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Do I Tell Her Family Why We’re Divorced?

Dear Chump Lady,

4 months out from D-Day. Wife of two years confesses she had multiple affairs and abandons me for AP#3 to go off and work in Spain. She was awful at the very end. Tons of cheating, tons of lies, stole from me, and showed zero remorse. Have not heard from her since. Filed alone.

The divorce is over, and she is gone. I have told my family what happened and my close friends about the affairs. But I have chosen to be the bigger person (or maybe just a chump eating a shit sandwich) and not told her friends back home or her family about why our marriage ended. God knows what she told them and who cares.

I was close with the family. I do not talk with them since the divorce. But recently her aunts have been emailing me. Wished me merry Xmas, told me how sad they were for me, etc. I handled it classy and told them thank you and merry Xmas. And they keep insisting I come visit them some time, they want to stay in touch with me.

Is it okay for me to simply say “Thank you but I don’t think it’s appropriate. Our marriage did not end on good terms. And the divorce was a result of her affairs. I appreciate the invite, but I am trying to move on and put it behind me”?

I believe it is not my duty to hide this secret. And I do want them to know why I don’t want to stay in contact. But I could easily just keep my mouth shut. (If I don’t say the truth, part of me feels like this is slinking away in shame.)

I hope I am not afraid to be honest because I still have some hopium about wanting her to come back. Do you think owning the truth in a classy and emotion-less manner will help me feel stronger about moving on and keeping no contact?

Thanks as Always,


Dear StartingToGetOutOfTheFogChump,

You actually have a pretty uncommon chump problem — in-law family that cares. How sad for everyone. Just goes to show all the collateral damage cheaters cause. Other hearts invested in you and family ties get severed because of a singular fuckwit.

Generally the letters I get center on the in-laws who turn on the chump after 20+ years, or the silence, or the defensiveness and blameshifting. Sounds like you have a couple of classy aunts.

Or they could be curious aunts who want to know why you broke up. Fuckwits are often less than forthcoming.

I think your suggested reply is fine. “Thank you but I don’t think it’s appropriate. Our marriage did not end on good terms. And the divorce was a result of her affairs. I appreciate the invite, but I am trying to move on and put it behind me.” It’s to the point and doesn’t leave them guessing.

Thing is, you don’t owe anyone an explanation if you don’t want to give one. Neither are you obliged to be your ex’s PR agency, burnishing her image. The problem with silence is that nature abhors a vacuum and your ex will fill in with her own narrative, (I’m sure she already has), and there will be nothing to counter it. Of course, if you never want to see these people again and they live on the other side of an ocean, it hardly matters.

We don’t control the stories our ex’s tell about us, or their infidelities, or the resulting divorces. We just control how we navigate forward. You seem clear that you don’t want to maintain a relationship and I think the kindest thing is to tell them why. Especially as they’ve extended themselves with invitations.

I hope I am not afraid to be honest because I still have some hopium about wanting her to come back.

Dude, if you have hopium, you need to smother it with a pillow NOW. Multiple affairs and she stole money from you? I don’t care if her aunts are the Best Aunts in the entire world and have jars full of  molasses cookies and live on yachts, you do NOT need this woman in your life!

Yes, goodbyes are hard. Life with fuckwits is harder.

Do the right thing. Accept the end of the relationship. With her and her family.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • I think your response is perfect. Please let them know that she had affairs. What they do with that knowledge is up to them. Just the other week I found out some of the things the Twat had said about how we divorced through his mom. I keep in contact with her occasionally and we are still friends. I put her straight on quite a few things. Actually I think she was probing because some of his lies just don’t add up. I think your response is to the point and classy. Go for it. And CL is right – DO NOT EVER TAKE HER BACK WHEN SHE COMES CRAWLING!

  • I should’ve added — if you keep contact with the aunts, it’s very hard to a) lose the hopium and b) maintain no contact with your ex. Family is a portal into her life and her world and you really need to spend the time building a new life.

    It’s different when you have kids, then old family is still your children’s family. It’s harder to untangle. But you have no such ties, so a cleaner break. The important thing is your sanity and healing, and you just can’t be in her orbit. Period.

    • I get tired of “experts” diagnosing people they have never met and I am no expert, but, in this case you have given a pretty good description of a sociopath. There is no fix for a person who has no capacity for empathy. CL, is spot on. You need to look straight ahead.

        • I wouldn’t be surprised either. Everything happened so suddenly, and from what I’ve heard from other sources (I have EW blocked on social media) she hasn’t exactly been shy about blasting her new relationship. Even before divorce had been filed.

  • Remember that telling them why isn’t an attack of her. You are simply sharing the facts. They look bad because she did bad things. I agree with CL that your response is a kind way to explain why you do not want contact.

    • This is a great point. I/we sometimes forget that telling the truth is the facts, and we shouldn’t feel bad about saying it, even if it makes them look bad.

      • I just wanted to say I like your name fooled twice dad….I’m a fooled twice mom….gaining my life back each and every day now that I’m no longer subject to his lies and deception!!!

    • Agreed! NEVER be afraid to tell the unvarnished truth. There’s no need to editorialize… facts always remain the facts.

    • StartingToGetOutOfTheFogChump,

      “Being the bigger person“ DOES NOT mean protecting the cheater’s reputation, sugarcoating their betrayal, soft-pedaling the devastation they caused, or simply providing a polite smile and a beauty queen wave as if the implosion of your marriage never happened. It DOES means being honest, direct and clear about what happened; avoid the temptation to editorialize as the facts speak for themselves, and there’s no need to smear the cheater’s reputation because they’ve done a fine job of dragging their own ass through the mud all on their own.

      As CL mentioned, your situation is uncommon, that there are members of the ex’s family that still value your connection. But it’s still important for you to be honest with them about what happened. The short summary you’ve already created sounds perfect for now; if and when you feel the need to modify it, do so — it’s YOUR story!

      • yeah, this is something i have to repeatedly remind my STBXw of

        “if the truth can “hurt” you, you have done something wrong”

        and like all good principles, it’s as true for me as it is for her

        me: “if i had done these things, had sucked a bunch of dicks in motel rooms, you telling people that might be very embarrassing, but ultimately i am responsible for that embarrassment because I am the one who chose those actions”

        does. not. get. it.

        her: “why can’t you just tell people we didn’t get along?”

        me: “i do, but i also explain exactly WHY we didn’t get along: you were hiding the fact that you were sucking dicks in motel rooms.”

        her: “why don’t you just leave that part out?”

        me: “because that would dishonesty via omission. And it means you won’t be disgraced, silly!”

        stay mighty, people!

    • Your response is fine, but perhaps soften the “keep in touch or not” element a bit with “I didn’t think you’d still want to keep in touch with me – my experience has been that she had xx affairs, stole £xx but, main thing is, she told loads of lies throughout. It was my impression she’d be lying to you, too.”

      Or something like that. Where you’re not rejecting them out of hand, but you’re letting them know the gist (not all the gory details!) of your side of the story. Hey, for their own reasons, they might be as happy to find an ally as you are.

      • I like your suggestion! I’ve been lucky in that my ex’s brother informed him that I would always be part of the family. I’ve spent time with them, holidays arranged so I don’t run into fart face. We just don’t discuss the ex – and yes, I told his family the facts. It would have been a terrific loss if I’d shut the door on them.

