Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

‘How Do I Handle the OW?’

listenbitchDear Chump Lady,

How do I handle this bitch?!

My husband left me last year because he needed “space.” Come to find out he has been seen with one of my “friends” —  a mom at the children’s school — for the last two years!

They live in the same apartment complex. I spoke to her husband and they moved in at the same time. How special.

Anyway, they are still denying it, but using the kids to build this relationship. I have three kids and she has three. Our daughters are friends. It’s awful. But, the worst part is how aggressive she is. She walks by me on campus, smirks at me, and even says hello in a snarky voice. Of course I want to bitchslap her, but I don’t want to go to jail.

If I tell my husband, they will probably just rejoice in what is bothering me. I want to tell my children about this woman. They are young 2, 7, 9, but I think the older two are starting to catch on. My husband lets this whore carry my baby around. I know I have no control, but any advice? I have now learned about another full-blown affair he had for one year when my first two were 2 and 4. He’s such a douchebag. I hope they both rot in hell! 

heartbrokenBBB

Dear HBBB,

My first question is, why is this man still your husband? After a year of space, shouldn’t he have that space occupying a divorce decree? I think he needs all the lebensraum of court-ordered child support on three small kids, plus alimony. Release the fuckwit at once! Let the Other Women have him.

How do I handle this bitch?!

Which one? The married former friend with three kids? Or the fuckbuddy before that? Or the probably half dozen others I bet you don’t know about? How many bitches do you intend to “handle” while your “husband” lives in an apartment contemplating Space?

Do you think he’s pondering quantum physics in his off hours? Quasars? String theory? No, he’s screwing around on you. This cake arrangement works quite nicely. He gets his affair(s), his chump and family, and zero consequences. Oh! And he gets all the misdirection of your being incensed by the OW. Riles the OW up into a nice pick me dance, so she’s all smirky and superior to your face. Which probably has the intended effect of goading YOU into not giving him that divorce. Cake is maintained! And better still, you never mention your fury to him, to deny them both the satisfaction.

HBBB — STEP AWAY FROM THE TRIANGLE.

You know how you deal with aggressive, smirky, snarky OW? I’m going to tell you the OW Kryptonite secret.

Here’s what you do — the next time she crosses your path on campus and wrinkles her nose at you and sneers “Hi Heartbroken!” (subtext: I Fucked Your Husband) — you stand up to your full height, look her square in the eye, and convey in words, stance, or sheer telepathy — “Good luck with that.”

See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya. The secret to these encounters is simply TRUST THAT THEY SUCK. She sucks, he sucks, and you do NOT suck.

And when you really internalize that you do NOT suck, and you do NOT deserve this disrespect and devaluing, then you ACT on it, and you divorce the fuckwit and let OWs one through 57 deal with it.

Seriously, let her have the joy of wondering who he’s having “space” with tonight. The only thing to “handle” here is your own agency.

So many things here are out of your control — your husband’s cheating on you, your children’s friendship with the OW’s kids, the OW’s sneery countenance — embrace the one thing here you DO have control of — YOU.

I know you have a deep investment in this man — three children and years of your life — but is this relationship acceptable to you? A man who cheats on the mother of his children? And walks OUT ON THEM when the youngest is an infant?

If you’re financially dependent on him, start handling not being financially dependent on him. See what a lawyer says about alimony and support. Start training for a new career or go back to your old one.

When you are being a badass — leaving Mr. Toxic, focusing on a new life, being the sane parent to your kids, and OW tries to get over on you? What is there to sneer at? Would you be offended if a circus clown insulted your outfit? If a hobo said your haircut was funny? If a dimwitted dwarf wanted the contents of your diaper Genie?

Consider the source! (an OW) Consider what she wants! (him) Walk away! You’re too busy building that new life and raising three kids to trifle with that crazy.

As for what do you tell the children? You tell them you’re divorcing. Because Daddy cheats on you. And you’re all worth too much to tolerate that.

Rerun. Home sick today. 🙁

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • AMEN!
    The OW lives on the block and runs the community (as in on the town council). I just keep moving….nothing to see here. She thinks that there are cameras following her like a reality show….and I am not going to be a clown in that circus. She can have the ringmaster all to herself and lose sleep wondering where he is after work. She can also manage all the meds he takes to remain the “ringmaster”.
    This girl is moving on…and out of town once my kids graduate!

  • Oh no! I hope you feel better soon.

    I think my ex has invited a woman he is dating (and her child) to our child’s birthday party. I know that they have had other “playdates” together, despite our parenting plan being clear on not doing that.

    I hope to go forward w/o being triangulated in this mess. My only concern is that these “playdates” (showing off for this woman) are not good for our child. It’s disheartening seeing this person put their own needs first.

    • How do you personally deal with this mess?

      My kids’ hockey team is having a parent party and both these abusers are sure to show up. I have every right to be at these things with my friends but I do not want the anxiety that this potential situation could bring. Any advice?

      • Can you bring a friend or stick close to a friend who know that they suck? That way you have someone who can block their view of you and make nasty remarks about them when the kids can’t hear you.

        They are beneath you. No need to interact. Sniff and move on.

        • Bring a friend who loves to giggle and/or cackle. When you try to tear up, that’ll be her cue to poke you in the ribs and laugh her head off. Laugh with her! Laugh at the losers. They’ll hate it.

          • I can make this happen. Thanks for the advice.

            I did notice that when I laugh at my ex’s stupidity she really really doesn’t like it. I’ll have to get my friends to help me turn it up a notch.

            • A subtle nod towards her when she’s looking at your group and then a burst of merriment should keep the entertainment value high.

              It will drive her nuts knowing that people are laughing at her but she has no idea what they are saying about her.

              Don’t make a habit of it because the idea is to move beyond the slore – but it’s a one-off. Make the most of her discomfort. Goodness knows she has enjoyed YOURS.

            • Yeah you can direct anger and venom at the cheaters all day long and they’ll eat it up but when you laugh at them? They hate being laughed at not taken seriously.

