Things are going very well post divorce. Everyone has moved on and both the ex and I are remarried to great people. Kids are doing well and beginning their own adult lives. So what’s the problem…right? Well… my oldest son and my wife’s daughter are now engaged. They were both in college during the divorce and never lived under the same roof so keep the the Joe Dirt jokes to a minimum please.
My ex and the soon-to-be-daughter-in-law (step-daughter) are BFF’s now and can’t understand why my wife and I cannot let bygones be bygones. STBDIL told my wife that my ex is going to be with them to pick out her wedding dress and that she doesn’t want to hear anything about it. Her father left her mom for a 27-year-old nurse after 24 years of marriage and will be walking her down the aisle as well. Double sh!t sandwich.
My son and his fiancé are completely snowed by the ex’s manipulation and just see my wife and I as uncooperative and petty. They don’t care what was done to either one of us by their other parent and just want us to “get over it.”
My son has always favored his mother because they had that weird son/husband dynamic. Like a true narcissist, she favored the oldest son over my youngest so I felt compelled to pick up the slack. He does not have a relationship with his mom right now and I can honestly say I don’t wish for that.
We don’t want them to hate the other parent, but at least give a little credit to the parents that weren’t cheaters. They don’t care. They are of the YOLO (you only live once) generation of “not judging.”
We still have their 2 teenage siblings living with us and they get along great. They are missing out on the family that we tried to create for them because their older siblings are so wrapped up in themselves and couldn’t care less.
Both my wife and I feel betrayed all over again. There is no repercussion for the cheaters and no gratitude for the committed parents.
I am sure things will get better in time but the injustice of all this is sometimes too much to take.
I’m all for no contact and gray rock, but your kid’s marriage is one of those few life events where you must eat the shit sandwich. Or really, the catered shit sandwich buffet.
There’s no avoiding the exes. They’re on the guest list.
So, you’re going to have to triage here and figure out which boundaries you can enforce, and which ones you can let slide.
Their continued existence? You don’t control that.
Your children’s good opinion of their cheating parents? You don’t control that.
The cheating parents participation in a ceremony celebrating monogamous commitment? Deeply ironic, but you don’t control that.
So, essentially, all the big stuff is off the table. But you do have some agency on the smaller things.
Your wife can decide if she wants to be present at the wedding dress shopping expedition with your ex. What’s worse? Missing out, or tolerating your cheating ex for a few hours? Leave the field or plant the flag? It’s totally unfair your wife is in this position (that’s true of the entire chump condition and all the fallout). Can she talk with her daughter? Polite co-existence for an afternoon is one thing, expecting mom to THRILL to this person and consider it a Grand Day Out is quite another.
My guess is that your step-daughter/STBDIL doesn’t really care, just so long as everyone is united in celebrating her. Mom and future MIL are bit players here. Some Bridezilla is to be expected I suppose. But where this really breaks down in unfairness is that it’s easy to be superficial for your ex-wife. Impression Management Win! And it isn’t for your wife. She’s the mom who cares deeply, doesn’t wish to be usurped, and cares about you being hurt by this woman. All a recipe for not being Lite ‘n Breezy.
If it were me, I’d probably go. If it were my Grandma Vi, there’d probably be some haughty stink eye and a few cutting remarks to your ex. “Oh well, you would wear chiffon. I’m sure it covers those trouble areas.”
My son and his fiancé are completely snowed by the ex’s manipulation and just see my wife and I as uncooperative and petty.
In what way? It’s totally normal at weddings to not want to be in pictures with your ex, says my seasoned wedding photographer friend. Are you setting boundaries (like, I don’t want to sit with, or be in a picture with…) or just expressing general displeasure they can’t do anything about?
The displeasure thing goes both ways. You can set a boundary — they don’t have to like it. They may assume you’ll accommodate, because chumpy you always did, and your presence is assumed. A compassionate conversation is called for here. “Son/Daughter, I’m overjoyed to be a part of your wedding. I totally understand our exes are a part too. I want to manage expectations around photos/seating charts/BFF brunches…” Acknowledge their right and desire to have your exes in their ceremony. And assert your right to polite distance in a few key areas.
We don’t want them to hate the other parent, but at least give a little credit to the parents that weren’t cheaters.
They don’t have the life experience to do that. They don’t know what it is to invest 20+ years in a partner and the sunk costs of children and family life. You’re an existential threat. It would really test their empathy to imagine being betrayed and having to play friends with an ex. They only see their own hurt here — of a fractured family that they want TOGETHER on their big day, celebrating them. I don’t fault them for that, but they shouldn’t fault you either. You didn’t blow up the family. And hell, thanks to your union, they have THEIR union.
Both my wife and I feel betrayed all over again. There is no repercussion for the cheaters and no gratitude for the committed parents.
I’m sorry it sucks. Children tend to be short on gratitude because they’re short on perspective. That’s why you have to buck up and model mightiness.
Go be a part of the wedding. Be jolly (even if you have to fake it). And have boundaries. You don’t have to be petulant or disappointed. Just firm. “Oh sweetheart, you know I’m not sitting with your dad. Hey, how about those party favors?” Deflect it back to them. Share their excitement.
Yes, eat the shit canapé.
This sane parenting gig is a very long arc.
Merry Xmas! I’ll try to announce a Cheater Freak winner this weekend.
Merry Xmas, CL!!! Hope you have the best day!!
CL, you’re the best. Thanks for the insight and the humor. Much needed.
CN, thank for your valuable input as well.
I felt compelled to share this story as a cautionary tale of how family without empathy can really throw a monkey wrench into the the healing process.
My wife and I really believed were coming to the end of the rom-com movie where the good guys won at the end. Role credits.
Our oldest kids have really set us back on our heels and we are still in disbelief by all of this.
The chump in me wants to just eat the shit sandwich and not cause anymore problems but the mighty side of me says enough is enough. I swore to never be a doormat to anyone ever again.
The injustice of all this keeps me up at night.
What about if your wife brought a wing man to the dress shopping? An aunt? An old family friend? After all, Bridezilla invited your ex. That way, it’s an even match for triangulation and not feeling ganged up on. (Which is AWFUL that the mother of the bride may be facing that.)
I don’t think you can fight your wife’s battles for her. She’s got to talk to her daughter directly, IMO.
As shitty as all this is, I think not participating is NOT a good option. However entitled and morally adrift this bride is, she’s your future daughter in law. This is your son’s wedding. I think going high when they go low is the way to play it. I’d show up to that dress thing with a plus-one. (Oh, Aunt Mildred is just so excited. I told her she could join us! Oh, you don’t want someone you didn’t invite at your dress day?…. cue irony soundtrack…) I’d get human buffers at the wedding.
You’re still the winners in all this. The exes still suck. Play offense, not defense. Go. Plant the flag. Be unfaltering. That IS not being a doormat.
I’ve never posted to CL but I’m going to reply to this column.
JustaDad, props to you and to CL for aiming high rather than low, but if it were me, I’d step aside.
Your adult children have put you, and honestly themselves, in a situation in which dignity is damned near impossible for anyone, including them.
Rather than engaging in a little healthy self examination about why and how they’ve put themselves in this predicament, they are leaning heavily on you to manufacture dignity for them out of thin air, at the expense of your own dignity and boundaries.
They are adults. It’s time for them to begin adulting. That includes taking responsibility for the dilemmas they have created for themselves and everyone else with their choices.
I hear you when you say that this couple is not related by blood, they were not raised as siblings, and they never lived under the same roof.
Those preclusions seem like technicalities to me in that they do not change the inconvenient facts on the ground.
As best as I can determine from your letter, these two young adults are and were step siblings. And they certainly knew that, or soon realized it, when they chose to enter into a romantic and sexual relationship with each other.
There are, quite literally, billions of other people out there available to each of them, billions of other relationships that do not involve these claustrophobic entanglements. Why and how they both decided to go here with each other is above my pay grade. I think I’m pretty safe in saying that the vast majority of young adults wouldn’t have touched this relationship with a ten foot pole. And yet, here you are.
I recommend premarital counseling for both of them, individually and together, to get to the bottom of why this particular relationship, with all of its obvious baggage, is so attractive.
But back to you.
You set your boundaries, not them, not anyone else. And you enforce your boundaries.
You are setting the standard, right now, for how you will allow yourself to be treated.
These two young adults are demonstrating, IMHO, an extreme amount of immaturity and an appalling lack of empathy.
However you allow yourself to be treated in this situation is how you will be treated, and what you will be expected to tolerate and endure, going forward.
There is an amazing lack of respect going on here. Trust me, you cannot ‘nice’ someone into respecting you. I know because I tried.
I have an insecure, hostile, disrespectful DIL who tested my boundaries and tried to punch my buttons right out of the gate. I kept going along and getting along and trying to ‘nice’ her into better, more respectful behavior, or learn to tolerate her behavior with more zen on my part, ‘for the sake of.’ For the sake of my son. For the sake of my husband, who saw what was happening and feared estrangement. For the sake of future, and then existent, grandkids.
The more I dealt with her diplomatically, the more I let roll off of my back, the more kind and accepting and accomodating I attempted to be, the more I tried to model mutual respect, the more she dished out.
Eventually, several years in, she did something so hateful, manipulative and deceitful that I would ignore it or swallow it at my very real peril. One just doesn’t keep people who try this particular level of crap in one’s life.
So the estrangement that I, we, had been trying to avoid for years happened anyway, and not a moment too soon.
