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Rubberneckers and the Remarriage of an Ex

twu luvDear Chump Lady,

So, I found out through the grapevine that my ex is on his way to the altar with Schmoopie. And when family and friends look at my calm, unaffected response, they’re stunned.

“I’m so sorry.” (Still no reaction)

“Are you okay?” (Nope. Not gonna to blink)

“Are you sure?” (Really?)

“Because you must be feeling so many feelings.” (WTF)

Sure, I definitely have emotions, but I’m intent on at least presenting Mighty on my way to MEH, issuing the emptiest bag of kibble, and winning the medal for Least Affected Chump.

The expectation that I fly into a rage, melt into a gooey puddle of tears, or show some form of reckless insanity is insulting. Is that what they think of me? Is that what they want? Do they wait to hear a quiver in my response? See my eyes cloud over? Launch into a rage-filled monologue?

Meanwhile, I’ve gone completely no contact since D-Day, which, incidentally, was two years after the divorce was finalized.

And believe me, after hiding his affair partner for six years, siphoning money from our shared account for the last four years of our marriage, and gaslighting me enough to power the entire East coast, his cowardly ass is clearly more than thrilled to have NC. I have a great job, great friends, and a great life. But it would be lovely to have a great canned response for the well-wishers.

To add insult to insult, my adult son conveyed that he’s worried about me because I MUST be feeling such hurt. He then insisted that Fuckwit “will always love you because you’re my mom,” and “It’s important that you go forward with love and respect for each other.” I’m sorry, honey. I love you, but did you expect me to lunge for that shit sandwich? What’s an appropriate response to my clueless boy who’s been swept away by Fuckwit’s false narrative?

Thanks so much,

Poker Face

Dear Poker Face,

First question first — I don’t have a snappy retort for rubberneckers. Whose family is this? Whose friends are these? People who genuinely care about you may actually be checking in to see if you’re okay. They don’t need to know the inner workings of your mending heart, but they’re probably not mistaken that this news might come as a surprise.

Only you can discern if these people are offering support, or if they’re just rubberneckers who get a contact high off other people’s drama. Or if they’re malicious gossips intent on making you crack. Agents for the Kibble Dispatch.

To those who mean well, but you don’t want to talk about it, just smile with “I’m fine, thanks” and change the subject. If you need a soft shoulder, you know where to find one.

For the Hidden Agenda, Your Pain Makes Me Giddy vampires — are you south of the Mason-Dixon line? “Bless your heart” works well for all fuck-you politesse.

“I heard your ex is marrying Schmoopie at the fire hall and there will be an organ grinder and canapés!”

Bless their hearts.

Deliver it with all the astonishment you’d give to a four-year-old sticking french fries up his nose. What foolishness! Gosh, I hope that blocked nasal passage heals.

Bless their hearts.

Dim people need my blessing.

If you can’t summon the divine passive-aggressiveness of “bless your heart” go with no response. However, the problem with shrugging nonchalantly at vampires is the confirmation bias that you’re a cold-hearted bitch and that’s why he left you. She didn’t react? She mustn’t care!

You never have to defend yourself to vampires, okay? There’s no correct response to people who already made up their minds.

Now, to your son.

my adult son conveyed that he’s worried about me because I MUST be feeling such hurt.

Is he wrong about that? I think I’d feel hurt if someone hoodwinked me, stole marital assets, and I learned about the long-term affair after the fact. I’d also feel crushed that someone I loved and invested half a lifetime in, would do such a thing to me.

He then insisted that Fuckwit “will always love you because you’re my mom,”

I think your son is trying to make sense of his parents’ divorce. Bargaining stage of grief. Well, if they can’t be married, they can be friends! Secure in the knowledge that creating ME was all worth it. Thoughts like this are probably comforting to him, even as they horrify you.

You could gently set him straight on this.

“Son, you’re not in his head. Judge people by their actions. People who love, act loving. Cheating is abuse, not love. Your father isn’t in my life any more, so his feelings don’t concern me.”  Don’t let it devolve into being all about what a shit his father is. His relationship with his dad is his to figure out. But you get to have a boundary — you don’t have to hear your son parrot his father’s self-serving narratives.

“It’s important that you go forward with love and respect for each other.”

Geez. This reminds me of the time my son mansplained mansplaining to me.

Son, or no son, he doesn’t get to tell you how to feel about this.

“Son, I will always be civil to your father — at any significant life event of yours, you can expect good manners. But who I love and who I respect, is my business. I reserve those honors for people who honor me. I’m no contact with your father for my own self-preservation and sanity. The unethical and abusive way your father left the marriage means I cannot love and respect him, as much as that pains you.”

Your son might also be laboring under the false belief that if you don’t Get Over It and Love Dad, he will have to bolster you, and he doesn’t feel up to the job. You could reassure him that you’re doing fine in your new and improved life.

Being the Sane Parent means you can’t slop your grief on your kids (there’s CN and therapists’ offices for that).

So, when your son says something ridiculous like this, just remember that time he stuck a French fry up his nose. You don’t take advice from that guy.

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.
  • My fw called me at home and told me he and whore were flying to Vegas to get married. I just said “why are you telling me this?”. He said I didn’t want you to hear it from someone else. I said “ok, good bye”

    Now this was before CL, so I didn’t have any good arrows in my bag, but I do wish I had said “I wish you all the happiness you deserve”

    Honestly, I had not seen that asshole for about a year and only talked to him on the phone a few times for business. I still don’t know why he thought I gave a shit. I mean it was my every hope that they did marry, even before CL, I knew that would be my revenge; but still… What an arrogant ass.

    Every time I read the story from CL about going to a OK casino to get married, I think of that call and roll with laughter. “Yep, taking the whore to Vegas and putting my money on the town whore”
    That’ll convince them that I didn’t shit all over my self.

    • “He said I didn’t want you to hear it from someone else”.

      Uh huh. More like, I’m really hoping this news will devastate you so I can relish your pain.

      Fucker. Your response was brill!

      • Absolutely, in fact he had called me not long before that call, maybe 2 or three months and wanted to talk about “trying again” because we had never really had a chance to try. (I did give him a chance to try, and he shit all over me again) but I guess he forgot that. Anyway, I said no, and in fact wouldn’t even meet him anywhere to talk.

        I have no doubt he was wanting me to break down and beg him to give us another chance. He would have loved to have two women fighting for him. He hugely overvalued himself.

        • Usually a “Vegas” wedding means the couple would prefer to keep the impending marriage under wraps or have people think it was totally spontaneous. Something about a “Vegas” wedding seems like at least one of the couple is ashamed. At least to me.

          Your ex’s reason for alerting you “first” was lame. If they had planned a local wedding and party with mutual friends, yeah, I could see him making a courtesy phone call but even then…

          • Right? And it wasn’t like I wasn’t expecting it, I mean he did say when he left he was in love with the whore and they wanted to get married.

            I got married five years later, but I didn’t call him. I got married at my dads house in Texas, officiated by my dads preacher.

            Yeah, Vegas… Well CL said it best:

            “Say you’re a cheater and your cake is destroyed. You’re trying to figure out what next. Do you do the hard work on yourself? Try to make your marriage work? Take a spiritual path? Or do you follow the bright, sparkly lights to the slots and put your money down on Schmoopie? They’re there. They’re easy. And your “commitment” will convince everyone this wasn’t such a disastrous choice!”

            • Thanks for the reminder Susie Lee:
              “Say you’re a cheater and your cake is destroyed. You’re trying to figure out what next. Do you do the hard work on yourself? Try to make your marriage work? Take a spiritual path? Or do you follow the bright, sparkly lights to the slots and put your money down on Schmoopie? They’re there. They’re easy. And your “commitment” will convince everyone this wasn’t such a disastrous choice!”

              This is exactly my ex married good friend (who knew of ALL the abuse I had suffered over the years), and ex sociopath narc husband, and like you, it was my greatest hope that those 2 home wrecking immoral miscreants would marry each other. They both deserved to be bound to a scum bag equal to themselves. Liars, cheaters, abusers, the both of them. They hurt SO MANY people, children, family, friends. Completely annihilated my life and my sons’. Nothing remained except the two of us. We started over with nothing except a lot of pain, stress and chaos.
              They snuck away and married in secret. I only know “about” when, and it was within months of our divorce, and ex friend’s divorce. The only reason I know is because our MSA orders him to send me a copy of his tax returns. So there it was, in black and white….Skankawhoreus was the “wife”. I found out over a year after. They didn’t tell anyone, don’t wear rings…’s weird. I texted her ex and he had not a clue, kids either.
              I was absolutely delighted! They were legally bound! For how long, who knows, but if there is a divorce, those two seasoned evil slugs will have an ugly battle. It’s funny how you just don’t know how exactly you’ll feel about something until you’re facing it. My biggest anxiety was that my ex would find another chump to victimize.
              I’m glad to know another chump feels the same as I do. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been through this.
              I wholeheartedly agree that they should receive all the happiness they deserve.

              • Honestly I never thought about the clueless victim they both saved. All I was concerned about (in real time) what that they get married. But as you mention they saved some hapless victim a lot of pain. Had they not married, I am sure that he would have found another woman quickly while he still had his badge magnet. And she would have started humping yet another married man just as quickly. (which would mean another betrayed spouse) Her time was running out to grab a meal ticket, as she was 37 ish by the time we divorced and she didn’t have that much going for her even as a young woman.

    • I found out my XW was marrying her AP when she sent me an email demanding I fly back with the kids (from my parents’ house, where we had been having family Christmas) so they could participate in the pre-wedding festivities. Mind you, the custody schedule had been set four years earlier, but apparently she was still taken by surprise by it.

    • “You’re getting married in Vegas? How appropriate you chose Sin City!”

      • That would have been a good one. So many good options in hindsight.

        Where was CL when I needed her. (likely still in high school.)

  • One question regarding your son? Does he know the truth? Since you found out about the affair 2 years after the finale is he still under the impression that the false narrative the your ex created is the truth? It almost sounds that way. If so, you really need to tell him the readers digest version of the truth for his sake and yours. I had to do this with my son just recently regarding the financial and emotional abuse – it was uncomfortable but it beats letting them believe a lie.

    Regarding others. If you give a snappy retort even that will fuel them. Perhaps “Oh, how nice, good for them” in a sweet voice.

    • I assumed he knew, because of the “you must be so HURT.”

      But good point.

      • Truthfully, I haven’t talked about my FW’s cheating with my son. My D-day was my sudden realization, not a confession on my ex’s part. When I heard who he was seeing, I started doing the mental math and things began to add up. I’m pretty sure my son would angrily deny any wrong-doing on his father’s part, and has dutifully swallowed a distorted narrative. As Susie Lee says above, I didn’t have my Chump Lady arrows when I found out, didn’t know how to say it, so I didn’t say anything. I’m sure my son was imagining that the idea of his father entering into the holy and sacred realm of marriage (ahem) with someone new (ahem) must be devastating for me. Chumperella, what words did you use when explaining this to your son?

