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I Regret Unfriending My Cheating Ex

Dear Chump Lady,

I just impulsively un-friended my soon to be ex-husband of 15 years on Facebook.

He cheated on me with our daughter’s club soccer coach (who she totally loved and admired) while I was pregnant with our fourth baby. I played the pick me dance for a few months but decided raising three kids (plus an infant) would be easier without an alcoholic husband who can be really mean, lies, takes no accountability, and disappears for days at a time to be with his 24-year-old girlfriend. He ran to his mommy and played victim and his parents dropped me like I’m nothing.

Anyway, I instantly regretted it (the de-friending). He barely posts anything on Facebook and is still keeping their relationship on the down low, so it’s not that I want to see what he’s up to. It’s that I want him to see what I am doing — that I’m ok without him — I’m doing the fun things with the kids, going out with my girlfriends, working, sprucing up the house, spending time with my big extended family (who he loved), going on vacation…

I’m ok and living my life. (I’m really not ok). Now I can’t rub any of this in his face and have him see that I’m fine (even though I’m not most of the time). Ugh. I’m so mad at myself. We are totally no contact due to a protection from abuse order, besides communicating regarding the kids on an app, so I already had the no contact covered. (He punched the back of my head while holding our baby after he discovered I looked through his texts and saw that he SNUCK his AP into his PARENTS’ house when he was staying there for a weekend to “help his dad go to rehab”…. talk about a heartless, giant man child…)

After all this, ESPECIALLY after all of this, I want him to see that I’m “GOOD”. I don’t need him. Maybe he’d even question his choices deep down inside after seeing pics of me and my life without him. Now he won’t see it and it’s my own fault. And worse, I might even look like an immature and angry ex because of the unfriending. Ugh. I literally have a pit in my stomach that I just did this.

Sincerely,

Facebook Eff-up

****

Dear Facebook Smart Move,

You did a healthy thing unfriending him and it probably feels wrong because you’re used to swirling in a cauldron of dysfunction.

Immature? You’re not the alcoholic cheater living with his mommy. You’re the sane adult parent of four children. Angry? You should be angry — this motherfucker hit you. And he endangered your health with his cheating. He disrespected and abused you. It’s absolutely NORMAL to be angry. I’d be worried about you if you weren’t angry. It’s what you do with those strong emotions that matters.

You channelled your righteous upset productively — no contact. Keep at it. No contact is the best way to protect yourself and your children from further harm. You got the divorce started, you got a protection order, you moved communication to third-party software. Yea you! That took a ton of strength. Don’t falter now.

Will he accuse you of being immature and angry? Sure. Of course. Because DARVO is what these freaks do. Expect a bad case of the sadz when the kibbles dry up. I think you’re reflexively feeling bad for having boundaries. You’re wondering what it looks like to him. You’re used to his opinion of you mattering. Like, his Displeasure could mean life and death because he’s an abusive fuckwit.

HIS OPINION DOES NOT MATTER.

Consider the source. A fuckwit! A loser! A cheater! A drunk! Who cares what he thinks? He has a sadz? Appalling behavior has consequences.

It’s that I want him to see what I am doing — that I’m ok without him — I’m doing the fun things with the kids, going out with my girlfriends, working, sprucing up the house, spending time with my big extended family (who he loved), going on vacation…

You know what says, “I’m okay without you?” No contact. You want to drive home the message? Cue the choir of crickets.

You know what says, “I still care”? Giving him a portal to your life. Caring about his feelings of imaginary regret. Whatever inconvenient feelings he may have — assuming he’s capable of them — he’s drowning in drink or 24-year-old pussy. I’m sorry, expecting him to care is the bargaining stage of grief. It’s hopium. It’s not wanting to face the wall of pain that you and four kids didn’t matter to him. Not enough.

I’m ok and living my life. (I’m really not ok).

It’s okay to not be okay. In fact, it’s to be expected. Don’t wish you were a sociopath, someone who can just walk away and swap people out like used tissues. You’re a human being with feelings. Ending a 15-year marriage with the father of your children is going to hurt — even if he’s a flaming asshole. Even if he needs to be left. You invested deeply in this person and hoped he’d be better. That was a gift. And it’s time to stop giving him that gift. He doesn’t appreciate it and you deserve peace. Your children deserve one sane, show-up parent.

So DO those fun things. Go out with friends, spruce up the house, be with your family. Invest your energies with people who DO care. There’s a lot of fake-it-til-you-make-it, and I’m sure I can come up with some other time-worn cliches, but it’s true. To build a new life, you just gotta slog it out. Your feelings will catch up in time. Allow it to suck right now. Don’t expect a great attitude about your life being in the shitter. This is a FINITE moment. It won’t always suck.

After all this, ESPECIALLY after all of this, I want him to see that I’m “GOOD”.

He can’t see that. If he could appreciate your goodness he wouldn’t have shat on it.

Seek validation elsewhere, but first from yourself. You’re GOOD. Look at all this crap you’ve survived. Imagine how much easier your life will be without it and him. It takes STRENGTH to leave.

Trust me, he’s going to figure out very quickly that you’re okay without him and it will enrage him that he can’t control you. That can go one of two ways — either he hoovers to draw you back into his bullshit. Nice picture you posted of the kids… Or he ghosts you and moves on to his next victim.

Of those two crappy choices, I’d prefer the latter. Neither are any reflection on you and your worth. He’s not hoovering because he cares, but because you’re of use. And he’s not ghosting you because you suck, it’s because he’s figured out an easier way to get kibbles.

It’s all about HIM. Don’t forget that. Don’t imagine it’s more than that. You have ample evidence of who he is. Put down the hopium pipe and stick with the no contact.

As for that pit in the stomach? Feed it. Have some Christmas cookies with friends. Keep rocking that new life. It gets better. ((Hugs))

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.
  • Soon to be ex? Have you filed? Stick to the alternative methods of communication, especially through your lawyer. There’s no reason to assure FW that you and the kids are doing fine when he should be confronting the full economic and legal consequences of his behavior. Use your mighty energy – focus on you and your children and avoid him (and another relationship) until you stop caring what he thinks.

    • Yes. The day after he hit me I went to the courthouse, filed for the PFA, and had my lawyer send the papers. That was the last straw for me.

