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UBT: Inform Me About Your Girlfriend

planet narcissistSome cheaters find it really objectionable when their ex-chumps start dating. I’m not really sure what they were expecting. (Shrine maintenance, castle walls, vows of chastity?)

Today’s Universal Bullshit Translator submission comes from “Bob.” (I’m changing his name from the private group from whence this came) whose ex would like to meet his girlfriend… For The Children. As unmitigated gall is a change from the UBT’s steady cookie diet, without further ado…

***

My soon-to-be-ex wife moved into the downstairs bedroom over two years ago and moved out of the house for her affair partner in October 2019. I have a daughter who is 7 and a son who is 5 — we split custody 50/50.

She introduced the children to her affair partner as early as March 2019 and I now understand (from my children and not from her) that her affair partner will be moving in with her soon. My heart hurts that the children will have to live with these losers. He has a 3-year-old daughter that will be sharing a room with my daughter and blew up his family for my POS STBX.

Anyway, I have been dating a wonderful divorced woman who is also a chump and has 5 year old son. We decided together that it would now be okay for us to do some meetups with our children together (no overnights, no explaining that we are dating, just going to state parks, hiking, having fun, eating ice cream, etc). I am a very protective father and always want to do what is best for my children.

I am as minimal contact as can be and she has been awful in the divorce process. I know the only response to this e-mail below is no response, but would love input. [Edits to her original email are in brackets]

E-mail:

Bob,

I learned tonight from [Daughter 7] that she and [Son 5] have met [girlfriend] and her son. She mentioned this weekend but also said that you all have been to [state park] (maybe it’s the same weekend).

While you and I move on in our lives, there is a common courtesy that we make each other aware of the people we are bringing into [children]’s lives. I extended that courtesy when I told you about [my affair partner] and I disclosing our relationship to the kids.

As such, I would appreciate you keeping me informed about how you and [the girl you are dating] explain your relationship (currently friends? boyfriend/girlfriend? have they slept over?) so that I may best support our children. Also, I would like to make contact with her and speak with her now that she has been brought into the picture. Please provide an email or phone number to reach her.

While you may continue to believe that amicable co-parenting can only exist after we’ve reached a divorce settlement, that has never been my opinion. The well-being of our children has always, and will always, come first. I suggest you adopt the same approach for the sake of the two beautiful people that we are responsible for.

Thank you,

[the garden tool]

Update: Since I posted this I just received the following text:

“I hope you plan on responding positively to my email last night”

Bob, you realize that you should not respond at all to this, right? But the UBT is not constrained by court orders or courtesy, so….

Bob,

I learned tonight from [Daughter 7] that she and [Son 5] have met [girlfriend] and her son. She mentioned this weekend but also said that you all have been to [state park] (maybe it’s the same weekend).

I am thrilled to receive this information from the children to fuel my false equivalency arsenal. Of course, I have sworn them both to vows of secrecy about my affair partner and his Uhaul. But you! On a casual date! At a state park! Report to me at once so I may document this for our impending divorce.

While you and I move on in our lives, there is a common courtesy that we make each other aware of the people we are bringing into [children]’s lives. I extended that courtesy when I told you about [my affair partner] and I disclosing our relationship to the kids.

I eat cognitive dissonance for breakfast. I, your cheating ex, am the proper authority to lecture you on courtesy.

Please extend the common courtesy to me that I extended to you. Lie to me, detonate my life, expose our children to creepy dude who fucks a married mommy. Engrave that mindfuck on a silver platter, hold open its door, and write it a thank you note. #manners

As such, I would appreciate you keeping me informed about how you and [the girl you are dating] explain your relationship (currently friends? boyfriend/girlfriend? have they slept over?)

HOW DARE YOU HAVE ANY OTHER GODS BEFORE ME!

Who is this interloper? Have you touched her? Where? How many times? Second base? Third? Were tongues involved? Lube? Scented candles? I MUST KNOW!

so that I may best support our children.

How will they ever deal with this crushing knowledge that Daddy loves someone who isn’t Mommy?

I eat cognitive dissonance for lunch, dinner, and middays snacks.

Also, I would like to make contact with her and speak with her now that she has been brought into the picture.

This is a threat. I’m going to contact your girlfriend and scare her off. For The Children, of course. She should know that I am the CENTRAL PRESENCE in your life. (Aside from babysitting.) And there’s no time for her and her insipid ice cream cones.

Please provide an email or phone number to reach her.

The UBT suggests, 1-800-FUCKOFF or GoboilURhead@gmail.com.

While you may continue to believe that amicable co-parenting can only exist after we’ve reached a divorce settlement, that has never been my opinion. The well-being of our children has always, and will always, come first. I suggest you adopt the same approach for the sake of the two beautiful people that we are responsible for.

While you may continue to believe that you will be rid of me after a divorce, that has never been my opinion. Triangulating with our children has always, and will always, come first.

“I hope you plan on responding positively to my email last night”

The lines are busy at 1-800-FUCKOFF. I left a voicemail.

****

Bob, continue to deny your ex’s centrality. Parenting software is your friend. Wishing you and your lady friend the best.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This just totally blew my mind. The gall of these bullshit artists is really quite unbelievable!! Cheaters have the most mind numbing narcissistic behavior. If I was Bob, I would tell her she can shove her messages where the sun don’t shine.

  • “Please provide an email or phone number to reach her.” I missed that line when reading it first. My brain must have auto-censored it in mode “it’s too stupid to be actually written”.

    The nerve. Never ceases to amaze.

    • I got a similar communication from my XW when she found out I was dating. I can’t remember if she demanded that I set up a meeting, or if it was just my girlfriend’s email address. It had the same overtones (“obviously, as a parent I have the right to know this person”) and the same complete lack of self-awareness, as she had never even acknowledged her AP’s existence, much less offered any information about him, for the 3+ years they had been together at that point. XW went so far as to try to conceal his existence even in the end phases of our divorce, amateurishly blacking out his name on credit card receipts, not realizing that (1) our daughter had cracked her phone and read all their salacious texts a year earlier (and told me about it), and also (2) if you put a black box over something it will draw people’s attention to it, and they can just click/delete the box to reveal what was underneath.

    • I also had to go back and read this part. WHAT!?

      The omnipotence of this creature is actually moronic. She has no superego at all to even disguise it. In her place, no matter how curious, I would not show it. But then, we are dealing with disordered people.

      And what a coward this POS is, using her kids this way.

    • I would be horrified and beyond livid if my theoretical future boyfriend gave my number to his ex so she could “get to know me.” That is just such a crazy request.

  • Although no response is the best response — always and forever — I would be tempted to respond:

    “I took our children to a state park with a friend that has a child of similar age. It was lovely, thanks for asking. If and when I start dating is none of your business. You started “dating” without my knowledge. You introduced our children to your affair partner without consulting me (and you are deluding yourself if you think that your choice is “looking out for the well-being of the children first”). From here forward I will only respond via “Our Family Wizard” and will have this added to our final divorce settlement.”

    • So infuriating, they are all a similar breed of shitty human. Anytime I mention what my stbx has done he says, “you’re wrong!”, “you are a mean and terrible wife!”and on and on about me! I just no longer want to say anything about what he’s done because it gets turned on me. He even recently mentioned that I can’t have anyone around the children for a year. I have no problem with that, it will likely be a lifetime before I can heal and recover from him. I remind him that he brought affair partners around our children. What they do doesn’t matter, doesn’t count, wasn’t that bad, or didn’t happen- all just a figment of my very good imagination according to him.
      I say all that to Bob because it won’t matter what you say, you will be the problem and she the victim. No communication is better, gives them less to use against you later.

      • You are correct. That’s why I said I’d be tempted… in the end, they cover their ears and scream so they can’t hear you. There is no reasoning with fuckwits. And they gaslight forever because they refuse to take responsibility for anything they do. I just call my ex “creepy”… they are all creepy. Who the fuck can do shit and then keep just saying it never happened? Creepy creeps — all of them

        • Literally, cover their ears and scream. (Or cross their arms and glower. Or gallop around pretending to whip themselves to mock you when confronted with evidence of their creepy deeds. Ashamed to admit I stuck around long enough for the latter to happen not once but thrice. How do I make that forehead slapping emoji?) Yes, creepy is the word I’ve settled on, too. Add pathetic, phony, shallow, foolish and cowardly. For context.

          And Longtime Chump, you’ve perfectly demonstrated the futility of ever engaging with an FW.

          • Lol! Where do they come up with this stuff?! Mine would stick his fingers in his ears and say he couldn’t hear me, is he 3? They are all of the words you’ve listed.

            Engaging with them only puts chumps on the bus to crazy town.

      • Yes, they just deny, deny, deny. Even if you have proof – pictures, videos, receipts, etc.

        They are crazy. Nothing you say will convince them of anything, even with proof. Dracula blamed me for COVID last year, that I “did this”, in order to “thwart” his time in the summer with the kids.

