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UBT: ‘Give Me Some Clarity’

Universal Bullshit Translator
The Universal Bullshit Translator

Dear Chump Lady,

I’m nearly one-year post-divorce, 19 months post-separation kicking the FW out. While some days are still really difficult, with the power of CN behind me, I am mighty more days than not. In less than 9 months I kicked him out, filed for divorce, moved my kid to a new place, finalized divorce, and sold the family home for a ridiculous sum of money (market was HOT last summer).

I got up my courage to leave after reading your blog for years before… my FW was “just” a “porn addict”, “just” seemed to spend a lot of time on his phone, “just” seemed to smell like pot a lot, “just” seemed to be really tired after needing to go day hiking by himself every weekend… Oh, and the tomatoes. Yes, he’s the one who took 2 hours to pick 3 tomatoes at his “friend’s” house (and when I expressed anger about how long he had been gone, he gaslighted me that it hadn’t really been that long… but it was).

The “friend” he texted all day long, sending lovey-dovey tik toks, the one who he “helped through her divorce,” the one who had an exit affair with someone else while divorcing her husband, the only one who showed up to do things with us as a family, and without her kids, “just” a friend, but no other joint friends in the entire town were invited… ugh and shudder. (Of course, I saw texts where he lied to her too… so, even if “just” a friend, he was also scamming her! Oh well. No one asked me…).

In short, he was a typical cheater: decades of lies, 4 (FOUR!) marriage counselors where he did the absolute bare minimum to appear engaged but really took things further underground every time, escalating risky behavior, but kept me around because I was useful, while repeatedly subjecting me to the mind fuck of the love-bomb to discard to reveal+repent cycle. Oh, and financial abuse. Yep, thousands of dollars he stole from our joint accounts so that he could “roll a monster j” as he texted his “friend.” He’s emotionally stunted but a master manipulator, so the advice to leave the RIC behind was such a relief (NOT signing up for round FIVE, although he “suggested” it, half-heartedly, on the last D-Day… Christmas Eve of 2020 — yes, they really DO ruin birthdays, holidays, and any other special event they possibly can).

I immediately went into stealth mode, interviewed multiple lawyers (so he can’t use them!), hid sentimental items, got copies of all documents, in short, followed the advice on your site to “get my ducks in a row.” Since we separated and divorced, our contact has been limited to required information exchanged about our kid, now a young adult, and our dog, as we agreed to a shared custody arrangement. The dog died about a month ago, and I think my ex is realizing that there are now precious few ways for him to get my attention, as I totally slay at grey rocking him. I recently received a long email; at the end was the gem below. Hoping the UBT would like to chew it over!

Rock on Chump Lady and Chump Nation, thank you endlessly for all you do — I owe you my sanity!

Please sign me

KickAssDawn

The last item I wanted to discuss was communications between us and our kid. You and I don’t talk much about anything other than our kid and I’m concerned that this puts them in the middle. For instance, I let kid know I was making an offer on a house, because I was excited about it, but I didn’t realize that this could put our kid in an odd position with you, because kid’s either the person who tells you about it or who feels the need to keep it to themselves. I’d rather that our kid not be put in the position of being a conduit between us or having to keep secrets about one parent from the other about the big stuff.

I’d like to let you know about big changes in my life, so that our kid doesn’t have to be in the middle. Things like buying a house, moving to another city, getting involved in a serious relationship, taking a new job, coming down with a serious illness, the loss of a loved one, etc. And I’d like to hear the same from you.

I’m not asking to be friends, but since we will always be our kid’s parents, I’d like for each of us to be informed about the other, because what happens in our lives becomes a part of our kids’.

If this is not what you want, could you give me some clarity on how you’d like to handle it?

****

Dear KickAssDawn,

Way to be mighty!

But alas, someone isn’t taking your grey-rock slaying well. He needs clarity. The Universal Bullshit Translator is here to assist.

The last item I wanted to discuss was communications between us and our kid. You and I don’t talk much about anything other than our kid and I’m concerned that this puts them in the middle.

I wanted to discuss this boundary of yours. I’m concerned.

For instance, I let kid know I was making an offer on a house, because I was excited about it, but I didn’t realize that this could put our kid in an odd position with you, because kid’s either the person who tells you about it or who feels the need to keep it to themselves.

I imagine that our teenager is riveted by the finer points of my real estate transactions.

However will he keep such scintillating information from you? Or bear the emotional weight knowing of my 6.4% fixed-rate mortgage?

I’d rather that our kid not be put in the position of being a conduit between us or having to keep secrets about one parent from the other about the big stuff.

I’d rather not be ignored.

I’d rather concoct a bogus concern about the mental welfare of our child — a concern utterly unaffected by my drugging and whoring — with the hope that you care.

This is me, the guy with the double life, clutching his pearls about Having To Keep Secrets.

I’d like to let you know about big changes in my life

I’d like you let you know I’m single. And broke. Miss me?

, so that our kid doesn’t have to be in the middle.

Just concerned about our child. Unlike you there, raising him, paying the bills, adulting.

Things like buying a house, moving to another city, getting involved in a serious relationship, taking a new job, coming down with a serious illness, the loss of a loved one, etc.

WHY DON’T YOU CARE?!

I have a serious relationship. It’s not just tomato picking. There are other vegetables.

And I’d like to hear the same from you.

You know, just call me up. We’ll do brunch. Braid each others hair.  Talk about my serious illnesses.

#mimosaswithfuckwits

I’m not asking to be friends, but since we will always be our kid’s parents, I’d like for each of us to be informed about the other, because what happens in our lives becomes a part of our kids’.

You bred with me. You owe me all the attention I crave.

