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UBT: ‘It’s not all sunshine and rainbows over here’

Dear Chump Lady,

My wife and I separated last year after she had a year-long affair with a colleague from work.

Later on it had become apparent that she had seen other guys prior as well, over years , she went to the city where her parents live and went out to bars to meet men.

There was the usual lying, blame shifting gas lighting, fake reconciliation, until I reached the point of no return and kicked her out.

I pushed for divorce quickly and even paid for her lawyer to get it over and done with. We settled and awaiting our divorce to be finalised in April.

Recently, I found out that I inadvertently had still paid for her life and income protection insurance for over a year after she moved out – to quite a nicely sum. I asked for the money back, she refused, as she had to find out what her budget was in her new life.

Throughout our relationship, I had always paid for pretty much everything. I am a doctor, she is a nurse.

My chumpiness went so far that I paid for her parents to come on holidays with us.

She has long proven that she is a covert narcissist and had been awful to me since the separation.

One particular example: She came to my house to pick up the children ( 5 and 8 year old) and had the morning-after-pill visible on her passenger seat. When I mentioned that I found that hurtful, she just replied that she had a bad tinder hook up, which was none of my business.

Our 8-year-old son told her on Christmas and recently me, that his only wish was that we would be a happy family again.It really broke my heart and I made the mistake mentioning this to her. I have been quite good with the “grey rock” method, so this was clearly an error.

Anyway, I was hoping you could run this through the UBT, as I find every single sentence offensive.

ATG

Dear ATG

I am truly truly sorry for how much I have hurt you. I have grown and changed and been very thoughtful of everything that must hurt you so much about our marriage ending. I know you have so much anger towards me and I absolutely understand why.
I am finding my strength and my voice, and I hope you are finding positives in your world too.
I also hate how money has come into our relationship again too and how it causes so much trouble and anger. Hopefully that is now all behind us.
Seeing our son so upset on Christmas Day eve was awful. Knowing this is what I’d done to him was horrendous. Perhaps with time we can be in each other’s space on important days so that the children can have happy memories with us all together.

I just felt it important to tell you these things so you know I am not over here thinking everything is all sunshine and rainbows

Cheater

Dear ATG,

“Some money is too expensive,” to quote Mr. CL, the trial lawyer. Meaning, some things are just not worth going after.

It’s galling, I feel you, but if we chumps added up every dime we were hoodwinked out of, we could pay off the national debt. Buy a planet. Afford manuka honey at Whole Foods.

It’s all part of the Injustice Shit Sandwich of being chumped. I’m owed thousands in back child support and years of health insurance a fuckwit dropped on his own kid. The stories on this blog would curl your hair. (Look at mine.)

You paid for your in-laws because you’re a good person and treating family members is what good people do. You were all in. She fucked you over in a myriad of ways including an accounting oversight in your divorce. She won’t pay you back? She’s a serial cheater. Her character is abundantly on display.

I know it hurts. Go forward and know that money can be earned again, time cannot. That’s the worst theft. Don’t give her any more of yours.

Be the sane parent to your kids. I know it’s heart-shattering to see your kids hurt and feel powerless in the face of that. New lives fill in. Yours will too. And your children’s will. Your new separate life will become their normal. Your sane home will be their haven. So chart that course and stay on it. Don’t get side-tracked by her nonsense.

Now to the UBT.

Dear ATG

I am truly truly sorry for how much I have hurt you.

Except for the whole paying-you-back-money-I owe-you thing. I’m sorry, except in the demonstrable ways.

I have grown and changed and been very thoughtful of everything that must hurt you so much about our marriage ending.

I live on a fixed income now. #somuchchange

I know you have so much anger towards me and I absolutely understand why.

I absolutely understand why I am so powerful and central.

I am finding my strength and my voice,

My vagina was lost in the backseat after some Tinder date. But I located it.

I am finding my strength and my voice — the sad little match girl, the shrinking violet, the frozen waif lost in an Dickensian hellscape of paste-blacking factories — now I have a podcast.

and I hope you are finding positives in your world too.

Here’s a kibble. Fetch!

I also hate how money has come into our relationship again too and how it causes so much trouble and anger. Hopefully that is now all behind us.

The problem isn’t that I owe you money, the problem is your anger about it.

Hopefully you’re over my shitty character. Don’t let it trouble you. The important thing is I have a voice!

Seeing our son so upset on Christmas Day eve was awful. Knowing this is what I’d done to him was horrendous.

I fucked around for many years. I never thought there’d be consequences like divorce! And that children would cry! It was horrendous. Similarly, I spend money and bills come. I must really have a conversation with myself… now that I have a voice.

Perhaps with time we can be in each other’s space on important days so that the children can have happy memories with us all together.

Let’s be friends! For the children! So they can have their happy memories of us, which must be searing for you (oh! and maybe them), but what really matters here is everyone’s impression of me as Magnificent and not horrendous. I think you could help with that. Could you book Marcelle’s for Dec. 24, 2020, table for six (I’m inviting my parents)? Be a dear.

I just felt it important to tell you these things so you know I am not over here thinking everything is all sunshine and rainbows.

I just felt it important to tell you that I SUFFER TOO. Am I a sobbing child who’s lost his family, or a man who’s lost years to a fuckwit? No. Worse. I had a bad Tinder date, ATG.

I know you live in financial and emotional ruin, but I had to listen to a stranger natter on about kite surfing. (Or was it parasailing. I don’t remember. I was looking at my phone. The point is BOR-ING!)

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows here. #ifyouprickmedoInotbleed

***

ATG, you’re no longer an ATM. You’re a free man. Keep up the grey rock and best of luck on the new, improved life.

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.
  • ATG, you’re no longer an ATM. You’re a free man. Keep up the grey rock and best of luck on the new, improved life.
    He is still an ATM…he will remain one until his children are adults, and depending on the state, longer. Another infidelity injustice is that a chump can continue doing all things for their children, then have to pay an ex child support or alimony. ATG is a doctor, so I’m sure his children are getting more than the basics from him, yet he will still be paying a nurse, who makes a good living, to live a life she is accustomed to. She was so accustomed to it, she shagged someone else at work. SMH
    I appreciate this site for all of the wisdom, and trying to change the narrative about infidelity, however, real change will only come when there are actual laws which protect the betrayed spouse. No fault is a fault in our system and it needs to change.

    • Paying child support based on your income is NOT an injustice and has nothing to do with “fault.”

      I’m open to a discussion about alimony and fault divorce, but I do not confuse that with paying for children. Yes, less than scrupulous exes will pocket it for themselves, but CS is truly a fraction of what it takes to raise a child.

      • CL,
        Thank you! My ex pays child support so I’m lucky. He also tells the kids regularly that bc he pays me, I’m responsible for buying all their clothes etc. He is the cheater and he makes more money than me. Five years out it has changed a bit in that he buys the kids material goods as part of his image control (I still buy all their clothes). Divorce isn’t fair. Nothing about it is. But we choose our reactions.

        • OutWest, my ex used that little canard on my son. I quickly countered his narrative with the correct one, which is as follows. Dad’s behaviour is the cause of our current living arrangement. He is paying child support to enable you, his child, to enjoy as close as possible to the same standard of of living you had before the divorce (that dad’s behaviour caused). It is nothing to do with spousal support. Supporting your child as best you can is part of being a good parent and is what most parents do willingly with love and without question or complaint for their children (here you may point out that you are overjoyed to have your child with you, and that your children were the best thing that ever happened in your life). Child support is calculated according to a particular formula that takes into account both parents’ income after a divorce (that dad’s behaviour caused). In real terms the amount designated by the government as how much it costs to support a child (I live in Australia) doesn’t come near to the real costs, but that doesn’t matter (not to you, anyway – you can’t speak for dad, whose behaviour caused the divorce and who is now complaining about having to support his child). Age appropriately you can also point out that because you undertook most of the childrearing and homemaking roles, your potential to earn a high income is less than your exhusband’s, as he profited greatly from your unstinting support making him more free to build his successful career AND have a family life that you worked hard to create. You may also mention that you went back to work when your child was in primary school and were earning one third of total your family income at the time of the divorce (that dad’s behaviour caused) as well as still undertaking most of the family responsibilities and housekeeping duties. Don’t let your ex get away with it.

          • Thank you for this. Reading it still makes me almost vomit. Because this is the kind of attitude my husband displays. (Separated and divorce in process.). He blames me entirely for the divorce and is very punitive and scary in the things he says. And I am not allowed to say he is responsible for the divorce or this is parental alienation or disparaging him. He himself will just not allow that he is in any way responsible. My decision to get a divorce is the problem. He sands me these emails about how we all need to face the realities of THE DIVORCE! And how he feels THE DIVORCE! is taking such a toll on our high school aged son. HE is not seeking A DIVORCE! he fumes, as he suggests I deserve all the punishing things he has just said. And he says he is getting a lot of pressure to treat me badly, and that he has learned the system is really not good to stay at home moms, etc.

            And he just cannot commit to things for the kids, he says, because he just doesn’t know how much his living expenses will be. As we await divorce, he was going to start giving me a tiny amount that would not even cover the mortgage and car payment and he was going to call that good. This amount was less than 10% of his income. I have been a SAHM forever until starting a small contract job last fall, but he and his attorney more than doubled my income, showed a minimalist/incorrect amount for his, and voila! Child support! But the kids spend NO TIME with him. And he was not even discussing with me things like the payments for HIS CAR INSURANCE, I was just supposed to pay for everything! With less than 10% of his generous income, and without a discussion. But when I stood up to him, he responded, “Despite what you may think, I find no joy in any of this. None whatsoever. It is a miserable experience all the way around.”