As we look back, my husband and I can clearly see that what was needed was stronger boundaries, enforced from the very beginning, not even more tolerance, acceptance, diplomacy, sparkles, rainbows and kumbaya.
If healthy boundaries and self respect on our part alienated her, well so be it. It would have been a very accurate litmus test of her personality, character, and attitudes and intentions toward us, particularly toward me. And it would have saved me, my husband, my own marriage, and my relationship with my son, a butt ton of wear, tear and heartache over the years.
And estrangement came anyway, despite it all.
These two young adults had and have many, many choices but are *owed* nothing, not from you, not from the world, not from life. They are not *owed* a fairy tale wedding at the expense of your boundaries, dignity and self respect, especially if they themselves have created the situation that challenges it.
If they are truly soul mates and there simply is no one else for either of them, then they can adult up, respect your marriage and your wife, ditto for your ex and her marriage, and ELOPE.
‘Future grandchildren’ are yet but a dream. Believe me when I tell you, negotiating your role as a grandparent, should that even occur, will be no less complex and fraught with pitfalls and peril, as this wedding.
In fact, think of this wedding, and this couple’s expectations and demands, as a forecast.
Given the obvious lack of maturity and absence of empathy on their part, I’d give my respectful, kind regrets and bow out. It doesn’t have to be bitter, angry or vindictive but it does need to be firm.
Honestly, it sounds to me like all of you are being set up as drama fodder.
I’m betting that the fun has only just begun. I say this from experience.
But, you know your family, and I’m just another yahoo on the internet. YMMV and you do what’s best for you and yours.
I mean this sincerely and without snark: good luck.
Thanks for the input and great advice. I will take it into consideration.
I have already had to put the “princess” in her place already which has caused a riff with my son and I and my wife as well.
I’m a sweet guy until I’m not.
You just cannot “nice” people into being decent. If you decide to be “nice” it is for you and you alone. In truth, though, if you let bad behavior slide, then the other person thinks bad behavior is just fine and will continue to behave badly.
In my case, I have already warned both of my children that should they choose to invite the other person to any events (my ex I can do, but I’m just not sucking it up for schmoopie), they have a 50/50 chance that I will choose not to show up. Yes, I would miss a wedding rather than eat a shit sandwich. I think that is mighty, too. My choice. Their choice. We all know what page we are on.
You set your boundaries for you, your wife can set her boundaries for herself. If the kids don’t get it, they will learn or not, but they will know exactly where you stand. JMO.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve commented here, but this response fired me up as it is exactly how I feel. I had to eat that shit sandwich at my oldest child’s wedding a couple yrs ago and it still bugs me on how I had to put up with all that. My new years resolution again this yr is that I am No Contact with my cheating ex-wife. I’m all done compromising my boundaries, dignity and self respect. Until my kids get the life experience and understanding of how I feel they will probably just see this as me being bitter and uncooperative. But at least they know how I feel.
“They don’t have the life experience to do that. They don’t know what it is to invest 20+ years in a partner and the sunk costs of children and family life. You’re an existential threat.”
An existential threat. I’ve never heard the inability (through no fault of their own) of friends and family to empathize with the chump’s position summed up so neatly before. Even the FW, who caused the trauma, cannot truly empathize with something they have no experience in.
To even attempt it is to acknowledge that “this could happen to me” and no one wants that. I know I never could have even come close when I was young, dumb, and “happily married.” If a friend had come to me with her chump woes, I simply wouldn’t have been able to empathize because “well, thank goodness that will never happen to me, but I guess it’s gotta happen to someone.”
Of course, later on I turned out to be that someone.
Thank you for running this letter. One day I will have to eat the sandwich and pretend that FW/Wifetress’s presence doesn’t make me want to either vomit or cry. I have teens; things like high school graduation and marriages will be in my unavoidable future. It’s good to read articles like this so I can start preparing mentally and emotionally now.
Nicely said. It helps me to understand my emotions. One of my sons is getting married in March and I’ll see the FW and his skank. Fortunately my son knows too well what betrayal feels like as his ex also cheated on him. I am not at all expected to sit next to, or socialize with, the FW. But I have another son that if/when he gets married, will probably take the stance of the children mentioned in this blog. It repulses me to even think of speaking to the FW. Maybe I’ll mature some more before that time arrives.
We have to grow a thick hide to live these lives I’m afraid
” To even attempt it is to acknowledge that “this could happen to me” and no one wants that. I know I never could have even come close when I was young, dumb, and “happily married.” If a friend had come to me with her chump woes, I simply wouldn’t have been able to empathize because “well, thank goodness that will never happen to me, but I guess it’s gotta happen to someone.” ”
And true story I never admitted here before: When we had been married about 10 years, Cheater had a few friends who I thought were assholes. I remember trying to figure out which husband would be the first to dump his wife. That question turned out to be utter hubris when the answer was “mine”
Yup, I was knocked off my own “Well, my soulmate and I are bonded for life and*that* will never happen to me” plinth pretty hard.
Biology trumps current relationships as far as I am concerned. Your ex-wife gets to attend the dress choosing as future MIL. She does not get to play step parent of the bride during the event.
Suggest your wife goes to the fittings and says “Boundaries dear. You are here as the mother of the groom. Please stick to that role.” in the likely event your ex steps out of her lane.
Thanks for the input.
My wife is the non-confrontational, suffer in silence type.
Go along to get along.
I am the one ready to declare WW3 over this because of the hurt this is causing her.
Your wife looks at the long term picture perhaps?
Grandkids, great grandkids, graduations, etc.
It is a major challenge to be sure
“Oh well, you would wear chiffon. I’m sure it covers those trouble areas.”
OMG! I just spit out my coffee.
Children do not know the personal experience of having a cheating spouse (at least not yet). They want events to happen without drama. At my oldest son’s wedding reception his dad made a beeline for my table, with his new wife in tow. There was minimal conversation. I have not spoken to her since she started dating my ex, and I stopped being her manicure client. Over the years, I have declined to participate in “family” get togethers. My son’s visit with me, and then they could visit their dad. It will be interesting to see what their relationship will be with his wife now that he has died.
I hope my sons never experience what I did. It is ok for them to have their own memories of “good times” with their dad. They may wish I would “just be friends”, but I now choose my friends carefully. My sons will have to learn how to deal with betrayal if it happens to them. If I am still alive, I will be glad to help. It’s not a job I want, but not all parenting tasks are fun. As time moves on, experience is accumulated. Experience usually causes change.
My daughter is 17. It’s been 2 years since the FW blew up our family. I dread all of those life mileposts ahead. And even though my daughter understood the basic plot, she has still aligned herself with the two cheaters. But I fakey-fake happy-happy because she too has voiced she didn’t want to be around me if I was going to be sad. Because according to her (it her mother’s “ethic”), life is suppose to be fun and sparkly. Duty, honor, courage? That’s for chumps and old fashion boomers! But here I am being the sane parent and holding it all in until I can be alone and weep. Everyone says, oh you wait when she’s older and reflects back on all this, she’ll understand and appreciate you. I’m not so sure. Maybe. Does it matter? I see her being more and more like her FW mother each time she cycles back to my house. All I can do is remain steadfast, accept the giant turd in the punch bowl and hold my nose and swallow. It is what it is. ????
“But here I am being the sane parent and holding it all in until I can be alone and weep.”
This is perhaps one of the saddest sentences I’ve read on this site.
“But I fakey-fake happy-happy because she too has voiced she didn’t want to be around me if I was going to be sad.”
Woah! I think you have to teach her that people have emotions and faking it doesn’t lead to happiness or genuine connections. She needs to accept you–even on the days you feel sad. That’s true love. She’ll have her moments of sadness, too. We don’t abandon people when they feel down. I don’t know you or her, but I’d insist on authenticity and call her bluff.
Double Chumped, I hope you can have a good holiday despite the crappy punch. Know that you’re not alone; and we won’t abandon you if you spill some sadness here. And we applaud that you’re doing the sane-parent thing!
I do not know one parent who had an easy time when their children were teenagers. Even those with two parent households have problems during those turbulent years. If it helps, both my sons came back to me in their mid 20’s and apologized for some of their attitudes and thanked me for standing firm on some issues they did not like at the time.
My son’s saw some of their friends suffering the consequences of their parents bad parenting decisions. They realized WHY I did some things I did. Actions have consequences. Choices lead to actions. If they are capable of learning, even bad choices can be a good learning experience.
I’m right there with you Double Chumped, I feel your pain. When Muriel Rukeyser wrote ““What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.” I think she had us chumps in mind. I HATE pretending to be fine, OK, happy, encouraging, anything like that when I am broken, crushed, at the brink of tears almost always. I HATE that he did this to our family. I HATE myself for picking him as a husband and father. I HATE listening to other women tell me unless I forgive I will never recover. You know what? I doubt that I will recover. And please don’t say give it time, I’m now 73 years old, found out 3 years ago that my now ex had been cheating for at least 15 years. No time left.
I feel your pain DoneWithIt. I can relate to not wanting to pretend to be fine. I spent Christmas⛄???? Day with my dog. We had pancakes for breakfast and went for a long walk (we live near the beach). Family were ok but couldn’t really understand. I’m 70 and found out 4 years ago he was cheating and suspect he was throughout the 42 year marriage. I hate that I married the FW too but we were young and trusting as we chumps are. I just think we DO have time even at our age to now live for ourselves however long that is and I will NEVER give him one nanosecond of whatever time I do have left. Some days are a lot worse than others and I am not at Tuesday yet but all I can say to you is just take one day at a time. It does get better as a lot of CN keep saying who have been around here longer than me.