        • My children all knew about the cheating – he was proud of it. His level of narcissism is so off of the charts that he actually had the nerve to say that we should all be happy for him if we love him because he FINALLY (after 20 years of marriage and raising 3 children) found happiness.

          This weekend I was spending some time with my adult son; we were talking about financial stability and he was expressing concerns over his girlfriends parents and how they attempt to exploit her financially. He then said to me that he knows that I am worried about ex exploiting the kids as they are all pursuing lucrative careers but I should not be worried. In an emotionless voice, I explained to him how my ex came into the marriage broke with undisclosed credit card debt and within weeks started exploiting my assets, including a house that was in my name with sizable equity, my job, my savings, even the child support I was receiving from my oldest child’s dad and my 401k. I know it shook him up a bit but he is glad that I told him.

          That said, down thread in these comments Letgo wrote a beautiful post on how to have this talk with an adult child.

        • Just tell him the truth in English. Not to mention, he is an adult. You’re making excuses. I think that you are making your own problems on this one…with your son, friends, family.

    • My adult sons told me how their FW mother is upset because she was “cheated” in the divorce settlement. They seemed a little indignant for her.
      The FW was cheated?
      I set that straight right away. I told them 90% was dictated by CA state law and we each had competent attorneys. Please tell me how she was cheated or is this really sour grapes? Never heard another peep about this.
      Meanwhile I stay NC with their mother, except for necessary events, at which case it is all business.

      • Yep, it still irritates me when I hear someone say “oh so and so took him/her to the cleaners in the divorce” or “she/he got everything in the D”. Bullshit, there is overriding state law.

        What is not taken into account, is how the law works to make the settlement fair, to a stay at home parent, or for the money that one spouse is in effect paying back to the other spouse because they embezzled it to transfer to a third party.

        A lot goes into the final settlement, and as long as both were represented by competent attorneys (if needed) or both settled with each other fairly; no one got taken to the cleaners in the D. They may have gotten taken to the cleaners in the marriage, but that is a different issue.

        I got a small house in our settlement that was fully paid off. His mother was living in it. Whore and her sons told people I took his mothers house, I didn’t. I took the one property that was paid off in the settlement, He goteverything else, including three rental properties (that were half paid off) he got the marital property that was 2/3rd paid off and he got the car and the boat, and the River property that he conned me into signing for the last year we were together.

        He could have just offered me some money for the house I got, but he wouldn’t do that.

        He even called me and wanted the paid off property to be given to his mom, because and get this: “we told her she could live there” I simply said, you broke the marriage contract, when you break a contract you don’t get to pick and choose which agreements made under that contract you want to keep/ and which you don’t. He threatened me, then called back a little later and apologized for threatening me.

        What I am sure he didn’t bother to tell his whore or his mom is, I got the house in payment for waiving my interest in his retirement account. (I didn’t have enough in my ret account at the time to worry about, but he waived it too) He never contested the settlement, nor did he contest a one year temp maintenance program, the temp maintenance was to pay me back some of the funds he stole from the marriage to transfer to the whore and her family. I had a three year credit card history, and a three year bank history to prove a lot of it.

        Legally I could have gotten three years, but I stopped at one year.

        • Unfortunately, since my FW made and controlled all the money, I could not afford an attorney. One, and only one, lawyer agreed to help me without a retainer. But he only got $2500 for everything, and only after the settlement. He didn’t do a whole lot for me, just came with me to mediation and explained what things meant.

          We didn’t go to court, and I didn’t get what I should have because FW was withholding funds that I desperately needed to live, so I settled. I was scared and it felt coercive, but there’s nothing I can do about it now because the settlement can’t be modified unless FW loses his job.

          So, yeah, sometimes folks really do get screwed. Despite the laws, it really does take money to receive justice.

          • Laws need changed in divorce. I was married 20t , forced off joint bank acct no money for attorney .finally got one who did little. I’d had a child late in life and then later went back to work still my SSD is low . I should have gotten maintainence support for life . alienation of affection laws are limited to few states. Many are left to struggle after investing time staying at home to raise children and allowing x to improve employment . Unless one is in a high wage job the SS will be low when you need it. My x is getting married “Shrugging Shoulders” Two cheaters deserving of one another. That Union was created by obliterating families , abandoning kids and committed vested partners while lying, gaslighting and stealing . So much pride and memory in that for their future together!

            • This is the absolute truth. The laws are written by the powerful for the powerful. It amazes me that people can get away with such fraud. I’ve said it before, but if these people behaved this way with regard to a business contract, no Court would consider an “equal” split of assets or a measly “support” payment justifiable. It’s untenable, and had I known what a fraudster FW was, I never would have undertaken such a contract with him, let alone given up all of my own opportunities in order to support “the family.”

              I tell every young woman and teenage girl I know to never, ever, ever give up a job or a job opportunity in favor of caring for children or supporting a spouse. It may be sexist to say it, but until an equal amount of men start giving up jobs to stay home with children or follow their spouse’s promotions, a majority of women will continue to get the shit end of the divorce schtick.

              I know a lot of guys say they get screwed over when it comes to custody and support payments, and it’s true about custody, but all the statistics show that women’s standard of living decreases substantially after divorce, while men’s increases. That happens directly as a result of absurd “no fault” bullshit laws.

              Adultery is someone’s fault, and it should have consequences, not rewards.

              • Men get custody 70% of the time they file for it. It’s a great time to be a father in family court in 2021. The pendulum has swung to where it’s actually Chump mothers who are losing custody to FWs who make false claims of parental alienation. Read more testimonies from custodially-challenged Chump moms on our Reddit – it’s an epidemic. See also Mothers on Trial by Phyllis Chesler.

          • I’m sorry that happened. My fw also controlled me financially. He even successfully controlled my money, making me scared to withdraw it for things like attorney fees. My dad paid the initial attorney consult fee and then I slowly got the nerve to withdraw money for a retainer. It is a battle and when financially controlled it makes it even harder. I’m glad you’re away and can rebuild.

        • You have stated the best way to regard marital assets. They are only worth so much. Get a competent solicitor and don’t fight over how they are split.

          I wanted the house. I settled for pension sharing

          • Yep, I just needed a low cost way to live, and it was either that house, or he could pay me half what the assessed value was. His choice. He could have easily gotten a loan and paid me off, interest rates for loans were pretty low during that time, but nope. If he had paid me half 20 thousand, it was a very small one bedroom house and property) I could have bought a small economy car, and had the money to pay to get set up in a small apartment.

            I sold the house a few years later.

            I definitely did not want the marriage house. I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough. If I remember right ass wipes mother lived there a few years then her health started failing, so he built a little apt on to his and the whores house. She lived there until she died.

            I have often wondered if his ship pile life choices, was the reason her health started failing so quickly.

        • According to him I took him to the cleaners too. I asked for lawyers fees and 50% of everything. How that adds up to the cleaners is beyond me? I just chalk it up to the warped mind of a cheater.

      • Yes, I’m expecting that this will rear its ugly head at some point with his relatives. They probably were told that I took him to the cleaners. The reality is that the terms were between us and didn’t really involve anyone else (no custody issues). We both signed, and both of us had attorneys who were older and the managing/founding partners of their respective firms, not lightweights at all.

        I got what state law says and a little more related to our college kids. In one area, my attorney said it was highly probable that a judge would give me that given the length of the marriage and that I had put my career aside for twenty years, but of course, you never know if you go to court. We settled without court.

        Our kids were in college locally when it was finalized and are no-contact, so no necessary events. I’ve attended three graduations alone now, which makes it easy.

        I truly have no idea what my ex is doing with his time and with who at this point. For all I know, he could be remarried or not. I’m blissfully ignorant!

        • So as we were in the throes of negotiations, I got a text message from one of my nutty, selfish, abusive, manipulative step-daughters. Hadn’t heard from her in several years. She begged me not to “take Dad to the cleaners… the end of the day, he’s a good guy who just made a mistake.” HAHAHAHA. It KILLED me not to respond, but I didn’t. I’m happy to report that I got an excellent settlement, which even though my X agreed to and signed, he now somehow feels victimized by, and that I took advantage of him. Oh well. PS – the minute I saw the text from stepdaughter, I knew what had happened: Dad said No to her for something (doesn’t happen very often, he has 4 adult children he is keeping in the manner to which they are accustomed in our marital home, which I very happily handed over for his 401k)

          • Yes, the “they took me to the cleaners” is a false flag, particularly if you settled out of court and both had solid representation. If you both signed, why are you complaining? Unless there was withheld information or coercion, out-of-court settlements can’t be appealed. They can be amended, but you both have to sign again.

            I think some people use that phrase because they want the ex to get very little, but the law doesn’t agree. Mine threatened divorce for over a decade and said he’d leave me homeless. I didn’t know much at all about divorce then and thought he might do that (I was mostly a SAHM). Now I know differently. I got a little more than a judge would award, period. End of story.

            • “I think some people use that phrase because they want the ex to get very little, but the law doesn’t agree. ”

              I think so too.

              Don’t get me wrong, I still think no fault laws are shit sandwiches especially for the child care provider, but to many people “fair” means screw the other into poverty. And it is usually the perp who wants to do the screwing.

              I also think Adultery should be actionable. But now, it is even easier to get evidence with social media trails and such. Back before cell phones and social media it was like shooting in the dark.

              Yes they can delete, but thing is they always get lazy and more daring.

      • My adult sons are at the age where they are pondering possible marriage on the horizon. They have a sudden interest in what REALLY happened, as they asess the possibility of it happening to them someday. I frankly discussed the actual facts and figures of the assets I came into and out of marriage with, and they saw how hard I worked during the marriage. One said “Wow Dad, you lost everything you built in your adult life!”

        At least if they choose to take the risk (60% failure probability), they will go in with eyes opened. Hopefully move to a fault-state with pre-nups. My parents modeled a wonderful marriage and competent set of life skills to me so I sleepwalked right into a marriage scam by a Dark Triad. I was easy pickings.

        • I think that is another hard part of it, after the emotion subsides.

          I worked beside my husband (18 when we married, he was in the Army) for twenty years, scrimped saved; so he could have a boat and his dock sites etc. Then to find out that he was handing money over to a third party, while I was wearing thrift shop clothes, and we could never buy any new furniture, he promised that would come afer our son was grown. We bought rental property, and a river property etc and he was telling me it was for our retirement, but he knew he was using my credit and money to help him build his future with the whore.

