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Can I Break Grey Rock Just This Once, Please?

no contactDear Chump Lady,

Divorce papers have been filed. Cheaterpants STBX moved out 7 months ago. Fill in the gaps with your stereotypical serial cheater husband, primary OW around for the last 10 years, D-Day 10 months ago, and you get the picture.

I had an awesome 3+ month grey rock streak. I thought I was good, moving on.

And then… I regressed. Back to being so unbelievably outraged that he did this to our family. Back to checking STBX’s social media, OW’s social media nearly daily. Back to wondering what lies he told about me and to whom to cover his tracks. I want him exposed for the fraud he is. It is so not fair that I am still suffering the mental torture, bearing the weight of his lies, while he frolics about without consequences.

As far as our kids, his family, and most friends know, we parted ways amicably. He took the kids to a fun event last night, and tweeted pictures that make him look like a stellar dad. He also captioned it in a way that tees me up for many sarcastic “you’re a cheater” responses. I would LOVE to reply so his substantial list of followers including OW saw it.

I know I shouldn’t. I know, if it feels good, don’t do it. But PLEASE?? Just this once? One angry tweet? How about just one angry text?

I thought I was done feeling such raw pain and anger. I hurt. Our kids hurt. It’s all his fault, but he gets off scot-free. Watching him publicly humiliated would be so gratifying.

Help.

So Far From Tuesday

Dear So Far From Tuesday,

No!

Step away from the social media this instant!

You have kids and you haven’t finalized a divorce. So no truth bombs, no snark, no poking the Facebook fuckwit.

Does the OW appear in any of these pics? If so, screenshot that and send it to your lawyer. Fault divorce or no fault divorce, in my experience courts tend to look down on the whole introducing-kids-to-the-paramour in the early days.

You do classy, sane parent. Remember what I said about custody trials a few columns ago — it’s a horse and pony show. Be the prettiest pony.

However, that does NOT mean suffering in silence.

As far as our kids, his family, and most friends know, we parted ways amicably.

Who is your support system? Have you told anyone in your circle? Why are you going along with his “parted friends” narrative?

You don’t mention the age of the kids, but I believe in telling children the reason why their parents are divorcing, in age-appropriate ways without editorializing. It’s not okay to gaslight children, even with the best of intentions. They aren’t stupid. If this woman has been around for 10 years, they’ve probably met her, or suspected, or worse, been pressed into secrecy.

In the messed up world we live in, while you have pending litigation, there is the threat of disclosure being seen as “parental alienation.” (And this is a whole other column. If dad threw you face first into a wall, could you not say you’re divorcing for physical abuse? Do people assume children see that, so disclosure isn’t necessary? Do they think kids don’t see other kinds of abuse?)

Anyway, however you time it (talk to your lawyer), my advice is tell your children. Also, tell your closest friends about this, and consider writing your in-laws a letter. Depending on your relationship, you could thank them for being a part of your family all these years, but you discovered Bob’s double life with Schmoopie, and that’s why you’re divorcing, and going no contact. And it pains you, but you wanted them to understand why you’ve withdrawn from their life.

Because, hey, if you’re FRIENDS, and they really bought that narrative, they may be wondering why you’re freezing them out. (Perfect set up for you to be the frosty bitch, and him to be the jolly fellow who can’t understand Why We Can’t All Get Along.)

What these conversations share is they are not public. They aren’t plastered on social media. They aren’t a long, angry wail at injustice. They’re carefully considered. Because you’ve got a lot at stake at the moment, children, division of assets, and your financial future.

Let select people know, and trust me, word will get out. If they judge him, or keep inviting him to brunch is outside your control.

Back to checking STBX’s social media, OW’s social media nearly daily

Also known as pain shopping. Or untangling the skein of fuckupedness. The policing instinct is a kind of hypervigilance that comes from years of gaslighting. Like, you need to stick your hand in that wound over and over and over again to believe it. Like it’s a crime you must solve. Trust That They Suck.

Please don’t keep reliving this. He SUCKS. He did this. Mystery solved.

Sure, you might get a couple hits of schadenfreude looking at OW’s feed. My God, what kind of person buys those leggings? Is that her real hair or did a badger die on her head? but more likely you’re just going to find her supercilious luv dreck and bad New Age memes. You don’t need that in your head.

Schoompies are dim and available. That’s IT. She won a serial cheater. She isn’t special. Case closed. Stop wondering.

It is so not fair that I am still suffering the mental torture, bearing the weight of his lies, while he frolics about without consequences.

It’s not fair. The consequence is that he loses his family (and hopefully at least half his assets) and remains a shallow, stupid man. If he’s able to “frolic” right now, he’s not that deep. You hurt because you connect and he’s pain-free because he doesn’t. Don’t wish you were him. Or OW.

Watching him publicly humiliated would be so gratifying.

You cannot shame the shameless. All you can do is get the fuck away from people like this and make them irrelevant. A snarky tweet is kibbles. Trust me, they love the centrality. Treat them like the radioactive waste they are and don’t open the lid.

The urge to hit Send will pass. Until then, chew a leather strap, or anything distracting. Stay classy.

((Hugs))

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “Trust me, they love the centrality.”

    That is the central truth for sure. The only thing they love more than having your attention is having you make it public that they have your attention.

    Create a replacement pathway for that energy. Every time you feel like giving the cheater your energy, or find you’re already giving it to him, balance that with another more productive action.

    * Switch to a search screen and look up something for the kids

    * Take the dog for a little walk

    * Grab the earbuds and listen to an empowering song

    * Do some cardio exercises

    * Watch a funny YouTube or ten

    * Donate $5 to a charity that supports some cause he thinks is stupid

    * Text a cool photo or funny thing to a friend

    Everytime you switch gears to a new, better thing, you neurally rewrite your progress toward meh. Try it! Nothing to lose. ????

    • Also, don’t waste energy beating yourself up. You aren’t doing anything almost every one of us has done. It’s human nature.

      Instead, think of it more like counterbalancing a scale, or like turning the volume down on him and up on something better. Let the act of redirecting do its work and pretty soon the balance will shift away from that asshat and lean more and more toward your own good life. ⭐

    • True dat. Nothing infuriates my ex more than the fact that I refuse to engage with her on anything not related to children or finances.

      To someone for whom attention — ANY attention — is the addictive drug that gets him/her through the day, purposeful disregard is the best weapon you can have.

      • So true. They can’t take anything from you if you don’t give them anything to work with. I am finding that aside from critical kid-related communication, the silence is wonderful until ex decides he wants to “remain relevant”, as my dad would say, and just pops out of the woodwork with some cockamamie assertion/accusation/request. I try my best to respond to what needs to be responded to. Ignore is always an option when it’s truly not important (i.e. kid-related, but also a real issue…shit will be made up, believe it). Also, aside from the very occasional text for an immediate matter, I keep everything to email in order to document, document, document.