Much appreciated and I wish you the life you deserved.
DoneWithIt, maybe you are listening to the wrong people. A good therapist would be more help to you than a bunch of old chooks telling you to forgive blah blah blah.
When they unite squarely in your corner and validate your outrage at his misdeeds, make sure you are not too lonely, offer to accompany you on a midnight drive-by egging of his house or car and start telling your ex he should be asking for forgiveness for each offence and making restitution to you for the harm he did you – THEN they might be worth heeding.
Forgiveness isn’t forgetting or shutting up about it so they can enjoy their coffee morning without having to make room for your grief at the table.
How. Dare. They.
Come here and we will validate you and listen to you. We get it. We will be with you while you metaphorically punch his lights out here as often as you need to.
There is room here for your broken heart and all the feelings and emotions you care to share.
And any snarky uncomplimentary stories of your ex’s sordid perfidy you wish to share too, of course.????
Vent away. That is more likely to get you to a place of healing than fake forgiveness to please preachy knowitalls.
Real forgiveness takes many many forms and is entirely up to you if, when and how.
Many hugs to you. Also … my mum is 94 and kicking so you may have more time left than you think. Just sayin. ????
Holy cow New Chump I don’t have words for your kind of generosity and thoughtfulness. It’s hard to believe there are people who care like that. I am so grateful.
New Chump I don’t have words for your kind of generosity and thoughtfulness. It’s hard to believe there are people who care like that. I am so grateful.
Double Chumped it IS nauseating when you see the some of the same character traits in your ex as in your daughter.
I think one of the hardest part of co-parenting with a FW is being unable to call people on their shit. And realizing that even your nearest and dearest often don’t care that you were back stabbed. Your pain inconveniences their ‘exuberance’.
I would not go dress shopping or pretend everyone has blended into one big happy family. When the bride and groom get upset with that, hey get over it ! I believe they chump us because we don’t want “ruin” Christmas, Mother’s Day, wedding etc. The cheaters on the other hand love to be especially awful on special days. We worry others will see us as petty, bitter ex spouses. They bring OW/ OM around immediately expecting everyone to accept them. I finally learned you teach people how to treat you. Nope, I would not eat this shit sandwich. The new couple can just get over their hurt feelings.
My parents were divorced when I married my first wife. I had zero complaints about how they acted. If they had your attitude, I would have NEVER forgiven them. It isn’t about the parents, but about the kids.
Children are not getting married. Two young adults are getting married. That means they now need to act as adults. Children believe the world revolves around them. Adults know life affects everyone around you. IMHO
I agree, these aren’t children, they are young adults taking on very adult responsibilities and commitments. It is absolutely the time to talk to them about monogamy and the very real fallout of infidelity, and to ask them if they are trying to produce a reality TV show or to celebrate their commitment to one another?
That these young people can be so cruel to people they purport to love, that they lack basic empathy, doesn’t speak well for the chances of their marriage lasting,
I also agree. I don’t think I’d say, “If that woman goes, I’m not going!” But I’d probably say, “I’d rather not be around someone that betrayed my husband. It is your choice. It’s your wedding. I know that I will miss this time to share this moment with you. And I hope you will reserve other times with just me in the future, but for now, please enjoy your special day and have a wonderful time.” This is the bride’s day but the mom doesn’t have to participate in the carnival shit show. It’s just one day of many on earth. It’s so optimistic to believe that we all will live a Cinderella-like life living happily ever after, but we all here at CN know that life isn’t a fairytale. And as a young adult, it’s never too late to stop being self-centered and to think of others. If she’s old enough to believe she’s mature enough to get married, then she’s old enough to face some of the consequences of her not-so-well-thought-out decisions. It’s a hard pill to swallow for the chump, but I REALLY think if the mom goes, she’ll be resentful for a very long time for allowing someone to force her into breaking down her boundaries. Those are boundaries that took her too long to finally erect. I promised myself I wouldn’t allow anybody to abuse me again. This isn’t a death where it’s the last time this mom will ever see her child. This is just one day of many. And it’s time for adult children to learn to respect other people’s boundaries. It’s “not all about them.”
I agree with you Amazon Chump. I have had to calmly and very succinctly
explain to my adult children that I will not willingly suffer abuse from anyone – I just can’t after really 55 years of my life spent being under the gun in one way or another- 20 year marriage and major disfunction in FOO. I refuse to feel petty or wrong when I state that I cannot be in the same room with my ex – the physical reaction that occurs is more than is what is fair to ask of me. I have explained that if they invite him back in that we will have to have our own times separate from what they have with him – weddings not withstanding – I have already explained what I would be comfortable with (yes I would attend with very clear boundaries and it was not an ultimatum – just what I am able to handle. I am all tapped out when it comes to “sparkling with sass” in order to the peace or keep up appearances – I have had a lifetime of that shit and it never ends well. This is one of the few places were I really diverge from the sage advice given by CL. For what it is worth, it seems that OP and his wife have not set boundaries with the the engaged couple and they feel entitled to not give one wit about both the chumped parents and the siblings who were not the golden children in the shit show that led up to the divorces. I don’t see how pick me dancing to keep your kids happy when they are adults is a good thing and let alone expecting the other children to do the same. But that’s just me.
My comment exactly!
People keep referring to the two as children. Please stop. News flash: Treat them as adults. If they do something cruel to you, let them know.
Hcard, now THAT makes sense. Exactly how we became chumps, HE/SHE was always the important one. I’ll work around his schedule, I’ll put off schooling in favor of footing the bill for his, I’ll get a job that I can manipulate so I can always be the one who takes care of the kids, even though that job is not at all what I want to do. Now we’re supposed to put on another happy face, put everyone’s feeling over ours, make nice with ex and all the ex relatives. NO, that can not be all there is to my life. I will not be a sucker again for ANYONE. EVER. I don’t buy into it when someone tells me the way out is the same way I got in.
EXACTLY! THIS WAS MY WHOLE GODDAMN LIFE FOR 20 YEARS!
And it’s over. I’m not doing it anymore. For anyone. And anyone who cares about me wouldn’t even want me to. So if they do want me to, they can go away and leave me alone.
I agree with this. I’m solidly into the no fucks given phase of my life and it is great. As in “You want me to go dress shopping with the b*tch who broke up a family? No thanks. Have a fantastic time.” and then go do my own thing.
I’m not even going to do this kind of crap for my kids. If my son gets married, I will go, of course, but I will not be sitting at a table with his father. If he tried to force it, cool, I can skip dinner and go get McDonalds. No big deal. I don’t care anymore. The sacrifice of the less than human Katie Pig for everybody else is over with.
This reminds me of my favorite saying before I was inducted into the Chump Nation: “People will only give you as much shit as you’ll take.” Reminds me that this mantra still applies post-Chump induction. Even to our own children, and others alike.
You hit the nail on the head KatiePig with “The sacrifice of the less than human Katie Pig for everybody else is over with.” I feel the same way – I would not sacrifice my dignity for anyone at this point including my children.
Merry Christmas and welcome to CN.
I’m glad to read your account on the long view of the shit sandwiches.
To be selfish, I’m really struggling today. It’s my twins birthday ( 3 years old ) and just like last year they’ll spend their day with my ex’s affair partner.
With tomorrow being Christmas, and my daughters first one ( she’s just 9 months old ), the sting really hits me.
Yes, DNA confirms all are mine, and yes she was getting freaky while pregnant with my daughter. Repulsive.
Another perfect family moment, my ex, her AP, his mom and my children all celebrating love and joy, while I am all alone in pandemic NY— I have no friends here.
I of course sent an email to my ex’s attorney telling my boys happy birthday, but really why do it? Why care about children when my FW abides by her AP’s wishes— “I Do not like him, I am a better father figure, make him go away” is what he tells her. And so she does/ did.
She gaslit me and the two of them colluded to run me out of the town I lived near my boys, they colluded to destroy me as best as possible, to take my parental rights away and then to make me pay 2400 per month so they can have their perfect family with my children.
The long view on this? I will get to MEH very soon and will never ever care about either of these awful people. Stand next to them in a wedding photo? That’s easy. See them at a wedding? No problem. Why? Because I’ve lost everything because my ex prioritized BJs and Backdoor with strange over my relationship with my children, and the long view on that is the children will see their mothers true character and this AP won’t be the last, but I’m their only dad— at least that is CN general consensus on APs.
Still stings, but if I’m still around in a few years, my joy and happiness with my children will bloom.
Merry Christmas and hug your loved ones.
I am sorry for the supersize shit sandwich you are eating today. When you say, “my ex prioritized BJs and Backdoor with strange over my relationship with my children” you hit the nail square on their character-disordered heads. Their absolute disregard for anyone else–their children, us–hits us hard, but one reason to keep going and stay steady is to ensure they don’t destroy us.
Merry Christmas Adelante.
Tomorrow I’m taking the opportunity to wish my children an amazing Christmas. I’m going to go give homeless people coffee and donuts tomorrow so it’ll be a good day— I mean that seriously like that’s the joy of Christmas morning.
I hope your Christmas and New Year are awesome.
You’re doing this right– doing beautiful things to counter a cesspool of ugly. At the rate you’re going, your life will become very full over time.
