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The Other Woman Died

Dear Chump Lady,

My ex husband left me and our 3 kids almost 9 years ago, after 17 years of marriage, and never looked back. He left us for a married childless woman, his own age. (He’s 7 years older than me.) This January will mark 8 years since he’s laid eyes on our kids by his own choice.

This “romance” was broadcast all over social media as being ordained by God. God brought them together as they’d dated when they were 13 and didn’t see each other again for another 34 years. They were always “destined for each other.” (Insert retching) Our divorce took 2.5 years and these fools married each other before the ink was dry on either’s divorce papers.

I fought him tooth and nail for every single penny we deserved, I’ve been through lots of therapy, read your blog religiously, entered the work force, and have never given up on anything I’ve put my mind to. I found peace and meh years ago, until this past January when, out of the blue, I found out that the wife died of cancer!

I distinctly remember him being irritated when I complained of lower back pain, I had 3 kids in 4 years and migraines. Then he married a woman who got sick and probably needed around-the-clock care and he couldn’t stand it when I had lower back pain? WTH?

He blew up four people’s lives for a person who isn’t even on this planet anymore, so it feels like such a waste to me. The childless wife isn’t there to keep him away from the kids, so why hasn’t he reached out to any of them? Why does all of this bother me so much? At least while she was alive there was a reason I was divorced and my kids were abandoned. Am I going to hell for having these thoughts? Why is my meh gone?

Karma finally happened,

Anchorlady

****

Dear Anchorlady,

I don’t know if you’re going to hell for those thoughts. The karmic schedulers are inscrutable.

I do know, however, that your ex-husband backed the wrong wife appliance. Cancer can happen to anyone, of course. It’s not karma, it’s bad cell division. But it’s rotten luck for him.

He threw away his family and now he has no family.

Because you care about family, you imagine such a loss would be unbearable. But I suspect it isn’t for your ex. Anyone who can walk away from his three children and never speak to them in 7 years has a glacier where his heart should be.

You can blame the machinations of the Childless Other Woman, but the fact is people who cut off their children do it because they WANT to. Because they don’t care. Not enough anyway. Schmoopie doesn’t have superpowers. She can’t cast an enchantment over him (she can’t anything, she’s dead now). He did it of his own volition.

Ergo, he’s the sort of person who swaps people out like used air filters. Who makes children and conveniently forgets children, like they were lost library books left under the bed. Who complains when his wife appliance isn’t performing at maximum efficiency.

Can you imagine having this guy for a caregiver?

As I’ve said here a bazillion times, they don’t get character transplants. Schmoopie “won” that guy.

Why does all of this bother me so much?

Because maybe for the last seven years you thought she won? And you bought the  Heart Wants What the Heart Wants narrative? Like, it was all worth it, because his happiness is paramount, and so long as he got his Happy Ending with Schmoops, there was a reason your family broke up?

Versus — Trust that they suck. If you knew he sucked, then you’d know she didn’t get a prize. She lived her punishment. And he did too — who wants a mountain of ice where your soul should be?

This “romance” was broadcast all over social media as being ordained by God.

I guess God must ordain funerals as well.

The childless wife isn’t there to keep him away from the kids, so why hasn’t he reached out to any of them?

Well, he might. He lost a wife appliance. He might need something. Then he can peddle the story that the mean, mean dead lady made him cut them out of his life. But he’s baaaack! And hey, he needs a ride to airport.

I really hope for your children’s sakes he stays out of their lives. The inconsistency is heartbreaking. People can adjust to absences, it’s the yo-yo shit that messes you up.

Why is my meh gone?

It’s not. It just had a wobble. Go back to rocking that new life.

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.
  • Anchor lady, maybe it feels as if meh is gone because you are projecting your own thoughts of character, empathy, and humanness onto him. He doesn’t have those aspects because he’s a useless, shallow, narcissistic putz. You probably want him to feel some loss and suffering too by not having his kids around. As you would. He’s a souless shallow robot. He just fills his needs. Keep rocking your much bigger, broader life and keep him in the tiny background. You have you and three great kids. He has his own sorry ass and a corpse.

    • He may also have a current hooker habit keeping him busy. Think about it: He reacts to wife#1’s back pain (and his family’s general real human-ness, complete with–gasp- human needs!) with side bonking, religious alibis and abandonment. How can we suppose he reacted to shmoopie’s cancer? A Turkish harem, self-beatification and orbiting the moon?

      Statistics would predict he was never faithful to wifetress since, for all the typical “twu wuv” cheater facebook fanfare, cheaters tend to be even less committed to poached relationship.

      And cancer isn’t always just bad luck and genetic risk. As we’ve seen from fellow chumps and published research, victims of intimate partner abuse seem to suffer higher rates than average. I can’t imagine the paralyzing irony of participating in the destruction of a spouse and someone else’s family only to find myself betrayed in kind. The cognitive dissonance must be apocalyptic. There should be a poacher cancer/autoimmune study.

      • Several Autoimmune diseases after I left the covert narcissist. (He wasn’t the cheater, but 26 years with that abuse was debilitating). I am glad that they didn’t appear until after I left him, as he discounted any illness or feeling that wasn’t his own.

        • I’m so sorry that happened. Studies definitely show a connection. I think a lot of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop even after bailing. I’ll thank my lucky stars if I don’t end up with any new chronic thing from the whole chump adventure. You can feel it when it’s happening, like this amount of stress is going to take a toll.

          I’m sure whatever health strategies you use now to deal with the conditions will be more effective without a bridge troll lurking in the corner mumbling curses and staring daggers of resentment at you for daring to be sick.

          • I’ve lost 35 lbs. in 7 months. Thyroid has gone wacky. High blood pressure and high cholesterol too! I haven’t had it checked but I know my heart doesn’t function as well as it used to. I’m 46 years old and was considered healthy.

            • Lost,
              Usually patients are well read on their ailments so you probably know this already but for the others Hyperthyriodism (Graves disease) It is an autoimmune disorder. Irregular heartbeat can be a symptom. Once your Dr gets that under control you should feel better. Feel better

            • Lost, you’re immensely stressed, all the time. Your cortisol levels may be messing with you as well.

              I know your situation is painful and messy, but listen to your body. It’s screaming at you to get out of here.

  • I love CLs advise, I think she is spot on.

    For your kids sake, I also think that CL is right about the kids…it will hurt more for him to reappear (in a significant way) now. If they do eventually rekindle a relationship, I hope it’s a slow and natural process of growth. If he did suddenly show up acting like they were important, it would be awful for them.

    My dad acted like parenting was the worst fate ever and seemed to hate every minute of it and resent every dime I cost him. Fast forward I married a man who’s demographic dad likes better that husband 1.0 and through odd circumstance, I have the very sorts of money dad always wanted (but I never did). Im in my late 50s and having my dad now act like Im worth his time is miserable and throws salt in all my adolescent wounds.

    • My stepmother is like this–weathy and successful, but stingy and a user and social climber. Amazing how she picks up and drops people according to how financially successful she hears that they are. She never had time for my sister when my sister was young, in factwas very stingy with her, even when my sister was very ill. But when my sister grew up and eventually married a wealthy man, all of a sudden my stepmother started treating her like a daughter. It was (and is) nauseating to watch, especially when she flirts with my sister’s husband and his weathy friends right in front of my sister and my father.

  • I was left for an ex school girlfriend from 30 years plus ago. I know how that feels: it is very painful to be rejected in that way.

    I don’t have children. Not from choice but because that’s how it turned out. Use of the word ‘childless’ has to be done mindfully so that it does not imply that women who do not have children are somehow lesser than those who do. Us childless women have value. If you have children, be grateful for that blessing. You are lucky, not special.

    • Yes, I was thinking that. I can think of quite a few women I know personally without children who make the world a better place. It’s that human familiarity thing, where what we do, believe, or have is the norm and the others are lacking in some way. Once kind people become aware of it, they adjust.