If this is not what you want, could you give me some clarity on how you’d like to handle it?

If this is not what you want, could you give me a sign? Like a divorce summons?

I just need some clarity on how to handle being utterly irrelevant.

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.
  • A cheater asking for clarity?

    A cheater asking to be informed?

    I think on this one I’d be seriously tempted to respond by going to the pet store, getting a box of freeze dried crickets, and sending it to him, with a note that says, “You first”.

    Or “Nope”

    Or “Hahahahahahahahhaha”

    Jesus Christ on a cricket.

    Gray Rock On!

    • Fluker’s 72025 Freeze Dried Crickets, 1.2oz https://a.co/d/03Y9t9g

      Speaking of clarity and information, let me once again express my deep and heartfelt gratitude to Tracy Schorn, aka Chump Lady, and Chump
      Nation, for the invaluable and life-saving clarity and information I have been freely given on this blog. I hate to think of how targets of infidelity suffered alone before the the internet made it possible for all of us to swap our experiences here on a massive
      scale. The comfort and insight I get from the similarities in our stories has been the absolutely essential ingredient for my recovery, impossible without this site.

      Many many blessings and well-wishes to every wounded soul who comes here.

      • If you are a chump who is spiritual, I’d like to recommend chapter 11 of the Untethered Soul (pain, the price of freedom)

        The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself https://a.co/d/3Xx3Lcx

        FYI

        ❤️

        • Afternoon Update…

          I have been in heaven all afternoon doing laundry with my new washer and dryer, which freaking work the way I want them to! I don’t have to outsmart it, trick it, manipulate it, jury-rig it. I have been suffering for twelve years with machines that don’t work very well.

          I bought new machines twelve years ago and they did not work very well. Because I was married to Traitor X and the were expensive, he would not agree to let them go and get something else. I have spent twelve years tricking this washer into filling with barely enough water, taking all damn day to do a load or two, clothes not very clean, damaged, etc. Last month, once again realizing I am single and can do whatever the F I want without having to achieve consensus, I did my homework and got my dream machines. I noticed a huge weight lift off me as the techs installed them, replaced by joy and a lightness of being. Doing ANYTHING without the right tool or a broken tool is a huge energy drain.

          ….LIKE BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A CHEATER…….

          I have a talent for learning to tolerate the intolerable, whether it’s a lame ass washing machine or a lame ass husband that has just got to stop.

          There is no joy in being tethered to a traitor, someone who has zero respect for or interest in decent healthy rules of engagement.

          Walk through the pain and hold out for trust and safety, peace of mind and freedom. I’m no longer going to try to will something broken into something that works.

          • Hi VH, I appreciate your afternoon post. I needed it today, especially “I have a talent for learning to tolerate the intolerable, whether it’s a lame ass washing machine or a lame ass husband that has just got to stop.”

            I traveled up to retrieve more of my stuff from our house where FW lives (planned retirement on the Maine coast). Through my atty I asked that FW not be on site. FW ignored that request. I went ahead with four formidable women. Lying on the bench when I walked in the house was Mark Manson’s book, “The Art of Not Giving a F>>>K.” The entire place was a stage set of passive aggressive in-your-face bs. Oh my goodness. I was sick (dry heaving) when I got back to my new apartment. And all of it was sad, really, to think that I put up with this intolerable situation for so long. I realized that I am not THAT. It sunk in a bit deeper that I am not at all like this FW and I really do not have a clue who he is. I am certainly not a saint, but goodness at least I try to treat most people with empathy and respect. I realize he cannot do this and actively works against it. Anyway, I groan on, but its comforting to find your words here. They hit the spot. Thank you.

            • I’ve felt sick like that every time I’d be at FW house… I’d leave and know that I was so much better off than trying to tolerate the life I had for a short time with him there. Yet I still find myself remember how I somehow did “tolerate” all that crap. The results of a good RIC program and pick me dancing. Even now I can’t believe my own thinking about it all. But then in a way I learned early on to just “tolerate” a lot.

          • “I’m no longer going to try to will something broken into something that works.” Yes, like we all did with our marriages!

      • “I hate to think of how targets of infidelity suffered alone before the the internet made it possible for all of us to swap our experiences here on a massive”

        speaking for me, I kept quiet; I was ashamed, embarrassed, I should have told the preacher, our friends and others who mattered exactly how he treated me. I am sure he sugar coated his actions or at least tried to.

        He did get busted in rank, (he shit where he ate) and he did due to his own actions go down in spectacular flames; but still I kept quiet and by the time I realized I shouldn’t have, well too late.

        Though I did eventually tell my brother and my son both before fw died. I told my son because fw tried to con him too and I didn’t want him to fall for it again. My brother was just to finally get it out.

        I think whether chumps want to divorce (which I recommend) or try to reconcile; they need the collective wisdom of CN. Hard to fool someone who know all the hidden tricks.

      • The comfort, insight and THE LARFS!!! Omg VH, freeze-dried crickets … I just threw my head right back and laughed very out loud. (Needed it too, my wounds are bleeding a little bit just right now.)

        Yes. It’s been said before: Tracy, CL, you are literally a life-saver.

      • I’ve just started reading Chump Lady – Ms Schorn – I think I found her name on a YouTube video. Chump Lady….you are the best. Not only with infidelity, but you just have so much common sense & wisdom & you tell it like it is or should be. The World Needs You. Chump Lady….I think I love you!

  • You have already run like your hair was on fire.

    Continue to do so. The more distance between you and this lying waste of space, the better.

  • It’s not your job to care anymore.
    Ignore.
    My son tells me lots of things and I just nod and say cool! The less attention I pay to his dad’s life, the less I hear about it.
    He needs kibbles darn-it! How dare you?
    File under G and continue being awesome!