        Like, if I had that kind of power, I wouldn’t have already snapped my fingers, like Thanos, and snap-tured him away years ago?!?!?

        • ChrisW- that has been my experience with mine as well. Despite the hard proof I have, he denies it all or blames me.
          You are a powerful person controlling this whole covid thing just to ruin his time, geeze they are disordered! I’m sure India would love your help right about now, lol!

        • I told H that OW telephoned me. I told him I saw the email. His reply? ANYONE COULD HAVE MADE THAT PHONE CALL and I DON’T REMEMBER THAT EMAIL. Deny deny deny indeed.

          • It’s no wonder chumps stay and are so confused. I fell for it for a long time. They just refuse to be accountable. Denial must be the easiest, first line response.

          • Gaslighting 101. These are the kinds of people we are dealing with when we engage, remember? (I’m reminding myself.)

            A few examples: I watched my ex delete emails in front of my face and then angrily tell me I imagined it when I said, “Stop. I see you. Why are you doing this?! I told you I don’t want to be here if you’re in contact with any other women. Just be honest.” He was the wounded victim at the end of that day, and I was still there. During reconciliation, after I incredulously discovered a seven-year-old receipt for an inappropriate gift FW had mailed the young intern he cheated on me with, he tried to make me seem petty and stuck on the past. If she was so inconsequential, why did he still have it? Worse, why did he accuse me of that and then put it back in the exact place I’d found it (smoothed and uncrumpled) in his glove box? After a ten-minute tirade and physical assault that I endured as calmly as possible (for my own safety), he said that we were both physical and it was mutually abusive because at one point I tried to push past him (“punch him”) to escape the room. I did leave that day, for good. But when I went to pick up my things as arranged, he wouldn’t let me and then said, “it won’t be good for you if I call the cops.” He’s on the local rescue and has friends in “high” places. And he still thinks he’s a Nice Guy who’s been wronged.

            This is all really personal and perhaps doesn’t really belong on this thread or post. But I am posting it anyway, because it is confounding in hindsight – but then in reading others’ stories I feel less alone. Like Longtime Chump says, it is confusing and many of us fell for it and stayed through it for a long time.

            • Turning tables….
              Bringing you to the point of insanity and then claim that you are crazy….
              After reading plenty books on psychopaths and narcissistic personalities- it’s the same story over snd over again.
              The good news?
              We have depth, we care, we have an ability to love- no ONE can take it away… they may cover it with craziness but because it’s a core of who we are- they can’t wiped it out….

            • I’m convinced they are missing crucial parts of their brain. Maybe the part is “there”, but it’s not lit up, turned on, functioning properly.

              I’m glad you’re out in one piece, breadandroses. They are dangerous.

              You are not alone, or crazy.

              Not to get into a politics discussion, but only with Trump on the national stage, did some long time friends start believing me about the FW. After Trump would just deny things that there was hard proof of, I had friends crawl back and tell me “that’s what you meant about your ex! We thought you’d become a liar, that no person could act like that”

              • I like this repurposing of those awful 4 years
                Make Psychology Relevant Again!

            • It’s very relevant to this thread as it’s all highlighting the ridiculous double standards that they all seem to have and the way they can come back at you with behaviour that is clearly mental or inappropriate and not seem to have any idea at all how weird they are being.

              I had a similar one to that bread&roses, after I found out what was going on and bawled my ex out for it all social media was locked overnight (including hers funnily enough) but a couple of days later I saw he’d put up some meme or quote on Pinterest ‘I used to know you but now you’re just mean and that’s sad’ or something. I can’t exactly remember now but it was clearly about me. I ‘phoned him and said WTAF do you want to say or are trying to prove here. He said that he didn’t post it on his wall someone else must have done and he didn’t know what I was talking about. Fucking hells bells. I had screen-shot it and sent.

              I had a similar veiled threat as well, if we don’t split now I don’t know how much more I could take and let me tell you, the ending won’t be pretty. What? Are you going to hit me or something?

              Everythng they do is confusing and I suppose that’s quite a good tactic as it sure keeps you wondering what you have done/what’s wrong. I never want to live with that again but now I’d see it coming for sure.

        • Wow Chris W., I had no idea you were so powerful. You did the COVID all by yourself? Just to spite your ex? Kudos to you. But next time, could you just target him and the rest of the Cheaters and leave the rest of us out of it? ‘K thanks. 😀 😀

    • See i wouldn’t say any of that. It feeds into their egos when you show your angry at what they did- and it gives them something to argue. If they continue To harass and you respond – you can’t use it against them in court cause you look hurt and spiteful.

      Best bet is to reply to logistics only. Give no details they could use against you. I agree to request communication via family wizard only and make the court order that. This is crucial with an ex wife like yours.

      Just respond with something like “yes I took them to the state park with friends- they did well – no injuries and they ate healthy. I wouldn’t ignore because you want to show a judge you can communicate. But don’t respond to the relationship stuff.

      (This will also infuriate the ex more then an argument showing you are hurt would)

      • I agree with J. I think hers is the best response:
        “yes I took them to the state park with friends- they did well – no injuries and they ate healthy.”
        And leave it at that. You are only required to respond to the email to show coparenting cooperation. Most of what FW wrote in her email was her opinion (that she’s admits he’s not necessarily in agreement with) and trying to interfere in his personal life. If it’s not in the court order, he doesn’t have to agree to any of that crap.

      • I agree with J. It will be a lot easier to ignore the requests and the texts.

        Personally, when she finds out your new friend is attractive my bet is on her going bat SHIT crazy.

        Just my guess by the way you describe her. She needs centrality. A total narcissist if there ever was one. Who the hell does she think she is??! The queen??

        No. Ignore. Family Wizard! I also hope you get vet this next woman property so you don’t end up with any other hum Dinger.

    • My preferred response would be:

      “I will let you know when I’ve set a wedding date so the kids will be with me that weekend. Thanks!”

      • My XW scheduled her wedding to AP during my custody time (schedule agreed to several years previously – AP’s divorce took a long time to come through since he was trying to bankrupt his wife with lawyers’ fees) and demanded I change our travel plans (including nonrefundable tickets) to bring the kids back early.

        She couldn’t wait a couple of days (for her custody time) because that would have pushed the wedding past Dec 31 and they would have lost their tax deduction for the year. As mentioned above, AP’s divorce dragged on so long that he ended up with two different wives at the beginning and end of the same calendar year and never had to pay taxes at the unmarried rate. True love!

    • ^This is perfect! These psycho-narcs are beyond my human comprehension. They truly have no shame or even humility.

  • Oh sweet hell! Bob, please just ignore allllll of this. No response is appropriate here. The hypocrisy of her letter is astounding.

    Establish your boundaries now. Ignore this. She is going to continue her cheater games. Continue the no contact outside of parenting software. She is not the boss of you. You owe her nothing outside of civility and court orders.

  • ‘Shrine maintenance, castle walls, vows of chastity’

    Yep, that’s exactly what they expect, plus chastity belts, nor being able to live without them (suicide, financial ruin, pining forever after them) etc. Many chumps were literary told that they’d never find somebody like ex again.

    • I was told I’d never find any man ever again. No one else would put up with me. He said how wonderful he has been and such a great husband, how lucky I was to be married to him. It has been a blast, being cheated on a lied to. Wasting time on someone without the capacity to love.

      • I was also told no one would want me, put up with me, etc. But then I got the BONUS comment that I wasn’t worth anything. Cheater-ex told me that a woman’s stock goes down as she gets older yet a man’s stock goes up when he is older because they can get even more women then. He was so smug that he thought he could get any barely legal woman he wanted-nevermind that he had to pay for it. He really believed his pay-for-play girls were actually in love with him. Blech!

        So happy that part of my life is in the rear-view mirror!

        • “Cheater-ex told me that a woman’s stock goes down as she gets older yet a man’s stock goes up when he is older because they can get even more women then.”

          That is only true for transactional relationships in which the older man is the young woman’s money object. My XH has been getting by on his looks his whole life. At 30 he should be either developing his career skills or at least attaching himself to a wealthy older woman, if he had an ounce of sense. Because in 10-15 years he will be too old to whore himself out. The younger men will eat his lunch, stamina-wise. Not to get blue here but no 50 year old man can last as long as a 25 year old.

          • And, believe it or not, many young men really like older women as well. It was explained to me once that older women are sexier because they know what they want, they’re confident, independent, have their own money, don’t play games, and tell it like it is. And their sex drive is on full throttle. Age has its advantages regardless of gender, and we “older” women are hot commodities too!

          • So, as smug as ex-Cheater was about discarding me for his younger-hooker friends, he passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack before the divorce could be final.

            I guess my older woman stock is worth something after all! I survived him and my son & I are getting ready to relocate to our very own brand new home in a different state.

            I now know my worth and there is no going back-only forward to the next chapter of life.

          • > That is only true for transactional relationships in which the older man is the young woman’s money object.

            More like a predator and his prey. I’ve known a few of those relationships and never met one that wasn’t abusive – which is what you’d expect when a middle-aged guy goes after a woman young enough to be his daughter.