      • I think the preferred term is child-free. I have a lot of friends in the arts who consciously made the choice and are very happy with it. But no wonder these friends generally stick to NYC and other urbane art hubs where this is relatively normal and they can be spared provincial clucking.

      • Hi Anna, there is a reason that I termed it that way. It was not meant in any fashion for folks who mindfully, and maturely choose not to have children, or cannot, and still like all human beings regardless of age. This woman had multiple terminations, used as birth control (adding this info so we know why she didn’t have kids, not to express an opinion or to spark a debate), in her previous two marriages and was horrid to her nieces and nephews. She had a disdain for children, so when she hooked up with my husband it was a perfect way for him to leave his life behind. I would never ever use this term for anyone else because I don’t care what anyone else does. However, I did care what my husband was doing at the time, and that was leave me and 3 kids behind for a woman who had no kids, so he could live out a fantasy life. I am very sorry if it struck a nerve. I hope the spirit of my letter to CL was not lost because of me using that term to describe her.

    • MW…hope you don’t mind me asking, but was infertility the reason you didn’t have children? Or was it your husband who decided not to have them?

      Please forgive me if I’m out of line for asking. I ask because you said “I was left for an ex school girlfriend from 30 plus years ago”.
      That sounds like what I’ve been dealing with. He married me knowing I wanted children, a family, more than anything…and then his mom revealed that he was still hoping his high school girlfriend who dumped him (in 1988) would someday return.
      So that’s why he never had kids. This other person was in the background the whole time.

      I’m now almost 40 and will never have the family I wanted. I also can’t leave (it’s complicated). I’m sorry….it’s just that your story moved me deeply. I hope you’re doing much better now.

      • Also, to make things more clear…my husband is several years older than me (to explain how he could have dated somebody in 1988).
        Our marriage was the first marriage for both of us. I was very young when I married him. Although I knew he’d been dumped in high school a long time ago, I had no idea that he still had “feelings” for her.
        I’m just thankful for the distance…she lives far away. He is still obsessed with his former hometown and his high school days because of her.

        Also, on the subject of illness. This OW from my husband’s past has Marfan syndrome and some type of heart problem as a result.
        I think she had a near-fatal heart attack at some time. It’s interesting how our spouses can sometimes treat us like a burden, but they don’t feel that way about a potential “Schmoopie”.

    • I am sorry that I used it in a manner that was hurtful. I said it that way because she purposefully did not have children. In her previous two marriages she had mulitple abortions so as not to have children and was very mean to her nieces and nephews of her second husband. I only know this because I had to break the news to that poor guy because she never told him that she was shacking up with my husband and not really visiting a sick sister. “Old man Dale” (that’s what I called him) filled me in on all the deets. He says, ohhhh, maybe that’s why I was diagnosed with herpes 6 months ago. Ohhhhh Dale, get a good divorce lawyer now.

  • I follow a blog written by a woman whose husband told her he was leaving and he did. Several months ago she wrote that he died of covid. No one told her. She found out by accident. Not a single person in his family told and yet they had been married over 20 years. She does not share much but mentioned it was three days before he was found. Where was the love of his life? That is not karma, that is stupidity. He probably refused to be vaccinated.

    Listen to CL. The ability to jettison his children tells you everything you will ever need to know about his morals. He has none. There is a special place in hell for people who abandon their children. He took his creepy old self and gave it to her. What a gift.

    Meh is accepting that you innocently married a rotten egg. At some point you will probably need to explain to your kids that he was missing the part of the brain that loves. He uses. Big difference. He ate up the attention in the media. That meant more that his children. I have seen deeper mud puddles that that.

      • I know several people who got Covid after being vaccinated. Not a single one was hospitalized and none of them died.
        The sad sentence in her blog was that if he had stayed with her he would still be alive.
        The science community has known for years how to quickly make vaccines. That is the reason so many of us are still here.

        • Sorry but the literature reports many covid deaths even following vaccination. The argument has only been “reduced mortality” following vaccination. There’s been a lot of primary and secondary failure with RNA vaccines and even deaths from the vaccines themselves which are being studied to determine risk factors. Hopefully new formulations can be created for the minority who don’t tolerate the current preparations or at least those susceptible to severe side effects can be screened out in future.

          Industry can quickly make vaccines and rush them to market in emergencies but that’s no guarantee they’ll always work. This is a brand new disease and brand new approach (except for the Chinese shots which use old tech but still fail at times). Out of respect for how enormously complicated vaccine technology is, we should avoid bio-Calvinism.

          • Not sure what “literature” you’re reading, but the vaccinated covid deathrate is at a fraction of a percent, and you are about 50 times more likely to die of covid if you’re unvaccinated, so… statistically, yeah, probably was unvaxxed.

            • I don’t disagree but the clinical arguments for adding a third and possibly fourth dose is that effectiveness wanes rapidly and significantly after a second dose in some groups. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)00089-7/fulltext

              The point is not to defend some FW who probably flagrantly ignored all sorts of disease risks– not just Covid– while cheating on a chump. The point is that, though relatively uncommon, there are people who’ve lost family members to Covid who were fully vaccinated. From the sometimes aggressive comments to an article about a vaccinated journalist who died of Covid, I’m sure bereaved families have already had to straighten bystanders out while in the midst of grieving.

              Anyway, speculating on things that even scientists are still trying to work out risks flying wide of the target and damaging the innocent. It’s kind of ironic within a discussion of risks/benefits to take the risk of doing that. It’s not necessary.

    • Agree with you entirely.

      I don’t really subscribe “Karma” as I understand it. I do subscribe to play stupid games win stupid prizes.

      As for health. I never wished bad health on anyone as I am sure no one here did. But as for my ex fw descending into bankruptcy, lousing up his relationship with our son and sons family etc; that is all on him and due to his actions. He chose the slimy side of the fence and he had to live in it.

      I would have loved to see him straighten up, treat our son well, made good decisions etc; but he didn’t. He had the ability to, and he knew right from wrong. He chose wrong.

      As far as whore, I honestly don’t think she was all that intelligent and I know she was raised in a rough home life; I am not sure she ever knew anything but bad decisions, so really I can’t blame her for his actions. She treated my son and his family like shit too; but I never expected anything more from her, I did have some hope for my sons dad; but it was not to be.

      • My husband’s business also went bankrupt the same year as the divorce
        He told everyone that the divorce was the distraction and that’s why the business went under. He was CEO and he been making bad decisions for years.
        I got a good settlement, a fair settlement ,based upon the business value at the time, I hired a licensed professional business valuators. He refused to hire any kind of professional business valuator and had nothing legally admissible to support his claim of bankruptcy
        When he actually did go bankrupt he just blamed me for taking an unfair settlement
        Now he says this is why he won’t to speak with me, because I took advantage of him.

  • Ex lived in the same house & cut his sons out of his life, hasn’t spoken to them in 3.5 years, house now sold, nearly away from him for ever !!

    • Am I reading this correctly, that he cut his sons out of his life while living with them? That’s cruel on an incredible level. They need that sane, level-headed mom.
      My ex did something similar. He told me after D-Day that he had chosen to cut himself off emotionally from us, and that’s why he refused to do anything beyond meals in front of the TV–no outings, movies, vacations, or activities other than a few things for his image-management so he’d look like a family man. Incredibly cruel.

      • I am living that now. He only phones in what little is required to keep up appearances. He thinks phoning it in and taking some smiley photos will get custody for him because he doesn’t want to pay child support. Our child called him out for always talking to me with a snitty tone. Kiddo isn’t fooled by his act. When given a moment of free time, klootzak chooses to avoid us. He only shows up to be fed and take photos of himself playing Super Dad.

        • I’m sorry if I’ve missed your past comments where you explained your situation. I imagine you must have strategic reasons for still being hostage to this horror show. I just pray that, as far as any custody schemes your FW may be brewing, he suddenly gets a slew of solo DUIs and that full color evidence of his dungeon visits fall into your lap.

