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Cheating Ex Wants a Character Reference

Hi CL,

I was married for 25+ years to a serial cheater, liar, sex addict, abuser, manipulator (yeah, he was all that and a bag of chips). I finally threw him out last summer and we were divorced last fall — best thing I ever did.

We haven’t communicated much (a good thing), but we do meet briefly once a month or so, to coordinate a monthly settlement payment and legal paperwork. Also, our college age son is living at his dad’s house, and we’ve had to discuss issues about him.

Like so many cheaters — less than two weeks after being tossed from my house, my ex moved in with another woman with several kids, who is still in the process of a divorce. He love bombed her, rushed the relationship, and told our friends and family that he was thinking about marrying/buying a house with her, that they were “meant to be” — all after supposedly only knowing her a few weeks. I’ve just stayed out of it figuring he is still the same old loser he’s always been.

Last time we talked, though, he out of the blue asked, “Would you be willing to talk to my new girlfriend? She wants to communicate with you about what kind of person I am, and learn more about my background.”

After picking my jaw off the floor, I said, “Are you sure about that? Because I wouldn’t lie to her about anything. At all.”

He said, “I know, I’m not asking you to.” He claims he has been totally honest with her and that he is a changed man.

I told him I’d have to think about it. Some part of me feels like “Yes! Time to release the truth hounds! Maybe this woman/victim can be saved from throwing away years of life, love and trust on this truly awful human being.”

But mostly I think I am just being played somehow, since he is the one asking and since she has clearly rushed into things, too. I think they’ll just write it off as “see how crazy the ex-wife is?”

Should I just walk away? Or should I have “the talk” with the new woman in his life about what I really think of him and what kind of person he is, if the opportunity arises?

Thanks a million,


Dear SummerGirl,

Oh man. You asked the wrong person. I have a big mouth. I would relish nothing more than to provide a character reference for a “serial cheater, liar, sex addict, abuser, manipulator.” I would probably come armed with PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets, flip charts and a whole freaking multimedia display complete with laser pointer. She could take the whole mess — his dating profiles, furtive emails, decades of double life evidence — home in a monogrammed duffle bag. My Trust That He Sucks public service campaign would be complete.

But I have the nagging feeling this is the wrong thing to do, as delicious and irresistible as it would be. See, SummerGirl, I have this irrational desire to speak truth to stupid. At the end of the day, I’m still a big chump, and think I possess superpowers that compel people to do The Right Thing. (The thing I want them to do, of course. I’m noble that way… [cough].)

All the evidence points to the fact that she knows exactly who he is — a cheater — it’s just that she, like countless affair partners before her, thinks that she’s Special. Oh no, he’s a changed man. It’s different with her. Her love is the perfect love that can save him. You were awful and you misunderstood him, but she is the Fated One, whom the heavens bless. This relationship is probably a train wreck, but no, They Love Against the Odds and they will win!

Truth meet stupid.

Was it a coincidence that she divorced at just the same time you threw him out? Is there a dating site for recent divorcees who want to shack up together in under two weeks? No, SummerGirl. She’s just another OW, and you don’t owe her anything. Except to stand by and let karma flatten her.

Your ex is a practiced manipulator. I can’t untangle the skein, but I can guess at a couple motivations for such a stupid request.

a) He’s so narcissistically delusional he thinks you’d really tell her how wonderful he is, and it would be extra kibbles for him.

b) He’d like you to come across as upset and angry to his Schmoopie about their affair, so he gets the hit of how naughty they are. And you unwittingly add that extra frisson of torridness to their love life.

c) He wants you to play straight man to the No, He’s Really Changed! routine.

I think it’s “c.” I imagine such an encounter would go like this — you would present evidence to her that he’s every bit the disordered wingnut and she would go, “Oh no. He’s totally changed now. With me, it’s different!” And then she might trot out the incredible character changing remedies they’ve tried — he read a book! He went to counseling! He had past life regression therapy! Then with great condescension she would “apologize” for taking him from you. You’ll just have to understand SummerGirl, that it was bigger than them both, and you failed to love him the way she loves him.

I think you’ve got better things to do than listen to her crap. They’re two people doing crazy, irresponsible shit. Why? Because they want to. They’re either self-destructive, narcissistic, delusional, or all three. I’m sorry children are involved. That makes me want to pull out the super suit and cape and save her from her stupidity, but it’s a force bigger than us both. The stupidity cannot be denied.

SummerGirl, I think the way to play this is leave them alone. Go no contact (or gray rock, considering your son.) If he asks? Your reply is:

“I’ve got nothing to say. I think your character speaks for itself.”

And then stand back and get on with your life. I hear the whistle of the karma train…


This one ran before. Getting my COVID booster shot this morning! 

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  • I’m so glad you are getting your Covid booster shot this morning, Chump Lady!!!! It makes me happy to think of you being around for a long time, wielding your 2×4 of truth. Ker-smack, wake up Chumps!!!

    I do so hope that sweet Summer Girl just ignored that fuckwit. I really think that is all any of us can do. Just refuse to engage with the stupidity that is your basic cheater. Nope, won’t play, got things to do and places to go! No Contacr is the only response to the abuse of infidelity.

    Tracy, I am finally divorced! Thanks to your advice about getting a “pit-bull lawyer” I came out with a good settlement. I’ll be fine. Just tidying up the final details. I am deeply grateful for your work! Thank you from the bottom of my disco ball heart!!!

      • Yea for your booster shot ????????

        Anyone who can relate to this post – you need to take a serious step-back from the cheater.
        If you have enough contact that the cheater can ask this of you face-to-face, you have too much contact.

        • Yup. Even though their college aged son is living with her ex, she can still use parenting software to discuss their son. No reason to see this jerk face to face.

          He wants a reference ? ???????????? “Let me get on that ! Never.”