        • Yep, I heard this bit too. I’m now worthless, because it’s not like women have jobs and make money or have any value besides being fuckable to the gross barely legal fans crowd. LOL My ex actually told me he has to wear a beard or people think he’s a child in high school. And I look like his mom and it’s disgusting and embarrassing. Well, we have a child who has finished high school so that would mean I look my age and I don’t know why he thinks looking like a child in high school as a grown man is a positive thing. But he also looks his age. And he’s not in good shape and he doesn’t do anything to take care of himself but ok. LOL

          We were negotiating the divorce terms when he went off on that rant and he ended it with a smug “Sorry, I wasted your youth. And then smirked at me.

          So I used it. Cue his shocked stammering as I agreed with all the horrible things he just said calmly and explained how I would need alimony to survive and I would be willing to stand in a court with my medical documents and show them how unable to support myself I am and get myself alimony for the rest of my life, as our state allowed due to the length of the marriage.

          But if he would agree to ten years of it right now so we could get the divorce uncontested I wouldn’t spend every dime of my fathers inheritance fighting him to get it for life, which again, as per our state laws, I will. Oh, and that inheritance is all mine, also clearly defined in our state laws.

          Fucker signed. He lost that smug look too. LOL

          • Katiepig, this is absolutely brilliant! Talk about anti-abuse jiu jitsu–you made it clear that if the judge shared his prejudices, he’d be on the hook for alimony for the rest of his life. And fuckwits who think like that, ALWAYS think that any important man will share their prejudices. I wish you had a picture of his face, it must have been hilarious.

      • My ex told me that he would “spoil me for any other man” when I first met him
        Now 20 years later, turns out he did not!
        HA!

    • I was told those exact words when I was divorcing my XW. And I would “crush” any good woman out there. 🙄🙄🙄

    • Funny that all the months, years that they did not let you know that they WERE SINGLE,
      Now they cant stand to see you get a life.
      Losers.

    • I was told, “You’ll never get over me.” Wrong. My libido is higher than it ever was when I was married to the sex withholder and it is not him I’m fantasizing about as I jerk off. As soon as I’m fully vaccinated I’m going to town.

      • 😅🤣😂😅😆🤣🤣😃 You go, girl! Find yourself a curious young thing. I’m right there with you!

        (My apologies to the older men chumps out here, but sometimes a woman just needs to be a sexist bitch.)

  • Actually, I think he SHOULD respond to this one regarding this part only:

    “Please extend the common courtesy to me that I extended to you. Lie to me, detonate my life, expose our children to creepy dude who fucks a married mommy. Engrave that mindfuck on a silver platter, hold open its door, and write it a thank you note. #manners”

    Seriously, why not? Just say, “I will extend the same “courtesy” that you extended to me. You lied, you fucked around, you kept me in the dark…so the same approaches should be acceptable to you.”

    I know that it only feeds the fire but damn, in this case, why not throw it back in her fucking face? She deserves it.

    • No!!! Dont show anger. It hurts more to only respond to logisitics. And bad for court. You can save inappropriate emails where she harasses you – but if you respond and engage like that it will hurt you.

      • J. is right. Don’t make these FWs central. Don’t feed them kibbles. Bob’s STBX has just barked an order at him–send me your GF’s contact information–and expected him to say “yes, master.” Not answering the email is the strongest answer you can make.

        And Bob should, since the divorce is not final, prepare for her to ask for this sort of information in the final custody order and prepare to say “no.”

        One thing I might do, if there is a second request, is to add this to a routine logistics email: “It’s a sad consequence of divorce that give up 50% of the custody of our kids. I will always contact you if there is an emergency involving the kids and I expect you to do the same.”

        It’s an oblique response to her intrusive demands that makes the point that she chose to give up her kids 1/2 time and now she has to live with that. And for the court, you would be making the point that you would not withhold important information about the kids.

      • The other issue about responding angrily is that the divorce hasn’t finalized. The bit about “best interests of the children” shows she’s angling for more custody time.

        The UBT is on the money, but I think no response is better than an angry one. I’d probably run this note by my lawyer to see if I should respond, and if so, to what part. I would probably also insist on including Our Family Wizard or other parenting software as part of the custody agreement–for better communication as they co-parent, and for the good of the children, of course.

        • I would ignore the whole communication chain and if she brings it up.

          Email…what email? Must have gone to the junk folder

          Text…what text? Phone must be playing up.

    • I get what you’re saying. And if the divorce and custody issues were finalized, I’d agree. No harm done, as custody judgments are near impossible to modify. I worked with a family attorney for a while, however, and I’ve seen the stuff that gets people in trouble. Judges HATE mean/snarky quibbles and will hold both people equally responsible for their involvement in it, regardless of context. So, the very best thing to do is to keep all communication written (i.e., documented) and maintain the high road. I would respond to this email, but only with a very polite, sane, vanilla answer. Responding to all communication about the children is imperative, as it demonstrates to the judge that you are a responsible coparent. The information you share should be just the facts – where, who, what, why, how and when: “walked to park on Saturday at 1 for playdate with friend and friend’s child. Ate chocolate ice cream cones and returned home from playdate at 4 to start dinner and baths. Information about friend can be addressed at trial.” This shows that you are a sane and reasonable parent. If she continues to demand contact info, just repeat, “Information about friend can be addressed at trial.” No judge is going to adjudicate that ex gets to have telephone numbers/contact info of potential partners, and ex will be admonished for insisting on such an unreasonable demand. Especially if she cheated. Bottom line: remain respectful and sane, and let the judge do the tearing of a new asshole.

    • I disagree. Do NOT respond. If he responds, she will turn it back on him and he will have her words reverberating in his head.

      • I agree do not respond,
        It’s absolutely none of her business what he does in agreed time with his children.
        Does he need to tell her if he has some mates around to watch the footy or for a BBQ.
        She is a narcissist

    • Any time I asked FW for anything – common courtesy, the truth, my possessions, you name it – I was at his mercy. Trivial or existential, I could be sure he’d make a point of withholding. It’s all about control. When I finally understood I was in a cycle of abuse with a predictably untrustworthy dirtbag, I stopped asking him about or for anything. Even when I needed it had every right to demand it, I got nowhere and just felt powerless, hurt and infuriated. It sucks but I really couldn’t find a loophole. I just had to draw the line and cut my losses moving forward.

      • Yes times 100 to this. It can be so infuriating!!! I would ask basic questions and get a question for an answer. It became an obvious power and control move, to keep in powerless and in the dark. There is no loophole bc they close it or change it so we can’t find it.
        Thank you for calling it what it is, abuse!

  • Since my cheater died when we were still married, I never had the chance to have him know that I was dating so that he could hate my partner or say inappropriate things.

    So when I’m bored, I fantasize about how much he would have hated my new husband and how fast he would have flipped the narrative to reflect that it wasn’t his cheating that ended the marriage but rather me rejection of him in pursuit of a more sparkly partner.

    • Mine stated that he would not stand to be replaced as a father. Well, I said I was going to look for someone else and he could move in with one of his whores. He seemed to think I should be devoted to him for life despite anything he did. And I got all the comments about how horrible I was, even though he was refusing to get divorced, as if I needed his permission. Well it was such a shock to him that I didn’t want him when his favourite whore (who he consulted first of course) didn’t want a real relationship. Not sure how long it took for his jaw to stop being in the dropped position. They think they are central to everyone and are so entitled. And yes, you are right, you moving on would have been seen as you betraying him, where he would become the victim of I don’t know what but who knows how these subhumans think. I’m so glad my cheater is dead but I also understand the satisfaction of him seeing himself replaced that you’ve been denied.

  • My only thought for a response, if there is even a true need to respond at any point, is, “Your opinion is noted.”

    If pressed in a custodial situation (not in a letter to the ex), it seems reasonable to specify that children talk and divorced parents can’t feasibly negotiate every single thing they hear from their children. It puts the children in the roles of messengers and middlepeople, and that is unfair to them. So, as long as there is an agreement, and nothing either parent hears clearly violates the agreement, and unless the information is verified, both parents need to be able to field information from the children without adding any negative pressure to the children for being open and honest.

    This letter from the ex is “defend yourself” bait. She needs to pull back an empty line (or a manky old boot.)

    • Just for my own amusement, I always used the variation: “I’ll consider it,” and then dropped the whole thing. Drove her absolutely nuts.

      • I’ve used that before, but what really frustrates me is when I *don’t* answer and then get accused of ignoring emails that require a response.

        XW once accused me of failing to respond in a timely manner, when her “question” (regarding something I had *already* answered in the negative) was – I swear I’m not making this up – “Are you going to agree to my request, or do you refuse to put the kids’ interests first?”

        • My answer to that would be: I do not agree that your request is equivalent to putting the kids’ interest first. You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion.

        • Yeah, I never meant to imply that it was a ‘painless’ strategy. It prompted the types of accusations you refer to, which (thankfully because of OFW) I could continue to ignore.