          • Thanks. I hope so, too. My attorney has seen his type before and we have a strategy. I had a lot of ducks to line up, which I have done. Just waiting on one last domino to fall. My patience is wearing very thin, admittedly.

  • AL,

    Forgive me for saying that you appear to be making a mistake that we have all made in the past. We Chumps sometimes try to ascribe to the Cheater the same views, the same values and the same standards that we hold
    ourselves …. and then we wonder how on earth they are able to do the things that they do and say the things that they say and live with themselves? We forget that: Cheaters don’t care about the things that Chumps care about; Cheaters don’t have the same values that Chumps do and; Cheaters live by a different set of standards to those that Chumps live by. Putting ourselves in their shoes and trying to understand how they came to take the decisions that they made will just make our heads spin, as there is a fundamental clash of views, values and standards at play.

    That he hasn’t reached out to your children like a “normal person” might isn’t your worry, so don’t try and unpack it. Instead I’d advise getting your slightly wobbly “meh” back in equilibrium and get back to rocking it, as you are clearly much mightier than you give yourself credit for.

    LFTT

      • TM,

        I wish I’d had a therapist like yours; I had to work this out for myself.

        I now get it and my eldest 2 children (now 26 and 23) get it; all 3 of us give their mother/my ex-wife a very wide berth. My youngest (18) knows this, but hasn’t internalised it; as a consequence, she frequently gets hurt when she hopes that her mother will act like a “normal” person and then tries to “unpack why” when her mother lets her down; something that she does almost without fail. She’ll work it out eventually – and I’ll support her every step of the way – but I hate seeing the impact that her mother has on her.

        LFTT

        • It’s brutal. I watch the same thing with my son (19) who thinks his mother is going to “come back to who she is,” some day. It’s so sad. I stay out of his way but offer my support as needed.

    • I agree, and I think it is a difficult, painful lesson for chumps to realize that cheaters do not think or act or feel like we do. The more time that passes, the more I realize that my ex never truly loved or cared about me, and never made a single decision or choice in mind that truly considered me. It was all for his ego, image management, etc. I was just a prop on his stage.

      I spent so much time trying to figure him out, but now I focus on figuring me out so I can avoid the old, familiar traps. I am grey-rock, rather than true no contact, due to child-related communications. My ex continues to casually disrespect me in various ways that are too tedious to dwell on, but part of a larger pattern. The other day, after one such incident, I was SO tempted to call the idiot out on, and then realized what is the point? He will not listen, he does not care, and in all the likelihood the exchange would have left me feeling broken and bruised. So I made a small choice, in that moment, to privilege my own peace of mind over the need for justice and accountability.

      Of course, I still hope that the karma bus pays him a visit, but in the meantime, I try to focus on my choices, rather than his.

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself. When I look back at my ex, I remember how unreliable he was. His choices were dictated by what was best for him in that moment, not what was best for us as a family, and could never be bothered to do anything thoughtful ahead of time, except when he was hovering me and made sure all our mutual friends new what he was doing. But if there was anything resembling a social event going on, forget it. Whatever I needed help with was suddenly a major inconvenience, something I didn’t actually “need.” He loved to say, “just tell me what you need help with!” Then turn around & gatekeep the help for which I asked. Life is indeed more peaceful without him in it (aside from parallel parenting).

    • You are so right. My counselor always tell me, why are you trying to apply logic to the illogical? IDK, Bill?!? Why don’t you tell me? That’s what I pay you for, isnt’ it? 🤣

  • My ex and I divorced in 2018 after a three year separation. He lives 20 miles away, and hasn’t seen my 3 daughters in two years. (Even that was an accident.) Hasn’t spoken to them in almost 6. My youngest, who is now 18, has had two visitations in SIX years. TWO. One resulted in a call to law enforcement. Our decree forced counseling on her for the sake of “re-establishing parent-child relationship.” She went. He never did. Men who abandon their kids (even if they pay child support, which mine did, it’s still abandonment) are soulless demons who have no business having any of your non-meh emotions. Does it suck? Heck yeah. It might suck a little forever, I’m finding. At least in my case, because he did us dirty and sometimes that sh*t still hurts, even though my life is exponentially better. But your kids, grown or not, are better off with a mom who loves them the way you do. Chump Lady is right – they’re better off without his fake interest. And so are you. You got this, Mama!! xo

    • I agree. I would have happily traded 2 sucky parents for one good one any day. When I was in 7th grade, they almost divorced. My mom went out of her way to let me and my brother know that she had no interest in being a single mom and would not seek custody. My dad didn’t like children…any children, ever.

  • When I see posts like this one, and yesterday’s, I always feel that many of us believe MEH is an actual place. Meh is inside of you, it reflects how you have learned to deal with the problems the world puts in your path. You don’t win it or lose it. You learn to take responsibility for how you act, for the choices you make, and nothing more. You cannot control other people, or the way long standing social and religious practices influence our social world. You can only control your actions and behaviors.

    Your EX did not leave you and his family because the OW made him. He chose to do that. He chose no contact with his own children. You are not responsible for his choices, now, or then. You are responsible for letting his change of life situation occupy space in your thoughts. That’s what you need to work on, that’s what is making you uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter why, he’s gone. It doesn’t matter what happens to him.

    My children still “loved” their dad even though they were very aware of his flaws and bad choices. He died last Fall. Their love for him and desire for a relationship, of sorts, with him did not diminish me in any way. I maintained a separate and much healthier relationship with them because I did not try to make their choices.

    When we see bad things happen to bad people because of their bad choices, we can feel like they deserved it. But we have to be aware that bad things happen to good people, every day, and they did not deserve that. Bad things, like cancer, can happen to anyone. Justice is something we seek in a court of law, but it will never be restoration to the way things once were, or the way we perceived them to be. We have to live in the world as it is, accepting that we have little control over anything. We can try to control our own actions and reactions. Sometimes that results in good things happening for us. We can be grateful for any good thing we have. We can refuse to spend our time thinking about the bad things that have happened. I believe that is called setting boundaries. I believe having good boundaries increases your chances of being happy. I don’t believe Karma will punish me for trying to be happy or working to live my best life. If I do become ill, I don’t believe I’m being punished. Someday, I will die. That’s acceptance, not karma.

    • “My children still “loved” their dad even though they were very aware of his flaws and bad choices. He died last Fall. Their love for him and desire for a relationship, of sorts, with him did not diminish me in any way. I maintained a separate and much healthier relationship with them because I did not try to make their choices.”

      My son did this too. He tried to balance his dads treatment of him with maintaining a connection. To an extent he did, but I know he still suffers pain at the treatment his family received. His dad died Jan of 21. He died alone in another state with his son in one state and his wife in another. Due to his own stubbornness. He was driving a big ass RV even though he could barely walk. My son begged him to get help before heading out he wouldn’t. So he got stranded. And because my son had covid and could not fly or travel; he could not help him in any way. His illness was not his fault; his stubbornness was.

      The hospital set up a cam system so he and fws wife could talk to him as he died.

      How did it affect me? I cried like a baby, and I don’t know why. Likely because as his dad got sicker my son and I had a lot of long talks, and I knew some of the pain my son suffered and he finally knew some of the pain I had suffered. I still wish my ex had made better choices after we D’d; if for no other reason, for my sons sake.

      • Susie Lee, In a stack of very recent bills I found a hand written letter from my ex from 2007. How in the heck did it get there? I read it. It was so dang sweet. “I can’t wait to live out the rest of our lives in this house with our three wonderful kids.” I bawled my eyes out. I will probably cry if he dies before me too.

