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Ex-Wife Wants to Manage His Dating

Dear Chump Lady,

It has been 4 years since we divorced. I found out she was on a dating site. She confessed she was dating a number of men. I moved out and have been focused on my kids and life.

I did not date, but decided recently to start dating as I have a lot to offer to the right person. I met some nice women lately and will only introduce the kids once I found the right person.

Last week my ex wife informed me she found a new guy that makes her happy and will introduce him to the kids. I wished her much happiness.

My ex wife then had a weird request. She asked me if we can go on holidays together and spend Christmas together, without her new man. I told her no. She got upset.

My ex wife than asked me if I was dating. I said yes. She asked me not to date a younger woman and not to have children as we have a family already.

Why is my ex wife of over 4 years having this bizarre request?

Thank you,

John G


Dear John G,

Because she lives on Planet Narcissist. It’s hard to understand her strange dialect, MEish, but what this freak is saying is “Have no other Gods before me.” (It’s not a request, John. It’s a demand.)

Let’s call your alien narcissist “Karen.” Karen expects you to build a shrine to Janet. Got some old wedding pictures? Good. Keep ’em up. That should scare off the potential girlfriends.

Next rule, have no life. Yes, Karen may date — but she is the Almighty Karen. You sir, need to tend the shrine and keep Karen central in all things. (Hey, she needs a babysitter next Saturday. I know it was her week with the kids, but….KAREN Has Spoken!)

For four years you’ve been a good subject/human satellite/chump, but NOW you are dating? What?! This is a threat to kibble production. (Kibbles are the life force of Planet Narcissist.) Sedition! (See “Have no other Gods…”) Time to reel you back in as Plan B. Thus the vacation request (minus the boyfriend). We can all be one big cake-y family together!

Of course the ONLY family is the family in which Karen is central. So you may not make any false Gods (competing babies). She, of course, can make more babies.  But that’s just expanding the Karen brand (and colonies on Planet Narcissist). NOT YOU.

It’s exhausting the way Karen has to explain these things to do you, John. Ruling the universe is so difficult when the chumps get uppity.

What should you do, John?

Remember that you don’t live on Planet Narcissist anymore. There was an intergalactic revolt and you escaped to Planet New Life. Alas, in the chaos, you lost your Universal Bullshit Translator and don’t understand ME-ish.

However, pantomime may work. Gesture wildly at the Narcissist using your middle finger.

Hope she gets the message.

Enjoy that date, John.


This week will be reruns. (Except tomorrow, there’s a new podcast to write about.) I’m a podcasting conference in Denver. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My ex was OBSESSED about whether I was dating (I wasn’t). He accused me of sleeping with someone or being out on a date every time I didn’t immediately respond to a text message or didn’t answer a call. If I cut or colored my hair, or wore a nice outfit, I HAD to be doing for a GUY (apparently, to him, women never, ever do their hair for themselves).

    He’d been cheating on me for years at that point. I guess a lying cheater assumes everyone is lying and cheating. I think he wanted to go “Gotcha! You’re the same as me.” so he didn’t feel like he did anything wrong. Even after I explained to him that I would never date until the divorce was finalized because I didn’t believe in breaking MY vows even if he had broken his, he didn’t believe me.

    OP should have responded to the question “Are you dating?” with “That’s no longer your business. We’re divorced.” His ex wanted him to be perpetually heartbroken that she left him and has moved on. She wants him to still be fixated on her. He’s shown that he doesn’t mind that she’s seeing someone (he wished her “much happiness”) and she can’t STAND that she no longer matters to him.

    • “Gotcha! You’re just the same as me!” FW tried to play that game with me and so did his family. Not until after DDay did all the weird interactions with all of them finally wake me up to the fact that I had put myself into a nest of snakes.

  • Good luck with your quest to Clump Lady world domination via blog and podcast.
    Hope those podcast people understand the necessity of changing the narrative!!!
    You are mighty Tracy and Chump Nation is behind you ❤️👍

    • Where is that grammar correct button?
      Your quest FOR Chump Lady world domination

  • There’s no longer a ‘we’, John. She lost her bargaining power over what’s best for you and your children. Strange how one so shallow wants you to conform to her views on what’s best for the family.

    • Their self-centeredness knows no bounds. My FW wanted to have veto power over who I could date, of course because he was “worried about our young son.” Riiiiiight. I wasn’t the one getting strange on the side there, sport.

  • This letter describes well the situation I walked into when I started dating husband 2.0. He hd been divorced for 12 years after his XW decided that there was greener grass out there. She withheld visits, ( and threatened to withhold more if her instructions were not followed to the letter) threatened and refused to do any of the interstate driving to facilitate visitation. The “Its Always the Husbands Fault” narrative scared him into not dating for YEARS.

