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My Ex-Wife Wants Me to Go to Therapy with Her

NoDear Chump Lady,

My ex-wife (20-year marriage) went to my therapist. (Chump that I am, I recommended that the cheating ex-wife use my therapist to save money because she knew the story.) Now she wants me to go to a meeting with her this coming Monday the 14th!

Therapist called, told me it was about finding out about what went wrong, and to learn and build from there.

I read a lot on CL — I feel like I’ve fallen into a trap!

History: Dated 5 years; married 20 years, two children 19 and 15 awesome girls, (they know). I’ve been divorced now 8 months. I asked her to stop talking/texting/Facebooking with Hector and she said no. I said goodbye!

My wife’s mother was ill for 2 years and passed away. I gave 110% (maybe an underestimate as I’m a chump) following her death. A few months later my wife is lying, gaslighting. I thought I was going CRAZY. I enlisted a therapist several months later and put it all together. My ex (a first-grade teacher) was cheating with a co-worker for at least two years. (It might be longer.)

I lost 35 lbs. For two years, I slept maybe 3 to 4 hours a night. I’ve kept my job so far (not sure how)?

Divorced, she got half, kids are in the middle (I don’t say anything bad). She calls occasionally, as if nothing has changed….this KILLS ME! Like she did nothing wrong.

So on Monday, how do I handle confrontation with my cheater?

I sacrificed for her mother and she choose to spend that time with Hector? I asked her how she was on a regular basis, and she chose to share her emotions with Hector? I asked her to go out for fun vacations and she turned me down to be with Hector.

Do I dare ask her about this? I’m pissed!

What would you do?


Dear Chris,

What would I do? Hmmm. In how many languages can you say “No fucking way”?

Dear God man, un-chump yourself! Say NO. And while you’re at it, dump the therapist. Why on earth would you go to therapy with your cheating ex? That’s like going to remedial driving school with the drunk driver who hit you. You’re not the bozo who plowed into a semi. You’re the chump who went splat.

She and the therapist want you to help them figure out what went wrong?

Fucking Hector for two years is what went wrong.

I sacrificed for her mother and she choose to spend that time with Hector? 


I asked her how she was on a regular basis, and she chose to share her emotions with Hector?


I asked her to go out for fun vacations and she turned me down to be with Hector.


I think these actions clearly demonstrate why you are divorced. I have a pretty good handle on it in three sentences and I don’t even have a masters in social work! (Your therapist and ex might be slower learners. Not your problem.)

The only reason to go to that idiotic “confrontation” is so your ex (and probably the shrink) can get you to own what you did to make her cheat. Then you’ll have the same “understanding” and Can Be Friends For The Kids.

Fuck that shit.

Maybe you should explain the dissolution of your marriage to your ex in first grade teacher language she can understand?

  1. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  2. Clean up your messes.
  3. Use your words, not your genitals.

Failing that, maybe some arts and crafts? A Hector paint-by-number? An adultery diorama? A puppet show?

Anyway, Chris, her understanding of the divorce isn’t your responsibility. Here are your obligations — abide by the court order for another three years. Pay child support (if it’s ordered), maintain the custody schedule, communicate with the ex by email or scheduling software. You only have one minor child who is 15. Heck, the schedule is probably up to her.

Here are things you are NOT obliged to do — a) pick up the phone and let her make friendly chit-chat with you. b) Go to therapy with her. c) Let her think you’re friends.

Does that make you churlish, bitter, scorned?

No. That makes you a man who is moving on with his life.

If you’re keen on therapy, go find a new shrink to teach you boundaries and the beauty of NO. No, I don’t have to accommodate you. No, I don’t have to soothe your discomfort. No, I’m busy then. NO.

Call the shrink and cancel.

This one ran before. Travel day….

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  • “Use your words, not your genitals.”

    Brilliant as always CL. The fact that they can’t use their words proves that they are children in adult bodies.

    • Everything about affair behavior is childish. Toddler meltdown meets teenage tru luv. It’s hard to accept that the man I married is exactly this.

      • I wish I had CLs words back in the day. She pretty much nails it all.

        I do remember thinking he is acting like a crazed teenager who just discovered sex, and is defying mom. (me)

        He even attempted to tell me about their “first time” I said, “I am your wife, not your mother” What I should have said is “I am your wife not your mother, you sadistic bastard” But, I was so stunned. The look I gave him, shut him up.

        • Susie, I know from reading your posts you got remarried and evidently your current husband does not treat you like you’re his mother. That’s so encouraging to me, because I very much felt like I was being treated like that in the end by both husbands.
          This was not in the sense of wanting me to mother them in terms of doing things for them, it was in the sense of the intimate connection and seemingly completely forgetting my title of lover, partner and wife.
          My 2nd H actually shared with me in quite an emotional way that he was afraid the OW wouldn’t leave her husband and that he might not get to be with her. ???? Unfortunately, anger not what I felt in that moment. Shock, confusion, heartache and an awareness that he was off the deep end flooded me.
          Both husbands had mothers who ruled the roost. They were both the only boy in the family and they were revered. They both seemed like great guys.
          I don’t know if it’s the men I’m picking, or if I’m contributing to this phenomena.
          I’m so glad to hear that you didn’t change but nevertheless ended up happily remarried.

          • It was a weird feeling for me. He was and is a controller. I honestly never felt like his mother, as we seemed to have a good sex life, and he was definately the more aggressive one in the relationship.

            But, when that happened, it truly was a feeling that he was confessing to his mother.

            Yes, my relationship with my now H is very good. He is older than me, but only in years as we do have a lot in common. But, we spent several years getting to know each other. Also, we talked in a lot of detail about what we expected in marriage, even down to finances.

            There are never any guarantees, but I would say if you do meet someone, just take the time to get to know them really well.

            My ex’s dad was an alcoholic, and I mean alcoholic in the real sense, not in the sense that he just drank too much. He pretty much destroy the family financially and emotionally.

            I don’t know what all went on in that house, but I have wondered how much it contributed to his issues. I do know that his sister attempted suicide once, and at another time she was going through a break down and cut her eyelashes off. It was weird.

            She told me once that her mother used to wake her up in the middle of the night and hold her when her dad was raging drunk, I guess as a protection.

            I also know that my ex when he was 16 (before we met) fathered a baby with his girl friend who gave it up for adoption.

            I didn’t know any of this stuff until after we were married.

            So yeah, I think it is fair to say he had issues. Doesn’t excuse his behavior, but what a mess. I am surprised our marriage lasted as long as it did. I guess spackling can keep the walls standing for quite a while.

          • Hey Zip, it’s not you. My cheater was the same, Mom who wore the pants in the family, spoilt him rotten and controlled his emotional life to the point that when we had a huge fight On the early days and I left the house his MOTHER called me to try to sort it. I should have run like the wind after that red flag. His mother was his way of modulating his emotional life and the prop to his self esteem. I didn’t realise it when we got together that it was my job to blow smoke up his ass 24/7 and tell him that the big bad world didn’t understand his sensitive genius and if that failed to happen (mom didn’t pass on the owners manual, because who would give away an advantage like that, eh?) and he had bad feelings then that must be my fault. These men children experience emotion by filtering it through their romantic partners or moms and the woman who can be bothered taking charge of this can basically control them like a robot. When my kibbles lost their novelty and I didn’t realise what I had on my hands and unreasonably expected him to not just be a self-maintaining entity but step up in the wake of our child, well I took my hands off the wheel I didn’t know o was steering and suddenly I was literally as you guys say, the bad mommy with no time for the adult son who he’s rebelling against and looking for a replacement who will handle his regard for himself in a positive light again, because heaven forbid I be too busy with a newborn to tell him he’s a genius. Sorry for the rant but this kind of cheater makes my blood boil. They treat you like the mom replacement and then expect you to understand when their in lurve because you’re a grown woman who thought they had an equal partner not a child who needs msnaging or will be influenced by unsuitable friends. They have no agency.

              • Thank you Stig and Susie for replying. I’m quite certain his mother was involved in the break up of his first marriage – that should’ve been a red flag. When he met me, she told him he had a finally met somebody good enough for him, but when he dumped me I never heard from her. He never received fewer than 5 compliments every time we were around his family. I agree, no sense of self, just goes along with the woman in his life… until a new one shows up and then he goes along with her.