      • FBFUP, every time you have feelings about your decision on Facebook, remember how you felt when he hit you. It was good and right to want to be away from that abusive asshat. He is a bad man. He doesn’t deserve even any of your attention. He doesn’t deserve to see what you are doing.

        You have been living in chaos because life with an alcoholic abuser is chaotic. The less contact you have with that jerk, the sooner you will recover. Your biggest job right now is to be the sane parent. You owe it to your children to protect yourself from their father.

        • One of the first things I did was de-friend my ex on social media. Why would I follow someone (or let them follow me) who intentionally hurt me and my kids by cheating on me? It only serves to normalize her behaviour and give it a stamp of approval. Definitely not going to do that.

      • You are doing the right things now. You bonded with a fuckwit and you are capable of bonding, he is not.
        Keep going through the motions to protect yourself and if you cannot think of yourself, think of your children who need to see you model strength and and not accepting mistreatment.
        You are normal and your emotions haven’t caught up with the facts of who he is. Keep going through the motions and eventually the feelings will catch up.
        Make your list of to dos and follow it without feeling if necessary.
        I closed my fb acct and opened an Instagram acct in my maiden name so I could see pics of my children and friends.

      • You are amazing!
        I love this site. I love chumplady and chumpnation.
        What feels great to me is not even clicking on the fb option in my phone. I’ll tap the Bible app, log into my email or browse my bank acct/school website instead! Anything…
        Keep trucking everyone. You’re doing great💛

  • Since there’s a protective order then it’s best not to give any illusion of friendly ties. If he went so far as to strike you, then you will likely need a renewal of said order. Put your energy toward saving the children from this FW. Per your description, he will do everything to sabotage your relationship with the children and use them as pawns. Keep your eyes focused on the long run and the children’s well-being.

    • I thought the same thing. Filing for divorce and getting a protective order say one thing, remaining FB “friends” says another. In addition to the reasons articulated by Chumplady (which are gold), unfriending is an important declaration that this man behaved so badly that you cannot consider him a “friend.” Stay strong, FBFUP–and lean on people who love and support you!

    • I sincerely worry that having any type of social media presence could give him a way to track your location and find/hurt you or your kids. I have a friend who’s three kids were kidnapped by their biological mother and taken overseas – they have been searching for years.

      Violence isn’t a red flag on the field, it’s a bomb threat called into the stadium that causes the whole place to evacuate immediately.

      Read “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft. Violent people don’t change and can’t be reasoned with. The best thing you can do take your own safety and your children’s safety very seriously.

  • FEffU,

    This is easy for me to say, because I don’t do social media, but unfriending him on FB was the right thing to do and you shouldn’t regret it. CL is bang on here ….. and the way that you describe it, you wanting him to be watching your social media sounds like a variation on the “pick-me-dance.” Also, understand that FW/Cheaters are very likely to try and use anything that they see on your social media against you; either to reinforce their narrative that minimises the impact that their actions had on you, or to influence the divorce settlement.

    You need to recognise that he is unworthy of you and that going no contact is the healthiest thing for you and your children.

    LFTT

  • You did yourself a favor by unfriending him (and hopefully his family and any Switzerland friends). If you are still in the process of divorce, social media is one place where FWs will try to gather info to use against you. Don’t allow him that type of access. Keep silent. The only contact you need is through the app for the kids. If it is not kid related, you do not care.
    Don’t let him have any space in your life. That should be reserved only for those who are worthy of your time and attention. He is not worth the time. He burned down your house with you and the children in it. This is not someone who has any feelings for you. This is not a person to trust. You need safety and trust. Hold tight and keep on being the sane parent. It will get better. Your feelings are normal because you invested in a marriage and family and he did not. Most of all, trust that he SUCKS. It gets better.

  • This made me so sad. Facebook Eff Up, you didn’t fuck up. You need to get completely divorced and free from this abusive STBX and not allow him any more access into your life. Nothing. Please get therapy to help support you through this. It’s hard.

    Please focus only on your kids and you. Stay safe. Put up cameras (Ring camera in the door). If you have a protective order against this guy, there’s a reason. I had to put up the Ring on my door and I have cameras inside as well because FW would threaten to come in.

    Keep everything you’re doing private and hopefully FW will move on and stay away.

  • Ah, soccer connection here too. My ex screwed a soccer mom. Who knew that could even happen while he was coaching soccer? Did he leave the team mid-game to screw in the parking lot?! Anywho, my ex’s AP (not the soccer mom, yes, there was pick-me-dancing after that) posts enough “deliriously happy, twu-wuv, soul-mate” photos & captions that I can actually see the through them for the insecurity & over-the-top fakeness they actually are. AP has her FB public, we’re definitely not FB friends. FW doesn’t post a thing & he’s no FB friend of mine either. So while you may regret not being able to post these happy happy happy photos for your ex to see, the truth is we can’t control how others perceive them. He might see it as he’s missing out or he might see it that you miss him so much that you’re acting all fake & insecure & him and his AP might just laugh over it as my friends and I did (the one post where AP declared FW was the #1 Tool Man had me & my friends in stitches). I stopped looking awhile ago at AP’s page because anyone with two brain cells knows it’s all impression management. No one posts their fights, the silent treatments, the disdainful looks, the criticisms. I know I sure didn’t.

  • I engaged in a lot of performative posting on Fb both during and after my relationship with the Lying Cheating Loser. It was purely attention-seeking. His social media MO was to dole out “likes” and comments as kibbles and withhold them as punishment/rejection. LFTT is correct in saying that wanting our FWs to pay attention to our social media is a form of the pick-me dance.
    I quickly realized one thing: the LCL purposely AVOIDED looking at my social media. When we were still connected on Fb, he had me unfollowed, so as not to see anything I posted and run the risk of feeling some kind of way.
    Also, I’m going to generalize here, but I think women are more prone to watch/stalk their exes’ social media than men are. It’s a mistake we women make to think that men will behave/feel the way we do vis-a-vis social media.
    And sociopaths are in a category all their own. Social media is just a great big kibble-factory and distribution center to them.
    To the OP: if it helps you, make some of your badass new life posts public. That way, if he looks you up, he will see them. But realize that CL is right – he doesn’t care. Ergo, he won’t even look you up.
    I’m 4.5 years out, and quit the pick-me dance (in real life AND on Fb) 4 years ago. Do what you gotta do to get through, and know that life gets better. Better than you can imagine right now. And infinitely better because you’re living Fuckwit-free.