          But lest anyone think otherwise, it doesn’t keep the entitled manipulative fuckwit from being an entitled manipulative fuckwit.

          • XW seems to think that simply putting a question mark after something means I’m required to respond. In anyone else, this could spark a fruitful discussion about language, politeness, and the difference between text and subtext.

            On a related note (and at the risk of getting political), I found it pretty amusing that so many people had trouble dealing with our erstwhile orange leader’s style of communication (“He contradicts himself and doesn’t care!? How can you know if he really believes what he’s saying?! He’s deliberately vague so no one can pin him down!?”) I just thought “Ah yes – an unreliable communicator. Don’t take anything at face value, and verify everything personally before you act”. Been there / done that.

  • Bob
    Your new friend must be anxious to speak to her. Her cheater left her to break up another marriage. Does your soon to be ex really think
    she holds cheaters in high esteem?
    Reading the letter and her follow up request makes me think she wants to be in control. Maybe she wants to give your new friend some
    “Parenting Advice”. Would you like to speak to her new bed partner? He will fine out all he needs to know soon enough!!

  • The non-response is the best FU. It leaves their heads spinning, sets (maintains) a premises of communication and leaves your heart freer.

    Doesn’t mean you can’t reply all the ways you in your head, probably will anyways, but from my experience, the non-response has the biggest bite.

  • Her email sounds exactly like the emails my STBX sends me. Do these people attend the same online Cheaters Academy to learn this stuff? It’s uncanny how identical they all act.

    • Catbird, I was triggered more by this than by 90% of ChumpLady’s letters.

      The overly formal faux-legal verbiage, the entitlement, the superior tone to the point of being haughty, the endless implications of bitterness, vindictiveness, and the Chump not having the best interest of the children at heart.

      My Fw does this, and OW does it to her STBX Chump. They really fancy themselves as something special and fail to recognize the hypocrisy even a little bit. They still somehow believe we owe them something, chiefly respect. It’s such a mindfuck because I’m hardly even mad/bitter about the cheating anymore. But the giant entitled ego thing still gets me. You’d think they’d just be happy we’re not actively trying to destroy their finances and reputation, but no. We also have to grovel before their majesty.

      • Yes, the flowery preachy manner is classic fw narc.

        My ex does everything he can to alienate our children from me, then he emails me insulting messages of how I am horrible and uncaring mother. I don’t reply.

        These people are pure EVIL

        They are emotional terrorists

        • Mitz – preachy, that’s exactly the word. The Reverend Humpty Dumpty preaching from the pulpit of his high horse.

          Which reminds me, after I’d receive one of these missives I used to play “high horse” by Kacey Musgraves on repeat until I could laugh about it.

          Because it does feel like being terrorized, in a way that you can do absolutely nothing about.

          If you perceive a threat, you might not be the only one that sees it, no matter how much flowery language it’s couched in. If something concerned me I would run it by my attorney and it was really validating that she also perceived it as threatening, when no direct threat was made.

          I hope you get some peace and that your kids see through the bullshit. In the mean time thank goodness for CL, CN & the UBT. Since my beloved therapist passed away…I couldn’t do this without you all.

  • Oh Bob… how the cheaters love to triangulate, it never gets old for them because as you know – one person is never enough for these fuckwits and they must remain central and we only orbit them.

    Mr. Sparkles was big on the the “do you want to meet my girlfriend before I introduce her to our son”… see him up there on the “high road”… asking if I wanted to meet his affair partner… #lookatme #imagrownup. I declined. I genuinely think he was surprised (our son was 9 at the time). I told my son why I didn’t want to meet Daddy’s girlfriend (kept it age appropriate). Here I was trying to get the divorce papers filed and all he cared about was introducing our son to the AP… that is one disordered fuckwit.

    When the OW dumped him for cheating on her, my son informed me that Dad was talking to a woman at the gym and “did I think that was going to be Dad’s next girlfriend” (she was)… Mr. Sparkles waited six months to formally introduce her – and again asked me if I wanted to meet her first. Again, I declined.

    As much as our fuckwits don’t want us anymore, they do… but never think it is personal or a sign of them still caring… it is all an act…. if you don’t respond they get to remain the victim… if you do respond then your controlling… Don’t take the bait. You do you and your relationship and let your X do hers. Check in with the kids about talking about their feelings about it from time to time (my son decided to chat with a therapist immediately after meeting the OW and her kids… it helped him sort out his feelings).

    • Excellent advice I can see the Meh coming.
      I recall the email from FW “informing” me if his “new SO” (she works in his workplace but they somehow magically met and became involved as a FT item exactly 6 months to the day after FW abandoned (he’s a numbers guy so I’m sure this time frame was of utmost importance for his Image Management movie of the week)). Anyways…
      I COMPLETELY IGNORED his pathetic email attempt to triangulate, get my riled up, hurt me, try to make me jealous, be 1/2 of a cake, etc. I’m his mind this would be the fantasy cherry on top! (Tell Chump x wife about ho-worker and push her over the edge in a fit of jealous rage). Lol. Yawn. Nope. NO CONTACT – NO RESPONSE – NO KIBBLES!!! That’s what gets a Cheaters goat the most and the only true way to “win”.

  • The cheaters email sounds like something she will present at court.

    I can forsee thousands of ‘parenting’ emails from this loser to Bob in the future. And attempts at parental alienation.

    Cheaters sit up on a high horse and love to try to blame and shame chumps. It is Nauseating.

    He probably will need a parenting app.

    • Yes. They want chumps to get defensive and appear unreasonable in front of others so they can play the zen parent. Infuriating the chump is a tactic that is too frequently effective.

      Learning to refuse to chase bait from toxic people is the single most useful thing I’ve studied in therapy, and the practice is lifelong. I can get better, but I may never master it.

    • That was my take, too. She wants ammunition to use in court to get custody changed in her favor. She knows he’ll refuse and wants to use that to try to prove he’s not cooperating.

      “He REFUSED to give me his new girlfriend’s phone number! I have a right to know what sort of person he’s bringing around my children!” said the bitch, with all the faux indignance she could muster, as her lawyer rolled his eyes.

      Never mind that she’s moving in with a slutty sleazebag who fucks other men’s wives, and she makes her kids put up with the s.o.b. who helped her to ruin their family.

      In anticipation of that, I’d probably write;

      “You have no right to my friend’s private information. Further, I don’t want you anywhere near her, since crab lice can be transmissible with casual contact. I do hope that you and your homewrecking live-in paramour are protecting the kids from that and using the medicated cream as directed.

      If it helps you sleep at night, she’s not an a liar, a cheater, or a mate poacher. In other words, she’s a respectable person who cares about others. It’s quite refreshing. The kids like her, too. Have a nice day.”

      Imagine her trying to bring that into court, having to insist that she doesn’t have crotch crustaceans. I’d pay to see that show.

      • First she has no right to the new GF contact information but it is accurate she could use the failure to connect on parenting and shading to seem the kids are in a house of ill repute in the custody negotiation. I was lucky in that my STBXW’s AP spoked when she decided to throw away her family for real and it was no longer an affair. I then stayed long enough for my last son to turn 18 so it’s only left for her to F up what is left of my life without the kids as a leverage point in a settlement.

        I could have exposed every detail and turned her into a true villain but for the most part resisted. The truth has a way of finding its way out on its own…like water. In this case my son was using her iPad and he found a text thread with her cousin (who actually encouraged the affair because she was having one too and it was so exciting). My son confronted her but she swore it was old data and then defended and tried to turn herself into the victim.

        My point is, do the right thing, play by the rules even though she won’t, be honest with the kids but respectful that no matter what their mother will always be their mother, and know that the truth will come out and the kids will know you did it right. And taking care of them and being able to live with your choices and hope for all hope that we don’t pass on these scars to the next generation.

  • Never put anything in writing. EVER!

    It would sure would be nice to write “No”, but don’t.

    Does your ex teach grammar? That thing is too well thought out. Maybe she got on Grammarly.

  • As a member of a divorced parents group, I can say that this is a common request among parents. Some are snooping but many genuinely worry that their kids is staying overnight with a psycho and feel like they could determine that is the case by interviewing them. The reality is that there are divorce morality clauses that some have in their decree but they only control when schmoopie can stay overnight or not. They don’t give any ex the right to meet or talk to the new GF/BF. For better or worse, you lose control over who you child is exposed to when you get divorced. It cuts both ways. You may want such control but be prepared to live with what you agree to. It kills me knowing what types klootzak will expose my son to, but those are the breaks. I think trying to understand this FW’s motivation is a bit of unraveling the skein. Ignore her and move on.

    • So true standard order here says he cannot move Simone in without a 30 day notice so the person can be background checked but so far FW has moved in a person with a drug charge and a person with a domestic violence charge with no notice. Even though children were abused by the later no help from law.

  • “As such.” That phrase and all it contains. I’d be tempted to respond, “You were the one who carried on a secret affair and broke up our family. As such, you are in no position to lecture or demand anything from me.”