  • After 35 years married my cheating ex husband left me for a OWhore bc he said he no longer loved me. I had just went into breast cancer remission and was trying to get my strength back when I ignored red flags for year or so. I picked me danced until I actually caught them together at her home in the middle of the night. They laughed and made fun of me while the whore
    said sexual things they did together etc.
    Week later I served him divorce papers.
    He moved into her home then 2 years later she had a car accident and died.
    He quickly moved into her house where he is now. He’s pushing 70, had heart surgery then cancer. Wasn’t there for me when I was sick and didn’t even come to the hospital when I had one breast removed. This woman supposedly takes good care of him and doesn’t know the cruelty and torment he put me through.
    The deceased OWhore finally got her karma in my opinion and he’s getting his now. I feel some justice even though I’m not at Meh after 7 years.
    Good luck to you 💪🏻

    • Hi Kathleen, you know what I am feeling. I’ve said, when my ex and his wh0r3 were telling everyone that God brought them together, God was up there and said, Awww hell no. He called up his buddy, the devil, and said, “I can’t listen to this sh*$ anymore, I’m transferring this down to you, this one is ALL you, buddy.” I mean, really?? What did those two think was going to happen when they were telling people that God brought them together? God does not tell you to cheat on your spouse, he just doesn’t. It had to come around at some point. I reached meh a long time ago, Kathleen, I hope you reach your “meh”.

      • Thank you friend for your understanding. Your correct God had nothing to do with it. I’m not totally at Meh yet but I’m trying. Have to interact with him at our sons home at times. It’s so hard but my son n daughter in law are what’s important now. Bless you 👍

  • Spot on advice from CL and everyone. It bothers you because you, like all normal people, want justice. As hard as it is, in the end I hope you can celebrate your hard-earned wisdom and sane life as an awesome mother who truly loves her kids. There are plenty of shallow, half-developed human beings to go around and they’ll find each other eventually. You on the other hand are a free and are a powerful model of resilience for your kids.

  • I suspect FW might also think about contacting the OP to do a bit of hoovering. If he does, I hope she stays strong and tells him where to shove it!

    • Never ever in one million, bazillion years will he ever contact me. He has not spoken to me since the day he walked out the door. We have only communicated via email. The last email I sent him was in January and the time before that was about 2.5 years before. He is a very stubborn person. He would rather be tortured to death than admit he may have chosen unwisely. He has never apologized to me since I’ve known him and he won’t start now.

  • I’m not a parent, so I can only guess… but I suspect no matter how much anger or pain we feel for ourselves, many parents feel much more anger and pain toward how their children were harmed. It makes sense to me that the anger of how someone harmed the beings you’re committed to love, protect, nurture, and treasure through life would rear up with fangs and claws with relatively little provocation.

    Maybe this writer’s feelings are the best of the inner parent feeling the rage that’s natural to a parent. And what I mean is, they don’t indicate a loss of what’s important about meh as much as they indicate that life now includes the necessary safety and balance to allow that protective instinct to bloom, and be trusted, and honored, and accepted as reasonable.

    In my own experience, emotions about things don’t disappear forever. They come up less frequently, flash less intensely, last for shorter durations, but they aren’t gone. With time and healing, they just take up less of my total bandwidth and stop motivating me to seriously consider unhealthy/unproductive choices. To me, that’s “meh”.

    Writer, your children are lucky to have such a loving mom!

    • I think you are right. I mentioned the other day that in the last month, I had a visceral response to klootzak telling a bald faced lie in front of our child. I have grown accustomed to him lying to me but him lying to our child set me off. My knees shook and I had to get away to explode and not blow my gray rock in front of him. There is definitely a mama bear response to your child being hurt or lied to.

    • “many parents feel much more anger and pain toward how their children were harmed. It makes sense to me that the anger of how someone harmed the beings you’re committed to love, protect, nurture, and treasure through life would rear up with fangs and claws with relatively little provocation.”

      Yes, bears repeating.

  • The OW wasn’t the reason he blew up your family as much as she was a malignant symptom of the reason.

    He is a jerk and she was the proof. She was a jerk and he is the proof.

    Wonderful people don’t screw around with married people, and wonderful married people don’t screw around.

    That he would also abandon his own children as he did is further proof that LOVE is not in this guy’s skill set.

  • I have no respect for a man or woman who just up and leaves their children. Bad enough to cheat on your spouse but also have nothing to do with your children??? No wonder you have your own issues surrounding it. I wish the best for you and your children.

    • I agree with your position, and also find it hurtful. When I left the now ex, I was the one leaving the children. In a few week, alternate parenting was established, but leaving the kids was very very difficult for me. It was the reason I stayed too long in the marriage 😭

      • Leaving your children with the other parent or a caregiver for a short time to align life so they can join you/be with you again, and feeling terrible about it, is, without a doubt, 100%, night and day different from the other parent becoming unresponsive and absent with zero regard for who it harms. They aren’t even in categories anywhere near one another. Excellent call-out, alas rainy again. Sometimes (often) things that sound similar when summarized aren’t actually similar at all in context. Good point.

      • When I moved out from the family home, I left my kids with their narcissist dad. I hated that I had to do that, but I knew he would never leave, and I didn’t want to stay in that house.

        Now, the kids helped me pick out my new house, and their rooms, so it was a decision made with them in mind. But I still carry with me that I left them for that time.

  • You got the kids, he got Shmoopie (for however long). You win! The kids won too because they have you.

    • I agree that she won and that the kids are lucky to have her. Also, AL does seem to be rocking her new life.

      And the kids “won” in the sense that they are free of a toxic presence (the dad) and because they seem to have a great mom.

      But, boy, it’s sad. The situation is sad. I feel bad for my own kids who are adults and have gone NC with x. Good decision on their part (and all theirs, by the way), but so, so sad nonetheless.

      • I do feel bad for the kids that have to endure high conflict kid exchanges between parents, and listen to the fights when they see both parents. My kids were spared that, but they have to live with the fact that they are actively NOT being chosen every day by him. Hopefully my smothering has been enough! 😁

  • I told my ex that I wanted a separation, and he became a sixty-something runaway. I had to handle all of the explanations and two very upset college kids. Things broke down with the house and cars, and we watched YouTube and called friends. It was a truly a mess, and I made a lot of mistakes.

    One of the few things I did right though was to tell the kids that any relationship with their dad from then on was their business, period. They didn’t want to talk about him anyway, and I respected that. At times they barely spoke to me, and both rebelled in ways, and I hung in there. I celebrated the holidays, birthdays, and graduations with them. Meanwhile, their dad was busy walking on the beach and doing whatever else retired guys who ditch their families do. Periodically he’d sent a card with a check. Maybe, maybe not though.

    Four years after he left, almost two years since the divorce was final, he sent them a card, inviting them to visit and “catch up.” He hinted at “before it’s too late.” His health took a nosedive in some ways after he left, and I know that had COVID at one point. Maybe he believes that his time is limited, but that’s not how you do it. I never saw the card, but they gave me the summary. No apologies, no amends. One of them commented that he probably wanted to show them off which they really resented. So they never responded. He pinged me, and I only confirmed that they got the card.

    My response was — THE NERVE, but I kept my thoughts to myself and told a friend. It truly was their choice. So he missed all of the milestones and how they nailed their studies and are now delightful, caring adults. Both are superstars professionally and have wonderful friends.

    I don’t know if someone will notify us if something happens or not. There seems to be some distance between him and his family. I get part of his pension with reduced survivor benefits, so that might be how we find out if it happens.

    I will never get how someone can be married and raising kids and then just run and turn it all off like the wife and kids never existed. I discussed that with my therapist, and she commented that I couldn’t understand it because I was healthy emotionally with solid connections to other people. Yes, I guess so.

    • Some people just don’t bond.

      This is on a much smaller scale of course but my scumbag ex hb was in my kids lives for 13 years, from the time they were 5 and 2.

      He loved to play the respectable family man even though he was phony and generally nasty to them.

      Once I left him that was it. He used to go on about how much he cared about them but they’ve since graduated high school, had birthdays, etc and got nary a peep from him. Nothing. It’s like he never existed and they never bring him up.

      The loser is him though because he’s basically alone. He’s a lot older than me (late 60’s) and has one self absorbed snotty daughter who has her own family and isn’t thrilled about having to take care of him. She’s much closer to her mother….he never much bonded with her either. He could have my now grown sons in his life if he was at all capable of any kind of bonding.

