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The OW Left Him and I Don’t Know How I Feel

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Dear Chump Lady,

Will you please help me identify a new feeling of mine? Meh-be it’s meh but I don’t know!!!

Yesterday (a Tuesday) I found myself feeling a way that I have not yet felt since my D-day 27 months ago and I am unsure and suspicious of this feeling. Is it meh? Or some type of meh hybrid?

Background: I discovered that my husband was having an affair with his father’s best friends’ daughter (though later, during my 6-month long Inspector Super Sleuth stage, I discovered that he had been having affairs (pl.) over the past several years, if not longer).

Within a month of my discovery, my husband moved out, officially leaving me, our two daughters, his dog, our 3 cats, and our house, along with all of his personal possessions behind, with the exception of some clothes, his Rolex, and his Porsche. Two months later I filed for divorce and he moved his unemployed 38-year-old mistress out of her parent’s house and into his new apartment.

We are still legally married because he’s constantly stalling. We mediated for 15 months until the mediators dropped us due to his lying on his disclosures and hiding of assets, amongst many other lies and omissions. I then hired my own attorney to finish up the settlement agreement reflecting the terms we agreed upon in mediation, but he refuses to sign.

Over the past two years my husband has lost all of our friends and neighbors (who were really my friends since he did not bother to maintain friendships), my family, his own family (they are appalled at him and are very protective of my children and me), and finally, he has lost the shallow relationship he had with our children as they do not wish to see him anymore. He really has no one left in his life other than his mistress. Until yesterday.

Yesterday my father-in-law called to tell me that my husband had texted him, devastated and desperate, to say that his life is in ruins and that he and the mistress have broken up.

I do not know the details of the break-up and I do not care. But when I heard this news and later thought about how empty my husband’s life must be now (empty from the work of his own hands!), my heart sank for him. I pity him! He has NOTHING left. He threw all the valuable people in his life away and now he is alone and that is so very sad to me. Two years ago and up until recently it was I who felt that I had nothing and as we chumps all know, it is very difficult and painful to rise up from that feeling of nothingness.

My FIL told me that he would let me know the details as soon as he learns more, but I. Don’t. Care. In the beginning of this fiasco I would have done anything to be assured that my cheater and his mistress would go up in flames, that there would be no happily ever after for them after what they did to my children and me. But now? Other than feeling really sorry for him, I don’t care.

What is this strange, sorrowful feeling that I began feeling yesterday (Tuesday) about my cheater?

Is this meh that I’m feeling?
Is this the meh that I’ve been searching for?
Is this meh or am I dreaming?

Will you please advise me on this feeling, Chump Lady, ‘cause it’s really got a hold on me.

Kindly and gratefully,

ForwardOnwardUpward

****

Dear ForwardOnwardUpward,

I don’t know what you’re feeling for him — collateral consequences? Nanner-nanner-boo-boo? Sorrow for his fuckwit choices?

Whatever it is, it’s not meh. Meh’s heart does not bleed for fuckwits. When Schmoopies end their Twu Wuv crime sprees, driving their get-away car over a cliff — Meh does not mourn. Meh is unloading the dishwasher, or sorting laundry. Oh look, a $5 bill in a pocket! Meh carries on.

Does the evening sky look hazy tonight? Is there a car ablaze in a bonfire of fuckwit vanity?

Meh thinks $5 will buy a nice ice cream cone.

You’re still trying to divorce this guy. No way are you feeling indifference or acceptance about this yet. And I fear that expressing sorrow for his “sad, lonely” life is the gateway drug to hopium. Poor man, I must save him from the affliction of his own stupidity. Perhaps he still cares! Perhaps I have a chance! He will see what he’s been missing and now, NOW! he will value us!

I bet you a dozen ice cream cones that is what your father-in-law is thinking. Why is he giving you Schmoopie relationship updates? Why does he think you give one flying burrito about your soon-to-be-ex’s internal state? Does fuckwit care about yours?

I’d ask your FIL, why your ex breaking up with his fuckbuddy is “devastating”, but abandoning his children isn’t? Or why losing you doesn’t even merit picking up his shit?

Is anyone inquiring about YOUR mental state and making CNN breaking news announcements about it? No? Oh that’s right, Fuckwit is too busy hiding his assets and polishing his Porsche.

When I heard this news and later thought about how empty my husband’s life must be now (empty from the work of his own hands!), my heart sank for him. I pity him!

Don’t. He wants you to. His mindfuck is firmly set on the Self-Pity channel now. Remember, these freaks flip through rage, charm, and self-pity when they want things.

So long as you’re vulnerable to feeling anything for him, you’re vulnerable to his manipulation. And self-pity is catnip to chumps. WE CAN LOVE ALL THE HURT AWAY!

Self-pity is also a disguise. You wouldn’t suspect a sad sausage of hiding assets would you? He’s so broken!

Shields up.

His sorrow at fucking up his life is about as deep as his investment in it. I’m sure he’ll regroup and find a new fuckbuddy soon. If he doesn’t already have several on rotation. Don’t mistake shared history for depth of character. Dude’s a serial cheater.

Not only does this guy know how to play you, he knows how to play his dad. He probably started this shit on his parents. Does his father long to hear how sorry he is, how it was all a terrible mistake? Would FIL like to avoid a divorce? FIL has your ear. How convenient.

I’d stop discussing your ending marriage with your FIL. I’m glad your in-laws are supportive, but they’re also not neutral on the subject.

And neither are you — you keep calling this guy your “husband.” That’s not meh. Legally, yes, he is, but you’ve been trying to divorce him for nearly two years. How about “freak I used to know”? Or just “ex”?

As long as this guy is in your orbit, you won’t know what you feel. The confusion is deliberate. (All the better to mindfuck you, my dear.)

Let me suggest no contact. It feels like sweet freedom.

****

This one ran before. Today is moving day and hopefully hook-up-our-internet day too.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Dear ForwardOnwardUpward,
    I hope you’re reading this somewhere and wondering “what was I thinking?”.
    Chumps cannot even begin to heal until the divorce is SIGNED and DONE!! Please don’t question being at meh while still calling the cheater “husband”.
    And I hope you eventually went the lawyer route and not mediation – anyone with a Rolex and Porsche has money that they’re not admitting to. Yeah, they lie about things other than affairs.
    And stop talking to your hopefully now ex-father-in-law about anything other than the weather. He’s too invested in his own son. And DON’T ask for updates about his son!

      • Agree! I still am friendly with the in-laws but just so over hearing about my ex. I realized I was making progress toward meh when MiL assured me ex was not even talking to Schmoopie and I almost laughed. It was funny she thought I would even care. He can fuck who/whatever he wants, not my problem or my business. Well I didn’t tell her that exactly, probably said something like “I’m not even worried about it; we’re divorcing so he can date whomever he wants.” You don’t have to even be rude to let your FiL know you don’t want to hear about it.