    12 years post divorce and she is remarried, and he starts dating me. I have never been divorced, but I have learned a lot from my friends about what is normal and she wasn’t it. I suggested that he stop doing ALL the driving since his daughter lived 9 hours away and other common sense sorts of things.

    So, yea, my arrival messed up Planet Karen Narcissus. On daughter’s 18th birthday (per divorce degree) we stopped child support and created a young adult checking acct for daughter that did not include her mom. When daughter was legally permitted to apply for a Passport, we helped her get one then planned a trip abroad (during our scheduled holiday) – without her mothers PERMISSION, can you imagine?

    Im 10 years into this relationship and have never formally met his XW as my extended hand at the first big event was spurned and she stomped away.

    The problem now is that daughter was so accustomed to parents fighting over her and showering her with stuff that she hasn’t properly grown up and thinks that anyone allowed to house her now 20something self and pay her expenses is a lucky soul indeed. I am refusing to live on planet Daughter Narcissus and it has been a rocky road. Neither of us were aware when nurturing became spoiling and there is some Hell to pay now, but were working through it.

    • Unicornnomore – As a previous stepmother/chump, I can sympathize. I entered the picture after FW’s first wife had remarried and found our life often was planned around first wife’s needs.

      I think there’s little agreement even among intact families regarding the “failure to launch” young adult children. My advice (if you’re asking) is to be brief and direct with any adult living in your home about immediate expectations. Leave it to the biological parents and the universe to teach the big lessons.

      The thirties are different from the twenties, maturity-wise, and you just need to decide whether the relationship is acceptable to you.

      • Thanks SBS, she was 22 when she moved in “for the year between undergrad and grad school” and after 2 + years here, she was butt hurt when I told her it was time to move along. She was like Benjamin Button and got younger the longer she stayed and I became resentful. I did NOT like the 18 year old 24 year old version of her. She moved out a week or so ago and I need a long break to regain my perspective.

    • I have to be honest, your post has my back up a bit…. when a step-parent comes in and starts “suggesting”. “We stopped child support”? No, actually your husband/the dad stopped child support as, it was his responsibility, not yours. I have “step-parents” on both ends & it pisses me off how my stepfather “suggestions” for my mom to overrule/undermine my father & now my ex’s OW is trying the same. You may be perfectly nice & I misread the situation but your wording triggered me.

      • Orlando, I’m sorry I didn’t word the description of the situation clearer to pain a more accurate picture of the respect benevolence I used in these situations. I don’t have time right now to explain but honesty, I stepped in fewer stepparent poop piles than my dear husband has.

      • It sure as fuck is not his responsibility after she is 18. The ex wife is not entitled to money for life for child support of an adult. Your post has my back up because I’m goddamn sick of this belief that people are children until they’re fucking 40. No, they aren’t. That attitude is why so many people are pieces of shit.

        • My son turned 18 yesterday. This month’s child support check to me from his FW mother was prorated so that she didn’t pay child support for a single day past his 18th birthday.

          Which is absolutely fine in and of itself but annoying because in all other interactions (that would benefit her – for instance, when she requests a change in custody for the remaining kid) her attitude is “we don’t need to stick to the letter of a settlement that was written years ago! Let’s just wing it!”

        • K-Pig: I think you need to read my post again because nowhere did I write that anyone is “entitled to money for life for child support of an adult”. Not your next sentence either. That’s your own spin on it. Not mine.

      • To follow up…

        No, WE didnt stop child support that day, HE did…with me assuring him if he followed the letter of the decree he would be fine. His XW had added stipulations into their agreement for 12 years and if challenged, she would threaten to withhold daughter from him. Yes, he could go to court if she did that but the lag between threat and court would have been enough to ruin his plans.

        I didnt tell him what to do but I let him know that my divorced mom friends had to work with their Xs to facilitate visits. He was active duty military and lived far away and XW did not drive daughter nor allow her to fly on a plane (even at 16 or 17). He drove 18 hours straight to get her and bring her to his house before I suggested he work out a compromise.

        We had to plan our wedding during a time when we had legal custody of daughter(summer visitation) as we fully expected XW to refuse to let her attend our wedding at the last minute otherwise.

        He paid generous child support and after it was negotiated, she told him that he had better pay for private school “or else black girls will beat her up” (I suppose that statement speaks for itself). After paying every dime of private school (including every meal, book and activity) his XW told him not to come to graduation as he was not welcome. They ate the parent breakfast that came with tuition and we had to buy extra tickets. I tried to introduce myself to her there and she spun on her heels and stomped away. She has literally never spoken to me in 10 years.

        She then refused to pay any college tuition at all and when daughter chose a school in our home state, her mom took away her phone, care insurance and every other support. We stepped in to make her attending the great school she was accepted to possible.

