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Left Her with 4-Month Child So He Could Be ‘Happier’

Hi Chump Lady,

On my last first birthday without soon-to-be-ex husband, I am all filled with emotions. My husband and OW had an affair while I was pregnant (during the COVID shutdown) and left me the day our daughter turned four months old. I will say he politely waited until I found out who won RaPaul’s Drag Race Season 7 before telling me (I can’t type that without a huge eye roll). My husband is the textbook nice narcissist and amazingly skilled at faux kindness.

I did Chump things — signed us up for couples therapy, read books and shared with him why it was better to save our marriage, begged him to want to be involved with our baby, tried to figure out why he didn’t even want to have a conversation in hopes of staying for our new family, etc. etc. He went to the couples therapy, but w
ent straight to the OW right after for bowling, and I went to take care of our baby and two dogs (oh, I should add — we were all friends and she was married, so we all hung out together all the time and she knew I was pregnant. Bought us gifts and everything). He did the bare minimum for our baby and partied, and I cried myself to sleep thinking I was trash.

I am doing things to slowly, but surely, get to a better place. I got a separation agreement, moved in with my parents in another state to get support with my daughter, started another job to hold me over right now, therapy, and hired a financial coach and career coach to work on getting a better job and set my daughter and I up for a life where we don’t need him.

However, I am frustrated, angry, exhausted, sad, overwhelmed, and really just miserable. My almost ex-husband is living his best life — traveling, going out to bars and restaurants, and doing things we did pre-COVID and pre-baby or things we always wanted to do, but he was too frugal to do them. Then to me, he cries about what he did, that he is going through a lot, and it is hard only seeing his daughter every other weekend.

I am working a new job that I hate, coming home to take care of my baby and two dogs, and having to be “on” for my parents. I get zero downtime to just be. Well, correction I get every other weekend off when he comes to see his daughter.

Recently, my almost ex-husband said, “Well, this may be an opportunity to be happier.” One, it made so much sense that a month before he left he said he started seeing a therapist because he said “I am just not as happy as I could be with you, the dogs, and our baby.” Turns out he was just plotting so that he could be happier and have more fun. Secondly, (as my baby is wailing and my parents are complaining about the dogs) I started to wonder… When will my happier come and how long will this pain last? Am I on the right path? Or am I going to fail and watch him and OW live out the family dreams I had with my daughter?


Is Tuesday Even A Day Of The Week?

Dear Tuesday,

You’re totally doing all the right things. And all the right things are exhausting.

Single parenting, moving, trying to leverage your career — oh, and bouncing back from abandonment — I’d be shocked if you felt joyous. You are a badass MOVING A MOUNTAIN. People who move mountains are frequently overwhelmed. Because. It. Is. A. MOUNTAIN.

Your real question is — why do I have Mount Shitmore and he doesn’t?

Because you’re not a fuckwit and he is, that’s why.

Every time I answer one of these chumped-while-pregnant letters, I trot out this line (because I don’t have a better one): People who do this have empty elevator shafts where their souls should be.

Anyone who can walk out on a four-month-old infant is monster. Infants are utterly vulnerable. And so were you there, gestating a human being, giving birth, bleeding like a stuck pig for weeks afterward, enduring an abdomen of silly putty, sleepless nights, nursing. It’s not a sexy time — it’s a deeply INVESTED time. You literally gave your body so this man could have a child.

And how did he treat that gift? He shat on it. Because he doesn’t do investment. People needing him doesn’t make his dick hard. So he looked around for a fellow Empty Elevator Shaft and found one.

My almost ex-husband is living his best life — traveling, going out to bars and restaurants, and doing things we did pre-COVID and pre-baby or things we always wanted to do, but he was too frugal to do them.

Well, wait until the divorce settlement hits. And also document in case he cries poverty on that child support, okay?

Next, stop and ask yourself what Living Your Best Life looks like. For YOU. Is it fabulous nights out at the Cheesecake Factory with your fuckbuddy du jour, or is it the love of your child? Self-respect? Kicking ass at your job?

Any fool can create a bar tab. You’re creating a LIFE.

You’re doing the shit that matters. And it doesn’t mean you can’t practice some self care and a vacation or a night out too, okay? Superficial “happy” bullshit is ALL he has. That’s ALL that matters to him. That bar tab isn’t going to wipe his ass when he gets old. And for every day of his life, EVERY DAY, he’ll be a man who walked out on a four-month-old child. That stain does not wash out.

Then to me, he cries about what he did, that he is going through a lot, and it is hard only seeing his daughter every other weekend.

Oh no he does not. Because you aren’t taking those calls. NO CONTACT. Get parenting software this instant.

Why are you letting him cry to you? To see him suffer? To conclude you matter? HE HAS AN EMPTY ELEVATOR SHAFT WHERE HIS SOUL SHOULD BE. Make that your ringtone when he calls. Let it go to voicemail. Leave a message, Shaft. Delete.

When will my happier come and how long will this pain last?

You’re building your happier right now. The pain lasts until Tuesday. The things you are investing in now matter and they pay a lifetime of dividends: joy, self-respect, the love of your child. Consider that you’re tired. Maybe ask your parents for some more down time. Or spend less on career coach and more on a sitter so you can have that break you deserve.

Am I going to fail and watch him and OW live out the family dreams I had with my daughter?

YOU and your daughter are your family dream. It’s normal to miss the dream, but Tuesday, he was never invested. He couldn’t have been to do what he did.

Will he fake some Instragram blended family bullshit with matching holiday pajamas? Oh probably. These people eat impression management for breakfast. Don’t watch it. Turn that channel OFF. Stop comparing.

His punishment is being him. Who would you rather be, really?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I cannot imagine how tough it is being the single parent of an infant.

    I hope in a couple of years you are able to see that your daughter is better off having had you as a single parent almost from the start. If I could do one thing over, I’d have left my marriage much sooner. Watching my EX manipulate the kids has been the hardest part of the divorce. I suspect your EX will never be much of a father, so your daughter will never feel the “loss” of him. Of course, being a single parent will bring other enormous challenges, but please take comfort in knowing what fine person you are for doing right by your daughter.

    I also hope you can build some friendships with other new parents who can provide you some support and maybe even trade off an evening of childcare once in awhile so that you can get more of the downtime you deserve (and need).

    • Exactly. My first D day was when my kid was about 8 months old. If only I could rewind and leave then.

      I could have spared my son physical abuse that later occurred right under my nose without my knowledge. My kid would be a happier and less anxious young adult.

      You leave for the kids. Unfortunately, I only truly understood this in hindsight.


    I would bet good money that the “best life” that your husband and his OW would have you think they are living is not nearly as sparkly as they would have you believe. And this alleged “best life” will get a whole load less sparkly – at least for him and probably her too – once the consequences of his decisions (divorce, spousal support, child support, division of assets etc) start to bite.

    It really hurts to be where you are now, but believe me, it will get better. I can only offer a Churchill (I think) quote – “When you are going through hell, keep going.”

    You’ve got this and CN have got your back.


    • ” And this alleged “best life” will get a whole load less sparkly – at least for him and probably her too – once the consequences of his decisions (divorce, spousal support, child support, division of assets etc) start to bite.”

      This. I am convinced that cheaters in large, really think the thrill of their new life will continue on. They are free, and the whore has a magical twat; what could go wrong. My fw found out fairly quickly what could go wrong, and I didn’t cause any of it. For some it takes a bit longer.

      Only very wealthy folks who can buy the image can fool themselves for long. As CL says, they take themselves with them. No character transplants. Don’t doubt it.

      • SL,

        For Ex-Mrs LFTT and her AP it got a whole load less sparkly when the judge in our divorce case made it clear that he wasn’t buying her BS and that she wasn’t getting close to what she was demanding. She is still butthurt about it 4 years later and has taken to telling our kids (now 25, 22 and 18 and live with me) that they will have to look after her and support her in her old age because of how badly I scr*wed her over in Court.

        Funny old thing, she lied to her legal team, lied to the judge (and got found out), having run up a huge legal bill on the assumption that she was going to get everything that she demanded and more; how did she think that was going to play out? She scr*wed herself.

        And the kids have made it quite clear that she can kick rocks if she thinks they are going to give her a penny.


        • I’m glad to hear this. You and I started down this road at the same time and I have followed your posts. Good job! Happy for you!

    • My stbx and his howorker projected a ton of that “happy family” BS, splashing it all over Facebook as they moved in together with her two kids and my son. But it wasn’t like that at all. They were having knock down, drag out screaming fights (in front of the kids) that sometimes turned physical. OW attempted suicide at one point. She ended up leaving my husband after being in the house with him for less than a month. He killed himself four months later, in despair over his financial ruin and being without sparkle twat. Don’t envy them.

      You and your child ARE a complete family. My son is actually happier and more well-adjusted than ever now that it’s just the two of us. He was under so much stress and had so much anxiety with his dad. Honestly, if you husband walked out on you and the baby, I’d try as hard as I could for full custody.

      You are at the worst point right now. It’s exhausting and painful and feels truly unfair. But when you get through it (and you WILL), you will be in a much better place than your ex. And you have integrity, dignity, strength, courage. Things he knows nothing about and probably never will have.

      I lived with my mom for four years after my husband and I split. It’s hard. Have an honest conversation with your parents so you don’t feel like you have to be “on” for them. Some boundaries are helpful when living with parents as an adult. I told my mom I was grateful to have a place to stay, but I also drew the line when she went in and cleaned my room one day. I told her I needed some autonomy in the little space I had. See if you also can’t come up with a plan of some kind for your parents (or a sitter) to watch your baby so you can get some time to yourself. It’s crucial to take care of yourself and not keep running on empty.

      I despaired of ever reaching Tuesday. I wondered if it was worth it to keep going. I was horribly depressed. I had anxiety and PTSD. I couldn’t eat or sleep. My body would shake uncontrollably. I cried every day. I thought I’d never be happy again. I wondered when it was finally going to be my turn for good things.

      But I got there. You will too. I am happier than I’ve ever been. I have more money in the bank than I ever have before. I am debt-free (beside my car and legal bills, lol). I have my own place. I have genuine friends. I do the things I love. I have my son and he is happy. I’m healthy again. I have peace in my life.