    • I get lots of practice dealing with my mother. She is a gossip. She doesn’t like being on the receiving end of it, but boy does she like to dish about her neighbors, her boyfriend’s family, or who ever. I don’t know any of the people she even talks about. I don’t CARE. But it’s the only way she knows how to hold a conversation is to gossip. She has nothing substantial to say otherwise.

      I used to just go, “Mmm hmm. OK,” but I stopped her more recently. If she starts up by text, I don’t respond. If she starts up by phone, I get busy and end the call. She finally started saying, “How come sometimes you don’t text me back?” I told her she just wants to gossip about people I don’t even know and I’m not interested. It’s a waste of my time and I don’t understand why she does it or why she thinks I would care about these rando people she knows and I don’t.

      I imagine maybe encountering that with kiddo down the road. I’ll just shrug or tune out when he talks about klootzak and when he asks why I don’t respond, I’ll say “I don’t really know him and don’t care. Not sure why you feel the need to tell me all of this but OK. Whatever.” Because really, he’ll just be some stranger and who cares?

      • You’ll get there Mrs. I’ve had natural occasions to casually mention to my kids that I don’t really know their father after all these years. That not only helped them scale back sharing details but also moved me along the path of healing. He’s just someone I used to know.

      • My mom pretty much talks about the weather. Which I really don’t care about. Or she gives me the run on her boyfriend’s health issues with a dissertation on the medical definitions and more than I’d ever want to know. I pretty much have stopped calling her because she doesn’t call back and has told me how much she hates talking on the phone.

  • “You know, just call me up. We’ll do brunch. Braid each others hair….#mimosaswithfuckwits”

    OMG!!! 🤣🤣🤣

  • KickAssDawn, you are amazing! It took me a long longer to get to where you are. Just keep powering through the hard days. Life gets better and better without a fuckwit. One question–is there any reason why you can’t block his email? That’s what I did after my youngest child became an adult. When my x wants to get my attention he has to use snail mail (I think he’s lost the address) or come to my house. And at my house no one will open the door to him. If there was something urgent, he could go through lawyers. Although I’m pretty sure his last lawyer fired him. He made her claim that I was cohabiting with a man (my adult son!) and so he didn’t need to pay alimony. The judge was not amused.

    • Once the house we jointly own is sold, this is what I plan to do, block his email. I may or may not give him the address to an email I created for business but never use. We don’t have kids, our only connection will be the measly $250 a month he has to pay me. He rarely tries to share anything personal, thankfully, the time he told me he was buying a house turned ugly because I didn’t gray rock well. We will never be friends and I don’t want to share life events, so blockity block.

    • Hi LizzaLee… such a good point. I’m SO looking forward to blocking his email in the very near future. Right now, I am making sure that our kid’s financial future is secure by allowing this line of access to me, but it’s next on my list. Already blocked him on all social media (what a relief that was) and muted him on my phone. When I can block both phone and email I will be so much happier.

      • Another way around it is to get a new email address, give it to FW and tell him you closed the other one down. Block him on the old one. Only FW will have the new email. That way he won’t show up as you’re checking your primary email and ruin your day. If you don’t feel up to scrolling through his drivel you just don’t go to the other email address.

  • Somebody misses being the center of attention!
    This one made me laugh out loud-
    ‘Things like buying a house, moving to another city, getting involved in a serious relationship, taking a new job, coming down with a serious illness, the loss of a loved one, etc.’
    😂🙄
    Does he have no friends or relatives? I guess he’s just another X that didn’t plan ahead, to be thrown on the compost pile by his chump! Oh, you don’t like it there? Well, we’re too busy making our new life, to keep up with all that ‘news’.
    It sounds like he’s hoping you’ll be jealous, but just keep up your awesome grey rock fortress!

  • These abusers don’t do well in the ‘obsolete zone’ and get very creative trying to force their way back into our lives.
    My ex just assumed I would eventually fold and start communicating with him again. ( he’s blocked for texts, maybe quarterly emails, just financial info, I don’t even discuss our three adult children with him, although he tries to engage me).
    None of this was in his plan of how it would go down and he HATES being inconsequential in our lives. He never saw that coming, he can’t even comprehend he’s lost power over any of us.
    He’s been trying for the last 4 years to get me to reengage, but I am fully done with him and his family of flying monkeys. He emails like he’s a poor victim of my cruelness and he only wants us to be friends and be able to share things for the kids’ sake. (He cares sooo much about the family, how could I not see that?!) 😜
    He’s starting to panic realizing now that he is not the center of any one of our universes. A narcissist’s biggest fear in life, they don’t matter!
    And my definition of a “ friend” is very different than his. Mine doesn’t include the descriptions of distrustful, liar, manipulator, abuser or cheater.
    You are NOT my friend and never will be, not in this life or any other.
    He creates a narrative that he’s all genuinely concerned for our well being and just wants to share things, as your ex is attempting to do. The last email he began telling me how dysfunctional we all are, trying to anger me and pull me into the the swirl of bs he creates.
    Nope. We got rid of the dysfunctional family member, he can stay whoring on till his dick is as dysfunctional as himself.
    All the care and concern they try to sell you is all but a ruse. They are just panicking at the loss of control and the inability to manipulate and they desperately want that back.
    Hold your ground firm. He will eventually get that he has no relevance in your life and that you way prefer it that way.
    They are slow learners when it comes to the enforcement of boundaries, they prefer to do all the discarding, they can’t even imagine it is happening to them.

    • The last time the fw tried to pull me in was just a couple months after the D was final. He called and told me that he and whore were flying to Las Vegas to get married.