      Oh well….my kids see their father and don’t care about their loser ex stepfather.

      • Yes, he had what they now call attachment issues. I discussed that with our mutual therapist when we were still together and later after we separated. She actually predicted that he was going to run far away a month before he actually did.

        Over time, I also noticed that his friends were largely situational. If he moved or changed jobs, he didn’t make much effort to keep in touch. He’d tell me that he was one that didn’t live in the past with his relationships. He was friendly if people contacted him, but he didn’t seem to track them once he wasn’t seeing them regularly.

        So it was just more of the same, I guess. Like we never existed.

    • My ex was also a neglectful, narcissistic, emotionally abusive father and spouse. Now, after the divorce, he takes responsibility for nothing and is hoovering the hell out of my two 20 something kids.
      My daughter was particularity ignored and devalued by her dad. He made fun of her etc.
      She is so kind and in training to be a therapist. Guess who he now asks to be his emergency contact. ? Her. She agreed.
      I want so badly to tell her story after story of what he said about her behind her back. She was weird. She would never amount to anything. Etc.
      When he was sexting on line he sent pictures of her out all over without her knowing.
      I hold my to tongue but live in fear he will hurt her again
      He is just using her.

      • What a major creep…sending out your own daughter’s photos over the internet. You need to find a way to let her know how cruel he was especially behind her back. Let her know that you are not doing this because of your bad relationship with ex but you are worried about him taking advantage of her decency.

        • I have come close. I can see it’s just too much for her to bear at this time. Maybe at some point I will. Thank you

    • I don’t get it either.

      I guess if I can give my ex any leeway, at least he didn’t leave until our son was emancipated. But, honestly I think it had less to do with that then fw using me to get his place in the community secured, and his two promotions.

      Within days of his promotion to Captain, he began the year of discard. First avoiding me, acting distant then by midyear being hateful alternating with bouts of love bombing. By the last two months he was screaming at me constantly. I believe by then, he had been outed at work by an ethics complaint filed against him (in regards to him fucking his direct report, then petitioning for a raise for her) and he was desperate to save his ass.

      Had he not been outed, I think his plan was to keep being so nasty to me that I would eventually kick him out, then he could mope around a few weeks then voilà, drag the whore out of the woodwork and pretend they are just starting to date.

      He had this all worked out in his head, and since he had been in control for so long, it must have seemed to him like he would be forever.

      Note: He went on to treat our son like shit down the road, that is why I think our sons welfare never played into his plan, only what he wanted; and he needed me for image mgt until he secured his promotions.

  • My first thought is that anyone who can walk away from their children Iike that doesn’t bond, so i doubt he really bonded with the OW either.

    Very sad that she spent her last years on this earth blowing up two families for a scumbag who had no problem abandoning his children and likely never really bonded with her either. I have to wonder if as her end approached she thought it was worth it.

    LW, you got by far the better deal. You have your precious children and freedom from said scumbag. Keep rocking your life.

  • Oh gosh. I read the headline and momentarily thought I had written the letter.
    The last OW recently died and a member of her family reached out to inform me.
    Don’t know why anyone in that twisted family thought I needed to know or that I would care. They all knew and smiled to my face while laughing behind my back.
    Am I sad? Nope.
    The ex and that terrible person weren’t even together, and hadn’t been for years. But because we live in the same town, occasionally she would see me and would go out of her way to make her presence known. I have to admit that these sporadic encounters were stressful for me.
    So I feel nothing but relief that I will never have to worry about her popping up ever again.
    Am I going to hell because I don’t feel any sorrow or sympathy for her family? Don’t believe in the concept of hell, but if I did then I’ve already been there and fought my way out.

    • “Don’t believe in the concept of hell, but if I did then I’ve already been there and fought my way out.”

      Great quote.

  • “I really hope for your children’s sakes he stays out of their lives. The inconsistency is heartbreaking. People can adjust to absences, it’s the yo-yo shit that messes you up.”

    I agree with CL on this. If he’s lost his wife, he might want to get back into the kids’ lives and yours too, for that matter. In my view, he tore up his dad card when he walked out. You might want a plan in place if he should hoover. I’m not sure what that would be, but maybe others here can weigh in.

    Good luck, AL.

    • I suspect he will try to hoover his way back into his kid’s lives when, and only when, he thinks they might be useful to him. Prepare them as best you can. They are not required to be his caregivers.

  • This story resonated with me. When XH was caught by kids on Christmas the mask slipped and we saw who he really was. It was devastating. The fake, manipulative-charming, seemingly loving, concerned husband and parent turned into a blaming rage-filled shark-eyed hateful monster. He was diagnosed as a malignant narcissist with BPD. He said the most heinous cruel things to our children, the youngest of whom was only 10. The damage was irrrversable. Thank God the judge gave me full custody and that I found a wonderful therapist who has helped my youngest. The middle two who are young adults now are more wounded. Both have severe substance abuse issues and suicide attempts. Therapy didn’t seem to help them – my daughter even had several stays in behavioral health unit of the hospital as well as 18 months of DBT 3x a week in the years after XH abandoned and blamed kids and me for his “unhappiness.” There were years when kids only saw XH for a single meal at a restaurant per month. XH continued to be cruel and highly manipulative. XH is a much sicker drug addict and alcoholic now and kids are older and see how bad off he is (and how sickeningly selfish the AP is) and they mostly stay away from him. It’s still so shocking and devastating what he is like. In the 26 years we were together I never would have believed he was capable of this. Never.

    When ignorant people and therapists (Perel and her ilk) minimize narcissistic abuse (including cheating) and marginslize the family victims, it enrages me.

    • OMG, Motherchumper. What an evil, evil man. I feel so bad for your kids. However, at least it’s good to know there are sane judges out there who don’t award custody to guys like him. He should die in immernse agony for what he did to them.

      • Yeah, the hardest is when the narcissist is given 50% custody and try as they might the children cannot get out of the abusive experiences. He shows up for every court ordered visit cusses at them, says hateful things to them. So hard to see people be sad he doesn’t show up.

  • Anchor lady, you don’t really think he was a steadfast and loving caregiver to a schmoopie with cancer, do you? Undoubtedly he stuck her in a hospice and commenced cheating, if in fact he ever stopped.
    As CL says, I hope he doesn’t try to hoover your kids back, because he is poison. I’d go even further and say his parental rights need to be terminated. After abandoning them and no contact from their alleged father for eight years, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Should he try to contest it, what does he have? “Well my new wife died so now I want my kids back?” Yeah, no. It doesn’t work that way. It’s a pity you didn’t terminate his rights before she died when he was unlikely to make a fuss about it.
    Do not not not not not let him come back into their lives. He’ll only use them as a placeholder until he can abandon them when he finds another schmoop, re-traumatizing them in so doing. CL is right- the inconsistency is more damaging than having no father. He’ll give them false hope, then pull the rug out from under them again and smirk when he does so. Because, you know, God says he’s speshul and everything he does is holy. What a kook.
    He may try to hoover you unto being a placeholder as well. If you aren’t NC, by all means do it now.

    About your cheater and his impatience
    with your back problems; FW’s don’t operate logically in the least. My FW, who had little empathy or patience for any of my health problems, wanted to leave me for a woman who already was in the early stages of a degenerative illness and was a severe alcoholic. Can you imagine what a clusterfuck that would have been? I wish he had been stuck with her so he could reap what he sowed, but she already had a chump with deeper pockets than FW and wasn’t interested in leaving Daddy Warbucks. So he continued cheating with her but kept me as plan B, then made a lame pretense that I was suddenly, conveniently plan A after Dday hit and she scuttled off like a cockroach. But my mama didn’t raise a stupid chump, so I dumped him. FWs live in a fantasy where world wherein life with schmoopie is going to be a non-stop thrill ride straight to twu wuv heaven no matter what impediments there may be. Spoiler alert; it never works out that way. Ever more pathetic, getting their karmic just desserts doesn’t stop them from believing it will work out that way with schmoopie spouse 2.0, 3.0 etc. ad nauseum.
    Losers one and all. If you put them all in one place, the collective FW EQ would be lower than my dress size.