        I went along with all of this fully supporting husband and his opportunity to be the present parent he had wanted to be buy couldn’t during his military service. Daughter thanked my by asking for a Christmas gift last year that was so expensive, she knew my kids would not get the same and she did not care. It caused a rift that has not healed. She is 24 and this month just paid her first rent. She had never paid a car pmt, car insurance, utility, nothing. He dad will pay for grad school and she wont even have to hold down a job during (to my chagrin…I think it is a terrible idea, but it’s his decision).

        • Unicornomore: thanks for clarifying, but you didn’t have to either. It’s just how it was originally worded & what I have gone through having a step-parent trying to oust my parent & now the OW is trying to do the same. I’m super-sensitive to any suggestion of a step-parent doing anything similar ….although, I know there are great stepparents out there too! Kids being spoiled & entitled is never doing them any favours. Sorry that you have to deal with that. <3

          • Thanks, I know I didnt HAVE to answer, but I like clarity.

            I had every intention of being very cordial and appropriate with the XW…in fact, it was (in part) his decency with the XW and child which showed me that he is a man of character when we first started dating. He had I had dated very briefly as teens and his XW remembered that he spoke fondly of me. She accused him of having lingering feelings for me during their marriage (which he honestly said he did not have…he was ALL IN for his marriage). I never once communicated to him in any form during his marriage and completely lost him. I had no idea where he lived, what he did or if he was still married or not until 12 years after they divorced.

            He had been a frog in a pot for those 12 years and if she yelled jump, he asked “how high?” Mostly I let him know what kinds of post-divorce parenting I had learned of from my divorced friends (Im not divorced, I was widowed). I honestly did nothing at all to that woman and the fact that she treated me (in public) like I was an OW who ruined her marriage (when that is something, as a Chump, I would NEVER DO!!) was horrifying to me.

            What horrifies me is that their daughter now seems now to be manifesting a lot of selfish, greedy behaviors that I did not see when she was a tween living under her moms heavy hand. I feel like a few years of spoiling from my husband (who fell into it after missing living with her her whole childhood) have done her a disservice. I was the one who set the limit that after 2 years in our house (rent free, responsibility free) she needed to move out. Husband has been supportive in respecting my boundary, but I still feel Ive been framed in the Wicked Stepmother identity.

            • 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Congrats on setting and enforcing firm boundaries with a young (and in many ways lucky in terms of finances, NOT so with a disordered parent) adult.

  • My first ex boyfriend pulled similar. He was so interested in what I was doing after he broke up with me that he knew the minute I started dating and came after me to get me to pick either him or the other guy. When I made the most predictable choice (because he wasn’t a good boyfriend anyway) to him it was over because of another guy! When future exes tried the “other man” ploy I laughed because it had no power over me.

  • “Ruling the universe is so difficult when the chumps get uppity.” Love this, and it so nails cheater logic.

    When my fw found out I went on a date, he showed up the next day and the first thing he said was “I know you went out with that guy” I said “I wasn’t trying to hide it” then he promptly told me that guy was too old for me. (he ran his plates). Then he invited me over to see his apartment. (etchings?). I declined. I was quiet and polite of course, but my actions said “go to hell”. he knew it. Then he enlisted the preachers help, that didn’t work either.

    That uppity Susie was going to go on and live her life no matter what he did.

    • Watching The Sopranos for the fifth time and noticed the scene where classic Cluster B Tony starts sniveling when he hears a sappy R&B song on the car radio, suddenly turns his car around, drives to the house of the city councilman who’s banging the depressive Russian “gumar” that Tony dumped and then beats the councilman with a belt. There’s zero indication that Tony has any respect for the former side piece.

      That’s the series creator David Chase’s point: this kind of territoriality isn’t humanizing and has nothing to do with love but is, in fact, dehumanizing and evil. That’s why I think the series is so brilliant– Chase seems to truly understand evil. He sets traps to momentarily seduce viewers into being charmed by or to feel sympathy for epically evil people can be (awww, Tony tears up thinking about his ex side chick, poor sad sausage!) but then always drops the mask and exposes the characters as repulsive monsters (knowing that if he beats the councilman to a bloody pulp the latter will be too humiliated to continue the relationship with the ex side piece, then giving no further indication he even thinks about the side piece). Chase was explicit in later interviews, saying he didn’t want the characters to be redeemed or admirable. Interview excerpt:

      M: Here’s what I was trying to get at with these violence questions: Was there ever any frustration on your part, or the part of the other writers, that the audience loved these gangsters so much?

      David Chase: Yes.

      M: Was there any element in this stuff we’re talking about—violence against women, racism, escalating levels of brutality, the sadism of characters like Ralphie—where this was your response to these viewers? Like, “You can’t like these guys! Goddammit, what’s wrong with you?”

      Chase: Yes.

      M: So you were trying to answer the question, “What do we have to do to make you people not like these guys?”

      Chase: Yeah—to make you see what this show is about. It’s about people who’ve made a deal with the devil, starting with the head guy. It’s about evil. I was surprised by how hard it was get people to see that. I mean, you only have me to trust about this, but I can tell you, there would’ve been a limit as to how far we’d have gone to make sure people got that.