            • *Hugs* It is a horrible time, the early stages. He is intimidating and bullying you – because hey, it always worked before. What he wants and how he feels doesn’t matter at all, it is what you and your children need now and for the future that is your sole concern. Don’t believe anything he says. Get familiar now with divorce law in your domicile. It is very hard but you must fight for your and your childrens financial future. I hope you have got yourself a good lawyer and are working to minimise contact with your ex except through your lawyer. He and his lawyer cannot misrepresent your income as that is fraud, so your lawyer should be getting that thrown out right now. Document everything especially his abusive and intimidating letters, emails and texts, and write down dates times and content of phone calls. Keep record of all contact he has with the children and for how long. Record if he gives you money at any time. Distance yourself from direct contact with him as much as possible, and it is great that the children do not see him, as that lessens contact need as well (he may seek contact to make himself look better in court, be aware). It also gives you clear space to ‘sane parent’. This includes telling them the age-appropriate truth about what is happening and countering any false story he is telling them with the truth. Getting him out of your head is essential. I would suspect (not knowing divorce laws where you live but knowing human nature) that if he is saying the system is not kind to SAHM’s, it is probably the opposite – he has found that you are entitled to a whole lot more than he wants to give, especially if you have sole or most care of your children. He is trying to deceive you and soften you up to accept far less than you are entitled to in any divorce, especially if you have sole or most care of the children. Do not take his word for anything.

      • My wife cheated on me twice in our marriage over 12 years. I have 50/50 custody and still pay her $800 a month, not to mention I had to give up the house to her and a pile of years of my pension for my trouble.

        Everytime I send that money I have to remind myself it is for the children, but if that’s not an injustice to pay someone handsomely for cheating on you, I don’t know what is.

        • I was chumped. Three kids..6, 2 and 10 months. I live in Texas. My ex has a gambling addiction, so not left with much. Gave up my career to be a stay at home mom. He pays me less than 2.5 percent a year in child support (no alimony) and makes well over 1 million a year. Talk to me about fair, how this destroyed MY career during peak earning years. I do not live anywhere close to the life I used to.

          • If you don’t mind sharing how did you end up not getting alimony and only 2.5% of a million? Bad lawyers? Statutes? Just not fighting to get out of the situation?

        • Yup, mine did/does his damndest to poison the kids against me, and I pay him child support. Yes it’s for the kids. And that is consolation. But it still bites that we have to send a check every month to a creep. I wanted my kids with me full time, but he soon made it clear to them that there would be no rules at his house. And that I was a beotch for having basic standards like showing up to school on time, or not smoking weed all day long in their bedrooms.

      • I think paying CS to Narc cheater women in a family court system. that is rigged in the women’s favor when it comes to custody is a bit more nuanced than your just taking care of your responsibility. Especially if your the sane parent. That’s justice? For you or your kids? Bite that shit sandwich with alimony on top for a blue collar working stiff.

        • My situation is different than most guys. My EW made more than I did and had a pension. D-Day was 4 years ago, Separation(I’m not happy, I never loved you, you’re smothering me, etc,etc) was 2 years ago and divorce was 8 months ago. I had been such a CHUMP for so long that she never thought there would be ANY consequences to “needing space”. Filing for divorce was still incredibly difficult, even AFTER finding condoms in her car. I was awarded half her pension, and child support as well as an alimony buy out. This is still so difficult but I’m going to kill it with my business this year and in the future. It’s crazy how many guys have the EXACT same story. I’m sorry to you guys who got chumped AND divorce raped, that’s the definition of injustice.

        • Agree Jeff. My daughter is 2 and I’m about to pull the trigger on my own financial downfall. Support and alimony will be in the $1000 per month range then drop to $800 when the alimony dries up. My cheater is a full time social worker and I do at least half of the child rearing and 90% of the reading, teaching, coloring, etc. Punching this into an excel budget shows I’m going to be struggling to put food on the table, much less engage in hobbies or take a vacation. If I get lucky and get 50/50 custody split, I won’t have money to spend on my daughter when she is in my care. To say this is not an injustice is absurd and right in line with the standard BS I thought CL was cutting through. So for me, CL you are way off on this. The betrayed breadwinner has a special shit sandwich to devour and we get no thank yous, only an entire society and even our allies saying yeah, it’s your unequivocal responsibility to keep money in your exes pocket. The courts will ensure they have enough to continue their lifestyle and the ‘payor’ be damned.

      • Children are due CS. At the same time it is infuriating to watch a jackass EX who does not come pick up the kids when it is their time (sometimes for months on end), still claim child support. It might be psychologically healthier to think of CS as ransom money some chumps pay to keep and care for their own kids–especially when they have concrete evidence that it is not being spent on the children. That said, if the kids are flourishing with the sane parent or the current inequitable arrangement, that faux-CS becomes money that is “too expensive” to try and reduce or claw back.

        • Thanks I’m mad as hell and triggered. Your ransom analogy is brilliant. The other I’m working with is buying my freedom from cheater. Counselor told me throughout history people have paid way more for their freedom. I consider it but I always come back to nope I’m pretty much in the same boat as an indentured servant. “Don’t worry you’ll make more money!” Uh yeah then the support goes up proportionally wtf. Ransom analogy is better.

          • I don’t know your counselor but other people having to “buy their freedom” doesn’t make what you’re going through any less egregious.

            I have made progress through the acceptance of this unfairness and the only way I did was to consider that the money is truly for the kids and that 10 years is a long time and many things can happen to change it.

            Do you ever consider your own happiness and pride when you get a pay raise? A promotion? Do people around fantasize about winning the lottery, while you are making a tally of how much money any of those things would ultimately cost you?

            I love my kids with all my heart and being in the military I have been through some truly heinous shit for them, just like all of you have, I’m sure.

            And I have no idea what I did to deserve this completely legal extortion from an abuser.

            Marc, you have every right to be mad about this.

          • Many people pay support for children they NEVER see. Because they ex has alienated the children from them. Or an ex gets court permission to move long distances away. The whole CS issue is a hornet’s nest.

            I know a woman who gets to talk to her child on the phone for 5 minutes after her monthly check goes through to her ex. And he listens in on the phone calls. The courts often do absolutely nothing.

      • CS is NOT always a fraction of what it takes to raise the child. Dear friend accidentally got ex girlfriend pregnant and now pays $15k cdn/month, on which she pays zero taxes. This ex girlfriends highest salary, ever, was $25k/year. He is wealthy and can afford this, but I don’t for a second believe she spends even half of this sum on their 4 year-old daughter. Mac1234: please know that there are plenty of Chumps — yes, even female Chumps — who agree with your stance and feel deeply for you.

    • I live in a no fault state. And I lost money. And stuff. But you know what I gained? More emotional freedom with one less (huge) item to hold a grudge.

      If I went after that money (or stuff), it’d be just another emotional tie to my x.

      • Tall One- I’m in a no fault state too, my ex cheated on my for at least 5 years, probably more, with other men. He put his life and our lives in danger by bringing these men to our house for sex. I also lost money and stuff. It’s not fair, but I realized I couldn’t punish him via the divorce settlement. Merely waking up and being himself for the rest of his life was his own existential hell. I embrace my minimalist lifestyle, knowing every “thing” I have is either directly from my parents or something “I” bought and paid for with my own money.

    • I’m a nurse and cheater is a doctor. He makes 4 times my salary. He paid child support for 3 years until the youngest turned 18 (at the states maximum amount allowed based on an annual salary of $60K so not that much and I didn’t ask for alimony). But yet when the kids would spend the night at his house and ask for field trip money of twenty bucks, his response was ‘ask your mom, I just paid her child support).

      I guess the bigger point and take home for me is the one that’s a cheater is lacking in character in a multitude of ways including financial as CL has pointed out. Whether your male, female, SHM, both working, etc…, you’re likely to be screwed to some degree because cheaters are self centered and entitled and see the world through their shitty lens.

      My young adult kids now talk about their cheater father and his accounting of financials and paying as ‘dad math’. Small example, DD had outpatient surgery for a sports injury when she was 17. Although we both went with her, at registration there was a $75 copay. He stood with his hands in his pockets so I paid. I bought her prescription medications. I bought her brace for her limb. I paid every copay and took her to every physical therapy appt. He’s supposed to pay 3/4 of medical bills to my 1/4. As CL has quoted, some money is too expensive. Not worth having to deal with him on this. But the biggest bitch of it all, he guilted DD in front of schmoopie for not spending as much time with him after he just paid $18,000 for her surgery. He didn’t pay a dime out of pocket! He does pay for health insurance of $100 per month for the ‘family plan’ for both kids. She looked at me and said ‘that’s where he got that–dad math–because he’s paid for my health insurance all of my life and that comes to approx. $18K.

      Be the sane parent. It’s only money unless you’re strapped to put food on the table. The kids will eventually grow to see it and they will realize who has their back.

    • Chumpman,

      Here’s the other side. When my Ex and I married, I had income potential equal to or higher than him. He initiated job changes and moves to the benefit of his career. We had three children. I became the SAH partner that managed everything kids, home, pets, life, our life, HIS life… while he started a company. This was by mutual agreement, and he referred to me as his “better half” the “glue that holds everything together” and the family “quarterback” throughout the years. When the good money years arrived (28 years together, nearly 25 married) he suddenly gets the attention of his younger employee, who handles the corporate finances.

      For a guy that ran off to play house with the also-married employee and her two kids, he made the divorce long and costly. I cannot easily make that money back. He failed to comply with court orders for disclosure of corporate finances, and ran up the legal and forensic bills. I had a judge that refused to award legal fees to me early, as she said we stood on equal footing financially! WTF?! Divorce was finalized after youngest turned 18. Child support was not an issue. I do receive spousal support, which I deserve. Ex refuses to give a penny to college for his youngest two children and uses the excuse that I am getting all his money. Hah! One of his three vacations a year could pay a year’s tuition and housing in full for one of our kids. Yes I got half the retirement accounts, and I will never have the potential to build up my balances in the manner I could have had I focused on my career for the decades I supported his career.

      I am the one that makes sure the younger two are finishing college. I am relegated to low wage, no benefit jobs to make ends meet.

      Cheating assholes screw over their children, emotionally and financially. It is us stable chumps that try to minimize the damage, regardless of which side of the financial equation we are on.