      • The frustrating thing for that part of the chump psyche which– I admit– may still be waiting to see the impact of FW kryptonite, which is the realization that it’s OVAH, the door is closed and they can’t wheedle their way back in just to see if they can, is that gray rock or NC is the slow route. In many cases, they’ve already heard us threaten to leave or gently suggest a separation or whatever too many times and then not act on it, so words or overt hostility become completely meaningless to them. They only hear subtext. And the subtext of words is that you’re still talking to them. Yay for them. The fuckwit credo is “Love me, hate me, but don’t ignore me.”

        The beautiful thing about gray rock or NC is that once the slow moving train runs them over, you no longer care whether it does or not and seeing the effect of its impact (hair loss, pallid or flushed complexion, 50 yard stare, signs of chronic insomnia, sudden radical aging and neglect of personal grooming, etc.) only causes you to wince in that luke warm, repulsed, philosophical “what hath God wrought in man (or woman)” way.

      • Agree. The neural re-writing process is what ultimately gets you unstuck and closer to Meh. And the process requires time, patience and self-care.

    • I was writing about neural patterns before I saw this!

      AMEN, sister! Preach!

      YES. Rewriting a neural pattern requires changed action and TIME.

    • Amiisfree, thank you! You are spot on. I got a good chuckle on the charity suggestion- he would roll his eyes when I made donations. This was my letter, and I chose to hit send on this rather than anything to FW. I love all of your suggestions though and will save this post for when I need to redirect myself.

    • I love this list of replacement pathways! If you choose ‘listen to empowering songs’, here’s what works for me:
      – Leave Me Alone (Helen Reddy)
      – Hit the Road Jack (Ray Charles)
      – Fuck You (Ceelo Green)

      Always works!

      • Might add Harry Nilsson “You’re Breakin’ My Heart”..
        First time I heard it was back in the 70’s and blew soda out my nose…

        • Thanks for these.

          The following songs pick me up when I’m down. Great for running or vacuuming. (And, yes, I’m 61 ????)

          Gaslighter–The Chicks
          thank u, next–Ariana Grande
          I look so Good (without you)–Jessie James Decker
          Good as Hell–Lizzo
          You’re No Good–Linda Ronstadt
          Don’t Care–Demi Lovato

          Check out these Lizzo (Good as Hell) lyrics. We all need a friend like this:

          “Woo girl, need to kick off your shoes
          Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you
          All the big fights, long nights that you been through
          I got a bottle of Tequila I been saving for you

          Boss up and change your life
          You can have it all, no sacrifice
          I know he did you wrong, we can make it right
          So go and let it all hang out tonight
          ‘Cause he don’t love you anymore
          So walk your fine ass out the door

          And do your hair toss
          Check my nails
          Baby how you feelin’?
          Feeling good as hell”

          • Here’s a new one that’s awesome for a chump trying to give up the habit of going back to rescue a FW or a whiny narc friend;

            The End of Me
            By Billy Talent (with Rivers Cuomo)

            “Well, I see you walking down a dead-end street
            Like a black cat following a limousine
            A brand-new problem every time we meet
            But the same old reason that the grass ain’t green

            So self entitled and your talk is cheap
            Leave a path of destruction every time you speak
            You burned your bridges but I just won’t leave
            ‘Cause I can’t help caring ’bout a friend in need

            You dragged me down to a hole so deep
            I’m crawling out on my hands and knees
            I’d stick around but I know it’s gonna be
            The end of me

            When I see you making all the same mistakes
            Try to help but you throw it back into my face
            You quit your job, say your life’s so hard
            But you can’t pay for dinner with a victim card, yeah

            You’re subtle as a wrecking ball
            If you stole my keys you’d crash my car
            And win the lottery and still complain
            We all know somebody that we just can’t change

            You dragged me down to a hole so deep
            I’m crawling out on my hands and knees
            I’d stick around but I know it’s gonna be
            The end of me

            I wanna get closer to you
            But how am I supposed to get through?
            Keep putting out fires
            But the flames get higher
            I gotta stop listening to you
            I’m gonna get hurt if I do
            I’m getting so tired of preaching
            To the choir

            I said goodbye and I wished you well
            But you kept dragging me back to hell
            I’ll stick around but I know it’s gonna be
            The end of me.”

  • And even after the divorce is final, don’t stoop to that level. Even though it’s tempting. It actually has the REVERSE effect. He’ll go “see mutual friends? She’s crazy. See what I had to get away from, in order to save myself? How could I go on, being subject to such insanity? Without her being crazy, we might still be together….” (as he stares off wistfully).

    • Not only do they do this, they get off on pointing out your “crazy.” They first push your buttons because they WANT to get a rise out of you. It gives them a sense of power that they can still get a rise put of you. But, then, they get a bigger thrill when you actually react. The bigger your meltdown, the more they feel powerful. Added bonus is that nobody knows what he did to cause the meltdown, only that you reacted to it. No matter how full of rage I was, I NEVER let him know it because it’s what he wanted. I actually made him more mad when I acted calm and laughed at him and didn’t react or acted completely bored with his antics. The more bored I pretended to be, the more he upped his antics. When that happened, he was the one looking crazy. Just walk away. I did a LOT of kickboxing and sparring to get the rage out.
      Once the divorce is final, tell everyone the truth, but not until then. And stay off social media, it’s just pain shopping.

      • I remember a friend of deadcheater who told of his split with his wife “we went to marriage therapy and she just screamed”. Yea, FW… what did you say just before she screamed?

        They luv us looking insane. I stayed quiet for all the wrong reasons but it denied him some of the “batshitcrazy wife” excuse.

        Thoughts for the future: I hope you get to meh and quit caring what the FW thinks but
        in my case, if Cheater had lived (and we divorced) what would have eventually driven him completely insane (and been lovely revenge) is my subsequent husband… his alive self would have HATED everything about Col Greatguy -first, he is a Colonel… and tall… and financially comfortable. (For the record, I think the version of Cheater likely in Pergatory is probably thankful to Col Greatguy for making good on much that Cheater fucked up so thoroughly. Cheater owes a debt of gratitude).

        • Your first sentence reminds me of the stat: “more women than men file for D” What they don’t state is why they filed. My fw really wanted me to file, though he was the one cheating and wanting to marry the whore. I was able to get him to file. Asswipe wanted me to file so he could go forth and say Susie dumped me, so whore and I started dating and we fell in love.

          I have no doubt their plan was to drag her ass out of the alley a couple months after I filed and that way she would be cleansed of her sins. Ha, someone dropped a dime on him and it blew up in their faces.

          I mean most folks knew she was a whore anyway, (he was not her first married man rodeo) but many didn’t know he was plugging her on a regular basis. And then they did.

    • “And even after the divorce is final, don’t stoop to that level. Even though it’s tempting. It actually has the REVERSE effect”

      Truth. Trying to expose him is like shoveling sh*t into a fan; it’ll only come back and hit you.