I am sending you many virtual hugs. How you’re feeling really comes through and I feel how painful it is for you. A somewhat different set up to mine. My children are all grown and have their own children now so a different sort of shit buffet for me to digest.
You are their dad. Nothing and no one however much bad mouthing they do about you can ever take that away. Hang in there ❤️
Merry Christmas Claire, and thank you for your kind thoughts.
I hope your children and grandkids have an amazing day and new year, and that yours is filled with happiness and joy.
Look at the long view, your kids will someday be teens and mommy will be on her 6th relationship or more
This is a marathon not a sprint
Have you researched revising your custody agreement with a good attorney? It sounds like your arrangement is very one sided.
When they are that young, they don’t really have strong memories. If you work to stay in touch, things may change as they grow up.
I willingly compromised on many material issues but held fast when it came to my children’s welfare. I can live without things, but not without my children. Sharing custody got easier as they grew up. They started being very choosy about how they spent their time, and who was there as they became teenagers. They really did not like most of their dad’s “girlfriends.” He didn’t really respect their wishes, and they decided they would not go with him under certain conditions. They refused. Not me. He could have gotten an attorney, or gone to family court, but I think he did not want the judge to question the children about why they did not want to go. He would not have looked very good in that scenario.
Your ex and her AP now spouse may have a change in their circumstances, too. Marriage is not as exciting as an illicit affair and parenting 3 under 3 is a lot of work. Let some time pass and let those conditions sink in. They may be enjoying this game because they know it hurts you. Don’t give them the pleasure of seeing how upset you are. Let your lawyer do the talking.
Merry Christmas Portia.
Thank you for your kind thoughts and perspective. I understand custody is a war, so I am preparing the troops. I really want these children in my life so 50/50 is minimum “best interest” of the children.
Regardless of what my faults are as a human, I love being a dad.
I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.
I have seen many couples try 50/50, and it is usually a scheduling nightmare. I was primary because I kept the children most of the time — to get them to school, activities, and medical appointments. This was actually the same arrangement we had when married, because he traveled and worked so many odd hours. I offered him any additional time he wanted — take the kids to dinner, or a movie during the week — sure, if they got home by bedtime and didn’t have activities already scheduled. Once he figured out I was not trying to restrict his time with the kids, strangely, he didn’t want to spend more time with the kids. He started with every weekend during the school year, and two weeks of vacation, one in the summer, one after Christmas, when they were out of school. That lasted about two months, then every other weekend, then maybe one weekend a month. Vacations got harder to schedule.
Custody is part of the power dynamic, and often has effects on child support. A good parent wants to be involved in the kids life, even if you don’t tuck them in every night. Ballgames, and concerts, and school events are important to the kids. If you can be there, it has nothing to do with custody. Just stay informed and show up as much as possible. I was determined my children would not be pawns in a war with their dad. In order to accomplish that goal, I had to stop caring what he did, and with whom after our divorce. If he introduced my children to inappropriate girlfriends, he just looked stupid to my children. They told him if they didn’t like the situation. They told him they didn’t want to tag along on one of his dates. They wanted to see their dad and have his full attention. They had to learn that was unlikely to happen.
I do not know what your work is like, or how close you live to your children. Proximity and availability are important. I chose jobs that paid less but offered more flexibility to accommodate my children’s needs. This choice causes consequences in retirement income, and upward mobility in the work world. I could not afford a nanny and did not want one to raise my children. Truthfully a housekeeper would have helped me a lot more, but I could not afford one of them either. I did have some good babysitters for times I could not cover. Children keep track of who shows up, regardless of the reason.
I may be a cynic, but I think the new spouse will lose interest in being super dad once he finds out how much work is involved. This couple made time to cheat. That tells you their priorities. Good parenting is on the opposite end of that spectrum. I was too tired to think about hooking up with strange when my kids were growing up. I got up in the morning before they did and went to bed after they did. My days included full time mom and full time work duties. It is an exhausting schedule.
When the new wears off and reality sets in, your availability to help should grow in value. You obviously love your children. She didn’t like you as a husband, but she could appreciate you as a father. I encourage you to play the long game. Good Luck!
Thanks for your perspective, I love your mighty.
Have a merry Christmas
“Once he figured out I was not trying to restrict his time with the kids, strangely, he didn’t want to spend more time with the kids.”
This. It’s been shocking to me to see how little time FW chooses to spend with his son. Yet he made the custody negotiations hard. It’s just a power play & ego concern for them, apparently. Not so much about their love for the children.
Same here, Portia and Jennifer Abrams. Exactly the same, down to me not being able to afford a housekeeper or a babysitter.
Mine still threatens me to go for full custody from time to time, but spends less and less time with the kids, even waiving some of her days with them in order to be with her boyfriend in another city. And often leaves then with a babysitter to go to the gym, only to bother me during my time with them with complaints that she hasn’t enough time with them and it is all my fault.
Since the divorce, my kids coudn’t count on her for help on homework, medical and therapy appointments, ER visits, recitals at the school, not even nails and haircut (although hers is always splendid). She did took them twice to the dentist (her cousin), but billed me the full ammount (not ok as per our settlement).
They can count on her only for things that benefits her instagram: overcharged tenis classes, fancy destinations and restaurants.
They also resent having to share her attention with her bf and besties all the time. She has her face glued to the phone screen all the time (which is not new, but then the kids had me around).
Sorry for venting, but I hear you and it is the truth regarding these fuckwits.
Merry Christmas to all CN!
Lonely and sad for some of us, but cheater-free for many.
Wow oh wow.
I am confident that karma has their address.
Haha, yeah, in some really really repulsive way, these two are perfect for each other. It’s so bizarre , but I don’t care to untangle that so I just hope the karma is happiness and joy for my children.
Yes to this: Still stings, but if I’m still around in a few years, my joy and happiness with my children will bloom.
Merry Christmas to you, Xioba Xioba!!
Dear Xioba Xioba,
please accept my deepest sympathy for your predicament. I wish I could hug you now, brother. This is all beyond horrific.
The unfairness of it all! I know it hurts that you have to contribute money to your XW and AP’s image management and alienation of your kids, but please try to frame that in terms of you being there for them as much as your current circunstances allow you to do, till the day you will have your kids close to you again.
You are their Only Dad, and ever will be. And you will stick around for them.
My wife too once hinted at her thinking of then AP as a better male role model for my 2 autistic sons (I suspect I am autistic too) and started introducing him to our kids without me knowing. This just cut through my core. Her main allegation against me was that I wear worn-out clothes (I was at lost for words; OM was sort of a metrosexual – to no avail I should add). I was more fortunate than you that the affair blew up in her face just after I filled for divorce (he told her she was not in the same level of hotness than the women he used to date – or at least she told me so). But I can relate to your (much bigger) pain and worries. My divorce was final last month, and now my kids are in frequent contact with my XW’s new boyfriend (the 5th relationship of hers post affair, if I am to trust my oldest son’s account of events). They are now getting used to spend days together, under the same roof (my XW’s). I was surprised by this as I was suddenly introduced to this man the last drop off of the kids on their mom’s. If I am honest, I am more than a little bit jealous because he is a commercial pilot and both my boys have been airplane aficionados for years now (autistic kids tend to have some very strong interests). I try to take solace in the fact that he is 20 years our senior, father of an 8 yo girl, and seems to be a decent guy (although naïve). It looks like you can’t afford this much peace of mind, since it is the AP that is living with your children, and being a total piece of shit to your family all along. All I can say is that I hate what him and your XW are doing to you and cheer for you and your kids. Sending my best wishes for you all. (((Hugs)))
Thanks Brazilian Chump.
I feel for your situation and I appreciate you acknowledging my contributions ( support )— I pay my support ( it’s just money ) so I know I’m being a good dad even if I’m not there.
You mention jealousy, and I’m really really jealous and it sort of embarrasses me and enraged me all at once, but I can see you’ve gone through a few passes of new APs so I’m sure it’ll be never ending, and it just changes a bit with the new guy.
Merry Christmas and I wish you and your boys joy and happiness.
Thanks, Xioba Xioba!
I apologize for my remark about money maybe coming across as rude or plain weird (English is not my first language and I have a hard time with words even in Portuguese).
What I was trying to say is that I hope you will be with your kids again very soon (even if its 50/50 shared custody), using your money to take care of them your way and have lots of fun with them, instead of having your XW take your money and try to alienate your kids from you with shiny things and “perfect family” fantasy. Don’t know if I make more sense now.
In fact, I was thinking of my own situation. My settlement is quite uncommon and lopsided. It left me impoverished and working all the time (even my days with the kids) while my XW has financial ease and enough nonworking days to just be the fun parent. I wonder how this will affect the way the kids see each parent in the long run: me being sad and tired and penniless all the time and her and bf being just lots of fun and shiny things.
It was inconsiderate of me to spill my guts on a fellow chump who’s got it tougher than me. You sound like a very good person and bound to overcome this momentary shitstorm.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for you and your kids!
Brazilian Chump, chump nation is strong. My situation is exactly like all the other chumps— I think me venting is just for future chumps to read and learn.
Sorry to hear about your situation, but I can tell you’re solid so keep at it.
My sister always tells me kids want awesome dads not shinny fun dads. You are awesome.
It’s a sh*t sandwich even when someone cuts the crust off, cuts it on the diagonal and serves it up on a fancy plate. I can only advise that you follow CL’s lead and “model mightiness.” Be happy for your son and STBDIL, be polite and firm over boundaries and just treat everything else – your Ex included if necessary – as “white noise.”
