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UBT: ‘Respect My Relationship with the OW’

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respect

Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve been divorced from my lying cheating ex since January 2016 after I found out he was cheating on me with his client. At the time we lived in a different state and shortly after our separation (June 2015), he moved in with his ladylovewhore and I moved back home to the great state of Texas.

I took our 10 year old daughter with me so now he lives 2,500 miles away and sees her once a month and every other holiday. He has made zero attempts to move back home to partake in the raising of his daughter, but has so much to say when it comes to my parenting.

I am not going to lie, I don’t sugarcoat this relationship to my daughter and my disgust with his behavior and his affair partner’s behavior. So, last weekend he brings our daughter back to me not having done a lick of homework, which didn’t sit well with me. Bright and early the next day, I get this email from the cheater ex:

I spoke to our daughter last night and in the future will go over any and all homework assignments needed to be completed when I have her for the weekend. This apparently upset you and you caused significant stress on our daughter’s last night, that wasn’t necessary. I would appreciate you addressing these items with me only and not in our daughters’s presence. I think you blew a small misunderstanding into something stressful for our daughter. I’ll try to set up the family wizard app this week and that should help improve our communication between us.

OW is part of my life and she’ll be part of our daughter’s life as well. OW will never be her mother, but rather a positive influence on her and someone she can trust. Despite your negative attitude and antics, we are building a life together and only want the best for our daughter. I would appreciate you respect my relationship with OW when it comes to your interactions with our daughter and try not to cause undo stress with her.”

I love that he mentions “trust.” I’m sorry but trust from a woman who fucked a married man is a little too late. I wouldn’t trust her as far as I can throw that snake and him. I blame him 90% because he is a cheater more than once during our marriage. Second time I just had the courage to step away. He is lonely living in another state with this whore and lashes out at me on a daily basis.

LoneStar

Dear LoneStar,

Just file this one under “The Unending Punishment of Breeding with a Fuckwit.” What’s with part-time, recreational parents and homework, anyway? Why can’t these people do the damn book reports?

Look, I know it’s a suggestion from the Fuckwit — but do take him up on that scheduling software. You need a paper trail about what is in the best interest of your child, and when he fails to do right by her — like not getting the homework done, DOCUMENT. By way of validation — yes, it is upsetting when your child doesn’t do their homework. It’s doubly upsetting when the parent in charge of Not Super Fun Parenting Things, like homework supervision, fails to do a simple job. Moreover, I get the unmitigated gall this guy has to fuck up his teeny, tiny responsibility, and then call YOU out for hurting your daughter.

Oh me? The person responsible for 99.99999 percent of all the parenting? The person who raises this kid? Schlepps child to school/sports/girl scouts/birthday parties/grandparents/emergency rooms? Me here with the minus zero sick leave for nursing the kid’s stomach flu? The parent who gets to be Mom AND Dad 24/7 except for the occasional weekend you deign to take her? Because you’re too busy CHEATING and taking up with some new fool immune to your lies? The parent here who has a PERFECT HOMEWORK RECORD and plays the heavy on the book reports, even thought I hate “Where the Red Fern Grows”? Me? I suck? YOU HAD ONE JOB TO DO. ONE! I have 15,678,993 jobs. Simultaneously. Sick or healthy. Whether I feel like it or not. Every day. The score Sir is 15,678,993 to 0. Shut the fuck up

See how easily I just wrote that speech? It’s not hard to tap the deep wells of resentment when parenting with a fuckwit. I get it. Here’s what I want you to do.

1.) Parent your way. You have your child the majority of the time. You WIN. Your ex is a fuckwit, but he’s a part-time fuckwit parent. Be the sane parent. Let go of what goes on at his house, because you don’t control it. Before your daughter leaves, remind her of her homework obligations. If you want to go the extra mile, get her a phone and text her these sorts of reminders. (Yes, I helicopter parent. And I have a nice son at college to prove it.) But remember, at the end of the day, the homework responsibilities are HERS. She will learn from natural consequences when she goes to class unprepared. Use the scheduling software and then LET GO. Document his fuck ups. If you have to go back to court, you need that documentation.

2.) Stop venting to your daughter about her dadI don’t sugarcoat this relationship to my daughter and my disgust with his behavior and his affair partner’s behavior. You’re allowed to tell your kids why you’re divorced (Dad cheated on me with OW). But don’t editorialize. Don’t slop your emotional crap onto your kid or make her carry your pain. She has enough of her own. She knows he sucks. But he’s still her dad and she deserves to figure that relationship out for herself. Abide by the court order and let go of the rest. (Unless he is endangering her in some way. I hope this goes without saying.)

3.) Model resiliency. You know what says “I’m disgusted with your father?” best? Being a totally badass mother who knows her worth. Gaining a new, peaceful life. Getting the damn book reports done without his help. Show your daughter what an independent, take charge, don’t-have-time-for-fuckwits mom looks like.

Remember, every time you get “disgusted” and lose your shit with him, he LOVES it. It’s kibbles and centrality. Don’t feed fuckwits kibbles.

Now then, let’s put some of that crazy email through the Universal Bullshit Translator, shall we?

OW is part of my life and she’ll be part of our daughter’s life as well.

The price of admission for my daughter to see me is tolerating my fuckbuddies.

OW will never be her mother, but rather a positive influence on her and someone she can trust.

Because nothing is so wholesome as a Twinkie who sleeps with married men. Twinkie is to positive influences what lead is to the Flint water supply. #trustme

Despite your negative attitude and antics,

By “antics” I mean your attempts to get me to act like a responsible parent. You and your crazy shenanigans. #kibbles

we are building a life together and only want the best for our daughter.

Because abandoning our 10-year-old girl for my fuckbuddy is what’s best for our daughter.

I would appreciate you respect my relationship with OW when it comes to your interactions with our daughter and try not to cause undo stress with her.”

I would appreciate if you would respect the woman who fucked me behind your back. Bow down, pay homage, cast rose petals as she alights. Twinkie won the awesomeness of me! And now our daughter can play the pick me dance with Twinkie for my awesomeness!

Quit with your ugly talk. It’s causing me undue stress and distracting me from this beautiful power dynamic. #shutup #forthechildren

This one ran previously.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I made no vows to the other woman (whore) so I don’t have to respect her.

    FW broke our vows and our contract, so no respect for him.

    I did respect fw as my sons dad, until he blew up that relationship with his lying self, so even that went away.

    Though I never trashed fw to our son. I did gently tell him the truth when needed; but that was it.

    • Exactly. We don’t have to respect OW despite what the FW demands (excuse me while I laugh). I don’t say anything about them except for when I have to, then I address them both as “your dad & his affair partner”. My kids have never said anything to me when I do. They know, but as CL says, its “the price of admission”.

      • I add a bit more truth when I need to address my cheating ex-wife by referring to them as “her and her adultery partner”. I realize that many that have not dealt first had with infidelity see the word adultery as ugly and maybe not PC enough. Their adultery is just that, ugly and I want to call it what it is. Using the word “affair” sugarcoats it way to much for me. Seems that this subject may have been covered some time ago.

        • I also HATE the word “affair”…makes it sound like something adventurous and desirable. It should be a really UGLY word that reflects a cross between filthy, disgusting, putrid, scum-sucking, cesspool, despicable AND devastating, agony, loss, back-stabbing, abandonment, heartache, grief, destruction, betrayal, lies, deceit, selfish.

          Any ideas? I like Viletreacherous…

          • I agree with you Riverz. “Affair” is just too clean a word for what they have done. All it really means is “an event” which is far too clean and conveniently generic and so consistent with what the FWs and OW want. Oh you mean that? That was noting….

            My FW likes to hide behind his 12 step program, which helps him to justify that none of it was his fault, that he is obliged by the program not to make if doing so would hurt someone (oh please it’s far too late for that!), and his therapists who counsel him to just walk away if the angry bitch (that’s me) tries to confront him with anything. FW actually told me he asked his sponsor and therapist about making amends to the OWs.

            No…. “affair” is not adequate to describe what has happened. Viletreacherous is a good start!

          • Yes, “affair” sounds too civilized as does “dalliance” and “entanglement”. These labels are out of a Bronte novel. Definitely need to come up with another term.