  • It can all come back to bite you if you send any kind of communication while you are in the divorce process. I made that mistake and every thing was mentioned in the 3 and 1/2 year divorce from hell. Trust the process and know that you grow a little every time you can control the impulse to reach out. It can get easier and will,, but you never really forget the pain. Feel the power when you resist. Wishing you the best and a little peace. What a shit show.

  • ANYTHING YOU DO OR SAY IOR POST CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU TO VALIDATE THE LIES HE TOLD YOU AND PROVE THE PICTURE HE PAINTED OF YOU.

    By staying high road and non-reactive, you are DEPRIVING them of the ammo they would delight in having to justify and rationalize what they did.

    They can’t touch you if you are perched high up on the grey rock, much like a medieval fortress in Italy. Picture yourself on top of one of my favorites, Castel del Monte, calmly watching them on their hands and knees, scouring the ground looking for any crumbs they can find to bolster their narrative about you, like desperate cocaine addicts closely examining the carpet for any blow that might have fallen on the floor.

    It takes MORE strength to not react. Revel in that idea. You want your credibility rating as high as possible. That’s something they can’t take away from you if you stay on the high road.

    The fire only dies out when it is starved of oxygen and you will come out with the dragon eggs, Unburnt, like Daenerys Targaryen. (Another helpful visual).

    • They didn’t get away scot-free.

      They each got a poor choice for a life partner, someone who has proven they are not safe or trustworthy or loyal, who is emotionally immature and morally bankrupt, emotionally unavailable, does not have healthy relationship skills, is selfish and self-centered, does not have empathy, and has very big and very deep issues.

      They don’t get trust and safety, the essential qualities of any healthy relationship.

      You thought he was a good guy. You found out he wasn’t who he presented himself to be. They put their Asshole Association membership cards on the table for each other and chose each other without hesitation. That isn’t very bright IMHO.

      They think they’re happy.

      So do drunk people.

      Drunk isn’t happy. It is just is very good at masquerading as such and fooling the revelers.

      When drunk wears off, like the romance in any relationship, what’s left is the reality that the happy was just a chemical reaction.

      It takes a very long time for the illusion of who you thought he was to wear off.

      • VH – your post has really helped me today.
        It is exactly what I needed to hear!
        To the letter writer: I did what you wanted to do. I was checking out their social media early on, and a post written by the office girl, sent me reeling! Oh yes, I reacted, oh yes, I fired off a great response, oh yes I hit send, oh yes, it felt GOOD.
        Almost immediately I felt regret.
        I knew I had let them “in” – I let them, and their friends, and my old Switzerland friends, know how raw I was, rage full, and unhinged. What I wrote was accurate, I didn’t cuss her out, it was pretty tame actually, but I knew it would hit a target, and it did. The entire post was removed in under 2 minutes.
        Still, I regret it. I know they both need that kind of attention, and I don’t plan on giving them any more gifts. Listen to all the wisdom from Chump Nation!

      • Very well put. My FW ex wife had zero problem picking someone who is an ego centric asshole. I watch her every second week drop the kids at my place and then drive 3 hours to asshats town and work long hours in his mobile food van then drive all the way back and tell me she’s exhausted. And how often does he come to hers – pretty much never. Good luck with that winner in the long run ????

  • Absolutely *not*.

    Quite apart from all the very good reasons CL and Amiisfree give, and they are *good*, doing this Will. Not. Make. You. Feel. Better.

    A momentary 5 seconds satisfaction will devolve into hours of writhing humiliation, and the realisation you’ve given fuckwit and his whore some chortling glee that they’ve managed to flick you on the raw.

    I get it, really, we *all* do, but don’t do it. Like CL says, you can’t shame the shameless.

    Stay strong, and *stay away from fuckwit/whore’s social media*!!

    ((hugs)). It *will* get better. ????Xx

    • Chumpnomore6 is so right. Not to mention that if you do say anything, you’ll immediately spend hours, days, maybe even weeks, second guessing every word, every comma, wishing you’d used this word or that word or added this or left out that. The possibilities for rumination are endless. Use whatever you have to do not give in. Bite on a stick if you have to. Wrap all your typing fingers in mummy rags until the moment passes. Whatever it takes. And every time you do that, it’ll make it easier for next time. And eventually, it’ll all fade out of your life and you’ll be so busy with your new and improved life, you’ll wonder why you ever let that lousy excuse for a human being take one ounce of your life energy.

  • I will have to agree with CL on this. I am in the middle of the process as well. Our son is 25 so I don’t have to worry about that fortunately. I am sure all f us have been tempted to try to post to the FW and Schmoopie on social media but it does not do anything other than make you look bitter and it feeds a FW some kibble. Don’t make him central, he is a cheater and that is not something to be proud of (unless you are into cheater worship). In my situation, he passed his narrative to his family and they agree with him. Just supporting cheating puts you out of my circle so I am not tempted to communicate with them.
    Cheaters suck, you don’t. You are the better person. Let the lovebirds bask in their glory. She got a prize which is a lying cheater and maybe some STDs too. You have your freedom to look forward to without a cheater. You have won.

  • Think of it as an addiction. You may want to relapse. But it will feel bad after the fact and then you have the hard work of getting back to where you were. The Chump Lady Facebook group is great. If you feel crazy you can post it out there and no matter what time of day someone is there to talk you down.

  • The worst thing you can do to a dog is

    WITHDRAW ATTENTION.

    By resisting the urge to react, you start dismantling that neural pattern and simultaneously build a neural pattern toward Meh. It was a great day when I actually wanted to stand down instead of resist the urge to hit back. It felt like a victory over them and what they did for me. Not reacting feels like I get power back. I want to feel like I get my power back.

    BTW, like many of us, I found out he cheated on her too. The joke’s on her.

    He thinks a lower companion (aka “Sole Mate”) from Craigslist Casual Encounters (or wherever) who fucks a married man with a child is an upgrade? The joke’s on him.

    We all run on our programming unless we do the very hard work of reprogramming. Cheaters don’t do that work. Cheaters change their outsides and are oblivious to the fact that they took all their destructive baggage with them to a new person. Far be it from me to point out to a cheater that they are on the wrong road to Happy.

    Chris Watts and Scott Peterson get marriage proposals in prison.

    Finding lower companions and trolls in this world is easy. Thanks to technology you can have a new lower companion as often as you wish whenever you wish, 25/7/365.

    But they don’t travel on the high road. That’s my primary motivation for staying there.

    • Thanks Velvet! They suck. Cheater will cheat because they think it is acceptable and there is no need to change.

  • Re-read CL’s paragraph toward the end of her reply beginning with…It’s not fair. Memorize those words.

    You have depth, reason, rationale, character, conscience, courage and are an honorable person that knows how to love and be loved. You’re a fortunate soul with the makeup to live a meaningful and prosperous life ahead. Once you eventually untangle from your ex, you’ll like who you are and what you see!

    These freaks that blow up other people’s lives in search of shallow, superficial, selfish ambitions to make themselves “happy” don’t succeed. It may appear so when all that’s seen on the surface is good times, happy smiles and boatloads of fun. This is the whitewash you see; underneath is a rotting and rusting soul.