        Although I do still get some joy when MiL complains what a pain in the ass he was when he briefly lived with her. It’s kind of her fault he’s an entitled little princeling, and she knows it. But I’m sure my meh is out there and I’ll find it one sunny Tuesday!

    • I couldn’t agree more. I was in emotional purgatory for 3 years while separated, and couldn’t even begin to heal until officially rid of FW.

  • Poor guy. Sad sad sausage. He’s really workin’ the crowd. And he’s got them captivated.
    It’s like a train wreck – you can’t tear your eyes away.
    These con men are highly manipulative – turns out divorce is expensive. He longs for the good old days of fucking women on the side without Wifey knowing about it. Christmas with mom and dad and wifey and kids and whore fukking.
    He lost interest in playing house with 38 year old schmoopie – too much work, hence the devalue discard that he set up to make himself look the the recipient of the karma bus.
    Daddy Daddyeeeeeeeee. Daddy obliges and calls the good old wife appliance.

    Don’t fall for it. He outted himself .
    This is what he is.

  • Said it before and I’ll say it again . I’d give my right arm and left leg for my ex to have nothing or no one exactly what he happily did to me .

    Not only did he abandon me I’ve never once had a text from my ( ex) in laws . No they happily welcomed sparkle into the fold .
    He lost nothing and no one just simply replaced 1 wife for another

    I’d love for him to get a taste of his own medicine and I would feel nothing but glee .

    Never going to happen but ooofffttt I still like to hope for it 😀

    FOU , you have a kinder heart than me for sure and I’m glad you are healing well

    • Yep…..I thought it was weird that the dick drove the Porsche to the airport for his “business trip”. Rebuilding is hard, but he kept all the sparkle and none of the substance. There’s a whole world out there that doesn’t revolve around FB!

    • Karmeh, my thoughts exactly! I would literally dance my victory dance and rejoice at his laments.

  • FWs thrive on chaos. My divorce was drug out for 27 months by my XW. All was good until then for the two idiots. About 6 months after things calmed down and real life kicked in. My kids told me their arguments and breaking up every other day is so bad that none of the kids want to live there anymore. So many times my kids called crying wanting dad. Well December 2021 hit and I had enough of their BS and what they were putting the kids through. So I petitioned the court for custody and placement. Wouldn’t you know how fast things change with chaos. The idiots got married and rep the perfect household now. Well in a few weeks things will be settled and I’m guessing another divorce for each is only a matter of months away. 😂

  • I like the “Shields Up” comment!

    The next phone call will be from FIL trying to negotiate a “second chance” for his son.

    The third phone call will be from FIL to blame the wife for being vindictive, unforgiving, and ruining the lives of the grandchildren by refusing to cooperate and let his son move back in.

    My in-laws were horrified by their son’s behavior and grateful to me for taking such fantastic care of their grandchildren. This support lasted exactly as long as I did what they wanted. And they did not want me to divorce their son. He has long since been forgiven by them, transformed into an object of pity, and I am the evil bitch who left him and destroyed his life.

    • Yes, this is a VERY likely scenario and anyone in this situation needs to be wary of it. My inlaws seemed embarrassed by Cheaters behavior (moving thousands of miles away from his wife and kids ostensibly for a job but a former coworker oddly enough also relocated there at the same time) but they admired him so much (and believed his excuses) that they were quickly tricked.

      My situation took odd, unexpected turns, but if it has stayed more normal, they would have been tricked into blaming me.

      I wonder what ever happened to the OP

    • I second that. It takes a village to raise an entitled prick. FIL and MIL will only be sorry for what their dear child did for so long… as they think that there is a chance for reconciliation. The OP should take a little distance from (hopefully) ex ILs. They are the kids grandparents and that’s it.

      I thought my ex ILs would side with me forever, we used to have a great relationship, or so I thought. It lasted one year, then they disappeared and seemed to suffer from amnesia. Next thing I knew Wifeswap was welcome at all their family events before FW and I were even officially divorced. Their golden child could do no wrong, not in the long run.

      Don’t fall for it. Don’t feel sorry. Get that divorce finalized STAT, then NC.

  • FOU,

    Your Ex showed you what was important to him when he left; Rolex, Porsche and some clothes and that was it. Not his, dog, the cats or the kids and he clearly didn’t give a rat’s ass about the impact on you. Your Ex has a void where his soul should be, so I’d advise that you get the divorce done and then move on with your life, although you’ll have the joys of co-parenting to navigate for a while yet I’m afraid.

    As for your FIL, he needs to be told “I am grateful for your support, but I do not wished to be updated about the FW.” Your FW has been playing the “F*ck around and find out” game; he’s f*cked around at his leisure and now gets to find out on his own time too.

    Best of luck.

    LFTT

    • I never thought about that before. When X came back after ghosting me….the only reason he came back was to take his clothes, shoes, and baseball trophies. A picture he had wanted from our engagement- he “forgot” behind a door. He even left his two laptops and iPad behind- so bizarre.

      • NJaW,

        When Ex-Mrs LFTT walked out on the kids and I she didn’t take that much in the way of physical possessions; oddly enough, an old stone pestle and mortar and a throw that my mother made for our eldest daughter’s bed are the things that spring to mind. What she did do was completely empty the joint account; this is where my income went and which was used to cover the kids’ school fees, supporting our eldest at university and the mortgage. I had to borrow a lot of money to ensure that her actions didn’t cause us to default.

        Funny old thing thing, the only thing that she cared about during our divorce (which she dragged out for over 18 months) was money. She demanded a financial settlement way in excess of what UK law would allow even had the the children gone with her, and she was apoplectic when things didn’t work out in her favour. It was only after the divorce was finalised that she then circled back for the physical stuff ….. unfortunately for her she had signed over the contents of the house to me as part of the divorce agreement, and so she scr*wed herself over royally in that respect. Dumbass that she was, she just couldn’t work out that asking me nicely for something was likely to be more productive than threating to take me to court for stuff that she’d signed over to me not two months previously.

        Oh, and I made sure that eldest daughter got her throw back.