      Music helped a lot when things were hard for me, particularly Sia’s “Flames” and “Never Give Up”, Eminem’s “Beautiful Pain”, and Beth Crowley’s “Don’t Think, Just Run” (below)

      You don’t know yet where you’re going
      If it’s better than where you are coming from
      Settle down
      This feels right somehow

      You meet twists and turns every corner
      But each step you take brings you closer
      To everything that’s achingly familiar

      And at the edges of your mind, your mind
      Something is whispering to go
      Into the unknown
      And see what you find

      So deep breath in
      You’re meant for this
      Everyone wants to know
      If you’re the answer they’ve been searching for

      All eyes on you
      So much to prove
      Whoever you were back then
      You won’t ever be again
      Remember how far you’ve come
      Don’t think just run

      You forced yourself to dig deeper
      When you redefined the impossible
      Can’t give in
      To the hopelessness

      Some rules are meant to be broken
      You won’t be confined by them anymore
      This might be your one chance at redemption

      It’s all or nothing
      Make your stand, you stand
      You reached the edge there is no choice
      Now you have to jump
      And see where you land

      So deep breath in
      You’re meant for this
      Everyone wants to know
      If you’re the answer they’ve been searching for

      All eyes on you
      So much to prove
      Whoever you were back then
      You won’t ever be again
      Remember how far you’ve come
      Don’t think just run

      There might be peace on the other side
      Your memories on the other side
      Nothing to lose on the other side
      You won’t be scared of the other side
      What might be there on the other side
      The world is new on the other side

      So deep breath in
      You’re meant for this
      Everyone wants to know
      If you’re the answer they’ve been searching for
      All eyes on you
      So much to prove
      Whoever you were back then
      You won’t ever be again
      Remember how far you’ve come
      Don’t think just run

      • Wow, I Saw, thank you for your post and the lyrics. I am new to posting and am heading into divorce after a 30-year marriage. Today has been especially difficult. It’s very hard to see another side at age 61, but your words and this forum keep me going. Thank you again for taking the time to share. It’s really pulled me through today.

        • I’m 61 and my divorce was finalized this fall. Stay strong! You are not alone.

        • Another gray chump here. Late fifties. 32 years with an emotionally abusive FW who was in a very long term affair when D-day hit. On our anniversary, at that. I can now reframe it as liberation day.

          Stick around and keep posting. It’s been therapeutic like nothing else I’ve done, listening to stories, empathizing and offering suggestions. You stop thinking so much about your own pain when you reach out to others who are in pain. Knowing there are others are going through it too who care about what you’re feeling is also extremely helpful.

        • I am 58 and going through this too. Us older folks have seen a lot of stuff in our lives. We are tough compared to the 20 and 30 year olds. You can do this!

        • I’m 65 years old and divorced earlier this year following a 30 year marriage. I had expected to feel awful for five or six years, but I’m really mostly okay. Taking control during the separation and going no contact made the difference.

      • That’s a great song for those low moments when you need some inspiration.

        But there are also times when you need to be a badass. I have an especially fine badass moment associated with a song.

        FW had come over “to talk.” ???? Instead, he played sad sausage with a crying charade – loud sniffles and an ugly face, but no tears. Then he proceeded to tell me that he felt “sooo guilty,” to which I responded, “well, that’s appropriate, don’t you think?” (Well, duh…)

        Then he said something along the lines of “blah, blah, blah,” and I responded with a few honest observations about his character. At that point, he declared that I was abusing him and began to storm off.

        It just so happens that I had been listening to my “stay strong” playlist on a speaker before he came over. So when he stalked off, I turned my music back on and the old-school punk song, “You Can Kiss My Ass Goodbye” by 7 Year Bitch, belted out.

        I had to laugh at the timing. I watched him run away like a scared little boy. It was so cartoonishly stupid. He reminded me of an awkward schoolboy in stiff knickers.

        And all the while, this raucous punk girl is screaming these words:

        Well you could kiss my ass goodbye, or you could sit and watch me cry,
        It don’t make no difference to me.
        ‘Cuz I call you slime, I call you scum,
        if this is your idea of fun.
        Are you fakin’ misery, fakin’ pain?
        And then you walk away from blame.
        So get under my skin or on my nerves. Then you’ll get what you deserve.
        ‘Cuz I’m sick of the flappin’ lips and the waggin’ tongues,
        And the ears that {?}

        Now tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me –
        Something I don’t already know.

        ‘Cuz I’m sick of the flappin’ lips and the waggin’ tongues,
        And the ears that {?}

        Now tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me –
        Something I don’t already know.

        Yeah you could kiss my ass goodbye, or you ccould sit and watch me cry.
        It don’t make no difference to me.
        ‘Cuz I can take a joke and I can get a hint, and now it’s gone before it went.
        Are you fakin’ misery, fakin’ pain?
        It’s a little publicity game.

        Tell me.

        ‘Cuz your little joke was a tragedy,
        And you can teeter on the punch line next to me.
        Teeter, oh teeter!

        Well you could kiss my ass goodbye or you could sit and watch me cry.
        It don’t make no difference to me.
        ‘Cuz I can take a joke and I can get a hint, and now it’s gone before it went.
        Yeah, you’re fakin’ misery, fakin’ pain, and then you walk away from blame.
        So get under my skin or on my nerves.
        Soon you’ll get what you deserve.

        At some point, Tuesday, you’ll see the cartoon behind the man, and you’ll realize what a ridiculous buffoon he is.

        In the meantime, I would fight to get full legal and physical custody. It can be done, especially now when the baby is so little. He hasn’t established a bond because his visits are infrequent, and in a few more weeks, your child is going to scream when he takes her, if she isn’t doing it already. This could establish an argument that overnight visits are traumatizing for her because he’s a virtual stranger taking her from her mother.

        Obviously, you’re going to do what you think is best, but if I had it to do over again, I’d do everything possible to eradicate the FW from my kids’ lives. He only causes strife because he can’t see beyond himself. Self-absorbed parents cause a lot of emotional damage.

        • That song is great! I haven’t heard that one. I have my list of badass songs too. “My Give a Damn’s Busted” by Jo Dee Messina (sp?) is one of my favorites, as is Papa Roach’s “Burn”, which I’d often scream out in the car when FW was being particularly difficult.

      • This. So much this.

        **I despaired of ever reaching Tuesday. I wondered if it was worth it to keep going. I was horribly depressed. I had anxiety and PTSD. I couldn’t eat or sleep. My body would shake uncontrollably. I cried every day. I thought I’d never be happy again. I wondered when it was finally going to be my turn for good things.

        But I got there. You will too. I am happier than I’ve ever been.**

    • I had worked in media since my late teens so I got invites to all the parties, events and met the Who’s Who of blahditty blah. It was fun for half a minute, then mostly really depressing, particularly when booze was involved. When I did meet genuinely brilliant, inspiring, worthwhile people, they typically hated the “scene” and saw it as a forced march, just a professional hazard.

      Thank God I learned early on that it’s all null as fuck. That really helped when I found the secret affair credit card bill and realized that formerly sober FW and his pet office doorknob were bar hopping, spendy, gobbling poser drunks. Did it seem glam to me? Did I feel left out as I tended to three kids, one with complex medical issues? No. I smelled vomit, pathetic delusions, hangovers, paunchy bloat and emptiness. I just wanted the embezzled marital funds back.

      • Thanks for this post, HoC.
        Knave-man is in media, too, with a swanky blue badge by his Facebook name.
        I will miss connecting with those genuinely brilliant and fascinating people within his orb. I don’t generally hang around at the National Press Club or the Who’s Who institute, or even the bladdity-blah hot-news bar like he does (all fertile ground for finding new APs). I’m much more introverted and prefer to read their books at home by the fire rather than joust about them in a crowded room with a glass in my hand. A very few that I’ve managed to get to know one-on-one have become quite good friends and did indeed, hate the “scene.”
        So it will be interesting to see how many of his uber-intelli-glam posse eventually ask about me or contact me now that we’re separated and I’m not a chic name to drop.

        • Really ALL the worthwhile who’sits semed to prefer intimate group conversations or a nice book to the flashy crap and generally didn’t drink much. And the vets seem to have a radar for other thoughtful misfits.

          I think media/entertainment work is pretty traumatic (taking out Weinstein and Ailes was the tip of the iceberg) and there’s a tendency for shell shocked vets to stick with other shell shocked vets. Consequently, I lost touch with people when I bailed on that career but you may find the real McCoys would still be delighted to see you and you may hear from a few.

          I find the experience gave me a nose for super interesting, passionate, authentic and gentle people who don’t work in media. I go out and hunt them like a caveman knocking mammoth on the head and dragging them back to my lair for coffee tawk lol.

  • Tuesday:

    I am so impressed by you. Being a new parent with a supportive spouse is exhausting under the best of circumstances. You are doing well, you just don’t see it yet. One step at a time. Going no contact is hard at first, you keep thinking they’ll come to their senses if you are there to remind them of what they’re losing. Chump Nation can assure they don’t.

    Please be gentle with yourself at this tender time in you and the baby’s life.

  • You were his party buddy. All of a sudden there’s a baby there. Now you are an adult with a child and you act like an adult. Where is my party buddy? Try to look at it this way, at some point you are going to be really glad he left you instead of killing you like Scott Peterson killed his wife. Narcissists and sociopaths don’t want to be responsible for children. They don’t love anybody so how in the world are they going to love a child. The fact that he let that baby go across state lines with you with no concerns will tell you everything you ever need to know about what a sorry piece of shit he is. Good luck on your journey.

    • ” They don’t love anybody so how in the world are they going to love a child.” Let go is spot on with this assessment.

      I made the mistake of staying so my children would have a father present in their lives. As it turned out, he was hardly present and I ended up parenting solo 80% of the time. Now that they are adults, he says without pause or hesitation he “does not know what love is.” And my kids feel that as their relationship with their father becomes more superficial by the minute.

      Yes, it is exhausting but please be gentle on yourself. The right thing is always the hardest thing to do. But, by being the adult in the room, you will flourish. Of this I am certain.

      • “They don’t love anybody so how in the world are they going to love a child.”

        I remember that when my daughter was pregnant she asked what her father would do when he had to compete for attention with the infant.

        Now we know what he did. (The start of the long-term affair coincided with her pregnancy.)

        Shallow narc. Needs his kibbles. Even when his own kids were young, he vied for attention. He often seemed jealous of them. I always thought that was so weird. What kind of adult is jealous of attention paid to kiddos?

        • “What kind of adult is jealous of attention paid to kiddos?”
          The kind of “adult” who is never happy with what they have and is always looking for the next person they can chase.
          The ex actually had a big problem with me answering honestly that the kids (all under 10 at the time) and their needs were the most important things in my life. And why wouldn’t they be? The actually loved me and weren’t looking for another family.

          • Tangent: I once read a post on Reddit by a man who referred to his children as cockblocker numbers one through four. Oldest kid was referred to as “Cockblocker #1.” Youngest kid was referred to as “Cockblocker #4.”

            He wrote 400 words about watching his wife running around feeding and tending the children. He watched and felt invisible.

            He made no mention of lifting a finger himself. The only body part he wanted lifted was his dick.

            Out of morbid curiosity, I looked up his other posts.

            He spent most of his time on Reddit complaining about how much his wife no longer cared about his penis.

            One post ended with WHAT ABOUT MY DICK?! copied and pasted a hundred times.

            • WOW…well…at least he was direct about the issue? I feel awful for this man’s wife. What a completely useless tool.

              There was always the option to not have kids and go on a fuck spree for the rest of your life. Didn’t want to cheat? Don’t be in a committed relationship or end the one your are in honorably. Didn’t want anyone to neglect your dick? Pay a whore. Even with no children, women aren’t orifices of convenience. To narcs, we’re all props. They try to go through the motions of a normal life and if it goes wrong, it’s always going to be someone else’s fault. The other person is going to find out that they were an inanimate object to these assholes. Appliances aren’t supposed to be sad that they lied/stole/cheated.