      • This is so similar to my situation. It is hindering my recovery/moving on emotionally so much. My D was final over 3 years ago (married 21 years, D process took about 1.5 years.) I am still so wounded financially and professionally (from which I cannot EVER come close to recovering.) I have to work 2 FT lame entry level jobs (not near my education or experience level) struggling to finish raising 2 kids. I work 7 days a week, a minimum 75 hours a week, usually well over 80 hours. I became a SAHM at his pleading. (You see I outranked and out earned him and his giant ego, AND worked in the same industry where he was fucking coworkers, subordinates, clients, suppliers…) Now, he is a big executive at the company where I outranked him, vacations, buys a brand new car every 2 years, lives big and fancy, does NOTHING financially for the kids (buys them a cheap lunch 2-3 time a YEAR!)

        It is so fucked up- I wake up everyday (so damn exhausted,) all these years out, and can’t believe I’m in this situation. I don’t know how I will ever heal or be okay. If I didn’t have kids I don’t think I’d want to go on.

        • beenchumped^^^^^ It is f**cked up!!!!!!

          This is my main struggle as well. We began married life in inner city Detroit with bars on the window and a shotgun nearby. The long history of building toward a future with financial security now goes to another woman who did nothing for the $$$$$. I made financial sacrifices, stayed home & put up with Dr. A**hat for 28 years just to hear Mrs. Whore is spending money like it’s going out of style. It didn’t help that my Ex intentional stole and made the divorce so painful (and I’m talking he physically assaulted my mother on her death bed), because he knew how sensitive I was to balancing the books through the years. And I’m trying to forgive myself for not listening to my inner voice and fire my horrible attorney.

          Our first Christmas after divorce was 2018 and Ex took the kids on a trip to Toronto. On the way, the must have stopped by our old house as Ex sent me photos and labelled the email “Trashed”. He continues to want to gloat.

          So I practice gratitude, meditate, yoga, exercise, long dog walks……….but I know it will take time. I keep looking for a job, but it’s proven to be very difficult in a small town. I feel this will be the hardest part getting to meh. I’m open to any and all suggestions.

          • So sorry you went through this crap. There are certain women that chase doctors for the obvious financial reasons. I know of one old friend (we rarely speak these days) who was bound and determined to marry a doctor. Well she finally met one by chance. He is 17 years older and believe me she is no spring chicken. However she chased him and was absolutely obsessed. This certain friend has a number of issues but she can be a charmer (very smart, very funny) and seem so together. Not being shallow or mean but the man is not what you would call a looker, in fact far from it, but he is a decent man. Treated him like a king and took over all the mundane house stuff. He lapped it up and then she insisted on marriage. Now about 8 years later she basically has no use for him and would cheat on him in a New York second. Pretty sure she has contacted an old boyfriend and has hooked up. She now hires people to clean and do whatever is needed around the house as she can’t be bothered. She still enjoys the prestige of being the wife of a well known surgeon but other than that and the money he means nothing to her. I think if the Doctor had a chance to go back in time he would in a heartbeat and they never would have married.

    • I was a stay at home mom. My ex cheated on me and much more. He pays very small amount of child support- always late or missing. 1/2 of kids health insurance- always late! I got no alimony- after 15 years. I left with no possessions after the threats. He takes kids every minute of his custodial time to “Brainwash” them his words. I got a Job- got on my feet. I would give up every dollar of that money if I didn’t get cussed out or insulted every week on court server and on social media sites. If I ask him to help pay for something – I get told I have a stick up my ass!
      I think it is unfair anyone has to suffer from an abuser and yes the court is complicit! Trust me women are not protected either.

      • Yes, it is not better for either gender… the system favors bullies, sociopaths and the pathologically disordered! And “no fault” divorce is a load of crap that encourages the bad behavior under a BS umbrella of not caring about anyone’s (including kids’) emotional well-being.

  • Great UBT, as usual! Loved UBT saying “here’s a kibble, fetch”, as these types of kibble theft would usually confound my brain before I realized (through CL) what they were. Mindfuckery.

    • I want to talk a bit how powerful the “here’s a kibble, fetch” really is.

      I train dogs for dog sports. A lot of the success is based on the dog’s relationship with you. Oh sure, your pet loves you, but will it drop everything to run to your side? If you’re in a dog sport, you need for the dog to be able to bypass that thing that it really wants because it wants to be with you even more. One simple way to build value for YOU is to start with the dog in its crate (crate training is awesome for a lot of reasons). Toss a lower value treat out in front of the dog. Verbally release the dog to run to the treat, BUT you run in the opposite direction and call your dog. YOU have a very high value treat. Once the dog learns this, it of course will still get the lower value treat, but it will rocket toward you in order to get the higher value reward.

      And who’s the source of both the lower and higher value reward? YOU! You become central as the main kibble dispenser. Sure, it’s fun and rewarding for both you and the dog, but the point is that this little exercise helps condition the dog to see you as central.

      Cheaters do similar things. They toss the piece of kibble out there. Gratefully, the poor Chump snatches it up. See! They’ve been rewarded. Cheater can toss out another kibble. The poor Chump runs out and gets it again. Who is central in all of this? The Cheater, as the dispenser of kibbles.

        • I don’t think my Ex is smart enough to premeditate this kind of stuff. BUT he does what he sees WORKS. And this totally works. When I’d get too fed up w/his selfishness and negativity, he’d treat me (and later the kids and me) better for a while. When he could see I had settled down, he’d slide back into his selfish, negative ways … rinse and repeat, for SO LONG. He also figured out how to use DARVO, simply by trial and error I think. Sigh. In a way I was lucky he was not so smart, the really sociopathic ones are so terrible to deal with.

          • My ex would do showy things like bring me flowers, or a pie, or candy. It confused me at the time. He would often be horrible, but buy me tokens of affection?? A therapist finally explained to me that “even wife beaters bring their wives roses.” Light bulb went on.

  • ATG,

    The only thing less disappointing when we break no contact or grey rock is the reply we get from these fuckwits. I too made that mistake early on after a couple of months of no contact. The ex’s response wasn’t UBT worthy but it was disappointing to say the least. I just started my “days of no contact” back to 0, and started again. It’s been almost 6 years since that last contact so I learned from that mistake. You will too.

    Set your grey rock clock back to zero, keep reading CL and your Tuesday will come. ChumpNation has your back!

    • I broke NC after a few days of moving out for good. All I got back was “I don’t know what you are trying to insinuate about my character and actions, but everyone knows I did not do anything deserving being divorced.” Okay then…

  • It’s all me me me as per usual. You can’t win, so mine is paying for things but you can’t win. Yours thinks you should put the money stuff aside because it suits her, mine thinks I should treat him like some kind of saint and likes to remind me in small ways when he can how great he is being and not once that he has 3 times gone against what is written in our settlement agreement (don’t tell me to lawyer up people, I have, 3 of them, not married, nightmare).

    That is just such a self centred load of self serving twaddle it makes me want to vomit. Talk about faux remorse.

    They truly are a breed apart these people. Hang in there, just trust that she sucks and this isn’t remotely unique, they just have to find a way to try to get an in. Whatever deluded way that is.

    Love the ‘could afford Manuka honey in Whole Foods’ – ha ha. I remember once nearly fainting when I brought a very small bag of pine nuts in a similar type of shop in the UK. Felt like half my monthly salary had gone on nuts.

  • There are people who do that half in, half out after a breakup and sometimes it might be good for the kids but I firmly believe in a clean cut. I have a brother who was divorced but still sleeps in her home often and for some reason my mom still considers her part of the family.

    At our Christmas party the ex SIL was there and what do you think she did with the privilege? Tried hard to flirt with my husband and embarrassed everyone. Tell me how that contributed to a happy family memory.

    Clean break with the disordered. A doctor should know not to entertain gangrene.

    • The kids can often find is quite confusing.

      My kids father and I will both come to the kids events, but that’s it. And they’re grown and almost grown, but I think they’d still find it confusing if we were going on vacations together and sleeping at each other’s houses. I can just imagine how confusing it would be for littles.

  • Why would you give her the satisfaction of telling her seeing the morning after pill was hurtful?

    You’re divorced, so it’s none of your business, makes you look weak, and feeds her pathetic ego.

    Do you think she actually gives a flying fuck about what you find hurtful?

    Keep that shit to yourself and treat her like she doesn’t matter. Eventually she won’t matter to you.

    Who she fucks is no longer your business or concern. The sooner you wrap yourself around that the sooner you’ll move on to greener pastures.

    I know for a fact my piece of shit ex is still involved with the skank he kept around our entire marriage, but that is no longer my problem. If she thinks he’s such a great deal then I wish her luck.

    • Good point Kim. When I read it I was concerned that the kids would see it and she would have to explain her bad Tinder date experience. There are some things kids just don’t need to know about their parents. Not that narcs are usually concerned about that….

      • I understand. But I think you have to make peace with the fact that she may not put your kids first. If you have to point out that letting her young kids see her morning after pill isn’t a good idea you’re probably fighting a losing battle anyway; functioning adults would already know that.

        Be the strong parent and practice repeating this: “your mother is who she is and this has nothing to do with you”. Rinse and repeat.

        That’s what I did with my boys father. Eventually they figured out who and what he is; they’re older now and see him when they want but they’ve got him figured out. He and I get along pretty well now….he wasn’t a cheater but he was an abusive drunk. But he quit drinking so now there’s peace.

        My 2nd ex was the piece of shit phony cheater.

          • Thanks – as I said in my reply further below – this was just an example of her nastiness early on in the game. I still had an ounce or two of hopium left in me.
            As I wrote further below _ I needed that wake up call.

  • On her way out the door (figuratively speaking), KK’s version of no thinking “everything is all sunshine and rainbows” was: “I’m not just happily skipping down the lane, you know.”

    This, while happily skipping off to a hotel room with the Chlorine Special (formerly known as Rider of the Purple Dildo), 10 days after DDay.

    The whole “I’m suffering too, you know” is just so pathetic.

    —–

    P.S. “I must really have a conversation with myself… now that I have a voice.” Outstanding, CL.

    • okay UX—I’m ready to revert back to Rider of the Purple Dildo. It’s sort of like the Prince thing where he moved to the symbol. I mean the Chlorine Special reference is freaking hilarious too, but not quite the other visual of what a piece of work either of them are!!