        LFTT

        • LFTT I’m so sorry she wiped out your savings (I gave all of my savings to my X for his education and he refused to pay it back). They are so focused on themselves that they cannot see anything else. I think they are unable to ever truly be nice- hence the reason she threatened to take you to court. I think there is a big lump of coal where their hearts should be! And I am so happy your daughter got her throw back : )

          • NJaW,

            You are too kind. Ex-Mrs LFTT was so fixated on the money that she wanted to fund her new life with her AP that she was blind to one simple fact; that if I agreed to her demands I would not have enough left to bring up our three children on my own. She got a proper “old fashioned” lecture from the Judge about the need for her to be reasonable and realistic. By the time we we done in Court the Judge had had enough of her sh*t, her legal team had had enough of her sh*t, my legal team had had enough of her sh*t and I was shall we just say “vindicated.”

            As regards the throw, there was no way that I was letting that one go. Not only had Ex-Mrs LFTT stolen something of real emotional value to one of our children, she compounded it by lying to our daughter about it. She coldly looked our eldest in the eye and said that she had no idea where it was and that “her dumbass dad had probably lost it” when the kids and I moved house about a month after she left us. Plot spoiler ….. eldest daughter found it on Ex-Mrs LFTT’s bed in her new apartment about a month after she tried to blame me for it going missing. Eldest daughter got me to ask for it back, as she did not feel able to ask for it back herself, which tells you a lot about her relationship with her mother. Even after all this, Ex-Mrs LFTT could not bring herself to apologise; rather she embarked on a colossal rant about how eldest daughter was making a fuss about nothing and had no need to have the throw back as “she won’t be taking it to university and it will just sit in her room in your house gathering dust.”

            Her AP is welcome to her and I sometimes wonder whether she has started stealing from him yet; given that she stole from me and all three of our children, I figure that it’s only a matter of time before she starts on him. I could almost feel sorry for him!

            LFTT

            • If you haven’t already done this, it is important to get your children into therapy now, especially the eldest daughter. Dealing with an entitled, gas-lighting and cold mother all their lives, may have been worse than having no mother at all. They are likely to have blamed themselves for her coldness in the past–for example assuming they did not deserve her love. Thank goodness they are with a sane loving parent who will not desert them. You are mighty!

        • FW stealing your daughter’s throw made by YOUR mother especially bothered me. Glad you got it back.

        • LFTT – I’m so glad you got your eldest daughter’s gift throw from your mother back!!! Why on *earth* would your ex, of all things, steal something that absolutely wasn’t hers and would hurt her own daughter. Of course, *everything* they do is cruel. But to take only 2 or 3 things, with *that* being one of them…. wonder why *it* was so important to steal *first*. #DontTry2UntangleDisordedSkeins
          #EverybodyIsIrreleventCollateralDamageToFWs

          • After reading your follow-up, LFTT, it actually makes a horrible kind of sense. She knew it would have *devastating* impact on your daughter – which was obviously just *fine* with your despicable ex! – I’ll bet her *intent from the beginning* was to cause maximum pain to your daughter, ***that could be blamed on you*** … Wins for your ex all the way around. You would be *far* more distressed about your *daughter* being hurt, than yourself – and, icing on the cake, the ruining of the relationship with your daughter… Because *of course* no one would imagine that the *ex* would *LIE* about such a thing ! 🙄

            I bet it was the most emotionally impactful thing that could be easily stolen, in your entire house.

            I am *so* glad her court experience was so publicly humiliating and damaging to her. I am *so* sorry for your daughter and for you. You handled it all brilliantly, in spite of her!

          • RT,

            I’ve never tried to untangle the reason why she took the throw. What I have to try hard not to untangle is why she displayed it so brazenly in her apartment knowing that it was only a matter of time before our eldest daughter saw it.

            LFTT

            • Probably jealous of your daughter. Selfish entitled people often feel competitive with their kids, particularly when the kids start to approach more adult achievements (like going to university).

    • Excellent observation. Mine took his clothes, his toothbrush and his pillow. Never even asked for a single picture of our three kids.

      “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21

    • FW spent 6 weeks packing everything she wanted and keeping it in dinning room.Mind you this was 2 weeks after DDay. A DDay I never expected. She Was buying new furniture and placing it in the garage. Taking S14 with her to buy shit off Craig’s list. She had planned everything. Her apartment wouldn’t be ready for 6 weeks. That 6 weeks she was still in the house was a painful eternity.
      She has been out of house for 8 months and I went NC immediately. MDA is signed and it will be final on May 10 th which is my birthday.
      Interestingly she tried to say in negotiations that she lost her engagement ring and wedding band at the house and I needed to pay her the value of rings and claim it on my insurance. I told her lawyer that I have a FB post with her wearing them after she left the house and I wasn’t going to commit insurance fraud. She could claim it on her new policy. Told her lawyer she sold rings from first marriage and I would report that fact to her insurance company. They could investigate it. She immediately settled after that.
      At first I could not believe she could be so dishonest then I remembered that she cheated
      and deceived me.
      FWs!!!

  • I agree with what others have said, pity is not meh, it’s a very dangerous gateway to hopium. Don’t pass through that gate! Your FIL is, perhaps unwittingly, playing a role known in the infidelity and narcissist victim community as being a “flying monkey”. It would be to your benefit to tell him, kindly and with love, that you would prefer not to get updates on FW’s love life and doings.
    I got dragged out forever in court in a similar way, and it was indeed just him hiding assets. What finally got my ex to sign the settlement was my lawyer letting him know (informally) that we had evidence of multiple shmoopies, that if he didn’t sign within X days we would be changing our divorce filing from irreconcilable to infidelity, and that, if we did that, the shmoopies would all have to be formally served papers, probably in a public place/fashion, and would be obligated to appear in court. Might be worth exploring your options for something similar.

    The sooner you can cut free of him, the sooner you get your life back. Time is the only thing you can’t make more of, don’t waste it on a FW.

    • I would love to hear from any chumps whose lawyer actually served shmoopie. Did it make a difference in the settlement? Is admission/proof of cheating ever relevant in divorce mediation?

      • I did I named her and filed on grounds of adultery . Not difficult to prove she was pregnant with his baby and had it plastered all over the Internet

        Made no difference to the outcome of divorce though . I did it as I had the grounds to do it otherwise it would take 2 years .

      • I named the AP in my divorce, which was on the grounds of adultery (UK). I didn’t get any more money but it sped things up from a potential 2 year wait to 5 months in total, from my first visit to the solicitor to receiving my decree absolute.

      • It depends a lot on the legal peculiarities of your jurisdiction. Don’t take any lessons from personal stories here unless you know they come from the same state as you – preferably the same country, and better yet have their divorce before the same judge as you. I have a lawyer friend who had a client who was a professional pornographer and had been taking his kids to the set when he couldn’t find child care. Obviously the XW was trying to take custody away. The judge ruled that “pornography is legal in this state” and he wasn’t going to take kids away from their father for pursuing a legal profession. My friend said he would have lost that case in any other county, and probably in front of most other judges in the same county. Details matter.

