Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

When You Don’t Want to Spend Thanksgiving with Your Ex

Dear Chump Lady,

The holidays are coming and I was just wondering how to deal with the soon-to-be-ex (STBX) and holiday get-togethers. I actually thought we could stay on friendly terms since we have kids together and we will be seeing each other time to time. I really wanted it to be less painful for the kids and I just need some peace and healing.

Today, we were supposed to go to court and end the marriage. I have spent months and over a thousand dollars trying to draft up a decree with a lawyer that would just split our assets, since we both have a house, retirement etc, I thought we could just call it even and go on. When my STBX got the decree he called and was angry. I still don’t know why. Now he has hired a lawyer and they have asked that the trial be delayed, for 75 days! 

So, Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming up and I had planned on having him over for dinner, but I am really hurting and angry right now. He is trying to still control me, after abusing me, my kids and having multiple affairs for over 20 years. He wants to get his fair share of my savings and retirement, but what will happen now is that we will give the lawyers and court most of our savings. What a great guy!

I want nothing to do with him. After he called me two weeks ago, angry because I blocked him on facebook and ranted on me, I had an anxiety attack and suffered heart palpitations for two days. How do I break it to my family and kids that this guy is trying to destroy me and I want nothing to do with him for the holidays?


Dear ChumpedtotheMax,

How do you break it to your family that you do NOT want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with a serial cheater? It’s called a divorce decree. They’re these really amazing documents that free you from abuse. Everyone (including you) has to accept the fact that divorce means that you’re no longer family with the creep you’re divorcing.

He is your EX. Ex-turkey carver. Ex-stocking stuffer. Ex-Aunt-Mildred-sweater-gift-recepient.

Let’s say that 10 times together, shall we? EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX!

He doesn’t deserve the honor of a place in your life, or at your holiday table, any longer. He lost that privilege when he fucked around on you for TWENTY YEARS.

It’s called a consequence.

Cheaters don’t care for consequences. They prefer cake to consequences. Cake, that lovely, fluffy, moist state where you remain of use to cheaters and project to the world that they’re Splendid People. Do we UNfriend Splendid People on Facebook? No we do not! Of course he’s in an uproar — you took away a tiny bite of cake! Do we object to Splendid People grabbing more than their fair share of allotted resources? How dare you! They’re SPLENDID and more deserving than you are!

See how that works? It’s called narcissism. It’s the same impulse that drove him to cheat for 20 years — entitlement.

Which is why the cheap-o mediated, draft-it-ourselves divorce settlement was never going to work. Your situation is EXACTLY why I tell people to get their own divorce lawyers. Cheaters are not honest brokers. The fact that he demands cake shows you how skewed his world view is — me, me, ME… nothing for you.

Equity? Reasonable division of assets? A fair settlement because you grievously fucked up my life and abused me for two decades?

No! You’re the meanie who took cake away!

I’m sorry it’s painful and expensive to get rid of one of these freaks, but think of it as the Christmas present that keeps on giving — you no longer have to tolerate this jerk in your life.

I promise you, you can have a really lovely holiday season in time that doesn’t include a buffet of shit sandwiches. Part of the issue is that there is this myth of the Friendly Divorce (probably propagated by some subsidiary of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex), where even though you’re no longer together (you drifted apart, it was all for the best) — you still put the brave, happy face on For The Children and spend holidays and Thanksgiving dinners together. Just like the Old Times. Only Daddy has a girlfriend now (well, he did back then as well).

Hell NO. Children need to understand consequences too. There is a REASON you are divorcing — his 20 years of infidelities. When people abuse us, we remove them from our lives — especially the special times in our lives.

That isn’t to say your children have to remove him from THEIR lives. No, you absolutely ensure that they get their visitation or whatever custody arrangements you’ve worked out.

Is it sad? I’m sure it will seem that way for them at first. Change is hard. But one advantage to removing a cheater from your life is gaining a NEW life. One that is full of your traditions and your values. You invite to your table those people who love you and have your back as you have theirs. They may not share your DNA. Maybe it’s a dear friend, a widow, a neighbor. But you surround yourself with people who give joy, who reciprocate, who honor you.

How do you explain it to the people who were expecting Mr. Cheaterpants? Very matter-of-factly. He’s making other arrangements this holiday season. We’re divorcing. And then you deflect — hey, I wonder how much chocolate Santa brought? Let’s go watch Elf for the gazillionth time! Let’s stay in our pajamas and watch football!

It’s your day, Chumped. YOUR day. This day and the day after. Don’t let him steal your joy.

This one ran previously. My mother is coming for Thanksgiving. I need to go apply lipstick, I look washed out. Big to-do lists here…

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I spent my 1st divorced holiday with no family whatsoever.

    I went to a retirement home and played dominos with 3 elderly women who had no family nor visitors. Looking back… was the greatest time ever. I heard lots of memories including how hot Walter looked in that Army uniform when she first met him.

    Holidays are what you make them.

    • I should do this tomorrow xo I have a Nanny who lives in a retirement community and she would light up our day and appreciate seeing me. Thank you

      • I bet if you brought poker chips and cards, there would be a flurry of activity and seniors who should be out playing for higher stakes than chips!

        I taught my kids how to play poker because it’s practical math. Sometimes, you have to win your gas money from family… 😉

    • For the past 6 years I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with my ex and his family…I don’t want to anymore.
      This Thanksgiving, I will run a charity 5K with my son’s, then take them to breakfast. They go will their Dad at noon while I stay home and prepare for my special “visit” from a hot bachelor lawyer that I see every couple of weeks.
      So “Cheers” to new traditions!

  • Having a tough time gaining my life back after kicking out cheater 2 yrs ago. I’m grateful for kicking out cheater but the people who honor me will be seated at the Thanksgiving table with cheater dad and AP. Sad new normal for me. These are my young adult children. Their choices, sometimes floor me.I’m grateful for family and friends I will be able to see this holiday but my heart still hurts. Happy Thanksgiving CN. Continue being mighty xo sweet *wish me strength!

