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Why Does My Ex Want to Be Friends?

Stay friendsDear Chump Lady,

Can you please tell me why cheaters so badly want to remain friends?

A little background information — my ex-husband and I were married for 16 years, have 2 kids (15 & 12), have been separated for a little over 2 years, divorced for one.

I found out 2 days before our daughter’s 13th birthday that he was cheating on me with a woman from work (also married, 10 years younger, 2 small kids).

It slowly came out (mostly through his brother) that he had been cheating on me for much of our marriage (lots of one night stands, etc). He moved directly in with the OW upon moving out of our house. Lived with her for 3 months, proclaimed her crazy and moved out from her, talked about reconciling with me, got back together with her, bought a house with her last summer, and they are now planning to get married.

He stopped seeing our daughter in January (because she was being difficult about going to their house and he gave her an ultimatum that she either acts like a perfect child and comes there or has no relationship with him at all) and stopped seeing our son in September (because he was crying because he missed me when he was there on weekends and ex got mad that he doesn’t miss him when our son is with me).

I have been as no contact with him as possible — only emailing bills and things. He has consistently been trying to shove their relationship in my face — trying to force situations where I have to see them/talk to them/look at them (at drop offs in the past, at kids’ sporting events which he periodically attends). And last night I got this text from him:

“I saw this picture today and I wanted to share it with you. I really hope that the new year 2020, can bring a fresh start, and moving past our feelings towards each other for (daughter) and (son).”

The picture was of 4 adults wearing t-shirts that said “mom, step dad, dad, step mom” standing with a little girl holding a trophy with the caption:

“This is not weird or awkward. This is how it SHOULD be! It’s not about the adults but the kids [Ex highlighted this]. The kids watch our behaviors and listen to how we speak to and interact with each other and they need to see support! Their mommy and daddy’s significant other IS an important person in their life and all involved adults need to be able to communicate and interact with each other [also highlighted by ex]. So frustrating when the adults can’t see that and act childish and stand-offish.”

One other note, I am not dating anyone nor do I have any dating plans in the imminent future.

Please give me the reality check I need that I am not a horrible, bitter, unforgiving shrew who can’t put my own feelings aside for the sake of the kids. And please tell me why he so badly wants to shove their relationship in my face and make me be their friend.


Trying to live my own life


Dear Trying,

He doesn’t really want to be your friend. He wants a hypotenuse to bang his triangle with.

He had the OW and you to triangulate with, plus all the attendant drama with two families to break up. Divorced now, you have a new life and a choice — you can react to his drama (i.e., I Have A Very Important Shaming Meme to Share!) or you can empty the crumb tray in the toaster. Or brush the cat. Is your car inspection sticker due? Really, whatever mental energy you’re giving his fuckwittery could be used to power small engines. (Is there a solar cell for this yet? Clean energy peeps, get on this. Channel the power of fuckwits. It’s a limitless power source.)


Yes. Raise them. Sane parent them. Get the scheduling software.

Being Friends For The Children is not required. Following court orders is required. Not muttering curses within earshot of minors or stabbing little effigies are required. You know, civility.

Friendship is something else entirely. The poet Walt Whitman said a friend is someone you can be your most “sincere” self with. My guess is that your authentic, sincere self does not respect a man who cheats and lies, or the woman who helped break up your marriage. You sincerely do not like these people and three minutes in their company, one year out, probably makes you break out in hives.

He’s not asking for friendship, but impression management, and when you’re a shallow as a puddle of piss, to him it’s pretty much the same thing. So he’s probably confused on the subject. Anyway, “friendship” is not your problem — managing child-sharing with this guy is your problem.

He stopped seeing our daughter in January (because she was being difficult about going to their house and he gave her an ultimatum that she either acts like a perfect child and comes there or has no relationship with him at all)

Have you talked to your lawyer about this? Documented it in your child sharing software? At 15 is your daughter legally old enough to decide her level of involvement with her dad and overnights? These are legal questions for a legal professional. I don’t know the answers to these things.

You’re not obliged to accept your ex’s creepy For The Children! narrative, but you are obliged to follow custody orders.

As the Sane Parent, it’s a balancing act when a child falls out with the Fuckwit parent. On the one hand, you get it — I know that fuckwit — on the other hand you don’t get it — children tend to love their parents, even the fuckwit ones, and they have to work out their relationships themselves. You want to support your daughter — “Perfection is not required” — but you also don’t want to triangulate with what goes on over there.

My usual caveats here are the SERIOUS issues (and sadly, we have cases of this here at CN) — addiction? abuse? sex offenders? — inform the authorities. Everything else, chalk up to Life with a Fuckwit. It’s survivable, especially when you have a Sane Parent (you!) to love.

You can’t make a unilateral decision to not let a child see a parent, however fuckwitted they are. (Ask me how I know.) You have to follow the court order — unless your child is at an age where they can decide these things. (Every state is different.)

Another thing to balance — how litigious everyone is. Does Mr. Whoresalot have the disposable income to argue about custody in court? If so, you better have clean hands, Trying. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.

He hasn’t seen his daughter in a YEAR? I would have every email or text exchange where you TRIED to uphold the ordered visit, and WHY it didn’t happen.

and stopped seeing our son in September (because he was crying because he missed me when he was there on weekends and ex got mad that he doesn’t miss him when our son is with me).

My takeaway from what you wrote is that he’s willfully NOT seeing his children (despite a recent custody order?) and has blameshifting excuses about their behavior that justifies his own?

Yeah, what a pal.

He has consistently been trying to shove their relationship in my face — trying to force situations where I have to see them/talk to them/look at them (at drop offs in the past, at kids’ sporting events which he periodically attends)

Look, he’s a serial cheater. Time to pity the idiot who “won” him and see yourself and the kids as liberated. Let him “shove” his relationship status in your face — whatever. Good luck with that, Toots. If he shows up at the occasional sporting event, okay. He should, he’s a father. And he can pay the child support and do the other adulting too. You don’t control him showing up on neutral ground like school. You do control your reaction — so don’t have one. NO KIBBLES.

As for the meme he sent you. Come on, consider the source. Would you take fashion tips from a hobo? You’re going to take parenting advice from a fuckwit?

“This is not weird or awkward. This is how it SHOULD be! It’s not about the adults but the kids [Ex highlighted this].

Yes, what teenager doesn’t thrill to wear matching t-shirts with their parent.

The kids watch our behaviors and listen to how we speak to and interact with each other and they need to see support!

Dad is a serial cheater. What does he need support with? Crafting dating profiles?

Kids do watch behaviors. Model sanity and not taking the bait.

Their mommy and daddy’s significant other IS an important person in their life

Key word “significant.” Until the next one rotates through. Who’s the lucky match this week? I would greet the latest Schmoopie like the meter reader.

and all involved adults need to be able to communicate and interact with each other [also highlighted by ex].

See “scheduling software.” He can use it, or he can STFU.

So frustrating when the adults can’t see that and act childish and stand-offish.”

So frustrating when adults communicate via passive aggressive meme and demand “friendship” — because nothing says “I want to spend more time with you” than divorce.

Please give me the reality check I need that I am not a horrible, bitter, unforgiving shrew who can’t put my own feelings aside for the sake of the kids.

You’re not horrible. You’re navigating a really difficult, painful situation that two fuckwits created. I’m sure it’s not the first or last difficult, painful situation your ex will create. I predict that soon he’ll be sending his “Friendship” meme to his next ex-wife… and the one after that…. and the one after that.

Keep rocking your new life.


I’m running Chump Lady classics this week while on vacation. 

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  • “he was cheating on me with a woman from work (also married, 10 years younger, 2 small kids).”

    Oh, hi. This sounds like you were married to my ex (EXACT same scenario).

    “One other note, I am not dating anyone nor do I have any dating plans in the imminent future.”

    Me too, Trying, me too. Men is too headache.

    CL is exactly right. Your ex wants to stay “friends” to triangulate you with Schmoopie (so much more fun), possibly to keep you as a backup plan (get ready for those hoover attempts if the new girlfriend isn’t working out as well as he thought), and to make himself look like the “good guy” and you like the bitter ex. Have no part in it. Follow the court order to the letter and do not an iota more. Document every attempt you make to do so that he refuses to comply with. Use a parenting app to communicate and don’t answer any contact that doesn’t come through that.

    After FW’s girlfriend dumped him and left, FW tried to get me to hang out with himself and our son during his time, inviting me to stay for dinner or go bowling or whatever. I declined every offer because 1) I could see that he was perhaps trying to get me back (he needed money and a mommy, and maybe wanted sex), and 2) I have no desire to be friends with someone who abused me, cheated on me, and lied to me for years. You don’t owe your ex ANYTHING.

    You don’t have to be “friends” for the kids. My son did much better when I stayed as far away from my ex as possible and went gray rock, because my mental and emotional health improved significantly. If your ex is being petty and refusing to see his kids, that’s his own fault. It’s not up to you to fix those relationships. In my case, FW died a few months after schmoopie left, and my son is doing much better living in just one household than he did going back and forth between two, especially when his dad’s house was chaotic and unhealthy (my ex was an alcoholic who was prone to depression, schmoopie had mental health issues and high anxiety, and there was a LOT of fighting and screaming going on). Your kids will do just fine. Make sure you are doing everything legally and in compliance with the courts, and if you ex is refusing contact with his children, maybe pursue full legal and physical custody. And do make sure your ex is paying child support if the kids live with you full time (and YOU claim them on your taxes). Your kids only have a few years where they have can have any legal requirement to go to their dad, so just focus on being the sane parent and surviving til they’re 18.

    Good luck.