        • Involuntary Georgian, I whole heartedly agree with what you said here as an attorney. Yes to all of this! This is why you want to hire an experienced family law lawyer with experience in front of the judges and the family law commissioners in the county where your divorce is getting filed. You could be in the South and ‘think’ all judges are conservative but your case is in front of a recently elected judge who may be a maverick.

      • I could have subpoenaed AP to provide testimony concerning diversion of martial assets to her but we chose not to because the central issue in the divorce was the valuation of our assets (he thought they were his assets- 25 year marriage, community property state- everything we owned we built together — the judge set him straight and gave me way more than I was asking for). Young gold-digger schmoopie had the gall to give a sworn declaration to XH’s mental state, said she had only known him “awhile,” and “casual friends” (3 years of fucking him at that point while I thought we were happily married and raising our 4 kids- she was begging him to be his kid #5 and pay for her apartment so she could quit her minimum wage job, get out of her daddy’s basement, and go to grad school at a $75k/year program-sick moocher) and she testified he had some mental problems that her daddy psychiatrist said were bi-polar and ADHD but he wasn’t an alcoholic (she apparently didn’t know he had gone to AA for 20 years and had had a sponsor, been to treatment) and “only” got drunk a few times a month. . . . That declaration helped me get full custody. What a evil bunch of malignant narcissists my XH, the gold-digging homewrecker and XH’s family is. . . Good riddance!

        • Hoisted on their own petards as they say. That’s priceless. I suspect that APs who lack a firm grasp on reality, social norms or optics are par for the course and this could explain why my attorney was lightly chuckling at the idea of subpoenaing shmoops.

          • My Badass attorney called all the APs ( yes plural) and enablers a couple of days before FWs second deposition to let them know they were going to be deposed. Some she spoke with others she left messages on home phones and on wives’ phones. While they weren’t officIally on list to be deposed my lawyer told me it would put the heat on FW to settle.
            It worked that FW’s lawyer presented a settlement that was awesome. I just wish that FW gave second deposition because I wanted some more answers.

            • Some things have a way of coming out in the wash. But by then your reaction will be, “Oh. Hmm. Did the waiter forget the grilled endives or does my French still need work? Garcon!”

              • Ha! Thank you. I have been told that it will all come out but I still am wounded and have a hard time not trying to untangle when I am alone. While my sense of humor is coming back there is an unfillable void in me and a sadness that hovers around me like a cloud. It is better than 10 months ago but still bad. Part of the Trauma is that FWs steal one’s view of the world. If your spouse can do this to you, who can you trust?

              • Cyberhugs, DrChump! The only reason you believed in your spouse to begin with is because you grew up with some good people around you, which taught you that it was usually safe to love and trust. Maybe it will begin to restore your heart to reconnect to some of the good people who helped you to learn trust in the first place. Your ex is a statistical abnormality.

              • A domestic violence researcher (forget which) called the stealing of one’s world view via abuse “perspecticide.”

                One human foible is thinking it can’t happen to us. I think that’s technically called a cognitive fallacy or distortion. It makes us feel immune. When we’re whole and strong, it seems crazy to think we could ever be worn down by scheming, betrayal and coercive control. But I suspect Nabokov– who escaped Stalinism and lost a brother to the Nazis– wrote Bend Sinister as a jab in the ribs for sheltered American civilians to map out how simple it is to break people. He called it the “lever of love”– just take away someone’s loved ones and they’ll crack in half.

                In betrayal, the villain who takes away the loved one is the loved one themselves. It’s diabolical and the effect is predictable but it’s like we’re all living in East German Perel Republic which publicly denies the damage of infidelity. It leaves people feeling ashamed of breaking on top of actually breaking because we’re told the catastrophic thing that happened wasn’t so bad.

                Flogging the analogy to death– it takes time to tear the wall back down and rebuild perspective. We start reading the free press, sneaking contraband schnitzel on the train, consorting with the underground, freeing our minds, pitching molotov cocktails, etc.

      • If it would’ve made any difference in the final outcome, I would’ve been happy to have Married Howorker served. But my attorney said it wasn’t possible; such is the fate of living in a USA No Fault state.

      • I agree with others that it depends on the state. I was in a fault state where deposing side dishes seems to be a sport. My attorney was sort of gleeful about the idea and I got the feeling this was more than just about legal advantage but that it makes for great comedy fodder around the law office. In any case, just the threat that the AP could be subpoenaed was enough to make FW more cooperative. Being deposed obviously carries the risk of perjury charges.

        Apparently even in no fault states APs are deposed to determine affair spending which can affect settlement. But at least in the fault state I was in, settlement can also be impacted by the general ickiness of the betrayal and deception, how squeaky clean the chump is, how long the marriage, etc. My lawyer was chuffed at how much FW lied via text and how easy it was to prove the lies were lies.

        • FW’s lawyer wasn’t good and to boot she had a shitty client who lied multiple times in first deposition. I think FW’s lawyer knew that if it went to trial she would have to recuse herself and risk not getting paid.
          I felt sorry for FW and then a fellow male chump reminded me of how evil she was and told me to “get over it !” He laughed and said I was the first Dr he ever saw who didn’t have to pay any alimony

          • I think post-trauma pity for FWs is just temporary amnesia. I think post-meh pity is more like what you feel for one of those pathetic Dickensian villains like Krook from Bleak House who spontaneously combusts, leaving only his poor cat. Brief flutter of pathos followed by ick.

            Glad you didn’t get slapped with alimony.

  • The next time your FIL calls be sure to tell him that this was only the latest Schmoopie in a long line. Then let him talk. If he knows about the others when did he know?
    They are not your family. They are the children’s. Continue to keep that going as long as they know your rules.
    Has your to soon be ex been involved with the children? If not you should not pity him at all. Wait. You should not pity him at all period. He did this. You didn’t

    • Let Go: LG first I love your name. Yep, she should tell the FIL that STBX will bounce back, he has bounced back after all the other smoopies. Why would this one be any different. Should she pity STBX, NO, for one thing he would use the pity to try to make her think she should have empathy for someone that had none for her.

  • This is why I continue reading every day. Even as a rerun it’s a good reminder of co-dependent thinking. My first thought, (when it ran before) was to think now he would understand how much he screwed up.
    This time I first thought, omg he ruined his life! Then I read the CL, response. Yep, it’s all manipulative behaviors, he never cared about his kids or wife’s losses. Just a piece of trash looking for a soft place to land, until next victim comes along. It’s hard for compassionate people to really believe, the ex just sucks!