              These are broken human beings. We are not trash. They and their entire value system are. I’ve done the heavy lifting with my daughter too — divorced serial cheater ex before she was a year old. But let me tell you, not having to prop up someone else’s fragile ego when they couldn’t give a fuck about you is a gigantic weight off. OP, you are living your best life by living that life cheater free. Let that man child flit around like a narc butterfly, going from shiny thing to shiny thing. You are living a meaningful life, and you are being the sane and present parent for your child. In the end, you win.

            • That poor woman’s vagina. I’m guessing she suffered lots of urinary tract infections.

              What a ???? ???? and that’s insulting to those animals

              • Guess who never, ever had another UTI again after FW left? *raises hand* It wasn’t until years later that I realized “…wait a minute. I would get these painful UTIs when FW was in my life and they disappeared like magic after he left.”

                Another bonus his absence has blessed me with.

              • Yep, that was me. Decades of repeated UTIs and surgeries to remove scarring from all the infections. That was my life until I dumped the prick. I was told I have interstitial cystitis and an irritable bladder and I’d have problems for life. However, the cure, as it turned out, is fuckwit removal. It’s a miracle! ????

              • There’s also bacterial vaginosis ???? p.i.d. (pelvic inflammatory disease) ➡️ infertility. Good times. But cheating is no biggie, right ?

            • Lol!
              You’d swear guys like this are joking, but nope, they really are that stupid and selfish. The humor is unintentional and they have no idea what utter shitbags they are. I avoid Reddit because it’s full of creeps like him. He sounds like a porn-addled misogynist in addition to being a narcissistic moron.

              • Whatever he was, he wasn’t fit to be a father.

                What corroded, pustulent graft of flesh refers to their children as cockblocker?

                Reddit is a cesspool. I rarely spend time there.

        • The same kind of adult parent who was angry at our son’s PhD graduation ceremony where our son was given the Dean’s gold medal for highest average marks in Grad School.

          Asshole cheater figured HE should have been walking across the stage except HE did not put in 10 years of exams, research, papers and study.

          Poor, poor little victim.

          • I had a parent who minimized some of my talents so their’s could shine brighter. It’s incredibly damaging. Children of parents like this grow up feeling guilty if they do well at anything, and continually self-sabatoge.

        • I had a parent like that. They do a tremendous anount of damage. Her daughter will be way better off with her dad in the background.

          • My father was like that too–jealous of his children’s achievements, trying his best to sabotage them when he started to feel like ours would eclipse his. He did the same thing to my mother when she got close to earning her graduate degree. He always competed fiercely with my siblings, always ready with an under-cutting remark to undermine their confidence. He could never take joy in their accomplishments for their sake; to what extent he appeared proud of us, it was only as a way to compete with other fathers. It was always all about him. It was an extremely damaging atmosphere to grow up in and to try to launch from. I think the letter writer’s daughter will be much better off without Mr. Barhopper in her life–he sounds so shallow. Letter Writer made the right decision, and I take my hat off to her for her grit and bravery!!

        • Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that XW picked AP over me precisely because he would prioritize her over the kids, which I wasn’t willing to do.

          I say “sadly” because he has his own kids who live 1000 miles away, and XW has been slowly, slowly getting him to adjust his life and custody schedule to spend less and less time with them. His kids are noticing and suffering as a result. They don’t like my XW (their new stepmother) and resent their father prioritizing her over them. (E.g., eldest daughter tells AP she’s thinking about self-harm/suicide and asks him to help get her treatment; he responds “I have a flight back to new wife in a couple hours so I’ll just drop you with your mother”).

          100% not a coincidence that XW replaced me with someone who would, when forced to choose (and XW is definitely forcing him to choose) opt for her over his kids. When I first talked about the situation with AP’s ex-wife, she said although AP had treated her like shit, he was a good father. 5 years on, AP’s ex-wife doesn’t say he’s a good father any more.

          In summary, my XW poached AP from his wife, and now she’s alienating him from his kids as well. Which, in her world, is success.

          • Jfc, wishing those kids strength and that they thrive in spite of the pod person their dad has become.

          • He was never a good father or he would have put his foot down on the alienation–or not have cheated in the first place. She just thought he was a good father. That’s a familiar chump assumption but it’s in the vein of the “boiling frog” analogy. It’s hard to know what a “good father” is when you’re living with a person of poor character.

    • Yeah, Scott Peterson was the first person I thought of too. And then Chris Watts. Yesterday, Scott Peterson got life in prison, a downgrade from the death penalty that was handed out 17ish years ago.

      As someone who was pregnant way back in 2000 and was also cheated on while pregnant, stories like Tuesdays always break my heart. My final D-day in 2014 with the same cheater, the mask finally fell. I finally saw him for the monster he truly is. Empty Elevator Shaft is 100% spot on! The XH/cheater said to me after D-day, “The only person I ever felt close to was my grandmother.” Not his parents, grandfather, aunts, uncles, ME or HIS CHILDREN. Just his DECEASED grandmother! Of course, grandmother was not around to witness that the “perfect, special, Christian” grandson turned out to be a scumbag. How convenient. These FW’s truly don’t bond. Not even with their own children. I witnessed it firsthand over the years, starting with the birth of our firstborn who he was jealous of when he came into the world and ending with being cold and callous to our children when they were bawling their heads off when they found out we were divorcing. The FW only cared about himself. But then of course, Disney Dad showed up a few days later and he started doing stuff and acting in ways he never acted with our children their entire lives. Way over the top behavior. And thankfully my sister was around to witness it all!

      Tuesday: YOU ARE DOING GREAT! Way better than I ever did in the early days. YOU ARE SO SUPER MIGHTY!!! CL is right! You are moving a mountain! You are climbing a mountain! That’s why it’s so hard. Your FW just moved onto the next sparkly object and that’s super easy. Water seeks its only level and your FW found a woman in a puddle at the bottom of an elevator shaft. You, dear Tuesday, will one day swimming in a lake on top of the mountain you are climbing! (((HUGS)))

    • Letgo, you make a great point when you say, “You were his party buddy. All of a sudden there’s a baby there. Now you are an adult with a child and you act like an adult. Where is my party buddy?”

      I think there are 3 points when this type of cheater typically bolts: 1) during pregnancy or very soon after childbirth, because they can’t do parenthood. It requires love and sacrifice. 2) when the kids are old enough to be in school so the abandoned chump can work full-time (Enough said). 3) when the kids are near to or finished with high school (and child support is done or nearly so).

      The other big group is the “I want all the cake” cheaters, who want to stay married, avoid child support, have the “happily family person” image, and maybe bolt once they are ready to retire.

  • Aaaak Tuesday! This guy is an ass and a half and a true narcissist. Anyone who could say with a straight face “I am just not as happy as I could be with a wife, tiny infant dogs and other responsibilities” obviously has some serious entitlement issues and is going to be pretty disappointed in the way that life actually is.
    I myself am actually not as happy as I could be having to get up and work to feed and house my children! Am not as happy as I could be having to adult! Am not as happy as I could be since I am not living on a private island with Idris Elba and a personal chef! We could all go on and on.
    But this jackass will never find any real happiness if he is capable of saying things like this and taking off on a young family. It is hard right now but he will never be a true partner or good human. You are well rid of him.

    • Ha ha missed a comma, meant to read
      Tiny infant, dogs and other responsibilities
      Not tiny infant dogs ha ha ha

      • I read that and laughed too!

        These heartless bastards wouldn’t think twice about abandoning tiny infant dogs, tho.


  • I’m part of the chumped while pregnant club. It sucks. It took me until the baby was nearly one to figure out what was going on, because I was so exhausted. That whole year felt like I was parenting a preschooler and the new baby all by myself, because instead of an involved spouse, I had what felt like a self-absorbed entitled teenager who didn’t want to be around us.

    But you get through it. Being a new parent is exhausting by itself, and you are also rebuilding yourself and your life. It sounds like you need to find more resources. Are there single parent groups you can join for support and friendship? And you may even be having some post-partum effects, so see your doctor.

    No matter how tired and depressed you are, it’s still a billion times better than being stabbed in the back by the person who is supposed to have your back.

    And stop being so connected to your ex. Go no contact as best you can, drop all social media snooping, communicate about the child through parenting software, and communicate about the divorce through lawyers. Don’t give him opportunities to fake-cry to you about his woes. That’s just manipulation. Focus on building your new life, rather than watching your ex’s pathetic priorities.

  • Grey rock, grey rock, grey rock.

    You don’t benefit from his insincere tears. Your parents probably aren’t interested in catering to your baby’s crybaby father.

    Words don’t matter – actions do. Your actions are to build the best life you can for you and your baby. His actions are to be a reliable part-time parent who carries some weight (rather than dumping on you).

    Tuesday becomes closer when you shut down the weekend bullshit.

  • When my daughter was three weeks old my husband walked into a room where I was nursing her, looked me dead in the face and said I need something different.
    I didn’t even know when he was talking about.
    Turns out what he was talking about was he didn’t want the marriage or the baby or me as a stay at home Mom
    I had quit my job at nine months pregnant because he was traveling six days a week for work. And I just felt that I wanted to be home with the baby
    he couldn’t quite articulate things that way.
    So what he did was act out. With rage. With sexual rejection. With neglect
    And extraordinary devaluement of me and our beautiful new child
    After a few weeks I contacted my well-to-do parents who at the time were still living in my child at home with four bedrooms, and excellent schools and asked if I could come home.
    My mothers response was if you didn’t want to stay with him why did you have a baby.?
    There was no understanding that I didn’t want to leave him but that his behavior was intolerable.
    I now understand my mother viewed me very similarly to my narcissistic ex is incompetent independent and she didn’t want to take me on either. Of course I was neither. Quite the opposite actually
    They did not help me
    they did not help me leave him.
    Most of the time I felt as if they were on the same page as he was
    that I should be able to handle everything, and that if I just met his needs in all areas he would stop his cruelty. I am of a different generation than you and this was decades ago and I stayed
    It took me years to regain my self-esteem and to learn that pleasing him would never work. That nothing would work. His narcissistic behavior, using us as a front, continued.
    He was never a good father either.
    He resented the time and the money necessary to parent.
    I am in no way dismissing anything you are going through. I’ve been there and it’s awful. But at least you had the guts and luck To get out and have the opportunity however challenging to have a life with loving partner. And difficult as your parents are at least they offered you a roof over your head
    My ex perused me heavily. I didn’t even want to go out with him at first. We dated on and off for four years before we got married. He proposed and he stood up at our wedding dinner and said he was the luckiest guy on the planet.
    Fast forward less than four years later and he was done. But he didn’t have the guts to leave either so he just stayed and tortured us emotionally
    And of course I’m on this bag because he was a compulsive flirt who eventually developed an online sexting addiction and cheating
    Don’t give up on the perseverance you have shown
    Tolerate this situation as a path to a better one because at the end of this path at least there is hope and opportunity for a whole new life for you.
    Away from someone who does not deserve you or the child. I don’t have a crystal ball but my guess is your life’s gonna be a heck of a lot better than his

    • Wow so many typos so sorry. Incompetent and dependent should be and obviously this is not a bag it is a blog. Also he pursued me he didn’t peruse me my apologies

      • I’m so sorry you and your little baby were treated so appallingly and that your mother let you down so badly.
        I hope you are blessed and free now.