    • This is an old post, so no real point in giving advice to the OP, but I agree, this situation is a big no. His life is not you’re problem and you should not get involved for multiple reasons.

      One, on principle alone you shouldn’t do anything to please him- you’re your own person now, and he betrayed and hurt you. Two, you need to maintain minimal contact to keep yourself emotionally untangled, and having a deep conversation with his SO is the polar opposite of minimal contact. Three, your son lives with him & is therefore very much under his influence, so anything directly negative you do towards ex will be complained about & twisted to your son, possibly harming your son’s relationship with you.

    • Congrats to you, Thirtythreeyearsachump!????????

      Also, yet another reminder that it pays to get a pit-bull lawyer.????I still scratch my head that x, the man who got upset that I once bought a toaster without reading Consumer Reports reviews (horrors! Shoot me!), secured the services of a truly crappy lawyer without doing any research. Guess it’s yet another sign of an impulsive narcissist. “I want what I want when I want it. And what I choose is by definition…good because I’m that great.”

      Meanwhile, I did my research. I got more than 50% in a no-fault state.

      • Yours too, Spinach? Mine hired a guy who officed inside a metal building emblazoned with the words “Bankruptcy, accident, malpractice, divorce” painted on the windows in comic sans.
        I had to laugh… so typical for my Mensa member ex to have so little common sense.
        And boy was he angry when his own lawyer’s paralegal threatened him with contempt without cause… I guess get what you pay for, and cheating bastard ex got to pay for my pitbull attorney too!

        • OMG! That sign and the comic sans font!!! Lol. Perfect.????

          Glad you did well in the divorce. #MensaHubris

        • My ex-narc is a member of MENSA too! lol. I read something that the Founders of MENSA were deeply disappointed that the membership had very little interest in solving world problems but was really just best suited for playing word games. Good thing our understanding of IQ is deepening and seeing that this academic approach is one of many indicators of intelligence!

    • Congratulations! I may have to do the same and get a more aggressive lawyer. My wife who was “never happy in our marriage” and TOTALLY planning to come clean and initiate the divorce before I caught her is suddenly dragging her feet and pushing back our mediation session indefinitely. What the fuck? Why?

      • >What the fuck? Why?

        Good question. The answer might be much worse than cluelessness, narcissism, or stupidity. She might be emptying a 401K, or other financial assets. This site is full of such stories. Unfortunately it takes awhile for sensible people to wrap their heads around the horrid destructiveness of these lying freaks. This site helps immensely. I’m so grateful for it.

        • Yeah, you could be right. I don’t like it. I don’t see what I can do about it and I don’t like it.

      • Please do NOT even try to mediate with a cheater unless it’s truly your only option.
        Beg or borrow money for a pit bull lawyer. You won’t be sorry.
        With mediation you may get taken.

    • Congrats ! Thirty year marriage and almost a year divorced here. Have a good time with the extra energy you’ll have.

  • Summer, you are out of the woods with the FW and owe him nothing. Sure, he would love for you to appear to be a bitter and crazed ex. It would fit with his narrative. Remember that to him you are the crazy me with all sorts of issues. He is the perfect sad sausage who finally found true love. Don’t play into his game. Have as little contact with FW as possible.
    Sure it would be satisfying to give the new love the real story but she will not believe it and anything you say will just help him to show her that he is the wronged party. Momentarily satisfying for you but he would get what he wanted. Hey, she won the prize and got herself a shiny new FW.

    • If they have to meet monthly to work out a payment then that payment isn’t set by the court and running through a state disbursement unit. He could accuse her of character assassination. Not that such a charge would hold up in court since her truth is just that but she could wind up spending a lot of money defending herself. Or he could use it to undermine her relationship with their son.

      I’d tell him to write it all down in an email to his current GF and copy Summergirl. See how honest he really is.

    • Exactly.

      In the early days, x kept asking me if I’d called his AP’s husband. As I’ve written here before, he said that I would “have blood on my hands” if I did. On one occasion, I could tell that I was on speakerphone in his car, and schmoopie was in the passenger seat. He first said that the guy would come after *him*, but then, after a whispered exchange with schmoopie, he said, “No, he’ll go after AP!!!”

      Truth is, they *wanted* the drama. Kibbles delivered by a fire hose.

      I never did reach out to the other chump, although it was a little tempting.

      Staying about the fray is the way to go. Whenever I’ve mud wrestled, I’ve regretted it.

      • “Staying about the fray is the way to go. Whenever I’ve mud wrestled, I’ve regretted it.”

        Heck yes. I mud wrestled a little bit myself and it sucked. I always said that the high road is a harder road to walk but it feels so much better when you’re on it.

    • Yes, triangulation. For sure. This is a re-post, but to any in similar….
      It’s a trap. Repeat as necessary. That’s my name for X now- It’s A Trap! Don’t fall in, you’ll just get dirty, or injured. Go back to creating your life, la la la.

      • I like “It’s a trap!” One of my mantras is “Don’t take the bait!” Works with difficult family members, too.

  • This post got me very angry. He needs a character reference for the OW? After all the lies, abuse and destruction of your marriage he wants a favor from you?
    CL and other opinions here are right on. You don’t owe him a damn thing! No Contact is the best way to go.
    Speak to him when you need to but cut him completely out of your life.
    Let the OW find out on her own what a narcissistic loser he really is. Good luck to you. ????

    • The first thing I’d think is that it was a set up for a defamation lawsuit in the case Summer can’t prove every word of her claims. But most likely it would have gone just as CL predicted. The AP would just get smug and draw some “you lost the dance and I won” kibble from the encounter. Fuck that.

  • I have a college-age child & haven’t spoken to my ex in 2 years about him. Anything I have to say, I say to my child. And the rest is through a parenting app about him or the younger kids. Summer-girl, you may be too enmeshed with the FW still if you’re meeting with him. Why? Why! So then he thinks your status has changed to “friends” and can now ask favours? The way you described him, is this guy someone you would pick as a friend knowing his true character? If you really want the OW to know how you think & feel about him, having nothing to do with him speaks volumes.