        • I agree with that. I use adultery partner not the sugar coated affair partner.

          Just like I refer to the ex generally as a FW (thanks CL) In actuality he was a whore monger. Self admitted by the way. He admitted he had been chasing whores for half of our marriage; exit whore was just the one in place when someone dropped a dime on him.

    • You really, REALLY need to get to the bottom of why you’d rather blame the AP than your lying, cheating ex.

      Here’s another excellent advice blog where you can read how sad and lied to and manipulated most APs *actually* are, but you probably won’t because it will destroy your internal narrative about your ex being lured away from your marriage by some slutty temptress.

      https://captainawkward.com/2022/01/10/1361-i-cant-leave-that-one-unrequited-love-alone/

        • Agree, Stig.

          If I walk into a bank and the teller says I can help myself to the money in the vault, I am equally responsible.

          A marriage is a boundary. All parties who knowingly participate in an illicit relationship are violating the spouse/partner being deceived.

          An affair is abuse. If you’re in it knowingly, you’re a responsible party.

      • Not helpful in this situation. She is blaming the ex and the AP together. And adding ‘you probably won’t because … ‘ is trying to put the blame back onto the OP.

        Apologies because my style is more tentative and more maybe-like, but I thought I would try your more direct slap in the face style.

  • The only thing worse than the scummy and reprehensible acts of a lying cheater is when they try to righteously justify themselves.

    I truly wish they’d just spontaneously combust.

    • **This!!!** Love it. I ask for the FW XW and her AP 🤬🤢🤮(now shiny, new husband, but who I refer to mentally as those two temporary and shitty character partners, because really, that’s all they are to each other and for each other) to die every day (they live right around the corner from me, and so are a little too close for me to get to complete meh yet), but still they resist my simple wishes. They’re so annoying in this respect (and so many others!😱).😂🤣😂

  • Ummmm. No. I hate that whore who cooperated in deceiving me and participated in the lies. She is a disreputable whore. I have no respect for her. How I express my disdain is to shun that whore. She no longer exists. I give her the cut direct. She is a nonentity. Pay that whore no never mind. She is just the whore of the day. There will be more whores in his unending whore mongering. This current whore is just a number. She just hasn’t figured it out yet.

    I hope Lone Star has mastered MFW and is laughing as she documents that cheating scumbag’s multiple failures as a parent. Love Star, I hope you see this and report back. Is he on to the next victim? How are you? How is your daughter?

    • ” I have no respect for her. How I express my disdain is to shun that whore. She no longer exists.”

      That is essentially how I felt about fw’s whore in real time. I didn’t really get any anger/hatred against her until about ten years later when she and fw caused my son and his family great pain.

      The good news is fw and whore drug each other into the gutter, financially and spiritually and in most every way you can think of. They fooled no one.

      I remember thinking when it all came down was that “they deserved each other” I only said that of course to sooth myself, but dang was I right.

  • Good reminders in this previously run post.

    Limit communication to FW using parenting software. Keep in mind that your responses (verbal and written) can be used to justify a change in the parenting plan.

    Also limit communication with children regarding the details of FW’s actions or motivations. This infidelity shit is more than most adults can bear and a school age homework dilemma can escalate into some heavy (lifelong) emotional baggage.

  • I know that this is a re-reun, but ……

    The temptation to respond with “I will show the same level of respect to your relationship with OW that you – and her – showed to our marriage” is one that is probably best resisted. Witness CL’s advice that if it feels good then you shouldn’t do it.

    Be the sane parent; it’s what your daughter needs right now. Do not get drawn into petty BS with your Ex, even when he is clearly trying to needle you to get a reaction.

    Accept that your daughter’s relationship with her father and OW is one for her to navigate. If your Cheater Ex is pushing your daughter to have a relationship with the OW faster than your daughter is ready for/comfortable with, then your daughter is likely to push back …. but even then, avoid getting directly involved if you can. I would only get involved if they were placing her at risk.

    Limit communication with Cheater Ex to a means that you can produce as evidence in court and ensure that every time that you communicate with your Ex you ask yourself “How would a Judge view this?” Keep things short, factual, emotion free and to the point.

    Lastly, accept that co-parenting with a Cheater means that you are in this for the long haul.

    LFTT

    • 100% ALL. OF. THIS.

      You can vent to your friends, your therapist, your mirror, or a hole in the ground- but your kids? NEVER.

      It’s almost a guarantee that when they get old enough to understand concepts like “diplomacy” that they will start to resent you for coming in between THEIR relationship with their [other parent]…and that new partner, who is going to be a part of your life as long as the couple is together. You don’t have to LIKE it, or them, or have any actual respect for people that harmed you, but you DO have to play-act a non-contentious relationship with your ex for the sake of your children. Sorry, but thems the breaks. It’s the natural consequences of breeding with a FW.

  • Absolutely use the parenting software for communication and documentation. Then block FW everywhere else. No more phone calls, texts or emails.
    Silence is bliss!!

  • “…we are building a life together and only want the best for our daughter.” I think this might be part of the problem. He’s taking about himself and OW, while calling the girl “our daughter” in the same sentence. No, she’s Lone Star’s daughter with FW, not the daughter of FW and OW. This couple are trying to create their own family unit with FWs daughter and keep Lone Star insignificant (though of course allowed to do all the heavy lifting of parenting).

    And, no, the other statement about how OW will be a positive influence on the girl’s life is a flat out lie. The bitch wrecked her family. That’s why they’re called “home wreckers.” I didn’t breed with my two FWs. I can’t imagine having to share my child with deceptive, lying, cheating, losers who work so hard to shove me out of the picture and “put me in my place.” There would be hell to pay.

    • When I met my ex, he claimed he was divorced. Later when we were dating, he mentioned the divorce had just been finalized. I recall feeling surprised, but friends at the time said that it can take over a year when kids were involved, and to date during that time was not uncommon.
      He had told me that he had caught his ex cheating on him with another man. As far as I knew, he led me to believe that the relationship was over and that he had left due to HER infidelity.
      Fast forward 20 years, and I caught him dating other women and referring to me as the ex, before I had filed. Seeing that, I now have to wonder if I was “the OW”. It’s sickening. I never would have continued in the relationship if I had known that was the case. I’ll never know if that was what happened or not.
      I helped raise his 2 sons from that marriage. He also would get upset if I didn’t refer to them as “ours”.
      From a stepparent’s perspective, I don’t think it helps the children to shun or bash the stepparent or the biological parent. As CL says, they have to figure that out for themselves.
      I always did the best I could to help raise them right, if I was the OW/whore during his first marriage I was not aware of it.

      What a twisted up mental mindf*#%.

      • If you were OW, it wasn’t your fault, because you being lied to and manipulated. Narcs are very, very good at what they do.

    • 👍

      It has always puzzled me that the very same folks who will argue that the ow/om owes you nothing as they made no promises to you, are the very same who would try to “lecture” you about how you should not show the ow/om any disrespect.

      If they owe you nothing why on earth would we automatically owe them any respect?

      Please don’t misunderstand, I am not advocating harming the ow/om, but outing them for their deeds, and shunning them are perfectly reasonable responses to someone who showed you no respect at all. And it does not relieve the fw of responsibility for their actions against you. It takes two to commit adultery, a cheater and his/her adultery partner.

      • Agree @Susie Lee! I hold OW entirely responsible for her choice to have an affair with a married man. It shows poor values and poor character. Even if the man had been someone else’s husband, I wouldn’t want anything to do with a woman who wouldn’t participate in hurting an unknowing wife and young children.

        • Right?

          I have a basic standard of behavior, I didn’t have to take a vow to know that screwing someone else’s partner is not a decent thing to do. It is lying and stealing plain and simple.

          • My mother was best friends with the mother of one of my classmates. I didn’t like the classmate but she had negative influences from negative friends and our mothers thought if we were forced to have play dates, my good behavior would rub off on her. Classmate’s mother was the OW in classmate’s father’s first marriage. Classmate had step siblings in the form of kids her father had abandoned. I still shake my head wondering how my mother could be friends with that person. I wouldn’t so much as have coffee with such a person much less hold them up to my children as a positive influence.

      • If you have children, your children’s happiness is more important than yours.

