whatever they want with no consequences, and putting them up on a pedestal where they are so irresistable and wonderful, and they can expect smoke to be blown up their ass 24/7. A lot of those unrealistic expectations are naturally at odds with the realities of life, particularly parenting, and one of the big reasons that we cannot ‘compete’ with schmoopie is that we’ve seen them at their worst and they know that they can never appear as heroic in our eyes as they do in scmoopies, who hasn’t yet come to experience the unfettered farting, nosepicking, skid marks and temper/alcoholism/overt narcissism. If it helps set people free to be able to wish the cheater’s well, then go for it, but I think it short-circuits the process of self-righteous anger that is a healthy part of healing a chump’s ego, the acknowledgement that we’ve been mistreated and no end could justify those means, where one partner has to take terrible hits to their reality and being to justify another person’s (very specifically personal) definition of happiness.

        • TL;DR version – it’s a dick move to say that love justifies everything, and that we should be sacrificed at the altar of a disordered person’s definition of it.

        • My husband is an asshole who doesn’t have an inkling of what love really means. I hate him. My son loves him still, yet has also called him misogynistic. He knows who his father is. I’ve told him that he is a better man than his father ever was or could ever hope to be. He smiled and hugged me really hard. Tall One’s post spoke to me because I realized, that from my perspective, everyone should hate him, including my son. After all, he was betrayed as well, and he has told me that he feels betrayed. But he has also told me that what his father did to him is different than what he did to me. He’s not ok with what he did to either one of us, truly he isn’t. But unlike me, he feels his father still deserves his love. The story helped me to realize that my ex is still a human being, with apparent limitations in his capacity to love and bond. That’s really tragic. I think in my particular case I have a very tiny sense of pity for my ex because he used to tell me that he was jealous of my relationship with our son. He knew he didn’t know how to connect, but he obviously wanted to. Big red flag I spackled over! The thing that makes him an asshole nonetheless is that he actually knew that about himself and used me to try to fill up that hole in his soul. That’s selfish and entitled, and he literally treated me as an appliance to make himself feel better. I told my son that his father wished he could have the type of relationship we have. I think that tiny bit of vulnerability is what keeps him somewhat attached to his father. Believe me, I am nowhere near meh because I am full of righteous anger at that disordered toad. I can’t keep hoping that my son will hate him too, though. That’s all about me, and wanting to control other people. I just need to accept it and put that burden down.

    • Love this. I do my best to pray for my ex. I ask that he experience real growth, be able to truly understand love and be a good father in every way. I’m also honest with myself and God. I don’t want good things for him. I’m not at Meh full time yet although I love my visits there but I know God loves him, wants to heal him and restore him to the fold. And I know my job is to say, not my will but yours God. It honestly has helped me along the road to Meh. Not everyone is a believer but this for those that are, give it a try.

    • So I’m not sure I’m this good a person, I have some growing to do! The first Dday for me was when we were a little over 5 years into the marriage and had 4 and 2 year olds. He wouldn’t even come home from work unless the kids and I were home. He started avoiding me, stopped wearing his wedding ring, was basically shitty to me. Then said he was in love with someone else and had never loved me. I never saw it coming. We sold the dream home we’d just built the year before. The kids and I moved into our own smaller home. He saw the kids every other weekend and Wednesday evenings. I guess the schmoopie grass wasn’t greener although she divorced her second husband (cheated on both her hubbies–what a prize).

      Fast forward 12 years and the same avoidant, shitty, non wedding wearing ring asshole behavior. This time it’s DD14’s 20-something asst sports coach in our kids’ Catholic high school. The kids tried to maintain a relationship with him. I was no longer a buffer so he’s a controlling, narcissistic asshole with a doormat young schmoopie not talking him off the ledge. She is however enjoying a huge 5,000 sq ft home, new car, tropical vacations, jewelry all while he makes the kids beg for anything. He’s even withholding their college savings unless they do what he wants.

      Both my kids reached their limit this summer. One has cut ties completely and the other barely texts with him. Both told me they had discussed it and feel sorry for him. They were initially afraid he would die alone one day. They think he’ll have 3 or 4 wives and more kids although he’s 51 years old now and leave a string of screwed up people in his wake.