    • Well said, HCard. Once you get it in your head and truly understand they are totally and completely void of any capacity for a healthy, normal relationship, then you save your empathy for those who deserve it.
      Here I am, almost a year divorced and I got call last night from my former sister-in-law, looking to talk to cheating bastard ex as he was not answering or returning her calls. She had no clue we were divorced. This makes the second time in the last few months one of his siblings has reached out, not knowing I am no longer a member of their family.
      Just another manipulation on his part….

  • If this weren’t a rerun, I’d have recommended that Forward Onward Upward shut it all down. FW got fired by mediators for lying and hiding assets … and now she’s hired an attorney to file everything but he won’t sign? Take him to court and end that shit. Like YESTERDAY. You really don’t care about his new predicament? Then get free of that ass and truly move on.

    I wonder what happened in reality. I hope she got divorced and is now no contact with FW and the father in law.

  • “His sorrow at fucking up his life is about as deep as his investment in it.”

    Such a pithy, insightful formula to remember. Their current X (insert any displayed emotion, commitment, etc) is about as deep as their original investment in it.

    Current Depth (X) <= All Prior Depth

  • Hey CL, we are all wishing you an easier-than-expected day today, including wicked fast internet. Also, you’ve probably heard this a million times, but it surely bears repeating; as a newish chump, I was in such a blind fog when I got to your site. And then I laughed. Not just a giggle, but a guffaw. I couldn’t believe that in the midst of such pain you were just laying out the truth and I was soon laughing at FW, Schmoopie, and myself, because really, this shit is funny as well as devastating. The healing and movement forward really got started with the daily laughter and commiseration of CN. So thanks. Really, really, really – THANK YOU.

  • Since I divorced my Ex’s, they have died. I felt empathy for my son’s, who tried to maintain a relationship with their father, and even a relationship from a distance with the rebound ex, because my son’s felt a sense of loss. I felt completely free. Never again would the phone ring, or would I get a message from my past. It was done. I also felt a sense of relief when my highly dysfunctional father died. Again, freedom from ugly past drama.

    It is one thing to move on with your life and maintain boundaries. It is another to know that the monsters under the bed won’t suddenly appear again. It does not make you a bad person to enjoy freedom from intimidation and manipulation tactics.

    Your soon to be ex has probably experienced many “losses” when the OW in his life found that they did not “win” Prince Charming. Don’t spend a moment of your precious time feeling sorry for him. He will rebound with another FBuddy soon. It is his nature. Don’t waiver or open your boundaries. Let his parents feel what they feel. Maybe he can manipulate them for a while. Just move on with your life. This will pass.

    • “It does not make you a bad person to enjoy freedom from intimidation and manipulation tactics.” Thank you for this. I relate to this story. I am a senior and spent years feeling guilty about..ohh everything. I overachieved to get recognition from dysfunctional abusive parents and then from emotionally distant cheater. After some recovery from divorce from 30 yr marriage, I turned to my sons to fill this gaping hole. Finally I think it’s filled with self-respect and self care. I am happy to be free from self imposed dictates and should from beyond the graves and careless FW. Hugs to newbies! Sorry and glad you are here!

      • Thrive, I’m kind of the same. I still put so much pressure on and judge myself but it’s way better to recognize it for what it is and put that self care an respect into play now as opposed to always being on duty and having to explain simple actions/ decisions that don’t even need one. I lived with guilt and high responsibility my entire life. While like I said I can still be hard on myself, it’s still better than the feeling of being under someone else’s thumb and demands.

  • Dear ForwardOnwardUpward,
    I have had a very similar story to yours but just a bit further along the track.
    Ex and the ” Soulmate with a heart of gold” (ie. slag who was fucking a married man with 3 kids) he left everything in the dust for and lived interstate with broke up a year and a half later and I felt the pity too. He even rang his kids (they hadn’t seen or heard from him for a year) …he’d made the worst mistake if his life, he’s moving back to be near them, they’re the most important thing in the world to him etc.
    One month later, he moved another whole state further away from them/us and had a new ‘soulmate’ with no explanation or call to the kids, until months later, when he explained that he was better than ever. (Imagine how they felt?!)

    Every single time I have felt sympathy or pity for ex, he ends up “better than ever” and I’m the one doing ALL the parenting, no child support etc.
    Do your best to keep your focus on yourself and kids – he’ll be fine.

  • Yep…this is absolutely a set up to ger her to let him back in. That’s why he refused to sign…he wanted a plan B.

    CL is right…..why is this so devastating but abandoning his kids for a whore wasn’t? Who gives a fuck if he has a sadz and why is your FIL bringing you into it?

    It’s only a matter of time until the subject of you taking him back comes up. Get the divorce done and cut this shit off.

    • “CL is right…..why is this so devastating but abandoning his kids for a whore wasn’t?”

      Such a good point. It wasn’t devastating, nor did he acknowledge/care about how it destroyed his wife and kids. He is the perpetrator, in both cases, so fuck him. Also I agree with CL/CN that pity is possibly the cheater’s most insidious weapon. It is the surest way to a chump’s heart, and cheaters deploy it shamelessly and often. Like lying, I think their instinct to cultivate pity is second nature — so deeply ingrained that it must have roots in childhood. Oops! Getting awfully close to skein untangling there. Back to me…

      Once I caught on (fifteen years later than I should have), boy was I furious to learn how I’d been taken advantage of; and was it ever easy to spot. (That’s one of the weird things after you get away for a little while: you realize how unsophisticated and glaring these tactics and character deficits are, and you cannot believe how long they worked on you. Until they don’t, and it’s almost as if you e developed a sixth sense.

  • dear FOU,

    the man is made up of clothing, a rolex, and a porsche. a luxury gadget of a man. that’s it. don’t attach integrity and caring to that shiny object. a fake, phony, sham of a man. i’m certain he’s not thinking of you in your laundry room, folding your kids clothes into neat piles, thinking about what to make for dinner. you know, taking care of business. yes, there’s lint on your sweatpants but you’re that precious object. a real WOMAN.

    you’re doing all right. soon, you’ll divorce and this will be behind you. be mindful of your in-laws; blood is thicker than water. your FIL is enmeshed with his son.

    i need to clean my stove.

    • “your FIL is enmeshed with his son.”

      Yes, many (though not all) will do anything to save/protect their offspring. Including using their victims to the point of destroying them, if it will save their own.

  • When I heard Porsche it reminds of this joke….. What is the difference between a porcupine and a Porsche? With a Porsche the prick is on the inside. This was not told to insult/degrade or in anyway to imply that porcupines are terrible beings and have the personality of a prick.

    • Major gafaw and spit my tea out!! I’m stealing that joke! One of the very few things my ex took with him were a few pictures of him and his car(s), especially the one of him shirtless, in his Porsche. OMGggggg. “The prick is on the inside”. I’m dead.