        • Thank you for your kind words
          You too
          Divorced as of last June
          We were in the same house for 29 years.
          Still dealing with why I stayed and allowed myself to be so damaged and limited.
          Today’s letter writer has nothing but promise and love ahead of her

          • Meanwell,
            I went through a similar process about trying to understand why I stayed. It’s difficult work and requires slogging through a whole lot of deep root baggage. I hope you have a therapist to guide the process. Worth every effort though as there is a gold mine of info you can use to craft your life going forward. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself. Curiosity, not condemnation is a phrase that stuck with me.
            It sucked at the time but I’m so much happier with who I am now. And, at times, I look back at my inaction with disdain, but overall I have a ton of sympathy for younger Fern who was trying to do the right thing for everyone but herself. She’s much smarter now. Happier too.

              • Thank you Fern. Your words are so encouraging. Again, so glad you got out too and found peace. OMG I have a therapist(s)
                Easier said than done though and respect to you for your hard work.

                Since I did not leave him I just succumbed to him. Overwhelming the repair to be done. I feel like I was asleep for 30 years.

                Tuesday, your 90% of the way there just by leaving him. Keep going.

              • Meanwell,
                I’m not sure why I can’t respond below but hopefully, you will find this comment. I just wanted to say I’m the same, I didn’t leave – he did. I just kept hanging in there. So foolish of me. The work was about asking the question of why did I stay. Glad to hear you have a good therapist. It morphed into exploring why did I put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. Why didn’t I trust what I was feeling and give it enough voice and respect? I will say that as great as my therapist was I needed lots of different “modalities” to get to answers I could understand. And it took a while. There were a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with my FW but he certainly exploited some aspects of my personality. My work was to figure out why I let him. I told myself all relationships have ups and downs and marriage & children mean a commitment to work things out. While these are both true they are not absolutes. I was shocked when I read CL’s notion that only children are entitled to unconditional love – it so went against my understanding of family. But CL is right, I needed to love myself first and I was not doing that. I was 17 when I got together with my FW, we dated for 9 years and were married for 20 more. It was a long haul that started with me enjoying being put on a pedestal and never imagining he would resent me for being there. Through years-long devaluation, I stayed and I stayed. I thought about leaving, but I stayed. He left for a month and I waited for him to return. He came back for a couple of tense years but eventually, he left anyway. We kept up this weird public existence where we did things as a family but just didn’t live together. It was just another way of me holding on and him eating cake. What a dummy I was! But, as I said, I try to be kind to younger Fern and you should be too.
                Do the work, take yourself out on dates, and shower yourself with all the love and attention you saved up for that FW and the rest of your family.
                You deserve it Meanwell, to understand yourself and to be kind to yourself. You are so worth it and so is the rest of your life.

                food for thought from Mary Oliver

                “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
                Tell me, what is it you plan to do
                with your one wild and precious life?”


            • Responding here. Could not under second comment. Thanks again. Hopefully younger Chumps here will learn from our lessons

              There is no easy solution. Once we have children with these morons, we can only do the best we can. I agree. Not to judge ourselves is hard, because the perfectionism remains. We know our own integrity and we know whomever gets these arrogant aholes will get none.
              So glad you are happier. I feel flickers of my old self coming back.
              She is in there somewhere.

          • Meanwell,

            You are strong and articulate. You survived. It’s never too late to rebuild your life.

            I’m 70. I still struggle with wishing I knew at 30 what I know now. But thank God I learned to do and be better, to expect more for myself, to value my life, and to take care of my own needs. You are probably doing those things, too.

            You did the best you could, in a different time, when there was no Chump Lady and the predominant idea was that the marriage is more important than the people in it. You needed help and support, and you didn’t get it. But here you are now, offering that support virtually to others. You’re mighty. Don’t doubt it.

  • You already sound amazing and strong, you might not feel it but you are. Listen to all the good advice from CL and CN. Tracy is right, this pain is finite. It actually ends. It’s normal to miss bad behaviour when you’ve put up with it and excused it for so long. We’ve all done that. But you’ve been given a new chance to start over, on your terms. You and your beautiful baby are going to have a wonderful life. Xxx

  • Tuesday,

    All chumps fall into the trap of imagining that the cheater and OW are petting puppies while riding on a rainbow. Meanwhile, we’re suffering from crushing rejection and trying to stay vertical. We shake our fists at the sky. It seems so unfair.

    But, trust me, they aren’t happy, at least not in a deep sense. As CL points out, they are shallow.

    You, meanwhile, are a mighty mom!! I’m glad you have the support of your parents and that you have a job, even one that you don’t like. It’s still a job. I hope a better one comes your way soon.

    Remember. His cheating is not your fault, and you got this!! You’re strong and amazing.

    I wish CN had special medals????for people who’ve been chumped while pregnant, nursing, or sick.
    Their cheaters are especially shitty. Kudos to all of you who’ve survived that particular shit sandwich.

    p.s. “That bar tab isn’t going to wipe his ass when he gets old.” OMG CL gold!!! Too funny (and true).

    • No doubt my own cheating x scumbag cheated on me during my three pregnancies and, frankly, during the entire 35-year mirage. I just didn’t know it.

      I’m sure he justified the shit out of his actions: “Just one time.” “I was drunk.” “All the guys were doing it.” “I’m weak.” “She flirted.” “It didn’t mean anything.” “I still love Spinach.” “She’ll never know, so it doesn’t matter.” blah blah blah blah blah

      And he hangs on to this line for dear life: “I was a GREAT husband and dad. I only lied about one thing.” Ok then.

  • “Drunk” and “happy” are not the same things. Lots of people think so, because it sure looks like it on the outside and in all those commercials.

    I spent yesterday babysitting my friend’s foster baby who is three months old. He is a foster baby because he tested positive for drugs. Aka FUN, to the people using them. Fake fun. Faux fun. Counterfeit fun. Then it’s fun and trouble and damage and heartbreak caused by the substance of choice. My own daughter was at school yesterday. Next to being with her, there was nowhere else I wanted to be than watching over this little baby for the afternoon. I wondered how anyone could feel otherwise. I wondered how my former so-called husband could have ghosted her in his pursuit of “having fun” and “happiness”.
    Like jumping over a lot of gold for a fake lottery ticket. Well, if someone’s primary purpose is partying, they can’t feel. That’s how.

    Yesterday I was also remembering after DDay my former so-called husband telling me he was “having fun”. He has the capacity to “have fun” while fucking over his family. This is a party trick I cannot do. I don’t want to learn how. I don’t want to know anybody who can. If you can “have fun” while lying and cheating and hurting your own family, you are a loser I want nothing to do with.

    Anybody who can “have fun” and be “happy” after abandoning their family probably has some chemical help IMHO.
    And that “fun” and “happy” is not real.

    I know the difference between fake fun real fun, fake happy and real happy. I speak from experience, having been free of alcohol and drugs for over 35 years. I really believe an affair is just another drug people use “to be happy” and “have fun”.
    by people who have serious problems, not the least of which are serious emotional immaturity and moral bankruptcy.

    I don’t know where he is at with his partying, but if he has a problem he is anesthetized, is not anywhere near authentically happy, and his priority is “having fun” and avoiding responsibilities at any cost.

    In my own case, my former so-called husband is an alcoholic and an addict and not in recovery. He was lying about that too. Affairs and abandonment naturally go along with his recovery plan of Run Hide and Lie. And his pursuit of happiness and fun has not turned out as he thought it would and as I knew it would.


    • “I really believe an affair is just another drug people use “to be happy” and “have fun”.
      by people who have serious problems, not the least of which are serious emotional immaturity and moral bankruptcy.”

      So true!!
      Also, I wonder how many cheaters have drinking problems. My x is one of them. I think his motto is, “If it feels good, do it. To hell with the consequences.” He was also a porn addict. I’m sure he’s still engaging in these activities while “HAPPY” in his new marriage. That’s not my kind of happy.

      • I’ve been in recovery a long time, and the more I read here the more l see that affairs are just another symptom of -isms.

        (-ism = I Self Me)

      • Interesting, Spinach.

        KK spent our 20 years together wearing her low-indulgence in alcohol as a banner of virtue (“I’m a cheap date! One drink is plenty for me!” etc.). The minute the shit started happening, she was bragging about all of the new bars she was visiting and drinks she was trying, posting pics on social media (“Loving this [drink name] at [bar name]”). In the year of forced co-habitation, she was hospitalized twice (once after a night with Young Stud + Bisexual Girlfriend, another while on a weekend jaunt with the Chlorine Special) after excessive consumption, which has since been attributed to something called ‘cyclic vomiting syndrome. When she and CS finally moved in together, there were lots of pics posted of their new drink cart and the new additions they were making to it.

        I’ve not received any indication that this has manifested into an actual ‘problem’ per se, but I very much think it aligns with Velvet’s comment about the various devices these fuckwits use to ‘be happy.’ I also think it speaks to the idea of immediate gratification, and “If I’M happy, then by default the rest of the world is happy.”

        • KK’s newfound love for drinking may simply be a manifestation of her need to mirror her new friends. She mirrored your sobriety and responsibility until she didn’t. The sad thing, though, is that alcohol is addictive so the mirroring may boomerang on her.

      • The ex had a well-disguised drinking problem before I met him. I wasn’t taken by surprise. He was 26 when we met and I thought he would grow out of it (that’s what I told myself although I had an alcoholic brother and knew better). The exgfOW also knew that he had a problem. When he started devaluing me to friends behind my back, he told them I was ‘restricting his drinking’. One at least knew this was ridiculous as that would have been impossible – she’d known him for longer than I had. When I did suggest that we leave an event or that it wasn’t worth opening yet another bottle at home he called me ‘puritanical’. The fact is that I came to agree with him and saw my behaviour as wrong, unreasonable, abnormal. Only now am I starting to realise that I was right. It is an aspect of the ex that I do not miss in any way, especially as the holidays approach. He was always roaring drunk for the whole of December. An alcoholic drinking to numb his deep seated pain as did his mother and two brothers. His father was a sober man when I knew him. The ex said that his father had once injured a teenager while drunk-driving and had reduced his drinking to almost nothing. To this day I don’t know whether that was true as no one else in the family ever mentioned it! Now, I don’t care.

        • I am re-reading Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood as part of my infidelity recovery.

          It looks like I might have missed something! ????

        • Why that malignant gaslighting fuckerblot! He should be banished to Saudi Arabia or some other dry country where he has no liquid means of avoiding facing what a jizzwhistle he is.

          My story is very similar, as mine did the same thing, telling friends what a nagging buzzkill I was about his drinking. He even went so far as to contemptuously turned me into a running gag, where at their bar-hopping sessions they would drink a toast to the fact that I wasn’t there. In the emails where they discussed their boozing sessions to come he would announce; “And may I remind you that OHFFS is not coming!” Then a laughing emoji. That hurt me even more than the cheating.