    • I also was in the same situation but with opposite genders (XW was cheating with a 10-year-younger male coworker with two small). I’m years out now and they’re long since married, but XW continues to be angry that we are not friends and that I don’t trust her.

      My take is that she claims to want to be friends because (1) if we’re friends it proves (to herself, to the kids, and to the world) that her actions weren’t so bad, and (2) friends do favors for each other. If we’re friends I’m less likely to say “no” to her requests.

      Note that neither of those reasons has anything to do with liking me, caring about me as a person, or wanting anything good *for me*. It’s all about her. Also, let’s be honest here: if you really want to remain friends with your ex-spouse you don’t add adultery to the already difficult process of divorce.

      • My sons are nearing their late 30s. Apparently my ex still wants to be friends because he told one son to let me know that his timeshare is available for me and my fiance to use if we’d like to. I just told my son, “Tell your dad that you extended the offer.” And that was it. I did not even have to tell my son that the answer was ‘No’. He’s smart enough to know that I absolutely have no desire to be ‘friends’ with someone that lied to me over and over again while cheating on me. Who in their right mind would ever want to be friends with someone that abused them? As with your ex, he wants to be friends to prove to himself, to the kids, and to the world, that he really is a good guy. “See! It must be okay because your Mom and I are friends!” How sad for him, and yet how revealing to me. Perhaps at some deep level he really knows what a shithead he is to the core, and if he and I were to be ‘friends’, it will help him find a little peace. Maybe. Does he even have that much depth? Hmmm…, probably not.

        • I think in my STBX’s case, it is ENTIRELY about perception. Also, he wants me to play happy family with him AND the OW. If we remain “friends” it looks to everyone like it’s no big deal. “Well, SortOfOVerIt is still friendly with him and hangs out with OW, how bad could it have been?” But as you said “Who in their right mind would ever want to be friends with someone that abused them?” He has been absolutely deplorable to me BEYOND this long term affair. Also, I have a lot of good friends, and I have a handful of the absolute best friends in the world, we’re talking, the creme de la creme of friends. What could he possibly add to my post-Divorce life that they don’t already provide in spades? Apparently, my bar for friendship is set WAY higher than it was for partners. And he doesn’t reach the bar set for friendship.

      • Exactly, the “friendship” play is all about impression management. If they can convince us to act like “friends” then what they did wasn’t so horrible. They can justify their betrayal as a good thing because, “Hey! We’re all happier now, aren’t we?” Lying liars lie, including to themselves. These types live in a reality the rest of us can’t comprehend. It’s why they made the choices they did, and why they keep doing F’ed up shit as time goes on.

  • God CL, you are wise. Seriously. Like – yes, MATCHING T-SHIRTS!! Hello?

    I am so proud of my kids, (and thankful I managed to do something right parenting-wise): their values are solid. They don’t have time for people with iffy values … like their father. Sad, but utterly rational, and their own conclusion.

  • My FW’s mother was a cheater–a really nasty cheater who ran off with a teenage boy (her student, actually) when she was in her 40’s. His dad was a chump who kept taking her back over and over even when she was openly bringing other men over to the family home while the kids were there. FW always excused his mother’s behavior… which initially I put down to trauma (spackle!). Then when FW cheated on me, he specifically brought up his mother as an example of how sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants, people can be weak when they aren’t getting what they need in marriage, etc. I was like, “WTF? Your mom is a tramp. She was in her FORTIES and had sex with her STUDENT! GROSS!” But his modeling himself after his mother continued. When we divorced, he thought the kids would be totally okay with it, and they’d come visit and have grand times together because that’s what he did with his mom when she married her 18-year-old boytoy. Nope, the kids didn’t want to come. He even suggested in-patient psychiatric care for our 13-year-old because she was mad at him for cheating on me. We are now almost four years out, and all the kids are with me. My son visits his dad maybe once every six months. My two daughters haven’t seen or spoken to him since the day we separated. My point here is that narratives that kids will be okay with family break-ups and will just love all the “bonus-parents” are nonsense. And it is a toxic system that promotes that ideal. In my ex’s case, I really think it contributed to him becoming just like his mother. He was taught to forgive her and that it wasn’t really her fault–and his take-away lesson from that was that he could cheat on his wife whenever he felt that he wasn’t getting everything he wanted from his marriage, and nothing bad would happen to him.

    • “He even suggested in-patient psychiatric care for our 13-year-old because she was mad at him for cheating on me.”

      😄 Good grief. What a delusional idiot.

      “My point here is that narratives that kids will be okay with family break-ups and will just love all the “bonus-parents” are nonsense. And it is a toxic system that promotes that ideal.”

      Your FW’s family background is a lesson in what not to do when you have a cheating spouse. Since his mother had no consequences for her behavior, he grew up believing it was okay to cheat. He probably thinks he’s enlightened, when in fact he’s just a messed up guy with mommy issues.

    • How sad for you and your children. Did you know this before you married him, i.e., that his mother cheated on his father with a teenager? I’m curious. And how old were you when you met him? The reason that I ask is when my ex and I were still dating (I was 22), he told me that his ‘mom was crazy’ and ‘all the women in our family are crazy’. After marrying him and getting to know him and his family for 30 years, the women in his family were ‘crazy’ only because they were all married to lying, cheating men. I remember my ex turning on me saying, “You’re crazy!” as I was calling him a fucker at the top of my lungs when I found out yet again that he was cheating on me. What a maniac I was…, like CL says, it’s not what he did, it was my reaction to it. I will file away your, and my, experience so that if anyone I know is dating somebody who’s parent has a history of doing things like cheating, and the date’s reaction is ‘ho hum’, I’d tell that young person to stop dating that individual immediately. This may or may not be the case. CN’s children all had a parent that cheated and many of the children turned out okay knowing that what they experienced was wrong. But one of my sons turned out to be very much like his own father, i.e., a liar and a cheater. I cannot go back, but I wish I had left their dad much sooner. I wish I had left their dad the first time (at the 26-year point), rather than stick it out hoping that I had a unicorn. Oh well. you can’t go back.

      • I’m not the person you asked but my ex has screwed up parents and lied about how much it bothered him and he didn’t want to be like them. I have messed up parents and really put a lot of effort into not being like them so it worked on me. I thought he was like me.

        His dad was a cheating woman beater. My ex cheated on me the entire 20 year marriage and even before we were married. At the end he told me about how much he had fantasized about murdering me. Just like his dad.

        His mom was a disgusting welfare queen. Three kids by the different men, three marriages but only to one of the children’s fathers. She rotated through men constantly her whole life and got every form of welfare she could fraud herself into. She even collected child support and social security payments on children she didn’t have custody of. My ex makes six figures but uses food stamps because his live in girlfriend lies about their household income so she can get welfare. They’re currently trying to convince my adult son to go on disability because he hurt his wrist. Ooh, a minor injury that will heal within a few months?! You should never have to work again and the government should pay you forever and ever! My ex is just like his mother as well.

        Makes me sick because I came from that type of mentality and tried so hard to get away from it. My ex is moderately successful but still a lazy, mooching scumbag. I guess it’s just ingrained in some people.

      • When I met FW his parents had been divorced for a few years and hadn’t been in much contact. They were just starting to be able to be in the same room together. My MIL was positioned as the stubborn one who didn’t want anything to do with her ex. FW told me his dad came out when he was in college and it devastated his mom. I asked him if his dad ever cheated on his mom and he said No Way! He and his dad were super close (I never particularly liked him, no matter how hard I tried) and FW spun me a tale of a frustrated, closeted man in his 60s who had never been able to live authentically but who loved his family and his ex (as a best friend). Over the years his parents were able to become friendly, gradually.

        See where this is going yet?

        The day after DDay I talked to his mom, told her what he’d told me. She was devastated, sobbing and crying with me, declaring that I would always be her daughter and she didn’t know her son. Eventually, she told me how her divorce went down. FIL cheated on her their entire marriage with men. When he came out he was cruel and cold and became very mean to her. FW was told about his dad’s cheating but remained Switzerland between his parents. Basically, everything he ever told me about his dad was a lie. Shocker.

        • The fact that abusers lie about their childhoods– either denying witnessing or experiencing abuse by caretakers or minimizing it– is mentioned in the book “The Batterer” which is listed in the blog’s resources. Just in case this sounds like a sad sausage argument for FWs, I also suspect serial killers sometimes lie about or minimize abuse they experienced in childhood.

          Some serial killers have listed the abuse they suffered as children as a means of grubbing for leniency but there are several like Jeffrey Dahmer and the BTK killer who swore they didn’t have traumatic upbringings. There are others like Edmund Kemper who, despite biographical hints that severe domestic abuse ran through several generations of his family, blamed his taste for sadistic sexual torture on his controlling, emotionally abusive mother. But I don’t buy that this was all it took to create a murderous necrophiliac. There are other hints that Dahmer and the BTK killer were lying about their childhoods and I wonder why, in their serial killer research, the FBI takes these claims at face value and doesn’t take a page from research on batterers which depict batterers as commonly lying about childhood trauma and covering up for their former abusers. I assume it’s because blaming mommy is a Freudian tradition and ignoring socio-emotional factors feeds genetic theories of psycho-killers which, in turn, fuel “minority report” style crime programs which give excessive power to law enforcement.

    • Wow. Just wow.

      My FW’s father was also a cheater and left his mother for the OW who he in short order married and stayed with until he died 30 or so years later, and oh he just “loved her so much.” FW’s mom also remarried and is still with 2nd husband. Dad however, was a rampant flirt (even sort of flirted with me the first time we met) and given that stepmom was always portrayed as (and legitimately acted) a bit “crazy”, I wouldn’t be surprised if dad was still philandering. I believe all this definitely shaped FW’s concept of cheating and marriage, as he indeed saw that cheating was “no harm no foul” if both parents “got it right the second time.”