              • Stig– “took my hands off the wheel” (as one tends to with a newborn). Bingo! Thank you for putting that into words.

                Zip– Ah, so we failed to fill the shoes of their repulsive mommy figures. Congrats to us. Don’t take it personally if he at times forgot you were nothing like his mum.

                Cheater’s affair was precipitated by a falling out between himself and his mommy dearest so I relate completely to what you write. His mother is a “vulnerable” (read: lots of manipulative crocodile tears) narcissist with a vicious streak who raised her son with a control panel on his back.

                The creation of a “control panel” on that level is basically emotional incest. I think the practice is passed down from generation to generation in families and probably originated with actual incest somewhere in the family line. The covert/emotional form is a type of “echo.”

                I likened the affair to the “activation” of a “Manchurian candidate.” His alienation from mommy left a vacuum that apparently had to be filled. It’s like he felt existentially anxious without those sticky fingers pressing the proper sequences on his control panel.

                Plus his mother hated me from day one no logical reason, probably originally because I was simply on her turf and later because she couldn’t get a rise out of me. I saw what she was (sadistic, controlling, possessive, warped and not too bright) and gray rocked her as the kindest response I could muster– unforgivable offense apparently. So there was a sense that the affair was a matter of cheater “following orders” and groveling for amnesty from all-powerful monster mom: “See, Mommy, I’m punishing the wicked usurper who dared take your place. Will you love me again now, Mommy?”

                I take genuine pride in the fact that I didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t fill the mommy void. It was a narcy-scheming-social-climbing-backbiting-manipulative-twat-with-major-daddy-issues-shaped void.

                It becomes more clear in retrospect that, in originally choosing me, cheater had at least been attempting to defy his programming. I’m the opposite of his mother in every meaningful way. The one single overlap is that cheater had my attention for a time (hard to ignore someone always in crisis) but that attention was qualitatively different than what his mama provided. His affair was a type of return. The affair partner’s exploitative behavior, deceptive demeanor, lack of empathy and covert (but obvious) tactics made her a virtual replica of mommy dearest.

                From a distance I have sympathy for women like this. I understand that most are products of familial and political forces and reflections of their unfortunate environments. But that sympathy has to be from a HUGE distance. I can read about them in clinical studies or Dickens’ novels but I don’t consent to having anyone like this in my personal sphere. My first “red flag” about cheater was the day I met his mother. I should have walked away then merely because he didn’t warn me sufficiently about or react strongly enough to her ugly behavior.


        • They are gross and clueless! The X was telling me things about the neighbor’s body, and I was too shocked to know what to do. Wish I had walked straight out, and gone for a long weekend! At least you shut him up!
          Of course, later he denied that this ever happened. He had to promote his ‘ I’m a good guy’ fairy tale.

          • FreeWoman, I didn’t shut him up, I gave him a hug because I thought he was having a breakdown. Nobody teaches you these things ahead of the fact! I wish I had kicked him out on the spot. And yes, I think they literally do not realize after the fact that what they said actually was said. I wonder if the male chumps feel like they got turned into fathers ?

            • Zip,

              No, as a male chump, I didn’t feel I was turned into a father for the FW XW (ok, maybe sometimes, but not regularly). No, I was constantly held up to see how I compared to the FW XW’s father. And I always came up short in her view. I’m not your usual guy (big introvert, I don’t enjoy working around the house, I like art, I’m sensitive, didn’t/don’t mind taking care of the kids, but I’m as heterosexual as they come!).

              I’m just not her fucking father. So now, she’s living w/her former boss and AP, who’s 15 years older and much richer than me. Great. She’s finally got someone closer to her daddy figure/sugar daddy. Now they can both fuck off & die. I’m moving on. Eventually, I hope, to some woman who doesn’t expect me to be a clone of her father. And that doesn’t just give up on us when I/we hit a rough patch in our relationship.

              Here’s to better days for all of us. Warp speed, please.

              • thelongrun, you will have no problem finding somebody better when you’re ready. I doubt they’ll make it that long, but when she’s 60 he’ll be 75 ????. I don’t enjoy gardening so I don’t have one. Not everything has to happen anyway. Fuckwits get off on judging us. I’m trying to use my discard as an opportunity to really learn to love and accept myself the way I am.

          • I don’t know if they forget or lie.

            My ex told me so many versions of things he said. First, he never loved me and cheated throughout our entire marriage. Then later when hw wanted to come back, oh I only said that to make you hate me.

            Who know. Luckily it doesn’t matter anymore. But, of course the pain can always resurface. Like in my case when he detonates another bomb and hurts my son. Some will become better people, others will remain the same selfish bastard they always were. Unfortunately I think most of them will fall into the latter.

            • Yep…got that too. I realized I never loved you. Regretted marrying. I have felt no attraction to you in years. Had to force myself to be intimate with you. We never had anything in common. You’re not even someone I would be friends with normally.

              Then, you are an amazing person. You have been so patient and understanding with me. I am making the biggest mistake of my life if I leave you. I know we have a good life that is worth saving. I want to put all my efforts into loving you and doing this the right way. Of course, I feel love for you. I just think I am having an identity crisis.

              Now, over 2.5 years since he left to be with the OW, his claim is that he “just wasn’t well at the end”. The implication being that now that he’s gotten away from me and our toxic marriage, he is finally his real self. Well, the only thing that’s finally clear is that he’s an immature, coward. That’s it. That simple. That was all there was to work with.

              • OptionNoMore, he’s cruel. I had to listen to similar things from my 1st H who had developed big-time MH issues. It was awful and scarring, I feel for you. Even his overbearing mother told me he was unhappy with me because he wasn’t happy with himself. I remember hearing that we shouldn’t have gotten married and I said ‘it’s not like I put a gun to your head.’
                Then a lot of years single. 2nd H pursued me, he was wonderful, very loving, giving and always complimented me – until he discarded me for surprise OW. Once again, I had to hear that we shouldn’t have gotten married ….it was HIS idea, and we had been together for a few years. I was nervous about getting married a second time. Cheaters are so full of shit and it makes good honest people think there’s something wrong with them.

          • I think it’s a combination of entitlement, egocentricity and sometimes they don’t realise they are thinking out loud. A kind of my wife is an extension of myself anyway and everyone wants to be privy to my magnificent thoughts.

      • “Fuck that shit.” Chump Lady’s words and now my mantra. These are some powerful words, embrace them. Cheater hovers, FTS! Cheater lies on the stand, FTS! Your mother wants you to claim your part in his affairs, FTS!

        You don’t have to tolerate any of this shit. I do so hope that Chris went on to say “Fuck that shit and live happily after!

        • Too awesome. Just finished reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.” That’s the sequel in life to the mantra of “Fuck That Shit.”

  • Youch, what a terrible therapist to have even asked that! I hope Chris is healed and has moved on from the ex and the therapist.

  • Wow….. dump them both. Just the ethics alone for the therapist makes me sick report her. The boundary violation alone she let happen even though you referred your X to the practice . Any professional would have/should have told you no and refused the X .

    • I said the same. Therapist needs to be reported.

      I hear some terrible therapist stories on this site, which astounds me, I’ve always had at the very least, professional and ethical encounters. My therapist leading up to and during separation was fantastic!

      Never tolerate a poor therapist.

      • Psychology is about the level of witch doctors.
        There’s no science there at all, no studies to validate approaches nothing for most of them. Cognitive behavior therapy and didactic behavior therapy are the only approaches that have a scientific basis.

        If you get in with someone who believes Freud or Jung, run for the hills.

        • kellyp, If you haven’t read it yet, you might check out Frederick Crewes’ book FOLLIES OF THE WISE. Psychology is in its infancy (along with psychiatry), but it’s hard to imagine it ever achieving the therapeutic respect and effectiveness that general medicine has if Freud and Jung are still taught to future professionals in the field (other than in a a warts-and-all History of Psychology course/context). But it’s an important field, and there are many good, scientific minds devoted to helping it evolve. It’s disturbing to read here at CN just how many warts are still out there practicing, in and out of the RIC marital-industrial complex.

