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Getting a Friendly ‘Weird Vibe’ from Ex-Wife

Hello Chump Lady,

My ex wife and I divorced in July and since then, I’ve gotten very strange vibes from her. I discovered she was cheating on me with multiple men and that she had a plan to ask me for divorce only after our kids had finished with the school year in the springtime. Her plan fell apart when I asked her once in early winter if she was happy, and she admitted to wanting a divorce. I did the “pick me” dance for awhile before I decided enough was enough and ended things.

Since that time though, my ex has behaved in an odd manner. She’s made strange gestures towards me via email and phone that I’m not quite sure what to do with. She’ll put smiley face emotes on emails. She’s sent me emails out of the blue, telling me that an Advent Calendar with Jam I like is on sale on Amazon, or she saw Downey Balls on sale at a store in town and she knew I needed one for my new place.

When I talk to her on the phone about things to do with our children (I keep it brief, I don’t dive into any specifics about her life), she’ll always ask me if there’s anything else I’d like to talk about. Sometimes, she’s even cried when talking to me on the phone. When I fell ill a few weeks back and couldn’t take my kids for the night, she asked if I needed anything and hoped that I got well soon.

I guess I’m just confused by this all. She’s the one that wanted the divorce. I fought against it for a long time before realizing it was over. I’ve since moved on and gotten better for myself and my kids through therapy, exercise, and clean living. She seems to want something out of me — a friendship perhaps? But I don’t want a friendship with the person that caused me as much hurt as she did.

Am I putting too much stock into the ravings of this woman?

Thanks – Confused guy who just wants to move on with life

Dear Confused,

Your Downey ball situation isn’t her business. Just because she once enjoyed intimate knowledge of you and your… erm.. Downey balls, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for her to assume such familiarity now. She fired herself from the job of being in your life.

It’s not a swinging door unless you let it be.

In fact, friendliness after inflicting trauma (betrayal, upending your life in the resulting divorce), is a mindfuck. It’s impression management. See I’m Not All Bad. I Care About Your Fabric Softener.

Don’t be flattered or hopeful by these sudden meaningless gestures. (A kinder person would actually purchase the Downey Balls, not just mention the sale. Don’t your children do laundry at your place too?) She’s just testing to see how amenable you are to being Plan B (to Z).

She’s made strange gestures towards me via email and phone that I’m not quite sure what to do with. She’ll put smiley face emotes on emails


(fuck you smiley face)

Look, I’m not saying you have to carry the anger and pain of her cheating on you with multiple men forever, I’m just saying she can shove her cognitive dissonance where the sun doesn’t shine.

Let’s try some other unsettling sentences with smiley emojis:

I am annexing Poland. ????

I think you’re too inferior to vote. ????❤️

Those jeans make you look fat. ????

It’s easy to paste an emoji. However, you don’t need treacly pixels right now. You need her to abide by the custodial order and respect your space. No contact is essential to heal. Your divorce (and previous pick-me dance) are less than a year old. Consider parenting software and route all her other messages to a folder called ????.

When I talk to her on the phone about things to do with our children (I keep it brief, I don’t dive into any specifics about her life), she’ll always ask me if there’s anything else I’d like to talk about. Sometimes, she’s even cried when talking to me on the phone.

First, don’t talk to her on the phone. See “parenting software” above. Or stick to email or texts, communications that can be documented. I’m getting big whiffs of hopium here. You do not need her for ideas of “what to do with the children.” You’re on your own there, sport. You’re the sane parent. If you need parenting advice, reach out to other parents you respect. Get ideas or support online. The last person you ask for travel tips and Things to Do is Ms. I Fucked a Bunch of Other Guys While Married to You.

I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but that’s either a dealbreaker for your friendship or it isn’t. It was a dealbreaker for your marriage. Bargaining stage of grief (hopium) is accepting the occasional flung kibble from your ex. (OMG I GOT A KIBBLE!) Which feel very significant after a long time of kibble starvation rations. Don’t be someone’s Plan B, Guy.

Her crying is her feeling sorry for herself. Which is RICH coming from the person who harmed you. Don’t let the conversation get that far. In fact, don’t have a conversation at all. Have distant, documentable exchanges minus the emotion.

I guess I’m just confused by this all.

Don’t be. She was manipulative before. She’s manipulative now. You need to be clear about what is acceptable to YOU. Sounds like you did a lot of hard work on that. Don’t be derailed.

She seems to want something out of me — a friendship perhaps? But I don’t want a friendship with the person that caused me as much hurt as she did.

Who cares what she wants? A satellite is my guess. You as fall black plan. You as auxiliary kibbles. Whatever she wants, doesn’t matter. She fired herself from the job.

Am I putting too much stock into the ravings of this woman?

How deep was the discount on the Downey balls?

I’m kidding. Yes, pay no attention to the ravings. Shore up the no contact and stay strong.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Solid gold Tracy! I get these vibes from my STBX. Stick to e-mail and no contact. To me it all seems like impression management. “Look how great I am, I am signing up the kids for soccer” while in reality she tore not just one family apart but the family of her affair partner.

    • My parents divorced when I was twelve and it sucked for me. My mom was emotional and territorial, making it very uncomfortable for me and my sister when going back and forth between her and my dad and his new wife. I always vowed that I wouldn’t do that to my children. Even if I divorced, I would work with my ex to raise our kids without all that negative energy.

      In their case, my mother instigated the divorce and there had been no cheating, mostly it was just 2 flawed people from broken homes who had loved each other a lot, but when life got really hard they turned to alcohol and drugs. As my dad said, “it was the 60’s, man.” Everyone is all grown up now and we get along fine.

      Meanwhile, my cheating ex-husband is a covert narcissist who is always trying to draw me into ‘co-parenting’ and is unfailingly friendly to me. It was a mindfuck that I went along with for a couple of years until I finally gave myself the permission to parallel parent and go no contact.

      Just the other day when I picked up the kids, he came running out of his place (i.e., his parents’ basement) to yell “Congratulations on your new house!” Do you mean the new house I had to move us into because his parents threatened to foreclose on the marital home and sue me for $150,000?

      The most he will ever get back from me is a head nod that immediately transitions into a fade-away as I focus my attention on the kids or a spot in the opposite direction. Every once in a while I will feel self-conscious about looking rude or not modeling ‘meh’ to my children. That’s when I remind myself that he posted a fantasy online of him kidnapping, brutalizing, and raping me, then leaving me for dead. That’s the person I am forced to parent with, not the unfailingly friendly version of a human he plays like a character on WandaVision.

      No, I won’t speak to him at their graduations or their weddings, or help them care for him in his old age. I am disappointed for my kids about it, but I know whose fault this is, and I don’t see how me pretending would make it any better for them.

      As it is, the best I can do is let them have their own relationship with their father, set money aside for their therapy needs in future, and be available to facilitate whatever decisions they make about him.

      • My ex is a covert passive aggressive narc too. Your description of his super friendliness (to spite the massive amount of lying, gaslighting, and mindfuckery) is spot on. I appreciate all you wrote. I too have made the choice for grey rock and parallel parenting, even though he likes to judge me for that because “it’s for our kid.” Too many times in the past I tried to reciprocate the friendliness only to met with some form of boundary crossing, asking for something sketchy, or ghosting for weeks once I was friendly in return. He hasn’t changed, only his impression management has gotten more obvious. And the cognitive dissonance of his wanting to be friends, with the fallout from what he did (his AP works for him and was a family friend in our lives for 10plus years) is too crazy-making.

        Thank you for sharing this. Not many people understand trying to parent with a covert narc…it can be a lonely deal. Whenever I read someone else’s experience with one I feel seen and validated.

        Bug hug to you,

    • Almost all of the divorce books do, except Tracy’s. Would you encourage your kids to be nice and cozy up to a school bully ? Or would you suggest they avoid such a sociopath and if necessary, fight back ?

  • She’s hoovering. She’s either 1)broke, 2)wants a “husband appliance”3)jealous or 4)wanting s&x.

    Sorry for the censorship, not sure if Wordpress monitors this.

    Step away from the sad sack. She needs consequences.

    • Could just be attention or image management (all the cheating can’t be so bad if we stay friends after). But at the end of the day all you need to know is that whatever she wants doesn’t bode well for you, so you’re keeping out of it and not re-engaging with the crazy.