    • Yes, certainly the personal meetings can stop and Summer can move to the phase of “never talking to him again ever” (or, if needed, through a lawyer). I don’t know what the issues (mentioned in the letter) with her adult son would be that keep her enmeshed with physical contact and communication with the FW. It may be more complicated than we know about this requiring these meetings…? Not sure. Maybe the son is on the spectrum or has additional needs that we don’t know about that keep the parents in personal, monthly contact?

      If it’s not a complex relationship between her and her son, and she is able to communicate with her adult son without requiring the third party interference of FW, then–heck!–stop meeting with him! He’s getting ballsy enough to ask for favors (or maneuver you into a trap that makes you look like a crazy and embittered ex) and I would call that “the straw that broke the camel’s back”: “I think we’ve concluded all the business we need to to do in person. Any remaining business can be conducted through our lawyers.”

      The memory that this sparks within me was the time FW told me that it was his fondest desire for him, GF#1, and me to become the best of friends like (apologies, I’ve told this before) Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and Bruce Willis. He was envisioning this year’s Christmas card with the three of us posed around the tree, all in approval of his new relationship. Like Summer’s FW, who saw no problem in asking for a character reference, my FW looked straight through me and didn’t see the puffy red eyes, the running mascara, my snotty nose, and all my lost weight (I was literally weeping when he asked me to be besties with his AP); he only saw the three of us around the Christmas tree.

      Truth can’t meet with Stupid. Here’s hoping the “give me a character reference” meeting will be the last one they had together.

      • “He was envisioning this year’s Christmas card with the three of us posed around the tree, all in approval of his new relationship.”

        OH FFS!!! Clueless, insensitive ass. Textbook lack of empathy, which probably allowed him to justify cheating in the first place. “I like her. You’ll like her. We’ll all be better off because of what I did.”

        Honestly, my x seemed to harbor a similar (albeit less blatant) kum-ba-yah vision of his future. “We’ll all share the same summer house! We’ll all babysit the same kiddos (ok, maybe different weeks, but all together). One big fabulous family led by me, the patriarch.”

        When things didn’t pan out as he expected, he became a TFC, licking wounds caused by me.

        •  “I like her. You’ll like her. We’ll all be better off because of what I did.”

          That’s nearly what he said verbatim–no fooling. “Fourleaf, you are going to like her so much. This is going to be so great!” He had hearts in his eyes while talking up his AP to his weeping wife. It was bizarre.

          No, Sir, I do not like her. I saw the emails you two were sending. I just had a baby and she was sleeping with my husband. She also might have been the source of this STD I’m taking medication for.

          I realized that he might be certifiably insane. I still was in the unfortunate mindset of “if he ever wants to work on himself and our marriage I will definitely take him back” (alas), but I thought something was definitely off about him mentally. After that conversation with him I pushed for, and got, full custody of the kids because he was talking like a loon.

          • I’m sorry 4Leaf, this is cruel. I experienced something similar in the early months after splitting. Looking back I recognize it now as Ex’s delusional entitlement with an ego boost from being able to inflict more pain on me.

            • I’m sorry you went through something similar. It’s bizarre, isn’t it? I remember listening to him excitedly praise his AP in front of me, expecting me to fall in love with her too, and thinking with dread: “I think he’s genuinely gone insane.”

          • Omg – this is truly horrible. I will never be able to understand how they’re so completely unable to perceive anything beyond their own perspective.

            Mine didn’t go as far as the “you’re going to like her” routine. Of course, I hadn’t figured it out yet so he wasn’t going to jeopardize himself. But he did keep repeating how much he wanted to be friends because he liked talking about politics and culture with me, and he would “miss” that. He had this weird vision that we’d meet up over drinks every couple of weeks for a philosophical convo.

            I couldn’t get over how grotesque that idea was. Obviously OW was a big hit in bed, but he couldn’t actually to talk to her. So he wanted me to be the intellectual component of his menage a trois, so to speak. Smh.

            I hope he’s enjoying their conversations.

    • Yes, you don’t have to co-parent a college kid. The law doesn’t expect it at all.

      If there is something in the agreement about college funds or insurance, you may have to text/email if the college kid isn’t able to run those issues with the other parent, but that’s a short-term issue.

      I removed the college funds and their health insurance from the agreement. My ex wanted a convoluted process for both of those that my attorney said was a repeating exercise in frustration and could end up in appeal. He recommended taking those out and telling my ex that he could pay the college whatever he wanted directly. Of course, he never did that, confirming that the goal was not to help at all. Same with health insurance.

  • The original poster definitely smelled what was “off” about this request: “I think they’ll just write it off as “see how crazy the ex-wife is?” and CL elaborated upon that as well: it will all just be kibbles for their adulterous love. You could present a table full of indisputable evidence and they won’t care. You could come armed and prepared with solid proof of his behavior. It won’t matter.

    No matter what Summer girl will do (in this hypothetical meeting), the FW and OW will walk away with their heads held high knowing that they are soulmates and the wife he cheated on is just a weirdo who “deserved it.”

    I remember telling some friends, after my H had left me and moved in with GF#1: “Stop pushing against them so much. Stop telling them how horrible they are and how much they suck. I honestly think it’s having the opposite effect of what you intend; the more people tell them that they are horrible homewreckers, the more they are going to feel like star-crossed lovers against the world–it will just empower and strengthen them.”

    CL is right: Truth just can’t really meet with Stupid. It’s a waste of time, energy, and emotional sanity.

    My answer would be a polite but short “No thank you,” and then I’d conclude our business for the month.

    And then I’d find out new ways of conducting our business so we don’t have to meet and talk in person anymore. And once that was over, I would never talk to him again ever.