      I said “why are you calling me?” he said “I didn’t want you to find out somewhere else” 🤦‍♂️ I just said “ok, good bye” and hung up.

      I sooooo wish it had been post CL, I would have known to say “Well that should convince everyone this wasn’t such a disastrous choice!”

      • While that may have been a snappy response Susie Lee, it’s hard to come up with those on the spot. I think your response was spot on. Almost as good as crickets 😄

      • Susie lee,

        “Well that should convince everyone this wasn’t such a disastrous choice!”

        Yes. Great response!

        And it doesn’t matter that you didn’t give it. As we know from any exchanges with FWs, most of us seem to get hurt from both the great zingers and the not-so-great ones. #boomerangeffect. That’s why NC or grey rock are best.

        When my own FW wrote to me that he was getting married (eloping!!) only 3 months after the divorce was final, my adult daughter sighed and said, “Of course. He has to justify what he did.” Bingo!

      • It’s not just engagement, I think, they keep trying to hurt the ones THEY left behind. I think I would have said: “Why should I care?” They really do think they’re the center of the world.

    • My brother did this to me. Sparing the details I still can’t seem to wrap my head around his armchair diagnosises of me, his rewriting g of history, his misuse of therapeutic buzzwords whilst also minimalizing magor abuse, scapegoating me for his problems, and and even though he was and still continues to be an instigator he continues to smear me to anyone who will listen and has gone as far as ostracizing me during family events.

      Currently trying to simultaneously untangle the skein of fuckedupness and just walk away. It sucks when Switzerland friends and family flying monkeys try to encourage reconciliation

  • Amazing how cheaters ignore chumps, but as soon as we gray rock or go NC and aren’t concerned about their widdle boo-boos or impwessed about their new jobs or–gasp–jealous of their new “sole mates,” suddenly they want to make sure we know.
    “I’d like to let you know about big changes in my life, so that our kid doesn’t have to be in the middle.”
    He’s not giving me feedback, and I can’t seem to find flying monkeys or Switzerland friends to deliver the news and let me revel in your misery.
    “Things like buying a house, moving to another city,” so you can send me housewarming gifts and know where to drive by at 3 am in the morning, missing me and listening to sad songs.
    “getting involved in a serious relationship,” unlike my flings–now this can eat you up with jealousy
    ” taking a new job,” so you can see that I’m pulling in big bucks that I’ll never have to share with you
    “coming down with a serious illness, the loss of a loved one, etc.” so you can come running to take care of me and console me, like a still useful wife appliance
    ” And I’d like to hear the same from you.” Not really. I couldn’t care less, but I’ll pretend I’ll reciprocate.

    When Fraudster was in the hospital, several cities and highways away, he had former Switzerland friends call me. I didn’t answer or return their calls. So he escalated to have his nurse call to tell me he wanted me there to support him. She said he gave his consent for me to know about his condition. I asked if she understood I was his ex-wife, and she did, and I said there were good reasons why I left him. And I asked her for his condition. She said he was physically fine, just wanted attention. She agreed it would be better for her to say she left a message. Then he called and left his own message, promising to help me if I would be there for him. It was clear he wanted me as a nurse with a purse. I didn’t respond.

    KickAssDAwn, you are Grey-rocking it. Congrats.

    • I’m so grateful when strangers/acquaintances, like your X’s nurse, get it. It’s reassuring to know that there are people out in the world who can see thru a grown-ass adult’s disordered need for attention.

    • My wife the veteran critical care nurse laughed out loud when I read this to her. She has told me lots of similar stories.

  • “I’m not asking to be friends, but since we will always be our kid’s parents, I’d like for each of us to be informed about the other, because what happens in our lives becomes a part of our kids’.”

    No. You didn’t keep me informed that you spent at least ten years of our marriage fucking strange, and siphoning off our assets to paid said whores in terms of gifts, dinners and money. So where do you get off thinking you need to know about my life.

  • I hope there was just no response to this guys letter.
    Any response would be giving him the attention he craves and nothing logistical to even respond.

    • I definitely considered no response at all, or “NO.” because we all know that no is a complete sentence. My kid was worried that the issue would escalate if I didn’t give a clear response. It is hard, right? Will they escalate no matter what we do? There is sometimes no good choice.
      Since my kid was concerned, I pulled on my B*tch boots, channelled CL, and responded with “Aside from sharing of contact info while we are paying for college, the rest of the items on your list are things I would only share with friends or family. As we are neither to each other, I’m not interested. If our kid has trouble with having independent relationships with each of us, she has an excellent therapist.”
      Of course, he DID escalate, just about another topic. Dealt with that too… pretending I have Wonder Woman magic bracelets to repel his nonsense. I”m so happy I have CN to laugh at this stuff this morning!

      • It is hard, so true. I’ve been mindful of helping my adult children navigate a relationship with their narc parent. Sometimes you have to do things on their behalf that you might prefer not to do. But it’s ok. I think it’s the mindset that matters. If you are allowing a FW to violate your boundaries, that’s not going to feel good. But the same action taken to support your child is part of being their sane adult. Feels a whole lot different. Sounds like you nailed it KA.

      • This really is The Way. It would be tempting to respond with something like “the time for you to keep me informed of your life was back when we were married and you were stealing my money, smoking pot, and screwing your whores behind my back – now the only thing I want from you is your total absence.” However, that would just give him an opening to come back and whine about how meeeean you are, why can’t you let things go, and by the way I’d like to re-hash some details of the past, blah blah blah. Better to just firmly grey rock it.

        The one thing you might consider is something like “you don’t need to worry. I’ve made it clear to [child] that s/he can talk to me about anything s/he wants, including you, if she needs to, but that I have no personal interest in hearing about you and s/he should never feel obligated to inform me about anything having to do with you.”