  • Mindfucking to assess plan B to Z, indeed!

    Confused, stay away!

    I am so glad I met CL during the prodromes of sparkledick’s mindfuck stage when he finally understood the consequences and didn’t want them. If I had fallen for them my life would be a mess now. He earns three times as much as I do and I hear that he is, as always, in debt. The imbecile would have probably also given me covid.

    Downey balls… Give me a break! Is that the best she can do for mindfucking? One more reason to stay away.

    • “He earns three times as much as I do and I hear that he is, as always, in debt.”

      My FW father (FWF) was the breadwinner and my mother never worked other than raising us kids and taking care of the household. He made a good career out of lying and manipulating and he and my mother were married for 54 years.

      They are now divorced and looking at his balance sheet, I can see where he will easily run out of the cash he has on-hand by the end of the year, if he cashes out his retirement funds that will last him another year, then if he finally decides to sell a house or stock then (if the market is decent), that might last him a little bit more. He spends, spends, spends like it is flowing from the tap. I realized that when he was working he was so used to spending (wasting) other people’s money that when he retired he just kept on doing the same thing. My mom finally got sick of all of it (cheating, lying, manipulating, spending without consulting with her, abuse, disrespect) that she filed for divorce.

      I told her to take as much cash as she could in the settlement and she did. And she will be comfortable for her life and he will spend it all and end up with nothing.

      • Wow BS&L,

        My ex-father-in-law was exactly like your father. He was wealthy but blew it all on women. He abandoned my MIL and the bills and she actually was going to bed hungry. I alerted sparkles and my BILs, but were in denial (red flag, I know). In the end his sons and most DILs (some were smarter or pettier) were supporting him and my MIL. FIL died at 79, so we were rid of him, but MIL died at 97! At least she was easy to get along with.

      • My wayward father spends like nothing matters as well.

        My parents are currently being supported by my mother’s mother. She’s 97.

        They still spend like it’s nothing. And it’s all a bunch of useless crap.

  • Every time Mr.STBX makes a pleasant email overture, it’s followed by an expectation that I do something for him, followed by outrage if I don’t comply, ie. offering to drop something off, then demanding things he wants to take, and huge hurt when I say no to both. I think some of his friendly emails are purely for show and tell purposes, and that he hopes they’ll be more effective if I blow up in response to a seemingly innocuous offer, so he can “prove” I’m unreasonable. I’ve learned not to take the bait. I no longer feel obligated to respond. That must kill him since I let him have all the power in our marriage. ..

    • Holy Downey balls!!! Surely this is, in part, image management.

      Cheaters can share their “nice” email to others, perhaps the OW/M, and use it as evidence that they are being oh so kind and that the ex-spouse is not appreciative. The chump is the real downer in this scenario.

      Truly, this really sickens me. I have no doubt that my ex engages in this type of smear campaign. He spent his entire life cultivating his nice-guy, morally superior persona. No doubt he’s trying to climb back onto that high horse, using me as his stirrup.

      • Spinach, the carefully crafted morally superior persona of both of our spouses can also be filed under ????, or perhaps ????.

    • Goodfriend, yes! STBX emailed me that he finally paid the unreimbursed medical expenses. Immediately followed by an email asking me to file our tax return jointly and informing me I could keep 55% (arbitrary amount, less than his support obligation). I don’t always know his thought process when he contacts me, but you can guarantee it’s all about him.

      Confused guy, the only thing you need to understand is that whatever her motivations, they’re ultimately all about her. Don’t be confused about whether any of it is actually to benefit you.

  • Sorry for the vulgar ladies but…if she’s looking for a rekindle she needs to f-cough…if she’s fishing to see how bad you’re doing now that her wonderfulness is gone …she needs to f-cough…if she’s looking to improve her image wow! can she f-cough…if she’s looking for sex…tell her you wouldn’t let her blow your dog!. Dude…she’s telegraphing her contempt for you. By her reaching out with ridiculous ice breakers she’s proving she has no regard for your dignity. She needs to F-COUGH!

  • I just creased up when it got to ‘fuck you smiley face’. Oh Chump Lady you are funny.

    Talk about just try to gloss over what you’ve done. Ha ha, everything’s all right now isn’t it? Isn’t it? Tell me you still like me. Please? She so wants something you need to up your guard. Of course you will be ‘bitter’ for not wanting to be friends with her.

    They are all nuts.

  • This is easy. She doesn’t have a man (or a man she can count on) in her life at the moment. Most cheaters detest being alone. So she’s reaching out to her Steady Eddie, that would be you. As soon as someone else comes along she’ll cease the insincere emails and smiley faces. Please do not interpret her reaching out as having regrets or remorse, it is her feeling vulnerable at the moment. Nothing else.

    • This. Hot when alone, cold again when a new victim fell into the trap or they made up with current squeeze du hour. For everything else, call the chump, they’ll throw kibbles snd ohh ahh at their magnificence and benevolence to cheatersplain the current sales. F- Cough ( stealing that one also)

      • Wish I’d read your reply before attempting my own. Well said, QOC.

    • “Most cheaters detest being alone.” <– THIS

      My ex told my brother he was going to be working on himself. He had someone(s) waiting in the wings already before we were divorced. He bounced from girlfriend to girlfriend and then married the last one (with whom he most certainly started his relationship while living with someone else) in like a couple months. They're parasites. You're the good host.

      While being alone won't necessarily cause them to look at themselves (they avoid it at every turn), they won't have you as a shield for impression management. Distance yourself from this mindfuckery, because there is a *huge* difference between being nice and being kind. She is most definitely continuing to get something from you by allowing this kind of contact. You need to break it off altogether, and if you need to manage kids, there are less personal ways of doing this, as CL mentioned. You now have separate lives and homes. In no reality am I letting my ex back into mine.

    • It’s all about those gratifying, useful kibbles that aren’t so satisfying or easy to obtain from their fellow bottom feeders. Cake isn’t as delicious when it’s made from adulterated ingredients.

      No More Mr. Nice Guy sent a letter about “missing you” and “missing our pets”; of course, what was conveniently forgotten in this supposed goodwill was his threats of violence towards and discardment of both myself and my pets. Human parasites all work from a universal script.


    • KB22: So right about the impending discard. It’s a set up. Except if you don’t fall for it, Guy, it’s not a discard because YOU left, remember? When you go through the cycle a couple of times, you come to intuit what is happening with amazing accuracy, even though you are being intentionally manipulated and kept in the dark by the cheater. With hoovering, love bombing and sad sausage turn overnight to withdrawal and coldness – either they get you back in their clutches and you give away your power, or they find another source of kibble and instantly forget about you (even though you’ve built an entire life together), or both. Mindfuckery really is the best term for it.

    • It is a straight up Hoover Manouver. The Downey Balls should stay where they are safe!
      Silence is golden…

  • A fella male chump who also had his ex wife cheat with multiple men. Like OP mine also fell apart with her cheating in 2020 with dozens of men. The sheer joy of having to admit to your lawyers, doctors and family that nope it was not one other AP but nearly 20 will never be gone from my mind and oh here is the screenshots of her photos and videos and messages to dozens of men, here is screenshot of her tinder where she states she has a boyfriend who wants to watch her with other men. I don’t know how you even talk to her at all. I sadly have three young kids with skank a doodle do and I’m 100% grey rock. I don’t reply to her emails, she is blocked on my phone, social media so forth. I don’t even tell new people that I had been married, I completely deny my ex wife’s existence. She was a 15 year mistake and regret.

    I think she is manipulating you. She was like mine, not showing any mercy or concern for your well being whilst out with her legs spread for multiple other men so why now? I too have had the flipping back and forth with “she regrets everything “ and misses me and wishes we could go back in time to her raging against me and physically assaulting me whilst screaming “you’re mine, you’re mine” after accusing me of having other girls. It’s all a mind fuck. I’m the one who divorced her and I’m proud I did so. Your ex is hoovering and no doubt there is some twisted reasoning for it all.

    • Your situation is awful, but “skank a doodle do” is perfect (and funny).

    • I just got a note from my ex in which he mentions feeling “regret and remorse.”

      Nopety nope nope.