      • Thanks KB22, it’s the closest description I could come up with. At the end of the day, it’s unhealthy behavior but a lot less unhealthy than some other coping strategies I could have chosen.
        If performative posting is a pit stop on the way to Meh, so be it. 🤷🏼‍♀️

  • Trust me on this…showing off on FB doesn’t really impress anyone because well it’s FB and most people are on to those faking great lives. The pretense of a “great life” can be quite obvious to others. I’m not knocking those that post significant events, travel, pets, kids or getting together with friends but there is an element that tend to go over the top. If you really want to make an impact make yourself a complete mystery as in he has no idea what is going on with your life. At times he’ll think you’re still mooning over him, sure, but the longer you are out of site and a puzzle he’ll be all over the map with guessing what you are up to and what’s going on in your life. If you use FB to stay in touch with friends, fine, just refrain from posting. It would be even better to take a break altogether from FB.

  • The less he knows about your life, the better ESPECIALLY since there is a restraining order. Do you really want him potentially finding out where you’ll be, what your future plans are? You absolutely did the right thing in unfriending him.

  • I had a PFA against my ex as well. You did the legal right thing by unfriending him. It means you followed the PFA to the letter and are having NO CONTACT. He does not deserve access to your life. Anything he sees on there he could try and construe in his own nasty way to hurt you. You did the best thing you could possibly do. Silence and living your best life without giving him access is the best form of revenge there is. People like him crave that access and now he’s deprived of it. Keep going forward with healthy choices for you and your kids. It’s worth it. I made it out and he has just gone on to do it to someone else.

  • LW, that wasn’t “impulsive”. That was a small part of you that he didn’t manage to beat down, standing up and protecting you from him. That part will get stronger and stronger the more you shut him completely out of your lives.

    You should take the next step and BLOCK him and all of his friends and family members on all your social media.

    Please understand that a man who physically attacks you for catching him cheating is DANGEROUS. Men like this do not sit home in a puddle of sad and regret their life choices. As you already know, they lash out.

    • This deserves repeating:
      “a man who physically attacks you for catching him cheating is DANGEROUS”
      and someone who does this while you are holding a baby is even worse.

      You need be as far from him as humanly possible and like others said, no access to your life.

      • Punching someone in the head while they’re holding a baby has to be viewed– and reacted to– from the potential outcomes of it, not the actual outcome. One of those outcomes could have been permanent brain or spinal injury if, say, the blow had landed a little closer to the temple. Another potential outcome was murder. It wasn’t due to the surgical precision with which he aimed the blow but just dumb luck that she didn’t lose her balance and either drop the baby or fall on the baby.

  • Number one rule in response to an abusive human is DO NOT ENGAGE.

    If you have children with the abusive human, number one rule is DO NOT ENGAGE UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

    Traitor Ex qualifies as an abusive male. We have a child and co-own a business.
    I do not speak to him unless absolutely necessary, and only by email, which is extremely brief, only facts, and has to do with child, money, business, and zero other content. I only speak to him if it can’t be said in an email, and that is rare.

    Your desire to make him see you are OK without him is distressing, and one I shared which was extinguished with the help of my beloved trusted therapist.

    I could not give a flying F what he thinks now, and that feels much better than wanting to make him see anything.

    • BTW, are there any developments regarding the situation of the discovered-tracking-device that you are willing to share? (and JSYK – I love your guts! You are one heck of a mighty woman.)

  • It appears to me that you’ve been doing all the right things for recovery. Except, you are allowing him space in your mind. Evict him from your thoughts. Work on that. It does not matter what he thinks, or what his flying monkeys think. If he had ever valued you the way he should, he would not have done what he did. He used you and took you for granted. Even if he does wake up and miss kibbles, that’s not the same thing as missing you.

    You’ve thought of yourself as part of a couple and part of the parent package. It’s understandable, but you have to change your mode of thinking to that of a solitary sane parent. Once you make that mind shift, your life will become so much easier, mentally. I often thought of my EX as an undependable babysitting service. He might cancel at the last minute. He might not pay his share when due. I made back-up plans with people I could depend on. It was hard. Sometimes I had to change my plans. He was a selfish ass. I was a sane parent, who put my children above “fun” activities for me. If others in my life did not understand, I took them off my dependable friend/family list. Unfortunately, that list was very short.

    Your children will eventually reach the age of self-care. There is hope. You will become stronger. You will realize actually being happy is better than having other’s think you are happy. It will happen sooner than you think it will!

  • “Trust me, he’s going to figure out very quickly that you’re okay without him and it will enrage him that he can’t control you.” I agree with CL.

    Oh, honey, people don’t need social media to gossip. That practice will never die. He will find out from a friend of a friend or another family member or your dentist that you’re doing A-ok.

    But you’ll know when your Tuesday has come when you know longer give a rat’s ass.

    It takes time. Frankly, I’m 3 years out and still fantasize that x has heard through the non-internet grapevine that I’m thriving without him. I’m thriving because he’s no longer a toxic presence in my life not simply because I figured out a way to manage without him. I’d love for him to know that. #Mehwannabe

    Good luck, FEffU.

  • Remember: the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s ambivalence. You haven’t reached Tuesday yet and you’re used to caring what he thinks. (Living with an alcoholic, I would imagine this habit is self-preservation.) Not only do you get to stop walking on eggshells around your house, you’ve avoided taking care of a spouse with alcohol-related health problems.

  • This resonates with me. My ex is not on social media (aside from tinder LOL). But I always joke that if you look at FB 2021 looks like the best year of my life! I did have a lot of fun reconnecting with people after COVID and being invited to friends’ beach houses because they knew I needed support. It doesn’t show the tears, anxiety and fear I was going through. Partly I wanted my friends to see that I was OK. But I knew that my sister in law would see it, and maybe FW’s girlfriends would creep on there and see that I wasn’t the sad, frumpy used up person I know he was portraying me as. My SIL noticed and told me how much happier I looked. So living well is the best revenge. Is this the healthiest way of looking at things? Probably not but it helped me get my spirit back.