  • Dearest Anchorlady,

    Please listen to all the folks supporting you here. They are 100% correct when they say that the ex suddenly showing up would be all about him, not the kids and more painful than him just staying away . My ex was ditched by his shmoopie almost immediately after the divorce was final. He had ignored his son in favor of her kids then suddenly was back. Fine. Except he quickly found another gf with kids and once again my son was an afterthought, if that. Rinse and repeat. I can’t tell you how many cycles of this my son has been through. He tells me, now, how selfish his dad is and how he doesn’t want to be anything like him. But I can still see the hurt in his eyes when the next new thing crops up and the FW suddenly has no time for him. Q

  • Filing for divorce 4 years ago (2018) had the opposite effect for my XW. Before I busted her she was a non existent mother for the better part of 18 years. Working and going out with “friends”. As soon as she got served she became mother of the year. Home from work early, no weekend shifts, and no more partying. I wish she would have up and left when I kicked her out. Fast forward to (2021) our two youngest (13,10) (50/50) have told her they don’t need a mother and want to cut her and her family out of their lives. So much drama in her house with her AP and 4 of his 5 kids. So many times they called to have me pick them up. Finally drove me to the point that I took her back to court for custody & placement. Well that led to her & her AP getting married to present a stable household. We have one more mediation session set up in a few weeks. I know once this is settled the shit show will begin again and the kids will be exposed to drama once again.

    What should one do when dealing with this? Do I keep fighting? The kids will be 14 & 11 this year so they are almost at the age to decide.

    • CT,
      FWs thrive on drama and centrality. I had older and younger kiddos too. Your kids are not young and can speak for themselves. I’m not a lawyer but my suggestion would be to stop fighting her and only support your kids. Concentrate on being available to pick them up when things go awry. And they will. Stop trying to prevent it. Concentrate on giving your kids their voices and help them problem solve to fix it. Give them an outlet. Demonstrate that you’ve got their backs. I got my kids phones so they can call me directly if they feel unsafe or need a pick up and don’t have to go thru disordered FW. They also refused to share their numbers with him but since I pay for phone and service, nothing he can say. Soon enough (even now if they really don’t want to go, actually) your kids can refuse visitation if they want. Mine did and do. They pick and choose their outings and decline vacation invitations. Your kids can choose to stay full time with you eventually. You ‘encourage’ them to see her and they refuse. That’s the way it works. The law enforcement officer I spoke with went out of his way to say they NEVER enforce visitation/custody issues. She would have to take you to court if she’s not happy. Let her spend her own money.

      My lawyer told me not to fight exFW (it is expensive and that money can be more effectively used) that he would get bored and leave us alone. He was right. As long as you don’t make it a big issue, then they realize they can’t get a rise out of you. Your kids are old enough to relay any information that they want about their lives. You should not have to have contact. Get the parenting app if she bothers you too much. Keep everything strictly business; when and where drop off is. Let the kids handle any concerts, sports; most of the schedules are online and she can look them up. She can make her own parent teacher conferences. I’m lucky my ex FW doesn’t really want to see the kids. I say cooperate at the bare minimum and never go out of your way to accommodate ex because it is always about what’s best for the kids. If they are stressed and uncomfortable that is not good for them. Concentrate on being the sane parent, put your kids first, minimize the input from ex as much as possible for your sake and theirs.
      Fortunately this is a short term problem that will work itself out.

  • True revenge is not giving a shit what your fuckwit does or what happens to them. Attention is the only thing narcissists value, so stopping paying them any is the only way to hurt them.

  • This was my father. He had 4 kids with my mother. Then when my mother finally couldn’t stand all his extra curricular activities and divorced him, he quickly married another divorcee with 2 kids. I was 11 at the time. He had to be guilted/forced into taking any time with his sons and daughters, which soon got less and less, and then nonexistent not that we wanted to spend time with him either.

    Around my 18 birthday I went to visit (on my own dime) him and an older brother who lived in the area, not having seen either for years. My paternal grandmother and 2nd wife decided that they needed to berate me over dinner at the restaurant for me not having kept up a relationship with my father. I just looked at them both with scorn and stated, “I my father is unhappy with the state of his relationship with me, then that’s between us, and he needs to do something about it.” Crickets around the table while my father stared into his whiskey and water.

    Yeah, even as young as that I was NOT going to allow them to put the blame me for the fact that my father was a shitty father and had no desire to spend any kind of emotional or physical energy on his kids. He ended up estranged from all but one of his sons. 2nd wife divorced him. Except for that one son, he would have died alone in his crappy apt. after his live in girl friend left him when he became too sick with dementia and poor health (in his early 80’s) for her to deal with. My brother stated that he felt he had to take care of his father as there was no one else. No funeral, memorial service. Just cremated and placed near his own dysfunctional parents, in a grave site no one will visit.

    Meanwhile, my 87 year old mom is still alive and very much kicking it up with her 78 year old boyfriend.

    • We might as well have come from the same family. I have a grandfather who married and abandoned 3 women, 7 bio kids, and 2 step kids. When he wrote to me to criticize Wife 3, I told him not to write again if he was going to trash-talk her. He never spoke to me again. And that was fine with me. He was a bad man. The kids of Wife 2 took him in at the end, probably thinking they won the daddy pick-me dance. But I have no regrets.

  • “He blew up four people’s lives for a person who isn’t even on this planet anymore, so it feels like such a waste to me. The childless wife isn’t there to keep him away from the kids, so why hasn’t he reached out to any of them? Why does all of this bother me so much?”

    1. He didn’t blow up 4 people’s lives for Schmoopie. He blew up those lives because he’s a fuckwit who needed something new. He had worn out the family as a kibble dispenser. You were married 17 years so the time when the kids were cute and good as ego kibble sources was coming to an end. Oh, if we only had a dollar when a FW abandoned his kids just before college. You see the divorce chaos as a “waste” because on some level you believe he abandoned the family for her and it turns out she wasn’t immortal; the fact is he left for HIM.
    2. That explains why he hasn’t reached out to the kids. He is the one who abandoned them, not his Schmoopie. He didn’t marry a childless woman for nothing. When you ask these questions, you are PROJECTING your love for the kids, for family, and your capacity for commitment onto someone who has none of those things. He’s not like you. HE’S NOT LIKE YOU.
    3. Why does it bother you? First and foremost, you’ve let him back into your mental real estate and you are busy untangling the skein of his fuckedupedness. Stop untangling. Go “mental no contact.” And trust that he sucks.

  • Twenty to one odds he did a John Edwards and was banging someone else before she started chemo.

    He sucks. He’s already got a new love. He just got lucky he didn’t have to go through another messy divorce.

    *shrug*

  • I might be going to hell too because I snickered when I saw the title of this post. Beep beep! Karma bus!

    But Chump Lady is right. He didn’t avoid the kids because of her, he avoids them because of him. He’s a shitty person no matter what she was. And she got to be “cared for” by a shitty person while she died. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant. I was dying while with my husband. Other people thought he was a saint. He terrorized me. The things I started to remember while recovering were horrifying. I was already in so much pain and so confused and he delighted in making it worse while looking like a long suffering martyr who sacrificed so much for his burden of a wife.

    That’s probably what your ex did to her too. Because he’s a shitty person who can’t even feel love for his own children. She didn’t have a nice time with him, I guarantee that.

  • If you assume he left you and your kids for her, I can see why you’d expect him to pop back in now that she’s gone, but my guess is he wanted out from under the responsibilities of his family and she provided that out. Also, he likely picked up a new schmoopie while the old one was dying. I’m sure he treated her horribly during her illness. Disordered people make for crappy caretakers.