      I’m not falling for it. The man manipulated me with such words in the past. He must be wondering why his old, reliable moves aren’t working.

      Thanks to CL and CN for giving me enough antivenom to counter this toxic BS!

      • I’m sure I’m in the same boat as many here when I say this, CL saved my life. This site and all the great people and the hundreds and hundreds of articles literally saved my life and I will be eternally grateful for this amazing site. It’s also scary how identical cheaters are. I honestly believe there is a cheaters manual built into them.

      • Yep, back in the day a couple months alter we were legally separated, he called and was just so contrite, and wanted another chance etc. I was beside myself with happiness, he loved me, he is choosing me (vomit).

        I let the snake back in the house (after I checked with my lawyer on the legalities) he immediately on Monday started taking the car and doing his political rounds in our neighborhood, I kicked him out by the end of the week. He had just used my emotions to be able to do his political canvassing, while telling the folks we were getting back together. That is how much regard he had for me as a human being, much less his wife and the mother of his only son.

        If I had insisted he go to counseling first and get his self straightened out, he would have never come back, and likely would have just rented a car and still lied to the voters. This way he could tell the voters, well I tried but she kicked me out. I doubt they bought it as his story was blasted far and wide by other politician trying to save their own asses. Also when any of the neighbors said “I thought you were getting back together” I just said no, he lied to me again, he never stopped seeing the whore. A couple of the neighbors were close enough to me that I felt comfortable telling the whole story. If they took it and ran with it, I am fine with that.

  • X’s “friendliness” is nothing but manipulation, which is why I feel angry when he’s “friendly”. To me it is also arrogant and egotistical. He evidently thinks he is So Awesome that I’d want to be friends with him after sticking bayonets in me. My goal is to never see him or hear his voice ever again as long as I live.

    I NEVER offer chit-chat if I have to talk to him. He offers chit-chat and if I respond it’s Cool Bummer Wow Oh? No or Hmmmm. And then crazily enough he accuses me of hanging on to him and holding him hostage. (That’s called projection).

    After the slightest contact with Mr. X, I have to scrape my boots, shower, burn my clothes, and debrief with a trained cult deprogrammer. Weekly therapy as a reboot.

    Mr. Mindfucker can go fuck himself and whoever is dumb enough to buy his bullshit. I thank Higher Power every morning and evening that it’s not me. I’m not dumb; I was duped. The dumb ones happily fuck him knowing he’s a cheater.
    She’s nothing but the biggest red flag on the planet. Have “fun”, you two! Lower companions should stick together.

    • “My goal is to never see him or hear his voice ever again as long as I live.”

      I share this goal.

      • Me too – and I would add “never have to even stand down wind of him either”!

    • Agreed with your entire statement.

      That “lets be friends” shit is for their benefit. They are so used to being in control of us (or at least he was me) that they think if Susie will be friends with me, she will still do my bidding in the divorce proceedings, and hey maybe I will even throw her a mercy fuck now and again.

      Guess again ass wipe.

    • “I’m not dumb; I was duped. The dumb ones happily fuck him knowing he’s a cheater.”

      Thanks for the reframe. I think it’s easy for me to beat myself up for being “dumb.” Duped and deceived is more like it.

      Also, my ex and his OW are positively MADE for each other! Both cheated on their spouses. Like finds like. I would guess/hope that deep down they know they are complete low-lifes.

      “Lower companions should stick together.” Amen to that! I almost hope they marry.

      • My ex and his skank did marry each other. I hear that life is not so wonderful. My son says that his dad sat moping in his chair (during the last visit) and said, “This isn’t how I planned my retirement.” Oh so, so sad…

        • Not how he planned it. Hahah.

          Penises aren’t know for their executive functioning.

            • My x married Miss Piggy after 8 ( possibly 10 ) years of stringing her along.

              During this time he dated other women, used sex workers, questioned his sexual preference and wanted to a lot of porn.

              I think that she truly believed that he was her knight in shining armour. He would sweep her away to marital bliss the moment she ended her marriage.

              She waited and danced pretty in the background. Luckily for her, her aunt died and she came into some serious cash!!!

              I have never seen a man so quick to @get a ring in it”!

              They have now been happily married for just over 2 years. The money is running out snd the kids report that the happy couple are riding the karma bus daily.

              ???? ( properly placed emoji )

          • I don’t think my ex’s life has turned out like he thought either…My STBX’s life went from a lovely wife, daughter, a business a home, a community of friends, etc. to being unemployed and living with a skank. He and his GF twu luv have two “fur babies”. Yes, my allergic ex of 25 years of denying me, and then our daughter, of a dog, now has a dog that is apparently the apple of his eye. He told our daughter that he got the dog as something to love because she doesn’t want to live with him-so essentially his child substitute. Thanks for telling our child that! This weekend, he asked our daughter (Note-not me), if we could swap weekends because next weekend is the dog’s birthday. I lost my rag, threw a pair of shoes at the wall, hid in my closet and called my mom and cried hysterically. I was so mad that I didn’t even take notice of how lame it is that a grown ass 50 year old man is having a birthday celebration for his dog. I’m a little freaked out right now. And no – I didn’t allow the weekend swapping. Maybe his penis could be better at executive functioning than his actual brain…

        • “I hear that life is not so wonderful”

          It never is for couples that got together by cheating. Once the thrill is gone (and it always ends) they are left with each other, two defects that will blame the other for money woes, financial instability, kids not speaking to them, being outcasts, etc.

          • Absolutely, there may be a few cases where they “win” a better life; but so rare. As you said they are who they are and they are with each other now. As CL has said one of them generally pay a high price to have the other and that one who paid the high price is going to want to collect a lot more and will resent it when it doesn’t happen.

            I am one who believes that many times these guys thinks that high is going to last with the new woman; and when it doesn’t, as of course it won’t and all hell breaks loose as he tries to collect on his great new life.

            Yes I know you guys get screwed too, but since in my case it was the guy who did the screwing me over, I am sticking with that.

  • Thanks all for the comments and thank you Chump Lady for the insights.

    What this woman was able to do to me damaged me for quite a while, and I feel like I’m in a good place now. I think these emails and calls, they do derail me for a time. But then I take a step back, take a breath, and remember who I’m dealing with. A master manipulator desperate to not be seen as “the bad guy.” The same woman that blamed her infidelities on me.

    It’s good to get confirmation from all of you, and I greatly appreciate it. She sucks and thankfully I’m no longer part of her world.

    • This is quite simple. She either wants to feel less like a piece of shit by being “friends” or she would like you as a backup plan.

      Probably a little of both.

      Don’t read any more into it… deserve better.

    • Dear Confused,
      I hear you. This is not universal, I’m sure, but from what I’ve read on this site, it sounds like cheaters who are women pull the “nicey-nice” mindfuck even more often than male cheaters do, after separation and/or divorce. It might be a gendered socialization thing. It also might be that women are more likely to be covert or communal narcissists, or borderline, as opposed to overt (malignant) narcissists.

      Whatever it is, I sympathize with you, because my STBX (we are both women) is doing the same thing to me. She continues to violate my boundaries horribly, even after separation – most recently in October, when she initially refused to make my DD9 mask/distance during play dates with a certain friend, until I enforced the boundary that I would not take DD9 for custody time if I could not be certain they were following public health guidelines (I’m at higher risk for severe disease if I’m infected). Those 10 days of stoopid negotiation were definitely triggering, and my hyperglycemia spiked. But ever since then, STBX has been all nicey-nice whenever we’ve had to talk about things. (That’s been more often than I would like in part because we are finalizing the divorce, and in part because of Covid.) It’s like she’s trying to show me that she’s actually a decent person after all, and “cares” about me. But of course I never know when the other shoe will drop, and when she will be unreasonable about something else again. So, every interaction still feels very triggering and unstable.

      It came up in the comments the other day that we chumps can be very confused by being treated with kindness after having been abused. We’re like beaten dogs (proverbially), just wanting some affection after abuse. We have to work through that desire for kindness from someone and make sure it doesn’t lead us into problematic relationships in the future. Fortunately, though, it’s a no-brainer when dealing with superficial “kindness” from our ex-cheaters: they’ve already shown that they don’t have our best interests at heart, so we can just write off their “kindness” as some angle they’re working. It doesn’t matter what the angle is; no need to untangle that skein. It’s likely to be something appropriately childish, like wanting kibbles/approval/absolution from you.