    • I’m so sorry that this is your reality. Trust that things will come back around (including the adult children). Karma will eventually catch up to your ex but in the meantime, be mighty…make new friends…create a new normal…and enjoy life without an abusive person in it!

      Have a wonderful holiday season. God bless.

    • The people who really honor you will be at your table, and in your life. I am so sorry about your adult children and their awful choices, but DNA is overrated.

      • One of the more painful lessons I’ve learned in my 66 years is that my family of origin does not have my back. I cannot trust them. One of the ways I have had to “fix my picker” aka “get my head on straight” was to stop assuming they would and then being hurt when they didn’t. I now look at them with the same awareness with which I learned to look at my ex’s antics and attitudes, and to protect my feelings I now employ a form of “trust that they suck” when considering whether I should ask for help or confide in them. Sometimes I feel cold and unloving–they often do or say hurtful things not out of malice but out of their own damage (our family was a dysfunctional doozy)–but I know that’s my own chumpiness, aka willingness to spackle for them and second guess myself, speaking.

    • I am so sorry.

      Think of this as a backhanded compliment. They KNOW you love them and won’t abandon them. They KNOW they are accessories and their dad doesn’t have their back, but they want to believe otherwise.

      So they knuckle under.

      You have a lovely day regardless of what Fuckwit does and with whom.

      • You are exactly right. Deep down they know Dad will discard them as well if they don’t toe the line or go along with his program. Very sad but the kids, even though technically adults, will still have to process this crap in their own time.

    • Yes adult children don’t always respond how we think they will. I have two and one is triangulating with X and causing major issues for me. It doesn’t help that son is showing major signs of mental illness (working on getting him help). I am having a hard time as I am doing all the supporting and he is visiting Dad and stirring up problems. If there was no mental illness it would be heart breaking but easier because I would put up a hard line boundary but suicidal thoughts (on my son’s part) do not make that a very viable option. I have said though that I cannot go back to living on the edge every day and that he needs to get treatment (it brings back memories of the horrible live in separation with his father).

      Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

      • Hey Dee, you are not alone in this. The notion of protecting ourselves from the abuse of our adult children is incredibly taboo.

        • I prayed this morning and lit candles in church for my adult sons, and that they see the light and the truth. Unfortunately, they have never been brought up to respect me and the Sociopathic Slander has only made matters worse. Bottom line, they refuse to acknowledge who their father is and have no problem believing the lies they have been told about me. My younger son, coincidentally(??), cut me off when (I now know) that my ex’s affair was going full steam. This son has since been married and I now have an eight month old grandson, that I have never met. The absolute worst part is that my grandson has been given my ex’s name as his middle name. In other words, he has been honored for what he has done!

    • I am 59 and my dad is 91. My dad was abusive and that’s all that I remember of him throughout my youth and even into adulthood. I have 8 siblings. When I speak with my siblings, we still refer to him as the ‘asshole’. To this day, if my dad was a younger, stronger man, he’d still be pulling the crap he pulled in the past. But he can’t. He’s old and frail. My parents divorced at their 25-year point because we siblings pulled our mother out of the house and forced her to go. We knew that my dad would have killed her. Literally. At age 68, my mother fell and broke her femur. Though she made it through the surgery, her health was so bad that she didn’t make it through the recovery. She died 14 days after her surgery. My dad just broke his femur a few days ago and had surgery the day before yesterday. Now he has to make it through the recovery. And you know, my siblings and I are worried sick over him. We know he’s still an asshole. But he is our dad. I never understood why my sons would sit at the dinner table with the dick-ex and the OW. I thought that they KNEW what he and she did, and yet they’re betraying me by sitting down, smiling, and enjoying their dick dad and the skank. As my siblings and I may possibly lose our dad (and we pray we do not), we question ourselves, “Why do we care?!” I cannot explain it, but even at 59 years of age (some siblings are older, some younger), we might very well be losing our last parent. Why does it frighten us so much? Perhaps it’s because we know that when he’s gone, we no longer have ‘home’ to go back to. I honestly do not know why there’s such fear for a man that would still abuse us if he had the physical capacity to abuse. Perhaps we see him as a very sad old man and we pity where his selfish life has put him. Again, I do not know. We’ll have to spend some time trying to understand it all. But I don’t question my sons love for their dick dad anymore. He is their dad, good or bad. They know he did me wrong, they know that the skank sitting at the table did me wrong. They’re not sitting at his table to approve of him and the skank. They’re sitting at his table because he is their dad and I raised them to love.

      • That’s so sad Amazon. My kids saw their dad beating the shit out of me, he abused them too (although not physically) and yet deep down I think they still love their dad.

      • thank you all for the understanding. I never truly looked at it as a betrayal, more of an ego kibble to him and f-you to me. But despite these things, I can acknowledge that this is still their dad and they want to be apart of his life. I am sorry to hear about your father, I wish for you peace and comfort at this time. My own father passed last year and that is another sadness I carry. Thank you for the wonderful insight into my feelings today, I am so grateful for everyone here. I know I am not alone, that helps me carry on with my life and still smile. xo sweet

      • Its more than this, it is that we never quite give up the hope that we might be able to have a decent relationship with the parent, even if they abused and abandoned us.

        I am the child of an alcoholic father, would come home drunk, and sometimes be gone for days. He also cheated on my mom multiple times. He was and still is a terrible father, he chose to alienate his own kids by his actions. Neither my brother nor I spoke to to him for over 20 years. I stopped speaking to him when I was 18, because I had enough of being used and emotionally abused, I was also tired of being the only one trying to have a healthy relationship.

        Up until that time, though, I tried.. I went to his house for custody, 2 days during the week (because when visitation was on a weekend, he either didn’t show up or changed plans at the last minute, in a ploy to derail my mom’s weekend plans… because he didn’t like the consequences of his behavior), I split holidays between his house and mom’s, and I put up with all his fuckery. And believe me, there was huge fuckery going on. Like, banning me and my brother from his house as “punishment”. Yes, he banned his own kids and refused to see us when we broke a rule, one that we usually didn’t know existed.

