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Do I Have to Be Friendly With My Ex?

Hi Chump Lady,

My question is about whether I’m supposed to be friendly to my cheating ex-husband when around the children (14-year-old twin girls). We are divorced now, it’s been 2 years since D-Day and after a bit of spackling and pick me dancing (around 5 months) I decided enough was enough and I wanted me back and my self-esteem. I asked him to leave, consulted a solicitor, got a full time job to pay my way, retained my home, negotiated a settlement I was happy with, have started studying towards a possible new career and have a wonderful new man in my life.

I’ve practised serious no contact with him and it has helped no end. We email when necessary regarding arrangements for the children, holidays and the like, but I won’t even say hello to him when he comes to collect the children — I just stay out of the way, having said my goodbyes prior to him arriving at the door.

I’ve had to attend school events with him. At one, a careers fair, again, I found that I just didn’t even want to acknowledge him, we walked around as a “family” but I didn’t say goodbye to him, we didn’t discuss anything and each focused on the children. On another occasion, an awards ceremony, I attended with my children and my new partner (him at one end, the children at the other next to the empty seat we had saved for him) — but he refused to sit with us and his children, preferring a seat far away.

I don’t ever think about him anymore, I don’t really feel anything for him anymore — not angry, bitter or sad. I’m happy with my life and where it has the potential to go with me at the helm. He’s just someone I used to know. However, am I really at Meh if I can’t bring myself to exchange pleasantries with this man?

He was after all totally responsible for breaking up my family, trampling all over me and my hopes and dreams, lying to me and the children for God knows how long and putting us all in financial trouble, not to mention the emotional trauma and dodgy PAP smear test results as so many of those in Chump Nation are all to well aware. I don’t like him, there’s something fundamental wrong with him and I don’t want to be friends or even pleasant to him. I will not bad mouth him to my children, I respect their love for him and they see him regularly, he pays regularly and collects and returns them on time, I ask how their weekend was and ask after him and his family to them. But, should I force myself to say Hi, how are you, or chat about the weather for the sake of my children at events we all have to be at together and when he comes to collect them? Am I taking no contact too far?



Dear IntheDriversSeatNow,

This is a very chumpy, “Am I beyond reproach?” sort of question. It’s admirable you want to examine your behavior and wonder if you’re doing this co-parenting thing right, but absolutely nothing in the bylaws says you have to make inane chitchat with your ex.

The bar for pleasantries is set pretty low — you can discuss the weather with strangers you meet in an elevator. The bar set for not bad-mouthing the person who intimately betrayed you, broke up your family, and risked your health, however, is set high. It takes a LOT not stay forever pissed. Are you backing over him with a truck? No? Give yourself a break.

It’s okay to be nothing toward your ex. It’s okay to not get up off the sofa when he arrives. It’s okay to skip phony pleasantry exchanges. That doesn’t make you BITTER. (An adjective I noticed you were quick to denounce.) That makes you a person with something better to do. Excuse me, I have a very important appointment with a hairball my cat just barfed up. Ta-ta. 

It’s not like I’m pro-bitter here, but chumps are so twitchy about being judged as lacking in magnanimity. It’s not your job to smooth this shit over. It’s OKAY to be DONE with his shit. You’re no contact for a REASON. Probably a thousand of reasons, really. All very good ones.

Save the difficult displays of superficial pleasantness for the occasions that really matter — like your daughters’ weddings. You can nod to each other across the punchbowl. Everything else? Why? Who are you trying to impress here? Let’s make a list.

People who would judge you who haven’t lived this? Fuck them. Him? Double fuck him. (And it doesn’t sound like he’s longing for further impression management anyway. Some do. Be glad he doesn’t want to Be Friends.) Your daughters? You’re already being mighty by not bad mouthing your ex, not standing in the way of their relationship, and modeling to those girls that a person can move on to a better life after infidelity. That’s ENOUGH.

What would faux friendliness do? It would feel like an endorsement. Like what he did wasn’t That Bad. And it would sap you of precious energy you could be giving to hairballs.

Oh, but can’t you put all that aside and be the Bigger Person?

Sure, if you WANT to. And if you DON’T want to, that’s FINE. I suggest you have a very short list in life of those people whose toxicity and harm merits social shunning. A cheating ex, a drug-addicted sibling, a brutal dictator who annexed your country. It’s a short list. I’m sure you’re a very pleasant person in the other facets of your life. This guy is an EXCEPTION not the rule.

He EARNED your no contact. There’s the entire rest of the planet to talk with about sport scores and unseasonably mild weather.

This one ran previously.

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  • I only speak about the kids to my ex. He’s not part of my life, but he does say he loves me, I ignore him. He’s have girlfriends since, he had one girlfriend and still said he loved me. He’s in self isolation he never really wanted the kids now he wants company. He’s a fuckwit. Daughter got a standing ovation from physics teacher, told him, couldn’t congratulate her could he.

  • CL, I agree so much and am relieved you told her to lean into ignoring and not “make nice”. I think bad people need to be treated as such. It’s what we teach our kids. “Have boundaries. Ignore bullies or stand up for yourself”. I would also say it’s not wrong for your children to see and know that a person who completely disrespects, abuses and betrays their mother is treated like a bad person who gets boundaries enforced on them and garners no respect. My daughters wonder and are confused and sort of upset when I’m anything but aloof with the cheating, lying, safe and secure chilhood and family destroying, two-faced, mood shifting, life stomper.

    • 100% yes. I’m so so sick of relatives and friends who say well one day you’ll be friendly for the sake of the kids. First they have no idea of what I’ve been through with him and can’t even empathize with the abuse and second how confusing for the kids to know I could be friends with someone who abused me and blew up our lives? (My STBC said we’ve been best friends for 27 years why can’t we continue that! Ummm….because you are a world class liar cheater abuser narcissistic and I don’t pick friends that are those things???)
      I can’t wait till I get to meh.

      • I lost last post so I’m making this short.
        He lost the privilege of exchanging smiles or polite exchanges the day he betrayed our family. I will never forgive him for his callous disregard of our 25 years together.
        I sacrificed enough of my time not giving him another minute.
        I wouldn’t have had anything to do with him if I had known who he really is. Now that I know I surely don’t.

  • I have been largely no contact for over ten years, that man I married died well before I found out X had been cheating on me. X dipped with his fitness partner and the day I figured out what kind of man he was was the day I washed my hands of any obligation to “be nice.” I can not unsee or forgive the last two years of my marriage to him. He had a double life, like many of our exes. The financial infidelity, our foreclosed home, walking out on three adolescents, and the cruel behavior we’re beyond anything I knew…. I believe that when a person shows you who they are, you had better believe it. So yeah I treat him like the scum of the earth he is.

    • This has helped me reading this.
      Just over a year since he left. Usual crap, now with a woman he works with, he reassured me it was all her before he left. Bla Bla. He has ragular contact with our 2 children but I don’t even want to give him the time of day. I’m not interested in what he has to say unless it involves the children.
      I don’t even want to look at him let alone have meaningless chit chat.

  • I needed this today, especially after the “I don’t want mom to marry Schmoopie” comments from the kids last night. I think all of us chumps have a lot of the same issues we’re concerned about and this reassurance helps. I don’t associate or communicate with liars, cheaters, and double life people. Doesn’t matter if they’re my ex wife or not.