  • That is too ridiculous not to be funny!

    Oh, the high moral ground! She should give lectures on civility 😂😂😂

    The delusion, hypocrisy, threat, attempt to control and manipulate etc. make me feel sorry for the AP. Holy macaroni, what a disordered FW the ex is!

    Do cheaters have any notion of how out of touch with reality they are? Your life is none of your business. She sounds jealous AF but disguising it as care for the kids.

  • I’m a few years out from my own little slice of hell and I can say without hesitation that no response is the best response. Always be guided by DNE – Do Not Engage. Your life will be all the more calm and tranquil. Nowadays I look at every email from the perspective of the family court judge. I only respond when it’s absolutely required, and even then I use minimal words and respond succinctly to the issue at hand. Lastly, always wait at least 24 hours to respond. That gives you time to contemplate an appropriate, but succinct response. NEVER respond immediately unless it’s an actual emergency.

    • She sounds jealous on 2 levels. Jealous that you are moving on with your life and jealous that there is “another woman” in HER children’s life. She is not only losing control of you but she is losing total control of the kids – that drives these types crazy. In her warped mind your friend is an interloper on the same level as her POS fuck buddy. Too bad for her that she didn’t think this out before she started fucking around and bringing her AP to meet your kids.

    • “DNE” is one-step removed from “DNR” (Do Not Resuscitate). I think I’ll be using this as a mantra.

      • From an early age I’ve taught my kid to avoid crazy people. Do not engage. Invariably we all encounter them whether on the bus, subway, stadium, carnival or city streets. They want to draw you in to their world of crazy and disrupt your peaceful day. In those cases I always say “DNE” and my now-teenaged kid knows what I mean.

  • I think Bob should seek the advice of counsel on this. I would hate for this woman to use his lack of response against him in the divorce proceedings. She seems capable of anything.

    • Exactly what I was thinking.

      This reeks of a setup. I can imagine the ex whining to the judge that Bob “won’t communicate for the sake of the children.”

  • Yes, I’d either ignore or text “and now you know” if you think not responding is going to racket things up. Mine hated brief responses like that, but it did shut things down. It was better to do a delayed, brief text versus ignoring it.

    I didn’t have custody issues, but my attorney put in all kinds of anti-harassment language. I asked if that was because of how my case was or if it was standard. He said it was standard in his agreements because “you never know.” Unless introduction of romantic partners is in your custody documents (they sometimes do that here), it’s harassment. Who you are hanging out with and when is nobody’s business otherwise.

  • My custody agreement specified that neither of us could have an overnight house guest of the opposite sex (excluding family) when we had custody. I knew perfectly well he would never abide by it, but I was hopeful it might keep the parade down. (Turns out he was not able to get as many willing visitors as he thought he would, but that is a different story).

    I would reply only in so far as the custody agreement requires, but in order to show a willingness to parent with the best interest of the children in mind (which seems necessary as this divorce seems to be as yet unfinalized), I would reply with some version of, “As the kids reported, we enjoyed a day at the park with a friend. If and when I begin dating someone seriously enough that my household arrangements change, I will let you know.”

  • I expect many of have similar stories. Nothing quite so overt on the part of my ex-wife as an emailed demand but that just made it more funny.

    Bit of background

    After she left we were still connected on social media so that she could see how well I was pick-me dancing. I also had security cameras set up including one in my home office.

    Also, our adult son moved in with me for a couple of years.

    So – anyhoodles – the first Christmas I was here without her, I picked up a new Christmas ornament for my desk which was on a social media post in the background. I surprised when a few days later while I was at work that the security camera showed my son, talking to someone on his phone, walk in, stealthily pick up the ornament, leave the room and come back in and put it back. I presume that his mother was wondering what that was, where I got it etc etc.

    A couple of years out I was dating and the woman in question actually moved in for a couple of months. It didn’t work out. One day she called me saying that she thought she saw my ex-wife across the street lurking in the shrubberies. She was at the garden centre across the street it turns out, called our son who went over to presumably “help her look” for garden plants for her apartment and after a while she left – obviously not finding anything …

    So yes – they presume centrality and expect you to be right where they left you.

    I still laugh and have kept the picture that was texted to me of her in the shrubberies. I’m sure that this is a mild version of the sort of stalking that goes on and the indignation that they have when we actually let them go from our lives.

    The security camera caught her a few times going through the house – a couple of times it was actually agreed to but others it was just browsing I’m sure. The arrogance and anger that just oozed from her reminded me that I was indeed better off without her.

    On the last item – my lawyer had told me that since she still was part owner of the house that I couldn’t change the locks, however the locks could be accidentally broken and need replacing and I was under no obligation to be sure she had a new key. I never bothered. Nothing here worth stealing that she hadn’t already taken.

    On the other hand, she did her best to conceal where she was living and any time she sees me she has literally burned rubber getting out of there as fast as she could.

    BT

    • My ex was an expert at that. He was ‘saddened’, and everything was prefixed ‘profoundly’. He went berserk when I ignored his texts and emails. But in superior, officious language. I like ‘a relationship C3PO’. Perfect description.

      • I’m pretty sure mine does this to remind me that their last name matches his. One kid has my last name as a middle name. My EX never uses that kid’s full name. The other kid has a middle name derived from his mother’s original last name. My EX does use that one in reference to that child. I find it all pretty pathetic. And I remain relieved that I never changed my own last name.

  • Yeah…wow! Entitled jackal. Infuriating-NOW she wants to be the responsible MOM while exposing her children to destruction of their family, disrespecting their father, and bringing a stranger into their lives. Again the chump has to model maturity and be the adult. Stay strong! Glad you are showing them how to develop a mature relationship. Grey rock.

  • It’s been a long time since I was in this situation, but I still have clear memories of this time. I was so relieved to becoming divorced. I had met Mr. Rebound, but everything was appropriately distanced from my children. Their father had already introduced them to several “friends” because he was incapable of spending time alone with his children, and being responsible for all their needs (they were 9 and 12).

    After my divorce was finalized, I introduced Mr. R to my children, and ex when he came to pick the kids up. My ex started bringing his new “friends” with him when he came to pick the kids up. There were a series of inappropriate girls and women, but since he did not get any reaction from me, that game was not fun.

    My personal rebound blindness caused me to remarry entirely too soon. I wanted to be married and to continue to believe in my original dream of what a marriage should be. That is my fault, and I paid a price for not fixing my picker. It was not a good decision, and it did not end well for anyone, but it did not last too long.

    In the meantime, the kids had front row seats to the dysfunction in their mother and father’s lives, because they were old enough to figure most of it out. As my youngest son summarized, “Mom, we knew we could count on you to pick us up from school, and to come to the parent teacher conferences. We knew you would always show up.” They learned they could not count on their dad, and he did not always put their interests first. He accused me of trying to turn them against him, and my oldest son said “No Dad. Mom didn’t say anything. We figured it out ourselves.” He would not listen when the boys told him they did not want to go on his “dates” during his custody times.

    There was nothing I could do about this, but try to comfort my children. I also worked on myself. My kids grew up, and in high school they started spending less time with their dad, because they had “things to do (work, sports, music, dates)” and because he put even less effort into seeing them.

    So now, they are grown, he is their dad, they see him sometimes, but they make the effort. I talk to them both every week, and see them often. We all make the effort, and consider our relationship a priority.

    Their father always was selfish, it appears he will die still being selfish, jealous of my relationship with the boys, but not being willing to do anything to change. The most important thing to know about this type of dysfunctional personality is that they do not seem to be able to change. Accept that, and you will feel better.

    • “No Dad. Mom didn’t say anything. We figured it out ourselves.”

      They speak for all children of cheaters (switch the pronouns as needed). That they insist on blaming the sane parent for their crappy relationships with their own kids boggles my mind. As my own daughter (adult) put it, “I have a brain.”

      • FW kept trying to blame me that the kids found shmoops’ incriminating emails but DD would straighten him out in no uncertain terms. The bereft, forlorn look on his face when robbed of the ability to scapegoat me and shield himself from blame for scarring the kids’ childhood really brought home how close to symbolic murder the whole thing is. I mean who performs that level of mental gymnastics to avoid responsibility for something if the deed isn’t really, really, really bad?

        • So true!
          I’m quite sure my ex is still playing the victim and scapegoating me. My daughter didn’t even bother to tell him that she “has a brain.” She was NC at that point. My son did send his dad a letter indicating he wanted nothing to do with him, ever. FW said that the letter was “ridiculous” and added that he considers himself a “great dad.” Considering yourself something doesn’t make it so, FW!

          For my ex, blaming me for his estrangement from our adult kids is child’s play and his default mode.

          But he’s getting into some Olympic-level mental gymnastics if (when?) he tries to blame me for non-family members who’ve refused contact with him. I’m talking about people on his own side of the family. Guess I’m all-powerful! Oh, and I’ve poisoned some of his colleagues, too, apparently.