          I started over at a minimum wage job (which I was grateful for) and he handed almost all of it over to the town bicycle.

          Granted they lost it all and ended up in bankruptcy, still he did it.

          • So sorry to hear that. Future faking with martial funds is worse than the extramarital sex. I stupidly let my Ex manage the money. It seemed like a good idea, I was busy out earning the money, she had plenty of time to do the bookkeeping. I finally looked at the finances when she vaporized, I saw all kinds of funds vaporized with her. She had been moving/hiding it for some time too. It’s awfully tough to get over that kind of fraud perpetrated by the woman you trusted with your life.

            • That is rough to get over.

              Yes, he handled the money too. I mean I knew how much he made, and what we owed and such, but I didn’t pay the bills.

              When I went to work he insisted I put my money in a separate account so we didn’t get used to using it for bills, kind of a savings account. Then he gave me a specific amount of money each month for food.

              I used some of my money for clothes and gifts, but did save a lot of it. Both our names were on both accounts, but I never had reason to use the main account. Quite convenient for him and the whore.

              Luckily I ordered a three year history of our checking account, and a three year history of our credit card. I found a lot of stuff he bought for her and her kids on the cc. And there were huge discrepancies between what he made and what was paid out in bills.

              I was able to recoup some of that stolen money in a temp separation/maintenance agreement. But, I am sure what I got was only a fraction of what he stole.

              • Klootzak always hits the ATM for cash. He has spent untold sums on his activities which I will never be able to prove. I only was able to lay hands on one bill from a B&B (where he also bought the flavor o’ the day a luxurious spa robe to remember the occasion by!) and laid eyes on a box filled with jewelry and other gifts he bought for another one and her kids. I have resisted trying to get any spousal support, though his income is three times what mine is. An attorney friend of mine said to go for as much SS as I can get because it is the only way I can recover all that he has spent.

                Like you, I had shopped at thrift stores for clothes. When my son was 5, klootzak wanted him to keep sleeping in his crib/toddler bed because “he fits in it if he curls up to sleep.” I had to beg for us to buy him a full size mattress. I had to beg to buy a basic lawn mower when the one I had brought to the marriage died after 25 years of service. I scrimped and begged my FIL to give gifts to benefit our son like a backpack, dresser for his room, toy box, and funds for college savings. Meanwhile, Klootzak was buying German made Christmas ornaments and high end jewelry for the latest schmoopie. We were eating frozen pizza when he would go on work trips, wining and dining his craigslist or Ashley Madison trash.

                So if spousal support is the only way I’m going to be reimbursed for the wastage I can’t prove, so be it. Even though I will have less income, at least I will be free to spend it so will actually have access to more than I did previously.

    • I know for sure that sparkledick LIES and LIES and LIES and then lies some more to my sons and that they want to believe their father. Oh dear!

  • I’m afraid if someone told me my ex was getting remarried I’d have to say “sooner her than me”! I think that would convey my feelings pretty accurately!

    • Attie,

      If someone told me that Ex-Mrs LFTT was marrying her AP (she moved in with him shortly after the divorce was finalised and has lived with him ever since) I would keep my mouth firmly shut, as I wouldn’t want anything I said to come back and bite me.

      But just between the two if us, I’d be thinking “more fool him.” He would simply be setting himself up for her to do to him what she did to me; I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, not even him.

      Which kinda feels like “Meh” to me.


    • As someone on here pointed out last week, there’s a lid for every chamber pot!

      • I wish! I think my ex just keeps stinking up whatever zone he’s in …

  • One thing to consider in this scenario could be something like “it would be inappropriate for me to discuss that with you so I’d prefer we stop talking about it”.

    Even with her son, this could possibly apply. “It would be inappropriate for me to discuss my relationship with your father with you. That would be me triangulating and putting you in the middle, and I respect us both too much to do that, so let’s not discuss it further.” Then CL’s wise reassurances about how mom’s strong and well supported and everything will be ok.

    For others, a similar approach could be “even if I did have those feelings — and I’m not saying I have them, but even if I did — my response would be the same, which is that I wouldn’t discuss them with people who know us both, because I believe it’s ethically wrong to put others in the middle of our relating. Rest assured, I’m fine and I have the support I need in my life for whatever arises, thanks for caring, and let’s move on.” Something like.

    When setting boundaries, there can be times that a behavioral object lesson, while sometimes annoying, puts that last nail in the work so there’s no misunderstanding that no means no. (After all, there’s nothing wrong with annoying someone who is annoying you with their crappy boundaries, eh?) Your mileage may vary, but it’s worth considering.

  • Just recently my ex-FW moved in with his new supply within 2 months of meeting her. She’s a “good Christian woman” and “nothing like me”.

    This is after the cheapskate spent actual money for an RIC counseling class

    Karma is going to kick his ass so bad when he realizes she’s too much like his ex-wife and not enough like me. She doesn’t deserve it – she got seduced by the devil so he can live in her beautiful home, in a different town where they don’t know his reputation.

    I was no contact but saw them together and figured out what was happening after he emailed me. I’m the ghost he can’t forget, the only woman that never wanted to reconcile.

    Thanks CL for validating leaving. My life is full and content. And he did me a favor because I have a better future.

  • It’s been the hardest part of my marriage, my kids and FW. He cheated on me for the last 7 yrs with gis stepsister and alao disclosured 16 yrs of other physical cheating. I’ve finally held a boundary to separate. Working every day for grey rock. But its seeing the damage in my children from spending 16 yrs with this man that breaks my heart. I over shared with my adult children from my 1st marriage. So hard not to let the anger and hurt permeate everything around me.

      • Double betrayal since she lived in my home for 4 months. They deserve each other, but since he took our daughter with him several times to go see her– I’ve stipulated in the visitation contract there is to be no contact with stepsister or mention of her while our daughter is with him.

    • There’s a whole genre of “stepsister”-themed streaming porn. These FWs are hardly original.

      I could have gone my whole life not knowing that and everything else I “learned” about the loveless, rapey, betrayal-fixated, deadly world of human callousness. Now that I do know, I can’t un-know it. I’ve joined the movement to shut down sex trafficking and support policies that hinder the sex industry, like banning sites that don’t rigorously age-authorize or that have used trafficked women and children.

      • Mine left me for and subsequently married (!) a sex worker he met in a massage parlor. Because of that, I now know more about the illicit massage business than I ever wanted to or thought I would. Many of those women are sex trafficked from China. There is one of those places in about every strip mall in my state. Law enforcement, for the most part, looks the other way. When one of them does get busted & closed down, it just gets opened up again in a different location.
        My city enacted an ordinance just this year to to crack down on the illicit massage businesses. Will wait and see how vigorously it is enforced.

        • What an “education.” 🙁 I never thought I’d learn so much about any of it.

          Actually, I’ve taken an interest in the issue of trafficking for the sake of my kids. They’re entering an era where the porn industry has more power and profits than all media combined and bundled interests with many “legitimate” global industries, even if the money trails are well obscured. Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch has long been invested in pornography. I’m sure there are ties with other media giants and all of it has created a tendency for the tail to wag the dog regarding media depictions of every type of ugliness, from promoting adultery as “evolutionarily predetermined” (junk science) to astroturfing a movement of sex workers claiming that selling one’s body is “EmPowErIng,” all to soften up existing and still strong public prohibitions against these things so the blood money can keep rolling in. The OnlyFans scene of promoting online sex work to teens, the promotion of extremely degrading and dangerous sex practices as “feminist” (not so much) and the fact that 5 to 15% of students at top universities are selling themselves to pay for tuition are changing the entire culture.

          It’s not just struggling immigrants having to debase themselves anymore– subjugation has gone mainstream. It’s like something out of Kafka. And I wonder how psychologically bizarre and unsettling it is for normally raised teens today to face a social environment in which these things are being artificially normalized and so many average young people are being brainwashed to accept them. It’s not going to go over well with my kids who are all social justice warriors, so it’s best if mom can try to understand these political realities and explain it to prepare them. It’s like sticking my head in a sewer but I’m mentally pretty tough. If there are people having to live through that kind of hell and if my kids are going to be breathing the fumes of it in their generation, it’s not too much to ask that I learn about it.

      • That should of tipped me off since I caught him watching stepsister porn initially. I made him call her and tell her he had to go no contact in front of me but they just went behind my back.

  • People have asked me how I’d feel if FW married AP. I laugh and say “I hope so!” It takes them totally off guard. If they ask that I elaborate, I say “I’m so much happier without him. Let her take on his horrible financial issues. Enjoy.” And that shuts them up.

    My son is a teen and totally knows what happened and struggles with his dad’s choices and behavior. But he even said to me this week “I wish dad and you would talk more and not include me.” (his dad has to triangulate our son — he sends texts only with our son on it too). I said “I have tried and tried. But he is unable. What happens when YOU ask him questions?” And he laughed and said “yeah, you’re right. He won’t answer anything.” Exactly kid.

    Just have a gentle talk with adult son. Set your boundaries. His dad’s choices are not your concern anymore. You no longer love or respect his dad because of his dad’s crap choices — but it is no reflection on your relationship with your son. You DO love and respect your son and will never make anything awkward for him if you are all together at some point.

  • Different, but similar… my ex-husband cheated, a lot. By the last and final D-Day, I was honest when someone asked why I was leaving him. What still surprises me is that a typical auto-response was to try to build me up, e.g., “omg, Expecting, you’re so beautiful, he’s an idiot!” … as if the reason for his cheating had something to do with my appearance — which, candidly, hadn’t occurred to me. I thought he was cheating because he’s a broken and heartless person. If I had any responsibility, it was enabling the behavior for as long as I did by not leaving sooner… not because I wasn’t pretty enough or pinching, plucking, and abusing my body to fit into a certain jean size.

    People project a lot of shit — whether is how they feel, how they think they’d feel, or what they think you should feel. “That’s my past, I’m looking toward my future” is my go-to nugget to move conversation forward.

    • These are great points, Expecting. I’ve recently been able to let go of some former friends because I’ve realized (or should I say, remembered) that if another adult buys into the story that cheating is about romance, self actualisation, people growing apart and “unmet needs,” and if they don’t already share a somewhat compatible understanding of integrity, true love and partnership as I do – I’m wasting my breath and energy trying to convince them. I can let go. I’ve been through this before, but worse, and I know where it leads. They, and our friendship, are not important to me anymore. I also do not owe them any explanations, even if I believed they could do any good. These people don’t really know or care about me, if they can believe the twisted narratives of a man who has repeatedly proven himself to be cheating, lying coward. I also cannot be friends with people who choose to stay friends with my ex because it is like there’s an elephant in the room. We all give the subject a wide berth, and it’s an awkward and inauthentic charade. Or they say nosy, clueless things.