  • I guess that I was not the “bigger person” at our son’s wedding (less than two months post divorced). No, I ignored the ex and everyone related to him. How dare ANY of them try to communicate with me, when, for the previous five years NOT ONE called me to see how I was doing, was I ok, did I need anything, how sorry they all were for what he did, etc. This, after being with my ex (and hosting his family) for 42 years. I am sure that my behavior towards them was discussed, but, I DO NOT CARE. No one (but me) knows the depths of his depravity. No one knows what he did, what he stole, what he forged, or all the lies that he has spread. At least HE knows what I know, and that is enough!

    • I’d say that was the only sane response here, no matter what they twitched and whispered and said behind your back. Who flaming cares anyway.

      I’ll never get an apology, that would be a start (not that I want one) I just get ‘you know why we are here’ (ie, guess what, all due to my inadequacies). I don’t like to feel that badly towards one person but I do and a start with an apology would be a start and still then there’d are a long way to go. But he is a sad sausage of the highest order and talks so much crap I can’t stand to be within 10 yards of him and that’s likely how it will stay. I DO NOT CARE either NotMyFault. Walk a mile in my shoes before anyone disses me for that response.

    • Exactly, I have visions of some day telling my kids what their father really put me through and who he really is.

      • Leave the divorce 3-ring binder out on the coffee table someday when the time is right.

        • That is my plan too 🙂 There is an entire section devoted to his many personal ads and emails.

  • You know, every now and then something comes across the Internet that just gives you good perspectives. The one I like is “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” He’s the sperm donor. He is at meh and so are you. That’s perfect. No lingering sighs. No unicorns. Just a garden variety cheater and ain’t nobody got time for that.
    My brother hit meh pretty quickly. Met, married, fathered more children and never looked back.
    Stay safe.

  • This was timely for me. I’m mostly no contact with my ex (we’ve been divorced 18 months; I moved out 2 years ago); recently I described my state to myself as somewhere between “meh” and “mighty,” meaning I have actually reached “meh” and am on my way to mighty (treading water during this crisis). Except for a shared financial obligation to our son, I’ve managed to pare contact with the ex down to once every few months and limit it to an email followed by a check.

    I needed to contact the ex yesterday over a financial matter. I composed an email, laid out the business for which I was contacting him, and then paused, wondering whether I should include a line or two of “social pleasantry.” I decided not to, on the principle that to do so was to support his false narrative of “we grew apart.” I knew he would take my limiting my words to the business at hand as evidence of some fault in me, but I really couldn’t care less, and although I didn’t second guess my decision, I’m happy to read this column today. It helps me realize just how much I’ve been able to internalize the lessons I’ve learned here.

  • During the last 2 years of my 35 years of marriage I found out that my then husband was cheating with his Owhore behind my back. I ignored the red flags because I loved him and thought it was just a phase he was going through. Unfortunately I discovered the affair was serious in the most cruel and humiliating way.
    Now 3 years divorced, I’m on my own taking one day at a time but financially strained. I rather be where I am now then having been mentally tormented and cheated on. My adult son still sees his father at times which I understand it’s his choice. But the few times I’ve ran into my ex I’ve never acknowledged or spoken to him.
    I cannot forget what he put me through and destroying our family. The Owhore died recently and he immediately moved into another woman’s house.
    That expression “Any port in a Storm” has true meaning for me now. I truly believe that any of us who experienced lying and humiliation by our cheating ex’s
    should feel no guilt in ignoring them now. They don’t deserve respect from us and we are allowed to act as we feel.

  • Okay, but here’s the thing. I have repeatedly been told (even by professionals in therapeutic services) if you can’t exchange pleasantries with this individual, it’s an indication that you aren’t over it yet. I don’t agree with this. Fuck that guy. But it kills me that he interprets my shortness with him to be indicative that i still have feelings for him.

    He’s right, I still feel he’s a dirtbag. Does that count?

    How do we reconcile these two perspectives? For the record, I’m with yours.

    • HM –
      You’re on the right track. Ignore the “professionals” who urge you to play nice and deny your truth. You’re the only one who understands what (and who) your ex truly is.

      If other people could only fathom my ex’s misdeeds, she would be shunned by all. But the things she did and the secret life she lived are far too incomprehensible to normal, well-adjusted people.

      Years ago I mourned the person I thought she was and the life I thought we had together. That person died and I’ve moved on. When I occasionally have to see her “ghost” at my kid’s school events I just ignore her and keep my distance. Ghosts aren’t real. I could care less about what others may think.

      • Spot on! I love your “ghost” comment. I said this once to a friend to explain what it is like to see the ex now. I have also used it to explain how sometimes it feels like it would have been way easier had the ex died instead of betrayed us. People that haven’t lived through this level of betrayal and abandonment do not understand the pain of living with the fact that the person CHOSE to walk away.

      • Thank you for the comment. I am in the middle of my divorce. I have thought of considering in my mind that my husband actually died. Maybe because the loving, wonderful and amazing man that I loved for almost 30-years of my life actually is no longer there. He died. That is what I will think of him from now on. Thank you.

        • My comment above was for GratefullyDivorcedDad. The person I loved died. I have not seen him since January 24th or spoken to him, we only exchange emails and texts because of our kids 14 and 17, so I have not had to see or confront him in any school events or such. I was dreading the Graduation event of our daughter because I do not want to see him, but the pandemic happened and now that event is cancelled. I feel bad that my baby will not have a graduation, but happy that I won’t need to be there with him in the same room. This is so recent. I am still married and going through the divorce phase and I think seeing him will be hard, but if I think of him as dead, and that its his “ghost” who I will see, it makes me feel better, I think. This is so hard 🙁

    • The way I interpret reaching meh or indifference, is that you no longer pine to be with them, no pick me dancing, you no longer seek any form of validation from this person. You no longer want their input/approval/apologies because you have reached your own peace and closure and acceptance that this person who wronged you is an irredeemable fuckwit, a complete mental patient. Also, you have stopped caring about what they are doing and with who.

      Indifference to me, doesn’t require you to fake nice, validate them, pretend that they are something other than a fuckwit. That’s not indifference, that’s playing doormat.

      Healthy boundaries require you to acknowledge that fuckwits exist and to treat these people like the toxic trash that they are.

      To think another way, if you were raped, nobody would every tell you that you should make small talk and be pleasant to your rapist. This is really no different – when someone violates you, it’s not your job to make small talk with that person and anyone telling you otherwise is essentially gaslighting you.

      • They performed a life rape. An entire life and family violated the most intimate and abusive way.

        • ^^^^
          Jennifer, True, they don’t deserve to be acknowledged. Small talk gives the impression that everything’s okay.
          Destroying a family and betrayal isn’t okay.
          Cheaters don’t get the treatment they deserve.

    • HM, here’s another view. My therapist said I should feel exactly how I am; angry as fuck, hurt, humiliated, devastated, brain damaged from gaslighting, protective, and confused. Notice friendly isn’t on that list-far from it. I’m sure my shitbag ex would love to have me be friendly with him, like I was when I was deeply in love and sitting home being the good compliance wife for 24 years while he was out fucking his whores. My view is people who bag groceries at the supermarket get my friendliness but people who lie, cheat, steal my money, put my health at risk, hurt my family and treat me like shit do not. We feel how we feel for a reason. We’ve been right royally chumped!

    • Meh doesn’t mean you don’t have any feelings, it just means that those feelings don’t consume you or “force” you to act in a certain manner that ultimately self sabotages. I’m in your almost exact boat. I don’t like my ex. I communicate as little as humanly possible to deal with our parenting situation. My business-like manner upsets him–he wishes we were buddies, like in the good ole days! Yea, right. I’m not friends with people who hurt me. I’ve been told by others that I should try being more friendly, for the sake of my daughter. Yea, right. I’m not gonna model that fake friendship to my kid.