      • Great response! And you’re right…damned if you do and damned if you don’t with these people. I’ve gone both routes with my ex at varying times and received his fire storm of escalation, whether I respond or stay silent. I will say tho, as a long-term strategy, no-response is the way to go. There are specific topics that I absolutely refuse to respond to, at all. It took almost TWO YEARS of consistently not responding when he brings up these topics (such as when we would see each other at kid events or be communicating critical info about the kid) for him to stop bringing them up at all. But, eventually, he’s stopped.

        Best of luck on your future non-future with this guy! I envy you–can’t wait for my kid to turn 18 so I can be completely out of the loop. I’ve already decided that I’m going to have my attorney send him the paid invoices for the child’s college expenses and demand repayment of half to me, so I don’t have to ever communicate with him directly again.

  • I suggest; “You can fuck off and die for all I care. Is that clear enough for you, non-entity?”

    Even better, no response at all. The silence will be deafening to the poor little wick dipping, doobie puffing, manipulating FW.
    It’s always the same sly, attention-whoring, guilt tripping crap with cheaters. Can’t these clods get a few new moves?
    This guy is a crashing bore.

  • A standing ovation for the UBT and for KAD for her mightiness!!
    HE is the one putting your kid in the middle of it, by assuming you would be remotely interested in his real-estate transactions. Nothing hurts a narcissist like, “I don’t care.” And his “serious illness”??? Oh, let’s not talk about the flat out ABUSE he inflicted on you. No, that is too uncomfortable for his precious self to acknowledge.

    He is trying to re-engage. Period. He just can’t believe you aren’t fascinated by every tiny thing he experiences. Maybe you loved him at one time, but HE destroyed that. All by himself.

    Congratulatons on your FW free life! Keep rocking the Grey Rock!

    • “Maybe you loved him at one time, but HE destroyed that. All by himself.” Yes. I was consulting with an attorney recently and he asked the reason I was seeking divorce. I said “bc husband had a lengthy affair with a friend of mine – we’ve tried to reconcile for three years but I can’t – it’s too hard.” Attorney didn’t even look up from his note-taking and said plainly, without hesitation or question, “…his fault.” It felt so validating.

  • My theory is that they can’t let go of their desire to control. Even if you are a boring gray rock, they want to ping you so you stay engaged with them at some level. They and their monkeys will guilt you if you don’t be buddy-buddy afterward; yes, “good” people are buddies with unsafe people, they’ll say.

    My wonderful attorney had a saying with several variations that I’ve often repeated here, “Only a fool would be friends with the person who burned down their house.”

  • “However will he keep such scintillating information from you? Or bear the emotional weight knowing of my 6.4% fixed-rate mortgage?”

    CL, you make me laugh. My kids get emails like this every few months (they are NC) and don’t respond. If a bystander who didn’t know the full story read his emails, they would think that this was a nice man who cares about his children. The x’s new wife who doesn’t know about the double life, meeting men in hotels by the airport, porn addiction etc (well, she’s heard a few things but believes people can change for true love. Unlike the bitter, hateful people who believe people don’t change) I think she proofreads his emails and thinks that he cares so much about his children and only wants what’s best for them and to reconnect with them. So clueless.

  • “Sure feel free to inform me about anything you like via email and I will inform you about what I deem appropriate” – you will not change your own behavior and as soon as the stuff he is telling you is no longer “forbidden” it will loose its shine.

  • Absolutely this, I honestly don’t know how I would have coped over the last 7 months without Chump Lady and Chump Nation. The calm within the chaos.

  • KickAssDawn,

    Here’s what you do:

    (nothing)

    Keep on grey rocking. 🙂

    But be prepared that your young adult kid will likely get twisted into this by him. Have that discussion with your kid and perhaps arm them with responses to get FW to stop attempting to triangulate them.

    • love it, thank you Michelle! I am working on inoculating my kid. It’s hard because she loves him, and wants to have a dad, but is pretty clear-eyed about his failings.

  • “…clarity on how to handle being utterly irrelevant.” OMG this! When Douchecanoe realized this, he resorted to the only way he could get my attention for 7 years – with frivolous litigation. But alas, as the youngest is now emancipated and the college court orders set precedent by running smoothly with the older two, there’s really nothing left between us. Happy Tuesday indeed!

    • Sunrise: Agreed!

      We FRONTED them countless years of being baffled by secrecy, lying, cheating, deceit, manipulation, gaslighting, years of litigation, and time we will never get back all because of their disordered, dysfunctional, emotionally immature kidult behaviors. Now that it’s OVER they can pick up all of their toys and go play in another sandbox, make new friends, and leave us alone. There really is nothing left to regurgitate unless one enjoys pain shopping.

  • I would be tempted to reply, child is an adult and I don’t care what your doing. Then never respond again. Knowing they will think about it, forever. Lol

  • Sounds like he’s also getting the notion that KickAssDawn is leading a happy life where she doesn’t think about him at all, and THAT isn’t okay! Surely he can weasel his way back in by pretending that it’s good for the kid if gives him fresh kibble!

  • KickAssDawn, He misses your money. He misses you being the free ATM. Time is money and give him neither.

    Great job of kicking his a$$ to the curb!!

  • I don’t think I’ve seen a more pathetic cry for attention. This guy really, really wants to matter.

    What a loser.