      • Well, I thought the last RIC therapist was ethical until I called for tax information. (We had to fill jointly and separately to see which was better through the CPA. Not my idea of another hole to waste $$ but I was outvoted by all the men in the room. Another Long story of why he sucks and so does my lawyer.) Anyway, therapist THEN disclosed that he had a private session with therapist before we started MC!! EXCUSE ME! Exactly when were you going to tell me this? Apparently never! When was my personal appointment with you? Apparently never!

        I have been recommended to this therapist as a new therapist since I was looking for someone else to replace my current therapist. NO! HELL NO! I’m looking at the other names from this person and going hmmmm. I’m not sure if I trust you with any of these other people now either. Perhaps I’ll view as people to stay away from.

        • That’s horrible!
          Mine was bad but at least she said that since she started seeing us as a couple, she is unable to see either of us alone, without disclosing it to the other person.

          • Well this was his idea and it was RIC/MC #4. It just felt off before we even went into the room. My gut was telling me something was wrong. So I looked therapist in the eye and gave them a visit limit. I’ll come to ZYX amount of visits. IF I don’t see anything, I won’t be back. I wasn’t back.
            He went for the further free visits instead of having therapist refund the payment I made. Another red flag with continued begging of don’t you want to go along? NOPE! I just want a divorce.

  • Hell to the no! It’s not your obligation to fix her shittiness! Sorry for the language, I am passionate about boundaries.

    I did lose it when CL said “Use your words, not your genitals”. ????

  • Cheaters will do anything to keep their centrality in a chump’s life. Bonus points if they can do some blame shifting and self pity. It’s not enough that they destroyed the marriage, our dreams, and our self esteem already? Why won’t they just go away?

    • Yes, you would just end up getting beaten again. She wants to justify her abuse at your expense. There’s no end to her entitlement and righteousness.

    • Your correct Magically Chumplicious.

      I went through something similar to Chris. I was lied to on a daily basis. I worked hard, paid bills, looked after the children, tried to love my wife only to be scorned and humiliated. She carried on with her affair without even trying to hide it.

      Like the weak, gullible and naive man I was, I tolerated it. When I finally developed the backbone necessary to divorce her, she flipped.
      I had a full time job trying to keep her out of my life. She even attempted to cheat on her lover with me, her ex husband, after not being intimate with me for 12 months.

      I divorced her anyway. What gives with these cheaters?

  • ‘Use your words, not your genitals.’ ????????????????CL you are hysterical!
    It’s so hard for many of us chumps to simplify this shit. I know I have analysis paralysis. Thank you.

  • She cheated, end of story. Is the therapist going to put a pink around it to make the cheating look better.

  • “Use your words, not your genitals”ROTFL. What a gem from the CL.

    Chris, I certainly hope that you have moved on from these two idiots. [NO] is an appropriate answer to this question. No other words or explanations are necessary just NO!!! FFS. NO. An update would be wonderful. Are you free of your FW?

  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if cheaters put as much effort into the marriage as they do into working to impose their narrative on everyone after it’s over? This cheater really takes the cake, using the chump’s own therapist against him in order to confer the stamp of official approval on her “we both had faults” narrative.

  • When one person leaves the marriage emotionally and physically they have broken the marriage. You owe nothing to your ex and you certainly don’t need to pay good money to your soon to be ex-therapist. It sounds like you have some codependency so you need to find a therapist that will help you learn good coping skills and then turn you loose.
    Maybe your wife is very good at manipulation. Especially if that therapist is buying it.

  • I went to therapy THE ENTIRE 27 YEARS I was with the traitor. I wanted to learn, not repeat either of our parents’ insane marriages. What did I get for all that time on the couch? Cheated on, lied to, defrauded, gaslighted, money hidden. Who knows how extensively.

    My daughter’s therapist wants us to go to co-parenting therapy. I have been balking ever since this was brought up last summer. BECAUSE IT WILL JUST WASTE MORE TIME AND MONEY. He lies and does not follow any suggestions except the ones from a certain body part. Therapy also is a colossal waste of time with an addict/alcoholic who is not clean and sober. I am 99.9 % sure he is lying about that too.

    I am going for my daughter but I have zero expectations and I am really angry about it.

    You have to make your own decision but I’d be telling her where a very short pier is over shark-infested waters with rip tides and piranhas.

    • If your gut tells you no, then don’t go. Who are you helping here? It seems the daughter would be best served by you beung an example of strong boundaries. He will only lie and image manage leaving you the bad guy for whatever doesn’t worked. Remember the definition insanity: doing the same thing oVet and over and expecting a different result. Let the addict find his own way through the mess he created. Codependency ended on dday. Hugs and best.

    • Velvet,
      How is it going to help your daughter for you to go and sit in a room with someone who is lying? Nothing of value can come from therapy that is entered into fraudulently. His prior behavior, for 27 years, tells you exactly what you will get in this latest round of therapy. I would have a frank talk with your daughter’s therapist about why you will not subject yourself to this charade.

    • Velvet – your daughter’s therapist is putting you in a tough position. If the therapist knows the whole story, it would be very odd for her to think co-parenting therapy would be helpful. Red flag.
      I was shocked at how quickly my daughter’s therapist understood my x has NPD and helped her set boundaries and go No Contact with him. (DD is 23 now though and her dad pays for nothing – easier to make those decisions)

    • I don’t get the therapy addiction — for any one. I took my 4 year old adopted daughter to therapy for her tantrums. The therapy was really parenting advice for me. It was short, focused and successful. I think we went weekly for about 6 weeks. I can’t understand how years of ongoing therapy would be effective for anyone.

      After my D Day, I started journaling, sometimes for hours at a time. Journaling allowed me to think through things, examine triggers, process and grieve bad memories, and remember missed red flags. I told family and friends, and got great support from my friends and a few afternoons of Margarita Therapy. Journaling helped me realize early on that I wanted to date and have sex again (dead bedroom on his part for YEARS). I forced myself to get out, and join new mixed sex groups to increase my chances of meeting men. I used the money that would have gone to therapy for an eye lift and a great hair stylist.

      13 months later and I have a new love who treats me well. I am skeptical of a “forever love” and am not in a hurry to live with someone or to remarry. The end of my marriage/divorce is still painful, but I have accepted that shitty things in life hurt. I am developing a new set of friends and having fun — the retirement that I had dreamed of, rather than the sad lost, last decade of my marriage. I took 10 years off my Facebook age. I tell my friends that God gave me time off for good behavior and a re-do.

      I did this at the age of 63 and 42 years of marriage. Yes, I am pretty awesome.

      • If you are fully happy and functional, then you don’t need therapy. And you probably had a fairly normal childhood. Some of us are not “addicted” to therapy; we just have a lot of dysfunctional ideas and patterns we have to unlearn, a little at a time.

        I’m glad a facelift is doing it for you. I’m 68 and my face is fine but I don’t judge others who want a “refresher” even though I’m not interested in plastic surgery.

        • …..Birthday 34 yesterday. I don’t know how I made it. You definitely had a hand in it.


      • Discarded Wife,

        I am not addicted to therapy any more than I am addicted to my primary physician. I have a doctor for my body and one for my mind.

        Your criticism and judgement of me is out of bounds and unwelcome. You’re not qualified to diagnose me so please keep it to yourself.

        • Velvet, please accept my apology. I did not intend to criticize or judge you. I apologize if I offended you.

          • Thank you. I have no blood relatives and I never had older wiser blood relatives.
            Finding a great therapist for life guidance and processing the warehouse of trauma was easier for me than finding some people to adopt me….that’s what makes my husband’s betrayal extra painful. ????


          • Discarded, you may not have intended to criticize anyone specifically, but your comments were very judgmental. Why would you assume that, having been once to therapy for the issues you needed help with at the time, you know better than all the people who are living their OWN lives and managing in their own ways?

            Just as for physical health problems, there are some that are acute and dealt with quickly, others that can take a lifetime of learning and support to live well with. Would you say that someone with diabetes is ‘addicted’ to seeing their doctor and nutritionist?