        That’s why.

        It’s absolutely toxic to tear apart your ex & their new partner to your kids, no matter how shitty your ex was or how difficult the breakup/divorce.

        You want adult children that resent you for coming between the relationship between them and their other parent, even while they fully understand that what that person did to you was wrong? Do you want your adult kids angry that you badmouthed their other parent & new partner, when their adult eyes will see these people completely differently and quite possibly, not nearly as bad as you had painted them?

        Then by all means, hold on to some sort of “principle” over the actual well being of your children.

        Do you want your children to grow up healthy, happy, and seeing your ex as exactly the scumbag they are? Keep your mouth shut and let their actions speak for themselves.

        Your childrens relationship with their other parent is NOT about you or your feelings.

        • I completely agree with you, Side Eye. We cannot under any circumstances ever use our kids as weapons against the FW and OW. The kids are innocent and have already been harmed in so many ways by the FW and OW. These include things such as: time stolen from the kids and spent on the OW; energy spent on the OW instead of the kids; money spent on the AW rather than the kids, damage to the entire family from narc behavior and gaslighting; damage to their mother due to all of the trauma of the FW’s verbal and psychological and emotional abuse; damage from abandoning the family to pursue the pleasure du jour they are seeking; and damage to the kids future by destroying their family. They do not deserve any more trauma. The are innocents who should be able to count on us as their mothers to shield and protect them.

          • YES!

            The fact that they ARE children means that they aren’t going to see any of that from the adult perspective that you do. They can’t! They’re brains/cognition have not developed to that point yet. They may understand that mommy or daddy left because they weren’t nice to the parent that stayed, but their need for their parent is going to outweigh ANY logical explanation of ‘why other parent is shitty’…they just love and want other parent, no matter how rotten they are!

            And trying to get them ‘on your side’ with an emotional appeal…well another word for that is ‘manipulation’, and they e had enough of THAT from the narc. So don’t do it if you want a healthy relationship with well adjusted adult children!

            Being a parent means that a LOT of times, you have to sacrifice your own feelings or comfort to make sure they grow up the best they can be. This is one of those times.

  • Ah yes, the eternal opinions of a non-custodial FW on what constitutes Good Parenting. Every time my husband and I give my son a consequence (usually losing video games for a day or so), I can look forward to getting a long word salad screed from FW about how I’m abusing our son and how we need to not argue with our teenager. What’s interesting, given how “abusive” he accuses me of being, I’ve never gotten a visit from CPS. FWs have no shame and will stoop pretty low just to hurt you (even more than they already did).

    • 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 This happened to me too. I’d impose a consequence on my teen who was running with drug dealers and had OD’d and spent time in rehab, teen would cry to FW about it, and he’d attack ME! Her mental health issues started with his blameshifting his misery and the affair he was “forced” to have on the kids, to their faces!

      Fast forward 7 years. I stayed the sane mom in the face of the devastation and built a life. FW and OW have devolved into serious alcoholic/addicts with all of the attendant chaos. Now-grown up daughter is still struggling and turns to me for support because she says she knows she can count on me and dad is a mess.

      Thank god I’m free of X! I can imagine how terrible it would be . . . Thank god I listened to you, Tracy, and put down the hopeium pipe!

  • I believe that our children know exactly how we feel about our ex

    We don’t have to keep saying it over and over, it keeps the focus on a nasty life sucking person

    And eventually you may find it pushes the child in the middle into the unfortunate position of feeling that they have to defend the other parent

    • It also pushes the child away from you because you make them uncomfortable and they don’t want to hear it. Trust that the FW sucks, work in getting to meh, and GAL. Keeping FW central can destroy your relationship with your child. Save your statements for a friend or counselor.

  • I completely ignored the OW. My ex also tried to lecture me on “respecting” her. Yeah right. Zero respect for a homewrecker. I sucked having to send my son over to that house with her trying to “mother” him. But I just told my kid to have a good time and that I loved him. If he mentioned OW and something she’d done for him, I just said “that’s nice”. I will add it took awhile to get to this point emotionally. But it saved my sanity. My ex also repeated fell down on the homework front, or on any other basic parenting. I just did it all myself. It wasn’t worth the fight to argue. But I did document everything, saving all communications with teachers, worksheets, etc. to provide to the court.

    I worked hard to never spill my feelings about FW or OW to my kid. (We split when our son was 5, and started actually getting divorced when he was 8.) Our divorce was messy and FW was vicious, turning everything I did (even nice things) into a means of attacking or discrediting me. My son did ask why we were getting divorced and I simply told him that daddy decided he wanted to be with Miss X rather than with mommy. His response? “That must have been tough.” I said it was, but I was okay. I didn’t go into any more detail or express my feelings about the whore. My son got to see her character, since FW and OW would have screaming fights with the kids around, and the OW eventually packed up her things and left with her two kids, and NEVER SAID ANOTHER WORD to my son. After all the talk about their “new family”, and after being in his life for over four years (nearly half of his life!). Not a word of farewell or explanation to him. He talked about her coming back for about four months, and then he stopped.

    It sounds horrible, but I count myself lucky. My FW died in September (a narcissist abandoned is a terrible thing – he couldn’t take it, and he saw that my life was getting better while his was spiraling out of control, and the courts were consistently siding with me and not him, so he took his own life in despair). I hate to say that someone’s death made my life a hell of a lot easier, but it’s true. I loved through four years of coparenting with a FW who wanted me to suffer as much as possible (he was abusive when we were married, and it didn’t improve when we split). I really feel for anyone who is still stuck in that situation. I always followed (or at least tried) my attorney’s advice to take the high road, for the sake of my son and for the custody case. When my son was hospitalized for anxiety and suicidal ideation (an 8 year old! That house was a nightmare for him), I called FW and told him if he wanted to bring OW along so she would know what was going on, he could. I was nothing but courteous to her, and then basically ignored her, even though they were all over each other right in front of me. He may have tried to paint me as his crazy ex, but I wasn’t going to play that game. Doing something like this took the wind out of his sails, so he couldn’t just show up with her to upset me.

    The best thing I did for my kid and for my own sanity was to completely step away from FW and OW’s relationship. I just ignored it. I didn’t let myself get caught in the drama, I didn’t take the bait when FW would drop her name in emails to me just to get a rise out of me, I went super low contact and only communicated about logistical things (pick up, drop off, school schedules, etc.) and not parenting. These people feed on drama and I decided not to be a part of that. Without me to hate on and goad them, they turned on each other and the relationship blew up.

    My son and I are very happy. OP should consider it fortunate that she is the majority custody parent (I had 50/50 and my son hated the constant back and forth) and as such should put her focus on being the sane, responsible parent. Her daughter will figure out what her dad and her “new mom” really are on her own. No need to editorialize. Be the stable, safe person for your kid. And there’s no shame in getting therapy to help deal with your own anger and hurt. My therapist helped me a lot, particularly processing the abuse and betrayal. I got to the point of indifference about my ex months before he died. My son, young as he was, started to comment on his father’s hypocrisy and see how his dad let him down a lot (he would pawn my kid off on me if he were even a little bit sick, or had some event he wanted to attend, or even just wanted alone time with the whore, sometimes giving up all his parenting days for the week – documenting this for the courts was very helpful).

    I hope the OP is doing well. It is so hard to coparent with these people.

    • It has to be horrible to let your kids be a part of that mess.

      I was lucky in that respect as he was emancipated before the fw was exposed.

      I honestly think even my screwed up fw didn’t want him exposed to the whore. He already saw two shining examples of her two teenage son of what she raised.

      He even told our preacher when he was still trying to control his image that he hoped to help her make her ten year old a better person. Our preacher flat out told him, you can’t do that because half of what made your son who he is, is gone.

      Preacher told me about that conversation because it was about our son.

      They did get married and I guess he tried to help her with her son; sadly he got into drugs and died tragically in a motorcycle accident when he was 20. (there was no other vehicle involved) I cried over that because I know my grown son had befriended him and had affection for him.

    • “I completely ignored the OW. My ex also tried to lecture me on “respecting” her.”