    • I’m with you Fourleaf. Hoping Summer girl has well and truly found Tuesday by now but apart from all the other great advice, anyone in this situation should have no contact. No contact means no contact. Payments can be made to the bank. A college age child can communicate for themselves. Its sooooo hard, believe me I know but it’s about us Chumps now and we deserve to move on and get on with our own lives. Karma will come.

    • There’s a saying I came across recently that I think we can relate to, (I’m not sure who wrote it).

      A wise man once said, “Bees don’t waste their time explaining to flies that honey is better than shit.”

  • I’m with ChumpinCharge, Summer. They’re already getting bored because it’s no longer naughty to sleep together. They want to spice things up by triangulating you. OW wants to try to mess with your head, assuring you that he has “changed” (for HER, of course, because she’s speshul) and make you feel bad that he wouldn’t “change” for you. Hard no to this bullshit. It’s creepy and gross. As if you want to talk to his skank. Sheesh, the nerve of these people.

    Yeah, you need to stop meeting with this guy. Surely he can send you the money (or you send money to him, whichever) and communicate about the details and your son via text or email. If you keep meeting with him he is probably going to bring OW. They aren’t going to give up on the triangulation.

  • Waste of time.

    The request alone is proof that he hasn’t changed anything other than his underwear.

    The only request of this sort that I would consider is off in the future if I get a call from a future partner of his who was not an interloper in our marriage in need of a reality check. I’d be fine with enlightening another innocent victim.

    Otherwise he and any of the lower companions who fucked me over will get crickets from me. Literally.

    Freeze Dried Crickets, 1.2oz

    • Velvet Hammer!

      The *crickets* !!!!!

      The *freeze dried crickets* !!!!!!

      With *link* provided !!!!!!

      ???????????????????????????????????????????? x infinity !!!!!!

      You’re *WONDERFUL* !!!!!!!!!

    • Velvet girlie, you could take this show on the road and enlighten a new generation of potential chumps how to treat stupid. Just had first meeting with collaborative lawyers and financial analyst, and ex asks if he could give me a gift of cash tax free. Surprised and wide eyed the lawyers agreed in the affirmative and said they don’t usually hear that in negotiating divorces. MY reaction was WHY THE HELL IS HE ASKING THAT? Everything he says now is suspect. What’s the angle he’s playing? It’s exhausting. Just being in his presence makes me physically unwell. I’m financially dependent for the moment and being generous and accommodating. But when the lawyers asked how we want to see our relationship in the future, I froze. He still has power over me. I hate this more than anything. Losing my home and carefully cultivated garden of thirty years, my financial stability, and my trust in humanity is nothing compared this feeling, this distorted belief, that I cannot survive without him in my life. Truly like a drug. I’m going thru withdrawal at 67 years old. Starting entirely over on my own. Thank God or whomever is in charge that I have this blog to talk to and grieve with. A bit off topic but the reminder of no contact is timely today.


      • Benedict OJ Madoff offered, unsolicited, half of his 401K. A very generous gesture, said the mediator. Six months of ensuing negotiations between us were based on this alleged gesture of generosity.

        Then he changed his mind and reneged.

        Now, this is just the latest example in the entire-relationship-long history of offering me something and reneging. I was furious, but should not have been surprised.

        My attorney wanted to take away all kinds of things I had agreed to that came after his probably fake Generous Offer. I thought about it and decided to leave my agreements in place. Because I keep my word and he doesn’t, which was plain for all to see. Also, had I reacted to his Jenna move and started taking things away it would have had a snowball effect undoing other things I wanted to keep. I speculated that once again, he pulled a fake Nice Guy move and then failed to deliver once he got what he wanted. He did everything in the divorce (lying, financial deception, discovery of secret life, making then breaking agreements) that he did during the marriage that destroyed it. I stayed High Road, because I realized that if I stay High Road, no one can touch me.
        Every lawyer involved got to see who he is and I consider that an asset I got in the divorce. I kept my integrity.

        So, I wouldn’t trust your STBX either. I would stay awake, stay aware, and don’t relax your guard.

      • With ya sister. No contact is best. Let the lawyers fight for your financial security.
        You stay clear about what’s best for your mental and emotional security. You

      • Carolina Chump,
        Just remember that he has an ulterior reason of his own. That’s it. It’s not because he’s generous, or empathetic, or anything to do with considering you. He’s trying to buy your silence, or prop up his own distorted self image. But yes, it definitely keeps you off balance and questioning yourself and his motives–which is what he wants.

        And yes, decades with a dissembling man who has slowly poisoned you against yourself will definitely make you feel less than capable, although I will bet that if you looked hard at the life you lived, you will see the extent to which you were the capable one.

  • I’m with CL and others here.

    1) Do him no favors. Ever. That should be a single inviolable rule. If a thing is 100% only a favor to a cheating ex, don’t do it. (And don’t explain why. Just say “I can’t do that for you and I don’t want to discuss it anymore” says me.)

    2) If the cheating ex’s new person approaches me (it has happened), And ONLY if the person approaches me in an undramatic way for a verbal discussion — no social media exchanges — I only answer questions about what is/is not true. Short, factual, no details. Yes, he was sexual with other people in secret while we were together. No, our divorce was final in September, not March. That sort of thing.

    I don’t listen to their stories, I don’t act as confidante or commisserator, and I don’t give the person much time. 3-4 questions ought to make the situation clear. I keep it to things it would be ok with me if they came up in a courtroom, because hey, they might.

    • “Do him no favors “. exactly. I agree – it’s triangulation fuel for narcissism
      I wouldn’t go near her or that situation with a 10 foot pole, with a 10 mile pole
      Stay away
      I think it will only give them an opportunity to draw you in for more pain and more exploitation
      Tell them you’re sure will get to know each other in time.
      there is NO benefit for you at all.