            To me, this ‘I don’t actually know you or what you’re dealing with but I have an opinion about how you should do it’ is the height of privilege talking.

      • Well bully for you that you weren’t emotionally abused as a child !
        Tracy’s fourth blog post (May 3,2012) addresses the spectrum of cheaters. From ALL the responses I’ve read since finding this gem on the internet several years ago, there is a spectrum of chumps. Everyone from those raised in very dysfunctional families to those who married complete sociopaths leading very well hidden double lives.
        You do you,get a little nip and tuck, and lie about your age on Facebook. Sounds very healthy to start new relationships based on a lie.

      • I think that therapy is very useful for those people who are working through years even decades of FOO trauma, especially that that results in somatic manifestations (anxiety and depression) or addiction issues. Velvet has always been open and honest about how therapy keeps her open and honest and challenges her to keep accountable to prevent behaviours and thought habits that would allow her to backslide into old patterns and addiction. She has done the hard work and then some and I respect her very much for this. She calls a spade a spade and holds herself to the same rigouris standards as she does everyone else. For those of us that have ‘event-based’ mental or emotional health issues, short, sharp, focussed therapy may be our perfect solution, but I think we should give due respect to other’s choices to make it part of their healthy lifestyle, especially when it is not just an act of absolution that we complete each week to let ourself off the hook. Glad to hear that your method has worked so well for you, Wayward Wife, I salute your ballsy attitude.

    • Velvet Hammer: Going into therapy with an addict or substance abuser is useless. I would just call and say, “He’s an alcoholic. What did your training tell you about couples’ counseling and addiction?” Then see what the therapist says.

    • VH
      From the chapter to the wives…
      Either God has removed your spouses defects of character, or He has not.

      • NOT is the answer, but it was hidden well.

        Yesterday was my 34 year sobriety birthday…there’s no end to more being revealed…..????


        • You are a fucking BADASS!!!????????❤️❤️❤️ Congratulations ????????????

          21 June 94. The Inventory is mandatory for the daily reprieve. Many inventories …

          I remember sponsor telling me to throw my keys under the bed so I’d be on my knees before leaving the house.

    • Thanks for all the feedback, CN. I have to attend the co-parenting therapy. Her therapist has made the request and it doesn’t look good for me to refuse. We are not in court with our divorce and I don’t want to be. Whatever goes on with him in there is beyond my control and this is for my daughter…I’m showing up for her. Everyone on the therapy crew knows the facts and they all communicate with each other. He doesn’t have any wiggle room because I’ve told him I’ll quit going if he continues to lie or doesn’t follow the suggestions.
      The co-parenting therapist functions as oversight and gives me a forum to bring up any problems that come up…it’ll also be nice for me to hear her say the same things I do. Keeping the focus on my daughter is the key.

  • First, I hope that Chris cancelled his therapy appointment, dumped that particular therapist, and found another, better one. I also hope that he’s living a great life. Chris, if you still check in, let us know how you’re doing!

    Next, I am really glad this ran again. It’s not just about boundaries with the STBX or the X, but also with the therapist. Adultery is abuse. It’s about lying (which is the opposite of good communication), it’s about theft (both of marital assets and of time that should be spent with the family), it’s about deceit (which is the opposite of an honest relationship), and it’s about dangerous health practices (did you ask to get a potentially fatal STD?).

    Any therapist who doesn’t recognize the above is not qualified to help either the chump or the cheater. Any therapist who insists the Chump come to a session in order to explore “what went wrong” is on par with a therapist who insists that an abuse survivor come to a session with the person who beat them in order to explore just why the abuser struck the victim.

    Therapy is important to Chump recovery. If a therapist fails to recognize that adultery is abuse or if the therapist tries to explore how the Chump contributed to the cheating–ask the therapist if they’d be doing the same thing if the Chump was a victim of domestic abuse and leave.

    Chris, you sound like a nice guy who tried to give it his all. I’m sorry that your therapist was a jackass, and I hope you are doing well.

    • Exactly, therapist should be in the category of your lawyer in that he represents you and has your best interest in mind!!! You can’t negotiate with a fuckwit in any realm and that is why you divorced!

      Dump that therapist- has poor ethics and boundaries!

  • I am in a similar situation except that my ex wants me to go to parenting counseling with him. I didn’t say no because I don’t want it to look like I am trying to shut him out as a parent. The kids still want to have a relationship with him which means I want them to have a relationship with him. I am glad that he cares about being a parent but I am terrified that it will just end up being an opportunity for him to list all of the things I am doing wrong as a parent. The problem is, it won’t all be bullshit. I admit I am not perfect. I take a pretty laid back approach to parenting that a lot of people probably wouldn’t understand. I am terrible with boundaries (as ex knows all too well) so I tend to look for other ways to get what I want, mostly through persuasion. The thing is, we actually have pretty good kids (in spite of us) and I am not bothered by much so I don’t feel that I need arbitrary rules just for the sake of having rules. They aren’t giving me trouble and I don’t see that they are hurting their own futures either. No carousing, drugs, alcohol or other risky behaviors. They get good grades, two are now in college at good universities getting degrees that have employment potential. The older two have or have held jobs, the youngest would have held his first job as a little league umpire last spring if Covid hadn’t scuttled things. I see nothing to fix. My ex, on the other hand, wants to take a firmer approach. He isn’t satisfied with them and thinks they need a firmer hand to come out perfect. He has more sensibilities to things that don’t bother me. Personally, I also think he likes to feel like he is in charge and has some level of superiority over someone. He wants to have rules so he can prove he’s in charge and that the kids need to obey and respect his authority. I think respect needs to be earned not demanded. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle with me being too loosey goosy and him being too controlling. He is good at impressing people, however, and always comes across as reasonable even when spouting nonsense so I am afraid I will end up looking like the messed up parent in front of the therapist. My parenting is working for me, just not for him and I am afraid I will end up feeling like a bad parent if I don’t become a harsher parent than I want to be. I should note that I have told the kids repeatedly that when they are with Dad he is in charge and they need to abide by his rules. They don’t live with him, however, so that’s really only once or twice a week at dinner with Schmoopie and her family that his rules are being applied. If he really wanted more influence as parent, maybe he shouldn’t have left for strange pussy. Pointing that out during counseling might be counterproductive, however.

    I also think that a lot of this is coming up now because my middle child is struggling with Schmoopie. He really doesn’t want to be around her at all but knows that if he can’t figure that out he won’t be able to have a robust relationship with his dad. As such, he is working with a therapist to try to get to a point where he can be around her. It isn’t enough for ex, however. It’s taking too long and he want’s nothing short of Son being able to sit at the table with her and carry on conversation. Hello and responding to please pass the salt is not sufficient. He wants that instantly, no working up to it gradually one step at a time with ex and Schmoopie doing their best to make him feel comfortable and without judgement. Ex blames me for not properly teaching son how to be civil to other people. I agree that Son needs to learn how to handle being around people he doesn’t like as he may someday have unsavory coworkers, but I also don’t want to teach him to accept shit sandwiches and I think there is more going on here than just having to be around someone he doesn’t like much. It’s painful for him to be around her, he is trying to get better. Ex doesn’t get it and certainly isn’t doing anything to make it easier. I know this is going to come up in the counseling. He is probably going to admonish me for avoiding Schmoopie myself instead of interacting with her to set a good example. I think that is unreasonable but it all gets complicated whithin the context of how to help my son. Of course, I could counter that with “well I don’t think you have been setting a very good example” but that won’t really help my son. Luckily I have an appointment with my own therapist a week before the appointment with the parent counselor so I am hoping she can give me some advice. She understands my situation very well. I am hoping she can help me figure out how to navigate this.

    • Let me know if you want to connect. We are both in recovery facing the co-parent therapist show!


      • It would be easier if I thought it would be in the kids best interests for him to just go away and not concern himself with being a parent at all anymore. Alas, I do want him to stay engaged to the extent that he is able, I just wish it didn’t have to involve me. I do believe he actually does love his kids, even if he does have a much different parenting style that he thinks I should also be following. Sigh.

        You may be in a similar situation. The request came from you daughter, not him, so you agreed to go for her sake even though you know Fuckwit won’t cooperate.