    • 🤣🤣🤣how have I never heard that before? That’s hysterical!!!!!……the prick is on the inside, wearing his pricky little”driving shoes”. Thanks for this Maisie!

  • I’ll echo the others’ sentiment that I hope FOU has truly gone Forward and Onward and Upward and is happily divorced now. What struck me most was that she believed that her ex-FIL was on her side. I think best case scenario is that he wanted to be on her good side in order to have access to the grandkids. Worst case scenario is he’s another flying monkey trying to manipulate her.

    To all new and future chumps: their family is NEVER on your side. You cannot trust them, no matter how well the treated you during the marriage. Their first and only allegiance is to their child. I remember my ex-MIL, who had previously loved me, gleefully joined in calling me a “fat cow” and bashing me on ex’s Facebook page. I’ve blocked all his family and the 3 mutual friends who still thought he was just fine.

    • This is SO true! When FW and I split up the first time back in 2008, I went from being “the daughter they never had” to “well, we never liked her anyway. She’s bossy and mouthy”. 30 years of loving in-laws flipped in a second. I never saw it coming.

    • Here to second the hard to accept reality that the narc has already controlled the narrative.

      The inlaw group was over thirty five years strong and one by one they dropped out of my tribe. God knows what x told them.

      They got the dead weight opinionated loudmouth cousin and I’m out.

      So much for them. A few are a loss for me…the rest – not my cuppa anyway.

    • “To all new and future chumps: their family is NEVER on your side. You cannot trust them, no matter how well they treated you during the marriage.”

      Good point, SC. Maybe not the level of unicorn that is a reformed cheater, but from my own experience and reading here, even when a cheater’s family feels like your own – they’re not. Chumps will face many layers of betrayal when they uncover long term infidelity and abuse and are abandoned or finally leave.

      I felt like I had big decisions to make, figuring out who I could trust and stay close to, but it’s pretty simple, really: I only need to ask myself how a given person feels about FW to know whether they’re actually my *friend*. I have ended my relationships with most mutual friends and all of his family.

      The people who care about me and share my same basic values think he’s a POS and want nothing more to do with him. That’s a given. They also find/found ways to let me know they believe in me and are there for me, often subtle or small gestures. They didn’t forsake me when I fell apart and turned into what felt like a different person I thought no one could like, let alone love. I’ve put myself back together, but I feel like a shell of my former self in many ways, so it’s still incredibly touching when friends continue to reach out and extend invitations. More than anything, I feel grateful — and surprised! They actually like and care about me, even now. They saw me at my worst, and they see me now — muted, and occasionally still distracted or triggered, with less to give than before. This is so different from the deceptively superficial connection I had with my ex, who really didn’t love me for me, even though he pretended to feel a deep and intimate bond and loyalty. In the end, his family was the same. I loved them, but they didn’t show me that same love when it mattered and got hard.

  • As long as lying, cheating, stealing, deception, fraud, and manipulation are on the coping methods list, he will never ever be aligned with the right people, places, things, and situations. That group of people includes me and all the other secret sex partners associated with his crime spree (I love that term!) You don’t end up in the right place by doing the wrong thing, ever.

    With that mindset, having identified myself as a person who associated with him by way of coercion and deception, I can much more easily stay detached from him. He is a stranger and a con artist, and in relation to him I am a victim of fraud. If I felt sorry for him I would see it as evidence that I still think of him as the Nice Guy I believed he was. Like Ted Bundy is truly a guy with vast who broke his arm and needs my help.

    I would never keep loaning my car to someone who kept deliberately crashing and trashing it. That I kept loaning myself to a man that kept deliberately trashing me? And was initially willing to entertain continuing to loan myself to him?! I need to focus the compassion on me and my daughter, who was duped and damaged beyond belief as well.

    A cheater is Ted/Theodora Bundy with a cast on their arm. Attractive crazy and very, very hazardous to your health and well-being. It can take a long time for that to sink in and for the appropriate recoil response to develop.

    “Whoever walks with wise men become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” It happened to me.

    Run from fools.

    • TYPO…

      “Like Ted Bundy is truly a guy with CAST who broke his arm and needs my help.”

  • You are the far better person. I laughed out loud when I read his whore left him. I thought “Good! I hope he experiences all the pain he caused his wife.” Then I mused that it would be delicious to hear the same about LTC Fuckface.

    Frankly I hope that cheater is fucking miserable for what he did to you.

  • My ex expected ME to emotionally support HIM while he grieved the loss of his Twu Wuv/Sole Mate after I pointed out that the hot babe he planned to live with was an online catfisher. No thought for ME grieving after discovering the man I believed loved me was planning to dump me for someone he’d never met or spoken with. I did feel sorry for him, and let him stay until he assaulted me and our teen when I discovered he’d also stolen tens of thousands of my personal (non-marital) money and given tens of thousands to the online Schmoopie. He dragged out the divorce, hid assets, and used marital funds to love bomb a succession of “life partners.” He was smug and contemptuous until he had medical problems, and realized it would be more cost-effective to use his wife appliance, a former nurse, instead of paying for care. Cue the pity channel and flying monkeys. I stayed NC. He upped the Pity Me by emailing friends vague stories about nobly pleading guilty to bad things he didn’t do, and unjustly losing his apartment, possessions and freedom. He called to tell me the latter and told me several times not to ride to the rescue with our teen, as if I would. I suspect it’s another con. He’s the star of his own drama. I am no longer playing a supporting role.

    • “He called to tell me the latter and told me several times not to ride to the rescue with our teen, as if I would.”

      What a pathetic ploy. He thinks he can use reverse psychology and get you to do just that. Of course it’s a con.

    • I have this Nigerian prince who emails me regularly who also needs help if anyone is interested…

    • Wow, Goodfriend. What a nightmare. Good for you for finally seeing through the con and extracting yourself and your teen from that abusive situation. Sounds like you’re clear of the danger of getting sucked back in. Hope GAL’s treating you well.

  • No contact, and that goes for any insensitive fool who wants to give you updates on FW as well. Think: what does FIL hope will happen? He hopes you are so bereft that you will take FW back into the defiled marital bed and reunite your slaughtered family. NO CONTACT!

  • Don’t discuss it at all.
    Thank you as always for loving the grandchildren, Bruce. I’d like to stay focused on that positive. I can’t talk about ex’s life after he left us. Healing from abandonment takes a long time, and talking about his current life is of no value to the kids and my healing. Thank you for understanding.

  • My knitting group was very supportive of me three years immediately past D Day and during my divorce. Last Tuesday, somehow the topic of my ex came up. Someone asked if he and his AP were still together. They seemed shocked when my response was “don’t know, don’t care.”