    • I think cheaters get away with their cheating because no one wants to talk with the ex. I was able to provide facts for ex’s ex-girlfriend (not an AP, but never approached to ask and I didn’t want to come off as “the crazy ex” because doesn’t that all just feed right in with what they’re likely telling the fresh meat?). We actually made eerie comparisons after he clearly cheated on her with the now-wife. Sometimes it’s in hindsight, but I was happy to assuage her fears that any of it had anything to do with her. These cheaters are sick twisted fucks.

      • One of my exes bragged that he a thing for chubby women with codependency and self esteem issues, moved from my house to the house of a perfect target with two small kids right after we broke up. I sent her screen shots of his active dating profile on a no-strings attached hookup site, outlined how he love-bombed me and offered me marriage right away, too, and that we were a couple (not roommates) before I kicked him out. He painted me as a crazy ex, jealous of their true love, who created the profile and was lying to break them up. She married him anyway. I wish her whatever happiness she can find living with that millstone.

        • It’s frightening how you can’t convince people of the horror you endured and that they’re next. It feels like one of those dreams where you are trying to scream, but no sound comes out.

  • I doubt the OW cares that much, she already knows what he is. Who would be attracted to a grown man offering marriage and “I’m a changed man” after only knowing her for two weeks and barely divorced? Reeks of desperation and poor impulse control. She’s also a single mother with two kids about to be divorced, and he’s promising to buy a house with her, so there may be desperation on her end, as well. Win win. She may even marry him and it might “work” for awhile. Who cares? Let users have each other and stay the f away from them. Hopefully the son will graduate college soon and get away, too.

    • Right. And after a chat with the chump, regardless of content, this woman might delude herself into thinking that she’d practiced due diligence.

      It’s like really wanting a shitty used car and insisting on talking to the former mechanic. When he tells you it’s in the shop every week, you ignore that because you really, really want the car. You think, “But I won’t ride the clutch.” lol

    • When someone going through a divorce rushes to move in with you, s(he) is looking for a comfortable place to land, someone with a furnished home and housekeeping skills, not happily ever after. They want a hot meal, a warm body, and free therapy.

    • I’d be pretty positive it’s a lie that he’s only known her for a few weeks and is moving in with her after that short an acquaintance. That’s ridiculous. They were cheating and that’s why she got divorced. They are pretending, as cheaters so often do, that they met after she broke up with her husband. Their relationship has been secret until now, so now OW can come out of the woodwork wanting to meet Summer so she can look down her nose at her and talk about how fuckwit has changed because of her pure, perfect love.
      Cheaters love to play these sick games.

  • Not quite the same thing but we were already divorced and FW had moved back to the States when he contacted me with a request from his doctor. “Could I take 10 minutes, or an hour [or 10 frickin’ years] to write about what happened and how and when he started abusing me – my take on things”? Say what? He felt that the doctor in the US had got him on medication that suited him better and they wanted to delve into how and when he started abusing me (I guess at least he was admitting it right)! My first thought was “great, now I get to let the asshole have it with both barrels” and then I realized I didn’t want to push him over the edge – for his sake and for my kids’ sake. But I had so, so much I wanted to fire at him – and then, in the end, I just ignored him completely! Didn’t even say no, I wouldn’t do it. I knew if I did I’d spend hours trying to get the tone just right and then I realized F…. it, he’s not getting any more headspace over here for as long as I live! And it was probably the best decision!

    • So true Attie

      Why dredge up all your trauma ? For what? Did he care about what you suffered?

      No, he wanted to use a review of the torture you underwent to help HIM and focus on HIM


      He and his shrink had no thought as to how doing this would trigger YOU

      • So many bad therapists. I was once asked to go in and speak with my husband’s therapist to give him “ information”
        the guy basically told me that I was a masochist that it takes two to tango. It was horrible

    • There is no prescribed medication that can treat a FW. You did good.

      FWitedness is a choice. A well thought out, planned choice.

      • My ex was already diagnosed as bipolar (as well as being a violent alcoholic). The doctor over here had him on lithium, which might have stood a chance of working if he wasn’t washing it down with a litre of whiskey. I don’t know what the doctor in the US put him on but he felt it was a better fit for him, hence him suddenly wanting to “delve” a bit more I guess. I’m just glad I didn’t even bother!

    • “Can you do me a solid favor and recall all the trauma I caused you? It would really help me out.”

      Response: *ignore*

      Excellent decision. Just absolutely excellent. Not even a “no.” Wonderfully done. If I knew you in person, I’d take you out for a dinner to celebrate.

  • Yes, I would put some distance there because this is getting weird and may get even stranger. Surely you can coordinate in other ways than face-to-face.

    I did email/mail only until there was nothing left to settle. I purposely removed everything in the agreement that tied me to him in the negotiations even though that put me in a tough place. I had college kids living with me that I really couldn’t afford to support and help with tuition payments when I’m fairly close to retirement myself, but we figured it out. I didn’t want a “co-parenting” relationship at all, and neither did our kids who wanted nothing to do with him.

    It’s just crazy. Don’t do it, not even with an ex who wants to commiserate. Over-and-done.

  • I wonder if OW was lied to and told that you and him were living apart for years before the divorce? Or were basically room mates. Likely.

    You hate to see him get away with all his lies about the marriage, but ….

    The best interest of SummerGirl should be all that matters. If FW stays with this new woman she may have to engage with her in the future at graduations/weddings/grandchildren events etc.

    So I vote for NO, do not engage with plowing up the manure with his new woman

  • I love it! “The stupidity can’t be denied!” Perfect in every way.

    If a grown person, especially one with children, wants to believe in the mythological goat that changed into a unicorn theory, and that they are special, allow that person to go on their blissfully stupid way. You cannot save everyone.

    If you are the parent of a delusional teenager, or inexperienced young adult who falls into this trap, do your best to dissuade them from taking a trip to fantasyland. Be prepared to pick up the pieces if you cannot prevail. Your child, or your friend, is your concern. Strange affair partners who show bad judgement are not. If your ex spouse wants to hire you as his PR agent, pass. It is not the right gig for you.