        • Chumpinrecovery,

          You sound very wise indeed. Who knows, maybe the therapist will call bullshit on HIS parenting and HIS controlling expectations that his son have a good relationship with Schmoopie and his obvious lack of parenting skill and loyalty to his family.

          “He isn’t satisfied with them and thinks they need a firmer hand to come out perfect.”

          This ^^^^ sort of bullshit could use a good going over by a good therapist. And maybe the therapist will advocate for your child about having boundaries and not being friends with schmoopie – civil is enough.

          • I did tell ex that I would only agree to go if he understood that it wasn’t all about fixing me and that he might have to change the way he does things too. He claimed to get it but I have my doubts. He likely only agreed because he expects the counselor to be on his side. Fair enough, I am hoping for the same. We are likely to both be disappointed in that regard.

            • Sounds like someone needs to explain to your Ex what D-I-V-O-R-C-E and a custody split means.

              As long as neither of you is actually abusive or neglectful (like call child protection services abusive or neglectful), you BOTH get to parent as you choose, on your custody time. Your kids will figure that out. If your Ex thinks your kids need a firmer hand, tough shit. As you said, if he wanted to decide how the parenting would be done, maybe he should have stuck around to parent, or at least have asked for more custody time.

              BTW, I know some jurisdictions are terrible, but in most, if the kids are happy and doing well in school with the current custody arrangement, most judges won’t change it just because the non-parenting-parent doesn’t like how the actual parent is doing it. So check w/a lawyer, but don’t feel you have to bow to his opinions or try to reach a middle ground your not comfortable with. You probably won’t do yourself or your kids any harm by politely refusing to attend co-parenting therapy with him.

              And YOU need to let go of STILL trying to control your Ex’s behaviour. Yes, that is what you’re doing, by trying to keep him happy so he’ll stay in your kids’ lives and have a decent relationship with them. THAT IS NOT IN YOUR CONTROL. HE is their father, the relationship he has with them is now 100% up to HIM. If HE is fucking that up (and he is, you know he is) or withdraws, your kids need to cope with that REALITY. It’s a sad one, but way healthier for them to learn to deal with that than watching mom cater to an unreasonable person. And it won’t work anyway, he is who he is.

      • He cheated on you so he will have no problem telling you what you want to hear then going into therapy and doing the opposite.

        You say you want the kids to have a relationship because that is what they want. There lies the boundary, they are old enough to work on a relationship without your help. You need to be neutral. Your fuckwit doesn’t need to co parent, he wants control.

        You are happy with your parenting and don’t want to go to therapy so don’t! Make your wants important, time for you to have your needs met. Stay away from therapy where he will only attempt to manipulate you with the help of a therapist! He needs the therapy, not you!

        This is the example your kids need from you!

    • I flat out refused the suggestion of co parenting counseling. Why do I need to a participate in yet another game of his image mgmt. Maybe and I mean maybe if the counselor agreed to trade every email in OFW…you know where I was addressed as daughters mother, where he suddenly refused to use the calendar, etc.

      I’m not talking to anyone who thinks we are both equally prioritizing daughters best interests.

      And as far as schmooie, wow I feel for you guys. My ex knows not to even think about it. How my daughter deals with his AP is not my problem in the slightest. I just reassure my daughter that liking schmoopie is fine and doesnt hurt my feelings at all BUT mommy isnt friends with people who disrespect mommy…therefore daddy and schmoopie not on the list. Done.

      • I’m not talking to anyone who thinks we are both equally prioritizing daughters best interests.


        Cheaters never do because they always put themselves first. Anyone who can’t take this as the basis is not worth taking therapy with.

        I was forced to go to one co-parenting session as ex is a lawyer and put my verbal refusal on cc to therapist and judge. So I ‘gladly’ accepted and said it was a misunderstanding.

        I accepted the therapist’s suggested date which was our wedding day three months after D-day. Cheater called to say that may be sad and awkward. I replied, it’s just fine since now we know it didn’t mean anything, huh?!

        At the therapist I had the sad sausage I expected and I played therapist grey rock. Smiling and using annoying shrink language myself. I offered some lame-ass lip service of handcrafting a beautiful parent time calendar for our daughter in two versions for each home.
        Then proceeded to insist on parallel parenting and also gave a list of the things Im obliged to by law (adding which one’s I’m not to).

        Cheater never asked for an appointment again.

    • Why are you letting this abuser manipulate your thinking about parenting. He lost his right to discuss your parenting style. It seems the focus for you is on your relationship with your children not his Relationship with his children. It was he’d for me at first to get very clear on why I cared about my sons relationship with their Dad. Now I get that I was continuing to try to protect them from his poor behavior. As CL has said, our job relative to the children is to respond to that relationship with “cool/bummer/wow” and let the kids work it out with their “Dad”. He is not in charge of you. Pay for the kids therapist but not a coparenting therapist.go live your best life separate from the ex. Your wifey duties are over. This person abused you, don’t go back for more. No is a complete sentence. Hugs!

    • It sounds like your kids are ADULTS. Once my children finished high school I gave them the freedom to have whatever relationship they wanted with their father. Unless they feel the need to share information with me (which is rare), I never know when they have communicated with him.

      Trust your gut. You know he wants to triangulate and manipulate so he needs you to cooperate–in therapy. If you no longer need to cooperate by court order for child support/visitation, stay gray rock!!!

      • Middle child is still 17 until October (a young college freshmen which complicates a number of things for which he needs parental permission). Ex is doing his best to take advantage of his not officially adult status to control him as much as he can while he still can and is angry at me for not backing him up in that. The youngest still has 3.5 years to go until he turns 18. Evidently ex doesn’t want that one to turn out like the other two. I am hoping he turns out just like the other two other than that he has found a way to get along with Schmoopie so he can spend time with his dad. I am ok with that if it keeps ex off my back.

        • The hardest part for me was how my kids were continually being coerced into relationship with schmoopie (she doesn’t deserve to be capitalized). It took me years to understand my kids were doing the best they can in a crappy situation. Mine have reached a middle ground where they’re polite as they would be to a stranger, but they’re not in a relationship with her (my ex-‘friend’).

          CiR, you’re in it for the long haul, but you’ll get there, too. One day it’ll all be behind you. Here’s to Tuesdays. BIG HUGS for the days it gets to you.

          • Part of the problem is that Ex and I have different ideas of what “civil” means. To me just saying hello, being in the same room, and not saying mean things is being civil. Ex seems to thing “civil” is a lot more than that and then makes it all sound reasonable when he says “I’m not asking him to like her, I just want him to be civil” and as a parent, shouldn’t I want my kids to treat others with civility? Why am I not backing him up in his desire to teach his kids how to be civil?

            • Because you know ‘civil’ to him means nothing short than a full endorsement. There’s a term for what he’s doing…it’s just too late on a Monday for me to be able to remember what it’s called–maybe ‘false equivocation?’ Whatever it is, it’s horse manure and it’s abusive.

            • Your version of civil is the same as mine.

              Funny thing is when my ex was getting ready to file for D, he said I hope we can be friends. I said “No, I am particular about my friends”

              But fast forward through the years and at any family events we were at, I of course was civil as was schmoopie, but he has never at any time looked me in the eye, and avoids me if possible.

              The only exception was when our first grandchild was born, I was there standing next to my husband. My son let me be the first to hold the grandson, when I was ready, I looked at my ex and said; you are next. He gave me a smile and of course took our grandson.

              My son took a couple discreet pics of us standing together. I never asked to see them.

              My daughter in law says he hates my H. But, that makes no sense to me as I didn’t even know my ex until after we were legally separated, and he was living with schmoopie.

              All to say not sure what he meant by “friends”.

            • Civility???? When he and the other woman have destroyed the family unit, insulted their mother, ignores societal norms, just so that he can screw around????

              I think Grey Rock is perfectly civil to these self-satisfied hypocrites.