      Poker Face: I don’t know what I’d do if I had children with my ex, because that’s a different story, entirely, from navigating whether or not to respond to/let go of mutual friends or even ex-family. CL and other chumps with personal experience with this situation have you covered there. I do know, however, that it’s not your fault that your son has to deal with this – nor are you responsible for the now severed (and once fraught) relationship with your ex. He destroyed your family, and he hurt your son. He created potentially painful and awkward situations. You’ve done, and are doing, the best you can.

    • That reminded me of bystanders who, in response to my prosecuting a workplace stalker years before, would say “Well at least you’re not like those battered women who… (defend their abusers, provoke their abusers, etc. etc., etc.).”

      The special dispensation I was offered to not automatically be painted as somehow deserving of abuse only made me angry for the sake of survivors who were not “exempted.” It still implies that victims have special telepathic powers to turn perfectly nice people into vicious maniacs. You realize that, exemption or not, you’re only a hair’s breadth from being splashed with the same aspersions. Get a little older, develop a health problem, forgo the salon to pay for kids’ school and–whoops– suddenly it’s your fault.

      Fuck that and fuck the devil’s temptation to sell out others by accepting hubris kibble at a moment of crushed self-esteem and flagging hope.

      • I’m with you, Hell of a Chump. Interesting you mention the minimizing bystanders in your tale of prosecuting a workplace stalker. (You were so brave to come forward and do something. Have you come across any of Jennifer Freyd’s research around institutional betrayal and betrayal blindness? You might find it interesting.)

        One of my Switzerland friends showed his true colors as a minimizing bystander first. A few months before DDay, I went through a scary and bizarre ordeal involving my employer at that time. He had a psychotic break and became volatile and violent, attacking a couple of different women. He did not attack me, but I had a few unsettling encounters right before it happened – terrifying, in retrospect. I was left without a job and he never paid me my final paycheck and never contacted me to again (a shit sandwich I ate to avoid any further contact with him). Thanks to the guy’s wealth, power and connections, etc., he got away with everything and within weeks was back at his house as if nothing had happened. His house was only miles from mine, and my ex went away for work frequently, so I was often alone, in the middle of nowhere. When I mentioned that this made me a little uncomfortable, considering our proximity and everything that had happened, this “friend” (a tall, wealthy, privileged white male, himself – though decidedly not a psychopath) said with condescension, “Why? He didn’t do anything to you.” (Oh really?) Sqid “friend” then went on to defend the guy and say he felt sorry for him because of his mental illness – which of course had nothing to with my feelings of safety, and did not erase the creepy memories of my recent run-ins with him. Mentally ill or not, the guy was a towering, dishonest, entitled bully with an arsenal of weapons who attacked women. The weirdest part is that this friend was almost confrontational with me about it. I’d hardly said a word to begin with. I dropped it, but it informed my relationship with him moving forward.

        Now that I’m reflecting on all of this, I can see that many of my other Switzerland friends did or said similar things that reflected their values/morals and didn’t sit well with me. One woman I considered a friend and mentor told me she would’ve stayed with her partner if he’d done what my ex did to me. (My ex was awful, awful, and she knew enough to know better.) Whenever she saw me, she’d tel me about how her dad had always told her two things: 1. never get married, and; 2. own your own home. It was so insulting. I met my partner at 25, and we were building a home together, and that had always been the plan. Would I have built a house separately from the partner I lived with and was building a house with? Was it my fault I lost everything, because of this? (An aside, she owned her own home but built it years before she met her partner, in her 50’s – a man with considerable family money). Also, I WASN’T MARRIED, so what did that have to do with anything? This same woman tried to tell me that letting go of jealousy was what helped her in her relationship. Thanks for the advice, but I’m not and never was jealous. To the contrary, I was comically trusting and respected my ex’s “privacy”’to a fault; I always encouraged him to pursue whatever hobbies, opportunities, adventures he wanted, even if these pursuits took him far away. I wanted him to be happy, free and himself, and I didn’t resent his independence. The last time I spoke with this woman, she repeated – for the umpteenth time – that I would just have to work really hard to earn some money to start I eat and buy my own home. How exciting! Look on the bright side. Like I didn’t already do all that and have it stolen from me! One of the first things anyone who knows me will say is that I’m a hard worker.

        I was pretty hurt/upset by all of this at first, when I felt like my world was slipping through my fingers and was realizing I was no match for a manipulative, charismatic, vindictive and dishonest lying cheater’s narrative. It’s too bad these people are upstanding citizens in my community, and are even friends with some of my closest friends who I really do love and trust. I’m better off without them, but I resent the ripple effect and the consequences are real. But like with the cheater, I’m mostly past grieving the loss of these people/attachments now that I have had some space and can see things more clearly.

        • Wow, sorry about all of the typos and errors. I really need to slow down and think more carefully before I write, and post, here.

          • I am the typo queen and you may not have my crown!!

            You wrote: “I felt like my world was slipping through my fingers and was realizing I was no match for a manipulative, charismatic, vindictive and dishonest lying cheater’s narrative.”

            That was the absolute worst part of being victimized every time– the bystander effect, which is essentially PR for perps. For some background, even before leaving school, I worked in a really high-stakes, male-dominated field so, believe it or not, that was not the first workplace asshole I’d prosecuted for assault, harassment, “terrorist threat,” etc. I don’t think I would have married so young if I hadn’t felt like a sitting duck in that industry and in need of a bodyguard or just the ring as a forcefield of protection. But then I found out there’s a different kind of harassment when you’re off the market and married– worse in some ways, more rageful and underhanded. Everything boiled down to crappy protections for women (and some young guys as well) in the workplace and the fact that no one preceding me had stood up against it. I was even forced to mediate against my behaviorism prof in college to save my grade. If it wasn’t for my family and wise friends, I would never have gotten through it.

            But with every experience, came the peanut gallery of bystanders and their soul-crushing commentary. What I learned about victim blaming:

            — A lot of it boils down to the “safe world effect, a “victimology” concept that goes something like this: in order not to feel vulnerable to experiencing the same misfortune, bystanders need to find arbitrary fault with the victim, some reason the victim “brought it on themselves” in order for the bystander to feel that God is in his heaven and rewards the “good” with good fortune and that only the “bad” will suffer evil. So the bystander needs to fabricate something bad about you and will grasp onto any stray, like, say, you wore red on Sundays, which they would *never* do…

            — Victim-blamers usually had really fucked up childhoods and major FOO issues. In the situation with the workplace stalker, I did the oddest thing. Because I’d seen these dynamics before (bystanders defending an obvious perpetrator), I was morbidly curious. So I sort of “interviewed” the stalker’s flying monkeys and apologists to figure out what kind of childhoods they had. It was amazing that, though they had pitted themselves against me, these people seemed to be in some kind of trance and would spill all sorts of weird confessions about their parents, upbringing, etc. The conclusion of my little human guinea pig experiment is that, yep, they all grew up with domestic violence and got the message that “abusers win” and “victims lose.” It was all about staying on the “winning” side.
            I came to understand that, all around us, there are “Manchurian candidates” who, because of FOO issues and family abuse, can be suddenly triggered to defend *any* perp against *any* victim, almost like it’s an autonomic reaction. It explains why seeming feminists would suddenly start defending a psycho rapey stalker. Then again, the opposite might be true. My most passionate allies were often people who had experienced abuse in the past. Traumatic experience is a crucible that cranks out the best and the worst.

            — Groovy study came out showing an association between “rape myth acceptance” and “infidelity tolerance.” Because of my previous experiences, once I’d been chumped, I figured there had to be a connection between cheating apologists and workplace harassment/rape apologists. Yep. Felt the same, sounded the same, was the same.

            It’s the dictionary definition of “their problem.” At this point, I have zero tolerance for apologists, flying monkeys and people who suffer from moral relativity. I’m building a life surrounded with people who take no prisoners and don’t tolerate BS. Lately I’ve been noticing how they just seem to be generally a lot smarter than apologists. I’m becoming a snob about it lol. That’s the real “winning side.”

            • Thanks for all of your thoughtful responses in this thread, Hell of a Chump. I also appreciate what you’ve written below and will look into the resources mentioned. I left therapy because I was frustrated with the dynamic you describe there, which I felt perpetuated some of the issues I’d experienced in a long term abusive relationship.

              To respond to a couple of the above points:

              -“Safe world effect”: I passed a church billboard today that read, “Life is like tennis. Those who serve well rarely lose.” Be a good spouse appliance, and you will lead a happy, fulfilling life.

              -“It explains why seeming feminists would suddenly start defending a psycho rapey stalker.”
              Have you followed the what happened with Canadian writer/professor Steven Galloway? He was fired from his university after an investigation into accusations of sexual assault (by a student he admitted to having an affair with), as well as many other “inappropriate” actions involving students and subordinates. Many high profile writers came out in support of him (and attacked his victims), some of whom describe themselves as feminists; Margaret Atwood made waves when she went to bat for him via social media, where she also criticized #metoo. From there, things continued to spiral, thanks to the unsurprising responses of the institutions involved, the media, and the courts. Galloway successfully sued his university for damages, and now I believe Galloway has brought an anti-defamation suit against the victim who came forward, potentially setting a dangerous new legal precedent, IMHO.

              -interesting correlation between rape and infidelity apologists/tolerance. Maybe related, I’ve begun to wonder how many of the bystanders – flying monkeys, Switzerland, etc. – are cheaters themselves.

              – Finally, I like your point about how some trauma/abuse survivors are the most passionate and supportive activists.

      • “That reminded me of bystanders who, in response to my prosecuting a workplace stalker years before, would say “Well at least you’re not like those battered women who… (defend their abusers, provoke their abusers, etc. etc., etc.)”

        That is so sickening. Blame the victim, blame the victim. Ugh.

        I would like very much to be able to help these people. Could you post a link to point me in the right direction? Thanks in advance.

        • I love the work of Frank M. Ochberg, sort of the founding father of modern PTSD therapy and one of the originators of the concept of “captor bonding.” He has a website that could provide some leads. And, as a good prepearation, read the book he edited, “Post-traumatic Stress Therapy and the Victims of Violence,” particularly the chapter on domestic violence, which very scientifically trounces the tradition of victim-blaming. Then, if you want to commit some time to volunteering, call around to local shelters and victim advocacy networks to check on their philosophies regarding “victimology.” Some still adhere to the old, moldy “psychological deficiency” theory of victims who “subconsciously seek abuse.” But more and more, I think some advocacy networks are fighting against that power-coddling philosophy.

          I’m a big believer in helping in order to find help and community-building. I’ve always found so many amazing people within political and social advocacy. Then again, there are the “abuser moles” who like to play rescuer. But I think that many experienced chumps would have a great radar for that ruse.