      Mom of course played the NC maybe a little too overboard, in that she picked up with new husband 6 years later and moved 1000 miles away for his career, telling FW to choose which parent to stay with for both him and his sister (14 and 12). He chose to stay where he grew up and mom left, to be seen once a year or so for the rest of his life.

      I hate to condemn people to the unasked for childhoods they lived, but I would not suggest anyone entertain potential partners with these kind of stories unfortunately where nobody was taught that the cheating was not a means to happily ever afters.

    • “He even suggested in-patient psychiatric care for our 13-year-old because she was mad at him for cheating on me.” I second OHFFS’s “delusional idiot” remark and I’ll add a shriek of terror because it reminds me so much of the old timey practice of husbands institutionalizing their wives if the wives objected to husbands’ affairs (as Charles Dickens attempted to do). How many of us chumps would have been farmed out to snake pit asylums 100 years ago? To even think of doing this to a child is beyond demonic.

  • I think that this whole “friendship” thing has a chapter in the Fuckwit manual. The great thing is that we chumps can ignore the requests for friendship. I chose friends who are honest and trustworthy. The ex FW does not meet this standard and cannot be my friend. That is not being a bitch, that is having a boundary.
    My son was an adult when DDay hit. He has chosen to be no contact with his father. Yes, the FW did forget to log off from son’s photo account and let his homemade porn with Schmoopie upload to my son’s account. This is my fault. FW has tried to convince me to talk to my son about their relationship. I have refused because I will not try to convince my son to let go of a boundary and also because I do not control a 26 year old adult. FW has to realize that he has to form his relationships.
    As far as being friends, there is nothing that requires us to be friends. He violated trust and trust is a foundation for a healthy relationship. If you are a chump with younger kids, you do not have to be friends for the sake of the kids and you can communicate through an app. There is no need for you to give up a boundary, you just have to be civil and business like and that is all. These FWs just seem to think that they can violate boundaries. Don’t let them.

    • “I chose friends who are honest and trustworthy. The ex FW does not meet this and cannot be my friend.That is not being a bitch, that is having a boundary.”👏👏👏

  • When you marry, your spouse is Supposed To Be your #1 priority. When you have children, they get added to that #1 status. If a person has proven – beyond a doubt – that they are too untrustworthy to honor their most important commitment, why on earth would you honor them by giving them your friendship? Friendship is a valuable gift that some people just don’t deserve – and not befriending FWs is a valuable lesson to teach your children.

  • They do want to keep you around for triangulation purposes, but also for impression management and to make them feel better about themselves. The idea is that if you’re friends, that proves what they did was not so bad and it worked out all for the best. These are the kind of lies they have to believe in order to live with themselves. It must be exhausting.
    The FW in this case is trying to impose that belief on his kids and they aren’t buying it. So FW rages and refuses to see them. Anybody who won’t validate his delusions is the enemy. That’s what being his “friend” would entail. You’d have to agree with his dishonest spin on his behavior or he’d rage.
    How disgusting that this FW stopped seeing his son because he was jealous of how son misses mom. He stopped seeing daughter because she was not perfect, FFS. The guy is not right in the head. The kids are better off away from him. So if he voluntarily does not see them, he can’t go to court and claim the chump is not complying with the custody and visitation agreement. Excellent.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow is in the news with more advice – she’s found rectal ozone therapy to be helpful. The article contained her relationships’ timelines and I suspect she’s still trying to deny being an AH. I am convinced that being alone or being held accountable is untenable for many people. It’s image management.

    • I read the article on Gwyneth.
      That must be what you do when you have too much time on your hands and nothing else to think about.

      • It beggars the imagination that she is able to snow so many people into adopting her crazy beliefs–and then pay her for the product she promotes.

    • Rectal ozone therapy? Def going to keep this in mind as a recommendation for certain individuals. “Take this and … “

    • I get that Paltrow is into dodgy new age health stuff but so is everyone in H’wood. I lived in LA for seven years. It’s all weird all the time and I figure anal ozone beats oxycontin and fenty. So I don’t get why she’s always being pilloried other than the fact that she became a major media target about eight years ago after she lobbied Congress to label GMOs. I think it put a bulls eye on her back.

      At the time, I was working for an environmental health publication and we saw this happen to a lot of public figures who crossed the chemical industry. The media bullying tradition went back to Silent Spring author Rachel Carson in the 60s. Many would back down when they found themselves being targeted in ways that could damage their careers. But Paltrow didn’t. She just let her freak flag fly and I kind of admire it even if I think a lot of what she promotes is silly.

      As far as her dating her current partner before her divorce, I don’t find anything that nefarious about it. The only thing I know about the order of events is that former husband Chris Martin had apparently rampantly cheated on her, they announced their separation and she found her current partner. Since I wasn’t raised religious, I tend to think betrayed or abused partners don’t owe anything to abusers. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see why she’s the asshole other than the fact that she puts weird stuff in her own.

      • Goop was screwing around with her current husband, Brad Falchuk, while he was still married to his first wife. She was the other woman for years. His two kids from that first marriage rejected Gwyneth because of that and that’s why she and Brad lived separately for more than a year after their wedding.

  • “The kids watch our behaviors.”
    Of course, in the cheater’s mind it’s all about the OP’s behavior that’s wrong and is affecting the children. Never mind his cheating on OP for pretty much the entire marriage. I love how cheaters gloss over their deplorable behavior of cheating and then make a stink that the chumps don’t want to be part of the drama triangle after separation or divorce.

    • They didn’t want anything to do with us while we were married, but now that we’re separated all of a sudden we have to be in this together. Such a crock.

    • This. This is the weird asshattery that the LW’s ex is spouting. If the kids watch our behaviors, then what did they think when you blew up two families? What did they think when you stopped speaking to them?

      He is the one who STOPPED SPEAKING TO HIS YOUNG TEENAGED CHILDREN, yet HE is lecturing LW on being better for the kids’ sake!? Sorry for shouting. Make it make sense.

    • These people are deranged. Legit mental illness.

      Over the years since betraying me, FW has managed to piss off and alienate himself from almost everyone else around him.

      A year and a half ago, he blew up the bridge with a colleague when he tried to manipulate her and then lied about it. He’s spent the last 18 months harassing her and demanding she forgive him, and she’s contorted herself trying to make him see what he did.

      He, of course, refuses to apologize or admit he did anything wrong, even though it’s destroying what standing he has left in the community. He already lost his job when word got out that he cheated on me years ago.

      Anyway, the colleague finally gave up and went no contact, and now she hates his guts.

      But what got me was her complaint to me, “My god, there’s really something wrong with him. I think he’s brain damaged. He’s not right in the head.”


      • “FW has managed to piss off and alienate himself from almost everyone else around him.”

        My ex was the same. It was always the other person’s fault (of course). He used to completely replace his “friend” group about once every five years, when the current group started getting tired of the way he treated them. In the end, he found himself completely alone.

  • IMHO, the Friend Narrative is all about appearing “normal.” My children don’t understand why I would not be friends with their father and any girlfriend du jour after we were divorced. They did not understand why I would not be friends with his wife. She did not cause my divorce, but she was my nail tech before she was ever “introduced” to my ex. She knew he was a cheater. The minute she decided to date him, she was not my friend. There were never going to be any one big family happy gatherings.
    I believe choosing friends is difficult enough. You don’t want any messy mismatched sets of baggage when you are going on vacation, and you don’t want any messy mismatched baggage in your life, either. Being civil to one another at public events (sporting, music, graduations, wedding etc.) is one thing. Pretending your ex is a nice enough person to invite back into your home with his date, or new wife, is another. I told my kids they did not get to choose my friends. I didn’t know their dad was a cheater when I married him, but when I figured all that out and we divorced, he was never going to be my friend again. He is just someone I used to know.

    If you can be civil during forced social/public events, you may appear “normal.” You are being civil, not friendly. Other people are not entitled to judge your situation, or even know details of your situation. I consider others to be normal if they mind their own business.

  • Here is what I think:

    This guy is setting up for a big move in the 3 Act Show known as “I’m A Victim”. First, he willfully stops seeing children. Next, he makes an unreasonable attempt at friendship, which he expects the Letter Writer will rebuff. Third step is to start crying about how unreasonable Letter Writer is an how she is “Keeping Him From His Children”. Fourth act is a giant smear campaign and/or a expensive return to court.

    • I think this is very wise, Regret.

      Another great vote in the “don’t even respond, or respond only minimally” column. Responses can be recorded and saved. The less we get drawn into others’ bullshit, the less “evidence” they can gather. Easier to argue that there was no reason to reply to that crap than to try to justify getting drawn into a text stream of BS.

    • This has been my FW’s exact “play” going into the 3rd year of divorce preceedings (with zero movement thanks to divorce industry that makes big bucks off the abusive parent playing victim like this). My FW has been running low on litigation funds so the requests to “sit down over coffee” and “can we sit down and talk, please” and be friendly “for the children” are his next move. My response has been no response. The time to sit down and talk should have been the night you contemplated screwing your decade younger co-worker or the day after. Anyone who lies to the extent he has in his legal papers (everything but the kitchen sink and which I’ve spent thousands having to disprove..successfully might I add) is 100% manipulative. Anyone who chooses to lie and mentally abuse/neglect his children and spouse on a daily basis (for 3 years) is not someone who can be trusted; his only concern is image management. I would never treat my worst enemy the way he has treated our children (let alone myself). I am civil as I would be with a stranger (with regards to the kids) But the moment they turn, I won’t even urinate on him should he be on fire.

