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UBT: “Just Let Me Try”

Universal Bullshit Translator
The Universal Bullshit Translator

Hi, Chump Lady,

Three days after Christmas, my husband told me that our 18-year relationship was over, that he hadn’t been happy in years, and that anyone could see it coming. (Nobody saw it coming). It only took me a week to uncover the five-month affair that he’d been having with a co-worker at his new job. He had been out of work nine months prior to that, so he left before we could ever begin to build back our savings. He’s still very much seeing his affair partner.

In addition to leaving me in a financial hole, he left our home in complete disrepair with a list of things to fix as long as my arm.

We have nothing in the bank and repairs that need to be made. I wrote him about this. He responded, but I have no idea what it means. I have my doctorate in Comparative Literature. I literally analyze texts for a living, but this could be written in Sanskrit for all I know what to do with it. (I would say Greek but I read ancient Greek and this ain’t that).

Can you help? I need a translator. Badly.

Here’s his note. I don’t know what this even is….

First of all, thanks for all you do. I know this is not easy for you and you are trying to do it all yourself. Remember to breathe and that everything will be fine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am here and can help in any way you need.

As for the doors I would really like the opportunity to fix them myself. I took one off and understand the issue lies in the rollers and possibly the lower track. I am sure I could fix them both for a small fraction of the cost of replacing them. I’ve watched YouTube videos about it and checked Lowes/Home Depot for parts and they have them. This would save us a considerable amount of money. Please just let me try.

Thanks so much,

Meloncholy3 (Melon)

****

Dear Melon,

The only door this guy needs is one slammed in his face. Please don’t ask him about home repairs. It’s a seller’s market. Best move would be to scrape together whatever funds you can muster, see a lawyer, get a property settlement, and get out from under Project House and Project Man. He needs to be your EX-husband.

I don’t know what this even is….

It’s some nonsense to keep him in cake. Faux gratitude for the unspecified things you do. And a plea to Trust Him to take care of things he has absolutely no intention of taking care of. You stay in limbo (he’s coming! with his toolbox and his youtube video! to save US!) and he stays free of consequences.

No Sanskrit skills necessary. He’s a fuckwit who pretends to care because… cake.

Tracy, that wasn’t snarky enough.

What? I have to roust the Universal Bullshit Translator from its slumber? Sigh…

First of all, thanks for all you do.

My 18-years of unadulterated misery aside, thank you. Never stop being a wife appliance. Especially given the chump supply chain issues right now.

I know this is not easy for you and you are trying to do it all yourself.

I care so much about your burden, I’m over here with Schmoops, letting you deal with it. I know it’s not easy for you being left in the vapor trail of my awesomeness.

Remember to breathe and that everything will be fine.

Think of me as a lamaze coach. And my abandonment of you as a ten-pound baby you must push through a tiny orifice. Breathe!

I also have advice like: “Gravity! Don’t float off into the ether!” and “Remember to age! Time moves linearly!”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am here and can help in any way you need.

In that whole abandon-you-for-my-coworker kind of way.

As for the doors I would really like the opportunity to fix them myself.

Because you can trust a guy who was unemployed for nine months and did jack shit about these doors.

I took one off and understand the issue lies in the rollers and possibly the lower track.

I am a track door savant.

I am sure I could fix them both for a small fraction of the cost of replacing them.

I am sure I could fix them. And save us money. And be awarded an HGTV show on track door makeovers. I have many imaginings.

I’ve watched YouTube videos about it and checked Lowes/Home Depot for parts and they have them.

So, I’ve left you stuck with a dilapidated house, alone, to clean up a giant mess — but I have watched ENTIRE videos. And searched a website! Such is my caring.

Next I shall watch a YouTube video on divorce settlements and money transfers. Were you expecting an actual divorce settlement and money transfer? It is enough that I have researched these things.

Also on my watch list: Empathy, Accountability, and Adulting Season 2.

This would save us a considerable amount of money. Please just let me try.

US would like to try to save US money. But ME is checked out with ME dick.

I would resolve this, but you’re the cruel gate keeper who won’t let me try.

Please let me try. Just one more Youtube video! I have thoughts about breathing!

(SLAM!)

Door falls off track. Crushes fuckwit. The End.

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.
  • The X also left me with many unfinished projects. I realized it was part of his control. He literally took the kitchen apart so I wouldn’t leave him and took two years to finish it. Then he took the master bathroom apart. I handed him divorce papers while he was working on the bath and told him to get out, I would finish it myself. After doing the painting and such myself, I called a tile shop to finish the tile job and shower. I loved the results and the bathroom was totally my design. Sure it would cost less to let him finish, but he never will and it’s just a way he can keep his foot in the door just in case he wants back in. Call a handyman. The cost will be worth your sanity.

    • What is it with all of the endless unfinished projects in various stages of abandonment that we are subjected to having as part of our environment?

      • Sort of like how they treat us: something half-finished they can abandon when they get tired of it.

      • There’s a whiff of grandiosity involved too, the “I can do anything!” and “I’m an expert” and “I’m better than anyone else at this job.” But sticking to a job until it’s finished is agony for them. And once the devaluation and discard starts, torturing the devalued spouse is part of “You aren’t the boss of me.”

      • On top of that mindset, the endless projects and hobbies all laid out on top of one another, never getting put away. The XAss is a horder. Chaos on top of chaos.

        • the exFW was a hoarder. So much so that he has a whole crappy, forever-under-renovation house, that he had lived in before and after me, filled with his hoarder crap. He actually had 3 houses filled with crap. Finally sold 2 of them. He still has one. It’s like a repository of all his darkness.

          He finally cleaned up the yard on the last one. It had been filled with crap for the scrap yard. Now it’s storage – his extra van, 2 extra trailers, a camper, a snowmobile. That stuff is what doesn’t fit in the 2 car garage. I know the interior is torn apart, with a bathroom, bedroom, and barely functioning kitchen. Many walls down to studs. It’s like his Dorian Gray picture. He keeps collecting crap, just like he collects lonely women. And then he abandons them for the next shiny thing.

          In my mind, I will know he is actually working on himself when that house is sold. Until then, his life is just a coating of paint on a moldy crumbling wall.

          His newest fiance probably thinks he’s all that, just like I did. She’s not the AP, so I don’t owe her any warning. I’m sure she’s happy, and that his past is behind him, just like I thought. He is probably “honest” with her, like he was with me. Using that “honesty” as a weapon to deceive.

          • OMG, I Am Enough, this is so true of my ex:

            “He keeps collecting crap, just like he collects lonely women. And then he abandons them for the next shiny thing.”

            I found out that he lied to those women too. These hoarder-cheaters are so gross.

        • Skunkcabbage,
          Like Hope Springs, I was also devalued. He slowly stripped me of everything I loved – my home, friends, familiarity – and begged me to move states where he left me in a rental for his young coworker. He didn’t care that I had no place to live, no job, no colleagues or friends in the area – not even a doctor. He just walked out and never looked back. He, also, had tons of “hobbies” that he never kept up with and projects he never finished. In retrospect, I realized he didn’t know himself. He kept hunting and pecking for something that would stick – something that really interested him – and he never found it. I was one of those things, I guess, that he “took on” and “lost interest in” and moved on from. Something tells me the other woman will become another one of those things over time – after the shininess has worn off. Or she will lose her interest in him when he relaxes into his status quo of eating chicken wings and watching sports on tv. The most important thing for us to remember is we now know EXACTLY who they REALLY are…and we don’t have to babysit it anymore.

      • I took pictures of our torn out walls and laundry room cabinets torn out. FW walked out right in the middle of the project. Gave the pictues to my lawyer, I know it helped my case.

        FW had to come back and put the laundry room back together, and he had to replace the living room paneling. He did a horrible job. So sloppy. He walked out with a smirk because he was still in the illusion that Susie was going to take over payments of the house and stay there.

        Hope that smirk turned upside down when Susie walked away and left him with it. His mother had to live there.

    • Yep. Mine would bring garbage home from work and then bitch at me that the yard looked like shit. Well, did you need eight giant spools that you thought you would turn into tables? Did you need that broken drafting table. Any time I did get it cleaned up, he would haul garbage all over it again. I remember having the living room spotless and perfectly organized (hard to do with all his junk) and he dragged a bunch of foam and duct tape and bullshit all over my living room to make giant anime weapons (like over 6 feet long) and then decided them being “put away” was being shoved haphazardly in a corner of the living room where they would constantly fall over. And left all the leftover materials laying around the living room and stuck to the rug because he might need those someday. I actually cried over that one. We got in a fight and I cried because I felt like he was just trying to mess up anything I cleaned.

      He was. That was always the point. I could never make progress or keep anything nice because he would go out of his way to destroy it. It was abuse.

      • Ex fuckwit was the same.

        My dining room was full of his fishing gear, camping stuff, huge empty gas cylinders, bits of cars, etc, etc.

        But I was the messy one, because I had too many books. Fucker.

    • Mine had taken down the ceiling fan in our rented apartment and put up this large light fixture. When he dropped the bomb, he then refused to leave. It took me two months to get him the fuck out of the apartment. The whole time he wouldn’t put the ceiling fan back up even though he had promised he would. He would come home from work, play video games, and loudly talk to his adult baby girlfriend our son’s age on speaker phone. But he wouldn’t put that fan up. He’s an electrician.

      Several months after he moves out he tells our son he’s ready to come put the fan back up. After I’ve gone no contact and changed the locks. Son informs him that I already did it. Scabby dick was stunned that me, a non electrician, was able to perform such an amazing feat. It took less than an hour, the hardest part was reaching the ceiling. I watched a youtube video on how to do it and then I danced around singing I’m an electrician now. What, like it’s hard?

  • Husband and I were discussing putting our house on the market. The friend said don’t worry about repairs, people are buying homes in this area as soon as they come on the market regardless of the state they’re in now. He said there’s so much information online about how to do all these projects so they’re not afraid to come in and tackle them…….or tear it down and rebuild. If you want to sell it just sell it.

    Go for it. And slam that door.

  • My mind goes back to the time we had a HUGE retaining wall installed in the back yard because the house he bought (without me seeing it) had a landslide for a back yard. We could afford the structure but not the backfill and revised landscaping.

    and Cheater was going to do the project

    yea

    Months go by. I give birth to 3rd child. FW is “traveling for work” (or was it “fucking coworkers on the road”?)

    I am a spackler though. I arrange the delivery of tons of dirt (then it rains) and a bobcat dirt mover that I will use when not breastfeeding baby. I faced monumental difficulty including my alcoholic mother arriving to cook something I hated so much I couldn’t choke it down (despite breastfeeding hunger that is profound) which also spilled all over the oven and filled the house with smoke. My parents never helped with anything, it was just impression management.

    What I never did in all that is hold Cheater accountable for not doing the project he had committed to. I was a sturdy and efficient wife appliance. Cut bait. That is the only thing I should have done that I didnt.

    I look back on those days with incredulity over what I really faced on a day to day basis. I only wish it had been a sellers market and I could have walked away from that clusterfuck (and that I had had the strength and wisdom to do so).

    • Traveling for work=fucking coworkers on the road! 🤣🤣🤣wonder if the taxpayers know what they are really paying for!

  • I’ve never been with a Renovation Abuser, but I have known of more than one.

    It’s amazing how calling a tradesperson can change your entire sense of agency.

    Who knew that a household repair job could be done for a reasonable sum, quite promptly, by someone polite and respectful, who then goes away again?

    • I have found that tradespeople are more responsive now that Im older and take my badassery seriously. When I was young and polite, it was awful how some of them treated me.

      But Renovation Abuser….I now see things I didn’t see before. After another move (I didnt want) cheater moved us into a house (which I didnt see until I owned it) that kinda sucked but my projects could improve it a lot. I did a fabulous bathroom redo on a shoe string in a few days. Cheaters only task was a little but of patience.

      The floor had been painted and needed to dry. He told me if the bathroom wasn’t ready by x time, he would rip it to pieces. (When my skills improved, his abuse escalated to control me). When he told me that , I dared not say a word in response.

      Back them, I thought “wow, Im so capable!” and now, looking back, I think “wow, I was so abused!”

      • I really do believe “Renovation Abuse” is a thing.

        Chaos creators.
        People who like initial excitement but can’t knuckle down for the longer haul.
        People with big and expensive ideas but little ability.
        People who are heavily invested in image management.
        People who believe they are entitled to a home that looks a particular way, no matter how much unhappiness that causes to the people living there.

        That’s quite a Venn diagram. One big circle, really.

        • Yes. This. All of this. Except klootzak has ability to fix and do all kinds of things. Home and car repairs. Very capable. The problem is he will make a big deal about repairing or upgrading X thing and then make it impossible. First he will demand that you participate in choosing the right design and will criticize and say no to all your input. After said thing has been selected, you will place the order and take delivery of X thing to be installed. At this point, there is usually much huffery that the thing is not right for some reason. There is a small scratch on it somewhere or the pieces of wood in the frame weren’t assembled to his satisfaction. This will be followed by said thing sitting in the basement for months. If you bring it up, he will demand that you must arrange a return, chew out the supplier, etc. (I put a stop to this by calling the company and handing him the phone to speak to them and hear his complaint. That shut it down fast.) Then more months or even years will pass. A friend of his may visit and you suggest he come take a look at the thing in the basement as he does all kinds of home repairs and may have a suggestion. Friend looks at the item, says it’s great and offers to help install it. Klootzak declines and says he will do it. Except he is always too busy playing computer games and chasing tail to manage it. And the minute he does anything at all, you dare not ever touch it or breathe on it. Now it is sacred space and you must tiptoe past and not get it dusty.

          Lived this for years. Currently scoping out a contractor working on my neighbor’s house to do the things that have been ignored. What a PITA waiting on a renovation abuser.

        • I resemble parts of this though…… the dick wouldn’t repair, or “let me”( I know🤪) call someone to repair our shower. The tiles were popping off, and he was still using it! Any logical person could imagine the water damage, right?!…..not the dick. So one day I just demoed it. Me and my hammer took it back to the studs. It stayed that way, and he used the other shower(which I had been using) for a year. He left ,via text , me in a house that needed 30k in repairs before a bank would write a mortgage on it. Melancholy……hire a contractor and save the receipts. I should have billed the dick for my labor.

          • Oh Hope, this reminds me of my sister’s house. Her husband is an architect who began renovating their house 30 years ago, and because he suffers from some weird psychological inability to complete a project (fear of failure, maybe ???), very little has actually been completed. When the bathroom tiles fell off the wall and into their bathtub, he simply taped/stapled a shower curtain over the sheetrock, and it stayed like that FOR YEARS. My sister eventually prevailed and was able to hire someone to do the bathroom renovation, but only after literally a decade of her husband working on the design plans.

          • Isn’t demo just amazing, tho? I wanna a find a place where they just let me wreck things and then leave!

            The thing that floors me is that he doesn’t see himself as at all responsible for these repair bills. Aster all, as CL pointed out – he watched videos! He can do it! And it doesn’t cost anything!

            Here’s the thing though. Money is only one form of currency. Having him come in my house would fracture my sense of fragile sense of safety. Waiting for him to communicate when he would come and commit to it would take what remains of my sanity.

            Funny how the house, which we both pay for is “ours” but his rented condo, paid for by our marital funds before separation is “his.”

            Think he’s gonna give me a key? Nope. Am I gonna get any part of 4K back? Nope.

            But he is gonna pay for the repairs. And the guy to mow the lawn. And for the tractor that he’s gonna mow it with.

            And, last but not least, for those fucking doors which I’m gonna slam right his face.

        • OMG. I thought it was just me! Ex always pretended to know how to fix things. As it turns out, he was just playing pretend. For example, he told me on his way out that some time earlier when he fixed a leak in the roof, all he really did was put a bucket under it. Who does that kind of thing??