        • My ex’s family lives in another country. So I don’t find it necessary to keep a relationship with them, even though they were wonderful. Even her parents reached out after and told me they would always consider me a son.

          In my situation, I think its best to just say “hey this is what happened”. I hope you can understand why I don’t feel it is good to visit or stay in contact. It’s painful. No kids, so I appreciate it, but I need to move on for me.

        • GonnaBeOkay, it sounds like we have similar situations. I have also stayed close to my ex’s family since dday 6+ years ago. They are a loving family, and my ex is the exception. Two of them that I know of clearly called my ex out on his behavior shortly after it all happened. They still consider me family and I see them at family events that my ex is not at, which is often since there is another divorce in the family so people get invited to separate birthday parties. I am thankful for how this turned out. My boyfriend considers them my “family” and my ex pretty much never comes up in discussion. But I think this is quite rare, as Chump Lady says, and probably not healthy in the majority of situations that chumps find themselves in.

          From the beginning, on dday, I also was 100% sure that my ex was not going to come back. (He left me for his brand-new girlfriend and never looked back. There was a complete finality in his eyes when he told me.) If I had had any hope of repairing the marriage, the continued closeness with his family, especially right after dday, might have hindered my healing and ability to move on. As it was, it wasn’t easy, but it felt right to me. Also, in the beginning, a member of the family let me know that I could decide how close I might want to be with them based on what I felt was best for me and that they would understand, which was kind of them to verbalize and to acknowledge that I should do what was best for me.

  • Fog Chump, no more needs to be said, listen to CL:
    “Dude, if you have hopium, you need to smother it with a pillow NOW. Multiple affairs and she stole money from you? I don’t care if her aunts are the Best Aunts in the entire world and have jars full of molasses cookies and live on yachts, you do NOT need this woman in your life!

    Yes, goodbyes are hard. LIFE WITH FUCKWIS IS HARDER!!!!!!!

    Do the right thing. Accept the end of the relationship. With her and her family.”

    And PLEASE send that letter to the aunties. I bet you the next thing they were going to write you would be: “We didn’t write sooner because we wanted to give you two some space to work things out”. Space? Just like the shit I got from my Switzerland-moocher brother-in-law. I was his “favorite SIL”. Of course I was…. He owes me $ that I will never see.

    • Please do send that reply to the aunts. It’s perfect. It honors your connection to them, which was a good one. It also helps break the “code of silence” that chumps are supposed to have about being chumped, which simply perpetuates the crazy idea that you did something wrong or are somehow lacking because someone cheated on you – not true. It’s part of the calculus that perpetrators do in their head (” Should I cheat? What are the pros and cons for me?”). They rely on chumps feeling shamed or feeling they should “take the high road” ( Jesus called out plenty of hypocrites and perpetrators in his time on earth, BTW, I think we should feel inspired to do the same) to minimize the blowback to them. I’m always happy when someone upsets that applecart by speaking out (as I did to my in-laws and my ex’s work colleagues that I was friendly with). I think your reply is perfect in tone and language and I would hope that you send it . Good luck!

  • By all means, tell them. It isn’t your secret to keep and you are being honest and setting a boundary. A trend I have noticed here is that Chumps dont always know how to set those and need the practice. This is a good chance to do that in a calm and respectful way.

  • The writer of the letter has a sensible idea of what he wants to do and why. Sounds like he will make a good choice for himself.
    However, I do have a problem with the cultural narrative of “the high road” and “being the bigger person”. The “high road” has become code for keeping the cheater’s secrets. It’s also part of the cheater alternate reality of “it’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to it”.
    My X threatened to take me to court for telling friends about his double life using the non-disparagement clause in the divorce decree. My lawyer assured me that I can tell my friends the story of my life. My X wrote me emails telling me what a horrible person I was by telling an upsetting story to unsuspecting people and ruining their day. (Mind you, I carefully and quietly chose who I shared my story with).

    New chumps: it is often extremely empowering to speak the truth, especially after months or years of living in someone else’s lie. It was for me! Speak the truth; it is not always the high road to keep someone else’s secrets.

    • KathleenK, you are so right! It only helps the cheaters when we don’t speak the truth. Also, because perpetrators often re-offend, we are depriving a pool of individuals among whom he might go fishing for prey again of truthful information about this individual. I shudder to think of the women my ex’s work colleagues would have been willing to set him up with had I not written them a detailed email about how he ended our 17 year relationship with an email and the hell he put me through . It’s a public service to get that information out there.

    • You are right. I refuse to keep his secrets or lie for him. I told him I would not lie to our daughter, I’ve promised to always be honest with her, though I will not share specifics. She can ask what she wants to know, when she wants to know. STBXH yelled at her: “Don’t listen to mom’s lies” as she was locked up in the bathroom crying. That made me madder than anything else, I was furious. She has the right to know why we are separating.

    • KathleenK, so your ex was worried about how telling an upsetting story to unsuspecting people ruined their day, well, on the positive, he acknowledged that it was an upsetting story, but he didn’t give a damn about how unsuspecting KathleenK’s day was ruined by finding out the upsetting story. Don’t know about where you are and what’s on your divorce decree but my divorce decree states that the marriage was dissolved because of the adultery of ex husband. It’s a public document after all. Heck it’s a fact, I didn’t put the grimy facts in the christmas letter I sent to everyone [so that I wouldn’t get a whole load of cards addressed to both of us, but I told the truth of what he’d done, not the whole sordid story, just the final straw but did share with anyone privately.

  • I’d make it the complete truth and add one part to your sentence, “and stole from me”. Besides, you said it yourself that holding back might be you holding out hope. Writing it down and getting it out there might lessen the hopium avenue and the likelihood of you being sucked back in. It’s a step on that path of acceptance of reality and moving on. Good job.

      • It’s possible she stole from them. In our last conversation, that was her only excuse for her deceitful behavior. That she was simply a “bad person” and she steals. Been stealing her whole life. Even as a child, she would steal from other children. Said it simply, matter of fact, with no emotion. Like the mask was completely off and she was finally telling someone the truth of who she was. No one saw this dark side of her. Her husband, friends, my family, and maybe her family as well.

  • People do not go from being decent to becoming a complete scumbag overnight. I have a feeling the aunts have her number and are reaching out for some sort of confirmation that she is the one at fault. Maybe they also want to tell you (when they have an opportunity for honest dialogue) losing her was the best thing that could’ve happened for you. Yes, please let them know what their niece did to you and I think they will understand why you need to sever ties.

      • I read scumbag as a masculine adjective the first time through too, but it’s referring to the scumbag EW. Funny, this is the first time I’ve realized ex-wife can be shortened just to “ew”.

      • Doug, KB22 is saying they aunts know their niece is lying, and that she’s truly the one to blame as she is the one with the history the aunts know about. They’re looking for confirmation, doubting her probable story that her once nice husband suddenly became a scumbag overnight. Truly decent people *don’t* become scumbags overnight, but cheaters lie, and these aunts may be trying to piece together reality.