    • The window for parenting the way your ex apparently wants to do has already closed. Two of your kids are in college, and one is in high school. Your children are in the stage of life in which they are becoming independent adults. College is a time of transition in the child-parent relationship, and it’s often tough on both, but your ex’s idea that he can be a hard-ass parent to almost-adults is just plain crazy. At their stage he can state expectations and lay down boundaries, just as he can for any other adult, but he can’t compel them to comply. They have their own boundaries, and they are allowed to enforce them.

      • All of that is the part that he doesn’t get and didn’t even before he walked out with Schmoopie. I do see teens as almost adults, generally equals although parents do still have the final say. I am still going to listen to them and consider what they have to say. Sometimes I even agree with them. They aren’t stupid. Ex would always disagree just on principle. He thinks he is always right just because he is the adult and they aren’t no matter how close they are to 18 (or even beyond). He longs for the era of respect and obey your elders no matter what and is angry that I don’t share that attitude.

    • No way would I go to that appointment.
      a.) “Kids” in college have already been parented. That train has left the station. They are over 18, yes?
      b.) None of what he is talking about has anything to do with you. He wants to control you and your middle child. Well, too bad that people just don’t INSTANTLY get over being betrayed. Schmoopie isn’t just someone your kid doesn’t like, she’s is the person that blew up his family.
      HE can go to his kid’s therapist if he wants to work on their relationship. It doesn’t involve you. It’s not your job to do his image management and force his kids to like his girlfriend.

    • “I also think that a lot of this is coming up now because my middle child is struggling with Schmoopie. He really doesn’t want to be around her at all but knows that if he can’t figure that out he won’t be able to have a robust relationship with his dad.”
      So you have kids that do well in school, have no drug problems and are not troublemakers. They still want a relationship with their father even after he broke up the family unit, pretty much their world. The big problem is their relationship with Schmoopie is not how dear ole dad & schmoopie would like it to be. Any reputable therapist would look at dear ole dad as a big problem. Tell dear ole dad to go fuck himself. The only problem is him and schmoopie insisting the kids adore her and trust me that is the game plan. They want adoration, civility and politeness will not suffice. I’d say it’s pretty much dad’s issue if he refuses to have a relationship with his child if child doesn’t love schmoopie. I’m sorry but your child’s father is a piece of shit. No parent should command their child fall in love with the OW or else there will be no parent/child relationship. Have him set up an appointment and then write to the therapist, tell him/her why you will not be attending a session where your perfectly normal child must adore the OW or Dad will sever the relationship, because that is exactly what is happening. Makes my blood boil.

      • I do think a lot of this is coming from Schmoopie. She feels slighted when ex spends time with Son without her, especially when she knows it’s because Son doesn’t like her. She then puts pressure on Ex who is then caught between her and Son. He gets mad at son and makes threats only to back down later when he remembers that he doesn’t want to lose son. His solution seems to be to direct his anger at me. Four years post divorce and I still get to be the scape goat who gets the blame for everything wrong in his life. I have tried to step out of the fray and let him deal with his relationship with his kids and their relationship with Schmoopie. Son wasn’t being very nice to my boyfriend either or a while but we have now managed that to everyone’s satisfaction. I even verified that with the boyfriend the other day. Do you know how nice it was to think everything was fine, ask about it and find out that yes, in fact, everything is fine? Not so with ex. I was doing pretty well at staying out of it but now he is dragging me back. I know I should hold stronger boundaries there but it’s difficult when the kids are involved. He knows I care about that and takes advantage of it. I also don’t want to have our relationship deteriorate to the point where we can’t be civil and I have to take him to court to make him keep his financial obligations. He controls the 529s but I control the college budget and tell him what money needs to be transferred where and when. I would rather avoid parenting software for giving complicated instructions. I have heard enough horror stories here in regards to getting ex’s to follow through on financial obligations to want to avoid that if I can. Maybe it’s my own anxiety in that regard that is making me cooperate more than I should. Maybe ex will follow through financially no matter how I respond but I don’t have the guts to find out. Until the youngest is in college and the 529’s are all paid out, I still feel the need to get along, at least on the surface. I just need to figure out how to hang onto my soul while I do it.

        • What would happen if ex doesn’t follow through on the financial obligations? I don’t doubt Schmoopie is insisting your kid adore her and more than likely has an attitude when your husband spends time with son without her. This speaks volumes about this woman. Instead of just letting father and son have time together, she has to control and therefore insert herself. Any OW with a shred of decency would not interfere. Your ex is an idiot. The kids will remember and resent this shit and it will not bode well for future father/child relationship. When he is well over schmoopie for whatever reason, he will regret his actions.

        • You don’t control him, and he is using your desire to control him to control you.

          You want your kids to get what they want, a decent relationship with their father (so did I). You assume that somewhere deep inside he loves them, in his own way (so did I, and so did my kids, until his REPEATED BEHAVIOUR showed that whatever crap that is that he calls ‘love’ is not acceptable to them). You don’t want to have to go to court (neither did I). You have been more than reasonable (so was I). You may end up in court anyway (as I did), because these narcs are assholes, and REALLY hate it when their kids grow up and stop adoring them just for being their parent. We don’t control that.

          BTW, my Ex forced me into court over the $ for the kids, then DIDN’T SHOW UP OR SEND A LAWYER. The judge was not amused. And I’ve had to spend more lawyer money to enforce the very clear, very firm court order. It’s all a big game of manipulation and rage to them. Back away slowly, and use a lawyer if you need to.

    • Here is your answer: “NO. NOPE. NOPETY NOPE. If you wanted to co-parent, you shouldn’t have cheated. Now we have separate households. End of story.”

    • CiR, This whole situation sounds like a pack of shit sandwiches. You seem to have hit the nail on the head about middle child: the only reason I could imagine my STBX asking for parenting mediation at this point is if there are any uncomfortable consequences for her (we are both women), like in the form of one kid not being okay with a new partner of hers or something. I would hope that the parenting mediator would support you (and middle child) when you remind your ex that the rest of you are just trying to find healthy ways to react to his own hurtful choices. It’s only natural that middle child would not enjoy being around Schmoopie, and so your ex is probably going to have to invest in more one-on-one time if he wants to be an active parent. (They can always go out somewhere together without Schmoopie.)

      I also hear you about the boundaries, and I hope you’re continuing to work on them, because they are important throughout life and not just with your ex and kids! Over the last two years (since my D-Day #2), I have exercised much firmer boundaries all around, even (or especially!) with people who were trying to support me, like my mom – and to me, it always feels really good to set and maintain a boundary, though of course I try to be as kind as possible with people like my mom. It sounds like your kids are mostly grown, so this would be an excellent time to work out boundaries with them, first for yourself, and then explicitly having a conversation with each of them where you share your mutual expectations about things like how often you will check in with one another, etc. This is hard but important work we can do for ourselves and to strengthen all our relationships moving forward. Best of luck to you – I hope your therapist can help you prepare for the mindfuck you’re likely to receive in mediation!

      • PS: one of the reasons I’ve had to work on boundaries with my mom is that she’s not very good with them herself – a typical Midwestern Methodist mom who thinks everybody should just get along and we can sweep the tough stuff under the rug all the time. Unfortunately, this attitude has made my mom rather passive-aggressive, despite her good intentions: when I expressed dismay about the Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse my cheater was displaying after D-Day #2, and said I needed to start thinking about other options, my mom looked aghast and said, “what other option is there?” Divorce, mom, divorce!!! So, as I say, I have worked on my own boundaries and gently reminded her to work on hers. I get that it’s hard for her, because she really loved STBX like another daughter – that’s the mindfuck of covert narcissism, but I digress. CiR, it sounds to me like you have some awareness of turning to “persuasion” in the absence of boundaries – could that be passive-aggression? Please don’t be like my mom! (And again, all best to you!)

        • I guess I never considered persuasion as a form of passive aggression. Hmm. I do need to work on the boundaries thing. Sometimes I do enforce boundaries, but only when they really matter to me. I have had this problem since grade school when they made me crossing guard captain because I was so responsible, only to find out that I was incapable of getting others to do what they were supposed to do. I still, to this day, avoid management positions because I know getting others to do their jobs is not my skill set. I am great at collaborating but I suck at both leading and following.