I would also suggest that you remember that your son’s and STBDIL’s wedding day is but one day of their marriage; try and be there for them for the totality of their marriage and don’t just focus on the first day.
PS – if your ex-wife is a narcissist there is a good chance that your son knows (or at least suspects) this already but hasn’t yet worked out how to deal with it yet. Be patient and supportive of him.
Having dined at the wedding shit sandwich buffet three times with our kids, I would have to agree with CL on this. Just get through the day and move on. Weddings are all about fairy tales and reality will come later. I just smiled at the camera and did my best to ignore the XW. Two tips- Do not drink too much and say or do something stupid and get someone to be your wingman (other than your spouse) They can get you out of uncomfortable conversations with ex spouse, their partner or other random drunks that want to butt-in.
I second the wingman suggestion — they need two here. One for Justadad and one for his wife.
Human buffer zones really help!
I love the wingman suggestion, too.
I also think that it’s brilliant advice not to drink too much, despite the probable urge. You need to keep your wits about you. Liquid courage might say or do something regrettable.
Oh, and you don’t have to stay too long at these events. Just pose for photos, eat the chicken, and do a dance or two.
I haven’t had to grin and bear it at any event YET, but if I do, I think I’ll try to channel Grandma Vi. If only I smoked and could pull off a long cigarette holder. Maybe there’s a more appropriate prop. Hmmmmm…
I am all about the “human buffer zones”!! They are awesome. Enlist all your closest friends and family — not just a wingman or 2. Why? Because the minute the wingman goes to the toilet or gets a drink at the bar, that’s when FWs swoop in for drama.
At my son’s Bar Mitzvah, I had my mom, sister, and probably ten of my closest friends all around me and distracting me — totally worked though! It also kept me happy and in the moment!!
I couldn’t tell you what FW and his parents were doing — didn’t care.
That was just the ceremony and lunch however — I did a party for my son separately.
Please don’t let being at the wedding be a shit sandwich at all. Show up and find your people and enjoy yourself with the people you love and your wife. Ignore the rest as best you can.
I went to a wedding a few years ago where the mother of the bride (who is still single) had to be in proximity to the cheater XH and his considerably younger NewWife. The NW was dressed for a cocktail party and appeared to be both uncomfortable and brittle. My friend the mother of the bride looked lovely and was surrounded by friends and family. We danced the night away while XH and NW drank their cocktails and looked uncomfortable. So enlist that army of supporters! You can have a great time at the wedding.
Imagining myself in this future situation (x3, shriek), I think my fantasy wingwomen would be my hilarious friend D and Pinky Patel of hotmesexprespinkystyle and her little crown. https://youtu.be/RYxkRtB9V40
Sounds like you are one of the fortunates who has found a new partner that they know they can trust and same for your wife. If this were me, I would try to focus more on that – you have each other!
My kuds are growing up and one day I will have to live these days and I can only imagine how much it would mean to have someone I loved, who loved me and understood a chump’s feelings, to hold my hand that day.
Beechump, a really good friend who’s ballsy enough to be a wingman can fill that gap.
I’m proud to say that I have been a wing-woman and human shield to a friend who was Chumped late in life. She had a couple of horror public events to endure with her ex and the kids who sided with Disney Dad.
I sat with her, and had a wonderful opportunity to stare down – in silence – her youngest and rudest child, who backed down and slunk off.
Please don’t limit yourself to thinking that a romantic/sexual relationship is somehow the gold standard by which all other relationships must be measured.
I drank Lacroix at their house warming party and stood in living room watching college football.
The ex walked by me and wouldn’t even look in my direction. Her new husband as well.
I actually found it very amusing to be honest.
No one knows how this feels if they haven’t been in these awful shoes. That includes adult kids. The children, no matter what age they are, are the victims of infidelity who have the worst shit seats in the ballpark IMHO. ☹️
I get to accept or decline invitations. I don’t get to control the invites. Unless there was a prior agreement about who is invited and one party starts unilaterally inviting others. (As I understand etiquette.)
I am sorry to hear STBDIL is invested in including Traitor X in her episode of Say Yes to the Dress. That is a day many moms look forward to as a mother/daughter experience without traitorous villains riding shotgun. But as with all other child-related expectations, they are likely to be foiled in real life.
I wonder what Miss Manners would say about this one. She’s the one whose advice I’d be seeking and following.
And we all know cheaters don’t consult with Miss Manners, who famously said we are not required to consider the feelings of people who intentionally hurt ours (I’m paraphrasing here; she said it much more eloquently.)
If it were my daughter, I’d be having a straightforward conversation. Being at a wedding is very different from, and much easier than the intimacy of a wedding dress shopping trip and I think an honest conversation between mother and daughter is in order. As a bride I tried to skillfully handle situations with consideration for other people’s feelings.
I sought outside wisdom a lot.
Thanks cheaters, for ruining and harshing and complicating the living shit out of every single relationship and event attached to you for the rest of all our lives.
I know some say we shouldn’t complain, a wedding isn’t about us, etc. But there are certain roles significant people and family are supposed to play in a wedding, and it should be considered an honor to uphold them. I’d be damn steamed if my daughter allowed the whore my husband cheated with got involved with the wedding dress shopping, lunch out, and so on. It would be another big slap in the face, and daughter should know better. Yeah sure, yadda yadda yadda that the kids can’t possibly understand or walk in our shoes, but any moron can see what is wrong with this. Daughter has some problems. and is not very mature.
I’m not defending the STBDIL. Do you think I am (and therefore a moron?).
I would tell my daughter I would not be joining them and why.
No, I’m sorry if what I wrote came off that way. I was chiming in and agreeing with you, adding to what you wrote.
Oh good! I couldn’t tell!
I have deep suspicions that I am a moron and glad I escaped confirmation at least for today!
I was using strong language because this topic really bothers me quite a bit. People shouldn’t have to put up with be coerced into situations that bring them in contact with their abusers and have to deal with attempts to guilt them them when they refuse to participate.
P.S.: You are far from being a moron! I enjoy your insightful posts very much.
I agree with WeAreTheChumpions: You are far from being a moron and I also enjoy your insightful posts, Velvet Hammer! It saddens me if you really worry about being a moron. I would bet being chumped by a lying FW has a lot to do with that. I agree with you both about how the daughter should know better than to bring that abusive trash along for the dress shopping, and how FW cheaters forever change the dynamics of relationships and events tied to them. I told my STBXH he is a life sentence.
I second the hard conversation with the daughter.
“I wonder what Miss Manners would say about this one. She’s the one whose advice I’d be seeking and following.”
I read a wedding book by Miss Manners, in which she advised brides not to try to place divorced parents at the same table at dinner, or to try to make them pose for photos together. Her guidance for the divorced, non-amicable spouses was that they should behave in such a way that uninformed onlookers shouldn’t be able to tell there are problems between them.
And in general, she emphasized that brides should not see a wedding as “my day”, but instead as a joining of families, and should therefore take others’ feelings into consideration. She wouldn’t approve of this bride treating her mother this way,
What really sucks about these type of situations is the behavior and blowback from others. Though not exactly the same situation, I have been through something similar with being required to attend an important family event some years after disconnecting from a toxic sibling, who had years to spin their story. Stares, comments, and one relative backing me into a corner (literally) wagging her finger in my face and lecturing me.
Keep in mind , there will be those in the crowd watching every move you make for any hint of drama or bad behavior, as they love being an audience to the show.
Look, we do what we have to do to survive and take care if ourselves, when no one else cares about our safety and mental health. I really have no advice on how to deal with these sort of situations, except to keep to yourself and leave early. If anything, you will know who is on your side and who isn’t. I recieved a few silent nods and pats on the shoulder at the event, people who let me know they understood. It meant everything. We want people to know our adversaries are in the wrong, which is expecting too much.
I haven’t had to deal with a wedding yet. But had to get thru a high school graduation. My XW was cold and sarcastic. Refused to take pictures with our daughter and me. Basically an asshole. My wife and I were gracious and nice. My daughter can’t EVER honestly go back and say we didn’t act proper for her graduation. It did break my heart seeing how her couldn’t put my daughter first. My XW is a diagnosed Narcissist/BPD. So I didn’t expect anything different.
I’ve not had to deal with weddings yet either, but way in which Ex-Mrs LFTT made everything about our eldest daughter’s university graduation about her does not bode well.
She was late both to the graduation and the dinner we had afterwards, and kept changing the plans that our daughter had made without consulting her. To top it all, during the dinner she insisted on bringing up that the woman who had been enabling and cheerleading her affair had just been cheated on by her husband … despite multiple attempts by myself and our daughter to get her to Just. Stop. Bringing. It. Up!
Funny old thing, while Ex-Mrs LFFT was all about making the most of our daughter’s graduation, she did not lift a finger to help me and our daughter cleaning up her student flat before she moved out, which we were doing around the day of the ceremony. Cheaters love the “big day” and refuse to be left out, but are never there for the hard yards.
The whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth and it was months before our daughter spoke to her again.
The big problem I see is that it looks like the kids have been taught that it’s OK to tell other people how they should feel, which is tacitly dismissive and disrespectful = ouch.
Never OK. Never a good idea.
This whole thing today (IMHO) is also a major loyalty issue. Cheaters by definition have serious loyalty issues, so no surprise when loyalty issues keep causing problems. It’s why we’re all here in the first place.