        Why would I try to have a relationship with this abusive narc? Well, I was a kid and I needed him. So did my brother. I missed him, the person he was before he began drinking and whoring around. I have memories of that person, my real dad, the one who would move mountains for us. I didn’t want to give up on having a relationship with him.

        • ” …it is that we never quite give up the hope that we might be able to have a decent relationship with the parent… ”

          That is so sad and so true.

          • Very true. Dad came back into our lives about 6 years ago. He hoovered hard. Has he changed? Not really. He admitted that he made mistakes, but he still drinks, still blames mom for the divorce, and also thinks that that 20 years of no contact was because me and brother were having a fight with him and his family. We weren’t.

            He doesn’t get it, he never will, and even if he did, he’s never wrong, and if he was wrong , it is someone else’s fault. Because he is a narc sociopath.

            He does make some effort, the my relationship with him is one sided, but it is no longer ME attempting to connect with him. My attitude if he tries, then I will try, too. But I don’t let him off the hook, I don’t let him lie, and I don’t let him blame shift. When he starts (because even after 36 years, he still blames my mom, even though he is still with his AP- and there is a whole mess right there), I call him out and either he stops or I hang up.

      • ((((( Amazon Chump))))
        You are a beautiful person. Your heart is filled with love. Hurt too, but you rise above the hurt and abuse and you see your Dad as a human being. As you said, he is still your Dad.
        My cheater has not been a good father in my eyes. There are so many ways he has verbally and mentally abused our beautiful daughters. Still, they say, he is my Dad, and I love him, but, he has not been easy to love.
        I think, in a way, you are a peacekeeper, like me.
        I am so sorry for all the hurt that you and your children have been through.
        My cheater has such a different personality than me. I do not understand how he cannot see that he makes life so very difficult with his narc like character. As CL says we just have to trust that they suck whenever we try to make any sense of it all.

        Also, I am certain that your children see that you are the parent who loves them with all of your heart and they know that you put them first.

        • Parent or spouse this behavior is abuse. I hope as my children get older they learn to put the Hopium pipe down. I feel for all of you with crappy parents, I see my own child cover for her shitty dad. After what my ex put me through I would cut off a parent that did this. But that’s me practicing hard boundaries. But this will probably never happen- My parents have been together 41 years (been together since high school) and they still truly love each other. I smoked the hopium pipe because I wanted what my parents have, I put it down 2 1/2 years ago and accept what is, been divorced 1year.

      • Amazon,

        your story resonates with me. And you are right that the kids being with the dickwad is NOT a stamp of approval for him.

        It’s about THEIR need to have (at least the illusion of) 2 parents caring for them.

        2/3 of my kids were ghosted by their asswipe (with the youngest seeing him once in 3 years), and when our son marries in the summer, his dad won’t be invited.

        But I admit that it bothers me for THEIR sake.

        Sure, he was at best an absentee father (and I’m talking a weekends only, IF that).

        But he makes up half their DNA and there are some good memories I hope remain intact for my kid’s sake.

        While I’m positive he still blames me for their horrible relationships, I no longer care what his delusions tell him or who believes them. No one who knew us as a couple, thinks of me as the villain.

        But the challenge for us as chumps (CL, CN??)

        is how to find that balance.

        WE KNOW their other parent was a selfish lying narc, but somehow – we must let it be.

        HOW do we do that?

        He stole yet more money from me (recently) and then sent a check to our youngest (for much less, but it’s a lot to the kid) as a gift. I never told her that he had taken another $10K from my account – for which I’d have to pay $4k to retrieve and wait…

        I feel like telling them “hey, that’s MY money” which it actually is, but I don’t.

        The financial abuse will stop since I finally got the pension directly deposited into my account.

        But it was literally the last shitty thing he could do to hurt me, and he took that opportunity of course.

        So I say nothing…right?

        Am I being a victim again?

        Feels like I’m being a victim all over again.

        • I’d tell her! Narcs don’t stop the abuse at their FOO and spouse. She needs to know he will lie and manipulate and steal! Why? Because someday you’ll be gone and he will be running this con on her and abusing, deceiving, and stealing her hard-earned resources. Tell her to keep the money, that you sincerely want her to have it–but let her know what she is really dealing with. She deserves the right to make informed choices about the people she lets get close to her and have relationships with.

  • Thank you CL, I needed this today. My divorce was final Friday and this will be my first Thanksgiving in 33 years without Asshat. I’m still rotating through emotions but plan to follow your wisdom and make it “my day”.

    • IMarriedAnAsshat, how I envy your divorce decree. I hope it was suitable for framing. This is my first Holiday formally separated from STBX, LTC Asshat. He was rarely around for so many due to deployment, duty and his need for strange. It really won’t be much different without him. I will miss my adult children. The oldest is celebrating with LTC Asshat and extended family. That is his choice. The youngest is at a remote duty station but I’ll see him at Christmas. I’ll join you in making it “my day”.

    • congratulations! I also divorced around this holiday! the first couple are hard and I just had to get through them. I did feel some liberation however. the tension of his presence was gone. if you want peace, you have to remove chaos. you are doing that. it is temporary. hugs!

    • I left XAss in Nov of 2015. Had to give the kid to him for the Holidays. I spent them drinking margarita’s and watching Kill Bill movies while wearing my most comfortable fleece. Very cathartic. Highly recommend.

      This year its just me and my mom for Thanksgiving. We are going to drink Kir Royals, binge watch Sci Fi movies and eat exactly what we want to, when we want to. Its going to be great.

  • Christmas day, any holiday is going to be hard. Unfortunately Xmas day, in England there is no public transport. ex has a pet cat, so we go there and walk home, taxis are twice the price, of course.
    Unfortunately ex tried to dump me on Christmas day, for the ow. god knows when he would have come back.

    • He received 28 calls on Xmas morning, I counted them, it was a friends number, god only knows what he told her, this was 8 years ago.