      My STBX smuggled a card to me in DD9’s things for Yom Kippur (Jewish day of atonement) in 2020, that said, “I won’t ask for forgiveness again, but some day I hope you can forgive me.” ???? That card went directly into the trash. For a long time, I was confused by STBX too, because she seems so confused herself, rather than actively abusive. Now I just ignore, ignore, ignore. Chronically violating clearly-articulated boundaries IS abuse, regardless of the reason(s). The only thing I would ask you is, have you clearly articulated your boundary to your ex? It might be worth doing that, one time, and then seal the hatches.

      All best to you, ((confused.))

      • Thank you for the kind words.

        I have told her that we can’t be friends and that I have no interest in being her friend. I’ve also advised her that the only two circumstances where I’m okay talking to her on the phone are 1) emergencies about the children or 2) issues dealing with the sale of the marital home. The home is sold thankfully, so honestly unless one of the children gets hurt, we have no reason to ever speak on the phone.

        Some time ago, I did tell her all of the above and I could tell she was annoyed and hurt by it. But, that’s her problem. So for now, the only way she gets to me is via emails like I described. I never reply to these “nice” emails, they just go straight into the trash with no response.

        Something tells me that she’ll try again with another one of these innocent-seeming emails and I’ll have to put an end to them. “Unless this is about the children, don’t send me any further emails like this one.”That’s the line I plan to use. No fluff, just facts.

        • No response is a response. Don’t dignify her crapola. Responding is giving her what she wants: for her to know that she got to you. Ignoring a narc is the best punishment, they can’t stand it.

          Carry on Confused!

        • Just ignore her- any response is throwing her kibbles. To these types any attention, even bad attention is good attention; being ignored is what they cannot tolerate. Anyway, in her warped mind if you respond in anyway you have acknowledged her right to send you this divel.

        • I would just delete the email with no response. Far more powerful. If you tell her not to contact you she’ll assume you are still angry and distraught over losing her…don’t give her the satisfaction.

          • Yeah, don’t do that. When you’re forced to go NC with a person you’ve loved deeply, it’s not because you want to – it’s because you’ve already given her too many chances and she’s crossed your boundaries and betrayed your trust every single time. You owe her nothing.

            For a long time I was afraid to go NC because it meant it was truly over – which meant it was really that bad. It also meant I was really alone. I had this weird thought that it was like putting a beloved pet to sleep (corny and weird, I know, but it was that kind of dread; I knew I had to do it and it was the right thing, but it fucking killed me and was terrifying). NC is supposed to be forever, and that was really sad for me because it meant letting go of SO much more than just a weak, abusive cheater. Ashamed to admit I probably wrote ten emails, at various points, to say I did not want to be contacted again and would not reply. Humiliating. Didn’t want it to be real.

          • Yeah, I get caught out every time by the subtle fishing. I always think he’s just trying to solve something, but no…just trying to stir the shit. It’s great advice not to answer emails…I need to get better at this. It’s really triggering and I always think I need to work towards solving issues…but it’s not real.

        • I entirely understand your sentiment, but I want to caution you about sending a message like “Unless this is about the children, don’t send me any further emails like this one”

          In my experience, it is a bad idea to request (or demand) that the other person do (or not do) anything. You are creating an opening for the other person to say “you’re not the boss of me and I’ll do it if I want to”. Trying to prescribe or proscribe anything on your ex’s part is liable to fail: you only control your own actions, not hers. I *never* tell my ex what to do, or what not to do. If I don’t want her to do something, I inform her of what my response will be – it’s then her choice about whether to do it or not. For instance, I spent two years trying to move conversations to email instead of text, as the rapid back and forth of texting led to many arguments. Telling her not to text about non-urgent matters had no effect, so I started to respond via email to texts that were not time-sensitive. Over time, she has realized that texting doesn’t get her the instant gratification she desires, and nowadays she usually uses email appropriately. In your case, I’d tell her that if she won’t stop calling about non-urgent matters, you’ll stop answering the phone. You need to leave an option for emergency communication since you have kids, but that can be text.

          Don’t make a demand that you can’t enforce; it will frustrate you and – if your XW realizes you’re getting frustrated – may even perversely incentivize your XW to defy you just out of plain spite.

          • I agree. In many cases there is no need to announce anything or telegraph our intentions to these disordered FWs. In response to abandonment, harassment and emotional blindsiding I have learned to set firm boundaries and stick to them. The FW has set hours of communication for both his child and me. If he doesn’t comply he will be ignored. Since he didn’t believe me, I ended up blocking him except for the designated time because he kept harassing me at work. If he doesn’t give 24 hours notice and minimum details concerning visitation it gets cancelled. He is not allowed to come to my house or the police will be called. Consequences! I no longer repeat myself , give explanations, cajole or reason with the FW. It is not productive. He doesn’t do anything I ask unless he is legally forced to. I assume non-cooperation. There is no co-parenting. Forget parallel parenting; im solo. Do not engage. Do not respond to demands. Anything can and will be used against you. No response is generally the best response. Show them how much you don’t care by your silence.

    • Almost all of them do the same as your XW. I know mine did. They’re disordered, it comes with the territory. Mine, after almost 2 years of divorce, tried to get me to move to a different country with him. He wanted my resume so he could “get me a job.” Why the hell he thought I’d want to live anywhere near him is beyond me. And it was always something. We owned a home together and were still trying to sell it so I had to play nice for a while. Once the home was sold I blocked him every way possible, and it’s been so peaceful these last 3 years!

    • Come here every day. It will help. It has been nearly 5 years since my DDay, and I still rarely miss a day. CL/CN is like my personal cheering squad, and I am grateful for you all.

      I am a multiple chump: married three times, chumped three times. The second one would STILL attempt conciliatory letters, even though he knew I had remarried. He would find ridiculous reasons to contact me, and in the trash the letters would go. Then he would send me registered mail. The last one had to do with “needing a copy of our divorce decree so he could get his passport renewed.” My eyeballs rolled into the next County. At any rate, a family friend who is also an attorney sent him a nice letter with where he could find the information, along with a sentence stating that Ivy has made it clear she would like no further contact with you, and his firm is certain he will honor her desires.

      I haven’t heard from him since.

      • Twice married, twice chumped here ????‍♀️ I check all the boxes, I’m smart, funny, cute, a good mom and good wife, no addictions, no criminal record, my credit score is 805, I have a job, I pay my taxes, I am kind and considerate, a good cook. Then why????

        Yeah, I’ve got the regret and remorse calls from FW1, two years later and after I had remarried, I happily told him to F off. Fw2 came back to make amends for 2 years on his own, but one day told me he was going going to the store snd never came back.

        I must have a sign on my back that says “cheat on me”. The explanation for both was the same “that I deserve better and that they were unworthy”. Sigh….

    • I’m wondering why you would risk phone and text communication with someone you know manipulates you. What that means is that you can’t trust the truth content of anything you hear and that even if the content is technically true, she has an agenda that is about your best interest.

      What are you getting out of talking to her? Except in emergencies, information about the kids’ comings and goings can be communicated in email, which also provides confirmation for the court if needed.

  • If you’re unfamiliar with the tune:


    (music by Sheena Easton, lyrics by Confused guy)

    My Downey balls
    My Downey balls

    Where I come from there’s a place called ‘mindfuck’
    That’s the place where crazy ex comes and calls
    The situation’s creepy, the vibes are weird
    And she’s oddly concerned ’bout, my Downey balls

    My Downey balls
    My Downey balls

    She said she wanted to move on
    Let me know she was done
    Just want a new life, where boundries are drawn
    Celebrate Advent with my Downey balls . . .

    • This reminds me. I have some hideous 80’s clothes and jewelry to put on the bonfire.

      Thanks, Ux!

    • PS….the link to the tune before your parody is a great way to format it. Thank you!

    • I can’t ????????????????????