    • Susie B,

      What the what?!? Ran his plates? That’s freaky. It would be one thing if you were engaged and he did a background check and didn’t tell you about it. But he ran his plates after one date?
      I think it’s a threat: “I’ll always know who you date and you’ll both be in trouble if I Don’t Approve”.
      Freaking stalker.

      • Susie Lee’s first husband was a cop so that gives his behavior an extra layer of scariness

  • Wow, Karen is a true cake eater. She want him to give up his life while she can do whatever she pleases. The family vacations will give her some great triangulation with her new guy just to keep on his toes and keep him dancing nicely. That poor guy is a chump in the making.
    John, you are divorced! You control you. She has no control, power or influenece unless you give it to her. As a healthy person you will probably not make that mistake. Date as much as you want. Find the right one and discover reciprocity. You deserve it and you deserve a life without “Karen”.

  • John G:

    Oh honey, I think you already know exactly why she’s doing what she’s doing. Because she’s the center of her own solar system and wants you to be one of her dwarf planets, endlessly circling her so she can keep tabs on your orbit.

    No matter what the request is, just keep saying, “No“.






    You get the picture…

  • Isn’t it surreal that FWs can cheat and do whatever they please, but even FOUR YEARS AFTER DIVORCE, they think they can control a chump?

    In my opinion (FWIW) it’s verbal vomiting. FWs sometimes just vomit out their thoughts and insecurities… then their ridiculous narcissism makes them think they are (as CL said) almighty and control you. So much entitlement.

    Obviously ignore. Grey rock and silence is best. And the happy bonus from that is it’ll make a FW crazy 😂

    But I’d be sooo tempted to respond with (just to be an ass) “I’m dating women so much younger than you. They are far more beautiful and way more fun! I’m so happy! If any of them want children, I’m totally game!” 😂 (but don’t … Don’t poke the bear)

    • Think that definitely falls under the “if it feels good, don’t do it” tenet! 😀

  • I am newly separated and have no desire to date. I suspect that may be permanent, if Keanu Reeves finds himself single and shows up at my door with an offer, that could change, but otherwise, I don’t think I will ever be interested in putting myself out there in the way one needs to, to date successfully.

    And that’s OK. I see loads of single chumps here living their best lives. I think I may be of that ilk. My ex-FW, on the other hand, absolutely plans to date. And he is well-prepared seeing as how he had a whole ass love life outside of our marriage that I was unaware of for years.

    His biggest fear seems to be that I will date. He also would very much like me to take him back. It “wobbles the mind” to try to understand these FWs! (so I have taken CL’s advice and stopped trying to) He can’t handle the concept of post-split me even considering dating, but thinks I should take him back after he spent years with a side piece? Really??? But I mostly came to say that at least the OP’s ex-wife was suggesting holidays together without her new boyfriend. When I found out about my FW’s AP, he wanted to move her next door and have holidays, vacations and family dinners together as a “family”. Talk about living in a fantasy world. I am the chumpiest of chumps and put up with so much BS from him, but that was a bridge too far for even me. When I made it clear that I was never going to befriend his AP, the “rage channel” played for weeks without interruption. You see, if only I would befriend her, it would be clear to the world that they were meant to be and he wouldn’t be the loser that cheats on his wife with someone 15 years younger and leaves his family in a shambles. It was all MY fault that he didn’t get to set that narrative.

    • My take was that she wanted to exclude boyfriend because she’s unable to find someone and doesn’t want to be alone. Also, image management; see I’m not so bad.

      • Oh! Good point. I just assumed she had a current bf, but maybe not. And yes, I agree, it is about image management. If the chump is seen as being friendly and to the ex-FW, outsiders think the FW couldn’t have done anything all that bad.

      • Over time it starts to become transparent that FWs engineer jealousy traps– sometimes quite skillfully and subtly (when they feel in control, though it becomes more obvious and awkward the more they lose control of victims)– as a means of displacing their own pathological, self-generated jealousy, territoriality, possessiveness, inadequacy and infantile fear of abandonment onto their victims, as if externalizing and making someone else feel those feelings will spare the FW from suffering from those feelings.

        If that sounds skeiny or aww-poor-attachment-disordered-dears-just-need-reassurance, bear in mind that it’s the same thing serial killers do when they torture and kill. In other words, nothing could be further from “love” than that kind of displacement. They want the see the victim undergo whatever catastrophic terror, pain, betrayal and humiliation the perpetrators endured as children at the hands of adults, as if causing the experiences in others will at last free the perps from that hell. It’s a demented way of “sharing their feelings.”

  • My cheater asked me if we could still have sex every now and then. He wanted me to pine for him forever, basically. That was a huge, gigantic NO.