    • My ex’s version of it was, “I just don’t feel like this is hard enough for you”. I guess he thought his cheating and being kicked out of my house should’ve been harder on me. Oy. They’re all assholes. And PS, ex owes me roughly $90k. I’m not going after it because no contact, my happiness and my future are worth more.

  • “ATG, you’re no longer an ATM. You’re a free man. Keep up the grey rock and best of luck on the new, improved life.”

    Damn I needed this, this morning. Recently I have been reconciling year end for my business. My cheater had this job previous years. As I am checking off monthly credit card receipts. I realize every statement should be labeled, Bluedog65 ATM. Since the finalized divorce No Change has been letting me know she will not “help” pay for our only daughters future education, car insurance, health insurance, and really anything that does not include herself. The reason? I cheated her out of the business I had since I was 19. We met when I was 28. I must admit being such a responsible kind of man. I am still struggling with, who the hell was sleeping and eating in my house for 24 yrs. You see No Change cheated with one of our customers and then blamed me of course. I stupidly tried to reconcile for almost over 3 years. She never stopped her cheating. Damn near destroyed everything I had worked for and damn near destroyed me.

    I will never give No Change, any change, ever again. That included my mental change as well.

  • She’s right about one thing. It’s not sunshine and rainbows in her world. It’s dark and shallow and Tinder-y and dreary and skanky and slimy and sleazy and greasy and gross. Bars all over the planet are filled at 2am with drunk people thinking they are having a great time and deciding otherwise when the sun rises and the anesthesia has worn off.

    Sunshine and Rainbow World is where I am headed for after the Cat 5 hurricane the Traitor caused subsides. I didn’t blow up my family. I didn’t pour gasoline all over the house while my family was sleeping, lock the door, and give the match to a Craigslist Casual Encounter hookup. I didn’t knowingly set up base camp at the Red Flag Factory by having an affair or participating in one. I didn’t destroy my relationship with my daughter. I didn’t intentionally make stupid idiotic relationship decisions that caused grievous and catastrophic harm to other people.

    I was in counseling for the entire relationship with Bernie Madoff. I was honest about what I thought, what I felt, what I wanted, what I needed, what I was doing, and who I was doing it with. He was not. Nothing to work with. Traitors don’t attract Loyal People of Integrity. My marriage (mirage) had to end because I am wired differently than he is.

    Whatever you paid Tinderwoman to leave, you got a great deal compared to the cost of her staying.

  • What is with this, “I have found my voice.” 💩?!? In our marriage I treated my XW as an equal. In working together, we had three wonderful, accomplished, and well-behaved children. We were respected in the community, and we kept a nice home. Because of her attempts to “find her voice” behind my back and outside our marriage, she ran us up $75,000 in debt, laid in bed for most of two years, doing very little to help with the house work, broke up two families and marriages, caused strife among our families and children to where the children are now in counseling, withheld her children from her own parents until they gave in and met her AP, and succeeded in getting both hers and her AP’s names on the public record as being adulterers. If that is what “finding her voice” is all about, I want nothing to do with it!

  • Thanks chump lady and everyone for the responses .
    The morning after pill episode happened very early after separation. In hindsight – it was a good thing for me. The last bit of hopium got squashed out of me on that day. It was a lesson ; I didn’t see it at the time but now know the value.

    Money – I was such a chump. There are countless examples, when I think about them now, I could pull my hair out. I guess the lesson here is , to develop boundaries, in particular on the financial side of things.

    I found my voice and have grown – I found that actually also insulting . Because it means that when she was with me, her voice was suppressed and growth stunted and only being away from me allows her to grow . That’s not how I saw our marriage .

    Lastly – my children. We had a good Christmas – they were in the morning at her house and then spend lunchtime and the afternoon at my house.
    In each of their houses they had a happy parent trying to make the most out of the situation .
    Unlike faking it for a few hours which surely would have been confusing .

    No she just can’t handle the guilt when our boy cried and wanted me to fix things up.

    Nowadays I’m ok with grey rock and it truly unnerves her . When I didn’t answer this email she sent me a couple about my son having abdo pain and my daughter having another medical appointment . She knows that I always answer them. Grey rock has also annoyed her mother – she has phoned me and asked to stop punishing her daughter and also stop telling everyone that she cheated . Clearly it was me, creating a love-less marriage . However the mother then sends me emails and a Christmas card stating that she will always be my friend . So it’s clear where my ex picked up her narcissism.
    It’s exhausting reading this kind of stuff . I’m getting better at it but this was a particularly shitty email from her which was UBT worthy .
    Thanks so much again.

    • Some of the best advice my lawyer gave me was to not do holidays together because it will always make the kids hopeful that you will get back together.

      I made the mistake and did allow XH to join us for Halloween last year, and at the end he came into my home, plopped down on my sofa like he lived there. My daughter (4) saw this, and got so excited seeing us both sitting on the sofa.
      She said, “daddy, you sit next to mommy”
      XH said ” no that’s alright”
      Daughter said again, getting upset this time, “no no no, I want you to sit next to mommy, please sit next to mommy”
      Doofus didn’t pick up on this at all. I finally had to say, I think it’s time to get ready for bed and daddy needs to go to his home. It broke my heart to see her heart breaking. I won’t make that mistake again.

  • If there is income inequality going into a marriage/relationship, there will be income inequality throughout the relationship and the dissolution of the relationship.

    Remember I am a chump, too, and I certainly paid a price during my 2 marriages to 2 narcs. But the fact is one made significantly more income than I did, and the other made significantly less. I married them knowing this, and in the long run it is not the money that hurt the most, it is the lies and the betrayal. If you are an adult, and you marry for what you think is love, and you know there will be income inequality, you cannot hold this against the partner after the relationship is over.

    Look at this part of the relationship as a business investment. Remember a high percentage of new business investments fail, and any investment can lose money, even though most people invest because they believe they will make money. If the business plan is not good, if the work ethic of either of the partners is not good, if the market conditions change, if one is a risk taker and the other is not , the investment will probably lose money.

    Chump Lady points out there is a big difference between child support, and any other type of marital asset payment, but even so, many spouses do not pay child support. Other spouses do not use child support to take care of the child’s needs. Children are expensive, no matter what. But, if you made the error of breeding with a fuckwit ( I did) do not expect that error not to have consequences for your children. If you have primary custody of your children, consider yourself lucky that the fuckwit does not, and consider yourself responsible for sane parenting. If your ex-co-parent does not pay child support, are you going to allow the children to go hungry? If you force a sale of marital housing to get a home investment back, and the spouse has primary custody, do you care where your children live? These are reality questions, not is this fair questions. Of course it is not fair. Were you told life is fair when you were a kid? I wasn’t, so it was not a shock to me.

    One other thing, if you did not argue about providing a vacation, or loan, or paying for something else for a family member(s) of your spouse while married, do not complain about doing this after your marriage is over. The past is past, you cannot change the past. Be grateful you had the income to provide something nice for another person whether or not they deserved it, or you were legally obliged to do it. It was a gift you agreed to at the time, don’t ask for it back. My mother helped me with my children when they were young. I appreciated the help. She refused payment, but she did go on vacations with us when we were married, and I did buy presents of gratitude for her when we were married. She actually provided something very hard to buy on the open market — child care services from a loving grandparent, emotional and housework assistance for me as an exhausted mother. If my ex had later complained about anything we did for my mother, and wanted reimbursement for the things we did for her, I think it only fair that she present a bill for all the things she did for us and our children while we were married. If you consented to providing a gift or vacation for family during the marriage you are not entitled to reimbursement.

    As an individual, we earn what we earn. As an adult we are responsible for our own income and budget. When you choose to have children, you can only provide for them what you can afford to provide, If the co-parent chooses to avoid paying for the children’s needs, you can pursue what you can afford to pursue legally in the courts. The rest is lost, sunk costs.

    My parents were school teachers. Milk and honey and rainbows and luxuries did not flow through our home.. We had a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and we considered ourselves lucky, not wealthy. I do not resent my parents for not providing me material wealth. Any dysfunction in our house was due to cultural attitudes and fear of the outside world my parents were not familiar with. That was my reality. I tried to provide more for my children, but ultimately we had to live on what I could earn. I would have preferred their father provide more material things for them, which he could afford, but I could not control him, or his income. He made his choices, I made mine. The kids survived, and are now working adults, making their choices. I am sure they have their own opinions, and I cannot control those, either. I just know I did the best I could with what I had. I have to be satisfied with that.

    Lost, sunk costs, hurt and pain — they all happened. Don’t waste time trying to recover what is already lost. Put one foot in front of the other, and move on. You’ll reach MEH on some random Tuesday if you keep moving forward.

    • “If there is income inequality going into a marriage/relationship, there will be income inequality throughout the relationship and the dissolution of the relationship.”

      That’s not 100% the case.

      I started out earning less than FUU and around year 12, I started outearning him. I still do. To the tune of 50% more.

    • “If there is income inequality going into a marriage/relationship, there will be income inequality throughout the relationship and the dissolution of the relationship.”

      Um, no….

      I had the savings, the higher income, the financial discipline when we first. Male dominated field and him making me be a SAHM to save the marriage (read: save his ego) and enable him to screw dozens of people he/we knew professionally in the same industry and even same company for a while.

      Fast forward 20 years and 2 kids and the veil being shifted., I signed away pennies on the dollar the be done after being threatened, stalked, bullied and becoming sick from the stress of it all. Went back to work, female in 40’s with executive experience in a male dominated field w/ a Univ degree and 10 years management experience and guess what… I’m a fucking receptionist.

      Sociopaths can quite easy turn the financial tables. Think Bernie Madoff and just about every financial con man in history.

      • Me too. Have 2 degrees, gave up my career to live in a remote location with literally no job prospects (other than no bennies, less than min wage, no security jobs) and a SAHM for over a decade. Left him the year I turned 50. Judge wouldn’t give me alimony, snd hardly any child support for our teenage son. And now I’m working as a receptionist in a place where if things had gone differently, I’d be upstairs in my own office making 4 times as much. Very hard to not be bitter about it, especially since I do like my job, I have advancement opportunities (though just not in what I had gone to school for), and I like the people I work with. But I only have ~15 years left before retirement age, and that’s not a lot of time to try to build my earning potential and create a decent retirement for myself.