        • Meaning she did not go from being a decent human being then all of a sudden turned into a thieving cheater. She obviously had a history of bad, selfish behavior throughout her entire life and more than likely the aunts were witness to her less than desirable behavior. She could have masked her bad behavior for a time but I’m guessing her chump husband may have also turned a blind eye or made excuses for her poor behavior as well.

          • I read it is “Please do not go..”

            Good Lord, my eyeballs in the morning clearly don’t work as well as they should.


          • KB22, I absolutely did. Had no idea what a chump even was and I was one. Turned a blind eye and made excuses for her. I believed her when she told me nothing was going on and that she loved me. I’ve been kicking myself – the whole why didn’t I leave earlier? But I really didn’t know what she was doing. And I was naive that she was capable of these things. I thought I knew the person I was married too.

            • I think just about everyone here has made excuses or turned a blind eye. Hey live and learn, also be thankful children were not involved.

    • I think there are con men – and con women – who can hide their true nature for decades. The aunts may not even suspect she’s capable of cheating. If she’s as sparkly as many of the lying cheating turds we chumps here have married, the truth may be well hidden. Many of these people are Academy Award level actors!

    • For sure the aunts are questioning her. Typically, a woman’s family will side with her when she explains if her husband has been horrible to her. Usually, cheaters villify their chumped spouse, which means that she would have gone to her family and managed her image by saying how awful her husband has been and her version of why the marriage.

      Yet, rather than take up the niece’s cause, these aunts have chosen to reach out to the ex-husband in kindness. For sure they are not buying whatever narrative the ex-wife has presented them and are seeking to learn more.

      So, give it to them in the succinct way that’s been presented. Then, move one if that is what you feel you must do.

      How unfortunate that this woman has such kind, reasonable people in her family and that you now are losing that too.

      • I agree that it seems the aunts don’t buy into their niece’s explanation, whatever it was. They have reached out with kindness and I think the proposed ideas for email responses sound good. I think telling them truthfully and succinctly the circumstances of the divorce is the right thing to do.

    • It’s interesting that you bring that up. When I first met my ex, I knew that her Aunts had already had some negative options of my ex. She had dropped out college, made a lot of quick changes in her life, basically she quits everything after a couple years. I spent a lot of time with the Aunts. They were the smarter and more successful ones in the family.

  • I think the response is perfect. You could say you didn’t like her many boyfriends during the marriage. I have a hunch they know their niece is a nut job, lie job, and likes to Whore around.

  • FogChump,

    That is the perfect response. You may want to add that you do NOT regard HER actions as reflecting the family (if that is the case and it sounds that way). If her aunts are kind women, they are going to be flustered by the truth serum, feel badly, think that you are tarring them with the cheater-brush, etc.

    You don’t owe them anything. Consider the extra comment as a graceful farewell to her family.

    Clearly, she doesn’t deserve them either if they are truly kind people who miss you.

    If you even THINK this is Hopium, go look at the bills for divorcing her!

    • Thank you No Shit. I agree, I was of course going to send my gratitude to the family. They were wonderful during our marriage. In fact, a lot of them reached out right when it happened to apologize for my ex’s behavior and to wish me well. The only person I never heard from was my ex herself.

      And you are right about the hopium. Had to pay for everything myself. I am in a better place now after four months. Seeing things more clearly. It literally all happened so fast. I had my suspicions of course. But she was really good at lying and hiding things. I thought we had a loving and respectful relationship up until the end. I’ll admit, I really was numb for a while. Just trying to piece together what happened and who this person I married actually was.

      • Sociopaths and narcissists seem to have a 2-3 year window before the mask drops & you see the “real” person. I have heard the stories where spouses don’t find out or get it till years later but I think those cases are rare. They stay until they secure someone else that suits them and the discard is always brutal, especially when the chump thought everything was fine. It would appear AP#3 is hooked so she has someone lined up and no longer requires your services. She will do the same to AP#3 and so on. I pray she never has children. She will be in and out of their lives and screw them up something fierce. Just curious, did she have the same interests as you when you first met? They are great at mirroring the person they are pursuing at the moment.

        • I believe she is one of those parasitic narcissists. I found out after our marriage, that she brutally discarded an ex of 3 years for me. She lied to me when I met her and told me he had broken up with her two weeks before we met.

          She comes from a different background from me, but we instantly connected and seemed like a perfect fit. To answer your questions, yes. Everything seemed so natural and meant to be for the first two years, that it changed overnight. Suddenly all the things that were “perfect” about me, started to be a problem. (According to her timeline, that’s when the cheating started) It was a long devalue period, with lots of intermittent reinforcements, before the brutal discard.

          • That sounds an awful lot like someone with Borderline Personality Disorder who does NOT want to put in the work to get it under control.

            My sympathies. Try BPD411 too. You may find useful tips on how to spot them and avoid them in the future. Much of it is “trust your gut”. If there are the slightest vibes of deceit, send them on their way.

            Also, if it’s too good to be true/too easy – slow your roll.

            I am really sorry you went through this stuff. Onward and upward!

  • CL, how about a Friday challenge of ” what exactly did you say to let people know about the cheater’s actions”? Someone above said that chumps need practice or examples about how to communicate this, and I agree. I also agree with how valuable it is to dispel the notion that it is “taking the high road” or somehow ” critical for your recovery and moving on ” to shut the hell up about the cheater’s actions. The shame is what they count on. I would love to see what other people have said , to whom, when, and how, and would be happy to post what I sent to my ex’s family and work colleagues I was friendly with. I think specific language and examples would make it easier for others to do this in future. Sort of like a #Me Too for the infidelity set. ???? Let’s keep changing that narrative.

    • I think it’s a good idea to have a succinct line ready to go when people ask what happened, because of the broader message it sends. People are ashamed to be in our situation because most people who go through it keep silent about it. If we had all grown up around people who nonchalantly informed others “oh, we divorced because he was having affairs” we’d all be less harsh on ourselves.

      • I think it’s a good idea too. That’s why I asked CL for advice. Whole thing has just been hard to grasp. Never thought I would be divorced, let alone cheated on so many times. Maybe I was just having a hard time accepting it before telling people the truth.

    • Also, sharing what has been communicate to children at different ages. What to share or not share with kids is always controversial and difficult to determine. Some ideas and support would be helpful.

    • If anyone asked me, I said “There was bad behavior”. People who asked were mostly long-term friends, and they interpreted correctly. A few asked if I was willing to talk about it, and in those cases, I did.
      Of course, when I first found out, I was like a fire hose of information to anyone who would listen, mostly the very best people at work who were with me on DDay. They were angels, as was my sister, who called me every day for a year to check in and be supportive.

      From his family, only one SIL reached out and we had a good conversation – but that was the end of the relationship. It was very sad to lose that side of the family, but I understand.

      I insisted that we tell the grown kids. The RIC position was that I should not be in the room, which I think is totally wrong – but he apparently felt so guilty that he told them the truth. They both saw through his crocodile tears and have been at arms length since then.

      Much love to all who find themselves in this awful situation.