    • You know you don’t need to go to your ex’s place for any holiday, right? If you have kids, he can figure out how to come pick them up, then you can go pick them up from his place. Or not. The kids could have Xmas w/whichever parent they’re with at the time, then 2nd Xmas w/the other parent, on a day when the busses are running!

    • Because he has a pet cat he cannot leave the house???
      Give the cat enough food and it’ll manage for 2 days when need be

  • I will be spending the holiday floating around various houses for visits. Everyone has their own Thanksgiving going and they all want to see the baby. I’ve scheduled it around so that I dont have to see Fuckwit while he makes his rounds too, and thankfully everyone has my back on that. Cant wait to put her in her holiday outfit for her first Thanksgiving!

    • Talk about a present, sane, loving parent!
      You rock it ChumpedPunk!
      Happy Thanksgiving, AND, every day, to you and your precious daughter!
      You both look so beautiful from here!

    • @CP—- awww I loved dressing my babies up for the holidays! I hope you have a wonderful first Thanksgiving with your baby!

  • My ex-wife likes to subtly invite herself to holidays. It’s always phrased as an option.

    Such as, Thanksgiving will be spent with my family and I have my daughter for that day. I was going to pick her up tomorrow morning and go out to my mom’s house. Ex-wife offers to drop my daughter off at mom’s after they go out for Thanksgiving breakfast. I didn’t know anything about their Thanksgiving breakfast until yesterday.

    I say I will wait until they are done. She launches into it not being fair that I have to wait when she could bring her out later.

    As always, these “options” always come with a strong argument. I finally say to drop my daughter off at my house when they are done and stop replying to the follow up messages. After several other attempts at getting me to engage, she finally goes into pouty mode and says “ok…if that’s what you want”. SMH

    • Awe SPF that just sucks. She’s trying to make herself part Of your Mom’s holiday as well. My ex pulled that kind of silliness when separate holidays were a new thing. Stay the course, it gets better with time. After a bit of gray rock holidays they realize there is no cake for them there. The little fuckfuck games just aren’t as much fun. I’ve been following your comments and yOu are doing great.

    • Don’t you love how other people make plans for you but don’t think it’s necessary to ask you what you’d like to do? Narcissistic entitlement. Your ex is a piece of …work… and you have a great user name.

  • Woke up this morning in Miami surrounded by my adult sons, grandsons, one wife and one girlfriend. Celebrating Thanksgiving at the home of the girlfriend’s lovely parents.

    Does the fact that we flew here on a TUESDAY represent anything?

    Beyond thankful to be surrounded by MY family????????

    Where is the ex and OW?
    Who knows and who cares?

    Took a l o n g time to get here but worth every step thru the hot ashes of the life I thought was forever.

    Don’t lose hope fellow chumps. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and make it to a new but different life. Waving at you all from the other side!

  • Hit me with a 2 x 4. My 19yo daughter lives in FL. With the x. I agreed to let them, the sister-in-law her husband and 2 adult boys, along with our 32yo daughter and her boyfriend come have thanksgiving dinner with me and our 20yo son who remain in what was the marital home. Our son has borderline personality disorder& suicidal thoughts and my thinking is it will be good for him to see everyone. But, the day after I agreed I started having second thoughts. I’m looking at it as the Last Supper and then I am 100% done with her and probably my daughters too. I never hear from either of them unless they are asking me for money. My New Life starts Black Friday after dealing with this pain for 5 years.

    • Fooled-Me-Twice… the collateral damage to our relationship with our children is a topic that doesn’t get much mention in divorce discussions. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves a bit from adult children who only seem interested in us when they want something. It takes two to keep a relationship alive.

    • Fooled, it’s clear you’re trying to make things a little better for you son. But that kind of fake togetherness and the tension that must come along with it are not good for him. Far better a couple of separate celebrations, or a celebration with you and a FaceTime chat w/family that lives further away.

      Moderate emotions, honestly and respectfully expressed and caringly received, are the best things for anyone with BPD. Fake family is none of those things.

    • I just retired from teaching college. The years of 18-22 are tough ones in which our children are not longer children but no longer adults. And a 20 year old must sometimes be gently pushed from the nest and into the air. You cannot protect your children from life and from the consequences of their bad choices forever, and this is especially true for those who have borderline personality disorders, who must work very hard on their own behavior and thought patterns to change. I assume you have read Mary Zanirini’s “In the Fullness of Time.” She is the psychologist who is credited with defining and describing borderline personality disorder.

  • BTW, who pays expenses for this ‘family’ holidays? Does the cheater chip in for lunch/ dinner expenses and labour? (E.g. cooking the dinner)? I think chumps are usually chumpy again.

  • People who can eat and digest a meal where their cheating ex is present astound me.

    I have read that the definition of a toxic person is one who makes you physically feel sick to be around.

  • Thanksgiving post-divorce from The Evil One/exh2 has been so much better than any Thanksgiving with him.
    Every other year, DD has to go to him as per our decree, so those years I’ve gone to a friend’s .
    Exh1 and I divorced in 2002, and we had the same rotation on Thanksgiving, so some years my boys and I had a great time, other years, TEO would make-do on our own.

    I had a Friends-Family (“FRamily”) Thanksgiving last Saturday — I’ve done it each year since TEO left. 30-40 of my adult son’s, their girlfriends, friends that are like family, all here in my house having a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving dinner. ❤️❤️❤️ Always makes me grateful and thankful for all that I’ve been blessed with since he left.

    I say all that to show the good side of life after a cheater.
    There were bad too.
    I was super-close to exh1’s family, so the first Thanksgiving after the divorce, it hurt so much to know that the OW was sitting in my spot at the table. I tried to out a brave face for the boys that were with me that year, but inside I was crying.
    Other years, exh1 would screw with me around the holidays to get me worked up and upset just to fuck with me. DS1 and I were estranged in his teen years — mostly because of exh1’s triangulation to get him to move back in with him and TEO was screwing with him asserting his dominance in my house…..
    TEO didn’t help either — he hated calm and peaceful, always wanted me stressed and on edge. Nightmares.
    Glad those days are over.
    TEO does still work my nerves around Thanksgiving — he’s supposed to get her the whole week every other year, but it never fails that he has one reason or another to not get her until Wednesday…
    Last year,no found out from ex-mom-in-law that Mrs. Dumbass left his ass right before Thanksgiving — after slapping him and scratching his face.