    • Probably a bad analogy here, but if someone burns your house down, destroys all the things we loved that were kept inside, we’re not expected by society to then “get along with them” to set an example or even “not avoid them”. And your child is doing his best to show up and pass the salt. There are family events in my own family where I do that with my Grandmother because she’s acting entitled, difficult and ridiculous.

      If this was a child, say 10yrs younger, and we’re walking into this scenario, what is the outcome desired?
      Somebody wants a behavior to change, and we’re going to get on the same page and get a blueprint on how to change this behavior.
      So, we want the 17yr old to behave differently towards Dad’s mistress.
      There is no way I would attempt to get on “the same page” by reading some set of blueprints on how we’re going to accomplish this by force feeding it to a 17yr old. He has his own FEELINGS about everything that went down, and TIME and COMPASSION is the healer of that, if Dad is lucky.
      I want my 16yr old to be able to come to me with his feelings about this and feel like he can lay his head on my shoulder and cry if he wants to. That is not going to come from me forcing him to act differently than he is already acting. Maybe if he is open to it, I can give him some different ways to look at the situation to make it more bearable for him, but that’s the only person I care about in this situation, him. I am angry for your son. You’re right, he’s becoming a young adult, and how this goes down may backfire more than it does anyone any good. Big hugs to him, and you as you try an maneuver it.
      No way would I participate in this.

      How you feel about how you parent your kids is between you and your kids. It’s not something for your ex-husband and his mistress to get to chime in on. If he’d wanted things differently, you’d have an intact home and family that hadn’t been broken apart by infidelity and cheating.

    • Does struggling son have his own therapist advocating for him in this coparenting llama drama? If not, he definitely should! After all this issue is basically about him. That’s if I’m reading this correctly.

      Sorry I’m stuck in the same coparenting classes llama drama. I have checked the boxes. It has created just more drama with no end in sight. That’s is except for when they are no longer minors or custody has been altered significantly. Anything, anything to stir the pot, punch some buttons, image management, blame shifting, DARVO is all fair in his own personal life.

      • He does, but it was initially set up by ex as family counseling between ex and Son after Son told ex he didn’t want to be around Schmoopie anymore (after two years of trying to be “civil” and being miserable every time). Ex’s goal was to get him over that. Things weren’t progressing fast enough for his tastes, however, so he stopped going and stopped paying for it. I took over at that point and he now gets individual counseling with the same woman. This was after I asked Son if he wanted to continue on his own with individual therapy and he said yes. I figured it would be good to have an independent third party to work with who he could talk to alone without any parent present. I did go a couple of times myself when we were working out his relationship with my boyfriend, but it’s mostly between him and the therapist now.

        • Does he like the therapist? I mean that’s what really matters most in my opinion. After a certain age, I switched to gender specific therapists so things might not be awkward as puberty begins to start transforming the child to a young adult. To encourage a more open discussion between therapist and minor. Unless you think they are identifying as something else, in which case you should find someone who has experience with that information. Im told it is a more challenging life to navigate. They will need extra tools in their toolbox.

    • I doubt your going to therapy with him will force him to be a good father. If marriage vows (and, you know, actually being a father) didn’t do it, sitting in a room with a third party for a couple of hours probably won’t even register.

      I get that you don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your kids’ relationship with him (for their sake) but you need to balance the likelihood that agreeing to this will change his behavior towards them, against the likelihood that he’ll use it to inflict emotional damage on you.

      My XW asked to go to therapy with me to evaluate what went wrong with our marriage. I just let the suggestion slide by. If you’re planning to re-marry your spouse, then it makes sense. Or even if you’re planning to marry someone just like your spouse for a second go-round, then I guess it might make sense. I doubt you’re in the market for a repeat of your first marriage, so the only lesson you need is “don’t marry someone like your ex” – not some drawn-out postmortem where you find out what a shitty spouse you were.

    • It is just an attempt to garner more control over the situation. He doesn’t like it because you don’t enforce his rules at your home. He doesn’t like that he can’t control you or his son. What he is pursuing with your son will backfire on him in the long run. I applaud your son for really trying to what he can in this terrible situation. Two different parenting styles often conflict but your children are older and should be able to have their own boundaries understood and enforced. You Ex doesn’t want to abide by that because it is then one other thing he can’t control. Hopefully the counselor will see this and say something but in the long run your Ex will fight against the lack of control because they can’t stand to lose it. You are doing very well with your circumstances and I wish you the best!

  • The only time Mr. Sparkles met my therapist is when he took my son (who was in 3rd grade at the time) to an appointment. She specialized in family and youth counseling. Mr. Sparkles went once… sat with her and our son for the first 10 minutes of the session. In my subsequent session, I had been meeting with her for almost a year, she just said, “WOW… thank heavens you and your son got away from that.”

    For me, as a chump, once the divorce was final, I felt no need to share, be nice, or communicate beyond scheduling software and text reminders to pay child support on time. Divorce is your mic drop moment… revel in it.

    • I remarried post divorce. It has been great!
      Tragically, her oldest son died at 40 a few years ago. Her former husband came into town and visited our church to pay his part of funeral expenses and review the service. We later met with our pastor who told us about the experience.
      “I can see why he is your ex husband.”

      • While in negotiations with the ex, my attorney met with him in another room. When he came back to speak with me he asked, “Remind me how long you two were married.” I replied, “Twenty years.” His eyes got big and he said, ‘How did you survive that?”

        There are people out there who will see our exes for who they really are. We’re not crazy, we’re abused.

        • Yes Renay, it took a few years for everyone to see at my 1st H wasn’t well – he was able to hide to for quite some time. People actually thought that our marriage just broke down naturally ( I had to have that said to me many times ), or that he never loved me ( and that makes a lot of sense to marry somebody & have children if you never loved them )… Until his life was in shambles many times over and even his own beloved family couldn’t connect with him.
          I can’t even imagine people not thinking H #2 has big issues. Anyone who suddenly drops a family to move on to another family is clearly dysfunctional.
          Regardless of what others think, we are left with a mess.
          They both presented as catches. My picker needs a complete overhaul.

    • I feel just like you. I have nothing to discuss other than making sure calendar matches court orders in scheduling software. Brief note when I take children to doctor or dentist appointments. The school can notify him of school things. The Texas Oag can go after him if he doesn’t pay child support or health insurance.
      Divorce was when I was no longer under his abuse, control or manipulations.

  • Two words: “Billable hours”.
    Therapist is looking for a steady income stream.
    It is a business, after all.
    Not unlike chiropractors and pest control companies, they thrive on regular repeat services.
    Instead, get yourself a massage chair and a can of Raid! You can take care yourself.

    • > Two words: “Billable hours”.

      I hate to be cynical, but that’s the only explanation I can come up with for our couples therapist saying we needed to continue therapy to “maintain the friendship” because “clearly, you care about each other” right after dday and his demand for a divorce. Nothing says “I care about you” like adultery, gaslighting, deceit, exposure to STDs and divorce. Reconciliation in any form is a cash cow for therapists and preys on the chump’s decency and hopium. I never imagined this predatory side of therapists.

      • This makes perfect sense.

        Remember, you have CUSTODY so you can control your OWN TIME with your kids. The only exception I would make is if a child has a major new diagnosis like cancer or a physical trauma. Then it might make sense to see if you can get on the same page. But the cheating and divorce already makes that very unlikely. If you could co-parent, you would probably still be married because it’s the CHARACTER of the person that’s the problem.

    • Only BAD therapists want to drag therapy out to keep making money. GOOD ones have more referrals than they can handle, and are happy to wrap things up when appropriate and move on to someone new. This applies no matter what their training or background, once they’ve got a few years experience and a reputation made.

      Unfortunately there are a lot of therapists who have drunk the koolaid about cheating … that’s another issue altogether. But the GOOD ones get it, nice and clear!

  • I think this is horrifyingly common: therapists who profit from imposing further trauma on victims. SAY NO!!!! Go no contact!