  • As others have suggested, the corollary to:

    “Thing is, you don’t owe anyone an explanation if you don’t want to give one. Neither are you obliged to be your ex’s PR agency, burnishing her image. The problem with silence is that nature abhors a vacuum and your ex will fill in with her own narrative, (I’m sure she already has), and there will be nothing to counter it.”

    is that they have no control over your own narrative. I too bought in to the idea of keeping everything quiet, in part because I was terrified of her anger and in part because of the fumes of hopium. I was “fortunate” in that she was outed by friends of OM.

    What this has given me is a veritable cornucopia of ex-wife jokes. Fueled by the fact that Mme YogaPants did actually run off with the milk-man (he delivered milk to her store – and probably other things). Jokes that I was left for discount priced yogurt along with the sheer stereotypical fact that it was the milk-man have created quite a bit of humour as it comes up in conversation.

    From what I gather – we’re very no contact – Mme is furious that her narrative that she was vaguely unhappy and that OM and she never dated until well after she left isn’t believed by pretty much anyone.

    As time has passed and the hurt has healed, I find that I’m less bitter and less motivated to do things that would cause her pain. This past Christmas I responded to a card from a friend of her’s with a card letting them know that we’ve divorced, that I don’t know where she is and for them to have a Merry Christmas that that it was nice to hear from them.

    On the subject of in-laws – even those who were very sympathetic to me early in the process quickly turned in to Mme’s cheering section. I regret that I never got to properly say good bye to my now deceased ex MIL who was a sweetheart. But the rest were a rather toxic group and I’m glad to not have them in my life.

    So my advice to StartingToGetOutOfTheFogChump is that if you care for these people as friends, treat them as such. But don’t be surprised if they also support your ex-wife in whatever choices she has made as well.


    • BowTie, appreciate the advice. I agree, I always assumed that her family would take her side no matter what. She has a great family. That’s why I surprised when they reached out a few months after. I caught myself trying to handle the situation with class and grace, but then I stopped myself and asked why? Yes, I loved and cared about this woman. I wish we could have had a nice and respect end to our marriage, if that’s not what she wanted anymore. But, now that I am coming out of the fog, it’s hitting me that she lied and cheated on me for a while. Affair after affair. While she would look me in the eyes, tell me she loved me and let me continue being her husband. Until she finally found a situation she liked better and then dropped me like I meant nothing. There was no reason for her to confess the other affairs. I never would have known if she had just left. The whole thing has been such a mind****. I instantly went NC, filed for divorce, and started picking up the pieces. When her Aunts reached out recently, it threw me for a loop. But I’m starting to see things very clearly now.

      • I loved my X’s family, and they loved me. The truly sad thing is that they knew he was a jerk, and parents, brother, sisters, all came to me apologizing on his behalf. They were heartbroken, as was I. His mom and dad blamed each other, thinking the other had somehow “spoiled” him, but I truly believe his behavior was so deeply ingrained there was nothing they could do about it. I believe that sometimes there is some sort of sociopathic mutation that can occur in a developing brain. Not to make excuses; he knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he started boffing other women. His brother and sisters are wonderful people. His youngest still reaches out to me on my birthday (we share the same birthday), and wants to go to lunch, and this is nearly 40 years later. Sometimes I do, but we never talk about him. Fine by me.

        • Interesting. I honestly have no idea what the family thinks about this. Or what is going on behind closed doors. Her mother told me a very interesting then when we got married. She told me that her daughter had always been so independent. Even as a 3 year old, she could never control her. Weird that she told me that on our wedding day. I think this is something that is ingrained.

          • Your ex sounds more willful and selfish than independent;independent people don’t latch onto others and use them like parasites on a host.

            I vote that you send the aunts the response crafted in your letter to Chumplady. Who knows why they reached out ? Concern for you ? Morbid or prurient curiosity ? As the writer Anne Lamott said “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.If people wanted you to write warmly about them,they should have behaved better.”

        • I have maintained a good relationship with all my in-laws. My sisters-in-law are all my friends. It’s been two years since my ex left me and they are all still appalled by what he did. They have all stood their ground in not accepting the affair relationship, which has driven him to continue living a double life. They don’t ask him anything and he says nothing. That can’t be fun for him or his schmoopsie.

          When the affair first came out, his parents apologized to me and his father said that they failed somewhere along the way in their son’s moral development. That saddened me. It’s not their fault that their grown-ass son is emotionally immature. They live five minutes away from me, and we still have dinners together (without my ex) every few months and keep in touch. I will always be considered family as I am the mother of the grandchildren. I routinely get together with my sisters-in-law to get all the cousins together to play and to hang out. I go camping every year with one of them. They have all stated that my ex’s decision is his decision alone, not their decision.

          My mother set the example for me. When my parents split up, many of my father’s family didn’t agree with how he treated my mother, so they reached out to her and maintained good relationships. In fact, the only reason why I have a relationship with members of my father’s family is because of my mother. He didn’t care to bother himself. I see that happening with my kids now. They visit and play with their ten cousins because of me. Two of them are my godchildren, and I take that commitment seriously. In two weeks, I take the kids to one of their cousin’s figure skating competitions and then we’re all doing dinner for another cousin’s birthday. Their father wouldn’t bother with this.

          Don’t know if it will always remain this way. Perhaps time will eventually distance us or there may be a fall out, but family is important to me and I feel that I continue to instill in my kids a commitment to their family by encouraging the relationships. I think it helps my kids not notice the chill between their father and I so much as I grey rock him as much as possible. They see that things are really good between me and the rest of Daddy’s family, so they feel that things must be good as a whole. I recognize that this is unique, so I’m grateful to be connected to good people with strong moral compasses and that they are my children’s relations

  • FogChump,
    You, sir, are a class act!
    Your cheater lost a gem in you.
    I am sorry though, that you have to lose contact with people you cared about, people who meant something to you.
    This is all on your cheater. It has nothing to do with you.
    Good people always suffer the consequences of a cheater’s actions and lack of character.
    Big hugs to you.

  • Your response is perfectly judged. They are probably just curious, loose ends best tied off. And if they have any more sinister motive, all the more reason to cut ties. Send it, move on and don’t look back. Im so sorry this happened to you but thank goodness there are no children involved. I wish you so much better for your future.

    • I doubt there is anything sinister. Maybe they are curious. I did make an effort to have a good relationship with the family. Telling the truth would be for me. This was awful. I’ve accepted it and I know I need to move forward. Keeping in contact would only set me back.

  • I actually am in the minority here. When the years of affairs came to light, he ditched everyone. His child, his father, his mother and his extended family.

    Before that, we had minimal contact with them as it was, but it was due to his need to isolate me and my child (minimizing the chance of people knowing we were married or seeing him out with someone who isn’t me).

    Now, I maintain a relationship with all of them (including his adult child) for the benefit of my child, so he doesn’t lose that half of their family. They have also been a wonderful support for me. I am grateful for them, and they are the one small bright spot of comfort for me during this wretched, insidious time in my life.

    • I think that’s great! I remember when my mom divorced my dad, his family KNEW what a dick my dad was to my mom. And being wonderful people, they told her that she would ALWAYS be welcome in their houses. And they welcomed her the rest of her life. The difference between you and ‘Fog’ is that you have children with the ex and his family wants to be in your child’s life. Fog does not have children with his ex. And he might as well start fresh and not be drawn back into the ugliness of his ex-skank.