        Still, this is SO much better than what I left behind! I am grateful for what I have managed to make happen in the 4 years since I left.

        • I was not clear, I apologize. If two people marry, and there is a significant difference in their incomes, they know that going in. I am assuming the one who makes more money is not marrying for money. Life happens and situations change, of course. but at least one of the participants did not enter the relationship assuming the financial contributions would be equal. It was not about money going in for that partner.

          Deals are made throughout a relationship as priorities change. Maybe you worked and put the spouse through college, med school, law school, whatever, and the deal you agreed to was when this was done, the financial situation will change. But the inequity existed from the start, and the relationship is not supposed to be about money, from at least one of the partner’s perspective. My sons dad did not start off making a much higher income than I did, but we adjusted and made decisions about spending, etc., over the years. But it was not about money, at least for me, and when we divorced he made a much higher income than I did. But he did not owe me his higher income once we were no longer married. He owed his children support, but I worked and supported myself, and we did not divide property in a 50/50 manner because that did not make economic sense for the benefit of the children. We argued over economic settlements for the benefit of the children.

          The strange thing is I was a good manager and he was not, so even though he made more money I have a better retirement and credit score, and a nice home. The kids remember who provided, and who was dependable. They don’t ask their dad for financial advice.

          The second narc may have married me thinking that he could live off of me, but that was not the deal we made. I supported myself, and my children, but I expected him to work to support himself and contribute to our expenses, not 50/50, because of the income difference. The marriage did not last long, and he left with nothing of mine. His life was better while we were married, because I believed in sharing my life with him, even though he could not afford a 50/50 split. I accepted the inequity when we married, but I was not obliged to support his lifestyle after we divorced. He was able to obtain some material possessions, and spend some marital resources inappropriately, until I figured out he was not who he had represented himself to be. I didn’t care about the income difference while we were married, but he lost out when we divorced.

          Alimony was created to protect spouses who did not work outside the home, or full time, and the marital agreement was the stay at home spouse would still be a full economic partner. If that was the deal going in, if that was the expectation, that should be the settlement. If it is different, there needs to be a pre-nup. The laws vary from state to state, and there is no consistency in marital settlements. However, I think if you accepted your financial arrangement and there was income disparity throughout the marriage, then you should not complain about it after the marriage is over.

          My opinion may not be popular. I realize there are some significant con artists described on this site. I believe they are criminals, and the law should treat them as criminals, even though they were married to their “mark” at the time. Unfortunately that is not the case either.

          All I am trying to say is if you married to love and share, and assist another person with your worldly goods, and you did, but it turns out you loved and shared with a person who was not who you thought he or she was, don’t complain about what you shared willingly. You may have been a chump, and the partner may be a terrible person with no character, and in other circumstances a crook who could be prosecuted, but that is the past. You cannot change what happened, and that person will never do what he/she should do. It is lost, sunk costs, and you gain nothing by mourning what is lost. You prolong your agony. The con has moved on to the next con.

          Again, sorry for the confusion. I know some of you were treated egregiously, and I am sorry the law does not address that. Hopefully you have fixed your picker, and this will not happen again.

  • I am always astonished when the cheaters pull the “I am suffering, too” crap. They CHOSE this and are causing huge amounts of voluntary trauma to everyone around them, throwing their shit into the ceiling fan so it sprays down on everything around them.

    My X Asshat pulled this garbage. 6 weeks post abandonment he was back at the house doing final pre-sale prep. He had lost a bunch of weight and looked horrible. He went from room to room and cried over the work I had been doing (auctioneers had removed all the furniture, I had re-carpeted, painted, and epoxied the garage floor on my own by this point). He clung to me and said I was beautiful. He said he had been so sad and alone and was feeling lower than he ever had.

    Oh really, Asshat? Huh, who da thunk that blowing up your life and crushing the people closest to you might have some bad side effects. Bummer, that.

    I realize that is why he abandoned me and the big broken house from the get go. He designed it so he would never have to face me or what he had done and coming back to the place was more than he could take. He is a coward, always has been. But he CHOSE THIS.

    He quickly recovered and skipped off to the bed of his 24YO ho-worker, eyes firmly shut to consequences, at least until he pulls the same crap when he misses out on weddings and grand babies.

    • I think that the “I am suffering too” thing is a way for them to get back in emotionally. They want you to respond that you’re still heartbroken, devastated, lost. They’ve realized they’re not special and miss the excitement they felt deceiving you and the control they felt keeping a secret from you. Especially in this case—I would imagine that the financially irresponsible, lower-earning wife got off on cheating in large part because she enjoyed knowing something her doctor husband didn’t know, and finally being the one in a position of power. Now that they’ve divorced that power is gone and she wants it back.

  • ATG,

    You are moving in the right direction. Each day will bring greater clarity. Cheaters tend to ruin most holidays and special occasions. Spending holidays free of a narc is one of the beautiful ways we gain a life. Your children will come to cherish this time they spend with you.

  • Doc,
    I get it. The paying of everything. After I’d paid the $4500 copay for her gastric bypass she flew the coup. That’s when she earned the descriptor x-concubine.
    This is only one of many expensive lessons I spackled over.
    After filing I calculated a $32K total for other ‘pop-up’ bailouts she ‘owed’ me and told her I wanted this money back. I live in a fault state and had irrefutable evidence of her adultery. Here one is also allowed to sue the AP. This fact became a Fantastic bargaining chip. True to form xc tried to protect her fuckbuddy(s). One of many, I’d later come to discover. I don’t know how many she had triangulated out there, but the two I discovered were enough for me to pull the trigger to loose my female attorney on the 10 month process.
    I offered her a no fault D if she’d sign a separation/settlement agreement I’d drawn up which I designed to my full advantage. Thank God I didn’t breed a child with xc, and that all 3 of ours were adults. It was a quick no frills surgery to excise this Lamprey.
    No contact is the only way to healing.
    These fuckwits really do operate on/by a fixed set of predictable behaviors which can be leveraged to advantage if a keen strategy is employed.
    Mr CL’s observation I learned as “not throwing good money after bad”.

  • My ex hid money and bought a house and business with his ho worker before the divorce was final (I found out later). He did not ask for any of my 401k ( which is twice what his is) and I stupidly thought he was being decent but realized why after I found out. But the business failed after a year and the house is poorly built. I am in a beautiful apartment with no maintenance or mortgage until I’m 80. And her mother lives with them. Karma!!

  • I am very happy to hear it’s not all sunshine and rainbows over in fairy tale land

    Ive always got that gut wrenching pain that my ex is living the dream with his pregnant AP and the massive amount of money I had to give him in settlement .

    All the while me in real life is struggling fanatically and absolutely no prospect of a date let alone a relationship !!

    • If you were a bottom feeder with no standards or boundaries you’d have been on a whole lot of dates by now….heck, you could even be married and all partnered up just like him!

      Good for you for being choosy!

      https://youtu.be/CjkpQ23yr0w

      Choosy Lady!!!!

  • The cost of freedom from abuse includes money and material goods. It is well worth it. He made out with a chunk of money as I earned and saved all marital money. He also is living with shame and broken relationship with his sons. I have no shame and a good relationship with sons and have all our friends. Much happier to be me. Would not want to be him EVER. No amount of money is worth that.

    • When the cost is over 100% of your disposable income for 15 years then what?? This is so obviously the reason divorced dads are committing suicide. They don’t have enough money to live after transferring it to their cheating ex wives. So the cost of freedom is indentured servitude for 15 years? Wtf? I’m the primary caregiver but guess what? I have no case because she is not addicted to any illegal drugs. And here even CL is saying yeah we don’t care about how you will live just pay your ex for the children. Hello, I could pay for my children directly!

      • Mac1234 –

        Your income is going to eventually rise, correct? Hers may do the same and she may end up paying you money.

        Also, emember if family wishes to give you gifts of money or valuables that you can sell, she doesn’t have to know about any of it.

        It is no fun to eat a shit sandwich. Ever. But your shit sandwich today may hers tomorrow.

      • Support goes up with promotion. They are even talking about taking a % of any performance bonuses I get in the future. No, she is a social worker probably stuck in the the $40k/yr range forever. I got lucky with my job and there are no guarantees I can continue to earn this money indefinitely. My lawyer told me the CS is so that our child doesn’t have to go from the mansion to the trailer park. Lol I’m not rich or anything but yeah I get the logic. In practice however the disposable income of my wife will be magnitudes greater than my own disposable income despite 50/50 custody split. Oh yeah I have to move out of my house into an apartment. Answer seems to be suck it up and accept or perform some mental gymnastics to “reframe” the injustice of it all.

        • Hi Mac1234, I don’t have children (yet-fingers crossed) but my exhole owes me way more than 150k and it is a low low estimate and really embarrassing to admit. I will never see any of that back or the years I wasted taking care of his terminally ill ass while he went out for random hookups while I cleaned up his chemo mess.

          It’s unfair. Highly unfair. I have been used as a walking ATM and you have been too. I have had rage over the sheer amount of money I was conned out of because my life now would be soooo much easier if I still had that money. I took me a year to find a house in a price bracket I could afford – and I could have had a much much nicer area and house if I still had that money.

          It’s a reality of our lives that the way we were conned keeps us down financially for years afterwards. The financial burdens I have now would be much much lighter or non-existent if my ex hadn’t been a conman money leech and me, a foolish and loving chump.

          I am sorry that you face this absolute horror. It burns that they skip off with your money and none of the crap consequences because YOU are paying for their lifestyle while struggling to maintain a lower level of lifestyle. I get it. I walked out on my ex and left him with the perfect and expensive furniture, cars etc. I had goodwill and mismatched floorstock I got on sale. I don’t have a car and bus around because I was saving for a house deposit and IVF – all things that I could have paid cash for if I hadn’t already spent it on the ex and his expensive habits.