          • “Helping in order to find help” sounds a bit narcy, like those sick and twisted therapists who are drawn to helping professions. I was thinking of the sort of “anarcho” survivor advocacy network I worked with where advocates’ personal experiences were a key component in reaching and supporting clients and created a level field, rather than the traditional model of the “authority” lording it over the poor, pathetic, warped “victim” and deigning to play savior. The network I worked with cranked out a lot of freshly minted activists and advocates, which should be the goal.

  • Gee I wish schmoopie was stupid enough to marry my loser ex. Perfect karma for both in my opinion.

  • It really is the best revenge.

    I never understood why so many chumps fear that. I guess with small children, I can see it. Who wants their kids around them.

    • Susie Lee – For many chumps (like me), it took a while to get to real meh and perspective. Like on some level, I would love for them to fail after how they destroyed a marriage. But now I really don’t care and them staying together is the ultimate karma — they both suck.

      However… it will be rough on my kid. My son can’t stand AP and wants nothing to do with her or her kids. It’s definitely harder if children are involved.

  • My response was always in the line of “Why do you think I might be interested in this or You are tellimg me this… why? Do I have to now this becasue…? I had a perfect poker face and never blew my cover. Luckily I didn’t nee one very long. But of course it was easy, because there where no kids and he moved away.

    • Yes. Yes. And, yes. A friend (mutual with Ex) called me the day before Thanksgiving. This friend ALWAYS texts, rarely speaks by phone, so I answered even though I was in the f’ing gravy aisle at the grocery store on Thanksgiving Eve. He asked me if I’m still in contact with my ex-SIL…

      Me: Uh, occasionally. Why?
      Friend: Oh, just wondering.
      Me: For any particular reason?
      Friend: No.
      Me: Why the fuck are you calling me the day before thanksgiving to ask if I’m still in contact with my ex-husband’s family for no reason whatsoever?!
      Guy within earshot: **applauds**

      • ????????????????????

        The mutual ‘friend’ sounds like a first class arsehole.

        • I couldn’t believe it. I’ve had to build significant boundaries with this particular friend for reasons like that.

      • Yep, this is the way to go, and it makes people crazy if you don’t engage. I love this

      • Lol! Love that guy.

        I had a somewhat similar experience. Fw and I were walking past a fairly crowded restaurant patio and he said some cringe-worthy hypocritical bullshit that pissed me off. I yelled that it was rich coming from a cheating, lying manwhore with the morals of a dung beetle.
        The patio burst into applause and there were shouts of; “Right on!” and “Kick his ass!” Fw was mortified, poor sausage. He fumed that he could never show his face at that restaurant again. Aw, what a shame.

        • “I yelled that it was rich coming from a cheating, lying manwhore with the morals of a dung beetle.”

          I like you.

        • Hahahaha! In moments when spectatorship is unavoidable, it sure is good to be the one people are rooting for! I’m certainly not proud of openly swearing in a grocery store on Thanksgiving-eve, but I truly couldn’t believe the audacity of this friend, who I have put boundaries in place with when it comes to talking about my ex — which is pretty clear: don’t bring up my ex!

          I still miss and love my former in-laws… my divorce forced me to leave a loving and supportive family, which still breaks my heart. So, why my friend would ask right before a holiday is mind boggling.

          (While I don’t want to defend my friend for being a dense arsehole, he was also going through his own tremendous heartbreak and navigating the holidays amid his own grief. I’m sure I could have been sliiiiiightly more patient, but there’s only so much patience one can muster while looking for specialty diet gravy and hearing their ex-fw’s name.)

  • CL’s suggested response to the son is spot on.

    Nobody’s going to tell me if fucktard marries his rat faced whore, because I binned the lot of them after Dday, but if anyone ever did, my response would be laughter, and perhaps, “they deserve each other”. ????????

    • ” “they deserve each other”.”

      It really is the best revenge. They can sprinkle all the glitter they want on that pile of shit they created, it is still a pile of shit.

      I remember way back, when I first got a FB account, I looked on whores site to find grandchildren pictures. I lived out of state, so I would look at any pictures I could get, including of course the ones my son and daughter in law posted.

      Anyway, there weren’t many grandchild pictures, but I noticed she posted a lot of Christian memes. But, the one I got the biggest kick out of was one of those test things where they tell you their personality.

      In hers it said Whore is the sweetest person ou would ever want to meet, but don’t ever lie to her, Whore hates liars and can smell a lie etc.

      I like to died from side pain from laughing. Two fuckers crawled around in back seats and mud holes for at least six years behind my back, and whore hates a liar. FW had the decency to stay off face book, I will give him that much.

      She “won” that liar and he went on to cheat on her, wonder how quick she smelled those lies. My guess is she got even.

      I haven’t looked in several years (grandchildren are grown and fw has passed) I am betting she is still frantically sprinkling glitter on the shit pile.

      • “Two fuckers crawled around in back seats and mud holes for at least six years behind my back, and whore hates a liar”


        The self delusion is off the charts. ????????

      • Yeah, the religious memes. What’s with that? Trying to hedge their bets? Impression control? My WS’s schmoopie was tracked all over the hospital on the security cameras by the security staff who dubbed her “Ronda the Honda” (because everyone had their junk in her trunk) as she slipped in and out of empty patient rooms and vacant wards and sleep/call rooms AND the hospital chapel meeting various married doctors…and now, religious memes? Seriously, who is she trying to fool? God?

        • ” My WS’s schmoopie was tracked all over the hospital on the security cameras by the security staff who dubbed her “Ronda the Honda” (because everyone had their junk in her trunk) ”

          So funny.

          Ex fucktard’s rat faced whore was known as ”The Hull bicycle – everyone’s had a ride!”

          • Ha, fw’s whore was definitely the town bicycle. Pretty much everyone knew that.

            It was what caused me the most hurt, that he would go for that. But, then in short time I realized, its wasn’t like he was going to find a virgin princess to pound around town behind my back.

            Decent women don’t allow themselves to be hidden away.

            • ”It was what caused me the most hurt, that he would go for that.”

              Strangely enough, the knowledge that that was what she was known as, and that fucktard was OK with that, was actually *liberating* for me – I just reasoned that if *that* was what he wanted, and was OK with, there was absolutely nothing there to miss or regret, what I thought he was was a phantom.

              Of course fucktard refused to take on board she was a scummy pos ( well, she was just like him really, so it was all good 🙂 ) He believed he was the knight in shining armour – ” rat faced whore has had nothing all her life ! I’m just trying to show her how the other side lives !” Of course, it made him feel superior, grandiose, and magnanimous. 🙂 🙂

              • “what I thought he was was a phantom.”

                Yep, I did get to that before long. I remember at some point a few months out thinking “the person I knew never existed” It was both a disturbing yet oddly calming thought.

          • These “ladies” definitely get no respect from the local observers.

    • Chumpnomore6:

      You nailed it. I think a very mildly said “Good. They deserve each other” and then move blandly on to another, more interesting topic, says it all.

      In terms of the children, I loved ChumpLady’s first reponse. Gentle and honest. Our kids lived in the gaslit, dishonest miasma with us, and deserve and need our firm yet gentle honesty. They need to know that betraying a spouse is wrong, and that people whose love and trust were repaid with betrayal are wise to no longer move forward with the betrayer with love and respect. Children need the truth in order to safely navigate the world, and they need our gentleness because the truth of who their other parent is….is brutal…and they can probably only deal with that a little at a time.

  • If the untent of the person was ambiguous, think I would say, “I guess people are saying that to me lately because because they imagine they’d be hurt if they were in my shoes. I think it’s a way of expressing empathy and I appreciate it. Some might be relieved to know that if it did happen to them, eventually it feels like a sort of exorcism. If anything, the fact they embezzled my assets would still be cringy to most, but for that exact reason, it’s a relief that I’m now free and out of danger. Life is good. Do you think that makes me sound heartless?”

  • If I had invested with Bernie Madoff, found out what he was really up to, gotten my money back, and then was told that other people who knew what he was up to were handing him their money, I’d have to quote P. T. Barnum and say, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    I have very big feelings about the possibility of the traitor marrying the Craigslist cockroach. I have them because I have a child with him and own a business with him (buyout not yet possible) and cannot completely get away from him. It would be really great to only have one shark in the swimming pool that I have to swim in, however occasionally because of minimal contact. If I had no child or ongoing business with him and never had to see, hear, or speak to him ever again. He says the relationship with the cockroach is over but verification is not possible. Honestly it would be great because I am sentenced to Minimal Contact at this time. I also really do not want that woman anywhere near my daughter, so him marrying the cockroach distresses me in that way as well. It has zero to do with me wanting to be married to whoever he is. I want as few fucked up people in my orbit as possible.

  • My X married has last OW, whom I often still think of as GF#3, a few years after the final D Day. My kids were young enough (preschool) that it was very easy for them to start calling her Mom. X and GF#3 have been married, now, longer than X and I were married. I wish that didn’t bother me but, in all honesty, it does. I’m not at meh yet.

    Their wedding was the stuff of legends, I was told. At a huge conference with multiple attendees and news crews; he proposed to her under similar, sparklin, and very public circumstances. I stayed away from the news and off of the internet as much as possible during the month of their wedding but, like, the letter writer here reports, there will always be friends and family reporting back to you on these sorts of events. It was heartbreaking, yes, but, like the letter writer, I pretended to be Mighty about it.

    All in all, their wedding didn’t really bother me if I’m honest; it was three if my personal nightmares wrapped up in one package: (1) a big public, televised event where I would be the center of attention, (2) an event where I would be getting married again (I never want to be married again), and (3) I’d be getting married to someone who has a track record of cheating! All in all, no thank you.

    No, the actual wedding wasn’t the kicker; the fact that they are still married is the kicker. This is my hangup, I know, and I will get by it one day. I know I still have the better situation: I wasn’t married to a controlling adulterer in a lavish, public ceremony. I’m free and I love that.

    • I’m preparing for this (though I have another decade to go). Here’s my thinking: swapping out a spouse is (for most people, anyway) a low-frequency event, presumably because a lot of things have to go “right” for the cheater to pull it off. As with all low-frequency events, it’s dangerous to infer anything from one or two occurrences. If you move into a new house and it floods the next year, just because a couple of flood-free years have passed doesn’t change the fact that you’re living in a floodplain. Same for your cheater: it’s perfectly possible that he got “lucky” and lined up your replacement unusually quickly (or, conversely, he’s having more trouble than last time finding his next trade-up); this doesn’t mean that his current marriage is any better than his previous one – he could just be really busy, or his current social circle happens to have a high proportion of people with morals, or they have a prenup so the threshold that would make it worth his while to betray his spouse is higher this time. Who knows? There are plenty of possible explanations that are not “their marriage is better than our marriage”, and precious little information upon which to base any conclusion.