      • Exactly Amazon. Luckily I don’t have children with my ex. That is why I think it is best to say thank you for reaching out, but she had affairs. It sucks, you are a great family. But that’s what happened. And I don’t think its appropriate (or helping me heal) if we stay in contact. But their compassion is nice, and I appreciate that.

  • I took the initiative to call up my ex’s family and friends who had been kind to me over the years to say goodbye. And yes, when they asked, I was honest that I had discovered my ex-husband’s long term affair and that he had been living a double life. My ex had been vague with his family and friends. I had no reason to be less than truthful, These calls were received well, and gave me some closure that was good for all of us. One long time friend never returned my call, I assume it was because she knew of the affair and had a part in hiding it from me, and was ashamed. Let her live with her shame.

    • Exactly. Let her live with it.

      I had one “friend” who dumped me when I told her about my X’s long-term (and short term) affairs. I think she was afraid my chumpiness would somehow rub off.

      It is good to know who has your back.

  • Wow, I could’ve written this, including the AP #3 and stealing money.
    Anyway, in my experience, it has been better to simply tell people the unvarnished truth, in as short a message as possible. I wouldn’t worry if you don’t get a response. I definitely think it is never good practice to lie; you owe the cheating ex absolutely nothing.

    • Hey Traveling, sorry to hear you went through the same thing. It sucks. And I would not wish it on anyone. It’s weird though, it’s not like I wanted to lie about it. I just never thought this person was capable of doing these things to me. She hid her true self well. For some reason, my initial response was just to be “Okay, be a man. Take the loss and simply walk away.” But it’s painful, and its been a tough recovery. Four months out, I’m starting to feel less shame about it. She had affairs. When I found out, I ended it. That’s what happened. I brought my A game to the marriage, she didn’t.

      • FogChump,
        Don’t beat yourself up on how painful it’s been. It hurts because you put yourself into your marriage, you dove all the way in, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Only shallow people that aren’t really committed wouldn’t be upset.
        I’m sure it doesn’t help now, but thank your lucky stars you don’t have any kids, and you hadn’t wasted more of your life on her. When you’re ready, it’ll be easy to put the pieces back together.

        PS I also said the same thing about my ex: “I just never thought this person was capable of doing these things to me.” In my case, it made me blind to some early warning signs.

        • I was blind as well to some early warning sides. Trying to be the “cool husband” who was chill and patient. Tough life lessons. But owning the truth is important. Denying it doesn’t help me learn or move on from it.

  • Your instincts are right on target here. If you don’t give a clear reason for the divorce, your EX will, as CL says, use your discreet silence as “evidence” of your guilt (somehow, it will all be your fault) and their narrative will have no competition.

    If you try to remain connected to your ex-in-laws, you’ll find yourself blamed in a few years (or a few months) for not letting it go, holding grudges etc. Most families make space again and again for ill-behaved members, and if you remain in contact with your ex-in-laws, you’ll be expected to do the same. In CL language–they’ll pull the shit sandwich out of the freezer and try to serve it to you again after an “appropriate” amount of time has passed. Go now with your gracious note and do not look back!

    I’d describe my in-laws as folks who have made eating the shit sandwich a familial tradition (as my EX brings a big platter of them to every gathering). I don’t miss that buffet (but I deeply resent my kids still participating in it and despise my in-laws for returning to their habit of excusing my EX’s behaviors and serving those shit sandwiches to the kids over and over again).

    • Eilonwy, I assumed she had already told them some crazy story. How else do you explain abandoning your marriage and moving to another country? And I didn’t care. Once she was unfaithful to the marriage, then let her and her family go. I’m trying to get to Tuesday and meh.

      I only considered telling the truth in a gracious way because they reached out to me. They want to stay in contact and maintain a relationship. I feel it’s best to say, no what happened to me was bad. And thank you for your compassion, I think you’re great too, but it’s best for me to move on after what happened. It was not okay and I am putting it behind me.

  • Hoping she comes back? Is this because she “rejected you” and you want this to feel validated? Otherwise why would you want an abusive partner to return…validate yourself! You got this!

    • HM, you’re absolutely right. Four months out, I know now how awful she is and I don’t want her back. I was trying to say that in the beginning I didn’t tell people because I still had feelings for her. It was a head vs. heart situation. Head immediately told me this was unacceptable, kick her out and file. Which I did. But it took a while for my heart to catch up. I thought we had a great relationship up until the end. She was my wife and I was invested in spending the rest of my life with her. That is why I had a hard time telling people about the affairs when it first happened. I was so shocked (and probably in denial) that my heart still longed for her.

      Four months out, I find myself out of the fog and owning what really happened. That’s why I felt this is a good step in my recovery. Her family wants a relationship with me, so I say no. This is what happened and this is why I need to cut contact and move on. Because what my ex did was not okay for me.

  • Recently (via a long story that has no bearing on my point), I had breakfast not only with my ex-BIL and his daughter, but also KK’s younger sister, whom I have not seen or had contact with since the split (my choice). Afterwards, she asked if she could walk me to my car, and I braced myself for whatever was coming.

    Before she had a chance to say anything, I jumped in and said that her presence at breakfast was a surprise — not an unpleasant one but definitely an uneasy one. She said she understood and that she just felt that she needed to let me know a few things: some were not important (e.g., her negative opinions about the Chlorine Special), some were affirming (e.g., her stated realization and acceptance that anything KK says has only a 50/50 chance of being actually true).

    I said very little other than it’s likely I would not be having very much contact with her (the sister) very often, but that if she ever senses that either of my daughters is having a rough time dealing with KK or CS, that I be given some type of heads-up so I can be aware. She agreed, embraced me and wished me well.

    My point: those close to the cheaters who’ve offended us are just as likely to be flying monkeys looking for gossip as they are to be reasonable people with a decent grip on reality. If you’re lucky, it’s the latter, but even then there’s no guarantee that info gets back to the cheater to be used as ammunition against you. Taking a modified gray rock approach (perhaps slightly more friendly/forthcoming, as STGOOTFC eloquently lays out) is definitely the best strategy for keeping control while speaking truth.

    • Exactly UXWorld. I don’t have children with my ex, so it’s slightly different. To the aunts, I have no idea what impression your niece gave you. But it was not a good end to our marriage. I was betrayed and that’s why we divorced. I appreciate their compassion, but (because we don’t have kids) it’s better for me not to visit or stay in touch. It sucks, but that was her choice. Not mine.

  • 26 years together, 4 kids and I never heard from any of them again. Ex-in laws allowed the young goldigging whore that XH moved in with on GTFO day to stay at their home with X on the holidays before the divorce was started and while x was still trying to Hoover back and prevent me from imposing consequences. Outrageous! The Apple clearly came from that tree.

    Screw the lot of them. I’m no contact with them all. They abandoned my kids and that’s unforgivable.