      Me too. I never mention her at all if it can be avoided. It’s like she doesn’t exist. Early on (before I discovered No Contact) this infuriated FW. I got a long-winded email about respecting her as our children’s other mother and it felt I was trying to slight her by never mentioning her by name in my emails to him.

      He actually wanted me to begin my emails “Dear FW and [GF#3].” He actually wanted me to address her and validate her. And this was months after he left me and the kids to move into her house. Months. I was still sobbing on the daily.

      Stupid emails like that from him were good to read. They helped me to (slowly) stop sobbing every day. They helped me to sit up straighter with a little anger under my butt. I read that he wanted me to include her by name in all my correspondence to him and to validate her as my children’s new step-mom (they’ve never called her step-mom, btw… FW trained the kids to call her mom only). I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The gall!

      I didn’t address it. At all. I went on doing my parenting business with him and only him. He never brought it up again as I expect he figured out that his demands that I address her and respect her were a losing battle. All my child support payments are transferred over from her bank account, so I’m forced to see her name in print monthly, but that’s my only interaction with her. She’s lucky that I never talk about her or want any interaction with her.

      What a bizarre fantasy world those people live in.

      “It sucked having to send my son over to that house with her trying to “mother” him. But I just told my kid to have a good time and that I loved him. If he mentioned OW and something she’d done for him, I just said “that’s nice”.”

      That’s pretty much how I’ve been playing the game too.

      “My ex also repeated fell down on the homework front, or on any other basic parenting. I just did it all myself.”

      Ditto. My kids spend the weekends with FW and OW and FW takes on none of the boring parenting responsibilities. That all fell on me.

      “The best thing I did for my kid and for my own sanity was to completely step away from FW and OW’s relationship. I just ignored it. I didn’t let myself get caught in the drama, I didn’t take the bait when FW would drop her name in emails to me just to get a rise out of me, I went super low contact and only communicated about logistical things (pick up, drop off, school schedules, etc.) and not parenting.”

      Are you me? I feel like you’re me. That’s pretty much what I do verbatim.

      “I hope the OP is doing well. It is so hard to coparent with these people.”

      It truly is. The agony of breeding with a FW is that he will be a part of my life forever. If we live to be old folk, then we’ll be sharing grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Heck, even GF#3/Wifetress might be a part of my life forever now. The only thing chumps in our situation can do is hold our chins up and take the high road whenever possible. And No Contact. Always No Contact (within reason because… dammit… we have kids together).

      I don’t think of it as co-parenting, personally. I think of it as parallel parenting. I am the primary caregiver with full legal custodial rights and FW only sees the kids on the weekends (I never prevent him from seeing the kids when he wants to, but the kids, now teens, really don’t like going over to his/OW’s place very much). I get to set the rules and make all the legal parenting decisions and he gets none of that. Still, he has rules at his place that are different from the rules here at home and I can do nothing about that. He parents differently than I do because he’s the king of his castle over there (the kids complain that he is “controlling”) and I can do nothing about that. His house, his rules, his parenting rules. I feel sorry for my kids that they have to put up with that every weekend. It really sucks.

      • “It’s like she doesn’t exist. ” That is how I handled it in real time.

        Oh years later when I discovered CL after they messed with my son; I had fun calling her names on this site; but IRL nope, unless it was absolutely necessary I never even mentioned her. When I would ask my son out of respect how his dad was doing (he had emphysema) I never mentioned her.

        When her son died, I sent flowers and my condolences to both of them; that was about the only time.

      • It appears a good deal of Cheater & OW’s relationship revolves around triangulating with you through the kids. Demanding you also address OW in emails, made the kids call her “Mom” and the CS check payment has her name on it…pathetic. What are they going to do when the kids are 18 and they can no longer rub your face in their relationship? More than likely implode as most affair marriages do…

    • “The best thing I did for my kid and for my own sanity was to completely step away from FW and OW’s relationship. I just ignored it. I didn’t let myself get caught in the drama, I didn’t take the bait when FW would drop her name in emails to me just to get a rise out of me, I went super low contact and only communicated about logistical things (pick up, drop off, school schedules, etc.) and not parenting. These people feed on drama and I decided not to be a part of that. Without me to hate on and goad them, they turned on each other and the relationship blew up.”

      Long and brilliant post, but this paragraph is so important. Don’t feed their need for drama.

  • Respect is earned. Respect is a privilege. Not a right. Certainly unwarranted in the case of cheaters. The same goes for trust.

    You’ll get trust and respect when you earn it. A lesson I am obligated to teach my child as a parent. To force her to respect someone, to trust someone who deals in lying and disrepect would be neglect on my part. I’d be an electrician wiring the house wrong and setting up a future house fire. Not gonna happen.

    Children learn by modeling, Mr and Ms Lying Cheating Abusive Backstabbing Homewreckers. Tell that to the dysfunctional duo. It’s basic Psych 101.

    You can’t have respect if you disrespect others. You can’t be trusted if you’re untrustworthy, as in when you lie, cheat, steal, gaslight, abuse, fuck over, abandon your family, violate other people’s boundaries. Or do that to someone else’s family.

    I don’t need to say a word about Traitor X to our daughter. His words and actions are all the evidence necessary and have only served to help him dig his own grave deeper. Daughter said as much the other day. I listen to her and say, “you sound really angry and really hurt and I am so sorry.” She doesn’t need two parents mindfucking her and modeling wrong. Another big reason for me to stay on the high road. The Godfather sat behind his desk in his dark and creepy office with the plantation shutters closed. He didn’t have to say a word or lift a finger to get his message across and neither does a chump.

    Keeping my focus on my business and only opening my mouth when appropriate is a daily practice.

    Cheaters are not qualified to school anyone on respect and trust. They’re experts at dishing out the betrayal and disrespect and can’t take it. Boo effen hoo. Dishing out what you can take is Playground 101 I learned back in the late 60’s.

    The reason I go to Dr. Kickass Coparent is because she deliciously and delightfully deals with this very sort of BS. It’s worth every penny of her hourly rate to listen to her shoot this kind of bullshit down and hear her say to him, “No, Traitor X. It’s YOU.” I sip my tea and file my nails, whistling a happy tune while she puts him back in the frying pan.

    • Velvet Hammer, I am getting a great visual of you sitting sipping tea and filing your nails. All this while looking extremely relaxed and comfortable. Way to go. I am glad that my son is 25 and I don’t have to worry about co-parenting. My son is no contact, it aggravates the FW but that is an issue for him to resolve and I am not a part of that relationship.

      • https://images.app.goo.gl/ZUTHAHTCm3tNeWBr6

        😜

        The less I say and the quieter I stay, the louder and easier to hear their BS and nonsense is.

        The cleaner my side of the street is, the dirtier theirs looks in comparison.

        If I stay on the high road, no one can touch me. Cheaters are desperate for anything for their justification and blame campaign, so it’s crucial to not hand them any ammo. But most of all, I need to conduct myself in word and deed so that I remain deserving of my daughter’s trust.

        I’m looking forward to freedom from any interaction with Traitor X.

    • “Cheaters are not qualified to school anyone on respect and trust.”

      That sums it up!

      I, too, enjoy VH describe sitting in the
      co parenting meetings.
      I can almost hear the bacon sizzling!
      Fry, Baby, Fry.

  • Step Moms, or Schmoopies as they so often are, complain early and often about how they can’t build relationships with their husbands’ kids, how said kids disrespect them, why do these kids hate me so, etc. It’s a dynamic so common as to be almost the rule.

    I hereby call upon my miraculous powers of foreseeing the future and predict rocky times ahead for Twinkie’s relationship with this kid. I hope she enjoys.

    • That is true even when infidelity is not involved. Schmoopie’s should expect no better and they actually deserve it unlike step parents who come along well after divorce.

      • You are correct–step moms get the short end of the stick even when infidelity is not an issue. Ask me how I know.

        I think a number of factors besides infidelity are involved, ranging all over the map from a parent’s attitude toward a new partner (regardless how that attitude is conveyed) to the simple fact that a great many kids don’t have the maturity to understand time lines when they’re dragged kicking and screaming into adults’ messes.