    The emotional abuse I suffered in “marriage counseling” after our kids caught XH cheating on Christmas was worse in some ways than learning my beloved was a complete stranger. The therapists knew he had been diagnosed as narcissist with BPD, possible bi-polar II, active substance abuser, assaulted me but recommended I stay and attend his sex addiction therapy with him (partner and marriage “therapy”). We spent tens of thousands of dollars on this farce. It only stopped when XH stormed out of a joint session five months into that hell when therapist suggested a polygraph. The whole thing was his attempt to manipulate me into not filing for divorce.

    Consequences— asshole. Judge gave me 82% of everything at the trial two years later. Full custody.

    XH is still with young golddigger AP. He spent $300k putting her through grad school. He’s cheating on her with innocent victims he finds on Bumble. Ha! His health is destroyed—up 100 lbs, smokes/drinks 24/7 —a walking heart attack in his mid-50s. Hoovers weekly????????????????

    Run away from this bullshit, chumpman, and stop with the therapy.

    Time and no contact and CL is 100% more effective at healing.

  • Such bad boundaries from your (former, I hope!!) therapist. That person should never have taken your Ex on as a patient. Ick. (Just for comparison, my now-retired, and deeply beloved psychiatrist who I saw for meds for 22 years refused to see my ex because: unprofessional. Yeah, that’s the high standard.)

    On the other hand, just following separation and divorce, I got caught in a maelstrom of therapists talking to each other (naive me get everybody permission) and my ex’s shrink made a remote Dx–having never even seen, much less met me–that *I* was Borderline. Um, not. I don’t tick any of those boxes! Yes, I was highly traumatized, but, um… it never went anywhere except as a cautionary tale to me. (Imagine if we had been going to court, or contesting custody. Oh, that would have been fun. Thankfully, not.)

    So my advice is stay far away from sharing anything therapy-related with exes. None–nyet–zip–nada. Stay safe and fair sailing.

  • Absolutely not! My therapist wouldn’t see him or us as a couple because he felt it wasn’t ethical. My youngest son and I share the same therapist, but we violate no HIPPA rules, unless I ask if he and my son discussed something. And then it is a yes or no, and he wants my thoughts and that is it!

  • I’m just trying to think of how the session would go.

    Therapist: Cruella, now in your own words tell him what you think he was trying to say.

    Cruella: Hmm, I think he’s attempting to continue to be hostile and nonsupportive.

    Johnny: Um, no. I was pointing out that you fucking Mr. Small Digit from your work and lying about it for years was a huge betrayal that may have exposed me to STDs and has ruined our finances.

    Therapist: What would you like to happen going forward?

    Cruella: For him to drop this uncomfortable blame game.

    Johnny: Make sure you only bill Cruella for this pointless exercise she invited me to attend. And BTW, I won’t be needing your services anymore.

    Cruella, it’s easy to figure out. A husband doesn’t want a wife who decides to allow another man to fuck her. That decision is yours alone!


  • The easy way to get rid of both of them is to insist the cheater ex pay for the sessions. LOL. Not gonna happen.

    I might have gone to one of those sessions, if I needed evidence against the spouse in a trial. Guess what, marriage counselors can be subpoena’d to testify!

    That being said, the easiest and BEST way to handle this is simply the word ‘no.’ And dump your therapist. I don’t think your therapist is a bad person, necessarily, but who needs a Switzerland therapist? I have paid way too much money to therapists who were ultimately just enabling me to stay with a fuckwit. If they were a friend, giving free advice, it would be one thing. But ‘I only take cash, no insurance, and you should probably come in once a week, oh and if you miss your appointment you still have to pay full price’ while I relied on them for hope and guidance, is just plain shitty service.
    They knew me better than anyone and still helped keep my hopium light lit in the face of the cheating abuse and mindfuckery I was describing. Without them, I might have just had a good old fashioned, nervous breakdown, and picked up the pieces of my life without him, with the help of friends and family. Instead, I didn’t want to burden my loved ones with my problems and paid someone else to listen. I have to tell myself those therapists were clueless, so I don’t go down that rabbit hole of anger at them. I also have to accept that I made my own choice to stay and sought (paid for) validation for doing it.

    Just trust me, if your therapist isn’t giving you 100% support focused on leaving, avoiding, and forgetting a cheater and gaining a life, dump them. Even if they take your insurance.

    My ex is a perv who is careless about what he exposes the kids to. It’s always an “accident” and “he didn’t mean to'” and “I would never intentionally…” My lawyer(s) told me there is not much I can do. Getting a contempt of court charge would be nothing to him. She suggested I ask the ex to meet with me and a child development specialist and see if he will agree to some basic principles of parenting. (Eyeroll, so pointless, but I figured I should at least ask him, to look good for the judge). My ex responded by proposing we have a few meetings with a kink-friendly therapist instead.

    No. Just no. Fucking psycho.

    Like the problem is me not getting it; that kink is a beautiful expression of authenticity between consenting strangers that he meets online or at a sex club and invites back to his place when the kids are with him.

    Or the problem is me being a puritan because I’m offended by finding his dick pics and fetlife activities on the kids’ ipad or our family calendar. And when I confiscated that iPad, the problem is that I’m a thief, so he called the police on me for stealing his property! Because the problem is that I don’t understand his first amendment rights and I am not the boss of him, and how dare I impose consequences on his silly mistakes?

    Fuck, 4 yrs post divorce and I am still this bitter.

  • “My Ex-Wife Wants Me to ______”

    The answer is:

    FUCK NO!
    Hahahahahahahahahaha – NO!

    I know this is a re-run but I hope you fired your therapist too. What a maroon (the therapist and the XW).

  • All this advice is great, but you also have to protect yourself legally. Anything you say in therapy with your cheater can be used against you.

    I recorded my marriage counseling sessions after DDay, and I’m using those recordings as evidence in the divorce (single party consent state). But I sound like a hysterical nutcase in them.

    I have an audio recording of stbx telling a mutual friend that our marriage counselor thinks I have a personality disorder and wants me to take a psychological evaluation. I think that is total BS, but now I have to prepare to defend myself against a false accusation. PTSD symptoms are similar to the traits of BPD.

    Don’t ever give your cheater a therapist that could write a report against you in a custody case.

    The only way I would do co-parenting counseling is if I’m court ordered to do so. And I would talk to my lawyer about a strategy of how I should act in the sessions. It would all be smoke and mirrors for court – nothing genuine.

  • Dear Chris,

    I’m sorry for the pain and craziness you’ve been through. But sadly, it seems you haven’t learned a thing about standing up for yourself. Stop agreeing to be a chump! Grow a pair! Have a backbone! Say no! Cancel the appointment! Never put yourself in this position again! Go zero contact, or at the very least, go gray rock! And while you’re at it, fire your therapist!

  • I had a great therapist. When I first started seeing her I was intent on saving my marriage all by myself when he clearly wasn’t engaged. I was going to “stand” for my marriage. I was hoping for advice on how to get him to get his head out his ass and come home. She, carefully and slowly and with as little direct criticism of ex as she could while still pointing out his failings without making it to obvious, moved me away from the hopium and towards divorce as the only viable option. She did not give me the advice I was looking for, she gave me the advice I needed but didn’t want to hear.

  • Great therapist as I wept through a box of tissues soon after DD2 helped me toward the courage to get myself to a good lawyer.

    Use your words…LOL!

  • Go. Bring your device to record the session. And just listen to it pour forth. So that you Can document any whining excuse and you don’t ever go listen to that crap again. There’s no reason you have to do anymore than listen. Tell them you only plan to listen.

  • What is it with cheaters asking chumps for “coparenting counseling?” My cheater has been begging for that, too (“No” is a complete sentence. Every. Single. Time.)
    I am not interested in seeing a therapist where cheater can spew word salad, attempt to triangulate therapist against me (been there, done that throughout 23 years of marriage counseling), and then pat himself on the back for being such a good “coparent.”

    My therapist has been clear that in the case of narc cheater ex, the ONLY option is parallel parenting. And I’m so glad I’m making big strides with that goal.

  • Completely inappropriate that YOUR therapist would be therapizing your ex wife. Even if you didn’t realize that, your therapist should have, and should have recommended someone else for your Ex.

    Fire the therapist, go No Contact (or Gray Rock if no other choice because of your daughters) and get on with your life.

    And consider filing an ethics complaint with your therapist’s professional licensing board.

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