    This year, I am having ex-in-laws over tomorrow — his parents have nothing to do with him now. They want time with DD and I will oblige them. It’s important to DD to have her grandparents around. I may not like them personally, but they are good grandparents to her, so I will entertain them for her sake.
    My older sons will be here and their girlfriends as buffers for me too, plus they love my cooking, so they’ll get a second Thanksgiving dinner from mom ❤️
    I remember the first Thanksgiving post-divorce from TEO. Thanksgiving that year was also our wedding anniversary — would’ve been 12 years married. He purposefully left before that to avoid having to pay alimony on top of child support ???????????????? . I had my boys, their girlfriends and DD. I also invited a few fellow-single moms and their kids over too and we had a kick-ass time ❤️ only bad moment was a text from TEO during dinner “happy Thanksgiving, how was DD’s day?”
    I grey-rocked like a boss and just texted “fine”
    Nope, not engaging
    Make the day as best you can, Chumps!!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Narcissists have such delusions of grandeur!!

    This will be my 2nd year of holidays that I’m not with my STBX-and he mentioned that he was butt hurt that my sister decided not to be friends with him when he just wants every body to be chill and stay friends.

    I looked at him and said, “Well-I wouldn’t let it bother you since you won’t be seeing her anymore.”

    He’s the type that would come to dinner if I invited him because he believes everyone should like him.

    He also had the nerve to come up to my boyfriend before I arrived at my boys’ game-and told him he is totally fine with him that we are dating and that he has no hard feelings.

    Um-yeah. Turd Bucket- That’s really generous of you-but I’m not the one who cheated ????????????????

  • DD was three years ago , just 3 days after Thanksgiving.
    I cooked the Turkey for my daughters in-laws that year. Everything looked normal but I was in turmoil due to escalating suspicions.
    Now someday STBX will be at the table with his new supply, and the same family of in-laws.
    I feel gut stomped. Years of what I thought was friendship turned against me.
    I will spend the day with my siblings, nieces and nephews. Still waiting for Meh and holding on to the hope of feeling better.
    Let’s all look up with Thanks as best we can.

  • Cheaters have found a way to keep all the things that benefit them with none of the pesky costs of their entitlement like consequences. This is called cake. Dr. Cheaterpants thought he’d run off into the bachelor pad with young schmoopie yet come to the family home and play dad and family man when that suited him. He had happily given me the marital home and the contents (except for some cash equity he needed that kept going up the longer the divorce took – I’m guessing young 20-something ho’s are expensive these days for 50 year old men). He had also agreed to ‘liberal visitation’ for our teenaged kids.

    When I changed the locks and he couldn’t come and go as he pleased, when the kids didn’t want to go to his house and play happy family with his young schmoopie, when he couldn’t join us for Christmas or family get togethers, he became irate. He tried to backtrack on everything he agreed to since it wasn’t all nice and pleasant and super yummy cake as he thought. But alas, I had my lawyer get it all drafted and signed by all parties before he even knew what hit him. Okay–I’m pretty happy about that.

    Anyway these cheaters have done the cost/benefit analysis and have it figured in their mind of how it’s going to be and their entitlement makes them think there won’t be any consequences. You cannot appease them by playing nice because as you know, you’ve already made your needs super small to make them happy in the marriage and that didn’t work. It’s not going to work in the divorce either.

    Cut that cord quickly and swiftly. Children will learn to navigate their relationship with cheater. They’re going to have to as adults so might as well learn now. My kids? They’ve learned quickly what an asshole their dad is without me as a buffer. DS20 doesn’t speak to his dad now and DD18 only does minimal to continue to extract her college funds from him.

  • The big fallout of divorce is X thinking they can still be included in holidays. Married 32 yrs to asshat who sat back on these special days and acted like he was the king of the family. Divorced 4 years now, this year one of my adult sons asked me to join his family for Thanksgiving. Of course I wanted to UNTIL he told me the X would be joining also. Im in a great place now to stand my ground and I get to decide whom I share special days with, XH is NOT one of them, I declined but not without a argument from the son who said “poor dad” doesn’t ever get to celebrate with them on the day of holiday! Oh my God, I don’t give a shit at all. Surprising to me is that after 4 yrs my kiddos think I should be “over it” and not make this about me! WOW, well the x has manipulated and weaseled his way back into their homes and hearts. I politely told my son I would never be over what he did to me for 3 decades of cheating, lying, emotional abuse.

    I know the empty chair this year will be mine and I told my son not to lie to anyone. Just tell them I can not be Thankful for him sitting at the same table with me ever again. Played the phony game too many years, Finally feels good to be free … They can have his sorry ass.

    • I have those same boundaries with my ex wife whore. My DIL asked why I wouldn’t be staying for the rest of my grandsons bday party and I carefully explained to her I don’t want to see her anymore (she was coming later, making her big “entrance” because it’s all about her)…I told her after what she pulled and what I went through I’m NOT going backwards. She understood after I told her that’s my boundary and choice and it’s non negotiable. I’ve had people say to me to put my “big boy pants on” and blah blah but I’m not the one who lied and cheated after 24 years. I have no desire to see/hear her ever again

      • Stay Strong you put on your “big boy pants” when you walked out the door, filed for divorce! I am just like you I do not want any interaction with my ex-manwhore. We have minor children and I am no contact. I didn’t lie, cheat, threaten, harass, stalk, emotionally abuse. I have no interest in being anywhere he is – Consequences for what he did!