  • Wish we could get an update from Summer. I hope she went no contact.

    If they are desperate for some triangulation and disparagement of Summer, they are even sicker fucks than she thought. And if the OW really does want to ask about his character, well damn, I would sit back and relish the fact that she is already deeply distrustful of him and probably starting to spackle over some stuff. She is so special! They have so much trust! I hear the karma bus coming. Go no contact and trust that the collision is unavoidable and not your problem.

    • Yes. This is all about triangulation. “Get my ladies, past and present, talking about me (my favorite subject).” He’d get off on that.

      Supremely confident asshole knows (he’s absolutely sure!) he can sweet talk the new one into believing he’s a changed man.

  • I suspect that request means he is already cheating on AP and wants you to alibi him, LOL. As for actually complying with it: the most painful negative feedback is no feedback at all. Grey rock all the way ladies!

    • Absolutely. The most damning thing I have to say about my XFW is that I don’t talk about him at all; the absence of his name in my mouth speaks volumes.

      • ^^^THIS^^^ And the absence of him sitting next to me at concerts, competitions, inductions and graduations. Those memories and photos are all mine, untainted by his presence.

  • The lopsided access to information is one of the biggest headfucks about infidelity. Only the letter writer’s ex knew the whole truth about what he had told the other woman, what he expected the chump to say, and how he was planning to spin it. Without that information, it would have been impossible for the chump to know what the correct response would be.

    We assume that she’d be walking into a trap based on his past behavior, and that’s why no contact would have been the only sane response.

    But damn if it doesn’t drive me crazy not knowing what the other woman thinks she knows about me, the marriage, the relationship, etc.

    • I know. It drives me crazy, too. And what lies are they spreading about us to family and mutual friends?

      In my case, I imagine that x and wifetress have created quite the house of mirrors for themselves where each of them looks righteous and mah-velous (and x continues to see Brad Pitt looking back at his 63-yo self). I’m sure I’m painted as evil incarnate. They probably view NC as overly punitive.

      Oh well.

      What VH wrote the other day applies here. I believe she said it’s from AA: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” I try to remind myself of that.

    • Dracaena…I do wonder sometimes but not about Schwoopie because she was the office whore ex dumped shortly after dday – light of day spoiled their two wuv.

      It’s his now wife of several years. She wasn’t born when ex & I were married – 24 years+ marriage. I wonder what can she be thinking marrying a man the same age (probably) as her father & who had a long, long marriage. She had to be totally fooled as to why he was now single in early 50s. Where is her family for guidance on this? I was thrown over the bus with his family but they have to see this is just as crazy as cheating on me.

      Don’t get me wrong as I really don’t care. Ex moved away & I don’t know much at all about his new life. I do feel sad if I think about it at all that this woman started her married life being lied to – can’t imagine he told he he cheated. I’m the ugly creature who was in the way of his authentic life.

    • I agree, The biggest mindfuck is that the OW already had a front row seat to my marriage with FW. I just didn’t know it.

      This re-run letter helps squelch any of my revenge fantasies.

      • It’s the not knowing that causes the most pain. That those two were sharing secrets at our expense is one of the most hurtful aspects of the betrayal.

        In my case, I’m convinced x sent the AP (also married) unflattering photos of me. This man who never took a photo suddenly started to snap pictures of me mid-bite!! How childish and cruel!

        In some ways, it helps to recall this. Those two cheaters who recently got married are effed up people. They can have each other. I’m no saint, but I would never do what they did.

        • How odd, the ex had absolutely no pictures of me on his phone. Except one extremely unflattering picture that he took without my knowledge. He had so many other photos literally thousands) that he actually asked me to help weed them out because he was running out of storage. It’s how I discovered that he liked getting naked with other guys and that in turn lead to many more discoveries.
          I believe he used that one picture of me to show his targets why he was justified in his cheating. During wreckonciliation we went to a restaurant he had previously only gone to without me. The hostess was surprised to find out I was his wife and she blurted out “but you’re so pretty!”. What a piece of shit he was.

  • Been here too, she approached me to have the chat and I let her in. She sat and frank my tea and asked the questions and her responses to my answers were: he won’t be like that with me, we’re different yadda yadda yadda. After she left all I could think of is her quest to be the winner. Oh she sure was, big prize she got there. The gloating was incredible and all I could think was good luck sweetheart, you’re a prize too.

    They lasted the better part of 7 years and it was a train wreck, small town you can’t help but see and hear things. Have me pause thinking how fortunate for her to come along and me to find out.

    Problem is, I went through all this again. Bad picker I guess. Now in my head I hear Ken and Barby aka ditch pig dave and hoewrecker jacqueline how much in love they are, shacked up and living the dream. Our mutual friends saying and agreeing with comments that he and I weren’t really getting along, weren’t really that happy together totally missing the point that he lied, manipulated and gaslit me for months. Her husband sending her off to learn sailing, being lied and manipulated as well by Ken and Barby. What a shit show. But again, thankful she came along and that I was able to accidentally find out (although I really wish I’d found out while I was still down on that boat, oh how differently things would have been saving me from a shit load of work and stress) I am free from that massive, lying, cheating, self centered egotistical pig. I lost more than 14 years, first being friends through our sailing club to strangers with a past. I have my life back. ❤️

  • Sounds to me like Summergirl a) hasn’t extracted from the connection to her ex b) doesn’t recognize the disorder she’s been subject to and still involved in c) isn’t ready to let go d) wouldn’t know a red flag if it were on fire.

    Meeting monthly to discuss finances and their son is not detaching or leaving the ex to his new life. Both can be done via email if needed and son can visit mom on her new turf. Any ex asking for a character reference from an ex subjected to what SummerGirl has knows he hasn’t even dented her psyche yet. She’s still of “use” to him and by meeting up with him she’s going to get another dose or two before she finally retreats.