      Your feelings are justified–your distance is commendable. Keep it up. Meh doesn’t mean you have to act like a robot, it just means you look forward a whole heck of alot more than you look back.

  • I was pretty much raised to treat men who treated me badly with deference and respect, and it resulted in me marrying someone who expected the same. When I caught him cheating, it was finally my wake up call, and while the most excruciating experience of my life, I used the pain to gain some overdue self-respect. I have absolutely NO desire to make him more comfortable when we have to communicate. And now I understand I am also under NO obligation to make him comfortable.

    Leaving a cheater and gaining a life with some self-worth has been a godsend.

  • InTheDriversSeatNow,

    I’ve just been through this. You dont need to be pleasant for him. You might think about it for you.

    I came to a place (similar to thought’s you share here) where I had to admit I was still anger at xw.
    And I didn’t notice that anger unless I had to directly interact with her. Email didn’t reveal it, but a phone call or face to face did. It was small and subtle, but there. I barely said hello.

    I would describe it as plaque kind of stuck in my heart.

    I let myself acknowledge it (with several of therapy sessions). I forced myself to see xw for being an ok mom. I forced myself to think that she had to cheat so I could get here. Meaning, the only way I could become the person I’m supposed to become is equal to the horribleness she had to inflict. It was a gift she gave me, but I had to rewrite the story.

    And that inner anger-plaque started to melt away. It was redemptive. It was awesome and freeing to move through that. And she’s noticed. And the kids notice. And I didn’t do it for her, I did it for me.
    I wouldn’t say we’re pals in any sense, I really could careless. But Im better.

    So, put aside thinking about him directly, but let yourself think about why you’re even questioning this moment. Trust me, its worth the exploration.

    • I guess its called a grudge. Let go of the grudge for your own sake. (the abridged version of my reply).

      • I’m not a very good grudge holder. (Which is probably one of the reasons I put up w/Cheater Narc for so long – even before knowing he was a cheater.)

        But every time my resentment towards him starts to slip away, he does something NEW that is super annoying and aggravating and unfair and STUPID.

        He doesn’t even have that many opportunities for this anymore; a few financial obligations. But he still manages. (And I would LOVE it if I could say he is a good parent. He’s so crap that our kids, who adored him, haven’t spoken to him in a couple of years now.)

        If he didn’t keep costing me in lawyer’s fees, I might even wish him a nice day in an e-mail!

      • I’ll hold a grudge forever, it doesn’t bother me. I am a friend for life but if you stab me in the back, you are dead to me forever and I’m okay with that. I don’t deal with people who lie, cheat, steal or rob. End of story.

        • I hear you, BeenThere!
          I’m an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs. This is consistent with this personality type. We are loyal and will give a kidney to a stranger, but once you cross us…bam! We slam the door forever! So I’m cool with a grudge. It’s a reminder of a boundary, of a safety guardrail to protect me and my love ones.

    • Yikes. If that makes you feel better then I don’t begrudge you that peace, but I am not ok with the narrative that their shitty treatment of me “was for my own good.” I do NOT subscribe to accepting abuse for the sake of life changes. I didn’t get to where I am today because of their abuse. I got to where I am today because of MY resilience.

      I think all of us have gone through the “why did this happen to me” phase(s), but the answer isn’t because there is a divine plan. The real answer is it happened to us because people make shitty choices. It’s kind of like their comment, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Well, they sure as shit didn’t try to NOT hurt us. The fact is, that hurting us was a byproduct of them getting what they wanted at all costs. THAT is what is important to them.

      I just don’t want someone who is feeling like I did a couple years ago to think that the abuse of infidelity happened because of some grand scheme. That their abuse was preordained. It was not. These assholes have freewill. They know that it is abuse and will hurt us so that is why they hide it. Our journey to recover from it and become mighty is not an endorsement for their treatment of us.

      • Yup, the fact that we grew, after coming through being lied to and taken advantage of and cheated (in so many ways) and cheated on doesn’t somehow make what they did OK or necessary or whatevs… I understand people sometimes try to put a positive spin on even truly tragic circumstances, but it isn’t ‘this bad thing needed to happen so this good thing could occur’, but rather ‘even out of something terrible, growth can occur’.

        I really really don’t think the universe has some kind of ‘growth and development plan’ for each of us, that may require our being abused to accomplish. And how would that model account for the fact that the Cheater Narcs don’t seem to be growing and developing? Is the universe’s plan not working out?

        The possibility of tramautic growth doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to impose trauma on people. And it certainly doesn’t mean we should be in any way appreciative of the people who did so.

      • I’m not such a tippy-hippy, so I also agree with you. My X is not a friend. I would NEVER have thanksgiving with her, pass friendly emails. She’s dangerous and should be treated as such.

        BUT i’m freer for taking this perspective.

  • After being taken back to court 10 years after the divorce was final, social pleasantries – f*%k that. Any interaction beyond fact based receipts, has never been actioned in a way that benefits the children. He taught me to view his every ask/action thru the lens of “how does this benefit him or what’s in it for him”. And for that reason, “I’m out”.

  • A timely quote from Oscar Wilde from the movie I watched last night, (Paris, Je Taime)

    “A true friend stabs you in the front.”

    I see no need whatsoever to act as if he is my friend because he proved and proved and proved and proved again that he was not. The best I can do is minimal civil, and that is way more than he deserves. My goal is to someday be in a position where I never have to see his face, hear his voice, or speak to him ever again.

    We don’t defend murder, rape, arson, theft. But people defend infidelity, I suppose because the justification for it by the perpetrators is love. But affairs, which by definition require betrayal and lying, have nothing to do with love and are evidence that the participants are incapable of it.

    I’m reserving passage on my Friend Ship for people who qualify.

    • PS…..I love Miss Manners and remember her saying to someone long ago that one is under no obligation to consider the feelings of someone who has made it very clear that they don’t care about yours.

      I interact with him in a way which PROTECTS LIKE A LION my dignity and self-esteem and self-respect. How he or anyone else feels is not a factor.

  • As with many questions about cheaters, the answer becomes clear once you replace cheating with other forms of abuse:

    Do I have to be polite to my sexual harasser?
    Must I offer a cool beverage to my home’s arsonist?
    Am I obligated to smile and say thank you when a kidnapper receives his ransom and returns my traumatized child?

    Um, hell to the no. As CL said, your only obligation is to refrain from answering abuse with abuse. If they are ignored, it’s far better than they deserve.

    • HM my refusal to acknowledge a toxic abuser is for two reasons. The first is to protect myself and the other is a vow to never ever again provide image management.

      Protecting myself is my own personal response to being harmed health wise (exposed to STD’s, mental health wise (PTSD, anxiety), financially, in taking care of my needs and personal safety.

      Image management is something I provided and now recognize it as one of HIS needs. Acknowledgement in any setting is absurd given his actions and the fact a man I was in a relationship with for 41 years stated that a bar whore wouldn’t like it if he spoke to me. I’m honoring THAT for life. Actions never match words per usual and I’ve been stalked, demeaned, demonized, as well as being reported as a drunk driver whenever they spot me anywhere in the state.
      True to the nature of the disordered the hoover is covert while telling others he’ll talk to me and a cunt wants to make peace. NO WAY.

      They always circle back, it could be ten years later. This is what my therapist said. NOPE.