          Now he no longer drinks, has been dry since D-day, thinking that alone would stop him from being a rat bastard and that I would stay with him. It didn’t and I didn’t.
          Like your FW, he also had an ex-alcoholic father. He started drinking heavily when his father was in declining health. I’m sure they’re connected, but who cares about cheaters and their whiny little emotional issues. We chumps went through bad stuff as kids too, but we don’t punish other people for it and run away from facing reality like cowardly weakling cheaters do.

        • For what it’s worth, many chumps could spare themselves the cheating if they just left someone who abuses drugs and alcohol. Eventually, most addicts will seek out other users to spend time with because they can’t tolerate being “restricted” in their drinking and/or drugging.

          I want nothing to do with someone who drinks to excess, even just occasionally.

    • So much truth and wisdom in this post.

      My ex was one of those seekers of “fun” and being “happy.” Mr. Master of Passive Aggressive Communication put me on notice, although I didn’t realize this at the time, when he began offering a course called “Happiness.” He gave this course an intellectual gloss with a lot of abstract theoretical material about happiness, but rejected all my suggestions for including readings and research that offered concrete suggestions for increasing happiness. You know, the kind where you yourself have to make the effort, like investing in others, keeping a gratitude journal, etc.

      You are absolutely right that an affair is “just another drug.” My ex is also an addict–a serial one. Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, food, sugar, work, shopping, porn, cross-dressing, cross-dressing with masturbation sessions, women to fixate on (these last four all interconnected)…one substance after another. Whatever gives him that dopamine high. In my 20s I naively thought that because he had kicked cocaine and cigarettes he had kicked addiction once and for all.

      When he ramped up his relationship with the ex-student with whom he “explored” his “gender identity,” he came home from a date with her and told me, in an accusatory tone, “I’m having FUN again!” As if I had been keeping him from all the FUN he could have been having and was the cause of his unhappiness. You’d think that with his history with addiction he could see this was all just a high from his latest addiction.

    • PS…

      Having a newborn is tough. I can’t imagine having a newborn at the same time as infidelity reveal and abandonment, etc. Holy Mother of God. Cat 5 hurricane.

      Looking back, I am sure Traitor X was cheating our whole relationship, which would include when I was pregnant and having our daughter. But I do remember the happiest moment of my life. I was home with my daughter one evening when she was four months old. He was out with friends on our sailboat. What else was really going on? Who knows. But I do know that evening he was on the boat with our friends because they were my friends I brought to the table.

      I was watching a movie (Children of Heaven) and sitting in the rocking chair with my daughter, who was sleeping. I will never forget the bliss and peace and happiness of that evening. It came from being absolutely certain that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I finally understood what authentic happiness felt like, where it came from. It’s about doing the right thing, at any given moment. Taking responsibility. Showing up wherever it is that I am supposed to show up, and doing the next right thing, whatever that may be.

      Cheaters are all about being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, with the wrong person.

      There is no authentic happiness in that, no matter what they think.

      • They are like sharks in the water, always circling, moving, looking for something (someone) to feed on, never sated. These people are never, ever, satisfied. They think we’re crazy when we thrill to the movement of clouds, the scent of the forest, stopping to admire a beautiful garden, the aroma of a fresh cup of tea, or the contentment at day’s end of work well done, holding a sleeping baby as the sun goes down. They don’t get it, because they can’t. It is easy to feel sorry for people like this until they turn on us. We have what they cannot and will not ever acheive: times of pleasurable contentment, moments of joy simply because, and a pervasive inner light. We stand in the way of temporary fixes to try to get that, so eventually we are hated and become the enemy. We are hated because we have what they can never have. When they see glimmers of it they want to destroy it, and those who have it. Let them find their own and live in the half-light.

    • “He has the capacity to ‘have fun’ while fucking over his family. This is a party trick I cannot do. I don’t want to learn how.”

      Well said. This is the core of the character problem these people have. And you also put your finger on why it’s so dangerous to compare our lives with these “fun” people. We can’t do their party tricks. And we don’t want to.

      I’m not sure WHY chumps think abandoning your family to have a “fun” life is somehow better than raising the kids and taking care of the dogs. That’s hard work that fuckwits don’t want to do, but what’s more important than loving those who depend on us, from our elderly parents down to the hamster on the counter? I know parents who drive hundreds of miles to support college kids playing sports–because they love their kids. Because the time they are close at hand goes by so quickly. Because the memories and the bonds created with kids and pets and old people are a lot more satisfying than a night at the bar or a trip to Cabo.

  • ((((Tuesday))))
    I am so sorry you are going through this. Your STBX is a horrible horrible man. The hypocrisy and manipulation of crying to you about what he he has done…omg.
    This is what I learned in therapy: thoughts create feelings. Your THOUGHTS can destroy your peace and can cause you suffering that can be relentless. Just knowing that gave me some options. Some days I did wallow in bad thoughts. But do try to be more aware of your thoughts. Most narcs are never truly happy. (Hey, that’s a thought you can have that is true!) Make sure your thoughts are true, believable to you, and slightly more positive than they have been. Ruminating on things that aren’t particularly true and make you feel bad seems to be very easy for our brains to do. My brain thought so many bad thoughts that the neural pathways became highways and I have had a hard time getting off. I am much better now – a little time helps. When you know thoughts create feelings, you can learn how to create time where you feel at peace and you can rest there.

    • I’ve had that same advice KatheleenK except that was only the first half. The second half was that feelings evoke actions. It’s from those feeling we know how to act and take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones and turn our face toward the light. I hear you about those bad thoughts but it’s best to find a way to move them into laser focus on the awesomeness of what lies ahead in a FW-free life

  • This is a very timely letter for me. Because just last night I was, not for the first time, fervently wishing that I had had my D-Day or left my husband when my youngest child was a baby.

    My children are all young adults now. And I wouldn’t change anything that led to them being born, because they are so precious to me and they are wonderful human beings. BUT, there was a moment when my youngest was 6 months old and I had my first inkling of exactly who my husband really was…and instead of listening to my gut, I allowed myself to be gaslit, and I spackled, and I stayed. Fast forward 6 years, to when my first D-Day arrived (ILYBINILWY, affair, abandonment). By then I was so invested and had so many sunk costs tjat I stayed for another 2 years of pick-me dancing and wreckonciliation (truly believing I was doing the best thing for my three children by maintaining their intact family and home)…until my second day when he walked out on us and never looked back.

    By then, my children had bonded with him. As a narcissist, he was a really good father to babies and toddlers because they gave him plenty of supply. And I had covered for him, spackled for him, compensated for his myriad shortcomings, so that my children couldn’t see for themselves who he really was. They, like me, loved who they thought he was. This all created lifelong bonds that they are now still struggling to cope with, because as young adults they can truly see what a narcissist he is, but they can’t fully let go.

    Ironically, it is my youngest, who spent the least time with him in the home, who sees him most clearly and is the least conflicted about her relationship with him (in fact, she has chosen to have no relationship with him; she is no contact by her own choice, and far more at peace than the older two).

    Fast forward many more years, to last night. My eldest was at her father’s house last night, and they had a terrible confrontation because he pressured her (not or not for the first time) to persuade my my youngest that she should be in contact with him. He also tried to justify the affair and his walking out on the family, going so far as to tell my child that I was okay with it. Of course she knew I was not, but it’s just another example of his gaslighting. And all I could think and say to my child, as she she told me about this through her tears, was “I’m sorry.”

    What was I sorry for? I was sorry that I stayed. I was sorry that I raised my children with this narcissistic father. I was sorry that I not only allowed them to bond but encouraged their bond and enabled his relationships with them whenever he fell short, which was pretty much everyday. How I wish that I had raised them free of his influence! My daughter told me I have nothing to be sorry for, that she is happy with the person shebis and she knows that’s because of me. But I still feel regret about not getting them free of hum before he could do so much damage to them.

    So what I am trying to say, Tuesday, is that you have an opportunity now. You can raise your child in an emotionally healthy household. You can separate your child from a narcissistic parent. You can model is sane behavior, good boundaries, kindness, and empathy. You can create a new life for yourself while you and your child are both young. Will it be hard? Absolutely, no question. But will it be harder than raising your child with a fuckwit? Having lived both sides of it, I can say without question that raising my children on my own, once he left, was a thousand times easier than raising them while trying to manage his narcissism, alcoholism, immaturity, dishonesty, and lack of integrity. Freedom from all that is priceless.

    He is a worthless piece of shit. You are your child’s anchor and protector and guide . And moment by moment, day by day –with plenty of challenges and rough moments for sure — you are going to be an awesome mama And your child has a chance for a fuckwit free life. And you will have a relationship with your child that will reward you with love beyond measure.

    You got this.

    • Happy Now I could have written this – uncannily similar. Except I stayed 13 years after he showed me who he was. I’m glad you are happy now ????

    • This. Six years out from discard then U-turn on his part (when he realised the financial and lifestyle consequences) as member of the 4 months old club and wished I jumped ship back then. Only now untangling the mess 6 years of crap, your ex not staying is a (hard) blessing in disguise. They don’t change and beside the cheating there’s all the other entitlement that still continues. You’re better off moving on to better days then spending your energy trying to maintain a (shitty) status quo. Hugs to you. You’ll look back from the other side amd be proud. If we can do this, we can handle anything. Parenthood is the hardest most humbling but also the greatest.

    • Such a beautiful, heartfelt letter. That invested time must have been very though to swallow and it’s so graceful to help Tuesday seeing things in a very helpful perspective. There are some incredible people on this site. <3

  • Tuesday – you are MIGHTY.

    You called it and left, got a settlement, organised a move, enlisted your parents help, got a job, actively seeking a better one, you have plans – all while caring for your baby!

    More powerful still that you did all this in the face of overwhelming betrayal, grief and pain.

    Happiness will come, the pieces will come together for a new life with your child. It will come quicker the less contact you have with your loser ex.

    You. are. Amazing.

  • Tuesday,

    I am so, so sorry.

    Everybody else has given you great advice above. I’d like to touch on your fear: “What if he rides off into the sunset and builds a better life without me?”

    This is SUCH a common chump fear. On some level, we’ve all had it. What we’re really wondering is: “WAS IT ME?? WAS I THE PROBLEM?”

    Our humanity works against us in this instance. We have a functional soul. We feel empathy. We’re trusting and loyal, and we care deeply about the people we bond with.

    So we simply can’t imagine doing what the cheater did. We can’t like a disordered person. It’s too alien. Even law enforcement struggle with this sometimes, and their whole job is cleaning up after crime scenes. “How can anybody do this to someone else??”

    So, as normal people, we look for cause and effect. “Maybe it was something I did? Maybe I wasn’t good enough?”

    No. The truth is simpler and takes time to grasp: You’re dealing with a person who doesn’t care. Who’s lacking the human empathy chip. You’re dealing with a selfish asshole, an abuser, someone who views other people as objects to be used. One of my red flags now is when someone views relationships as transactions. Telltale sign of a disordered person.

    And they do. not. change.

    Sadly, I’ve known a lot of disordered people. I grew up with a few and dated a few more. They don’t change. Don’t waste your time wondering, I’ve already spent the last 20 years and a fortune in therapy to get this answer, and I’m now giving it to you for free. They never change, and they’re never happy. Stop wondering.