    It doesn’t feel good at all when their psyche, emotions, moods and behaviors all revolve around the regrets and mistakes they made that hurt innocent people. Let your ex live and learn. His consequences haven’t yet begun to fully ripen. What starts out wrong does not end up right.

    • Here is a real story about my FW. When we were still married and living together, we lived in a cheap rental house to save money and start a family business. Come to find out the first winter we were there that house had rats. FW said not to worry, he would take care of it. He set traps, got up in the middle of the night, caught some, still the rats kept coming back. Year after year, it was a nightmare. We had two babies in that house. I would plead to call a specialist, our landlord, moving houses, no. He said he would take care of it. In particular one year there was a really big one that he couldn’t get, too smart. Long story short, I got the “a divorce wouldn’t be so bad” talk and FW disappeared with one duffle bag to an undisclosed location. Now the rat is my problem so I do all the things I said we should do to begin with, then move out to my new rat-less place with my little kids.

      Two years later exFW disclosed living with OW and spending weekends in a house she has on her family’s property. He takes the kids there a few times. Here’s the thing they tell me: there’s a huge rat at that place that comes out at night and it scares the shit out of them. THE RAT FOLLOWED HIM! They don’t spend weekends there anymore.

      Those FW drag their shit along wherever they go. You’re the winner.

  • I had a conversation this morning with a good friend (who knows my entire story with FW) about this topic.

    I will not give FW the satisfaction of a text or call. I will NOT let that as*hole win. Thank goodness I got rid of FB and Twitter nearly a year ago. When on those platforms, I didn’t mention FW in posts or put pictures of me and FW. Mostly cats. Lots and lots of cats and their addiction to catnip during the lockdown….

    The need to lash out can be strong at times. I ignore it and the desire is fleeting. It is time to take care of ME. I spent enough time taking care of FW. I find myself pitying the poor example of a human being. Life isn’t fair. The karma bus will come one day for FW.

    Well….the library opens in 18 minutes (for real) and I noticed the reserve copy of LACGAL is ready for pickup! It is a rainy day. I just may devour the whole book quickly.

  • I get it!!! And I Have been working on “no contact” for 3 1/2 yrs,
    D day 7 yrs this New Year’s Day, honestly I’m just now coming out of the fog. Tuesday only arrived in the past 6 months.
    There is NO easy in being deceived for 37 years. I’ll not go into the details cause you all know the story, same thing, different cheater.
    What I find difficult today, and I’m sure “So Far From Tuesday” can relate, is that he blew up our family and now I get to try to put it back together again.
    My Daughter and Grandchildren are living the consequences of the crappy ancestral behaviors that were passed down to them. Yes, they have agency and choice, but honestly acceptance is the first step
    ( Tracy … is there a 12 step program for Chumps ? )
    While I’m dealing with real life and the painful aftermath, he gets the “free pass”.
    So many times I have wanted to contact him and ask for help.
    For him to be involved and help us. But, after all these years of living the Chump lifestyle, I know better and
    I have people (including my Daughter) who keep me accountable and whenever I feel that desire to break my “no contact” I go to those people who remind me to stay strong.
    Life is good and bad ….
    These cheater people lose out on both concerning the family they left, they are shallow sad human beings.
    Please listen to Tracy !

  • More BRAIN STUFF on trauma and triggers (from Dr. Dan Siegel)

    “Traumatic experiences, in particular, can sensitize limbic reactivity, so that even minor stresses can cause cortisol to spike, making daily life more challenging for the traumatized person. These high cortisol levels can also be toxic to the growing brain and interfere with proper growth and function of neural tissue. Finding a way to soothe excessively reactive limbic firing is crucial to rebalancing emotions and diminishing the harmful effects of chronic stress.”

    In other words, it can be VERY DIFFICULT to control our actions when our limbic system is in gear, which is what happens when we are triggered.

    You can’t take something away without putting something in its place. In other words, you have to give your brain something else to do, something POSITIVE and more appealing when you get triggered, just like when a toddler has scissors or matches. You give them something else shiny and attractive and more appealing.

    Here are some of the trigger tools that have helped me stay out of jail and on the High Road:

    WRITING
    I put in an email what I would like to say. I use my OWN email address so I don’t accidentally send it to the trigger. Then I save the draft. I have ALWAYS been glad later that I didn’t send it!

    WAITING
    It is ALWAYS a good idea to pause and wait when I have the urge to speak or write or post when I feel upset. ALWAYS

    TALKING
    I can go to my car and speak or yell what I’d like to say. If I want, I can yell at a picture of the trigger. It nicely fools the brain. Shredding the pictures is also satisfying. Calling a trusted friend or fellow Chump works wonders. I have spoken daily with a few fellows Chump I met here who live in different states. You can really see the progress we all
    have made.

    BOX BREATHING
    Accesses the limbic system when in fight or flight mode to help you through the trigger.

    A FOAM BAT and a big pile of TOWELS in my garage, so I can excuse myself and go beat the crap out of something, anything safe.

    I have to have a PLAN for WHEN I feel
    angry, triggered, sad, upset, etc.

    • https://www.thebehaviorhub.com/blog/2020/10/12/the-brain-in-the-palm-of-your-hand-dan-siegels-hand-model

      Google “Dan Siegel hand model brain trauma” for a wealth of help and resources.

      My most difficult class as a psych major was Biological Paychology. How we feel and behave is not just because of our conscious decision-making. There is a lot of biochemistry going on.

      Cheaters make stupid permanent decisions based on the very same (temporary!) biochemistry caused by their actions. Don’t be like them.

      • “Traumatic experiences, in particular, can sensitize limbic reactivity, so that even minor stresses can cause cortisol to spike” – really interesting that you brought this up, and it is probably an important piece of the puzzle I hadn’t considered. I had a significant health issue pop up out of nowhere in the last month that required immediate major surgery. I was terrified. I didn’t think about how the medical stress would compound the betrayal trauma, but I guess it could. The timing makes sense that suddenly I am constantly triggered again. Thanks Velvet!

    • I read about a woman who would go out to work on her flower bed whenever those thoughts overwhelmed her. She’d pull weeds and think of each one as a hair on his head. When she’d pulled all of that hair, she started on his chest and worked her way down. It gave her so much strength having such good, clean fun that she was totally amazed to realize one day that she had the loveliest flower bed in town. Until I read your post, I just accepted it as a nice story but now I understand why it worked for her – thanks for the post!

    • I used to write what I thought about FW or anything he did that bothered me on a piece of paper, then fold it up and burn it on the BBQ.

      Also boxing.

  • CN- I have always wished there was a “like” button for comments, but never so much as today. Your comments are all so helpful and spot on. They are making me laugh, giving me great ideas, and hope!

    CL- thanks for responding to my late night cry for help. I did not hit send after all. How did you know about OW’s endless New Age memes?? Lol. I don’t know why I need to keep touching the wound. I KNOW he sucks, and I frankly don’t care about her.