      I will never be able to hear that song again without thinking of My Downey balls bahsha


  • Confused,

    My ex was like this, mostly during divorce negotiations, when he was hoping to get me to agree to his terms. He “hoped” that “after the hard part” we could “be friends”; he wrote to say he’d bought me chocolates for Valentine’s Day because “kindness eases change” (but that if I felt that was inappropriate he’d eat them himself); sent me birthday wishes as “a gesture of good will”; said he’d been “thinking a lot about the good times”: confusing, yes, but by the time I said I wanted a divorce I was done, so I both saw through and ignored all such overtures.

    He tried this once or twice after the divorce was final, too, but I knew it was for image management (including self-image management, to convince himself he was a good compassionate Buddhist) and all in service to his “we grew apart” narrative about why we divorced, and just ignored him. (No young children, so I could go 99% no contact.)

    Your ex’s overtures are the equivalent of termites eating slowly at the beams holding up your house; she’s trying to undermine your resolve. Have no doubt: she wants something, and all these offers of “help” or “caring” are really in service to her getting whatever it is she wants. She just wants to extract value from you.

    • ” termites eating slowly at the beams holding up your house;”

      Such a good analogy. In fact it is much the same technique most of them use to destroy the marriage, they themselves weaken the structure slowly in increments, then drop the bomb on it. They they want to be “friends”.

    • Adelante,

      Yes to all this. I love the termite metaphor. Mine ate away at my beams for 35 years. Spackling compound held it all together, barely. (And I thought I had a good marriage.????)

      Also, my ex is so similar to yours. Same words. Same damn BS.

    • Yeah, it’s blatantly manipulative. My approach to hoovering gifts is different. For example, my ex told our daughter he wants to buy me a hot tub, as he knows it would help soothe my aches and pains. He’s trying to appear caring, like I’ll believe he’s changed. Pffft! I’ll take the hot tub but he sure as hell won’t be in it with me as he’s hoping to be.
      I’ll happily accept hoover gifts and just as happily ignore the hoover. Let him learn how it feels to be used.

      • I’ll take the gifts too. It’s the least he can do after screwing me and our babies for the rest of our lives!

        I get to be the taker for once. Thank you mr. Arsehole, now go crawl back to the 7th ring of hell.

      • Interesting! I’m of two minds regarding gifts.

        On the one hand, kudos to you for being able to accept whatever hoover gifts come your way. I worry, however, that some chumps (like me) might feel obliged or otherwise get wobbly if they accept gifts. I guess we need to know ourselves.

        I also worry that some cheaters will use the acceptance of gifts as a sanctioning of their behavior and as a way to weasel their way back in. Give ’em an inch….

        My adult kids have discussed this and have come to different conclusions. Two said they’ll return any gift to the store for cold, hard cash. The third has said he would return to sender, unopened.

        By the way, my ex hasn’t sent any gifts, so I guess this is a moot point. I am somewhat puzzled that he hasn’t tried to send a gift to his granddaughter whom he last saw in October 2019 when she was 6 months old. That said, I will not try to figure out what goes through the mind of a disordered person. The cluster B force is strong with this one! Not my circus!

        • I wouldn’t take gifts because I don’t want to think of Jackass every time I look at something. But that’s just one perspective.

  • My nowhusband was married to XW who (at 7 years in) said that she would be happier without him and sought greener grass. He pick-me danced for 6 months whereupon she told him it was pointless, she wanted out but (surprise) she stopped submitting the needed documents to move the divorce along.

    Her portion of the divorce settlement was more than generous.
    After all was final, she circled back around asking to remarry.

    Uh, no.

    So because he declined to remarry, the divorce became “all his fault” and she told their child so.

    She remarried a year before he and I started dating. This fellow seems nice enough, but he can not supply the level of comfort (world travel, luxuries) that my nowhusband could (then and now) afford, so her “greener grass” plan didnt work out so well.

    We now deal with endless vitriol from her.
    Nowhusband refused to be Plan B, he got wrath.

    The OP sounds like he is in the “Plan B Pitch” from his STBXW

    Shut the shit down

    • Kindness eases change?

      Kindness also fuels long-term relationships in perpetuity, Einstein.

      At the end of the day, what they do and say can just be taken as confirmation that ending the relationship is a no-brainer.

    • Gosh Unicorn, I can’t believe you’re still going through that crap with your husband’s ex!

      • She insisted that the divorce decree state that each party pay half of childs “agreed upon” college tuition. Child is good student and got into good schools. After choosing her favorite, her mom simply said “I dont agree with it, so I wont pay”. We paid for it all.

        Child graduates at the end of this semester and her mom has never visited her school. What a loss for them both !! How petty.

        We have just learned there will be in-person graduation with few tickets. I will give up my seat as needed (I watched one of my kids graduate, Im good).

        • Give up your seat? What about your child who wants the sane parent to be there sharing and her accomplishment and all the hard work.
          And what about your right to be there.
          Stand up and claim your place it’s your rightful place and it helps put the world in good order.

  • Cheaters miss cake. They miss people not knowing they were cheaters. They want more cake.

    When you have children you have to endure social situations sometimes. You don’t have to be friends. You should be civil, and not cause a scene, for the sake of the children. It is the child’s school event, concert, graduation, marriage. Not the time to rage against injustice.

    You cannot worry about the cheater’s happiness. They think about it all the time. Sometimes reality does not meet their expectations. Bummer, Cool, Wow! Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you have to make your own plans for your own life. Being able to do that should make you happy. Smiley Face.

    • Yep, they miss having a clean image. Mr. Arsehole told me himself, that he would always be “the cheater husband” in everyone’s eyes , so he rather start clean elsewhere where no l e knows he is in fact an arsehole.

      His has his people and cheerleaders at work convinced that he is a victim of sorts, who knows what he has told them. He is Mr. Nice Guy there. If they only knew

      • I concur on the people thinking they are victims. My ex wife painted me as a domestic abuser and she works in education with young kids. I know her work had some involvement with social services after her allegations. However what they don’t know and what I have evidence of is her on work property taking sexual photos of herself that she sent to multiple men or the clear evidence she was sneaking out at lunch to meet men in their cars. She has zero idea I have any of that evidence. She would lose her job in a heartbeat and plus I know she smokes weed now so she would also lose her job for that. But sure, she is a little innocent victim with the big bad husband at home who just suddenly started beating her after 15 years.

        • Oh my god. How do you restrain yourself from that evidence somehow finding a way to her employer?

          I admire your restraint.

          • If she loses her job it means I have to pay more money and I’ve spoken about everything I have with my legal team and they advised to just keep it all as a doomsday plan for if she does anything major to me in the future. I left her and the divorce is now over plus I’ve got my new home etc so it’s really just a doomsday backup should she ever wish to go to war with me.

        • You demonstrate your character by taking the high road when your ex clearly does not reciprocate, but instead maligns you. Shit sandwich. Hope you never need to touch her dirty laundry, for the sake of you and your kids.

          On a différent note, and in no way implying you were abusive, CNL – I just want to point out that physical abuse can begin after years, and even decades. It often gradually escalates and is preceded, and accompanied, by other forms of abuse. I experienced it myself and have subsequently been learning more about this pattern. Abusers minimize, cast doubt and victim blame.

      • Yep, they create a new story for themselves and the whore.

        Some will buy it others won’t. The ex asshole was asked to leave the church he joined after we divorced, not sure what all happened, but evidently he got into it with the preacher. I am sure the story they told about their union was rewritten to make them the victims and me the bad guy.

        I don’t care, he is/was who he is/was and he couldn’t make himself over if he tried. As I know they lived in misery until the day he died.

  • I left my XW 6 years ago because of her cheating. The divorce was finalised nearly 4 years ago. We had children together (now grown) and I can assure you that trash bags do not change, ever. I’ve kept communication to the bare minimum, but every now and then she pops up like a Pantomime demon, doing what she always does which is being a twat. Good people don’t abuse their partners, ever. I know this as I now have 5 years with a normal person instead of a spoilt brat under my belt. Listen to Tracy and do not indulge her crap in any way. Better days lie ahead

    • Lol she pops up being a twat ???? that made my day. 100% right, these cheaters don’t stop being cheaters and liars no matter where they are or who they are with.

      • Like the game of whack-a-mole at the traveling ???? that shouldn’t be played. Not my ????, not my ????. Best saying I’ve ever learned from CN.