      My life is much better and I feel safe with these guidelines. They don’t get access.

      • Fuck me. Your comment about image management hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been doing this for my cheating husband for all of our relationship…

        Pretending. Acting. Lying. Covering up for him. Making every excuse so that people wouldn’t pry into my personal business and rather make them believe everything is wonderful. And being very defensive at that.

        Them: ‘where’s your husband?’
        Me: ‘you know he’s so busy with work, he’s such a workaholic. I know I always appear to be a single mum but he does care he just can’t be here.’

        Kids: ‘Mum why isn’t dad home yet after going out with friends last night?’
        Me: ‘don’t worry he will be home soon. He stayed over by his (guy) friends house because he was too tired to come home and his friend was having car troubles. He loves us don’t worry’

        The stories were always the same. Me alone in the relationship trying to portray a perfect family image to the outside world.

        We all need to actually treat them the way they deserve to be treated, with zero respect. The same zero respect we got when we were chumped over and over again with open hearts. I will never interfere with my kids’ relationship with their father but I can do something about mine with that fuckwit.

        • Sociopaths operate under the veil of civility and politesse. Their weapons are those of the assassin and the coward. The Impression Management they require necessitates that they destroy the target, often their children’s parent, in order to look good and get lots of likes. They also torture targets intentionally to prevent detachment.

          Their cruelty, as so many of us have felt up close, is unfathomable.

          • Exactly Epictis, a charmingly toxic coward whose intention was harm in layered upon layered covert actions aimed to maim. Checking the box for sociopath.

            I truly believe he hates women, knows what their needs are and purposely withholds to keep them from detaching, forever future faking. For SIX years he’s promised marriage to the skank. One of the things he stated after Dday was that he’d never marry her; I’ll dump her too.

          • Yes, how they can screw us over horribly, and then keep trying to hurt us even after the split. It’s like the f’g Terminator.

            • I’m sorry you are going through such grief, DM. Mitz, the film that comes to mind for me is Batman—being stabbed in the kidney, through his Kevlar Batsuit, by a woman who pretends to love him.

              I wonder: if the target detaches healthily, lives to survive, then the Sociopath can not bear that. Refusal on the part of the target to interact speaks tremendous volumes about the nature of the injuries inflicted—the longer NC exits, the more intolerable that becomes for the Sociopath thus increasing the likelihood of vindictiveness and escalating injury: it’s the worst imaginable context described in the Tarot: the 7 of Swords, Betrayal; 8 of Swords, Captivity; 9 of Swords, Cruelty; the 10 of Swords, Ruin. So the Sociopath is set on path of destruction of the target to remove any reminders. And if the target reacts, poof, evidence of the target being crazed or bitter. Weirdly not reacting is the only way for me to survive the increased assaults. Even those triangulated colleagues and friends residing in Switzerland, without hearing from the target, will eventually begin to grasp the degree of maliciousness and injury. It’s awful that the NC necessary for the state of healing actually baits the Sociopath. Also true: the more cunning and clever the sociopath, the more inexplicably cruel and painful the strikes. For me Happiness, peace, is the prize, which I’m hopeful to arrive at someday. Along the way I’m learning lots.

              Those who get it, get it. Those who don’t are blessed.

              • My grieving period has been over for quite some time. I feel blessed in the knowing E. Your insight into the double edge sword of no contact and the example provided describes the need for power and control (centrality) perfectly.

                Not reacting is key as you stated. I focus on gratitude; that’s my prize.

        • Wow ChumpOut we are the same! How many times I said “oh daddy’s just tired, he works so hard”. And to our friends “he wanted to join us but he needs to catch up on things” And to myself I said “he does love me, he’s just a bit grumpy right now and he needs his space”. Well that space was filled with whores and S&M sex clubs. He was always tired from chronic lying and fucking around. He treated me like shit and I just excused it because I thought his life was hard. Fuck that! I was the one with the hard life. He moved me away from my family, I worked, did all the parenting, cooked, cleaned, etc. and hung around for the few scraps of love Bombing that I got now and then. There are no words ????

          • We are definitely in the same story Chumptastic! The isolation from friends and family and consistent disrespect, lying, going out… Oh and mine got his mistress pregnant too. I was overconfident in my relationship, ignoring All the red flags.

            I am sad for myself often because how did I miss it? How did I become this person who was the last to know? But that is the always the case yes?

            Please tell me you are divorced and free? Or like me you’re stuck in lockdown with fuckwit?

            I can’t wait to be free one day, divorced and away from the miserable idiot, who by the way, lays on the couch all day, eats and doesn’t interact with the kids unless they happen to be near the fridge when he’s hungry. The asshole.

            • I’m sorry you’re stuck with the dick. I have the opposite problem. Mine discarded and abandoned me completely. Left me with the house, the mortgage, the bills. He sees my daughter every once in awhile. I’ve just filed for child support and where I live the tax department will take it from him. We’re in the process of separating our assets but he keeps stalling and sends ridiculous letter to my lawyer. He almost never engages, and when he does, he’s abusive. So, a hell in a different way. Sending love

          • Yep same here I got to be the wife appliance because his out of town job was stressful, he had extra work to do, he didn’t like having to mow the lawn on the weekends. Meanwhile I worked full time, did full time parenting, and ran a business. Nope he wasn’t exhausted from work stress more from living a double wife with his married howorker.

  • Im not a “bigger person.” He wants to do family outings! FUCK HIM! That’s why we are getting divorced. I’m not there to make your life easy anymore. I will not smooth out the rough edges and make you look good. FUCK the spackle! You want it to look normal. FUCK YOU AND YOUR HORSE TOO! I had to get ugly and vile to make you start looking for a place to live after filing for a divorce 4 years ago! Cry me a river, you sad sausage! Then you complain about sleeping on the sofa, and how it hurts your back!! Move out!! Take your porn addicted, cheater ass and go! I’m trying to figure out how to tell our children in an age appropriate way why we are getting a divorce. That’s a tricky thing. Divorce isn’t final. Custody agreement isn’t final. Have to watch my every step as DD and DS think Disney Daddy is the best thing EVER!! Can’t wait to see him! Gah!????????????

    • Be prepared for even more Disney Dad crap. I found that worse than the actual cheating; he has brainwashed out kids that mom destroyed our family.

      • Yes I have heard them parroting his go to phrasing. “I know how you are about…” “well you always get… ” I swear I was ready to bitch slap my children into next month I was triggered that hard. I have such deep feelings of dark red rage! They also toss out that Disney Daddy is polite and not demanding, blah blah blah. FUCK ME! YOU ungrateful monsters!! You complain about how others treat you and then act like Disney Daddy to me!!! I can’t even pee without them trying to kill each other some days. Their therapists are expensive but not miracle workers. We are working against Disney Daddy!!

  • Short answer: nope

    Long answer: why put yourself through more bs? You know who he is. There’s no decent human being in that person pretending to be a decent human being.

  • 17 months since I last saw xw. No contact means Peace and perspective.
    I told her “ I know who and what you are. You are not welcome here. Don’t come back here or I’ll have you arrested for trespassing”.

    I’ve not bumped into her accidentally and doubt I’d give her the time of Day if I did.
    I see her now as white trailer trash ????
    I don’t have to be civil with my garbage.

  • Exactly, I have visions of some day telling my kids what their father really put me through and who he really is.

    • When do we tell them? I don’t know when/ what/ how/ etc. it’s all so fresh and things aren’t finalized. I don’t know how much detail to give. How much is really needed? Disney Daddy has great PR and a set sad sausage routine to keep DD and DS in-line.