          • same here! He talked a big game, but everything he “fixed” was awful… big drops of glue showing, a turn around cabinet off center so it wouldn’t close right, the front of the kitchen cabinet off FOR YEARS. It was a nightmare, and every time I said I would take care of it, I got word salad of future faking… it was horrible. I lived with mess, chaos, and crap for so long. He EVEN dared to tell me he would help me paint inside the house… AS MY BIRTHDAY GIFT. Yep, that was my gift, and he spelled out that he would show up to paint as long as I picked out the paint, bought the paint and all supplies, and got everything ready for him. The ONE time I asked him to paint he kicked over a full gallon of paint on the carpet in our daughter’s room. The carpet was ruined, she had to live with it for years, and when we sold the house last summer in the divorce, I hired the contractor to tear out and replace. I still get LIVID reliving all this.

          • It’s almost worse when they know how to do all these repairs and have professional connections with construction and contractors and still let the roof rot, the perimeter fence fall down and let everything else go to hell because they’re squandering the time and money on a fuckfest.

            D-Day and discovering the financial abuse liberated me from FW’s fear-obligation-guilt tripping about money, his future faking and his way of playing “authority” to get me to back down from pressuring about fixing the house. I started knocking off those projects one by one. I just ordered a collection of gorgeous heavy metal-free porcelain and tossed all the chipped and mismatched ceramic Ikea crap as a finishing touch.

    • So true.
      My entire married life I had been the point person when it came to monitoring the house for repairs and maintenance, and then fighting with my now-ex about getting things fixed. If I started a project, he would take it over, but his standard for all work was “good enough for who it’s for.” If the project required a workman and spending money, I had to argue with him, sometime for years while the problem worsened–the kitchen ceiling literally had to fall onto floor before he would agree to fix the water leak from the upstairs bathroom.
      When I left my now-ex, I knew our house needed a long list of repairs, so I sold him my share of the house, and I rented an apartment in a house owned by the university where I taught. Physical plant took care of all repairs, routine and emergency. What a revelation it was that I had only to make a phone call and within a day workers would arrive to fix the problem!

      • For new chumps reading here who wonder whether to leave, if a spouse refused to fix a water leak in your home or argues against getting a plumber to do it–leave. LEAVE. That’s a sure sign of crazy.

        • Or terminte.

          Yep, he refused to pay for a termite guy. I begged for several years. My son begged. He refused to admit it was termites. I took a dead one and laid it beside the picture of one in our Encyclopedia, his answer was, well it is dead now.

          (termites die when exposed to air, the ones dong the damage are still in the structure eating away).

          Anyway he finally had to face it. I think in hindsight his plan was to leave me to take over payments on the house and have to deal with the termites; but they got too bad. Pissed him off, why that was over a thousand dollars he could have spend on himself and whore.

        • Reminds me of a story my mom told me. After they were burglarized, my father refused to have the locks rekeyed. This is a common sense thing to do after a burglary, yes?

          Why? My mom’s take was, opposition because she wanted it done. My suspicion is that he’d given *someone* a key. A female someone.

          But who knows, he was a crazy alcoholic, so a lot of things he did didn’t make sense.

          • Chaos, smoke and mirrors. My cheating, gaslighting ex was an alcoholic and I couldn’t tell up from down. CL’s imagery and advice around not untangling the fucked up skeins of FWs has been really helpful.

            My dad is an FW, too, DOC. Emotionally and financially abusive, he had a terrible “temper,” and although go he rarely physically hurt *us* he routinely broke things and used aggression and intimidation to bully us. Caricature of a sad sausage, and a Renovation Abuser to boot. We’ve all finally acknowledged that he was (is?) a cheater, too. Guess I do need to untangle that skein, inasmuch as it relates to my own ingrained chumpiness.

      • “he would take it over, but his standard for all work was “good enough for who it’s for.”

        My STBX looooooves the phrase “good enough for government work” as in as in the government does things on the cheap and substandardly and therefore I should accept his cheap and poorly done repairs.
        An example: He insisted on putting up a 10 ft by 7 ft wallpaper mural (instead of hiring someone) in my son’s bedroom 10 years ago and the entire thing is crooked and misaligned. My son has hated it for years but we can’t afford to take it down and have the wall repaired.

        If I ever hear someone say “good enough for government work” again, I will need to go to an empty field and scream for an hour

        • I need to stop reading these! I’m with you, HurryUpTuesday, and boy does your comment touch a nerve.

          FW was king of the slapdash solution, and I knew better than to protest or try to do it my way. He once got angry with me for raising an eyebrow when he announced that his aggressively sloppy fix was “an elegant solution.” It was objectively, glaringly ugly — right in the middle of our kitchen/dining/living room and soon became a joke. SO funny. :/

          FW is also a self-proclaimed libertarian who shamelessly infringes upon the rights of others, has held multiple government jobs, and happily accepted two government-funded reconstructive surgeries and months of workers comp payments for injuries sustained outside of work. He just loves the phrase ‘government cheese’ and moves through life with an absurdly hypocritical sense of entitlement and superiority. I am ashamed I didn’t leave him sooner.

          Life with that fuckwit was Kafkaesque.

    • “Who knew that a household repair job could be done for a reasonable sum, quite promptly, by someone polite and respectful, who then goes away again?”

      😂👏😂

      Absolutely.

      We had a static caravan which had to be vacated for a month in the winter, which entailed doing a drain down. The site would have done this for a small fee, but fuckwit insisted on doing it himself, because he” he didn’t trust them to do a proper job”. This of course entailed a load of whinging about what a hard job it was, he was a perfectionist, lots of tension and yelling and swearing at me because I wasn’t holding the hose properly. I used to *dread* it.

      When I kicked the fucker out after Dday, and filed for divorce, he inundated me and my solicitor with angry emails demanding he be let in to do it, “because only he could do it properly”.

      I instructed my solicitor to tell him I’d arranged for the site to do the job, and I was more than satisfied with their efficiency. 😂

      I think really it’s just another way for them to try to retain control, plus a dollop of “you are not the boss of me.”

    • For me, the ex did renovation abuse in reverse. I’d be responsible for finding someone and he’d have no problem with them doing the work, but sometimes they’d do a less than stellar job. It could be obviously subpar, but ex would never back back me up when I complained. He would actually take the repairman’s side and they’d get a good laugh out of how “picky” I was and what a typical bitchy woman I was. He did that with everything. Always, always, always took the other person’s side, whether a repairman, neighbor with yappy dog, lecherous boss. Everything. Why that alone wasn’t enough to make me see a red flag, I have no idea.

      • Ex made me take care of repairs and home improvements. When someone would come by to give an estimate ex would stand in the background not saying a word. Except the one time we had an entertainment center estimate and the sales lady was an attractive blonde. He suddenly became interested in every detail. If after a job was done and something wasn’t done correctly or finished. I was the one who would make the call to the business with the complaint. Then when the repairman came back he”d act apologetic making remarks implying that I’m difficult to please. He’d shrug his shoulders and say, “she’s the boss.” As if I was the house bitch and bitched about everything. This was one of many red flags I should have paid attention to instead of spackling, making weak excuses, it’s just the way he is, or he doesn’t know any better.

      • It’s a kind of gaslighting, isn’t it? Def got this on lots of things…..” you’re never happy. You’re so negative…. They’re not being aggressive, you’re just too sensitive.” Wonder how the Howife likes it?

      • Mine did shit like that too CBN. Even if he was the one complaining, he’d make me look like the bad guy. It’s deniable though, I think that’s why we tolerated it. It’s like gaslighting.

    • Wow! Renovation Abuse! I have never heard someone mention that, but that was SO the EX. He did construction work for a living, but our house was always a moldering pile of crap. Sometimes I would try to get things started myself, but if I ever did, he would just get furious and refuse to do anything because I “shouldn’t have started it assuming that he would help.” Our hallway was bare concrete for two years because I pulled out a nasty old rug, and he absolutely refused to install a new one. Our kids still talk about how the dishwasher was backing up into the bathtub for YEARS, and he refused to do anything about it–or even to stop using the dishwasher. So we just had to keep washing bits of food out of the bathtub every time we needed a shower. He kept insisting he would fix it (and refusing to let me call a plumber), but he never did.

  • I routinely receive comments that he’s praying for me. He also sends recommendations for our pastor’s sermons that he thinks I should watch (I haven’t been attending) that I sometimes receive, unbeknownst to him, while at the pastor’s house (his wife and kids have been friends of my kids and I for years). I usually ask said pastor what part of his sermon I need to pay particular attention to. No surprise revelations yet. It’s just another attempt at image management. Different cheaters use different methods, but they all just want everyone to forget what they’ve done and who they really are.

    • Have you thought about blocking him? Or limiting him to one specific email used only for him? Then you could ignore the bullshit.

      • We already use Our Family Wizard for all communication. He sends these messages through the app. There’s really no way to stop it until our kids are grown.

    • “Different cheaters use different methods, but they all just want everyone to forget what they’ve done and who they really are.”

      Absolutely true. I know my fw thought he would seamlessly move whore into my former place in the community, and life for him would go on as he had planned.

      He got a big surprise there.

    • Mama Chump you are right. They all have their methods. It’s rather embarrassing to watch once you crack the code. I just asked ex to have our child so I could go to a charity event. I usually avoid any unnecessary contact or don’t include details. He asked how he could make a donation to the cause. Oh puulleeease you tightarse wankjob who once accused a homeless man in India who was raising money for a leprosy clinic by selling postcards of trying to rip him off by faking leprosy. The man had no legs. Everyone I knew thought my ex was soooooo nice (actually they didn’t but that’s another part of the con). Spew.

  • Six years ago I could not recognize this letter as abusive, cake eating, BS! Honestly think he understands and is trying. WTH, this is why I keep coming back, learning. Commenting on FB group, when I can. Being raised by narcissist my job was to make others happy and myself small. Change doesn’t happen overnight but god it’s freeing. Never expect these FW to do what they promise. Gives them power.

    • Yes. If you took me back a few years, I might describe the Renovation Abuse as if were a funny story that highlighted Cheaters quirks that I was so amazingly adept at coping with. Now, though, Im finally strong enough to see if for what it was and process it. I hope this round goes quickly, after reading and writing here this morning, Im anxious…that awful place where ones warped memory directly interacts with reality in a way that shows you how awful they really were. ouch

      • Yep…..6 years out, and I’m still mad. Easter makes it worse. I try so hard, but so many reminders.

        • I married FW on Easter. He left on Christmas. Everything is a memory. Every memory stabs. You live with the pain, and you hold your breath through the holidays. I work as much as possible, love on my cats, eat antidepressants and Ambien, and take comfort in being 4 years out & NC.

    • I think early on, we all want to believe that a FW cares about us and contact like this is hopium. (He cares! He wants to fix the doors!). But the gap between what he (or any of them) says in a text or email and what he is actually doing is huge. If they were kind and “wanted to help,” they would have avoided an affair, fixed the house up and then filed for divorce if they were so unhappy. It’s not what they SAY or WRITE. It’s what they DO and are DOING.

  • “Door falls off track. Crushes fuckwit. The End.”

    In ALL of our dreams.

    I have been meaning to make this suggestion to CL for ages. A fourth channel after Charm, Rage, I haz a sadz:
    Benevolent Patronage.

    It’s part n parcel of the power dynamics, I Am So Special and you are So Lowly, down in the gutter there trying to figure out how to live a life without Me. And in my munificence, I offer Help all the time.

    (Too bad she won’t take my gold-plated Help, with her being bitter and all, why can’t she just Be Positive and move on, like I have?)

    Argh. Teeth grinding material. I get “I am here to help, just ask” all the friggin time. Except it’s not doors, it’s his ACTUAL CHILDREN. He’s off living his best life, la la fa la, and I’m doing the adulting/parenting/hard real life stuff. He’s moved on from that style-cramping tedium.

    Don’t ask me what happens if I ask for “help”. (Clue words: “inconvenient”, “zen retreat”, “overseas trip” etc etc)

    • OMG my ex does this too. “I want to help but you won’t let me” He might drive the kids somewhere once a week while I do the rest myself. Thank you for saying this.

      • My ex’s version of “benevolent patronage” is to offer to do something for me and say “kindness eases change.” Or he makes sure to let me know that a generous-seeming gesture or offer comes at a cost to him (although I know that he never does anything unless it’s somehow of use to him).

    • “Just let me try.”

      Like she’s standing in his way.

      Pity he didn’t try to be faithful. Maybe watch a few YouTube videos on that.

    • Mamameh, this is exactly why I take help from my ex. I’ll be damned if I let him off the hook ever again. Unlike when we were together, he actually does what I ask, probably because he’s afraid I’ll tell everybody the dirty details of what a degenerate pig he is if he doesn’t. He is right. I will.

      Maybe you can get your fuckwit’s promises about the kids in writing and keep records of his excuses breaking them. Do nothing verbally so you’ll always have proof. If you gather up enough evidence of his negligence, do you think you might be able to get his custody reduced?

    • MamaMeh, ‘benevolent patronage’: brilliant! You’ve put a name to what I had to deal with from the moment I was formally discarded. ‘I know you think I’m a complete b@#£&*d but I do care’. Said in a text berating me because the ancient boiler, which he had consistently refused to replace, broke down a few days after I discovered the affair, 2 months after he left, in the coldest spell in my part of the UK in that year. I sat on the floor and I wept! And then I got the boiler replaced because that’s what I do! I wasn’t working but I still managed to pay half the cost. I had to respond to the ex because I needed him to pay his share. And, oh, the benevolent patronage oozed out of him. He was beyond gracious! I do not have the words to describe the disgust I felt and still feel for the heap of cells roughly assembled into the shape of a human being that is the ex. It has taken a long time to get to the stage when I less often feel that disgust for myself for having effectively become his stooge. ‘Benevolent patronage’ describes his actions perfectly. Thank goodness I got a job that paid enough to buy him out. I ended up being able to ‘patronise’ him.

  • I was a double major in literature AND psychology.
    I dropped out because I thankfully realized I was the patient I wanted to treat. So I went to town on that quest, which continues to this day.

    None of it prevented me from marrying a con artist and being blown out of the water of my own life at Year 27 with Traitor X by him and the Craigslist cockroach, et al. None of it helped me understand a dadgum thing because I am not fluent in ancient bullshit or middle deception.

    I do understand what’s going on now, but not because of input from him. Chump Nation, the CORRECT literature about cheating (starting with our own Chump Lady’s Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life), and a great therapist, has, at four years, essentially given me an honorary degree in infidelity studies.

    Comparing a long-term relationship with the dopamine high of romantic love and choosing the romantic love is the conduct of the emotionally immature, morally bankrupt and character defective. Like most of us here, I heard “I haven’t been happy in years” from someone who sure was acting and talking like they were happy. The tragedy is that our daughter also saw the same movie, believed it was a documentary, not realizing it was fiction, and has therefore been terribly and awfully and very badly damaged in the trust department as well.

    I now want to become very very good at Minimal Contact (we have a child), Grey Rock, and doing for myself, which includes getting help from the CORRECT people. The correct people are the ones who stick up for me. Not the ones who stick a knife in my back.

    Spend your breath talking to healthy people. Affairs are dysfunctional relationships in the realm of sick people best avoided.

    • On the actual house front, we moved into the mid-century fixer-upper thirty years ago this summer.

      Promises to fix up were not kept, of course, and of course if it comes up it’s my fault.

      Then he bails on the life he said he wanted, leaving me with Love It or List It. Buys a place and completely remodels it, top to bottom, inside and out, before he moves in. Including a hot tub which in our family life he took us shopping for and for some weird reason never agreed to buy.