  • As most people have already said, she is manipulating you. Every time my STBX does something nice I brace for the (1) request to either do something or pretend we are still a happy family OR (2) -and this one happens more frequently – he’ll do something totally shady. Almost every time he puts on false pretenses of being nice, it is followed up by yet another asshole move. Stay strong!

  • I got the emojis for a while, and a cutesy voice when picking up the kids. Maintain grey rock and it goes away. As others point out it’s manipulation. She betrayed you. That she now wants to put a bow ribbon on it and attach a Hallmark card doesn’t turn it into a gift.

  • “Route all her other messages to a folder called ????”


  • Stop all phone calls. Right now. Talking to them gives them a stage for the manipulation and abuse. Written communication only. I can not stress this enough.

    Stbx turned on the charm as soon as he moved out. It is part of the cycle of abuse. “Come closer so I can hurt you again”.

    Set your boundaries and move on with your life.

  • Confused, it sounds like she found out that life after divorce isn’t all kibbles and bits. Now she has to do for herself all the things you used to do for her, and her booty callers certainly aren’t useful for doing the adulting. She wants to keep you hoping in case she decides she can’t take it anymore and wants her appliance back. She cries so you’ll feel sorry for her. She *wants* you to be confused as opposed to seeing through her games.
    Take CLs advice. Stop talking to her and let her continue to flounder, experiencing the natural consequences of her actions. The promiscuous twit is going to have a rough go of it without you around to be the grown up. As she ages, the shallow fuckboys will lose interest and she’ll be deprived of the kibbles she gets from male attention. Boo fucking hoo, bitch.

  • She’s not dumb. She knows you could be a useful resource in the future when: her car breaks down and she needs you to change a flat; when it is inconvenient to retrieve a kid and she wants you to drop what you are doing even though she has custody; when she needs a loan; etc.

    She is doing her best to maintain emotional strings developed during your years of marriage and your shared kids so that she can pull them at need.

    Her vaguely civil behaviors don’t “mean” anything except that your EX is not dumb, only manipulative.

    And even if you don’t believe my assessment, even if you think she is having a flutter of conscience and twinges of compassion, don’t get sucked in. Will a few nice words and some fabric softener make-up for her betrayal? In her world, she can do horrible things and make reparations for them with a laundry product and emojis. Is this the the ethical marketplace you want to return to?

    Most of us have ridden this carousel before–often for a long time before we divorced. Any pleasant behavior is interpreted as evidence of regret and turning over a new leaf. It’s not.

    Spend your emotional energy building a better life for yourself not on hoping your EX is reforming.

  • “You’re the sane parent.”

    This is such an important piece of advice and please please please always keep this in mind.

    I underestimated when I was younger what my mother’s value as the sane parent was. Granted, even though I felt general malaise when my FW father (FWF) was around, I didn’t know what exactly FWF’s deal was, I just knew I didn’t feel safe with him. I always felt safe with my mother. She had her own difficulties being married to FWF for 54 years. As a kid I knew she wasn’t happy and was sometimes deeply depressed, but she was always there for us kids. She brought the normalcy to our lives. She, honestly, sacrificed her own joy and happiness and fulfillment (potential career-wise) for the kids. I didn’t know it or honor it at the time because as a kid I was very focused on survival needs (is there enough money that we will have a house and our needs met) because I was in a constant low-level state of fear.

    You’ll hear it said that it takes just one sane parent, and in my case that was true. Despite FWF’s fuckery in ways I didn’t even know about as a kid, and even though my mother was sometimes depressed, she was there. She was a constant. She could be depended on. She was there when we got home from school. We were together for dinner. She took us to our activities. Just her presence was enough.

    Because FWF traveled for work a lot, it was like my mother was a single mother with a sometimes husband who paid the bills at least.

    We kids have our own share of trauma, sorrows, and issues we’ve had to deal with, but none of us are as fucked up as we could be if we didn’t have the stability of our mother.

    So, Confused, remember that. You owe nothing to your FWEW. You owe your kids the gift of being the stable parent, a constant in their lives who teaches them by example how to be brave, how to stand up for themselves, how to not be taken in by a charlatan, how to have dignity and self-respect, and how to face challenges with grace. Embrace that and know that it is the most important thing you will ever do!

    • Thank you so much for this reply! I was always called the downer because I wouldn’t agree to spontaneous fun without evaluating everything, like money and logistics. But when I could commit, I did and didn’t go back on my commitments. One time the ex agreed to play golf with our son in college on a Saturday, two hours away from us. The ex had his brother come in unexpectedly for the weekend, so he just canceled on our son. You would think, well… in this case, that’s understandable. But his brother lived 3 hours away and they got together for golf at least once per month. This was the first time in three years that my son called his dad to arrange golf. I railed at my ex and told him that he had to go because he promised. He just said, “He’ll understand.” Oh he understood alright. Right after that, I called my son and said that I would be there to play golf with him. So I got up at 4 AM to make it up there for an 8AM tee time. As my sons are all adults, I’ve seen how my being responsible and reliable has really paid off. They still visit their dad (he is their father after all), but if they NEED anything, they call me. They know that they can depend on me. They ‘understand’.

      • The kids know.

        They smell BS a mile away.

        Chumps might be imperfect, but most of us are there. We’re constants. The kids see that.

  • Sounds like the post-divorce life isn’t what she’d hope it would be, so now she’s sniffing around to see if you’re down for opening the door again.

    I’ve never been married, but this happens a a lot in dating. A guy (I’m hetero woman) will ghost/fade out or sometimes explicitly stated that he found someone else, then, months later, after their new squeeze didn’t work out, they come back under the guise of being friends to see if you’ll be amenable to being put on their rotation.

    They don’t state this, of course, but that’s what it is.

    I wouldn’t entertain this mess, especially for someone who lied and cheated with multiple partners.

  • I am getting a covid vaccine tomorrow..YAY!! My STBX asked if I would please call him Saturday morning to let him know I was ok, had no bad reaction. “Why”, I said. he replied, “well, what are you going to do if something happens and you are alone”…I’m gonna do the same damn thing I would have done if something had happened when you were out having MSM and I thought you were working!!!! With tears in his eyes, he said, “I’m trying to do better.” What an effing hoot!! He doesn’t give a shit, just saying things he thinks I want to hear…nope, only thing I want to hear from him is nothing, no contact!

    • I liked the “Why” and would have left it there.
      Wish you all the best with the vaccine. We are gonna be all right, we chumps are the sane people.

  • My STBHX left on DDay and moved straight in with OW. I went NC and filed for divorce. 6 months after the divorce he contacted me.
    He still had some of my stuff
    If he could send it to me or drop it of.
    I Told him to send it.
    He knew I had moved since we sold our family house. Never heard from him again.

    It’s probably image Management. See how nice I am, returning your stuff and just hand me some kibbles. since I gray rock him there was no fun and he did not get to see me. It is always about them.

  • “In fact, friendliness after inflicting trauma (betrayal, upending your life in the resulting divorce), is a mindfuck.”

    So true!

    While going through the slow, mind-bending discovery process of just how many men my then-wife had fucked as part of her secret life, there were two occasions where she cried and lamented “it’s just all so sad”. I likened it to a murderer standing at the scene of the crime and claiming how sad it all is.

    The crying and sadness is for themselves. They got caught and now they’re facing consequences. Yes, it is sad (more like devastating) that she chose to destroy our family and put many other families at risk because, as she put it, she “needs more excitement than normal people”. But what are you gonna do? A sociopath is gonna sociopath. No two ways about it.

    I’ve since learned that whenever my ex appears to be acting nice I instantly know to be suspicious. It’s almost always a trick or manipulation. As a covert narcissist sociopath, she’s a MASTER manipulator.

    No phone conversations. Only communicate by email, and unless it’s a dire emergency wait at least a few hours to respond. Best of luck!

    • Oh, yes, the sad routine. It goes something like this:

      “How could I be bad if I feel sad and express regret and remorse?”

      “If you can’t forgive me, you’re the bad person.”

      I’m sure this is my ex’s logic when he contacts me with that sad-sack shit. And then he goes crying to his mother, OW, and few friends he has left.

  • “When I talk to her on the phone about things to do with our children …”

    I didn’t take this as LW doesn’t know what to do with the children. I read it as the discussions are “about things that are related to the children.”