        • The stepmom thing, from my experience, can follow many of the same guidelines: stay in your own lane, require the natural parent to do the heavy lifting in your home and stay out of what does on with the other parent. i can think of only 3 times I intervened in anything as a step-parent. I put my foot down when my then-H and his kiddo disrespected Kiddo’s mother in my presence; I offered to help Adult Kiddo navigate getting back to college, as I have expertise there; and I ponied up money when necessary. Otherwise, I stayed out of stuff. All learned the hard way.

          • I also was a step mother who, now that I think of it, was given child care duties early in the relationship (before marriage).

            The only serious arguments I had with FW were about him setting limits with his daughter and boundaries with her mother (his first wife). He rarely did – a lack of skills or character on his part. The chaos which ensued often overshadowed our marriage.

            His daughter and I were mostly okay, when she was present, but I understand now that I was not a priority for him in many, many ways.

        • Off topic, I often wonder what children make of their parents in cultures where polygamy is an open and widespread practice. I used to know a woman whose father had several legal wives and who knows how many side pieces. Polygamy is pretty much baked in to her native culture–in fact, it’s almost aspirational–but she still hated her father’s guts and loathed each and every one of what she considered the intruding wives. She adored her own mother.

          • Polygymy as practiced by many religious subcultures is nothing more than patriarchal oppression- a man having a ‘harem’.

            I’m some primitive cultures, the women take on whatever lovers they want, and the resulting children are raised with their brothers as the father figure. These kinds of cultures do not involve oppression or double sexual standards, so at least in those respects, they are far healthier.

            I’m not sure if any cultures exist where women traditionally marry multiple men, though it might be an option for some modern polyamorists (aka people who are naturally non-monogamous)

  • It’s easy for FW to push your buttons because he put them there in the first place. Ugh! Treat coparenting like a job and FW like a psycho co-worker. Be uber professional to catch the unprofessional – just like Chump Lady suggests.

    I have a stepmother, and I don’t like what she and my dad did to my real mother. No one likes the stepmother ever. My mom never bad mouthed anyone. I believe she knew I had to good sense to see reality. Am sure your dd sees it clearly as well.

  • Respect? Nah. Not gonna happen. Fuckers. Refrain from punching ex-wife’s married OM AP in the face for the sake of stability in my sons’ lives? You may have to settle for that. But know that for the next 30 years your name will be the punchline for 10,000 jokes and a euphemism in my house for both “loser” and “diarrhea.”

  • Oh, the joys of parenting with a FW! I am so glad those days are over, and my sons are grown. Even years after our divorce, his death has made my relationship with my sons easier. I am the only surviving parent now, and I have explained to my sons I have no reason to be a “friend” to his widow, because we have nothing in common and she does not meet my criteria for being a friend. If they want to stay in touch with her, they are adults. There will be no invites to my home, or holiday get togethers. It is a boundary, set it and maintain it.

    I also find humor in OW/OM partners wanting respect for their relationship when they obviously did not respect your relationship. This attitude is unrealistic and very boring to me. You don’t owe anyone you do not know anything other than civil courtesy you show all strangers in order to be part of the social order of life. If your child has to interact with the new partner du jour, teach them to be polite. You do not need to speculate on how FW and new partner are leading their lives, or whether they are moral failures with your child. Believe me, you child already is trying to figure out what is true and what is BS in both your behavior and the FW’s behavior.

    The other thing I notice in this post is the child trying to manipulate both parents. Dad, get Mom off my back, she’s being unreasonable! Seriously? If there is homework, including book reports, a sane parent makes sure it gets done. Document sane parenting, and slacker behavior for custodial reasons, but accept the fact that a FW may be a slacker, and still follow up with the child. Being a sane parent is not easy, and it won’t make you popular, but it may result in raising a child to be a successful independent adult one day.

    If you live your life with integrity, it should get better. Life without a FW becomes easier. You cannot predict everything, and sometimes there are naturally occurring disasters, but a sane life with discipline seems to be your best shot at a happy life IMHO.

    • “I also find humor in OW/OM partners wanting respect for their relationship when they obviously did not respect your relationship.”

      Funny, ISNT it? (Not!)

      My soon to be x’s co worker / girlfriend got very huffy about he and I communicating –
      Texting or emailing in regards to the upcoming divorce etc. He wrote once that he had to be “covert” because SHE got upset.
      I remember texting him back:
      “Isn’t it just a little ironic that your girlfriend doesn’t like you to have women friends?” When the entire time they were “flirting” at work and I was not happy about it , (due to his previous “antics” lol) – she’d comment:
      “oh your wife doesn’t let you have friends???”
      Yeah, that’s how they are.
      They are incapable of seeing the stupidness that is “them.”

  • I know a repeat column, but flashbacks for me— my ex said and did the same things, except he is the one who moved 2500 miles away.
    For the newbies- all good advice. Stay strong, don’t editorialize, and be the sane parent (with a kickass therapist).
    My kids are now in college, finally. Only future interactions will be at graduations, or funerals.

    • “we have nothing in common and she does not meet my criteria for being a friend. If”

      Exactly. My fw died in Jan of 21. My son did all he could to do what his dad wanted in terms of final services. He also collected all the contacts and phone numbers, emails etc that the whore would need to collect any benefits, which were slim to none.

      Then he got on a plane wished her well and has not seen or talked to her since. That is on late fw and whore. They tried to screw over my son, and son owes her nothing. Plus son’s wife won’t have anything to do with her. They burned their bridges, not by what they did to me, but what they did to son and his wife.

  • This one hit a nerve with me. The whole “respect Schmoopie because she is blameless and pure as the driven snow and everyone is picking on the poor woman” thing really drives me batty.
    Our divorce counselor tried to tell me during the divorce that I needed to “encourage” the kids to have a relationship with schmoopie for their sake. At this point the whole affair was still very raw and I was still hurting a lot. I did not think this was at all a reasonable thing to say to me at that time. I flat out refused to do that but I did agree to not badmouth her or discourage the kids from having a relationship with her. I didn’t mention her at all in front of the kids. I let them decide for themselves what kind of relationship they wanted to have with her in order to have a relationship with their Dad. I basically just ignored her existence. If she showed up at family events I just sat elsewhere and didn’t go near her. I didn’t blatantly shun her, but I kept my distance.
    My youngest adapted the easiest. He has a go along to get along attitude and that has worked well for him. He is also able to do it in a way that doesn’t me feel the least bit slighted. The older two (both teenagers when it all went down) had a harder time of it. There were a number of blow ups with my daughter (oldest) early but then she found her legs and was able to at least fake acceptance of OW. The middle child held back his misery for a couple of years but then just couldn’t take it anymore. He and Schmoopie then had a couple of blow ups. Ex then accused me of fomenting the whole thing saying I was shunning Schmoopie and son picked up on it and that is why he was being awful to Schmoopie. I did not think that was true but I wanted to help my son so I counseled him on how to get along with Schmoopie. I also paid for therapy to help him work through his pain. About a year later when he was a freshman at college and came back for the holidays, I told him “try to forget about any past bad blood between you and Schmoopie and recognize that however nervous you are around her she is nervous around you too so don’t take anything she says personally”. That seemed to help. He had dinner with his Dad and Schmoopie. It seemed to go well. They weren’t buddies, but they were polite to each other. I thought it was all going to be ok.
    A few weeks later my daughter also came home for the holidays. All three kids were supposed to go sledding with Dad but he cancelled at the last minute because Schmoopie was also going with her kids and she wasn’t willing to be around my kids because they apparently made her uncomfortable. That night the kids went to their Dad’s for dinner. Just him and the kids. My daughter didn’t really want to go. I convinced her to go because I thought it was just Dad and the kids and I didn’t want her to miss out. Apparently it was an ambush. The whole dinner was just Ex lecturing the kids on how they were not nice enough to Schmoopie and he was afraid she would break up with him over them and then he would never be able to see them the same way again. He brought up things from years earlier that they had done to hurt Schmoopie’s feelings, even the youngest who had always tried to get along (apparently not wanting to take home the tie died shirt he made with Schmoopie hurt her feelings). There was nothing current because they had been making the effort to improve and get along with her. She was the one who decided to punish them for past offenses by claiming “not good enough”. She knew they didn’t really like her and were just faking it. I was furious and I also felt guilty. I had convinced my daughter to go to that dinner. I also felt responsible for having encouraged the kids to learn to accept her so they could have a more robust relationship with their dad only to have it all thrown back in their faces when Schmoopie decided she wasn’t willing to do her part. I did not express my outrage in front of them. I just gave the kids what comfort I could.