    • Yes, yes and yes. There is no way her ex took care of a sick woman and he may have had a new schmoopie lined up even before OW became ill. Stress can cause all sorts of health issues including cancer. OW may have been under a great deal of stress due to his cheating and treating her like crap.

      • I think a lot of people get sick and die when they’re trapped in horrible relationships. Sometimes it’s the only way out or feels that way.

  • My kids were 11 and 1 when i discovered their fathers lies and betrayals. I knew via him leaving himself logged into facebook on the family computer that he was planning on moving to ow hometown 200miles away. He told me via email 2 days before they left. Never told his kids personally. That was over 5 years ago.
    I have to harangue for child maintenance and debt repayments until I’m blue in the face. All done via email. Now he’s not paid anything since last December and the ow sticks up for him! She’s his employer too so doctors their earnings to make him look poor but they then appear in the local paper saying how well business is doing even with covid…
    The twists and turns of their disordered minds are astounding to witness!

    • Clip those ads in the local paper for court. I’m not sure but if his earnings are based on her business that could be brought into court. I think a threat of possibly having her books/business financials scrutinized, may prompt them pay the support and debt owed.

  • “The karmic schedulers are inscrutable.” Bahahahahaha

    Meh isn’t a final resting place. Like CL said, you had a wobble.

    Thank god you got away from a man that couldn’t handle your back pain. Better to be alone than have someone that doesn’t care for you.

    He threw away his family, he didn’t even try to continue to be a father to his own children. That’s his karma.

  • thank god you don’t have to deal with this man any longer. can you imagine how poorly he would treat you when you were vulnerable in the aging process? or became medically unwell? crikey.

    this is something i’ve thought about too. my X didn’t understand the premise of caring for one another–missing that part of his brain–and looked upon illness suspiciously. he has several degrees, but cannot figure out medical stuff. i dunno?

    he has no capacity and you do. long may you live.

    • Cheaters typically milk the hell out their own misfortunes or invent them to weave pity traps whereby they feel justified to get away with murder. They then project their own dissembling manipulation and fakery onto others.

      Also bullies are typically selectively Calvinist about everything. If anything good happens to them, they believe it’s because they’re favored by God. If something bad happens to you, it’s because you did something wrong to deserve it. But, oops, if something good happens.to you must have cheated to get it and if bad happens to them, you must have caused it. See how that works?

  • Your ex being annoyed when you had back pain was more than likely just one of many red flags. He didn’t turn into a jerk overnight it was always in him. Hooking up with a childhood crush was him (and also OW) trying to relive their youth. Pathetic. As for the social media blitz ads declaring their special love, every dysfunctional asswipe does the same exact thing. I just wait to see how long before they are bashing one another on social media due to their “special love” crashing and burning. In your head he took care of OW when she had cancer…how do you know he took care of OW? I’m betting he was a bigger jerk and resented lifting a finger while she was sick. I’m also betting he had someone else lined up and may be with this woman as we speak. Selfish dirtbags, like your ex, will only reach out when there is no one else. That’s why he hasn’t picked up the phone to call your kids. Be glad for your kids sake he hasn’t reached out.

    • @KB22, you’re so right! “Hooking up with a childhood crush was him (and OW) trying to relive their youth. Pathetic”. I couldn’t agree more.

      People that do this are still living in the past, in an unhealthy way.
      They continue to have this delusional idea of this long-ago “sweetheart” being their “one true love”. Oh, one day we’ll be together again…it’s just that my wife (or husband) and/or kids stand in the way.

      I’m so thankful for this website. I was ripped on another site (probably full of OW and their supporters, as well as cheaters) who were mad at me for being hurt that my husband of 14 years still wants to be with a high school girlfriend.
      It’s good to be among friends here…people with morals, intelligence, and a sense of justice.

  • Yesrs ago I decided to cut contact with people who were unreliable as far as my kids are concerned. The absence of these inconstant types was far less heartbreaking than their shallow inconsistency. Things reached the breaking point after one extended family contact yanked her kids out of my children’s lives abruptly because we wouldn’t give this person money on demand.

    My daughter cried herself to sleep every night for a month and mourned the loss of those “friends” for a year. Two years later that family tried to hoover back in as if nothing had happened but I wouldn’t have it. My kids had entirely recovered from the loss, had become philosophical about it and that family wasn’t getting a second chance to break hearts again.

    As it turned out, the parents had played this game with their own family– especially doting elderly relatives– bilking for funds under threat of not letting the relatives have contact with their children. They thought they had us over a barrel particularly because my middle child’s chronic illness had left him socially isolated.

    It was pure extortion and extra cruel because even some of my extended family members had disappeared during the worst of it, doing the typical DARVO routine of people who are icked out by health crises and find disability depressing.

    My son is since recovered but the bailers are all long gone and have been replaced by a wonderful tribe of solid people. No one talks about the bailers anymore. Basically it’s the dictionary definition of “their loss.”

    I’m not particularly spiritual but there’s great Taoist expression that a friend shared: “if you want the universe to fill your rice bowl, clean it out.” It worked out. I don’t think it has to do with karmic forces but the fact that safe, gentle, loving people with character feel more at home in contexts that are safe, gentle and loving and are made edgy by any duds lurking around, even if the effect is secondary and is just making you edgy. So it might be better to say that if you want dolphins in your tank, ditch all the sharks. Be sure to scrub the tank too to get rid of the smell.

  • I’d really like to find the OFF switch for the pain (which anger is the cover feeling for) but have not found it yet.
    I have to laugh at those insensitive uninitiated idiots who admonish others to “move on”, “let go”, or “get over it.” People drink themselves to death trying to block out the pain. As if anyone enjoys feeling agony.

    Accepting that this happened, that I am scarred and permanently and irreversibly impacted and deeply wounded and will never be the same again is difficult. It can’t be undone and I will never be made whole. They can’t be arrested or prosecuted. They will never go to jail or be ordered to pay restitution.

    Why would something this intentional and damaging and injurious ever cease to hurt? I think of it less and it hurts less, but I think it’s reasonable to expect that it may always be painful, just like any other painful loss or trauma that I’ve experienced in life.

    Maybe news of the death of the OW was just a trigger that released more pain that was in storage?

    I am so angry that this event was carved onto the tablet of my life and there’s nothing I can do to erase it and make it as if it never happened. The pain is too big to come out all at once in a nice neat linear fashion. The enormity of the damage often sets me back on my heels.

    Things bother me because my emotional wiring is, for the most part, intact. I think feelings are a good sign. Cheating requires a lack of empathy which is all about not feeling.

    • VH,
      I was there with you. All you say is true. What helped me was finally understanding the futility of being soul-deep angry and upset over something I wasn’t responsible for and couldn’t change. I had done my very best as a wife and mother. I gave and gave and gave —more than I could afford to give. I gave to my own detriment. It was never appreciated. Worse—it was orchestrated by FW that I do everything and he got the freedom to go do whatever he wanted, including cheating and going out to have a good time while I sat at home with the kids. All he had to do was be incompetent at dropping off or picking up and poof! Shade took over.

      exFW is not who I thought he was. It was very hard to accept that I was so very wrong about him—and now question can I even trust my judgement. Yes, it was a long-term con. He intended that I be kept in the dark because I was a good wife appliance. He is incapable of decency. He has no empathy or compassion. He’s not sorry and he never will be. He uses people; that’s who he is. I can’t make him be sorry. I can’t make him pay any more than I have already done: divorce, custody, alimony and child support. That is all done and final. He always was fundamentally unable to love me or the kids in the way we need. I just didn’t realize it and he did his best to keep me ignorant of his true nature—a black hole where a soul should live. Now I know and will act accordingly. He does not get any more of any part of me. Ever. I can’t change who he is and I can’t change the past. And I want to live and enjoy what time I have left to the very best I can. This is what my acceptance looks like.

      For a long time I had a slow rolling rage over what he had done. I was also really angry at myself for allowing myself to be duped, letting him steal 30 years of my life. I deserved so much better than I got or accepted from him.