For the record, and because it’s Christmas, I will share my very first disagreement with Traitor X. It was a loyalty issue. And a red flag STOP sign I did not see as such then. ☹️
We had gone to a national forest with tree permits to cut Christmas trees. I found mine right away and cut it myself. He had to find the mathematically perfectly symmetrical Christmas tree for his parents, so his search took a very long time.
On the way home, we dropped all the trees off at his parents house to await installation in our respective apartments the following weekend. (I have no idea why I agreed this). During the week, his mother became very attached to my tree, which was labeled, and wanted it. He was mad at me that I would not give his mother my tree which I found and cut myself.
Loyalty issue. First argument.
He didn’t stand up for me and tell his
mother, sorry, that’s her tree.
Counseling during our entire relationship failed to individuate him from his FOO and loyalty issues plagued us the entire time.
And of course, my marriage ended with the Lord God King of loyalty issues.
I have THREE TREES this year.
Yep. When your partner doesn’t have your back, they’ll probably stab you in the back at some point. Hard lessons.
Wow, guess who taught their kid entitlement to things that aren’t theirs? For all we know, she wanted the tree *because* it had your name on it. She still wanted her kid to *pick me!* And your enmeshed ex triangulated and drew you into a scenario that a healthy mom never would have put her son in.
My ex: brought his mom to my house and showed it to her while he had the keys when I was away (I had not yet invited her over); regularly bought his mother flowers but never bought me flowers; really wanted to take me out in his mother’s convertible; liked to come to my house with doggie bags of food to share from his mother’s house; and would tell me about listening to my songs or reading my books with his mother.
In the end one of the main gestures that gave me The Slap I needed was listening to him talk about dropping off his laundry at his mom’s house in the same breath as telling me about the severe reactions she was having to post-chemotherapy meds. I realized I was with the kind of person who tells himself that letting his mom do his laundry is a gracious act of love because that’s how she gets meaning in her life.
He was constantly making romantic / sweet boy gestures to the persons he used most intimately. Two Christmases ago I was crying because he again hadn’t called when he said he would. And when we had the conversation about it hours and hours later he claimed it was all about not wanting to disappoint his mother, i.e. not being able to get away from duties in the kitchen to come and make a phone call to me.
I don’t know if the OPs STBDIL is claiming to *need* to be nice to FW-ex, but I hope for the sake of the OP that she is indeed just young, bridezillishly self-focused and not getting it, as opposed to someone already prodigiously savvy in the ways of *loyalty* to as many doting people who can be of use.
Couldn’t agree more Velvet. Telling people how they should feel about anything — let alone something as milestone-y as this situation faced by Justadad — is gaslighting 101. Denying someone their reality while forcing them to endure a seriously loaded social minefield, is blatant disrespect at the minimum and shows no empathy. It’s abusive.
I would just look at daughter with one raised eyebrow, and proclaim “Whore is coming to the dress fitting/lunch? How nice. The two of you go on now and have a good time.” If she gets all over you for your “attitude,” explain it. Explain it is a traditional mother/daughter thing, and Whore is not her mother and has overstepped greatly. Explain that you despise the woman and you have every right to, and tell her how that works when someone comes along to poach the husband, family and life that you gave your heart and soul for. Explain to your daughter she has hurt you very deeply by insisting the whore be allowed to insert herself in this beautiful tradition, that should be between mother and daughter. We have a right to stand up for ourselves. Sometimes the “kids” need to grow up and be slapped with reality and deal. Daughter sounds like a brat. Maybe not now, but eventually she will respect you for this.
Exactly my view on it. daughter is entitled to her opinion and I, to mine.
Perhaps it will estrange mother and daughter.
I’m sorry that I spent far too many years caring about whether being true to myself would estrange myself and x.
Being true to myself and being authentic with the people that I care about is important to me. More important than wedding dress shopping with affair partner. Not sorry.
That’s not a shit sandwich that I’m willing to eat. Especially served by my daughter.
Daughter may not respond as I would wish.
I agree a serious conversation is needed, including the empathy exercise of explicitly asking the daughter to imagine what if, what if, after all the energy and love she’s put into her fiance and wedding, and later on into marriage and kids, her man was to cheat on her, lie to her about it and make her feel crazy, belittle her and gradually discard her emotionally. And then her own daughter would want her to accept her man’s OW at an intimate, mother-daughter event.
Don’t assume, “they just can’t see it”. Of course they can, if they listen and empathize. If the daughter truly has no capability for empathy, then she’s a narcissist herself.
Either way, I wouldn’t be self-sacrificing as that is not maintaining healthy self-respect and boundaries. I would not attend the dress fitting with OW, would not sit at a dinner table at FW or take pictures with him. The daughter can have a wonderful wedding without subjecting her mother to those things. It’s time for her to empathize and consider the needs of others as well as herself. Marriage is all about caring for another, after all, not just indulging yourself.
Oh dear, what’s the next gen cheating/divorce drama going to look like?
There’s a general impression that kids who identify with cheater/abuser role models tend to internalize those behaviors and reenact them throughout their lives.
That’s exactly how it was with my FW.
Seems like the kids are going with the perceived “winners” here so anyone on the other side who is hurt or was abused / discarded is just going to be shoved to the back, their feelings disregarded (again) because: losers / victims etc. Bullies like to position themselves on the side of being seen as winners as they don’t want to be victims of bullying themselves. That’s also pretty much why they become bullies in the first place. And meanwhile in the enablers camp, anyone observing them makes the connection that if they don’t wish to become the next target, they had better side with the bully. As you say this will continue on through the generations. Bring on the Nembutal – it’s gonna be hella scary out there when empathy has been actively or adaptively gene-deleted or has simply devolved to the point of effective oblivion.
One thing that stuck out was when CL mentioned the irony of FWs involvement in a marriage ceremony celebrating monogamy. They’ve lost all credibility in that department, it’s all for show and the family is a prop. It breaks my heart that the daughter is putting her mother in this situation. She has to know there’s hurt there, isn’t there some way to not inflict any more?
She is very selfish and self centered. Probably why she gets along with my X.
My wife is too sweet to confront her but I am not.
But I do know that I have to handle this carefully for her sake.
Presumably, you have a built-in ally with your current spouse. Stick close to each other, even if it means attendance together at some of the pre and post wedding events.
About the dress expedition: The mother of the bride should definitely go. She should look her best and concentrate on her daughter. Too many brides have watched “Say Yes to the Dress” and expect a giant entourage for picking a wedding dress. When my stepson got married, the bride’s mother didn’t want to go dress shopping, perhaps for financial reasons. So my then husband’s XW and I went. We both behaved admirably and had a very nice time. It helped that we saw our job as helping the bride make up her mind.
So maybe the mother of the bride should sit down with the daughter and talk about what she expects from the day. Does she want her mom’s input on the dress? Or does she want people to confirm HER choice? It might be good to get an idea of the kind of look the bride wants so she can say, “Hey, you were thinking ball gown. Are you changing your mind?” And she should be able to say “You are my beloved daughter. I don’t mind sharing this experience with whomever you want to bring, but please remember that this is a day I’ve been waiting for since you were born.” That statement has nothing to do with the soon-to-be MiL. That has to do with the two of them. If this girl is a Bridezilla with lots of “expectations,” a discussion like that might not work, but at least the mother of the bride will know that her daughter is on the Bridezilla road and it will be easier not to take it all so personally.
LAJ great advice.
She may become a ZILLA due her past decision making.
She’s a Christmas Eve baby and decided to take a cruise for her birthday because she was tired of sharing it with Christmas events.
She took my son with her as well and left the younger siblings to spend Xmas with us trying not to act disappointed.
Entitled would be an under statement.
One thing I would tell your wife is that you are OK with her going on the shopping trip. The fact that Bridezilla is putting her into an awkward situation is bad enough; she’s not “betraying” you by being in the same room as your Cheater X.
Eh, I’d give her a pass on the birthday trip. One way to be a lot happier during the holidays is allowing adult children to make choices about where to go and what to do (speaking as a woman of certain years who felt obligated to ALWAYS spend holidays with my parents and felt torn about the other people who expected the same.
I think the ticket is for your wife to remind Bridezilla that the mother of the bride has been anticipating this wedding since the birth and then see what happens. If she’s this selfish and dense, that’s not just about the aftermath of cheating. It’s about her relationship with her daughter–and whether they can learn to talk as adults. It’s never too late to teach kids to be better people.
Expectations, like comparisons, are the highway to disappointment.
But we all have the right to state our boundaries clearly and leave if they are violated.
This is just thinking, not advice — which is an important disclaimer, because situations like this are SOOOO individual.
In my own individual life, I’ve reached the point where I avoid all the peripheral BS so I can be there for main events. Kind of like spoon theory and emotional bank account theory, my stamina to smile and nod in the presence of BS is extremely limited, so I have to budget it.
Keeping my contacts limited in number, intensity, volume, and duration allows me to show up at the event for an obligatory amount of time and say nothing to asshats while I’m there. That’s what I can offer. Trying to offer more will end with all of us wishing I had not tried. For sure.
This may not work for you, and I respect your way if it differs. I know it isn’t popular. I’m posting this as something resembling permission for others who need to do what I need to do, because I really need to do it like this, and it took a long time to do get here in the face of very little support.
If you’re like me, I fully support you, so consider me your cheerleader. We don’t owe people our time and energy just because they want it. We may choose to stretch our boundaries for people we treasure (like children) for reasons that matter (often a lot), but that’s still not the same as owing it to them.