    • I don’t want predators in my life.

      This guy, the one who wants the character reference, is a predator who likes to keep the prey close at hand. A hoover to draw the prey closer for another shot of kibbles and worse.

      More education is recommended about the character disorders.

  • I know this is years later, but I’m willing to bet that they were cheating with one another and her husband is also a chump.

    I do hope you extricated yourself from that mess for good.

  • This a set up. He’s prepped his gf to think Summer is mean, crazy, and bitter so no matter what she says he wins.

    If she’s honest he can tell the gf “see what I put up with? Now that I’m away from her I’m a great guy”.

    If she’s nice he can say “see, even my ex thinks I’m a great guy”.

    Walk away Summer… cannot win this one.

  • Nope. No. Never.

    If you provide a “balanced” character reference for a cheater, you will be understood to be largely agreeing with the cheater’s choices.

    If you provide a negative character reference for a cheater, you will be understood to be bitter and probably to blame for the bad behavior. Worse yet, if there is a kid involved, the child will be told how viciously mom is trashing the cheater’s reputation. Even ickier, some people will conclude you are not yet “over” the EX and your “desperate attempts to destroy his new relationship” are merely evidence that you pining away for one who cheated on you.

    If the new partner contacts you anyway, a simple sentence along the lines of, “I made clear my view of X’s character when I divorced him/her” ought to be adequate.

    As happens all too often on this site, the wretched experiences of others remind me of ways in which I have been “lucky.” My EX would never suggest a new partner contact me. He lies so boldly about me that even the dimmest of new partners would be made suspicious by the gap between how he describes me and who I really am!

  • This post absolutely shows the perils of unnecessary contact.

    Do you have business affairs to discuss? Use email. Your college-aged kiddo lives with Cheater? At this point, Kiddo and his mother should be able to discuss issues together without CheaterDad. And if CheaterDad needs input about tuition, medical issues, he can put it in an email.

    And the idea that she even considered this bizarre request suggests that Summer Girl NEEDED no contact because her thought processes were skewed.

  • It’s so funny, because we all have a gut response of wanting to tell the AP everything. “Do you really want to know? Here’s the truth about FW…”

    But FW’s AP did me a huge favor early on. Even when I was trying to do something reasonable — like getting FW to respond regarding an issue with our son — she would act like a lunatic. She would freak out when I picked up my kid from her house. She threatened police. And we had a quick text exchange where she simply said “I’m not your friend” – yeah? No shit, Sherlock.

    But it made me want to do the complete opposite of warning her. It made me want to pray that they’ll get married … I’ve even wanted to send her thank you cards for taking that POS. I’ve been tempted to check in and see how it’s going with those 2 ????

    Do I though? Nooooo — grey rock is the Mandalorian way ☮️

  • This letter almost made me spit out my coffee…the gall of these people. Ha! He wants a testimonial from his victim. Like everyone else here, I see this as a lose-lose for the chump. No good comes from it. Also like most of us on here, I’ve fantasized about what I might say to any number of my ex’s girlfriends should they ask why we split. Ultimately though, after enjoying spilling the tea in my imagination, I can only imagine an actual response of “I presume you’ve asked him why we split, and you’re not satisfied with his answer, which is why you’re asking me. It seems instead of asking me for answers you should be asking yourself why his answer is not enough for you.”

  • His new girlfriend is a sick fucking bitch and a total psychopath. That’s what’s happening here. She knows how he cheated on you and now she wants to hear it from you so she can laugh about it later with him and masturbate to it. She wants to see the pain he caused first hand.

    Do not talk to these sick freaks.

    Why do you have to coordinate a payment each month at a meeting? Stop that. Get it done legally and stop meeting with the sick perverted degenerate who is still trying to abuse you with his dirty abusive bitch. You do not need to meet about your adult son. That’s ridiculous. He’s an adult. Your ex is getting off on this so hard he’s escalating. Now he wants you to talk to his smelly wet hole about him. He probably walked out of that meeting and screamed while he jizzed in his pants in his car.

    Just stop with all this. Protect yourself. The good news is that he and his new woman are both seriously fucked up people. They’ll turn on each other eventually and they both deserve it. So that’s the good part.

    • Yes, I was thinking about this when I was making dinner and decided that the GF is as sick as the ex, hands down.

      I dated a lot before my ex, and NOT ONCE did I talk to an ex-girlfriend about someone I was dating. I knew enough to know that was a place you don’t go.

    • Exactly this KatiePig. It’s a literal ‘menage a triage’ – an invitation to pickme dance with the cheater as the linch-pin and the ultimate casualty being the chump. It’s the epitome of “come closer so I can abuse you again”. What a mess! Hard NO.

  • My ex narc sociopath cheater used the “truth” about his past cheating, lying and criminal activity to give credibility to his changed-man narrative. Nothing like transparency and admitting you’ve been a POS to make you believable. Sadly, it’s just another con.

    If I’m ever approached by someone dating my ex, I’m staying out of their shit show. I know I can’t save another woman from the hell I went through, much as I’d like to.

  • This is all about centrality. This FW just wants two women talking about him and hopefully pulling each other’s hair and ripping each other’s clothes in the end. It’s the typical mud fight fantasy. Yawnnn…so predictable. They’re all the same. Just shows he didn’t/can’t/will never ever change.

    Soon after D-day, I texted FW that I would drive to AP’s house (7-hour drive away) and give her a piece of my mind. I expected him to say “Please, no! Don’t make a scene!” (I was an idiot) His text reply was: “Just let me know when you are planning to go. Are you bringing the kids?” That is literally what he said. I could see him smiling. He wanted to know the time so he can prop up a lawn chair and start popping the popcorn already. His reply really stopped me in my tracks.

  • My ex still wants to re-write the truth and demands an apology that I called her a cheater.
    This is weird because I still have the email in which she apologized for ‘ crossing the boundaries of a marriage ‘ , as well as all the other evidence and proof from my time as marriage police.