            • If a bunch of people know what scum they are and are laughing and sneering at them, they may leave and not return to events involving these mutual friends. Then you won’t have to see them next time.
              Get there early and spill the tea.

            • Laughter is great. Once my neglectful alcoholic mom suggested that me and then husband (Cheater) work out our budget (where I worked 12 hour night shifts in an ICU to keep my kids in tubesocks) so that we could buy them a membership at a super expensive/elite restaurant club.

              I looked at her and laughed…no more explanation needed.

      • Doug-

        You go with your head held high. You did nothing wrong. Cheaters showing up with the ow/om like it’s no big deal & the chump not showing up is backwards. That may be one of the reasons why society leans toward blaming the victim.

        The chump’s not there. They’re hiding. They must be the one who did something wrong. The cheaters are there and not ashamed. Hm, they must have had a good reason to cheat. Maybe they are in the right.

        No! Break this messed up view. Cheaters want to make cheating acceptable to society and no big deal (they’re winning on doing that btw). Stop that noise. You show up where you want, when you want regardless of the cheaters. You take that place back in society. The place where the chump did nothing wrong to hide or coward. The cheaters are the ones who should be doing that, not you!

        Keep telling yourself you did nothing wrong. They are the ones who should feel ashamed. Fake it until you make it of you have to.

        • ((((Rose Thorns)))
          I just feel like reaching out with big hugs to you, so I am!
          All you have been through, and you take the high road and reach out with great advice and encouragement to Chumps in need.
          Cheaters tend to do their own thing, then they just lie lie lie, but Chumps are real people.
          Thank you for being so REAL.
          You rock!

      • Body guards are $250/hr in my area. Yes I’ve looked into it, esp after my ex showed up at my mom’s visitation the nite before her funeral.

        • I should have hired one.

          The day I asked for a continuance for my divorce trial, my Ex and his whore drove four hours to my mother’s locked care facility. He pushed his way into her room to pick her up and make sure she was dying. He kissed her and left. Sad thing was I knew he was going to do that and called to warn them, and he still managed to get in. Of course I was upset when they called to tell me what happened, but they asked if “this was really about me and not my Ex”.

          My horrible attorney did nothing and she died three days later. I treat my children’s step-whore like she’s dead. She deserves worse.

          • WTF?! Why? At least he didn’t hurt her, which might be why your lawyer couldn’t do anything. Legally, he was still her son-in-law. Maybe your mother thought he was an angel. These sick sorts are champs at image management. “Disguised as an angel of light,” indeed!

            • Because Howorker thought I didn’t want the divorce and was delaying. That was a Monday and she died on Thursday. I believe he hastened her death. And yes, she’s a sick f**k.

            • I work in a nursing home. It doesn’t matter that he was still legally her son in law. If the patient’s family wants to ban someone, no matter who they are, they are barred from contact. Even without a restraining order, although that does ensure that no contact will be maintained among other things. I’ve seen children banned from seeing their parents, and it isn’t always because of abuse.

              The care home was negligent.

              • Yes they were, especially as I knew exactly what he was going to do and put them on notice! I called them that morning and told him that Dr. A**hat was not to be given any information over the phone or be allowed in the locked facility. He arrived after 9 pm and pushed his way in, taking advantage of the much younger attendant. It was a very small dementia facility (I believe four patients at the time), so they didn’t have a large staff. It just sickens me he touched my mother on her deathbed.

                I should have called the police, but he would have twisted it against my kids and told them “see, your mother didn’t even want me to to say goodbye to grandma”. I have called a couple of attorneys now about it, but they don’t want to take the case.

                I told my attorney, who did nothing. He should have motioned the court to sanction him. The outrageous behavior by Dr. & Mrs. A**hat toward me through the divorce and up to now (NC since October 2018, but they’re still trying) has gone unchecked. I know that they suck and trust my children are on their way to figuring it all out as well.

          • The care home never should have let him in, and no one had the right to question you about this being about you or him, that is none of their business. Their business is to protect their patient, your mother. They failed to do that.

            I work in a nursing home, if anyone requests that someone be banned from seeing their loved one, we have to comply with that, even in absence of a restraining order.

            Please lodge a complaint against the care home with your state’s Department of Public Health, or whomever governs and regulates nursing homes. They take this seriously. You may also have grounds for a lawsuit.

    • This is EXACTLY why you DON’T include your Ex in birthday celebrations for your children, that you are hosting, on your time.

      • Amen! I never invited ex to parties I gave. Let him host his own parties. Never sat with him at games and recitals too. He’s mean to me and doesn’t share my values in addition to being a liar and cheat.

        We need to stop “for the sake of the kids”. Modeling strong boundaries and self protection equips kids of divorce with what they really need for the future. Being a smiling doormat doesn’t.

  • Hope you feel better soon, CL!
    Aggressive local APs sound awful. At least my STBX’s most recent AP lives hundreds of miles away, and has never tried to contact me. (In the dump of texts between them that I read, AP clearly didn’t want to think of me as a real person.) Bitch cookie?

  • Thanks for today’s post.
    I was easily able to accept that They Suck(tm).
    It took me over a year to just maybe-kinda-sorta-almost accept that I (Might!) Not Suck(tm).
    Hopefully this letter will help the next chump accept that they Actually Don’t Suck(tm) way sooner than I did.

    • Agreed. Trusting that you don’t suck is almost harder than trusting that cheaters and their APs do. After all, if your cheater leaves you for someone who sucks what does that say about you? It takes a while to realize that is says nothing about you and everything about the cheater (ie. (s)he sucks).

      • An important realization (for me), was that the relationship that my XW chose (the affair with someone who lives 1000 miles away, whom she sees only at conferences – no kids, no laundry, no cooking, no bills, no in-laws, no sickness) is not a direct, apples to apples, comparison with the one she had with me (a 17 year marriage). XW didn’t choose him over me in a fair fight – in fact, she made very sure that I didn’t know about his existence.

        They “choose” between reality and a fantasy. Yes it hurts us, but it’s not actually a true judgement on us or our marriage. I trust that in 17 years, if they’re still married, XW will be as secretly disdainful of AP as she (apparently) was of me.