      I feel free now. If he’s happy with his choices, then so be it. Not my circus, not my monkeys. I don’t wish evil for that fucker. But I absolutely hate that he treats his kids so crappy. DS20 calls him a master manipulator. That’s about as meh as I can get. I just don’t care how his life turns out and I do wish him all the love he deserves.

    • I don’t agree with that premise. Shitty people who treat others badly do not deserve love. I believe love, like trust, respect and loyalty (which are key components of love) are earned, and are not to be offered completely unconditionally.

      I do agree that the burden is not ours to carry.

    • I’ll wrap up this thread.

      I am NOT saying love justifies anything. Im not saying my X (or anyone’s) is capable of REAL love. I’m not saying its easy. I’m not diluting the pain or horrific acts we’ve experienced. I’m not even saying I forgive my own X for her crappy decisions.

      I AM SAYING, its ok to lay that burden down.
      Now, it totally depends on where you are in the journey. I’m quite a bit along.
      If you’re still pissed BE pissed. Put it into action. Get the settlement you deserve. Use that anger to jet you into a new orbit. Its a powerful tool.

      I AM SAYING we don’t have to control everything. Cheaters have a hole in their heart (or however you want it described). But its no longer your job to fill it. They may never know/experience “real” love as you understand it. I AM saying, WHEN YOU ARE READY, you can let the rope go. Drift away. Breath fresh air.

  • There is a general silliness around the expectation that all of this be planned according to the specifications of the adults, rather than being age-appropriate with the kids. My guess is that this OW is younger, has no kids of her own and not a lot of experience with kids. In her mind, this is the “most awesome” way to go about doing things…”Hey honey, we’ll do a gender reveal and make sure that your kids are a part of it via Skype. See. I’m so thoughtful and inclusive. We’ll be a happy family.”

    Someone who truly understands a 2 and 4 year old, would know that expecting this to be timed perfectly is ridiculous. That informing children of this age is something that’s going to need to be done several times over and through varying means. Expect that they are not going to get it right away. It should be done more quietly with them.

    But, hey, we need a party over this with lots of selfies to be posted on social media about our perfectly modern blended family utilizing technology to stay forever close.

    CDP – Hopefully you can get your parents to help on this one. Park the kids, turn on the computer and leave. Your parents might make a few attempts to re-direct the kids to the computer screen as needed and then sign off. Kids are kids.

    • I know a lovely couple who did a “gender reveal” and it actually was highly anticlimactic. It takes about 2 seconds. And then it’s over.

  • This is just stupid and vapid and cheater centralized MindFuck.

    Who does gender reveal in the first place? Oh look! We are having a boy! Or a girl! We are so cute and special. Excuse me while I fuck my secretary cause my wife is pregnant and fat.

    Gross. Seriously just disgusting.

    I guess you just do the stupid gender thing via Skype with the kidlets for 2 minutes and then watch Winnie the Poo with Ice Cream and Snuggles.
    That is serious bonding time that will never be forgotten.

    CDP- you got this. You absolutely got this .

  • I get the feeling that this has nothing to do with sharing the “exciting news” with the abandoned children, and everything to do with using those abandoned children as props to make dear old Dad and Schmoopie look good to their live party guests. And here to entertain you are the adorable children I have little or nothing to do with to demonstrate what an all around great family guy I am. I included them to share in our happiness on our special day!

    They suck.

  • I’d have to agree 100 % with Chump Lady on this one. Put on the Skype and leave the room and then move past it. The more importance you give it, the more you will continue to hurt; and if you avoid doing it and make some excuse, he’ll know you still hurt and will know you intentionally avoided the call. Give it less importance…you already know the shock of him having another child, but since he’s not physically available and you have main custody, the other child is not really pertinent to your life. Let the kids learn of their new sibling. They’ll figure it out for themselves why dad is busy, instead of the responsibility or blame falling on you for not facilitating more of a relationship with them.