    • I’ve known cheater couples that stayed married longer than their marriage to chumps. However, all of the marriages did end and it was not civil. The reason the marriages lasted longer was due to one of the cheaters hanging on for dear life and taking a lot of crap. In the end they still were dumped. Anyway that’s what I have witnessed.

      • My ex was married to whore longer than to me. He had to die to get out of it. Seriously, per my son he just wouldn’t take care of himself and he put himself at great risk the last year of his life. My son begged him to get to the drs and start taking care of himself, he wouldn’t.

        I have been married to my now H for longer than I was married to fw too. It has been a calm content life for us. At our age now, I don’t see it changing. I hope the Lord gives us a lot more time.

        I am also sorry the fw didn’t get more time. Don’t know what was going on in his head. I know they had a lot of financial woes, and her family was always fighting, but maybe he liked that.

      • I’m sure my ex will bend over backwards to keep the howorker happy forever…..

        Because that relationship failing would make his delusion that the “demise of the marriage” was my fault really hard to stick with. Like mental breakdown enducing.

        • ”Because that relationship failing would make his delusion that the “demise of the marriage” was my fault really hard to stick with. ”

          Oh, I don’t know, these morons are so delusional they can make themselves believe anything they want – if the relationship fails, it will be the whore’s fault, not his. In 23 years of marriage, my fucktard ex never once took responsibility for anything, Everything was always someone else’s fault. It’s the way they roll.

  • Son, when your father and I married I loved him very much. I loved him for a long time but he cheated on me for a long time and ruined our marriage. Now not only do I not love him I don’t like him. He was not kind to me. I hope you take from this that you should always be kind and thoughtful to people who love and trust you. If you do that I feel like I have done a good job as a parent.

  • TYPO…

    “If I had no child or ongoing business with him and never had to see, hear, or speak to him ever again, news that he was getting married again would have far less of an impact on me. I can’t get away from him totally and the prospect of me and our daughter having to deal with the other fucked up super freak in this shit show he created is what REALLY upsets me.”

  • The definition of insanity is

    A) doing the same thing and expecting different results

    B) Cheaters getting married


    I’m actually ready with a His-N-Hers wedding gift for them I own the California custom license plates that spell CHEATER.

  • By the time ex and Schmoopie get married (I suspect they are just putting it off until her alimony runs out) it will probably me trying to comfort his family. They aren’t my problem anymore but they are still a problem for some of the people I can about.

    • “They aren’t my problem anymore but they are still a problem for some of the people I can about.”

      I felt sorry for my ex mother in law. Honestly, she was shattered by his actions. She was so proud of him and what he had accomplished (with my help). I was proud of him too, so I get that.

      But, she depended on him and at some point she turned against me. It hurt, but I still get it. She wasn’t awful to me, but she hurled a few zingers at me. Bottom line is, she had to live in that shit show for the rest of her life, and I feel bad that she did.

      She was not a perfect mom, but she tried to be a good one, and when his shit hit a very public fan, I know she was humiliated as much as I was, maybe even more.

      • My former sister and mother in law are going to be in town next week. At one time we had talked about getting together but hadn’t discussed it recently. I heard via my daughter that ex has forbidden them to come to my house. I find this disturbing. When we have to deal with each other face to face (mostly kid related financial stuff) he always acts pleasant towards me and yet he is telling other people with whom I have had prior relationships to stay away from me. His aunt did stand up to him by standing up for me and now she is public enemy #1 in his world and I don’t blame his sister and mother for wanting to avoid being ostracized in the same way. I feel bad for his aunt who has herself been traumatized by his behavior and I don’ t like that I was the subject of that rift. I don’t even know who he is anymore. I think he is just upset that Schmoopie has not been fully embraced by his family the way I was. Just being polite to her doesn’t satisfy him.

        • That is sad about the aunt.

          My ex sister in law and my niece and nephews still connect on FB. My ex sister in law was up front with her mother that fw was the perp, and she was not going to trash me.

          But, to be fair I don’t think the fw ever asked his sister or other family to trash me. I think he told a sob story to him mom, (when he finally started speaking to her again). But, I doubt he told sob stories to much of anyone else. I was too well known, actually we both were in the community. Most folks just aren’t that stupid. He lied and conned a lot of folks, pretending to be the upstanding citizen.

          Also, my mother in law and I were extremely close, so I am pretty sure she knew better too, but she had to live with him, so…

        • ”I heard via my daughter that ex has forbidden them to come to my house. I find this disturbing”

          My ex fucktard abandoned his first marriage, and two little daughters, for a bimbo whore. When he discovered his sisters and his mother, his brothers, were in contact with them,and his ex wife, and they had actually visited, he went ballistic and all pouty, and accused them of ‘disloyalty’. These fuckers have no conception of what loyalty means, as far as they are concerned, everyone is supposed to suck up whatever they do, and if they don’t, and defy their scenario, they are ‘disloyal’. they really are utter scum.

    • Men are so stupid. Your Ex should see that if Schmoopie is milking her last sucker (i.e. “until her alimony runs out) then she will DO THE SAME to him when his time comes. Maybe right now he benefits from the alimony too. But eventually it will be his turn!

      Reportedly Schmoopie #5 is horrified by the way my Ex was treating me in court, hiring multiple lawyers trying to extort every last penny out of me. He likes fucking her but I bet she will never talk him into marriage!

      • I’m sure you’re just venting, but please remember that it’s not okay to say sexist stuff like one gender is stupid. You could say “Cheaters are so stupid.” instead. That would be accurate and would not insult our chump brothers.

        • Not ok? Oh no. Then I must humbly beg forgiveness from all my fellow chump brethren. They are indeed fortunate you are standing guard protecting them from being unwittingly offended as an entire half-species. Unlike last week’s entire post about “where are all the good men?” LOL. Lighten up.

          • Hey, was your cheater a person of color, by any chance? Don’t stop now, talk about how you think they’re all stupid, too.

            Yeesh. What a 24 karat asshole.

  • My goto is “You break it, you buy it. He can feed her now.”

    Rest assured if he ever has difficulty providing her wants, she will monkey branch on him in a heartbeat.

  • According to one of my sons, when serial cheater XH of 40 years and Married Howorker decided to legitimize their longtime workplace affair by getting hitched, XH’s nose-picking finger was hovering over my name in his phone’s address book, ready to call me and share the “good news“. Odd, considering I’d already been Zero Contact for 4 years at that point and had made it excruciatingly clear that I wanted nothing to do with him. Thankfully, he mentioned his misguided intention to my son, who told him, “Dad, stop! Do NOT call Mom because she doesn’t care what you do“. Not that I would’ve answered his call since I directed all communication through my attorney, but just the thought of seeing his name pop up on my phone would have been an unpleasant trigger. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with it.

  • I think I would just roll my eyes, shrug my shoulders and change the subject.

  • How about ‘they are perfect for each other’ or « they are perfect for each other I wish them the best of luck!’
    If friends were inquiring about my feelings I would take that as them caring about me and having empathy. Since I’ve talked way way way too much about Fuckwit it would seem normal in a sense for friends to inquire. Also I think sometimes people say it in a sense of… ‘What an idiot now he’s marrying the OW’ type of thing. They might not say it that way but that might be what they’re thinking.
    Anyone else though… Who knows what their motives are? Sometimes people just don’t think. ‘I’m happy for them’ with a smile should make them scratch their heads and maybe wonder why they brought it up in the first place!
    -and your son… I feel that. Children want to believe their parents are good.
    -and like chump lady said they want to believe their parents are OK.
    The suggestions offered from other people and CL have been right on.
    -I’ve been talking to my kids and anyone else who will listen -about the conversation around cheating and how it has to change. And and how they’re simply needs to be a conversation around it.
    The kids get that, because they are so much more aware of things than my generation was. They are aware that until people bring conversations to the forefront, society in general lets a lot go.
    They understand that cheating is emotionally abusive and that it’s not parallel to a breakdown of a marriage without cheating.
    That’s the conversation I hope will be out there eventually.
    Our voices are needed.

  • This one isn’t theoretical for me, but it is a study in what actual karma looks like, how it’s quite true that cheaters don’t suddenly become someone new for the next one down the line, and what the ongoing damage they churn up looks like from the other side.

    Over Christmas (because of course—we all know how they must assert destructive centrality on holidays), ex texted the kids to let them know that his girlfriend (the last of the affair partners ex invited into our marriage) is pregnant. Because my kids are both traumatized beyond all reason and truly excellent and compassionate people, they chose to wait until the holidays were done before disclosing this info to me,after which they sent me pointedly humorous snippets of their text convo with ex concerning their lack of interest in attending the online gender reveal party.

    Ex is an opportunistic sexual predator as well as a crappy father, so it was actually pretty heartening to see how hard they went at him on why he had no business reproducing at all (the words “creep” and “freak” were bandied about) much less at age 60, and how the sex of the fetus might well bear little relationship to its ultimate gender.

    So that happened, and then came—also via text—their very backhanded invitation to the shotgun wedding. (I believe they both have him blocked on their phones at the moment, by the way, but they move in and out of that status. I’m no contact and they see the wisdom of that, but I think for them there’s a kind of safety in keeping tabs on the predator’s general location.) Both declined this “you can come if you want” heart-warmer of an invite (well—declined by ignoring and not showing), and then received the “I’m very disappointed” text afterwards. In that, he let them know that it was just the two of them, an officiant, and a photographer (ok, I had to laugh at that one) in the backyard of cheater manor, but that the sparkly event would come later, presumably post-birth enough to allow for whatever their crazy notion of elegance might be.

    Ah, but there’s more. Somewhere in there, they were informed of the coming child’s sex (female) and name, which is virtually identical (one letter’s difference, no kidding) to my daughter’s. Holy crud, so crazy. For those who wonder if the affair partner is another victim or a partner in crime, there’s your answer. Both had to agree on that one, and both did. Meanwhile, the middle name comes from my former and now deceased father-in-law, who the kids and I loved dearly, and who would have been no fan at all of any of this. Make it clear that the current kids are being replaced? Check. Disrespect the memory and faith of the family patriarch? Check. These folks are nothing if not thorough.

    My answer to does it hurt would be a very honest “of course—it’s awful,” delivered with a “what kind of monster would think it could be otherwise” expression. Duh. Yeah, it’s awful.

    Some of that is because on old-fashioned chickadee like me really can never wrap her mind around vows being meaningless, babies with much younger affair partners and so forth. More of it is because I see the ongoing damage to my kids. Adult children—fully aware of everything, including the most subtle twists of the knife—can be and are deeply wounded by such horrid doings, unspooling ceaselessly.