      I have pictures of our daughter, as a baby, on wood floors that were gray because they had no finish on them. We had been in the house 16 years at that point.

      But he has his Nice New All Remodeled Place for his New Life.

      Excuse me while I go get another cup of coffee from my 70 year old kitchen.

      But before I go, I want to extend my sincere condolences to chumps who remodeled or bought
      or built the Dream House with the cheater, only to be abandoned in it and the dream house became the nightmare. I know there are chumps here in that situation and my heart goes out to you. There is an astonishing amount of cruelty in a
      charade like that.

      What we have in common is that we were married (also a commitment) to people who don’t keep
      commitments.

      I live in a region with an insane housing market and moving is financially untenable, so I am going to make my house into what I want, and can do so without his interference.

      • Thanks, VH. I was one of those chumps who remodeled a house on a lake with x (using MY money) because he deceived me into thinking we’d retire there. What fries my ass is that x demanded THE BEST OF EVERYTHING (translation: most expensive). Turns out that that covert narc wanted the place to look great in order to impress the OW. 🤬

        My lawyer called it fraud, which helped me get more than half of the sale price in a 50:50 state.

        I also found out that x thought we could ALL share that house–he and schmoopie could use it some weeks; I could use it other weeks. Maybe eventually we could all be there together with the kids, one big happy family.

        I remember saying, “There’s no way I’m co-owning anything with you.”
        The man hadn’t even considered that possibility. Clueless AF.
        He then said he could buy me out. I said, “Sure.”
        Within hours he would tell me that he wanted to sell because OW “doesn’t want anything of yours.”
        “Just my life,” I replied.

        Turns out that I was wrong. She got HIM, which sucks for her. No tag backs.
        I finally have MY LIFE. It’s so much better than the disordered one I had with that FW.

        • I remember that in the early days after I moved out when I was still reeling from the devaluation and discard that I would often cry and think “I want my life back!” I realized I had turned a corner when I started thinking that only in leaving him did I finally get my life back!

      • we renovated our house from top to bottom and moved back in–6 months later is D-day. and my X starts with the ILYBINILWY, etc. etc. it’s all cliched behaviour and why talk about it. it’s boring. I HATE CLICHES. but the point is that $800,000 work of renovations were done and we will not recoup it in the sale.

        the house was supposed to be the one we stayed in for life.

        i see this as financial abuse TBH.

      • Also, VH, it speaks volumes about his character that he would have his own daughter crawl on unfinished floors but build a Nice New All Remodeled Place for his New Life with the OW. The man’s priorities are out of whack. He can remodel a building all he wants, but his interior self is broken and beyond repair.

        p.s. Hope his hot tub springs a leak. 🤑

      • Yep — I too remodeled the house into our “dream house.”

        We moved in and it was terrible and FW complained daily. So I got the windows replaced. Completely remodeled the kitchen the way FW wanted. Got the house repainted in colors to make FW happy. Had enormous bookshelves built in for FW in the family room. Bought all the furniture to fill the house. I found and met all the contractors and the handy man and painters and electricians and roofing. I did all the calculations and figuring about how we’d pay for it. For furniture, I bought one piece at a time to pay off in 6 months. It took me 5 years to get everything we needed.

        And then he just walked out for his coworker.

        And there were leaks and roof repairs that needed his help and he only fought me on them.

        In the end, I was happy to get the fuck out. I look back and I’m disgusted that I put up with his lazy idiotic ass. Now I’m In a rental and have zero interest in any of that crap again.

      • We didn’t buy a dream house, but we bought a decent three bedroom ranch as our first house. i loved it, it wasn’t big but it was nice enough and it looked like a house.

        Then three years later he insisted we move a few streets over to another three bedroom house, which was actually a bit smaller and only one bathroom. He promised we would fix it up, but it had a huge living room, which was actually the former garage renovated into a large living room. I hated the house, but went along because of his promises.

        Once I got moved in the fix up shit stopped. Oh we got some carpet, and did a few things, but nothing to really change it from the dump it was.

        We lived there for the next 11 years until my son graduated. Then I told him it was time to start the renovations or move. He held me off for two more years while he got his next two promotions, then he walked and tried to get me to take over payments on that dump.

        Yeah, no.

        Funny thing was and I never realized it until recently while talking to my son. He and whore bought a nice house right after they married, they lived there two years and then he moved them to a lesser house out in the country, then he lost that house a couple years later to bankruptcy.

        My son bought the house for market value and the cheaters moved into the mother in law apt (one bedroom). Even though my son had his own brokers license he used an unknown broker to keep it all on the level. His dad still tried to slip in one of his loans in the deal and my son caught it at closing. The whole package had to be redone at further cost to my son. Tried to con his own son into taking on one of his loans.

        Son put a lot of money and work into fixing and upgrading the property. Then when they got nasty and mean, he sold it and they fled to Florida. My son still tried to help his dad whenever they got stranded because of his illness, but things continued to decline until his dad died.

        They then moved to FL into a run down trailer, and he bought a big ass RV and died and left her in serious debt.

        So he kind of repeated our life with whore. Except I escaped and am doing fine.

      • Velvet Hammer,
        “But before I go, I want to extend my sincere condolences to chumps who remodeled or bought
        or built the Dream House with the cheater, only to be abandoned in it and the dream house became the nightmare. I know there are chumps here in that situation and my heart goes out to you. There is an astonishing amount of cruelty in a charade like that.”

        I was one of those women. I had a house that I put SO MUCH of myself into in Massachusetts. I loved everything about that house and yard. Suddenly, my loser of a husband decided he needed to move states. I said, “no.” He pouted and begged until I said yes. Part of the deal…I could design the new house to be built. I spent over a year looking for a lot and working with the building on house plans. One month…ONE MONTH before we were to move in, he said, “ILYBINILWY,” and left for his 21-years younger coworker. I never lived in the house. And, I lost my previous beloved house. With the raging house market, I have no chance in ever getting a house anything like my old house back. I lost a garden that I poured myself into. And, I remember once he told me that I needed a hobby or something to do. Guess he didn’t see that my garden was my hobby.

        Now I live on a little postage stamp lot in a cluster development with no privacy. I’ve tried to start over with a new garden (because hope springs eternal, right?) but I can’t get past the two labors of love that I worked on. All because my loser ex-husband could not control his hormones.

        He made it so evidently clear that my interests, hobbies, and loves meant nothing to him. So glad I wasted 30 years of my life with that turd. Starting all over again at 53. It seems there should be some penance or punishment placed upon the spouse that emotionally robs you of everything in middle age and leaves you trying to rebuild with nowhere near the same financial or physical resources.

        • Just want to say that we had to sell the house I designed. We lost thousands on that house. I think my ex should have assumed all the loss – and so did a subsequent attorney I consulted – but because judges don’t like to reopen divorce suits…guess who shared in the loss despite not having a job at the time. Burns my ass.

          • Duped,
            I also started over at 53 and was forced to leave a beautiful garden that I poured my soul into (in MA)…I’m so very sorry.

        • I am also 53, & chumped after a 23 yr marriage. The torpedo-in-the-chest feeling, boy, that is difficult to heal. It really sucks. Good luck w your new garden. Stay strong friend, and just keep falling forward!

        • Duped. He didn’t want you to have anything nice. He knew full well you loved your garden. He saw that so he took it away. They do know. You are free now.

  • When we moved into our house 15 years ago it had a 70’s basement complete with wood panelling. I primed, painted, recoated that sucker and it looks great. Except for a small amount above the door at the top of the stairs. I’m a little “vertically challenged” and asked him to do it for me. Literally the space is maybe 3″x2″. It’s been 15 years. I now leave it for a reminder of the effort I put into our home/relationship and his. Do it yourself. If he can figure it out, so can you.

      • A visible reminder is a great idea, much like a “truth window” in a straw bale home where people can view what is behind the plaster.

    • I literally spackled the holes he punched and kicked in our walls – but haven’t painted over them for similar reasons.

      At this time I still need the reminder of what it was like when he lived here. My brain is an expert at pretending terrible things never happened, and doesn’t need any help avoiding cold hard truth.

    • What a visual. His promises of “someday” hanging right over your head. A literal power trip for him.

  • Dear Melon,

    This guy isn’t worth the electricity that he used to send that ridiculous message. It’s a whole lot of hot air. It contains absolutely nothing. It’s all meaningless drivel. I imagine he’s focussing on door rails and the like because any specific referral to his deplorable behaviour will invoke uncomfortable feelings for him that he doesn’t know how to handle given what an awesome, free-spirited person he is. Guilt and contrition aren’t for the likes of him. They’re for chumps! Best avoid this topic altogether and talk about doors. No cognitive dissonance for him!

    When I got chumped, in fairly similar circumstances (unhappy for years blah blah) our house wasn’t finished either. I left the house to escape the emotional torment that I was inevitably going to be exposed to. Then, after critiquing my looks, personality and unceremoniously dumping me for some big-titted slag he met at work (who, incidentally, is now back with his own chump, playing happy families on holiday), came the demands for money to finish the work on the uncompleted house renovation. You know, the one I no longer lived in.

    Your ex fuckwit and people like him are completely cretinous. They don’t understand (or don’t care, same difference) that once they end relationships by running off with a portable vagina they met on a employers team bonding weekend, that all bets are off. The merged finances, the family relationships, the unspoken agreements on housework, bill contributions, renovations, all of that stuff, that all gets thrown away too. Not in their heads though…

    “Just because I have a new orifice for my penis, why does that mean my old orifice won’t let me fix doors/talk to me about their day/be my friend/agree to finance house renovations?”

    Hmmm. I wonder why….

    He WILL play the victim when you initiate divorce proceedings, which I hope you will do soon, and it will just go to show how unreasonable you are and why he was right to leave you for schmoopie in the first place. That’s all DARVO, narcissistic horse shit. It’s HIS behaviour that’s the problem, not your response and HIS behaviour that brought the relationship to an end. End of. Make no apologies for how you rebuild your life after his betrayal. None at all. You don’t owe this man shit.

    Fuck him, Melon. Change the locks. Get a lawyer, the best you can afford (its worth it, believe me) and get this man divorced. The way he has treated you, someone he was married to for eighteen years, is beyond contempt and he is no longer worthy of an ounce of your consideration, despite his vague gratitude stuff you do (honestly, what..!?).

    He can fix the doors in the one bedroom he will inevitably be inhabiting in six months time if he loves DIY so much.

  • My ex was ALWAYS like I will fix up the house when I left. He painted one room in 9 months. I got him out by filing for a full ride on child support and getting a realtor with a loan program for fix up. Once I got the ex to pack up his hoarde by making my teenagers go over and pack him every weekend for a month. I had contractors who were my friends ALL lined up. I got a GREAT deal on all the work and got over $100,000 more than the realtor thought we would for 10 grand of fix up. I had the fuckwit out of the house in less than 60 days and I got my full child support. It was a hard month getting all the contractors arranged but the house looked great. Mind you he had the NERVE to criticize all the work which I replied well, good thing you don’t have to live here. He bought his own huge house alone and hoardes in that house. My poor kids are going to have to clean that mess up once he goes….

  • Do not wait for him to fix the doors. If he was actually going to do it, it would have been done already. Mine ripped up whole floors that I then had to get help finishing after he was out as well as several broken items like doors and mirrors. Just don’t even let him touch anything and get it on the market. I sold my house for $60000 more than I bought it for after only 7 years. You will be just fine without him messing things up more.

  • Melon,
    Of all the “Dear Chump” letters I’ve read on this site, yours, by far, is the strangest. It’s not the usual “its your fault, so get over yourself” type and its not the “Unicorn in mourning” type, its this weird limp type.
    Like, your ex (divorce him now) is remorseful not because he hurt, betrayed and ruined your former life, but because he somehow found out how to be a “man” on youtube and he wants to reminisce about little things he did for you in your relationship and gosh darn isn’t he awesome. Ewww. I just vomited. He’s trash.
    I don’t get it (what he wrote) at all. I imagine the luster has worn off schmoopie (more likely the other way around), and he’s figuring he’ll start the “Hoovering” now by fixing the doors because he can still keep you in reserve for when he gets dumped and he’ll come crying back to you. Please don’t take him back.
    Thankfully, Chump Lady is here.
    You’ve come to the right place for your own personal home repair.
    Your ex (divorce him now) is dry rot, termites, bed bugs, ants, and all the broken cosmetic stuff that is easily replaced by a “real” man.
    I’d say go get another quote from a “real” qualified man and get the job done properly– plus get a divorce attorney, file and get your STD panel because sometimes you just need to fumigate.
    Otherwise? This guys gonna be sniffing around for the rest of your life, and he needs to be gone like those pesky termites that ate your patio chairs. Bye bye.
    Period.
    Have a great week.

  • My FW was remodeling the house we were meant to retire in while having an affair in that house. Never thought of it as remodel abuse but guess it fits. This was a small house <1000 sq ft that took him months to not finish. I couldn’t understand the delay…until DDay and some of the details came out. I hired a guy to finish it and sold it! I am sorry to have lost that sweet little house but living there in retirement knowing what I know would have been hell. Good time to sell and move on!. Hugs!

  • This sounds like an email composed entirely for the judge. “Look how overwrought she gets your honor. I looked at the door, diagnosed the problem, found the parts, and asked her to let me help. But she just wants money.” This is a set-up, which is why it makes no sense to you. You are not the audience. The judge is. Get a lawyer ASAP.

  • What is particularly galling is how these freaks carry on as if everything is normal. It’s like they inhabit an alternate reality.

    • That’s because all their loser friends do the same things they do, so not only must it be ok, it’s actually pretty cool. Use some poor chump and laugh about it! Life’s good.

  • Back when I was married to the Cowardly Liar, one strategy I employed at the advice of a therapist was to give him a due date where I’d do/hire out a thing if it wasn’t yet done. I’d make it reasonable, but it wasn’t a negotiation. “If it’s not complete by May, no problem, I’ll just hire someone to finish it.”

    So, of course, he would not have it done, and it would fall out of his head, and he’d come home one day and it would just be done. He would act surprised, and I’d remind him that I told him this was my plan and hey isn’t it nice and what do you want to do this weekend? (CL calls this cool/bummer/wow, I believe.) And he would become very angry.

    And I would say, “Well, I’m not your mother, and I’m not going to pester you. You had time, you had other priorities, we have the money, so I took care of it. There’s nothing to argue about. If it’s important to you to do the work, do the work. If other things are your priority, no problem.”

    He’d be so angry, because I took away his control and his ability to be, as a previous commenter said so well, an “agent of chaos”. Chaos always distracted me from noticing things he didn’t want noticed, so taking that out of his toolbox infuriated him.

    And that’s how I started noticing more of what he didn’t want noticed. Like how he was gone so much, and the many things that didn’t fit together right when he finally got home.

    • I remember this strategy. XW was a paperwork hoarder – she refused to let me get rid of 1st drafts of years-old papers that had been published (and forgotten) long ago, saying that she was sure she would need to look at them. I put them all in a box in the attic with a note saying “discard in year X” with a completely ridiculous year (like, 10 years in the future) that even she couldn’t object to because it was such so far away that it was obvious that nothing in the box would be relevant by then. If the box hadn’t been opened in 10 years, I was allowed to discard it. Sure enough, the box was still taped up 10 years later, so I tossed it. The key is to pick a time frame that is so ludicrously long that they can’t object to it.

      • “XW was a paperwork hoarder…”

        Oh yes, I remember this. Ex fuckwit would *never* throw anything away, including paperwork.

        There were boxes and bags of outdated insurance policies, expired things of all sorts – no, they could never be thrown away, he might need them. Plus old jam jars full of rusty nails, bits of tools that had been lost, etc etc.