    • I’ve recently gotten a phone call from my FIL who absolutely despised me for reasons not related to the divorce. He reached out and extended an olive branch after I sent him pictures of the kids and a note telling him a little about them. He lives in Florida and we never really saw him. He is not happy with his son. My MIL, however, was also allowing my husband and the skank to live with her before we even found out about the relationship. She brought them to DDay. And recently she was letting them live with her again. Hey, it’s cold outside and they’re homeless, now that his car was repossessed. MIL is totally blocked on all fronts. She won’t see her only grandchildren again if I can help it. The bright family spot in all this? One of my husband’s aunts, one of his mother’s sisters. I love her and we maintain a good relationship. She has repeatedly said “you dodged a bullet there.” She has nothing to do with my husband or his mother.

    • Motherchumper, that sounds awful. Sorry for what you went through. I mean, I agree. EW cheated and trashed the marriage. Good riddance. And who cares about the family. In fact, her father cheated on her mother. And her grandfather cheated on their grandmother. So this stuff runs in the family, they weren’t as wonderful as I had initially thought.

      But the Aunts were really cool. By far, smarter than the brothers and more successful. I think they knew I was a really good guy and good husband. And regardless of how EW spun the story, I bet they know something messed up went down. I’m trying to take the attitude of “meh” and act like I don’t care (even though I’m a mess inside). If they want to reach out and be respectful. I think I should return the same courtesy of being honest and respectful.

      • Yup-personality disorders can run in the family ! I did my own genogram during a twenty week program based on John Bradshaw’s work. Think of the Kennedys, the American political family-alcoholism, cheating,etc.

        Here’s to all of us healing the shame that binds us and handing it back squarely where it belongs. To the cheaters/abusers.

  • I’ll never forget the night we were sitting at our local Mexican food joint and my STBXH asked me, “Can we both just agree to tell people it was ‘Irreconcilable Differences?’”

    I said, “Sure.”

    From then on-when people ask me what happened-I always answer, “Irreconcilable Differences. He felt he needed a wife AND a girlfriend-and I couldn’t reconcile with that.”

  • I have this problem too. My ex husbands sister sent us a Christmas card to “Mr and Mrs A. ***” we have been divorced for over a year. I never had a proper relationship with his family and I haven’t seen anyone to tell but his father in the 2.5 years since dday, so he obviously hasn’t told them anything. The last thing I want is reminders every Christmas from ex’s family members. Should I tell her??

    • Yes. Tell her.

      Dear ex-SIL,

      I hope you had a lovely holiday season. Thank you for the card.

      Regarding your recent correspondence, there are some facts you should know. Your brother and I divorced (date) due to his affair(s). He no longer lives at this address. Please make note of it in your address book.


        • Can you set up your inbox so his email goes straight into a folder, to be dealt with later? Much, much later?

          Work with the idea that he WILL contact you because he CAN’T control the narrative anymore. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

          So it happens sooner. Whatever. You will be better than ok.

          • Not when we have children to co parent! It’s fine, his personal email is blocked so he has to use his work email that goes through their own server. He’s always very professional even if I can read between his lines!!

  • I’d add one other line to what you send: “I appreciate more than you know your kindness in reaching out to me.”

    Whatever their motives were or are, that acknowledges the possibility that they reached out in kindness and shows that your decision to not have contact was not in any way about them.

  • My sister in law asks me to be part of her kids lives. I know she would protect brother to the end of the earth so there’s no point. It would just lead to pain and the end of some decent grey rock/no contact. She would rationalize and downplay. Her family excels at minimizing and rug sweeeping. Gaslight should have been their surname.

  • I have this exact problem. I was very close to my inlaws and my ex husband’s extended family. We were in college at the same time and we grew into adults together. I loved having such a big family. I chose not to say anything when I left and of course my ex just let them assume I left because I was having an affair. I too, chose the “high road” and being “the better person” because, for a while, it reinforced my feeling of moral superiority. By being silent and small, I did experience shame, as if I was not good enough to keep him from cheating and lying, but now I realize that was never my burden to bear, and I should have told people in a very matter of fact way why I left. Now, 5 years later, his relatives have started contacting me again, and if they ask, I tell them, very simply, that I left because he was cheating on me with men and couldn’t be honest with me about his preferences. It’s easier to say with little or no emotion now.

  • I rarely tell my story, but when I usually regret it. Ex’s family completely turned on me, but I did have some mutual friends who wanted to offer “support” (in the form of pulling information out of me only to say typical “well, it takes two to tango” lines). I don’t even tell my own close friends things about my ex anymore, because he’s so bat$hit insane none of it’s believable (in fact, it really only serves to make me look like a crazy conspiracy theorist liar, which is what he wants).
    I’ve never received the kind of validation I sought by telling the truth about my ex. My validation has come when people come to ME after he shows his true self to them.

    • Clare,
      I can empathize. My STBX is a surgeon, so people typically place him on a pedestal. Admittedly, his public persona is pretty impressive, but privately! Nut case doesn’t even begin to describe. “Friends” call to ask why we are divorcing and I give them my reasons and they are incredulous. My truth doesn’t align with their accepted version of him and they can’t be wrong about him… no, sir. So I must be mistaken, the person who lives with him and is married to him must not have a clue about who he is. Conversely, someone who speaks to him on the phone on a bi-monthly basis will certainly have a better read on things. I will tell my truth at an upcoming hearing and pray it all works out.

      • Same! All of it. Surgeon cheater exes are usually believed over their former wives, sadly. But be patient. He’ll show his true colors to more people as he ages, gets fired from a job, and some Swiss/flying monkeys will try to circle back to you once they grasp that he’s actually unstable underneath his mask. I ultimately had to ditch virtually all Dr.-adjacent former friends. Hugs!

  • I think what you plan to say is clear and sensible, and does not editorialize. I agree with others who say that silence is a vacuum that can be filled with lies or misconceptions. If you simply disappear from their lives, they will make up a story about why, and it may be one that does you a disservice. Perhaps it seemed to you self-serving to volunteer the information before they wrote, and you wanted to avoid that, but now they have asked, and there is honor in telling them the truth. That said, I would avoid further contact, except for the Christmas card variety, should you wish it, because you don’t want to insert yourself in her family dynamics and you don’t want to risk entangling yourself, even tangentially, with her.

    • Thank you for your advice Adelante. I do think there is honor in telling the truth, especially because they reached out. I didn’t want to sound bitter or spiteful. But it doesn’t matter anymore. This is about me now. Being honest and graceful in my response, I think this is my way of saying I can’t stay in contact anymore because I was cheated on in my marriage. It’s painful but that’s what happened. Staying in contact with her or her family is not going to help me get over this.

  • I outed my ex to everybody. I told him if he was going to leave me for her, they weren’t going to have a clean slate with anyone. I made sure of it.

  • I was very close to my in-laws, especially my father in law who is very ill with stage 4 cancer. I called them to tell them about the affair and they initially seemed very sympathetic, since then, however, they have not reached out to me to see how I am doing, have not suggested to their son that he did anything wrong, bankrolled his new apartment and furnishings and have said that the most important thing is that their son “find his happiness.” I am very hurt because I considered these people my family. When my dad called them to uninvite them from Christmas, all they said was “yes; we figured Christmas was off—it’s a very awkward situation.” Awkward?!? Your son just ruined my life. It’s very hurtful to have even more people discard me that I considered to be family.

    • Newlywedchump, you will have to add leaving that family behind to your to do list I’m afraid.

      My cheaters mother gave him 70k in cash so that he could find happy after he told her he had an affair because he “guessed” he wasn’t happy for a long time.