      • Yeah, history. His story, his life/choices, not ours. (Or hers). Doesn’t reflect on our way of being in life, our self worth. Our autonomy is our power.

  • It’s tough when the OW was a friend, the double betrayal. I cried on her shoulder about him. The OWs are as sick as the cheater, especially when they love the triangulation.

    • That is horrible. What’s even more horrible is, it happens so often. An alleged friend! One you trusted to help you in your pain. Oh, the great thrill of “duper’s delight.” False friends suck.

    • I’m pretty sure they all love triangulation, otherwise they wouldn’t put themselves in a position to create a triangle in the first place.
      A friend doing that to you is a step beyond a regular cheater who sucks and into the realm of subhuman evil. I’m sorry about that.

  • “he walks by me on campus, smirks at me, and even says hello in a snarky voice.”

    She can only DREAM of being gum on your shoe. Walk on by and straight to an attorney. She can have him and all the other ones.

    Has her husband filed for a divorce yet? I hope so.

  • The ow is smirking at you, she’s living in her own delusion.
    Exs ow, smirks at me, reality didn’t want her kids, drunk and stoned. What life have they really have.
    Get what your entitled too.
    She ended up with your ex, cheaters aren’t prizes are they.
    She won’t trust him
    You have dodged a bullet

  • HBBB
    I totally agree with CL. Why is this creep still your husband? A year you’ve devalued and disrespected.
    Please turn this triangle around and see a lawyer to protect your children and yourself! He’s a disgusting man/child who cares more about his dick then his family.
    You deserve so much more. 👍🏻

  • I hope you feel better, Tracy.

    Heartbroken, I too gave XH a year of “space” because I had 4 kids and 26 years invested, I had extreme hopeium, I thought his behavior was caused by addiction/alcoholism and that he would hit bottom and get help for himself (he hasn’t and it’s been 5+ years). Finally I decided to file- charged the fees on a credit card I didn’t know how I would pay off. He was just as terrifyingly horrid in the divorce as I had feared he would be (blamed me for everything he did and tried to destroy me financially). I soldiered on. I studied for licensing in a new state where there was more work. I went to trial. I got everything including full custody, all assets. We are in a community property state! I passed my licensing and got a much better job working from home and making double what I had previously. I am here for my kids, being the sane loving stable mom they can depend on.

    OW #5(???!!!) is still living with (mooching off) of X but both “see” people. They apparently fight 24/7. My kids loathe OW and go out of their way to tell her what a POS she is. He’s on dating apps and doesn’t tell women there that he lives with OW. Two nascent relationships exploded when the new chumps found out. I live in a city but it’s a small community and despite NC the info got back to me. His health is wrecked. He tries to contact me and uses ruse of kid issues to lament about what a “mistake” he made and how badly he ducked his life up by leaving — I see his fake apology for what it is, sorry not sorry — he is only remorseful for his consequences, and usually only when he’s intoxicated and wants kibbles. Hot mess. I’m so lucky I escaped that.

    Meh is wonderful — but I couldn’t get here until I was divorced and a few years had passed. Come join us!

    • I love that part that you wrote, “he is only remorseful for his consequences.” Mine always apologized but that was his modus operandi. Thanks for shedding light on this!

  • Walk with your head held high…..own the fucking room! … Have your best lady-swagger going. You are the strength they are the puddles of moose piss you step over. Your children will see this and know their mom is the bomb! I have every confidence just from reading your brief that you already know what needs to happen. You are super!

  • If I met the greasy pig he ultimately abandoned me for I would burst out with gales of laughter, a sort of “good luck with that” but with a hearty chortle at her expense. I would point and laugh and whisper behind my hand with a friend.

    Never underestimate the power of making these shallow narcs think you have something over on them, they can’t stand it. They want to see you suffer and when you turn the tables their innate insecurity will burst forth.

  • The best thing to do is just avoid OW whenever possible. When it isn’t possible, do your best to act like she doesn’t exist without being too obvious about it. That’s easy for me to say as I rarely have reason to be in the same place as OW but when it does happen (usually at a kid’s event) I sit far away where I wouldn’t be expected to interact.
    In a case like this, however, the OW isn’t really the one who needs to be “handled”. It’s the husband who needs to be “handled” with a divorce so that then the court orders and parenting software can handle him. I hope that is what happened in the end.
    In the case of my OW I don’t really hate her but I have zero respect for her and I wouldn’t want to be her. If being that kind of woman is what it takes to keep my ex satisfied, then I guess my ex and I really weren’t a good fit because I would never want to be anything like her and it wouldn’t be worth trying to be like her to keep my ex. She walked off with my ex. I didn’t want that to happen. She has the man I loved and with whom I had planned to spend the rest of my life and yet I wouldn’t want to trade places with her because being her would be too much a sacrifice.

  • The second time my ex moved out for “space” he called it moving out “to think”.

    I told him “You don’t move to an entirely new home to think. You move to an entirely new home to fuck other people without being observed.”

    He told me I was being cruel and heartless to say that.

    I told him he was being cruel and heartless by betraying me, again, with even more people. (Had actual validation of it in hand, which he did not know.)

    And I told him to find a friend to stay with and let me know when the truck would arrive so I could load it.

    Which I did. Nearly completely on my own while he mostly stood and watched. Then called me heartless. Again. (Thought it might work better the second time, I s’pose.)

    Because after the first time he moved out, I had finally learned – nobody moves out solely “for space”. Moving out is a way to create a spatial gap that makes whatever the next step is easier. It’s a transitional step, not a temporary break, even if the person doesn’t realize it.

    Case in point: is it ever an option to move away from your kids for a bit of space?

    No. Because if you’re all in, you don’t step half out.

    • absolutely spot on the money, “if you’re all in, you don’t step half out.”
      and if you’re half out, get the rest of the way out.

      moving out for space is a transition step while keeping options open in case the grass is not actually greener on the other side. the grass is green where you water it. and if you’re half out, the grass is not green because it’s being ignored.

      uhm, no.