    At the next parenting counseling session (that was Ex’s idea) I brought up the fact that if he and Schmoopie wanted the kids to respect her she had to respect them as well. She needed to lower her expectations and recognize that acceptance was the best she was going to get and that punishing them for past offenses wasn’t going to help and that maybe if they could all, including Schmoopie, just fake it for a while then maybe, eventually, they would all forget why they didn’t like each other. The counselor backed me up in this. Ex ended the parent counseling after that but maybe he and Schmoopie have finally figured it out, because last summer and over the holidays it seems that everybody was getting along and there have not been any blow ups recently. I am still annoyed by the whole thing but I keep it to myself. If the kids are happy and able to have a relationship with Dad, then I am good with that.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. All of that was an interruption to my meh so good to get it off my chest.

    PS. Ex’s aunt doesn’t like Schmoopie either and loves me and that pisses ex off too even though I had nothing to do with that falling out.

    • It’s unreasonable to expect those you betrayed and hurt to love and accept and trust and respect you. And that’s why it’s utterly beyond the comprehension of cheaters and their accomplices, who live by their own stinking thinking and believe everyone else should as well.

      People who skipped the class on the Golden Rule, or fucked off in class that day need to keep getting smacked in the face with the lesson no matter how old they are, IMHO.

    • Chumpinrecovery- What these people fail to understand is that they cheated on their children as well as their spouse. They destroyed their home, their sense of safety, and blew up what they knew as good and comforting. They view their children as accessories to their lives and cannot understand why the kids don’t applaud their every move. The cheaters didn’t respect the marriage or their children, so why do they expect that sort of grace from anyone that they conspired against? These people should be grateful that their kids agree to be in the same room with them.

      • That’s exactly it. Instead of being grateful to the kids for making an effort they complained that it wasn’t good enough. Ex has kind of always been that way. Nothing is ever good enough. I think Schmoopie is much the same as well as having insecurity issues.

        • What a spineless piece of shit your ex is…instead of saying well I blew up the family because of Schmoopie, so I get why my kids would be pissed off and not over the moon with Schmoopie. Instead, he kisses Schmoopie’s insecure behind and lays into his kids on her behalf. One thing for sure he is not secure with Schmoopie. Very possible she could have one foot out the door so will keep raising the bar to make him jump through hoops whenever she decides something is offensive or insulting. The thing is the relationship will more than likely not last and Schmoopie will use your kids as an excuse during discard. Your ex will blame the kids, give them hell and possibly discard as well. This situation sucks.

  • I know this ran previously but a few things immediately stood out to me:

    (1) Lone Star’s daughter might be too young to stay on top of her assignments without parental oversight, but the daughter still needs to learn that she can’t shirk off her responsibilities. It’s better for the daughter to face the consequences from her mother than from her teacher when she gets bad grades or chewed out for not completing her assignments.

    (2) I’m 90% positive that intended audience for paragraph 2 of the email was the OW and not LoneStar. The daughter probably has a tense relationship with the OW and might act out on occasion during her visits. This pisses off the OW, who complains about it to the ex. But the ex can’t force the daughter to like OW and he certainly won’t admit that he and the OW brought this on themselves. Consequently, he wrote this email in which he white knights the OW and sings her praises for sole purpose of appeasing the OW and keeping peace at home.

  • The biggest shit sandwich, for me, was not badmouthing Mr. Sparkles to our son who was in third grade at the time of FWs departure for the OW. Instead, I used “Daddy got a girlfriend while he was married to Mommy and married people shouldn’t do that.”… Through the years, my son is now a high school sophomore, we sometimes touchbase on the topic because the OW departed after two years (ironically before my divorce was even finalized and because she found out he was cheating on her!)… enter a new GF within weeks whom he moved in with six months later and is now engaged to… sadly, my son has seen this all and figured out his Dad on all his own.

    Be the sane parent. Cry and scream in the shower. Learn to appreciate yoga or a good bouron.

    And, whether 25 miles or 2500 miles apart, scheduling software is your friend. I set up a Cozi account and it shutdown almost all “exchanges” with Mr. Sparkles… (see NO CONTACT). It was also great for court, CL is always right… document.

    So here I am 7 years since discard, divorced for 5 years. I’ve done the 15,000 acts of parenting to keep my son healthy, happy, and feeling the love and support every child needs. Has his Dad, nope, but not my monkey not my circus. Am I exhausted – yup. Is it “unfair” – yup. Would I trade this for living in an abusive marriage with a lying cheating fuckwit – nope. If I’m being honest, I’m now working on “what will I do when he goes off to college”… LOL… parenting your way is a blessing. Revel in it.

    Rock on Chump Nation! You’ve got this.

    • It’s ironic, now that I’m a truly single mom (ex died in September), not that much has changed for me. Other than having my son every day (yay!), I haven’t really had to add any extra “parenting”, because I was doing it all already. My son’s dad just did fun stuff. Having my kid 24/7 did require us both to adjust a little, since I like my alone time (NNED my alone time) and my son likes attention. But we figured out how to both get what we need and it’s pretty good now.

      At my husband’s funeral, all the Switzerland friends came up to me (thank god OW wasn’t there – my ex’s family and I both told her not to come) and everyone was asking if I had a GoFundMe set up for my son because they wanted to contribute something to his care. Which is sweet, I guess. I didn’t really know what to say, because I felt like telling them that his dad didn’t pay for shit and I am fully-able to take care of my son financially because I’ve been doing it for the last four years. I only ever got one child support payment. I bought all my son’s clothes, shoes, school supplies, etc. and getting reimbursement from his father for things like medical expenses was like pulling teeth. As awful as it sounds, my kid is a million times better of financially now that his father is deceased. Between SS survivor’s benefits and my ex’s company life insurance policy, my kid is set up pretty well. Not being married to a man who had NO IDEA how to handle money means I am far better off too. I managed to pay off all my (our) credit card debt in one year, and am now debt free except for my car (and my lawyer, but I’m on track to pay that all off this year). I have more money in the bank than I’ve ever had in my life. Which is really funny because my expenses haven’t really gone down being single. My rent is more than my mortgage was (and we were splitting that). Go figure. Even with two (healthy) incomes, FW and OW were completely broke. Then when OW left, my ex was stuck with a rental property he couldn’t afford and debts up to his ears, because OW couldn’t manage money either.

      • My spendthrift ex FW died a few years ago. Not great to wish this on anyone, but my life has improved by leaps and bounds. High five ISawTheLight.

      • Prayers can be answered in the most interesting ways! Glad to hear you and your son have navigated and will continue to navigate life together! Well done you!

  • Cheaters may also be child abusers. It may not come out until the FW us out of the house AND the child gains enough confidencce to confide in the same parent. That’s a good reason not to give children false narratives. You don’t know what they’ve overheard (espeicailly with so many of us at home due to COVID–even if your door is closed, you don’t know what child is listening behind it. You lose their trust if you lie about the reason for the spearation., If you appear to be defending the FW and hiding their abuse to you (emotional, financial, etc.), kids will beleive that they too should cover up for any abuse they sustained.
    It took many of us chumps a long time to realize how we’ve been deceived about our cheater’s actions towards us, and started to see the abuse for what it was. And some of us were in denial or afraid to stop spackling. Few kids have our maturity, experience, and other assets (like being adults, having options, or even sheer size) to stand up to an abusive parent. Don’t make them think they have to go along with a false narrative, including that the parent loves them very much. That may not be remotely true. If they’ve been abused, they’ve probably been terrified to tell, or perhaps you’d didn’t “hear” and couldn’t or wouldn’t believe them. If you take their initial complaints seriously, they may feel safe enough to open up to you more.