          #wonderwoman #reapwhatyousow #notatmeh

  • One word:

    Control.

    My stbx used to do this as well. I’ve since moved on and refuse to pick any fights that he lays down.

    I ignore him.

    Now-he still does try, because-of course!

    But this is what he does now:

    “I’d like to have the kids for this week in July. We are going camping. My girlfriend is coming but not her kids.”

    Um-I’ve got news for you, Brain Trust: our 19 year old twins have summer jobs they can’t get time off from. Our 16 year old will go because she doesn’t have a job and is so afraid that you will feel cheated out of your ‘kid’ time if she doesn’t go.

    Maybe these people should try to take THEMSELVES out of the equation, you know, once in awhile 😉.

  • Wow. The woman has brass.

    I would conveniently overlook that email (or very quietly ask my attorney if you HAVE TO respond to it).

    But hell yeah, get a family wizard-type app going so the opportunity for this sort of shit is lessened.

    And no fucking way would I give out the name and contact details for someone until the dating is serious and even then, only if I had to do it per my attorney.

  • My calm response would be “I know, right? The kids tend to tell me everything they think, see and feel and love to talk about their days when they are away from me. If their house is like Grand Central Station, I hear about it. In detail. Thanks!”

  • This may have already been covered but if I was dating a guy and he provided his ex my contact info without an ok from me I’d dump him immediately.

  • Hi Bob:

    Oh, the email from your wife was so enjoyable. You can tell that all the feelings we chumps suffer….

    -Is the new partner better looking?
    Is the new partner younger, richer, smarter, possessed or some mad skill set I lack?
    -Is the new partner sexier or better in bed?
    -What does the new partner have that I don’t?
    -My kids will be spending time with this person!

    …have all been dumped on your ex. Not only does the shoe not fit, it is 4 sizes too small and damn painful. It amazes me how much I am enjoying your ex’s angst.

    I’m for not replying at all. Because that is the response that drives narcissists the craziest. Ding! An email comes in and she rushes over to her computer. Nope. Ding! Dammit, a vinyl siding ad. Ding! No, still not Bob, Grrrr. Ding!….

    • Yes, PrincipledLife! Bob, IMHO herein lies the key to not feeling like the powerless chump here, even if you do get forced to throw STBX some kind of bone for the courts. Do the bare minimum required without compromising the woman you’re seeing or your boundaries. She just showed you her hand. It’s a thinly veiled attack stemming from her own jealousy and insecurities (self-inflicted and deserved). The truth is, she’s a mean and dishonorable loser, she’ll never win back your love, respect or approval and she’ll never be able to change the past and erase her crimes. She’s as aware of this as an FW can be. Whatever, really – you know it and you’re GAL. Everyone says it takes time, but sounds like you’re way farther along than many of us already. Good luck!

  • Crickets. Crickets are your friend Bob. I read this story on the LACGAL FB page earlier this week.
    ANY RESPONSE, positive or negative is a mistake because a FW will accept it as a kibble treat. Boom! They’ve struck a nerve in us which they’ll continue to tap dance on and get as much mileage out of as they can.
    When contact is attempted I hear Achmed the dead terrorist saying SILENCE!!! I keel you!👹
    FW type Humans want what they cannot have, so believe that when you don’t respond to their demands it pisses them off and puts a burr under their saddle. MEH!

  • Woah, she will always come first in her mind not the children who she will always use as a convenient excuse to try to dictate your life. She’s a walking nightmare.

  • While I vote don’t reply unless your attorney says that looks bad my response to such madness has always been:

    I will continue to show you the same courtesy you have shown me.

    For some reason that never gets a response. I’m pretty sure it’s because Narkles the Clown doesn’t understand.

    • That’s the red flag here for me. As unreasonable as this woman’s request may be, a judge might look unfavorably on someone who flat out ignores the other parent’s request for information on their girlfriend/boyfriend who is spending time with their small kids. The underlying request–information about this person–is not un reasonable in a bubble. And, often times, judges live in a bubble where emotional abuse and cheating don’t matter and, many times, the abused party is taken to task. So, yea, Bob should contact an attorney before he decides to flat out ignore the request.

  • Today’s CL post hit me hard today. In addition to being a cheater, my ex was also emotionally abusive and had a problem with rage. When he learned that I intended to leave him and take the kids, he angrily told me he’d have to “approve” any boyfriend I found. He made several other threats about taking custody from me, and I unfortunately acquiesced to all of them because he is an attorney and I was certain he was fully capable of making me look bad enough to lose custody.

    I felt a great deal of hurt and betrayal from his cheating and his vindictive behavior during the divorce. I was fortunate enough to get 2/3 custody of the kids, and I initially told myself that I could use the spare time to regain a social life and get another graduate degree. In practice, however, he was such a selfish, angry parent, that several times he would pack up the kids and deliver them back to me on his own parenting time. I simply gave up on these goals. I’ve achieved reasonable success in my main job, which is a public service job, where success is only measured in respect and not extra money. Dating seemed impossible, because why would I want to drag anyone into all the toxic drama? And actually writing a thesis became impossible under such stressful conditions, so I dropped out of grad school.

    I just turned 60 and wonder what have I done? I am happy I was there for my kids and of course I’ll always be there for them. But I now realize that I suffered from making my own needs so small for so many years. I’ve also read one too many articles about how older women simply become “invisible.”

    I have taken up a new hobby which happens to be male dominated, and now I have two men who are texting me. I’m too dumb to figure out if they “like” me or if they are just trying to be my mentors. (I only know them through Zoom, thanks to the pandemic). Again, I don’t know what’s going on, just hoping I don’t do anything to alienate them or lose their friendship. Friends are good, right?

    I’m not sure why I’m posting this…writing this reveals me not to be the badass I’d like everyone to believe I am. A cautionary tale, perhaps? For what it’s worth, I’m starting therapy again next week, so I hope to find a better path soon.

    • I think the trauma of betrayal almost universally places people in a position of self doubt. I was watching some movie the other day, where person one was criticizing person two to person 3, and person 3 shot back “Yea well at least [person 2] knows who he is. He’s not confused about what he wants and what he cares about about what makes him tick.”

      Since then I’ve thought alot about the toxic power of self doubt. I believe women suffer from it more than men, but in any case it will paralyze you. I’m working on removing as much self doubt as I can, and being confident in my choices, and in what I like and in what makes me scared and happy. I’m working on being brutally honest with myself so that I can, above all else, know who I am…and love that person.

    • “Again, I don’t know what’s going on, just hoping I don’t do anything to alienate them or lose their friendship. Friends are good, right?”

      Yes, friends are good if they are truly friends – people you respect and like and can be yourself around. Be you, Jade, and hold yourself accountable to being the kind of friend and person you want to be. If you “lose” them for being yourself, then do you want them? Don’t make yourself small and invisible 🙂 It takes time to build trust and get to know people, even friends. You don’t have to change yourself to be who you think they want you to be; friendships are mutual, and you’re also deciding how you feel about these men. I do hope they’re good guys, but if not – don’t waste your time on them! And remember, just because a person is an expert at a hobby doesn’t mean he’s an expert at life. Trust yourself. You have a lot to offer.

      And, for what it’s worth, I think it sounds like you made some hard choices because you were in a difficult situation. You are mighty, which to me means owning who you are and what you want, and being brave enough to go after it. Hope that you find a therapist you like!

      • bread&roses–thank you for your kind comments. For what it’s worth, I have been pretty authentic with these two men, though I haven’t gone into detail about my divorce. There’s a lot more to me than that horrible experience. One of them has shared with me that he was once involved with a narcissist, but I haven’t fished for details. For now, most of the interactions involve trading information, but sometimes it gets a little more personal. It is a male dominated hobby (actually, these two are professionals), so they might be intrigued that a woman would find this pursuit to be interesting. I want to enjoy the ride, but also try to keep my head straight 🙂

        • Sorry for being so long-winded and preachy, Jade. You don’t owe any explanations, for anything. Meant to be encouraging but your friends comment touched a personal nerve… my own issues. Have fun with the mysterious hobby!

          • It’s all good, bread&roses. I have gone for so long not trusting anybody; it’s refreshing to meet some people who are willing to share information and are not interested in playing mind games. BTW they are professional magicians…long story how I got interested in this hobby LOL.

  • When I read this my first thought was that she intends to harass Bob’s new girlfriend. Do not give out more information about your new friend than you are legally required to. I seriously doubt SHE gave out the OM’s contact info to Bob.

    • Yes this, do not give her a gateway to contact and harass your new girlfriend. Ex wants everyone to know that Bob is her backup plan and has her fingerprints all over him. Even if it’s just constant emails rather than overt abuse it would be too much. Ex needs to be firmly put in her place by being ignored.

  • I actually did request to meet a girlfriend of my oldest child’s father. His father was not a FW and I had ended our relationship. When you are attempting to coparent with a person who doesn’t have a personality disorder, I think it’s a fine request to meet a significant other if it’s serious. I would allow the same. I no longer request this as my son is older and I don’t worry as much because he can effectively communicate everything with me. At the time he was three.