  • I recently went very low contact with my FOO. When they noticed the change in my behavior, my mother emailed saying she’d been doing a lot of thinking about what our former family therapist said. (In actual practice, she was my therapist that they hired to ‘fix me’ so I wouldn’t be such a problem, but instead we spent many sessions talking about how they were dysfunctional but refused to admit it. The irony.)

    So anyway, she sent a contrite email asking if I know of any good books on scapegoating so she can better understand her role in it. Which sounds great—until you realize it’s all talk. The old me would’ve responded with tons of hopium (she’s/they’re willing to try!) and spent a great deal of time and energy researching a book. Only for nothing to change, or even to worsen. The response I actually sent was something along the lines of “Not sure! But there’s a ton of great books out there, so I’m sure you’ll find something! Good luck! Love you!” Super positive in tone (so I can’t be accused of sullenly not wanting to ‘work it out’). But essentially grey rock.

    Unless I actually see change, genuine sincere change, there’s no reason for me to enter the circle of crazy again.

    • Good for you. My sister is going through a bit of mindfuck with her daughter. She called me to tell me that her daughter is now sending her texts and saying, “I think we should work on our relationship.” This is the same daughter that calls her mother awful names, is a flaming alcoholic, only visits her mother when she can drop off her kids so she can go partying, etc. My sister seems to think that she’s changing. I said, “You’re reading it wrong. She wants something from you… again. Don’t bite. You’ll find out soon why she’s trying to work on the relationship.” The key words are “WE” should work…, not, ‘I’m sorry, Mom. I haven’t been a good daughter to you.’

  • My stbx has ignored my very existence for over a year while we were living in the same house. After I left, he has sent texts of things he has done that are nice like cleaning up rooms of the house that have needed to be cleaned out, letting me know about taking animals to the vet and a few other things.
    We still have joint taxes. Over the years he has rarely gone with me to have them done. When I scheduled our tax appointment this year, all he could tell me was how he was too busy to be there, has better things to do, blah, blah.
    A few days before the scheduled appointment he said that he will be going with me like I should be blessed with his presence. But I had rescheduled the appointment and did not tell him because why?
    I should note that even though he will mention these things he has not communicated with me directly for over a year, even when we lived in the same house. He always sends a group text that includes our daughter. Nothing like triangulation!

    After over a year of his ignoring, discarding and acting like I don’t exist, all of a sudden he is doing somewhat nice things. Like he is feeding me breadcrumbs for who knows why. I guess image management.

    • Truly disordered.

      My ex wife has now found four excuses to email me in the past 24hrs and every last one goes straight to the email bin.

      • oh, there is nothing like lengthy emails they write while with OW or OM, right?
        Doesn’t matter the content of these emails.
        What do you answer to these?
        “I’m flattered that you write to me on a Saturday evening. Have a nice weekend!”

  • ????????????????????‍♀️????❌ Emojis not sent in response to such an attempt. Blockety block block.

    • Here’s the appropriate emoji that pops up in my thought ???? bubble -????

  • On the smiley-face emoji thing: I noticed several years ago that when a smiley emoji shows up at the end of a sentence that basically contains a “you really should have known better than to do/say that to me” message, that smiley face actually means “bitch.” To wit:

    “I think you’ll find I answered that question in paragraph three of the email you’re replying to. ????”

    “Just a reminder not to leave food in the lounge frig more than three days. ????”

    “Thanks for the constructive criticism, Mike. I believe we’re all trying to do our best here. ????”

    Once I recognized her natural habitat, I came to love Smiley Bitch. It’s very satisfying to let her loose in emails where it wouldn’t be smart to write out my true feelings.

  • This is part of the cheater playbook, Confused. No contact, no contact, no contact. Kid related issues only via email or other electronic platform.

    There was so much “nice” manipulation by my exH after DDay (I filed for divorce 3 weeks later after getting my ducks in a row). While my exH was seeking the pity party from me throughout DDay and the divorce proceedings (e.g. “I lost the best thing that ever happened to me by my selfish actions….”), he was schmoozing the OW and smearing my name to others.

    Stay away and disconnect any way of communication with you outside of what is recommended by the court for the kids. Save you the emotional and mental anguish. It’s time to focus on you, your health, and your healing.

    • ““I lost the best thing that ever happened to me by my selfish actions….”)”

      They didn’t lose anything, they blatantly tossed it away for strange. That is how much we meant to them.

  • In my experience and observations, cheaters/abusers never really move on but they are also never “there” to begin with. They seem to exist in perpetual relationship pergatory or limbo, never wanting what they have until they definitively don’t have it anymore. They “occupy” other people’s lives but don’t assimilate. Something to do with internalized childhood abuse, attachment disorder and that time Uncle Pete did something unspeakable at the lake house, boo hoo, etc.

    Even the ones who do the brutal disappearing act tend to do so because, if they did look back, they might see their victim genuinely moving on which can trigger territorial rage. So not looking back is a way of artificially freezing this delusion that the betrayed ex is still curled up in the fetal position crying the FW’s name. I’ve seen it so many times. THEY NEVER LET GO. Only normal people genuinely let go. It may take time and heartache but once we’re through we’re really through.

    Sociopathic types don’t have “regret” in the way normal people think of it; it’s more akin to FOMO or the way a former colonizing country remains forever pissed off that the smaller country that was once exploited for resources and slave labor has acheived sovereign independence and is thriving. Centuries can pass but the former colonizers never really lay off trying to undermine and re-subjugate.

    So, pardon the imperfect analogy, chumps are all basically Cuba– except hopefully without the endless political propaganda, repression of homosexuals, etc. I just mean in the sense of needing to keep the “revolution” alive to combat the perpetual “nostalgic” aggression of superpower FWs to regain symbolic control of the lush chump island paradise and to remain independent (and free of crappy fast food chain restaurants).

    I was forming these thoughts after meeting some hyper educated young Cubans who are sick to death of Castroism but also don’t want to return to the murderous old banana republic days and don’t want Walmart and McDonald’s to take over the country.

    Erm, that analogy sort of falls apart– needs work. But you know what I mean– sovereignty, rich soil and sunshine, great cigars and resistance to hegemonic control but without internal repression– be the tropical indy chump Utopia!

    Anyway, even if, in international terms, that ideal doesn’t exist, it can in personal terms.

    • “Even the ones who do the brutal disappearing act tend to do so because, if they did look back, they might see their victim genuinely moving on which can trigger territorial rage. So not looking back is a way of artificially freezing this delusion that the betrayed ex is still curled up in the fetal position crying the FW’s name. I’ve seen it so many times. THEY NEVER LET GO. Only normal people genuinely let go. It may take time and heartache but once we’re through we’re really through.”

      Pretty good description of the full discard from cheater POV. I’ve often thought that the full discard happens when they’re pretty sure the Chump won’t tolerate their BS any more and it’s just easier to walk away without thinking about what they are leaving behind–either the devastation (which they don’t want to own) or the recovery (which is an intolerable insult to their wonderfulness.)

      • Which do you think they’re thinner-skinned about– witnessing someone else’s devastation or the insult to their wonderfulness? Lol, personally I think “B.”

        • Agree, B. After I learned about some new (or old) devastating thing my ex had done to hurt me, HE said in tears, “I just wish… I just wish you wouldn’t be angry with me.” That’s what was going through his mind, and that’s what he was worried about. Always – while not giving a shit about me. So much evidence of this, in retrospect. Another time, “I just want to feel like a decent human again.” (Also crying.) The list goes on…

        • There is no doubt in my mind it really hurts their pride when the chump moves on.

          My ex did a hoover early on when he wanted to get our car for his politicking, but it was for his benefit; using my emotions and destroying me again was of no importance to him.

          He never tried again, until he found out I had gone out on a date, I am talking I had not seen him or heard form him in months and then boom; I get a call from the preacher that fw wants to have a meeting to “try again”.

          I went, knowing I was not interested; quite frankly I just wanted the chance to reject him, which I did. He tried twice after that, that I remember. I again said NO. I think it really bothered him that I was no laying in the corner devastated, hoping he would return; as I was in the beginning.

          These fws forget that the more time a chump stays away from the abuser, the clearer we can see them.