  • I’m sure that your attorney would say that less is more here, particularly with the protective order. Lean on their experience and wisdom, then channel your regrets into your own healing. Move into a new chapter and live your best post-relationship life. My attorney gave me a handout on social media during intake, and the recommendation was to unfriend the STBX and their supporters and to post very little if anything about yourself and your children until the dust settles.

    One time when I was talking about being friends with my ex afterward, my attorney said, “Only a fool remains friends with the person who burned down their house.” Of course, in some divorces, you can remain cordial and maybe even friends at some point, but he said not in the kind of divorce that I was having. I took his advice seriously (40+ years in divorce law, son of a judge, and a lot of pro-bono for abused women).

    That was before my ex really began losing it during the divorce process, just confirming that I needed to put up a high wall in my interactions with him. Even his attorney sent a message to me through my attorney that I needed to cut off everything I could with my ex because he was so mentally unstable. I had one email interaction with my ex in 2021, and one in 2022, both related to the divorce only. My attorney had given me the exact language to use each time.

    Sure, be civil but you don’t owe him anything beyond the minimum given the circumstances.

  • This is what you miss out on FB, nothing. There is nothing on there you need. If you have questions about ANYTHING just Google it. So, if you have a need to know go there. In the meantime you will gradually lose interest in the piece of shit cheating asshole. No contact gives your tired brain time to rebuild its healthy outlook instead of worrying about those two.
    What a silly baby man.

  • He’s an abuser, liar and cheat. Why do you care what he or his parents think about you and your life.

    Hopefully your great lawyer and therapist can help support you through these issues. Trauma bonding is real.

    Best wishes.

  • I understand this completely (mom of 4, invested in a 26 year marriage to an abusive, serial cheating drug addict/alcoholic who kept me on the crazy train of cycles between love bombing me and the kids, his despair and self pity (I gave up my life to help him), or scary rage (nearly broke my arm in a crowded elevator with my 10 year old in his path). The key to getting away and getting a peaceful cheater free life is looking at the (cognitive error) thought you expressed: “(maybe he will) question his choices deep down inside after seeing pics of me and my life without him…”. Nope. He won’t. By definition, someone who does what he does will NEVER be sorry. He wasn’t sorry when you didn’t know. He may be sorry you aren’t doing what he commands, but that’s just more evidence of his abusive nature. Trust he sucks.

  • He punched you while you were holding his child. He’s probably not going to care if you’re doing good and if he does care about you doing good, he’s going to want to assault you for it. It’ll make him angry and he’ll want to abuse you some more. Read why does he do that? By Lundy Bancroft. It’ll give you some insight into how abusive men think and help you keep yourself safe.

    • “He’s probably not going to care if you’re doing good and if he does care about you doing good, he’s going to want to assault you for it.”

      Absolutely. She’s thinking it will make him see the error of his ways, as if his psychology is that of a normal person with a conscience. It isn’t.

  • You did the right thing. My stbx took the “nice” things I posted and somehow managed to twist them into something bad (for instance, I posted some pictures of things I cooked during quarantine – he turned that into “you’re starving our child, because he clearly won’t eat what you’re making”; nevermind I always cook something separate for my son). He would then take these “concerns” to his lawyer and to the courts, wasting thousands of dollars of my money, and untold stress. After I unfriended and blocked him, he had “friends” stalk me and send him screenshots of anything he thought he could manipulate to his own ends, no matter how innocuous. I ended up going off Facebook for about 2 years, and even now I rarely use it even though FW died last year.

    CL is right. NOTHING bothers these abusive people more than becoming irrelevant. NOT being able to see what you are doing is going to be more “effective” than any photos of your wonderful life.

    It’s okay not to be okay. These things take time. Eventually you will become indifferent to him. But no contact (including social media) is essential. Get him out of your head. Fill your life with the good things. Not to show him what he’s missing (he doesn’t care), but because you are worth it. Eventually the new life crowds out the old, and you will wonder what you ever saw in him. Your life will be so much easier without him, I promise. Even as a single mom of four kids. Because now you don’t have five. And you aren’t being viciously abused. Please don’t care what opinion your abuser has of you. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. Life can and WILL be good again. Give it time, get a divorce, maintain no contact, and be gentle with yourself. You are allowed to be angry, hurt, frustrated, lost, and lonely. But just know those things don’t last forever.

    I wish I could give you a hug. I didn’t believe people who said there was light at the end of the tunnel. But there IS.

    I will put in one plug for therapy – it was immensely helpful for me dealing with the abuse I experienced, and with coparenting with my abusive ex.

    • I agree with the Isawthelight. I would not post on Facebook. I no longer post anything. I wish people happy birthday or congratulations. Thats it! Flying monkeys. Out of sight out of mind with a dangerous Ex who wants to ruin you.

  • Facebook Eff-Up, please get yourself to Al Anon meetings. They have groups for your kids as well. Alcoholism affects all the family members, not just the drinker. You and your children have learned unhealthy patterns in order to live with this guy. Unless you do some serious work it will affect your future relationships and possibly repeat. Leaving your husband set a good example for your kids, but following up with Al Anon will show them to be proactive in their life.
    https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/

    • I agree with Bruno here. Dig deep to find out why, after being physically assaulted by a spouse, you have the desire to dip your toes back into an abuser’s world. If you don’t deal with this need to meddle in the life of an abuser, the next one that comes along will seem familiar instead of foreign to you.

      Not to mention, that legal protection order was issued by a Judge after reviewing compelling evidence that your safety is at risk. Once you go on record as having made contact or initiated relationship with him again, that protective order is compromised – by you. Don’t do it.

    • This is spot on. I attend Adult Child of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families zoom meetings 2 to 3 times a week. Drinking does not get me in trouble, I quit that long ago. But my “thinking” was programmed in childhood by incompetent protectors. At 68yrs old I’m learning most of my ideas about relationships are not healthy, romantic or otherwise. Humbling to the bone.

  • You are suffering with a classic case of “would have, should have, could have.” And that will only lead to futility. Plus there’s still deep set anger on your part, that is understandable. Given time (that old fall back word) said ex will slowly fade away, your good fortune. And the “would have, should had, could have” syndrome vanishes, too. I totally agree with others who say that if you had not unfriended him, he would take every thing you posts and twist it into a many knotted, hateful back to you post. Your good sense kicked in when you dropped that unspeakably, twisted ex.