          It will get better in time but if you think about it too much…that rage at the unfairness will still be there. I still feel it towards my ex when I type this! LOL We were really taken advantage of and that doesn’t stop being a reality of what happened to us. However, we can make things better as the days go by. I have my new house despite starting from scratch. I have money for IVF and I continue to grow my savings despite a mortgage, IVF and how expensive life is. It does happen, but it happens much more slowly than I or you would like. Best wishes!

        • Mac1234 – just wanted to say that I think you are absolutely right and justified in being pissed. I think all of the folks who have commented are trying to help you feel better about the situation, but honestly, it’s awful and it just sucks. The “justice” system is totally skewed towards giving custody and money (in the form of CS, and sometimes alimony) to the mothers, regardless of whether they were the chump or the fuckwit…and that is the worst shit sandwich of all. As a woman chump who has been at home with her child for 8 years – and who gave up a very lucrative career to do so – I’ve benefitted from the fact that the court was biased towards me from the start (regardless of the cheating), but it shouldn’t be that way. Fault should matter. Doesn’t matter if you’re male or female…if you cheat, you shouldn’t be able to drain your ex dry….even if it’s “for the kids.” I’m all for making sure the kids are taken care of, but it’s not fair that you are left to scrap for food after what she’s put you through. I know…life isn’t fair…but seriously, this is bullshit. I’m so sorry that you are in this position. I don’t know that I’m helping you at all with this comment, just wanted to say that I get it and I agree with you.

      • That is totally unfair. I don’t get how any court could rule that way, that the cheater ends up a lot better off at the chumps expense who will then be struggling to make ends meet 🙁

        My STBX cheater husband makes well over 100K a year plus gets company stock, which is in the top 1% economic bracket here, I stayed at home to take care of our child with mild neuropsychiatric symptoms, and I’m a visual artist by profession and have never made a lot of money anyway. After he dumped me five years ago, before wreckonciliation, I started a new small business and I taught myself textile design. Last year I published my first book (a cool empowering pattern book for girls and women) which is now all but sold out. My company doesn’t make tons of money, but I built it from zero without outside loan. I did this while taking care of our daughter, who is in school now but she was not ready to be home alone before or after school, which was 20 hours a week and now 24. She still needs me here and I can do that by working from home mostly. Oh, and I’m chronically ill too. Still I sometimes struggle with feeling inadequate and lazy.

        We never shared finances, I always had to ask money from STBX if I needed some, which he always did, but I realize now it would have been much fairer to have one shared account for groceries, our kid’s needs and paying bills. Having to ask felt awkward, but I guess he liked the power. He now claimed he could “give me nothing, refuse to let me use the car (which would just sit there since he rarely uses it, and I use it mainly to take our daughter to her hobby!) , demand to get my company, refuse to pay child support, but he doesn’t want to do any of those things”. Oh, how kind of you! It feels like he’s scrambling to prove to me he has power over me.
        Even though he has made most of the money, when my mother passed away the year our daughter was born, and I got a small inheritance, I readily gave some of it to his use, as he wasn’t making a lot of money yet.

        My country is no fault, we have no pre-nup, so I get half even though only perhaps 15% or so was made by me. Child support is separate and we have agreed on a sum that helps me stay living in this area, which is expensive, but he wants to stay here and have his daughter close, and I don’t want to move her away from her friends and school. I found a one bedroom apartment where my daughter gets the small bedroom and I’ll sleep in the living room.
        She also has an expensive hobby, and I could not afford that without the CS.

        In my country a 12-year old can decide with whom they want to live and even if they want to see the other parent, so STBX knows he has to play nice with us. And he will by no means struggle financially after this, and keeps making more. And his dad is rich so he’ll get a nice inheritance. ( I wish his dad would have the sense to give some of it to his grandkids, he only has two children and two grandchildren!)

        Yeah, I’m thankful that STXB cheater husband can pay CS and that I won’t be a financial wreck after the divorce. Which he ended up wanting to file. I think because he doesn’t want to risk me getting any more of his future assets. With some smart investing and keeping working on my business so that I can hopefully make a small income from it, and if I get too sick to work possibly selling it at some point, I should be able to live comfortably and securely in my small home! I don’t want a lot of luxuries or travelling, I don’t like going out to party, I rarely eat out, I sew most of my own and my daughter’s clothes and cut our own hair. My splurges are nice yarn for knitting and books from Amazon.
        STBX spent thousands on illegal drugs.

  • >>> Throughout our relationship, I had always paid for pretty much everything. I am a doctor, she is a nurse.
    >>> My chumpiness went so far that I paid for her parents to come on holidays with us.

    Yep that (sadly) was me too for about 20 years [insert angry/furious emoji-thing]

    I paid for everything as her parents claimed to never have a spare peso for anything — even gave them thousands so they could buy a house — but yet, in the 2+ years since XW’s affair came to light, and with me not paying a cent to them anymore (and of course XW doesn’t give them anything either), ex-MIL has managed to fund 4 long-distance overseas trips to see her family spread around the world — yep, I got chumped by an entire family

    Also ATG (and others), I’m sure that, as well as money, you also did most of the work in the marriage/home/etc. — this seems to be another general characteristic of us chumps — personally, since moving out to my own place 6 months ago, I’ve found life is actually now much calmer & easier (even with the kids spending most of their time with me)

    >>> “…so that the children can have happy memories with us all together.”

    No way — don’t do it — I insisted on separate Xmas’s this year, easy as it’s 24th for her and 25th for me — I was certainly happier and the girls seemed pretty content too — and our eldest DD has her birthday in less than a week and so far I’ve not heard a word from XW and I’ve not mentioned it to her either — would not be surprised if she forgets — not our job anymore to ‘parent’ them as well — the only reason our cheating exes want joint celebrations is so that we, the chumps, continue to do all the work and spend all the money, while they steal the limelight

  • Yes , I did quite a bit of house work and of course paid for a weekly cleaner.
    She hardly ever did anything “ I spent my time with the children, which is more important “.
    Which I guess is ok if true.
    I did however notice that during the weeks when I have the kids , I actually manage to keep the house clean and tidy – and don’t have a weekly cleaner anymore.
    Whenever I have to look into her place – handover is normally outside – it’s very untidy.
    On weekends , she often needed a rest, so I took my kids on trips and was in charge so to say.
    Which in my mind was normal parenting , I’m not complaining about this . But there were many trips to the beach or the zoo, when she didn’t join, because she was tired .
    She then later went out regularly on Friday nights with her female friends and was hung over on Saturday . Don’t get me wrong – I’m a healthy marriage, I’d think it’s normal that the spouses go out with their friends every now and then. I never minded it at the time.
    But her hang overs stopped her from going to activities on Saturday mornings – and of course in the end I found out that she wasn’t out with female friends but the AP…

    • After XW left me and the kids, I was going through my desk and found membership cards for the local zoo. Everyone got his own photo card (me, her, our three kids) … but since XW wasn’t there when we took out the membership, her card just has a black box where her face should be. I think that symbolized everything about her role in the family.

      It’s true she wasn’t a SAHM, but I wasn’t a SAHD either. I have had a full-time job for 25 years – with a lot less flexibility than she has – and yet I was the one cooking dinner, picking up the kids from school, taking kids to the doctor, scheduling playdates, going to PTA meetings, … I also did all the “family work” (paying bills, filing taxes, fixing the house, yard work, etc.) When we moved, I even went around asking the neighbors for OBGYN recommendations so I could make a gyno appointment for XW, since I knew she’d never do it herself. Meanwhile she’s into a year+ affair with a coworker. I was such a chump.

  • ATG…sure you might want to try to recoup some of that money. But, I wouldn’t bother it it’s going to cost you boatloads more money and cause you anguish. Otherwise, go for it.

    However, I think about the more than a decade that my own mother went without a single time from my father for my brother and I. I remember once calculating it at over $100 000 (and this was in the 80/90s and without considering interest). What a different life we would have had with that support. We could have gotten out of government housing. I wouldn’t have had to work so much at my part-time job through high school. I might not have had such a large student loan when I graduated university.

    If you are doing decently well in your life without this money, as in it’s not breaking the bank that you don’t have it, then cutting your losses might be the best way to go. Just don’t ever bend on anything again with her. She’s gotten all she’s going to get from you.

    I am in occasional communication with the ex-husband of my ex’s OW. He just informed me that he’s had to grant the OW (who cheated on him) an additional $15000 in their settlement. What has she done with the money? Kids have told him that she bought all new furniture for her place (the furniture she took from their home upon separation was under 10 years old and high end), some new purses, and went to Vegas with me ex. What has she gotten the kids??? Well….?

    It rarely lasts long with these fools anyways.

  • LOVE the UBT.

    Anytime a cheater does the whole sob story thing I’m reminded of this little anecdotal story:

    A young man kills his parents add us convicted of their murders. To the judge on sentencing day he says: “Judge, please be merciful. I’m an orphan.”

  • Never tell them they hurt you, show them they mean nothing to you by ignoring every attempt they make.

    We’re talking about sociopaths here, don’t feed them with your pain, you’re just encouraging them. Starve them with indifference, even if you have to fake it.

  • In a fair world, Cheaters would be fined a hefty sum for marital fraud at a rate based on the number of years together. Plus Chumps would be able to seek additional damages for emotional abuse & distress and claim a loss of life invested in a fraudulent fuckwit.
    Child support would remain separate and out of the equation. Just an idea.

  • Too much RIC bs this week. Can Friday challenge be the BEST advice you received from a therapist? Like actual good advice.

  • This site (and Tracy’s book) got me through my divorce without losing mind. That said, something about this post really hit home for me.

    My divorce was final less than 2 months ago, but it was a long process. We have 6 year old twins, and I have a high-paying (and demanding) tech job. My ex was a stay at home mom, which is a difficult and sometimes thankless job. I always considered us to be fortunate that my job allowed my ex-wife to stay home with the kids when they were young – which she always said she wanted instead of putting them into daycare as babies – and we still were able to live a comfortable life.