        I took great pleasure in shoving all that shit into the shed – he was told by my solicitor he had to collect it all or I’d bin it. He collected it. I sometimes wondered what the rat faced whore made of all that junk in that horrid little tiny flat. 😂🐀

        Now I have my own little home, full of books, flowers, pretty ornaments, and *no junk*. It’s heaven.

  • One of my Ex’s never did anything around the home, the other had the capability to do many things, but had a bad habit of never finishing his projects. One of the characteristics that seems to be common to chumps is the ability to see potential. This is helpful if you are a teacher, or a trainer, or a mother — but I found it is not good for you if you are a wife. It goes like this, “I need help. My husband could sweep the floor and take out the trash. He has the skills to do these things. I will ask him to help, and assume he wants to help, because — well he’s my husband and he lives here.”

    First Ex would seem to say yes, but then a meeting would mysteriously appear, and he would go out the door, telling me to “hire a guy.” This takes longer than sweeping and taking out the trash. He’s willing to pay to avoid any actual work. Second ex would agree but need a trip to home center to buy a special broom, and trash bags, and a few tools, and then would start project, but if I left to buy groceries, he would disappear with all the new tools and accessories, and maybe some other things, and I came home to the same problem, but I was poorer. And disappointed. And ANGRY.

    My belief that my life would be better with a partner had a flaw. I believed what they promised in the love bombing stage, and I stayed too long trying to recoup losses. The best thing I ever did for myself was to divorce these two users and become a self-sufficient unit. I only choose projects I can do myself, or where I can afford to “hire a guy” who has skills which are paid for when the project is done.

    Life lesson learned. You can observe potential in others, but don’t count on others to have the same desire you do to complete a project. There is a whole world of wasted talent out there. Users use, chumps are abused. You have to do the work you need done on yourself, by yourself. Believe me, you will love the results!

    • XH the substance abuser hated to hire anyone to do things, but often what he did wasn’t 100% to code or he wouldn’t finish. Like you, I find there is nothing better than being a “self-sufficient unit.”

  • Ha! Funny (not really) to read this this morning because FW just texted me from Home Depot and might be on his way over to fix a door. Literally 75% of the doors in this house don’t quite work or never got door knobs. He built this house ( “for me!”) and it is very creative and cool. I’m in a similar situation – a dilapidated house and no money. I’m working with a lawyer now and it’s clearly going to take some time to sort out. Something I’ve left out of my story (16 years together, teenage daughter and 2 of his children who are now adults who I helped raise and love dearly. D-day was 6 months ago. 7 year affair with vacations with someone “he picked because he knew he would never want to be with her”). Anyway we’re not married. Literally everything is his. Its common law, I know, but I’m kicking myself for trusting him so much. I trusted him completely, and I’m still very much in limbo, very much heartbroken and in shock and trying to put down the hopium pipe. I know it’s nuts given what has happened. Just being honest here. The thing with this dilapidated house that is filled with so much pain for me, is that my daughter wants to stay, AND my business (I’m a potter and my studio is the first floor) is so settled here. It’s literally part of my brand. My kilns are built in. I will not be able to find a better location. I would walk away from so much I have worked hard to build – not that I’ve been able to do much more than cry for the last 6 months. So, this is another struggle with no contact I’m having – the repairs. He’s now starting to fix things that have been broken for 10 years. He’s hoovering. I need the repairs done. I’m so low on cash. I’m an emotional wreck. I just feel like I have to look at the bigger picture of staying here. Ugh. Mondays…. My d-day was on a Monday and I feel it each week.

    • Lost, if you do allow him in the house get someone to supervise his activities so he won’t steal. You arrange to be elsewhere. You can hire a Fuckwit sitter and avoid the horror that is him.

      I’m in a house I currently am not leaving. So I’ve been busily purging it off triggers. Repainted everything. Just finished the kitchen, lemon yellow walls with robins egg blue cabinets and a bright and cheery floral fabric for curtains. Make that house your own.

      • He’s here right now. He came upstairs and got a fire going because it’s chilly, said good morning to our daughter, gave me a hug…..I literally don’t think I could be a messier human than I am right now. I am filled with confusion.

        I have managed to change everything in the bedroom but came to an absolute standstill after that.

        • Give it time. It will get clearer. A 7 year affair is a huge betrayal. Do this at your pace. Your daughter will go through a process as well. And don’t leave the house until you need to or want to.

          • Right?! It’s huge? What the heck am I thinking? Why is my sadness winning over my rage? My pace is torture. I feel like the box I’m in is getting smaller and smaller.

        • Don’t fall for it Lost! I felt the same way after DD #1, 5 years ago. He hoovered me back, did everything I asked, I thought I had myself a unicorn AFTER extensive reading of this site. Ten days ago he dumped me by text after 9 years. Of course, he’s been cheating again, never gave up his porn obsession I just stop checking when I eventually started to trust again. Go Grey rock, no hugs no nothing. There are no unicorn and you deserve better!

      • Oh the purging! If I didn’t purge it, I “reinvented it” with new paint, or a slipcover, or covered with new material – anything to rid myself of triggers. Sadly I even bought all new Christmas tree ornaments – just to eliminate anything – any memory – of him. My last purge is my car. In the last few weeks of hiding his secret affair, he nearly killed us in my car. He had been drinking too much and almost missed a turn. I thought he was going to roll the car over. My car also holds memories of leaving my beloved house. So, last time I went in for service on my well-cared-for and low mileage car, I talked to a salesman about a new car. Yes, I hate to have a car payment again when my car is in good condition. But, I can afford it and it rids me of one last memory of my ex. Slowly, everything is getting my stamp, and my stamp alone, on it. He’s fading into the ether.

        I am no contact – blocked him so he’d have to go through an attorney to talk to me – and, as much as I know that is the healthiest thing for me, I feel less-than when I read posts of ex’s reaching out to their former spouses, when mine left and never looked back. Never said one word. I know I should feel lucky…but it makes me feel like nothing.

    • I’m so sorry you are dealing with all of this. Let him do the repairs but secure your valuables. And maybe have someone in the house with you when he’s there so you aren’t tempted to chat with him. Get busy in the studio!

      I hope your lawyer is a pit-bull level advocate for you. Keep us posted.

      • I’m not at all worried about him stealing anything. I do worry about how much I want to talk to him, though. My daughter is home on spring break right now so I’m forced to maintain some dignity. This breaks my heart in a different way entirely. I can’t even seem to be capable of being a role model for her.

        • I’m angry on your behalf. So fricking condescending. HE hugs YOU? He’s the reason you need a safe hug, and he’s in your space being all, “aw, I know you wish I spent more time with you” 😡😡

        • I let my ex stay in the house for 6 months. I knew he was an asshole and a fw, but i never imagined he would steal from me. It’s only years out that I now remember– at the time he moved out and we separated the bank accounts, we only had 10K in savings. I was like, wth? Why don’t we have more money saved? we both made 6 figures and we never went anywhere or bought anything. Seriously, i’m not even exaggerating. He offered zero explanation and i wanted him so far away, i just let it go. i kick myself for letting him be in charge of the finances. of course, there was never a discussion, he just took what he wanted when he wanted wherever he wanted….he’s so completely disgusting to me….i hate that my kid has to spend time with him.

          I imagine you have a lot of doubt swirling through your brain. I know I did. I did not go into IC, but i DID go to a psychic. (this was before CL–what can i say, i was desperate.) She was so good. She told me, without hesitation, i was doing the right thing and that i definitely should change the locks the second he is out. I’m so glad i did. Even if she wasn’t a real psychic, at least i didn’t pay her to tell me that we were BOTH at fault. and waste time trying to fix things.

          Lost—take it easy on yourself. It is overwhelming. You are here, that is the first step. One day, you’ll be sharing your story from the land of meh and operating an emotional rescue mission for the new chumps. You are having a human experience—feeling emotions, sadness, confusion—all of that. Your daughter will benefit from the fact that her mom is a loving, compassionate and vulnerable human being working her way through very real challenges.

        • I went away for a weekend and thought nothing of letting my ex go in my apartment to get some of his things. Our son was there, I couldn’t imagine him ever doing anything like stealing or damaging anything. I didn’t see the harm since I wouldn’t even be there.

          He jerked off all over my shower doors and I had to scrape that shit off with a razor blade when I got back.

          You don’t know this man. The man you knew wouldn’t have cheated on you for seven years and lied to your face every day for seven years. You do not know him. The first step towards healing is accepting that he is a stranger, you do not know him, and you cannot trust him. He could be capable of anything, he’s a total stranger. Protect yourself from him.

    • I think it is fine for you to ‘use’ him to fix things – as long as he does it right – while he is hoovering with one caveat – as long as it does not hurt you more than the work is worth. If it upsets you to have him there, then just don’t accept his help. Or like 33 suggested, have someone there to supervise and you be elsewhere until he leaves.

  • My ex FW did the same. Wanting to complete the handrail and spindles to the second floor( that he left open for anyone to fall and die). I just said no I want it done right and hired a contractor. I didn’t want his toxic ass in the house. It was paid by the line of credit. Done and no drama. Nope you don’t get to pretend to be helpful now.

    • Mighty! Case study in why chumps need to ditch cheaters to GAL. Even if you’d made a gallant effort to stand your ground, that would’ve been a nightmare scenario if that FW was still living with you, Newlady.

  • Renovation abuse. Brilliant. I could have written this as well. This FW sounds exactly like my FW. “Oh let me help with that.” “I’ll pay for half.” The mess he left for me was unreal. EIGHT dumpsters worth of hoarded construction debris, “fixable” items that he never had any intention of fixing, and so many tools he accused everyone else of losing. Nope, they were all in his areas. Also, he never moved out for real. Left me with all his crap from childhood to cleanup.

    I had already decided that he let his wife and children live this way because of his own childhood trauma he refused to address and he thought if he never got it better, we shouldn’t either. Imagine my surprise when he blamed my dogs for the damage and tried to get me to give him some equity from the house I bought prior to our marriage and that he ripped apart so much that I couldn’t even refinance it. My lawyer said to the court “please let me know which of the dogs got up on the roof and took the shingles off.” Imagine my further surprise when, after he dragged out the divorce whining about what he didn’t get and crying poor, he went and bought my very particular kind of dream house for tons of money with Schmoops while I was still loading dumpsters.

    I think it must give them some nasty satisfaction to have others clean up their messes. Payback for childhood neglect or something. Misogyny. Or perhaps just the backside of Future Faking. It’s too common a theme. That’s a skein not worth untangling, but it’s good to know this behavior is as common as “I’ve been unhappy for years.” Yeah, bud. Me too, living in a construction zone. Also, have fun with him, Schmoops. You’re up. I can recommend a great dumpster guy.

    • I remember a guy in high school from an “old-school” family that had a bunch of us over to his basement rec room. Guys and girls. We had pizza and when we got up to leave, guys and girls went to go in pick up the boxes. He insisted, proudly: just leave it, my sisters will get it.

      That Twitter thread that someone posted yesterday had me look up the plate fixing cultural reference. It was about whether or not it’s cool to fix another woman’s husband a plate of food. One woman was commenting that she doesn’t take on the role of fixing her husband’s plate . If there’s food to be gotten in the kitchen, they just do it. But she did say that for her husband’s ego, sometimes when they are out she will ask him in front of other people if she would like her to fix him a plate of food.

      I don’t think it’s necessarily gendered to like having people serve us. I’m never entirely comfortable with it even when it comes to hiring people or being in a fancy restaurant or hotel. But I do think some people devalue their spouse or parent as “that person always cleaning up.” And some people definitely show their aggression/sense of superiority “passively” through making/leaving messes.

      My ex is the king of “I want to help.” But what he means is “I want to feel like I have something you need; I want to be the sugar daddy.” He actually hated it when I didn’t “need” what he wanted to “give,” when I showed competence in the skills he generously bestowed on me, or God forbid had expectations that he would follow through on all his promises, or that he would just be a regular responsible person without needing a hero cookie.

      • The ex MIL and FIL always left trails of chaos when they came to stay. Breakfast bowls, food eaten in sitting room, with vestiges of milk and soggy cereal, left balanced on the arms of sofas. On one famous occasion both sets of parents had stayed with us for a family event. Both brought bags of homegrown tomatoes, which was lovely. Except that ex MIL was scathing about the quality of the tomatoes produced by my dad. We left ex in laws at our flat and went to work, expecting them to have gone home when we arrived back. Which they had done, leaving a kitchen that looked like the aftermath of the tomato festival in Spain where people throw tomatoes at each other! I got home first and was met with tomato wreckage everywhere. Juice all over the worktops and floor, pans piled up in the sink (there was a dishwasher). Tea towels smeared with juice. Ex called his mother to challenge her. She cried (usual response) and said that she was trying to help by using up my dad’s tomatoes in a sauce because they were ‘going off’. Tomato red flag anyone!

  • I also should say I bought a fixer upper after I sold that house( that I bought him out of and then sold at a considerable profit), I designed MY space, hired contractors and oversaw the whole thing myself. Moved in to a completely renovated house 4 months later—one he never touched or set foot in—PRICELESS!!

  • Holy triggering treatise! I got virtually the same kind of head-spinning, crazymaking emails–the faux concern for my well being because he knew he’d hurt me and that I was saddled with prepping our house for sale followed by a plea that I allow him, the “sweet guy” who JUST WANTS TO HELP, to save us money by doing some of the painting himself rather than hire someone. Mind you, he’d been promising for years to paint and never did. Too busy leading a double life, I guess.

    I agreed to let him paint the hallway. I hired someone for the rest.

    When I told him he could paint said hallway, he switched tone and made demands like this: “Make sure you leave me with the correct paint, a stirrer, a brush, a roller, a tray. And, while you’re at it, kiss my ass.” AND I DID (well, not the ass wiping but all the rest 🤦🏻‍♀️).

    And these emails were interspersed with his complaints that I had too many jobs for him to do. Example: He had a massive home-gym contraption that needed to be dismantled. Him: “You have so many jobs for me. That will take me hours.”

    He treated me either like mean task master or a servant.

    It was all so crazymaking.

    I’m SO SO glad I was able to go NC after that. Those exchanges hurt so much.

  • I’m reminded of how when FW was moving out he was shopping for supplies for his new luxury apartment. At one point he texted me if I wanted him to get me a full length mirror and a squatty potty. Internally I was like “WTF dude?” but I said “yeah sure”. He returned from the store with neither of those things. Lol

    • I don’t EVEN know what a squatty potty is! Sounds like something that you’d get a 3 year old. And the combination of a full length mirror and a squatty potty is bizarre. I don’t want to even imagine using them together…

      • My ex uses a squatty potty. I get why some people would use them and I can see how they’d be helpful. He personally needs them because apparently getting fucked up the ass all the time makes it hard for him to poop.

  • This is his narrative to other people leaking over onto you. He’s telling everyone that he desperately wants to take care of his responsibilities and help you fix the house but you won’t let him because you’re so irrationally angry and bitter. That’s why he said “please just let me try.” And you’re thinking wtf? I asked you for help… It’s his image management. There’s a good chance he even let his fuck meat, oops I mean OW, read this to show what a great guy he is. They do this. Fortunately, it is a seller’s market. Get you a lawyer if you don’t already have one and handle this all in court.

    • “He’s telling everyone that he desperately wants to take care of his responsibilities and help you fix the house but you won’t let him because you’re so irrationally angry and bitter.”

      Bingo! And exactly what my x did. 🤯

    • OH EXACTLY!!! All of this is directly making its way to fuckmeat (hahahahaha). None of this is for me. It’s all imagine management, just like you said!

      • She’s going to be sooooooooo shocked when it’s HER turn to get screwed over and claim she didn’t see it coming. OW are idiots.