  • Dear Unfriending, I was married to an abusive alcoholic and had two daughters by the time I was 26. His father and brothers were alcoholics. Gorgeous intelligent and hilarious, all of them. It was a skein of effed-upedness. I went to Al-Anon and quickly understood the patterns of behaviour. Please read https://www.amazon.ca/Getting-Them-Sober-Separations-Healings-ebook/dp/B0051OT47U… this little book is SO so great at putting the feelings you have, as the wife on an alcoholic into perspective. Its a slim book and a quick read and about $5 on kindle. It will help you “get sober.” You are doing all the right things! Keep doing EVERYTHING YOU CAN to protect yourself and your children…. I may have quickly been able to see the patterns of behaviour, but it took years to unwind my own heartache and my own patterns. People in Al-Anon and other Recovery programmes (SMART Recovery) understand in ways others who have not been in that particular situation can’t. That said- chumplady nation are the most intelligent group of recovered people online. CL advice is golden.

  • Hey FB Eff Up – You are mighty and you have every right to feel good about all that you have achieved and how you are navigating this horrible experience in your life.

    And, you’ve managed all this with a newborn… I can’t even imagine that… you are my hero.

    And you’ll find the validation around your successes and struggles best HERE… not on FB and not by your Xfuckwit stalking you (if he even does). Tell us… we’ll hoorah you and we’ll support you. He never did, he never will.

    Run your own race. My pastor told me that when I was wanting to shout to my FW and his OW how I was feeling about how well I was surviving while they skipped off in twu wuv. It really helped me keep my focus. I needed to do what I was doing for me… and for my son. Nothing I was doing was for the fuckwit… heck, he didn’t appreciate all that I did that was good and kind and loving while I was married to him, why would he care now?

    Keep on going… get your lawyer… get your child support (and alimony?)… get your new life moving forward… and put him and the soccer coach in the rearview… like roadkill.

  • Don’t sweat it…..living your best life will get back to him and whoever is interested . Good have a way of making it around just like shitty things . Move proudly of how you are handling your family life and let yourself shine….even walk with a little swagger.

  • Mine would be “so hurt” if I unfollowed him or blocked him LOL, poor sad sack. He would call me and wonder why I’m being so mean…( what did he do to deserve to be treated this way??? LOL). I already get texts from him if our kids ( all over 21, mind you) don’t respond to his texts. I have my audience set to friends except him, so it looks like I don’t post. I AM living a fantastic life without him, btw.

  • dear facebook fuck-up, you’ve done the right thing. no contact is the best. carry on.

    i understand the disappointment of having picked a bad partner because i’ve been there. at first, i was mad at my X for not dealing with problems at hand then i had a major realization–he isn’t emotionally capable of dealing with emotional problems. that’s it. he functions at a 12 -year-old’s level. this was a liberating thought. i just don’t expect much of him and that’s what he delivers: not much + a side of chaos.

    so, i deal with the side of chaos indirectly (through my kids) and leave the rest.

    it takes time. i’m 2 years out from d-day and my divorce is just about finalized. one last little detail. then i’m free. it’s quite something to go through the process. first, i was shocked and disbelieving. then the slow realization started and i picked apart patterns and FOO issues, and then i realized my X wasn’t/isn’t emotionally capable. these days, i’ve forgiven myself for making a bad choice in a partner and i’m doing my own thing. i’m happily single!

    • “i just don’t expect much of him and that’s what he delivers: not much + a side of chaos.”

      Well said, and the “+ a side of chaos” got a chuckle out of me as well.

  • The impulse to unfriend him was a good one. Every encounter with an abuser is an opportunity for them to abuse you more. Including social media. You could also provoke his anger depending how drunk/deranged he gets. No contact is the saftest way to go.

  • “Maybe he’d even question his choices deep down inside after seeing pics of me and my life without him. Now he won’t see it and it’s my own fault. And worse, I might even look like an immature and angry ex because of the unfriending.”

    No, he won’t question his choices. He’s not that deep. He doesn’t self-examine. Everything will always be your fault to him.

    Why do you care what you look like to him and his dysfunctional family? This guy PUNCHED you while you were carrying a baby! From what you’ve described, it’s safe to say none of them have the capacity to admit he is at fault. There is addiction in the family, and where there is addiction, there is massive denial. You cannot penetrate the fortress of their denial. They’re going to think badly of you no matter what you do. They cannot face up to what they are, so they will continue to believe you are the problem.

    Look, this guy is an abuser. It’s safest for you to be off his radar completely. If he sees you having a good life, that may enrage him and he may become violent. The most important job you have is to keep you and your kids safe from this beast. Making him envious is a bad idea on every level. It’s not safe, it’s not good for your healing and it will have no positive effect on him. He isn’t going to get an epiphany and change because you are doing well. Please accept that you don’t have any control over that and that nothing you do will change him. You didn’t cause him to be fucked up. His parents and his genes did. So you can’t do anything about what he is, you can’t help him, and your duty is to yourself and your kids, not to him. Every chump must face that in order to heal and to be free. Let him live his fucked up life. When you let go of thinking you can have any effect on these disordered beings, you will be able to really live that happy, peaceful life you want him to think you are living.

    • Exactly this. He isn’t a safe person. The less he knows about your movements, your new home, and your new life the better. Abusive men are the most dangerous when you stop pick-me dancing and start living your own life. How many headlines have we all seen of men who refuse to let their Ex’s move on to have happy lives without them?

      OP you may think he isn’t capable of it, but a man who would punch his wife who is holding his newborn child may be capable of anything. I don’t mean to be doom and gloom, but if his new Toy ends up ditching him and he gets into a dark place, the less he knows about your new life the better.

  • FBFUP, I’m gonna give ya some tough love here. He doesn’t care. The kind of cheater you’ve got isn’t the caring, regretful type. I unfriended my ex immediately based on all the best advice. Every time I had to see him I tried to look perfect so he’d feel bad. He didn’t. They don’t have regrets or feel bad. They kinda miss getting to be an adult-child in a nice home and they’re upset for getting caught. That’s it. He’ll hang around trying to control you during the divorce process, but that’s not because he’s sad and lonely and regrets what happened. The types of people who care and have regrets IMHO wouldn’t screw 24 year old soccer coaches and hit their wives. He simply doesn’t care if your life is great or not. Keep rocking the no contact! It gets better but it does take longer than you think. You got this!