      • When I left almost 4 years ago my son was 10. My X was particularly devious in that we had “agreed” to have myself and our son move to a bigger community with a really good school for 6 months at a time so that our son could have the educational/social experiences he needs. Turns out XAss had no intention of honoring that agreement in any way. And I only had solid proof that he was having an affair after I left the community to enroll our son in school. XAss decided to tell everyone that I took his son and left him with no warning. I “abandoned him”.

        Son has a very good relationship with his father. But there’s no hiding that XAss had a girlfriend, which he moved into the house, with her daughter, barely 3 months after I left. At the time I told my son that Daddy decided he didn’t love me anymore and instead got a girlfriend. I pretty much left it at that. A year or so later, I told my son, and I’ve reiterated it a few times since, “If you have any questions about why your father and I divorced I’ll be happy to answer them. You just have to ask.”

        He hasn’t asked, but I think his father’s behavior speaks for itself, even though I also know that XAss has told son many lies about my behavior. Kid can see for himself who is doing what with whom and with what kind of integrity. XAss’s cover story will only become harder to hold onto as our son grows into a young man and becomes more aware of the machinations people will play.

        And for extra points, its all written down in an electronic journal with copies of certain emails and social media posts that prove what really happened and what kind of person XAss really is. One day the kid might stumble upon that archive. And I hope that he does.

      • I told my kids the basics, that he cheated. They asked their father, he swore on his life that he never cheated and I was jealous of a simple ‘friendship’ he had with OW. And he wanted to save the family and I refused to go to family counseling. The chose to believe him. I would never have expected that. I gave up trying to convince them of anything now. Hopefully they will see through him in time, but I won’t hold my breath about that happening.

        • I have mixed feelings about this. The whole Stockholm Syndrome or Traumatic Bonding is being used to Disney Daddy’s advantage I believe. He poured on the sad sausage routine when we told them at the therapists office last May. Never expected it. Literally. He was just telling me, in front of their therapist, that I was responsible for anything that happened going forward with our children before they came in for the news. They came in and add instant drama queen. I was dumbfounded and dumbstruck. I sat there and just watched in disbelief. He said it was because “I waited too long to say something.” I was taking a deep breath to gather my courage and prayed for strength. ????‍♀️

  • I guess I’m the odd one out here then but that may be because I’m 10 years post-divorce. I can’t figure it out myself to be honest except to say I guess it is total MEH (all in capitals). He was a drunk asshole, very frequently violent and who drove me into taking out a $350,000 mortgage at the age of 53 to get away from him. And believe me I HATED HIS GUTS! And then slowly, as time moved on, that rage dimmed a little. Very slowly, believe me. What helped I think is that he and the downgrade didn’t last and he moved on to another one. She wasn’t responsible for any of my problems but I do think she’s a prick BTW. He moved back to the States and that really is why I’m a meh because if he were here there’s no way I would have him anywhere near me. That being said, when DS1 got married 3 years ago we were civil (although I insisted we didn’t sit at the same table at the reception). When DS2 got married last year we were more than civil (but again, no sitting at the same table). I think it’s because I know latest gf – while attractive enough – is a basket case too so he’s finally reaping what he sewed. I called his mom last night (she’s 84) and we chatted for an hour and a half and she said she couldn’t believe that I would still call her and she loved me for it. I sent her a book I had a enjoyed (via Amazon) and a jigsaw puzzle because she said she was bored. Then I realized I hadn’t put my name on the packages so sent my ex a message to say if MIL received 2 packages they were from me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I will not have him in my life at all (and distance helps that), I no longer hate him. Rather, I feel sorry for him for just being the sad bastard he is – and for now having to live with latest Schmoopie who is hardly much better.

  • Well, for me, I choose to be friendly-ish when I have to see my XW. We have two kids, 13 and 16. So five years to go until I can truly go NC. I can maintain this until then.

    We’ve been apart since 2012, divorced since 2014. Anger was destroying ME—not her. And it was affecting my kids. They could feel the tension and sense (or not see) my mood when we exchanged them. I made a conscious decision to pretend not to be angry. After a few years the pretense was unnecessary. My anger was truly diminished. Once I was able to interact with my XW on polite terms—and yes, even friendly—a weight was lifted and from my kids as well. They are relaxed and ok when we must interact.

    The anger (and subsequent stress and anxiety) I used to feel when seeing her has been replaced by a vague sadness and even pity for her, since she is clearly unhappy with the choices she made to throw away an enviable family life.

    For me, this was necessary. Again, the anger was eating me alive and affecting everything: relationships, work, fathering. I certainly am not making a recommendation for anyone else. If XW interprets the friendliness as some sort of vindication or validation that what she did was “not so bad” I honestly don’t care. Not my concern any more. I’m past the “what will she think?” stage in my healing and moving on.

    This is how I’m choosing to get through these last years and it works for me. Again, not judging anyone who chooses a different approach. Whatever works for you and most importantly your children.

      • Attie and David,

        I am glad that you are feeling better. Both of you sound very resilient.

        I realize that not all is bad here. However, 2.5 years since my last partner, the one I would have died for, left me to marry his young work subordinate, I still feel angry, sad, lonely (no roommate with whom to share steep rent, no partner), scared (for my family), and poorer than ever. My ex-husband, the abuser/criminal who left before I got together with my last partner (the guy who I mistakenly thought was my friend for 30 years and greatest thing since sliced bread in terms of character), might not pay (vital) child support as the music industry has shut down for the long haul (several months, maybe years), he has no other job, and, in his fifties during the pandemic, he will be hard pressed to earn money in any field. My already very low income has fallen off a cliff. I have happy, productive relationships with some of my clients, but a MAJOR client of mine seems always mad at me although I am doing everything I safely can to help her and her organization, always trying to communicate with her clearly and respectfully. Without this client, I cannot pay for food and shelter for my kids.

        Can you recommend a way to speed up the ‘getting to Meh’ process? I’d like to get there to have more energy to support my family.

        • I can’t recommend how to get to meh. I’m surprised I actually got there too because the hatred I felt for him had to be seen to be believed. Certainly the fact that he moved back to the States and put that distance between us helped enormously. I was never going to bump into him accidentally. He was never going to come up to my house all sad sausage looking for sympathy for his latest screw up. And luckily my kids were older, so I can only say time and distance did it for me. Good luck to you. I know you’re in a very difficult situation.

          • Thanks, Attie. I am glad that some events helped improve your mood.

        • Aw, Rockstarwife, I’m not at Meh. I’m far, far from where I was 2.5 years out, but I am far from where I want and hope and strive to be. I believe I will arrive when coparenting is over and I can move out of state and thus keep all forms of communication to a bare minimum.

          I was only referring to/describing my feelings (specifically anger) as they pertain to current interaction with XW when we see each other at kid exchanges, school functions, etc.

          I don’t think there is a way to speed up the process any more than a way to speed up any grieving process. Time. It took me seven years-seven!—to get to where I am and if someone told me seven years ago (actually many people did;-) that I’d be relatively ok now? I wouldn’t have believed them, and I didn’t. But the human heart is a resilient muscle. Time, time, and more time.

          • I’ve heard it happens more quickly after coparenting ends and NC is in full effect. This what I’ve heard. If this is true, I’m facing many more years of hard time! Perhaps your sentence is shorter!! Good luck ????????????