  • People like OP’s ex-wife are downright creepy. If she were so concerned about the family unit, she would have worked on the marriage and kept it all intact. She’s a special kind of selfish and self-serving. I pity OP and the kids for having to deal with her for the foreseeable future.

  • I think divorce implies that you don’t spend (emotional and nostalgic) holidays together. Parents of young children can create their own traditions. Parents of adult children can opt for visits which don’t overlap.

    In general, your children don’t need to exchange gifts with someone you’re dating.

  • My FW is obsessed with the idea of me dating. He is constantly fishing for information about it. I once got annoyed with him and said “You dated while we were together. Why does it upset you if I date when we’re not?” He responded sheepishly “It wasn’t like that…” when I asked “how was it then?” He didn’t answer.
    I’m not dating. I have no desire to date honestly. I’m just going to be single and enjoy my life. But at the end of the day, FW doesn’t need to know what I’m doing or with whom.

    • I could have written this word for word. In my case, I spent a lot of time insisting I wasn’t interested in dating and he didn’t believe me. (again, because I am the one whose word we shouldn’t take as true?) At one point he was certain that I already was talking to someone else. The concept of leaving him without a jump off in the wings seemed impossible to him. (Projection much?)

    • Same here, @Double Chumped. Seven years out from divorce, I have absolutely no interest in dating! FW never stopped dating even when we were married for 13 years, and FW has sued me 3 times, each lawsuit asking discovery questions about who I’ve ever gone out with or kissed. Control freak!

  • “Expanding the brand” is exactly what it is. I’ve mentioned it here before, but my FW’s great idea about divorce was that we should continue living in the same house together, where I could keep doing his laundry and washing his dishes, but that he would be free to date anyone he pleased. Not me though. I shouldn’t be allowed to date because I needed to focus on the kids.

    • He knew if he were around no suitor worth their salt or in their right mind would get enmeshed in the situation. Because FWs know they’re psychos and can depend on their ability to radiate psycho menace if they want to. It’s the ultimate form of cock-blocking (or twat-blocking as the case may be).

  • This makes me think back to when I first started dating Mr. Sparkles and he explained he had children (who lived out of state with his X) and if we were still dating by their summer visitation, he would have me meet them. BUT – he wanted to know if I wanted to go meet his X first. Didn’t see the red flag for what it was – he was still screwing around with his X (much like John G’s wife was trying to do to him) and he wanted to “flaunt” me in front of her (goad her into more pick me dancing, and in theory turn me into a unwitting pick me dancer.).

    Fast forward to after he discarded me and our family 11 years later (which included two of my stepchildren now living with us and our third grade son)… he invited me out to meet in a public place to “talk”… this was only a couple weeks later… he wanted to tell me he had met someone (I, of course, later found out they met at the gym six months prior)… and he wanted to know if I wanted to meet her… like he couldn’t wait to rub it in my face that I had been replaced. I declined and we agreed he wouldn’t introduce her to our son (who lived with me – step kids went with him) for one year. Unfortunately for my step kids, she started sleeping over at his place regularly. (Note: when the OW susquently dumped him for cheating on her, he had a new GF lined up that my son had witnessed Dad hitting on at the gym because that is where weeknight visitation took place – but Mr. Sparkles “waited” six months this time to officially introduced her to our son – they’re married now.)

    It was then that he asked if I had started dating anyone… this was literally 4 weeks after the discard/move out. I was flabbergasted (though as I came to learn more and more about NPD and my X’s special flavor of narcissism)… I was not unique… but I could no more consider dating someone than I could wrap my mind around him already having met his new twu luv. It was chilling. He then went on to state that before I introduced anyone to our son, HE would like to meet the person first. Again, chilling.

    People who cheat are not normal. Whether they’re NPD or just plain old selfish idiots, their common ability to lie, put their needs before all others, and still find themselves expecting their same elevated standing in the family or community is stupifying… and it’s these moments where they take it step further expecting to still be somehow connected to our lives (not our children’s) clearly illustrates how disturbed they truly are. It’s one of the many reasons I had to go No Contact (thank you parenting software!).

    • “People who cheat are not normal.”

      I totally agree, and even more basic “people who cheat and lie, cheat and lie”. It is who they are.

  • Not divorced yet, separated a year so far. Not dating. But it was bizarro when he asked me a few times in person (I’ve had to be low- contact so far) if I’m dating and having sex. So…. he wants to know all about my personal life now that we are physically separated and almost divorced, but he did not want me to know his secret double life, when he was dating co-workers and paying prostitutes while we were married for 3 decades. Hm.

    • Viktoria, please be VERY careful since you’re not divorced yet! Don’t share if you’re dating and definitely not about having sex. Depending on where you live, it can affect the outcome of your divorce settlement. In some US states (like mine), if I was dating while just separated, FW could have avoided paying me spousal support! I didn’t start dating until after the divorce was settled — much to FW’s chagrin.