      Going no contact allowed him to fade into my past. Yes, bad things happened. Yes they impact my future and my ability to take care of myself financially. But I’m focused on making a new plan for my life. I have recruited help to understand what I am facing. Therapy helped with the intrusive thoughts. Here’s the rub. ExFW stole 30 years of my life and my youth by fraud. I will not allow him to live rent-free in my head and ruin another minute of my life. He is in the past and he is not relevant to my present or future. I’m in charge of my life and I make all the decisions. I refuse to live in the past, now that I have processed what actually happened to me and understand better about narcissism, personally disorders and alcoholism and addiction in general. It took a good long while to make sense of it. I am inherently practical and I go not want to be unhappy for the rest of my life. I refuse to let that horrible person take any more of my life away from me, especially now that he is physically gone forever.

      I still wake up from time to time with a bad dream and go set my house alarm. It makes me feel safer. I moved.I bought a house snd a car all on my own. I got a big dog. I went back to school. I got a job where he can never show up, and no one knows his name. I have established my own independent identity that has nothing to do with him. I took real measurable steps to take my life back. He is not allowed to contact me except about the kids and only very specific things and at very specific times. I don’t think I’m at meh yet, but at three years past DD and 2 post divorce working on it and getting closer every day.

      Im not particularly religious but I like the serenity prayer. I won’t forgive or forget, ever, what that man did. If I am forced to think about it, I relive it. I will never be ‘over it’. But I can compartmentalize it and put it away because it has nothing to do with right now and I don’t want it to.

      • Hi Queen,

        I don’t believe that because I still feel angry that I am on a lower rung on the ladder of healing or that I lack understanding. War wounds hurt periodically. Or not. It’s totally subjective.

        I’m from a very long line of alcoholics on both sides of my family and have been in recovery and therapy myself for 36 years. In my case, the victory has been in acknowledging, allowing and accepting anger, which was denied and deemed a problem
        in my family. That it is a normal human emotion and was characterized as a problem caused a lot of damage which I work on repairing to this day. With tremendous respect, for me, anger is not an emotion I think of as a futile choice.
        How I feel is how I feel and for me, denying how I really feel causes pretty terrific problems.

        The pain and anger level
        of infidelity of course makes me want to find an OFF switch, but there isn’t one, and it has tested my anger processing skills to the nth degree.

        Therapy at 4:30 on Thursday this week, and it’s a relief to hear, “Of course you’re
        angry.” (Also the title of a great book on anger published by Hazelden).

        ❤️

    • Thank you for putting into words what I so often have a hard time explaining to others and even to myself. <3

  • First of all, you dont know if he took care of her. He could have abandoned her. Had nursing care. Stuck her in hospice ect. Secondly, he was probably schmoozing her replacement as she went downhill. (Ask me how I know, my dad did this) Thirdly, FWs get no joy like we would of taking care of others. They dont necessarily feel love towards their kids. Its the giving tree. We give as parents with no return. FW needs a return. The only joy they get is if their kids accomplish things. Then they can brag about their kids to make themselves look good. My mom used to say after I had gone to professional school and gotten a degree, that she was so happy that I got the degree because it would make her look better to her friends. At the time I thought she was joking. Later I realized it was not a joke.

  • It isn’t kind and it isn’t politically correct and it’s certainly NOT taking the high road, but the thought that somebody’s OW has died a painful lingering death gives me real hope for the future.

    • Agreed, WCB. I’m not one to take comfort in anyone’s pain and we all have to die anyway…but maybe it’s more like a sense of relief?
      That the person’s death can somehow help you to move forward in some way. Like maybe some type of closure. Not sure if that makes sense, but it’s what I’ve always thought.

      • If nothing else it would give you a grave to go piss on. And there would be a line of waiting chumps, LOL.

      • Possible Chump, I thought, in the beginning, if she would ever meet her demise, I would feel relief, fast forward almost 10 years and here I am feeling all kinds of weird about her death. Relief is not what I’m feeling and I’m pretty angry about it.

        • You have every right to still be angry, Anchor Lady. A great injustice was done to you and your kids. Just keep trying to live life to the fullest, no matter what. We are rooting for you!

  • Does anyone know how to read our replies from other people on this new revised site? I’d like to know what fellow readers here are saying about my post, if possible. Thank you

  • What also struck me about Anchor Lady’s story is that the husband could so quickly leave for a person he hadn’t seen since he was basically a child (13?!)
    To me, that shows a lot of immaturity. It also shows an unhealthy obsession with the past, and that the guy believes in some false idea of “twu wuv”.

    Some people believe in this so much that they will torpedo a whole marriage and abandon their kids (if they have any)…all because of this idea that “fate” brought them back together with the old flame.

    Maybe what Anchor Lady can take from this is that the OW didn’t “win” anything.
    She died (which is still sad either way) and she was also married to a person with no morals, who was willing to leave his wife for her.
    Had she not died, the same might have happened to her, with him cheating and leaving for somebody else.

    YOU are the winner here, Anchor Lady. You’re still alive and you have your dignity intact.
    You didn’t wreck anyone’s life or their marriage. Your kids can also take comfort in knowing that they did nothing to deserve this either.
    Their father may not see it now, but one day he will have to live with his actions.
    Cheaters will have their downfall…it’s only a matter of time.

  • So chump related at all, but my mom kicked me and my siblings out when I was 17 because he new boyfriend didn’t want to deal with kids that were not his — she not only kicked us out but tried to get me fired from my after school job and kicked out of my high school. (My dad lived in a different town in the same county and I was allowed to stay at my original school since it was my senior year, but she kept calling the office even after she officially lost custody.)

    We didn’t she didn’t talk to any of us for 20 years. Didn’t want anything to do with us so long as she had him. He died last Thanksgiving and she’s started trying to get back into our lives — without even apologizing.

    If a parent can walk away from their kids over “tru wuv” you can seriously just trust that they suck.

  • It’s because you thought – understandably – that the reason he didn’t try and have a relationship with his kids was because of She Who Is Childless and Cruel stopping him, and yes, it is entirely possible she drove a wedge, but he sat there and let that wedge happen either way. Anyway, the truth is, he didn’t care enough to try and rebuild his relationship with his kids. That’s who he is.

    There is also likely an element of what passes for shame in his world because, how embarrassing, I backed the wrong horse and now I have egg on my face! Remember that her suffering would have been an inconvenience to him rather than broken his heart, but of course it’s also quite possible, likely even, that if her illness went on any real length of time, he had a replacement getting lined up who is now in his cross-hairs. Having to go into details about ”those kids I dumped” will harsh his buzz, and anyway, the spiel will be ”my ex-wife is a very vindictive woman. Our relationship was over for years before I left, finding true love in the arms of my one true love, who sadly died. It’s a love story for the ages, but my ex refused me contact with my kids and they’re poisoned against me. Woe is me” etcetera. This stuff writes itself, quite honestly.

    Long story short, the kids are inconvenient to him right now. If they come back into his life, awkward truths might emerge, and that would be annoying and prevent his latest True Romance.

    • Caroline you couldn’t be more spot on in your assessment. I had a lot of people tell me he would leave her too, but I knew he never would, because this time he’d painted himself into a corner. He screwed up so many lives and told so many lies that he must keep this marriage going as justification for leaving his family. Turns out he didn’t need to leave her. I found her memorial page online. The sentiments that were left for both of them were nauseating. How can ANYONE believe either of them are good people? His FB page still has her photo has as his profile pic! His background and profile pictures, over the last 6 years, have been various pictures
      of their wedding. Not a single pic of his kids. I cannot imagine the lies he had to spin in order to keep friends. People had to have asked over the years about his kids and he would had to have spun some BS to cover for not laying eyes on them for 7+ years. Honestly, what did either of them think would happen when they publicly proclaimed that God brought them together? While they were both currently married? God does not do that. That would be God’s “downstairs neighbor” who talks like that!

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