    I have a great support system, including my family and my dearest friends who all know the truth. Our kids are school aged, and after many years of him not caring at all about their activities, STBX stepped up to head coach all their teams. So now I have to see him all the time, and it’s hard to watch his charm offensive.

    I’ll revisit the idea of telling the kids once the divorce is final. I’m very conflicted because I’ve already seen him up his gaslighting game with them, and I’m afraid of how it will backfire (yep. I know. I’m reading the codependent red flags as I write them.) If I tell, his response will be some lie about why it is all my fault and not his. I become the bad guy. He’s a master manipulator, I don’t want to give him any more fuel to gaslight the kids. I know he will never stop. Eventually they’ll either have to accept it or walk away, but right now they aren’t old enough to be allowed that choice.

    Thanks again CN and CL. I needed this today.

    • “If I tell, his response will be some lie about why it is all my fault and not his. I become the bad guy.”

      This is your primary reason (carrot on a stick) to stay on the High Road. My daughter trusts me and believe me because I have done so, and does not trust him, does not believe
      anything he says, and most likely will never believe anything he says ever again, because he has not. Kids see who they really are more quickly when we stay seated eating our popcorn….(my daughter knows he cheated. She asked, and therapist who has known all of us since she was in utero, cleared me to answer, “yes.” She was eleven. Get guidance for telling from a great therapist. That keeps you on the High Road too.

      BTW, Super Cheater Dad who had never had much to do with our daughter and school, in her entire life, all of a sudden wanted to pick her up and drop her off, be all involved, etc.
      Interesting timing.

      He had plenty of time to leave our business every afternoon to fuck whoever, but never one time left in the afternoon for anything to do with his family. Not. one. time. Ever.

      He is now shocked that she wants nothing to do with him and doesn’t understand why.

      These people are fools best left in the rearview mirror. Their primary purpose is to help themselves and others achieve orgasms.

    • “I become the bad guy.”

      In whose story?

      Not yours, of course. Not your kids’. Not those of people who know you. The only place where he has the power to make you the bad guy is in the stories he tells himself, and who cares about those?

      • Exactly.

        Remember to add, “…..said the liar, cheater, traitor, thief” to the end of every sentence that comes out of their mouths.

        Never had “consider the source” been more astute and necessary advice.

    • Most likely his nice guy and perfect dad routine will wear off once he gets bored. This happened to me. Now Fuckwit is moving cities so our daughter will hardly ever see him. Just let him do what he’s gonna do and minimize seeing him. Stay classy

    • There are really only two outcomes once the cheater-parent steps up and starts being super-parent:

      1) It wears off over the next few months or 2 years because parenting is hard work and people stop praising you for being the coach or homeroom mother (or whatever) and start taking you for granted. And if you are a jackass, you were only doing it for the attention and praise.

      2) Your EX learns some parenting skills and develops some niches of expertise. The kids end up with a decent parent who supports their development. You may still wish he’d be hit by a stray meteor, but it is good for them to have a devoted father.

      Most cheaters fall into category 1. You can, however, rest assured that these folks will be talking for the next 40 years about how they coached the basketball team (even if it was a one-time, 8 week commitment).

      I recommend telling your kids the age-appropriate truth as soon as your lawyer says it is okay. I held off because we had agreed not to bad mouth each other. God knows why I thought he would keep his word. By the time I realized how often and how horribly he was lying about me (and swearing the kids to secrecy) a lot of damage had been done. Tell them once Tell them they can talk to you or a therapist about it any time, and then leave it alone unless they ask for more detail or explanation.

      • Eilonwy, my now-ex was bad-mouthing me to the kids non-stop after he moved out, even though he was supposedly planning to move home again and was attending weekly couples counselling with me. I had ZERO idea that it was happening. He was telling my son that he was NEVER coming back (so much that went on behind my back in terms of lying to and involving our two young teens). I was under the very firm impression that we were working together to make sure the kids were okay and on the same page. That could not have been further from the truth. It damaged my relationship to both kids for a time, especially with my daughter (who was younger), and I just assumed the anger and the blaming was the result of her having a hard time with all of it (and being a teenager). Nope. He was smearing me constantly to them, and I only found out because my son eventually told me because it was very clear that my perception of how he was behaving was so ridiculously out of whack with what was really going on. It was devastating–the lying, the undermining, the alienation. And he’d also made my son his go-to confidante regarding his affair with my colleague (who was and still is married), including having my son drive him around one night to follow her because he thought she was cheating on him with a previous “friend” (which she no doubt was). Of all the grotesque behaviour he’s engaged in, this is what I can never forgive him for. I found a therapist for my son, who was really helpful to him, but at the time I believed it was to help him cope with the changes to our family and with his first breakup. Turns out the reason he needed a therapist is that his dad had turned him into *his* personal therapist, confided all of his secrets in him, and tried to make him see that I was a bad, malevolent person. It tore my son up. And now he’s no longer a teen and thinks very little of his FW dad. So what did he gain with his selfish, abusive parenting? Nothing.

        • This is a good illustration of why we should tell the kids the truth. FW will certainly lie about us and blame us. If we don’t grab the narrative first and help them to navigate FW’s manipulations, the results can be disastrous for the kids.

          • Exactly. And they may blame themselves after if they act out–even though they didn’t and couldn’t have known that they were being manipulated and lied to. Some of the things my kids said to me after we were all sorted out breaks my heart–as if somehow they were at fault for believing him and being angry at me.

    • Keep it short and indifferent when you tell the kids and yes tell the kids. I’m sure your STBX will certainly tell a fictional story to the kids. How much do you wanna bet the story changes every time he talks to the kids about your breakup? The kids will figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. They may already have his number but happy that he is finally paying attention to them..and that will not last.

    • Wow, TBT, he’s head coaching all of their teams now?!? Take a deep breath and observe, take notes, because that actually requires a ton of effort, and he’s unlikely to sustain that for very long. I give it till January, tops. Assistant coaches will be doing all the work soon. Play the long game there.

    • Truthbetold, early days suck, no doubt. But its a long game, this. Here’s a little – well very long! – story that might encourage you a little. Now that my extreme eyeroll at your ex’s tactic has finished.

      Gxh, a teacher, who never took any interest in our youngest son except to criticise him, after our divorce started turning up to sons (a talented musician wonderfully encouraged and supported by his teachers) school music concerts and schmoozing with his music teachers.

      Cop this – he was grooming son to play tenor sax in wannabe jazx singer dad’s swingin jazz troupe. Vomit. My son refused point blank.

      Gxh showed up to a meeting at school so he could tell the deputy principal how its done. Enters the waiting room and announces if its more than an hour I can’t stay. Ok sez I shrugging. We go in to the meeting and gxh doesnt know what subjects his son is studying, what changes he wanted, or how to best work it so my son can graduate with the least amount of stress. The deputy’s handling was masterly and he actually spoke to me because I knew what was going on. Gxh stalked off so angry afterwards and never showed any more interest in his son’s academic pursuits.