  • Ok I admit that I got a kick out of hearing that the slutbutt ow dumped the FW – and she did it reallll slowwww too. He used to lord it over me how ever so happy he was now that he wasn’t with his mean old wife appliance anymore. My grandkid slipped the news. I didn’t ask for details but then my kid filled me in on details (my ex doesn’t want me to know his biz and vice versa so I hear very little and haven’t seen him in years.) Anyway, as maddening as they are, once exes are out of your day to day, I’ve come to realize how ridiculously boring they are. Once you stop hanging the moon on their every breath and see what perfidious, cheap, weak individuals they are, it all gets boring. It’s what makes grey rock work. My only sad is that now that ex is alone, he leans ever so sadly on his kids. But at this point, that’s something they have to deal with. Mum can’t fix it. Phew

  • I find myself thinking leaving a 3-ring binder with copies of all the paperwork involving the divorce on the bookshelf or coffee table for easy reference and light reading would be sufficient. Makes it super-easy to remind yourself why stupid texts, emails and phone calls that do not DIRECTLY involve your kid and court-ordered tuition payments can be ignored.

    I don’t see anything in that letter that requires a response at all. He’s buying a house – big deal. Lots of people buy houses, move, date, get ill, fuck off and die… He’s just one of billions and nothing special for doing any and all of it.

    If your daughter brings it up, the non-response is the same, “Uh-huh. So, how’s the physics class going? Still your favorite?”

  • I wish I could fit all the divorce paperwork into a three-ring binder. I have over almost a dozen 3″ binders and five file boxes of divorce stuff. One binder for the court orders and filings, another for police reports, a separate one for custody along with a box of documents for the Parental Responsibilities Evaluation, a whole file box just for his financial fraud, a smaller box, about 3″ binder size, of evidence for misspending marital assets, and another box of evidence of his various frauds. I haven’t figured out what’s safe to throw out.

    • Hang onto all of it, for now. Use it as the legs of your coffee table if you can get two boxes the same size at either end. Or DIY book shelves. It can be shredded and recycled later.

  • Wow, FW really “buried the lede” on his list of “essential things to know about each other” and it’s a bit concerning. I think “new relationships” is the core of his demands, the rest on the list are just throwaways. It’s like a small town porn junky at a kiosk: “I’ll take a bottle of Tylenol, a Red Bull, two packs of AA batteries and a copy of Beaver Hunt…”

    My guess is he either wants to create a dynamic where it seems la-dee-dah-casual to let KAD know when he begins a relationship so that he can imagine her curled up in a fetal position clutching a teddy bear and sobbing his name (every sadistic narc’s fantasy) and/or, worse, he wants to keep tabs on her mating behavior. At the very least it’s too enmeshed. But particularly if someone who already proved themselves capable of gratuitous cruelty gets fixated on their own victim, it feels dicey.

    We all have some part of our lizard brains that specializes in risk assessment and living with even a vague smidge of statistical risk can drain bandwidth and cast an anxious shadow over everything. In any case, I suspect this ex doesn’t want clarity, he wants control. It’s creepy and maybe a sign the chronic pot smoking is clogging up his synapses. Cruelty + fixation + substance abuse + entitlement= eek. It will be great when those precious few mandates to communicate drop to zero.

    • “I’ll take a bottle of Tylenol, a Red Bull, two packs of AA batteries and a copy of Beaver Hunt…” 🦫
      OMG!! Hell of a Chump, I spit out my coffee. Thanks for the laugh.

      As for your comment, I agree completely. Mainly, he wants to tell her about his new relationships because the prospect of the chump getting upset yet again over his love life thrills him. Oh to reclaim the glory days when the affair was at its peak and the relationship triangle strong!

      Some of the more bone-headed cheaters simply can’t imagine that we no longer give a rat’s ass (or a beaver’s behind 🤣) .

      • “Oh to reclaim the glory days when the affair was at its peak and the relationship triangle strong!”

        I do think that for most of these con artists this is the worst time for them. A few will build the glory days again, likely with a new chump; but it is doubtful it will ever be as glorious as the first time, because they are outed now.

        I gave my fw another chance to stomp me, but I woke up fast (less than a week). He came back again a few months later, I agreed to meet with the preacher though I knew I was not going back, honestly I just wanted a chance to reject him. I think it truly amazed him that I walked out and was not dancing like Ginger Rogers to have another chance at his awesomeness.

        Honestly it was all I could do to keep from vomiting to look at his rat face.

        It is amazing how someone’s looks can change so much once the façade is dropped.

        • I’ve seen people physically transform after their ill deeds are exposed and they lose the shield of their false image. To the disordered, the truth is only what they can make others believe but the rub may be that FWs genuinely mistake the phony consensus for truth themselves. That’s some really scary mental gymnastics. Reminds me of the final scene of the old film Falling Down when Michael Douglas’s stalker/vigilante character asks his arresting officer, “I’m the bad guy? How’d that happen?”

      • THIS is the crux! It’s that glorious triangulation they get off on the most.
        As ❤️Velvet Hammer❤️ once told me,
        “Infidelity is a 3-legged stool. Remove one leg (yourself) and the stool collapses.”
        TRUTH!
        Let the FWs implode, I say.

    • Totally agree about burying the lede, HOAC. That was my immediate thought: he a)wants to brag about a relationship and/or b) wants to reassure himself that I’m single (and therefore unlovable and he was right all along), possibly both. And spot on about “clarity” versus control… that’s entirely it. EEK indeed (great equation!).

      • I do think that many of them have that delusion of “if I don’t value her/him no one will” Even if the idea is not formulated in their brain; they feel it and are shocked when it just isn’t true.

        • It took me a while to figure out the degree to which FWs construct their own realities and that narcissists suffer from something worse than run of the mill low self esteem. They’re even narcissistic and delusional about the epicness of their own worthlessness and think it has the power to impart worthlessness to anyone who would be loyal to them.