    • Then again the split personality types care one minute and don’t the next. One psychologist described this type as fragmented but not on the level of dissociative personality disorder and they’re aware they trot out different personalities in different circumstances. But they invest so deeply in each guise that they tend to feel it as real in the moment and the nearly full investment makes the act diabolically convincing to others.

  • I also got a temporary order for protective violence, which was extended to a permanent order. While that “piece of paper” won’t stop a bullet, as my attorney told me, it proved invaluable in other ways. In my state, the “law prohibits a court from making parents joint conservators if there has been a history or pattern of physical or sexual abuse by one parent against the other parent, a spouse or a child. Also, state law does not allow a parent to have possession of a child if that parent has a history of family violence during the previous two years or has sexually assaulted or abused the child in question.”

    So, that PO got me GUARANTEED sole custody of our fifteen-year old son: physical, legal, medical, everything. FW was limited to twice a month of four hours supervised possession. That didn’t last long, either. There’s nothing like eating lunch at Chili’s with a very angry teenage boy to ruin your day.

    I wasn’t “okay,” either. But the PO’s iron-clad protection, with its threat of possible criminal charges, gave me the space I needed to rebuild our lives.

    • I wish my state had those laws. My children are not named in the PFA since he did not physically harm them.
      And so, when it comes to custody, the PFA will have VERY little impact since the kids are not named in it. The courts don’t care much where I live…especially in my county – they are very dead set on 50/50. My lawyer has seen it time and time again where the abuse is not really considered much unless it is the child being abused. It’s really hard to understand.

      • I am so, so sorry. Co-parenting is difficult enough, with a reasonable ex. Post-divorce, my XH’s single-minded goal in life became “how can I punish Eve.” How? By hurting our children. So, I can protect them from strangers but not their father? Yes, it’s really hard to understand.

      • I can’t believe the legal system didn’t recognize the risk to a newborn of having their mother attacked while in arms. But the again I can believe it because progress is incredibly slow in terms of domestic violence legislation and enforcement varies. Hopefully “coercive control” laws will become more widespread than they currently are. Scotland went the furthest and made patterns of subviolent abuse punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. UK made it punishable by up to five and subviolent abuse can impact custody in Hawaii, California and possibly Connecticut. https://www.theacecc.com/post/not-all-bills-are-created-equal-a-review-of-coercive-control-legislation

  • You need to look at this situation with clear eyes. He’s an alcoholic. He’s a cheater. A wife hitter. And really, he’s useless. He’s emotionally corrupting your child with alcoholic fueled behavior. You don’t want him to know how much better your life is without him because he will try to ruin it. You’ve escaped. Don’t look back.

  • Dear FB F Up,

    Only the lowest of the low can cheat on their pregnant partner. It’s such a vulnerable time. A time when the focus appropriately should be on you.

    He was already emotionally abusing you with the affair and putting your (and your baby’s) health at risk. Then he ups the anty for physical abuse as well?

    You know you’re better off without him. And I am proud of your strength for cutting off the kibbles even though it feels wrong. You want them to know you’re ok…. But you’re not and they know this. This was actually a further step in the right direction. You are strong and capable. What a loving mother you are.

  • Him seeing you and the kids are ok and thriving, wont cause him any emotion. Its our need for revenge, validation. Gotta cull that from your psyche.

    Im aghast that your inlaws would stop contact with you and the grandkids. But the fact your FIL had to go to rehab speaks volumes. They are evil people. Evil lives.

    You have an order of protection. If your ex has been physically abusive to you he could escalate now that he has no control over you and harm you or your kids. Dont think that ex abusive partners dont do this. It is in the news everyday. You dont want your family to be the next headline. I would be quiet and hide. I would get security cameras, ring door bell, lights that are movement activated. Tell your neighbors that he is dangerous and to watch for him or strange cars. Arm yourself if needed. I hate to say that if you have kids, but if I had an order of protection from my ex, I would.

    He is dangerous. You need to accept the danger he poses to you and your kids.

  • It’s really tough in the beginning to fight the urge to rub your newfound single awesomeness in an ex’s face, no matter how mature you are…but consider this, in addition to CL’s great advice: you may divulge something that he may try to use against you in a court of law, which, even if he’s unsuccessful, will be a pain in your ass. For example, he sees a picture of you drinking wine with your girlfriends and he tries to use that as proof you’re an alcoholic parent or he sees you on a vacation and he tries to use that as evidence that you require less spousal or child support. Stuff like that. Privacy from these disordered people is absolutely necessary because they love to create legal chaos.

    Also, consider the weight on your heart, mind, and soul of trying to elicit a negative response from your ex. It’s not worth it. Do not play his games. You will never be happy or content that way. Fight your internal urges to make him feel jealous or bad and try and use that energy to do things that genuinely make you and your children happy. One only has so much energy to use, don’t waste it on this bag of dicks.

    Keep your private life private, stay off social media, at least until everything is settled with your divorce. And assume that anything you post publicly can and will be used against you…so post responsibly.

  • I’m recuperating from covid (second time, fun) so please forgive any typos or woozy-sounding explanations. Regular readers could probably predict everything I have to say here.

    Dear FB,

    There’s another, more chilling reason it was a good idea to block your STBX from social media. Due to his past violence, the risk that seeing you move on and do well could trigger him to attack or even kill you and/or your children. https://www.aetv.com/real-crime/signs-an-abusive-partner-may-kill-you It’s basic statistical risk assessment because the risk that an abuser may kill victims increases something like 70% from the moment victims attempt to leave or show signs of moving on well with their lives. Clearly the police and court recognize the risk you’re in because orders of protection are notoriously difficult to get.