      So just be completely silent!! Even after your divorce, it’s none of FW’s business anyway.

    • Don’t tell him jack squat, Viktoria. Make it clear to him that you won’t discuss your private life and won’t listen to him if he talks about his.

    • Stay low/no contact with him. You’re getting divorced, the only point of talking to him now is logistics, and you can handle that through emails or texts. In fact it’s better to do that through emails or texts, because then you have a record if he says anything bizarro.

      • MichelleShocked, OHFFS & Apidae, yes agreed. Forgot to say in my comment that I have definitely not answered him, not discussing with him my private life. Yes I’m aware of the matter regarding different US states and I have my wise strategy in place. Thank you for advising!

  • Control and boundary issues, my ex has the same ones. Just say no and leave it at that, your life is your life. My ex tried to update my mom on her life over the weekend, so that made for some interesting conversations between them.

  • My ex said (shortly after D-day when dating was the last thing on my mind) that if I wanted to start dating again he wanted to check the guy out first to make sure he was good enough for me.

    • Chumpinrecovery, I can ALMOST see mine saying the same thing, except he fully admits he can’t bear the thought of me dating at all. (I realize this is no complement to me, it’s all about him, ego and control) Us chumps often hold in our witty or blunt replies, for the sake of meh and keeping communication with the FW as brief as possible. But you would be so justified if you retorted “and YOU are the expert on what’s good enough for me? Are you afraid they will somehow be worse than you were? Seems a tall order.”

    • Chumpinrecovery – I don’t know how you didn’t laugh out loud and say “ohhhhh do you think you’re my “big brother” now? That’s precious. We’re married and you’re a cheater. Don’t need your advice LOL!!!!!”
      Entitled gross FWs yech

  • What John G. needed to do was stop talking to this freak about anything but the kids, and even then only if it was neccessary. He should have made it clear that discussion about either of their dating lives would not be entertained. Any personal info can be used by a narc as a not too thinly disguised back door to try to control you. It is best to starve them of any information about yourself and show no interest in theirs. He wished her happiness. 😖 Why? She doesn’t deserve it and it’s not going to happen anyway. She’s proven that when all the elements which create happiness are in place, she still can’t get there, because the problem is her and it always will be.
    I think I’m closing in on meh with my FW, and I do not wish him happiness, especially since he’s done nothing to earn it or create it. A chump is never obligated to wish the cheater well. Meh, to me, means you don’t wish the cheater would die like a pig in hell anymore, nor do you care how the cheater lives.

  • FW was already living with his skank when I was asked out by a guy who I later came to find out was loaded. Not my problem – he asked me out, not the other way round. FW found out because said rich guy offered to give my oldest and his gf some furniture if he wanted to rent a truck and come get it. The guy had a penthouse overlooking lake Geneva and the furniture was hand-made in Milan. I guess son told FW about it because nothing compares to the skanky alcoholic he’d shacked up with!!! When I broke up with Mr Rich (although we remain friends) a colleague asked me out and when FW found out he was number two in our large organization he pretty much laid a square egg. Man, did that feel good – petty maybe – but good! I’m determinedly single now and yet somehow I’m still happier than FW with his latest neurotic!

  • My sons were 9 and 12 when I finally divorced their dad. They used to ask me if he could come over for Thanksgiving/Christmas/their birthday dinner so “the family” would be together. They still don’t understand why I wouldn’t invite “grieving widow” to my house after their dad’s funeral. I tried to explain, but they thought I was being petty. They will just have to think that UNTIL and UNLESS they experience intimate betrayal. “He will always be your dad, but he is not my husband” should be a complete thought, like “NO” is a complete sentence.

    My home will always be “home”, too. But in my home, I decide who will be my guest. I am not grieving widows’ friend. She was not OW while I was married, but she was supposed to be my friend when she started dating him. Then she became ex-friend. Even if she had been a stranger to me, she would not ever “become” a friend. I get to choose my friends.

    I do not need to be hostile; I just prefer time and distance between my life and any Ex’s life. I can be socially polite, from afar. I have long believed my personal business is my business. I am not obliged to share it with anyone, and usually I do not share. Posting on ChumpLady is my only willing breach. If I choose to “share” any information with someone I consider a friend, I feel they should not share that information with others. Let’s put “confide” back into confidential.

  • She’s literally just trying to stop you from moving on. It’s also a tiktok trend. People post stupid videos of how they still spend holidays and vacation with their exes and kids because they’re so “mature” and everyone who doesn’t do that is a bad person and harming their children.

    In reality, if their relationship is really so fantastic and they really get along so well, they should have tried harder to make their marriage work instead of destroying their family but still playing happy family so often that neither will ever be able to have another real relationship and give their children even one stable family. They’re just pathetic perverts who blew up their family because they wanted to keep fucking strange but then they post videos about how they’re so much better than decent people. It’s pathetic and disgusting.