    Yet, 3 years later, this is in her mind forgotten.

    I always tell her that I have moved on and don’t want to rewrite the past.
    But she is really keen on that apology .

    • You might be best to either stop talking to her altogether or grey rock her ass if you have kids. Sorry I can’t remembering if you have kids with her or not. There are so many chump stories to remember.
      Anyway, it sounds like torture dealing with her craziness.
      The gall of her making any demands on you at all, let alone that, is outrageous.

      • yes, we have children. And I do my best to grey rock her. Every now and then comes an email like that , accusing me to be unfair .
        My reply is always something along the line ” I have moved on “.
        And I truly have .
        But it’s not uncommon that I then would have nightmares of the whole scenario again.
        ( Im not telling her that )

    • “I crossed the boundaries of a marriage.” lol. Cheaters love their euphemisms.

  • I wondered briefly what I would do if the OW (now wifetress) ever approached me for a commiseration session–because I’m pretty certain her marriage to Best Regards is not going to make it the 18 years mine did, and I’m also pretty confident he didn’t get a character transplant and is still an unregenerate abusive asshole.

    When I tested myself with that idea, interestingly I found I had no desire to talk to her whatsoever, not even to rip her a new one. Much like the OP, I was discarded for a woman my husband knew for all of 3 weeks. So, she’s kind of a non-event in my head, mostly has been the whole time save a couple spasms of fury/jealousy very early on when I was directly compared to her by Switzerland friends….

    She’s a colleague of mine, so it’s not impossible that we’d run into each other, but it’s not likely either (we used to be in the same college at my university and bump into each other like once a year at some event, but not anymore since her department switched colleges). She was too big a chickenshit to talk to me while she was actively stealing my husband and destroying my family, so I can’t imagine she’ll be motivated to reach out now unless he dumps her and she wants to shit-talk him with someone. But I have no need for that, and so I decided if she ever contacts me about him, I’ll tell her to knock that shit off unless she wants a Title IX harassment file with her name on it.

  • OMG no……..just no. If you’re still considering this then I’ll say this. Go in the bathroom… some freezing cold water on you’re dominant hand and then slap yourself in the face with it…..HARD. Extricate yourself from the insanity cycle. They truly never believe they did anything wrong…….they just don’t like the inconvenient consequences that come from their actions. So they’ll say or pretend to do anything to avoid those. Like CL says…….this sounds to chumps like a wonderful come to Jesus moment where we’ll finally get to say our piece and make them pay!!! Don’t delude yourself. It’s just more of that sweet sweet manipulation they use to make themselves feel good for another day. If they truly change then so be it……..I won’t care. I’ll be living my own life and far too busy to wonder if they fixed theirs let alone try to help them. Last I checked……my ex didn’t fly to a monastery in Tibet and search for the answers to life and try to atone for her actions in any meaningful way. Shit, don’t tell the narcissists. That might actually be grounds for a chump to take notice……….those poor monks LOL!

    • “Last I checked… my ex didn’t fly to a monastery in Tibet and search for the answers to life and try to atone for her actions in any meaningful way.” LOL LOL

  • Wow,. I agree with Chump Lady and other commenters here…don’t do it. It sounds like a trap, maybe as someone commented, for a defamation lawsuit.

    Reminds me of when I told my dad’s Wife #2 that he was an alcoholic. She didn’t believe me, of course.

    A year later she told me I was right, threw him out of her house, and divorced him.

    A year after that, I ‘didn’t’ tell Wife #3 because I was older and wiser. I thought “who am I to interfere with other people’s karma?’

    Poor woman found out the hard way and divorced him.

    • Beautifully and simply put: “Hey, can both of you ladies meet up and just talk about me? That would be awesome.”

  • I picture the meeting between the two women and all I think is that the cheating ex must be creaming his jeans fntasizing about his two women falling all over themselves because this is all about him being idolized by two women.

    Of course there are the legal consequences to consider. And the legal consequences are all negative for the chump.

  • Actually, my second and last daughter got married last summer.
    I have not spoken to her father in years. Have 0 idea about his life.

    He was not invited to wedding. 100% on him. Meh, yippie. Whatever.
    After the wedding, he sent a wedding card to my house.
    He musta creeped to their online registry, maybe? I kept the card (well, the envelope was fancy-ish)
    But I told my daughter to give him her new house address (she has lived there over a year, AND this address was easily available on the wedding site. No reason to send it to my house. I should have written “return to sender” on it – but I thought I’d ask her about her wishes. ) I informed her I would not longer accept his mail, in any form, at my house.

    She was upset with me when I told her this. What the actual hell? I sat her down and said; >Ahem<
    "I have every right to be DONE with your father's bullshit.
    Does not make me bitter.
    Does not make me evil.
    Doesn't even make me upset. Not really.
    Nor does it make me hold onto the past."

    I had a HORRIBLE divorce and battle to claw back to where I am, today.
    My daughters do not know the level, nor do they ever need to.

    But I get to be done.

    • My point is, Chumps need to not only step away from cheaters, but step away from the feeling that you have to be nice, or worry about their problems.

      It will never be a positive thing for a chump.

  • “I hear the whistle of the karma train!”

    My ex left with an “Other Woman” and then he ditched her for a “New Woman.”

    When I first found out about Other Woman, I blamed her for everything. That she was okay with adultery. That she dated him while we were still married. That she was fine living with him in our condo across the courtyard from where I was living. That she didn’t mind creeping around with him until they were “legit…” That she married him while he was still married to me.

    When he left her for the New Woman, it would have been the perfect time for me to have thought, “Karma.”

    But I didn’t feel that way. Instead I was finally able to see him for who he was, and that made it a sad day for me.

    At the same time, I was also able to see me for who I was, and for who I was becoming, and it was a glad day for me!

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