      I was so proud of my son at his high school graduation. He didn’t invite his father – he gave his allocated tix to me and his siblings. Turned out he was awarded the music prize, the arts prize, (presented with a really lovely speech from the head of arts) and performed a smokin jazz solo on his tenor sax that brought the house down.

      He hasnt seen his dad for a couple of years now.

      My other kids started out blaming me and being sorry for their dad … now 3 are no contact and 2 occasionally see him but see him for who he is and noone relies on him for anything.

      The short answer is – they always show their true colours eventually. Kids are really smart and catch on pretty quick once we stop the spackling and they get a dose of dad unfiltered.

      So hang in there. They know who loves them and is there for them no matter what.

  • As Chumplady said, find the right people to vent to and just let him stew away in his own juices. I would stop lying that it was amicable and just say that it’s a hard time for you and that you prefer not to talk about it with most people. Weigh what to tell the kids (perhaps with a therapist) in an age-appropriate way. They probably know more than you think. I journaled and journaled and still do. A friend of mine who is a therapist did voice memos to himself.

    Basically, you want to get to a point where you are living in reality with a select group of people and no longer faking but not blabbing with others. That’s the path to healing.

    It’s horrible as you watch all this play out, but there is indeed a path forward that folks here have been on. I’m battling some triggers right now because of broader family issues on my side, but it’s SO GOOD to not be dealing with my ex at all on anything. He would have made this much harder.

  • You could come up with the best comeback insults ever, real zingers…unfortunately it will never be enough and it won’t satisfy your anger. In fact you’ll be more frustrated by the lack of response from onlookers (in your fantasy they all turn against him in disgust) and the cheaters won’t hang their heads in shame. So not worth it. However, that doesn’t mean you need to put on a front of an amicable divorce. Telling people he cheated and left the family will suffice. Also, your kids should know the truth with an age appropriate explanation. What will make you look good is rising above (even if you fake it) what the cheater/OW has put you and the kids through and make the cheaters look like crap.

  • Didn’t Mr.Chump Lady say “If it feels good, don’t do it.”? My lawyer told me “Don’t do or say anything you don’t want to explain to the Judge.” He also instructed me to stay off social media. These lawyers have seen some shit and are offering you good counsel.

    Looks like Chump Lady and Chump Nation have talked you off the pain shopping ledge. Here is a little trick for staying off that ledge. Write down all the terrible things that lying cheater did to you. I keep a notebook entitled “List of Grievances”. I read that every time I am even remotely tempted to pain shop. That list strengthens my resolve to never speak, text, e-mail, write or contact him in any way. What LTC Fuckface does is none of my business. He can sleep in a big old greasy heap and fuck all of his coworkers. Not my concern. My concern is healing from the trauma of his abuse.

    I’m glad you are on your way to Meh!

    • “Write down all the terrible things that lying cheater did to you. I keep a notebook entitled “List of Grievances”. I read that every time I am even remotely tempted to pain shop.”

      Excellent advice. I still keep my old phone with all fucktard’s ridiculous, cakey, pathetic, bare faced lying texts he sent when I discovered he was fucking the rat faced whore.

      Good reminder, makes me realise afresh what an absolute arsehole he is, and that no amount of “speaking truth to stupid” as Tracy says, would have changed a damn thing, thank God! ????????????

  • It’s natural to stay fixated.

    Betrayal is so confusing and unsettling that our minds struggle to grasp it. Your internet stalking is completely normal. I still do it well after a decade since D-Day.

    I will never fully understand my “soulmate’s” betrayal. I wouldn’t have expected it in a million years, and I will never get over it. I wish I could forget, but I still have nightmares.

    • Mia: I hope my insight helps. My long ago ex FW sent me an email at my WORK (he was on a work related trip) telling me he was gay. Not a short email. A long email. With an accompanying attached Word document. The only thing missing was pictures. This happened 16/17 years ago.

      I had no idea he was gay. Not even the sex once a year for two minutes gave me a clue. For over a decade. He dropped a nuclear bomb on me and his family.

      I was denied the pick me dance because, well, I had no penis! There was no way I could compete without a schlong and I am not willing to use strap ons.

      In the end I figured this: we will never understand. These FW’s, gays who hide their true desires (and marry hetero’s) and/or cheaters, are truly disordered. Me, as a normal person, doesn’t possess the depraved neural pathways.

      Time passes. Go strict no contact – that means stop looking up his social media stuff. The more you continue the online research on him THE LONGER IT TAKES to get to meh. You are torturing yourself…slowly and painfully. Death by a 1,000 cuts.

      I call it the I DON’T GIVE A FUCK-itis. It works.

      Our two kids now grown and gone. No contact even though the youngest is seriously ill with uncontrolled grand mal seizures. She may die from it. I reached out once to him to discuss this and got crickets. He is happy with his “wife” or whatever you wanna call that.

      I am currently divorcing another FW. THIS NEWER FUCKWIT HAS NO IDEA THE BITCH HE HAS RELEASED. I been through worse with the gay FW.

      We never forget. But we sure can take the I Don’t Give A Fuck-itis pill. Strict. No excuses NC is what you need.

      • Spedie I hear you. I’m sad for you and your unwell daughter … that kind of indifference to the suffering of your own child deserves a special place in hell.

        My gxh came out as gay to our young adult kids as soon as our divorce was final. He told them to keep it secret as he didn’t want his parents to know (!??). I found out through the extended family grapevine. Threw me into a complete tailspin but also made so much of the abuse and weird of our 25 year marriage finally make sense.

        The kids didn’t know what to do so stayed quiet – what a creep to make them his secret keepers. Now 3 kids are no contact and 2 seldom contact.

        What unmitigated pricks these people are. Sorry you got burned twice by fuckwits. Thats why I’m one and done.

  • It’s tough to accept that on the surface a liar and cheater can often appear to ‘flourish’, it burns.

    It’s tough to see that the kids still love him and buy his schtick. Later on it’s hard to see the grandkids cuddling up to swell ole grandpa. But this is part of our territory if we had children with them.

    You’ll only wound yourself deeper by lurking on their social media. The temptation is there but just don’t.

    As for a snarky comment on his posts…………. it only makes you look bitter, jealous and mean spirited.

    As CL has often said live YOUR best life and don’t focus on the SOB and his doings.

  • It’s been 4 years since day day, 3 years since I left my ex, and 7 months since the divorce was final.

    I know how you feel.

    Trust that he sucks and the Universe-and Karma-will come to collect his debt.

    Leave him be-he’ll bury himself-it just takes TIME.

    Their true colors start to show-all by themselves.

    My ex wanted me to agree to tell people we split because of “Amicable Differences.”

    I agreed-and when people ask-I tell them:

    “Amicable Differences. He wanted a wife and a girlfriend at the same time-and I couldn’t be amicable with that.”