    • Yep, those “we’re awesome co-parent and great friends” videos and articles are yuck.

    • I’ll go one further and say that those types of arrangements are confusing as fuck to the kids. Everyone’s mileage may vary but overall this is not in the best interest of the kids – plays into their fantasies of mom and dad getting back together like some magical Disney movie of the week. All that does is support the FWs public image.

    • Is there always cheating involve in those breakups? Even if not, I imagine that, more often than not, such painless partings followed very transactional initial partnering and relationships with low investment. You see this happen quite a bit when it was the pairing of two narcissists or among the moneyed set where the gold digger second or third spouse lets go of the older money bags quite easily and they remain “friends” as long as the settlement payments continue. Gold digger is relieved to no longer have to pretend to be turned on by dewlaps and comb-overs and money bags can afford to buy an even younger appliance. Not a lot of hard feelings when there wasn’t any love there to begin with.

      • Mr 💰 💰 can find another younger wife appliance with perkier fun bags 🎈🎈

        • And perky fun bags might be able to mine those dewlaps and belly flaps for jewelry, treasure and pocket change left by former appliances! It works out all around!

    • KatiePig, I have seen some of those trending videos to and here’s the thing, maybe those couples broke up without any cheating. I definitely think the idea of the 2 exes staying on SUCH good terms, and the new partners blending in so seamlessly is just NOT something that everyone can do. But if a divorce was infidelity-free, and the 2 exes get along fairly well as friends, I can see how that would be possible for some lucky people who check off all the boxes. I think it is just extremely difficult for us chumps to imagine a world like that because of what we have experienced. For example, if my FW finds a new partner, I am not going to dislike her just because she is with him. But let’s be real, I am definitely going to wonder if he was possibly chatting her up while we were married. And I will wonder if she KNEW he was married. And if I am sure they weren’t part of all that, and are some new, innocently “newly met” person, it would still be hard to befriend her like these tik-tokkers do, because if I LIKED her I would feel bad for her. As chances are, she has no idea what she is getting into.

      I think the comments on those tik tok videos of “this is how it SHOULD be! Best for the kids!” are just unrealistic. I think it is wonderful for those couples that it’s worked out that way. But a lot of divorced parents are using all their energy just to remain civil and co parent. I don’t think you are a bad parent if you aren’t besties with your kids stepmom. There are just too many factors at play and most people are not quite “there”.

  • CL: I think that you may have meant “Karen” when you typed “Janet” in the second paragraph of your response?

    • I thought this hinted at split personality. “Janet” at parent teacher conferences, “Karen” in dank parking lots– that sort of thing.

  • After I shut my ex’s hoover attempts down early on, he has kept his distance, as I have kept mine (with the one exception of my telling his new girlfriend about his closet crossdressing and secret sex practices while in womanface because I would have wanted to know).

    I have been no contact for almost five years, and I mostly don’t ever think about him, but finding out he has a new partner was rough, and resurrected hurt that after a 35 year marriage I am still healing from. I admit to wishing my ex didn’t have a new partner (I was told about it from mutual colleagues), because it was easier to bear the damage he did to me when I had the satisfaction of knowing he was without a partner.

    • Did you ever suspect or even dream he might kill you? Do you think he might have secretly fantasized about harming or killing you? Did his cross dressing have a little of that serial killer thing in it (fictional ones and real ones like BTK) where it wasn’t that he’s genuinely transgender but instead wanted to “embody his own victims” like wearing a woman suit?

      The reason I ask is because I think that feeling fades the more survivors dredge up, remember and label all the fearful moments once and for all. I have the feeling that glitch of lingering and inexplicable “territoriality” isn’t possessiveness, pining or love at all but the vestige of captor bonding because, while still in the abuser’s orbit, the specter of being “replaced” always meant any little shred of mercy or restraint the abuser might have formerly shown would disappear upon finding the replacement. In other words, the level of danger cranks up the moment the victims’ services are no longer required and abusers’ gloves come off. Since so many abusers have that “dog with two bones” issue and never seem to really let go of “former property,” being separated doesn’t necessarily end the potential danger. Awful as it is, there’s a sliver of safety in still being of sexual “use” to a very dangerous person (unless they’re necrophiliacs of course).

      If you can’t access fear from the past despite knowing he did or said various “intangibly unsettling” or even overtly menacing things at times, it might be because the potential threat to you was worse than you know or were able to consciously acknowledge. Food for thought. Knowing how close we came to peril can be shattering and the mind tends to protect the body from the stress of full acnowledgement.

      • Nah, he was never going to kill me. I was afraid of him only once, and that was after I told him I wanted an honest relationship with our son and was going to tell him exactly why we were divorcing. Otherwise his mode was sad-sausage passive aggression. He was definitely envious of my femaleness–mine and every other woman’s. One time I remarked that the haircut I’d gotten that day wasn’t as good as usual, and he said, “I wish I had your hair.” As with other transgender-identifying people, he definitely had gender dysphoria–although I never saw him act more male than after he declared he was “a woman in a man’s body.”