      Maybe they aren’t happy because they are empty pitless voids. I couldn’t have loved that man any better or harder. I was totally all in. Any decent man would have been grateful for me and the family we built.

      I guess happiness can only be found in between the legs of a howorker 20 years younger. Funny how many people hid their happiness there!

    • Newlychump, I hear you. Trust me, I am in the same boat. But my father told me something similar when this happened to me. He said, “You are my son. And if you were the one who did these things, I would still be there for you.” He said that’s how family should work. My mother felt the same way. Which is why she was so surprised that the Aunts had reached out to me. She took it as a sign that she was going out against the family. Showing me that I was a really good guy and I should really thank them for going out of their way to show me support.

      Which is another thing I didn’t mention. I have no idea how her Aunts got my email. They must have asked my ex’s parents for it. They really wanted to reach out. For whatever reason.

      • I’m repeating myself but I think the aunts, even though EW is blood, know exactly what sort of person EW is as they witnessed her growing up. I’m sure they have lots of stories to tell. Her mother telling you how “independent” she was at 3 was more likely a watered down version of EW being a spoiled brat that refused to listen to anyone.

        • I think you’re spot on KB22. Kind of explains why they were so eager to have me marry her. Got the feeling they hoped either A) I would fix her. Or B) She would be my problem now.

          • One word of warning…..she may circle back when it ends with AP#3 and there is no one else waiting in the wings. She will say everything you want to hear, will play the victim and somehow will turn it around making it your fault. Absolutely amazing how they are able to do this with such flair. The thing is if you think the devalue/discard was brutal the first time….the second time is far worse.

            • KB22 Thanks for the warning. I’ve been researching Narcissist disorders and it has really opened my eyes to a lot of her behavior. I know typically they recycle supply and hoover eventually. But I gotta say, I have a feeling I will never hear from this one again. She took her mask off and told me who she really was. I don’t think she will ever have the courage to face me again.

  • I told the cheater’s family nothing. They deserved nothing from me.

    When my cheater discarded me he tricked his own mother into passing the news to me, to her acute embarrassment. I was torn between shock and schadenfreude. Schadenfreude because I saw instantly that the woman who had hugged me, kissed me, told me how happy she was to have me as a daughter, had betrayed me and her passing his message revealed not only his discard but also his and her betrayal. Good riddance to all that family.

  • I suspect more families of cheaters do know the truth, though they may never accept it. My MIL asked my old husband outright if his leaving (he was there to spin the story we had agreed to separate that same afternoon he ran away!) had anything to do with OW. He denied it but was shocked at her question. I had told her from the beginning about his affair with old GF and despite having some dementia she knew this and knew her son.

    She died 18 months ago at 101 and I looked after her until then. Him – not so much – just infrequent short visits. She wrote that she didn’t trust him any longer and used to say he was cold like a fish. Shrewd.

    I kept close contact because there was no one else, she was very old and she was my kids’ grandmother. However you have no real need to keep contact that if you don’t want/need to. Equally you have no need to be less than honest with anyone who asks why this split happened.

  • Get down on your knees and Thank your higher power that you did not have any children with her.

    Assuming “the high road” assuages your morality for sure. However it boils down to what can you live with? I don’t live well with lies in my heart ❤️

    My mother raised me to always tell the truth. Complete HONESTY is the best policy.

    My x concubine did the abandonment episode. I charged her with the responsibility of telling our kids why we were divorcing, AND set a time limit deadline. She minimized her role with tangential excuses (image mgmt) when she called her two biological children. She didn’t call my biological daughter at all.

    Her son experienced his mother’s adultery firsthand when she cheated on his father (husband #1).
    He helped me working on My MEH. He nicknamed me Superman. Concubine Thankfully didn’t get custody of him and abandoned him. He is now My Son. He looks to me as his father even though I am not. I Love him and he loves me.

    Her daughter was a product of concubines subsequent marriage to her AP (husband #2) that destroyed the first marriage. I’m No Contact with her even though she lives 1000 yards away from me. I can see her house and hear them. She models her mother’s behavior and I think she was a Switzerland step daughter with knowledge of her mom’s cheating on me. I closed that portal.

    I talked to all ‘our’ kids afterwards and went Full disclosure. Hopium sucks and can only be eliminated by honesty and a clean heart ❤️. My biological daughter will slap the taste out of concubines mouth if they ever meet again. Lucky for concubine she lives in Colorado.

    Concubines Sister gave me the superficial “you’re still family to us” crap ???? , however
    I have no use for her nor desire to have them in my life. Portal closedown.

    My bottom line is that I don’t hold any of them responsible for her actions sans her daughter and SIL. They must work out their own relationships with concubine. More importantly, I must be ???? MEH about their choices. Reciprocity is the action that I require for continuation of a relationship with me.

    I don’t want ANYONE in my life who doesn’t want me in THEIRS. And there’s a Shit load of Freedom in that paradigm.

    • You’re absolutely right, I do need to be thankful. Adding up her timeline, she pushed really hard to start trying for a child in-between two of her affairs. Luckily I was the one who told her we needed to wait a little while and we were not ready yet. “What do you mean we need to wait? A baby doesn’t cost anything for the first two years, I have boobs. I can feed it for free”. Looking back on it, she always had interesting logic on how she lived her life.

      Then about one month after trying hard for a baby, she met AP number 3 (could have been more honestly) and she decided this was the AP she wanted to leave me for. Plus add the fact that she moved, start getting tattoos, doing drugs, and start going to clubs all night until 6am. She really went off the deep end real fast. My head is still spinning when I think about it too long.

  • Sending a brief note (as included in the letter) explaining why the divorce happened and why you’re no longer in communication seems like a good idea. Her family might feel rejected by you. Clarifying that there was a particular reason for the divorce that has nothing to do with them, and that ceasing communication is necessary even though you never had a problem with any of them personally, might help them understand.

  • Just know that a brief message (or any message) needs to be driven by what you need and not to save anyone else’s feelings or satisfy their curiosity. Truth be told, people hear what they want to hear. You could state facts and ex could spin lies and ultimately others will decide what the “real” story is based on their own biases and experiences and thankfully none of it matters because you’ve moved on anyway. So say what you want or if you don’t want, say nothing. Just make sure it’s about helping you. That’s the bottom line.

    • Good advice NoRain. And I agree. Her mother reached out a few times when it was going down. I felt the same way about not saying anything. Especially cause it was her Mother, and I didn’t think anything I would say would change her opinion of her daughter.

      But now that’s been a few months, and it’s the aunts who have reached out a couple times. I think it is beneficial for me to own it, and say look these were the facts and that is why it is best for me to stop having contact. I used to be embarrassed and hide it, but I don’t think I should be anymore.

      • I think being embarrassed or ashamed is a normal reaction even if it’s not logical. I was pretty ashamed telling people that my ex was cheating on me. I can only assume I was ashamed because I didn’t feel valued anymore. I gave my ex so much power, i.e., my value was defined by how he viewed me. When he discarded me I had no value left. It took a while for me to realize that my value didn’t depend on others recognizing it. Once that enlightenment dawned, I was no longer ashamed. If anyone should be ashamed, it should have been the ex. But alas, if he had been the kind of person who would be ashamed of his bad behavior, he would never have done the things he did. It’s who he is and he will never change.