  • Cheaters are like this when they want something. I’m sure it is turning out that life on her own isn’t all roses and sunshine, so she wants to keep you around as a back-up. If you respond positively, it will soon become, “Oh, can you be a dear and help me with this bill?”

    The EX wants to be friends too. His definition of a friend? Well, last week, he was trying to bully me into signing fraudulent loan documents so that he could get some extra cash. I refused, and he threatened, called me names, and then told me that I needed to be more “friendly.” In his mind, friend = someone who gives him money. I don’t need that kind of friend.

    • My FW father (FWF) is in the process of trying to get a post-divorce loan because my mom was smart and got as much cash as she could and FWF is stupid and refuses to liquidate certain assets that he should so he is going to get a loan. He is lying to the loan officer about how much income he expects this year, the value of his estate, and what his spending will be. I called her and spoke to her directly and told her that his income is a lie, the estate value is a lie, and he will spend all the money that they will loan him and he will ask for more.

      I’m charged with helping him get her the documents she needs and so I am giving her more than what she asked for so that they can do full due diligence on him. It is complicated because my parents’ divorce was just finalized and the assets had been frozen since June so if she only looks at the past couple of quarters then it won’t be a complete picture.

      I sent her the document that shows his spending was probably over five times what his income was last year. We’ll see what the underwriters say!

      • Most people would be so torn and Swiss in this kind of situation. Kudos to you for firmly siding with principle. I’m sure you’ll get idle bystander flak for it but as some Taoists say, “Never rob anyone of their consequences.”

  • Sounds like you need to make one extra change in your life: change the laundry softener with an ecological one (like vinegar).
    That way, when she drops this kind of promotions in the conversation, you can say: “I’m not using that, I don’t need that”.
    This is just a hook she used to … hook you back. Clean up, drop all the hooks so she has nothing to cling on.
    The fact that you spent the time out of your new life writing this letter tells a lot. You need more time to heal. For that to happen, means you need more distance. Please, for your own good, don’t let any hooks in sight. Change. Find better alternatives.
    Make space in your heart and mind for something better.

    • I was thinking the same thing, especially after the new scientific reports and Erun Brickivuch’s coverage of synthetic hormone disruptors in conventional fabric softener and other products that are threatening human fertility in measurable ways.

      I’ve been eco for years for the sake of my kids and one chump rebellion was to go even harder core on it, especially when I saw the secret “affair credit card” bill and realized why FW and his former shmoops looked like hell– lousy diet and tons of booze.

      Affairs seem to be generally unhealthy. Part of FWs general imagined “rebellion” against the “repression” of marriage was rejecting anything crunchy that our family had always practiced for the kids’ allergies and health. You could say he shot himself in the foot– or the hairline (excellerated hair loss) or gut, which began cantilevering over the ridiculous skinny jeans he started wearing to look younger (a la the hilarious bird meme:

      Meanwhile in part to save myself from the negative health effects of stress and save $ on medical bills, I doubled down on the keto organic diet, regular excercise, even started making natural cleaning products like homemade dishwasher detergent (super cheap and takes two seconds– 3/4 salt, 1/4 pure washing soda/sodium carbonate, two dabs natural liquid soap).

      Leaving everything toxic behind– good for blood pressure and complexion. Plus it’s funny when FWs start looking like what they really are. 😉

  • I would bet my life that as soon as the phone call was over, those tears dried up and she was immediately swiping left/swiping right on Tinder (or whatever dating app she has.) Shoot! She was probably on Tinder during the phone call. Confused Guy, This is how you continue to stay confused. You engage with a Fuckwit. I get it. You put all of your value in whether or not a Fuckwit appreciates you. When the rug gets pulled, it takes a VERY long time to realize that your value does not depend on whether or not she recognizes it. But believe me, when you finally realize your own value, you will no longer be confused. Stay the course. Stay No Contact. And someday soon you will no longer be confused. There will not be a doubt in your mind that your ex is truly a Fuckwit, and then you will be so, so glad she’s no longer your problem.

  • Thanks, I needed this today. Currently in in-house separation, he is being reasonable, thoughtful and helpful, ie all the things he wasn’t when he thought he had his live-in nanny doing everything for him and the kids. It is a mindfuck.

  • I’m seeing those attempts by me ex-wife as well. I’m full on in control however and keep it all to texting (we are bio-parents of the same kids).

    I believe the cheaters have to process their life choices just we we were forced to do by our exes. I think its common for them to circle back to the scene of the crime as they try to work out their own lives.

    At a certain point the chumps get past the anger and evolve to their newer life. It becomes easier to deal with an ex who tries to make contact. It’s easier to manage when you’re no longer a rage of injustice machine anymore lol.

  • Your ex must hang out with mine. You just have to laugh at the complete disregard they had for us while they were out screwing around, but NOW they care?

    My STBXH does this shit. I stick to business and only contact him when I absolutely have to. But sometimes he will find reasons to try to rope me into other conversations. Where was this effort when I was begging him to stay? Where was this effort when he went no contact to fuck around with one of my friends? I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work both ways. Stay strong, Confused, you’ll be much better off in the long run. Good luck!

  • Augh, the forget-that-I-am-Satan-in-the-flesh-because-see-I’m-concerned-about-you card. It’s infuriating image management. While my husband of 22 years was fast asleep, chanced upon sex videos of him and his mistress on his phone. I had no fucking idea. I thought we were happy! Woke him up and threw him out the front door at 1 am. A few hours later, I woke up to texts from friends, family from across the globe, and casual acquaintances saying he texted them to check on me because he was concerned about me. “We are getting a divorce. We have been having problems for years but that’s not important. Please check on her and the children. I worry about them.” 90% of them thought he was so caring for texting them to check on me. I was being unforgiving! I was being harsh! I wouldn’t accept my role in the situation! Oh my God. Unfriend, block, block, block. He literally was sleeping in his car in the grocery store parking lot at 5 am in his pajamas and all he could think about is his damn image. The irony is astounding.

  • It’s a hoover. Keeping you in her stable of people to use.
    It occurs to her that old xhusband appliance can be useful… listening to sob stories, lending money, being an extra babysitter for the kids when she wants to go away for a banging weekend…
    But most importantly it legitimizes her position that “we mutually decided and we are all good now” false narrative.

    Betrayal of the relationship. Lying and neglecting responsibilities. Fucking over the chump because she wanted to.

    She showed you who she is… Believe her the first time.
    Move on from these people.
    No shit sandwich for me thank you.

  • There is no understanding someone with borderline personality disorder. There is no understanding anyone with narcissist personality disorder. There is no understanding someone who cannot adult.

    But, here is one thing that must be understood. They do NOT know how to create a stable life because they are not stable people and in fact stability bores them. They will latch onto another – who knows how to be stable – and they will feel safe to unleash their chaotic nature.
    The stable person, to whom they latch on, will be drained of all energy.

    You need your ex-wife in your life about as much as you need to relocate your home onto a toxic dump with polluted water.

    Keep focusing on being clean. Run far away from your ex. They do NOT change. They only grow older and more manipulative.

    If your ex asks if you need anything you can say:

    ???????????? don’t ever contact me again because I have a no contact policy with ???????????????????? and ???? ????You took the plunge ????long ago and I will no longer be ????????????????????.

    ????????My new best friend is ????????????????????????????????

  • I call this “ass-fuckery”
    My Ex has done this many times. Always trying to keep me off kilter and questioning her motives and intent. I did come to Jesus at some point and realized one thing about these Narcs. They are always manipulating, controlling, trying to worm into your mind and life. They HATE being ignored.
    I ignore her.

    Of course that doesn’t stop her from turning my kids against me and lying to them about me and such.

    I may be immune to most of her shit now, but they are still kids and they believe everything she says.

    I cannot tell you how difficult it has been to get her to leave me and my new wife alone. Even after blocking her in every way, having my lawyer warn her to not communicate with me, etc. She always finds a way to get her poison out there.

    In the end they don’t care about the lives they destroy, the hearts that will never mend, the relationships that can never recover. It is ALWAYS, always about them and their desires. They don’t love, they consume.

    I have come a long way and to be honest it is pretty much a miracle I am doing so good. I could go on and on. So many terrible stories of an incessant narcissist doing everything they can to rob the hearts and minds of the people around them.

    Stay strong

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