    My mantra is:

    “God is my Co-Pilot. And Karma is my Debt Collector.”

  • Leave them to be assholes. The best revenge you can have is not caring about them at all. Don’t let them be central. They really do get off thinking they hurt you. Be aloof and classy. He’ll expect you to be a broken down heaving crying mess- just don’t do it in a public way. Honestly you’ll get no satisfaction out of any revenge moves. I tried some minor ones and it just ends badly! Stop looking at their social media. You will heal so much faster if you shut them out and that should be your main goal for now. Biggest hugs to you. It gets better over time.

  • I understand this need for justice and accountability; to be honest, it’s my biggest roadblock on the road to meh. My ex still has a golden reputation, and even so-called friends of mine continue to “like” and engage with his social media posts, even after I’ve expressed my discomfort. As a result, I generally stay off of social media as he’s clearly “won” that turf. And I’ve downgraded many so-called friends to casual acquaintances.

    I’ve found that taking the high road can be a lonely place at times. It’s painful and annoying to accept that my ex has experienced no real consequences for his actions. He gets to enjoy his shallow, superficial life, all the while getting his ego stroked by his adoring fans. He does the bare minimum of parental duties (most recently, run an errand for one of our children) and manages to spin it like he’s father of the year. I’m mostly no contact/grey rock (as much as “co” parenting allows), and that helps. But some justice would be nice!

    • Don’t worry, justice is sometimes a dish best served cold. One day your kids will catch on and he will pay the piper, big time. I’m currently watching my ex sabotage and slowly destroy his relationship with our teen kid, just by virtue of the child seeing who he really is and not wanting to be around it. I don’t editorialize, but I validate her reality when she comes to me with issues. I have not doubt that a decade from now, our grown daughter will have little to do with her dad, and he will sit there in his arrogance and wonder why. And probably blame me. Whatever.

      However, meh means not waiting for this day, or caring of it ever comes. In fact, I hope he changes course and can maintain a good relationship with his kid. It’s what’s best for her. If not, it’s his cross to bear. I keep my side of the street clean and be the best parent I can be and look forward to a loving lifelong relationship with my daughter. The best “justice” is thriving in the new life the you build for you and your children.

    • The justice is he can’t abuse you anymore. It’s hard for them to go without someone to victimize and to let a victim get away. Don’t assume it’s all sunshine and rainbows for him. He sounds highly disordered, so he is filled with secret insecurity and self hatred and must use other people’s approval to regulate his self worth. Living inside his head is hell. You have genuine self worth that is not dependent on externals. So he gets only shallow pleasure, never genuine happiness. You win.

      You also found out who your real friends are by this process, and that is a gift. You no longer have to deal with assholes and you can see people more clearly now. You win.

      Giving up social media turf to the fw is like giving up the privilege to swim in a cesspool. I’d get off social media altogether so you never have to deal with those fake “friends” again and nobody can make comments on your life, since they know nothing of it. He’ll continue to lie but you won’t know, and eventually you won’t care. He’ll remain desperately fronting as sparkly for his whole worthless life, but you will be at peace with yourself. Odds are that nobody will be there to hold his hand at the end, because your kids will eventually figure out that he sucks. You win.

      Fuckwit, otoh, loses, just by being fuckwit.

    • Justice is being shown the truth so I can make an informed decision and end being held hostage in a lie.

      No one wants to be with a cheater. Even affair accomplices, who think it’s not really who they are and the chump is the responsible party. (Yeah, I can make people do things and I chose that). I wanted a marriage to who he thought he was. It was a MIRAGE. I do not want to be married to who he really is. Ironically, in faking being a Nice Guy, I actually got the better version of him. The Craigslist cockroach saw a low quality mate and signed up.

      I see reality now; that’s my definition of justice.

      • I was suffering from injustice being loyal to a fake husband who was stabbing me in the back, behind my back.

  • Your comment was that she was just the latest but he had cheated all along. Guess what. He’s going to cheat on her. That’s who he is. Let him sleep in his own shit. Once the divorce is over and you’ve put him in your rearview mirror you’re gonna be so glad you don’t have to do this anymore. I cannot imagine how much better you’re going to feel in a year or two when you hear that he’s cheated on this latest one. They never change.

  • In all fairness …

    You can always come here and post the snarky stuff, under a pseud. We appreciate it, and we won’t tell.

  • Stop spackling for him. And get honest yourself, too. Tell your kids, the in-laws, and your close friends, the real reason why you are getting divorced. And don’t do it via the internet. I would do it in person or via a spontaneous phone call, so that it is not recorded or in writing.

  • In regards to CL’s advice to “consider writing your in-laws a letter. Depending on your relationship, you could thank them for being a part of your family all these years, but you discovered Bob’s double life with Schmoopie, and that’s why you’re divorcing, and going no contact. And it pains you, but you wanted them to understand why you’ve withdrawn from their life…”

    Just be prepared for a negative response. I thought I should at least reach out to my in-laws, but boy did that go sideways when I let them know what their son had done and that I was didn’t want to make things uncomfortable for anyone — that they should feel free to call their grandson but not to worry that I’d interject myself.

    I got the nastiest letter ever from MIL! She showed her true narcissist colors and where FW got it from. Pretty awful. MIL blamed me for everything. Apparently I never talked to them enough and was cold. I was told it was my fault FW cheated because I didn’t listen to her when she gave me advice on a “Chicago street corner”… I had no idea what that passive aggressive code was and I texted to ask her what that was. Apparently I was supposed to make sure her son attended church every Sunday ???? Then I discovered from other relatives that she completely rewrote the script that I threw him out and FW and AP fell in love afterwards.

    So — just tread lightly with the in-laws. Share what you like, but don’t have any expectations.

    As for the rest… CL always gives great advice to tread lightly especially before the divorce is finalized. Anything and everything will be used against you. Keep your nose clean and scream into a pillow when you need to vent.

  • Now divorced 5-1/2 years after 21 years of marriage. For me the hardest things were looking in the mirror and knowing 100% this was all about him. I couldn’t fix it or change it no matter what I did. That he never loved me and was probably not capable of love. It took a long time for me to really let that sink in.
    It took me a long time to control that urge to tell people what he was and how awful a person he is. The entire world (other than my family and close friends) think he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know the truth and that is all that matters. I don’t tell anyone the nasty cruel manipulative things he did. It would just make me look crazy. I know what he is and that’s enough for me

    • Truth. But also, don’t be afraid to answer questions directly, if that’s something you want to do. Years after our split, I ran into a mutual acquaintance who had become his friend. He awkwardly expressed condolences about our failed marriage and then asked “I heard you just grew apart, and I guess that happens, right?” I answered: “I’m sure that does happen, but we split because he had affairs with his students and wanted to date other people and not work on the marriage. And, that didn’t match my personal values.” Guy was gobsmacked and was like, “OMG, so sorry, I had no idea.” He believed me in large part because I hadn’t ever spread the word around and damaged my credibility with perceived sour grapes. Not that it matters tho..I know the truth.