    • My kid was terrified of his dad, even though he said he loved his dad. At one point my son lost his skateboard and was panicking and looking for it in the dark in a rainstorm because he was scared what his dad would do/say to him. He finally gave up and said “I’ll just tell daddy I forgot it”. Already learned to lie to protect himself. Been there, for sure. My kid also told me that his daddy gave him the silent treatment, which is devastating for a 6 or 7 year old. Another time my son broke his dad’s PS4 (I don’t even think it was on purpose). My ex posted on FaceBook pictures of a 24-point apology my 8 year old had written. 24 paragraphs about how sorry he was. What kind of terror prompts that kind of over-apology? My ex posted it like it was a triumph of good parenting and I was HORRIFIED (as was my therapist, when I told her).

      Emotional abuse is real and is painful. I’m so glad my son doesn’t have to deal with that anymore.

  • As always, I recommend the book “Parents who Cheat” by Dr. Ana Nogales. My comments above about child abuse is NOT her focus, and may not even be addressed, but she’s an invaluable guide to the impact on children (when young and later as adults) when parents are unfaithful. She’s right up there with Chump Lady as a reliable, eye-opening resource.

  • I know this one ran “previously,” but LoneStar writes, “He is lonely living in another state with this whore and lashes out at me on a daily basis.”

    CL is 100% right (as usual) for telling LS to “let go” of trying to control what goes on at FuckWit Manor, to let go of responding to idiot communications, and to let go of the negative commentary about FWDaddy. The next step is ending the “lash[ing] out on a daily basis.” That means not ever ever responding to the “be respectful to the OW” demands or any of the “lashing out.”

    If it isn’t actual important business, like, what time DD’s flight arrives, then you don’t answer it. Period. If it’s not about something you must discuss (DD needs braces, DD is going to ride in the horse show in two weeks so we need to adjust the visit schedule) then don’t respond or just respond “noted.” Once OFW is set up, I would block FW on phone and text unless DD is with him. So narrow the channels of communication and raise the bar for what you will bother reading and responding to.

  • So one of the hardest things to learn Is not to engage. His letter is written in a way that any normal person would want to fight back. Defend themselves. Argue about not having to be respectful to the OW because she’s… fill in the blank. He’s writing like this intentionally so you engage and it looks like you are still attached, jealous, bitter.

    But you have to look at the big picture in order to win in the long run.

    Your responses need to be logistical only.
    “Yes family wizard is a great idea. Please have her do her homework going forward as that is in her best interest. Pick up time is …”
    And ignore all the rest. You win legally and you can know that it will feel horrible for him to receive responses back like that.

  • So happy to have found my way back to CL after nearly 2 looonnnnnggggggg years of chasing the slick and glossy promises of how staying with the FW *really can be soooooo good*. (Lies. Just damn lies.) So the other day I find myself holding a bag of dicks I pulled out of FW’s duffle after he sent me to find something he had misplaced (again). Not what I expected to say the least, and after 3 truly creative and somewhat hostile explanations from FW as to why – exactly – I was standing there with a bag of dicks in my hand (the best of which was that it is a private medical issue), here I am. I was so happy to see the x-mas winner was a bag of dicks. I had been feeling so alone and in a state of shock (again), and seeing the lovely cartoon and reading all of your comments made me laugh and brought me back to life (= reality). Would love any supportive and validating comments as I begin what is sure to be a long journey out of chumpland.

    • No contact. Return to sender.

      Send all his stuff to a storage facility in the worst part of town and pick the cheapest room (dark and scary corner, usually). Pay for one month’s rent and have the facility bill him afterwards. I did that. The storage facility manager said a lot of his business dealt with stuff from disgruntled exes. It’s the way of the chumped.

      PS If you see a bag of cash, save that for yourself. Good luck!!

      • On the positive side, it was me and not our tween son who found and was left holding the bag of dicks. What in the actual fuck is wrong with these FWs? I wish it was so simple to dump all of his mountains of crap into storage. Too complex to handle that way right now. I will leave not with bags but with a storage facility full of cash. He can keep his bag of dicks. I put that bag directly into his hands. Thanks for the validation!

        • The bags o cash are even better! I had my $$ already, but the ex FW kept hounding me. My wasn’t exactly straight either. Glad to be free from it all. The same will happen to you.

    • 👏👏👏congrats (?) your Xmas story definitely had my vote, and now you have a lovely screen name to boot! Good to see you back.

      I’m sure it still stings but the stories you’ll have in a few years… in any case it’ll make it easier to just laugh to their face if FW and OW ask for respect later.

      A saying that I just heard and is fitting today:
      “Remember to take the high road, there’s less traffic.”

      Cheers!

      • I was just another Chump left holding a bag of dicks, bot the original Xmas story winning chump with a bag of dicks. She was just an inspiration to me to reach out and connect with this incredible CN. God suggestion about taking the high road. It’s the only one I know how to navigate (unlike FWs and OW who are adept at slithering through all manner of sewers). Thanks for the support and validation!

    • Do you still have the dicks? Package them up and mail them to him at work, with no return address. With any luck he’ll open the package in front of coworkers.
      So you got left holding the bag….of dicks. Your FW sure is speshul.

      The climb out of chumphood is steep, but the view from the top is worth it. You go, CHABOD. 💪

      • That would be wonderful except that he works from home. I love that he is still debating whether to throw them out – it gives me some good laughs and shows me what a pathetic loser he really is. Poor FW can keep his plastics and privacy.
        I am a good climber and ready for the ascent. Having him around as a parent will suck though. He is a world class narcissist, like so many FWs are. Will limit contact as much as possible and use the many good tips and advice from CN about how best to manage it.

  • Every time I read a letter like this one I thank God I didn’t have any kids with Best Regards. I have a friend who’s going through a messy custody battle with her FW right now, and he’s alternately using their daughter as a weapon against my friend and neglecting her when he wants to spend time with schmoopie. So awful. It’s like my friend is handcuffed to a schizophrenic Akita. Not to mention what the poor kid is going through. I just try to remind my friend that even though she can’t save her daughter all the pain she’s going through right now, by being the sane parent and teaching the daughter coping skills to deal with the FW dad, she’s saving her decades of future mistakes, hurt, and therapy. And then I send my friend links to this blog….

    The one thing I recognize from this letter even though I don’t have kids with FW is the tactic of turning a mistake/weakness against the chump and using it to reverse roles: making the chump the transgressor and adopting the stance of the righteous, wronged victim who’s simply “requesting” that boundaries be respected…. Best Regards did this in the divorce every time I slightly lost my cool over some ridiculous BS he was pulling. He suddenly became very calm, polite, hurt, and aggrieved and started sentences with “I would like to request that you….” It made me want to rip his spine out through his mouth.

    Here’s my point (I swear I have one): If you have to keep talking to your FW b/c of kids, business, etc., you will inevitably make a mistake of some kind. And FWs are wired to detect mistakes like a bloodhound smells blood. And they will use that mistake against you because they did it 1,000 times when you were together, and it always worked (because you are a conscientious person who takes responsibility not only for yourself but for those around you; that’s why they picked you in the first place).

    The only way to win that game is not to play. Don’t stress about being perfect; that’s the game you always had to play with them, and the beauty part of Leaving a Cheater is you don’t have to play their games anymore. Realize you’re going to screw up because you’re human. Realize that when they lash out at you about your screw-up, it’s 100% about them and 0% about you (because if they actually cared about you at all, they would approach you with respect and compassion). Ignore or grey rock, and get on with your day in your awesome FW-free new life.

  • Thanks, CL, I needed this today!

    “What’s with part-time, recreational parents and homework, anyway? Why can’t these people do the damn book reports?”

    Yeah, why?

    I am sick of my kids coming back to me with their school backpacks untouched, full of neglected homework, and chunky skid marks on their undies that look days old.

    Even parallel parenting with a FW is hell.

    • Yes, it’s just the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? My kids were just 5 and 8 when FW vanished for a while, then he came back wanting shared custody, and it’s not ideal.

      At fist I would remind him to do the basic stuff for the kids like buy clothes and check that their homework is done. Then I figured out it was better to let him do things his way and I do things my way parenting. The kids have learned the past couple of years to be responsible students who did their homework without being told, and to speak up when they needed something like clean underwear at his house. I listened to them when they have issues, but most times I just help them figure out what they need and tell them “talk to your dad next time you see him”. It’s a process. It’s not that I don’t care about my kids, quite the opposite, but I won’t do the fixing and the spakling for them and their dad. It’s their relationship, I stay out of it.