    • Exactly this!!^^^

      My XH moved out twice “for space and to think”. Both times it was so he could carry out his affair with the OW. These “thinking sessions” were nine years apart – same OW both times. Don’t know how these people sleep at night.

    • My Ex wanted to move out, insisted on it when I said I’d move after I found out about Affair #2. But that was because he thought he’d have his glorious affair, and I’d keep the home fires burning, continue to maintain his relationship with the kids, and welcome him back w/open arms.

      Uhm….. no.

      He was SHOCKED when he found out that wasn’t my plan, and that his usual hoovering wasn’t working. Then he was PISSED OFF!

      For a smart guy (Ph.D in physics, MBA, etc etc), he wasn’t very good at predicting outcomes. Didn’t see it coming when the kids got fed up with him, either. The first OR the second time. Didn’t see it coming when Schmoops dumped him for another man, either. The first OR the second time.

  • The three magic words to get the other woman at least stop smirking are as follows:
    He’s. All. Yours.

    She’s screwing your husband because she’s trying to beat you out, probably because she has issues with her own mother who is jealous of her and wouldn’t give her access to her father. (Sorry for the armchair diagnosis but this is a lot of what drives people to go after married people.) Think about it: she wants a guy who messed around on his wife. She’s delusional enough to think that she’s special enough that she can change him. Your (hopefully soon to be ex) husband has relationship ADD. He’s not going to be with her for too long before he gets bored and wants to go off and be with someone else. Please consider financially and legally protecting yourself.

  • Hi hBBB–

    It would be great if you could update us on your situation. However, your story is so typical of many Chumps! The spouse leaves because they need “space,” but that space is needed only because they have to have some kind of neutral ground so that they and the AP can sneak off for a 5-minute fuckfest between classes.

    First, this isn’t Dday #1; it’s Dday #2. You don’t know if this is even the second AP. It could be one in a string. All you know is that he’s more interested in screwing other women than being with his wife and family. There is ZERO to work with here. Get to a lawyer and see how your state handles divorce and what you can expect in financial support.

    Second, don’t let your STBXH know that you are contemplating divorce. The next thing you know, he’ll have shifted his assets and will be as poor as a church mouse. Talk to your lawyer about protecting yourself financially. In my state, you can file for divorce AND slap a financial restraining order on the spouse so that they can’t remove your name from insurance policies, buy or sell property, or otherwise try to pull a fast one with respect to the marital assets.

    Also, if you threaten your STBXH with divorce or let him know you’re seeing an attorney, you will give him the chance to try to hoover you back in with platitudes about how he really loves you but he’s a slave to his sex drive and that he’s willing to do ANYTHING to win you back. In actual fact, he’s willing to do what it takes to avoid consequences while still fucking around behind your back. Go read past blog posts. The responses are filled with the kind of mindfuck you can expect to experience.

    Third, know that YOU have nothing to be ashamed of. Remember that when you see OW smirking. Also, while OW is a horrible human being for cheating on her own husband, insofar as you’re concerned, she’s not the villain in your family drama. She should be able to dance nekkid in front of your husband and not get anywhere. He has agency. He needed to say No. He chose to cheat with her. He is the one who cheated not once, but at least twice. Insofar as your marriage is concerned, he’s the total asshole here. She is merely convenient. Water seeks its own level and you are way better than either of them.

    So when you see OW smirking at you, go Gray Rock. If she makes eye contact, give her a cheery wave. Otherwise, just ignore her. She’s getting off on making you feel uncomfortable. It’s that triangulation thing, and you’d be surprised to find out that a lot of affairs rely on triangulation as the glue to the relationship. Pretend that you’re not bothered, and she’ll start getting bothered herself (and expect her to up the ante in an attempt to make you respond).

    Good luck! You will find that life is clearer when you don’t have to deal with the toxic smoke of an affair in your life.

    • She should be able to dance nekkid in front of your husband and not get anywhere.

      This is hysterical, but I’m a gonna need eye bleach for the visual. Especially since Cheater #1 specialized in farm animal look-alikes and Cheater #2 likes boney bitches. Ew, Ew, Ew

  • When you cross paths just stare straight through her. Treat her like she doesn’t exist. That’s what I try to do with the OM even though it is extremely difficult in our small town.
    I have 12 days until my contested court date, so looking forward to the 1 1/2 year divorce process coming to a close.
    In my situation my ex wife hired the OM after being warned about him being a Partner Predator. But she did it anyways. He was also our neighbor, our yards butted up to each other. He also coaches the same youth sports teams I do. Plus our kids are around the same ages. It’s a total shit show. When our temporary order went into place and I moved out, she moved him & his 4 boys in the same day. So there is 7 kids total in this house with my daughter being the only girl and she’s 8. I’ve watched him carry her around like she’s an infant and it’s pretty fucking disgusting! I understand the kids all think this is fun because of all the kids under one roof. They have also coordinated their schedules so all the kids are in the house at the same time. Will the kids get sick of this ever having to be around them always?

    I know what kind of father he is to his kids and he is a shitty father. But to my kids he treats them better than his own and vice versa for my ex and his boys. She acts like their mother. How do I deal with that? His boys mothers have both shared their concerns with me over this. What do I do?

    I have communicated with his ex wife and his ex girlfriend, who he left for my ex, about other things as well since they have both been brought into this situation. I found that he talked them out of pursuing child support. Well I convinced them they needed to and they both have filed for support. I will also be receiving child support and alimony. From what I’ve heard is that they are not liking the consequences that are coming to them. My kids told their therapist that all they do is scream and yell at each other in front of them and behind closed doors it gets worse. And it’s about money & the kids.

    All the kids are also aware of what my ex and her sparkle dick have done.

    So HBBB I hope you gave him the consequences he deserves! How have things turned out for you so far?

    • You can’t control what they do, but you are doing a damn fine job holding your STBX accountable. This whole circus they’ve created has a limited shelf-life, especially since the OM trades women in like cars.

    • 1.5 years is about the time that these things start turning into real life and the veneer has worn off. I couldn’t imagine the stress of SEVEN fucking kids in one house. I don’t know how old your kids are, but they aren’t stupid.