      • “Sit down and talk” is what I keep hearing from my FW too! We had mediation and all he did was play the victim and whine. We quit mediation and now he wants to sit down and talk it through, since we are “not very far off” according to him. I told him he can send it to me in writing or he can have his lawyer send it. There will be no sitting down and talking. If I could arrange for him to never see me ever again, I would.

        • Good. Stick to your guns. Nothing good will come of sitting down and talking. He just wants to (try to) manipulate you with no record of it.

          • Depending on the state you live in you can legally tape conversations if one of you is aware its being recorded.

      • Sounds like my ex. Ugh, I’m sorry. Our divorce dragged on for over 4 years. He was ALWAYS the victim, up to the day he died by his own hand.

        He was always trying to get me to “sit down and talk”, but I knew that was a bad idea. He was abusive to me for 10 years and more, and I knew I’d feel intimidated and traumatized by talking to him. Also, there’s no record of a conversation over coffee, so he could lie and say I said things I never did, or deny any agreement we might reach. He backed out of almost everything he agreed to with my lawyer, and some of that was in writing. His divorce paperwork (especially his disovery responses) was 98% falsehoods, and the 2% that was true he spun in the strangest way possible and mixed up timelines and all sorts of things. Not one thing he said had anything to back it up. He refused to provide bank statements and other documents.
        Conversely, I had files organized by date, topic, person, etc. with everything chronological. Everything in my discovery was backed by documentation. Emails, texts, journal entries, photographs, etc. I had dates, times, the weather, what I was wearing, you name it. I had every document he requested and then some.

        He, likewise, couldn’t maintain a civil/professional way of interacting with me, but instead would spew hate and lies. He couldn’t even always contain himself during meetings with the custody evaluator or the magistrate. There was no way I was going to be alone with him.

      • At least this is true of the types of cheaters who relish feeling like the victim. I’m not sure they are all like that, but my own FW sure as hell is, which is why this argument really resonates.

        Of course FW would be thrilled if we could all be one happy family, but he really knows that’s unattainable. The next best thing is to feel like a victim. This is the MO for vulnerable/covert narcissists. For the decades we were together, x moped around and mumbled that he was the most persecuted person in the room. He used the silent treatment to keep people (well, ME) worried and guessing. I fell for it every time.

        I’m convinced that because he can’t regulate his own emotions, he needs this sort of psychological soothing. He needs flying buttresses to stabilize his ego.

        AP-now-wife won that job!! Fun times I’m sure. #buyersremorse

        • “I’m convinced that because he can’t regulate his own emotions, he needs this sort of psychological soothing. He needs flying buttresses to stabilize his ego. AP..won that job!! Fun times I’m sure.”

          Yup, same with my ex. OW couldn’t hack it and dumped him (she was as unregulated at he was). I wasn’t unhappy to resign from that job. It was exhausting.

  • I think that a good number of people go into divorce hoping for something like a reasonable truce. In chump and/or high-conflict situations, that’s not going to happen. My attorney was kind, but he accurately predicted I would just want him entirely out of my life when it was over. Thankfully, the kids were in college, so no custody issues although my ex tried to leverage certain measures that required contact with him. All of those were taken out of the agreement.

    As I’ve shared before, one of my attorney’s many wise sayings was, “Only a fool would be friends with the person who burned down their house.” Yes, when it was finally all over (years of aggravation and expense), I wanted to close the chapter and enjoy my life.

    Hopefully, the poster did indeed carefully document the custody issues and discuss them with an attorney. In my state, kids refusing visitation can get a bit dicey. I think many teens in these situations get fed up, but you have to follow the court orders.

    One of mine shared after the divorce that they would have run away if they had been forced to visit their father alone. They were 17 1/2 when we split, but he never pursued temporary visitation, and a local attorney assured me that we had multiple arguments against long-distance visitation. If all else failed, we could most certainly stall and take advantage of how packed the court calendars are here.

    • “I think that a good number of people go into divorce hoping for something like a reasonable truce”

      I believed this, but was constantly and repeatedly abused by Asshat who circled like a shark when he realized my attorney was weak and ineffective. Asshat went in for the kill and was successful. I’ve closed that door and burned it down. Completely NC, including hoover attempts.

      If I could pass on one piece of advice to any newbie, it is to switch from the person I married is my “friend” to the person I married is my “enemy”. Believe it because it’s true. Cheaters are lying manipulators who don’t hesitate triangulating their children for their prime aim, which is always THEM. Go NC as soon as you can.

      One of my better court memories, is a year after divorce was final, Asshat brought me back into court to buy me out of my marital home. A normal person could have just written a check and be done with it, but Cheaters want to make it hurt. Anyway, as I walked into the court waiting room, Asshat was there and he got this big smile and said “hi”, like he honestly thought I would be happy to see him. I just breezed on by, knowing this was the last time I had to interact with him. Happy Day!

      • I’m sorry that you went through that.

        I expected all kinds of ugly and hired a superstar to handle it. My ex insisted “quick and easy,” but I knew that was a lie. I knew he would make it all about him and drive his attorney crazy, which he did.

        My attorney was a very gifted litigator, but got it settled without any court appearances, for which I was very grateful.

  • Those darn kids and their pesky feelings are harshing his buzz and making him feel icky and bad and guilty.

    Poor cheater. Whose feelings are the only ones that matter. He doesn’t like What Is, so the answer is to use force at all costs so that things are as HE thinks it should be.

    His solution? Punish the kids for expressing their feelings and force them to Act Happy, to the point of forcing them to wear a costume broadcasting it.

    I don’t think anyone who lies and cheats and betrays their so-called nearest and dearest should be in charge of How It Should Be and how this man‘s emotional
    abuse of his children is one big reason why.

    My first response would be to intervene and issue a cease and desist order on this freak’s royally screwed up efforts to punish the children for how they feel and force them to feel the way he wants them to.

    This man using the power and control he naturally has over his children, who likely are powerless to overtly protest, to punish them for expressing how they feel
    about what HE did, forcing their heads into his mindfuck blender, is heartbreaking to read.

    It makes me feel sick.

    Cheating indicates you flunked Relationship School, and how he is treating these poor children who are getting dragged along is further proof.


    • Cheaters compartmentalize in order to rationalize cheating. They fail to see the interconnection of relationships and don’t understand how loyalty works.

      “It’s between you and me and doesn’t involve the kids” is universal cheater logic.

      Only when you don’t have kids with the cheater.

      I didn’t lie and hide money and future fake and maintain a secret sexual double life or have someone lined up. I got divorced. I didn’t jump into dating or get into a new relationship. I am focusing on and prioritizing my daughter, who was deceived and was gravely wounded as well. I am reflecting and learning from and healing, and need to do that for however long it takes before I consider new relationships.

      If you are in a committed relationship and want to end it, and have children, that’s How It Should Be, as I was taught by the wise therapists that have been with me my entire adult life, and I agree.

      I don’t take relationship advice, or advice about anything else, from cheaters or side pieces.

      • “I don’t take relationship advice, or any advice…from cheaters or side pieces.”

      • “DEAR MISS MANNERS: I had a “friend”/co-worker stab me in the back and betray my trust. She has no clue that I know, and she keeps asking/pushing me to go to lunch with her.

        How do I politely decline so as not to cause friction? I don’t trust her and prefer not to associate with her, but unfortunately I see her regularly.

        GENTLE READER: Probably any other adviser would tell you to have it out with this person, explaining that you were hurt by her betrayal.

        Not Miss Manners.

        At best you would get an apology, which would not necessarily ensure it’s not happening again. But you might instead get a denial, a justification or a counter-accusation. If she really regretted what she did, she would have found a way to make that clear.“

        I am guessing this is the same very sane and sage advice she would give to a victim of infidelity as well.

        I have to admit, I would not have been able to see what a jerk he is without the reveal of a secret sexual double life. I did not want to be married to Cruel Stupid and Dishonest Inc.

        Best of luck to Mr and Ms (all the Ms’s) Duplicity. They will need it.

    • Yes, that’s a good point, “flunked Relationship School.”

      If they couldn’t handle marriage in a reasonable, caring way, we cannot expect them to do that in parenting.

      Mine completely failed our college kids, basically ignoring their existence in the first year of separation. His relationship with them was already strained. He wasn’t viewing them as separate beings with their own thoughts and feelings. His power-over parenting style was failing, and they frequently complained to me about that. They both told me post-divorce that they likely would have moved far away after college and had little to do with us as a couple. I still expect that one or both will move away at some point, but they live locally, and we are close now.

      And here we are years since he decided that the beach and living like a single man was the way to be. He believes he deserves a wonderful relationship with them that ignores how he went AWOL and blew up the family. No ammends, just pretend like it never happened.

      He invited them for Christmas in 2021, and they guessed that it was to meet “someone special,” which they wanted nothing to do with. I kept my mouth shut on that one. A friend of mine pointed out that if he has a romantic interest, owning up to what happened will make him look really bad. Inviting them and sending Christmas gifts and getting no response from the young adults makes him look like a poor, misunderstood soul.

  • 100% of my training for not taking peoples’ bait came from CL and CN, and it has been a life giving game changer.

    The fact that a person who feels very entitled has uttered some word salad does NOT oblige me to respond to that person. I don’t have to respond to bullshit. I don’t have to communicate at all unless I have my own need to communicate something for my own reasons. And I don’t have to answer what I was asked or stay on topic if I do respond.

    This realization — that others don’t get to always have what they want from me just because they think I owe it to them to do whatever they want — should have been obvious to me, but it wasn’t. I’m a chump. I had to learn it much later in life than many other people.

    I still have all the same feelings I used to have when I say no to people, or don’t respond to them, or respond with something different from the response they said they wanted. The difference is, I now know those feelings, themselves, are bullshit, and asshats don’t get to order me around or receive any of my energy when there’s no reason, on my end, to give it.

    I hope our writer was able to apply CL’s advice in her own life, because it’s solid gold. 😊

  • Another angle to this, is the pressure from so-called friends, who express their strong wishes that the FW and I ” come out of this as friends”. Apparently this is better for the children and for me, so as not to become a bitter angry woman. I am being unreasonable if I can’t put my own feelings aside (never mind the abuse, lying, cheating etc) in the interests of the children.

    I have come to understand that the ” we can be friends” outcome is actually preferred by the Switzerland friends, so they don’t have to deal with any unpleasantness. I have been culling my social register accordingly 😉

  • Ah the good old “still want to be friends.” I had no children with FW and still got this. In fact it was a major source of anguish for him in deciding whether or not to reconcile (while I was briefly stunned into the pick me dance) that I told him, when asked what I saw our relationship being going forward, that I saw no contact whatsoever obviously. My refusal to be friends was so upsetting and threw him into a tailspin of uncertainty about whether he wanted to split in fact! Schmoopie was right there to the rescue though to let him know that of course I say that NOW, but don’t worry, in the future I will be his friend again! 2 idiots who deserve each other. I was informed that at least I should come get to swim in the complex pool when it finally opens this summer (it was under repairs delayed for 2 years by covid since the time we moved in). Ah yes, a swim is perfect consolation prize for my trauma.

    The image management that absolves them of feeling like they have done anything “that bad” is prime here, but still leaving you hanging around for whatever unique wife-appliance skill or connection you might have is another reason (FW even specifically mentioned still getting help and special treatment for something he needed within my profession).

    Triangulation is a close second. The kibbles from keeping you there in the background for comparisons with schmoopie to keep her in line and keep her self esteem in flux are probably unparalleled! FW was still waaay too close and friendly with his ex wife who he also cheated on (think sharing a hotel room with her and their kids during sports travel) and she definitely kept his “super dad” image squeaky clean by rolling over like the ultimate chump and doing things like making dinner for him and the kids and her new husband and all hanging out in her house like the Brady bunch on FW’S weekday parenting night! FW got to be served by his servant instead of actually parenting! But “look how amazing we are being friends for the kids!” Bonus kibbles – he got to triangulate with her new husband who he loved emasculating by fixing things around exw’s house and then laughing that new H was not man enough to be able to do any of that. All around a grotesque scene. Using children in that triangulation is a whole separate level though. There is simply no friendship to be had with any of these sorts because they don’t even know the meaning of it. They’re only sailing the ship of entitlement. If the kids are of age to decide to have no contact with him, you would be lucky on many levels.

    • They really are that predictable as well as disliking the thought of losing control over a previously reliable kibble source.

      No need to be an option or maintain a faux friendship with someone who enjoys abusing the people closest to them.

  • It seems to go beyond staying friends with your cheater. A lot of people i know insist on being friends with everyone they have ever dated, slept with, lived with or married. I don’t get this. I don’t agree with being friends with all these people. Let them go. All you do is mess up your present and future relationships. I have a very good friend who insists on keeping in contact with several old flames who are now married and have moved on. She can’t figure out why their wives don’t like her🤦🏼‍♀️. Not everyone is meant to be a permanent fixture in your life.

    • Yes, I’m older and always felt a little odd about Christmas cards with ex’s. I’m not friends with any of them on Facebook, either.

      Now I don’t send Christmas cards, but it still feels strange to me to be in contact with ex’s. One actually sent me an email after my divorce that he was taking me off of his Christmas card list, but whatever.

      • “One actually sent me an email after my divorce that he was taking me off of his Christmas card list, but whatever.”

        My response?

        Dear Eggbert,

        Thank you for your gracious email informing me of your intentions. Dividing assets acquired during a marriage is a significant and overwhelming challenge; I truly appreciate your contribution toward making this daunting task easier.


        Velvet Hammer


      • I know a woman (first marriage ended in divorce, second husband died of cancer) who was informed she wouldn’t be included in any more social gatherings because “it’s couples only.”

        • Yes, my kids and I got “pity invites” for awhile until I found out that the hostesses were coordinating and had pre-briefed the other guests on how to talk to me. That made me feel really uncomfortable, so we began to make excuses, and it stopped.

          I found a different, new group of friends and make the rounds with them now. Some are married, some are not — NO BIG DEAL.

      • “he was taking me off of his Christmas card list”

        Thanks for the update. I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

    • I do not understand this either. It seems to be a millennial and up generational viewpoint based in some sort of self-righteous belief that this makes you enlightened and mature above others.

      Alternatively it is just base level narcissism in keeping as many supply balls in the air as possible. When I told FW that I am not and could not be friends with anyone I formerly loved, and at best am Facebook-connection-but-have-never-interacted-with-again level with anyone else I dated, he seemed to clearly not understand this concept and insisted he was the opposite and clearly could be and wanted to be friends with everyone he formerly loved. They just don’t think the same is what it boils down to. And absolutely these type of connections erode future relationships. His overly close relationship even with exw coparent who he had to interact with was bad enough.

      • Aside from the longterm partnership with my FW ex, all of my previous relationships ended on good terms and I still liked and cared about those humans when we parted. I wished/wish them well, and I believe most have since found partners and have families of their own. Still, I don’t stay in touch with or remain friends with people I used to date (or who expressed interest when I didn’t return it) because it would feel inappropriate. Seems these kinds of exes friendships tend to revolve around kibbles and triangulation — not my thing. I am friendly if we run into one another, but I maintain a social boundary that feels akin to professionalism. This isn’t a hard and fast rule for me, and I can imagine situations where it might feel fine. But FW ex? Hard no. I will never be friends with the person who cheated, conned and abused me for many years. I let him stay in my life for way too long and played out those dynamics enough times to know what will happen if I engage; the futility is confirmed every day I read here. I hope I never come in contact with that pathetic asshole ever again. Now, if I ever learn another person is a cheater, liar, etc., then I immediately distance myself. It doesn’t matter how “nice” they are to me, personally.

    • I think for some people it’s a nice potential dating pool that they like to keep the ladder butted up to. A nice source of kibbles and triangulation that can be drawn on as needed to prop up sagging egos, even if only by the thought of ‘other fish in the sea’, or ‘I’m an attractive prospect, look at my many conquests’.

    • Who the fuck has time to stay in touch with everyone they’ve ever met, been friends with, dated, or worked with ?

  • Enjoy your vacation. You deserve it! Keeping a nation of Chumps sane through fuckwitery is a 24/7 calling. Thanks for helping this Chump (me) gain perspective in what is a very similar (eerily) situation as Trying. (year 2 of divorce preceedings with nothing to show and no end in sight).

    • It will get better. Many here have been in your shoes and I think I can speak for everyone in assuring you there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will get there and be happier for it. Good luck.

  • I have seen that same picture in the lawyers office when I sought for legal representation. I think it’s a fake picture/advertisement to gaslight us into thinking this is not only possible but what we are supposed to do regardless of the horrible circumstances that led us here to begin with. That fake portrait only makes sense if both parties split amicably and without abuse or addiction.

    • I have seen that picture on Facebook and immediately wondered if the person posting it was also a cheater. I don’t think it’s fake. Could be that whoever actually posts the picture is a cheater. Something to think about. (Or maybe they’re just bigger than me and ‘put the children first’.)

    • First of all, fuck that lawyer. I would have immediately walked out of that office. What an absolutely ridiculous photo to have up. Secondly, I always assumed that the child in that photo was from a one night stand, because I have never seen any divorce end up with the couple maintaining some sort of friend-type relationship, especially to the point of cringe inducing matching shirts. I can’t remember ever wearing matching shirts with my ex when were married, I’m sure as hell not doing it in divorce with her affair partner.

    • “That fake portrait only makes sense if both parties split amicably and without abuse or addiction.”

      I believe that there CAN be families that exist like that. But not when cheating is involved. More like, got married, grew apart, both spouses realized it wasn’t working…and so they divorced amicably. Then they grieve separately, and eventually at least one of them finds someone new, or both do, or one does and maybe the other is truly uninterested in dating. I sincerely believe that in circumstances like THAT, maybe they could all get along in a broader sense, and do things together sometimes as an extended family. I am sure that is RARE, but the right reason for the divorce, an amicable divorce AND the right group of people might catch lightning in a bottle like that.

      But with a cheater? And most especially if said cheater ends up with the AP? Come on! That is just crazy. No, I am not coming to holidays or sunday dinner with you and the woman who helped you betray me. And that doesn’t make me a bad person.

  • Yeah, typical triangulating. These people feed off drama and chaos. He’ll use you to make the OW insecure, shove their relationship in your face to make you feel bad (look at what you lost) and also insecure while making a lame attempt to look good to the public. He’s a disgusting creep and a crappy father. Repulsive.

  • Can anyone come up with a real “one -two” punch of a response when asked by Switzerland “friends” why I am not friendly towards X?
    The best I have come up with is: “I wish them all the happiness they deserve” (said with one eyebrow manically raised.) But I’m looking for a real zinger – short and to the point. Thanks CN

    • I think your zinger needs to be directed at the Switzerland friends rather than your X. Teach them not to ask such stupid questions.

      • Yes, that was my intent. –
        A zinger toward the people asking.
        I am no contact with X and wouldn’t waste a zinger on him.

    • Not sure this qualifies as a zinger, but here goes:

      I’m not friendly toward people who’ve abused me.

    • “They don’t meet my standards for friendship.”

      That way, when you also drop the Switzerland friends, they, they get the same message.

    • I use my attorney’s one, “Only a fool would be friends with the person who burned down their house.”

      Then I say that I managed my divorce with dignity and wished him well as we both went our own ways.

      Yes, some people on “team ex” have cut me off for that.

    • I don’t think anything you say will get through to them. I just cut all of those people out of my life.

        • Noun: friend
          A person you know well and regard with affection and trust •
          An associate who provides cooperation or assistance

          It’s better to stick with people who have the correct understanding of terms.

    • Thanks everyone. I should have clarified: they are not “friends”
      I live in a small town and I frequently will run into people we used to know. Because he is so “charming” (read : liar,)
      he still has maintained friendships with quite a few, and also because he is a musician and deemed more interesting than me, I guess.

  • I feel strengthened after reading the 37 entries so far. CL and CN are voices of sanity in this insane world where the culture supports expectations of friendship with everyone. The FW I divorced also placed those expectations on me, previous to the divorce. He let me know, by words and body language, that I was wrong to have an opinion about other people. I was pressured to “be friends “ with everyone. We saw a play once where a man cheated on his wife, had a baby with the OW, who died, and the man brought the baby home for his wife to raise. I was appalled, but FW raved about how wonderful the wife was. Little did I know that FW was already heavily into one night stands on business trips.
    He also always “joked” that he must be ok “if UpAndOut hasn’t divorced me.”
    The need in FW for impression management is high. Their logic is like this: “If my ex is friends with me, then what I did isn’t so bad.” And “if ex is friends with me, she can pressure the kids into also accepting what I did.” And, “maybe I won’t have to be on my own for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays,etc.”. (The XH is not remarried; I have no clue if he is dating anyone.).
    I think it’s also their continued manipulation. “I’ve offered to be friends with Chump, but she won’t talk with me. Poor me. She’s being a bi*ch. Therefore I’m the better person & there’s something wrong with her.” So the last email, telling me some vague things he was sorry for and that he was “willing to make amends,” I used grey rock. I only replied “That must have been a difficult email to write. I wish you well.”

    • After going through my fiasco with my FW, my brother also went through the same with his FW wife. She was really ugly to him (to say the very least.) When she saw the writing on the wall, that after the divorce she would not be sitting as ‘pretty’ as she planned, she went back to him and said, “I’m sorry.” I told him that he needed to ask ‘for what?’ She apparently said that she was sorry ‘for everything!’ To which I replied, that ‘everything’ is pretty darn vague and certainly not enough. It could mean that she’s sorry for not taking out the trash, not changing the sheets, not picking up the dry cleaning, etc. She needed to specifically say, “I’m sorry for going out and acting a whore and fucking another man and for … (all the ugly graphic things that she did) …, and then calling you (all the ugly names that she called him and the graphic things that she said to him to make him ashamed of himself).” I don’t know if he put her through the wringer (he stayed married to her), put by damn, if I ever went through such crap again, and the perpetrator said, “I’m sorry”, I would put the asshole through the wringer and do everything I could to get the exactly-what-are-you-sorry-for out of him. And then I’d dump him anyway.

  • During the time we were divorcing, my ex wrote me “I look foward do the time when we’re through the hard part [he meant the divorce] and can be friends.”

    After the way he’d treated me in the last years of our marriage and during the divorce I couldn’t wait to get the divorce done so I could go no contact. During divorce negotiations, I was very careful that nothing I said or did would set him off and make getting it done more difficult (I’m also doing this right now as executor of my mother’s estate with my brother).

    My ex did make a few overtures to me after the divorce, but after I met them with a response other than the one he imagined they would elicit, he soon stopped. But as he has a view of himself as magnanimous and compassionate (my view is he’s condescending and self serving), he needed make those gestures.

    My takeaways from his talk of friendship are these:

    During the divorce, he was trying to manipulate me into a settlement favorable to him.

    During and after the divorce, his offers of friendship were in service to his self-image management. In order to let himself off the hook of any responsibility for what he did, he wanted to believe and to promulgate the belief and create the narrative that we had “grown apart,” that the divorce was something we both wanted, and that he was ready and willing to “be friends” but I, the bitter and faulty one, refused (thus proving what a bitter and faulty person I am).

    His idea of “friends” also, I have no doubt, included the phrase, “with benefits,” and the word “appliance.” Just because we divorced he could see no reason I couldn’t continue to be of use to him.

  • I’m hoping you’re enjoying your vacation! Here’s the part that really speaks to me:

    “As the Sane Parent, it’s a balancing act when a child falls out with the Fuckwit parent. On the one hand, you get it — I know that fuckwit — on the other hand you don’t get it — children tend to love their parents, even the fuckwit ones, and they have to work out their relationships themselves. You want to support your daughter — “Perfection is not required” — but you also don’t want to triangulate with what goes on over there.”

    My daughter is 27, and I’m still trying to thread this needle. She has been visiting FW for a long-planned ski vacation and called me in tears, sobbing about how cheap and miserable and dysfunctional he is. I try to be supportive, but I also know that this mood can pass really quickly and then she’ll be feeling guilty about opening up to me — and she’ll either blame herself or blame me. So I want to be a good supportive person, listen with empathy, etc. but also not be feeding into the perception that whenever Daddy is being an asshole she should call and tell me.

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling “threatened” by the fact that she spends this small amount of time with him, after everything he did to me. But then, I look at the things she does with me: she moved to live near me, we have a puppy together (talk about complicated custody arrangements), she’s over at my apartment several days a week, often spending the night, doing meals, food shopping, laundry, watching Netflix … and since she has friends in the area who work remotely on Fridays, sometimes they all end up in my apartment on a Friday, hanging out using the wi-fi, playing the piano, and just being fun. I know that if I end up playing the middle-man between my daughter and FW, they will never really learn to manage their own relationship by themselves.

    But, it’s really hard sometimes.

    • I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel ‘threatened’ whenever my sons spend time with their dad and his equally-FW wife. They know their dick dad for who he is, but he’s still their dad, and as the FW said to me when we went through our divorce, “My kids are going to love me anyway.” And they do. So because I had quite the contentious relationship with my dad throughout his 93 years on this earth, I have to assume that my sons are walking in similar shoes. My relationship with my FW dad was not ideal and I knew him for who he was all the way up to the time that he passed away. I went to visit him because I felt compelled to do so because I was his daughter. And each time, after an obligatory short period of time, I exited stage left with some excuse sooner than later. That shows who I am, a loving, caring person, and it doesn’t have anything to do with me being bullshitted into believing my dad was a wonderful man. He was who he was right up to the day he died. He never called me up for anything unless he needed something from me. He never called me up to see how I was doing, how life was treating me, if I was happy, etc. It was all about him. So just because my sons spend time with their dad does not mean they’re oblivious to his FW character or his FW-wife’s character. As CL says, FWs may change their spouses but their character doesn’t change. My sons feel obliged to spend time with their dad, and if they get a Disney-type vacation out of it, then great. They still love me (or at least two of them do) and spend a lot of time with me whenever we can be together. They know their dad for who he is, but whenever they need, i.e., REALLY need, support, advice, or even to bounce a difficult topic off of somebody, they call me.

      • “My kids are going to love me anyway.” No words for the arrogance of the terminally stupid and empathy challenged.

  • I’d be really interested in a followup from the writer here, because all I can think is, I bet you the fw LOST HIS SHIT as soon as she started dating. Who’s Mr Let’s All Be Friends Now? Greeting the latest Schmoopie like the meter reader made me lol. It’s a shit sandwich though, to be sure.

    • Agree. Is this true for other chumps? I’m curious if their own FWs “lost their shit” when they found out that the chump was in a post-Divorce relationship.

      My ex told me that he would be upset if I ever dated anyone else, which he acknowledged was effed up. So, bitch cookie for that, I guess.

      p.s. RE: meter reader. CL is SO good!

      • At the minimum I think they act ‘surprised and a little offended’ (that little ‘oh’ they let out as the external indicator that something has occurred that they never would have ever conceived of happening) that we didn’t spend the rest of our lives patiently waiting for them to ‘come home’. I think your ex’s admission shows the typical cheater entitlement and arrogance, with a smidge of all-too-rare self awareness. Bitch cookies for everyone! (in Oprah’s voice).

      • Mine definitely did. He had the preacher call and ask me to meet to talk about “trying again”. He hadn’t spoken to me in six months.

        To be clear he didn’t want me back, he just wanted me to choose him over the other guy. It did give me a chance to reject him, so that was fun.

        The preacher apologized to me for setting it up. Said he didn’t act like he thought he would be acting for someone wanting to make amends.

      • My ex went to everyone he knew in my new partners social club and told them that I had been cheating on him with my new partner during our marriage. (I met my new partner a year after my divorce). No believed the ex btw, his reputation is well known.

  • “DEAR MISS MANNERS: Are there etiquette guidelines for a wedding where the couple consists of a formerly married person and their affair partner during that former marriage (assuming that fact is known to everyone)? Should the bride eschew white? Should the officiating clergy skip the normal sermon on fidelity? Should the whole event be low-key?

    GENTLE READER: How to demonstrate proper contrition while celebrating the byproduct of one’s crime dates at least to the second wedding of Hamlet’s mother. But, as Queen Gertrude demonstrated, it is a problem that is not searching for a solution, as the celebrants are generally content to party on.“

    The cheating game is won by refusing to relinquish your dignity and the moral high ground. By not pressuring others, especially involved children, into pretending cheating, aka abuse, is OK. By standing aside and letting the consequences happen. By deciding what your standards and ethics and principles and morals and boundaries are, and making decisions in accordance with them. By not perpetuating, enabling, co-signing, advocating, colluding with behavior that hurts people.

    Leaving a relationship is everyone’s right
    Someone is going to get hurt, but that’s not what I am talking about. That’s not the problem.

    The problem is lying, deception, fraud, holding people hostage, secretly unilaterally breaking agreements while pretending to uphold them (see, deception, fraud), telling aggrieved crime victims how they should feel, rationalizing and justifying bad behavior, blame shifting, gaslighting, failing to make amends, rewriting history, betraying…..all of which, and more, is part and parcel of cheating.

    If someone wants to choose a partner who behaves that way in a relationship, I doubt my opinion of its idiocy will have an impact. But I will heed the memo and keep a safe distance from such folks.

    It’s essential for my recovery from infidelity to remember that safe, loyal, trustworthy people are rare, that it’s a fine goal in life to aspire to be one.

    Realistically I have about as much time for as many friends as a baseball team. And like a winning baseball team, those should only be offered to the highest quality people who will have me.

    • TYPO

      “And like a winning baseball team, those SPACES should only be offered to the highest quality people who will have me.”

      If you were building a baseball team, would you sign a crummy player when you had the option to hold out for signing a superstar?

    • I think like my fw in the early 90s he chose the perfect venue to marry the whore. Las Vegas.

      It was many years later I saw this posting by CL.

      Made me laugh and laugh. So perfect.

      For full disclosure, their marriage lasted until he passed, he had gambled them into bankruptcy. Still surprises me to this day that he was so freaking stupid. He threw away so much for so little. I don’t mean by throwing me away. I mean he had a promising life and huge success, but had he been ethical he could have maintained all that and divorced me before crawling into the alley.

      But then since I worked for a good twelve years to help him attain his dream, had he dumped me before he started cheating, he might not have attained it. A dilemma for sure.

      • Perfect Susie Lee! The first time that I saw that post, I was still going through mindfuck blender trauma, so I didn’t get the irony. In my case, the FW married his ‘female’ in Las Vegas about a year after our divorce. Re-reading “When Affair Partners Marry” was good for me. I can look at it for what it is, not for what I dreaded it was years ago (i.e., that she was better than me).

    • wedding etiquette.

      i would think a haunting a good thing? by that, I mean, constructing a ghost-like dress from the rags of your marital bedroom sheets, stapled together into an artful shape. wafting along the periphery of the reception. i mean, go shakespearean on the wedding, right?

      #thehandtowardmyhand #comeletmeclutchthee

  • When I was studying sociology in college, everything started looking like a social experiment and one thing I concluded from “studying” the dating behavior of friends and classmates is that flaunting one’s new relationship in the face of an ex is a sure sign that one was not “over it” and was still engaged, enmeshed and looking for an ego boost. That didn’t mean it wasn’t sometimes funny if done by the injured party, especially when you’re 18 or 19. And sometimes the injured party was doing it preemptively to defend themselves against the offending party doing exactly that. It seems cheaters and players are prone to flaunting new relationships or player status in order to squeeze some extra centrality from their victims or trigger Pickme death matches. I suppose it’s harder to do this if the victim is turning their back on the spectacle so hoovering the victim into “friendship” is a way to ensure an audience.

    I remember one friend-of-a-friend from Texas who was one of the types who enroll in college to find a high status husband. While everyone else was bumbling around in and out of relationships, those types weren’t playing. I thought this chick had the skills of a veteran crisis management professional in squelching negative rumors, increasing brand appeal, maintaining internal morale, getting into the heads of opponents, etc. She was a little scary and I wasn’t that close to her but I learned a lot from how she operated. When she contracted an STD from a cheating boyfriend and dumped him, she somehow managed to stage snogging sessions with her new beau whenever the ex was around. It became a running gag. I knew and her friends knew that she was devastated by the cheating but there was no way she was going to let that buzz lower her stock. She seemed to know exactly how her ex would react. On seeing her with her new beau, the ex would lose his swagger, freeze in place, turn five shades of red, then stomp away in a furious daze. Two points for TX, zero for the FW Republic.

    So, aha. Even if cheating seems like proof that the cheater isn’t invested in a relationship, it would appear that they’re the ones who have the most difficulty letting go. In fact, it seemed cheaters tend to act like the injured parties when dumped. The “social experiment” led to further questions and calls for future studies! Could it be that, by cheating, cheaters are subjecting partners to their own worst fears as a way to displace those fears?

    Juvenile experimentation is understandable when you’re juvenile but I get the feeling cheaters never grow out of the games. It’s shocking when middle aged FWs continue to joust like this after years of marriage. The shock can be a distraction from the fact that it’s really coming from the same juvenile MO. They can’t let go, are angry their victim has shown any agency and voluntarily escaped and want to trigger the victim into jealous behavior as kibble and/or reassurance the former victim will still be around when the secondary relationship fizzles and the cheater ever feels like roping the victim in again. It’s stupid and transparent and probably an oblique confession of how furious the cheater would be to see their chump in a new relationships. Thanks to the Texas femme fatale, it’s not necessary to test the theory. (Side note: Ms. TX’s rebound relationship didn’t work out but she married the next one, has three grown children and her now-husband reportedly stood by her faithfully during and after breast cancer treatment ten years ago).

    • My most recent datingship really helped me see how I’ve been looking for protection, in all the wrong places. Getting out of it was a bit clunky but my inner child reacted like I am their hero.

      I must be doing alright because I just started going back to the music scene (small town) where my ex is a fixture, and he (after pushing a physical boundary three times, saying he’d never hurt me, trying to get me to talk, insisting he’d go to counselling) took the opportunity to ignore me but ask women to dance right in front of me. He does not dance, generally. He made a big show of dancing with his ex, who he’d complained was a cheater, and then approached and danced with a woman he has openly disdained for her skankiness (she’s lovely enough; she just throws herself at all the dudes). I surprised myself by reacting with genuine laughter.

      Like, I’d feel better ignored if he’d just been civil but closed. But the open flaunting just let me know that the game is still on, for him. I *know* I’m still getting over it but that’s ok; I don’t feel the need to pretend otherwise. I wish I’d learned this stuff when I was 19!

  • As a Jesus Cheater my XW was walking neck deep in cognitive dissonance. When she told me she wanted a divorce and before I uncovered that she had been having sex with co-workers, she talked a lot of cooperative divorce, co-parenting and remaining friends. Post DD her persona changed to vindictive and exclaiming her freedom from her terrible husband. She could flash friendliness when she wanted something.
    I see her pre-DD attitude and desire to remain friends as denial of how she violated her own belief system and manipulation. Post DD was projection of internal chaos she created for herself.
    They never really want to be friends. It is just a ploy to keep you usefu.

  • As CL and others have said, any ex-FW only wants to be friends if it helps them in some way. Could be impression management, to alleviate guilt, whatever. And they are so selfish that they cannot possibly understand why you would not want to be friends, so they just plow ahead assuming that you are friends, sending unwanted texts and other communication.

    In my particular case, ex-FW sees our son infrequently, but he’s in my state to visit him this week, and he texted me asking what I think son would like to do with him on the visit. Geez, dude, our son is 19 and I’m not a friend who helps you out with your relationships. Go figure it out for yourself. FW wouldn’t be in this situation if he knew son, but he blew his chance to get to know him as a minor because he never paid any attention to him or did anything with him.

    My ex-FW also recently called me out of the blue (I am no contact as much as possible, so I let it go to VM) and said he had “indications that his health was declining” so he wanted to transfer almost all his money to my son and me now, a considerable amount. WTF? In speaking with his sister, I got some background info and although he has had some health issues, I think the real motivation is that he’s considering getting re-married, doesn’t want to tell me, and is scared the howife is going to take all his money. So, he wants me and my son to have it for “safekeeping.” In a way, it’s a noble gesture because he wants to be sure he doesn’t accidentally disinherit our son, but can’t he just get a lawyer and create a trust or something? No, because that would take too much effort. Instead, he wants to just use good ol’ chump (and his son) to stash the money. Honestly, I probably should have taken the money, but on principle I want no ties to him whatsoever so I didn’t because I can guarantee he’d come back around later wanting it back.

    So, in sum, they don’t want to be actual friends. It’s just a continuation of them wanting to use people for their own purposes as they’ve done their entire lives.

  • Sperm/egg donors are just that. Anyone can impregnate/ get pregnant. Doesnt mean much. Doing the hard lifting is being a present parent. Just because you donated your genetic material doesnt entitle you and excuse you from doing the right thing as a parent. They want all the benefits of being an engaged parent, without being one. Thats entitlement. Its hard to face reality that your parent sucks. But you are better for it if you do.

  • Fckwits like drama.
    They love being in a triangle.
    Being in a triangle allows them to be central to 2 people at once!
    It’s especially delicious to be central to someone they’ve shit all over.
    It’s especially, especially delicious if you suspect they either still love you or they hate you.
    That’s why Fckwits goad you into showing frustration, anger, rage, fear, resentment, hate.
    Fckwits love attention.
    It doesn’t matter if it’s good attention (love, appreciation, recognition) or bad attention (frustration, anger, hate).
    Fckwits do not care whether you love them or hate them. They just want you to make them central. Forever.
    I’ll bet even those Fckwits who discard us and never look back tell themselves that we think about them all the time.
    They’re so vain, they probably think your thoughts are about them.
    Fckwits love control.
    They love manipulation and blameshifting and gaslighting.
    They also love lying because “they know something you don’t know.”
    All of this drama and triangulation and attention and control fill up the void inside of them.
    So don’t fill that void.

  • A dear fellow chump I am acquainted with shared this exchange between his cheater ex-wife and a woman who was their friend during their marriage.

    I’ve taken the names out to protect his (chump’s) anonymity.

    I will be forever grateful to him for sharing this.

    Haven’t heard from you in a long time, not sure if that is because you just haven’t reached out or if it is because you have chosen CHUMP. I have just hunkered down these past two and a half years to weather out the storm. I hope you and the boys are doing well. Have a very blessed and happy New Year.




    I haven’t reached out because you are selfish, self-centered, heartless, and certainly not the person I thought you were. You ripped your family apart and never once looked back. You’re right, we are on CHUMP’S side. We’re also on the side of CHUMP’S THREE CHILDREN. You are an abusive narcissist who has hurt them terribly by your selfish actions and won’t even take responsibility for your actions. You place the blame everywhere but where it squarely belongs…ON YOU. What a horrible parent and person you are! Your children deserve a much better mother than they got. I hope the piece of ass was worth what you did to your family. Sorry, but I don’t consider your actions to be hunkering down to weather out the storm you created. What a piece of bullshit. I wasn’t born yesterday, CHEATER. I know exactly what you are. You are evil incarnate, and I want nothing to do with you. I truly hope this piece of ass you’re with does to you what you did to your family. It’s what you deserve. Happy New Year.


    You don’t need a lot of friends. You just need good ones. And this is one of the very best. May I be so blessed, and just as brave when contacted by a cheater.

    • Without getting into all the details of what often happens to the youngest child (me) in a home with three older violent active alcoholic family
      members, not one person in my family of origin ever stood up for me or was protective of me. They all violated me. I was the youngest in the family. The only family member who I felt loved by (in word AND deed) was our family cat.

      Not one relative stood up for me or was protective of me. And hasn’t to this day.

      Despite five years in my own recovery and therapy when I met Traitor Ex, I didn’t flee in horror when he very clearly didn’t stand up for me and failed to protect me with his family of origin. He was the youngest in a family of four as well, the older family members all active alcoholics/addicts in a home with even more severe and overt domestic violence than my own.

      What a shocker that I fell for his outwardly mild-mannered, easygoing laid back (PHONY!) demeanor. I thought he was different from his family members. I had made it my own life’s mission to be the apple that ran away from the tree. I thought he was doing the same.

      Watch the scene in Monsoon Wedding where the patriarch of the family stands up for his daughter and tells the Old Family Friend who had molested her to GO.

      Watch The Crash Reel and pay attention to how the real life family profiled in the film supports each other, interacts with each other, communicates with each other. LOVES each other. I need to hear stories about people who DEMONSTRATE loyalty and love. Not use the words with contradictory actions. I need heroes and training wheels and role models. And I am 59 years old, for Pete’s sake.

      Traitor Ex was never my friend, is not my friend, and will never be my friend. If I have to be friends with just my daughter and a volleyball while I wait for really good and genuine people to show up, I can and will be OK. I need to learn about friendship….what it is to be a friend and discerning what a true friend is.

      I think the truth is that if I had stood up for myself, been protective of myself, had been raised to value myself, love myself, I probably would not have dated Traitor Ex beyond the first couple of months. His willingness to throw me under the bus to protect himself or take care of the feelings of his immediate family was in my face two or three months in.

      I think I chose someone who reflected what I believed I was worth.

      The Murdaughs had “friends”, and it was no secret in Hampton County that they were jerks.


      • VH,
        You can add the Danish film “The Celebration “ (1998) to your list for truth telling and consequences.

      • I just heard this podcast this week. It’s very heavy; maybe content that many might not want to take in. But I was SO struck by this woman’s immediate springing into action when she finds out that children in her care are being harmed by her husband.

        The wow factor in listening to this woman’s rather unwavering support of these vulnerable kids had me listen to the first season of the podcast, which ALSO features family members who actually listen, know the chump involved well enough to notice changes in their behaviour because abuse/gaslighting, and who balance wanting to support their loved one’s choices with eventually stepping in to express concern.

        With each bit of healing I do, I learn to protect and support myself, and it pulls me more into tune with people who do that well, and sadly more out of tune with my FOO because of their norms (where our Dad never calling us, where parents offer no support around their kids’ relationship or mental health, is considered just fine). The more I see my mother’s lack of protectiveness around my father’s abusiveness … well, I’m not angry anymore, I just have that much more compassion for little Magnolia.

      • VH, my story mirrors yours save that I am the eldest child in the family. The ex never defended me. We were mugged on a European motorway entirely due to his stupidity. I was forced out of the hire car. He did nothing! He just sat there, in the driving seat, while bandits (only word for them) stole our hand luggage from the back seat, including passports, house keys etc (we were returning to the airport to fly home). And after I had survived the fear of possibly being shot, raped, abducted, and had been let go, I still had to lead the way in sorting the consequences out. I got us back to the UK on our original flight, sorted insurance claims, got locks changed, on and on. And I too worked full time! I knew that he was a coward then, but we’d only been married for a few years (my second time) and I didn’t want to admit a second failure. I would have been dealing with divorce at age 49 instead of 59 and that would have been easier!

    • 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 for the Former Mutual Friend speaking the truth.

  • Loving the universal wisdom in these CL golden oldies.

    Right before I read today’s post, I heard a story on the radio today (Today Explained: “The kids defying family court”) about “parental alienation.” Couldn’t help but make a connection to the OP — the and many other chumps here who had kids with FWs. So scary:

  • I loved my ex so much…I thought the stars shone out of his ass! Then he showed me that he didn’t feel the same about me. I would never feel good or happy or safe around him again so I don’t want to be his “friend” or anything else. To paraphrase Gotye: He’s just somebody that I used to know.

  • Let’s see. My FW XW asked back in October, after I commented in a short email about our youngest, and only minor child left, our son (about six more months till he’s NOT a minor anymore! So excited! Less needed interaction w/the FW XW!), that I’m looking forward to not having to deal w/her, and that I assumed she felt the same about me.

    Nope. On the contrary. She said she hopes we can be cordial from here on out.


    My response? I went from grey rock to almost completely no contact (in response to two emails concerning our son after her asking for cordiality, my two replies were the same word. “Viewed.”).

    Still, it continues to annoy the fuck out of me. FW XW exit-affairs me w/her older, richer boss after almost twenty five years of marriage. We get divorced in about two years following D-day. FW XW then marries former boss and AP two years later (very roughly).

    Why does she think she deserves more than civility from me? She blows me and our family apart for her own selfish, whorish reasons (he has an island home off Maine type whorish), and she thinks I would ever be cordial to her again? She’s out of her friggin’ mind!

    But I think Tracy’s got a line on it. Image management. She’s big on that. When she left me, she claimed I was having a midlife crisis. Hmm. Funny, I didn’t buy a fancy car, or fuck some strange, young or otherwise. Continued to love my wife and family. Never strayed. EVER. Tempted? Twice. Acted on it? No. Why? See loved my wife and family. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do that to them for some selfish desire.

    Her on the other hand? Yeah, totally acceptable for her, it seems. I wasn’t making her happy, her older sister told me. Well, that absolves her of all guilt, doesn’t it? I was a bad husband, going through a tough time maybe, but ultimately, I wasn’t making her happy. Case closed. I mean, that part about staying together thru good times and bad times, that only applied to me, it seems. Silly me, thinking it meant both of us.

    Ugh. This shit just makes me ill. I hope everybody else has better luck dealing w/this type of shit (better if you get to avoid it altogether. It’s been bothering me since she said it. My mind can’t stop thinking about how insane her request is.

    Wishing all of CN peace. I’m still working on it, but slow and steady will win the race for me. I hope.

      • It’s on an island called Vinalhaven, I believe. Never heard of it before she left me for this asshole (not that she’s not). And sail is the correct term. He’s taken my son (and I assume her) sailing there. Assholes’ paradise, it seems (to be clear, I like to sail. I just never get to do it because it’s expensive and time-consuming. Two things I don’t have a ton of anymore).

        Now when I see my son wearing a t-shirt w/the name of the island on it, I have to chew on my tongue to keep from saying anything I might regret.😡

  • The ex’s affair was long distance, across the Atlantic. Before I discovered the affair but after I had been dumped in a cruel way, the ex told me that we would stay ‘the closest of close friends’. I never believed that to be a possibility because it would not have been acceptable to me. I feel that he intended me to be available to fill in time and provide company when exgfOW was at her home overseas. He also understood me well, and knew that ‘friendship’ would make me easy to deal with on the finances. I’m a soft touch where I love and a tough litigator where I work! Friendship would enable him to keep exgfOW anxious and unsettled. I had 26 years of history with him. The ex is an unoriginal cheater, central to his own tiny universe. My universe did me the huge favour of revealing their emails to me, only a few exchanges but enough for me to see the truth about what had been going on. And that was it! He made overtures to maintain some sort of relationship, tried to find excuses to come to the house (no kids). I moved all communication to my lawyer and instructed him to tell the ex’s lawyer that I never wanted to see the ex’s face again. And that’s how it is and ever will be. I don’t wish the ex well. He was never my friend and he never will be. The ‘friendship’ story from cheaters is a manipulation tactic. One of my friends has remained friends with her cheating, violent ex for 30 plus years. She has never moved on emotionally. Yes, he helps her out in the house, dog sits, etc, and yes they share adult children and young grandchildren. But she has never been free to move on emotionally. I find that very sad.

  • Four years divorced and he hasn’t been back to TX (he lives in CA) to see the kids- in 3 years; plus he “canceled” Xmas and said there would be no more gifts (he makes 6 figures).
    ….And just the other day he emailed me and claimed that the reason the kids are “reserved” with him is because I wont be friends with the OW/wife.

    Um, no.

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