      • Don’t tell me you’re an underwear hoarder, too!

        (Sorry, couldn’t resist. Referencing a chump’s “Hoover” comment from last Friday Challenge.)

          • I too read the comment about the “underwear hoarder” chump, bread&roses. Un-fucking-believable the cheater can’t think logically to save his life 🤣.

            But just to clarify matters, the stool-stained underwears I referred to in my comment aren’t inside the backpacks, they’re the ones my sons are currently wearing whenever I pick them up (they have separate full wardrobes at each parent’s home, nobody is hoarding anything 🤣 ).

            This pisses me off on so many levels.
            Our youngest is a 7 yo autistic boy, practically non-verbal. Our oldest is 9 yo and has many autistic traits himself (would probably have been diagnosed long ago if his mom wasn’t hell bent on getting him admitted to a certain elite school). They’re both toilet trained, but often need help wiping themselves (specially the youngest) and taking baths (the oldest can take a shower by himself but needs supervision). My youngest poops everyday after dinner; the oldest just after lunch: the little guys tick like clocks. When I pick up my kids on a Saturday afternoon and there are pieces of dry shit stuck in their underwear, I infer from that that they went to bed without the proper hygiene care the night before, and have been uncomfortable for several hours. The youngest can’t even fend for himself. The results are recurrent rashes and inflammations (an infection once) in the butt and genital area which take us to ER every now and then. I am ashamed to listen to the doctor point out to poor hygiene as the probable cause over and over again.

            When I talk to FW about the ER visit, she disagrees with both the diagnosis and prescription (she is a pharmacist, so she always knows better than the doctor 🤦‍♂️) and tells me and the kids it is all my fault because I taught them to clean their private parts “in excess” and with “too much soap” (I asked the doctor once if this could be the case and she said this is unheard of).

            My guess is that FW grew accustomed to less than properly clean dicks as of late (I realize this joke is in very bad taste, but I am really pissed off, please forgive me).

            I do my best when I am with my boys and try to ignore whatever goes on on mom’s house, but realizing my kids are being that neglected by their own mom angers me a lot. It is impossible to stay neutral to your children’s suffering.

            On a (maybe) lighter note, but still in the children’s underwear department, my oldest son recently came back from a trip with his brother, his mom, her boyfriend and his 8 yo daughter with a curious story. He told me the little girl just beat the shit out of her 60 yo dad when she realized the moron had forgotten to pack any of her underwear. I wish my boys had the attitude of their STBSS.

            It is with this kind of moronic adult people my kids are spending some holidays. Yikes!

            Yes, FuckThatShit, it is the gift that keeps on giving. And to think that maybe I will have to tolerate the fuckwit mom of my kids for the rest of my life in case our youngest does not ever achieve autonomy… Yikes x2

            • I just want to say that I feel for you and am sorry that your FW thinks it’s ok to treat her own kids like this. You are right that it is impossible to stay neutral to our children’s suffering.

              I remember a trip we took where FW decided he would do all of the packing for our son and we arrived with pjs and socks for him. I don’t know what part of their FW narcissism drives this behavior, but it is definitely part of the narc part of their FW. Too busy chasing after their next hit (kibbles? hoovering? – I need to learn the correct CN language) to focus in the kids,

              • Thanks for listening to and replying my rant, CHaBoD!

                Also, kudos for the Xmas contest win! I was appalled by your FW bag of dicks (there are certain things the motherfucker has no problem packing, huh?). I hope you are completely free from that nightmare of a husband, healing and finding your peace with your son. Best wishes!

  • You blame him only 90% when he’s 100% to blame, yet still he whines. That’s a FW for you.

    When they use their own kids as a way to shame and manipulate you, you know you’re dealing with a disordered person. Don’t expect reason or decency from such a person. Let him continue to fuck up as a parent, and, as CL says, document every single one. If you gather up enough evidence, you might be able to reduce his visitation. Not seeing that weirdo and his whore is what’s in the best interest of the child. You have no obligation to try to help him to act like an adult and parent properly, and he isn’t going to do that no matter what you have to say about it.

    I agree with CL that you should stop venting. Your daughter knows enough by now to be wary in his presence, which is the reason kids need to be told the truth- to protect themselves.

  • Great rerun. Somehow, the kind of DARVO that cheater spun still leaves me stammering and confused. Thank you for cutting through the mindfuck, Lone Star and CL. How I wish I’d known about the UBT back when I really needed it.

    What textbook gaslighting!

    “OW will [be] … a positive influence on her and someone she can trust.” You are getting very sleeeepy…

    “I would appreciate you addressing these items with me only and not in our daughters’s presence.” It’s easier for me to control the narrative and get in your head that way. BTW, I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.

    “Despite your negative attitude and antics…” I’m rubber, you’re glue.

    “I would appreciate you respect my relationship with OW…” I get to tell you what to think and feel. And again, I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.

    Get over it, fuckwit. You’re no longer central and you no longer get to tell that mighty chump what to do, say or think.

    Also, anyone else pick up on the sudden change of subject: daughter’s homework to chump’s “relationship” with OW?

  • “I spoke to our daughter last night and in the future will go over any and all homework assignments needed to be completed when I have her for the weekend.”

    See how reasonable I’m being? Why didn’t you tell me that checking was homework part of being a parent? Now that I’ve obtained this Brand New Information I will obviously be agreeable and indulge your silly demand that I do some baseline parenting, and I forgive you for expecting me to be a mindreader and magically know that our child goes to a “school” and has to do a thing called “homework.” Hashtag I’mthegoodguyhere.

    “This apparently upset you and you caused significant stress on our daughter’s last night, that wasn’t necessary.”

    I do not understand why my failing to meet bare minimum parental responsibilities upsets you, but I do know that whatever you’re feeling is unnecessary, for what I lack in parenting knowledge I make up for in magically knowing when your feelings are valid. (spoiler alert: any time you’re angry at me? It’s unnecessary).

    “I would appreciate you addressing these items with me only and not in our daughter’s presence.”

    I’m so sophisticated I say “in our daughter’s presence,” instead of “in front of our daughter!” If I can find a way to be so sophisticated, surely you can find a way to tell our daughter “you need to do all the homework you were supposed to do at Dad’s” without implying that I’m in any way at fault for not making sure she does her homework. Let’s be reasonable here!

    “I think you blew a small misunderstanding into something stressful for our daughter. I’ll try to set up the family wizard app this week and that should help improve our communication between us.”

    This isn’t about me failing my baseline parenting duties (which I’m not apologizing for, btw) this is about you not picking up my slack in a perfect way that also doesn’t make me look bad. Because you can’t do this, I guess we’ll have to use the parenting software. Harridan.

    “OW is part of my life and she’ll be part of our daughter’s life as well. OW will never be her mother, but rather a positive influence on her and someone she can trust. Despite your negative attitude and antics, we are building a life together and only want the best for our daughter. I would appreciate you respect my relationship with OW when it comes to your interactions with our daughter and try not to cause undo stress with her.”

    Now that we’ve addressed how you’re failing to pick up my parenting slack in a way that makes me look good, can we also address how you’re failing to fix the fact that our daughter doesn’t have a good relationship with the bimbo I blew up our family for? Cause if you could get on fixing that as well, that’d be great. Seriously, if you just took all the time and energy you spend on “antics” like making sure our daughter does her homework, and spend it on persuading our daughter to like my bimbo? They’d be besties in no time! Kthnxbye.

  • “I spoke to our daughter last night and in the future will go over any and all homework assignments needed to be completed when I have her for the weekend.”

    He unlocked this whole new level of life experience and parenting and has no idea why no one alerted him to it before. Ever in his entire life!

    #ExplainsSoMuch

  • My ex writes things like this regularly! I am even privileged to get similar emails from schmoopie. Used to really derail me. I’d feel compelled to point out that I was the full-time parent (5 kids at home at the time of the divorce) and that he was the one that had bailed on the family hello!?- chosen schmoopie after cheating for 10 years and then moved 2000 miles away. (He’s visited once in the last 2 years.)

    But these days, now 3 years post divorce, I just respond when necessary, archive the email for documentation purposes, and pretty much ignore the rest.

    Meh!

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