Two cents in a dollar bucket for anyone who needs it, ignore them if you’re one who doesn’t.
This is exactly what I do, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. As an introvert and someone who has had too much disordered FOO stuff and too many disordered men, for me it is the way to go, also. When no one advocates for us, we have to do it for ourselves. We don’t owe anyone who has harmed us our time, money, or affections.
I love this and completely agree. I’m among the minority who doesn’t see the point of working to maintain a relationship with people who callously disregard your feelings. In this situation, I wouldn’t cut my daughter off, or anything, but if after a private heart-to-heart talk, her behavior was still heartless towards me, then I would not attend the fitting or the wedding. Not in a huff, but calmly, I would just politely decline each event and not go. I would still be there for my daughter if and when she needs or wants to be with me.
I have a son rather than a daughter. He knows I don’t get along with his father, and doesn’t try to force us into pretend togetherness. I respect and support his right to have his father involved in his life, but my son is still caring and respectful towards me. He doesn’t treat me like my feelings don’t matter. That’s how the bride is treating this mother and I don’t see the point of the mother playing along with it. Imo there’s such a thing as being a chump for your kids, too. As a schoolteacher, I’ve seen way too much parental indulgence of kids. Set some boundaries, and you’ll get more respect and consideration. You have to actually teach them that you are a person and that you matter.
‘…and I don’t see the point of the mother playing along with it. Imo there’s such a thing as being a chump for your kids Good comments.’
Esp the ‘teaching people how to treat you’ one.
Hopefully they only get married once. I say just keep a stiff upper lip and partipate in a dignified and reserved way. Dress to the nines and shine.
And …. do some dirty dancing with your new partner at the reception LOL
My own kids could not give a flying f about the injustices my ex inflicted on me. My choices are shun them or chalk it down to their self absorption and youth.
I cannot figure out how to say this so I’m going to just jump in. Your children are the first generation in forever that have never been told no. They have gotten everything they wanted. You probably made the divorce so nice on the surface they don’t have a clue how hurtful it was. I’m thinking your wife is the same type of person. You are both nice people. You are both kind people. You might wait 10 years before these two grow up but they are going to run into reality at some point. We all do. Don’t burn bridges. Just wait this out with as calm a demeanor as possible but get on with your lives. I find it sad that I know three families with one child in each family who turned on their parents and disappeared. I mean gone completely. Through some detective work their parents know where they are but they have been told point-blank not to contact them. This are children who feel they are entitled, so just lay low and get on with your life and I hope you have a very happy marriage.
In your wife’s place I would politely decline to attend the dress fitting. It isn’t her daughter, anyway, so no big deal. My sister’s MIL didn’t attend her dress fitting, & there weren’t even any relationship issues involved. It was simply a blood mother & sister & best friend event.
Not into this relatively recent trend of a bride being worshipped by all, so I wouldn’t encourage it in any way. It’s a wedding, a solemn religious occasion, not a coronation. If more bridal couples accepted this reality & were less egocentric, there would probably be fewer cheaters & broken marriages.
I think the bride-to-be IS his wife’s daughter.
“Well… my oldest son and my wife’s daughter are now engaged.”
So I can well imagine what a slap in her face it is to have to share this moment (picking out the dress) with the mother of the bride (a FW and LW’s ex-wife). I have no idea WTF the bride-to-be is thinking because it’s both clueless, selfish and cruel.
Bodes well for the marriage that your new bestie is your groom’s cheating FW mother.
My mistake- got that mixed up. Wow, how awful. In this situation, as the bride’s mother I would have a serious talk with the bride about how hurtful this is. If she disregarded my feelings after that, then I would likely decline to attend the wedding as well as the dress fitting. Seriously. What’s the point of maintaining a relationship with someone who intentionally behaves so callously towards you?
I, as the mother of the bride, am expected to sit there, in the bridal shop, with MY daughter AND the whore who helped destroy my marriage and family while daughter chooses her wedding dress ?! HELL NO ! I would not choke down shit canapés and champagne at such an event.
Sounds like the daughter is a narcissist like her father. I am so sorry;it happens that a child takes after the disordered parent.
This reminds me of a family in my hometown that was wrecked when Roger took up with his beautiful (only on the outside) fuckatery. He and his wife Susan had four kids. One of the three daughters took to calling Ninnie (her actual nickname. Short for nincompoop ?) her other mother. Same daughter who became a therapist ????♀️. Roger and Ninnie married, had three sons and eventually divorced. I had to dig on the internet for his obit. Only a few lines summarized his life.
+1 forever to this.
This comment was intended as a response to Jennifer Abrams, although I totally agree with NSC too.
While I’m at it, let me say I hope they’re not still paying for this shindig when they get divorced in–what’s the average now?–a little over 8 years. Sorry to be cynical, but Bridezilla here sounds like a real peach, and the boy is undoubtedly a close match.
I am disappointed in my kids (20 & 17) tonight as well.
I sit here alone on Christmas eve while they celebrate with X, Ho, and Ho’s kids.
They were supposed to spend the holiday with me, but X did his stealth manipulation tricks and managed to enlist the kids in destroying these plans with only a week’s notice. I guess they felt guilty? How they don’t feel guilty about leaving their mother completely alone for Christmas, I can’t answer.
I was left shocked, heartbroken, feeling betrayed, and uninterested in making new plans even if I could. I thought I had a good grip on Tuesday, but this shit took me down like quicksand.
I’m not sure I have the sanity left to be the sane parent anymore.
Aw, I’m really sorry CQ. They probably caved in to the asshole because they know you will forgive them and they know he will hold a grudge. They know they don’t have to try to keep your love, but a fw’s affectionate is tenuous at best and based on them getting what they want.
These stories are all too common.
My ❤ goes out to you at this difficult time.
OHFFS – this is the first thing that came to my mind, so you’re probably right. This kind of thing is still hard to wrap my head around though. As horrible as I know the X is, I continue to be surprised by just how awful he can be. If that makes any sense.
Hope your day is a good one. ☮
Your ex manipulated and groomed the kids because he is an expert in this field
Can you and you children nail down a plan going forward? You sit down with them and discuss which days/holidays will be spent with each parent every year?
I think it’s ok to tell them you were hurt by the change of plans and that you think it’s healthiest if an agreement is made for future holidays. And that we stick to the plan out of fairness to all.
Mitz – I’ve been wondering about whether I should say anything. But I think I have to. As for nailing down plans, I don’t think I can at this point. I just wish there wasn’t such a thing as Christmas at all right now. Regardless, I hope your day is a happy one. ❤
You are absolutely sane. It would be insane to not feel hurt. Big hugs ❤️
GS – Thank you! ????
I’m so sorry. Thinking of you.
I’m alone this Christmas too. But I have had about five weeks’ notice to mentally prepare for it (my partner left me; this one wasn’t the cheater).
Wishing you a a new year with mostly Tuesdays.
NorthernLight – I hope your morning is going well. Know that I’m thinking of you too. Peace & Love to you!
ChumpQueen, peace and love back to you! How are you doing so far? My Christmas Eve was fine. I started a book I’d been looking forward to reading, and my my cat cuddled on me. And today is okay so far. I had expected it to be the worst Christmas of my life (my first to spend 100% alone), but it’s not as bad as I would have expected. I’m focusing on appreciating the quiet and calm.
I’m so sorry this happened to you. Hopefully they will see the error of their ways and be more considerate in the future. You should be honest with them about how hurt and lonely you were on Christmas. They need to know how damaging their behavior is, even though they were trying to please their father. They need to be clued into the fact that it’s not acceptable to try to please one person by hurting another. Sometimes a hard lesson for children of narcs to learn, as narcs excel at getting others to hurt the person they’re trying to target.
On a broader note, although I don’t know your individual backstory, I think this kind of betrayal is the legacy of the chumped partner feeling the need to pretend that everything is okay, for the children’s sake. Pretending that the marital breakup was a peaceful, mutual decision with no one at fault. Encouraging the kids to see the FW as a great parent regardless, etc. It creates a disconnect from reality and sets the standard that it’s okay for one person to disregard the feelings of another, and that loyalty is not an important value.
“it’s not acceptable to try to please one person by hurting another. Sometimes a hard lesson for children of narcs to learn, as narcs excel at getting others to hurt the person they’re trying to target.”
I will talk to them about this. Thanks for validating the narc thing. I don’t think anyone believes he’s a narc, so it’s difficult for me to believe it sometimes. These are the moments that shock me back into reality.
As for the backstory – our divorce was traumatizing. I already had complex PTSD when X and I met, and being married to him didn’t help. So when he left (5 years ago today), it triggered everything. I struggled for a long time to stabilize myself, and the kids know that. So it’s surprising to me that they didn’t realize (care?) how much this would hurt.
“Kids – you spending the day with your father on the anniversary of the date he walked out on me (and into the arms of OW – if this is appropriate) tears me up inside. If we make plans to be together on this particular date, then it is really important to me that we stick to that plan.
If you change plans for something “better” that comes along later, it’s incredibly hurtful. It stings when a friend does it to you – right? Multiply it be on thousand when a family member does it to you.”
I don’t know if the speech above is too much for your kids at this time, but the whole notion of “I’ll make a commitment unless something better comes along” is something that good parents make clear is unacceptable from the start. I don’t doubt FW did everything he could to minimize THAT message. Reclaim it.