    My daughter, for instance, now entirely grasps the erasure that hobbled me for the first year. She’s also smart and empathetic enough to have said from the start that she hoped it would be a girl, because she didn’t think her brother could withstand all of this. Conversely, she knows the ex should never be alone with a child, but also gets that the responsibility for this pregnancy, marriage, and child (in that “nice day for a white wedding” order) are not hers to shoulder.

    It is true, of course, that these people entirely deserve each other—bless their theoretical hearts. Nonetheless, those of us in a position to know the kind of damage they do (like a broad tornado they just stays and stays on the ground) can’t be exactly happy or even neutral about knowing that more and more people are getting sucked into the vortex all the time.

    Oh, yeah. And ex is still fighting the agreement he negotiated and signed. First day of next trial will be right around this new baby girl’s due date.

    Guess your really determined tornado can’t resist stopping to churn things up a bit on the far outskirts of the sparkly new town it has in its crosshairs.

    • So we can assume had the baby been a boy they would have used your son’s name as well? Two freaks having a baby, how sad.

      • Yup. Very fair assumption.

        Nothing says healthy relationship like the eight months pregnant wedding with not a single family member present but a photographer there (priorities, anyone?), an innocent baby with basically daughter 1.0’s name (only freaks would do that), and a nominal “dad” who will be 76 when the kiddo drives.

        Just goes to show that image management degrades over time. No amount of sparkles can hide the reality of this shit show.

        • I’ve said it before, cashmere, and I’ll say it again – Wow! That’s some shitshow you’re marginally trapped in. I feel for you and your kids (not to mention the poor innocent being born into that circus).

          I love the way you write, by the way.

          You’re a smart one, and your ex is an obvious idiot for a host of reasons, not the least of which is losing you. (Which is why, I suspect, he’s conducting said shitshow in the first place. I mean, come on, what’s the damn point of all this obviousness, anyway?)

          I know it all hurts, but try to take solace in the fact that he is full-on batshit looney tunes, and he’s not living in your house anymore.

        • Sara –> Sarah? Zara? Yes, that is freaky.

          If you are of a forgiving faith but can’t bring yourself to pray for ex or schmoopie, pray for that poor child. She already has two strikes against her.

          • Right? Utterly insane.

            No desire to influence any of it beyond helping my actual kids cope.

            • No prob. If we pray, how we pray, to whom we pray — “ain’t nobody’s business but my own,” as the old song says.

              Most chump prayers, especially early on, are something like “please help me get past my homicidal desires.”

              • My prayers right after the day he left were: “please let him come back, and everything be ok” I didn’t get the first part, but I did get the second part (I got ok)

                Thank God for unanswered prayers

              • If God is omniscient, that means God hears everything. Have been told God answers all prayers, as in “Yes,” “No” and “Not yet.” Wonder if God ever says “HELL no” or “Are you bleeping kidding Me?”

                Anyway, if my instruction is correct, God said “No” to the first half and “Yes” to the second half.

    • “Bless their theoretical hearts” – thank you for that zinger Cashmere.

    • Have a question, can an ex fight the divorce agreement? How long can they do that from the divorce? I was under the assumption that once signed I didn’t have to worry about his crazy a@s anymore.

      • Yep, they can fight it unless there’s some kind of non-modification clause in the agreement. (Ask me how I know. ????) But do take heart in the knowledge that judges tend to stick with the plan, unless there’s a “material” change in circumstances (yours or theirs) that truly warrants modification of what’s already been settled. Stay vigilant, but don’t fret.

        • Correct. Here, a judge would not bless off on a “no revisiting ever” clause, and, in any case, regular financial true-ups are part of the deal. However, in pre-trial the judge already indicated that he’s going to lose this one, so it’s the usual deal—trying to pressure me into compliance. Won’t work, and I’ll keep at it even if ex appeals, which could certainly happen.

          The hurt is not at all a desire to move backwards, by the way. Would never do that. But I do recognize the wide swath of destruction, here—all the damage that can never be undone, and that will continue. Sobering stuff, as it should be.

          These days, I’m in the “never surprised but always shocked” category as they find ever greater depths to plumb.

          Would be great if they restricted their damage to each other, but alas—never works that way.

          • So even though we’ve been divorced for three years if I get a promotion he could take me back to court? When does this end? Am I going to forever support him? I’m worried because he ‘couldn’t work’ in the past due to his ‘health issues’

            • I was under the assumption you meant while still legally separated, but had come to an agreement.

              While I am sure there are circumstances after the D is final that they can reopen a case, in case of fraud, or maybe if children are involved. But barring that I would think it would be rare to be able to renegotiate.

              My H’s ex contacted him and told him she wanted a part of his pension, after she signed off on a buy out with a large sum of money. she ran through that like shit through a goose.

              This was almost a year after they had divorced. he showed me the letter and said not sure how to answer her. I said do you want to give her more money? He said nope, as he had already given her most of his inheritance from his mother. I just said, ignore it; if she wants to hire a lawyer she can try.

              We never heard about it again. Could she have had a judge reopen it, maybe but I still think very unlikely. Especially given the short amount of time that she ran through that money.

              I know it is hard but please try not to stress over it. The more time that goes by the less likely it is, unless there are minor children involved. Even then, it can only be for the benefit of the kids.

              Maybe it would be good to buy a little time from a family law attorney just to settle your mind.

      • UK only. A fairly recent case involved a woman who raised a son and a stepson almost single handedly for years. The ex and the woman had nothing when they divorced and neither had anything for years. Then when the children were adults the workshy ex got lucky and became a millionaire while the woman still had nothing.

        The divorce was so many years in the past neither had any paperwork and the official records had been lost.

        The judge gave the woman a large settlement because she had borne almost all the childcare responsibilities whilst the workshy ex had been largely absent and living in a very different part of the country.

        In my view the case crystallized the idea that divorces are final unless the circumstances really are EXCEPTIONAL. I think that had the woman not largely cared for the stepson she would not have received the large settlement but then I am not legally trained.

      • Different laws for different states, I wasn’t in the room so to speak when my lawyer and his haggled over the separation agreement or the final settlement. But, yes he of course could have contested it had he wanted to.

        I am not sure what causes the final gavel bang when it is contested. Probably when the money is all paid out to lawyers. Generally the more there is to fight over the longer it will take. That is why I told my lawyer I wanted the paid off property and he could have the rest. Though he also had to pay all my expenses for a year while we were legally separated. (I could have gotten three years) I assume he could have fought that too, but he never did.

        He knew he was still walking away with the Lions share, he just wasn’t smart enough to keep it. He gambled it all away down the line.

      • Silver, they can absolutely take you back to court to modify the agreement. We left in 14, divorced in 16, was back all 17 for non compliance on his part. In 19 weeks after my mom died he filed to modify. We just had a trial this year where the judge order the agreement to stay, found him guilty of not complying, something else.
        It’s all about continued abuse through the courts. He has money. I don’t so he’s trying to break me there. I hope you don’t have one of those types. I wish I would have pushed for full settlement at the divorce and been done.

    • Yuk that’s incredible, Cashmere.

      The most disgusting fact of my fw was also that he put an innocent baby on earth just to get some spackles. I didn’t know adult, (rationally) intelligent people were capable of doing that. What a freak show.

      Good luck with that, and you seem to be very blessed to have your children!


    Inside every Bless Your Heart is a tiny “Fuck You”

    • I am 5 years out of that shit
      When people ask me I just say
      “Sometimes your time is up”
      And then laugh, and they laugh
      Its a reframe I love and is so true.
      Embrace your life

  • I would laugh my ass off if XH got remarried! The only way he would remarry is if Schmoopie gave him an ultimatum. Thats how he got married the first 2 times. I was fool #2????????‍♀️ I actually gave him an ultimatum after I caught him screwing a co-worker of ours. That was fun! I was sitting by his schmoopie at lunchtime and working right next to her without knowing he was actually sleeping with her!????????‍♀️(We worked together at the time, thats how we met). After a temporary breakup he sad sausaged his way back into my heart, stupid me. I said we could get back together but we had to get married. I foolishly thought marriage was the cure to cheating. I thought our love was special ????????‍♀️ Well 21 years and at least 6 schmoopies later he finally decided the grass was greener at the neighbors house. Ha! She can have the worthless schmuck. I found out after divorce that wife #1 also made him get married after she caught him cheating.

    • Oh Lord! Where do these losers come from? I swear there must be some weird cheater DNA that hasn’t been discovered yet.

      Be sure to pass on your well-earned “no ultimatum” wisdom and spare another possible chump. Isn’t hindsight a killer?

    • Ug truly sorry. I found out that the reason he and his first live in broke up because of his infidelity. I had no idea before embarking on a relationship of many years with many kids.

  • “I should love and respect your father? Why? Has hell frozen over?”

    Son or not, that was an insensitive, condescending thing to say (given he knows the fw cheated and embezzled marital funds) so it deserves only snark. If he doesn’t know, now would be the time to give him the facts. He’s a grown man and he needs to face hard truths. He also needs to stop playing the Lord High Commissioner for Fuckwitland and passing stupid messages from your massively hypocritical ex on to you. Your ex has clearly been pissing in his ear. Let him know it’s actually not rain.
    Seriously, that “He’ll always love you because you’re my mom.” stuff sounds like something a six year old would say. I’m sure he’s a lovely young man, but it would appear he has some maturing to do. No doubt it’s fw’s fault, and fw certainly isn’t going to help him, but you can. After all, one of the most important jobs of a parent is to give your children the tools to live independently as adults. One of those tools is facing reality, no matter how unpleasant it may be. Clearly, your ex fw never developed that ability, and he wants your son living on Fantasy Island with him. Nuh-uh. Don’t allow that.

    To the others who keep insisting you should be in a sobbing heap over this wedding, a solid “Who gives a shit?” is never amiss at such times. When they report back to fw (and some of them will) what you said, it will take a bit of air out of his centrality baloon. Bonus!

    • – He also needs to stop playing the Lord High Commissioner for Fuckwitland and passing stupid messages from your massively hypocritical ex on to you. Your ex has clearly been pissing in his ear. Let him know it’s actually not rain. –

      Thank you for this! You’re spot on about my son. And yes, I’m pretty confident he didn’t come up with those words on his own. Sounds like my FW.

    • OHFFS,
      “Who gives a shit?” is the best response I’ve heard, a special bonus for those that will report back to fw.
      Thank you, I plan to use that response if the opportunity should present itself.