    However, my ex always seemed to be unhappy and stressed out with her role as a stay at home Mom, and I knew that it was not all “sunshine and rainbows”, but rather hard work. So, we hired a nanny to help in those early years, and maids to clean the house. When the twins turned 2, we put them into a daycare program – starting 3 days per week, but quickly moving to 5 days per week. I thought this would give my ex some breathing room to relax and focus on herself.

    The kids were in daycare from 8am – 3pm, sometimes even staying in extended Care for a few extra hours. My ex had this time to herself, Monday – Friday, to do whatever she wanted. Some of it was mundane home stuff: lsundry, cleaning (but our house was always a wreck, if I’m being honest), but also time for her to have lunch with friends, go to spin classes, SLEEP (the best thing of all in the early years).

    But even then she was unhappy, was still stressed out daily. On top of working my demanding job that afforded us this lifestyle, I was a very involved father. I would be up in the mornings, helping with the normal kid routine, and would take them to school. I was home before they went to bed most nights during the week, would read to them nearly every night.

    On the weekends, I would often be the one primarily taking care of the kids.. because she “had been home with them all week”, and needed some time to herself. This included late nights out with her girlfriends, a handful of vacations while I stayed home with the kids, etc…

    Eventually, we concluded that we would outgrow our house soon as the kids got older. So, we sold our home (my house, that I bought before we were married), and bought a beautiful large home with an amazing view – our “forever home”. We had lived there barely 6 months when my ex began acting strange and distant. Then came the “I need some space and want a separation. It’s what I need in order for us to fix our marriage, which is totally my goal..”

    And like the chump I am, I reluctantly moved out of our beautiful new home, leaving her there.. “to save our marriage”. As you can expect, she was sleeping with someone else less than 2 weeks after I had moved out. The typical lying, blameshifting, gaslighting, followed.. and when there was just no way she could continue denying it, the tearful confession. I filed for divorce in September 2018.

    The year that followed was nothing short of a nightmare. There was a lot of talk of reconciliation, not a.lot of actual effort on her part, a whole lot of “I don’t know what I want”, and a revolving door of fuckbuddies throughout her confusion. She stayed in the house (while I continued paying the mortgage & bills) for 6 months, until she moved into her own apartment. Our forever home sat unoccupied for another 6 months (while I continued to pay the mortgage & bills) until we sold it.

    We had informally agreed to a 50/50 custody agreement when we separated, but a lot of “my time” with the kids fell on the weekends because of my job. I was voluntarily paying her child support each month, at the recommendation of my lawyer, and she eventually picked up a part time retail job that she struggled to keep in between her vacations and frequent nights out

    We mediated our divorce, which was terrible. Her lawyer really went after me financially, but in the end we split pretty much everything 50/50, including custody.. the important part. So, here I am, divorced less than 2 months… I live in a community property state (TX), so my ex got half of everything.. half of our savings, half of the proceeds from the sale of our “forever home”, half of my 401k, etc, etc…

    And because of my job, she also gets 25% of my gross monthly income for child support for the next 12 years. I pay her roughly $2,500/mo in child support (deducted straight from my paychecks), and she walked away with close to $500k from our divorce settlement. I paid all of her legal fees (probably $40k), and did most of the work in the divorce.

    She cheated on me, with multiple men, and this is my shit sandwich. Now, here’s the kicker: she recently received her payout from the divorce and promptly quit her job so “she can focus on the kids”. She’s planning trips with them and is suddenly interested in being super Mom, when being Mom while we were married just robbed her of her identity and made her miserable, despite all the help & free time she had.

    Yet, I’ve remained the “sane” parent throughout all this, even though I’m going insane trying to find some balance between my job that I don’t have the luxury of just quitting (and doesn’t slow down on account of my life being in disarray), and the added responsibility of being a single parent.

    Look, I am not blind to my fortunes.. I have a good job, I have 50/50 custody, and am fortunate in many ways that many people aren’t. But, the injustice of this all is paralysing. I’m doubtful I can even keep my job at this pace – the decline in my work performance is glaringly obvious – and I get to watch my ex basically restructure her life back to where it was when we were married (minus the inconvenient “married” part), and enjoy this huge windfall of cash and a pretty substantial amount of child support each month.

    And I’m trying to continue being the “sane” parent, trying to keep my job, and am still reeling from the emotional fallout of this whole ordeal. What a nightmare.

    • Ugh, mediated divorced! Where was your lawyer when hers was pressing you financially? I’m unclear on why you have half time and such a large CS payment? Generally (and I’m no expert on this) the move for 50/50 (by bad actors) is to avoid child support. It’s galling she walks away with all that and quits her job — but take the long view on this — she’ll burn through it.

      That sounds like a lot of money, until you need another house, are over 60 and need a pension, and if she thinks she’s going to live on $2500 alone? She’s nuts. And I’d ask your lawyer about “voluntary impoverishment.”

      • I’m actually paying the guideline CS amount for my county in TX, using the cap. In reality, if I was really paying the guideline % (without the cap), she’d receive quite a bit more per month. My lawyer advised me to agree to the guideline amount in mediation, as he felt that in a trial setting, a judge would look at my income and order that I pay more.

        Her lawyer was really going after me financially in mediation, which was just a long, expensive day without any resolution. My ex and I agreed to split 50/50 between us, which was still a bitter pill to swallow, but I suppose could have been worse. We mutually hired a forensic accountant due to the somewhat complex nature of our financials – me owning the house prior to marriage, but living there after we were married, investments that I have (mainly RSUs/stock from my work), my 401k, etc.. There was some reimbursement due to me from the sale of my house before buying the new home, which I was able to use a leverage to some degree in our settlement negotiations.

        I could have filed under a fault grounds (Adultery), but that would have most certainly meant that the divorce would have gone to trial, so I filed under the no-fault “Insupportability” grounds because from everything I heard, mediation was the way to go. It’s possible that I could have retained a greater share of the assets if the grounds were Adultery, but it’s also possible (I’d say probable) that a judge wouldn’t give a shit about the circumstances that led to our divorce and she would have likely been awarded a more disproportional amount based on our income disparity and perceived earning potential.

        (The “earning potential” thing stings too, as she certainly has the potential to earn – I don’t have a college degree, she has a higher level of education, but I’ve worked my butt off to get to where I am in my career and she wanted to be a SAHM, which I thought was great, but certainly not a necessity.)

        She had a child previously going into our marriage – my step-son, who i raised as my own son since he was 1 (he’s now 13, and of everyone involved, I think this is the worst for him). So, in addition to the CS she receives from me from our 2 children, she also receives CS from my step-son’s father. She basically receives the equivalent of the average individual income in my city in CS alone, without even getting out of bed.

        The financial part of this really stings and feels unfair, but I am pretty fresh out of the marriage (2 months divorced), so I know that it will fade. What keeps me sane is the idea that I’d much rather be out of the toxic marriage, regardless of the financial hit, than to have stayed in for the sake of the kids and tried to keep a marriage with a cheater alive after all this. I trust that she sucks.

        The part that I struggle with (there are many parts, but a big one) is the whole “being the sane parent” thing. I AM the sane parent, but goddamn is it hard some days. I still have my job, which pays well but I certainly don’t love and takes up a lot of my time and energy, and I kinda feel like I don’t really have the option of leaving it due to my financial responsibility with the CS and just living expenses. Meanwhile, she gets to go back to living the same life as before, not working, tons of free time (kids are in school M-F and in after-school programs every day, which I pay 80% of), has every other weekend free, and now has the added bonus of not being married and can screw whoever she wants. The infuriating part is that her narrative during the divorce was that she “lost her identity” due to being a SAHM (which she wanted) and that she felt like she couldn’t do anything for herself (she could have). Now, she’s all about being “awesome Mom” – turns out that going to work every day kinda sucks, and going to lunch/yoga/whatever is SO much better – and gets to focus on really being present for the kids when she has them, as if she couldn’t have done that before.

        I feel somewhat trapped… I would love to quit my job and be awesome Dad, but I don’t have that luxury. I have to try hard to be awesome Dad, and balance about 1,000 other things at the same time. I know that her end of the settlement with dry up eventually, and she will need to figure out how to support herself in the long run (we’re both still pretty young, I just turned 40), but right now I feel like I’m living in one of those revolving sushi restaurants where everything that comes around on the conveyor belt is a shit sandwich. It makes the whole “Gain a Life” thing feel pretty out of reach.

        Anyway, I’m optimistic about it — can’t you tell 🙂 — and know that things will get better. Divorce sucks, but staying married to a cheater sucks worse.

        • The wicked seem to flourish in this world. But they are still assholes.

          Someday your CS payments will end. The relationship you have with your children will always be the best thing in your life. Their love is priceless.

        • You are already an awesome dad. Having a lucrative full time job, which it sounds like you enjoy, is part of being a good dad – you are modeling healthy adult behavior to your kids. What looks like an “awesome life” that your ex is leading is empty and soulless…she’s not acting like an adult…and we all know that her attempts to be “super mom” are all just a facade. Don’t let the illusion of her “perfect set up” take anything away from you – she does not define your worth as a person or a father. By getting away from her, by being the same parent, by modeling healthy behaviors for you kids…you win. YOU WIN. She just sucks. The end.

          • Yes! Thank you!!

            I know this, but it’s always nice to have it reiterated by someone who can relate.

            Of course she just can’t fathom why I’m so “angry” about all of this, why we can’t just be best friends and live next door to each other in identical houses with a drawbridge for the kids to go back and forth. She still cares about me deeply, after all, has a special place in her heart for me, and all that shit…

            But gosh, my bitterness about the situation is just so inconvenient. She needs to head to the beach with her non-angry friends to get away from all this bad energy (“can you keep the kids that weekend?”)

            And my “anger” with the situation, with the circumstances that led to our divorce, is the perfect retroactive justification for her behavior… “you were ALWAYS angry with me!”, “you NEVER trusted me!”… No, I am angry with you now for blowing up our marriage in such spectacular fashion, and would have serious trust issues with you going forward had I been dumb enough to stay (which, as a chump, I stupidly considered for a long time – thankfully she never really recommitted to the relationship in any meaningful way), but it was not “always” that way.