          When my parents left NYC to move to the burbs when I was a kid, they asked about drugs in the neighborhood because this was a bane where we’d lived in the city and the whole reason we left. The real estate people told them, “There are no drugs here.That would hurt real estate.” My parents always laughed over that one. They said it was like the realtors had told them, “Mud causes rain.” Turns out there were drugs in the neighborhood.

          It’s the same thing as narcissistic cheaters convincing themselves that their chumps can’t be attractive to other people because if this were so the cheaters would have to imagine their chumps moving on and having happy relationships and lives without FWs. And that would hurt kibble.

      • It’s such a liberating moment when the bs no longer works. It reminds me of the bullet-stopping scene in the Matrix where Neo picks a bullet out of the air and looks at it like with a surprised-Pikachu face like, “Oh gee, was this meant for me?”

    • I agree but I also think is that they mean for CHUMPS to share everything and they will selectively (or not at all) share things about themselves. I agree that it’s always about power and control with the FWs with a side of sadistic stick-it-to-the chump. My FW was constantly pumping the kids for personal details about them, me and our family situation. He never shared anything in return. Fortunately the kids quickly got wise and clammed up. They are as no contact as they can be while protecting the one still a minor.

    • So true, HOAC. I also think the stuff about serious illness was about keeping the chump on the hook as a future caregiver. I can totally picture this delusional nitwit saying; “Remember, you are obligated to take care of me for life. You made vows.”

      I’d probably tell him the fucks store was all out of fucks, so I have none to give. But best she says nothing.

      “I suspect this ex doesn’t want clarity, he wants control.”

      Totally.

      • A friend hand-embroidered one of those all-out-of-fucks sayings on a pillow case for me.

        Hmm, yeah, the future health issue thing. Studies have it that cheaters and mate poachers both tend to have low empathy, high psychopathy and narcissism and engage in high risk behavior. So cheaters may have intuitions leaking through their thick protective layers of bs warning that a) there’s a strong likelihood they’re going to run into serious health problems; and b) the types of people who’d participate in cheating wouldn’t exactly be reliable future caretakers both because their own health will tank and because they’d quickly get resentful and might insta-dump or figure out how to hasten the demise of an inconveniently, boringly, expensively ill partner.

        • Oh, reminds me of a few studies I came across recently: mate poachers may sense that their health and/or fertility is likely to fail prematurely and express these intuitions by engaging in what’s called a “fast life strategy”– mating indiscriminately and aggressively in an attempt to breed before time runs out. I thought that was interesting because Schmoopie in my situation looked like walking diabetes and hormone imbalance and had had a drinking problem since age 13. Then there’s the study finding that cheaters, despite being more likely to focus on fitness in an attempt to maintain their “youth,” are more likely to croak prematurely from heart disease.

  • This FW wants to remain relevant & in control; whereas the FW I married cozied up to the buxom bosom of the OW, treats me like I’m irrelevant, have a deflated bosom & dead. I wonder what’s worse?

    • I believe that long term it’s much worse if they are around to have the opportunity to manipulate you. If they fully fuck off you can detach more quickly. It hurts like a mofo to be coldly dismissed, but if it is final, the pain is finite. The torture of continued contact this guy wants is awful. He wants to mess with her head and keep abusing her in any way he can.

      • So true, OHFFS! Very nearly 3 years out and divorced for 20 months, I saw FW twice in 2020 (thank you lockdown), and that was it. We don’t have kids but did have a long marriage. It was brutally hard to go no contact as soon as I discovered the affair, having been dumped 2 months before DDay. The physical and mental pain was extraordinary. FW’s exgfOW was long distance and it would have been convenient for him to have me to become effectively ‘the OW’ in the UK, while managing her expectations about the future of their relationship. I was crystal clear that I would not be friends with someone who had behaved towards me as he had behaved. I would not go out to dinner, theatre, cinema, entertain him in my home. I had put up with so much abuse for so long, my tolerance for pain was set at a low bar, and I got through the no contact pain eventually. I enjoy all the things we used to do and more, either in my own company or with friends. None of those people abuse me!

  • Note the skillful way in which the FW in this letter arranges everything so that when the chump asserts her boundaries, she then looks like the unreasonable bad guy. It’s manipulative and gross. Mine tried this too after every secret AP reveal; while I was reacting, in shock, or otherwise sobbing, he quickly laid the groundwork so that everyone would know that “he just wants us all to be friends.” When I picked myself up off the floor, grew a spine, and laid out my boundary–No, we will not be friends–FW was able to play the victim: “I SAID I was sorry and I SAID I wanted to be friends. Fourleaf is such an unreasonable person!” And, of course, the flying monkeys all agree with him: “You poor dear! You’re extending an olive branch and she’s just slapping it out of your hand.”

    If course he’s not extending an olive branch and, of course, I never declared war on him or otherwise said that he was my enemy now. He’s not; I just can’t be his friend ever again, that’s all. Should be a pretty simple concept to digest. The smallest of boundaries.

    The FW in this letter is setting himself up for the standard FW win-win scenario. In the short term, he will seemingly come out on top. Don’t let this throw you off your game. You have a boundary, so keep it. There’s no reason to be antagonistic, just consistent. Eventually, your long-game, civil consistency will win out over his short-game “chump is such a meany-pants” play.

    Stay solid, stay strong. Ignore him.

    • Yup, my FW does the same stuff. . . .It’s always a trap so they can then complain about how unreasonable and unforgiving we are in rejecting their “friendly” gestures.

      What’s worse is how many people fall for this crap and encourage chumps to go along, “to keep the peace” or “for the sake of the kids.” Maybe FWs should have considered all this *before* they blew up their marriages and families?