    • >He’s telling everyone that he desperately wants to take care of his responsibilities

      Interesting how that desperate yearning for responsibility didn’t extend to his dick or marriage vows.

      Cheaters really operate in their own universe.

  • Oh yes, renovation abuse is absolutely a thing. The complete disregard for the care of the home mirrors the disregard for the relationship. My charming gap-toothed cheater was loved by all AND had a 4 year affair with his office janitor (now known by me as the “Knob Polisher”). One particularly traumatic piece of my story is that in 2004/2005 a very shady -but seemingly nice guy-contractor took off with many thousands of dollars of our money, never finished the remodel, and botched what WAS finished…all while I had little kids at home, etc…Fast forward to several years later…BeelzeBOB decided the adult world of kids, responsibilities, and home repairs was just TOO MUCH I suppose. At the end of 2014 he left me with a big unfinished house (that I used to love) rotting from neglect. Well, I came to see HER as a person who also endured abuse from selfish dudes and got to work…scraping, painting, re-glazing windows (ugh), dumpster rentals, and selling anything not nailed down. The sweetest feeling was literally demolishing our entire bedroom set with a saws-all with sweat dripping off my brow and foot braced against the wall. I highly recommend owning one of these tools…Those few years were an almost spiritual experience…two old gals rehabilitating together, caring for one another. After 28 years with the ex-hole, 26 years in my home, and 55 years old I sold that home two years ago to an adorable young couple expecting a baby who were in love with my beautiful home. I moved on and bought a little home ALL MY OWN and sleep well knowing that everyone is safe now.

    • QoC, your story is inspiring, thank you. Times are financially hard in the uk and I worry about the maintenance costs on my dream home plus the mortgage. This morning I had been feeling particularly low, post-Easter. Then I read your post. I am going to see this lovely house as an equally abused woman and set to work giving her and me some TLC.

  • Fellow literature professor and chump here. Consider the state of your house a stand in for the state of your marriage–including the secret in the closet and the closet door now off the tracks–and your stbx’s missive a similarly metaphoric missive. It–the house and your marriage–was falling down around you while your ex ignored his responsibilities.

    His letter is not about the closet or the home repair. All that folderol is him, in the first paragraph, thanking you for your wife appliance convenience to him, lording it over you from his self-perceived lofty and superior perch, and the rest of the letter is a form of “you are at fault in the marriage, too,” and “this problem doesn’t have to be a deal breaker unless you unreasonably insist that it be one.”

    • Hi, Adelante –
      That’s it exactly…I just couldn’t believe that he was putting some the blame on me when it was his unilateral decision to leave. I just kept reading the words thinking… they can’t possibly mean what I think that they do, but he’s truly living in a world of his own making. Everything will be fine, as long as I go along and don’t rock the boat.

      That ain’t happening though!

  • the irony.

    a guy with no boundaries wants to fix sliding doors that provide boundaries between rooms. likely the only thing he’s good for is locating the lubricant for the track. these guys always know where the lubricant is located.

  • My ex stayed in the house because he insisted (i.e., threatened that he wouldn’t pay anything towards the mortgage or upkeep if he was the one who left). He then allowed it to fall into a state of complete disrepair. He became angry that I would not contribute to the cost of repairs (I said he chose to stay which made it his responsibility, an dI had no idea if he had performed the necessary routine maintenance, and that I would need to inspect the issues before paying for anything, and he refused to let me in the house). He then offered the to house me and said he was moving. He said (condescendingly) that I could move in, or that we could sell it. I think he fully expected me to simply take it off his hands and be grateful to him for it. But in the intervening year, I had emotionally let go of the house (which I chose and I loved). I couldn’t afford to buy him out or to do the necessary repairs. Nor did I want to live there after OW had basically shacked up there with him. Too much bad juju. So I told him “let’s sell it”. It was very freeing to let it go, like a burden lifted off my shoulders. I don’t regret selling the house at all.

    He then moved out (and in with OW) and in spite of agreeing with my lawyer to pay the last month’s mortgage and split the mortgage payments with me until it sold, he refused to contribute a single penny or to do anything at all to prepare the house for sale. When I finally got in to look at the place (I hadn’t been inside in over a year) I was APPALLED. It seriously looked like one of those awful houses on Flip or Flop that someone has been squatting in. Trash everywhere. Filthy. The toilet was black inside and had obviously not been cleaned since the last time I’d been in the house. So much soap scum in the shower you couldn’t see the tiles. The bathroom walls covered in mold. Rotting food on the counter and in the fridge. Dirty dishes in the sink. Moldy towels on the laundry room floor. Dried dog piss all over the basement. The yard was an impenetrable jungle. The deck was covered in green slime. I photographed and documented everything. I couldn’t believe that my kid had been living in a place like that (while my stbx was angry that I was living with my mother – at least her house was clean!). What amazed me even more is that I knew OW was over there most of the time (it was during quarantine, and neither she nor my ex had their kids – who were staying with the other work-from-home parent, me and OW’s ex husband, for safety reasons). If I were at my boyfriend’s house and it looked like THAT, I’d break up with him. Or at least clean it. I wouldn’t have used that toilet if you paid me. But somehow she was just fine with it. Ugh. I was pissed. If she was going to bang my man and basically live in my house, the least she could do is pull her weight and do a little housework. Geez. Nasty ho.

    It took over 40 hours of my time and $7,000 of my own money to get it sellable (I mean, I could have sold it as a filthy junk heap, but I kind of wanted to get a good price for it). I had to get 1-800-got-junk come haul stuff away (2 dump trucks full!). He also made it as hard as possible to get it listed to sell (apparently the real estate agent didn’t show him enough respect, since the agent and I had a few conversations that he was not included in, so he refused to sign the contract to list the home. It took three letters from my attorney, and a call from the agent, before he’d do it. Amazingly, when we did get an offer, he signed the paperwork very quickly, which was good. The house sold for full asking price in just four days, so I only had to make one mortgage payment, and we did make a profit. We put the money in an escrow account with my lawyer to be divided at our divorce settlement. But since my stbx died before we got that far, I ended getting all the proceeds by default. I put a big chunk toward my legal bills and the rest in the bank (it wasn’t that much, really, but it was something).

    Just like our marriage, my ex preferred to cut and run and start over rather than put any time or effort into repair or maintenance.

    • I hate to say this. But I’m glad you didn’t have to share profit with him (even if that means he died). Another horrible narc story.

  • My XH, a lawyer, agreed to every fixer upper we ever bought but then refused to help and/or blamed me for “making him” do things and “making him unhappy.” I felt guilty for existing for YEARS! My (cheater alkie pathological liar) mom always says the same thing (people “make her feel xyz”) so I was conditioned to accept blameshifting from birth. now I know that I literally do not have the power to “make” anyone feel or do anything. If I could, I would have “made” these people love me instead of abuse me. Feelings and actions come from our own thoughts. BOOM! What a revelation!

    Lola Granola’s description of the chaos and control by renovation abuse also hit a nerve. I can see several disordered family members in this description. Thank God they aren’t my monkey and aren’t my circus!

    I’m free and get to live how I choose today. I’m so glad I left the cheater disordered narc freak (26 years together) and got that divorce/Freedom Day. Life is grand at Meh.

    • Oh my goodness, Motherchumper99, yes! He agreed to buy this house – he not only agreed to it, it was the only house that he would agree to out of all of the ones that I showed him. Not a year later, however, the house is my fault. The fact we moved was my fault. He’s unhappy? All my fault. But you’re right. I can’t make someone happy. I can’t make them unhappy. The only person’s happiness that I can control is my own.

  • Renovation abuse. I bought my house before I ever met FW. When we divorced, I kept the house. It needs a bunch of work which is natural for an almost 70 year old house. FW was always telling me that he would fix x, y or z. he never finished any project he started and any job he touched turned to crap. He took a hinge off our daughter’s closet door to try to fix the broken hinge on her bedroom door and now both are missing hinges. The kitchen is still not complete following a partial remodel over 5 years ago. He chiseled into trim around the basement door. He also was terrible with money because he was an addict so I couldn’t just hand him money or a card to get supplies at the hardware store. But he’d always have the story “But Serenity wouldn’t let me fix it.” I’m so, so glad he’s out of my life and gone. Life was always chaos.

    I recently started dating someone. One of the really attractive things about this guy? Plans and Follow through. If he makes a plan, he sticks with it. He makes plans. What a concept! If he starts a project, he appears to follow through on that too. He is putting in a garden at his place and has dug it all out, framed it for raised beds, purchased the dirt and compost that he needs and fenced it in. He even started his plants from seed already. It’s so refreshing to see someone do what they say they will.

    Melon, don’t let him touch anything and get a lawyer.

    • Yes! Right! Plan and follow-through. We have plenty of the former and exactly zero of the later. But I’m beginning to see how this worked for fuckwit. I was always offering to help – let me call the pool people, are you sure that I should just get a plumber? What about a handyman to finish off the room. By refusing to allow me to more forward, however, he was keeping me chained to his schedule, his whims, his control. The kibbles were never ending. Now he wants back in. Ain’t gonna happen. No way. Nope.

      You know what’s great about the guy who I’ve gotten to cut the lawn. He’s given me a price. He’s given me a time that he’ll be there every week. He genuinely wants to do the work. And, you know what, he’s kind. It’s a breath of fresh air, and breathing it feels like freedom!

    • SerenityNow, it’s a sign that he has good boundaries.

      People with poor boundaries HATE deadlines. They procrastinate, and they’re always ‘running late’.

      Renovation abusers are a case in point. They can always start – but they can’t envisage or plan to a clear finish.

      Sometimes they can, but they enjoy the chaos more. They also enjoy having you off-balance or dependent on them finishing the job.

    • This right here. I wasn’t conscious of it until I read your comment, but one of the most attractive things to me these days are people who make plans and follow through.

      The other is people who make me feel stable and secure. I’m that way naturally on my own. I only feel crazy around fuckwits. When I feel insane around someone, I don’t question it anymore, I get rid of the person.

  • I completely agree with CL on this one: take the money and RUN.

    I picked up my teenage daughter from my ex’s dump last week (million dollar street with a house that looks like shit).

    We started to chat (because I have perfected the art of what to chat about that forces him to feel uncomfortable (the World War I era cement bag bunker retaining wall he’s building all by himself, the 3 broken down cars in his driveway, etc.) because he knows he can’t blow up on me anymore (bad for his image). He offered me a spiked seltzer-which I gladly drank-and within the 45 minutes I was chatting with him-he had downed 4 spiked seltzers, chain smoked a pack of cigarettes and started making a stiff vodka cocktail by the time I collected my daughter and left-(at 1:30pm on a Friday).

    That house ain’t your problem-so take your share and say “Adios, Mother Fucker.”

    My motto when it comes to my ex:

    Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.

    Good luck-you got this 💝.

  • My ex was in the trades, so he fixed things. The house was gorgeous when he took off. Only the kitchen needed a little updating, which we did before the house went on the market. I paid half which nearly depleted my savings. He decided to stay where he ran off to and wanted it sold, and I agreed because my finances were a disaster. Despite all the degrees, I had largely been a SAHM. I never did get full-time work but ended up largely self-employed. We moved out before he arrived with a moving van. I was truly on the edge, but the house sold. I had my nest egg.

    The house we rented was perpetually falling apart. The owners lived five minutes away and were good about fixing things, but I found that there was a lot that I could do myself with YouTube other than plumbing and electrical. They hired those out too but paid me back when I replaced bathroom fans, smoke detectors, and toilet parts myself. I also did my own patch-and-paint when we moved out and got most of my deposit back. The management company had to find a few flaws to justify themselves, you know.

    Then I bought the house of my dreams in a perfect neighborhood. It’s mostly one level with minimal landscaping. I’m fine doing the everyday stuff and minor fixes. This summer I’ll do a little more patch-and-paint that I found after moving in. An electrician will do a little work in the basement, and I’m thinking about a water softener which I’ll hire out.

    Life on the other side is good!

  • “As for the doors I would really like the opportunity to fix them myself.
    – – Because you can trust a guy who was unemployed for nine months and did jack shit about these doors.”

    And that’s why CL gives me LIFE. You point out the obvious hidden in plain sight!

    The FW in my story left me with a bunch of costly home repairs and a fucking mess in the yard with TWO storage buildings that had been crushed by two trees and all of their contents had been destroyed by the weather. I had to hire a 30 yard dumpster to haul off all his damaged junk he left behind. But he gave me everything in the divorce, so he said for me to handle it all. It was worth it for him to walk away with nothing but his clothes after 20 years together than to lift a finger and clean up his hoard. Such is the FW way!

    He did come back to replace a storm door on the back of the house post-divorce and post-baptism scam. But when he couldn’t get a promise of reconciliation from me, he left the door half installed and I had to prop a chair up against it to keep it closed. I finally had a friend came over 3 months later and install the handle, so it will now close. These fuckers are all the same… Every good deed has an ulterior motive and it is all for their benefit. Not yours.

    • My ex walked away from most of the possessions from our nearly 20 years together too. I thought it was so weird. We had a large house and had 2 living areas, so I figured he’d want at least one couch and his childhood bed we used as a guest bed. I was practically begging him to take items. He took his clothes, his personal possessions (including a box filled with old porn mags and VHS tapes), and one bookshelf. A month or so after moving out he asked for drill, so I brought it to him figuring he would just keep it, but no he brought it back at the next custody exchange. I think he still feels like he has possession of the house/it’s contents. We’ve been divorced for nearly 5 years now, and just recently he asked for some of “his” tools. Seriously WTF

  • This letter is very triggering for me (I’m sitting here with my heart pounding 3+ years post Discard) because home renovation was the scene of like 70% of the abuse I experienced in our marriage. It wasn’t exactly Renovation Abuse like people are describing above because we did the renovation together: we remodeled 4 houses together during our 18-year marriage, sold 3 of them for a profit. We were good at it, and everyone thought we worked well together on it. This was not the case. Best Regards used the renovation projects basically to trap me in a space where he could emotionally, verbally, and borderline physically abuse me–because he knew I would put up with whatever shit he did to me in order to get the chaos cleaned up, so we could sell the house or our parents could visit or whatever…. It was days, weeks, or months of him snapping at me, telling me I couldn’t do anything right, telling me my ideas were terrible, ordering me around like a servant, making me hold/pick up things that were too heavy for me, putting me in dangerous situations because he just wanted to get something done without going through the proper channels (there was one time he knocked me *through* a closed chain-link gate and 4 feet down our gravel driveway by running into me with a rototiller that he was trying to unload from a pick-up using only 2 2x4s….) Literally my hands are shaking right now typing this.

    I know it sounds ridiculous: why didn’t I just say no, opt out? It was the usual cycle of abuse. At the start, he would be so positive and charming and evoke this wonderful space/time in the future where he would finally be happy with our life together. And I fell for it every time. I did put up a few, very weak boundaries as time went on: no starting projects after 9 pm, for instance (!). And I insisted on hiring people to do some things that I said I just didn’t have time to do because of my job. But it was always a fight whenever you said “no” to something Best Regards wanted to do, and he always got nasty really quickly in those fights. It was so exhausting.

    Even though this story was triggering for me, still, I’m SO much better now after nearly 3 years of No Contact. It stressed me out at first having to make all the decisions on home repair stuff myself (Best Regards left me the last house we remodeled in the divorce, and for financial reasons, I have to keep it even though it’s too big for me to take care of by myself). But now I’m used to it, and I hire people to help me with the stuff I can’t do, and projects turn out great, and if they don’t–oh well. It feels SO GOOD to have all the drama and abuse taken out of the equation. I’m even thinking about remodeling my powder room and doing the work myself! Because I really do enjoy the work, particularly when someone’s not using it as a lever to abuse me.