    I’ll give you one example, okay? Just one, because time is short and you’re busy.

    Ten years ago, I briefly dated a fuckwit who cheated on me and dumped me over email. Found out later HE HAD A FIANCEE THE WHOLE TIME. He never apologized for duping me, even harassed me for months over text demanding I forgive him because “it’s not fair you’re mad at me when I did nothing wrong.”

    I wasn’t talking to this guy at all anymore, so I didn’t know why the fuck he would care so much what I thought of him. Of course, now I know why: Because he’s disordered. All these people care about is impression management. They can stab you in the face, but you better not think less of them for it. This is how they think. They’re sick.

    If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve saved myself so much grief just blocking him. No contact is the way to go. You will never speak reason into an illogical person. They’re not capable. Don’t waste your time.

    Unfortunately, I share an extended network with this asshole, so I hear updates about him from time to time, and guess what? HE’S ONLY GOTTEN WORSE. Behold:

    He finally graduated college at age 50, after years of fucking around. He wanted to go for a PhD. Lol, he’s a middle-aged man and unemployed and doesn’t have a dime saved for retirement, who’s he kidding?

    No surprise, he never applied to any PhD programs. He also didn’t get a job either. His wife begged him to, so they could have a salary and benefits coming in to support the kids. He finally started driving for Uber and has done that ever since.

    His wife gained 100 pounds and an autoimmune disorder from the stress of raising this manchild. She’s constantly cleaning up his messes and getting blacklisted in the community, because her husband keeps burning bridges with everyone, because he’s such an asshole. The guy has a list of enemies the length of his arm.

    They had a bad mold infestation and lost their apartment with everything they owned. They have no financial net, because you need to be a functional adult for that.

    I’m sure there’s more, but I don’t care, because it doesn’t matter. Imagine your ex in this situation if it helps.

    The thing we all need to understand is we only “lost” an abuser. WE WON. These people are agents of chaos who destroy everything around them. They’ll do it to the affair partner too (if the AP even sticks around long enough). They’re not people who live genuine lives, who make responsible decisions. They lie and cheat in other areas of their lives too, because people don’t exist in a vacuum. They get fired from jobs and audited by the IRS. They would’ve destroyed us too if they stayed. You need to understand this.

    Don’t beat yourself up thinking that because you’re not privy to the details of his taxes, his inbox, or his bedroom, that somehow means he’s secretly a prize. He’s not.

    • P.S.

      We lost a dream too, of course. It’s okay to mourn that, to mourn who we thought this person was, and the life we thought we’d have with them.

      But don’t blame yourself. And please don’t think you somehow fumbled a golden football. This guy is poison.

      • Cam, thank you for this! I’ve had a couple of rough days this week after learning cheating bastard ex recently received an award for his service to our local community. His carefully constructed illusion of a respectable life continues to earn him accolades and I know folks around here question how I could leave such a kind and philanthropic person.
        I want to scream out from the rooftop, “That is NOT who he is!!!”
        I just get so completely frustrated by the dynamics of it all.

        • FW and Wifetress are also pillars of the community where I live and raise money for various charities wherever there is a camera or press involved. I get it. Impression management is high.

          But I know I didn’t fumble the golden football. I escaped a rigged game.

          • I’ve known several abusers – easily half a dozen, off the top of my head – who hide behind do-gooder facades. They portray themselves as pillars of the community, charity work, social justice.

            The truth? One of them killed her mother. Another abandoned his children and spent the next decade harassing his ex-wife into an early grave.

            The others are rapists with a long trail of victims behind them. People talk.

            You won’t find this stuff on Facebook, of course.

            Impression management is cheap. I’ve learned not to take it seriously.

        • You don’t owe these people an explanation. Full stop.

          Reasonable people who know you and your character will ask you questions and have your back. Anyone else isn’t worth your time. Some people know who the cheater is and choose them anyway. The enablers suck too.

          Google “Issendai sick systems.” It was a huge shock to me as I went through therapy and realized how much abuse thrives in disordered environments – and furthermore, how many co-abusers supported the abuse.

          I dated another malignant narcissist in college. (Yeah, my picker was off.) I wasted years trying to get our friends to “get it”, to see through him, to support me.

          All that effort earned me was more wasted time. Those friends sucked too. None of them were worth it. I ditched all of them and got a much better social circle. I’m so much happier now.

          It’s a natural response to want justice. To scream from the rooftops how someone abused us and have people validate that.

          But some people aren’t capable, for a variety of reasons. Some honestly don’t see through the cheater yet and maybe never will. (How long did it take you?)

          And other people do know, but don’t care. They suck. Their character is just as shitty as the cheater’s. Get rid of them too.

          The hard lesson I’ve taken from all this is trash finds its own level. Sometimes the trash even takes itself out! When it goes, bid it farewell and don’t try to stop it. Shitty people who see themselves out are doing us a favor.

          • Well said. And the sick system thriving in a disordered environment would aptly describe my almost 37 year marriage. Living for the intermittent reward? Yep, that was me.
            It helps when I remind myself that no matter the public persona, he was/is a piece of shit I’m still slowly scraping off the bottom of my shoe.

  • Diagnosis: Post-breakup depression

    Treatments: 1. STOP FOLLOWING THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA. You can’t move on if you’re busy keeping tabs & comparing your life to theirs. 2. Go NO CONTACT except for necessary electronic (not in person or telephone) communications about the baby. This is really important. He is not your friend. It’s hard to learn this because you were invested in him. Btdt. But it’s over now. Stop listening to his troubles, his thoughts, etc. You wouldn’t listen to the troubles, thoughts, opinions of someone who mugged you, right? Same principle.

  • Tuesday, you are doing the right thing for you and your baby. These FWs love serving us the shit sandwiches with a layer of guilt to try to make the chump eat the sandwich and take on some guilt. What you are doing right now is showing your mighty! He may be having a sparkly glittered life but you are doing what adults do. You are taking responsibility and even though your job may suck you are doing the responsible adult role. Plus you are doing that with an infant. This speaks volumes for you being authentic and caring. Keep going and don’t let the thoughts of him get to you. You are bonding with your baby and that bond lasts forever. You FW with his sparkly life will never have this! Ever!
    My 25 year old son is no contact with his father. He actually found FWs and Schmoopie’s nudes in the family shared account. Yuck. Son sent me the pics and my lawyer is loving it. My son and I bonded since FW was never interested in his kid. I thought we were a happy family (sparkle). Now, I had my DDays, lined up ducks as much as I could, lawyered up, filed and served the cheater and got him out of the house. Still trying to come up with a settlement. FW has declared me mentally unstable, accused me f alienating our son and so much more. I don’t answer to his crap. Everything goes through lawyers (another thing FW hates) but no contact is best. I have no desire to engage and that drives him crazy and makes him lie even more. I know what I have to to get to Tuesday.
    Tuesday, you need to focus on getting out, grey rock and no contact where possible. Keep on going even though progress is slow. You can do this and we at CN are cheering for you!

  • Tuesday, that fucking psychopath isn’t happy. He isn’t capable of being happy. He will spend his life in a insatiable quest for his happiness.

    You can be happy because you aren’t a cheater, a liar and a waste of space like that loser. Don’t look at him, don’t let him talk to you, let one of your large surly family members or your most furious acquaintance do the custody exchange. You don’t have to subject yourself to any opportunity for him to further the abuse. No Contact is the pathway to Tuesday, to Meh. Just keep plodding in that direction.

  • Meanwell, it must have been so rough to have your parents refuse to take you in or help you when they had the means to do so. There are many parents who are not up to parenting for a second time around for a variety of reasons. Still, I can’t imagine the hurt of realizing they had no room in their hearts or their four-bedroom house to help you regain your footing.
    Is Tuesday, you are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. A new baby will do that, even without changing your job, your home, your city and your marital status. Tracy suggested you take a time out from career counseling to focus on giving yourself time to relax. I agree.
    Please rethink having two dogs. You mentioned that your parents are complaining about them. That’s a lot of extra crap, both figurative and literal, for you and your parents to manage. That’s two more mouths to feed and two more bodies that need exercise, meals, potty time, play, medical care, shots, and attention. Even if they’re calm, non-shedding and perfectly behaved, they’re probably underfoot and potentially annoyances that may shorten your parents’ patience and hospitality. Consider rehoming one or both of them before your daughter gets attached or they become too much for your parents. Especially if they’re watching your daughter, they shouldn’t also have to be walking your dogs or letting them out and cleaning up after them.
    You mention your STBX is seeing your daughter every other weekend, and you moved to another state. Don’t let the distance or visits further burden you or your parents. You have full time responsibility for all but every other weekend, so he should be responsible for transportation both ways, any food and other items she needs during that time, and a safe place for them to stay for the alternate weekends. And since you mentioned he likes going to bars and partying, have your attorney include a requirement that he is not intoxicated or under the influence while with your daughter.
    You’ve found your way through a lot already. You will find Tuesday.

  • I feel like this was my life. And I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot this week.

    Husband left for OW while I was pregnant/just recently gave birth? Check
    With faux kindness, FW said he was waiting for a chronological post to pass before he drops the bomb? Check
    Couples therapy that he faked his way through? Check (Epilogue: it turned out the therapist saw right through him and had him pegged as a cheater ages before I ever did)
    I read books and shared ways with him to save our marriage that he pretzeled around and used as reasons to leave the marriage instead? Check
    Begging? Check
    Trying to appeal to him to keep our family together? Check
    We were all friends with OW who hung out with me and our kids beforehand? Check
    Crying myself to sleep every night/losing weight/throwing up constantly/clinical depression? Check
    Moved me and my babies in with my parents (after both DDays)? Check
    Set up a new life because there was no other choice? Check
    Overwhelmed and going into debt while FW and Wifetress seemingly live their best lives? Check
    FW complained about how hard he had it *to the partner he left to raise two kids on a single income*? Check

    My story, in a quick nutshell, was that my husband left me twice (there was a reconciliation that I found out was just him needing a place to stay for a while until he found his next mistress). Both times he packed suitcases and skipped off into the sunset to live happily ever after with his new soulmate while I was left behind with babies and debt. After both times I found myself living with my parents. The first time was especially humiliating; here I was, an adult with a toddler and a six-month-old infant, sobbing and asking my mother if I could move in with them. They quickly repurposed their guest room and the kids and I had a place to stay while my husband didn’t let my side of the bed get cold; GF#1 was moved in after the kids and I moved out almost immediately. I know this because I still talked to him. I still followed him on social media. Doing both of those things broke my heart daily.

    I did (still do) all the things a single mom does while my XH gets to play Disneyland Dad on the weekends. At first, it was infuriating. I do all the work during the weekdays (homework, lessons, hard talks about life, driving to all their events… all the things he doesn’t do/refuses to do/has no interest in… all things that kids [now teens] don’t really register or appreciate) while he and Wifetress spend weekends with them hanging out, having movie marathons, and just generally doing fun stuff.

    It’s not fair, no. But none of this is fair. We’re in Chumpland. This is Chump Nation.