      • I swear narcissists must have started the narrative of “you need to get over it” or “you need to move on, forgive” and “for everyone’s sake you need to suck it up and be cordial in the abusers company during events’. “Lets not forget it is for the children’s sake”. How convenient for the cheaters….they get to put everyone through hell and then everyone has to be polite to them? No effin way. Our so called tolerant society is whacked and this only empowers abusing shitheads. Also being tolerant of an abuser is not the example you want to set for your kids. They need to know right off the bat that bad behavior has consequences.

        • Yeah, it’s interesting how these narratives ALL sustain the image of jerks, and push abuse under the carpet. Not a coincidence, I’m betting, since the most common abuser/cheater in marriage was usually the man, and men had much more power/money/options both in marriage and if there was a separation or divorce.

          I’m glad things are changing, both in the gender balance of power/money/options and in calling out abuse for what it is.

      • Actually swallowing your emotional needs and catering to what others expect of you is exactly NOT wearing your “big boy pants”. That shit just pisses me off. It takes courage of conviction to be able to stand your ground and do it calmly, but firmly. You seem to be rocking that.

    • Fireball,
      You say it like it is.
      I would like to be more like you!
      You are Mighty!

      Your name suits you to a “T”

      • @peacekeeper, Thank you for the compliment. Honestly I am the only one who looks after me now. Surprisingly my 3 adult kids,( 34, 32, 29) have turned a blind eye to what X put me through for 3 decades. First few years after divorce they assured me X would never celebrate the Day of with them, x started manipulating his way back into their lives. Like I said “they can have him and he will too use them up like he did me. Liars, cheaters, don’t change.
        Update: I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with a couple of gal pals. We laughed, drank wine, enjoyed a carefree day and didn’t miss one second of toxic people in the room. Im proud of myself for making my stand. And in a few weeks I KNOW I will be doing this for Christmas too.
        Believe in yourself, CL: Leave a Cheater, Gain a life. It doesn’t mean the X’s get to crash our precious holidays. But if they do, then I will see family later. Just don’t care anymore ….MEH!

  • I didn’t have any peace until I tossed a match, burnt it all down, and walked away. Ruthless, mean, air-tight NO CONTACT. I think that if you feel like an asshole, you’re doing it right. X#3 certainly tried to make me feel that way. They hate when you strip away the veneer. Well, I didn’t know it was a veneer over your cheating and abusive behavior!

    This is a triggery time of year for me. This was the last holiday I had with my late oldest brother 18 years ago now, and it always had a lot of special meaning for me. The china we used that X#2 always hid away so I couldn’t find it easily or use it at all (it was so difficult to wash! even though it was dishwasher safe Pfaltzgraff!), the way the kids always made a point of being home (they’re all grown and gone now and I can’t get those years back). X#1 always tried to blow up this holiday for us too, and usually succeeded.

    Tomorrow I’m having some family and friends and some of their friends and one of my besties and her housemates and goodness knows who else will show up and they’ll eat turkey and stuffing and mac-n-cheese and whatever else I can remember to make because I’m so exhausted. I’ll drink a lot of wine. And Friday we’ll tear down half a house full of Thanksgiving decor and put up Xmas decorations in its place.

    I just realized it’s been over half a decade since we separated and a good half decade since we split. I’m not even entirely for sure now since I’ve been so busy and had so much to do. I get lonely sometimes but I’m tired more than that. But I’m grateful. Grateful for my peace and quiet. Grateful for the lack of peace and quiet around the house! Grateful for poorly cooked turkey and what remains of my family… and love.

    I apologize for the less than coherent rant; I’ve had around 4 hours of sleep and that might be the most I get all week. Big hugs and happy Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving to everyone!

  • Hi ChumpedtotheMax:

    “F” that guy. Trust me, you will make it to the other side of this and when you do life is insanely better than what it was before.

  • Happy Thanksgiving to the American Chump Nation! And to all of you elsewhere, I hope you give thanks for the good things in your lives, including your own mightiness! And CL–have a lovely holiday with your mother. You look fine. The house is fine. The dinner will be fine.

    For those of you thinking you must have Fuckwit over for the turkey dinner–heed CL’s words. You would not invite to your table someone who shot your dog or stole your car or felt you up in the elevator at work. Cheaters are abusers. That they are your children’s other parents doesn’t change that. The kiddos have to grow up and live in the real world, where abusing people has consequences. Many of them prefer the world of make-believe. Many kids are devoted hopium addicts, hoping the divorce isn’t real. Do them the favor of teaching them to accept WHAT IS and to give thanks for the very real blessing they have in you. In a family that faces the truth. In having food on the table, even if for this year the feast is less elaborate. Give thanks for what we have, in truth.

  • Five years ago I was in the state of shock post D-day. I forced myself to clean the house and cook T-day meal for the cheaters entitled family. You know, the type of family that expects you to do everything and they just like to show-up to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The cheater played his usual role of Super Husband. Clearing the table and washing dishes, etc. In real day to day life he didn’t do shit around the house. The only housework he did in 20 years was to vacuum the steps about once a month. But when family or friends showed up, he was working, working, working. The Perfect Husband was a fraud, but only I knew it. At one point, he grabbed me around the waist and kissed me passionately. His aunt even said, “You two need to get a room.” The kiss came out of nowhere as he was being cold and indifferent towards me for weeks. After everyone left, he turned back into his cold self. He did this warm behavior three more times after this, which gave me hope. Eight days before Christmas he read me The Divorce Letter, even though about eight hours prior he kissed me passionately and told me he loved me. I have learned that disordered people enjoy confusing us and inflicting trauma around holidays and other special occasions. In the beginning, I honestly thought that Thanksgiving thru New Years Day would be ruined forever. I trudged through those early holidays. I did the best that I could at the time and I gave myself a lot of grace and care. Well, five years have passed and there are no more tears. I’m THANKFUL I no longer have to cater to his entitled family. I no longer have to bite my tongue watching the cheater act like The Perfect Servant Husband, when I know in real life he’s selfish and doesn’t help out at all. I can honestly say I don’t miss his family or the life we had together. It took me awhile to realize that not only he was using me as the Wife Appliance, but so was his family. I don’t miss being used.