  • “… Why is he [FIL] giving you Schmoopie relationship updates? Why does he think you give one flying burrito about your soon-to-be-ex’s internal state? Does fuckwit care about yours?
    “I’d ask your FIL, why your ex breaking up with his fuckbuddy is “devastating”, but abandoning his children isn’t? Or why losing you doesn’t even merit picking up his shit?
    “Is anyone inquiring about YOUR mental state and making CNN breaking news announcements about it? No? Oh that’s right, Fuckwit is too busy hiding his assets and polishing his Porsche.”

    This is why I come here every day. We Chumps cannot see what’s best for US. We cannot see where WE are being used and/or devalued. We cannot see our codependence. Initially, anyways. Thank you, Chump Lady. And thank God the Chump condition is curable!

  • I certainly hope the OP didn’t fall for this manipulation and take him back. I highly doubt he is as devastated as he purports himself to be. You have to be able to genuinely love in order to feel sorrow at losing somebody. He clearly is only capable of loving his dick, his rolex and his Porsche. The nerve of the SOB for manipulating his estranged wife into taking pity on him because he lost the skank who conspired to ruin her life. The nerve of FIL helping him to do so. She needs to be NC with the whole rotten lot of them.

    I heard the my ex FW “feels very alone.” That’s because he is alone, deserves to be, and is a man-baby who thinks he can avoid consequences that any halfwit would have anticipated as inevitable. I don’t feel sorry for him and I doubt he feels that lonely anyway. You can’t miss people if you can’t attach. He’s just bummed because neither plan A nor B panned out and he doesn’t yet have a plan C. The same applies to the FW in today’s post. They always get a plan C and it eventually fails as well. Trust that their lives (and this applies no matter what sheen they paint on it) are always going to see-saw back and forth from chaotic to dull and empty. It’s part and parcel of who they are.

  • My ex and I split after years of his double life. (Once I found out, that is.) He went off into the sunset–literally–shacking up with a younger, richer (far richer!!) OW in her house on the left coast. Thing is, after a few years her illness became disabling, so she sold the house, and they moved back east to a very expensive nothingburger apartment. She is now in a facility with “memory care”, I think.

    Anyhow, I don’t follow anyone on social media or similar, and whatever I know of his situation is just more water over the dam. Yes, it serves him right, but do I really care? Nope.

    How does that Disney song go? Let it go~

  • If you haven’t already done so, get yourself a divorce attorney who is a fearsome litigator and set a deadline for signing, or you’ll get a trial date. Twenty-seven months is too long.

    We were doing a negotiated agreement and got down to fighting over almost nothing. I emailed my attorney one morning to take the nuclear option as I was angry and stuck. It worked.

    I get feeling sorry for them but close that door. As a friend of mine likes to say, I’m not on that committee.

  • I believe it would be best for you to not discuss anything with the in-laws about their son. Don’t trust them to have your back.
    When that illusion crumbles, and it will, you will be hurt anew.
    You should not even want to wait for the new update on the FW from your FIL and how he’s getting along after the Schmoopie walk off. You have to keep repeating over and over to yourself until it starts to sink in: You don’t care!!!
    You were fired from caring, take your severance pkg and be mighty glad you are out of that doomed business of a life with a broken man.
    Because you just can’t care anymore, he’s not who you thought he was and you can’t unsee that.
    The healing cannot start till the divorce is final, so that’s where your time and energy has to be directed now.
    There will forever more be ‘erratic, dramatic chaos’ going on in his life, saga after saga, it’s who he is at his core!
    He simply lives for that.
    There HAS to be some benefits to a divorce and the one I would concentrate on looking forward to is he will no longer be your problem or drag your family through tunnels of despair again and again. ( whew!)
    There is peace in escaping the circus, even though the pain outweighs anything else right now.
    He’s been hurting you in more ways than his infidelities, I can pretty well guarantee you that. You don’t deserve that and you didn’t cause it.
    Let him go from your mind and life. That’s the objective for you.
    He will absolutely rebound!
    I’m sure he’s got a string of possible replacements for the 38 year old already. Narcissists are survivors, plan B is always in the wings.
    When the only person you care about is yourself, you can and do destroy all around you to secure your own life.
    He has no room for anyone else in his disordered mind. Not Schmoopies, children, you, or anyone else.
    Sure, he’ll search out supply to entertain himself, but that’s completely superficial and replaceable and he will repeat that cycle again and again, hurting countless ppl in his path.
    They are as bonded and deep as the shallowest of mud puddles, but master geniuses at having you believe otherwise. I don’t think it’s possible to fully understand any of it.
    His family, IMO, is not on your side. When push comes to shove, they will only care only about their son’s happiness, no matter how they make it appear to you.
    “Shields up” is very sage advice to you.
    You owe that abuser nothing and the life he has, he chose. Best of luck to you.

  • I think there’s a point when a perp has been entirely deactivated and is no longer a danger to anyone that you can reflect with humanity on whatever trauma or horror turned them into such terrible people– at least enough to wish no one else had to endure the same in childhood.

    I worked in a tough industry that’s chock full of dangerous narcissists so I had a lot of unpleasant encounters. Over time I figured out every person who ever seriously crossed me was a trauma case one way or another. Several are now dead. Once they’re neutralized or dead I can think, for instance, “No child should ever be forced to have sex with a prostitute at the age of 12 by a violent, alcoholic father,” etc. But if that person were to suddenly reanimate, any philosophical sympathy for their sad and sorrowful histories would disappear in a puff of smoke and shields would go back up. I would not pull a single punch.

    If you’re going to have sympathy for the devil, I recommend waiting until they’re comatose or dead. Otherwise pity only strengthens their evil. Even a dying snake can deliver a fatal bite.

    • Agreed! I have known lots of people who have had equally or even more traumatic childhoods, including those with who developed diagnoses like borderline or bipolar or schizophrenia on top of that; but, they grew up and did the hard work involved in healing. They became generally good, decent people who go out of their way to treat people decently because they know first hand how it feels to be abused and betrayed. Fuckwits with bad childhoods differ from them because fuckwits identify with the abuser in order to feel powerful, and feel entitled to use others for their own gain; fuckwits choose not to connect with others enough to feel empathy for them.

  • Love “Freak I Used to Know.” FIUK. Maybe I’ll start referring to x as that, although I appreciate the brevity and lower-case minimization of the simple “x.” I guess “fiuk” could also work. Anyway, thanks, CL. Good luck moving and connecting to the internet!