      My ex did a similar thing with my son’s hockey coach and through the public record of our courts, I can see that every three years he has a divorce or some legal trouble with an ex. Sounds like everyone in both these situations got exactly what they wanted. Even you and me buddy, we mercilessly got evicted from that garbage heap of a relationship.

      You sound like a good dude, I’m sorry you have to put up with this. Keep being the stable parent and the kids will figure it out and choose the right path.

      • Yeah 7 kids in the house and then my oldest is in college and her sparkle dick has an older one as well. So the 9 kids range from 5-22. I would think real life would be setting in soon and that fantasy fading.

        It’s been tough going from being the primary parent to being there half the time. This is probably been the hardest thing to deal with. She just didn’t parent and I didn’t mind. On top of working full time I picked the kids up everyday from school made sure they had their work done, supper made, laundry, dishes, house clean, took kids to extracurriculars and coached all their sports all this over the course of 16 years with no complaints from me as I felt bad enough that she was the breadwinner. But now she actually has to parent and do all the daily stuff and her sparkle dick does none of that stuff. But not my circus anymore.

        • I firmly believe the kids will absolutely notice all of the efforts you put into them, their well being, their health and all of their extra curricular stuff. My more cynical friends think they can be baffled with bullshit.

          I hear you loud and clear. I’ve run into this belief that the kids can spend less time with the me and everything is fine and fair simply because I’m a man, or more specifically in my case, in the military.

          It’s only been about 10 months for me but my kids already notice the stability that I give them and routinely ask to come over on my non-access days. I hope you’re receiving child support and some sort of spousal support too.

        • I don’t know about everyone else but this is my idea of hell. A very bad decision and there’s no concern for the kids here. And purely objectively speaking, this isn’t sustainable and you’re already seeing this. You wait and watch. And be the sane parent.

  • The husband has set up a triangle. In one corner, HBBB, the chump; in another corner, his current OW(s); and in the final corner, CheaterHusband. In this way he sets up the pick-me dance, He gets his tasty kibbles from two people competing for him. He gets lots of ability to control both Chump and the OW by playing them off each other. And all the other delights that triangulation offers.

    The only way to deal with this? Follow CL’s advice. Step out of the triangle. Get your own life going. Have a 30 day goal, a 6 month goal, a 1 year goal, a 2 year goal, a 5 year goal for you, your career, your home and your family with the kids. Focus on that stuff. Focus on being your most fabulous self.

  • The whore bag recently sent me a friend request on Facebook. I deleted that request faster than you can say slut. Cheaterpants and I do not have kids together so it was not about that. Not going to be a part of that insanity. I never contacted her, never wanted to give her the impression I cared. She just would have dug her heels in more. That’s what low class, selfish whores do.

    The consensus is there is trouble in paradise which gives me tremendous satisfaction. The grass ain’t greener on the other side people.

  • HBBB- I think the answer to CL’s first question (why is this man still your husband?) is a hard one to answer for honestly in a situation like yours. At least for some people. You want to believe he will change because it would be so much easier to have him stop this annoying little infidelity thing and go back to that comfortable family life. I think, for me, what made this part so hard was the general sentiment people seem to have about sex and relationships today. There’s this complicated narrative that makes no sense when you try to untangle it where people talk about soul mates, true love, sexual chemistry and things like this as this integral part of a relationship. What this means is fed to us by rom coms, psychology today blogs, magazine articles like the ones CL dissects for us and simultaneously marriage is subtly ridiculed-sit-coms featuring cuckolded men or women ogling the yoga instructor, jokes about how sex dies when you get married, and articles painting a happy marriage as a mythical construct created to imprison free minds. Your ex is EXPLOITING those narratives to cheat on you. “I need my space” garners sympathy from the Ester Perels of the world. It’s a valid argument to many therapists these days. He gets kudos for being honest AND for taking care of himself. Blah, blah, blah. But my sense is you’re buying into it a little bit. And don’t get me started about how confusing this whole sex argument gets when it’s outside a marriage. “It’s just sex”-so why are we such prudes about affairs. “Poor guy, he wasn’t getting any sex from his wife” (who was maybe tired after taking care of the kids while working, and wasn’t into butt porn–but every marriage has its own story). Or “you can’t let the sex go out of the marriage or your asking for an affair.” So which is it? Is sex just sex? Or is it the crux of a marriage? We’re too uptight about it, but then we don’t have enough of it? The bottom line is that marriage is more than just sex and sometimes maybe sex is the main connection and sometimes it’s talking and sometimes it’s raising kids or attending concerts or whatever…no one is doing all those things 100% every day. So if he needs to find his space, while fucking other women and he’s checking out of that life you built—he’s an ass. And everyone who is feeding you all this BS about reasons it’s not a big deal have never walked in your shoes. They are living in that la la land where sex is everything and yet nothing and you can be passionately together while completely independent. You’re not living there. So get a lawyer and enjoy being free of that bullshit that is tormenting you! And fantasize about bitch-slapping that haughty ho as much as you like.

  • My ex was cheating on the people he was cheating on me with (is that even a sentence?) like 5 of them at once! All in different cities up and down the eastern seaboard. How he kept this all straight I don’t know, but what I do know is that he was fired TWICE from nearly 6 figure jobs during that time. (7500 emails from various hookups and APs probably consumed his day, aside from the actual time during working hours he spent fucking people in hotel roos and in our home) Of course the job losses were all someone else’s fault, someone had it out or him, set unreasonable expectations, etc., LOL. Honestly, I am all too happy to let someone else deal with him. The more distance I get from him, the more I see what a loser he is, and will always be.

    • Yeah, my Ex tried cheat on OW#2 with ME – a year and a half after I kicked him out! But in his mind that was OK because I was his wife????? Really, what? You fired me from that job, idiot!

  • My replacement – 25-years-younger-than-me-good-looking-hair – is now to be seen hanging like an accessory on the arm of my STBXW.