    So all you newbies out there — things do get better! Everyone kept telling me that the pain would stop and I just didn’t believe them. But it did! I think there will always be a twinge of pain here and there when something reminds me of my former life. But it’s just a twinge and it’s okay.

    I survived being married to a sociopath. That’s my super power. Nothing can stop me now. Happy Thanksgiving and big ((((HUGS)))) to all the newbies and everyone that’s hurting right now.

    • Woohoo! Congratulations on being mighty! Me, too. The dick would behave in a passionate loving way in front of others, but when no one was watching, he was cold, indifferent, and condescending. He kept me confused and hopeful. 5 years have passed since I found out he was seeing his skank (4.5 years divorced) and I’m free too! Life is wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Awesome! And ya I don’t miss my ex wife’s family AT ALL. We would do all the work, I paid for the entire soirée including the alcohol, they never brought a thing ..except their own Tupperware to load up on the way out! I mean what nerve. Not like we didn’t have 2 kids who enjoyed leftovers, they’d all head to the kitchen to divvy up the food. I was always flabbergasted but my ex never said shit

    • “I have learned that disordered people enjoy confusing us and inflicting trauma around holidays and other special occasions.”
      So true. The disordered people I have dealt with love to keep you off balance. Charming, nice and ever so helpful one minute and rude, condescending the next. Leaves the victim feeling confused which is the point. Another pattern I recognize is some people go out of their way to reprimand you and wield control. The thing is they can be technically in the right but to me they are just looking for an opportunity to berate & control someone. For example I take my dog to a rather large park very close to me. I take a chucker and a ball. My dog is all about the ball and does not give anyone the time of day. A marching band could march right by him and he will not take his focus off the ball. Dogs run up to him, sometimes aggressively and he barely acknowledges their presence. Kids run by, doesn’t even give them a glance. So I was off in a different area of the park and a women came all the way up to me to say (in a very snotty tone) she was uncomfortable with my dog being off lead. I said he is nowhere near you and then she said her child (playing on the other side of the park, quite a distance) was afraid of dogs. Well she kinda caught me on a bad day. I said (in a rather aggressive tone) lady maybe you and your child are legitimately afraid of dogs or maybe you’re just a miserable piece of work that likes to lord over other people because you’re an asswipe. I’m thinking its the latter. So piss off. She got on her phone to make off she was calling the police, which she may have but I continued to play with my dog. If she had approached me nicely and without condescension my response would have been to accommodate. Some people do fear dogs and I respect that but some just want to make you capitulate to their demands. Screw them.

  • I remember the first function my STBX didn’t attend with me and my children.

    It was my family’s side of summer birthdays.

    It felt so strange to not bring him along-but that feeling didn’t last for long ????????????????

  • I know how you feel they are not angry at you they are deep down angry at themselves because they majorily fucked up and can’t accept the blame. My divorce is nearly final it’s been almost 3 years, parental alienation, a long drawn out court battle to accuse me of child abuse on my son. I fought tooth and nail for support, finally got it, now my second Christmas alone with the dog, it’s insane! He’s has two physical affairs in our home but no laws against Adultery in Canada!????????????

    • You don’t have to be alone with the dog. There’s a whole world out there for you to get involved in, with people you haven’t met yet, who might really like you and find your company enjoyable.

      This is the ‘gaining a life’ part – a lot of us are struggling to leave the cheater, like you are, that we forget about the other half of the equation.

      And yet it’s exactly this time of the year to start planning how to spend Christmas NOT alone with the dog (although dogs are great company).

  • My ex left to be with the OW just after XMas of 2017. I still had it stuck in my head that we could still do “family dates” and major holidays for the sake of the kids. His family immediately shut down the relationship with the OW, stating that an adulterous relationship would never be acceptable in their homes, and the OW has never been discussed between him and the family since.

    The first Easter, I spent went over to his family’s home for their traditional brunch. There are so many in-laws that it was easy to just ignore my ex. When I left with the kids to be with my family for dinner (without the ex), even some of his family members told me that they wish they could leave me because they didn’t feel like tolerating him the rest of the day with him.

    However, by Thanksgiving, I had had a lot more counselling to treat symptoms of trauma and recognized that it would just be too emotionally damaging to put myself through another major holiday. My in-laws understood that I would never do major holidays with them again, and that I would prefer that future birthdays (I have two god children in that family) be a separate dinner at my place.

    I am still invited to the holidays (so that I don’t feel forgotten), but I only go to major functions were there will be a larger crowd in attendance. His whole family still considers me family, and I am still friends with my sisters-in-law, and yet the OW is still not welcome or talked about (even two years later now).

    I know that when I pick up my kids on XMas Day from my in-laws place for my time with my family, I will go in to say hi and chat for a bit. Give a gift to “grandma and grandpa” and exchange with my KK (as the adults still pick one name to purchase for and my name still gets put in the pot). It’s gotten better to see him because he tends to just melt into a corner. I feel good about my relationship with the in-laws and that’s become more important than what he thinks. Sometimes, I feel sorry for him as his choices have had some grave consequences that exiles him and doesn’t give him his happily ever after. I wonder if the OW knows I am sometimes at these family functions. I wonder what he tells her to explain why she’s never invited.

    Then, I stop caring. My kids get both their families for every major holiday (just like they did when their parents were together). They’re happy, I’m happy.

    • He’s triangulating the fuck out of her by you being there. I bet you’re there for her even when you’re not. I discarded my in laws because they as toxic as him. But i guarantee she’s not invited to their regular parties because I’m there ????

    • He still gets off on naughty kibbles probably. Yeah wonder if she really knows she’s an unwelcome ho? You are still the barrier to their twu wuv happily ever after since you didn’t go off into that dark night and disappear forever!!

      But whatever because as ‘meh’, you really don’t care how it affects either one of those asshats. Don’t feel sorry for him. You’re looking at it through your normalcy lens and how it would affect you.

      • Bizarre…never thought of it that way.

        My assumption has been that he’s probably bitter that I’m there at all, but he’ll never say anything in order to save face in front of his family.