            • Hi Chickenchump,
              I had kids with my abusive ex-husband, who I didn’t miss, even when he left me (He took me to court to try to get full custody of our kids, so there wasn’t much to miss about being away from a criminal.) I did not have kids with my last partner, who I still miss every day, even though he often emotionally hurt me, and he has not contacted me since he left last time, 2.5 years ago. Why would he? He is in love with the young, brilliant, rich woman (work subordinate) he left me for and married. Part of me still wishes that he would still be friends with me–I thought that he and I had been friends for 30 years before he left.

            • Chickenchump,

              I hope that things quickly improve for you. My kids, now teenagers, are probably older than yours, and my husband left 5.5 years ago. The time has flown! I hope that you won’t be like me–that you will recover much more quickly than I have. I am trying to focus on things other than anger as the anger (over years) is probably not helping me or anyone else.

          • David,
            Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I wish that being completely no contact with my last partner (his choice, not mine) made me feel better. In a way, no contact makes me feel worse, perhaps because (I thought that) we were friends for 30 years before he left the last time. So I miss not only my romantic partner but also my friend of over half my life. I feel especially bad, as though I don’t matter, as my last partner would talk to his ex-wife, who cheated on him with multiple men during their fairly short childless marriage, even considering meeting up with her without me while he and I were a couple. (I wouldn’t have tried to stop him, but I was hurt that he would still consider getting together with her but not with me, although I adored him and always bent over backward to make his life wonderful.) In my case, I feel just plain sadness, too, wishing that I could have been more perfect, like my last partner’s current (second) wife, so that my last partner would have stayed.

            May I ask if you have a partner? Dates? And if you do not, do you like being partnerless? Dateless? I wonder how much having a new (good) partner helps reduce the pain of loss of one’s beloved partner.

            I hope life improves for you (and your kids).

            • RSW,

              I don’t have a partner and I haven’t gone on a date in at least a year. After divorce I went on a sham/pseudo/doomed relationship and dating bender for around five years. Much of it was to drown my sorrow and grief. It didn’t really work. But I now feel more ready than ever to find my next and hopefully final relationship. I feel ready because I no longer am in acute pain or desperation.

              I hope it happens since I dislike being partnerless. I was single until my mid-thirties and I’d had enough. I wanted a wife and family. I’m very lonely. But at the same time I’m ok being alone. But it’s not what I would like. I’m a family man as well as someone who likes being with his partner a great deal of time. I miss living with someone, going to bed with someone…. all of that. Sharing a life.

              Oh, and I did meet two women (in five years, ugh) I really could see myself with. It just didn’t work out. But it was nice to feel that feeling.

              Thank you for your well wishes 🙂

  • Three years ago one son got married. The thought of dealing with his mom had me on a treadmill in a cardiologist’s office. It was not as bad as I had imagined. I did my best to ignore her, paid my half of bills and left without really acknowledging her.
    Now another son’s wedding is coming up in June, well if Covid-19 allows. So far no return trip to cardiologist. She tried to sparkle dance me out of no contact for something to benefit her, but I was not buying it. Pissed her off.
    I think I got this one. Smile for the pictures, put her on ignore.

  • My ex moved back to the same town I’m living in recently and every conversation we have he indicates that “we” can be friends. He states he’s been transparent and he has given me no reason not to trust him. Um, why is that relevant? We are not in a relationship anymore. This is coming from the man who keeps bringing up the fact that I’m “taking” part of his retirement (but says he doesn’t care either way) and he wants to have primary custody of your youngest. I’m cordial with him but at the same time, if the conversation isn’t about the kids, I don’t engage anymore. He is always talking about what he’s going through and he’s been having a bad week, blah blah blah. I’m not your therapist or your girlfriend, go find one and tell them! He still wants a relationship without being married. I went no contact before this for almost a year and it was the best time for me and it bugged the fuck out of him. Having boundaries is very important when co-parenting period.

    • Please continue to work on your boundaries because he talks about far too many irrelevant things with you. Have you clearly told him to stop because you’re neitherhis therapist nor interested in socialusing? Don’t listen. Remember how great NC was.

  • I was so damaged by my parents divorce and hatred for each other I swore I should try and do anything to not let my son feel that. So I protected him from my hatred of his father who had an affair with my friend. I’m glad I shielded him. Because in time I realised that we were not suited as a couple and he wasn’t nearly as mature as he was when he was younger. He got more irresponsible as I got older and more mature. Horrible dynamic that I am glad to be out of! He has however, been 100% reliable with money and reliability and I am so grateful that he has raised a lovely boy.
    I don’t speak the to spiderbitch but we sometimes spend time together as a family and share other stuff, like looking after some songs we have written and other music ventures.
    We went for a nice bike ride the other day the three of us and it felt healthy and good.
    The anger is all gone. I’m glad. But I had my fair share of black anger and self-recrimination.

      • Hi Persephone
        Was that a reply to me? I’m new here, not really sure how the threads work.
        I believe in my case I was able to salvage some kind of relationship with my son’s father, for all our sakes. Yes he treated me really badly, but I chose him to be my partner knowing full well what a child he was. I’ve got big problems with the kind of idiots I choose to share my life with. I don’t see why my son has to be dragged into it, if it can be helped. We all benefit with good communication, we share a child, and creative projects. My son knows exactly what happened and he can make his own mind up. I didn’t tell him much at the time, he was 7, but he’s got the main story and rightly does not like what his father and stepmom did to us, yet at the same time he loves his Dad. We have all learned to live with very complex feelings. We have done our best, and we are mentally well. That is my story.

        • I think your ex sounds closer to a decent human being than many of ours here! My ex is so far from even wanting to do anything with us as a family… my daughter wanted a dog and he said no because he wouldn’t allow the idea of a dog going back and forth. He won’t allow my daughter to take anything from his apartment back home to me. He won’t even participate in FaceTime calls during Covid. He simply hates me for his 23 years of cheating and likes to sit and blame me. For some of us, what you’re describing is never going to happen and it has nothing to do with our own anger but the fact that they are fuckwits and prefer the game of torture over being a good parent. sorry your ex was an ass to you but he sounds a far cry from some of these cheaters!

          • Thank you for your reply Chumptastic. As exes go, he’s pretty damn good. Even if he chumped me and broke my heart and self esteem, I’ve rebuilt and had a decent life. I’m here at CN because of the 2 year relationship I’ve just come out of with a real narcissistic self pitying liar who has put me off men for life.
            Either I have to completely change or be single. They’re too dangerous for me, I’ve got too much to lose.
            Luckily with this one I blocked and will not have anything to do with him, which I’ve surprised myself with! 3 months no contact and he seems like a distant ghost who put me under a spell and made me lose myself…..
            Great to be here.

          • To add, yes I feel for you and remember the torture from the early days. The blame shifting, the being thrown away like trash by a starry eyed idiot who I barely recognised, the smiley face texts in reply to my terror. Awful acts by someone who was so in love he could throw his family away in a heart beat.
            I had so much anger in those days I was self harming. So much therapy later and I’m nearly there. Everyone (and they) know they are shit bags. I just am over it, and am lucky enough to be in a place where we can be together as a family now and again, and have a WhatsApp group. Tiny things really.
            I hope there is more peace on its way for all of us.

            • Yes those small things mean a lot! It sounds like you’ve had a hellish journey. Don’t give up! Big hugs ????