    When dealing with a FW, there’s no way in hell I’d ever let him meet a new love interest of mine and I never want to meet one of his. Definitely consult with an attorney if your divorce is pending on how to best answer this. My feeling is a judge would never force this but if it’s something mutually agreed upon it could be enforced.

    • Agree with CYA (call your attorney!) because her email is actually fairly nicely written. I actually had the thought that it is possible this FW is not a narc. Not all of them are. She might have legit concern for the kids. That doesn’t mean he has to introduce her to his GF but the core of what she is asking for isn’t illogical on the level of concern for who her kids are staying overnight with. Klootzak in my life is a narc but based on her having moved out of the marital bedroom, I feel like maybe this FW is not. If she were a narc, she would have kept getting that bedroom kibble from the chump. She is still a FW, though, and Bob has the right to boundaries where his new relationships are concerned. A judge would weigh things like this. His concern for privacy versus her concern for The Children. Talking to his attorney will help come up with a response that will hold up in court. He needs this, for sure.

  • Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but, in a bubble, this is a reasonable request. Not the way she made the request, not the details of the request, and certainly not in light of her previous self-serving actions, but the request itself is reasonable. To want to understand more about your ex’s significant other, who is spending time with your small children, is reasonable. I know that most courts won’t allow this type of provision to be enforced, but I truly believe that parents have the right to information about who is spending a bunch of time with their kids. So, her motives might not be pure, and demanding this woman’s contact information is over the line (she could have just asked him to provide more details about this woman), but this type of request on its face is, IMO, reasonable and, actually, from a responsible parenting perspective, sound.

    • The problem is, this request (as with most cheater requests) isn’t made a hermetically-sealed bubble of respect and purity.

      Bob doesn’t have the luxury of separating the in-and-of-itself from the way the request was made, the details, the demand for the new person’s contact information, etc. It all comes as a stinking, rancid package of manipulation and triangulation, and I don’t think it’s on Bob to deconstruct all of the dysfunction in order to accommodate the one aspect that might be reasonable in a perfect world.

      • Yea, I mean obviously there’s ALL the circumstances and abuse that would warrant Bob being non-responsive. And, like I’ve said, I’ve never seen a court uphold a custody provision that allowed one parent direct communicative access to the other parent’s girlfriend or boyfriend, but I do know that most courts don’t care at all about cheating (not even a scintilla of a consideration) but many judges do look to overall goodwill of the parties. In this case, one parent is asking another parent for information about another adult person in their childrens’ lives. By being completely non-responsive, Bob might be doing a great job of upholding no contact but might also be demonstrating to a judge what is perceived as bad will.

        Maybe this doesn’t matter because maybe there aren’t any custody disputes, but if I’m Bob, I’d contact a lawyer about this request to make sure that I’m doing the best thing to be viewed favorably by a judge.

    • I agree with you 100%. I think we have the unpopular opinion but it deserves to be heard. Parents care about their kids and worry about who they are overnight with. If you don’t have minor children, it is easy to say ignore the email entirely but there are implications to that in court.

      Another factor is that I believe that not all FWs are narcs. I deal with a narc so I know this would be controlling attempts on his part. This FW might not be. In any case, her intention is irrelevant. What is relevant is what holds up in court. Judges like to see communication and co-parenting. I would imagine that a response like, “Your communication has been noted. I will not be providing contact information per your request,” might be enough to show a judge that you acknowledged the email and maintained a boundary by saying no. No judge would make him give up his GF’s phone number but they will not look nicely on him ignoring FW’s email or being snarky as in “I will extend you the same courtesy you extended me.” That sounds more like not complying and being hung up on the affair. Judges don’t often care about affairs or what happened before. They care about the now. Once the divorce is final, it is all about the kids and moving forward.

  • I would not respond at all. No response is the most powerful response of all. Your STBX has MAJOR control issues and you not responding will drive her insane

  • Ex Mrs LFTT put an interesting twist on this. She forced our 3 kids (then 18, 16 and 11) to meet her AP against their wishes (in the case of the youngest) and without any heads up (in the case of the eldest 2) very shortly after we separated and straight after she had confirmed she was in a relationship with him. It did not go at all well for her or the AP and the kids very quickly refused to have anything to do with him and, indeed, her if he was around.

    Her response was to throw a tantrum in front of all 3 of them, demanding that, since they would clearly adore Dad’s girlfriend, then they needed to show the same respect, love and attention to AP. The flaw in her argument was that (a) I didn’t have (and still don’t have) a girlfriend and (b) our kids are neither stupid nor known to keep their opinions to themselves when it comes to their mother’s BS.

    Cue eldest daughter shutting her mother right down; she was by all accounts pretty brutal in explaining what false equivalence was, as well as pointing out that I wasn’t dating (they live with me, so they’d know) and that I would never be so insensitive as to pull a series of ambushes on them like she had. Ex Mrs LFTT doubled down with “but your refusal to have anything to do with him is putting pressure on my relationship and if we break up it will be your fault.” This was met with “Sounds like a you problem Mum” from eldest and Ex Mrs LFTT doing goldfish impressions.

    Fundamentally, the OP’s Ex has a control issue that she’s trying to ram through using false equivalence; I don’t think that he should respond. From my side, I’ve never met Ex Mrs LFTT’s AP and don’t want to; I know enough to know that he’s a dick but I also know that he knows better than get involved in something illegal as it would cost him his job.

    So, if and when I do date, Ex Mrs LFTT would not have a leg to stand on if she tried the “I demand to meet your SO …” stunt. If she was that stupid, I would not respond.

    LFTT

    • “If we break up it will be your fault”???!!!!!

      Who puts that burden on their kids???!!!
      Good gravy the cheater entitlement is thick.

      Good on your kids for calling her out, but even though they recognize the crazy it still has to hurt.

      • F&L,

        Sadly it did hurt all 3 kids and it further damaged the already difficult relationship that they have with their mother.

        The eldest 2 are now adults and give Ex and her AP a wide berth. The youngest is now 17; even though this this happened nearly 6 years ago, she brought it up with me a couple of weeks ago and is clearly still very angry with her mother. I suspect that she will go completely NC with her mother once she is legally an adult.

        LFTT

        • Good on you for maintaining sanity and a safe place for tour kids. I hope your children can continue to manage as they grow into adults.

          I’m just at the start of this (my son is 9) so have a ways to go. I worry about his relationship with his dad, but realize from all the examples here that all I can do is be that safe sane place for my kid. He already calls out his dad on gaslighting, at 9. I worry daily what kind of man he will be because of this role model.

          • F&L,

            You may want to consider therapy for your son. Ex-Mrs LFTT caused a lot of stress for our youngest, which led to the development of severe anxiety; her therapist is helping her process and deal with this.

            LFTT

    • LOL LFTT! you’re killing me with tears and laughter how entitled Momiverse was doubled down doing goldfish! 🤣🤣🤣. This is the best. My kids have also called upon their own built in UBT and told dear old dad where the bear goes in the woods. Teenagers cannot be bamboozled no matter how hard Cheater Parent tries. We have UBT. Kids nowadays have www. This generation AINT DUMB!

  • Some people brought up the idea that she could cause trouble in court because you did not respond. I think it would be best for you to contact your lawyer. They know judges. I’ve had to testify in front of enough of them to know that no two of them read the law the same way. They put a lot of bias in their decision making. It’s not like it is on TV. If this lawyer considers that you should not respond that’s fine. But some judges want peace between spouses at all cost. As much as you need to know your lawyer you need to know your judge.

  • I’m not qualified to comment on the legal or parenting particulars of Bob’s shit sandwich. I will just echo other chumps’ advice to consult an attorney and not respond in anger or impulsively.

    However, the timing of this word salad post touches on something I’ve been struggling with lately. I’ve been tempted to write ex FW because of something upsetting (won’t get into it, just trust that he sucks). Not engaging was and still is the hardest lesson for me to learn, even harder than not unraveling the skein and trusting that he sucks. Two things – Mr. CL’s “If it feels good, don’t do it,” and my own rational brain remembering that engaging with FW always hurt – have stopped me. (Think I’m safe now.) For good measure, I read a Word Salad challenge from the archives (brilliance!). Today’s post and comments just cement it. I could imagine the FW’s BS response and see the futility of every suggested response, no matter how reasonable and deserved.

    Again, I know that it’s different for chumps dealing with the courts and/or custody and co-parenting, where boundaries are essential but difficult to navigate, and NC isn’t possible. But from a purely personal/emotional perspective? The only response is no response. Even giving myself permission to write an email I don’t send FW, or working through an imaginary conversation, puts FW right back in my head. When I engage in these dialogues, I slip back into explaining myself, going in idiotic circles, and undermining my own narrative and beliefs. I feel small and insecure. I feel DOWN and not in control. I did this for years when FE was in the picture, and it was a black hole. It exhausted me and it hurt me. So now, armed with my memories and CL/CN’s corroboration of the madness and cruelty of cheaters’ word salad, I can finally choose to stop giving him this power over me. Thanks, all of you, for helping me get to this point.