    Some might believe that risk is lessened if the abuser has cheated or otherwise shifted allegiance to a new partner but it’s a false read of the situation. As a former advocate for DV survivors, I learned that virtually all batterers cheat and that battering is largely driven by the enforcement of sexual double standards (total sexual control and freedom for abusers and none for victims). Since most people wouldn’t naturally consent to this, any attempt to coerce or enforce the dynamics could be viewed as protracted rape. This means that batterers who go on to kill partners or former partners generally have the same MO and possibly even more intense forms of it since one risk factor for domestic murder is sexual coercion. So cheating or shifting allegiance should not be taken as a sign that the danger has passed because it’s essentially founded on sexual coercion. It’s also a false read of the situation to assume cheating decreases danger because of a tricky and not commonly understood aspect of batterer psychology called “masked dependency.”

    In his book “The Batterer” (recommended reading), criminologist and domestic violence researcher Donald Dutton describes abusers who mask dependency as statistically more likely to kill partners or former partners than other categories of abusers. Masked dependency is basically where an abuser, due to whatever childhood trauma they endured, develop catastrophic shame over feelings of vulnerability, especially feelings of dependency on a partner which, in abusers, tend to be pathological and infantile and haunted with dueling, demented fears of either being “engulfed” or abandoned. Some abusers consequently go to great lengths to conceal these “weak spots” even from themselves– i.e., “masking” dependency. In that light, cheating could be seen as a means of concealing dependency on a primary partner because the abuser is making an ambivalent gesture towards “escaping” the partner via betrayal, thus assuring themselves that they’re the “abandoner,” not the abandoned, while not actually leaving. Basically the abuser is doing to the partner the very thing the abuser most fears being done unto themselves as a dysfunctional means of denying that fear. And cheating could be seen as a means of masking dependency by “diluting” the shameful dependency through spreading the dependency out among more than one partner. But if the “diluting” tactic was actually effective, cheating batterers wouldn’t so often escalate to harassing or even killing their former partners.

    An abuser who masks dependency would more easily admit to a fear of engulfment or “suffocation” by a partner because it has an acceptably rugged cowboy “you ain’t the boss of me” romance to it while admitting to fears of abandonment carries a “weak,” infantile stigma. But abusers would also never admit that even the fear of engulfment arose from dependent behaviors like mirroring where– in order to gain acceptance, love and security from other people– abusers will pretend to be the ideal of their targets. Because faking an entire personality, ethics and views isn’t sustainable over the long term, the disguise eventually starts to feel too “tight” and constricting. And because abusers will never take responsibility for the dynamics they create, they’ll blame the sense of being constricted and controlled on the partner rather than their own fraud.

    For some reason, cheating is often the trigger that shakes DV survivors out of the paralysis of Stockholm syndrome/captor bonding, probably because an abuser finding alternative sources for sex takes away the last assurance the victim had that the abuser might not kill them. But because the fog of captor bonding doesn’t lift all at once, victims might not immediately interpret cheating as increased threat of death even if they do sense the danger of remaining in the relationship has exceeded the very considerable danger of leaving. Another hint that cheating represents an increased risk of danger is that another common trigger for escape is an extreme escalation of violence and threats.

    It’s a common story among chumps that even the most dismissive cheaters will go into rages when served divorce papers and that even cheaters who seemed to have “successfully” diluted dependency and shifted allegiance to a new partner still tend to circle back around to harass their victims when victims show signs of moving on with their lives. It’s like those who can’t commit also can never truly let go. From my perspective, the whole thing looks exactly like the classic push/pull of battering dynamics to the point that I now look at cheating as a red flag for potential violence. That’s also not an uncommon story among chumps: cheaters who’d never previously been violent being violent for the first time when victims attempt to leave. It makes me suspect that even the cheaters who seem to do the full Houdini routine and “ghost” their victims may be doing so because they know that, if they look back and see their former victims bouncing back and enjoying life, they’ll be consumed with murderous rage. But because the above dynamics aren’t typically understood by most, many chumps may not immediately realize the danger they just escaped and, in the gap of that dawning realization, may feel only loss.

    In any case, rather than regretting blocking social media, I’d take it further and check the undercarriage of your car for tracking devices, check phones and computers for tracking apps and install a security system on your property because the storm may still be coming. I can guarantee you that, if you are even considering waving a red cape in front of a bull by showing the STBX how great you’re doing without him, you haven’t fully emerged from captor bonding because you’re still buffered from the realization that he’s a “bull” who could easily mow you down. Stockholm syndrome/captor bonding is nothing to be ashamed of because it’s not a pathology or mental illness but actually a largely effective survival strategy that’s so hardwired in human beings under duress that even veteran intelligence specialists are rarely given whole parcels of state secrets but only fragments because, if captured by hostile forces and subjected to certain stressors, it’s known that most will crack like eggs, bond with their captors and spill what they know. When and if spies and military personnel escape captivity, they’re automatically “deprogrammed” in order to break any captor bonding they may have developed. In other words, it doesn’t make you weak and you may be alive because of it. But at this point its outlived its utility. Getting support from a therapist or group that specializes in PTSD, captor bonding and domestic violence recovery could help ease you out of the this. And the upside is that, in my experience, when survivors of violence “un-bond” from abusers, the process tends to be very thorough. Once someone has recognized the degree of danger they were in, any remaining feelings for the former abuser suddenly go up in smoke and, in retrospect, the abuser tends to look more like a sewer disaster or dangerous beast than human.

    I’m not saying any of this to add to your anxiety but in the hopes you’ll ward off further trauma by protecting yourself. Stay safe and be well.

    • p.s. Just in case it needs repeating, the modern clinical view is that abusers don’t abuse because they drink but rather drink so that they can abuse. Not everyone abuses substances for the same reason and not all addicts are abusive or violent. But abusive people use substances in service of their primary disorder– to reduce empathy and inhibitions to facilitate acting out aggressively and to numb conscience so they can keep doing it.

    • “In his book “The Batterer” (recommended reading), criminologist and domestic violence researcher Donald Dutton describes abusers who mask dependency as statistically more likely to kill partners or former partners than other categories of abusers. Masked dependency is basically where an abuser, due to whatever childhood trauma they endured, develop catastrophic shame over feelings of vulnerability, especially feelings of dependency on a partner which, in abusers, tend to be pathological and infantile and haunted with dueling, demented fears of either being “engulfed” or abandoned. Some abusers consequently go to great lengths to conceal these “weak spots” even from themselves– i.e., “masking” dependency. In that light, cheating could be seen as a means of concealing dependency on a primary partner because the abuser is making an ambivalent gesture towards “escaping” the partner via betrayal, thus assuring themselves that they’re the “abandoner,” not the abandoned, while not actually leaving. Basically the abuser is doing to the partner the very thing the abuser most fears being done unto themselves as a dysfunctional means of denying that fear. And cheating could be seen as a means of masking dependency by “diluting” the shameful dependency through spreading the dependency out among more than one partner. But if the “diluting” tactic was actually effective, cheating batterers wouldn’t so often escalate to harassing or even killing their former partners.”