        • The whole thing sounds completely unsettling and WTF, particularly the fact that he got scary regarding keeping his double life secret. Dystopian to say the least and I’m sure not what you signed up for.

  • The Colonel’s infinite entitlement to waltz right back into my life – after the younger woman led to him by “Divine Intervention” dumped him a year into the marriage – was absolutely stupefying! He never asked if I was dating, engaged, remarried, or any other pertinent question…. because, of course, in his mind I was always his back burner option & would do whatever was necessary to move myself back into the starter position until Divine Intervention struck again.

    (Don’t get me wrong, CN. Taking him back was – and will not – ever happen. It was his brazen and presumptive gall that absolutely stunned me.)

    • I love the Devine intervention. The whore told my daughter in law that she believes God sent her to fw right when he needed her. Daughter in law told her that she doesn’t believe God send a woman to steal another woman’s husband. She cleaned it up from what she really wanted to say.

      To me that is blasphemous, but if that did happen I guess it took several married men who needed her first before she found one idiot enough to become her meal ticket. She and he were being led around by something, but I doubt it had anything to do with God.

      • Yup. He was being led around by his short hairs, in addition to something else 😉

        • Yep, and she was following the smell of a meal ticket. She didn’t get the life of Riley she imagined, but hey she did get someone to make the payments on the trailer, at least for a few years.

  • The idea of the cheaters with their new wives, side pieces, whores and love interests all gathered at the barbecue with the women and kids they have damaged or destroyed is the opposite of ANYTHING good for children. It normalizes evil, ego, and abuse. There is nothing good about that “for the kids” or for the adults, either.

  • I might be one of the only people here with this view point, but I don’t see the harm in spending a holiday evening (or any occasional evening) together as a family. Now I wouldn’t do it if I was in a relationship or had a girlfriend, but if I was single I don’t see an issue.

    My STBXFW is certainly free to decline, but I like the idea of doing what I can to keep the family together.

    Something else John G you have significant more strength in this area than her, because you’ve already dealt with and processed the feelings of her being intimate with someone else. This is old news to you at this point, but to her it is brand new. I see her behavior as a trauma response and in some ways I understand it. She’ll have to get used to it, just like you did.

    • I don’t have any issue as long as there is no coercion or judgement being used to the one not interested in doing that.

    • “I see her behavior as a trauma response and in some ways I understand it. She’ll have to get used to it, just like you did.”

      Huh? She wasn’t traumatized. He was and she caused the trauma. She is not a victim of anything but her own stupidity and lousy character.

      The harm in spending time with a cheater ex is that almost all of them seem to use it as an opportunity to manipulate and abuse.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I believe 100% that her situation is the result of her poor choices and lousy character. My point isn’t to make her a victim, rather my analysis is that she’s asking for crazy shit because she’s probably never encountered the feelings of him being intimate with someone else. He has it many times worse than her, but I believe her confronting those feelings is also traumatizing for her.

  • I saw the title of today’s post (a repeat) and burst out laughing ! The operative word is “ex” and it’s due to cheating aka abuse. These people really have their heads up their asses, don’t they ?


  • Ah yes, the Double Standards that only make sense to FWs. They can secretly and unilaterally make all sorts of choices to destroy your marriage and your life — but afterward they want cooperative separation/divorce and agreements about morality. They want “Amicable.” They absolutely love the idea of Amicable. But to a FW, Amicable is measured only by how much you give into their wants and wishes.

    Tell your FW, “We are not married, so who I date and what I do is not something you have a say in. As for introducing people to the kids and what’s appropriate? I trust my morals and judgement a helluva lot more than yours. Nice try though.”

    And if you’re feeling cheeky you can add, “Now fly away before someone drops a house on you!”

  • Wow. Just wow. This is a good one, but I’ve read other stories like this on this site.

    So glad you’re away from this person!

  • Yikes. The entitlement of these FWs…. I will never suffer this particular horror. FW would never believe I had a date even if I did. He never accused me of cheating on him. He finds the idea if my having a date laughable, I’m sure. He acts like he did me a favor by marrying me.

    Honestly, I’m not sure I would have ever gotten married had I not married FW. Guys used to flirt with me in my younger days but not much else. I never had a prom date. And now? Unlikely. I don’t exactly turn heads. And I am quite happy to be overlooked at this point. I do believe I am in the category of chump who will never pair up again. I’m happy with my friends and in being with my own company. Whatever part of me longed for romance has died. It’s not a sad thing. There is more to life than that and I intend to enjoy life on my terms from now on. Being married to klootzak made me feel that being married was a sacrifice and not something that added to my life. I don’t think I will ever shake that perspective.

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