            Anyway, onwards to Tuesday…

            • Your ex wife and mine really could be twins…. And our situation is very similar, financially and work wise. Prior to finding out about her cheating, I changed a few things in my work life, with the aim of slowing down and spending more time with the kids. And I talk about subtle changes, like trying to leave on Fridays at 3pm.
              Like you, I was a dedicated father , despite a demanding work routine. Never missed story time,even if that would mean driving home from work on some days and then going back in, always made breakfast…
              Now : I am working harder than ever before to meet all my new costs. I am fortunate, I can always do a lot of work on the days when my children are with my ex. But it’s not sunshine and rainbows here either…

        • TXChump

          There are no winners in the divorce, but you walk away being a man of honor & integrity and she’s stuck being her……and trust that she sucks. Her “Awesome Mom” badge will soon tarnish, because she’s not going to change. She’s always going to be the same selfish narc you divorced. I was a SAHM mom, and it was the hardest job I ever had…..but I never cheated! Children are hard but it’s a lifetime gig, so I agree with CL about being the sane parent. This is one of those delayed gratifications that will pay off. My two children were 18 & 20 when A**hat blew up our family in April 2017. It bites that they sometimes still choose Dad over me because they were old enough to see all the s**t I went through. But that’s the shit sandwich I ordered when I procreated with a fuckwit. It’s for life. My reward—my Mother’s Day card last year from my sign: “Home is wherever my mother is”. Savor those small moments that will occur with your children–they are priceless.

          As far as the CS and settlement–the kids will know that you financially supported them. I would not point out to them how much it costs you or complain in front of them. Kids are expensive even if you’d stayed together. That was your choice. And just like the pain of divorce, the CS payments are finite. But I would be prepared that she comes back in a few years & wants more $$$. She’s going to blow through her settlement and is going to be knocking on your door for more, so start setting your boundaries and responses now. The hardest part will be biting your tongue because she will complain to your children. But take it from me, that will come back to bite you. The kids will get it by being the sane parent. So take the high road, which is very difficult at times.

          You’re doing great for two months out.

          • Thank you! I agree on all points and really appreciate your feedback.

            I have a handful of momentos from my kids that get me through the days – notes scribbled with “I love you Dad” stuck to my fridge, a thank you letter from my daughter from Christmas that says “thanks for all the presents! You are so nise [sic]!” I recently found a card that my step-son gave to me years ago, a thank you card for something, that said “…thanks for being so nice to my Mom”.

            The financial sting will wear off, it’s just fresh for me, but I completely understand that the CS is necessary and that I have a fiduciary responsibility to support my children.

            I think the point I had in mind when I started commenting on this post (before I went off on a complete tangent), was having this feeling of being “trapped” in my job now. Don’t misunderstand me, I count my blessings for having a well-paying job, which I have somehow managed to keep through this mess. It has provided my family (ex-family?) with a comfortable life and allowed my ex to be the SAHM that she wanted to be. I am fully aware of the fact that there are many people in much worse situations than me at present.

            However, I do not particularly enjoy my job – in fact, I don’t really like it at all. It’s demanding, high-stress, long hours, and has a shelf life. There are many smart, capable and less encumbered people who would love to take over my position, and it’s difficult to keep up with those fresh, ambitious folks who are more than happy to put in longer hours because they don’t have the same set of responsibilities that I do. I have to really bring my “A-game” to work and manage my time extremely well just to keep my head above water.

            So I look at my present situation and think: “Do I really want to keep doing this? Is the job really worth all of the effort? I would be MUCH happier doing XYZ, and would probably be a much more present Father…”, but I feel stuck. I can’t just quit my job and be absolved of my financial responsibilities, and what if I couldn’t find a different job? I always wanted to try starting my own business, but now the risk of doing that is so much more.

            At what point do I say: “I am not willing to work this hard anymore – I was willing to do this because the part of my life that was truly rewarding was having an in-tact family. But that’s no longer the reality, and I want to do something else that provides a better work-life balance, is more mentally rewarding, and allows me to put a greater focus on my relationship with my children. I don’t care about the cost!”

            See, I watch my ex doing just that – quitting her job so she can put a greater focus on the kids – and I think “I want to do that!” But I’m not sure I even have that choice, and that’s the hard part. I AM the source of financial support for my children and my ex, if I quit my job tomorrow to be an artist (which I would love), how do we take care of the children financially? My cheater ex gets the benefit of not working, receiving child support, and has all the time in the world to explore her interests and “find herself”. You know… I want to gain a life too!

            That’s the shit sandwich of injustice about this situation that I really struggle with. I know that it’s all part of being the “sane” and responsible parent, and even though I agree that there are no winners in divorce, I often feel like the loser in this situation.

            • This is the work-life balance we all struggle with. The negatives are now more acute as the thing you saw as the “reward” is gone. Try reframing that it’s not gone but different–and in time you’ll feel it’s better. The reward now is the relationship with your children minus the negative of a wife. A person who never was and just smoke and mirrors.

              Let me give you what your feeling from my perspective. My Ex repeatedly didn’t see my worth as a SAHM and told me repeatedly I brought him no value. He used my not working as an excuse to have the affair with the Howorker (never married, no children, always worked). One of our first married arguments was regarding what one’s worth was. He said it was based on salary & I said that then Mother Theresa was a failure. He then bought me a cartoon book for Christmas when I was still a student, “I Got a Job and It Wasn’t That Bad.” Fast forward to one month after Ex sent me and my kids the hearts & kisses text meant for Howorker when we were celebrating my son’s HS graduation. Ex bought my son the out of print cartoon book, “I Got a Job and It Wasn’t That Bad.” I guess what I’m saying is, my Ex obviously persevered for years on diminishing my value enough to include my son in his petty shallow grudge. I too am working on moving forward and this is all hard, but hanging on to these wrongs only gives them more power. In Cambodia they say, “Get the Spider Off Your Chest.”

              One day at a time.

  • “bad tinder date” plus morning after pill… it reads to me like something non consensual happened there. Nobody deserves that and I find it a bit off to be snarky about it. It doesn’t particularly read like this person went out of their way to involve their ex in it, so I don’t think they should be belittled for that happening to them.

    • It’s possible, Pecan, but you’re making an assumption, and getting your knickers in a knot in the process, so cool your jets.

      For argument’s sake, knowing what we know about fuckwit cheaters (i.e. they’re irresponsible, self-absorbed, cold-hearted and manipulative, among other things), who’s to say she didn’t leave the pill on the seat simply because she doesn’t care, and the “bad tinder date” comment was 1) regret because he didn’t keep his promise to pull-out and/or 2) a pathetic attempt at getting kibbles from ATG?

    • I am not sure if it was intentionally there to hurt me or if she just lacks the empathy required, to put this packet of tablets into the glove box, before driving to her ex-husband’s house.
      ( Narcs can be vulnerable when they seeking approval so desperately, that they get taken advantage off. And to be honest, my first thought when I saw the packet, was to offer her a script for antibiotics…)
      But the brief discussion we had about it, made it very clear, that she was happy with her choices.
      I pointed out to her, that she could do whatever she wants, that I would find a little more discretion helpful – and I asked her to stop using my surname and change back to her maiden name.
      I just don’t like the idea, that she is doing this sort of stuff whilst still using my surname.
      But she just told me that this is all none of my business – I agreed – and that she will keep my surname as long as she likes.

      I give you another example – when she moved out, she put all her belongings out of our bathroom into her suitcase. In front of me, she packed a packet of condoms. I mentioned at the time “don’t you think that’s a little insensitive? “She said “I want to sleep with other men”and continued packing.
      So she has a history with that kind of arrows being shot into my way. And she knows that I always adored her and she knows that I was a chump. So I think that it was either intentional or complete lack of empathy.

      • ATG,

        The things you’ve described regarding her behavior and words are more than “a little insensitive”, they’re very insensitive. But that’s par for the course. For what it’s worth, mine pulled the same shit…the same cold, heartless behavior. Why? Because she didn’t love me and she didn’t care. Your’s doesn’t love you and she doesn’t care. And that’s a jagged pill to swallow. But it is what it is. If you dwell on it, then you’re inadvertently giving her power and hurting yourself. Don’t do it. That’s easier said than done, I know.

        You still have feelings for her. At this point, that’s normal! But they’ll evolve, fade in time. Until then, don’t let her know how you feel, because 1) she doesn’t care, and 2) she may use it to manipulate you to her self-interest/gain (i.e. kibbles!).

        You’re still in the thick of things, ATG, and it sucks. Frankly I don’t see a big opportunity for marked improvement until the divorce is final in April, at which point certain aspects of this shit show will become legalized parameters and boundaries, giving you some control and greater opportunity for moving forward with your life. At that point, you can truly start working on YOU, on your emotional health and healing…and being a good Dad for your children! Until then, keep your head down, lay low and try not to engage with her in ANY way other than child-related stuff…and even then, ONLY when it’s truly important and necessary! [note: mine would use our daughter as a reason to reach out to me to start communication. She’s selfish, manipulative and wanted kibbles.]. And that rule applies after the divorce as well!

        For all intents and purposes, you’re divorced, just not legally. April will soon come! Point being, keep moving forward. Keep practicing “grey rock”, as best you can.

        ATG, it gets better! Honestly, it does. I have seen some shit in my days and I have experienced pain, but nothing has effected me the way my wife’s exit did. Her decisions, behavior and treatment of me and our family was devastating…and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it except move on. I went “no contact”, and that proved a godsend. (I was able to go NC, as our daughter just turned 18). But it is now 18+ months later, and I’m hear to tell you that things will get better, and YOU too will get better. Am I where I want to be emotionally and mentally? No. I’m still a work-in-progress, but I’m closer to the finish line that the start. Point being, I did it…and you can to! It is much better for me now…and it will get better for you as well in the months ahead!

        * Be there for your kids, not for her.
        * Stay away from her – practice grey rock, if you can’t go no-contact.
        * Occupy yourself with distractions; new hobbies, home projects, etc.
        * Take care of yourself – exercise and sleep are a must!Trust me.
        * And visit CL here as often as you can; the value of hearing other folks’ experiences proved immeasurable for me. I think it will for you too!

        Stay the course.

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