              • Thanks again Chumptastic
                It’s been 3 months since the last break up and I’m beginning to be able to see things a lot clearer. I’m quite horrified about how much character assassination and undermining I tolerated, and worse, believed. It seems I really am too vulnerable and unable to walk away when someone shows their true colours. I am sure I have hit rock bottom though, and the only way is up. I get addicted to relationship highs very quickly, it’s my big downfall, even when my life is very happy and satisfying on my own. I think this last one was some sort of trauma cycle, where he lifted my up and dashed me down. My friends hated him, and in turn I resented them! I know it’s textbook stuff, I cannot believe I went through it, I think I just have too much faith in my powers to make a miserable man happy and fix his broken soul. I suppose in the honeymoon period, this is the illusion. Then one keeps looking to get back there when it is over…….
                Hugs to you too.

  • Sometimes the “bigger person” is the one who doesn’t enable these hollow people to feel like they are normal. It’s one thing to refuse to speak to Bubba in the mail room because he snaps his gum. Superficial pleasantries make it possible for us to work with people who annoy us. But I’d say there is no reason for “superficial” pleasantries with someone you were once intimate with, as in having children and living as a family. I think we get to decide to have nothing to say to them beyond the necessity of conducting business. It wouldn’t be “bitter” or impolite to have nothing to say to the person who breaks into your house or someone who physically assaults you or to a serial killer, right?

  • I am sure you are at “meh” but that doesn’t mean you are not repulsed by your ex. Most of us hate pleasantries with someone we are repulsed by and want to avoid them at all costs. This doesn’t mean they take up any room in your head when not around, it just means you have no use for this person. Think of someone you were not romantically involved, wasn’t a friend or family member and you flat out couldn’t stand to be in this person’s orbit. It happens. This person could be a friend or acquaintance of an acquaintance or friend of yours. So they have absolutely no impact on your life other than you being annoyed when they are present. We tend to give one word answers (begrudgingly), do not make eye contact and avoid being in the same space with these people. At times we feel guilty about how we feel due to the fact that maybe this person never did anything against you. So I wouldn’t worry and you should not feel guilty about not making nice with your ex. Your feelings are completely normal and in this case completely justified.

  • My ex and his current wife are adamant that we all be friends. It’s so annoying. I don’t want to be their friends. What is up with this??

    • Impression management. If you are “friends” with them, why then, what they did can’t have been that bad, huh? And its so much easier to manipulate you when you are being “friendly”.

    • Combination of validation and image management. If you are all friends, then surely cheater isn’t the low life that he is. You’d be validating his lies that gosh maybe your marriage really was on the rocks and he isn’t just a low life but a poor man who had no choice but to seek comfort elsewhere. It’s an old tired story and yet people buy this bs all the time. They literally want you to validate that. I say “Just say NO”

    • Not uncommon for married couples, that were former affair partners, to try and get friendly with the chump. Several reasons, one or both of them now realize the magnitude of what they did and are pathetically trying to make amends. This could be fear from karma (or law of the universe) and if they make nice, they’ll escape karma’s wrath. Good luck with that one. The most common, image management. Again, when in the throes of the affair they didn’t care about anyone else or anyone’s opinion. Now reality has hit and they do care. There is also the depraved reason. To be able to rub the relationship in your face and if you are no contact that makes it difficult. Whatever their reason, keep your distance from these people.

    • In addition to image management, it allows triangulation. They miss the fun of deceiving and humiliating you and want to throw their twu wuv in your face. Triangulation gave their affair a sick kind of excitement and now they’re bored without it. They need you around to spice up their sex life. Plus X wants Schmoops to do a pick me dance. He’ll do his best to make her feel insecure about you if you’re around.
      It’s a game these sickos play.

    • ..Plus, it lets them create the idea that they are nice friendly people while the chump is an angry evil one. Oh there must be something wrong with the chump. Yup, still impression management :/.

  • As for me, I refuse to normalize his abuse of me. We get this about other kinds of abuse and crimes–but for some reason the world does not see infidelity as abuse. Why? I think partly because as a society we have all colluded with normalizing this abusive behavior by doing things like exchanging pleasantries and sitting together at meals and laughing at their jokes at social gatherings. Why would the culture castigate people who the victims do not identify as their perpetrators. What I suffered at his hands was years of sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse that endangered my life at every level. I say it out loud wto whomever has the nerve to try to shame me into “making nice” with him: He was an abusive, cruel, liar and Iwill have nothing to do with him. To my therapist: “Having nothing to do with him does not mean I’m not over him–it means I recognize evil when I see it. To my daughter: “No I will not invite the man who lied, cheated, and stole from me to the graduation party I am throwing for you. He can celebrate with you separately on his own time and his own dime. ” To my other daughter: “No I will not pose with the man and woman who lied, betrayed, and endangered my sexual health and very life.” To various and sundry family, friends, and on-lookers throughout the years: ” I will not ‘just say hi’ to someone who abused me for years. Victims of rapes and muggings are not obligated to comfort their attackers.” I will not perpetuate the social lie that infidelity and its concomitant emotional, psychological, sexual, and financial abuse are okay and justifiable because he had tingles in his nether parts. Period. End of. If we want to change the narrative around infidelity, a good start would be to stop minimizing it to others ourselves. To call out the vicious destructive behavior as actually vicious and destructive. Early and often.

  • I have asked her again this morning if she has found a place to live yet. Currently, she stays with her AP each night, comes to my house in the morning to shower and change, goes out again until late afternoon, returns and packs and sorts her things, then back over to Schmoopie’s. She says she’s trying but what’s the rush. I say I need to go 100% no contact. She says, “but I thought we were going to stay friends.” I reply, you have broken every bond of friendship imaginable and I don’t care that we’ve been together 20 years. For me that is all the dead and forgettable past.

    Too harsh? I continue to be civil and polite, but for f**k sake I need to take care of myself.

    • DoubleChumped,
      Just remember, you don’t need to be civil and polite. That is not necessarily the high road. If it’s your choice, great! But if not, you can be cold and impolite. Maybe she will move out quicker!

    • But I thought we’ll be friends is just fuckwit speak for I like my cake. You are being triangulated and her coming “home” to shower and change makes schmoopie dance hard lest she decide to stay with you after all.

      Step out of this madness. Call an attorney, find out what you need to do legally to get her out of your house. Take those steps and do it. The sooner, the better.

    • Help her pack her clothes! I recommend Hefty garbage bags! I usually have the thick black ones on hand in the garage. Don’t even need to be a nice packing job. Just take them out of the drawer and dumped into the garbage bags. Repeat for the closet unless you want the hangers. Place outside for easy access to load into her vehicle tomorrow.

    • She’s staying with the AP, but coming home to shower and change? FTS! Nip that crap in the bud right now!

      Document her behavior. Document where’s she’s been spending her nights. Especially now where its not just a change of sleeping quarters, but an active threat to the health and safety of you and your children.

      Contact your attorney and get her out of your space now.

    • NO NO NO. She is risking your life and do you have children involved here?!!

      Coronavirus threat is serious, real, and potentially deadly. She can stay with him and get her stuff later.

      We have been sheltered in place since March 17.
      Our visitation agreement has been suspended until
      the order is lifted. The pediatrician sent a letter backing it up. I have a friend at home with symptoms; another friend’s father in Spain died a week ago.

      GET HER OUT. Keep your space SAFE!

      Let he gamble with her own life.