    I must admit that there have been times when I’ve wanted to stamp on his head but a big part of me knows what he’s in for. And it’s not going to be pleasant.

    Four months total no contact now after 18 years together but it still hurts me when mutual friends tell me what a ‘nice guy’ he is. I’ve spoken to him twice on the phone and the second time he actually. mocked me because I suffered sexual abuse as a child at the hands of my predatory father. She’s obviously been fillling him in on all the gory details of my life.

    My advice – difficult as it might be to implement – is to show no emotion when you meet the OW. Show her you’re not remotely concerned with her, that she is a non-entity in your eyes.

    Everybody keeps telling me that karma will eventually catch up with them. If you believe that then it’s just a matter of patience. In the meantime try to live life the way you should have been doing before this scumbag polluted your world. xxx

    • What a disgusting bastard! I’m sorry the OM did that to you, that your father did that to you, and that your asshole ex told her manwhore about it.
      I absolutely agree that we should treat APs like the nonentities they are and never so much as look at them if we can possibly avoid it.

    • Your ex found her level with a guy who’s amused by child abuse and he found himself a narcissist well old enough to be his mother. And they have nothing better to do than discuss you? Pathetic.

      Take good care of yourself.

    • What a complete ass both of them are. He sounds a gem if he’s mocking your abuse. She’s an ass for saying anything to him in the first place. This isn’t going to last, or end well for your ex. When her sparkle wears off, he will dump her. What if she gets sick? Can’t see the younger, cruel, guy sticking around to nurse her. What filth.

  • Now that I’m out of the ‘pick-me-dancing’, divorced, and the OW won the turd, I can truly recognize CL’s words of wisdom. But when I was still married and trying to keep the turd, I was devastated and angry and bitter and any number of words that describe the wife in these circumstances. My heart hurts for those still going through this crap. I doubt I would have listened to CL back then. I did EVERYTHING I could think of to keep the turd. I bought books galore, CDs about how to put romance back into my marriage, I read everything on the Internet about midlife crisis and depression, I watched YouTube videos, etc. I just KNEW that it was something that I wasn’t doing enough of. Well I eventually learned the wisdom of letting the OW win the turd and I’m so happy he’s not my problem anymore. Thank goodness time was on my side to show me that I’m better off without him in my life. Thanks CL and CN for being supportive and helping me through!

  • My story is a bit different in that I never met the ex gf skank, nor was my ex going to leave for her (that I knew of but who knows). He wanted to keep his nice life with me and keep her on the side for his pathetic ego.

    But I’m sure she got off on the idea that he just couldn’t let go of her….5 times married skank her was soooooo special.

    I know he’s still carrying on with her but tbh I feel a little bad for her. She’s in her 40’s like me (ex is in his 60’s) and she can’t do any better then a pathetic old idiot who’s broke, wears a shitty toupee, can’t keep it up, has such poor self esteem that he constantly looks for ways to make himself feel superior to the women (plural) in his life, and is a known liar and phony.

    She has to be some kind of loser if that’s the best he can do. Don’t know if she’s still married to hb number 5 and don’t care.

    He still sends me emails with the sadz from time to time but I just hit delete and text my lovely bf….who for the record is closer to my age, can keep it up, and has his own hair,….even if it is a little thin (nobody cares).

    Once this guy becomes an ex lots of things will become clear.

  • Remember on Sex and the City when Carrie started dating the Russian? She met his exes and was perplexed by the way they treated her. Like they felt sorry for her but also thought she was kind of a fool. She was so proud of her boyfriend, and she didn’t get why the exes looked at her like she should be embarrassed to have made such a choice. Later on, to her great shock, the Russian hit her, and then she understood.

    I think if you would be mortified to be with who your ex has shown himself to be, the right attitude will come to you innately.

    • This. This was such a revelation I didn’t even know it was thing. I spent 25 years trying to be a step ahead, anticipating his needs, trying to say things in a way to elicit the response I wanted – like if I wanted him to come with me to a dinner party with friends. In the end, he’d still ruin it for me. It wasn’t until I left that I realized I had been trying to figure out a way to handle him all along. It never occurred to me the question should have been why do I need to dance around for the simplest of things from the supposed love of my life?

      • strongerthanyesterday, oh yes, exactly this, even down to the 25 years! My youngest son (17) was wondering the other day about what was it that made his dad spoil all special occasions? I was able to tell him the scientific name for that kind of musing, thanks to ChumpLady – untangling the skein of f*ckupedness – and who has time for that sh*t? And changed the subject.

  • As much as it hurts you will have to share your children with your ex and his choice of woman. Go to court and do your best to get the most time possible with your children. Offer him every second weekend, and hope he goes for that.
    But in any event sharing the kids with him and his new woman is your new reality. Sad, but at some point it has to be accepted.

    All you can do is go very low contact with both of them. Gray rock them.

  • Don’t know if anyone mentioned this but when custody comes up it is a big deal that he left you and exposed his kids to this other woman right away. I wouldn’t want that woman touching my baby. Fight for as much custody as possible.

    • Yes, exposing kids to ow right away is a big deal TO CHUMPS. If it matters at all legally depends on what state your in. In the state I’m in (Iowa), it didn’t matter one bit!

      My own attorney told me I couldn’t stop him, had no control over who he took our kids around or who they stayed with when they were with him (he moved right in with her when he walked out). And it didn’t matter one bit during the divorce as far as custody & visitation. By the divorce trial, he was on his 3rd live in & had even had 2 domestic assault charges. Guess what? Didnt matter legally.

      I couldn’t believe it at the time. I still get a hard knot in my stomach about it still, years later. It most definately SHOULD matter. Unfortunately, morally & legally are often two different things. My experience with divorce is why I no longer believe in our Justice System!

  • Hi middlefingerup, Theres no law that says your ex has to be invited to the party. Tell them they can organise a lovely separate party for your child on THEIR time (and at their expense) that you won’t attend.