    Personally, I’m years out of it now. The babies that he left me with are now teenagers. And all the hard work of being the present parent–the stable, sane… and yes… *boring* parent who makes them get up in the morning for school and who never talks negatively about FW or their Stepmom in front of them–is bearing fruit. My teens report that, while they love their dad (which is good! I want them to have a relationship with their father; I just stay out of it, that’s all), they can’t “really talk” to him. My eldest is going through some pretty big “teen stuff” right now and anytime I ask him “….well… would you feel more comfortable talking to Dad about this? Because it’s okay if you do” he looks at me like I grew a second head and will say “Mom, I can *never* talk to Dad about this kind of stuff–only you.” He’s even starting to look for a part-time weekend job so he can have a reason to spend *less* time at his Dad’s house on the weekends. Other reports from my teens about their relationship with their weekend Dad (I never prompt them to ever talk about him, btw) is that: Dad’s place is boring/Dad is too controlling/ we only ever do the things he wants to do when we’re over there/I feel like I have to keep stuff from him because he just won’t understand/etc.

    So… I look back at what I just typed above: “The babies that he left me with are now teenagers. And all the hard work of being the present parent … is bearing fruit” and I object to the part about it “bearing fruit.” It makes me sound like I’m gloating and that I’m happy that my relationship with our kids is deeper than his relationship with our kids. I’m not happy about that; he’s a good parent but I wish he could have been a better parent because they love him (as I used to) but, as they get older and can’t be dazzled by “fun only weekends” anymore… I sense that while they will always love him, they are beginning to distance themselves emotionally from him. Without any interference from me (which, let’s be clear, would only ever backfire which is why I don’t talk about FW very much with them), they are beginning to see him and figure him out for themselves.

    So, what I think I mean to say is “The babies that he left me with are now teenagers. And all the hard work of being the present parent and him being the ‘I’m still here and I love you; let’s only hang out and do fun stuff occasionally … is… well, we’re seeing the consequences of it now in living time.”

    This is single parent chump land. It’s a lot of work. Like CL said, you’re moving a mountain every day while trying not to collapse in a puddle on the ground. Moving a mountain while “holding it together” is overwhelming. The years will go by and, year by year, you won’t feel like you’re white-knuckling every day like you were at the beginning. (One of the best things you can do to facilitate this is go No Contact/Grey Rock and social media block, block, block, block everything to do with FW and OW; your life is overwhelming enough, you do not need to see what they are up to… ever again.) Your daughter’s dad will make the occasional cameo in her life. Maybe he’ll step up and give her the emotional support she needs to grow and thrive. Maybe he’ll slowly break her heart over the course of her lifetime as she figures him out. You can’t control any of that; your daughter will have to develop and figure out that relationship with him as she grows. In the meantime, you’ll be changing diapers, finding preschools, driving her to doctor’s visits, getting her piano lessons, pushing her out of bed and sending her to high school when all she wants to do is skip first period and sleep in, etc, etc, etc. All that unglamorous, unfun stuff is 100% in your court now. The consequences of living this life now is that you are, like CL said, building a life while FW is just having fun. In building this life you and your daughter will have a deeper and more meaningful connection than the “we’re having fun, aren’t we?” parent will ever have with her because you are the present parent. The stable parent. The parent who shows up to do the work and fill out the forms and clean the vomit off of their bodies when they’ve puked all over themselves in bed. I feel you… there’s no one helping me out while I’ve been doing all this; it’s a solo show.

    Does it suck? Yes. Is it also wonderful? Also yes.

    You’ve got this. You and your daughter are going to thrive. In the meantime, never look at his life or his bar selfies ever again. You’ve got too much going on in your own yard.

    • Softly, I think you are still looking at him with rose colored glasses on when referring to him being a ‘good father’. If he was really a good father his kids would WANT to spend time with him. He would actually do things that THEY want too. They would actually BE able to talk to him about things and not take part-time jobs just to avoid him. You are still giving him waaaaaay too much credit that he does not deserve. He might be an Okay father, be he definitely isn’t a ‘good’ father. He might be ‘good’ compared to what he was when you were together, but he’s still far from the mark. Just food for thought.

      • Yep. Good fathers don’t abandon their kids and leave Mom to do all the day to day stuff. Good dads insist on being there for their kids even in divorce. FW cheaters are not good parents. Period. The entitlement they hold means they do not put dependent children first, Ever.

        When I tearfully told my therapist many moons ago that I didn’t want to be a single parent doing all the work alone she looked at me pointedly and said, you already are.

        I was shocked because she was right; I WAS alone inside a marriage. Losing the FW was losing an extra child who refused to grow up and was a huge drain of time and energy. I was able to focus those wasted resources on the children and myself once we left.

  • He’s a douchebag and now the whole world knows it. He waltzed off to a woman, bars and “fun,” to replace his devoted wife who recently gave birth and his little baby. As Chumplady says, he will never be able to erase that. He will wear the scarlet letter “A” for abandonment on his chest for the rest of his life. His parents, boss, and everyone else must be so proud of him.

    Someday you will be so thankful he is out of your life. You will be able to sit back and watch what unfolds. I know about this. Mine seemed to have a charmed life until it suddenly wasn’t; they always, eventually, implode. It always happens. Narcissists can keep up the charade for years, but that not built on a solid foundation eventually comes tumbling down, and often dramatically. Not only did that happen to my ex, but a narcisdist FOO family member, as well. They can only play their little games for so long.

    • “Someday you will be so thankful he is out of your life.”

      This is absolutely true. I used to mourn him and his absence wounded me deeply while he never reciprocated.

      These days, I realize that every day he is absent from my life is another blessing. I’m so glad he left; my family became complete the day he left it.

      • Yes. And leave them to their own devices. Eventually we’ll grab the popcorn, sit back, and watch the show. (If we even care much at that point, because our own life just keeps getting better.)

        • Yup. I stepped out of the drama triangle and left them to it. They blew up quite successfully without my help.

          I still got to see/experience some of it. My ex killed himself and left me to clean up his affairs. He and OW were anything but happy. Same shit, different day. She left him eventually, citing domestic violence. As far as I understand, she was pretty awful to him too, including physical violence. Both of them were alcoholics. He couldn’t stand that my life was getting better and his was getting worse. He spiraled downward and ended up killing himself.

          I am so glad I got out of that. I’m actually grateful the affair happened. I’m one of those “til death do us part” kind of people (or I used to be). I may never have had the guts to leave my abusive husband without him dumping me for OW.

  • You are doing all the right things. I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. Its very, very real, and not to be dismissed. Do not bully yourself and think that you’re not healing or moving on fast enough. You are doing everything right. Your daughter is blessed beyond measure – imagine having a mother that after the worst injury of her life moved, found a new job, got therapy, got coaching – all because she knows what matters. Because she has integrity. Because she is fierce.

    I’m not at Tuesday yet. But I see glimpses of it. Keep going baby. And if you haven’t already gone NO CONTACT – do it immediately. I’m 3 months in No Contact and the progress is in triple time. He’s a toxic, sad, actually gross, value-less, “charming on the outside” asshole.

    You my friend, are an angel in white.

  • Biggest hugs! You certainly are trying to move a mountain and it can feel like it is crushing you mostly the time. I am so sorry for your pain.

    I left a cheating exhole while we were going through IVF for his issues. It was hard to give up so many dreams, plans and hopes to start over. I was pretty impoverished since he had bled me dry BUT I promise…leaving him was the best thing I ever did. It was hard and painful but I built a beautiful and really wonderful life! ❤ And then I met my most wonderful and beloved husband and I was beyond grateful to have pushed through that mess of pain and broken dreams to find a life truly worth every second of that hurt.

    You can do this! I know you can. I say it as a woman who is now a pregnant widow grieving the death of my beloved and fully invested husband. I know how painful it is to have dreams smashed. To have your whole world shatter and be in flux. To fear the future and see lonely years ahead. I’m living it. I will also be a solo parent as of next Tuesday.

    I am saying this to you with love…you have no choice but to move that mountain. You’ve been thrust into a reality that you never wanted (me too!) and you have no more choice than I do about rebuilding and doing our best by our little ones. I know it hurts…it hurts so much I can barely breath at times. But I know from experience that rebuilding is possible and can lead to joy and real monkey love…you just have to leave the cheater first and free yourself to find that better life!

    Big hugs. Stay strong.

    • I remember your letter. How admirable that in the midst of your own pain you have the generosity of spirit and the spirit of camaraderie to write to “Tuesday.”

      Wishing you the best with your little one.

    • Ditto Adelante. It’s good to see a post from you – I was wondering how you’ve been doing.

      Best wishes for your impending delivery and many hugs to you. Keep hanging in there!

  • And for every day of his life, EVERY DAY, he’ll be a man who walked out on a four-month-old child. That stain does not wash out.

    Just This.

    This stain never washes out despite years of impression management.

    I am in the chumped while pregnant club. Left me at 4 months pregnant with a 2 year old too. 3 years on from DDay they are still together, holidaying in fancy locations and giving it the full impression management. I just did a full day working from home, 5 year old and me have tested positive for COVID so all 3 of us house bound for 10 days. Has he offered to take time off to help – no. He is still a selfish ****. Do I care? No. There will come a time when you are reaping the benefits of your hard work. It might seem a long way off now but you will get there. Just.keep.going!!

    When your child is old enough they will know who did what. It is a long game. Just keep doing you. Xx

  • I second Susan Rising! ????????
    That’s what I saw too, your incredible strength and fierceness. Wow!!
    And with such a young infant and all the hormones raging out of control in your body besides?! Damn, that’s impressive!
    That’s cape wearing super hero strength. You just can’t see it because you are plowing through agonizing grief and pain and feeling like you are not keeping up. Trust me, you are doing really really well with it. It is HARD!!!
    You will someday be able to see how strong you were. And you will also realize with full certainty, that you didn’t lose anything at all worth saving. He is a complete lost cause.
    You? You caught the golden football in the end zone with two seconds left in the SuperBowl for the win!!! Yeah for you!!
    Good game!????????
    You and your daughter are a solid, loving and complete family. There are many wonderful adventures on the horizon for you both. Enjoy every minute of the journey.
    I am sorry for the pain you feel right now, I know how much that hurts.

  • Hi CN,

    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. It certainly has not been an easy year-I swear at the end of 2020 I said, “It can only go up from here!’ Boy, was I wrong. So, I cannot express how much all of these replies mean to me. With the holidays and my birthday, my emotions have been everywhere.

    Going “No Contact” has been trying with such a young baby in trying to determine what is necessary communication and not. I have greatly improved-I go anywhere from 1-6 days without replying or reaching out about something baby-related (before it was hours as I thought he would want to know or be involved). I use CL and CN as a determent from talking to him, and having all of these words of encourage help more than you know.

    I am spending a lot of time right now, when I am not taking care of my little one, building my new life, so that we can thrive and not just survive. It is a journey. There are so many days where I am excited, eager, and forward-thinking. And then there are days, like the past couple of weeks, where I am mourning and grieving my loss. It is in these times, where I lean heavy on my support system, and CN has been such a huge support.