      I quoted this paragraph because it’s absolutely terrifying to me. This is the best description I’ve ever seen for what my ex husband is like and he talked about killing me at the end which I took seriously and got out of the marriage as fast as possible and went no contact. Nearly everyone in my life acted like I was being ridiculous but I was terrified. I’m going to pick up that book, thank you.

      • Because coffee tastes like soap and I got the blurry vision part of covid, I misread your second to last sentence as “Nearly everyone in my life acted ridiculous that I was terrified. Then I realized I correctly read the subtext. I hope you have new, less ridiculous people in your life who take things like serious death threats seriously.

        Many people might find the general subject matter in the book horrifying. But I think if you’ve been through it, it’s a huge relief to know there are people out there who get it and, furthermore, can explain why most people don’t get it and how this contributes to the crisis and puts survivors in further peril, not to mention adding to life-threatening stress since social response can mediate how and if a survivor recovers. A few other books that seem to make survivors do hail Marys at the ceiling (not kidding, I saw this happen at a reading) are Frank M. Ochberg’s Post-traumatic Therapy and the Victims of Violence, particularly the chapter on DV, and Evan Stark’s Coercive Control.

        • Another p.s.– Dutton doesn’t write much about infidelity other than reporting that many batterers are chronically and delusionally paranoid their victims are unfaithful. Cheating by batterers is an under-discussed aspect of DV except if you’re on the ground hearing from survivors at intake or in more free-for-all type meetings and forums. I think this is because survivors are quickly discouraged from discussing an aspect of abuse that could be– out of ignorance or willfully– misinterpreted by bystanders, bad clinicians and legal officials as a motive to fabricate out of “jealousy.” But I’m seeing more written about it which is encouraging. https://www.joplinlawyers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/FINAL-COPY-Infidelity-as-a-Consideration-in-Domestic-Abuse-and-Coercive-Control.pdf

          • I’m reading this pdf- and it’s great. Thanks for posting. If this kind of research becomes legally credible, it will be life-changing for chumps. Our experiences will be worth something, “accounted” for, and support changes to family law.

    • “cheating could be seen as a means of concealing dependency on a primary partner because the abuser is making an ambivalent gesture towards “escaping” the partner via betrayal, thus assuring themselves that they’re the “abandoner,” not the abandoned, while not actually leaving.” “It’s a common story among chumps that even the most dismissive cheaters will go into rages when served divorce papers and that even cheaters who seemed to have “successfully” diluted dependency and shifted allegiance to a new partner still tend to circle back around to harass their victims when victims show signs of moving on with their lives.” “It’s a common story among chumps that even the most dismissive cheaters will go into rages when served divorce papers”

      – I feel like this is what happpended with my ex. He got his GF on the side, but when it seemed like I was ready to walk, or when I eventually did walk (and stopped doing things to help/care for him) he became absolutely furious and accused me of disloyalty. Our wreckoncilitation seemed (in hindsight) to be his attempt to see if he could keep both me and OW, but I wasn’t having any of that. When I did start the divorce process, his rage increased exponentially. He became much more physically abusive once we separated, and then he was terrifying. I had always thought he’d never ACTUALLY hurt me. But I was very wrong about that.

      “For some reason, cheating is often the trigger that shakes DV survivors out of the paralysis of Stockholm syndrome/captor bonding”.

      -YES. It was the one thing that prompted me to try and get out. I’d put up with abuse for years, but cheating was a whole different ballgame.

      “Once someone has recognized the degree of danger they were in, any remaining feelings for the former abuser suddenly go up in smoke and, in retrospect, the abuser tends to look more like a sewer disaster or dangerous beast than human.”

      -I can attest to this as well. I have no feelings of love or sentimentality left, even though there was a point where I literally thought I couldn’t survive. let alone be happy, without him

  • Don’t send him a friend request please!! Do not drop the criminal charges! Very important! He could have caused you brain damage, killed you, and the baby as Well if you fell. A baby falling like that could have gotten seriously injured or killed. Keep going. Sounds like you are doing great. I hope you have a great lawyer. You did a great thing to unfriend him. Another good step.

  • FB, so sorry you’re in the thick of things, this phase is ugly as.
    Unfriending him is not to be regretted. It’s your intuition protecting you. The safety aspect others have covered above so eloquently, but there is also the concept that it is consistent with the concept of ‘gray rock’ communication style (for parenting comms only) for you to be invisible to your STBX. You need to be boring not shiny. You might think you do but you really do not want him circling back.

    That’s the trauma / captor bond talking.

    It’s hard to overrule the neural pathways that created the habit of thinking he is your loyal partner, however the evidentiary chain shows the reality. You do not want his focus at all. He has less claim / ownership over you if he cannot see your movements, happiness, thoughts or even your busy-ness. He just knows… nothing. He gets nothing. No access as FourLeaf once wrote, he gets no access to your opinion, thoughts, emotions, anything even in regard to your preference for salt & vinegar chips. He has lost those privileges. I have not posted on social media in 5 years since D-Day. Not once. All my socials are on lock and private and anyone still in connection with the ex-cheater is quietly unfollowed. It is my re-claiming my private life. Anyone who wants to know what I’m doing has my number, and they can call. Your ex is a batterer and he deserves to know zero about you from now on. Stay strong. You can do this.

  • What you describe is just the Pick Me Dance by another name.

    Stop dancing for this terrible audience. If you want to dance, dance like no one is looking.

    • I’ve been in therapy since a month after D-Day and put my kids in therapy as well but this community is sometimes even more helpful to me. Thank you.

  • I think when she said she wanted him to see that she’s “GOOD”, she meant that she wanted him to understand that she is totally fine without him. Like : All good. Got it under control. At least that’s how I read it.

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