    I think that’s true of most of my life now. I enjoy it because someone’s not using it to abuse me. You’ll get there, too, Melon, as soon as you get this asshole out of your life and go No Contact

    PS One more thing that really got me about your letter was the “I know this hasn’t been easy for you.” I got that line from Best Regards, too, in the parking lot after our mediation, while we were still married and he was fucking the (still married) OW and copying me on their hotel reservations…. It made me apoplectic. My blood pressure still goes up just thinking about it. The titanic levels of self-absorption and entitlement that it would take to say something like that to someone to whom you’ve just, with malice aforethought, done the very things you’re sympathizing with her about…. I think it was at that moment that it really sunk home for me that I was not dealing with a well human being.

    • Oh, Okupin. I’m sorry. I empathize with so much of this, especially what you write in your post script.

      x, too, said, “I know this hasn’t been easy for you” and even wrote to the kids this really strange tone-deaf email in which he thanks them for “supporting your mom” but then goes on to write in a super breezy manner about trivial stuff (along the lines of “How ’bout that hockey game? Did you catch the final goal?”)

      Here’s the kicker. They kids were dumbstruck by the letter. Didn’t reply. Couldn’t believe he’d written it.

      Me? Not so much. I was only a week from D-Day. Honestly, I think I was so accustomed/conditioned to his way of talking and being that I didn’t even recognize it as odd. That’s the scary part. My reaction was, “Oh, that’s nice. He thanked them for supporting me.” I missed the craziness of it, just as I missed the craziness that was my entire mirage.

      p.s. Oh, and I should add that they were also pissed off that he didn’t acknowledge their pain. I don’t think he’s capable of true empathy. But boy did he want everyone to empathize with HIM. Me me me me my pain. I’m hurting the most. 😩

      p.s.s. OW won a moody, selfish, whiner. He’s also mean and lies with abandon. I don’t miss him at all.

      • “… he thanks them for “supporting your mom”

        Yep. Fuckwit said to my solicitor, while we were awaiting the FDR, ” please thank Rob (my brother) for being there for Chumpnomore6″.

        I doubt he was thankful when the judge awarded me the whole proceeds from the sale of our home. 😂😈😈😈

    • okupin It’s the ultimate form of gaslighting ~ I’m not trying to mow you down with heavy machinery, Im just getting a job done for your benefit. An abuser disguised as a hero. I am sorry. I hope someone believed you

  • I’mAchumpToo wrote, “Every good deed has an ulterior motive and it is all for their benefit. Not yours.” So true.
    My ex offered to buy and bring groceries during the initial scary phase of COVID, knowing I was staying home with a voracious pre-teen. When I asked him to have a friend leave them on the porch, he refused, writing that he wouldn’t risk his friend’s life and health to drop food OUTSIDE my home. A week later, he emailed, “It’s time” …for the very same friend to come INTO the house to get more items he wanted, and he raged when I declined. Similarly, when he wanted a few specific clothing items, he raged when instead of allowing him in to choose them, I had all his clothing removed and sent to him. Minus the bags of evidence of tens of thousands of dollars to sent to Schmoopie via Western Union and bank transfers.
    He also deliberately sabotaged the house whenever he could get here, even with supervision (including the lawyer arbitrating our separation). He sabotaged the HVAC and security systems, switched hoses on toilets to spew out methane gas, smashed smoke detectors, and much more.
    Melon, he is OUT. Don’t let him back in physically or mentally. I agree with ChumpQueen and We Are The Chumpions, this email was probably written for the Judge, or perhaps his minions and flying monkeys, and without any real intent to help fix the home. The best thing is to forward to your attorney and go no contact.

    • There are ALWAYS strings attached. Or, in your case, hawsers.

      It’s not worth it, ever. This is why calling a tradesperson can be so terrific – if they’re any good, they’ll do the job, you pay them, and that’s the end of it.

      If they’re no good, you at least usually have consumer laws to protect you. If you don’t, you can always write them off as a bad job and give them a bad review on their website.

  • When the shit hit the proverbial fan, my ex’s schmoopie was so concerned about my well being that she told ex he needed to fix some stuff for me before he left. I kid you not. After he had made the decision to discard me (several years before the final Dday), I couldn’t get him to do anything around the house without him going into a rage. I mean a true rage. I asked him put up some new curtain rods not long before the final Dday. He did it, but he was absolutely vicious throughout the process. When I look back at the miserable existence I had with him, I am truly grateful that schmoopie took him off my hands.

  • Major trigger alert today… I shared my rat stories before but here goes.

    Any time I think ex FW wasn’t that bad, I only have to remind myself that he made me live in a rat, mold and chaos infested house for 8 years with my babies. No matter how hard I worked to clean, spakle, and organize they would come back, because the rot was inside the walls. It is so emblematic of our whole marriage I can’t even. I was married to a perpetual chaos generator.

    Every year when the rain would come back, so would our little problems. I would beg to move out, we were renting, but there was always an excuse : ”wait until we have the down payment on a house saved up and we can buy. The business is doing so well!”, “the market is bad” or simply “I hate moving and the location is perfect (for me)”. And every year our savings would magically disappear. So I would beg him to help fix things up. He made a point of saying he would take care of everything, don’t worry, and then invariably something would “come up at work” (cough… whore) and nothing would get done. So I would do it. And he would come home, see the patched up walls, replaced appliances, painted rooms and get angry because I don’t let him do anything. Because I really enjoyed taking projects away from him, what with all the extra time I had on my hands with two small children and a full time job. Over and over again. The last year we lived “together” I gave an ultimatum (nicely): save up some money for a year and see if we have enough to start buying a house, or move to another rental. Guess who asked for a divorce when the year was up? Him, of course, he married too young, was unhappy for a while and all that BS. So he left with his duffle bag like he was off to college and went to live who knows where and with whom (cough… whore) for a while. Went he walked out that door I called an exterminator and a handyman. After a completely rat-less couple of months I could think straight again and figured out how to fix my problem a bit more permanently. I packed up my things and the kids, moved us out to a new place and filed for divorce. I let FW move back in the old place and take care of all his shit he had left behind, and the rest is history.

    I really do think that he left me deal with all this mess for so long to distract me from the real issues at hand. I am just floored to see how common that is, and how well it worked on me. Anyhow, don’t be me, don’t marry a project!

    • … and more to the point of this post, don’t stay married to a project, because the project never ends, trust me. And no amount of spackling can fix the root problem, because the inside of the walls is rotten and the foundations are not sound. The only sane option is to walk away. Let the rats have it.

  • Please hire a lawyer immediately without warning or consulting FW. CL is calling this exactly as it is, your cheating husband is not your friend. I agree 100% with her about selling in this market, if FW wants to do repairs, lawyer can help come up with a timeline to accomplish things and if they fall through, you now have in writing his intentions, so he can pay for it to be done if not done by timeline, etc. Also hiring a lawyer NOW saves you from FW “losing” his job and keeps you from having to pay alimony, etc. The cost of divorce and infidelity will be a wake up call for him and shmoopie, as it should be.

    Protect yourself, your children and your assets with the same vengeance he is pursuing cake.

  • Scrolling through this I keep thinking, “This is weaponized incompetence”. Anyone else seeing this?

    • RIGHT?! When I checked in after work there were over 130 comments on this post! I couldn’t believe that so many people had the same experience. It’s a little depressing, but also so lovely to know that I’m not in it alone. Far from it.

  • Wow, Meloncholy3, talk about trigger alerts. My heart is racing and probably my blood pressure is spiking to a dangerous level, so I was unable to read the comments for fear of having another stroke. I simply scanned them to see if anyone had addressed the gibberish that your ex wrote.

    Melon, I feel your pain. I spent years parsing now-exH’s responses to me and rarely managed to figure out what the heck he was saying (or trying not to say). Word salad, indeed. Not that this is a competition, but your exH’s response doesn’t even come close to the Linear A gibberish I tried to decode for decades.

    I am ABD in Comp Lit (Latin is my strength), and exH is a professor in Classics/Art History. One of the biggest belly laughs I had during our 25-year relationship was reading the reviewer’s comments on a piece exH had submitted to the AJA. Paraphrasing here, but it was something to the tune of “Professor xxxxxx’s prose is so tortured that it is incomprehensible. He does not write like a native English speaker.”

    Thank god I’m no longer doing a preliminary review of his dangling participles and insisting on subject-verb agreement. He fought me on every correction and insisted on submitting incomprehensible drivel.

    As far as household chores, after I wised up that “remind me later, write a note, send me an email, leave a message on my office phone, send me a text” was killing me, I learned to do an astonishing amount of repairs myself. Good luck to you.

    • Hi, Eirene –

      Talk about kindred spirits. I’m so glad you shared what the AJA reviewer wrote about you exH’s submission because it made me laugh, too. I love that he “insisted on submitting incomprehensible drivel.”

      I will be doing those repairs myself too, I think.

      And good luck on the dissertation. It took me 10 years, but I did it.

      It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be done. Goes for some repairs, too.

      Take Care,
      Melon

  • Melon, you can count on one thing: you can’t count on him.

    During the long drawn out period of my cheating ex’s move out of the house, I tried to get him to complete some of the many projects he had started.

    The only one that got finished was the torn apart deck in the back, and that was done only because he paid a kid who worked at his favorite sandwich shop to do most of the work.

    • Just remembered: After nearly 20 years of my inching out onto our decrepit second-story deck to grill some food (hugging the wall and prepared to tuck and roll if the rotten wood gave way), ExH and poopsie had a new deck built. God knows how much he spent (since he never did his research before plunking down his well-used credit card), but the realtor forced him to upgrade before she would put the house on the market. Idiot was so thrilled that someone bought the house slightly over market value, even after I pointed out to him that he was nowhere near to getting back the money we had put into improvements over the years.

    • I’m realizing that now. He cannot be trusted. He cannot be counted upon because he fundamentally doesn’t care. The whole thing has me thinking how much home repairs are the one of the ultimate kibble-machines.
      1) He gets to spend money on himself. He needs tools for those repairs that he’s gonna make after all!
      2) He gets to monopolize my entire attention. When is he going to get to it? He doesn’t know, can’t say. Try again tomorrow. It’s like the Wizard of Oz. Oh Dorothy, so sorry we can’t help you today, but tomorrow, there’s the ticket. Meanwhile, he’s just behind the curtain, pulling the strings.
      3) He gets to feel like the big man of the family! Mommy can’t do anything, but daddy? Look at how awesome daddy is!

  • Even if you could actually count on him to fix things why would you want to at this point?

    So one or both of you saves a couple of bucks and he feels or looks less like a piece of shit? I bet he’d love to be able to tell everyone about how he’s such a great guy that he fixes things for his ex.

    Money isn’t the only form of payment. Aggravation and emotional distress are also forms of payment and they balance out money.

    Fuck this scumbag. Do what you can yourself and hire a professional for the rest. Or sell the place as is. He’s no longer part of your life so get him out of it.

    Leet schmoopie enjoy her prize.

    • Schmoopie’s got some surprises coming, but you’re right. Aggravation balances out money. I’m hiring out for every repair that he’s left undone. I don’t need him in my life and I certainly don’t need him in my house!

  • My FW only left one unfinished house project that was fairly easy to fix, but he refused to move out for 7 months after I found out about his double life and completely trashed the house during that time. I moved out because he refused to and ultimately he only moved out because he was court ordered to. When I moved back, there were beer cans and empty chip bags all over the backyard, the deck and yard were completely covered in pine needles and fallen braches like he hadn’t swept back there in 7 months, the bathrooms were also all filthy like he didn’t clean them during those 7 months (our cats had started using the upstairs tub as a 2nd litter box and he never bothered to stop them), and he left a bunch of his crap in every room of the house, including a bunch of CDs with Linux files on them that mysteriously went missing after I let him know his crap was in my garage waiting for him (while leaving everything else behind.) Even though he wasn’t helping with the mortgage, living there rent-free, his rationale for not keeping it clean was, “It’s not my house anymore, why would I?” Entitled pig. Trashing the house is abusive imo, and so is leaving behind a bunch of unfinished house projects. It’s almost like symbolic violence.

  • My ex husband did this to the OW. They bought a run down, delapitated 1970’s double wide trailer with a lean to addition.

    She said when they first moved in a couple years ago, she was optimistic that he would get the work done and make it cozy, but the truth is he didn’t. What he did do took forever and when he killed himself last month, he left it in such a state that even a bank will not finance it to buy it. It will have to be bought with cash. Thankfully, it’s a seller’s market and housing in the town where they lived is highly desirable.

    Glad Im past having to deal with that.

  • I never knew renovation abuse was a thing! Epiphany! We bought a fixer upper on acreage well below our budget. I had initial renos done by a general contractor. Over the years, The ex refused to help upkeep or fix; he barely mowed. Anything that got done I hired to get done. I lived without a floor in my kitchen for ten years because ex kept promising he’d do it. I finally bought the tile —and waited another 18 mos for him to do nothing until I hired a contractor. I could never entertain because I was too embarrassed.

    In the end, the house was neglected and needed some serious repairs to be salable. The ex sat on his rear in front of the TV texting schmoopies for 14 months before I left, never lifting a finger to get house ready to sell. I asked him every weekend to help while I planned out everything else including a move and kid going off to college —even finding a new job many states away. Eventuality I got my settlement agreement and moved the kids and I two weeks later, just in time to start school in the new place. I was still paying mortgage and utilities and bills and fully bankrolling the repairs for months after I left until house sold. ExFW tried his best to sabotage the sale as well. My realtor called me one night to personally offer sympathy for how awful and uncooperative ex was.

    ExFW insisted I had abandoned him to get the house ready to sell. It’s like evil-Yoda levels of mindfuckery. Another red flag to add to the list.

    I now have my own sweet little cottage. I have made necessary upgrades and paid to have them done. So pleased to be free of the empty promises.

  • Wow so much of this resonates. First, when my ex left I asked if he would help pay for a gardener because I needed help with upkeep. He said I needed to get 3 quotes and get the cheapest one. So I did and then he never paid me. Then one day he found out that a friend of mine had mowed the lawn for me. He went crazy saying “No one is allowed in my garden”…even though he moved out. So he didn’t want anyone to help me AND he wouldn’t pay AND he would do it himself. Melon- your ex isn’t going to help you, he just wants you to think he is. That’s what mine did and it was so painful because he kept disappointing me. He very much played the concerned husband and father role but then did nothing at all to help make the separation any easier and it got worse from there. During our 10 years in this house, he did a few things here and there but mostly it was me hiring maintenance people after he’d drop the ball. I was always really nice to him about it, making sure I didn’t hurt his feelings. Like I’d say “That’s okay, I know you’re busy at work and it’d be much better if we could have free time to do something together anyway!” Looking back he was never engaged in making our home nice. Close to DDay, one day he had a tantrum and said “I want a cooler place than this! I want something nicer!” Again, I played the role of cheerleader and said “Great! Let’s find another house that you like more.” I was always trying to plan, make him happy, make him engaged, make him want me….blah blah. The home stuff was equal parts disengagement and power and control. It all kept me guessing, kept me wanting and kept me busy. It’s gross that family homes can be mechanisms of abuse.

    • So now I’m obsessing over this topic! It seems reading here that not only is it a mechanism of control, but also one of devaluing – devaluing the family home, the spouse, a life together. My ex used to feel overwhelmed with the house maintenance, but the thing is, he didn’t really do much of it. He made a big show of being out there doing the lawns (after heaps of bitching by me), and making other guys around here think he was a handy man. He told everyone when he left that he was helping us out still, and how hard it was to maintain a home he wasn’t allowed to live in. Um, no. A/ he didn’t maintain it at all and B/ he chose to be with the OW and live in city apartments. I used to think my ex was proud to live in our home, with his family. But as the wheels came off…I realize he wasn’t in it at all. It’s so confusing having these new topics surface, but it’s also nice to know we’re not alone in exploring these themes!