      • Poconochump, yeah! It is great isn’t it? My youngest son has just decided to live with me full time after 3 years of shared custody, so now all contact with my ex (already minimal but still a tie to the past and a presence in my head) is over for me. If he wants to see his son he can arrange it himself on his own time; if he wants to know about progress at school he can ask his son or contact the teachers on his own time; if he wants to be at graduation he can make his own arrangements. If he wants to be a part of his son’s life, he can work on that himself on his own time. The sense of freedom is amazing. I didn’t realise how much sharing custody was holding me back from healing and moving on from the divorce. Even my son, though deeply hurt, was completely open-eyed about the whole business. The words he needed to hear were – please don’t go, what can I do to make you want to spend time here, I love you. The same words I wanted to hear and didn’t when I left 3 years ago. The words my son heard (among many others, I gathered) were a wearying mindf*ck litany of rage/self-pity channel (charm absent, he doesn’t have to waste that on his children does he?) abuse and impression management, guilt tripping and blameshifting – I suppose you’ll tell that woman I threw you out; you are bankrupting me by doing this; if leaving mums would leave her bankrupt would you do it?; and a whole lot of other stuff the gist of which was staying at mums will make you fail at school. And when my son said see you later dad, I love you, as he left, his dad replied “prove it”. The poor kid is pretty realistic already about his dad but it hurts like a mofo seeing him processing the reality. One of his comments was that his dad is like a really mean kid. Bingo. Not pretty in a man of 50. I just be truthful about it without anger, and that is enough. I was the filter and buffer for our children for his massive selfishness, greed, meanness and cruelty, now it is there in all its glory for them to experience directly. And boy – does he let it shine for them.

        • … and closing that shared calendar made me do a happy dance. Because of course only one person set it up and kept it updated. I did it to minimise direct contact with my ex and so my son wouldn’t be too let down too often but it still reeked of wife-ing. Yeehaw, I’m dooone!

          • … and one more thing – my son said he felt so powerful when he realised that his dad was guilt-tripping him and none of it was true. It made leaving just an unpleasant but short term task to be managed. That to me was a major win for my son.

  • Some stanzas of a poem regarding dance and (to start with) the “pick me” dance. There is more. The poem is WE HAVE COME by Jewel Mathieson

    “We have come to be danced
    Not the pretty dance
    Not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
    But the claw our way back into the belly
    Of the sacred, sensual animal dance
    The unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
    The holding the precious moment in the palms
    Of our hands and feet dance.

    .
    We have come to be danced
    Not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
    But the wring the sadness from our skin dance
    The blow the chip off our shoulder dance.
    The slap the apology from our posture dance.

    .
    We have come to be danced
    Not the monkey see, monkey do dance
    One two dance like you
    One two three, dance like me dance
    but the grave robber, tomb stalker
    Tearing scabs and scars open dance
    The rub the rhythm raw against our soul dance.” (it goes on…)

  • Lawyer up and take him to domestic relations for child support and spousal support! Apartment what apartment. Sucker will need a roommate. Watch him find a sucker for a roommate as in OW. Man to be fly on her wall. Yes. Popcorn no extra butter. Thanks.

  • Amazon Chump, Everything you wrote is so true and my story too. Add on top of that being a Christian and trying to do the biblical thing. Three years later I am so thankful he is out of my life and he married her two weeks to the day of our divorce.

    The interesting thing is 11 weeks to the day after they married he came Knocking on my door crying and telling me how sorry he was, how much he missed me, and how much he loved me. He also cried and told me several times what a mess he was in. When I asked him where she was, he had just put her on a plane to Houston for the week to help one of their friends whose husband was in the hospital.

    I sent him on his way reminding him of his hurtful words of how she was his soulmate, they were one flesh, he’s never known love like that existed, That she was the love of his life. I told him to go home and be faithful to her.

    Long story short, he risked everything by coming over and trying to return to me. He’s a loser and a joke and I’m glad she won the sparkling turd, she deserves him.

    These losers never change. I forgot to add that he is her fourth husband that I know of.

  • I love the idea to bring a friend to help cheer you up! When that’s not a possibility, what helped me A LOT was to teach myself to “not see” the ex (if you’ve seen the Black Mirror episode where you can mentally “block” someone, that’s the right idea). Whenever he and/or OW are at a school function or whatever, I basically pretend they don’t exist. Not in a “I give disdainful looks in your general direction” way, but in a “I don’t know you, you total strangers” kind of way. I don’t talk to them, if either tries to jump in to a conversation I am in I either politely excuse myself or just basically ignore them and continue to enjoy whoever I’m talking to. I try to keep my back to them (out of sight, out of mind) and I become temporarily blind on whatever side if they enter my field of view, especially if one of my kids is interacting with them. At first I was doing this to pretend I was fine around my munchkins (and so I wouldn’t cry at school functions, we all have our pride) but now it’s such second nature I have literally forgotten they were there and just get on with socializing. Which is nice and relaxing, and as it should be. Added bonus: It makes the idiots feel awkward to be ignored and they’ve stopped trying to talk to me at events. Don’t know if that would work for everyone, but it’s worked great for me!

  • OWs are sad creatures who want what other women have, and draw their sense of self from the thought of having beat someone else out and “won a prize.” As CL suggests, the way to handle them is to step away from the [steaming pile of shit] who wants to have his cake and eat it, and take your space in the rest of your life.

    If you pass her in the schoolyard, square your shoulders, take up physical space, take all the time you need, and keep to the task you are doing. Take someone you trust with you, if need be, so you feel you have “backup” and are not alone (in the early days when I felt intimidated, I brought my friend, who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, to bookfairs where I had to see her).

    If she says anything to you, look her in the eye, blankly and coldly, and drop CL’s line. Or give a quick, shake of the head and a little “poor you” kind of smile, and keep walking. And keep taking your space, and showing up, reinforcing how little she matters. Also, invest in really good self care. Make sure you are getting enough rest, exercise, a massage if need be. This is for you, outside of the triangle. It’s no longer a competition between you and her, it’s a new phase of your life where you focus on you. They LOVE triangles–feeling important at someone else’s expense is a sad substitute for genuine self-worth. The more you show them they are irrelevant, the more this actually becomes true.