Big hugs to you, CQ.
When my children reach adulthood my responsibility for them is over. That might sound crass but it’s the truth. I”ll always be there for them and love them, but they will NEVER tell me what to do. You need boundaries with kids too…..I have them with my own codependent mother….God bless her well intentions, she’s incapable of seeing the long term. Biggest lesson for chumps. Boundaries!!!
“I”ll always be there for them and love them, but they will NEVER tell me what to do. You need boundaries with kids too”
My eldest even tried to dictate what I would wear to her wedding, going as far as to buy me the dress of her choosing without consulting me first. I was not in the wedding party so it was not her privilege to choose my attire. Luckily it didn’t fit, as it was cheaply made, didn’t suit me at all and I would have felt silly in it. It spared me from having to lecture her about overstepping, but now I wish I had anyway because she kept overstepping, kept being selfish, and was absolutely awful to me when I broke up with fw.
Merry Christmas, to you all.
That particular situation is a whole shit sandwich buffet , I agree.
But it also shows – other people don’t give a fuck about your feelings.
There are a few important thoughts:
You want to go because you want to maintain a healthy relationship with your children.
You are not a manipulator like the narcissistic ex . You are a healthy individual .
Right now they are in marriage mode, which is quite a selfish time anyway.
That day will come and pass .
So – practice your grey rock for any communication which will occur on the day.
Even more – be a rock yourself. You are an unmovable 15 ton piece of granite which has been there when the earth was formed and will be there long after the wedding ceremony is over.
All your interactions, reactions and behaviour on that day will be predictable, stable, polite and sane.
Play the long game – the narcissistic ex will create drama and manipulate – why would she want to be there when the wedding dress gets chosen? Because there are kibbles and there will be drama.
You don’t need any of that.
“Weird son/husband dynamic.” Also known as emotional incest, and as you say, very typical of narcissists. Ooh boy. That girl is getting the MIL from hell. She’ll find out.
CL is right, there’s no way to avoid pretending to be of good cheer at the wedding, but your wife is within her right to skip the dress shopping, especially after rudely being told; “I don’t want to hear anything about it.” In my book if you invite somebody to anything, whether it’s dress shopping or a fancy dress ball, it behooves you to make that person as comfortable as you can, especially if it’s your own mom. So she’s putting currying favor with STBMIL at a higher priority than protecting her mom’s feelings. Ouch. She’ll also invite craptacular MIL and Nurse Hotpants to the bridal shower, to future baby showers and to kid birthdays. There is no way you and your wife can avoid these people at all those events, so you should be civil but frosty. Not frosty enough that the kids could legitimately whine about you being rude, but enough that the cheaters can tell there’s no love lost. For example, if daughter expects your wife to hug her fuckwit STBMIL, she’s out of her mind. A nod and an insincere hi how are ya will have to suffice.
This isn’t a shit sandwich, it’s a whole Subway shop full of shit sandwiches, for years and years. As CL says, they are young and don’t have the perspective to understand how you feel. But here’s the thing- they shouldn’t have to understand what it’s like in order to be respectful of your feelings. They aren’t being respectful and that’s a problem you both need to straighten out with your kids.
For example; “I know you don’t know what it’s like to have gone through what we have, and I hope you never do. However, our feelings are real, our feelings matter, and they are not going to change. I will do everything in my power to make sure your wedding day is a happy one, but I will not befriend people of poor character, people who have caused immeasurable pain to others, not even to please you. I love you and always will. Just please don’t ask me to violate my values and boundaries, and please don’t trivialize my feelings.”
Good luck JAD, and happy holidays to you and to all of CN. Let’s hope Santa brings us all a reverse hearing aid device which can be switched on to block out the whop whop whop of fuckwit blithering. Then maybe JAD and the rest of us can get through those kind of events. Please Santa! We’ve been good. ????????
What I read is a daughter telling her mother that this is how it is, take it or leave it. I would choose to leave it. In 1995 I made the mistake of going to a hen party attended by the ex’s exgf, she who became exgfOW at a later stage. Ex and exgf had introduced the engaged couple and were to be best man and chief bridesmaid at the wedding. The exgf was engaged to her chump at this stage. I had been with the ex for 2 years. The kerfuffle around this wedding was off the scale. One minute I was being told that I wasn’t being invited to the hen do because it would upset the exgf. I accepted that without complaint. Next minute the bride and exgf had fallen out and exgf wasn’t attending the hen do. I was invited and attended against my better judgement, responding to ex’s pressure. Low and behold, exgf turns up. She proceeded to make my time at the hen party a living hell. Everyone could see what she was doing. A couple of women stepped in to help and support me (I didn’t know anyone there well). It has been a regret that I didn’t run for the hills at that point.
I tried to do the right thing and caused myself grief and discomfort that I still remember vividly 26 years later! I suspect that your wife is being used in the same way Justadad. For entertainment value for the disordered. Your wife may be best advised to decline her daughter’s generous offer of wedding dress shopping with your ex wife (who has no business being present). It’s a case of putting her oxygen mask on before helping others. If her daughter cannot see how wrong her approach is, she may need your wife to say a loud ‘no thank you’ to enable her to recalibrate her thinking.
People (including kids, unfortunately) do not understand.
Betrayal is abstract and relative if you haven’t been it’s victim. It’s like rape in that sense. If they don’t believe it happened to you, then it can’t happen to them.
Justadad’s SDIL is investing in psychological insurance. The wedding may be fabulous, but the marriage is doomed in my opinion. Children whose parents cheat tend to cheat in their own marriages. I think the SDIL understands this subconsciously. Befriending the woman who helped betray her mother is a preemptive strike against her own betrayal. Her mother lost, and the OW won. It makes primitive, reptilian sense to have the winner pick out her dress. It’s symbolic, even if it is subconscious and cruel.
And, while everyone may be perfectly fine with step-siblings getting married, I think they’re crossing serious boundaries. It could be a subconscious attempt to fix their broken families, to re-do their parents’ marriages and make it right this time. Regardless, if my son told me he was marrying OW’s daughter, I would not give him my blessing. I’d take him to a therapist.
Very astute and insightful. I hope you can find some peace on this day.
Just, no. My kid is only 14 and I’ve already decided there’ll be 2 of everything in her future. I mean, I’ll attend and help out with a singular wedding…but that’s it. I’ll throw her a bridal showers with MY side of the family only…the ex’s family can throw her one if they want. Dress shopping and fittings? Sure! She can split them up however she wants…but no overlap. I’m even prepared to advocate that she have 2 separate weddings. I’ll pay for the one with our family. And…why not?! Honestly, I can’t believe this is a major conversation. I’ve been to enough millennial weddings to know that this generation LOVES to have a dozen celebrations prior to marriage and hold 3-day weddings. Sounds like there’s plenty of room to split things up.
And there’s no need to editorialize your choice beyond “sorry kiddo, I want to do the things, but let’s just split them up. K?! I’ll bring some fancy champagne and we’ll have a blast at your second dress fitting!” The end.
If the grown ass “kids” decide to die on this hill…so be it. Parents, just always take the high road. Send a wonderful gift and loving card, send cash for events, give lots of hugs and acknowledgement that, yes, it is truly unfair to them. But it’s how it is, and adaptability matters.
You mail it every freakin time Tracy. Thank you
I wish more people understood that when we no longer want contact with a significant person in our lives it’s not because we are mean, petty, or vindictive. We do it because we are protecting ourselves from toxic mental and possible physical harm. It is astounding to me how alone in this we can be. No one wants to understand or care where we’re coming from. The phrase I’ve used with people who question this is: “If no one else cares about my well-being, my mental health and physical health, or my safety, then I need to do it for myself. It’s not my problem if you refuse to understand.”
Agree. Not only that, but even if the fuckwit wasn’t hazardous to our mental health, we’re allowed to dislike people. It’s not a personal failing to have a strong aversion to certain people. Everybody feels that way about at least one person they’ve met. So naturally, we avoid those people. We act as if they don’t exist. To ask us to be friendly with and spend time with people we dislike, for whatever reason to, is nervy and insensitive. They should be pleased and satisfied if we are civil, because damn, is it hard to be civil to a fw. Asking for more than that isn’t fair and it’s selfish. They want everything all fake nicey-nice because it allows them to pretend we’re all just one big happy family, when they know for a fact that we are not happy around the fw. We’re not required to assist anyone, even our kids, in deluding themselves. If they are young kids, we can certainly spare them the details, whys and wherefores. These are adult children in this case, and if they are old enough to marry, they’re old enough to know we’re not obligated to play happy family with the ex and new spousal appliance.
Even when we have a gut reatction to some we just met, our first impressions are often the most accurate; our very being yelling at us to steer clear. Regardless of the circumstances, be it someone we just mey, or our FW, we should not forced or guilted into compromising our dignity, safety, well-being, and very essence as a human being to make others “comfortable.”
Practical question: Who is paying for the wedding dress?
If the mom of the bride is paying, it would be really weird for her to not go. Mom of bride will also look petty if she doesnt go. I hope that she can eek a moment of contentment in all of it.
We can all hope that STBMIL wakes up with an intractable case of gout or food poisoning that morning.
The good wife/mom might do well to bring a wingman and has the option to feign illness if she decided the whole thing is a shitshow.
I once worked with a woman who married her mom’s husband’s son and it seemed to work for them.
That is sound advice, Tracy! I’ll tuck this away for later reference when (if) my daughter marries.