  • My ex’s family, his mom and siblings would not believe what he did and didn’t do. One of these siblings is a nice woman who has great kids, they are my kids’ friend-cousins they see a few times a year. Their Aunt did a DNA test for genealogy and it said she is 35% Greek which means she and my ex don’t have the same dad. Saint Grandma had an affair. “Nice” families can lure you in and then you find out how covertly awful and strange they are. It usually takes a family system to make an abuser (and a chump).

  • Fog Chump,
    Sorry that you married somebody cold-blooded who seems to show many signs of some personality disorders. Your ex-wife sounds much like my ex-husband. I have kids with my ex-spouse, though, so still need to deal with the abuser, at least for another half dozen years, unless he kicks the bucket before youngest turns 18, which is unlikely—my ex-husband will probably live to 100. I admire your composure!

    • I appreciate it RockStarWife. It is very cold. Still have troubles at nights trying to understand why everything changed so drastically. Good luck in your situation. It’s people like you and the others here at CN that I’ve been looking up to and have been helping me get through this.

  • I became very close to one of the ex’s nieces while we were married. Close enough that she and I are still friends and I’ll see her and put her up if she and her husband travel through my area. I told her what really happened. Not with the expectation that she would broadcast it immediately to all of the ex’s family, but because I wanted someone in that family to know how it really went down. Maybe she uses the info to combat the false tails spun by the ex, maybe she remains silent. She can do with the information what she wants.

    Oh, and I told ex’s first wife (I was his second wife). She sent me a FB message last fall to let me know ex was getting married again. I asked her what he was saying about the divorce. She said he only said “risingtide wasn’t happy.” I told her that was accurate, and why. She wasn’t surprised. So, I have two folks on his side who know the truth.

  • 2 years? Consider her training wheels and go get yourself a big boy bike.

    I am 35+ years in and today, I was desperately trying to complete the final details of entanglement with my vicious evil Ex, as she was literally demanding every last penny I’ve ever earned, saved, or invested. She said something so chilling and psychologically telling — “It’s just business”.

    You see I’m a normally wired human. To me she was never “just business”. To me, it was a friendship, a love, a lifetime, a marriage, a family, an extended family, a community of friends and neighbors, vows, memories and experiences, a shared past and future. It not just that I lost everything I ever had. It’s that I never really had any of it. It was a fraudulent mirage. So tragically sad.

    Don’t be me. Kick this parasite to the curb while you are still young.

    • QuantumChump, I am so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. Trust me, she is kicked to the curb, divorced is finalized, and she is blocked on all accounts. Heck, she’s even out of the country. Don’t think I will ever see or hear from her again.

      As hard it’s been to end a 2 year marriage, I can’t imagine doing it after 35+ years. My heart goes out to you.

    • How the hell were you married that long without realizing your wife never gave a shit about you? There had to have been at least one or a few signs.

      • NaturalHarmonia, short answer I was chumped.

        Longer answer, Idk what to say man. Ask myself that all the time. She was younger, foreign, she seemed so sweet and innocent. First two years, she was most loving devoted girl ever. My family, her family, all our friends thought that she was perfect. After year 1 of marriage, there were two incidents that stuck out. But they were so out of character. She cried, told me how much she loved me, and denied denied. I believed her. She told me every day to my face she loved me. Never had a dry spell or anything.

        She lied a lot. Hid a lot from me. I don’t know what else I can say. As soon as she figured out her next move, mask came off. I didn’t recognize the person I had been with for 3 years. Her family has no idea either, hence why they all reached out.

  • Thank you everyone for your advice. I ended up replying with the truth. Appreciate everyone’s support and thankful for this platform.

  • Had an awful interaction tonight with my own family…my wedding was six months ago and my mother planned the whole thing. I was really appreciative and remember telling her so, but tonight she went off on me about how ungrateful I had been, how I wasn’t smiling in any of the photos I took with her, how I never thanked her on Instagram for planning the wedding, and how did I think SHE felt for taking the time and money to arrange something that has all gone to shit. She had a bunch of wedding photos professionally framed as Christmas gifts for my husband, my in-laws, and I, and now she “can’t bear to look at them, despite all that trouble and expense.” Now I’m feeling terrible because it IS so sad that all this effort went into making such a beautiful day, and now, because of his actions, they are ruined. And on top of that she thinks I feel ungrateful when I was so, so grateful and appreciated that special day so much….like salt in the wound. Really struggling tonight.

    • It sounds to me that you have a toxic mom. It’s all about her. Rather than her taking you into her arms and loving you at this very difficult time, she attacks you by telling you that you didn’t smile, that it was expensive, that you didn’t thank her on Instagram! Why Instagram? Because it’s all about her. “See how wonderful I am!” I’m sorry for you because that’s not how a mother should ever be.

    • ((((newlywed chump)))) I am so sorry for what you are going through. Your story is horrific and has touched me. I am so sorry that you are having this problem with your mom – it is odd to hear that she is making herself central in the story of YOUR pain and anguish.
      These early days (and 6 months is still early) are the worst. Horrible horrible days. Please know that you are not alone and things will get better for you. During the most difficult months I put a post-it note on my bed frame that said “Good things will happen” – an idea from Wayne Dyer. I loved how positive it was without being specific. You are not alone.

    • That is truly awful behavior from your mom. I agree what was said above. I’m so sorry that you have this heartbreak on top of everything else.

    • Oh, I am so sorry your mom is not supporting you in this dark time and that she is instead piling on extra difficult stuff to deal with. That is unkind and selfish of her. (She sounds like she likely has a character disorder; George Simon’s book Character Disturbance might be of interest to you.) I’m sorry she can’t get enough perspective to look at how you might be feeling and try to see this all from a point of view other than her own. I would be tempted to say something like, “I continue to deeply grateful for all you have done, and it hurts me when you suggest otherwise. I am terribly sad about husband’s unfaithfulness since our beautiful wedding day. Going forward, I’d also be grateful for your support and understanding during this difficult season I’m in. I am grieving deeply and not currently in a place where I can continue to listen to your frustrations about the framed wedding photos or other wedding-related matters.”

      And please reach out to a friend, therapist, or someone who can be in your court with you as you navigate all this. Hang in there…

  • Hi there,

    New to this, so my apologies for crossing boundaries so early.

    I think your suggested response to your ex’s aunts is fine. Straight to the point without being insulting (although your ex deserves to be sh*t talked and you have every right to be emotional). I find that when you’re matter-of-fact about things, no one can ever accuse you of embellishing or try to convince you to go back to your ex.

    I wish I could be honest with certain people as to why I no longer talk to my ex, but he has threatened me with physical harm if I ever reveal the nature of our relationship. If that’s not your situation, I say be honest, direct, and most of all succinct. Don’t waste too much time giving explanations. You already wasted time with this woman.

  • I would also agree to being honest & direct. Cutting all ties is important to your healing.
    Myself, after 35 years married his family never contacted me or to know how I was doing. Only one lovely aunt phoned me to check on me. I guess blood is thicker than water. Good luck to you.

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