  • This Physicsgal!
    He taught me to view his every ask/action thru the lens of “how does this benefit him or what’s in it for him”.
    The Shitstain (he wiped his ass with white washcloths at hotels and thought it was funny) started bargaining for things outside of our divorce decree & set parenting plan 5 months after it was final… Get rid of parenting app (too complicated for him) in exchange for him paying all of my daughters bill for braces instead of half. As long as I got some thing that benefited me equally or more, I went along with it. He also started paying for all of her tennis because I flat out could not afford it even though I was ordered to pay half. Court order didn’t say how much tennis she had to play. All of these bargains lead up to his big “you owe me one” just before Christmas. Court order gave him every other weekend and one day a week, he was asking for split weekends to make it easier for him with his job as a firefighter and not having to find people to work for him. Sucky schedule? Not my problem! Consequence for his cheating? 100% I did not budge.
    I am torn between pleasantries though. My 14-year-old made a comment last year when her dad and I struck a deal to travel from Illinois to Michigan for a big tennis tournament. I offered to drive, and he was going to pay for gas, meals, and we’d split the cost of the Airbnb. I laid out the boundaries for him, including he and our daughter not engage in anything vulgar or socially unacceptable as he had done with her in previous years, and for the most part everything was fine. Once we got home my daughter said “I’m glad you and Dad are able to be civil to each other, it makes me feel less anxious when he’s around. Deep down I feel like he doesn’t deserve pleasantries or civility because I didn’t get that the last 8 yrs of our 15 year marriage. Lately she has started to see him for who he really is, and has caught him in a couple lies. She hasn’t seen him since March 15 due to the COVID-19, except for FaceTime. Daughter has told him she can’t stand the OW bc they’re dysfunctional/on again off again & doesn’t want to be around her…so the distance works out for both of us.
    Thing is, I realized I wasn’t at peace with myself for allowing him to negotiate, “deals,” so I’ve put an end to being agreeable. #StayingVigilantToMyNeeds

    • Ah yes, hello fellow firehouse widow! They are cruel crude bunch. They are beasts even to each other with a collective mentality of preteen 12 year old boys. They just can afford more expensive toys that break with more vigorous enthusiasm! I speak from experience here. They switch from one shiny sparkly trend to another. Like a herd of feral raccoons in search of a never ending supply of disco balls. Then they come home complaining like a bunch of sad sausages. ????????????. Sometimes if you’re lucky they swap expensive toys among themselves. I’ve seen it happen. Of course there’s always cash ???? in addition to the toy exchanged. It’s always about getting leverage and status too! It’s Deal-O-Rama!

  • I’m firmly in the “nope, you don’t need to be ‘friends’ ever” camp. You don’t even need to be acquaintances. She goes into the same bucket as that person I knew in junior high school who made fun of my friend’s asthma.

  • Early on, my Ex complained that I was sending emails without even an opening or closing, just terse business info.

    So I started putting ‘Hi,’ at the beginning of emails, and ‘bye’ at the end, with the terse business stuff in the middle.

    I could practically see his blood pressure rising w/each one he read. Kinda fun.

  • Some time in the early days after he left for good to be with the OW, I came to a conclusion that he doesn’t get to have any piece of me again. He left me after I supported him through three years full-time studies for a university degree when he was already 40 (What man gets another chance to renew himself in his life like that?). No way was he going to benefit from me at my expense any more. It was a few months after he left that I discovered ChumpLady and decided on my user name “Option No More” that came from the Maya Angelou quote: “Never make someone a priority who only treats you like an option.”

    My contact with him is as minimal as possible without it being hostile. It’s about the business of raising the children. It’s nothing personal. I define it as being “civil”. Drop offs and pick ups are about the kids. I make myself busy with their bags, remind them to hug their dad goodbye and move on. Sometimes, there might be a hello or goodbye, but I get the kids to buffer all of that as much as possible. Sometimes, there is a question that needs to be addressed. Otherwise, there is no conversation about anything. I don’t owe him a thing.At the kids activities, we might sit close to one another, but I don’t engage a conversation. Otherwise, there is no conversation about anything. I don’t owe him a thing.

    However, I won’t be rude and I don’t wish ill on him. Because I’m still in good relationship with all his family members, I always know what’s up with them (better than he does), but if I weren’t I would inquire about his family’s health. If he lost a friend, I would give him my condolences. If he got hurt or sick, would wish him good health and ask how I can help with the kids. And if he ever does something extra for me (which has happened once or twice for changes to schedule), I always make sure to give a very verbal “thank you” (more to make a point because he rarely ever thanks me and I’m often accommodating his work schedule).

    I don’t owe him anything, including our effort one way or the other. And, typically, if we keep things “civil,” the kids don’t seem to notice anything amiss. All is well in their world.

    This is not being hostile…it’s called having boundaries.

  • In addition to all the many great comments above, I’d like to add that being overly friendly or familiar or whatever with an ex can create an entirely different set of problems with kids. Kids, for the most part, want their parents to stay together. Many harbor fantasies that their parents will get back together…for, like, years. Some are incredibly devastated when they come to realize that this will not happen. So, they were devastated once by the divorce, then again at that realization.

    I think being overly chummy, and still acting like a family in some cases, is a bad idea. It sends the wrong subliminal message to your kids. That’s not to say you should trash talk the other parent or ignore them, but I think you’re better off being distanced and formal then chummy. It’s best to completely eliminate the possibility from your kids minds that there may be a reconciliation.

    • Agreed I have told my kids I will never be friends with their father again! Have your own relationship with him but….. I never will.

  • Well, I have the exact opposite situation. The xh refuses to acknowledge me. He looks right through me. It’s been years now since our divorce after I caught on that our entire 31 year marriage was a fuckfest for him on the side. It really hurt initially when he wouldn’t acknowledge me, as the mother of his children or our long history.
    It may sound like the perfect solution, but it comes with it’s own mindfuck.
    Not sure what he would do if we had to be in the same room for a wedding or any occasion.

    • Lynn, 8 months after Dday I was at a funeral and afterwards there was a gathering of friends and family. He sat right down as if nothing happened. As I was leaving he approached me and did a close hug as I stiffened with arms to my side. At that time he’d avoided court twice and a court order followed. It was a display for the audience period. The actor, the illusionists well practiced con. Always.

      He can’t look you in the eye. And what’s more important is what you do, ignore him as if he’s a stranger. He doesn’t respect you and never did.

  • My ex and I always end up at the same place (he with his Schmoopie and me Schmoopie-less). I don’t acknowledge his existence. He actually said to me that I should be cordial because it makes our friends “uncomfortable”. He also held some of my business equipment hostage and one of the demands was I be nice to them in public. I responded by applying for a warrant for his arrest for stolen equipment. It really is amazing how quickly people can react when threatened with the law. So my answer to you is nope. You don’t have to be nice. I sure as hell ain’t. And I never will be.

  • Haha, I think it’s awesome that you coolly put him at the end of your row…and poor baby didn’t like being the one looking in (this time). Keep doing what you’re doing.

  • CL has referred to others often having much different feelings about physical abuse. I see the same idea applying here. Would others be encouraging us to be pleasant to our ex if he had physically abused us &/or our kids for the sake of the kids? If only others could see cheating as the abuse that it is. Maybe some day.

  • I look at everything in the sense of energy expended. A kids event, it causes me heart palpitations just to see my first Cheater across the room with OWWife. So I know if I went to say hi and chat would be overload for me. Taking to my pastor who covered for my 2nd cheater, I say hi if he does but move on by. It takes too much energy to ENGAGE with people who don’t have sense. I dony have to make a wide arc( more energy) or glare at their necks( again too much coming from me)but thr MEH and boundaries Go for anyone i cannot spend my life forces on. Meh on you and on you and on you. But yayee to all that affirm and fill my batteries. You i need to restore my soul with.

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