    • Yea the son needs to be educated. That would be excruciating to hear – but I don’t know what age ‘adult’ is? Some say the brain isn’t fully formed until 28 – but certainly not until 25. Part of the problem is the narrative around cheating and how people wrongly make sense of it.
      Also, if chumped people look like they are picking up the pieces and moving on just fine – the severity of the emotional trauma may not be recognized by others – it gets filed as marital breakdown.
      If the info. re marrying cheating partner is not welcomed – how about ‘and this is interesting to me why?’ That tells the delivery person that they’re an asshole.
      The ´bless their hearts’ comment is kind to the news bearer.

  • Cheating is not a relationship. It is a game. The dynamics of an affair involve THREE, not two. One is in the dark. The one in the dark is the Secret Sauce for the two in the illicit entanglement. If you’re a chump who has been No Contact and you’re being notified by the traitor you were partnered with of an impending marriage, consider it proof of this axiom.

    Relationships can only be as healthy as the individuals involved. Like a recipe made with low-quality ingredients, the result will never be as good as if high quality ingredients were used.

    Relationships fail because one or both of the parties involved do not have have or are unwilling to learn the skills necessary for a successful long term relationship. Nothing says one lacks those skills like cheating and then marrying the person who cheated with you.

    Walking away and being No Contact is the best way to upset the apple cart and come out on top. Leave the low quality ingredients to their game.

    • VH – wisdom ^^

      They may pick us and hide for decades but I believe us Chumps will always come out on top! NOT teachable or fixable ….. good riddance!

  • I have learned to accept things I cannot change, even if I don’t agree with them. I try to stay away from people who hold on to platitudes, and “Reality Show” expectations. Sometimes even well meaning, truly concerned friends ask awful questions, and I try to answer them as kindly as possible. To those who are not in that category I often say “Why on earth would you ask someone a personal question like that? My feelings and thoughts are my own, and I would never intrude on you that way.” I clearly indicate that I believe they are being rude, and overstepping their boundaries. “Bless your heart for being so unkind to ask such a inappropriate and personal question!”
    Yes, I live in the South.

    It is the same thing for other family members you have decided to stay away from for your own mental health. When my father passed in January, I received many “I’m sorry for your loss” comments because people don’t know what else to say. I just nodded and smiled. It was not my place to tell them I felt relieved when he passed on. I never again had to be put in an awkward situation with him and I was grateful for that. One of my Ex’s has died, and the other is not in good health. My adult son’s know he is a liar and a cheater, but he is still their father. I will not tell them how to feel, or expect them to “choose” between us. If they ask me a question, I answer truthfully and concisely. They don’t need sordid details.

    When their dad finally did remarry, they were against his choice for many reasons. None of them included me. They knew I was happy to be divorced from their dad. They just realized what a fool he was to make some of the choices he has made in his life, and I cannot help that. I raised them to think independent thoughts, and I am glad they do!

    Evidently some people enjoy other people’s pain. Some are incredibly Nosy. You can’t change that.

    • Yes… “reality show expectations” is well said. Like we’re supposed to react for the cameras.

      Thanks so much for all of your feedback. I really don’t know what I’d do without Chump Lady.

    • @Portia

      Bless your heart is another was of saying F’ You right? Some people are so nosey, adult kids, x relatives and thoughtless people whom I won’t call friends. None of his life concerns me now and it most definately shouldn’t concern others trying to prying into mine. Geeez.

  • I think people don’t know how to deal with this stuff. For instance, my ex’s AP is 6 months pregnant. he left last September. We haven’t even started divorce proceedings yet (long story short, I asked him to let me finish my education since it’s very full on, and I’m an expat in his country which means I have family to help me out). When I broke the news I was heartbroken, but reactions from family and friends have been mixed. Some tried to console me, others were like “don’t think about him, because he doesn’t spend a single second thinking about you”. No one wanted me to mope around though, they insisted I moved on. I think generally speaking my pain is uncomfortable to them.

    It might be a similar situation for OP but the other way round, in which they’re uncomfortable with her not expressing what is expected. If she did, you can bet they’d tell her to get over it because this is how it works. In a way it’s what the son is telling OP, and I have sympathy for him because he’s trying to reconcile loving his parents with the fact that one of them isn’t a very good person at all. But at the end of the day he wants you to reach nirvana about it. But there’s an important lesson there; you don’t owe anyone forgiveness. You owe yourself your own peace of mind, but that doesn’t necessarily involve anything more than courtesy in this case. Love and respect are for those who respect us.

    • I am sorry you have to deal with this trauma. It is hard enough be being betrayed. Adding a pregnancy is just salt in the wound. Of course your upset. It would be odd if you weren’t. Take care of yourself. Do nice things for yourself. You can’t control him or her, you can only control yourself. They are incredibly irresponsible. You are mighty and strong. It’s ok to be upset. Hugs!!

  • Slight spin on this for me… the final OW dumped Mr. Sparkles, but he had someone at the gym already in the wings and moved in with her less than six months later (he had been with OW for two years).

    They’ve been together for 4 years now, bless their hearts. They have four dogs, two of my adult step-children have moved in with them, and the proverbial revolving door of chaos that I survived is still well and good … he creates chaos to distract from his abusive behaviors. The woman eventually drowns and he moves on to another target.

    My son just told me they are engaged now, a wedding to come next year. I shrugged my shoulders and told my son that I will pray for GF. She already struggles with mental health issues (depression, anxiety) and I know what lies ahead for her. But, it is not my responsibility to try to save her either.

    SO – to my son I have said… you just keep being you (he’s 15) and you are not responsible for your Dad’s actions.

    And to my stepchildren, who I think expected some kind of bitter/hysterical response from me… I suggested they have fun at the wedding and keep an eye out for their half-brother. Not my monkeys, not my circus… anymore.


  • Probably been said above but the shit about love and respect etc tgat your son spouted sounds like some bs his father said to him to control the narrative. Aw son, mom’s still hurt and in love with fabulous me. Go easy on her. F that.

    • Yeah. Seems like it. So cringy.

      I’m remembering that scene from Mean Girls when Gretchen Wiener awards Cady an awkward hug. “Regina told me to give you this.” Bleh.

    • Right. They have a version of this for everyone. Different from pity channel. It’s the pity-the-chump channel. Charm, I suppose. “I’m a Nice Guy/Gal who didn’t want to hurt chump but had to eventually to go after my own happiness. I can’t sacrifice my whole life for this weak, flawed, pathetic chump. But I do feel pity.” Sequel to ILYBINILY? How quickly the peanut gallery forgets what the cheater did and was saying while cheating, while hoovering, during reconciliation, during discard. Word salad and a fucked up skein.

      • Yep, those Switzerland assholes are the ones that tell other people, “It’s just so great to see cheater loving life again, so great to see them happy after going through that tough time.” Like it was cancer or something that happened to them, being in a relationship with you.

        • My ex tells our adult children he was given two years to live

          He tells them this every two years

          And they keep believing him

          Apparently he is ‘trying to enjoy’ his last remaining years

  • When my ex told me (in a text) he intended to marry his OW I said “LOLOLOLOLOOLOLOLOLOL doesn’t she have to get divorced first?! (insert several laughing emojis)” and then I said “No, but I love a good cheater wedding. Those vows are SUPER believable.” Yes, it was so petty, yes it was a breach of no contact, yes it was not very grey rock, yes I probably let down myself and the entire Chump Nation…. but I don’t even regret it. He got very upset and the OW left him…. ahhhhh well at least I am free after that shit show. Thanks OW.

  • Two of my Cheaters (#1 and #2) went on to marry other women. I couldn’t be more grateful to have been spared.

    Cheater #3 is, as far as I know, still dating the Escape Hatch after nearly seven years (she was MY escape hatch, rather than his). I think it would probably be good for him to marry her, but less fun for her.

    That’s the most thought I’ve given any of them for years.

    Normal transmission will now resume.

  • As soon as I got the news that the ex was marrying, I tried to keep from being dragged into it. The 2 teenage daughters were to be bridesmaids. I expected that I would be asked to drop them off for fittings etc. So I was prepared with “No, my schedule doesn’t allow that.” to the kids. The adults knew better than to ask me directly.

    I decided to attend a weekend workshop at least 600 miles away the weekend of the big big event. I did not want to be drafted into dropping off and picking up kids from receptions and all that.

    Still, the morning of the big event, I got an emergency call from the best man that ex had tossed my daughters contacts in the trash. My response, “Daughter must be devasted; there’s nothing I can do until next week. “

    • This is great… “there is nothing I can do until next week.”

  • I love the response to the son. I also think that works great for those who are extended family and want a Brady Brunch blended family thing after an infidelity-riddled divorce. Thanks, CL!!!

    Oh and I have sort of practiced in my head when/if Stunted and CouchHo let me know they are marrying. As long as the kids or some of them are still minors I’ll just say, “Okay, well that satisfies the parenting plan notification. Don’t forget that you are still legally required to carry life insurance for the kids and that CouchHo cannot be the first/primary beneficiary on that policy. Also, I’ll contact my lawyer and discuss how to re-split costs of activities/childcare based on your new joint marital status and salaries. I’ll also see if it’s time to re-adjust child support. Thanks for the heads-up so I can check into the financials.”

    • I guarantee Stunted hasn’t thought of these things and he only gets riled up thinking about money more than how he hurts others. So it will be a joy to be all professional about it. 😉

    • “Also, I’ll contact my lawyer and discuss how to re-split costs of activities/childcare based on your new joint marital status and salaries. I’ll also see if it’s time to re-adjust child support. Thanks for the heads-up so I can check into the financials.””

      I love that. Just a little bit of compensation for the chump when the fuckwit remarries.

      I get that it can go the other way, but I think more fuckwits remarry quickly than chumps.

  • We need a post entitled ‘When your adult child is a Switzerland friend’

    Followed by ‘When your child is a flying monkey’

    Does your child stand to gain financially from the cheating parent. ……. is always a good place to start.

  • Mitz, you nailed it. Yes. He’s Switzerland and definitely gains financially from fw. I can’t help him financially and he knows it. I have expectations of him (finish college, get a job, stop being dependent on fw) and fw has none. Zero. Must be nice to be the fun parent.

    • Yup, a good parent encourages independence, a bad one will ruin the child to keep him in his pocket.

  • For responding to people asking if you’re upset, I’d just give a quick “I went through all the emotional processing ages ago.” Or the equivalent: “I’ve already been upset, I’ve got other things going on now.” “I went through all those emotions when we got divorced, I’m past it now”. Maybe you still have some aftershocks of emotions, but you’ve already unpacked and gone through the originals, so you don’t want to run through it all again in conversation. No need to get too deep about it.

    Similarly, if you were actually going through the emotions/divorce, but didn’t want to get into it, you could say, “Yeah, it’s been hard, but I just want to talk about good things right now to feel better. I really need a break.” Or “It’s not great, but I don’t really want to talk about it.” Sometimes talking about something bad just makes it worse… It should be up to you.

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