  • Ugh. It’s so rich, isn’t it, when cheaters pretend to care so much about the wellbeing of the kids after destroying the family by fucking around and lying?
    .

    • Spinach… RIGHT??? Dude… you had 22 years of relationship and 18 years of parenting to be so freaking CONCERNED, why NOW? We know why now… it serves him now, when it did not before. UGH.

  • I also thing the desire to have the knowledge is about control. Knowledge is power over you. And he wants it. I hate the way its dressed up too – “I’ll share, YOU share….” He thinks his nice chump will be all nice and chumpily truthful and cough up what he wants to hear – his request is so rwweesonable after all. but do ya think he’d play fair and share back fully? Or be his selective lying self…? And I completely agree with Four,eaf, its a play to position you as The Bad Meanie who wont be reasonable. Run!!!

  • Wow this letter is familiar. I got one like it. My ex FW figured that my no contact was hurting our daughter, and I took the bait and softened a bit (rookie mistake). So we decided to have a phone call about school (this was before he completely abandoned his parental post). The very first thing out of his mouth was this: “Hey Formerly, everybody knows you’re a liar and a manipulator, so let’s just cut to the chase here.” Sooooo, I hung up and that was the last time. He couldn’t help but blame shift, project and abuse me at every single turn. Crickets. And now he’s gone forever 👍

    • Wow!! An accusation that YOU’RE a liar and manipulator from an actual liar and manipulator??? Projection much?

      Geez. Glad you hung up.

      Reminds me of when x told me I’d “shown my true colors” when I used joint funds (pre-divorce but post separation) to rent an apartment. Our house was sold, and I needed a place to live. My lawyer was the one who advised me to use joint funds.

      Of course, FW, too, had used joint funds to rent his *own*, albeit less expensive apartment, and his apartment included the AP, so technically I was also paying half of her housing, too. Minor details. The fact is that x never met a double standard he didn’t embrace. The whole goose/gander thing escaped him.

      So glad to be away from the daily mindfuck. The truth is that I usually fell for his accusations. “Maybe I DID show my true colors,” I said to my wise and patient therapist who had to undo years of self-blame, hopium sniffing, and spackling.

      She and CL saved me. Thanks again.

  • This made me laugh.
    I’d ignore it, unless it impacted kiddo.
    New address: noted.
    New person cohabitation: noted
    Incapacitated while child is a minor: noted

  • First of all, way to go KickAssDawn – you’re doing great!

    Your letter made me think about how bothered I am when FWs want a nice relationship with their adult children.

    FWs destroy families. Infidelity is not only betrayal to the faithful spouse, but to the entire family.

    Of course most FWs want a relationship with their adult children! The work of parenting is done, and it looks bad for them when Schmoopie and others wonder why they have little or no relationship with their grown children.

    • Yes, THIS. it’s ALL image management. They can’t sell the “I’m such a great catch because errybuddy just WUVS me so much” product without the attendant supporting characters (adoring kids, friendly ex, them smiling pictures).
      F*#€ those FWs.
      Boss Hogg was a chronically ill “no one knows what it is, they can’t do anything to help me” sad hypochondriac sausage. He is still sick all the time. Idc. at. all. (New chump’s problem now!) And I don’t ask or follow up when adult kids report. Meanwhile, I faced & fought aggressive breast cancer this past year – working full time. Sheesh.

    • yes yes yes to all this. My biggest challenge right now is enduring his image management toward our kid. It does give me the opportunity to teach the kid good info though…

  • We were still married but FW was living in town with the fat-ankled skank. Our boys were 18 and 22 and I decided to take myself off to Morocco for a week (the kids were fine on their own). I got a STINKING text message from FW to say that he’d heard I was off to Morocco and “as your husband I would have thought it would have been common courtesy to inform me of this”! I was STEAMING so I shot back “and as your wife I would have thought it would have been common courtesy to inform me before you dipped your stick in the fat-ankled skank, so I guess we both were in for a surprise huh”! He never tried the “common courtesy” thing again!

  • Translation:

    “I dislike not having Power and Control over you. It was my intention to remain central in your universe as I continue to add secret sister wives to my harem.”

    F wayyyy off Fuckwit

  • My ex still tries to talk to me about his job, what new and amazing dish soap he’s using, this really interesting movie he saw….

    And I always stop him short with one comment:

    “You lost the privilege to share your thoughts/life events/work successes with me the day you decided to put your dick inside another woman’s vagina.”

  • I’m listening to my bff as she’s losing her boundaries with her ex concerning their adult DD with health issues. She’s happy to have his advice, agreement, emotional support that then moves to his current health issues and life. Anytime she gets to that last point I say,” it horrible and he’s his new wife’s problem to deal with.” He’ll call her to “share because she understands.” I know the communicate about their adult kids but I never thought she’d get sucked into his personal life.
    The ex who wrote this should have just emailed Give Me Your Attention!! It would have been shorter and on point.

  • “I’d rather that our kid not be put in the position of being a conduit between us or having to keep secrets about one parent from the other about the big stuff.”

    Here’s an idea: don’t tell the kid things he has to keep “secret” from his mother. Problem solved.

    Seriously, the stuff he cites in his missive: moving to another city, putting a down payment on a house, how on earth are those things “secret” anyhow? Why not just assume that anything you discuss with this kid, he is free to discuss with his mother, or not, as he chooses. And, if you desperately need reciprocal data from your ex-chump, by all means send a text and ask for yourself. Again … problem solved. What does any of this have to do with the kid?

  • Priceless. Shows that KickAssDawn is doing it right! Nothing hurts more than indifference and just being ignored. Keep on keeping on as little contact as possible. He can pick tomatoes on his own.

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