  • The feeling you might be feeling is resignation to the fact that some people are irreparably broken, that it probably started in his infancy, and that his parents are subconsciously trying to exculpate themselves by asking you to somehow make their son seem less evil. If you show you value their son in any way, then they can tell themselves that they didn’t create an actual monster. Meh can feel like a white flag on a windless day.

  • On the one hand, I can understand the pity you feel for your ex-husband. I have reached that point, but I don’t feel sorry for him enough to let him get anything from me. Still maintain grey rock with him, and it’s been over 4 years. A lot is said about “forgiveness” and what that might mean. For me, the fact that whenever I see him, I think very little, as having reached a point of forgiveness. I am free from the torment. I harbour no ill feelings, no need for revenge. I am detached but observant. If I’m asked about my thoughts on him, I say he is someone who royally screwed up and that’s sad. I think his relationship with schmoopsie may have come to an end or is dying a slow death, but I’m not doing anything to find out because it’s not worth my time. I only suspect because my kids haven’t seen her since New Year’s Day. Whatever. Life continues as is for me.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure that it’s possible that you have reached that level of meh yet. You still have unfinished business with him because the marriage is not yet properly ended. Sometimes, we think that “feeling sorry for them” means that we are over them, but it’s really just another form of attachment where we feel we have achieved a moral highground over them. It helps us feel better about ourselves, but it’s still attachment.

    Focus your efforts on cutting the last of the ties to him. There are legal means to cut short a person stalling a divorce. Where I live, once a divorce settlement is delivered, the other party has 30 days to answer or it becomes the divorce by law. You get to move on, and the fact that he ignored things is his problem. Take note that the affair relationship is finally dead, and move on with your glowing life. Let the in-laws know that you don’t need anymore details.

  • So, here’s a perspective from nearly six years after discovery, and three and a half years post-divorce.

    My youngest graduated college yesterday. The ex—a person she hasn’t laid eyes on in at least three years—weirdly showed up and prowled all around the edges of the outdoor crowd and stage, apparently trying to find the best view, but not of the graduation, or even of her. Nope, looking for the best spot from which to assert centrality. Quite a familiar move from the long-ago days when he would occasionally deign to visit (and inevitably destroy) their youth sport outings. Didn’t miss it!

    He looked like absolute crap. Not my favorite person, but I never would have disagreed that he at least had handsome going for him. No more. He looked ancient and lumpy. He looked somehow as if he might be not the biological dad but the actively and visibly biodegrading dad. That was riveting, in it’s way, because it reminded me of something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. His face was just—wrong.

    Finally, I realized that he looked like Harry Potter in the process of turning into Goyle—an oozy, shifting mass of lumps.

    I didn’t feel sorry for him at all. Daughter figures it’s the alcohol problem (there, she would call me on the euphemism and point out that “alcoholic” would be the most accurate term, and she is right about that) finally catching up with him. That, for sure, plus married to the AP, and raising their infant. Everything he hated all over again, but this time at 60 with a body much less resilient.

    Doubt anyone ever gets such a clear look at karma. Choices were made. Consequences came knocking.

    What I mostly felt was—dare I say it—rather cute despite the cold and blustery conditions on the quad and the wind blown state of my hair. Months from 60 looks wayyyyyy better on me. Feels better, too, I bet.

    In any case, the graduate texted him that he could watch her walk, but should then leave, which he apparently did.

    And so I also—as I have pretty much daily—felt glad that I’ve lived in a way that makes healthy, fun, and satisfying (naturally, sometimes tiring and difficult, too, because such is life) relationships with my adult children possible. We are a family, and his leaving improved everything about that while altering none of its core of shared history, bonding, and love.

    35 years together. I’m meh about meh. Given that span and my approach to the world, seeing him will likely never come without a bit of a jolt.

    But very glad, indeed, to have fought through (with a ton of support here, of course, and with some ongoing legal tiffs, because he did not get a personality transplant) the divorce. It was the right and healthiest thing.

    He very determinedly wrecked his life with assists from plenty of willing co-conspirators. It shows. It’s great not to be any part of that show anymore. That little hint of relief I felt on day one when I knew it was over was the truest thing, after all.

  • My ex and his schmoopie had been together about 4 years and I was finally to the point where I didn’t give a shit except where my child was concerned. They moved in together and within four weeks she realized (took her long enough) that she had taken up with an extremely abusive man and she left. She took her two kids and fled the state, leaving my ex with a very expensive and large rental house that she refused to pay anything towards. My first reaction was actually to be pissed of with her for leaving. I hated her, but she provided some sort of buffer between my ex and our kid (he would be better behaved in front of her and her children, most of the time). If she weren’t there to emotionally regulate him, I was afraid our kid would end up the target of his anger. I had stopped communicating with him almost completely, so he couldn’t really take his rage out on me. I just didn’t respond to his attempts to bait or abuse me. I was also pissed at OW for abandoning my kid without a word, after she’d been around for half his life and had hyped up the new family and siblings he would have at the new house. I didn’t care what she and my ex got up to, but that’s a horrible thing to do to a child.

    Like your “husband”, my ex had alienated so many people and cut ties with the people who actually cared (his family, my family, me) in favor of OW and their shallow, mercenary “friends”. He was now all alone and broke. The woman whom he had staked everything on had walked out on him. We also were not yet divorced due to him dragging his feet and fighting every step of the way (even though he claimed to want a divorce). He called me several times (though he didn’t admit to the breakup until several months later – I sleuthed that out on my own, since my kid was struggling with having been abandoned by his “family”), trying to elicit sympathy. He cried, talked about how alone he was. Raged at me and blamed me for his money problems. Then started doing weird things like inviting me to stay for dinner when I dropped my son with him, or to accompany them on outings (I declined every one of these). All of this was a sad sausage, manipulative ruse because he needed someone to support him. I didn’t feel pity when he was crying on the phone to me. I felt NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. That is “meh”. I could see the manipulation for what it was, and wanted nothing to do with him.

    When he killed himself a few weeks later, I felt guilty, briefly, but in the end accepted that he didn’t WANT help, and that if he ended up alone it was HIS actions that brought that about. He abandoned ME, someone who (however misguidedly) had stuck around through a decade of his abuse (and he foolishly thought the stupid woman he dumped me for was a keeper – I could have told him she would never, but I left them to it). He treated me so badly that he killed every last vestige of feeling I had for him. He cut off his family because he couldn’t fool them about who he was, the way he could a stranger, and he held grudges. He cut off a lot of friends, too, over petty disagreements (usually those friends not making him the center of their lives). It is a tragic situation, but I’m not sad about it, other than for how it affected my child (who in all honesty is doing much better without having to deal with his dad’s depression).

    Don’t pity your ex. He made his bed. It’s called Karma. Don’t let him once again drag you into his mess.

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