      • This is it exactly, Formerly! It’s the complaining about how much time it takes, while not doing much of it at all, refusing to get a handyman under the illusion that “I can fix it.” It’s all about kibbles too. Why would he fix it when he could have me waiting on him, depending on him, day and day out? Then, when he finally does something, it’s like he hung the moon. Even more kibbles.

        Renovation is a kibble machine.

        • Kibbles, yes, and also it tricks us into believing we need them. It’s an insidious form of gaslighting that reinforces the belief that they are more valuable and capable than we are. And while this may tend to show up differently according to gender (in heteronormative relationships), I’m guessing that abusers usually find a way to lord over *some* domain and elevate its importance above everything else, thereby claiming the seat of authority in the household and relationship.

          Lola Granola has written about the power of self efficacy, and I can attest that reclaiming this helped me reclaim my agency (before DDay hit, thankfully, because I don’t know where I would be today otherwise). Agency means making informed decisions about whether to hire out a job or do it oneself; whether to renovate, rent or sell.

          Cheaters are terrible decision makers, and yet they feel entitled to make decisions for us. We trust them to, sometimes even ask them to. They use deception and coercion to get what they want, and then they tell themselves it’s for our own good. (Yep, they give us STD’s and PTSD and steal our homes and retirement savings for our own good. See, they really do have our best interests in mind and are known for making wise, balanced, carefully-considered choices.) FWs use their channels to steal chumps’ agency, when we are so often the ones running the show and are harder working, smarter, more organized — in touch with reality. Yet we let our houses (and lives) fall apart to soothe abusive FWs’ egos and avoid their rage or guilt trips or withholding of love. Which, BTW, there is no avoiding, no matter what you do. Life with an FW is an endless, unpleasant, dramatic cycle. I am sickened by how instinctively deferential I became, and I am working hard to check my people-pleasing, self-sacrificing instincts to willfully go there with others.

    • “I was always really nice to him about it, making sure I didn’t hurt his feelings.”

      Yep. Even when it came to FW’s cheating, lying and abuse. Sickens me now.

  • Melon,

    Oh, oh, oh, nerd raising my hand in class… Wow, that email. The hide on that mofo. But also compelling. It’s deceptively simple on the surface but actually a Russian doll of bs.

    Not sure but I think I get what he’s trying to do. In fixing my own chump picker, I’ve been trying to use my own experience to build on existing lists of red flags to create a subtler and more surgical list. I’m pretty sure the basic subtext of that email might indicate a big but probably less recognized red flag. It might even be detectable early on but that would require a bit of skein-untangling.

    The first thing I wondered when reading your STBXFW’s email was whether he has a history of being into meditation or has recently adopted meditation/mindfulness (maybe in mirroring his cheating buddy? Seems a lot of side plates lean towards preachy new-agey or born again “spirituality.” So do kleptos in my experience but that’s another digression). I had this thought because there’s something familiar in STBX’s smarmy, patronizing, barfy, faux-caring foisting.

    My experience might not apply if your STBX doesn’t happen to be dabbling in mindfulness, but I promise there’s a larger point. The main point is that the behavior may be meant to gain back control of themselves while, in reality, they’re completely losing it. Within that could be a bit of a warning to locate a handy bomb shelter for when he blows, but the fact that many cheaters seem to go out of their way to demo faux-transcendent above-it-ness in front of their own victims may be mostly a sign that being “above it all” isn’t coming as easily as they would have others and themselves think. That it takes effort, like baking a souffle. After all that work, one would naturally want to share and get credit. Plus there’s a thing in people with personality disorders that I’ve noticed where the truth is only what they can make others believe. This means they’re actually deeply dependent on others agreeing with their versions of reality and certifying their facades in order to believe those myths themselves. They need an audience for their bullshit to make bullshit seem “real.” Chumps and victims may represent the most challenging potential critics of FWs’ fabricated reality so if they can hijack our accord (stunned silence in this case is taken as enthusiastic agreement)– victory! That can especially certify their fabrications as reality.

    The other point is that creeps have different methods of feeling okay about their creepery. The misuse of mindfulness comes to mind because FW in my case had been a yoga-zilla since childhood when it became trendy among women in his mother’s class and generation. His mother is a major shithead who never apologizes for any of the vicious things she does and I’d long suspected she used meditation to ohm away any sense of responsibility. I know meditation can be very helpful to many so I’m not criticizing those who use it for good purposes. But we all know anything can be heroin to an addict and anything can be misused. A baby’s bassinet can be used as a murder weapon– not exactly its original purpose. And FW clearly used meditation to fuck over and embezzle his family and then sleep at night. Apparently it wasn’t completely effective so he also became a raging alcoholic and pothead during his affair with a fellow raging alcoholic and pothead. On the surface the two cheaters didn’t appear to have much in common but I think it’s relevant the AP was an Evangelical Christian who called me “devil woman” before I knew she existed. They both had systems of transcending responsibility for the heinous things they do– booze, prayer, junk food, ohms, whatever.

    Even though FW stopped practicing meditation many years earlier after the ashram his mother was a devotee of was exposed as a yogic Epstein Island of child rapists, I could still see him periodically trying to channel this above-it-all “spiritual Swami muffler man” thing to quell stress– particularly stress caused by his own internally generated psychosis or, worse, guilt and other people’s misfortunes. It was like he used it to free himself from the constraints of self reflection and empathy by CHOOSING to disassociate. Back then I didn’t realize what a bad sign this was but I could always tell when he getting into this mental state because he would sort of swan around acting transcendent and gratingly patronizing if I was exhibiting stress.

    I don’t swan and I’m not transcendent. I’m a “pain now” person rather than a “deferred pain” person and I deal with things as they arise. If I achieve any peace, it’s from managing crises in real time, not from any conscious practice of mindfulness but the better practitioners of it might argue that I’m using a form of natural mindfulness to face crises head on. In any case, FW’s fits of faux transcendence seemed super weird to me. Years ago when I saw that FW was using this state to transcend things that really needed to be addressed, I would call bullshit on the behavior. Being a big narcy “mirrorer,” FW pretended to have a sense of humor about it back then. But deep down I think he blamed me for getting out of practice in the use of this sociopathic meditation tactic because quitting the ashram was probably initially just image management. He lost traction on ohming away his guilt and might have missed a few nights sleep while he starting banging the office doorknob! He felt bad for a minute or two for robbing the kids’ college funds! And it was all my fault! Including the sudden-onset ED that drove him to take buckets of Viagra! I was against his spirituality! And I didn’t let him watch Survivor! (try to reconcile reality TV that promotes deception and backstabbing and spirituality. Can’t be done).

    I should have suspected something when he started heavily meditating again during the affair and adopting this tone towards me again as his behavior became colder, creepier and crueler. His DARVO attacks on my character would be interspersed with this swanny smarmy Swami shit. Before D-Day, he would smile with faux-peacefulness in the face of my confusion and agony. But scratch the surface with a feather and he’d explode in rage a moment later. I think that’s a bit of a hint about what’s really underlying that “above it all/pozzy positive” facade, whatever is being used as a tool to generate it.

    I used to think he was channeling this Swami state deliberately towards me during the affair out of sadism because it crushed me even more than the DARVO attacks. But now I realize that I wasn’t really the point or the target of it even if I was required as an audience for it. There was a “Don’t even try to manipulate me (because, if all your expressions of grief and stress were real and not scheming demonic manipulation, you’d be human and I’d be the demon) into feeling bad because it won’t work, hah” element to it for sure. But now I think the attitude was mostly a side effect of his ritual quelling of conscience. Because FW didn’t really have plans to leave the marriage for the AP and was just on an epic cake binge, after he was busted by a few office whistleblowers and the PI I hired to get evidence, he wasn’t so swanny-Swami anymore. When one of our kids hacked his phone and found AP’s filthy texts and he lost even his “great dad” facade, it became clear the swanny-pozzy attitude existed to cover up his true internal state– sort of a psychotic cornered rat or bellowing man-baby with no adult tools for managing painful emotions, stress, reality, etc.

    Cheaters are the lords of disregulation burning in the fires of chaos. And they lie about everything, even to themselves. Anything they represent or exude is pretty much guaranteed to be the reverse. Swanny= hysterical. Charitable= murderous. Etc., etc.

    This is all coming back to me now because just before reading this post I read about an interesting study investigating how some use meditation and mindfulness to basically be sociopathic. It’s titled “Mindfulness meditation reduces prosocial reparative behaviors by buffering people against feelings of guilt.” https://www.psypost.org/2022/04/mindfulness-meditation-reduces-prosocial-reparative-behaviors-by-buffering-people-against-feelings-of-guilt-62925

    Anyone who’s dealt with a Jesus cheater knows how copping a saintly pose, manic praying and calling on Jesus in public settings can be just as effective as ohms or substances in quelling pesky pangs of conscience and/or image managing. Bassinet used as a murder weapon again, not a criticism of religion and spirituality. Furthermore there’s a study of serial killers’ use of a Jedi mindfuck trick called “neutralization”– an ornate, elaborate system of rationalizations at victims’ expense which could be, in a roundabout way, likened to trying to achieve an altered (guiltless), transcendent state.

    In the above study (Google “Denying the Darkness: Exploring the discourse of neutralization of Bundy, Gacy and Dahmer) , authors argue that serial killers may use neutralization in order to APPEAR innocent and APPEAR to be abiding by the rules of civil society the better to con and prey on others and remain undetected. But why would they require tools to appear innocent if they didn’t have at least some sense of culpability? That was another question the authors wrestle with.

    I’m really glad the “born sociopath” concept is being challenged these days because, as far as I can understand, lack of empathy or “empathy buffering” is likely a learned behavior (therefore preventable, though probably only starting in childhood). All the more reason to get kids away from FWs. Furthermore, I was getting sick of the genetic psychopathy drivel because a lot of it smacks of eugenics. Plus the view opens up a whole world of possibilities to understand that behavior categorized as clinical psychopathy and sociopathy might FOLLOW the adoption of certain thinking patterns. I suspect that once someone has learned to suppress guilt by any means, they’re capable of virtually anything. And that right there is the red flag: keep a sharp eye out any and all conscience-quelling strategies.

    I made the initial mistake of believing FW when he claimed (sad sausage style) that meditation was to help him overcome childhood trauma. Turns out it was more multi-purpose than that. Authors of the neutralization paper also argue that buffering tactics may not merely snuff guilt over “mistakes” and past ill deeds but pave the way for future ones, making them not only possible but enticingly so. I suspect people with this buffering skill set to snuff warranted guilt will always eventually become cruel, deceitful or criminal because they’ve removed the main obstacles against being so. Human beings without love and remorse are scary, freaky, feral apes.

    I think what this means for practical purposes is obviously don’t accept faux charitable gestures from abusers when possible. Don’t aid them in propping up their false images of themselves as transcendent and pozzy and groovy and normal because of the danger you may reinvest in that image of them. It’s sort of like the myth of Persephone accepting pomegranate seeds from the hand of death. Don’t even think about accepting because, as the myth warns, you’ll be condemned to emotional hell for another month or so for each bit of bullshit you swallow.

  • The FW did many projects around my house before D-day. That was his contribution to living in my house as we were engaged, not married.

    When I dumped him on D-day, his brother had the gall to email me that I used him for those projects and should give him a 2nd chance because he did so much work for me. The projects that I NEVER asked him to do, the projects he wanted to do, whether or not I wanted them done.

    A whole family of FWs.

  • I had no idea renovation abuse was even a thing. It makes perfect sense, though. In 1966, my cheater father moved our family into the house he had inherited from his grandfather. It was June. There was a slowly melting glacier in the basement, from where you could look up through two stories of farmhouse and an attic and see blue skies. There was no plumbing, no electricity, no ROOF and no walls on the second floor.

    The furnace came the year I moved away to college; the electricity and plumbing a year or two before. Did I mention this was in rural WISCONSIN? At night, the chamber pots under our beds froze.

    My charming snake of an ex-husband didn’t have the chance for renovation abuse in our two houses — I bought the first before we were married, and since I was the one with a decent credit rating, I found and bought the second as well — all he had to do was show up for the inspection and the signing. The second house was a mess, so I took the proceeds from the first house and hired a contracter to fix it up BEFORE we moved in. When we retired, though, “our dream” was to sell everything and sail off in our sailboat. I bought the sailboat for him 10 years before retirement, and he said he was going to fix it up the way he wanted it.

    Fixing up that boat, he said, was part of his dream. He looked forward to making it special and comfortable because it was going to be our home. In the ten years between purchasing the boat and moving aboard, very little got done. (I now believe it was just a floating fuckpad for him.). When our house closed on NY Eve, and we moved aboard, there was no water in the tanks because he hadn’t repaired the known leaks in the tanks. The stove didn’t work (because he had done nothing about it in 10 years) and the promised wood stove for heat had not materialized. We had a perfectly finished and buffed to a gorgeous glow companionway ladder, though, and the floors were a thing of beauty. Everywhere else you looked hadn’t even been cleaned. As I’m standing on the foredeck brushing my teeth with a bottle of water and spitting into the Chesapeake, I was quietly sobbing because this was going to be my home. And it was — for two years until until I left in the wake of Hurricane Irma and D-Day.

    In addition to verbal, emotional, financial, sexual and physical abuse, I experienced renovation abuse. Now I know it’s a thing. Thank the heavens I’m divorced!!!

  • Isn’t this all part of the sad sausage wank ~ overcompensating through grandiose displays of doing work whilst really doing jackshit whilst siphoning money off to God knows where. In addition to the dud renos that no one else could possibly undertake, my ex used to collect firewood and come home covered head to toe in dirt regaling some tale of how he nearly died. He had a small pile of wood that barely lasted a fortnight. Everything was just soooooo hard but he was prepared to sacrifice his life to keep the family warm. After separation I had wood delivered for equivalent of about 2 days pay. Wanker.

    • The sorrow, the suffering and the woe!

      You notice how no one “plays victim” more than victimizers. I think the whole concept of “playing victim” was generated from frauds who then commit DARVO on their own victims by accusing victims of milking it for attention. Pure projection. Actual victims don’t want to be victims and don’t “play” at anything.

  • I got the “This comment is awaiting moderation” note hours ago probably because of the new algorithm (I swear my comment isn’t offensive… to chumps anyway) so I’m taking the risk to repost so it shows on the same day. I hope this doesn’t show up twice.

    Melon,

    Oh, oh, oh, nerd raising my hand in class… Wow, that email. The hide on that mofo. But also compelling. It’s deceptively simple on the surface but actually a Russian doll of bs.

    Not sure but I think I get what he’s trying to do. In fixing my own chump picker, I’ve been trying to use my own experience to build on existing lists of red flags to create a subtler and more surgical list. I’m pretty sure the basic subtext of that email might indicate a big but probably less recognized red flag. It might even be detectable early on but that would require a bit of skein-untangling.

    The first thing I wondered when reading your STBXFW’s email was whether he has a history of being into meditation or has recently adopted meditation/mindfulness (maybe in mirroring his cheating buddy? Seems a lot of side plates lean towards preachy new-agey or born again “spirituality.” So do kleptos in my experience but that’s another digression). I had this thought because there’s something familiar in STBX’s smarmy, patronizing, barfy, faux-caring foisting.