        He’s just started bringing the kids around the OW about a month ago. There has been a few “events” where they have brought the kids together (five in total) to do “something fun.” I’m pretty sure that he’s being pressured into it by her as I’m aware that she’s been having him come around her kids since last June. It was just a matter of time before he needed to reciprocate.

        I haven’t said a word to him about it. My kids know who this woman is and what their father did. They have been pleasant. Her two older kids have pretty much ignored mine as I’ve heard they don’t like my ex and don’t want him around. My kids just play. I’m sure my ex and the OW think that means success, but it’s just kids making the best of their circumstance.

        I never thought that he might use me as the excuse as to why she doesn’t come to family events, even after almost two years since the separation (“Hey, my family like my ex-wife and invite her. She just keeps on coming, so I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be there. I’m protecting you.”). In the emails I discovered between them (my ex doesn’t know I have these), he describes his family as controlling, never understanding the real him. Maybe tells her that their religious beliefs keeps them holding on to their morals about adulterous relationships and so she won’t ever become a part of the family. Maybe she’s okay with that, which speaks a lot about her values. There is no way I could build a future with a man if I couldn’t be a part of his family (unless there were circumstances beyond his control, such as abandonment or addiction or illness); family means too much too me. But this is an intact family of parents, five siblings and 12 grandchildren who are well-educated, faith-based, kind and functional.

        Sometimes I take an odd interest or curiosity in his continued mindfuckery. Sometimes it’s a form of entertainment. Mostly though, I do me. I go to family functions when I feel good about it. There are nieces and nephews I seen growing since birth that I love to catch up with. They love to see me. My sister’s-in-law are my friends. I still have my MIL and FIL for dinner every couple of months and vice-versa. As they all said, my ex-‘s decision to discard me is not their decison and they want to keep me.

        I don’t expect that this will last forever. Things may fade away with the passage of time, and that’s okay. But, for now, my kids are close to their father’s family more because of the efforts that I make to spend time with them more than their own father. It was what my mother did for me when my parents divorced as my father’s family loved my mother and disagreed with how he had treated her. Funny how history has repeated itself, despite all my efforts that the same would never happen to me.

  • Ugh! Last year he was all *we’ll do this quickly, by the book, and fairly, by Christmas*.

    I’ve been doing it quickly, by the book, and fairly ever since, but I’ve run out of patience (and im the one doubling my mortgage and paying him $250k).

    Last week he was *I’m not settling, im going to make this last as long as it takes to get what I’m entitled to* ????

    I’m offering him half of our asset base, in cash, by Christmas. And HE wants to drag it out to get what he’s entitled to? That entitlement though ???? My god. He will seriously run his family business into the ground (he’s unemployable btw, Mr Ragey Double lives from work guy) he would seriously shoot himself in the foot to punish me for paying him out on half of what we are worth.

    At this point I’m just grateful i left him. Taking it to the judge in January.

  • One of the “benefits” of my divorce is that I no longer have to spend time with her very dysfunctional family any more !!
    Thanksgiving 15 years ago—my Ex cooked a nice dinner and we had my parents and her Mom and Step Dad (they were nice) over and we were having a lovely time.
    All of a sudden during dinner my doorbell rings and they is her father (no phone call, smoke signal, etc), his schmoopie now wife and 4 screaming brat kids with schmoopie. He exclaims “Schmoopie burned the turkey”, walks in and starts fixing himself a plate and then starts complaining.

    My parents can’t stand him or schmoopie let alone my former MIL all who leave quickly. I then have to finish my Thanksgiving listening to him complain and insult me, my Thanksgiving ruined and my Ex quietly begging me to be quiet and not throw his ass out the door.

    Fast forward 15 years and I am having a lovely dinner with my wife and my family today at my sisters and tomorrow we will have another nice dinner with her family at her sisters.

    Everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember that a silver lining from the divorce is that you never have to spend another holiday with the Ex or their dysfunctional family again !!

  • I am SO thankful that I am no longer married to The Cheater. When my son invited him (and me and the siblings) to Thanksgiving dinner, the Cheater replied that he would come and bring his newest girlfriend too. I advised my son that I would not attend. I told my son that I had protected him and his siblings by taking the high road during the divorce years and never dissing their father, but that if he knew everything, he’d hate my ex. I couldn’t bear having my ex gloat over his family and show off his trophy children! This newish GF was not an AP but she has no idea who she is with now. So, my son rearranged the schedule with his other siblings so that I can maintain my no-contact peace of mind. The ex is allowed to come over for dessert after I have left. We have been divorced 6 years and I am still not “over it!” While I have stopped crying, I will never stop hurting about the many ways my family was cheated on and abandoned.

    • Meg, I hope dinner went well and you are having dessert in peace and safely away from proximity to the ex and new shiny GF. I’m sorry the hurt is still there, I get it. I too don’t think “over it” will ever fully happen for me either, but hopefully we can get “beyond it”.

      Hugs to you today

  • Update on this post: After going to mediation, losing more than half my assets since Xhole had none and lied about the worth of his house and pension, plus losing half of my pension, we finally agreed on a settlement. I still feel cheated, but life with him was nothing but cheating and entitlement. Even after agreeing to the settlement, instead of signing the divorce decree to make it final, he ran off to Hawaii with his then GF (who contacted me recently to complain about his abuse of her.) Had to have my lawyer get the decree before a judge months later and finally got him out of my life. Blocked him in every way possible, and enjoying the peace of my new life.

    It’s been five years since I wrote to CL and I’m not that same confused, hurting person anymore. I am very happy, moved to a bigger, nicer home with my new man, have chickens and a nice garden. Play in multiple bands in the area, have published poems, short stories and essays and now I’m working on a book. I lost much financially, but am making it back and have my health, love and life again.

    For those still going through the process, hang on, fight like hell for what’s yours and know it does get better, so much better.

    • Glad to hear your update, ChumpedToTheMax! You sound very mighty indeed. Happy holidays to you!

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: