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He Runs Me Down to Our Daughter

judging youDear Chump Lady,

I’m 5 years into this shitshow now and mostly am fairly chilled about everything, albeit with the occasional trigger that sets me off for a while. Usually something to do with the injustice of how these cheating dirtbags seemingly have no consequences, but I digress.

I was talking to my eldest daughter tonight who is now 17. She is wise beyond her years. Anyway, she stayed with my ex-husband on Saturday night (my youngest refuses to go and no longer speaks to her father). Apparently he brought up in conversation how amazing the OW is for doing a marathon and in the next breath mentioned how I wasn’t as fit as her and he thought I had put on weight.

My daughter gave him a dressing down on how it doesn’t matter, etc., etc. I am currently on a diet, but I’m not exactly out of shape. I’m nearly 6ft and a size 10-12. The OW is nothing like me.

His jibes don’t bother me but I wondered why someone who is supposedly so happy, feels the need to look over his shoulder and run me down — to our daughter no less? I don’t really notice what he’s doing. He constantly asks her about my business, our lives, etc. I don’t think he wants me back and doesn’t appear to regret it. After a 20 year marriage he doesn’t speak to me, and I haven’t uttered one word to the tramp ever. We don’t interfere in their lives. So why run me down?

It seems to be a common theme. Is he trying to convince himself or everyone else that she’s worth it? (She’s not).Or is it just untangling the skein??

Vaguely Curious

****

Dear Vaguely Curious,

Well, we aren’t inside his putrid little noggin, but my guess is he misses the pick-me dance, so he triangulates with your daughter instead of you. He goads her with the hope you’ll hear about it. Same with the questions about your life.

Of course, it’s unnerving and keeps everyone off balance: you, your daughter, and probably the Other Woman. Why are you so interested in what your ex-wife is doing? 

At the center of all this comparing and contrasting? Lord Dick.

he brought up in conversation how amazing the OW is for doing a marathon and in the next breath mentioned how I wasn’t as fit as her and he thought I had put on weight.

MORE LAPS SCHMOOPIE!

I wonder if OW’s interest in marathon running isn’t some effort to contort her body into pleasing shapes for your ex. (And be found wanting. Drop and give me 5, Schmoops.)

After all, she’s with a man who left two children and a 20-year marriage to brag about her muscle tone. So what happens if she ages or becomes injured? Off to the scrap heap?

And who is Lord Dick having this charming conversation with? Your daughter. You know what happens if you put on weight? You’ll be LEFT. And you’ll deserve it for not being as fit as you could be.

He’s modeling misogyny. Lord Dick is the judge, jury and executioner. Be worthy!

I am currently on a diet,

No defense of your weight and height is necessary. Don’t even go there. The point isn’t OW’s body fat ratio or yours, it’s Lord Dick being judge, jury, and executioner.

The goal posts are always moving with FWs. There’s no good enough when you’re dealing with a creep on a power trip. And that’s what he misses — the power trip.

He’s not relevant to your life any longer. No one gives a shit what he thinks about thigh gaps, or the state of the judiciary. He’s no one to you. You’re an autonomous individual who sets her own worth. He can flap his gums about the OW’s charity 5K or Qanon one world conspiracies or the ham sandwich he ate for lunch. Doesn’t matter. He’s far, far away from your life, so don’t let him into your brain.

Let him stay irrelevant. Untangling his skein keeps him relevant.

Meanwhile, have a talk with your daughter about triangulation, and set a boundary — you don’t want to know what dad says about you. She gets to manage that relationship with him for herself. She too can determine his irrelevance.

I’m sure he won’t like that. Good thing he has Marathon Marge to comfort him.

Ever been to a marathon? There’s a lot of puking at the finish line. It’s super attractive. Hope your ex is there.

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.
  • “ Ever been to a marathon? There’s a lot of puking at the finish line. It’s super attractive. Hope your ex is there.”

    LOL that’s along the lines of what I was thinking. In truth, if OW’s running marathons and HE ISN’T running too, he’s actually gaslighting about his pride in OW. He more than likely feels angry that she spends all her time training and focused on marathons and running… and not on HIM.

    And like I said to FW when he pointed out that his AP “went to Penn, that’s Ivy League”… my response was “YOU didn’t go to an Ivy League school.” He shut up.

    This FW isn’t running marathons. So what’s he bragging about?

    I never defend myself. I put FW on the defensive. And feel free to share that with your kid too, when they are being triangulated. It puts a stop to that crap.

    • So true about training for a marathon – it takes weeks, months if not longer of very long, time consuming runs just about every day. Not to mention strict dietary rules. My marathon running friends while in training have no time for fun things like going out, watching a movie, relaxing but boy do they look good physically.

      • It takes weeks just to taper down from long runs before race day. It’s ridiculously time consuming.

      • I hope OW shit her pants while running!

        People who are driven to ‘super’ exercise are ridiculously over valued for that inclination. If that’s what people like to do, fine- but let’s not give them ‘better than everyone else’ status.

        What a stupid FW – insulting his daughter’s mother ( great for daughter – FW already dumped her mom), now he also needs to further put her down, for not being a marathon runner- who cares!

    • I had to reply to this one

      My ex went to Penn, Wharton, no less, the most competitive undergraduate business school in the country, graduated summa cum laude and was a lying, cheating, cruel person.
      The externals don’t matter if you are rotten on the inside.

      As someone who comes from a family with a lot of emphasis on prestigious academia, several PhD‘s etc I have learned the hard way that one has to be careful not to confuse achievement or even intellect – with character.

      Also some of these institutions breed a lot of arrogance and entitlement.
      I want to be clear I’m not saying everyone who attends “Ivy League” or prestigious institutions is a cheater in their personal lives, but if they have a tendency towards it -those cultures become just another piece of narcissistic feed and continue to breed the entitlement and the born on third base but ran a home run mentality.
      And this plays out in their private lives and decisions
      As someone who’s father, uncles cousins etc. are all STEM PhD’s, I have observed you can be extremely smart, and attend a more modest institution, or the opposite. You can have tremendous abilities with your academics and still have low character.

      And as to the main point of today’s letter – Yeah he’s definitely running her down to make himself feel better about his cheating.
      And to hurt her for no reason, Because that’s what people with no integrity, entitlement and arrogance do doesn’t matter how smart you are.

      • I have an MBA from one of those tippy top institutions. Some of my classmates were the worst people I’ve ever met in my life.

        You are correct that if someone has narcissistic tendencies the environment feeds it, especially since the full time programs are full of mid twenty somethings.

        I’ve been out 15 years now and what’s interesting is that at least among my classmates the biggest jerks haven’t been especially successful.

      • Ditto 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 “ someone who comes from a family with a lot of emphasis on prestigious academia, several PhD‘s etc I have learned the hard way that one has to be careful not to confuse achievement or even intellect – with character.”. I could have also written this. XH got a new perfect score on the LSAT and was top of our law class but ZERO integrity. My dad was a MD JD and a cheater to the core. Mom is a sociopath who in her 80s still lies to everyone about being a neurologist— she never even got her bachelors. Sickening.

        • Mother. , I feel your pain
          I understand that.
          When you have someone who looks so great to the outside world, but you know internally how destructive they are
          Unfortunately, our schools and our society gives a whole give a lot of positive weight to things that are actually dark triad personality traits or mask them
          Competitiveness, relentlessness win at all cost be the top get the top school the top commission etc. no matter what –
          Gives success to a lot of people who have these traits and are just polished enough to use them to hurt. All these covert narcissists

          My point is when someone uses they went to an Ivy League school or some other prestigious external against you, all it means is it at some point in their life they scored well on a test. Or got good grades. In high school. Or sometimes Neither, it just means their parents had influence
          Says absolutely nothing about who they are as a person or their morals and character
          I was fooled by this and married the wrong person. When someone shows you who they are… Listen to them and not their résumé

        • I’ve always told Little Hammer and her teachers that I care about

          1) emotional and mental health
          2) character
          3) academic achievements

          In that order.

          I cleaned houses in college as a psych/lit major and kept cleaning houses for many years after I dropped out.

          I worked for a lot of jerks with very impressive academics credentials. Which I think are meaningless if you’re a jerk.

          • Knowledge and wisdom are two different things. And I’ve noticed that those short on the latter devote a lot of energy into showing off the former.

      • Meanwell, I totally get that. I was only pointing out that FW went to Purdue (I also went to a Big Ten university) but he was trying to intimidate me that I was somehow lesser than his AP because she went to an Ivy League school.

        When I replied to FW that HE didn’t go to an Ivy League school, he shut up. He was trying to intimidate me. But all he ended up doing was realizing that he’s lesser (in his mind) than his AP!

        Similarly, the FW in today’s post was saying that his AP is so fit and runs marathons. But HE doesn’t. So what exactly is he bragging about? When FWs compare themselves to their supposedly “better” APs and realize they themselves aren’t as “great”, it makes them feel bad and shuts them up.

        Personally, I don’t care what school someone went to or didn’t.

        • Michelle. No I understand what you’re saying as well. But I was thinking he was saying it to show that she was superior. In my opinion he is bragging if the AP is somehow better than the spouse they portrayed. Or that he was able to land someone with fancy credentials
          But I understand your point about the hypocrisy. Thank you for clarifying

    • Exactly! FW isn’t bragging about running a marathon WITH her. Who does he think he is getting to weigh the various fitness levels and attractiveness of women while HE sits on his ass? Lord Dick indeed.

    • Funny how they love to glom onto others’ achievements, yet do not have anything comparable about themselves to crow about. But I guess that’s the life of a superficial parasite.

  • It’s so weird. If I never talked about anything about logistics with my ex I would be happy. I don’t care how he feels or what he does on the weekends or his favorite restaurant. But he is always looking for something from me – he just is so desperate for attention that he’ll grab it from anywhere. I try to be super boring.

    • I have run marathons. I started running before FW. He then had to start running too. By the end I listened to a constant stream of tedious advice as to what I was doing wrong and what a brilliant runner he was (he isn’t). It took the joy out of running for me. I began to hate it. After I was dumped for his exgf, I got back into it and remembered what I used to love about it. When I started running, I did so to get time to myself. It was something I did for myself, without FW sticking his oar in, until he did! Perhaps the FW’s Schmoopie is running for the same reason, but, ultimately, who cares. FW is showing his insecurity by trying to get the daughter to join in with criticism of her mother. And it backfired on him. That’s life, FW.

      • Replying to myself, to say that remembering those tedious lectures makes me weary. The droning voice, the endless information, the miles logged in a little notebook written in his ugly spidery handwriting, the bits of paper in the car recording how many miles it was from one point to another, the porridge congealing in the dishwasher. How to kill a joyful activity in several simple steps. Ugh!

        • Mighty, I also hated running, lifting, or nutrition with FW, same reasons. He was a pompous ass and took himself way too seriously, had to know more than me, religiously followed stupid fads, etc. I became depressed (for several reasons, not just this) but part of my reaction was to not do ANY fitness things whatsoever, even though I always did before I was married.

          I try not to be triggered when current boyfriend tells me about deadlifts or protein or whatever, but I’m probably going to have to say something. He’s not like FW, I just really don’t want or need fitness advice from a partner. If I do need help I’ll look online or hire a trainer.

          • I was married to the same pompous ass who took working out too seriously. Before I was married enjoyed going to the gym and working out, reading about nutrition. While I was married I didn’t understand why I began to dislike going to the gym, anything that involved health. I also became depressed. I avoided anything to do with fitness. If fitness was mentioned I had to endure another endless lecture from cheater, I hated listening to cheater ramble on about fitness and his latest work out routine.
            If I were to miss a workout due to illness, cheater would be disappointed and it showed, deep sighs when he’d look at me. I’d ask what was wrong, and he’s say if you’re serious about your work out you’d work out anyway, that’s what he would do…’ then I’d be racked with guilt, while coughing my guts out sick with the flu or Bronchitis.

            His first AP is a triathlete, an attorney and a professor at a local college. I remember my son coming home listing all this woman’s glowing accomplishments. I could tell he was repeating what his father had told him. She entered at least one triathlon a month somewhere in the country which means not only a time consuming workout routine but travel time. She had three children at home, who I can only assume were raising themselves. It’s clear what her priorities are..ld
            Cheater then started to enter triathlons, going to triathlon coaches around the country.
            He and his AP starting dressing in matching work out ensembles, fluorescent cycling outfits, matching caps. All posted on fb. It was adorable.. lol!
            Ex would said he’d never been happier.
            Surprisingly that didn’t last..even with all her accomplishments that he bragged about.

            • YEESSS!!!! I get this same thing only from MY BOSS!!! He is a runner, he runs at least 10 miles every morning before he comes to work. We are the same age. I got into running because our company sponsors several marathons a year. We are also lucky in that we have a workout area at our building. But he started monitoring if I worked out, if I didn’t and was always sooooo disappointed if I wasn’t going downstairs after hours to work out. He would just be ‘oh Been There’ and it just may me revolt and not exercise at all. I knew this was detrimental to my own self, but I just couldn’t take his checking up on me constantly. He would even comment on Monday that he had seen my car here on Saturday, did I come and work out? UGH!! I let this upset my own working out for 2-3 years and I have just got back into running again. But sure enough, he is back to monitoring me again. I just have to blow it off and go on. But when I try to explain it to people, it makes me look like a crazy person.

        • Mighty, I also received such lectures. The last one I received was right before DDay. He was ridiculing me for never asking him for fitness advice. Later it all made sense when I found out FW and the OW were “workout partners” and were caught by the cops having sex in a parking lot behind the gym. They were both ticketed for Indecent Exposure. In my small town, the newspaper has a very popular section where they print all run-ins with the cops with name, age, and what they were ticketed for. DDay for me was reading about it in the newspaper!

          • Holy crap! So you found out when everyone else in your small town did, too? How humiliating for you; I’m so sorry.

            • It was humiliating. It also forced me to not even for a moment consider reconciliation, which was of course what he wanted. When I wouldn’t take him back, he moved in with OW. 18 months later, their reputations have never recovered. I am doing fine and on my way to Tuesday!

      • It’s also, tbh, a little creepy. He’s essentially telling his teenage daughter ‘my new Schmoopie is more fuckable than your mom, be sure to pass that along’. NO teenager wants to hear anything like that from their parent!

      • Yep, I was definitely triggered a bit by that thread in the letter as well because that was one of the reasons old Best Regards gave me for discarding me for the AP: He didn’t like having to train for his 50K trail-running races alone (delivered with the most sad-sack, can-you-believe-I-have-to-suffer-like-this tone ever). I would have laughed in his face if I hadn’t been bawling my eyes out at the time.

        I’m fit (though not thin), and was the whole time he knew me. As a couple we did more adventure sports together than most of our friends, but it was never enough for him. I never ran far enough or hiked fast enough or climbed hard enough or skied well enough…. Like you, I also grew to hate the sports I used to love. I got depressed, put on weight–which naturally justified all of Best Regards’s criticisms of me. For me, knowing what I know now, that’s the calling card of narcissistic abuse: making negative prophecies about your partner that you then bully and gaslight them into fulfilling so that you can feel justified to abuse or discard them on those grounds. The irony there being that the narcissist often feels inferior to their partner in the first place, which is why they search for a weak spot they can exploit to put themselves back on top. For Best Regards, extreme fitness was the lever he pushed on with me. But the story has a happy ending in that, after he left me, I started exercising again on my own terms and rediscovered the joy I used to find in it. It ended up being such an important part of the healing process for me–reclaiming my body and learning to love it again.

        I wish the AP the best of luck in keeping up with Best Regards’s ever-shifting bars for attaining his approval and “love.” I couldn’t pull it off. I think that’s because what Best Regards really wants in a partner, at the end of the day, isn’t a woman–it’s some kind of weird hybrid of a dog that will follow loyally at his heels wherever he goes, a mannequin that he can prop up in front of people he’s trying to impress, and a blow-up doll that’s always ready whenever he’s in the mood for action (and has no desires or needs of its own). Anything more human than that is too threatening to his stunted narcissistic ego.

  • So, dear Curious, you wonder why someone who is supposedly so happy, feels the need to look over his shoulder and run you down — to your daughter no less? That is the million dollar question, I love it! It is now in my repertoire of questions for my sons when they also come up with this king of BS.

    Questions are a great way to get people to think (when they have the wherewithal to do so).

    And, as always, CL’s answer is to the point: Lord Dick.

    Keep chilled!

  • CL is 100% right. He is dying to have the triangulation of worship of himself. I would love to send him “stay hard pills”or penis lengthen pills. With a love note, you just want his new wife to be happy. The problem is their weird narcissist brain would interpret it as, she wants me back. Keep hitting delete to his BS.

  • My ex pulls this stunt constantly. It has been 11 years since the divorce, over 12 since the last D-Day. I really think he still does it 1)to justify his 💩 morals/behavior/personality and 2)keep the wifetress stuck by making her think she rescued him from his sad sack life.

    When you are the target, it’s absolutely no fun, you sometimes actually believe that you really are a terrible person. But the people who really know you, know they are lying through their lying lie-hole.

    But kids are more easily duped, especially teenagers. Get all of you guys counseling, this is professional level untangling. Good luck!!

  • I have a relative who runs marathons. If his wife is seriously training she is running miles every day. If she works and trains she is not home much. I wonder how much fun Lord Dick is having.

  • I actually think teenagers are pretty good at “censoring” uncomfortable topics, perhaps as part of learning how to set healthy boundaries. So give them permission to make more and more of those decisions i.e. “Your dad and I don’t need to know about each other’s personal lives, but we can talk about your wellbeing when you need us to.”

    • “Your dad and I don’t need to know about each other’s personal lives, but we can talk about your wellbeing when you need us to”

      *I*, not ‘we’. If fuckwits cared about their children’s wellbeing, they wouldn’t blow their children’s lives up for strange.

      I don’t think it’s good to let a child assume the sane parent and the fuckwit are on the same page when it comes to the child’s wellbeing. Too often that is definitely not the case.

      • While true, the point of that phrasing is to put the FW into a corner. “We” are of course going to do the adult, sane-parent thing – and when the FW doesn’t do that (because of course he won’t), he looks like that much more of a fuckwit. It’s the splitting-the-baby trick.

        • But isn’t doing that actually putting the *child* into a corner? I never had children with the fuckwit, (thank God), so my opinion probably isn’t worth much, but I think that stance is putting the child into the position of being complicit in a psychological game; you(not specifically *you*) are suggesting a sane parent should basically lie about a fuckwits commitment to his children’s wellbeing in order to gain some sort of advantage over the fuckwit. That seems to me to be seriously fucked up.

          I would think the sane parent’s responsibility is to ensure the child knows the sane parent *is there for them*, and fuckwit has nothing to do with that.

          My apologies if I have misinterpreted what your saying, I just don’t think anyone should be playing any games with children’s perceptions about either parent.

      • Every situation is different, but briefly stating the healthy alternative to triangulation can be useful for a 17 year old.

  • I’m a pretty hard core runner…think late 40’s and still known to win a 1st woman overall at a 5k or 10k. I say that to put what I’m about to say in perspective.

    Yes, running a marathon takes work and kudos to those who do. Having said that, the vast majority who do one are slow and frankly look pretty average. People imagine runners are all kinds of fit but to manage that you really have to put in a lot of fast miles and keep a strict diet. Most “marathoners” are running 4-6 hours and up, are probably walking some of it, and look just like every other mildly flabby person on the street. I don’t mean that to sound shitty …it is what it is. Some running isn’t a magic elixir that causes 15% body fat.

    So OW managing a marathon doesn’t necessarily mean she’s that fit or that great looking.

    To answer the question, yes…this is his attempt to make the trade appear good. He knows he’s a shitbag and he knows OW is a shitbag, which is why he’s trying to inflate her while putting you down.

    • I think that is a common misconception of a lot of sports etc.

      For many years one of my close friends was a very beautiful woman who was just naturally thin. Not skinny, but small and slim.

      I was bigger built and though I was in good shape, and attractive; her body was the envy of me. But, here is the thing she never exercised, it just came natural to her in her younger years. I had to be constantly aware of my food intake and exercise to maintain my weight.

      If folks looked at both of us they might assume she could run circles around me, they would have been wrong. One example of that is at one time we (her, her husband, my fw and me) all decided to start riding bikes for exercise; so we all bought bikes and took off riding, she crapped out first, then her husband, then mine; I was the last one standing, so I had to ride my bike back to their house and get their truck and drive it back to them and pick them and their bikes up.

      You can’t always tell by looking. Yes there were others who could have beat me out, but none of them were on that bike ride.

      • I had one friend tell me she couldn’t believe how fast I was given how big my breasts are. Now I’m not exactly huge…think 34C….but compared to the women I’m next to that’s pretty big. LOL.

      • So true, Susie! I ride upwards to 60 miles a week and that menopause apron ain’t going anywhere… 🤣

        • Haha menopause apron! (Stealing that.) I’m reminded of my long-ago youth when my skinny-fat sister used to make fun of me for my weight (I was never obese but have always had a belly). She couldn’t walk a couple of blocks without stopping to rest; I would happily ride my bike for miles and miles. You can’t always measure fitness by outward appearances.

      • Susielee, that’s 100% true. I’m naturally very thin but this beautiful, fit woman with Superman socks, who anyone would have labeled “very overweight,” kicked my butt in the only marathon I managed to run. I could not catch her, I just watched her socks for miles until I couldn’t see her anymore… Lol. She WAS super.

    • You are correct. I’ve run a marathon and a half marathon. I’ve always been someone who works out and I did both for the accomplishment and experience of it. The first was for charity. I enjoyed it. I might do a triathlon, but idk.

      Either way, I actually had more body fat during the training of both than I normally carry around. My normal workout consists of weights and some cardio, but I ran so much during the training, and my diet was different I just carried more fat. I shed it once I went back to my normal routine, but I certainly wouldn’t say I looked my “fittest” during that time. It was also just really hard on my body. Happy I did it, but it comes with a lot of injuries, aches, and pains.

    • Kim, you are so right! OW is toned but not especially attractive internally or externally! And isn’t a hardcore runner (in fact pulled a muscle prior to the race). I don’t feel intimidated by her in any aspect of my life. Which I think is partly what bothers them. And also obviously trying to come up with anything to justify their actions. I used to have quite a high world ranking in my chosen sport, so I’m not bothered by her attempt to make me look inferior. As a lot of people have said, you can have an ivy league education, or be Tiger Woods, it doesn’t make you a decent person. Which is the most concerning thing. What I find abhorrent is running me down to our daughter. You would think some things would be off limits especially when I’m the one doing the day to day stuff. And also it sends the message to her that you aren’t worthy of his love/attention unless you are what he perceives to be a winner in some way. Luckily she is very mature and doesn’t buy into it. And the laughable thing? He isn’t particularly successful professionally and does nothing of note outside of work. Just sponges off whatever everyone else is doing. He has no life. He once said to our eldest, as long as he gets to walk her down the aisle he’s happy. That sums up their thinking right there! Lord Dick indeed😂

  • Surely he has better things to do than conversing with his daughter that way. It’s so very disordered. Thankfully she’s old enough to grasp what is going on and may be close to being able to end the visits.

    And yes, I’d explain what triangulation is and that it’s possible to cut this off. My standard line with people is, “I don’t need to discuss/hear this.” I saw a local coach during separation who drew a diagram on a whiteboard to explain that to me, and I was floored. Why didn’t I learn that until my late 50’s?

  • The most important point here {my opinion only) is to talk to the daughter about triangulation. That’s one of the most important lessons people can learn–how some people have a relationship with Person A by running down Person B, essentially either expecting Person A to join in or figuring to poison Person A against Person B. And that triangle comes with a side order of condescension, superiority and control.

    Gossip is a form of triangulation. Parental alienation is a particularly heinous form. Parents sending messages, literal and figurative, through their kids is triangulation. The interfering in-law or neighbor–that’s a triangle. The pick-me dance, whether performed by HS kids dating someone with no boundaries or a chump chasing a cheater, is triangulation.

    My first therapist made this principle a cornerstone of healthy life–do not deal with anyone through a third party. If you have something to say to someone, tell him directly. And never, ever involve kids.

    • If I could give your comment a thousand likes, I would. Either one is a lover of truth, or one lies. Keeps promises or breaks them. And the like….And the nature of communication is such that messages via a third party undergo interpretational alterations at every stage, even with the best of intentions. So “If you have something to say to someone, tell him directly”‘; don’t lend any credence or approval to messages that come via a third party is one corrollary. Now I’m sure there’s something wrong with my spelling but I think u get the idea!

    • Yes, my ex’s family loved talking about each other and about other people. That part of their family always bothered me, but I never spoke up. So no surprise that when we separated, the family dug right in to begin the triangulation. Not long ago, I was going through yearly planners and found one from the year we separated. Some weeks after he abandoned, I wrote, “The X’s are in charge. The marriage is over.”

      At one point during separation, I toyed with the idea of demanding that we completely disengage with his family if we reconciled. I was just sick over what they were doing. How could I ever be around them again when they had torn apart our marriage from courtship on and had even dug into our sex life? Then I decided though that my ex would never do that and that they had ganged up on me to such an extent on behalf of my ex that it was useless to even ask.

      Ah, the mercy of divorce.

      • I’ve been listening to a really great podcast called “Love and Abuse”, and it’s really opened my eyes to many things, but also allowed me to let go of a lot. It talks about how if you’re trying to change so many things about someone, you’re really just not compatible and it’s best to just walk away. If you can’t love someone exactly as they are without them having to change anything you don’t love them, you’re trying to control them. It made a lot of sense to me. It’s why we all get in to so many power struggles in our relationships where we’re just so unhappy.

        It’s also why once there’s cheating it’s just never going to work! Why are we wasting time trying to change and control someone who doesn’t want to be a good person?! We don’t love them. We love who we thought they were. I wish I would’ve found it earlier, it would’ve saved me so much time, but so would this blog.

  • My pop ad with this post is hilarious “How to get a bikini bod with fasting”. As one of my friends who is short, and not svelte, and happily married says “You want a bikini body, wear a bikini !”. She does wear one and doesn’t give a hoot what people think of her.

    I saw an anorexic woman running with her musher biking alongside, barking orders. I regret not yelling “Run away from HIM !”.

    • Here’s an excerpt from an abstract about a study on body fat and mortality in the elderly, just to put some of this obsession with thinness in perspective:

      We conducted a systematic review investigating body fat distribution in older adults and its association with morbidity and mortality…studies using BMI found that the optimal BMI range for the lowest mortality in the elderly was overweight (25 kg/m2 ≤ BMI < 30 kg/m2) or mildly obese (30 kg/m2 ≤ BMI < 35 kg/m2). Our findings suggest that the current clinical guidelines, recommending that overweight and obesity are major risk factors for increased morbidity and mortality are not applicable to this population.

      • My cousin was a physical therapist with a large elderly clientele. I say was because he passed away fairly young.

        He told me elderly with a little extra weight tend to do better because they’re not as prone to falling and breaking things. The thin people tend to be more frail.

        This was especially true with women.

    • NCFZ, I love your friend’s attitude, and I strive to embody the same (I too am short and not svelte). I’ve been divorced from my ex-husband for over a dozen years, and it’s taken that long to divorce myself of the body image issues he inflicted upon me.
      I believe everyone should live the way they want, and out loud. If you want to run marathons, work out, be fit? Do that! If you want to eat pie for breakfast and not worry about the extra pounds, do that!
      As human beings on this earth, we all have intrinsic worth, and a right to love and belonging. Internalizing that knowledge has been my life’s work.

      • Walkaway Woman,

        I forgot to mention that this short friend goes for runs, for cardio health. But no marathons.

  • Neither of my adult daughters talk about their interactions with their father, and for that, I am thankful. They both acknowledge he is dead to me and respect my NC boundary. And that includes not being given any information about him.
    I think, when our children reach an appropriate age, it is important to have a conversation with them and detail your boundaries where the FW is concerned. That also means resisting the temptation to ask them questions about your ex. The same goes for friends. Going full-on NC is so vital to recovery and healing. And do you truly want to know what is going on in their life? I’ll guarantee you it is only more of the same. You’ve already done your time in hell. There is no good reason to revisit it.

    • A FW is going to FW. All this idiot behaviors that were directed at me were redirected at my daughter when I went no contact. Luckily she is no chump. But she needed guidance as she valued a relationship with him even if he was a FW. She wanted her family on that side. I had to counsel her, she saw our former MC for a session and then found her own. She shared with me the challenges of that relationship. It was infuriating how he treated her and a wake up call for me. It had nothing to do with my foibles as a human and everything to do with his. I provided a lot of insight for her and it was gratifying to know she didn’t have to deal with him alone. He has grasped the thin ice he is on and adjusted his behavior as much as he can. So he looked for the next victim and see one in the youngest. Same story but now there are two people to talk with.
      Also the new wife has been pushed off the pedestal because that’s how he rolls.
      My point is just that NC is awesome but sometimes being the same parent means you have to support your kids in ways you might rather skip. I’m glad I did -and am doing -what I did but never hearing anything about their life would have cut them off from additional support.

      • Yes that’s how I feel. Eldest can see him for what he is but values her relationship with him (such as it is). Youngest doesn’t want to know at this stage. I don’t want to know what goes on either, but I feel if I say I don’t want to hear any conversation that goes on, if he does something she’s concerned about, she then has no one to turn to about it. So I think we have to occasionally suck that up unfortunately.

  • For yourself: IGNORE. You dgaf what his opinion is of you. He doesn’t get a say.

    For your daughter: 17 is old enough for a frank discussion. I’d let her know 1) you appreciate her defending you to him, but she doesn’t need to take that burden on herself. You don’t care what he thinks. Teach her the “cool. wow. bummer” response, 2) you don’t want to hear what he says about you because it’s not important to you, and 3) you are always there to listen to her about how this sort of thing makes HER feel.

    I agree with CL. Your ex misses the pick me dance. He wants you to care about his opinion so he knows he’s still central to your life. These people can’t stand to be unimportant or irrelevant. He also wants to reassure himself/your daughter that he made the right decision because look how awful his ex wife is, I mean, who could blame him for choosing a marathoner over his very normally-proportioned wife? His new wife is probably trying to keep him interested by maintaining a certain physique. That just means she’s insecure even though she “won”. My ex loved to weigh in on my body and what he thought of it. I also watched OW get skinnier and skinnier the longer she was with him, and I know it was because that’s what HE wanted her to be. She had at one point said that she was more comfortable with a little extra weight. But he liked his women “tiny” (she was not naturally tiny). Do make sure that any diet/exercise you are doing is for YOU, and not to prove some kind of point. For myself, it’s a relief to do what makes ME happy with no concern for what anyone else thinks.

    • Yeah if I diet it’s for me, not him or anyone else. The OW still isn’t the wife, after five years they still live in separate houses 50m apart, because he doesn’t like her daughter apparently. I almost feel sorry for her….

  • Marathoners crap themselves, too. I know some people think marathons are amazing and kudos to them. Not my cup of tea as there is nothing except sleeping that I could enjoy doing for four or more hours straight. I was running 10k races when I was pick me dancing and didn’t enjoy it one bit. All this to say that just because OW or anyone else likes running marathons does not have any bearing on my hobbies as mine does not on theirs. OW is just some strange person in the world I don’t give a damn about. I couldn’t care less about random people who run marathons. Why did FW bring it up? Exactly as CL said: he feels entitled to draw comparisons and judge. And as FW’s opinion of everything in the world is no more or less valid or anything to care about as any other stranger on the street, it and he don’t matter. He THINKS he matters and is the center of the universe. He expects that when he says such things, it stirs the daughter to be critical of her mother, the OW to be jealous that he’s talking about the ex, and he wants the chump to react as well. And here he is the all powerful center of it all.

    As CL said, if daughter comes reporting stuff like this, you just say, “I don’t want to hear and don’t care about stuff he says. Your conversations are between you two. Now what should we make for dinner tonight?” FW and OW are just some rando people. I mean, if my child came home from his friend’s house and said, “My friend’s dad said that his wife runs marathons and that when you dropped me off, you looked like you gained weight since he saw you last,” I would think the guy was more than a bit weird. Why does he have any right to comment on your weight to your child? Why is he comparing you to his marathon running wife? Weird, right? I mean, dude is a weird asshole. But this is just as weird. FW feels like he is entitled to share his unasked for opinion about someone he no longer has a relationship with. The only people who say stuff like that are trying to stir the pot and get attention. It makes no sense but that is why they are FWs.

    If some guy I dated in college saw me and said he is married to someone who runs marathons and I have gained weight, I would also think he’s weird. I mean, even someone you once had a relationship with who is not a FW would be odd for saying such a thing. I mean, what does he care?

    FW believes he is entitled to have his opinions and dump them on the daughter. Daughter is getting old enough to manage his crap herself and enforce her own boundaries. I hate to see kids get exposed to the toxicity but such is our pain for having bred with a FW.

  • He’s just being an asshole because he’s an asshole. I’ll bet he had criticisms about your body during your marriage too and now it’s just habit to try to tear you down. My ex was like that. Trust that they are picking at the new woman too. It’s who they are. They aren’t going to change.

  • Just a side thought. Training for a marathon can explain a lot of absence – from weekend family events, from homework, meals, etc. Maybe OW is leaving the parenting to FW.

      • Too funny that’s what I was thinking too! Depending on OW’s “pace” she could be pretty “busy”, especially on her 20 mile days….. ewww….

  • Great dad there. Modelling the men judge your looks/fitness. So in a way he’s telling his daughter she is unworthy of being respected unless she is forever young, pretty, fit, attentive, obedient,….yada yada entitled FW mumbling BS. And by disparaging the mother he disparages the child. Unless your parent was the most despicable psychopathic mess of a human being you always see a bit of them in yourself and even then God love you…
    Also sounds like he’s trying to rationalize trading down. Gotta make the old model seem worse than the new one.

    • This. Maybe he meant it to get back to the OP, but I’m thinking it was more of a comment about the daughter’s body and a not so subtle message about how women need to shape their bodies to please men. Yuck. Gross.

      • I think it’s justification for a trade down. Without sounding vain, she is in every way except perhaps body tone and tolerance for bullshit😂. Our daughter is naturally very slim and tall so I doubt he’s getting at her, just showing what a misogynistic pig he is!

  • When you have the conversation with your daughter, suggest that the next time asswipe brings you up in conversation that she ask why is he so interested or obsessed with Mom because you know Dad, Mom never mentions or asks about you. That’ll piss him off and possibly shut him up.

  • Stop thinking about it. Lord Dick is just someone you used to know and really of no importance in your great current life. Using your daughter like this is creepy. You may want to talk to your daughter about putting a boundary on that type of conversation.
    More than likely the glitter is coming off on Ms. Sparkle Twat so he needs her to do more training and become a better pick me dancer. How you look and what you do should really be of no importance to him because he got his Schmoopie prize.
    Put Lord Dick out of your mind and tell your daughter their conversations are between them. If she doesn’t want to hear about your from him, she needs to know how to shut that shit down. Carry on with your great life and be as uninteresting as possible to him. You have better things to do. You certainly cannot be compared to Schmoopie because you have a moral compass and are a better person. If you are feeling a little down on yourself, practice some self care. When I get stressed with divorce business or actually hear from FW, I treat myself to something nice like a pedicure or a long hot bath with a wonderfully scented bath bomb. Most of all don’t think about anything said by a FW.

  • I’m concerned about the body image messages he’s passing to your daughter! Triangulation is a critical lesson and so is proper body image.

    The author states she is 6 feet and wears a size 10-12. Im 5’8” and have maintained my same weight for over 40 years. I exercise and eat well. I am often described as very thin and yet my clothes range from size 6 to size 14. I don’t let anyones comments about my body good or bad register. I know I’m at a healthy weight for me and don’t care what anyone else thinks. I add this info only to show that clothing size and body comments are just stupid and mean nothing.

    Eating properly is the key to a long healthy life and I encourage any person, especially parents, to lose the word “diet” from their vocabulary. Body image is so out of wack with young adults and is being passed to those younger and younger.

    All that considered, to let a cheating, lying asshole into your brain and pass judgement about anything needs to stop with you! Especially your looks. It’s more
    than “who the fuck does he think he is”! It’s “why the fuck do I care”?

    So, please, when you sit down with your daughter to have the discussion about verbal boundaries please extend that to any message she may pick up and apply to her and her body.

  • Ihave read that there is a lot of pooping of the pants in a marathon too. I mean no biggie it is part of life; but not something I would want to participate in. Just for me, it is great for others if they enjoy it; and I do contribute money to my favorite causes via some marathons.

    My think is walking and moderate weightlifting. In my youth I did a lot more exercise, mostly running and stairs. By age 50 my knees were shot.

  • (Music by Olivia Newton-John, lyrics by VG’s fuckwit ex)
    Tune at: https://youtu.be/vWz9VN40nCA

    I’m bragging bout the things that my schmoopie does
    Crowing about her dress size
    I’ve got her running marathons
    Cuz I like her lean

    I hear your mother isn’t in perfect shape
    Never met my lofty standards
    It’s just the thing to talk about
    With my girl who is seventeen

    Let’s get meddlesome, meddlesome
    I wanna get meddlesome
    Let’s get into meddlesome
    Let me be a toxic cock, a toxic cock
    Let me be a toxic cock

  • There’s something out of order about a parent discussing with their child (outside of a brief passing statement) what looks attractive to them — especially in any context of whether that person is attractive enough for said parent to find the person sexually desirable. Even as an implication, it’s out of order to lean into that sort of discussion this way.

    As I read this guy’s words, all I can hear is a resounding “you have to be sexually attractive to your dad, or nobody will ever really want you, and your mom is a clear example of that.” YEESH. I need a shower.

    As far as running marathons, just like with everything else, a broad and diverse cross section of people do this. Some of the slender ones have beaten their bodies into massive disrepair, even if they do look like barbiedoll shapes. Some of the not-slender ones have never been slender. Some have cardiac problems, some don’t. Some have diabetes, some don’t. Some will use mobility devices later in life, some won’t. Some already use them, some don’t. Some are jerks, some aren’t. Just like some people who weigh 100 pounds are at terrible risk of death. Others are quite healthy. Some of them are 6 feet tall. Some of them are 3 feet tall. Etc. Ad Infinitum.

    Point being, perseverating on some social standard for how anyone “should” look in order to look “good” or “should” weigh in order to be “healthy” is childish, unrealistic, short-sighted, and absurd. If you know someone who looks at people that way, my vote is, shake your head, sigh, and move on to mature adult reality land, where we see good hearted people as valid and worthy of goodness in whatever body they brought with them and treat them like they are important and we want them to enjoy living.

    • I’ve always been in good physical shape and have worked out. People have always commented on my good looks, but did that mean my life was or is amazing? No. I’ve battled eating disorders and body image issues my whole life. I’m very fortunate to be in good physical health in every way, but my mental health, not so much. My eating disorder was in remission for decades, and I relapsed when things got really bad in my marriage. My ex’s porn addiction created a while new issue of Body Dysmorphic disorder, or this could just be my whole life people focusing on my looks. It could also be having an incredibly abusive misogynistic psychopathic narcissistic (diagnosed) father who talked about women just like this asshole does. It could be all of the above. I remember hearing my father talk about women and how they should be attractive constantly, how gross fat people were (his words), and him bragging about his beautiful genius daughters and the wonder of his DNA, on and on. He was awful. My mom was constantly on a diet, and my family is constantly focused on looks.

      The toxic messaging I received was all around me. I internalized misogyny my entire life, and it’s only been about 7 years that I’ve really started to recognize, and fight against it. The metoo movement was a huge eye opener. I thought I was always a feminist, and in many ways I was, but I didn’t realize how much internalized misogyny affected me. Luckily my mother, sisters, and I finally broke the cycle and no longer do that, but it took its toll.

      It’s no wonder I married a man who was a cheater. I thought he was a really good guy because he wasn’t hitting on every woman he knew or ogling women, but the comments were there. He’s changed a bit too, but not enough. He’s still cheated. My change was uncomfortable for him.

      I’m back in recovery now, my BDD is being treated, and I’m probably the healthiest I’ve ever been. People still compliment me a lot on my looks, and I say thank you, but I do tell people close to me that it’s not helpful to me. I’m working on ways to handle it. I know people are just trying to be kind, but it’s an issue. So, progress. All this to say, just because people are beautiful doesn’t mean they’re healthy or happy. My body was healthy, but my mind was not. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been now, but I still struggle. I think I always will.

      My beauty didn’t save my marriage or keep my husband faithful. It didn’t keep me from picking the wrong man, or being in an unhealthy relationship. It didn’t make me happy. It’s best to focus on your mental health. Beauty can attract a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean they’re all good things.

  • i too am confused why my X is so hateful about me, but have come to the conclusion that he’s hateful about everyone. also, unhappy. probably never been happy. cannot be happy. lacking capacity for happy. but he insists he is happy living on his own. he does not appear happy. not my business.

    my daughter has expressed a concern about my X’s anger and how she’s listened to too many true crime podcasts and angry X’s show up at their wives houses, drunk, and get aggressive, so she doesn’t think he should know my next address.

    currently, my X is obsessed about where i’m moving–i just sold the family home. it’s none of his business where i live. the kids are living with me so it’s inevitable that he will find out, but i’m not telling him. the kids aren’t saying (they’re adults and know better).

    the beat goes on and on and on and on and on…

    hey, i had to see my X last week re: sale of house and i felt indifferent. INDIFFERENT. god, what a difference a year makes. and thank god for therapy.

  • Hearing that kind of fatphobic messaging from a parent is extremely damaging to a child. Now she will grow up thinking that she is less worthy of love and less worthwhile as a person if she is not appropriately thin.

    My dad made fatphobic comments to my mom growing up and I internalized them, believed I deserved any abuse I received because I was “too fat,” and developed disordered eating habits.

    I hope this daughter follows the path of the other one and drops contact with the monster.

  • Sick families talk about people, not to them.

    An affair is not a healthy relationship. They spend a LOT of time talking ABOUT the chump. Conspiracy is NOT intimacy.
    To expect healthy communication skills from cheaters is like asking for five bucks from someone when I know they don’t have it.

    In my world, and what I have taught my daughter. Is that we talk TO people, not ABOUT them. What I found out after DDay was that during probably my entire MIRAGE (I did not have a marriage), Traitor X was busy talking about me behind my back, character assassinating me, lying about me, to anyone who would listen, including our daughter.

    It goes completely over his head that lying and cheating and character assassination reflects on HIM. It makes HIM untrustworthy. It compromises HIS respectability. It reveals HIS lack of character and integrity.

    This is not lost on my daughter, which is what is important.

    It IS lost on the parties involved in an illicit relationship, which is karma in and of itself, because without TRUST LOVE DOES NOT EXIST.

    I learned a long time ago to steer clear of people who hurt others and gossip about them and character assassinate them. I didn’t know that Traitor X was doing that, and when I found out I hit the launch codes.

    Cheating accomplices aren’t bright enough to connect those dots, and are going to get everything you got, and aren’t going to get anything you didn’t.

    • Hmmmm…..let’s see….I want a new boyfriend so I’ll take the guy who soul rapes his wife, fucks over and deceives his family, lies and breaks his promises and talks about people behind their backs. Yeah, that’s it! A Zen master in the art of love!

      NOT.

      Adultery is one of the most painful things that can happen to you. And you’ve also been given the opportunity to go sit in the best seats in the ballpark. Because YOLO, I want to congregate with the kindest people who will have me and continue to learn from them.

      As my therapist said, “Kind people are direct, straightforward, and up front about what is going on with them.”

      There’s a SuperFund site of disordered thinking that goes along with being snared in any position of an illicit relationship, and I want out out out of it and I don’t anything to do with anyone who sanctions, minimizes, or dismisses it.

      • My objective is to be the TRUSTWORTHY parent, which feels more doable to me as opposed to “being the sane parent.” I question my sanity often in the hellscape that is post DDay. I don’t know about my sanity but I do know what trustworthy behavior is.

        Little Hammer (my daughter) trusts me. She does not trust Traitor X. That is completely appropriate based on his conduct. She will never trust him as long as he is with the OW, and will never trust the OW. That is also appropriate.

        Love cannot live where there is no trust. I forget who said that but it’s true.

        I am NOT going to teach Little Hammer to trust people she shouldn’t.

        That’s one guaranteed way to end up in a bad relationship. Or worse.

        • Love. The word, the feeling, the concept. So misused and therefore so overrated. We get all knotted up and jump through flaming hoops because of it. We agonize around here over who gets “love”, who says “I love you” and to whom.

          Trust. Give me trust. Give me being trusted over being “loved” any day of the week. Give me someone I can trust, any day of the week. Inside that word, inside that concept, inside that feeling, is love. I want to say “I trust you” to someone worthy of it.

          Today make me worthy of trust, and bring me together with those worthy of trust. Shield me and remove from my life those who would do me and mine harm and are untrustworthy.

          It turns out that what I really want is to be in the company of people I can trust.

          Leave the cheaters to enjoy the fools gold that they see in each other. What they believe doesn’t change reality any more than what I believed changed reality.

          • I’ll take kindness and honesty over “passion” any day. If I ever have another relationship, I want it to feel like a cozy rumpled sweater or a cup of tea – warm, comforting, safe.

            Fireworks and grand gestures are so overrated. I thought my life with FW was exciting and passionate. Turns out it was just drama and tension, not excitement. It was incompatibility, not passion. In the end, it was just exhausting and soul-crushing.

    • “Conspiracy is NOT intimacy”. I love that. FW and OW spent a lot of time “bonding” via complaining about their respective spouses. That does not foster intimacy, but in their twisted minds it brought them “close”. It allowed him to be her knight in shining armor, rescuing her from her terrible life, and she was able to feel like she was also “saving” him.

      It also shows that they were total hypocrites, because they were doing worse things to their spouses than their spouses did to them. OW had the gall to complain about the fact that her stbx husband moved another woman into her house within a few weeks of her leaving him. But she’d been cheating with MY husband while he and I were still under the same roof. It never occurred to her that she was as bad or worse than her stbx.

    • “…and aren’t going to get anything you didn’t.” This reminds me of hearing a therapist discussing how betrayed partners often despair that their cheating partners are truly “in love” and having deep emotional connections with their APs. I remember him saying “cheating partners don’t become suddenly emotionally mature with an AP – if they weren’t emotionally capable with you, they don’t magically become emotionally capable with an AP.” It was weirdly reassuring.

  • XH took up running marathons. He spent tons of time running – it’s about the only thing he did aside from going to work. He ran a full marathon every month in the six months before he left me.

    The co-worker OW actually did take up running half marathons when he left me for her (just like she took up Capoeira when she met her first cheating husband). I had just had ACL reconstruction surgery and had just gotten out of a leg brace days before he left – knee problems had plagued me since I was a kid. Pretty easy for her to pick me dance.

    They’ve since gotten married. I think her last run was the day after they got married. They’ve since had a kid. I doubt he runs very much these days either.

    As for me, I did run a half marathon, almost 2 years to the day after ACL reconstruction surgery. I wasn’t pick-me-dancing (we have no children and have had no contact since divorce). It was the first time in my life that I actually had a knee that would let me run. And by the way, most of the runners were not athletes or even athletic (myself included).

  • My concern is what message is FW sending to his daughter about body image.. if mom isn’t “good enough” then what about daughter? Shame on him.

    • He’s already sent a container ship of effed up messages by cheating.

      He’s definitely consistent.

  • Lord Dick! I’m dying laughing!

    I think four things are at play here.

    1) As CL says, triangulation. He’s stirring the pot to get you to engage in petty disputes with him. It’s a sign things are not well in Twuwuvland. He wants to pit you against Schmoopie to spice up their relationshit. But since you’ve demonstrated that you don’t give a shit what he thinks of you, he’s going after your daughter as well, thinking he can poke the mama bear. Don’t fall for it. Ignore. Just make sure she knows she doesn’t have to take any shit from him and that if it continues, she has every right to walk away from him. She does not need to defend herself against his body-shaming by telling him she’s on a diet. The appropriate response to his jibes is for her to tell him to have great big steaming cup of STFU.

    2) He’s an emotional abuser. He can now only abuse his ex by proxy, and he’s abusing his daughter directly with put-downs. He misses having a chump to kick around. Schmoopies aren’t as fun to abuse because they aren’t innocents. They’re crap people and not ashamed of it. Bullying some shitheel with no shame isn’t very satisfying. Chumps are people you can bully because we have tender feelings that APs do not.

    3) He’s still looking for validating excuses for having blown up his family. Stupid stuff like ex-wives and daughters who aren’t model thin will have to do since he has nothing of substance. He has to content himself with knowing his whore has a great body because there isn’t anything else to recommend her as a reason for leaving a marriage and family.
    The guy is desperate to believe he made the right choice.

    4) As CL says, misogyny. Body-shaming men are always misogynists. They see women as objects for sexual use, as ornaments, and as targets for abuse. It’s vital to insure your daughters do not internalize his sick ideas and feel bad about themselves, because that will lead to them becoming easy targets for abusive boyfriends.

    • That’s the weird thing, our daughter is model thin. I used to model as a teen. Certainly can’t now but the OW is the complete opposite, short and muscly. I think he’s still trying to justify why he left because he’s also saying I never did anything but since we divorced I have started another business in the same industry we were in when we were married. So how could I do that if I never did anything before? Whatever. I wonder if he believes his own BS.

  • Also in Velvet Hammer infidelity recovery news……this just in:

    On my former wedding anniversary this fall, I will be marrying myself.

    I will wear a beautiful DRESS. Maybe my former wedding dress because I designed it and I still love it. I made it in two pieces so the top or the skirt could be worn as separates for evening wear. Hate Traitor X, love the dress. That dress is as gorgeous today as it was in 1997 and my plans are to reclaim it if I can. Or something from my collection of antique furisode and uchikake. Traitor X raged at me for loving and collecting textiles and clothing, a capital offense which deserves the death penalty. Or at least being cheated on.

    I will have a CAKE. Little Hammer, also a gifted artist, and very talented sculptor, is going to make a cake topper out of porcelain clay featuring her and me, on our own, a complete and intact family, standing triumphantly, strong and free, on top of the cake.

    I will have a RING. I bought a big London blue topaz ring after DDay. Blue for true blue. As in, I will never hurt or lie to or abandon me, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and will forsake anybody who intentionally harms me.

    So, yes, I will have VOWS and I will read them to myself. And I will include Little Hammer in my ceremony and make those vows to her as well.

    Let the wedding plans begin.

    (Speaking of vows, it isn’t OK to hurt someone just because you didn’t make vows to them……)

    • I also love my wedding dress, and still hope to do a photoshoot of me wearing it, preferably in water (a trash the dress, but classy).

    • “Speaking of vows, it isn’t OK to hurt someone just because you didn’t make vows to them”

      A thousand times yes. Being a decent honest human being does not require vows, though it does require good character.

    • I love this idea! I have a beautiful sapphire ring that FW bought for me as an anniversary gift (while he was cheating on me of course lol). I love the ring and the truth is, I asked for it and picked it out, so it’s not like the ring represents any true effort on his part. I think I will reclaim it as my own, as a sign of my own “true blue” nature and commitment to myself.

  • My ex does some version of this with my young teenage daughter. Whenever she mentions it to me, I say something like “…well that doesn’t seem very kind of him, and why does he need an opinion on that anyway? Weird. Well, sorry you have to deal with that kiddo.” I also find myself saying things to discourage her falling into the comparison trap, which my ex is a pro at…like “Honey, [ex’s current child bride] and I are very different people, and comparing people in that way isn’t nice or a good idea. We all just need to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be, including you!”

    I’ve developed these scripts over time because this happens frequently enough. It’s annoying, but it’s just one more shit sandwich of being tied to an a-hole. I make great pains to NEVER justify myself or my actions in response to his criticisms or comparisons, or degrade his current child bride either. I want my kid to understand that she and I are great, that we work hard and are true to ourselves, and that perfection is not the goal. And that we don’t trash other people because it’s not kind, and that standing up for yourself and trashing other people are different things.

    In any event, my ex is unhappy in his relationship, as he is in all of his relationships because it’s hard to be happy when you’re an a-hole, and has proceeded to pair with women who, by all accounts, are a downgrade from me. Maybe that brings me a little joy…and if that makes me a bad person, so be it.

    That your kid gave him a dressing down is a great sign that you’ve raised her with good values and loyalty…congrats on that! The rest is just noise to ignore.

    • ” by all accounts, are a downgrade from me. Maybe that brings me a little joy…and if that makes me a bad person, so be it.”

      I think it just makes you a human with feelings. Same here when I was told by a reliable source that one of fws fellow police officers in the unit room when he was told that fw had dumped his wife for the dog catcher. He said “I thought the idea was to trade up, not down”. Yep, made me feel a smidgeon less awful for a day or two.

      Yes the comment was sexist, but in the context of the pain I was going through, I just didn’t care.

  • What an ass for triangulating with your daughter! My ex FW in the beginning used to say nice things about me to my daughter, which was also upsetting. He’d say how much he missed me, how great and smart I was, stuff like that. My daughter would get upset and tell me because she wondered why it all happened then if he loved me so much. They are selfish assholes!

  • STBX likes to send commentary about my fb profile pics that he sees via AP I assume not sure since I have him blocked to our daughter. Daughter doesn’t respond to him at all. His latest two critics were to call me a person of poverty in regard to a pic of me hang gliding. I guess me spending money to do that is horrible compared to his dozens of trips from Virginia to NJ to visit AP. The latest dig was to comment on a selfie I posted and my kitchen sink is in the background showing dishes that were washed and covered with a dish clothe. He says classic pic of your mom with dirty dishes in the sink. I changed my profile pic to dirty dishes in a sink and left it up for a day. I then posted a pic of his truck taken by my ring camera driving by my house. I figured if AP is stalking she should know hes stalking his Stbx wife as well.

    • Freedomsoon, I’d just like to caution you about social media, especially since you are still on the road to divorce. Stay off of it and don’t get roped into any tit-for-tat nonsense now. Screen shot anything you think is interesting for court, but don’t lay any fuel on the fire yourself. I’m not a lawyer, but this advice was given to me by my lawyer early on, and he was not wrong. Lay low and give NO information about yourself to the Stbx or AP. Anything can and will be used against you.
      Best of luck to you and hope your freedom does arrive soon!

  • I worry about the message he is sending to his daughter and how it affects her body image now and in the years to come.

    • Oh, and my manipulative, narcissist, insecure ex likes to make me look small to my daughter — he recently made her approach me for money instead of asking me himself. Of couse, she fell for it and said she felt I wasn’t supporting her. I told her he shouldn’t put her in that position and that he needed to come to me directly. And I also told her I knew that he had a huge bonus.

      He also thinks he deserves to get the child deduction because he pays her room and board at college (her college fund pays her tution). Of course, he’s the one who encouraged her to turn down a $100k scholorship so she could go to a more prestigious school. He, along with the mistress-turned-wife, make close to $1M, minus the support they both pay to their ex. I’m not intimidated or manipulated by him anymore; I know that residency trumps support. And as the custodial parent I get credit for her time at school.

      My house is her home; where she has her own room. Now that she’s in college it doubles as a guest room in my small, downsized home. I haven’t changed her room and won’t until she has her own place after college. In his large home, she stays in a guest room. She visits him and comes home to me. Big difference.

  • This post really set off some mental light bulbs. I used to work in media which is chock full of card-carrying pervs. It’s so normalized that they forget to conceal it a lot of the time. So for what my experience is worth, I’ve never once met a man who negged and objectified women like this who wasn’t harboring a really filthy inner life– usually rape fetish or pedophilia fetish or both. Or worse– some were actual pedophilic rapist. An ex boss who negged women in this way, even negging me when I was pregnant, was later credibly accused of rape by almost a dozen women who’d all been minors at the time. This ex boss was so obsessed with fit, young bodies that his second wife nearly drove herself into miscarriage by jogging 10 miles a day while pregnant with twins who were born premature at less than 4 LBs. I could go on and on with vignettes and stories. To me it’s just an axiom. Negging= rapey pedo tendencies.

    To the OP: I totally agree with CL that the first order of business is to root out the tumor of COVERTLY INCESTUOUS SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION that your ex-monstrosity just implanted in your daughter. That message was directed to HER- maybe with the intent of shrapnel hitting you and trampy-tramp– but it was aimed at your daughter. As he objectifies, so may he be objectified for the creep he is. Unlike him, you won’t even need to mention him to take him down. Merely objectively discussing “that view,” its history, its impact, the politics, etc., could help shield your kids from further damage and stop the toxins from sinking in further.

    I’ve been doing this with my kids– boys included– for years, even before being chumped. It came out of genuine concern for the impact of streaming porn on children and what it means for their futures and the future of the world. For instance, there’s an epidemic of men between 18 and 30 who have to take Viagra because of ED due to compulsive streaming porn use. It hasn’t been verified whether Viagra can impact sperm quality and cause birth defects so this is potentially dystopian. There are girls as young as 14 getting colostomy bags because they thought they had to have anal sex to keep a boyfriend. It would follow that they’ve been gaslit into thinking that having a boyfriend is more important than their health or anything else. Eating disorders are skyrocketing. Use of date rape drugs is skyrocketing. Girls are being groomed to sell nude photos/videos on Onlyfans the second they turn 18. 5% to 15% of college students engage in prostitution to pay for tuition. Streaming porn companies still host unverified videos of underage, trafficked girls being actually raped, not just sim-raped, even after the mass content purge. There have been studies showing that the partners of compulsive porn users suffer from progressively lower self-esteem and distorted body images.

    Personally I don’t think it protects children’s innocence to keep them ignorant of reality and looming dangers. If this seems like really dark subject matter to introduce to children, I think being blindsided by traumatic experience is a lot darker than reading about it. And now I’m amazed at how well adjusted and resilient my kids have become. They deflect and discuss toxic messages in media and defend themselves with gallows humor. I could do without the Epstein island jokes at dinner but they’re coming from the right place. I feel like my kids are getting the tools to avoid various catastrophes. Their solid perspectives and cheerful attitude about these things are so infectious that they influence their friends (and intimidate creepy adults).

    One thing that impresses me a lot is that my daughter is really good at checking and interpreting her own body sensations in reaction to people, media content, etc. She’ll often say things like, “I don’t know but I just get this ooky feeling about this or that person, public figure, etc.” And she’s usually spot on. I wish I’d had the same honed radar. It’s such a great survival tool. For example I’ve always thought that some forms of depression are really a matter of people falling into the chasm between what they’ve been led to believe about the world, people, etc., vs. the actual reality of those things. In other words, lies cause depression. The instincts of the gaslit person go haywire, they become anxious and unsettled, then exhausted from cognitive dissonance, etc., and it reads as depression. But my kids didn’t even get depressed during quarantine. Crossing fingers this bodes well. In any case, ignorance isn’t bliss.

    Speaking of which, in lieu of learning about Watergate, I watched the series Gaslit with the kids. Their attention would wander at times when it got a bit slow and psychological and they kept interrupting to ask questions but in the end they really got it. I thought there were some extremely relevant object lessons in there:

    1) Side pieces never win. I think Martha Mitchell’s punishment was even worse than the crime of her initial cheating/mate poaching. Maybe she was more easily driven to doubt herself even when she was dead right because of an inauthentic history. She seemed to have had a blind spot for how evil her husband really was, possibly to the degree that she shared some of his faults.
    2) Cheaters who cheat on their spouses tend to cheat in all things and vice-versa.
    3) There’s a violent undercurrent to cheating and an overlap with domestic violence and, unsurprisingly, it eventually comes out. The title “Gaslit” wasn’t just about Watergate but about how John Mitchell drove Martha Mitchell to her grave. His violence towards her began indirectly then became progressively more overt.
    4) Gaslighting kills whether it’s political or personal.
    5) Abusers try to gaslight and seduce their children into believing the abuser narrative and invalidate victims. Abusers don’t care if this sets their children up for a lifetime or misery.
    6) Men can be the biggest victims of other men. Basically men who engage in toxic masculinity may not be doing it with a central goal of controlling and abusing women– even if that’s an inevitable side effect– but out of wormy worship of more powerful and dangerous men. It was very interesting that this message was given central focus: that many of the Watergate conspirators got involved out of a pathological need to suck up to power and had literal man-crushes on Nixon. At least the writers seem to have had the character of John Dean voice this ironic commentary that some of the perpetual victims and “battered women” in the story were men.

  • Ugh, my FW did this to me our entire relationship, long before he ever cheated. Should’ve been a huge red flag, but I missed it. It wasn’t other APs he compared me to, but other wives (so and so’s wife golfs with him, makes this much money etc.), made comments about women’s bodies constantly (not comparing me but I got the hint), watched a lot of porn, and so much more. Meanwhile he never cared to lift a single weight to stay in shape for me. I look like I could be a fitness model according to most people. Not that it matters, my body dysmorphia fooled me into thinking I was about as attractive as Jabba the Hut (in recovery now).

    Once sparkletwat was in the picture I pick me danced hard. She was “funny, smart, easy to talk to.” Never mind that everyone who knows me or has ever met me would describe me just like that. So did he before he met her. Once she was in the picture I was an evil monster who never listened, and was always so mean.

    Now that we’re divorced? I’m the best he’s ever had, he misses me every day, and he regrets everything. Okay, FW. I still remember every terrible thing he’s ever said. Once he left, the smoke cleared and I saw a lot of stuff I never saw before. I’m sure if I started dancing again he would start critiquing my performance. No thanks! My dancing shoes are permanently retired.

  • True story – a colleague of mine runs marathon distances for fun. She ran 50km on her 50th birthday. She sometimes runs home from work – a lazy 25 km or so. She told me she got into running when she was a child. Her mother was a narc and best friend’s with the mother of a boy who went on to commit the worst mass shooting in our State’s history . As a result of this atrocity, our country’s gun laws were tightened. The combination of the narc mother and the strange boy was enough to incentivise my colleague from a very young age to duck outside for a very very long run.

  • I think the best approach for me is to deal with whatever situation comes up with my head held high.
    My adult children will prob marry someday, so I see the issue looming out there, seeing the bum and his adultery partner.
    He’s all panicked about the whole no contact thing already and did not see that play out in his deeply delusional narrative creation.
    His view was he could triangulate me for all eternity with great delight against his ‘newer-better-younger’ play toy.
    But that can only work if I pick up the rope in his tug of war game and I cut that rope first thing and walked the hell away.
    He still thinks I’m just being stubborn about it and will eventually come around for what he sees as the greater good, maintaining some level of our intact family, finding peace, forgiveness and understanding if you really loved. (Blow me!)
    I am done done with him and completely know that is the only decision that makes any genuine sense, my kids get it too. It drives him completely crazy he never even considered that as an outcome! He gravely underestimated my strength and that honestly does feel empowering.
    This last New year’s, my son was visiting at FW’s new home with the wifestress and had his gf of less than a year with him. My son did not talk marriage( pretty new relationship overall, hasn’t been openly discussed as yet) but his father brought it up and was verbally angered in front of my son and his gf saying to them “ now we’ll have to have two weddings!!”
    Meaning being, your mother is no contact with me and I can’t continue to destroy her from this distance and it frustrates the living HELL out of me!
    He wants to come across as the peacemaker, the forgiver, let bygones be bygones stand up guy. But, since I’m so bitter and angry, that just isn’t working out. It’s more like, I KNOW full well the games he plays and I’m so done! ( my kids understand and respect my stance too)
    This is the first time the gf met FW and she later said to my son after that anger outburst, your dad is a piece of work, he acts like he wasn’t the cheater and he’s just some victim of the outcome. ( I sure like that kid, she’s smart and no pushover, lol!)
    Yeah, hard for them to keep the mask on straight when they are angry, their true character has a way of being exposed.
    I will have an issue with son’s wedding someday though, I was dumped by FW’s family and disinvited to two very close family weddings the year of his departure with Schmoopie and if anything, my relationships with his family was way better than his ever was. It did hurt me greatly. I just don’t want his bitchy sisters at my son’s wedding, I was hoping never to see them again in life, but I’m not going to make it hard on my son either.
    If it’s easier for him to have them come and causes less conflict overall, I will find a way to be okay with that.
    I’ve done nothing wrong, I loved some idiot who screwed me over is my crime.
    I will be the proud mother of the groom, I will even get up and give a speech, and let those rats scamper off to the bathroom, fearing what I may say.
    As hard as they try to redo the narrative, I do believe they know on some level that their brother is a selfish, entitled scum bag for leaving his family. The truth gets to walk in the light of day.
    Lies? Not so much, but they sure try to peddle their stories.
    Disappointing and frustrating for him that none of his three kids have bought his narrative of just wants to be happy and such.
    That’s just a little of bit of karma glitter that he will never be able to clear from his life. I’m okay with that. 😊👍

  • Ex-h fw is po’ed because you had the (big) cojones to kick him to the curb. Jellus people play stupid games. Ignore!

  • Lord Dick is perfect description of my ex. He paraded around his duck and how he had some girls it was just too big to fit. Couldn’t of been satisfying except he didn’t mind the poor girl , After all his dick was just too big. So not about satisfaction I guess. More about appearance and ego. I told him maybe a porn movie would be good for him. . He just thinks he’s gods gift. Lol. At 60 he’s so much better than me because he’s with a 30 year old and still out competing for other whores. While I’m peacefully celebrating he’s no longer around and doing whatever I want. You do like me? Oh I’m hurt. Not. If I ever need to vomit I just think of him. .

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