  • Every time, I break “grey rock” I regret it.
    And I have the 3rd degree black belt in grey rock now.
    But we all make mistakes and those fuckwits know exactly how to push our buttons. Forgive yourself, keen on practicing.

    Important:
    – Never ask questions. Present them with facts. If you have a problem with something about the kids, solve it yourself fist.
    – Don’t find yourself in a position that you have to rely on them.
    – Don’t show them anything about your new life. Wear old clothes when you pick the kids up , having nothing shiny and new.
    – Be mindful what you post on social media, even if she is blocked, friends will probably feed back the information to her.
    – Don’t be rude, don’t be passive aggressive. Treat every email you sent, even after the divorce is settled, as potential evidence in family court.
    Share information in a polite manner, imagine you are the accountant writing about the tax return.
    Public shaming of her cheating will actually never happen: She will be busy telling her side of the story and people also don’t give a shit.
    Your friends and family who are on your side, they do. But they have made up their mind and support you, you don’t need to update them with other news about how awful she is.
    I strongly believe that grey rock is not only a way to get the narcissists out of our lives but also an exercise in healing.

    • I have been viewing any “co-“child-rearing as a business…with a shitty business partner. Business correspondence when needed – as explicit and neutrally phrased as possible (honestly more concerned that he will play(?) ignorant when he feels like ignoring something out just outright not pull his weight). If nothing else, it’s documented that I made x known or requested y. If I don’t have to talk to him, I don’t. Sharing information he would not otherwise receive happens, but I am not his secretary nor am I going to extra mile for that person. The main objective is making sure our daughter is taken care of between the two of us. Lord knows I can do it on my own, but I am stuck with the shitty business partner who deemed his dick more important than his business (i.e. what was our family). You may end up having to use a broader definition of “OK” than you would like, but for me it’s come down to if my daughter is OK, I am OK. I am no more tethered to him than that. At this point, nearly five years out, I am living as fuckwit-free as possible. Occasionally he pops back up to try to remain relevant somehow, but his email temper tantrums are more humorous than frustrating.

      • Great advice. I do the same. Recently, daughter had an issue that required more than gray-rock communication, and it was PAINFUL, but I got through it and stayed as business-like as possible and am back to gray rock where I hope to stay ever more.

        I think as part of this psudo-business relationship, everyone should be sure to retain documentation of everything…in case a judge needs to see it one day.

    • Bill Eddy (attorney and social worker) says keep it brief, informative, friendly and firm. BIFF

  • Just don’t! It’s like that quote “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
    A private journal helped. There you can safely vent what you would say if you bothered to speak to your ex.

  • I’ve had the strangest afternoon and it’s given me a lot of insight into “accepting that he sucks” and moving on.

    I wasn’t feeling well (rare for me) and spent the afternoon in bed with Antenna TV on in the background. I’m realizing that I was immersed as a young girl and teenager in popular television scripts of jealousy, misunderstandings, getting even or “fixing” the love interest. This isn’t just FOO or gaslighting shit. This was baked into my marrow.

    I know that today’s social media has its own dangers, but avoiding the narrative we tell ourselves is important, too.

  • I have written many a snarky, bitter, or angry text onto a sticky note, and kept it. I didn’t hit send, I didn’t stir up another hornet nest.
    I have a whole book of them. No contact is better.

  • When they can’t get positive attention from you, negative attention will certainly do. Also, he wants you to look crazy and vindictive, so don’t give him that. Since you have minor children together, the best strategy is to play it cool. That does not mean you have to keep pretending the split is amicable.
    Telling people the truth, in the careful way CL laid out, should help you to feel that at least some justice is being done. Then he has consequences. Those people will know he’s a cheater. Fw’s hate being seen for what they really are. You can tell the kids why you aren’t with daddy anymore, but as CL says, keep it factual and age appropriate. Then he can’t make a go of a claim of parental alienation, because you merely gave them the facts. “Daddy had a girlfriend while we were married” is a fact. He can bitch all he likes about it. There’s nothing he can do.

    A technique I found helpful was to rant about the misdeeds of my fw in an email, then not send it to him. It helped to just let it out, even if nobody saw it.
    Ranting here can help as well. We’ll listen and we care. I have a narc abuse recovery place I post to that helps as well. I don’t use social media, but I did create a social media profile to list the many wrongdoings of the FW in gory detail. It’s private, but he knows if he ever gives me trouble, it goes public. That has helped me to get back my power. I have the power to ruin his reputation, but instead of using it for mere self satisfaction, I use it strategically to get him to leave me in peace, which is much more satisfying in the long run. It’s a good exercise in resisting my impulses, too.

  • I see that Donna Anderson (Lovefraud web site and books) has just published a book on senior sociopaths, the over 50 crowd. Apologies if it’s inappropriate to recommend another site and author. I found your site,Tracy,after hers;yours is more active with daily blog posts. Plus you allow us to be ???? mouthed ????

  • Still in the middle of divorce ? Yes chump lady is right on this….let me put that another way…… You’re only beginning to understand what this person is truly capable of. Badgers look cute……right up until you corner one. You need to be grey rock through this entire proceeding, and trust me learning it now will pay dividends down the road cause you’ll already know why they’re doing what they’re doing even though when it’s all said and done they can’t do nearly as much damage as they can in the courtrooms right now. Yes, it’s hard because we get caught up in our own heads about how wonderful their life must be now!!! Trust me, the Karma train runs every day and takes all comers. But, you need to break out of this phase……wishing something bad upon others is a dead end road. Taking care of you is the key. I don’t doubt that someday down the road you’ll hear something horrible that happened to him or her…..or the other hers. The goal for us is by then, we don’t really care…….its a pffftt. Ok what are we gonna make for supper!!

  • So needed to read this!
    Completely there with feeling like he’s gotten away with something and so many people don’t know and he’s consequence free and nearly a year out from the last d day and asking him to move out and I’m still hurting and grieving. It really sucks so bad. This letter is really resonating for me this week.
    Can’t thank you enough, CL, for your clear headed advice. ????

  • Best advice I ever got was from Chump Nation:
    -Don’t take the bait.
    -Walk away from the fire.
    -Let the smug bastard think he’s Mr. Wonderful and the Perfect Dad….. he can’t read your mind – know that you’ve stepped over dog shit not in it… His day will come……..
    And, thank goodness I abhor social media and the “see me” environment that is chewing up lives.
    Keep your private life private….. let him wonder who/what/where/why/when about you….. discretion and privacy are key- it drives a narcissist nuts when you don’t engage – they feast on generating a reaction – they have a thirst for your tears……
    My suggestion: watch the animation SOUL movie – there’s a scene where the main character sees his entire life pass before him….. it gave me great pleasure to know my hooker habit “perfect” doctor husband of 30 years and 40 plus whores who fooled me for 30 years will likely see his life in a replay movie and it’s a horror show. Good luck dear Chump friend.

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