    • “I’ve been tempted to write ex FW because of something upsetting (won’t get into it, just trust that he sucks).”

      The only time I’d consider engaging with an ex cheater is if someone is in danger or you need to go to bat for your kids. And even then, you have to ask yourself: Will this communication help? Is it actually or strategically beneficial? Will it prevent a harm? 95% + of the time, after deep consideration, you’ll come to a “no” answer.

      I have, however, written my ex regarding some parenting crap that he was doing with our daughter that was really upsetting her. I decided that there was an emotional harm that I might prevent by contacting him…but at the least, it created a paper trail in case I needed to go to court to reduce his custody time as a result of shitty parenting.

      Best of luck in your decision making! It’s always an emotional kerfluffel for me.

    • Wow, I hear you, b&r. You write very evocatively of the mental cycle that I’m looking forward to breaking, myself, on a Tuesday. (Perhaps with the help of some anti-anxiety meds.)

  • “The UBT suggests, 1-800-FUCKOFF or GoboilURhead@gmail.com.”

    BAAAAAHAAAAAhaahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhaha……..I’ve laughed a lot reading this blog, but this one just caught me the exact right way on a very bad day! Thank you, Tracy!

    • A citizen of Chump Nation is helping spread the word internationally. I also see some Spanish and Italian translations ! Time to send copies to friends overseas. Merci/grazie/gracias

  • Oh, Bob. Can you imagine how pissed off someone with this level of entitlement would be if you ignored her message and her follow-up text? Do it. Ignore. At least for a while. I can imagine her rage.

    I also will take note of the provided contacts suggested by ChumpLady, 1-800-FUCKOFF or GoboilURhead@gmail.com. Brilliant!

    • Re: “Thanks for your email”

      Love it and I think I’ll use that line.
      My ex signs emails to me with his full name and mobile number, yep, every time. Like I could have forgotten after 33 years who he is (if only!). What a dick. Funny how the little things can bother us.

  • I don’t know of any US court today that would give two fucks about what your crazy POS stbx wants, especially as evidenced in her email. Your private life, just like hers, is no longer a concern unless it endangers your children (ie a partner is abusive, uses drugs, has a criminal record, etc). Your focus now should 100% be on your dissolution. Continue to enforce healthy boundaries: you need only address valid concerns re children. The courts recognize two separate families. That is how divorce works…. Get your MSA completed (stbx is a narc after all). Truth is you both have a great deal of freedom to do as you wish, provided it is viewed fairly by the courts. Do your homework, but also know that your lawyers should be working hard to get this done. Include a parenting communication app , go grey rock ( her drama keeps you engaged and off balance and unfocused on the important task at hand “DNE” is always the best choice) and then keep moving forward. Best wishes!

  • This may come as a surprise but the judge in our case did include a provision in our custody agreement that my EX was not allowed to have overnight “guests” while my son is in residence nor leave my son in said guest’s supervision until that first had met with my son’s doctor. This is most likely due to the combination of my son’s special needs and my ex’s overwhelming stupidity in arguing with the judge about whether certain necessary medical care was “really necessary”

  • I have two comments about advice we frequently give here–

    “Ask your lawyer”: This is good advice, but for many people it is not economically feasible. For daily management of on-going relationships with custodial parents, it is often best to respond as briefly and as blandly as possible rather than to encourage another charge on your monthly legal statement.

    “Use Family Wizard or a similar system”: Again, this is excellent advice. But my EX refused. And the court did not enforce it. If you are in this situation, I advice always communicating the same way (all via text or all via email); always communicate via a system that leaves a record (no phone calls outside of an emergency); keep all records. All of this served me in good stead when my EX escalated behavior in ways that endangered the kids and later me.

    The truly dysfunctional would rather go to court over anything than be ignored or follow anyone else’s rules. All you can do is follow them yourself. (I maintained a calendar of events for 4 years as per custody order. My EX never once used it (never added to it; never accessed it). Yes, this was tedious. But it was also clear later on who was the law-abiding, responsible parent).

  • Well, well, well.

    Cheaters schooling their victims on “common courtesy.”

    I’ll be back. I have to laugh out loud hysterically for a few minutes.

    Ok, I’m back.

    Let’s be fair. “Common” is also defined as “lacking refinement, cultivation, or taste”. Also, “disparaging”, “plebian”, “unwashed”, “vulgar”, and “lowborn”. Also, “having no special distinction or quality.” It’s very possible that this is how our writer, the cheater, is using that adjective because that is her understanding of that word? In which case, it makes sense that she would consider herself familiar with “common” courtesy and admonish her victim to get with the program.

    It really does require a dictionary, a decoder ring, a psychologist who specializes in abnormal psychology, keen powers of observation and great listening skills to be able to even hope to comprehend the mental gymnastics of cheaters.

    During divorce proceedings, the traitor who never came to the table to resolve disagreements about finances (other than to complain about me), denied being angry when directly asked, said he had “nothing to say” when I was wondering WTF was going on and suggested he talk to someone, and even said “let me know if you need more money”, after DDay was leveling charges at me right and left, saying “it’s clear you weren’t acting in the best interests of our family.” Yes, the same family he nuked and threw away.

    In co-parenting therapy, we were told to respond to all emails. Even if it’s just
    “Received”. This would be my one-word reply.

  • LOL. Garden tool is over a barrel, Bob!

    NEVER in her wildest dreams did she expect YOU would move on and find someone new. She traded down, you traded up. So she wants to investigate your SO to scrutinize her, bad-mouth you both and triangulate her opinions using your children as pawns.
    I LOL because I, too, received emails re: how Cheater’s “primary concern” is our children. Lol. Hard to tell when he was on NINE VACAYS immediately post-abandonment to all-inclusive sunny destinations. Most of the time the kids (and I) had NO CLUE he was out of the Country. I think you can see the BS narrative here, Bob. Cheaters actions and words never match up.
    It’s crystal clear to me that I’m addition to Garden Tools entitlement and centrality, she is also attempting to lay the paper trail ground work to show Judge should this Divorce go to Court. You do not have to respond. No contact is golden and is the only effective fast track to stopping the flow of these BS emails. Some will trickle in even years after parenting schedule (ask me how I know) but no contact weeds out the majority.
    Bask in the knowledge that Garden Tool is unhinged with insane jealous. I sure would. Congrats and Enjoy your knee life and new lady Chump Bob!

  • This is positively hilarious , my ex was dicking another guy(s?) for a year and a half then two weeks after the divorce she comes to the door all boohooing to tell me I was the best friend she ever had…..
    cue song “Hit the Road Jack , and doncha come back no more , no more , no more , no more…

  • This has been an interesting thing for me because my boyfriend (also a chump)’s ex doesn’t seem to have this interest (whew), but my ex wanted to meet my boyfriend. At first my boyfriend was dealing with finalizing his divorce with his ex (who made him move through molasses to do so), but he also said he considered his time precious and meeting my ex would be a waste of his time. Honestly, as much as I would consider meeting my ex to be an innocuous move in keeping the “co”-parenting peace, I agree with my boyfriend. What would my narc ex, who was more concerned with his dick than the well-being of his wife or child, have to say to my boyfriend, who is a wonderful dad despite having to “co”-parent with his narc ex wife? The only thing would be to show his face so my boyfriend knows he exists/what he looks like. I do the bulk of the parenting and the only time these two would ever run into each other might be at some future school event…maybe. It’s definitely chest-thumping. You don’t owe this person anything regarding your own personal life. On one hand I think “okay, he’s concerned about his child’s well-being”…but again, at this late in the game and after all the shit he’s done to prove otherwise? Nah. Ultimately, it’s totally up to you and up to your significant other.

  • My ex wife is a peach as well. Dragged our divorce out for nearing two years now. Continues to try and reconcile with me. Not because of any genuine love or remorse but out of hate that I have a serious GF now who my kids love. She can’t stand it because I was supposed to be a backup when stuff went sour with the AP.

    Some of the stuff she has demanded was to meet her, to not do things with her in family situations where my ex would have normally been, to not see Christmas lights, and how my kids are “struggling” with the changes, which is a flatout lie. Keep in mind, this woman used to take my youngest son with her to see her AP at some public place. The following Fourth of July, 10 months after D-Day, she had my kids spend the holiday with she and her AP. I said absolutely nothing to her about it. But me introducing my kids to a woman six months later was the end of the world.

    I’m a big fan of the “concerned mother” shtick though. She couldn’t have been crueler or cared less about me and the kids when she was out with her AP. Where she’d ignore the kid’s phone calls or never check on them. She didn’t give a shit about what she did to her kids’ dad or about breaking up the home, but then totally wants to act like mother of the year now. Shameful. Always about image.

    She’s done everything to try and delay my life and make things as difficult as possible. Just take the L and move on with your life. But narcs can’t do that. They have to have control.

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