    For the first year I had to apply “fake it till you make it.” Now I see her and think, “Wow, there’s the marketing person who needs to feel special by sleeping with her authors’ boyfriends. OK. Batshit crazy and unprofessional. How’s that working for her?”

    Hugs,
    Artemis

  • Xw checks in for a mail pickup. Surprise attack!…finding me at one of my lowest points. Adorned in her new image clothing with post stomach bypass weight loss- my discard fully palpable. Conversation turns to rage channel after depositing some cutting “I’m royalty” attitudinal abuse on my psyche when I’m pleading for a Hopium fix. Crushed again!!
    (Consequences. I told all our grown kids about her adultery immediately after Dday.)

    I was fighting Acceptance of Tracy’s tactical Survival advice. Hopium. But Alas. The 3 predicted channels of crazy were that day demonstrated. I think I pulled the trigger on my lawyer to file the next day. Her ‘visits’ were incredibly destructive to me. They hurt. Every thing was unfolding just as CL predicted.

    I got tactical knowing I could not accept this person. If I was going to HEAL, No contact had to be My 1st commandment. Foresaking all others, coveting strange, committing adultery. Yep. We’re done here. Covenant broken.

    NC became easier: more so, demanded by the absolute DISGUST I felt when I saw who she really was, and Most Importantly who she wasn’t. It gave me cold chills.

    I’m two years into the 2-5 years suggested period of recovery. If I ever bump into “them”, I fully intend to introduce myself, shake the OM’s hand, look him in the eye and say Thank You for rescuing me. That would only occur if I was trapped into an otherwise avoidable situation.

    I’m going to believe this probably won’t ever happen because “if they cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you”. Once Fully possessed by their ‘fantasy’, the attention to detail of the deceit gets skipped, the crumbs fall to the floor, and they’ve set the stage for their ‘next chapter’.

    Mine Fukwit was twice married with a child from each. Subsequent Picker fixing chores have been revealing to me. (NO!!..it ain’t fixed yet!! Work In Progress). So, what’s the first thing I do to fill the hole 🕳 left? Who did I gravitate to?
    Not 1!! But TWO divorced mothers of two from two separate marriages!! The same thing I’d just got out of.

    I’m seeing a pattern here. With me.

  • my ex-wife did something similar. had a separate life with the other man which was conducted (mostly) outside of our home. our friends all knew – nobody said a word about it to me (for years).

    get the divorce lined up, tell the kids, never communicate with him again unless it’s important, kid-related stuff. use email or text messages. this utter fuckwit is not deserving of your time or energy.

    most importantly, find a way to express your rage that doesn’t hurt anyone else (or you). take up a boxing class, maybe.

    take care.

  • When unpleasant thoughts about the injustices of the world, including the injustices to you/us (chumps) arise, I recommend meditating, practicing guided imagery, and listening to podcasts by Jack Kornfield and Pema Chodron, who was a chump who became Super Mighty! These activities can, to some extent, help both acknowledge and productively, healthfully redirect the negative emotions (anger, sadness, etc.). (I should do these things much more often.) Better for you than going to jail for showing some ‘proud of their adultery’ adulterers how you really feel.

  • Went 4+ years before I met the affair partner, Doug. I knew his name, but not what he looked like.
    My former mother-in-law passed away and I attended her memorial service with my new wife. At the reception afterwards this random dude sticks out his scrawny hand. “Hi I’m Doug.” Earlier in the process I might have punched him in the nose, but four years and me getting happily married I just looked him in the eye and dropped his hand as if it was full of dog shit.
    Never saw him again.
    My son’s mom showed up at their weddings without a date. Not a good look.

    • I’m a chump. I will probably be attending the weddings of my 4 children without a SO or a “date” because I have decided that I am content single.
      What does your comment mean- “not a good look”?

      • Because she threw away her marriage for this guy, who turns out to be a creep. Now she has nothing and has damaged all her familial relationships.
        That, I presume, is not your story. You can hold your head high.

  • It takes a while for the reality of it all to kick in, and this may or may not work for you. The center of your universe is YOU. He’s not the prize. She definitely isn’t. Secondly, humor may help. I gave my OW the title of the Vaccum Cleaner of the Universe. Because she picked up loose dirt from everywhere (from what I heard from others), this wasn’t the first time she stepped in to someone’s relationship and wrecked it. That she finally “won” my ex-husband was like cleaning my house for FREE. You can think up tragicomic titles like these. Humor helped me a lot.

    • Mashal S
      Humour keeps my heart beating.
      There is lots here on CL, CN.
      I am so thankful for that!
      There is also honesty, integrity, kindness, and many other virtues here.
      You can feel it in your bone, and in your heart.
      ❤️

  • I had the amazing fortune of blissfully walking into a craft fair where the OW was selling her goods. Please note I had NO idea that she was going to be there, and was simply going grocery shopping when I wandered into this fair. I did a double take and my heart started pounding. You should know that I have seen her naked pictures all over my Ex’s email, files, etc…
    So, lo and behold, this brazen hussy actually comes into my space and says “hello, Audacious”… to which I replied “hmmmm, sorry… who are you?”
    She stated her name (I call her Midget) and then I said “oh, I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!”
    and I walked away. I plan to say exactly that to her every time I ever see her.

  • Feel better soon, CL!

    Truly, there is only one way to answer to the question, “How do I handle the idiot affair partner(s)?”

    You don’t. That’s the totality of it. Zero interaction.

    Potential (but, alas, by no means guaranteed) bonus is that your kids will eventually follow suit. No matter the outcome, definitely best for the kids, I think, for you to be honest about but otherwise completely disengaged from the assorted cheating targets. Whatever to them. Their choices say everything, and no way do you want to get in the way of that loud and clear message. That person embodies the absolute opposite of everything you are raising the kiddos to be. Nuff said, and mic drop.

    My heart does go out to all of you who must endure the AP’s presence in the lives of your precious little ones. But I know you can endure in peace and with style, because their is only one true mom (or dad) in their worlds, and that is you.

    Rock the fuck out of that. It looks awesome on you.

  • >