    • Correction: you don’t have to facilitate any relationship between them, just don’t be the barrier. It will protect you, should he ever try to take you back to court over custody.

  • Don’t sweat it. He wants them to be part of the big moments. Love is cultivating a life. It’s all the little things. Stories and getting tucked in. Kissed booboos and studying spelling. Brushing teeth and deodorant reminders. When they’re grown, you’ll have provided them a stable and strong foundation. All he wants is a big moment- an entertaining distraction that fades into a disappointment when the “high” of attention is over.

  • I remember the x asking how I knew our children were hurting because of what he did. (Our children are all well into there 20’s by the way so they were not naive as to what was happening right under their noses once Dday exploded on our scene.)

    Excuse me? I was flabbergasted that he was clueless as to how his idiocy had an ill effect on anyone and felt that we should all be over the moon for him as he set forth into his new and exciting life with Bimbo.

    I was speechless which is highly unusual for me. I was also clueless and certain, at that point, that he was suffering from a nervous breakdown – after all he was over 60 years old and had never acted so callously towards his own children in the past.

    Fast forward through separation, RIC drop out era and into divorce which introduced me to LACFAL and hundreds of books on narcissistic/sociopathic behavior and I now ‘get it’.

    I am sorry you have to go through this because you are the one who is aware and your kids are still too young to really understand what happened and what is happening. That will take years before it sinks in and, by then, their sperm donor will probably have added many other children to his brood via other women and your children won’t feel so alone in their situation IF he is a serial fuckwit. Time will tell on that one.

    Until then, protect yourself emotionally however you can because nobody else will and your kids need a sane parent.

    Big Hug to you.

  • Ex’s new baby arriving October, (I was only pushed out end December, no it isn’t mine!). Our children (5,7,9, 11) are excited… because they’ve been promised a guinea pig when it arrives.

  • Gender reveal is a practice that is deeply harmful to children and society at large. The gender a baby is socially assigned at birth is not always the gender they actually are. Genital shape does not equal gender. And gender reveal starts the deeply toxic gender socialization right off the bat.

    As such, cheater and cheater spouse are horrible people for having a gender reveal and in no way should your children have to endure that.

    Even the creator of gender reveal has said that this is a deeply harmful practice and has asked that people stop.

  • My comments keep getting dropped. . How much memory do you have of your four year old self? I have one or two vague memories. Once the new baby comes your ex will be all involved with that and his new life. I won’t be surprised if he stops all this video chatting and gradually moves on away from your children. I doubt it will harm either one of them emotionally since he is already just a person on the screen. Just give them stability and turn on the video chat and leave the room. Don’t ask them what he said. Not your circus, not your monkeys.

  • Calling someone fatty is indeed fat shaming. Even if it is coming from someone who is also fat. I can’t get inside your head to know why you would want to ridicule someone and by extension a group of people, which you say includes yourself, who are openly and at times viciously mocked by strangers. Perhaps if it had happened to you, you would feel differently. So it’s a fact, so what? Is it ok to make fun of someone with a very large nose, simply because it is a fact about them?

    I personally don’t mock my ex’s appearance or other physical traits. I stick to the facts of his character, which is the real reason why he cheated on me. Your ex’s fiance is a terrible person because of her actions, not her appearance. She deserves to be called out and you can call her any descriptor you want based on her actions. A liar is a liar, a cheat is a cheat, etc. She is a fuckwad, who deserves to be shamed for her lack of morals. Her being fat is a separate issue entirely. We are here because our cheaters and their partners in crime have gutter morals. That is a legitimate reason to take out all your ire and biting words on someone. Judging someone’s morla actions is imperative, but judging someone for how they look? Sorry, not ok in my book.

    I’m done here.

    This is meant in reply to Mention, I don’t think it’s going to nest properly.

  • Another idea: Get a babysitter that day and let him/her deal with the Schmoopie Uterus Fest. And you go Uber to and from a bar or a coffee shop with some friends and enjoy s little shit-talking and snark about the absolute wanker you discarded and who you now don’t have to be a rapt audience for. Then find something you enjoy talking about. ❤️❤️❤️ Rock on!

  • >