    My experience might not apply if your STBX doesn’t happen to be dabbling in mindfulness, but I promise there’s a larger point. The main point is that the behavior may be meant to gain back control of themselves while, in reality, they’re completely losing it. Within that could be a bit of a warning to locate a handy bomb shelter for when he blows, but the fact that many cheaters seem to go out of their way to demo faux-transcendent above-it-ness in front of their own victims may be mostly a sign that being “above it all” isn’t coming as easily as they would have others and themselves think. That it takes effort, like baking a souffle. After all that work, one would naturally want to share and get credit. Plus there’s a thing in people with personality disorders that I’ve noticed where the truth is only what they can make others believe. This means they’re actually deeply dependent on others agreeing with their versions of reality and certifying their facades in order to believe those myths themselves. They need an audience for their bullshit to make bullshit seem “real.” Chumps and victims may represent the most challenging potential critics of FWs’ fabricated reality so if they can hijack our accord (stunned silence in this case is taken as enthusiastic agreement)– victory! That can especially certify their fabrications as reality.

    The other point is that creeps have different methods of feeling okay about their creepery. The misuse of mindfulness comes to mind because FW in my case had been a yoga-zilla since childhood when it became trendy among women in his mother’s class and generation. His mother is a major shithead who never apologizes for any of the vicious things she does and I’d long suspected she used meditation to ohm away any sense of responsibility. I know meditation can be very helpful to many so I’m not criticizing those who use it for good purposes. But we all know anything can be heroin to an addict and anything can be misused. A baby’s bassinet can be used as a murder weapon– not exactly its original purpose. And FW clearly used meditation to fuck over and embezzle his family and then sleep at night. Apparently it wasn’t completely effective so he also became a raging alcoholic and pothead during his affair with a fellow raging alcoholic and pothead. On the surface the two cheaters didn’t appear to have much in common but I think it’s relevant the AP was an Evangelical Christian who called me “devil woman” before I knew she existed. They both had systems of transcending responsibility for the heinous things they do– booze, prayer, junk food, ohms, whatever.

    Even though FW stopped practicing meditation many years earlier after the ashram his mother was a devotee of was exposed as a yogic Epstein Island of child rapists, I could still see him periodically trying to channel this above-it-all “spiritual Swami muffler man” thing to quell stress– particularly stress caused by his own internally generated psychosis or, worse, guilt and other people’s misfortunes. It was like he used it to free himself from the constraints of self reflection and empathy by CHOOSING to disassociate. Back then I didn’t realize what a bad sign this was but I could always tell when he getting into this mental state because he would sort of swan around acting transcendent and gratingly patronizing if I was exhibiting stress.

    I don’t swan and I’m not transcendent. I’m a “pain now” person rather than a “deferred pain” person and I deal with things as they arise. If I achieve any peace, it’s from managing crises in real time, not from any conscious practice of mindfulness but the better practitioners of it might argue that I’m using a form of natural mindfulness to face crises head on. In any case, FW’s fits of faux transcendence seemed super weird to me. Years ago when I saw that FW was using this state to transcend things that really needed to be addressed, I would call bullshit on the behavior. Being a big narcy “mirrorer,” FW pretended to have a sense of humor about it back then. But deep down I think he blamed me for getting out of practice in the use of this sociopathic meditation tactic because quitting the ashram was probably initially just image management. He lost traction on ohming away his guilt and might have missed a few nights sleep while he starting banging the office doorknob! He felt bad for a minute or two for robbing the kids’ college funds! And it was all my fault! Including the sudden-onset ED that drove him to take buckets of Viagra! I was against his spirituality! And I didn’t let him watch Survivor! (try to reconcile reality TV that promotes deception and backstabbing and spirituality. Can’t be done).

    I should have suspected something when he started heavily meditating again during the affair and adopting this tone towards me again as his behavior became colder, creepier and crueler. His DARVO attacks on my character would be interspersed with this swanny smarmy Swami shit. Before D-Day, he would smile with faux-peacefulness in the face of my confusion and agony. But scratch the surface with a feather and he’d explode in rage a moment later. I think that’s a bit of a hint about what’s really underlying that “above it all/pozzy positive” facade, whatever is being used as a tool to generate it.

    I used to think he was channeling this Swami state deliberately towards me during the affair out of sadism because it crushed me even more than the DARVO attacks. But now I realize that I wasn’t really the point or the target of it even if I was required as an audience for it. There was a “Don’t even try to manipulate me (because, if all your expressions of grief and stress were real and not scheming demonic manipulation, you’d be human and I’d be the demon) into feeling bad because it won’t work, hah” element to it for sure. But now I think the attitude was mostly a side effect of his ritual quelling of conscience. Because FW didn’t really have plans to leave the marriage for the AP and was just on an epic cake binge, after he was busted by a few office whistleblowers and the PI I hired to get evidence, he wasn’t so swanny-Swami anymore. When one of our kids hacked his phone and found AP’s filthy texts and he lost even his “great dad” facade, it became clear the swanny-pozzy attitude existed to cover up his true internal state– sort of a psychotic cornered rat or bellowing man-baby with no adult tools for managing painful emotions, stress, reality, etc.

    Cheaters are the lords of disregulation burning in the fires of chaos. And they lie about everything, even to themselves. Anything they represent or exude is pretty much guaranteed to be the reverse. Swanny= hysterical. Charitable= murderous. Etc., etc.

    This is all coming back to me now because just before reading this post I read about an interesting study investigating how some use meditation and mindfulness to basically be sociopathic. It’s titled “Mindfulness meditation reduces prosocial reparative behaviors by buffering people against feelings of guilt.” https://www.psypost.org/2022/04/mindfulness-meditation-reduces-prosocial-reparative-behaviors-by-buffering-people-against-feelings-of-guilt-62925

    Anyone who’s dealt with a Jesus cheater knows how copping a saintly pose, manic praying and calling on Jesus in public settings can be just as effective as ohms or substances in quelling pesky pangs of conscience and/or image managing. Bassinet used as a murder weapon again, not a criticism of religion and spirituality. Furthermore there’s a study of serial killers’ use of a Jedi mindfuck trick called “neutralization”– an ornate, elaborate system of rationalizations at victims’ expense which could be, in a roundabout way, likened to trying to achieve an altered (guiltless), transcendent state.

    In the above study (Google “Denying the Darkness: Exploring the discourse of neutralization of Bundy, Gacy and Dahmer) , authors argue that serial killers may use neutralization in order to APPEAR innocent and APPEAR to be abiding by the rules of civil society the better to con and prey on others and remain undetected. But why would they require tools to appear innocent if they didn’t have at least some sense of culpability? That was another question the authors wrestle with.

    I’m really glad the “born sociopath” concept is being challenged these days because, as far as I can understand, lack of empathy or “empathy buffering” is likely a learned behavior (therefore preventable, though probably only starting in childhood). All the more reason to get kids away from FWs. Furthermore, I was getting sick of the genetic psychopathy drivel because a lot of it smacks of eugenics. Plus the view opens up a whole world of possibilities to understand that behavior categorized as clinical psychopathy and sociopathy might FOLLOW the adoption of certain thinking patterns. I suspect that once someone has learned to suppress guilt by any means, they’re capable of virtually anything. And that right there is the red flag: keep a sharp eye out any and all conscience-quelling strategies.

    I made the initial mistake of believing FW when he claimed (sad sausage style) that meditation was to help him overcome childhood trauma. Turns out it was more multi-purpose than that. Authors of the neutralization paper also argue that buffering tactics may not merely snuff guilt over “mistakes” and past ill deeds but pave the way for future ones, making them not only possible but enticingly so. I suspect people with this buffering skill set to snuff warranted guilt will always eventually become cruel, deceitful or criminal because they’ve removed the main obstacles against being so. Human beings without love and remorse are scary, freaky, feral apes.

    I think what this means for practical purposes is obviously don’t accept faux charitable gestures from abusers when possible. Don’t aid them in propping up their false images of themselves as transcendent and pozzy and groovy and normal because of the danger you may reinvest in that image of them. It’s sort of like the myth of Persephone accepting pomegranate seeds from the hand of death. Don’t even think about accepting because, as the myth warns, you’ll be condemned to emotional hell for another month or so for each bit of bullshit you swallow.

  • That is an awful situation to be in! Having your pottery studio there makes it hard to move. When I was in a similar situation, I advertised on Craigslist housing for a housemate with carpentry skills, and they “rented” my spare room in exchange for five hours of repair help per week. Usually the person would work the whole month’s rent off in the first week, on whatever projects I had, then sometimes I’d pay them per hour for other stuff that came up. Or, maybe at least you can rent out a room or rent out some art studio time or both, to some other respectable person, in order to have some cash coming in to pay for repairs? Your cheater husband is probably offering only in order to keep tabs on you/patronize you. He sounds like a gas bag.

  • Tracy –

    I laughed so hard when reading this that I woke up the teenagers. It’s harder than waking the dead.

    Everything you said is completely spot on, the faux concern, the imagined competence, and above all this – “Because you can trust a guy who was unemployed for nine months and did jack shit about these doors.” However, it turns out that my wake up call was accomplished with one single sentence: “I think the only door this loser needs is one slammed in his face.”

    Slam the door in his face. What would that look like?

    I imagined him standing on the mat, poised to come in. I imagined opening the door. Then I sawmyself rocketing it shut with all the strength left to me.

    I thought all day about it.

    I made a few calls to repair people and scheduled one to come out to fix the sliding doors.

    But did I stop there, oh no, no I did not.

    I called a lawn service. I asked them if they could fix my tractor if I gave them a new belt for it. Why, yes, they could. As soon as the tractor is fixed, I’m going to sell it. The money will pay for the lawn service.

    Next on the list? The pool. We have a little rinky-dink salt water pool.

    Hey, pool company, I said. Can you come out and fix the pool light, and by the way, if I gave you a little extra, could you show me how to operate the pool? Sure, lady, they said. That’s what we’re here for!

    That is what they’re here for.

    When I had finished all my calls, I wrote him a little note letting him know what was going to happen. It took all of 10 minutes for a reply to grace my inbox.

    I would tell you what it said but I haven’t read it.

    I might not.

    Door slammed, Chump Lady.

    Door slammed.

  • What happened to the part where he begs forgiveness?

    Hang onto the house.Make what repairs you can. Real estate is a gold mine and Dopey is handing it to you, I presume. Equity is a good thing for you to live a fabulous life post-divorce.

  • I have lots of maintenance examples from the years. The ex’s business was within the home improvement field. My longest running issue was with our well. The water was orange. No washing whites at home and never buying any white outer wear. We did have to bathe in it.
    I bought loads of filters but literally needed changing every other day which never happened and not cost effective. I had water delivered for a bit but had to stop. That was incredibly heavy to lift. I’m positive that’s why my shoulders have chronic pain. The finial years I used a counter top purifier that I bought with Christmas money he gave me which had expensive filters that were to last a few years. I replaced them every few month plus I tried to extend the life by scrubbing the orange scum off of them but the water was clear and clean I hoped.
    For years he would send me on information chases to fix the issue. I’d tell him a solution and he’d shoot it down as too expensive or labor intensive. Meanwhile his big toy purchases were rolling in and he was paying rent and utilities to stay with another guy for a flop house I guess.
    I met him a few days after we left in a public place. He rapid fired three initial sentences. I thought you had called the police on me ( there were cars in the peaking lot beside my table). I’ll fix the well. Can’t we just be friends. I think I just sat there stunned without replying. After leaving, my thoughts were on the well. Really you can fix that issue just like that??? WTF?
    The house was sold to a friend of his that the ex said is richer than God. His friend fixed the problem easily and quickly according to one of the kids. The ex is also very wealthy so all those issues could have been done by somebody else since he was never going to do them. He obviously didn’t feel he’d benefit from fixing them. I shake my head as to why I allowed that to continue. Having clean water and white clothes was one of the first things the kids mentioned and appreciated. I upgraded the purifier and now the filters are replaced every few years as directed. Yea, to living with out an abuser.

  • Well, this letter hit home for many of us! I found it, and the heartfelt comments section, upsetting for several reasons. Beyond the triggers around the rénovation abuse many of us experienced for years (in my case, my entire life, thanks to my FW father and FW ex), we are still angry and struggling because these fuckwits stole our homes and more. I’m over the confusing shock and heartbreak of losing my abusive, backstabbing hologram of an ex. I’m mostly over the loss of community and Switzerland friends. I am not over the loss of my investments, home and future. I am very much still in that, and I will be for many years to come, regardless of how persistently and positively I approach the challenge. I know life isn’t fair, and I also have a lot to be thankful for. Still doesn’t make this easy.

    We chumps are still climbing our way out of the massive holes they dug in our lives. Those lucky enough to keep their houses and gardens are saddled with unwieldy repairs, ongoing dealings with fuckwits, and figuring out how to pay double what they would have otherwise; they have to live with FW reminders everywhere and must fight to reclaim their most personal spaces for themselves. Those of us who were left homeless often feel lost at sea. We are starting over, often in new places, during a time of global conflict, stress and isolation. Whether we’re looking to rent or buy, the housing market is horrendous and it’s a pretty massive shit sandwich that does not inspire hope or confidence.

    To extend CL’s spackling metaphor: they cared for our homes the way they cared for us, and we persisted in filling our homes — and them, and our relationships — with love and beauty in spite of this. In my case, it is a laughably literal analogy.

    To end on a more positive note: Melon you are my hero today! Just read what you did yesterday with CL’s bee in your bonnet. Look what you accomplished in one day, and now imagine what your future holds! (Next step: stop even informing FW about it. He doesn’t deserve to know and any contact with the loser will distract from your much improved life without him.) Best of luck with the divorce proceedings! Don’t forget your bitch boots…

  • ”Ooh, that’s quite tempting – given that we’re in quite the financial pickle, and that’s unlikely to improve because divorces aren’t cheap, but unfortunately it’s not going to be able to happen because I don’t trust you at all, on account of how you lied to me and deceived me and then told me I ”saw it coming”. My breathing is fine, thanks for asking, thank goodness, though you’ve reminded me that I need to update my insurance paperwork! Lol. Anyhoo, all the very, very best.”

  • Melon,

    Do you have a lawyer yet? He abandoned your family during the holidays so … 5 months ago now? Please get a lawyer if you haven’t already so you can get the ball rolling on getting untangled from this maniac, because every day you stay married to this guy is a liability. Let all further communiques go through the lawyer, except for co-parenting (if you share kids) and even then, keep it short, emotionless, and to the point. Gray rock him until your lawyer says you can cut him off permanently.

    Don’t seek his validation for anything. Don’t ask him questions. Don’t reminisce. Don’t ask why he cheated or try to understand him. And definitely don’t ask him for help around the house. He left. He’s a non-entity. Non-entities can’t fix doors.

    His note’s meant to mind fuck you, absolve himself of all responsibility, and keep you dancing for him while he screws his mistress in peace. And/or he’s playing the nice guy for the judge, the kids, or his family and friends. This way he can forward them the email and say, “See??? I’m a nice guy! I’m trying to help and Melon flew off the handle for nO rEaSoN.”

    It’s all bullshit impression management. Stop engaging with him and let your lawyer do their thing. The sooner you go to court, the sooner you can change the locks. Ask your lawyer about this so hubby can’t come waltzing back any time he likes.

  • My take on it is that he wants to turn you into the other woman. Another poster mentioned that her FW did nice things and favors for others but never for her. The FW get kibbles being nice doing favors, looking like a great guy. He loves triangulation. So now the AP is the Primary intimate partner, you are secondary and in the power seat. So now he will do nothing for her once shes in devaluing stage, and jump to do nice things for you. Honestly, if I were you, and I could keep my emotions in check, I would take him up on the offer. It will drive the AP crazy. Just dont get sucked into his schmoozing. My FW dads AP wife, still after 40 years is insecure about his first wife.

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