    While it is grueling right now, I am trying to create a life where I have the time and ability to care for my daughter without relying so heavily on my parents. My current job is highly stressful, time-sucking, and causes me a lot of distress-I dread going into work the second I leave (I am school psychologist, and I should note that I moved from one school district to another one. So, same job, different location and I already knew before all of this that I didn’t want to do it anymore). The career/life coach has really helped with that and I now have pathway on where I want to go. We have 3 more sessions left, and it is so critical for me right now to know there is other side and I will get there. Even if a job change doesn’t happen this month or the next three, it took off the mental load to figure it out on my own.

    I cannot tell you how much a blow this was to my self-esteem and confidence. My body and mind and everything still healing from a baby, and he left for a newer, non-saggy boob, can hold her pee when she sneezes model. I still greatly struggle with feeling like anyone would want to be with if my own husband didn’t want me. We had plans for multiple kids, and I am happy we didn’t have more, but I have a lot of grief related to a potential loss of my future children. Or how will I even have the time for dating? It is a lot of pain right now with this.

    A lot has happened in the past year, and I know that this time next year will look vastly different. It all hurts like a bitch right now. But as I try to remind myself, and need a lot of reminders from my support network-thanks Chump Nation!, it will get better, the pain is finite, and trusting that he sucks. At the close of 2021, I truly feel that it can only go up from here, I just need the reminder.

    • Tuesday, those who can still “hold their pee when she sneezes” will never, ever be as mighty and as divine as you are now! You have nourished, nurtured and created a human being whom you will love and be loved by in return for all the days of your life. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more precious and admirable than your devotion to your beautiful daughter and making the best life for her you possibly can.
      Be gentle with yourself … you are doing all the heavy lifting right now, and it is exhausting and painful. But every day you and your child live free from the abuse you have suffered is a better day than any spent with someone who does not cherish, respect, and love you in the manner in which you deserve.
      The future may seem uncertain, but you know exactly what the past looks like and that is something you never have to re-live. There is much good waiting for you.

  • Tuesday, I know you miss the family fantasy you had in your head but that was never going to happen with your cheater and I can tell you it won’t happen with the OW or anyone else. Two shit bums have gotten together to party up a storm and not deal with the mundane shit. Big whoop. Your STBX is as full of shit as a Christmas turkey…he isn’t hurting or going through any shit at all…he’s just trying to create a phony narrative for sympathy. What an ass, he discards you and an infant and he’s reaching out for sympathy???!!! I’m so sorry your life is very hard right now but my goodness you are going in the right direction and you also are not under any false impression that you’ll be able to depend on him financially. I think your best bet would to have him relinquish parental rights and get a clean break. He’ll only end up being a major disappointment to his children.

  • He sucks. You don’t. Major unfairness and tough at this stage. Respect and encouragement to you. You get to parent your daughter according to your values and be her mighty badass mother who survived and in time thrived. She is going to grow up, eventually understand all this and know you were mighty!

  • This week has been very interesting in terms of the different chumps. I get that they have playbook but wow, so much of what was said just resonates! So many flavors of chumps are here and we all have similar stories about FWs. I am amazed by how we survive and thrive. I am n the midst of trying to get an agreement with the FW. He hates that there are consequences because he wanted an open marriage so he could have full time cake.after 2 ddays and the horrid experience of the RIC wanting to blame the chump, I knew I had to file. My parents and my son have my back. The FW is very upset now that everything goes through attorneys. Yep he got a sad when he found what consequences are. The hyper vigilance is not as bad as earlier. Apparently FW told his attorney he wants this resolved quickly but that takes agreement. I suspect young Schmoopie wants him or his money in a big way. Yes, she won the grand prize of a cheater 32 years older than her. Awesome, huh?

    • Bitch got the “partner” she deserved, but I doubt she was actually looking to him as a true life partner. When his money runs out, so will she. That’s how it goes with much younger schmoopies. He’ll only keep her if he can provide the lifestyle she wants, and she’ll probably cheat on him. She’s not genuinely attracted to somebody old enough to be her father unless she has severe daddy issues. In either case his life will be the pure hell of trying to satisfy a Princess, which is an impossible task. Ha ha, fuckwit. Enjoy that.

      Some people are impossible to satisfy, because nothing can ever compensate for the black void where their soul should be, but they always think there has to be somebody who can. That describes almost 100% of FWs and APs, albeit with some variance in the degree. Today’s cheater is at the extreme end of that spectrum, since he abandoned a newborn. He isn’t even human enough to respond to a survival imperative that’s baked into us all genetically. His narcissism has overridden a natural instinct of the most urgent kind.

      Your STBX wants out quickly, huh. I hope you and your attorney insure he pays dearly for it. He’s dirty, so take him to the cleaners.
      All the best to you, CFANM.

      • OFFS, sometimes I wish my FW would have left when our son was younger since he claims to have been unhappy for 25 year (hmm, the same age of our son). My son, who is no contact with FW, actually found nude pics of FW and Schmoopie on a shared account. My son used that account to send pictures of his travels with the Navy. Apparently FW did not sign out of the shared account when they were sending their lovely nudes. My son saw them and broke the news to me (thankfully it was right between ddays)so I already knew and had just removed myself from the RIC. The RIC counselor was telling me I need to shoulder half the blame for cheating. Sure, I don’t have the body or drive of a 30 year old but that is not a pass to cheat on me. Got him served, got him out of the house and life is getting better. Settlement is going slow and today FW went through attorney and had asked if the intent here was a divorce.WTF? Hell yes, the settlement agreement will become a part of a divorce! There are consequences to cheating and his son wanting nothing to do with a cheater is only one of them. My poor son had to see this. Of course, he is also making fun of it saying he would love to use the images for a Ho, Ho, ho Christmas card. He has his mother’s sense of humor.
        I will never understand anyone abandoning an infant. That is the worst FW. My FW at least pretended to love our son. Although I am not sure they have capacity to really love. Tuesday will make it through fine. Her parents raised a strong young woman.

  • CL asked the question, who would you rather be? Not him. He has a gaping hole where a heart should be. You have a brain that is working extremely well for the trauma involved. Try and focus on baby and you. Grief will come and you’ll need support for that, it’s totally normal to feel lost and overwhelmed. The life partner you knew no longer exists, and you have changed as well. No going back to what was. Wish I could hold your baby, smell her, rock her, and you could take an epic nap☝️ Let this child give you hope for a new beginning. Chumps get it. I spent 38 years with a man who had secrets the entire time. I could look at it as being dumped, but I choose now to see my discard as a rescue form an unsafe and disordered person. My brain can see this. However, I’m human and I bonded and it hurts like hell to let him go. It’s not a one and done event, its a process over time. At 67 yrs old I often feel like a baby myself. Learning a new reality, one that I get to make on my own. Just like a toddler I fall down and get right back up again to move forward . Sending you (((hugs))) thru the cosmos today.

  • Tuesday’s STBX sounds as bad as a certain basketball player in the news lately that rhymes with Cristan Chompson, and that’s saying something!

  • Tuesday, you are amazing. What you have achieved and are achieving would be worth celebrating even if you weren’t a chump. The fact that you’re a proud CN crown wearer makes celebration even more apt. Your daughter is a lucky girl to have you as her Mum.

    I’ve spent much time imagining the ex having a wonderful time with exgfOW. Then a minuscule piece of information reached me via my ex SIL, now close friend. She was dumped in pretty much the same way by my ex’s brother. In the summer a close friend of hers happened to be in a football WhatsApp group with the brother and my ex. The friend mentioned to my SIL/friend that the ex FIL (aged 87) was the ‘dullest man on earth’. My friend was surprised to hear this. Further enquiry revealed that the woman was in fact describing my ex husband, 55, as ‘the dullest man on earth’. She observed ‘he’s got nothing to say’. I laughed because he was incredibly dull. I was too loyal when married to him to recognise that I was bored a lot of the time over the 26 years with him (no kids to make it worthwhile). My point is that no contact, distance, and a busy life of one’s own will, over time, make all the difference. Just keep going.

  • Tuesday, do you know why people devote their lives to the reckless pursuit of shallow pleasures? Because they can’t have happiness and they are overcompensating with a pale substitute for it. Your STBX has been telling himself that a hedonistic lifestyle of fucking, going to bars, restaurants and traveling with an equally shallow companion will finally give him happiness. But in rare moments of clarity, he knows it isn’t true. I suspect he’s actually sincere when he cries, but he’s not crying because he lost you or the baby. Other people don’t mean jack shit to him. He’s crying in self pity because he’s chronically miserable no matter what he has in his life. There aren’t enough bars, restaurants and places to travel in the world to fix that, and on a subconscious level he knows it. But he’s as stupid as he is narcissistic, Tuesday, and even if his therapist is any good and even if he keeps going to therapy, the therapist is unlikely to make any headway against his irrational beliefs. So fuckwit will continue to delude himself and waste his life.

    So please stop thinking about what he has because it ain’t shit. What you have is the stuff that brings happiness, self worth, and peace. Eventually. But you have to get over this trauma first, and you won’t if you continue to engage with this loser. Why does he even get to see a child he abandoned? I’m with CL- go for full custody. Get him out of your life and he’ll be out of your head. Eventually. There’s nothing for it but to wait it out, keep slogging away and do as much self care as a new mom possibly can.
    You are feeling the need to see some justice because the prick has had no consequences so far other than inconvenience. But as others have said, divorce will change that. He’ll change from Sack Sack Steve to Raging Roger when that happens, and you and your precious baby should be nowhere near that.

    Of course single parenting an infant while trying to recover from trauma, working and changing your life is brutal. It takes however long it takes, but this too shall pass. The single parenting thing will be hard, but it won’t be *this* hard for that long. Newborns completely take over your life, but they grow, and naturally they need less and less care as they do, and trust me when I tell you it will seem like they’re all grown up in an eye blink. Some day you’ll be amazed by how fast it seemed to go by. Right now though, you are bone weary and emotionally exhausted from the heavy load you’re carrying, and you’re mighty AF to be managing all this. CL has a good suggestion about asking your folks to help you get more down time.

    The pain of being chumped is finite and
    gets better with time and distance. A fuckwit’s self-imposed emptiness, otoh, is infinite, and emptiness is the most miserable feeling there is. No matter how hard life is, your cup runneth over because you can love and you have character, which inoculates you against that awful vacuousness of the soul. Leave fuckwit to his and know that a future without him in it is going to be better for both you and your daughter.

    Tuesday, I wish I could babysit for you so you can get more rest. The Churchill quote is very apt here. You have no choice but to keep going. Giant hug to you and please keep us updated on how you’re doing. ????

  • Good Lord. We are still in a pandemic. I have a 4-month old grandchild I spend every weekend with. I am double masked at work, when grocery shopping, and everywhere but at home (alone) or over with the baby. I would never forgive myself if I gave my little bitty grand the virus, or any virus.

    This selfish partyboy jerk “father” should be kept far away. Having physical distance from the scumbag is a blessing, even if you don’t realize it now.
    Hurt starts to dissipate when the contact lessens. It’s actually YOUR opportunity to be happier.

    Enjoy those tiny toothless grins – they are just so precious!

    • This. Is. A. Very. Important. Point.

      If CheaterDaddy is out carrying on at bars, he’s better be vaccinated and show up every other week with a clean COVID test.

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